Niece Alexandria is having a birthday

the middle Green cousin


My second niece is having a birthday today. Alexandria is the daughter of my sister Marcia.

I remember quite well the first time I met her. She was about six months old and we were at a wedding reception for a cousin of ours. (We managed to miss the wedding – long story…) Anyway, I got to hold her and she began crying. Marcia insists that it was because her shoes were too tight. I chose to believe that narrative.

One time when she was five or six, I had purchased this reversible outfit at an Albany event and then brought it down to Charlotte. It was a hit with her and her mother, and she got two or three seasons out of it. All right! I lucked out.

One of my favorite times with her was when she came up to Albany. Downtown, there was a series of temporary statutes. I know I took a ton of pictures with her interacting with these faux people. They are in this house, somewhere.

She was extremely helpful to Marcia in caring for my mother, particularly in mom’s difficult later years.


Alexandria had been working in a fast-food chain for a number of years, working her way up to a manager. So she has some great interpersonal and organizational skills. The thing is, middle managers in many jobs get the short end of the stick. Salaried employees get called on to show up when someone else fails to show up.

She has a new job this fall in distribution, and she seems to like it so far. It’s certainly far less stressful than her previous gig, as far as I can tell.

Of the three Green cousins, Alexandria is the middle one. She’s younger than Rebecca by about the same number of years as she’s older than my daughter. I’ve seen what a great older cousin RJ is to Alex, and Alex is to LPG. Alex would work on my daughter’s hair and patiently play dress up for hours.

Happy natal day, niece Alexandria. I love you.

Shooting off their mouths

“…that same sick politics, boiled in its broth of seething resentment and baked within its self-righteous shell.”

Referring to the 154th mass shooting in 2017, the Los Angeles Times noted:

“Even though members of Congress were attacked Wednesday by a gunman on a ball field just outside the capital, nothing is likely to change in the Washington debate over gun control, save the addition of Alexandria to the list of blood-soaked postmarks.

“The two sides of the debate are simply too dug in, the political forces too firmly entrenched, the worldview of opposing sides so vastly different it is impossible to see how the gulf narrows even slightly, however close to home the latest attack.

“Underscoring that notion, the one thing both sides shared after the latest mass shooting was the capacity to look at precisely the same event and see it in a way that buttressed diametrically opposing views.”

All that wonderful unity at the charity baseball game, yet:

A GOP Congressman Thinks It’s Obama’s Fault. Some Republicans on the far right point to “vitriolic rhetoric on the left,” which could be to blame for the gunfire that hit a GOP leader and others at a congressional baseball practice. GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa says that “the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left.”

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responds, “How dare they?”, noting the dramatic escalation in hate crimes from the “alt right” and white supremacists, and GOPUSA scolds Pelosi for breaking the “unity”.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and nearly killed by an assassin, called for sympathy and understanding, which was met with hate.

There’s a reasonable observation in the right wing Legal Insurrection about getting off the rhetorical merry-go-round: “The collective desire to be ‘right’ and to prove wrongness is hindering our ability to find even the smallest shred of consensus” is counterproductive, and other sensible points. But as Red State, another rightist publication noted, the comments section of the LI article is riddled with condemnation for the writer.

Arthur wrote: “”Claiming that only ‘the other side’ is responsible for the current disgusting nature of US politics—as always happens when there’s something like this shooting—is merely part of that same sick politics, boiled in its broth of seething resentment and baked within its self-righteous shell.”

As is often the case, the Onion gets the last word: “In the wake of [the] mass shooting in Alexandria, VA, every single American from across the political spectrum was reportedly able to cite the tragedy as irrefutable proof that they had been right about everything all along.”

May rambling #3: A Steampunk Opera

“Nearly 400,000 views later, reflections on a viral post”

2011: the Daughter, niece Alex, niece Rebecca

Antarctica’s ice sheet may be approaching an unstoppable collapse

John Oliver Goes For Blood To Rip Dialysis Companies

An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

On Memorial Day we ought to remember the dead, not celebrate the Empire

New Orleans Mayor Landrieu’s address on Confederate monuments

The complicated origin of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory

Did the Turkish President’s Security Detail Attack Protesters in Washington? What the Video Shows

Frank Deford, who wrote about sports with panache and insight, dies at 78

The Most Important Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of

AMONGST THE STARS by Kelly Sedinger is now available for purchase

Mamet Threatens Fines Over Post-Show Discussion of His Play

Why I Stopped Going to Movie Theatres: The Death of Etiquette

Jaquandor: The Force will be with you always

Uncle Sam’s gonna want my apples

I divorced my husband but forged a lasting bond with his ex-wife

The Sad History of Hydrox Cookies

Elaborate senior photos allow students to live out their fantasies in yearbook

Now I Know: The Kitchen Utensil that Woofed and The Mexican Art Tax and Room for Two

From Dan – Hebdomadal: “Spell checker likes it. Means something that happens once a week every seven days, used especially for organizations. It’s not considered archaic, although usage was more common in the 1800s. Saw it in a (paper) book first published in 1986 that I am currently reading, used without a trace of irony.” Wouldn’t “weekly” do?

Everyone Gets a ‘Trophe

Nobody Did It Better: Thank You, Sir Roger Moore, and from Maverick: Season 4

Rowan Atkinson interviews Elton John

Weird Minor-League Strikeout by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitcher

Arthur’s household hints Continue reading “May rambling #3: A Steampunk Opera”

The Lydster, Part 84: Cousins

It’s Lydia’s 7th birthday today.

On her mother’s side, Lydia has three first cousins, 10-year-old twin girls, and a nine-and-half-year-old girl. But on my side, we gave my parents three granddaughters about a dozen years apart.

Rebecca, Leslie’s daughter, is 32 and lives in southern California with her husband Rico; she’s the one wearing the coat in the two pictures below. I can tell you that she has been a great, supportive cousin to Alexandria, Marcia’s daughter, who is 20 and lives with Marcia (and lived with my mother) in southern North Carolina. Likewise, Alex has been a wonderful cousin to Lydia.

But until recently, Rebecca and Lydia had never met, though Lydia had seen Rebecca and Rico on the TV show Wipeout back in September. So when Rebecca arrived in NC for my mother’s funeral, we made sure that the two of them had some quality time together.

Unsurprisingly, Rebecca was also a terrific cousin to Lydia, who was a bit in awe of her big cousin after her impressive, albeit second-place finish, on a very rigorous game show.

In fact, when we drove, in two cars, to Salisbury National Cemetery, some 40 miles each way to bury my mother, Rebecca rode with Carol and me, in the back seat with Lydia; they seemed to be entertaining each other thoroughly. I’m glad they got a chance to meet. I’m only sorry that it took so long, and the circumstances which finally brought them together.
Oh, yeah, it’s Lydia’s 7th birthday today. I had a meeting with her teacher earlier this month, and she said that Lydia is a bit of an old soul. The teacher might make what she called an ironic aside, and Lydia, as often as not, would “get” it and laugh when no one in the class did. She’s still rather shy around adults, but she does pay attention to what they say and do.

Lydia is also getting more clever. A couple of days before my birthday, my wife arranged for my OLD friend Uthaclena, his wife and his 16-year-old daughter to come up from the Mid-Hudson Valley as a surprise. Lydia knew about it and was very good about keeping it a secret. On that day, she also assisted me in moving furniture and got me a tweezer and a flashlight so I could remove a couple of slivers from my finger. So she’s also become quite helpful.

I love you, daughter o’ mine.

(First picture C 2011 Uthaclena; other pictures C 2011 Leslie Ellen Green – taken with her cellphone!)

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