Rebuttal #atozchallenge


I think TV stations have gotten out of the practice of stating the opinions of station managers as more TV stations are being run remotely by out-of-state companies and are no longer as much a part of the communities they serve. At one time, stations would choose an issue each week, come up with a position on it, write an editorial and present it at various times throughout the week. Here’s an 1973 editorial from WMAQ-TV in Chicago urging people to put pressure on the Butcher’s Union, who had written into their contract with grocery store chains that meat would not be sold unless a butcher was present, which was from 9 to 6 Monday through Saturday.

That bit at the end about welcoming the opportunity to “present significant opposing viewpoints” was a solicitation for a rebuttal, in this case giving the heads of the Butcher’s Union an opportunity to explain why not selling meat after 6 PM or on Sunday was vital to the rank and file of the union. To make their case, they picked someone who could say “kiss my rump roast” without actually saying it.

I was on the debate team when I was a freshman in high school. In high school, debates matched two teams of two students each, one of which would argue for the year’s proposition (the year I was doing it, it was whether or not the US should start the EPA, a moot issue because President Nixon had created it several months before) and the other against it. These teams were called the Affirmative and the Negative. Each member of each team would have ten minutes to state their case, one kid from the Affirmative side and one from the Negative, then the other kid from each team. Then each team was given five minutes for rebuttal, to try and rip apart the other team’s arguments. This time, the Negative went first, then the Affirmative. I think my partner and I argued more with each other than with the kids we were debating. Needless to say, we didn’t do so well, and I quit the team before the last tournament, much to the chagrin of the debate coach (but the delight of my partner), who was also my Theology teacher. Let’s just say my grade in Theology fell off significantly that quarter.

At least I didn’t get thrown off like Ron White did. Warning: very strong language ahead! NSFW! Send the kids out of the room!


Rumpus #atozchallenge


Cover of Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (source: Wikipedia, Fair Use)

I was seven when this book came out. I remember someone brought it for my brothers, who were four and five at the time. One line from the book stands out above all the others.

We have a cat named Max, and he enjoys causing trouble for the rest of the gang. We end up yelling at him and throwing things at him (paperbacks, mostly) which makes it stop, at least temporarily. It’s been worse since we lost Milton a few weeks ago. I think he’s lonely; he and Milton were best buddies. Anyway, when he gets started, we say the line from Where The Wild Things Are.

Max (center) about twelve years ago, with his sister Minnie (right, curled up beside him) and his buddy Milton (left)

He can be a little wild, but he’s also quite affectionate. He’s the only one who lets us scratch his belly.

Remember when people had “rumpus rooms”? I guess they’re called “family rooms” today, but they were basically a room (more often than not in the basement) where you would send the kids when they were getting a little wild, so they wouldn’t break anything. I tried to find pictures of rumpus rooms and instead found a restaurant in Milwaukee called The Rumpus Room. Looks like a nice place, but too many things would get broken if you treated it like an actual rumpus room. They’d probably ask you to leave.

Did you have a rumpus room when you were a kid? How about now? Have you ever read Where The Wild Things Are? What did you think?

Five “Red” Songs #atozchallenge


The word “red” popped into my head when I woke up this morning, and I took it as a sign. Here, then, are five songs with “red” in the title.

Red Sails In The Sunset – Patti Page: Patti was the top-selling and top-charting female vocalist of the 1950’s. This is a tune that has been covered so much, and was so popular at one time, that even The Beatles did a version (sadly, I can’t find a version; it was never released on an album).

Red River Rock – Johnny and the Hurricanes: I love instrumental rock, and this uptempo cover of “Red River Valley” is a prime example of why. This reached #5 in the US and #3 in the UK in 1959.

Red Rubber Ball – The Cyrkle: In my neighborhood, almost every kid had a copy of this, and to this day it’s one of my favorite songs. Just real simple lyrics and music, but a nice song. It went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Cash Box survey, and #1 on the RPM survey in Canada in 1966.

The Lady In Red – Chris DeBurgh: This was DeBurgh’s first big hit; it went to #1 in the UK and Canada and #2 in the US in 1986. Rolling Stone readers named it the third-worst song of the 1980’s, and the tenth-most annoying song of all time by readers of Dotmusic — one of only two records in their top ten that wasn’t a novelty song.

Red Red Wine – Neil Diamond: I originally had the reggae version of this song by UB40 here, but I had never heard Neil’s version, and after all, he wrote it. I like his better.

These are just five of the estimated six hundred fifty-nine billion songs with “red” in the title, and I’m sure you have a favorite that I didn’t list here. What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

#atozchallenge: Rockumentary

rockumentary =
rock + documentary


A rockumentary is a documentary film or TV show about a rock band or musicians. I’ve seen a few of these…

  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen, which followed Joe Cocker on his “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in the late 1960’s with Leon Russell and others.
  • Woodstock, which focused on the Woodstock festival.
  • The Last Waltz, the film of the final concert by The Band, featuring many of the musicians they worked with over the years.
  • Hail! Hail! Rock & Roll, film of two concerts celebrating Chuck Berry’s 60th birthday.
  • The Beatles Anthology, detailing the history of the Beatles, coinciding with the three Beatles Anthology albums.

I’ve also seen a couple of great “mockumentaries,” films that are parodies of rockumentaries: This is Spinal Tap, about a tour with the British heavy metal band Spinal Tap (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer), and All You Need Is Cash, about a band called The Rutles, a takeoff on The Beatles (George Harrison has a bit part as an interviewer). I understand there’s a follow-up to that one, The Rutles: Can’t Buy Me Lunch.

Here’s a scene from This is Spinal Tap, where Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) shows Rob Reiner his guitar room.

What rockumentaries have you seen?


Razor (#atozchallenge)

The old reliable safety razor (source: Wikimedia Commons)

It took a while to come up with the word I would use today. I had thought of “radar” and “rubber” and a few others, and Mary said “What about razor?” And I remembered, I had written a post about getting a close shave back in July of last year. It should be noted that since that time I’ve decided to grow a beard and dispense with taking a sharp object to my face. Anyway, here’s an encore presentation of “In Search of a Close Shave.”

I’ve been shaving since I started high school. I didn’t have much of a beard, but the Jesuits told us all that we had to start shaving because some of us were coming to school with a shadow. There weren’t many choices for shaving at the time; you had the safety razor, the injector razor, the straight razor, and the electric shaver.

Fortunately, we had never gotten around to getting rid of Dad’s shaving stuff after he died, and his razor and half a container of Gillette blue blades were still in the medicine cabinet, along with a can of Noxzema Medicated Comfort Shave (the one advertised by Gunilla Knutson) and an old bottle of English Leather after shave lotion.

Ad for Noxzema featuring Gunilla Knutson

So, that Saturday morning, I went into the bathroom, lathered up my face, and attempted to shave the way the guys in the commercials did.

And cut myself in several places. (At least I’d have no trouble proving to Fr. Mulhern that I had shaved over the weekend.) That’s when I learned what the after shave was for: to stop the bleeding. Stung like hell, but it did the trick.

Mom, of course, was beside herself, and asked her boyfriend at the time to show me how to shave. He and I stood in the bathroom and I showed him what I was doing, and he went out and reported that I was doing just fine. I still cut myself, but I learned that the guy in the commercial was using a razor without a blade, and that’s how he was able to shave the way he did without slicing his face to ribbons.

I shaved with a either a safety razor or an injector razor (it arrived in the mail one day, I tried it, and I liked it) until I started traveling. By that time, the disposable razors had come out, and it was just easier to use a disposable and throw it out at the end of a trip. Plus, I didn’t run the risk of forgetting it or damaging it in my luggage. Not long after moving to Atlanta, my trusty safety razor fell apart, and by that time razors and blades were as rare as hen’s teeth, so I said, “the hell with it,” and just started using the disposables every day.

They must be making them much cheaper these days, because for the first few months of this year I had been trying to get a decent shave with a disposable, and I’d end up just as hairy after I shave as I was before it. The disposables are so dull you couldn’t cut a fart with them. (I just had to use that joke.) Evidently this is a problem for a lot of guys, because I’ve started seeing the safety razors pop up in ads for Barbasol shave cream. I don’t know if it’s a nostalgia thing or just guys being frustrated with the whole shaving experience, but the safety razor is making a comeback. This is a commercial for one such razor that I’ve started seeing, featuring Rick Harrison from the TV show Pawn Stars:

A couple of months ago, I told Mary that I was going to order myself a razor and some blades. When the razor came, I shaved with it for the first time, and it was a bit of a bloodbath. I have had to make adjustments to the pressure that I use from the disposable, where I had to press hard to get it to cut anything, to the new razor, where I barely have to press to get it to remove the hair from my face. I also purchased a styptic pencil and a bottle of Aqua Velva, my favorite after shave from the old days. It soothes a raw face after a good shave, and Mary likes the scent.

I’m happy. Now, if I could only find menthol shave cream…

How do you (or the man in your life, if there is one) shave?