The anniversary of my first hangover

Not overcast enough

hangoverThe first hangover I ever had was on June 9, 1976, 44 years ago. Why do I remember? It must be the numerical flow: 6/9/76.

I never drank any alcohol before I was legal, which was 18. Then and now, I thought it was appropriate. Best I can remember, I had my first drink in a bar called Amps on Clinton Street in Binghamton, NY. In my recollection, my sister Leslie’s band Crystal Ship was performing. This took place a few months after my 19th birthday. It was a Tom Collins. Tasty, so I believed.

I went to college that fall, and I had the occasional drink. It was usually a simple concoction, rum and Coke, rye and ginger ale. I’d have a screwdriver, though when I started boycotting orange juice c 1977 because of Anita Byrant, I switched to a greyhound.

My choice of wine was white, or later, rose, because the tannins in red wine gave me a raging headache after one glass. I never acquired a taste for beer, which was a drag. Everyone else at the table in a bar was sharing a pitcher or two, but I’m drinking Something Else. It was also more expensive.

Mike Royko would have been proud

The Okie and I split in late 1974. Soon after I returned to college, I got involved with a student newsletter called the Wind Sun News. It was daily for a short time, then weekly, before it finally reached a thrice-weekly schedule in the spring of 1976. The newsletter came out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, so we worked on it the nights before. Then my friend Bernadette and I would drink every MWF night like I heard real, hard-drinking journalists operated.

Without question, she could outdrink me. One evening I had four mixed drinks – tequila sunrise or maybe daiquiri or white Russian – and she had four double shots of vermouth. I never developed a taste for vermouth or Scotch.

On June 8, we were out drinking again, and I thought I had consumed more than enough. So I switched to ginger ale or maybe 7-Up, and I’m CONVINCED that was the culprit. And the next morning… Oh. My. Goodness.

It was overcast, yet it felt as though there were two suns up at once. For some reason, I had to go to both my savings bank and the place with my checking account. They were at either end of the village, not terribly far apart on most of the time, but the Bataan death march that day.

The worst part was that we had agreed to go horseback riding. There are very few things less pleasant when hung over. Anyway, I remember the only time I took horseback riding lessons, because of that painful convergence.

Autumnal start, drinking, poetry, Internety stuff

It’s usually white wine, or occasionally something with Jack Daniels, Kahuala, vodka, or rum.

Elizabeth asked, in response to Ask Roger Anything (and YOU still can):

Why do they call the Autumnal Equinox the beginning of Fall when it is already Fall? Likewise, the Winter Solstice isn’t the beginning of winter but well along into winter?

Why do “they” say anything? Why do they still use foot/pound? From Wikipedia: “Some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as mid-autumn, others with a longer lag treat it as the start of autumn. Meteorologists (and most of the temperate countries in the southern hemisphere) use a definition based on months, with autumn being September, October, and November in the northern hemisphere, and March, April, and May in the southern hemisphere.

“In North America, autumn is usually considered to start with the September equinox. In traditional East Asian solar term, autumn starts on or around 8 August and ends on about 7 November.”

The answer, therefore, is American exceptionalism. That said, I never liked the fact that holidays commemorating dead soldiers and workers essentially frame summer.

New York Erratic must actually be from New Jersey because there are a lot of questions:

When you drink, is it beer, cider, wine, or mixed drinks?

When I first started drinking, which was when I was 18 – it was legal then – I did a lot of trial and error. I started with mixed drinks, mostly the sweet ones like a Tom Collins, eventually discovering rum and Coke, and 7 (7-Up) and 7 (Seagram’s Seven). Also white wine, but red gave me raging headaches.

But I could never drink beer. I would go out with folks and they’d share a pitcher or two, while I was drinking something else, which was both isolating and more expensive.

Now, it’s usually white wine, or occasionally something with Jack Daniels, Kaluha, vodka, or rum. NOT beer, not vermouth, and not gin.

What are your favorite flavor and favorite smell?

Strawberry (my favorite ice cream, yogurt), and bread baking, respectively.

Do you remember something better when you hear it out loud or when you read it?

Definitely NOT hearing it, unless it’s learning music. Preferably both, such as hearing someone’s name while reading the nametag. People giving me instructions for a computer orally is almost useless; I may not get it visually, but at least I can read it again.

So what do you think is up with the whole “dual personality” of the Internet age? How many people do you think have alternate personas – or multiple personas – online? And what do you think that is doing for the culture?

I found out only recently that someone who has a pseudonym on the Times Union site, and comments on several blogs, is someone who apparently has known me for a long time. He’s much more a jerk than he was in real life; this COULD mean he’s turned into a jerk, OR it could mean that being behind the shield of anonymity has allowed him to become a jerk.

I essentially reposted an article about a Tulsa, OK website disallowing anonymous comments, and it generated a lot of comments, mostly negative. Fear of harassing and threatening e-mail, for instance. Conversely, one guy “decided some time ago to post comments on the TU as me. I’ll admit that it keeps any snark I might be tempted to exhibit under control. It keeps one more civil than one might be posting anonymously…a good thing IMO.”

How many people post anonymously? I have no idea. But, I’ve discovered it’s a long-standing virtue; see this article from 1995. There are about 2.7 billion people on the Internet. Some don’t care who knows what about them, and another group has concluded that the NSA already knows.

Is it why people seem ruder? Possible, but there are so many variables, it’s difficult to isolate. Maybe it’s the fault of twerking.

Is there an optimum level of technology?

No. That’s because whatever technology is created, someone can build upon it. That’s why, not incidentally, I oppose these expanded copyright laws that protect the copyright holder for life plus 75 years. The reason the Constitution says “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. (Article 1, Section Eight) was to allow for innovation, not to reward copyright holders for long periods.

Do you ever (or have you ever) written fiction or poetry?

Never fiction, although I did have, in my mind some years ago, a roman a clef about my previous church choir experience.

My girlfriend in the late 1970s/early 1980s was a poet. She went to poetry workshops, and I went with her sometimes, so eventually, I tried writing. I never found “my voice,” or whatever; I never “got” it.

D is for Drinking

I never had a drink until I was of legal age.

JEOPARDY! Show #6480 – Friday, November 16, 2012
It precedes “rummy” & comes after “cotton”
It’s a geographical area that forms a harbor; any one in a storm
It’s the title of a 1958 no. 1 hit by the Champs; it’s also the entire lyric
This royal family ruled France from 1589 to 1792
De website for dis company says “a diamond is forever”
(Answers at the end.)

When I was 18, the legal age for consuming alcohol in New York State, and much of the United States, was 18, the same age as one could vote, smoke cigarettes, drive at night without restrictions, and go to war. However, there was concern about underage drinking, which sometimes also involved driving. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 withheld “revenue from states that allow the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21.” Different states have different laws about consumption, though “15 states and the District of Columbia ban underage consumption outright.”

Unsurprisingly, the issue of underage drinking remains; it’s just been pushed to the college campuses. In fact, many college presidents want the drinking age lowered to 18, believing that the higher age leads to more binge consumption. I tend to agree.

This is actually true: I never had a drink until I was of legal age. It may have been a Tom Collins at a bar on Clinton Street in Binghamton, NY where my sister, who was NOT old enough to drink, was singing with a band.

In college, I learned what I liked – most clear liquors, whiskey, Kahlua. And what I didn’t – vermouth, Scotch, and, unfortunately, beer. Not liking beer in a college town is a real drag, because while everyone else is sharing a pitcher, I’m ordering a white wine or a mixed drink.

I also learned, the hard way, never to change drinks during the evening. The first hangover I ever had was the morning of June 9, 1976, five years after my first drink. This was memorable because I went horseback riding that day – brutal. And a Long Island iced tea is a sneakily treacherous beverage.

If you look in the top shelf of our pantry these days, you’d think we imbibe a lot. In fact, I’ll go weeks without drinking anything other than an occasional glass of wine.

JEOPARDY! answers:

One of my favorite songs about liquor is Demon Alcohol by the Kinks. I prefer the original, but all I could find is this cartoon adaptation.
How to make a Dark ‘N’ Stormy, which I should note, I had never heard of.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

The June swoon

The big thing, though, was that the Daughter had not one, but two dance recitals.

This has been the busiest June I can remember. I was in charge of the Friends of the Albany Public Library annual meeting, which involved arranging for the speaker, planning a dinner for 20, and getting a plaque made, the latter two of which had more complications than I need to go into here. But it ultimately went off successfully. The best part is that I discovered an old-fashioned drink called a sidecar; I loved it!

Our church is in covenant with one of the local schools, and one Saturday, that meant putting together a playground, which entailed, among other things, clearing a field of weeds and a tremendous amount of trash. Here’s a brief news story.

I attended a comic book show. Went to at least three parties, with another two this upcoming weekend. I’m not even counting visits to the dentist and eye doctor.

The big thing, though, was that the Daughter had not one, but two dance recitals. The first was at her public school, where she was a new recruit in something called Step. A couple of weeks later, her ballet school was having its annual recital. That school’s founder is one Madeline Cantarella Culpo. One of her grandsons is Michael Culpo, a Division I basketball player, while one of her granddaughters is the new Miss USA, Olivia Culpo; she is understandably proud.
Why I am getting so much spam on this site, over 300 per day? The filter catches it, but it’s still tedious to remove. And most of it is of the bad spam variety, from companies selling electronic cigarettes, payday loans, or “pantyhose covered female foot fetish,” filled with suspicious links and unreadable text. Whereas GOOD spam is: “Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance, and I am shocked why this accident didn’t happen earlier! I bookmarked it.” I know it’s a lie, but at least it’s pleasing to the eye.

August Rambling

GayProf noted Perry when he wrote: “Numerous songs en vogue right now celebrate women consuming alcohol to the point of blacking out, hooking up, or hurling (not always in that order). ”

Because I was out of town, I managed to miss a couple of significant cultural anniversaries. One was the 50th anniversary of the first real Marvel superhero comic, the Fantastic Four, by Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby. Mark Evanier explains why it had a November cover date. Check out this hour-long Kirby documentary. And here’s a link to the intro to the FF TV show.

The other was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lucille Ball. I watched most, if not all, of the episodes of every single one of her ongoing series, from the seminal I Love Lucy (1951-1957; 8.9 out of 10 on the IMDB scale), which started before even TV Guide and I were born but lives through the clever concept known as the rerun; to the star-studded (and too long, in my recollection) episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957-1960; 8.6); to The Lucy Show (1962–1968; 7.3), which was the one with Lucy as Lucy Carmichael, Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz in the earlier shows) as Viv, and Gale Gordon as Lucy’s testy boss, Mr. Mooney.

Then there was Here’s Lucy (1968–1974, 6.8), where “Lucy Carter, a widow with two teen children [played her real kids with Desi Arnaz, Lucie and Desi Jr.] takes a job as a secretary for her stuffy brother-in-law [Gale Gordon, again.] Finally, there was Life with Lucy (1986; 6.0) “Lucy Barker, now a grandmother living with her daughter’s family” Gale Gordon also appeared in this show.

They declined in quality somewhat – Life with Lucy was particularly bad, as I recall – but if I didn’t quite LOVE Lucy, I liked the woman from upstate New York (Jamestown) quite a bit.

I believe this was Lucy’s favorite scene from her first series.

As you may have noticed, Katy Perry becomes the second artist, following Michael Jackson, to send five songs from an album to No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and during his birth month, no less. An accomplishment to be sure, though the charts don’t reflect the same level of sales they used to. (Similarly true of top-rated TV shows: the numbers are far less than they used to be.) Not incidentally, GayProf noted Perry when he wrote: “Numerous songs en vogue right now celebrate women consuming alcohol to the point of blacking out, hooking up, or hurling (not always in that order). “

In pictures of models, “there are women (and occasionally men) contorted into positions that, were you to see actual people in them, you’d find curious or peculiar or perhaps even alarming.”

Natalie Cole with the Allman Brothers. Check out the sidebar for David Crosby, Graham Nash, and others.

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data could reproduce the voices of humans with perfect fidelity. Brent Spiner can do the same with the voice of Patrick Stewart.

My new Kickstarter fave: Stripped is a documentary love letter to cartoonists and comic writers who’ve delighted newspaper readers for decades. Since 2008, 166 newspapers have shut down, leaving the future uncertain for many syndicated cartoonists. Amidst this industry upheaval, Stripped follows 60 cartoonists, including luminaries like Jim Davis, Scott McCloud, and Jeff Keane, as they navigate the uncharted waters of a new digital world.

Having seen the trailer for the Spider-Man movie reboot, I have no reason to actually see the movie. The first two movies with Tobey Maguire were great; even own them on DVD.

Two music legends died this month. Jerry Leiber of the songwriting duo Leiber & Stoller wrote more songs than just about any pop composer. Here’s a list of most of them. Listen to Big Mama Thornton singing “Hound Dog”, some four years before Elvis Presley. Also, hear Charlie Brown by the Coasters; coincidentally, Carl Gardner, leader of the Coasters, died a couple of months ago.

Nickolas Ashford, who died August 22, was the songwriting partner and husband of Valerie Simpson. Ashford & Simpson wrote songs for Motown artists, Aretha Franklin, and others, as well as performing themselves. Hear Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell do You’re All I Need To Get By. Also, here’s a song originally performed by Ray Charles, I Don’t Need No Doctor (live) by Humble Pie.

The Jerry Leiber Cover Story on Coverville.

The Salon story about Leiber and Ashford.


Roger with the hula hoop

Rollie Roger Green T-Shirt

Roger Green, the proprietor of Hair by Roger, said noise and vibrations from the work were spoiling the salon’s ‘peaceful environment’. A spokesperson from United Utilities said: “We are fully aware of the impact this scheme has had on the community…”

“The Black Boardwalk Cat is a distinctive animal that has acquired an unusual place in the hearts of many university employees and students,” said Roger Green, associate professor of political science and public administration.

Forgotten Book: THE THROTTLEPENNY MURDER, Roger J. Green. My contribution this week to Pattinase’s Friday’s Forgotten Books is a book I read in 1993.

Former Wisbech Mayor and Wisbech Standard editor, Roger Green who died in a road traffic collision on the A47 Wisbech bypass…. This particular Roger Green got a LOT of coverage.

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