Sunday Stealing: another swap bot


Apparently, today’s Sunday Stealing is yet another swap bot production.

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

Putting money away for retirement. My employer was matching it at some percentage. It was neither reasoning nor gut instinct; it was “I might actually live to be 70, so maybe I should do that.”

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

I could spend dozens of blog posts musing that, if I did X, my life would be different in so many different ways. Jobs, and especially relationships. Too many variables – think multiverse – so that’s a hard pass.

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

Burying my father was hard because there was a lot of familial strife. And because he was my father, a complicated guy. If I learned anything, it was that, at that moment, it was right to stay the course I believe he had wanted us to take.

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

I hope for my daughter, and I worry for my daughter. I try to be an educated citizen. Naturally, I vote. I try to be kind and a good listener.

I discuss issues in my blog – though not as often as I could because, frankly, it exhausts me, it doesn’t convince many people who weren’t inclined to that POV, and it tends not to bring me joy.

Talking with myself

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

Not a damn thing because he wouldn’t listen anyway.

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

This probably isn’t it, really, but still. When I was in high school, there was a Red Cross training event in Manlius, NY, near Syracuse. At the end of the week, there was a talent show, and somehow, a couple of guys, one a blues guitarist, asked me to play with them. I stood on stage, people expecting me to sing. Instead, I played the comb. The whole thing was about 3 minutes. I got a standing ovation.

7. Write about a moment you feel brave.

There was a kid whose parents ran a falafel shop on Delaware Avenue in Albany. He wandered into traffic, and I went out and scooped him up before he could get hit by a car. It was only scary after the fact.

8.  What made you happy today?

The blog post I wrote for October 25th.

9. What do you dislike most about growing up?

We lived in a district where we walked to school. So our superintendent of schools almost NEVER called for snow days, even when the drifts were a foot taller than I was.

Using time

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

Singing in choir, listening to recorded music, and writing this blog – because it feeds my soul.

Reading books, reading certain online articles/websites, playing word games (Boggle, Wordle)- because it feeds my brain.

Collecting Hess trucks, watching recorded NFL football games while fast-forwarding between snaps and during commercials – because it’s fun.

I buy books that I take forever to read – because it supports local authors.

I am doing genealogy – because it gives me insight into my roots and myself.

11. Do you have an embarrassing moment that still makes you cringe? Write about it in as much detail as you feel comfortable!

It’s hardly cringeworthy at this point, but I still remember elements of it. I was in a class at school – I don’t even remember when or what class, but probably junior high. We were all supposed to give a talk about whatever. The outline was on the chalkboard in the back of the room. I broke my glasses shortly before this exercise and couldn’t READ the chalkboard in the back of the room. So, I used binoculars to read. It got a big laugh, and I was mortified.

12. What has been your best trip so far?

Maybe the 2011 family trip from Albany to Niagara Falls to Toronto to Peterborough, ON in 2011.

Moi? Unique?

 13. Write a list of 5 things (physical or personality-wise) you love about yourself, and why they make you unique.

I’m desperately curious about a lot of things.

When necessary, I can be loud enough to get the attention of a crowd.

When I was three, I fell down a flight of stairs; as a result, I have a scar around my soul patch where hair won’t grow.

I’ve given over 22 gallons of blood and continue to do so at least twice a year, even though it’s more difficult now as my injection site has developed scar tissue.

I’m told that I read well in public.

14. Discuss 5 things you wish others knew about you.

When I say I don’t care about a choice – I don’t care what kind of restaurant we go to, I mean it.

Conversely, when I get insistent, I REALLY mean it: no anchovies! (I have two specific examples, neither having anything to do with food.)

I am more introverted than most people believe; I’m just fakin’ it, as I wrote.

Here’s something that seems obvious to me: I am thinking a lot of the time about the best way to do something, what I can do to remove obstructions, how to be aware of being in someone else’s shoes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The rest of the time, there’s music in my head.

15. Is social media a blessing or a curse?

Yes. While it’s a way to keep in touch with people I used to know IRL, there’s too much noise.

Sunday Stealing: Swap Bot


This Sunday Stealing is from Swap Bot, which I misread as Swamp Bot.

Have you tried anything new this year?
I went to a corner grocery store that was six blocks away. I had not been there in decades, if at all,  and I’m unsure why. It’s nicer than the store a block closer to me.
Oh, yeah, I also went to France last month. I’d never been anywhere except North America before. The picture is of the bride and the groom’s father at the wedding rehearsal in Erdevan.

What would you do if you didn’t have wifi for a week?
Read books and magazines a lot. Play board games. Talk on the telephone.

Do you like summer? Why or why not?
I don’t mind it unless the sun is scorching. That said, I tend towards the shade because of my vitiligo.

What’s one restaurant that you like in your city? What food do they sell?
Allie B’s Cozy Kitchen serves soul food.

Do you prefer a digital book or a real paper book?
I really can’t concentrate while reading digital books, and have tried. Also, I’m on the computer a lot, so I like paper books.

What’s one thing that you want to buy, but it’s a bit expensive, so you haven’t bought it yet?
A new office chair. It’s a bit shaky. It’s not terribly expensive, but I’m a bit low on funds after going to France.

What tea brands do you like?
I don’t know about brands. I tend to like most teas by most brands. When in doubt, get me English Breakfast.

What’s one food that you can binge eat a lot?
Ritz crackers and cheese together.
Small amounts of money
Write one random thing that happened to you this month.
On June 7, I received an email telling me: “Between June 14th and June 19th, 2023, you will be sent a settlement payment from the class action settlement in In re EpiPen Marketing, Sales Practices and Antitrust Litigation, Civil Case No. 2:17-md-02785-DDC-TJJ, pending in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.”
On June 9, I received an email: “New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached an agreement with Family Energy, Inc. The Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York (“NYAG”) has determined that you are eligible to receive a payment of $57.13 as compensation for money you have lost due to this company’s deceptive business practices.”
Also, on June 9, “Yahoo Data Breach Settlement sent you USD 61.08. Your Yahoo Data Breach settlement payment is now available in PayPal.”
These minor payments to me are undoubtedly a massive pain for the payees.

How many long-term penpals do you have right now? (people who pen pal with you for more than 3 years)
Define penpal. If by that, you mean regular communication, then nobody, and there hasn’t been any since about five years after I got email. Before email, I probably had a couple of dozen folks regularly.

What food do you want to sell if you own a small food trailer?
Not really in my skill set or my interest. Still, I’ll pick eggs because I DO know how to make them scrambled, fried, poached, et al.—some real and faux sausage and toast.
What’s one handmade gift that you received and really liked?
Messages from my daughter. But I’ve kept several things my daughter has created.

What’s your ideal Saturday like?
Unscheduled, which has not happened nearly often enough. I’d catch up on reading newspapers, watching Finding Your Roots on TV, and finally clean my office.

What things do you like to buy on Etsy?
Not much. My daughter bought rolling pins from Ukraine for her mother, which I paid for. We have ordered delicious bundt cakes from Great Exbaketations Bakery in the past. I bought two obscure CDs in 2022.

What kind of Asian food do you like?
Indian, specifically lamb saag, chicken tikka masala, and others. I also like Chinese food. I’ve enjoyed Thai food the few times I had it.

Swap-Bot Sunday Stealing

assault weapons, peanut butter, the movie Rollover

Swap-botThe  Sunday Stealing this week came from Swap-Bot. These were dubbed by the moderator, Bev, as silly questions. Some of them are just plain weird.

What mythical creature would improve the world most if it existed?

The phoenix could fly around from town to town, helping them to rise from the ashes of fires and the devastation of droughts. Maybe it could work on wind and water damage too.

What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence?

Assault weapons, such as AK-47s. BTW, I agree with those who have ever been in conversation about these weapons of massive destruction and are seeking to ban them. You call something an AK-47, but it’s an AR-15. So you are chastised that since you don’t know the difference, your opinions don’t matter. What I do know is how either one affects the human body. There’s a video from 60 Minutes from 2018, unfortunately now housed behind the Paramount + paywall, which explains this quite graphically.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?

It was actually at my grandmother’s house, I think. A tiny picture of “Jesus”was in a frame, and the eyes seemed to follow you around. It was creepy. The technique is mentioned on this site.

What would be the absolute worst name you could give your child?

Jelly Bean Green

What would be the worst thing for the government to make illegal?

Voting. And sometimes they try.

What are some of the nicknames you have for customers or coworkers?

Not a nickname, but when I was a working librarian, we always said, “We don’t know everything, but we know how to find it.”


If peanut butter wasn’t called peanut butter, what would it be called?

Toxic paste. My daughter is allergic. When I was young, I used to eat a lot of peanut butter, specifically Jif. I’m convinced I probably ate too much at some point because now I can’t stand it. This has actually been a boon to our family for a couple of reasons. 1) When we’re somewhere with unlabeled cookies, I can take a bite and tell my daughter instantly not to eat them before I spit them out. 2) My wife got Reese’s Pieces that my daughter would receive for trick-or-treating.

What movie would be greatly improved if it was made into a musical?

I’ve thought about this a lot. While I don’t particularly remember the film well, I thought it was TERRIBLE. (While 7 of 9 Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it a positive review, the audience was only 33% positive.) I’m picking Rollover (1981), about which one critic wrote, “Perhaps I might have liked it if I knew what it was all about.”

The plot: “The wife of a murdered petrochemical company chairman and a banker investigating the liquidity of his new bank stumbles upon an international financial scheme that could lead to global economic collapse.” It starred Jane Fonda, during a run of several well-regarded films, and Kris Kristofferson. I believe a scene was filmed at SUNY Albany. Music could only have made it better.

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?

A week in Antarctica in July.

Name game

What is the funniest name you have actually heard used in the real world?

It’s a strange thing. When you hear it over and over again, it’s not so weird. I’m specifically thinking of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who most Hollywood agent types thought he should change. Now, there are so many diverse names, perhaps difficult to pronounce, but people figure it out.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to?

People in the stands drinking beer are usually okay. Watching people drinking while performing is not interesting to me.

What would be the coolest animal to scale up to the size of a horse?

All of the examples I thought of were terrifying. A hard PASS.

What set of items could you buy that would make the cashier the most uncomfortable?

I find most cashiers don’t care all that much.

What is something you just recently realized that you are embarrassed you didn’t realize earlier?

Probably the definition or pronunciation of a word, but frankly, I don’t remember (or much care) what it was. And “embarrassed” is a gross exaggeration.

What are some fun and interesting alternatives to war that countries could settle their differences with?

Not necessarily fun, but games of tic-tac-toe with the starter alternating. You succeed when you win ten games in a row. It’d go on forever, so there would be no time to fight.

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