The Thursday Ten: TV Themes, Part 3

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Time for another “TV Themes” Post. This is the third installment; the first is here and the second is here. Will there be a next part? What, are you kidding?

Wonder Woman – Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel

Adventures of Superman – Leon Klatzkin

CHiPs – John Parker and others

Emergency! – Nelson Riddle and Billy May

The Man From U. N. C. L. E. – Jerry Goldsmith

Mission: Impossible – Lalo Schifrin

Starsky & Hutch – Tom Scott

S. W. A. T. – Barry De Vorzon

Hill Street Blues – Mike Post

Black Sheep Squadron – Mike Post and Pete Carpenter

And there you have it: your Thursday Ten for March 5, 2015.

#ROW80: Changing my reporting day again…

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Click the logo to visit the Challenge!

I’ve changed my reporting day to Wednesday for the remainder of the round. I realized this past Sunday that I really had nothing to report. The summary:

  • Read three books: I am still making my way through the biography of Lincoln, but it’s going to take a little more time. I started reading 1969: The Year Everything Changed by Rob Kirkpatrick as well, and it’s going much faster; I’ll probably finish that before Lincoln, and that will give me my three books for the round.
  • Finish entries for the A to Z Challenge: I got draft posts out in my queue for all the letters, changed my mind on a few of them (that seems to be a common occurrence with me), and a couple of the entries. I’ll have them done by April 1.

So, that’s the story, Morning Glory, as Mom’s aunt used to say. Straight ahead.

Two for Tuesday: The Zombies

After last week, someone mentioned on Facebook that a band that a British Invasion band that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention was The Zombies. Rick, this is for you.

The Zombies formed in 1961, while they were still in school in St. Alban’s, Hertfordshire. Supposedly, Rod Argent (keyboards and vocals), Paul Atkinson (guitar and vocals), and Hugh Grundy (drums) were students at St. Alban’s School, while Colin Blunstone (lead vocals) and Paul Arnold (bass) were at St. Alban’s Boys’ Grammar School. Originally calling themselves The Mustangs, they decided they needed a different name because there were already a few bands with that name. Arnold left the group in 1962 to go to med school, and was replaced by Chris White.

Their first hit, “She’s Not There” (they wouldn’t let me embed it, sorry) from their first album, Begin Here, reached #2 in the US in December, 1964. They made their first US TV appearance in January 1965, where they debuted their new single, “Tell Her No,” our first song today. It peaked at #6 in the US in 1965.

The band signed with CBS Records in 1967, but things were already falling apart, and by the time their album Odessey and Oracle was released in 1968 the group had disbanded. The album might not have been released if Al Kooper, a recent addition to the CBS fold, hadn’t convinced executives of it merits. The album produced one single, “Time of the Season,” which reached #3 on the Hot 100 in 1968. It’s our second song today. The video was probably the work of the person who uploaded it to YouTube…

The band has reunited on several occasions. Since 2011, Argent and Blunstone are touring as The Zombies with Tom Toomey (guitar and vocals), and brothers Jim (bass, vocals) and Steve (drums) Rodford. Of course, the band has a website, as do Argent and Blunstone.

The Zombies, your Two for Tuesday, March 3, 2015.

Do you like green eggs and ham?

Today is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. He’s most famous for his children’s books, such as The Cat In The Hat, There’s A Wocket In My Pocket!, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and my personal favorite, Green Eggs and Ham.

Life Magazine ran an article in 1954 (eight years into the Baby Boom) that blamed the rising rate of illiteracy among kids on the fact that kids’ books were boring. The president of Houghton-Miflin came up with a list of 348 words he felt were necessary for first graders to know, then challenged Seuss to cut that list to 250 and deliver a book. Seuss wrote The Cat In The Hat using 237 of the words, and it became a classic. Green Eggs and Ham, featured above, only took him about 50 of the words.

I grew up in the era of Dr. Seuss, and I know that his books were effective. They told good stories, they were fun to read, and the anarchy in the drawings meant, if nothing else, that kids could have a good laugh. Lots of us learned to read the books just so we could see the pictures, and read them over and over and over because they made reading fun.

Mary and I were at Kroch’s & Brentano’s in downtown Chicago many years ago, and sitting on a table was a copy of Green Eggs and Ham, written in Hebrew. I picked it up, and “read” the whole thing to her (even started in the back and worked my way forward), reciting the book from memory. She was amazed. “I didn’t know you could read Hebrew!” Okay, so it was a silly trick to play on her, but it’s a testament to how memorable the books are, especially the pictures. Change the pictures, it just isn’t the same.

Dr. Seuss died in 1991, but his books probably never will. If they do, it’s likely the end of civilization as we know it.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Hush”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

I’m going to try something a little different. The three versions of this song are are more-or-less contemporaneous, recorded in the late 1960’s, and all sound pretty similar to one another. Or do they? You get to judge!

Today’s song is “Hush.” It was written by Atlanta native Joe South, who also wrote “Games People Play,” “Down In The Boondocks,” “Yo-Yo,” and Lynn Anderson’s big hit, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden.”

CONTESTANT #1: Billy Joe Royal

Billy Joe Royal was also from the Atlanta area. He recorded four of South’s songs, “Down In The Boondocks,” “I Knew You When,” “Yo-Yo,” and recorded the first version of “Hush” in 1967. His version only did so-so, reaching #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Here’s his version.

CONTESTANT #2: Deep Purple

The following year, a band from England by the name of Deep Purple recorded the song. It reached #4 in the US and #2 in Canada, but strangely was mostly ignored in the UK. It was on their album Shades of Deep Purple, and featured Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Paice (drums), Jon Lord (organ), Nick Simper (bass and backing vocal), and Rod Evans (lead vocal). This is the original music video, although it was probably shot on film.

CONTESTANT #3: Joe South

In addition to his work as a sideman and a songwriter, Joe South was also a performer, who had hit records with “Games People Play,” “Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home,” and “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.” Here’s his version, from the 1969 album Games People Play.

Now, it’s time to vote….

So, what did you think? Whose version was the best? Billy Joe Royal’s original, Deep Purple’s cover (and the biggest hit), or songwriter Joe South’s version? Lines are open now… leave me a comment letting me know which you like the best! Results next Sunday!

And, hey, once you’ve voted here, how about checking out the other blogs having their battles today?

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

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: Friends and Acquaintances

This is another in a series of “stream of consciousness” posts hosted by Linda Hill. This blog hop is a year old today! Be sure and stop by Linda’s blog to wish her a happy anniversary and to see the rules and the posts of others doing the challenge…

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Happy birthday!

This week, in honor of the occasion, Linda’s doing this in conjunction with Bee Halton, whose last name is very similar to mine (and so is the look of her blog). She’s running a blog hop this month called “Love Is In Da Blog,” or “LoIsInDaBl.” So we’ll tag her here, too..

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So, without further ado…

This Week’s Prompt: Friend and Acquaint(ance)

I joined a group on Facebook recently that is a memorial page for the people who went to my high school that have passed on. When I did, naturally, I looked immediately for people who graduated in 1974, the year I graduated.

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New Trier Township High School, West Campus, Northfield, Illinois. If you’ve seen the movie Uncle Buck, you might remember it. (source: Google)

I was lucky; a guy who graduated with me, who I remembered from gym classes, had posted a list of the now-deceased members of the Class of 1974. And other people commented with other names. In all, 40 people from my class. Not a lot when you consider that there were 685 people in my class (that’s what, 6%?), but still, I knew most of them, and was friends with a few. I keep thinking, no, they can’t be gone, they’re too young, then I realize all of us are pushing 60.

But, I don’t feel like a 59-year-old man. At least my mind doesn’t. In my mind, we just walked out of the gym, holding our diplomas, not that long ago. We’re too young to have so many deceased classmates! My mind says that, then I stand up and feel the pain in my legs and hear the bones rubbing around in my knees, and I limp to the stairs and up them, and I realize that it’s been eight years since my stroke, and I was also too young for that…

I realize that I had sat in class with these kids, passed them in the halls, probably stood next to a couple of the guys in the restroom, saw them at lunch, and never got to know them. Now it’s too late. We could have been friends. I have one friend from high school that I stay in touch with. I run into people I went to grammar school with on Facebook, and we follow each other, and I see what they’re up to, and I comment, a voice from the past. And they comment, voices from my past. We spent nine years together, kindergarten through 8th grade (up north, we called that grammar school). Now we’re just a stream of bits to each other. If that… too many of my friends from those days aren’t on Facebook. Makes me wonder why I am.

I mean, people I used to talk to face-to-face, and sit in class with, and see around the neighborhood. They’re all over the country. I’m miles away from where I grew up, 800 long miles from Rogers Park.

I have one good friend in the world. My best friend. Mary. We’ve been married 37 years, and she’s always there, and when she’s not, I miss her. I’m lost without her.

No, I have a few more: Jim, Kip, and Pat, my brothers. We got close when our mother died. All of a sudden, she wasn’t there to keep us in touch. We’ve done all right without her, though we really suck at talking on the phone. Thank God for the Internet.

Stay in touch with your loved ones, and even a few you might have just known in passing. Life is too short.

RIP Leonard Nimoy

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Farewell, Mr. Spock

Leonard Nimoy and my mother have the same birthday. Sad I didn’t find that out until today.

I’m by no means a Trekkie, but I do know that Leonard Nimoy was a great actor. His Mr. Spock was an icon; even if you didn’t watch Star Trek, you knew who the guy with the pointy ears was. He was also Paris for a couple of seasons of Mission: Impossible, a bad guy on an episode of Columbo, another bad guy on an episode of The Man From UNCLE, and a character in a host of other TV shows and movies.

A minute ago, Mary came up and told me that Mr. Nimoy had died. He passed earlier today at his home in Bel Air, California, of COPD caused by years of smoking. He was 83.

I know many people (including a few of you) got their start as writers by writing Star Trek fan fiction, inspired by the weekly exploits of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, Uhura and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise. I can only imagine how you feel. My condolences to his family and loved ones, and to Star Trek fans everywhere.

STEM and Creativity

I put “need for STEM education” into Google, and I got all of these sites. One of them was this page from the US Department of Education, which makes a couple of interesting points:

  • “Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career.”
  • “The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—and by an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.”

They even put this diagram on the page to show the need for young experts in the STEM fields.


Source: US Department of Education

I bet if you were to ask kids why they aren’t interested in going into careers in these fields, they would say, “It’s too hard! All that math and science and stuff…” And, granted, kids have to have a good foundation in sciences and math before they can hope to understand the material being discussed. But they need something more.

Remember this that I put up on Wednesday?

See, people involved in the STEM areas are just as creative and intuitive as artists and writers. Engineering isn’t just an area where people work with numbers and logic; engineers also dream and design. Same with mathematicians: I was a math major in a previous life, and got into areas of mathematics that don’t deal with numbers or computation. We worked with number systems that don’t involve anything resembling the numbers we use every day. (That’s when I got out.) You could make similar arguments for scientists and technologists. All of the STEM areas are arts as much as sciences.

If we want more mathematicians, engineers, technologists, and scientists, we need to make sure that kids are seeing both sides of the picture. We know that both sides of the brain work together, each side doing what it’s best at and drawing connections between the world of fact and the world of fantasy. I realize that’s an oversimplification, but if a kid’s education doesn’t provide as much focus on creativity and idea formation as it does on math and grammar, what good does it do?

Then again, I could be wrong… What do you think?

Ten Inspirational Quotes from Abraham Lincoln

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This week, as with last, I’m going to share something that I found online. When I saw it, I thought you would like and appreciate reading yourselves.

This week’s Thursday Ten comes to us from Matt O’Keefe from Lifehack.org: 10 Powerful Things Abraham Lincoln Said That Will Inspire Your Life. The more I learn about this nation’s 16th President, the more impressed I am with him. Enjoy!

John Holton's blog

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