Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Will Hunting on Education #1LinerWeds


I was not all that impressed with the movie Good Will Hunting, but I can’t get this line out of my head.

I wrote this for last week’s One-Line Wednesday, but it was pre-empted. Just thought you’d like to know.

Linda Hill runs One-Liner Wednesday and has all the rules over at her place, as well as a list of the other participants.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: Gilbert & Sullivan


Librettist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan wrote fourteen comic operas together, the best-known being H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado. Their music is so ubiquitous that even someone who has never seen any of them (e.g. me) is familiar with the songs, and can usually tell when a song was written by them. A number of comedic actors have had parts in their productions, and their melodies have been used in commercials and have been parodied by Allan Sherman and others.

The two songs I’ve chosen are both from The Mikado and both are performed by comedians. The first is “Willow, Tit-Willow,” sung by Groucho Marx, from a performance on The Bell Telephone Hour in 1960. Groucho was reportedly so fond of Gilbert and Sullivan’s music he would inflict it on dinner guests.

The second is “I’ve Got A Little List,” sung by Eric Idle, in a performance for Thames Television in 1987. Parts One and Two of this performance are on YouTube.

Gilbert & Sullivan, your Two for Tuesday, September 29, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Lite Rawk!


I had no idea what today’s theme was until today. Dolly’s website said this was a “freebie” week, but since last week was a freebie week, I was under the impression that this wasn’t. But I guess the person who came up with the theme forgot to tell Dolly, so this is also a freebie week.

First, an apology: This is kind of a long playlist. It was the beginning of a Thursday Ten that I never finished, until this afternoon. I’ll list the songs so you can skip the ones you don’t like, or you can play the whole thing while you’re doing something else.

These are songs from my early adult days, from roughly 1976 through 1986 (in John years, 20 to 30), that, for some inexplicable reason, I like. I’ve titled the list “LITE RAWK”; these songs came from the era of “lite favorites from the 1970’s to today” radio stations. The ad for one such station in Chicago featured an early-’80’s guy with blowdried hair and a porn ‘stache who obviously listened to the station because “the ladies did” uttering the line “lite rock,” but it came out “lite rawk.”

Here’s the track listing.

  1. Baby Come Back – Player: released in 1977, this went all the way to #1 on the Hot 100 (and #10 on the Soul charts) the following year (the year Mary and I got married).
  2. I Go Crazy – Paul Davis: The first single from his 1977 album Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales, this reached #7 in 1978.
  3. How Long (Has This Been Going On)? – Ace: From their 1974 album (a little before the time, but hey) Five-A-Side, got to #3.
  4. How Much I Feel – Ambrosia: From their 1978 album Life Beyond L.A. Reached #3 that summer.
  5. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins: Reached #8 in Spring 1982.
  6. The Captain of Her Heart – Double: From their 1985 album Blue, it reached #16 on the Hot 100, the first single by a Swiss band to make the chart. I was having my teeth cleaned many years ago, and Libby, the hygienist, confessed this was her favorite song. This is for her.
  7. Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck: This video was recorded live at Chastain Park right here in Atlanta a couple of years ago. Mary and I have been to Chastain Park exactly once (to see Robert Cray in 1988) and swore the only way they could get us back into the place would be for a reunion of The Beatles, including John and George. Starbuck, incidentally, is a band from Atlanta, started by singer/keyboardist Bob Blackman and Bo Wagner, who has the oh-so-cool marimba solo in the middle of the song. The song reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1976.
  8. Reminiscing – Little River Band: Their most popular song in the US, reaching #3 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Easy Listening chart in 1978. It received the BMI Five Million-Air award for having been played over 5 million times on the radio. It was still popular in early 1979, when I was working nights, and I wouldn’t go to bed until I heard it.
  9. Sailing – Christopher Cross: Recorded in 1980 and considered the dividing line between ’70’s and ’80’s music, it was released in mid-1980 and reached #1 for one week in late August. It won Grammys for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year. MTV ruined Cross’s career when it debuted; guess the viewers didn’t want to see a portly guy singing “lite rawk.” He’s had the last laugh, though: he still plays music, and MTV doesn’t…
  10. I Just Wanna Stop – Gino Vannelli: Also released in 1980, it reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 in Gino’s native Canada. I had a friend who did a hilarious impression of Gino singing this song.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for the last Monday in September 2015. Enjoy!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Sunday, September 27, 2015

First The Week That Was of Autumn

This week’s “The Week That Was” is sponsored by the cereals of General Mills.

It took me a long time to realize that Kix, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs were all the same cereal. Trix was Kix with fruit flavors, while Cocoa Puffs were Kix with chocolate flavor. The commercials were a product of Total Television, the creators of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, and other great cartoons; Total was owned by General Mills and used the same studio in Mexico as did Jay Ward Studios, creators of Rocky & Bullwinkle. That explains why they look so similar.

The Week That Was

The temperatures are more bearable now than they were a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve had a lot of rain. Today shows signs of being pretty nice.

Monday’s Music Moves Me was a “free dance” one, and I featured the music of Tommy Emmanuel, CGP, who released a new album, It’s Never Too Late, a week ago Friday. Trust me, it’s a good one, and should be in your collection. He’s released videos of about half the songs on his YouTube channel. Give it a listen! He’s an incredible guitar player.

I also announced the winner of the latest Battle of the Bands on Monday: Jorma Kaukonen defeated Sinead O’Connor in a battle over “By The Rivers of Babylon.”

I continued my survey of songwriting teams on Two For Tuesday, featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. They wrote twelve shows together, many if not all of which are classics and favorites of several of my readers. The transition from the stage to the silver screen is practically seamless with their musicals, and indeed most musicals in general. Several of you mentioned they have a couple of R&H’s musicals on DVD. I usually just wait for them to air on TV, although I haven’t seen many since cutting the cord and no longer having Turner Classic Movies.

We lost Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame catcher and true character, on Tuesday, so One-Liner Wednesday featured one of his lines. Baseball fan or not, you probably have seen him and heard him talk on TV. As with most older ballplayers, he had a million stories, and wasn’t shy about telling them.

I combined The Thursday Ten with Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop’s prompt and delivered ten songs with “wait” in the title. There are many others, of course, but these were the first ten I thought of. I always reserve the right to reuse a topic, especially list topics, so you’ll likely see a reprise of the topic the next time I get stuck for a topic to write about.

I departed from the usual Friday Five this week to share the results of a DNA test Mary and I both did through Through the testing, I learned I’m predominantly Irish and Mary’s primarily Eastern European, i.e. nothing w didn’t already know. We’ve decided to use to do another test. I think theirs is a little more thorough than Ancestry’s, but we’ll see.

Finally, the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “-eat.” I went through all the words that end in those three letters, and discovered that the one word that doesn’t rhyme with the others is “great.” I got a few interesting comments, both here and on Facebook.

  • Jo said that English is a hodgepodge of other languages, not just Latin and Greek, but also German, Saxon, Celtic, Danish, and French, to which we can add Arabic (algebra, coffee), Hindi (pajamas or pyjamas), and a few more I can’t think of right now. She also mentioned that Americans don’t speak English, which is probably true, although it is a dialect of it. Like Spanish as spoken in Spain, South America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, it shares enough in common with the original language that we can usually understand each other.
  • Michele at Angels Bark said all of the different ways to pronounce different combinations of letters makes English the hardest to learn.
  • Manee Trautz said she took Latin because she wanted to be a doctor and she thought it would help her with all the medical terms, but it ended up helping her make friends in the Latin Club in high school. She also said English is considered the most difficult language to learn, at least among those who speak more than one language.
  • Over on Facebook, my brother Pat said an English professor told him some words were used more for commerce (e.g. great) and as a result stayed the same while other words were changing, but also said that might be a lot of hooey.
  • Bill, a colleague of mine from years ago, came up with yet another word that ends in -eat that doesn’t fit the mold: sweat. That one doesn’t rhyme with any of the others, including great.
  • Finally, Sue said that “great” does rhyme with “heat” and the others when pronounced as John Cleese did in the “Scott of the Antarctic” sketch…

Hope you’ll join me this week for more of the same fun and games!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Saturday, September 26, 2015

English Is A Great Big Pain In The Seat #socs

So, I was going through all the words I could think of that end in -eat, and I realized that there’s one word that doesn’t rhyme with any of the others: great. And I tried to think of a word that rhymed with great that ended in -eat, and I couldn’t think of one. I even checked a rhyming dictionary, and none of the words that rhyme with great end in -eat.

Heat, meat, beat, seat, peat, treat, bleat, neat, feat, cheat, cleat, pleat, and wheat all rhyme with each other, but great doesn’t. If it did, it’d sound like greet. But great and greet are two different parts of speech, and mean different things. Great sounds like grate, but again, they’re different parts of speech, and their meanings are different. Maybe the Grand Poobahs of the English language decided to spell it differently because of this.

Why didn’t they spell it greight, then? I mean, it rhymes with eight, and weight, and Haight, as in Haight-Ashbury.

While I’m at it, compleat and complete are the same word, pronounced the same and with the same meaning. Why two spellings? One looks cooler than the other? I had a friend that pronounced the former “cahm-plee-aht.” Is that how it’s supposed to be pronounced? Why would you say it that way, anyway? I mean, it’s “cum-pleet” versus “cahm-plee-aht.” One’s two syllables, the other’s three.

I’m sure someone with a background in etymology will leave a comment, explain the whole thing, and make me feel like an idiot. See, I’m supposed to know things like that, because I took three years of Latin and two of Greek in high school because my mother told me to. “It’ll help you with English!” she claimed. What did she think I had been speaking for the first fourteen years of my life? Finnish? The only people who speak Latin nowadays are either celibate or dead. And the Greek? It wasn’t like the kind of Greek they speak nowadays. Nooooo…. It was Homeric Greek. The kind the blind storyteller used to speak.

A bust of the blind storyteller himself, at the British Museum. Public domain, thanks to JW1805 at Wikipedia.


This silly rant has been brought to you by Linda Hill, who runs this little old blog hop. Visit her for the rules and the list of other participants.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gee, Tell Me Something I Didn’t Know…

First, I wanted to let everyone know that I wrote an article about Feedly over at the A to Z Challenge blog that posted today.

Recently cut the price of its DNA testing by $20, so Mary and I decided to splurge and have ours done. If you’ve seen the commercials, you hear the stories of people who did it and learned all kinds of weird and wonderful things about themselves, such as the guy who thought he was German but discovered the majority of his DNA showed his ancestors came from Ireland, so he traded in his lederhosen for a kilt.

I’ve been curious about what my DNA would show, because although I’ve heard all my life that I’m Irish, the name Holton is Welsh, and I’ve run into other Holtons that have traced the family’s history to England. For example, Fred Holton, the elderly gentlemen who drove us and a bunch of other tourists up and down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh many years ago, told me he had traced us to Hertfordshire, but was only able to go back 900 years (!), so who knows what might have transpired before then. I’ve also wondered whether I might have some Viking ancestors, because you see the name spelled slightly differently (Halton in Scandinavia, Houlton in France, Holten in Germany, etc.) all over Europe, and the Vikings did a rather thorough job of raping, pillaging, and plundering all over Europe. Plus, my Holton relatives are almost all redheads (Mom insisted that I should have been a ginger, too), as were most of the Vikings, or so I’ve been told.

So, we got our kits a few weeks ago, spit into the little containers they sent, sealed them up, and mailed them off. The other day, I got an email: my results were in. I immediately went to the site and signed in. Here’s what I saw:


Yep! Irish as Paddy’s pig!


Now, I don’t know where that 1% Polynesian comes from, although I thought it might have something to do with “Holton” meaning “man of the forest,” which is also the meaning of the word “orangutan.”

Orangutan 2
A distant relative?

However, orangutans are from Indonesia, not Polynesia.

Mary, whose grandparents were all born in Lithuania, was also curious to see her ethnicity, because her maiden name is Polish, not Lithuanian. Her results were similar: it told her she was 95% Eastern European, 5% Finnish or northwestern Russian. Her results were no more specific than that. Now, that might be a result of the ever-changing borders in the area: parts of Germany, Poland, and Lithuania were at one time Prussia, and the border between Poland and Lithuania moved back and forth a lot. Still, she learned that the Finnish and Lithuanian languages have some things in common, and all of those countries (Finland, Russia, Poland, and Lithuania) have the Baltic Sea in common, so it all figures out.

Having seen these results have made us even more curious about our roots, and we decided to have our DNA tested further using the service That was the service used by the PBS program Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, and it seemed to provide a slightly more complete analysis.

Ancestry did try to match my DNA with other members of their site, and was quite accurate on one score: it matched me with my Aunt Alice, who has been doing a fantastic job of building the family tree. I was informed that she was likely a first cousin. Close enough for DNA, I guess.

How about you? Have you had your DNA analyzed? Any surprises?

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ten Songs With “Wait” in the Title

Mama Kat’s prompt for today is:

Write a blog post inspired by the word: wait.

So I figured we could once again combine her Writer’s Workshop and The Thursday Ten. The result?

Ten songs with “wait” in the title!

wait sign

Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines, Nellie – Buddy Holly On New Year’s Eve, after the market closes, they sing this on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Kind of a neat tradition.

Waiting Game – Swing Out Sister From Kaleioscope World

Waiting in Vain – Lee Ritenour featuring Phil Perry From Wes Bound

Let’s Wait Awhile – Janet Jackson From Rhythm Nation 1814

(I’d) Wait A Million Years – The Grass Roots from 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of The Grass Roots

Time Waits For No One – The Rolling Stones From It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll

Wait – The Beatles From Rubber Soul

Waiting For The Sun – The Doors From the album of the same name

She’s Waiting – Eric Clapton From Behind The Sun

Tired Of Waiting For You – The Kinks From Who Let The World In


And there’s your Thursday Ten (and this week’s Writer’s Workshop) for September 24, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yogi Berra, 1925-2015 #1linerWeds


The baseball world lost one of its greatest catchers, and one of its more colorful characters, yesterday. Yogi Berra was as famous for his malapropisms as he was for his ability to field his position and hit. He had a tremendous career with the Yankees as a player, named the Most Valuable Player three times and an All-Star every season from 1948 to 1962. In almost 8400 plate appearances, he only struck out 414 times while posting a lifetime .285 batting average.

But it’s his ongoing battle with the English language that endeared him to all of us. I talked about him during my first A to Z Challenge in 2012. Here is a video entitled “The Wisdom of Yogi Berra.”

Godspeed, Yogi.

One-Liner Wednesday is a sponsored by Linda Hill, who has the rules and a list of participants over at her blog. Why not join us?

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#TwoForTuesday: Rodgers and Hammerstein


Lorenz Hart, who had suffered from depression, self-medicated with alcohol, and by the 1940’s he was drinking more heavily and would go missing for days at a time. His songwriting partnership with Richard Rodgers ended in 1943, though the two of them teamed up on a revival of A Connecticut Yankee late that year. Hart again went missing the night of the premiere, and was found ill with pneumonia in a hotel two days later. He was taken to the hospital, but died on November 22.

Rodgers, irritated with his erstwhile partner’s drinking and erratic behavior, teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein II in 1943 and together wrote the musical Oklahoma!. Hammerstein was already a seasoned songwriter and collaborator, having worked with Rudolf Friml (Rose-Marie), Sigmund Romberg (The Desert Song, The New Moon), and Jerome Kern (Sunny, Show Boat, Sweet Adeline, and Very Warm For May, which included the standard classic “All The Things You Are”), and he and Rodgers worked together until his death in 1960. They’re considered the greatest musical theater partnership. They wrote twelve shows together, including Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I.

Our first song today is “I Enjoy Being A Girl,” sung by Nancy Kwan, from the 1961 film version of their 1958 musical Flower Drum Song.

Second is “My Favorite Things,” from 1959’s The Sound of Music. It became jazz standard when John Coltrane covered it on his 1962 album of the same name. This is Kelly Clarkson’s cover of the song, from her 2013 Christmas album Wrapped in Red.

Wikipedia, my go-to place for information like this, has a list of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s twelve musicals. Their music is so ubiquitous, I’m sure you’re familiar with at least one of them, and maybe all of them, or at least some of the music from them. That’s your Two for Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday, September 21, 2015

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “By The Rivers Of Babylon” Results


The latest battle of the bands featured the song “By The Rivers Of Babylon,” a 1970 reggae hit for The Melodians. It’s been done a number of times by artists of many different genres, including Sinead O’Connor and Jorma Kaukonen, the contestants in this battle. Anyway, you’ve voted, and we have the results.

Jorma Kaukonen: 10
Sinead O’Connor: 4

Jorma won by a healthy margin, but I’m happy to say that it wasn’t a blowout like the last couple of Battles have been.

My brother Kip, who suggested this song (for which I thank him), said that his favorite version was a brief one by Linda Ronstadt. I think this is the one he’s thinking of.

Anyway, congratulations to Jorma and kudos to Sinead for her effort. I liked both of these artists and the way they did the song, but Jorma’s been on my radar since the early days of Hot Tuna, so he has a slight edge in my mind.

Join me again on October 1 for another Battle of the Bands!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Tommy Emmanuel


Xmas Dolly, who invited me to this little ol’ blog hop, told me this week is a freebie, and that I was welcome to post anything I like. I’m going to use this opportunity to feature the music of one of my favorite fingerstyle players, Australia’s Tommy Emmanuel, Certified Guitar Player. (“Certified Guitar Player” is an honor bestowed on him by Chet Atkins, who basically made the whole thing up.)

My introduction to Tommy’s playing was not as a fingerstyle player. About fifteen years ago, I was walking through the music department of my local Borders Books and Music (sadly, no longer in existence), and saw this CD, The Journey, by Tommy Emmanuel, who was pictured on the jewel case holding a Fender Telecaster to his chest. But, in reading the credits on the back, I saw no mention of a vocalist. I really enjoy instrumental rock, so I bought the album and brought it home. By the time I got to “Somethin’s Goin’ On,” the third track on the album, I was hooked. This guy was amazing!

Eventually I learned of his fingerstyle playing, mostly through the magic of YouTube. Here’ his version of “Classical Gas.” It segues into a couple of other songs along the way.

Tommy did a talk at TEDxMelbourne a while back, “My Life as a One-Man Band.” I won’t embed it here, but it’s worth watching the next time you about twenty minutes to kill.

Here’s Tommy’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” This was recorded live at the sommer NAMM show in 2009.

Tommy plays well with others. Here he is with another Certified Guitar Player, John Knowles, doing the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love.”

Tommy’s latest album, It’s Never Too Late, came out last Friday and is available from iTunes and Amazon. It is a remarkable album, and I recommend it highly. It’s the first time in fifteen years he’s recorded a totally solo album, and the songs are beautiful. Here’s the opening cut off the album, “Only Elliott.” It’s one of my favorites.

Last Friday, I featured a song by Tommy and Frank Vignola, “Swing 42,” a Django Reinhardt song. I won’t embed it here, but it shows that he can play as well with a flat pick as he does fingerstyle.

Tommy has a YouTube channel on which he shares a lot of his music, and there are a lot of videos on other channels of him playing, talking about playing, and sharing some of his philosophy. He also has a website where you can get his latest news, tour dates, learn about him, join his fan club, and buy gear.

I really hope you take some time and listen to this fantastic guitar player and great human being.

That’s it for Monday’s Music Moves Me for September 21, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Last The Week That Was of the Summer

“The Week That Was” is brought to you today by Post Cereals, makers of Sugar Rice Krinkles.

Pretty creepy, huh? It was either Krinkles the Clown or So-Hi and his Rickshaw Racer…

The Week That Was

A lot of music last week; I’m starting to think this is a music blog. My first-ever Monday’s Music Moves Me was all about story songs. I dredged up some of my favorite oldies, all of which were done by Southern artists. Evidently I did all right with the theme. This week’s M^4 is a free-for-all. Be ready for some great fingerstyle guitar by a Certified Guitar Player.

Two for Tuesday featured Rodgers and Hart. Many of their songs have become standards, particularly in the jazz idiom, but there are a few that have made it into the world of rock; the two tunes featured one of each. Tuesday was also the 15th, and time for a Battle of the Bands. The song, suggested by my brother Kip, is the reggae classic “By The Rivers of Babylon,” and the contestants are Sinead O’Connor and Jorma Kaukonen. If you haven’t voted, you have until midnight Eastern time (that’s 0400 UTC) to cast your ballot.

One-Liner Wednesday was a grammar lesson having to do with the word “ain’t.” English teachers will tell you that “ain’t” ain’t a word, although it’s been in the dictionary for years as one. My aunt/godmother Jill disagreed with me on Facebook about that. Many of you said that you don’t use it when writing unless the dialogue calls for it. Madilyn said she uses “ain’t” all the time (but not in writing, except for dialogue), and she has also starting “y’all,” a Southern expression I’ve fallen into the habit of using myself on occasion. A friend of mine explained that “y’all” is a collective noun, kind of like “youse” in Chicago. Elen was surprised to find out that Pat Boone, he of the white bucks and baptizing people in his swimming pool, did a version of “Ain’t That A Shame.” Pat started his career taking advantage of the fact that many radio stations in the 1950’s refused to play music by black artists by doing his own versions of them. It’s not Pat’s fault; he might have been responsible for people hearing the songs for the first time.

Of course, having opened the can of worms, The Thursday Ten featured ten of the many songs that have “ain’t” in the title. There are lots more, I just listed a few of them. Thursday is also the day for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, where I revealed that one of the many things I wanted to be when I grew up was a TV weatherman. My uncle Jack remembered driving home from work one day in the late 1960’s in a blizzard, while the weatherman on WBBM (AM 780 in Chicago) was saying there was no chance of snow. Guess he didn’t bother looking out the window. Several of you said they never watch the news anymore, complaining it’s too sensationalized, even the weather report. Having lived in Atlanta for almost 28 years, I know it’s important to keep an eye on the weather, but to spend hours glued to the TV as the on-air meteorologists talk about what time the storms are going to hit your neighborhood is going a little too far. We use a weather radio to let us know when it’s time to get into the basement. Incidentally, a weather radio is a great investment. If you don’t have one, they’re not that expensive and well worth having, especially if your area tends to be hit with severe weather.

My uncle Jack responded to last week’s Friday Five (songs with numbers in the title) by suggesting three more, and I added two of my own and we did another week of it. I’ll try to limit the number of times I do that.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday‘s prompt was “route/root,” so of course I talked about Route 66 (US Highway 66, now no longer in existence).

Coming up this week: I announce the winner of last week’s Battle of the Bands, we visit the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and all the other features you’ve come to know and love. Join me then!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Get Your Kicks… #socs


Route 66 used to be the road from Chicago to Los Angeles. I’ve posted the song that goes through the whole route, by Nat King Cole, and don’t feel the need to post it again, but you can listen to it yourself, if you want.

Route 66 is legendary. It could be because of the song, or because of the TV show that starred Martin Milner and George Maharis (and Glenn Corbett in the final season). I think it’s neither. I think it’s because it was a drive through the desert Southwest, nothing but a ribbon of highway with the occasional restaurant, hotel, or service station along the way.

Route 66 was about freedom, about being in your car driving on a road through miles and miles of nothing. It passed through towns, certainly, but mostly it went through nothing. It was also about hope, about going somewhere and making your dreams come true. I wonder how many budding actors and actresses drove to Hollywood on it, or how many people, tired of being where they were, got on it to go somewhere else, to set up a new life for themselves.

The Interstate system of highways spelled the end of Route 66. The Interstates were faster, wider, better maintained, and had amenities like plazas where you can have a meal and fill up your tank. Eat and get gas, as my brothers and I used to say. Route 66 is now a series of Interstate highways that either run alongside or close to the original highway. There is no official US Route 66 anymore.

And yet, it continues to run through the hearts and minds of people. Why is that? Nostalgia for a simpler time, perhaps. A desire to recapture the feeling of being free, on the road to one end or the other. Like Ithaca in Constantine Cavafy’s poem; the joy is in the getting there.


Linda Hill runs Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and you can find the rules and the pingbacks of all of the other entrants at her blog. This week’s prompt was “route/root.”

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five More Number Songs


After last week’s Friday Five of songs with numbers in the title, my Uncle Jack suggested a couple (three, to be exact) more, and those are the first three here. The last two are examples of Django Reinhardt’s annual “Swing” tunes.

Three Coins in the Fountain – The Four Aces

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

76 Trombones – The cast of The Music Man

Swing 39 – Quintette of the Hot Club of France Featuring Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grappelli on violin

Swing 42 – Tommy Emmanuel and Frank Vignola A Django Reinhardt tune. Tommy Emmanuel’s new album, It’s Never Too Late, comes out today; it’s available on iTunes for download.

There are plenty more songs with numbers in them, I know, but I think I’ll put this topic to rest for a while. I might try it again next year (only three months off). For now, that’s your Friday Five for September 18, 2015.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Here’s The Forecast…

So, one of the prompts for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop was, “Something you wanted to be when you grew up.


Yes, a weatherman. Not a meteorologist, because that meant having to know physics and stuff. No, a weatherman on TV. Like PJ Hoff or Harry Volkman (who passed away recently). Here’s what real meteorologists look like on TV. (I’ve shared this before, I’m sure.)

I loved that show, by the way.

Until about thirty years ago, weather was five minutes during the newscast, usually limited to a weatherman using a simple map to explain what had been here and what was coming, followed by the forecast for the next 24 hours. If there was bad weather in the area, you might get a “special report” where the station would break away for a minute so the weatherman on duty could tell you where the severe weather was and where it was going. Or it might just be a crawl at the bottom of the screen. There wasn’t the equipment they have today, nor the weather people with the knowledge and sophistication to understand what was happening and who could tell you not only that a storm as coming, but when you could expect it to arrive. Now, if there’s bad weather, the meteorologists take over the show and pre-empt everything until the storm is past.

And if things get really bad, this is what you can expect.

I talk about weathermen, but there were lots of women who did the job, too. Like Marcia Yockey, for years Evansville, Indiana’s favorite weather forecaster. I saw Marcia do the weather once, when I was in southern Indiana visiting a client. She was a real trip.

Now there are whole cable TV channels dedicated to reporting the weather. In the US, we have The Weather Channel, started by another former Chicago weatherman, John Coleman. The station has changed a lot, particularly after being bought by Comcast, who owns TV network NBC. NBC decided to change the focus of The Weather Channel, and soon you could see anything on there except the weather. Naturally, people have found alternatives to the channel, so they recently announced they’re going to change their focus back to the weather.

I don’t think I’d want to be a weatherman today. I don’t even watch the weather on TV anymore; I can check Wunderground or Accuweather on my iPhone, and when the weather turns severe, I go to Twitter to get the latest. People all over town post updates as the storm progresses. For some reason, I trust that just a little more than what I get on TV.

But I still miss the days of the old weathermen.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing