Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

My mother’s remaining cousin on her mother’s side, Fran, always refers to my mother as Gertie. Mom was named after HER mother, which I find endlessly fascinating.

Mom didn’t become Trudy until some point after marrying my father, Les. She pretty much hated the moniker Gertie, though long-time relatives were forgiven when they slipped into the old nickname.

Well, that guy with my mother in this undated photo, though clearly from the 1940s, isn’t Les. His name is Sonny. I don’t know a thing about him, including what his last name is. I don’t even know if Sonny is his given name or HIS nickname.

There were, in the day, a lot of nicknames for boys who formally bore their father’s names. Rather than being a diminutive of the name – Richard and Richie or William and Billy – they were sometimes dubbed Chip (as in a “chip off the old block“) or Bud (the next generation) or the initial of the father followed by J – Arthur Jr would be AJ.

Sonny, though, I always thought of as a generic nickname for any lad: “Hey, sonny, could I buy a newspaper from you?” But there are some Sonnys out there.

Gertie’s boyfriend Sonny, my mom told her kids many more times than once, would have been our father if Les Green weren’t so darn charming. This usually happened when she was irritated with our father, though she never said this in his presence.

This statement, even then, I thought was a really odd construction. If we had been Sonny’s kids, we wouldn’t have been…us. We’d have different DNA. We’d look different and sound different, and if we had been raised by Sonny, think differently.

I guess the fact that Les Green was “never a bore” is to the benefit of my sisters and me. No offense to you, Sonny, though. You look like a decent guy, even with that peculiar name.

Oh, today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Happy birthday, GertieTrudy.

On her 70th birthday, my thoughts about Hillary Rodham Clinton, who I did vote for in the 2016 general election for President after backing Bernie Sanders in the New York State primary:

I’ve been watching her on her tour this year and I believe this is true: “Most of the tabloid criticism of the book suggests the book is an effort to shift blame elsewhere. That is complete bs. It is difficult to imagine any author more directly and completely accepting responsibility directly — and not just once, but throughout.”

It’s my fault Trump is President.” Follow the Vox interview.

But there seems to be a concerted effort to keep her in the woods, to get her to gracefully bow of public life, NOT to speak on International Women’s Day, NOT to speak at the Wellesley College commencement, NOT to go on a book tour.

As Dan Rather declared, “If you don’t like Hillary, don’t buy the book—it’s her prerogative to write it.” Or as the Boston Globe put it: Hate on Hillary, but she’s right about Trump. “You don’t have to like her. But don’t settle for a less than full reckoning of what happened to her.”

Hillary Clinton noted that the Donald was “creepy” in stalking her during one of the debates but that her cool reserve
wouldn’t allow her say anything to him at the time.

Rebecca Solnit notes: Don’t call Clinton a weak candidate: it took decades of scheming to beat her. “Years of Republican plots, an opponent deified by television, and FBI smears stood in her way – and she still won the popular vote by more than Kennedy did.”

Joe Conason stated: “Now everyone knows that the Washington press corps dislikes and distrusts the former Democratic nominee. After all, several of its most eminent members have admitted their herd’s prejudice against her. But the nearly unanimous demand for her to be silent… cuts against normal journalistic curiosity, let alone the usual lust for fresh gossip.”

He points to a 140-page report out of Harvard, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. “What they found was a sharp asymmetry between left and right outlets that benefited Trump and damaged Clinton. And while most mainstream coverage treated both candidates negatively, it ‘largely followed Trump’s agenda.’ That meant reporting about Clinton focused on ‘scandals’ involving the Clinton Foundation and emails, while reporting about Trump focused on his issues, such as immigration.

A perfect example of that was Matt Lauer questioning Clinton about her email scandal instead of foreign policy at the “Commander in Chief Forum” in September 2016, while asking Trump policy questions.

So Why Isn’t Hillary Clinton Even Angrier?

She has a lot to say. She believes the Electoral College should be abolished. “I said that in 2000 after what happened with Al Gore,” Clinton told Anderson Cooper on CNN. Gore, who was vice president to Bill Clinton, won 266 electoral votes, while George W. Bush won 271. However, Gore won the popular vote by 547,398 votes. She called the institution “an anachronism that was designed for another time [that] no longer works, if we’ve moved toward one person, one vote.”

I cannot ignore, too, the not-so-subtle sexism that she had to endure. She has quipped, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” There was an obsession about her cursing in private, not in public, which made her less “genuine” than her foul-mouthed opponent. A lot of men, and more than a few women couldn’t bear a woman having authority. It’s a
Hillary hatred derangement syndrome.

I felt badly for her when Hillary Rodham Clinton, as former First Lady, sat on the platform, listening to the Trump inaugural speech, which was a “cry from the white nationalist gut.” 20 January was “an out-of-body experience”; she attended in the hope of presenting a unified front following an ugly and bitter campaign.

The email Hillary Clinton’s pastor sent her the day after the election must have brought her some comfort.

I know she’ll continue to be perceived as evil incarnate – Harvey Weinstein is Hillary Clinton’s fault! – but I hope she continues to raise her voice anyway.


My sisters and I are on this Binghamton-specific group on Facebook. This woman that I do not know, in response to my sister posting a photo of our father, asked, “Is that Les Green the musician? If it is he worked with us Read the rest of this entry »

Considering I’ve read almost nothing of the writings of Stephen King, and and have watched relatively few of the films based on his work, I nevertheless enjoy his observations about the world.

The first movie I ever saw based on a book of his was The Shining (1980), which I pretty much hated. And it’s because of what happens early on, when the Jack Nicholson character looks crazy pretty much as soon as he’s gotten the keys to the hotel. So the wave of blood in the hall isn’t even scary, it’s comical.

Stand by Me (1986), based on his novella The Body, I loved; a great coming-of-age story. Misery (1990) I Liked a lot, surprisingly given the sudden violence. The Green Mile (1999) I had some problems with, but enjoyed well enough.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994), based on the short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is one of my favorite films, and that’s true for a lot of people. The fact it was a commercial dud before finding its audience somehow makes the movie more satisfying.

That’s it, out of over 200 writing credits. I saw a little of the remake of The Shining (1997), but not enough to count.

I’ve read various comic book adaptations of the work of Stephen King. None was rendered better than Creepshow by the late Berni Wrightson.

The ONLY book of his I ever read cover to cover was 11-22-63, and I read it in less than a month. I know this because I took the then-newish, 800+ page tome out on a 14-day checkout, and I renewed it only once. But I was not interested enough to watch the 2016 miniseries.

Still, I’m interested in what he thinks on a variety of topics. If I were to read another of his books, it would probably be On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Here are some nifty quotes from the book. Possibly my favorite: “If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.”

He also has some things to say about politics which I must admit dovetail with my worldview.

Happy birthday to the King of Horror.


When Carlos Santana turned 60, I wrote a piece in my now long-abandoned Underplayed Vinyl series, albums I owned as LPs, which I used to play constantly, but because I didn’t have an easily accessible record player, they didn’t get much action.

The album in question that I posted about, 10 years ago to the day, was Abraxas, Santana, the group’s, second collection. “In 2003 [it] was ranked number 207 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time… Abraxas was deemed ‘culturally, historically, or artistically significant’ by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in their National Recording Registry in 2016.”

Like most of America, I discovered Santana at Woodstock. No, I didn’t go to the festival, but I saw the 1970 movie twice, in a row. Soul Sacrifice, complete with occasional feedback, was revelatory.

Carlos Santana and the various iterations of the group that bear his surname waxed and waned in popularity. For instance, the group was on recording hiatus for seven years in the 1990s.

In 1999, they released Supernatural, which debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200, and 18 weeks later, topped the US charts. I bought it, of course, but I agree with some of the critics that found that the plethora of guest stars means there’s lacking a “consistent voice that holds the album together.” Yet it had good, and commercially successful, songs.

I’ve recently picked up Santana IV, the return of the core band from the first three albums.

The group Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

LISTEN, in roughly chronological order; numbers represent the Billboard pop chart action.

Jingo, a/k/a Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, #56 in 1969 here or here
Evil Ways, #9 in 1970 here or here
Soul Sacrifice here or here, at Woodstock

Abraxas, full album, 1971 : here or here (includes Black Magic Woman, #4 in 1971; Oye Como Va, #13 in 1971)

No One to Depend On, #36 in 1972, here or here

Primera Invasion, 1981 here or here
Searchin’, 1981 here

Hold On, #15 in 1982, here or here

Smooth, featuring Rob Thomas, #1 for 12 weeks in 1999 here (single) or here (album)

While My Guitar Gently Weeps, featuring India.Arie and Yo-Yo Ma, 2010 here (video) or here (album cut)

Anywhere You Want to Go, 2016 here or here

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