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


Sunday, October 30, 2011

FCS, KHL, M-o-u-s-e

And now, back to something I've been (mercifully) lazy about, my updates on the FCS (minor-league college football) and the KHL (Russian major league hockey).  Last week, I must admit, I laid off my FCS stuff because many of the teams I rank did horribly.  Fortunately, they were by-and-large the same ones that the coaches ranked, so I really didn't do THAT bad.  The coaches, however, sometimes I wonder if they pay ANY attention to anyone else's scores before voting.  For example, I counted 24 teams that as of this morning have winning records but not even a single vote on the coaches poll.  This includes 5 teams that are at least 3 games over .500- Dayton (6-3), Georgetown (7-2), Alabama A&M (6-2), Duquesne (7-2), and Drake (7-2), which makes for a combined 33-11.  Now I give you that many of these are from weaker conferences and I don't even rank them.  However, compare it to the 8 sub-.500 teams that DO get votes (such as Missouri State, who got enough votes to rank 30th while sporting a 1-8 record) and are a combined 22-44.  Missouri State has been clubbed by every halfway decent team that's come their way- including losing to big boys Arkansas and Oregon by a combined 107-14, and lovely competitive games against #2 Northern Iowa (42-7), #26 Illinois State (38-13), and #3 North Dakota State (51-21), leaving them outscored on the season 157-353.  For this tremendous record of success they got 23 votes in last week's poll.  If I were an AD, I'd want to know if I employed one of those 23 coaches that think 1-8 is rewardable success.

Anyhow, here's my rankings this week- and it shifts quite a bit after former #1 Georgia Southern fell to former #11 App State 24-17, and former #6 North Dakota St. beat former #2 Northern Iowa 27-19.  NDAKST goes to #1 with their big-boy-less 8-0 record.  Montana St. (8-1) pulls into 2nd with a 54-13 win over Idaho St.  Wofford rebounds in to 3rd (6-2), after pasting slumping Elon 48-28.  GaSo drops to #4 (still 7-1 ain't bad), and Lehigh (who I got to watch against Colgate yesterday) keeps their 7-1 record in 5th for a second week. Sam Houston St. (8-0) won a conference game 66-0 over Lamar and rises to 6th; App State's victory brings them fro 11 to 7.  NIU falls all the way to #8 at 6-2, while Montana at 7-2 holds at 9 after a 45-10 rout of Weber St.  Rounding out the top ten is the Black Bears of Maine, who go to 7-1 after pasting Villanova 41-25 (2 years from a national championship, the Wildcats are now 1-8).

Old Dominion (7-2) won a hard fought  23-20 game against then-#8 JMU (5-3) and rise to 11th, while James Madison drops to 18.  New Hampshire... well, they did win, 31-24, over doormat Rhode Island to go to 6-2 and move up one spot to 12th.  Jacksonville St. (5-3) has seen the wheels fall off of late, and fall another 3 this week to 13th after losing to Tennessee Tech (which the coaches actually had at 17th, and stubbornly I have yet to rank) 21-14.  A battle royal between then-#12 Towson and then-#17 Delaware ended in a 35-30 win for Delaware; therefore, the Blue Hens (5-4) rise to 14th while Towson (6-2) slips to 15th.  I had to nudge Liberty (6-3) down a notch to 16th when it took them 2 OTs to top Presbyterian 27-20.  Harvard ( 7-1) continues to do the Ivy League proud after whopping Dartmouth (sorry, KC) 41-10, and they move up to #17.

William AND Mary (4-4) had a week off together and slip to 19th, just behind JMU.  The next five spots did well enough to stay right where they are (and thus keep Tenn Tech and Dayton off my chart)- #20 Jacksonville (6-2), #21 Stony Brook (5-3), #22 Illinois State (6-3), #23 Indiana St. (5-3, and like W&M and J'ville, took the week off), and #24 UMass (5-3).  I did have one spot for a newcomer, and with reservations I gave it to Jackson State (7-1) at #25.

This week, we have a handful of ranked games:  NDAKST tries to keep its new #1 ranking against #23 Indiana St.; #10 Maine vs #15 Towson; #12 UNH vs #18 JMU.  Others facing tough contests are GaSo vs surprisingly 4-4 Citadel; Lehigh has conference rival Holy Cross; App State has to follow up their big win against Furman; NIU tries to recover against resurgent Youngstown St.; J-Ville State tries to stop their slide against Eastern Kentucky; Jacksonville faces Drake in an all-or-nothing for the Pioneer League lead; and Jackson State faces rival Grambling.

Montana St. gets its turn with Weber St. this week; Wofford gets cupcake Western Carolina; Sam Houston gets SE Louisiana; Montana moves on to cupcake Western Oregon; ODU faces struggling Richmond; Liberty may have a little trouble with VMI; Harvard gets Ivy doormat Columbia; W&M, who's been making everyone look good this season, plays URI; Stony Brook gets Charleston Southern, Illinois St. gets state rival Western; UMass gets to clobber 'Nova; and Delaware gets to watch it all on TV.

Very briefly on the KHL, the teams are beginning to spread out just a bit.  In the west, SKA has taken the lead with a 10-2-4 record (for simplicity's sake I just combine all the various OT results into one third column).  They and Dinamos Minsk and Moscow make up the top pack; Lev and Vityaz (who actually had a 2-0-1 record this week) make up the bottom rung, and the remaining teams range in a 6 point span in the middle.   Over in the East, Amur (13-5-2) continues to surprise, pulling out to a 6-point lead over Traktor.  Ak Bars and Avangard trail the first group; everybody else is caught in a 3-point spread... Except my poor Avtomobilst, who at 3-12-2 trail the next guy (Barys Astana this week) by a full dozen points.  Ah, well.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The great sixties countdown week 14

You feel like the "American Top Forty" jingle should be playing, and the next voice you hear should be Casey Kasem?  Well, it's that time in the countdown, and this has become to me like a really good novel- you want it to last, and want to race ahead to the end at the same time.  Which is a good seque for...

40- Paperback Writer, the Beatles, peak position #1. Somehow, this and Nowhere Man (along with a couple other songs we'll be hitting shortly) have never lost there newness for me.  Like having a car where the "new car smell" doesn't wear off.

39- In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus), Zager And Evans, pp #1.  Time has only slightly tarnished the eerieness of this dystopian future.  There are a handful of songs that really made my childhood self wonder at if the world would last for me to get this old, and this is one.  Some of the others you might find odd to be on that list (such as What The World Needs Now from last week;  another one will be coming up in mere moments.

38- A Lover's Concerto, the Toys, pp #2.  Adapted from a work (Minuet In G Minor) that Bach gave to his wife and everyone thought he wrote, we have to put up with a prozac Spanish version at work which still isn't terrible.  No song crescendos better than this one.

37- Eve Of Destruction, Barry McGuire, pp #1.  There are those that think that this song is no longer pertinent, that it's meaning was overblown and couldn't have never happened.  Watch this well-put-together video and see if you still feel that way.

36- Good Vibrations, the Beach Boys, PP #1.  The ultimate expression of Brian Wilson's vision that he was able to force from the fog of all the drugs.  The most well-crafted song of all time.

35- Let's Hang On, the Four Seasons, pp #3.  See the Paperback Writer comment.  Just takes me back to a much more innocent and happier time.

34- Soldier Boy, the Shirelles, pp #1.  The ultimate girl-group song.

33- Working My Way Back To You, the Four Seasons, pp #9.  See me down and out, but I ain't about to go livin' my life without you...

32- Walk Away Renee, the Left Banke, pp # 5.  Can you believe that keyboardist Michael Brown wrote this at the age of 16? The single best example of Baroque pop.

31- Love Can Make You Happy, Mercy, pp #2.  Maybe the second most obscure song we have left to play, but these are the songs that I remember.  BTW, the lp cover you see was from an lp that had "the original single'- but the rest was fake, and the makers got sued out of existence.  Weird, wild stuff.

30- Badge, Cream, pp #60.  Gets its name from Ringo Starr walking in while George Harrison and Clapton are writing it, drunkenly reading the word "bridge"  written at the central part of the song, and wondering what they wrote "badge" for.  Another one of those songs I'll always scratch my head over how it charted no higher.

29- Downtown, Petula Clark, pp#1.  Fills me with visions of Christmas shopping at Wolff and Dessauers back before Fort Wayne let downtown go to rot.  The thought of this being a world we'll never see again puts it in that category of "end of the world" songs for me (see # 39).

28-Rubber Ball, Bobby Vee, pp #6.  Another of the 45's we played the grooves off of all through my childhood.

27- Duke Of Earl, Gene Chandler, pp # 1.  C'mon, you didn't think I would leave the Duke out, didja?

26- Shape Of Things To Come, Max Frost and the Troopers, pp # 22. Here is obscurity's poster child.  A fictional band from a movie called Wild In The Streets, in which Richard Pryor played the drums (but that's not him on the song), we had the 45 to this one too.  At 1:55, probably the shortest song on the countdown.

25- California Nights, Leslie Gore, pp #16.  A good song for her last big hit, and also an odd member of my "end of the world" club, which we have 5 members of on this week's countdown.

24- Runaway, Del Shannon, pp #1.  When I got here, I said, wow, hard to believe that this one ended up this low.  From 26 on, we have truly reached the top tier of my favorites.

23- Roses Are Red, Bobby Vinton, pp #1.  Bobby found this song in a reject pile at Epic records.  A&R men, whatcha gonna do?  Another of "Mom's greatest hits".

22- Red Rubber Ball, the Cyrkle, pp #2.  What's up with rubber balls all of a sudden?  Written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley (of the Seekers), we had this 45 too. Speaking of Paul Simon...

21- Mrs. Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel, pp#1.  So many good moments in this song.  The candidate's debate always puts me to the Nixon-Kennedy debates, though the timing's off.  The best part, Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? Joltin' Joe has left and gone away...  I feel obligated (though they might not want me to) to mention that the Lemonheads did a great job on their cover.

Next week we do top 20, part one, and the next will be the final ten.  Prepare for surprises and great tunage.  To take us out, let's end it like Leslie did...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Free speech and Julio Pino

What this is about is that an Israeli guest speaker at Kent State was verbally attacked in a Q&A after a speech at the university by a tenured professor at the school, who punctuated his comments with a shout of "Death to Israel" and stomping out.  I got the first of the story from FoxNews, which generally leaves a few things out; I got the rest here from  What this article adds is that it was part of a back and forth after the speech- and what it leaves out is the mixed opinions of Pino's fellow faculty.  Read the article on the link, and then come back here for those comments.  Go on, I'll wait.

Back?  Okay, now read this from the Fox article:

But Pino does have some supporters – among faculty members at the public university.

Donald Hassler, a member of Kent State’s Faculty Senate, told Fox News that Pino is a “colleague whom I respect.”
“We believe in freedom of expression and civil discourse,” Hassler said. “And those sometimes come in conflict – as they did in this case.”Hassler said Pino must have lost control at the lecture.

“It lacked civility,” he said. "It was an example of hate speech. He knows better than to use hate speech. He has definitely strong opinions. He needs to state them in a civil way.”

Ken Bindas, the chair of the KSU history department, told the Cleveland Jewish News that Pino was not attending the program as a professor, but “as a human being.”
“I don’t agree with his comments, but at the same time, I can’t not defend his right to free speech,” he told the newspaper.

My turn.  Yes, this is hate speech.  In this current climate, had Pino been expressing his thoughts as any kind of Christian, or as a white about any ethnic groups, Kent State would have thrown his grip in the streets and five preachers led by Al Sharpton would already be picketing the school.  But because he's a Muslim, we get to debate free speech issues.  Well, here's a free speech thought.  Major Nidal Hassan was saying the same things and visiting the same websites (I told you, Read the link!) just before he killed a bunch of our nation's heroes on an Army base.  Not only would I fire him, I'd have three FBI agents on his ass 24/7 on into eternity.  THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PINO AND HASSAN IS THAT PINO HASN"T STARTED SHOOTING YET.  And I'd bet money he will.

Second, and again read the link, doncha just love his rant about the poor little Muslims.  Yeah, all we ever did to Muslims was mortgage our future for their oil and make their rulers rich and give them something to eat other than sand and camel crap.  But their innocent little souls are crying out for revenge, and "the Muslim man is at (our) door".  Tough Shit, Professor Pino.  The only thing wrong with your type is using a persecution complex to cover up religiously rationalized bloodlust.  If Israel never existed, you'd find some other way to hate the rest of the world and some whackjob reasoning to justify it.  Let me make this clear- a terrorist is never a martyr or hero.  He/she is a mass murderer, nothing more.  If the Palestinians want to have things better for themselves, put down the guns and missles, pick up a shovel or a plow, and BUILD something instead of sitting around waiting for Arabic Welfare.

Third, and I address this to Kent State administration- James 3:1 says, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment."  Perhaps it was intended for teachers of the Word, but I think it applies universally- or should.  This "Pino was not attending the program as a professor, but “as a human being.” " horsecrap doesn't fly for me.  He is entitled to his opinions, I agree.  But he cannot divorce himself from being a representative of the university, just because he's there off hours.  How well does he separate the "teacher" and the "Muslim" in the frigging classroom?  Unfortunately, the head of the administration is Jewish himself, and is caught between a moral rock and a PC hard place.

Pino, say what you want.  But if you want to be a radical, you shouldn't be employed by a publicly funded university.  The same faculty that support you would likely run out an Evangelical teacher who had an optional prayer session after his class.  And let's face facts, you didn't just say F#@k you, asshole!  You advocated the Murder of 4.5 MILLION PEOPLE!  Frankly, our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness trump your free speech rights, and you'd be on a slow boat back to Cuba were it up to me.

Step into my time machine week 79

It is October 28th, 1976.  As we watch, Jimmy Carter has seen a 33 point lead over incumbent Gerald "Jerry Baby" Ford  drop to a virtual dead heat with just days left before the election.  As usual, the issues are vital to the very core of America-  pardoning Nixon vs brother Billy, "no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe" vs "I've lusted in my heart", peanut farming vs stumblebumbery.  Young CW Martin is a punky freshman learning first hand about bullying and religious prejudice and learning in a school that has as many kids in one class as his grade school had in any three grades.  But at night, he can shut the door to his bedroom and listen to Ron Gregory on WOWO spin the tunes, give the "Hollyweird report" long before ET and Extra, and get the top of the hour commentary by Vernon Jordan or Jacqueline Grenin Wexler.  And if dad was drunk and telling the latest "Goddamnit, Woody, you're right" story, young CW could just turn up the radio and dream of a day when he might just get a girl to notice him on a non-"creep" level.  Ah, those were the days.  But at least the music was good.

And if he was attuned to the pulse of music at the time, he'd have been looking at these stories this week: the Vice President of the USA who co-wrote a #1 song; the Aussie supergroup who once turned a doo-wop b-side into a "chipmunk" #1 song; and what last week's top dog has in common with Willy Wonka.  Curious?  Bored and nothing better to do?  Or just attracted to my manly good looks?  It's all good, strap in and let's go.  (Disclaimer: I am attempting my first "scheduled" post so's I can sleep in, it's actually 1:13 am as I type, and I take no responsibility for any attempts at humor herein.)

As usual, we kick off with hot hundred debuts for this week- which are also the songs celebrating their 35th birthdays this week.  Seven songs debut, and you may actually know these three:  at 88, the follow up to the hit Boogie Fever for that mob-like amalgam known as the Sylvers, Hot Line. At 82, an AOR tune that breaks into the chart, Slowhand Eric Clapton's Hello, Old Friend.  And at 72, the opening salvo from ELO's new album A New World Record, Livin' Thing.  This is probably the best ELO singles lp of their career, though as a complete work I think Eldorado still tops it.  Tightrope, which leads off the lp, is probably the best single they never released, and Telephone Line remains one of the two best songs they ever did.  Oh, and Livin' Thing wasn't bad either.

Joining them in our birthday group at the 40-year level are (are you ready?) Michael Jackson's Got To Be There, Sly and the Family Stone's Family Affair, and the Who with Behind Blue Eyes.  At 45 years old this week are the New Vaudeville Band's Winchester cathedral, the Supremes' oft-covered  You Keep Me Hanging On, and the Stylistics' You Are Everything.  And turning 50 this week, James Darren with the immortal words:  "Goodbye cruel world, I'm off to join the circus."  Blow out the candles...

With the weather getting cold now, it's only appropriate that War's hit Summer would be our big dropper, falling 16 spots to #55.  The big mover awaits in the top 40.

Guess what?  We finally have a #49 that we can salute on the Where Are They Now Segment!  On their way down, the Little River Band stops at 49 with It's A Long Way There.  I don't know about you, but I think these guys were highly underrated.Probably not so much back in Oz, where they had quite the pedigree.  The original group centered around three men.  Glenn Shorrock started out with a band called the Twilights, and it was in part due to their nationwide popularity (rare in those days Down Under) that a National Top 40 chart was established, which they promptly topped with a tune called Needle In A Haystack. (I'm sampling this right now.Pretty good!)  He moved on to another outfit called Axiom, which scored two top tens in 1969-70.  Bassist Beeb Birtles  was in a band called Zoot along with a young Rick Springfield, and they had scored a top five hit with a powered-up version of Eleanor Rigby (which I shall sample next. Man, this rocks!)  He and the third member of this core, Graeham Goble, were both involved in another top ten-hitting act, called Mississippi.  They also took the flip side of the Rays' #3 1957 hit Sihouettes, a song called Daddy Cool, and turned it into a "chipmunk version" under the name the Drummonds and held the #1 spot for 7 weeks in '71.  (Yeah, I'll check this out when Zoot's done.)

So where is the LRB now?  Well, attrition over the years left the ownership of the name with a non-original member, Steve Housden, and he kept it even when he retired from what now passes for LRB in 2006.  The actual core members reunited in the late 1990's but had to go by the moniker Birtles Shorrock Goble.  They split in 2007.  Shorrock still tours small venues and pimps new acts; Goble, after beating codeine dependence in 2006, released a solo lp, Let It Rain, in 2008;  Birtles has a website, but doesn't look like he does much with it.  And Daddy Cool?  If you like Chipmunk stuff, this isn't bad.

Four songs hit the top 40 this week.  At 39, up 8, one of my top five of the 70s, Nights Are Forever Without You by England Dan And John Ford Coley, who ironically enough sit at #40 with the dropping Really Love To See You Tonight.  The week's big mover jumps 20 from 58 to 38, Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. At 36, up 12, is another song high on my 70s list- Burton Cummings with Stand Tall.  And climbing 10 to 33 is Alice Cooper with I never Cry.  "Take away, take away my eyes/Sometimes I'd rather be blind..."

An almost but not quite shoutout to Linda Ronstadt.  Her cover of the Crickets' That'll Be The Day peaked at 11 last week and slips down to 18 this time.

Here's our look at the #1s of other years, in the 8s this time.  1998 had Monica at the top this week with The First Night (which wasn't bad, but was no Daddy Cool).  Phil Collins topped the 1988 chart with the Mindbenders' Groovy Kind Of Love.  1978 was topped by Hot Child In The City by Nick Gilder.  Gilder was lead singer for Canadian act Sweeny Todd, who had a #1 there with Roxie Roller (yes, I'll sample).  He would be replaced in that band, eventually, by a 15-year old Bryan Adams.  1968 was topped by a song on my personal "not-hit parade", the Beatles Hey Jude.  (That's right; I don't like Hey Jude.  Wanna make something of it?  I have a time machine, you know...)  And the top dog this week in 1958 was Tommy Edwards' It's All In The Game, which melody, under the title Melody In A Minor, was composed in 1912 by Charles G. Dawes, who would go on a dozen or so years later to be the VP under Silent Cal Coolidge.

Crap! we're at the top ten already, so's I best let you know that one comes in, one goes out.  The Bay City Rollers begin the long road out by falling from 8 to 12 with I Only Wanna Be With You.

Oh, and Roxie Roller?  It's good.  Can't miss that it's Gilder.  Kinda Hot Child In The City meets Fox On The Run.

Kiss scores their first top ten, moving from 12 to 10 with Beth.  The Captain and Tenille move up one spot to 9 with Muskrat Love.  Also up one is Blue Oyster Cult with Don't Fear The Reaper at 8.  Heart holds at 7 with Magic Man, as does Hall and Oates with She's Gone at 6.  This is also our new grandpa's chair sitter, with 26 weeks on the chart, one of 10 songs in the hot 100 with over 20 weeks.  A Fifth Of Beethoven slips 2 to #5.  Gordon Lightfoot wrecks the Edmund Fitzgerald at #4 this week, up one fathom.  Steve Miller moves up a spot to #3 with Rockin' Me.

Which brings us to our six degrees victim, Chicago's If You Leave Me Now, which slips from top dog to second banana.  Like Beth, a song so out of the band's character that much of the group wanted nothing to do with it, it was shoehorned onto Chicago X by producer James Guercio- an act that set a domino effect into motion that turned Chicago from an American original to Peter Cetera's back-up band.  As  a producer, Guercio did much the same for Blood Sweat And Tears, recruiting vocalist David Clayton Thomas to take BST in a new direction with their second, eponymous lp.  I was amazed, looking into this, at the sheer number of talents on the writing credits list for this album:  Eric Clapton, Laura Nyro, Berry Gordy Jr., Billie Holliday, Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi.  And one song written by the new vocalist- the #1 Spinning Wheel.  This song was covered by Shirley Bassey on one of her albums; you know her as the singer on the Bond theme Goldfinger.  Goldfinger was written by a trio of talent:  the music came from prolific movie scorer John Barry, among whose compositions was Born Free.  The word came from the duo of Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly, whose many credits include Sammy Davis Jr's two biggest songs- What Kind Of Fool Am I, and (from Willy Wonka) The CandyMan.  And there you have it,- or, as I learned our friends in Canada might say, Bob's Your Uncle.

And If Chicago slips to #2, that means what's old is new again. Or, the new #1 one is the former #1... (sorry, Bobby G.)

Rick Dees and Disco Duck!

Okay, that took just one hour and thirty minutes.  So goodnight, good love, and I'll be seeing you next in dreamland!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Let me crab about work before I do the NHFFL scores

Not so much the work itself, but the continuing battle between we who are expected to turn sow's ears into silk purses and those much wiser and higher-paid than us who apparently feel the best way to forge a successful team is through firing us with any idiotic roadblock they can come up with.

A couple weeks ago, You read about the fabric from hell, with the dotted lines, etc., that took Laurie 7 separate lays to make what should have been done in one with a third less fabric.  Today I got my turn with the crap.  Now I had the rolls at the bottom of the pallet, which apparently means that on top of all the other charming features of this fabric, I was having to try and line up a design which varied by as much as an eighth of an inch from one side to another.  May not seem like much, but consider that even going halfway down the table- on a pattern I was supposed to match exactly- an eighth-inch on each little dotted line box adds up to a 3/4 inch difference by the other end.  Repeat this by 18 plies per roll (which have to be cut one at a time because of this non-standard design measurement) and add to it that in order to get the front and back to match up, it has to be laid up face-side to face-side, meaning that every other ply has to be cut off and then flipped over and matched up- that's right, matching up something as much as 3/4 inch off over and over. Plus, some of the rolls are varying the amount and direction of being off- if I line up the design dead on at the beginning, it might be an eigth off on the first block, a quarter in the next two, back to matching on the fourth, and a qarter inch the OTHER direction on the last two.  This is not the work of some half-assed moron, nor is it the work of the Purdue University School of Applied Dumbassery, this is full-blown, stage four brain death.

In the meantime, I was pulled over to confirm I had cut this other fabric right.  Now we had made chairs from this fabric (we thought) before;  It is a brown with little swirly flowers- that every 12-15 inchews change direction, which made it real fun and the sewers had an awful time trying to figure out which piece to sew to what.  I was sent into the fabric room to get the pallet of FB07.  I went into the room, thinking I knew what I was looking for, but the stuff we'd made the chairs out of was marked FA05.  OK, I said, the boss must have them confused, or there's some slight color difference.  I grabbed the FB07, cut 850 little seat pads, again face to face to make it easy for the sewers, and also side bands and fabric to cover the welt cord that goes on each side of the band (actually, Victor cut the welt on the slitter).  In the midst of my fabric from hell some hours later, a supervisor asked me which was the face side of the FB07, because the lady who sews the welt cord and bands together had the lighter, buff side as the face, and I had cut the dark, shiny other side as the face.  Long story shorter, it seems that she had done the bands just like she had done the chairs, buuuut.... the chairs were FA05, which it turns out is the BACK side of FB07, and vice versa.  So the same fabric is FB07 if turned one way and FA05 if turned the other.  Upshot being, I cut my stuff right, Wanda sewed her bands wrong, and we all learned that our fabirc buyers had learned an entertaining new way to FUBAR things for those of us who have to deal with their lack of prescience.


And now, onto this week's NHFFL report.  The Rangers got 7 measly points from the Baltimore D, but it was enough to tip the KCAs for the second time this season, 35-34, in the first week of playing the second time through the division.  The Rangers extend their streak to 7-0, hotly pursued by the Aguas, who beat the Angels for the second time, 30-24, behind 9-pointers (scores of 50+ yards) by Calvin Johnson and Mike Wallace.  In fact, the Angels are 0-3 against the league's top two and 4-0 against everyone else.  All the other matchups were teams getting their revenge for an earlier loss.  The Greenwoods avenged their 42-point loss to the Beagles with a 24-12 win featuring a Greg Jennings 9-pointer.  The Elks rode Drew Brees' 15-point night against the Indianapolis Dolts to beat the Clock BBQs 33-29.  The Ducks avenged a 50-18 loss to the Porkchops two weeks ago with a 47-31 win that was keyed by a 26-point day by KC's D against Oakland.  And the first-place B2s also avenged a 42-point loss to Buzz with a 46-34 win led by Arian Foster's 21 points.

Next week, the Rangers try to beat a dead dog (the Beagles); the KCAs, with time running out on a playoff run, face a must-win game with the Angels; the Greenwoods face the Aguas; another must win game sees the Clock BBQs playing the Gold-leading B2s; the Ducks face Buzz; and the Porkchops face the Elks in a key game with playoff implications.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The great sixties countdown week 13

We are now inside the top sixty, and we are down to the songs that would stop me if I was passing a room and heard it playing.  Soon we'll be into songs that slow or stop my breathing.  Is that weird? But it's the effect on me.  As I get older my life becomes one big version of Dobie Gray's Drift Away. Anyway, as a friend said recently, it's time to "unravel (more of) the mystery that is Chris".

60- Sloop John B, the Beach Boys, peak position #3.  The lead of the second side of Pet Sounds, a fun adaptation of a West Indian folk song about a real ship that sank in 1900.  I think about the chorus at work a lot- "Well, I feel so broke up, I wanna go home!"

59- Raindrops, Dee Clark, pp #2.  One of the first songs I remember- "Raindrops/so many raindrops/it looks like raindrops/falling from my eyes..."

58-Blue Moon, the Marcels, pp #1.  For me, the capital city of doo-wop. I never even knew there was a ballad version.

57-Last Train To Clarksville, the Monkees, pp#1.  For me, I always remember when NBC was advertising the Apollo 17 launch, they would play this with the voice over, "Apollo 17.  If you miss this one, you've missed it." (Instant history lesson- the Apollo program ended at 17.)  Actually, a song about a guy getting ready to head off to Vietnam, which made it even cooler.

56- Both Sides Now, Judy Collins, pp #8.  I love about anything with the baroque-style piano, and the lyrics are dynamite.  Ironically, this has a connection to the song I named my personal theme song a few months back on Time Machine.  Both this and Counting Crows Rain King were inspired by the book Henderson The Rain King by Saul Bellow.  I may just have to read that book someday soon. 

A quote I saw on Youtube with this song: "Fifty years ago it brought aspirations.  Now it brings regrets".  Amen.
55- The Weight, The Band, pp #63.  The part that always gets me is, "Go down, Miss Moses, there's nothin' you can say/It's just ol' Luke, and Luke's waitin' on the Judgement Day./"Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?"/He said, "Do me a favor, son, woncha stay an' keep Anna Lee company?" "  Low charting because the Band was treated like the grateful Dead, and it's a damn shame neither one got the mainstream success they deserved.

54- You Don't Own Me, Leslie Gore, pp #2.  Even the constant use by the NFL for advertising their "women's fit jerseys" doesn't ruin this for me.  Have I mentioned I love Leslie Gore?

53- Those Were The Days, Mary Hopkin, pp #2.  An old Russian song re-written with English lyrics, and produced by Paul McCartney. A very melancholy feel.

52- We'll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett, pp #4.  Not surprising to find this here, because I've always linked this song and Those Were The Days in my mind.  Kind of like the before to Mary Hopkin's after.

51-Come Back When You Grow Up, Bobby Vee and the Strangers, pp #3.  I never realized how many great songs Bobby Vee did until I started this list.  This was one of those that we had on 45, and my first young attempt at "modifying " lyrics- "Peeing ain't easy, pooping's twice as tough, come back, baby, when you throw up."  Did I mention I was about 8 at the time?

Man, if you guys could see my eyes right now...

50- Telstar, the Tornadoes, pp #1.  The first single to EVER hit the #1 spot on the US chart by a British band, and showing my love for instrumentals yet again.  Somehow, I feel this should be playing in that far-future day when man launches the Starship Enterprise.

49- Leaving On A Jet Plane, Peter, Paul, and Mary, pp #1.  Already I'm so lonesome, I could cry...

48- Sealed With A Kiss, Bryan Hyland, pp #3.  It is so hard to believe that the same man that came up with spellbinders like this and later Gypsy Woman, also gave us Itty Bitty Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

47- Mr. Lonely, Bobby Vinton, pp #1.  What can I say that I haven't about the Polish Prince?

46- Keep Searching (Follow The Sun), Del Shannon, pp #9.  His last big hit, and my favorite.

45- Wonderland By Night, Bert Kaempfert Orchestra, pp #1.  Another instrumental, one of my mom's faves that she passed down.

44- Only The Lonely, Roy Orbison, pp #2.  As much as I heard this as a kid, it seems incredible to me that it came out two years before I was born, and not when I was five or six.  Mom loved Roy, too, especially this one.

43- This Diamond Ring, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, pp #1.  Despite the fact that "the Playboys " were about as real as the first versions of "the Monkees", despite the fact the the writer was unhappy with it because he wanted the Drifters to do it, this is one of those songs that has never grown old- even though it's on the CD player at work.

42- Tired Of Waiting For You, the Kinks, pp #6.  I had forgotten about this one for many years until one day I heard it on an oldies station, feeling perfectly preserved from the time it was new as if a paleontologist discovering a fossil.  Transports me instantly to Saturday afternoons with my sister out in the backyard with our little blue transistor that sounded so good...

41- Wouldn't It Be Nice, the Beach Boys, pp #8.  How ironic we end this week where we began, on Pet Sounds- specifically the lead of the first side.  The 12-string mandolin in the last verse melts me every time, as does the line that goes with it- "You know it seems the more we talk about it/ it only makes it worse to live without it/ but let's talk about it..."

Wow.  This week, I am just spent emotionally at this point.  I'll need my walk with Scrappy to recover my eyesight!  And there are forty more to go!  So tune in next time for the start of the Final Forty.  I'm playing with the idea of splitting the top twenty into two weeks- and if next week's like this, I might do the forty in four, haven't decided yet.  Anyway, there's only one song on this list appropriate to close with this time, I'm sure you'll agree...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Some more fun with idiots

Actually, I guess that's a bit misleading.  It starts out with me, you see.  I had tried to take some video of a segment of our walk today to share with you all.  But here's the thing- first, I've been going through the scrounge drawer using every double-a I find to its natural death in the camera- and most of them have been on last legs.  Second, when the camera beeps at me that said batteries are low, it quits filming. Third, it beeped about three seconds into the filming.

So I decided to clean the camera of it and all the little partial videos I made by accidentally hitting record when I meant to take pictures.  I found it amusing that two of them began with my saying "G** D*** it", one with, "You little f****r, " and one was Laurie saying, ironically, "Oops, that time I did it!"

Somewhere along the line I did manage to take some actual pictures.  Here they are!

This is that usually-dry stream bed after three days of continuous rain.

This is what that little mini waterfall looks like now.

Here's an experiment- the bridge at normal...

...then at 1.5 X...

...and finally at that whopping top-end 2X zoom.

We were exploring the little used east side of the creek today (little used because its overgrown with briars in spring and summer.  Here a random boulder sits by a tree.

This? I don't know.  I think I took this trying to get the stupid thing to record.

Moving on, here's a huge upgrade in our recent spam e-mail collection.  Mr. Water Bill, I want you to pay close attention to how a scam e-mail SHOULD look:


Internal Audit, Monitoring,Consulting and Investigations Division
From: Ms.Carman L.Lapointe. (Notice full, official-looking salutation.)
Dear Unpaid Beneficiary,

This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from London,after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe,Oceania, Antarctica( A bit of overdo here- who will believe there are scam complaints coming in from Antarctica?),South America and the United States of America respectively,against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.  (A new wrinkle- blame the British as well as the Nigerians.  Very clever!)
I have met with President GoodLuck of Nigeria who claimed that he has been trying his best to make sure you receive your fund in your account.
Right now,as directed by our secretary general Mr. Ban Ki-Moon,We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorize the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your compensation of an amount of $10.5M approved by both the British/United States government and the UN into your account without any delay.The only fee you will pay to confirm your fund in your account is your Court Notarization fee to the UN.
Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr.Ben S.Bernanke and others from USA to frustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.  (Wow! Ben Bernanke is trying to screw me here, too?  I wonder if I should send this to him, as well...)
I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.Contact me immediately on this Cell Phone:+234-7088 155 255
Sincerely yours,
Ms.Carman L.Lapointe

United Nations Under-Secretary-

General for Internal Oversight.

Cell Phone:+234-7088 155 255

So, Mr. Water Bill, what do we learn here?  1, use a believable name.  Naming yourself after the top object on your coffee table doesn't cut it.  2, make it sound official by not only making yourself a top official, but blame top officials of as many nations as feasible.  3, add the occasional new and clever wrinkle, such as Carmen did by suggesting Ben Bernanke had found a new way to take money out of my pocket.  4, make use of modern technology, such as Carmen did, I'll wager, by leaving me a cell phone number that connects me to something that will no doubt charge me two first-born children per minute. 5, and this applies more to other scammers than the succinct Mr. Bill, use good diction and spelling.  I caught only one misused word, and everything actually made sense grammatically.  Carmen gets an A.

Not coming out so well is Barr Bello (Barr being unintelligent African for "Barrister").  Let's look at his attempt:
Here is the western union information to pick up the USD4500.00;

This is Barr Bello? (Mistake #1- You don't even know your own name for sure?  Check your punctuation!)I write to inform you that I have transfer your full compensation payment total sum of USD800, 000.00 through Western union I have already sent you USD4500.00 dollars today .Now, I decided to email you the MTCN and sender name so that you will pick up this USD4500.00 to enable us send another USD4500.00 today as you know we will be sending you only USD4500.00 per day. Please pick up this information and run to western union to pick up the USD4500.00 and call me back to send you another payment today, My direct phone line is +22968226293,Manager Mr Tony Chigozie Email:(  , (Notice, my friends, the fakery on the e-mail- western UION, instead of UNION) call or email me once you picked up this USD4500.00 today.

Here is the western union information to pick up the USD4500.00;
MTCN :========== 2796837454
Barr Bello.
Okay, let's take it a step at a time. 1, remember that "Barr" is a TITLE, and NOT a first name. 2, Your keyboard does -or should- have one of these- $.  Please try to use this instead of USD if you want to look more professional. 3, your writing, while not incorrect in most spots, is certainly rushed and hard to read.  Try to talk and write gooder. And 4, remember that there are stupid atheists out there as well, and they won't appreciate the use of God in your text Q&A.  While that may help you with the more simple of us Christians, the truth is that those people have already given their money to more articulate scammers like Carmen Lapointe.

See, I promised you idiots, idiots you get!

Step into my time machine week 78

It's October 21, 1976.  Tonight, Johnny Bench will hit 2 HRs, one a three-run shot in the ninth, to lead the Big Red Machine to a 7-2 win over the New York Yankees and a 4 to 0 victory in the World Series.  Bench will be named series MVP and Yogi Berra will say, "It got late (in the series) real early."  And somewhere in Georgia, less than 2 weeks from the presidential election, Billy Carter will tell an audience that his brother Jimmy is a scotch drinker and "I've never trusted a scotch drinker."  Soon we would see why.  Today, though, it is a breezy- but DRY- 46 degrees, and the mysterious Martin Time Machine has arrived to look at the pop charts of the day.  And the things we'll run into today include birthdays for two of the all time classics, a Where Are They Now that's a lot like a six degrees- and vice versa, the winner of the worst video I've ever seen award, and a new top dog.

We open with the hot hundred debuts this week, and we have what has to be the lowest total I've seen in a year and a half of doing Time Machine- three.  And the one that made an impact, celebrating its thirty-fifth birthday, is the fusion hit Dazz (disco-jazz) by Brick, coming in at #89.  But this was  far from the only song to have a birthday, and two of them are classics.  I was going to save one of those classics for a video at the end, but it's only a 45th birthday, so I'll just say congrats to Good Vibrations, which debuted this week in 1966.  Other birthdays include Melanie's Brand New Key and the Chi-Lites' Have You Seen Her turning 40, the Hollies' Stop Stop Stop turning 45, and the other classic- Patsy Cline's Crazy- turning 50 this week.  Blow out the candles...

The big dropper is also our Grandpa's chair song- Kiss And Say Goodbye stops off for its 27th week at #95, a 38-notch fall.  Englebert Humperdink rises 24, the top mover, to 68 with After The Loving.

Our look at the #1s of other years takes us to the sevens this week.  In 1997, we were towards the beginning of the 14-week run of Elton John's Candle In The Wind '97.  In 10 weeks, we'll be here again.  In 1987, ironically from a current events standpoint, Michael Jackson was the top dog with Bad.  1977 saw us amidst the longest 8 weeks of my "musical youth"; Debby Boone was on top for the third of her 8 weeks with You Light Up My Life.  In 1967, we kindergartners were grooving to Lulu's To Sir With Love.  And in 1957, a song that surprised me because I didn't think it was that old- Johnny Mathis' Chances Are.  Unlike Elton John, we won't see him at #1 again for 21 years.

Once again we have a problem at #49's WATN feature, as it is a previous featuree- the Beach Boys with It's OK on the way down.  While I was looking through the "It's OK story"  for anything salvageable, I found a sax credit for Roy Wood.  Being an ELO fan, I said "Roy Wood?  Hmmm..."  You see, Roy founded the Move a highly successful UK act that morphed into early ELO.  After ELO's first lp, Wood and Jeff Lynne decided to part ways, and Wood founded Wizzard.  Wizzard, an octet that included a cello, two drummers and two sax players (three each if you consider Roy could- and did- play all those instruments in the studio), had six UK top tens including 2 #1s.  Both of these I sampled this morning- a bit odd for American tastes, as was the bassist in the angel wings and roller skates in both videos.  Roy moved on to work both solo and in a variety of other projects- Roy Wood's Big Band, Roy Wood's Helicopter Band, and the Wizzo Band, to name a few- but his most enduring hit was a Christmas tune called I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.  Hitting #4 in its initial release in 1973 ( the British have a bit of a contest over the top Christmas song every year, I understand), it also made the top 40 at #23 in 1984, #16 in 2007, and 31 in 2008.  Roy recently got an honorary doctorate at the U of Derby for lifetime achievement, and has put together Roy Wood's Rock & Roll Band to open for Status Quo for November and December dates in the UK.

Like the hundred, the top 40 has three debuts this week.  Up 2 for its cup of coffee at #40 is Starbuck with a cool tune called I Got To Know.  Moving up 6 to #38 is bandleader and jazz star drummer  Norman Connors, with vocals from Michael Henderson (Miles Davis' bass player for several lps), and the ethereal You Are My Starship.  And rocketing from 45 to 28, we have Rod Stewart with Tonight's The Night.  That French part at the end was done by then-girlfriend Britt Eklund, whom he say he had to get "pissin' drunk" to do it and was paid not in royalties but a "new frock".  I have here the translation, which we all thought was something that we couldn't hear in English back then.  Actually, it translates to:  "I'm a little scared, what is my mother going to say(to think)? Come a little closer, kiss me. I adore you so very much. Oh, it's him, it's him I love you I love you I love you...."  Another illusion shattered.

Three songs enter the top ten, three fall out.  Dropping are Lowdown (4 to 14), Devil Woman (5 to 16), and Still The One (6 to 17).

Coming in at 10, up 6, are newly-minted MHOFers the Captain and Tenille with Muskrat Love.  At #9, climbing 4, is Blue Oyster Cult with Don't Fear The Reaper.  Holding at 8 are the Bay City Rollers with I Only Want To Be With You.  Heart climbs 2 to #7 with Magic Man.  Hall and Oates edge up 1 to #6 with She's Gone.  Rocketing into the ten all the way up at #5, a six notch climb, is Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.  Also rising 6 to #4 is Steve Miller with Rock'n Me. Walter Murphy, who got us started with all that Nude On The Moon stuff, holds at 3 with A Fifth Of Beethoven.  Which brings us to #2, our top dog last week, and the worst video of all time, and it's NOT Disco Duck.

Finding a legit six degrees for the duck was nigh unto impossible.  No list of musicians on the song could be found, and the voice of the duck, Ken Pruitt, was just a guy that Dees used to work out with.  Now Dees' wife, Julie McWhirter, is an Indy native who is a voice actor, having been at various times Kanga from Winnie The Pooh, Baby Smurf, and Sassette.  She was also Betty in the ill-fated Flintstones live-action movie.  But none of these things moved me forward.  In desperation, I went to Dees' web site.  He had a list of semi intelligent news articles, and the one that unfortunately- for me- caught my eye was that William Shatner, that musical virtuoso, had done a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody ( a song he claims he'd never heard until a year ago).  Figuring I'd survived Nude, I thought I'd survive this as well.

When I posted my review of Nude, Mynx suggested I might need a "cuppa tea and a liedown- or something stronger" to recover.  Let me tell you, after THIS one, it's definitely "something stronger".  MUCH stronger.

Though I didn't get the sound turned on to get the whole beginning, it starts with a teenage couple watching the night sky on the Hollywood Hills, wishing someone would "send them a sign" about something that I'm not brave enough to go back to find out what.  Then Bill Shatner's face appears in the stars (appears smushed up against the stars would be a more apt description), and he begins a semi-spoken word rendition of the song that will make nails down the chalkboard sound like Montovani.  Mixed into this is arty-cartoony versions of the zodiac doing various things up to and including background vocals, a guitar crescendo that has star-Bill shooting flaming meteors at downtown LA, and finishes with a few lines of similar treatment of Spirit In The Sky.  In the end, the kids find a smoking copy of Bill's new CD, which somehow they do not throw down the hill and run away as fast as they can.  All in all, this is a link that you want to e-mail to your worst enemy- but only if they are on a par with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Qaddafyduck.  It has real potential for a new torture technique.  (and speaking of the late great Qaddaffyduck, he might be hearing this a lot from now on...)

And that gruesome story leaves us only with our new #1- a song that would go on to spend 5 weeks at #1 in Australia, 4 in Holland, and 3 in the UK late in the year.  May I present our new top dog:

Chicago, with the Grammy-winning If You Leave Me Now!!!

That's it for this week.  And please, let's light a candle that six degrees doesn't turn up anything even more horrible next week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nude on the moon

Those of you that read the Six Degrees segment of last weeks Time Machine know that somewhere in between Walter Murphy's A Fifth Of Beethoven and Terry Jacks' Seasons In The Sun, we hit what I described as the most retarded movie concept of all time- a movie called Nude On The Moon.

Now you know me, I'm not just going to say something is stupid without checking it out to be sure.  So, this afternoon I watched Nude On The Moon.

I did not slander it, my friends.

Our main characters are three:  Jeff, the young, dedicated scientist, whose passion for science negates his passion for women; the Professor, an attempt at a wise, fatherly figure that looks more like the male lead in the cheesiest of pornos (which they actually have a little fun with later);  and the secretary Cathy, played by a woman only known as Marietta (and I don't blame her there), who is madly in love with Jeff who barely notices her.  Our plot:  Jeff and Prof are designing a rocket ship that will make them the first to the moon and back (film was released in 1961), and Jeff gets the exciting news that his Uncle Jed, a rich furrier, has died and left him 3 million dollars after taxes.  Insert your Clampett joke here.  At any rate, Jeff has determined that they are going to use the money to finish the ship, rather than wait for government funding, despite Prof's protests that he should use it and retire and find a wife.  (Mind you, by this point, Prof has already figured out the love angle and is trying to help young Cathy out.)

We mercifully contract "six months of work" into a couple of scenes each of Prof fiddling with a junior chemistry set and and Jeff taking readings from what appears to be a modified ham radio set.  Finally the day comes and Jeff and the Prof drive thru Miami to the launch site, passing the marquee of a movie theatre where the Prof went the night before (to see Hiding In The Sun, another nudist camp movie by director Doris Wishman).  Anyhow, they get to the place and gaze up at their "beautiful" ship (which we never really see from the outside) before climbing a set of painting scaffolds linked together to board their craft.

Now, mind you, as they take off they are wearing nothing more than the lab suits they've worn the whole movie.  After giving last instructions to each other over microphones (despite sitting right next to each other), there follows a few seconds of simulated g-forces ( that looks more like two guys trying to shit with their pants still up), and voila!we're in space.  Then comes a couple of peeks at the earth (or a play-doh model thereof) and suddenly they're in a patch of space where asteroids start swirling around them and they fall asleep.  They wake up when the amazing craft lands by itself on a green moonscape.

However as they emerge, they are not only dressed in spacesuits ( a welders helmet painted gloss white, a tube hooked to a scuba breather, leading to a tiny oxygen tank tied to their lower backs, brightly colored tights with Flash Gordon-style tinfoil accouterments on the torso and shorts), but are arriving on a world that suddenly looks very earthlike (not surprising since the whole moon-scene is filmed at the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida).  There they find the gold nuggets (which Prof wants to take home despite the fact that "they will put us over weight and may cost us our lives", to "finance future projects") and eventually the camp of the nude race of the moon.

Except for two guys, this population turns out to be topless women.  About three of them show butt-crack too, to simulate nudity I guess.  At this point they flip up their visor (but they still can't stay long because their oxygen will run out, far be it from them to figure out they really don't need it) and begin to "observe", until each is separately seized by the two guys.  They are each then taken to a blonde chick with a magic wand, who taps them on the head.  They are then under her spell, and she leads them to some pit of no escape.  At this point the queen, who if you were watching the movie you guessed before leaving earth was played by Cathy the receptionist, summons everyone to the "great council".

Here she tells everyone "telepathically" (in a whispering voice more suited to telling ghost stories) that she believes them to be friends, who "come seeking knowledge of the heavens" and orders them released.  Then they spend the rest of the movie watching the day-to-day hijinks of a city full of nude women, taking pictures with an ancient box camera and writing notes on a pad.  (one of the girls here decided to make fun of Prof's cheesy porno mustache by putting a leaf under her nose and making faces, one of the few laughs not generated by mind-numbing stupidity.) 

Of course Jeff starts to fall in love with the queen, leading him to "communicate with her" to the theme song which I incorrectly reported as I'm Mooning For You.  It was, in fact, an equally insipid song called Moon Doll, and was written by one Judy J. Kuschner, Wishman's niece and much later writer of Wishman's horror flick A Night To Dismember with Samantha Fox.  In fact, anyone in this flick who had another credit at all had one for either another in the nudie series or some d-horror flick.

Anyway, the time comes to go, and Jeff doesn't want to leave.  Despite feeling the same, the queen knows he can't survive there (though I'm not quite sure why), and taps him with the magic wand once again so Prof can lead him back to the ship (which is now back on the green-cheese moon) and take off with the girls all waving goodbye.  Of course, they soon discover that camera, gold nuggets, and note pad have all been left behind.  Which is a shame, because after an afternoon of taking pictures of nude women and jotting down notes, the Prof says at one point, "Jeff, we're getting some really good data here!"  Indeed.

Next scene, we are back on earth, and the Prof is calling Jeff from "the field", where he says that government inspectors looking over the ship "don't believe it could even get off the ground".  His dreams crushed.  Jeff falls into despair, until Cathy enters the room.  She just stands there, and Jeff stares at her in a way like in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, where Bugs would stare at Fudd and see a giant carrot;  sure enough, a few seconds of back-and forth and Cathy "turns" into the queen (although where the queen had her hair down, the "vision" has it up a la Cathy).  Jeff takes her in his arms and says, "It's a miracle... I thought I lost you forever, but here you are on earth."  Cue up a couple lines of Moon Doll.  The End.

To sum it up, if you just like to look at boobies, you'll love the second half.  If you demand a little more physical interaction in your porn, don't bother, you'll only get frustrated.  If you were hoping for an interesting sci-fi flick with boobies, set your bar waaaaay low and you might be okay.  If you want a soaring romance and gripping plot, go back to your Jackie Collins novellette.  Me? Even I have standards in stupidity, and this wandered away from them almost from the start, when the Prof picks up the phone and waits for Jeff to talk (He says, "Professor!" rather mildly to which Prof replies, "Jeff!  Don't get so excited!"), and continuing continuously thereon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

NHFFL week #4

Going to be brief here, I have a head that wants to fall off and a dog that will have to be let out by leash due to the complex is redoing our porch fences.

Big game goes to the Rangers over the Aguas 30-21.  5 different 6 point scorers for the Rangers, who are now the sole undefeated team.  KCAs hold off a furious comeback by the hard luck Beagles (20 points from the Jet D) 37-34.  Beagles are the league's 2nd highest scoring team and even with the worst D are 1 point to the good. But because everyone brings their A game to play them, they have just the 1 win.  Angels blast the Greenwoods into last place 55-25 behind 30 points by Ahmad Bradshaw and Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers will probably throw 2 TDs on the bye week at this rate. Ducks blast the Clock BBQs 37-24 behind Michael Turner's 2 scores.  In the battle for first in the Gold division, B2s (in a fitting memorial for Cassie) topped the Elks 28-25, holding them off as the Elks had a Santonio Holmes TD Monday night to pull close for the umpteenth time.  And finally, Porkchops end Buzz's 2 game winning streak 27-18, Dallas Clark's TD being crucial.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dan Wheldon

I'm not going to pretend I watch IRL after the 500.  Nor am I going to say that Dan was my hero, despite the fact I picked him to win last May.  But the hurt was real, the tears did demand release.  Anytime you lose a 33-year old with his life ahead of him and a family to support, it is tragic.

But tragedy has a lot of shades.  Watching the Brickyard this year was about as exciting as if Dale Jarrett and his UPS friends were running the race in big brown trucks.  Because Stock cars don't belong on a open-wheel track.  They look stupid, and the result is boring.  Conversely, having open wheelers on a NASCAR track is like hopping the starship Enterprise at FWA and jetting to Indy.  I get that IRL was looking to "jazz up" its finale, literally going for broke in an attempt to get ratings up.  But why not just have an IRL race at Charlotte, and the winner is the one who keeps from flying off the track the longest?  Shouldn't take more than a half-hour, you can run it as a warm-up to the NASCAR race.

Apparently, the drivers were talking all week about the potential for danger in this race.  I've heard two separate reporters say that every driver expressed reservations about this race.  Now I'm going to ask a question we all know the answer to, and I wish that everyone involved in this race being held would answer this question in his own heart.  If you all knew that something like this was likely to happen, why the hell didn't any of you say, "F this, I'm not doing it"?  It might have only took one of you standing up to set off a chain of events that would have led to Dan Wheldon being at home with his wife and babies tonight.

Of course, the answer is that these are driven individuals that would compete in a parking lot if IRL decided that was the place for a race.  I hear Franchitti and Kanaan are going to get the younger drivers together to tell them why this happened and what they can do to prevent things like it from happening.  I also heard that Jeff Burton marched into the NASCAR Veep of competitions' office today to discuss safety concerns about this track.  Bravo, gentlemen.

Did someone really have to die to get you to do this, though?

I know that NASCAR leads the world in working on safety.  And I know that Wheldon himself was working with IRL to make their sport safer.  But let me boil Sunday down to its simplest turns.  The IRL ran a race on a track not built for their cars, a track they hadn't raced on in eleven years, laced it with incentives to be cutthroat in order to save their spot on ABC, and as a result a driver who was running in just his 3rd race all year died.  I don't know that I have to watch it every weekend to think that might lead to trouble.

Add to this a comment I heard on the coverage late Sunday:  "If you take all the ovals like Vegas out of the picture, the IRL is a road-race circuit with a highlight at Indianapolis."  Sorry to hear it.  Sorry you couldn't sustain your other Indy style tracks. But if you can't sustain your sport without putting your athletes at unreasonable risk, then maybe you should just say goodbye.  People in NASCAR bitch about restrictor plate racing, but it saves lives.  If they can do it right, IRL should too.


Just to lighten things up, here's the latest entrant in the "Least amount of effort put into a scam e-mail" category, and I'm not sure that anyone can beat this one. The "from " is a Mr. Water Bill (I kid thee not), and it goes like this:

Do you need urgent loan? if yes reply back

That's the whole thing, guys.  It don't get more streamlined than that.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday sports stuff

Okay, praise and worship the Lord? Check.  Clean up last night's mess? Check.  (AKA the second round of the beer tasting. Lesson: if you grew up with lager, amber beers aren't significantly different from dark beers.) Take walk?  Rain shortened, but check.  Good, now let me do my FCS and KHL stuff.

First off, let me begin by explaining why I do a FCS football ranking.  (FCS is the second tier of College football.)  This week, I had ranked 6 teams in my top 25 that the official coaches poll did not.  These teams went 5-1 with an average victory margin of 10.3 Saturday.  On the other hand there were 6 teams that the coaches ranked and I did not.  One of them, Richmond, was off this weekend. The remaining 5 went 1-4 with an average loss margin of 24.8.  Hooray for me!

I still have Georgia Southern at my #1 spot, as do the coaches.  In fact, the one thing that the coaches and I differ on in the top 4 is in our choices of 2 and 3, with the coaches putting Northern Iowa at 2 and I put Wofford in the runner up.  We agreed on Montana State 4th.  All won by at least 17 this weekend, with the only real competition being faced was Northern's 31-14 win over a South Dakota State team that "also received votes" from the coaches.

 My top seven remained the same, with Lehigh #5, followed by Jacksonville St., and North Dakota St.  But I am at last giving up on Appalachian St. being as good as last year. After a 49-42 win over a Citadel team that all the good teams- even punchless William AND Mary- beat easily, I dropped them out of the top 10 to 11th.  Also falling from the top ten was New Hampshire.  A team that both I (9th) and the coaches (6th) apparently overrated, they got clubbed by that same "punchless" W&M team 24-10 and fall to 14th.  Taking advantage were: James Madison, which moves up 2 to 8th after blowing out woebegone Villanova 34-10 (which, being a "punchless" W&M fan I enjoyed thoroughly); Sam Houston St., who beat a halfway decent Nichols St. team 47-7 to take 9th; and Montana, whom I hate to move up because everytime I do, bad things happen to them.  Nevertheless, they came back to beat tough Portland St. 30-24 and slide into 10th.

Norfolk St. moves up into 12th, and with last week's #16 Towson topping last week's #14 Old Dominion 39-35, Towson moves up to 13, while ODU falls to 18.  Liberty was 17th on mine and "also receiving votes" on the coaches last week; they played Coastal Carolina, who was ignored for good reason by me and ranked 20th on the coaches poll.  Result?  Liberty 63, CC 27.  Liberty moves up to 15th on my list, while CC sinks into obscurity.  Indiana St.'s mighty Sycamores roll over Western Illinois 46-24 and move up to 19th.  Oh, and Delaware, much higher ranked by the coaches last week (8) than me (13) got drubbed 21-10 by UMass a team I had at 21 (and still do) and they had "also receiving votes."  I suspect that this week the coaches might have the Blue Hens a little closer to the 17th I dropped them to than last time.

Maine, after a tough win over JMU last week, struggled to beat CAA doormat Rhode Island 27-21 and slip to 20th; #22 San Diego, #23 South Carolina State, and #24 North Dakota (which last week I rechristened North Bakota for whatever reason- probably the same reason that once every Saturday Northern Iowa becomes Northern Ireland) were victims of the numbers game and held their positions despite impressive wins.  And finally, little Elon lost its brief grip on the last spot on my poll after getting schwacked by Samford 43-31. Taking their place is Jacksonville, who shellacked Morehead St. 50-14 to get back to 5-2.

Next week features two top 25 games- #13 Towson against hopefully resurgent #16 W&M, and #14 UNH looking for redemption against Hen-slaying #21 UMass.  #6 J-ville St.  has a big boy game against Kentucky; Sam Houston faces McNeese St., one of those teams that they ranked (17) and I didn't and got beat; Maine faces the well-rested Richmond Spiders; and Lehigh and JMU take the week off.

Moving on to the KHL update.Dinamo Moscow and SKA continue to dominate the west, despite Dinamo getting blanked Friday by Canadian goalie Michael Garnett and his Traktor team 2-0.Moscow started the week with a 6-5 win over Magnitogorsk in which they trailed most of the game and score twice in the last 5 1/2 minutes to win.  That was enough for the Magnitogorsk team- favorites in the East but struggling at 5-7- and Coach Alexander Garkov got the axe. SKA kept pace with wins over Red Army 4-2 and Salavat Yulaev 4-2 (despite being outshot 39-24) to go to 7-1-2 and tied with Moscow (8-5-1) for the top with 26 points. Dinamo Minsk had the only other winning record in the west at 6-3-4 after a 5-2 win over Barys Astana.  The third Dinamo, Riga, has started to recover from a horrible start with a 4-2 win over Poprad and a 2-0 blanking of my still-struggling team from Ekaterinburg.  They still lead only Vityaz (who got a rare point with a shootout win over Severstal

In the East, the battle is between Traktor (who won twice this week, also topping Ak Bars 2-1) and Amur, who posted a 6-1 rout of Spartak and a 5-2 win at Vityaz.  Not far back is Avangard, who had just a shootout win over Torpedo to their credit this week.  Dropping back was Ak Bars, who also lost surprisingly to Poprad 4-1.  More surprisingly is the continued schnide that Salavat is on.  In addition to the previously mentioned loss to SKA, they also fell to Sibir ( on Vladmir Taraseko's hat trick) 6-3, and to Metallurg Novkutnesk 1-0. Sibir is working its way up, though, with Tarasenko striking for a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over Severstal.  The woes slightly abated for Salavat today, though; in one of the games already complete when I began this, they had at least gotten a point in a 3-2 OT loss to Red Army.  Ekaterinburg split this week, with a 1-0 win over Neftekhimik behind Evgeny Lobanov's 28 saves which puts them at 3-9 for the season.

So the actual standings coming into this morning's games had Moscow and SKA both at the top of the West with 26, followed by Minsk at 24, Torpedo at 20, Spartak and Atlant at 19, Severstal and Red Army at 18, Poprad at 15, Riga at 14, and Vityaz thugging along at their usual clip with 8.  In the East, it was Traktor at 28, Amur at 26, Avangard at23, Ak Bars at 22, Salavat 19, Sibir 18, Yugra and Novokutnesk at 17, Magnitogorsk and Neftekhimik at 15, Barys at 13, and Ekaterinburg at 9.

Looking over at the scoreboard one more time, there's still just the four games finished- Salavat's OT loss to Red Army; Amur won again, 4-3 against Severstal; Novokutensk took out Vityaz 6-3; and Sibir lost to Avangard in a shootout.  And among the four games going on, Ekaterinburg is down 4-1 to SKA in the third.  Whatcha gonna do?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The great sixties countdown week 12

Here we are again, delving ever deeper into the songs that built my childhood.  Starting with:

80- Poor Side Of Town, Johnny Rivers.  "To me, you were the greatest thing this boy had ever found/ and girl, it's hard to find nice things on the poor side of town".  And the guitar chords that come next.

79- It's My Party, Leslie Gore.  Be it ever so maligned and parodied, I still love Leslie Gore.

78- Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum.  Always reminds me of a end-of-the-world party, as the life oozes out of civilization.  Did you know this is the most-played song in British broadcasting for the last 75 years?

77- Popsicles And Icicles, the Murmaids.  Written by David Gates, soon to be of Bread.  My ex tried to sing this once, got it mixed with the Raindrops On Roses song, and it came out, "These are a few of my favorite slugs."  What was I thinking???

76- A Sign Of The Times, Petula Clark.  What can I say about Ms. Clark I haven't already?

75- Homeward Bound, Simon And Garfunkel.  Nothing describes my poetic talents better than "All my words come back to me in shades of mediocraty, like emptiness in harmony."

74- The Sounds Of Silence, Simon And Garfunkel.  "And the sign says, 'the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls..."  Say what you want about Rhymin' Simon, the boy could write.

73- A World Of Our Own, the Seekers.  Any excuse to listen to Judith Durham again.

72- Tuesday Afternoon, the Moody Blues.  Maybe my all time favorite of theirs from the excellent Days Of Future Past lp.

71- Silence Is Golden, the Tremoloes.  Also like the Four Seasons original, but this was the hit, and the harmony is more distinctive here.

70- He's So Fine, the Chiffons.  Another can't-have-a-sixties-countdown-without song.  Even worked for George.

69- A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles.  Paul's "when I'm home.." part is the best.

68-Love Is All Around, the Troggs.  Man, how memories come back of seeing her face before you, as you lay in your bed, thinking over all the things she said?

67- What The World Needs Now Is Love, Jackie  DeShannon.  Brings to mind a time when you thought man might end the world at any minute, and musicians were trying to sing us back from the brink.

66-Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon, Neil Diamond.  Always loved this song.  Loved it again when Urge Overkill redid it for Pulp Fiction.  The strings make this for me.

65- My Special Angel, the Vogues.  The most powerful vocal-group song of all time, to me.

64- Positively Fourth Street, Bob Dylan.  I think this is his best vocal performance ever.  So much power to it.

63- Nowhere Man, the Beatles.  I remember being in the shipping office with the lead and the supervisor.  Supervisor, bitching about plant manager, said "He's as blind as he can be."  We replied, "Just sees what he wants to see/ Nowhere man, can you see me at all?"  Super, 26 years old, says, "What the hell are you two talking about?" Laughed our asses off at him.

62- Kind Of A Drag, the Buckinghams.  Just love the rocking, "roller skating" tempo of this tune.  And the horns.

61- The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the Tokens.  Another can't-have- without pick.

And that's a wrap for another week- and just three more to go.  To close out, let's do as Hootie says, and listen to a little Dylan.  Ain't Bobby so cool?

Friday, October 14, 2011

A walk with Scrappy

The scars healing over...

Scrappy after a chipmunk that just went by

Nice catch!

Puffballs littered the woods this year- more than I've seen before.

Looking across the creek to a tiny streamfall.

I actually made it across this dry... check out this scene from the other side.

The tiny streamfall from above.

So we followed the stream.  The first time it had water in it that we've traced it.

Scrappy wanted me to follow him under this.  I don't think so.  But then we found that the stream and accompanying trail led to...

...the back yard of the retirement village.

Looking down on the stream valley.

On the way back, we heard something in the patch of woods south of the new soccer field.  Scrappy investigated every hole...

...and there were a few.  But when we came out, we found out we were wrong...
Actually we had heard our 2 deer, and they ran across the soccer field and into the woods when we came out.  I swear when the bigger one has his "flag" flying, his tail is the size of a bushel basket.

While I'm posting pics, here's one from the "normal walk with Scrappy" project that I've never gotten around to.

 One more note: the post on Cassie last night was the 500th on this blog.  One more piece of special irony..