Am I Going Bats Again?


Long-time readers of this page know that our house, the one that we moved into in May 2000, has had a live bat within its walls in 2002. And 2003. And 2004. And 2005. And 2006. And 2007,despite efforts in the last several years to patch the places on the roofline where we suspect the creatures are getting into the living quarters.

Well, it’s the end of October, it’s cold, and it’s already SNOWED in Albany this week, FCOL, so I can say with some degree of confidence: in 2008, we were bat-free! Hurray!

Since it’s Halloween, Lydia’s going trick-or-treating with some kids from church. (No, I don’t worry about these “pagan” rituals threatening my Christian faith or whatnot.) We DO have to make sure we go through what she gets to pick out those candies with nuts or peanuts, since she is allergic to the latter, and the former are often processed in the same place as the latter. This means that her poor mother, my poor wife, will have to eat all the Snickers bars and Reese’s Pieces.

Meanwhile, thanks to Noggin, this is Lydia’s and my favorite Halloween song this year, based on something Evanier hates, but which I actually like in small quantities; Lydia has never had them.

or here.

Coverville discovered this One-man Thriller A Cappella with a unique twist.

20 Horror Movie Clichés.

Haunted library

Why Orange and Black?

YES WE CARVE!
ROG

And the other thing

Last weekend was extremely busy. I went to a library discussion on Saturday afternoon, more about which I’m pretty sure I’ll share eventually. That night, Carol and i got a babsitter (yay!), ate dinner at some place called the Pump Station, then went to the Palace Theatre to hear the Albany Symphony Orchestra participate in A Night of Italian Opera, celebrating Puccini’s 150th birthday. There were selections by Verdi, Donizetti, Rossini, Puccini, of course, and others (Honoring the Capital Region’s Italian-American Community.) The baritone was a last minute replacement for another singer, and he was good, but the other three especially the mezzo-soprano, were quite expressive. It was more fun that it may sound. Thanks to the couple who gave us the tickets.

Sunday after church and our church’s stewardship luncheon, I went to a comic book show in Albany (actually Colonie) described by ADD here and here.

Monday, I took off from work so I could catch up on things. I did get to watch Bill Moyers. Instead of his usual recent fare of voter fraud, misleading political ads and of course the economic meltdown, he sat with Mark Johnson, “the producer of a remarkable documentary about the simple but transformative power of music: PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC. The film brings together musicians from around the world — blues singers in a waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir — to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a new, greater understanding of our commonality.” You may have seen the Stand By Me video on Evanier’s page, but there’s lots more.
***
Uncharacteristically, I actually replied to Five For Friday this week.

ROG

ABC Wednesday: O is for Overheard

The conceit of this exercise is that everything I’m writing about I actually overheard in the last 30 days, and that every image (save for the video) is from a government website.

The guest minister preaching at the stewardship (read that money, among other things) service this past week noted that doing that kind of campaign in this economic atmosphere is “counterintuitive”. Somehow, I loved that.

I often take the city bus, after dropping off my daughter at day care, in order to get downtown. A couple middle school girls were talking.
GIRL #1: What was English about?
GIRL #2: There were three witches…
at which point GIRL #2 hands over her notebook to GIRL #1. Less than five minutes later, GIRL #1 returns the notebook and says, “At least now I won’t fail the quiz.”
I wish I could have absorbed Macbeth in five minutes like that.

A couple days ago, a couple of middle school males were talking on the bus:
BOY #1: Hey, did you ever go snowboarding?
BOY #2: Yeah, but when you fall, it can really hurt.
BOY #1: How much can it hurt? You’re falling on SNOW! I’m gonna try it this winter.

These middle schoolers are pretty loud; not raucous, but definitely at a higher volume than the general public. This week, when they got off, I said, to no one in particular, “Hey, listen to that.” The college student behind me replied, “The rest is silence.” She was quoting Hamlet, which may have been a paraphrase of Psalm 115:16-18, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth he hath given to the children of men. The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.” But I thought she was quoting the Broadway musical “Hair”, that verse in The Flesh Failures/Let The Sunshine In in which Claude reprises “Manchester England” and sings, “I believe in God, And I believe that God believes in Claude, That’s me, that’s me, that’s me”, while the chorus ends their response with “the rest is silence.”

I was in the barbershop getting a trim when one of the barbers was making a comment about one of his previous customers who got a traffic ticket despite a warning from that barber. It was an interesting enough tale, but then a woman, waiting for her boyfriend to get finished with his haircut, exclaimed, “Oh, this is just like the movie ‘Barbershop”!” Immediately, the whole barbershop went dead silent. No one likes being caricatured.

I was downtown when this man, a good 15 years older than I, walked over to me and said, “You look just like my grandfather.” I’m assuming his now deceased, beloved grandfather. Many years ago.

I was riding my now departed bike when a woman, standing on the corner waiting for the light to change, scolded her daughter for being too close to traffic while she was literally walking circles around her mother a good six feet from the curb. “No one cares about anybody,” she said. I thought that was very sad.

I was in the grocery store and heard this great song: OR this. I was even able to remember the original artist, the Main Ingredient. Better than the Aaron Neville cover, which I heard four days later.

ROG

MOVIE REVIEW: Vicki Cristina Barcelona


A friend of mine met a woman at a party that I threw. They had a torrid, tempestuous relationship that he once described as “like heroin”. Couldn’t live without her, couldn’t live with her.

That description pretty much describes at least one of the relationships in the new Woody Allen movie Vicki Cristina Barcelona, which I saw on Columbus Day by myself – well, OK, with four other people, but without my wife, who kindly stayed home with the daughter. She knows my favorite film is Woody’s Annie Hall, that I’ve seen several Allen films, and was anxious to see this one, especially since the reviews were mostly positive.

Like many good Allen movies, VCB is about sex. Whether it’s about a giant condom or a split screen ascertaining whether three times a week is “all the time” or “hardly at all”. In this case, it’s about whether the two title characters, played by Rebecca Hall as the engaged Vicki and Scarlett Johansson, a Woody Allen regular, as the unsettled Cristina, will succumb to the title vista. That includes Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) as the most forthright Lothario you’ll ever meet.

I found the movie to be a quite nice experience when Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz), the ex of Juan Antonio shows up. She is a force of nature, and ramps up the film from a pleasant diversion to one worth seeing.

There’s also a mildly interesting subplot involving the Nashes (Kevin Dunn and the always great Patricia Clarkson) that informs the main story. Chris Messina is stuck with that thankless role of Doug, the earnest, somewhat unpleasant finance of Vicki, the archtype which shows up in every other romantic movie, but the twist in this storyline makes that ultimately pay off as well.

I’ve watched a LOT of Woody Allen films, though none since 1995’s Mighty Aphrodite, save for the disappointing The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001). This is Woody Allen back, if not in his 1970s form, at least in his 1980s form, which is good enough to recommend.

ROG

Time to Vote!

Oh, not the Presidential election. I can’t vote until next week. I’m not in one of those states with “early” voting and long lines; I’m in one of those states with November 4 voting and probably longer lines.

No, I’m talking about the 2008 Podcast Awards. The voting is open until November 6 and you may vote once every 24 hours.

Here’s the thing: I just don’t listen to that many podcasts: Gordon’s Cast THIS, Pal!,Brian Ibbott’s Lyrics Undercover, Arthur’s AmeriNZ, Rick Bedrosian’s movie thing. More to the point, there are only two podcasts that I listen to that are nominated: Brian Ibbott’s Coverville in two categories (Best Produced and PodSafe Music) and James Howard Kunstler’s KunstlerCast (Cultural/Arts – really?) in one. I’ll vote for them.

But this means my ballot is…susceptible to your suggestions. Go to the ballot and let me know which shows YOU like, and why, and I’ll vote for them. Every day unless two or more of you pick from the same category; then I’ll alternate.

I have made some tentative selections in some categories: I’ve voted for Grammmar Girl, which I HAVE heard, in the Peoples Choice (why isn’t this People’s Choice?) and Education categories. I voted for Ramble Redhead based solely on the fact that he leaves comments for Arthur’s podcast. Under the Mature category, I picked Dan Savage’s Savage Love because I read him in our local arts weekly; also because he helped create another definition of the word santorum.

Now you might think this is somehow inappropriate, me voting for things I don’t know about. I contend that it’s the American way; happens all the time.

So sway me.
***
Free taco at Taco Bell tomorrow from 2 to 6 pm. Blame it on base stealing.
ROG

The Lydster, Part 55: Politics and Race


Carol and I have never talked to Lydia about the Presidential campaign. Yet, because she’s been exposed to it from TV or her friends or whatnot, she knows that John McCain and Barack Obama are running for President. (She thinks that Hillary Clinton is still running, and I haven’t been able to dissuade her of that fact; I KNEW the primary season ran too long.)

Not only does she know this, but she can identify the three of them by sight, although she does sometimes confuse McCain with other gentlemen near his vintage, including Joe Biden.

She doesn’t know Sarah Palin, but I’ve heard her say to her stuffed animals/sisters, “I’m going to be governor of Alaska.” I have no idea what THAT’S about.

But there is one big disappointment: she supports McCain. I don’t know if it’s his avuncular look or what, but she’s glommed onto the GOP candidate. Just one more reason not to lower the age of voting to four years old.

I realize that we haven’t really talked to her about race. It was important for us to go to a mixed race church and for her to attend a mixed race day care, but we never talked about it overtly. I realized this when she referred to a woman in our church as a lady with “brown hair and brown skin.” (Which is why I’ve always had a difficult time believing that people don’t see race; it may not be important to them, but if a four-and-a-half year old picks up on it, as a matter of fact, then I suspect a universality to it.)


ROG

BeckyRebecca is 30

One of the things I came across in my sojourn through old journals was how much I adored my eldest niece, Becky, practically from the moment I saw her. I wrote about her ad nauseum. She was the first person I could just love without the complications that being the child or sibling or lover tend to engender.

Becky was born five days shy of her parents’ third anniversary, which was our first linkage since I was born five days shy of MY parents’ third anniversary. She and her family were living in NYC and I in the Albany area at the time, so I recall seeing her about a month after she was born and being entranced. I made it to her first and second birthdays before her parents moved south.

But Becky and I always had a bond. I came across pictures of my grandmother’s funeral in 1982 and I’m the one tending to her while she’s coloring or needing to go for a walk. Other pictures show me always carrying her around. In some way, she helped train me to be a good uncle for four more nieces and maybe even a good dad to Lydia.

Much more recently, she got married on my birthday, as it turns out, to a decent guy named Rico.


Becky is in the center. This is one of a number of the bands she sings with, the one she performed with last December 31. Her birthday’s actually tomorrow.

Happy 30th birthday, Rebecca. I love you.

Uncle ROG

QUESTION: Political endorsements

As you probably know, Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President. In his conversation with Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press, he noted that if he had just wanted to endorse the black candidate he could have endorsed Obama months ago. Powell’s a Republican and would have endorsed McCain but for his unfocused and nasty campaign and his choice of Sarah Palin. Naturally, commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan suggested that Powell endorsed Obama because they’re both black; my favorite resdponse to that.

1. Do political endorsements matter to you? If so, from whom?
It’s much more likely to matter to me in a local race where I don’t have enough of the facts.
2. Do you think political endorsements matter to the population at large?
I was struck by the number of newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2004 who are endorsing Obama in 2008.
3. Can this election be stolen?
Probably.
But I’m much less worried by ACORN than I am by polling stations with long lines (as has already happened in early voting in Florida) and/or with machines that don’t act as they should. This recent New Yorker column speaks to my concern:
“The idea that Democrats try to win elections by arranging for hordes of nonexistent people with improbable names to vote for them has long been a favorite theme of Rove-era Republicans. Now it’s become a desperate obsession.”
More cynical people than I believe that bringing up the Bradley effect is a screen for hiding voting machine manipulation and disenfranchisement strategies. Tell people to call their COUNTY board of election and make sure they’re registered and verify the voting location. (My voting location has changed, but it’s not reflected on the STATE Board of Elections site.)
4. Would you like to know more about the health of the four candidates for President and Vice-President on the major party ticket? This article suggests we don’t know enough about ANY of them, especially McCain and Biden, but also the status of Obama’s cessation of smoking. The mysterious circumstances around the birth of Sarah Palin’s last child is pretty much the ONLY info the press has on her health.

[Stolen from the Frog.
***
STILL undecided?
***
Oooh, the photo above? That’s a shot of a lovely 8 by 10 color glossy that a relative of mine, a Republican but not a McPalin supporter, received from the RNC and gave to me, knowing just how much I would appreciate it. And I do, I really do. I obliterated the name so you can photoshop in the name of your favorite liberal and make him or her nuts.

Wait, what if someone did that [GULP] to ME?! And it must be a different Roger Green

ROG

October Ramblin’

I have no idea how or why, but someone I do not know wrote to me and asked: “Do you know why Amy Madigan was not cast as Allison French in the 2008 movie Appaloosa. She’s married to Ed Harris who co-wrote the screenplay, directed & starred in the movie?” I wrote back, “I have no idea except that Renee Zellweger is younger and more famous.”
I did also include a couple quotes:
September 13, 2006
Harris’ wife, actress Amy Madigan, informed the [SF] Chronicle that she won’t be appearing in the film because there’s no role for her in it.

October 16, 2007
Tavis Smiley: How is [Ed], by the way?
Amy Madigan: He’s wonderful. He’s directing a film right now in New Mexico called “Appaloosa” with – and he’s also acting in it – with Viggo Mortensen. He’s playing his part in that, and Renee Zellweger and Jeremy Irons, and they’re just riding horses, and they have guns, and it’s a very cool story, based on a Robert Parker novel, as a matter of fact.
Tavis: After 23 years of marriage…?
Amy: Twenty-four.
Tavis: Twenty-four years – you guys are used to being apart, I guess, for extensive time?
Amy: Yeah, but I still don’t like it. We’re just revisiting – we’re lucky because when we’re together we really have all that time, but it’s still difficult.
***
I Am the Walrus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The song also contains the exclamation goo goo g’joob with “koo koo g’joob heard clearly in the second. Various hypotheses exist regarding the origin and meaning. One is that the phrase was derived from the similar “koo koo ka choo” in Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson, written in 1967. However, the film The Graduate, where “Mrs. Robinson” debuted, did not appear until December 1967, a month after “I Am the Walrus”, and The Graduate Original Soundtrack (which contained only fragments of the final version of “Mrs Robinson”) was not until January 1968.
***
There’s a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It’s about eliminating the ‘drive-through’ Mastectomy where patients are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show support. Last year over half the House signed on. Sign the petition if you feel so moved; you need not give more than your name, state, and zip code.
Possibly not coincidentally, there was a story on ABC News last week about a father and daughter who both had breast cancer. I recall that Ed Brooke, former US Senator (R-MA) had breast cancer. Here are some stats. So while over 99% of people getting v=breast cancer are women, men can get it too.
***
alan david doane has started a blog to promote his freelance copywriting services. I understand he works in both UPPER and lower case.
***
An old friend, Elinor Brownstein im very excited that the musical she wrote is being produced: Oy Vay, the Musical
***
Chicken soup for stressed-out pandas
The Wuhan Zoo in central China has been feeding its two pandas home-cooked chicken soup twice in a month to reduce stress and give them a nutritional boost, a zoo official said Friday.
***
“A church squabble of ten years’ standing at Wallpack Center, NJ has developed a very singular phase. When the church was built, some ten years ago, the church people were divided on the subject of the site. Later, their choir became the center of the quarrel. A part of the congregation wanted the organist and singers of their choice, while others were opposed to them. The past few weeks the feeling has been getting more and more bitter. A few days ago there was to have been a special service, for which another organist was engaged, but on gathering at the church the congregation was amazed to find that someone had entered the building and, after daubing the organ inside and out with tar, had sprinkled on a bountiful supply of
feathers. The whole organ, cover, keyboard, stops, pedals, and all had received the double coat. This is certainly the most ridiculous display of petty vengeance on record”. From the News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, October 26, 1883. (Re-printed in The American Organist, October 2008, p. 52.)
***
Condolences to my friend Mary whose brother Tim died at the age of 46 after spending the last 10 years of his life fighting a battle with adult onset myotonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy.

ROG

October Ramblin'

I have no idea how or why, but someone I do not know wrote to me and asked: “Do you know why Amy Madigan was not cast as Allison French in the 2008 movie Appaloosa. She’s married to Ed Harris who co-wrote the screenplay, directed & starred in the movie?” I wrote back, “I have no idea except that Renee Zellweger is younger and more famous.”
I did also include a couple quotes:
September 13, 2006
Harris’ wife, actress Amy Madigan, informed the [SF] Chronicle that she won’t be appearing in the film because there’s no role for her in it.

October 16, 2007
Tavis Smiley: How is [Ed], by the way?
Amy Madigan: He’s wonderful. He’s directing a film right now in New Mexico called “Appaloosa” with – and he’s also acting in it – with Viggo Mortensen. He’s playing his part in that, and Renee Zellweger and Jeremy Irons, and they’re just riding horses, and they have guns, and it’s a very cool story, based on a Robert Parker novel, as a matter of fact.
Tavis: After 23 years of marriage…?
Amy: Twenty-four.
Tavis: Twenty-four years – you guys are used to being apart, I guess, for extensive time?
Amy: Yeah, but I still don’t like it. We’re just revisiting – we’re lucky because when we’re together we really have all that time, but it’s still difficult.
***
I Am the Walrus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The song also contains the exclamation goo goo g’joob with “koo koo g’joob heard clearly in the second. Various hypotheses exist regarding the origin and meaning. One is that the phrase was derived from the similar “koo koo ka choo” in Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson, written in 1967. However, the film The Graduate, where “Mrs. Robinson” debuted, did not appear until December 1967, a month after “I Am the Walrus”, and The Graduate Original Soundtrack (which contained only fragments of the final version of “Mrs Robinson”) was not until January 1968.
***
There’s a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It’s about eliminating the ‘drive-through’ Mastectomy where patients are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.
Lifetime Television has put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show support. Last year over half the House signed on. Sign the petition if you feel so moved; you need not give more than your name, state, and zip code.
Possibly not coincidentally, there was a story on ABC News last week about a father and daughter who both had breast cancer. I recall that Ed Brooke, former US Senator (R-MA) had breast cancer. Here are some stats. So while over 99% of people getting v=breast cancer are women, men can get it too.
***
alan david doane has started a blog to promote his freelance copywriting services. I understand he works in both UPPER and lower case.
***
An old friend, Elinor Brownstein im very excited that the musical she wrote is being produced: Oy Vay, the Musical
***
Chicken soup for stressed-out pandas
The Wuhan Zoo in central China has been feeding its two pandas home-cooked chicken soup twice in a month to reduce stress and give them a nutritional boost, a zoo official said Friday.
***
“A church squabble of ten years’ standing at Wallpack Center, NJ has developed a very singular phase. When the church was built, some ten years ago, the church people were divided on the subject of the site. Later, their choir became the center of the quarrel. A part of the congregation wanted the organist and singers of their choice, while others were opposed to them. The past few weeks the feeling has been getting more and more bitter. A few days ago there was to have been a special service, for which another organist was engaged, but on gathering at the church the congregation was amazed to find that someone had entered the building and, after daubing the organ inside and out with tar, had sprinkled on a bountiful supply of
feathers. The whole organ, cover, keyboard, stops, pedals, and all had received the double coat. This is certainly the most ridiculous display of petty vengeance on record”. From the News and Observer, Raleigh, NC, October 26, 1883. (Re-printed in The American Organist, October 2008, p. 52.)
***
Condolences to my friend Mary whose brother Tim died at the age of 46 after spending the last 10 years of his life fighting a battle with adult onset myotonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy.

ROG