Terminus #atozchallenge


Greetings from Terminus, Georgia! That, believe it or not, was the original name of Atlanta. The Georgia State Assembly decided in 1836 they needed a railroad to get goods from the Port of Savannah to Chattanooga for further transport to the Midwest and established The Western and Atlantic Railroad for the task. They needed to establish a point where the train from Chattanooga would meet the train from Savannah, and chose a point east of the Chattahoochee River for the terminus. They drove a milepost into the ground, and soon a settlement developed around it. The settlement was initially called Terminus, then Thrasherville (after the owner of the general store) and Marthasville (after the governor’s daughter) before the chief engineer of the railroad suggested the name “Atlantica-Pacifica.” They settled on a shortened form (thank heaven), “Atlanta,” and the rest was history.

History was not one of my better subjects, though, so I invite you to read up on it on Wikipedia.

Seal of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (Public Domain)

Atlanta is home to the Braves (baseball), Falcons (football), and Hawks (basketball). We’ve tried hockey several times, with the IHL Knights and NHL Flames and Thrashers, all of which have either folded or relocated. It’s also the home to The Georgia Institue of Technology (better known as Georgia Tech), Georgia State University, Oglethorpe University, Emory University, and the Black colleges Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College. It’s the home of So So Def Recordings, a major rap and hip-hop label, and a number of music acts, including the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Kriss Kross, and TLC. Joe South and Billy Joe Royal are from the nearby town of Marietta (coincidentally where we live), and Tony Joe White was living here when he wrote the Brook Benton classic, “A Rainy Night In Georgia.”

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, named for two former mayors, William B. Hartsfield (who was mayor when it was built) and Maynard Jackson (who owned many of the concessions by the time the airport was renamed for him) is the busiest airport in the nation, with almost 51 million passengers enplaning in 2016. Three Interstate highways run through the city, I-75, I-85, and I-20, and are all connected by a circular bypass, I-285. Additionally, US Highway 41 runs through Atlanta on its trip from Miami through Chicago and Milwaukee all the way up to Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On Highway 41 and Georgia Highway 120 in Marietta sits “The Big Chicken,” a KFC restaurant built to look like a chicken, complete with beak that opens and closes and an eye that rolls around. Much navigation in the Atlanta area is relative to the Big Chicken. In fact, when word got out that PepsiCo, which owned KFC at the time, planned on getting rid of the Big Chicken, people were up in arms, worried that they wouldn’t be able to find anything. The company relented and actually repaired the beak and the eye, which had stopped moving for some reason…



An “April Showers Bring May Flowers” Week That Was

This edition of The Week That Was is brought to you by Tums. Tums for the tummy!

Tums are old friends, as are Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox, and their generic equivalents. Stomach trouble runs in the family…

The Week That Was

Another busy A to Z Challenge week. I will get to everyoe’s blog, I promise. Maybe not in April, but during the Road Trip. Meanwhile, here’s the summary for the week.


First, in last week’s Battle of the Bands, which pitted Trini Lopez against Madness in a battle over who did a better version of “Shame and Scandal in the Family”…

Trini Lopez: 2
Madness: 5

Voting was light, which I attribute to the A to Z Challenge and the fact it was a Sunday. Maybe I need to add a reminder about halfway through the week. Stephen pointed out that after Trini got the first two votes, Madness got the rest.

Another Freebie week gave me an opportunity to introduce fingerstyle guitarist Maneli Jamal, another of the many musicians who are bypassing the traditional route and bringing their music directly to listeners via Spotify and YouTube. That’s the way I’m finding all my music these days.

Bobby Rydell was this week’s featured artist.

Saw a quote from Konrad Adenauer in one of Deborah Weber’s A to Z Challenge posts and decided to use it for my one-liner. Thanks again, Deborah!

Another of my “woulda, coulda, shoulda” posts while exploring what I would choose as a new career.

I chose ten songs with some kind of alcoholic beverages in the title. Most good songs about booze don’t actually have the name of the beverage in the title, e.g. “One For The Road” or “Little Brown Jug,” so I may need to loosen my standards a little on what I choose from your suggestions. Yeah, like I don’t usually do that.

The prompt was “spoke,” and I took a different fork in the road (gee, what a surprise) and talked about bespoke (i.e. made to order) software and how my old company got into the custom software business after watching lots of third-party consultants make big bucks customizing it for us.

And of course, the A to Z Challenge words:

  • Novelize
  • Obituary
  • Payphone
  • I had two Q’s: Quiz Show, which should have been released on Thursday, but because I didn’t look at a calendar when I scheduled it, came out on Wednesdy (apologies to anyone confused by my faux pas); and Quandary, which described pretty accurately what my error caused for me.
  • Rebuttal
  • (Ed) Sullivan

Tomorrow’s theme for M4 is songs about the Earth for Earth Day, is today and which I will likely find a way to circumvent because that’s just the kind of guy I am. I have another singer from Philly for Two for Tuesday, a one-liner for Wednesay, and your “booze” songs for Friday. Have to wait to find out the prompts for Thursday and Saturday.

Thanks to Dan, Laura, Birgit, Bill, Ally, Janet, Barbara, Kip, Jeanne, Uncle Jack Connelly, Stephen, Eugenia, Mark, Arlee, Joey, Tara, Martha, Jacqui, Hilary, Trisha, AJ, Hester, “Supernatural Snark”, Sharon, Deborah, Trudy, Alana, Jen, Marie, “Weekends In Maine”, J-Dub, JoAnna, Diedre, Emily, Natasha, Iain, David Webb, Mary (Mrs. John) Holton, Kalpanaa, Nilanjana, Cathy, Scarlett, “Slfinnell”, “Darswords”, Kim, Cathy Keisha, Mike, Mary B, anyone I might have missed, and everyone who left a “like.”

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

Bespoke Software #socs

One of the blogs I follow is Apartment Therapy, for no other reason than I found it a while ago and thought it was kind of cool. I don’t live in an apartment, but then, they don’t talk exclusively about apartments. For you writers out there, it’s a great source of pictures of living spaces which could work as settings for stories.

I’m pretty sure that it was on AT that I first saw the word “bespoke.” I had no idea what the word meant, and sort of blipped over it the first few times I saw it. The more I saw it, on that site and others, the more I figured I should learn what the word means. Looking it up, I learned that it is an adjective that describes anything that’s made to order, like a suit or a car. As we say in this country, custom-made. The opposite is something that’s sold as-is: a stock car, an off-the-rack suit, or a software package.

The company where I worked for 20 years developed and sold financial software. The software did roughly 80% of what a company wanted it to do, and they would customize it to do the other 20%. When I first started with the company, we discouraged our clients from modifying the code directly. We built user exits into the code that we told them was where they should put their modifications, we had ways for them to write custom reports (including a proprietary fourth-generation language that could also generate output files), and we would suggest ways that they could get the software to do what they wanted that didn’t require modifications to the code. If they wanted to modify the code, they were pretty much on their own: if it broke, they had to prove that it was our code and not theirs that was broken, and retrofitting their code when we came out with a new release was their responsibility.

That was our story, and we were sticking to it. Consulting firms and independent consultants had no such qualms about modifying software, and we were happy to allow them to have that business. In fact, we were happy to give their names and contact information to clients who needed to modify the software, which was just about everyone. Some clients, like the one I worked for before moving on, chose to do the modifications themselves. We had two systems from my future employer, one which we kept as close to delivered as we could, the other which we used as a base and which I modified the hell out of with the help of an outside consultant which had been recommended to us by my future employer. Naturally, when my future employer became my current employer, my previous employer was, as we say, SOL.

After a few years, we noticed that we weren’t making enough money off our software, while there were a bunch of consultants and consulting firms out there that were living high off the hog modifying our software, writing extensions to it, and blah blah blah. We also noticed that Client Support was spending more time on the phone explaining to consultants how the software worked and basically doing system analysis for them. It dawned on our corporate management that we were leaving an awful lot of money on the table by not being in the consulting business ourselves, and they decided that maybe we should get into the consulting business ourselves.

Thus, we got into the bespoke software business ourselves. That’s when I decided that I was meant to be a trainer. I had already had my fill of modifying software.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Remington Rand, makers of UNIVAC computers.

I might have used that commercial before, but it seems apropos here.

Sullivan #atozchallenge


I am, of course, talking about Ed Sullivan.

Embed from Getty Images

Ed was a sports and entertainment reporter for the New York Daily News and was syndicated through The Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate (now Tribune Media Services) who wrote a column called “Toast Of The Town.” In 1948, when TV was in its infancy, he was asked to do a show named after his column, which eventually became The Ed Sullivan Show. The show ran for 23 years and TV critic David Hinckley called it “The last great television show.”

Mary and I have been watching The Best Of The Ed Sullivan Show on Decades every evening (as always, check local listings). Granted, it’s been over 40 years since the last show aired, but we had forgotten just how diverse a show it was. If it was entertainment, Ed had it on his show. No kidding. Musical acts, comedians, circus acts, animal acts, ballet, cast members from Broadway shows, you name it, it was on the show. A lot of comedians got their start on The Ed Sullivan Show, including George Carlin, who included this on his FM & AM album.

Ed gave Elvis Presley his first national exposure. This is from Elvis’ third appearance on the show, and Ed has some very nice words to say about him at the end of this clip.

On February 9, 1964, Ed brought Beatlemania to the US. They were on the next three shows, the last by videotape. I think this is from their first. Sorry it cuts off mid-song.

As well as the bands from the British Invasion, Ed was one of the major promoters of African American talent. Sammy Davis Jr. was a frequent guest, as were Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole. Just in the last week, I’ve seen The Supremes, The Fifth Dimension, Lou Rawls, and Richard Pryor. There wasn’t a prominent Black performer that didn’t appear on Ed’s show, acccording to one TV writer. He took a lot of heat from sponsors for that, but he held firm and treated everyone who appeared on his show with respect.

Ed Sullivan’s show was where many of us encountered acts we wouldn’t see otherwise. And, as George Carlin said, we never got to thank him. Well, thanks, Ed! Those who grew up watching your show thank you for introducing us to a diverse and rich world of entertainment.

Do you have any memories of Ed Sullivan?

The Friday 5×2: Booze!

Wasn’t sure what I was going to do this week, so I went out to YouTube and started playing random videos, one of which was “Scotch and Soda,” and before I knew it, I had a playlist. Here are ten of the many songs with alcoholic beverages in the title.

  1. Ray Price, “Scotch and Soda” The earliest popular version was done by The Kingston Trio in 1958, but the song goes back much further than that. Problem is, no one actually knows who wrote it or when. Dave Guard of The Trio got it from the parents of a girl he was dating, who said they heard it on their honeymoon back in 1932. It’s been covered so much, including this one by country singer Ray Price, that it will probably show up as a Battle of the Bands in the not-too-distant future.
  2. John Lee Hooker, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” The cover by George Thorogood is probably best-known, but it was first done by Amos Milburn as a “jump blues” song in 1953 and John Lee covered this in 1966.
  3. The Dubliners, “Whiskey in the Jar” There are the rock versions by Metallica and Thin Lizzy, but I first heard it this way, in a pub after a couple of pints of Guinness.
  4. Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville” Buffett’s Parrothead anthem was released in 1977 and reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart, #8 on the Hot 100, and #13 on the Country Singles chart.
  5. Neil Diamond, “Red Red Wine” I heard UB40’s reggae version first and had no idea Neil had recorded it in 1967. It went to #69 for him in 1968. It was issued by Bang! Records shortly after his contract with them expired and he left the label.
  6. Peter Sellers with The Muppets, “Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women” I remember watching this episode of The Muppet Show and laughing through most of it, because, you know, Peter Sellers.
  7. Rupert Holmes, “The Piña Colada Song” Was actually titled “Escape,” but most people know it by this name. It was the lead single from his 1979 album Partners In Crime and was #1 in December 1979 and January 1980, making it the last #1 in the 1970’s and first #1 in the 1980’s.
  8. Muddy Waters, “Champagne and Reefer” From Muddy’s 1979 live album Muddy “Mississippi” Waters. There are also versions by Buddy Guy and The Rolling Stones.
  9. Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Bottle Of Wine” Jimmy Gilmer had recorded “Sugar Shack” in 1963 and it reached #1. This song, a rock version of the folk song, was released in 1967 and peaked at #9.
  10. Julie London, “Hot Toddy” From the 1958 album Julie Is Her Name, Volume II, about which Nick Dedina said on AllMusic.com, “You can almost see the cigar-smoking executives at Liberty Records planning this one out — ‘Hey, if the public loved it the first time, they’re bound to love it again, right?'” This time through, she’s accompanied by Howard Roberts on guitar and Red Mitchell on bass. Judging from the album cover, Liberty still saw her as a pinup, although by this time her jazz chops were well-established.

Well, that oughta get you started. Come up with your selections, I’ll play them next Friday. That’s your Friday 5×2 for April 20, 2018.