27% Irish, from County Cork

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.

Census stuff

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.”

Check out stats at the link.

December rambling: slowest rate

Nell Stokes, Rebecca Jade, Literary Legends, public domain

Photo taken by Wayne
Photo was taken by Wayne

U.S. Population Grew 0.1% in 2021, Slowest Rate Since Founding of the Nation and  Net International Migration at Lowest Levels in Decades

What State of Matter is Fire?

Frequency Illusion? What’s the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon?

Black mothers turning to doulas in light of the nation’s horrifying maternal death rates

Two Texas teens dressed as Klansmen tased their Black classmate

Solomon Northup’s “A Slave’s Christmas” 

Wreck of last US slave ship mostly intact on the coast

NEA Guide for Racial Justice in Education

Missouri Cop Pulls Over School Bus Driver For Wearing A Mask

147 New York dams are ‘unsound’ and potentially dangerous Thousands of dams have not been inspected in more than 20 years

The departed

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.”

Joan Didion, Literary Titan, Dies at 87;  Jon Avnet on Making ‘Up Close and Personal’ With Her

 TCM Remembrance of performers past

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.

“She could never love me!” Comic books and disability cliches 

Chuck’s best blog moments of 2021, which includes me!

The Awakening – Albany’s first movie (1914)

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.

MUSIC
Hendrix.Nesmith.Tork
Hendrix.Nesmith.Tork found on Facebook

Am I Enough. Words: Nell Stokes. Vocals: CJay Philip, Nell’s daughter. Musical arrangement: Gail Sparlin. Piano: Larry Finke.

You Should Be Dancing – Dee Gees, who look a little like the Foo Fighters

Coverville 1382: Cover Stories for Patti Smith, Dido, and Britney Spears

New York State of Mind – NYCNext

Losing My Mind -Imelda Staunton, in a 2017 production of Follies by the National Theater

Tainted Love – Broken Peach 

Songbird -MonaLisa Twins

Dream On – Ann Wilson, live 

Stand By Me – Playing For Change

Mary, Mary, written by Michael Nesmith (30 Dec 1942-10 Dec 2021): Butterfield Blues Band Band, The Monkees 

It’s still Christmastide

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!

Have a sultry, soulful Christmas!

River – Joni Mitchell, Her first official video

J. Eric Smith –  Ten Songs You Need to Hear: Crimbo Version

Rebecca Jade Xmas and Burt Bacharach

Dave Koz and Jonathan Butler

Dave Koz Christmas 2021I 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.

Two trains

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

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

Dave Koz Christmas 2021 locationsAfterward, 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.

Going home

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.

Thanksgiving for the COVID vaccine

books and music

JFK Thanksgiving Day proclamation 1963
JFK Thanksgiving Day proclamation 1963

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.

I’m glad that Arthur and Kelly and fillyjonk and others are still blogging. Chuck Miller is still plugging other blogs each Saturday.

I’m sure there’s more, but this will do for the nonce.

Nov. rambling: systemic oppression

Rebecca Jade touring with Dave Koz!

 

Big Bird immunization 1976
July 1976

Scientific American: People Who Jump to Conclusions Show Other Kinds of Thinking Errors; Belief in conspiracy theories and overconfidence are two tendencies linked to hasty thinking

Homelessness: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Data Debunks Insidious Myths About Immigration

Freedom Isn’t What It Used To Be

In Re-Analysis, Ivermectin Benefits Disappeared as Trial Quality Increased; Andrew Hill, Ph.D., received death threats

Fox News host who told the audience to get COVID vaccine reads hate mail on the air

Ted Cruz Criticizes Big Bird for Getting Vaccinated and Satire from The Borowitz Report: Oscar the Grouch Cuts Ties with Ted Cruz

The high cost of living in a disabling world

A Brief Overview Of Systemic Oppression – Lynae Vanee

Ahmaud Arbery suspects’ trial defense taps a racist legal legacy

Ed Gainey, who will be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor and Aftab Purevale, picked as Cincinnati’s first Asian mayor, and Michelle Wu, Boston’s first woman and first person of color elected mayor

Requirements for travel into the U.S.

The Greatest Unsolved Heist in Irish History

A spite fence in Virginia Beach

Walking America part 5: Breezewood

Balance

Self-compassion can help build a more balanced, healthy perspective

Mispronunciation: why you should stop correcting people’s mistakes

How To Get Rid of Lots of Old Books

Now I Know: The Luggage Loophole That Isn’t and How to Brew an Economy and  The Swampy Loophole in the Georgia Constitution and The Costume That Was a Trick and The Odd Depths of Preserving Plutonium

Hiker lost for 24 hours ignored calls from rescuers because of an unknown number

Why Avocados Still Exist

Forbidden love.  A new comic strip, about corn. Sort of.

We fed the hungry with ONLY 7-Eleven Rewards points.

R.I.P.

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

The Weirdest Way The Earth Can Kill You

MUSIC

Nightbirde Sings Psalm 88

Music from The Lord Of The Rings, arranged for solo piano by Leiki Ueda

Coverville 1377: The Beastie Boys and Beasties Episode and 1378: Led Zeppelin IV: 50th Anniversary Album Cover to Cover

The Mighty Rio Grande – This Will Destroy You from the movie Moneyball.

The Ghost Rejoins The Living – Freezepop

 Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead

Sara Lee – Liza Minelli

While You Wait For The Others – Grizzly Bear

I’m Looking Through You – MonaLisa Twins

When “Man of 10,000 Sound Effects” Blew The Audience Away With His Voice Guitar

Mozart Doesn’t Make You Smarter

Paul McCartney re: You Gave Me The Answer – ‘The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present’

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2021 with Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, and Rebecca Jade!

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