May rambling #3: A Steampunk Opera

2011: the Daughter, niece Alex, niece Rebecca

Antarctica’s ice sheet may be approaching an unstoppable collapse

John Oliver Goes For Blood To Rip Dialysis Companies

An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

On Memorial Day we ought to remember the dead, not celebrate the Empire

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments

The complicated origin of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows

Frank Deford, who wrote about sports with panache and insight, dies at 78

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

AMONGST THE STARS by Kelly Sedinger is now available for purchase

Mamet Threatens Fines Over Post-Show Discussion of His Play

Why I Stopped Going to Movie Theatres: The Death of Etiquette

Jaquandor: The Force will be with you always

Uncle Sam’s gonna want my apples

I divorced my husband but forged a lasting bond with his ex-wife

The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies

Elaborate senior photos allow students to live out their fantasies in yearbook

Now I Know: The Kitchen Utensil that Woofed and The Mexican Art Tax and Room for Two

From Dan – Hebdomadal: “Spell checker likes it. Means something that happens once a week every seven days, used especially for organizations. It’s not considered archaic, although usage was more common in the 1800s. Saw it in a (paper) book first published in 1986 that I am currently reading, used without a trace of irony.” Wouldn’t “weekly” do?

Everyone Gets a ‘Trophe

Nobody Did It Better: Thank You, Sir Roger Moore, and from Maverick: Season 4

Rowan Atkinson interviews Elton John

Weird Minor-League Strikeout by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitcher

Arthur’s household hints
Continue reading

Knox Choir Concert, Thursday, June 8

The Knox Choir is comprised of youth in grades 7 through 12 and is one of eight choirs of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dayton, Ohio, where Pastors Glenn and Miriam served prior to coming to First Presbyterian in Albany.

This summer the group is embarking on a seven-day concert tour of the Northeast, including at First Presbyterian Church, 362 State Street, at the corner of Willett Street, across from Washington Park, in Albany, on Thursday June 8.

A wide variety of music will be sung, including works by Fauré and Bach, as well as music from the gospel tradition, and songs from around the globe. Since 2007, the Knox Choir has done eight tours, including three Presbyterian heritage tours of Scotland.

The evening will begin with a Potluck Supper at 6:00 in Assembly Hall at First Presbyterian. Bring some food to share and enjoy good conversation.

The Knox Choir Concert will begin at 7:30 pm in the church sanctuary. An event for all!

In addition to presenting concerts in churches, the group will be exploring local points of interest in Western and Central New York, Maine, Boston, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

U is for unsub

My friend Dan wrote:

The word is “unsub.” Spellcheck doesn’t like it.

1) Google: Unsubscribe, as in cancel a subscription.

2) Everyone else: Unknown subject of an investigation. Used mainly by US TV crime shows.

Hmm, I don’t watch the crime shows, but let’s check it out.

Oxford Living Dictionary

1. Unsubscribe.
‘you won’t be spammed and you can unsub if you change your mind’

Origin
1990s: abbreviation.

2. US, informal
(in police use) a person of unknown identity who is the subject of a criminal investigation.
‘putting together these insights will help police come up with a composite picture of the unsub’

Origin
1970s: abbreviation of unknown subject or unidentified subject.

So the crime reference is EARLIER than the opt out reference

Urban Dictionary:
“Our unsub is most likely a white male in his mid 30s, with a penchant for Star Wars action figures, and chocolate milk-type beverages.”

Criminal Minds Glossary

(Unknown Subject) The term used by Profilers in lieu of a suspect’s name.

Quora:
Yes, the FBI uses this term in real life, every single day. In fact, it is one of the bureau’s official terms used in FBI reports of investigations (FD-302’s).

Wikipedia:
Unsub is an American television series that aired on NBC from February 3 to April 14, 1989. The series revolves around an elite FBI forensic team that investigates serial murderers and other violent crimes. Unsub is an abbreviation for the unknown subject of an investigation.

No, I had never heard of this show, which starred David Soul from Starsky & Hutch. It was on Friday nights at 10 p.m.

Amazon:

UNSUB: A Novel Hardcover – June 27, 2017
by Meg Gardiner (Author)

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

So, Dan, you are correct, sir. I had no idea.

ABC Wednesday – Round 20

Concert – Albany Gay Men’s Chorus and Capital Pride Singers

ALBANY GAY MEN’S CHORUS
IT’S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING
Selections from the Broadway Songbook

CAPITAL PRIDE SINGERS
REMEMBERING ORLANDO

Concert begins at 6:00pm
Free and family friendly

First Presbyterian Church of Albany
362 State St, Albany, New York 12210
at the corner of State and Willett Streets
across from Washington Park

last of the First Friday concerts at FPC until October

John Fitzgerald Kennedy would have been 100

I’m old enough to (barely) remember Dwight Eisenhowever as President. But I was paying attention during the 1960 Presidential campaign. I don’t recall having a strong preference between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon initially.

I became sympathetic towards JFK after he gave a speech about his Catholic faith in September 1960 in Houston, TX. It seemed unfair then, and now, that he was forced to defend his religion and his participation in it.

Photowannabe’s high school band played and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue for President Kennedy’s Inauguration Parade.

I liked the Kennedys in the White House. They had a couple children, Caroline, a little older than my baby sister, and the baby, John, Jr. who was born just after the election.

I wasn’t paying attention to the disastrous Bay of Pigs incursion in Cuba in April 1961. But all of us were aware of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, because we had the vague feeling that because of…WHATEVER was happening, we could end up at war, perhaps in the United States.

The cliche that there was a picture of JFK, MLK Jr and Jesus in every black home was an exaggeration, but I surely saw the phenomenon many times. In terms of the 35th president, it seemed more for his POTENTIAL for aiding the civil rights movement, which, by the last year of his life, I was paying a lot of attention to.

Here’s a factoid: “After a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, President John F. Kennedy encouraged all Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country by designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month. Every president since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May in support of older Americans.”

I do recall, with some detail, the death of Patrick Kennedy in August 1963, at less than two days old. This made me incredibly sad.

Of course, the shooting in Dallas was etched in the minds of everyone above a certain age. Some months later, the Warren Report on the assassination was released, with excerpts appearing in the local newspaper. I cut out those pages and taped them on paper which I then put in a three-ring binder. I still have that binder in the attic somewhere.

It was only later I thought, it wasn’t even supposed to be John that his father would groom to be President, it was supposed to be Joe, Jr. But he died in the war, the same one that almost took Jack’s life as well.

Of course, there a bunch of centennial stories out there, from the Kennedy Center and Celebrate JFK at 100 by walking in his footsteps, e.g. Or Inside the Scandalous Life of JFK’s Sister, Kick Kennedy.

Jackie was right: Camelot was over on 11/22/1963. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but surely I felt it, that loss of innocence and possibility. Lyndon Johnson undoubtedly achieved more for civil rights, using the slain leader as a prod for Congress to take the right action. But things would never be the same.

I collected as many Kennedy 50 cent pieces as I could, which were – alas- stolen, because I wanted to, quite literally, hold onto that time as long as I could.

Spring 2017 HIV Home Test Giveaway

From the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute

CAMPAIGN FAST FACTS:
· Free HIV Home Test Giveaway for all eligible participants
o Test technology: OraQuick® in-home HIV self-test (oral fluid)
§ For additional information related to the HIV in-home test click here.
· Campaign dates: May 24th through July 7, 2017
· All campaign messages and participant communication are available in English and Spanish
· NYSDOH will advertise on the NYSDOH Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr pages, on the Gay Ad Network, and via geosocial mobile apps (e.g., Grindr, Scruff).
· All New York State residents that meet the eligibility criteria are able to get a free test
o Eligibility is determined by self-reported characteristics of the following criteria:
§ Gay men, MSM, and transgender or other-gender people who have sex with men
§ 18 years and older
§ Never been diagnosed with HIV
§ Reside in NYS, excluding the 5 boroughs for the NYS giveaway
o If participants are determined to be ineligible they will be referred to the NYSDOH AI website where there will be additional resources and information related to HIV testing. Continue reading

Memorial Day 2017: a worrying recklessness

One of the things I want in life more than almost anything is a government that does not, willy nilly, add to the number of people that we remember each year on Memorial Day.

There was a point in the last couple months where the sabre-rattling made me fear that the United States might be going to war in North Korea. AND Syria. AND Iran. Possibly at the same time. OK, we’re already fighting in Syria, but I mean against the Syrian government.

The notion that the current regime wants to increase military spending by tens of billions of dollars is troubling enough. The fact that the plan has been offered by an amateur chicken hawk bereft of military experience is terrifying. Yes, he has some military brass in his Cabinet, and indeed, arguably, an overabundance of them. But the defense of the United States is supposedly under civilian control.

From The Atlantic, way back in December 2016: “‘Appointing too many generals would throw off the balance of a system that for good reason favors civilian leadership,’ writes The New York Times’ Carol Giacomo. ‘The concern is not so much that military leaders might drag the country into more wars. It is that the Pentagon, with its nearly $600 billion budget, already exercises vast sway in national security policymaking and dwarfs the State Department in resources.’ In The Washington Post, Phillip Carter and Loren DeJonge Schulman warn that ‘great generals don’t always make great Cabinet officials’ and add that ‘relying on the brass, however individually talented, to run so much of the government could also jeopardize civil-military relations.'”

And when the person purportedly in charge doesn’t seem to stand by the very words he says, it’s a scary time. He praises international strongmen, such as in the Phillippines and even, seemingly, North Korea.

The New Yorker’s David Remick: He “flouts truth… so brazenly that he undermines the country he has been elected to serve and the stability he is pledged to insure. His bluster creates a generalized anxiety such that the President of the United States can appear to be scarcely more reliable than any of the world’s autocrats… When [he] rushes to congratulate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for passing a referendum that bolsters autocratic rule in Turkey—or when a sullen and insulting meeting with Angela Merkel is followed by a swoon session with Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the military dictator of Egypt—how are the supporters of liberal and democratic values throughout Europe meant to react to American leadership?”

This letter to the editor of the News Tribute gets to my concerns: “The administration displays a worrying recklessness, and disregard for both international law and constitutional separation of powers. These actions threaten our security and democratic governance. The administration appears to have no/little concern for diplomatic means to conflict resolution.”

My hope and prayer is that the reckless policy does not add to the numbers we memorialize today, but based on history, that is an unrealistic wish.

The Lydster: Bad parents?

I came across this article 8 Things Kids Need to Do By Themselves Before They’re 13. The premise is this: “How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids? Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year.”

How did the Daughter’s parents do?

1. Waking them up in the morning

Guilty, and it’s usually me. I think it’s a function of the fact that I HATE waking up to the alarm clock, which I hear every weekday morning, not for MY sake, but for my wife’s. The Daughter DOES wake up occasionally on her own.

It’s been a real change from sixth grade, when she could literally wake up 20 minutes before school started, still getting there before the late bell, and now, which involves taking the bus, which sometimes comes early.

I HAVE stopped repeatedly nudging her, though, because that was too exhausting for ME!

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch

She usually gets lunch at school, and she could get breakfast if necessary. Still, I’d rather make breakfast, because the cleanup afterwards is much less for me. And left to her own devices, she might just ea that pizza for breakfast that I was planning for lunch.

3. Filling out their paperwork

The only really complicated one involves names and phone numbers of our friends and relatives as emergency contacts. I’m just happy she brings out the paperwork in a more timely fashion, usually.

4. Delivering their forgotten items

I have done that once recently, before a field trip when she needed money to eat lunch on a field trip. I delivered her cash just in time, and I received a rare public hug. OK, I’ll try to do better.

5. Making their failure to plan your emergency

This tends to be more her mother’s failing, getting stuff for her she needs at the last minute, but the Daughter has gotten much better over the school year.

6. Doing all of their laundry

Her mother does do most of the laundry, period. But the summer will be a good opportunity for Clothes Washing 101.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches

Interesting, a couple teachers have contacted US, saying the Daughter is doing well.

8. Meddling in their academics

In the first marking period, she was doing less well in her favorite subject, probably because she hadn’t handed in some homework she had actually completed. I know this because I’ve sat with her when she did it. But I never got involved with her teachers, mostly because keeping track of her 12 classes in 8 periods was too complicated for ME. And she’s come to do more of her school work on her own.

I’ll admit, though, that I like knowing what she’s learning. 7th grade math that I wasn’t doing until 9th grade. Manifest Destiny, NOT as a given good. And there’s the occasional exercise I find annoying, such as finding words in a puzzle across, down and diagonally, the learning value of which I found dubious; both her parents helped her find those backwards diagonals.

Boy, are we the terrible parents or what? To be fair, she has learned a lot about self-reliance this year, and I’m guessing next year will be more of the same.

The year after that, she’ll be going to high school, and she’ll be able to walk there, which I am looking forward to, a lot.

Kismet Mediterranean Grill replaces Pine Hills Bruegger’s

There was an announcement back in February 2017 of a Mediterranean restaurant called Kismet coming to my Pine Hills neighborhood. It would be replacing the Bruegger’s bagel shop that had been there for over three decades.

I used to frequent Bruegger’s there, at a site downtown, and up at Stuyvesant Plaza. I liked the sandwiches – my favorite, tuna salad on cinnamon raisin (don’t judge) – but they started to become parsimonious with the cream cheese and the like in the period before they all closed.

On Saturday, May 13, my wife and I walked by the place at the corner of Madison and South Allen at about 1 p.m. The brown paper that had covered the windows was down, the table settings appeared to be in place, but the sign read CLOSED, so we went further that block and had lunch.

Yet by the time we walked back towards home an hour later, the OPEN sign was showing! So we walked in. The server, Colin, jumped out of his booth. Were we going to be their first customers? Well, no. But the place looked really nice, so we said we’d back on Monday, which happened to be our anniversary.

Two days later, return we did, around 6:30 p.m. three or four tables were occupied when we got there. Colin remembered us. The food was delicious; mine was a beef and rice thing with a side salad. And the prices were reasonable.

Colin said they were surprised how much traffic they had in their three days open. They were planning on doing a “soft” opening. The public demand dictated otherwise.

Indeed, there was a point where most of the tables and booths were filled, mostly with pairs of people, though there was also a party of six. But the service was fine, and the chef/owner came out to meet people at the various table. The two women at one side of us happened to see that the place was open, but the pair on the other side were friends of the chef from cooking he had done elsewhere and had encouraged him to start his own place.

Apparently, from the Yelp reviews, others were equally impressed by the new restaurant. See much better pics than mine, taken on my Amazon Fire tablet, from the All Over Albany article.

The real short-term failing of Kismet, as Colin acknowledged, is that the website is inadequate. It doesn’t have the MENU, for one thing. Ditto the Facebook page. This, I trust, will be rectified.