March Ramblin’

Carol and I got to see an amazing percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie, with the Albany Symphony Orchestra at the Troy Music Hall, performing a piece written by Academy Award-winning composer, John Corigliano (“The Red Violin”).


For my birthday this year, I had come across this Facebook thing whereby people could contribute $10 in my name to the American Red Cross. I picked them specifically, not only because they do good things, but because they helped me possibly save a life. Back in May of 1995, I successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on an older woman in my church at the time who was choking on some meat, without breaking her ribs. I learned that at a Red Cross training that I took in high school.

Anyway, some people did this, some people were confused by how to do it electronically and instead gave me checks. Hey, it’s all good.

And that was before the Japan earthquake, and aid organizations such as the Red Cross in whatever country you are in can use your help even more.

Still, I got a couple of gift cards, one from Amazon, one from Borders. So I got my fix of new music for a while. From Borders, I got the greatest hits albums of the Guess Who (my previous copy had disappeared), and Peter, Paul, and Mary (I saw Peter and Paul at Proctors in the fall of 2010). And I was really pleased with myself with my Amazon purchase. I looked at my wish list and noted that a Sheryl Crow album had gone down from whatever to under $5. A Madeleine Peyroux album was down at least $3 to around $10. And Judy Collins’ cover album of Leonard Cohen songs, used to be $16+ but was down to under $11. The grand total was $25.15, plus 84 cents tax, for a total of $25.99, minus the GC for a massive charge of 99 cents to the credit card. ($25 was the minimum to get free shipping.) Oh, I may have purchased newish albums by Robert Plant, Mavis Staples, and R.E.M. as well.

Carol and I got to see an amazing percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie, with the Albany Symphony Orchestra at the Troy Music Hall, performing a piece written by Academy Award-winning composer, John Corigliano (“The Red Violin”). Thanks to our friends Philip and Marilyn who couldn’t use the tickets. In the same week, we also saw The Lion King at Proctors in Schenectady, which was great.

My wife was confounded as to what to get me for my birthday. She thought about getting a bicycle. But, using the $100 from the CSN stores I got from Lily Hydrangea, I bought a Mongoose myself for $59 additional. She thought to buy me a TV, to replace the one we have with only two volumes, inaudible and LOUD; but then my friend Uthaclena and his wife offered their spare set when they showed up with their daughter as a surprise on my birthday weekend; the following weekend, he brought up the set.

And the wife did buy me a book, the autobiography of Ed Dague, the local newsman I admire, but a friend from work had already given it to me.

So she let me have a card party, specifically a HEARTS party, on March 19. There was a period in the 1980s where a group of us would play hearts once, twice, even thrice a week, always at the home of our charismatic and maddening friend Broome and his “this woman is a saint” wife, Penny.

At the card party, I got to see my old friends such as Orchid, who I goaded by e-mail – “You HAVE an A game?”; Jeff and Sandy, Jendy, and of course Broome. As they say, a splendid time was had by all.

So it’s been a pretty good birthday month, thanks to many of you. Well, except for some major computer problems at work, but that’s finally fixed.

Second place in this crossword contest, by my boss, is not bad, especially when the winner was a ringer.

The Cheap Flights song, complete with dancing. And subtitles?

Lots of Elizabeth (“I hate being called Liz”) Taylor tributes out there; here’s the one from Arthur.

In answering my questions, Jaquandor says something shocking about Richard Nixon. Worse, I’m inclined to agree with him.
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My buddy Steve Bissette writes about D.W. Griffith’s two Biograph caveman movies, Man’s Genesis (1912) and Brute Force (1914), with a link to the latter.
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Diagram For Delinquents Kickstarter project:

“This is a documentary film about the most hated man in comics history: psychiatrist Fredric Wertham.

“Beginning in the late 1940s, Wertham began publishing articles linking comic books to juvenile delinquency. This work culminated in his now-infamous 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent. Burnings of comics were reported across the United States, and Congress held hearings into the matter, which helped spur the creation of the self-censoring body the Comics Code Authority…”
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Google Alert finds – other people named Roger Green:

Roger Green Pt 1/5 ‘Feng Shui & Building Biology’ ‘Conversations with Robyn’
Roger has a background in Chinese Medicine and was a pioneer in introducing the ancient knowledge of Feng Shui to the western world.
This clip also shares some info on the harmful effects of wireless broadband on our health and sleeping patterns.

Custom Knives Created By Roger Green

Patients who walk through the doors of Dr. Roger Green’s clinic are eagerly greeted by Izzy, Green’s 5-year-old Basset hound.

One of those passengers at Narita Airport in Tokyo, on flight No. 276, next in line on the runway when the earthquake hit, was the Rev. Roger Green, longtime pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Middletown.

Beatles Island Songs, 23-14

“I’ll Be Back” was originally in 3/4, as the Anthology recordings reveal – and I’ve heard cover versions done that way – but was ultimately recorded in 4/4.

(Confidential to Uthaclena: “Macca”!)

JEOPARDY! answers (Questions at the end)

BEATLES LYRICS $100: “He got o-no sideboard, he one spinal cracker”
BEATLES LYRICS $200: “It always leads me here, leads me to your door”
BEATLES LYRICS $300: “Closer, let me whisper in your ear, say the words I love to hear”
BEATLES LYRICS $400: “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you” BEATLES LYRICS $500: “Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love”
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Beatles Release Debut Album 48 Years Ago

Macca solo albums expanded editions coming in June

In pictures: Abbey Road Studio Two
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The rules of engagement

23 Lady Madonna, from A-side of a single (UK), Hey Jude album (US). Initially, I wasn’t positive this last Capitol single even was the Beatles. That McCartney vocal was so affected, in a good way. I liked being surprised.
22 Rain, B-side of Paperback Writer single (UK), Hey Jude album (US). Not sure that I liked this song at all initially – it was kind of out there – but now love it. Backward tape loops make this the progenitor of all that Lennon weirdness. And it lives on the bass line to boot. Another video.
21 Glass Onion from the white album. One could make the case that, for an island selection, it ought to be #1; after all, the Lennon song namechecks several other Beatles songs. I did consider it, actually. I’m also particularly fond of the Anthology version of the song. “It’s a goal!”
20 I’ll Be Back from A Hard Day’s Night (UK), Beatles ’65. In dealing with affairs of the heart, always found this Lennon song very moving. And I love the guitar strumming and the specific harmony. This was originally in 3/4, as the Anthology recordings reveal – and I’ve heard cover versions done that way – but was ultimately recorded in 4/4.
19 Think for Yourself from Rubber Soul. There are probably no three Beatle songs in a row on an album that I love more than You Won’t See Me, Harrison’s Think For Yourself, and The Word. Yeah, I know Nowhere Man’s in there on the UK album, but it’s not what I grew up with. Love the instrumentation – more bottom – and the message.
18 I Want to Hold Your Hand A-side of a single (UK), Meet the Beatles (US). Only the Lennon- McCartney song that first went to #1 in the US, which, as George Martin mentioned, Capitol Records was essentially forced to release, which led directly to their appearance on Ed Sullivan. Oh, and a great song, to boot.
17 Ticket to Ride from Help! This has been described as a perfect single. I agree, and stretching past the three-minute boundary that singles were “supposed” to be Plaintive. The very first line is among my favorites. Lennon, the primary writer, “claimed that it was the first heavy metal song given the droning bassline, repeating drums, and loaded guitar lines.”
16 Eleanor Rigby from Revolver. A moving McCartney story song. But even without the lyrics, it’s a beautiful song, as the Anthology version shows. It was covered way too often, with an annoying sense of the song’s IMPORTANCE, and it’s STILL ranked this high.
15 Golden Slumbers from Abbey Road. At some level, this pick and the next honor the whole second-side suite. But I DO love McCartney’s vocal on this.
14 Carry That Weight from Abbey Road. Whereas the vocal here, by the whole band, sounds a little like drunken sailors. But I love the You Never Give Me your Money reprise.

JEOPARDY! questions
What is Come Together?
What is The Long And Winding Road?
What is Do You Want To Know A Secret?
What is All My Loving?
What is All You Need is Love? (on the show, NO ONE got this correct!)

K is for Keys

Music touches on a few aspects of the word key.


I have become fascinated with the word key. It’s a short word, worth 10 points in Scrabble, but it has so many meanings. Reference.com shows some four dozen definitions. And while some are interlocking, most of them address some sort of structure.

There is that metal thing that moves a bolt that I tend to hate because I tend to misplace it. I have a couple of duplicates of my house keys, one outside the structure – no, it’s not under the mat – just in case. Someone told me a long time ago that the number of keys one has related to how important they were. The most important person I ever knew, by that definition, was my elementary school janitor.

Then there’s “something that affords a means of access”, such as the key to happiness. The word shows up at least a half dozen times in the Bible in this context, including Luke 11:52 (New International Version)- “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” Lawyer bashing has a rich tradition.

“Something that affords a means of clarifying a problem,” I would contend, would include the pronunciation key in the dictionary, the answer key to an exam, and like entities.

Things that look like keys, such as the islands known as the Florida Keys, or a part of the floor in basketball. Or something that is the center of things, something that’s important, such as the key to figuring out a mystery; Pennsylvania is the Keystone State.

Music touches on a few aspects of the word key. The keys on the piano or other instruments, like the keys to a calculator or computer keyboard, are the items that are touched; singer Alicia Augello Cook changed her last name to Keys in honor of piano keys. But the key is also “the principal tonality of a composition: a symphony in the key of C# major.”

Stevie Wonder recorded the 1976 Grammy album of the year, Songs in the Key of Life. It featured the big hits I Wish and Sir Duke, but also this minor hit As.

I came across this list of songs containing the word key. Thought I’d pick a few:
Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key-Billy Bragg & Wilco, featuring Natalie Merchant; a Woody Guthrie lyric completed by Bragg.
Key To The Highway-B.B. King and Eric Clapton.
Brand New Key-Melanie (live). “Don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

Rock ‘n’ Roll Fridays: Talking Heads

I mean there are so many types of love.


“Welcome to Rock ‘n Roll Fridays. We are like other memes in that we will ask you thirteen questions each and every Friday. But our little ‘twist’ is that each week we will pick a singer, band, era or category and pick thirteen of their songs. Each of our questions will be based on the lyrics… Today we picked Talking Heads.”

1. Psycho Killer “I can’t seem to face up to the facts, I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax. I can’t sleep cuz my bed’s on fire. Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire…”
What has kept you from a restful night’s sleep recently?

Actually, the Daughter has had a few nightmares recently. The first time, she and I were awake from 3 a.m. trough the school/work day. Another time, she woke me from an especially sound sleep.

2. Life During Wartime “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco…this ain’t no foolin around. No time for dancing or lovey dovey. I ain’t got time for that now…”
Where was the last nightclub or disco you went to?

It’s been years. I think it was in Schenectady in the early 1980s. I remember with whom I went.

3. Take Me To The River “Take me to the river. Dip me in the ocean. Take me to the river washing me down…”
When was the last time you took a dip in the water?

Probably Fred Hembeck’s pool three years ago.

4. Found A Job “Their show gets high ratings, they think they have a hit. There might be a spin-off, but they’re not sure ‘bout that”
What is your favorite TV spin-off show of all time?

It might be Lou Grant, a very EARNEST spinoff of the Mary Tyler Moore show. And my favorite theme song has to be the Jeffersons, a spinoff of All in the Family. I also have great affection for the first season of Mork & Mindy, a spinoff of Happy Days.

5. Once In A Lifetime “And you may ask yourself How do I work this? And you may ask yourself Where is that large automobile? And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful house! And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful wife!”
Are you happy with your choices of car, house, and spouse/no spouse?

Our car is non-descript silver/gray; I can only find it in a parking lot by the license number. Strange, but I never had that trouble with our white Ford Taurus.
Being a homeowner is a pain.
My wife is pretty swell.

6. This Must Be The Place “Out of all those kinds of people, you got a face with a view. I’m just an animal looking for a home, share the same space for a minute or two…”
Who has a face with a view?

George Clooney. And I have no idea what the question is asking.

7. Girlfriend Is Better “I got a girlfriend that’s better than this, and you don’t remember at all. As we get older and stop making sense, You won’t find her waiting long…”
What is the shortest date or relationship you have ever had?

Actually, there was this friend of my now-wife’s, who I went out with, solely for the purpose of making Carol jealous; we were broken up at the time. And it worked, or at least it helped. But the date itself was over by 7:30 p.m.; we had nothing to say to each other.

8. Swamp “Everyone wants to explode. And when your hands get dirty, nobody knows you at all. Don’t have a window to slip out of . Lights on, nobody home”
Where was the last homeless person you saw and what was he/she doing?

Corner of Lark Street and Washington Avenue, asking for money for bus fare. I gave him 75 cents, and he did in fact get on the bus.

9. Road To Nowhere “We’re on the road to paradise. Here we go. We’re on a road to nowhere, come on inside. Takin that ride to nowhere, we’ll take that ride”
When was the last time you took a day trip or a road trip?

Probably to Vermont last year.

10. And She Was “The word was movin and she was right there with it and she was”
Are you keeping up with the world? What piece of modern technology do you still need to own/use?

I don’t NEED any piece of technology. I have no iPad or Kindle or Nook, and someday I’ll get one. Or not.

11. Wild Wild Life Sleepin on the interstate oh oh oh…getting wild wild life. Checkin in and checkin out oh oh oh, I got a wild wild life”

When was the last time you stayed at a motel/hotel and what town were you in?

In Charlotte, NC in February. Before that, a work conference in Syracuse last May.

12. Nothing But Flowers “Once there were parking lots, now it’s a peaceful oasis, you got it you got it. Once it was a pizza Hut, now it’s all covered with daisies. I miss the honky tonks, Dairy Queens, and 7-11 s…”
What would you miss if nature grew back over malls and concrete?

Goodness, I wouldn’t miss a thing.

13. Building On Fire “When my love stands next to your love, I can’t define love, when it’s not love…”
Define love.

Oh, that’s…not easy. I mean there are so many types of love. I do like the definition of love of St. Thomas Aquinas, who defined love as “to will the good of another,” or to desire for another to succeed. So as Lyle Lovett sang it: “I love everybody, especially you.”

Roger Answers Your Questions, Rosey and Lisa


Rosey at Dung Hoe Gardening asked:
Do you feel like we as a country have to fight every war for everybody? It’s [a] sticky question.

Well, yes, it is. But the answer to the question is clearly no. I mean, the United States hasn’t gotten involved in the civil war in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) yet, has it?

As a matter of policy, at least since Viet Nam, the position has generally been that the US engage in winnable wars, and only when they meet the nation’s strategic interests, whatever they may be at the moment. This has been boiled down to something called The Powell Doctrine, which “states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States”:

1.Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2.Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3.Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4.Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5.Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6.Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7.Is the action supported by the American people?
8.Do we have genuine broad international support?

One could argue that our incursion into Libya doesn’t meet #2; Afghanistan hasn’t met #5, and #8 re Iraq is dubious. Other standards may not have been met also.

More cynically, The Daily Show described our foreign policy decisions this way.

To this day, Bill Clinton regrets his “personal failure” to prevent the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people. But would the American people have supported a war in a country where no visible bogeyman had been inbedded in their collective consciousness, merely to save the lives of people in a country no one could find on a map, or spell?

I suppose, Rosey, your question was prompted by the Libyan situation. The Republican position has been all over the place, with some who were pushing for a “no-fly zone” weeks ago – by ourselves? really? – still kvetching about Obama’s “inaction”. I tend to be in that fairly bipartisan camp who’s concerned that we’re fighting a war (again) without a Congressional declaration of war.

Also, I worry about “mission creep”. Initially, it was about protecting the rebels (whoever the heck they are) against the excesses of Khadafi Gadaffy Qadaffi the Libyan leader, however you spell his name. But, if it’s going well, hey, why don’t we try to take him out, like we tried 25 years ago?

So, why the US goes to war tends not to be very tidy anymore, if it ever was.
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Lisa at peripheral perceptions wants needs to know:
My burning question is: Did you take that photo yourself or did you *pose that way for someone? 🙂

When I went down to Charlotte, NC last month to see my mother, I was tooling around on the household computer. There I came across a bunch of photos I’d never seen from Lydia and my trip there in the spring of 2009; we were there then for my niece’s high school graduation. One of them was this one:

I didn’t remember it, but, for sure, the niece took it, not me, and I’m guessing that I was doing it for some effect, but I’m just not positive.