The Pre-Thanksgiving Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is sponsored by Kroger fresh eggs. Who but Kroger sells eggs cackling fresh?

When I was but a wee lad living in Indianapolis, there was a Kroger at the end of our block. Kroger never made it big in Chicago (I think there was one on Fullerton right by the “L”), so I didn’t see many of them until moving south.

The Week That Was

It’s been a pretty good week, although my therapy has left me with a big cramp in my backside. On the upside, I now know what a “pain in the ass” feels like. Mary went out and did our shopping for Thanksgiving: ribs, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, apples (sliced, cooked, and in a tray, ready for the microwave), and a Dutch apple pie. We’re not what you’d call “traditional” around here. Anyway, here’s the summary for the week.

Monday’s theme was “one-hit wonders from your high school days.” I looked at the list and saw a lot of songs I liked, so I just did songs from 1970. On Friday, I moved on with songs from 1971. I’ll probably be doing one-hit wonders on Fridays through the end of the year, as well as on the last freebie days of the year, so I should finish off the Seventies by the end of the year. Note that Cathy Kennedy has been doing the #1’s, so I’ll be looking at the rest of them.

I featured the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, on Two for Tuesday, and did a quote from him on One-Liner Wednesday. I love weeks that fall into place like this one.

I chose a prompt that had me base my post on the word “monster.” Rather than writing about Godzilla or Frankenstein’s monster, I wrote about my frustration with searching for jobs on Monster.com and the other Internet boards, and how the only people who seemed interested in me were people who wanted me to sell insurance. No doubt there are scads of people who have found a job through them, and companies that have found employees through them, but I wasn’t one of them. Really, the best way to find a job is to network and get to know people at different companies who hear about opportunities that you would be interested in. It really is who you know, as well as what you know.

Saturday’s prompt, “psst! or some other attention-getting word,” infected me with an earworm and I couldn’t get the jingle (from almost 50 years ago) for Psssssst! dry shampoo out of my head. I talked about how hard it is at times to get telemarketers to shut up long enough to tell them I’m not interested, and my rule of thumb: if I don’t know the number, I don’t answer. I also mentioned that I have a person who likes to order pizzas on my behalf (without my knowledge or consent) and signs me up for auto insurance quotes (again, without my knowledge or consent). I was moderator of a listserv for a number of years, and the person doing it is an individual who I almost banished for breaking all the rules, who took exception to my banishing them for repeated infractions. I am no longer the listowner and the list no longer exists, but it means nothing to them. It would be relatively easy to trace IP addresses to their point of origin and find said individual, but the companies involved would have to be willing to do it, and they don’t seem to be, so I simply send the pizzas back and ignore the calls from insurance agents.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

You still have a couple of days, if you haven’t already and have a mind to, to vote in my latest Battle, “Battle ‘Stormy’: Bobbie Gentry vs. The Supremes.” I plan to post the results on Wednesday, so be sure and vote before then.

Tomorow on M4 will feature songs about thankfulness. I have a special One-Liner for Wednesday that Uncle Jack suggested a couple of weeks ago. Friday, I’ll feature one-hit wonders from 1972. I have to wait for the prompts for Thursday and Saturday. And, who knows what else, if anything, so stay tuned…

Barbara in Caneyhead, J-Dub, Uncle Jack Connelly, Joey, Michele, JoAnna, Eugenia, Judy E Martin, brother Kip (whose birthday was Monday), Dan Antion, Arlee Bird, Martha Reynolds, Maggie Wilson, Janet, Sandi, Malissa, MadamDreamweaver, Annie @ McGuffy’s Rader, Debbie D, Mary B, Cathy Kennedy, Janie Junebug, Stephen T. McCarthy, Frank Hubeny, 15AndMeowing, Birgit, Joyce Lansky, XmasDolly, Alana Mautone, The Music Stew, Ed Thierbach, Karen at Reprobate Typewriter, and everyone who stopped by and gave a “like.” I’m thankful for all of you.

And that’s it for this edition of The Week That Was. See you in the funny papers!

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Clairol Freshens Your Hair Instantly #socs

Thanks to Linda, this song is now running through my head.

Psssssst! didn’t actually clean your hair, from what I gather: it was talcum powder mixed with alcohol and put in an aerosol can. I guess when you sprayed it on and fluffed your hair, the talcum dried up the oil, and brushing your hair got rid of the oily talcum powder, leaving your hair less oily and smelling better. I think Mom bought it once. I tried it, and was underwhelmed by the results. But I bet some of you have used it…

I realize that has nothing to do with “psst! or any other attention-getting noise or word.” I just thought it was appropriate, plus I had the damn song stuck in my head.

I used to get phone calls from people selling auto insurance all the time. I already have auto insurance, but I get the calls anyway. Evidently someone likes to go around the Internet plugging my name and phone number into things. For a while, they were ordering pizzas from Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, then they figured out I had contacted my local restaurants and told them that if they get an order from me, it might not actually be me. So whoever it is (I have a very good idea who’s screwing around with me, so if any of you live in or around Brownsville, Texas, I’d like you to run an errand for me…) started instead giving my name and phone number to auto insurance agents. Now, if I don’t recognize a number, I won’t answer. If they want, they can leave me a message, and if it’s a robocaller, I report them on Truecaller as a spammer.

Anyway, I got a call from one person selling insurance who launched into her spiel, which I wasn’t interested in, so I tried to get her attention. I started with a polite “excuse me,” then a louder “EXCUSE ME,” then “HEY!”, then “HEY!” and finally “HEY!” She said, “That’s very rude, you know,” and hung up. I didn’t care. She had it coming.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now, a word about Jell-O Instant Pudding.

Looks like butterscotch… mmmmm…

The Friday 5×2: A Baker’s Dozen of One-Hit Wonders from 1971

Usually, I get these finished and leave them in the queue by about midweek, but I stopped before I got this done, figuring “I’ll do it Thursday.” Well, aquatic therapy left me so tired and sore I didn’t feel like writing yesterday, so I’m just working on this today. I have a Pocket queue full of posts to comment on, too. I’ll get to everything, promise.

Anyway, today I’d like to look at the thirteen one-hit wonders from 1971, which was a significant year for me for many reasons. I was going to stop at ten, but there were three songs I really didn’t want to do but thought I should, so I added them. Ergo, thirteen. Cathy Kennedy covered the #1’s from the early Seventies; these are the #2-#10’s.

  1. The Free Movement, “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own” This song was on the charts for twenty-four weeks, peaking at #5 on brother Kip’s 13th birthday (November 13, 1971). The Free Movement were a Los Angeles-based sextet that, soon after this record (on Decca Records) became a hit, signed with Columbia Records and recorded a full album, but would never again know the success they had with this one. Too bad, too: they were pretty smooth.
  2. The Undisputed Truth, “Smiling Faces Sometimes” This record peaked at #3 on September 4, 1971. This was a trio assembled by Norman Whitfield of Motown Records so he could practice his “psychedelic soul” production techniques. They had a few more hits on the R&B charts through the early Seventies.
  3. Jean Knight, “Mr. Big Stuff” Peaked at #2 on August 14. Jean, born Jean Caliste in New Orleans, recorded this for Memphis’s Stax Records, another great R&B label, and had another Top 40 single on the R&B chart (“You Think You’re Hot Stuff,” that peaked at #19 later in ’71).
  4. Daddy Dewdrop, “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” Peaked at #9 on May 8. Songwriter Richard (Dick) Monda went undercover as Daddy Dewdrop to record this one, and probably wishes he had stayed undercover.
  5. The Bells, “Stay Awhile” Reached #7 on May 1. The Bells were from Montreal and had some success in Canada, but this is their one song that crossed the border.
  6. Ocean, “Put Your Hand In The Hand” Reached #2 on May 1. Gospel rockers Ocean were a Canadian band whose first album, recorded on the Yorkville label, was picked up by Kama Sutra Records, which, if you think about it, is somewhat incongruous.
  7. Brewer & Shipley, “One Toke Over The Line” Peaked at #10 on April 10. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley had a pretty impressive catalog of folk-rock and country-rock songs, and evidently are still together performing. They charted again with “Tarkio Road” which never reached the Top 40.
  8. Sammi Smith, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” Peaked at #8 on March 27. Sammi was a country singer who had several other hits on the country charts, but just the one crossover hit.
  9. Wadsworth Mansion, “Sweet Mary” Peaked at #7on February 27. Wadsworth Mansion, also known as Wadsworth Family Mansion, were from Providence, Rhode Island that released two other singles after this, neither of which cracked the Hot 100, but they stayed together until 1982.
  10. Lynn Anderson, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” Peaked at #3 on February 13. Ms. Anderson was another popular country singer with a number of hits on that chart, but this was her one crossover hit.
  11. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Mr. Bojangles” Peaked at #9 on February 20. The NGDB has been around in one form or another for over 50 years, and is probably best known for their two Will The Circle Be Unbroken albums. This is a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s song; my favorite cover is Sammy Davis Jr.’s.
  12. Tom Clay, “What The World Needs Now Is Love (Abraham, Martin and John)” Peaked at #8 on August 14. Tom Clay was a radio personality who took the two songs and added clips from speeches by Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy.
  13. Les Crane, “Desiderata” Peaked at #8 on December 4. Crane was a radio announcer and TV show host who was once married to Tina Louise of Gilligan’s Island fame.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 (plus three) for November 17, 2017.

Writer’s Workshop: How Not To Find A Job

I got quite a lot of experience looking for work at the end of 2013, after being laid off from my job. Actually, Mary wanted me to apply for Disability right away, but the lawyer we talked to said it might be a good idea to try and find a job first. If I found one, great, if not, it would make my case for Disability stronger.

I had been lucky that my last two jobs to that point had been work-from-home situations. I had my equipment and a steady Internet connection, was familiar with Windows, Mac and Linux as well as Microsoft Office, I had programming, customer support and training experience, and had written and rewritten training materials and documentation. I had heard the trend was toward people telecommuting, working from home and staying in touch with the office by email, telephone and Skype.

I figured the best way to find a job that met my requirements would be to use the Internet job boards, i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and a few others whose names escape me now. I would put in “IT telecommute” in the search box and see what jobs appeared. And, there were plenty of IT jobs, just not ones that were full-time telecommute opportunities. They would list as one of their benefits “telecommute one day a week” or would make it clear “this is NOT a telecommute job.” The jobs that said I could telecommute and not come into an office indicated that I could do so when I wasn’t on the road at client sites, which would be anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of the time.

Nevertheless, the conditions for unemployment compensation said that I had to apply to at least five companies each week, so when I found a job opportunity that looked like it had possibilities, I applied for it, modifying my resume as needed to make myself appear as qualified and eager as possible to fill the position. I applied for jobs for which I wasn’t exactly qualified, but could bring myself up to speed quickly. I applied for jobs that weren’t in the Atlanta area, figuring if I was going to telecommute it didn’t much matter where I was.

I was contacted by several recruiters with job opportunities, and when I told them that I needed a full-time telecommute position, they politely told me that they would check with their client, but they were pretty sure the answer would be “no,” and promise to keep my resume on file if such a job crossed their desk. Then I’d never hear from them again, or I heard from them after I had been on Disability for a couple of years. Even then, the positions did not allow for a person to work from home full-time.

There were two calls that I got that were very interested in speaking with me. One was from an insurance agency that saw my background in training and wanted to speak to me right away. Mary ended up driving me to a location almost fifty miles away for the interview, which was conducted by a woman who was reading the questions off a sheet. They of course were looking for warm bodies they could turn into insurance agents. I was invited to a presentation that evening; I told the woman I’d think about it, left the office, got in the car, and told Mary “take me home, and let’s never speak of this place again.” I was also contacted by an executive recruiting service who insisted that I be joined by my spouse, which was a good thing, because Mary’s first question to the guy was “how much will all of this cost?” The company wanted $5,000 to market me. We told the man we would think about it and get back to him, then emailed him from the parking lot and told him, in no uncertain terms, to stick it where the sun didn’t shine. I still get emails from people wanting me to either be an insurance agent or to participate in schemes that are quite obviously intended to separate me from my money. I file them in the spam folder.

No doubt there are many people who have successfully found employment through the online job search sites. I wasn’t one of them.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Stormy”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

“Stormy” was a song by the Classics IV, a band out of Jacksonville, Florida. It was written by lead singer Dennis Yost, guitarist James (J. R.) Cobb, and producer Buddy Buie (the latter two would go on to form the Atlanta Rhythm Section in the Seventies) and released in 1968 on their Mamas and Papas/Soul Train album. As a single, it reached #5 on the Hot 100 that year. Here it is, and please, it’s not in the running, so don’t vote for it.

It’s been covered by, among others, O. C. Smith, Santana, and practically every bar band around. Today, we’re going to feature two performances by women. Give both a listen and see what you think.

CONTESTANT #1: Bobbie Gentry Bobbie recorded this but it was never released as a single or on an album. I don’t know why.

CONTESTANT #2: The Supremes The Supremes recorded this for a compilation album called Northern Soul Conoisseurs, released some time during the 1990’s, according to AllMusic.

So, which of these versions did you like better? Do you prefer Bobbie Gentry’s simple guitar-and-voice version, or The Supremes’ classic Motown Sound? Whichever the case, leave me a comment with your choice, and if you feel like telling me and everyone else why you preferred that one over the other, the floor is yours. Then, take a trip over to Stephen T. McCarthy’s blog, where he has the current list of BotB participants (in the right-hand column, a ways down) and check out the other bloggers who are likely doing a Battle of their own today, and vote in their battles as well.

I’ll announce the winner of this battle next Wednesday, November 22 (a/k/a Thanksgiving Eve), so be sure and get your vote in before then. The lines are now open. Best of luck to Bobbie and The Supremes!