Archive for October, 2007

Since it’s Halloween, and I always associate the holiday with bats, I thought I’d give my annual report on the flying mammal in our lives. Some of you may remember that we had had live sightings in our home in 2001-2005 and again in 2006

Actually, Carol saw one at school in the winter months, most unusual.

I saw one in the boys’ locker of the local YMCA back in July. I immediately went to the front desk and the center director and a custodian trapped it quite efficiently. I was razzed by my friends for leaving, but it wasn’t fear of the animal as much as fear that someone else coming into the locker room might be freaked out. It’s likely that the bat came down a HVAC vent that was being cleaned out.

My wife has unbridled optimism. Our bat last year arrived on August 1, and since we’d each seen a bat elsewhere, she figured we were safe. But on the night of August 24/25, in the midst of a return of hot and humid weather that had abated for a couple weeks, she (but not I) was awakened by something. Yes, it was another bat. As it flew into the guest room, carol closed the door and stuffed a towel under the door, and went back to bed, but probably did not sleep well. Come morning, she and I went into the room, with badminton racquets at the ready. We saw nothing until I hit my fall jacket that was hanging on the door, and down fell the bat, slightly stunned. Immediately, carol put her racquet on it, and we managed to get the beast in a shoebox, just as Lydia came into the room.

We taped up the box, I poked holes in it, and Carol eventually took it to the health department. A few days later, it was confirmed not to be rabid. But it HAD been alive, something that the person opening the box was…surprised to find. The drop-off place was unstaffed and the form we usually fill out in these cases was not there. So, oops, sorry.

Yes, we had netting in the possible entrance points, and we THINK we won’t have one next year. I’ll let you know.

For the longest time, perhaps into the early 1980s, I thought Surrealistic Pillow was the first JA album. Not so; Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Anderson as the female vocalist, got all the way to #128 in the Billboard charts in late 1966. But it was the second album, with Grace Slick, formerly of the group The Great Society, that created the required alchemy. Here’s a bunch of YouTube clips – some are performance videos, others pastiches.
1. She Has Funny Cars

2. Somebody To Love (a #5 single in 1967)
3. My Best Friend
4. Today
5. Comin’ Back To Me
6. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
7. D.C.B.A.
8. How Do You Feel
9. Embryonic Journey (used on the last episode of Friends, I understand)
10. White Rabbit – went to #8 on the charts

11. Plastic Fantastic Lover

The album went to #3 and spent 56 weeks on the charts. I always thought the strength of this album, and of the group generally, was the strength of the various vocalists/songwriters: Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen.

Grace Slick turns 58 today.

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So, Johnny Bacardi hit his blog’s fifth anniversary, then quit it. It’s a great valedictory piece, starting with the sound clip “Five Years” by David Bowie; the given names of both David Bowie and Johnny Bacardi is David Jones. Fortunately, Johnny’s still doing his LiveJournal. So, ironically, everything on this post was used in Johnny’s LJ in 2005.

Which Bob Dylan song are you?

The Times They Are A-Changin’

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I feel like I’m forgetting someone else’s blogiversary. I mean, Lefty hit his fourth, but even HE forgot that.

There are people who really love the fall; I’m not one of them. I did notice, however, that when the family went pumpkin picking in Feura Bush, only abut 10 minutes from the Albany city line but most definitely rural, the colors were astonishingly more vibrant than any of the pale palate I’ve experienced in the city.

But the past week also had its own specific issues. Elizabeth Naismith, a member until the last couple years of the First Presbyterian choir died a couple weeks back, but her funeral wasn’t until yesterday. Her mother and she had their own cheese shop in Edinburgh Scotland, until her mother died, then she came to the United States to take care of an ailing uncle in Vermont. She finally made her way to Albany, where at age 70, she joined a church, my church, for the first time. She was a lovely, caring woman with a slight brogue. We left an empty chair with a robe draped on it when we sang for her service yesterday. Her obit is here.

Two other First Pres choir members were in the hospital this week, and those two I knew from my previous church, Trinity, as well. After singing all weekend with a shortness of breath, he went into the hospital Monday with pulmonary embolisms (blood clots) of the lung; she had a less serious medical procedure on Friday.

I worried about my sister and niece in the California fires, though that ended up with a good outcome.

Finally, there were a bunch of kids at Binghamton Central High School in the late 1960s who were the anti-war, left of center crowd. But we were all friends as well, partying together, sometimes romancing each other. We dubbed ourselves “Holiday Unlimited”, and our theme was “A splendid time is guaranteed for all”, which we copped from some pop song.

George Hasbrouck was one those folks. He died Sunday, October 7 at his home in Morristown NJ. He was 55. No cause of death was given in the obit in The Binghamton Press a couple weeks ago. We had all lost touch with George, though many had tried; as one friend put it, “he eschewed contact.” His obit is here.

The last time I saw him was probably 17 years ago at the BCHS Class of ’70′s 20th reunion. Yet I still feel quite sad about it.

So, it was a bit of a downer of a week. Sorry.

I was reading Steve Gerber’s blog when he noted that singer Robert Goulet has the same disease that he does, only more severe. A couple letter-writers debated Bob’s coolness; Steve stayed out of the fray. For the record, I’ve long stopped worrying about what’s cool.

A couple bloggers I know faced ridicule by admitting publicly that they liked the movie Jersey Girl; I’ll withhold their names to protect the guilty. I never saw it, so I really can’t say if it’s as awful as some people think.

I am aware, however, of what others think are uncool. So, my question: what songs, movies, TV shows, books, whatever, do you think others think are uncool, but you like them anyway? No movie or book come to mind, but I do have a vague recollection of actually liking My Mother, The Car. (I was young.)

Music, on the other hand, I have some strong candidates. And they’re not songs; they’re bits of songs:
The piano intro of Could It Be Magic by Barry Manilow. Hey, he copped it from Chopin.
The strings at the end of I Haven’t Got Time For The Pain by Carly Simon.
The tight vocal segment “not quite a year since you went away” from Rosanna by Toto.
The “I’ve been looking for an answer” part of I’ve Been Waiting So Long by Chicago.
Almost any pop song with backed by a black church choir -I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner; Lay Down (Candles In the Rain) by Melanie; actually the latter IS virtually the whole song.

How uncool are you?

(Image copped from here.)
Based on a conversation I had on a bus yesterday, there are a lot of people who think that Daylight Saving Time ends tomorrow. Their calendars even say so. That would be incorrect. It has been moved to NEXT weekend. So don’t be an hour late tomorrow; it’d be uncool.


One of the tricks of parenthood is to make sure that they’re not eating or touching things that will harm them, of course. My sister Leslie has been sending me the regular updates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission; I could go to the site, but she’s taken on the task. In one recall, there were several Dora the Explorer items recalled because of lead paint content. Lydia has a Dora doll that she adores, and naturally holds closely. Fortunately, I didn’t find that particular item on the list, but it was understandably disconcerting.

More recently, I’ve been baffled by the voluntary recall of children’s medicines that included:
Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Plus Cough Infant Drops,
Dimetapp(R) Decongestant Infant Drops,
Little Colds(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
Little Colds(R) Multi-Symptom Cold Formula,
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant (containing pseudoephedrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Drops Decongestant & Cough (containing pseudoephedrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant (containing phenylephrine),
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Long-Acting Cough,
PEDIACARE(R) Infant Dropper Decongestant & Cough (containing phenylephrine),
Robitussin(R) Infant Cough DM Drops,
Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant,
Triaminic(R) Infant & Toddler Thin Strips(R) Decongestant Plus Cough,
TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants’ Drops Plus Cold,
TYLENOL(R) Concentrated Infants’ Drops Plus Cold & Cough.
Two of those specific items were in our medicine chest!
The basis of the concern, as I understand, is that children under 2 years have been overly medicated. I actually called my pharmacist, and he said that since my daughter’s over two, it would be OK. But then, a short time later, a panel of the Food and drug Administration concluded that “children under the age of 6 should not be using cold and cough medicines because they have not been proven to be effective or safe.” And since she’s under 6, and since she has a cold, I’m not sure what to do. And I hate that.


I’ve been looking through a particular photo album a lot recently; I have a couple dozen books, but this one seems to get the most play recently. The pictures are from 1980 to 1982. It contains pictures from my early FantaCo days, the “royal wedding“, and my old friend Deborah. It also has pictures of my niece Becky, the daughter of my sister Leslie:
These are rather tiny – though clicking on them should help – but the pose of her holding her doll is unmistakably familiar to me. I knew Lydia looked quite a bit like her at that age, but seeing these pictures was still a bit of a shock to the system.
Becky got married last year to Rico. She’s been busy with her singing career; among other gigs, she is the vocalist with with house band for Anthology, the new jazz club in the Little Italy section of San Diego. Plus, she’s going to school and dealing with real estate. She appeared on the cover of a San Diego-area magazine in the last month:

Her birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday, eldest niece.
Love, Uncle Roger
Not so incidentally, Becky and Leslie appear to be safe from the raging California fires.

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