I send off the package, downhearted, because librarians like to provide THE answer.
Mark Evanier pointed to what is likely Woody Allen’s first-ever podcast interview. (Likely because Woody has no idea what a podcast is, he noted.) I listened to it – it’s 35 minutes long – and I got one takeaway.
The interviewer asked him how he felt about that instant applause that established comedians get when doing stand-up. They don’t have to do anything except walk on stage; sometimes just having the name announced. Isn’t this just cheap applause?
Woody will take it. When he was a struggling, unknown stand-up, the effort to win over the room was much more difficult, sometimes impossible, while his comic predecessors were getting kudos just for showing up.
I feel the same way at work sometimes. I’m working hard to find some piece of information, and either it doesn’t exist, or it’s not available except at a price beyond our price range. I send off the package, downhearted because librarians like to provide THE answer. But the comment I get back is that the data I DID provide, which approximated an answer, was just fine. Maybe even great.
Now is this really true? Or am I getting a bit of a pass because I’ve been providing such good information for the past two decades? I’ve decided that I don’t particularly care.
Yes, my coworker, Amelia had a daughter, Olive, in late November. I got to hold Olive at the work Christmas party a couple of weeks ago.
Did anyone close to you die?
The weird thing about the three gentlemen is that in each case, my own sense of dealing with loss came from something other than a wake or funeral.
Lenny Tucker, former head of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, at least HAD a funeral, though I was unable to attend. We spent time at the Friends meeting in late November talking about him.
My wife’s uncle, my mother-in-law’s oldest brother, Warren Olin, was the patriarch of the Olin clan and the historian who traced the family history back to the 1680s. There was only a small private service, so the family got to grieve somewhat at the Olin family reunion in July.
But the one that seems least settled for me was Irving Smith, a member of our congregation, who died at the age of 76 in October. There was no obituary I could find, and no service, at least that the church knew about. He was a long-time president of FOCUS churches, which does lots of important work, such as the food pantry and breakfast program. He traveled to Guatemala to visit our sister church in Mam. He operated the sound system and was an active participant in the Black History Month celebration.
What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
More optimism. Oddly, that’s what I wrote LAST time!
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Despite my complaints about it, becoming President of the Friends of the APL.
What was your biggest failure?
Easily distracted. I’m sorry, what did you ask?
What was the best thing you bought?
The 50th anniversary Hess truck. Makes me happy. What can I say?
Whose behavior merited celebration?
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), whose complaints about the budget deal, with all the non-budgetary extras, was at least helpful. Also Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Not only did we torture, but a majority of the American public thought it was an acceptable idea. THAT is depressing.
Where did most of your money go?
The house. Specifically, filling in the pool area in the back yard.
What did you get really excited about?
Jaquandor’s new book. His excitement was infectious.
What song will always remind you of 2014?
There were, surprisingly, a lot of contenders, including much of the new Weird Al album. Ultimately, it has to be the BBC version of God Only Knows. Every time I watch it, a little dust must get into my eye.
Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Sadder. The body politic and the capacity of humans to be quite terrible to each other have worn me down.
Thinner or fatter?
Lost weight in the summer, put in on in the fall. Zero-sum.
Richer or poorer?
Marginally better. I got a raise for the first time in three or four years.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
What do you wish you’d done less of?
How did you spend Christmas?
It still is going on. I bought presents SO late, some have yet to arrive. That said: went to church on Christmas eve. The Daughter got most of HER presents…
How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
As usual, “fashion” is silly. Function over form. Still, those people who walk in public in clothes that look like pajamas weird me out.
What kept you sane?
Music: singing, listening; learning new stuff. As previously noted, the question ASSUMES that I AM sane, which may or may not be the case.
Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
What political issue stirred you the most?
Race relations in America, heaven help me. Or maybe income inequality, which has been an issue for my church the last couple of years. But net neutrality is SO boring to explain.
Who did you miss?
I miss my parents, still.
Who was the best new person you met?
I met my boss’s boss’s boss. Surprisingly pleasant.
Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
It can always get worse.
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
In their sties with all their backing They don’t care what goes on around In their eyes, there’s something lacking What they need’s a damn good whacking -Listen to Piggies (George Harrison), from the Beatles white album.
I should note it’s not just a cynical choice. The Daughter will be among a group singing this and other Beatles songs in March.