Sunday Stealing: where love comes from

Chenango River

The Sunday Stealing this week, again from Swap Bot, asks where love comes from.

1. Does love come from the brain, the heart, or elsewhere?
Just this weekend, I saw a story from late June on about the importance of compassion.  In Davis, CA “is a gathering place known as the compassion bench. David Breaux often sat there and dedicated his life to studying and talking about compassion.”
Perhaps one must be intentional about being compassionate, which will change the [metaphoric] heart. Also,  check out this video, which says I Hypothalamus You.

2. Have you ever given a shot?
Sure. Usually whisky. Occasionally, rum, vodka, or a liqueur. Unless this is about an injection, in which case I had to stick my daughter’s Epipen into her leg once.

3. Can you lick your elbow? (Come on, didja try?)
No, and I probably attempted it as a kid. But on the July 25, 2023, episode of the game show JEOPARDY, a contestant did, to the annoyance of some TV audience members.  
Where did I come from?
4. If I was going to be talking to you for 10 minutes, what would be something really interesting you know a little bit about but would like to know more??
My ancestry. I can go back to the 15th century on one line, but can’t find my great-great-grandparents on two others.

5. What do you think of The Sopranos?
I have a Leontyne Price CD. Joan Sutherland and  Renée Fleming probably appear on albums I own. Oh, wait, you mean The Sopranos TV show?  Except for clips during the Emmys, I never saw it except for the last five minutes.

6. Have you ever had a crush on your teacher?  How about your boss?
A high school English teacher was less than a decade older than I was; I think her name was Miss Greene. Definite crush. Boss? No.

7. Have you ever seen a movie in 3D?
One or two, probably most recently The Lorax in 2012. I don’t enjoy it much. 
8. How difficult do you think it is for immigrants to enter your country?
Immigration is fraught in the United States.  This 2021 article from “Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute [a libertarian think tank with which I often disagree] offers nonpartisan facts in response to common myths about immigration.”


MYTH #9: “The United States has the most open immigration policy in the world.” FACT: The annual inflow of immigrants to the United States, as a percentage of our population, is below that of most other rich countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

9. Do you have what it takes to go live in another country, maybe for years, where you don’t speak the language as your first language?
No. And I don’t learn languages easily. Though the French I took a half-century ago was surprisingly useful when I went to France in May. 
10. Have you ever died in your dreams?
I’ve usually been in the back seat of a car falling into a river (often the Chenango River in Binghamton, NY). Water is rushing in through an open window. But dying, I don’t recall happening.

11. What book should our political leaders read and why?
I spent several minutes perusing my bookshelves and yet didn’t pick one. But my wife recommends Listening Is An Act Of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project, edited and with an introduction by Dave Isay.

12. What is your favorite glass object?
My Willie Mays drinking glass that I’m pretty sure I got from McDonald’s decades ago. The Say Hey Kid is my all-time favorite baseball player.

13. Do you like to window shop?
Not especially.

14. Are you more likely to buy one really nice expensive outfit or a couple of cheap outfits?
I don’t care much about clothes.

15. If you could, would you wear everything once, throw it out and buy something new?
Why on earth would I want to do that? That would be abhorrent, societally and ecologically.  I’m much more likely to join Buy Nothing

Clothes and my relationship with same

red Chucks

Annie from Cottage by the Sea wrote about of my Sunday Stealing response to How often do you buy clothes? I said, “Almost never unless they wear out. My wife buys me clothes because my criterion for ‘worn out’ and hers are not the same.”

Annie noted: “I started laughing so hard at ‘my criterion for worn out and hers are not the same.’ You should write a piece about that!”

I thought the topic was a little narrow. But it got me thinking more broadly about clothes and my relationship with same.

I’ve never cared much about clothes beyond their ability to provide sufficient covering for the particular season. A knit hat for the winter, a cap in the summer. It’d have to be extremely cold to wear a scarf. Conversely, I might wear gloves at 5C/41F, especially if I were riding my  bicycle.

I almost never caed about “style,” in part because, even early on, I thought “fashion” was an artifice. It was also true that as a fat kid, trying on clothes was torturous. “I guess we’ll need a bigger size,” the sales clerk, stating the obvious, would say.

Now, sometimes people would bring me clothes I took a particular liking to. I think one of my sisters got me a couple of Guatamalan work shirts before I went to college, and I wore them until they fell apart.

The noose

I always thought that ties were stupid. A noose; how on the nose is that? My whole nuclear family was down in Charlotte, NC, when I was in my early 20s. My father and I were barely speaking to each other, for reasons. At one of those Olin Mills photo shoots, my father said to my mother, in earshot of me, “Wouldn’t Roger want to put on a tie?” Well, MAYBE, if he had asked me directly, but, under those circumstances, hell no.

In fact, I never even knew how to tie one of those things until I was 44, when a very patient coworker taught me. I was a clip-on guy before then.

My sister Leslie, who lives in Southern California, bought me a pair of white or off-white slacks in the late 1980s. “Don’t they look good?” Well, okay, in SoCal they did, but when I got back to the Northeast, they soon looked gray and dingy. That’s why I always wear pants that are black, dark blue, dark gray, or occasionally brown.

I wore a pair of red Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers for the longest time. They were so much “my brand” that someone got me a Christmas ornament with that design.

During my JEOPARDY warmups in Boston in 1998, I wore the red Chucks, which seemed to fascinate the WTEN Albany cameraman who followed me around. I made the tactical error of changing into new dress shoes for the actual episodes. It was probably a mistake because wearing those hard-soled shoes was exhausting.

My wife tends to buy my shirts from L.L. Bean. (L.L. Bean won me a trip to Barbados.)

To Annie’s point: if the pants are frayed at the end, that’s why God invented scissors. Who would know if there’s a hole in my T-shirt’s armpit if I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt over ith? And I usually do wear long sleeves, even in summer, because of my vitiligo. Actually, I have capitulated on this point, in deference to not only my wife but my daughter, who has been known to purloin my tees.

In defense of the hoodie

Anyone who knows me well will verify that I care more about function than form or fashion.

There’s been a lot of conversation about “hoodie politics” in the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin a couple of months back. e.g.
Trayvon Martin and Racist Violence in Post-Racial America
Did Occupy co-opt the Million Hoodie March?
Rep. Bobby Rush kicked out of the House for speaking on racial profiling wearing a hoodie, though it’s OK to wear in the New York State Assembly. Did you know Congress considers a hoodie a hat?

Comparative little has been said about the fact that hoodies are really quite functional.

I have a hoodie. It’s green (of course) with gold and white letters from UNC Charlotte, the 49ers. It was given to me by my late, sainted mother, who was no gangbanger, and probably didn’t know what the term meant. She thought it would keep her firstborn warm, and it does.

During that preternaturally mild March 2012, I managed to misplace my knit hats. And I need, NEED a hat to keep warm, with this hairline, which I had since I was in my 20s; that caricature duck was drawn when I was 28. The temperature dropped like a stone late in the month, from highs in the 70sF (low 20s C) to the 30sF (low single digits C), and all I could find were some caps, which would have been inadequate for the task, and my hoodie. So I wore the latter.

Unlike the knit hat, the hoodie also keeps my neck warm, without additional apparel, such as a scarf. Anyone who knows me well will verify that I care more about function than form or fashion. Wearing the hoodie keeps me from shivering. No political agenda; my hoodie is just sheltering from the cold and the wind.

The Lydster, Part 93: Line of Scrimmage

The thing that makes getting the Daughter dressed in the morning or evening take so long is her need to first throw her clothes past me. I believe this started innocently enough, with her teasing me by tossing her apparel for the day just out of my reach. But now it is codified, with all sorts of rules about where we each stand and what the goal is. I must say that the principles are fungible, but that the rules seemingly always favor her; of course, she SETS the rules, so there you are.

I have instituted the concept of punting the clothes, too. I’m really good at it, but she’s getting better.

Sometimes, when it’s taking too long, each of us catching the other’s tosses, I’ve been known to intentionally miss, not to soothe her ego, but because of lack of time. She always wins anyway, so it’s no big whoop.

In general, though we’re standing in the hallway. She holds the clothes and gets a point if she gets them past me. Neither one of us, though, can pass the line of scrimmage when we toss. “Line of scrimmage” is a phrase she learned playing football in gym class, not her sitting with me and watching football with me. Still, the fact that she knows the phrase, and the basic concepts, makes me happy, because, if/when she DOES want to watch a televised game with me, she’ll have a fundamental part down pat.

Somewhere I read that it is good for fathers and daughters to have games they can play with each other; this is ours. (Along with SORRY, UNO…)

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