The Hallowe’en Eve Week That Was

This week’s edition of The Week That Was is brought to you by Everybody Polka! 36 great polka favorites on two cassettes or compact disks!

Growing up in Chicago, the second-most Polish city in the world behind Warsaw, I heard a lot of polka. You have to be very light on your feet to do the polka, something I’ve never been. God knows I’ve tried.

The Week That Was

This week (Tuesday) Mary and I celebrate 29 years in our house. We arrived early on the morning of November 1, 1987, or 10,591 days ago, or 1,513 weeks ago. Eight of those years have been leap years. Etcetera, etcetera. Anyway, on to the summary:

Monday was a freebie week. Reacting to a bumper sticker that said “I liked music better when they let ugly people make it,” I chose five artists I like who wouldn’t make it on MTV today, even if they did a few years ago. Understand, I don’t consider anyone ugly, and probably you don’t either, but there was a time the quality of the music counted for more than the looks of the artists making it. As XmasDolly said, only a rotten, ugly soul is truly ugly. Arlee said you could probably put Jimmy Durante, who was neither in the good looks nor good voice category, could still do a beautiful job of interpreting a song. Dan said that he wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time looking at the guys from ZZ Top (good as they are, who cares?) and Keith Moon was a little creepy-looking (Moon made a career of looking creepy, but was a tremendous drummer). Joey agreed with me that k. d. lang is an incredible singer, and said she still listens to her 1992 Ingenue album, which includes the song “Miss Chatelaine,” maybe my favorite k. d. lang song. Which, of course, gives me an excuse to play it…

Janie and Joyce wondered where Tom Petty was. I only had room for five, but he would have made the list, as would Bob Dylan, who Tom backed in the Eighties. And JoAnna suggested Janis Ian, who’s not ugly, either, but whose music you won’t see on MTV. Which reminds me of a song Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier did in the Eighties with his band, Johnny and The Leisure Suits…

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We took a break from our discussion of chanteuses to note the passing of singer Bobby Vee. That era between the early rock & rollers and the British Invasion gets forgotten, but had some great singers, including three guys named Bobby (Darin, Vee, and Vinton), as I told Hilary. When the British Invasion hit, most of them were forgotten.

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In a joint post with Wednesdays for My Wife, I recounted the story of going to see The Lake House and about something we heard a young lady say as she and her boyfriend were leaving the theater. Dan picked up on the comment I made early in the post about the two stars (Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock) having also been the stars of Speed, and we talked about our favorite line in that movie. As I said, it wasn’t a bad movie once you figured out what was happening. It just took a couple of viewings for Mary and I to figure it out.

I also took a moment to hype Linda Hill’s book, All Good Stories, which she’s trying to sell and get Amazon to promote. Linda’s a good friend and a good writer, and the book is less than a buck. If you haven’t already bought it, she’d really appreciate it.

I’m still having trouble with my Internet service, although they did some maintenance last night and maybe it’ll be a little more steady (and maybe I’ll sprout wings and fly), so responding to the “peace” prompt, I wrote about how these battles with my service provider are ruining my inner peace, because calling them just results in a sales pitch that I have to refuse, politely at first, less politely to get them to stop. Update on that: the adjustment he made on Wednesday lasted until Saturday. Many of you have run into the same aggravation with the same service provider and have also been given the hard-sell when calling them with an issue. Sadly, for most of us they’re the only game in town.

The Daily Post had “smoke” as their prompt on Thursday, and I thought it made a good prompt for a list of songs. I came up with six, remembering Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin'” at the last minute. I’m still open to suggestions; remember, the song must have “smoke” or some form of it in the title. So, as much as I’d like to include it, “Shanty” by Jonathan Edwards is out…

On the aforementioned Jonathon Brandmeier’s radio show, the guy who did the news was Buzz Kilman, and occasionally they’d use that song to lead in to his newscast.

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“In/Out” was the prompt, and I used the opportunity to talk about Mouthwash, the one cat we had who liked to go out (and come back in, and go out again, and…). It was a bit of a sad story, and by the time I finished telling it I was crying, not a good thing to do when you’re out in public. Many of you could relate to the sadness of losing a pet like that, and I appreciate the condolences. One thing I didn’t mention was that she never went into heat. It makes me wonder if she was actually someone’s cat and those people abandoned her, or if they moved and took her with, or if she ran away from her people and chose us because she could tell we were crazy cat people. I doubt she was feral. Guess we’ll never know.

So that’s it for this week’s edition of The Week That Was. This week, Halloween songs for M4 (lots of luck to me, huh?), a Question of the Month about kissing, the battle between Barbra Streisand and Chris Botti featuring Sting for grand champion of “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?”, your “smoke” songs, a possibly election-related One-Liner, replies to whatever prompts Linda and Mama Kat throw at me, and whatever else I can come up with.

If you want, join me over on Facebook, where I’m posting things Dave Barry has on his blog in an effort to push the election and World Series news off my timeline…

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

5 thoughts on “The Hallowe’en Eve Week That Was”

  1. I’ve been behind in reading so my apologies. I was not able to think of any “smoke” songs other than a couple on your list so couldn’t contribute there (and I won’t cheat!)

    One interesting fact on polkas: they aren’t Polish. The polka started in what is now the Czech Republic and what emerged as the polka as we know it in Chicago was primarily a American creation from several cultures of music mixing together. My wife, being first generation Polish-American, as you know, set me straight that “Polkas aren’t Polish” very early in our relationship!

    I have also been coached in the correct way to say “paczki” which are the ever popular jelly-filled pastries. Popularly mispronounced as “punch-key,” it’s actually closer to the actual Polish to say “poundch-key.”

    Finally, I saw several of our aunts yesterday who wanted me to pass along how much they love your family memories on Wednesdays for Mary. They send their love and ask that you keep the family stories coming!

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    1. Polish (hit the wrong thing on my Fire). I associate them more with the Polish because that’s where I usually hear them. And we covered the while paczki thing around Ash Wednesday either this year or last (or maybe Annette did). 😄

      Tell the aunts thanks, and there are more on the way. I need enough for a book…

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    1. We have an O’Charley’s by us, and I hear “Miss Chatelaine” on their piped-in music a lot. You know the story behind that, where she was chosen by Chatelaine magazine (the Canadian equivalent of Glamour) as their Woman of the Year and put her on the cover. She’s not typical of their cover models, and it kind of took her by surprise, then she thought it was funny.

      I always thought she and Chet Atkins would work well together. Sad we’ll never hear that.

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