Happier Now Sunday Stealing

Hembeck, ADD, AmeriNZ, Forgotten Stars

happier nowThe Happier Now Sunday Stealing questions this week are all over the place.

What flavor Popsicle is the best?

I haven’t had Popsicles in years. But I remember that I favored grape, lime, cherry, and orange, in approximately that order.

Do you have a DVR feature with your cable?

Yes, and increasingly it’s the ONLY way I can watch television. It’s not only much faster – JEOPARDY! in 18 minutes – but I also get to avoid the plethora of advertisements for prescription drugs that are ubiquitous on American television. I’ve been told, and someone can correct me, that the ads are banned everywhere except in the US and New Zealand.

How many drawers does your dresser have?

Five. Or not nearly enough.

Is your closet a mess?

Actually, I have an armoire. After our daughter was born, the room with a large closet became her bedroom for a time. Now it’s my wife’s office. So no.

Have you ever solved a Rubik’s Cube?

No, but I haven’t tried in decades.

Describe your favorite pair of pajama pants:

They’re blue and have moose on them.

What color is your wallet?

The brown color of probably faux leather.

Do you find flea markets and thrift shops enjoyable?

Not really. The cost (of time)/benefit (the find) is too unbalanced. Sorry, Eddie.


Have you met amazing people online?

Yes. I could write a whole blog post on this topic. When I first started blogging in 2005, I followed my friend Fred Hembeck’s now-defunct but still extant blog. I met a slew of great folks there, including Lefty, Gordon, the aforementioned Eddie, and even Greg.

I discovered the late Dustbury, who died in 2019. So I know fillyjonk because I knew Charles Hill.

I stumbled upon Denise Nesbitt’s ABC Wednesday, which I participated in for about a decade. I met Leslie and many other fine folks.

The local newspaper, the Times Union, used to have a blog platform. I still follow folks such as Chuck Miller and J. Eric Smith, the latter of whom is no longer in the area.   

Then there are people for whom I have NO idea how I “met” them, such as  Arthur and Kelly.

This doesn’t count all of the people I’ve become reacquainted with, including Steve Bissette,  Alan David Doane, and a bunch of folks on Facebook.

Between the lines

Would you be happy if I colored a picture for you?

Only if it’s better than I would draw for myself, which is almost certainly going to be true.

What show do you think ‘made’ the 90’s?

Law and Order, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, NYPD Blue… I think I’m supposed to say Seinfeld or Friends.

Are you happier now than you were last year?

Yes, because 2021 was too COVIDy. An odd observation, I suppose, since I actually GOT COVID in August 2022. But I’ve gone to a few movies, attended plays, eaten at a few restaurants, and participated in the church choir in 2022.

What are you currently drinking?

Not alcohol, and that’s about calories, not any other consideration. Arnold Palmer.

Do you trust people easily?

Not especially. I don’t DISTRUST people out of hand, but when they’ve betrayed me, I always remember. I can forgive, but I seldom forget.

What are you looking forward to in the next three months?

My daughter will be home from her first semester of college.

Random post and ABC Wednesday

My best to Melody

random numberOne of my annual rituals is to select a post for each month of the previous year. I use a random number generator, which may actually be random, or not. It’s adequate for this exercise. I like to see how well it reflected that year just passed, or did not.

Statistically, I had been writing one ABC Wednesday post a week. I hadn’t mentioned this, but after 25 rounds, the meme has come to an end. Not having it in 2020 is a mixed bag. On one hand, I have to come up with one more post per week.

On the other, HAVING to come with some abecedarian post has become more difficult. Also, that weekly post has postponed other items I wanted to share. Best to Melody, the third and last moderator after Denise Nesbitt and myself, who is recovering from a heart attack last fall.

For my blog, I also create one music piece each week, link summaries twice a month, maybe a couple dozen folks turning 70, pieces about my daughter once a month. So the frequency should be related to that, theoretically.

I’m fairly sure I got this meme from Gordon, who lives in Chicago and still remains the only non-local blogger I’ve ever met. I love it because it’s quasi-mathematical.

The graphic came from typing into Google random site:.gov. It’s attached to the 2018 article, “NIST’s New Quantum Method Generates Really Random Numbers.

The links

January: “This man is doing so much damage to the country I love and causing so much anxiety and pain among the poor and the non-white that I can’t make fun of his hair anymore.” Mark Evanier on how unfunny a certain person is.
February: “I’ve asked for the soundtrack for my birthday.” This is from my review of the Oscar-nominated Polish-French film Cold War (Zimna Wojna). Eventually, I downloaded three songs.
March: “Green Book: History vs. Hollywood.” A link.

April: “I know about balancing a checkbook, applying for a business loan, trying to get a better rate on a credit card.” Me giving advice to the son of my friend Deborah. I cited my experience at FantaCo as being useful as a librarian.
May: “Someone I was unfamiliar with responded, ‘What is [the infection rate] in the countries from which most of the persons who enter this country illegally?” Someone asked me about the measles outbreak. Two out of three people bringing the disease into the US from overseas are American citizens.
June: “FantaCo, 05/1980-11/1988 – the comic book store/publisher/mail order place.” The difficulty I have had leaving some jobs.

And more links

July: “On Saturday, October 5th, the event will be at the Broome County Forum Theatre, and on Sunday, October 6th, go to the Helen Foley Theatre at Binghamton High School.” I had thought to go to Serling Fest: Twilight Zone at 60. It didn’t happen.
August: “Andrew Yang (89%) may have ideas other than his one-note giveaway.” My disdain, even then, of so many debates.
September: “We Need to Rethink Our Ideas About Aging”. Linkage.

October: “At this moment, a case making its way through the court system is garnering an unusual amount of attention.” About double jeopardy v. dual sovereignty.
November: “Becky, the black waitress (Melody A. Betts), reminded me of the white, wisecracking Flo on the TV show.” My review of the musical Waitress.
December: “While I’ve seen Jeff in a few films, I’ve NOT seen most of his iconic roles.” Jeff Bridges’ birthday.

Zone Improvement Plan or ZIP Code

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is 09360

ZIP Code

On July 1, 1963, the United States Post Office introduced the Zone Improvement Plan, or ZIP Code. This was back in the day when postage for a one-ounce first-class letter cost five cents, rather than 55.

The country was carved into 10 sections, 0 to 9. From there, 5-digit numbers (codes) were developed to identify each post office associated with an address. It was also the time that the two-letter state postal abbreviations were instituted.

I was fascinated by this as a kid. Just from the first digit in the ZIP Code, I knew where a letter came from. If it started with 0, it was from New England, New Jersey, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, or military addresses in the European theater; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is 09360.

In New York State, 100-102 are Manhattan, 103 is Staten Island, 104 is the Bronx. 105 is suburban New York, with the places listed alphabetically, 106 is White Plains and so forth through 119, on the tip of Long Island. 120 and 121 are suburban Albany, 122 is Albany and 123 is Schenectady, up through 149 in western New York.

Certain businesses or other institutions have their own ZIP Codes. The State University of New York in Albany is 12222, while the SUNY campus in Buffalo is 14222. ZIP Code 12345 is General Electric in Schenectady. 10048 was the zip code assigned to the former World Trade Center in New York City, but is no longer used.

When I worked at a store in Albany in the 1980s, I decided to figure out where the orders for a horror film book was coming from. A decidedly large plurality of the requests, for some reason, were from 480 and 481, wealthy suburban Detroit.

and more

In 1983, the US Postal Service began using an expanded ZIP Code called “ZIP+4.” “A ZIP+4 code consists of the original five-digit ZIP Code plus a four-digit add-on code. The four-digit add-on number identifies a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, office building, individual high-volume receiver of mail, or any other unit that would aid efficient mail sorting and delivery.” It is not mandated, but businesses use it often and there are savings to be had for bulk mailings.

On rare occasions, a place is assigned a ZIP code that does not match the rest of the state, e.g. the place is so remote that it is better served by a center in another state. “For example, Fishers Island, NY, which is off Long Island, NY, has ZIP code 06390 and is served from Connecticut, while all other New York ZIP codes begin with 1. Some Texas ZIP codes are served from New Mexico and have codes beginning with 8 rather than 7.”

“Returned government parcels from the District of Columbia are sent to ZIP codes beginning with 569, so that [they] are security checked at a remote facility, put into place after the anthrax scare.”

The Census Bureau does not tabulate data by U.S. Postal Service ZIP Code. Instead, it created a new statistical entity called the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) to meet requests by data users for statistical data by ZIP Code. ZCTAs are close area approximations of USPS ZIP Codes service areas. For more information, go here. Find a ZIP Code by entering an address here.

There are ZERO more weeks of ABC Wednesday. Au revoir, Melody, Denise, Leslie, Beverly, et al.

Y is for the Yukon Territory

Sergeant Preston

YukonSurely, my early understanding of the Yukon in Canada came from watching Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, the 1955-1958 primetime television program on CBS. I probably saw it as a Saturday rerun.

Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh explained that Preston “cut a splendid figure in his smart red uniform (even in black-and-white!), his broad-brimmed hat, and his pencil-thin mustache.” The Mountie was played by Dick Simmons.

I gathered that the territory was much like the Old West, except colder. It was “where thieves and scoundrels preyed upon the gold miners and settlers who had come to open the wilderness.”

As Brittanica notes, it is “an area of rugged mountains and high plateaus. It is bounded by the Northwest Territories to the east, by British Columbia to the south, and by the U.S. state of Alaska to the west, and it extends northward above the Arctic Circle to the Beaufort Sea.”


I was looking at the tourism page Travel Yukon. “Rich living-history, stunningly unique geography and more epic scenes than a Hollywood blockbuster.” One could, if one were not me, go on the Yukon Arctic Ultra. It is “a mountain biking, cross-country skiing and running race that follows the trail of the Yukon Quest from Whitehorse to either Braeburn (100-mile racers), Pelly Farm (300-mile racers) or Dawson City (430-mile racers).” In northern Canada.

The BreakOut West Showcase Festival is more my speed. Music! It “features a multi-genre line-up of over 50 of western Canada’s best emerging and established artists showcasing at multiple venues throughout the host city.” In October 2019, it was in Yellowknife. The event appears to rotate among the western provinces and territories.

From the Wikipedia: “Yukon was split from the Northwest Territories in 1898 and was originally named the Yukon Territory. The federal government’s Yukon Act, which received royal assent on March 27, 2002, established Yukon as the territory’s official name, though Yukon Territory is also still popular in usage and Canada Post continues to use the territory’s internationally approved postal abbreviation of YT. Though officially bilingual (English and French), the government also recognizes First Nations languages.”

Yowza! Another ABC Wednesday post

Holiday places, Xmas faces

Santa Claus dons his beachwear

Santa Claus.IN
Back in 2017, The Census Bureau put out this list of holiday places:

“Some names of places associated with the holiday season consist of a dozen places named Holly, including Mount Holly, N.C. (population 14,495), and Holly Springs, Miss. (7,682).

“There is Snowflake, Ariz. (5,764); Santa Claus, Ind. (2,463); North Pole, Alaska (2,232); Noel, Mo. (1,816); and — if you know about reindeer — Dasher, Ga. (979), and Rudolph, Wis. (430). There is also Unity, Ore. (68).”

What, no Bethlehem, PA (population 75,707 in 2017)?

Traveller.com in Australia

It recommended over a dozen holiday places, including:

New York City, NY

“Surely you know what Christmas in the Big Apple looks like, thanks to countless movies: Christmas lights, cheesy muzak, preferably a light dusting of snow.

“The world’s tallest Christmas tree is lit at the Rockefeller Center in early December. Ice skating below it is a must for wintertime visitors, as is checking out the window displays in New York’s largest department stores. Finish with a New York Ballet performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ for a Christmas straight out of central casting.

San Juan, PR

“A small island with a big personality, Puerto Rico serves up a sunny Christmas with a salsa beat and a side dish of spit-roasted pig. Festivities last from early December to Three Kings Day on 6 January. From mid-December churches conduct dawn masses rich with Christmas carols, while exuberant roving groups of carolers travel from house to house and make merry.

“The big feast is held on Christmas Eve, followed by Midnight Mass. For season-setting decorations, head to City Hall on the Plaza de Armas and the fairy-lit promenade Paseo de la Princesa.”


The network updated this list of holiday places in September 2019. It ALSO suggested New York City.

Honolulu, HI

“Santa Claus dons his beach wear for the Christmas celebrations in Hawaii. What the Aloha State lacks in snow it more than makes up for in festive vibes of peace and goodwill.

“The celebrations center around Honolulu City Lights, a monthlong Christmas display with an opening parade, live music, and a 15-meter Christmas tree…

“At 6 meters tall (almost 20 feet) Shaka Santa — Mr. Claus dressed down in red shorts and open shirt — takes pride of place downtown, seated next to his mu’umu’u-wearing wife, Tutu Mele.”

Quebec City, QC

“A haven for environmentally friendly, outdoor enthusiasts, Quebec bustles with winter activity, offering holiday programs for all tastes.

“Old Quebec is turned into a picturesque Christmas village. Sausage and roast chestnut lovers can browse the wares at the German Christmas market. The more religiously inclined can wander an exposition of nativity scenes from around the world…
“And when Christmas is over, there’s Quebec Winter Carnival from February 7 to 16, 2020.”

Santa Claus, IN

“Christmas is a year-round occasion in this town… [It] gets thousands of letters a year from children trying to reach St. Nick himself. A group of volunteers called Santa’s Elves was set up in the mid-1930s to reply to each letter.
“The Land of Lights display is a 1.2-mile drive around the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort.

Xmas places for ABC Wednesday

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial