Last dance music QUESTION

I have this Facebook friend, who not only is an actual terrestrial friend but who I see regularly. Anyway she sent around this list of disco songs from which she would like the music for her funeral.

Whereas I would like a nice dignified affair. But the last song ought to be done in chicken. Almost any tune can be done in chicken. Exhibit A: unfortunately, just a snippet of In The Mood by Henhouse Five Plus Too, which is the nom de cluck of singer Ray Stevens. I don’t know if I can overstate the significance this song has had on my life, ever since I heard it on some Warner Brothers Lost Leader Continue reading

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July Ramblin’

I was moved by this:
Why didn’t I scream when I was raped?
I was 15 when it happened. Now, after a career as a terrorism expert, I want to find out what took place, and why, By Jessica Stern

I was encouraged by this:

There are now about 250 million people worldwide living in jurisdictions which provide for marriage equity, as this colorful chart will help to demonstrate.
The big spike you see in 2008 is California recognizing gay marriage through the courts, and then un-recognizing it through the passage of Proposition 8. Right now, it’s possible to marry your same-sex partner in Buenos Aires, in Mexico City, in Ames, Iowa, and in Pretoria, South Africa, but not in San Francisco. With countries like Argentina and Portugal now recognizing same-sex marriages, however, the global trajectory has returned to its slow-but-steady upward pace.

I had forgotten about this Continue reading

30-Day Challenge: Day 14-Favorite Purchase Ever Made

Favorite purchase EVER made, by me? As opposed to things purchased for me, which would an entirely different matter. Oh, dear, my library geekdom mind is showing; well, at least it has a pop culture bent.

All right, I have to pick something that has given me hours and hours of enjoyment. I first thought of the World Almanac, but I did not purchase my first half dozen almanacs, my parents did, for Christmas. Continue reading

Movie Review: Salt

I’ve been known to be a self-confessed art-house snob when it comes to movies. Interestingly, our local art house, the Spectrum Theatre, was showing Salt, the new Angelina Jolie
movie that was filmed, in part, in Albany, NY, rerouting traffic for a couple weeks last summer.

Let me state from the start that Salt isn’t the type of movie the wife and I tend to see. We’ve never viewed any of the Jason Bourne movies, for example. When you see a lot of a certain genre of movie (or listen to a certain genre of music), it develops one’s critical eye (or ear). Still, Salt is what we decided to see on Monday night date night.

I thought, after an intense flashback scene, the beginning of the movie was slow, giving a lot of exposition; I never felt that way again. Salt was an adreneline rush of action and tension from about 12 minutes in until the end. About 3/4 of the way through, my wife whispered, “I’m exhausted,” and I knew just what she meant.

This is one of those Cold War dramas that seemed farfetched until the recent Russian spy scandal in real life; the difference is that this group is far more competent, insulating themselves even in the halls of government.

I started reading the reviews Continue reading

B is for Baseball Tour

Because she loves us, my wife purchased trolley tour tickets for her father and me with the Albany Aquaducks on Sunday, June 27, the week after Father’s Day; no we didn’t go in the water. The tour was to touch upon the baseball highlights of the area.

We were instructed to meet at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in nearby Troy, NY, generally called “The Joe”, named for the former State Senate majority leader, who was convicted of a couple counts of corruption (though a subsequent Supreme Court ruling may end up nullifying the charges).

It IS a very nice stadium.

Here’s the peculiar thing, though Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 76: Elgar, and Everything

The Daughter “graduated” from kindergarten to first grade in June. Was there any doubt? Actually, if she had missed more than 28 days, there was this threat, and she did miss nine days in one marking period in the fall, for a total of 15 overall.

It was a refreshingly short event, 26 minutes, starting with the kids marching out on stage, yes, to a recording of Pomp and Circumstance, and sitting in chairs. We watched a video of their year, the kids sang two songs, then each child’s name was called, and the kid stood in place. Finally, they got to meet the first grade teachers. Afterward, there were opportunities for pictures with their teachers in the other gym, with punch and amazingly good cookies from a local bakery that was peanut-free, important for Lydia. Oh, the caps and gowns are drycleaned then reused.

At the ceremony, some of the younger parents were crying for joy. Really? It’s KINDERGARTEN. Continue reading

The Scenario

I found this at something called Monday Mayhem, only the URL spells it “mahem”. Whatever. It’s rather like Sunday Stealing except the lists tend to be shorter. I thought this one from January was rather interesting.

1. You see a strange car pull up to your neighbor’s house every day at lunch time. You accidental glance into the window of the house and notice that your ‘happily married neighbor’ is fooling around! What do you do?

Well, it depends very much on my relationship with the neighbor and the neighbor’s spouse. It might be that I would do absolutely nothing at all if I didn’t know them well. If the one fooling around was my friend, I probably would mention it to him/her. If the neighbor’s spouse was my friend, I would almost certainly mention it, not to my friend, at least initially, but to the cheating spouse, with a recommendation to end the affair; whether I told my friend would depend on the actions of the person “fooling around”.

2. You are at the mall and a mom with really annoying screaming little kids is walking in front of you. She goes to give her kids a quarter for the giant gum ball machine and she accidentally drops a $10 bill and doesn’t realize it. What do you do?
Continue reading

The Disability QUESTION


The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 20 this week, as I wrote about. Let me tell you one of those disability things that really infuriated me, still infuriates me and it was five or six years ago.

A blind man was crossing the street heading for the local Bruegger’s bakery (at Madison and South Allen, for you locals). I had the sense that he’d made this trip a number of times before. But on this day, some yahoo decided to park his car across the crosswalk. I’m thinking that the driver figured that he’d “only be there a few minutes”. But the blind man was terribly disoriented walking into the car, and I was too far away from him to help. The kicker is that – lazy jerk! – there was a parking space three car lengths away.

I’ve seen other cars park there subsequently and it never fails to irritate. It’s particularly problematic when there is snow on the ground, and those folks with walkers and canes have to maneuver around these turkeys. Ditto to those people who park a second car so that it blocks the sidewalk.
Continue reading

The Spanking Policy

Today is my sister Leslie’s birthday. Happy birthday, Leslie!
She is the middle child, and I’m the oldest, by sixteen and a half months. I have no recollection of my life without her.

Here’s one of those family stories, the telling of which will make more sense in a couple weeks, I hope.

The worst spanking I ever received directly involved her. I tell this tale not to embarrass her – after all, it WAS a half century ago – but to indicate how much that incident has imprinted on my whole life.

When I was four or five years old, Leslie marked up the piano with some crayons. My father went to Leslie and asked her who marked the piano, and she said that Roger did. So my father got the strap that hung in the kitchen – this brown leather thing about a foot long that barbers used to sharpen their razors – and started wailing on me. One of the things he was looking for from me was an apology, yet even in the midst of my pain, I was unable to do so. “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it!” I sobbed.

Eventually, and these are pretty much in the words of my father, recounting the incident years later, he figured that I was either really stupid or I was actually innocent. Finally, he requestioned Leslie, who finally confessed, and he started wailing on her. Continue reading

The Cats’ Meow


CATS was playing at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady this past weekend (July 16-18). I had never been to a production. Other than knowing that it was based on some minor poems by T.S. Eliot, and that Andrew Lloyd Webber and his ex-wife Sarah Brightman were involved, I knew surprisingly little about it. So the wife, daughter and I went; we got some seats on the side, about 2/3s of the way back, and we had a good sightline, especially since much of the action seemed to skew stage left (audience right), where we were. Separately, my brother-in-law, his wife and their two daughters also attended.

Did you ever see a performance, whether it be a band or orchestra or play, where you recognize the tremendous talent of the performers, the excellent technique of the stage crew (I rather liked the lighting, which was strewn into the audience section), the imagination of the set design, yet somehow feel really disengaged from the performance? That’s how I felt about much of the first act. Oh, there would be a song or two that gained my attention, followed by gaps where I nearly fell asleep. Then near the end of the first part, a song I recognized: Memory. Oh, THAT song.

The second act featured Continue reading