This Is Only The Week That Was

The Week That Was

It’s been an unusually busy week here. Or at least it feels like it’s been. I spent much of it wondering when my copy of Windows 10 would be downloaded to my computer, as Microsoft has promised. I talked about making my preparations for it on Wednesday.

Saturday’s Battle of the Bands is between The Happenings and The Lettermen over who did a better job of Goffin/King’s “Go Away, Little Girl.” The song was a #1 hit for Steve Lawrence in the Sixties and for thirteen-year-old Donny Osmond in the Seventies. You have until Thursday night to vote for which version of the song you like better. Debbie the Dog Lady, whose blog you should be reading, remarked that she thought Donny’s version was “yecch!” I said his version was definitely an EBS Special, and Debbie didn’t know what I was talking about. So, rather than explain it again, I wrote a short essay explaining the term, which you can find here.

Two for Tuesday completed its survey of the British Invasion with two by The Rolling Stones, a band still active. That’s some kind of a record; they’ve been together for fifty years. The Stones started out playing blues and moved on to rock, typical of many bands of the British Invasion. Nadine Feldman (again, whose blog you should be reading) said she had never realized just how blues-oriented their music was, especially their very early stuff. I grew up in Chicago, I told her, and never realized that much good music had come out of the bars on the South Side; it took the British Invasion to introduce it to me.

Several of the blog I read were reprinting their first posts, and I did the same on Monday. In my case, it was a video of The Beatles doing “Paperback Writer.” I guess I read some different blogs, because several people commented mine was the first reprint of the first post they had seen.

I introduced a new feature on Friday, “The Friday Five!” because I had spent most of Thursday figuring out how to get IFTTT to display a video from YouTube as a help to Tammy Rizzo (whose blog you should be reading) and didn’t do a Thursday Ten. She has it working well now, and I was glad to help. The inaugural Friday Five was five guitar players that kept me playing over the years. Of course, just about every guitar player I’ve ever heard has influenced me, so you might consider that the first of several posts on the subject.

I participated in a couple of Linda Hill’s blog hops: One-Liner Wednesday about my trip to the dentist, and Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where the prompt was “ready.” Those are fun blog hops, if you’re looking for something to do on your blog.

Finally, this morning I reported that Cilla Black, British Invasion singer who got a lot of support from their fellow Liverpudlians, The Beatles, passed away earlier today. She had been in ill health for a year or so. Hers was a beautiful and strong voice, and she will be missed.

Anyway, be sure to come by this week, as I start a new series on Two for Tuesday (it’s a surprise!), and I report on how well or poorly my upgrade to Windows 10 goes.

RIP Cilla Black

Cilla Black receiving the MBE at Buckingham Palace (photo: Rex/The Telegraph)

Sad news to report: Cilla Black, who I featured on Two for Tuesday as part of my series on The British Invasion, died this morning at her home in Marbella, Spain, apparently of natural causes. She was 72.

I think an appropriate celebration of Cilla’s life would be to hear her wonderful rendition of Bacharach and David’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart,” her #1 hit from 1964.

Rest in peace, Cilla.

Ready! #socs

I see the word “ready,” and it’s as though my brain was ready for it. All kinds of ready have come to me…

  • Rough and Ready, an album by the Jeff Beck Group from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.
  • Ruff and Reddy, a Hanna-Barbera cartoon I can’t remember much about.
  • Reddy Kilowatt, the cartoon character from the early days of electrical power.
  • “Are You Ready?”, a song by the band Pacific Gas & Electric from 1970.
  • “Are You Ready For The Country?”, a song by Neil Young.
  • Ready Georgia, a program by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency that promotes being ready for severe weather (primarily thunderstorms and tornadoes).
  • The word you see when TSO, IBM’s “Time Sharing Option” (a command and entry system, one of the earliest interactive online systems), can accept commands. It’s usually paired with SPF, the “Structured Programming Facility,” later ISPF (the I stands for “interactive”) and PDF (not the type of document Adobe developed; it stood for “Program Development Facility,” and it included ISPF as one of the menu options).
  • One of the things I wasn’t when Windows 10 was released on Wednesday; I hadn’t made an image of my Windows 7 system, because I didn’t have a place to put the image. I’ve ordered a 128GB flash drive that will hold the 84GB backup file, so everything will be ready when Microsoft finally gets around to putting it on my hard drive. They had to release Windows 10 in waves, because I guess they’d have brought down the Internet if they let it loose all at once.
  • And now Mary is ready to go home (we’re at Starbucks), so I’ll need to shut down and pack up very soon.


Of course, it’s Linda Hill’s award-winning Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Follow the link to read the rules and see which bloggers have joined the challenge this week.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Go Away, Little Girl”


Eydie Gorme won the last BotB, so let’s feature a song made famous by her husband, Steve Lawrence.

“Go Away, Little Girl” was written by the songwriting supergroup of Gerry Goffin and Carole King in 1962. It’s only one of nine songs to reach #1 on the Hot 100 more than once, first by Lawrence in 1963, then by Donny Osmond in 1971 (when he was thirteen; guess they could have gone away together). Here’s the Steve Lawrence version, for your musical enlightenment (it’s not part of the contest, so don’t vote for it).

It’s been done by lots of other singers, including Bobby Vee, who did the first recorded version, Marc Wynter, who reached #6 on the UK charts in 1962, Del Shannon and Dion DiMucci, not to mention today’s contestants.

CONTESTANT #1: The Happenings

The Happenings recorded their version in 1966, and it reached #12 on the Hot 100.

CONTESTANT #2: The Lettermen

The Lettermen never charted with this, but it was on their 1964 album, Look At Love.

Now, it’s time to vote…

Which of these two versions of “Go Away, Little Girl” did you like better? The Four Seasons-influenced harmonies of The Happenings, or the trademark smooth and easy harmony of The Lettermen? And why, if you don’t mind me asking? Vote in the comments below.

And then, if you would, visit the other blogs who participate in the Battle of the Bands. The list below is more or less complete, but every time I turn around there’s another one to add…

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy
DC Relief – Battle of the Bands
This Belle Rocks
Book Lover
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Shady Dell Music & Memories
Debbie D. at The Doglady’s Den
Angels Bark
Jingle Jangle Jungle
Women: We Shall Overcome
Cherdo on the Flipside
Holli’s Hoots ‘n’ Hollers
J. A. Scott
Quiet Laughter

I’ll announce the results of this Battle next Friday (since practically everyone has voted by then), August 7. Have fun!

The Friday Five! Five Favorite Guitar Players, Part 1

Before I start, let me apologize for the fact that some of you received a partial version of this post in your email, and I think it also went out to Facebook and Twitter. I wanted to see if I had gotten a few HTML commands right and meant to hit the “Preview” button, and managed to hit “Publish” instead. Duh.


I’d like to introduce a new feature here on the blog: The Friday Five! How do you like the logo? I ripped off borrowed the idea from the Jackson Five. Hope they don’t mind…

I’ve been thinking about changing The Thursday Ten to The Friday Five for a while, mostly because it’s easier to come up with a list of five things than a list of ten I’d occasionally like to do something different on Thursday, like Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop or something else of my choosing. The Thursday Ten isn’t going away entirely; I’ll still do one from time to time when I can think of a list of ten things.

So welcome to the inaugural Friday Five. This week’s topic: My five favorite guitar players.

From the start of sixth grade until my stroke in 2007 (about thirty years) I played the guitar. And most of the time, the guitar won…

Thank you! I’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your servers!

But seriously…

I wanted to recognize some of the people who inspired me to keep playing. These are in the order in which I learned of them. Obviously, there are many more than these, but these are the ones that are key.

George Harrison. I wouldn’t have even taken up the guitar if it weren’t for George. My world went a little Beatles-crazy after they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. We divided ourselves into four camps, called John, Paul, George, and Ringo. There weren’t quite as many people in the George camp; he was the funny-looking quiet one who stood between Paul and John, focused on his playing. Even then I could tell he was a fantastic musician, and as time went on, he distinguished himself, not only as a guitar player, but as a singer, a songwriter, and a humanitarian. And a very funny guy…

Terry Kath. Maybe by virtue of the fact they came from my hometown, maybe it was the horns, but Chicago was my favorite band when I was in high school. Terry might not have been why I started listening to Chicago, but he was definitely the reason I kept listening to them. Where the rest of the ensemble was cool and played with precision, Terry played with utter abandon. He was an excellent singer, guitarist, and songwriter, and the world lost one of its bright lights when he accidentally shot himself in the head in 1978.

Carlos Santana. Around the same time Chicago was making its way into my ears, I heard another band, Santana, named for its leader and lead guitarist, Carlos Santana. They blended blues, rock, Latin, jazz, and some Eastern music, and the result was mesmerizing. It took a remarkable player like Carlos to make it work. Carlos’s collaborations with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin (and the latter’s spiritual direction) added a level of mysticism to his playing. He has become an elder statesman in his later years without losing any of the fire or spirit in his playing.

Lee Ritenour. At a time when I was just sick and tired and bored with music and ready to chuck it all in, I rented a video of Lee Ritenour and his band playing. When it was over, I said, “that’s what I want to play!” He started out as a session musician (at sixteen) and was conversant in a number of genres when he went out on his own. Originally, his music was more fusion-like, but since then he’s gotten into more straight-ahead jazz, emulating the style of the great Wes Montgomery and the jazz players of the 1950’s (Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall and others).

Tommy Emmanuel. I was browsing the music at Borders one day (remember them?), and they had a CD (remember them?) on display: The Journey by a guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel. I read the back of the jewel case (remember them?), and saw that Joe Walsh lent his considerable skills to one of the tracks, so I figured, what the hell, and bought it. I took it home and played it, and loved it. I had to find more by him, and that’s when I discovered that, while Tommy was an outstanding electric guitarist, he was an even better acoustic fingerstyle player, and that was more his thing. He is one of the few players to have been granted the honorific Certified Guitar Player by the great Chet Atkins (OK, it’s more of a joke than anything, but the players aren’t).

I could spend a year of Fridays listing the guitarists who influenced me (and, if you aren’t careful, I just might), but these are the five that jumped immediately to mind. Tomorrow, five others might jump to mind. With me, you ccan never tell.

Anyway, that’s your Friday Five for the last day of July 2015.

Hurry Up And Wait


I left my laptop plugged in and turned on last night in anticipation of receiving the Windows 10 installer file, scheduled to make its appearance somewhere on my hard drive today. I guess the response to this release has created a considerable backlog, and they’ll now be sending it sometime between now and whenever.

It’s fine by me, because, as it turns out, I’m not quite ready. I went to make an image file of my Windows 7 system, like they suggested, and it turns out the only option I have there is to write it out to DVD. I had thought, make the image copy on the hard drive, then FTP it onto the backup drive I have on the Mac, which is 3 terabytes, segmented into 3 1 TB partitions. So I have the disk space to do it, both on the laptop and the backup drive; I just have no way to get it there. I’ve already thought of unplugging the unit from the Mac and connecting it to the laptop, but that presents a whole raft of logistical problems.

Then, I thought I could define the partition on the external drive as a network drive on the laptop. Easy-peasy, right? I just tell Windows that the F: drive (or whatever letter I choose) is the partition on the external drive on the Mac. So I start the backup, only to learn that I can’t do that with my version (Home Premium) of Windows 7.

So, I ordered a 128 GB flash drive from Amazon, which should be here next week. I didn’t realize they’re making flash drives that big. I had a 1 GB flash drive I bought not long before the stroke, and that was the biggest they had then. That was eight years ago, so I guess they’ve had time to figure out how to get around that limit.

It’s no big deal at this point; Sony is writing brand spankin’ new drivers for Windows 10, and I suppose I should wait for them to come out. As I mentioned the other day, it’s as though they were caught sitting in their underwear reading the newspaper when they realized Windows 10 was coming out and a few of their customers might just want to install it. So I could wait until they get their act together, or I could wait until I get the flash drive so, if the upgrade to 10 ends up a total disaster, I can recover back to 7 and continue to wait.

Anyway, if you thought I would have a report on how the upgrade went, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.

My Trip To The Dentist #1lineWed


I think I mentioned I need crowns on two of my teeth, the back molars on both sides of my mouth on the bottom (in dentist lingo, 18 and 31). Since my new dentist didn’t want to deaden both sides of my mouth all on the same day, she had me schedule the appointments a week apart. Last week, they prepped the right side of my mouth; Monday, they prepped the left side. I already had a crown on that tooth, so this week’s visit took twice as long to complete.

So they deaden my mouth (and half my throat, making me think I’m choking to death), and the dentist goes crawling around in my mouth, drilling and yanking, and finally gets the old crown off, and discovers a lot of decay (as well as the remnants of not one, but two fillings that had already been done on that tooth). She fills the tooth and does all the grinding and shaping, then leaves me in the hands of D, the dental assistant, who will build the temporary crown.

I don’t know if it was because they put (yet another) filling on the tooth or it’s just standard operating procedure and I just didn’t remember when the dentist had done this last week, but D said “I gotta wrap this string around your tooth, okay?” What am I going to say, no? Like I know what she’s going to do…

So, she spends a lot of time wrapping the string around the tooth (actually the post), which I knew she would do, then spends what felt like an eternity poking the string under my gum with a dental instrument. By now, the novocain had all but worn off, and all the poking and prodding was starting to hurt. Finally, she said, “I’ll be back, okay?” and leaves the room, returning several minutes later with M, the other dental assistant who had assisted the week before. M managed to get the string where it needed to be, and left the room to fetch the dentist.

The dentist came in (several minutes later), looked at the work the two assistants have done, and said “Looks great!” She then took a pair of tweezers, reached into my mouth, and removed the string.

Which led to this week’s one-liner.

The dentist and the two assistants just laughed. Honestly, I think they do this stuff just to see how much they can get away with…

This is my entry into this week’s One-Liner Wednesday, hosted by Linda Hill. Hope you enjoyed it.

John Holton's blog


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