Sunday Stealing:Tuesday 4

summer vacation

Whatever Tuesday 4 is – Ruby Tuesday?-  Sunday Stealing is stealing.
1. Are you currently reading a book you’d like to tell us about? Maybe a TV program you can recommend to us?
I’ve circled back to The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John  Green (no relation). I bought it when it first came out, signed by the author, but then I got distracted. Fortunately, it’s a compilation, so each essay, even as it reflects how John’s mind works and how he pays attention to his surroundings, stands independently.
I suppose the only newish TV show I could recommend is Abbott Elementary, in its second season. It’s a comedy about an elementary school in a poor section of Philadelphia, PA.
2. Are you a Jane Austen fan? So many seem to be. If you are, what is your favorite book, and who is your favorite character?  If you aren’t a fan, is there an author you especially like to read? Favorite character, etc.
I tend to read mostly non-fiction, but I don’t have a favorite author, though it was Russell Baker.
However, I have seen quite a few movies based on Jane Austen books, such as Clueless (1995), Sense and Sensibility (1995), Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), Pride and Prejudice (2005), and Emma (2020).
3.  How do you spend your time during the day?  Do you set apart time to read, watch TV, and study?
Wordle, Dordle, Quordle, Octordle, blogging, working on things for my church and the Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library.  I don’t have a designated time to read.
My wife and I tend to watch the recorded NBC Nightly News after dinner. I view JEOPARDY and try to tackle the recorded but not watched episodes of several shows, mostly the CBS news programs Saturday Morning, Sunday Morning, and 60 Minutes, plus Finding Your Roots on PBS.
I never change?
4. Have your beliefs changed in your lifetime?
Of COURSE! Everything from the nature of God to my understanding of science. How could they not?
5. What are your interests and hobbies? Reading? Writing? Collecting?
Genealogy. I have some coins I’ve collected but have not been diligent about it.  I listen to music, and I have a lot of it.
6 How much time a week/day/month do you devote to your interests?
I have no idea. For one thing, I tend to tackle things in chunks of periods based on the running time of my CDs. So I’ll work on my word games and start my blog. Then I need to change it up, so I wash the dishes or clean the kitchen counter. Next album, I’ll check my email and return to the blog post.  When I have set events- Bible study, book review events, doctors’ appointments, trips, that’ll affect things.
I’m retired. I don’t punch a clock.
7. Do you share your interests with anyone?
Genealogy with my sisters.  Book review with those folks. Choir with the choir. In the words of Yul Brynner, “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
8. Tell us why you enjoy your hobbies, pastimes, or interests.
They bring me joy, especially choir and blogging.
9. What emotions and feelings does summer conjure up for you?
I’m not primarily a summer guy. As a kid, it was baseball or softball at Ansco Park, trips to Eldridge Park in Elmira, Corning Glass Works, and visiting my mother’s aunt Charlotte.
10. What’s summer weather like in your neck of the woods?
Variable. While it doesn’t usually get above 90F, it can be hot. Or unexpectedly not.
11. Got some special summer meals you and your family enjoy?
Other than corn on the cob, not really.
12. What do you enjoy doing in summer? Sports, trips… Do you go on vacation?
My mother-in-law’s kin has had a family reunion each summer near Binghamton, NY, for the last three-quarters of a century except for COVID and a year during WWII. Our nuclear family had extended vacations on the way to and from the Olin international reunions in 2011 (Ontario) and 2016 (Ohio). I wrote about my favorite vacations last year.
13. Did your parents have things better than you today?
Absolutely not. Because my mother was much fairer than my father, they were perceived as an interracial couple, which they were not. As a result, they could not find a place to rent in their hometown, and they lived in a rental property owned by my maternal grandmother for over two decades after they married.
14. What time period would you rather live in… or are you okay with today?
On the one hand, advances in technology. On the other, climate change. It’s difficult to peg a specifically better period. I don’t romanticize the past. IDK.
15. What changes would you make for our time to make it nicer/better to live in?
The improvement in freedom, even in ostensibly free nations.

Sumnmery things for Sunday Stealing


Summer of SoulThis Sunday Stealing has summery things, though a lot of it has little to do with the season.

1. Favorite thing to do during the summer?

Go to the Mac Hadyn Theatre, about an hour away in Chatham, NY. A lot of young adults doing amazing things on a small stage. We hadn’t been since 2019.

2. Favorite cold food/dessert/drink that gets you through the summer heat?

Probably lemonade. Or an Arnold Palmer, which is half lemonade, half iced tea.

3. Gone to a drive-in movie

The last time I went, they were showing all five Planet of the Apes movies. I think I fell asleep during the last one. As a kid, we went to the drive-in a few times. I specifically remember seeing The Dirty Dozen at the drive-in near the Binghamton, NY airport.

4. What are you planning to do this summer?

Now that my wife is retired, get things fixed. Notably, the back porch has a roof that is crumbling. See more theater.

5. Did the pandemic ruin any summer plans? If so, what?

We were supposed to have an Olin family reunion in St. Paul/Minneapolis area in 2021. We did a ZOOM thing, which was better than it might have been, but hardly an adequate substitute.

6. Rode on any water mobile (jetski, ferry, boat, etc)

I’ve taken the Staten Island ferry from Manhattan several times. We crossed the Lake Champlain on two different ferries.

7. Gone to a summer camp

A few times as a kid. Didn’t love it. Worked at one when I was 17; a mixed bag.

Never Been To Spain

8. Been to any Asian country (if not, where would you go and why? if yes, where was your favorite?)

No, but I’d go to Japan because it’s Japan. But I’m fascinated with Singapore. It’s a city! It’s a country!

9. Been to any African country (if not, where would you go and why? if yes, where was your favorite and why?)

No, but I’m interested in Liberia because it was founded by people who once lived in the United States. And if I could figure out my roots, I’d go to Nigeria because I am 20% Nigerian per my DNA test.

10. Been to any North American country (if not, where would you go and why? if yes, where was your favorite and why?)

Well, I live in the United States. I’ve been to Mexico and Canada. And Barbados, which is practically in South America, on our honeymoon, a second-place prize from when I was on JEOPARDY. So that.

11. Been to any South American country (if not, where would you go and why? if yes, where was your favorite and why?)

No. I’d go to Uruguay because the weather seems temperate. And I like saying Montevideo.

12. Been to any Australian country (if not, where would you go and why? if yes, where was your favorite and why?)

What a peculiar question, since Australia IS a country. I’m guessing they’re going for that vast Oceania region. In any case, I’m picking New Zealand. I’d go visit Arthur.

And it appears that the quiz came from someone who is European because they don’t ask about that continent. I’ll pick Ireland because I am 26% Irish. Also, France so I could visit my friend Deborah.

Been Too Long At The Fair 

13. Gone to a festival/fair

Often. County fairs, NY State Fair.

14. Gone to an amusement park

Frequently. Coney Island, Eldridge Park in Elmira, NY, and a couple Six Flags locations.

15. Binge watched 5 different TV show series (what were they)

I HATE binge-watching. It makes my brain hurt. I like to watch a variety of programs. Maybe I might watch JEOPARDY, then the news, then a drama. I may have watched three Dick Van Dyke episodes on a DVD once. FIVE? No way. Now my daughter can binge with police procedurals.

30-Day Music Prompt: reminds me of summer

I worked as a customer service representative at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in from February 1989 to March 1990. I mostly hated it.

steel wheelsContinuing with the 30-Day Music Prompt:

A song that reminds me of summer – There are lots. References are to the Billboard (US) pop charts, unless otherwise indicated.

Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves, #9 in 1985. After the 2005 hurricane, I always thought the group name was most unfortunate.

I Wanna Be A Lifeguard – Blotto. Albany’s own appeared on MTV on its very first day, back when they actually played music videos.

Then there are all the songs with the word “summer” in them:
In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry, #3 in 1970. This skiffle song was Jaquandor’s pick

Summerfling – k.d. lang, 2000. Lots of strings

Summertime, Summertime – the Jamies, #26 in 1958, and #38 in 1962. An irritating little song I loved while growing up.

Summertime – Billy Stewart, #10 pop, #7 soul in 1966. There are LOTS of versions of this Gershwin classic. On one of those Red, Hot, and Blue albums featuring the composer that I own, there are five or six iterations. I picked this one because I really liked it, but my former office mate Anne despised it.

Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone, #2 for three weeks pop, #3 for three weeks soul in 1969 – lawd, at the end I feel like I’ve gone to church. One of the reasons I bought that wonderful greatest hits album; an alternate ending

A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget

I’m having difficulty with this. But there’s an album that reminds me of a place I’d rather forget.

I worked as a customer service representative at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in from February 1989 to March 1990. I mostly hated it. If you don’t know why, I need to write more about that period.

But I got along with the other reps. I discovered that, for the Christmas gift exchange, I was to get something for this woman named Karen. As it turned out, Karen had selected me.

So we talked about music we mutually liked, and we came up with the Rolling Stones. The band had released Steel Wheels in August 1989, so I bought it for her and she for me.

I’m picking the first two singles because the titles reflected my feeling of being at Empire:

Mixed Emotions, #5 in 1989

Rock and a Hard Place, #23 in 1989

Summer song: Summer, by War

Vocalist and founding member of War Howard Scott said that they were “cranking out gold records when” the Beastie Boys “were still in diapers.”

War was a long-running funk-rock band from southern California, who was commercially viable, at least into the 1990s. Eric Burdon, formerly of The Animals, was the lead vocalist on their first hit, Spill the Wine, back in 1970, but others took the reins shortly after that.

On the Billboard 100, the very peaceful tune called Summer, which was appropriately released on June 21, 1976, debuted on the chart on July 10 and spent 16 weeks there, eventually getting to #7. On the soul charts, it also started moving on July 10, and spent 14 weeks, reaching #4. It was declared a gold record, selling over 500,000 units.

Here is Summer, by War. The band “is not happy about being slighted for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band was nominated but lost out… War is most annoyed about losing a spot to The Beastie Boys.

“Vocalist and founding member of War Howard Scott told TMZ, ‘We were cranking out gold records when they were still in diapers. How could the Beastie Boys get in before us when they sampled War’s music on their first album?! I’ll eat their platinum records!’ and added, ‘Felt like I was kicked in the back of my britches.'”
Sad to read about the death, at the age of 68, of composer Marvin Hamlisch. Writer Mark Evanier said: “I can’t recall ever hearing a bad word about Marvin Hamlisch, not even from Theater People… He was the guy who wrote the tunes for A Chorus Line, after all. And so many other fine works. The first time I saw him or heard his name was when he was Groucho’s pianist for those sad one-Marx shows near the end of the comedian’s career.” To paraphrase a song of his: Nobody did it better.


Summer Songs: Summertime

The summer songs are over, as the season begins to fade…

I’ve long been a sucker for those Red, Hot, and Blue albums. Not only are they generally great compilations, but they aid AIDS research.

At some point, I purchased By George & Ira: Red Hot on Gershwin, which I was quite fond of. Some critics complained about the multiple versions of a few songs, but I love the way Nina Simone’s version of I Loves You Porgy segues into Bill Evans’ instrumental take, e.g.

There are four versions of Summertime. The first is by an unlikely participant on this mostly jazz album: Janis Joplin [listen], who, according to one reviewer, “will certainly get the listener’s attention as she twists and turns the lyrics in a raspy interpretation.” Of course, as it’s probably the first version of the song I owned, from Cheap Thrills, the Big Brother and the Holding Company album, I have a particular fondness for it. Of course, she died in 1970 at the age of 27 from a drug overdose.

Though a quite different take, I also loved the Billy Stewart version [listen]. I realize it’s the trilling of the tongue bit that I found so entrancing (and one of my former co-workers found it so irritating; she wouldn’t allow me to play it if she were around). His “Summertime” was a Top 10 hit on both the pop and R&B charts in 1966. He died in a car crash in 1969 at the age of 32.

A more traditional jazz version came from The Stan Getz Quartet [listen]. Getz died in 1991 at the age of 64 from liver cancer.

Charlie “Bird” Parker [listen] performs the final version of the song. He too died young, at the age of 34. “The official causes of death were lobar pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer but Parker also had an advanced case of cirrhosis and had had a heart attack.”

The summer songs are over, as the season begins to fade…

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