Pop Redux

Here’s one of those Internet connection things. I got this e-mail in mid-April, topic line McKinley Green:

Dear Mr. Green,

I just happened to be browsing the web and I typed in WNBF-TV on Google and as I scrolled I ran across your name and that your father was a janitor at WNBF in the mid-1950s. My brother, John, ran a grocery store at the corner of Oak & Dickinson Streets , in the 1st Ward, called Johnny’s Market that used to be Ted Gold’s Market previously. Anyway, there was this great gentleman named McKinley Green who would stop in most evenings after work for this or that and we’d chat about one thing or another. I was thirteen or so and it being a family grocery we all knew Mr. Green. As I said he was one of the most pleasant, courteous and charming people I have ever known. When I saw this web notation I just had to ask if this was the same person we knew. If it is the same person I just wanted to let you know I still remember him after all these years. I’ll soon be 65 so you know that it has been a long time.

Anyway God Bless the man I knew as McKinley Green.

So I wrote back, clarifying that Pop was my grandfather, but that, yes, those stores were three blocks from my house, on the street of my elementary school.

I wrote my note before I actually read your blog that described your relationship to McKinley. Do you have anymore recollections of your Pop? It’s been so many years since those days that it is hard to remember some things. I printed out the portion of the June 24th note to let my sisters read your memories of McKinley. I’m sorry that this grand man passed away so long ago and we didn’t realize it. Was it in Binghamton?

So, I sent him a link to this story, which he evidently had not seen.

Since he asked: My grandfather loved tinkering with vehicles. He did some work in the driveway, but mostly, he’d be at some Texaco station downtown near the former post office.

He also read the National Geographic. This is actually something I remember only because he used to give me the maps every month. I used to study those maps all the time, so I developed a pretty good sense of where countries were, world capitals, and the like, at least circa 1971, when I went off to college.

So, while I hadn’t thought of it previously, Pop was a vital participant in my educational process. Thanks, Pop.

The Beatles LOVE, the spectacular

Like many Beatles fan, I took the news of a Cirque du Soleil show featuring Beatles music with a healthy dose of skepticism, even though the idea developed as a result of a friendship between George Harrison and Guy Laliberte, founder of the group.

So, I was much encouraged reading about the project both in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal (page A-2), and in the May-June issue of Beatlefan magazine, issue 160. The show, currently in previews, opens tomorrow in a “$130 million, 2,013-seat theater at the Mirage featuring 360-degree-in-the-round seating and advanced high definition video projections with 100-foot digital moving images.”

The Beatles’ legendary producer Sir George Martin and his son Giles, who helped create the “authorized mash-up”, were on hand when the press, stripped of their cellphones and tape recorders, heard 15 minutes of the 90-minute presentation, which included:

Strawberry Fields (Anthology demo) morphing into an outtake, then the official version at its original speed, with riffs from at least a dozen other Beatles songs: Sgt. Pepper brass section, In My Life keyboards, the Hawaiian chant from Hello, Goodbye, plus Piggies and Penny Lane.

Within You Without You vocal to backing track, and monks, from Tomorrow Never Knows, with snippets of Got To Get You Into My Life.

Lucy In The Sky extended intro before the song.

Orchestration from Good Night with vocal from Octopus’s Garden, plus bits of Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, Lady Madonna, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

According to the WSJ, there will be “30 recognizable songs with snippets from 150 more.” There will be a soundtrack by the end of the year, which I most certainly will want to get (somebody tell my wife, please). Giles Martin said he won’t know what it’ll sound like until “his bosses”, Ringo, Paul, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono give the final word.

So, as I said, I’m encouraged.

Not so incidentally, my subscription to Beatlefan has a strange genesis:

Friend Fred had spent months trying to nag me to order a subscription. Then one day, about a month before my birthday, a copy arrives in the mail. I mentioned it to Fred, and, well…
ME: I thought to subscribe, and I’m in SUCH a fog, that I figured that
I MUST have, but I don’t think I probably got around to it. (There
are LOTS of things I do I don’t remember doing.) So, THANK YOU very much!
FRED: That’s pretty funny! I tried imagining your shock and surprise when that first, unexpected issue showed up, you wondering HOW could this be, and then maybe figuring out yours truly was the one responsible, and gratitude would instantly overwhelm you!
Instead, it comes in, and you figure, “Gee, guess I did subscribe after all!…”
Honestly, that just cracks me up!
But you’re gonna love it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And I HAVE. So, thanks, Fred! Glad to bring some humor to your life.
CBS Sunday Morning piece on Paul McCartney, with a sidebar audio by early Beatles proponent DJ Cousin Bruce Morrow, on the significance of “When I’m 64.”
Mild-mannered reporter, journalism scandal?
A belated happy 2nd blogiversary to Tom the Dog.

I Blame Richard Dawson

When I went to one of my conferences in May, one of the evening entertainment segments was based on the TV show Family Feud. I managed to miss that. But during one of the classroom sessions the next morning, the exercise was ALSO based on the Feud. Two captains were chosen, I was the first one picked, probably because of my vast game show experience, and our library director was picked second.

The game itself was like the TV show, complete with working buzzers. The questions were all business-related, thus its applicability to work. I don’t remember much what happened in the second round, when I was in my first face-off, but I do remember the seventh (!) round; there was the capacity to double or even triple the scores, which would have quickened the game, but this was not done.

The question was something like “Name a brand name.” I said “Coke”. Not on the board. My opponent picked something I thought might be up there, maybe Microsoft. Nope. OK, I picked “Nike”. Try again. Opponent picked another loser. I thought I didn’t understand the question, and picked “Clorox”. Not there. My opponent picked Pepsi. No go. I picked “Dell”,. Uh uh. The number one answer was McDonald’s, which I might have gotten to, but answers #2-#4 were Starbucks, e-Bay, and Amazon. I knew there were 100 marketing people, but I NEVER would have gotten those last three answers. Still, there’s that mild embarassment of going down in flames before several dozen people you work with.

More recently, I was getting a haircut, and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was on. The question was something like: In Mexico, the program 100 Mexicanos Dijeron translates into which of these classic game shows?” IMMEDIATELY, before they gave the four choices, I knew the answer was Family Feud, even though I didn’t recognize the verb. (The contestant didn’t know, her lifeline didn’t know, and she quit with her $8000.)

All of this to say, I’m going to be taping a program this week called Gameshow Marathon, hosted by Ricki Lake, where some blonde woman named Brande Roderick, who I never heard of (she was Miss April 2000 for Playboy, and later Playmate of the year, but I still don’t know why she’s particularly FAMOUS – oh, she was on BAYWATCH) will be playing with her friends and family against Kathy Najimy (her I know from King of the Hill, Sister Act, and, God help me, the dreadful Veronica’s Closet) and her tribe in an episode of…well, I think you know by now, don’t you?
Computer problems. Pictures are taking FOREVER to load, even simple graphics like the spell-check icon in Blogger. So if the spelling’s been off, I apologize. (I’m actually a good speller, but a lousy typist.) I’ll call my provider today.
Another TV and movie star has passed away: Moose.

Love and Marriage: June 2006

Carol and I attended our second wedding in a month this weekend. I have two more to attend this year, one in October, one on a date I do not yet know. Lydia came along this time.

Fiona is our most excellent alto soloist in our church choir. Michael is this great guy she met a couple years back. The three of us have played hearts together, although not in the last three months; last time we played, Fiona won, and I want a rematch.

This was an outdoor wedding at Moreau State Park, between Saratoga and Glens Falls. The weather in the morning did not appear at all encouraging, with yet another rainy night in Albany. But the weather cleared.

Carol seemed to think the wedding was at 4 p.m., rather than the stated time of 3:30, which turned out to be a good thing, because we got there at about 3:15, and she would have worried unnecessarily.

The groom, the bride, and her two daughters walked to the site of the wedding accompanied by a bagpiper. The choir sang God Is Love (not the lyrics in italics), accompanied by a guitarist and two violinists from the choir. The minister offered up a brief but joyous service, and then we ate. It was a pot luck, and it worked out well.

Some people commented to me how wonderful it was that the choir was there. I noted we pretty much had to be there. You spend 40 weeks a year, pretty much every Thursday night and Sunday morning with a group of people, and you almost inevitably develop a pretty tight bond. About a previous choir, someone once accused us of being a “clique”, and that was probably true. this group may less cliquish, but still pretty close. (That said, Fiona is pretty swell – though she’d be embarrassed to read that.)

I met a woman I’d seen on the bus I sometimes take, who’s a drinking buddy of the bride, and who I prostelized about, of all things, blogging.

The park had a playground not 50 yards away, and Lydia and some the other child had a chance to use the slides and do other activities.

To paraphrase the songwriter, “A splendid time was had by all.”

This is a picture of Darrin and Suzy, from the reception of the first wedding we attended. Today is their first lunaversary. You don’t know lunaversary? It is a word I invented: see this.
A person whose name appears very often in my record collection, producing love songs, and lots of other genres, died recently. Arif Mardin produced a slew of albums, especially on Atlantic Records, for such varied artists as The Rascals, Dusty Springfield, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, and most notably, the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha.
Unfortunately, the Ann-Adolf romance can never take place.

The Lydster, Part 27: Grandparents to the Rescue

Carol and I went to a wedding on Memorial Day weekend, and we were trying to suss out what to do with Lydia. So we tried the “noble experiment”; she would stay over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. A couple weeks before, on Mother’s Day weekend, we mentioned the possibility to her, and she headed right for their vehicle. It wasn’t staying with them we worried about, it was how she would be in the morning without either Mommy or Daddy there. It simply hadn’t happened before, though her cousins had successfully stayed with them at an earlier age.

Little did we know that, within the month, we would be sending her there again. As I’ve alluded, Lydia’s been sick, with pinkeye, then a bad cold, then an ear infection. I took care of her Friday, June 2, Monday, June 5, and Friday, June 9, plus the mornings of June 6 and 7, where Carol took care of her those afternoons. (We shared the weekend.) We thought she was well enough on the Thursday, but we were evidently wrong. Nor was she well enough on Monday, June 12. So Grandpa picked her up and brought her to his house, an hour and a quarter away. Then some combination of Grandma and Grandpa took care of her at our house Tuesday through Thursday.

She’s feeling much better now, I’m pleased to report.

While she was sick, and I was tending to her, she still could be her charming self, applauding to my singing along with whatever record that happened to be on (likely Beatles or Beach Boys).

Glad your feeling better, honey. Love from Daddy. And thanks to Grandma and Grandpa from all of us.
Happy first birthday, Norah!

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