This week’s edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by Continental Airlines, The Proud Bird With The Golden Tail. At Continental, we really move our tail for you!
I doubt they’d be able to get away with a slogan like that anymore. Continental merged with United in 2010, a process that took them about two years, so Continental doesn’t actually exist anymore. But anyway….
The topic for Monday’s Music Moves Me was “Hallowe’en songs.” Hallowe’en is not and has never been one of my things, so I had to really try on that one. About halfway into my playlist, I got stuck, so I added a few sound files from the Cold War, which scared me more than any ghosts, goblins, witches, werewolves, vampires, monsters constructed from parts of other people, or monsters hell-bent on destroying Tokyo ever could. I think I might have had a winner, and evidently was the only person in the entire 4M universe who included Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” which surprised me; I thought that was a no-brainer.
Two for Tuesday focused on the songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, who were not only great songwriters but also wrote some hilarious scripts for the Marx Brothers. Kalmar and Ruby were the subjects of the 1950 biopic “Three Little Words,” starring Fred Astaire, Red Skelton, and Vera-Ellen, which you can see on YouTube and (I’m sure) most of the other video-streaming services for a nominal fee.
For One-Liner Wednesday, I shared a quote from Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post about effective passwords. The current trend with passwords is to use more of a passphrase, a far cry from the days of “no longer than eight characters, case-insensitive, letters and numbers only.” The best idea I’ve seen was the one suggested by the cartoon xkcd, where the passphrase is four random words, such as “horse battery staple correct.” Two researchers at the University of Southern California came up with the idea of generating two-line poems as the passphrase, a good idea if you’re a poet of any ability. There are multiple standards for passwords having to do with length, whether or not spaces are permitted, and whether the password has to contain numbers and/or special characters, so a two-line poem won’t work everywhere. There are as many techniques for generating passwords as there are people generating them, and none of them is totally safe, but they’re all pretty useful. Techniques for keeping your accounts safe is a good blog idea, no?
The Thursday Ten featured ten songs with the name “Chicago” in the title, which unfortunately left out “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” so, in a Friday Five MORE, I featured songs that were about Chicago that didn’t have the name in the title, and Jim Croce’s song about the baddest man in the whole damn town was first. Twila, a writing buddy from way back, mentioned that the English group Paper Lace, who took “The Night Chicago Died” to #1 in 1973, had never been to Chicago and wrote the song based on old gangster movies. Evidently, they also had a hit with “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” in England, but their version was overshadowed by that of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods in the United States.
In the regular Friday Five, in honor (dubious though it might be) of the end of Daylight Saving Time in the US this weekend, I featured five songs with “Time” in the title. It has since been augmented with contributions from Miss Tia (a new subscriber), Mollie, and Arlee Bird. I will, at some point, add a page to the site directing people to the playlists I’ve built for the blog, so you can give ’em a listen whenever you’d like and make whatever suggestions you’d like for expansion. You have been warned.
“Strange/stranger/strangest” was the prompt for Stream-of-Consciousness Saturday, and I used the “I hate Hallowe’en” theme again. Well, “hate” is probably too strong a term… I don’t get into it like others do, never did, and I’m too old to start now. (Though, I like the candy, even the ones like Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honey that seem only to appear at Hallowe’en time, kind of like Brigadoon.) My point was that there were plenty of real-life things that scared me as a kid, including putting on a costume, knocking on strangers’ doors, and asking for candy. I opened up a little and shared a number of other real-life things that scared me as a kid, and I appreciate the support. They don’t scare me now, just so you know. As I mentioned to Lauralynn, the things that couldn’t possibly happen don’t scare me like the things that could.
Before I go, I want to take a minute to tell you all about one of my favorite YouTube channels, that being Oddity Archive. For a long time it was about strange things on TV, but it’s changed since June of this year (having been deemed “irrelevant” by some Powers That Be somewhere). There still a lot of TV talk, and the old episodes are still there. Ben, who runs the archive, has a website and also presences on Facebook and Twitter, and he’s a bit of a kindred spirit. Check it out!
Earlier today, I posted a Battle of the Bands. This one is “Bill Haley and the Comets vs. Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers: ‘When The Saints Go Marchin’ In.” You have until Saturday at 12:01 AM to vote for your favorite.
More good stuff on tap for this week. Join us then!