Sunday Stealing – is it still 2023?


Sunday StealingIs it still 2023? Sunday Stealing has a summary of the year quiz. And Kelly has one, too, which I’ll post early in 2024. But I figured out how to answer both questionnaires: give different answers!  Neither response is false, just what I thought of at the time. I did this one second, so I’ve avoided replication to the best of my ability.

1. What did you do this year that you had not done before?
When I participated in the Ironweed reading on November 1 along with five dozen other people,  I felt astonishingly Albanian in a way I had not felt in the more than 40 years I’ve lived here.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions/goals for the year, and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?
It wasn’t exactly a New Year’s thing, but I offloaded being in charge of the Black History Month activities for 2024, after tacitly being in charge of them for over a dozen years.

3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or get pregnant?
I don’t think so.

4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness?
Yes, to the first. And a LOT of COVID this fall.

5. What places did you visit?
Two Eiffel Towers.

6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn’t have to be a physical thing)?
I’ve been working regularly on a cloning device. I have not mastered it yet, but soon!

7. What date from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?
8. What was your biggest achievement this year?
I didn’t scream at anyone online.
9. Did you get sick or injured? Anyone you know?
As I noted recently, my left knee is particularly uncomfortable. You know, the problem with having a seasonal sore throat, and I do, is that NOW I wonder if it’s COVID.

10. What was the best thing you bought?
Whatever I got for my baby sister and her daughter for Christmas, which I bought in mid-December. I purchased almost EVERYTHING I bought for Christmas between the 12th and the 20th of December.

11. Where did most of your disposable income go (money left over after you pay for food, transportation, and shelter)?
This is true: I would have a much better cash flow if I could get it together to finally fill out the tedious reimbursement forms for my medical expenses.

12. What song will always remind you of this year?
Buried by Brandy Clark, mostly because I flew from New York to Paris this year, albeit not first class, and without the drama.

13. What do you wish you would have done more of?

14. What do you wish you would have done less of?
I am waking up in the middle of the night.

15. What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn’t pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to?
I don’t do much new TV. What was I watching before the strikes? Finding Your Roots, Abbott Elementary, Grey’s Anatomy. Movies: Past Lives and The Holdovers. Albums? I make a point of getting through at least 80% of my vast music collection once a year. I just wrote about music here.

Dec. rambling: Happiness Campaign

FFAPL book reviews now two hours later

Thoughts and prayers

A Viral Dance and ‘Happiness Campaign’ Frustrates Iran’s Clerics:

It all started when a 70-year-old fish market stall owner nicknamed “Booghy” was grooving in public in violation of Iranian law.

Elon Musk and Freight Trains: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Those University Presidents

 COVID isn’t over: “Globally, the number of new cases increased by 52% during the 28-day period of 20 November to 17 December 2023 as compared to the previous 28-day period.” In the US, “SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has continued to mutate and spread. The latest strain to attract attention is called JN.1, and so far, it appears to be highly transmissible.” I’ve known several IRL people who’ve gotten COVID this fall. My sister in SoCal told of one of her choirs in which almost 50% had to bail from a concert because of various respiratory ailments. BTW, I got my most recent shot in October 2023.
Kindness Doesn’t Have a Billable Code— But it’s a key part of patient care.
My questions to Ask Arthur 2023: Get here from there; measuring and measured.

The loneliest miser

Just how rich were the McCallisters in ‘Home Alone’? Fans have been debating the family’s wealth for years. We asked the Federal Reserve for answers.

Mais non?

France did not always speak French.

8 Demonyms That’ll Leave You Shaking Your Head

Opinion: The simple explanation for the changes at ‘Jeopardy!’ and Ken Jennings on Mayim Bialik’s Exit and His Own ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ Host Approach

Tom Smothers, Half of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Duo, Dies at 86. I watched the Smothers Brothers show on CBS religiously.

Mbongeni Ngema, Renowned South African Playwright and Creator of ‘Sarafina!,’ Dies at 68

Lee Sun-Kyun, ‘Parasite’ Actor, Dies at 48

‘The Gilded Age’ Stars Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon on Their On- and Off-Screen Relationship. My wife is currently bingeing on Season 1 of this program. BTW, the building in the background of the photo is my church!

Now  I Know: The Smutty History of the Pixar Logo’s Older Cousin and The Town That Raged Against Rage Against the Machine and There Weren’t Skeletons In His Closet and The Silent, Stickless Award Show Protest

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023. I’ve got five more since.
Voting in even years

On September 20, I complained in this blog about a bill passed by the New York State legislature that would mandate many local elections to be held in even years. There was bipartisan opposition from the Albany County Board Of Elections on the bill (Times Union, Nov 27): “Republicans and the New York State Association of Counties have generally mounted the main pushback against the legislation, raising concerns that traditional attention on local races will be drowned out by races for president, Congress or governor…”

The TU editorialized against it (Dec 3): “More people may cast a local vote as long as they’re in the voting booth, but those local races may just as likely get lost in the information overload of a considerably more crowded ballot. And the bread-and-butter local issues behind those races may get drowned out in the hyperpartisan, hot-button din of state or federal elections.”

To my great disappointment, Governor Kathy Hochul signed it (TU. Dec 23). “Hochul described the controversial measure as a ‘significant step towards expanding access to the ballot box and promoting a more inclusive democracy,’ but she also chose to sign it on a Friday evening, three days before Christmas. “

Friends and Foundation Book Talks move to Tuesdays at Two!

The FFAPL book talks at the Washington Avenue branch of the APL are moving from noon to 2 pm starting in 2024. The speakers in January:

January 2 | Book Review | The Democrat Party Hates America by Mark R. Levin.  Reviewer:  Frank S. Robinson, JD, philosopher, author, & blogger.

January 9 | Book Review | Prequel: An American Fight against Fascism by Rachel Maddow.  Reviewer:  Roger O. Green, MLS, retired librarian, NY Small Business Development Center, & current board member, FFAPL.

January 16 | Book Review | Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant.  Reviewer:  Jonathan Skinner, PhD, retired statistician & amateur classicist.

January 23 | Author Talk | Paul T. Murray, professor emeritus at Siena College, discusses & reads from his book, Seeing Jesus in the Eyes of the Oppressed:  A History of Franciscans Working for Peace and Justice.

January 30 | Book Review | Best Remembered Poems by Martin Gardner.  Reviewers:  Joe Krausman, poet; Gene Damm, former journalist; & Jonathan Skinner, amateur classicist & retired statistician.

Newsmax writes: “Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is poised to declare “war” over proposed legislation in New York that would force some Chick-fil-A restaurants to open on Sundays, a move that would run afoul of the company’s policy since it opened in 1946.” Except that the story is grossly misleading. 

VerifyThis notes: No, a New York bill wouldn’t force current Chick-fil-A rest stop locations to open on Sunday.  “The bill requires all restaurants at certain rest stops to remain open seven days a week, including Chick-fil-A. But it only applies to future restaurant contracts.”

Frankly, I never understood why the Thruway authority offered contracts to an entity they knew would be closed on part of the weekend.


Kodachrome – Joshua Lee Turner

Coverville 1470 and 1471: The 2023 Coverville Countdown

THR’s The 10 Best Songs of 2023

J. Eric Smith’s Best Albums of 2023

Laura Lynch, Founding Member of The Dixie Chicks, Dies at 65

The eighth class of artists was announced for the Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame.

Actor Charlayne Woodard is 70

Wizard’s Wardrobe

When my wife unretired, she began working at The Wizard’s Wardrobe, a  “high-quality, one-on-one after-school tutoring program.”

For the past few years, there has been a Readers Theatre fundraising event at the Capital Rep Theater in early October. I was one of the two people working the “green room.” A variety of usually local readers participate. It’s nice to get a “name” guest.

This year’s “name” was Charlayne Woodard, who grew up in Albany.  Several of the patrons knew her when she was growing up.   It’s always interesting when a performer from a small or medium-sized town goes to New York, LA, Nashville, or wherever and succeeds, fulfilling the promise that those who knew them can embrace.

When I saw the movie Hair (1979), I imagine Albany was abuzz when she and others sang White Boys.

Her IMDb bio begins: “Charlayne Woodard is a dazzling force in American theater, captivating audiences with her exceptional talent as both an actress and playwright. With two Obie Awards under her belt and nominations for the highly prestigious Tony and Drama Desk Awards, she has solidified her place as one of the most acclaimed performers of our time. ” Heck, she’s been drawn by Al Hirschfeld! Here’s her IBDb page.

I know her mostly from early episodes of Roseanne (Vonda Green – great last name, that), Days of Our Lives c 1991 (Desiree McCall), and as a recurring character, Sister Peg, on Law and Order: SVU.  Marvel Cinematic Universe fans might recognize her as Nick Fury’s wife Varra / Priscilla Davis, in The Secret Invasion miniseries.

She has many writing credits, including multi-character plays Flight and The Garden. This developed during her time in New York State’s capital.


When she was in town in 2019, she “reflected that most of her success was because of the wonderful family she grew up with in Albany.

“‘We had parents that loved their kids and put them first. Our parents worked every day during the week to provide for us, but on the weekends they spent time with us.’

“The spring of Woodard’s senior year at Albany High School, she and a group of African-American students wanted to put on a show of their own. Under the guidance of teacher John Velie, Anyone ‘Round My Goal Is It was born, a theater piece about ‘the history of Albany and how it related to slavery and us and growing up,’ Woodard said.

“The idea behind the show was to ‘do something different,’ she said, which included creating the book, the music, and the costumes. (‘I made those smocks, terribly made smocks,’ she said.)

“It was to tell a story that wouldn’t be reflected in the popular Broadway shows at the time. The group would end up touring around the area over the summer to perform the show in church basements, youth centers, gymnasiums, and correction facilities. ‘That spring sort of let me know that I wanted to be an actor,’ Woodard said.”

Music in 2023

Randy Newman

I wanted to write about music in 2023. The truth is that I’m not connected to the tunes of this decade as I was with even the 1990s. And it’s not for lack of effort.

My wife and I were in a pizzeria this month. There was a screen showing some current music videos. Much of it sounded annoyingly similar to me. Musician Rick Beato has regularly said the same about today’s Top 40. But is he just an old man yelling at the clouds?

Arthur has posted end-of-the-year music mashups for a long time. The first of this year’s iteration… This is what he said: “This year, I felt my familiarity with the songs was the lowest ever: While I recognised many artists, I was unfamiliar with the songs themselves—apart from Luke Combs’ cover of ‘Fast Car,’ and that was only because I know the original.” This is no knock on Combs, but it isn’t a transformative cover, though I’m glad Tracy Chapman will benefit monetarily.

I recognized another song, Get Him Back by Olivia Rodrigo, only because of this commercial.

I hear some non-Top 40 fare, notably on CBS Saturday Morning’s Saturday Sessions. I’ve even bought music directly due to artists’ appearances on the show, such as Regina Spektor and Jason Isbell.

Still, I’m impressed and somewhat jealous of the impressive coterie of albums on J. Eric Smith’s Best Of album list. Here’s the New York Times’ roster, of which I own exactly one, Paul Simon’s Seven Psalms; older artists tend not to be as prolific. Seven Psalms trailer.


Also, I purchased Brandy Clark’s eponymous album after seeing her on Saturday Sessions; listen to Dear Insecurity.

But much of what I did buy was OLD music. After seeing the musical, I snatched up the Million Dollar Quartet music; here’s a sample. A few were five-packs of Warner/Elektra/Atlantic artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Dr. John.

My favorite, though, was early Randy Newman. I never owned his first album, and I discovered  Bet No One Hurt This Bad and Cowboy, both covered by Three Dog Night, are on this collection.

According to Wikipedia, Newman said in this 2017 podcast, that “he signed away the publishing rights on his first album, does not see any money from people doing covers of those songs, and advised people getting into the business to never sign away their publishing.”

I’m okay not being up-to-date in this arena, though. I have a LOT of music from the previous century.

The question

From the annual quiz:

What was your greatest musical discovery?


Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I’ve used this song before, Elephant Talk by King Crimson, but I usually cite the B verse. 

Talk, talk, it’s only talkDebates, discussionsThese are words with a D this timeDialog, duologue, diatribeDissention, declamationDouble talk, double talk

The EOY health report for 2023

The benefits of root canal

Sign by LP Green, 2021

Here’s the EOY health report for 2023:

Vision: I went for my eye exam on December 7. My doctor noted that, eventually, I’m going to need cataract surgery for both eyes, especially the left one.  I’m going to get a diabetic eye exam in six months. Why not at the time of my last visit? Because my eye insurance paid for one service, and my medical insurance will cover the other, I couldn’t do both simultaneously.

Meanwhile, I recognize I need more illumination. I couldn’t read the name of the third movie playing at the Madison Theatre from the Mobil station, which was far away. But it was after 4 pm, and the sun was on its descent.

Likewise, I was ordering a watch for my wife for Christmas because her extant timepiece ceased working. I could read the word TIMEX on her current item but not Indiglo below it. Well, not until morning, when the natural light from outdoors aided me. 

My wife told me that the last time she ordered glasses for our daughter at the same optometrist’s office, the spectacles were ready that day. Mine didn’t even start to be processed until the 13th, and it wasn’t ready on the 22nd when I called. I did not get them until after Christmas.

Heart: that thing is okay for another six months. No open-heart surgery THIS year. Yay. 

No children were harmed.

Knees: My always achy left knee has been particularly aggravating me. At church a couple of weeks ago, I was heading towards the loo when some small human unexpectedly zigzagged toward me. It was all I could do to avoid falling on top of said small human. That would have a headline: “Fat old man falls, crushes small child in front of church bathroom.” But not falling, I pulled something, not only in my knee but my left ankle.

I actively avoid falls. My insane cat, Midnight, runs in front of me into the kitchen two hours before he is scheduled to be fed. I don’t want a dead feline on my conscience, either.

Last week, my neighbors allowed a garbage can to be filled with water. Then they tipped it over, with some water puddling in front of our house, and then freezing. Fortunately, my wife put down rock salt. 

I’ve avoided getting a cortisone shot, determining that it only masks pain rather than truly treating it. But masking the pain may be the way to go if the discomfort continues into the new year.

Teeth: I had a cavity filled in November. When I went to the appointment, I misremembered it and thought it was just for a cleaning. The oddly comforting thing is that it didn’t hurt much after having a root canal in the area a few years ago. 

Thus endeth the report. 

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