“Things I hate that you might love”


Hollywood_And_Levine_Podcast_2020_LogoWriter Ken Levine released a recent podcast called “Things I hate that you might love.”

Ken notes hating the Beatles song, Hey Jude, and the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. He is not fond of performances by the actor Maya Rudolph, though he admits to enjoying her impersonation of Kamala Harris. He distinguishes this feeling from noting things lots of people hate (opera, e.g.), or genres he doesn’t enjoy for which he is not the target market (hip hop music).

Here’s my attempt, although HATE is a bit strong, except in the case of foods:

Interest in cars. The last two cars my wife bought I’ve regularly mistaken for other vehicles on the street. To be fair to me, she’s done the same thing once or twice.

The sister of a former girlfriend of mine could tell you the difference between a 1964 Volkwagen beetle and the 1965 model. The lights have a different shape or something. This is not me.

If I saw a robbery where the criminal drove off, I’d be a lousy witness. “It was a big, blue, four-door… something.” If I don’t see the logo, I would have no idea. On the other hand, I’m likely to remember an alphanumeric license plate hours later, if I had a need to.

Food and drink

Coffee. I’ve never acquired a taste for it. And it can be inconvenient because folks are always buying those Dunkin’ carafes of java for the group. Not liking coffee can be socially isolating.

On the other hand, it means I didn’t have to make the coffee in the office. Once, someone insisted that I do so, and I complied. I gather – and I have no way to judge because I don’t drink the stuff – it was quite awful. Guess who was removed from coffee prep?

Beer. This was even more isolating. While I’m in the bar with a group of people, they’re downing pitchers of suds, while I’m ordering a glass of white wine separately. There is plenty of booze I’ll drink – whiskey, vodka, tequila, rum – but beer creates a gag reflex.

Peanut butter. I recall eating JIF as a child. I must have OD’d on it because now, even the smell makes me nauseous.

Melons. Cantaloupe, watermelon. Hate ’em all, including candies that supposedly taste like melons.


Binge-watching TV programs. I have a short attention span for watching show after show. It makes me agitated. I might watch one segment of 60 Minutes followed by a JEOPARDY episode, both on the DVR so I can fast-forward through the commercials, then I turn the TV off.

Reality television. This is also on Ken’s list. There’s a certain sameness of the rhythm of these shows that I find exhausting. Worse, they tend to recycle their casts so that the breakout “star” shows up on a spinoff.

There was a show called Honey Boo Boo, which I saw for a full two minutes before I had to turn it off. Well, now there’s a spinoff, Mama June. heaven help us all.

These people are stars. They must be because they show up on Dancing with the Stars, a television show my wife watches. I wander into the living room and say of a participant, “Who’s THAT?” Maybe it’s someone from a recent season of The Bachelor or a program I’ve never heard of.

So news about these people is not, particularly, of interest. “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Speak Out After Oldest Son Josh Is Arrested on Child Porn Charges.” They’re some of the “stars” of 19 Kids and Counting, so the story is hardly noteworthy, except for their overt “Christian” beliefs.

Yet, early on, I could watch reality TV. Three seasons of The Real World, the original Queer Eye, even a few seasons of Survivor and American Idol. But it’s become all too much.

R is for the Rheingold Beer Jingle (ABC W)

My beer is Rheingold the dry beer.
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer.

I was listening to our classical music station early one morning, and I hear the Rheingold beer jingle. OK, it wasn’t, really. But it certainly REMINDED me of it.

I discovered here that the melody I heard was in fact the Estudiantina Valse, Opus 191, No. 4 (The Students’ Waltz), a title I had never heard of.

“The tune was composed by a pair of obscure French composers, the tune itself by Paul Lacome (1838 – 1920); But ironically it is often incorrectly attributed to the man who arranged it in a rollicking Strauss-like arrangement for two pianos — named Emile (“Emil”) Waldteufel (1837 – 1915).

“Waldteufel included it in a set of tunes arranged for 2 pianos, published under his own Opus number, which blurred the issue of authorship right down to the present day.” In fact, I have found almost NO one to attribute this to Lacome, only to Waldteufel.

“The Beer jingle with a lyric by an unknown ad agent, used the melody of this famous light-classical waltz tune.”

The lyric was:
My beer is Rheingold the dry beer.
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer.
It’s not bitter, not sweet, it’s the extra dry treat
Won’t you try extra dry Rheingold beer?

I remember the third lyric as “it’s refreshing, not sweet…”, but there are a lot of variations.

“Ironic that this melody, which some may remember as the quintessential German Beer Hall tune (images of people with swaying cups all singing in unison) is actually of FRENCH, rather than German, origin.

The beer sponsored Rheingold Theater, a dramatic anthology series, on NBC Primetime in 1955 – 1956. Rheingold Beer, “despite its Wagnerian opera name, was brewed in a little brewery located in Brooklyn, NY; and which tried to use the early medium of TV to get a little respect — or “brand recognition” at least.

Still, Rheingold Beer, “introduced in 1883, is a New York beer that held 35 percent of the state’s beer market from 1950 to 1960. The company was sold by the founding German American Liebmann family in 1963… Rheingold shut down operations in 1976, when they were unable to compete with the large national breweries… The label was revived in 1998…” but it’s not the same, or so I am told.

WHY do I remember the lyrics to a song for a product I have NEVER consumed? Herwitz Associates suggests “a dozen principles for improving memory, but the concepts can just as easily be applied to making a message memorable.”

Listen to Estudiantina Valse here or here or here or here, featuring a 26-tone Violinopan (thanks, Jaquandor!)

Listen to the Rheingold beer jingle here or here or here or here (modern)

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.

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