RM 4

Popeye, my first childhood hero, was more right than he knew: Spinach to power green computers, phones
***
There really is a Potted Meat Museum, apparently, as I read in Greg Haymes’ Times Union column. Sarge, this is VERY disturbing.
***
As a black church-going man, I was VERY fascinated with the Washington Post article How Today’s Church Is Failing Black Men, by John W. Fountain,
Journalism Professor and Former Post Reporter. If this article disappears, please let me know; I have the full-text in an e-mail sent to me.
***
Top 10 Driving Songs, from About.com: “Drivers who are singing along to favorite music are likely to concentrate more on their driving and are less likely to fall asleep.” So this will not only entertain you, it may save somebody’s life, maybe even your own.
***
Conversely, some of these folks, “winners” of the Darwin Awards lacked the capacity for self-preservation.
***
I know you I’m sure all you erudite computer maven types know this, but as librarian, I get queried on a wide range of things not as commonly known as you might think. I was asked recently if the fact that you type in the URL and nothing comes up means that the website is available. I said, no. Actually, I said, “NO!” I directed them to a couple websites such as Whois Source or InterNIC. I suggested they buzz around the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers website, for even more info.
***
Which American City Provides The Best Consumer Test Market? If your from these parts, you know, it’s Albany, NY. Or more specifically, “the Albany, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a consumer life stage profile that correlates almost perfectly with the consumer life stage profile of the whole U.S., with a correlation score of .90904 (A score of 1 would be a perfect correlation.)” Where does your MSA rate? Check here. Albany, New York: the epitome of America. This came out last year, but I had need to look it up this month, and pass it on to you lucky folks. (Also, I didn’t blog last year.)

JEOPARDY, Part 10

Continued from Saturday, July 23.

The third game for the week is the third show filmed that day. I’m sitting in the first row of the audience next to Julie, who will be on the next (Thursday) show. There are questions being asked (or more correctly, answers being given) and for quite a few, no one is getting. I remember whispering to Julie, “Be True to Your School” in response to a $500 question referencing the Beach Boys that nobody even rang in on. I had the distinct feeling that if I had gotten THAT set of boards against THOSE contestants, I would have won. Yelling out the answers in front of the TV has nothing on THAT feeling.

There was a technical glitch during this third show; the lights went out. They had stop, then restart, which involved the audience applauding as they were at the time of the incident.

After the show, I went downstairs, got my things, and headed for the front door to a more than a few “Good job!” comments. I ran into my friend Karen from NYC, then to Bianca de la Garza from Channel 10 in Albany, for whom I did a 10-second commercial. “This is Roger Green from Albany in front of the Wang Theater in Boston. Watch for me on JEOPARDY! on ABC-10!” This took longer (i.e., more takes)than I thought it would.

I had gotten a ride over to the Wang Theater in the morning, but I had to walk back to the hotel with friend Karen. There was a bunch of people beeping their horns. I thought they were just rude Boston drivers, but as it turned out, they were beeping and waving at ME! These folks had gone to the taping and were giving me kudos. It’d be a cliché to say that I felt like a rock star. It would be true, but a cliché.

Back at the hotel, Max was waiting, but his mother was retrieving the car. Judy and Max had gotten lost in Cambridge, abandoned the vehicle, took public transportation, and barely got to the show on time. Eventually, Karen, Max and Judy all left, and I lay on the bed happy/sad with the experience.

Later, Karen took me out to dinner, then to a club where we saw Pete Droge and his band. I’d met the group twice when they and Karen were in Albany, and they were among the first people who weren’t at the show to find out how much I’d won; Karen told them, I didn’t. I bought Pete’s then-new album at their gig.

The next morning, I was ravenous. While I couldn’t eat the previous morning, I practically couldn’t stop. Back in my room, I got a message on my phone from Karen: “You gotta see the Glo-o-o-obe!” She said the name of the Boston paper as though it had four syllables. After I pack up to leave, I pick up a paper, and on the first page of the Entertainment sections were two pictures of ME. Well, not just me. Both also pictured Amy Roeder, the “local angle” in the story; one also featured the former champion, Tom. Still, it was a real kick.

I took at train to Hyannis, south of Boston, to visit the brother of my then ex-girlfriend (and now wife) Carol, Mark, and his fiancée, Leanne. On the train, I swear there was a woman staring at me, and I reckon she was a reader of the Glo-o-o-obe . I had decided that I wasn’t going to give out the results to anyone. The contract I signed suggested that I couldn’t exploit the fact that I had won before it aired, and WTEN was under even stricter standards.

Now began seven weeks of “How many changes of clothes did you wear?” Or “How many days shall I set my VCR for?” Or other bald attempts to tell what I was not going to tell. Heck, now it was a matter of prinicple; I don’t WANT to reveal the information. Besides, I thought of it as a sporting event, where I wouldn’t want to know the score.

I took the bus home from Hyannis and went to work on Monday, where I was also subjected to another form of harassment. When Bianca de la Garza had interviewed me before the show, I noted that just passing the test didn’t guarantee being on the show. So here’s the Bianca voiceover: “He had to have something else.” Roger, talking: “It must be charisma, I don’t know.” (I laugh.)

Charisma. Apparently enough people saw this to make this the running joke in the office, not for a couple days, or a few months, but for four or five YEARS. Especially from Jinshui.

On October 6, a woman from Albany named Linda Zusman won $12,000 in her one-win appearance. I actually looked for her number to congratulate her (and tell her my news), but never reached her.

Also, in October, a woman who wrote for a quarterly publication for WTEN asked me the Final JEOPARDY! Answer, which seemed to be a reasonable request, except that I didn’t know, exactly. “Had something to do with Donkin or Tonquin. I know the response was ‘What is Hanoi?'” She got a little snippy: “Weren’t you THERE?” I didn’t say this to her, but the answer was yes and no. Physically, of course, but mentally, on some other planet.

I went for a walk to a local preserve called Five Rivers with Carol, and hinted that I had won a travel prize that she might go on with me, an obvious wooing move. But it also had the effect of her thinking that I HADN’T won any money.

Peter Iselin used to own the newsweekly Metroland, and was going to be on JEOPARDY! I called Metroland and asked them, “Do you want a story about that?” “Are you one of our regular contributors?” “No.” “Well, no thanks.” And that was that. I don’t know if it would have made any difference to tell them I had just been on the show, but I never got a chance to get that out.

There were two things I did just prior to the show’s airing that made my life a whole lot easier. I made a phone call to someone, and I paid a visit somewhere.

Concluded on Saturday, August 6.

3R?-3

Given the fact that this month is the 36th anniversary of the moonwalk, the United States is trying to get back in the space shuttle business, and Scotty from Star Trek died,

Please tell me:

1. What character from a television program or movie about space travel do you most identify, and why?

2. What thing in space travel fiction (book, movie, TV) is most likely to turn out to be true/possible in the future?

3. As commercial space flight becomes a reality, how much would you spend to go up in space? How long would you have to be up there to make it worth your while?

Cooperstown: 1 is good. 2 is better?

For many years in Cooperstown, there was a Hall of Fame weekend. It featured a parade, an exhibition game between two major league clubs, a regular season game between the Oneonta minor league team and an opponent, and of course, the induction ceremony, along with plenty of opportunities for the retired players to make a some money signing autographs on pictures, baseballs, bats, caps, any semi-flat surface.

Then a few years ago, someone had this bright idea: why doesn’t Cooperstown have TWO Hall of Fame weekends? One would be in late May or June, the other in the end of July or early August. The first event would feature the exhibition game. The second event would feature the minor league game. EACH event would feature a parade, and there would be TWO chances for the old-timers to make a few bucks. The merchants would be able to rake in some extra dough as well.

This year, the exhibition game was early, May 24, and one of the participants was the WORLD CHAMPION Boston Red Sox. My father-in-law, Richard, stood in line for 8 hours in February, but failed to get any tickets. So I didn’t go to the game for the first time in five years. He seemed destined to miss his first game in about fifteen.

On May 24, which was his birthday, Richard and his wife Joyce went to Cooperstown anyway; it’s only about 20 miles from Oneonta, where they live. He asked off-handedly whether there might be seats available, and there were! Some of the teams who had gotten an allotment of tickets had returned them. So that was a very nice birthday gift to him.

Richard has a book where he keeps a record of each game; he’s a season ticket holder of the Oneonta Tigers. For a regular season game, scorekeeping is not too hard, though we saw a 7-2-5-1 pickle earlier this year. (That means the left fielder threw home to the catcher who threw to third base who threw to the pitcher covering home and got the out.) But in the exhibition game, it’s almost impossible. For one thing, both teams bring up a bunch of minor league players, especially pitchers, just for the day. Also, the stars usually play only an inning or two. Also, one can leave the game, then come back in the game, which is not generally allowed in professional baseball.

This weeekend, Richard and I are going to the second 2005 Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown. Then we’ll walk through town picking out the old pros. “Hey, there’s Yogi.” “That’s Mudcat Grant.” “I think that’s Ferguson Jenkins.” Then we’ll see the Oneonta Tigers play the Tri-City Valley Cats (of Troy, NY, near Albany) in, as it’s always called, “historic Doubleday Field.” It’s a real thrill for the young players.

There is usually a Q & A with some of the inductees and/or other Hall of Famers. But this year, that’s been pushed back to Monday, featuring the new inductees, Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg.

Cooperstown is a pretty, idyllic place. But if you want to come just to to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, I MOST DEFINITELY recommend that you come some time other than the HoF weekends, some time when it isn’t a madhouse.

Blog Poem

This is an exercise stolen from Greg. The last one was a disaster, so I thought I’d try again.

Not only are these title lines from blogs, but they are from the MIXED Bag CD bloggers from what is currently on their pages. Only one is from mine. There are 11 titles that I put in the 10 lines.

Look for the ridiculous in everything, and you will find it.
SOULLESS RELIGIO-MANIACS
SPIN out of control
You People Are Weird Creeps
A bit more modern horror lamenting.
I have an Idea!
When I’m dictator …
Gonna Make You Behave…
Because I’m petty and can’t help myself
Kicking myself in the bootstraps

Blackout

Song playing in my head: Last Night, I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All. Actually, the last TWO nights.

Seems like only yesterday that I was in the dark in the sweltering heat without electricity. Wait, that WAS yesterday.

Let’s start with Monday night. It was warm and I had trouble sleeping. So I got up, posted my Tuesday blog, worked on a future piece, went downstairs to read or watch TV. I wondered what was the ugly thing Carol had attached to the curtain rod on the (partially glass) front door. Suddenly I realized it was a sleeping bat! Crap, I HATE bats. I paced around for about 10 minutes, then got a towel, grabbed the bat, opened the door and tossed bat (and towel) out the front door. I went upstairs and told Carol, and neither of us got any sleep the rest of the night.

Tuesday morning, the towel is still outside. Is the bat still in it? I put towel in a box. Carol took the box to a lab, where technician found no bat. In other words, I had put a towel in a box, and poked holes in it so it could breathe.

Tuesday noon, the Health Department didn’t believe we were exposed to rabies.

Tuesday night, Carol implemented some bat-proofing activities, which included putting down a towel (another towel, not the bat-towel) in the space under the door leading to the attic. This process also involved staring at the roofline at dusk to see if a bat might come in, so we could identify how the bat came in. This was a fruitless activity. We went to bed around 10:15 p.m.

At 10:30 p.m., the power went off, only for a few seconds, but long enough for the clocks to go to the flashing mode. Carol reset the clock, we went back to bed, and the power went out again, for 3 to 5 minutes. She reset the clocks AGAIN, and we returned to bed.

Daughter Lydia has a tendency to wake up during the night, but then she rolls over and goes back to sleep. But at 12:30 or so, she must have seen the netting Carol put over her crib as bat-proofing, and she started wailing uncontrollably. She stood up, which made her even more frantic. I went into her room and picked her up, expecting to rock her back to sleep in the guest room.

Then the power went off AGAIN. So I brought Lydia to our bed, because I figured it would be better to be on the prowl for bats together, and I got a flashlight. The power remained off. As the air outside became more still, the stickiness quotient increased. I looked for batteries for the portable radio to see if I could get some news. I found 4 new C batteries; unfortunately, the radio needed 6 D batteries.

I got dressed to go to the 24-hour grocery store a couple blocks away. While we had no power, the school across the street that’s being torn down must have a generator for their night work. A house a couple doors down must also have a backup system. The main street in the area, Madison Avenue, was fairly well lit. The library had an emergency light system, the police station, the TrustCo bank and the gas station (which was closed) all had some lights from generators.

Unfortunately, the Price Chopper on Madison was dark. Almost mockingly, the street east of Main Street, just a block away in that direction, was lit. As I peered south down West Lawrence, dark as far as I could see, I discovered a peculiar thing. Tree-lined streets are lovely in the day, and quaint at night with street lights. But these same trees block the limited illumination of a half moon already obscured by high clouds, making the trek down that street feel like a tunnel, with only a flashlight for guidance. It was strangely unsettling.

I went home, and the three of us slept, more off than on. (At 3 a.m., it was 79 degrees F, with a relative humidity of 66.9 at the Albany Airport, which is usually COOLER than it is in town – that reading meant hot and quite humid.) Finally, at 4:15 a.m. yesterday morning, power was finally restored.

The other tune running through my head is I’m So Tired.

Creative Commons

As a librarian, I tend to be cognizant of, and pulled by, two often conflicting values, the widespread distribution of information versus the desire to honor intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark, patent), the latter so the creators will be willing and able to “do it again.”

(Not that I always ABIDE by the latter, but I usually have a good excuse, or a very good rationalization.)

So, I was very interested in reading an article in the July/August 2005 Searcher, “The Magazine for Database Professionals”. The article, “Generosity and Copyright” by Laura Gordon-Murname, asked the question, “How can you help patrons identify public domain content…?”

The copyright law has become more skewed towards the copyright holder over time, especially since 1978, with longer periods and more lenient applications, so that the doodle on a napkin or a quick e-mail becomes copyrightable. According to Gordon-Murname, there are many critics who believe these changes fly in the face of the law as envisioned by Jefferson and his contemporaries. She quotes Larry Lessig, who says this “permission culture” has changed from “an opt-in system in which creators were required to register to an opt-out system.”

The Creative Commons Foundation was founded in 2001 to create “balance, compromise and moderation” for copyrights, offering “creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them.” Creative Commons has developed tools so that creative people who wish to share their work can specify who can use their works and under what circumstances.

Try the Creative Commons search mechanism or the new (March 2005) Yahoo! Search Creative Commons Search. You will be able to ascertain if the work:
– is in the public domain
– requires attribution
– can’t be use commercially
– must be used as is (no derivatives)
– allows for sampling

Of course, many federal government web sites are in the public domain. Gordon-Murname lists these sites that offer public domain content:
Library of Congress
National Archives
NASA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Also these other PD locations:
Public Library of Science
Ibiblio, “the public’s library and digital archive”
Project Gutenberg, “the Internet’s oldest producer of FREE electronic books (eBooks or eTexts)”
The Online Books Page
Bartleby.com, “Great Books Online”

Some recent comments from the Copyright Office indicate that the Office is considering asking Congress to allow the “marketplace” to determine the price of using copyrighted material (after making almost everything imagineable under copyright), and expects the would-be user to go to the copyright holder to negotiate the price, if one can even FIND the copyright holder. I’m afraid this would stifle creativity in favor of endless litigation. Perhaps this “middle way” is a solution.

The Lydster, Part 16 "In My Own Little Corner"

I was a big fan of the 1966 television production of “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”. It starred Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon. I loved the songs, even the goofy ones like “The Prince is Giving a Ball.”
Herald: His royal highness Christopher Rupert Vwindemier Vlandamier Carl Alexander Francois Reginald Lancelot Herman
Boy: HERMAN?
Herald: Herman.. Gregory James is giving a ball.

I think I liked the production in large part because I had a great big crush on Lesley Ann Warren.

(There was a 1957 version with Julie Andrews and Jon Cypher, which I don’t remember, although it may have been seen by more people than the M*A*S*H finale.)

Both versions features Cinderella singing “In My Own Little Corner”:
In my own little corner in my own little chair
I can be whatever I want to be.
On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere
and the world will open its arms to me.

There were times when I was a teenager, and even a few times as an adult, when I’d be at a party and feel suddenly overwhelmed- by too many people, or by some uncomfortable situation, or for no discernable reason at all. I’d go off to an unoccupied room, even the attic or cellar, or an unused stairwell, just to get away for a while, my version of “my own little corner.”

Daughter Lydia likes hanging out in corners, between the CD cases, in the bathroom, under the sink (which no longer has anything under it.) Sometimes she gets into hiding in the smallest spaces, then gets trapped, like cat stuck in a tree, and needs to be rescued.

I want for her to be whatever she wants to be. I want her to be able to fly anywhere. I desparately want the world to open its arms to her, though I know that won’t always happen, and that she’ll want to climb back into her own little corner.

I need to learn how to make her safe enough to venture out again, if I can. Like last week, when she went into a swimming pool for the very first time, and liked it…at least the top two steps.

Happy year and a third, Lydia.

Flip Flop Flap

There were two fairly minor stories in the news last week that caught my fancy. Both involved decorum, and both reminded me of my father, one obtusely.

The first was the “flip flop flap”, the story of some young women on the Northwestern women’s lacrosse team who were invited to the White House to meet W and were chastised for wearing flip flops as opposed to shoes, preferably closed-toe shoes. Five of the nine in the first row were wearing this apparently awful apparel.

For some reason, this “lack of propriety” reminded me of a trip my family took from Charlotte to Raleigh, NC some 10 or 20 years ago. My father was complaining that the late Gregory Hines had worn an earring to some black tie event honoring black Americans, probably an NAACP awards thing, that was televised. Dad complained that Hines was showing disrespect to the organization. My sister Leslie and I argued that he ALWAYS wore an earring, that this was not something he did to dis the event, and for a male actor to wear an earring was no big deal. This conversation went back and forth for about 90 miles, with neither side backing down.

The other story was about Why Knot, a robot that can tie a tie, but only certain types of knots. The link to my father was more obvious. We were having our family portrait taken in 1975, at a time when my relationship with him was in one of those shaky periods. He stood about four feet from my mother and me, and he asked my MOTHER, “Wouldn’t Roger want to wear a tie?” Well, Roger never WANTS to wear a tie, as he finds them noose-like and unnecessary. But if Roger’s father had asked ROGER if Roger WOULD wear a tie, it is likely that Roger would have complied. But since Roger’s dad asked Roger’s mom instead, the answer was: “No way.” And I think of that story every time I see that picture. (Talk about “Every picture tells a story.”)

I wouldn’t wear flip flops to see the President, but I never expect that I’ll ever be asked to visit the White House. Also, I don’t own any flip flops, and I don’t think I’d buy some if the occasion of did arise. As for Why Knot, do we REALLY need a machine that will help us cut off blood and oxygen to the brain?

RM3

More Random Meanderings (or Random Mutterings or Ruminating Madness or Roger’s Minutae):

This is my blogger code: B1 d- t- k+ s– u– f+ i o x- e- l c–
For a translation, go here.
***
Someone showed me what you can do with a Windows keyboard. (Besides throw it out the window.) When you press the Windows key (between Ctrl and Alt) and M, it minimizes all the windows you may have opened! Maybe you knew that already, but it’s come in handy for me when I have eight windows open and I can’t see what I’m doing anymore.
***
I set up another blog to put articles I think are interesting, but that aren’t mine. Here’s the first post about oil running out, with commentary by my acerbic bud, Daniel W. Van Riper. When the U.S. first went into Iraq, there was a widespread fear that oil may have been a motive. Reading this reminded me of that discussion.
***
When I take Lydia for a walk in her carriage, and dog walkers approach, they almost always say that the dog “is friendly” or “doesn’t bite”. Please allow me the privilege of being a little bit wary anyway.
***
My friend Claudia writes: “Guess no more what the film of the summer is. LADIES IN LAVENDER with Dame Judith Dench and Maggie Smith was a visual feast of beautiful England, enchanting story, complete with the mastery of Joshua Bell. We just adored every moment of English country side, the crashing ocean, melding personal stories. In other words it is delicious and enjoy every moment of it.” I haven’t seen it, but she generally has very good taste.
***
John Rodat has a Myth America columm about Buddhist monks and moving that I related to heavily, and you collector types may as well. If it ain’t there anymore, it’s here.
***
I was on the bus home a couple weeks ago when I see a guy get on. He was very striking young man, very fair skin, head shaved, oddly shaped glasses. He was wearing a black T-shirt that read in white letters, “Day of Silence.” I might have thought nothing more about this, except that he had pulled out a cell phone almost immediately after he had gotten on the bus. So, my eyes HAD to follow him to the back of the bus, where he sat, silently, playing some sort of electronic game.
***
This is one of those a/v pieces that is funny and scary in equal measure. It appears that the Opus Sunday strip a couple weeks ago was inspired by this concept.
***
I shaved my beard on July 4. People seeing me the next couple days often commented, “Oh, you look so much younger!” as though that would prompt me to shave more often. Not a chance. Razor is brutal tool to use on face. I did it once because I was hot. However, even when I’m done shaving, I have a 5 o’clock shadow of Nixonian proportions, and impenetrable stubble on the jaw line. Besides, I’m contrarian enough to wonder why it’s so hot to look “younger”. There’s a mindset, epitomized by those inane Clyde Frazier/Keith Hernandez Just for Men hair coloring ads, that gray is bad. Gray is good; “gray matter” represents the brain, after all.