Category Archives: questions


I saw this article a while back: “According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average home has 26 consumer electronics devices — anything ranging from a radio to a PDA.” The writer decides the cellphone is the most important item he owns and would be the leasst likely to give up. Also, I read in Parade magazine this article in which the cellphone is on the Top 10 of the Most UNWanted Inventions.

So what devices do you have? What do you need? What would you give up? What would you couldn’t live without?

I have no cellphone, but I do have a phone that I can remove from the base, something my wise parents-in-law bought for us just after Lydia was born. Its best feature, though, is the homing device at the base which I push to find it. (I ‘d love that for the remote on the DVR.)

Have a DVR. Don’t NEED the DVR. I do like the DVR, a lot actually. Still have the VCR, which is good because I still have a bunch of VHS tapes, which the child watches on occasion.

I have a stereo with a turntable that’s in need of repair. The turntable operates only when I spin it manually, then it catches. I also have a 78 player in the attic in need of a cartridge. (Yes, I have 78s. No, I’m not THAT old. I was living in an apartment building, and the nice old ladies who lived upstairs gave them to me when we all got thrown out of the building so the landlords could renovate and go upscale.)

For me, I suppose, my technology keeper has become the computer. I communicate with it (e-mail and blog), I watch stuff on it (videos, though rarely), I listen to music on it (well, the one at work), I keep track of my schedule with those Windows pop-ups. I could watch TV on it, and did, a little, for college basketball.

What says you?

Depressing Songs QUESTION

E-mail from a friend:

So there is this book called “I hate myself and want to die, the 52 most depressing songs you’ve ever heard” by Tom Reynolds

it is divided into chapters

1. I was a teenage car crash
2. I hate myself and want to die
3. I’m trying to be profound and touching but really suck at it
4. If I sing about drugs, people will take me seriously
5. She hates me, I hate her
6. Horrifying remakes of already depressing songs
7. I’m telling a story nobody wants to hear
8. I had no idea that song was so morbid
9. I mope, therefore I am
10.Perfect storms
Honourable Mentions

So I sat around in the Saratoga Last Vestige which is as close to High Fidelity as one is apt to get and 4 of us threw around songs and managed to guess over 20 of these songs and propose many others.

SOOO for the first thing I am making a set of CDs with the 52 most depressing songs of the book in order (from most depressing to the 52nd most depressing)

AND we are creating our own lists of 52 most depressing songs and combining them to make a second set of cds. And you are obviously the best qualified person I know to contribute to this endeavor. [Oh, the PRESSURE!] so please make a list. If you include any songs from the book I will let you know and you can submit another or submit 75 songs in order and i will just take the first 52 that qualify.

The book starts in the late 50s and goes to the present. My list is only going to go to the end of the 20th century unless i decide to include “White Flag” by Dido (I know I did horrible unforgivable things to you and that you can’t possibly ever want to think of me again that is why I have decided to stalk you for the rest of your life and make you miserable all in the name of this perverted love I think I have for you).

OH and including a pithy explanation as to why you are including the song such as I just gave you above on white flag is appreciated but not required.

With an invitation like THAT how could I refuse?

So, off the top of my head I provided:

My Baby’s the Star of a Driver’s Ed Movie-Blotto (1) – “her underwear was clean”
Leader of the Pack-Melissa Ethridge (1, 6) – this one you certainly know, if not by this artist
The Needle and the damage done-Neil Young (4) -a paean to his dead friend
Abraham, Martin and John/What The world needs Now-Tom Clay (6,7)
Timothy-the Buoys (7,8) – cannibalism
1941 Mining Disaster-Bee Gees (3,7) – self-explanatory
Ebony Eyes-Everly Brothers (plane crash – yet hokey) – why is the plane late? maybe it left late. Can everyone waiting for the flight please report to the chapel?
People Who Died-Jim Carroll Band (3)- “they were all my friends and they died”; a Q104 staple
Tears in Heaven-Eric Clapton (7) death of his son
Strange Fruit-Cassandra Wilson (7) lynchings of black people; a Billie holiday song
I Am Rock, Richard Cory, Sound of Silence-Simon & Garfunkel; “I have my books and my poetry to protect me”; suicide; “hello darkness, my old friend”
The Mercy Seat-Johnny Cash death row
– indeed several songs from Folsom Prison – “shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”
to Sting’s I Hung My Head – another shooting, followed by regret
Biko–Peter Gabriel (7) – death of anti-apartheid leader in South Africa

But I know there’s a lot more, so I’ll make you a deal. Send at least one song, preferably with a brief description, and I’ll make you copies (if you want) of whatever uplifting music I receive from this project.
And speaking of free music, but not nearly so depressing, I still have a couple copies of my award-winning, Lefty Brown’s Mixed Bag V disc exchange entry, Flick Tunes. Send me an address and I’ll send you some tunes.


Actors from Other Shows QUESTIONS

The woman pictured above is Marisol Nichols, a socially aware young woman who I remember from a short-lived show from last year called In Justice. She played Sonya Quintano, an idealistic Latina trying to help get people falsely imprisoned out of jail. Now she’s Nadia ‘Natalie’ Yassir, of Middle Eastern heritage, on “24”. Her boss on “In Justice” was Charles Conti, played by Jason O’Mara, who’s now the publisher Stuart Maxson on Men In Trees, and will play Philip Marlowe in an ABC-TV pilot.

Now, I happened to have enjoyed In Justice, in part because it had a different POV; that law enforcement sometimes gets it very wrong, and we need to be mindful of that, something that fuels, in part, my opposition to capital punishment, BTW.

Here’s the first question: what obscure, not all that popular show or shows do you remember that have been a launching ground for performers? Two that come to mind were both Norman Lear productions. 704 Hauser, a 1994 show about the folks who moved in after Archie and Edith Bunker were gone. Don’t remember much about it, except that it featured Maura Tierney, who now appears in E/R. The other is The Powers That Be, a 1992-93 show starring John Forsythe as Sen. William Franklin Powers, Holland Taylor, later of The Practice and Two and a Half Men, as his wife Margaret, Peter MacNicol (Ally McBeal, Numb3rs) as an aide, Valerie Mahaffey as the Powers’ daughter Caitlyn Van Horne, David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) as her husband, the philandering Congressman Theodore Van Horne, Elizabeth Berridge (The John Larroquette Show) as Charlotte, the maid with whom Theodore was dallying, Robin Bartlett (Mad About You) as another aide, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock from the Sun) as Pierce Van Horne.
You can’t name St. Elsewhere – not obscure enough.

Likewise, what movie seemed to spawn future stars, excluding American Graffiti, Taps, and movies directed by John Hughes?

One could take this in a literary way: a magazine or short story anthology that generated some big name writers.

Sports and Race QUESTIONS

Unrelated forward-
Note to Tom the Dog: Now that you are a game show maven, perhaps you can be a source of pithy quotes on other cultural matters. For instance, an Albany-area woman made it onto the next round of American Idol – a show I’m not currently watching, BTW – but had to keep it a secret for a few months, until the program aired this week. Hey, let’s find other folks who’ve had similar experiences, like that guy who was on JEOPARDY! eight years ago! Voila!
1. Here’s an excerpt from Boss Talk: ‘Welcome to My World’; NBA Commissioner Stern Gets Kudos for Expansion But Has Share of Problems
Russell Adams and Adam Thompson. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jan 17, 2007. pg. B.1
WSJ: It’s often been said that when brawls break out on the court in the NBA, everybody makes a big deal out of it, even though other sports frequently have fights among players. Why?

Mr. Stern: My own take is the burden of the fans being so close to the stands. Because of the spectacular view of our game from courtside — which is the closest to the action of any game, and it’s replicated by a camera, and increasingly by high-def, the prospect of players, in any shape or form, crossing the barrier between them and the fans — that’s a problem that we have and no one else has.

WSJ: Do you believe it also might have something to do with racial attitudes in this country, that the NBA is judged more harshly for that reason?

Mr. Stern: Well, I choose not to dwell on it, but you may be on to something. We were the first sport to be identified as black. And, despite the fact that the starters in other sports like football could be equally, percentage-wise, black, our guys are [visible] out there. We can see them, they don’t come encumbered by hat, helmet, long sleeves and pants. You just touched on the global conversation, which is the role of race, and certainly, I would not be fully honest if I didn’t say it’s always there, in some shape or form.

Yes, the NBA is 80% black. But the NFL is about 70% black. Is race a factor in perceptions of NBA players, or is it the proximity to the stands, the fact that, unlike football players, they don’t wear helmets, and that changes the dynamic?

2. Much has been written about the two head coaches in the Super Bowl being black. What’s your reaction? This is my take on firsts in everything: Firsts are important when they get us to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore. Doug Williams, the first black Super Bowl quarterback was important, but I couldn’t tell you the second or third. Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby were important, but one doesn’t make note of every black baseball player, as Ebony magazine did in the 1950s and 1960s; interestingly, black baseball players at the major league level is declining.

Once upon a time, I could tell you the name of every female U.S. Senator, but now there are 16, and I can’t; it’s not enough, but it’s a start. However, I can name all of the black members of the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, since there have been only three: Brooke, Moseley-Braun, and Obama.

Progress is measured when you stop having to measure.

Unrelated postlude;

From May 4, 2004 WSJ

A Better PDB?

Jessica Mintz writes in the Wall Street Journal:

“The presidential daily brief titled ‘Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US’ triggered a political firestorm. But for Greg Storey, what was most striking about the document was its lack of style.
“‘Why is it that the president puts up with these horribly written and laid out documents to assess the threat against our nation?’ wondered Mr. Storey, a 33-year old Web designer.
“So he set out to do something about it.”

Here’s Storey’s blog item explaining what he did and why.


The number of 2006 movies I’ve seen this year its pitiful. So, I’m curious to find out:

1. What movies and performers are going to get nominated? I don’t mean the obvious ones, the Dame Dench, Leo DeCaprio (who I will guess right now will win for Best Actor (in “The Departed” over Forest Whitaker, based on the old “body of work” tradition), and the Golden Globe winners. I mean, Abigail Breslin for “Little Miss Sunshine”? (She was as much a supporting role in that film as Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls”, which is to say, Not really. What “omigod” nomination will make it on the ballot?

2. Who would you like to see nominated who won’t make it? My pick, Will Ferrell in “Stranger Than Fiction” which maybe was too cerebral for traditional Will Ferrell fans. I didn’t see “Sherrybaby”, but since I liked Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Stranger”, I’ll root for her to get nominated. That IS how the Academy works, isn’t it? Have siblings been nominated in successive years, such as Warren Beatty and Shirley

On another topic:
January 18, 2007 (FinancialWire) Despite rampant speculation that satellite radio companies Sirius (NASDAQ: SIRI) and XM (NASDAQ: XM) may be contemplating a merger, comments by Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin may indicate that the move would violate antitrust regulations. Martin said that a merger between the two, who are the only major satellite radio companies, would be against restrictions built into both Sirius and XM licenses.
3. Do you listen to satellite radio? I never have. If so, what do you listen to? How do you think a merger would affect the companies, and the listeners?
I watched 1 Vs. 100 last night. Tom the Dog missed an easy question and was eliminated, but won $6,100. I know this because he told me, NOT because I watched the show. I have NO idea (until he undoubtedly recaps today) what question he missed, or even THAT he was eliminated, until the end of the show, when the camera finally panned to square #81. This is why I think it’s a flawed game show:
The contestant can get big money, but the surviving mob members get bupkis. Seems that one should get SOMETHING for getting a right answer, even if it’s $10 per question.
I don’t know who in the mob is left. Maybe they need to make the numbers larger or something, or have a tote board on the side or superimposed or this: when each mob member is eliminasted, gave him/her their .15 second of fame and put their face and number on the screen. SOMETHING.
Tom SHOULD try out for JEOPARDY!
I really want to know what he missed. I got all the questions right, but the QWERTY keyboard question was a guess (all the letters of gas ARE on the same line).

3 Laborious ?s

Labor Day weekend.

If you be so kind as to tell me:

1. Your favorite job, and why?

2. How much money would you need to never work again?

3. At what age, if ever, do you expect to retire, and what will you do then with your time?

BONUS: What was your worst job? (You’ll see my answer soon.)

3 Ramblin' ?s-Baseball

I was going to give you even more statistical stuff, but the hot weather precludes it.

Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days for failing Major League Baseball’s steroid use policy. Allegations about use by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds have also been made.

Palmero is only the fourth player, after Hank Arron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray, to hit 500 home runs (he has 569, in 9th place all-time, passing Reggie Jackson and closing in on Harmon Killebrew) and get 3000 hits.
McGwire had 583 career home runs, and practically saved baseball in 1998 with his exciting home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998, after the disasterous strike of 1994.
Bonds not only has 703 homers, but the 7-time MVP was intentionally walked more last year than some teams; he’s been out with injuries all of this season.

Every eligible person (retired five years) who has hit 500 or more home runs has made it to the HoF.

So, I’d like to know:

1. Will Barry Bonds make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame, and should he?
2. Will Mark McGwire make it, and should he?
3. Will Raphael Palmiero make it, and should he

Bonus question:
And what about the chances for Sammy Sosa, who is now #5 on the HR list, behind only Aaron, Ruth, Bonds, and Mays, passing McGwire and Frank Robinson this year?


Given the fact that this month is the 36th anniversary of the moonwalk, the United States is trying to get back in the space shuttle business, and Scotty from Star Trek died,

Please tell me:

1. What character from a television program or movie about space travel do you most identify, and why?

2. What thing in space travel fiction (book, movie, TV) is most likely to turn out to be true/possible in the future?

3. As commercial space flight becomes a reality, how much would you spend to go up in space? How long would you have to be up there to make it worth your while?


Part 2 of Three Ramblin’ Questions

Alex Trebek, Canadian-born host of a popular American game show, turned 65 yesterday.

So, please tell me:

1. If your life were a game show, what would it be called and what would be the rules?

2. As you’ve gotten older yourself, how has that changed your attitude towards aging and the aged?

3. Can you sing the first verse of O Canada and/or name the current Canadian Prime minister and/or name the Canadian provinces (10) and territories (3)? If you said yes to any of these questions, what is your nationality?

BONUS QUESTION: Alex Trebek, better with the mustache, or without?

Three Ramblin' Questions: premiere

Here’s a new feature here at Ramblin’ – it’s called “Three Ramblin’ Questions.”
OK, it’s not new. I was inspired by blogger Chris “Lefty” Brown.
OK, I stole Lefty Brown’s idea.

In any case, this month marks the 50th anniversary of “Rock and/or Roll,” as a cartoon minister once put it. Rock Around the Clock reached Number 1 on the charts July 9, 1955.
(Yeah, yeah, I know about “Rocket 88” and all that)

About halfway through the Rock and roll era, one (or two) of my favorite songs about rock and roll came out on Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album. (And neither do I ’cause it’s too darn hot.)

So, please tell me:

1. Will rock and roll ever die, or is rock and roll here to stay?

2. Is it better to burn out, or to fade away?

3. What king or queen of music is gone but not forgotten? (Gone means left this mortal coil, not a downturn in the career.)

BONUS QUESTION: I’ll be doing this feature:

a. Every week, religiously.

b. As the muse strikes.

c. Whenever I’m pressed for time.