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


Friday, February 28, 2014

Time machine week 109

Today is February 28th, 1972.  While Nixon and the "Chi-Coms" were issuing their "joint communique" and a band of Japanese communists were being forced out of their ski-lodge hidey hole with a wrecking ball and baseball pitching machines throwing rocks (look up "Asama-Sanso incident" if curious), George Harrison, just two days after getting his driver's license back (which he lost for a year for running up a cop's legs) goes for a 90 MPH drive- down a stretch of road under construction, during a blackout- and runs his car into a light pole in the middle of a spanking-new roundabout.  His passenger, former TM Beauty Contest winner Patti Boyd- ended up with a concussion and bruised ribs, while George had to get his head sewed up.  He ended up losing the license again, and fined £20 (he got £35 plus ten in costs the first time).

Baby you can crash my car...

Welcome to this week's slightly addled Time Machine, as I continue to shake off a round of sinus rebellion.  This week might be a bit skimpier than usual, but fortunately I came up with a double-special feature this week before the Green Death settled in.  Plus, yet more unusual places to find the Beatles (other than wrapped around light poles), and the continuing effects of Bloody Sunday.  So put on your anti-germ mask of choice and let's go!

Time Machine?  That's worse than Mucineeeeeeeexxxxx....

As I recall ( no mean feat today), we start with the tops of charts around the world.  We do have some interesting changes on the international scene this week.  South Africa has moved on to Brand New Key, along with the flip side Some Say I Got Devil ( a neat song on its own).   France has elevated one Gerard Lenorman, a French star of the seventies and early 80's, and his song De Toi ("It").  He was the Eurovision French contestant in 1988, and is still active, I gather.  One of these days I'm going to do a Eurovision Contest bit...

In Germany, a German by the name of Tony Marshall ( originally Herbert Bloeth) hits with the familiar double-sided hit Komm, Gib Mir Deinne Hand/Sie Liebt Dich.  What?  Not familiar to you?  The Beatles released these two songs in German in 1962, and Sie Liebt Dich hit #97 on the US charts in 1964.  Still confused?  Well, the Fab Four had bigger hits in 1964 with the English-language versions- I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You.

Finally, in Ireland, the Bloody Sunday response The Men Behind The Wire was replaced by another Bloody Sunday response song.  This one was the first hit credited to Wings, and it was called Give Ireland Back To The Irish.  Despite being banned by the BBC and pretty much every other avenue for music in the UK, it climbed to #16 ( and Tops Of The Pops had to introduce it as "the song by Wings"), while here in the US of A... well, we'll be seeing it in a bit.

On the domestic front, Without You is on top in Detroit (both stations), LA, Chicago (WLS), Minneapolis (KDWB), and Pittsburgh.  Joy holds the other half of Chicago, while the other half of Minneapolis has The Lion Sleeps Tonite.

Meanwhile, out of the 11 new hot 100's I have just enough to mention to avoid another "guess where the debut finished" contest.  One of those debuts is the #1 song in the UK Chicory (without the "Tip" here) and Son Of My Father comes in at 94.  The other comes in at 91, and you may remember it...

Malo was a multi-talented group that included Carlos Santana's brother Jorge.

We have a good crop of Birthday Songs this week.  Turning 30 are Culture Club's Miss Me Blind, the sappy Lionel Ritchie ballad Hello, Yes' pounding Leave It, Julio and Willie's romantic To All The Girls I've Loved Before, and Bon Jovi's opening salvo Runaway.  Turning 35 are the Blues Brothers with Rubber Biscuit and April Wine's Roller.  Turning 40 are I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song from Jim Croce, the #1 TSOP by MFSB, BTO's Let It Ride, the Guess Who's Star Baby (coincidence?), and if you can believe it, Think's Once You Understand re-enters after a 2-year absence from the charts.  Turning 45 we have Steppenwolf with Rock Me, Glenn Campbell with Galveston, and Blood Sweat and Tears with You Made Me So Very Happy.

Turning 50, the Searchers with Needles And Pins, the Serendipity Singers with Don't Let The Rain Come Down (The Crooked Little Man), Chuck Berry's Nadine, and Betty Everett with The Shoop-Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss).  Finally, turning 55, Rick Nelson with There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You.  Blow out the candles...

Now for that double-feature I promised.  Last weekend, in researching other things, I tumbled onto a list of the top selling double-albums of all time courtesy VH1.  And now, whittled down to Martin Era lps (which kicks out several rap acts, a couple entries by He Who Won't Let You YouTube His Songs (AKA the artist formerly known as...), and Bruce Springsteen's The River, who watches longingly from the other side. So anyway, the top 20 (or so) double lps of the ME are...

20 (tie)- Bob Dylan, Self Portrait.  This lp, without top 40 singles, still made it up to #4 on the charts and sold around half-a-million units.

20 (tie)- Derek and the Dominoes, Layla And Other Love Songs.  The title song hit #10, Bell Bottom Blues also hit the hot 100, and the lp peaked at #16.

20 (tie)- Todd Rundgren, Something/Anything?.  Hello It's Me hit #5, I Saw The Light #16; the lp, #29.  With obviously a lot of after-chart sales.

19- Chicago, Chicago II.  One of four entries in the list for the Windy City kids.  25 Or 6 To 4 hit #4, Make Me Smile #9, and Color My World also came off of this #4 lp.  First of 8 on the list charted as selling 1 million + units.

18- Chicago, Chicago III.  Despite being the weakest of their four in singles (Free #20, Lowdown #35, the lp peaked at#2.

17- Allman Brothers Band, Eat A Peach.  No charting singles here, though Melissa hit 86 as an a-side, and later #77 from the b-side of Ain't Wastin' Time No More.  Hit at #4.

16- Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street.  With Tumbling Dice hitting #7, and the Keith Richards vocal on Happy hitting #22, the lp made it to the top.

15- The Who, Quadrophenia.  One of two trips on the list for the band, it gave us no top 40 hits, though it did produce airplay hits The Real Me  (#92) and Love Reign O'er Me (#76).  The lp hit #2.

14- Chicago, Chicago VII.  This chart-topping lp contained Call On Me (#6), I've Been Searching So Long (#9), and my fave Wishing You Were Here (#11).

13- ELO, Out Of The Blue.  The soundtrack to my high-school years was the genesis of this project.  Turn To Stone (#13), Sweet Talkin' Woman (#17), and Mr. Blue Sky (#35) hit the top 40, It's Over also charted, and Wild West Hero was top ten in the UK.  The lp peaked at #4.

12- The Clash, London Calling.  The last of the million+ lps, this #27 charting lp had but one hit in the US of A, Train In Vain (#30).

11- Bob Dylan, Blonde On Blonde.  The second Dylan entry marks the start of five straight whose sales were in the 2 million + range.  It had the single hits Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 (#2), I Want You (#20), and Just Like A Woman (#35).

We'll pick up the top ten in a little bit.  In the meantime, the big dropper this week was Kiss An Angel Good Morning, falling 43 notches to 67.  The Big mover is upcoming, so to speak.

Our Almost But Not Quites this week are:  Wilson Pickett's Fire And Water, slipping from 17 to 20; the 5th Dimension's Together We'll Find Love slipping from 24 to 25; The Witch Queen Of New Orleans by Redbone drops from 19 clear out of the top 40, as does Joe Cocker's Feeling Alright from 33 (a peak I assure you this song topped in Fort Wayne).

#33... I'm sort of disappointed, here...

We have 5 new top 40's this week.  Moving up 13 to the leadoff spot is one of those "Guess where I finished" songs from a couple weeks back, David Cassidy's Could It Be Forever.  The big mover took a 34-notch leap to #39, America's A Horse With No Name.  Up 5 to #38, the Detroit Emeralds (originally from Little Rock, Arkansas) with You Want It, You Got It.  Climbing 12 spots to #36, BJ Thomas, with some help from Duane Eddy, and Rock'N'Roll Lullaby; and the high debut goes to the English Congregation, founded by writers Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway (I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, Long Cool Woman), and Softly Whispering I Love You, moving up 7 to #35.  They were known as the Congregation in the UK, but were given the descriptive here to avoid being mixed up with the Mike Curb Congregation (who had hit with Burning Bridges and apparently also did a cover of Softly Whispering, though I couldn't find any back up to that story.)

And with that- and several annoying interruptions as Blogger/Google tries to convince me that I "logged out from another site"- we move on to the top ten double albums of the Martin Era:

10- Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland.  This chart-topper contained the #20 All Along The Watchtower, along with airplay hits Crosstown Traffic and Voodoo Chile.

9- Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority.  The debut lp for Chicago peaked at #17 and held the hits Questions # 67 & 68 (#24), Beginnings (#7), and Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (also #7).

8- The Who, Tommy.  Tommy peaked at #4 and gave us Pinball Wizard (#19), See Me, Feel Me (#12), and I'm Free (#37).

7- Fleetwood Mac, Tusk.  This ambitious # 4 lp is the last of the 2 million + sellers, and had the title cut (#9), Sara (#7), and Think About Me (#20).

6- George Harrison, All Things Must Pass.  Actually a triple lp, this #1 lp (as all the remaining ones are) sold an estimated 6 million and gave us the hits My Sweet Lord (#1) and What Is Life (#10).

5- Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  A 7 million seller, it contained the title cut (#2), plus the #1 Benny And The Jets and Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting (#12).

4- Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key Of Life.  A 10-million seller, it had the hits I Wish and Sir Duke (both #1), Another Star (#32), As (#36), and the airplay hit Stevie refused to release as a single, Isn't She Lovely.

3- Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti.  A 16 million seller, it had one top 40 hit- Trampled Under Foot (#38).

2- Beatles, The Beatles ("the White Album").  A seller of 19 million units, there were no official releases from this two-disc set.  However, everyone knows the songs that were on it- Back In The USSR, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Rocky Raccoon, and Birthday, among others.

And the #1 double album of the Martin Era-

1- Pink Floyd, The Wall.  The tote board shows 23 million, the top 40 shows the #1 Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2, and the airplay hit Comfortably Numb.

The miserable, deceitful wretch...

Three new top tens mean three fall out.  The three droppers are American Pie (6 to 12), Never Been To Spain (5 to 15), and Black Dog (9 to 16).

Rod and the Faces stay at 10 with Stay With Me.

Carole King moves three to #9 with Sweet Seasons.

Bread rises (That one again?  Really?) to #8, up 5 with Everything I Own.

Apollo 100 edges up a notch to 7 with Joy.

Robert John takes the Tokens old hit The Lion Sleeps Tonite on a rampage, up nine spots to #6.

The Osmonds climb a pair to 5 with Down By The Lazy River.

Al Green slips from the top to #4 with Let's Stay Together.  No more Green Al jokes, sorry!

The Carpenters move up a notch to 3 with Hurting Each Other.

Nilsson moves up a spot to #2 with Without You.

And that means that the new #1 is.....

...Climaxx with Precious And Few!!!!

Ughh... ready for a break.  See you next time!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Martin world news

Courtesy Bobby G.

ITEM:  I was listening to John Denver's Calypso this afternoon, and it came to me why there were so many people on this planet clambering over themselves to be "items" on this feature.  You see, back in my day, we had shows that were not only interesting, but taught us.  Shows like the one that inspired the song, The Undersea World Of Jacques Costeau.

Or Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, with Marlin Perkins.
Or Daktari, with a real picture of life in Africa.
Or Discovery, with Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, and stories from around the world.  I still remember their trip to the Dead Sea.
Or Make A Wish, that came on right after.
Or You Are There, with Walter Cronkite taking you back in history.
Or the short In The News segments with Christopher Glenn at the top of the hour on Saturday morning.


Even the little kids' shows- Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room- were better back then.  I learned a hell of a lot more science from Discovery talking to me like I was intelligent than I would have from Bill Nye making a circus of things.

Nowdays, we don't want to be treated like adults.  We'd rather be treated like a kid on Barney- "It's okay if you don't know beans, because I love you."

So, with a heavy sigh and the Discovery theme playing in the back of my mind, here's this week's examples of what we've lost.

ITEM: Woodstock, IL- a clerk at a rural Shell gas station watched for hours as customers lined up down the street blocking traffic, and never figured out WHY they were lined up, until police came in and said, "Are you aware your pumps are selling gas for A PENNY A GALLON?"    And had been for about two hours.  The police had to hit the emergency shut off to end the parade before the road became a parking lot and the fuel pumps were emptied.  No word as yet whether the clerk suddenly found herself with a lot more time to text and play angry birds after the incident.

ITEM:  Two math majors at Reed College in Portland, OR, failed to calculate the effects of gravity on an 800-lb snowball they had built- or how many thousands of dollars it would cost them when said snowball obeyed the law of gravity that they ignored and rolled into a dorm building, smashing in a bedroom wall.  Fortunately, no one was hurt for their lack of figuring.

ITEM:  Attention, global warming fans- especially our SecState John "Horse-Face" Kerry.  George Will actually had some intelligent things to say on the subject.  Please, pay attention, Mr. Secretary, I really don't have time to do this with crayons on Paint so that you can understand:

“I am one of those who are called ‘deniers,’” Will said. “The imputation is that I deny climate change. It’d be impossible to state with greater precision the opposite of my view, which is of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing.”

“When a politician, on a subject implicating science,” he continued, “says, ‘the debate is over,’ you may be sure of two things; the debate is raging and he’s losing it.”
Will added that the debate presently underway is over “how much wealth are we going to forego creating” to have “zero discernable impact on the environment.”

Will one, Kerry nothing.

ITEM: Dutch Speedskating coach Jillert Anema blames football for the US of A being a lesser light in speedskating.

"You have a lot of attention for foolish sport, like American football," Anema told CNBC on Friday. "You waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, in a sport where it's meant to kill each other, to injure each other.

"... (The U.S.) is so narrow-minded, and you waste a lot of good talent in a sport that sucks."

In his favor, the Dutch won 21 medals to the US of A's one in speedskating.  He went on to say,
"I think that the gold medal in speedskating is just as valuable as the gold medal in basketball, and we won 22.
"You'll never win 22 in basketball."

He learned his math, apparently, at Reed College, since there are 12 events and therefore 36 medal chances in speedskating and just one event and three chances in basketball.  Apparently quantity over quality is his watchword.  Here's mine to him:

A bad day of football is better than a good two weeks of speed skating.  Quote and end quote and you can quote me.

ITEM: In Japan, gun control took yet another hit as a man drove up on the sidewalk in order to mow down pedestrians.

“I tried to kill people with the car,” Ryota Onogi, 30, was quoted as telling investigators after he was apprehended.  He rode the sidewalk for about 115 feet before he nailed a tree head on and was immediately taken by police.

Fortunately, his aim wasn't as true as he hoped; a broken hip was the worst of the 13 injuries suffered in the rampage.  The other 12 victims had minor injuries from the 22-25 mph rampage.  Onogi had just rented the car down the street about 15 minutes before.  Later, it was learned that his dad was a local police superintendent.  No word on whether japan will take steps to ban Subarus, or do a better job enforcing the laws restricting vehicular travel on sidewalks.

ITEM:  Oregon (again?) based is now hip with the latest trends, creating, if you can believe this, the Edward Snowden action figure.

The Snowden figure is going for $99, though you can get just a head to attach to your favorite GI Joe for $60.  He comes with your choice of casual, military brown, business suit, or Indiana Jones (with bullwhip) outfits.  Among other action figures they make, you can choose from Julian Ass-ange, Eric Holder, Rahm Emmanuel, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingerich, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, and Hugo Chavez.  (Sorry, you can only get the POTUS in casual basic and business suit. )  

ITEM:  Think you're safe just because you haven't been hit by one of the big, all at once, thefts of data like the one that hit Target?  Read this excerpt from Bloomberg online:

The hackers who raided the credit-card payment system of Neiman Marcus Group set off alerts on the company’s security systems about 60,000 times as they slunk through the network, according to an internal company investigation.
The hackers moved unnoticed in the company’s computers for more than eight months, sometimes tripping hundreds of alerts daily because their card-stealing software was deleted automatically each day from the Dallas-based retailer’s payment registers and had to be constantly reloaded. Card data were taken from July through October.

So they trip hundreds of alarms- but with the sheer amount of N-M transactions, this was a miniscule amount- less than 1% of daily entries- and because the company deleted the attacks each day, a pattern never emerged.  And N-M found other ways to shoot itself in the foot:

The system’s ability to automatically block the suspicious activity it flagged was turned off because it would have hampered maintenance, such as patching security holes, the investigators noted.

And one final excerpt really sums things up:

The hackers were aided by the hub-and-spoke design of Neiman Marcus’s point-of-sales, or POS system, which connects the stores’ payment registers to a central computer that processes transactions. The arrangement allowed hackers to reload their software on multiple registers quickly after it was deleted at the end of each day.
The report also says that hackers took control of a vulnerable server that allowed them to circumvent the POS system’s security.

Now they may say POS means point of sale, but I think we all know what it REALLY means...

ITEM:  Finally, I found an article on Deutsche Welle (German national news) about some common phrases used in Germany, and their rough equivalents here, so I thought it would be fun to end with them.

You had a pig!-  You were lucky.
Not all his cups are in the cupboard-  approximately, He's lost his marbles.
I understand only "train station"- It's all Greek to me.
Life is not a pony farm- AKA a bed of roses or a bowl of cherries.
I have a nose full- I'm fed up.  I think I'll stick with our version on this one.
Hop and malt is lost- an Oktoberfesty way of saying, all hope is gone.
It's sausage to me- I don't care one way or the other.
I press my thumbs to you (done while pressing thumbs into your fists)- the equivalent of Crossing my fingers for you.
Lies have short legs- which is pretty self-explanatory, but came with a cute picture of running Dachshunds.

ITEM:  What? I said, "finally"!  We're done!  Go to the comment section and write something, already!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Message- sleeping arrangements

Come into my bedroom on a weekend morning, and you will see two guaranteed things.  One is me, sleeping at the top of the bed, pillows piled against the headboard, built with shelves for holding lights, alarm clocks, books, and of course the jar of Vicks Vapo-Rub.  The other is Scrappy's head sticking out of the covers at my feet.  Why is it always like this?  Because the nature of man is to put himself at the top, near the things he has built.  At the point of control, as it were.  The dog's instinct is to sleep at his master's feet.

Today Pastor Jeremiah talked about a man who wrote a book about winning in business.  Apparently, he had opened the end of the book for questions, and one person asked if he thought he was going to heaven.  Paraphrasing what the Pastor quoted, the man's answer ran, if caring about others, helping my fellow man, and living life with all I've got earns you points, I have a shot.   I have a hope.

It doesn't.  Though I have heard this argument many times, the answer is still the same.  There is a black and white line for heaven.  It started when Adam and Eve, with their perfect bodies, everything they could want, and daily fellowship with God, failed.  Therefore, all have sinned, and thus fallen short of what is needed to stand before a totally Holy God.  The other side of the line is faith in Him who died for us.  But man, lying with his head against the headboard, doesn't recognize that.  He relies on what he himself can do.  He has the light, the shelves, the Vapo-Rub.  What does he need God for?

The dog, however, knows that his life is in his master's hand.  He needs his master to feed him.  To give him shelter.  To let him out.  For the good things, like treats, playing, and going for walks.  He even needs him to lift up the covers in the middle of the night so he can climb underneath and lay at his feet.  He realizes this, and accepts it.  Not with resentment, but with love.  With dependence.  With joy at his master's approach and comfort at his side.  He never says to himself, "If my master was good, he would allow me to come and go as I please."  He never says, "I'm the one who walks out through the door, I consume the food, I decide on the toy, therefore my master doesn't really exist."  He just lays at those feet every night and thinks life is good.  And it is.  Because he knows as long as he stays at those feet, he'll be provided for.  He'll be rewarded- even sometimes when he doesn't deserve it.

So, am I going to switch ends of the bed?  Of course not.  But if I did, Scrappy would be able to go up and lay on the pillows.  Would he?  In a second, trust me.  I've found him on the pillows after 2 AM bathroom trips many times.  Now Jesus?  He DID switch ends... He came to earth as man, that we might gain heaven.  He opened the way for we dogs to sleep on the pillows.

One more thing I notice.  When Scrappy was young, he would wake at first light, come up to my head, rubbing, loving licking, trying to get me to get up.  Now that he's an "old man", he's more likely to wait until I move to come out from under his warm covers.  In that, I take after him.  I spend a lot of time waiting for God to move before I do.  I don't get near as excited for each new day.  And yet, once I do move, I still expect to be "let out", to "be fed", to "go for a walk".  Scrappy still rubs, licks, loves, but usually it's when he's trying to speed up the process of getting all these things.  It occurs to me that someone needs to re-learn how to wake up properly.  And it ain't the dog.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time Machine week 108

Today is February 21, 1972.  Today is the famous meeting between Richard Nixon and the Chinese leadership.  In honor of the occasion (and because I'm scuffling a bit on specials), here are some clips from that first meeting:

Chairman Mao: Yesterday in the airplane you put forward a very difficult problem for us. You said that what it is required to talk about are philosophic problems.

President Nixon: I said that because I have read the Chairman’s poems and speeches, and I know he was a professional philosopher. (Chinese laugh.)

Chairman Mao: (looking at Dr. Kissinger) He is a doctor of philosophy?

President Nixon: He is a doctor of brains.


 Dr. Kissinger: I used to assign the Chairman’s collective writings to my classes at Harvard.

Chairman Mao: Those writings of mine aren’t anything. There is nothing instructive in what I wrote.


President Nixon: The Chairman’s writings moved a nation and have changed the world.

Chairman Mao: I haven’t been able to change it. I’ve only been able to change a few places in the vicinity of Peking.


President Nixon: (Kissinger) doesn’t look like a secret agent. He is the only man in captivity who could go to Paris 12 times and Peking once and no one knew it, except possibly a couple of pretty girls. (Chou laughs.)

Dr. Kissinger: They didn’t know it; I used it as a cover.

Chairman Mao: In Paris?

President Nixon: Anyone who uses pretty girls as a cover must be the greatest diplomat of all time.

Chairman Mao: So your girls are very often made use of?

President Nixon: His girls, not mine. It would get me into great trouble if I used girls as a cover.

Prime Minister Chou: (laughs) Especially during elections. (Kissinger laughs.)

Welcome to Time Machine, where we tackle the tough stuff!  This week, a six degrees that takes us from Don McLean to Bing Crosby (or is it Percy Faith?); Tammi Terrell- is she live, or is she... Valerie Simpson? And what does the new UK #1 have to do with Donna Summer?  All that and Ozzie Osbourne too- sorta..

Shhh... don't tell Sharon I was on TM without her...

So, as usual, we start this week's show by reviewing the tops of other peoples' charts.  Internationally, Australia has moved on to Brand New Key; Canada has favorite son Frank Mills (yes, Music Box Dancer Frank Mills) on top with Love Me Love Me Love.  Now the UK, thanks to me not paying attention, had one last week and one this week to tell you about.  The one last week was a band called Chicory Tip ( also just known by the name Chicory in the US of A by the few that knew them) with a song called Son Of My Father.  This was a tune written by Giorgio Moroder and Peter Bellotte, the team that wrote Donna Summer's biggest hits like Hot Stuff.  The next week, Les Crane's recital of Desiderata moved into the top spot.  And New Zealand had English singer Daniel Boone ( who hit here with Beautiful Sunday) and their version of Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast.

Hey, coonskin cap!  That's MY song!

Around the US of A, Precious And Few is on top in LA, WLS in Chicago has Hurting Each Other, while the rest of Chicago, along with both Detroit stations and Pittsburgh have Without You, Minneapolis is split between Joy and Robert John's cover of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, while San Diego... well, their short list of #1s I had access to has run out.

So we move on to the debuts this week, and we'll feature three of the 15 newbies of the week.  At 78, the Stylistics and Betcha By Golly Wow; at 73, America with A Horse With No Name; and at 63, Donny Osmond with Puppy Love.  Here's a bonus question- who was older when they hit the charts with Puppy Love?  Paul Anka or Donny?  Bonus if you can guess who Paul wrote it for! Answer in a couple paragraphs.

Our birthday songs for the week start with the new 30-year olds.  Phil Collins is 30 with the soundtrack hit Against All Odds, and Bonnie Tyler with Holding Out For A Hero.  (I wonder how that worked out for her?)  Turning 35 is one of my favorite old-school jams, Instant Funk's I Got My Mind Made Up, as well as George Harrison and Blow Away.

Turning 40 are Pink Floyd's Us And Them, and Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells; turning 45, we have Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show by Neil Diamond, Crazy Elephant's Gimme Gimme Good Lovin', Edwin Starr's Twenty-Five Miles, and a bit of a cult hit, MC5's Kick Out The Jams.  Turning 50 is Satchmo and Hello Dolly!  And turning 55, Tommy Edwards with his take on Please Mr. Sun, as well as Buddy Holly with a song later redone by Linda Ronstadt- It Doesn't Matter Any More.  Blow Out The Candles...

Big mover this week- why, that's our Ozzy cameo, as Black Sabbath's Iron Man leaps 22 spots to #75.  Big dropper is Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman, falling 34 to #46.

Which brings us right up against our 45 at 45, but first- the answer to the pop quiz is- Paul was 25, Donny was 19.  Stay tuned for the bonus answer after this!

At 45 this week 45 years ago was the team of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell- or was it?- with Good Lovin' Ain't Easy To Come By.  Tammi was well into her last stages by the time their third lp, Easy, was released.  Marvin, incensed by what he called "another money-making scheme by BG" (Berry Gordy), refused to do it until Motown promised they would sub for Tammi and the proceeds would go to Tammi's medical bills.  Valerie Simpson was tapped to do the recording... at least that's Marvin's side.  Tammi's sister Ludie Montgomery, in her book on Tammi, claims a Simpson quote that Valerie merely recorded "guide vocals", which the studio then had Tammi overdub.  Whichever it was, the song was at 45 just 3 weeks before (and the lp released six months to the day before) Tammi's death at 25.

Bonus answer- Annette Funicello!

We had seven (count 'em) new songs jump into the top 40 this week! Up 13 notches to 40 is Santana with No One To Depend On;  Donnie Elbert, who we met in one of the first "guess where the debut finishes" contests last year with his song Where Did Our Love Go, makes it again this week, climbing 10 to 39 with another cover, this one I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). The Addrisi Brothers come in at 38, up 9, with We've Got To Get It On Again; The Chackachas make it at 34, also up 7, with Jungle Fever.   Paul Simon's Mother And Child Reunion climbs 15 to land at 33; Sly and the Family Stone move 13 to 32 with Running Away.  And the high debut, moving 13 to #30, is a song by James Brown whose title pretty much covers how I feel about many of his songs- Talking Loud And Saying Nothing.

That one's gonna cost you, honkey!

Our only contestant in the weekly Almost But Not Quite belongs to Bobby Womack, whose That's The Way I Feel About Cha sinks from its peak of 22 to #25.

3 songs enter the top ten this week- three fall out.  Dropping are Day After Day (3 to 14), Sugar Daddy (8 to 16), and Anticipation (10 to 11).

The Faces featuring good ol' Rod Stewart Swap places with Carly Simon, moving one up to 10 with Stay With Me.

Led Zep moves into the #9 slot, up 4 with Black Dog.

Apollo 100's instrumental Joy rockets up 6 spots to #8.

The Osmonds move up a pair to 7 with Down By The Lazy River.

And at six, the six degrees victim.

One of the lines in American Pie (which falls from #2) that needs little translation is the chorus phrase "This'll be the day that I die, " cribbed from Buddy Holly's hit That'll Be The Day.  Buddy, himself cribbed the phrase from John Wayne, who used it often in the movie The Searchers.

The Searchers was scored by Max Steiner, who was also known for scoring Gone With The Wind.  This was against the directions of producer David Selznick, who wanted Steiner just to put together a score of pre-existing music rather than an all-original score.  Steiner's score was just beat out for 1939's Academy Award by The Wizard Of Oz, put together by Harold Arlen and "Yip" Harburg.  "Yip" also had a hand in the famous Great Depression song Brother Can You Spare A Dime, which both Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby took to #1.

And if that's a bit of a stretch for you, Steiner also, at age 71, scored the movie A Summer Place, including the theme that was a monster #1 for Percy Faith.

Three Dog Night, stuck at #5 again this week with Never Been To Spain.

The Carpenters are Hurting Each Other, and it's driven them up 3 to #4.

Also up 3, this time into the #3 slot, Nilsson with Without You.

Climaxx moves into the second spot, up a pair with Precious And Few.

And that means that #1 for a second week is...

No, No!!!  NOT "Green Al",  but...

Al Green with Let's Stay Together!!!!!!!!!

Tune in next week to see if I have to find another creative way to avoid changing the "one picture per" sign.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Before the flood sweeps us away....

Well, we have had 2 straight days of 40 degrees and looking at 50 and rain tomorrow.  Keep that in mind as I show you me and Scrappy yesterday and today.

Here we are leaving yesterday.  Just 9 hours before there were nearly 2-foot drifts where I'm standing and where Scrappy's standing.


Here's Scrappy wishing someone was at the bark park.  (you'll wanna keep this sight in mind as well.)

Unlike last year, when we had the car perched upon the snowpile, I hadn't seen any damage- save for this poor light pole.  Famous last words...
After day #2, you can even see grass...

Sometime twixt then and now, some idiot managed to plow through a 2-foot deep snow pile and slam into the bark park fence.  Hopefully it gave him a slow leak in his radiator.

I suspect that it had less to do with road conditions and more with this empty gin bottle we found in the ditch.
And so we came to face the daunting task of crossing the canal to get to the trail...

Nice and deep here... but this is just a start- barely seven inches.

Scrappy was apprehensive at first...

But soon warmed to the challenge.  About three steps later, though, he got stuck.  Seriously.  I had to brace him with a foot in the butt so he could make it all the way up.

And then came the trail.  A fairly uniform 7-9 inches.  So we headed for Scrappy's landing, reasoning that less snow would fall INSIDE the woods.

No such luck.  At the landing, Stick is over 14 inches to ground level.  Fortunately, the snow was stiff enough we only sank about 6 of it.

The river now... wait until Friday.

Friday, hell!  I'm stuck now!

At this point, I was ready to call it a day.  I said, let's cross the canal here- the tracks say the ice is still solid.
Thankfully it was solid under it's foot-deep cover of snow, and we made it home none the wetter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fun and games

So I was taking a shower and said, "Well, should I stand here and admire myself or think of something to blog about?"  Lucky you, I came up with all sorts of ideas to blog about.  Also lucky, none of them included selfies. (Which spellcheck doesn't consider a word, apparently.) 

The great (and hopefully last) snowstorm.  Laurie was in the half-bath getting ready for work last night when I peered out the front door.  "Sure you aren't getting sick?" I asked as I watched a fluffy downpour that would net us almost 2 inches in about an hour, topped off with 20 MPH winds.  She made it there and back successfully, and the roads had been excellently cleared by the time I got up to go in myself.  However, there were little two-foot high drifts in strategic locations all along the sidewalk TO the car.  For you all not from here, Fort Wayne set it's season high for snowfall in a winter with the three or so inches  last night.

At work, two ladies didn't make it in.  One of them had been complaining Monday about "not coming in if we get ice", so I kinda think she looked out the door last night like I did and said, "Hmmm, 3 inches, close enough."  The other left the nebulous message of being "stuck somewhere", and as there are a variety of ways for that to be true, so I'm good with it.  Of course, the rub is that it got up into the high 30's this afternoon, and there was actually a concrete sighting in the work parking lot. 

Nice enough, in fact, for me and Scrappy to take a bit longer walk- though not anywhere real interesting.  Though he did get to say hi to Molly.

Comment replies fleshed out, part one.  My friend Mynx over at Lizard Happy has been mired in taking an art class featuring Abstract art.  She has found it less than challenging, and I asked her:

I have a question from the peanut gallery- how does one know when an abstract piece is done?

Her reply was a classic:

Excellent question. For me it is either when I am bored with it or it just looks right. The balance of colour and shapes is right and appeals to the eye.

So that makes me question: is that the standard the great artists used?  So let's take a look:

Chris's Art Appreciation 101

So I looked up abstract artists and found a likely subject:  Agnes Martin.  A Canadian, her style is minimalist- and bohemian that I am, I have to add, "with a vengeance."  Here is a set of four of her prints.  Keeping in mind she says we should "approach her paintings as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean"  you tell me- finished or bored?

I'll be grading your answers, so be polite, to the point, and clear!

Comment replies fleshed out, part two.  I mentioned on a Stephen T McCarthy post on Bob Seger that Katmandu brought back "youthful memories of going up and down in an elevator in a Cleveland hotel during a trip to watch the Tribe play the Yankees."  So let me tell you that story.

It was the 26th of May, 1979.  That means that I was just past my 17th birthday, and my compatriots were a 14-year old nephew and a 9 year old niece.  My brother in law's brother was a huge Yankee fan, and he often took us to ballgames to see his beloved Bronx Bombers.  The game Saturday ( to be followed by a doubleheader Sunday) was not to his liking, though it was to mine, being a Yankee hater.  Bobby Bonds homered off Tommy John, the Indians rapped Ray Burris around in relief, and the home team won 8-4.  When we got to the hotel, my big goal was to work my way down to the lakeshore.  A 10-foot high, barb-wire topped fence and a 8-lane highway just on the other side disabused me of that notion.  So what to do in a Cleveland hotel on a Saturday night?  Well, you get some pop, ride up and down the elevator, shaking carbon dioxide from the cans to get a rush, as well as jumping up as you go down, and basically just explore.

So at one stop we saw this dude that put me in mind of an older version of Rudy from the fat Albert cartoon. 

We ran into him a few times, and had some nick-name for him, though I can't honestly remember what it was.  Later, we ran into a blonde lady who became known as "Miss Big Tits" for obvious reasons.  Somewhere in between- I think it was the eighth floor- a party was going on in a room with Katmandu blaring into the hall.

Moral of the story:  Next morning we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and saw that not only were "Rudy" and Miss BT together, but had a gaggle of little mixed race kids, which seemed amusing at the time.  But so did putting a quarter tip into a quarter-eaten, syrup-covered pancake.  At the game, the local radio gave out "beat the Yankees hankees", Rick Wise 5-hit the Yankees 5-0, Uncle Dave got mad, and we left without seeing the second game.  The BTYH hung on my bedroom wall until it rotted off.  Good times.

Comment replies fleshed out, part three.  On my recent post about my tiff with a valiant Catholic troll, I got a comment from new follower Mich, who at the end, says this:

I was raised strict Catholic, and in school they actually discouraged us from reading the Bible. I read it anyway, and stopped believing in Catholicism. Heretics unite! ;)

Now I had never though of myself as a heretic.  Probably because my base line lie not with the Church Fathers but with Paul in Galatians 1:8-

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

So I thought I'd go check the definition of Heretic, and see what it was.  Sure enough, I get beaned on definition #2:

a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
Roman Catholic Church . a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.
anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.
Okay, you got me there.  Or do you?  You see, even my erstwhile opponent that night said that the Catholic articles of faith are boiled down in the Nicene Creed.  So, I looked that up (Not that I don't know it by heart):
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Okay, I can honestly say we have a technicality- there is one line that might brand me a heretic here, the one I boldened.  It just depends on whether you take "catholic" for "the name of a denomination" or for the definition, "universal".  Universal would mean that ALL believers are united as one, no matter the denomination they follow in.  For my troll adversary, Universal is a very limited micro-universe that won't let you in unless you give man's teaching equal weight with God's.

So, I'd have to say, even by #2, I'm off the hook.  Unless you believe that universal means "a closed system" and the Crusades saved us from the infidels.

What you want....  Almost forgot about our world tour of what happens when you Google (name the state/nation) wants.  Tonight, we are in Asia- at least the part we didn't hit in the British Commonwealth episode.  As usual, we have some slackers who claim to want nothing- Including all but one of the former Soviet Republics, which is a good thing, because I had to look up how to spell about half of them!  Joining them in internet contentment are Laos, and Yemen... along with Jordan (which comes up giving what Michael Jordan wants) and Oman (which brings up what woman wants).  Of course, we have the usual dastards looking to beat the hell out of someone:  China wants war with the US of A; Japan wants to invade China (because that worked out so well the last time); Indonesia wants to invade Australia (serves them right for wanting to kill me last time); Azerbaijan (the lone former SSR to want something) wants to attack Armenia (oh, surprise, a Muslim nation wanting to attack the nearest Christian one); of course Iran wants to destroy us and Israel; Israel would like to return the favor;  Qatar wants to invade Syria, while Saudi Arabia would be just as happy if the US of A did it.  For once, I didn't see anybody who wanted their gold back, although Qatar (when it's not busy invading Syria) wants to be Shell Oil's biggest shareholder.

Of course, land transactions are popular once again.  China, in addition to Taiwan, would like some land in the US of A; Mongolia would like to just chuck it all and be part of China again;  Thailand, apparently short on ancient temples of their own, would like Angkor Wat; Iran would like a side of Bahrain;  Syria would like the Golan Heights.  And the whole Bieber/One Direction thing is big here, too:  Lebanon, Vietnam, and Kuwait want a Bieber tour, while Thailand and Lebanon (again) want One D, and Indonesia is holding out for Coldplay. 

Speaking of entertainment, Cambodia would like tourists from Kuwait, Bahrain's hoping to be a permanent stop on the Formula 1 tour, and Lebanon would like fast internet and a chance to sue the TV show Homeland.  Other nations would like equipment.  In addition to Iran and Saudi Arabia wanting nukes, Japan wants to build a super train, as well as to turn the moon into a giant solar-energy collector (but is struggling with the necessary subsidies, no doubt); Qatar wants 6 satellites, as well as the International Civil Aeronautics Organization to help fly them; and Vietnam wants 4 Sigma Corvettes.

Yeah, I thought they meant cars, too.

And finally, the hard stuff.  Taiwan wants independence (which they technically have) and a separate peace with China (who they really aren't fighting).  Azerbaijan wants to be famous (they could go on Armenian Idol, if they didn't want to fight them); Syria wants either freedom, democracy, or Khilafah (which is either "the Caliphate" or a strong Indonesian coffee made by beans that mongeese have eaten and shat out); Israel wants peace, but will settle for a King; Saudi Arabia wants Ethiopia to apologize; The UAE wants to "build with the BRICS" which as EVERYBODY knows are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa; Bahrain wants democracy (yeah, sure), while Kuwait and Iraq both want the US out... but then Iraq wants them back in, too.  So now you know what they want... maybe you could let them in on it, because sometimes I ain't too sure they know what they want.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Catholic side of Whacky

Now, right off the top, let me establish the ground rules of this post.  I am not, repeat not, anti-Catholic.  I was raised Catholic, I still watch Midnight Mass on Christmas and Easter Vigil sometimes.  I believe the Pope to be a holy and wise man.  I do not believe that the Catholic Church is the "Great Whore" of Revelation.  I am not currently catholic because I believe what Jesus taught and what Church tradition has built up over the millennia are at odds on certain concepts, but that doesn't have to be a salvational issue.  I believe that Romans 10:9 and Ephesians 2:8-9 applies to everyone.  Are we good that this isn't about attacking any church?  Good, let's move on.

Laurie saw a post a Facebook friend made that dovetailed with the one she got into it with someone  back on Wednesday, about the raising the children with a set of values.  She agreed with the article, adding some of her own thoughts about how it could be done.  Somehow the original poster didn't quite get what she meant, but after a little back and forth he got her point correctly.  And that would have been the end of the story...

...but along came a troll.  First, she criticized Laurie for making the post "complicated".  So Laurie, sweetheart that she is, calmly tried to explain she wasn't "trying to complicate", but add to the discussion with her experience of the other day, nothing more, nothing less.  So then troll asked if she were a Catholic (it was a strongly Catholic FB friend who posted the original link.)  So Laurie said no, but that had nothing to do with it because the author of the link was talking about all denominations and even Jews.

From then on the troll degenned into trying to pick a fight, her basic premise seeming to be that unless you were a Catholic, your faith was false and you had no business adding to the discussion.  Laurie tried to be polite, and thus is ill-prepared to fight with such a person.  I however am a veteran, as you know, of such tribulations, so I tried to make a sensitive yet firm end of things.

... this is Laurie's significant other on this post. As a Christian, I believe that the requirement for salvation is to accept that a) you are a sinner, and B) accept Jesus' death in payment for them. Frankly, I believe that salvation can be found in any Christian church that teaches such values. In looking over your posts, it seems you want to strike Laurie over the head with your Catholic faith. She has mentioned time and again that this was not the reason for her comments or even the original post. I can tell you why I am no longer a Catholic- I read the Bible, and found inconsistancies between what Jesus said and the teachings of the church. You really don't want me to poke holes in everything you believe, and I don't want to. Suffice it to say that I had good reasons for not staying with the Catholic church. As a fellow Christian though, you might want to remember that a) we are all God's children and B) you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Have a nice Valentines day!

See?  Nice.  Our trolls response, and indeed setting the tone for much of the night, began with,

 ...the old "I am no longer a Catholic" is the biggest BS I have ever heard. 

And pretty much went downhill from there.  Relax, I'm not going to go down the whole litany of the discussion (and it is a lengthy and long winded one... she sure knew how to cut and paste!  In fact, at one point she offers to let me get the last word in- and posts another 107 lines across six more posts BEFORE I can get my next word in!)  But I do want to bring some of her "points" up:

First off, her very first foray to me had this tucked in it:

Which, in addition to being completely inane, brings this to mind.  Protestants, to her chagrin, believe in the Bible to the exclusion of Church teaching and tradition.  Now, common sense would say, "If that's the case, wouldn't the Catholic need the scissors to cut-and-paste verses into the midst of Church traditions?"  So you see the logic we are dealing with here.

Then, she conveniently ignores the aforementioned verses in Ephesians, which directly say salvation is by grace through faith- not of works lest any man should boast- and then modifies James ' discussion on how faith is proved through the evidence of works, runs it all through her little computer mind, and says:

"Also what does the book of James say? It says YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY FAITH ALONE. He actually calls you ignorant, so complain to God. "

Okay, so we've established that logic will not abate her, and neither will the entirety of scripture.  Now, we venture into the re-writing of history...

"And second, you should thank the Catholic Church for the Crusades, otherwise you'd be muslim....nothing wrong with defending Christendom. Why worry? You weren't around!"

So the Crusades saved us from being Muslim.  Hmmm.  The Crusades ended around 1272.  The Muslims took most of the Balkans in 1389, Constantinople in 1453, Crimea in 1475, Serbia 1540, Budapest 1541.  It was actually Polish King Jan Sobieski's lifting of the siege of Vienna itself in 1683 that stopped the growth of Islam into Europe.  By all measures, the Crusades were a colossal failure unless you were a Muslim, a Venetian in 1204, or the water concessionaire at the Battle of Hattin.  So I mentioned that.  and I got:

 ...and the Crusades were not a failure...

At this point I even conceded a minor point, that the Crusades might not have been totally an "unprovoked attack"- but with the caveat that the Muslims might see things differently.  Her, response, as expected:

...And to say muslims have a good point shows me again how much you hate the Catholic Church! YOU ARE A HERETIC!

Okay so now that I have firmly established my opponent's knowledge base and character, let me finish up with a set of questions she "asked" and I didn't answer.

First, she asked me, what is it that protestants are protesting about the Church (adding that "you protestants don't even know!"  Apparently she thinks we have a statue of Martin Luther out in the yard somewhere.)?  Well, first of all, I don't believe "we" picked the name.  However, there are three tenets that we share and she apparently doesn't.  Scripture alone, the Spirit breathed Word of God, which is not just the Bible, but what the Bible was before it was just one book.. the words of the prophets, the writings of Moses, the letters of Paul.  Justification by faith alone- Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:9, as I mentioned before.  And that all men are equal before the Lord, we are all a Royal Priesthood, and the Pope is no better than the Sunday School teacher.

Second question was, When did your church start?  (Accentuating with the capital-letter phrase, "you have no history!")  I'm sure you think yourself superior because your church "started" when Jesus said those famously mis-represented words to Peter about him being the rock of the church He would build.  (I pointed out at one point that, surely as Peter was Pope, Paul wouldn't dispute him?  Oh, wait, Paul "withstood him to his face" about eating with the Jews.  So much for the "first Pope's" infallibility.)  Well, I could make a case for that same moment.  Or when Jesus died and rose, or at His birth on the mortal plane.  But I prefer to think that The Church was born when God promised Abraham descendants " as the sands of the seashore".  The Pharisees didn't think gentiles were descendants of Abraham, but Jesus told them, "I could make descendants of Abraham from these rocks" (paraphrasing Matthew 3:9).

Anyone notice the connecting thread to all her statements and questions?  Here, I'll show you:  They had NOTHING at all to do with the original post, and they showed NOTHING of what Christ expected us to be.  It was all just an exercise in making a point no one cared about but herself.  And I egged her on, because a) that's the kinda guy I am, and b) to show all of us that there are extremist nutcases on all sides.  Facebook is at times a cesspool of people who love to post their opinions but don't want to hear yours.  And when you try, they either ignore what you say or twist it out of any recognizable form.  They spout off and promote whatever brand of hate it is they are spewing, and all you are to them is a backdrop to pitch their feces against.  And when you finally decide you have had enough of your "battle of wits with one who's only half-armed", they raise their flag of victory.  Witness her last post:

"Long live the Catholic Church."

A noble sentiment 99% of the time... this time, it's just words on a banner she's waving, shouting, "Hey, look at me!"

Now, you know me.  Why did I let this go?  Because I'd gotten mine in a few posts earlier:

HER:   I already wasted enough intellect on you. 

ME: are right, you can hardly afford to lose too much intellect.