Monday, August 31, 2015

What Do We Do About Student Debt?

The whole issue of massive amounts of student loan debt is in the news (election season, don’t you know). Most recently I saw an article about a young woman offering her Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in Theater from Florida State University for sale on eBay. Price: $50,000.

The young woman in question graduated in 2011 with $40,000 in student loan debt. She now lives in Los Angeles and is a personal assistant, not what she was trained for, but it pays the bills, barely. She says:

I’m doing the exact same things and probably getting paid the exact same amount as people that dropped out halfway through freshman year, except I’m still $40,000 in debt and they’re, well, not.

Of course, I saw this on Facebook, and of course there were lots of people expressing the opinion that she was an idiot for getting her degree in Theater. I was a little kinder. Here’s what I said:

She probably got her degree in theater because she had to get it in something and had to declare a major by the end of sophomore year, when she was twenty and had no idea what to major in. It’s a crappy major, sure, but let’s face it, 95% of majors at any university aren’t worth four years of a young person’s life and years of living with Mom and Dad while trying to pay of thousands of dollars of debt spent getting a diploma that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. If she had actually wanted to work in theater (which I question), she could have started by applying for jobs in theaters and getting to know the people and jobs from the inside, and spend the four years she would have spent in Jacksonville actually working in theater. She’s young, and if she decided the theater wasn’t for her, she could have examined other options, including going to school. We’ve brainwashed kids into believing they must go to college immediately after high school without taking time to find out what they want to go to school for. And listen, the meme about college graduates making lots more money is demonstrably false, especially in this day and age where it seems that every kid getting out of college can’t get a job. Parents, college counselors, and university marketing departments need to stop telling kids that.

Years ago, people were all up in arms over advertisements on kids’ TV shows, how they had a captive audience and were basically brainwashing kids to tell their parents that they wanted all these sugary snacks and toys, and pressured the broadcasters and sponsors of those shows to stop marketing to kids and be more responsible to the actual needs of children. Today, we see the kids being subjected to the same treatment when it comes to going to college, by the same people who complained about the TV shows. That doesn’t seem right.

What do you think needs to happen? I have my ideas, but I’d like to hear yours first.




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Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Week That Was, Last One In August

This week brought to you by Hertz Rent-A-Car. Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat!

All righty then! A lot to talk about today. We had a lot of rain about an hour ago, but now the sun is making an appearance from behind the clouds, and it’s turning into a nice day. Julio Teheran is pitching at home for the Braves; that gives them a chance to beat the Yankees, but we’ll see. One good piece of news: the White Sox are flirting with .500!

The Week That Was

Monday I took issue with the List Challenges website, which made a list of the 100 worst records of all time. It was a list originally written for AOL, so that might explain it. Still, most of the songs the author chose were actually good, at least as far as I was concerned. I listened to a couple of the ones I wasn’t familiar with, and they were at least decent (Britney Spears actually did a darn good job covering Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock & Roll”). Susan Gourley said “I always figure those lists are just opinions,” and she’s right, of course.

I also shared a video of an old Kellogg’s Rice Krispies commercial, where Snap, Crackle, and Pop did a song that many of you remembered. The commercial was from the early 1960’s, and we all know that means it’s been in my mind for over fifty years. I can also remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, only because I have it almost every morning (oatmeal). A couple of you remembered it, and Guilie Castillo was surprised to learn The Rolling Stones had also done music for another Rice Krispies commercial. The person who posted it included that tidbit in his summary. Jeffrey Scott mentioned that he’s been doing a lot of old commercial watching for an upcoming project, so keep an eye on his blog to see what he does with it. Nadine said she didn’t recognize it at first, but the more she listened, the more she did.

Two for Tuesday featured the music of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who wrote a significant amount of music for The Monkees (the first band on Two for Tuesday, almost three years ago). They also wrote the song “Come A Little Bit Closer” for Jay and the Amercians, and Lauralynn said she always imagined Marty Robbins singing it. Considering it’s a similar song to “El Paso,” a hit for Marty, it’s not that far-fetched. Arlee said he still has a copy of Boyce & Hart’s 1969 album, It’s All Happening on the Inside, and says they have some interesting covers on it as well as some originals. They were better than average performers, and when Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork balked at the idea of a Monkees reunion in the mid-1970’s, Boyce and Hart filled in for them.

For One-Liner Wednesday, I shared something my brother said on Facebook, about how the cellphone destroyed Seinfeld. Several of you mentioned that you didn’t like the show, and I agree, the characters were awful. And, since it was One-Liner Wednesday, I included a video clip from the King of the One-Liners, Henny Youngman.

The Thursday Ten was based on the previous week’s Friday Five, where I listed five shows with numbers in the title and asked you to suggest other shows that fit the theme. You came up with seven, so I added three and voila!, instant Thursday Ten!

Also on Thursday, prompted by Mama Kat in her weekly Writer’s Workshop, I shared a little about the picture I use on all my social media accounts. A couple of you remarked that you like the picture, for which I thank you.

The Friday Five was five songs with “green” in the title. Arlee was relieved to know that it wasn’t five “green” songs, i.e. about ecology. Lauralynn said she didn’t realize there was another version of Fleetwood Mac, the one that did “The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Prong Crown)” and the band as it exists today. Their first three albums (four counting the US release English Rose) all featured Peter Green and were predominantly blues-oriented. The band had changed drastically around the time the album Mystery To Me came out in 1973. My Uncle Jack mentioned the song “Green Eyes,” by Helen O’Connell, saying I’d have to be his age to have heard it. It was in fact a song I knew. Here’s the Helen O’Connell version….

I remembered the Allan Sherman parody, from his 1964 Allan in Wonderland album, “Green Stamps.”

I learned about a lot of music from hearing Allan Sherman’s parodies and looking up the original later.

Yesterday for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, the prompt was “four-letter word.” After throwing out the obvious ones, I came up with “sing,” and talked about my love-hate relationship with my voice. It was a hard entry to write. That’s all I’ll say about it.

This coming week we’ll have another Battle of the Bands on Tuesday, which I think you’ll like, and all the usual favorites, including a special Friday Five for Labor Day weekend. See you then!




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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sing, Sing A Song #socs


Don’t ask what it is, I don’t know…

People always tell me I have a good voice and that I should sing. I don’t think so.

OK, I have done some blues growling in the past, and I was all right. But I’m no Luciano Pavarotti; I’m more like his tone-deaf brother Giuseppe, at least as far as singing is concerned. And, as I think I mentioned here on the blog somewhere, I really hate to perform. I didn’t like being forced to perform at home, and would do everything I could to bluff my way through it. My family all thought it was hilarious, and I guess maybe it was, if you weren’t the one sitting there with the guitar.

I was fine, and am fine, with singing when there’s no one around, or when no one’s paying attention. At church on Saturday night (I’m Catholic, and Mass after about 4 counts for Sunday), for example, I’m fine, because everyone else is doing it, and all the good singers are sitting in the choir, and they have microphones, so they’re loud and I can just fade into the background. And, see, I’m not singing for everyone else; I’m singing for God, and He stuck me with this lousy voice, so He has it coming to Him. When I was in Music Ministry (and that’s a whole ‘nother story that I’d rather not get into), I was there to play the guitar, not to sing.

It’s a shame, because I think my guitar playing suffered from me not wanting to sing, as well as my value as a player. No one ever wanted to sing when I’d get together with other musicians, and I would have been really valuable as a singer and guitarist.

There are a lot of things like that. Singing, drawing, writing… I was always sensitive to criticism, of being told I was doing it wrong, and it was easier not to do it than to do it and open myself up to criticism and, well, ridicule.

You know how it is, though… I can see these things now, and I realize I needed to develop more of a “screw you” attitude (I was going to use the stronger four-letter version of that, but thought better of it). In everything. I’m sure it would have been frowned on by the Powers That Were, and I might have ended up with my teeth knocked out. But I would have had a lot more fun.


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This was this week’s entry into Linda Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Her blog has a list of the rules and the people that participated this week, so hop on over there and support some of the others.

You know, this all reminds me of Virginia O’Brien. The first time she got up to sing in front of a crowd, she was so terrified that she stood there, stone-faced, and sang the song, then ran off the stage and all the way home. The audience thought it was an act, and she was hilarious, and she ended up becoming a star in the movies and on TV when a producer who was in the audience called and asked her to do that again. I know I’ve shared this video before, but here she is, in the Marx Brothers’ comedy The Big Store.




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Friday, August 28, 2015

Five “Green” Songs

FridayFive

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time (thank you!) you probably noticed two things: I do a lot of music, and I don’t do lists very well. I’m getting better, though, and I think I’ve landed on a good way to come up with themes. And of course, music plays a big part of them…

Today’s Friday Five:

Songs With “Green” In The Title

This started as “Songs With ‘Blue’ In The Title,” but I came up with way more than five. So, “green” it is.

Green Eyed Lady – Sugarloaf: A particular favorite, both to listen to and to play.

Green Tambourine – The Lemon Pipers: From the Groovy ’60’s, baby, by one-hit wonders The Lemon Pipers.

The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Prong Crown) – Fleetwood Mac This is almost green squared, as this was from FM’s Peter Green era. If you know or find out what a “manalishi” is, let me know in the comments. DuckDuckGo kept leading me back to this song.

Green Onions – Booker T and the MG’s: A great instrumental by a band noted for great instrumentals. If you remember American Graffiti, you might remember this played before the drag race. And if it didn’t, it should have.

Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival: From their third album of the same name, back in the days when John Fogerty wasn’t running around suing everyone.

And there’s your Friday Five for August 28, 2015. Do you have any favorite green songs?




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Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Profile Picture

Mama Kat has this as one of the prompts for this week.

Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.

I’ve been using this as my profile picture for everything, including the blog (you can see it if you scroll to the bottom of the page).

FullSizeRender

We were at Starbucks on my birthday and sitting outside (weather here in late March is good enough to do that). Mary, who never uses the camera on her iPad, decided that it was time she did, took the picture and sent it to me. And I liked it, and decided to use it on all my profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress, Blogger, and I probably need to put it a couple of other places as well.

I like this picture because I think it’s the best portrayal of the person I am right now. I had been growing the beard for a few weeks, because I got to where I didn’t feel like shaving anymore. And I think it turned out pretty well. (I do trim it since Mary told me I was looking too much like Hägar the Horrible. I told her it could be worse: I could look like Lee Sklar or William Lee Golden. Or Billy Gibbons, for that matter.) I guess I’ve earned the right to no longer care that I’m getting older, and being on Disability, I can go for comfort and no longer have to “dress for success.” Not that I ever really cared about that.

So, that’s the story behind my profile picture.




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TV By The Numbers!

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Last week’s Friday Five presented five shows with numbers in the title, and I asked for some other examples. And I got almost enough suggestions for a Thursday Ten. So, I added three more and we have our Thursday Ten: TV shows with numbers in the title!

24. My Uncle Jack says “I was a big “24” fan with Kiefer Sutherland. Never missed an episode.” I have to admit, I never watched the show, but I know it had a dedicated following, and there was a lot of excitement when the ninth season, subtitled “Live Another Day,” came out. Here is a montage of scenes assembled by Cal_290.

Third Rock From The Sun. Both Halfmoon Mollie and Madilyn Quinn mentioned this one. We saw most of it when it was in syndication, and it was a riot watching them try to bluff their way through human situations. Kirsten Johnston, playing a character who’s male in extraterrestrial life, was especially funny. Here’s a trailer from the DVD’s of Season One.

Two Broke Girls. Halfmoon Mollie suggested this. I watch this, but don’t listen to it; Mike & Molly is on after it on Monday nights, and since there’s nothing else on, we put on CBS and turn off the sound. Looks pretty funny, but not really our style. This is kind of a sweet clip from the show.

Room 222. Michele from Angels Bark suggested this. I think this is one of the first TV shows to show a lot of racial diversity; all I remember is that it was a pretty good show, and starred some outstanding actors. Here’s the open.

Three’s Company. Elen Grey suggested this one. One of the infamous “jiggle TV” shows from the late ’70’s and early to mid-’80’s, it starred John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Richard Klein, Norman Fell, and Audra Lindley in its early days. Suzanne Somers left before the 1981 season, and was replaced by Priscilla Barnes and Jennilee Harrison, and when Fell and Lindley’s characters were spun off into their own show (The Ropers), Don Knotts took over as the landlord. This clip was recorded by someone holding a video camera to the screen, so I apologize for the sound quality. It features Leon Askin (from Hogan’s Heroes) and is typical of the comedy on the show.

Reno 911! Madilyn Quinn also suggested this. Not a show I watched, though it did look like it might be funny. Here’s a short clip.

One Step Beyond. Arlee Bird suggested this one. Very similar to The Twilight Zone, with the same sort of paranormal suspense. It ran from 1959 to 1961, and was hosted by John Newland. WGN in Chicago had the rights to it, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Science Fiction Theater during the 1960’s and showed them practically every night. Here is a full episode, “Encounter,” episode 29 of season 2, which originally aired April 12, 1960. There are many episodes from the series on YouTube.

Hawaii Five-O. I’m kind of surprised this wasn’t the first show with a number in the title I thought of. It had one of the best theme songs in TV history. Here it is.

227. This show starred Marla Gibbs from The Jeffersons, Hal Williams, and Jackée Harry. It ran for five seasons and was the story of the residents of 227 Lexington Place, Washington, DC. Here’s the show’s open, that shows the rest of the cast. They were superb.

VR.5. I’ve never been much of a fan of science fiction, but for some reason Mary and I watched this show every week for the ten weeks it aired on Fox in 1995. There were thirteen episodes in all. It’s hard to explain (it was twenty years and one stroke ago), so check out the writeups on IMDb and Wikipedia. The show starred Lori Singer, Michael Easton, Will Patton, and Anthony Head, and featured performances by Louise Lasser, Tracey Needham, and David McCallum. Here’s the show’s open.

And that’s your Thursday Ten for August 27, 2015.




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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ONE-LINER WEDNESDAY: My Brother’s Observation (#1linerWeds #1_erWed #lindas1lineWed #lindas1linerWed)

“What’s with all the hashtags, John?” you might ask. Well, remember a couple of weeks ago, when I said we had the approval of the owner to use #1lineWed for this? Evidently, it was causing too much confusion, and we were told to find a new one. Linda, who is running the poll to decide the new hashtag, hasn’t decided what it will be. My suggestion was the first, and as of this writing (3:30 PM yesterday) it’s in the lead by a comfortable margin. Rather than presume it’s the winner, I’ve used all four of the contestants, just to be on the safe side. Linda might not have closed voting yet, so if you have a preference, pop over there and make your voice heard.

Here’s this week’s one-liner, courtesy of my brother Kip:

The-invention-that

Seinfeld was never my favorite show, so I have to take his word for it.

This week’s one-liner is technically three lines, but I’m using it anyway, because it maintains the spirit of a one-liner. Henny Youngman was the King of the One-Liners, and most of his ran to several sentences. (An example: A guy walks into a doctor’s office. He says, “Doc, my love life is terrible.” The doctor says “lose twenty pounds and run ten miles every day.” Two weeks later the guy calls the doctor. The doctor says, “how’s your love life?” Guy says, “I dunno, I’m 140 miles from home.”) For those of you unfamiliar with Henny Youngman, here’s a short sample…

Submitted for your enjoyment, that is my entry into One-Liner Wednesday.




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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart

SongwritingTeamsGraphic

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart are mostly associated with The Monkees, for whom they wrote many of their hits (“Last Train To Clarksville,” “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone,” and others). They also wrote songs for Paul Revere and the Raiders, Fats Domino, and Jay and the Americans, and were themselves a recording act. In the mid-1970’s they joined Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones and performed as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. In all, they wrote over 300 songs and sold 42 million records as a partnership, according to The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.

Today’s first song is “Come a Little Bit Closer,” which was a hit for Jay and the Americans in 1964. It reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box survey that year. This is a “live” performance on what I believe is Where The Action Is!

The second is their hit from 1968, “I wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” It reached #7 on the Hot 100 that year.

Tommy Boyce lived in the UK for a while, then moved to Nashville, where he battled depression and suffered a brain aneurysm, from which he never fully recovered. He committed suicide in 1994. Bobby Hart is still around; the website for his autobiography, Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce &U Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, is here. You might also enoy this article on the Forgotten Hits website, “The Music of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.” I have not been successful in locating a page that lists all of the songs they wrote and for whom, but I’m still looking.

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, your Two for Tuesday, August 25, 2015.




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Monday, August 24, 2015

Liked on YouTube: Rice Krispies Breakfast Cereal retro commercial – Snap, Crackle, and Pop


Rice Krispies (known as Rice Bubbles in Australia and New Zealand) is a breakfast cereal that was created by Clayton Rindlisbacher for the Kellogg company, and later marketed by Kellogg’s in 1927 and released to the public in 1928. Rice Krispies are made of crisped rice (rice and sugar paste that is formed into rice shapes or “berries”, cooked, dried and toasted), and expand forming very thin and hollowed out walls that are crunchy and crisp. When the cereal is subjected to a change in heat, the walls tend to collapse, creating the famous “Snap, crackle and pop” sounds.

Rice Krispies cereal is widely known and popular with a long advertising history, with the elfin cartoon characters Snap, Crackle, and Pop touting the brand. In 1963, The Rolling Stones recorded a short song for a Rice Krispies television advertisement.

CHANGE BEFORE GOING PRODUCTIONS:
http://www.cbgp.com
http://www.facebook.com/changebeforegoingproductions
http://www.twitter.com/cbgproductions
http://www.gplus.to/changebeforegoing

More classic television episodes, movies, music performances, & commercials added regularly to the channel. We hope you enjoy these shows, films, and other videos from TV history.




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Who comes up with these?

I’m not much of a fan of Facebook, but I admit that it can be a good source of material for the blog, and when I’m stuck for something to write about, I’ll go out there and see if anything might be of interest to you. Sometimes, I’m introduced to new-to-me websites. Today I learned about List Challenges, a site that curates long lists from other sites and surveys their readers to see how many people are familiar with something, have had certain experiences, read certain books, have certain albums, traveled to certain places, etc. At the end, they give you a “score” that you can post to Facebook, Twitter, or whatever your social media drug happens to be.

Today, they featured a list of the “100 Worst Songs Ever.” The challenge was to indicate which of the songs you’ve heard, and that would determine your “score.” Being kind of a music fan (i.e. I write about it a couple of times here on the blog), I said, OK, bring it on, and worked my way through it. By the time I had finished the list, I was convinced that the person who assembled it was suffering from rectal-cranial inversion or had merely gone through a list of songs recorded from 1951 on and picked them at random. Researching further, I learned that this list was written for the AOL Radio Blog almost five years ago, and it doesn’t appear that the author still writes for them. Whether that was because of this list is still a mystery.

I couldn’t disagree with some of the songs on the list. I think songs like “Feelings,” “Seasons in the Sun,” and “You’re Havin’ My Baby” are EBS Specials. But others? I really wonder what the author was thinking.

I guess it all boils down to this:

De-gustibus-non-est

But honestly, I think some people’s taste is all in their mouths.

I “scored” 31 out of 100, and as I look at the list, I missed a couple, and I’ve probably heard some of the others and never knew the names. About 10% (3) are songs where I agree with the author of the post.

If you have the inclination, take the test yourself and leave your score in the comments. Are these, indeed, the worst songs of all time? Or is the author out of his mind? I’d be interested to know what you think.




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Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Week That Was, August 23, 2015

Today’s “The Week That Was” sponsored by Mattel. You can tell it’s Mattel, it’s swell!

The Week That Was

It was a good week here at the blog. I want to thank everyone for their comments on The Friday Five and on yesterday’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post. I’m sure real psychologists would see my comparison of the brain and the mind to hardware and software and laugh themselves silly, but I thought it was good, and apparently so did a lot of you. Thank you for that. And I think you’ve given me most of a Thursday Ten of TV shows with numbers in the title. Again, thank you.

On my Battle of the Bands, Elvis beat Big Mama Thornton by a 2-1 margin, and that was with my vote for Willie Mae. I like them both, but had never heard Big Mama’s original, which it turns out I liked a little better. I wonder if Elvis and his posse chose to do “Hound Dog” after hearing Big Mama’s version?

I chose to do a writing prompt from Mama Kat on Thursday rather than a Thursday Ten, and took you on a ramble through the Rogers Park of my youth. Talking about movie theaters, Madam Dreamweaver said the Indiana Theater in Indianapolis is another “movie palace” that has been refurbished, and there’s another in Pensacola that now hosts live shows. My friends in Ann Arbor told me about the State Theater, an Art Deco palace that’s scheduled to reopen next year or the year after. Mary and I saw Roy Orbison and Johnny Rivers at the Chicago Theater before we moved to Atlanta, so there are quite a few of the old movie palaces left. It’s strange going to one of the old theaters now that the multiplexes are the name of the game. Elen told me she grew up in Evanston. Little coincidences (synchronicities?) like that make the world go round.

We were hit with some sad news this week: Yvonne Craig, TV’s Batgirl and Elvis’s girlfriend in a couple of movies, died of breast cancer on Wednesday. She had a full resume that included time with Denham’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and numerous movie and TV appearances. She even did some voiceover work on the cartoon Olivia, which I see is on the schedule on both our local PBS stations; check your local listings. Ms. Craig’s family passed a beautiful message from her, reminding us she loved meeting and talking with her fans, and telling us to celebrate her life and not waste time mourning her. Last night, MeTV showed two Batman episodes that featured her as well as the episode of Star Trek (“Whom Gods Destroy”) where she played Marta, a gorgeous woman with green skin. A great way to celebrate a fine and busy actress.

Also this week, Melody Patterson, who played Calamity Jane on F Troop, passed away at 66. She was just fifteen when she got the part, and they had filmed a few episodes before they found out.

My One-Liner Wednesday was a message I received from WordPress congratulating me for having received 1337 “like”s. I had no idea why until Linda Hill, who runs One-Liner Wednesday as well as Stream of Consciousness Saturday, told me about “leet.” “Leet” is a shortened form of “elite,” and it’s a way of using numbers and other special characters instead of A through Z. For example, my last name would be |-|0170|\|. In this case, WordPress was congratulating for being “elite,” or “leet,” 1337 in their orthography. Thanks for explaining that, Linda.

Two for Tuesday featured the music of Holland-Dozier-Holland, one of Motown’s greatest songwriting teams. They probably wrote some of your favorites.

Monday, I had no idea what to write about, so I went on a ramble. I talked about possibly getting a free copy of Windows 10 anyway, since Microsoft munged my machine with the upgrade (and their answer was “no, you can’t,” and my response to that was, literally, “see you in the funny papers”). I also gave a big thumbs up to Solitude for Windows, which I run both on Mac and Linux using a program called wine, and expressed my displeasure with the phrase, “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood” and proposed several alternates. Lauralynn uses the George Eliot quote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” as a signature to her emails; Joanne said she likes all the quotes, including the original. Which is cool with me.

Right now, they’re playing this at Starbucks. I love this song.

I wasn’t happy with the Unity desktop delivered with Ubuntu, so I installed several others, including Linux Mint‘s Cinnamon. It looks like the desktop from Windows 7. I like it.

So, this week, all the usual stuff. Hope to see you here!

Be-yourself-You-already
They-always-tell-you-to



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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Brain and the Mind #socs

The prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday is mind.

images.duckduckgo.com

Regular readers of the blog will know that one of my interests is memetics. Some people think it’s generally BS, but I think it goes a long way to explaining why people are the way they are. I’ve wanted to write about memetics, but had a hard time explaining it, but the prompt got me thinking about this analogy (remember these from the SAT?):

meme:mind::gene:brain

The brain is the physical structure that sits in your head and gives the orders that keep you breathing and tell you when it’s time to eat and go to the bathroom. The properties of the brain are determined primarily by genetics, those strands of DNA that determine everything else about you (your gender, color of hair, skin, and eyes, build, etc.). (I’m not a geneticist, nor was I especially good at biology, and haven’t a clue about physiology or anatomy, so I’m sure that isn’t a good explanation. Work with me, OK?)

The mind, on the other hand, is the logical structure that uses the brain to process thoughts, ideas, opinions, baseball scores, and so on. The brain does the physical stuff (fires the synapses and sends the signals to the rest of the body), the mind does the logical stuff (processes the events and burns them into the mind, forms its own opinions and reactions based on what it already knows, blah blah blah). The mind is determined by the memes that are given to it, such as “step on a crack, break your mother’s back,” “if you lie, you’ll go to hell and burn in the unquenchable flames for eternity,” and “the Cubs will never win another World Series.”

To put it another way, it’s like a computer: the brain is the hardware, the mind the software. The brain has its structure and ability to store and process information, while the mind tells the brain how to deal with the information, which information to store, which to reject (and to what degree, i.e. whether to laugh it off or beat someone to within an inch of their life). Just as the engineers who design and build the computer decide on the hardware and the programmers determine the software, the genes build the brain while the memes determine what goes in and how it’s processed.

There will be a test next week. Be sure to study.


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If you’d like to see more examples of Stream of Consciousness writing, or think you might like to do some on your blog, follow this link to Linda Hill’s blog, where she has all the information.




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Friday, August 21, 2015

A TV-Based Friday Five

FridayFive

This week’s Friday Five sponsored by Kellogg’s: The best to you each morning…

This week’s Friday Five:

TV Shows With Numbers in the Title

77 Sunset Strip

Surfside 6

Route 66

Adam-12

Car 54, Where Are You?

I know there are lots of other shows, but these are the five I wanted to share.

What’s your favorite TV show with a number in the title?




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BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hound Dog” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

So, in my last Battle of the Bands, I chose Lieber and Stoller’s “Hound Dog” as the song and two artists, Big Mama Thornton and Elvis Presley, who had #1 hits with it. Big Mama’s version topped the R&B chart in 1953, Elvis topped the Pop chart in 1956.

No surprise on the final tally:

Elvis Presley: 11
Big Mama Thornton: 6

The vote tally includes my vote, for Big Mama Thornton. I had never heard her version of the song before my Lieber & Stoller post, and as great as Elvis’s version is, I thought hers was more fun to listen to.

Anyway, congratulations to Elvis, and I’m sure both these artists will be contestants in a future battle.

The next battle is Tuesday, September 1, and it will mark one year since I started doing Battle of the Bands. Be sure to join me then.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Remembering the Old Neighborhood

Tomorrow, a Friday Five. Today, a prompt from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop:

Your childhood neighborhood.

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Rogers Park (Public Domain)

My childhood neighborhood, from when I was born until I moved after freshman year of high school (minus a year or so when we lived in Indianapolis) was Rogers Park, the furthest-north neighborhood in Chicago. No kidding: walk all the way north on Sheridan Road, eventually you’re in Evanston. On the map, I lived in the section marked “Loyola” on the map, for Loyola University, down in the lower right-hand corner. I went to church at St. Ignatius Church and to school at St. Ignatius School, so yes, the Jesuits were a big influence.

It was a nice neighborhood, really, almost a suburb, with lots of “two-flats,” two-story apartment buildings containing two apartments. Some of the buildings were three stories, some were one building with two addresses, one for the left side, one for the right, and some buildings were huge courtyard buildings with five entrances, each of which had two addresses, so it was like five buildings arranged in a U, except they were all the same building.

There were parks in the neighborhood, mostly along the lake. Beaches, actually, with playgrounds. My grandparents had an apartment on Loyola Avenue, right near the university. They had the greatest back yard. Walk out their back door, you were practically in a playground. Their apartment was huge, but then, there were nine people living there at one time.

Our apartment was a block from church, on Glenwood Avenue. There were lots of kids on the block, but if you walked down the street, you didn’t see us. We were all in the alley between Glenwood and Wayne, a block over. The only vehicles that drove down the alley were garbage trucks. Most of the time, we were out there playing. We never usually used to go to the front door to see one of our friends; we’d walk down the alley and yell their names, and they’d come out, or we’d go to the back door, which during the spring, summer, and part of fall was open with a screen door separating their apartment from the world.

No kidding, we’d play softball in the alley. Usually one of the corner bases was a pile of dog-doo, but we didn’t have to step in it.

Devon Avenue was the big shopping district. There were two funeral homes, one Jewish and one Catholic, both of which had big parking lots that we weren’t supposed to play in, so naturally we were always playing in them, at least until they threw us out.

Sheridan Road was the other big street. The Granada Theater was there. When “A Hard Day’s Night” came to the Granada, the lines stretched halfway down the block. It’s my favorite movie of all time, but I didn’t see it at the Granada. I kind of wish I had now. The Granada wasn’t so much a movie theater as a movie palace. Shame they closed it and just let the place rot until they tore it down for senior housing. Not that a place like that could survive in today’s world of theaters with twelve screens. But it was beautiful.

I used to have to go to bed at nine, even during the summer. We didn’t have air conditioning except for the living room, and Mom wouldn’t run it at night, so we’d sleep with the windows open. My room faced north, and I could see the bell tower at St. Ignatius and hear the Angelus bell ring. It rang four times a day, at 7 AM, noon, 6 PM, and 9 PM. I’d be in bed at nine, usually with the radio on low, pretending to be asleep, and always up at seven the next morning.

I remember so much about it, just little glimpses of life, like walking to Morse Avenue after Benediction on Friday and getting the WLS and WCFL surveys, listening to White Sox games at night during the summer and Loyola basketball games during the winter, all the little stores on Loyola Avenue, the “L” station, swimming in the lake and trying to avoid the dead alewives that would occasionally float by, running to school after sitting around until the last minute watching “The King And Odie” or just one more corny skit on “Bozo’s Circus,” seeing the seedier side of the neighborhood when I was a paperboy, walking to the library on Clark Street…




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RIP Yvonne Craig

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Yvonne Craig as Batgirl (source: MeTV.com)

It was all over Facebook this morning: Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl on the Batman TV show as well as starring alongside Elvis in It Happened At The World’s Fair and Kissin’ Cousins, lost her battle with breast cancer this morning. She was 78.

She was added to the cast of Batman in the 1967-68 season. I was eleven going on twelve, and remember feeling uncomfortable the first time I saw her as Batgirl. Johnny was growing up… I thought she was gorgeous, and soon was seeing her everywhere, in reruns of old TV shows, on talk shows, and in the movies featured on the “3:30 Movie.” She was a busy actress in her early days, and though she didn’t show up as much after her Batgirl days, she stayed pretty busy.

Her family made a statement this morning, which included this paragraph:

Having spent time with her over these past months, she made her wishes known to me and made me promise I would pass them along. Wish Number One, is that her family, friends and fans would know how much she loved them and always treasured her time with them. Wish Number Two, was that no one waste a moment of their time in mourning for her loss in sadness but instead celebrate the awesome life she had been fortunate enough to live. She felt that she lived a wonderful life and was blessed in many ways.

I think that’s the best way to remember anyone: celebrate their life, not mourn their death. Farewell, Yvonne, and thank you for all the memories.

MeTV will be showing a couple of Batman episodes this Saturday night; I don’t know if they’ll pre-empt their “Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night” or just show the episodes during Batman‘s regular time (7-8 PM Eastern). I’m sure I’ll be watching.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing