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


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A quick word...

First, I got an award from The Cat And The Coffee Cup, a very cool blogger who is also a member of The Great Postcard Campaign.  And this is what it looks like:

Not sure it goes with the overall decor, but I still apreciate it.  And you'll find it posted on the right hand side of this Newspaper of the Airwaves.  Now, I am supposed to rattle off 10 random things about me and then tag six other bloggers.  I am going to have Laurie come up with the ten-thing list.

1. Chris is the inventor of the "Cheez-Ho" - a HoHo that has been shot full of cheese-whiz.
          Cheese and chocolate forever!!!
2. His organizational style is more of "spread everything out all over to make it easier to find".
          It's still organized!  I have a hard time knowing where things are when they're "where they're   
         supposed to be.
3. Loves his two-legged kids, but probably gets more enjoyment out of the four-legged one.
         With the four legged one more.
4.  Takes great pride in patting stomach and saying, "Built by burgers!"
         My other great accomplishment, next to two legged kids and Cheez-hos.
5. Once an avid collector of comic books- has a yard thick layer of them in his closet.
         Economic factors and the sheer stupidity of DC have cut off new additions.
6. Collects orphaned golf balls on his walks with Scrappy.
         Hey, they're just happy to have a home.
7. Excellent mind for trivialities- especially on the subject of history.
         Those who know not history are doomed to repeat their mistakes.
8. He enjoys severe storms, thunder, lightning, the whole works.
         Just because I yell, "BRING IT ON!" at the first thunderclap...
9. He would love to spend his day sitting and watching the waters of any ol' lake. 
         Sitting at the dock of the bay, wastin' time...
10. Likes to look at the old antique type advertising signs, and has a handfull in his room.
         Not the fake jokey ones, but old gas station signs or the like.

As for tagging people, I'm not good at that sorta thing.  I think all my followers that blog are creative, so if you wanna, bag the trophy and have at it!  Just let me know that you're doing it and I'll retroactively tag you.  Bob, Alicia, you'd be perfect!  Don't feel obligated, just sayin'.

And for those of you waiting with baited breath for the outcome of that game I mentioned yesterday, Sputnik knocked off arch-rival Zauralie 4-2, stealing the very last playoff spot from them on the last game of the season.  On the other hand, Lokomotiv closed out with a second straight loss, this one to Taurus 4-2.  Dmitry Maltsev scored first for us, but then we gave up 4 straight goals- the first three on power plays, until Oleg Yashin got his 14th with just seconds left.

And a sad note- prayers going out to all of those who lost home or family to the tornadoes last night.  And to the family of former Monkee Davy Jones- more on that on this week's Time Machine.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Truth is" Tuesday?

Some of my friends do something called a "Truth is..." Thursday.  Herein you put various little bits of info that might not neccessarily form a coherent post, prefacing each one with the phrase, "Truth is..."  I thought that would be as good a way as any to cover the little knick-knacks I wanted to mention.  Of course, just to be difficult, I'm doing it on Tuesday.

Truth is... I'm happy about getting a post card from Speed Demon, another member of  the Great Postcard Campaign .  SD is a Californian, but is a friend of J Day, our fearless leader, so she's okay. (KIDDING!)  I got a neat card about the Wine Country to go with the other neat cards I've gotten.  And getting a nice postcard sure beats the notice from the US Olympic Committee that they'll give me a windbreaker I don't want in return for a $20 contribution I can't afford.

Truth is... I'm frustrated because now certain Blogger blogs with the pop-up comment box have had the "Check box if you want new replies e-mailed to you" removed.  Therefore, I have to go a hunting if I want to see if my witty responce has drawn a witty rejoinder.  Can Blogger EVER change something that isn't totally ass-backwards, pardon the lingo?

Truth is... I'm tired right now, and the explanation for that is three words long- THAT. IDIOT. MONTOYA.  NASCAR fans will understand.

Truth is... I'm not all that concerned that my Lokomotiv lads got beat Monday by Sputnik 2-1.  They pretty much have their playoff position set, and Sputnik needed it more than we did.  They (Sputnik) play Zauralie Kurgan tomorrow, for the last playoff spot.  Alexi Kruchinin got his 10th late in the game to break the shutout for us.  Tomorrow the season ends and we face Toros (Taurus) of Neftekamsk, who at 30-10-9 are second only to Donbas in the league.

Truth is... I'm glad I always let Scrappy talk me into that walk.

Instead of a twinned dead tree/live tree today, how about a twinned two trees of different species?  Can you here the Stories change the words of Brother Louie?  "Ain't no difference if you're oak or birch..."

Which way did 'e go, which way did 'e go...

Scrappy found his favorite puddle had water in it.   And you know what that means.

Truth is... That's it for today.  Time to pay the rent...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday with the disciples

Today I listened to Pastor Jeremiah talk about doubt, and how it can be a positive if you a) articulate the doubt into a question, and b)take the question to God in prayer.  Naturally the subject got me thinking about Thomas, as it did the Pastor.  Yes, he was the one who doubted, who required evidence.  But what was it that made him thus, and was it part of his character?

I began realizing that there are only five of the 12 that we got any real inkling into their character- Peter, John, Thomas, Nathaniel, and Judas Iscariot.  As usual, I discovered that there is a theme in that.  Now you may interrupt with, “What about Andrew and James?”  Ask yourself, where did we ever see them that they weren’t in the shadow of their respective brothers, and you’ll see why I left them out- and why they’ll become important later.

Peter and John are like flip sides of the same coin in two very important respects.  The first is the picture of faith that they had.  Peter was what I would call a “small picture” believer.  He was the one who stood up and named Jesus “The Christ of God,” so he got IT.  However, in the next breath, he found Jesus in need of not only instruction (about NOT talking about dying), but also defense, even to the point of taking the sword to Malchus, who basically amounted to an “innocent bystander” in Gethsemane.

This was because of the second respect- for Peter the important thing was that he loved Jesus. Because of that, his faith was so personal, and Jesus so much the friend, that he felt the need to defend Him despite his knowledge that Jesus was divine and really didn’t need the defending.

Contrast with John, who is the “big picture guy”.  John and his brother were nicknamed the “sons of thunder” because of their zeal, and sometimes it drifted into “You and me against the world”.  To them, God was a given, a respected and honored force that everyone should be ready to bow to and worship.  Remember, Jesus had to remind them “You do not know what kind of spirit you are,” when they suggested that Jesus “nuke” the unbelievers.  John saw more of the divine nature, whereas Peter saw more the personal.

And like Peter, John saw it this way because his focus was on God loving him- hence his constantly describing himself in his Gospel as “the one Jesus loved”.  And this carried through their ministries.  Where John concentrated on the esoteric, writing epistles describing the nature of God and love, Peter was out there converting people.  Both of these jobs are vastly important.  Without those like John, the people that those like Peter convert will never be able to deepen the faith they are called to.  These are the two bedrock personalities of the Church.

And, I might note, they cannot be done alone.  You need fellow travellers to sharpen you, “as iron sharpens iron”.  Thus Peter has an Andrew, and John has a James.

Nathaniel’s story is different.  When Phillip comes to him with news of Jesus, Nathaniel questions.  But when Jesus comes to him and proves Himself, he doesn’t demand further evidence, he simply believes.  Jesus calls him two things. First, He calls him “an Israelite indeed”- another words, one who is not a child of God through birth or ritual, but through faith and action.  Then He calls him one “in whom there is no guile”- in other words, not someone who’s in it for what he can get.  He is simple, honest, a man of integrity, and the presentation of Jesus is enough to convince him.  Note also that he has a Phillip, one whose zeal will move him to ask his questions, and find Jesus as the answer.

Thomas has to be hit over the head to have faith.  It’s not that he doesn’t BELIEVE; In John 11, it’s not that he isn’t ready to die with Jesus, but he let Jesus’ words saying not to worry go through one ear and out the other.  Despite the fact that Jesus has told them not to worry it, and despite that he has belief enough to follow him to Bethany, he EXPECTS to die on the trip.  Then go to John 14, where Jesus has just explained about His going to heaven, and that He would come back for them, and they would know the way.  And Thomas, who believes what Jesus says but   hasn’t the faith yet to understand it, says, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? “  To which Jesus explains that He is the way and “If ye had known Me”, he’d know the way.  Then we tack on the upper room story, where he demands evidence to believe.  Actually not to believe, but to have faith; Atheists demand evidence too, but have no intention of accepting any.  Thomas’ believe was such that, once he had his evidence, it created faith. 

But this isn’t doubt that actually helps; it was doubt that insulated him from faith, where Nathaniel’s caution led him to faith.  Not surprisingly, Thomas didn’t have an Andrew or James for support, or a Phillip to urge him on.

That brings us to Judas, who had the most different focus.  His focus in following Christ is what good it would do for HIM.  Thus it was, practically the only times (other than the betrayal) that Judas gets ink is in regards to money, or valuable possessions.  When Jesus allowed himself to be anointed, rather than saving the perfume so that it could be sold and Judas get his cut, it was the last straw for him.  He’d go to the priests and make the money back by selling Jesus to them.  But he only got offered a fraction of what he wanted!  By this point, Judas said, Screw it, I’ll get what I can out of Him.

And that is why people WON’T believe or have faith in Jesus- because their attitude is what can I get out of Him.  When they find He’s not a magic lamp or a lottery ticket, what good is He?

One of the points Pastor Jeremiah made today fits in here.  “The Bible is the inerrant Word of God; everything contained in it is truth.  But it does not contain ALL truth.”  The Bible gives us what we need for faith and leaves trivial curiosity to the imagination; in other words, what it DOESN’T say is as informative as what it does.  Why don’t we get info on the other disciples?  Because Jesus needed them to spread the Gospel; we don’t need them to understand our faith.  The lessons of the disciples we know- Peter’s personal faith, John’s grasp of the “big picture”, Nathaniel’s integrity and objectivity, Thomas’ ability to accept evidence when presented, and Judas’ failure do to focus on himself- are all the lessons from their lives that we need.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Great seventies countdown week 13

"We are burrowing deep into the best songs of all time, "  The Host says.  "At least the best of the era, to me.  Next week at this point, we will be inside the top fifty at the end.  So sit back, and enjoy, for our time together in this auditorium of time... grows short..."

90- Vincent (Starry Starry Night), Don McLean, 1972, #12.  The first side of American Pie was one of the greatest pieces of music in history.  "Starry starry night... portraits hung in empty halls... frameless heads on nameless walls... with eyes that watch the world and can't forget/ Like the strangers that you've met... the ragged men in ragged clothes... the silver thorn, the bloody rose... lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow..."

89- Could It Be I'm Falling In Love, The Spinners, 1972, #4.  The Spinners have a sound that just makes me relax and feel good.

88- Green Eyed Lady, Sugarloaf, 1970, #3.  Those close to me have heard me use the line "Child of nature, friend of man" for dozens of different circumstances.

87- Jet, Paul McCartney and Wings, 1973, #7.  One of the best non-guitar bridges on the list.

86- This Time I'm In It For Love, Player, 1978, #10.  This song did battle with Heatwave's The Grooveline for my #1 all through the early summer of '78.  Right at the climax of the battle, my dad and I went to stay with my sister in Florida for three weeks- and my radio choices became a) one station that was nothing but gold records- and those that "somebody" thought had the potential (IOW I heard the two songs a grand total of one time) and b) an all Elvis all the time channel.  BTW- yes the second guy on the left WAS Ridge Forrester on The Bold And The Beautiful.

85- Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady, Helen Reddy, 1975, #8.  Another of my many crushes with another of her "dysfunctional persons" songs- this time, it's the guy, though.

84- The Times Of Your Life, Paul Anka, 1975, #7.  As a toddler and a young child, I often paid more attention to commercials than the show.  So when this went from Kodak (RIP) commercial to hit song, it was like the best of both worlds.

83- Liar, Three Dog Night, 1971, #7.  Running a special on #7's today, eh?  Best song ever recorded in a restroom.

82- My Sweet Lord, George Harrison, 1970, #1.  I just turn the "hare krishnas" into more "alleluias".  Either way, it's so fine. (Cryptic joke alert!)

81- Crystal Ball, Styx, 1977, #109.   One-oh-nine?  Someone was NOT paying attention here!

80- Last Song (I'll Ever Write For You), Edward Bear, 1971, #3.  The band was named for Winnie the Pooh, whose proper name was, apparently, Edward Bear.  Another great Canadian band, eh?

79- Living Thing, Electric Light Orchestra, 1977, #13.  Top ten in the entire English speaking world, France, and on the Cashbox chart.  BOOOOO, Billboard!!

78- Can't Smile Without You, Barry Manilow, 1978, #3.  Can you believe this song was done by the Carpenters first, and was the flip side of Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft? Hmm, perhaps another b-side that should have been flipped by DJs...

77- Heartbeat, It's A Lovebeat, DeFranco Family featuring Tony DeFranco,  1973, #3.  Tony was a teenager when he sang this; now he's a real estate agent with Sotheby in California.

76- A Rock And Roll Fantasy, The Kinks, 1978, #30.  "Dan is a man who lives for our music, it's the only thing that gets him by/ He's watched us grow, and he's seen all our shows/he's seen us low and he's seen us high/ Oh, but you and I keep thinking that the world's just passing us by..."  Don'tcha love autobiographical songs?

75- Don't Look Back, Boston, 1978, #4.  If their whole second album had half met the potential of this one song, they'd be in the Hall Of Fame.

74- Share The Land, The Guess Who, 1970, #10.  Ever since hearing this on the way to my baby niece's funeral, I want this played at my own funeral.  If it isn't I will haunt you all forever.

73- Don't Pull Your Love, Hamilton, Joe Frank, And Reynolds, 1971, #4.  HJF&R was one act I really wish could've done more songs.  The three they hit with are classics.

72- Come And Get It, Badfinger, 1970, #7.  Gotta get one last #7 in.  Anyone else remember this being used as an Army recruitment commercial theme?  I do!

"And quite out of character,"  The Host says, " Our last song for today shall also be our go home song for the day.  See you here next week!"

71- The Story In Your Eyes, The Moody Blues, 1971, #23.  Just a good MB song - until you REALLY listen to the words.  Then it becomes one of their most powerful tunes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Never try to out-prophecy a fortune cookie

Last night, Laurie decides to order Chinese.  No, not the whole country, just some food, be serious!  Anyway, I looked around the menu on Waiter-On-The-Way in between complaining about that many items had no descriptions of what they actually were.  Not a good thing to those not real familiar with Chinese (food), as I found out.  A "Philadelphia roll" for example, descibed as "Salmon and cream cheese" (which is a tremendous concept in theory) is actually sushi.  I did not know this.  I also did not know that they apparently "cut" their ranch dressing 50/50 with vinegar.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with the results of my choices at the end of the meal.  As I ambled over to get my fortune cookie, I said, "My fortune probably says, 'You are an idiot'. "

Believe it or not, this is what it really said:

"You think that is a secret, but it never has been one."


Scrappy got one too.  His said, "your life is a bold and dashing adventure." Wow.  Two for two.


This morning I was all decked out to "watch" Lokomotiv's game against HC Sarov on the updating text.  Within two minutes, the Google Translate toolbar went into another coma.  Thanks, Google!  Fortunately, I could copy updates and paste them on the google translate site.  The first period, in front of a home crowd of 9046, saw no scores but a lot of penalties- and the good guys outshooting Sarov 19-3!  Fortunately, Sarov goalie Valeri Pantyushin (another name I might get changed were it mine) was not so lucky in the second.  At 3:09, Daniil Apal'kov dug out from behind the net and scored his 4th for a 1-0 lead.  Just under three minutes later, Dmitry Maltsev pretty much did the same thing, unassisted, for his 5th and a 2-0 lead.  A buck-ten later, at 7:16, Kirill Kapustin nailed his 4th to up the lead to 3-0.  And at 12:26, Alexi Kruchinin got a pass in front of an empty net on a power play for his 9th, and it was a 4-0 lead.  By the time the period was out, the shot margin was now 30-7.  In the third period, the shots finally evened out (7-7), and the play was more or less carried by a lackluster Sarov team.  Just after the halfway point of the stanza,  Coach Vorobiev pulled goalie Nikita Lozhkin for Pavel Shegala.  I haven't yet found out why, hopefully just to give the kid a rest.  Shegala handled the last two shots, one a hot one from the blue line from Vitaly Zotov that tagged Shegala right in the chest, and we hung onto the 4-0 victory.

Sarov falls to 15-27-10 and falls out of the playoff picture.  Lokomotiv has bagged third spot in the West conference at 13-4-3 and will likely get VMF St. Petersburg ("Holding the Navy") in the first round. Sputnik Nizhny Tagil is the penultimate foe coming up Monday.


Time for the quick Euro hockey roundup.   In the leagues still in regular season: The Asia League is all but decided, Oji Eagles are 20-5-9 and hold a 6 point lead over Anyang Halla.  England's EIHL currently shows Belfast's Giants at 32-5-7 but only two points clear of Sheffield and Nottingham.  Switzerland's National League A is in a tight 5 team race with defending champ SC Bern in the fifth spot; Sweden's Elitserien is just as jumbled in a six team race.  Germany's DEL sees Eisbaren Berlin in the lead of a field with 7 teams within 12 points.  Stavenger's Oilers hold an impressive 34-5-4 record and a 24 point lead in Norway's GET-Ligaen.  Finland's S-M Liiga has KalPo Kuopia leads a 4 team race to the title at 29-15-8.  Zhlobin leads Belarus' Extraliga at 28-7-5 by 14 points. In the Czech Extraliga, Sparta Praha holds a 7 point lead over Plzen; and Kosice leads the Slovak version with a 33-16-3 mark, 6 points better than Slovan Bratislava. And in the KHL, the West has SKA St. Petersburg (Which ironically is an Army team) at 31-11-11 and an 8 point lead over Dynamo Moscow, while Traktor Chelyabinsk has the same record and lead over Avangard Omsk in the East.

In leagues currently in their playoffs: Austria has come through all their preliminaries and are in the quarterfinals.  Black Wings Linz and the Vienna Capitals have traded OT wins, and BLW has a 3-0 win in game 3 for a 2-1 lead.  Medvescak Zagreb is the only squad with a 3-0 lead, having topped Znojmo 3-1, 5-2, and 5-0.  Olimpia Ljubljana won an OT game 2 against Alba Volan, but AV took the first game 7-2 and game three 8-1.  And Red Bull Salzburg has a 2-1 lead over KAC Klagenfurt after three tight game.

In Denmark's AL Bank Ligan, SonderjyskE ran off with the season title once again at 28-7-5.  They started the playoffs on a good note, topping Herlev 3-0 in the first game of their round robin first stage; Odensee pounded Fredrikshaven 5-1, Rodovre blanked Aalborg's Aab Hockey team 3-0, and last year's playoff champ Blue Fox Herning beat  Esbjerg's Efb club 4-1.

In France's Ligue Magnus, Rouen (18-5-3) took the regular season title, and with 2nd place Dijon, 3rd place Chamoix, and 4th place Briancon, get the first round off.  Among those that did not, Angers opened with a 6-1 win over Caen; Gap topped Morzine-Avoriaz 3-2 OT; Villard blanked Neuilly-sur-Marne 1-0; Amiens edged Strassbourg 2-1; and Grenoble topped Epinal 5-3.

Italy's Serie A is just getting started on its main playoffs after the seeding round.  And we end in Poland, where Sanok won the regular season with a 29-10-3 mark.  They lead their series against Jastrzebie 3 to 0; also with 3-0 leads are Krakow over Oswiecim and Tychy over MMKS Podhale; while Zaglebie Sosnowiec leads Torun 2 games to 1.

Time Machine week 4

We have a trip this week that’s all over the board, from Vaudeville to WWF wrestling, from Nashville to Detroit, from Jay and the Americans’ last top 40 hit to Led Zeppelin as an opening act!  Intrigued?  Good! Then I won’t have to tease the six degrees that will take us from Ray Stevens to the devil!  Not much of a stretch, you say?  Well, stay tuned!

We lead off with another big week of 18 hot 100 debuts, but we feature but 5 of them.  Norman Greenbaum debuts at 97 with Spirit In The Sky.  I thought it odd that a practicing (then and now)Jew should write a song about Jesus- and when I hit the odder explanation which included westerns, Porter Waggoner and Dolly Parton, and “being buried with my boots on”, I just gave up.  Neil Diamond comes in at 96 with Shilo, which was a long-delayed autobiographical account of Neil’s imaginary childhood friend.  And no, I don’t think this week’s episode is going to get any more normal.  The Carpenters hit the pool at #91 with their cover of Ticket To Ride, the only thing odd therein was that Laurie never realized this was a Beatles original.  After a plethora of other tunes I didn’t really know, John Lennon and his Plastic Ono Nuclear Band comes in at #72 with Instant Karma (We All Shine On)- and John makes his own oddity.  Finally, way up at 67 is the high debut, Three Dog Night with Celebrate (which I learned was recorded with a large section of Chicago’s horn section.

All of which leads us to a heaping helping of birthdays this week.  Stevie Nicks’ classic Edge Of Seventeen turns 30 this week.  Turning 35 is Glen Campbell’s Southern Nights.  Turning 40 are Donnie Osmond’s cover of Puppy Love, the Stylistics’ Betcha By Golly Wow, and America’s A Horse With No Name.  Reaching 45 this week are the Beatles’ double-sided Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, The Mamas and the Papas’ Dedicated To The One I Love, and the poorly named 59th Street Song- better known by the tagline “Feeling Groovy”- by the equally curiously-named Harper’s Bizarre.  And finally, you American Graffiti fans, the Dell-Vikings Come Go With Me turns 55 this week.  Blow out the candles…

Man, this week’s show is packed tight!  Next up are the big movers.  On the downward spiral, Englebert Humperdink’s Winter World Of Love melts down 19 notches to #41; the aforementioned Mr. Campbell, along with Bobby Gentry, shoots up 24 to #58 with All I Have To Do Is Dream.

Speaking of Gentrys, it is the Gentrys, currently at #50 with Why Should I Cry, who get the Where Are They Now spotlight.  The Gentrys, best known for the hit Keep On Dancing (#4 in 1965), Had two notable members.  One was Larry Raspberry (a notable name all by itself), who is basically the one member who has carried on in the business, still active with his band the Highsteppers.  The other is Jimmy “the Mouth of the South” Hart- yes, that Jimmy Hart, member of the Hart Foundation, wrestler and promoter.  He’s also an accomplished writer of his fellow wrestler’s theme songs, including those for his own Hart Foundation, the Honky-Tonk Man, Brutus Beefcake, the Legion of Doom, Ted DiBiase, Shawn Michaels, and Hulk Hogan.  Hart is currently back, it seems, under the WWF umbrella after years of coming and going between WWF and TNA.

Next up are the top 40 debuts- all SEVEN of them, all but two of which I had to listen to to try and remember.  Coming in at 39, up 3 spots, is the studio band Steam with their follow up to Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, called I’ve Gotta Make You Love Me.  Zooming into the 40 on a 22-notch climb to #38, is Detroit rockers Frijid Pink with their cover of House Of The Rising Sun.  These guys were so popular in the Motor City that a newly minted Led Zeppelin opened for them at the Grand Ballroom in Detroit!  How’d you like to have a ticket stub from THAT show to post on eBay?   Then comes Lulu at 37, up 9 with Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby), which is much better than that clunky title.  Stevie Wonder chimes in at 35, also up 9, with Never Had A Dream Come True.  Then with one of the 2 I actually recognized, the Hollies debut at 34, up a big fifteen spots with He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother  ( a song I usually replace “my brother” with the name of a former boss who could have went to Halloween as Barney with nothing but purple body paint).  Mama Cass pokes into the countdown next, climbing 8 to #33 with New World Coming.  And at long last, the last debut is the King, Elvis Presley, with Kentucky Rain, rising 14 spots to #31.

The weekly perusal of the #1s of ancient history this week nets us the original Puttin’ On The Ritz.  It was #1 this week in 1930 for one Henry Richman, a multi-talented individual who paid his dues on Vaudeville as the piano accompanist for Mae West, among others.  Talented enough, in fact, to give him his own movie, for which Ritz was both title and theme song.  Acting, though, did not prove to be his forte- years later, Leonard Maltin’s review of the film went: “ A songwriter drinks and goes blind- after seeing this, you’ll want to do the same.”  He was apparently better at flying than acting.  He was co-pilot with Dick Merrill on the first trans-Atlantic  round-trip flight.  He packed the plane with ping pong balls (to float it if it should splashdown), and was selling autographed balls from the plane until his death in 1972.

An almost but not quite shout out to Jay and his friggin’ Americans (not a big fan, as you might guess) as their hit, a cover of the Ronettes’ Walkin’ In The Rain, peaked last week at 14 and slips this week to #21.  This would be their last time in the top 40.

Three songs blast- and I mean blast- their way into the top 10, three songs plummet- and I mean plummet- to make room.  The droppers are I Want You Back (from 3 to 15), Without Love (There Is Nothing) (from 6 to 20), and Whole Lotta Love (10 to 22).

Dionne Warwick leads off the top ten, dropping 3 to #10 with I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.  Mark Lindsay holds at 9 with Arizona.  Brooks Benton is the first of our “blasters”, jumping 7 to land at #8 with Rainy Night In Georgia.  And falling three to #7 is our six degrees victim.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (our grandpa chair song at 18 weeks), as longtime readers know, was offered to Bob Dylan before BJ Thomas.  But, what you might not’ve known is that it was first offered to Ray Stevens.  Stevens turned it down to record a new Kris Kristofferson song- Sunday Morning Coming Down.  He managed to ride it not very far- #55 on the country charts and #81 on the hot 100.  (Of course, Johnny Cash soon took it to #1 on C&W and #46 on the pop charts.)

Kristofferson recorded it for his self-titled debut album, along with an amazing array of his compositions that became classics- for someone else.  Besides Sunday Morning, Kristofferson the album also contained Me And Bobby McGee (#1 pop for Janis Joplin), Help Me Make It Through The Night (which Dottie West turned down- “my greatest regret”- and Sammie Smith took to #1 C&W and #8 pop), and For The Good Times ( #1 C&W and #11 pop for Ray Price).  Apparently the only cut Kris released was a tune called To Beat The Devil (hence the tease) which failed to chart on either list.  In fact, the album tanked until Joplin died and went to #1; then it was re-titled Me And My Bobby McGee and re-released, making #10 C&W and #43 on the top 200 albums.

The other two “blasters” are next:  The Temptations jump 5 to #6 with Psychedelic Shack; and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters moves from 18 to #5.  The Guess Who  shoot from 8 to #4 with No Time. Former top dog Venus by Shocking Blue slips to #3.  Eddie Holman moves up from 5 to #2 with Hey There Lonely Girl.  And this week’s new top dog:

Sly Stone and the Family with Thank You Fallettenme Be Mice Elf Again!

Woof, that was a workout!  See you Saturday for the seventies countdown.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Obama comforts us about gas

I actually have the latest on my Loko boys coming up, but first, I had to have some words about this:

President Barack Obama is confronting Americans' anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for rising oil and gas production, a greater mix of energy sources and decreased consumption.

Oh, THAT helps my anxiety level SOOO much.  Especially when one considers the only thing of the three he can ACTUALLY take credit for is the decreased consumption, caused by the HIGH PRICES that he wants me to feel better about!   I have to apologize to liberals for lumping him in with them in the past.  What he is, is a caricature of the WORST possible liberal.


Next, I got my Lokomotiv t-shirt a couple days ago!

Any of y'all considering ordering from Cafe Press, I give 'em 4 stars!  They sent an e-mail saying the t would arrive on the 28th or 29th, so imagine my surprise when it made it on the 21st!


On to Wednesday's match against VMF St. Petersburg (better known to Google translate as "Holding the Navy").  The game was in front of a warm, indoor home crowd of 9046.  Which reminds me that the final tally of the attendance in the outdoors of Krasnoyarsk was 16,100, which beats out the Russian record for attendance at ANY level, recorded in a KHL playoff game last February 27th at Minsk between Dinamo and Lokomotiv, in which the visiting good guys came out with a 4-2 win in front of 16,034.

Anyhow, the game's scoring opened with a goal by Vitaly Karamnov of VMF at the 7:00 mark of the first.  At 12:04, though, a two-on-one break gave Oleg Yashin the chance to slap home his 12th of the season to knot things at 1-1.  VMF retook the lead less than a minute into the second period on a goal by Albert Konozov.  The lead held most of the period, until VMF's Dmitry Livtov hooked Yashin down for a penalty shot, which Oleg converted at 18:00 for his second of the game and a 2-2 tie.

The third period had the very good ( Rafael Akhmetov caught a pass out in front and put it in for the 3-2 lead at 2:53 of the third) and the bad ( Petr Vorobiev caught a lot of heat for his defensive lapses; and Emil Galimov got whistled for a rough with 5 minutes to go, and Daniil Yerdakov got caught for a high stick just 15 seconds after they killed the first penalty). But Nikita Lozhkin held off the Sailors and the 3-2 score held.

The win almost puts Lokomotiv into that third seed- if Nefteyanik wins out and we lose our last 3, they'd beat us out by .0052.  Our next game is tomorow against HC Sarov.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Convocation of Who’s Dumber

I wasn’t really planning on anything today, but there are just some days every news story is a head-scratcher.  For example:

Contestant #1-

Climate scientist admits stealing docs from conservative think tank

Theft, deceit and outright lies: How ugly can climate science get?
Prominent climate scientist Peter H. Gleick relied on deceit and subterfuge to solicit a cache of sensitive internal documents from conservative think tank The Heartland Institute before leaking them to the press -- a fresh scandal that further darkens the highly charged debate on planetary climate change.
Gleick -- an internationally recognized hydroclimatologist and author of the respected annual report “The World’s Water” -- said he received an anonymous document in the mail that tipped him off to what he described as Heartland’s efforts to muddy public understanding of climate science and policy. He released the documents to expose their work “to cast doubt on climate science.”
“In a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name,” Gleick wrote. “My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate … nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case.”
Following his admission, Gleick's resignation was accepted by the National Center for Science Education. His name appears to have been removed from a Task Force on Scientific Ethics at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a prominent science organization.
The documents consist of climate policy statements, fundraising documents, board meeting notifications and even tax filings -- as well as a memo titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.” That memo, apparently the anonymous document that inspired Gleick to take action, describes plans to create an anti-global warming science campaign for grade schools that will “dissuad[e] teachers from teaching science.”
The Heartland Institute calls it a forgery – and (Heartland Institute president Joseph L.) Bast says he believes Gleick may have written it.
"Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source,” Bast said. “This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.”
"We hope Gleick will make a more complete confession in the next few days,” Bast wrote.

When will “scientists” involved in global warming learn that their own lack of integrity is all the evidence most of us need to disbelieve them?  Science has been more about “Let me ‘prove’ what I believe” rather than “Lets observe and figure out what we’re observing” ever since Darwin decided his Grandpa JoJo had a tail.

Contestant #2-

An eighth-grader suspended after pranking a classmate with a bag of oregano following a lecture on the dangers of marijuana has a civil liberties group in his corner, but officials at his North Carolina school aren't backing down.
"It was just a joke," the mother of the boy, who is not being identified because of his age, told in an exclusive interview. "He's embarrassed that it's turned into such a big issue. He's actually said he doesn't know why he did it. But he didn't have an illegal substance to begin with."
Luan Ingram, a spokeswoman for Union County Public Schools, confirmed to that the matter was handled according to its student discipline policy, but declined additional comment.
In a letter to Union County Public Schools officials, the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute called the suspension a "gross overreaction" to a childish prank and said it may be a violation of the boy's constitutional rights.
Immediately after the incident last month, in which the boy passed the bag of seasoning to a pal a day after their health class discussed marijuana, the boy received a 10-day suspension. On Feb. 1, school officials notified the boy's family that he had been recommended for another 45 days of suspension. Their appeal of the additional term was denied this week, and the boy is attending a school for at-risk students until he is eligible to return to Cuthbertson on March 29.
Whitehead noted recent North Carolina legislation requires local school boards to minimize use of long-term suspensions and expulsions to violations deemed to threaten safety of students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment.
"Your school district would be hard-pressed to demonstrate that [the boy's] conduct either threatened the safety of the school community or substantially disrupted the school environment," Whitehead's letter to the school district stated.

A 55-day suspension for giving oregano to a friend.  I guess they’re really hard on Spice ther- what?  Not that kind of “Spice”?  OOPS…

Contestant #3-

A New Hampshire man who fired his handgun into the ground to scare an alleged burglar he caught crawling out of a neighbor's window is now facing a felony charge -- and the same potential prison sentence as the man he stopped.
Dennis Fleming, 61, of Farmington, was arrested for reckless conduct after the Saturday incident at his 19th century farmhouse. The single grandfather had returned home to find that his home had been burglarized and spotted Joseph Hebert, 27, climbing out of a window at a neighbor's home. Fleming said he yelled "Freeze!" before firing his gun into the ground, then held Hebert at gunpoint until police arrived.
"I didn't think I could handle this guy physically, so I fired into the ground," Fleming told "He stopped. He knew I was serious. I was angry … and I was worried that this guy was going to come after me."
No one was injured in the incident, but when the police arrived, they made two arrests. Hebert was charged with two counts of burglary and drug possession. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. Fleming, meanwhile, is scheduled to be arraigned March 20 on a charge of reckless conduct, which could potentially land him a sentence similar to the one Hebert faces.
"I didn't know it was illegal [to fire into the ground], but I had to make that guy realize I was serious," Fleming said. "I've got a clean record. I really don't want to be convicted."
County Attorney Tom Velardi told Foster's Daily Democrat he will review the case and determine if the charge against Fleming is appropriate under the state statutes regarding self-defense and defense of property.
Fleming's collection of seven rifles and a .38-caliber handgun were seized by police. Calls seeking comment from Farmington Police Department Chief Scott Roberge were not immediately returned.  (And probably never will be, in a community like this.)
Penny Dean, a spokeswoman for the Gun Owners of New Hampshire, said her organization is "absolutely outraged" by Fleming's arrest.
"This homeowner fired at the ground, from all accounts, in a safe direction and held a burglar for police and did things correctly," Dean told "The fact that this man would be charged is an outrage. Burglars in New Hampshire must know it's open season, since homeowners cannot defend themselves, as evidenced by this case. This is charging the victim."
Rick Pelkey, Fleming's longtime neighbor, said he's now worried how the "straight-forward, working-class guy" will pay legal fees associated with the arrest.
"I think it's outrageous," Pelkey told "He did the community a service here. We ought to thank him for it."

OMG, call Greenpeace!  Somebody just shot Mother Earth!  Does anyone on this planet use there brains to assess a situation anymore?

Contestant #4-

A man died after he was hit by a car while riding a couch tied to the back of a truck in Canada.
Francois Halle, 22, was "couch surfing" when the driver lost control of the vehicle, pushing the sofa onto the opposite side of the road, where he was hit by another vehicle in Saint-Benjamin, south of Quebec City, CBC News reported.
Halle was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.

If nothing else, at least this one shows that abject stupidity is not a US of A monopoly.

Contestant #5-
Troops on the U.S.'s largest base in Afghanistan have inadvertently burned Korans and other religious materials, triggering angry protests and fears of even larger demonstrations as news of the burning spreads.
The books were mistakenly thrown out with the trash at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul and were on a burn pile Monday night before Afghan laborers intervened around 11:00 p.m., according to NATO and Afghan officials.
The workers doused the flames with their jackets and mineral water before marching out of Bagram in a fury, carrying with them the charred remains, according to Sabir Safar, secretary of the provincial council of Parwan, the province where Bagram is located.
By the morning, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside of Bagram and on the outskirts of Kabul. Some shot into the air, some threw rocks at the Bagram gate, and others yelled, "Die, die foreigners." Many of them were the same people who work with foreign troops inside the base. At one point, apparently worried that the base would be stormed, guards at the base fired rubber bullets into the crowd, according to the military.
There is perhaps no action that enrages Afghans more than foreigners' mistreating the Koran.  Korans are supposed to be buried or released into a flowing river if they need to be disposed.
"Those materials were inadvertently given to troops for disposition and that disposition was to burn the materials. It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," (Gen. John ) Allen told NATO TV. "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake, it was an error. The moment we found out about it we immediately stopped and we intervened."
Allen launched an investigation and promised to take steps that the same incident would not be repeated.

The story then goes on to tell how something like this has happened at least TWO other times, giving rise to “reasonable doubt” concerning Allen’s promise.  “Bury them or release into a flowing river.”  Would composting be acceptable?  Shouldn’t all those Greenpeacers gathering to lynch the guy for shooting Mother Earth be racing here and there to keep devout Muslims from polluting rivers with soiled Korans?  And is being shot with rubber bullets #2 on the Afghan people’s “list of actions that enrage” ?

Contestant #6-  Well That one got pulled.  I went looking for a story I just read on how country duo Sugarland’s attorneys are going to claim that it was the fans’ responsibility to leave the scene of the stage collapse at the Indiana State fair and not the band’s to postpone the show.  However, the story seems to have been pulled- probably because it s headline went to the effect of “Sugarland blames fans” rather than “Attorneys blame fans” and then went into a re-hash of all the genuine things that the band DID say after the tragedy to make it look like the group was callously crapping down its leg.  The comments section was loaded with fans and, well, just people with common sense, telling the news outlet that perchance they might want to modify the headline.  So this one is a toss-up between the attorneys, the media outlet, and myself for forgetting which of the “usual suspects” had the story up in the first place.

UPDATE:  It was on, I just looked in the wrong spot.

Sugarland blames fans for state fair injuries

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) --Fans who were killed and injured when stage rigging and sound equipment collapsed onto them as they awaited a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair failed to take steps to ensure their own safety and are at least in part to blame for their injuries, the country duo's attorneys said.

The statement, part of a Feb. 16 response to a civil suit filed by survivors and families of some of those killed, comes in sharp contrast to earlier statements by lead singer Jennifer Nettles and appears to be an attempt to cast blame elsewhere.

Calling the powerful winds that toppled the stage on Aug. 13 an "act of God," Sugarland's attorneys said fair officials and Mid-America Sound Corp. were responsible for the stage setup, and that the fans voluntarily assumed risk by attending the show.

"Some or all of the plaintiffs' claimed injuries resulted from their own fault," according to the band's response.

Nettles told The Associated Press in a statement issued through her manager two days after the collapse that she was "moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured."

Jeff Stesiak, a South Bend attorney involved in the suit, said the band's response was strange given the circumstances of the fans' injuries.

"It's unusual to put the blame on victims. The concert wasn't canceled and they weren't told to leave. I can't imagine what the victims did to be at fault," Stesiak said Tuesday. "They had a duty to warn fans. An open and obvious danger is more like walking along a road and seeing a downed power line and walking over it anyway. The storm wasn't like that."

In a Jan. 16 deposition on a lawsuit against the company that built the stage rigging, Indiana State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye testified that
Sugarland resisted delaying the start of the concert despite threatening weather.
Hoye said a representative for a concert promotion company working with the fair twice approached Sugarland about the fair's desire to delay the show. But Hoye said the band expressed concerns about how a delay would affect the time Nettles needed to warm up and complicate the band's travel to its next show.

Sugarland tour manager Hellen Rollens told investigators with the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration that there was no discussion of delaying the show.
So we have to adjust the contestant list on this story:  First, still me, but for missing where the story was; still, the attorneys;  throw in the Sugarland promoters, who apparently perjured themselves to IOSHA;  and of course, Ms. Shedler and the AP for an intentionally misleading article and headline which seeks to debase the band, when the promoters and lawyers are the skunks in the henhouse.

And the winner?  I’ve got to go with the couch surfer.  This has to be on a par with “bottle rocket up the butt” a week or so ago in sheer unjustifiable mental deficiency.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday with Scrappy

Anytime I get 2 or more comments about ANYTHING, I feel a response is in odrer.  And with 2 comments this weekend about Scrappy-walks, of course we had to work the camera.

First stop out the door is Woodbridge's new fitness center.  May soon be taking advantage of this- but for now, the complex is still trying to figure how to work the key-cards for the lock.

Scrappy's take on enjoying nature is more "spot intensive" than mine.

Good boy Scrappy is trained to sit and wait at each crossing.

0.8 seconds after being told, "Okay, go ahead..."


Here we are at the bottom of the feeder. Despite the rain and melting snow, it takes a LOT of water to make this any kind of stream...

...rather than a collection of big puddles in a channel.

Here's a spot we've been known to scramble down when aquadog wants to play in the river.

YEAH! Another orphaned golf ball for the collection!  I've got about three dozen of them since we started last spring.  Still no purpose for them other than giving them a good home.

Each and every time it warms up, the bank at river's bend sinks a little farther.  Scrappy hops down where it's easy, goes all the way back to the other end, and then has to be coached how to get back.

This is the approximate area Scrappy found the baby coon last spring.  Every hole MUST be inspected against current residents.

Checking things out at the landing.

Suddenly, he smells/hears something I don't.  So we go on down the side trail, only to have him lead us into yet another mess.

This one spot on the trail to Scrappy's Landing is ALWAYS mossy.  No idea why.

As I said, every hole must be inspected- whether the route to it is Daddy-friendly or not.

Sunday With Whitney

A couple of weeks ago, I began a pretty good message about a thought I had concerning the parable of the seeds and the ground. It would have involved an attempt to prick the hearts of those who say, “I’m a good person, that should be enough for God.”  A noble thought on my part, for sure.  But before I went down to type, I saw Proverbs 26:12:

Pro 26:12  Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

And I said to myself, I need some self-examination before I give a message on anything, boyo.  So I tried to give just a hint of the message, to which I’d suddenly append, “But here’s the thing, “ and then put in my own confession.

Kinda like I’m doing here.

But then, I soon found myself typing out the whole first idea, and telling myself, I’m just setting up for the real message.  Five or six paragraphs- ooops!- into this attempt, with my conscience doing battle with my intentions, my son showed up, I said, “See, God TOLD YOU not to do it this way,” and put it aside.  After “saving “ what I had written, of course.

Since then, I’ve been weighing subsequent messages I’ve heard in my mind.  One was about that “secret sin” that we all have, that we keep aside from God and pay lip service in our confessions, because we”know” we’ll end up going back to it, as if God gives us a mulligan on that one thing.  I’ve been “giving” my version of this sin to God for years; but I realize that if I want God to use me effectively, I’ve got to get serious about giving it to Him.  Net result?  About 4 days of success.

I think about Whitney Houston here, because the topic, “Why is everyone blaming her death on Bobby Brown”, keeps coming up.  It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to realize that the path she was on was of her own choosing; Bobby Brown likely never did more than encourage her on that path, and if not him, there’d have been another.  Because the ultimate decisions on the life she chose to live was hers.  I don’t think that it is coincidental to her moral compass at the time that her first hit was Saving All My Love For You, the ultimate expression of the opposite of good and decent and marriage, a song I constantly change to “I’m Just A Big Ol’ Slut, It’s True”.  If that’s not an irony enough, I keep looking over to the verse just before the one I printed at the start here:

Pro 26:11  As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.

Am I condemning Whitney here?  Not my job.  But I have to point out that 26:12 points out that if I publish that first message I talked about without looking at my own life first, I’m worse off than she was/is.

Today I heard a message whose crux point was that to ask for forgiveness, we have to do it in a way that emulates David’s plea to God over the Bathsheba incident.  And that starts with “Recognizing the sin the way GOD SEES IT.”  The message then went on to look at just how God does see it, and it doesn’t involve our rationalizations, our statutes of limitation time-wise, or our estimation on if anyone got hurt by it, or the deserving-ness of whoever got hurt.

So I went to prayer in that mindset, and the first thing I realized is that I don’t have the first grip on what my sin means to God.  David looked at it in Psalms 32 at 3 levels.  The first is “sin”, which means an offense.  Doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?  The second is “iniquity”, which means perversity, or moral evil; a bit darker there, huh.  Add in the fact that both translations involve the concept of punishment being involved.  The third word David uses is “Transgression”, which at its core means revolt against God.

I don’t know about you, but while my mind usually looks at confession from a “sin” point of view, and occasionally from an “iniquity” level if what I’m confessing is “bad enough”, I don’t often find myself looking at it seriously from the “transgression” level.  Thus I’m learning that the first part of any confession is going to have to be a prayer to see my failings from God’s perspective, and not my own.

And that original message?  Maybe I’ll share it to someone who feels they need to hear it.  But if I’m going to do Sunday messages in the future, I’m going to have to use Proverbs 26:12 to remind me that God gave me this pulpit not to necessarily remove the splinter from your eye, but to discuss the removing of the plank from mine.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Great Seventies Countdown week 12

"Today, I've lined up something very special for the end of the show, "  The Host says as applause dies down.  "It's getting harder now to find the more obscure pieces of music to show you... but you'll find our last one qualifies.  Now, on with the show."

110- Danny's Song, Anne Murray, 1972, #7.  Just as good is Kenny Loggins' original.  Both are on the BIG list I did earlier.

109- Love Machine, the Miracles, 1975, #1.  Billy Griffin took over when Smokey left in the 70's, and this was their big- and only- top 40 hit.

108-Keep It Coming, Love, KC And The Sunshine Band, 1977, #2.  Heard it the first time one night on the Midnight Special.  Never really cared for the band before that point. Funny how watching some songs live can change things.

107-Tequila Sunrise, The Eagles, 1973, #64.  "Take another shot of courage... wonder why the right words never come, you just get numb..."

106- Fox On The Run, Sweet, 1975, #5.  One of those songs that I had a "love-hate" relationship back then.  Love won.

105- The Love You Save, Jackson Five, 1970, #1.  Admit it.  If you were a kid back then, you watched the cartoon.  Probably the Osmonds cartoon, too.  And the Archie show...

104- Holding On To Yesterday, Ambrosia, 1975, #17.  Probably the most depressing song not on an Eric Carmen album ever for me...

103- One Less Bell To Answer, the Fifth Dimension, 1970, #2.  Marilyn at her very best.

102- We're All Alone, Boz Scaggs, 1976, flip side of Lido Shuffle.  I think this is our first double-dipper on the countdown.  Boz wrote it, he does it best.  See....

101- Baker Street, Gerry Rafferty, 1978, #2.  One of those songs you kinda liked, liked a little more, and the next thing you knew, it was at the top.

100- Nadia's Theme, Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin JR, 1976, #8.  At the beginning, we were all "The Young And The Restless" heads.  Snapper, Katherine, and of course, Victor Newman, okay?

99- Daybreak (the live version), Barry Manilow, 1977, #23.  As depressing as Ambrosia was on their song, this one is the opposite end of the spectrum.  Brings me up from even my lowest.

98- Band On The Run, Wings, 1974, #1.  "If I ever get out of here/gonna give it all away/to a registered charity/ all I need is a pint a day..."

97- Pretty Maids All In A Row, The Eagles, 1977, flip side of Hotel California.  My favorite Eagles or Joe Walsh song.

96- Saturday In The Park, Chicago, 1973, #3.  I don't know how this wasn't a #1.  It sure was around here. But, "A bronze man still can tell stories his own way.  Listen, children! All is not lost! All is not lost!"

95- Get Down, Gilbert O'Sullivan, 1973, #7.  I still remember arguing with my niece that it wasn't Gilbert AND Sullivan.  Another one of those "love-hate" songs that turned out good.

94- Snowbird, Anne Murray, 1970, #8.  I suppose I'm as surprised as anybody to see Anne Murray twice in one week,  but this one will usually find me teary-eyed by the end.

93- Sylvia's Mother, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, 1972, #5.  The most heartbreaking vocal ever.  The operator was gouging him, man.

92- Aubrey, Bread, 1972, #15.  Boy, Breakfast At Tiffanys sure spawned a lot of songs.  I've always empathised with songs about loves you never meet.  Other examples being Genesis' Turn It On Again and Counting Crows' Mrs. Potter's Lullabye.

91- Racing In The Streets, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, 1978, unreleased.  Okay, I'm cheating a bit here.  The live version that I love the best (off Springsteen Live) was recorded in 1981, but the studio version was a 1978 release.  The long ending is one of those pieces of music I wish could go on forever.

"And so we reach the end of another show,"  The Host says, "And I promised you something special.  At least to me, it is.  For a year or so, CBS "jazzed up" the intros to there soap operas by putting words to the themes.  Here is that version of Nadia's theme.  (I actually almost put up David Hasselhoff's version that was a hit in Japan, but frankly, it sucked.)  Enjoy. Until next week..."

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Russian winter classic

Before I begin… one picture says it all…


Moving on…

The Russian classic was held today (5 am our time) in the 5F temperatures of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, the first professional outdoor game in Russian history.  Thanks to Russia’s channel R2, I got to watch (albeit several hours later.  I haven’t got attendance data but I’d guesstimate that around 15,000 came to Central Stadium for the game, a great boost not only for the surviving families of the plane crash for whom the gate receipts go, but also for the city of Krasnoyarsk, who is angling for a move up to the KHL.  I’d have to say that the modified jerseys looked snug and warm, although I’d never seen “turtleneck” hockey uniforms before.

The Falcon were the aggressors early on.  A minute and a half in, Nikita Lozhkin made a terrific stop, but the rebound came out and the Falcon shooter put it square into the right post.  Lokomotiv was somewhat hamstrung by penalties, and Lozhkin made another series of brilliant saves during one of the power plays around the 5 minute mark.  Two minutes later, he dove after a puck and about got run over by teammate Igor Martyov.  About halfway through the first period, Alexi Kruchinin got the first good chance of the day for us on a long slap shot, and things began to even out a bit. On a 3-on-2 rush, Emil Galimov came rocketing down the right side, feeding a hard pass right across the front of the net and goalie Emil Safin.  Safin had to be careful because Vladimir Kartayev was right in front, but he let it go on through to Maxim Zyuzyakin, who hammered it past Safin for his 7th goal and a 1-0 lead.
Shortly after that, Lokomotiv just missed a chance at a similar play when Kartayev slipped and fell.  This happened a lot in the first period.  Coach Vorobiev talked about the hazards of outdoor play.  “The ice is harder, the puck is like a stone, and breathing is difficult.”  That hard ice made cuts more difficult, and the cold made the plexiglass sideboards somewhat less than transparent.

The second period seemed a more even battle, but Lokomotiv was occupied much of the first half of the period fighting off two more power plays. Right after the second penalty, Falcon’s Pavel Kurdyakov made a great attempt but was stoned again by Lozhkin.  Then at 13:50, Kruchinin (who like Galimov seemed to be everywhere) stole the puck from Alexander Kryukov, made three lightning-fast dekes, and blasted a shot past Safin for his 5th and a 2-0 lead.  Less than 2 minutes later, Daniil Apal’kov came open on the left and buried the puck on Safin’s stick side to make it 3-0.

The score held there, although during a power play chance in the last 2 minutes of the period Kruchinin’s long shot glanced off another post.  The game became much more physical after the last goal, and it carried into the final stanza.  At 4:16 of the third a scuffle along the right side resulted in the puck coming free to Falcon’s Dmitry Tikhonov, who beat Lozhkin to make it 3-1.  About 4 minutes later, Dmitri Pasenko had Lozhkin beat but put his shot off the post as well.  At the 13-minute mark, a scramble out front of Lozhkin turned into a dangerous shoving match between Loko’s Pavel Lukin and Falcon’s Igor Vasilev, but Nikita hung onto the puck and everyone hung onto Lukin and Vasilev.  Falcon kept pressing, and at about the 5 minutes left mark, Lozhkin stopped Sergei Kotchekov on a hard rush at the net.  Right after that, Lukin drew a penalty, and Lozhkin barely held Falcon off. 

Right after the penalty kill, though, Pavel Voroshinin took a hard shot at the right side that Lozhkin barely stopped.  But Voroshinin got the rebound around behind the net to Kotchekov, who threw it out front to Vitaly Bogdashkin whose goal cut the score to 3-2 with 2:29 left.

But just when things were looking up for the home team, Falcon’s Sergey Sevastyanov got whistled for interference at 2:02 remaining, leaving them defending against Lokomotiv’s power play the rest of the game.  Apal’kov almost got the PP goal with 18 ticks left, but Safin robbed him. Still, Falcon couldn’t manage a shorthanded rush, and the visitors had a 3-2 win.

The win clinched a playoff spot for Lokomotiv at 12-4-3.  Falcon dropped to 13-29-7, 13 points out of the last playoff spot in their conference with just 4 games left.  Lokomotiv’s  remaining schedule has a game Wednesday against VMF St. Petersburg (VMF translates to “Military Maritime Fleet”, or Navy; thus google translate renders the team name “Holding the Navy”).  Then c0mes a Friday the 24th matchup with HC Sarov; a week from Monday against Sputnik Nizhny Tagil; and the season ender on the last day of the month against Taurus of Neftekamsk.

Oh, and look what I just ordered:

Supposedly I’ll have it just in time for the playoffs.

Time Machine week #3

I kinda think that three weeks in, I can drop the “new”.  Now it’s just like the trick the comic book companies do- when sales slump, re-number to #1 and pretend there was some reason to start over.  Except I had a good reason, and this week is especially special because we’re going to celebrate the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary with some extra bon mots, including a 6 8 degrees on some Beach Boys members that you might never have known about.  Along with a lot of our usual fooferall including a trip through the legend of Billy Jack.  Hop in, belt up, and flip the switch!

We had an amazing 18 debuts on the hot 100 this week- but despite new music by such luminaries as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Tommy James and the Shondells, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, I knew only 3 (count ‘em, 3) of them.  At 82- and the only way I knew this one was from owning a Glen Campbell’s greatest hits tape, is the man himself with Bobbi Gentry redoing the Everlys’ All I Have To Do Is Dream.  At #70 is the peripatetic Tony Burrows and Edison Lighthouse and Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes, which always reminds me of Foster Brooks on some skit slurring, “Where Bambi goes, nothin’ grows!” for some odd reason.  And all the way up at #45, ta da daaaaah- the King, Elvis Presley, and Kentucky Rain.  Quality over quantity, I suppose.

Birthdays this week:  Turning 30 are Van Halen’s cover of Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman, along with Foreigner’s Jukebox Hero.  Turning 35 are the live version of Wings’ Maybe I’m Amazed, along with the Climax Blues Band’s hit Couldn’t Get It Right.  And finally, Mr. Orbison himself debuted with Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream) 50 years ago this week.  Blow out the candles…

Speaking of birthdays, I’m not alone in celebrating the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary.  A new studio album is being recorded, and a 44-city tour starting in April, by the band’s most original lineup possible: Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks.  Brian, Mike, and David were originals, Al was David’s replacement when he proved too young to tour.

Our big dropper this week is courtesy of Johnny Taylor, who would in a few years give us the classic Disco Lady.  His tune Love Bones falls 42 spots to #74 this week.  The big jumper- well, it’s in the top 40.  WAAAAY up in the top 40.  So we’ll see it later.

One thing I wanted to do was a list of the Boys’ all time best sellers.  However, that info has proven… difficult.  However, I did find that 4 of their songs (as of November 2003) had played at least 3 million times on the radio.  3 of them shouldn’t be that hard to guess- the fourth was actually the b-side of another of their big hits.  I’ll give you some time to guess before I let the cat outta the bag.

The Where Are They Now victim at #50 this week is the song One Tin Soldier- not the Coven version that was on the Billy Jack movie, but the original by… er… Original Caste.  OC was a Canadian folk band basically consisting of leader Bruce Innes, vocalist (and at some point between 1967 and 1970, Mrs. Innes) Dixie Lee Stone, Graham Bruce, and Bliss Mackie (who is not affiliated with Brown Mackie College).  Their take on the song was top ten in Canada in ‘70, and it would hit #34 here.  In ‘71, vocalist Jinx Dawson of Coven recorded it for the Billy Jack soundtrack on the condition that it be listed on album, single, and movie as Coven.  The single, in some kind of attempt to skirt royalty issues, was labeled One Tin Soldier (The Legend Of Billy Jack), and had made it to #26 before the production company pulled it because their dastardly doings failed.  The full band put it on their album (With their faces cleverly whited out on the cover) and it re-charted in 1973 and ‘74.  It was eventually named the most request song of the year in both 1971 and 1973.  OC went on to have some more hits in Canada- as well as Japan- but never hit in the US of A again.  The band shrank to just Bruce and Dixie in 1972, and was finally shelved when they divorced in 1980.  Dixie dropped out of the biz and became a social worker;  Bruce stayed in and eventually formed a new “Original Caste” in the early 2000’s.
Dixie Lee Stone Innes of Original Caste

Jinx Dawson of Coven- ooooh!

We had 7 top 40 debuts this week.  Soul  singer Joe Simon moonwalked into the top 40, going up one to the leadoff spot, with Moon Walk.  Coming up 6 to #39 was a catchy little soul/dance number by the Dells, Oh, What A Day.  Roaring into the top 40 at 38, up 17 notches, is Santana with Evil Ways.  Coming up 9 to #37 is last week’s big mover, the Chairmen Of The Board’s Give Me Just A Little More Time.  Also up 9 to come in at 35 is two weeks ago’s Where Are They Now victim, Lenny Welch’s Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (which is a pretty faithful precursor to Neil Sedaka’s upcoming slow version).  Shooting up 14 spots to #28 is Donnie Iris and the Jaggerz with The Rapper.  Which leaves the high debut and this week’s biggest mover- up 32 spots to #18- Simon And Garfunkel with Bridge Over Troubled Water, which was last week’s WANT victim.  Fifty’s getting to be a popular launching pad, eh?

Have you guessed at the 4 3-million-listens yet?  One of them is (unfortunately) their biggest seller of all time, Kokomo.  The #1 Good Vibrations and the #3 California Girls  should have been pretty easy to get.  But the fourth?  It was the b-side of I Get Around- Don’t Worry Baby.

Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out.  Vanity Fare retreats after their one-week peek into the ten, dropping from 10 to 26 with Early In The Morning.  And, Elvis in, Elvis out- Don’t Cry Daddy slips from 9 to 24.

We lead off the top ten with Led Zep’s Whole Lotta Love slipping from 7 to #10.  Mark Lindsay of the aforementioned Raiders moves up 2 to #9 with Arizona.  The Guess Who stalls at #8 with No Time.  Dionne Warwick’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again falls a notch to #7; as does Tom Jones’ Without Love (There Is Nothing) to #6.

And now, in chronological order, 8 people you might never have guessed were Beach Boys:
GLEN CAMPBELL- He toured in Brian’s spot while Brian worked on Pet Sounds back home.

CHARLES MANSON- well, not exactly, but while he spent some time freeloading out at Dennis’ place, he, with help from Dennis and Terry Melcher, wrote a song he called Cease To Exist, which morphed later on into Never Learn Not To Love on the album 20/20.

DARYL (“THE CAPTAIN”) DRAGON- Was the touring keyboardist an a couple of stints, the first from 1967-72.

BLONDIE CHAPLIN- a buddy of Carl’s, he was lead vocal on Sail On Sailor and a few others.

GERRY BECKLEY- the former vocalist from America(I Need You, Sister Golden Hair) was the one who finished Carl’s last tour for him in 1980.

JOHN STAMOS- Has pitched in at various levels since 1990, is going to be part of the upcoming tour, and if you have any doubts about his abilities, catch his lead vocal on the song Forever.  This should have been a top ten hit, if negative critics didn’t have much of the world brainwashed against them.

PHIL BARDOWELL-  after one of his stints in the touring band, he joined Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, became a Christian, and has had several Christian releases.  Oh, and he’s in on the tour as well.

JOHN COWSILL- drummer for the family act in the ‘60s (Hair, Indian Lake), founding member of Tommy Tutone (867-5309/Jenny) in the 80’s, member of the band in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Crashing the top ten party at #5, up 7 big notches, is Eddie Holman with Hey There Lonely Girl.  From here on out it gets very familiar-  Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head holds at 4, I Want You Back at 3, Thank You Falletenme Be Mice Elf Again at 2, and Shocking Blue takes the top with Venus for a third week.

Tune in next week for more fun and games, and tomorrow for the seventies countdown.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So Christians are the hypocrites, eh?

Well, the next time you hear THAT one from the ACLU, FFR, or their other playmates, run this past them:

A Colorado high school student quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric "there is no other truth except Allah" made it into the repertoire.
James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing "Zikr," a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials. When the school stood by choir director Marcia Wieland's selection, Harper quit.
"I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. "This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet ... I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth."
District spokesman Jeff Kirtland rejected Harper's analogy.
"This is about bringing diversity to the students and showing them other things that are out there,” Kirtland told KREX. "The teacher was open with the parents and students do not have to participate in this voluntary club choir."
Kirtland did not return multiple calls for comment from
Rahman, who has sold hundreds of millions of records and is well-known in his homeland, has said the song is not intended for a worship ceremony. Messages seeking comment from Rahman were not immediately returned.
The song is written in Urdu, but one verse translates to "There is no truth except Allah" and "Allah is the only eternal and immortal." Although the choir sang the original version, Wieland distributed translated lyrics.
Grand Junction High School Principal Jon Bilbo did not return calls for comment.
School officials told KREX-TV that Wieland -- aware that there would be questions regarding the song -- asked her students to watch a YouTube video of the song prior to performing it.

So, let's get this again.  If I put a Christian hymn in a school choir's set list, I'm violating seperation of Church and State, blah blah blah.  If I put in a Muslim song, I'm helping to understand diversity.

As I understand it, there are cultural diversity classes out there in many districts that teach about other faiths, and I'm fine with that.  This, though, is  not a diversity class by any stretch.  Nor is it a place for kids to be "forced to worship against their beliefs", isn't that what they say about a Valedictorian wanting to thank God in his/her commencement speech?

If this gets in under the flag of "diversity", then Christian prayers, Menorahs at Hannukah, Buddhist meditations, and atheist lectures should ALL be allowed.  By allowing this, the argument goes, the school- and therefore the state- is promoting one religion against all others.  At least, that's what they would say if it were Now Thank We All Our God instead of Zikr.

Come on, PC elite.  It's not diversity if you exclude a single point of view, even if you reason that it is society's dominant position.  This student was allowed to opt out- but this meant quitting choir, something that was important to him.  He can be made to quit in the name of diversity, but one person can shut down a whole graduation if they don't want to hear a prayer?  Either secular means secular- or the atheist student can opt-out of the valedictory speech.  Or you can continue being a hypocrite.

Side note to my Christian friends- isn't it funny how Satan doesn't work near as hard against Allah as he does against Christ?