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Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Things I Love

May I just write music, movies and massages and leave it at that? Probably not. From Jaquandor. Again. In no particular order. Took longer to compile than 100 things that bug me. What does THAT say about me?

1. Government and association websites/databases with a lot of good, free stuff.

2. Blogging. It practically saved my life, created connections I would not have otherwise; among others, it's how I reestablished with Fred and Deborah.

3. Cranberry juice. Often mixed with orange juice, sometimes with a splash of ginger ale.

4. A good massage.

5. Albany will probably withstand the forces of global warming better than most places.

6. Oatmeal raisin cookies.

7. Cinnamon raisin bagels.

8. Music in harmony - it could be Bach or the Beach Boys. I love it. I know unison singing has its place, but it's not my favorite.

9. British invasion music and its American counterpoint.

10. The blues and folk and rockabilly that led to the 1960s music explosion.

11. Pizza. Good pizza, not the stuff at the work cafeteria.

12. The answering machine. Yes, I screen my calls. Got a problem with that? Now, the phone number will appear on my TV screen for me to (usually) ignore.

13. The DVR. We still have in the queue Raisin in the Sun from February, ice skating from April and Thursday night comedies from May. Back in the VCR days, we'd have to keep track of what tape to watch or tape with. I'm also pleased with the limitations of the DVR, about 50 hours, which forces one to watch or delete, thus limiting the amount of TV we can watch. We see very little in real time.

14. The Billboard books Top Pop singles and Top Pop Albums.

15. The World Almanac, which I've been reading since I was 9 or 10.

16. Woody Allen movies of the 1970s and 1980s.

17. Candlelight. The power has gone out in my neighborhood two or three times a year.

18. Hess trucks for Christmas.

19. Oatmeal.

20. Gud grammer.

21. Cats. Used to own them; maybe, someday, I will again.

22. Reading the funnies in the paper, especially Pearls Before Swine.

23. Playing racquetball.

24. Watching baseball, especially at the stadium; maybe I'll see the Cubs in September.

25. Watching football on TV from November on.

26. Pie. Apple or blueberry or peach, slightly warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

27. Builders who seem to have meshed form AND function into design in "green" ways that are accessible to all.

28. Joni Mitchell. Some other singer-songwriters too, but I've seen Joni twice, so we have a track record.

29. Cottage cheese. Goes with everything - fruit, eggs, cold chicken, apple sauce.

30. Maps. My grandfather used to give me his National Geographic maps. I've long been fascinated with how the US and the world changed geopolitically over time.

31. White wine, served with a slight chill. The red stuff gives me wicked headaches.

32. Walking on the beach as the waves roll in. My favorite time was in Galveston about a decade ago.

33. Intentionally getting "lost", just walking somewhere with no particular goal.

34. Newspapers. I like to read, and they're useful for drawing on, etc.

35. The late 1970s music movement: Police, Talking Heads and the like.

36. Giving massages.

37. JEOPARDY! daily calendars.

38. From JAQ: "Older women with long hair. Too often, when women head into whatever it is we consider 'elder years' these days – for purposes of this post, to pick an arbitrary figure, over fifty – women tend to cut their hair short or make liberal use of curlers or something like that. There's always something striking, though, about an older woman with a full head of long, silver hair. Or red. Or blonde."

39. "Picking songs and pieces of music for mix CDs. I like to think I'm pretty good at this." I get rather invested in it.

40. Doing square root by hand. Because I can.

41. License plate math. Thinking of a license plate as an equation and solving for an unknown factor. (Has many rules, listed in the 8th paragraph here.)

42. Rack of Lamb with Mint Jelly.

43. Cheerios and spoon-sized Shredded Wheat, together.

44. Spinach lasagna.

45. Ice cream.

46. JEOPARDY! But Alex HAS to stop mentioning Ken Jennings every time someone wins more than three games.

47. Hell. The book series by Matt Groening that predates the Simpsons. Especially Love Is Hell.

48. Librarians are wonderful people.

49. Neil Young, just because.

50. Green. Green means go, in the money, environmentally friendly. Green's the color of spring.

Brian Ibbott of Coverville re: someone's controversial opinion: "When you stir the pot, do you prefer a wooden or slotted spoon?"
51. Excellent short-lived TV series, such as My So-Called Life and Once and Again. Maybe they would have eventually gone downhill, but we'll never know, will we?

52. Dictionaries, the less abridged, the better.

53. The Complete Directory to Prime Network and Cable TV Shows by Brooks and Marsh.

54. Hymnals. It's a great way of seeing the transition of the way religion is enacted. I have one nearly 150 years old, with just the words; it was ASSUMED you knew the music.

55. The Simpsons. One of those things I like that my wife does not

56. Romance language, especially French and Italian. I just like the way they sound.

57. Fireworks.

58. "Footbridges and boardwalks."

59. The color blue.

60. Real maple syrup. Probably won't be available in New York and Vermont in the next century.

61. "Sausages."

62. Bill Moyers' Journal. It speaks truth to power.

63. Rum. Don't drink NEARLY enough of it anymore.

64. My birthday, which I share with Jenna Fischer, Rachel Weisz, Luther Burbank and many other fine folks.

65. Taking a bath. I do it rarely enough that it's always special.

66. Jazz, of many kinds.

67. Automatic bill payments.

68. Song of Solomon. A horny little book of the Bible that's hardly ever in the lectionary.

69. The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling.

70. Montreal. I've been there twice and loved it.

71. Motown, especially 1963-1972.

72. The Dick van Dyke Show and everyone associated with it, from Carl Reiner to Earl Hagen.

73. "Popcorn. My favorite of all snacks! I tend to prefer it with butter...",

74. Slippers.

75. "Ms. Pac Man is still my favorite video game, however many years it's been since I first played it."

76. Sorry, the board game I most like to play with children.

77. SCRABBLE, which I used to play with my great aunt when I was eight.

78. The train, my favorite form of transportation.

79. "Shrimp."

80. The promise of the U.S. Constitution. That it sometimes falls short isn't its fault.

81. Many card games, including hearts, spades and pinochle.

82. Comic books. I don't read them much now, but especially that period from 1972-1992, I devoured 'em.

83. The bicycle. In spite of the accident.

84. Thunderstorms when I'm home.

85. Books about movies and the industry.

86. My rain stick. It relieves stress.

87. City buses. I love how the daughter has learned to hail them.

88. Good Italian restaurants.

89. Intelligent movie comedies such as Groundhog Day.

90. Non-chain movie theaters.

91. Headphones, so I can listen to music but you don't have to.

92. Dreamer politicians, such as Dennis Kucinich, who recently took action to have Bush and Cheney impeached. May history judge him more kindly.

93. Sunrise.

94. Sunset.

95. Learning new things almost every day on my job.

96. Optimists. Not sure I'm one, but they're good to have around.

97. Cynics. They have their place, too.

98. Friends I've met, and friends I know only know electronically.

99. Being the alpha male of my tiny tribe. Didn't like it initially, but now I've grown accustomed to it.

100. "You. You know who you are."

And there we have it: 100 things I love.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Roger Answers Your Question, Roger and Anthony

Roger from Albany wonders: So how are you feeling now after your accident?

The problem is that I'm healing, feeling better, so that inevitably I overdo. Friday, for instance, I was carrying a bag in my right arm that I guess was too heavy, for my left side, where I broke my rib four weeks ago tomorrow, ended up in pain not unlike what I experienced two weeks ago. Still, I am healing, and I actually lifted my left arm almost straight up. I can't run, but i can trot, which I couldn't do the week before . The only thing that gives me really tremendous pain is sneezing. (Yes, i do talk to myself; ask my wife.) Oh and the picture was stolen from ADD, but then again, he stole my whole post, just as he promised.

Anthony asks: If it is not too late, I would like to ask a question, of a mildly philosophical and yet somewhat personal nature.

What do you think is the most critical quality or characteristic for a politician (make that statesman) to have in order to effectively govern, and why do think this?

First off, you assume that someone CAN effectively govern. Let's posit that that is possible.

Second, you assume it's not too late. After listening to a half dozen podcasts by James Howard Kunstler (curse you, ADD), I wonder. (On he other hand, ADD did have his own quasi-theological treatise.

Third, let me touch on a trait that are NOT necessary: be the kind of person with whom I can have a beer. Besides the fact that I don't much like beer, I've thought it was a bizarre criterion for picking leaders.

I suppose the chief characteristic I'm looking for in a politician is integrity. I think that one can lead more effectively that way. And it's not just beyond reproach, like Caesar's wife. It's a value system that makes one feel that the politician/statesperson wasn't bending to which ever way the political winds are blowing. I'm not saying that John Kerry was doing that in 2004, but sometimes it FELT like that.

Of course, one has to have real Christian values, such as looking out for the greater good, rather than just for his or her cronies. One does not profess to be a Christian, or indeed, a member of any faith, to achieve this; conversely, public piety does not Christian values prove (see Bush, George W.)

I read about this town along the Mississippi River that was flooded in 1993. The town decided to move the entire town to higher ground. So while neighboring towns are inundated again in 2008, this small town is literally high and dry. That took leadership, and an integrity that this was taking place to help everyone.

When I was in college in New Paltz, NY in 1974, a Congressional seat opened up. The Republican incumbent, Howard Robison of Tioga County, decided not to run again in this massive district that ran through at least five counties and looked like a giant curved hot dog, running from Ithaca (Tompkins County) through my hometown of Binghamton (Broome County) all the way to Woodstock and New Paltz (Ulster County). Four Democrats and five Republicans vied for the seat.

I was a member of the New Paltz Democratic Club and we heard from three of the Dem candidates; the fourth the Town of Union (Broome County) supervisor Knopp (or something like that) didn't bother, because the core of the population base skewed east and we were on the western fringe. The three who came were a young lawyer from Binghamton, who at least one member ended up supporting; Bill Schecter (sp?) a Woodstock lawyer and perfectly acceptable choice; and Matt McHugh, the district attorney from Tompkins County. As the anti-establishment type that I was, I felt I would be least likely to support McHugh, whose job title epitomized "The Man". But I wish I could tell you now what quiet elegance the man had where he expressed his viewpoint and I realized that, despite my initial misgivings, it as clear to me that he was the best man for the job. He oozed character. Maybe three or four others (John Vett - who would later become mayor of New Paltz; Tom Nyquist - who would also eventually become mayor of New Paltz; Tom's wife Corinne) also supported McHugh; everyone else went to the local favorite, Schecter.

I never worked so hard on behalf of another person in my life until I cleaned out my mother's shed last fall. I went door to door carrying petitions and got at least 125 signatures. I attended a number of "meet the candidate" house events. One of Matt's great gifts was not only the ability to remember people's names, but specific details about them. "Hello, Mary, how's your husband Bob's lumbago?"

Matt even gave me a ride from New Paltz to Binghamton so I could visit friends, and on the two-and-a-half hour drive debated the issues of the day. I didn't agree with all of his positions. I specifically recall his position against abortion, based on his Roman Catholic upbringing which I didn't share, and yet we found ways to agree to disagree while embracing our common ground.

The results of the primary was that Matt McHugh won the primary. He lost the part of Ulster County in the district, but I was pleased to note that HE WON NEW PALTZ!

For the general election, one of my professors, Glenn McNitt, who had been backing Schecter, helped organize polling phone banks, and I made a lot of calls. McHugh would be running against Al Libous, the mayor of Binghamton, whose politics I HATED. Of course, McHugh won the general election and served until the end of 1992, when he declined to run for reelection.

He is currently on the board of the America Bar association Rule of Law Initiative.

Anthony, I know I've fallen far afield of your question. Anyway, I think people sense authentic or inauthentic. Well, some of the time.

Oh, and thanks for your defense of me by that "opiate of the masses" guy. Peculiar, the post itself was primarily a thanks to my church choir director, whose last service is today; I never expected that sort of response and feel rather ill-equipped to go one-on-one with that type.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

MOVIE REVIEWS: Defending Your Life, ID4, Andromeda Strain

Movies I've seen recently, two on DVD, one recorded on the DVR.

Defending Your Life (1991), lent to me by a co-worker, is an Albert Brooks movie, by which I mean he directs, writes, and stars in a film that's about what happens after one dies, a vaguely familiar version of one's earthly existence. But everyone gets to see the highlights and lowlights of their past and have to explain their actions. Brooks' character meets and falls for another of the recently deceased, played by Meryl Streep. It's a comedy, but it did not have many big laughs for me. Still, I liked it, as I found it quite thought-provoking.
There is a movie trailer included but DON'T watch it until after you see the film, as it essentially REVEALS THE ENDING.
Independence Day: One of my co-workers lent this to me on VHS. Another co-worker, seeing that I had the tape, brought me the DVD of the film. Apparently lots of people really liked this film, as it was a big hit in the summer of 1996.
I will say that in the July 2 segment, things got blowed up real good. But I never got all that invested in the characters - well, maybe Randy Quaid's drunken alleged former alien captive. I was watching the movie for a number of minutes when I had to look at the package; Will Smith IS in this, isn't he? Yup, billed first, no less.
All the electronic alien encounters was done better in Contact, the meeting of the First Lady with another character stretch credulity, and the President would have been tackled by the Secret Service before getting into the plane. I didn't hate it. More like indifference.

Whereas I hated, hated the A&E remake of The Andromeda Strain. I never saw the 1971 theatrical release. It featured Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order), Christa Miller (Drew Carey, Scrubs), Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), Ricky Schroeder (NYPD Blue, 24 - yes, he's back to his Silver Spoons name) and Viola Davis (L&O: SVU) as scientists that are trying to find the reason a town all but died, making all who initially didn't die suicidal or homicidal. TV Guide gave a "jeer" to Eric McCormack's (Will & Grace) wooden performance as a drug-adled reporter, and rightly so. The mutation of the strain seemed almost random. Still,, I watched the second half of this four-hour mess, hoping for the payoff. Instead, it just went stoopid, especially in the last hour. I'm loath to provide spoilers, but suffice to say that: the family drama involving one of the scientists went nowhere; one romantic liaison had no chemistry, while another was highly implausible; the fate of one scientist went totally unexplained, a rescue mission contradicted the movie's own internal logic; another rescue was utterly laughable; the death of one character was unexplained; and worse, the big reveal left me saying, WTF?! Awful, just awful. It's available on DVD, but I implore you: DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS. DO NOT WATCH THIS.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 70-61

70. The Love You Save - Jackson 5
It's true; I could sing every part of this song except Michael's, and often did sing along, especially Jermaine's part.
Feeling: Joyous.
(starts at 3:05, after some other J5 music)

69. The Supremes - Remove This Doubt.
Back in the bad old days of romance, there would be songs that I would play that reflected my state of mind. This was one. Great strings. Later covered by Elvis Costello.
Feeling: melancholy.

68. Levon-Elton John
I love it, pretty much for reasons noted here.
Feeling: What's it all about?

67. I Got a Line on You - Spirit
A song from college that I have on vinyl that someone put on a mixed CD for me this century. Loved the doubled guitar line.
Feeling; Joyous.

66. Summer Days - Bob Dylan
The live versions I found, and there are several, don't quite provide the same sensation as the studio recording..
Feeling: Like dancing.

A truncated album version.

65. Do What You Want to - Billy Preston.
I saw the late Billy Preston at a concert in college. The song starts slowly then speeds up considerably by the end. Great vocal and organ throughout. From the That’s The Way God Planned It album, produced by the late George Harrison.
Feeling: I will you love you anyway.

64. Spencer Davis Group - Keep on Running
This song lives on the bottom. When I used to ride my bike to work, I had this song in mind when taking an incline. Ah, when Steve Winwood was young.
Feeling: Energized.

63. A Hard Day's Night - the Beatles.
Love that first chord, the shared vocals, the guitar bridge. Indeed, I have a fondness for the two-minute jazz version on the HDN soundtrack.
Feeling: joyous.

62. Lucky Man-Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Last song on the first album. I used to do a credible simulation of the synth at the end.
Feeling: not so lucky.

61. Pete Townshend - Let My Love Open the Door
I've read that Pete said that this isn't a romantic love song, but a song of religious love. Whatever it is, I'm fond of the instrumentation in the beginning and the harmony vocals as much as anything. Also like the remix he did.
Feeling: loving.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Lydster, Part 51: Bigger

When we took Lydia to the doctor’s for her physical shortly after her fourth birthday, she weighed 42 pounds and was 44 inches tall. A couple of months later, when we took her to her allergist, she measured 49 pounds and 47 inches tall. The size 11 toddler shoes which had fit her for several months no longer came even close to getting on her feet. She’s wearing size 13s and is very close to size 1 for children. Inevitably, when I tell someone she’s just had her birthday recently, people say, "Oh, she must be 5, or is she 6?" And invariably, I have to correct them and tell them that she is merely 4. Even her daycare teachers who see her daily sometimes forget.

Meanwhile, she's seemed to have developed allergies to the spring grasses. One night, she was out while Carol (subbing for me) was mowing the lawn, and the next morning she broke into a coughing jag, worrisome because she ended up crying while walking in an unfocused manner. I scooped her up with my right arm - which still hurt but less than doing it on the other side - Carol got her some water, and she seemed OK.

In fact, it was her follow-up trip to the allergist when she gave us more trouble than she has in years. Usually, we have to wake her at 6:30, but that morning, she woke up at 5:30. I'm convinced that the worry awakened her. She was demanding and whiny almost constantly, uncharacteristically. I went downstairs to put the upstairs garbage in with the kitchen trash when I saw an invasion of black ants there, maybe 50 or more. Oddly, I called to Lydia, because she seemed fairly obsessed with few ants we had seen previously. I took out the garbage bag only to find more in the can, which didn't drown easily. Lydia pointed out every escaping insect. (Subsequently, we got traps, which are working.) After this excitement, Lydia was back to her cheerful and cooperative self.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering Raoul Vezina

As I've mentioned here before, maybe once or twice, I used to work at a comic book store/publisher called FantaCo Enterprises in Albany, NY from 1980 to 1988.
Raoul Vezina was an artist who worked for and was published by FantaCo, in the latter case, particularly in a series called Smilin' Ed.
Raoul died 25 years ago in November, and I am looking for all things Vezina so I can write about him: primarily recollections, but also samples of his artwork.

Thank you.


Roger Answers Your Questions, Gay Prof and Scott

Gay Prof offers:
My question: Do you have any theories about the best way to keep John McCain out of the White House?

I do, but unfortunately it's illegal and probably immoral. Wait, there's probably some ageist crack I could make, but I won't.
Look, I don't know why people vote against their own interests, except that they naively by into a bill of goods. The economic boom that we used to be in was helping the John McCains of the country a lot more than you and me. Literally, the rich get richer, with golden parachutes for CEOs of failing companies. I thought Charlie Gibson on ABC News asked George Stephanopoulos an odd question last week: with Barack backing out of public financing, was it "fair" for Barack to have so much more money vs. McCain. I laughed so hard I almost hurt myself again. The GOP has had a lot more $$ at its disposal for decades, and Obama's money is coming mostly from the common people. Is it fair that the government tut-tut homeowners for getting into financial situations that government policies encouraged? I know this doesn't answer the question, but I'm stumped to find out how is John McCain the ANSWER to any of our current woes.

Generous Scott adds: I don't care if you don't answer any of mine, but I certainly hope you can answer Gayprof's and it be something that we can truly do to make it happen.
Well, I did answer GP's, FWIW. And now I'll answer yours:

1. Who do you think will play in the World Series this year, and who will win it?

One team will be a new team, i.e., one we haven't seen much of before. I think before the season I picked the Cubs, so I'll stick with them. Not so incidentally, I'm hoping to see them play in Wrigley for the very first time in September. I thought that Cleveland and Detroit would do better, but alas. So, I'm going with Tampa; it'll probably be Boston, but I've bored with Boston sports teams (except the Celtics, who I picked to win in seven.) It's been 100 years. don't the Cubs get to win every CENTURY?

2. What do you think has been the best (so far) movie adaptation based on a comic book?

Superman. No, Spider-Man. Wait, I liked Spider-Man 2 more than the first one. I didn't see the last Batman or the upcoming one, but saw several others - not those. I did like Iron Man, but not the first Fantastic Four.

3. What are you top five movies?

Always impossible. Annie Hall's on there, and probably Groundhog Day. The others are so fluid, like my favorite songs list or even favorite album. It might include Casablanca, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Field of Dreams, The Iron Giant, Rear Window, the original Star Wars ("episode 4" - feh), Toy Story 2, West Side Story (which isn't a great movie, but the music and choreography hold), The Wizard of Oz, Young Frankenstein, and about a dozen movies I've either forgotten or are of the genres named (Empire Strikes Back, Toy Story); it could be any of the Pixar films I've seen, e.g.

4. If Obama loses the Presidential election, do you think it will hurt race relations and the fight against racism, or do you think that his nomination was already a move in the right direction and that a loss won't set it back?


Oh, you want more.

One of those ongoing myths was that Barack Obama was embraced nationally by black folks out of the shoot. Look at any poll that came out in December 2007, and Obama's losing big time to Hillary Clinton with black voters. Part of it, ironically was that he wasn't considered black enough. (And Hillary Clinton was?) But when he won Iowa, black voters gave him another look, and he's been winning the black vote handily ever since, starting in South Carolina. (Which is why Bill Clinton's correct observation that Jesse Jackson won South Carolina irritated so many people; it wasn't just that he was black, it was that he was a black that, since the white folks in Iowa liked him, actually had a chance to win.) All the things he's endured since from what I think is a media obsession with Rev. Wright to the sniping at Michelle Obama to the Muslim thing - regularly, at least 7% of the electorate believes that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is Muslim (not that should matter if he were) has made him more attractive to many blacks, and probably to white liberals as well. Here's what often happens in with black folks when one of their own is put upon; they become more loyal, recognizing the institutional racism involved.

So, if he loses, most older blacks will see it as the same-o same-o. I'm not sure the paradigm holds for younger blacks, especially those who identify as biracial. It's not that they don't see racism, it's that they may see Barack's nomination, to use a football metaphor, as field position. Maybe Barack doesn't score the touchdown this time, but it makes someone else's chances better the next time. Maybe.

5. What album in your collection would probably most surprise your friends?

That would almost certainly be my one Toby Keith album. Not crazy about his politics, but I got it it for free at a convention in Nashville, and I rather liked a couple songs, especially "Let's Talk About Me."
Someone, I wish I could remember who, said about Robert Mugabe: If Zimbabwe had oil, we would have invaded by now.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Roger Answers Your Questions, ADD

The inimitable Alan David Doane, with whom I spent much of last Saturday afternoon, along with John Hebert, Rocco Nigro and Fred Hembeck wrote: I have five questions, which if you answer them all, I will steal your responses and put on my blog, because that's just the kind of guy I am. And he is. He really is. He's also a guy who hates his cell phone but keeps it charged, whereas I often don't know where the phone and/or the charger are.

What is your favourite comic book story?

Yeesh. I must admit a fondness for the Defenders when Gerber was writing it, and I love a good origin story (Spider-Man, Hulk), but ultimately, I end up with Giant-Size Man Thing #1.

When reading comics, do you focus on the writing over the art, the art over the writing, or both about equally?

Serviceable art will allow me to read a well-told story. The most beautiful art will not save a terrible story line. One of the comic books I hate the most has to be Spider-Man #1. The McFarlane art was tolerable at best, but the story was so gawd awful, I stopped buying the title after 3 or 4 issues. Given the fact that I LOVED-LOVED-LOVED Peter Parker/Spider-Man, it was painful, but necessary. This was NOT the Peter I knew. The Spider-Man was more like Spawn. Loathsome.
When the Pinis used to come to FantaCo to do Elfquest signings, Richard used to rail against the comic fanboys who cared about art to the exclusion of story, and I thought he was absolutely right.
That said, sometimes the art DOES move me. I was buying Sub-Mariner during Bill Everett's second run, and I loved the look.

Who do you think is the greatest comic book artist still alive today and why?

Well, besides Fred G. Hembeck, who should be considered just based on the sheer number of characters he's drawn? I'll cop out and say Art Spiegelman because he helped bring the comic form out of the comic book ghetto.

What's your happiest memory of working at FantaCo?

I almost always loved when our publications came in, but I'm going to pick something rather arcane.
There was a graphic novelization of the Stephen King's Creepshow drawn by Berni Wrightson in the mid-1980s. Having connections in both the comic and horror markets we knew, both instinctively and from comic and horror film stores we dealt with that there was still a demand for this title. The publisher, we ascertained, still had many copies of the book. I wrote to the publisher- nothing. I called the publisher - I was told the book was no longer available, which I knew to be untrue. Finally, I reached someone who acknowledged that they had copies but that it was not worth it for them to send it out only to deal with a huge percentage of returns.
So I said, "What if we bought them non-returnable?" I thought the guy's teeth were going to fall out. "Non-returnable?" So, we took 100 copies of it at 70% off the $6.95 cover price, put them in the store and listed them in a Fangoria ad, and blew through them. So I called again and said, can we have another 100?" By this point other stores were clamoring for this book, so we ordered an additional 500, and sold it to these horror book stores, and a few comic book stores, at 40% non-returnable. The stores got to sell a book they could otherwise not get, we made a decent profit even wholesaling someone else's book, and we kept the Wrightson book from just being remaindered. My persistence in dealing with this publisher was, strangely, my favorite FantaCo moment.

Here's another: I just came across in the past week a letter that one of FantaCo's mail order customers sent to me. Why it should resurface now, I have no idea, since we've only been in the house since 2000. (A 1989 article about the comic book Shriek was also in the pile.) This guy worked for Ryko, and he would send me, his mail order purveyor, free music.
Good to speak to you on the phone today (1-26-88)...I'm finding Ryko fans in the strangest places.
Hope you enjoy these guys - I chucked in a couple 3", too. The one with no writing is "They Might Be Giants", a couple of guys from Hoboken, NJ.
I like this not for the swag, but because apparently I was giving him service worthy of him sending me free stuff. Still have that unlabeled TMBG disc.

What do you think is the single best publication FantaCo released in its history?

While I have a strong affection for the Spider-Man Chronicles, which I edited, I'm going to say Gates of Eden, which Mitch Cohn edited. No, I'm NOT going to pick the Amazing Herschell Gordon Lewis and his World of Exploitation Films, no matter how much you beg, Alan.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Carlin and other family-friendly topics

So I wake up at four a.m. for the third time in the night, because I still can't find a comfortable sleeping position, probably because I didn't take my pain pills all day yesterday, because I didn't want to become habituated to them, so I get up and check Evanier, who notes George Carlin has died, and he writes: "Seven words come immediately to mind. All are appropriate for the occasion." And I check my blog and note that I'd only mentioned Carlin thrice, twice on baseball and football, and once on education, but I recall how I'd been watching Carlin for decades, from the "hippy, dippy weatherman I remember him doing on the "Ed Sullivan Show" to one of the sharpest minds of social commentary, and there's a pain in my heart AND my side. DAMN! (Not one of the seven words.)
Since one Kelly Brown specifically requested me to take this test, what could I do?


As a 1930s husband, I am

Take the test!

And speaking of family things, something I saw on the bus last week: Woman and daughter waiting for the bus, get on the bus. Woman sees child's father on the bus, apparently to the surprise of all concerned. She says to child, "Oh, your father's on the bus,' hands the child to the father, saying "YOU take her!!" then gets off the bus. Child cries for mommy a couple blocks, but is eventually soothed by daddy; Arthur would have been pleased.

At least that a better bus story than my wife experienced, which involved a three-year old running on the bus, failing, crying, and the mother screaming at the wailing child, "I told you not to run on the bus."
I was watching Bill Moyers again, and I must recommend it. It deals with race in America. One segment is about Slavery by Another Name, Douglas A. Blackmon's book about what the subtitle calls "the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II."
Under laws enacted specifically to intimidate blacks, tens of thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily arrested, hit with outrageous fines, and charged for the costs of their own arrests. With no means to pay these ostensible "debts," prisoners were sold as forced laborers to coal mines, lumber camps, brickyards, railroads, quarries and farm plantations. Thousands of other African Americans were simply seized by southern landowners and compelled into years of involuntary servitude.
Blackmon has a website addressing the issue.

Moyers also previewed the documentary which opens the 21st season of P.O.V. TRACES OF THE TRADE: A STORY OF THE DEEP NORTH, which tells the story journey of discovery into the history and consequences of slavery and which will air on my PBS station Tuesday night.
Someone tipped me about Twilight Zone radio plays produced in 2004 for CBS radio using Rod Serling's original scripts, with Stacey Keach narrating and hosting.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Wizard, A True Star

There have been so many incarnations of Todd Rundgren that I have a difficult time keeping track. Surely, Open My Eyes by Nazz was the first song I connected with.

I own both Nazz albums.

Then he bounced back and forth between being a solo artist and the leader of the group Utopia. From the former category, a painful ballad that asks a question - Can We Still Be Friends - and just from the music, you're pretty sure the answer is no.

Without looking, I'm not sure what I own, though the 1985 A Capella album is certainly among them.

From Utopia, I have Deface the Music (1980), a Beatles tribute/parody, Swing to the Right (1990), and likely other albums.

Utopia hit in 1977 with Love in Action in 1977; this is solo Todd performing in 1986.

Signature tune, first done with Nazz, but a 1972 solo hit, Hello, It's Me:

He has toured with Ringo's All Starrs and has recently performed as part of the New Cars.

Todd Harry Rundgren, born June 22, 1948, turns the big six-oh today.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Solstice Strikes Again: Ask Roger Anything

As I plan my next staycation, it's time for that game we call ASK ROGER ANYTHING, in which said Roger is COMPELLED to actually answer the question. There hasn't been a query yet I haven't answered in some form.

Here are some examples:
What was the #1 song on ...
- the day I were born?
- the day I graduated from high school?
- the day I were married?
- the day my child was born?
- the approximate date I was conceived?

"Till I Waltz Again with You" by Teresa Brewer
"Knock Three Times" by Dawn
"Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin
"Yeah!" by Usher featuring Ludacris & Lil Jon
"Blue Tango" by Leroy Anderson

Here's a peculiar thing: most people that I know who were born in 1966 or 1976 know the music of the year they were born far better than I know the music of 1953. Why IS that?

Don't know that one, but here's why I always vote Republican and oppose gay marriage. OK, that's not true.

"Hey, Roger, what are you doing today?"

Ask away.

And speaking of asking, I still have copies of this book on racism which I'm willing to send to you. Also, I have some mixed CDs I put together, some going back to before I blogged, mostly unlabeled, that I'd send to anyone who wants; can't guarantee the quality, but as Elwood Blues once said, "What do you want for nothin'? R-r-r-rubber bis-CUITS?"


Friday, June 20, 2008

Brian Wilson's Route 66

Brian Wilson is 66 today.

Here's a link to the Coverville tribute to Pet Sounds.

A link to a guy who has put a bunch of a cappella takes of the Beach Boys' versions of the songs from Pet Sounds on YouTube.

My second favorite song from Pet Sounds:

Brian from SMiLE:

Brian from a 1967 performance of a song from what would have been SMiLE:

A Neil Young song that namechecks the Beach Boys and a song from Pet Sounds. The studio version (which I can't find) is even more evocative.

A John Hiatt song which has what I think are lovely harmonies - inspired by the Beach Boys?

And on another matter, the New York Daily News cover from Wednesday, June 18:


Thursday, June 19, 2008


I went to see Iron Man at the Madison Theater in Albany. There were 4 people in the theater - four - on a Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend. This breaks the previous record for second smallest audience I’ve been in for a film. Worse than the six people with whom I saw both "Raising Arizona" and "Requiem for a Dream." The only movie I ever attended with the worst audience numerically was when I sat alone for a matinee showing of "Spy Kids."

Just before I saw the movie, I was playing an album by Pete Townsend called "Iron Man", which was the basis for the animated film "The Iron Giant", which I love. There’s a character in the "Iron Man" movie that looks not unlike a malevolent "Iron Giant." But you’ll have to see that for yourself.

This movie theater showed six previews. One was for the new Indy Jones movie, which had opened nationally, but not yet at that location; maybe I'll see it. The M. Night Shyamalan movie "The Happening"; the title reminds me of a dorky Supremes song that did better on the pop charts than it did the R&B charts; since I still have the Andromeda Strain to watch on the DVR, taped from A&E, I think I'll pass. I'm mortified to note that I laughed, just a little, at the preview for that Adam Sandler Zotan film. There was the Incredible Hulk; I never saw the Ang Lee version from five years back, but this looks interesting. There was The Dark Knight, which seemed to feature the Joker more than Bruce Wayne and Batman combined; I might catch it. The sixth movie I forget; Prine Caspian? The Stranger? I don't remember.

I should note that Iron Man was never my favorite Marvel character. I came to superhero comics in the early 1970s, but I went back to know well the origins of characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Hulk. Yet I wasn't that involved in Iron Man's, save for its Viet Nam roots. Actually, I've just reread it, and it's just not all that interesting. (What IS interesting is that it took Marvel to Volume 20 to put Shell-Head in a Marvel Masterworks, whereas characters such as Spidey and even the Silver Surfer had already warranted multiple volumes.) So, I always felt Iron Man was a minor player, even though he was an Avenger.

That said, all the reviews I’ve seen talk about how great Robert Downey, Jr. is as the snarky Tony Stark, and I have to agree. As a long-time comic book reader, I thought the character was dull, and boring, and a tad bit fascistic. So to see Tony Stark evolve in the movie was a gratifying, rewarding evolution. The change from Southeast Asia to Afghanistan was well-conceived. Jeff Bridges, Gwynneth Paltrow, and Terence Howard were all very strong in their roles. One movie reviewer has suggested that there was more sexual tension between Downey’s Stark character and Paltrow’s Pepper Potts than you might find in your recent lame movie romances such as "27 Dresses" or "Made of Honor." Not having seen either of those films, I can’t speak to the comparison, but there was definitely chemistry there.

Apparently my three compatriots in the theater hadn’t heard about the big reveal at the end of the movie credits, for a couple left as soon as the end credits began, while the other woman departed after the snazzy outro that utilized the music of Black Sabbath. If you somehow haven't seen the movie yet, just wait for it.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Macca's Route 66

I saw this PETA ad in some magazine recently.

Made me at least think about my carnivore ways.

I love this old piece on Paul McCartney and Jack Kirby.

Paul's still out there playing. Recently he did a benefit concert in Ukraine. One of the songs he sang in Ukraine, of course, was Back in the USSR. Here's an interesting cover:

One of my favorite Paul songs with his first group:

Paul turns 66 today. Happy birthday.

Willie Randolph was 86'd by the NY Mets. Yes, the team is better than the record, but I almost never favor in-season managerial replacements.
I was watching ABC News last night, and the segment they showed in observation of Cyd Charisse's passing happened to be this first piece I found on YouTube searching by her name, from about 50 seconds in, and running just over a minute. It also features some other dancer of note:

I remember seeing her well past her prime, probably on some awards program, and she STILL had great legs.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 80-71

80. The Ostrich - Steppenwolf.
I discussed this song here.
Feeling: ticked off.
It's HERE.

79. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone - Aretha Franklin.
One of the things I hated about AM radio when I was growing up is the fact that disc jockeys would talk over the instrumental opening. I swear that this intro was designed specifically to avoid that. Highlight musically is the sweet crescendo of the horns.
Feeling: joyful.

78. 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson.
An intriguing song. Starts of like a loud dirge, then breaks into an almost jazzy center. Quite odd.
Feeling: a little schizo.

77. Face the Face - Pete Townsend.
Those big drums almost always surprise me, not in this live version, but in the video below.
Feeling: like dancing.

Miami Vice!

76. I'm So Glad - Cream.
It has to be the live version from the Goodbye Cream album; no other version excites me like that one. It's the Jack Bruce vocals and especially the instrumental breaks.
Feeling: well, glad.

75. Fame - David Bowie.
Besides the hook, I most appreciate the descending line of the vocal near the end.
Feeling: like dancing.

74. King Harvest - The Band.
From "the brown album", the second album, it's the last song on the LP. It's the vocals and the lyrics: "My horse Jethro, well he went mad." A song of my high school days.
Feeling: like having a piece of grass between my teeth.

73. I'm Free - the Who.
The beginning of this song is out of sync with the rest. There's a drum fill before the first time you hear "And freedom tastes of reality." The live versions never compare to this because they're usually played correctly. I like the descending line vocal at the end and the instrumentation in the middle. BTW, I have no idea what this video is.
Feeling: Tension until it gets back on track musically.

72. Celtic Rock - Donovan.
The druids are coming. Last song, first side of the Open Road LP.
Feeling: spooky.

71. Twist and Shout - the Beatles

It's John shredding his voice and those ascending thirds.
Feeling: Joyous.


Monday, June 16, 2008

30 things to know or do by the time you’re 30

I'm 55, so "thirty things to know or do by the time you’re 30" intrigued me. Am I a victim of arrested development? Per the Times Union's Kristi Gustafson; some of these are damn familiar...

To take your hat off while eating.
Well, yeah. But, and this must go back to some archaic time, I thought the rules for men were different from the rules for women, though I never understood why.

To bring a hostess gift.
I never quite understood the point of this. Someone invites you to an event and I'm supposed to bring something? I mean, I have brought bottles of wine to a party, but i don't think this is what she's talking about. Now, my WIFE has had us bring hostess gifts. Does that count?

Have a valid passport.
Yes. Expires July 2011, just as I'm planning a trip to Canada. Really. And we're trying to suss out just what we need for the child.

How to make small talk.
I used to be REALLY good at it. The skill has dissipated.

Your credit score.
Yes, and it's not bad.

And your blood type.
Be positive.

How to do laundry.
I was single for a LONG time. Yes, I know how, and I still have romantic sentiments towards the laundromat, even though we have a washer and drier at home.

And scramble eggs.
Probably since I was eight.

Your parents’ birthdays.
September 26, November 17.

How to drive a stick shift.
Well, no. I got into a screaming fight - she was doing most of the screaming - the one time someone, in this case my girlfriend at the time, tried to teach me to drive a stick. "YOU'RE BURNING OUT MY CLUTCH!!!" Haven't even TRIED since.

And order a bottle of wine.
Beyond the red with meat, white with chicken, not so much.

How to set up, and check, bank and credit card balances online.
Could. Don't.

How to wrap a gift.
Depends on your standards. It's good enough for me.

Own a suitcase.
Two, actually, not including the ancient one.

Have a local florist, not 1-800 FLOWERS.

How to negotiate.
Hate negotiating.

And compromise.
Often compromise.

How to jump a car/change a tire.
Have done both so long ago that I doubt I could do it currently.

Have a retirement plan.
Yes, and it's taken a bath the last six months.

When to stop drinking.
Trial and error, but yes. Even know the date of my first hangover 6/9/76; went horseback riding that day.

How to file a complaint.
Have done so, with businesses and the state attorney general

How to make a bed - complete with hospital corners.
No. I once had this conversation with one of my sisters who made my bed, "Now doesnn't that feel better?" No, it doesn't; it makes me feel claustrophobic. I can kick out hospital corners in a half night of sleeping.

How to play a sport (excelling not required).
Racquetball, yes.

How much cologne is too much.
Don't wear, but I've smelled it when others have applied too much.

When you need a dinner reservation.
Yes> I was in Charlotte, NC and I had recommended making reservations on a Saturday night. The folks thought it was unnecessary; it was their town, so I yielded. We ended up bailing on choice #1 (90 minute wait), and finding choices 2-5 to be equally inaccessible. We ended up at Pizza Hut at 9:20 pm.

How to read the bus schedule.
I excel at reading the bus schedule.

To tip the maid in a hotel.

To make exceptions for children, and seniors.

How to apologize.
I really believe so. It does not include "if".

How to give a good hug.
Actually, I'm very good at this.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Father's Day

My maternal grandfather, Clarence Williams, played in the Negro Leagues in 1930s. I’ve never been able to track down any statistics or even exactly what team he played for, though my grandmother thought he played for some team called the Giants. There were several "Giants" teams in the day.

The person I knew as my paternal grandfather, McKinley Green, I’ve mentioned before in these pages. He was a janitor, auto racing connoisseur, and loved the horses. I’ve never found the person who was my real paternal grandfather. I’ve long had a very complicated relationship with my father, who died in 2000, and I'm still looking for information about him.

When I became a father in 2004, I had a great deal of optimism about the world. I still love being a father, but the world? I’m not so sure about it. I guess I wanted the world to be freer now than when she was conceived, and I'm not at all feeling that's the case. I want it to be safer, and given tornadoes in unusual places, more violent hurricanes and the like, not so certain about that one.

There are are some men who just always wanted to be a dad, but I wasn't one of them. I like being Lydia's dad - I LOVE being Lydia's dad - but we're getting a lot of those "Are you going to have another?" questions. That's nobody's business, of course, but I suspect if we were to have another child, he or she would be adopted. In fact, in the period we were "trying to get pregnant", we got a lot of literature on the topic. We're not actively pursuing the issue now, but if we do, you'll be the 100th to know.

I got a handmade card and a two peas in a pod thingy for Father's Day. I do enjoy this part.

I'm watching the Tonys tonight, my annual opportunity to say, "So THAT'S what (name of actor better known for TV or movies) has been doing lately. I thought maybe he was retired. Or dead." I expect this person will watch; since Whoopi Goldberg is hosting, I'd bet money that this guy won't be tuning in.
Evanier has on his page this Fiddler on the Roof/Avenue Q mashup. I LOVE Fiddler and plan to see Avenue Q this fall.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Russert, Sports, Obamas

Yeah, I know I've written a lot about dead people lately, but-
This one was only three years older than I, a political and news junkie from upstate New York, just like me. I RELATED to Tim Russert. He worked for politicians I had voted for, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo. He was a sports fan. I did not always agree with him. But more than most in his profession, I thought he tried hard to be fair. And he clearly enjoyed his work.

So, I get a terse New York Times message at 3:28 pm, "Tim Russert, the host of the NBC program 'Meet the Press,' has died of an apparent heart attack at age 58, his family confirmed." No story, just a sub-headline. No story on the NBC networks. But soon enough, I found it was all too true, as Tom Brokaw broke the news:

I did not know that he was on the board of the Baseball Hall of fame until I read about it yesterday.

This begs a different question for me. Why did I continue to listen to the news on MSNBC for another hour after his death was confirmed? Why did I watch the CBS Evening News, which Harry Smith was anchoring, but for which Katie Couric showed up to tearfully explain how Russert had hired her to be deputy Pentagon correspondent for NBC some years ago? I don't know. Sometimes, you keep watching to try to make sense of it all.
The good news is that In a blow to Bush, the Supreme Court restores habeas corpus re: Gitmo. the bad news? It was a 5-4 vote, and most of the five are considerably older than the four.
Apparently, the FOX News 'baby mama' comment towards Michelle Obama was, I've read. FOX trying to be cool by referencing the Tina Fey movie that came out a little while back.
The basketball officiating scandal had specifically targeted game 6 of a series between Sacramento and the LA Lakers. Apparently, there is a group called the League of Fans who had complained about this years ago. The founder of the League of Fans? Ralph Nader? The page looks as though it was all but defunct for about a year, except for a recent flurry of press releases. the group also has taken positions on steroids, public financing of stadiums and other topics. Interesting, albeit somewhat dated stuff.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Triskaidekaphobic? Not me.

No, I can have "bad luck" any time, usually brought on myself.

1. I went to the local comic book store on Free Comic Book Day last month and bought a book called Persepolis, actually The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which is about that Iranian girl talking about the period before and after the rise of the Ayatollah Khomenini. It was made into an Oscar-nominated film in the past year that I meant to see but didn't; it'll be out on DVD June 24. See, FCBD CAN generate sales.

Generally, I don’t bring books with me when I travel, but I was so intrigued about reading this particular book that I took it with me when I went to my work conference the day after FCBD. Naturally, I left it at the hotel. I realized this even before I got home and called the hotel to ask them if they could send it to me, and they replied quickly. What I didn’t know was that the charge for sending me the book would be $30 – at least $5 more than I paid for the book in the first place. The actual shipping cost was $10.40, but there was a COD charge. And it would have been $1.60 more if I had paid in cash, for then the post office would have had to pay to buy a money order to send to the hotel. Now I could have just blown it off, and bought a new copy of the book, but since I had initiated them sending it to me, I felt it was my error and that I should just eat the extra cost.

2. My friend Uthaclena came up to help me fix my computer. We went out and bought some wine after dinner and I put one of the bottles in the freezer. The next day I opened the freezer door to find that the cork had popped out of said bottle with slushy alcohol across the bottom of the freezer. Fortunately, it spilled only about 10% of the volume. I sat the wine on the counter and it reconstituted into the potable beverage. I suppose it could have been worse; the bottle could have exploded, with broken glass everywhere.

Oh, I must thank my friend Lori in Florida, who I knew from when we went to church together about a decade ago. Because of my injury, she was kind enough to let me dictate content to her over the phone, type it, then e-mail it to me. She did this for about seven posts, including today's, and I am most grateful.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Last Hall of Fame Game

You may have heard that the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, an exhibition contest between two major league teams, will be having its last outing this coming Monday. Some writers have suggested that it’s a "que sera sera" moment, that "all things must pass", that should end because it's not practical. I wonder if they’ve actually ever gone to this game.

Have they seen the parade?

Have they checked out the guy guy in the No. 7 Yankee car who looks a little like Mickey Mantle – and who, incidentally, is a bartender at a local resort?

Have they seen the kids who scurry for the candy being tossed from the cars, snacks that they can easily get cheaply at the local CVS? It reminds me of tourists grabbing for cheap beads they pass out during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

And then you get to see the players in the trolley cars, with you trying to suss out the ones you actually might recognize.

You get to the stadium and you have the home run hitting contest, where almost inevitably some player you’ve never heard of beats out the league home run champion from the previous season.

You take your score card and you dutifully mark down the names of the starting lineups, but it’s of no use, for they brought in all these extra players from AA, whose names aren't all on the rosters - check out all those uniforms with the numbers is the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s - and the managers put them in and out of the game like origami.

My father-in-law Richard and I have gone to this game for 8 of the last 9 years. The only season I missed was the year after the Red Sox first won the World Series this decade, and he was able to secure tickets for that game the day of. Not so incidentally, he took all of these pictures.

Last year when I went to the game between Toronto and Baltimore with my father-in-law, there were five home runs hit just in our outfield section. One landed to my right and then careened to my left in front of my face. Another was just beyond our reach.

But my favorite part of the Hall of Fame Game involved begging the center fielder to throw the ball to your outfield section after his warm-ups with the left fielder. In fact, last year’s center fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, Vernon Wells, was a master, systematically taunted each section with the ball, throwing it to one area only to reveal a secret second ball in his pocket, which he then tossed to the other section. It was marvelous theater, and great fun.

I understand the logistical difficulties of Major League teams showing up in this tiny Otsego County burgh, but I don’t think the solution to this game/issue is to put an International League game there as some have suggested. There was an IL game played this year between Syracuse and Rochester, and the Syracuse team perhaps can continue to host the game, but it would be a weak substitute. Did you know the single A (short season) Oneonta Tigers already plays a game on Doubleday Field annually and before them, the Oneonta Yankees? It's hardly comparable.

What would be more interesting would be to have an old-timers' game played at the Field. In fact, this suggestion was floated about by the long-time fans of the game when they were standing in line waiting for tickets on a cold winter afternoon. There are already many baseball veterans who line the streets on the two Hall of Fame parade weekends selling autographs, so it is a natural extension of what’s been going on already in the town.

A more radical idea is to have a game between a couple teams there count in the standings. I'm not suggesting it - yet - but the notion intrigues.

In some form, Doubleday Field deserves Major League baseball.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Songs That Move Me, 90-81

90. Wah Wah - George Harrison.
On an album, All This Must Pass, of mostly lovely little tunes, this really rocks. I love the harmonies. And is that a race car engine revving at the end?
Feeling: like playing air guitar.

89. Police on My Back - the Clash.
Just for that guitar line that sounds like a UK siren. The harmonies aren’t as apparent in this version, but the frentic energy certainly is.
Feeling: slightly paranoid.

88. Cancer - Joe Jackson.
The juxtaposition of the topic "there's no cure, there's no answer" with the jaunty, piano-driven tune fascinated me. From side 2 of the LP Night and Day. This is a live version, which I ALSO own.
Feeling: conflicted.

87. Born To Run- Bruce Springsteen.
Anthemic, from the drum intro on.
Feeling: see title.

86. Rock Lobster - the B-52's.
The "hook" is in the very beginning. I especially like the Yokoesque segment.
Feeling: in the mood for seafood.

85. Kiko and the Lavender Moon - Los Lobos.
Based on Three Blind Mice, this is just a weird, weird song.
Feeling: if I HAD taken it, I'd be experiencing an acid flashback.

84. Winter Snow - Booker T. & The MG's
This is only 30 seconds of this, which does not give the full mood of the piece. From the Album Stax/Volt - The Complete Singles 1959-1968 - Volume 8.
Feeling: melancholy.

83. Sail On Sailor-the Beach Boys.
The first song on the Holland LP. This was released twice as a single, somebody believed so much in it, but it was never more than a moderate hit, which surprises me, because I just love it.
Feeling: nautical.

82. Maybe - Alison Krauss.
I wish I could explain musical things better, but in the chorus, but the way the chord resolves in the chorus always moved me. Bonus: Carol and I saw this tour in 2003.
Feeling: a bit melancholy.

81. Summer in the City - Lovin' Spoonful.
A song I could play on the piano, albeit poorly. The intro, and the instrumentation at the end makes it for me.
Feeling: dirty and gritty..

if this is gone:

So you want to write a fugue by Glenn Gould.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I received my copy of the Hembeck book - don't say "What Hembeck book? - THE Hembeck book! and devoured it in one sitting.
OK, I jest. In fact, the book comes with a warning NOT to try to read it all at once. Rather, I've been concentrating on reading the chapter intros, including the teaser by Fred's uncle, Stan Lee; I love how he calls Fred Hemby. THEN, I'll read the actual stories, probably skipping over the FantaCo stuff for now, but coming back to eventually, since I was all very fond of it. I'm named in the acknowledgments; thanks, effendi! there was one page I ran into, though, that filled me with horror - a picture of the X-Men! It was originally on a gold sheet - which I still have, BTW, that I had to pack with every single retail copy of Hembeck 1980, but it was wider than the book, Wotta pain.
Fred notes that the book has been reviewed favorably by Entertainment Weekly!
Lydia had reached her 30 minute max of videos last evening. I turned off the DVD, and the TV just happened to be on ESPN. Ken Griffey, Jr., on the first pitch I saw, became the sixth man in MLB history to hit 600 home runs. Congrats to him, and to Michael Strahan, the NY/NJ Giants' defensive end who announced his retirement yesterday. Each will be in their respective Halls of Fame eventually.
Skills: I got 'em? From Jaquandor, again, who writes:
"Bill Altreuter points to this list of 75 things every man should be able to do, I guess, in order to be able to really lay claim to true manliness or something. Surprisingly, Bill doesn't do what bloggers are supposed to do in such cases: reproduce the list, with specific comment on his ability, or lack thereof, to do the things on the list. Well, unto the breach I go!"

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence. Sure, sometimes with one word: "listen."

2. Tell if someone is lying. Most people think they can tell a liar all of the time, and that's simply not true for most of us.

3. Take a photo. Well, not a fancy one.

4. Score a baseball game. Actually, yes. Something I do with my father-in-law at least a couple times a year,

5. Name a book that matters. Feh. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. But I don't much like the question.

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible. Probably do with the Beatles. Also, Paul Simon, but he's not a group.

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Actually I cook meat anywhere EXCEPT on a grill. I don't own a grill.

8. Not monopolize the conversation. Quite conscious of this, especially with women; men are more prone to it, in my observation.

9. Write a letter. Used to do it all the time.

10. Buy a suit. I bought two last year. Hate it. Hate it.

11. Swim three different strokes. I only have one, and I don't know what it is.

12. Show respect without being a suck-up. I believe so.

13. Throw a punch. Well, no.

14. Chop down a tree. I've cut a Christmas tree. But I'm reminded of a next door neighbor when I was growing up, who was cutting down a big tree in their yard. My father told them they would hit their house. They told him to shut up and mind his own business. The tree crashed into the roof of their house.

15. Calculate square footage. Sure.

16. Tie a bow tie. No. For the half dozen times I have worn one, learning how to do it was not worth it. That's why God created clip-ons.

17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well. Never had need.

18. Speak a foreign language. Everybody should be able to do this. I can't, except for an extremely basic comprehension of French left over from my high school days.

19. Approach a woman out of his league. This "league" thing; eh.

20. Sew a button. I've done it. It takes me forever, and I do it badly.

21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer. OK.

22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn't have to ask after it. OK, but oy. Among other things, it assumes heterosexuality.

23. Be loyal. Depends.

24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope. Sure.

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it. I can drive it, but I'm always thinking about it, or rather, my fingers.

26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat. I haven't fished since I was a child.

27. Play gin with an old guy. I used to play with my grandfather when I was in high school. The same guy who took me fishing.

28. Play go fish with a kid. I have.

29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped. 'Fraid not.

30. Feign interest. I used to be better at it.

31. Make a bed. I can do this. I never actually do this, but I can, which I guess is the important thing. Bed-making has never struck me as being a terribly useful or important thing.

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick. Sure - it's yummy.

33. Hit a jump shot in pool. I did it once; it was an accident.

34. Dress a wound. I've done it.

35. Jump-start a car (without any drama). Change a flat tire (safely). Change the oil (once). I've done them all successfully, but so long ago that I'm not sure I could replicate.

36. Make three different bets at a craps table. Never played.

37. Shuffle a deck of cards. Actually quite good at it.

38. Tell a joke. No, I suck at it. I can say funny things, but I can't even REMEMBER jokes.

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack. I'll just check here; even before looking at that, I knew you always split 8s, but I didn't know why.

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. I have.

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. I have.

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear. I have, but not very often.

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. Well, a light bulb.

44. Ask for help. Absolutely.

45. Break another man's grip on his wrist. Hasn't come up.

46. Tell a woman's dress size. If women's dress sizes were standardized, maybe this would be useful.

47. Recite one poem from memory. "There once was a girl from Cape Cod..."

48. Remove a stain. I have.

49. Say no. Sometimes, more now that before.

50. Fry an egg sunny-side up. Yes.

51. Build a campfire. Another skill everybody should have, probably.

52. Step into a job no one wants to do. Happens a lot.

53. Sometimes, kick some ass. Define.

54. Break up a fight. Have done this.

55. Point to the north at any time. Sometimes, not always.

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person. Have done.

57. Explain what a light-year is. I can do this.

58. Avoid boredom. I'm almost never bored, left to my own devices.

59. Write a thank-you note. I can, but don't do enough.

60. Be brand loyal to at least one product. There must be one; it's not coming to me.

61. Cook bacon. Yes.

62. Hold a baby. Yes, but not until Carol was pregnant.

63. Deliver a eulogy. Yes.

64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. Sure.

65-67. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap. Throw a football with a tight spiral. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably. I used to; I have by accident; I suck at basketball.

68. Find his way out of the woods if lost. Have done it.

69. Tie a knot. Have.

70. Shake hands. It IS skill. Yes.

71. Iron a shirt. Can. Don't like to.

72. Stock an emergency bag for the car. Yup.

73. Caress a woman's neck. Oh, yes. And speak the language of love! (Not French, either.)

74. Know some birds - But only ornithologically.

75. Negotiate a better price. I hate haggling. I've done it, but was more of "I just won't pay that much" and the dealer started the offering me a deal.