November rambling #2: Book two of the trilogy

Albany by Roger Whitaker

1941 Dr Seuss cartoon illustrating the U.S. stance denying Jews safe haven from the Nazis.
1941 Dr. Seuss cartoon illustrating the U.S. stance denying Jews safe haven from the Nazis.

From The Weekly Sift, November 21, 2016:

Like most people I know, I’ve been suffering occasional attacks of rage or depression. But it’s also oddly energizing sometimes. If you ever had fantasies of being a hero, well, gear up; the villains are taking the field. It feels like we’re in a trilogy, somewhere around the end of Book Two. Ancient evils have jumped out of history books and grainy newsreels, and are appearing on live TV. Their words and ideas are coming out of the mouths of our neighbors.

Who thought we’d have to deal with this in our lifetimes?

For some while now, everything that you can think to do about the situation is going to seem hopelessly inadequate. But it’s important that you do it anyway. That’s how it is at the end of Book Two.

You’re a hobbit with all of Mordor in front of you, or an Ewok facing a galactic empire. The idea that you’re going to turn things around is laughable. And a lot of the stuff that people think to do will come to nothing, just like it seems. But some of it won’t, and if anybody can say for sure which is which, I haven’t met them yet.

So anyway, today I plan to type a bunch of words onto a screen. It’s what I can think to do. You think that seems hopelessly inadequate? Tell me about it.

[I do SO relate!]

Also from the Weekly Sift: The Trump Administration: What I’m watching for and Should I Have White Pride?

Donald Trump and the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, explained

Farewell, America

Trump summons a monster he can’t control – “White supremacists are acting as if they’ve hit the swastika sweepstakes.” cf Why I Left White Nationalism

“Sore winner” syndrome: Why are Donald Trump’s supporters still so angry?

Through a Looking Glass, Darkly

Donald Trump — the Boy King

America first, Trump second

Donald Trump: Anyone who burns American flag should be jailed or lose citizenship

Welcome to the Trump kleptocracy, plus kakistocracy

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President

More Weekly Sift, especially the section on corruption

An ethical double standard for Trump — and the GOP?

Professor predicts impeachment

Mike Pence’s top seven most homophobic moments (out of many)

79-Year-Old Trump Supporter Arrested for Allegedly Vandalizing Children’s Mural

Confederate States of America currency?

Rapp On This: As a Matter of Fact, the Sky Is Falling

TV News and Its Long Dark Night of the Soul, though, finally, The Associated Press has defined ‘alt-right’


Atlético Nacional, the Colombian team, asks that its opponent, Chapecoense of Brazil, be awarded the Copa Sudamericana soccer tournament title, after the plane crash which killed nearly all of Chapecoense’s players and coaches

The Kind of Christian I Refuse To Be

Aboard an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, a young woman becomes an unlikely hero

That disruption at a performance of Hamilton

The Bubble – SNL

They may well be sincere in what they say but they may just be buttering you up

Fidel Castro dead at 90;

Florence Henderson passed away – I never saw a single episode of the Brady Bunch during its original run but caught it in syndication occasionally. She played Florence Henderson at least a couple of times in later shows, but my favorite role of hers was as the wife in Amish Paradise by Weird Al.

The GREAT character Fritz Weaver died at the age of 90. Some know him for a few appearances in the original Twilight Zone, but he had a massive body of work

I know I liked Harris on Barney Miller because I didn’t often see the black intellectual on TV – RIP, Ron Glass

American comedy vs. British comedy

Internet Wading – Looking and listening

An interesting blog on family photo copyrights

Why can’t you go out and buy cashews in the shell?

Two Point Conversion Chart (football)

8 Memorable Comics Screw-Ups

Now I Know: The Spaceship Graveyard and A Def Vacation

“Hipster” nativity scene for the holidays

The Strange History of Microfilm, Which Will Be With Us for Centuries

Accidentally Closing Browser Window With 23 Tabs Open Presents Rare Chance At New Life


Beethoven’s 7th

Tchaikovsky’s “fantasy overture” Romeo and Juliet

100 Days, 100 Nights – Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Albany songs, plus Albany by Roger Whitaker, lyrics here

Elvis at the Wheel

Spirit of the ’60s albums


The Leonard Cohen song that saved Roger Ebert’s life

A Temptations musical?


U is for ultracrepidarianism (ABC W)

Sutor, ne ultra crepidam


Ultracrepidarian is an adjective noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise. You probably know them, and if you do not, count your many blessings.

One might think that ultracrepidarianism was a concept invented for the 21st century, with people magically being able to espouse wisdom about everything on the Internet.

In fact, the term “was first publicly recorded in 1819 by the essayist William Hazlitt in an open Letter to William Gifford, the editor of the Quarterly Review: ‘You have been well called an Ultra-Crepidarian critic.’ It was used again four years later in 1823, in the satire by Hazlitt’s friend Leigh Hunt, Ultra-Crepidarius: a Satire on William Gifford.”

And roots are much older than that. Ultracrepidarianism “draws from a famous comment purportedly made by Apelles, a famous Greek artist [of the 4th century BC], to a shoemaker who presumed to criticise his painting.” The Latin phrase ‘Sutor, ne ultra crepidam’, was set down by Pliny [the Elder, 1st century A.D.] and later altered by other Latin writers to ‘Ne ultra crepidam judicaret.’ [It] can be taken to mean that a shoemaker ought not to judge beyond his own soles.”

Thus, the sign of well-trained healthcare professionals, for example, is that if something falls outside their field of expertise, they find the person who knows, not pretends to have an answer.

Still, there was a series of ads from Holiday Inn Express that handle the notion of giving advice outside the area of one’s expertise, which are mildly humorous, involving a helicopter pilot, a nuclear reactor scientist, a surgeon, and a rapper, plus several others.

ABC Wednesday – Round 19

Family health report: usual, or not so much

Blueberry, cherry, five-fruit, some lemon custard thing, pecan, pumpkin

cortisoneFamily health report, but no news about the Wife, which is good news.

I woke up early the week of Thanksgiving with about a dozen scratches on my upper back, at the shoulder blade level and above. I didn’t really notice the wounds until I realized how much it itched back there. They’re deep enough that I’d think I’d notice when they happened, but apparently not.

Did one of the cats do this? They remain the prime suspects; Arthur knows about cat scratches, though none of mine was nearly that long. The Wife wondered if she could have done so in her sleep, but it seems highly unlikely; talking in her sleep, yes, but not scratching. And it’s virtually impossible for me to have done that to myself, as I can barely reach the area.

The Wife treated it with some topical lotions, including cortisone and Eucerin, and it feels SO MUCH better.

Too much pie, even for a dozen of us. Blueberry, cherry, five-fruit, some lemon custard thing, pecan, pumpkin, made mostly from some Amish folks. Surprisingly, no apple. With vanilla ice cream. I ate only the first four over the two days, but it was enough to make Friday night dinner totally unnecessary.

The Daughter and one of her cousins were playing on Thanksgiving day. Trying to climb a wall, she got an abrasion on her abdomen that apparently looks worse than it feels.

Her cousin somehow hit The Daughter’s foot with her elbow(?) on Thanksgiving Day, and it remained bruised into the next day. We took her to the urgent care place about 9:42 a.m., maybe 15 seconds after another guy showed up. HE needed two 20-minute sessions, so we got pushed back to 11:20 a.m., as the earlier slots were also filled.

We left, then came back. No, the foot isn’t broken. But it still hurts. She SHOULD be taking an NSAID such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to relieve the inflammation, but she’s not the best patient.

The return to church

I found a Coptic (Egyptian Orthodox) service in Albany.

trinityalbanyAfter my rebaptism event, I was surprised to find that I felt no particular need to start going back to church. But I got a girlfriend in the fall of 1978, and Susan attended the Unitarian Church in Schenectady. I tried it, and it didn’t “take.” I was in the choir briefly, though the music never connected with me.

More to the point, it seemed that some of the policy discussions were silly, such as whether candles were “papist,” undoubtedly the concern of some lapsed Roman Catholics. Candles are CANDLES! I went to church on Christmas eve, either that year or the next, at a Catholic church, as I recall.

It wasn’t until my maternal grandmother’s funeral in 1982 that I got to seriously thinking about church. She had died in Charlotte, NC on Super Bowl Sunday, but it was her wish to be buried in her hometown of Binghamton, NY. She was cremated in Charlotte, but her remains were brought back to Binghamton in May for a service at the church in which I grew up, Trinity A.M.E. Zion.

My father, sister Leslie, and I all sat in the choir. My goodness, I’m sitting in the choir! And it hit me, “I need to be sitting in a church choir.”

Thus began the Great Church Shopping Expedition. Susan, with whom I had broken up, and then had recently gotten back together with, and I went to at least a dozen churches. What I/we were looking for, I couldn’t say.

An early contender was Trinity United Methodist Church, which shares part of its name with my home church. Moreover, and it may have been my first day there, but the minister, Stan Moore, a great guy, albeit with a crushing handshake, gave a sermon. During his remarks, he had mentioned in a positive light the massive anti-nuke rally the day before in New York City, which Susan and I had attended.

It wasn’t until December, though, when Gray Taylor, one of the tenors in the Trinity choir, came down from the loft to the front of the sanctuary to note that the choir was seeking members that I decided to come to that church regularly.

Late in 1984, I joined the church. While I was at Trinity, I got involved in the governance of the church, including chairing the Administrative Board and later chairing the Council on Ministries, which dealt with aspects of church life, worship, education, and the like.

There’s a whole lot about this period I could share, but I’m saving it for the roman à clef that I will never write.

One useful exercise, in 1995-96, was a thirty-four-week Bible study called Disciple, generally held at the home of my then ex-girlfriend, and now wife. It coincided with the third, and last time I read the Bible from cover to cover.

One of the Disciple exercises was to go to a faith community different from one’s own. I found a Coptic (Egyptian Orthodox) service on Madison Avenue in Albany. I was about five minutes late, but I needn’t have worried, as the service went on for three hours, mostly in Arabic. Afterward, there was a luncheon, and I had this lovely conversation with one young man, in English. When he found out about my Protestant membership, he said most pleasantly, “You DO know you are going to hell, don’t you?”

My departure in 2000 from Trinity UMC wasn’t about a couple of incidents, but rather the fact that the pastor (not Rev. Moore) had goaded the membership into abolishing the Administrative Board and the Council on Ministries. The subsequent system was more “efficient”, in that it was a cabal run mostly by the pastor. Thus, when conflict arose, there was no recourse.

During the discussion about the change three years earlier, one choir member, who had also been a pastor, asked the reasonable question, “Where are the checks and balances?” But “efficiency” won out; efficiency in a church policy structure is highly overrated.

The Lydster: Her career choices

barbara-jordan_congressI saved this Ask Roger Anything question, from Chris, until now:

Do you feel like you’re pushing your daughter towards certain career choices or letting her choose, or both? Do you think you’d be supportive of a career where it would be difficult for her to make a living, e.g. actress or musician?

Oh goodness, no. That’s a function of her needing to figure out what she wants to do. And honestly, I don’t have a strong sense of something I want her to do. I suppose I don’t want her to do something that involves a lot of danger.

Thinking about some of the things she has tried out:

Ballet – did it for two or three years, decided it wasn’t for her. But the lessons she learned have been useful, and she still likes to choreograph her own moves.

Soccer – she did youth soccer for three or four seasons, decided it wasn’t for her. So I was a bit surprised that she signed up for modified youth soccer this fall. What she learned before has come in handy.

Playing clarinet – her mother played, and she seemed to enjoy it. Moreover, I thought she got to be rather good at it, but she suddenly dropped it a couple of years ago. I was surprised when she pulled it out once this past summer. Maybe she’ll go back to it, maybe she won’t.

Things she’s interested in currently:

Art – she’s quite good at it, and she received some local awards for it. She DOES agonize over her work, though.

Clothing design – She’s been taking old clothes, cutting them up, stitching them together. Well not so much in the school year, but it was a business she wanted to look into this past summer.

Law – right now, she says she wants to be a lawyer. She sees injustice on the news on TV and wants to fix it. I wanted to be a lawyer for a time, so that would be fine.

One of the things that seems constant in this narrative is that everything learned has value. Maybe it won’t be applied directly, but it won’t go to waste.

Would I discourage her from a career path that might be difficult? No, and frankly, it would not have occurred to me. Now that I think of it, neither of my late parents EVER said, “you ought to do” X for a living. My father had a varied career, and I doubt it would have occurred to HIM. My mom was easygoing about those things, as long as we were happy and not involved in some criminal activity.


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial