James Dean – d. 9/30/55


I’m not sure that most people can fully understand cultural phenomena that take place before they were born, or aware of the outside word. A person born after 1968 could appreciate the Beatles’ music, but could he or she she understand Beatlemania?

Well, that’s how I am about the actor James Dean, who died 55 years ago today, not to be confusion with Jimmy Dean, the sausage guy who died recently. I recognize him as a cultural icon, though he was in only three major movies, two of which were released posthumously. I understand it intellectually, but I didn’t “get” it.
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September Ramblin’


There was this woman named Dottie Rambo, an American gospel singer, musician, and writer of over 2500 songs, who died a couple years ago in a motor vehicle accident. I mention this because in her obit in an Italian online news publication, the accompanying picture is NOT Dottie Rambo. Who is it? Dottie’s given name was Joyce. There is a librarian friend of mine named Joyce Rambo, still alive, BTW; it is HER picture that graces the Italian obit, not Dottie’s.

A record producer plays entire Beatles catalog on ukulele; this video is only a sample.

The Apostrophe Song. For those who know the difference between it’s and its or you’re and your, and grimace when they see her’s. And especially for those who dont. I mean, don’t.
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K is for Kill


I was attempting to have a theological conversation with my mother a few years back. She demurred, “I just follow the Ten Commandments.” Yeah, I said, but what do they mean? Take that one that says, “Thou shalt not kill?” How does one interpret that in today’s world?

For instance, according to some sources, “the Hebrew word that was used in this case for ‘kill’ (or murder) was the somewhat rare term rasah… Although its exact meaning has defied explanation, in other contexts it could refer to killing that was inherently evil… However, the same term could also have applied to unintentional manslaughter…, blood vengeance…, the legal execution of a criminal …” Continue reading

Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott and Anne-Marie

My good buddy Scott, who I’ve never met, the blogger at Scooter Chronicles, has several questions:

1. Now that the baseball playoff teams (except for the NL West) are pretty well set, who do you see getting to the World Series and who wins it?

I can’t help but think the teams will be from the East. But which teams? Minnesota has been hot, but I think they can be beaten; likewise the Rangers. So I’m saying Tampa and the Yankees in the ALCS. I’ll pick the Yankees, but I’m by no means certain.

Look for Cincinnati to get to the NLCS, and lose to the Phillies. Yankees over the Phillies. Or Tampa over the Phillies. Whoever wins the AL EAST over the winner of the NL EAST.

2. How long have you been reading/collecting comics?

Well, I’m pretty much not anymore, though I pick up some on Free Comic Book Day in May, and inevitablty buy SOMETHING. I started in 1971 – it was his fault – and sold my collection in 1994. but I still have some collections, and even bought some Marvel Masterworks just this year.

3. If you still read them often, is there a new series that really interests you?

Well, no. But I would recommend to you Saga of the Swamp Thing collection by Moore, Bissette, and Totleben, and not just because Steve Bissette is my buddy who I HAVE met. I know you just read The Watchmen. This is a different thing, of course, but very good.

4. Of the comic book superheroes, who do you think has the coolest logo?
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The Crocodile Song

My father would have been 84 tomorrow. There’s a guy, Ray, who was my friend from second to ninth grade. He went to a different high school, and moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. However, I was in his wedding in October 1976, and I got to escort his mother, who was the Den mother of our Cub Scout troop, down the aisle.

He’s now my Facebook friend. About a month ago, unbidden, he started sending these messages, a verse at a time:

“Sung by: Les Green
To the kids of the ‘50s and ‘60s at Daniel S. Dickinson, PS #9 School, Binghamton, NY

“The Crocodile Song” Continue reading

From Darlanne to Jaquandor

WAY back in February, that blogger from Buffalo, Jaquandor wrote about the entertainingly cheesy (or is it entertainingly cheesy?) 1980 movie, Battle Beyond the Stars.

Of particular interest to me was this paragraph:

“The other girl there is Nanelia (Darlanne Fluegel), who is every bit as naïve about people as Shad is, which makes her a perfect fit for him. She, too, gets far too little screentime, because she’s really cute. I remember her being one of the first females onscreen to impress me with her cuteness. I mean, look how cute she is in that clip, when she giggles at the prospect of learning how to “tingle, tangle, prangle” her new love interest from this warrior in the goofy headdress! Yeah, Nanelia is really, really cute:”

I had to comment: “Never saw the movie.

But I went to Binghamton Central High School with Darlanne Fluegel! Continue reading

Roger Answers Your Questions, Shooting Parrot, Tom the Mayor, and Rose


I’ve been to the blog of Shooting Parrots, and have yet to see any dead or maimed birds. Regardless, he asked:

With most blogs, you get a sense of a life, but not necessarily a sense of place, apart from hints here and there. Could you describe the area where you live, what you like and/or hate about it, its history, the places you like to visit and things you like to do? Pretty much a blank cheque really!

Yikes, this is tough! So open-ended. Well, OK.

Albany is the capital of New York State. One of the things that kinda annoys me about that is that people from other parts of the state say we have to “fix Albany”, when they mean state government. It’s like “fixing Washington”, when referring to the US federal government.

Not that there aren’t things to fix in the city itself. Part of it has to do with bizarre urban planning. There is something generally called the Empire State Plaza, or the South Mall, which was built in the 1960s, apparently as a result of the then-governor, Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, being embarrassed by Albany’s allegedly parochial look when some Dutch royalty was visiting. This involved tearing down dozens of houses, and made the city’s downtown less walkable and vibrant in many ways, though it did provide it with its distinctive skyline. Continue reading

September Equinox ASK ROGER ANYTHING

Just recently, I was musing what to call it when the daytime and the nighttime are the same length. Used to be that, in March, I would describe it as the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. In September, it would be reversed. But that meant too many words. Recently, though someone, I forget who, though I have a guess, suggested calling them the September equinox and the March equinox; brilliant in its simplicity! And it works as well for the June and December solstices as well.

Anyway, this is an occasion when I get REALLY lazy. I decide, “Hey, I write this thing every day; the LEAST my vast 😉 audience can do is help me along with the content once in a while.” It is not entirely selfish, either. If I ask you, and you respond, then I answer, I am giving the people what they want. Continue reading

J is for Just large enough, and Jupiter


When we were growing up, we lived on the first floor of a small two-story house, which was owned by my maternal grandmother; my paternal grandparents lived upstairs. On our floor was the master bedroom and kitchen in the back; the parlor, bathroom and another bedroom in the middle; and the living room in the front.

I had two younger sisters, so they eventually slept in bunkbeds in the second bedroom. To make a room for me Continue reading