Fan Mail

I got an e-mail from one of my oldest friends who wrote:
“I don’t understand blogs. Are they to be viewed as online diaries?
”I can’t imagine anyone giving a s*** or taking the time to read about anything I had to say.
”I find it all hubristic.”

To which I wrote:
“You may be right.”

Actually, writing this blog has been very helpful to me already. It’s allowed me focus better. Since I’m tired a lot, the blog has become, dare I say it, my daily meditation.

Oh, no! I had the ghost of 1970s Bill Cosby lurking in my head. “Be careful or you might learn something” he used to say on Fat Albert. I don’t want to be that parental about it, but I am trying to provide a site where if you’re not absolutely riveted by Lydia stories (but you WOULD be if you knew her- she’s also VERY charming), you can click on a hyperlink and find out a little about Mother’s Day, e.g.

Tomorrow: Hubris! Or as Jack Nicholson once said in a movie, “You want the hubris? You can’t handle the hubris!”

No, the OTHER one

If you Google Roger Green and Albany, most of the hits will NOT be of me (And I’m all right with that, BTW.) Most of the hits will be for Roger L. Green , NYS Assemblyman from Brooklyn since 1981. He seemed like a decent sort, the little that I knew of him. However, he had to resign his seat on June 1, 2004 for some fiscal irregularities. In the tradition of New York State government, he was nevertheless elected again in November 2004. I think he lost some privileges.

Given the fact that I’ve been in Albany since 1979, it is curious that we’ve never met. I did meet one of his assistants once at a summer party; I accidentally hit her in the face with a volleyball.

Also, I receive phone calls for him. Often, I’ve been the only Roger Green in the Albany phone book. The one call that has always stuck in my mind was an answering machine message from WCBS (radio or TV, I forget) in New York City, asking me to call back to comment on the death of Yusef Hawkins. I’d been at work all day , so at that moment, I had no idea who Yusef Hawkins was. The next day, I did.

Anyway, I’m THIS Roger Green. Yeah, I appeared on JEOPARDY! once or twice back in 1998, something I mention now only because an unnamed blogger mentioned it in his May 6 column . And he’s put this blog in list of links. Of course, I bribed him heavily…

Speaking of JEOPARDY!, I’ve decided that I will be sharing about my experience on this blog. I had written it in my mind – several times- for years, and I need some mind decluttering. But how to approach it? I didn’t want to write that much about that one topic, all the time, all at once. I’m not that disciplined, and I’d bore myself, and probably you.

Then it came to me: the Saturday serial matinee! In days even before mine, there would be movies shown in parts over several weeks. Each section ends with a cliffhanger.

So, that’s what I’m going to do: each Saturday starting May 21, I’m going to write a piece of the story. Can’t promise you a cliffhanger every time, but I’ll give it a shot.

Sweet, Sweet Baby

My daughter is very beautiful. I will show you sometime, when I figure out the photo aspect of this blog.

(PLEASE don’t tell me it’s “easy.” I’m a Luddite at heart- nothing mechanical or technological is “easy” for me.)

Anyway, this is not idle parental boasting. The trip to Washington Park just yesterday or a visit to the shopping center seem to confirm this. A woman I know once said that Lydia is the most beautiful baby she’s ever seen— including her own baby! This was, of course, in direct violation of the Law That One’s Own Baby Is ALWAYS the Most Beautiful, passed sometime during the The Peloponnesian Wars.

Of course, I want the best for my daughter, but I also want her be viewed by her intellect (she’s also very smart) and, as someone once said, “The content of her character.”

We’ve all read how tall, attractive people seem to be treated better, get better jobs, more pay, etc. In that vein (or “vain”, if you prefer), I give you a scary little something forwarded to me recently:
“Are ugly children less loved?
“Do parents take care of their cute children better than ugly ones? Most parents would deny it, but Canadian researchers have found that physical attractiveness makes a big difference in how children are treated, according to a newspaper report.

And on that happy note, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. (And thanks to sister Marcia and niece Alex for taking care of her down in Charlotte, NC.) Also, happy Mother’s Day to Mom Powell, and all the mothers I know. Lydia, who doesn’t have her own blog yet, wants to wish her mommy and grandmas the same.

Out the In Door

Last week, my daughter Lydia had gastroenteritis. I didn’t know what gastroenteritis was, but apparently it’s been “going around.” I DID know that seeing my 13-month old daughter throw up 11 times in about 10 hours (followed the next day by similar exports from the other end of the digestive tract) was one of the more painful things Carol and I have gone through.

We took her to the doctors twice and the ER once. The best thing about going to the ER was that the pediatric resident said that Carol and I were doing a good job with her, that we were right on top of things regarding her symptoms. This was especially gratifying, because as first time parents, we feel that we’re making it up as we go along.

She’s better now, climbing on EVERYTHING, verbalizing, taking steps. It was the lack of those activities, which made us continue to be concerned, even after the other manifestations were finished. Now we’re back to, “No, Lydia, that plant is not for eating.”

As they say on baby.com, “Having a baby changes everything.” Oops, Johnson & Johnson TRADEMARKED that? Hasn’t every adult who has kids said to people who are expecting kids, “Having a baby changes everything” for the last few millennia?

“Having a baby changes everything.” TM, (Johnson & Johnson).
“And blah, blah, blah” © Paul Simon

Funny books

Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. I’ll probably go over to Earthworld Comics in Albany and pick up SOMETHING. For me, going into a comic book store is often like going to see an old girlfriend. Will I remember why we fell in love? Will I be reminded why we broke up? Or will it be more like, “I’m happy for you in your new life. I’ll see you in another decade or two”?

I fell in love with comics fairly later in the game. In 1971, my new best friend in college, Mark Klonfas, was into comic books. I wondered why an adult would be into “funny books.” (I won’t say he was a grown-up; he used to perch on the end of his desk like Peanuts’ Snoopy, feigning to be a vulture.)

But get into comics I did, first with Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1, then Sub-Mariner #50. Luke Cage (Nicholas Cage’s namesake, REALLY) appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #122. Then I noticed that Cage appeared in shadow at the end of #121, and I picked THAT up. That happened to be “The Death of Gwen Stacy.” I got particularly hooked on the web-slinger, and much of the Marvel Universe. (Curse you, Klonfas!)

Eventually, I worked at FantaCo and for a brief time at Midnight Comics in Albany. This is where the romance soured. There were all of these #0s, and silver and gold “special” editions. I’d be asked, “Is ___ any good?” but it wasn’t about the artwork or the story, it was about whether it would increase in value. Bollocks! When I left Midnight to take my current job in 1992, I quit comics cold turkey.

I always read in the entertainment press to see how comics are doing, seeing them get reviewed regularly in Entertainment Weekly and the like. And I’m very happy for the industry. But I can’t afford to get into it like I used to, so I view the trip to the store warily, fearing the siren will suck me back in…

Synchronicity 5 (of 12) or 9 (of 24)

I woke up just before 5 a.m. and waited until the clock read 5:05. 5:05 on 05/05/05-this made me smile. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep. I have a 13-month old baby, and sleep is precious.

Today is, of course, Cinco de Mayo, which is an important holiday, not just an excuse to get drunk on tequila or kahlua. Did I mention
tequila?

This weekend in Albany, NY is also the the Tulip Festival in Washington Park, featuring the Funk Brothers and the Family Stone Experience (featuring founding members of Sly and the Family Stone -“oooh-lawd!”) on Saturday and Little Anthony and the Imperials on Sunday.

You don’t know the Funk Brothers? They’ve played on more hit songs than anyone as the sensational backing band for Motown’s biggest stars. Even if you don’t live around Albany, find out more by renting or buying “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”. I saw it in the theaters, enjoyed it tremendously, and learned a great deal about the music I love.

Teacher, Teacher

I just noticed in my daily e-mail from About.com that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. (You’d think I would have figured that out from the chalkboard and apple at Google.) If you’re looking for ways to celebrate, go here.

I’d like to thank Miss Cady (K), Miss Marie Oberlik (5th grade, for the Russian lessons), Mr. Paul Peca (6th grade), Mr. Stone (history), Mr. Carl Young, Miss Helen Foley, and my 9th and 12th grade gym teachers, who were not the p***ks that the other ones were.

Also, in college and graduate school: Professors Deborah Andersen, Thomas Galvin, Glenn McNitt, and Alan Chartock. Yeah, ol’ lightning rod Alan. I had him PLS 216, American Government and Politics in the Fall of 1971, when he was a young whippersnapper.

Additionally, anyone who taught me anything useful about music, including my school and church choir directors and fellow choir members, but also Hemby, the SBDCers (especially my former office mates, DC and the Hoffinator), Tom Skulan and the FantaCo folks, Q104 Albany (c. 1978-1983), Mark Klonfas, Karen Durkot, my sister Leslie, and especially my dad, Les Green.

And there are, undoubtedly, others, who left me some wisdom that I’ve absorbed without necessarily realizing it.

Finally, thanks to a teacher, who taught for a couple years, left to work in the insurance industry for a dozen years, then returned to school to train to teach English as a Second Language, and is now a traveling ESL teacher in two or three districts. That would be my wife, Carol, from whom I learn something new every day.
*****
And speaking of education, what have we learned 35 years after Kent State? The country is still polarized over Vietnam, 30 years after the fall of Saigon, it appears, based on the last general election Bush bails! (Probably true, but still…)Kerry wasn’t THAT wounded! (Oh, brother!) Jane Fonda’s new autobiography, and the attendant promotion of same, becomes the new flash points in the debate. Kinda sad.

Ich bin ein…LIBRARIAN!

In my self-introduction yesterday, I failed to say what I do. Well, now you know, of sorts. Actually, the way I see it, being a librarian isn’t merely what I do. It’s what I AM.

When I was a kid, I was always reading the Encyclopedia Americana and the World Almanac. The latter I have received for about 38 out of the past 40 years. (Some day, I’ll tell you my father’s reaction to that.)

But, I was self-misdiagnosed. For a while, I thought (and others thought even more so) that I’d be an A.M.E. ZION preacher. Later, I thought I’d be a lawyer.

My first job, other than delivering newspapers, was working as a page (i.e., gofer) at the main branch of the Binghamton Public Library . I was under the tutelage of one Mrs. Fawcett, an elegant lady from my church.

But, no, I stayed with the idea of being a lawyer, until I FAILED an undergraduate law course. Then I didn’t know WHAT I was to do. After graduation from the State University College at New Paltz, I drifted about. (A story in its own right.)

I decided to go to the University at Albany and major in Public Administration. What a mistake! The students were cut-throat. Ultimately, I dropped out, worked for FantaCo Enterprises, a comic book and film book emporium for 8.5 years. Then I had a dreadful year at Empire Blue Cross. (Can’t wait to talk about THAT!)

While I was working as a Census enumerator in 1990, three of my friends, Jendy and Judy, who were new librarians, and Broome, who was a …lawyer, convinced (OK, NAGGED) me into applying to the UAlbany library school. Frankly, I didn’t think they’d take me after my previous disaster at the graduate level.

But they did. And I found it was a very cooperative experience, due in no small part to the fact that most of the students were women. Also, I didn’t feel out of place as a returning student. That year, I was 37. The average age of students in the department was…37.

I got a job that I’ve had for over a dozen years, and it’s clear that this is what I ought to have been doing all along. I LOVE librarians.

I can't believe it's not butter

I was one of those people who thought that blogs were self-indulgent ramblings of people with too much time on their hands. So, WHAT AM I DOING HERE?

Well, I have little time on my hands, but I recognize that, in the midst of the life I have, I need a chance for some self-indulgent ramblings.

Moreover, I’ve discovered that perhaps these ramblings can be interesting, insightful, even, occasionally, important. I’ve specifically enjoyed the musings of one Fred G. Hembeck – so, I thought I’d give it a shot.

I am:
*a Black American (or African-American if you prefer; I don’t)
*a blood donor over 100 times (I’m B positive, a good motto, I think)
*a Christian (a Methodist for most of the last century, a Presbyterian for most of this one, and a member of Session)
*a registered Democrat (but in Albany, NY, most people are)
*a non-driver (I take the bus, the bike)
*a first-time father at the age of 51 (is he crazy? You be the judge)
*married for the last time
*a lover of music, both a collector of recordings and a singer in my church choir
*a political science major who’s rather cynical about politics (but I ALWAYS vote)
Pretty reductivist, but that’s where I’m coming from. This should be interesting for me. Hope it is for you.