Sept. rambling: AmeriNZ blog turns 15

Soldier, Sister, Savant


The wonderful Sharp Little Pencil wrote a response post to my recent piece about neighbors. Hers is entitled The Noisy Neighbor and the Quiet Neighbor. This reminds me of an earlier period of blogging when the late Dustbury and I would inspire to write and expand ideas. Occasionally, Jaquandor and Arthur still do that with me.

And speaking of the guy who moved from Illinois to Kiwiland  26 years ago, he is celebrating his 15th anniversary of blogging. (As I noted to him, blogging that long is a sign of a crazed individual.)

In truth, I’d recommend the entirety of Arthur’s output in September. It is the month in which he deals with grief – two years or 104 weeks since the death of his husband Nigel. But he also addresses the idiosyncrasies of measuring time. (BTW, on that specific subject, see also John Green’s piece How We Spend Our Days.)

Also, I need to check out the book about and co-written by, my friend Diana de Avila, called Soldier, Sister, Savant. As one of the reviewers noted, “She survived a deadly motorcycle accident while serving in the military police; she overcame her devastation when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; and one day, she awakened as an acquired savant.”


Seven Days in January (General Milley)

As a juror in a criminal trial, I had to see the world differently

 Disney Princess Theology and Talking About White Supremacy

CIA Factbook

Heroes of Ireland’s Great Hunger

Goodbye, Larry Elder

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lukashenko

vaccine_research_2x his work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Patient questionnaires do no good unless we have the resources to provide useful responses

Two-Thirds of Recent First-Time Fathers Took Time Off After Birth

Forbes: The 25 Best Places To Enjoy Your Retirement In 2021. I’m unconvinced about several of these, especially those located in a desert.

 The Meaning of Recurring Dreams

Psalms 3:16 and the Mandela Effect

In Memorium, 2021 Emmys

 Peter Palmer, the living embodiment of Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, has died at the age of 90.

William Shatner reacts to various impressions of William Shatner

The Top 10 Micro-Photos of 2021

Now I Know: The Officially-Living Person That Doesn’t Exist and On the Power of Listening and How to Stop a Menacing Walrus and 
The Man Who Went the Wrong Way Into the History Books and
 Why (and How) a Dead Man Committed a Murder and Ask the Elves for Permission First, OK?


Feeling Good – Nina Simone 

Spellbound Concerto by  Miklos Rozsa

Worried Blues –  Gladys Bentley

End Title  from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 

Ed Sullivan Show clips, all showing up on YouTube in 2021:

 In A MellowTone  Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong
You’ll Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini) – Ella Fitzgerald                                         It Ain’t Necessarily So – Cab Calloway                                                                        You Keep Me Hanging On  – Vanilla Fudge
Never My Love – The Association 
Up On Cripple Creek – The Band                                                                                          A Girl Named Johnny Cash  – Jane Morgan

Coverville 1371: Cover Stories for Florence + The Machine and Beyonce

That Beach Boys mondegreen can get mon-de-violent


The mother-in-law’s move

busy summer

movingMoving is tough, I can attest from having moved 30-odd times. My mother-in-law’s move was definitely challenging.

After my father-in-law died in April 2020, she had, beyond the emotional stuff, reams of paperwork to deal with. Yet by the fall, she knew she wanted to move, and by the spring, she signed papers to indicate where.

Yet the moving – and I mean the psychological decision to move – couldn’t really take place until after May 22, 2021, when my FIL was buried in the columbarium of his church.

The sorting and tossing began in earnest. A lot of can foods, including every kind of canned beans I’d ever heard of and a bunch new to me, are now in our pantry. Or on the dresser which has become the overflow from our pantry.

Besides the music, I gave away all of the blank writable CD and DVD discs. I knew my MIL couldn’t use them, and I don’t have a computer with a drive anymore.

My MIL had the closing for her new place in mid-July, but only a handful of boxes made it there by then. Her daughter and one of her sons worked diligently. But here’s what I’ve learned from about six dozen moves. The movee has to make the decisions about what stays and what goes and in their own time.

The hard thing is that she had to decide about not only her own stuff but her late husband’s. The last several moves they had done together. Add to that moving from a house to an apartment, and it can be daunting, even with help.

Two strong guys

Moving day came in early August. The two guys started at my MIL’s home about 75 miles away, then to her new place, about 15 minutes from here, then the delivery of three pieces of furniture to our house. One of these was a very heavy armoire going into our second-floor bedroom. One of the moving guys thought, incorrectly, that I was trying to tell him how to carry the piece. No, I was merely trying to let him know where to place it.

But there were still items in the old house that needed to leave by August 17, when the closing on THAT house took place. Not incidentally, my wife started a summer job on August 2, so she would work all day then spend the weekends helping her mom.

My MIL seems to be adjusting to the new place, even as she continues to unpack boxes, some with items she didn’t really want to make the trip. She’s making friends. After living alone for over a year, it’s a new day.

What I’d have included: RS 500 list

The most successful crossover hit of the 1960s

When you Ask Roger Anything, he has to answer. Here’s something from my friend Walter regarding what I wrote about the Rolling Stone list of greatest songs.

But what WASN’T in the 500 that you would have included?

Peter Gabriel MeltA brutal question. First off, it’s narrowed to the popular song, as opposed to tunes before 1930, so. definitionally, it’s lacking.

That said, the FIRST recording I thought of was Biko by Peter Gabriel, which, besides being a tremendous tribute, inspired a whole lot of activism.  Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was a response to a terrible event. For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield was definitely a huge part of the soundtrack of the 1960s

There was a dearth of country music; one Patsy Cline, two Hank Williams, two Johnny Cash one Dixie Chicks, one Kacey Musgraves, a couple of others. I was hoping for something from Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang, Garth Brooks. I might suggest Baby, Now Tha I Found You – Alison Krauss; Man Of Constant Sorrow – Foggy Mountain Boys; I Fall To Pieces – Patsy Cline; and Hurt  – Johnny Cash, for instance.

Only a handful of jazz tracks made it. I’d add Take Five – Dave Brubeck. And there was not much older music. Perhaps Nature Boy – Nat King Cole or – and why not? –White Christmas – Bing Crosby.

How about…?

As I’ve noted, The End Of The World by Skeeter Davis was the most successful crossover hit of the 1960s

Here are some more, hardly a definitive roster:

Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes. We CAN dig it.
Lady Marmalade – Labelle. Covered for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, but this is better.
Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins. Before Elvis.
Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison. For the growl alone.
Tempted – Squeeze. For the groan alone.

Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin
La Bamba – Ritchie Valens
The Twist – Chubby Checker. Twice went to #1. The Hank Ballard version is arguably better.
The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkel. My favorite song by the duo.

What is the most boomer thing ever?


On Quora, there are about four dozen responses to the question, “What is the most boomer thing ever?” I don’t even know what that means. But someone named Christine J. Jones, who I do not know, answered.

Here are some of her responses.

I wear a wristwatch every day, and it’s an analog watch (not digital). Not every day, but when I was taking my daughter to colleges in Manhattan and Long Island, the watch was quite handy.

I have a flip phone and I use it to call people. That’s right folks, I call people on my phone!  I miss my flip phone, which I lost in NYC about five years ago. And I’ve never taken to the three replacements I’ve had.
I have a landline phone in my house, which costs $10/month. Yup.

I wear glasses and I always wear my mask when venturing out. Yup, especially indoors. I was on a CDTA bus this month, and the ONE person not wearing a mask was the only one with runny eyes and was sneezing. It could have been seasonal allergies. Still, I gave him the evil eye, though I doubt he noticed.
My sunglasses fit over the top of my other glasses. Yes, and they’re damn cheap!

I use a desktop computer and do not own a laptop or tablet or smartphone. My desktop died, alas, so I have a laptop and also a tablet.
I carry a purse or a wallet. Wallet.

Shopping list

I have a paper notebook hanging on my fridge where we list any groceries that we need from the store. Once a week, I go shopping, using my LIST. This is the system of my younger, barely Boomer wife.
All my slacks are “stretchy” material, and I don’t wear blue jeans (ever). Mostly true.
I park my car as far away from the front door as possible when shopping and I carry reusable bags in my car because I refuse to pay for plastic bags. My wife parks far away, for exercise reasons. She does carry reusable bags. I have a backpack.

I cut and color my own hair because I think paying $30–$80 for a haircut is highway robbery.  I LIKE getting a haircut. During COVID, both my wife and daughter have cut my hair. Now I may go to a barbershop, but wearing a mask and getting one’s beard trimmed are at odds.
I am pretty feisty on Quora, so don’t let my Motherly face fool you. I can spar with the best of them, so… Bring It On ! Arguing online is largely pointless.

Other viewpoints

Mary Ann Besser uses debit or cash. I’ve increasingly found cash actually not acceptable, most recently on the food car on an Amtrak train. And debit cards don’t provide the protection of a credit card.

I occasionally actually make a trip to the library to find a book I’m interested in (yes, I use their computer to find it and not a card catalog). I still prefer a real book with pages and I do understand the Dewey Decimal system.  Well, yeah.
I refuse to use personal assistants like Alexa”, SIRI, Bixby, or Cortana. I read “1984”. There is no way “Big Brother will be watching me.” It’s less Big Brother, more I need my brain to keep working.

Some other person ranted: “America has this invasion/ infestation of second and third world lifetime welfare recipients/parasites, we are their intravenous feeding. They do NOT live like us, think like us, they do NOT like America, they make America into a second and third world country, they do NOT assimilate.” Well, obviously I TOTALLY disagree, but I’m, again, not getting into an online debate.

Lydster: beware the card shark

gin rummy, go fish, poker

card sharkAs an avid card player since my youth, I had tried but failed to interest my daughter in playing a number of games over the years. For instance, at the (almost) annual hearts game at our house, I gently tried to gently show an interest, but she had not.

But when the two of us were on one of our college excursions, she asked to play gin rummy. Basically, it involves the two players being dealt 10 cards. The players alternating drawing cards from the remaining deck, or the top card discarded by the opponents. The idea is to create three or four cards of the same rank (sevens, jacks, e.g.) or runs of three or more cards consecutively in the same suit (6, 7, 8 of hearts, e.g.).

What’s strange is that it was only this summer that she decided that she’d just learn how to play online. It was the game my grandfather, McKinley Green, and I used to play for years when I was roughly 10 to when I went to college when I was 18. So it was our “thing.”

It is my favorite two-person card game, and my daughter turns out to be quite good at it, beating me about 60% of the time. Oddly, this pleases me tremendously. The budding card shark also started wanting to play Go Fish with me, another game she did not really embrace as a child. She beats me at that too.


She wanted to learn how to play poker. I had always been of the opinion that poker wasn’t interesting unless you had 1) three, or preferably more players, and 2) wagering, even if it’s pennies from the change jar. It wasn’t a game I’ve played a lot, and there are a myriad number of ways to play.

Of course, the first thing we needed to do is teach her the relative ranks of poker hands.

From lowest to highest: High Card, One Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, Straight (five cards in numerical order, but not in the same suit), Flush (five cards in the same suit, not in numerical order), Full House (three of a kind plus a pair), Four of a Kind, Straight Flush (five cards in a row, all in the same suit), Royal Flush(10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, all of the same suit), Five of a Kind (only possible with wild cards).

After some frankly boring experiments, we came up with a game where each player got five cards face down. Then there were two common cards, face up. Each player could trade any cards in their hands. It was surprisingly engaging, trying to fill in that inside straight generated enough excitement to play any time we had some downtime.


Not exactly a card game, but my wife, my daughter, and I played a truly rousing game of Sorry. It was strange. I’d say, “I can’t get hit unless one of the others draws an 8,” not a common card in the deck. They drew an 8; ouch! I told my wife, that if I draw a 10, I’d go back one space and hit her piece, and I did. If this match had been recorded, it’d be on ESPN forever. We were all within 8 spaces of going out. My wife won, but it was truly quite exciting.

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