Imprinted: Illustrating Race

Kadir Nelson

imprintedImprinted: Illustrating Race is a current exhibit at the  Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, 45 minutes from Albany, NY. I’ve written about visiting there a few times. In 2017, Rockwell and Warhol; in 2015, Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs; and in 2013,  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The current show, running from June 11 through October 30, 2022, “examines the role of published images in shaping attitudes toward race and culture. Over 300 artworks and objects… will be on view, produced from the late eighteenth century to today, which has an impact on public perception about race in the United States.

“The exhibition will explore stereotypical racial representations that have been imprinted upon us through the mass publication of images.” Many of these involve formerly enslaved people, but also Chinese would-be immigrants. These are generally from the 18th to the early 20th century.

But some creators took on the bigotry in that period. “William J. Wilson published the ‘Afric-American Picture Gallery’ under the name of Ethiop in the Anglo-African Magazine.” He wrote: “we must begin to tell our own story, write our own lecture, paint our own picture, chisel our own bust.”

Later, “The Harlem Renaissance… inspired pride in Black life and identity following World War I through the Great Depression. Artists associated with the movement conveyed a rising consciousness of inequality and discrimination and an interest in the rapidly changing modern world, many experiencing a freedom of expression through the arts for the first time.”

Modern times

“Illustration, Race, and Responsibility: 1950s to Now will explore activism through art from the Civil Rights movements of the mid-20th century to the racial unrest of present-day…

George Floyd.New Yorker“Concurrent to the Imprinted exhibition, In Our Lifetime: Paintings from the Pandemic by Kadir Nelson will be on view… Featuring recent works which have never been exhibited publicly. These are large pieces all created between 2020 and 2022.” You may recognize one work, his George Floyd piece, that was featured as a New Yorker cover.

My wife and I also went on a tour of Norman Rockwell’s studio, a short walk away. The docent was very informative. One thing I had never noticed was that on Rockwell’s cover featuring Ruby Bridges walking with the marshalls, they are all walking in step, signifying their unified purpose.

If you are anywhere near Stockbridge, MA, I recommend a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum, especially in the next month.

Oh, on the same trip, we also saw a Rodin exhibit at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Unfortunately, that show has concluded, but there are other fine things to see there.

Sept. rambling: First Internet Interaction

Pharoah Sanders

first internet interaction
First Internet Interaction from

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Pharoah Sanders Dies at 81. The legendary saxophonist was a key figure in the spiritual jazz movement. Harvest Time and  The Creator Has A Master Plan

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Jolly Robbers overture by Franz von Suppe. 

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Jim Kalas (John W. Kalas), RIP

Psalm 84

Jim Kalas

His given name was John, but he was always Jim Kalas. I knew him from my time at Trinity United Methodist Church from 1983 to 2000, but I would continue to see him occasionally when the FOCUS Churches would meet during the summer.

One thing many folks knew was that he was an avid swimmer. I found this article from North Central College in Naperville, IL. He was inducted into the college’s sports Hall of Fame for Men’s Swimming in 2015 based on his accomplishments in the pool back in 1955.

Speaking of a Hall of Fame, Jim had the same deep, mellifluous voice as his brother. Harry Kalas, who died in 2009, was the longtime announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies. Harry was the 2002 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, awarded by an arm of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jim and his wife Mary attended the ceremonies in Cooperstown.

The college article about Jim gave some useful biographical information. “After graduation, Kalas went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago in 1958 and a doctorate degree in philosophy from Columbia University in 1962 before beginning his career as an assistant professor of philosophy and religion at Lake Forest College.”


At Trinity, he was very active on various boards, as I was for a time. He was also an educator. I attended several of his sessions, reading sections of a Bible version that Jim had translated from the original Greek. He was slated to offer a monthly Bible study of Genesis, promising to look “at the present day meaning of some of those old, familiar and fascinating stories.”

His primary vocation, though, was as an administrator for the State University of New York, overseeing various areas over a quarter century, including research, economic development, and international programs. He was interim president of the College at Potsdam c. 1997

Jim retired, allegedly,  in 2000 as an associate provost, He later joined the University of Albany as a part-time professor in educational administration and policy studies.

He was always very active, serving on the board of The Capital Area Council of Churches, among other tasks.

My job
jim kalas1

Here’s a story I told two years ago, but I never gave attribution before. Shortly after he retired, Jim told me that I almost didn’t get the job as a librarian at the NY Small Business Development Center in October 1992.

“There were one or more persons on the committee who were concerned about my race. Specifically, the job required that the librarian in that position create liaisons with the state directors and other staff in the other states’ lead centers. Many of them were in the South, of course. The search committee feared that these folks wouldn’t cotton to working with a black person. So I was rejected for that reason.

“Then, someone up the State University of New York food chain told them, ‘You can’t do that!'” SUNY protocol prohibited them from excluding me because of my race. SUNY is the host institution of the NY SBDC. I ended up getting the job after all.” That someone was Jim Kalas, my boss’s boss’s boss at SUNY.


Recently, my wife thought she saw him walking in the retirement community where my MIL lives. He must have moved there relatively recently, after his wife Mary, who I liked, died last year. Jim and Mary had been married 49 years.

Sometime this century, Jim told me that he wanted How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place sung at his funeral, which will be on October 1 at Trinity. The song is part of the German Requiem by Brahms, sung in English. It’s based on Psalm 84. I’ve sung it several times. Jim, who had a nice singing voice, probably had as well.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Sunday Stealing: Trapped in a room, plus

Participate in the FFAPL Silent Auction

trapped in a room
Escape Room neon sign, bright signboard, light banner. Quest Room logo neon, emblem. Vector illustration.

Trapped in a room is the current Sunday Stealing meme hosted by Bev Sykes.

But before that, a Wordle milestone last Tuesday
200 Played, Win 100%
157 Current Streak, 157 Max Streak

Wordle 458 3/6


Now I didn’t win every game. I missed one. But 199/200 is 99.5%, which rounds up to 100%. And now I feel pressure to keep up the streak.

You see that I play VERY conservatively, based on the numbers of 5s and 6s. In fact, almost certainly too much so. My methodology is better for those multiple board games (Duordle, Quordle, Octorodle, etc.)

On the other hand, I don’t understand why, when people have found four letters, they don’t know what the fifth letter is, and there are lots of options left, they don’t find a word that will eliminate multiple choices.

One recent selection was PARER, a terrible word indeed. But the answer might have been PACER (my third pick). It could have been PAGER or PAYER or PAPER; instead of using them in turn, I used GYPSY (my fourth pick), which eliminated the three of them. This left only PAVER, PARER, and PAWER; I had eliminated PALER and PATER in the first two words. The WordleBot scorned my choice of RIVER (my fifth pick), but I then knew there was a second R; and if neither word was there, it’d have to have been PAWER.

Now, onto the quiz

1. If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? The answer cannot be romantic or sexual.

I assume I’m trapped with Bev. It would depend on the circumstances. Are we in some sort of peril? Is water leaking into the room that will drown us unless MacGiver shows up?

Assuming no peril, I suppose we’d start with a conversation about the usual things, family, work, health. If we have cards and/or board games, we’d probably play something.

2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?

Spanish. I know more people whose native language is Spanish than any other except English.

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The Bible, ideally with the Apocrypha. It’s less of a theological choice then because it’s very dense.

4. Favorite song lyric?

I’ve picked others in the past, so I’ll go with Indiscipline by King Crimson from the great Discipline album.

I do remember one thing.
It took hours and hours, but…
by the time I was done with it,
I was so involved, I didn’t know what to think.
I carried it around with me for days and days…
playing little games
like not looking at it for a whole day
and then… looking at it.
To see if I still liked it.
I did.

I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat myself when under stress.
I repeat…

You can hear it here.

Playing favorites

5. Favorite album?

Impossible question, as it’s changeable, often depending on what I’ve listened to recently. And I listen to music all of the time. I will say that I’m a sucker for eclectic pop albums. This would include Revolver – The Beatles; Spike – Elvis Costello; and That’s A’Plenty – the Pointer Sisters.

6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?

I write best in the morning.

7. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?

I have no idea.

8. Favorite city that you haven’t visited?


9. If you received $10,000 but had to give it away, what would you do with it?

There are so many worthy charities it’d be easy. I’ll pick the FOCUS Churches Food Pantry. On the other hand, you (yes, YOU) could participate in the FFAPL Silent Auction.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?

I have ZERO desire to mandate that people read, watch, or listen to anything.

11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?


12. If you could create one thing, what would it be?

A time machine. I have unanswered questions about my late parents I cannot answer. 

13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?

Piano or some keyboard instrument. I took piano lessons at about 12 for a year, but they never took.

14. What is your favorite item of clothing?

Somewhere in this house is a nifty beret.

15. What is your favorite card/board game?

Cards: hearts or pinochle. Board games: though I haven’t played lately, SCRABBLE.

Lydster: finally at college

Uh huh

College AheadMy daughter is finally at college. As I noted, her experience this autumn was delayed by COVID, first hers, then mine, then my wife’s. The initial protocol for her to start college was for her to wait five days from her onset. But with her parents contracting the disease at her domicile, this meant waiting an additional five days.

So instead of arriving on August 25 for a week of orientation before classes began on August 31, we were instructed to arrive on September 5, Labor Day, three days after classes had started.

Yet we were promised a call back from the college closer to our departure date. It never happened. On the morning of the fifth, we headed toward campus. While my wife drove, I called every office on the college phone menu. One choice failed to transfer properly. The only one I reached was campus security, which was not helpful to the task at hand.

We arrived at her dormitory. My daughter and I found a couple of people in an office, and I told them our tale of woe. One of them listened attentively, then told us that it was their first day on the job. But they called someone who had access to my daughter’s room key. The three employees, my daughter, and I unloaded the car.

I neglected to mention that, as of Labor Day morning, my wife was STILL testing positive for COVID, even though my daughter and I had tested negative; first, my daughter, then me on September 2.

After unloading, we went out to eat. Then we returned, and the three of us made my daughter’s bed and moved around a couple of pieces of furniture in her tiny room.

At that point, the vibe was clear. “Thank you, parents. You can now leave.” And so we did.


The following weekend at church, no fewer than a dozen people, upon hearing that our daughter was finally at college, asked, “How is she doing?” My answer was always some variation of “How do I know.”

I messaged her that first week and told her that we were there to help her if she needed us but that we didn’t want to bug her. She wrote back: “Uh huh,” which I took to mean, “Noted.”

She did call me on the Thursday of the first week at 10 p.m. I knew she was calling me because my wife’s almost always in bed by that hour. She wanted a clarification of a book footnote, which I provided. This let me know she was actually reading an assignment, which was some comfort.

Then the following week, she called her mother. They spoke for nearly an hour. So it’s all good.

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