Wise Ass Wednesday

Word Patrol Edition

Mini-splits: what?

“Mini” means small, or smaller than usual; and “split” means divided, usually in two parts.

So, bowling? A narrow split between pins left after the first ball?

HVAC supplier Fujitsu’s web-site says mini-splits are heating and cooling systems with separate temperature control outputs in different rooms. They’re heat pumps with outdoor compressor/condensers and indoor air-handling units.

Retire “mini-splits” – and “ATM machines.”

I mean, Automatic Teller Machine machines?

Similar Cranky Gripe

A great metropolitan newspaper announced recently that YMCA branch in downtown Schenectady to reopen May 1. The paper’s print edition erroneously illustrated this announcement with a photo of the building the YMCA vacated in 2013. 

The Schenectady Y at 13 State Street moved its residents to a renovated former factory at 845 Broadway and built new athletic facilities three blocks east at 433 State Street.

A Sad Note

Ralph Michael Spillenger died this week after surgery to repair an aortic aneurism. Albany-born, he became a California-based touring musician before returning homeward to launch twin careers in making and presenting music; along with drinks and New Orleans-style food. His restaurants the Bijou, the Bayou and Jillians were perhaps better known than his band the Students. But he loomed larger over the area’s music scene than those roles might suggest – a jam session stalwart and a familiar face at many, many concerts. He was one of my validators, discerning fans whose presence at shows confirm expectation of a high level of quality, seriousness or curiosity. I was always happy to see him and share our takes on the music.

Others have commented on Facebook – where Ralph had worried about the surgery – on his sometimes prickly personality. Comments suggested he was difficult. Not with me. He was always friendly, funny and very much in the know.

Sadly, we won’t see him at shows any more – like Greg “Sarge” Haymes (Blotto, Nippertown), Tony Markellis, Caroline “Motherjudge” Johnson, Dale Metzger (super fan), Tom D’Ambrose (Sharks), Mark Craig (Music Haven), Doug White (Units/Fear of Strangers), Keith “Cheese Blotto” Stephenson, Nick Brignola, Lee Shaw, Jack Fragomeni, Larry Jackson, Ernie Williams, Herb Chesbrough (SPAC), Lena Spencer (Caffe Lena), Jackie Alper (WRPI), Bill Spence (Old Songs, Fennig’s All-Star String Band), Richard “Doc Scanlon” Lainhart – and many others, including dozens of now-departed touring musicians who played here.

This isn’t to add more sadness to a time with way more of that than we need. 

Remembering, missing and honoring these musicians and presenters who have left the building, I feel, more than anything else, deep gratitude that they were here to help build our vibrant live music scene.