There is a tradition among many not to reveal surprise endings of movies and even TV shows until enough people have had a chance to see them, which is quite honorable.

But what I’ve noticed lately is that the TV shows themselves are at least leaking possible story bits to the media. The very first Law & Order: LA this spring notes that someone will die. Other shows, such as those alphabet soup programs (CSI, NCIS) tease that “a hero will fall.” Is it that we should watch because someone will die? What happened to the element of surprise. See, e.g., the death of Colonel Blake at the end of the third season of the TV show M*A*S*H.

I contrast this with Continue reading

April Rambling

As a friend noted, “If this occurred randomly and naturally, it’s amazing. If it was done with Photoshop, it was inspired.”

‘Cheap flights’ song (and dance)

Rivers of Babylon a capella by Amy Barlow, joined by Kathy Smith and Corrine Crook, at Amy’s gig in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, July 2009.

Star Wars, the complete musical?

Many people use the terms science fiction and fantasy as if they are interchangeable or identical, when they are actually related, not the same. Author David Brin illuminates the differences.

Superman: citizen of the world

Re: World Intellectual Property Day and Jack Kirby

As a Presbyterian minister, I believed it was a sin. Then I met people who really understood the stakes: Continue reading

Movie Review: Made in Dagenham

Late last year, my wife and I saw the trailer for the movie Made in Dagenham, and liked it well enough that we decided to go see the film itself. But for whatever reason, we didn’t make it.

Then we noticed that it was playing for three days at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady last week. So I took off early from work, went home, and we dropped off the daughter at the home of a teenaged daughter of a church member. We were running late for the 5:15 p.m. showing because of rush hour traffic, so Carol parked the car while I bought the tickets and popcorn. Walking from the ticket counter to the entrance, the door closed, and it was LOCKED! Continue reading

White House Releases Long Form of President Obama’s Hawaii Birth Certificate

From the New York Times:

President Obama posted a copy of his “long form” birth certificate, hoping to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.

The birth certificate, which is posted online at the White House website [PDF], shows conclusively that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is signed by state officials and his mother.

Now may we PLEASE talk about something else?

5000 Questions, Part 1

Sad to read about the passing of Phoebe Snow. She had a hit single with Paul Simon called Gone At Last, but she was only 58 or 60, depending on which obit one reads.
Apparently, there really ARE 5000 questions, but this guy only did 100, at least here, so I’ll do the same. Moreover, only 25 at a time.

1. Who are you?

Not as mysterious as I think myself to be, yet not as much of an open book as others perceive me to be. And you thought I’d go with The Who reference, didn’t you?

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

I get bored easily if I’m doing the same thing, so I always need to change it up. I generally DO know where things are on my desk, so if I clean it, I’ll probably file away something important. I see and hear many things as music and numbers, even if you don’t.

3. When you aren’t filling out 5,000 question surveys like this one what are you doing?

Being a business librarian, blogging, doing the domestic thing with wife and daughter.

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn’t like at the time).

LOVED math through trig, history, American government and politics. HATED calculus, statistics, anything that involved rote memorization.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?

Get closer to retirement, monetarily.

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

I’m OK where I am. That said, I’ve never been that good at predicting the future, especially my own.

7. What stage of life are you in right now? Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 85: Peanut free

As some of you know, the daughter has a peanut allergy, discovered when she was given a peanut butter cookie shortly before she was three. Interestingly, she didn’t have the typical symptoms of swelling. Instead, she vomited – several times. And she has been tested about a year ago, and she is still allergic.

I’ve noted here in the past that there are basically two kinds of people, when it comes to food allergy safety; Continue reading

O is for Occupants of Outer Space

“In March 1953 an organization known as the International Flying Saucer Bureau sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed ‘World Contact Day’ whereby, on March 15 at a predetermined time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathic message to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words…’Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!'”

Apparently, no one replied.

But the old news story inspired a Canadian band to form with the peculiar name Continue reading


When I was in high school in Binghamton (upstate NY) in the late 1960s, my sister Leslie, another black teenage girl and I were invited to visit the classroom of the junior high school in suburban Vestal. The reason, if I’m remembering correctly (and it was over 40 years ago) was that the only black teenagers they saw were ones on television, and in those days, that was mighty few.

Interestingly, the male teacher of this music class was black, who was likely the only one, and therefore one more than there was at the time at Binghamton Central HS.

We sat and talked and answered questions, and the session seemingly did what it was intended to do Continue reading


Copyright 2006 by Sidney Harris

Have you ever experienced something that no rational explanation can describe? I did once.

I was living in Schenectady near Albany in the spring of 1978, and I asked out this amazingly beautiful young woman who worked at Albany Savings Bank; at least one parents was from Brazil. Her response was that I could go to church with her sometime.

So one Sunday afternoon, she and some friends picked me up and took me to a church in Troy, a really eclectic group of congregants.

At some point in this LONG service, the pastor went around and asked each person if they had been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. Though I had had a “saved” experience when I was nine Continue reading

Blame/Guilt in the Liturgy

When I was growing up in the AME Zion church, there was a part of the liturgy called the Prayer of Humble Access, which we said every time we had communion; in our church, that was the first Sunday of the month. The prayer has long Anglican roots; the 1662 revision, which is at least a century after the original, reads: We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. I have to say that that line about the crumbs under the Table always bothered me Continue reading