It’s Bev’s birthday Sunday Stealing

Where’s my secret treasure?

Bev's birthdayThe Sunday Stealing proprietor was a year older yesterday. So in honor of Bev’s birthday – the big 8-0; and thinking of mine next month- though I’m a decade younger – some natal day questions.
1. What is the best thing about your birthday?
For years, when I was working, I’d take off the day. If my birthday were on a Saturday, I’d take off  Friday; if it was on Sunday, then Monday.
I’ve had a hearts game at home, most years for a decade. It is held on the weekend before or after my natal day. Two years ago, we jerry-rigged something online. And last year, I didn’t hold it because of the resurgence of COVID. But this year, for sure. I let the players know six months ahead of time.

2. What is your favorite thing to do for your birthday?

On my birthday, I’ve gone to the movies, then out to eat.
3. What’s one thing you learned in the past year?
I hate ZOOM, mainly when it involves more than nine people. I knew that before, but it’s become codified irritation.
4. What do you wish for in the next year?
It’s already happened, which is that next year, I won’t be in charge of something I was ostensibly in charge of for at least the past dozen years. I am HAPPY.
5. What’s the best thing about turning a year older?
Mostly, at this point, it’s better than the alternative.
‘Til my daddy takes my Tbird away
6. What was the most fun thing you did in the last year?
I saw a lot of plays, musicals, and movies, which I did not attend nearly as often the previous year, if at all, because of COVID. I’ve already seen more films in cinemas during 2023 thus far than in all 2021 and 2022 combined.
7. If you could understand any animal, which would it be?
Cats. Specifically my cats.
8. What is something that used to be hard but is now easy?
I’m much better at expressing my opinion. The blog helps. Getting older and cantankerous is helpful too.

9. If you could only keep one thing in your room, what would it be?

It’s a metal box with a lot of genealogical material.
10. Which person makes you laugh the most? Why?
My daughter, because she’s very witty.
11. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go?
Nah. Every era has its problems.
12. If you were to bury a secret treasure, where would you bury it?
If I had a secret treasure and told you where it was, then that would be a very poor secret.
From Cats
13. What is your favorite memory?
OY! So many. I liked playing racquetball from 1983 to 2010 at the Albany YMCA two to five days a week with Don, Tom, Jennifer, Norm, Fred, Mike, Alan, Dan, Charlie, Tyrone, Ward (who cheated), and others.
14. How have you helped others lately?
I helped my collegiate daughter with a homework assignment.
Here’s something I’m doing today. My wife is serving communion today at church. This entails preparing the sacrament and cleaning up afterward.   But she’s ALSO scheduled to count the money after church with another person. So I said I’d help with the communion cleanup with her communion partner.
Groundhog Day
15. If you had to repeat a day over and over, how you’d want it to go?
Breakfast of oatmeal and various fruits (banana, strawberries, blueberries, et al.) Work on Wordle and my blog. Snack on grapes. Get a massage. Lunch of eggs (prepared by someone else), toast, and cottage cheese. Read, eat an apple. Take a nap. Dinner, probably chicken, broccoli, mashed potatoes, and spinach.  Attend choir rehearsal. Come home and eat apple pie a la mode while watching JEOPARDY and the news.
It doesn’t sound exciting, but playing Wordle, for instance, involves me posting my score on a Facebook page and having various online conversations with friends. Working on my blog involves reading what KellyArthur, and fillyjonk are thinking and probably stealing their ideas. And naps are good!

Actor Richard Gere turns 70

Give ’em the old razzle dazzle

Richard GereI’ve only seen a fraction of the films of actor Richard Gere. I’ve missed some iconic roles. These are what I HAVE seen, all in cinemas, and none of them since the initial viewing:

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) – this starred Diane Keaton as a school teacher Theresa trying to overcome her repressed upbringing and her body issues by going out to clubs. Gere is Tony, a controlling jerk who turns her on to cocaine. Keaton received the Best Actress Oscar that year for Annie Hall, but I’ve long thought it was the range of the two roles that won her the award.

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) – a directionless Zack (Gere) has to work hard to get through Naval Officer Candidate School, with a tough Gunnery Sergeant (Louis Gossett Jr.) pushing him and his new girlfriend Paula (Debra Winger) supporting him. I remember mostly the sergeant running Zack ragged, and that last scene where Zack in his Navy whites scoops up Paula from a factory floor. Schmaltzy, if I recall correctly, but I enjoyed it anyway.
LISTEN TO Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes

Pretty Woman (1990) – I saw this at the Madison Theater in Albany; there was a lengthy line. Apparently, the story of the businessman Edward meeting prostitute Vivian (Julia Roberts) was supposed to be darker. Vivian was supposed to be coming off a cocaine addiction. But director Garry Marshall went a different way. Improbable, but I enjoyed it at the time.
LISTEN to Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison

Runaway Bride (1999) – “A reporter is assigned to write a story about a woman who has left a string of fiances at the altar.” If Pretty Woman worked with the team of Ricard Gere, Julia Roberts, and Garry Marshall, this should too, right? Well, no. It was flat and generally unfunny.

Chicago (2002) – A movie that’s the exception to the rule that the musical film is dead. I liked it quite a bit, and in particular, Gere’s slimy lawyer Billy Flynn.
LISTEN to Gere in Razzle Dazzle and We Both Reached For the Gun

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) – a sequel definitely inferior to the 2012 original. Yet the latter film was passingly enjoyable, enhanced by the addition of Gere’s character, Guy Chambers

Gere Visits Migrants Stranded In The Mediterranean Sea

March Rambling: mostly about me

I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

My old buddy Augustus (who you FantaCo customers might have known as Matt), put this together for my birthday. Pic on the left is from the cover of the FantaCon 1988 convention program, drawn by the late Chas Balun. The image is on the right was John Hebert’s rendition from Sold Out #1, c. 1986.
This is about me because: It was so cool. And he wrote: “Thank you for turning me on to a world of literature far beyond science fiction and fantasy. You are still an influence on this boychik. Long may you arrange. (books in order).” And you thought I couldn’t blush.

Now Jaquandor KNOWS how to celebrate my birthday. He added me to his sentential links here. He answered my question about football.
This is about me, obviously. (Sidebar: some highly educated person wrote: “As is my want” recently in a mass e-mail I received. You have NO idea how difficult it was for me NOT to correct him. Jaquandor would NOT make this misteak, er, mistake.)

Tom Skulan of FantaCo is being interviewed for Theater of Guts.
This is about me because: I worked at FantaCo for over eight years I took the photo of Tom, and also the pic of the late Chas Balun looking towards the ceiling. I find it interesting that my photos of the store and the FantaCon have been so heavily used since I am really a lousy photographer.

Dustbury answers my question about women’s fashion. Not only does he know more about the topic than I do, but he also knows more about popular music.
This is about me because: as a librarian, I am always ready to defer to people with greater expertise.

Occasionally, I’ll do one of those BuzzFeed games. This month, I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.
This is about me because: actually I found the first two descriptions relatively accurate; the third, maybe not so much.

Meet Jeopardy!’s new master–and his controversial strategy, [Podcast interview] by Glenn Fleishman, two-time JEOPARDY! winner. Plus Arthur Chu’s social media brand, from the New Yorker.
This is about me because: I like to watch JEOPARDY! And now that Chu’s 11-day run is over, these articles will stop, at least until the Tournament of Champions. See also, Ken Jennings’ interview with Julann Griffin, the mother of JEOPARDY!

Tosy continues to count down his U2 song rankings, from 144 to 135 and 134 to 125 and 125 to 115 and 114 to 101.
This is about me because: When I wrote that I was linking to his return post last month, he wrote, “Thanks, Roger! I need the pressure!” I THINK he meant that in a good way.

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, links to Green Day songs.
This is about me because: I mean it’s GREEN Day. Yeesh. How is it that American Idiot is MORE relevant now than it was a decade ago?

In the years 1965-1966, Pete Seeger hosted a television series, Rainbow Quest, devoted to folk music. Here are 13 of the 39 episodes.
This is about me because: I loved Pete Seeger’s music, and I used to sing folk music, and this was posted by a sort of relative.

Incredibly dirty R&B: gloriously filthy music from the 30s-50s
This is about me because I really like music, as my posts this year should suggest. I’m particularly interested in the history of music in the United States. Yeah, that’s the story.

Why Sharp Little Pencil writes.
This is about me because: we lived in the same county (Broome, NY), at the same time, once upon a time. And because she speaks truth to power, which I find to be an admirable thing.

Here is, on a wall of Binghamton High School, a picture of Rod Serling.
This is about me because: Rod Serling went to what was then Binghamton Central High School, as did I. He was student government president, as was I. I got to introduce him to an assembly, sort of.

Mark Evanier linked to twelve songs, all but one sung by Mel Blanc, voicing a different cartoon character, each a “Happy Birthday” song for a different month. Here’s
January and February, and
March and April, and
May and June, and
July and August, and
September and October, and
November and December. PLUS Happy Birthday played on “the 5th largest organ in the world”
This is about me because: did I mention this is my birth month?

12 YEARS A SLAVE: portraits of Solomon Northup’s descendants
This is about me because: what it says about our preconceived notions. And because it’s about movies. And Northup lived around here.

My cousin Dr. Anne Beal is leaving one important job for another.
This is about me because: my family had Thanksgiving dinner with hers, and about a dozen other people, in 2013.

Stephen Bissette‘s open letter to DC on Facebook about NBC’s Constantine.
This is about me because my friend Steve’s dissection of DC is so deliciously understated, and addresses the issue of common courtesy.

Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, a leading drag performer in Ireland, speaks about homophobia.
This is about me because the narrative reminds me of certain people on a certain “news network” defining racism for black people.

Lisa retells the story of Esther, which led to the holiday of Purim.
This is about me because: about 20 years ago, I played Haman in a church play.

What’s the reality behind “senior moments”?
This is about me because: because…because…oh, yeah, because this TOTALLY explains mine.

Anthony sees an anxious face in this picture of a building.
This is about me because: so do I.

The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter from Jaquandor, and the AmeriNZ response.
This is about me because: I seldom respond quickly to comments on the Internet so that I can avoid unnecessary noise.

SamuraiFrog is linking to Muppet stuff, such as Sequel Song and Lipton Tea commercials, and searching for sushi and St. Patrick’s Day.
This is about me because: The Daughter REALLY wants to see the new Muppet movie, so I GUESS I’ll just HAVE to take her.

Les Miserables is back on Broadway, and Sesame Street has put together an excellent cookie-themed parody of it.
This is about me because: I love theater and Muppets. And COOKIES!


Frog is also still writing his 50 Shades of Smartass. Here’s Chapter 17 and Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 and Chapter 20.
This is about me because: now I have an excuse to REALLY NEVER EVER have to read the books.

Dustbury notes that a strange story about the woman’s auto-payments hid her death for six years!
This is about me because my auto-posting on this blog, and directed to Facebook and Twitter, would probably hide my own demise for a month.

I love this church sign.
This is about me because: I TOTALLY mean it. Bring it on, Westboro! Here’s my Fred Phelps tribute post. Here’s Nathan Phelps’ statement on the death of his estranged father. And Dustbury points to the new Westboro poison meister.

April Rambling: Ads about Rape, and Media

“To be able to catch genius when it’s just beginning, just starting out; when it’s in its embryonic form, or in its very nest. It’s an unforgettable experience.”

In response to her strong poem, Reflector Babe, Amy at Sharp Little Pencil received a link from Anna at HyperCRYPTIcal. It is to a UK ad considered the most shocking ad ever? Rape campaign aimed at teens to be shown. It’s sexually explicit (no ‘bits’ are shown), but it is powerful. This could not air in the US, I’m fairly certain, but the problem it addresses is very much an issue here.

What the New Sgt Pepper Cover Tells Us About Modern Britain.

And speaking of the UK, How news coverage evolves. Imagine how the Guardian “might cover the story of the three little pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front-page headline, through a social media discussion, and finally to an unexpected conclusion.”

Goldie Hawn recalls an unpleasant encounter with a famous cartoonist.

Sex’s first revolution. The author of “The Origins of Sex” explains how the ’60s – the 1760s – changed our views of lust, adultery, and homosexuality

“ALEC is accustomed to hiding its agenda and its legislation behind closed doors. At secretive conferences and over e-mail chains the public never sees, the organization allows its corporate donors to manufacture bills and then send them to be passed in state legislatures without the public ever knowing about their origin. But these ALEC staffers can’t hide who they are, and what they do for an organization that harms almost every area of American life.” And now, corporate America is jumping off the ALEC ship, and ALEC Retreats, Sort Of, though its vision of pre-empting EPA coal ash regulations passed the House this month.

For China’s driving test, be ready for almost anything: “There are questions on the proper way to carry an injured person in a coma (sideways, head down), the best way to stanch the bleeding from a major artery, and how to put out a passenger on fire (hint: do not throw sand on the victim).”

SamuraiFrog’s 30 Favorite John Williams Pieces (and Then Some).

50 minutes of songwriter-math teacher Tom Lehrer doing a live show in Copenhagen in 1968. Includes that smash hit Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

Thought the Monkees were a faux band? Wait until you read about Gary Lewis & the Playboys. I was always a sucker for the song Jill, for no discernible reason.

Jaquandor launched yet another series, this one called the ‘A to Z Challenge’ and he decided to “give it a Fantasy and Science Fiction turn,” as is his wont. (I love the word ‘wont’.) So each entry in this series will take its inspiration from something or someone from F&SF, that starts with the respective letter of the day.

Original pitch-reel for the Muppet Show is delightfully bonkers. Plus, the much more recent Kermit’s Party.

To be able to catch genius when it’s just beginning, just starting out; when it’s in its embryonic form, or in its very nest. It’s an unforgettable experience. BTW, the author in question has seen this piece.

Pop culture’s Rosetta Stone. A company known for its memorable full-page comic book ads continues to influence graphic design today.

Robert Crumb: Interview by Paul Gravett

Two actors turned 75 this month and I missed them. So here are Jack Nicholson: Unpublished Photos of an Actor on the Brink from LIFE magazine, 1969, and the website of George Takei.

Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin, finally off the daily schedule after 8 years, 4 months. This means, if I keep this up for another year and a half, I can pass him!

What could Archie Andrews possibly have meant?

Long-time Exploring and Special Programs volunteer and advocate, Roger Green, was presented the 2012 Silver Beaver Award during the Council Court of Recognition Dinner held at Base Camp on Saturday, March 31.

Everything about Roger is designed to impress and attract attention, from his demeanor to his augments to his actions. While he’s naturally piss-poor at stealth or shutting the hell up…

For The Right Price: Roger is willing to render practically any service he’s capable of, provided that he is adequately compensated. He’s not the type to turn his back on his current employer(s), but whatever’s required of him, he’ll do it.


The cartoon is from an e-mail; original source unknown to me.

The Lydster, Part 97: One Surprise After Another

The Daughter always seemed to have far fewer birthday parties with her friends than most of her classmates. Oh, there would be the gatherings with family, including her maternal grandparents, and usually a pair of her cousins and an uncle and aunt. But it has been unbalanced. Once a couple of years ago, we did a party at the State Museum with her friends, but that was it.

She indicated a few months ago that she wanted a surprise party; not sure why. But we decided to make it so. First, we had a little gathering the weekend before her birthday with her mom, dad, and grandparents, so she didn’t think we’d blown her off. Then we rented a room at the local bowling alley for a few hours.

The morning of the party, I put together the gift bags for the children attending, distracted the Daughter while her mother sneaked the cake she made out of the house, got her dressed, and so forth.

I also got her to help clean the house based on the rumor that Grandma and Grandma might be staying over. That was actually unlikely, but it was possible that her other uncle/aunt/cousin from southern Pennsylvania, might be staying over.

About a half-hour before showtime, we tell the Daughter we are going bowling, so she’d be wearing socks. As we walked into the room, and people yell “Surprise”, she’s confused and a little frightened; she sees some unfamiliar people, a couple of siblings and parents of her friends, who she does not know. But soon, she has sussed out that this is the surprise party she had requested and smiled broadly.

The kids, and some of the parents, bowled for an hour. Then we had pizza (quite good, actually), cake that the Wife made, plus supplied ice cream. The time was too short to actually open presents, though (or we planned it not so well.) All of my wife’s family went over to our house.

You may recall that the TV set died last month. Well, this was the next day, and my two brothers-in-law said they’d take me shopping – two shopping trips in two weekends, which was unprecedented for me. At least this one was singular in focus. Went to Radio Shack, which had TVs either too large or way too small. Then to Green Furniture – the running joke was that it was my cousin’s place – but they’re out of the TV business. Eventually, we make it to BJ’s Wholesale; one brother-in-law has a membership. We need something that will fit into a 29″ wide and 18″ high space, and we find something. The old TV had a tube; this TV, the screen part was thinner than a sturdy book.

Oh, and that brother-in-law decided that, instead of him paying for the adults bowling (which he had offered), and for his share of the dinner (previously agreed to), he’d just pay for the TV and call it even, or part of MY birthday present! In any case, an unexpected turn of events.

The family gathered for dinner, after which there was a second surprise party, for Lydia’s grandma, who was turning a certain age divisible by five. Among her presents, a certain number of wishes, written by her four granddaughters. Eventually, one of Carol’s brothers and his family returned home; the other brother and his family, with the longer trip, went to his parents’ house.

A glorious day.

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