November Rambling: Legacy of fools, and Facebook rejection

Please move the deer crossing. I had heard this one some time ago, but I thought it was a prank.

I have a friend who actually is in great pain much of the time. But she doesn’t “look” sick, or injured, and people dismiss her level of discomfort. So this graphic is for her.

Troy, who participates in ABC Wednesday, and has designed the last several logos for the rounds, and his wife Diann, have undergone a terrible family ordeal, which they describe in painful detail. Then Troy explains that injustice runs in the judge’s family.

The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA, which was “a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.”

Letter to a future Republican strategist regarding white people. “My name is Eric Arnold Garland and I am a White Man.”

Marriage equality legal precedents.

Paul Rapp believes we’re missing the most important story in the David Petraus case. Also, An interesting letter, which may or may not relate to Petraeus affair; the second letter.

I could list Amy Barlow Liberatore’s Sharp Little Pencil just about every month. Her poem Interview With Sgt. Davis, Kabul, 2012 addresses what we are fighting for, while Bitter Silence is a more personal reflection.

Ken Levine wrote about Social Network Rejection when two or three people unsubscribe from your Twitter page or someone unfriends you on Facebook. I realize that this is a real issue for some people. It just isn’t for me. I did sign up for something that tells me when someone has unfriended me. A couple were people discontinuing Facebook altogether, and the other two were friends of friends I didn’t know personally anyway. I suppose I should care, but I just don’t. Of course, I don’t even go on Twitter anymore unless there is a weather emergency or some other urgent item I feel needs to be posted. The only other things I put there are the automatic posts from my blog. See also this piece.

Levine talked with Warren Littlefield, who was the NBC President of Entertainment during the ’90s and was Brandon Tartikoff’s key lieutenant in the ’80s. Part 1; Part 2.

Levine’s lovely story about Shari Lewis, who I AM old enough to remember.

The grandfather of the Planet of the Apes.

Why People Think Christians Are Crazy.

One Shade of Grey.

Advice to so-called “aspiring” writers.

Chuck Miller: It was a “I thought it would last forever” relationship, and I thought this new prospect would work out. And it did at first. It worked out better than I could have ever imagined, ever in my wildest dreams.

From Y’all To Youse, 8 English Ways to Make “You” Plural, a topic which I touched on almost two years ago. Yinz?

Please move the deer crossing. I had heard this one some time ago, but I thought it was a prank. The woman later admitted she didn’t understand who was being directed by the signs.

The first result for YouTube search of scream of frustration.

Debbie Harry explains how to pogo.

ABBA v. Van Halen

From Annette Funicello to Johnny Carson, via Paul Anka.

EGOT winner Rita Moreno

What if Marilyn Monroe had survived?

Twinkies in the Movies. A couple are NSFW.

Chuck McCann has a joke for you. It’s the one about the guy carrying the crate…

Alan David Doane’s year in review. My only objection is that we’ve still got another month. Unless the Mayans were right.

Dustbury gets older.

R.I.P. Spain Rodriguez, truly a “pillar of the early underground community.”

Basil Wolverton Superhero Comics.

Canvas Sneakers: Cheaper Than A Security Guard


My life: the plan, and the reality

One six-year Presidential term? More snollygosters

Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It.

Our church choir performed a concert this month. Here are some pictures; I’m in a couple of them.


Statistics | Roger Green and Associates, Inc. – Significance Testing: What Happens If We are Wrong? It is a critical question in risk assessment. A wrong decision has implications, sometimes small and inconsequential, sometimes …

Sera Cahoone knows what it’s like to have Thom Yorke hold your hands and sing to you
By the time she was in middle school, she was playing drums for gigging bands, and in the early ’90s, she formed the experimental rock band Idle Mind with her friend Roger Green. Although one of the more promising local acts of the time, the pair split …

Angmering family’s fright over Hallowe-en candle bag fire. By Roger Green
Hallowe’en began with a frightening experience for an Angmering family when a candle bag left on a bedroom window sill started a …

Dogs that are lifeguards By Roger Green.

Graphics stolen from Facebook, the latter from George Takei.

The New TV Season

Vince Guaraldi’s maternal uncle Muzzy Marcellino whistled the theme to the Lassie show.

After careful consideration, here is the list of new shows I’m watching this fall TV season:

Not a very long list; in fact, nada. The fact is that, while there were shows that have interested me, I have developed a higher standard for actually committing to a new show. I’m very suspicious of dramatic serials because if the network decides to cancel it before it’s over, as ABC did with The Nine a few seasons back, it’s terribly frustrating.

I look at the ads for a program such as ABC’s Last Resort, about an apparently rogue military operation, and it stars Andre Braugher, who I LOVED in Homicide: Life on the Streets. Yet the new show looks as though it ought to be a miniseries. What can they do with this format by season 3? And I see it’s already “on hiatus,” or whatever they call it when they haven’t canceled a show outright.

I was hanging out with my friend Fred Hembeck about five years ago, and he has this theory that once you start watching a show, generally you watch it to the end. I suppose I’m inclined to agree with this, although I gave up on 24 after a season and one episode because I found it upsetting. I quit The Office after the Michael Scott character left, but that’s when it should have gone off anyway.

I don’t watch a lot of cop procedurals. Reality TV bores me; there a certain sameness to the way they drag out the “drama.” And most comedies I don’t find particularly funny.

My friend Dan HATES TV as a medium; I’m not entirely clear why. I do like it for some news and sports, e.g. Though, TV writer Ken Levine rants about the current state of television, and he’s not wrong.

Whereas Cheri of Idle Chatter LOVES TV. Her enthusiasm is nice; I used to love TV like that, years ago. I remember noting on her blog the name of the Leonard Nimoy character on Mission: Impossible (Paris), which was on 40 years ago, and I hadn’t seen it since.

I was reading a book about Vince Guaraldi, best known for the piano on the Charlie Brown/Peanuts TV specials, and it noted that his maternal uncle Muzzy Marcellino whistled the theme to the Lassie show; I knew that theme right away. This led to a discussion in my office about whistled themes, which of course meant the theme to the Andy Griffith Show, which I knew was written by Earle Hagan, the same guy who wrote the Dick van Dyke theme. But I also knew – and I suppose this is sad – that Hagan also WHISTLED the theme.

I do this test with my SEVEN CDs of TV theme songs, to see if I can name the shows without checking the list; the ones with words don’t count. If I watched the show, I’m pretty good, but if I never watched it, like Simon and Simon, not so hot.

Some folks watch shows because they like the look of a performer, such as Kat Dennings on 2 Broke Girls, even as they suggest that the show itself isn’t all that great. I probably haven’t done that since Sela Ward was on Sisters. If that were my criterion, I would have watched Desperate Housewives, but never saw 10 minutes of it.

But casts do matter. The last two new shows I decided to follow were Parenthood and The Good Wife. I think I was intrigued by the parallels between them. First, they initially aired at the exact same time (Tuesday, at 10 pm, on NBC and CBS, respectively.) Both starred the two anchor guys from a series called Sports Night, which I watched late last century, Peter Krause and Josh Charles. They both also feature actors from Gilmore Girls, Lauren Graham, and Matt Czuchry. And then there are Bonnie Bedilia and Christine Baranski, who I have liked over the years.

OK, those weren’t technically the last shows. The most recent program I added was Major Crimes from this summer, which is a direct spinoff of The Closer, thus also violating my own rule about cop procedurals. But it’s the same set as the previous show, with most of the same actors, rather like how The Andy Griffith Show became Mayberry RFD.

But I never fret about a show being pre-empted. Most shows run only 22 episodes, and some, less, so even if they rerun each one, that’s only 44 out of 52 weeks max. When you only watch TV on DVR and your wife both records Dancing with the Stars and figure skating, then doesn’t get around to watching them, pre-emptions are good things.
Re: Larry Hagman, who died last week: I watched exactly one episode of Dallas, THAT episode everyone watched. I figured out who shot J.R. halfway through, I was correct, and never had the need to watch the program again. Whereas I watched I Dream of Jeannie religiously. Hey, it had a character named Roger, played by Bill Daily.

Here is Mark Evanier’s Larry Hagman story, which is very nice. And a link to Hagman performing with his mother, Mary Martin.

I’m rather neutral on whether Angus T. Jones should have told people to stop watching ‘filthy’ Two and a Half Men. Never turned on the TV to watch it, but I’ve been uncomfortable letting my daughter see it when the syndicated program would happen to be on, during the 7 pm hour.

Why Is The ‘Normal Television Family’ Always White?

The Zen of raking

In the late 1990s, someone stole my boom box from my office at work.

It’s practically a tradition; I rake leaves on Veterans Day, or shortly thereafter. Usually, some ill wind blows the bulk of the leaves off the huge oak in the back, and the maple tree, not to mention the Japanese maple, in the front.

It’s one of those activities that allow for creative thought. Musing about raking, or the alternatives to it, such as leaf blowers, for instance.

So I don’t mind raking, though my wife is much more thorough than I. She’ll leave one leaf per square meter, and I might leave a dozen. My law of diminishing returns cuts in sooner I guess. I DON’T LIKE stepping into a hidden pile of dog manure, though, since we don’t own a dog.

When I’m out there, I like to play music. I don’t want to get some headphones, though; I do that every day at work. I want to hear music blasting out of my boom box. OK, not blasting; I’m too socially appropriate to have music blaring outside at 10 a.m.

Not that I should have worried. The leaf blower that someone turned on ten houses away totally made my Aaron Copland CD inaudible.

I was on Facebook dissing leaf blowers when someone defended them as “fun.” I think my antipathy towards the machine is one part pollution aversion (it uses gas or electricity and it’s LOUD), but one part irritation about how people use them, blowing leaves into the street so that they become the responsibility of the municipality. I see that a LOT, and it really bugs me.

I think I’ll crank up my boom box all the way to five; well, maybe four and a half. I said to my wife that I was feeling like having a hamburger, a reference to the use of Hoe-Down from Rodeo by Copland as the theme for the long-running beef campaign; here is one example, and here’s another.

For some reason, the Daughter, who’s a great help with raking, asked me if I had ever been robbed. I was reminded that in the late 1990s, someone stole my boom box, identical to the one I was playing, from my office at work; I had purchased one for myself and one for Carol back in 1995. The thief was eventually caught because he was purloining a number of items from the building over time.

The really interesting thing was I had to testify before a grand jury to indicate that, no, I had not had given the defendant permission to “borrow” my boom box, and indeed did not know the defendant. Much to my surprise, a few months later, I received restitution for very nearly the full value of my loss from some court-related entity.

T is for the Trip Through Time, and Teachers

Nine of us went from K-9 together: Carol, Lois, Karen, Diane, Irene, Bill, Bernie, David, and me.

I grew up in Binghamton, NY, and when it was time for me to go to kindergarten, I was supposed to go to Oak Street Elementary School, based on where I lived. But both of my parents worked outside the home, and there would be no one home at lunchtime.

It was determined that we would instead go to Daniel S. Dickinson School so that we could go to my maternal grandmother’s house at lunchtime. She was only a half dozen blocks from my home. Incidentally, I don’t think Oak Street was any closer to MY house than Dickinson. The school was named for a 19th Century US Senator, as well as the first president of the city of Binghamton in 1834.

One of the peculiar things about schools in Binghamton at the time was that they would start in September AND February. Those of us born in December to March, maybe a month earlier or later, began school in February. The February class was always far smaller than the September class. One’s first semester was the B semester, the second the A semester. So when I went to school in February, I’d be in kindergarten B, e.g.

Dickinson was a K-9 (kindergarten through 9th grade) school, located on Starr Avenue at the west end of Dickinson Street, appropriately. The K-6 kids entered on the south side of the building, and the 7-9 children on the north side. It had clocks with Roman numerals, including the 4 shown as IIII, rather than IV.

Kindergarten: my teacher was Miss Cady. She was my mother’s teacher as well, which should indicate her vintage. I remember taking naps on a yellow rug; on one occasion, I actually fell asleep, and woke up to an empty room!

First through fourth grade: I don’t remember this stretch as well, because every single teacher we had in the B semester was gone by the A semester in September. I don’t know if they moved away or what, though at least one had gone on maternity leave, since she came back and taught my sister Leslie.

Fifth grade: Miss Marie Oberlik. She was of a certain age. She lived only three short blocks from the school and I walked by it almost every day. She taught us to count to 10 in Russian, which I can still do. I got 100 in the spelling final.

Sixth grade: Mr. Paul Peca. I’ve written about him. By that year, we had only 16 students in that class.

Additionally, we had:

Music: Mrs. Joseph from grades 3-9. We had these ancient blue books, which I was quite fond of. I loved them so much, in fact, that I found a book with a similar roster of songs a couple of years ago called America Sings, and bought copies for Leslie and me. Her husband was our 9th-grade biology teacher.

Gym: Mr. Lewis from grades 3-8. Every semester we had to do marching around the gym until it met his high expectations. (Column left march!) Then we could do something fun like softball or volleyball. Later on, perhaps as a result of a presidential fitness initiative, we were supposed to do certain activities, such as climbing ropes, which I was particularly bad at.

In 7th grade, kids from Oak Street, and from the Catholic school next door, entered our school. Mr. John Frenchko was the English teacher in 7B, 7A, and 9B; he was also the school’s assistant principal. Miss Gertrude Kane, who has the same first name as my mother, taught English 8B, 8A, and 9A. She had blue hair. She liked doing accents, and I foolishly let her know that I didn’t think she was particularly good at it. In the three marking periods, my grade went from A to B (after I made my comment) to C. I got a 90 on the final, yet got a C as a final grade.

By the end of 9th grade, we somehow had, again, only 16 students in the class. Nine of us went from K-9 together: Carol, Lois, Karen, Diane, Irene, Bill, Bernie, David, and me; if I had gone to Oak Street, obviously that would be untrue. Indeed, all of us except David, who stayed an extra semester so he could play basketball, graduated from high school together. They’ll all be turning 60 soon, and I’m likely to mention two or three of them in the coming months.

The school song:

Hail, Daniel Dickinson
Pride of our fair Binghamton
May we ‘ere our praises sing
With loyal hearts and true
May all our words and deeds
‘ere uphold thy glory
Guide us our whole lives through
Hail, Daniel Dickinson.

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

The Lydster, Part 104: The Medical Episodes

“Osgood-Schlatter disease typically occurs in boys ages 13 to 14 and girls ages 11 to 12. The condition usually resolves on its own, once the child’s bones stop growing.” The Daughter’s eight and a half, ahead of the curve.

Thrice in the past month or so, the Daughter has awakened in pain.

The first time, she had been experiencing right knee pain for a week, building into something she could not bear any longer. Her mother took her to the doctor that afternoon. She has Osgood-Schlatter disease, which is less a disease than a syndrome.

It “can cause a painful lump below the kneecap in children and adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in children who participate in sports that involve running, jumping and swift changes of direction — such as soccer, basketball, figure skating, and ballet.” My daughter was participating in soccer and ballet.

“Age ranges differ by sex because girls experience puberty earlier than do boys. Osgood-Schlatter disease typically occurs in boys ages 13 to 14 and girls ages 11 to 12. The condition usually resolves on its own, once the child’s bones stop growing.” The Daughter’s eight and a half, ahead of the curve.

The second time, on a Thursday morning, she complained that she was having trouble breathing. Her mother had already gone to work, but Lydia hadn’t gone to school yet. She was having an asthma attack, or “incident”, as the ER doctor at St. Peter’s Hospital said. They gave her oxygen, and a couple of medicines, including a steroid which was she was supposed to keep taking for five days, but resisted because of its taste.

The following Sunday morning, she complained of chest pains. Back to the ER, this time the three of us. After eliminating some sort of heart problem, it appears she pulled a muscle in her chest, probably a function of asthma. A heating pad and pain killers were the treatments. (This is why, church people, I missed choir that morning, but made it to the end of the service.)

I’ll be happy if we can avoid physicians for a while…