First Meme

From SamuraiFrog:

First Job: Among other things, my father arranged flowers for weddings and events such as debutante balls. Sister Leslie and I always got sucked into working on that.
But another choice would be when I’d sing at my father’s gigs. Eventually Leslie joined us, certainly before I was 14, and we did get paid, albeit usually not much.

First Real Job: Newspaper delivery of the Evening and Sunday Press when I was 12.
Or alternatively pick being a page at the Binghamton Public Library when I was 16.

First Favorite Politician: Bill Burns. He was mayor of Binghamton, a Democrat, when I was 16. He had succeeded his brother John, who was more naturally suave politician. Bill was now what you’d call a wonk and looked the part. I remember blowing up balloons at his headquarters. Unfortunately, he lost in 1969 (I think) to Al Libous, who I despised politically. When Libous ran for Congress in 1974, I worked hard for his opponent, Matt McHugh, who fortunately beat Libous.

First Car: It was always someone else’s car, like the Okie’s Volvo; I never remember car stuff.

First Record/CD: Beatles VI and other Beatles LPs, plus Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful; it was from the Capitol Record Club.

First Sport Played: Almost certainly baseball or softball; it depends whether it was on the school playground (softball) or at Ansco field (baseball), which we got to by walking through Spring Forest Cemetery.

First Concert: Seals & Crofts, November 12, 1971 in NYC; I’m convinced that J. Geils opened for them and was booed; the band may be a false memory, but the booing of the opening act was not.

First Foreign Country Visited: Canada. Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was…10?

First Favorite TV Show: Captain Kangaroo. Featured Mr. Green Jeans. Also, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock, and the bizarre cartoon Clutch Cargo.

First Favorite Actor: Dick van Dyke from his eponymous show.

First Favorite Actress: Mary Tyler Moore, “The Dick van Dyke Show” Capri pants!

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: I suppose how you define it. I suppose Martha when I was 15 or 16.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: For some reason, I was on the sidelines at a Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game and almost literally ran into Willis Reed, the Knicks center.
Actually shook Nelson Rockefeller’s hand twice while I was in high school.

First Brush With Death: I was about seven and I had a knit hat on. I thought I could see through it, so I put it over my head. Unfortunately, it cut off my peripheral vision and I almost got hit by a car while crossing the street in the middle of the block.

First House/Condo Owned: Well, technically, the house Carol bought, which we moved into when we got married. But I prefer to think of that as her house, and our current house, which we bought in May 2000,.

First Film Seen: I’m thinking State Fair; don’t know which version.

First Favorite Recording Artist: Probably, from my father’s singles, the Everly Brothers.

First Favorite Radio Station: WENE, 1360 (I think) AM, Top 40 radio in Endicott, NY.

First Book I Remember Reading: Probably some Dr. Seuss book, such as Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: This one from Tosy in November 2005. ROG

May Ramblin’

I was listening to one of the few podcasts I follow regularly, Coverville; highly recommended, BTW. Anyway, there is sometimes a segment at the end called Musically Challenged, in which a listener provides a quiz for Coverville host Brian Ibbott, and usually for Brian’s wife Tina. Lo and behold, the quiz for episode 574 was provided by Tosy and Cosh. Tosy was the one who turned me onto Coverville.

I had requested of Brian that he play a Pete Seeger cover in honor of Pete’s 90th birthday a couple weeks ago. Well, Brian didn’t play any Pete covers on May 3, but instead dedicated the whole next show to Seeger. My request for one song became the inspiration for the entire episode. I am pleased.
A (weird) random conversation starter from Jaquandor.
On June 6, 2009, in honor of the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s trip up the river that now bears his name, a musician will be playing the Mid-Hudson Bridge, the bridge that connects Poughkeepsie and Highland, near my college town of New Paltz. Not just playing ON the bridge, but actually playing the bridge as an instrument.
1981 Video Predicts The Death Of Print Newspapers.
Mr. Frog reviews the warts-and-all complete history of Sesame Street. It includes discussion of this scene which always chokes me up:

How to test your copyright knowledge.
A couple television programs you should watch. They’ve already aired, but thanks to the Internet, they are easily retrievable.

One is Bill Moyers Journal of April 17. Bill interviews the executive producer of HBO’s critically-acclaimed show THE WIRE, David Simon who “talks…about inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today.” I’ve never seen The Wire, but now I must watch it on DVD. But you don’t have to have watched that vaunted program to appreciate his insights.

The other is a two-part 60 Minutes report narrated by Lesley Stahl. In Part 1 she “reports on flaws in eyewitness testimony that are at the heart of the DNA exonerations of falsely convicted people like Ronald Cotton, who has now forgiven his accuser, Jennifer Thompson.” In Part 2, she “explores the task of an eyewitness to choose a criminal out of line up through memory. Jennifer Thompson falsely selected Ronald Cotton as her rapist.” Thompson and Cotton are now friends, and have co-written a book, Picking Cotton.
Dom Deluise as role model for Mark Evanier, of a sort.


The Lydster, Part 56: Too Shy

There are times when my daughter is bold and fearless. In her classroom, for instance, her teachers rave about how well she helps the newer students get acclimated. Other times, she just wants to retreat behind one of her parents.

Her favorite TV show – pretty much her ONLY TV show she watches on a regular basis, as we’re TRYING to limit her consumption – is something called Little Bear. It is based on some 1950s books by Maurice Sendak, for which, quite coincidentally, we received a three-in-volume volume of the book. Little Bear lives in the forest with his parents and has friends with Owl, Duck, Hen and Cat. The TV series was filmed in the 1990s in Canada.

Most of these stories she enjoys, but a few of them made her quite frightened: one with Father Bear arguing with the personified North Wind, a couple featuring goblins, which look more like Santa’s elves.

But the episodes cycle through and repeat after a number of weeks, and Lydia’s discovered that there’s nothing to fear from the wind or the goblins.

I was reminded that, last Christmastime, we were at a party. The kids went upstairs with an adult to play. As it turned out, they were watching Little Nemo. I went to check up on her, and I noticed my child, in ithe midst of a bunch of happy children, looking terrified. She ran to me, and I watched the remaining part of the movie with her, including the scary dentist scene, during which she buried her head under my arm.

It occurred to me while reading Tosy, who has two girls about Lydia’s age, that before we venture on showing Lydia the movie The Wizard of Oz, perhaps I ought to READ the story to her first. Interestingly, my wife has a friend whose daughter had seen the Wizard of Oz a half dozen times, or more, by the time she was THREE, and wasn’t afraid at all. I remember being still afraid of it at age seven; on the other hand, in a pre-video age, I saw it but once a year.

Ah, the power of repetition.


BOOK REVIEW: Freddie and Me

I wasn’t a big fan of the rock group Queen. I do own their Greatest Hits album on vinyl, but that’s it. But Mike Dawson was a HUGE fan. In his comic book autobiography, Freddie and Me: A Coming of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody, Dawson talks about how his upbringing in England and eventually in the United States was heavily integrated with the music and the lives of Freddie Mercury and his band. This wasn’t just the background music in his life a la the movie The Big Chill; these tunes were core elements that affected the decisions he made throughout his early years.

The book is funny, and occasionally sad; it’s specifically personal, yet has a universal sense as well. For instance, when he notes how much he hated those Queen fans-come-lately who only knew “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the result of the movie “Wayne’s World”, it sounds like any number of comic book, art and music fans I’ve encountered over the years.(I think this speaks to Tosy’s feelings about the overplayed title tune of this book. If you’re a big fan of the group Queen or, oddly, George Michael, you’ll almost certainly love this book. If you’re a big fan of any musician or artist, you will certainly relate to the passion upon which Dawson draws.
Coincidentally, Freddie and me is one of several items for sale at ADD’s graphic novel sale.
Go to this episode of Coverville and hear the rare Michael Jackson/Freddie Mercury demo to the Jacksons’ hit “State of Shock” that ultimately featured Mick Jagger on guest vocal.


I got one of those invitations to be LinkedIn to a social networking page. I recognized the person, so I said yes. Later that morning, that same guy, who is a sales rep for a database service we use at work called to see how we were doing with the service. (I had previously spoken to him and complained about the interface of the database.) This led me to ask him, “what’s the benefit of the social network?” I can if he can just call me up, I don’t need to be “connected” to him. He explained that people that one of us is linked to is vetted, in a way. I scratched my head, knowing some people with hundreds of MySpace “friends”,e.g., are no more connected than people one night see at a bus stop.

I’ve gone to parties, and because I tend to be the one who tends more to Lydia than her mother on those occasions, I’ll not have a substantial conversation with anyone. I’ve gone to these father/child breakfast things at Lydia’s day care, and except for a couple dads I’d talk with previously, I didn’t really get to know any of them. We are in the same room, but there’s no real connection.

So how does one get to “know” people? I’m on a couple listservs at work, and just by people asking questions and answering them, I get a feel for the way their minds work. Certainly, I’ve got a sense for people via their blogs, but especially when I’ve exchanged music with them. I was reorganizing my music over the weekend – using drawers I bought at a library auction – and the mixed CDs of Green and Dymowski and Burgas and Brown (come back, Kelly!) and Brown and Bacardi all show up in the same drawer. I’ve never met any of them (well, except for Green), but I feel that I know them better than people I’ve seen face to face recently. That’s both kinda weird and kinda nice.
I’m enjoying listening to discs from Thom (two discs) and Tosy.

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