War, singing, feminism, tribalism, Cinderella, Pinterest

I understand Pinterest the way someone understands a menu in a foreign language.

Answering those Ask Roger Anything questions. You can still play.

Denise Nesbitt, the doyenne of ABC Wednesday, noted:

What did you have for breakfast this morning Roger? I had boiled eggs – I often feature photographs of my wonderful hen’s efforts on FB, do I sound sad? lol – 2 questions there!!!!

Oatmeal a lot lately for breakfast. I must have asked you if you were sad about something you wrote. And around the same time, a very good friend of mine suggested that my “doing all right” responses were hiding some stuff, which was true. So maybe I was just projecting.
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Thomas McKinnon, my old FantaCo colleague, remembers:

We once had a fun conversation about the Lesley Ann Warren, “Cinderella”, both of us having enjoyed it. Did you like the Brandy version? And have you ever seen the original Julie Andrews version in B&W?

Ah, yes, Lesley Ann Warren, a major crush in the day. I did like the Brandy version, though not as much as the others; seemed padded somehow. BTW, The Prince Is Giving A Ball, which I believe Jason Alexander performs in the Brandy iteration, is one of the toughest songs ever, because of all the names in the lyrics. We OWN the Julie Andrews version on DVD; The Daughter thinks the Wife looks like Cinderella; the Wife is flattered.
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New York Erratic wonders:

What’s one song you’ve always fantasized about doing onstage, and what was the fantasy venue?

I almost never fantasize about singing on stage, because I’d rather sing backup, 20 Feet From Stardom, and all that. I hate listening to the sound of my singing voice more than I hate the sound of my speaking voice, which is quite a bit. Yet other people find it pleasant, so there’s that.

That being said, there are songs for which I wouldn’t mind singing the bass parts: Shower the People by James Taylor or The Longest Time by Billy Joel immediately come to mind; I’m sure there are others. If I had to sing alone, it’d be the Talking Heads version of Take Me To The River. The venue would be Carnegie Hall because I mean, why not?
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Melanie chimes in:

After your many kind and thoughtful comments on my blog, I think I owe you a question to help you with yours. What is something you wish people knew about you?

As I’ve mentioned, it is true that I’m shy, even though I sometimes fake it well. I don’t really like to be in charge of things, though either I keep getting selected to be that (Olin family reunion, Friends of the Albany Public Library) or it defaults to me (Black History Month at church). I take it on because I must be Nature, and Nature abhors a vacuum. If someone else stepped up, I’d be THRILLED to step aside.
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In retaliationresponse to all my questions for him, Jaquandor has a few for me:

George Carlin once opined that America gets in so many wars because we simply like war a lot. As the next one seems to be just revving its engines, to what degree do you think this is true? Would a country that really claims to dislike war really have a military and defense budget that dwarfs all others on the planet?
teddy_doodle
I’ve been watching the Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts, and there’s a LOT about war. It’s true that if there had been no Civil War, Lincoln would not have been LINCOLN. Great generals aren’t created in peacetime. They build few statues, few monuments to the peacekeepers, and far more to the war makers.

Our involvement in the Spanish-American War of 1898 was, as much as anything, to prove the US had cojones. American exceptionalism at work. Likewise with the Panama Canal, riling up the Panamanians against Columbia.

I’ve noted before that I thought the Iraq war was a mistake from the outset. But worse, I think our playdate there and our loss of focus in Afghanistan created the understandable war-weariness that has helped create the current situation. Maybe if we had stayed out of Iraq, there wouldn’t have been an ISIS. It’s all speculation, I suppose.

What’s not speculation is that the famous departing speech from Eisenhower that we need to be wary of the military industrial complex was totally on the mark.

Do you understand Pinterest? I don’t.

I understand it the way someone understands a menu in a foreign language. My greatest disdain for it, BTW, is that there seems – and someone may correct me if I’m wrong – to have no concern about intellectual property rights, such as copyright. I’ll just pin that picture because it meets my criteria.

Are women making progress in combating the “war on women”? Or are they losing ground?

Of course, they’re making progress. But it’s painfully slow. Check out the ACLU page on the issue.

I happened across this Daily Kos article which show how Republican strategists can find issues of women equality less than important. The Violence Against Women Act is unimportant because it’s not a “real” issue, like war.

Equal pay for women is unimportant because, well, I don’t really know. Is it they think women don’t need the money because they can depend on their husband’s income? Unless, of course, they’re unmarried, which a majority of young adults are.

And yes, it IS also about contraception. As long as the “right to life” seems to end at childbirth, as the GOP wants to continue to cut dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids, it’ll be about contraception.

I applaud Emma Watson’s effort to explain feminism, because the man-hating trope is getting extremely old. Conversely, see a tone-deaf GOP candidate’s ad (NOT from The Onion).

As bad as I think things are in the US, conditions for women are worse in some other parts of the world. It’s astonishing how much rape and the trafficking of women (see, e.g., Nigeria) is normative in some cultures. It enrages me.

How concerned are you about tribalism in America? In the world?

If I understand your meaning, there has always been tribalism in America. It’s often been tied to who is defined as white. When the Irish were the “other”, they clung together; likewise the Italians, the Poles, and others.

Robert Reich is worried about tribalism in the US. Is this so-called melting pot experiment called the United States viable anymore? We’re more divided than ever politically, and income inequality issues might well boil over into something violent.

I will admit to enjoying A Conservative Lexicon With English Translation, because, and I suppose I don’t say it enough, but most would peg me as a liberal, and I’m OK with that, but not inflexibly so.

On the world stage, I understand tribalism somewhat more. Why, to this day, the Kurds, e.g., don’t have their own country is an unfortunate outcome of the post-WWI carving up of the Middle East. About every other conflict in the world is related to tribalism, from the civil wars in Nigeria in the 1970s and in Rwanda in the 1990s, to the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia. The Basque in Spain and the Quebecois in Canada make noise for independence.

Of course, the whole nation-state is impossible without some shared values, and a sense of fairness. Which brings us to…

Should Scotland have voted the other way?

It’s not for me to say. I don’t know well enough how badly the Scots felt like second-class citizens to answer it with any contextual understanding. I’ve read people calling the NO (to independence) voter self-loathing Scots, which I thought was harsh.

I think the issue of having to develop a currency might have been the deciding factor because the polls I saw were neck and neck. I daresay the vote was a head-over-heart decision.

What’s that food you loved as a kid that now you see and think, “Ewwww, how did I ever eat that?!”

White bread. Marshmallow fluff.

Bloggers: please consider joining ABC Wednesday

I remember my first post for ABC Wednesday, K is for the Keating Five.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that, for the past four years or so, I’ve been participating in something called ABC Wednesday, in which people, literally from around the world, post an item – pictures, poems, essays that in someway describe each letter of the alphabet, in turn.

It was started about six years ago by one Denise Nesbitt from England. Initially, she was doing it all – writing the weekly introductions, visiting all the folks who came to the site, making sure they were abiding by the rules. At some point, she recruited a team of her followers to do some of the intro writing and visiting, which eventually included me.

Then a couple of rounds ago, she was wondering if she should give it up because she was getting a little burned out. So I became the administrator, assigning who reads which posts, making sure somebody is writing the introductions (and writing them myself, when necessary), and inserting the link that allows everyone to participate. Also having to play bad cop when someone grossly violates the simple rules.

I remember my first post, K is for the Keating Five. It was somewhat political, I suppose, and unlike what other people were writing, so I wasn’t sure how well it would be accepted; I guess it was fine.

The Netiquette for the site is this:

1. Post something on your non-commercial blog/webpage having something to do with the letter of the week. Use your imagination. Put a link to ABC Wednesday in your post and/or put up the logo.

2. Come to the ABC Wednesday site and link the SPECIFIC link to the Linky thing. It’ll be available around 4 p.m., Greenwich Mean Time each Tuesday, which is 11 a.m. or noon in the Eastern part of the United States.

3. Try and visit at least 5 other participants…and comment on their posts. The more sites you do visit, the more comments you will probably get.

Bloggers, consider giving it a try if this sounds interesting. We’ll be starting with A again in a couple of weeks.

Roger Answers Your Questions, Denise, Tom, Shooting Parrots, Jaquandor & dogs

I have no “traditional Christmas dinner menu”. Over the years, it’s been ham, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, lasagna, probably roast beef, even Chinese takeout.

What a great bunch of responses to my request!


Ginger, Buddy and Shadow proving doggie wisdom from Pawprints in the Sands of Time ask the fundamental question:
Alright, here’s for your wish…Why do u want us to play this game of questions and answers this Christmas?

Because I learn so much, both about the person, er, entity, who is asking, and more, about myself as I think about things that might not have otherwise occurred to me. In other words, it’s an exercise in self-reflection.
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I “know” Denise Nesbitt – and “know” is such an interesting term for someone you have never actually met, but it’s accurate nevertheless – through her creation of ABC Wednesday. She also can be found at Mrs. Nesbitt’s Space.

OK, What did you buy your wife, mother, and daughter for Christmas Roger?

There was this Medieval Faire every year at the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, NY for about 30 years. And while I was going out with Carol, I sometimes -thrice, she tells me – would buy her a hand knit wool sweater from this particular woman. Then the faire stopped for about eight years. I’d buy her a sweater from LL Bean, and once from this Irish shop across the river in Troy, but it just wasn’t the same. Then last year, the faire was backe…I mean, back! Unfortunately, this particular vendor couldn’t make it, as she had another commitment. Bummer. But this year, she was back, Carol hinted heavily what she wanted, we walked away, but later, I came back and bought. There was also this teddy bear that she lost, that was given to her by her late brother; I found not quite a replica, but close.

Lydia got a lot of things: books, clothes, an enhanced version of the old game Twister, with CDs rather than a spinner; the big thing was this expensive doll she wanted, complete with wardrobe. In fact, her mother and I had purchased SO many items, we held some back for her birthday, three months hence. At that same Faire I mentioned, there was a soap in the shape of a seashell that Santa discovered she wanted.

My mother has been difficult to shop for for years. If you ask her directly, she’ll either say, “Oh anything” or “You needn’t bother.” Unhelpful to be sure. But my sister tells me that she really likes these puzzle books. I ended going to the CVS Pharmacy, found a couple of those, plus a lap blanket and a bathrobe – it’s been COLD in North Carolina lately.
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Shooting Parrots, who provides “random thoughts in a random world”, asks:
What was the best ever Christmas present you received? And which was the worst?!
I think the best is the unexpected: my father helping me on my Sunday paper route on Christmas morning in 1966, or our first color TV in 1969, or the free tree my then significant other and I got on Christmas Eve 1991 from Sears, and took home on a city bus.
Worst?

Haven’t a clue. I mean, I groan when my wife gives me clothes, but it really isn’t a bad gift. Maybe it’s because I’ve mastered the art of regifting, long before I’d ever heard the term.
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Tom the Mayor I know from my time at FantaCo, though I actually met him when he worked at the Albany YMCA on Washington Avenue (RIP).
Do you ever feel any bigotry in your neighborhood in Albany? Do you think that Racial attitudes have changed since you first moved to Albany?

Interesting question. I always wonder how it would have been growing up in Albany. But I didn’t get here until I was 26 and already with the receding hairline. And some people know who I am here, a couple recognizing me from my Times Union blog just this week.

I’m not saying that my life in Albany has been incident-free. More than once, people have yelled racist comments, usually from moving vehicles. But that hasn’t happened in at least a decade.

I recall that in the early 1990s I got unsolicited lectures (at least twice) about the problems of miscegenation, not for the adults involved, but for “the children” that might arrive. So I’m curious how this will play out for my daughter, whether she’ll be subjected to that. It was really important for us that Lydia go to a diverse daycare, and she had friends who were black, white, and Asian. I have cautious hope that things are indeed better.
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Buffalo’s finest blogger, Jaquandor at Byzantium Shores asks:
1. You are ordered to design a new menu for your family’s Christmas dinner…with the one stipulation that you use none of the dishes that are currently featured in your traditional Christmas dinner. What’s the menu?

Here’s the problem: I have no “traditional Christmas dinner menu”. Over the years, it’s been ham, chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, lasagna, probably roast beef, even Chinese takeout. So I would have to go with hot dogs, hamburgers, fish filets, French fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches. What, no veggies? Again, it’s been all over the map, so it’s either a vegetable I’ve had, or do not like.

2. Are there any current “reality” shows that you would actually consider auditioning for?
If by stretching the definition to include game shows, “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire”, maybe. My antipathy for reality shows isn’t just with the game, it’s the editing to make the program more dramatic.

3. If you ran into Bill O’Reilly somewhere on the street on, say, December 19, would you tell him “Happy Holidays!” just to see him get angry? (I know I would!)
Yeah, except it’d be “Happy holidays, Bill,” so he knew I knew who he was.

4. Do you have high hopes, medium hopes, or not much hope at all for Governor-elect Cuomo?
Medium-low. I thought he ran a lousy campaign, he was not very forthcoming – his financials didn’t come out until weeks after the election – and I just don’t much trust him. The only reason he won is that he was running against a nutcase. I didn’t even vote for him. (No, I didn’t vote for Paladino, I voted for Howie Hawkins on the Green Party line, because it was evident that Cuomo was going to win anyway.)

Of course, to be fair, I’m not sure what ANYONE can do about this state and local government crisis. Did you see that 60 Minutes segment? ALL the states are in big fiscal trouble.

Well, next time out: Demeur, Anthony, Gordon, Scott, ChrisJ, and anyone else who wants to play.

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