Sunday stealing: liturgy of the Word


Here’s this week’s Sunday Stealing. I looked at the questions, and many of them seemed very familiar. In fact, look at these answers from two months ago.

But there is something in a lot of church worship called the liturgy, which is “a customary repertoire of ideas, phrases, or observances. The liturgy of the Word consists of Scripture readings, repeated in a three-year cycle. The theory is that as one revisits them, one has new insight.

So I will answer all the questions, even the repeats, but answer them differently.

1.    Write about the best decision you ever made. How did you make it? Was it reasoning or gut instinct?

It was moving to the Capital District of New York State in late 1977.  As you can tell, it was definitely not reasoning. And it wasn’t gut instinct. It was desperation.

2.    What ONE thing would you change about your life? How would your life be different?

I honestly cannot answer this. If I did this, then I wouldn’t have done that. I can think of a good half dozen choices that would have changed my life if I had said, or didn’t say, X. Think the multiverse.


3.    What is the hardest thing you have ever done? Why was it hard for you? What did you learn?

It wasn’t watching my mom die. It was a few minutes before that when I thought she was suffocating to death. I freaked out and rang the nurses, even though she had a DNR. This is a natural devolution of end of life, I learned. Do I need to explain why it was difficult?  It’s added to my pool of information for Death Cafe courses I have helped to facilitate. I’ve since embraced the topic of death, learning about death doulas, for instance.

4.    What is your greatest hope for your future? What steps can you take to make it happen?

Someday, my wife will retire. I can make oatmeal for us almost every morning.

5.    If you can time travel, what will you tell your teenage self?

Not a damn thing because I wouldn’t believe it anyway. If I did believe my Future Self, it would alter what I might have experienced.

6.    Write about the most glorious moment in your life so far.

One would be when my church choir performed the Mozart Requiem in March 1985, then a handful of us crashed Albany Pro Musica and performed it on September 11, 2002; afterward, it was the only time I wore a tuxedo to work.

7.    What did you struggle most with today?

Time management. the more I NEED to do, the less likely I have the focus to do so,

8.    What made you happy today?

Takeout Indian food.


9.    What did you dislike most about growing up?

The deaths of my paternal grandmother, Agatha Walker in 1964, when I was 11, and my great aunt Adenia Yates in 1966, when I was almost 13. They were great.

10.    Write about 3 activities you love the most and why you love them.

Music (singing), music (listening to recordings), and music (hearing live music). Because joy.

11.    What has been your best trip so far?

There have been a few. The first best trip as a family was probably a 2008  trip to colonial Williamsburg, pictured above.

12.    Write a list of 3 things (physical or personality-wise) you love about yourself, and why they make you unique.

We’re all unique, with specific recollections and skills. Mine tend to be with numbers. I had to exchange some tickets for a musical, and they would cost more. In my head, I figured it out before the person with the calculator could. Math is everywhere. Why? Because it’s useful and fun.

Unfairness ticks me off. Cars that park in crosswalks, making it difficult for pedestrians, who might be blind or have a walker or a shopping cart are selfish jerks.  Unfortunately, I’m too civilized to key their cars, But I think about it way too often.

And music. I hear it, even when it’s not playing. I listen for the tones of fire trucks, vacuum cleaners, or chainsaws. Why? Because music. Renée Fleming has edited a new book called Music and Mind, which someone ought to get for me.

Openish book

13.    Discuss 3 things you wish others knew about you.

I’ve been writing a blog for 19 years. Whatever I haven’t told you I either don’t think I can share, at least not yet, or I don’t remember anymore.

14.    Write about your top 3 personal strengths.

I can be VERY LOUD when I have to be, a useful skill when someone tries to announce amid a noisy room.  My go-to: “OYEZ!! OYEZ!”

I observe a great deal, looking for people in certain settings who seem new or shy.

I have that curiosity gene that a good librarian needs. It’s been used in the blog dozens of times per year.

15.    Is social media a blessing or a curse?

My general observation is that there’s a LOT of information, too much to keep track of. I saw this post about a woman leaving the reality show Real Housewives of the Potomac. There’s a show called Real Housewives of the Potomac. And it’s been on since 2016?!  I spend more time skipping things than reading them.

Occasionally, I will indulge myself by watching three or four reels on Facebook of billiard shots. I love billiards, but I suck at it, so the game interests me.

Sunday Stealing: SwapBot again

movies at the theater


This Sunday Stealing was swiped from SwapBot again. 

1. Who is your best friend and why? What do you like to do together?

I have a handful. One, who I’ve known since 1958, is four hours away and we go out to eat breakfast every time they’re in town. Another, also from 1958,  lives in Texas and I see them every chance I can when they’re in the state. We were texting about the one four hours away this week. 

A third, who’s about an hour and a half away, whom I’ve only known since 1971 I was texting about genealogy when I saw the quiz. We went to Las Vegas together in September 2023 and chased a solar eclipse in April 2024.

2. What is your town like? What are your favorite places to go?

I’m sure I’ve described Albany sufficiently. That said, in the city proper, I like going to the Capital Rep theater and various restaurants; Sabor a Campo has an eclectic menu. But I probably spend most of my time away from home at the library and church. 

3. What is your favorite meal? Where and when do you eat it?

I like Italian food. Frank’s Ice Cream & Restaurant, a very unassuming place on Albany-Shaker Road in Loudonville, is quite decent. The first time we went there, it was only because D’Raymond’s, essentially across the street was booked for the next 90 minutes.   

Not working

4. What is your job like? What do you like about it?

I’m retired, and glad about it. I liked the day-to-day work, doing research for potential entrepreneurs, and I learned new stuff almost every day. The advisors in the field were generally wonderful. But the organization at the Central office was… inadequate. 

5. What is your favorite place to go on vacation?

I don’t think I have one. The place we’ve gone most often is a timeshare in western Massachusetts.

6. What country would you like to visit one day?

Too many to list: I have relatives in Ireland and Nigeria, though I don’t know who they are yet. Italy, Cuba, and New Zealand. 

7. What bores you the most?

Meetings. The only things worse than in-person meetings are online meetings. 

8. What are you looking forward to this summer?

My wife is actually taking six weeks off this summer, unlike in 2023. So ANYWHERE we go will be fine. 

9. What is your favorite film?

I don’t know that I have one or a dozen or a hundred. That said, I’ve liked almost every old movie I’ve seen in the theater: Rear Window, Casablanca, and Cabaret, to name three. When I saw The Wizard Of Oz, I saw, during Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead, a female munchkin spinning the wrong way. I’ve watched that movie two dozen times on television but I never saw that. 

Of course, I do

10. Do you sing in the shower?

Invariably. The songs are determined by whatever the water is speaking to me.  

11. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

I always try to answer this question differently each time. I’ll go with the 1999 Hess truck that Santa brought me. I’ve gotten them every year since then. 

12. Do you prefer being indoors or outdoors? 

Indoors. I worry about sunburn because of my vitiligo. Allergy season seems to be nine months a year for me. And carrying groceries while walking with a cane makes holding an umbrella a PITA, as I experienced this past week. 

13. When was the last time you cried, and why?

It was something sad on TV. Or it could have been a song that brought me tears of joy. I cry a lot easier than I used to. 

14. What do you keep in your bag or handbag?

When I walk out the door, I need three things, and I recite: wallet, keys, and phone. 

15. Can you play a musical instrument?

No. Well, kazoo. 

Sunday Stealing: the best thing


Once more, Sunday Stealing is purloining from How Far Will You Go?

1.    What’s the best thing to inherit other than money?

Good health, I suppose. I would say a long life, but if one’s health were awful, that wouldn’t be so great.

2.    What one thing would you most like to happen tomorrow?

I’d like to write a blog post. I’m falling behind and my reserves are rapidly shrinking. What should I write about?

3.    Who is the person with whom you’ve been most infatuated?

I wrote a whole blog post about this in 2008. And I’m sure there were others, not to mention the ones I knew personally; we won’t get into THAT!

4.    In what part of the day does time go slowest and fastest?

It ALL goes pretty fast. My list of things to do doesn’t seem to shrink.

5.    Whose thoughts would you most like to read?

djt. What’s really going on there?

6.    Who is the person you’d least like to touch?

Odd question. What are they, lepers? I suppose the person others think they ought not to touch would be the person I would be most compelled to touch.


7.    What is the best quality you inherited from your parents?

My father had a good musical ear. My mother was very kind.

8.    Who is the friend you most often disagree with?

There is one, who I am not going to name. This week, I shared what I thought was an interesting upcoming musical release but it was pooh-poohed. Whatevs.

9.    What’s the best ritual of your daily life?

It’s playing Wordle (485-game streak) and Quordle.

10.    What is the most useful job you’ve ever had?

I’ll pick working at FantaCo (May 1980-November 1988), a comic book store/publisher/convention place that became a “third place” for many patrons. I balanced the checkbook, helped order products, wrote and edited a few magazines, et al. A lot of things I learned were useful in being a business librarian (1994-2019).

11.    In which year of your life did you change the most?

Lessee, 1972. Or 1974, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004. If pressed, I’ll pick 1978. 1977 was the year I bounced from New Paltz, NY to Charlotte, NC to NYC, and back to New Paltz to Schenectady, NY. In 1978, I got a job I liked at the Schenectady Arts Council in a metro area I have lived in ever since.

12.    What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten for free?

A trip to Barbados, courtesy of the game show JEOPARDY! It wasn’t totally free in that I had to pay taxes on the value of the trip; the trip’s value was $2100, if I remember correctly.

13,    What is the thing you are best at?

I can connect numbers with events, such as those years in question 11.

I can walk under ladders

14.    What was the luckiest moment in your life?

I don’t know about THE luckiest, but I thought of this event recently. As a college student in New Paltz, NY in the 1970s, I often hitchhiked from my hometown of Binghamton to school and back. Once, I walked just outside  New Paltz village and found a white and orange metal sign with 17 on it. To get home, I would take NY-299 W to US-44 E to NY-52 W to NY-17 W to Binghamton. I put up the sign, and about five minutes later, a guy from the CIA picked me up and dropped me at Exit 72 just above my grandma’s house in Binghamton.  BTW, the guy was from the Culinary Institute of America, not the Central Intelligence Agency.  

15.    What is the single most important thing you have ever learned?

People are irrational, motivated by factors they don’t always understand themselves. This week, a person in my neighborhood drove past a Road Closed sign. They must have thought, “Surely, if I can drive past the sign, I should be able to get down the block.” Nope, the road construction was at the end of the road. They had to turn around in someone’s driveway and return to the main street. I got just a soupçon of delight from this.

Sunday Stealing: every corner

assault weapons ban

Once again, Sunday Stealing is purloining “all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. ” First, I should note per Chuck, that today is 4/21/2024. Spelled backwards, it’s 4202/12/4, and this phenomenon works through the 29th. But it’s only true in those weird MM/DD/YYYY places. 

1.    What was the best toy you ever owned?

Johnny Seven OMA (One-Man Army). It made an appearance on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. “Detective Robert Goren finds one in a toy store, and demonstrates all seven firing modes (Episode: Collective, June 2006.) When my friends and I were at Binghamton (NY) Central High School, probably in the spring of 1970, we made an antiwar video. I no longer recall the plot, as it were, though I remember bringing my toy gun to the proceedings.

2.    When in your life have you felt the loneliest?


3.    What is your strongest emotion

Melancholy. When I get sad, it devolves to melancholy. And when I get angry, I’m generally mortified and sink into melancholy.

4.    When were you the most disappointed in yourself?

Oh, we don’t have time for that. Let’s say it’s difficult to pick just one.

5.    Which law would you most like to change?

“In 1994, Congress passed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly referred to as the Assault Weapons Ban. This law prohibited the manufacture or sale for civilian use of certain semi-automatic weapons and magazines that could accommodate 10 rounds or more.1 Notably, Congress authorized the legislation for 10 years. When Congress did not renew it in 2004, the Act expired.” I want it back.

Hate is such an unpleasant word

6.    Who is the person you have hated the most in your lifetime?

It was a coworker who took glee in making other people’s life difficult. They are a cockroach.

7.    What has disappointed you the most?

The tremendous potential of access to the Internet has been distorted by lies and fakes. 

8.    What’s the best possible attitude toward death?

It’s inevitable, so try to make the most out of life. (Easier said than done.)

9.    What’s been the longest day in your life?

July 4, 2023.

10.  What is the biggest coincidence in your life?

I went to  what turned out to be a massive (100,000+ people) antiwar demonstration in New York City on February 15, 2003 against the impending war in Iraq, one of many actions across the globe. As I took a bus from Albany, I was shocked to run into my friend from New Paltz and their child.

11.  What’s the oldest you’d like to live?

148. I mean, what the heck. I’d see a new century. Realistically, I have no idea.

12.    Who is the most amazing woman you know personally?

A 95-year-old woman in my church who reads scripture during service and is active in a book club. She’s also a very good hugger.

Running for office

13.    What was your best experience in school?

When I was in high school, candidates for student government offices had to get someone else to give their nominating speech. I gave one for one of my oldest friends, who I had known since kindergarten. It was, by all accounts, a rip-roaring address. And they were elecred secretary.

After that year, they let the candidates give their own speeches. I ran for student government president, but my speech was not nearly as good as the one I’d given the year before. I still won, though.

14.    What’s the most meaningful compliment you’ve ever received?

A friend of mine calls me Mister Music because I know a fair amount about music from the second half of the 20th century.

15.    What is the most you’ve spent on something really stupid?

It was a prototype of a different type of air conditioner thst woul be more energy-efficient but much more portable. I backed a Kickstarter in 2016 to the tune of $300. The last update was in 2022 when they were complaining of global supply chain issues.

Sunday Stealing: How Far Will You Go?


This week’s Sunday Stealing was provided by How Far Will You Go?

1.    What have you been the most ignorant about in your life?

Cars. Specifically, a class of boxy vehicles looks virtually identical to me.  They’re made by Toyota, Jeep, Chevy, et al. Many of them, including ours, are white, but I have no idea which one belongs to us until I look at the license plate.

2.    What in the world would you most like to see protected?

Water. Plastics in our oceans, lakes, and rivers are distressing, especially microplastics.

3.    How do you waste the biggest chunk of time each day or week?

I’m fretting about all the things I haven’t gotten done. A friend said we should have lunch if I get bored. I’m seldom bored, though I’m sometimes overwhelmed with a never-ending list of projects.

4.    Who is the scariest person you’ve ever known?

I’m hard-pressed to come up with an answer. When I was in second grade, some sixth-grade bullies were scary, but I didn’t KNOW them.

5.    What was the job you enjoyed the least?

This is tricky. Back in 2005, I wrote about a box factory. But I was there for only two weeks. It may have been being a customer service representative for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, which I did for 13 months before quitting without a job to go to.

6.    What thing about your family are you the most proud of?

I had three great-great-grandfathers who fought in the American Civil War: James Archer, Samuel Patterson, and Daniel Williams. All of them survived the war when the disease was more likely to kill a soldier than gunfire. James did get sick but recovered.

Power To The People

7.    What kind of power do you want most?

The power to allow others to discern BS.

8.    What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Jendy, Judy, and Broome nagged me to go to library school. 

9.    What’s the thing you know the most about?

The difference between US and UK Beatles albums

10.    When were you most moved by a ceremony?

I like naturalization ceremonies. One of my co-workers, Jinshui, experienced one in 2005. On a hot July 4, 2023, over two dozen folks were sworn In during an outdoor ceremony. Most of the participants were well-dressed but looked very uncomfortable.

11.    What is the best gift you ever gave to someone?

When I was younger and less sore, I helped people move at least 70 times. I was also pretty good at packing vehicles.

12.    What is the cruelest thing you’ve ever suffered?

It was work-related but not either of the previously mentioned jobs. It was my last job involving one particularly evil alleged human being.

13.    What’s the single nastiest thing you’ve ever done to someone?

I was not present for something I should have been present for, although, to be fair, I didn’t fully understand the ramifications at the time.

14.    What problem do you think is most common among friends your age?

Aches and/or pains, especially the joints.

15.    What is the strongest craving you get?

I was in CVS this weekend and did not buy a mini York Peppermint Patties bag, but I was tempted.

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