Things I Love on the Internet

* A new blog on the Oscars and Instant Runoff Voting — http://oscarvotes123.blogspot.com/. Here’s a post about the new voting system for Best Picture, written by the Chair of FairVote Board of Directors, Krist Novoselic.
* The last new Johnny Cash album, American VI: Ain’t No Grave is being released on February 23, during what would have been his birthday week. Am buying, sound unheard, if I don’t get for my birthday.
* Brian from Coverville turned me on to Deanne Iovan’s mission, inspired by Julie & Julia, as well as the 09/09/09 Beatles’ releases, of covering The Beatles’ White Album, track by track, putting out a new song every nine days. She just put out Julia, which is at the end of side two. (Side 2? Hey, I grew up with the vinyl version of this album.)
* 500 cartoons on life in biology research.
* The Business Librarians listserv helped me answer a question this week. Apparently the doohickey on the tops to plastic containers, where the grated cheese comes out, one side being a shaker while the other side you can use a teaspoon to dish it out, is called a spice lid or a dispensing closure.
* Valentine’s Day/Census tie-in campaign with a selection of electronic postcards in Spanish and English.
* New CPR on YouTube: Continuous Chest Compression CPR – Mayo Clinic Presentation, sent to me by a nurse friend of mine, who thinks it’s terrific.
* A recent study outlines the health benefits of having more sex. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen has the details.
* My medical reimbursement company, only this week, has FINALLY decided to accept e-mailed PDFs, GIFs, etc. as well as mailing and faxes. This is particularly helpful since our fax at work does not seem to work. (When someone announced “Fax is dead!””, they weren’t kidding.)
* Found several places: The Muppets: Beaker’s Ballad – the Internet is SO mean.
* Thom Wade points to Hey! It’s That Guy!? It’s a page “dedicated to the character actors collectively known as ‘That Guy’.” Simon Oakland was one of the first ones I knerw by name as a kid.
* Betty White for host of SNL. My only problem is the notion that it’s a resurgence; she never really left.
* Arthur@AmeriNZ found a video response to the Google Super Bowl ad done from a gay man’s POV.
* An old friend accidentally pushed some button that sent an email to EVERY address in her e-address book, which allowed us to reconnect. I’ve had a child and she’s had two since we last communicated.
*Local school catches Olympic fever. “Events have included ring toss, rock climbing, hockey, boggle, hang man, reading comprehension, and math facts.” I’ll pick math facts.
* The 9th Annual Underground Railroad History Conference, Friday, February 26 at 8:30am through Sunday, February 28 at 2:00pm at Russell Sage College, Troy, NY, where I’ll be one of many presenting on that Saturday. Register now!

ROG

Friends

I’ve been thinking about the notion of friends a lot recently.

There are people who I’ve been friends with for over 50 years, longer than some of you have been alive. I’ve known them since kindergarten. But what happens when one of them has…changed dramatically? Are you still friends, just because he attended your ninth birthday party? Especially if you haven’t been in touch much in for the better part of 30 of those years.

I have a friend, whose birthday was last month, turning 56 (thus just a bit older than I). We’ve been friends with since the first day of college, September 12, 1971 (but who’s counting?) But the vast majority of people from college I have no real interest in seeing; it’s not antipathy, more meh.

I’ve been in Albany 30 years and I’ve made some good friends. On the other hand, there are people one sees at church and work that I can say that I hardly know at all, though I see them often.

Fred Hembeck is an example of a good friend who I lost touch with but got back in contact with via the Internet. (When IS that show in April, Fred?) He has written a moving piece about the loss of his good friend Charlie; I didn’t know Charlie, but the tale has such universality that I think you ought to read it here (March 9, 2009).

I’ve discovered that one can develop a friendship through regular participation in something. For a time it was hearts. For some time, it’s been racquetball.

Somehow, I’ve managed to develop friendships with a couple of my exes.

Then there are those people you haven’t even met, but through their blogs and other communications, you get to know rather well. Greg Burgas, an interesting fellow out of Arizona via Oregon and Pennsylvania, was musing on that aspect too – and mentioned me specifically as a friend. And I feel similarly inclined. I know about his wife, his daughters, the accident one of them had, where he’s lived, how he missed a friend’s wedding, his taste in music. I feel an obligation – well, maybe too strong a word – but a desire to please him if it’s reasonable. Recently he said he wished I wrote more on race, and directly as a result of that, I wrote this post.

Thee was this bilious audio of Richard Nixon talking about All in the Family and homosexuality that I found on Evanier’s page that I knew three people might appreciate; two of them I have never met. So this line of “friend” gets murky.

Here’s something that makes it murkier: Facebook. Just in the past week, I have suddenly discovered that I’m now “friends” with a whole new batch of people. Some of them I’m thinking: weren’t we friends before? Interestingly, I noticed that one of them, who I’ve known for years, wrote “in a relationship – it’s complicated”; I queried about this but received a cryptic “noyb” reply.

Back in 1974, I saw Billy Joel in New Paltz. The opening act was a guy named Buzzy Linhart, who was primarily a songwriter. He told us ad nauseum all the people he had written songs for, including this one by Bette Midler:

What kind of blog is this?

For the several blogs in which I participate, I’m the primary contributor for all but one, that one being my work blog. Yet the Typealyzer scores for most of them differ.

The NYS Small Business development Center blog shows this.
The NYS Data Center Affiliates blog shows this.
The Friends of the Albany Public Library blog shows this.

But for this blog (and also my Times Union blog), the answer is this:

ESTP – The Doers
The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.
Analysis
This show what parts of the brain that were dominant during writing.
(Click on image to enlarge.)

What’s really scary is how dead on at least the last two sentences are. Whereas the other ones, not so much. Perhaps it’s a function of me writing for myself rather than for a different audience.

ROG

Web changes

Someone asked on a listserv, “Does anyone know of a service for tracking not just website changes, but exactly what content on the webpage changed?” As a result of the question, I joined ChangeDetect, a free web page monitoring system. It’s my intention to add all of the web sites and blogs which I follow that do not offer an RSS feed, but I’ve only gotten around to tracking the website of my ol’ friend Fred Hembeck thus far.

So how does it work? So far, fine, though the e-mail notification takes about a day from the actual site change. Still, when I actually get around to using it more frequently, it’ll beats going to the page and seeing the same old stuff.
***
Blogger has this feature where it’ll let you know when an RSS-equipped blog on the sidebar was last updated. I discovered, however, that if the blog poster says the post was entered two days ago, it’ll note on my blog that the blog was posted two days ago.
***
I used to have something called Jigli on my side panel, a service that was creating a word cloud of my blog, which I liked. Unfortunately, it was creating an unintended consequence. It seemed to create what appeared to be hyperlinks on words that weren’t actually hyperlinks. I thought it was just my computer, but when a good friend of mine saw the same thing, I deleted the Jigli and the problem went away.
***
I was on a listserv when someone provided info about a conference in Italy. One reader took great exception to this and said, “I saw the announcement for a conference that cost $15 to attend within driving range for most of New York State.
One does not need to spend hours on an international flight plus all of the money for staying in a hotel in order to present at a conference or to attend a conference.” Others responded with comments such as “funding issues notwithstanding, some people may be interested in knowing this is happening. Why the need for the nasty responses?” ou’d be surprised how heated librarians can get.
Finally, I wrote: “To quote Sylvester Stewart: ‘Different strokes for different folks And so on, and so on and scooby-dooby-doo.'” That generated a “Roger: Best. Post. Ever.” and another positive comments. That made me feel really good!
***
I’ve got nothing pithy to say about the passing of Studs Terkel. I’ve read only one of his books – Working – though I did enjoy seeing him express his views in various venues. But here’s a nice piece:
Studs Terkel: The Power of His Prose By Dennis Kucinich, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel knew the real America. The America of grit and gumption, heart and soul, passion and nerve. He chronicled five generations of American history with a compassionate and deep understanding of the American character.

He was the quintessential American writer. He was our Boswell, our Whitman, our Sandburg. He was able to get people to open up and share their innermost thoughts and their deepest dreams. In the words of Kipling ‘he walked with kings and never lost the common touch.’

Infused in each word he wrote and in his spoken word, he was a master story-teller and could regale groups for literally hours with his deep understanding of human nature its possibilities and its foibles. He was a person of great appetites and his greatest appetite was for the truth. America has lost a tribune of the people. But the power of his prose lives on.

Studs was a dear friend. My wife, Elizabeth, and I have enjoyed many visits in Studs’s home. His good humor was a constant even during a visit a couple of years ago when he was recovering from heart surgery.

I was touched by the forward he wrote to my book, A Prayer for America. I’ll never forget the encouragement he gave me to run for president in 2004.


ROG

As Though You Had Requested It: ASK ROGER ANYTHING

In case you’re relatively new to these parts, this is the part of the blog experience in which the blogger (i.e., I) sit back and wait for you to ask me questions, AND I HAVE TO ANSWER. The answer has to be the truth. Doesn’t have to be the whole truth, and it could be a tad snarky, but still basically an honest response in this blog before the end of the month.

Today’s first example comes from Al from Albany who asked:
Rog-
I don’t know what got me thinking about this today, but…

Last year (I think) A-Rod nearly “Homered for the Cycle”. That is, a solo, 2-run, 3-run and grand slam. I believe he was missing a 2-run homer. Has it ever been done?

No. Obviously one would need at least 10 RBI to hit for the “homer cycle” and
nobody who has hit four homers has more than 9 RBI (Hodges with 5 hits), except Mark Whiten of the St. Louis Cardinals. He had 12 RBI and on only 4 hits, in 1993, so he would have to have to hit these types of homers (not necessarily in this order: 1,3,4,4; 2,2,4,4; 2,3,3,4; 3,3,3,3. In fact, Whiten hit a grand slam, fouled out, hit two three-run shots in successive innings, and ended with a two-run homer.

Dave from Schenectady wrote:
I’ve thought of you because I may be starting a blog. How’s your TU thing going? Forgive me, I never read it (or any other blogs). Just too busy reading all the stuff I have to for work. Is it hypocritical to want to write a blog when you never read them? Will I be getting into something I regret? Your feedback would be much appreciated if you have time to write.

The blog goes. My other blog [this one] is somehow easier. As for you blogging, let me give you a for instance: is it hypocritical to want to write a book if you’ve never read a book? Or a painter if you’ve never looked at other paintings? Hypocritical isn’t the word I’d use; more like short-sighted. You’ll get a better sense to see what you like (and especially what you hate) if you read some.
You probably won’t get in “trouble”, depending on what you write about. Painting? Probably safe. On the other hand, I wrote a pretty innocuous piece about my church choir director leaving and I was given a lecture about me being sucked into the whole religion myth, to which someone I know replied, and a voracious back-and-forth, having nothing to do with the initial topic, ensued. Oh, BTW, if you DO do it, I’ll link to you, raising your fame level enormously (snicker).
I’m rather fond of this piece.

Your questions can be about baseball or politics or of a more personal nature.

ROG