Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: The Searchers

BritishInvasion

Another Merseybeat band, The Searchers took their name from the John Wayne movie of the same name. They were originally a skiffle group founded by John McNally and Mike Pender in 1959, and had most of their success with covers of other bands’ tunes, including the two we feature today.

The first song is a remake of Jackie DeShannon’s “Needles and Pins.” It went to #1 in the UK and #13 in the US in 1964 and was on their album, Meet the Searchers.

The second song was their first hit in the UK, “Sweets for my Sweet.” A remake of the Drifters’ 1961 song, it reached #1 in the UK but didn’t chart in the US.

They also had hits with “Sugar and Spice,” written by producer Tony Hatch (later covered by Chicago’s The Cryan Shames), and a cover of the Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9.” In 1985 Mike Pender left the band after a farewell tour, and eventually formed “Mike Pender’s Searchers.” Both bands are currently active. Each band has a website, the original band here and the Mike Pender version here.

The Searchers, your Two for Tuesday, June 30, 2015.




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Monday, June 29, 2015

Small Appliances Drive Me Crazy

Have you ever had one small appliance that seems like it’s possessed? We had a coffeemaker that always seemed to be causing us trouble. Well, me, anyway. I always managed to forget to put water into it, or coffee grounds, and on at least several occasions I managed to run it without putting the pot into it, resulting in coffee all over the counter and the floor. I think we’ve solved our problems with it once and for all.

Standard procedure is that I set the coffee up the night before, and Mary, who gets up before I do, turns it on and, when it’s finished, pours some for both of us and puts the rest into a Thermos. This morning, Mary wakes me up with the news that the coffeemaker is broken. Now, I figure, we didn’t spend a lot of money for it, and the life of a coffemaker is generally directly proportional to the amount paid for it. So, I figure it’s probably time for a new one. She was going to be over near the Target anyway, so we decide to get a new one. No problem, right?

She gets home from running her errands, which included a stop at Starbucks to get a couple of cups of coffee. We have our coffee, and by now it’s close to eleven, so we decide to go to Chili’s for lunch. (Try the lunch double cheeseburger if you go. It’s fantastic.) When we got home, I was anxious to try the new coffeemaker. I set it up, and, as they recommend, run clear water through it the first time. That finishes, and I start a new pot of coffee. Since the fresh grounds were still in the old coffeemaker, I get them out of there and pour them into the basket of the new one.

That’s when I realize that a part was missing. In this case, it was the cover for the coffee basket, which has a plunger that gets pushed down when everything is in place and completes the circuit so that the coffeemaker runs. It was sitting next to it, waiting to be put into place. Which I had forgotten to do.

I tell this to Mary, who asks me what we should do about the old coffeemaker and the new one. I thought about it, and I remembered that Target was a real pain about returns, especially if it isn’t in unopened condition, and I thought about all the times I managed to forget one thing or another and ended up with no coffee or coffee all over the floor.

So the upshot is, the new one is set for tomorrow, and the old one goes to the basement, for when the new one goes on the fritz and needs to be discarded. Maybe when (and if) it’s pressed back into service, it’ll behave itself.

Anyway, with all the coffeepot business and such, I never wrote today’s blog post. Now I have…




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Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Week That Was, Last weekend of June

The Week That Was

Hello again, and welcome to The Week That Was, a summary of the posts and some of the comments I got on them this past Monday through Saturday. This was a good week, with plenty of visitors, comments, and more than enough spam. Here’s what we talked about:

  • On Monday, I announced the winner of my most recent Battle of the Bands. Jason Donovan beat Neil Sedaka in Battle “Rhythm of the Rain” by a landslide. Not unlike the 2014 Atlanta Braves, Neil took a mighty swing and missed by a foot on this song.
  • Two for Tuesday featured The Yardbirds, the British Invasion band that spawned the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Eventually, the band morphed into Led Zeppelin.
  • On Wednesday, we discussed some recent (as in within the last four years) research that suggests the brain needs sleep so it can clean out all of the toxic waste products that resulted from normal brain activity during the day. There’s a good chance that a buildup of those toxins could result in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, so preventing them might be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. I think everyone should make getting a good night’s sleep a priority, regardless. From the comments, it sounded as though people are generally sleeping well, unless something is preventing them from doing so.
  • Thursday, in response to a prompt given for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writers’ Workshop, I created a playlist of a dozen songs that reminded me of summer. A lot of people liked Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” the best, and it holds a few good memories for me as well, having come out during my sophomore year of high school. Damien Riley likes the guitar at the beginning of Seals and Crofts’s “Summer Breeze,” and I can hardly disagree with him there. Mama Kat herself was distressed that Taylor Swift wasn’t represented. I checked, and all the songs I featured were older than Ms. Swift.
  • We returned to the subject of sleep on Friday, when we discussed the work of Virginia Tech historian Roger Ekirch, author of the book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. His research on the topic of what night meant to people from the Middle Ages forward includes the revelation that, given a world where it’s dark 14 hours a day, people tend to sleep in two four-hour chunks (bi-phasic sleep), gettin up for a couple of hours between phases and reading, writing, ruminating, talking with their bedmates or even the neighbors. The paradigm of spending eight hours in one stretch sleeping is a relatively new one, consistent with the general availability of artificial light. I started reading it the good doctor’s book over the weekend, and it’s a slow read, but a fascinating one.
  • Yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness entry was prompted by the word “some,” a word repeated often in the first verse of The Dramatics’ “Whatcha See is Watcha Get,” their hit record from 1971, when I was a freshman at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

I have a few things planned for this week: Two For Tuesday will feature another British Invasion artist, Wednesday is July 1st and thus time for another Battle of the Bands, and all the regular features. I will also mention that this Wednesday, God willing and the creek don’t rise, will mark my first anniversary of blogging daily here on The Sound of One Hand Typing. We’ll probably have a celebration of some sort then. See you this week!




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Saturday, June 27, 2015

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: Some people…

The prompt for today is “some” or “sum.” I hear the word “some,” I think this song by The Dramatics, from 1971…

This song came out during my freshman year of high school. I was going to St. Ignatius College Prep, one of the better high schools in the city (maybe because I went there). The University of Illinois-Chicago Circle Campus was through the undeveloped area behind the school, and we learned fairly soon that, if you took the Congress or Douglas line from the subway downtown, you could save yourself ten cents a day. That was fifty cents a week, the price of a pack of cigarettes in 1971. Hearing the song brings me back to those days…

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This is another Stream of Consciousness Saturday entry. SoCS is hosted by Linda Hill at her blog. There, you’ll find a list of all of this week’s participants (in the comments) and the rules. Hope you join us!




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Friday, June 26, 2015

It’s Only Natural

The other day, I talked about how the brain flushes all of the toxic material that’s a by-product of thinking and functioning during the day, and the role sleep plays in the process. Basically, the brain cleans itself out while you’re asleep because it’s busy using its energy to think during the day, and it can’t handle both the cleanup and the thinking at the same time.

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While I was reading up on sleep, I heard about Roger Ekirch, a history professor at Virginia Tech and author of the book At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. I got the book (well, the Kindle version) and am looking forward to reading it.

One of the things he discusses in the book is how sleep patterns have changed since the Industrial Revolution. He makes the case that, before electricity and artificial light was generally available, people who couldn’t afford candles would go to bed when it got dark and get up at sunrise, but wouldn’t sleep the entire time. Instead, they would sleep in two four-hour chunks, waking up after the first four hours and spending an hour or two reading, thinking, praying, talking to their bedmate, having sex, etc. before going back to sleep. Contrast that to now, when artificial light, TV, work, and the Internet keep us awake longer and force us to get our eight hours of sleep all at one time. He maintains that bi-phasic sleep, where the eight hours of sleep is divided into two parts, is likely more natural than a single eight-hour block. Experiments that deprive people of light for up to fourteen hours at a time for a period of a month or more result in people falling into a bi-phasic pattern.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. One of the times that the Liturgy of the Hours is said is at 3 AM (“Matins”). No doubt, it was set in place to coincide with this waking up in the middle of the night. When I was in the hospital after my stroke, it always seemed to be the time when someone would show up to do something. I’m thinking specifically of the especially perky phlebotomist who would show up, put on every light in the room, and want to engage me in conversation as he drew my blood. (If you’re sick, the worst place to be is in the hospital.)

So, the next time you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, maybe it’s not insomnia. Maybe it’s the way nature intended it.

Do you wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for an hour or more? What do you do during that time?




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Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Thursday Ten Playlist: Twelve Summer Songs

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Another one of those weeks where The Thursday Ten and Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop intersect!

This week’s prompt:

Create a summer playlist and share it.

That’s right up my alley! I’m always crawling around YouTube, pulling songs together for blog entries, and sharing them.

There are literally hundreds of lists online that answer the question, “what are some of the most popular songs for summer?” And, while I looked at a couple, I had two-thirds of this assembled before I even looked at them.

Practically all of these songs were from the 1960’s and 1970’s, and they more or less fell into chronological order. I included one from the 1980’s (Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”) so I didn’t come off as a complete old fogey (although you know darn well that’s what I am).

So, here’s the playlist. There were so many, and each one led me to another song or two, and by the time I was through, I had about fifty songs. I got it down to twelve, though. The list of songs, including what year they came out and their final chart position in the US, is under the YouTube frame. Enjoy!

# Song Artist Year Chart
1 Summertime (from “Porgy And Bess”) Billy Stewart 1966 #7 (R&B), #10 (Pop)
2 In the Summertime Mungo Jerry 1970 #3
3 Hot Fun in the Summertime Sly and the Family Stone 1969 #2 (Hot 100), #3 (R&B)
4 Summer in the City Lovin’ Spoonful 1966 #1
5 Sunny Afternoon The Kinks 1966 #14
6 See You In September The Happenings 1966 #3
7 We’ll Sing in the Sunshine Gale Garnett 1964 #4 (pop), #1 (AC)
8 A Summer Song Chad and Jeremy 1964 #7
9 Summer Breeze Seals and Crofts 1972 #6 (pop), #4 (AC)
10 Summertime Blues Blue Cheer 1968 #14
11 School’s Out Alice Cooper 1972 #7
12 Summer of ’69 Bryan Adams 1985 #1

And there’s your Thursday Ten (plus two) for June 25, 2015.




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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cleaning Up Your Brain

Back when I started working in what we called at the time “electronic data processing,” “EDP” for short, application systems didn’t stay up 24/7 like they do now. There were some that did, but they were the exception, not the rule. Typically, after everyone went home for the night, an application would be shut down, and the operations staff would run “batch processing and maintenance.” Jobs would be run to back up the databases and files, programs would run to see if any transactions needed to be completed, to report on what happened throughout the day, and to reorganize the files and databases, so that when people showed up for work the next morning, everything would be ready for them.

images.duckduckgo.com
Source: bubblejam.net

This is how the brain functions when you go to sleep. While you’re off in Dreamland, your brain is busy connecting the new information you picked up during the day with information that had been there before, building new associations, and, most importantly, taking out the garbage. I read an article from 2013 on the BBC’s website that says a US team has learned that the brain uses the downtime that sleep provides to flush the damaged proteins that have accumulated during the day as a result of mental activity.

The team was studying the glymphatic system, the brain’s waste removal system analogous to the lymphatic system, in mice, and found that it is ten times more active while the mice were asleep. Cells in the brain shrink during sleep, increasing the interstitial space and allowing more fluid in to wash away the damaged proteins that have built up. Sleep time allows the brain to focus its energy on this important task; during the day, that energy is reserved for mental activity. Studies suggest that diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, where brain cells are destroyed, might be directly related to the buildup of toxic material in the brain.

I haven’t seen any followup articles to this, but if all of this is true, and the brain does all of this while you’re asleep, it suggests that getting a good night’s sleep might be part of the key to preventing degenerative diseases of the brain, as well as being important to physiological and psychological well-being. Which we all knew intuitively, but it’s always good to get confirmation.

What do you think of all of this? And how’d you sleep last night?




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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: The Yardbirds

BritishInvasion

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page all got their start with The Yardbirds and went on to rock ‘n’ roll fame and fortune. The core of the band was Keith Relf (vocals and harmonica), Chris Dreja (initially rhythm guitar, then bass), and Jim McCarty (drums and backing vocals). As did many British bands from that era, they started off covering blues numbers, gradually moving into popular music. Clapton, who recorded their first major hit, “For Your Love,” left the band the day the single was released (March 25, 1965), unhappy with the direction the band was moving in. They asked Jimmy Page, who declined and recommended Jeff Beck. In early 1966, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith departed. Jimmy Page joined initially to play bass while Chris Dreja learned the instrument; when Dreja took over on bass, Page and Beck both played lead guitar until Beck left later that year.

Our first song today is “Over, Under, Sideways, Down.” Jeff Beck played lead and bass guitar on this track, which also included Relf, Dreja, and McCarty. Original bassist Samwell-Smith gets a vocal credit on this song. It reached #10 in the UK and #13 in the US in 1966. (The flip side was “Jeff’s Boogie,” an instrumental almost identical to Chuck Berry’s “Guitar Boogie.”)

Our second song is “Evil-Hearted You.” It wasn’t released in the US, but rose to #3 in the UK in 1965.

The band split up in 1968, with Page and Dreja wanting to stay with heavier rock music and Relf and McCarty moving more in the direction of folk and classical music. They recruited Robert Plant to do vocals, who recommended drummer John Bonham. When Dreja left to pursue a career in photography, they called on bass and keyboard player John Paul Jones, and the band was then rechristened Led Zeppelin.

McCarty, Dreja, and Samwell-Smith reunited as the Yardbirds in the early 1980’s for a “British Invasion” tour, and in 1992 McCarty, prompted by manager Peter Barton, reformed the Yardbirds, after the original band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band has two websites, one for the UK and the other for the US.

The Yardbirds, your Two for Tuesday, June 23, 2015.




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Monday, June 22, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Rhythm of the Rain” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

Last Monday, my most recent Battle pitted rock legend Neil Sedaka against Australian actor and singer Jason Donovan with their versions of The Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain.” I figured the vote would be a pretty close one. I was wrong. This one wasn’t even close:

Neil Sedaka: 3
Jason Donovan: 14

I think the general consensus was that people didn’t like Sedaka’s version at all. They didn’t like the disco setting, nor did they like the liberties he took with the melody, and they thought he sounded like a girl. A few of you said that you thought you’d vote for him but ended up voting for Jason. At least one person termed Neil’s version “annoying.” I have to agree; this was simply not Neil’s song. Even if he had made his version close to the original, I think the vote would have been similar.

Anyway, congratulations to Jason Donovan.

The next Battle of the Bands is a week from Wednesday, on July 1. No idea what I’ll be doing for that, but tune in for the next battle then.




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Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Week That Was, Fathers’ Day (and First Day of Summer) Edition

The Week That Was

Today is

  • Fathers’ Day in most of the world this blog reaches. If you’re a father, stepfather, grandfather, uncle, legal guardian, etc., have a happy one!
  • Depending on where you live, either the shortest or longest day (“day” meaning the number of hours between sunrise and sunset) of the year. The Summer Solstice arrives at 12:38 PM EDT in the Northern Hemisphere; in the Southern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice arrives at roughly the same time. Starting today, the days start getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere until the Winter Solstice, roughly around December 21. The opposite happens in the Southern.

Anyhow, let’s look at what went on around here this past week. A lot of music…

  • You still have a chance, until about 9 tonight, to vote in my latest Battle of the Bands. The song is The Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain,” and the contestants are Neil Sedaka and Jason Donovan. It’s kind of a runaway, and the winner is all but decided, but still, vote and make your voice heard.
  • The Fortunes were the representatives of the British Invasion on Two for Tuesday.
  • Wednesday we talked about an interesting hobby for adults: coloring books. It started when I saw commercials for the Colorama coloring books. I thought it was unusual; coloring in coloring books is a great kids’ hobby, but I never considered that adults might enjoy it. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that adults have all kinds of artistic hobbies, and coloring might be a great stress reliever. It might even be a worthwhile activity for someone going through occupational therapy. A couple of my readers said they like to color. My uncle told me about a hobby his granddaughter has, where she puts a grid over a picture and draws what’s in each square of the grid. Actually sounds like a lot of fun.
  • For the Thursday Ten, I built a playlist of ten songs about listening. Six of the songs were called “Listen,” three of them had “listen” in the title, and the last one started with the word “listen.” Mama Kat provided the prompt as part of her weekly Writer’s Workshop, though I didn’t submit it.
  • A couple of readers chose their favorite song from the Ten, and I chose Chicago’s “Listen.” It made me think about the two-record album The Chicago Transit Authority, specifically the B side of the first record. Terry Kath’s guitar (an old Gibson SG, for the record) dominates it, making it one of my favorites. Terry was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite player, and one of my guitar heroes. I featured the album side on Friday. You know, the album side is part of our musical heritage that has all but vanished, and the two-record set is another. I bought Rhino’s reissue of the first three Chicago albums, and all of the songs fit on one CD. I still think in terms of the original sets. That’s just me.
  • Finally, yesterday was Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The prompt was “bone,” which reminded me of eighth grade and several of my friends building a chicken skeleton. I’m glad to hear that many of you liked it, because I laughed like an idiot while I was writing it.

I’m pretty well organized for the coming week. Be sure and join me this week, and tell your friends! See you soon!




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Saturday, June 20, 2015

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: “bone”

chicken skeleton
Chicken skeleton (clker.com)

In eighth grade, Sister decided to give several guys in the class an assignment: they were to get a whole chicken (including the head and the feet), get all of the skin and muscle off of the bones, then reassemble the bones into a full skeleton. Tim was the head of the project, and Mike and two guys named Tom were his project team. This meant Tim did 90% of the work, and the other three provided comic relief.

They got off to a good start, getting the whole chicken from a local Kosher meat market, getting all the skin off of it, and letting the bones dry thoroughly. They also did a good job getting the legs and pelvis assembled. At that point, the project bogged down, because now they had the spine and ribcage to rebuild, and then they had to put the whole thing together correctly so it actually looked like the skeleton of a chicken instead of like some mutant species from an alien planet.

There were, naturally, plenty of hijinks and hilarity. At the point where they had the ribcage assembled and had to piece the whole thing together, Mike took the skull and set it on the pelvis. “There! Instant chicken!”

Tim held up the ribcage. “What do we do with this?”

Mike took the ribcage and jammed it between the legs. “Instant chicken with portable toilet!”

Of course, they were doing all of this during a supposed “quiet study” period, so of course we all found this highly amusing. Sister was less than entertained, and as the project had already taken twice as much time as she thought it should have, she started pestering the guys to find out when they would be finished.

It took them another two weeks to complete the skeleton, with Sister nagging them along the whole time, but they really did an impressive job. Not only were all the pieces in the right place, they had managed to get everything put together so that it looked like a chicken, with the spine crooked in all the right places and everything.

Not 24 hours later, Sister decided that it was impressive enough that she wanted to show the seventh grade. This meant carrying the thing upstairs from the second floor to the third. On the landing between the second and third floor, the skeleton slid off the cardboard to which it was (not very well) attached, fell onto the concrete floor, and shattered into a thousand pieces.

Tim and the rest of the team that had put the thing together were furious, as you can imagine, but they were unwilling to vent their spleens at Sister or the principal. I don’t think any of the parents did, either. They should have.

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Another Stream of Consciousness entry in Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. She has all the rules here, and you can also find links to other SoCS entries in the comments.




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Friday, June 19, 2015

“Chicago Transit Authority,” Record 1, Side 2

I put together a playlist yesterday of ten songs that had the word “listen” as the title, as part of the title, or as an important part of the lyrics. The first song was one of my early favorites, “Listen” by Chicago, off their first album, The Chicago Transit Authority. I told Lauralynn that it was my favorite song in the playlist. Then I realized that the album side it comes from might be my favorite album side of all time.

I had intended on having this go along with “The Soundtrack of my Life,” a regular feature that several of my “Battle of the Bands” friends do on their blogs, but saw that the rule there is “one song, please.” So maybe some other time.

CTA was a two-record set; this is the second side of the first record. The songs are “Questions 67 and 68,” “Listen,” and “Poem 58.” The total length is about seventeen minutes; I won’t be offended if you listen later.

I was a huge Chicago fan in high school. This was the album side that did it for me. It wasn’t the lyrics, because by this time I wasn’t listening to them. The voice was just another one of the instruments. For me, it was the music, particularly the guitar. I’d listen past the lyrics and the horns and focus on what Terry Kath was doing on guitar. That was always interesting. I would have given anything to play like him. Anything other than practice and learn what he was actually doing and learn to do it myself, that is. I think I just expected to wake up one morning able to do what he could do. Until then, I was content to sit there with mouth agape listening to him and wondering how he managed to get all that out of a beat-up Gibson SG. Of course, the answer is, he worked his backside off learning to play that way. He was a rock guitarist in a band that was half-rock, half-jazz. He could handle the rock part, and did everything he could to learn the jazz side. I think he did all right.

In high school, you were good if you could play like Jimi Hendrix. Chicago? They were a gimmick. Rock didn’t have horns, it had guitars and amplifiers. If you could cop some of Hendrix’s licks and play the solo from “Stairway to Heaven,” you were good. Otherwise, forget it. Years later, I learned that Jimi Hendrix’s favorite guitar player was Terry Kath. The irony of it all…

The week before I got married, Terry managed to put a bullet in his head at a party. Evidently, he carried a gun, and he was goofing around with it after having a few drinks. Someone told him to be careful, and he reportedly said, “Don’t worry, it isn’t loaded. See?” He put the gun to his head, pulled the trigger, and killed himself. They called it an accident, but the more I read up on it, the more it looks like he did it on purpose. Weird thing: they were burying him in California around the same time Mary and I were getting married in Chicago.

Terry was around to play on the first ten Chicago albums, so there’s plenty of his playing available out there, including on YouTube. Hope you take the opportunity to listen to more of it.




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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ten “Listen” Songs

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Last week, I took the prompt from Mama Kat and wrote about my memories of tenth grade. Okay, it wasn’t a list of ten, so we’re back to that again. This week, she had a prompt that fit the Thursday Ten theme, if you played with it enough:

Write a blog post inspired by the word: listen

Well, you know me and music… I thought of the song “Listen” by Chicago. Then I thought of a couple more “listen” songs, and pretty soon I was out on YouTube looking for songs with “listen” in the title. And I needed help, so I went to DuckDuckGo (the search engine I’ve been using instead of Google, because they don’t track me) and asked for songs with “Listen” in the title. One of the first entries I found was this blog entry from 2008 on the blog Listening Matters, which hasn’t been updated since 2010. But it was exactly what I was looking for.

Anyway, I built a YouTube playlist (the irony being that YouTube is a Google site) of ten “listen” songs, which you will find below. Here’s the song list.

  • “Listen,” by Chicago, from the album Chicago Transit Authority, their first.
  • A cover of Beyonce’s “Listen,” sung by a young lady named Connie Talbot. Her website says she was born in 2000 and competed on Britain’s Got Talent when she was just six. I think she kills it.
  • “Listen” by Atlanta’s own Collective Soul, from their 1997 album Disciplined Breakdown.
  • “Listen” by Tears for Fears, from their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair.
  • “Listen” by Toad the Wet Sprocket, from their 1994 album Dulcinea.
  • “Listen” by Goo Goo Dolls, from 2006’s Let Love In.
  • “Listen to What the Man Said” by Paul McCartney and Wings, off their 1975 release Venus and Mars.
  • “Listen to the Music” by The Doobie Brothers, from 1972’s Toulouse Street. I think this was their first hit; I know it was the first song of their I heard.
  • “Listen to the Flower People” by Spinal Tap, from the 1984 “mockumentary” This is Spinal Tap, second only to A Hard Day’s Night as my favorite movie of all time.
  • “Do You Want To Know A Secret?” by The Beatles, from their first album, Please Please Me, which was released in the US as Introducing… The Beatles on Chicago’s Vee Jay Records. It was released later in the US by Capitol on the album The Early Beatles. And yes, I know, the title doesn’t have “listen” in it, but I included it because the first word is “Listen” and because it’s by The Beatles.

Okay, so here’s the playlist. It’s about 40 minutes long, if you want to wait on it until later.

Tune in next week for another edition of The Thursday Ten.




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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Coloring Books for Grownups?

crayons

Have you seen the ads lately for the Colorama Coloring Book for adults? I was watching one of the subchannels the other day, and amid the ads for diabetes products, incontinence supplies, cellphones designed for people that don’t get cellphones, and ambulance chasers eager to sue the pants off asbestos companies, pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of artificial joints, there was this ad, or something similar. (I couldn’t embed it, unfortunately. Well, I could, but it would create a blank post on Blogger.)

My first reaction was “Coloring books for adults? You gotta be kiddin’ me!” I honestly wondered what in the world possessed a company to create a coloring book for adults. I found this video of a foul-mouthed man who seems to think it can all be blamed on capitalism and Fox News. The more I listened to him foam at the mouth, the more I felt like picking up some crayons and a coloring book of my own.

One of my stepfather’s colleagues from his early days at Loyola University traveled all the time, visiting high schools. and at night he would sit in his hotel room and watch television. He got tired of it, so he took up embroidery. It was a creative outlet for him, it filled his time, he could carry his supplies from place to place, and it relieved his stress. And the stuff he did was beautiful. He embroidered two throw pillows for my folks as a wedding gift. The colors he chose were all colors he had seen in our living room the first time he visited, and the work was utterly flawless.

People have always had creative outlets. For me, it’s writing. Mary knits and crochets, and hangs out with some enormously talented women who knit, crochet, sew, quilt, weave, spin, and dye their own yarn. I saw some magnificent drawings that people made during the recent A to Z Challenge. I’ve met painters, photographers, sculptors, woodworkers, jewelry designers and makers, soap makers, and people who polish stones. Creative expression is a necessary part of life. It relieves stress and boredom and creates a “happy place” you can go to when life is getting hectic.

Coloring books have become best-sellers on Amazon, and companies such as Dover Publishing have whole lines of coloring books for adults. (I’m not selling anything, by the way.) A person who has no particular talent for anything else usually can color in a drawing and feel as though they’ve done something creative and artistic. Who cares if it’s something “only kids do”?

I would guess that most of you reading this are writers, so, what are your other creative hobbies? Have you ever considered taking up coloring as one of them?




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: The Fortunes

BritishInvasion

The Fortunes were from Birmingham, England. Originally a vocal trio backed by a band called The Cliftones, the group originally consisted of Rod Allen (lead vocals and bass), Barry Pritchard (lead guitar and vocals), Andy Brown (drums), Glen Dale (rhythm guitar) and David Carr (keyboards). Allen kept the ever-changing lineup together until his death in 2008, after which the four remaining members (Bob Jackson, formerly of Badfinger, keyboards and vocals; Eddie Mooney, formerly with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, lead vocals and bass; Michael Smitham, session player with Del Shannon, Bobby Vee, and Percy Sledge, guitars and vocals; and Glenn Taylor, formerly with Marmalade, drums) continued with Allen’s blessing. They recorded an album, Play On, and continue to tour in urope and the UK, currently on the “Past and Present” tour, according to their website. Naturally, they’re also active on Twitter and Facebook.

Today’s first song is “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” released in 1965. It reached #2 in the UK and #7 in the US.

Our second song is “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling again.” From 1971, it reached #15 on the US charts.

The Fortunes, your Two for Tuesday, June 16, 2015.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday, June 15, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Rhythm of the Rain”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

“Rhythm of the Rain” was a song written by John Claude Gummoe of The Cascades, who recorded and released it in November 1962. It rose as high as #3 on the Hot 100, and #1 on the Easy Listening charts. I’m sure you’ve heard it, but in the event you haven’t, here’s the original recording.

I should probably point out that, as it’s the original version, it’s not part of the battle. I just put it here in case you’ve never heard it, or forgot about it. Here are your choices:

CONTESTANT #1: Neil Sedaka

Neil is one of the great singers and songwriters of the early 1960’s. His popularity waned somewhat during the British Invasion and late 1960’s, but came roaring back in the mid-1970’s. His version of the song was released on his 1984 album Come See About Me. As a single, it reached #37 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US.

CONTESTANT #2: Jason Donovan

Australian actor and singer Jason Donovan recorded the song for his 1989 album Between The Lines. It was released as a single in 1990 and rose as high as #9 in the UK and #6 in Ireland.

NOW, IT’S TIME TO VOTE…

Which of these two versions of “Rhythm of the Rain” was your favorite, Sedaka’s disco-tinged release or Donovan’s late 1980’s pop version? Vote below in the comments, and give us a little hint as to why you liked that version the best. Then, after you’ve voted, be sure and stop by these blogs, many of which are also doing Battles this week, and hear what they have to offer.

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside

As always, even though most people vote within the first 48 hours after the battle is released, I’ll announce the winner next Monday, June 22. See you then!




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Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Week That Was, June 14, 2015

The Week That Was

Happy Flag Day, everyone!

flag-l

Kind of a quiet week around here, but it was a good one. It might be time to go on tour… here’s the recap:

  • Monday, I announced the winner of the most recent Battle of the Bands, which pitted Luther Vandross against Linda Ronstadt singing Bacharach and David’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart.” Luther beat Linda, 12-8, but both did wonderful versions of the song. I don’t think there’s a bad one, really.
  • Tuesday, we had Two for Tuesday squared. I featured Billy J. Kramer, another British Invasion artist, in the scheduled two-fer, and as it was his 100th birthday, I wrote a second that featured Les Paul, who revolutionized recording as well as the guitar, and was a remarkable player himself.
  • I got on my soapbox and ranted about the Apple Watch, and expensive watches in general, on Wednesday. A comment by my uncle Jack reminded me that there are still plenty of people who wear watches to keep time, rather than rely on an electronic device. As always, he has an excellent point. I’ve gotten used to checking my phone for the time, but not everyone does. My brother Chris (we call him Kip) said that his impression of the Apple Watch was that it was a remote control for one’s iPhone. Evidently the watch pairs with the iPhone via Bluetooth as long as the two devices are in range of each other. As Lauralynn said, people fall in love with the technology. I suppose she’s right.
  • Thursday, I participated in Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop, and talked about sophomore year of high school, also known as tenth grade, which tied it in with The Thursday Ten. Michelle, who identified with the “nerds,” commented that she had lunch with a friend of hers who identified with the “jocks.” She asked him what he thought of high school, and he said that everyone was so busy trying to be who they thought they were that he didn’t think anyone had a good time. Mama Kat herself said that there are important things you learn in high school, but not all of those things were in the classroom. I suggested the percentage of things you learn outside the classroom was about 90%.
  • Friday, I featured a post by Stomperdad, who has an excellent blog you should visit. His post was about standardized testing and its effects on all concerned. I think sometimes we’re so busy testing kids, they don’t have time to learn anything.
  • Yesterday, of course, was Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt: onomatopoeia. I featured a video of fight scenes from the old “Batman” show, and talked about Ken Feit, who specialized in sound poetry.

I have a good Battle of the Bands coming up tomorrow (what am I going to say, it’s lousy?), another British Invasion artist on Tuesday, and several more posts that will be as much a surprise to me as they will be to you. Be sure and stop by!




from The Sound of One Hand Typing