The Friday Five: Happy Birthday!

Wanted to feature five people who have a birthday today!

Astrud – Basia Once a vocalist with Matt Bianco (it’s a trio), she hit it big with “Time And Tide” and is a favorite on smooth jazz radio. Her full name is Barbara Trzetrzelewska, which is why she’s called Basia.

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen I recognized the name, and I knew the song, but never put the two together. This was nominated for a Grammy in 1982.

Wedding Bell Blues – Marilyn McCoo One of the original members of The Fifth Dimension, she’s been married to another original member, Billy Davis Jr., since 1969. She stepped to the forefront with the group with this song.

Bang A Gong – Marc Bolan (T. Rex) Sadly, Marc died in a car accident two weeks shy of his 30th birthday, in 1977. He was the leader of the glam-rock band T. Rex in the early Seventies, and is considered one of the pioneers of the genre.

This One’s Gonna Hurt You – Marty Stuart with Travis Tritt One of the more traditional country singers, he merges in honky-tonk and rockabilly effortlessly. He’s featured here with Travis Tritt, who’s from my area and whose family owned a big chunk of it, including where my house is built.

Happy birthday to Basia, Patrice, Marilyn, Marc, Marty, my cousin Mary Ann, my nephew Dylan, and everyone else celebrating their birthday today! That’s your Friday Five for September 30, 2016.

Writer’s Workshop: Mistaken

There was once a man who always made the wrong choices. He chose the wrong university to go to, the wrong major, met and married the wrong woman, took the wrong job… pretty much everything he chose was the wrong thing. Finally, he decides to reboot his life, to get on a ship and sail off to a place where he could start again, this time making the right choices.

Needless to say, he chose the wrong ship to get on, and halfway across the ocean a terrible storm blew in. The ship was tossed from side to side, each time taking on more water, and the man knew the ship was going to capsize. Desperately, he cries out, “Saint Francis, save me!”

And a voice came from heaven…

“St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Francis Xavier?”

(Many thanks to Dave Allen for that joke.)

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. I’m not sure they (whoever they are) are right. I mean, 20/20 would mean you could see everything perfectly, and when it comes to looking back, I doubt that’s possible.

I mean, if you look at your situation when you were eighteen when you’re sixty, you tend to forget that you’ve had 42 years to think about it. That’s 42 years of experience you didn’t have at eighteen. You see it through the eyes of a sixty-year-old person. You didn’t have that perspective at eighteen, or 22, or 35, or 45, or whenever. There’s that whole “live and learn” thing, something you usually think of after you’ve screwed up. It’s like Vern Law once said, life is a cruel teacher, giving the exam before teaching the lesson.

Since my stroke almost ten years ago, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back, identifying things I now know were bad moves, but which seemed like a good idea at the time. I don’t know why I bother; there ain’t nothing I can do about any of it now. What’s the point?

Recently I saw a video that offered seven mysteries of existence. Real heady stuff. One of the mysteries says that there exist an infinite number of parallel universes, in which there might be a very slight difference from the one we’re living in now. I’d like to think that I got those things right in at least one of those universes.

Another proposition is that our universe is a plaything for someone else, and that person spends his lunch hour screwing with us. If I ever find that person, he’s getting a knee in the groin. On the other hand, maybe it’s like the end of St. Elsewhere. Remember that last scene?

So maybe our universe is under the control of an autistic boy, who spends hours staring into a snowglobe, deep in his own world. Or maybe it’s more like this alternate explanation for the TV show Friends.

But what do I know? I’m probably mistaken.

#1LinerWeds from Dick Tracy

Six two and even, over and out!
– Dick Tracy

When I was in first grade, my favorite TV show was “Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers!” It starred Ray Rayner, a local celebrity who appeared on many WGN kids’ shows over the years, as Sgt. Pettibone, who had a puppet dog companion that the viewers named Tracer.


Ray Rayner as Sgt. Pettibone, with Tracer (Public Domain)

The show mostly consisted of Ray and Tracer (created and voiced by Roy Brown) interacting with each other in between episodes of “The Dick Tracy Show“, a UPA cartoon (UPA was also responsible for “Mister Magoo” and the “Frosty The Snowman” cartoon I feature at Christmastime) that used the Dick Tracy character to introduce its not-at-all politically correct characters, who would then fight the crime and catch the bad guys, whereupon Tracy would reappear and drag the miscreants off to justice (given the general tenor of the newspaper “Dick Tracy” cartoon, this probably meant taking them out to the alley behind the police station and shooting them). I talked about this cartoon last Thursday, where I also supplied a sample video, so go over there if you want to see what I’m talking about.

When they canceled “Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers!” I was inconsolable. I cried for half an hour, until my mother “called the station” (actually, acted like she was calling WGN) and said they told her it’d be back in September. You know six-year-olds; I immediately forgot about it, and when “Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers!” wasn’t on the fall lineup, I didn’t notice.


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One-Liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill.

A Bizarre Bus Ride

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Talking about buses the other day reminded Mary of a bus trip she took when we lived in Chicago. It’s one of our favorite stories.

One day, Mary got on the bus to go downtown, and saw a man sitting on one of the front seats beside a pile of newspapers. “Don’t touch my newspapers! Those are my newspapers!”

She thought, “okayyyy,” and found a seat a safe distance away from him.

She watched him, and noticed that he’d pick up his stack of newspapers and move with them to an empty seat before every stop along the way, and when a new crowd of people got on the bus, he’d repeat, “Don’t touch my newspapers! Those are my newspapers!” It was a fairly long ride downtown, and soon everyone on the bus was watching him as this drama unfolded.

Finally, at one of the stops in the Loop, the man gets up and gets off the bus.

Empty-handed.

Leaving his newspapers on one of the seats.

As Mary (and probably everyone else on the bus) was thinking it, a woman said, “Hey! He forgot his newspapers!”

Two For Tuesday: Julie London

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I think most of us know Julie London as Dixie McCall, RN on the TV show Emergency! in the Seventies. The show was produced by her first husband, Jack Webb, and also starred her second husband, musician Bobby Troup, as Dr. Joe Early. She started her entertainment career as an actress, acting in 45 movies and TV shows, including 1956’s The Lady Can’t Help It with Jayne Mansfield and Tom Ewell (she appears to a drunk Tom Ewell early in the movie).

Today, though, I want to feature Julie London the jazz singer. She recorded 29 studio albums over a recording career that spanned from 1955 to 1969. Her first single, “Cry Me A River,” accompanied by Barney Kessel on guitar and Ray Brown on bass, was her most successful, reaching #9 on the Hot 100. That was the most chart success she had (her last single, “Like To Get To Know You,” reached #15 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1969), but her albums were reasonably successful, as much for their erotic (for the Fifties) album jackets as for her singing.

“Perfidia,” from Latin In A Satin Mood (1963)

“Black Coffee,” from Around Midnight (1960)

She retired from both acting and singing at 52, when Emergency! was cancelled. She suffered a stroke in 1995 and died in 2000, the year after Troup died, on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

Julie London, your Two For Tuesday, September 27, 2016.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Yvette Young

Freebie day today, so I’d like to introduce you to a young woman whose guitar playing blows me away, not just to hear, but to watch.

I found Yvette Young on Instagram, where she often posts clips of herself playing portions of her songs. She was the frontwoman for the “math rock” band Covet, and is now on her own. Her music, whether with Covet or as a solo, is delicate and hypnotic. Some might say her music is “repetetive”; I prefer to think of it as “meditative.” She plays a seven-string headless Standberg guitar with MG pickups as well as an American Standard Telecaster; I’m not sure what she plays for acoustic (earlier videos show her with a Martin). She also plays the violin and piano, and I’ve seen her with a harp…

Sea Dragon (with Covet)

Adventure Spirit (with Melody Huang on cello)

Nautilus (with Covet)

Hydra

A Map A String A Light

She has a website on Bandcamp, and of course on Facebook and YouTube.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Yvette’s music as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for September 26, 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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The “Fun With Spam” Week That Was

Before I get started, I want to share a couple of the spam comments I received today. Both list the same URL as the source (which I will not dignify by linking to it), although they come from two different (and most likely phony) email accounts. The first one:

The the very next time I read a blog, Lets hope that it doesnt disappoint me about that one. What i’m saying is, Yes, it was my method to read, but I just thought youd have some thing interesting to mention. All I hear is a lot of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy trying to find attention.

And the second:

I simply added this site to my bookmarks. I love reading you. It had been quite helpful and solved the issue tons

Another comment exposed the way I think these are sent out: there’s a spambot being sold by someone that attempts to dump comments on blogs that attaches a random complimentary comment (with numerous SPaG errors) to the URL they want you to click on. Obviously, the person who left this comment hasn’t learned how to use the program (or most likely the app) and dumped all the bogus comments, which are evidently pipe-delimited (this is the pipe character: |). A small sample, as verbatim as I can make it:

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Blogging is fun! Anyway, this week’s Week That Was is sponsored by Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes. They’re GRRRRRRRRREAT!

The Week That Was

Fall arrived on Thursday, so of course it’s still hot and humid here in The South. We’re supposed to get rain tomorrow, then a welcome if temporary cool period.

(Click on the images to go to the posts.)

Our theme last Monday was “songs about music,” so I gave you five songs I thought represented the genre well. Mollie said that “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” was written by Eric Bogle, who also performed it in his odd Australian-Scots accent. Here it is so we can all enjoy the experience.

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I debuted my new “Two For Tuesday” badge this week, when the featured artist was June Christy. Uncle Jack said my grandfather used to go around singing “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy” when he was “foolin’ around the house.” She was singing with Stan Kenton in 1946 when it was recorded. Have a listen…

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This week’s one-liner was the refrain from Billy Currington’s song, which, incidentally, was one of the contestants in Arlee Bird’s Battle of the Bands. It won that contest, by the way. Uncle Jack said “Sounds like a perfect bedtime prayer for this particular political season!” Uh huh…

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

Speaking of Battle of the Bands, mine was won by Engelbert Humperdinck, who was born Arnold Dorsey. Just thought you’d like to know that…

One of Mama Kat’s prompts this week was “something you wanted to be when you grew up.” I wasn’t like normal kids, who wanted to be actors, doctors, lawyers, etc. I wanted to be a cab driver, mostly for the hat. As I got older, I wanted to work in TV or radio, a blow to my mother, who wanted me to be an engineer, the best reason I could think of not to be an engineer. I had considered majoring in Computer Science at Northwestern, but gave that up because it was an engineering degree, meaning I’d have to take physics, the other reason not to go into engineering. I ended up as a computer guy anyway. Those were the days businesses didn’t want Computer Science majors, preferring those with business degrees who had taken a couple of computer courses. Anyway, Kat said she agreed that you wear all kinds of hats as a blogger, which is why she loves it so much.

I dedicated this week’s Friday Five to songs you selected that went along with the previous week’s Stream of Consciousness post about songs with words that end in “-est.” There were eleven in all, seven of which were suggested by members of my family (brother Pat and sister-in-law Annette, Kip, and Uncle Jack). Thanks to everyone who suggested songs. It made my life easier.

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Buses were the topic of my Stream of Consciousness entry this week. Freyathewriter and A Darkened House mentioned they don’t drive, although Freya said she’s waiting until she has the time to focus on learning. Deborah mentioned she grew up in San Francisco, which has an excellent bus-and-trolley system, as well as the cable cars. It’s true: you can get just about anywhere on the bus there. Jacqueline said that, while she drives, she likes taking the bus occasionally, because she likes to watch people. I’ll have a story Mary told me about people-watching on the bus later this week. It’s a favorite of ours…

And that’s it for this edition of The Week That Was. This week, all the regular features including a Battle of the Bands, Wednesday for Mary, and a thing or two besides that. Have a good week, and I’ll see you soon!

Public Transit Memories #socs

I didn’t drive until I was 28, so, as you can probably imagine, I’ve ridden a lot of buses in my time, at all hours of the day and night. I grew up in Chicago, and practically everyone, at one time or another, takes either the bus or the “Rapid Transit,” their name for the elevated trains and subways, although we just tended to call them “The L.”

I used to hate those calls at 1 AM to tell me that an application had crashed and that I would need to go in and fix it. It meant I’d have to get dressed and catch two buses to get to the office, then walk across the Loop to the office, fix the problem (which might take all of ten minutes and was usually something the operator could have fixed because the process was carefully documented in the documentation they sent back a hundred times for me to add explanations on how to fix the sort of problem I was called in to fix), then walk back across the Loop and catch the same two buses back home. By the time I got home, it was 4 AM and the alarm would ring in two hours.

When I was in college, I used to take the L to school. It took about half an hour and let me off two blocks from school. One morning, when I had to get to school in time to take an exam, I decided that I had enough time to take the bus, and that I would find it less stressful. Naturally, the bus got stuck in traffic and I had about ten minutes to take the exam. I didn’t do as badly as you might think, but I also didn’t do as well as I needed to. That was the last time I took the bus to school.

In high school, I would take the train to Roosevelt Road then take the bus down Roosevelt to school. Then a friend showed me that I could get off the train at one of the subway stops in the Loop and walk through a corridor to another train and ride it to the U of I campus and walk two blocks to school. I saved twenty cents a day doing that, and it was more pleasant than the bus.

Those were the days…


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Stream of Consciousness Saturday is sponsored by Linda Hill.

The Friday Five (Plus Six): Your “-est” Songs

Is everyone as glad as I am that summer’s over? Okay, it’s still hot here in Northwest Georgia, but the National Weather Service promises cooler weather for next week, and I for one can’t wait.

I decided to gather your song suggestions after the most recent Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where the prompt was “-est” and I created a list of songs that had a word with “-est” in them. I couldn’t come up with more than five; you came up with eleven, including a couple that didn’t exactly fit the theme, but I included anyway.

Best of Me – David Foster (Pat) Actually, my sister-in-law Annette came up with this one and the next. There are a couple of versions, one by just Foster and one with Olivia Newton-John. I chose the latter because, well, Olivia Newton-John.

Save The Best For Last – Vanessa Williams (Pat) The deposed Miss America actually ended up having more of a career than her successor, whose name escapes me…

Sweetest Thing – U2 (Pat) What can be said about U2 by someone who doesn’t like them?

Wild Wild West – Will Smith (Kip) From the movie of the same name, starring Will, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Salma Hayek. They’re rerunning the TV show on MeTV Saturdays at 6 PM Eastern; since we go to Mass at 5 PM and our priests tend to get diarrhea of the mouth, I usually miss it…

Nobody Does It Better (Baby You’re The Best) – Carly Simon (Kip) Technically, the song doesn’t fit the theme, but I’ll make an exception because it’s the theme from a James Bond movie (The Spy Who Loved Me with Roger Moore as 007) and, well, Carly Simon.

The Ballad of Irving (The 142nd Fastest Gun In The West) – Frank Gallop (Kip) This song starts with an introduction by Dr. Demento, which might be all you need to know about this one…

The Coldest Night Of The Year – Bruce Cockburn (Arlee) I had never heard of Bruce Cockburn until Arlee started suggesting songs by him, and I’m glad he did.

What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life – Frank Sinatra (Uncle Jack) A standard, lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman and music by Michel Legrand, written for the 1969 film The Happy Ending.

Best Of My Love – The Emotions (Joey) Was the basis for a recent Battle of the Bands, unless I’m mistaken.

Jazzman – Carole King (Dan) From the Tapestry album, so it works… I chose a live version of this because Carole King is fun to watch. Kind of reminds me of Gilda Radner…

One (Is The Loneliest Number) – Three Dog Night (Ghostmmnc) It’s actually just “One,” but I like the song, okay?

That’s your Friday Five (Plus Six) for September 3, 2016. I’m off to take a nap now…