Sunday Stealing: every corner

assault weapons ban

Once again, Sunday Stealing is purloining “all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. ” First, I should note per Chuck, that today is 4/21/2024. Spelled backwards, it’s 4202/12/4, and this phenomenon works through the 29th. But it’s only true in those weird MM/DD/YYYY places. 

1.    What was the best toy you ever owned?

Johnny Seven OMA (One-Man Army). It made an appearance on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. “Detective Robert Goren finds one in a toy store, and demonstrates all seven firing modes (Episode: Collective, June 2006.) When my friends and I were at Binghamton (NY) Central High School, probably in the spring of 1970, we made an antiwar video. I no longer recall the plot, as it were, though I remember bringing my toy gun to the proceedings.

2.    When in your life have you felt the loneliest?


3.    What is your strongest emotion

Melancholy. When I get sad, it devolves to melancholy. And when I get angry, I’m generally mortified and sink into melancholy.

4.    When were you the most disappointed in yourself?

Oh, we don’t have time for that. Let’s say it’s difficult to pick just one.

5.    Which law would you most like to change?

“In 1994, Congress passed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban. This law prohibited the manufacture or sale for civilian use of certain semi-automatic weapons and magazines that could accommodate 10 rounds or more.1 Notably, Congress authorized the legislation for 10 years. When Congress did not renew it in 2004, the Act expired.” I want it back.

Hate is such an unpleasant word

6.    Who is the person you have hated the most in your lifetime?

It was a coworker who took glee in making other people’s life difficult. They are a cockroach.

7.    What has disappointed you the most?

The tremendous potential of access to the Internet has been distorted by lies and fakes. 

8.    What’s the best possible attitude toward death?

It’s inevitable, so try to make the most out of life. (Easier said than done.)

9.    What’s been the longest day in your life?

July 4, 2023.

10.  What is the biggest coincidence in your life?

I went to  what turned out to be a massive (100,000+ people) antiwar demonstration in New York City on February 15, 2003 against the impending war in Iraq, one of many actions across the globe. As I took a bus from Albany, I was shocked to run into my friend from New Paltz and their child.

11.  What’s the oldest you’d like to live?

148. I mean, what the heck. I’d see a new century. Realistically, I have no idea.

12.    Who is the most amazing woman you know personally?

A 95-year-old woman in my church who reads scripture during service and is active in a book club. She’s also a very good hugger.

Running for office

13.    What was your best experience in school?

When I was in high school, candidates for student government offices had to get someone else to give their nominating speech. I gave one for one of my oldest friends, who I had known since kindergarten. It was, by all accounts, a rip-roaring address. And they were elecred secretary.

After that year, they let the candidates give their own speeches. I ran for student government president, but my speech was not nearly as good as the one I’d given the year before. I still won, though.

14.    What’s the most meaningful compliment you’ve ever received?

A friend of mine calls me Mister Music because I know a fair amount about music from the second half of the 20th century.

15.    What is the most you’ve spent on something really stupid?

It was a prototype of a different type of air conditioner thst woul be more energy-efficient but much more portable. I backed a Kickstarter in 2016 to the tune of $300. The last update was in 2022 when they were complaining of global supply chain issues.

The way we sang off-key

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus

Here’s more Mixed CD music. “The way we sang off-key” comes from one of the songs.

Hey Bartender– Floyd Dixon and I Don’t Know – Willie Mabon. I have these on an Atlantic Blues CD. I assume they made the cut because they both appear on that Blues Brothers album, Briefcase Full Of Blues, here and here, respectively. The label was implicitly saying that those songs came from somewhere.

Salt Peanuts – Gillespie/Parker/Powell. That would be Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and the rest of the Quintet, Max Roach, and Charlie Mingus. I almost certainly learned of the song from the Pointer Sisters’ version.

They Can’t Take That Away from Me – Sarah Vaughan. I LOVE the way she sings “off-key” intentionally off-key.

45 Men in a Telephone Booth – Four Top Hatters (1955). My father had a 45 of this song. When I saw this tune, and a few other songs, on a Cadence Records CD compilation, I HAD to buy it.

Walkin’ the Blues – Willie Dixon. The shot at the singer’s MIL sounds like something my father might have thought.

More than 98.6F

Fever – Little Willie John (#28 pop, #5 RB in 1956). I heard the Peggy Lee version (#8 in 1958)first.

Stranded in the Jungle – the Cadets (#15 in 1956). This is such a strange song.

Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (#6 in 1956). I always loved the bass vocal intro. It’s so iconic that Joni Mitchell covered the song on one of her live albums.

Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins (1956). This was a massive hit for him, #2 for four weeks. But he was in a severe car crash at the time and was unable to exploit the momentum. Lots of folks only associate the song with Elvis Presley.

April in Paris – Count Basie (1956). I’m a fan of the Pop Goes the Weasel version that signals the two short encores. I know someone who is irritated by it; so it goes.

Old maps, old directories

Tanganyika and Zanzibar

When I was growing up, my grandfather, McKinley Green, gave me the maps included in his subscription to National Geographic magazine.

I still have many of those old maps he provided from about 1958 to 1971 when I went to college. For a time, I thought to throw them out. But there’s a fascinating thing about these documents. They become historical relics.

Remember Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, which are now multiple countries? East and West Germany, now one nation? British Guyana and British Honduras, now Guyana and Belize, respectively?

The most interesting, however, were the maps of Africa. Generally, all of the territories controlled by France were green, while the British colonies were pink. (I could be conflating these with other maps of the time.)

I remember when Tanganyika and Zanzibar each became independent of Great Britain before merging into Tanzania in 1964. (And I remembered the year – why IS that?) Northern and Southern Rhodesia became Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively. The Belgian Congo eventually changed to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The maps tell a history. An 18-year-old car is ancient, but one that is 25 years old is antique. Old maps are vintage.

Another choir funeral

I was thinking about this after our most recent choir funeral for one of our basses, Michael. Some of us were trying to recall people who had been in the choir but had moved on, moved away, or passed away. I had some old choir and church directories. They’re not very useful in contacting current members as emails change and cell phones replace landlines. But as historical documents, they’re pretty interesting.

Michael and Jerry were in the choir in the 1980s, left for a time when Jerry was in grad school, then came back at some point after I joined in 2000, and indeed after 2004, per that directory. One cannot rely on one’s memory.

Photos are helpful, too, but they are intrinsically artistic/exciting/attractive/collectible, whereas directories are not.

Or is this just a rationalization for never throwing anything out because I might need the information some day?

You want to present a book review

or an author talk

I may have been too subtle, Capital District people.  You want to present a book review at the Albany Public Library branch located at 161 Washington Avenue. You know you do. They take place every Tuesday at 2 pm when the library is open.

Unless you are a local author, in which case you want to give an author talk. You can even sell copies of your book. Feel free to use your social media to plug your talk.

The auditorium has a microphone and can show visuals on the screen. We’ll even reserve a parking space for the speaker behind the building. Please note the parking is BEHIND the Washington Ave branch, and Elk St is a one-way street heading west (towards Schenectady, away from the river), so you should turn on Dove Street near the Albany Institute, head north for one block, then turn left.

We intend to create an eclectic array of books. The organizers are always working well ahead of the date. We need to nail down the book title, author, speaker, and a brief speaker bio to get it onto the Albany Public Library calendar. Our July and August talks deadline is the last week in April. 

In recent months, three of us have been securing speakers. Because of health issues, there are currently two of us. And our MIA comrade has a deep address book of contacts. 

We’re also looking for people to put out snacks, make coffee, then clean up afterward. So, if this interests you, please let me know. 


May 7 | Book Review | The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America by Jeffrey Rosen.  Reviewer:  Bill Shapiro, retired attorney & lifelong student of international relations.

May 14 | Book Review | Freeing Charles:  The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War by Scott Christianson.  Reviewer:  Mara Drogan, Director of Community Engagement & Education, WMHT Public Media.

May 21 | Book Review | Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston.  Reviewer:  Donald “The Soul Man” Hyman, teacher, actor, singer, writer, TV host/producer, & veteran. 

May 28 | Author Talk | Susan Oringel discusses & reads from her book, Carnevale, a journey in poems through the lives & deaths of her parents (from Coney Island in the 1930s & 40s) & of her partner Don Howard — they all died between 2002 & 2007 — a journey also of trudging steps through grief back toward the living.

June 4 | Author Talk | Emily Sherman Marynczak, a childbirth educator & coach with a background in modern dance, discusses & reads from her book, Emily’s Birth Book:  Your Guide to a Conscientious Birth.

June 11 | Book Review | A Tale for the Time Being, a metafictional novel by Ruth Ozeki.  Reviewer:  Alexis Bhagat, former executive director, FFAPL.

June 18 | Book Review | Blight: Fungi and the Coming Pandemic by Emily Monosson.  Reviewer:  P. Bryon Backenson, MS, director, NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control.

June 25 | Book Review | Our Moon:  How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are by Rebecca Boyle.  Reviewer:  Sherrie Lyons, PhD, science historian & author of both From Cells to Organisms: Re-envisioning Cell Theory (2020) & Species, Serpents, Spirits, & Skulls: Science at the Margin in the Victorian Age (2011).

My wife could have been a doctor


My wife, who has been a teacher and worked in the insurance industry, could have been a doctor. When I got an occasional cut or bruise, she would examine it thoroughly and attend to it with a degree of curiosity that was clinical.

She was so good at this that when my daughter’s college friend suffered an injury, the friend attempted to apply the bandage themselves, but it did not adhere. From watching her mother, my daughter knew how to wash the wound, dry it, apply the ointment on the bandage, and then the bandage to the wound, which stayed in place. 

On April 11, my wife tried to squeeze in breakfast with her college friend at a diner before heading to work. Somehow, she gashed her right hand on a picture frame. There was a fair amount of blood for a deep but not too long cut. Yes, she’s had a tetanus shot relatively recently.

She called me to the bathroom. I got the antibacterial soap, she washed the wound, and I dried it. She applied two pads she had left over from her leg injury a year and a half ago. I taped the gauze tightly in two directions.

Will urgent care see her urgently?

She asked me to check the WellNow urgent care website to see if appointments were available at the Western Avenue center outside Albany. The first time listed as available was at 1:20 p.m., about four hours out, but we went anyway.

The protocol was that patients were supposed to scan the QR code inside the entryway. The screen suggested a four-hour wait, but it was less than an hour., a fact I explained to a few other patients when the receptionists were away from the desk. Of course, once my wife was called to see the physician assistant, it was another half-hour. 

Still, the verdict is that my wife did not need stitches. The treatment that she had primarily administered herself had done the trick. 

I don’t expect my wife to decide to prepare for medical school suddenly, but she could, and she probably would be good at it. 

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