It’s My Birthday And I’ll Cry If I Want To #socs

But I don’t want to. It’s my birthday! And Mary and I are going out to lunch, and I get free pie!

We have an O’Charley’s near us, and they were bought out a few years ago by the same company that owns Baker’s Square, so the pie is from Baker’s Square, which bills itself as having “The Best Pie In America.”

Remember the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? Toward the beginning there’s this exchange between Pee Wee and his archnemesis, Francis:

Francis: Today’s my birthday and my father says I can have anything I want.
Pee-wee: Good for you and your father.
Francis: So guess what I want.
Pee-wee: A new brain?

Francis was played by Mark Holton, who’s no relation but he looks like he might be one. You see Mark from time to time; he’s a pretty busy actor. Most notably, he played John Wayne Gacy, a notorious serial killer from the Chicago area.

Anyway, today’s March 25, which in the Catholic Church is The Feast of The Annunciation of the Lord. The feast commemorates the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she has found favor with God, who wants her to have his baby. And Mary says “okay!” and nine months later gives birth to Baby Jesus. Okay, that’s a silly (and borderline sacrilegious) telling of the story. The more accurate telling is in the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 1, verses 26-38. The Angelus, a prayer that tells the story, is based on that Gospel reading. When you hear church bells ring from a Catholic church at 6 AM, noon, 6 PM, and 9 PM, those are the bells that prompt Catholics to say the Angelus. It’s three sets of three bell tolls, followed by nine bell tolls. So, now that you know that, I can tell this Hal Roach joke:

A priest is hearing a man’s confession, and at the end he assigns him the penance of saying three Our Fathers. “I don’t know the Our Father,” the man says. “All right, say three Hail Marys.” The man says “I don’t know the Hail Mary, either.” The priest, exasperated, says, “well, what prayer do you know?” “The Angelus.” “Well then, say the Angelus.” “BONG, BONG, BONG!”

I learned recently that the Church Fathers, when setting dates for various celebrations, were more interested in determining the date of the Annunciation than they were in the date of Christmas. So, the Annunciation isn’t on March 25 because Christmas is on December 25, it’s the other way around.

Anyone born from March 22 through April 22 has a better than average chance of having their birthday fall during Holy Week. I was born on Palm Sunday 1956, Mary was born on Holy Saturday the next year, and Mom was born on Holy Saturday in 1932. Mom’s birthday was on Easter at least twice that I can remember, Mary’s birthday was on Easter at least once, but mine has never been on Easter in my lifetime. In fact, it’s only been after Easter once during my life that I can recall.

Holy Saturday 1932 was March 26, so Mom’s birthday was the day after mine. We used to celebrate them together. In 1994, she was turning 62 and I was turning 38, which meant we were celebrating our joint 100th birthday. Mary and I went to Chicago to celebrate with her. Mom would be 85 tomorrow. Happy birthday, Mom.

Anyway, Mary and I are going to lunch before we go to Mass. They’ll be celebrating the Mass of the Fourth Sunday of Lent, which as you might recall is Laetare Sunday, one of the two days the priest wears pink vestments. I have my pink shirt ready…


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The Friday Five (x 3): Days Of The Week

Got an email from my brother Pat this morning (I’m writing this Thursday):

Had a revelation while in this heavy work travel period that you should do a Friday Five with song titles including days of the week! Inspired by my shuffle that just played Another Park, Another Sunday by the Doobie Brothers. Perhaps you’ve done before, but, if not, happy searching….give me credit for that song though 😉

I’m glad he wrote, because in all the pre-A to Z Challenge confusion I realized I hadn’t written a post for today. So this was a good break, and when I got started with the songs I couldn’t stop, at least until I had fifteen, including Pat’s. There are so many, I built a playlist, which runs close to an hour. Hey, when I get going, sometimes I have trouble stopping…

  1. Another Park, Another Sunday – The Doobie Brothers Pat’s original idea, from 1974’s What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. This was the first single from the album, and while it only reached #32, it was played a lot on FM radio. Most people probably bought the album.
  2. Monday, Monday – The Mamas And The Papas Written by John Phillips in 1966, it was their only #1 hit.
  3. Saturday In the Park – Chicago From Chicago V, the song reached #3 nationally and spent several weeks at #1 in Chicago. It made the album a million-seller.
  4. Friday I’m In Love – The Cure The second single from their 1992 album Wish, it reached #18 on the Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard‘s Hot Modern Rock Tracks list.
  5. I Don’t Like Mondays – The Boomtown Rats This song by Bob Geldof only reached #73 on the Hot 100 and #84 on the Cash Box survey, but spent four weeks at the top of the UK charts in 1979.
  6. Stormy Monday Blues – Junior Wells With Buddy Guy A classic blues number, this is the first version I heard and still my favorite.
  7. Another Saturday Night – Sam Cooke From 1963, it reached #10 on the Hot 100 and spent a week at #1 on the R&B chart. Cat Stevens’s version from 1974 reached #6 on the Hot 100.
  8. Come Saturday Morning – The Sandpipers I always liked this one; it was the title track from their 1970 album and reached #17 on the Hot 100. A different version was in the movie The Sterile Cuckoo.
  9. Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote this one, and The Monkees recorded it in 1967. It reached #2 on the Hot 100 that year.
  10. Manic Monday – The Bangles This one was written by Prince under the pseudonym “Christopher” and was on The Bangles’ second studio album, 1986’s Different Light. It reached #2 on the Hot 100.
  11. Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters Karen and Richard released this in 1971 and it reached #2 on the Hot 100 and Cash Box survey, as well as being their fourth #1 on the Easy Listening chart. Like I said, they were a hit machine in the early Seventies.
  12. Ruby Tuesday – The Rolling Stones This was a double-sided single with “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and reached #1 in 1967, as well as providing a name for a chain of restaurants.
  13. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting – Elton John It’s Sir Elton’s birthday tomorrow. This was the first single off of 1973’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and only reached #12 on the Hot 100, but it’s one of his better-known songs and I remember it being on the radio all the time.
  14. Black Friday – Steely Dan The first single off of 1975’s Katy Lied, it rose to #37.
  15. Sunday Will Nver Be The Same – Spanky and Our Gang From their eponymous 1967 album, this rose to #9 and was their first charting single.

Anyway, thank you, Pat! And believe me, there are plenty more songs with days of the week in the title. If you come up with one or more of them, leave me a comment, and we’ll see if we can get it on the air. That’s The Friday Five (x 3) for March 24, 2017.

Writer’s Workshop: Want A Challenge For Next Month?

I don’t know whether Kat had intended this to be an opportunity to talk about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, but she came up with the prompt and I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you all about it.

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I started blogging in 2012, and one of the reasons I started blogging was so I could take part in the many challenges and blog hops that are held through the year, such as Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. The challenge that caught my eye and made me say, “Yes! I really want to start blogging!” was the A to Z Challenge. I participated that year and have done so every year since, and have been a co-host for the Challenge since 2015. It’s become the highlight of my blogging year.

Arlee Bird, who runs the blog Tossing It Out, was the person who started the Challenge. In 2011, he said “I’m going to blog every day except Sunday, starting on April 1 with a word that starts with ‘A’ and continue through the alphabet each day in April except Sundays until I reach the letter ‘Z’ on April 30.” That first year, other bloggers who know Arlee decided to do it with him. And, as with most of these blog hops, other people saw what they were doing, and before long we had over 1000 people doing A to Z during April.

We started using a Linky to keep track of everyone doing the Challenge, so that people could go out to the list and choose a bunch of blogs to read and perhaps follow during the challenge, and used that up through the current year. This year we’re doing things a little differently, dispensing with the Linky and instead having people check in at the Challenge blog on a daily basis and post the link to their latest entry as a comment to the daily post there. It became a headache riding herd on everyone on the list, some of whom put their name on it only to not do the challenge, others who started out doing the challenge only to quit part of the way through, and there was no way for a person to join in the middle, which does happen.

Most, but not all, of the people who do the challenge choose a theme for their blog posts during the month. Last year, for example, I used portmanteau words as my theme. Other people have used the month to write a novella, write a daily flash fiction or poem, or to do “The A to Z of ______________,” something they’re knowledgable in. Anything’s fair game.

The advantages of doing the Challenge:

  • You find all kinds of new blogs and new bloggers to follow.
  • Likewise, lots of other bloggers find you and start following you.
  • If you’ve thought of stepping up your blogging, preparing 26 articles to post one per day is a great way to start.
  • It teaches you problem solving. On the 24th day of the challenge, you have to find a word that starts with X. Tha’s when you figure out X is the Roman numeral for “ten,” and that X in Greek is the letter “chi.”
  • It is a lot of fun. A lot of work, but a lot of fun anyway.

Sound like something you’d like to do? If so, we’d love to have you along for the ride. If not, there’ll still be lots of blogs participating this year for you to read and follow. Many bloggers will post their articles on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #atozchallenge. Give it a try!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Air Mail Special” Results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

This battle was no contest:

Caterina Valente: 0
Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Band: 9

Well, sometimes you try something different, and sometimes it works, amnd sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, pairing a scat singer up against a big band, particularly a popular one, was probably not the best idea. So, congratulations to Doc and the Band, and best wishes to Caterina.

The next battle will be April 1, also the first day of the A to Z Challenge. See you then!