Saturday, September 15, 2018

lids bbq 2018

Well, the weather cooperated. We had a beautiful day for the LIDS annual picnic.
A little auction excitement
Club President Chris Petersen, hosted (how many years in a row is this?). Not that I'm complaining -- the setting is perfect, just off the bay, with a nice breeze and beautiful scenery. Her husband, Steve, handled grill duties. Several members brought lots of daylilies to auction off, and to give away (both as door prizes and plain old giveaways.

I've come to really look forward to the annual picnic -- it's a time to schmooze with other LIDS members in a relaxed atmosphere, without an agenda. And schmooze, I did. Between bites of hamburgers, hotdogs and cake. Hmmm. Maybe that explains my waistline.

The only thing I didn't like was that Blair couldn't come. She was taking Sharon to some e-Sports event in Manhattan. Not to worry though -- I ate enough for both of us. Back to that whole waistline issue...

And speaking of eating, Can someone explain to me what kind of dog won't eat hamburger?

Anyway, I came away with some plants, so tomorrow I'll be digging in the yard (hopefully before the Jamaica Estates Association Gardening Club meeting). My bounty? Glad you asked. Pictures of the daylilies are below the list:
  • War Horse: I bought this at auction. I love those reds. It reminds me of Spider Man, which is my favorite.
  • Allen Watts: Also at auction. I love those Hanson cultivars with the halo pattern. Funny, I was thinking that it looked a lot like Alien Data Base, which is also a Hanson. And when I looked it up, lo, I found that it's one of Alien Data Base's children.
  • Frame of Reference: Also at auction. Another haloed Hanson.
  • Beyond 2000: This was a freebie. I'd heard a description, and it sounded pretty.
  • Trish Herr: Another freebie. Same thing
    about hearing a description.
  • Cherokee Star: Another freebie. Same thing about hearing a description.
  • Black Ambrosia: Thanks, Toni& Doug! I forget how it came about, but at some point Toni had promised Blair and me that she would give us some of this. I think it's because I had expressed interest in the dark purples.
  • A huge hosta (I don't know which cultivar): Thanks, Pam & Luanne! I don't know how this came about, but since Blair and I have a large section of shaded yard that we've been trying to turn into a hosta bed,* this will come in handy.
War Horse

Allen Watts
Frame of Reference
Beyond 2000
Trish Herr
Cherokee Star
Black Ambrosia

*The woman we bought the house from had pachysandra there. I hate pachysandra.

Friday, September 14, 2018

two tales of a city

Ethan and I were in Boston last weekend. It was part of our plan to go to Boston.

You may be rolling your eyes, anticipating that I'll bore you with all the details of the tour. Fear not. Instead I'll just be boring you with discussion of two things we did. At the advice of Keith (who runs our horror movie class) we went on a Boston Crime Tour and a Beacon Hill Crime Tour.

Both were walking tours in which our guide took us around the designated area, telling us a variety of stories about the history of crime in the area. Both were excellent experiences -- especially if you've had your fill of duckboat rides and Faneuil Hall. But they both required a lot of walking.

But they were very different from each other.

The Beacon Hill Crime Tour, led by David Phillips, focused on -- duh -- Beacon Hill, a very wealthy area of Boston. But while the geographic area was limited (it only involved one mile of walking, though that mile included some steep hills), the scope was pretty expansive -- covering crimes from colonial times up through the 1960s. Phillips  would walk the group to a location, and then tell us a crime-related story from the area's history. The stories were discrete and self-contained; none of them were really related to each other. I should note that Phillips threw a little twist in there -- one of the stories was made up, so it was a game to figure out which one was false.

The Boston Crime tour, by contrast, was a more-expansive experience, geographically speaking. We walked about three miles in all -- starting at the Downtown Waterfront, then going up through the North End, and the West End, before ending at the sight of the Boston Massacre. While our guide, Omar Doherty, did cover some crimes from Colonial times, he focused on organized crime from the mid to late 20th century. So we heard a lot about Whitey Bulger, Stephen Flemmi and John Martorano. Rather than focusing on discrete, self-contained stories, Doherty painted a picture of a phenomenon. His tour was more of a conversation -- though that also might have been a function of the fact that Ethan and I were the only ones taking that tour. With Phillips, we were two of maybe a dozen.

While Ethan and I did do some conventional touring in Boston, I really enjoyed these less-traditional activities, and can wholeheartedly recommend them -- unless, of course, you have low tolerance for icky stories.

In case you're interested:
Beacon Hill Crime Tour
Boston Crime Tour

Tell 'em Moish sent ya.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

vote. or don't. your choice.

This morning, I voted in the primaries. A few observations:
  • Since Blair and I are registered with different parties (yes, we're a mixed marriage), there was some confusion over which ballots to give us. Fortunately, it wasn;t a big problem.
  • One of the pollworkers started giving me dirty looks when he realized my party affiliation. He did his best to mask his distaste, but I could still see it. Whatever. He still did his job.
  • This was Ethan's first time voting, so he was a little ill at ease. I had brought the Approval Notice he got from the the Board of Elections. Just in case. We didn't need it.
  • One of the observers (perhaps alerted by the confusion of a new voter and a mixed-affiliation couple) came over. When he saw my T-shirt (a Nick Lowe concert shirt from sometime -- I forget when -- in the last ten years), he started chatting with me about it. He was unaware that Nick Lowe had reinvented himself as a crooner in the 1990s.
Overall, it went reasonably smoothly. Let's hope for the same in the general election in a couple months.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

cinema history class: the hand of power

Session: Krazy Krimis -- Get Your Krimi On, Week 3
Movie 1: The Hand of Power (1968)
Directed by Alfred Vohrer
As always, there may be spoilers here. And the trailer may be NSFW and/or NSFL

Some loon in a skeleton costume is killing with a scorpion ring. Hilarity ensues.

Well, this is kind of embarrassing, and I should probably just kind of skip the blogpost about this movie. This was a Thursday night that I was just way too tired to be in class, and I ended up sleeping through most of the movie.

I remember the really cool skeleton costume that the killer wore, the spring-mounted venomous scorpion-tail ring that the killer employed, and the green-hued guy with the backstory. I also remember some really cool music -- these late-60's krimis seem to have the best music. I also remember the discussion about how the skeleton costume made this seem like something right out of Scooby Doo. Oh, also that this was a pretty good revenge story.

But for the life of me I can't remember the movie. As such, I couldn't rate it -- that much I could remember. But I can't even find my notes, so I can't tell you what the others rated it.


PS: In case you're looking for it, this is also known as The Zombie Walks.

Monday, September 3, 2018

google reminds me of a faux pas...

Googling myself, I came across this on "Sproutology," a website devoted to the British band, Prefab Sprout.*

Back in 1985, working for a campus newspaper at Queens College, I attended a college press conference for Prefab Sprout -- or, more accurately, for their lead singer, Paddy McAloon. The band had just released Two Wheels Good, and Columbia Records was making a big push.

It was pretty standard as these events went, and I remember very little about what was said during the conference. My most vivid memory is from before the conference actually began. It was a faux pas I committed -- a completely unforced error. At least I learned to keep my mouth shut.**

But before I get into describing the error, let me tangent.*** As I was supposed to, I wrote up the press conference for Skyline (the paper I was writing for, then. I also sent information to Alternative Rhythms, which was a music 'zine I had done a little writing for. I don't recall what I sent them -- most likely the Skyline article, which was poorly written, but full of direct quotes. Sam Rosenthal, who was publishing AR, took quotes from what I sent, and wrote a coherent article.

Anyway, I had gotten to the conference early -- as I usually did for these things. There were two people there before me. A young man and woman who obviously knew each other quite well. They looked a little bit older than me, but I immediately assumed that they were also there representing a college newspaper. I went to another table to grab a press packet and mumbled something about how I should probably read up so I'll know who "these clowns" are. The two of them chuckled and resumed their private conversation. I sat in the front row with the press packet and a notebook.

A while later, after other student journalists entered the room and as the press conference started, I learned that the man at the table was Paddy McAloon himself. He was incredibly graceful about the faux pas, and conducted the interview as if I hadn't just insulted him.

As a PS, I'll note that I wasn't enamored of PS' music. Stylistically, it never interested me. Except for "Faron" (which was listed as "Faron Young" on the British version of the album, which was titled Steve McQueen. I don't know why record labels do this. At any rate that one song sounded enough like cowpunk (which was just starting to interest me) to attract me. I still like it.Here's a liver version:

*I am not sure whether Sproutology is affiliated with the band, and I don't have enough interest to investigate.
**People who have known me since 1985 may question whether I actually did learn to keep my mouth shut.
***Yes, I know that tangent is not a proper verb. I don't care.