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…


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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…

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.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hello Stranger” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

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!

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.

#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?


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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…).

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.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: Songs About Dogs

As of ten minutes to three Eastern time on Sunday afternoon, X-Mas Dolly’s blog still says this week is a freebie, and I’m going with that. If that isn’t right, tough bananas.

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We’re in the “dog days of summer,” the month when it’s hot, and humid, and stormy, where you can take a thousand showers and still feel hot and sticky. As Wikipedia tells us, this is around the same time Sirius, the “dog star,” rises in the morning, around sunrise. Thus the name. So, in honor of the dog days, five songs about dogs. Kind of.

Martha My Dear – The Beatles A song by Paul McCartney from the group’s white album (side 2, track 1) that was dedicated to his English sheepdog, Martha. It was credited to John and Paul, although John had nothing to do with it (and he probably gave his songwriting partner grief over it).

Get Down – Gilbert O’Sullivan Someone asked in the comments if this is a song about a dog or a girlfriend, and someone answered “probably.” Whatever, it was mighty popular in the Seventies.

Hound Dog (and Down Home Shakedown) – Big Mama Thornton Yes, Elvis did it, but he got it from Big Mama Thornton, who shows how we do it on the South Side. The first two and a half minutes are “Hound Dog,” the rest of this is an incredible harp (i.e. harmonica) performance by Big Mama, John Lee Hooker, Walter “Shakey” Horton (also known as Big Walter), Doctor Ross, and I didn’t quite catch the last name J. B. Lenoir. And yes, that’s Buddy Guy playing the guitar, and the great blues session man Freddie Below on drums.

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin A song that was so popular here, “96 Rock” (WKLS in Atlanta, now “Power 96” that plays a lot of boy-band music, if anyone cares to listen to FM radio any more) played it at least once a day, as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” It is a great song by the band The Yardbirds became.

Me and You and A Dog Named Boo – Lobo Lobo is Roland Kent LaVoie, and this was his first single, from 1971. It reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts that year.

And that’s it for Monday’s Music Moves Me. What are your favorite “dog” songs?

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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A Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by Black Rhino Productions, whose movie Doctor Detroit, starring Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, and Donna Dixon, opens this Friday at a theater near you. Check local listings for theaters and showtimes.

I know, the movie’s 33 years old. We rented it on VHS back when that was The Thing To Do, and I didn’t think it was that bad. I enjoyed seeing the Northwestern campus, for old times’ sake. The classroom they show him teaching in is the big lecture room in Swift Hall, though I can’t remember the room number; I had several classes there in my two years in Wildcat Country. Interesting how that worked out: on more than one occasion I had consecutive classes (e.g. a 10:00 and an 11:00) in the same classroom, and there were buildings on campus I never set foot in. Weird.

The Week That Was

Monday’s Music Moves Me was a freebie week, so I found the WJJD survey for that date in 1960 and gave you the Top Ten. There were several songs on it that I had either never heard or hadn’t heard in so long I had forgotten them. Oldies radio tends to focus on the most popular acts and the most popular songs by them, and you miss a lot that way, which is why I like going through the surveys and playing the music from them, and why I feature them so often.

I picked up a book recently, Chicago’s WLS Radio, part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. It was written by Scott Childers, who runs the WLS History site, and it’s chock-full of pictures from all eras of the station’s history. I’ve really enjoyed it, and it will be a great addition to my radio and TV collection.

Two for Tuesday featured Hoyt Axton, another songwriter whose material was done by Three Dog Night. Mollie was very happy about this, as Hoyt is one of her favorite singers and songwriters. Eugenia was impressed by my research ability, generally reading things about the artist on Wikipedia and other web resources (web pages, Facebook, Twitter) and mixing it with my personal recollections, assuming I have any. But thank you!

Bee Halton posted an article last week, and I thought one line from it was good enough to post for One-Liner Wednesday. I told her later in the comments that I thought, after a century of assuming politicians and other people we’ve elevated to “leader” status have our best interests in mind, we’re all starting to realize, hey, they’re more interested in their own interests, and that just maybe we agree with each other more than we give ourselves credit for and we can get a whole lot farther working with each other than against each other. Kind of like the old Canned Heat song…

Thursday’s Writer’s Workshop entry was sparked by the prompt which asked what I’d do if social media went away tomorrow. I came back to my oft-repeated statement that social media is a great time-suck, and while it’s nice to connect with family, friends, and people with similar interests, one can sit there for hours scrolling through one’s timeline (Fcebook, Twitter, etc.) and not leave time for other things, like reading, having “face time” with family and friends, or pursuing other hobbies that don’t involve a web browser or an app on a cellphone or a tablet. Several readers said that it was terribly easy to fall into the rabbit hole and be lost for hours. I agree.

If you haven’t voted in Battle “Hello Stranger”: The Capitols vs. Yvonne Elliman, my latest Battle of the Bands, you have until Thursday night to do so, because I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

I used the prompt “strange” for The Friday Five, finding five songs with that word in the title. Mollie found one I didn’t put on the list: “Love Is Strange” by Mickey and Sylvia, from 1956…

Over on Facebook, Kip said if the word was “stranger,” he would have come up with a bunch. I think everyone could have.

The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “if/then,” which, to a veteran of the computer field, suggested control logic, i.e. IF-THEN-ELSE statements. I talked a little bit about the computer languages I’ve learned over the years. It used to be, if you knew COBOL, you could get a job in computers. Now, you have to know the current Flavor of the Month, whether it’s C#, C, C++, Objective-C, Java, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, Ruby on Rails, blah blah blah. I’m glad I’m retired.

And that’s it for this week. Tomorrow looks like another freebie week for M4, I need to figure out if there are any other songwriters of note whose material was performed by Three Dog Night, and, you know, all the other stuff. Hope to see you this week!

IF-THEN-ELSE #socs

If you know anyone that programs computers, then that person knows all about conditional logic, because it’s about 90% of any program they write. Okay, maybe not that much, but it’s one of the key ingredients of writing a program.


IF condition(s)
THEN commands...
ELSE commands...

That’s usually where it begins. You see that in a programming textbook, and you’re off to the races. The hardest part of learning this is setting up the conditions, and knowing how to indicate that the commands that follow are to only be executed if the condition(s) are true. This isn’t as hard in some computer languages as in others. Well, not hard, really; just some languages are a little more tricky than others.

I know a little bit about a number of programming languages, and a lot about others….

  • COBOL – The language I used the most heavily throughout most of my career. I still think in terms of it whenever I get into a programming situation.
  • FORTRAN – The first language I learned, ergo the one I had the most trouble with. After the class I took, I never used it again.
  • ALGOL – I took a course in writing compilers (programs that turn programs written in a language into machine language that the computer can understand) where we wrote an ALGOL compiler in ALGOL. Yeah, all right. Came in handy later, because all the system software on Burroughs (now Unisys) computers is written in ALGOL.
  • PL/I – A language developed by IBM that was supposed to replace COBOL, that looked just like ALGOL. I never took a class in it, but since I knew ALGOL, I could help people who had trouble with PL/I, mostly my suitemate Tom.
  • Information Expert (IE) – A proprietary language developed by MSA, a former employer. I did all the training for MSA and its successor companies for IE, so I got to know it really well.
  • Focus – If you had people in an IE class who knew Focus, then you could count on them saying “IE is just like Focus!” Except it really wasn’t.
  • System/370 assembler (BAL) – I decided I needed to know assembler, because it made certain programming tasks easier. IBM used to show the generated assembler code when you compiled a COBOL program, and between that, the IBM yellow/pink/green card (that listed all the assembler commands) and a book I bought cheap, I learned it well enough to bluff my way through a few engagements.

And that’s just the mainframe languages. I know lots of others that get used on UNIX-like systems (Perl, Ruby, Python) and that get used on the web (PHP, HTML and CSS, mostly).

I don’t use any of these anymore. I’m retired. If I ever end up working again (and that’s doubtful), I’ll probably have to learn a whole bunch of new languages. If that day ever comes, I’ll worry about it then.


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Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda Hill over at her blog. After this, she probably regrets choosing “if/then” as the prompt… And you will note that I started the post with “if” and ended it with “then.”

The Friday Five: “Strange” Songs

I used “Hello Stranger” as the basis for my Battle of the Bands this round, which got me thinking about songs with the word “strange” in the title. I came up with at least five; maybe you can come up with more.

People Are Strange – The Doors The first song I thought of when I came up with the theme. It was the first single from The Doors’ 1967 album Strange Days and peaked at #12 on the Hot 100, while reaching the Top Ten on the Cash Box survey.

Strange Magic – ELO From their 1975 album Face The Music, this song was released as a single in 1976 and rose to #14 on both the Hot 100 and the Cash Box survey.

Strange Brew – Cream Some classic British blues by one of the great British blues bands. This appeared on their 1967 release Disraeli Gears and reached #17 when released as a single in the UK.

Strange Things Happen – The Beach Boys This is from their 1992 album Summer In Paradise, not exactly a high point for the band. When released, the album sold less than a thousand copies and bankrupted an independent distributor. This song is a perfect example of strange things happening…

Strange – Reba McEntire I’m not much of a country music fan, but I love the way Reba McEntire sings. This was the first single from her 2009 album Keep On Loving You and peaked at #11 on the Country chart.

And that’s your Friday Five for July 15, 2016.