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


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The further adventures of Daniel Boofus

This started out as a typical walk but devolves at a certain "Spot".  Enjoy!

Just struck me that we were in the last days of the Green.  Soon this will all be gray and cold.

Thought the weave of this bark was pretty cool...

The wet weather stream beds are all dry now

 And then down to the Spot.  It is hard to watch how much our little secret spot is changing as time passes...

Right now, it is a grass covered sandy hump overlooking the creek.  It was much flatter here in early 2012...

But erosion is dropping the creek farther from the growth above.

That's where we come in at..

Erosion has also made it easier to walk around the corner of the stream from the Spot.  But it ain't always a bright idea...

 Scrappy wanted me to cross here.  I wanted to climb the bank on the side we were on.  But erosion has made it WAY steeper than it used to be.

Scrappy made several attempts and failed.  Turth be told, it was touch and go for me, too.  So then Scrappy thought, "I am STUCK here and began to get the wide-eyed, scared look...

But finally, I crossed, hopping rocks.  On the other side was where the south end of the woods drains in, making a small gorge.  I tried to go up the side where I crossed, but Scrappy was still shaken over his attempts at the other side.  So, as I tried to negotiate hopping the gorge to the other side, he was up the other side, then behind me, then back across the creek, anywhere to get him to more solid footing fast!  And that meant wrapping me once or twice, taking me under brush, whatever it took.

Eventually, we both ended up on the same side, and untangled.  But solid footing?  Well...

Friday, October 2, 2015

Time Machine week 43

Today we slam into October 2nd, 1972, and it seems like every time we land, we're in the vicinity of a plane crash.  But just to prove that that's not all we look for, today is also the date of the first Major League no-hitter pitched outside of the US of A, by Montreal's Bill Stoneman against the Mets.  It was a challenge- Stoneman walked seven and made an error- and it was just the first game of a twin bill (Relax, Mets fans, the Amazin's came back in the second game 2-1).  In other news, Denmark joins the Common Market, and...

And the plane crash.  An Aeroflot plane (AKA "Come fly with Russian Airways!  We'll try to keep aloft") made it  two-and-a-half miles from takeoff from Sochi when it plunged into the Black Sea with a loss of 109.  Before you're too hard on Aeroflot (not Aerofloat, BTW), it wasn't two weeks later that they put another plane into "a large pond" near Moscow, killing even more, so they can hit smaller targets than the Black Sea.

Annnnnnd welcome to this week's version of Time Machine, where we find:  Chris forgot half the Unknown Song story last week, so he's gonna stick it in this week since he didn't find a good lead feature; A six degrees that will take in not only the last two panel number ones, but also a recent Martin Ten tune; 9 panel number one votes, and only three get into the final four; and a Martin Ten that features, in some order, my favorite band, the second act to land two at a time on the list, the longest song ever to make the M10, AND a debut all the way up at number four!  If that's not a good time, then screw it, we're going back to 1979 next week!


Before we get any farther, I have a funeral notice to mention.  Ordinarily, someone like Phil Woods, who passed this week, might have passed by my radar.  A "successor" to the great jazzman Charlie Parker, his was the sax solo on Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are.  But what really caught my eye was that he had a connection to Michel Legrand, who you recall is the father of last week's M10 #1 lead singer, Victoria Legrand.  That connection was in the first of his four Grammys- his lp Legends, recorded with Michel and his orchestra.  Phil was 83.


Our panel comes to us from:  KTOE, Mankato MN, KONO San Antonio, WHUS (hopefully not pronounced "wuss") Storrs CT, KCPX Salt Lake City, WLS Chicago, KRAE Cheyenne WY, WDRQ Detroit, WMYQ Miami, WAMS Wilmington, WFIL Philly, WAVZ New Haven, and KTLK Denver.  They totalled up 27 different songs, including 19 of the first 20 I looked at!  One third of them got a #1 vote in a wild race, including Gladstone's A Piece Of Paper, (which was featured one year ago this week on Time Machine) in Mankato, the Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose with Don't Ever Be Lonely in Storrs, Lobo's I'd Love You To Want Me in Salt Lake, Chicago's Saturday In The Park in Miami, The Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin in Wilmington, and Elvis with Burning Love in Denver!  And even with all those NOT making the panel four, we still have a TIE for fourth, so you buy 4 and get a fifth free!  Here we go:

Without a #1 vote (none left) and 13 points, our joint number fours are Michael Jackson's Ben (Cashbox #9) and Chuck Berry's My Ding-A-Ling (CB's #6), a song to Mike's rat and a song to Chuck's... er, toy.

With the #1s of New Haven and San Antonio and 17 points, the national #4 the Main Ingredient and Everybody Plays The Fool.

With the number one vote of Philadelphia and 91 points (trailing the winner by 9 points), the national #1, Three Dog Night's Black And White.

And at #1... stay tuned.


Last week we featured Michael Henderson's Take Me, I'm Yours as the Unknown Song, but we didn't mention who that song featured.  Rena Scott has a Time Machine connection, and who doesn't?  Her career was a succession of jingles, touring a brief time with Aretha Franklin, and being a spokesperson for Harvey's Bristol Creme wines until Take Me hit the charts, but her connect came after that.  Not long ago, the song Street Life by the Crusaders- specifically, lead singer Randy Crawford- was featured in a six degrees.  Rena took over the singing chores with the Crusaders after Randy left, through the 80's.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any more tidbits on this lovely lady.


Next, it's Bottoms Up time!

10- Al Green's I'm Still In Love With You is on the way down at 58 after 14 weeks.

9- I warned Shady about a possible Bread sighting, but all they get is this spot and 5 panel points for Guitar Man, on the way down at 59 after 11 weeks.

8- The final big dropper is Jim Croce's You Don't Mess Around With Jim, at 63 in week #15.

7- We find a slowly climbing Helen Reddy with I Am Woman at 64 after 6 weeks.  She picked up speed later.

6- Eric Clapton was at 66 after 3 weeks with Let It Rain.

5- Another TM connection is Cashman and West's American City Suite, at 70 after 3 weeks.

4-  Seals and Crofts were at 71 in their second week with Summer Breeze.

3- Mott The Hoople had All The Young Dudes at 77 after a couple of weeks.

2- Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes debuted their classic If You Don't Know Me By Now at 83 this week.

And this week's top bottom?

... Donna Fargo's Funny Face, debuting this week at #95!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Okay, so what do last week's panel #1 (Exile's Kiss You All Over), the week before's panel #1 (The Knack's My Sharona), and last week's M10 #7 (Racey's Some Girls) have in common?  Two of them were written and one produced by Brit legends Mike Chapman and Nicky Chin! (In fact, in the part of the story I almost left out THIS week- perhaps a new feature?- they offered Some Girls, rather curiously, to Blondie first, who turned it down.) They also wrote the biggest hit for a British band you prolly don't know named Arrows, a song called Touch Too Much.  That song was #8 in the UK back in '74, but they are perhaps more known for a song that didn't chart for them, but did in the US of A when covered by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts- the massive #1 I Love Rock'N'Roll.    One of the follow ups for the band was the #20 Do Ya Want To Touch Me, which would take on a darker significance not long ago when it's original writer and performer- glam star Gary Glitter- got convicted for child seduction and porn.  The pervo's big hit- Rock And Roll- unfortunately heard to excess in sports arenas everywhere prior to said conviction- is the song that was highest on Cashbox (#8) but got no love from the panel this week.


And now, the Martin Ten!

You all should know by now I am a huge ELO fan, and last week I was beside myself when Jeff Lynne released the first single off the brand new lp, Alone In The Universe.  This week, at number ten, brand-new ELO:

At number nine Duran Duran takes the title of second band to have two hits on the M10 simultaneously, and at 7:04 the longest song thus far on the ten.  It's the title track to the new lp Paper Gods.

Bow to the paper gods in a world that is paper thin
 (oh, the paper gods)
Fools in town are ruling now 
(in the sky of grey)
Bleeding from paper cuts, money for headshots 
(all the fools in town are ruling today)
Fools leading 
Who needs it?

Adam Lambert slips a pair of spots to #8 with Ghost Town.

Family Of The Year had their older hit race up the charts in advance of the new one.  But newer songs are butting ahead and last week's runner up, Hero, tumbles all the way to #7.

Also tumbling out of the way is two-time #1 Island In The Sun by Weezer, from 3 to #6.

Castlecomer doesn't tumble, but it doesn't gain either, holding at #5 with Fire Alarm.

And at #4 a song I heard the first time at work on our new Alternative station (the only station I can bring in at work that doesn't SUCK).  It actually came out in 2009, and hit #4 on the Alt charts, but I didn't know it till now.  They are from Versailles, France, they are called Phoenix, and the title of this song is defined as "used by Heinrich Heine to describe the intense fan frenzy directed toward Franz Liszt during his performances. The video to the song shows the band visiting the Franz-Liszt-Museum in Bayreuth."

And with that slamming into the top four, things are about to change- even more so because last week's #8 leaps all the way to #3!  That would be Duran Duran (again) with Pressure Off.

The top two spots were a hard choice for me   In fact, I had them switched at one point, fully convinced that the song at number two- Family Of The Year's Make You Mine- was going to be this week's numero uno.  But something in the way Victoria Legrand sings, "You bright-eyed girls, you get it right..." turned me around.  The number one on the Martin Ten for a second week...

.... Beach House and Space Song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the panel number one....

...Mac Davis with Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mac was on 8 of the 12 panel charts, and #2 nationally this week.

My random year generator had a bit of a stutter step, so come back next week for a slice of... 1971!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A nice autumn walk

Gotta love the imaginations of chemical manufacturers.  What a clever name.

The Green Hole, still green..

...and full of dens to sniff.

Lots and lots of Fleabane.
In purple, too

This guy tagged along for much of the first half of our walk, but got tired and had to sit down.

No ducks at the duck pond, but plenty of big fat tadpoles

When soccer isn't ongoing, this is one of the best spots- always shady, and so quiet.

All that remains of California Road where it met Coliseum.

A nice sitting spot- at the south end of the woods.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

And More fun tidbits

ITEM 1:  No, I'm Not Really Here

This is one of those long awaited Wal-Mart stories from Laurie.  Let me set this up by mentioning that store rules require a cashier to card the person that buys booze, along with anyone with them.  This can be quite amusing, because there are a LOT of underage/don't have my ID people who, rather than be smart and go stand outside while the legal person makes the purchase, insist on standing there until they are required to produce ID, at which point the purchase can NOT be made, and switching to another cashier does no good- if they are caught, they don't get served.

As you might imagine, such idiots come with a plethora of excuses.  A few nights back, a young-ish couple, guy and girl, came trying this very thing.  His ID checked out, but she refused to show hers.  Laurie explained that as she was with him, she had to show ID or no sale.  "I'm not with him," she said as she stood at the end of the line, "I'm just bagging."

First thing, Laurie was bagging.
Second thing, you come into a store and just randomly bag booze for guys you aren't with often?

ITEM 2:  Work, part one

One of the many things I'd like to share about my job is the decisive action taken whenever a problem arises.  But since I can't, there's this story.

My machine that cuts fabric is basically a 72 inch by 5 yard conveyor belt of plastic composite.  They have lasted through up to 6 months of being cut upon in the past, and the hope is that by setting different base lines to cut on it might last even longer.  But the current one, not so much.

Installed on June 8th, it was a travesty less than 2 months in when a gigantic slit formed lengthwise on the belt.  About five inches in on the side I run things from, about a foot long.   Hitting the slit meant bye-bye blade, so I had to start staggering the fabric (which is 60 inches itself) higher on the belt.  The problem has escalated to a point that between 5-8 inches above my edge there are (I counted) a dozen such slits anywhere from 4- 18 inches long.  Thus 8 1/2 inches of my belt are a virtual no-man's land, and the next four are getting so heavily used that it is developing the "overuse bump" that I normally don't start seeing for another couple months.

Today, I told my big boss that I was running out of places to run to.  He said, "Yes, I need to check up on the new belt.  We know it's in shipping, (meaning en route), but..."

"That's a pretty big, expensive piece of equipment to not know where it is," I said.

"Sigh.  I know."

Part of the problem MAY lie in the installation back in June.  The belt has to be stretched on (requiring 3 big men and one little guy to climb underneath, usually me), welded together with super-hot glue, and then tensioned by a lever on the machine.  That lever was stripped out last time, requiring a panicked rush to Lowes in the pouring rain and some, as we used to say, creative engineering. (Well, we didn't say it like that, but Jesse Jackson will be on my butt if I put it the right way.)  Perhaps the fix has something to do with it... but I think it's just a belt with one bad side.

ITEM 3:  If'n You Want It, or If'n You Don't

I just found out that Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10.  So much so, in fact, that in the course of your regular updates, they may have (as they did to me) downloaded the framework for it- a multi-gig program set sitting there taking up space until you upgrade- without so much as a by-your-leave.  Leo Notenboom at  can give you the rundown, as he did me in his weekly e-mail, but involves checking your program list for a certain little devil that you must eliminate by A) finding the updates concerned and deleting them, B) checking your update list periodically to see if they show up again, in which case you mark them "hide this update", and C), if you want to, delete the program, which requires you to sign on as an administrator, or use Disk Cleanup to eliminate the unwanted vagrant.  If I had any intent to upgrade, I sure the hell don't now.  Nice marketing move, MicroBully!

ITEM 4:  Work, part two

I confess it, I have a problem with projects sitting "over my head", glaring at me, saying get me done!  You'd think I'd be used to that, with the frequency of stupid crap hot orders that come my way in the course of a day.  But I am getting better at not yelling, kicking, or throwing a tantrum when they come my way.  Today, for example, I decided to have some fun with it before I killed someone...

So far, it hasn't got me fired...

ITEM 5:  More Whining About Blood Monitoring

Last night, 5 PM:  Four sticks, four drops of blood, four of my rapidly diminishing test strips, three error messages, two flat out ignores, and the realization that the meter just does NOT want blood from the fingers on my right hand.

All for a 114.  In case you didn't know, 114 on the Martin scale is really really close to "Why am I bothering?"

ITEM 6:  Work part three

Had a bee in the plant today.  Came to visit my area after scaring one lady half outta her bra.  At 11:30 or thereabouts, I took a freshly folded panel and hit him as he hovered over my scrap bin (Yeah, I know it was a she, but I wouldn't hit a lady).  Didn't see it, it didn't fly away.  I assumed he was either dead or very very concussed.

1:30, I happened to be looking over at the bin when I saw the little dastard rise from the scrap and fly off, back toward the lady he first scared.  I'd have just stayed in the scrap till it got dumped in with the yummy trash, if I were him.  But if I were him, I'd be a her, so....

ITEM 7:  Lats night's Walk