World’s 1st St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1762 in NYC
As I’ve noted, I’m 27% Irish, a plurality in my makeup. My daughter is 21% Irish. I don’t have access to my wife’s DNA test presently, but I surmise she’s 15% Irish, give or take. Moreover, at least some of my ancestry is rooted in Munster, County Cork.
So I was VERY tempted to go on the 2022 Dave Koz cruise. It has an impressive musical lineup, including the niece, Rebecca Jade, who must be part Irish as well.
Moreover, the Royal Caribbean cruise starts in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is traveling to Cork (Cobh), Ireland as well as Holyhead, Wales; Glasgow (Greenock), Scotland; Dover (London), England; then back to Amsterdam. Two tours, May 13 to May 20, and May 20 to May 27. But at two grand for double occupancy, plus airfare, this is a bit dear, as my grandma Williams would say. Worth it, I imagine.
And I’m not sure I’d want to go that long without seeing my daughter in her senior year of high school, or my wife. Also, I suppose I’m wary of cruises; less about COVID, since RC “requires all guests and crew to be 100% vaccinated with no exceptions.” But perhaps more about other cruise debacles in recent years.
Also, while I’ve FINALLY requested a new passport, I haven’t received it yet.
The Census Bureau regularly issues out these seasonal packets in two series. “Profile America’s Facts for Features… provides statistics related to observances and holidays such as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May), The Fourth of July (July 4), Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15), and Veterans Day (Nov. 11).”
For Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day:
“Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.”
147 New York dams are ‘unsound’ and potentially dangerous Thousands of dams have not been inspected in more than 20 years
Hidden Pentagon records reveal patterns of failure in deadly airstrikes
Desmond Tutu, a cleric who campaigned against apartheid in South Africa, dies at 90. “A moral beacon in a deeply troubled land, Tutu managed to irritate the African National Congress government that took power after South Africa’s first all-race elections, as much as he had riled the apartheid regime that had previously oppressed the country’s Black majority.”
This Year, Hollywood’s China Relationship Finally Unraveled
After his performance in The Music Man, Hugh Jackman touts Broadway understudies, standbys, and swings. The role of Marion Paroo, the female lead, was supposed to be played by Sutton Foster, who tested positive for COVID. The role was covered by a swing named Kathy Voytko, who also covered seven other smaller roles in the production.
Flying from Honolulu to Buffalo just before Christmas
I Stopped Caring About My Kids’ School Grades. You Should, Too.
See the movie short: Seasoned Greetings (1933 Vitaphone). Lita Grey Chaplin w/ 7 Yr Old Sammy Davis Jr
Now I Know: A Brick That Broke The Glass Ceiling and The Amazing Spider-Man Coincidence and When It Feels Good to Pay More
Inspiring Quotes: If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. – Shane Koyczan
Nominate the next Literary Legend!
Each year, the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library select a new outstanding person of letters to be honored as our Literary Legend. The FFAPL invites the public to nominate writers for the selection committee to consider.
Nominations must be received by January 9, 2022, for consideration by this year’s Selection Committee. The Literary Legends Selection Committee includes members of the FFAPL board, past Gala Chairpersons, and APL librarians.
Sound Treasures Enter the Public Domain
On January 1, 2022, 400,000 pre-1923 sound recordings will enter the public domain, thanks to a new U.S. law, the Music Modernization Act. To celebrate, you may attend a virtual event on January 20, “A Celebration of Sound.”
And it’s not just music! On January 1st, children’s classic Winnie the Pooh, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Rudolph Valentino in The Son of the Sheik, in addition to musical recordings such as Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, and thousands more will all be free for creative reuse and sharing.
Am I Enough. Words: Nell Stokes. Vocals: CJay Philip, Nell’s daughter. Musical arrangement: Gail Sparlin. Piano: Larry Finke.
Dave Koz and Friends // The Greatest Hits of Christmas – LIVESTREAM VIRTUAL CONCERT Recorded 12/12/20. With Jonathan Butler, Peter White, Kenny Lattimore, Michael Lington, Brian Simpson, and REBECCA JADE!
I got to see the Rebecca Jade Xmas show! Oh, yeah, and Dave Koz, Jonathan Butler, and others were there, too.
OK, I jest here. Koz has been the frontman for a holiday tour for a quarter of a century. The saxophonist’s music is labeled “soft jazz”, and that is true. But read this review of Dave Koz And Friends 20th Anniversary Christmas album in 2017: “Yes… you’ve heard all these classic yuletide songs before. But have you heard them the way [he] arranges them?”
In 2020, the C-year, he and his friends were unable to go on the road. So they did a one-off virtual concert – teased here, and featuring Rebecca Jade. My wife and I saw it; REALLY good. So in 2021, he and his cohorts were back on the road. But there is only stop in New York State, and it ain’t in Albany.
Sunday, December 5, my wife took me to the train station. I could have taken the CDTA bus, which is convenient, but that was a nicer way to depart. I decided to go all-digital with my new phone. This is the first time I didn’t print my ticket.
Then I went to the vending machine to get a ticket to the Oyster Bay on the Long Island Railroad. Literally, the only thing I know about the place I learned from passing references in two Billy Joel songs.
I had booked a place via Hotels.com, a little wary of the geography. But Andrea, my sister’s friend who picked me up at the train stop, noted that it was pretty close to both my hotel and the concert venue. She dropped me off at the East Norwich Inn to check in. More about this anon.
We followed her GPS four miles to get us to a Greek gyro place 800 feet away, where we got some grub. Then we headed to the concert venue, the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post in Brookville. I had moved my ticket from Ticketmaster to some Apple Pay app, as though I knew what I was doing! Everyone had to be vaccinated; the picture of my card was on my phone. We had some overpriced cups of wine with an interesting couple we did not know, but who welcomed us to sit with them.
The show began with Koz, South African guitarist/singer Jonathan Butler, trumpeter Rick Braun, and saxophonist Richard Elliot trading licks. Then vocalist Rebecca Jade came out and sang with Butler on one of my favorite songs of the season, What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder.
A bit later, she and Butler dueted on Mary Did You Know. They performed this last year on the virtual show. It’s a great song and exquisite pairing. I heard it on Butler’s Christmas Together album with another vocalist, but the live renditions were just better. Shortly thereafter, possibly the least suggestive version ever of Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
There were other highlights as well. Each year, Dave does a Hannukah section, since he was born Jewish. A giant dreidel descended from the rafters. Kids from the college, I assume, were wearing Santa hats and bringing Koz the right sax, sometimes mid-song.
Dave reminds me a little of another underrated musician, Doc Severinsen, who could play the clown with Johnny Carson, but who was/is a great jazz trumpeter.
Life on the road
Afterward, Andrea and I got to see Rebecca briefly. The tour started around Thanksgiving and ends December 23. Just for the Long Island show, the band came from Newport News, VA, seven hours away, where they performed the night before. The following evening, they would be taking the tour bus, which sleeps 12, to Detroit, 10 hours away.
Then a day off before trekking through Ohio, Indiana, and Louisville, KY. Good thing they have a day between there and El Paso, TX which is 21 hours away. Life on the road may be rewarding, but it’s tough.
Andrea drove me back to the hotel. I finally got a good look at the photos on the walls. They were often of horse race winners, with the jockey usually the famed Willie Shoemaker. And Burt Bacharach was prominent; Angie Dickinson, who I had forgotten had been married to Burt for a time, I recognized instantly. There’s a headshot of Edward Winter, who played the annoying Col. Flagg on MASH.
For the East Norwich Inn used to be called Burt Bacharach’s East Norwich Inn. The old sign was embedded into a wall. And the exterior still looks like this. The place is a bit worn; there was a squeak in my room floor, but it was in key. The venue was clean, convenient, and quite inexpensive. Burt also owned at least one restaurant in the area but I’m uncertain where that was.
The next morning, I called a taxi company; the guy at the front desk of the hotel had given me a phone number. But the man at that location gave me a second number, and the guy at the second number referred to the first. This left me with Uber. My driver was great, as he told me I could have taken a closer and more frequently running LIRR train, such as Hicksville. Next time I’m in the Oyster Bay area, I’ll remember that. My LI geography knowledge might fill a thimble.
Back to Manhattan to eat some lunch while sitting on the stairs between the entrances to the Moynihan train Hall. It was a beautiful day. Amtrak home to rain; fortunately, my wife picked me up. And my daughter might have even missed me a little.
Without a doubt, it is Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine.
Because of the vaccine, I could go out to eat with my friends, such as Carol, Karen, Bill, Michael, Cecily, John, and Mary, as well as my wife and daughters.
My church is meeting in person as of June 20, as well as on Facebook. The choir has restarted rehearsals in person as of October 10, with only fully vaccinated people, which is everyone.
The Wizard’s Wardrobe is a program, started by two members of my church. “Children spend time with a special tutor just for them — to read, write, and explore the wonderful world of books. My wife and I attended the Readers Theater benefit on October 4. The featured readers included William Kennedy, Brendan Kennedy, Joseph Bruchac, Elizabeth Brundage, Ashley Charleston, Ted Walker, and Ayah Osman.
The Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library had its Literary Legends Gala on October 16. I got to tell Bill Kennedy that I heard him and his son read from Charlie Malarkey and the Belly-Button Machine (1986), 12 days earlier. Last year’s event was online, while this one was a hybrid.
I wouldn’t have been comfortable going to my high school reunion or certainly taking the bus home without the Pfizer shots. Yes, it’s a Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine.
In spite of
As much as I complained about ZOOM and its ilk I’m thankful for the chance to have participated in the Thursday Bible study group. I got to see my niece Rebecca Jade perform over a half dozen times, including with Dave Koz.
I streamed some movies, not the best way for me to view them. But I got to see ALL of the Oscar-nominated shorts. Usually, I get to watch only a fraction of those films because they don’t all make it to this market.
I’m still on ZOOM for the Tuesday Bible guys, the Dads group, and certain church meetings. My sisters, in two different states, and I in a third, meet at least three weeks out of four. The Olin reunions took place remotely.
Lessee, what else?
I’m fiscally solvent. This allows me to order things via mail order, such as all of those blue masks and music that I don’t REALLY need but want. I also got a bunch of baseball books from Jack’s widow and music from the collection of my late father-in-law.
I had a brief but significant moment of mutual forgiveness with an old friend.
My mother-in-law lives much closer. This makes her and her daughter mighty happy.
We fed the hungry with ONLY 7-Eleven Rewards points.
Aaron Feuerstein, known for paying Malden Mills workers even after the factory burned down, has died at 95
The Rise and Fall of Mort Sahl, the Comedian Who Revolutionized Stand-Up
Former VA administrator and US Senator (D-GA) Max Cleland died at home. A savage political attack suggesting that he was “soft on the war on terror” caused him to lose his Senate seat in 2002. A live grenade dropped by a fellow soldier in Vietnam had robbed him of three limbs.
I neglected to acknowledge the death of Diane Westwell, one of our loyal ABC Wednesday contributors, on 20 September 2021. She was a very sweet person.
Greg Hatcher, a founder of Atomic Junk Shop and Brianna’s Nerd-Dad has died