January Rambling: Rapturous Research and Sour Apples

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: Who are the four music artists to have won an Academy Award for an ACTING role and achieving a #1 album in the U.S.? (This excludes people such as Bruce Springsteen and Elton John, who won MUSIC Oscars.)

Arrgh! – the idiots who are the Newtown truthers. Other fools are harassing the guy who took in six children after the Newtown shootings. The Hitler gun control lie. Related: Run, Hide, Fight: Alabama’s video response to mass shootings. Also, Amy’s poem – “If Jesus had had a gun in Gethsamane, would he have taken aim at the guards?”

Gandhi and gambling.

Idle No More 101. What it’s NOT: “An extended Native American Heritage Month, where non-Natives have to act like they’re fascinated by Native culture.”

The power of the Mouse.

Talk about class warfare.
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Friend Fred Hembeck is 60

This past August, my wife, my daughter and I got to visit Fred Hembeck and his wife Lynn Moss down in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State. This had been an annual event for three or four years, but it had been four years since we last came by. I’m quite sure of that because their daughter Julie was about to go to college the last time we visited, and now she’s graduated. She was also present.

Anyone who has been following Fred’s Facebook page will know, right before Father’s Day 2012, Julie’s left leg was run over by a mack truck! She went through a variety of treatments, including several different casts and at least three surgeries.

To add insult to injury, quite literally Continue reading

C is for Cooperation, and Competition

Anyone who knows me casually will likely come to the conclusion that I am a rather cooperative guy, and that would be true. I got a Masters degree in Library Science, a very cooperative field, at a school, not necessarily coincidently, dominated by women students. Whereas, a decade earlier, I had dropped out of a Masters program in Public Administration, where the students were far more competitive, and not so incidentally, far more male.

The classic example: when I would be in the library trying to find a resource in the PA program, and couldn’t find it, there was a good chance that someone else had, and had hidden it to make it more difficult for others; really zero sum. Whereas the library folks Continue reading

Movie review: Life of Pi

After making it back home from the Madison Theatre after seeing Wreck-it Ralph, I went back there with my friend Mary, while The Wife and the Daughter went ice skating. We saw Life of Pi, the fifth Best Picture nomination I’ve seen this season.

One thing is for sure – I don’t believe in God any more than I did; that’s a reference to a line in the film. If you have seen the commercial of the young man on a boat with a Bengal tiger Continue reading

(Fairly) New in the Dictionary

I was clearing out some old newspapers when I came across the continuation of a story from August about words being added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, which I meant to write about at the time. That ever happen to you? Here’s the article.

Shown below are some of the words, along with a few thoughts about them. The years indicate first documented use.

aha moment
– n (1939) a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension

Surprised this didn’t make it sooner.

brain cramp
– n (1982): an instance of temporary mental confusion resulting in an error or lapse of judgment

There are some variations on this term that may be more popular.

bucket list
– n (2006): a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying

I was really shocked Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 106: What’s in a name?

Cheri at Idle Chatter was answering some quiz. One question was: “What are your favorite boy/girl baby names?” Fact is that, prior to my wife getting pregnant ten years ago this coming summer, I hadn’t given it much thought. I suppose some people fantasize about having children and make lists. For me, though, I was 50, hadn’t had a child, might not have a child, so it wasn’t anything I really considered.

As it turned out, it became more about rules, primarily my rules, negative rules Continue reading

Movie Reviews: Wreck-It Ralph, and Paperman

The local Police Athletic League was sponsoring movies at the nearby Madison Theatre Monday morning, $3 for kids, $5 for adults, and this included a small popcorn and a drink. There were three PG-rated choices playing: Life of Pi, which I thought might be too intense for the Daughter; Parental Guidance, with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, which was the most attended, but not something I particularly wanted to see; and the animated Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. The cartoon won out.

There was an utterly charming animated short called Paperman Continue reading

Sporting news: Earl Weaver, Stan Musial, Lance Armstrong

I was a big New York Yankees fan when I was a child. But when the Bronx Bombers went into a tailspin after the 1964 World Series, and were frankly terrible for close to a decade, I had to find a secondary American League team to support. That franchise was the Baltimore Orioles with the Robinson “brothers,” Brooks and Frank, fine pitchers such as Jim Palmer, and their feisty Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, who died this week at the age of 82. He was thrown out of more Major League Baseball games than any other manager; he could be quite entertaining.

Not that I ALWAYS rooted for the Orioles in the World Series. Continue reading

Movie Review: Hyde Park on the Hudson

The back story, part 1: The movie Hyde Park on the Hudson is based on the papers of some fifth cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When she died at the age of 100 or so, it was revealed that FDR and Daisy had had a sexual and emotional liaison.

The back story, part 2: My family went to Hyde Park just this past summer, which is largely why The Wife and I decided to see this film this past Saturday, at the Spectrum 8 Theatre. The room was about 2/3s full.

The strength of this movie is in many of the details that it gets right Continue reading

B is for Books

When I was at my previous church, a book club was formed, and I joined. Most of the members of the group were women, an average of two decades older than I. Each month, we’d pick a topic, and we’d all read different books around that topic; it might be about crafts or poetry or popular culture. With that structure, I always read ten to twelve books a year, and usually lot more; reading begat more reading. Continue reading