Gallery of the Louvre: gallery of my office

“Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!”

gallery of the louvreAt work, I’ve got an office for the first time in 12 years. I’ve been in cubicles, and for more than two years in a part of a storage space; long story.

*The only thing on the wall in the latter location was a picture of John Lennon c 1972 which my friend Rocco of FantaCo gave me decades ago.

My wife and my daughter decided to rectify that situation. Most of the items were in the attic, not getting the love they needed.

*The largest item is a print my wife had of Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33 by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Yeah, the guy who invented the telegraph was also an artist.

It appeals to me, a picture of pictures in a picture. But I also appreciate that one can be an artist and an inventor too.

*My friend, the late Raoul Vezina, did a pencil drawing of me as the duck and had it framed. The large word balloon reads “SURPRISE, ROGER!” The thought balloon was of me thinking, “Is it time for Agronsky and Company already?” That referred to a news talk show I watched regularly.

The duck is reading a New York Times Magazine, which featured the actual content of the issue dated Sunday, March 7, 1982, SELF-SEARCHING IN ISRAEL by Michael Elkins. I think Raoul gave it to me the next day. The picture reminds me of Raoul, of course, who died in November 1983, but also FantaCo, and my birthday.

*A little picture of a pear in the foreground. The caption: “‘Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!’ exclaimed Red Ball.” My wife tells me it’s suggestive. Whatever.

In a WTEN (Channel 10, Albany) interview of me before I appeared on JEOPARDY! in 1998, I noted that passing the test doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be on the show. The interviewer said what makes the difference between appearing and not. I said, cheekily, “I don’t know, charisma?” And for about five years after that, one of my work colleagues noted that I had CHARISMA.

*There’s a tiny photo of the top of Binghamton (NY) City Hall, which my friend, and ex-girlfriend, gave me. My hometown.

*The last piece is abstract so difficult to describe. I expect from the color scheme it was from Central America. We got it as a wedding present, I believe.

Running for office: who, me?

When the possibility of a constitutional convention cropped up in 2017, I gave serious consideration about running as a delegate if it passed.

Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), 112th Congress
I was president of student government at Binghamton Central High School. I served on the Financial Council when I was an undergraduate at New Paltz, and restarted the library school governance.

Until recently, I never thought much about actually running for a standard elective office. I did work on a few campaigns, always for Democrats, although not always the establishment choice. Before I could vote, I blew up balloons for Bill Burns’ failed 1969 campaign to succeed his brother John as mayor of Binghamton; he lost to Al Libous, who I did not like.

Some poli sci types did some polling for a state assembly candidate named Maurice Hinchey in 1972, and I did a little phone calling. Alas, he lost to the incumbent, H. Clark Bell.

But 1974 was different. It was a Watergate year. The incumbent member of Congress, Howard Robison of Owego decided that he didn’t want to run again in a district that spanned 150 miles across, from Ithaca to Woodstock. The New Paltz Democratic Club, of which I was a member, had four candidates to consider. One was the town supervisor from Union, near Binghamton, who didn’t bother to come. One was a Binghamton lawyer who a couple of folks supported. Most backed a Woodstock attorney named Bill Schecter (sp?), the local guy. But a few people, including me, favored Matt McHugh, the Tompkins County District Attorney at the other end of the district.

You’d think an anti-establishment sort like me wouldn’t support a DA, but he was a really strong on the issues. I carried petitions and got at least 125 signatures. Schecter may have won Ulster County, but McHugh carried the town of New Paltz.

Again, the poli sci folks did phone poling, for McHugh, running against the ambitious Libous, and Hinchey, who was in a rematch with Bell. The Democrats both won. McHugh spent 18 years in Congrsss, and was succeeded there by Hinchey (pictured), who, sadly, died recently.

I worked a handful of campaigns after that in Albany, carrying petitions at least four times.

When the possibility of a constitutional convention cropped up in 2017, I gave serious consideration about running as a delegate if it passed, which fortunately, it did not.

The only other times I thought about running for office was when a certain person was running for the Albany library board, four or five years in a row. If he had been running for, say one of two positions, and there was only one other person on the ballot, I would have launched a write-in campaign. As the then-President of the Friends of the APL, I thought I might have had a chance against a collector of Nazi paraphernalia, whose views seemed to match his hobby.

After the last guy was elected President, someone said to me, “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter WHAT skeleons are in your closet.” That’s SUCH 2016 thinking.