Sunday Stealing: My Favorite…

King Derwin of Didd summons his royal magicians

This week’s Sunday Stealing is My Favorite…whatever.

1. Favorite food

I always say spinach lasagna because I like lasagna, and I like spinach. I actually like making lasagna once a year, usually three or four of them, because it does not that much more effort. (It’s messy, or I’d do it more often.) But it has to be cold outside, so turning on the oven is worth my while.

But in truth, my fave is probably chicken. Baked, fried, Cajun, whatever.

2. Favorite color

There’s this existential war between green, which is, after all, my last name, and blue. It’s somewhere in that “cool” color range.

3. Favorite Animal

In that aren’t they interesting category, sloths. There was a piece about them on 60 Minutes recently. Their slow motions allow them to survive. That sounds like good advice for many humans.

Most of my pets have been cats, though.

4. Favorite thing to do on a cold day

If not making lasagna, then reading a book while listening to music.

5. Favorite vacation spot

The two places are both in upstate New York: Lake Placid and Niagara Falls.

6. Favorite TV show

CBS Sunday Morning. It’s a magazine of the air I’ve watched regularly since 1979. I’m really happy that the video recorder and then the DVR player exist because they’re on while I’m at church.

7. Favorite Mythical creature

Lenny, named for Leonard Bernstein: see above 

Theodor Geisel

8. Favorite fairy tale

Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. It’s a kid speaking truth to power. And Oobleck is green.

9. Favorite thing to draw

Somewhere in this blog, though I can’t find it immediately, I wrote that I can’t draw. I almost failed 4th grade art.  You do NOT want me to be the person who draws for your Pictionary team. And when I wrote about this, a few people said anyone can draw. This may be true, but I have been shamed for decades out of even wanting to try.

10. Favorite scent

Lilacs. Growing up in Binghamton, NY, we had a tree right next to our house.

11. Favorite mode of transportation

The train, such as Amtrak. I don’t like flying, though I did it twice in 2023 for reasons of time.

12. Favorite vegetable

Corn on the cob

13. Favorite candy

York Peppermint Patty or a Mounds bar, which I find in my Christmas stocking every year. Santa remembered!

14. Favorite sport

To play, when I was able to, racquetball, which I loved not just because I didn’t suck at it, but for the relationships. I used to play with, among others, two of my best friends, Norm and Mike, both of whom died too early. I also liked volleyball.

To watch: the National Football League, but not in real time. I record it, avoid the email/phone, and watch a 60-minute game in about an hour and a quarter instead of three hours.

15. Favorite weather

Temperate. My tolerance for extreme weather – hot and muggy or frosty – has definitely declined. Albany is getting snow right now, but it hasn’t been that frequent, so I don’t mind.

Sunday Stealing: WTIT

“That’s part of your problem.”

This week’s Sunday Stealing is from WTIT: The Blog. Cheers to all of us thieves.

1. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

I’m pretty easygoing. So if you ticked me off, it was likely something egregious and/or repeated. I think in numbers; I might remember your phone number before I recall your name. I think in music, so I often quote or modify a musical phrase.

For example, my cat Midnight is a greedy eater, butting Stormy away. So I sing to him, “Midnight, don’t be a dipwad” to the tune of Billy, Don’t Be A Hero. My wife thinks this is funny because she knows I HATE Billy, Don’t Be A Hero.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

I don’t think it’s that strange, but based on my dreams, I figured I’d figure out how to fly. No plane, just me. Sometimes, I still do.

3. Thinking of school classes, which were your favorite and least favorite?

I was very good at spelling. Math, up to trigonometry, was great. History, especially American history, I liked.

I was terrible at art. And I sucked at shop class; see question 8.

4. What is your favorite fast food?

A Friendly’s Strawberry Fribble. It’s like a milkshake.

5. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

It’s Too Darn Hot. This is Ella Fitzgerald because it’s Ella.

6. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

Once or twice, I think, but never seriously.

Getting Better

7. Does your life tend to get better or worse, or does it just stay the same?

This is a complex question. In the main, I was probably getting better emotionally on a personal basis. Still, I fret about global warming, economic inequality, political insanity, et al., in the world my teenage daughter will inherit. Also, myopic news reporting describes triple-digit temps F in the southern and western US, often without mentioning similar European conditions (above 40 C).

8. What arts and crafts have you tried and decided you were bad at?

Any and all. I was terrible at making anything in Cub Scouts. Creating a bookcase or pottery in shop class in junior high school was disastrous. My father was incredulous that I got a B in art in 7th grade, but the teacher said I did my best. In the 1990s, the people in my book group were doing origami; I sucked at origami. You do NOT want me on your Pictionary team.

Quid est veritas? 

9. What is the truest thing that you know?

Sometimes BOTH things are true.

10. Are you more of a giver or a taker?

I try VERY hard to be a giver. One has to be intentional about these things.

11. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?

Ditto. I try extremely hard to make decisions with an open mind. But I’m convinced when I’ve seen so much evidence, real evidence, not just conjecture or rumor, that a path is wrong.

12. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

The first root canal. Oddly, the second one wasn’t so bad.

13. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?

Undoubtedly, something involving affairs of the heart, fortunately not in this century.

14. What is your favorite line from a movie?

“That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” It is SO self-referential. From Grand Canyon (1991)

15. Can you eat with chopsticks?

Not well.

Imprinted: Illustrating Race

Kadir Nelson

imprintedImprinted: Illustrating Race is a current exhibit at the  Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, 45 minutes from Albany, NY. I’ve written about visiting there a few times. In 2017, Rockwell and Warhol; in 2015, Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs; and in 2013,  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The current show, running from June 11 through October 30, 2022, “examines the role of published images in shaping attitudes toward race and culture. Over 300 artworks and objects… will be on view, produced from the late eighteenth century to today, which has an impact on public perception about race in the United States.

“The exhibition will explore stereotypical racial representations that have been imprinted upon us through the mass publication of images.” Many of these involve formerly enslaved people, but also Chinese would-be immigrants. These are generally from the 18th to the early 20th century.

But some creators took on the bigotry in that period. “William J. Wilson published the ‘Afric-American Picture Gallery’ under the name of Ethiop in the Anglo-African Magazine.” He wrote: “we must begin to tell our own story, write our own lecture, paint our own picture, chisel our own bust.”

Later, “The Harlem Renaissance… inspired pride in Black life and identity following World War I through the Great Depression. Artists associated with the movement conveyed a rising consciousness of inequality and discrimination and an interest in the rapidly changing modern world, many experiencing a freedom of expression through the arts for the first time.”

Modern times

“Illustration, Race, and Responsibility: 1950s to Now will explore activism through art from the Civil Rights movements of the mid-20th century to the racial unrest of present-day…

George Floyd.New Yorker“Concurrent to the Imprinted exhibition, In Our Lifetime: Paintings from the Pandemic by Kadir Nelson will be on view… Featuring recent works which have never been exhibited publicly. These are large pieces all created between 2020 and 2022.” You may recognize one work, his George Floyd piece, that was featured as a New Yorker cover.

My wife and I also went on a tour of Norman Rockwell’s studio, a short walk away. The docent was very informative. One thing I had never noticed was that on Rockwell’s cover featuring Ruby Bridges walking with the marshalls, they are all walking in step, signifying their unified purpose.

If you are anywhere near Stockbridge, MA, I recommend a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum, especially in the next month.

Oh, on the same trip, we also saw a Rodin exhibit at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA. Unfortunately, that show has concluded, but there are other fine things to see there.

Lydster: scrub a street of Albany?

most artistic

Most Albanians – i.e., people from Albany, NY – know, the city has been holding the Tulip Festival every May since 1949. This started during the 40+ year reign of mayor Erastus Corning. It is the city’s “signature spring event featuring annual traditions rooted in the City’s rich Dutch heritage.”

We love our tulips in Albany much as they do in Holland, MI. Washington Park is strewn with them every year, different varieties planted at staggered times to maximize the beauty regardless of the vagueries of the 518 spring.

As part of the tradition, started in the Netherlands, young women in costume would ceremonially scrub a street, a small section of State Street, prior to the celebration. It’s a bit kitschy, I know, but I would often watch it when I was working downtown.

My daughter was one of eight people from her high school’s senior class chosen for the task on Friday, May 6. It would involve getting picked up from school at 10:30, participating in a photo session at 11 at City Hall. The ceremony with the mayor is at noon, then symbolic scrubbing of the street until 12:20. Lunch at the mayor’s office, then returning to school by 1:30. We all thought this was rather cool.

But she can’t go. She has her Advanced Placement final in Economics on that very day at noon, and that is inflexible. We’re all a little disappointed that she can’t participate in this Tulip Festival activity.


At the same time, we recognize that she had accomplished quite a bit in her high school, despite the very disruptive COVID interruptions and distance learning. In that senior superlatives thing they still do, she won most artistic, which is no surprise.

I’m looking forward to the final decision on what college she will be attending. That is, I can’t wait, so I can clear out my email inbox. She applied to eight colleges and was accepted at seven. They are all in New York State or New England. Since she has to give them MONEY by May 1, this will be determined VERY soon.

Soft Spoken, But Not

Art show

Soft Spoken But Not
Soft Spoken, But Not c LPG

Here is a piece of art called Soft Spoken, But Not. It was created by my daughter, who weaved it. She showed me the process but I can’t really explain it to you.

The angle of the photo may not give you a good vantage point, but the object is a megaphone. In fact, it is a replica of one she owns. (What? You don’t own your own megaphone?) Oh, here’s another shot, by the artist.

She bought it in the summer of 2020 when she and some of her friends organized and participated in demonstrations following the death of George Floyd. Ultimately, it became about other unarmed black people who died violently at the hands of authorities.

The rallies were about a block from our house, so occasionally her mother or I would participate, but it was mostly much younger people. What was fascinating is the response of passersby. Not only were they overwhelmingly positive, but they brought items. Ice cream sandwiches and doughnuts. Quite a bit of water, including a case from Sam, the son of a late friend of mine. And one woman, a stranger, brought my daughter another megaphone.


From the Albany School District site: “Five pieces, created by four Albany High School student-artists, were chosen for display in the Art in Three Dimensions 2022 show.

“The juried exhibition, organized by the Capital Area Art Supervisors, runs Feb. 1-28 at the W.B. Haessig Art Gallery at Mohonason High School in Rotterdam.” This was cool.

In other daughter news

My daughter has been applying to college, eight of them, I believe. This involves, among other things, completing the convoluted FAFSA application for financial aid. She was accepted into four colleges and hasn’t heard from the others yet. As the above piece might suggest, she would like to combine art with some social justice and/or environmental angle. I will be extremely happy when this process is over.

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