The Tulip Festival and politics

There has been an annual Tulip Festival in Albany on Mother’s Day weekend for decades in Washington Park in Albany. If I go these days, it’s always been on Saturday, because Sunday involved us driving to somewhere south of here to have dinner with my various in-laws.

But THIS year, my parents-in-law were in Florida that weekend, and since the Saturday weather was pretty rotten, we went after church. We listened to some music; Radio Disney’s version of White Room was OK instrumentally, but not so much with the teenage female vocalist. We ate some food, went to some vendors.

How the city gardener gets the various plants to usually come up at just the right time is impressive. My buddy Chuck Miller took some nifty photos of the flowers here and subsequently.

My favorite part is going to the activist ghetto, where the school district, some religious organizations, environmentalists, and more are set up. In November, New York State is going to vote on whether there shall be a constitutional convention. The NY Civil Liberties Union and others, such as the ad hoc No New York Convention.org against it, noting that the LAST time this was held, about 50 years ago, most of the people selected as delegates were sitting politicians. Plus the ideas they came up with were voted down by the voters.

We saw this scene after the Tulip Festival on the way back to the car, in a window on State Street in Albany, the photo taken by the Daughter. It made us wonder about the back story. Who put up the sign first, and was the second sign in response? Are these adjoining apartments, or posters in the same one?

Which reminded me: My friend Sarah and her husband Darin were recently interviewed as part of series on married couples with divergent political views. The producer was particularly interested in the incident in which she unfriended him on Facebook. “Better that way,” she says, and that is certainly true. Oddly, I’m still FB friends with him, but I usually stick with comments about minor league baseball player Tim Tebow.

T is for The Twist

From Billboard: “On December 16, [2016] Chubby Checker releases a newly-remixed physical version of his iconic hit, ‘The Twist,’ the Billboard Hot 100’s all-time No. 1. The update had arrived for digital purchase September 16, but now fans can own a hard copy of it.”

As all American pop music junkies should know, Chubby Checker’s version of the tune is the only one to go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in two non-consecutive years. The writing credits are somewhat in dispute, as you can read in the Wikipedia, but certainly from within the group Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, based on other tunes.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters “originally recorded a loose version of the song in a Florida studio for Vee-Jay Records in early 1958… They did not get around to recording the released version until November 11, 1958, when the Midnighters were in Cincinnati. Ballard thought ‘The Twist’ was the hit side, but King Records producer Henry Glover preferred the ballad ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, which he’d written himself.”

After the song became popular in Baltimore and Philadelphia, the song was destined for American Bandstand, but either Ballard was unavailable for the show (Wikipedia) OR, per Songfacts, “[AB host Dick] Clark loved the song but was wary of Ballard, who was known for raunchy songs like ‘Sexy Ways’ and ‘Work With Me, Annie.”

Clark looked for his own artist to break the song. He found a young man who was a chicken plucker and great impersonator. According to the Chubby Checker official site: “Ernest Evans was born in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, but grew up in South Philadelphia, where he lived with his parents and two brothers.”

Clark’s wife suggested that Evans use a variation on Fats Domino: Fats=Chubby Domino=Checker. “It was his version that raced up the charts. The cover was so convincing that when Hank Ballard first heard the song on the radio he thought it was him – ‘They cloned it’ were Hank’s words. Ballard was not bitter toward Checker or Clark when his version was left behind, especially since Ballard’s record company had no faith in the song. Since he was the songwriter, Ballard earned massive royalties when Checker’s version became a huge hit.”

“This started a dance craze that got so popular because it was so easy to do. Even the severely rhythm-challenged could do The Twist… This helped bridge a generation gap since both kids and adults could do it.

“In late 1961 and early 1962, the twist craze belatedly caught on in high society. Sightings of celebrities doing the dance made the song a hit with adults… This new interest… marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.”

There were lots of other twist-related songs on the charts in the early ’60s, including “Let’s Twist Again” (#8) and “Twistin’ U.S.A.” (#68), both by Checker, before the re-released “The Twist” hit #1 on January 13, 1962, and stayed there for 2 weeks. It was replaced by “Peppermint Twist – Part I” by Joey Dee and The Starliters, which held the top spot for 3 weeks. Checker re-recorded his biggest hit numerous times.

In this interview: Checker said, “Before ‘The Twist,’ you danced in rhythm with the song. With ‘The Twist,’ suddenly you’re dancing apart from the beat, and not with your girl. Now, you see a girl across the floor that you’ve never seen before, you’re nodding your head, you’re seeing her dance … By the time the song is over … whew,” Checker says, chuckling at the song’s impact on not only the development of early rock ‘n’ roll and dance, but perhaps also on relations between the sexes ever since. Check out this podcast as well.

“The song has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress on March 21, 2013 for long-term preservation.”

Listen to The Twist:
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (1959)
Chubby Checker on American Bandstand (1960)
The Fat Boys with Chubby Checker (1988)
Chubby Checker (2016)

Navel-gazing about blogging

For me, this graphic is mostly fiction. I mean, it has happened to me with songs, book passages, interesting news stories that people did not appreciate what I liked, or embraced what I loathed. But I recall someone named Arthur having some sort of law – what did he call it? – that says:

“Everything you love, someone else hates; everything you hate, someone else loves. So, relax and like what you like and forget about everyone else.”

Since I started blogging, I’ve given up the notion of “guilty pleasures”. It may be pleasure, but I don’t have the need to feel guilty. I may have swiped that idea from SamuraiFrog.

In fact, I steal a lot of ideas in this blog from other places, some so long ago I don’t remember. I had been linking to articles that I didn’t have enough of an angle/time/interest to write about them. I had been doing that twice a month. But two people I know In Real Life suggested that the posts were too long, though they’re no lengthier than my usual posts. Still, as a result of being out of sync from changing servers, I did it three times in April. I may do so thrice in May. Or twice. Or four times, I dunno.

All of this technical drama on the blog was frustrating because it’s not what interests me about blogging. I’m like the guy who likes driving but he doesn’t care to look under the hood. I’m the guy who is looking around to find the latch that opens the hood – “it must be here SOMEwhere.”

I have been actively trying to write shorter pieces that are still worth your time AND my interest. I have this SEO thingy that tells me that if I don’t hit 300 words, it won’t be as popular, or something that. Guess what? I don’t care.

Enough navel-gazing for now.

May rambling #2: a controlled descent of a vertical drop



Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017

How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind

Race and education make a bigger difference in who you vote for than ever before

Voting Rate for the Non-Hispanic Black Population Dropped in the 2016 Presidential Election

John Lewis: “Get in the way”

vlogbrothers: Your Neighborhood, Your Life Expectancy

Cartoon: Freedom to be screwed, 2017 edition

Are we monsters?

Quora: Before Obamacare, when insurance companies denied people for pre-existing conditions, did that mean people who had them couldn’t get insurance? (The short answer is “yes”, over and over.)

Climate of Propaganda

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II; last 4 minutes are true about people on the Internet

The statement issued by 50 prominent Republican national security experts in August 2016 pointing out that a man who would not, under normal circumstances, ever be given a high-level security clearance was unfit to be President

#37 counsels #45

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” – Dante

“Closer Look” with Seth Meyers, maybe the sharpest political comedy on TV these days

The 5 Worst Dressed Men on Capitol Hill

Narcissistic personality disorder

He is what he appears to be

Pence embodies what’s wrong with Washington

‘SNL’s’ Yuuuge Year

Danth’s Law is an Internet axiom which asserts that if a person has to insist that he or she has won an Internet argument, it is likely the said person has lost

Mark Evanier writes about palliative care for Carolyn Kelly

Mauno Koivisto, president who led Finland out of Soviet shadow, dies at 93

Steve Palermo, Umpire Whose Career Was Ended by a Bullet, Dies at 67

Internet Archive cited for Lifetime Achievement at the 21st Annual Webby Awards

See Old New York in Stunning Photos

You Use Algebra All The Time (Even If You Don’t Realize it)

Find Percentage With Percent Increase Online Calculator ; I’ve had to use this to explain a point this year

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

Word of the week: An abseil (/ˈæbseɪl/ or /ˈɑːpzaɪl/; from German abseilen, meaning “to rope down”), also called a rappel after its French name, is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Pronounced AB-sale. As seen here.

The Mystery of the Mysterious Glass

Now I Know: The Self-Aware Conference Call Line and The Off-Color Golden Arches

The sandwich alignment chart

MUSIC

Walter O’Brien: The Man Who Never Returned by PETER DREIER and JIM VRABEL. “In 1949, the Boston People’s Artists wrote ‘MTA’ for a left-wing candidate. The song became a hit — the man behind it disappeared.”

Visions, by Jules Massenet

Baltimore – Audra McDonald

Coverville Cover Stories 1169: Badfinger and Tommy James & the Shondells and 1170: Talking Heads

Julie London singing Cry Me A River and…

The great songs: Time Is Tight by Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Meet the critic who panned ‘Sgt. Pepper’ then discovered his speaker was busted; he’s still not sorry

TheDowntown.church, Springfield, MO

Music throwback Saturday: Count The Days

There are a LOT of songs with counting in them, from Len Berry’s 1-2-3 and Feist’s 1234 to the Jackson Five’s ABC (“easy as 1, 2, 3”) and the Beatles’All Together Now or the end of You Never Give Me Your Money (“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, All good children go to heaven”). Here’s a Reddit post on the topic, and there are plenty more.

By odd coincidence, I played a couple songs in the category on the same day recently.

13 Question Method by Ry Cooder is a fairly obscure Chuck Berry song. The YouTube description says it was a Berry bootleg in 1957, then released as a legitimate track in 1961.

Count the Days (1-2-3-4-5-6-7), recorded by Gene Pitney was written by Y. Williams, C. Fox, and B. O’Dell. Pitney’s take released at the end of 1968 does not appear to have charted. However, a version from about a year earlier by the brother-and-sister group Charlie & Inez Foxx went to #17 R&B and #76 pop on the Billboard charts. The duo’s big hit was Mockingbird, later covered by James Taylor and Carly Simon.

I must admit being a sucker for a Beach Boys song in the genre, When I Grow Up (To Be A Man), that starts with age 14 and fades out at 31. It got to #9 in 1964.

Listen to:

13 Question Method (live) – Ry Cooder, with David Lindley
13 Question Method – Chuck Berry (1957)
13 Question Method – Chuck Berry (1961)

Count the Days (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) – Gene Pitney
(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days – Charlie and Inez Foxx

When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) – Beach Boys

1-2-3 – Len Berry

1234 – Feist
1234 – Feist, Sesame Street version

All Together Now – Paul McCartney (live in 2013 in Tokyo)

ABC – Jackson Five

1,2,3 Red Light – 1910 Fruitgum Company

Self-monitoring toilets and other modern conveniences

There is this article that Dan Lewis of Now I Know pointed to: Why Nothing Works Anymore, with the subtitle “Technology has its own purposes.”

“The contemporary public restroom offers an example. Infrared-sensor flush toilets, fixtures, and towel dispensers are sometimes endorsed on ecological grounds—they are said to save resources by regulating them. But thanks to their overzealous sensors, these toilets increase water or paper consumption substantially. Toilets flush three times instead of one. Faucets open at full-blast. Towel dispensers mete out papers so miserly that people take more than they need. Instead of saving resources, these apparatuses mostly save labor and management costs. When a toilet flushes incessantly, or when a faucet shuts off on its own, or when a towel dispenser discharges only six inches of paper when a hand waves under it, it reduces the need for human workers to oversee, clean, and supply the restroom.”

Surely I have experienced this. In the previous building I worked in, the toilet flushed an average of 2.5 times every time. Not only would the faucets only turn on with proper distance wave, they would often fail to turn off even ten minutes later. And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I’m not the handiest person in the world, but I have opened the back of a standard toilet to get it to work again. I think this is the same frustration car owners have with everything so calibrated that they can’t fix what’s under the hood. It gives me an uneasy feeling.

I went to this home show maybe decade or so ago, and we marveled how wonderful a “smart” house would be, knowing how efficient it would be. Likewise the driverless car. These would be particular wonders to the elderly and the disabled. But can they be hacked?

Or go rogue? I think of HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the characters in the movie Westworld. I don’t think I’m just being a Luddite when I get wary that technology will always make our lives easier. Maybe paranoid, though.

Music: There Will Never Be Another You

Marcia, the younger sister, in very many ways, has become the keeper of the flame, not only for the history of the nuclear family in which we grew up back in Binghamton, NY in the 1950s and ’60s, but for the extended tribe as well.

It’s logical. She was the only one who moved to Charlotte, NC with the parents. Leslie and I were already ensconced in college, though of us lived down there for brief periods in the late 1970s.

After my father died in 2000, Mom and Marcia took care of Marcia’s daughter Alex and each other, though as time marched on, Marcia and her daughter were tending more to Mom until she died in 2011.

She still is tending to our parents’ memory, as she has access to decades worth of photos and other material.

As all three of her kids knew, my mom LOVED Nat King Cole. She had a whole bunch of 78s of his, but I have no idea whatever became of them. There were some items in my maternal grandmother’s house, the house my grandma and mom grew up in, and where my sisters and I spent a lot of time. The stuff went into storage and ultimately disappeared long ago, including some photographs of mine.

Marcia was musing about my mother back in November, just before Mom’s birthday. Our mother particularly loved Nature Boy and other familiar tunes by Cole. But neither Marcia nor I had heard him perform There Will Never Be Another You. It’s become one of Marcia’s favorite Nat King Cole songs. And I can hear why.

BTW, neither she nor I ever really learned to play the guitar, though Dad and Leslie did. The painting in the background with the guitar was by our father.

LISTEN to There Will Never Be Another You

Arturo Sandoval

Nat Cole

Doris Day

Happy birthday, Marcia!

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Is Looking for a Librarian

About a half dozen people sent me, usually via Facebook, an article about a job ad: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Is Looking for a Librarian. Now it is true that I am a librarian, and for nearly 25 years. It’s also correct that I am interested in rock and/or roll, based on the one or two articles I’ve written on the subject the past dozen years. I’ve even been to the place in Cleveland, OH the past year, as I indicated here and here.

So I just HAD to look at the job description: “The Librarian reports to the Senior Director of Library and Archives and performs descriptive cataloging of library resources; assists in providing instruction and reference service and engaging users through outreach activities; assists in the collection development of library resources; and supervises the work of the Library Assistant, interns, and volunteers.”

I have done instruction, engaged users online on a few webinars, supervised interns. I’ve had only passing opportunity to do collection development. But I really haven’t done cataloging at all.

Moreover, in looking at the full posting, I have NO “Experience cataloging using RDA, AACR2, Library of Congress-Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Statements (LC-PCC PS), Library of Congress Classification (LCC), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Library of Congress Genre-Form Terms (LCGFT), and MARC formats.”

In fact, the only cataloging of music material I’ve ever done was for my personal use. For instance, I have several LPs that are compilations with various artists, such as the Warner Brothers Loss Leaders, benefit concerts such as The Secret Policeman’s Ball, and some soundtracks. I created a 3X5 card for each artist, with song and album name, better to make mixed tapes; ah, Arlo Guthrie’s Voter Registration Rag is on Burbank.

And that was about a decade before I even went to library school, which SHOULD have told me something. Was that geeky or what?

So I shan’t be moving to Cleveland, alas. But I appreciate all the notices from the people who have been thinking about me.

S is for Sikhism (ABC Wednesday)

Everyone at my place of employment received this email message this past winter:

Special Reports: Sikhism

The word Sikh (pronounced “sickh”) means ‘disciple’ or ‘learner.’ The Sikh religion was founded in Northern India in the fifteenth century by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and is distinct from Islam and Hinduism. Sikhism is monotheistic and stresses the equality of all men and women. Sikhs believe in three basic principles; meditating on the name of God (praying), earning a living by honest means, as well as sharing the fruits of one’s labor with others. Sikhism rejects caste and class systems and emphasizes service to humanity.

Sikhs at a Glance

Sikhs have been in the U.S. for over 100 years
There are roughly 700,000 Sikhs in the U.S. today
Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion with 25 million adherents worldwide
Sikhs believe in one God, equality, freedom of religion, community service and nonviolence
Sikhism is a distinct religion, separate from Hinduism and Islam
99% of people wearing turbans in the U.S. are Sikhs from India
The Sikh turban represents a commitment to equality and justice
Sikhs cover their uncut hair with a turban

For more information:

Who are Sikhs

About Sikhism

System Administration Police recently had the opportunity to engage in an open conversation about Sikhism with a fellow SUNY colleague. Anyone interested in discussing an important topic can email SUNY University Police to set up a meeting.
***
This, of course, begs the question: what the heck happened to prompt the Special Report?

While not comparable on most terms, I had heard people compare how they felt after 9/11 to how they felt after November 8, 2016. Right after 9/11, a Sikh man was killed, and in subsequent years, other Sikhs have been victimized. In early 2017, Sikhs were again targeted.

Perhaps that’s why Valerie Kaur offered A Sikh Prayer for America on November 9th, 2016.

Sikh Americans
Sikhism

Anniversary 18

It was March 12, my parents’ anniversary as it turns out, when I mused how is it my bride and I were approaching anniversary 18. How is it that we’ve been married so long, since we obviously drive each other crazy?

Now, how I drive HER crazy is for her blog, which she doesn’t have. Sidebar on that: I’ve been in relationships where I had to argue both my side AND my significant other’s, which is REALLY exhausting.

The stairs to the attic: they are steep and narrow and have a 180 degree turn, so a real pain to traverse. Our modus operandi was that we put stuff inside the door to the attic, so that it would be carried up the stairs next time we have to go up. Instead, the bottom landing and the first two or three steps have become a fire hazard, the new home of boxes, but I don’t know what they are.

I hate that they are located there because, while I can see them OK going up, if I’m carrying something DOWN, I may not be able to view the obstruction at all, and am likely to literally kill myself. She carried some suitcases that had been in our bedroom up the stairs just fine, but I insist on dealing with this other issue.

“What’s in this box?” I ask. It turns out it’s knickknacks that had been found by the Daughter in the Wife’s closet.

“What do want to DO with this stuff?” “I don’t even know if I want it.” So up the stairs I take it. As I work on this project, she apparently doesn’t see my issue as a problem. And I’m doing this in lieu of dealing with the clutter in our bedroom – the original project, which we both acknowledge IS an issue.

The difference between this and previous relations is that I see this as just one of life’s little irritations rather than bemoaning, “Why doesn’t she understand me?” or some such.

Somehow, my parents made it to 50 years, before my dad died in 2000, so I’m looking forward to 2049.

In case you wondered, garnet is the traditional gift for anniversary, and porcelain the modern one. (No, I’m not angling for gifts.)

Flintstones – Happy Anniversary