Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Season’s Almost Over #socs


Logo of Major League Baseball (MLB). (Copyright Major League Baseball, used under fair use)

Baseball season, that is. The World Series starts next Tuesday. Right now, we know the Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the teams in the World Series. The other team will either be the New York Yankees or the Houston Astros, who are tied at three wins each in their best-of-seven series, so they’ll play one more game tonight, with the winner going to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers in a best-of-seven series. The series could end as early as next Saturday or as late as a week from next Wednesday. Then, the 2017 season will be over, and the offseason begins.

I’m only mildly interested in the World Series, since neither the Chicago White Sox nor the Atlanta Braves are in it. They both had a pretty awful season, so they were done on October 1. Right now, the focus of the fans of both teams, and of the other 26 teams in the Major Leagues, is what the front offices of their teams will do between now and the beginning of next season to make the teams better: who will get traded and for whom, what free agents the team will sign, what changes in the leadership of the teams (i.e. manager, coaches, front office personnel) might take place, things like that.

Baseball is the only sport I follow with any interest. It’s the only game I understand, the only one I’ve taken any real interest in. I watch some other sports when they happen to be on TV and there’s nothing else to watch, and I was kind of a hockey fan back in grammar school, but baseball was really the only game I cared about. (Although Mary and I went through a period where we became really interested in bull riding and other rodeo sports.)

So, for most baseball fans, the season ended three weeks ago, and we wait in anticipation for the second week of February, when pitchers and catchers report to the various teams’ training camps for Spring Training. The 2018 season officially starts March 29, the earliest it’s ever started.

I can’t wait…


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Friday, October 20, 2017

The Friday 5×2: “Hello” “Again” (with Manic Monday)

Great news! Sandi, over at Flip Flops Every Day, has a Manic Monday prompt this week!

Glad you’re back, Sandi! Now, here are the rules for Manic Monday:

Each Monday, I’ll present a new song title, and you come up with a post using it by next Sunday. Ping back to this post, so others can read! I just got back to blogging, so this is a few days late!

If you are not a WordPress user, provide link to your post in comments.

It can be fiction/non-fiction, poetry, subject can be dark, serious or humorous – however many characters you want- just have fun with it! It doesn’t have to pertain to the song, whatsoever. (click here for past song titles)

The rules are…there are no Rules! (except using the title of the song part)

Sandi’s prompt this week is “Hello Again” by The Cars. Since I do a playlist on Fridays, I thought that would be a good way to handle the prompt this week. Here’s what I did: I came up with ten songs, five that had “hello” in the title and five that had “again” in the title.

  1. Todd Rundgren, “Hello It’s Me” I remember hearing this on Wolfman Jack’s syndicated radio show and instantly liking it. It’s actually an older song, from 1968, and I understand it was the first song Todd composed. It was his only Top Ten hit, reaching #5 on the Hot 100 in 1973.
  2. Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Alone Again (Naturally) I’ve used this song in a number of playlists and I don’t care. It combines a nice tune with morose lyrics, and people liked that in 1972, when it spent six non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and was #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for the year.
  3. The Beatles, “Hello Goodbye” Most Beatles songs are credited to Lennon-McCartney, but after a while you can tell which of them wrote it. In this case, Paul wrote it and it was the first song released by The Fab Four after manager Brian Epstein died. It was a non-album track with “I Am The Walrus” as the flip side, but Capitol Records, who did stuff like this all the time, included it on the Magical Mystery Tour album. It was a #1 in the US (Billboard and Cash Box), the UK, Canada, Australia… pretty much everywhere in 1967-68.
  4. Gene Autry, “Back In The Saddle Again” This was Gene’s signature song, cowritten by him and Ray Whitley and first released in 1939.
  5. Lionel Richie, “Hello” You knew this was coming, right? Richie recorded this for his second solo album, 1983’s Can’t Slow Down, and it was the third song released from that album in 1984. It hit #1 on the Hot 100, the R&B chart, and the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as the RPM (Canada) Singles and Adult Contemporary charts.
  6. Dolly Parton, “Here You Come Again” Title track from her 1977 album, it was her first crossover hit, reaching #3 on the Hot 100, #7 on the RPM Singles chart, #1 on RPM‘s Country and Easy Listening charts, #1 on the Billboard Country chart and #2 on its Easy Listening charts.
  7. The Doors, “Hello, I Love You” Off of 1968’s Waiting For The Sun, it was released as a single that year and reached #1 in the US and Canada and #15 in the UK.
  8. The Three Degrees, “When Will I See You Again?” A song by Gamble and Huff, it was one of the most-successful “Philly Soul” songs, reaching #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #2 on the Hot 100, and #4 on the R&B charts in the US, and spent two weeks atop the UK Singles chart. The group sang this at Prince Charles’s 30th birthday party, so he must have been a fan.
  9. Louis Armstrong, “Hello, Dolly! One of Satchmo’s signature tunes, he released his record in 1964 and it ended The Beatles’ streak of three #1 singles in a row. It was #3 for the year, behind “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You,” and won the Grammy in 1965 for Song of the Year. It was the highlight of the 1969 movie of the musical that starred Barbra Streisand. I thought it was, anyway.
  10. Dionne Warwick, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” From the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, the team of Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and Dionne Warwick took this to #1 on the US and Canadian Adult Contemporary charts, #6 on the Billboard and Cash Box singles charts, and #3 on the Canadian singles chart. I was tempted to use Bobbie Gentry’s version, which spent 19 weeks on the UK singles chart, including one week at #1, but decided against it for some reason.

And that’s your Friday 5×2, as well as my entry in this week’s Manic Monday, for October 20, 2017.




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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Writer’s Workshop: My Mystery Flight

The prompt I’ve chosen today is “A blog post inspired by the word: film.” It reminded me of a story I told in (very) brief a couple of years ago.

A lttle over thirty (!) years ago, I was working as a Technical Support Representative, or TSR, which also stood for “traveling social reject.” Our primary job was to install clients’ software for them, and also to troubleshoot when their software went haywire and we couldn’t talk them through any solutions that worked over the phone. One of the other services we offered was to go onsite and talk techie-to-techie and answer whatever questions they might have about the software. We were pretty much on the road all the time.

This one week, all I had on my schedule was a quick trip to Rochester, New York to visit Eastman Kodak (who makes film, thus the connection with the prompt) that Thursday. The trip was arranged and I had my tickets and hotel reservations all made. The client would pick me up at the hotel and drive me to the airport when we were done. Simple, straighforward, and easy, right?

Well, I got a call Saturday night from a guy I work with. Seems his wife’s car broke down and she didn’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission, so he had to stay home for a couple of days. The problem was, he was supposed to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Monday to do an installation, and could I go and start the install for him? I said sure, no problem. We met at the office on Sunday so I could get the installation tapes, then he went home and I went to Grand Rapids, about a three hour drive from Chicago.

We had just gotten started with the install on Monday morning when I got a call from Mary. She told me that my Aunt Florence had passed away and that the funeral was on Wednesday. No, problem, I said; I was just there the two days, I’d be home Tuesday night, and we’d make the funeral.

Naturally, whenever you say something like that, you end up eating your words. The install was fraught with problems, and I didn’t leave until 2 AM Wednesday. I got home to Chicago at 4 AM and caught a short nap before we had to get up and drive to the North Side for the funeral. We made it with time to spare, attended the funeral, went to the cemetery, and begged off the luncheon afterward. I had to go to the office and get my tickets, Mary and I stopped for lunch, and we got home mid-afternoon.

I had hoped to get in a short nap before I left for the airport, but the caffeine and adrenaline I was running on prevented that from happening. I put a clean shirt, underwear, and a couple of toiletries into my briefcase, went to the airport and got on my 8 PM flight, chatted briefly with the flight attendant, and fastened my seat belt.

That’s the last thing I remembered until I was awakened by a ringing telephone. I opened my eyes and I was in a hotel room.

“Good morning, Mr. Holton, this is your six o’clock wakeup call,” a chipper female voice tole me.

“Can I ask a question?” I asked.

“Certainly, sir.”

“Where am I?”

“The Radisson Rochester Airport. You came in with the flight crew.”

Evidently, I fell asleep before we took off. When we got to Rochester, the flight attendant I chatted with on the ground in Chicago woke me, asked where I was staying, and since that’s where the crew stayed, they brought me with them to the hotel. I had managed to check in, request a wake-up call, get to my room, get undressed (my clothes were tossed on a chair) and into bed. None of which I could remember.

I got dressed and was ready to leave, and I couldn’t find my room key. It was still in the door.




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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My First Chicago Election (Wednesdays for My Wife)

We hear so much about voter fraud and possible interference by foreign countries in US elections these days, sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t go back to the old voting machines we used until the 1980’s.


Old voting machine. (source: Vintage Ad Browser)

When I first started voting in the Seventies, we used voting machines similar to the one shown in the picture. After getting past the phalanx of election judges, you would step into the machine and pull a red handle to close the curtain so no one could see who you were voting for. You then had a series of levers to pull. Easiest to do was to pull the big levers on one side for the two major parties (Republican and Democratic) and open the curtain, which would then register your vote as a straight ticket for that party. If you wanted to split your vote, you could flip the levers for each individual candidate, then open the curtain and have your votes recorded, more or less the way you cast them. And, if you didn’t like any of the candidates, you would have a little door that allowed you to write in the person of your choice.

I tell you all this so you’ll understand this story, about my first time voting in Chicago.

I was working third shift at Newly Weds Foods at the time, about a year after Mary and I were married. I got off work at seven on Election Day and stopped to vote before I went home, at about seven-thirty. Among the election judges were Vi, the lady who lived downstairs from us, who was British and had been a war bride, and Bernice, a lady who lived a couple of doors down from us and was a good neighbor, but not exactly the most pleasant person to deal with. She was the typical nosy neighbor who listened to the police scanner to find out if anything was going on nearby, and was always peeking out her window.

I went through the whole rigamaole of identifying myself, signing an affadavit that said that I was who I said I was (not that all that matters in Chicago), got checked off in the book, then Bernice directed me to one of the voting machines. I pulled the red lever to close the curtain, and set about casting my ballot. I got to the race for 12th ward alderman, and had no idea about either of the guys running, so I opened the little write-in door, wrote “John Holton” in #3 pencil in the space provided, closed the little door, and pulled the red lever to open the curtain and record my vote. Having thusly performed my civic duty, I went home and went to bed.

That evening, I was about to leave for work, and I heard all this laughing and heavy footsteps coming up the back stairs. It was Vi, home from a day of being an election judge. Evidently, when they saw that a write-in vote had been cast, they had to figure out how to get the paper out of the machine. Bernice was the lucky person who got to take the roll of paper out, and she managed to practically wrap herself up in it. Since the paper advanced a foot or so every time someone voted, and since our precinct had a good turnout, and since I had voted so early in the day, it took them forever to find where I had written myself in.

Needless to say, Bernice was not happy (or rather, especially grumpy) the next time she saw me. “What the hell were you doin’, votin’ for yerself? Don’t ever do that again, ya hear me?”

We changed to punch cards after that, unfortunately. I was really looking forward to writing Bernice in for Cook County Recorder of Deeds…

WFMW



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How Many Of You Do This? #1LinerWeds

We don’t have a land line anymore, so one of us always has to know where their cellphone is.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now this word about Baggies.




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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Two For Tuesday: The Chordettes (Baby Boom Years)

My Uncle Jack commented yesterday that he remembered all the songs from yesterday and especially liked “Mister Sandman.” That had me searching for more songs by the group, and finally I decided, if I was going to do that much work, I’d go ahead and feature them today.

From Sheboygan, Wisconsin, The Chordettes were inspired to do close harmony by member Jinny Osborn’s father, O. H. “King” Cole, who was the president of SPEBSQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America), now known as The Barbershop Harmony Society. As we talked about yesterday, they had a huge hit in 1954 with “Mister Sandman,” which topped the charts in the US that year (as well as #11 in the UK). In all, the had nine Top 40 hits, including four Top Ten singles, between 1954 and 1963.

Their next Top Ten hit was 1956’s “Born To Be With You,” which reached #5 in the US and #8 in the UK.

Their second-biggest hit was 1958’s “Lollipop.” It reached #2 nationally, #3 on the R&B chart, and #6 in the UK. This is a karaoke version that was based on a TV appearance; Andy Williams provides the “pop”s.

The Chordettes appeared on the first national showing of American Bandstand on August 5, 1957. Their last Top 40 hit was 1961’s “Never On Sunday,” from the movie of the same name. Here’s a list of all their singles, most of which are available on YouTube.

The Chordettes, your Two For Tuesday, October 17, 2017.




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Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Today would have been my parents’ 63rd wedding anniversary. In honor of the day, here are some hits from October of 1954. I worked off the chart built by TSoft and picked the highest-ranking songs for the month.

  1. The Chordettes, “Mister Sandman” Their best-known song, it reached #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in October 1954, spending twenty and twenty-three weeks (respectively) on those charts.
  2. Kitty Kallen, “Little Things Mean A Lot” One night, I was watching the Braves game, and Skip Caray (son of Harry) tried to sing this to describe how the Braves were doing the little things to win. It reached #1 in Australia and spent five weeks on their chart.
  3. Don Cornell, “Hold My Hand” From the 1954 film Susan Slept Here starring Dick Powell and Debbie Reynolds. It was nominated for an Academy Award that year (the song, not the movie). Cornell’s version reached #1 in the UK and spent five weeks there.
  4. Rosemary Clooney, “This Ole House” This was the flip side to her previous hit, “Hey There.” It reached #1 in the UK after reaching #1 in the US earlier that year. The bass voice is provided by Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger, spokescartoon for Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes (now Kellogg’s Golden Flakes) all these years.
  5. Perry Como, “Papa Loves Mambo” The best-known version of this, it was released in August and peaked at #4 in October.
  6. Doris Day, “If I Give My Heart To You” Accompanied by The Mellotones. Doris reached #4 on the Disk Jockey chart, #4 on the Best Seller chart, and #3 on the Juke Box chart in October.
  7. Dean Martin, “Sway” Only reached #15 on the Billboard chart, but went to #6 in the UK in October.
  8. De Castro Sisters, “Teach Me Tonight” The DeCastros were raised in Havana in a family mansion which was later seized by Fidel Castro and is now the Chinese Embassy. Originally, “Teach Me Tonight” was the B side, with “It’s Love” as the A side, but Cleveland disc jockey Bill Randall flipped the record over and it became the big hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard in October 1954.
  9. Vera Lynn, “My Son, My Son” Her only hit in the UK, it reached #1 in October.
  10. Petula Clark, “The Little Shoemaker” The Gaylords also had a hit with this in the US, but this turned out to be Petula Clark’s first #1 hit in the UK. It reached #1 in Australia for two weeks in October.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both and miss you more than I can say.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 16, 2017.

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


Photobucket



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Sunday, October 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “I Only Have Eyes For You”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

“I Only Have Eyes For You” was written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1934 movie Dames, which starred Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler. Here’s the original version, from the movie. It’s done later in the movie as a Busby Berkeley production number.

This song has been done a lot, most notably by The Flamingoes in the Fifties; their version was copied by Art Garfunkel in the Seventies. I’m not going to use either of those versions in this battle, because people are quite familiar with them. Likewise, Frank Sinatra is famous for the song, so I won’t use him, either. Instead, here are a couple of obscure versions you might not have heard.

CONTESTANT #1: Ben Selvin and His Orchestra, Howard Phillips vocal From 1934. Ben Selvin started recording for Victor in 1919 and for a number of labels until 1927, when he signed with Columbia. He was A&R director for Columbia from 1927 through 1934, and again from the late 1940’s until the mid-1950’s.

CONTESTANT #2: Freddy Gardner with Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra Freddy Gardner was a well-known British saxophonist who by the late 1940’s was a featured soloist for Peter Yorke, who was heard regularly on the BBC. This is from 1948.

So, now it’s up to you: which version of the song did you prefer, Ben Selvin’s or Freddy Gardner’s? Let me know by leaving a comment below, telling me your choice and a little bit as to why. Then, bop on over to Stephen T. McCarthy’s Battle of the Bands blog, where you’ll find a list of the other blogs which might or might not be doing a BotB today as well. I’ll announce the winner as part of next Sunday’s The Week That Was post, so get your vote to me before then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Ben and Freddy!




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The Halfway-Thru-October Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson’s Micrin oral antiseptic. Most effective mouthwash you can buy to stop bad breath germs!

I think we used Micrin at home a time or two. Kind of like Scope, but the commercials weren’t as much fun.

The Week That Was

Summer’s been hanging on here, but we’ll get some relief this week. I go to the orthopedist on Thursday to see about hyaluronic acid injections. The stuff is supposed to replace the fluid in the knees and provide more of a cushion. I was going to start aquatic therapy, but Mary thought I might want to do this first. So that’s what I’ll do. Here’s the summary from last week.

The theme this week was songs about autumn. I had a little trouble with it, but came up with ten anyway, then received ten suggestions for Friday and several after that was published, which I’ve added to the playlist. Thanks to Mark and Martha for their suggestions.

The featured artist was Nat King Cole. He had a remarkably full career, both in music and in television, and died when he was just 45.

I fell back on one of my favorite quotable writers, H. L. Mencken, for this week’s one-liner. He’s a veritable font of them.

WFMW

I told another story on myself, this one about the collection of (empty) liquor bottles I amassed in my attempt at turning my bedroom into a swingin’ bachelor pad in the Sixties. Mom put up with it much longer than I thought she would.

The prompt I chose was to “write a post inspired by the word ‘homework’.” I talked about the current trend of not assigning homework to kids, with the hope they’ll spend more time with their families, read a book that’s not required for school, or get to bed early so they can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning. Naturally, there were a lot of strong opinions about it, most of which were that, while necessary, homework shouldn’t be too excessive. I’m inclined to agree, because I know me well enough to know that, when I wasn’t assigned homework, I didn’t do anything.

Our prompt was “well,” so I started a word with it (Wellbutrin) and ended one with it (inkwell, as in “Out Of The Inkwell”), giving me an excuse to show some Max Fleischer cartoons.

As soon as I finish this, I’ll be working on my Battle of the Bands, so look for that later. Tomorrow is a freebie on M4, and since it’s also my parents’ 63rd wedding anniversary, I’ll probably come up with something special. Another artist from the Baby Boom Years on Tuesday, andother one-liner on Wednesday, I’ll have to see the prompts for Thursday and Saturday, and I’ll have to come up with something special for Friday. In short, another typical week here at The Sound of One Hand Typing.

Birgit, Michele, GhostMMNC, NewEpicAuthor, Janet, Eugenia, Maggie Wilson, J-Dub, CalensAriel, Martha Reynolds, 15AndMeowing, Dan Antion, Sandi, lecycliste, Uncle Jack Connelly, Morgan, McGuffy’s Reader, Lauralynn Elliott, Abby, Angie, Beverly Nickerson, Joey, brother Kip, Arlee Bird, Miriam Hurdle, HilaryMB, Cathy Kennedy, brother Pat, Ed Thierbach, Joyce Lansky, Patrick Weseman, Mary B, XmasDolly, Alana Mautone, The Armchair Squid, Hailey and Zaphod and Their Lady, and everyone who gave me a “like.”

And that’s it for this edition of The Week That Was. See you in the funny papers!




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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Well, Well, Well… #socs

Today’s prompt is “well,” and I can think of two things I can write about.


Wellbutrin (bupropion) (source)

One of them is bupropion, the generic version of the antidepressant Wellbutrin. I’ve been taking it for over ten years, even before I had the stroke. In fact, I was in the process of changing over from bupropion to fluoxetine (Prozac) when I had the stroke, and they switched me back. My depression was getting worse a few years ago and my doctor doubled my dose, where I take it twice a day rather than once, and I felt better. So I guess it’s working.

The other thing is a series of cartoons called Out Of The Inkwell, starring Koko the Clown, or as he was named originally, Ko-Ko. Koko was the invention of Max Fleischer, who needed a cartoon to demonstrate his new invention, the Rotoscope, which allows the cartoonist to base his drawings on live action. Koko was based on Max’s brother Dave, who put on a clown costume and performed for the camera. Max then did his drawings and the rest was history. Here’s one from 1924 called “A Trip To Mars.” Yes, it’s a silent…

Fleischer’s cartoons (besides Koko, there was Betty Boop, Popeye, and Bimbo, Betty’s dog/boyfriend) were not for kids, and some of the early Betty Boop cartoons were rather risqué and banned for various reasons. An example is “HA! HA! HA!” She shares the bill with Koko, and the two of them get high together on laughing gas…

They revived Koko in the late Fifties and made 100 new cartoons, in color, with sound, in 1960-61. When WFLD in Chicago started showing cartoons in the afternoon, they showed the new Kokos, because WGN had all the good cartoons.

Fleischer was a genius, and his Rotoscope is still being used, albeit in a more modern form. Ralph Bakshi used it in many of his productions, it was used by the animators of the Peanuts classic It’s The Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, and it’s been used a lot since then.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Folger’s Instant Coffee. Tastes like fresh-perked!




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Friday, October 13, 2017

The Friday 5×2: Your Autumn Songs

You all managed to come up with ten songs about Autumn to go along with the ten I did on Monday, and I’m sure that you’ll come up with even more after we finish here. Here’s your list.

  1. Guns ‘n Roses, “November Rain” My brother Patrick came up with this suggestion, and apologized that it’s a long one. G n’ R released this in 1992 from their Use Your Illusion I album. It climbed all the way to #3 on the Hot 100, making it the longest song ever to break the Top Ten.
  2. Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” Ed Thierbach had several suggestions for this list. I was always under the impression that the event this song remembers happened a hundred years ago, but it happened in November 1975. Almost exactly a year later, this song reached #1 in Canada, #1 on the Cash Box survey, and #2 (behind Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night”) on the Hot 100.
  3. Neil Diamond, “September Morn” Another one from Ed. Since they won’t be playing Neil’s “Sweet Caroline” at Red Sox games until next spring, it’s oddly appropriate. It was the title track from Neil’s 1979 album, and his 30th Top 40 single, reaching #17 on the Hot 100, #14 on the Cash Box survey, #7 on the Record World survey, and #1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart.
  4. Jerry Orbach, “Try To Remember” Sandi gave me this suggestion and the next. This is from the 1960 musical The Fantasticks and is sung by the man who first sang it on Broadway, who many of you know as Det. Lenny Briscoe from Law & Order. I like this the best of any version of it.
  5. Robert Goulet, “If Ever I Would Leave You” Sandi’s second suggestion is from the 1960 musical Camelot, written by Lerner & Loewe. Robert Goulet is the first to sing it on Broadway, another man with a fantastic voice.
  6. Justin Hayward, “Forever Autumn” Eugenia thought of this. The song was written by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass and was part of Wayne’s musical Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds.
  7. Basil Poledouris, “Hymn To Red October” Ed came up with this. It was part of the soundtrack for the 1990 film The Hunt For Red October.
  8. Sonny Boy Williamson II, “November Boogie” This was from Dan Antion, who said a blind man who was at his father’s bowling alley heard Dan’s birthday was in November and started playing this one. It was on a 1966 EP with several other songs.
  9. Vivaldi, “Autumn” Birgit went classical on us and took this from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. It full name is Concerto No. 3 in F Major, Opus 8, RV 293, “L’Autunno.”
  10. Green Day, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” 15 And Meowing thought of this one, which I wouldn’t have. It was released in 2005 as the fourth single from their 2004 album American Idiot, rose to #6 on the Hot 100, and has been certified platinum.

Thanks to everyone who suggested songs. That’s the Friday 5×2 for October 13, 2017.




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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Writer’s Workshop: Homework: Yea or Nay?

Let’s start with some appropriate music: Otis Rush, “Homework.”

The J. Geils Band did a version of this on their live album, 1972’s Full House. It was the version I heard first, because I didn’t have access to the Otis Rush version until… well, just now.

But that’s neither here no there.

I have never been a parent, so I don’t know what it’s like having to be like Simon Legree and stand over kids while they do their homework under duress. But I was a kid once and remember what it was like having to do my homework under duress, and believe me, I hated it. There were better things to do at night, like watch TV, listen to a White Sox game, play my guitar, read a book besides a textbook, read the newspaper or magazine, or even go to bed early.

Evidently, quite a few teachers have stopped assigning daily homework. They’ve come to the conclusion that the kids have better things to do than yank out their schoolbooks after spending six hours with it and do more of it. A lot of teachers now look for their students to do twenty minutes of reading, then fill out some kind of a log that their parents have to sign of on, that goes to the teacher, but that’s still homework, even if it’s not a textbook. So they’ve stopped demanding a reading log, too.

Believe me, I would have loved it as a kid. So much of it was just busywork (“for homework, do the hundred problems on this page”), and if the teacher didn’t check it, I was more likely not to do it. I was a pretty lousy student. I was smart and got good grades through grammar school (grades 1-8), and was usually able to bluff my way through most assignments, which was what I did nine times out of ten. That wasn’t so easy when I got to high school, and by the time I went to “university,” it really became a struggle to keep my head above water.

So, I can see good things about not having daily homework, but can also see some undesirable things happening. Still, if it means that kids have more time to read or get some sleep, I’m all for it. Mom, who taught for 37 years, always said if you could read, you could learn anything. I had a friend in college who I learned later had my mother in fourth grade. He couldn’t read, so Mom told him he had to read a book every week and turn in a book report every Monday. He ended up going to medical school, so I guess he learned to read.

I don’t have kids, so I’ll have to defer to the mothers here: what do you think? Do your kids get homework every day? Do you have to stand over them with a whip to get them to do it? Does homework help or hurt? To quote Ross Perot, I’m all ears…




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesdays For My Wife: My Bottle Collection

Everybody collects stuff when they’re a kid. Postcards, trading cards (baseball, football, hockey, The Man From UNCLE, Beatles etc.), records, books, bottle caps, coins and stamps are all typical things for the average kid to want to collect. But, as you probably have figured out by now, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a typical kid. What did I collect?

Liquor bottles.

Why? To be honest, I really have no idea, but I think I wanted to project the image of a charming, suave and debonair international playboy, completely with a well-stocked bar in his “bachelor pad.” I mean, this was the late Sixties, and James Bond, Napoleon Solo, “Broadway” Joe Namath, Hugh Hefner et al. were always in the public eye and imagination, especially the imaginations of twelve-year-old boys.


Charming, suave and debonair international playboy John Holton, age twelve.

Of course, I was about as charming, suave and debonair as Jethro Bodine. But that didn’t stop me.

Anyway, any time a liquor bottle was drained in my house, I would take it to my room (at times after fishing it out of the garbage), clean it up and set it on my nightstand. After a few months, I had amassed quite a collection. But something was missing: all the bottles were empty. I decided they had to be filled up with something. Water would do for the clear liquids (e.g. gin) and for the tinted bottles (e.g. vermouth, Cutty Sark), but I had to come up with an idea for the bourbon bottles.

After giving it about 30 seconds of thought, I hit on the perfect solution: iced tea! (We lived up north, so it was unsweetened iced tea, from a jar.)

Twenty minutes later, I had a well-stocked bar, complete with partially-filled liquor bottles. At some point, I also decided I needed mixers, so I would add empty ginger ale and tonic water bottles to the mix. And I saw it looked authentic, and I was happy. It was Playboy After Dark in my room overlooking the alley behind Arthur Avenue.

For a couple of weeks, anyway, until mold started to form on the surface of the tea in a couple of the bourbon bottles. When that happened, I would shake the bottle and the mold would disintegrate, and all would be well again.

Mom did a good job of holding her tongue until one day, when she went into my room and saw that my bottle collection more closely resembled a bootleg penicillin-making facility than the well-stocked bar of a charming, suave and debonair international playboy, and made me get rid of it. I guess she also talked to one of her friends, who complained that her son (a classmate of mine) had been over to my house, saw my collection, and decided to build one of his own, at least until she saw it and told him to get rid of it.

My days as a charming, suave and debonair international playboy were at an end.

WFMW



from The Sound of One Hand Typing

More from the Bard of Baltimore #1LinerWeds

I feature a lot of H. L. Mencken quotes, largely because there are so many of them and they appeal to my irascible, grumpy self.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Bounty paper towels. They absorb like magic!

Of course, now we have ketchup bottles that squirt where you aim them…




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Two For Tuesday: Nat King Cole (Baby Boom Years)

Nat King Cole had over 100 hit singles, both as a solo act and with the King Cole Trio, between 1940 and his death in 1965. He had a popular TV show in the Fifties, which was one of the first shows with an African-American host (and which folded largely due to lack of national sponsorship). Looking at MusicVF, these were his top-charting singles for the period.

“Mona Lisa” was written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the 1950 film Captain Carey, USA. It won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Nat’s arrangement was done by Nelson Riddle and he was backed by Les Baxter and His Orchestra. The song spent 8 weeks atop the Billboard singles chart that year and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992.

“Too Young” was releaed in February 1951, spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Singles chart and 29 weeks on the Best Seller chart. Billboard ranked it the #1 song for all of 1951. It was written by Sidney Lippman and Sylvia Dee.

Nat King Cole earned a lot of money for Capitol Records, so much so that the Capitol Records Building at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles is sometimes referred to as “The House That Nat Built.” Nat had many more hits throughout his career, all of which have been added to YouTube by Bob Moke, a/k/a MusicProf78, so check out his archive for more.

Nat King Cole, your Two for Tuesday, October 10, 2017.




from The Sound of One Hand Typing

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Autumn Is Falling

This one gave me a little trouble. There are lots of songs about spring, summer, and winter, but autumn? Not quite so many. I found ten, and I’m sure there are plenty more. Here are the ten I found.

  1. Chet Baker, “Autumn Leaves” Actually kind of a supersession with Baker, Paul Desmond (saxophone), Bob James (piano), Ron Carter (bass) and Steve Gadd (drums). I think Desmond’s contributions might have been dubbed in from an earlier session; I know the film of him is probably from the Sixties.
  2. Leon Redbone, “Shine On Harvest Moon” I love Leon’s voice and the approach he took to this one.
  3. Neil Young, “Harvest Moon” Title track of his 1992 album, which many people see as a sequl to his Harvest album from the Seventies.
  4. Jimmy Durante, “September Song” Yes, Durante lost my Battle of the Bands to The Platters last September, and no, I don’t care, I love the way Jimmy does it.
  5. Earth, Wind and Fire, “September” Released in November 1978, it reached #1 on the R&B chart and #8 on the Hot 100.
  6. Tom Waits, “November” Tom’s voice kind of sounds like it should be autumn, regardless of what season it is out there.
  7. The Mamas & The Papas, “California Dreamin'” I know the lyrics say it’s winter, but the image of brown leaves and a gray sky says autumn, so I went with it.
  8. The Happenings, “See You In September” Any excuse to play this one. I love the harmony, which gives this a Four Seasons vibe.
  9. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, “Autumn In New York” The more I hear them together, the better I like it. You wouldn’t think it would work, but somehow it does.
  10. Hall & Oates, “Fall In Philadelphia” From their 1972 debut album.

You know the drill: if you have additions to make, drop me a comment, and I’ll play them Friday if there are enough. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 9, 2017.

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


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from The Sound of One Hand Typing