Old Acquaintance

Leave all of those New Year’s resolutions posts to others. I want to look back and note what was great (or not so great) about 2005, and what I want to look forward to in 2006.

What was great about 2005:

1. Lydia seems to be thriving in her new daycare. And they don’t seem so fussy to find out that Carol and I are both off from work (as we will be on Monday) and that we’re still dropping her off, so we can do things in the house and maybe see a movie.

2. I got reconnected through friend Rocco to Fred Hembeck, which led me to blogging, which led me to get to know a number of interesting people, electronically only some of which are linked within this post.

3. Singing in church choir. I need to do this.

On the other hand:

1. I need to find more time to exercise. Dropping off Lydia at day care has cut into racquetball time.

2. I need to get back to updating a web page I was working on.

Next year, I plan to:

1. Take off at least one day per month from work on a day that Carol is at work and Lydia is in day care to reclaim some Roger time.

2. Catch up on my periodicals or toss ’em.

3. Finally, probably in the summer, get to work on thast project that somebody asked me to work on months ago.

Feel free to make your observations in the appropriate location, if you feel so inclined.

Last week, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, I was greeting a person at church after service, and she replied. “Oh, I don’t celebrate Christmas.” I hope I can wish all of you a happy and safe New Year’s Eve without fear of offending someone’s sensibilities. (Yes, I know it’s only New Year’s Eve on some calendars…)

Thanks for all of your cogent/silly/funny remarks over the last eight months.

The Democrats Should Pick This Man For Vice-President

I’m listening to 10 wonderful hours of Christmas music provided to me by good buddy Fred Hembeck. It reminded me of all the things I still want to do this holiday season: listen to these tunes, write a Three Kings Letter, connect the scanner, and post some things I promised myself I’d post.

To that end, the person I want the Democrats to pick is, in fact, the person I wanted John Kerry to pick instead of John Edwards. Since no one really runs for Vice-President (except maybe Dick Cheney), I don’t even know if he wants the job.

I want Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

One of the things I feared that Bush/Cheney would do in 2004, and they did, was to point to John Edwards’ lack of experience in international dealings. (That and the John/John remarks.) Bill Richardson has been U.S. Ambassador to the UN and Energy Secretary, as sell as New Mexico governor.

It would be disingenuous to ignore the fact that he is Hispanic. Regardless of that, he is well-qualified for the job, and would be an asset to the ticket.

Now, I don’t know if Russ Feingold even likes Bill Richardson. Moreover, I’ve learned that Richardson has Presidential aspirations himself.

I want Feingold on the top of the ticket because he’s more aligned with my positions that Richardson is. Still, Bill Richardson as Presidential candidate would be more palatable than some of the other names knocking about.


It’s all the rage; even Fred’s doing it: Meme of Four. If you do it, add your own categories. C’mon, it’s fun! All answers are guaranteed to have come straight off the top of my head, or your money back:

Four jobs you’ve had in your life: janitor (twice), bank teller, ticket seller, customer service rep for an insurance company.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Annie Hall, Groundhog Day, West Side Story, Being There.

Four places you’ve lived: Charlotte, NC; Kingston, NY; Jamaica, Queens. NY; Schenectady, NY. Always in NYS, except for the four months in Charlotte in 1977.

Four TV shows you love to watch: Gilmore Girls, Everybody Hates Chris, My Name Is Earl, Boston Legal. (All Tuesday or Thursday shows; Earl moves from Tuesday to Thursday next week, when Scrubs returns!)

Four TV reruns I’ll always watch: The Twilight Zone; The Dick van Dyke Show; Barney Miller; Law & Order (the original, with Jerry Orbach)

Four places you’ve been on vacation: Barbados (honeymoon on the JEOPARDY dime); Concord, NH; San Diego, CA; San Francisco.

Four websites you visit daily: Fred Sez, who attributes to Stan Lee devilish powers ; News from Me, who nearly killed Stan Lee; Gordon, who I probably stole this idea from; and Kelly Brown, who’s most likely to steal it from me. (Yeah, Lefty, I look at yours, too, but she’s been posting more often recently.)

Four albums you can’t live without: Revolver-Beatles (UK); Spike-Elvis Costello; Pet Sounds-Beach Boys; Still Crazy After All These Years-Paul Simon. (Ask me again in four minutes and I’ll give you four more.)

Four of your favorite foods: lasagna with spinach, carrot cake, Brooks’ fried chicken, cottage cheese and apple.

Four passings I should have mentioned in this blog: great character actor Vincent Schiavelli on December 26, Roy Stuart from “Gomer Pyle” on Christmas Day, Obie Benson of the Four Tops way back on July 1, and Jaime Cardinal Sin of the Philipines, whose passing back in June I missed until the inevitable end of year obits.

Four comic-book stories you’ll remember for the rest of your life: the EC story of the man who didn’t salute the flag at a parade and ended up getting beaten to death (he was blinded in the war) – citation, someone? The Death of Gwen Stacy (ASM 121-122); Superman vs. Muhammad Ali; Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1.

Four places you’d rather be: Savannah; on a massage table; on the beach; taking a nap.

We Got Answers, the Browns

We have the stylish Chris Brown:

But before I forget (again), I should note that my submission appears in the Carnival of Bad History, which I got to indirectly through Mr. Brown.

1. What CDs are currently in your various listening devices?

Our choir performed A Ceremony for Carols by Benjamin Britten for our Advent vespers on December 4. I’m listening to a recording of our performance – it ain’t bad! I had never sung it or heard it before, though I understand it’s a popular choice for this time of year. Also, Frank Sinatra, Reprise box set. New Stevie Wonder, which I got for Christmas.
New Diana Krall Christmas CD which I gave Carol for Christmas. And the CD I made for Chris. I also got other tunes for Christmas that I want to play – two Christmas discs (Michael McDonald, James Taylor), the new Macca album Fred is reviewing someday, an old Clash album (Super Black Market Clash), Our New Orleans 2005: A Benefit Album; and the disc I just opened, 100% Santa Free from Eddie! Thanks, Eddie – hope you blog soon.

2. Who is your favorite Beatle?

As I’ve noted on December 8, I identfied heavily with John. Having said that, I have more solo albums by George between 1970 and 1980 than John, and Paul is second. I bought every other Macca disc, but almost every Harrison disc. Then after John’s death, the count between George and Paul’s about even. When George died in the fall of 2001 – a fact I remember only because it was about the first TIME magazine cover that featured anything other than 9/11 coverage since 9/11-

I was sad, but I knew he was dying. Later, as I remembered his life – bringing Indian music to the West, Concert for Bangladesh, I got very melancholy. George was a Pisces, so I related to him at some other level.

3. What’s been your favorite book you’ve read this year?

It’s Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton: “Pajammy to the left, pajammy to the right. Jamma Jamma Jamma Jamma Jamma, P-J.” I’m no rapper, but I read it what I consider in rap form. Oh, you mean grown-up books? Can’t recall if I’ve read any. Magazines and newspapers, yes, but books not geared toward children? I have looked at 1000 Record Covers, which is a book of, well, you know.
I start LOTS of books, such as Eats Shoots and Leaves (or is that Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?). I’m two-thirds of the way through American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush by Kevin P. Phillips. Will I finish it? Probably , but then the periodicals just pile up.
Oh, wait, I probably read Stupid White Men earlier this year. The book I read this summer was The Zen of Zim, by Don Zimmer, the former Yankee coach who looks like Popeye. He says appropriately mean things about Steinbrenner. He was a member of the “Boys of Summer”, the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers team that won the borough’s only World Series.

4. Have any “problem patron” library stories to divulge?

Our library is different in that the ultimate client we don’t see or talk with. The clients go to one of our two dozen centers around the state, the advisor meets with the client and then contacts us. We really prefer that the advisor call us, so we can do what we librarian types like to call the “reference interview.” Otherwise, we tend to get lengthy reference questions via fax or e-mail passed through from the client to us. We have received questions with 30 or more bullet points, (REALLY), and we are forced to imagine whether the client actually needs to know all of those items at this point in the business cycle. We wonder whether the questions make sense to the advisors, because if the advisor who has met with the client doesn’t understand it, we, who try to parse this information from the narrative, probably won’t. Also, with other advisors to serve, we often don’t have time to work on questions with 30 or more bullet points, so we will make our determination as what we think is most important, or most accessible, and we don’t want to be in that position.

The classic question came by fax several years ago. It described the business, who owned it, its financial difficulty, the client’s ethnicity, lines of interesting text. What it lacked was a QUESTION. I took it off the fax machine and said, “That’s nice, what does the advisor want us to DO to help the client?” We used to refer to ourselves as the Psychic Research Network, because we had to use our crystal balls to try to discern the question.

Yo, the inquisitive Kelly Brown

1. If you could change one thing that you have done as a parent what would it be and why?


I mean, if I had my druthers, I’d have done it earlier. This parenting thing is a younger person’s gig. I went to Christmas Eve service, and the father of one of the members was a year behind me at Binghamton Central High School. He has a 2-month old granddaughter while I have a 21-month old DAUGHTER.

We might have put her into a different daycare last year, but we couldn’t get in.

So, it all happens for a reason, and I TRY not to sweat it too much.

2. If you had wings what would you do?

Molt. Well, I mean fly, as I do in my dreams.

3. What is the first book that you want your daughter to read on her own when she can?

Green Eggs and Ham. She IS a Green, after all.

4. Will you allow your daughter to have a blog if she wants?

Oh, yeah, but probably more anonymmously than I’ve been.

We Got Answers, Gordon

Our first contestant is is the appreciative Gordon

1) Who put the bomp in the bomp shu-bomp shu-bomp?

Lessee, I’ll go with the Marcels’ classic version of Blue Moon, 1961, possibly my favorite song from that year.

And as a corrollary, who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?

I recall that Paul McCartney had an album called Ram, his second solo effort, I believe. Somehow this ties into Fred Hembeck’s theory back on March 31 that the Uncle Albert on the album is actually Herb Alpert. Whipped Cream and Other Delights, indeed.

2) Is there one particular author whose latest books you will read, no matter what the subject matter?

I’m streaky. For a while it was Russell Baker. I’ve read a lot of Bob Woodward (and I’m disappointed with his role in the Valerie Plame situation). Right now, it’s Sandra Boynton.

3) Top 5 favorite movies of all time.

It’ll almost always be comedies, musicals, or adventure films because asd good as something like Shawshank Redemption is, I don’t know if I want to see it again soon after the last time.

Annie Hall, Groundhog Day, Being There, Young Frankenstein.

The fifth slot goes to whatever strikes my fancy- Airplane, West Side Story, Toy Story 2, Casablanca.

Gordon also wanted me to do this meme, and as I always do what Gordon says:

Your Personality Profile

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

I’m a water sign, what can I tell you? Didn’t cop Gordon’s choice.

The Lydster: Part 21

Lydia’s second Christmas, but the first she has started to recognize as an opportunity for presents: dump truck, blocks, xylophone, doll, books, not an overabundance of “stuff”.

BTW, Lydia’s fine, over the case of pink eye. Also over an intestinal distress that forced us to postpone a dinner with our friend Mary and “I-think-they’re-dating” pal.

No new pictures, and no time to write what I was going to write, holidays and all, so here are some ones you haven’t seen, from August through October 2004:

A favorite Christmas recollection

1965: I had a paper route. It was MY route, and I was responsible for it, no one else, it was made very clear to me. But that year, 40 years ago, like this year, Christmas fell on a Sunday, and my father got up and drove me around on my route. It was very special to me, especially since I saw that Santa had already made his way to our house.

Merry Christmas, blogiverse!

Three Questions About Peace

I went to the Rodin exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art yesterday. Two-dimensional photos or film cannot capture the sensual nature of the work. If you live in the Albany area, go see the exhibit next week before it closes. If you live elsewhere, go see it when it comes to your town.

Which may or may not lead to the weekly query for you all:

1. What can we, as individuals, do to make the world a more peaceful place?

2. Will there ever be “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All”, or is that a myth, or just for the afterlife, or you really have no idea?

3. What IS so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?


My friend Mark sent out this Christmas/Hanukkah merger e-mail thing, which Socks used on December 1. (Another piece on the holiday confusion is here.)

Subsequently, I read that the TV show The O.C., which I don’t watch, has also suggested such a blending a couple years ago. The Yarmuclaus hat (above) is “sold out for the 2005 Chrismukkah season!” – and has been for some time.

So what to make of this blending, complete with Chrismukkah greeting cards?

It seems to tick off this person, who writes:
Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.

Meanwhile, this also ties into what friend Daniel calls “the latest phony baloney distraction put out by the corporate media…”The War On Christmas.” An interesting CNN debate can be found within this blog entry.

Now, Dorian, I’d like to agree with you on this one. Fact is, though, if you say it often enough, this “war” seems to become true for enough people. One of my relatives sent me one of those “Say ‘Merry Christmas’ proudly” e-mails, with instructions to not let “them take it away from us.” The exact wording I don’t have because I deleted it. Quickly.

My favorite Lutheran pastor notes that it isn’t even Christmastime yet.

I must admit that the whole controversy surprised me a bit. I thought we had it all worked out: you have the creche, but the menorrah must be within 10 feet, and also some Kwanzaa colors, with the Christm.., holida.., the coniferous tree nearby.
Lots of people (I’d like to say most people, but…) know that there was no proof that Jesus was born on December 25, but it was a date picked by the church to co-opt those solstice parties. I’ve long theorized that Jesus was not a Capricorn but a Pisces. (What do YOU think?)

So Chrismukkah- place for the “merry mish-mash” of cultural diversity or an attack on both Judaism and Christianity? I think the term’s a bit silly, but as a Christian, I’m not threatened by it, or for that matter, by saying “Season’s Greetings.” In other words, I support W’s choice of Christmas cards. It was inevitable that I agree with him on something EVENTUALLY.

The Madness of King George

“There are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”

– George W. Bush, April 2004
As dumb as this story is in print, especially knowing Fred as I do, what’s more irritating is the TV lead, something along the line of “Is local man a terrorist?” Truly idiotic.
Dan sent this from The Rude Pundit.
The I Word is out there. Yes, it is.
Friday, 12/23/05, 5:30 PM, 3rd Annual Crossgates Mall T-Shirt Walk, Enter through any entrance at 5:30 PM and converge at the food court at 6:15 PM. Please car pool where possible. Wear black. Bring a message of peace written on a shopping bag or attached to your clothing. From Wendy Dwyer’s email proposing this action: “Three years ago on December 21 , nearly thirty of us walked through Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. wearing Peace tee shirts ie: Peace on Earth, Drop Toys Not Bombs and Don’t Attack Iraq. Most recall the arrest of Steve Downs in February when he and his son Roger bought a Peace Shirt FROM a vendor at the mall and wore it in the mall. 48 hours later more than a hundred of us and most local media converged on the mall to question free speech and the mall as the public gathering space. That weekend more than 300 people descended upon the mall and many were thrown out of the mall by Guilderland police, under threat of arrest. These events were reported in the media…all around the world…” Wendy also suggests, ” When we reach the food court area.. ….sing all we are saying is give peace a chance…if people like this idea. THIS MUST BE PEACEFUL. IT IS CRITICAL THIS BE NON-VIOLENT. NO SHOUTING, NO ARGUING” … “ IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE…………YOU MAY SAY I’M A DREAMER, BUT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE, I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU’ILL JOIN US, AND THE WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE”…John Lennon Wendy’s phone: 518-781-0071 or 518-542-4194