Am I Going Bats Again?

Long-time readers of this page know that our house, the one that we moved into in May 2000, has had a live bat within its walls in 2002. And 2003. And 2004. And 2005. And 2006. And 2007,despite efforts in the last several years to patch the places on the roofline where we suspect the creatures are getting into the living quarters.

Well, it’s the end of October, it’s cold, and it’s already SNOWED in Albany this week, FCOL, so I can say with some degree of confidence: in 2008, we were bat-free! Hurray!

Since it’s Halloween, Lydia’s going trick-or-treating with some kids from church. (No, I don’t worry about these “pagan” rituals threatening my Christian faith or whatnot.) We DO have to make sure we go through what she gets to pick out those candies with nuts or peanuts, since she is allergic to the latter, and the former are often processed in the same place as the latter. This means that her poor mother, my poor wife, will have to eat all the Snickers bars and Reese’s Pieces.

Meanwhile, thanks to Noggin, this is Lydia’s and my favorite Halloween song this year, based on something Evanier hates, but which I actually like in small quantities; Lydia has never had them.

or here.

Coverville discovered this One-man Thriller A Cappella with a unique twist.

20 Horror Movie Clichés.

Haunted library

Why Orange and Black?


And the other thing

Last weekend was extremely busy. I went to a library discussion on Saturday afternoon, more about which I’m pretty sure I’ll share eventually. That night, Carol and i got a babsitter (yay!), ate dinner at some place called the Pump Station, then went to the Palace Theatre to hear the Albany Symphony Orchestra participate in A Night of Italian Opera, celebrating Puccini’s 150th birthday. There were selections by Verdi, Donizetti, Rossini, Puccini, of course, and others (Honoring the Capital Region’s Italian-American Community.) The baritone was a last minute replacement for another singer, and he was good, but the other three especially the mezzo-soprano, were quite expressive. It was more fun that it may sound. Thanks to the couple who gave us the tickets.

Sunday after church and our church’s stewardship luncheon, I went to a comic book show in Albany (actually Colonie) described by ADD here and here.

Monday, I took off from work so I could catch up on things. I did get to watch Bill Moyers. Instead of his usual recent fare of voter fraud, misleading political ads and of course the economic meltdown, he sat with Mark Johnson, “the producer of a remarkable documentary about the simple but transformative power of music: PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC. The film brings together musicians from around the world — blues singers in a waterlogged New Orleans, chamber groups in Moscow, a South African choir — to collaborate on songs familiar and new, in the effort to foster a new, greater understanding of our commonality.” You may have seen the Stand By Me video on Evanier’s page, but there’s lots more.
Uncharacteristically, I actually replied to Five For Friday this week.


ABC Wednesday: O is for Overheard

The conceit of this exercise is that everything I’m writing about I actually overheard in the last 30 days, and that every image (save for the video) is from a government website.

The guest minister preaching at the stewardship (read that money, among other things) service this past week noted that doing that kind of campaign in this economic atmosphere is “counterintuitive”. Somehow, I loved that.

I often take the city bus, after dropping off my daughter at day care, in order to get downtown. A couple middle school girls were talking.
GIRL #1: What was English about?
GIRL #2: There were three witches…
at which point GIRL #2 hands over her notebook to GIRL #1. Less than five minutes later, GIRL #1 returns the notebook and says, “At least now I won’t fail the quiz.”
I wish I could have absorbed Macbeth in five minutes like that.

A couple days ago, a couple of middle school males were talking on the bus:
BOY #1: Hey, did you ever go snowboarding?
BOY #2: Yeah, but when you fall, it can really hurt.
BOY #1: How much can it hurt? You’re falling on SNOW! I’m gonna try it this winter.

These middle schoolers are pretty loud; not raucous, but definitely at a higher volume than the general public. This week, when they got off, I said, to no one in particular, “Hey, listen to that.” The college student behind me replied, “The rest is silence.” She was quoting Hamlet, which may have been a paraphrase of Psalm 115:16-18, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth he hath given to the children of men. The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the Lord.” But I thought she was quoting the Broadway musical “Hair”, that verse in The Flesh Failures/Let The Sunshine In in which Claude reprises “Manchester England” and sings, “I believe in God, And I believe that God believes in Claude, That’s me, that’s me, that’s me”, while the chorus ends their response with “the rest is silence.”

I was in the barbershop getting a trim when one of the barbers was making a comment about one of his previous customers who got a traffic ticket despite a warning from that barber. It was an interesting enough tale, but then a woman, waiting for her boyfriend to get finished with his haircut, exclaimed, “Oh, this is just like the movie ‘Barbershop”!” Immediately, the whole barbershop went dead silent. No one likes being caricatured.

I was downtown when this man, a good 15 years older than I, walked over to me and said, “You look just like my grandfather.” I’m assuming his now deceased, beloved grandfather. Many years ago.

I was riding my now departed bike when a woman, standing on the corner waiting for the light to change, scolded her daughter for being too close to traffic while she was literally walking circles around her mother a good six feet from the curb. “No one cares about anybody,” she said. I thought that was very sad.

I was in the grocery store and heard this great song: OR this. I was even able to remember the original artist, the Main Ingredient. Better than the Aaron Neville cover, which I heard four days later.


MOVIE REVIEW: Vicki Cristina Barcelona

A friend of mine met a woman at a party that I threw. They had a torrid, tempestuous relationship that he once described as “like heroin”. Couldn’t live without her, couldn’t live with her.

That description pretty much describes at least one of the relationships in the new Woody Allen movie Vicki Cristina Barcelona, which I saw on Columbus Day by myself – well, OK, with four other people, but without my wife, who kindly stayed home with the daughter. She knows my favorite film is Woody’s Annie Hall, that I’ve seen several Allen films, and was anxious to see this one, especially since the reviews were mostly positive.

Like many good Allen movies, VCB is about sex. Whether it’s about a giant condom or a split screen ascertaining whether three times a week is “all the time” or “hardly at all”. In this case, it’s about whether the two title characters, played by Rebecca Hall as the engaged Vicki and Scarlett Johansson, a Woody Allen regular, as the unsettled Cristina, will succumb to the title vista. That includes Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) as the most forthright Lothario you’ll ever meet.

I found the movie to be a quite nice experience when Maria Elena (Penélope Cruz), the ex of Juan Antonio shows up. She is a force of nature, and ramps up the film from a pleasant diversion to one worth seeing.

There’s also a mildly interesting subplot involving the Nashes (Kevin Dunn and the always great Patricia Clarkson) that informs the main story. Chris Messina is stuck with that thankless role of Doug, the earnest, somewhat unpleasant finance of Vicki, the archtype which shows up in every other romantic movie, but the twist in this storyline makes that ultimately pay off as well.

I’ve watched a LOT of Woody Allen films, though none since 1995’s Mighty Aphrodite, save for the disappointing The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001). This is Woody Allen back, if not in his 1970s form, at least in his 1980s form, which is good enough to recommend.


Time to Vote!

Oh, not the Presidential election. I can’t vote until next week. I’m not in one of those states with “early” voting and long lines; I’m in one of those states with November 4 voting and probably longer lines.

No, I’m talking about the 2008 Podcast Awards. The voting is open until November 6 and you may vote once every 24 hours.

Here’s the thing: I just don’t listen to that many podcasts: Gordon’s Cast THIS, Pal!,Brian Ibbott’s Lyrics Undercover, Arthur’s AmeriNZ, Rick Bedrosian’s movie thing. More to the point, there are only two podcasts that I listen to that are nominated: Brian Ibbott’s Coverville in two categories (Best Produced and PodSafe Music) and James Howard Kunstler’s KunstlerCast (Cultural/Arts – really?) in one. I’ll vote for them.

But this means my ballot is…susceptible to your suggestions. Go to the ballot and let me know which shows YOU like, and why, and I’ll vote for them. Every day unless two or more of you pick from the same category; then I’ll alternate.

I have made some tentative selections in some categories: I’ve voted for Grammmar Girl, which I HAVE heard, in the Peoples Choice (why isn’t this People’s Choice?) and Education categories. I voted for Ramble Redhead based solely on the fact that he leaves comments for Arthur’s podcast. Under the Mature category, I picked Dan Savage’s Savage Love because I read him in our local arts weekly; also because he helped create another definition of the word santorum.

Now you might think this is somehow inappropriate, me voting for things I don’t know about. I contend that it’s the American way; happens all the time.

So sway me.
Free taco at Taco Bell tomorrow from 2 to 6 pm. Blame it on base stealing.

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