My Blog List

People I Know

Eclectic Folks

Media Blogs

Politics, Policy Blogs

Page Rank

Check Page Rank of your Web site pages instantly:

This page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Inspired by Originalville #2

I had so many songs that I could have used but didn't, such as the original version of Handy Man, done originally by Jimmy Jones, with James Taylor having the big hit. But I did have enough I decided to do a second disc of originals that became bigger hits later.

1. Hush by Billy Joe Royal.
A big hit (#4)for Deep Purple in 1968.
2. Wherever I Lay My Hat by Marvin Gaye.
I only knew the Paul Young (#70, 1983) version
3. I'm a Believer by Neil Diamond.
Neil provided lots of options: Solitary Man (Chris Isaac, Johnny Cash), Kentucky woman (Deep Purple), Red, Red wine (UB40). But I opted for the Monkees' song (#1, 1966), who performed it first, before Neil (#51, 1971).
4. Mary Mary-the Monkees.
I recall the uproar in the musical purists who wondered why the pre-fab band band was doing a Butterfield Blues Band song. Then it was revealed that it was actually a Mike Nesmith song. The complaints went away.
5. Heaven Is In Your Mind by Traffic.
6. Eli's Coming by Laura Nyro.
7. The Loner by Neil Young.
8. Lady Samantha by Elton John.
Now we've come to the Three Dog night portion of our disc. Brian Ibbott did a Three Dog Night Originalville back in February, but he didn't use these songs, so I did. Laura Nyro wrote lots of songs you've heard of; unfortunately, she died at 49 of ovarian cancer. The 3DN version of Samantha was a friend's favorite song; I'd never heard the EJ version until Mr. Hembeck turned me onto it.
9. You can Leave Your Hat On by Randy Newman.
I could have included a Randy Newman song, Mama Told Me Not To Come, as another 3DN tune, but since Brian had used it, I opted for the song that Joe Cocker covered.
10. War-The Temptations.
It was not unusual that multiple Motown artists would record the same song, but due to the nature of this song, this one was a bit complicated; see this Wikipedia link.
11. Strawberry Letter 23-Shuggie Otis.
When I came up with this concept, this was probably the first song that was definitely going to be included. Shuggie Otis is the son of Johnny Otis, who I wrote about earlier this year. Even Brian didn't know about the original. The Brothers Johnson version went to #5 in 1977.
12, Giving Him Something He Can feel-Aretha Franklin.
The very last track on the QoS 4-CD box set, but, though it went to #28 in 1976, I was not familiar with it, and I didn't really notice it until En Vogue had had a Top Six version in 1992.
13. Tell the Truth-Derek & the Dominoes.
This a total cheat. This is the original version done by the band, released as a single in 1970, but then withdrawn. The version that is on the Layla album is slower and bluesier; this version is more frenetic, and for me, favored.

I had stayed late at work last Friday night working on this on Roxio, but it practically made my computer explode. Seriously: Corrupted error report: Unfortunately, the error report you submitted is corrupted and cannot be analyzed. Corrupted error reports are rare. They can be caused by hardware or software problems, and they usually indicate a serious problem with your computer.

Then my old and good friend Uthaclena came up on Saturday, upgraded my computer, and installed Nero. Sunday, I was having the problem that the disc drive would hang up unless I closed in and out of Nero, which eventually corrected itself. Add to that the child thief. I mention all this as explanation/apology to those waiting. Since I finally got a groove going, I made 20 of each disc. Six are going to the other Mixed CD participants; seven are going to my work colleagues, some of which were helpful in creating the playlist; three to some helpful folks, such as Messrs. Hembeck and Uthaclena. One to my sister; oh, golly, one for ME. That leaves three for the first three people who ask.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Inspired by Originalville #1

As I've mentioned here before, I'm a big fan of the podcast Coverville, hosted by Brian Ibbott. It's a show that generally features of cover songs of artists, sometimes as a theme and sometimes by listener request. (BTW, if you are curious what I sound like, go to this Bob Dylan edition, right before he plays the Joan Baez song.

Occasionally, Brian'll play a song that's the original of a song that people might think was done by a more popular artist. That is the inspiration of the mixed disc I did for Lefty Brown's Mix Bag VI.

Here are the songs on Disc 1:
1. Who's Sorry Now by the Rhythmakers.
Truth is that I don't know if it IS the original. I do know it came out in the 1930s, long before the 1958 Connie Francis version, which went to #4 on the Billboard charts.
2. Walking Blues by Robert Johnson.
I'm pretty sure this IS the original. There were lots of songs to choose from (Sweet Home Chicago, Crossroads, e.g.) but I picked this tune because it was covered in the 1960s by the Butterfield Blues Band, who show up later in this story. It's a blues standard.
3. Hey Bartender by Floyd Dixon.
4. I Don't Know by Willie Mabon.
Brian did a Coverville involving the Blues Brothers recently; these are the originals of songs that Jake and Elwood performed on that first Blues brothers album.
5. Bring On Home by Sonny Boy Williamson.
6. Killing Floor by Howlin' Wolf.
Two songs purloined by Led Zeppelin without attribution, the latter forming the basis of the Lemon Song.
7. Louie Louie by Richard Berry.
Before the Kingsmen or Paul Revere & the Raiders came this classic version. From the Hembeck collection.
8. Hello Mary Lou by Gene Pitney.
Is this really an Originalville? I believe Gene Pitneey recorded this AFTER Rick Nelson had a Top 10 hit in 1961.
9. Oh Lonesome Me by Don Gibson.
Actually a big hit for Gibson in 1958, but I know it better as the much slower song recorded by Neil Young for After the Gold Rush.
10. Blue Bayou by Roy Orbison.
Went to #29 for Orbison in 1963. Might not have even included it except for baseball announcer Tim McCarver. After Linda Rondstadt had a Top 3 hit in 1977, McCarver would refer to a fastball as a "Linda Ronstadt - you know, blew by you." Feh. If he had called it a Roy Orbison, I wouldn't have complained.
11. Money by Barrett Strong.
The first Motown hit. On Coverville, there was some confusion about whether the Beatles were the originators of this song. Actually, Strong wrote many Motown hits, although not Money.
12. Devil in His Heart by the Donays.
I had lots of songs that the Beatles covered to choose from, but I picked this one from the Hembeck collection as it was among the most obscure.
* Now here's the point I would have added the Rolling Stones' version of I Wanna Be Your Man, which they performed before the Beatles, had I owned it.

13. Stop Your Sobbing by the Kinks.
The Pretenders had a minor hit (#65) with this song. Oh, I suppose I should mention the later Ray Davies-Chrissie Hynde romance.
14. Go Now by Bessie Banks.
The last three songs are from the Hembeck collection. This one was Top 10 for the Moody Blues in 1965.
15. Good Lovin' by the Olympics.
The Olympics actually went to #81 in 1965, but the Young Rascals hit #1 in 1966.
16. My Girl Sloopy by the Vibrations.
The Vibrations got to #26 in 1964, but the McCoys, with a title changed to Hang On Sloopy, went to the top of the charts in 1965, with the Ramsey Lewis Trio also having a hit (#11) in '65.

Oh, and this is what Gordon said about his own disc, and what Tosy said about Lefty's.
Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" becomes an opera.
Harvey Korman interview: Part One; Part Two; Part Three. One of the funniest lines ever was delivered by Harvey to Carol Burnett at about 3:30 here: "Scarlett, that gown is GORGEOUS." RIP, Harvey.
I've learned that not only did Earle Hagan write all those TV themes I mentioned yesterday, he also wrote the classic jazz tune "Harlem Nocturne" covered by the Viscounts, Brian Setzer and many others.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

JFK Vs. PowerPoint

Last month, one of my colleagues at work did a post about bad PowerPoint presentations. In response, another blogger wrote in about a particularly (and intentionally) awful use of PowerPoint, featuring a famous speech by John F. Kennedy. I don't know if you have to be old enough to fully appreciate the impact that the PP had on that important address, but since JFK's birthday is May 29 - he would have been 91! - I thought I'd share it today.

And while I'm at it, the source material. The key phrase is about 4 minutes in.

Earle Hagen died. Who was Earle Hagen? Why, the composer of themes for The Dick Van Dyke Show, The MOD Squad, The Danny Thomas Show, That Girl, and The Andy Griffith Show, among many others. In fact, he's the whistler on the latter. And he composed for the big screen as well. Read more here. I need to go down to the Fishin' Hole now.
Rory Root was a comic book dealer I talked with a few times in my comic book days. He seemed like a great guy. He died last week, and this was my favorite tribute to him.
Eddie notes the passing of Utah Phillips. I saw him a few times a number of years ago, when he was still U. Utah Phillips, probably when we was centered in Saratoga Springs, NY. A fine musician.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My 100 Favorite Songs

WAY back on February 26, Tosy did this thing about his 100 favorite songs. And being a good thief blogger, I thought that I'd do the same thing. I checked out the criteria Tosy used:
I am considering "rock/pop" songs only, albeit from a pretty loose definition. Still, this means no standards, no musical theater songs, no jazz songs.
OK, no April in Paris. Nothing from Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
I'm also limiting my list to songs I own. Can do that.
Now - what makes a great song? For me, it's a couple of things. I tend to gravitate towards songs that do something different. Not that you won't find any three-chord guitar, bass, and drums songs in my list, but I tend to score extra points for including a trumpet, or a good synth line, or strings--in organic and effective ways. Or for doing something new with structure. Or for an artfully expressed idea. Got it.
I'm pretty forgiving on lyrics - I'll take a good tune, or a neat chord change or progression, or a clever arrangement, with bad lyrics over good lyrics with boring music any day of the week. Well, OK, but there are some songs where the lyric content really knocks me out.
But most importantly--and this will be the hardest to nail down as I write about these songs, given how ephemeral and subjective it is - a song has to move me. Whether to tears, joy, ecstasy, anger, or sorrow is mostly irrelevant, but it has to trigger emotion in some way to be great.
Great description. But SO much music moves me that this really became problematic.

For instance, Private Eyes by Hall & Oates. I'm a sucker for hand claps; the Supremes' Where Did Our Love Go also is in that list. "Private eyes" (clap) "are wanting you" (clap clap). A guilty pleasure. But does it hit the level of moving me? Well, maybe, with a feeling of fun, but it's not on the list.

Or Aqualung by Jethro Tull which a late friend and I tortured his stepkids lipsynching to. It evokes the moment, it has the changing rhythms and volumes, and I suppose could have made the list.

Time Is Tight - Booker T. and the MGs. Possibly my favorite instrumental, and it makes me happy. But..

Heck, anything with a good bass line could have been considered. Ultimately, I found that the winnowing of songs was extremely difficult, much more so that selecting albums or movies. I abandoned the project at least twice. Probably 75 of these songs could have been substituted for 75 others. So what DID make the list? Keep watching starting next week.
What pop song contains the lyrics
"I was knee high to a chicken
When that love bug bit me."
Alan David Doane is currently selling off some comics on his blog, so he can get his wife's car fixed and other things.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jaquandor's Too Many Lists

Before that, though, I need to note a couple things

1. This Steve Bissette article, the part after Christian matchmaking, where he talks about FantaCo and its publications Gore Shriek and Smilin' Ed.

2. The passing of Sydney Pollack, who not only directed Tootsie, one of my favorite films, but was one of those hyphenates as well known for his acting as his directing. He was a quite good actor, even in some mot so good scripts.

Jaquandor went quiz crazy. I'm answering the ones I feel like answering, having answered similar questions too recently .

Feet size: 10, although that can vacillate a bit depending on the brand of shoe in question.

Age you act: Thirty-seven. That was, in some ways, my favorite age.

Where you want to live: Don't know, but living in upstate New York, given the rest of the country's propensities towards fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, as good as anywhere. And when global warming really kicks in, it'll be as warm here in 20 years as it is in Virginia now.

Favorite Saying: "That's doable." Actually that's fallen into disuse of late, for some reason.

Favorite Ice Cream: When I went to Ben & Jerry's for free ice cream last month, I asked for rum raisin; they had none. Have they discontinued it?

Favorite Alcoholic Drink: Any rum drink.

When Do You Go To Sleep: Generally between 9:30 and 10 pm, except on Thursday night, when it's between 11 pm and midnight.

Most Embarrassing Moment: Too hard to narrow down.

Stupidest Person You Know: I'm a snob. I tend to avoid stupid people.

Funniest Person You Know: Probably Tim, though most of his comments are groan-worthy.

Favorite Food: Chicken, I suppose.

Favorite Song: Impossible to determine, but I'll be working on that very topic soon.

Wedding song: "At Last" by Etta James, for cause.

Pets: Only stuffed.

5 years from now? I used to have to do that years ago, and there was almost never a correlation between the aspirational and the actual, so I don't bother.

10 years from now? Or, conversely, if I looked back 10 years would I said, "Now is what I thought it'd be"? No.

Have You Ever...?

Done Drugs: Even inhaled.

Run Away From Home: Briefly.

Hit A Girl: No.

Lied: Anyone who says they didn't is probably a liar.

Stolen Anything: Not in a long, long time.

Broken A Bone: No.

Cheated On A Test: Answered before, yes, 9th grade bio.

Gotten Drunk: A few times in my 20s, but not in at least a decade.

Fell asleep in the shower/bath: No.

Gone to Church: Yes, on most Sundays.

Never slept during a night: The last all-nighter was in 1981, when a bunch of my grade school friends all got together.

Ever been on a motorcycle or motorbike: Yes. Didn't like it.

Been to a camp: Every summer for about a decade growing up. Didn't like it.

Sat in a restaurant w/o ordering: Probably not.

Seen someone die: Nope, I missed that fine honor by about an hour on two different occasions (my great uncle, my father).

Gone a week w/out shaving: A heck of a lot longer than that.

Didn’t wash your hair for a week: Probably in February 1975.

Broken something valuable: Possibly.

Thought you were in love: Or at least open to persuasion.

Streaked the streets: Interesting question.

Screamed at someone for no reason: well, not for NO reason. The reason may not have had anything to do with that person.

Said I love you and meant it: Why, yes.

Been hurt by a guy/girl you loved: Oh, God, yes.

Stayed up till 4 am on the phone: If so, it was so long ago I can't recall.

Pulled a prank: Mostly surprise birthday parties.

Which Is Better...?

1. Coke Or Pepsi: I suppose Pepsi, though both are probably poison.

2. Cats Or Dogs: Cats.

3. DVDs or VHS: DVDs because you can get to a section easier.

4. Deaf Or Blind: I suppose blind, because I'd miss music and the sound of my daughter's voice.

5. Pools Or Hot Tubs: Neither.

6. Television Or Radio: TV

7. CDs Or mp3: CDs, still.

8. Apples or oranges: Apples - macs.

9. Strawberries or Blueberries: I prefer blueberries, but eat more strawberries.

10. Gold or silver: Gold.

11. Vanilla or chocolate: Vanilla, a choice that traumatized me in the 6th grade.

12. Video or Movie: Movie.

13. Park or Beach: Park.

14. Hot or Cold weather: Hot.

15. Sunset or Sunrise: Sunset.

When is the Last Time You...?

1. Took a shower: Yesterday morning.

2. Cried: Yesterday, listening to music.

3. Watched a Disney movie: Some years ago, unless you count Pixar, in which case it was three months ago.

4. Given/gotten a hug: From the daughter last night.

5. Been to the movies: Sunday.

6. Danced: I dance a lot. In my office chair, especially.

7. Did a survey like this: Last week.

What Is...?

1. Your Fondest Memory Of This Year: the ships at Jamestown.

2. Your Most Prized Possession: my signed copy of Abbey Road.

3. The Thing That Makes You The Happiest: having someone be excited about info I've shared with them.

4. Your Favorite Food For Breakfast: pancakes with real maple syrup.

5. Your Favorite Food For Dinner: lasagna.

6. Your Favorite Slow Song: "Slow Song" by Joe Jackson.

7. Your Ideal BF/GF: Smart, more sensible than I am.

What Do You Feel About…?

1. Bill Clinton: I never got how great his Presidency was supposed to have been. Much better than his successor though. He's really annoyed me during his wife's campaign for POTUS. And though he didn't come up with it, HATED that First Black President moniker.

2. Love at First Sight: I suppose it's possible. Never happened to me.

3. Abortion: Legal, safe and rare.

4. Smoking: If I get on an elevator with someone who had been smoking recently, I practically pass out.

5. Death: Even more inevitable than taxes.

6. Rap: I LOVED early rap, but when it got all misogynistic and all, it lost me.

7. Marilyn Manson: I never think of Marilyn Manson.

8. Premarital Sex: What two consenting adults do is none of my concern.

9. Suicide: NOT painless, especially for the survivors.


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lydster, Part 50: Little Criminal

On Mother's Day, I finally had a chance to gather the CDs I needed for Lefty's Mixed CD thing. I put them on the shelf in the hallway, then we all left at 1 pm to rendezvous for a dinner with Carol's family.

When we got back around 6 pm, I went upstairs to blog and Carol was watching TV (probably Dancing with the *****), and Lydia was playing by herself.At 7 pm, I went down to get the CDs and they were gone; also missing were several CDs that were in that alphabetical section, primarily Linda Ronstadt and the Rolling Stones.

Initially, I asked Carol, then Lydia whether they had moved them, and both said no. Still, I checked all the likely Lydia hiding places: the warming tray in the stove, under the bathroom sink, in her toy box, under the dining room table. They were nowhere to be found.

I was feeling crummy that morning, both physically and emotionally, so I called the police. An officer came over and took the information, though he felt it was unlikely that someone would steal such a pittance.

Finally, a couple days later, I found the CDs. They were filed in a usually closed piece of furniture that holds my discs. There were holes in there because I had laid some discs and they hadn't been refiled. I'm sure that whoever moved them there was just trying to maintain some order. Oh, and then I had to sheepishly let the police department know that I had "recovered" the items.


Sunday, May 25, 2008


I went to a talk by Rex Smith of the Times union newspaper who was talking about "Communication for Citizenship: How Journalism Can Help Sustain Society's Progress." One of the points he made was that if he were hiring a new reporter, he'd rather get someone who understand nuance rather than someone who was just a good writer. As the chair of the Education for Journalism Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, he is seeking to develop the same thing in young potential readers.
But, the last questioner (I) asked, "How do you teach 'nuance'? It seems that so many institutions in the past 20 years are polarized, from Congress to elements of the press." On the hiring side at least, Rex talked about looking for intelligence, people who can look at the whole picture.

Some people still seem to think that it is inconsistent to "support the troops" unless one supports the war they are fighting in. I so disagree. I think that one can oppose the war in Iraq, which I have from the very beginning, actually before it started, while appreciating the sacrifices of people in the military and their families.

I think "supporting our troops" would have meant getting them the vehicles and body armor necessary to withstand roadside bombs much earlier. I think "supporting our troops" involves supporting a G.I. Bill for our returning troops. I think "supporting our troops" means getting them home ASAP.


Saturday, May 24, 2008


I'm wondering if you can think of examples where a company either has a popular item/service which a company has wrecked. Or in alternative, taken a bad situation and made it worse. I'm thinking specifically of American Airlines, who wants to charge $15 for the first bag on the plane - they are already charging $25 for the second - thus insuring people trying (and generally failing) to squeeze even more stuff in the overhead bins. Not to mentioned increased time at the screening line. I'd prefer if they just raised their rates by $15. Or a company that's changed a logo or advertising slogan from a good one to a forgettable one.

And it doesn't have to be a big company. How about those comic stores that limited, or worse SOLD, the free comics available on Free Comic Book Day? Last year, for my work blog, I wrote about business signs that bug me. What are your pet peeves?
Oh and speaking of ads, here's a quiz someone sent me yesterday. I got 20 of 20, but I don't know if some of the responses are generational or not:
Here's a little quiz to see how much you remember about some less-than-important things from a few decades back. It's just for fun. Even the wrong answers may bring back a memory or two. Have Fun.

1. What builds strong bodies 12 ways?

A. Flintstones vitamins
B. The buttmaster
C. Spaghetti
D. Wonder Bread
E. Orange Juice
F. Milk
G. Cod Liver Oil

2. Before he was Muhammed Ali, he was...

A. Sugar Ray Robinson
B. Roy Orbison
C. Gene Autry
D. Rudolph Valentino
E. Fabian
F. Mickey Mantle
G. Cassius Clay

3. Pogo, the comic strip character said, 'We have met the enemy and...

A. It's you
B. He is us
C. It's the Grinch
D. He wasn't home
E. He's really mean
F. We quit
G. He surrendered

4. Good night, David.

A. Good night, Chet
B. Sleep well
C. Good Night, Irene
D. Good Night, Gracie
E. See you later, alligator
F. Until tomorrow
G. Good night, Steve

5. You'll wonder where the yellow went,

A. When you use Tide
B. When you lose your crayons
C. When you clean your tub
D. If you paint the room blue
E. If you buy a soft water tank
F. When you use Lady Clairol
G. When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent

6. Before he was the Skipper's Little Buddy, Bob Denver was Dobie's friend,

A. Stuart Whitman
B. Randolph Scott
C. Steve Reeves
D. Maynard G. Krebbs
E. Corky B. Dork
F. Dave the Whale
G. Zippy Zoo

7. Liar, liar...

A. You're a liar
B. Your nose is growing
C. Pants on fire
D. Join the choir
E. Jump up higher
F. On the wire
G. I'm telling Mom

8. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and...

A. Wheaties
B. Lois Lane
C. TV ratings
D. World peace
E. Red tights
F. The American way
G. News headlines

9 . Hey, kids, what time is it?

A. It's time for Yogi Bear
B. It's time to do your homework
C. It's Howdy Doody Time
D. It's Time for Romper Room
E. It's bedtime
F. The Mighty Mouse Hour
G. Scooby Doo Time

10. Lions and tigers and bears...

A. Yikes
B. Oh no
C. Gee whiz
D. I'm scared
E. Oh My
F. Help Help
H. Let's run

11. Bob Dylan advised us never to trust anyone

A. Over 40
B. Wearing a uniform
C. Carrying a briefcase
D. Over 30
E. You don't know
F. Who says, 'Trust me'
G. Who eats tofu

12. NFL quarterback who appeared in a television commercial wearing women's stockings.

A. Troy Aikman
B. Kenny Stabler
C. Joe Namath
D. Roger Stauback
E. Joe Montana
F. Steve Young
G. John Elway

13. Brylcream...

A. Smear it on
B. You'll smell great
C. Tame that cowlick
D. Greaseball heaven
E. It's a dream
F. We're your team
G. A little dab'll do ya

14. I found my thrill...

A. In Blueberry muffins
B. With my man, Bill
C. Down at the mill
D. Over the windowsill
E. With thyme and dill
F. Too late to enjoy
G. On Blueberry Hill

15. Before Robin Williams, Peter Pan was played by

A. Clark Gable
B. Mary Martin
C. Doris Day
D. Errol Flynn
E. Sally Fields
F. Jim Carey
G. Jay Leno

16. Name the Beatles

A. John, Steve, George , Ringo
B. John, Paul, George , Roscoe
C. John, Paul, Stacey, Ringo
D. Jay, Paul, George , Ringo
E. Lewis, Peter, George , Ringo
F. Jason, Betty, Skipper, Hazel
G. John, Paul, George , Ringo

17. I wonder, wonder, who

A. Who ate the leftovers?
B. Who did the laundry?
C. Was it you?
D. Who wrote the book of love?
E. Who I am?
F. Passed the test?
G. Knocked on the door?

18. I'm strong to the finish

A. Cause I eats my broccoli
B. Cause I eats me spinach
C. Cause I lift weights
D. Cause I'm the hero
E. And don't you forget it
F. Cause Olive Oyl loves me
G. To outlast Bruto

19. When it's least expected, you're elected, you're the star today...

A. Smile, you're on Candid Camera
B. Smile, you're on Star Search
C. Smile, you won the lottery
D. Smile, we're watching you
E. Smile, the world sees you
F. Smile, you're a hit
G. Smile, you're on TV

20. What do M & M's do?

A. Make your tummy happy
B. Melt in your mouth, not in your pocket
C. Make you fat
D. Melt your heart
E. Make you popular
F. Melt in your mouth, not in your hand
G. Come in colors


Friday, May 23, 2008

The bachelor list

I'm so happy that Kristi Yamaguchi won American Idol and that David Cook won Dancing with the Stars. Wait a minute, that's not right...

My wife, who IS happy Kristi won on Dancing, and daughter, who was rooting for some guy (hey, I don't watch), are going away this weekend to visit the parents/grandparents. Oh, boy, this means I can set my own agenda! Come now - on these rare occasions, there's always a list. Surprisingly, only a couple of them have come from my wife, and a bunch of it comes from my internal sense of responsibility. In roughly the order of importance:
* Pay some bills. I ran out of checks last week. While most things I have paid automatically or online, there are a couple that I hadn't set up or aren't available to be paid that way.
* Burn some CDs for some people; they know who they are.
* Cut the grass. I have a standard, Roger-powered machine, and if I don't cut it every week (or even more frequently), I'll have go borrow someone's gas-driven machine.
* Move a bunch of CDs from the inconvenient furniture we bought a few years ago to some drawers I bought at a library auction a couple weeks ago. A MASSIVE undertaking I'll probably do in sections.
* See the movie Iron Man. If I don't see it now, I'll never see it.
* Watch two movies on DVD that I borrowed MONTHS ago from friends and haven't seen yet, Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks, and Independence Day. I've never seen either of them.
* Take the CD player to the shop to see if I can get it to work. It doesn't seem to recognize that there is actually a CD IN the machine on a regular basis. I end up using the boom box, if I can wrestle it from my daughter.
* Read a week's worth of newspapers.
* Watch at least some recorded TV.
* Write two blog pieces that have been floating in my mind for weeks, plus some ten-part thing I started a while ago, for which I BLAME TOSY.
* Get printer cartridges. I used up the last black one, and the color one just doesn't work.
Then there's church on Sunday morning and cleaning and laundry at some point. The problem with The List is that it's always longer than the amount of time available to do the items on The List.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

So early in the morning

Tuesday morning, I was the first person to vote in my district to vote on the budget proposals for the school and library. I saw the Capital News 9 truck in the parking lot, but I wasn't thinking much about it. I was thinking how it's 7 a.m. and I need to get my daughter, who was still in bed last I checked, dressed and on the 7:30 bus. (Her mother was home, but would leave as soon as I got back.)

It's always interesting being interviewed. Read this story about the voting in Albany, which does mention me. The reporter, Ms. Godchalk, asked me a question about how the rising cost of things would affect my voting choices; interesting slant designed to generate a particular point of view. Unfortunately, I didn't have a pithy response, so I launched into a bunch of cliches about how we could be "penny wise and pound foolish" and how we could pay for good education now or pay later - I was thinking about welfare and prison, but did not specify. Did I mention I had a four-year old and that her education was important to me? I did not. No wonder sports figures asre always engaging in terminology such as "take it one day at a time."

Anyway, a few hours later, maybe around 10 a.m. I went to the Capital News 9 website to see if they had actually used the interview. Instead, I saw a piece Ms. Godchalk had done with Eva Joseph, the superintendent of the Albany School District about the budget process, and I figured, "OK, I got bumped." Ah, but Capital News 9 is a 24-hour news station, provided by Time Warner Cable, and they use almost EVERYTHING. When I got to the library that evening to hear the Times Union's Rex Smith speak, someone told me that he HAD seen me on TV, and that I sounded good. So I went to the computers upstairs, and saw myself. Unfortunately, it was one of the 15-minute computers with no headphones, but I was on screen for at least 20 seconds; at least I LOOKED intelligent, even if I were babbling.

Anyway, in Albany, the proposed 2008-09 school budget was approved, 2,331-2,011, and the proposed library budget was approved, 2,400-1,906.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Genesis 1, the polar bear and the space alien

Two news stories caught my attention this week, and both of them are tied to the Creation story in Genesis 1. I should note that I've read Genesis 1 a lot, not so much because of its specific significance as much as it is, well, "in the beginning." I have endeavored to read the Bible all the way through a number of times, but succeeded only twice; in 1977, the King James version; and 1995-1996, the Revised Standard Version.
Those failed attempts are not unlike those nine-cent first volumes of the encyclopedias that supermarkets used to sell, which, of course, contained everything one needed to know about the aardwolf and the abacus; I owned a lot of A sections.
In fact Genesis 1, and the first three and a half verses of Genesis 2, made up the lectionary for this past Sunday. The lectionary, in case you are not familiar, is a methodology that the Church devised to read through much of the Bible over a three-year cycle.
So, I don't think it was mere coincidence that the Vatican scientist suggested last week that there is no conflict between believing in God and in the possibility of "extraterrestrial brothers". In other words, or more correctly, in other worlds in this vast universe, there may be similar Creations, with a similar contract between Creator and the life forms there, the Vatican scientist posits.
Not so incidentally, it was in this most recent reading, in context with the Vatican pronouncement, that I fully realized just how much the Creation story implies an earth-centered universe. Verse 16 (NIV): "God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars." No wonder the views of Copernicus, greatly amplified by Galileo, seemed so heretical. In fact, it wasn't until 1998 that the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged it had been wrong about Galileo.
The other news story was about the polar bear being added to the threatened species list in the U.S. If the Creator gave dominion of the creatures to humans, it came with responsibilities as well. Unfortunately, as a practical matter, the listing may mean little, since the White House says that pronouncement was not intended to address greenhouse gas emissions, apparently the polar bear's real enemy.
Make wearing a flag pin the 28th Amendment.
Oh, no! I find myself largely agreeing with Pat Buchanan!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Very short takes

Today is the day folks go to the polls in many locations in New York State, everywhere except in the largest cities and vote for the school budget and the school board members. For some reason, the city of Albany only votes for the budget now, and the school board in November. More on that and Rex Smith speaking at the Friends of the Albany Public Library annual meeting this eveninghere.
Don't care about Dancing with the Stars, but I do care about my wife, and SHE cares about DWTS. So I got the phone number from the end of the taped performance and tried to call in a number of times, but kept getting a busy signal. Then I went online to do so, but it required to be registered with Lo and behold, I WAS registered with, though I don't recall why. Five votes for Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas, who got 60 out of 60 points from the judges (the competition got 51 and 52 votes.)
I haven't sent out my mixed CDs yet because I saved them to the drive, then the burner failed to put the data on the disc. I have figured out a workaround, but can't get to until this weekend; sorry. It is sequenced and I do like it; Gordon will recognize the inspiration immediately. So far got mine from Gordon (like it), Tosy (listened to about half), and Lefty (haven't played yet). Details to follow.
Best wishes to Edward Kennedy after his medical episode. I was looking at my Bushisms calendar, where W. referred to him as Theodore, one of the more understandable mistakes in the gaffe-filled daily.
The Subway series played out this past weekend. For me, the excitement is tempered, maybe because they are, at least so far, two mediocre teams, though the Mets, who swept, less mediocre than the Yankees.
The only parts of the NBA playoffs I have watched has been when I've taped ABC World News and the game has run over. For instance, I saw the last 18 seconds of the Celtics Game-Seven win over Cleveland, which took about 10 minutes, with all the fouls and timeouts.
Happy birthday, PixieNona!Are you sure it was a cold and not allergies? Your symptoms were very similar to mine last week.
In answer to a comment to this story DNA cleared them, but they'll never feel free and some of the comments: "There's particular disdain for the prosecutors of these crimes because, often, the prosecution withheld evidence that could have exonerated the defendant, esp. in Dallas County, TX. At least some of these people were home and with their families or at work; the assertion that 'people doing the right thing don't get mixed up in this stuff' is simply inaccurate much of the time. There is also mistaken identity by witnesses far more often than most people realize. With all that, there's no way to blame the juries, who can only weigh the evidence presented."


Monday, May 19, 2008


This is one of these quizzes that Jaquandor did. Four of our answers match.

Yourself: Disconbobulated.

Your Partner: Wiser.

Your Hair: Missing.

Your Mother: Enigmatic.

Your Father: Deceased.

Your Favorite Item: DVR

Your Dream Last Night: Sensual (Well, it was! So there!)

Your Favorite Drink: Juice.

Your Dream Home: Unknown.

The Room You Are In: Messy.

Your Fear: Quagmire.

Where Do You Want to be in 10 years: Anywhere.

Who You Hung Out With Last Night: Daughter.

What You Are Not: Thin.

Muffins: Blueberry.

One of Your Wish Items: Maid.

Time: Evaporating.

Last Thing You Did: Sleep.

What You Are Wearing: Pajamas.

Your Favorite Weather: Springtime.

Your Favorite Book: Almanac.

Last Thing You Ate: Chicken.

Your Mood: Contemplative.

Your Best Friends: Helpful.

What Are You Thinking About Right Now: Work.

Your Car: Dirty.

Your Summer: Busy.

What’s on your TV: News.

What Is Your Weather Like: Nice.

When Was the Last Time You Laughed: Yesterday.

What is your relationship status: Blessed


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Baby Sister Has a Birthday

And it's significant, which means it's divisible by 5. And I wonder how that came to be?

No matter.

Since she was younger than me, and my sister Leslie, I didn't have as much one-on-one time with Marcia when we were growing up as I did with Leslie. Leslie and I sang with my father and did other things together. In fact, I sang once for her kindergarten class.

One thing I did do with her was to play The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I was Napoleon Solo, the American (played by Robert Vaughn) and she was Russian Illya Kuryakin (the David McCallum character).

I also tried to be the peacemaker between my two sisters. Triangulation: no fun, that.

Leslie and I were already in college when my father got a job in Charlotte, NC in 1974, so my mother and Marcia ended moving down later that year. For some reason, the pronunciation of her name changed from MAR-sha in Binghamton to mar-SEE-ah in Charlotte.

When I was adrift in 1977, I ended up staying with my parents and my sister for four months. She felt was invading her turf and we had our rows, but by the end of my tenure there, we had really bonded in a way we hadn't before.

There are other tales to tell, but I'll leave it at that. I love you, baby sister.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Best "Greatest Hits" Albums QUESTIONS

Yahoo had this list of "best of" albums last week. I'll note if I have 'em. Do you? Or perhaps another album by that artist. Maybe you have suggestions not on the list at all. I'd inclined to have Aretha Franklin and Randy Newman represented.
25) Nirvana--Nirvana:
I have three or four Nirvana albums, but no GH.

24)Greatest Hits--Eagles:
Yes, I have it. And I'm not ashamed. The best selling album of all time in the U.S, if you believe the RIAA figures.

23) The Best Of Blondie--Blondie:

22) Back To Mono--Phil Spector & Various Artists:
This is actually a box set - 3 CDs plus the Christmas album -of music of the Ronettes, Crystals, Righteous Brothers, and much more. Got it.

21) Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy--The Who:
Actually have this on vinyl. While I have a more comprehensive Who GH on CD, I do like this one better.

20) The Kinks Kronikles--The Kinks:

No, I have The Ultimate Collection.

19) The Motown Box--Various Artists:
"It's not just any label that can release a boxed set of their best acts and establish both group identity and label identity. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops all carved out their sound within the confines of a Detroit recording studio and the overhearing ears of Berry Gordy Jr." Got it AND its follow-up.

18) Chronicle Vol. 1--Creedence Clearwater Revival:
"Creedence Clearwater Revival had the distinction of scoring a string of #2 hit singles. Not #1. Someone else always hogged that spot for themselves. But Creedence did manage 19 hit singles that are collected here..." And I have it.

17) Echoes--Pink Floyd:
Actually, no. though I must have a half dozen Floyd albums.

16) Staring At The Sea--The Cure:
Have only one or two Cure albums and this isn't one of them.

15) Louder Than Bombs--The Smiths:
Have some Smiths and Morrisey solo, but not this.

14) The Chess Box--Chuck Berry:
No, I have Golden Decade.

13) We Sold Our Souls For Rock N' Roll--Black Sabbath:
Actually own no Black Sabbath at all, except on compilations.

12) The Very Best Of--Prince:
Not this, but I have a two-CD collection. I have quite a bit of His Purpleness, actually.

11) The Very Best Of The Doors (2CD)--The Doors:
Not this 2007 collection, but another one.

10) The Top Ten Hits--Elvis Presley:
I have these two CDs, but frankly I'm surprised they didn't go for that #1s album, which I ALSO own.

9) Mania--Ramones:
Recently bought a different Ramones compilation.

8) Smash Hits--Jimi Hendrix: Have it on vinyl, and a different compilation on CD.

7) Greatest Hits, Volume 2--Bob Dylan:
Have it on vinyl.

6) Greatest Hits--Al Green: Have it.

5) Decade--Neil Young:
One of those things I bought twice, once the 3 LPs, then the 2 CDs.

4) Greatest Hits--Sly And The Family Stone:
. I've long had this album as a contender for my island albums. Some people seem to think that bringing a GH to the island is sacrilege, but at least three of these songs never made it to 33 1/3 until this collection.

3) Star Time--James Brown:
Not this 4-CD box, but a single disc.

2) Hot Rocks--The Rolling Stones:
Have on LP. Have all the songs in some digitized form, though.

1) 1--The Beatles:
No. I own every American LP and British CD in the canon. Why do I need this?


Friday, May 16, 2008

May Ramblin'

Black Television News Channel (BTNC) announced plans to launch the nation’s first all-news cable network dedicated to the African American community. That was sort of interesting; more intriguing to me was this: "Based in Washington, D.C., BTNC is the creation of J.C. Watts, the former Republican congressman from Oklahoma." I figured that if Hillary Clinton somehow won the Democratic nomination, and I suppose it could still happen, the Republicans would counter by putting a black conservative Republican on the ticket. Actually, I was specifically thinking J.C. Watts. Guess that's not going to happen.

Speaking of McCain, take the Bush-McCain Challenge, an online quiz to see if you can tell the difference between George W. Bush and John McCain.

And, as I said, Hillary's not dead yet, but the funeral's been planned: In Loving Memory of the Hillary for President Campaign.

Is everybody happy? Well, no, and age, gender and race seem to be factors. I suppose a story like this - E-Mail Shows Racial Jokes by Secret Service Supervisors - while disturbing, doesn't fill me with as much outrage as it used to, maybe because I'm less surprised than I used to be. I appreciate whimsy more, e.g. Czech crash victim wakes up speaking English. And maybe I can laugh a little at myself more. This is a thread for label suggestions for a homebrew called Old Librarian Ale. BTW, I am NOT responsible for the content. The NSFW item (clearly labeled within) REALLY is NSFW.

So always remember, and never forget: Nothing is more dangerous than a wounded mosquito.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Since May 15, 1999

I had this dream back in February that Carol and I were going to be getting married. We were in this enormous mansion, and guests were already arriving, and flowers and champagne were being delivered when I realized that we had neglected to secure clergy for the ceremony. Somehow, I found someone in the crowd to officiate. But then I noted that we had also neglected to get a wedding license, and for that, we had no work-around. After pouting for several minutes, we started telling the guests and the caterers. The food and flowers were given away to the visitors, but the champagne was stored in the basement for another day.

Fortunately, none of that actually happened nine years ago. It wasn't in a mansion but in our then-church. We remembered all the important details, including the rings. I don't think we HAD champagne, but only because the church basement, where we had the reception, was "dry".

I had to laugh when I read this post from Alan David Doane: "Sunday Stuff -- Mother's Day is here again, my annual reminder that I didn't really plan my wedding anniversary (in less than two weeks) with any kind of budget or common sense in mind." Well, if he botched it, I botched it worse, for, this year, Mother's Day and our anniversary are only four days apart. Of course, we didn't know for sure that we'd even have a child.

Happy ninth anniversary, honey!
I neglected to mention Rocco Nigro's birthday yesterday. But our mutual friend Fred Hembeck did. BTW, Fred and Rocco, Coverville did a Beach Boys' Pet Sounds cover story this week. I've only gotten through side one so far, but I like it.

Side 1?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As I've noted, I often play music based on artists' birthdays. This week, I have quite a few albums by these folks:
May 9, 1949, Billy Joel
May 10, 1961, Bono (Paul Hewson) (U2)
May 12, 1948, Steve Winwood
May 13, 1950, Stevie Wonder
May 14, 1953, David Byrne
And at least one from these people:
May 9, 1937, Dave Prater (Sam & Dave)
May 9, 1944, Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield/Poco)
May 9, 1945, Steve Katz (Blues Project/Blood, Sweat & Tears)
May 10, 1946, Dave Mason (Traffic)
May 10, 1946, Donovan (Donovan Leitch)
May 11, 1941, Eric Burdon (Animals)
May 13, 1966, Darius Rucker (Hootie & The Blowfish)
May 14, 1936, Bobby Darin
May 15, 1948, Brian Eno
May 15, 1953, Mike Oldfield
May 16, 1966, Janet Jackson
So sue me, I bought that first Hootie album. Oh, and the exact dates of the birthdays I've seen different by a day or two.

Last night, Carol and I saw a musical based on the music of one of these folks as a pre-anniversary present for ourselves. Wanna guess which one?

I was thinking about a couple questions Eddie (yes, him again) posed:
1. Is it any slight to the original artist when someone else's version of a song becomes the definitive one? Even if the original artist wrote it?
I can think of at least a couple examples where the original artist acknowledged the superiority of the cover. One was Otis Redding's Respect; he said of Aretha Franklin something like "That girl done stole that song from me."
Then even Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails noted, somewhat wistfully, that Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" had become the definitive one.
[And speaking of which: Trent Reznor for intellectual property czar.]
I suppose it depends how the songwriter feels about the song. If it it's his or her "baby", then losing it might not feel so hot. But if the writer is open to new possibilities, then I'd think it'd be an honor. Unless...
2. What do you think about cases where a cover is actually quite inferior to the original, yet is wildly more successful?
I'm trying to think of an example of this, actually. Do you have something in mind? Can anyone think of an original, written by the artist, that the cover was not good, yet sold well? Purists might pick Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You", but Whitney Houston's version was not technically terrible, just mind-numblingly overplayed.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I'd been meaning to write about Barack Obama again ever since I watched Meet the Press back on Sunday, May 4 and saw Tim Russert's interview spend THE FIRST 15 MINUTES talking about the Reverend Jeremiah wright. Lest you think I exaggerate, check out this. Given ABC News being ridiculed for doing a similar thing during the "debates", Russert should have known better. This came up after both George Will and my local paper scolded Obama for not severing his association with Wright sooner; a related story generated mucho comments.

But assuming that Obama is the Democratic party nominee, the conversation shifts to who will be the Vice-Presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton shows up in the mix, of course, and her strengths (support among women and older, rural Americans, et al.) are as well known as her liabilities (generally, the baggage of being a Clinton), so that she'd be portrayed like this.
Gordon let me know about the buzz over John Edwards.
I'm still keen on Bill Richardson. In fact, I've been touting him since December of 2005, when I thought that Russ Feingold was running for President.

Obama's Vision (30 minute video).

Tangentially, I was reading this quote on CNN yesterday:
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, an uncommitted superdelegate, said the delegate numbers are in Obama's favor, but the popular vote is important to the people of his state.
"I think we see what happened in 2004, when Al Gore won the popular vote, and where the country has gone and the feelings toward government since then. I put a lot of stock in that," he said on CNN's "American Morning."

I just had to know: did the governor of West Virginia really think that Al Gore ran only four years ago? No, the transcription of the video was wrong.

Tom Hanks Endorses Obama (video). Actually quite funny, I thought.

Observations from my favorite Albany grouch and my favorite American expat in New Zealand.

Finally, at the request of a good friend of mine, I was asked to comment on some specific comments about racism and the race in this dialogue on the Daily Kos. Part of the thrust of the conversation was about Hillary Clinton, whether her campaign engaged in racist campaign tactics. And I find I can't go there. Those liberals fighting is far more irritating than the conservatives I check out, maybe because I care more. I must admit that while I sometimes read the stories, I seldom follow all the comments, especially when they descend into Sturm und Drang; they tend to exhaust me. But no, I didn't think the comments you made were racist or even insensitive, but I'm sure some of the participants would disagree...

Photo courtesy tsevis' photostream


Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby Boomer Hits

When I have the worst sinus headache ever and can't breathe through either nostril because of allergies, I'm reduced to using the e-mails from one of my sisters. But before that, one Sentential Link that struck me:

[Gram] Parsons is such a cutie in those old pics, that it almost makes you wonder what he'd look like had he lived. Would he have the rugged, survived-the-hard-life handsomeness of Kris Kristofferson?
Or the perennial hit-by-several-speeding-trains-simultaneously, lucky-to-be-alive-and-upright look of Keith Richards?

It was fun being a baby boomer . . . until now. Some of the artists of the
60's are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers:

They include:

Herman's Hermits --- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker.

Ringo Starr --- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends.

The Bee Gees --- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?

Bobby Darin --- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash.

Roberta Flack --- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face.

Johnny Nash --- I Can't See Clearly Now !

Paul Simon --- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver

The Commodores --- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom.

Marvin Gaye --- Heard I need the Grape Nuts.

Procol Harem --- A Whiter Shade of Hair!

Leo Sayer--- You Make Me Feel Like Napping.

The Temptations --- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone.

Abba --- Denture Queen !

Tony Orlando --- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall.

Helen Reddy --- I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore !

Leslie Gore --- It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To!

And everyone’s favorite:

Willie Nelson --- On the Commode Again


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

According to Peace X Peace:

Mothers Day is celebrated in many countries on various dates throughout the year. Still, North Americans are not alone in observing the second Sunday in May. We’re joined by Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe! So to mothers in these nations, to mothers everywhere else, and to everyone who ever had a mother, we send our love and greetings.

Love to my mom in North Carolina, who I've actually seen in the last six months.

Love to my mother-in-law, who actually mowed our lawn with ther power mower while I was away last week.

Love to Lydia's mom, Carol. Funny thing, that phrase. Although lots of people refer to her as Lydia's mom, she doesn't like it it when I say it, maybe because it falsely implies that 1) Carol and I aren't married (we are) and/or 2) Lydia isn't my daughter (she is).

Hello to all you mothers, old and new; some have said these things never quite as efficiently.

Happy Mother's Day.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Music covers QUESTION

There was a 90-minute discussion on the Coverville podcast, episode 450, about cover music. Brian, the host, posed several questions of the panel of fellow podcasters of cover music. I listened to it some weeks ago, so not all the particulars are fresh in my mind. Still, here are a couple questions inspired by that podcast.

1. What IS a cover version? For instance (and this was on the show), is Eric Clapton doing Layla considered a cover of the Derek and the Dominoes version? The panel thought not.

2. How about when a songwriter writes the song, gives it to another artist, THEN records it? I believe Gene Pitney's Hello Mary Lou, recorded by Ricky Nelson before Pitney recorded it, would qualify. Which one is the cover? I don't know.

3. Or what if Ronnie Spector took a Ronettes song such as Be My Baby and sang background vocals on a more contemporary artist? I think that WOULD be a cover?

4. What makes a good cover song? Sometimes, but not always, a different point of view - a female singing what had been a song previously performed by a male - will help. It cannot be a slavish imitation of the original; what's the point? Often the remake features faster or slower tempos, unusual instrumentation or other qualities.

5. What is the first cover song that you really enjoyed that you recognized as a cover? Motown folks were always covering each other, but mine was We Can Work It Out, Stevie Wonder's cover of the Beatles' tune.


Friday, May 09, 2008

The Mail Failed

Damn! I just realized that Jenna Bush is getting married tomorrow AND SHE FORGOT TO SEND MY INVITATION! I hear that Crawford, Texas is very nice this time of year.

Or, more likely to the Post Office lost it. And they have the nerve to raise the postal rates starting Monday, May 12 to 42 cents for the first ounce, 17 cents each for the next few ounces, and 27 cents for a postcard. I use so few stamps any more that I still have 37-cent and 39-cent stamps, plus one of those First Class stamps, the denomination of which I have no idea. Speaking of no idea, lots of people I've talked to seem unaware of the rate change. I wonder if the Post Office still has those "forever" stamps?

Oh, and Laura's been multitasking so well this week, playing mother of the bride and working on foreign policy. To be fair, Myanmar has been her issue for a while, and the devastation there is awful. But why does she insist on calling the country Burma?


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Copyright Orphans

Paul Rapp "is an intellectual-property lawyer with offices in Albany and Housatonic, Mass. He teaches art-and-entertainment law at Albany Law School, and regularly appears as part of the Copyright Forum on WAMC’s Vox Pop." He writes a regular column on intellectual property rights.

His most recent column addresses the "Orphan Works" copyright and potential legislation regarding it. What is an orphan work? Paul cites Meredith L. Patterson's Radio Free Meredith where she uses this example about "your parent’s wedding pictures from 1955. You want to publish them? Guess what? The copyrights are probably owned by the photographer! Who was who? And is now where? You don’t know? Uh-oh." The proposed bill, H.R.5889, the Orphan Works Act of 2008, seeks to provide "limitation[s] on remedies in cases involving orphan works."

Rapp wrote just before the actual legislation was introduced, but still got it right. "The legislation to rectify the problem of lingering, abandoned copyrights, to loosen this stranglehold of ghosts on our culture, by allowing the reuse of pre-existing materials in situations where after a reasonably diligent effort, no copyright owner has been located. If, after the work is re-published, a copyright owner shows up and says 'that’s mine', the copyright owner will be entitled to a reasonable licensing fee for the use, but won’t be able to stop the use."

If this legislation had been enacted, the case about the use of the street artist's picture for their business that one of my library colleagues wrote about last month would almost certainly have applied.

Rapp, BTW, is a/k/a Lee Harvety Blotto, drummer for the legendary Albany band, Blotto.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Last Tuesday, I got a couple e-mails with similar problems. One was from a friend of mine promoting her daughter's photography sessions. The deadline for contacting her for a Mother's Day photo shoot was Monday, May 1. Of course, May 1 was not on a Monday this year, so I wrote back to the mother with this info, and she wrote: "You are correct. My daughter's photography skill trump her day/date skills apparently...." Well, swell, but I STILL don't know the correct information, and I was a bit put off, frankly, and was disinclined to pursue the issue further.

The second was a .jpeg attachment to an e-mail for a cultural event from a member of my church. There was all sorts of information about the organization, and what events would be taking place. It contained the location, but lacked a couple things: the date and the time. So, I wrote to that person, and she gave me the date and time, but I was so distracted by this fundamental error that when I was telling this story to my wife, I forgot what the benefit was for, so focused was I on the lacking information, especially when the sender seemed lackadaisical about fixing it.

I bring this up because I realize that sometimes, I've gone to some of your blogs and made suggestions about things that I thought needed to be changed. It tends to be, to my mind, substantial issues of fact, which, if left alone, might put the writer in a less than favorable light to other readers. I'm not talking about opinions here. Nor am I talking about typos (teh); in fact, I've totally given up even mentioning its/it's errors. I am inclined, though, to correct misspellings of proper names, if only because someone Googling will be unlikely to find the page otherwise. And I almost always mention dead links within a post, primarily because I'd like to know that if it were happening with my post.

This is not to be a nudge. It is because I think that other people will take you less seriously with uncorrected errors. It's also, I suppose, a librarian's curse. I've made similar suggestions to governmental and association blogs.

A couple of non-Internet examples:
Some time ago, I was reading an article about the Beatles' white album. The author said something like, "Only Paul McCartney could get away with the sentimentality of the closing tune Good Night." Well, OK, except that I knew that it was John Lennon who actually penned the song. I totally dismissed whatever else that writer had to say because of that egregious error.

At a conference about ten years ago, the featured speaker was talking about waste in government, and he was focusing on studies paid for with federal funds. He noted that there was money spent for finding out why more people don't ride their bikes to work. He proclaimed, "Everybody knows that; it's because it rains!" Well, having ridden my bicycle to work and being reasonably knowledgeable on the topic, I knew it had as much to do with distance, safety, time, coming to work sweaty and other factors than just this simplistic response. And I was so furious that I just walked out of the meeting. Of course, there were several hundred people there, and I seriously doubt that anyone noticed, but I so didn't want to be in the room with this dolt... Thing is, he may have had some legitimate points later on, but he lost me early on.

So, if I have corrected you in the past, and it has annoyed you, I'm sorry. I just want you to look good.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Vacation: the rendezvous and Yorktown

When we told our pastor that we were going to colonial Williamsburg for vacation, she said that we ought to look up her niece, a student at William & Mary, who could babysit Lydia. We all thought that was a swell idea. The day before we left, the pastor dropped off care packages for both her niece and for us; ours, at least, had homemade cookies.

But while we were en route, the niece e-mailed that she could NOT babysit after all because of mucho school work, but that she had recruited a friend who could. I could not access that message, though, and when we got to my in-laws' timeshare in Williamsburg, called the niece who gave us the news. Well, after figuring out how. I brought my cell phone, but failed to bring the charger, left at work, so it was dead. The timeshare only allowed calls to the local (757) area code, and the niece had a cell phone from her home in Illinois. I didn't have a calling card. Ultimately, I had to make a credit card call; that'll be expensive, I'm sure.

We planned a rendezvous at the W&M campus; after all, we still had a package to deliver, AND we wanted Lydia top meet the niece's friend. And so we set out, meeting at an old statue at the corner of the campus, having a lovely time, with Carol talking to the niece, and me conversing with the potential babysitter until it started to rain, and we retreated to their dorms and our car, respectively.

Somewhere along the way, we discovered that Busch Gardens Europe was closed except on the weekends. Actually, that's not technically true. It WAS open for a week of school vacation. But that week off did not correspond to Carol's week off.

So Monday, we went to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center. This should be THE first place to go if you want to go to the historic sites, for it offers free buses to the "Historic Triangle" of Yorktown, Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg, as well as selling tickets to a variety of events. Apparently, this has been tremendously upgraded in the past five years, perhaps tied to the Jamestown quadricentennial last year.

There are two different Yorktown sites; the Yorktown Victory Center and the Yorktown Battlefield. Pretty much much randomly, we opted for the former, in part because there was a package deal for that and one of the Jamestown sites.

Always the great fear in these things is boring the four-year old, and there were enough "museumy" things that that might occur. However, there was an African board game we came across, involving the moving of stones, and while I really didn't understand the rules, we had a good enough time.

Then we came to the re-enactors who were "fighting" the British. We also got a demonstration of what gunpower sounded like. One of the actors came over to me, noted Lydia's good view of things on my shoulders, but suggested that the startle capacity of the firing cannon suggested that Lydia have both feet on the ground. He was most pleasant about it, and probably correct.

We ate lunch out front, and Lydia seemed to enjoy playing on the placards that were in a circle in the front representing the 13 colonies, with Virginia conveniently planted in the middle.

We came to this outdoor stretch, which Lydia kept busy by picking dandelions while we read the placards about the colonists' growing dissatisfaction with the British crown. Poll the Americans in 1750, and it was likely that they were perfectly content to be British subjects. But over the next quarter century, with taxation without representation, the colonists got royally annoyed.

Then we walked into this building. Somehow, in white lettering against the dark carpet on the floor, one could read: "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth..." - just that part of the Declaration of Independence. Lydia thought the visual effect was rather neat, as did we all; Carol and I found it quite powerful. We started reflecting on the fact that allegiance to the status quo wasn't what was considered patriotic, but quite the opposite. And I wondered how we got to the state of passivity many Americans are in now regarding the state of the Union. I'm still pondering this even as I write this.

Then we came to a few characters of the Revolution who "spoke" when the spotlight was on them. Two were black men, fighting on each side of the war, but for the same reason: personal freedom. The Tory ended up in Canada after the war, while the man fighting on the side of the colonists remained a slave in a "free" America.

After that, we took the bus back to the Visitor Center, then walked around colonial Williamsburg before going back to the timeshare.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Your Score: the Prankster

Your humor style: CLEAN COMPLEX LIGHT

Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not pretentious, but you're not into what some would call 'low humor' either. You'll laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor because it's smart without being mean-spirited.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher
The 3-Variable Funny Test!
Request that Albany-area folks check this post.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Carry On, Wayward Son

One of our former library interns, Ben, is leaving town. He's moving to Wichita, Kansas to take a job. Albany is a tough market for a new librarian because there's a library school here, and moving away is often the best option. The folks in Wichita had called and I gave a positive reference for him.

He had asked his friends whether he should stay or should he go. I advocated for his departure, not because I was getting rid of him - as he [kiddingly?] suggested, but because his life was simple enough (no house, no spouse, etc.) that leaving was easier than it might be later in life.

Last night, he had a BBQ/auction. Well, not everything was auctioned, only "the most prized and valuable items" were auctioned. Other items were sold in a more traditional manner -- "priced and sold to the fist taker". I think he meant "first", for there wasn't anything worth fighting over.

He is a lapsed blogger who may get back to it after he gets settled in his new job.

Ben leaves for Wichita tomorrow. Good luck.
The Marvin Gaye segment of American Masters premieres on PBS, starting May 7; check your local listing. Also being shown this week, the American Masters piece on Aretha Franklin.
Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.


Saturday, May 03, 2008


This is what I'd like to know. The caveat first: I may do all, or some or none of the great suggestions you proffer.

1)What features have I had in this blog that you want me to continue or get back to doing, and what should I drop?

2) What would you suggest I do that would generate more traffic and, more importantly for me, more comments?

Any other bloggy-type comments would be appropriate here as well. You want me to link to your blog, e.g.?

Expect that I will have a post next week where I talk about changes that I want to make, as well as how I might integrate some of yours.
I do so love the new feature in Blogger. I will use it a LOT.

"Scheduled post now live for everyone. If you set a post’s date into the future, Blogger will wait to publish until that time comes.

"Have you ever wanted to announce something on a certain date but knew you wouldn’t be at a computer to make a post? Or you wanted to keep posting regularly but knew you’d be on vacation for a few weeks?"

Happens all the time.

"Scheduled post publishing is here to help you out."

"Scheduling a post is easy to do: on the post editor page, click the 'Post Options' toggle to show the 'Post date and time' fields. Then, type a post date and time that’s in the future. When you click the 'Publish' button, your post will become 'scheduled.' When the date and time of the post arrive, it will be automatically published to your blog.

"'Scheduled' posts appear in your Edit Posts list alongside your drafts and published posts. To un-schedule a post, simply save it as a draft any time before it gets published."

This way, I don't have to impose on someone to post for me. The thing makes a lot of sense.

"One quick note: If you want to give a post a date in the future but have it appear on your blog now, you’ll need to add in an extra step. First, publish your post with the current date and time. This will make it appear on your blog. Then, edit the post to change the date into the future and publish it again.

"We don’t re-schedule posts that are already published, so the post will stay on your blog but sort to the very top. The same is true of future dated posts you’ve already made, so there’s no need to worry about your existing posts disappearing, or having your blog assaulted by unplanned entries in, say, 2027."


Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Ramblin'

Finishing year number three at that. If you were to tell me I'd be blogging for nearly 1100 straight days 1200 days ago, I'd say you were nuts. Well, the joke's on me. Maybe I'm nuts. So be it.
I blogged 32 times in May, June, August, September, and December 2007, 31 times in July and November of 2007, plus each of the first three months of 2008, a whopping 34 times in October 2007, and a mere 30 times in April 2008. That would be 380 posts in 366 days. And this doesn't count the posts I've made elsewhere.

Over the last 12 months - heck, ever - the best single day I had, in terms of people coming to the blog was May 18, with 477 visitors. It was fueled on the piece I had posted the day before, about counterfeit Cerebus #1, which ADD and subsequently other members of the comic book press picked up.

Likewise, it fueled the highest month I ever had.

The second best single day was 366 hits for a January interview with someone named Fred Hembeck, aided undoubtedly by a mention from Greg Burgas; it was among the first interviews of Fred to see the light of day, which helped. The worst day in the past year was a day in July, probably a Sunday, when I had 76 visitors.

I check my Technorati score periodically. It's been as low as 22 and as high as 44; last I checked, it was 36.

When I Google Roger Green, my blog is generally in the Top 3 hits, along with Roger Green + Associates, Roger S. Green of Duluth, GA, and/or the former assemblyman Roger L. Green. The Denver ambient jazz musician's on the rise, but the feng shui guy has been sinking. One of the Google oddities is that both my blog and one particular post has been near the top. For a while it was Chronicles of the Fantastic Four Chronicles, featuring Jack Kirby and John Byrne. More recently, it's been the little piece I did about the death of Steve Gerber, which made me mildly uncomfortable, for some reason.

I want to thank those folks who've come by. More on all of this in the days ahead.