Friday, July 31, 2015

The Friday Five! Five Favorite Guitar Players

Before I start, let me apologize for the fact that some of you received a partial version of this post in your email, and I think it also went out to Facebook and Twitter. I wanted to see if I had gotten a few HTML commands right and meant to hit the "Preview" button, and managed to hit "Publish" instead. Duh.

FridayFive

I'd like to introduce a new feature here on the blog: The Friday Five! How do you like the logo? I ripped off borrowed the idea from the Jackson Five. Hope they don't mind...

I've been thinking about changing The Thursday Ten to The Friday Five for a while, mostly because it's easier to come up with a list of five things than a list of ten I'd occasionally like to do something different on Thursday, like Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop or something else of my choosing. The Thursday Ten isn't going away entirely; I'll still do one from time to time when I can think of a list of ten things.

So welcome to the inaugural Friday Five. This week's topic: My five favorite guitar players.

From the start of sixth grade until my stroke in 2007 (about thirty years) I played the guitar. And most of the time, the guitar won...

Thank you! I'll be here all week! Don't forget to tip your servers!

But seriously...

I wanted to recognize some of the people who inspired me to keep playing. These are in the order in which I learned of them. Obviously, there are many more than these, but these are the ones that are key.

George Harrison. I wouldn't have even taken up the guitar if it weren't for George. My world went a little Beatles-crazy after they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. We divided ourselves into four camps, called John, Paul, George, and Ringo. There weren't quite as many people in the George camp; he was the funny-looking quiet one who stood between Paul and John, focused on his playing. Even then I could tell he was a fantastic musician, and as time went on, he distinguished himself, not only as a guitar player, but as a singer, a songwriter, and a humanitarian. And a very funny guy...

Terry Kath. Maybe by virtue of the fact they came from my hometown, maybe it was the horns, but Chicago was my favorite band when I was in high school. Terry might not have been why I started listening to Chicago, but he was definitely the reason I kept listening to them. Where the rest of the ensemble was cool and played with precision, Terry played with utter abandon. He was an excellent singer, guitarist, and songwriter, and the world lost one of its bright lights when he accidentally shot himself in the head in 1978.

Carlos Santana. Around the same time Chicago was making its way into my ears, I heard another band, Santana, named for its leader and lead guitarist, Carlos Santana. They blended blues, rock, Latin, jazz, and some Eastern music, and the result was mesmerizing. It took a remarkable player like Carlos to make it work. Carlos's collaborations with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin (and the latter's spiritual direction) added a level of mysticism to his playing. He has become an elder statesman in his later years without losing any of the fire or spirit in his playing.

Lee Ritenour. At a time when I was just sick and tired and bored with music and ready to chuck it all in, I rented a video of Lee Ritenour and his band playing. When it was over, I said, "that's what I want to play!" He started out as a session musician (at sixteen) and was conversant in a number of genres when he went out on his own. Originally, his music was more fusion-like, but since then he's gotten into more straight-ahead jazz, emulating the style of the great Wes Montgomery and the jazz players of the 1950's (Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall and others).

Tommy Emmanuel. I was browsing the music at Borders one day (remember them?), and they had a CD (remember them?) on display: The Journey by a guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel. I read the back of the jewel case (remember them?), and saw that Joe Walsh lent his considerable skills to one of the tracks, so I figured, what the hell, and bought it. I took it home and played it, and loved it. I had to find more by him, and that's when I discovered that, while Tommy was an outstanding electric guitarist, he was an even better acoustic fingerstyle player, and that was more his thing. He is one of the few players to have been granted the honorific Certified Guitar Player by the great Chet Atkins (OK, it's more of a joke than anything, but the players aren't).

I could spend a year of Fridays listing the guitarists who influenced me (and, if you aren't careful, I just might), but these are the five that jumped immediately to mind. Tomorrow, five others might jump to mind. With me, you ccan never tell.

Anyway, that's your Friday Five for the last day of July 2015.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It Worked!

success_baby

The previous post was done to demonstrate the power of IFTTT. To help Tammy Rizzo, whose blog you should read, I created an IFTTT recipe that will create a post whenever I like a video on YouTube. If you’re interested, here is the link to it.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Liked on YouTube: George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You Official Video

Single by George Harrison
from the album Cloud Nine
B-side “Lay His Head”
Released 12 October 1987
Format Vinyl
Recorded Friar Park Studios Oxford 1987
Genre Rock
Length 3:51 (album version)
5:17 (extended version)
Label Dark Horse Records
Writer(s) Rudy Clark
Producer Jeff Lynne
George Harrison




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hurry Up And Wait

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I left my laptop plugged in and turned on last night in anticipation of receiving the Windows 10 installer file, scheduled to make its appearance somewhere on my hard drive today. I guess the response to this release has created a considerable backlog, and they’ll now be sending it sometime between now and whenever.

It’s fine by me, because, as it turns out, I’m not quite ready. I went to make an image file of my Windows 7 system, like they suggested, and it turns out the only option I have there is to write it out to DVD. I had thought, make the image copy on the hard drive, then FTP it onto the backup drive I have on the Mac, which is 3 terabytes, segmented into 3 1 TB partitions. So I have the disk space to do it, both on the laptop and the backup drive; I just have no way to get it there. I’ve already thought of unplugging the unit from the Mac and connecting it to the laptop, but that presents a whole raft of logistical problems.

Then, I thought I could define the partition on the external drive as a network drive on the laptop. Easy-peasy, right? I just tell Windows that the F: drive (or whatever letter I choose) is the partition on the external drive on the Mac. So I start the backup, only to learn that I can’t do that with my version (Home Premium) of Windows 7.

So, I ordered a 128 GB flash drive from Amazon, which should be here next week. I didn’t realize they’re making flash drives that big. I had a 1 GB flash drive I bought not long before the stroke, and that was the biggest they had then. That was eight years ago, so I guess they’ve had time to figure out how to get around that limit.

It’s no big deal at this point; Sony is writing brand spankin’ new drivers for Windows 10, and I suppose I should wait for them to come out. As I mentioned the other day, it’s as though they were caught sitting in their underwear reading the newspaper when they realized Windows 10 was coming out and a few of their customers might just want to install it. So I could wait until they get their act together, or I could wait until I get the flash drive so, if the upgrade to 10 ends up a total disaster, I can recover back to 7 and continue to wait.

Anyway, if you thought I would have a report on how the upgrade went, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.




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My Trip To The Dentist #1lineWed

What-it-takes-two-of

I think I mentioned I need crowns on two of my teeth, the back molars on both sides of my mouth on the bottom (in dentist lingo, 18 and 31). Since my new dentist didn’t want to deaden both sides of my mouth all on the same day, she had me schedule the appointments a week apart. Last week, they prepped the right side of my mouth; Monday, they prepped the left side. I already had a crown on that tooth, so this week’s visit took twice as long to complete.

So they deaden my mouth (and half my throat, making me think I’m choking to death), and the dentist goes crawling around in my mouth, drilling and yanking, and finally gets the old crown off, and discovers a lot of decay (as well as the remnants of not one, but two fillings that had already been done on that tooth). She fills the tooth and does all the grinding and shaping, then leaves me in the hands of D, the dental assistant, who will build the temporary crown.

I don’t know if it was because they put (yet another) filling on the tooth or it’s just standard operating procedure and I just didn’t remember when the dentist had done this last week, but D said “I gotta wrap this string around your tooth, okay?” What am I going to say, no? Like I know what she’s going to do…

So, she spends a lot of time wrapping the string around the tooth (actually the post), which I knew she would do, then spends what felt like an eternity poking the string under my gum with a dental instrument. By now, the novocain had all but worn off, and all the poking and prodding was starting to hurt. Finally, she said, “I’ll be back, okay?” and leaves the room, returning several minutes later with M, the other dental assistant who had assisted the week before. M managed to get the string where it needed to be, and left the room to fetch the dentist.

The dentist came in (several minutes later), looked at the work the two assistants have done, and said “Looks great!” She then took a pair of tweezers, reached into my mouth, and removed the string.

Which led to this week’s one-liner.

The dentist and the two assistants just laughed. Honestly, I think they do this stuff just to see how much they can get away with…


This is my entry into this week’s One-Liner Wednesday, hosted by Linda Hill. Hope you enjoyed it.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: The Rolling Stones

BritishInvasion

The artists and bands that made up the British Invasion were heavily influenced by blues artists who, unable to find an audience in the United States, found new fame in the UK and on the European continent. Many of the bands started out primarily covering material by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Jimmy Reed, and, though not a blues artist per se, Chuck Berry. The Yardbirds, Them, The Animals, and later acts such as the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, owe much of their early success to playing the blues.

Possibly the most popular of the bands that started out playing the blues was The Rolling Stones. They took their name from a Muddy Waters song, “Rolling Stone,” a song that goes all the way back to the Delta and Robert Johnson. Supposedly, Keith Richards met Mick Jagger, a friend he had lost contact with, at a bus stop in the early 1960’s, saw Jagger was carrying a Chuck Berry album under his arm, and recognized a kindred soul. The original lineup consisted of Jagger on vocals and harmonica, Richards on rhythm guitar, Brian Jones on lead guitar, harmonica, and other instruments (e.g. marimba on “Under My Thumb,” sitar on “Paint It, Black”), Bill Wyman on bass, Charlie Watts on drums, and Ian Stewart on keyboards (Stewart would leave the band in 1963, but would continue with them on and off until he died in 1985). Jones left the band in 1969 and died a month later, and was replaced by Mick Taylor, who was then replaced by Ronnie Wood in 1975. Wyman retired in 1993, and the band has carried on with Jagger, Richards, Wood, and Watts to this day, over 50 years later.

James Altucher, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a post recently that examined the success of the band and how they’ve managed to stay together all these years, especially when they don’t seem to like each other very much. It’s an interesting read, and I hope you zip over there and read it sometime. The short version is: they love the music, they’ve worked hard together to build the band and its following, and they never say no to work.

The Stones have recorded so much music in those 50 years, it’s hard to pick just two songs. They really hit their stride in the 1970’s with songs like “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar,” and “Tumblin’ Dice,” but when we restrict ourselves to the 1960’s, the job… well, just gets harder. So I’m, going to pick a couple of my favorites. First is “Mother’s Little Helper,” released in June 1966. It reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box survey.

The Stones recorded much of the music for their second EP at the studios of Chess Records, the Chicago-based label synonymous with blues records. One of the songs on that EP was an instrumental, “2120 South Michigan Avenue,” also the name of an unreleased LP (which you can hear on YouTube, as always). The address is the address of Chess Studios. There were several versions of the song recorded; this is the long version of the original tune. Brian Jones plays harmonica, Ian Stewart plays organ, Jagger plays tambourine, and Richards, Wyman, and Watts contribute their musical abilities.

Sunday was Mick Jagger’s 72nd birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

The Rolling Stones, your Two for Tuesday, July 28, 2015.




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Monday, July 27, 2015

My First Post…

Everyone seems to be talking about the first post on their blog today, so why not?

My first post was on January 5, 2012, and it was just a post saying I’d be posting soon. My second post was this video; this was to have been a writer’s blog, but it kind of changed after that…

This is the 850th post since then…




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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Week That Was, pre-Windows 10 edition

The Week That Was

That’s right, Microsoft plans on unleashing Windows 10 on the world this week, kind of like a plague of locusts (or army worms). As I mentioned Friday, I do plan on installing it, albeit in a separate partition, because I want to be sure to have a working laptop so I can continue to write these blog entries when I’m at Starbucks chugging decaf venti Americanos. (At home, no problem; my desktop is a Mac Mini, running OS X Yosemite. Yosemite has its quirks, which I hope will be resolved by El Capitan when it’s released.) Yes, I’m aware that Sony (makers of this $60 computer I’m writing on right now) has cautioned against being on “the bleeding edge,” as it were, but you know me. I discussed much of this in Friday’s entry. The way I see it, the bulk of the problems will be with Cortana (which I’m not using, anyway) and their brand spankin’ new browser, Microsoft Edge (which I won’t be using, either). On One-Liner Wednesday, I shared the command that I’m certain Cortana won’t know how to do, turn itself off and leave me alone, a process that’s well-documented already.

I’ve been reading the articles Gizmodo has been publishing before the launch. As always, the articles are nowhere near as entertaining or informative as the comments the readers leave. I do find it fascinating that, whenever Gizmodo shows a screen shot of one of their desktops, there’s an icon for Firefox or Chrome and no icon for Edge unless the article is specific to the new browser. That leads me to believe Edge will replace Internet Explorer as the browser people use to download and install Firefox or Chrome. And speaking of Chrome (that spends an inordinate amount of CPU cycles tattling on what you’re doing to the Google mothership), there’s every reason to suspect that Edge will spend much of its processing time reporting everything you’re doing to Microsoft, aided and abetted by that little vixen Cortana, whose primary job, it would seem, is to translate things you tell it to do into requests for Bing, Microsoft’s nosy little search engine that also likes to tell on you.

Not that privacy is a concern. I use Firefox as my browser and DuckDuckGo as my search engine, neither of which Cortana interfaces (or interoperates, or whatever the word for “work together” all the cool kids use these days is) with, and I wasn’t going to use her, anyway. Word is, Cortana is Clippy’s sister. Remember him?

clippy
I told him to go away, too…

Anyway, it’s coming Wednesday, or thereabouts, so I’ll have a lot to say about it once it’s in.

We did a lot of music here this past week. Monday, I shared Sammy Davis Jr.’s last appearance on Late Night With David Letterman, less than a year before he died of throat cancer. He sang a beautiful rendition of the classic standard, Gershwin and Duke’s “I Can’t Get Started,” accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band. As I mentioned in the comments, when told he had throat cancer and that they wanted to take out his larynx, he refused, saying he’d rather die with his larynx than live without it.

The featured band on Two for Tuesday was The Troggs, another band from the British Invasion. This week’s entry will be the last one in the British Invasion series, though I’ll be featuring bands and artists from that era going forward.

I shared the results of my latest “Battle of the Bands” on Wednesday, where Eydie Gorme’s version of Jobim’s “One-Note Samba” was voted preferable to Frank Sinatra’s by a wide margin. The feeling was that, while Frank is one of the great singers of our time, his bossa nova period wasn’t one of his best. Uncle Jack said that the song wasn’t a “typical Sinatra song,” and of course he was right. Ol’ Blue Eyes will be featured in a future Battle of the Bands, as will Eydie, but not together.

The Thursday Ten was the fourth installment in the occasional series, “TV Theme Songs.” I seem to have found a kindred spirit in Jeffrey Scott, who commented on all four installments and made some suggestions for Part 5, coming your way sometime in the near future, probably October. If there are themes you’d like to hear, by all means leave me a comment. I just pull them out of my head otherwise, more or less at random.

Yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness entry was prompted by the letters “vis.” Naturally, I wrote about television and my fascination with the medium. I’ve never read the books of Marshall McLuhan, the famous Canadian philosopher of communication theory (thank you, Wikipedia) who coined the phrase “the medium is the message,” because I haven’t had much luck finding a copy of them in the library, but I just bought a copy of his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Looks like an interesting read.

So, that was last week. This week, the last British Invasion Two for Tuesday (guess who the band will be?), Battle of the Bands on Saturday featuring a song made popular by Eydie Gorme’s husband, Steve Lawrence, a list of ten on Thursday, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and you can bet your boots (haven’t used that phrase in a while) I’ll have plenty to say about the Windows 10 install and my overall impression of it. Be sure to join us then!




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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Television (What Else?) #socs

socs-badge

Time once again for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, brought to you by Linda Hill (who has all the rules and the list of contributors at her blog) and by the letters VIS.

As in teleVISion. One of my favorite categories to write about. I’ve written about it plenty on this blog, but it’s a subject that I just love. I love TV. My brothers and I watched lots of TV growing up. From the time we got home from school until Mom went to bed, the TV was on. For that matter, most mornings we’d put the TV on when we got up. Saturday and Sunday for the cartoons, of course, but during the week there was a morning show run by Ray Rayner on WGN that we’d watch until we had to leave for school. And even then…

Ray would leave the air at 8:15. He was followed by a 15-minute cartoon show called “King Leonardo and his Short Subjects.” I used to sit and watch it, then take off and run like hell to school. We only lived two blocks away, one and a half if you cut through alleys. Which I did on occasion, when I’d end up watching the first few minutes of “Romper Room.” Why? Because it was on. No other reason.

I mentioned during the A to Z Challenge a couple of years ago that I thought TV was magic. Really. Some guy sits downtown and reads the news, his voice AND his picture show up on the screen ten miles away. With radio, you only got the voice. Sound AND picture. That was really something. How did they make it happen? No one I knew could tell me.

Then, one day, Mom brought a bunch of books home from school. They had gone through her school library and taken out all the books that either hadn’t been taken out in a while, or were damaged and not worth repairing, and were going to throw them away. She grabbed a bunch of them for us. This was one of them:

There's Adventure in Electronics

Of course, I grabbed it right away. See, when I say I was interested in TV, I wasn’t just interested in the shows, I wanted to know everything there was about it. Station breaks. Commercials. Sign-ons and sign-offs. Emergency Broadcast System tests. Technical difficulties. Film and videotape. Audio and video. Carrier waves. Test patterns (what did they test?). All that stuff. And this book told me a lot about the technical side of things. All I really wanted to know, really.

It’s all changed now. Now everything is digital, there are hundreds of channels, some you can receive with rabbit ears, some you need cable or satellite to see. The technology that made this show up in your browser on your monitor is far more sophisticated than anything we could have imagined back then. You can produce your own video and make it available for the whole world to see on your desktop. It’s easy. All you need is a computer, a video camera, and a microphone. Even I can do it, with one good hand. Think of that. Amazing.

By the way, the picture I have above of the book was made with a scanner. That’s my copy of the book. My original has been thrown out, but I was able to find one on Amazon and bought it. It was discarded by another library. I just had to have it again.




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Friday, July 24, 2015

Less than a week to go…

Number-10-300x243

As the date for the release of Windows 10 draws closer, I’m getting more obsessed with it, and spending a lot more time than I should dashing around the Internet, trying to accumulate as much information as I can about what it’s going to do to my laptop.

Now, I shouldn’t worry. Until I hopped off the Windows crazy train a few years ago, having heard how bad Vista was, I upgraded my system all the time. From 3.11 to 95, to 98, to ME, to NT. And all of those upgrades went more or less smoothly. Although I remember having trouble with the upgrade to 95: When the installation completed, it gave me a message, “Please wait while we prepare your computer for Windows 95,” at which point it stopped for close to 24 hours. Knowing this couldn’t be right, I searched through the little booklet for an option to do a clean install, finally calling Microsoft support to find out what it was. The guy’s reaction was classic: “You mean, you read the documentation? No one ever does that!”

Understand, my Windows laptop is the one I take with me to Starbucks. It’s the only time I really use it. I turn it on, it works, I can go on the Internet write blog posts with it, the world is made of donuts. I’d leave it at Win7, except that Microsoft wants to get erveryone off of whatever release of Windows they’re on and up to 10 as soon as they can. That’s why they’re giving it away to anyone who wants to upgrade within the next year. And, well, I’m a geek, and that’s just the way I think. There’s a new release of the operating system? I must have it! The price is right (i.e. free), and I don’t have to go out to Office Depot Max Staples whatever to get it. They’ll send it to me. All I have to do is download and install it, and voilá! Windows 10!

The general opinion is that Windows 10 is the best thing since perforated toilet paper, that all I have to do is install it and everything will magically work. One article I read said that was their experience when they installed it on a Lenovo ThinkPad (evidently, Microsoft sent early releases (not beta, the actual thing that goes to the rest of their customer base, so they could try it out and write glowing articles about how wonderful it is and how easy it was to install and all that happy smoke the people in the geek press like to blow up people’s backsides). Is there any reason not to believe it won’t work on my Sony VAIO.

Except that Sony has told the users of VAIO computers, “uh, you might want to hold off installing Windows 10 until we get the drivers finished.” And when will that be? Oh, September, October, and those are just for Windows 8.1. Windows 7, God alone knows what they’re going to do there.

So, I have a decision to make: go ahead when Windows 10 is ready, or play it safe until Sony pulls their heads out of their rear ends and writes the new drivers that they swear I must have in order for my computer to continue to function. Understand, my computer is no longer officially supported; I got it for cheap from the Sony Store, and they haven’t updated anything in a couple of years. My response? Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.

One thing I might do is install 10 in a separate partition. I’ve heard you can do that, and it seems fairly easily. I read a board comment by someone who claimed she did that and it worked like a charm, and even moved everything off the Win7 platform for her. Whether or not that’ll work, or if I can even do that, I’ll just have to wait and see about.

You’ll be hearing a lot from me about how well it goes over the next week or so. Stay tuned!

Do you plan on upgrading? One of you has already said they’ll wait until Microsoft works out the kinks first. Will that be what you do?




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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Thursday Ten: TV Themes, Part 4

On Monday, WordPress informed me that I had posted for 385 days in a row. I’m sure they could have waited until I had posted 400 days in a row, but the recognition is nice. Anyway…

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Time for another installment of themes from television shows. This is the fourth installment; here are links to the other three.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I Dream Of Jeannie – Hugo Montenegro and Buddy Kaye

Mannix – Lalo SchifrinMaybe my favorite, I can’t imagine why I haven’t done this yet…

Dragnet – Walter SchumannA 1953 recording by Ray Anthony and His Orchestra

77 Sunset Strip – Max Steiner and Jack HalloranThe opening from all three seasons, plus the full theme song

Surfside 6 – Jerry Livingston and Mack DavidMack David is the brother of Hal David

Route 66 – Nelson RiddleThe original song was written by Bobby Troup, who was married to Julie London; CBS commissioned Riddle to write a different theme for the TV show. It has a few elements of the original song…

The Saint – Edwin Astley and Leslie CharterisAstley composed the theme from the black & white series

Checkmate – Johnny WilliamsWilliams has done some other theme songs as John Williams…

The Prisoner – Ron GrainerGrainer also wrote the theme music for Doctor Who. But then, you knew that… This is the music over the opening credits; the music for the ending credits is here.

And there’s your Thursday Ten for July 23, 2015.




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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One-Liner Wednesday: My first Windows 10 request #1lineWed

“Hey Cortana, will you turn yourself off and quit gathering my personal data?”

(My biggest concern is not the privacy of my data. My biggest concern is that Cortana will take over my laptop, get in my way every time I try to do something, and generally make itself a pain in the ass.)


Linda Hill, who also runs Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday, is also the boss of One-Liner Wednesday. Follow this link for instructions on how to play and links to other players.




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BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “One-Note Samba” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

At least it wasn’t a shutout…

Frank Sinatra: 4
Eydie Gorme: 15

The result surprised me; I thought Frank would get more than four votes. After all, he was joined by none other than Antonio Carlos Jobim, the composer of the song and arguably the best-known and most popular composer of bossa nova, and he’s the standard by which we judge other singers. But you liked Eydie Gorme’s version better. Several of you said it moved quicker and smoother than Frank’s. At least one of you admitted to not liking Ol’ Blue Eyes, but I don’t think that was the whole reason Frank didn’t get her vote. Maybe Arlee had it right when he said, as fine a singer as Frank was, his bossa nova period was not his best. I agree; there’s a feel to bossa nova that didn’t come through on his version of the song. I’ll have to listen to the album he did with Jobim again and see if that was the case with the rest of the songs.

In any event, Eydie did a fantastic job with her version, and it’s a win well-deserved. Both singers will be back in another battle soon, though maybe not against each other.

Our next Battle of the Bands comes your way next Friday, August 1. If I can find enough versions, it may feature a song made popular by Eydie’s husband, Steve Lawrence. Join us then!




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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: The Troggs

BritishInvasion

From Andover, Hampshire, UK, The Troggs (shortened from The Troglodytes) were Reg Presley (vocals), Chris Britton (guitar), Pete Staples (bass), and Ronnie Bond (drums). They had a couple of US hits between 1966 and 1969. Their biggest hit in the US was “Wild Thing”; It reached #1 in both the US and the UK in early 1966.

Our first song is “With A Girl Like You,” which followed “Wild Thing” into the Top 40 in 1966. It reached #1 in the UK and #29 in the US.

Our second song is “Love Is All Around,” from 1967. It went as high as #7 in the US and #5 in the UK.

By 1969, the band had lost its appeal as a Top 40 band, and disbanded briefly as Bond, Presley and Britton all recorded solo projects. They reformed later that year, with Tony Murray replacing Staples on bass. They released a cover of “Good Vibrations” in 1974 and a reggae version of “Wild Thing,” both of which failed to chart.

In 1991, The Troggs and Athens, Georgia’s R. E. M. recorded Andover Athens, an eleven-song collaboration released in 1992. Bond died in 1992, and Presley retired in January 2012 due to lung cancer; he died in February 2013. Britton, Pete Lucas (bass), Dave Maggs (drums), and Chris Allen, who replaced Presley on vocals, have continued to tour. Their website has all the information on future performances as well as the current lineup and a full discography. It lists Queen’s Brian May (who celebrated his birthday Sunday) as an honorary member, as Dr. Brian May, CBE.

The Troggs, your Two for Tuesday, July 21, 2015.




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Monday, July 20, 2015

Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Last Public Performance

The other day, I was boppin’ around YouTube (as I am often wont to do) and found this gem. I remember watching Late Night With David Letterman on this particular night in June, 1989, when Sammy Davis Jr. was one of the guests. At the time, he was suffering from throat cancer, but Letterman talked him into doing a song with Paul Shaffer and “The World’s Most Dangerous Band.” According to Gary Hopkins, who posted this, it was Sammy’s last public performance, though in the comments someone said he also sang during the Jerry Lewis Telethon a couple of months later. But no matter.

If you listen at the end, he says to Paul Shaffer, “No rehearsal. See? Better.” Which makes it all the more remarkable. “I Can’t Get Started,” with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by Vernon Duke, as performed by Sammy Davis Jr. and The World’s Most Dangerous Band. Enjoy.

I remember thinking, as ill as he was, yet that voice… It still chokes me up a little.




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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Week That Was, Dog Days Edition

The Week That Was

Time for another review of the last week here on The Sound of One Hand Typing. Think I’ll try a different format. The bullet list is a little too status-meeting-ish.

Monday, stuck for something to write about, I participated in the Ten-Question Tag Debbie the Dog Lady talked about on her blog. She was amazed that I’ve done so much travel, and didn’t seem to mind that most of it was done for business. Really, business travel is best described by Wilfred Bramble, who played Paul’s grandfather in A Hard Day’s Night: it’s a room and a car, a car and a room, a room and a room… In my introduction to the post, I happened to refer to the challenge as a “blog thingy,” which JoAnne liked… hey, I couldn’t think of what else to call it (a blog hop, maybe?), so it was a thingy. Uncle Jack agreed that there’s no reason for creamed corn in polite society, and wanted to know the origin of “Bunz.” You can read my reply in the comments.

Two for Tuesday this week featured Donovan, the British folksinger who inspired many of the British Invasion bands, and also Al Kooper, who did a couple of his songs. Halfmoon Mollie commented that she was surprised he was one of the acts in a JazzFest she attended (Donovan’s music, while generally folk-oriented, included elements of rock, psychedelic music, and yes, jazz). She also mentioned that she told someone at the gym that it was his birthday, and the person said, “Who’s Donovan?” That happens to a lot of us who lived through the 1960’s when we talk to the “younger generation.” One of the reasons I’m doing this whole series of British Invasion artists is for the benefit of those who might not have heard the bands in a long time, or at all.

Wednesday was the 15th of the month, meaning it was time for Battle of the Bands. Following a suggestion from Uncle Jack, I pitted Frank Sinatra against Eydie Gorme, the song being Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One-Note Samba.” Bossa nova is maybe the coolest music on the planet, and Frank’s album with Jobim no doubt introduced a lot of people to the music. Still, Eydie has opened a pretty wide lead over Ol’ Blue Eyes. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday, so you still have a couple of days to vote.

The Thursday Ten was ten questions I’ve started asking myself at the end of each day, because I’m getting to the stage where, if I don’t write stuff down, I don’t remember it happened. Many of you have reached that stage, as well, at leat from the comments. Tammy Adams, who writes the blog Laughing at Everyday Life (a blog everyone should read) said “I always say if you are going to commit a crime do it in front of me as I can’t remember what just happened or what I just saw.” Ain’t it the truth. Most of us can probably recall some stupid song from fifty years ago, but have no idea what we had for dinner the night before. That might be by design…

Friday, I gave everyone a status of this past Wednesday’s trip to the dentist to have a tooth ground down in preparation for a crown. This is the first time a new dentist has had to crawl around in my mouth in almost 28 years, and it was just a little disconcerting. She did a fine job, and I like the new dentist, but still, it was a little disconcerting. Several of you said you had a similar experience; Nadine Feldman said that she didn’t like her dentist at first because he was very slow and methodical, but then he also fixed some poorly-done existing dental work. No one likes that. I had a root canal done when I was in high school, and ten years later my new dentist said that he hadn’t done that at all, he had just done a partial pulpotomy. Meaning I had to go through it all again. JoAnne said that, with all of our crowns, people should treat us like royalty. As I said last week, everyone should now start calling me “Your Immenseness.”

Yesterday, the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “Fly/flies/flied/flew/flu/flue” or something like that. I shared several stories from my business travel days, including the story of getting on an airplane, falling asleep, and waking up to find myself in a hotel room. Good thing the flight crew was staying at the same hotel I had reservations at, and was able to get me there. I must have been awake enough to have checked in to the hotel, gotten to my room, gotten undressed and into bed, but for the life of me I don’t remember any of it. This freaked out a few of you: Deborah Drucker said it sounded like an episode of The Twilight Zone. I think it’s just one of those stories we save for times like this. I’ll bet that’s why many of us got into blogging, too.

Have you managed to visit the Pinterest board for this blog? I’ve had it running for a week now. Take a look and tell me what you think of it. I’m not a visual person, as a rule, and Pinterest is a visual medium, so any advice you might have would be most appreciated.

Thanks for reading, and have a good week!




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#SOCS: Fly the Friendly Skies

From 1984 until my stroke in 2007, I spent a lot of time in airplanes, most of which actually made it out of the airport. One Sunday, I was flying from Atlanta to Chicago, and Delta (an acronym for “Doesn’t even leave the airport”) was an hour late getting the plane onto the runway, then ran into mechanical difficulty and had to taxi back. A lot of trips on Delta have to stop in Atlanta, but that was the first time a flight from Atlanta ended up stopping in Atlanta. Given a four-hour delay, I chose instead to make that trip on Airtran. Of course, my bag was still on the Delta plane, so I just went to O’Hare and picked it up when that flight got in, many hours later.

One night, I was flying back to Chicago from Omaha, and I recognized the woman sitting in the plane next to me, but didn’t remember where from. Turns out she was the bartender at the Holiday Inn I stayed at, and she told me, anytime I got stuck in Omaha, stop by the bar at the Holiday Inn and she’d take care of me (i.e. free beer… I’m a good boy). And, the next trip I took to Omaha, I was stranded, and, true to her word, I didn’t pay for beer. I left her a tip big enough to cover the beer and her good service, though.

The weirdest flight I ever took was to Rochester, New York. I had had several very long days and was exhausted, so the minute I got in my seat and buckled myself in, I fell asleep. Next thing I remember was waking up to answer a phone. It was a wakeup call from the front desk of the Radisson. I said, “Wait, where am I?” He explained that I had come in with the flight crew. Evidently, they woke me when we got to Rochester, and managed to get me off the plane, get my luggage, and get me to the hotel. I remember none of it. Somehow, I had gotten to my room, gotten my clothes off, and into bed. When I was ready to leave, I couldn’t find the key to my room. I had left it in the lock.

Dennis Miller once said that, when you’re sitting on the edge of the bed at the Courtyard in your underwear, watching TV and eating cookies from a vending machine, you know you’re living life in the fast lane. He’s right. I’m glad those days are over.

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It is, of course, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by Linda Hill. Follow this link to her blog, where she has links to the other blogs participating this week, as well as a list of the rules that most of us follow most of the time.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Survived The Dentist

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The preparations for Crown #1 are now complete, and I have a temporary crown on the tooth. And I survived.

No big deal, right? I mean, most of my molars are now crowns, so I’ve been through this a dozen times before. The big difference this time was the dentist. After going to the same dentist for over 25 years, he’s retired, and Mary and I chose a dentist that was recommended by one of Mary’s friends. Seems like a nice woman, did a good job (I assume; I’m not in pain and the temporary almost feels like one of my own teeth), and managed to preserve the tooth so she wouldn’t have to do a root canal on it (apparently, it cracked as she was grinding it down, but thinks putting the crown on it will preserve it).

It just felt strange, letting someone else crawl around in my mouth and fix my teeth. I mean, you have that kind of professional relationship with a doctor or dentist, pretty soon you establish a comfort level. Plus, my old dentist was from Chicago, he graduated from the Loyola University Dental School (which no longer exists), we went to the same church for a while (we now go to the same church as his long-time receptionist). We had a lot in common.

On the other hand, he never told us he was retiring. He and another dentist merged their practices, but we were told he’d still be there, that he planned on continuing to see patients. Things were status quo for about a year; then, one day we called to set up an appointment, and found out he was gone. No letter, phone call, nothing.

Huh.

We decided to find another dentist because the old one wouldn’t accept our insurance. I’m happy with our choice: the office is close by (and has wi-fi!), the equipment is generally up-to-date, the office staff is pleasant, as are the dental assistants and hygienists, and the dentist came highly recommended.

But, it’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes, for lack of a better way to put it. It’s going to take time to achieve the same comfort level with the new dentist. I have no doubt that I will.

Just kind of strange for now, that’s all.

Have you had the same feeling when you’ve made changes like this?




from The Sound of One Hand Typing