Interesting that 3 of 12 are movie reviews, as though I saw all that many movies. 2 of 12 (1 in 6) are of the ABC variety, which makes sense, since 1 in 7 of my posts are of that variety. Movies, music and television dominate – sounds right, though I watch less and less TV, and the music I listen to isn’t always the newest. *** Then, looking back, I noticed that I DID make resolutions last year. How did I do? * to play more backgammon. That I did, playing an average of once every three weeks or so, perhaps an average of four games a session. Mich more satisfying than online. * to play more cards, specifically hearts. Nope, 1 time. * to see more movies. I haven’t tallied the movies that I saw; whatever I might have gained count-wise earlier in the year totally fell apart by mid-year. * to play more racquetball. About the same, maybe slightly less. * come spring, I need to BUY a bike to replace the one that was stolen. Done. * read more books. Not done; more partials. * listen to more music at home. Marginal improvement.
I know historians banter about the most significant years in a given period, as do others. I’d have to pick 1917 (Russian revolution), 1945 (end of WW II), 1968 (unrest in US, Mexico, Czechoslovakia), 1989 (fall of Berlin Wall), among others, for the 20th Century.
But did you ever rank the years in your life? 1977, when I lived in three cities in two states, was pretty awful, but 1978, when, not coincidentally, I moved to Schenectady, NY, was pretty good. I was up in the attic this week, sorting stuff, and I came across a 1998 calendar, 100 Years of American Comics from the International Cartoon Art.
My, that was a good year.
I went to the movies. A lot. Jan 16-Jackie Brown Jan 19-Good Will Hunting Jan 25-Titanic Jan 31-Fast, Cheap and Out of Control Feb 1-Amistad Feb 10-The Tango Lesson Feb 14-Mrs Brown; L.A. Confidential Feb 15-Afterglow; Ma vie en Rose Feb 16-The Apostle And that was just the first two months.
I took JEOPARDY! test #1 on April 29.
I went on a two-week vacation in May. I don’t know that I’ve been on a two-week vacation since. I went to the Motown museum and a Tigers game in Detroit; and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on one train trip. I visited the Capitol and other landmarks and took JEOPARDY! test #2 in Washington, DC on a second train trip. I love the train.
Saw LOTS of music in the summer. Many are local band (Burners UK, Hair of the Dog), but I also saw Maddy Prior, Cyril Neville, the Glenn Miller group, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Rickie Lee Jones. Then on August 9, I went to SPAC for the Newport Folk Festival, featuring Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez, Nanci Griffith, Bela Fleck, Bruce Cockburn, Alison Krauss, Marc Cohn, Lucinda Williams, and others; a great day.
I had two conferences in September. At the ASBDC conference in Savannah, GA, my father drove down from Charlotte, NC and hung out with me and a couple of my friends the first two days. THE best time I ever had with my father. Then the SBDC conference was in Niagara Falls; I love the falls. And I walked to NF, Ontario.
The JEOPARDY! broadcast party was November 9. Later that month, my attempts to re-woo Carol, which began in earnest in August, proved successful, and we got married the following May.
Music, movies, travel, love. Even a modicum of fame. That was a great year.
Yet, I’m still felling the seasonal stress. Sunday, in particular, made me very…grumpy. Sunday, I was Christmas shopping. There IS a correlation, though shopping wasn’t the only frustration that day. The neck is sore, for some reason. And my left heel has a cut on it, probably from chafing while wearing some boots when it snowed a couple weeks ago. (But NOT this past weekend, as it turns out.) The one thing that did make me laugh was an e-mail from some cruise line that had the heading, ” There’s Still Time to Give the Gift of Cruising!”
So, to cheer me up, it is your opportunity to Ask Roger Anything. Anything at all; nothing is off limits. These are the exciting rules: 1. You can ask Roger anything. 2. He must answer. 3. He must stop referring to himself in the third person. 4. My answers must be true. Now it can be the truth without being the WHOLE truth, but the discerning questioner will pick up on this.
And starting on Sunday, I will answer your questions. If you want me to answer a question or three, you can leave a comment – I love comments – or you can find my e-mail on the sidebar and you can e-mail it to me.
The picture above was taken by my friend the Hoffinator when she was visiting mutual friends in Asheville, NC.
I must admit to loving the name Roger. It’s not too common, not too rare. It’s been on the 1000 most popular male names of babies in the United States ever since the Social Security Administration was able to post records of this, tracking back to 1880. At #463 in 2008, it is actually up five slots from the previous year. Indeed, it was in the Top 100 between 1921 and 1975, hitting its peak of 22 in 1945; I can’t help but think that its popularity came from “Roger that” or “Roger, over and out” from the World War II years.
Here, in roughly chronological order of my awareness, are some of the people named Roger who have been important to me. (All pictures below courtesy of Life.com, “for personal non-commercial use only”.
Roger Maris: We’re talking baseball here. In 1961, the New York Yankees’ right fielder Roger Maris and center fielder Mickey Mantle were both pursuing Babe Ruth’s seemingly unbreakable record of 60 home runs set in 1927. The fans seemed OK with Mantle breaking the record; he came up through the Yankees farm system (i.e., minor-league affiliation), but he got injured and ended up with “only” 54 homers that year. Maris, though, was traded to the Yankees from the Kansas City A’s before the 1960 season and wasn’t considered enough of a REAL Yankee, or for that matter, a legitimate star, to break the record. So even before he broke Ruth’s record, the baseball commissioner, Ford Frick, a Ruth worshiper, muddied the waters by suggesting that since the record had been broken in a 162-game season, whereas Ruth played in a 154-game season, it was somehow tainted. I for one was rooting for Roger – I mean he was a Roger – and he broke the record on the last day of the season. Picture: September 1961, during that noted season. Fact: Roger Maris got traded to the St. Cardinals in 1967 and won his third World Series ring that very season.
Roger Miller: One of the very first LPs – LPs being long-playing musical albums, on vinyl – I ever bought was Golden Hits: Roger Miller. It was a fun, country-laden album with hits such as Chug-A-Lug, Dang Me (sample lyrics: “My pappy was a pistol; I’m a son of a gun.” and England Swings, plus the big hit King Of The Road. I bought a subsequent album that included Husbands and Wives, with the lyrics, It’s my belief, Pride is the chief cause and the decline in the number of husbands and wives. Great line, even if it rhymes “pride” and “decline”. Picture: playing guitar & singing as he sits on couch next to coffee table displaying 5 Grammy awards, at his Hollywood home in 1965. Fact: Posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995, three years after he died.
Roger Bannister: The British track star was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. He set the record on May 6, 1954, but I did not become familiar with him until about a decade later. Not only did he break through the time and psychological barrier with a time of 3 min 59.4 sec. then Australian John Landy beat Bannister’s record. Next time Bannister and Landy ran head-to-head, they BOTH broke four minutes, with Bammister winning the race. Picture: taken May 1951, I don’t know the venue. Perhaps the Penn Relays? Fact: Bannister became a distinguished neurologist, who retired in 2001.
Roger Chaffee: The Apollo missions, following the successful Mercury (one-man) and Gemini (two-man) flights into space for the United States, were three-man trips designed eventually to get man to the moon. Unfortunately, Roger Chaffee was killed, along with fellow astronauts Gus Grissom and Ed White during a training exercise for the Apollo 1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center, January 27, 1967. I was personally devastated by this and thought the accident would put the kibosh on plans to go to the moon; apparently not. Picture: taken October 1963 Fact: There’s a Chaffee crater on the dark side of the moon.
Roger McGuinn (center): The leader of the band that, after Bob Dylan “went electric”, popularized folk-rock music with Dylan-penned songs such as Mr. Tambourine Man and All I Really Want To Do, and Pete Seeger’s Turn! Turn! Turn! The Byrds bounced back and forth among genres from psychedelic rock (Eight Miles High) to country (Sweethearts of the Rodeo album), with an ever-changing lineup. Picture: the original Byrds -(l-r) Mike Clarke, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark in 1991. Fact: The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991; I’m guessing the picture is from an event associated with the induction.
Roger Mudd: even as a kid, I was a sucker for the news. And mostly it was the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. The weekend anchor and Cronkite’s primary fill-in was Roger Mudd, a solid newsman who reported on everything from the Civil Rights movement, including the historic March on Washington in 1963, to 1971’s the Selling of the Pentagon. He was on the scene when Robert Kennedy was shot in 1968, and his 1979 interview with Ted Kennedy pretty much derailed the Senator’s campaign for the Presidency. Passed over to succeed Cronkite, he moved over to NBC News, then PBS. Picture: TV image of the CBS newscaster giving analysis of President Nixon’s resignation speech in August 1974. Fact: Roger is distantly related to Samuel Mudd, the doctor who was imprisoned for aiding and conspiring with John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Roger Daltry: early in my listening to rock and roll, I was familiar with the group The Who and songs such as My Generation, I Can See For Miles and Magic Bus. But it wasn’t until the “rock opera” Tommy, followed by the extraordinary album Who’s Next (Baba O’Riley with the line “teenage wasteland”; Behind Blue Eyes; and Won’t Get Fooled Again) that I started really differentiating the members of the group. The lead singer, with the golden locks, was Roger Daltry. Picture: from 1991. I SWEAR I owned bolo tie just like this one. Fact: The Who entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Roger Ebert (center): There was this movie review show on PBS (public television) featuring this skinny guy named Gene Siskel and the more round Roger Ebert who I just loved to watch. Later, they became syndicated and their popularity and influence grew until Gene’s untimely death in 1999. Roger Ebert continued on, eventually pairing with Richard Roeper until mid-2006, when “he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer which left him unable to speak,” and lost considerable weight in the process. While he no longer appears on the air, I read his columns regular, now more for his non-movie observations about death and race and politics than for his reviews. Picture: not described, but the guy on the right is the late Walter Cronkite. Fact: In June 2005, Roger Ebert was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a first for a critic.
When I was born, my father had told his cousins that he was working on my name, Roger Owen Green, making sure the initials, ROG, could serve as my nickname. As far as I knew, I was not named for anyone. But after my father died in 2000, the family came across a bunch of postcards from a guy named Roger from around 1961, where he worked at a Presbyterian church in New Jersey. They weren’t mailed to our house but to a place called The Interracial Center, 45 Carroll Street, Binghamton, NY, where my father used to volunteer. Very mysterious. ROG
Lessee, there’s Peter Gabriel’s On the Air; Joni Mitchell’s You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio; Elvis Costello’s Radio Radio.
All that is a stall to say that I’m going to appear on Barbara Weltman Internet radio show, Build Your Business Radio, which airs each Monday from 4pm to 5pm/ET.
As her producer Gloria wrote me: “We would like to have you as a guest on an upcoming radio show in early October, if possible. Barbara enjoys highlighting her guests’ areas of expertise, and we ask them to compose 5 to 8 questions for her to ask during the interview. Build Your Business Radio’s audience consists primarily of small businesses and entrepreneurs. You’ll get to use the podcast following the interview to post on your site, etc.”
I have an area of expertise? Always thought of myself as a generalist.
Anyway, I’ve agreed to be on Monday, October 5 during 2nd half of show. The studio calls the guest (a/k/a, me) at 4:24pm/ET; live interview begins at 4:30p, continues for 11 minutes, breaks, resumes for 9 minutes more. 20 minutes to fill.
Don’t mind telling you…well, let’s put it this way: I think it was Steve Stills at Woodstock talking about CSN’s second gig who indicated how scared they were.
The fear is…er, ah…that I’ll…um…in the words…ah, ah…that my wife…hmmm…hates…suck. Also…(mumble)…I hate (ahem) the sound of [cough] my own…eh…voice when I…er…hear it.
So why do it? Because I’m afraid. One of the things that we’ve been doing with the daughter is, whenever she does something she’s heretofore been scared to do, such as going to a new school or seeing a new doctor, is give her a penny, which she can trader in for certain goodies. Hey, I wonder what I’LL get for doing this?
Also, if I ever get ambitious enough to do my own podcast some decade, this gig will be a baseline for me. Now, I’m hoping it won’t be TOO bad. I DID give Gloria a half dozen questions for which I DO more or less know the answers. They’re mostly about the Small Business development Center, the state Data Center program, being a librarian, and being a census data junkie (oh, no, can’t say “junkie”,; it has implications). I’m trying to anticipate the curve balls; I noted in my bio that I used to deal in comic books, so I’m thinking of a couple points on THAT topic, just in case.
So if you want to hear it, but don’t have access, I’ll link to the podcast afterward. Unless it REALLY sucks.