April Rambling: Buy the niece’s new album, and end Daylight Saving Time

“Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic.”

New album from Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact the debut release from San Diego-based eclectic soul/funk band. RJ is my niece, my sister Leslie’s daughter.
From NBC San Diego: “Not everything on April Fool’s Day was a joke. Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact released their self-titled debut and it’s no laughing matter. Channeling everyone from Candi Staton and Betty Davis to Morcheeba and Brightback Morning Light, these 12 tracks of soul and funk are stunners. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.”
Another review.
In this picture, she’s the one in the blue dress.

After watching this video, I’m even more convinced than I was before: Daylight Saving Time is a waste of time. Having tried to schedule a phone call from the UK at a point when the US is in DST and the UK has NOT yet moved to British Summer Time, I know of which the speaker is talking about.

Everything wrong with the US prison system in under 4 minutes.

That dreadful US Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC has made buying politicians so much easier. If the case confuses you check out this video. Definitely watch the cartoon United States of John Roberts.

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth!

Former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville was caught Shoveling Snow While Black, at his own residence.

We are all just stories in the end. Yes, I’m the Roger mentioned therein.

Leave me alone, but not now. I’m convinced that MOST of us are like this; certainly, I am.

Dustbury pointed me to this: I didn’t willfully start out forgetting you. It was something that just happened, an occurrence that took place over time, little by little…

Melanie: People who heal. Also, Knowledge comes from what you add, wisdom from what you remove.

Two moments, one sister.

Evanier on Advocating for your family at the hospital, plus a follow-up. Plus his Tales of My Grandmother.

Animation: Johnny Cash on gospel music.

Tosy’s ranking U2 songs: 100-91.

The J.D. Salinger of Sick Songs, Tom Lehrer. More Lehrer.

Jack Nicholson’s descent into homicidal madness re-cut into uplifting family film trailer.

Microsoft released a video on the story behind their “Bliss” default desktop photo for its Windows XP operating system, for which it is no longer providing technical support.

Less interested in the comic book review that the reference to the New York World’s Fair, which I attended, though not until 1965.

In one of those Facebook memes: “I’m Picard: Few are smarter and more reliable, but that doesn’t mean you’re bad in a fight. You surround yourself with great people, but maintain a strong devotion to the chain of command. You’re fiercely loyal to your friends and family, but never had time to start one yourself. In the minus column…you can be a touch boring.” And speaking of which: Picard’s tea. Also, Trek-lit reading order.

I’m also Led Zeppelin: “You’re an overachiever and a perfectionist. You work hard at what you do, and it shows. Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic. If you continue to refine your skills, you’ll eventually become one of the greatest ever in your chosen field.” Third sentence is almost certainly correct.

The Gandy Dancers.

An Aesop fable comes true.

Great newspaper headline, with proper grammar.

14 Arcane words every freelancer should use.

50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 21 and Chapter 22 and Chapter 23. TG this ends soon…

Because Muppet Outtakes Are the Best Outtakes. Also, I remember this Jim Henson AmEx commercial.

Kids react to technology: rotary phones and Walkmans.

Judgmental city maps.

For Kibler [Arkansas] Police Chief Roger Green, “providing law enforcement to the Crawford County town is not much different than policing larger cities.”

If I Had a Million Dollars (to spend, in one day)

Can I purchase trips to use in the near future?

Cheri addressed the question: If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by nightfall, what would you do with the money?

I suppose I could find a house to buy but in 12 or 15 hours? I imagine putting money aside for college for the Daughter wouldn’t qualify.

Tough. If it really meant SPEND, I’d pay off our mortgage, and those of my sisters and brothers-in-law (is that even possible to do in 12 hours?), buy a new car (probably an energy-efficient one), buy a large screen TV. Then a snowplow and lawnmower, for while I can do those tasks manually now, it may not always be the case. Probably buy every tool I think I might ever need, a backup generator, and food that won’t spoil, plus a storage freezer.

Can I purchase trips to use in the near future? Trips to Alaska and Hawaii. And to see the Taj Mahal.

Then start writing checks to family and my favorite charities. Does my church want an elevator? Done. My former church wants an electric door so it wouldn’t be too heavy to open? Done. Red Cross will get a bunch, and so will some feeding programs. Those people who come to a neighborhood and provide free medical services, both in the US and on a ship around Africa.

What would YOU do?

The Barenaked Ladies – “If I Had A Million Dollars”
The Barenaked Ladies – “If I Had A Million Dollars”, in a hurry

P is for Pointer Sisters

The Pointer Sisters’ second album, 1974’s That’s a Plenty, was just as eclectic as their first.

RB1001_POINTER_SISTERSThe Pointer Sisters had a bunch of big hit singles in the 1980s [LISTEN to snippets], but it is their early work I want to concentrate on. The group was a quartet at the time – Ruth, Anita, Bonnie, and June – raised in Oakland, California by their minister-parents, who were NOT encouraging them to sing secular music.

They must have nevertheless listened to a varied mix of musical genres because that’s what showed up in their early recordings. Their eponymous first album yielded a #11 pop single, Yes, We Can Can [LISTEN to the album version].

Their second studio album, 1974’s That’s a Plenty, was just as eclectic. Here is the iTunes preview.

1. Bangin’ on the Pipes/Steam Heat (Medley). The seemingly autobiographical first part segues into the song from the 1954 musical Pajama Game. Though it only went to #108 on the pop charts, it became an early signature song with the group performing it on The Carol Burnett Show broadcast of September 28, 1974. LISTEN to a live version of Steam Heat.

2. Salt Peanuts [LISTEN]. This Dizzy Gillespie’s bop classic allows the sisters to sound like horns, sing scat, and bend harmonies. I remember them performing this on Carol Burnett for laughs, with the hostess unable to keep up with the frenetic pace.
(They were on the Burnett show frequently in that period; here’s the lengthy skit Cinderella gets it on from November 29, 1975.)

3. Grinning in Your Face [LISTEN]. Bonnie Raitt played slide guitar on this Son House blues number.

4. Shaky Flat Blues. Written by June, Anita and Bonnie, it suggests a much earlier time.

5. That’s a Plenty/Surfeit, U.S.A. (Medley). A Dixieland feel.

6. Little Pony [LISTEN]. Music by Neal Hefti, and previously performed by Count Basie, with exuberant lyrics by Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert.

7. Fairytale [LISTEN]. Written by Anita and Bonnie, it made it to #13 on the pop charts and the Top 40 on the country charts. It won them their first Grammy, for Best Country & Western Performance by a Group, AND the sisters became the first black vocal group to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. The song was covered by Elvis Presley.

8. Black Coffee [LISTEN]. Bonnie sans her sisters on the torch song immortalized by Peggy Lee, and later sung by k.d. lang.

9. “Love in Them There Hills”. This early sound of Philly song written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, with Roland Chambers, is an OK three-minute B-side [LISTEN]. But here, it’s over eight minutes [LISTEN!] with a hypnotic middle section that is “a cosmic, free-flowing funk jam” that predated those 12-inch dance records. I used to turn off all the lights in my apartment to listen to it.

Eventually, Bonnie left to be a solo act with Motown, and the other three had some of their biggest hits. The Pointer Sisters still perform. While June died in 2006 of cancer, both Issa Pointer, Ruth’s daughter with Dennis Edwards of the Temptations; and Sadako Johnson, Ruth’s granddaughter, have been part of the group, on and off.


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

Stress, and time management: related

No, I don’t like doing things at the last minute. Don’t like rushing to the airport, to the train or the bus, or to get to the movies on time.

stressNew York Erratic, who needs to blog more – just noting – wrote on March 20, 2014, at 7:29 am:

What was the greatest job stress in the last year?

And the answer had I written it at that moment would have been: “IT’S RIGHT NOW!”

I’ve alluded to The Daughter’s mysterious ailments, which have been largely mitigated and only partially explained, and would take a lot more detail to discuss, involving talks not only with doctors but with school officials about making accommodations for the fact that she missed so much classwork.

The math and spelling homework she kept up with, in large part, because I was writing it for her; she was doing the intellectual work, but the pain in her upper arm made her handwriting/printing totally illegible.

As if my concern about her were not enough, I had my own stuff to do. Let’s throw in another NYE question here:

What do you do about time management issues?

In general, I like to do things early. If I have a deadline of a month, I like to do it as soon as possible. There are two basic reasons: 1) I’m enthusiastic about it in the beginning; later, as I muddle through it, I get bored and unfocused. 2) I get stressed about approaching deadlines. It weighs me down.

I had three specific things I needed to do in the month of March. In the usual course of going to work, doing some of it at lunchtime, or after work, it all would have been completed weeks earlier. But the last week in February, I missed at least two days of work. There were 21 workdays in March; I went to work all day only five of them, taking a total of 7.5 sick days (only 0.5 related to me, the rest to The Daughter), and two vacation days, neither of which were purely used to vacay.

Item #1: I had agreed to take the minutes of the February 24 meeting of the Friends of the Albany Public Library. If you’ve ever taken minutes for a meeting, you recognize that that the sooner they are done, the better. I could not pawn them off on someone else because of my cryptic shorthand. On March 17, I’m being asked for them, and I just throw up both my hands in despair. Not having a usable computer at home at the time, and not having time to go to the library to use a public machine, I had no real options.

I FINALLY finish them on March 29, just before the March 31 meeting, too late for anyone to actually review and read, or to act on the items that minutes remind people they’ve agreed to do. Not incidentally, the minutes I took for the March 31 meeting were done on April 2.

Item #2: I had agreed to give a talk at the Community Loan Fund on March 27 about business reference resources that are free or cheap. I so infrequently get out of the office that I was really looking forward to this. The talking part was not the issue; it was putting together the handout sheet. We had one from about three years ago, but some sources had changed, and new ones needed to be added. On March 24, I’m STILL working on the sheet. If it wasn’t for my colleague Alexis, I never would have finished it.

Sometime around March 18, one of my sisters called me, and I was telling her about all of this stuff. She said, unhelpfully, “Why don’t you postpone some things?” I obviously had not made clear that ALL I HAD BEEN DOING was postponing things for – at that point – the past three weeks. She thought I should reschedule my dental appointment the next day; I thought that was a terrible idea; by not taking care of myself, I’d be unable to take care of my daughter.

One of the things I HAD postponed, from February 24, ostensibly a vacation day that began The Daughter’s ailments, was getting a haircut. I FINALLY got one on March 22, so that when I went to my March 27 gig, I didn’t look like Grizzly Adams anymore.

Item #3: I had this reimbursement program for medical expenses in 2013. I had put in $2500 because we kept thinking The Daughter was going to get braces, but she didn’t. So we had to get reimbursed whatever receipts we could find. We also had $1800 for the afterschool money to get back. I mailed it on March 27, and it was received on March 31, the very last day of eligibility, or we would have been out all of that money.

No, I don’t like doing things at the last minute. Don’t like rushing to the airport; the debacle of June 2009 STILL rankles me. Geez, I just reread what I wrote there, and I left out what inane thing we were talking about; I wrote about THAT months earlier. Don’t like rushing to the train or the bus, or getting to the movies on time.

I should make the distinction here between avoidable and unavoidable problems. I’m OK with the stuff you wouldn’t reasonably anticipate; things happen. Tree falls in a storm, blocks the road: unavoidable. Someone gets sick: unavoidable. Power outage: unavoidable. Trying to squeeze in one more task that makes everyone late: totally avoidable.

Are there some non-work activities that take precedence, and, if so, which ones and why?

I check my e-mail. I get blog comment notices that needs approval, bills that need to be paid, my sisters’ and nieces’ posts to Facebook, news and weather and traffic bulletins, info from the Daughter’s school district, ideas for my work blog.

Obviously, taking care of The Daughter trumped work in March.

I TRY to take off one day a month for mental health, but that’s not always been the case. February 24, as noted, I tended to The Daughter. March 31, I went to work to fax the last of those reimbursement forms.

The Lydster, Part 121: The nutritional value of Froot Loops

Raisin Bran is probably the better choice than the Froot Loops, but not so much better as I thought.

I want The Daughter to eat well, but if she wants an occasional box of Kellogg’s Froot Loops, a “sweetened multi-grain cereal,” I might buy it if it’s on sale. The Wife was complaining that she had made that choice for breakfast when she replied that it was healthier than the Kellogg’s Raisin Bran I was eating. Let’s look at the side panels:

SERVING SIZE: 1 cup (FL-29 g, RB-59g)

Calories: FL-110, RB-190. Advantage, FL.
Saturated fat: 0.5g, RB-0g. Advantage RB.
Sodium: FL 135 mg, RB-210mg. Advantage, FL.
Potassium: FL-35mg, RB-390mg. Big advantage, RB.
Total carbohydrates: FL-26g, RB-46g. Advantage, FL.
Dietary fiber: FL-3g, RB-7g. Advantage-RB.
Protein: FL-1g, RB-5g. Advantage-RB.

Then it’s all those minimum daily requirement percentages.

Most of them are the same, with these exceptions:
Vitamin C: FL-25%, RB-0%. Big advantage, FL, although it’s undoubtedly some additive.
Calcium: FL-0%, RB-2%. Small advantage-RB.
Phosphorus and magnesium: FL-0%, RB-20% each. Advantage: RB.
Zinc: FL-0%, RB-10%. Advantage-RB.

Finally, it’s the ingredients. Froot Loops’ first ingredient is sugar. The second is corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour); the first sounds OK, but the other? It has a lot of items I’m not exactly sure what they are, especially for the coloring. Raisin Bran starts with whole grain wheat, raisins, wheat bran before it gets to sugar.

I’ll still suggest that the Raisin Bran is probably the better choice than the Froot Loops, but not so much better as I thought.

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