College lecture will teach you how to remove demons from your household appliances; Opera Saratoga to perform in community; Child dancers wanted for SPAC ballet

Is there a demon in your toaster? Late last year a friend and coworker of my wife had passed after losing a battle with cancer. Let's call the friend M. Over the past few days, wife said she was somewhat taken aback when M's image starting popping up in Facebook memories. Then followed a series of emails sent by M - old emails from years past - which suddenly began popping up in the Inbox.

- It's probably just a glitch, I reasoned. M's former employer re-setting the system or something. (Like I even know what that means)

We discussed this over morning coffee just as I was making toast. With that face-of-Jesus on a slice of toast thing in my brain, I offered that maybe M should similarly make an imprinted appearance upon the slide of bread being heated in the toaster. Then I went off to the other room. A few seconds later, the dog was barking like mad, the smoke detector screaming like somebody was choking it and when I went back into the kitchen I found the toaster engulfed in flames. Not a little bit of smoke, mind you, but tall, shooting flames rising dangerously close to the wood cabinet above it. The next few moments were a blur, so I'll just say this: if you looked out your window and thought you saw a pajama-clad person racing through the snow with a toaster on fire, well, you weren't imagining things.

If you've had a similar experience, you may want to take note that next month, UNC­Charlotte religious and American studies professor Sean McCloud will give a lecture at Skidmore College about the Third Wave practice of "spiritual housekeeping." What is this? It's a practice during which demons are removed from household objects that bind people to bad habits and inherited patterns of sin. The lecture will take place 6 p.m. on March 8 at Emerson Auditorium. For more information call 518-580-5400. That is, if your phone lets you.

Other stuff:

Opera Saratoga will present Opera-To-Go performances of Operation Superpower to over 50 public and private schools throughout the region from Feb. 22 to March 25. The performances feature professional artists who share their joy of music and theater through the opera, as well as through question and answer sessions where students have the opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the music and what it takes to put on a performance.

This year’s opera, Operation Superpower, takes a stand against bullying by promoting the five essential elements of being a superhero: courage, hope, honesty, imagination and friendship. Operation Superpower has been performed for over 50,000 students through productions in the greater New York City area and by the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Opera Saratoga is the first American company outside New York City to present the new opera for young audiences.

In Saratoga Springs, the show will be performed at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 at Saratoga Arts, 320 Broadway, and at 10 a.m. on March 12 at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St. For more information, go here: For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org.

Children's auditions for New York City Ballet’s July performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at SPAC will be held on Sunday, March 13at The School of the Arts of the National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and auditions begin at 10.

The first round of auditions will be for one petite child ages 7-9 and 4 feet 2 inches - 4 feet 4 inches tall for a non-dancing role. This will be followed by roles for girls ages 9-13 with at least 2 years of serious ballet training who measure 4 feet 10 inches and below.

Note: dancers taller than the maximum height requirement of 4 feet 10 inches will not be eligible to audition. Children chosen must be available for rehearsals starting July 5. Performances of the ballet will be Wednesday, July 20, Friday, July 22, and Saturday July 23. Audition forms are available online at dancemuseum.org and spac.org.