September Rambling

But before I get to that, the baseball playoffs begin today and Scott wants to know:
How do you think the MLB playoffs will go?

I expect that Boston will beat Atlanta in the World Series.

Wait, are you telling me NEITHER of them even made the playoffs after MASSIVE leads in the wild card race on Labor Day? I got a haircut yesterday, and a Red Sox fan walked into the shop and immediately, before anyone could even say a word, noted that the Yankees’ collapse in the 2004 playoffs (up 3-0, lost in 7 games to the Red Sox) was worse than the Bosox slide this year. Maybe. This year was certainly worse than the 1951 Dodgers’ collapse.

OK. Yankees over the Tigers, though with Verlander pitching for Detroit, anything’s possible. The Rangers over Tampa Bay. Texas over NYY.

Phillies over Cardinals. Brewers over Diamondbacks, though I know almost nothing about that Arizona team. Philadelphia over Milwaukee.

Phillies over Rangers.

Rooting interests, in order: NYY, Milwaukee, Detroit, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Arizona, Texas.


I remember reading earlier this month that actor Cliff Robertson, “who starred as John F. Kennedy in a 1963 World War II drama and later won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a mentally disabled bakery janitor in the movie ‘Charly,” had turned 88. Then, I discovered, he died the very next day. Some fans will recall that he was the “very first man ever to enter ‘The Outer Limits’, in addition to…his two trips to Rod Serling’s original ‘Twilight Zone’.” And yes, he was Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben. (NO relation to the rice of the same name.)
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Eleanor Mondale died. She was the hallmate of my wife’s best friend in college. Continue reading

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Roger Answers Your Questions, Amy

Amy from Sharp Little Pencil – sometimes that instrument is VERY pointed, and my “favorite Apalachin girl who went to Vestal,” writes:

Hope all in your camp are all right, Roger. Three “hundred-year floods” in five years for Binghamton. Gee, Rick Perry, do you understand global warming NOW? It’s not a belief system; it’s not an “either, or,” it’s a fact, Jack.

My sister chides me about global climate change like it’s Darwin vs. Adam and Eve, and this thought just came to me. Part of the “religiosity” (ha ha) of Tea Bag/Fundies is that they truly blur the line between faith and fact, as though if you plug your ears and say “La la la” loud enough, it will go away; and worse, that people who don’t share your “beliefs” are somehow unworthy of citizenship in the US.
Continue reading

The Health Report

Albany County, NY has had the first comfirmed case of West Nile virus in a human this month. It is not shocking, given the number of mosquitos I’ve seen lately, due in large part to all the rain we’ve had. There have been mosquitos in our home office, and Thursday night, the biggest mosquito I’ve seen in a while sitting on a choir member’s arm. I have bites on my arms and legs, even with long sleeves, and even on the top of my head.

I don’t think that’s what made me so sick on Friday morning while I was at work. My stomach was audibly growling, as though I hadn’t eaten, though I had. Then about 11 a.m. – well, let’s just say Continue reading

K is for Kennedys

Like a lot of Americans, I was most fascinated by the lives of the children and some of the grandchildren of Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the first President I REALLY remember, though I was born shortly after Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated. Naturally, I recall the assassination all too well.

I’ve expressed my ambivalence about Bobby Kennedy.

And I was terrified when Teddy Kennedy decided to challenge Jimmy Carter for the 1980 Democratic nomination for President Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 90: Talking about Tragedy

It’s been relatively easy to talk to my daughter about individual deaths, such as my mother’s earlier this year. She understands that my father, and my wife’s older brother, died before she was born, and has only photos by which to identify them, and that was helpful in the discussion.

But how does one explain the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting in which six people were killed Continue reading

Random memory of my father

My father and I took a car trip, just the two of us, from Binghamton to Lake George. I was 9 or 10 and was supposed to be the navigator, but we got off course, and we ran out of gas somewhere called Speculator, in the middle of nowhere. I thought Dad would get mad, but he took it all in stride. We walked along the road, and the stars in the sky were huge, as he pointed out. He stopped at someone’s house, got us enough gas to get to a gas station, and we went on to Lake George. Truth is, I don’t remember that much about Lake George, but I do remember the night before quite well.

My dad would have been 85 tomorrow.

Pride in the Job QUESTION

What have you done at a job, either your current one or an earlier one, that you took real pride in? I had one of those experiences this past month.

I was answering the phones in my office on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day; the office manager was out sick, and since the secretary retired, there is no backup. Understand that answering the phones is NOT specifically part of my job description. But I simply can’t stand an unanswered phone at work. (TOTALLY different at home, BTW; that’s why God invented caller ID and the answering machine.) In fact, over a year ago, I specifically requested and got phones that would pick up the main lines.

There’s this woman on the phone, Lauren from ABC News, who calls about 2 pm. She’s working on a series of stories about people who lost their jobs but subsequently started their own businesses. The trick for me is that it’d have to be someone who had waived confidentiality as one of our clients. Continue reading

Toronto: The City Pass, Part 2

The third full day in Toronto we dedicated to going to the Toronto Zoo. It is on the eastern edge of the city, and required both train and bus to get there. One could make the case for driving there, I suppose. One of the selling points of having the City Pass is that one could avoid lines. Never was this more true at the Zoo, where we avoided at least a 15-minute wait just to get inside.

The zoo is massive. We saw only about 40% of it. We went to the Malay and African sections but never even got to the Americas or Australia or Eurasia. We considered taking the train around, and we might do that on a future trip. We’re already thinking about that. Continue reading

Toronto: The City Pass

When I was thinking about us taking our trip to Toronto, I asked you fine folks for some recommendations. Some of you, especially Jaquandor, suggested a number of venues. As it turns out, all of the suggested locations are available from some program called the City Pass. In this case, five attractions at about 45% off the regular price, with nine days to see them all.

On our first full day, we took the subway to the CN Tower. Well, close to the CN Tower. We walked to an adjacent plaza as the signs suggested, but were obstructed by new construction. We followed the detour signs, and ended up exactly where we had started. We got to our destination eventually, and purchased the one child and two adult City Passes.

The CN Tower, which is one of the tallest human-made buildings in the world, was the most touristy of the five locations, with long lines. Recommendation: get there early. Don’t stop to go to the bathroom Continue reading