Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Let’s Dance!

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Once again, I go into the week thinking it’s a freebie… but no mind; I hadn’t put anything together until this morning.

Our latest theme today is “dance,” so here’s my overachieving playlist for today…

  1. Let’s Dance – David Bowie: A good one to start the set with, I think.
  2. Do The Freddie – Freddie and the Dreamers: No wonder he’s so thin…
  3. Wilbury Twist – The Traveling Wilburys: Off The Wilburys’ second album, appropriately named Volume 3.
  4. Limbo Rock – Chubby Checker: Was going to put in a couple of his other ones, then this popped up, and I went, yeah…
  5. Macarena – Los Del Rio: Got really popular a few years ago. I wonder if it was the song, the dance, or the video.
  6. Do The Strand – Roxy Music: I’ve been in a Roxy Music mood ever since last week’s Two for Tuesday. Notice they don’t tell you how to do the Strand.
  7. The Hokey Pokey – Ray Anthony with Jo Ann Greer, vocal: They’ve played this at every wedding I’ve been to, including my own. It was this or the Bunny Hop.
  8. The Batusi – Batman: Two occasions where Adam West danced as Batman: one from the first-ever episode (where he fought Frank Gorshin ans The Riddler, with Jill St. John as his moll), and in one of the many King Tut episodes, where Batman pretends to be under some sort of spell, then starts beating on Tut’s henchmen. My brother Kip likes Victor Buono as Tut, so there you go, Kip!
  9. Cheek to Cheek – Fred Astaire: From Fred and Ginger’s 1935 movie Top Hat, which also starred Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Erik Rhodes, and Eric Blore, with Lucille Ball playing a flower shop clerk. Hey, if you’re going to talk about dancing, you have to include Fred and Ginger.
  10. Let’s Dance – Benny Goodman Orchestra: The theme for the radio show of the same name. The King of Swing grew up in Chicago.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Leap Day 2016. I still think they should make it June 31 instead of February 29.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Stacy, and Naila Moon, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The “One More Day In February” Week That Was

Here’s the cast of “Howdy Doody” (with Bison Bill (Ted Brown) subbing for Buffalo Bob Smith, who was recovering from a heart attack) for Welch’s Grape Jelly and Grapelade (grape jam).

Remember jelly glasses? Not necesssarily the ones with Clarabelle pictured on the bottom, but just in general.

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Before I get started, for those who get the blog by mail, have you been receiving it all right? I’m hearing not everyone’s getting it, and I’m at a loss to explain why.

February drags on, and this year we get an extra day of it. I understand why they put the leap day at the end of February, a month that only has 28 days to begin with, but couldn’t they have added a June 31 instead of a February 29? It always seems that February lasts forever as it is. Why make it longer?

Anyway, the week in review…

MONDAY

  • The Eurythmics scored a decisive victory over Soundgarden in the latest Battle of the Bands, which pitted them against each other on The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Arlee pointed out that the tastes of our group of bloggers are likely different from the audience for UpVenue, and that a younger crowd might have voted differently. Makes sense to me.
  • The theme for Monday’s Music Moves Me was Motown, and my selections were heavily biased toward the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, which I consider the heyday of Motown’s brand of R&B.
  • Monday was also the day we opened the Linky for the A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal. The actual theme reveal takes place March 21, while the Challenge itself starts on Friday, April 1. I am happy to say that I figured out a theme for this year’s Challenge, which you’ll hear about on March 21. If you haven’t signed up for the Challenge, you have until April 1 to do so, and I hope you do.

TUESDAY

  • Glam rockers Roxy Music, who count as a progressive rock band because of the things Brian Eno (who went by Eno in the early days) did with their sound, were the subject of this week’s Two for Tuesday. Brendan pointed out that their sound changed a lot toward the end, more of a pop sound that was popular in the early 1980’s, in the early MTV years. I read where the music for their last album, 1982’s Avalon, was written mostly in the studio while they were recording it. Sounds like an interesting approach.

WEDNESDAY

  • I recounted the story of what the three of us did to our Aunt Jill the Christmas she got her movie camera for Wednesdays for My Wife. My brothers and cousins are enjoying the feature, I’m happy to say, and my cousin Julie (over on Facebook) suggested that we should all write stories starting with the line “Knowing that Jill was waiting at the end of the hall with her movie camera…” We all probably have at least once story that starts like that.
  • My quote for One-Liner Wednesday was from H. L. Mencken, “The Bard of Baltimore.” Mencken is required reading during election years, as is his modern counterpart, P. J. O’Rourke. One wonders what he’d have to say about the upcoming election.

THURSDAY

  • My entry for Writer’s Workshop was about what I considered a memorable date, so I wrote about June 6, the day on which I had both my grammar school and high school graduation. (Not the same year, obviously.) I concentrated on my graduation from high school, wondering aloud why they chose to hold the senior prom the evening of graduation, and decided it must have been because we were already dressed for it. Ally Bean said “I like memories like this one. Layered, personal and quirky. Very interesting.” Thank you, Ally, it’s what I was aiming for. Kisma chose to tell me she was born the year I graduated high school… so I did what every grumpy old man does, told her to get off my lawn…

FRIDAY

  • The Friday Five were performances from The Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show, courtesy of my friends over at the NRRArchive on YouTube. Dick Clark hosted the show, and Mollie told me that Dick Clark was a graduate of Syracuse University (Class of 1951), where she works. She pointed me at an article from 2013 about how the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was naming one of their studio buildings for him. I can’t think of a better tribute.

SATURDAY

  • The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “food.” I talked a little bit about my early days as a music performer, my early interest in the weather, and how food becomes something to do when you’re on the road as much as I was. Arlee mentioned that he used to make up songs that made fun of his sister. Yeah, we did that, too.

THE WEEK AHEAD

  • February ends, at long last, tomorrow, which means there’ll be another Battle of the Bands this Tuesday.
  • It’s a freebie tomorrow for Monday’s Music Moves Me, so I have to come up with a theme.
  • All the other regular features will be around (Two for Tuesday, Writer’s Workshop, The Friday Five, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, One-Liner Wednesday, Wednesdays for My Wife).
  • And, who knows? Maybe I’ll get a bee in my bonnet about something…

Thanks for reading, have a good week, and I’ll see you soon…




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Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Like To Eat #socs

Many years ago — I’m talking back when I was in single digits — my friend Willy and I had a band. It was just the two of us. He had a ukulele, I had a 3/4 size guitar, and we would get together and play them. By “play,” I mean we’d be really noisy, because neither of us could actually play them. He sort of strummed the uke, I’d slap the strings over the soundhole in the guitar, and we’d write songs. One was called “I like to eat”…

I like to eat,
I like to eat meat,
And another good dish
Is fruit and fish.
I like to eat…

This would go on for I forget how many verses. We’d talk about liking hamburgers and hot dogs, Eskimo pies, Popsicles, whatever we could think of.

We had a whole bunch of songs, and we’d record our practice sessions. After listening to the playback one day, he made the observation, “Maybe we should learn to play chords and stuff.” Then we decided, nah, we were having too much fun.

But I do like to eat. A lot, which is why I resemble a weather balloon with legs.

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Weather balloon (a transosonde) getting ready to be released. (Public Domain, source: Wikipedia/US Navy)

I was into weather around the same time I was in the band with Willy. My aunt Jill asked me what I wanted for my birthday one year, and I told her “a weather balloon.” She aactually started asking around where she could get one. I didn’t get it, primarily because they’re really expensive, but it was cool she asked.

When you travel a lot, food isn’t just sustenance, it’s something to do. I was on a modified Atkins diet once, and I found myself thinking about food all the time, especially when I was on the road. I finally decided it wasn’t worth driving myself crazy.


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This short entry was done for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by Linda Hill.




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Friday, February 26, 2016

The Friday Five from the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show

Dick Clark had an empire going all the way back in the 1950’s, with American Bandstand on every weekday and The Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show on Saturday night. My friends at the NRRArchives have captured some great moments from the Saturday night show, and YouTube was kind enough to suggest that I watch them. They were so good, I had to share them with you.

Realize that the performers weren’t actually singing and playing these songs; they were simply lip-synching or finger-synching to their hit record. I don’t think the kids in the audience minded, nor the kids watching on TV at home or while babysitting or at work. It was music, and they got a chance to see the performers. It was a big deal sixty years ago.

  1. Lollipop/Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes: I don’t think you’ll mind that there are six songs this week, two of them in this video by the lovely, angelic-voiced Chordettes. I especially like the one member who had to make sure her strapless dress wouldn’t slide down in a 1950’s-style wardrobe malfunction.
  2. Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny: I never heard the story of how this song came into being until I watched this. Brothers Santo (pedal-steel or “Hawai’ian” guitar) and Johnny (guitar) Farina had a huge hit with this one, their only Top Ten hit, even though they produced a significant number of recordings. One of those things I really should research…
  3. Walk, Don’t Run – The Ventures: One of my favorite tunes by one of the greatest instrumental bands of all time.
  4. Little Bitty Pretty One – Frankie Lymon: Frankie’s story is a tragic one, from initial success with The Teenagers at 13 to his death of a heroin overdose at 25. He looks pretty good here, though.
  5. Tears On My Pillow – Little Anthony and The Imperials: This was their first hit, selling over a million copies and earning them a gold record.

And that’s your Friday Five for February 26, 2016.




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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: June 6

 

I know exactly what Mama Kat meant when she gave us this prompt:

A memorable date.

Clearly, she means when I took someone out. Well, I’m taking this in a whole different direction.

There are many memorable dates in my life: my birthday (March 25), Mom’s birthday (March 26, the day after mine) and the day she died (April 21), Dad’s birthday (February 15) and the day he died (January 25), my brothers’ birthdays (December 11, November 13, September 9), of course Mary’s birthday (April 20) and our anniversary (January 28), Grandma Holton’s birthday (Bastille Day, July 14), the day I had my stroke (February 18, actually early February 19), and on and on and on. It’s how I was raised and how my mind works. I’ve heard more than once that time and dates are artificial constructs (Einstein said time was invented to keep everything from happening at once), but not in my family.

Then there’s June 6. It’s significant to me because that’s the day I graduated grammar school (1970) and high school (1974). That’s a relatively recent revelation. One of those things you remember when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and you’re get back into bed and try to go back to sleep, and you realize you can’t. So you start thinking about boring things to try and get back to sleep, and you realize something like this.

Senior Prom was the night of graduation. That way, we didn’t need to rent a tuxedo twice and the girls only needed to buy one dress. Since we lived in the posh suburbs of Chicago’s North Shore (yeah, right), I guess they wanted graduation to be a formal occasion, so the boys wore tuxes (actually a light blue dinner jacket and all the other stuff) and the girls wore long white dresses. Like a bunch of Barbies and Kens, circa early 1960’s. It was a drag, as was having the prom the night of graduation. Really, the night of graduation? By the time we got there, we were high school graduates on our way to college or work or the ArmyNavyAirForceMarines. Prom was for high school kids.

I just remember not wanting to be there. My date and I really didn’t like each other by that time. It started at her prom. Long story, not worth the aggravation of rehashing it. I just remember dropping her off after my prom, telling her to have a nice life, and her saying something that sounded like “truck flu.” Haven’t seen each other since. Just as well. It wasn’t exactly the low point of my high school career, but it was definitely up there. Or down there, depending on your point of view.

I think the best part of graduation was the next day, when I rode my bike down to Evanston with my rented tux over my shoulder and returned it. The tux rental place was a block away from where they had the prom. It would have been convenient if they were open so we could drop them off after the prom. Nah, that would’ve meant having to carry our play clothes with us. Anyway, I ran into a guy who was in my advisory (like homeroom, but different). We talked for a minute, then he got on his motorcycle, I got on my bike, and went our separate ways. It was a catharsis. I can’t explain why, but I remember riding home, the sun was out, it was pleasantly warm, and I was totally finished. I felt twenty pounds lighter.




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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#1LinerWeds from the Bard of Baltimore

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One-Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill, who has links to everyone else doing this today on her blog.




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Wednesdays for My Wife: Jill’s Movie Camera

I have to tell this story on my dear godmother, Fabulous Auntie Jill, and the movie camera she received for Christmas one year. Jill, we love you, and I’m sure you remember the story. I’ll bet you still have the film.

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Gift opening on Christmas at our house generally went like this: we would let Mom and Dad know we were awake, after which they’d finish laying out the gifts and ring a bell. This was our signal to rush down the hall and tear into our gifts. Paper, ribbon, and gift boxes would go flying every which way as we saw what Santa had brought us. We could finish the job of opening everything in about ten minutes flat. Then, of course, we’d throw out the gift wrap (and, more often than not, a critical piece of a toy or game that was necessary to make the thing work) and get ready for 12:15 Mass. Occasionally, we were joined by Fabulous Auntie Jill, who would watch as we tore into our gifts, saying, “Boys, that’s beautiful wrapping paper, please try not to rip it!” Of course, tearing the paper off the gifts was half the fun of Christmas, so her words went in one ear and out the other.

The year after Dad died, we decided to alter the Christmas routine by going to Midnight Mass, then coming home and opening our gifts, have a very early or very late breakfast depending on your point of view, then sleep until noon. Jill and Moe, another of Mom’s sisters who lived with Jill, celebrated the holiday with us, and came over to the house at about nine o’clock Christmas Eve, Jill carrying the Kodak Super 8 movie camera she had gotten from Santa. She was anxious to try it out, and what better way to test it than by capturing the Holton Boys during their annual Christmas Bacchanalia?

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A 1960’s Kodak Instamatic Super 8 Movie Camera similar to Jill’s. They just celebrated 50 years of making Super 8 film, so hers must have been one of the early ones (Photo: Ebay.com)

We went to Midnight Mass, which was, of course, beautiful, and about forty-five minutes too long. After Mass, we walked the short block home (Church was at 6559 North Glenwood, we lived at 6459 North Glenwood) and were told to go down the hall until everything was ready for us. The three of us gathered in one room, and realized we were all thinking the same thing. After some hasty planning, we had a strategy.

“All right, boys, come on out!” my mother yelled. Knowing Jill was waiting at the end of the hall with her camera, we came sauntering out and walked, not ran, down the hall. One of us might have even stopped to use the bathroom, I’m not sure. When we got to the tree, we sat down and unwrapped a gift carefully, so as not to tear the paper….

Jill was furious with us. Mom, of course, thought it was hilarious.




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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two for Tuesday: Roxy Music

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I was not especially a fan of “glam” rock, or “glitter” rock, if you prefer, back when it was all the rage in the early 1970’s. I wasn’t much of a fan of the gender-bending and the fancy costumes the practitioners were wearing, as I mentioned when David Bowie passed away last month. But there was one glam rock band I liked despite it all, because their sound was different, and that band was Roxy Music. Their sound was influenced by Brian Eno on synthesizers. He was also responsible for “treatments,” including the use of tape loops and actually synthesizing the sound of the rest of the band: Bryan Ferry, the primary songwriter, on vocals and keyboards, Phil Manzanera on guitar, Andy MacKay on saxophone and oboe, Paul Thompson on drums, and Graham Simpson on bass.

The first song of theirs I heard was “Do The Strand,” from their 1973 album For Your Pleasure. I found it on a Warner Brothers’ sampler album. It didn’t get much airplay, and it failed to chart.

Our second song today is “Love Is The Drug,” from their 1975 album Siren. Eno had left the band and was replaced by Eddie Jobson on synthesizers and violin. Mackay and Manzanera were now handling “treatments” as well. This got more airplay, and reached #30 on the Hot 100 in 1976.

Roxy Music split up for good in 2011, but the members are still active as producers and performers.

Roxy Music, your Two for Tuesday, February 23, 2016.




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Monday, February 22, 2016

#atozchallenge — Theme Reveal Sign-up is Open!

(Reblogging, with minor changes, from here.)

Sign-ups for the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge are already under way. If you have done it before, you know how much fun it is (good for you!) and if you have not, this is your chance to give it a try. You can sign up to participate HERE.

One of the most burning questions participants ask themselves every year is: “Should I have a theme?” Themes are not mandatory, but definitely fun. They let your visitors know what to expect, and help you create posts that line neatly up from A to Z. They also have an added bonus – they let you participate in a whole separate blogfest!

Three years ago, A to Z participant Mina Lobo started the Theme Reveal, and we thought it was such a great idea that we made it tradition.

Here is how the Theme Reveal Blogfest works:

  1. Sign up on the Linky List.
  2. On Monday, March 21, reveal your theme on your blog and give us a hint of what to expect from it.
  3. Then, once your post is up, use the Linky List to visit all the other blogs announcing their themes.

This is a great opportunity for all of you to get a jump start on your A to Z experience. You can link up with fellow bloggers, scout out and bookmark themes that you look forward to, and lure in wandering participants with your awesome theme. This way, by the time the frenzied posting begins on April 1, you will already have an audience eagerly awaiting your posts.

Sign up below, ready your theme, and put March 21 on your calendar!

Click Here To Enter




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MONDAY’S MUSIC MOVES ME: Motown!

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Another MMMM that caught me by surprise. Up until I started getting MMMM entries in my feed this morning, I thought it was another Freebie week. Just as well; I had no idea what I was going to do, anyway. If Motown hadn’t been today’s theme, it would have been a theme for me at some point, anyway. You’ll see why in a minute or two.

  1. Band of Gold – Freda Payne: The beautiful Ms. Payne had a #3 hit and a gold record with this in 1970, and she became an overnight sensation. What that means, as in this case, is that she had been recording for six years, her first album having come out in 1964, during the British Invasion.
  2. War – Edwin Starr: When this came out in 1970, the girls I had gone to grammar school with played the grooves off it, because they loved to dance to it. Asa a result, I had heard it quite enough by the end of my freshman year. But I haven’t heard it in years, and that’s why I’m playing it here.
  3. Someday We’ll Be Together – Diana Ross & The Supremes: This was their last song together, and their final #1 on the Hot 100. It was also the last #1 on the Hot 100 in the 1960’s. Diana Ross shares a birthday next month with my mother.
  4. Ball of Confusion – The Temptations: Some classic “psychedelic soul” from one of the great vocal groups of our time. It reached #6 that year.
  5. Taurus – Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band: Dennis was a member of The Funk Brothers, who backed up most of the Motown records in the 1960’s, including all of the records above. He brought a hard-rock sound to the records produced by Norman Whitfield, including distortion, tape loops, and wah-wah. This was the follow-up to his 1971 hit, “Scorpio.” It reached #18 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the US Black Singles chart in 1972.
  6. Walk On, Don’t Look Back – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: Frankie and the group recorded one album for Motown’s subsidiary MoWest, Chameleon, in 1972. This was released as a single in August 1972 but failed to chart. Motown was the second R&B label to feature The Four Seasons, the first being Chicago’s Vee Jay Records (1962-1966) until that label folded.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 22, 2016.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Stacy, and Naila Moon, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Come Together” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

 

Last week’s Battle of the Bands saw The Eurythmics take on Soundgarden on the song “Come Together,” written by John Lennon and recorded by The Beatles in 1969. The votes are in, and here’s the result…

The Eurythmics: 15
Soundgarden: 3

This doesn’t surprise me. If I were to count my own vote, I would have chosen Eurythmics, too. That’s not to say Soundgarden’s grunge-metal version was bad, just not my preference, and I’m not sure it fit the song that well. The website UpVenue got it backwards on this song; they rated Soundgarden way above The Eurythmics.

Anyway, congratulations to Annie and Dave and a thumbs-up to Soundgarden on a job well done.

Our next Battle of the Bands will be a week from tomorrow. Join us then!




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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Another February The Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by Elsie Brand Popsicles and Fudgsicles, made by Borden. If it’s Borden’s… it’s got to be good!

Not especially politically correct, I know, but this commercial is notable for a couple of reasons: One, it features Iron Eyes Cody, who was in one of the most famous “Keep America Beautiful” ads in the 1970’s. Two, it also features William Fawcett, who played Pete Wilkey in the TV show Fury, which ran from 1955 to 1960. Fawcett had a Ph. D. and was a professor of theater at Michigan State University, who had always talked about leaving the university and trying his acting skills. He entered the acting profession after World War II and never returned to teaching. He was in a lot of Westerns in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The Popsicle brands are now owned by Unilever and produced by their Good Humor division.

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Still working on the format of this. Last week’s was a little shorter, but still too long.

MONDAY

  • You still have until midnight tonight to vote in this week’s Battle of the Bands. The song is “Come Together” and the contestants are The Eurythmics and Soundgarden. Winner announced tomorrow.
  • A freebie week on Monday’s Music Moves Me gave me an opportunity to do a TV Themes post centered around themes from Westerns, in honor of my dad’s birthday. Several of you came up with your favorite shows and themes. I think it’s safe to say that Westerns were a popular form of TV entertainment that’s disappeared. Brendan wondered why; all I can figure is that it’s too expensive to build and maintain the sets and the costumes.

TUESDAY

  • Procol Harum was the subject of Two for Tuesday. Probably best-known for “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” they’ve recorded eleven studio albums and were a staple of FM radio in the progressive-rock era of the early 1970’s. Michele wondered where I had heard “A Souvenir of London” was about venereal disease (Circus Magazine, 1973). My brother Jim (over on Facebook) wondered where I had even heard it. It was on Grand Hotel, the album after their live album with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

WEDNESDAY

  • Every writer who writes about his or her childhood has to include at least one story about acting in a school play, and Wednesday, for Wednesdays for My Wife, it was my turn. The school play in question was the Christmas pageant I was in when I was in eighth grade (1969), the year I was a Wise Guy… sorry, Wise Man. As school plays go, it went a little better than most, which isn’t saying much. Seems I had my one line cut by half, throwing the other two Wise Men’s timing off because the director didn’t bother to tell them.
  • Rodney Dangerfield provided the one-liner for One-Liner Wednesday. Rodney was one of the old-fashioned comedians who could rip off one-liners at will.

THURSDAY

  • I wrote about my love for coffee, albeit decaf to keep my blood pressure down, for the Writer’s Workshop. I added a video of Manhattan Transfer’s “Java Jive” to the list, prompting Pam to tell us she used to be able to sing all four parts of the harmony, although not at the same time. I think that outdoes my ability to sing all the parts of The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next To You.” Several of you expressed a desire to try writing at Starbucks over coffee like I do, except for Brendan, who said “Starbucks is evil.” To each his own.

FRIDAY

  • The Friday Five was five songs about driving. Why, I don’t know. But everyone seemed to like the playlist, particularly Golden Earring’s “Radar Love.” Lauralynn wanted to know if Johnny Cash ever did “Hot Rod Lincoln” after hearing Commander Cody’s version, since she couldn’t find it on YouTube. Neither could I. I’m pretty sure he did, though.

SATURDAY

  • The assignment for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was to start the post with a contraction, and extra credit was given for ending it with one. I didn’t, but I did build a playlist of songs whose titles start with a contraction. I continued by talking about one of the best movie parodies ever done by MAD Magazine, “True Grit,” where the female star spoke without contractions except for when she got upset. The Lady over at The Hailey and Zaphod Chronicles said that her favorite feature in MAD was “Spy vs. Spy,” about which I wrote about a year ago. No one called me on my error about portmanteau words; they are not compound words like “bagpipes” or “briefcase,” but instead are words that are built with pieces of words, like “smog” (“smoke”+”fog”) or “Spam” (“spiced”+”ham”). Deborah said she always thought a portmanteau was a suitcase, and it is, but it’s also words that are built from parts of other words. We will be seeing many more of these in the future…

And that’s it for this edition of The Week That Was. Tomorrow, the signup for “The Great Theme Reveal,” a tradition with the A to Z Challenge, commences; the actual theme reveal is shortly before the start of the actual challenge, but I have to wait until tomorrow to find out when it is. Hope to see you this week!




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Saturday, February 20, 2016

What’d you expect? #socs

It’s tempting, given the prompt for today, to just build a playlist of songs whose names start with contractions.

Yeah, why not? A short one, okay?

  1. Isn’t It A Pity – George Harrison
  2. It’s A Shame – The Spinners
  3. Ain’t She Sweet – The Beatles
  4. Don’t Bring Me Down – ELO (The Electric Light Orchestra)
  5. They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaaaa! – Napoleon XIV

My favorite magazine as a teenager was MAD. They were well-known for their movie and TV parodies, as well as “Dave Berg Looks At…”, “Spy Vs. Spy,” “Marginal Humor” by Sergio Aragones (the cartoons were drawn in the margins throughout the magazine), Don Martin and his wacky cartoons, and other stuff. They did a parody of “True Grit” in the early Seventies (the original with John Wayne, Kim Darby, and Glen Campbell, not that mess they made a couple of years ago), and part of the joke was that Mattie (Darby’s character, probably “Muttie” in the parody) didn’t use contractions. At least not until something upset her so badly that she started, and remarked, “Now look what you’ve done! I’m so upset, I’m using contractions!”

Contractions come in handy, because otherwise you’re saying a ton of extra words. I like the compound contractions, like “wouldn’t’ve” and “shouldn’t’ve,” except for people thinking that “shouldn’t’ve” is short for “shouldn’t of.” Aggh! That makes me crazy.

Another cool literary device is the portmanteau, two words shoved together to make a third. Like “bagpipes,” a combination of “bag” and “pipes.” Or “briefcase,” a combination of “brief” and “case.” There are like a bazillion examples of portmanteaus. But that’s the subject for another day. Probably next Saturday…


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Linda Hill runs Stream of Consciousness Saturday from her penthouse high over the Internet. She has all the rules and pingbacks from all the other participants there.




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Friday, February 19, 2016

The Friday Five: Driving Songs

I don’t know how I came up with today’s theme. Maybe it just seemed like a good idea to do this today. For the record, I didn’t drive until I was 28, and had to stop after the stroke (which was nine years ago yesterday) because everything (ignition, gas and brake pedals) is on my right, and that’s the side that was affected. But I did a lot of driving in the time between. And no, I don’t miss it.

There are literally hundreds of songs about cars and driving. These are just five of them. Enjoy.

  1. Radar Love – Golden Earring: I think this was their only hit in the US and it only reached #13 on the Hot 100, but evidently it’s been covered over 500 times. It comes from their 1973 album Moontan.
  2. Hot Rod Lincoln – Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen: Written and recorded first by Charlie Ryan, it was an answer to Arkie Shibley’s 1951 hit “Hot Rod Race.” Commander Cody’s version reached #9 on the Hot 100 and was one of the Billboard Top 100 Singles of 1972.
  3. Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys: This was the B-side to “Little Surfer Girl,” which would figure, since most of the Beach Boys’ songs have to do either with surfing or cars. As a B-side, it reached #15 on the Hot 100 (“Little Surfer Girl” made it to #9) in 1963.
  4. Little Old Lady From Pasadena – Jan & Dean: Jan Berry and Dean Torrance were proteges of a sort to the Beach Boys, and their songs are also typically about surfing or cars. This song went all the way to #3 in 1964.
  5. No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry: Chuck said he wrote so many songs about cars because half his audience had cars. Most likely, the other half did, too. It was recorded, according to Wikipedia, on my eighth birthday (March 25, 1964) at Chess Studios in Chicago, and reached #10 on the Hot 100 that year.

So there’s your Friday Five for February 19, 2016.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: I love coffee

 

Mama Kat had a good prompt for me this week:

Write a blog post inspired by the word: Coffee

 

A couple of years ago, I decided that I was going to give up every other drink except coffee and water, and the occasional Frappuccino or milk shake. I was drinking a lot of diet soda, and my blood pressure was going up. Within a week of switching, my blood pressure went way down.

I love coffee. I can’t drink regular coffee anymore, because it raises my blood pressure, and I don’t need another blood vessel bursting in my brain. I have to drink decaf, which many people say isn’t drinking coffee. You know what I say? Screw ’em if they can’t take a joke.

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Did you know that Starbucks doesn’t brew decaf after the morning rush? They’re more than happy to make you a cup where they drip water through a filter with decaf in it, but it doesn’t taste right. I just get a venti (20 oz.) Americano, which is four shots of (decaf) espresso mixed with hot water. I always request it with no room for cream and sugar. My folks didn’t drink coffee with cream and sugar, and I took after them. The water they use for the Americano is just a couple of degrees lower than boiling, so you have to let it sit for a few minutes to let it cool off.

Mary and I go to Starbucks a lot. She brings her knitting and iPad, I bring my netbook. I get a lot of my writing done there (writing to include searching for pictures and fretting over copyright), at least one blog post, maybe two. I try and leave time to visit bloggers who have stopped by the blog and made comments on my entries. As Yogi Berra said, you should always go to other people’s funerals, or they won’t go to yours. Visiting other blogs is a lot more fun than going to funerals, obviously, but the idea is the same: if you want people to come and visit your blog, you should go and visit theirs. I’m not always good about that, although I do follow over 400 blogs, and try to make comments or at least give the blogger a “Like” when I can….

Where was I?

I drink coffee all day. We make a pot of decaf first thing in the morning, Mary fills her cup and my ubiquitous travel mug and puts the rest in a Thermos. I top off my mug whenever I’m in the vicinity of the Thermos. She still drinks regular, and I generally make her half a pot at some point during the day.

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My ubiquitous travel mug. I think I’m due for a new one.

I like the travel mug because I can stick it in my pocket and walk up and down stairs with it. That’s one of the advantages of being a big guy: bigger pockets.

Nature’s calling from across the hall… Here’s Manhattan Transfer with “Java Jive.”


Here are the instructions for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, in case you want to play along:

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

  1. Share something your significant other recently did or said that made you smile.
  2. Share a photo that captures your special Valentine(s).
  3. List the top 10 blogs you’re loving most this month.
  4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: Coffee
  5. List your five most recent favorite things.
  6. February 18th is National Drink Wine Day. How do you like your wine?



from The Sound of One Hand Typing