Scott’s questions about Romney’s Veep, baseball and travel

I got to think Romney’s VP pick won’t be a white non-Hispanic guy.

Scott of the Scooter Chronicles, who is BACK blogging after an understandable hiatus – asks these questions:

1. (The Usual) Who do you think ends up in the World Series this year?

Interestingly, it feels more like parity to me this year. It’s not that ANYONE could win the Series – it won’t be the Royals or the Mets, e.g. The AL East will be very competitive unless the BoSox don’t recover from their epic collapse. Will the Rangers represent the AL for the third year in a row? Not feeling it; the Angels, with Pujols, should win the West. And the AL Central remains a mystery to me.

Washington will be better, Philadelphia will be worse. The Braves are supposed to have some great young arms, after THEIR epic collapse. The Giants will improve, iff Buster Posey’s healthy. I think Cincinnati wins the NL Central.

For no good reason, I’ll go with two Florida teams, the Tampa Bay Rays and the FloridaMiami Marlins. Unless Andy Petitte’s return to the Yankees is way more successful than I expect.

4. (May have been asked this before) If money was no object, what is your dream vacation?

Not just money, but time: I want to go to every Major League Baseball park in the same year. Fly to Seattle, take the train to the 5 California teams, then to Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, followed by the Midwest, starting with Missouri and ending, via Toronto, with Pittsburgh, then finishing with the I-95 corridor from DC to Boston.

3. Any travel plans for the warmer months?

It’s ALREADY the “warmer months”! If it’s 75 in Albany in the fourth week in March, with mosquitoes in the yard, what will July look like? That said, we’ll probably make it to Newport, RI.

5. Did you ever visit an area, not expecting much, but were surprised at what it had to offer?

Last summer, we went to this cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. Let’s say that it wasn’t my thing. But we went into town to North Creek, where I got to use the library. It had some nice restaurants, and it was quite scenic.

2. Who do you think Romney will pick as a running mate?

Let’s start with names he said he’d consider earlier this year: several governors- Chris Christie (NJ) – too much of a blowhard; Mitch Daniels (IN) – his family will veto this; Bobby Jindal (LA); Susana Martinez (NM) – pictured; Bob McDonell (VA) – fatally tainted by the ultrasound thing; Brian Sandoval (NV); Nikki Haley (SC) – having problems in her own state. Former governors Tim Pawlenty (MN) – got out of the Presidential race too early, so his fire in the belly will be questioned, plus he’s dull; Mike Huckabee (AR) – seriously?; Haley Barbour (MS) – his prisoner release just before the end of his term will not serve him well; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), a Cuban Hispanic with issues, who won’t necessarily bring the Mexican-American vote; CIA director David Petraeus – the name associated with an increasingly unpopular war. Here are some more names being bandied about.

I got to think it won’t be a white non-Hispanic guy. Rubio was my initial pick, or maybe Haley, but now I’m leaning towards Martinez, head of a swing state, or Jindal .

BTW, the reason the Etch-A-Sketch comment by a Romney associate resonated so much is that most people find him disingenuous.

Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom, LisaF, Arthur, and Scott

In May 1980, when the semester was over, Tom nagged me to work at the store.

Lisa from peripheral perceptions, who has very nice toes, writes:
You may have already been asked and answered this one, but…How and why did you get into blogging?

The HOW question I answered, among other places, here, specifically in the fifth paragraph; curse you, Fred Hembeck! The WHY I’m sure I’ve answered, but, to reiterate, it’s mostly because I was composing things to write in my head, I didn’t have a place to put them, and the subsequent noise in my brain got too loud; I blogged to stay (relatively) sane. Now it’s so I can “meet” people like you.
Thomas McKinnon, with whom I worked at the comic book store FantaCo, said:
Hey Roger
Tell us the story of how you met Tom Skulan and started working at FantaCo.
I have never heard the story.

Well, those are two very different things. I’m going to go back to the old days of comic book collecting when you had to get your comics off the spinner racks at the local convenience store. I started collecting comics by early 1972 (Red Wolf #1 was cover-dated May 1972, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire June 1972). My friend and I were at college in New Paltz, NY but we had to go to some little hole-in-the-wall store on 44/55 in Highland, the next town over, to get our four-color fix.

At some point, maybe as early as 1973, a guy named Peter Maresca started a comic book store called the Crystal Cave, buying from a direct market distributor (Seagate? Bud Plant?) It was right across from a bar called Bacchus. It later moved a couple of blocks.

The chronology fails me here, but at some point, Tom Skulan, Mitch Cohn, and Raoul Vezina all worked at the Crystal Cave, so I met them all there. Tom also put bicycles together at Barker’s department store just outside the village limits.

At some point, Peter closed the store and sold the comic inventory, I believe, to Tom. In any case, I would see Tom at these little comic book shows up and down the Hudson River periodically. Then on August 28, 1978, he opened FantaCo at 21 Central Avenue in Albany, with Raoul as the front guy/graphic designer in residence, the same function he served at the Crystal Cave.

I was living in Schenectady by that time, and lost my job at the Schenectady Arts Council in January 1979; the federal funding was cut off. So I couldn’t afford to buy comics for a while. I’d take the hour-long #55 bus from Schenectady to Albany, sometimes do some work in the store, and get store credit in return so that I could feed my addiction.

I did some work on the first FantaCon in 1979. I know I helped schlep stuff into the Egg convention center, and worked the front door and/or the FantaCo table.

In August 1979, I moved to Albany, to attend grad school at UAlbany (or whatever it was called at the time) in public administration. It was a disaster, in no small part because I developed a toe infection two days before registration and literally almost died; I spent nearly a week in the college infirmary and never really caught up. But it was also very cutthroat competitive, unlike my later time at library school, which was very cooperative, and it did not suit my personality at all.

So in May 1980, when the semester was over, Tom nagged me to work at the store. I told him that I didn’t want to work at the store; I needed to go back to college in the fall. But I COULD use a summer job. So I was hired on that basis, primarily doing mail order, and didn’t end up leaving until November 1988.
Scott from the on-hiatus Scooter Chronicles – come back, Scott! – wonders: What is your take, if any, on the DC relaunch, with 52 new storylines and rebooted famous characters?

First, I know it’s inevitable that characters will get reimagined from time to time, in part a function of them not aging as the rest of us do. Still, the whole renumbering and reinventing the whole line smacks of both a frustrating disrespect for its own history and commercial desperation. If I hadn’t stopped buying new comics, this ploy might have motivated me to scrap the entire line. In other words, I HATE it.

That said, it appears that a couple of titles featuring female characters are specifically problematic.
A fellow political science major in college, Arthur@AmeriNZ, asked about a story. AP Reporter Responds To Chris Hayes Panel Debate On Racism Of Droppin’ G’s From Obama Speech
On Sunday morning’s Up with Chris Hayes, the panel discussed the contrast between the way Politico reported President Obama’s speech before the Congressional Black Caucus and the Associated Press‘ reporting. Unlike Politico, who used the official transcription to pull quotes, the AP’s article reflected the President’s folksier delivery by quotin’ him without the dropped g’s. Karen Hunter called the AP’s treatment racist, John McWhorter disagreed, and Hayes got a laugh by saying, “I can go both ways on this.”

My first instinct was to say that, if that same news organization would drop the G when quoting, say, George W. Bush (which seems to be the case), it’s a non-issue, but would be if Obama were dealt with differently. However, it is NOT because, as McWhorter argued, “Black English is becoming the lingua franca of American youth, and that ‘America, including non-black America, loves that way of speaking.'” Yuck.

Hunter says she teaches “a journalism class, and I tell my students to fix people’s grammar because you don’t want them to sound ignorant. For them to do that, it’s code, and I don’t like it.” That was an interesting point. I’ve seen literal transcripts in the newspaper, often in criminal cases, sometimes with the (sic) or “as stated” designation, and I’ve been of two minds on that, how that might color the public’s perception of the case.

I guess I agree with Hayes when he suggested, “journalistically speaking, the AP’s transcription gave a more accurate impression of the flavor of the speech.” Especially when the President clearly intended to be dropping his Gs for the particular audience to whom he was speaking. Or speakin’.
You have more questions? Just ask away!

Art from Sold Out #1 by John Hebert; story by Skulan, Green, and Hebert

Roger Answers Your Questions, Demeur, Anthony, Gordon, Scott, ChrisJ, and Dorothy

What would I teach? The problem is that I know a little about a lot of things, but I’m too ADHD to do anything at the level of depth that I would require of myself.

I’ve managed to confound ChrisJ of Flamblogger, one of those ABC Wednesday bloggers:
My question to you is actually highly personal to me. Where did the name “The Lydster” come from for your blog? Also, is it the name of your blog? I’m confused. My maiden name was Lidster, highly unusual for over here, though as I understand it, there are plenty of Lidsters in Northumberland. But we know next to nothing about that side of the family.
Just wondering.

The Lydster is what I call my daughter Lydia in this blog, just as my family used to call my eldest niece Becky the Beckster.
No, the name of my blog, for good or ill, is Ramblin’ with Roger.
Near-twin Gordon from Blog This, Pal! wants to know:
Since I know you’re a big Rod Serling fan (like I am), wanted to ask you this question:
Are you a fan of NIGHT GALLERY? If so, is there a particular script of Serling’s from that show that you enjoy?
(Knowing what I know about NG – that Serling had no creative control – I thought his scripts were OK, but nothing to write home about. Except maybe THEY’RE TEARING DOWN TIM RILEY’S BAR)

Gordon, I may not have watched most of the episodes of Night Gallery, except perhaps the earliest ones. The second season was my freshman year in college and I didn’t have a TV. By the time I DID look in on it, in that third season, I found it wildly uneven. Moreover, I knew that Serling wasn’t happy with it, so, almost in solidarity with him, I just quit watching it altogether. In any case, I haven’t seen any shows since, and unlike episodes of the Twilight Zone that I saw but once yet still remember, no specific episode ever imprinted on me. I mean, I look at the synopses and say, “Oh, yeah, right.” But not like I would with other shows of that era.
Scott of the Scooter Chronicles, who has more in common with me than he possibly knows, inquires:
Since you mentioned the choir, and I haven’t seen you mention it, what part do you normally sing?

I normally sing baritone. This is to say that if there is a divided bass part, I sing the upper part. Occasionally, when there is a divided tenor part, and I sing the lower bits.

I am reminded of this tenor section leader we had at my old church. His name was Sandy Cohen, and he was a great guy. But he wasn’t a particularly healthy guy. He had a heart attack during service once, and he refused to leave until the service was over, because he had to “finish the gig”, his words. Well, on December 24, 1990, we were at a choir gathering prior to the midnight service, and we got a call that Sandy had had a fatal heart attack. Talk about awful. For a few months after that, I sang tenor until we got another tenor section leader.

What was the most enjoyable song you have sung with the choir?
My goodness, that would be really difficult to narrow down. That said, I’m a sucker for a good Requiem – I’ve sung Mozart, Rutter, Faure, parts of the Brahms, I’m sure there are others.

What was the toughest song you ever sung with the choir?
This is invariably true that difficult stuff I tend to block out of my mind. Not saying there hasn’t been tough stuff, but I tend to just enjoy the end product. I guess it’s sort of what women sometimes say about childbirth.

Is there a song that you are tired of singing?
Not really. But I REALLY hate singing in unison. I find it boring. I tend to hear harmony in almost everything.

Is there a song that you wished any choir you were a part of would sing that haven’t?
There’s this song I did in high school called The Creation that I’d actually love to do.
One of my colleagues once suggested that we do “Til I Die”, the Beach Boys song from the Surf’s Up album. A lovely song, but of dubious theology.
Dorothy Turk, a displaced librarian, asks:
Have you watched the musical Scrooge w/Albert Finney or A Tuna Christmas?
And are you a Capricorn?

I probably saw the Finney Scrooge the very year it came out, c. 1970, but not since. I saw A Tuna Christmas at Capital Rep in late 1995, almost certainly with my girlfriend at the time, Carol, who I’m now married to.

I’m reminded that Kris Kristofferson had an album called Jesus was a Capricorn, even though he probably wasn’t. And neither am I; I’m a Pisces.
Demeur, “The remover of nasty things. I deal with stuff you wouldn’t consider touching,” wants to know:
Why is it that most if not all librarians require a master’s degree?
My mom was a librarian and she only had a high school eduction, but then again that was back when high school requirements were closer to what’s taught in college.

Here’s an answer to that question that I found:
“Actually, there is a wide range of library jobs, some of which don’t require a degree and are done by paraprofessionals. But the title of librarian is usually reserved for someone who has a master’s degree in library and information science from an American Library Association (ALA) accredited institution. Many academic librarians have two master’s degrees, one in LIS and another in their speciality discipline.”
In other words, the ALA set the bar for professionalism and the states followed. I’m sure it’s true in your line of work that the associations or guilds have set standards for the profession, and the states, yielding to the greater expertise, have followed.
Librarians can have a wide range of undergraduate degrees. The graduate school provides a background in a wide range of skills, from reference and cataloging to the business of doing more with less. And in some venues, such as colleges, the librarian is equivalent to a teacher or professor, for which we require advanced degrees.

And speaking of libraries, and teaching:
Anthony of The Dark Glass asks:
When did you know you wanted to be a librarian, and what particularly interests you about this field. Is there anything you don’t like about being a librarian or the field of library science in general? And, has any other vocation ever crossed your mind? For whatever reason, I imagine you would be a good teacher. Has that ever crossed your mind, and if so, what would be your field?

It’s not that I ever wanted to be a librarian; it’s that it has always called me. From being a page at Binghamton Public Library; to organizing the tracks of my compilation albums by artists on 3 by 5 cards; to working at FantaCo and going to the library, only a block away, to track down publisher information in Books in Print, my mind always went that way. It is, I suspect, like you and theology; you didn’t choose it; it chose you.

BTW, there WAS a recent ad to be a librarian at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; if they move it from Cleveland to Albany, I’m applying. And the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown I’d definitely work at.

What I like about being a librarian: I learn new things almost every day. What I don’t like: when I am doing some rote thing one more time – not a restaurant startup AGAIN. My basic problem in life is the fear of boredom. Part of the salvation in this job, besides the varied questions, is the changing technology, from 4 or 7 of us using one CD-ROM drive to having it on a LAN to the Internet, from printing pounds of paper to doing PDFs. Oh, one other downside: we LOVE to be able to answer the question, but when we’re given incoherent or totally unanswerable questions, it gets mighty frustrating; it’s against our nature to say no.

If I weren’t a librarian, I would have to be someone training others to do customer service. I have mentioned this before, but I requested and received, a phone at my desk in my office so I can answer the main phones when the office manager is away. It’s not my job, but a regularly unanswered phone in the middle of the day is NOT good customer service.

I’d hate being a teacher, which is what my wife does, BTW. I’d hate the anxiety over prep. I’d hate the “performance” of the classroom. I’ve done occasional workshops, but those are one-off things. I LIKE one-off things. They’ve been about government and other resources for small businesses, primarily.

What would I teach? The problem is that I know a little about a lot of things, but I’m too ADHD to do anything at the level of depth that I would require of myself. What do I know that lots of others don’t know better? The history of FantaCo? The recording history of the Beatles? Well maybe, but there’s not a lot of call for that.

This is why I blog, BTW. I write about myself, and even I’m surprised by what I find. And I am singularly unable to focus this blog on one or two areas. It’s all over the place because I’M all over the place.

The Giveaway: The (Delayed) Results

Funny thing….a dollar coin dropped out of the pages when I opened it up! Was that suppose to happen? 🙂

You know about the best laid plans. Way back on May 5, to inaugurate my new blog, I decided to have a giveaway of five items for anyone leaving a comment of five words or more, the rule designed to eliminate those who might leave a comment like, “Nice!” or “Thanks!” Besides, it was my FIFTH anniversary, so I wanted FIVE words, OK? At least one smart aleck left me a comment something like “So: Five words then, huh?” Hey, that qualified.

The entry period was May 3 through July 3, inclusive. I picked the latter date because one of the items, the Billboard book was supposed to ship in early July. Well, it didn’t; I didn’t receive it until mid-August. By this time, we were the throes of busyness around the Pakistani wedding, followed immediately by the buyness of back to school.

Then, I misplaced two of the items for a couple weeks, then it totally slipped my mind for a couple weeks until I cleaned the work desk and said, “Oh, nuts, THAT’S still here?”

I went into the comments section for the new blog and noted 372 comments. Then I picked the random number generator for six numbers. Frankly, I didn’t bother to check if they all qualified – and at least one was mine, which would NOT qualify. But if the post was unacceptable, I’d skip it for the next choice, which proved to be necessary.

I contacted the first person who got the choice of any of the prizes; once selected, the second person got the choice of any of the remaining items, and so on.

I wrote You may select ONE item from the following:
any one of the three items listed in this post, or
the complete Dick van Dyke DVD set
the CD -The List by Rosanne Cash
the CD-Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits
the book – The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
(later, when I found it, I added to the list)

1. Joy from A Raft of Apples requested that I send her something not on the list. “Send me a picture postcard. On the plus side, still only one trip to the post office, on the minus you may not have convenient postcard availability.
“I’m a collector of postcards and also a Postcrosser (random people from around the world send each other cards). I’m fascinated by the countries of the world and the cards are little moments of time and places complete with messages on the back.”

Well, how could I turn THAT down!

She received it and wrote:
“Hi Roger
Thanks for the Albany Skyline postcard, your home town beautiful in the setting sun. And also thanks for the UK way date, LOL, it also came with a nice clear US Mail cancellation, which leaves me in no doubt as it had Nov on the date so us Brits don’t get confused:-)
I agree with you, blogging is a great introduction to the citizens of the world.”
Well, of COURSE, I dated it day, month, year; it makes sense. The only reason why I don’t do it always is the possibility of confusion, such as on my work timesheet.

2. LisaF of peripheral perceptions asked for Beyond words: daily readings in the ABC’s of Faith.
She wrote:
“Just wanted to let you know the book arrived today! It’s much thicker than I expected it to be. The timing is perfect as I just finished my other book and plan to start reading it tonight before I fall asleep. Funny thing….a dollar coin dropped out of the pages when I opened it up! Was that suppose to happen? :-)”
Oh, yeah, that was in the rules too. One Presidential dollar coin of whoever’s coin was out most recently on May 2 and that turned out to be Millard Fillmore, the 13th and one of the least regarded Presidents. But at least the coin was pretty.

3. Scott of Scooter Chronicles requested The Heart of Christianity” by Marcus Borg. I’ll get back to him presently.

4. Amy B of Amy’s Miscellany also wanted Beyond Words, which I could accommodate. She said nice things about me – blush – in her blog.

5. Now here’s where it gets strange. I tell the next person, but I’m clearly not being understood, because she has never made a selection, despite e-mails back and forth. The opportunity is still open to her. But I didn’t want to wait too long; I wanted to ship them all at the same time.

6. As it turned out, Scott, a frequent commenter, got ANOTHER pick. This time, he took what I thought he’d pick in the first place, the Billboard book. He thanked me and noted that his son Nigel was impressed. “He said, ‘That’s a lot of stuff, Daddy!’ after I piled everything on the table. He especially liked the coins.”

So it’s not entirely resolved yet, but I wanted to write this during the calendar year.

Roger Answers Your Questions, Scott and Anne-Marie

DADT is toast; it just doesn’t know it yet. When is that report coming out that’s supposed to assess the impact of openly gay personnel in the military?

My good buddy Scott, who I’ve never met, the blogger at Scooter Chronicles, has several questions:

1. Now that the baseball playoff teams (except for the NL West) are pretty well set, who do you see getting to the World Series and who wins it?

I can’t help but think the teams will be from the East. But which teams? Minnesota has been hot, but I think they can be beaten; likewise the Rangers. So I’m saying Tampa and the Yankees in the ALCS. I’ll pick the Yankees, but I’m by no means certain.

Look for Cincinnati to get to the NLCS, and lose to the Phillies. Yankees over the Phillies. Or Tampa over the Phillies. Whoever wins the AL EAST over the winner of the NL EAST.

2. How long have you been reading/collecting comics?

Well, I’m pretty much not anymore, though I pick up some on Free Comic Book Day in May, and inevitablty buy SOMETHING. I started in 1971 – it was his fault – and sold my collection in 1994. but I still have some collections, and even bought some Marvel Masterworks just this year.

3. If you still read them often, is there a new series that really interests you?

Well, no. But I would recommend to you Saga of the Swamp Thing collection by Moore, Bissette, and Totleben, and not just because Steve Bissette is my buddy who I HAVE met. I know you just read The Watchmen. This is a different thing, of course, but very good.

4. Of the comic book superheroes, who do you think has the coolest logo?

Well, Superman’s is iconic, of course. I’ll pick Green Lantern because it’s…green. And because even I could draw it.

5. What do you think the eventual outcome will be for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the DREAM Act?

DADT is toast; it just doesn’t know it yet. When is that report coming out that’s supposed to assess the impact of openly gay personnel in the military? The Republicans need political cover to overturn it. If the report comes out before the election, it could be overturned after the election. If not, it’ll be more difficult, but it WILL happen.

Whereas I just can’t see the DREAM Act passing at all. The GOP won’t touch it because it rewards “bad behavior” of children, CHILDREN (were they supposed to stay home without their parents?) who came to the United States illegally, want to be productive members of US society through college and/or the military. It’ll happen only when we have a “comprehensive immigration policy” and THAT’S not going to happen anytime soon.

6. If you could go back in time and choose a different career, would you and what would it be?

There was nothing else I’d do as well. I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, but I hated my pre-law course, which really did throw me off for quite a while.
I always wanted to be a Pip. Background singer. Don’t like singing melody, but love singing harmony.

7. A bit cliche, but I can’t remember anyone asking this before, if you could have dinner with three other people, whether they are currently living or have already passed on, who would they be and why?

Jesus, Mohammed and Thomas Jefferson. The first two because I’d be curious about what they thought of things being said in their respective names. Jefferson because he was an interestingly complicated dude who wanted freedom, owned slaves and apparently slept with one, was a theist but not in the traditional sense, and was a book guy. BTW, have you seen Tea Party Jesus, which was described in the Huffington Post a couple months ago. It puts “The words of Christians in the mouth of Christ.” Well, purported Christians, anyway.

Picture from Tea Party Jesus. Used by permission.
The words above describe some politician I described here.

Anne-Marie with a Dash from Montreal – I need to go back there someday – asks:

When should someone retire from a job? Should we wait till we are physically too tired to perform or retire early while we still have some life left in us?

The great philosopher Neil Young once said, It’s better to burn out than fade away. This is a complicated question, based on your economic situation, your prospects and training for another position, your interest in something else.

That said, I think life is too short to work until one is too tired to perform. You do yourself a disservice, your employer and customers a disservice. I wrote on Thursday about leaving a job – I didn’t have one to go to, but it just was time to go. But I was single then, living in an apartment; I’m married with a child and a mortgage now, and probably wouldn’t make the same choice. Your situation will mitigate your decision. But you need joy in your life.

You and your husband are in a small apartment in Qatar right now; I’m guessing that it might be lucrative being there. But you don’t seem to love, or even like(?) being there; it’s too hot except at night, you probably don’t get enough sleep and I’m guessing you’re tired constantly. Short of working nights, if that were possible, I’d leave if at all feasible.

SamuraiFrog gave me an award, and all I have to do is pass it along to 10 others. Well, I can’t give it to SF, obviously, or to Jaquandor, because SF gave the award to him.

Witch Reviews
Witch Blog
The Pedalogue (Leslie, not my sister)
Anthony North
Mrs. Nesbitt’s Space
peripheral perceptions (Lisa)
Bringing Up Salamanders (Nydia)
Rose DesRochers – World Outside my Window

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