Category Archives: SamuraiFrog

February Ramblin'

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Roger Ebert’s Last Words, con’t, commenting on the Esquire article (linked) and photo of him. “Resentment is allowing someone to live rent-free in a room in your head.”

How the Somaly Mam Foundation is trying to help end human trafficking

Wayne John tells about the time when a Burger King employee threw a double cheeseburger at him. Lousy aim, too.

Gordon reveals Dymowski and DeNiro – together.

Lady Gaga or Johnny Weir? “Can you tell the difference between the pop princess’ outrageous outfits and the Olympic skating star’s flamboyant costumes without seeing their poker faces?” You Olympics watchers who see figure skating only once every four years have no idea…

Springsteen covers.

And SamuraiFrog has three recent pieces worthy of mention, about Kermit the Frog and friend,Christina Hendricks – no, I’ve never seen Mad Men, either – and a particular Super Bowl ad which also annoyed me. (Should note that, on the latter two pieces, his language is coarser than mine.)

This next section is graphic.

Western New York Legacy web site,, is freely available online, and contains thousands of digital images, documents, letters, maps, books, slides, and other items reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Western New York

Print & Photographs (P&P) online catalog: Some photos copyright free (and some not).

Rose DesRochers – World Outside my Window: Free Cartoons for Your Blog, two examples of which appear in this very post.

Courtesy of Past Expiry Cartoon


January Rambling

Busy month coming. Black History Month at church, and I’m doing two adult ed sessions. One will be helping to hone my presentation at the Underground Railroad Conference in Troy, NY at the end of the month.
The one weekend I won’t be doing BHM stuff, I’ll probably be here.
Finally gave blood on January 18. I was scheduled to donate two or three times before that, but just didn’t feel up to it. The four months between donations is the longest I’ve gone since I had to pass for a year when I got rabies shots. The weird thing is that twice in a row, I got reminder cards about my donation six to eight days AFTER I was scheduled to donate; unhelpful AND a waste of money.
I was in the home office. There was this thin book that was falling off the shelf. Turned out to be The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Contemporary Horror Film by the late Chas Balun, an item I hadn’t thought about in years. When I was working at this comic book store called FantaCo, we sold many, many copies of the item. I went over to Steve Bissette’s site to let him know about this, and wouldn’t you know, but that he had just written about Chas and that very booklet! How odd.
ABC-TV is plugging this new show called The Deep End, about some young lawyers. The voiceover says, “From the network that brought you Grey’s Anatomy”, as though network affiliation is a reason to watch the show. Yet it DOES remind me of Grey’s in that there’s a guy under water; Meredith Grey practically drown a couple seasons ago. I shan’t be watching; hey I got 85% of my DVR capacity used up.

This reminds me of a poster SamuraiFrog wrote about, the text of which was “from the studio that brought you THE PROPOSAL.” as though anyone would go to a film for that reason. Goofy.
This incredible machine was “built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft, Iowa.
A resource guide re Haiti.
Anyone know the shelf life for amoxicillin capsules? Wayne John wanted to know.
Another SF-found piece, on gay marriage, a satire.
Thom Wade reminds me why I’m not a Mormon
The Brand Identity Guru says The Bachelor and Bachelorette Brands Can’t Be More Racist. I don’t watch, but I’d be interested in the thoughts of those who do.
Was Jack Benny in the movie Casablanca? Mark Evanier doesn’t think so, but he’s not sure.
What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010 under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1953.
Hard to find music and movies.
Salon finally figured out the joy of the Kennedy Center Honors. See also Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House.
Scholar Ladies a video response to Single Ladies by Beyonce.
Finally, the wife is trying to keep the daughter away from aspartame, the stuff in Equal and the other little blue packets, at least in the US, at least it is most of the time. And the stuff shows up in the darnedest places, such as packaged fruit cups one sends the daughter to school with.
But I’ve discovered that the DelMonte fruit cups, e.g., uses sucralose, the substance in Splenda and the other items in the yellow packet. Anyone aware of health issues for children with sucralose?


The Award-Winning…

Jaquandor was kind enough to bestow upon me a “Kreative Blogger” award of some sort.

I feel a certain obligation to pass these kinds of things along, based on the theory that, back in the olden days when I started blogging, some 4.7 years ago, it made the blogisphere – dare I say it? – FUN. Blogging should be fun, even if one’s venting one’s spleen to do so.

You’re supposed to reveal seven things about yourself. Of course, the problem with that I’m almost out of stuff to “reveal” that 1) I didn’t reveal before, 2) require more than a line or two, or 3) I’m not planning to reveal at this point, or quite possibly, ever. No guarantees that the list below might not have bumped into the first category:

1. I receive an irrational amount of pleasure when I delete one piece of spam in Gmail and it says I’ll be deleting “the one conversation”, or “both conversations” when I delete two, as opposed to those programs that will delete “all 1 conversations”, or some such.

2. I once got a B in art in 7th grade. My parents were at a loss as to how I did so well. This explains almost everything you need to know about me and doing art.

3. I once almost flew with someone who was traveling on someone else’s ticket. He got detained by airport security and the police for about seven hours until he showed his security clearance. This, BTW, was before 9/11.

4. I have no tattoos. I’m not opposed at this point, but 1) it would keep me from donating blood for a while and 2) my wife would hate it. Then there’s the pain and permanence thing, but those are secondary.

5. At least twice, I took jobs because of affairs of the heart. Neither was worth it; the jobs weren’t, that is, but the affairs of the heart were.

6. I tape sporting events then watch them later, going through lots of machinations (no news watching/reading or e-mail/Facebook/Twitter). Sometimes it works (Jets/Bengals, Eagles/Cowboys Saturday games I watched on Sunday; Packers/Cardinals Sunday game I finished Tuesday morning); sometimes not (the Patriots loss on the front cover of Monday’s Wall Street Journal).

7. I’m allergic to penicillin and Naprocyn, have been for years, yet I’m too lazy to get one of those tags. But we have one for my daughter with her peanut allergy.

Then I’m supposed to pass the award along. That’s a bit tougher. I’d have considered Jaquandor’s Byzantium Shores. I’d also have picked SamuraiFrog’s Electronic Cerebrectomy, except he gave the award to Jaquandor and that’s a bit too circular for me. Then there are the bums gentlemen who stopped blogging in the last year, who I used to follow.

Still, there’s:

1. Arthur @AmeriNZ – your usual, everyday blog of a gay man from Illinois who moved to New Zealand for love. OK, there’s a LOT more to it: talk about politics, comparative US/NZ culture and whatever enters his fertile mind. He also has a couple podcasts, one on politics, the other, more general.

2. Coverville – the blog is primarily a support mechanism for Brian Ibbott’s great podcast “featuring unusual covers of pop, rock and country songs by new and established performers.” But in the last year or so, he’s added a song rating system to the site. Also, he and his listeners have found some nifty videos of covers that he’s posted.

3. Progressive Ruin: Unfortunately, I gotta give props to Mike Sterling, even though he’s a cheater pants, not just for his persistence – I think he posted 364 days last year – but for some of his regular features, such as his deconstruction of the absurd items Diamond comics catalog, and especially Sluggo Saturdays. Still his obsession with the comic creature Swamp Thing is…disturbing.

4. And speaking of Swamp Thing, its best renderer, IMHO, my buddy Steve Bissette posts his Myrant, a mix of digital comics, comics & film history, political tirades and more.

5. Scott’s Scooter Chronicles is about music, books, beer, and hockey. Truth is that I’m not a big fan of the latter two, but he even makes those interesting. It’s also about his two young sons and being unemployed in America. SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN A JOB!

6. Anthony Velez’s The Dark Glass is a series of theological musings. Sometimes I don’t understand, but he always explains it, or tries to.

7. Gordon at Blog This, Pal! is mostly a pop culture (comics/TV/movies) blog. He knows more about Doctor Who and Kids in the Hall than anyone has a right to. I happen to particularly enjoy those too-rare glimpses of his personal side (his mom, St. Louis vs. Chicago). He also has a podcast that he’s rethinking. He knows I’d always vote for keeping the music, but really, he should do what brings him joy.


Child of (Too Much) TV

A television meme (with various comments throughout), via SamuraiFrog. I realized that the programs of my childhood I was pretty indiscriminate. Only had two or three choices at the time.

My Rules:
– Star (*) all of the following TV shows which you’ve ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime.
– Italicize a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it.

I watched the whole first season. Then the second season’s premiere episode was quite shocking, but still watched good parts of it. But by Season 3, I’d given up on it, largely for political reasons. I can’t help but think that some of those Blackwater-type thugs justified their moral code based on Jack Bauer.

7th Heaven
Maybe saw five minutes.

Never saw except in passing; looked stupid, but I could be wrong.

Watched the whole first season, then found out about some time shift thing between seasons. Saw the first episode of the next season, said what the… and bailed.

American Gothic

America’s Next Top Model

May have seen one episode. It was all right.

*Arrested Development
I tried to watch the first season, just couldn’t get into it. Then, nagged by others, notably Gordon, watched the premiere of the second season and was hooked and watched until the end. STILL haven’t seen much of the first season, though…

Babylon 5

Batman: The Animated Series
It looks good, but haven’t found the time.

*Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
It was goofy.

Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
I haven’t seen the new one at all. I figure it’s far better than the original but I’m not really that invested.

Never a full episode.

Beverly Hills 90210 (original)
I was in a laundromat once and actually saw an entire episode of this and Melrose Place. I survived.

Probably saw all the Dick York episodes, certainly all the ones in black and white. I loved this show early on, but somewhere it lost me. Don’t know know if it was the introduction of Tabitha, the introduction of color, or the introduction of Dick Sargeant as Darrin that made it lose its lustre.

My sister had a HUGE crush on Michael Landon. We often went to the neighbor next door to my grandmother to watch it, because they had color TV in 1962, while we didn’t get one until 1969. Probably watched for a half dozen seasons.


*Bosom Buddies
People I knew really liked it, but it never caught on with me.

*Boston Legal
I was a big fan of The Practice. In a cost-cutting move, the show canned half the cast in the last season, which essentially became an extended pilot for Boston Legal, as it introduced Denny Crane (William Shatner) and Alan Shore (James Spader). As a result, I didn’t bother with Boston Legal. Yet I caught it either late in the first or early in the second season, and pretty much watched it from that point until the end. Will have to catch that first season on DVD someday.

*Boy Meets World
This is a really bad show, but somehow I got stuck watching it; don’t remember why.

*Brothers And Sisters
I got hooked because of Sally Field.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Think I caught a Very Special Episode with music or something. It was OK.


Chappelle’s Show

*Charlie’s Angels
I was living in Charlotte, NC with my parents at the time of the first season. It was on. Dopey.


One of my favorite shows ever, though it took me forever to warm up to Rebecca.


Clarissa Explains it All

Watched this a LOT. It was in some weird rotation on NBC. Don’t know if I saw every episode, but it doesn’t matter, because they were all pretty much the same.

*Commander in Chief
This show started off really strong the first half dozen episodes. Got a new show runner and never really regained its footing until very near the end.

*Crossing Jordan
I watched it for most of the first season, but lost interest.

Wrote about my one and only time watching this here.

CSI: Miami


Curb Your Enthusiasm
I’d probably watch this if I had HBO.

Dark Angel

Dark Skies

DaVinci’s Inquest
I don’t even know what this is.

Dawson’s Creek
I saw the last episode.

Dead Like Me


Degrassi: The Next Generation

*Designing Women
It was on Monday nights on CBS between something I watched (Newhart) and something else I watched (Cagney & Lacey). It was harmless.

Desperate Housewives
Surprised that I’ve never seen this even for 10 minutes.


*Dharma & Greg
I can’t believe how dumb this show got after a while. And I think I was invested early because of this.

*Different Strokes
Usually when someone else turned on the TV; I never turned on the set to watch it.

*Doctor Who
Mostly the guy with the long scarf.

Both the 1950s version, which I saw as a kid, and the late 1960s version with Harry Morgan which I thought was high camp. Probably saw most, if not all of the latter series.

*Due South
Liked the first season, but lost interest.

I watched it for probably seven seasons but slowly started giving up on it, somewhere between the point when Dr. Romano lost his arm to a helicopter and the point that the helicopter fell on him. Watched the last episode.


Everybody Loves Raymond
I saw one episode. It was OK.

*Facts of Life
Like Different Strokes, when someone else controlled the remote.

*Family Guy
Don’t love it.


*Fawlty Towers



Very fond, though there was an arc when Frasier was unemployed that just never worked.

*Freaks & Geeks
Found this show a quarter of the way through and became a religious convert. May have seen all the episodes eventually, but not sure.

This show I always had a like/hate thing. Couldn’t tell Chandler and Joey apart the first season. Hated the monkey stories. But then I’d see something I liked. Probably saw about 30% of the shows.


Saw this once or twice. Thought it was fine but never pursued it further.

*Get Smart
Funny until Max and 99 got hitched.

Gilligan’s Island
When I was a kid, thought it was greatly entertaining, what can I say? Still has a solid theme song. Oh, Mary Ann.

Gilmore Girls
Found this late in the first season, then caught the reruns. Loved the core relationship: Rory-Lorelai-Emily. Loved the townspeople. especially loved Mrs. Kim, when she deve
loped as a character. Sure, the show would get off track – Rory’s refrain with Dean, e.g. I never believed. But I watched all seven seasons, and we even have Season 1 on DVD, albeit unwatched. The subject of one of my earliest posts, and undoubtedly others.

Gossip Girl

*Grey’s Anatomy
Sometimes I don’t know why, but there is always a character or two to root for.

Grange Hill
Don’t know what this is.

Growing Pains
Not once.

This was on from 1955-1975. When it was on Saturday night and ran for an hour (1961-1967), probably watched every week if I were home, but when it moved to Monday, probably only a dozen or so episodes.

*Happy Days
I discovered this pretty much post-Chuck. Watched it until it jumped the shark, which really made the Fonz a bit of a pussycat.

Hercules: the Legendary Journeys

Was mildly tempted, but never succumbed. Now I’m glad.

*Home Improvement
Never of my own volition.

Homicide: Life on the Street
I loved this show.

Maybe one episode. Found it irritating.

*I Dream of Jeannie
This was the epitome of sex when I was 12. Again, ruined by the engagement and marriage to Major Nelson. Always liked Bill Daily here,; he played ROGER Healey.

*I Love Lucy
It was on ALL OF THE TIME. I MUST have seen every episode.

Invader Zim


Hell’s Kitchen



Waited for it to get good; never happened.

Kim Possible

*Knight Rider
In passing the TV.

Knight Rider: 2008

*Kung Fu
Quite fond.

Kung Fu: The Legend Continues

La Femme Nikita
Saw the movie, but never felt compelled.

LA Law

*Laverne and Shirley
Usually, but not always, after watching Happy Days.

*Law and Order
Pretty much from when Lenny Briscoe started, or maybe an episode or two earlier, until when he left.

*Law and Order: SVU
Sordid little show I end up seeing when I’m in a hotel away from home. It seems to be ALWAYS on.

*Law and Order: CI
Probably three episodes.


Little House on the Prairie
Never saw a full episode ever.

Lizzie McGuire

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Watched, and liked the first season, but it started grating on me; probably gave up on it.

Seen five minutes. It’s less Lost per se and more the fear of commitment.

Lost in Space
High camp.

Watched the first eight seasons TWICE, but the last three only once. Should have ended when Radar went home and they started repeating. (And we won’t mention the messy chronology at all.)

Did I ever see a full episode of this?

*Malcolm in the Middle
Wasn’t watching much on Sunday night by this point.

Married…With Children
Saw once all the way through. Hated.

McLeod’s Daughters
Don’t know.

Melrose Place
One ep in the laundromat.

*Miami Vice
Watched probably a couple seasons of it before I lost interest.

*Mission: Impossible
watched the first ramping up season with Steven Hill as the leader, the excellent next couple seasons with the perfect set of Peter Graves, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, then the latter, lesser years, with Leonard Nimoy and Lesley Ann Warren replacing Landau and Bain. Maybe it was the acting too, but the writing definitely suffered in those later years.

*Mod Squad
What can I say?


*Mork & Mindy
LOVED the first season, but by the time Jonathan Winters was hatched, I’d already long given up.

Murphy Brown
I used to love this show.

My Life As A Dog

*My Three Sons
It was on forever.

*My Two Dads



Ned Bigby’s Declassified School Survival Guide



One Tree Hill

I will probably see this someday.

*Perry Mason
Watched it for years at every opportunity; made me want to be a lawyer, until I got to college and found that I didn’t have much of a capacity for law. One of the best theme songs, ever, and the extended end theme is even better.

Power Rangers

Press Gang

Prison Break

*Private Practice
The cast deserves better.



Project Runway


*Pushing Daisies
Lamented loss.

Quantum Leap

Queer As Folk (US)

Queer as Folk (UK)


*Remington Steele
Have little recollection of this show, actually.

Rescue Me

Road Rules


Watched it from the beginning until near the end, when I had to bail.



*Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

A very inconsistent show which seemed to finally finally find its footing in the seventh and final NBC season, only to actually improve with its first season on ABC. But I fear the new show will be like AfterMASH.

Seaquest DSV

Loved this show in the very beginning, really started being annoyed by it by Susan’s death, and by the last season, had all but abandoned it. Did see the disappointing last episode.

*Sex and the City
Never saw it at all on HBO, but watched the entire (edited) series on TBS. Liked it. Didn’t love it, but enjoyed it on its own terms.

Six Feet Under
Another HBO show I’ll have to see someday.

Slings and Arrows

Don’t know why I never actually watched this.

So Weird

South of Nowhere

*South Park
Not my thing, though occasionally funny.

*Spongebob Squarepants
Watched maybe a season religiously before the child was born. Go figure.

St. Elsewhere
Possibly my favorite all-time show. I loved the first season when I got a review copy of the DVDs.

Star Trek
But not in the first run.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Felt compelled to watch, maybe to make up for muffing watching the original series.

*Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Enterprise

Stargate Atlantis

Stargate SG-1

*Starsky & Hutch

Watch countless episodes with George Reeves.



Watched the whole first season, which was interesting. The second season was dull. I started watching just the first and last shows for about six seasons, but now not even that.

Loved Taxi.

Teen Titans

*That 70’s Show

That’s So Raven

The 4400

*The Addams Family
Probably in first run.

The Amazin
g Race

*The Andy Griffith Show
Watched it for years.

The A-Team

*The Avengers

*The Beverly Hillbillies
Watched it far longer than I should have. Did you know that about a half dozen of the regular season shows of this program are in the Top 50 all-time most watched programs?

The Big Bang Theory

*The Brady Bunch
Never saw it in first run, though came across a few episodes subsequently.

*The Cosby Show
Loved how the theme changed in most seasons. I think when Raven showed up is when I left.

*The Daily Show
Never saw it until Jon Stewart was hosting. See more online than on TV.

The Dead Zone

*The Dick Van Dyke Show
Probably my all time favorite comedy.

*The Flintstones

*The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Wow, did this show get grating, or what?

*The Golden Girls

*The Honeymooners

*The Jeffersons

*The Jetsons

The L Word

*The Love Boat

The Magnificent Seven

*The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Must see TV.

*The Monkees

*The Munsters

*The Office (US)

The Powerpuff Girls

The Pretender

*The Real World
I watched the first three or four seasons.

*The Shield

*The Simpsons
Watched nine full seasons, have watched only a handful of shows since.

*The Six Million Dollar Man

The Sopranos
The last five minutes.

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

*The Twilight Zone
I’m referring to the original, not the 1980s version, which I also saw some segments.
I was constitutionally required.

*The Waltons
In the spring of 1975, I watched this every week; I was depressed.

*The West Wing
Watched first few seasons. then it got too unfocused and I quit it. But I DID watch the campaign between the Alda and Smitts candidates.

*The Wonder Years
Probably until the last year or so.

The X-Files
Watched one two-part episode.

Third Watch
Saw parts of an episode or two.

*Three’s Company
Usually someone else had it on.

*Twin Peaks
Tried to watch, but bailed about halfway through the first season.

Twitch City


Ugly Betty

Veronica Mars


*Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)

Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)

*Will and Grace
Very irregularly. Gene Wilder was on a couple of them, and I watched them specifically for that reason.


Xena: Warrior Princess

As Much of a Rant as I Can Muster

Ken Levine had an interesting post about ranting. He ranted about Christmas decorations in September, sports seasons that gpo on too long and the like.

SamuraiFrog links to a young woman ranting about a giveaway of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and for good cause. (Language NSFW.) SF is also good at ranting, himself.

I suppose I’ve ranted now and then in the comments sections of other people’s blogs. I know that at least on one occasion recently, I got rather incensed that a letter writer suggested that the blogger was being racist, essentially because the blogger saw some of the reaction to Barack Obama as being racist. I felt the need to defend the blogger, though I knew the blogger didn’t need any defending from me. But I was SO incensed that I was compelled to anyway.

My little rant here, I guess, is small potatoes. My wife is a big fan of figure skating. During the fall and winter, there are six Grand Prix events that take place across the world. Apparently, though, according to this site, the only event that will be televised this season is the Skate America, and for that, only the Ladies Free Skate. No short programs, no men’s, pairs or dance. The U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be shown in January, but in the season leading up to an Olympic year, one wants more opportunities to gauge the skaters from other countries as well as the American contingent.

Meanwhile, NBC IS showing what I frankly consider junk events such as Halloween on Ice Starring Mannheim Steamroller or Musselman’s Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular. These are exhibitions, not real competitive skating. And while I don’t care personally, I think the coverage of he sport does it a disservice. It’d be like showing pre-season games and the All-Star Game without showing the regular season competition. Of course, the fact that the junk events are scheduled so often may be a reflection of the ratings, in which case I suppose the skating viewers may be to blame as well.

Oh, know what else is bugging me? The fact that when i type the words men’s, women’s, or children’s in Blogger and elsewhere, they are underlined in red as though they are misspelled. Sure I can ignore it, but why is it indicated as incorrect in the first place?


H is for Hate

I started writing this before, but I think I have now found an angle; thanks to Anthony North’s piece about greed and this response to it.

SamuraiFrog is a blogger I visit regularly. (For those of you who do not, he currently has a lovely young woman, nude, seen from the rear, prominently featured on his masthead, in case such things bother or entice you.) Anyway, he won some blogging award, and as part of the acceptance of same, he was supposed to tell something about himself.
I hate people who say things like “Well, I don’t actually hate anything/anyone/whatever you just mentioned hating, because [pick one or more: a. it takes too much energy to hate something, b. hate is too strong an emotion, c. hate is a relationship that places too much importance on something I dislike, d. it takes up too much mental space to hate something, or e. I try not to give in to baser emotional states].” What I really hear is “I’m better than you” and what I really think is “Go f*** yourself.”

Now, as it turns out, I don’t feel that I HATE anyone, and I was just going to say that in his comments and let it go at that. But as I thought more on it, I realized that I needed to examine just WHY.

Life magazine, 1960

As I reach back, I recognize that I DID used to hate. And the primary focus was Richard Milhous Nixon. I hated him for the lies he spread in his very first house campaign, before I was born. I hated him for surviving staying on Eisenhower’s ticket by the use of the 1952 Checkers speech, also before I was born; you should watch the speech, if you can, as it’s brilliant political theater. But mostly, I hated him because he said, after he had lost the 1962 California gubernatorial race, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”, but he lied. He ran for President in 1968 with a “secret” plan to end the Viet Nam war and won a close election over Hubert Humphrey.

Actually most of my bile towards Nixon was over Viet Nam. Though not his war – LBJ had expanded it and JFK (or arguably, Eisenhower) had started it, I wasn’t seeing his positives, as I did with LBJ’s civil rights legislation and Great Society programs. So, when Nixon left as a result of Watergate in August of 1974, my schadenfreude was exceedingly high.

At the same time I was able to hate him, I was able to be easily enraged by others. Think of those people showing up at those American town hall meetings shouting down those who disagree with them. On Election Night in 1972, when Nixon won re-election in a landslide, there was one Nixon supporter named George and I wanted to throttle him over his glee.

I didn’t always DISPLAY the rage, and in fact seldom did; I was brought up too well. But the FEELING of the rage was there. And it was not working for me.

I was like Stanley, the black guy in the American version of the television show The Office. On the Super Bowl episode, he nearly had a heart attack, so deeply was his festering rage. He had to find another way to go.

So when another politician came along who I thought/think was even more contemptible than Nixon came along, while I found him politically anathema to me, it didn’t eat at me the same way Nixon did.

Life magazine, 1990

And a funny thing happened: I stopped hating Nixon. I saw the movie Nixon, starring Anthony Hopkins, and found the guy more tragic than contemptible.

Moreover, I found that in retrospect, despite the war and the dirty tricks, there were some positives there. He formed the Environmental Protection Agency. He went to China; as a staunch anti-Communist, only he, not a liberal Democrat, could have pulled it off.

Moreover, and I did not remember this until after the death of Senator Edward Kennedy last month, one of Teddy’s great regrets was not accepting Nixon’s plan for HEALTH CARE, a fight that continues to this day in the United States.

I’ve deliberately have left out any discussion of how religion or spiritually has affected my feelings about hate, not because it’s not a factor, but because it was something that was already in process when all the faith stuff got infused into it.

So, Mr. Frog, sir, I leave it to you to decide if my reasons for not hating fall into one or more of your “hated” categories.

Note: Nixon pictures © Time Inc. For personal non-commercial use only


A Meme of Firsts

Via SamuraiFrog:

1. Who was your FIRST date?
Difficult to say. I don’t recall dating Martha as much as hanging out with her with my friends, then with her more than my other friends. Eventually we kissed a lot.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Yeah, but not often. I went to her wedding. I’m reasonably sure that her husband doesn’t know we dated. I used to think that was weird. Then there was this other woman I dated considerably later on; I was going to mention her in this blog actually, but she preferred that I didn’t. She’s comfortable with the fiction that her husband is the “only one”, despite the fact that she was married before. HER husband knows we dated, and in fact recognized me from a drawing of me as a duck that the late Raoul Vezina drew. So maintaining a fiction about the past I’ve learned to recognize as important to some people. I suppose that includes me.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
I don’t remember what, but I remember where: it was in a bar on Clinton Street in Binghamton. I was 18, the legal age. My sister was singing there, if I recall correctly and I don’t think I had to pay for the drink. It was almost certainly a mixed drink; I want to say Tom Collins.

4. What was your FIRST job?
I’ve answered this before (newspaper deliverer or library page). The first job I had where I was making any real money was working at IBM in Endicott, near Binghamton. I had graduated from high school in January 1971, and I worked there from March through August. My job was to do these three processes. First was to put this coating over these circuit boards. The second (and the most difficult) was to bake them in these ovens, making sure not to bend the pins or have the coating get on the pins. The third task was to bake this plastic holder onto the circuit boards.

Irritatingly, the first shift did a lot of the first task, leaving the second task to me. And I really had to do it, because the coating would start riding up the pins if they weren’t baked within 10 or 12 hours. They didn’t like me because I would do the first task so fast that the company raised the rate for that job, something like from 60 to 80 boards per hour. That WAS a tactical error on my part.

I was on the second shift, which ostensibly was 5:12 p.m. to 2 a.m ., with a 48-minute lunch. But I hardly ever worked that shift. It was usually 5:12 p.m. to 4 a.m., and then from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Not only did I save lots of money for college because of the 16 hours of overtime per week – and because I was generally too tired to go out – I managed to lose 30 pounds because I was too tired to eat.

In the summer, there was a guy – I wish I remembered his name – who was a son of an IBM bigwig; he was quite intelligent and as bored as I was. So we would get into his Aston Martin and drive as far away as we could for 20 minutes, then reluctantly drive back.

First time I ever gave blood was while I worked there because I could get paid at work while taking of the hour to donate.

5. What was your FIRST car?
No idea. It was the S.O.’s and it was red and had push button transmission. I once knocked over a Dumpster while driving it; I wanted to go forward but went into reverse.

6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
I had gotten chosen for this Governor’s Conference on Children and Youth when I was in high school, and there were seven of us from the Binghamton area who flew to Albany in a plane with perhaps a dozen seats. It was during a lightning and thunderstorm on the way up. Met Nelson Rockefeller for the first time.

7. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?
My first best friend was probably Ray Lia from second grade. We were in Cub Scouts together; his mom was our den mother. I didn’t see him much in high school; he went to North High instead of Central, because it offered some technical courses he wanted. I pretty much lost track of him until 1976, five years after high school, when he invited me to be in his wedding. I escorted his mom to her seat, which as nice. I caught the garter, which wasn’t. We exchange Christmas cards, though most of the writing is by his wife Pam. He is, as of about a month ago, one of my Facebook friends.

8. Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?
I have no idea. When I grew up in the church, most of the weddings were open to all the parishoners. So I went to a lot of weddings as a kid. I even sang at a few, notably I Love You Truly, a truly horrific piece of claptrap. I know I attended my sister’s godfather Elmer’s wedding to Barbara in that period.

As for which of my friends married first whose wedding I actually attended, I’m not at all sure. My sister got married on Halloween 1975; a definite contender.

9. Tell us about your FIRST roommate.
That would be Ron Fields. At New Paltz in 1971-72, there were only two black males in Scudder Hall, a grad student in biology (Ron) and a freshman poli sci major (me), and somehow we ended up as roommates. I’m pretty sure it was no accident. Ron was fine. He did have one great idiosyncrasy that amused me and others; he recorded every cent he spent in a notebook. “Soda, 50 cents,” etc. One day, he bought a used car. “Car, $1000.” It cracked both of us up.

One day in March 1972, the phone rang fairly early in the morning. It was my father, but Ron didn’t let on. He did prompt us to clean the room, then conspired with a friend of mine to get me out of my room so that my family and friends could surprise me that weekend for my 19th birthday. Kentucky Fried Chicken, as I recall.

10. If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?
Either the ability to fly or to transport.

11. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?
If I had time, I’d become more computer savvy; I just muddle through.

12. Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?
No, and we tried to make it work more than once.

13. What were the first lessons you ever took and why?
Piano lessons when I was eight with Mrs. Hamlin. I was not at all good, but I still remember a lot of those intro lessons by heart. It was also useful in singing, so it wasn’t a total waste.

14. What is the first thing you do when you get home?
Take off my shoes. Keep the carpet clean.


Memes of Love and Hate

Before I get to that, though, I need to direct you to this post of June 23, 2004, when Fred Hembeck noted the 25th wedding anniversary of Lynn Moss and himself. That was five years ago, which would make today…their 30TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Big congrats to you both. Oh, and people, you might want to check out a more recent Fred post, June 21, 2009, where daughter Julie cracks wise.

Oh, and since we’re speaking about Fred, you can now buy Hembeck-designed T-shirts from WORLD OF STRANGE Fantastic Apparel. You can’t buy them from Fred directly , but his June 3 post explains how it all came about.
Got this from the Frog again; BTW, there’s the back of lovely naked female person in the header of his blog, so depending on where you live or work, that may be an issue. What I guess I’m having trouble with in the meme is the hate side. It’s not that I don’t dislike stuff; it’s that if I dislike it, I tend to ignore it and subsequently forget who or what it was.

1. Most hated food: Brussels sprouts; Sir Frog had a vivid description.
2. Most hated person: Well, I forgave G W Bush, so I’ll say Dick Cheney.
3. Most hated job: Working at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield as a customer service rep. We were given all the tools to fail. I note that of the 16 people in my training class, at least 12 had left the company before I did 13 months later.
4. Most hated city: that would be Charlotte, NC circa 1977; my father described it as a big country town. But I don’t hate it now, and can think of no substitutes.
5. Most hated band: can’t think of one.
6. Most hated web site: ditto. What I do hate are websites that are perfectly functional; then they do a redesign so I can’t find anything.
7. Most hated TV program: is that show with the Sweet 16 excesses still on? Hated it, just hated it.
8. Most hated British politician: Tony Blair, maybe because I actually had high hopes for him before he became a W toady.
9. Most hated artist: don’t know.
10. Most hated book: Don’t know. That said, the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament is often troubling. Oh, and related, I JUST discovered Mr. Frog’s The Bible Summarized By A Smartass from a couple years ago. Example from Genesis 22: “Abraham walks up the mountain and knifes his kid. Except that God jumps out of the bushes at the last second, probably laughing and pointing. ‘Oh, dude, you were totally going to do it! You were! You should see your face, man! You’ve just been Punk’d!'”
11. Most hated shop: Wal-Mart. Beyond the politics of the place, I had a really lousy experience there when I first shopped there in 1994, and haven’t been back since except with someone else.
12. Most hated organization: Ku Klux Klan, which is still out there, trust me.
13. Most hated historical event: Dred Scott decision, US Supreme Court, 1857.
14. Most hated sport: NASCAR, I suppose. I tried watching it, and unless there’s, Allah forbid, an accident, it’s pretty boring.
15. Most hated piece of technology: The cell phone. The expectation that one can be accessed 24/7. The fact that people drive poorly when talking on them, even the hands-free ones. The fact that I hear too much of other people’s lives when they use them.
16. Most hated annual event: Cinco de Mayo. Pointless drinking.
17. Most hated daily task: Flossing. I swear the gaps in my teeth on the right side of my mouth are far smaller than on the left side, and it’s a PITA.
18. Most hated comedian: never got the Three Stooges.

And now the love.

1. Most loved food: spinach lasagna.
2. Most loved person: The wife or the daughter.
3. Most loved job: working at FantaCo from 1981-1986; but I was there from 1980-1988. So overall, I’ll say being a librarian at the NYS Small Business Development Center.
4. Most loved city: Montreal. U.S. city: San Francisco.
5. Most loved band: The Beatles.
6. Most loved web site: I don’t know; maybe Evanier’s.
7. Most loved TV program: Current: Scrubs. Ever? The Dick van Dyke Show. HOF: JEOPARDY! Oh, and my wife is watching 30 Rock faster than I am. BTW, I just came across a piece on how 30 Rock is a rip off of the Muppet Show
8. Most loved movie: Annie Hall. It’s been a linchpin.
9. Most loved artist: Auguste Rodin. First time I actually saw a Rodin sculpture in person, rather than in photos – probably in Boston – it was heaven.
10. Most loved book: Top Pop Albums by Joel Whitburn. Oh, something with a narrative? Henri J. M. Nouwen’s Here and Now: Living in the Spirit.
11. Most loved shop: Before I worked there, FantaCo.
12. Most loved organization: American Red Cross.
13. Most loved historical event: the resignation of Richard Nixon.
14. Most loved sport: baseball.
15. Most loved piece of technology: DVR
16. Most loved annual event: my birthday. I take it off from work.
17. Most loved daily task: racquetball.
18. Most loved comedian: Bill Cosby in the 1960s. Have five of his albums that I haven’t played in years, but there are whole bits I can still hear and recite from memory.


A to Z Meme

Stolen – again! – from the Frog:

• Are you available? You mean for parties and other light entertainment? No. And I’ve Djed my first and last wedding.
• What is your age? I’m 575 months old.
• What annoys you? Rude, impolite, ignorant people; this tends to include right-wing talk show hosts and litterers.

• Do you know anyone named Billy? Well, he’s Bill now. went to school with him, K-12 in Binghamton. He lives not far from here and comments on my TU blog occasionally. .
• When is your birthday? March 7.
• Who is your best friend? There are three or four people I’d think about: one or two two from kindergarten, one from the first day of college and one from Albany.

• What’s your favorite candy? M&Ms. plain. Tegan’s got me counting the green ones, which seems appropriate to me.
• Crush? No, I don’t have one of those refrigerators that does that.
• When was the last time you cried? Maybe my niece’s high school graduation.

• Do you daydream?: Suddenly, without warning…oh, wait, excuse me. what was the question again?
• What’s your favorite kind of dog? Not really a dog kind of guy. Or dogs aren’t really a Roger kind of species. That said, there were a couple golden retrievers I’ve liked, alas, both deceased.
• What day of the week is it? Tell me why. That a reference to a Boomtown Rats song.

• How do you like your eggs? Actually I like eggs any number of ways: fried, boiled, poached, omelet. They’re usually scrambled.
• Have you ever been in the emergency room? A few times. Once with my daughter, where we discovered her peanut butter allergy. Once with my wife, when she fell in the shower. More than a few times with me. The first time was a car accident when I was 19, and subsequently a few times before I had a primary care physician. But the last time I was injured; – broke a rib a year ago – I went to the urgent care place, which was much more civilized.
• Ever pet an elephant? I think so.

• Do you use fly swatters? Yes, and seriously, once killed seven with one blow. It was a laundromat tied to a camp my father dragged us to north of Binghamton on the way to Syracuse. Killed a minimum of 50 flies that day.
• Have you ever used a foghorn? Possibly not.
• Is there a fan in your room? When it gets warm enough, I haul a standing rotating fan from the attic. It’s about warm enough. we actually own a ceiling fan but haven’t installed it yet.

• Do you chew gum? Only when I fly.
• Do you like gummy candies? They’re OK; not my first choice.
• Do you like gory movies? Generally not, though I found The Shining, the Kubrick/Nicholson version so awful, it was (unintentionally?) hilarious at times.

• How are you? I’m OK; thanks for asking. How are YOU?
• What’s your height? I used to be 5′ 11 5/8″, but I think I have shrunk 1/8 of an inch.
• What color is your hair? What hair? Brown to most gray.

• What’s your favorite ice cream? Strawberry.
• Have you ever ice skated? Only to woo the wife.; it worked.
• Ever been in an igloo? I have a vague recollection, but no idea where or when.

• What’s your favorite Jelly Bean? It’s more what I DON’T like: apple, banana, watermelon, black licorice. Beyond that, whatever.
• Have you ever heard a really hilarious joke? Yes, but you’d better find someone else to repeat it.
• Do you wear jewelry? Wedding ring. I used to wear a watch, but I kill watches. Really.

• Who do you want to kill? Not really my thing.
• Have you ever flown a kite? Absolutely, even with the daughter.
• Do you think kangaroos are cute? In a marsupial sort of way. Now Bob Keeshan -HE wa cute.

• Are you laid back? Less than I think I am.
• Lions or Tigers? Bears, oh my. I like lions’ manes, but I prefer baseball to football.
• Do you like black licorice? Gag, cough, sputter….NO!!

• Favorite movie as a kid? West Side Story, clearly.
• Ever shopped at Moosejaw? What’s a Moosejaw?
• Favorite store at the mall? Hate the mall with a passion.

• Do you have a nickname? None that anyone uses to my face.
• Whats your favorite number? 37
• Do you prefer night or day? Depends what I’m doing.

• What’s your one wish? That ppeople try to be a bit more civil to each other.
• Are you an only child? Only for 16 1/2 months. Two younger sisters.
• Do you like the color orange? On oranges, yes.

• What are you most paranoid about? I’m not paranoid; they’re PROBABLY not even trying to get me.
• Piercings? None.
• Do you know anyone named Penelope? When I was a kid; not well.

• Are you quick to judge people? No, I have the annoying habit of waiting to get more evidence.
• Do you like Quaker Oats? Yes, but the store brand is fine too.
• Know anyone that makes quilts? I do, sorta. Haven’t seen her in years.

Do you think you’re always right? I’ve gotten smart enough to know when I have no idea. So when I HAVE an idea, I’m right about 80% of the time.
• Do you watch reality TV? Only when I’m passing through the room when my wife watches Dancing with the Stars. I have watched Survivor (two seasons), American Idol (seasons 2-5), and probably most bizarrely, The Real World (the first five or six seasons; even own a book about the first four.)
• Reason to cry? Most often over beautiful music.

• Do you prefer sun or rain? A little of both for a nice balance. And then we get a rainbow.
• Do you like snow? In moderation.
• What’s your favorite season? Spring.

• Time is it? 5:10 am.
• What time did you wake up? I’ll let you know when i do.

• Can you ride a unicycle? Doubt it, but never tried.
• Do you know anyone with a unibrow? No.
• Uncles do you have? Zero. Parents were both only children.

• What’s the worst vegetable? Lima beans.
• Did you ever watch Veggie Tales? Once.
• Ever considered being vegan? Not seriously.

• What’s your worst habit? Got a week…
• Do you like water rides? Don’t know.
• Ever been inside a windmill? Don’t think so.

• Have you ever had an x-ray? I think there is A year ago, most recently.
• Ever used a Xerox machine? Actually our copier’s a Canon.

• Do you like the color yellow? Electrical banana.
• What year were you born in?: 1953
• Do you yell when you’re angry? Generally not any more.

• Do you believe in the zodiac? It has its amusing coincidences.
• What’s your zodiac sign? Something fishy.
• When was the last time you went to the zoo? Mid-1990s in Binghamton.
I should acknowledge the passing of artist Dave Simons at the age of 54. Evanier talks about him here, but for a better perspective about how I knew him, albeit many years ago, read Fred Hembeck’s June 10 post. He was a talented guy and was always very decent to me.


First Meme

From SamuraiFrog:

First Job: Among other things, my father arranged flowers for weddings and events such as debutante balls. Sister Leslie and I always got sucked into working on that.
But another choice would be when I’d sing at my father’s gigs. Eventually Leslie joined us, certainly before I was 14, and we did get paid, albeit usually not much.

First Real Job: Newspaper delivery of the Evening and Sunday Press when I was 12.
Or alternatively pick being a page at the Binghamton Public Library when I was 16.

First Favorite Politician: Bill Burns. He was mayor of Binghamton, a Democrat, when I was 16. He had succeeded his brother John, who was more naturally suave politician. Bill was now what you’d call a wonk and looked the part. I remember blowing up balloons at his headquarters. Unfortunately, he lost in 1969 (I think) to Al Libous, who I despised politically. When Libous ran for Congress in 1974, I worked hard for his opponent, Matt McHugh, who fortunately beat Libous.

First Car: It was always someone else’s car, like the Okie’s Volvo; I never remember car stuff.

First Record/CD: Beatles VI and other Beatles LPs, plus Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful; it was from the Capitol Record Club.

First Sport Played: Almost certainly baseball or softball; it depends whether it was on the school playground (softball) or at Ansco field (baseball), which we got to by walking through Spring Forest Cemetery.

First Concert: Seals & Crofts, November 12, 1971 in NYC; I’m convinced that J. Geils opened for them and was booed; the band may be a false memory, but the booing of the opening act was not.

First Foreign Country Visited: Canada. Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was…10?

First Favorite TV Show: Captain Kangaroo. Featured Mr. Green Jeans. Also, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock, and the bizarre cartoon Clutch Cargo.

First Favorite Actor: Dick van Dyke from his eponymous show.

First Favorite Actress: Mary Tyler Moore, “The Dick van Dyke Show” Capri pants!

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: I suppose how you define it. I suppose Martha when I was 15 or 16.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: For some reason, I was on the sidelines at a Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game and almost literally ran into Willis Reed, the Knicks center.
Actually shook Nelson Rockefeller’s hand twice while I was in high school.

First Brush With Death: I was about seven and I had a knit hat on. I thought I could see through it, so I put it over my head. Unfortunately, it cut off my peripheral vision and I almost got hit by a car while crossing the street in the middle of the block.

First House/Condo Owned: Well, technically, the house Carol bought, which we moved into when we got married. But I prefer to think of that as her house, and our current house, which we bought in May 2000,.

First Film Seen: I’m thinking State Fair; don’t know which version.

First Favorite Recording Artist: Probably, from my father’s singles, the Everly Brothers.

First Favorite Radio Station: WENE, 1360 (I think) AM, Top 40 radio in Endicott, NY.

First Book I Remember Reading: Probably some Dr. Seuss book, such as Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: This one from Tosy in November 2005. ROG