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


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Time Machine week 70

It's May 31, 1971, and for the first time, Memorial Day is today- the last Monday of the month.  So, everyone is too busy grilling and swimming to be doing anything fascinating.  And recovering- especially about 1,000 kids who went to the Grateful Dead concert at the Winterland Auditorium in San Fran the night before.  Apparently between sets, cups of acid-laced apple juice were passed out.  General mayhem ensued, musicians and audience alike having visions of "lobster people", flinging items of clothes, and trying to find a place to hide from their minds.  36 of them ended up in the hospital.  The police went on to use the event as a reason to take Winterland's permit away.

Welcome to Time Machine, where we have a lot of things happening- but first, yet another sad note.

Marshall Lytle, who was an original member of Bill Haley's Comets, and brought us that lovely video, The Viagra Rock, last week- died the next day at the age of 80.  I'm just glad we got to meet him here before he passed.

In happier news, this week's show includes: a big bucket of birthday songs, including the song EVERYBODY was singing in 1968;  a 45 on 45 that the group didn't want to sing; mobsters in the lookback; the man best known for the song he never released on Where Are They Now; and a six degrees that goes straight to Heartbreak Hotel!  Plus a  top ten with no debuts- and no droppers! (Really, Sherlock?  And your first clue was...)  All right here on 60 Minutes Time Machine!

Fourteen songs debuted this week, and for a change, I'm going to mention a bunch of 'em!  Free Movement comes in at 98 with the turnabout-is-fair-play hit I've Found Someone Of My Own.  Two notches higher, a young Broadway star named Beverly Bremers with her song Don't Say You Don't Remember.  Delaney and Bonnie and Friends come in a spot higher at 95 with Never Ending Song Of Love.  Jean Knight comes in at 93 with Mr. Big Stuff; the Grass Roots blast in at 75 with Sooner Or Later.  And at 72, James Taylor with You've Got A Friend.  Oh, and the Joy Of Cooking re-entered the chart after falling out two weeks ago with Brownsville.  But that's getting greedy so forget I mentioned them.

Giving Beverly a shot at the third annual TM Beauty Contest.

We have either 22 or twenty-six birthday songs, depending on how you want to look at it- explanation forthcoming.  Turning 30 this week, we have Michael Jackson with Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'; Bob Seger and the boys with Roll Me Away; Donna Summer's She Works Hard For The Money; The Fixx with a song I love (I had a really neat dream with it as background a long time ago... possibly 30 years ago), Saved By Zero; and a song that would have been Lee Greenwood's biggest hit if he hadn't got all patriotic, I.O.U.

Turning 35, Steely Dan's FM (No Static At All); Todd Rundgren's Can We Still Be Friends; a song by Kansas you might not be familiar with, Portrait (He Knew); the late Bob Welch with Hot Love, Cold World; Joe Walsh's Life's Been Good; and Kenny Rogers' Love Or Something Like It.

Achieving the age of 40 this week are the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More; Diana Ross's Touch Me In The Morning; and the first version of Charlie Daniel's Uneasy Rider.

Slipping past those turning 45 for a moment, let us go to the 50-year-olds.  The Chiffons' One Fine Day, the Tymes' So Much In Love, Easier Said Than Done from Essex, and Tom Glazer and the Do Re Mi Children's Choir with On Top Of Spaghetti.  Want more novelty hits?  Turning 55 this week are Sheb Wooley's The Purple People Eater and the Coasters with Yakety Yak.  And now...

Turning forty-five are three songs... or maybe six.  Cliff Nobles and Co.'s big instrumental, The Horse, as well as the Fifth Dimension with Stoned Soul Picnic.  But then I started seeing double... or triple.  Because a song debuted this week in 1968 at 86... and 89... and 97.  This song originated with a skit originally done in 1929 by one Pigmeat Markham.  Now Pigmeat was an old Vaudeville buddy of Sammy Davis, Jr'.s mom, and Sammy borrowed the catchphrase of the act for a skit that went viral ( before anything but viruses went viral) on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.  This phrase was then simultaneously turned into a song by three different acts:  Shorty Long, a Detroit soul singer; the Magistrates, who were actually the Dovells (Bristol Stomp); and another Detroit area band who threw together an up-tempo version and called themselves the Buena Vistas.

The catchphrase, and thus the song?  Here Comes The Judge.

In a postscript, Pigmeat decided he shouldn't be left out in the cold here, and after a cameo on Laugh-In, recorded his own version at the age of 64- and it hit the chart 2 weeks later at 87.

Order in the court room...

Speaking of 1968, this would be a good time to do the 45 on 45.  This week in 1968, the #45 hit belonged to the Lemon Pipers.  They had started out as Miami U. (Ohio) students who played rock, blues, and a dab of folk- keyboardist Reg Nave called it straight up rock.  And they did it well, coming in second in the 1967 Ohio Battle Of The Bands to an as-yet Joe Walsh-less James Gang.  But when a chance at recording success came, they signed with Buddha Records, who were riding the bubblegum craze with last week's 45/45 victim, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, as well as the Ohio Express, already on their roster.  They determined that the Pipers were gonna do BG too, whether they wanted to or not, and a couple of staff writers came up with Green Tambourine.  The band didn't want to do what they considered "funny money" music, but the word from on high was, do it, or don't let the screen door hit you.  So they did it, and hit #1 with their psychedelic take on gum.  They went on to manage a few songs they wanted on their two lps- including a tune called Rainbow Tree which I'm listening to now and wondering why they were so bent about things in the first place (IOW, not much difference).  They did the same thing on a second album, and the "funny music" single there was the one we find at 45 today- Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade).

I dunno, with a title like that, maybe they were right.  But listening to it, it beats Rainbow Tree. But a little too much like Green Tambourine to stand out.

Our big dropper for a second week is the Buoys' Timothy.  The big climber awaits it the top 40.

And at 51, our WATN victim is Clarence Carter, who moves into the happy seat with (appropriately enough on this episode) The Court Room.  The funny thing about Mr. Carter, who I didn't realize heretofore was blind almost from birth, is that while he has a stack of big hits- Slip Away (#6, 1968), Too Weak To Fight (#13, 1968), and of course Patches (#4, 1970)- he's most famous for the one he COULDN'T release.  Too risqué for sensitive radio ears, his record company put the records not in the hands of DJs but into jukeboxes, where it became a classic.  That song, of course, is Strokin'.

Now, the word is that he still tours in the south, but I couldn't get confirmation or further details, because his website got taken down on the 8th of this month.  OOOOOOH, S#!t, Clarence Carter!

Drank many a beer to THAT song...

Four songs sneak into the top 40 this week, and they all line up on the bottom.  At #40, up 11 spots (which would make it last week's WATN victim) 8th Day's She's Not Just Another Woman.  Up six to sit at #39, the Fifth Dimension with Light Sings.  Tom Jones, who had the high hot 100 debut last week, enters the top 40 up 14 to 38 with Puppet Man.  And the biggest mover is also the high top 40 debut- Carole King's It's Too Late, up 22 spots to #37.

 Our lookback moves this week to 1956, where the biggest mover this week belonged to the McGuire Sisters with Picnic going from 33 to 20.  The three daughters of a Miamisburg, Ohio, minister (Mom, not Dad) first sang together in 1935- when Phyllis was 4 years old, Dorothy 7, and Christine 9.  They racked up 18 top 40s and a pair of #1s- 1955's Sincerely and 1957's Sugartime.  Much of the girls' press however belonged to Phyllis and her longtime relationship with mobster Sam Giancana.  She credited "wise investments in oil" for her lavish lifestyle.  After retiring from the biz in 1968, they reunited in 1996, notably for a 2004 PBS special in which Phyllis' recent botox treatments gave her those big, full lips that changed her speaking voice.  Dorothy passed on September 7th last year.

From left: Christine, Phyllis, and Dorothy.

Well, I don't have any droppers out of the top ten, so how about a couple of almost but not quites?  Richie Havens hits his peak at #15 with Here Comes The Judge Sun, and Tin Tin's Toast And Marmalade For Tea stops at 16.

Ocean lowers its level 7 spots to #10 with Put Your Hand In The Hand.

Ringo Starr moves up one with It Don't Come Easy.

So does Lobo, going to #8 with Me And You And A Dog Named Boo.

The Door are sticking, however, at #7 with Love Her Madly....

...Mainly because the Honey Cone move up 2 to #6 with Want Ads.

Daddy Dewdrop moves yet another notch to #5 with Chick-A-Boom.

And that brings us to a six degrees that isn't quite... but close.

Three Dog Night finally relinquishes the top spot, falling to #4 with Joy To The World.  JTTW was composed by Hoyt Axton, who originally started it with, "Jeremiah was a prophet..."  but record execs didn't think that would go over as well as an alcoholic amphibian.  Hoyt's mom, Mae Boren Axton, helped Tommy Durden write the Elvis classic Heartbreak Hotel.  Durden started from a news story about a man who committed suicide, leaving only a note that read, "I walk a lonely street..."  Mae added music and the suggestion that every lonely street has a heartbreak hotel at its end, and away they went.  But how does Elvis fit in?  Why, Mae met him at a show and introduced him to Colonel Tom Parker- and she pushed RCA exec Stephen Shoals into signing him.  Shoals would go on to establish a UK record for most #1s produced in his work with the King.

The Stones move up 2 (the maximum this week, thank you) with Brown Sugar at #3.

Aretha Franklin also rises a pair with her gospel-ish take on Bridge Over Troubled Water.

And the new number one song (In English, with a picture and everything...)

...the Jackson Five with Never Can Say Goodbye!!!

All right, the thunder rolls, so I better put this to bed before I lose it.  Peace!

Communism and Barack Obama for "dummies" part two.

So last time I talked about what the "concept" and the "reality" of communism was/is.  In the wake of WWII, a plethora of nations- willingly or otherwise- became what we would call "one-party communist states."  Let's take a look at how that worked out for them.

First off, there were around 25 nations who took on this "communist status".  First of all, you had what you might call the two "evangelizing" nations- Soviet Russia and Red China.  Then you had the Russian puppet governments behind the iron curtain.  These seemed to fall into two general categories.  The first, and most identifiable to us in the west, were those who not only were drug tooth and nail into the Soviet system, but fought revolutions to try to free themselves.  Those would be Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany.  In Poland and East Germany, workers revolts as the communists tried to shoehorn Soviet-style reforms in (and loot as much useful equipment as they could), resulting in deteriorating conditions amongst those whom the communist movement was supposed to be working- the workers.  Workers and various others were placated in Germany in 1953 and Poland in 1956 by replacement of hard-line Stalinists with leaders a little more willing to try and fit the policy to the condition.  In fact, Poland got a leader in Wladyslaw Gomulka who made it clear that he would be willing to fight Russia militarily.  In the end, both got some reforms that changed the fate of the workforce from near starvation to merely bleak- and that, for a time, was enough.

Hungary and Czechoslovakia had their difficulties in trying to enact a more humane communism.  Students fueled the resistance to hard line Stalinists, and in Hungary 1956 they took heart from the Polish situation, cut the communist symbol from the center of the national flag, and pelted Soviet tanks with Molotov cocktails until reformer Imre Nagy was put into power.  A statue of beloved Uncle Joe was pulled down and drug through the streets.  Nagy did his best to slow the demands of the people, but soon the rebels overreached, and Soviet tanks returned, knocked out the Hungarian army.  A familiar pattern started:  200,000 people fled into neutral Austria, Nagy "disappeared", and hard-liners who bent the knee to Moscow were re-installed.  12 years later, it was a virtual replay in Czechoslovakia:  Just change "Imre Nagy" to "Alexander Dubcek" and "non-violent protest" for "Molotov cocktails."  One of my most formative images of my youth was a picture I saw in Life magazine:  a student sitting crossed-legged in the public square with a sign-

You are just
like Hitler
Get Out!!
In the other iron curtain countries- Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria- you had less revolt because of a charismatic leader who was able to win a measure of independence from Moscow- Tito in Yugoslavia, Hoxha in Albania, Ceausescu in Romania, and to a lesser extent, Todor Zhivkov in Bulgaria.  Since these were personality cult-style leaders rather than populists, the Soviets, I assume, figured it would just be easier to wait them out than deal with them, and despite their "independence" of Moscow, nothing but economic retaliation was ever used on them.
China preferred a more organic insinuation, and they were well-suited to spread their gospel to Korea and Vietnam, nations for whom the cult of nationality had a very strong appeal.  By incorporating Chinese style communism into "what we are as Vietnamese/ Lao/Koreans", they built a ground up structure that makes China, Vietnam, and Laos three of the remaining five communist nations. By "what we are as..." I mean that each of these nations have an image of being superior, of being a world unto themselves.  North Korea turns away help from other countries because they believe in the Juche, which in essence is Stalinism gone wild;  complete independence, total self reliance,; a cult of personality permanently grounded in the hereditary line of Kim Il-Sung.  They'd destroy the world, starve themselves out, before relying on anyone's help.

 The only communist nation in the region that is not still communist is Cambodia.  And for Cambodia, the story was much different.  There, the party was known as the Khmer Rouge, and they took Mao-ish agrarianism and nationalism to the extreme.  They emptied the cities of people, exterminated non-Khmer ethnic groups, and embarked on a slaughter so vicious that in 1979, Vietnam invaded, overthrew the KR, and instituted a government more amenable to them.  This caused a war with China in which the Chinese learned the same lesson the USA did in a much shorter time.  So now, you have a very independent Vietnam, a Laos which is basically a placid rural Vietnamese puppet, and a Cambodia which finally rid itself of one-party rule in 1989 as it became en vogue to let individual nations decide on their own what they want to be.
And elsewhere?  You still have a communist Cuba, which is mainly the cult of Castro personality, but that's it for one party Marxist states.  So, what happened to all the rest?
It starts with Soviet Russia being the welfare chest for all its satellites.  Whether happily sucking the Muscovite teat like Mongolia and East Germany or fighting tooth and nail against it like Afghanistan, it all became too expensive for the Soviets;  add to that that since Stalin, the progress from socialism to true communism had completely stagnated (and in some cases, reversed ), and top it off when Reagan's Star Wars plan forced even more military spending, and the whole house of cards began to fall apart.  First came Lech Walesa and Solidarity in Poland; then Mikhail Gorbachev and perestroika, which split Russia into the old guard who hated reform and the Yeltsinites ready to kick reform into hyperdrive.  The Soviet system hadn't the will to gather itself together, the resources to do anything but wave when the Berlin Wall came down, or the strength to even cope with goatherders armed with SAMs.
And other nations under the banner of "communism", like Mozambique, Benin, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, South Yemen, and even Mongolia, quickly showed that the only real interest they ever had in Soviet communism was Soviet aid.  Every one of these nations willingly and (for the most part) peacefully, stepped away from Soviet communism between 1989-91.
I said in the last paragraph that it started with the Russian attempt to be the bankroll for nations who were bankrupted by the Soviet way of doing business.  In the end, the Soviets had lost sight of Marx, of Lenin, of the goal, of what progress meant for them.  It became that which it was designed to tear down- an endless, monolithic bureaucracy intended to keep the people in check.
In the end, mankind has two things that keep him above the animals around him and make his life worthwhile.  One is his faith in something beyond himself, a loving Creator who promises more than what there is in this life.  The other was his "nationhood", his kinship with other men on the basis of common blood.  Both of these things make a man more than just himself, the shirt on his back and the tool in his hand.  Once Marx decided that the only way to achieve brotherhood, and his disciples acted on this, they had removed the soul of man;  he was now just a worker ant, and all that was left was to build anthills out of dirt.
In part three, what this all has to do with American socialism and Obama.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lotsa Little bits vol. 18

ITEM:  I sure wanted to post something yesterday, but I had nothink, NOTHINK!  I thought it was me, but the world seems to have just been boring yesterday.  Today, we both stepped up our game, so here goes!

ITEM: I'll get to the scores in a bit, but I just have to say this about the AIHL website first.  It is NOT cool to STILL, 3 days later, not have a boxscore up for one of your Sunday games, when you have a headline at the top of your website news list that says, and I quote, " Don't Keep Hockey Fans Waiting!"  No, it wasn't about their ability to update the website, but it sure coulda been...

ITEM:  I just want to take this moment to address the Radical Muslims, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and all you other bozos out there.  Attacking a Red Cross base, REALLY?  You people are freaking retards!  (Now, I know that some of you might be offended by the term I just used, "retard".  But what better word expresses these people, who are challenged in the basic things you need to be human?  I would never use this term to describe those with disabilities that limit their successful contact with society.  These excuses for mankind do not fall in that category, and thus I feel the use is warranted.)  And if your "god" told you to do stuff like this, then he is a freaking retard as well!  Instead of sullying the non-violent members of your faith by calling him Allah, perhaps you should just say he is an aspect of Moronicus, the Greek god of dipshittery and bodies without brains.

ITEM:  On the subject of the above, a reasonably-intelligent seeming lady called in on Rush today and pointed out that a certain liberal group had been denied tax-exempt status by the IRS, which was proof that the IRS wasn't just targeting Tea Party conservatives.  EXCEPT, lady, that the IRS upper echelon AND President Obutthole ADMITTED that they targeted conservative and Tea Party groups!  You have one group, and there are TWENTY-FIVE TP groups filing suit against the IRS.  Once again showing that, no matter how intelligent they sound, the left have an amazing ability to hear just what they want to hear.  To her credit, she admitted, "I'll have to research that."  Ya think?

ITEM:  Either it's been too rainy, too hot, or I've been too laid out, to go a walking in the deep woods.  but here's a pic to tide you over:

Joe Cool, my ass!
subITEM:  Blogger fought me tooth and nail putting this up, even after I put it on Picassa.  Whatcher problem today?

ITEM:  Is anyone else having problems with the concept of Johnny Depp as the Lone Ranger?  To me, kinda like having Jim Carey as Captain America.

ITEM:  The right headline can turn a middling story into an approaching apocalypse.  On FoxNews today, there was the story of beavers returning to wild areas of Belarus, after being hunted to near-extinction.  Only thing is, they aren't playing well with some members of the human population, who tend to wander too close to their staked-out territory.  So along comes a fisherman who sees a beaver on the side of the road, and tells his friends it looks like a good place for a photo op.  Only the beaver in question (obviously a Justin Bieber fan) doesn't care for being grabbed in the commission of photography, and bit through an artery- the fisherman promptly bleeds out as a result of his own stupidity.  (Another worshipper of Moronicus, perhaps?)  And the headline to this story?


I can do this to a tree with my teeth... an' you wanna pick me up?

ITEM:  The first time I heard this kind of story, I thought it was funny- someone stupid enough to go to a "back-alley" plastic "surgeon" to get a butt-lift, only to find they use construction silicone.  This time it's hard to laugh.  The woman in the story, as a result of not one, but TWO treatments before she finally thought something's wrong here, spent a month in an induced coma, had both hands, both feet, and her buttocks amputated- and now figures out that vanity isn't worth it.  This time I don't put it up for laughs.  I put it up to say, YOU ARE FINE THE WAY YOU ARE.

ITEM:  Here's to the latest in a long list of burger-flippers that are smarter than those who rob them.  This time, while the dastardly duo rob the front of a Burger King in Stockton, CA, another employee slips out the back to get help- and finds the getaway car, ENGINE RUNNING, just sitting there.  Naturally, said employee took it for a little spin, making it easier for the cops to catch the now on-foot villains.  Q:  How can you tell a burger flipper is smarter than a thug?  A: the flipper WORKS.

ITEM:  The temperature gauge hereabouts topped off at near 90 degrees ( for you Celsius people, that equals "damn, I shoulda wore my shoes before crossing that asphalt").  Which brings up another thing about my new job which is better than my old one.  On a day like this at job #1, you worked at half speed, sweat like a pig, and wished loudly that they'd sent you home early.  At job #2 (air conditioned warehouse), you look at the clock about 2 PM and say, "I wonder how hot it is?"

ITEM: Wrapping up, here's what I gleaned about the ice in Oz this week.  Sadly, Adelaide let me down, getting corked twice this weekend.  Saturday, the North Stars tanked them 7-4, with Dominic Osmun scoring twice, and P.O. Coitner and Jeff Martens each picking up a goal and 2 assists.

At least things were worse for Canberra, as they got lit up 9-1 by the Ice.  Melbourne's top team outshot the Knights 44-21, 20-3 in just the opening period!  John Gordon, a vet of the Dutch leagues having a hand at it down south, snagged a hat trick and Jason Baclig got 2 more.   Chris Slauenwhite got pulled after the 8th goal, leaving the rest of the game in the hands of Brad Hunt, seeing his first action since the 2006-7 season.

And the Ice Dogs downed Perth 5-3, breaking loose when they scored twice (once on a power play, once when they were shorthanded) in 32 seconds of the second.  Matt Puntieri got the pp goal and scored 2 more in the last period to salt it away.

Sunday was more bad news for the Ads, losing to Sydney's Bears 6-2.  Luc Blain got the only two scores for Adelaide, while 6 different Bears tallied against Rick Parry.

Sydney didn't get a second win on Sunday, though; Matt Strueby, fresh from the U. Of Regina,  scored for the second time with just 32 seconds left as Perth (who blew an early 4-1 lead) knocks them off 6-5.

And in the game that the league still doesn't have a box score for, Jamie Bourke had a hat trick to lead the Mustangs to a 5-3 win over luckless Canberra.   So, now it's still a three team race, with the North Stars and the Ice Dogs at 18 points, the Ice at 16.  The Bears (12) and the 'Stangs (11) are also in double figures, but the rest of the crew drift farther and farther behind. 

Adelaide has a pair at home next weekend against the Bears.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Time Machine one hit wonder special.

The one hit wonder- has a magical sound to it, don't it?  A song by someone who's never heard from again.  But what is it really, and how many are there?

Billboard defines it as someone who has never had that elusive second hit.  As I have studied the subject, I have found thirty-seven acts who missed out on that second tune by 9 spots or less- two acts (the Contours and Suzi Quatro) who missed by that much three different times- and seven acts (Quatro, Paper Lace, Deodato, Janis Joplin, Richard Harris, the Contours, and Ketty Lester) who had a song stop at #41.

There are so many one hit wonders, in fact, there was no way I could do a good post off the top of my head.  And how many of you would suggest someone like, say, The Knack, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, or the Strawberry Alarm Clock only to find out they DID have other top 40 hits- or worse, miss something like Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction because you thought it was Bob Dylan?  There are 224 one-hit top tens, and 166 top fives!  So I obviously had to set down a process of elimination.  And a year-range; based on the birthday feature's upper end, I chose 1983 for the latest, and 1960 for the early end.

First off, I decided to cut down the list by only taking those who never hit the hot 100 again.  That gave me 66 top tens, and 27 top fives.  Then I looked at a couple of special cases.  First, there was They're Coming To Take Me Away by Napoleon XIV- a song that hit #3 in 1966- and then charted again in 1973 at #87.  Technically it was the same song, but it WAS a second charting in the hot 100, so out it goes. 

Second is Tony Burrows.  He was basically Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, the First Class, and the Pipkins, not to mention lead male vocal on the Brotherhood Of Man; so First Class' Beach Baby and the Pipkins' Gimme Dat Ding are also out.  Finally, we have the curious case of Buckner and Garcia, who hit #9 in 1982 with Pac-Man Fever.  They had previously, under a pseudonym, charted in the 80s, so I booted them as well.

One last thing I should mention- the song that really started this all in motion, Walter Egan's Magnet And Steel, doesn't make the list because Egan also hit at #s 46, 55, and 82. 

So what's left is a list of songs you know and songs you don't, minus songs that you never knew they had more hits and ones that might have made it had they charted a bit higher.  Ranked by chart position and year.

They what hit #10

Percolater (Twist)- Billy Joe and the Checkmates, 1962.  The brainchild of one Lew Bedell, who's other claim to fame was marrying John Barrymore's daughter.

Just One Look- Doris Troy, 1963.  You've heard this one on TV commercials.

Midnight Mary- Joey Powers, 1964.

You've Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Silkie, 1965.  Fresh off the recent "Beatles covers" feature.

An Open Letter To My Teenage Son- Victor Lundberg, 1967.  A very patient letter that ended with dad's line in the sand- "If you burn your draft card, than you may as well burn your birth certificate at the same time..."

Hooked On Classics- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1982.  One last blast of the early eighties' medley craze.

The guys at number nine:

Forever- The Little Dippers, 1960.

Our Winter Love- Bill Pursell, 1963.  Bill was Johnny Cash's pianist in the 60's.

The Israelites- Desmond Dekker, 1969.  A Reggae flavored hit I remember well.

Chick-A-Boom (Don' Yew Jes Luv It)- Daddy Dewdrop, 1971.  Currently appearing in the latest episodes of Time Machine.

Pop Corn- Hot Butter, 1972.  Remember this instrumental from every early seventies Ronco lp?

Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues- Danny O'Keefe, 1972.

Wildflower- Skylark, 1973.  Another great Canadian act.

Eres Tu- Mocedades, 1974.  A Spanish act, and a song it took me years to know what they were saying (I thought it was "it is cool" or "it is true").

Rocking Chair- Gwen McRae, 1975.  An early smooth-disco hit.

Junk Food Junkie- Larry Groce, 1975.  Good Lord, have pity on me...

Smoke From A Distant Fire- Sanford-Townsend Band, 1977.  Don't let the screen door hit you...

Cars- Gary Numan, 1980.  I actually got this 45 for a birthday present.

Great at number eight:

Yogi- The Ivy Three, 1960.  3 kids from Adelphi University.

Asia Minor- Kokomo, 1961.  Actually a songwriter named Jimmy Wisner.

Wild Weekend- The Rebels, 1963.  A surf band from Buffalo, NY, of all places.

More- Kai Winding, 1963.  Danish trombonist.

What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin, And John- Tom Clay, 1971.  If you haven't ever heard this, you should look it up.  A very real picture of the world back then.

Desiderata- Les Crane, 1971.  A poem read by an announcer.

Jungle Fever- The Chakachas, 1972.  A Latin soul group from Belgium.

Convention '72- The Delegates, 1972.  A comedy farce on politics 1972.

Life Is A Rock- Reunion, 1974.  But the radio rolls me...

Tired Of Towing The Line- Rocky Burnette, 1980.  The latest of the musical Burnette family.

Tainted Love- Soft Cell, 1982.  A fine example of the new wave eighties.

Lucky sevens:

Let's Think About Living- Bob Luman, 1960.  Had 21 top 40 country hits.

Mexico- Bob Moore Orchestra, 1961.  Bassist and member of Nashville's A-Team of session musicians.

Sweet Mary- Wadsworth Mansion, 1971.  It's the least they could do.

The Pick Six:

Baby Sittin' Boogie- Buzz Clifford, 1961.

Shout!  Shout!  (Knock Yourself Out)- Ernie Maresca, 1962.  Put another dime in the record machine...

Al Di La- Emilio Pericoli, 1962.  Italian language tune.

The Men In My Little Girl's Life- Mike Douglas, 1966.  That's right, the talk show host.

Heaven On The Seventh Floor- Paul Nicholas, 1977.  Havin' so much fun in that elevator...

And now the top fives...

Mule Skinner Blues- The Fendermen, 1960.  I listened to this the other night.... boy, I dunno...

Angel Baby- Rosie and the Originals, 1961.

Party Lights- Claudine Clark, 1961.  This one I remembered.

Psychotic Reaction- The Count Five, 1966.  One of the first great psychedelic hits.

Hold Your Head Up- Argent, 1972.  Rod Argent of the Zombies.

Do You Wanna Make Love- Peter McCann, 1977.  Or do you just wanna fool around?

Makin' It- Dvaid Naughton, 1979.  From the movie.

Four the turnstiles...

Sunshine- Johnathon Edwards, 1972.  It went away, and took all the rest of his hits.

Americans- Byron MacGregor, 1974.  Spoken word testament to all the US of A was, by a Canadian.

The Lord's Prayer- Sister Janet Mead, 1974.  One of two ladies who were active nuns when they hit the pop charts.

Putting On The Ritz- Taco, 1983.  A cover of a 1929 original.

Three, and in the breeze...

Popsicles, Icicles- The Murmaids, 1964.  Written by David Gates, soon to be of Bread.

In The Summertime- Mungo Jerry, 1970.  You got women, you got women on your mind.

The Entertainer- Marvin Hamlisch, 1974.  From The Sting.

Deuces Wild...

Sally Go 'Round The Roses- Jaynetts, 1963.

Fire- The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, 1968.  I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you...

Dueling Banjos- Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel, 1973.  From Deliverance.  Paddle faster!

Playground In My Mind- Clint Holmes, 1973.  My name is Michael, I've got a nickel...

Float on- The Floaters, 1977.  Not named after unflushed #2s.

And the number one songs...

Alley Oop- Hollywood Argyles, 1960.  Best name that never had a band to go with it.

Dominique- The Singing Nun, 1964.  Sisters weren't good with sequels, apparently.

In The Year 2525- Zager And Evans, 1969.  The one song we ALL knew would be here.

TSOP- MFSB, 1974.  Let's get it on... it's time to get down...

Pop Music- M, 1981.  Shoobie-doobie-doo-wop....


Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis, 1983.  One last instrumental. 

And there you have 'em!  See you Friday on the regular TM!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Like Father, like son

Today I did something that only Scrappy had done in this family before.  No, I did not eat poop, but it would have been more fun.  After several hours of a pain that felt like  (and this is NO joke) I had a kidney stone in my mouth, I had a bottom molar (#18 for you dentistry fans) yanked out this afternoon.  I had left work after an hour of only being able to stand it if I had water in my mouth.  After an hour at home waiting for 4 ibuprofins to kick in and do some good (which they did another couple hours later, as the dentist walked into the exam room), I called 1-800-TOOTHACHE and went to Afdent.

  Let me tell you, these are good people.  After numbing me beyond care and sticking some object the size of a stepladder in my mouth to hold it open, they then expanded it seven times its normal size and in the doctor and his lovely assistant went.   (I want you to know all descriptions of pain and horror are exaggerations.  These guys and gals knew their stuff and did it well.)  Then came intermittent shoving followed by the question, "Pressure or pain?", which was followed by the definite feeling of the new show Backyard Oil filming an episode in the center of the subject tooth.  Finally, after another little period of the dentist attempting the Wah-Watusi upon the fool thing (and me debating whether I should grab his arm and help push), the tooth came out.

Four hours later, I have about 95% feeling in my tongue and I can push it against my inner lip without it feeling like it's disappearing into the void.  My teeth no longer feel like foreign objects ( though my cheek still does) and I've had a rousing dinner of baby food, pudding, and cottage cheese.  And no pain, though I have medication sitting nearby, awaiting its chance to hop to it like a platoon of battle-hardened marines.

Luckily, though I might be falling apart, Laurie and I made something to close this post with actual entertainment.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time Machine week 69

This actually happened in our here and now.  Three buses were stopped when a fourth for some reason smashed into them.  Fortunately, no students or drivers were killed, and 50 out of the 125 students and four bus drivers had mostly minor injuries.

I bring this up because our target date, May 24th, 1971, was the day that a commuter bus carrying 43 people took a wrong turn at the Panama Canal and plunged in- literally.  38 people died in the latest event of bus disasters.  Just two weeks before 30 people died as a bus plunged off a cliff in South Korea, and the same day another 30 died when two Mexican buses hit head on, with another 30 injuries.  It also wasn't a good day in Mexico for weather- cat 2 Hurricane Agatha did what most Pacific Hurricanes don't and slammed into the Mexican coast near Playa Azul.  Half the village was blown away, and the area lost a lot of crops- 15% of the year's coconut crop, 60% of mangos, and all their bananas.

Before I go to the crass level of spotlighting the song Yes, We Have No Bananas, let me say hello, and welcome to this week's Time Machine.  This week, six degrees takes us from the ocean to the highway; the fabulous introduction to our really big stage of Dr. Jeckell and the Hydes (who?); a where are they now that doesn't even exist; and Bill Haley and his Comets on the lookback!  Plus, a birthday year that I really wish we could go back to, with 6 songs that include two Billboard #1s and three from my own chart from back in the day.  So lets go, summer's coming and the time is right...

The hot 100 debuts (which I forgot to count) were an odd mishmash that included one song I knew well- Joe Walsh and the James Gang with Walk Away at 97.  But there were some other somewhat worth noting items I found.  The high debut at 52 is Tom Jones with Puppet Man; at 93, a team-up we've mentioned before- Shaun "Stoney" Murphy and our boy Meat Loaf with their single What You See Is What You Get (which is not the same as a soon-to-be-charting single of similar name by the Dramatics).  At 96 we find Mozart's Symphony Number 40 in G Minor K.550, 1st Movement (no lie) by a gentleman named Waldo de los Rios.  Waldo was known for "poppifying" classical music.  This particular tune is coming of a European engagement where it hit #1 in Holland and top ten in several other nations.  The Argentine born arranger is also known to us for another reason.  Remember a few short months ago when Miguel Rios had his top ten hit with Beethoven's Ode To Joy?  Waldo arranged and conducted that performance.  Sadly, he was a man plagued by depression who committed suicide 6 years later at the young age of 43.

Our birthday songs are now becoming the songs that will be the songs of summer- one of the years we check in particular.  Turning 30, we have the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This, Billy Idol's White Wedding, the Human League's (Keep Feeling) Fascination, and Dave Edmunds with Slipping Away, a rather odd mixture of his vocals and Jeff Lynne's production and backing talents so that it is rather reminiscent of a Travelling Willburys outtake.  Turning thirty-five is one of the best six-song birthday groups we ever had.  The Rolling Stones' Miss You, which hit #1 nationally and on my old chart (as well as being a common karaoke pick for me); Frankie Valli's Grease theme (also a BB #1); Toby Beau's big hit My Angel Baby (#1 on mine); Jefferson Starship's Runaway (which I think just missed my #1); Evelyn "Champagne" King with Shame ( I believe top 5 in both); and Pablo Cruise's Love Will Find A Way (big #1 on mine).

At the 40 year mark we have Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water. Turning 45, we have the Cowsills with Indian Lake (which was a scene Laurie and I did make, sans little one- at least the one in Ohio), along with Tiny Tim's timeless classic Tip-Toe Through The Tulips.

Right there!  That's Indian Lake!

 Say, 45- that reminds me of our 45 at 45 feature, and this week in 1968 the #45 song came from the 1910 Fruitgum Company- called May I Take A Giant Step (Into Your Heart).  The band's founder was one Frank Jeckell, and thus their original name was Dr. Jeckell and the Hydes, which neither fit the music nor the target audience.  Riding the bubble gum wave, they hit top five three times:  Simon Says; 1-2-3 Red Light; and Indian Giver.  This one peaked at 63 on BB, and 45 was its top on Cashbox.  They are still out there touring today...

...even if they're a little the worse for wear.  Aren't we all!

Our big mover was Carole King with It's Too Late, jumping 25 spots to #59; we have a tie for biggest dropper.  One of them just got the almost but not quite shoutout last week- the Buoys with Timothy, dropping 28 to #41.  The other, after peaking at a surprisingly low #52, falls to 80- Derek and the Dominoes with Layla.

Our new Where Are They Now landing strip is #51, and here we find a band that didn't actually exist, with a song that did.  The song was She's Not Just Another Woman, and you'll find it as the 8th track on the lp Somebody's Been Sleeping by 100 Proof Aged In Soul.  The single, however, you'll find was done by a band called 8th Day.  Confused?  Well, apparently DJs discovered the album track and began playing it just as the title cut was on its way into the top ten.  The record company reasoned (if you can call it that) that if they released it under another name, it wouldn't eat into the sales of the Somebody's Been Sleeping single.  So they released it under the name 8th Day- even changing the writing credit, since everyone knew that 100 Proof Aged In Soul worked for the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland writing team.  When the song hit, they just had to do a sequel; so they released a non-lp single called You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk).  When that also cracked the top 30, the company decided to make a real "8th Day" band.  But alas, they were no 100 Proof Aged In Soul, and two lps lived and died unnoticed.

Wow, that puts us into the top 40 already!  The Osmonds led off 5 top 40 debuts with last week's high Hot 100 debut, Double Lovin', coming in at 40, up 16.  Chicago climbs ten to enter the 40 for the fifth time with Lowdown.  Jerry Reed's rollicking When You're Hot, You're Hot singes it's way up 11 to #36.  Another 11-notch climber was the late Janis Joplin with Cry Baby.  And heading the list with a 14-spot climb after being so rudely denied last week, the Carpenters at #27 with Rainy Days And Mondays.

I was mentioning almost but not quite-ers a bit ago; this week we find Matthews' Southern Comfort and their version of Woodstock moving up 1 spot to its high water mark of 18.

We go to 1955 for our lookback song, and this song rockets from 44 to 17 this week.  It would take it another 6 weeks to hammer the top spot away from Les Baxter's Orchestra and Unchained Melody, but from there it would have a seven-week run at the top that would make it the song that defined music ever since- Bill Haley and his Comets and Rock Around The Clock.  A legend that grew slowly from a b-side of a flop single to the theme song of a #1 TV show almost 20 years later ( at which point it re-entered the chart and peaked at 36), this is the song that really put rock'n'roll on the map forever on.  The band, at the time, consisted of four stalwarts.  Johnny Grande played piano in the studio, but switched to accordion on stage; when the band reunited in 1987 for a Dick Clark tribute to their late leader, Johnny stayed on until his final illness forced him off the stage in 2006.  Billy Williamson played steel guitar from when they were known as Bill Haley and the Saddlemen until 1963;  the only man besides Haley to ever sing lead on a Comets song, he put his guitar away then and never played again, all the way to his death in 1996.  Marshall Lytle replaced one of the original Saddlemen through the glory year of 1955; he left in a salary dispute later that year, and the man he replaced replaced him.  But he returned for the reunion, finally retiring in 2009.  But before he retired, he and Warren Farren co-wrote this little number:

Bill's story wasn't so pleasant.  Constantly plagued by alcohol, he remained touring until 1980, when a German tour was cancelled under mysterious circumstances.  Some say (and it was widely reported) that he had an inoperable brain tumor, but his wife and another old friend have both denied that.  They say that the drink had started to exact a fearful toll, and he wanted off the road.  After an arrest, a court-appointed psychiatrist claimed his brain was producing too much of some adrenaline-like chemical, making him "seem drunk even when he wasn't".  He was given medicine, but as soon as he felt better, he went back to drink.  It wasn't long before he passed in 1981- the official report claiming "natural causes; probably heart attack".

Three enter the top ten, three drop out.  Falling are We Can Work It Out (10 to 30), If (6 to 12), and Stay Awhile (4 to 11).

Ringo Starr makes it all four Beatles with solo top tens, climbing four to #10 with It Don't Come Easy.

Lobo comes in at #9, up 2, with a whole cast of characters- Me And You And A Dog Named Scrappy  Boo.

The Honey Cone come in at 8, up 4 spots with Want Ads.

Because who really wanted to look at Three Dog Night anyway?
The Doors move up one to #7 with Love Her Madly.

Daddy Dewdrop also moves a notch up with Chick-A-Boom (Don' Yew Jes Luv It).

The lone oddball in a parade of songs moving up one, the Rolling Stones climb 4 with Brown Sugar.

On the other hand... maybe 3DN wouldn't be so bad...
Aretha Franklin returns to the "up one spot" pattern with Bridge Over Troubled Water.

And here we have our six degrees victim.

Ocean holds one more time at #3 with Put Your Hand In The Hand, a song written by Gene MacLellan, the man who put Snowbird in the hands of Anne Murray.  In fact, she did the first recorded version, which charted at a meager 67 on the US Country charts.  Ocean had one alumnus who did something else notable- bassist Jeff Jones, who was a member of rockers Red Rider when they hit in 1980 with this song:

A good sized AOR hit before there was a Mainstream Rock chart, it peaked at 48 here and 20 in their Canadian homeland.  Recognize the voice?  That is one Tom Cochrane, best known for his #6 hit in 1991, Life Is A Highway...

You know the story by now.  At #2 we have the Jackson Five with Never Can Say Goodbye.

And (ONE LAST TIME) the top dog this week...

...Drie Hond Nag met Vreugde aan die Wêreld!!!  (told ya to bone up on yer Afrikaans!)

Next time, a new #1 song- I promise!!!

Communism and Barack Obama for "dummies", part one

We all know them- the people out there that accuse Obama of being a "socialist" or a "communist".  But is he?  That's a big question full of mixed up ideas and assumptions.  I am going to try to deal with this as simply and un-theoretically as possible.

First off, a real "communist state" has never existed.  That is why it was called the USSR and not the "USCR".  Communism in a pure form was theorized most famously by Marx and Engels.  They were dreamers trying to find a way to a perfect world, and the emerging capitalism they saw sure wasn't it.  A perfect world would be everybody working for the common good, and everybody getting an equal share of it, while capitalism was based on driven individuals amassing wealth through their efforts and using only a part of it to improve conditions, just enough that the benefit they created added to that wealth.  Instead of seeing mankind as advancing because of people gifted with intelligence and driven by opportunity, they saw only the (all-too-prevalent) dark side of those who were being left behind because of their lack of either, opportunity, intelligence, or motivation.  They conceived an ideal of human freedom, in which all would benefit from each one's labor.

Of course, to have this kind of world, you'd have to have a population with an ethic of work and one of morality, willing to set aside both selfishness and individuality (I'm being general here; take this as the good and bad sides of individual freedom) to work for the common good.  But in the world they lived in, Marx and Engels knew that what was established would have to be torn down in order to create this.  In other words, the have nots would have to overthrow the haves.  Only then, with everyone having an equal chance at prosperity would class divisions such as finances, nationalities, and religions dissolve so that, as another Lennon would say, "the world would live as one."

So there is the three highlights of Marxist thought- human freedom, proletariat revolution, dissolution of class lines.  To gain this, you would have to have a  proletariat savage enough to overthrow their rulers and kind enough to share; ambitious enough to build a new world and selfless enough to divide up the fruits thereof; intelligent enough to see themselves as better than their masters but equal to the masses that might be dumber than they.

Not much wonder that M & E never worked much on the practical applications.

Which is where Lenin comes in.  Lenin is Russian, and he knows a few practical things.  For one, the average member of the proletariat isn't that smart, isn't that ethical, and isn't that selfless.  They will have to be trained.  For another, people who have been trained over centuries aren't likely to give up "God and Russia" to make a better place out of a world they've never (and likely will never) seen.  To accomplish this, he devises the concept of a "vanguard party"- a Deux ex Machina that will teach the masses, lead the masses, and when necessary, force the masses forward.  Eventually, through a rule that brooks no opposing views, the proletariat will be brought to a point where they see the hows and whys of communist life, and then the party will wither away because everyone will do what is needful on their own.  This was what socialism was, originally- a waystation between revolution and utopia.

But for this kind of communism, you needed a different kind of people: taught by centuries of being serfs to go along with everything they were told, uncomfortable enough with the old regime to try something new- and you would need a charismatic, stand out leader to get them to do it.  Russia (and later China) had more than enough of #1.  Number two could be created by stripping them of their religion- the one thing (outside of alcohol) that made the miserable life bearable; And the third, well, that's where "Grandfather Lenin,"  "Uncle Joe", and "the wise Chairman Mao" sprang from.  So in leaping from theory to application, you had to change no state to one-party state, fairly intelligent masses to sheeple, and egalitarianism to cult of party and personality.  Not surprising, then that Lenin's plan of government was based on "reaching a decision democratically, and once reached, everyone must support and promote it."

Lenin was like Marx, a bit of a dreamer.  He saw the ugly reality of Stalin and tried on his deathbed to forestall the Stalinist future, without success.  Stalin went further from Marxist ideals.  Rather than try to eliminate nationalism to make a one world system, he used nationalism to promote the concept of "achieve socialism in one nation first; one established, then spread it."  Rather than the party being a semi-democratic caretaker until true communism is achieved, Stalin made the state stronger, for several reasons (besides the main one of being a paranoid fruitcake).  One, he saw the gradual path of Marxist-Leninism as too slow; they had to make strides NOW, before their enemies grew too strong and crushed them.  Another, class warfare could not be complete until ALL advocates of a class society, real or imagined, were rooted out, because- of course- everyone was out to get them.

On the other side of Lenin's bedstead was Leon Trotsky.  Trotsky was the ultimate Marxist dreamer.   He rejected both the "socialism in one country" of Stalin and the "gradual, democratic path to communism" of Lenin.  He saw a worldwide revolution as necessary, followed by an immediate move into pure communism, without either Lenin's "stages of capitalism" or Stalin's "copying of capitalism".  Needless to say, he didn't remain popular too long; the flow of this kind of socialism was too rooted now in the "real world" to put up with utopian ideals.

Which is why Chia and the Soviets eventually fell out.  Maoism was idealism in the extreme, a mad mixup of Confucian/Buddhist thought with Marxist economics.  Unlike Lenin, who saw the worker as the powerhouse of change, Mao saw the farmer, armed and aimed, as the revolutionary dynamo.  Where Lenin saw the party as the teacher, Mao saw the party and the people as learning from each other.  He took on the Stalin concept of nationalism without necessarily adding the caveat of "this nation first, then the rest".  And where Lenin's cult was based on his intellect and Stalin's on fear, Mao became an expert PR man, building himself into something like a modern day Confucius, a fountain of wisdom who was able to deflect hard problems with a philosophic shrug.

So the concept of noble communism, with human freedom as its goal, an intelligent, ethical workforce as its engine, and a classless society as its mantra, had become something else in application.  Classless had become two-class (us and them); the Party had become both engine and mantra, means and goal; and freedom replaced by the "hive-mind" that did only what the party told them.  Next time, how this worked out for them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

if all else fails, check the news

You're probably thinking, "Chris has this 3 part series coming up, he's gonna sit back and fluff off until Time Machine this week."  (At least I was thinking about it.)  But it's been too hot to walk for two days, and we're currently in between two massive monsoons  One short rain storm and the next, so that's out.  Work has been a bit chaotic, but the stories contained therein kind of meander about over the course of several events, and untangling  them into a cohesive and entertaining storyline would leave us with a lot of effort with a payoff approximately that of the Card Table Joke, so we'll just leave it at chaotic.

Hmm? Oh, the card table joke.  Well, that's one of those stories you have to have a LOT of time to tell.  You see the point is to build anticipation through a long and drawn out story.  You start with our hero asking his young son what he wants for his (fill in the blank) birthday.  The child answers, "What I really want is a card table."  Dad says, "Oh, you don't really want a card table, "  and gets him something age appropriate.  Throw in as many birthdays as you like, get him a car for graduating high school and a round-the-world trip for graduating college.  On the trip he meets the love of his life and brings her home to marry.  Give him (always instead of a card table) a house for his wedding, just a mile down the road from dear old dad.  One night, he's going home from dad's and wrecks the car.  He's about to die when dad gets there.  Dad says, "Son, I have to ask you:  every time I've asked you what you wanted for a gift, a birthday present, Christmas, you always wanted a card table.  Why did you always want a damn card table?"

Son says, "Dad... I always wanted... a card table... because..."  And then he dies.

So, anyway, I thought, well, let's see what's in the news today.  And I just was reading where a team of researchers have determined the average human was smarter in the Victorian age than they are now.  Published in the European journal Intelligence, the team used reaction time to visual stimuli as their chosen measure.  Using data from old tests, they found a 60-70 millisecond increase down the years, which means we are getting slower and therefore dumber.

The researchers claim this proves that people have grown "less clever" over time. They back up their claim by suggesting they know the reason for the decline in intelligence—smarter people having fewer children, while the less smart, have more. (from

 Not exactly PC, but they have a point.  As Kang said in an old issue of The Avengers, "...they're idiots...and their diverging MORE idiots!"  Of course, he was talking about something else entirely...

Actually, divergent copies of himself, like this guy...
Another one I saw was Minnesotan David Gonzales, who was clearing out old newspapers somebody used to "insulate" a wall in the home he was remodeling, and found a somewhat rough copy of the legendary Action Comics #1 from 1939.  Even in the shape it was in, it was worth a fortune- but then he and a relative dropped that quality even lower by getting in a scrape and ripping the back cover off.  A collecting expert called that "a $75,000 tear, " but the top bid on eBay thus far is still close to $108,000 !

And how about the head crook at IRS, one Lois Lerner, in front of Congress today?  Tells the assembled lawmakers she was innocent and had "done nothing wrong".  And then proceeds to announce that she was taking the fifth amendment on any further questions on the advice of her counsel.  Well, may I say that her counsel is as big an idiot as she is, because you use the fifth amendment to avoid revealing things that "will tend to incriminate" yourself.  If she was innocent, she didn't need the fifth amendment!  She went on to say to the effect, "I know how this is going to look..."  To which I say, "Where there's smoke..."

Unfortunately, the Chair, GOP Rep Darrell Issa ( a Californian, big surprise) was going to let her off with that, until another rep told him (to the applause of the chamber) that by making her claim of innocence, she had waived her right to the fifth, and she should be grilled further.  Issa asked another couple of questions, got the same responses, and sent her on her way, with the proviso that she might be recalled if he grew a pair if counsel advised him that the other Rep. was right.

The Right Hon. D. Issa... waiting for Obamacare to approve his Androgel

Another lovely story was the ten-year-old girl in Utah who took it upon herself to bully another girl for not wearing the best, latest clothes.  When the teacher reported this to her dad, dad's fiancée went out and bought $50 dollars of the worst clothes she could find in a thrift store and made Miss Haute Coiture wear them to school for two weeks.  Hard to say if the point got across, but word is she didn't like it when former "friends" talked behind HER back...

And then there's Jesus River of Colorado, who assisted the victim of a wreck by pulling him out of the vehicle- and then when he went back to find the man's fictitious children, the douchebag stole his truck.  Bad enough, but within ten days, Rivera was notified that according to county police, he was now liable for over $500 worth of traffic tickets the creep had run up IN the truck.  Rivera was supposed to prove he was not driving the truck he didn't have when the violations occurred, but the county had conveniently misplaced their records of the accident and theft.  Fortunately, the state boys DID have a record, and Rivera was off the hook.  He says he'd do it again, but I think I might run over the bozo's legs first were it me...

Okay, that's about it, and thank God, because twice I have tried to replace -ing with -ic, forgot that fictitious is fic-TITTIE-us rather than fic-TISH-us, and have an odd urge to go buy a card table...

Monday, May 20, 2013

So Bad

Only a moment ago
I had a world that I lived in
and I had the things I know
the bed that I slept in

with you...

Recess seems so long ago

Remember playing as the
screaming sirens called
Recall the reassuring voices
urge us down the basement hall

It's okay.

Only a moment ago
Someone called to say beware
should I go hide, I wondered,
or should I even care...

And it spins away like yesterdays
pieces of living I can't grasp
and it spins away the living past the sad
how can it all have gone so bad?

Recess seems so long ago

And faces in the water
asking, isn't this the place
I did everything you asked me to
I thought you said
                it was safe....

But it drippy-dropped away
spinning till the floor falls out
paintings like oil tanks like sandwiched cars
and pets who've lost their way
just like the floor falls out....

...and how did it go so bad?

The Usual Crap

Okay, let's start out with the photo bin and see what me and Mr. Boy ran into lately...

After the Saturday walk, we sat outside for an hour, and then it was naptime.  No more had we hit the bedroom than...

Needless to say, naptime hit a ten minute delay.
Sunday, Scrappy caught a scent..


But it wasn't the chipmunk...

And I don't think it was the deer.  But I never did catch up to whatever dog walked the path before us.

If you look close at the top pic, you'll see the wingtip of a little bird the Red-Wing was chasing.
And a rather big fungus candidate.
Next up, an important announcement.  I will be posting over the next three Thursdays a series I call Communism and Obama for "Dummies".  In this I start out with the musical question, Is Obama a communist, or a socialist?  Rather than a knee-jerk, Facebook answer, I look at what communism and Socialism is, why it fell apart around the world, and if the Euro-Socialism of today is a match for Obama's antics.  If you've ever wondered what the hubbub over Communism is, and whether Obama has hammer-and-sickle underwear, tune in the next three Thursdays.
Finally, the AIHL finally got box scores up in time to do an update on Monday!  Saturday, We open with Sydney's Ice Dogs, blanking the Perth Thunder 3-0.  Simon Barg, a Canuck who's spent the last three years bouncing around Germany's minors, tallied 2 goals and an assist, while Anthony Kimlin collected the goose egg.
Nick Orford-Quirk, in his first year in the bigs after spending time in the Aussie East Coast Super League, scored twice as Newcastle built a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 4-2 win over Melbourne's Mustangs.
And wrapping up Saturday, Michael Schlemp scored his 67th, 68th, and 69th goals of his 8-year AIHL career while Renarz Kazanovs handled 37 of a whopping 38 shots as Sydney's Bears walloped the Canberra Knights 6-1.
Sunday, Newcastle racked up their second win of the weekend, Oliver Martin getting the shutout in a 2-0 win over Melbourne's Ice.  Jeff Martens notched an assist to go with an unassisted goal.
And Perth had their second Sunday wake-up with a 4-3 win over the Bears.  The Thunder outshot the Bears 41-25, meaning that Kazanovs had to handle 79 shots in two games, one win and one loss.  Michael Forney, who has played in the AHL and signed with my team in the Austrian League VSV Villacher for next season, had 2 goals (one empty net) and an assist to lead Perth.
So the standings now show Newcastle with a percentage-point lead on the Ice Dogs, with the Ice 2 points back.  Adelaide, by trick of the schedule, have STILL only played 4 games.  Next week, though, they have a chance to make hay with games against Newcastle and the Bears.
That's it for tonight!  Remember- Thursday...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday message

This week I learned a lot about God's forgiveness; and you cannot do that without also learning about your own sin.  I mean, I know my own sins; but to understand forgiveness, you need to grasp God's concept of you.  I started in John 13, where Jesus washed the feet of the Disciples.  You may well know the story;  After the Last Supper, Jesus began to wash the feet of the assembled, which was the job of a servant.  Naturally, Peter pitched one, saying, "There's no way I'm going to let you do that," until Jesus explained it was a requirement of a relationship with Him.  Then Peter asked for a full bath, but Jesus said the words that stuck for me:

10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”

So what do we glean here?  Jesus is speaking symbolically of our sin state.  Remember, there are two types of sin:  that which we carry as a descendant of Adam, that we are washed free of when we accept Jesus' death on the cross; and the everyday sins we accumulate, that must be washed off daily by confession and penance.  Once we accept Christ, we are seen as clean no matter our failings; our worst offenses are "dirt on our feet", to be washed off.  But also, that daily feet washing is REQUIRED for a relationship with Christ.  And the "not every one of you?"  That was referencing Judas, who by his betrayal showed himself as not washed; the feet washing was useless for one such as him.

Another one such as Judas would be Jehoram, king of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 21.  His many sins were listed:

-He murdered his brethren to secure a throne he already had;
-he was a pagan, following in the "ways of Ahab of Israel" and forsaking God;
-his was not an incomplete turning from God; it was intimate, as he had even married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel;
-and it was not enough for him to be wicked, but he led Judah to worship as he did as well.

And yet, had he turned from his disobedience, he might still have saved himself, for even in the midst of his list, God said:

Yet the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.

God's promise meant more than all the sins of Jehoram, and would far outlast his lifetime.  There was nothing he could do to eliminate the promise of God; but he could fail to accept it, and he did, and died a painful and unpopular death for it.

But how many times are we allowed to mess up?  We mostly all know Jesus' "seventy times seven" answer, but let's put some meat to the story.  In Judges 3, we find that the generation that had seen the miracles of God had died off, and to test the new generation, God let some of the surrounding peoples survive.  These are the "Tares" of the parable, the "why does God let such people exist" of our daily lives.  Six times, the book of Judges says that Israel sinned and forsook God to worship idols.  Each time, one of these peoples rose up to oppress them.  But, each time:

15 But when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them...

Of course, the rub was, each succeeding deliverer was a little lesser:  one had to be led by a woman (a big deal back then) and had his victory stolen by a woman; another had to test the Angel of the Lord (AKA Jesus) twice before he was satisfied he should do the job; and of course, we end up with Samson, who corrupted himself with the enemy to the point of being powerless- until he called upon the Lord in his moment of utter humiliation (which he brought upon himself), and in one blow did more than he ever had before.  So in the end, the lesson from Judges is that it doesn't matter how often you've sinned, nor how completely you've messed up, if you only turn back.

Not that it's alright to sin, far from it.  In Isaiah 43, God goes through the long list of sins that Israel has committed, capping it off with the comment:

24 But you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied Me with your iniquities.

But right away, God shows them the extent of His forgiveness:

25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.
26 Put Me in remembrance;
Let us contend together;
State your case, that you may be acquitted.

Even though God of infinite patience has been "wearied" by our sinning, He will not hold them against us- but He sets three caveats:

1- Put Him in remembrance.  Remember hiding from God last week?  Time to stop hiding and remember him before we act- as well as after.
2-Let us contend together- don't face sin alone.  Turn to Him, let Him work for you.
3-Confess the sin, that it may be forgiven.  Or in other words, allow your feet to be washed.

So why would God bother putting up with us?  Because He knows us.  Observe Jeremiah 17:

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

God knows that the flesh we wear is going to lead us into sin.  Period.  This concept is so necessary that Paul paraphrases it in Romans 7:

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 

But God, who calls on us to hear the Still, Small Voice of His Spirit, can dig through all our BS to the still small voice that we have, reading our intent at our noblest depths.  We cannot bury our good deep enough that He cannot find it.

And while He would prefer that we turn to Him now, "while the branch is still green," He will wait until our very end for our turning.  An example I had not contemplated before was that of the second robber on the cross.  In Matthew 27 and Mark 15, we find the exact same set up:
1- everybody is laughing and making fun of Jesus.
2- BOTH robbers join in (Matt. 27:44 and Mark 15:32).
3- IMMEDIATELY AFTER this, we reach the "sixth to the ninth hours of Good Friday, when it clouds over and everyone begins to become aware that something... different is happening.  Both verses Matt. 27:45 and Mark 15:33 (the very next verses) say, "NOW from the sixth hour to the ninth hour..."

But in Luke's telling, something begins to happen in that sixth hour.  The second robber seems to look around him at what is happening.  All the sudden, he begins to realize how foolish he's been and who he's in the presence of. 

39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[j] save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”


44 Now it was[l] about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour...
So at his very end, with his condemnation looming before him, and now chance to make any amends, do any good works, nothing but to just turn to Jesus within his power, he finds that forgiveness.

And now I can look at my sins and say:

If I confess every time, I am forgiven every time.
That is God's promise, and I cannot break it.
No matter how many times I fail, no matter how bad I screw up. (though each one makes it that much harder.)
As long as I keep Him in mind, call on His help, confess my faults.
No matter how deep I have buried the voice in me that calls out to Him.
No matter how much time I have wasted.

And that is a comfort beyond comfort.