All Hallows Eve

The odd thing about Halloween, as I think back on it, is that I have almost no recollection of the costumes I wore while trick-or-treating as a child. I’m sure I went, mostly in my grandmother’s neighborhood, but as to what I wore, it’s a total blank. It doesn’t help that most the photos from my childhood were lost, so I have no cues. And I pretty much gave up the gig by the time I was a teenager, though I may have been called upon to take my baby sister, who was (and still is!) five years younger than I.

I may have donned a costume once or twice in college, but it was in my mid-twenties when I really began dressing up. Continue reading

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October Rambling

A sure sign of madness: I’m now participating on the Times Union Getting There blog. Here’s my introductory piece, and you’ll find more along the way.

A Graveyard Of Commerce: Albany’s walled-off waterfront offers a boat launch, some casual tourism and raw sewage

W. enters a local schoolboard race – in Colorado

For mixed family, old racial tensions remain a part of life

The REAL Way to Get Wall Street’s Attention:

GO to OccupyWishList.org to provide some necessary supplies to various Occupy groups.

Bad Lip Reading – I enjoy this more in concept than in actuality

U.S. Skater Nailed First ‘Quadruple Lutz’. No, I don’t know what it is either, but my wife does.

25 Words You Might Not Know Are TrademarkedContinue reading

What’s the difference QUESTION

In my Golden Book Encyclopedia that I owned as a child, I read that a Belgian hare is NOT a hare, but a rabbit. I swear that the illogic of that statement started me on a road where discovering the differences between similar things got thwarted. (BTW, here’s the answer. Or HERE.)

Likewise, I’m not good distinguishing frogs from toads, monarch butterflies from viceroy butterflies, many car models (unless they’re really distinctive, such as the old VW Beetles, or a Rolls Royce), and even similar flowers.

I also must be somewhat colorblind, for I have a bear of a time distinguishing between black and navy blue, which I discovered about 15 years ago, when my mother bought me a blue chair to go with my blue rug. “What blue rug?” I pondered.

For what do you find difficulty in differentiating, particularly things that other people seem to see?

What a Mess!

Generally, I enjoy listening to the podcast of Arthur@AmeriNZ. But on a recent episode, Arthur was describing about what a mess his house was, and the fact that he can’t do X until Y is done, and he can’t do Y until Z is done, et al. I nearly shrieked – and not with joy – because it’s pretty much what’s been going on with us.

It’s been going on SO long that the chronology has gotten to be a bit sketchy. As I recall, a couple years ago, we decided to get the attic insultated. There is a bunch of stuff up there, inevitably. The easiest way to go about it was to move all the things in one half of the attic to the other, which we did, which naturally made that side almost impassable, and difficult to find things in, as you might imagine. Then we waited. And waited. Continue reading

From Which “Grapevine” Did You Hear It?

I love good cover versions of songs. Came across a rather fine list from Popdose. And I so agree with the opening statement: “It’s generally agreed upon that if you don’t have any new flavor to add to the original, you shouldn’t bother doing a cover.”

Certainly can’t argue with the top two, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin*, originally performed by Otis Redding*; and “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix*, originally done by Bob Dylan*. Both of the original artists have acknowledged the transformative nature of these covers. A previous list I saw contained songs that I had never heard of in the Top 10, which I discovered were less than six years old; seems to me these songs need to stand the test of time

But I have one nit to pick over this list, and it’s around the song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” As noted here and elsewhere, the song by Motown staff writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was first recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles* on August 6, 1966. And Marvin Gaye* recorded his version on April 10, 1967. But Berry Gordy, the head of Motown, hated the song & vetoed the releases by both artists. Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 91: So Close

I have very little recollection of being in hotels or motels with my parents growing up. When we weren’t at home, we either tended to stay at friends’ or relatives’ homes, or in a tent on our regular camping trips. Did I ever mention that I HATED our camping trips?

My wife and I, though, have been on a number of trips in hotels and motels with Lydia. When she was a baby or a toddler, it was easy enough to get her to go to bed, and we could stay up watching TV or reading. Not so with a seven-year old, or at least our seven-year old. She wouldn’t go to bed until we went to bed; it was partly the light bothering her, she said, but it was more her not wanting to be left out of anything.
Continue reading

The Toothache

There is a great bit by Bill Cosby on the Why Is There Air? album from the mid-1960s called The Toothache. It’s only about 4 minutes long, but it is full of great wisdom. Without having heard it for possibly decades, I remember some great lines such as:
“Here’s the difference between novocaine and pain. Novocaine doesn’t deaden pain. It postpones it. It allows all its pain buddies to get together and say, ‘We’re going to hit that hole at five o’clock.'”
But the best line, and it’s the delivery, not the words:
“And the pain…was tremendous…”

Well, I went to the dentist on Wednesday. Continue reading

Rod Serling biography by Joel Engel

One of the things I was able to do in the Adirondacks a couple months ago was to read the bulk of the book Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone – a biography by Joel Engel. I wanted to finish it because I had borrowed the book from my father-in-law and I wanted to return it; that was my internal message, not his external one.

In the Methodology and Sources section of the book, author Joel Engel expressed surprise that in 1985, a full decade after the death of the celebrated television writer Rod Serling, there had not yet been a Serling biography. So Engel made inquiries and ended up writing a book about a man whose fans adored him, but who, despite his considerable success, was riddled with self-doubt. As Engel notes in the Prologue re Serling in 1967: “Submitted for your examination: a man who’s dying inside. Not so many years ago, he rode the crest of a golden wave he thought would never end…But that was before giving birth to the Creation…Each day, he hears fewer whispers of his greatness, and those still heard cannot be believed from inside the private hell to which the Creation has doomed him.”

The Creation, of course, was the seminal series The Twilight Zone, whose writing and hosting made him both a success as a writer but also a celebrity; yet he doubted his writing abilities, and scorned his own celebrity.
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NOT SHY question

I happen to catch the song Magnet and Steel by Walter Egan at my bank, which is also a Starbucks You can LISTEN to it HERE. The backstory: Stevie Nicks sang on this track, and provided inspiration for the lyrics.

I’m a sucker for albums that have a title song but isn’t the title of the album. The album title is Not Shy, a reference in the song. “With you, I’m not shy.”

In Kill to Get Crimson by Mark Knopfler, the lyrics of Let It All Go include “I’d kill to get crimson on this palette knife.”

The title song of Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme is Scarborough Fair/Canticle. Negotiations and Love Songs, and Shining Like A National Guitar are collections of Paul Simon’s songs. The titles are taken from lines in the songs Train in the Distance and Graceland, respectively.

And of course, Nevermind by Nirvana is in reference to a word/words? in Smells Like Teen Spirit. (Oh, speaking of that song, a cover by 2 Cellos.)

Got any other examples of lines of songs that provide the title of an album?