January Rambling: looking for good news

attemptedmurder Arthur’s article Why we think the news is worse than it is. This led to a thread that I wrote about finding good news amongst the bad which are here and here and here.

People I know personally, at least one an artist, seemed really irritated that a Norman Rockwell painting fetched a record price last month. This antipathy seemed to be tied to the notion of Rockwell as artistic pablum. Another view of the artist Continue reading

Rooting interests

RichardShermanThe team you root for in sports is, of course, entirely irrational. In football (NFL variety, not soccer), I support the New York Giants because, when my father was teaching me about how to watch football, we used to watch the Giants every autumn Sunday on our Binghamton, NY affiliate, WNBF-TV, Channel 12. Even went to a couple exhibition games in not-too-distant Ithaca, NY.

Who do you root for, though, when your team isn’t there? The Giants were a mediocre 7-9 this past season, starting 0-6, and failed to make the playoffs. Continue reading

C is for the Carpenters

Some of the albums I own that came out in 1971, the year I went to college, include Sticky Fingers – Rolling Stones; Pearl – Janis Joplin; Aqualung – Jethro Tull; What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye; Every Picture Tells a Story – Rod Stewart; Who’s Next – the Who; Santana (III); Led Zeppelin (IV); Hunky Dory – David Bowie. And, oh yeah, Carpenters, the eponymous third album put out by the sibling duo of Karen and Richard Carpenter.

Talk about uncool! These are the artists who took one of the Beatles’ hardest rockers, Ticket to Ride [LISTEN], and turned it into a ballad on their first album. (I rather liked it.) I loved Karen’s voice, though, and I thought they performed some lovely songs.

Side 1
The “tan album” begins with Rainy Days and Mondays [LISTEN], written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams, which I swear radio DJs at the time referenced every time there was precipitation on the first day of the work week. The Carpenters* had recorded the Nichols/Williams tune We’ve Only Just Begun [LISTEN] on their previous album. Both songs went to #2 on the US singles charts.

Richard Carpenter was a great arranger for himself and his sister, and a decent keyboard player, but often wrote drippy songs, with a person named Bettis, and, worse, sang them. Saturday at least was only eighty seconds long.

Let Me Be the One was yet another nice Nichols/Williams song.

(A Place To) Hideaway was a lovely song by someone named Randy Sparks

For All We Know [LISTEN] was another hit single Continue reading

Video Review: Muppet Treasure Island

The Daughter went to the library and got out the video of the 1996 Muppets movie adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island. She really liked The Muppets (2011) in the theater, as did The Wife and I. I’ve also enjoyed some of the early Muppet movies and that classic TV program, The Muppet Show.

Tim Curry as Long John Silver was great. Yet this story Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 118: shared songs

abraham_lincoln_subwayI have what I imagine is an annoying habit. Someone says something, and it often leads me to a song. Those references to music in my blogs are not an affectation, or looked up to be hip, it’s just THERE in my head.

The habit used to drive my dear late mother crazy when I was growing up, and I knew far fewer songs then. The Wife tolerates it, but The Daughter hated it. Or used to, until she started doing it herself.

The turning point involved a Subway commercial.

Periodically, the sandwich restaurant offers all their twelve inch sandwiches for five bucks each. Or as the maddeningly catchy repeated four bars go:
FIVE
FIVE DOLLAR
FIVE DOLLAR FOOTLONGS
It’s the minor key ending that’s the clincher.

The ad, in some variation has been around since 2008. WATCH THIS ONE, or several like it.

Not only do we sing it together, in harmony, no less, she’s now taken to coming up with new lyrics, such as:
SCHOOL
SCHOOL IS
SCHOOL IS SO HARD.

So I bug my daughter less than I used to. Is this, or is this not, a good thing?
***
A Motown medley my daughter and her classmates will be singing this month.

Occupation: writer

One of the fascinating things I’ve observed for a long time is how well – or not – people know each other, even when they see each other on a regular basis. I was reminded of this last month, during a break at church choir rehearsal. I made an offhand remark about the trials of being a librarian. One of the choir members, who’s been there a couple years, said, “But you’re not really a librarian, are you?” And I looked at another choir member, who has been to the office where I work as a librarian, with a mutual puzzlement.
Continue reading

Note to self: do not talk about religion on Facebook

Twice late last month – once on Christmas eve – I had “conversations” about religion on Facebook. It’s often unsatisfying, because I am a believer in spite of uncertainty, and these folks are usually convinced of their rightness.

Oddly, both ended up involving the Biblical phrase “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s.” Without getting into the whole back-and-forth, one guy insisted that the verses, appearing in all three of the synoptic Gospels (all, except John), meant that we are directed to obey earthly authority, pay taxes, and the like.

My view is more in line that Continue reading

Binghamton: Butch Skeene, and Spaulding Krullers

ButchIt was like a tsunami of memories of my hometown, Binghamton, NY in a 48-hour period, and it took me quite by surprise, since I usually don’t think that much about the place.

ITEM: There’s this guy named John who remembered my parents and grandmothers. He’s been following me on Facebook the last few months. He attended the church I attended, Trinity A.M.E. Zion in the hometown, and was in the junior choir about a decade before I was, under the direction of Fred Goodall, who was there for decades.

John had a good friend Continue reading

You want dating advice from me?!

The_Dating_GameNew York Erratic, who was probably snowbound when she wrote this, asked:

Another question (another life question): what’s different about dating when you’re older than dating when you’re a teenager?

You’re asking ME? I have no idea.

Let’s review my “dating” history:

High school: Hung out with a group of folks, and somehow, I’m going out with one of them. We break up Continue reading