Oct. rambling: How I See Humanity

Autumnal music and about Brian Wilson

per Uthaclena

John Fugelsang on Christianity

Hank Green: This Math Test Changed How I See Humanity

A History of Nuclear War with Peter Kuznick

American democracy has been in trouble before

Trump’s letter to the House Jan. 6 Select Committee

Inside the S–tshow That Was the Trump-Biden Transition

Understanding History in the Age of the Big Lie

The Odd Pathology of the Politician’s Mind

‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’: A Conversation With Co-Directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick On Authoritarian Parallels

Weekly Sift Closing Arguments on abortiondemocracy, and Biden’s accomplishments 

What the failure of Liz Truss’s economic agenda in the UK can teach the U.S.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights II and Museums and Crime Reporting; Frank S. Robinson: Crime and Policing 

Plan to Save New York City from Rising Sea Level

It’s Time to Retire BMI as a Clinical Metric

Never Enough? Why ADHD Brains Crave Stimulation

This past week in healthcare investigations: Fentanyl Hidden in Cocaine; Missed Breast Cancer Diagnoses; Calling Out Racism

Upstate NY Habitat plans 25-unit condo; thought to be a world first

The Rev. Calvin Butts left behind a legacy of prayer and political activism

How Audley Moore Created a Blueprint for Black Reparations

Jules Bass, Producer Behind the ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’ TV Specials, Dies at 87; Remembering the Rankin-Bass Catalogue

Marvel, DC Among Last Bastion for Supersized Movie Paydays

Even Superheroes Have Moments Of Mediocracy As This Funny Comic Strip Shows

Now I Know: The Marketing Stunt That Vacuumed Up a Whole Company and The Lady Who Made a Living By Smashing Booze and The Unheard Words of the Star Trek Theme Song and The Odd History (Perhaps?) of the Malaysian National Anthem and The 21-Year-Old Irish Woman That Saved D-Day and The First Curfews and Why Is This Panda Rowing a Giant Pumpkin?


NYT: In praise of y’all, the most inclusive pronoun, which I supported 11 years ago

EA Poe, Nature Writer

We have to get rid of “ums” and “uhs” when speaking, right? Not necessarily.

The Birth of the Semicolon

A.Word.A.Day– Overton window – noun: The range of beliefs, attitudes, etc., considered acceptable at any given time.

Twenty Years of Sheila O’Malley

Researchers “Translate” Bat Talk. Turns Out, They Argue—A Lot

Happy Birthday, Jeff Goldblum!


Jerry Lee Lewis, Piano-Bashing Pioneer of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Dies at 87NYT obit. Rock hall

November Steps by Toru Takemitsu

Coverville:  1417 – Red Hot Chili Peppers Cover Story II and 1418 – Cover Stories for The Waterboys and World Party

In Autumn by Edvard Grieg

Toward the Unknown Region – Ralph Vaughan Williams

Alan Menken performed a ten-minute medley of songs to which he contributed the music.

The Isle of the Dead by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Lucy Simon, Tony-Nominated Composer, and Sister of Carly Simon, Dies at 82; Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod – the Simon Sisters

Top 15 annoying pianists

The Greatest Adventure from the animated The Hobbit

Ken Levine with author/filmmaker David Leaf, talking about musical genius Brian Wilson:  Part 1 and Part 2

To travel, or not to travel

Coming from California

travelI’m writing this more than two weeks after the fact, which is suboptimal. This continuation: To travel, or not to travel.

Tuesday, October 4: My usual Bible guys meeting at 9 a.m. I believe I’m the youngest member of the group, which used to meet in person before COVID. But once we started on ZOOM, we stayed on ZOOM. Unlike most meetings, a Bible study with four to seven guys is manageable.

Conversely, the weekly book review at the Washington Avenue branch always wants to be in person. There were some furtive attempts at offering it online, but it’s just better face-to-face.

I went home, and my wife and I started a largely futile attempt to clean the house.

Wednesday, October 5: My wife and I drove to the Albany International Airport. It’s “international” because it services trips to and from a few Canadian cities. I went to the luggage area and met my sister Leslie, who had flown in from SoCal. She was going to go to her high school reunion that weekend. I had agreed to be her Plus One.

My wife suggested going to the Iron Gate Cafe, where we had eaten only a few weeks earlier. But her ankle was now extremely sore, and she begged off but dropped us off there. My sister loved it, as my wife knew she would.

My wife drove Leslie to the Avis/Budget car rental in Colonie Center, near the former Sears; I had no idea it was there. We all went home, with me navigating for my sister; she could have used her phone, but why when she had me?


My wife was on the phone with her doctor’s office, but from my end of the conversation, it didn’t sound as though her pain or possible infection was being taken seriously. Moreover, the redness of her ankle and above was very concerning to me.

This was because, in 1979, two days before I started my first attempt at grad school, I got a little cut on my baby toe. Increasingly, it hurt tremendously. I hobbled through registration, then limped to the infirmary. The doctor immediately put me on bed rest AT THE INFIRMARY for six days. He feared that the infection, traveling up a blood vessel in my leg, would head for my heart and kill me. I started classes late and never did catch up.

My wife and I put Leslie up in a hotel so she wouldn’t have to put up with our demented cat.

Thursday, October 5: I called my wife’s doctor’s office at 6:10 a.m. Of course, I got the service, but I gave the person great detail about the swelling and what appeared to be spreading infection. To my amazement, her doctor called back at 6:30 and promised a slot as soon as the scheduler came in. At 7:40, the office called, and my wife had a 10:30 appointment, which my sister drove her to. My wife got doses of antibiotics. After lunch, Leslie drove us so my wife could get an ultrasound. The good news: no blood clots.

The reserves

Leslie and I were going to Binghamton that afternoon in her rental vehicle. To travel, or not to travel, that was the question. I would have felt uncomfortable leaving my wife but for one thing. Unrelated to the medical issues, my daughter had decided to come home from college for the long weekend. SHE would take care of her mother! This was a bit of serendipity

And from the reporting of the patient, when Leslie and I came back on Monday, she had done a fabulous job. This is not a surprise, based on a story my daughter told my wife. Someone at college had accidentally cut themselves, and another student tried to patch them up, but they didn’t do it correctly. Clean the wound, pat it dry, and then put the ointment on the bandage, not the wound. My wife had shown this method to my daughter, and the message took. Can you hear the maternal beam of joy?

Halloween songs, of a sort


Halloween not XmasI decided to pick some Halloween songs, mostly because I haven’t done so in years. The only criterion is that it has to be something I own in physical form, with the exception of the second Bach. That means no Disturbia by Rihanna or Bury A Friend by Billie Eilish.


Ghost Riders In The Sky -Sons of the Pioneers
Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra. OK, a bit of a cheat.


Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Picket
The Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
Nature Trail To Hell – Weird Al When he reviewed all of the Weird Al tracks, SamuraiFrog/Aaron noted that this song is about a minute too long; fair assessment. 


Season Of The Witch – Donovan
Celtic Rock – Donovan

Classic rock

I Put A Spell On You – Creedence Clearwater Revival; I don’t think I have the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins version
People Are Strange – The Doors
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones
Black Magic Woman  – Santana; I don’t have the Fleetwood Mac version
Boris The Spider – The Who


Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads
Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon; always reminds me of Raoul Vezina of Albany
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
Runnin’ With The Devil – Van Halen

Motown adjacent

Superstition – Stevie Wonder
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell 


Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. I read at the time that everyone was praising his new video, which he figured was one he had done weeks earlier. Nope, they rushed this one out.
Tubular Bells  Part 1, excerpt – Mike Oldfield. I’ve never seen The Exorcist
The Addams Family – Vic Mizzy
Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Get Bach

Two versions of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. One of my favorite chords of all time is at about 7:30
Virgil Fox 

Advice before turning 70

avoiding CRAP

Dan Lewis, the Now I Know guy, suggested to his readers an article from Kevin Kelly. Kelly was pondering on what advice he wished he had heard when he was young, now that he is turning 70. I suppose this struck a chord because I SHALL BE turning 70 on my next birthday.

Most are useful. But some resonate with me more than others.

“Don’t keep making the same mistakes; try to make new mistakes.” I sure do that with a certain degree of regularity.

“Anything you say before the word ‘but’ does not count.” Almost always true.

“Courtesy costs nothing.” He has some examples, e.g. “Let the people in the elevator exit before you enter.” But I think it’s a bit more… intentional than that. When you’re paying attention, you can find all sorts of things you can do, even when, or especially when no one is around. Moving a large branch that has fallen across the sidewalk (someone could trip over it at night). Or moving whatever is blocking someone else’s path either physically or metaphorically.

“Efficiency is highly overrated; Goofing off is highly underrated… The best work ethic requires a good rest ethic.” Heck, yeah.

“The biggest lie we tell ourselves is ‘I don’t need to write this down because I will remember it.'” I’m LONG past THAT!

Ask a librarian

“Half the skill of being educated is learning what you can ignore.” One thing I heard a lot when the Internet was expanding and Google was becoming a verb is that soon we wouldn’t need librarians. All the information would be at everyone’s fingertips. What they didn’t realize is that a lot of the information out there is CRAP, and having a librarian to help discern that is useful.

“What you actually pay for something is at least twice the listed price because of the energy, time, money needed to set it up, learn, maintain, repair, and dispose of at the end. Not all prices appear on labels. Actual costs are 2x listed prices.” At LEAST twice the list price.

“Don’t believe everything you think you believe.” Often evolving.

“The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.” That must mean I am about 37.

Active October, part 1

Three events on October 1st

Literary Legends 2022It’s been an active October 2022, a mix of joy and anxiety, so much so that I have to diary this, and this is just the first part.

Saturday, Oct 1: Go to my former church at 9:45 a.m. We in the pickup choir rehearsed How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place, then sang it at the Jim Kalas service. I also told the story that I noted in the blog post.

There was a reception afterward in the quite lovely parlor. It’s always a bittersweet time returning to a place I spent 17 years worshipping. Some of the parishioners there still remember me, and vice versa.

My wife and I had a 3 p.m. play to attend. Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors was written by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, who have penned Ebenezer’s Big Christmas Show and Crime and Punishment: A Comedy. Dracula is described as “Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale… put into a blender with the comedic influences of Mel Brooks, Monty Python, and the 39 Steps.” The five-member cast, playing multiple roles, was entertaining.

Still, I wouldn’t have picked that particular day to see the production but for a scheduling snag of my own making. My wife and I have a subscription for plays at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady during the 2022-2023 season. Part of the package included a couple of shows at the affiliated Capital Repertory Theatre, usually designated as Capital Rep.

Who calendars for this guy?

It was not until I looked at the online tickets that I had scheduled us to see Dracula and Aladdin ON THE SAME DAY. I’ve seen two different movies in a cinema, back-to-back. But watching two plays in two cities six hours apart? That did not work for us.

I bumped Drac to October 1, knowing the following two weekends were out because I would be away at my sister’s high school reunion and visiting my daughter’s college. It wasn’t until I started putting the plays into the calendar on my phone that I realized I had created another problem.

The Literary Legends gala, the primary fundraiser for the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library Foundation was ALSO on October 1. And as a board member, I had been working on the event! So I missed the setup (oy) but there for the event.

Sunday, October 2: the usual. Church, ZOOM meeting with my sisters. There was another event we could have gone to, but I begged off.

Readers Theatre

Monday, October 3: My second visit to the Capital Rep building, this time to help set up for the Wizard’s Wardrobe signature fundraising event, The Readers Theatre, “an evening of powerful readings.” Addressing the theme of Hope for Changing Times, the speakers included Alice Green of the Law and Justice Center.

My wife noted that I experienced the unusual Exacta, people recognizing me from working at FantaCo (1980-1988) AND being on JEOPARDY in 1998 at the same event. More surprising was that the latter was Nell Stokes, one of the other speakers, who I’ve known for about a decade. “I didn’t know you, but I was rooting for you!”

The other speakers were Paul Grondahl of the NYS Writers’ Institute, Jean-Remy Monnay, Holly McKenna, and an eighth-grader who had memorized her impressive talk. The host was Casey Seiler of the Albany Times Union.

Among the tasks for my wife and me was welcoming people at the door. My wife felt chilly, presumably from the night air. But I’m the one who was more likely to feel cold. I found it mildly curious but didn’t think much of it.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial