Archive for December, 2010


So what kind of year was 2010?

I’m still sad that my local YMCA closed. I was a member there from December 1982 to April 2010. I played racquetball there, and occasionally volleyball as well. My attempt to play racquetball elsewhere proved unworkable.

My bike was stolen; majorly bummed by that.

The blog I do for the Times Union newspaper got excerpted in the print edition at least a half dozen times this year. The problem with that, of course, is that the blurb may be confusing to the reader out of context. Still, people actually recognize me from this, which, I guess, is a good thing. I’m notorious enough to be asked to participate in that To Kill A Mockingbird readathon.

I’ve been attending my current church and singing in the choir for 10 years. We got a new choir director this fall. After eight years of stability, the last couple years was full of transition in the leadership of the choir; hope this guy sticks around a while. I’ve been a Presbyterian for eight years Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve enjoyed seeing composer Steven Sondheim, lyricist for West Side story, a funny Thing happened on the Way to the Forum, and many, many other musicals, a couple times on television recently, promoting his book “Finishing the Hat: Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes.” I’ve ordered the book if only for the lyrics themselves, and what he’ll have to say about them. I enjoyed hearing about the strong tutelege of family friend Oscar Hammerstein. He has appeared on Stephen Colbert‘s program and on The Newshour on PBS. Part of the latter interview is here:
JEFFREY BROWN: And the greatest focus is on words that rhyme….He uses an old rhyming dictionary and a 1946 edition of “Roget’s Thesaurus.”
STEPHEN SONDHEIM: A rhyme draws the ear’s attention to the word. So, you don’t make the least important word in the line the rhyme word. So, you have to — and also a rhyme can take something that is not too strong and make it much stronger…
BROWN: And…he believes words that are spelled differently, but sound alike, such as rougher and suffer Read the rest of this entry »



JEOPARDY Answers of the day-
BEATLES MUSIC: Chauffeur Alf Bicknell was the inspiration for this 1965 song
BEATLES TUNES: It’s the Beatles’ only U.S. No. 1 hit single whose title is the name of an actual place.
Questions at the end

The rules of engagement

143 Michelle from Rubber Soul. Pretty song, and in French, no less, but desparately overplayed in the day. The name became a Top 10 name for US girls from 1966 through 1980.
142 Rocky Raccoon from the white album. A cheeky McCartney folk song, enjoyable enough.
141 I’ve Got a Feeling from Let It Be. I like the fact that this was really a McCartney/Lennon song, even at that late date.
140 You Like Me Too Much from Help! (UK), Beatles VI. Like the saloonish intro to this Harrison song.
139 Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey from the white album. I was in college playing charades Read the rest of this entry »


I used to play the board game SCRABBLE a lot when I was child, especially with my great aunt Deana. The goal isn’t to make the longest, or best words, but rather, to get the most points. So, here are acceptable two-letter words that one can use in the English-language edition utilizing the letter X. Getting an X – worth 8 points, same as the J, and more than any other save for the Q and the Z (10 points each), can be eXhilarating or eXhausting, depending on the words on the board and the other letters in your tray.

Knowing these short words will help, especially when building words in two directions. (BTW, there are sets available in several different languages, and these examples may not apply.)
AX (oh, you knew that one)
EX the letter ‘x’ (spelling letters can be useful; ar, ef, el, em, en – the latter two also printers’ measures)
OX (you had that one, too)

XI the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet (other Greek letters in this category: mu, nu and, of course, pi)
XU a minor currency of Vietnam, 100 xu = 1 dong

“Knowing which words are acceptable – even if you have no idea of their definitions – is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and all expert players have memorized all the two-letter words and often the three-letter words as well.”

Here are the three-letter words that use the letter X:
Read the rest of this entry »

What a great bunch of responses to my request!


Ginger, Buddy and Shadow proving doggie wisdom from Pawprints in the Sands of Time ask the fundamental question:
Alright, here’s for your wish…Why do u want us to play this game of questions and answers this Christmas?

Because I learn so much, both about the person, er, entity, who is asking, and more, about myself as I think about things that might not have otherwise occurred to me. In other words, it’s an exercise in self-reflection.
***
I “know” Denise Nesbitt – and “know” is such an interesting term for someone you have never actually met, but it’s accurate nevertheless – through her creation of ABC Wednesday. She also can be found at Mrs. Nesbitt’s Space.
OK What did you buy your wife, mother and daughter for Christmas Roger?

There was this Medieval Faire every year at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, NY for about 30 years. And while I was going out with Carol, I sometimes -thrice, she tells me – would buy her a hand knit wool sweater from this particular woman. Then the faire stopped for about eight years. I’d buy her a sweater from LL Bean, and once from this Irish shop across the river in Troy, but it just wasn’t the same. Then last year, the faire was backe…I mean, back! Unfortunately, this particular vendor couldn’t make it, as she had another commitment. Bummer. But this year, she was back, Carol hinted heavily what she wanted, we walked away, but later, I came back and bought. There was also this teddy bear that she lost, that was given to her by her late brother; I found not quite a replica, but close.

Lydia got a lot of things: books, clothes, an enhanced version of the old game Twister, with CDs rather than a spinner; the big thing was this expensive doll she wanted, complete with wardrobe. In fact, her mother and I had purchased SO many items, we held some back for her birthday, three months hence. At that same Faire I mentioned, there was a soap in the shape of a seashell that Santa discovered she wanted.

My mother has been difficult to shop for for years. If you ask her directly, she’ll either say, “Oh anything” or “You needn’t bother.” Unhelpful to be sure. But my sister tells me that she really likes these puzzle books. I ended going to the CVS Pharmacy, found a couple of those, plus a lap blanket and a bathrobe – it’s been COLD in North Carolina lately.
***
Shooting Parrots, who provides “random thoughts in a random world”, asks:
What was the best ever Christmas present you received? And which was the worst?!
I think the best is the unexpected: my father helping me on my Sunday paper route on Christmas morning in 1966, or our first color TV in 1969, or the free tree my then significant other and I got on Christmas Eve 1991 from Sears, and took home on a city bus.
Worst? Read the rest of this entry »

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