I’d appreciate your input in any or all:

1. What one to three CDs should I put on my Christmas wish list, and why?

2. Why are some people so fussy about folks applauding in movie theaters? People can laugh, cry, shriek; why not clap? After all, it’s their $10 and $6 bucket of popcorn, and as long as they’re not talking unnecessarily, I don’t care.

The theory is that the film actors can’t hear the applause; true enough. But neither can the performers hear when you cheer (or curse) your favorite baseball/football/basketball/soccer team whilst seated in front of your television set. Seems like snobbery to me.

3. Have you ever sung karaoke? If so, what are your favorite tunes to sing? If not, what would you sing?
I’ve never done it – though I have sung, with a live band, Disco Inferno (I’d deny it except there are too many witnesses). Probably Take Me To the River. Or maybe this song from the 1968 movie The Night They Raided Minsky’s that apparently was also performed on The Muppet Show:
I have a secret recipe.
Concocted with much skill.
And once you’ve tried our special dish-
You’ll never get your fill.
Take ten terrific girls, but only nine costumes,
And you’re cooking up something grand.
Mix in some amber lights, and elegant scenery-
And stir in a fine jazz band.
Then add some funny men, and pepper with laughter.
It’s tart and tasty I know.
Then serve it piping hot, and what have you got?
A burlesque show.

Or maybe not.


Sometimes, you just get a little down…

The damn home computer has been giving me fits the last three weeks. Initially, I thought it was a faulty Internet connection on the part of Time Warner. I talked to THREE servicepeople, then a fourth actually came to my house. This seemed to fix the problem, briefly, but then it start up again. Finally, with help, I discovered:
1) I have an Internet connection – I can play Internet backgammon – but I can’t get to any URLs. I was thinking about reinstalling one of those old AOL discs, except that
2) I’m apparently dangerously low on memory
So, I’d done some blogging – actually a lot a couple weeks ago Saturday – at the library, and wrote all the posts you read so far that week. And I did write a couple things at home in Word for this week. But I find it harder not to go fact checking or finding a picture or adding a link. So, it’s made me frustrated.

My very good friend Mark came up from the Mid Hudson (an hour or so south of here) to try to fix the beast, but it became so problematic that he had to take it home with him. So I couldn’t even write stuff in Word at home for a few days this past week.

Since I tend to work ahead, it wasn’t TOO problematic for the pieces already posted, but it MAY be in the next couple weeks, because my inventory of emergency posts are kaput. Ironic because..well, you’ll see.

And, oh, yeah, I also lost my wallet. Trips to the DMV, the library and the bank, calls to the credit card companies, blah, blah. (And it gets more brain-dead than that, but never mind.)

…and then I get a couple lovely e-mails:

From an old friend, to her friend, with a copy to me:

Many adore Roger and his understated but hilarious way. I love his curiosity on oh just about any topic and his librarian-like thoroughness when he riffs on it. Have you been reading his blog? Top ten. Met him probably about 15 years ago now…

And from someone I did a workshop on “Guerrilla Marketing for Librarians” a couple weeks ago:

Hi, Roger! I wanted to thank you again for taking the time to share your expertise and ideas with us yesterday at the meeting. I enjoyed meeting you and really found your presentation to be motivating and inspiring! I am sure others felt the same. Thanks for speaking to the group — your energy and enthusiasm, mixed with your business know-how, made for a wonderful presentation.

I post these, not to be an egomaniac. (I may be an egomaniac, but that’s not why I’m posting them.) I’m posting them to remind myself, when I’m a little blue, that it’s OK, I’m OK.

For it was the great ADD who told me, when I started blogging, “”You can’t please everyone; you got to please yourself.” No, wait, that was the late Rick Nelson. Well, ADD said SOMETHING like that at the time.

And, not that anybody asked, but I was considering moving the bloggy to the Times Union page. I think I decided not to on Easter morning. So now that Mark has returned my computer and it’s working again (thanks, effendi!) I can actually work on updating my weblinks, which I’ll try to do a little bit every day.
Oh, Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA, died. I remember my first non-G-rated film, The Night They Raided Minsky’s, which was rated M, the forerunner of PG. (I have the soundtrack on vinyl -“Take 10 terrific girls, but only 9 costumes.” The movie ratings, which Valenti helped instigate, were imperfect, everyone knows (much kinder about violence, too fussy about the hint of sex, to my mind), but they’re still somewhat useful.

Memories of Pop

So I went up to my attic, trying to find some memorabilia for a project I’m working on, about which I will tell you about soon. I didn’t find the memorabilia, but I DID find 10 notebooks I used as diaries between 1979 and 1987, which will also be helpful for that aforementioned mysterious project. But it IS rather painful to read about your immature, self-absorbed thoughts from 25 years ago. (As opposed to my current MATURE, self-absorbed thoughts.)

One of the things I re-discovered was the death of my grandfather a quarter-century ago this week. I knew he had died sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but the precise date had fled my memory.

Pop is what we (my parents, my sisters, and I) called my father’s father, McKinley Green. Everyone else called him Mac. My nuclear family lived downstairs in a very small two-family house in Binghamton. Pop and his wife, my Grandma Green, Agatha (and it was A gath’ a, not Ag’ ath a) lived upstairs. This was one of two houses owned my mother’s mother, Grandma (Gertrude) Williams, who lived about six blocks away. (HER death I remember quite well: Super Bowl Sunday, 1982.)

Pop was a janitor at WNBF-TV and radio; eventually, the TV station was sold, but he maintained his job at the radio station. I’m not quite sure just how old was, but he was well past the age of retirement, yet the station kept him on to work as long as he wanted, and as much as he wanted. He was such an amiable man that people liked him to be around.


He used to bring home albums (LPs) that had been discarded by the station. Most were “beautiful music” with no artist even listed, or in later years, obscure rock bands that I had never even heard of, but three discs stand out in my mind.

  • “50 Stars, 50 Hits on two great country albums!” That’s the way it was advertised on TV, and I was thrilled when Pop brought a copy home. It featured Buck Owens, George Jones, Minnie Pearl, T. Texas Ruby and many more -46 more, to be precise. In Binghamton in the 1960s, you could get these clear channels (not to be confused with the conglomerate Clear Channel) at night, and I could get stations in New York and Cleveland. I could also reach WWVA in Wheeling, WV, a country station, and I probably listened to a couple of nights a week for four or five years.
  • Gary Lewis and the Playboys Greatest Hits- Jerry’s son’s band doing The Loser (with a Broken Heart), Where Will the Words Come From, (You Don’t Have to) Paint Me a Picture, My Heart’s Symphony, and my favorite, Jill.
  • The soundtrack to the movie The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968). I saw this movie with my high school friend Carol and HER friend Judy, on whom I had a tremendous crush (though nothing ever came of it.) The film, starring Britt Eklund and Jason Robards, was the film debut of Elliot Gould and served as the final film for Bert Lahr. It started with Rudy Vallee saying: “In 1925, there was this real religious girl. And, quite by accident, she invented the striptease. This real religious girl. In 1925. Thank you.” It also featured songs like “Take 10 Terrific Girls, But Only 9 Costumes.” For a 15-year-old, this was really hot stuff, even though the “striptease” in the movie lasted a nanosecond, so getting the album was quite fine.
Going upstairs
  • Pop was an avid hunter. He provided the vast majority of the venison I’ve ever eaten in my life. The only time I ever used a firearm was with Pop. We went out to the woods somewhere, and he gave me his rifle. I fired. Naturally, the recoil left me sitting on my butt. Pop also liked to bowl, work on cars, and especially go to the track, particularly in Monticello.
  • I used to go upstairs and play gin rummy with him while we watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. In the later years, I’d beat him about 50% of the time. On a bulletin board, he had a faded newspaper clipping of Ed Marinaro, the Cornell running back, who was the son or nephew of a friend of his; Marinaro eventually played Officer Joe Coffey on Hill Street Blues.

    From my 6/26/1980 diary: “Pop was a very dark-skinned man with grey hair, thinning, but more prevalent than mine, combed straight back… I recall a certain twinkle in his eye, though I hadn’t seen him in a year and a half or longer; he was never home when I dropped by. I probably should have written more often, but he never wrote back…I would have called if had [had] a telephone, but he refused! The phone company would have required a deposit in switching service from Grandma Green’s name [she died in the mid-1960s] to his, even though he had been paying the bills, [so he had the phone taken out.] He was stubborn that way.”

    I was going to write about Pop’s death, and I will soon. But it was nice to write a little about Pop’s life.


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