Lydster: confirmation class 2019

My daughter decided to draw her statement of faith

My daughter is growing up[
My daughter and four other teenagers at church were in confirmation class this spring. It ran seven Sunday mornings starting on March 17, but excluded Easter Sunday. It involved some theological tenets, plus the history of the Presbyterian Church and our church in particular.

The parents, us included, insisted that they must take the class, run by one of the pastors. He helped them deal with big-time issues such as fuzzy concepts (Virgin birth) and the room for doubt. They had the decision whether or not to join the church at the end of the process.

Near the end, they were to work on a “statement of faith” that they would share with the Session as part of becoming members. May 5 was the last class, but by the end of that session, none of the five were finished. this meant working on it during the week.

My daughter, as is her wont, decided to draw her statement of faith, representing God (everywhere), Jesus (lamb of God), the Holy Spirit and the church. By May 11, she’d only finished two of the four, though she decided on the concepts for the other two in the car.

This pattern, which feel like procrastination, makes me a bit anxious. I relate to this article Why People Wait 10 Days to Do Something That Takes 10 Minutes. But it just is her way for now.

She then drew the last two pages on Sunday morning, May 12. Among other things, the Holy Spirit was mysterious, path, and messenger, the latter represented by a drawing of texting.

At 9:30 the class members shared their statement of faith with Session; my daughter represented her group in one of her church panels. They were then received in worship at the 10:45 service. All five of the confirmands decided to become members!

A couple of them were baptized first. After the sermon the confirmation youth were called forward by the Clerk of Session. She called each youth by name and they came up and stood by the baptismal font. That was the part my daughter most disliked, but she was fine.

I, on the other hand, may have gotten a little verklempt. After the service, during Coffee Hour, there was congratulatory cake.

Pop hits of Doris Day and… Peggy Lipton?

The Doris Day Show , The Mod Squad both on 1968-1973

Peggy Lipton
Peggy Lipton
Every obituary I saw and read mentioned the singing career of Doris Day. At least one noted that of Peggy Lipton, who died in the same three-day span in May 2018.

Doris Day had numerous top 40 hits between 1947 and 1958. Growing up, I knew her better for her 1968-1973 sitcom on CBS.

Peggy Lipton, of course, was on ABC’s The Mod Squad, which I watched religiously at least in the first three seasons, during that very same time period. Her music career was somewhat less successful.

Doris Day –

Love Somebody (with Buddy Clark), #1 for five weeks in 1948

It’s Magic, #2 in 1948, from the film Romance on the High Seas

My Darling, My Darling (with Buddy Clark) – #7 in 1948, from the Broadway musical Where’s Charlie

Again, #2 for two weeks in 1949, from the movie Roadhouse

Shanghai, #7 in 1951

A Guy is a Guy, #1 in 1952 – originated as a British song, “I Went to the Alehouse (A Knave Is a Knave),” dating from 1719. During World War II, soldiers sang a bawdy song based on “A Knave…” entitled “A Gob Is a Slob.” Oscar Brand cleaned up the lyrics, and wrote this song based on it. Accompanied by Paul Weston’s orchestra

Sugarbush (with Frankie Laine), #7 in 1952. Featuring the Norman Luboff Choir and Carl Fischer’s orchestra

Secret Love, #1 for four weeks in 1954, from the film Calamity Jane

If I Give My Heart To You (with the Mellomen), #3 in 1954

Peggy Lipton –

Stoney End, #121 in 1968

Lu, #102 in 1970

Wear Your Love Like Heaven, #108 in 1970

But I discovered that Peggy Lipton had a role in a significant recording. On the commentary track for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the late Rod Templeton noted that he had written the “rap” for the title song.

He was trying to get a “name” artist such as Vincent Price to do the bit on the song. Quincy Jones told him that Q’s then-wife, Peggy Lipton was actually friends with Price. So the collaboration came to pass.

I find there is never “nothing to do”

“This is theater as teaching tool, artistic expression and catharsis”

HersOne of my pet peeves – nah, it’s stronger than that, more an irritation – happens when I hear folks from around the Capital District say, “There’s nothing to do around here.”

For instance, last weekend was chock full. On Friday, author L. Lloyd Stewart spoke at my church about his 2013 book The Mysterious Black Migration 1800-1820: The Van Vranken Family and Other Free Families of African Descent in Washington County, New York.

Now mostly rural, Washington County, not far from Albany, is not a place people around here think of as an African-American stronghold. But the growth of free blacks, and slaves – the institution didn’t end in the Empire State until 1827 – was huge.

Saturday night, the Albany High School Theatre Ensemble challenged “gender conformity and misogyny in its… production of a student-written played called HERS: An Explanation of Our Expectations.”

Times Union newspaper critic Steve Barnes wrote: “This is theater as teaching tool, artistic expression and catharsis, for the performers and their audience, and it is often deeply moving to experience.” It was so much so that our daughter went AGAIN on Sunday afternoon.

Instead, I went to Remembering a Life of Words, Art and Music, celebrating the life of Greg Haymes, a/k/a Sarge Blotto a/k/a Will Bill Hayes, et al.: musician, writer, artist and Nippertown founder. I saw a LOT of people I’ve known over the years, such as intellectual property lawyer Paul Rapp, a/k/a drummer F. Lee Harvey Blotto, and photographer/critic David Brickman.

Peter Lesser from The Egg, the venue where the event took place, started things off. Sara Ayers, true love of Greg. was wonderfully gracious. Then Paul Jossman (guitarist Bowtie Blotto) and Bill Polchinski (guitarist/songwriter Broadway Blotto) gave touching and funny tributes to their band mate.

Michael Eck (Ramblin Jug Stompers) was particularly emotional. Local musician Bryan Thomas spoke of Greg’s encouragement. Kirsten Ferguson discussed Greg’s light touch as Nippertown editor. The aforementioned Steve Barnes marveled how Greg could know EVERYTHING about what was happening in the local music scene.

Rosanne Raneri and Steven Clyde sang and played a Jefferson Airplane tune. Then there was proper New Orleans sendoff with The 2nd Line Driveby Jazz Band. A wonderful celebration.

We were so busy that weekend, we didn’t make it to the annual Greek Festival. Monday night, I had three choices of activities, including something promoting the census; I did none of the above.

This is not a complaint, but most of my weekends have been very busy all year. There’s NEVER “nothing to do.” I can tell as my email queue gets longer and my prepared blog post list gets shorter.

Michael Jackson: erase performers?

Jackson 5.Diana Ross Presents.1969The ever-inquisitive Arthur asked about a recent post:
About your Rolf Harris song [Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport] – it raises a question: Are we under any obligation to erase performers or songs we once liked because it later turns out that they were either allegedly or actually terrible humans or allegedly or actually did terrible things, like Rolf?

I should note that I was totally oblivious to the charges against the singer. “Harris was convicted of 12 indecent assaults at London’s Southwark Crown Court in June 2014, one on an eight-year-old autograph hunter, two on girls in their early teens, and a catalogue of abuse against his daughter’s friend over 16 years.”

That’s mighty disturbing. Had I known that, I might have passed on that particular song for the list, not as a way of rewriting history but rather not wanting to be perceived as condoning pedophilia. Am I going to go back and delete that musical link? No, because I didn’t know at the time.

Arthur continues: After Leaving Neverland aired on TV here, radio stations announced they were banning Michael Jackson’s music (despite the fact that many of them never played it, anyway, because the music they played was completely different genres or eras). It seems to me that the three reactions are to join the mob, defy the mob and continue to like whoever it is, or to just keep quiet about liking whatever it is or whoever the person is—cowed into silence by the mob. What do you think?

Now you’ve really hit a nerve. I haven’t seen Finding Neverland, and I don’t know that I will. But I do not dismiss the allegations out of hand.

I was writing a post about what songs I would singing karaoke to, a post I haven’t had a chance to finish because of the lack of time. Clearly, though, the songs would include the early works of the Jackson Five. If I were to pick one, it’d be The Love You Save, but ABC and I Want You Back would also be appropriate.

In the day, I was right in Jermaine’s vocal range. Even now I’d join in with anything that Michael, and Jackie, who also hit some really high notes, weren’t singing. For The Love You Save, in addition to harmonies, I’d sing, e.g.:

Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed!


The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name to dirt, oh!

Am I going to stop singing along with Jermaine because of something that Michael reportedly did? Nah. For that matter, will I cease playing Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album, which I believe is better than Thriller? Absolutely not.

If I were DJing a wedding – unlikely, but I did so once – would I play J5 or MJ? I don’t think so, but only out of an overabundance of caution about offending others.

But where would it stop? I could name any number of musicians who were/are schmucks, and who are on the radio daily right now. Where the line is from which one can erase performers – an ahistoric action I’m most uncomfortable with – I just don’t know.

What if Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” had been recorded in the thirties? Wayne Brady and Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox answer that musical question

Cromulent, embiggen, vellichor, jouska

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head.

dictionary of obscure sorrowsMy friend Dan happened upon the word cromulent and a whole bunch of other unfamiliar terms. I suggested – not that he listens – that he ought to write a blog post about words. “Nah. I do Albany along with rants about politics… Words are your thing.”

From an article by Merriam-Webster: “It is safe to say that The Simpsons has contributed a great deal to the English language. One famous example is cromulent, which was coined specifically for the 1996 episode ‘Lisa the Iconoclast.’ In reference to one character’s questioning of the use of embiggen, another says ‘it’s a perfectly cromulent word.'”

Somehow I didn’t remember cromulent, although I was still watching The Simpsons regularly at the time. However, embiggen is another story. I don’t know where I heard it but I HAVE used the word, colloquially to be sure, but still.

Dan put the word “cromulent” into Google and kept clicking on definitions on the page. His spellchecker liked none of them; after this post goes live, my Grammarly score is really going to sink.

Vellichor is the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago.”

Somehow this reminds me of that 1959 Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last with Burgess Meredith.

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you repeat again and again in your head. For example, replaying an argument in your head where you say all the right things and ‘win’ the argument.” I used to do it frequently.

Also check out chrysalism, occhiolism, and kairosclerosis. All of them, plus vellichor and jouska, appear in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

What the heck is THAT? It is a Tumblr and YouTube channel that give us words that don’t exist in the English language but definitely should.

“The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.

“The author’s mission is to capture the aches, demons, vibes, joys and urges that roam the wilderness of the psychological interior. Then release them gently back into the subconscious.”

Going to the site, I’m informed that an actual book will soon exist, from Simon & Schuster, and I may very well have to buy it.