Lydster: the grown-up stuff

American Community Survey

My daughter is experiencing the grown-up stuff.

About a week after returning to college, she received in the mail at home what I assumed was a jury summons. After texting her for permission – something I needed to do with my now-adult progeny – I discovered I was correct.

I called the number on the form and spoke to the very understanding representative on the other end, explaining my daughter was currently in another state. “No problem.” They’ll contact her again in mid-May.

She was chagrined; she was looking forward to working that summer. (That $40 per day is not very robust.) Of course, she may not be called beyond one day. Incidentally, I haven’t been called for jury duty since 2014, when I wasn’t chosen.


Then, in early October, she got a notification that she was supposed to contact the campus about a letter she got from the US Census. She wondered if it was legit. I asked her if it was about the American Community Survey, and it was.

The ACS “helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation.”

The ACS is the source of much of the more granular data the Census releases. Unless one is a Census nerd like I am, people don’t know about it because only a random sampling of people receives it each month.

The letter from the college was delivered to my daughter’s room, directing her to contact a person with Census. I verified that this person worked for the Bureau because that’s what fathers and librarians do.


When we visited our daughter at college in October, her mother and I marveled at the great organization she had implemented in her tiny room. Everything is in its place. At home, her bedroom is… a work in progress.

On her wall at college is this banner. She painted the flags on the cloth, representing her DNA from Ireland, Nigeria, England, Cameroon, Scotland, Benin, et al. The blue flag I did not recognize is a banner for the Bantu people.

October rambling: Three Chaplains

“he pledged to donate almost all of his money to causes before he died”

I’ve seen and recommend that you watch the hour-long film Three Chaplains. “Muslim chaplains aim to make change in one of America’s most powerful institutions—the military.

“For them, the fight for equality and religious freedom begins on the inside.” Broadcasting on PBS, Independent Lens, November 6, 2023, and available elsewhere after that date. Here’s a review.

 “The Lie Detector Was Never Very Good at Telling the Truth” 

Per, there have been at least 565 mass shootings in the United States this year. Five hundred sixty-five mass shootings in the first 299 days.

Legal Eagle: When Police Raid A Newspaper for No Reason

There Is No Such Thing as Cancer (Hank) and A Tale of Two Cancers (John)

The Census Bureau has posted a new Federal Register Notice inviting public comments on proposed changes to the 2025 American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) questionnaires. Comments are due on or before December 19, 2023, and, once submitted, are part of the public record.

NYS geographic primer Food Safety and Prison Health Care and McKinsey consultants and chocolate: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

The GOP bets on extremist Mike Johnson (LA) as Speaker, risking 2024 prospects; also, his positions on health issues, his impossible agenda, and his belief that separation of church and state Is only a ‘shield for people of faith.’ A blistering rebuke from his hometown newspaper’s op ed. He is worse than you think.

Using Learning Styles to Your Advantage: the Complete Guide.

Early History of Bedloe’s Island, now known as Liberty Island.

When Hybrid Works … But Doesn’t


An early name for Albany and how it’s pronounced

How Lena Horne Won Over MGM — and Became a “Test Case” for Hollywood

Hasan Minhaj Offers Detailed Response to New Yorker Story: “It Was So Needlessly Misleading”

Oscar Winner Buffy Sainte-Marie Responds to Questions About Her Native Heritage: “I Know Who I Am”

The 100 Greatest Film Books of All Time. The only two I’ve read were the annual Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide (#17) – I’ve had at least a half dozen iterations over the years, and Life Itself by Roger Ebert (#45)

Interview with a SamuraiFrog by Splotchy

Opening titles for 18 situation comedies of the seventies. I watched two of them, both on CBS, on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m.

“The kick is up … and it’s … CLANG…”

Now I Know: The Halloween Costume You Can’t Buy and When Science Gets Unexpectedly Expensive and An Awkward Phone Call from Mom and The Giant Pink Bunny in the Middle of Nowhere and Everybody Was Kung Fu Panda Fighting and Paved With Good Intentions and Why Dorothy Couldn’t Surrender


Charles Feeney, Who Made a Fortune and Then Gave It Away, Dies at 92. “After piling up billions in business, he pledged to donate almost all of his money to causes before he died. He succeeded and then lived a more modest life.”

Kevin Phillips, who died at 82, published his first book at 29, a landmark work,  The Emerging Republican Majority, which “presciently predicted a rightward realignment in national politics driven by ethnic and racial divisions and white discontent.”

Richard Roundtree, Suave Star of ‘Shaft,’ Dies at 81. I never saw Shaft, but I did watch him as “the disgraced doctor Daniel Reubens on the NBC daytime soap opera Generations,” c. 1990.

Matthew Perry, Chandler on ‘Friends,’ Dies at 54. He “Masterfully Walked the Line Between Mirth and Melancholy.” All spiders are named Phil.

Burt Young, Oscar-Nominated ‘Rocky’ Actor, Dies at 83. I saw the initial four Rocky pics, the first one with my mother

Richard Moll, Bull the Bailiff on ‘Night Court,’ Dies at 80


Ghost Story soundtrack album

Celtic Rock – Donovan

Bless The Child OST suite

Songs from the Woods – Jethro Tull

The Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi

Theme From Shaft – Isaac Hayes. My sister got this double album, but it contained two copies of the same record (Sides 1 and 4, I believe), and we had to get it replaced.

Somebody Like You – Giant Rooks

Coverville 1461: Cover Stories for Ultravox and Thomas Dolby and 1462: The Natalie Merchant & 10,000 Maniacs Cover Story

Closer To Fine – Indigo Girls

Honky Tonk Heroes – Waylon Jennings

Greg’s Drinking Song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

The Beatles’ ‘Last Song,’ ‘Now and Then,’ Is Set for Release (Nov 2), Along With Expanded, Remix-Filled ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ Hits Collections (Nov 9)

Dec. rambling: Guiding Principles

Christine Perfect


Forbes’ list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

Two Glimpses into the Future

Trump fiscal legacy

Final House Covid Panel Report Exposes ‘Reckless’ Trump Pandemic Response

“F*** Biden,” “Don’t Tread on Me,” and a Wisconsin Death Trip for Our Times by Jeff Sharlet

Virginia’s “Guiding Principles” are a Right-Wing Fantasy of History

Sean Spicer Makes Pearl Harbor Blunder Which Will Live In Infamy

Heritage Under Fire: Native Americans fight for culture, history, survival

Bill protecting same-sex, interracial unions clears Congress

I’ve come to the same conclusion. Save Your Brain: Don’t Watch TV on Election Night

‘Our mission is crucial’: meet the warrior librarians of Ukraine

North Korea tells parents to give kids patriotic names like ‘bomb,’ ‘gun’, and ‘satellite’

Bob McGrath, Original, Longtime Resident of ‘Sesame Street,’ Dies at 90

Grant Wahl, American Journalist Covering World Cup in Qatar, Dies at 48

Kirstie Alley, Actress on ‘Cheers’ and ‘Veronica’s Closet,’ Dies at 71

Carl Kleinschmitt, Writer on ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘MAS*H,’ Dies at 85

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced the release of Census Business Builder version 5.0, which combines the Regional Analyst Edition and the Small Business Edition into a single, convenient tool.

Librarian and author earns a following after venting about a book signing

DeMane Davis on How Ava DuVernay’s Decision to Hire All Female Directors Offered “Life-Transforming Opportunity

Trevor Noah Urges Viewers to Remember the “World Is a Friendlier Place” Than It Seems in Emotional ‘Daily Show’ Farewell

A U.S. Track Star and the 30-Foot Long Jump That Didn’t Count

The State — and Future — of Free Ad-Supported Streaming


On December 11-12, Albany, NY, received about 6.5 inches of snow, the biggest snowfall of the 2022-23 season. It’s only about six feet (1.8 meters) less than what fell in western New York during last month’s storm. 

J. Eric Smith put me on his Best Of My Web 2022 list. I’m fairly blushing.

Arthur answers my questions about Congress


Most of the JEOPARDY “controversies” I see online aren’t all that. But this question in Final Jeopardy, during the Tournament of Champions, no less, did irritate me. In the category The New Testament:
Paul’s letter to them is the New Testament epistle with the most Old Testament quotations

From here: “The internal evidence presented by the book of Hebrews itself indicates an author other than Paul.” So Amy’s answer of Hebrews is suspect, and Sam’s choice of Romans – my first answer upon reading the question – is more likely correct. The question cost Sam the game. If the question read: This letter to them… would have been acceptable.

Now I Know

The Zoo That Made Itself Look Like a Donkey
Why The Government Hid Billion of Dollars Worth of $2 Bills
How an Oddball Saved an Island of Little Penguins
He’s The Type That Likes Numbers?
The Best Medicine is… A Room With A View?


Homeward Bound: Christine McVie (July 12, 1943 — November 30, 2022); 5 Great Fleetwood Mac Songs Written by Christine McVie

Coverville 1422: Joe Walsh Cover Story and Christine McVie Tribute and 1423: Covers, Actually

A suite of Max Steiner’s music from Casablanca

Look at Miss Ohio – Welch, Rawlings, Isbell, and Shires

How Ticketmaster Is Destroying Live Music

August rambling: personality cult

The 2030 Census

Guns and reproductive system
Original source unknown

“Unite the Right” five years later

Secret Service Held Onto Violent Jan. 6 Threat Against Pelosi

Governing Party vs. Personality Cult

djt: His Alleged Crimes at CRIME-A-LAGO and THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO ALL THE WAYS HE IS LEGALLY SCREWED, and his discarding and hoarding of documents just might be pathological

The FBI Confirms Its Brett Kavanaugh Investigation Was a Total Sham

Let’s Hear From the Women Lis Smith Smeared. The political operative who covered for Cuomo is on a comeback tour, trying to paper over the damage she caused.

Correcting Misinformation About Dr. Fauci

Poll Finds 3 in 4 Voters Want to Expand Social Security by Taxing The Rich

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Afghanistan and Carbon Offsets 

Most victims of the global problem of out-of-control militarism don’t get the same attention from the Western press.

Is This The Moment For A Third Political Party?

The 10 Things That All Flat Earthers Say

Mr. Brunelle: quiet quitting and new Florida teachers

Census and more

Census: Post-Enumeration Surveys and Bureau Invites Public Input on Designing 2030 Census, and Bureau Must Ensure the Next Census Deploys the Highest Quality Science

Average Lifespan Of Residents In Each US State,

Federal and State Agencies to Notify of a Name Change

Salem Witch Trial Victim Exonerated After 329 Years

Was King Arthur a Real Person?

Should Christians Listen to Explicit Music?

Frederick Buechner, popular Christian ‘writer’s writer’ and ‘minister’s minister,’ dies at 96

Len Dawson, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and broadcasting legend, dies at 87

Ken Levine remembers Vin Scully 

Cross-Pollinating for the Collective

Kelly’s eclectic linkage

Jodi Balfour on the Importance of Her Coming Out on ‘For All Mankind’

14 Notorious Movies and TV Shows That Have Never Been Released

Academy Apologizes to Sacheen Littlefeather for Her Mistreatment At the 1973 Oscars

Capitol Records Severs Ties With A.I. Rapper FN Meka, Apologizes to Black Community for “Insensitivity”

Steve Martin on His Late Career Surge; he plays well with others

Now I Know: The Musician Whose Big Break Was a Broken Instrument and Münchausen by Internet and Why U-Hauls Pretend to be From Arizona and  Why Barber’s Poles Have All Those Stripes and How to Get Supplies to an Underwater Laboratory

Student debt

President Biden’s announcement on student debt cancellation generated a lot of conversation. Some believe the $10,000 forgiveness was far too little, while others bemoaned doing so at all. A Facebook comment by Kelly Sedinger resonated with me.

“Nothing illustrates our society’s abdication of the notion of leaving a better world for our children than we ourselves received than (a) creating an economy where higher education is almost a requirement to succeed at any level of comfort, (b) making said education wildly expensive, to the point that virtually no one can afford it out of pocket, (c) thus requiring a system of financing that applies higher-than-they-should-be interest rates and making that debt unable to be dissolved in bankruptcy, and finally (d) freaking out at forgiving some of that debt.”

Mark Evanier added:  “A lot of folks who are fine with your, my and their tax dollars going to very, very rich people sure get upset when that money goes to people who are not very, very rich.


Lock Him Up Yesterday – Randy Rainbow

I Hope So – Katrina Stone

Coverville 1411: The Jethro Tull Cover Story

Javelin by Michael Torke.

Let It Be – Peter Sprague,  featuring Rebecca Jade

Apotheosis of this Earth by Karel Husa

Shattered Memories – Michał Łapaj (feat. Mick Moss)

I’ve Just Seen A Face – Peter Sprague, featuring Rebecca Jade

Home Grown – Booker T and The MG’s (stereo)

Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna – Franz Von Suppe’

National Potato Chip Day

Importance of NSF’s math and science education programs

In the Stats for Stories section of the US Census page, I discovered today is National Potato Chip Day. It contains statistics for NAICS 311919: Other snack food manufacturing (which includes potato chips).

In 2020, “Potatoes used for chips and shoestrings totaled 59.2 million cwt, down 1 percent from the previous year.” There are also links to potato groups, such as the National Potato Council.

Most interesting, though, was from the Lemelson-MIT Program: Historical Inventors, George Crum, Potato Chip. “Some evidence shows a man named George Crum, a cook and restaurateur was said to have come up with the idea for the tasty crisp.

“Born by the name of George Speck in 1824 in Saratoga Lake, New York, Crum was the son of an African American father and Native American mother, a member of the Huron tribe. He professionally adopted the name ‘Crum,’ as it was the name his father used in his career as a jockey. As a young man, Crum worked as a guide in the Adirondack Mountains and as an Indian trader. Eventually, he came to realize that he possessed exceptional talent in the culinary arts.

In the summer of 1853, he was working as a chef at Saratoga Springs’ elegant Moon Lake Lodge resort… Legend says Crum became agitated when a customer sent his French-fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were cut too thickly. Crum reacted by slicing the potatoes as thin as he possibly could, frying them in grease, and sending the crunchy brown chips back out on the guest’s plate that way.

“The reaction was unexpected: The guest loved the crisps. In fact, other guests began asking for them as well, and soon Crum’s ‘Saratoga Chips’ became one of the lodge’s most popular treats.” See a one-minute video.

Oh, yeah, it’s Pi Day too

In another Stats for Stories piece: In 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed “H.Res.224 – Supporting the designation of Pi Day…”

“Whereas Pi can be approximated as 3.14, and thus March 14, 2009, is an appropriate day for ’National Pi Day’: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the designation of a ’Pi Day’ and its celebration around the world;

(2) recognizes the continuing importance of National Science Foundation’s math and science education programs; and

(3) encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about Pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.”

There are a lot of stats about STEM-related industries such as engineering and statisticians. Check out the links to short videos, events taking place TODAY, and teacher resources. Did you know Indiana Almost Made Pi Equal to 3.2? The horror!

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