The Lydster, Part 128: Weird Al

weirdalThe Daughter was introduced to Weird Al Yankovic on the release of his July 2014 album, Mandatory Fun, which opened at #1 on the Billboard charts, the first comedy album since 1963 to top the charts. She went away for about a week to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in mid-August, spending time with her 13 y.o. twin cousins, and she comes home a Weird Al maven.

This is not a bad thing, mind you. I’ve been following the musician’s career for about three and a half decades, back when it was primarily him playing the accordion on songs such as My Bologna (parody of the Knack’s My Sharona) and Another One Rides the Bus (take on Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust) Continue reading


T is for Tarantism

dance1Tarantism (n.) is an illness characterized by the sudden urge to dance. More specifically, according to Merriam Webster, it is “a dancing mania or malady of late medieval Europe popularly regarded as being caused by the bite of the European tarantula (Lycosa tarentula).”

Here’s an interesting article about the topic. As I suspected Continue reading

The Great American Smokeout 2014

quitterOn a regular basis, the US Surgeon General offers a reports on smoking and tobacco use. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary since that first report in January 1964 that linked smoking with lung cancer.

This year’s report links smoking to:
*Coronary heart disease and stroke
*Lung diseases such as COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
*Cancer of the Continue reading


World War I doesn’t get its props

above-the-dreamless-dead-1I was reading about World War I trench poetry remembered in comics anthology, and it hit me how relatively little most Americans know about the first World War (1914-1918), the “War to end all wars,” as someone put it, terribly incorrectly.

And it’s not its remoteness in time Continue reading


QUESTION: Is parenting a toddler at 50 easier than at 30?

father.look up toI see this article in Chicago Now, Six Reasons Parenting a Toddler at 50 is so Much Easier than at 30. Interesting to me because I had my one and only child at 51.

I think, for the most part, the points made in the article Continue reading


Q is for Qualtagh

good-morning-this-morning (1)The Wiktionary defines qualtagh (Manx English) as “The first person one encounters, either after leaving one’s home or (sometimes) outside one’s home, especially on New Year’s Day.” Unused Words describes the word as “the first person one meets (either leaving or entering their house) after the start of the New Year.”

But the first reference I saw did not specify the New Year. So I started thinking about this Continue reading