Sunday, July 31, 2016

The End-Of-July Week That Was

This week The Week That Was is sponsored by Union 76 service stations. The Spirit of ’76 lives at Union Oil!

The guy in the commercial looks like a cross between Larry Linville and Bill Daily, doesn’t he?

The Week That Was

A little correction on Wednesday’s “Buck Young” story: while at least two and possibly three of the Daley boys (William, John, and I think Michael) went to St. Ignatius, Richard M. (Richie) Daley went to DeLaSalle Academy, as did his father. Uncle Tim (married to my Aunt Bitsy) went to DeLaSalle, and wanted to make sure I got that right. (It’s a Chicago thing.) The Sound of One Hand Typing regrets the error.

I didn’t realize until Monday that I had done songs about dogs on the previous Monday and songs with “cat” in the title that Friday. Anyway, this week I did your selections for dog songs for Monday’s Music Moves Me and your selections for cat songs for The Friday Five. Mollie reminded me of one we missed, “The Siamese Cat Song” from Disney’s Lady And The Tramp.

That’s one Disney picture I never saw. One of the many, actually. We have had one full Siamese and three half-Siamese cats over the years, and while the full Siamese was very laid-back and gentle, the other three were not. Our current half-Siamese, Amy, is pretty docile, but she has this toy mouse that she finds in the middle of the night and starts with the Siamese howl. With her and Lucy, we definitely got the noisy half.

Two for Tuesday featured Dave Loggins, Kenny’s cousin and a fine songwriter who sadly never made it as a performer. Dan said that he liked Three Dog Night’s version of “Pieces of April,” which Dave wrote, and he was a hard rock fan at the time. I kind of felt the same about Barry Manilow, which Dan said we could agree to disagree on.

Speaking of agreeing to disagree, One-Liner Wednesday featured a line from H. L. Mencken, must reading for me during this and any election cycle. Dan thought it was appropos even though Mencken died sixty years ago, while Linda said “it can and will get worse.” I’m almost counting on it. As I said, time to make the popcorn.

I think I’ll stay off Facebook and avoid watching anything on TV until the election and all the requisite screaming and gloom and doom predictions are over. I considered deleting my account, but then I’d have no way to stay in touch with my family. I’m really lousy with the phone…

My “family stories” seem to be going over really well. Thanks for the feedback on them.

The prompt I chose from Mama Kat for Writer’s Workshop was to find a photograph from a past July and write a post about it. Well, I really don’t put too many photographs in my posts, because I’m a lousy photographer, preferring to use videos, image quotes, clip art, and vector graphics, so I shared a graphic I created for a previous One-Liner Wednesday post, a line by David Mamet from one of his plays that concerns pie, one of my favorite things. It turned into a stream-of-consciousness piece about pie, Mamet, and graphics. Jennifer said she loves pie but hates to make it. That’s where Marie Callender and Pet-Ritz come in. All you have to do then is pop it in the oven, take it out when it’s done, let it cool, and serve. Easy peasy.

I was all over the place with my Stream of Consciousness Saturday piece, prompted by the word “art.” In it, I talked a little bit about the “Max Headroom” incident, where someone in the Chicago area managed to break into the microwave transmission of a couple of TV stations and replace it with a silly and occasionally profane performance by a guy in a Max Headroom mask. You might remember Max from the New Coke commercials…

An actor by the name of Matt Frewer played Max in the commercials and the TV series. Good to see it didn’t impact his career too badly. As for New Coke, it was either the stupidest move ever made by a company or the most brilliant one. After a few months of badly-declining sales, Coca-Cola brought back Coke Classic, and sales took off. The question remains, did they intend on doing it all along?

Anyway, that’s it for The Week That Was. Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order that has been instrumental in my life, so Mary and I plan to celebrate. Battle of the Bands tomorrow, all the regular features this week. I just found out that they plan on rebuilding the deck on the front of the house this coming weekend, so I’ll probably be spending a lot of time in the house next weekend. Those are the stairs I use to get in and out of the house. Have a good week, and we’ll see you this week!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Art The Bunny #socs

Mary used to play the recorder, and bought a book once called The Art Of The Recorder (which we no longer have). There was a picture on the cover of a recorder with a delicate butterfly alighted on it. I decided that the butterfly’s name was Art.

Kind of like Pat The Bunny. You know, that little kid’s book? I thought the bunny’s name was Pat, and he talked like Edward G. Robinson. “Yeah… I’m Pat the Bunny, see? And don’t touch me or I’ll kick your ass, see?”

Remember the Warner Brothers cartoons where they’d draw in actual actors, like Bob Hope, Peter Lorre, Humphrey Bogart, and yes, Edward G. Robinson? Usually they’d have Bugs Bunny matching wits with them, and naturally the actors came up on the short end of things.

Remember the Eighties band The Art Of Noise, or just Art of Noise? They did this with Duane Eddy.

They also did “Kiss” with Tom Jones and this one with the incomparable Max Headroom, “Paranoimia.”

A guy in a Max Headroom mask managed to hijack the signals from WGN and WTTW on a Sunday night in 1987. They still don’t know who did it or how he did it. You can hear all about it here.

Ben Minnotte, who runs The Oddity Archive, got the video from Rick Klein at The Museum of Classic Chicago Television, two of my favorite websites. One of Rick’s fans sent the video in, and no, it wasn’t me.

Jan Akkerman, who once upon a time was the guitarist for Focus (who had one hit, “Hocus Pocus”), recorded an album called The Noise of Art. Here’s a track from the album, “Bonneville.”

There was a disc jockey on WLS in the Sixties named Art Roberts, who did the nine-to-midnight shift, and he would always end his show with the line, “This has been a work of Art.”

So has this…



Linda Hill sponsors Stream of Consciousness Saturday every week. Follow this link for the rules and the pingbacks from all the participants.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wish I Saw This Yesterday…

An addendum to my Writer’s Workshop post from yesterday: I found this on Facebook this morning…


from The Sound of One Hand Typing

The Friday Five: Your “Cat” Songs

It didn’t hit me until sometime over last weekend that I did “dog” songs on Monday and “cat” songs on Friday, and here we are doing it again this week. Here are reader choices of “cat” songs.

Stray Cat Blues – The Rolling Stones (Arlee) Arlee gave us two songs this week. This one is from the Stones’ 1968 album Beggars Banquet LP. Arlee says “I remember trying to cipher the lyrics off the record for some friends who had a rock band back in 1968 or so. Getting the lyrics that way could be such a hassle–internet lyric sites sure have simplified that process.” Not to mention getting the lyrics right, although some of the misinterpretations were hilarious.

The Love Cats – The Cure (Arlee) Arlee says he was in a The Cure phase during the Eighties. Hey, who wasn’t? This was a non-album single released in 1983 that reached #7 in the UK and #6 in Australia.

Stray Cat Strut – The Stray Cats (JoAnna) Brian Setzer is a dynamite guitar player, as this track demonstrates. This was on their first LP, Stray Cats (1981 in the UK)/Built For Speed (1982 in the US). It peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 and #11 in the UK, and got tons of airtime on MTV in the early days, when MTV actually played music.

The Cat Came Back – animation by National Film Board of Canada (a darkened house) ADH called this “a hilarious animated romp of the song ‘The Cat Came Back,'” and I agree. All the particulars are in the credits at the end of the song. Might not be suitable for younger and more sensitive viewers, although if you grew up watching cartoons from the Forties and Fifties, that shouldn’t present a problem.

Nashville Cats – The Lovin’ Spoonful (Kip?) I could not think of who suggested this one and couldn’t find where it was suggested, but I’ll give it to Kip (and if you’re the one who suggested it, thanks and sorry for the confusion). The Spoonful released this in 1966 and it reached #8 in the US and #2 in Canada. It was on the last of their 1966 albums, Hums Of The Lovin’ Spoonful.

My thanks to all of you who contributed. That’s The Friday Five for July 29, 2016.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: Pie!

So, the prompt is “Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous July and write a poem or a blog post.” I went back through my posts for the last four Julys and didn’t find any photos per se. I’m what you might call “photographically challenged”: I have a hard time controlling the camera in my phone. As a result, you won’t typically see photos here, and when you do, there’s a better than average chance it was copped from somewhere else.

When I include pictures, they’re more likely to be graphics like the one above, which I created using Quozio, a service that takes your quote and formats it so it can be used in a blog post. In addition, I’ve learned to use HTML and create boxes that contain quotes (I use the style= parameter to specify the foreground and background colors, the size and weight of the fonts, etc.), which aren’t photos but which are graphics. I’ve been more conscious of adding graphics to blog posts since I started posting to Pinterest. Pinterest will use a video if there’s no picture, a good thing for me since I post lots and lots of videos, in case you hadn’t noticed.

I included the graphic above in a blog post sometime in July 2014, when I was summarizing my day. That was the month I began blogging every day, and I was doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge, a challenge where you have to post every day in July. They hold the challenges about four times a year, so if you’re interested, follow the link. The post itself included a reference to a shopping trip where Mary and I bought a pie, if I remember a Marie Callender’s Banana Cream pie. We don’t buy whole pies all that frequently, but they were on sale, if I remember correctly.

Mary is trying not to buy sweets all the time, but pie is a weakness. We have an O’Charley’s near us, and every day is Free Pie Wednesday, where you get a free slice of pie with any entree. We don’t usually make it there on Wednesday, though; we tend to go on Monday for lunch, and I will ask the server to upgrade my $9.99 meal to include a bowl of Chicken Harvest soup and a slice of pie. O’Charley’s is now owned by the same company that owns Baker’s Square restaurants, one of our favorite places to eat when we lived in Chicago, mostly because you could have pie for dessert, and the pies at O’Charley’s all come from there.

David Mamet, who wrote the line above, is a playwright based in Chicago. Any time you see a question on Jeopardy! about a playwright from Chicago, he’s the answer. He wrote the stage play and the screenplay for Glengarry Glen Ross, including this famous scene featuring Adam Baldwin.

So much for this little stream of consciousness piece….

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday for My Wife: The Most Popular Kid At St. Ignatius High School


My brother Patrick told Mary and I this one about his father (Mom’s second husband), who was a Jesuit for about thirty years before he left that job and married Mom. We called him Tex, because his last name was Christian (i.e. Texas Christian, like the university) and because they used to hang around the seminary quoting from old Western movies.

Jesuits go through a lot of training, about twelve years’ worth, before they become priests, and Tex said he was a scholastic at the time, one of the early levels of his training, so this would have been in the late Forties, early Fifties. He was stationed at St. Ignatius High School, an all-boys school which at least one of Chicago’s mayors (Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley) had attended.

At the time, desks were made of wood (as opposed to Formica and steel) and, if a class got boring (which they inevitably did), carving your name and/or other graffiti into the top of the desk with a ball-point pen was a good way to kill time. As you can imagine, one of the favorite expressions was a two-word phrase that starts with “f” and rhymes with “cluck flu.” The diligent and bored-out-of-their-minds boys of St. Ignatius carved it into roughly two-thirds of the desks over the years. (Okay, maybe not that many, but a lot of them.)

One day, Tex and a friend of his were called into the office and were told by the principal that theirs was one of the sites for a standardized test to be administered on a Saturday, and that the girls from a nearby high school would be taking it at Ignatius. He noted the graffiti that had been scratched into the desks, and told them to “do something about it.”

Tex and his friend hemmed and hawed about what they would “do” about the graffiti on the desks, when one of them had a brainstorm: with a few strokes of a pen, they could change that message to something totally innocuous. Several days later, they were able to report that they had “done something about it.”

Saturday rolled around, and when the test was finished, the principal of the girls’ school visited the principal of St. Ignatius and thanked him for his hospitality, then said, “Several of the girls were asking: who is ‘Buck Young’? He seems to be very popular. His name is carved into so many desks…”

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

#1LinerWeds from H. L. Mencken


Election season is upon us here in the United States, and the usual rhetoric is ramping up, although I can’t imagine how it would get any more strident than it already has. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the two authors whose books are worth reading during election season are P. J. O’Rourke and H. L. Mencken. Mencken died sixty years ago, the year I was born, but his wisdom is eternal.


One-Liner Wednesday is sponsored by Linda Hill over at her blog. I’ll add the link when I get one…

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two for Tuesday: Dave Loggins

Dave Loggins, the cousin of Kenny, is a singer-songwriter and a one-hit wonder, having taken his “Please Come To Boston” to #5 in 1974 for his only song to crack the Top 40. Three Dog Night had better luck with two of his compositions, “Pieces Of April” (#9 in 1972) and “‘Til The World Ends” (#32 in 1975). He’s also writtn songs for Tanya Tucker, Wynonna Judd, Reba McEntire, and Toby Keith, among others, and wrote “Morning Desire” for Kenny Loggins and “You Make Me Want To Make You Mine” for Juice Newton, which both reached #1 on the Country & Western Chart. Additionally, he wrote and recorded “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” with Anne Murray, which reached #1 on the US and Canadian Country charts in 1984, for which he and Anne were named Vocal Duo of the Year by the CMA in 1985. He also wrote the theme music for the Masters golf tournament, which you can hear on TV broadcasts of the event.

Dave recorded “Pieces Of April” in 1972 and re-recorded it with a different arrangement in 1979. This is the 1979 version.

Here he is with Anne Murray doing “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do.”

Acxcording to the website “Whatever Happened To…?” Dave is still a successful country songwriter. According to commenter John O’Regan on the site, “BGO Records in the UK will release his 3 Epic albums in a 2on 1 cd set this month.” The comment was left in 2013, and the album is listed on their site, if you’re interested.

Dave Loggins, your Two for Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Dog Songs – Your Choices

So, it’s another “freebie” week here on M4, and in looking at the comments people made, I discovered I have enough for a “reader’s choice.” So, your picks for songs about dogs…

Bugler – Larry Murray This one comes to us courtesy of Arlee Bird, who tells us this cut comes from a record he found in a cut-out bin in the early Seventies and which has gotten a lot of play at his house. He also tells us The Byrds did the song as well.

Shannon – Henry Gross Halfmoon Mollie tells me this song was written about the passing of Carl Wilson’s (from The Beach Boys) Irish setter. I did not know that, did you?

They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dog Around (Missouri Hound Dog Song) – Byron G. Harlan Susan says that they used to sing this one back in her old hootenanny days. I found this recording, evidently made by the author all the way back in 1912, which I think means it came from one of those old toilet-paper-tube records they had back then. She tells me they used to sing it a lot faster.

Seamus – Pink Floyd Dan suggested this one, which I wasn’t familiar with. I heard it and liked it immediately, because it has a sort of Delta blues vibe.

GoD and DoG – Wendy J. Francisco JoAnna came up with this short ditty that is both enjoyable and has a sweet message. Wendy posted this on her own YouTube channel, so by all means go visit it.

Many thanks to my contributors this week. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 25, 2016.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Stacy, Cathy, 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, July 24, 2016

The Week That Was, Brought To You By TR-3

Here’s Broderick Crawford for TR-3 Resin Glaze, the ultimate skin care for your car!

It would have been great if they had used a 1950’s Highway Patrol car.

The Week That Was

I saw this on Facebook this morning, and thought it was appropriate given my Stream of Consciousness entry yesterday…


A few of you readers/cat owners (joey, ghostmmnc, and L. S. Engler) agreed that cats have no concept of time, at least as we understand it. There’s something quite wonderful about cats that way. They eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired, handle eliminatory functions when they have to (hopefully in the litter box), play when they feel like it (usually when the humans are trying to sleep), and climb into our laps when they feel the need to grace us with their presence. Janet let me know that California is thinking of eliminating Daylight Saving Time, which works well except on the Native American reservations, which use DST by Federal law. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? “Okay, this is your land, and you make the rules, except you have to change your clocks twice a year.” That’s the way the government works. Laws, of course, are set by Congress, most of whom had nothing to do with writing them and haven’t bothered to read them… but that’s a discussion for another day. HilaryMB is sufficiently awed by the sheer math of time, and is amazed that there’s some information from outer space that takes forty years to get here. Wouldn’t it be funny if the messages from outer space were their commercials?

Speaking of cats, The Friday Five featured songs that have “cat” in the title. Y’all came up with five of your own, which means this Friday will be a reader’s choice Friday Five! Thanks to all who contributed.

Yvonne Elliman won Battle “Hello Stranger,” doubling up The Capitols 6-3. Arlee reminded me this is a light time of the year, which is why the voting was so light.

I apologize for getting a little preachy about protecting yourself against the sun in my Writer’s Workshop entry, but seriously, melanoma is an especially nasty form of cancer, easy to cure if you catch it in the early stages, impossible if you don’t. You need only watch someone you love die from it (as I did) to realize how bad it can be. Many of you have had brushes with skin cancer (Reocochran and Keith) or know someone who has (Joey and Janet), and others have decided that the risk isn’t worth the “St. Tropez Tan.” May mentioned she wasn’t aware of the Indian head on the back of the Coppertone bottle back in the Sixties. I looked it up, and one of their advertising slogans was “Don’t Be A Paleface.”

Got some interesting replies to my One-Liner Wednesday entry, which was a quote from a local newsman who had done a “Reality Check” segment about the apparent dearth of choices for this year’s presidential election. Turns out that, in addition to the red team and the blue team, there are choices from the Libertarian and Green Parties, both of whom are getting a lot more attention given the concerns about the two “mainstream” candidates. There are the usual concerns about the “wrong” candidate winning the election because a significant number of voters chose one of the third-party candidates instead of holding their nose and voting for someone they didn’t like almost as much as they didn’t like the candidate they didn’t want to win. A vote for a third-party candidate isn’t a wasted vote; it’s a vote against both the mainstream candidates. Staying home and not voting is a wasted vote. I’ll have more to say about this after next week, when the red and blue teams have made their choices “official.” Stay tuned.

Two for Tuesday featured the remarkable Leo Sayer, who turned me off when I saw him for the first time, dressed in a Pierrot costume, but whose music really grew on me as I got older. Eden remembers the days of sitting in the front seat of her mother’s car, listening to the radio, switching between stations, while her mother was in the store. Sadly, leaving your child in a car alone, with the keys in the ignition so the kid can listen to the radio, now earns you a trip to prison and your children being taken from you. Not that there’s anything worth listening to on the radio these days. As Eden said, because of a few bad parents, we can’t have nice things anymore.

It was a freebie week for Monday’s Music Moves Me, so I celebrated the “dog days of summer” with a few songs about dogs. A lot of you liked the song “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo,” which I hated when it came out but kind of like now. A lot of music I hated then I love now. It was by a singer who called himself Lobo; at the same time we had two bands named Toto and Poco. Imagine our confusion. I got enough suggestions that tomorrow, which has been decreed as yet another “freebie” day, will feature your choices for dog songs. Be sure and join us.

So, that wraps up another edition of The Week That Was. Thanks for watching reading! See you this week!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Time won’t give me time, and time makes lovers feel like they’ve got something real #socs

A second. It’s the basic unit of time. Sure, you can split it up, but you have to have something to split, right?

Sixty seconds is a minute; sixty minutes is an hour; 24 hours is a day; 365 days is a year (actually, 365.2425 days is a year, but let’s keep this simple); a hundred years is a century. I’ll leave it to you to get your calculators (or slide rules, or pencil and paper, I don’t care) out and figure out how many seconds there are in a century.

Light travels 300,000,000 meters in a second. That’s about 186,000 miles in a second, if you’re talking about in a vacuum (which outer space is).

But, when you think about it, time is something contrived. Einstein said they invented time so that everything wouldn’t happen at once.

Animals have no concept of time. My cat Minnie in particular. Mary opens cans of food for the bunch at 1:00 PM. Around 12:30, Minnie starts nagging Mary to feed her. Mary tells her “it’s not one o’clock yet!” Doesn’t stop Minnie from nagging. If Mary makes the mistake of getting up and going into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, Minnie chases after her, and the rest of them follow her.

We always play with time. Daylight Saving Time, the bane of circadian rhythms, starts in March and ends in November. We “lose” an hour of sleep because the clocks are set forward one hour. We don’t actually lose it, we just call it something else, e.g. when it’s 2:00, we call it 3:00. Say you’re accustomed to going to bed at 11:00 PM and getting up at 7:00 AM. When Daylight Saving Time arrives at 1:00 AM, the clocks jump an hour and it becomes 2:00 AM. So if you wake up at 7:00, it’s actually 6:00 AM where your body is concerned.

Do you have a headache yet?

I’d go on, but my three hundred seconds is up…


Stream of Consciousness Saturdady is brought to you by Linda Hill each week. Isn’t it time you checked out the rules for the challenge and tried it yourself? Or at least visited the comment section and saw who else was doing this? I knew you’d agree…

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Friday Five: “Cat” Songs

I was listening to a Seventies channel on TuneIn and the first song for today came up, so I said “hey, let’s do ‘cat’ as the theme today!” I like cats. A lot. So, songs with “cat” in the title.

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart The title track from his 1976 album, this reached #8 on the Hot 100 in 1977, and while “Time Passages” did better, this is the song with which Al is identified.

Honky Cat – Elton John From his 1972 album Honky Chateau, this only reached #31 in the UK, but went all the way to #8 in the US, coming out as it did just as Sir Elton was starting a US tour.

Cat Scratch Fever – Ted Nugent The title track from his 1977 album, it only reached #30 in the US and #37 in Canada, but it’s a staple of classic rock stations and was named the #32 best hard rock song of all time by VH1, if anyone cares (does VH1 even play music anymore?).

Cat’s In The Cradle – Harry Chapin From Harry’s 1974 album Verities & Balderdash, it’s the only #1 in Harry’s tragically short career. It was nominated for a Grammy in 1975 (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance), and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009. (They have a Hall of Fame for everything, don’t they?)

Alley Cat – Bent Fabric Danish pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (a/k/a Bent Fabric) wrote this under the name Frank Bjorn. It was originally titled “Omkring et flygel” (“Around The Piano”). It reached #7 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1962. We had this album (with an adorable little kitty on the cover) at home; it disappeared somewhere between Rogers Park and Northfield. The clicks and pops tell you this was taken from the vinyl release.

Let me know what your favorite “cat” song is. If I get enough, I’ll do this with your choices next wee.

That’s your Friday Five for July 22, 2016.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hello Stranger” Results


So, in our last battle, the song was “Hello Stranger,” originally by Barbara Lewis. The contestants were The Capitols, who were managed by Barbara Lewis’s manager, who covered it in 1966, and Yvonne Elliman, who covered it roughly ten years later. Voting was light, but enough to yield this result…

The Capitols: 3
Yvonne Elliman: 6


Congratulations to Yvonne Elliman, and a pat on the back to The Capitols for a job well done.

Kip said “Cheating a little here: Yvonne’s version was a hit while I was in college, so she gets my vote!” That’s not cheating, as far as I’m concerned. See, in his case, he heard Yvonne Elliman’s version of the song on the radio as often as he heard The Capitols version coming from his brother’s room. See, I nearly played the grooves off that version when I was in high school, because I loved it that much. When I heard Yvonne’s version, I was, frankly, underwhelmed by it, even though it’s nearly identical to Barbara Lewis’s version, right down to the “Sh-bop sh-bop, oh baby”s at the beginning of it. Had it been a split decision, I would have given The Capitols the tie-breaking vote. But that’s all moot.

Next time, one of Kip’s more recent suggestions. That’ll be about nine days from today, on August 1. Be there or be square!

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Writer’s Workshop: Sun 2, Parents 0

Sunburns were a consequence of going out in the summer when I was a kid. Back in the Sixties we didn’t have sunscreen like we do today. In fact, we would use Johnson’s Baby Oil more often than not, which was supposed to be really good for getting a tan. So were Coppertone and Bain du Soleil (“for the San Tropez tan!”). We weren’t exactly poltically correct back in those days: the Coppertone bottles used to have a picture of a Native American on them, which I guess was to promise that you’d tan as dark as Sitting Bull if you used the product.

Being one of those Irish kids with a redhead complexion (according to my mother), I never did very well at getting a suntan. Sunburns were no problem, and until I figured out I should cover up as much as possible when I’m out in the sun, I used to get them with alarming frequency. I had so many sunburns, I couldn’t begin to tell you which one was the worst. My folks, on the other hand, had some of the worst sunburns I can remember.

We used to go to Assembly Park in Delavan, Wisconsin on vacation every year. We started doing that when I was going into second grade. Dad would book his vacation for the week before Labor Day, when it was still hot and sunny outside. He loved to play golf, and every morning he would get up and drive over to Lake Lawn Lodge on the other side of the lake, where they had a pretty good golf course, and he would look for a game. One day, he met several of the other men from Assembly Park, and they went off to play. It was a great day, ninety degrees and not a cloud in the sky. On the back nine, Dad decided to take his shirt off and finish the round shirtless. When they were through, one of the guys suggested they go around a second time. A couple of the men demurred, but Dad was up for it, and continued to play shirtless. In total, as I remember the story, he played something like 72 holes of golf, all but the first nine shirtless. When he got back to our cottage, he was a color somewhere between magenta and maroon. Needless to say, he didn’t play much more on that trip. Mom said she couldn’t move in bed, or it would wake my father, who woke up screaming each time. By the time we went home, he had begun peeling and looked like he had some sort of terrible skin condition.

The next year, it was Mom’s turn. She decided she wanted to go back with a glorious tan and spent every available moment out in the sun on a chaise longue, the straps of her bathing suit off her shoulders, smoking Chesterfield cigarettes and reading trashy novels, greasing herself up with Bain du Soleil about every half hour. After three days of this abuse, she woke up and saw she had blisters on her chest. She had gotten a second-degree burn that kept her in for the rest of the week, and ended up going to the doctor and getting some kind of salve that she had to apply three times a day.

And now, a public service announcement…

A suntan looks great, and there are people who spend time in tanning booths to maintain that George Hamilton look year-round. HOWEVER, ultraviolet rays from the sun and from tanning booths can wreak havoc on a person’s skin and can cause skin cancer, or worse, melanoma. That’s a very aggressive form of skin cancer that’s almost always fatal unless it’s caught early. My brother from Mom’s second marriage lost his father to it (a great loss to all of us), Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves lost his mother to it when he was only nine years old, and every year over ten thousand people die from it, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. So, if you spend a lot of time in the sun, wear sunscreen, stay covered up when you can, and watch your skin constantly for any signs of the disease (see the page linked above). Caught early, it’s almost always curable. Please, stay safe.

As always, thanks to Mama Kat for providing the prompts for today’s Workshop (which was, in my case, “Tell about the worst sunburn you ever received. How did that happen?”). She does this every week, and if you’d like to play along, click on the picture above for the rules.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#1LinerWeds from Ben Swann, CBS46 News

In a nation of three hundred million people, the idea that voters only have two choices makes no sense at all.

– Ben Swann, CBS46 Atlanta

Ben Swann of CBS46 news here in Atlanta said this as part of the “Reality Check” segment they run on the newscasts. Here’s the whole segment.

There are those who claim that American politics only work with a two-party system. You have your red choice and your blue choice, and if you don’t like it, tough shit. They’ll tell you sure, there are other candidates who run as Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, and others, but you’d have to be a “damn fool” to vote for them; might as well just stay home if you feel that way about it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more than half the eligible voters in this country stayed home on election day this year. There’s something wrong with that, isn’t there?


Each week, Linda Hill hosts One-Liner Wednesday. If you’d like to play along, the rules are at her site (though I don’t have a pingback address just yet…).

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Two for Tuesday: Leo Sayer

I think I was watching The Midnight Special one evening when one of the musical acts was a guy named Leo Sayer, who sang his song “The Show Must Go On” dressed as Pierrot, with the white makeup and everything. “That’s weird,” I said, but kind of liked the song. The following April, Three Dog Night did the song and made it a hit. Leo would go on to have several more hits that decade, though “The Show Must Go On” wasn’t one of them, at least not in the US (it reached #2 in the UK).

Here’s Sayer’s version of “The Show Must Go On” from 1973. Note the line “I won’t let the show go on,” repeated several times in the song. In Three Dog Night’s version, they changed the line to “I must let the show go on,” a change Leo wasn’t particularly happy with. This rose to #2 on the UK charts in 1973.

By 1977, Leo had built a sufficient fan base in the US to top the Hot 100, with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” which also won a Grammy for best R&B Song of the Year for him and co-writer Vini Poncia.

Things turned sour for Leo in the mid-Eighties. His divorce in 1985 showed that the money he earned was invested poorly by Adam Faith, his manager at the time, and later in the decade he sued his new management for mishandling his pension. He returned to performing in 1990 and toured himself back to financial security. He moved to Australia and became a citizen in 2009. Naturally, he has a website and a presence on Facebook and YouTube.

Leo Sayer, your Two for Tuesday, July 19, 2016.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing