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A Møøse once bit my sister ...
As I've sort-of mentioned in some previous posts, I'm finding it mentally healthy in stressed-out times to take even a small sliver of Me Time when I can.  If a full-blown Mental Health Day isn't possible, make it an hour or two. Or just pause in the midst of the mandatories and see or do something not previously seen or done.

Thursday was my one busy day this week, on the road to Rochester.  Morning court, followed by two client appointments on that end.  They went efficiently, if not necessarily well, and I was able to pull up stakes a bit earlier than I usually do, and set out to run two errands on the way home. Neither succeeded- Client Three did not leave his report for me to pick up, and Client Four's longtime nemesis was not in to annoy him on my final stop. But stop I did, and I'm glad I did.

The place is just over the Monroe line into Orleans County- the Village of Holley.  Perhaps best known for having an abandoned and probably haunted high school in the center of town (it's being renovated for apartments), it also has at least one business named after the nearby Holley Falls. They were the reason for my trip, and despite the owner's absence, I lingered a bit on and around the public square.  First was this oddity:

That's cold.  (My first worry was that the other name partner was cold, as in recently deceased, but the ex-sign turns out to have been advertising the former Heath & Martin, the latter having broken off with a huuuuge sign on his new joint across the square.)  Unfortunately, that means I now also can't use my joke anymore about the other guy not having been able to pass the Heath Bar.

Past them is an accumulation of little shops, a bunch of fitness salons crammed into one building, the Village Hall to which we shall return, and a lovely little library.  I passed a few minutes there, as I've done in dozens of little towns while waiting for courts to open or clients to arrive.  Even in the midst of territory where Voldemort 2020 signs are already prevalent, there's still hope as long as there are books.

Walking back, I checked the windows in the Village Hall entrance.  The usual upcoming chicken barbecues and whatnots, but also this sign of the times, if "the times" are 50 years ago this weekend:

In 1969, your hippie attire probably would have gotten your head bashed in on that square. Today,  it's the hippies who go by "Pops." Now get off my farm....

Heading back to my car, I kept seeing references to "the Falls," and not just on the name of the business, so I followed the trail.  Upstate New York is packed with these little hidden-away gems; at least one friend who works near Holley told me she's been going there for work twice a year and had no idea this was even there:

See? We don't need to buy Greenland, after all:P


The week ended on a quiet note; I only had one appointment in the office yesterday, and from the sound of my non-ringing phone, most of the universe was on vacation or at least taking the day off.  I did come across this sight on my way to work, though:

Interesting choice for a brewery, naming a craft beer for a multi-fatality nautical disaster.  I wonder if there's one in Texas peddling School Book Depository Bitter (fruity with a taste of grassy knoll!), or if there's a Bhopal Union Carbide India Pale Ale.  I posted that picture on arrival at the office, leading to any number of horrible puns:


"The one beer to have when you want to get really wrecked."

"The Mets should sign a deal here. The bullpen can always use help with a good sinker."

"I'd sink a few of those."  "Well, at least 29."

"I'm getting a sinking feeling."  "Better that than feeling Superior."

Thanks, I'm here all week.  The ship, only until the 3rd of November. (And Gordon Lightfoot, bless him, is still touring and will be here at the end of October. I presume he takes the bus.)


Hoping for a few such minutes in the coming week, but it won't be as easy.  Monday morning brings three separate court appearances in downtown Buffalo, Tuesday a fourth there surrounded by town court gigs at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Wednesday is so far just one in the morning, and Thursday I'm away all day. I'd planned to use my complimentary pass for an all-day seminar on Friday, but I am going to see if I can use it for a later one. And then comes the road trip from the 27th to 29th. More details on that as the weather situation becomes clearer. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1558093.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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Only court days this week were Monday and will be tomorrow- neither with clients in tow, so none of the aggravation I went through last week.  That's given me time to catch up on calling people, getting some Project-y things prepared, and, unfortunately, using my brain where I'm the only one with that particular body part turned on.

Just a few examples of that:

- Trying to get a foreclosure wrapped up by my client refinancing his way out of it.  The figures work, the documents are all prepared, but the lender keeps insisting that the OLD lender "lift the foreclosure" before they will scratch a check.  I've spent probably two hours on the phone just this week brainsplainin' to these people that it doesn't work that way: the old lender provides a figure (provided), promises to sign all the "lift the foreclosure" documents once they get it (promised), and the borrower and his attorney guarantee those documents will get where they need to get (guaranteed).  They're pissing people off in three states over this, and I've yet to see a plugged nickel for my efforts.

- Needing a break from the nonsense and yesterday being stupidly sticky humid, I cut out of the office early and got my hair cut.  At this salon, the stylists are required to stop what they're doing and answer the phone whenever it rings- which it did, repeatedly, while I was waiting for my appointment.  My stylist took the last of these, which went something like this: Hello? What? Um, no. This is a haircutting place, not a dog grooming place.  Of course, that meant I didn't get any treats when she called me over; I was so upset, I shed all over her chair;)


In non-stupid other news:

I spent time the past couple of nights catching up with my college roommate(s) from three of our four Cornell years. The parentheses are because Jim's wife pretty much lived with us much of that time when we were off-campus.  I'd written them back in May after the Hamilton and Who experience and Jim just got back- understandable, since Jean's older brother John passed away earlier this year after a long illness. I'd met him a few times at functions including their 1982 wedding, and he always struck me as a good soul. Not much religiousness in his departure; his wife chose as send-off songs two quite dear to me, the aforementioned Who's anthem "Love Reign O'er Me," and Warren Zevon's "Keep Me In Your Heart."  I'd been thinking of them this week as I always do around August 15th; that was the day our first off-campus lease began in 1978, and I, with the help of my sister and her then-BF, was the first one to move in, because I couldn't get off Long Island quick enough after a horrific first (and last) "summer at home." I became so much more independent in those first twelve months, learning to shop for myself, eventually understanding the difference between a head of lettuce and a cabbage; finding a school-work balance that worked for both; and for the first time, choosing and being chosen by the people I lived with.

When Eleanor gets home, a bit earlier than usual tonight, we're heading out to the poetry reading in the Elmwood Village we've attended many of on Wednesdays for the past year. This one's special because one of the hosts of the program is bidding Buffalo farewell tonight. His beloved is moving to Nairobi for school, and Ben will be right by her side for this adventure.  The co-host will be continuing the tradition, though.

Over the weekend, we saw The Farewell, an indie picture set and filmed mostly in China. The actress/rapper Awkwafina stars in a role much toned down from her turns in Oceans 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, and she and the rest of the Chinese cast do an awesome job.  Like the film Yesterday we saw a few weekends before, the somewhat spoilery main premise of the film was pretty well known before we got there, but they managed to leave some surprises for us to discover which I will not spoil.

On the boobier tube, I just finished the 13-week run of the current season of Handmaid's Tale. It's had its up and down moments, but the final few episodes brought some much-needed Blows Against The Empire and an ending filled with both hope and schadenfreude.  Margaret Atwood (author of the source material and a producer of the series) has announced that her own novelized sequel will be out in the months between this ending and the eventual fourth series, so it'll be interesting to see how much runs in parallel and how much differs.  Eleanor has passed on this experience, but we've picked up our own communal binge- of Rita, a Danish TV series that ran from 2012 to 2017, the final two co-produced by Netflix and those four years' worth now streaming here with subtitles.  The writing and performances are spot-on, the humor has an edge, and we're already finding ourselves quoting things and referencing characters from it.

The humidity's down, so I'm off to read for a bit before we go. Hopefully neither it nor the clients will be stupid from here on out. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1557867.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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I only had two days in court this past week- one each in Rochester and Buffalo with bankruptcy clients who were the first to receive my new and improved third-grade-level Activity Sheet to help them understand the teeny leetle things they had to do to get out of thousands of dollars in debt:

-Show up on time.  Depending on the time, place and circumstances, I tell them to either meet me in my office an hour before the hearing in downtown Whatever, or at the hearing location 30 minutes before. My letters always told them this; the Activity Sheet now puts it right on the top. Tuesday's was 30 minutes before in the hearing room; Friday's, an hour before at my office here.

Did either of these work?


Of course not. The client for Tuesday's 10:30 hearing was still parking the car at 10:20, and was only saved from embarrassment and an extra hour's wait because the prior hearings had fallen further behind then even she was. Friday's, where we needed every minute to prepare for a potential shitshow, the preparation didn't get started until the client rolled in to my office less than 30 minutes before we had to be in the room, 20 minutes away.

-Bring what I tell you. Ah, but the biggest item on the Activity Sheet was devoted to getting people to bring proof of their full Social Security Number with them.  This is now absolutely mandatory because of a small amount of identity fraudsters giving out the wrong number, but a bigger (but still fairly small) amount of people who simply gave their attorney a number that was one digit off.  As you can imagine, this does bad things to the credit of the unfortunate soul whose number was used, and the offending party has to go through a bunch of curative steps to fix those problems.

They have several options for bringing proof of their full Social, but it's gotta be one of them, and fishing around for it when you're in the hearing room is NOT one of them. But that's what they both did- fortunately, I had suitable ways of overcoming with each, but cmon, people.

Just as fortunately, we got out of the first with no further delays or consequences; and while the shitshow did not occur as expected in the other, there was some unexpected shit on display, which I think I managed to get all nice and clean- or at least will once the client manages to show up at my office with a nominal filing fee so I can do my.... One Job.

Sometimes I wonder if "Job" should be pronounced more often with a long "O" sound.


In between those, I just caught up on a lot of sit-down paperwork projects that are hard to get into with a court date looming.  I also picked up a new client- the Erie County Agricultural Society, better known in these parts as "The Fair."  They had an issue with a possible bankruptcy involving one of their traveling vendors, and I talked them through it reasonably quickly.  In the end, it hardly seemed worth sending a bill for barely an hour of my time, so I've been thinking about proposing that they just send some passes to the event to call it even that I could share with friends or co-workers.

"The event," in these parts, remains a surprisingly Big Thing.  I have vague memories of attending a county fair somewhere near Binghamton when I was a kid, but that's about it.  Long Island didn't have enough farmland left to support any kind of agricultural shows; there was a Tompkins County Fair up in Trumansburg, but Ithaca's too close to the season-ending State Af-Fair up in Syracuse for it to ever get much traction-pulls.   Monroe County has a sizeable Fairgrounds, even with a permanent indoor arena, but when we lived there it seemed a tacky minor-league thing; they've moved what's left of it to more rural parts of the county, a far cry from the 70s when school bus demolition derbies and even strippers were part of the Midway.

Somehow, though, Erie County's has always maintained its cachet.  Having a large, permanent site with year-round structures and attractions has helped (a harness track, now casino gambling).  It's also taken on an emotional connection, with this early-to-mid-August event being considered by many to be Buffalo's "end of the summer" marker.  For a few years after we moved back here, the promoters got a little too big for their bigtops and started promoting it beyond the immediate region as "America's Fair." That didn't last long, and they've returned to their roots (if not their rutabagas) and are back to the Ferris wheel and funnel cakes and all the memories they inspire.

Somehow, in my on-and-off almost 40 years here, I've never been.  If we work it out with comps, this will be a first.  I wouldn't say it's Bucket List; more one of those "let's do this so I'll never be tempted to do it again" kind of things.

Besides, there are other options.  There's a Bark in the Park baseball game closer to home in Batavia on Tuesday night, and while our Rochester friends will likely miss it, Pepper and I may give it a shot.  We're also closing in on t-minus two weeks to the Big League Event with the Mets; they have continued their completely amazin' turnaround, beating up on a series of lesser opponents through last week before, the past two nights, coming from behind against the arguably better team in front of them in the standings with two straight walk-off wins where they trailed going into the bottom of the ninth.  Until Friday night, they hadn't won a single game from behind in their final at-bat; now they've done it two nights in a row.  And I missed both of them; we were watching our newest Netflix binge, a Danish tv show called Rita, for most of both evenings, and I turned in before either of the comebacks.  But then, this team has always generally done better when I'm not actually paying attention;) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1557532.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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I looked at my car's display this morning and went, huh. Where did all those miles come from? I didn't GO anywhere this weekend!

Once I thought about it, though, I realized, yeah. Did some things there, didn't I?

I tried my hand at a couple of household tasks on Friday. Early in the day, the relatively new freezer-on-the-bottom fridge left a puddle on the kitchen floor, as it seems to about once a month; we got it defrosted, but I hadn't had enough coffee just yet and it was slower going than I would have liked.  Things stayed slow at the office- lots of vacations or at least long weekends going on, I guess- so I decided to take off a little early and visited a friend and father/FIL of friends for the first time at his home in North Tonawanda.  His twin daughters have been longtime friends of mine from early LJ days, and they've both married and left the country- Erin to Sweden, Sara to Newfoundland. Vince made the overland trip Oop North a few weeks back, and asked if I'd be interested in him bringing back the books of short fiction that Sara's husband Jeff has been published in:

Of course, eh?  (And he wouldn't take a loonie for either, since he didn't pay the kids for either of them.)

I hadn't seen Vince (or his daughters) since the funeral of their beloved Cathy early last summer, but we've connected through Facebook and we spent time talking about various adventures in life and cars.  When he saw JARVIS at the curb, fresh off its $160US car wash, he brought out his mobile tester, confirmed that Herr Overpricederdealership had correctly diagnosed the code, but also confirmed that their pricing on both the repair and the part were ridiculously high.  At last report, he'd found the main offending part, running over $600 at the dealer, for $75 on eBay.

I am blessed knowing the best people:)


The good feeling carried over into the bathroom.

Let me rephrase that.  I'd had such a nice visit, I set out to correct another longstanding household defect once I got home. Heaven help me, I plumbed.

Our bathroom sink backs up a bit- recent treatments with various goops have helped- but the bigger problem was that the built-in stopped wasn't going up and down properly and you couldn't get the sink to fill.  I got under there with a flashlight and confirmed Eleanor's diagnosis- that the mechanism connected to the gizmo above sink level wasn't actually moving the gezakis inside the pipe.  Of course there's a Youtube video on how to remedy this- from a Canadian, yet- and somehow, I got the ratty old piece out, the replacement part secured for under ten bucks (five with a coupon), and the new one installed and working in five minutes out of the package.  All without injury or adult supervision.


That-all accounted for maybe 30 of those 100 miles. (At least 10 of them were needless because Siri misdirected me to a random spot on Niagara Falls Boulevard rather than Vince's actual house until I corrected her.)  A few came Saturday with routine stops at my office and Wegmans after we did some modest outdoor work, but the rest were saved for yesterday.  Our usual dog park trip got postponed since our walking buds were volunteering at a road race downtown, so I accepted a different invite for the morning and took Pepper to her first trip (with me, anyway) to a beach.

Emerald Beach, it's called- no swimming, but quite the view:

A coworker sponsored a morning-lawn cleanup of the plastic detritis that rolls in with the tide and gets left from the walkers along the shore and on the path above.  I've lived here on and off for going on 40 years and never knew this beach existed, but the directions to the Erie Basin Marina seemed clear enough- at least until I hit a detour caused by the same road race our friends were volunteering at.  Several wrong turns later, I was much closer to the former industrial pillars of the city-

(okay, not exactly brimming with human activity these days;)

- and wound up going past this place for the first time ever:

That's the solar panel factory that Elon Musk has promised to take us into the 24th and a half century- except between tariffs and other economic issues, production and employment so far are way below projections. They may need to start making other electricky things here to justify the big chunk of the "Buffalo Billion" the state sunk into this brownfield.

When I stopped for that shot, I then saw this oddity across the street from it- just sitting there in a car park:

Who knows? Maybe it's bigger than it looks on the inside;)

Ultimately, Siri apologized for her misdirections of the previous experience, put me safely on the 190 and landed me not far behind City Hall where I should have just known to go in the first place.  We quickly found the cleanup crew already in action-

(Michelle from my office in the middle, her older daughter and a friend either side)

- and Pepper quickly found the cache at the top of the site to keep us hydrated et al-

(I also like donuts.)

Within an hour, we'd collected quite a haul, being both cleaned and catalogued for an environmental project about the lakefront, but we also found far more than just things to pick up:  monarchs were seen flying about-

- and led us, in quick succession, to the first monarch caterpillar I think I've ever seen:

I texted that one to Eleanor and immediately got back:

Oh. My. God. I'm drawing that!

Pepper was very good the whole time, but we were both fairly worn out by homecoming time.  I got a bit more done in the yard, but ended with reading from my new finds and continuing another I've wanted to finish this summer.


Today was memorable and uneventful. The latter because I did NOT spend it arguing to a jury as originally scheduled; the former because today marks 25 years since we closed on the purchase of this home. That's way longer than I've lived in any one place, and we're closing in on how long my parents homesteaded in East Meadow.  These other sights make things interesting, but there's no place I'd rather be. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1557378.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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When work's quiet, and I'm not going anywhere afterwards, and Eleanor and I see each other about 60 waking minutes a day, there's not much to talk about here. I'm left sharing mostly odd little inspirations from books, websites or other media that strike me as funny or interesting or whatever. All of these have been Facebooked at least in original versions, some as comments on others' posts, but since I keep this collection as a more semi-permanent record of life going back, wow, close to a third of my life now, I'll just toss them off more or less in the order they entered my head:

Bless my mother, may she rest in Vestal. She had an answer for everything, even if the answer wasn't particularly good.

When I was a kid, if we were watching a tv show or a movie on the tv with some kind of inexplicable visual- and this was way back before CGI or anything close- I'd pipe up and ask, "Mom! How'd Superman fly out of that window without falling to the ground?" Or, "how did Roadrunner make a hole in the side of that cliff shaped just like his body?" Her answer was, "Camera tricks"- as if that explained anything and everything.

All these years later, it's become a catch phrase between Eleanor and me when we're watching things- even if we question a plot hole in the script, or new actor suddenly taking over a role in a series, it will be explained away by me saying in my Mom voice, "Camera tricks," and her responding, "Thank you, Dorothy!"

I thought of this the other day when Eleanor mentioned that she'd emailed some photos to her brother, which for some reason came out sideways in the attachments. When she asked how that might have happened, I gave the Mom Stock Answer- and then we both realized, that, possibly for the first time ever, Dorothy was literally right:)


That was before my one trip of the week to Rochester yesterday- yeah, I guess I did do a little something this week- which began at 9 with a two-hour small claims trial and then followed with a couple of client meetups. I ended that day heading home in the afternoon, and as I sometimes do, I decided to check in on the enemy broadcasts on the AM talk radio dial. By far the biggest blood pressure-raiser is Sean Hannity, affectionately dubbed "Lumpy" by Jon Stewart. For months, he's been whining about this one remark that a Justice Department never-Trumper supposedly made about "smelly WalMart voters." He rails about their insensitivity: "How dare they demonize you good people on account of a stereotype?" Yet for all of this week, Lumpy's been all-in on the President of the United States demonizing the entire population of a Congressional District in Baltimore as being "rat-infested slumdwellers," as if that's totally legitimate. Tonight on my Fox show- we'll show you a picture of a rat in Baltimore, so it must be true!

Dude. I've been to Wally World. You can't post photos of smelly, but trust me, if we're playing the Anecdotal Evidence Game, we've both got ammunition.


Once home from that, we both read a bit and turned in kinda early, but insomnia set in for some reason. It didn't help that the Mets were still playing in Chicago (against the American League team there) until close to midnight- and, amazin'ly, were leading! Despite my remarks the other day about them being pretty much out of contention this year, they've had a nice run of wins, the last seven of them in a row- and the radio announcers and even the fairly cynical regular bloggers were assessing the upcoming schedule and going, Hmmm, maybe, if this and then that and definitely not that other thing, we could sneak back into the pennant race! I'm always enough of a Polyanna to buy into it, but a long-suffering enough fan to not put actual wagers on it.

I understand it, though. For I'm also a Bills fan- and every December, we go through this. Despite the team missing the playoffs for 18 of the past 19 years (and sneaking in on a wing and prayer two seasons ago), despite their talent and schedule usually consigning them to having no real chance of making it by Thanksgiving, and despite the Killer B's in Foxboro stealing our lunch money every year since 2001, the networks still put the Bills' 5-8 record on the onscreen graphic and say we're "In the Hunt."

And that leads to only one image. Not of Dog the Bounty Hunter, or of Hill Street's Howard Hunter, or of Fred Dryer AS Hunter. No, of the one who championed fearlessness and oxygen deprivation as an inspiration to us all....

SEA Hunt, starring Lloyd Bridges! Who went on to be better known for a later project:


I've been re-reading Jim Bouton's book Ball Four all the way through, to honor his memory after his passing last month. One cool thing I came across last night was that a few weeks before his death, the Library of Congress announced that it had acquired Bouton's collection of personal papers, including his notes, recordings and edited drafts of the legendary book:

I remember exactly where in the book that was, and am glad the crossed-out section got retained- "stet" means "forget my editor's cross-out, I lost the argument with the author, put it back".

No plans to visit the Library of Congress for a look at these, but it's definitely going on the Bucket List, and hey- the kids aren't too far from DC,....


Today was an even more uneventful workday- the only excitement being that I got to write a delicious set of papers to try to hold a cranky old man in contempt for ignoring my client's recent bankruptcy filing and continuing to send her passive-aggressive texts. I'd sent him my "fair warning" letter a couple of weeks ago, and my client outright told him he was risking a contempt citation, but today he crossed over into practically stalking her near her new residence and sending one final text saying "RUN BUT U CAN'T HIDE U NEED TO PAY UR PAST RENT." The bad l33tsp33k alone is gonna cost him an extra 200 bucks in my attorneys fees.

But I did have time for some inappropriate behavior of my own. I'd gotten in a couple of potential lawsuits yesterday, but only realized today what the name of one of them was. Fortunately, Facebook provides the perfect background to set up the joke:

There followed the obligatory references to the Pope and to Sherlock. Because all of my online friends are also twelve;)


Trying to finish the latest episode of Handmaid's Tale- just two to go in this season after the one that dropped yesterday. I'm still trying to get my brain around learning that the lead actress, Elisabeth Moss, is a Scientologist, and working on how she can reconcile her performance with that real-life membership. Member-controlling religion? Check. Rejection of accepted mental health treatment? Check. Totally paranoid leadership? Check.

At least I haven't seen OfLRon jumping up and down on a couch yet.


One day of August down. Two games to get back to .500. And nothing ahead in life that a few good camera tricks can't fix:)

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Two straight nights at home. How dull.

Two straight days in the local office with no appointments. How needed.

July is about to breathe its last. For that final day tomorrow, I will be out on the road, and might even be out at one thing or another tomorrow night, but these days helped me get ready for some busy days ahead.

Not as busy as I'd feared, thankfully: the first of those jury trials I mentioned last week was coming up fast on me for August 5th, and the only solace was that my opponent seemed less inclined to conduct it than even I was.  We also got word that the judge's father- himself a political figure of statewide renown- had died over the weekend, which might have independently led to rescheduling.  It wound up settling today, and as long as I get a one-page document signed tomorrow, that albatross will be packed away.

While waiting for word on it yesterday, I worked on finishing and submitting my outline materials for a continuing ed seminar I'm speaking at in September.  This one is about the sixth different iteration of the subject material that I've done for them, and it's dull as dishwater, but I get obscene amounts of continuing ed credit for presenting my hourish section, plus free regular credit for listening through everybody else's. Even better, they now offer an option to "pay" their speakers by comping an additional one of their daylong seminars anytime in the year following the program.  I still haven't used mine from the one I did last year, and I finally found one I can attend that will burn another 7 hours of my biannual obligation in August before I have to turn in my compliance report in November.  They used to offer a $10 per attendee "honorarium" to the panel- the whole panel. With four of us splitting the topics on this one, I'd have been lucky to make ten bucks.  And these things are cash cows for the "provider," with the going rate being over $300 per attendee for the seven hours, the above pittance going to the faculty, a hotel maybe charging $500 for the room and the snacks (lunch is "on your own"), a minion being paid another $100 or so to take attendance and pass out the certificates, and whatever their advertising budget is.

The rest of this week on the August side of the line is quiet to start, but then things pick up. A longtime client already asked me to make an appearance on that now-freed Monday afternoon. Tuesday is Return To Where It Didn't Go Well last week, already living up to advance expectations of more of the same since the client has been ghosting me for the past two weeks and needed to have something in to me today.  Then it's quiet until Friday, when another sometime ghost may or may not have haunted me in advance of the date.

All of that's pretty ordinary, but August will also be full of memorable days. I've mentioned many of them here in past years and will likely again; they tie into the places I've moved, the journeys I've begun and ended, and this year at least, the sport and music that keeps me going. For on the week that I will mark my about-permanent departure from Long Island 42 Augusts ago, I will be returning to it (events in Queens and Manhattan, but the old homestead awaits in between) for my only 2019 appearance in the presence of Mets.

I picked this homestand because it ties in with a much rarer event: a chance to see a longago high school friend in concert, in his band's only US stop on a whirlwind worldwide tour.  When I met Freddie more than 50 years ago, we were both kids who got assigned to the clarinet by our elementary school band teacher.  I was gently steered to the bass clarinet, where my lack of virtuoso skills would do less harm; Freddie eventually found his way to the sax, which has led him to a band, a 25 year career and more than a dozen albums.  Somehow, I've never managed to see them perform, and this year's tour makes a one-night stop at home for a change of reeds and underwear, with a performance that night at New York's Irridium on August 28th.

Once that note got put on the staff, I looked to either side of it to see what the Mets were up to, and they're home from the 27th to 29th against those same Chicago Cubs who, 50 years ago, were kind enough to get scared by a little kitty cat and get out of our way for the Amazin' Miracle of 1969:

I settled on getting tickets to the game the night before Freddie's show, so I'd have a backup plan in case of rain: if it got turned into a Wednesday day game, fine, or I could stay one more day and see them on the Thursday. With the team's fortunes being down if not completely out, tickets were cheap and easy to come by, and I am getting to see a onetime teacher and now dear friend who will be coming with his wife and possibly a kid or two to join us at Citi Field. And others from our old home town may join us as well.  It won't be easy getting there: the Monday before is full of court hearings in Buffalo, and then the morning of the Met game I have to begin in Rochester returning to the scene of the reaming from last week- hopefully with a more cooperative client in tow this time. So it'll likely be a straight nonstop shot down the 90 to 81 (never a sure thing in summertime) and finally the Deegan, hopefully arriving in time for pregame festivitating.

But that's getting almost a month ahead. First, a little bit of julio remains- before memories take me back to the old schoolyard;) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1556930.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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By the time Friday rolls around, five of the seven days have usually made One Weak.  But the end of this just-past workweek was calm enough, and I was determined enough, that I/we/I actually made and kept plans three straight nights to get out of the usual comfort zone of petfood bowls and DVDs.

Friday: A Midsummer Night's Fatal Crash Dream

The Totes Professional Shakespeare in the Park has been part of my summers for close to 40 years, ours for well over 20.  We missed their first weeks of Tempests, might get out to the Hill for Love's Labour's Lostses. This year, though, brought some competition in the Bardolotry department: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, a shorter run of a single play by Inclusive Theater of WNY.  I knew two of the cast members from different circles of life, and am now friends with a third (and possibly more to come); the venue is much smaller, the press minimal, but the performances turned out to be as genuine as the Big Kids down the street and was perhaps closer to the ambience of the original Globe.

Getting there was half the fun.  First, I had to extract myself from the office on time on Friday afternoon- check. I'd promised to pick up pizzas for Eleanor (who got out of work just past curtain) and me- check.  Then, a quick shot from Sheridan, the nearest major highway, to the 290 to the 90 to the 33 to get to the venue.

Check- heart rate after near-death.  To keep with the Shakespearean theme, I put it in iambic pentameter after the show:

 If using suicide lanes knoweth thee not?
Then enter not thee there- STAY THY PUCK OUT!

("The" is more grammatically correct, but "thy" works the meter better. So thyre:P)

We access Sheridan Drive westbound to get to the 290 by such a lane. Turning Driver ahead of me made the left and pulled into it as eastbound traffic finally cleared. I followed. TD then stopped dead at the nearest edge of the lane, leaving me no room to get in there behind and away from what was soon to be more eastbound traffic.

Very soon.

I got more and more frantic, gesturing, waving, finally honking as I thought about backing up. TD responded by shrugs and at least one middle finger as I mouthed the instructions: YOU. MOVE. SLOWLY. AND THEN YOU MERGE. SAFELY!  Finally, TD got it and I did not die. Pity- Pyramus/Bottom's actor would have done an awesome job of re-enacting it;)

This is he, in his death throe at the end:

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First was finding the place, called The Foundry and quite likely formerly just that :

This goes by the generic term of "makerspace"- turning a once industrial building into an incubator for smaller, more creative efforts. Inclusive Theater is one of the tenants, and this was their first performance for a paying public.  The first night was a sellout (also its only "pay what you can" night), and I had issues with their credit card site, so after my non-crash, I was still nervous that I might have been turned away. But no- ten bucks got me in for the main event but also the short ahead of it by my dog park friend Dave: The Trash-edgy of Slackbeth!

That be he, serenading Lady S in full Deliverance mode, complete with Elvis bathrobe and MAGA hat (he told me later he keeps accidentally leaving it in the "trash" bag that is central to the plot).  Then, the Dream began, Dave coming back as one of the play-within-a-play performers-

-and a longago Methodist minister friend Chris and his wife among the Faeries in the cast-

The Faerie Song was rapped. The Pyramus play-within was suitably overacted. Bottom made an ass of himself. And a lovely time was had by all:)


Saturday- the Maine Event

The next morning was for close to sleeping-in for me, but only me. Eleanor had been up since 6, partly because of confirming and acting on plans for our first dinner company here in quite some time.

Two houses and one cross street away from us is a place forever known as "the Monsignor's house," because the Catholic Diocese indeed used it as the home of one of its higher-ups when we got here 25 years ago later this week. It's been a rental for many years; while most properties in this area seem to sell like hotcakes, its owner put it on the market sometime last year, taking the sign down without an apparent sale. It has now become home to two couples. One, a woman and her boyfriend, a bit younger than us, who arrived with Maine license plates a few months back and who we've seen walking their adorable pug and admiring our front yard. The other, we've learned, are Lisa's 80-something mom and dad; she moved back here from Maine when they needed caregiving.

We had them over for dinner last night, and they proved to be lovely company.  She baked some absolutely delectable chocolate-raspberry bars, to finish off the chicken-and-inspired-salad Eleanor made to precede them. We laughed, shared dog stories, and are promised a reciprocal at their place.


Sunday- Lost and Found Dogs

Two straight nights of social butterflying? Why not try for three?

First, the morning proved unusual.  I got word that our usual 8 a.m. dog park run would be postponed because our buds were helping another friend locate their new missing pup:

That's Zoey (not to be confused with our cat Zoey or with my friend Ann's cat Zoe). Dogzoey had just come home as a rescue to one of Ann's friends who lives near both of us, and bolted from her new daddy on her first walk in the neighborhood. So I piled Pepper in the car and we went in search, without success. (Fortunately, the Amherst Police had been notified and found her by the end of the morning:)

After that and a workout, I kept my third straight day of Plans, and took Pepper to Rochester for an annual event put on by friends at their suburban home there.  Pepper was especially welcome because their dog is about the same age and would love the company.

Well, maybe not. The two of them were looking out on 20-plus people with burgers, hot dogs and other goodies, and they were not about to just sit down back there for a game of Pooptzee.  Then, a third dog about the same age arrived, and his reaction to the "playpen" was AW HELL NO. Once he was released into the general population, Pepper quickly followed, and the two escapees had a happy rest of the afternoon catching dropped food, drinking out of beer cups (water, he adds with emphasis) and sniffing each other to excess:

When I first arrived- taking Eleanor's plug-in car since the dog does better on longer trips in its real back seat than my car's lack of one- I had the brilliant idea of plugging it in at the town's charging station, barely two blocks from their front door.  And indeed, Brighton Town Hall has such a free charger- two, even! Both of them in use at almost 4 on a summer Sunday afternoon, because the Brighton Library, bless them, is OPEN at almost 4 on a summer Sunday afternoon.

I walked Pepper over there after closing time, made sure that one of them was free, and then drove back and charged it for a final hour (which got close to a 50 percent charge on the car that takes half the night using our 110 outlet at home).  She shared one final burger with me and then we headed back, tired but happy after our three straight nights of adventures:)


No idea what the week ahead holds.  But these nights have been what a "weekend" is all about:)

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The first 25 hours of this workweek were brutal. From 9 Monday morning to 10 Tuesday morning, I had six scheduled hearings in three different places in two different cities; one was postponed without appearance (but not to the day I'd "confirmed" ahead of time and told the client it would be), two were little more than useless after long delays getting before each judge, and two went, more or less, as planned. That leaves one more: the first one off the tee on Tuesday morning, which sliced hard to the left, went into the woods, bounced into the water hazard, and got eaten by a bear before getting anywhere close to the fairway. (That is probably the first AND last golf metaphor you will ever see here.)   "Reamed" was the word the client used to describe his performance at the hearing afterward, and that would be putting it kindly.  The good news is, there's nothing that can't be fixed, and we have over a month to do it.  I have now resolved to treat all clients as if they were in kindergarten, using activity sheets with checkmarks and multiple colors to get them do bring the relatively few things they need to navigate the system and actually read the papers they're signing under oath, and possibly resorting to sheets of gold stars when they're good and raps on the knuckles with a ruler when they're not.

After Tuesday morning, things broke a bit for the better.  The Rude Opponent I mentioned last week, who waited until the last possible day to file papers for a hearing this Thursday, forced me into a back-from-court Monday afternoon of finalizing, filing and paying the filing fee for a response- also on the last possible day, but hey, not my idea:P  Just before bringing in copies of the papers to the judge, word came: the court was putting everything off three weeks because of the almost-late filings. So no court today at 10, yay!  I still had things to travel to Rochester for again today, but we'll get to that.

It was still an exhausting couple of days by the time I finally got home late Tuesday afternoon, and I turned in plenty early- missing the opportunity I usually take on July 23rd to remember my late sister's birthday. And this was a big one: Sandy would have turned 80 this year.  I sent a brief note to one of my nieces about it, and found she was a little behind in her recollections as well. Yet in some ways, while we always have the significant days of remembrance- birthdays, anniversaries (hers in which I played a part and ours in which she did), and of course the upcoming 31st of her loss in October- maybe the better measure of remembrance is how often we think of her and honor her memory in everyday life. I can certainly say, as I'm sure her kids do, that rarely a day goes by without some bit of Sandy coming back to us. Whether it's my near-daily admonition to the dog to "go play in traffic" (letting her into the back yard, not actual traffic;), or thinking of her anytime a Simon and/or Garfunkel song comes on, as this one did on my drive today-

she is here. She is now.


Yesterday was blissfully free of commitments, other than an open-ended one to file papers in downtown Buffalo.  I decided to take a little extra time in the morning to decompress the stress a bit; I marched the overpriced parts estimate from Strurm und Drang Automotive over to my real mechanic- who happens to be two blocks from the dog park. How could I not take Pepper with me? Gorgeous morning, plenty of new pups to see (me) and sniff (her), plus one of our favorites from Sunday morning on his daily walkabout:) The rest of the workday went so much more smoothly just from the peacefulness.  On a sadderish note, I also got out early- but not through plans of my own. There was a bomb scare in the downtown courts, and a co-worker who'd been near them reported when he got back that they still had buildings barricaded- so I called off my filing trip and just left early for a workout and some more hang-with-dog time at home.

I tried duplicating the Mental Health Hour today, with not quite as much success.  Although court was called off (and not by a bomb), I'd made plans earlier in the week to meet a client at his office, which is very close to the Lake Ontario shoreline north of the city of Rochester.  Usually, I just take the dull but speedy path that is the 90, but there's a state parkway that runs near, and in some places in sight of, the Ontario shoreline from north of Batavia all the way to Rochester's northern limits.  By cruising some back roads, I got up there, and was pleased to find that the state had finally repaved the thing; it had been a Bosnia-like path of mortar-shelled asphalt the last time I drove it a few years ago to visit a rather crazed then-client.  I even thought of her as I passed the exit to where she lived at the time.  Bad move; because by day's end, Facebook had identified the one mutual friend we had (out of 300-plus of mine and 3,000-plus of his) and suggested that I friend her.  Erm, no.  If anything, I'm afraid I'm one utterance away from a Beetlejuice experience:P

After that, things went okay today, but with lots of paper-cutlike annoyances. Checks that were supposed to be delivered, weren't. Two different cases of mine got jury assignments despite my not asking for them; I'd rather drink bleach than waste five times as much court time explaining my dull-as-dishwater cases to six citizens who were simply too stupid to get out of serving. And for some reason, my final hour in the office back here, after the dull-but-speedy trip on the Thruway, was jam packed with calls and coworkers sticking heads in.  It was just too exhausting to go anywhere else when I finally got home; I'd hoped to go to a Shakespeare performance tonight (not the high-falutin' professional Shakespeare in the Park, but a far more whimsical one called Shakespeare in the Parking Lot).  Another chance at it tomorrow night, after what looks to be a quieter day than any so far this week.

Instead, I did a little mowing, a little tree-trimming, and, of course, a little blogging.  And now, until next time, a pause....

ETA: actually, a moment of silence. Claudine the Spider flew the coop the other day, leaving some webbing and the remnants of her brood behind. We're wondering if the spider across the hall is actually the deadbeat dad and if we should move him in there....


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Or, something old, something new, something broken, something ewwwwww.

A friend of mine in Massachusetts is moving house, and her biggest challenge has been getting rid of a humongous sofa in her upper apartment.  I suggested a solution to her problem, but first I needed to tell the backstory of how I came up with it. Return with me to the thrilling days of the oughts....

I'd been hired to file a business bankruptcy for a company in Syracuse (nobody local would take the case- this should have been a warning). It leased a commercial building and had a number of pieces of heavy equipment that the building was literally built around. The business tanked, and its secured creditor got permission to recover the equipment, which on a good day at a typical bankruptcy auction might have netted 10 grand.

This creditor apparently expected that my out-of-business client would magically teleport the equipment to the other side of the walls. Finally, their lawyers got pissed, and wrote the judge an angry letter about how my client was defying the order awarding them possession and demanding the assistance of the US Marshals. I had no dog in this fight anymore, so I watched it all go by as I got ready to head out of town for a vacation.

Then my email went BOOM. The judge in the Syracuse case gave them exactly what they asked for- an order TO the US Marshals to recover their equipment with cranes and blowtorches, which resulted in a bill FROM the US Marshals to the creditor for the roughly $50,000 this fool's errand was estimated to cost them. The emails were the creditor BEGGING the then-other Bankruptcy Judge in New York Northern, sitting in Albany, to vacate the crane-and-blowtorch order (the assigned judge, like me, was on vacation). And eventually, he did- but not without a good amount of schadenfreude on my part.

And so, my advice today to Izzy? If all else fails, sprinkle some weed in the thing. Maybe someone will call the US Marshals, who always get their heavy equipment.


In newer work-related clusters, I made a call yesterday which explained the snafu over my misbegotten court (non-)appearance the night before:

Even before I sent my appearance in to the court clerk, they had already caught the error of the trooper's ways: they sent a letter right out to my client telling him that the correct date was the night before the one on the ticket.

He never told me.   Instead, he told them his attorney was someone named Doug Stiller. Or at least that's what they took down: it appears Doug does exist, but I’ve never met him, and he would have no idea who I (or “my” client) might be. Amazingly, any further correspondence with the new date never got to me.

Fortunately, no bench warrants were issued. So now it’s off for a month until August 20th. Which is, yes, a Tuesday.


I found that out before starting a relatively productive Rochester day yesterday- meeting two new clients, getting formally retained by a third and more-or-less connecting with three current ones for things they needed.  This morning, I had no travel plans, other than to the Mercedes dealer, for it was finally the day to find out why my check engine light was on.  This resulted in a $160 car wash:P

The selling dealer, who no longer sells, is perhaps my least favorite place on earth.  The car is now out of warranty, and everybody at the dealer treats us like crap when we go in with this tiny little car, so before going there, I took it to our longtime mechanic. Their computer read the codes, and could tell generally what they were, but not what exact part was causing it.

So hi ho, hi ho, it's back to Benz we go. They hit you for $150 plus tax just to tell you that. And "that" turns out to be a pump which, with their labor, runs over a grand. Worse, the part is not even in stock. But they did wash the car before returning it to me, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. Also, the idiot light is off- at least for now.

I paid the tribute and left the work order open. They showed me the specifics of what part and how much, but I had to ask them to give me that- you know, so I can take it back to my mechanic and see if he can do it for maybe a fewer body parts than the arm and leg I was just quoted. Dude grumbled and tore off the "customer copy" of the parts quote.

At this point, I will likely wait until closer to inspection time to revisit this- just to be sure there aren't any OTHER codes that are going to keep a sticker off the thing. And there's always the Magliazzi approach to solving the check engine light problem:


And finally, an update on the indoor wildlife:

Claude, our resident bathroom spider, would appear to be Claudine. Eleanor spotted what looked to be a well-organized set of leetle dots round the webbing. I went to photograph it and saw nothing- either we were wrong, and Claude was simply OCD about arranging his food earlier in the day, or Claudine had a different approach to parenting than the one we took. But with proper lighting, the "food" does indeed look to be "brood:"



There's got to be an exam question in this: "Assume you swallow eight spiders a year in your sleep. How many nights will you lie awake staring at the ceiling before none of these baby spiders will be able to leave on a train for Chicago going 100 mph?"

(At least one online friend from Chicago objected to that. She didn't care if Claudine was on a mission from God.)

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Lancaster Village Court.

The client's ticket says appear tonight at 7. My fax to the court said I would appear tonight at 7.  "Tonight," for those of you reading later or on the other side of the International Date Line, happens to be Wednesday.  But look! The sign on the door is quite clear!

Well, there was a holiday a couple weeks ago. Maybe it threw the schedule off.  So up the stairs to the Dispensary of Justice. Everything's closed. Not a clerk or even security guard in sight.  But the place started hoppin' a few minutes ago, for yes, Village Hall is busy on Wednesday nights- with the Stitch Witch Knitting Group.  They were very kind. They even invited me to join them.  I said, no thanks, sharp pointy things wouldn't be a good idea for me right now.

It's been like this most of the workweek, these little annoyances that, in this case, was likely to be a two-hour-of-wasted-time annoyance.  Monday, I heard from another traffic client. (Mind you, I only do these because they're usually quick and easy money for me and time and license-point-savers for the clients referred to me. Tonight, not so much.)  I'd sent her the first form needed so that at least the client doesn't have to show up in court. In many courts, I don't either. Sometimes, I even find this out before I get there.  But I'd read the client intake form wrong and had to send it again. I did, and told her, any other corrections, just make them on the document. By that, I meant by "hand." Using "ink." Or possibly "correction tape." No, to this digital generation, she could only think to insert the correction as a comment into the Adobe document. The third iteration was correct, but corrupted. Finally, I sent it in Word, and magically it came back signed. We'll see if I can avoid a four-hour round trip cluster on THAT one.

I also contacted another client Monday who had a hearing the next day, which I'd been retained on months before and filed, with notice of the date (THAT one was yesterday, Tuesday) sent to her weeks ago. I heard nothing from her; I did her from the other side, who ultimately lawyered up but only after making jokes about the town name where she lived. (What's so funny about "Cheektowaga," Georgia Lady? YOUR state's biggest landmark is a KFC joint called the "Big Chicken.")  Anyway, client waited until the day before to tell me she wasn't interested in proceeding anymore. My ass lost no skin in this- I got paid the same, and freed up time yesterday that I should've, I dunno, spent calling THIS freakin' court to foresee they put the wrong date on the ticket.  But it just boggled that people could wait until the last minute.

Which, of course, they are not alone in.  Because I used some of my freed-up time yesterday stressing about papers in a case that had a hearing date preselected for July 25th. (That's a Thursday, for those of you keeping score at home).  We set that date weeks ago.  Normally, you send your papers in at least a couple of weeks ahead of time, to give the judge and opponent lead time to review them but also so you can require any opposing papers to be submitted a week (versus two days) in advance.  You can serve papers on as little as eight days notice, but what rude idiot would do that?

Sorry, no Internet here so I can't download his picture.  I began to worry that they were expecting me to file the opening salvo, so I sent a letter in to the judge, copying the opponent, making sure I had it straight. I sure did: Rude Idiot promptly responded that he was going to file his shit today, on the minimum amount of notice.  Just to be safe, I began drafting my documents even before seeing his, and made a note, as I was wrapping up right before 3 p.m., that it was, well, 3 p.m. on the last day and he must be doing this to sandbag me. (For the record? They were time-stamped around 3:38 this afternoon and I got the email heralding their arrival a bit after that.)  So now I get to screw around with the opposition tomorrow, a day where I've already booked a bunch of things because, hey, hadn't heard from ya:P


Welp, four minutes to 7, and I think they are clearly Not Showing Up.

Maybe I should go join the group.  I could use a hobby other than whining. But then, there's all those supplies to buy: I guess that would make the new skill....

wait for it....

a purl of great price.

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Work wasn't that busy, but somehow I've managed to stay away from updating.  The "week," as it was, began Sunday afternoon, with the first of four supporter-only live shows at Abilene, the Rochester venue supporting the music community and, thanks to its owner, a crisis nursery project serving families there. 

There was a bit of confusion because we hadn't received tickets or a confirming email, but the owner quickly confirmed, no, names are at the door, just come. By the time I got there, they weren't even checking names- after all, who would crash a charity concert?- and I bellied up to the bar and merch table for about 90 minutes of this remarkable group:

That's Eilen Jewell- she pronounces it "ee-linn"- with a speaking voice as sweet as Nanci Griffith's and a singing style rivaling something between Janis Joplin and John Fogerty. Some is straight-out country, but blues, folk and even straight-on rock'n'roll come out of those five.

I briefly said hello to the owner- like the fifth Rutle Leppo, he mostly stood at the back and out of the spotlight- but did get to thank this couple for providing the photo of what I had to term the Abilene mosh pit-

- and got to thank Eilen afterwards for supporting this cause. She signed her just-released new CD, which, as we will see, is something of a bonding experience for me, but not everyone;)

When I played the whole album the next day, I immediately fell in love with this track; she didn't play it for us, but it needs to be heard:


No court Monday morning, but I did have some errands to run downtown, so I detoured to Canalside for a going-away shot of the previous week's Very Big Deal.  Our waterfront has been a work-in-progress since before I first moved here, with little progress in those almost 40 years until just the last couple. Prompted as much by private development (including by the Sabres' owners) as by government planning, it is now filling in as a year-round tourist attraction. A childrens' museum has recently joined the public spaces, concert venue and historical markings of the original Erie Canal opening, and this year Buffalo was deemed worthy of a visit by a fleet of Tall Ships making their way from Canada to Cleveland.  From the 4th through last Sunday, they were open for touring and the place was packed, but Monday before their departure, anyone could get this close:


That morning was fairly pleasant, as the Sunday before had been, but by midweek the humidity was back up and we weren't out much except for walkies and for checking on our backyard population.  On one of the former, I caught a monarch fluttering around a neighbor's yard during one of Pepper's sniff stops.  Closest I could get to it for a photo was this-

- but, just using the zoom feature on the phone through a couple of rounds, it turned into something that almost looked like I had painted it (trust me, I didn't;)-

Meanwhile, the two bunnies in the back nest continued to hang out- the dog eventually paying little if any attention to them- until Friday night, when I went out to check and saw that either Bugs or Esther Bunny (yes, I'd named them) had amscrayed, and this one was also venturing outside of Mom's basement and exploring things:

By the next morning, they were both gone. Circles of Life being what they are, Facebook brought up a memory from exactly a year ago this past week, which was of the previous year's wabbit nesting in our back yard.  Maybe one of those bunnies was this year's mama. And then she'll have two bunnies, and so on and so on and so on.....


Only one road day this week after the Sunday night music trip. I would have loved to have seen another band in Rochester on Wednesday night- a Webster native singer named Kate Lee, accompanied by guitarist Forrest O'Connor (son of legendary sideman Mark) and another harmonizing with them. They did a live-in-studio performance on Rochester's NPR music station the previous week, and I was hooked. But I was also tired, so decided to save it for another tour, but when I had a free moment after court on Thursday, I stopped at Record Archive to see if I could grab one of their CDs.  Nothing in the L's for Lee, and plenty of Mark O'Connor (we already have some) in the O bins, but none of their band. However, I did see a recognizable name on a tab in the Americana bin for Davey O.  I've been a Facebook follower for years- he opened a few years ago at Buffalo Friends of Folk Music for at least one show I saw there, and he plays in the upstairs cafe at Eleanor's store from time to time. They had only one of his albums, and I had none, so I brought it home:


I paid all of five bucks for it. Mark (or Mark's ex left with it) maybe got two for trading it in. But it's mine now, and it's quite good.  Next time I see Davey, I'm going to ask him to autograph it again. And so on and so on and so on....


Finally, it's time for Ray's Reviews of Ancient Books:

One of my errands on Monday was to pick up a book from the central library.  A friend made a legal reference to something a week or so earlier that I didn't recognise, and it reminded me of just how foreign all of our terminology was when I first started out.  For me, at least, one preview and quasi-guide to that was the first book ever published from future novelist Scott Turow. It's called One L, and was a mostly biographical account (with some anonymizing and blendings of real people) of his first year at Harvard Law School. I remember reading it the year before I decided to take the law boards and start down this bizarre path. (The title refers to the Hahvahdspeak classification of its three years of students into 1L/2L/3L; that terminology was not used at UB when I went there a few years later, but it's now standard there and throughout the country.) Despite Turow's later novelist success, this book is surprisingly hard to find; our 37-branch library system has only one copy. But it does include an afterword from 1988, 10 years after Turow graduated and had been a federal prosecutor for many years, and not long after Presumed Innocent, his first novel, was published. Among other observations at that time, even then he was very troubled by devoting the resources of federal prosecution to going after immigrants. After seeing the movie El Norte, he said, how could you want to do that?  One of my coworkers is starting law school next month, and I decided to find a copy of the book for her, a bit of an easier task. Eleanor suggested I provide a cheat sheet of some of the obscure terms in his book. Like “res ipsa loquitor.” And “mimeograph.”

Then, an even older read came back into my mind, and for sadder reasons:  word came Wednesday that former major league pitcher Jim Bouton had died at the age of 80, after a battle with dementia.  Although he had some good seasons with the Yankees at the end of their first dynasty in the early 60s, he was best known for his book Ball Four, which chronicled his journey in 1969 with the expansion and terrible Seattle Pilots and the older but noncontending Houston Astros.  (Oddly, the Astros and the former Pilots-turned-Milwaukee Brewers became the only major league teams to switch leagues, at different times.)  The book was funny, good-hearted, but extremely controversial when it came out in 1970, because it peeled layers away from the mystique of the sport's heroes, particularly that of Mickey Mantle, who he revealed for drinking, womanizing and not signing baseballs for fans.  The Yankees banned him from Old Timer's events for years until Steinbrenner finally forgave him after Bouton suffered the death of one of his children; even the Mick made peace with him before his own death.  I read, bought and still have a later copy of that book, and it's deserving of every accolade placed upon it.

Ball Four was written in calendar style- much of it from notes he took on or after the day of each event- and ironically, the entry from 50 years before the day of his death finishes one of the funniest stories in the whole book. A few other former Yankees wound up on the sinking ship that was last-place Seattle; one was a fellow pitcher named Fred Talbot.  Back then, pitchers in both leagues batted for themselves, and Talbot had somehow not only hit a homer in a game, but won a major prize for a lucky fan who benefited from the batting.  Bouton concocted a prank where the adoring fan promised to share $5,000 of the $25,000 prize (big sums back then, even for baseball players who mostly wouldn't break even six-figure salaries for another decade). In another sign of how old this was, Bouton decided to inform the victim by telegram.  And so, the entry for July 10, 1969:

That screencap is from a baseball writer and beloved to another baseball writer friend of mine, named Jay Jaffe, who since Wednesday has posted numerous memories of his interactions with Bouton over the years.  He ended one of them with the same five words that first came to my mind (Bouton's nickname and another frequently joked about trope in the book):

RIP, Bulldog. Smoke 'em inside.




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Wow, two posts in under 24 hours. Days off will get you that. I did poke in for about an hour today to gather mail and check almost 48 hours of email (I turn off the Outlook link to my phone for weekends and holidays), but other than that, half my July third and all of the fourth and fifth have been client-free. I took a little extra time off Wednesday because Eleanor went in early for an ultrasound and was pretty wiped out after it. This one was, shall we say, a little more thorough than the ones the obstetricians do during pregnancy. No results expected until next week, so we have a little stress to accompany everything else.

Which "everything else," these past few days, have included:

The Critters.

We discovered a few nights ago that, for the second straight summer, a mama bunny had deposited a nest smack in the middle of our back yard where Chief Inspector Pepper could get to the younguns. Eleanor promptly surrounded it with fencing-

- and we've put the pup on leash whenever she goes back there so we can supervise her poopervising. As of yesterday, we thought Mama had moved the brood, but both of us (not to mention the dog, and the cat who just tried to get out) have seen clear evidence to the contrary. So we're still running our livestream of NICU Buffalo: Wabbitat until further notice.

Not to be outdone, Zoey, before her attempt at Escape Artist just now, decided to get in on the varmint act and brought up a dead mole from the cellar. The picture's on Eleanor's Facebook, if you care to see it.

Also not to be outdone: when Emily headed home on Tuesday, she got as far as Altoona PA when she saw a kitten in the middle of an expressway lane on US 220. So of course, possessing our DNA, she pulled over and brought it into her car:

Kitteh was apparently freaked enough by the whole business that she climbed INSIDE the dashboard. (I used to drive that car, and couldn't figure out which vent was big enough to accommodate even that small a cat, but apparently there's enough of a gap between the plastic of the dash and the air vent.) She called me in a total panic about what to do- I looked up the local Humane Society number, but she'd already tried that and they were little help. Finally, a car came along to help: turned out to be a couple of local stoners, who calmed her down, directed her to another rescuey local place, and helped make sure she got there, where kitten was extracted. Her prospects weren't good, they said, but at least she made it to a place of safety and comfort.

And if that's not enough Circle of Life for one post? Meet Claude:

(The one on the right is to give an idea of size.) He's been up on that ceiling since at least mid-June, never straying from that spot. You hang out around here long enough, you're gonna get named, and that happened earlier this week. He's one of the better tenants, earning his keep by guarding the house from arachnophobes (several of whom have made their pyromanic preferences about him quite clear;) and eating bugs in the bathroom. He doesn't caterwaul, demand feeding at 4 a.m. or wake me up walking on my face (although others have speculated that he probably does, just quietly).


The heat, AND the humidity.

If there's anything for any of these animals to worry about, it's how freakin' hot it's getting. After a relatively cool June and a perfectly lovely 70F-with-a-breeze day Sunday, the thermometer and hygrometer have been inching up all week, to the point where we're on the verge of our first 90F day of the year with oppressive humidity to match. Walking the dog before 8 this morning, I was already working up a sweat; a 9:15 workout wound up stickier than usual because their A/C went out before the previous class (at least someone had grabbed a fan from the nearby Lowe's for our group). So far, though, the air at home and office have been holding up, but while occasional hot days in July are tolerable, we must keep reminding the coal burners and other Luddites that this is not normal.


The Stranger Things of Netflix.

One place where things are never normal? Hawkins, Indiana. Stranger Things dropped its entire third season on Netflix yesterday, and we got through the first three of its eight episodes last night. The kids are all a year older, the plot now involves allegations of Russian interference, the soundtrack is preoccupied with 1985, and the biggest new character isn't a he or she but a definite It: The Starcourt Mall, just opened, with all the shops and features of that bizarre aspect of late 20th century life. The producers were able to retrofit a mostly Dead Mall in Gwinnett, Georgia, turning its J.C. Penney wing into a nearly perfectly preserved sector of middle class suburban white American culture. This piece (spoilers for the series in the link) notes that the actual property is in Dead Mall Spiral now, dead body in the food court and all, and that there's talk of tearing down the whole mall for, believe it or not, a cricket stadium. (I presume they mean the British sport and not just a bunch of insects squaring off against each other.) Some have called for the transformed mall to be left intact as a tourist attraction; unfortunately, it's in Georgia, where the crazed locals and their legislators are too determined to set the clock back to 1855 rather than 1985, so I doubt they'd get too many visitors from our neck of the woods.

Although if the air conditioning in the mall still works, it might be the only place for the locals to get out of the 130F+ heat down there.... This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1555009.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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I should've known this was going to end badly, when I saw a link earlier this week to a Smithsonian Magazine piece lauding MAD Magazine. The article was from last year, more or less at the time of MAD's "reboot" (April 2018 was Issue No. 1), heralding how all the satire and bathroom humor was a genuine and much-needed effort to question authority and the credibility of those in charge; While newscasters regularly parroted questionable government claims, Mad was calling politicians liars when they lied.

Now, though? Less so, maybe on the way to not so at all:  DC Comics, into which MAD was folded in at some point when I wasn't looking, announced this week that the publication would be coming off newstands after next month's issue and essentially abandoning all new content except for year-end annuals. DC, and/or its higher-up owners at Time Warner/ATT/ Whoever They Are This Month, had dropped earlier death knells on the traditions of the publication, first by returning advertising to its pages in 2001 and then moving it from its heart and home in Manhattan to Beautiful Downtown Burbank back in 2017.

It was little known (although I did at the time) that MAD was corporate owned since the 60s, when founding publisher Bill Gaines sold EC Publications to a Warner Communications predecessor company, but the MAD I knew was given free rein to take on anybody and everything. They did it in such a subversive and snarky way, most of their targets didn't see the bullet coming until after it had been implanted in their attitudes.  I was a longtime subscriber, thanks to my ridiculously Republican godparents; all they knew was that their three boys thought the magazine was funny, so when I had a near-fatal accident a few months before my 14th birthday, they gifted me a subscription that came more or less every month all the way into my freshman year of college.

For all its counterculturalness, the format was pretty tight: virtually every issue opened with a movie parody and ended with a TV one. Some of these proved to be more memorable than the actual films or shows being spoofed. Who remembers George C. Scott in The New Centurions? Probably only me, and that, surely, just because they did a riff on it as The New Comedians.

In between were the regulars: Dave Berg's "lighter side," who made Roger Kaputnik a household name; "Spy Vs. Spy," by Antonio Prohias, usually one page of cold war comedy back when our government actually resisted being run by the Russians; Don Martin's square-faced characters getting into assorted bits of trouble; occasional "primers" on weird things like the rules of bowling and hockey; and perhaps the MADdest spirit of them all, the legendary Al Jaffee. He closed every issue with those Fold-In pages, and came up with some of the most thorough and loving stabs at so much of modern America-updating baseball to basebrawl, pointing out planned obsolescence in products (I can only imagine him taking down a microwave lasting fewer than five years:P), and a regular feature of both of our jobs to this day, Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions!

I feel that I must seek out and save that final issue when it arrives, if it hasn't already.  Many of the original cast have long passed, including Berg, Martin, longtime editor Al Feldstein, and, just last year, his successor Nick Meglin.  We sent a copy of our high school literary magazine (which had quite a bit of graphic art content) to 485 MADison Avenue, and Nick was kind enough to write back and compliment us on the relative quality of our comic work compared to other "freshman fits" that got sent in.  But last I knew, Jaffee was still phoning, if not folding, them in; and Arnie Kogen, Frank Jacobs and Dick DeBartolo are at least Not Currently Dead.

I will always be proud to have been influenced by that Usual Gang of Idiots:) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1554832.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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Two new ones and a (getting) old, to be precise.

Sunday, I juggled the routine a little bit, and did a workout before the dog park trip.  By getting there later, Pepper got to run into her former grandma. The co-worker of Eleanor's, who arranged for us to get our beloved cat Zoey now ten years ago, and then Pepper last year, was in the park walking her own dog. Pepper had spent a fair amount of time at their house in the weeks after her daughter had to give her up.  She seemed to recognize them, but didn't seem clingy to them or away from them, so I guess it worked out okay...


Then, yesterday, Emily came home. We hadn't seen her since late in 2017, right before Cameron made his move to Virginia and she then followed a month later.  They were both here for the high school graduations of two of his step-brothers.  Both of those extended families had quite a bit of "stuff" going on, both in terms of plans and typical family drama, so we didn't get much time in.  Of course, the cat made the most of the brief opportunity, doing her level best to eat as much of the kid's hair as the scrunchie would allow:

She's heading back today; while she has the rest of the week off, she was invited to participate in another art project that needs some doin'.


Finally, a friend posted yesterday that July 1st was the 150th birthday of legendary Cornell Professor William Strunk, Jr.  He later teamed with one of his students, the even more legendary author and Charlotte creator E.B. White, to publish The Elements of Style, perhaps the greatest small book ever written. White was also an alumnus of The Cornell Daily Sun, and while I never met him, I did get to meet another legendary author who did: here's an excerpt from the speech Kurt Vonnegut gave to us in 1981 at The Sun's centennial year-end banquet (later published, with slight revisions, in his essay collection Palm Sunday):

I read through that a couple of times after posting it before realizing: all of us from that year's editorial board are turning 60 this year. Vonnegut was 57 when we heard him speak.  But I guess it could be worse: to paraphrase Tom Lehrer (who fortunately is still alive;), when Mozart was our age, he'd been dead for 25 years.


My car is less than three years old, but it's been in the shop since 8 this morning, for hopefully just routine service. Off to take Eleanor to work so we can do another fire drill at the end of the day....
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We'd been meaning to see Jim Jarmusch's latest film, The Dead Don't Die, and Wednesday was the night to do it. The cast is stellar, although most of them spend their on-screen time deadpanning (undeadpanning, maybe?), smashing the fourth wall to bits, or going for the Comic Olympic 20,000 Meter Joke Relay medal. The title of this piece riffs on one of them. Also, Adam Driver's character repeatedly saying "this is going to end badly," not quite what his Star Wars dad repeatedly said, but close enough.

BTW, check out his ride:

Damn, now I want one with a ragtop.  (I had at least two people stop me on Friday and either compliment me on the car or ask questions about it- to which I can only answer, "They don't make the gas ones anymore and don't sell any of them around here anymore:P")


I had no court scheduled Thursday, but I'd been gifted a magical pass into any or all of the Rochester Jazz Festival's "club" shows.  These are the middle-tier performers, requiring either at-the-door general admission or presenting the pass- unlike the free outdoor shows or the one-a-night headliners in the Big Eastman Theatre, where I saw Lake Street Dive last year.  I picked two that were early enough, actual-jazzy enough, and most importantly had connections to a beloved Toronto jazz station that went to # metoo Hell and back and is now going strong again.

Here's the first venue, inside the onetime downtown Rochester Club on East Avenue:

They don't allow any photography and certainly no recording during the shows themselves. So instead I got a picture of a record wot I bought, released just this week:

That's Heather, onetime morning host on Jazz.FM and now holding down the midday spot. I'd never heard her perform before, and she'd never been on a Rochester stage before, so it wound up being a beautiful first time for both.  After the show, she signed my CD, I thanked her for her efforts in cleaning up the on-air mess at 91.1, and we hugged.  She talked about organizing one of the station's "jazz safaris" to Western New York, because she was so impressed with the audiences and other performers she saw.

One nice thing about these shows is they are reasonably long- almost on the dot of the hour after beginning, they give their thanks, avoid the encore BS, and clear the room for the next show.  So I had enough time to wander the festival before heading over to the second club show at Geva, downtown's main producing theater venue.  I checked the crowd in front of the Eastman Theatre to see if any of my NPR buds were working their kiosk, and on the way saw this, proving that traffic signs are kinda useless in front of a collegiate music school:

Geva's building was originally the New York State Arsenal, but the company bought and renovated it right around the time I came to Rochester, and it now houses two stages. John Pizzarelli and his trio were booked at 7:30 on the bigger one, and I was wristbanded and seated four rows from the stage just as the trio came out.

"Trios" come in various sizes; Heather's were three besides her vocalizing self (she did bring out a kazoo-sounding something for one piece), on piano, stand-up bass and trumpet/fluegelhorn. The latter is a jazz legend in his own right named Chase Sanborn; I recognized the name as a riff on an old-timey brand of coffee, but Eleanor knew of him independent of that.)

On the other hand, the John Pizzarelli Trio includes their headliner in the count: John on guitar, pianist Konrad Paszkudzki, Greece Athena High School's own Mike Karn on the stand-up bass.  Their latest CD honors the 100th birthday this year of Nat "King" Cole, and John explained his long-standing love of that music dating back to when he first played a cover of "Straighten Up and Fly Right" for his jazz legend dad Bucky back in 1980. Bucky dispatched him to a record shop to discover the real thing, and one trip to Sam Goody's later, his first real Nat Cole sounds hit the bottom of dad's classic Garrard turntable: "It had four speeds," and his room full of old fogies counted out all four with him: "16, 33 1/3, 45 and 78- which, coincidentally, were my SAT scores.”

His album was not on a merch table after his hour, but the local Barnes & Noble had it, and thus, now so do I:)


Friday was an Up Stupid Early Day to be in traffic court by 8:30. I got out of it in just under an hour, put out one other court fire in downtown Buffalo after that, and then mostly took the afternoon off to take care of All The Things. Food and medications for all the aminals, the aforementioned CD, and an unfortunate trip to say farewell to a not-so-old and definitely not very faithful servant:

That was Microwave The Third.  We got our first as a wedding present from my sister Sandy in 1987; it outlived her passing the following year and lasted into this century. The second was a cheapee pickup from Circuit City or Silo, I think, which tells you how old that was and how long it lasted.  It was still serviceable when we did the kitchen reno in 2015, but we needed something bigger and newer, and thus, Numero Tres arrived.... and died the quickest death of the bunch when the waves started arcing randomly over the past few weeks.  That funeral shot was at the repair place which has been good to us in the past; they candidly told us it'd be at least $30-50 before we even got to the element issue, or we could walk out and buy a new one for $100. Which we did- only adding 20 for four years of purchase protection, because that seems to be about how long they make appliances to last anymore:P  It's about the same size, but vents differently, so we actually regained some counter space in front of it from it not requiring as much room behind it on the counter. The clock/countdown/timer display is bigger for these fast-failing eyes, and it POINTS to "timer" when it's doing that.  My only bet is whether it will outlive Evil Cat, and my money, of course, is on the latter.

I just hope it doesn't end badly;) This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1554289.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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(Okay, one more car, just seen on walkies yesterday morning. These two schools HATE each other, so it's a wonder this thing doesn't just explode in the driveway:)

Last Wednesday was my last of my heavy-lift court days of the previous week and a half, and now I'm free of those (except for a quick phone conference yesterday) until Friday morning. But I spent one of those free days last Friday, and will spend another this coming Thursday, on the road in Rochester for a combination of work and music.   It's the annual Rochester International Jazz Festival, and several friends, who work for or with the NPR stations I listen to there, have been covering the events before, during and after each night.

Friday was the first. My office there was invited to a first night reception at one of the Big Law Sponsor tents- but a couple of us wound up with assorted aches and pains (a coworker moving furniture, me from a workout) and we bailed on that event. But I was still there to see clients, both in and out of the office:

"You can pick the papers up at the bar," he said. And look!- there were the Mets to watch. I didn't drink, but you watch this team long enough with a one-run lead and it's hard not to. (They wound up squeaking that one out, and winning more comfortably Saturday, but resorted to their usual stupidity on Sunday and, worse, their manager and one of their pitchers wound up getting into profanity-laden shouting matches with a Newsday reporter after the game.) 

I had other papers to go over with a second client, who assiduously avoided me the entire day, but then asked me to meet him at his bar, right on the edge of the Jazz Festival. So I headed over there, as well-

Not an official Festival site, to be sure- lots of unofficial venues were offering music inside and/or performers or buskers on their sidewalks- and there was a beer tent, which by this hour I was ready for:)  The unofficial grounds also made it easy for people to break one of the basic rules of the affair- No Pets:

Fortunately, dogs can't read.

One of my WXXI friends was introducing a trumpeter-vocalist named Jennifer Hartswick at one of the newer-to-me venues on the first night, Montage. Sadly, they'd finished by the time I made it over, and the merch table had been cleared out at their last gig, so I couldn't even buy anything.  Earlier in the day, I'd heard good things about a weekend folk performer group named Over The Rhine, so I picked up their latest at Rochester's reliable House of Weird that is Record Archive (which we've now listened through and quite love).

(I did not pick any of these up, but did admire their awesome strangeness:)


Leaving Montage, it was well past seven and it was closing in on a twelve-hour day, so I bailed on my hope to catch a free outdoor gig by the Downchild Blues Band featuring legendary Blues Brother Dan Ackroyd. But no worries; Your NPR Station captured a good six minutes of it:

And, thanks to the same site, a few minutes of Over The Rhine from Sunday night:

I'd planned to go back today, but the Jazz Gods had other plans.


Yes, among the many blues, folk, rock and soul performers at this thing, there are actual jazz acts.  Seeing the whole schedule in a humongous grid can be a bit overwhelming, and it wasn't until late in the weekend that my eye got drawn to two of the smaller venues two nights from now.  Those highlighted names are both beloved to us from listening to Toronto's full-time non-profit jazz station. Heather is an Ontario-based musician who was also a longtime host on JazzFM 91, until a nasty # metoo moment became known, the station's president was accused of harassment of various kinds, and most of the staff quit in protest.  Eventually, the listener-members of the station overcame massive resistance from their board of directors, got a new slate empowered, kicked Ross Porter to the curb, and Heather and many of her fellow staff members are now back on the air.  She's playing at 6 p.m. in an East Avenue club I've never visited in at least its current incarnation, we've exchanged some kind words on the JazzFM supporter site, and I'm looking forward to meeting her and giving her more kind words and some merch loonies in person:)

Following that, on the somewhat bigger stage of Geva Theater, is a performer who's also heard on JazzFM, but from his New York City apartment "high atop Lexington Avenue" (even though it really isn't anymore;). "Radio Deluxe" has been a syndicated Sunday feature stopping in Toronto on Sunday mornings for years, hosted by Thursday night performer John Pizzarelli and his wife and fellow performer Jessica Molaskey.  We've seen his trio before, accompanied by the BPO, but this will be my first time in a much smaller surrounding.  He's a great storyteller as well as a musician, and I'm looking much forward.

Then it's court at 8:30 the next morning. Looking forward not so much:P


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Pretty much what my social media life has been reduced to this week: getting stuck in traffic all over town and taking pictures of the car in front of me when I think it's funny.

Most recently: our Smart cars both had an ACTUAL SIZE sticker on them after I saw one on a Mini someplace years ago. Today was my first find of one in the wild since then on the actual intended model (actually, I guess I'm "Minisplaining" this;)

Earlier in the day, two religious stickers on this Chevy. Only I mistook the one on the right, which Bill Sheehan helpfully identified as a "monstrance," for a headshot of Bill the Cat.

Here, you decide.

THBBFT! to you, too!

Our green contestant was this one, with one of those ovals I'd never seen. It's for Saratoga Springs, which I'd always associated with sedate music and thoroughbreds on parade- not with smashing beer cans into your head.

Some earlier ones I took: this one, at the end of my previous Very Full Week, seen in traffic in the Southtowns (you'll get it eventually):

And the beginning of the trend, a couple of weekends back, when I saw this guy in the Wegmans parking lot. I pulled in next to him, looked in his back seat (which genuinely was quite full), and said, "Yeah, it IS bigger than it looks on the inside!"

He got it:)


This has also been a week of dubious anniversaries.

Two nights ago, posts started showing up reminding me that it was 25 years to the day earlier that a certain Buffalo Bills sports legend led LA police, and eventually the whole country, on the most bizarre slow-speed chase in history.  I clearly remember my Where Were You moment for that: here, in my one and only summer downtown, watching it on a black-and-white television set up in the law firm I moved here for (and out of less than a year later).  Who'd have known the strangeness that would ensue over the coming months and years?  One thing I don't remember from the time was that there was an important NBA game on that night- and NBC pre-empted Game Five between the Knicks and Rockets for its whitewall-to-whitewall coverage of the White Ford Bronco Chase.  Both of those events make their way into a delightful indie film we discovered, and since purchased, called Rockaway- named for the EAST town of that name in Nassau County, it follows mainly one truly amazing kid as he comes of age and, years later, relives the moments of that time of his life, including especially that never-seen Game Five. Orenthal only appears in stock footage, but the main character's hero, Knicks player John Starks, is finally seen by the time the film reaches its very fitting conclusion.  (Another film set around the same time, Captain Marvel, also features a somewhat faster and more Fury-ous chase scene in LA.  Started watching the video of that last night.)

Then today, we were reminded of even more recent ignominy.  This night in 1999, the Sabres went to triple overtime trying to win Game Six of the Stanley Cup finals, and lost it on a goal by Brett Hull. Or did they?  In those pre-smartphone and limited internet days, it took close to half an hour for anyone to react to replays which showed Hull's foot was illegally in the crease when he scored. (Or was it?  Supposedly there was This Memo which retroactively made it all okay.)  I can't remember if I was awake for that moment, but it didn't take long for "No Goal" to enter the permanent local sports lexicon of Fail, as "Wide Right" had done at the start of the decade and "Forward Lateral" would in the earliest moments of the next one.

ETA. And the morning after the anniversary, local broadcaster/archivist/bowtie wearer Steve Cichon Johnson posted this link to his contribution to that legendary era of Sabres hockey: Haseoke!


No travel beyond downtown B-lo this week, but it's been plenty busy. One court hearing Monday, two by phone yesterday, three downtown today. I think that's it for the week, although Friday will be a long Rochester day to catch up on assorted things and check out the Jazz Festival. Including, possibly Elwood himself, who's joining the Downchild Blues Band for some of the Brothers' most famed works.

And probably there'll be a car to photograph:

It's got a cop motor, a 440-cubic-inch plant. It's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. This entry was originally posted at https://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1553616.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
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Just got my Father's Day call from Emily. She's doing well, other than a minor mishap where both she and Cam got stung by the same yellow jacket.  (The cashier at Timmy's wished me one, too, because Doggie Daddies are important, too:)  I have little good to say about my own dad, but it's comforting to have good things said about how I've done.

The preceding week was busier than all get-out. In all, six different court appearances in five different places in four different cities/towns. Two of the quickest and easiest were traffic court appearances; I don't do any other kind of criminal law, but these are essentially printing money, both for me and the municipalities.  They have it down to a science everywhere I've gone; the lawyers jump the line, get a quick plea bargain from the prosecutor to a non-point ticket (usually parking or, one this week, jaywalking), get it approved by the judge in moments, get your client two weeks to pay, turn the bill into their legal plan. Easy peasy.  But not without the occasional weirdy: in Friday afternoon's finale of my workweek, the courtroom has a big-screen TV turned on facing the teeming hordes. No sound, but playing something called the Escape Channel.  Hopefully not giving any ideas to the occasional shackled defendants brought in by the sheriff for more serious violations.  And what's playing over the prosecutor's head as he's dispensing justice one $50-200 parking ticket at a time?

No comment.


Before that finale, I spent much of Thursday signing up four clients for new Rochester bankruptcy filings.  That's a one-day record, and it would've been five if one other had gotten in before I had to leave to see a bunny walk into a bar (I'll get to that).  When I went to check their actual computer files to transmit the cases, I discovered I'd made a bit of a boo-boo: the last client's electronic file was completely blank.  I had to wait to get home to see if I'd saved the newer version on my other laptop, and no; in my anal attempts to stay backed up at all times, I'd gone dyslectic and overwrote the newest version with the original one.  That meant starting over, but would it be from scratch?  I use a service to import debt information directly from the client's credit report, and had done so (and paid to do so) for this one- but while the report was still on my computer, I couldn't find any way to re-import without starting completely over. Fortunately, tech support clued me in to the Super Sekrit Keyboard Kode to do it (control-shift-S, in case I ever have to do it again), and the reconstruction took less than an hour instead of the many hours it would otherwise have been.  Then, after getting my cases all assigned late Friday night, I couldn't download their formal court notices on Saturday.  Our court is upgrading its electronic system to something they're referring to, with no irony at all, as "Next Generation ECF."  The transition is next weekend, but the clerks have been panicked about how old fart users won't take the necessary steps to access it ahead of the conversion.  I've gotten emails and at least one phone call to make sure I'm good with it all.  So what better way to prepare for the inevitable Next Generation System Crash than to crash the old system on its final weekend.

I blame Captain Picard;)


But it hasn't been All Work and No Play.

I ended Thursday's signup marathon by meeting Eleanor's brother at the fundraiser for Project 153.  This is the labor of love I mentioned last week from the owner of Abilene (153 is the house number on the former house now housing Danny's bar) to support a crisis nursery in two Rochester locations.  We met up for sodas, pizza, good music from a local trio, and, as mentioned, a white rabbit sitting at the bar:

Honest, we hadn't a drop to drink;)

Charlie contributed to our membership in the project, and we are now invited to four national-act shows on the Abilene stage in the coming year. The first, on July 7, is by a remarkable sounding woman named Eilen Jewell.

Then came yesterday. I'd heard about an effort this weekend to open a number of usually inaccessible Buffalo buildings, from historic to just interesting in place or function, to a day of public tours.  When I heard my friend Scott from Rochester was bringing his son to see some of them, I headed down for much of the afternoon. After our obligatory hotdogging at Ted's on Chippewa, and after I'd wandered round some of the other historic sites including the eponymous Goldome Branch of M&T Bank, I engineered my way onto a behind-the-scenes tour of Electric Tower, longtime home of Niagara Mohawk and other legacy Buffalo-Niagara electric companies.  Many of these are pictures of pictures, on the back-room walls our guide took us to:

Clockwise from top left: a 30s photo of the elevator doors from the art deco era of the interior; another 30s shot looking up at the tower from a manhole during the eventual installation of fire hydrant water supplies; another art deco mural from that time (the building itself predates the architectural style but it added elements); and my only actual photo of the four, of the 16th floor "belfry"- originally a conference room, with a spiral staircase running to the tippity top.

They also opened a couple of offices we could visit and photograph of and from. This tech company's conference room featured this display of Pond and Sword, and therefore of course of a Strange Woman Lying behind it:

(I saw at least three people pull that sword out.  But none of them wanted to rule England now with all this Brexit crap;)

As we headed down the stairs and parted, Scott and I speculated on whether Rochester would ever do something similar. We quickly named a close-to-equal number of buildings and other sites that could be on offer.  I did notice, earlier in the week, that there is some effort to recognize the historic in my home away from home. Stopping at a Main Street bank before court last Wednesday, I saw Freddie D standing on State Street for the first time:

That QR code at his feet points to this site and some of the Fourth of July speech Douglass gave in the city's long-demolished Corinthian Hall.  Sadly, the legacy of his Underground Railroad is becoming as hard to access as the actual underground subway.

The following day, I walked into the same courthouse and reclaimed some history of my own. In the security line right ahead of me were a lawyer I barely recognized and a woman with him I swore looked familiar.  Once I saw what case and firm they were on, I connected it: she was a paralegal I'd helped hire at my original firm more than 30 years ago, who I had not seen in over 25, but who didn't look a day older all these years later.  I walked over during a break, and as soon as she made the connection, I got a big hug and a bigger story: Jackie's still with that firm, but as of this week, she will be there as an attorney, since she's being admitted to the Bar.  Our kids are a few months apart, and she remembered me visiting her at Strong when her son, a preemie, was in NICU in his earliest days. He is now also 27, and is getting married this summer. 

Fathers and Mothers.  Good thing we get chances to remember what that's about.


I'll end with one other funny from the week.  We were both up early yesterday because we'd been given a window  for the arrival and installation of our new dryer as being from 7 to 11 a.m.  They got here well before 8 and were done with it all in lickety-split time. (Gods, it's so quiet compared to when the previous one even actually worked!)  I decided to save the dryer box in unbroken-up condition; our neighbors' young son has quite the imagination, and I thought he might like to make a time machine out of it or something.  When I got home from the tour and some other errands, the box was gone- except it wasn't.  Leaving for the dog park by a different route this morning, I saw it had blown past half a dozen houses, run a stop sign, and was sitting on a lawn closer to a second such sign.

Yeah, it was windy around here yesterday, but I had no idea it was THAT much wind.  So I went to reclaim it and bust it up, and discovered there was lettuce and a paper plate inside it.

Hmmmm. Maybe Jacob did build a time machine out of it, made a snack, and barely missed sticking the landing on the way home.

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The week needed a good note to end on.

Both of us had more than our shares of stress at work- Eleanor facing a lot of coworker turnover and training (not in her job description, but so what?), me with multiple court appearances throughout the week, both of us running into general asshattery at various turns.  Plus, oh, the pain, the pain- my ankle settled down after whatever had set it off, but there's still more pain than usual in the left leg in general, and Eleanor had a trifecta of visits to a massage therapist, a physician and a chiropractor in her never-ending quest to make her owies go away. (Also, I needed a prescription refill the other day, and hit my PA's outside limit for How Not To Be Seen, so I have an 8 a.m. checkup next Wednesday to begin what will likely be a 13-hour day by the time it ends in a Grand Island traffic court.)  As for the other kind of pain, it cost just over $100 to have Father Jason, from Our Lady of Non-Perpetual Appliance Repairs, come out and administer the last rites to our dryer yesterday; replacing it will be at least another $500 (thanks, tariffs!, which raise the price even though dryers aren't on the tariff list:P)- after an unexpected vet visit for Zoey earlier in the week.

But all that faded to the background when we heard the news:

Emily had entered an art show called Paint Out Lynchburg- they call it "plein air painting," which is a fancy way of saying you Van Gogh Outside and Just Do It like Vinny did (the painting, not the other things).  She was largely inspired by Mom's first entry into a juried exhibition earlier in the spring. We knew she'd been doing this; we did NOT know, until she told us, that her painting, titled "Cathedral," had taken first place in the exhibition:)  The show's site does not yet have the names or paintings of this year's winners up, but last year's are, as is the bio of the judge, a regular author and curator in the state's arts community.  We also didn't realize this event took in artists, not just from the immediate area, but from the entire state.  She took home a $350 prize for the effort, and was already at Michael's today, buying her next canvas.

Just as she made Mom's Day last month, it's a week early but she's already made mine:)


Sports and games have been good for everyone around me except the Mets:P

Toronto, the longest-suffering hotbed of hockey fans, is one win away from its first-ever NBA title, which it can win on its own floor on Monday night.  NHL news is also looking up, as the Sabres just signed their second-best player to their second-biggest contract in their history, and the plucky St. Louis Blues, last in the league as late as the end of January, are one win away from winning Lord Stanley's Cup on their home ice tomorrow night.

I'm also on a minor personal roll. Last year, I was invited into Learned League, a weird but compelling knowledge test, and began its 81st season by forgetting to answer the email with the questions. That's a forfeit, which is bad.  I then proceeded to suck for the first several games I did bother to play, and was Dead Last in my group of 30. Yet somehow this week, pluckiness has rebounded, I've won four straight matches, am back up to .500 and am nearly in the top half of the standings. Not bad for an old guy. 


I mentioned having a Very Long Day ahead of me on Wednesday. It's actually not that bad, since there's not much between my last Rochester appointment at 11 and having to be on Grand Island by 6:30.  Thursday will have a later start but probably a much later finish.... and a good one. I have invited my recovering-alcoholic brother-in-law to meet me at a bar- and he knows exactly why:)

Abeline is the wonderful Rochester venue where I saw, if not the best, certainly the most intimate concert I have ever attended- Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron soloing on acoustic detail, in the corner of the bar's foyer, for exactly eight of us. This event got me on their mailing list and liking them on Facebook, and through the latter, earlier this week, I saw this post:

****Not our usual Facebook post...and we know it's a little long...but please read on****

About a year ago, I visited the the Crisis Nursery on Genesee Park Boulevard.

Run by the The Center for Youth, the Crisis Nursery offers free, temporary child care for parents who have no other safe place to leave their babies or young children during a crisis.
Open 24/7, the nursery has been a refuge for little kids whose parents are dealing with unexpected emergencies, mental health problems, domestic violence, homelessness and other issues. Every year, more that 1,000 kids are welcomed here.

I held a young baby in my arms, a baby whose mother truly was in crisis….and I was profoundly moved….and knew then that this was place worth telling people about…and fighting for.

The Crisis Nursery and Owen’s House, a second location in the Beechwood neighborhood, keeps these kids safe, healthy, happy and removed from chaos and trauma. They are clearly loved by the staff and volunteers, who also help parents find permanent solutions to their crises.

It is such a warm and compassionate place that I left feeling the desire to support is good work.
I decided to do that through music, with the help of Abilene Bar and Lounge's loyal customers—definitely a warm and compassionate bunch.
So, here’s how this ongoing fundraiser is going to work:
1)Join! Become a member of “Project 153.” There’ll be three annual membership levels…and minus the small PayPal processing fee, your entire, tax-deductible contribution will directly support the Crisis Nurseries.

2)Reap the benefits of Project 153 membership. Twice a year Abilene will be hosting intimate shows featuring national acts . All levels of membership will include free and exclusive access to these events. There’ll also be the opportunity to meet and greet the musicians, receive commemorative Abilene merchandise and more.

Simple, right?!
But it will make a big difference for so, so many young people in our town.

Okay, you’ve heard my spiel….Now I’d like to invite you to a super casual kick-off Happy Hour next Thursday, June 13, 5:30pm at Abilene Bar and Lounge…There’ll be drinks, some food, music by the Charlie Mitchell Group…and an opportunity to find out more info about Project 153…and at that time we’ll announce the first exclusive show we’ll be hosting. I hope to see you all at 153 Liberty Pole Way.

Thanks much,
Danny Deutsch
Abilene Bar and Lounge

I will be back there for court that morning, and how can I not become a part of this?  They've hosted many "national acts" which are, or have become, quite big- Lake Street Dive played their first Rochester Jazz Festival gig on the Abeline stage, before returning to headline at the Eastman Theatre last year.  And in these troubling times, where religions and "faith based" charities continue to assert their "sincerely held religious beliefs" to marginalize LGBTQ people and criminalize reproductive freedom, it's a BAR that gets the message right.  THAT's something I can believe in.

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Somehow, my Pete Townshend userpic has become the default on this thing. That's fine for this entry- because my workweek, my May, and a lot of memories wrapped up with listening to something I haven't listened to in ages, but those ages remain a part of me.  That has continued into this week.

À la recherche du temps PLJ....

I've always had more than a fascination for radio.  Some earliest memories are of the Good Guys on WMCA, then, as the Beatles became implanted in our culture, it was more WABC than Ed Sullivan which brought me the whole cycle from Meet the Beatles to Let it Be.  I probably got my first FM radio in the early 70s, and that led to other New York spots on that dial, including 99X ("is my radio station") and WPIX 102 (there's another post brewing about a weird telephonic connection to THAT), but for many years on and off until I left the area, "New York's Best Rock" was on my alarm clock as 95.5 WPLJ.

The station began as a sister to the famed Musicradio of WABC-AM, originally simulcasting all or some of their programming on the still-unfamiliar FM band.  The 1970s brought the rebranding apart from the network's acronym: we'd heard, and believed, that the letters stood for Peace Love Joy, but later research proved the station to have been named after a 60s song, covered more recently by Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention, titled "White Port, Lemon Juice."  I missed its earliest, most progressive days, when the DJ lineup included Monster Horror Chiller legend Zacherle, but my lineup was full of legends, many still on the air in the NYC area. Jim Kerr did mornings- no sidekick as such yet, but assisted by guests like Howard the Cabdriver (I still issue his "You've Got To Be Kidding Awards" at least a few times a year). Carol Miller was New York's other nightbird- not getting namechecked by Dar Williams, but still bringing it close to 50 years later.  Tony Pigg. Jimmy Fink.  Pat St. John. Sunday mornings were "On This Rock," with then-actual priest Father Bill  Ayres. Dude actually sent me a Bible once just for calling in.  When I left town in those pre-streaming days, PLJ left my life, but I'd always smile seeing a reference here and there- as it shed its ABC ownership, briefly its call letters, and finally, earlier this year, its very existence. 

PLJ's owner sold it, and a number of other properties around the country, to a Jesus broadcaster, and the date of the handoff was set as last Friday, May 31st.  Many from its past joined the final staff from the present in bringing two days of memories, music and finally goodbyes.  Jim, Carol, and Pat were among those who visited or phoned in in the waning hours.  The music ranged from the predictable to the WTFs. I got home from work a little after 5 on Friday and couldn't catch the stream, but my browser was displaying the last couple hours of songs played:

Eventually, I discovered that a Microsoft browser could handle the online stream, and that got me more goodbyes, more stories, and this batch:

(The Dave Matthews cut was especially touching, as they recounted his doing a live remote performance with the station at Sloan Kettering, not telling anyone onair at the time that he'd gone room to room playing acoustic solos for as many of the kids as he could.)

They then stuck in Del Amitri's "Roll to Me" as their classic "two minute song"- the opposite of "Stairway to Heaven" type epics, where a jock just needed to fill a couple minutes of airtime versus an extended potty break.  That got it to the end, and answered the speculation about what song they would end on. My money was on the Beatles, and I was sort-of right: "Imagine," also played as the last song on sister WABC's signoff as a music station in 1982, came and went. Then they went to a live Hall and Oates rendition of, derp, the station's eponymous song "White Port, Lemon Juice."  But two Beatles lines from the end of "The End" were the last notes, before our longago misunderstanding of the call letters was finally validated in their final on-the-hour ID (thanks to my friend Scott for the transcription, emphasis mine):

May the 48 year run of this radio station prove to be a testament to the power and the love of terrestrial radio and may the mere thought of the letters PLJ bring a smile to your face, a warmth to your heart and a tingle to your ears. Heres to those who have walked these halls and breathed life into these microphones. It is with peace, love and joy that we toast the white port and lemon juice… and for one final time, from high above Madison Square Garden, this is the world-famous WPLJ, New York.

Silence. Then, a supposed Song of Jesus came on, plj dot com began pointing to the hateful talk hosts of WABC-AM, and the music died a second time.  I suspect this will happen more and more to stations of my past and even present as Radio As We Know It becomes smaller, sicker and more corporate.  I thank them for bringing it all back for a short time, and I thank the friends who record and archive so much that can be found and re-played after those memories are no longer being made.


He lost on Jeopardy!, wooo, hoo hoo, hooo....

Monday brought another goodbye and, for me, good riddance- and I missed it:(  It was a long workday, court hearings in Rochester at 10:30 and 6:30 which made it a day, with drives, of before 9 to just past 8.  It wasn't until later that the posts started coming: longtime Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer had finally lost, just shy of breaking an ancient record of championry.  And his slayer was a librarian, who did her master's thesis on predicting the difficulty of Jeopardy! questions.

I did watch some of her first game as returning champion, and it's clear: James has changed the game.  Working bottom-up and hunting for big-money Doubles- that's how it's gonna be done now.


Udda thingza....

This afternoon and tomorrow bring a little relative quiet, but I just covered three court appearances here this morning after three Monday and yesterday and another scheduled on Friday.  We're also dealing with a bed-shitting dryer (Friday appointment), a seemingly wounded cat (seen Monday, she's fine), a horking dog (no appointment yet, she seems better), and me waking yesterday with a sore ankle and a possibly chipped tooth (medicating the first, waiting and seeing on the second).

We're down to the final episode of Good Omens, the Amazon series based on the Gaiman-Pratchett novel with Michael Sheen and David Tennant forming one of the odder couples you'll ever see.  Plenty of fun cameos and Doctor Who references aplenty (Spoilers, sweetie!)  And Handmaid's Tale resumes today; fortunately, Cheeto is out of the country, so he won't be getting any more ideas from it:P

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