Posts Tagged ‘Lydia’

There was a Washington Post article in April 2017, The simple idea to make kids more empathetic? Get them reading the news. It’s about a specific program sythesizing the news.

One of the things I tried to protect the Daughter from was the news. I thought I was watching it when she was busy doing other things. But at some point, when she was eight or nine, I noticed she was picking up on stories. Moreover, she was aware of them at a level that I knew that her classmates were not. And that is still true.

I must admit this is a curse she has inherited from from her father, who was reading op/ed columns in the local paper at 9 or 10. William F. Buckley and Jack Anderson and the like was on my reading diet.

Following the news, she became more aware of the candidates for President – she hated Chris Christie, loved Bernie Sanders – and more of them than 90% of American adults.

I tried very hard not to inculcate her with my pain about race in America. Yet the evidence in the news, with only some minor clarification from me, really informed her, such as when she saw unarmed black men getting shot. I really didn’t want her to have to know about this, but it’s out there.

She has participated in walks to fight hunger. She has contributed money to help shelter animals. She really does have a good heart, which would probably embarrass her, but so be it.

I think that she will be a good citizen. She’ll follow the issues and she’ll always vote. At this point, I can’t see her ever running for office – at some level, she is very shy – but i can imagine her working behind the scenes for a candidate she supports. And perhaps she’ll surprise me.

Rebecca Jade, Sheila E., Lynn Mabry

When we heard that the #1 niece, Rebecca Jade, was going to be a backup singer for Sheila E., the percussionist a protege of the late artist known as Prince, we were pretty excited. But when we found they were going to be performing in New York City, well, that became a priority.

First, get tickets online at the BB King Blues Club. Next, find a place to stay downtown that cost only an arm and half a leg; the Distrikt fit the bill. I took the bus down early for a work meeting, and the wife and daughter followed about three hours later.

We met at the hotel at 4 pm. I actually took a nap, largely because of some tooth pain (another story). We get to the club less than two blocks away, and found ourselves in line. It’s a dinner theater, as it were, and since I bought only the “cheap seats,” ($49.50 each, plus handling), by the time we got in, there was but one table left that was close by, stage left, already with a single patron.

We had a $10 minimum to eat/drink; easy enough. The Daughter had a cheeseburger and fries that was only $13. I had mac and cheese for $20, with a slab of salmon for an additional $7; not bad, especially the latter. The wife’s meal of shrimp and grits was not only overpriced at $36, but skimpy. I gave her a chunk of both the mac/cheese and fish, and the Daughter was generous with her fries. Her Mississippi mud cake ($12) was like it came from a box of frozen dessert.

Then the show begins, sort of, with two Sheila E. videos. Watch America and Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America, the latter of which shows the Niece at 0:58 and beyond.

The band comes out:
Lynn Mabry – vocals
Rebecca Jade – vocals
Eddie M. – saxophone
Mychael Gabriel – guitar
John Wesley McVicker – drums
Raymond McKinley – bass
Bertron Curtis – keyboards

Ooo, the singers are on stage left, which was close to us. We were watching Sheila, of course, but also my first sister’s only child.

Watch:

Love Bizarre (with a Prince/P-Funk/Sly Stone medley). The niece is in the striped skirt.

Purple Rain. A guy in a blue T-shirt was way too loud nearby with his running commentary.

17 Days/Alphabet St./Raspberry Beret, the latter with an RJ solo!

Girl Meets Boy. Sheila E. slows it way down to sing a song she co-wrote after Prince’s death. She says it’s available for free on SheilaE.com. She urged everyone to find a stranger and tell him or her that you love them. The Wife and I took that opportunity to catch RJ’s eye.

America/Baby I’m A Star/Glamorous Life.

A nice show. We see the niece after the show far too briefly, then went back to the hotel and were asleep before Snoop Dogg started his 11:30 show at that venue.

BTW, there were a LOT of people recording her, and she didn’t seem to care. The videos above were taken very near where we were sitting, on our side of the stage.

Chris wants to know:

Did you always want to be a dad?

I’d have to say no. Fatherhood was never anything I ever gave more than a passing thought until I was about 40 and I was with someone who wanted to have kids.

Before that, I went out with a couple women who had already had children and weren’t going to have more, and that was fine by me.

I didn’t dislike children. I was/am very fond of my nieces, Rebecca and Alex, and my wife’s brothers’ girls too. In the family photos, it’s me carrying Rebecca when we were in NYC. I’d be coloring with her at my maternal grandmother’s funeral in Binghamton. I still marvel that I picked out a nice reversible outfit that Alex wore for a couple years.

And I’m actually pretty good with other people’s rugrats. My daughter is amazed and more than slightly embarrassed by my willingness to distract crying babies on the bus, often successfully.

BTW, dating women with young kids can be very complicated. Usually, she doesn’t want you to be too seriously involved in her children’s lives until she is sure the romantic couple seems secure. Yet she can’t get TOO involved with you unless she thinks you’ll like her kids and vice versa.

Of course, NOW I am happy about fatherhood.

What are some things that you’ve learned through life that you hope to pass on to your daughter?

It’s always this tightrope. I don’t want her to be filled with my opinions about religion or race, for example, and want her to discover for herself. Yet I have learned a few things on these and other topics, and need to pass along some of that foundational structure, without her being a philosophical clone of me.

I’ve done a good job introducing her to the Beatles and Motown, but there’s plenty more to share.

And the truth is that we do think alike a lot, even in relationship with my wife/her daughter. The two of us literally hear things the same way quite often.

There’s only three of us, but we calendar a LOT these days so that we don’t inadvertently book a couple items on the same day. These all happened in June.

ITEM: The Wife and I saw, at the local Steamer Number 10 theater, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, an “unauthorized parody” written by Bert V. Royal. The “play imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as degenerate teenagers.”

It starts when “CB and CB’s sister have a funeral for their dog, who recently contracted rabies and was put down after killing ‘a little yellow bird’.” This is NOT children’s fare.

It was very good, but obviously very dark. I would like to believe that the homophobia displayed by Matt, a manifestation of Pig Pen, would not be as virulent in 2017 as it was when the play was first performed in 2004, but maybe it is.

Here’s the script.

ITEM: Friends of ours gave us tickets to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which is a very fine symphony indeed. This program was held at the EMPAC, a fascinatingly cool structure.

The logistical issue was the birthday party to which the Daughter was invited late in the afternoon, but that ended up working out well. She stayed at the party long enough that she was home alone only about an hour. In large part, that was aided by the ASO decided NOT to perform the first piece on the program because ot wasn’t ready, the first time that’s happened when we’ve attended. But the other four pieces were quite enough.

ITEM: The three of us saw the last performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Mac-Hadyn Theater. All I know of this musical is the LP I owned, barely 30 minutes. This is expanded by at least three songs. The performances were good, but the storybook is still very thin.

ITEM: Another trip to Mac-Hadyn a couple weeks later to see Anything Goes. The first time I had seen it was a couple years ago at Catskill High School. I continue to marvel how well the choreographer coordinate people coming off and on this tiny stage.

ITEM: I’ve mentioned our church’s relationship with Giffen Elementary School, with with the Book and Author event the past five years, and tutoring for even longer. We went to the grand opening of Wizard’s Wardrobe, “a non-profit organization providing a free, after school tutoring program for elementary school students in the South End of Albany.”

So it was distressing I read that rabid goats had to be euthanized at Albany’s Radix Center. Three second-grade classes at Giffen Memorial Elementary School took field trips to the Radix Center during this time period. Yuck.

It is difficult to explain to outsiders the pull that the dog Nipper has in Albany. From the Albany Institute of History and Art:

“The twenty-eight-foot [8.5 m] tall, four-ton [3600 kg] steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

“Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it ‘His Master’s Voice.’ It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

“Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co.”

It is an iconic figure in New York State’s capital city, believe me.

Recently, it was announced that “the upcoming round of downtown Albany public art projects will be decorated statues of Nipper.

“For this year’s exhibit, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District is accepting submissions from artists who wish to submit proposals to design 36″ tall [0.91 m] sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.”

As it turns out, an Albany middle school teacher and some of her seventh-grade students were selected to work on their entry for the “Downtown is Pawsome” project, the only school so honored.

“The project involves twenty local artists putting their creative spin on three-foot versions of Albany’s iconic Nipper statue. Their artistic creations will be placed throughout downtown Albany this month and remain on display until May 2018.”

The “Pawsome” project kicked off with a garden party at Tricentennial Park on June 16. But unfortunately, the artist in my household was out of town, visiting our nation’s capital. Still, I look forward to see these critters around town, and one in particular.

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