Lydster: Andi Mack finale

Shut up, Jonah!

Andi Mack
Buffy, Cyrus, Andi, Jonah
My daughter and I often watched the Disney program Andi Mack over the past three years. Given some of the painful programming I deigned to watch with her over the years, this wasn’t bad.

The premise was about a girl (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) who finds out that her older sister Bex (Lilan Bowden) is actually her mother, and Celia (Lauren Tom), who she thought was her mother, was her grandmother. Very soap opera, admittedly, but the evolution of the relation of Andi and Bex was pivotal. The other focus was the relationship among Andi’s best friends Cyrus (Joshua Rush), Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Jonah (Asher Angel) .

I love watching the show with my daughter. She grouses about various characters, most notably Jonah, who was well meaning but totally clueless when it came to attempts at romance, with Andi, seeming mean girl Amber (Emily Skinner) and deaf girl Libby (played by a deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds).

I’ll admit Jonah could be clueless, most notably when the core four salvaged designer clothes from a dumpster and gave them away. when confronted by the police, he said way too much. Shut up, Jonah! My daughter also complained about Andi, when it seemed like the typical teenage behavior I was seeing at home.

In the penultimate episode, Bex has finally married Andi’s dad Bowie (Trent Garrett). For the final episode, more storylines are resolved. My daughter was pleased when Cyrus started a relationship; she was so surprised, though, that she literally fell off the sofa. When Cyrus came out as gay to Buffy, and eventually the others, the group One Million Moms wanted the show cancelled. It obviously didn’t work. Andi Mack was Disney’s most-watched series over the past three years.

My daughter was bemused/confounded by her mother. My wife thought the boyfriends of Buffy (Garren Stitt as Marty) and Cyrus (Luke Mullen as TJ, named for two musicians) were the same character. She didn’t understand why we weren’t appalled that he was two-timing with Buffy and Cyrus. The two young men ARE both white and fairly tall.

As the article notes, the breakthroughs in the storylines for Andi Mack were fairly modest. But for an entity as Disney, it was progress.

Prone to Wander: Luke 15

Hot as H-E-C-K

parable of the lost coinFor the Thursday Triennium sessions, the lesson was Prone to Wander from Luke 15. It contains three parables. Our Albany group talked about two of them, the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin.

Our collective had already been using an app called What’s App to communicate, especially on such a big campus. Cleverly, the room was split in two and we had conversations about the parables using the app, instead of talking. It was a useful attempt to have an intergenerational dialogue, and it allowed those who might not feel comfortable speaking up.

Is finding one sheep worth it when you already have 99? Sweeping the whole house was thought to be a whole lot of effort for one coin. I’m texting about metaphors to my group. What, I’m texting?

Incidentally, that day, I got a notification from my phone carrier that I’d used 85% percent of my high-speed data, which had never happened before. The next day, they clearly had reduced my data speeds through the following Monday.

The sermon that day also referenced the third parable, about the prodigal son who was welcomed back.

One important thing I had not mentioned was that, by Tuesday, it was hot as H-E-double hockey sticks, as some friends used to say when I was a kid. The temperatures were in the mid-90s, at least, and it was dreadfully humid. It felt like 104F (40C) or so every day.

I just couldn’t walk nearly a mile for dinner Wednesday night. By Thursday, I surrendered and got rides from one of the golf carts that were driving around after I would walk to breakfast.

The problem is that they had six or seven carts that could carry five people each. They anticipated about 40 people using the carts, but they were moving about 140. So that day, I got to dinner very early – it was better than walking.

I went up to the lounge of Earhart Hall, yes, named for Amelia, above the dining area. I’d see the Purdue students come out of the hallway, only to see this massive line of Presbyterians. No one had told them about the invasion: “they never tell us anything.”

Back at our dorm, I played 8-ball (billiards) with some kids. I loved playing in college, though I was quite terrible. Good to know these things hadn’t changed.

One last nightly task: a bunch of the chaperones had to check rooms between 10:30 and 11 p.m. to make sure they were present. They weren’t kids from the Albany delegation but were randomly assigned. By 11:30 lights out, I was ready for sleep.

Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion

you were encouraged, to touch the pieces

Machines in MotionIn the Berkshires, we had a hearty and complicated breakfast involving a dozen people. Our daughter was invited to go out with her parents and look at some art. She didn’t want to leave the company of her three cousins, two of whom have since already gone off for their first year of college.

my parents-in-law, my wife and I went to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. I believe it was my first visit there. The big attraction was Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion. The exhibit has been extended through September 8, 2019. It was fun to see the innovations “first-hand, exploring 40 full-size, true-to-design working models of his Renaissance inventions.” Many of them you were not just allowed, but encouraged, to touch.

“Each mechanism was meticulously built by a group of scientists and skilled artisans in collaboration with the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, Italy, and the artist’s instructions were carried out using the tools, techniques, and materials that were available during his era.”

My MIL was particularly fascinated by Objects and Their Stories: Shoes, on view through November 3, 2019.

Like similar facilities, the Berkshire Museum has far more holdings – more than 40,000 artworks, specimens, and artifacts – than can possibly be displayed at any given time. In fact, about 75% of the collection is in storage. It’s a small place, two stories, plus the basement that had the aquarium. The elevator has been broken for some time.

Some of the permanent collection is similar to things I’ve seen at the New York State Museum in Albany: rocks and minerals, stuffed animals, and the like. Because we all had memberships with other museums – my wife and I with the Albany Institute of History and Art – it was free for all of us.

We stayed for 90 minutes, which was more than enough time. It was also the length we could park legally on the street, as there was no parking lot.

1619 to eight encouraging minutes

I need SOMETHING to hold onto

It’s very easy for me to become discouraged about issues of race and ethnicity in America. Every once in a while, I say, “Ooo, I like that!”


1619.first Africans in VA
Both the New York Times and National Geographic have extensive pieces on the year 1619, 400 years ago, when “enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia.”

A New York Times magazine article suggests America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One, by working towards its 1776 ideals. It’s a slow process: Here’s, for instance, the shameful story of how one million black families have been ripped from their farms.

Meanwhile, their U.S. roots date back centuries, but some Latinos still wonder if it’s enough.

Check out the funny-if-it-weren’t-so-pathetic When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers.


It’s to a point where most Latinos now say it’s gotten worse for them in the U.S.

This Week Tonight with John Oliver unpacks Bias In Medicine, based on both gender and race.

Voter suppression is as alive now as it was in the 1960s and earlier.

The conservative Foreign Policy suggests that white supremacists want a dirty bomb, and the regime “is letting them get dangerously close to acquiring one.” It’s no surprise that the Department of Justice HID a 2018 report on white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

When you talk about these things, those who disagree accuse you of just being PC. It has become “a rhetorical reflex.”


I watch the Vlogbrothers’ four-minute videos a lot, and it’s not just because their surnames are Green. The authors have an outsized influence on their online community of Nerdfighters.

I was surprised and pleased when John talked about How I (barely) Passed 11th Grade English, which includes a paean to Toni Morrison. Then Hank responded in …Not My Proudest Moment, which was eerily similar in some respects. In both cases, they acknowledged their privilege and part of that was a result of their skin color.

Undoubtedly I’ve said before that I LOVE it when white people talk about white privilege. When black and brown people talk about it, too often it falls onto deaf ears.

I KNOW it’s a small thing, in the grand scheme of four centuries of racialism in what we now call the United States. Still, I need SOMETHING to hold onto, some sliver that it’s getting better, not worse.

Annie Lennox: ‘Now I Let You Go…’

Who will remember us — and for how long?

mass moca.annie lennoxThe family, including all of my immediate in-laws, spent nearly a week in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts There’s a lot of cultural landmarks there, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, which I’ve been to at least thrice.

This year, my wife and I attended three other museums/galleries. First up, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, generally referred to as MASS MoCA.

One of the first things we saw was Annie Lennox’s ‘Now I Let You Go…’. This link will tell you most of what you need to know. A docent pointed out one thing I DIDN’T notice, that a piano on top of the pile shows up in shadow on a far wall, and it’s quite affecting. The musician had a vision for the piece, and contacted MASS MoCA, according to a radio interview. She writes:

We interact with an infinity of objects from birth to the grave.

Over time our ‘belongings’ become more steeped and resonant with memory and nostalgia.
In many ways, personal objects express aspects of who we are — our identity: our values: our statements and choices.

The passages of time through which we exist become defined by the objects with which we interact.

The artifacts contained within the earthen mound — partially buried — partially excavated — have all played a part in my life.

I have had a special connection to each item presented — a connection that has been hard to relinquish.

In time, we will all disappear from this earth.

This is our destiny.

What will we leave behind? Who will remember us — and for how long?

I heard music in the background that sounded like Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams Are Made of This, yet not exactly. It was the song played backward, it turns out.

Coincidentally, two other female musicians also had displays at the museum, but I saw neither. Unfortunately, the paintings of Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders leave at the end of August 2019. The work of Laurie Anderson will be there through 2020, but one has to make an appointment in advance.

Things we did see included Still I Rise (through May 2020), the ceiling lights of Spencer Finch’s Cosmic Latte, and the most impressive Hello America: 40 Hits from the 50 States, a new wall drawing by Joe Caldwell (the latter two through 2020 at least).

Admission is $20, but you can come back the next day for free. If our schedule had permitted, we would most certainly have done that. Since the last time we went – could it have been in 2007? – it had taken over far more repurposed old factory buildings than the handful where the museum once existed.