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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Walks with Scrappy

It's picture post time, with some story woven in.

First stop:  Friday....

Here is evidence that Scrappy is losing his touch.  Notice him absently sniffing the grass.  But if you look at the pile of parking lot bumpers behind him...

You'll notice four little ground hoglets looking out at us and the rest of the world.  All told, Scrappy had a total of 8 ground hogs that should have been within his sense of smell pass harmlessly by him, including three of them after I let him off his leash and shouted, "Go get 'em!"  He looked at me and then turned to run- not where they went but to the nearest den he knew about.  I showed him where they had run TO the den, and he joyfully tracked them backwards to where they HAD been.  Not a good day for up.

Squirrel, not bear

One shot from a late Saturday afternoon jaunt...

And then today (AKA Sunday morning)...

Columbines at the woods' north entrance

Good morning, Big Guy!

Scrappy getting his mojo back, moments after pursuing a chipmunk.  That'a boy, start small.

Biggest Jack I've seen

Scrappy peels off at the bridge for a beach trip

And then up into the usual dead end.

"I said, I'm not going back there!"

The black object in the grass above was a tragedy- a young goose who had apparently hit a wire above and crashed.  He was on his back, weakly flapping his feet.  Nothing we could do...

The barn swallows (above) were everywhere.  Got buzzed pretty good a couple of times.

Finally getting Mr Limpy to take a break

But I had to promise him a walk over the old bridge to the barn to get him to agree.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Time Machine week 74

Today we arrive just four days after my birthday, May 20th 1962.  Now I type these things on Thursday night, and every once in a while, I search for the Thursday date by accident, as I did this time.  But I am NOT changing it, because the thing that happened last night gives me something I always wanted.  Because last night, JFK had a song sang to him- "Happy Birthday, Mr. President...."

...and because of that, Marilyn Monroe is at last entered in the Time Machine Beauty Contest next January!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to this week's Time Machine, where this week we find a new top story on the M10- if you were 1,2,or 3, you aren't in the top 3 this week!  Plus did the Jayhawks break the point record on the M10- and tie the weeks record?  Who is Dave Ball? How many songs the panel voted for NEVER charted?  What the heck does J.A.J stand for?  And what the heck is a nut rocker?  All this and more, coming your way!


The Panel bring you this week's mayhem consists of:  WWIN Baltimore; KTRM Beaumont, TX; KYO Seattle; KLMS Lincoln, NE; WDRC Hartford; WABB Mobile; KRLA Los Angeles; KWK St Louis; WABC New York; KYA San Fran; WHK Cleveland; and WBKW Buffalo.  They rolled us up a whopping 35 different songs- which has to be one of the highest totals ever!  That total gave us no less than three songs that never charted nationally- and we'll get to them in a bit.  It also gave us 7 #1 songs, including the Shirelles' Soldier Boy (Lincoln and NYC), David Rose's The Stripper (LA), and Connie Francis' Why'd You Wanna Make Me Cry (Cleveland), as well as one of those songs that never charted nationally.  The lowest song that actually charted this week goes to Tony Bennett, who had just entered at #123 with I Left My Heart In San Francisco.  And our top 4:

Without a #1 vote and 11 points, Jimmy Soul and Twistin' Matilda, which sat at #22 on Cashbox.

Also with 11 points BUT with a #1 from Baltimore, Gene Pitney's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, the national #34.

With the number ones of Beaumont, Mobile, St Louis, and Buffalo- which accounts for all twenty of his points and thus a second place finish- Ray Charles and I Can't Stop Loving You, the national #9.

Boy, the panel sure seemed to be allergic to the national tops!  Although the national number one IS the panel pick as well, with 24 points and the remaining couple of #1s.  But the rest of the top ten, save #s 1 and 9?  Well, they got only thirty-four points between 'em, and that's only because Soldier Boy (#2 nationally) got the 2 #1s.  The rest combined would have only tied the Panel's top pick.

And that song?  C'mon, you know you gotta wait...


Next up, a little game I call, How many of the songs in the top 150 on the week he was born does Chris REALLY know?  And the answer is, only counting songs I actually know and can whistle a significant bit minimum- 18.  And I thought I'd filter them in a bit at a time.  Here goes:

#131- Johnny Get Angry, Joannie Sommers
#123 - I left My Heart In SF- Tony Bennett
#122- Roses Are Red- Bobby Vinton
#100- Al Di La- Emilio Pericoli
and #83- Moon River- Henry Mancini.


Next up, our first M10 debut this week goes to the Jayhawks, with their second hit off Paging Mr. Proust:

Lovers Of The Sun places #10 this week.


So what about those songs on the Panel Picks that were only regional hits?  Well, the biggest one was by a gent named Shelton Dunaway.  He was better (relative term) known as Cookie of Cookie and his Cupcakes, who actually grazed the hot 100 once.  His solo hit was called Just One Kiss, and Beaumont had him at #2.  This was  a nice bit of swamp-pop- doo wop.

Beaumont also supplied us with another regional hit.  And once again it was some swamp pop, this time from one Jerry (Count) Jackson,  Real name Jerry Lacroix, he was better known (again, relative) for being the lead vocal on an outfit called the Boogie Kings.  Later on, he would appear on a Blood Sweat and Tears lp (1974's Mirror Image.)  The tune is called The Band Doll, and I kinda dug it.

Third and final was the #1 out of Seattle, an instrumental by the Dynamics called J.A.J.  And what was JAJ?  Apparently it came from the writer, one Dave Lewis.  In his band, he had a bass player named Jerry Witten, whom they called, "Jive-ass Jerry."  And that is what JAJ stands for.


How about some more of the hits I actually knew from back then?

#58- David Rose and The Stripper, naturally.
#53 Twistin' The Night Away, Sam Cooke on the way down.
#43- Young World, Ricky Nelson
And then two of my all timers back to back:
#35- It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin', Johnny Tillotson, and
#34- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Gene Pitney.


And now, since he has nothing better to do, some words from Sir Paul McCartney:

I don't take me seriously. If we get some giggles, I don't mind. 

Well, you'll fit right in here!  So pull up a chair, and let's...

10- This tune had already hit #1 in the States back in March- Bruce Channel's Hey Baby.

9- Jimmy Justice (if your real name was Jimmy Little, you might think about a stage name, too) peaked only at #127 with this tune, When My Little Girl Is Smiling.

8- Del Shannon just peeked in the top 40 last year with this one, called Hey Little Girl.

7- When Terry Nelhams-Wright decided he wanted another name, he picked a much cooler on than Mr. Little did- Adam Faith.  Adam was at #7 with a did-not-chart here, As You Like It.

6- Ketty Lester was on the way back down in the states, at #31 after a top ten showing for Love Letters.

5- A non-issue over here for Brenda Lee, Speak To Me Pretty.

4- Of course, we're not complete without Cliff Richard and the Shadows, this time with the double sider Do You Want To Dance/I'm Looking Out The Window.

3- And, of course, that means the Shadows have to have a solo too.  Their hit, Wonderful Land, was at #143 over here this week.

2- Elvis' Good Luck Charm, #11 in the States, was the runner-up in the UK.

And, tops of the tops this week?

And now you know what a Nut Rocker is.  It was at #65 and falling here this week after making the mid 20's.


Here's some more of the songs I actually knew:

#33 Palisades Park, Freddy Cannon
#13 PT 109, Jimmy Dean
#12 Shout (Knock Yourself Out), Ernie Maresca
and #9, I Can't Stop Loving You, Ray Charles.


The tune Conquistador was released off the live lp Live With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra by Procol Harum.  On that live single the guitarist was Dave Ball, but the original recording, off their 1967 debut, hard rocker Robin Trower was the guitarist.  Trower was a albums-only arena rocker in the 70s and 80s, and one member of his band was bassist James Dewar.  Dewar was the only notable name on a band called the Luvvers- with the exception of their lead singer, Lulu.  Lulu had a hit in '64 with the Luvvers, a#7 cover of a song that the Isley Brothers did more famously (and originally) in 1959- the song which sat at #15 this week but got no Panel love by Joey Dee and the Starlighters- Shout pt.I.


And the last four I knew?

#7 Lovers Who Wander, Dion
#5 Johnny Angel, Shelly Fabres
#4 She Cried, Jay and the Americans,
and #2, Soldier Boy.


And now, the M10!

You heard number ten, now have a listen to #9 Seattle sisters Mariko and Miro Justad and their band Tangerine:

Number eight was going to be a fall-off this week, but it changed my mind at the last second, and Carroll's Bad water hangs on, slipping a notch to #8.

With such a big turnover at the top, somebody had to fall- and three former #1s are in the next four songs!  Dropping 4 to #7 is one of them- Redspencer's Ride It Out.

Quiet Corners  by the Jayhawks also falls 4 - but at #6, it becomes the M10's all time biggest hit, and the record for most weeks on the chart is theirs if they can hang on next week too.

Charles Bradley fights his way upstream one more notch to #5 with Changes.

Actually, the Queen- Ruth B slides down to #4 with 2 Poor kids.  But don't panic- she climbs 6 spots to #3 with Superficial Love!

This song always surprises me- 8,7,back to 8, up to 5, holds at 5- and now, jumps three into the runner up spot- Strawberry Runners and When We Were Good.

And the #1s?

M10 says-

... Michael Benjamin Lerner and Telekinesis with Lean On Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And at the top of the Panel?

...Mr. Acker Bilk and Stranger On The Shore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that's a wrap from the wonderful year of 1962!  Tune in next week when Marilyn and I... er, when we travel to...1979!  And, we see if the Jayhawks can shatter the 9-week barrier!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Martin World News- If I were sorry edition

ITEM:  Our title story comes to us from Eurovision 2016, the continent wide music contest in which each member nation elects one singer with one song to vie against everyone else's to become... well, Eurovision champion.

This year's contest has had a LOT of controversy.  The Australian entry (yeah, EV takes into account future continental drift) almost got tossed for having the words "face time" in it, in such a way that it could have been interpreted as promoting the app FaceTime, which it was decided it did not.  Then, the Romanians were tossed because their national TV had not paid its dues in several years, and in fact couldn't, as it was teetering on bankruptcy.  Then came the great Ukraine/Russia debate.  The Ukraine entry was by a Crimean Tatar woman, driven from her homeland by the recent Russian invasion, who did a song about how the Tatars were executed or deported for "collaboration" with the Nazis when the Red Army reoccupied Crimea.  The Russians claimed the song, 1944 by Jamala, was political, a slap at the Russian occupation.  EV decided it was "historical fact" and not political.  Then the grand final came and the  дерьмо really hit the вентилятор.

You see, EV has a two-headed scoring system:  half a vote by juries of professionals from each nation, half a "televote" by fans at home.  And in combining the two, Ukraine (who finished second in each) won the contest, while the Russians (who won the fan vote), who were the bookies' favorites, finished third.  One Russian government official claimed Ukraine was the winner because nobody likes Russia.  Well, if the shoe fits, yes, you ARE sorry.

I listened to the top 8, and this is how I saw it:

(NOTE:  I was planning to put up links, but I just learned that EV has pulled all the official videos from YouTube because they aren't "allowed in our country."  Yes, rights owners, you ARE sorry.)

1- Australia's Demi Im with "Sound of Silence".  It was #2 overall, getting 1 from the jury and 4 from the audience.

2- France's Amir with "J'ai Chereche",6 overall, the jury #3 and fan #9.

3- Bulgaria's Poli Genova with "If Love Was A Crime", 4 overall, 7 Jury, 5 fan.

4- Armenia's Iveta Mukuchyan with "Lovewave", 7 overall with a 10 jury and 7 fan.

5- "1944", and you know the stats.

6- Russia's Sergey Lazarev with "You Are The Only One", who got the #1 from the fans but only a 5th from the jury.  I thought he was really cocky and smug in his performance.  Shouldn't have went by the bookies.

7- Poland's Michał Szpak with "Color Of Your Life".  the #8 overall, he was 3rd on the fans but a much more reasonable IMHO 23rd by the jury.

And that brings us to the title theme of this post.  The #5 overall (9 jury, 6 fans) was hometown boy (finals were in Stockholm, Sweden) Frans with "If I Were Sorry".  I listened to about 45 seconds before I said, yes, you ARE sorry.  The song was half sung poorly, half mumbled incoherently, and Frans resembled a love child of Shaggy and Velma's who, if he weren't under the influence of marijuana, he SHOULDA been.  I didn't even rank it an 8th;  my board simply lists it as "sucked".  In fairness, I had Laurie listen, and she had a look of absolute horror on her face.  SHADY NOTE:  If you look up any of these (you'll like Poli Genova, and the Armenian girl), do NOT look up this one.  You have been warned.

Frans, you ARE sorry.
"But wait, is Scooby my mom?"

ITEM:  Openly gay "Pastor" from Texas Jordan Brown has admitted now that his lawsuit against Whole Foods was a hoax.  If you haven't followed this, He allegedly bought a cake decorated with "Love Wins" at WF, which he says he took home and it said, "Love wins, fag."  However, he made the mistake of showing his altered cake online, where sharp eyed viewers noticed the sticker that WF seals the box with had been moved, and the "fag" was in a different color.  He also failed to note that the baker explicitly blamed in his lawsuit was a member of the LGBT community.

“I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the baker associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions,” Brown said in the statement.

“I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney.”

Funny that a PASTOR, whose first allegiance SHOULD be to God, apologized not once to his Creator.  Well, when you consider that this "pastor" openly admits to being the unrepentant committer of a sin against God's word, well, whether you consider it a sin yourself, you have to admit that a player that deviates from the playbook already has at least one big hole in his credibility.  And he just admitted to another.  Jordan Brown, you ARE sorry.

ITEM:  So the "prestigious" New York Times ran a lengthy article Sunday titled,  “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved with Women in Private.”  In this anti-Trump piece, they relied heavily on an interview with model Rowanne Brewer, whom they presented as someone who had been "debased" by Trump.  However, the model was on Fox and Friends Monday, and blew a BIG hole amidships the story:

“He never made me feel like I was being demeaned in any way,” she said, calling the article “very upsetting.”

“The New York Times told us several times that they would make sure that my story that I was telling came across … that it would not be a hit piece,” she said. “That my story would come across the way that I was telling it … and it absolutely was not.”

The times, for their part:  In a written statement, a New York Times spokesperson also said: "Ms. Brewer Lane was quoted fairly, accurately and at length.  So no, "I'm sorry for telling a tilted truth.  Do you expect anything else from "America's Newspaper"?  NYT, you ARE sorry.

ITEM:  One Senator who is no flake is Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Az.  He recently released a report about the 20 questions Congress should ask before appropriating money for "research" projects, and gave several examples of projects that wouldn't have seen the light of day had they been held up to his standard.  Here they are:

-One Michael Smith drew from a $1 million grant to Cornell University, in which he allowed bees to sting him in 25 different places on his body in order to find out "where it hurts the worse to be stung."  For the record, he listed the top five worst were the nostril, upper lip, penis, and a tie between his scrotum, palm, cheek, and armpit.

- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Pentagon offshoot, drew from a $172,000 grant to Cal- Santa Barbara to learn why "coffee spills from your cup while walking."  Obviously a big problem at the DOD.

- How about a $50,000 National Science Foundation grant to learn if you can tell a Republican from a Democrat by looking at their face?  The UCLA researchers basically learned what conservative meme-makers have known for a long time- the more feminine a woman congressman looks, the more likely she's a Republican- with the effect increasing with the conservative bent to her voting record.

A telling example?
- Drunken birds slur when they sing.  Really?

Like drunks at a karaoke bar, inebriated birds slur when they sing, according to research
supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The project examined the impact of alcohol on the speech impairment of birds was conducted by the Oregon Health & Science University with funding provided from three separate NIH grants totaling more than $5 million.
The birds in the study, zebra finches, were served and mixed drinks made of white grape
juice and ethanol.   The cocktails had “about six percent alcohol concentration, similar to many
commercial beers.”
“We just showed up in the morning and mixed a little bit of juice with 6 percent alcohol,
and put it in their water bottles and put it in the cages,” explains Christopher Olson. “At first we
were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just
won’t touch the stuff. But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to
consume it.”
“Zebra finches will consume alcohol when it is provided to them, resulting in elevated
blood ethanol content (BEC),” the researchers note. “We found that when zebra finches drink
alcohol, they can reach BECs comparable to those commonly seen in humans, which
measurably affects their song.”

They went on to note that one of the birds observed bordered on "binge drinking".

- An NIH study decided to blow $3.5 million in grants to figure out why people see the "face of Jesus" on slices of toast.

-Another NSF study blew $855,000 to find out that conservatives are more likely to be disgusted by, say, watching a man chewing a mouthful of worms, than liberals.  And again, $390,000 to find out how many shakes it takes various animals to get dry.  They ranged from 5 times for a bear to 30 for a mouse.

-NSF again: $1.1 million to learn if  a cheerleader perceived to be "hot" as a member of the squad is still "hot" when separated from the group.

There are many, many more on Flake's report; I'll feature them in a future report.  But believe me, they ARE sorry.

ITEM:  One last "you Are sorry", and it goes to a group of turkey vultures who decided to buzz bomb Scrappy and I Friday.

They were circling low... "How low were they?"  Well, I'll tell you.  One of them was coming dead at us so low he and I were looking right into each other's eyes- until he noticed he was heading straight for the lowest of the wires on the nearby high-tension towers, abruptly did an, "Oh crap" in mid-flight, and nearly crashed trying to adjust his glide just a bit higher.  If there was ever a better example of life-imitating-cartoons that didn't directly involve Scrappy, I've not seen it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Happy Birthday to me

Yes, 54 years ago at 4:59 PM (or 5:49, I can never remember which), I was born.  To celebrate, I thought I would share with you some of the great things that happened that same day in history- which, though great, pale in comparison to my own remarkable birth.

In 1770, 14-year-old Marie Antoinette married the future Louis the XVI, starting her on a path that would lead here to riches, fame, and a severe neck ache.

Apologies to Gotye, this was too funny

In 1843, the first wagon train set out on the Oregon Trail.  The band Lighthouse would later do a song called 1849 that contained these lyrics...

They packed a trunk full of china, a bible or two
A shotgun for Leroy, a pistol for Lou
A pretty dress for Sarah and a hat for sister Fay
No one thought their greed for gold
Would change their lives someday...

...followed sadly later by...

Was a trunk full of china all broken in two
A shotgun for Leroy that he used on Lou
A pretty dress for Sarah that they used to bury Fay
No one thought their greed for gold
Would change their lives that way....

In 1866, Andrew Johnson became the first President to escape impeachment, by a single vote.

In 1888, Emile Berliner came up with the first flat-disc phonograph record.  It was a recording of 10-year-old Keith Richards covering Lay Down Sally, I think.

In 1914 the American Horseshoe Pitchers Association was born in Kansas City, thus giving Americans something to do while drinking and before fireworks on the Fourth Of July for the next 102 years.

In 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized.  Why?  Because they didn't have cannons back in 1431, so they had to BBQ her.

In 1929 the first Academy Awards were passed out.  I think that best actor went to 8-year-old Harrison Ford for Star Wars:  The Old Beginning.  Just five months or so later, the stock market crashed.  Even then, those damned Hollywood leftists.

In 1939, the very first MLB night baseball game was played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.  The Athletics and Indians went to the tenth tied at three when Ray Parmalee, in his third inning of relief, walked four guys- including three of the first four- the defense chipped in a pair of run scoring fielder's choices, and the Tribe won 8-3.  Cleveland would go on to finish 20 games over .500- and 17 behind the as-usual rampaging Yankees.  The A's ended up 51 1/2 games out- and still cleared the last place St Louis Browns by 13.

In 1944, the Romas (gypsies) imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau defied their SS captors- with sticks and tools, they held off their execution in the gas chambers for 78 desperate days.  Salute to them!

In 1960, the first laser was fired by Theodore Maiman.    The lead Dalek was destroyed, but others adapted their shields to the new weapon and Maiman died screaming.  Oh, wait...

In 1969, the Soviets probe Venera V entered the atmosphere of Venus.  It lasted 53 minutes before becoming a smaller, crumpled version of Joan Of Arc.

In 1975, after leading his nation for the last 30-odd years, Marshall Tito had himself elected President-For Life in Yugoslavia.  He died less than 6 years later, so he could have saved the constitutional change and just got elected one more time.

Also in '75, Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit of Mt Everest.  Her first words at the top were, "それは女性専用トイレを見つけるためだけに行くには長い道のりでした."*

* "That was a long way to go just to find a female-only restroom."

WTH are you sayin', Lenny?

And finally, some of the famous people who were wise enough to pick my birthday to share...

Janet Jackson
Russian Olympian Olga Korbut
Henry Fonda
Baseball manager Billy Martin (no relation, but you could fool a person)
and Pierce Brosnan.