Andy Rooney and charcoaled peaches


Andy Rooney's last commentary on 60 Minutes, this past October.

From 1995, here's a clip from aWilliam Kennedy introduction of Andy Rooney:

On page 14 of his new book, My War, Andy Rooney writes this sentence. "One of my dominating characteristics has always been that I'm not strange." Now that's a lie. Andy Rooney is as strange as charcoaled peaches or potato ice cream, which he invented. Oh sure, he looks normal, and you can understand every word he says and he's a Giants fan. When I first met him I never suspected he was strange. We were at a dinner party in the penthouse of the Wellington Hotel, looking out at the South Mall, which was under construction, and we began swapping memories of Albany and the blues men we knew and we realized we could carry on with these stories for years to come, and so we have. We've become friends. I have several strange friends.
Some of the things Andy and I had in common were Hagaman's and Freihofer's, the two most famous bakeries in Albany years ago. He didn't like Hagaman's much, and neither did I. We both liked Freihofer's. We both went to a public school, he to School 14, which fell down, and I to School 20, which is still standing. We both remember our Albany childhoods vividly; he on Partridge Street in an upscale neighborhood that's come to be called The Pine Hills and me in North Albany, which has always been called "The North End." He remembers jumping from garage roof to garage roof when he was a kid. I remember jumping from box car to box car. We both grew to resent the mispronunciation of our city by outlanders. In his essay celebrating Albany's tricentennial, Andy wrote this: "It is my unhappy duty to report to you, Albanians, that Albany is not on the rest of the world's mind much. It has been my experience that at least half of those who have heard of the place pronounce it 'Albaynee.'" And he's absolutely correct. I've told people who perpetrate such pronunciation that if they repeat it, the police will escort them outside the city limits.

As you've no doubt heard, Rooney passed away this weekend. In the Times Union, Paul Grondahl wrote a good overview of Rooney's life, both here in Albany and everywhere else. As Grondahl remarked, "Kennedy, 83, and Rooney are the biggest literary talents Albany has produced in modern times."

Rooney still had a house in Rensselaerville. We heard a story many years ago that he could sometimes be seen out there "walking" his dog from a very slow moving car. It's one of the stories that's probably too weird to be true, but we always kind of hoped it was based in fact.

Of course, Rooney was most famous for his 60 Minutes commentaries. Here's one video list of "Andy Rooney's 10 Greatest Rants."

Comments

I had some similar thoughts, especially about how I would like to BS around with William Kennedy and Andy Rooney. I went to School 19! Don't think they would want to talk to me much though...

Posted about some of my thoughts.

http://www.ridiculousfoodsociety.net/2011/11/goodbye-andy-rooney-oh-fuzzy-eyebrowed.html

Ya know, this reminds me . . . somewhere in the North End there used to be a plaque commemorating William Kennedy's birthplace. Haven't seen it in many years. Does anybody know if it's still around?

Carl, I did see that plaque about 2 months ago, still there.

Thanks, then it just must not be on the street I thought it was on.

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