Roger's Auto Loan

Sometime late last month, there was a message from a local car dealership wanting to verify my information “for the car loan you had applied for”. seems reasonable except that I had not applied for an auto loan. I called the number back when I got home, got the voice mail of the woman who called me, and left a message that I didn’t request an auto loan.

A couple days later, another representative from this same car dealership called me with the exact same message. This time, I called back, asking the woman to call me at work – I gave her my number. the next day, she called me back – at home – noting that she had gotten my call. So I called back, got a supervisor and let it be known that 1) I did noty want a car loan, and that 2) apparently, no one communicates in therir company.

On July 3, I got yet ANOTHER call. I had gotten home early from work that day so I called back, got a real live person and asked why I had gotten these THREE calls. She looked on the computer and saw only one notation, the one for that day. Apparently, the dealership gets leads from some online service, for which the dealership pays a commission. When it doesn’t pan out, the dealership expunges the record from the system. The representative gave me the phone number of the online network.

I laid out this now annoying scenario to the online company’s rep, and he says that “anyone can put in the information.” They don’t trace it, or have verifiable passwords. I asked what information he had on “me”:
Name – check
Address – check
Phone number – check
Date of birth: January 4, 1987. Yeah that’s right, I’m 21. That picture I post now and then is doctored to make me appear older.
Monthly rent paid: $7000 a month. Yup, and I make more than thrice that. Librarians are rich, I tell you, rich!
I did laugh out loud with that one.

The rep gave me a website of the Social Security Administration dealing with fraud, but I called the number and it did not appear to be the place I wanted to be.

So, I went to the FTC website and found this nugget:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

I called Equifax and sure enough, I soon discovered I had a fraud alert from Experian and TransUnion.

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

Getting the free credit report was increasingly difficult as I went from reporting company to reporting company. Experian was trying to sell it to me, and TransUnion asked questions about what type of credit cards and loans I had, some of which I didn’t have on hand or didn’t jibe with what they were looking for. Really, I have a VISA that ends with XXXX; why don’t you believe me?)

I have received my three FREE credit reports. Apparently, no harm was done to me. The initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, at which time I need to document a need for a seven-year one.

Meanwhile, don’t expect to see me in a new car anytime soon.
***
Equifax (1-800-525-6285), http://www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); http://www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; http://www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
ROG

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Roger’s Auto Loan

Sometime late last month, there was a message from a local car dealership wanting to verify my information “for the car loan you had applied for”. seems reasonable except that I had not applied for an auto loan. I called the number back when I got home, got the voice mail of the woman who called me, and left a message that I didn’t request an auto loan.

A couple days later, another representative from this same car dealership called me with the exact same message. This time, I called back, asking the woman to call me at work – I gave her my number. the next day, she called me back – at home – noting that she had gotten my call. So I called back, got a supervisor and let it be known that 1) I did noty want a car loan, and that 2) apparently, no one communicates in therir company.

On July 3, I got yet ANOTHER call. I had gotten home early from work that day so I called back, got a real live person and asked why I had gotten these THREE calls. She looked on the computer and saw only one notation, the one for that day. Apparently, the dealership gets leads from some online service, for which the dealership pays a commission. When it doesn’t pan out, the dealership expunges the record from the system. The representative gave me the phone \number of the online network.

I laid out this now annoying scenario to the online company’s rep, and he says that “anyone can put in the information.” They don’t trace it, or have verifiable passwords. I asked what information he had on “me”:
Name – check
Address – check
Phone number – check
Date of birth: January 4, 1987. Yeah that’s right, I’m 21. That picture I post now and then is doctored to make me appear older.
Monthly rent paid: $7000 a month. Yup, and I make more than thrice that. Librarians are rich, I tell you, rich!
I did laugh out loud with that one.

The rep gave me a website of the Social Security Administration dealing with fraud, but I called the number and it did not appear to be the place I wanted to be.

So, I went to the FTC website and found this nugget:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

I called Equifax and sure enough, I soon discovered I had a fraud alert from Experian and TransUnion.

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

Getting the free credit report was increasingly difficult as I went from reporting company to reporting company. Experian was trying to sell it to me, and TransUnion asked questions about what type of credit cards and loans I had, some of which I didn’t have on hand or didn’t jibe with what they were looking for. Really, I have a VISA that ends with XXXX; why don’t you believe me?)

I have received my three FREE credit reports. Apparently, no harm was done to me. The initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, at which time I need to document a need for a seven-year one.

Meanwhile, don’t expect to see me in a new car anytime soon.
***
Equifax (1-800-525-6285), http://www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); http://www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; http://www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
ROG

Roger’s Auto Loan

Sometime late last month, there was a message from a local car dealership wanting to verify my information “for the car loan you had applied for”. seems reasonable except that I had not applied for an auto loan. I called the number back when I got home, got the voice mail of the woman who called me, and left a message that I didn’t request an auto loan.

A couple days later, another representative from this same car dealership called me with the exact same message. This time, I called back, asking the woman to call me at work – I gave her my number. the next day, she called me back – at home – noting that she had gotten my call. So I called back, got a supervisor and let it be known that 1) I did noty want a car loan, and that 2) apparently, no one communicates in therir company.

On July 3, I got yet ANOTHER call. I had gotten home early from work that day so I called back, got a real live person and asked why I had gotten these THREE calls. She looked on the computer and saw only one notation, the one for that day. Apparently, the dealership gets leads from some online service, for which the dealership pays a commission. When it doesn’t pan out, the dealership expunges the record from the system. The representative gave me the phone \number of the online network.

I laid out this now annoying scenario to the online company’s rep, and he says that “anyone can put in the information.” They don’t trace it, or have verifiable passwords. I asked what information he had on “me”:
Name – check
Address – check
Phone number – check
Date of birth: January 4, 1987. Yeah that’s right, I’m 21. That picture I post now and then is doctored to make me appear older.
Monthly rent paid: $7000 a month. Yup, and I make more than thrice that. Librarians are rich, I tell you, rich!
I did laugh out loud with that one.

The rep gave me a website of the Social Security Administration dealing with fraud, but I called the number and it did not appear to be the place I wanted to be.

So, I went to the FTC website and found this nugget:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

I called Equifax and sure enough, I soon discovered I had a fraud alert from Experian and TransUnion.

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

Getting the free credit report was increasingly difficult as I went from reporting company to reporting company. Experian was trying to sell it to me, and TransUnion asked questions about what type of credit cards and loans I had, some of which I didn’t have on hand or didn’t jibe with what they were looking for. Really, I have a VISA that ends with XXXX; why don’t you believe me?)

I have received my three FREE credit reports. Apparently, no harm was done to me. The initial fraud alert lasts 90 days, at which time I need to document a need for a seven-year one.

Meanwhile, don’t expect to see me in a new car anytime soon.
***
Equifax (1-800-525-6285), http://www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); http://www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; http://www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
ROG

How Sweet the Juice

I love the Internet.


Nearly three years ago, Scott asked me what my favorite book was, and after acknowledging my appreciation for reference books such as the World Almanac and the Joel Whitburn Billboard books, I noted my affection for The Sweeter the Juice: A Family Memoir in Black and White by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip.

Here’s the Library Journal account of the book, as published on Amazon:
In Haizlip’s dramatic account of her search for her mother’s multiracial family, race is less a matter of genetic endowment than of social and psychological perceptions. Her mother and her mother’s siblings could all pass for white; Haizlip recounts their differing choices with considerable narrative force. The life-long consequences of these decisions, combined with vivid details of her family’s success in claiming position and power in a race-conscious society, and above all, the emotional pain caused by the conflicting perceptions of race, give this account an almost novelistic quality. We learn of Haizlip’s numerous prominent positions in public service and the media. In the final analysis, Haizlip raises the issue of identity itself–who is black and who is white? How do we know, and what does it mean? Highly recommended for all Americans desiring to come to terms with who we are.
– Marie L. Lally, Alabama Sch . of Mathematics & Science, Mobile
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

So, I check my e-mail Friday, and who should be writing me but Shirlee Taylor Haizlip! She thanked me for my kudos of her work, and noted that HBO had optioned her three books, for which she is currently working on the screenplay. Then she pointed out this YouTube piece running a (5 minute) interview she did when the book came out.

I watched this and I was reminded that in some fundamental way, race is as complicated in America now as it was 40 years ago when my mother, who is a black woman fair of skin, told this story. She and my father went to a business meeting in San Francisco. Well, OK, the men did, and the wives did other things. At some point, the women were talking about various subjects. The topic segued to race, and the civil rights movement – my mother didn’t bring it there – and one of the women asked, “What do you think, Trudy?” She said, “Well, being a black woman…” Apparently, that was a bit of a shock to the system of her compatriots. But knowing my mother, this was no “gotcha!” moment, but merely an honest response.
I should note that my mother, at that time, was rather fond of wearing a red wig, and it was coiffed but not in an “Afrocentric” way. In the right setting, my mother could have passed, but like Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, she had no interest in doing so.

Coincidentally, or probably not, I ran into my friend Mary Liz Stewart at the CVS on Saturday. She and her husband Paul do the Underground Railroad workshops in Albany, and she noted that a woman named Viola Haizlip had help arrange their table at the African American Family Day event this coming Saturday (August 2) at the Empire State Plaza; I’m working the table from noon to 2 pm, though the event runs until 7 pm. Haizlip is not that common a name, and Shirlee confirmed that her husband Harold has family in the Albany area.

In any case, I’ll need to seek out Harold and Shirlee’s book In the Garden of Our Dreams.
ROG

EW's Top Films of the Past 25 Years

Tackling Entertainment Weekly’s “new classics. And I’ll agree with many: no Shawshank Redemption?
Won’t comment on films I noted on the AFI list (unless I feel like it).

*I saw it.

*1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) -saw the first third
*3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
*5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
*7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) – on my top three list of Woody Allen films
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I was at my parents’ house. They had HBO. Started watching; bailed.
*9. Die Hard (1988) – good if you like that sort of thing.
*10. Moulin Rouge (2001) – I think I like the effort of the film more than the movie itself. I do have the soundtrack, though.
*11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – saw several times in the 1980s, but not at all in years. Seems I recorded off TV; definitely need to see again lest I set the dial to 11.
*12. The Matrix (1999) – saw on commercial TV in the last couple years, which probably didn’t do it justice.
13. GoodFellas (1990) – saw parts of it.
14. Crumb (1995) – had planned to see at the time, but never did.
*15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) – liked it well enough, but seems too high on this list.
*16. Boogie Nights (1997) – I really liked the first part of it, appreciated the middle section, but that part at the end felt so contrived.
*17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
*18. Do the Right Thing (1989) – great, and dare I say, important film.
19. Casino Royale (2006)
*20. The Lion King (1994)
*21. Schindler’s List (1993) – probably should be in the Top 10.
22. Rushmore (1998) – keep meaning to see.
23. Memento (2001) – ditto.
*24. A Room With a View (1986) – I’ve seen a lot of Merchant/Ivory films, and this is clearly the best.
*25. Shrek (2001)
*26. Hoop Dreams (1994) – Roger Ebert is right. Devastating, yet oddly hopeful.
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – never seen a Bourne film in its entirety.
*30. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
*31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – I said it before – that stuff on the mountain was boring. Much more interesting after that point. I’m talking about the ranching stuff.
32. Fight Club (1999)
*33. The Breakfast Club (1985) – I saw a bunch of Hughes films in a short period, and they all blend together in my mind.
*34. Fargo (1996) – on the strength of McDormand and Macy’s performances, a winner.
*35. The Incredibles (2004) – this was on NBC in the past year, and it was unwatchable to me. The commercials ruined any rhythm I got from seeing it in the theater. Still, my father-in-law stayed with it and appreciated its charms; I was too impatient. Such great social satire!
*36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) – a great superhero movie.
*37. Pretty Woman (1990) – stood in a long line at the Madison Theater in Albany to see it. I liked it just fine. Not great “cinema”.
*38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – said before, but bears repeating. Watched this on video, but was too tired to finish. Got up in the morning, finished watching it. A terrible way to see a film. Yet I LOVED it. As someone said, “A very, very sweet movie masquerading as something else.”
*39. The Sixth Sense (1999) – Soylent Green is…no wait, wrong film. No, I didn’t know the big reveal, and I’d like to see again, now that I do now.
*40. Speed (1994) – the first movie Carol and I saw together. Trashy fun.
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)- must see.
*42. Clueless (1995) – pleasant enough.
43. Gladiator (2000)
*44. The Player (1992) – loved it at the time, but now, except for the ending, fading from memory.
*45. Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise is amazingly good in this movie in a thankless role against the Hoffman performance. Own the soundtrack; like the soundtrack a lot.
46. Children of Men (2006)
*47. Men in Black (1997) – saw it, didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t bother watching again.
48. Scarface (1983)
*49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) – this Ang Lee film was amazing.
*50. The Piano (1993) – was quite impressed at the time, yet this movie is also fading from memory.
51. There Will Be Blood (2007) – people are appalled that I actually watched the last 10 minutes of this; someone on my blogroll posted it from YouTube. It’ll be years before i see it, and it’ll have faded.
*52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) – VERY funny.
*53. The Truman Show (1998) – I adore this film.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
*55. Risky Business (1983) – it’s fine, but it didn’t move me as much as it did my wife and many others.
56. The Lives of Others (2006) -wanted to see this.
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
*58. Ghostbusters (1984) – quite excellent. Based in a library, which is always a plus. And fun video for the title song, put together so quickly that Ray Parker, Jr. didn’t know it was out until a friend told him how great it was.
*59. L.A. Confidential (1997) – saw Washington’s Birthday weekend 1998 along with The Queen at Crossgates Mall, one of the last times I was there. It really worked for me.
60. Scream (1996)
*61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – fine, but probably not worthy of inclusion on the list.
*62. sex, lies and videotape (1989) – along with Do the Eight Thing, my favorite film of that year.
*63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
*65. Dirty Dancing (1987) – it was OK, but not worthy of inclusion on this list.
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
*68. Witness (1985) – probably my favorite Harrison Ford performance.
*69. All About My Mother (1999) – liked it.
*70. Broadcast News (1987) – worth it just for Albert Brooks.
*71. Unforgiven (1992)
*72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999) – I NEED to see this film; my co-workers reference it too often.
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
*75. Out of Africa (1985) – bored me silly.
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
*78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
*79. Waiting for Guffman (1996) – like this movie a lot, love the ensemble in just about everything they’ve done.
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
*81. Moonstruck (1987) – THAT’S amore.
*82. Lost in Translation (2003) – never warmed to this film.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
*84. Sideways (2004) – great performances.
*85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) – my wife was really hesitant to see this, as she thought it’d be stupid. So it ended up being astonishingly good, and should be ranked much higher.
*86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002) – it was pretty good, but didn’t love it.
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
*91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002) – I had forgotten about this movie which was quite fine when I saw it in the theater.
*97. Glory (1989) – there’s a scene with Denzel that pains me just thinking about it. Have on video, have the soundtrack.
*98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – clever enough, but I don’t think it has legs.
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
***
Roger Ebert writes The Balcony Is_Closed. Made me sad. Hope he comes back in a different format, if his health allows.

ROG

EW’s Top Films of the Past 25 Years

Tackling Entertainment Weekly’s “new classics. And I’ll agree with many: no Shawshank Redemption?
Won’t comment on films I noted on the AFI list (unless I feel like it).

*I saw it.

*1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) -saw the first third
*3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
*5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
*7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) – on my top three list of Woody Allen films
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I was at my parents’ house. They had HBO. Started watching; bailed.
*9. Die Hard (1988) – good if you like that sort of thing.
*10. Moulin Rouge (2001) – I think I like the effort of the film more than the movie itself. I do have the soundtrack, though.
*11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – saw several times in the 1980s, but not at all in years. Seems I recorded off TV; definitely need to see again lest I set the dial to 11.
*12. The Matrix (1999) – saw on commercial TV in the last couple years, which probably didn’t do it justice.
13. GoodFellas (1990) – saw parts of it.
14. Crumb (1995) – had planned to see at the time, but never did.
*15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) – liked it well enough, but seems too high on this list.
*16. Boogie Nights (1997) – I really liked the first part of it, appreciated the middle section, but that part at the end felt so contrived.
*17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
*18. Do the Right Thing (1989) – great, and dare I say, important film.
19. Casino Royale (2006)
*20. The Lion King (1994)
*21. Schindler’s List (1993) – probably should be in the Top 10.
22. Rushmore (1998) – keep meaning to see.
23. Memento (2001) – ditto.
*24. A Room With a View (1986) – I’ve seen a lot of Merchant/Ivory films, and this is clearly the best.
*25. Shrek (2001)
*26. Hoop Dreams (1994) – Roger Ebert is right. Devastating, yet oddly hopeful.
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – never seen a Bourne film in its entirety.
*30. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
*31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – I said it before – that stuff on the mountain was boring. Much more interesting after that point. I’m talking about the ranching stuff.
32. Fight Club (1999)
*33. The Breakfast Club (1985) – I saw a bunch of Hughes films in a short period, and they all blend together in my mind.
*34. Fargo (1996) – on the strength of McDormand and Macy’s performances, a winner.
*35. The Incredibles (2004) – this was on NBC in the past year, and it was unwatchable to me. The commercials ruined any rhythm I got from seeing it in the theater. Still, my father-in-law stayed with it and appreciated its charms; I was too impatient. Such great social satire!
*36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) – a great superhero movie.
*37. Pretty Woman (1990) – stood in a long line at the Madison Theater in Albany to see it. I liked it just fine. Not great “cinema”.
*38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – said before, but bears repeating. Watched this on video, but was too tired to finish. Got up in the morning, finished watching it. A terrible way to see a film. Yet I LOVED it. As someone said, “A very, very sweet movie masquerading as something else.”
*39. The Sixth Sense (1999) – Soylent Green is…no wait, wrong film. No, I didn’t know the big reveal, and I’d like to see again, now that I do now.
*40. Speed (1994) – the first movie Carol and I saw together. Trashy fun.
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)- must see.
*42. Clueless (1995) – pleasant enough.
43. Gladiator (2000)
*44. The Player (1992) – loved it at the time, but now, except for the ending, fading from memory.
*45. Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise is amazingly good in this movie in a thankless role against the Hoffman performance. Own the soundtrack; like the soundtrack a lot.
46. Children of Men (2006)
*47. Men in Black (1997) – saw it, didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t bother watching again.
48. Scarface (1983)
*49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) – this Ang Lee film was amazing.
*50. The Piano (1993) – was quite impressed at the time, yet this movie is also fading from memory.
51. There Will Be Blood (2007) – people are appalled that I actually watched the last 10 minutes of this; someone on my blogroll posted it from YouTube. It’ll be years before i see it, and it’ll have faded.
*52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) – VERY funny.
*53. The Truman Show (1998) – I adore this film.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
*55. Risky Business (1983) – it’s fine, but it didn’t move me as much as it did my wife and many others.
56. The Lives of Others (2006) -wanted to see this.
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
*58. Ghostbusters (1984) – quite excellent. Based in a library, which is always a plus. And fun video for the title song, put together so quickly that Ray Parker, Jr. didn’t know it was out until a friend told him how great it was.
*59. L.A. Confidential (1997) – saw Washington’s Birthday weekend 1998 along with The Queen at Crossgates Mall, one of the last times I was there. It really worked for me.
60. Scream (1996)
*61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – fine, but probably not worthy of inclusion on the list.
*62. sex, lies and videotape (1989) – along with Do the Eight Thing, my favorite film of that year.
*63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
*65. Dirty Dancing (1987) – it was OK, but not worthy of inclusion on this list.
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
*68. Witness (1985) – probably my favorite Harrison Ford performance.
*69. All About My Mother (1999) – liked it.
*70. Broadcast News (1987) – worth it just for Albert Brooks.
*71. Unforgiven (1992)
*72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999) – I NEED to see this film\; my co-workers reference it too often.
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
*75. Out of Africa (1985) – bored me silly.
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
*78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
*79. Waiting for Guffman (1996) – like this movie a lot, love the ensemble in just about everything they’ve done.
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
*81. Moonstruck (1987) – THAT’S amore.
*82. Lost in Translation (2003) – never warmed to this film.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
*84. Sideways (2004) – great performances.
*85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) – my wife was really hesitant to see this, as she thought it’d be stupid. So it ended up being astonishingly good, and should be ranked much higher.
*86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002) – it was pretty good, but didn’t love it.
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
*91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002) – I had forgotten about this movie which was quite fine when I saw it in the theater.
*97. Glory (1989) – there’s a scene with Denzel that pains me just thinking about it. Have on video, have the soundtrack.
*98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – clever enough, but I don’t think it has legs.
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
***
Roger Ebert writes The Balcony Is_Closed. Made me sad. Hope he comes back in a different format, if his health allows.

ROG

EW’s Top Films of the Past 25 Years

Tackling Entertainment Weekly’s “new classics. And I’ll agree with many: no Shawshank Redemption?
Won’t comment on films I noted on the AFI list (unless I feel like it).

*I saw it.

*1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) -saw the first third
*3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
*5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
*7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) – on my top three list of Woody Allen films
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – I was at my parents’ house. They had HBO. Started watching; bailed.
*9. Die Hard (1988) – good if you like that sort of thing.
*10. Moulin Rouge (2001) – I think I like the effort of the film more than the movie itself. I do have the soundtrack, though.
*11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) – saw several times in the 1980s, but not at all in years. Seems I recorded off TV; definitely need to see again lest I set the dial to 11.
*12. The Matrix (1999) – saw on commercial TV in the last couple years, which probably didn’t do it justice.
13. GoodFellas (1990) – saw parts of it.
14. Crumb (1995) – had planned to see at the time, but never did.
*15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) – liked it well enough, but seems too high on this list.
*16. Boogie Nights (1997) – I really liked the first part of it, appreciated the middle section, but that part at the end felt so contrived.
*17. Jerry Maguire (1996)
*18. Do the Right Thing (1989) – great, and dare I say, important film.
19. Casino Royale (2006)
*20. The Lion King (1994)
*21. Schindler’s List (1993) – probably should be in the Top 10.
22. Rushmore (1998) – keep meaning to see.
23. Memento (2001) – ditto.
*24. A Room With a View (1986) – I’ve seen a lot of Merchant/Ivory films, and this is clearly the best.
*25. Shrek (2001)
*26. Hoop Dreams (1994) – Roger Ebert is right. Devastating, yet oddly hopeful.
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1988)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) – never seen a Bourne film in its entirety.
*30. When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
*31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – I said it before – that stuff on the mountain was boring. Much more interesting after that point. I’m talking about the ranching stuff.
32. Fight Club (1999)
*33. The Breakfast Club (1985) – I saw a bunch of Hughes films in a short period, and they all blend together in my mind.
*34. Fargo (1996) – on the strength of McDormand and Macy’s performances, a winner.
*35. The Incredibles (2004) – this was on NBC in the past year, and it was unwatchable to me. The commercials ruined any rhythm I got from seeing it in the theater. Still, my father-in-law stayed with it and appreciated its charms; I was too impatient. Such great social satire!
*36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) – a great superhero movie.
*37. Pretty Woman (1990) – stood in a long line at the Madison Theater in Albany to see it. I liked it just fine. Not great “cinema”.
*38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – said before, but bears repeating. Watched this on video, but was too tired to finish. Got up in the morning, finished watching it. A terrible way to see a film. Yet I LOVED it. As someone said, “A very, very sweet movie masquerading as something else.”
*39. The Sixth Sense (1999) – Soylent Green is…no wait, wrong film. No, I didn’t know the big reveal, and I’d like to see again, now that I do now.
*40. Speed (1994) – the first movie Carol and I saw together. Trashy fun.
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)- must see.
*42. Clueless (1995) – pleasant enough.
43. Gladiator (2000)
*44. The Player (1992) – loved it at the time, but now, except for the ending, fading from memory.
*45. Rain Man (1988) – Tom Cruise is amazingly good in this movie in a thankless role against the Hoffman performance. Own the soundtrack; like the soundtrack a lot.
46. Children of Men (2006)
*47. Men in Black (1997) – saw it, didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t bother watching again.
48. Scarface (1983)
*49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) – this Ang Lee film was amazing.
*50. The Piano (1993) – was quite impressed at the time, yet this movie is also fading from memory.
51. There Will Be Blood (2007) – people are appalled that I actually watched the last 10 minutes of this; someone on my blogroll posted it from YouTube. It’ll be years before i see it, and it’ll have faded.
*52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) – VERY funny.
*53. The Truman Show (1998) – I adore this film.
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
*55. Risky Business (1983) – it’s fine, but it didn’t move me as much as it did my wife and many others.
56. The Lives of Others (2006) -wanted to see this.
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
*58. Ghostbusters (1984) – quite excellent. Based in a library, which is always a plus. And fun video for the title song, put together so quickly that Ray Parker, Jr. didn’t know it was out until a friend told him how great it was.
*59. L.A. Confidential (1997) – saw Washington’s Birthday weekend 1998 along with The Queen at Crossgates Mall, one of the last times I was there. It really worked for me.
60. Scream (1996)
*61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) – fine, but probably not worthy of inclusion on the list.
*62. sex, lies and videotape (1989) – along with Do the Eight Thing, my favorite film of that year.
*63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
*65. Dirty Dancing (1987) – it was OK, but not worthy of inclusion on this list.
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
*68. Witness (1985) – probably my favorite Harrison Ford performance.
*69. All About My Mother (1999) – liked it.
*70. Broadcast News (1987) – worth it just for Albert Brooks.
*71. Unforgiven (1992)
*72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999) – I NEED to see this film\; my co-workers reference it too often.
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
*75. Out of Africa (1985) – bored me silly.
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
*78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
*79. Waiting for Guffman (1996) – like this movie a lot, love the ensemble in just about everything they’ve done.
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
*81. Moonstruck (1987) – THAT’S amore.
*82. Lost in Translation (2003) – never warmed to this film.
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
*84. Sideways (2004) – great performances.
*85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) – my wife was really hesitant to see this, as she thought it’d be stupid. So it ended up being astonishingly good, and should be ranked much higher.
*86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002) – it was pretty good, but didn’t love it.
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
*91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002) – I had forgotten about this movie which was quite fine when I saw it in the theater.
*97. Glory (1989) – there’s a scene with Denzel that pains me just thinking about it. Have on video, have the soundtrack.
*98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – clever enough, but I don’t think it has legs.
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
***
Roger Ebert writes The Balcony Is_Closed. Made me sad. Hope he comes back in a different format, if his health allows.

ROG

Librarians Of The Apocalypse

Star Wars, stand aside! Doctor Who, you’re a piker!

“There IS a wise and wonderful plan… of tomes and talismans!”

Mississippi educational television put out a series of instructional videos in the mid-1980s called Tomes & Talismans, meant to teach children about how to use the tools in the library. Described by my friend Dan, who tipped me off to this classic: “It revolves around a low budget apocalyptic science fiction plot that is generously interrupted to, for instance, explain the Dewey Decimal System. The story is that everybody that matters is abandoning the Earth, while lunatics are running around trying to destroy books and beat up TV newscasters. Time is running out, but the heroine of the story MUST RETRIEVE THE LAST OVERDUE BOOK. And there is no indication whatsoever that they were being funny or ironic. Absolutely delightful.”

The whole Tomes & Talismans series is posted on YouTube, described there as a “Post-apocalyptic library science educational show from the mid-eighties. Learn all about the Dewey decimal system, card catalogues, and microfiche! And the fate of the Earth, of course.” Dan had only watched the first episode, which was was broken down in three sections, and said the real action is in the third part. I, who had never heard of it before this week, watched all 13 episodes, roughly four hours, over two days; each of the 13 episodes runs just under 20 minutes each.

1. Tomes Entombed— overview of library/research skills and concepts
Part 1 – noisy and a bit garbled in the first couple minutes, but it clears up
Part 2
Part 3
2. Fact or Fiction— fact and fiction; alphabetical shelving
Part 1
Part 2: she IS a librarian
Part 3
3. Under Cover— parts of a book
Part 1
Part 2
4. In the Cards— card catalog
Part 1
Part 2
5. The System— Dewey Decimal Classification System
Part 1
Part2 : has most of the Dewey Decimal system laid right out for you
6. Information Quick— encyclopedia; typographical clues
Part 1 music to read your encyclopedia by
Part 2: the apparently famous watermelon episode
7. Hidden Meaning— dictionary; thesaurus
Part 1
Part 2
8. Preference for Reference— special subject reference sources
Part 1
Part 2
9. Direction Unknown— maps; atlases; world almanac
Part 1
Part 2
10. SOS: Skim or Scan— skimming; scanning; paraphrasing; taking notes
Part 1
Part 2
11. Guide to Light— Reader’s Guide; Children’s Magazine Guide
Part 1
Part 2
12. Show and Tell— audiovisual resources
Part 1
Part 2
13. Final Report— summarizing reports; concluding research; bibliographic sources
Part 1
Part 2

Reportedly, it’s coming to DVD this year.
***
Fear the Librarian

ROG

The Lydster, Part 52: Bachelor Father


Bachelor Father was a television show in the late 1950s starring John Forsythe (“Dynasty”, the voice of Charlie on “Charlie’s Angels”) as a single man who ended up raising his niece (Kelly Corcoran) with the assistance of his houseboy, Peter (Sammee Tong). I used to watch it, though I’m fairly sure it it wasn’t very good.

That’s the source of the title of this piece, but it has nothing to do with MY actual existence. When Carol went away to college late last month, it meant that I would take Lydia to daycare and have friends of mine pick her up and take her to their home from where I would pick her up and take her to our home. It, at least for a time, broke her of the habit of trying to decide on which was the preferred parent at any given time; she was stuck with me. On July 3, I got out of work early to pick her up, but the bus was extremely late, and I nearly had my nervous breakdown.

On July 4, Lydia and I took the bus to Oneonta to visit the grandparents. The bus stopped in a village called Cobleskill, where we unintentionally had the opportunity to watch the Fourth of July parade for about 45 minutes. After the parade ended and we followed the trailing police car through town, the citizenry waved at those of us in the bus as though we were part of the procession. Naturally we waved back. I stayed with Lydia over that weekend but left on Sunday by myself. Lydia did not want me to go, and was weepy as her grandfather drove off with me en route to the bus station.

The next day, I called her at about 8:30 p.m. and read her bedtime stories. This seemed to be working until I finished reading when she started negotiating her desire to have “someone from Albany” stay with her. She sounded so forlorn that I felt like hopping the next bus and picking her up. What I discovered subsequently, though, was if I called her earlier in the evening when she wasn’t so tired, she became less needy and coped with me hanging up after our conversation much better. That Friday, I called her around 7, which was fine, but then she called ME around 8:30, asking for stories. I complied, and she was OK because she knew i was coming soon.

I went back to Oneonta the next day, went with her and her grandparents to the family reunion in Binghamton, and then on Monday, Grandma and Grandpa drove Lydia and me back to Albany so we could have a reunion with my wife/Lydia’s mom, and go out to dinner.

I did miss Lydia when she was away, but I’m really happy that she found a way to have a good time going to the playground every morning and going swimming most afternoons, and then telling me about it at the end of each day. Now I’m done with those long-distance talks between her stuffed creatures that made the trip and those that didn’t. The goodbyes alone rivaled the Waltons’.

ROG