Roger’s retirement music list


Beach BoysBefore I retired in 2019, my colleges Josee and Darrin put together Roger’s Retirement music list on Spotify. Most of it made a whole lot of sense to me. It’s not just a roster of tunes that I like. That would be near infinite. But many of them have very specific recollections in my aural history.

So, I’m now going to guess why THEY put these songs on the list.

Our Prayer – the Beach Boys. One of my top five BB songs. A near-religious experience.
Good Vibrations – the Beach Boys: on one hand, it was a bit overplayed. It was on every other 1960s music compilation. On the other, it’s been called a pocket symphony, probably the most expensive single up to that point. Plus it utilizes a theremin.
Get Ready – the Temptations: I saw the Temptations twice. Once on the Reunion tour at the Colonie Coliseum in the early 1980s and a couple years later, with the Four Tops, at Heritage Park in Colonie, near Albany.
Making Flippy Floppy – Talking Heads: I saw the group at SPAC when they were on the Stop Making Sense tour in the early 1980s. And I love saying “flippy floppy.”
Ain’t That Peculiar – Marvin Gaye. His performance, which I saw a video of in the past couple of years, was the essence of cool.


Face the Face – Pete Townshend. I love to play it LOUD. “Watch the flick!”
Sweet Honey Dripper – the Neville Brothers. From an album I bought from a DJ from WQBK-FM. LOVE that song, and in fact the first three songs from Fiyo On the Bayou. Saw them at a Live at Five concert in downtown ALB.
Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman. A favorite song of a friend of mine.
Loves Me Like A Rock – Paul Simon. Probably my favorite solo Simon song. And it features the tremendous Dixie Hummingbirds, who I once saw back in the 1970s. Saw Paul Simon, too, in 1991, at the Knick in downtown ALB.
Slow Turning – John Hiatt. For some reason, LOVE the reference to Charlie Watts. My wife and I saw him at the Troy Music Hall, perhaps in the early 2000s.


Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin. Lives on the bottom. Feel like I’m in church. Part of that second wave of Aretha hits, from the early 1970s.
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash. From the second American album, which featured Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I thought that album would be a pop hit; it got to #170 but won a Grammy.
Free Man in Paris – Joni Mitchell. From a breakup album. I saw her twice, in 1974 at SPAC and in 1981 in Philadelphia.
Mull of Kintyre – Wings. I didn’t even hear this song until I bought Wings’ Greatest Hits. Massive UK #1, but did nothing in the States, and I rather like that somehow. Saw Macca at the Knick in 2014.
Takin’ It To the Streets – the Doobie Brothers. Michael McDonald taking the group to another place. On one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders dedicated to soul, it was one of the only songs by a predominantly white group.

There’s more.

The worst neighbors I’ve ever had

abusive to each other

worst neighborsWe have the worst neighbors I’ve ever had, bar none, and one person in particular. They’re across the street and down a few houses.

The police have been called a half dozen times in the past year or so. In mid-March, one incident involved five vehicles and at least seven cops over a two-hour travail.

I’ve witnessed brutalizing parental “discipline.” There are a couple of broken windows in the front of the building. Two people came to the house and were screamed at; one of them returned with a police officer, and they got to go inside.

So I’m going to describe the LEAST problematic incident. I’d gone to bed about midnight. My daughter awakened me around 1 because there was a yapping dog keeping her awake. I hadn’t heard it because I have a white noise machine. We stood on our porch and eventually saw a tiny canine, maybe a Yorkshire terrier, but I’m hardly sure. It particularly barked at people walking by.

After about 10 more minutes, I called the non-emergency police phone number. Meanwhile, other neighbors, apparently a couple, came up to the porch and talked to the dog, which briefly stopped its noisemaking. Then one of them started knocking loudly on the dog owner’s door. But I didn’t see their vehicle, so they may not have been home.

One policeman showed up. But just as he is getting out of his vehicle, he got an alert. “Shots fired!” This trumps the barking dog. My daughter is now more worried about the untended creature than her sleep deprivation. Still, we eventually drag ourselves back to our beds…

Morning comes too early

Until 7 a.m., when my darn cats decided they actually wanted to be fed. Afterward, I went back to bed until nearly 10:30 a.m., when my wife, who was visiting her mother out of town, called.

I’ve decided to keep a log of the outrageous behavior of these folks. Maybe take some pictures as well. I’m especially noting their deportment that did not involve law enforcement.

On the suggestion of my city councilperson, I’ve been in contact with the APD’s neighborhood engagement officer. They’re looking into what options might be available, since the complaints started in May 2020. 

My fear is that something even more awful will take place. It seems painfully inevitable, much to my horror.

April rambling: agathokakological

Don’t laminate your vaccine card.

bottledTax day moved to May 17. Procrastinators, rejoice!

All That We’ve Lost.

Here are a couple of articles from Slate and Afar about vaccination cards – don’t laminate them because you may need to record a booster shot. But if you already did, don’t sweat it. And the vaccine passport in the United States is a definite maybe kind of thing.

COVID vaccine in New Zealand.

Calling Chauvin a “Bad Apple” Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence.

Cartoon: God-Man trumpets his response to mass shootings!

‘Is This Patriot Enough?’: Asian American Official Shows Military Scars, Condemns Racist Violence.

Matt Gaetz, Now Under DOJ Investigation, Was Lone Vote Against Human Trafficking Bill in 2017

Doctor Fentanyl.

Tucker Carlson and national debt:  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

The Science of Loneliness.

Exhausted Workers Want More Flexibility.

French police are investigating an international Lego crime ring.

Countdown to the 1950 Census release.

Administrative Records and the 2020  Census.

NYC surgeons successfully performed the first windpipe transplant in the world.

7% of Americans don’t use the Internet. Who are they?

Dear WordPress: Really? REALLY?

John Burnside · Poem: ‘The Night Ferry’

Joye Murcison Kelly, R.I.P. Early, uncredited Wonder Woman scribe.

Triple stumper question on JEOPARDY!


My paternal grandmother was named Agatha. The definition of agathokakological is “Made up of both good and evil.” I thought she was pretty good, myself. The word is from the Greek agathos (good) + kakos (bad), which proves my point.

 How breakfast cereal was invented.

A stone and wood Dutch colonial is said to be the oldest house in New York.

Can Frasier afford his apartment?

Now I Know: The Loophole With Two Wheels and Supercalifragilisticexpialilawsuit and  The Wild Deuce and Alaska’s Super Hero Dogs and  Save Your Bread When Going on Vacation.

 The Beatles: Get Back – A Sneak Peek from Peter Jackson.

Conversation between Adam Guettel and Stephen Sondheim


Music for the Soul: An Evening with Rebecca Jade, February 23, 2021.

Ted and Lindsey – Randy Rainbow.

The Observatory – Caroline Shaw.

Piano Quintet in G minor – Bruch. Novacek/Yoo/Haas/Banaszek/deMaine | Festival Mozaic 2018.

Flintstone themes: first one and the second one.

The Cider House Rules – Rachel Portman.

Road Runner Show theme.

Six Japanese Gardens, for mixed percussion and electronics, written by Finnish composer Kaija Saarioho.

Sunshine Superman – MonaLisa Twins.

Overture 1812 – Tchaikovsky.

Coverville  1352: Lady Gaga Cover Story and 1353: The Ronnie Lane Cover Story II and 1354: The Al Green Cover Story II – Also, Thumbs!

 Creation du Monde – Vangelis.

The Rubberband Man (album version) -The Spinners.

Ain’t No Sunshine – Canen.

Prejudice – Tim Minchin.

Oscar-nominated shorts for 2020

Hong Kong, Yemen, NYC

Feeling ThroughNormally, when I want to see the Oscar-nominated shorts, I go to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, one of the Landmark Theatres. I generally view the Live-Action or Animated films. Unfortunately, that’s not an option; it just re-opened, but I’m not ready to go out. Nor is watching the documentaries at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.

Luckily, they are online and I see at least some of them. This Rotten Tomatoes link from March 16 is a good starting place.

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually SEE any of the Animated Films.  Burrow, about a rabbit, is on Disney+; it doesn’t even have a trailer.  Genius Loci has a trailer on YouTube, which is lovely, but I can’t find how to access it fully.

If Anything Happens I Love You is on Netflix. “Grieving parents journey through an emotional void as they mourn the loss of a child in the aftermath of a tragic school shooting.”  Opera has bits on Instagram, but I don’t know how to access the whole thing. Vimeo has a teaser for  Yes-People.

Documentary (Short Subject)

I fared better in this category: 4 out of 5.  Colette (24:50) is on YouTube. A 90-year-old woman who was part of the French Resistance sees, for the first time, the Nazi camp where her brother died. It’s a touching character study of a woman who thought she was tougher than she was.

A Concerto Is a Conversation (13:24) is on the site. “A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.” Warm conversation between the two men.

Do Not Split (35:38) is on Facebook. It “follows activists in Hong Kong as they endure violent stand-offs with police and grapple with the new restrictions imposed by mainland China.” Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand the particular strategies employed by the protestors at certain times.

Hunger Ward (45:00), from MTV,  is on something called PlutoTV. It’s about the bombing of Yemen, and the devastating effect it has on children. A six-year-old weighs 15 pounds. And it’s tough on their caretakers. Think of all of those news reports you’ve seen of exhausted and frustrated COVID nurses; that’ll give you a taste. Check out to get involved.

The one I didn’t see was A Love Song for Latasha (19:00) on Netflix. “The killing of Latasha Harlins became a flashpoint for the 1992 LA uprising. This documentary evocatively explores the 15-year-old’s life and dreams.”

Short Film (Live Action)

The only one of these films I saw so far was Feeling Through on YouTube (18:25). A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man at a bus stop. This is the film with which I was most familiar. “The film was inspired by a chance encounter with the first DeafBlind person director Doug Roland met late at night in New York City.” Marlee Matlin, an executive producer, and an Oscar-winning deaf actor promoted the film on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

The Letter Room (32:00) has a trailer on Vimeo. “When a kind-hearted prison officer (Oscar Isaac) is transferred to the letter room, he soon gets involved in an inmate’s personal affairs.” One CAN see the film for $6.99. Also with a trailer on Vimeo is The Present. It involves a Palestinian father and his young daughter at a border.

Two Distant Strangers has a trailer on YouTube, but I don’t know how to see the whole thing. “Cartoonist Carter James’ repeated attempts to get home to his dog are thwarted by a recurring deadly encounter that forces him to re-live the same awful day over and over again.”

Finally, White Eye likewise has a YouTube trailer, and I’d like to know how to see the film in its entirety. “A man finds his stolen bicycle and it now belongs to a stranger. In his attempts to retrieve the bicycle, he struggles to remain human.”

Two interviews, one accessible

Chuck Miller

Roger.cartoonStories of two interviews.

Back on October 5, 2009, I was interviewed by Barbara Weltman for Build Your Business Radio, “Don’t mind telling you that I was mildly terrified,” I later wrote in my work blog.

“Through a series of connections, involving the website, a woman named Barbara Weltman became aware of me and my connection with the NYS Small Business Development. Her producer, Gloria Luzier, e-mailed me and asked if I would appear on Barbara’s radio show…

“I provided a few questions that she might ask me, about the SBDC, the State Data Center, and blogs. I got a call about 4:20 pm to make sure I was actually at the appointed place, then again at 4:27. I never talked to Barbara herself before or after the show, but I was in contact with other friendly and helpful people, including Wade Taylor, wsRadio, Operations Officer, and Assistant Program Director.

The next day, Gloria Luzier, Barbara’s producer, wrote me. “Thank you so much for participating in our Build Your Business Radio Show yesterday. We enjoyed the interview and believe our listeners benefited from the expertise you shared.”

I thought I’d give a listen. Unfortunately, the URL is dead. I used the Wayback Machine, but that didn’t help get to the recording. As my high school prom theme noted, All Things Must Pass.

It’s Miller Time

Chuck Miller is a fellow Capital District blogger. I met him during our Times Union blogging days, about which I wrote here. Both on his TU blog and his personal outlet, he’s been a cheerleader for the local blogosphere.

Recently, he’s begun interviewing said bloggers, recording them on the ubiquitous Zoom, and posting them to his blog on Saturdays. On March 27, he posted an interview with yours truly that we did a couple of weeks earlier. I guess it went OK. I’m still not in love with the sound of my voice, and a couple of questions I could have probably answered better.

Mon Dieu, he’s so self-critical. Please tell him to stop that.

What he said.