Sunday Stealing: YouTube entry

sports, cilantro

YouTubeThis week’s Sunday Stealing is called YouTube.  “This came from a YouTube entry that no longer exists.”
1. Working on anything exciting lately?
Our daughter is having her birthday soon, and we’re planning a trip for her and two of her best friends.
2. What was the highlight of the day today?
Seeing my oldest college friend and maybe their significant other.
3. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
Singing in the church choir.
4. What are your favorite restaurants?
I’m pretty catholic. Italian, Indian, breakfast food, a burger joint, whatever, as long as I’m not cooking it.
5. Do you follow any sports?
I used to follow them far more than I do now. For instance, this past year, I saw no regular season games during the National Football League. Yet I watched all the playoff games I recorded because I can fast forward during instant replay, challenge flags, and halftime.
I vaguely follow Major League Baseball, but nowhere near what I did from the 1960s until 2010. Once, I had hundreds of baseball cards from which I could cite various statistics.
Here’s a specific example. Eight National Basketball Association players have scored 70 or more points in a game: Wilt Chamberlain (six times between 1961 and 1963), Elgin Baylor (1960), David Thompson (1978), David Robinson (1994), Kobe Bryant (2006), Devin Booker (2017), Donovan Mitchell (2023), and Damian Lillard (2023). I know precisely who the first five are, but I have no idea about the last three.
The only current players I know are Steph Curry and  Giannis Antetokounmpo (who I saw on 60 Minutes!) Also, a handful of former Oklahoma Thunder players, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, only because my late blogger buddy Dustbury used to write about the games.
What did FDR say again?
6. What is your biggest fear?
Dementia, I suppose.
7. What is your biggest regret?
As I’ve answered before, I have experienced many regrettable things. But I’ve learned from all of them eventually, or so I believe.
8. When you were growing up, what was your dream job?
A defense attorney. That is until I took a pre-law course in college.
9. Do you say ‘sherbet’ or ‘sherbert’?
When I’m awake, sherbet. When I’m half asleep, sherbert.
What WAS that?
10. Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
Almost certainly, there are things I’ve seen and experienced that I cannot explain, from serious deja vu to specifically answered prayers to speaking in tongues once to something that broke the glasses that were on my face but did no harm to me, that defied reason.
11. What is your favorite food at a cocktail party?
In terms of taste, cheese, and crackers. In terms of controlling calories, fruit, such as grapes.
12. Who is a book character most like you?
This is a total cheat because it’s a real person, but Roger Ebert, specifically in his autobiography Life Itself Itself. He describes himself with warts and all. I relate to warts especially.
13. Do you read reviews before you go to the movies?
Enough to know if it’s generally favorably received but not enough to know anything about the plot details.
14. How do you feel about cilantro?
I have no feeling whatsoever about cilantro. My wife, on the other hand, really loves it. She thinks it enhances the flavor of chili we had recently. Since I was unaware it contained the seasoning, I have no basis for comparison.
15. Have you ever cried in public?
Sure. At work, more than once. It is reasonably often at funerals, though it may not be as apparent to an observer as it is to me.

Songs tied to a particular time and place

Turn off the lights

time and placeHere are yet more songs tied to a particular time and place. These aren’t necessarily my favorite songs, but they are resonant.

I have great affection for the Pointer Sisters, especially That’s A Plenty, an eclectic collection that’s a desert album. But the piece de la resistance is the last tune,  Love In Them There Hills, a Gamble/Huff piece. You should listen to it sitting or lying in the dark. It’s the hypnotic middle section, “a cosmic, free-flowing funk jam,” that makes it.

I heard Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin in San Diego while hanging out with my sister’s friend Donald. Maybe it’d be a regional SoCal hit, I thought. What do I know? It went to #1 for two weeks in 1988.

About a year later, I saw McFerrin on NBC’s Today show. He was performing a couple of songs from the album Medicine Man with the acapella group  Voicestra. I so loved it that I bought a half dozen copies of the collection and gave it to my father, my sister Leslie, probably our new church choir director Eric, and others. Eric arranged The 23rd Psalm for choir members Bob, Tim, and me to sing  My Bible group just read Hebrews 12; the lyrics in v. 10-13 show up in the song  Discipline.

On a car trip to Cooperstown, one of my office mates rediscovered This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads. In retrospect, this makes me melancholy.

The broom

My significant other at the time and I used to dance to Harvest Moon by Neil Young.  The song still makes me incredibly sad.

Someone To Watch Over Me by Linda Ronstadt evokes another failed relationship.

You might not be surprised by the number of times people sang to me the Weird Al Yankovic song I Lost On Jeopardy after November 1998. Almost EVERYONE eventually loses on Jeopardy eventually!

When I was wooing my spouse, I put together a mixed CD. Put A Little Faith In Me by John Hiatt was the linchpin of the collection. Given our track record, it was understandable that our wedding song was So our wedding song was At Last by Etta James.

My daughter was obsessed with the musical Hamilton when it first came out. She knew the lyrics by heart because she played the music repeatedly, as I noted here. The first song,  Alexander Hamilton, is one of the best first songs in a musical.

At church, my daughter was in several musicals. Some were pastiche, while others were actual junior versions of productions. Several songs stick in my mind. I’ll note Glory by John Legend and Common from the movie Selma. The church choir performed some of the choral bits while the kids did the rap parts. It was surprisingly effective.

Ron DeSantis is a snowflake

Dreams from Our Founding Fathers:

DeSantisHaving spent too much time thinking about the Republican governor of Florida over his book bans and other nonsense, I had privately concluded that Ron DeSantis is a snowflake. As I looked up the term’s meaning, you might think, “Well, maybe.”

Wikipedia defines it as “a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.”

On Last Week Tonight this month, John Oliver pointed to “a recent advertisement created by DeSantis and his team based on ‘Top Gun,’ which DeSantis’ camp called ‘Top Gov.’ In it, DeSantis is shown teaching new ‘recruits’ how to deal with the media, showing clips of how DeSantis himself has ‘never ever [backed] down from a fight.’

“In one clip, DeSantis seemingly stops a reporter from giving a ‘speech’ during a press conference. DeSantis is constantly complaining about the media taking him out of context. But in that particular clip, ‘he’s removing some pretty important context from the media,'” not letting her do her job.

Oliver notes, “He doesn’t hate all media – ‘even by Republican standards, the mutual affection between him and Fox is pretty extreme.’ During one four-month stretch, the network asked him to appear on air 113 times, nearly once a day, which is ‘just pathetic.'” Even a softball interview he did was pretty weird. 

Entitled, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing views? Check.

Diminishing freedom

DeSantis, and the Florida legislature, are leading forces in what Weekly Sift rightly describes as Imaginary problems, real laws, real victims. The  Stop WOKE Act and the Parental Rights in Education Act (a.k.a. Don’t Say Gay) have led to a functional book ban that DeSantis denied; he lies.  He has taken over the trustee board of the New College of Florida.  (Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, is offering admission to all NCF students to match their current cost of tuition. )

Not that Desantis is alone in his overreach. “To my knowledge, there has been no drag-queen crime wave. So why do legislators in 15 states find it necessary to pass anti-drag laws their states never needed before? The answer has more to do with changes in Republican politics than changes in American society.”  Mark Evanier noted that “the current move to restrict drag shows and people dressed unlike the norm for their gender — whatever that is these days — is ridiculous.”

The author

From Business Insider: DeSantis’ first book was his 2011 tome, Dreams from Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama. The book’s title aimed to criticize Obama by playing with the name of the president’s first memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. “DeSantis even used a similar cover to the one Obama had…

“DeSantis was also critical of Obama personally, calling him ‘first in his own mind’ and saying, ‘he actually believed that he was a historically special figure.’ In one section of the book, DeSantis wrote that Obama lacked the humility of George Washington, the first US president.

“He wrote that Obama had a ‘palpable cockiness’ and ‘made outlandish claims about his own significance as an individual.’ “He accused the Obama campaign of having a ‘messianic posture.'” All of that is his right, even as he seemed as obsessed with BHO as DJT was/is.

“Eleven years later, the DeSantis campaign ran an ad during his 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign that intimated DeSantis was uniquely chosen by God as a ‘fighter.'” DeSantis seems to despise Obama and yet emulates the traits he said he hated in the 44th President.

White House

I don’t know whether he’s actually running for President, let alone how he’ll do.  Interestingly, some Republican members of Congress dissed him over calling the Ukraine war a “territorial dispute.” They must assume he is seeking higher office. 


Lent 2023


Some random bits for Lent 2023.

No Earthly Good – Johnny Cash. This is a song John wrote. It was on The Rambler album in 1977 and the posthumous Unearthed Collection in 2003; this is the latter version.  “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good” was attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The lyrics of the song include:

The gospel ain’t gospel until it is spread
But how can you share it where you’ve got your head
There’s hands that reach out for a hand if you would
So heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly good

I’ve come across responses suggesting the premise is false because they didn’t know anyone so focused on heaven that one could forget their neighbor on earth. In my experience, I have known a few who are so captivated by the hereafter that their Now is bereft of compassion.

I was taken by John Green’s recent four-minute vlog post Empathy and its Limits. Among other things, he notes, as I have noticed for decades, about the word invalid. One meaning is “a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury.” Another is “being without foundation or force, in fact, truth, or law.” They are spelled the same, though pronounced differently. And often, the sickly are invalidated.

Requiem pieces

I’ll admit to feeling a bit grumpy about a snippet of Lacrimosa from the Mozart Requiem being used for a pain reliever advertisement. I was so annoyed that my brain blocked out the product’s name. I’ve sung the Mozart Requiem thrice, the last time on September 11, 2002.

When I was at my former church back in the 1990s,  we sang the Rutter Requiem. My favorite section is Out Of The Deep.

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place is from Brahms’ German Requiem, done in English. Members of the choir of my old church, some other singers, and I sang it at the funeral of my friend Jim Kalas in 2022.

Health report: damn knee

walking stick

On Saturday, March 4, Albany received enough wet snow that several tree branches came down throughout the city. One was in my yard. Unfortunately, it was also totally across the sidewalk. It needed to be moved.

Ultimately, I needed to walk into the few inches of snow. Unfortunately, atop the snow was a sheet of ice, which made me turn my ankle. It was uncomfortable, but I figured it’d pass. The next day, it seemed fine.

Monday morning – more the middle of the night – I awoke to extreme pain on the left side of my left knee. I could not bear to put any weight on it. Getting out of the office chair took ten minutes.

So I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday, my 70th birthday, sitting on the sofa, my damn knee elevated, watching news programs (60 Minutes et al.), and reading magazines. I couldn’t focus on much more than that.

Eventually, I felt less pain with a knee brace and a walking stick. I first damaged my knee in 1994, as I wrote here. I’m working on getting an ortho appointment.

You gotta have heart

Meanwhile, I went to see my original cardiologist on March 9. Even after a few scans over the past three years, it is “unclear whether the patient’s bicuspid valve is congenital or acquired due to heavy calcification.” I have a “moderate dilation of the ascending aorta. The maximum diameter of the enlarged segment is 5.1 cm.”

If it gets to 5.5 cm, I get to have heart surgery. Oh, joy! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little anxious when I think about it, which is about twice a year when I get the scans and see the heart doc.

I need to lose more weight, as I’ve lost none since the beginning of the year. The good news is that I haven’t gained any either, and it’s stayed in a five-pound range.

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