Follow by Email

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


Friday, May 30, 2014

Time Machine week 6

It's May 30th, 1968.  1968???  Yes, 1968, because today I put Tommy James and the Shondells in the cd player and it made me feel good.  And I thought, "Why not do a TJ&S Time Machine? "  So here we are, in the year that the Shondells had their highest charting hit on this week.  Which one?  Well, you'll have to wait for this week's top ten.  ANYway...

It's May 30th, 1968.  Charles DeGaulle heads off revolution by dissolving Parliament and calling new elections, and The Beatles begin work on what the world will call, "The White Album".  And we are taking a time machine trip to this week in '68, the week that the 5th Dimension first hit the charts with Stoned Soul Picnic, and Cliff Nobles and Co. first rode into the charts with The Horse.  Oh, and this was the week that three different versions of Here Come Da Judge hit the charts simultaneously, as featured on Time Machine vol. II week 70.

Wow!  Our own gig on Time Machine!  Say... what's Time Machine?

Now, on this week in history, the Shondells had three songs on the chart in three different years.  All of these were among their top eight charting hits, which I will reveal in mere moments.  Your task should you choose to accept it, is guess which one is going to be in our top ten this week- and thus, the highest that they ever charted on this week.  Bonus points if you get all three of the ones that were on the chart this week, somewhere in between 1966-1970.  And your only clue- here are the top 7 highest charting hits of Tommy James and the Shondells, with their final Billboard peaks:

#7- Mirage- one of my three favorites, it stopped at #10.

#6- Sweet Cherry Wine- a song I wish our gang infected youth would learn- "Only God has the right, to decide who's to live and die..."  It peaked at #7.

#5- I Think We're Alone Now- the song Tiffany would later slaughter stopped at #4.

Gosh... was it really that bad?

#4- Mony Mony- The favorite "change the words" anthem of teenage drunks everywhere.  At least it was when I was a teenage drunk.  It hit #3.

#3- Crystal Blue Persuasion.  Another of my three favorites, it peaked at #2.

Tie for first at #1-

- Hanky Panky.  The one that started not only their career but the idea for this post.

- Crimson And Clover.  They did it psychedelic, Joan Jett did it slutty.

So, three of those 7 were on the chart this week- and one of them was in the top ten this week.  Place yer bets, answer coming at the end- or at least near it.

Also, you'll note that the third of my favorites hasn't been mentioned yet.  That one WILL be revealed at the very end.


This week we have a single You Peaked song-  The Four Tops' #20 remake of Tim Hardin's If I Were A Carpenter, slipping to 22.  Now this is a song recorded a billion times.  In addition to Bobby Darrin's top ten version, and Johnny and June Carter Cash's country chart hit, here are some of the others that have recorded it and when.

The Small Faces, 1968; Flatt and Scruggs, 1970; Bob Seger, 1972; Robert Plant, 1993; The Highwaymen (Cash, Nelson, Jennings, and Kristoferson), 2004; Dolly Parton, 2005; The Everly Brothers in 2006, if you can believe that; and, ummmm... Leif Garrett in 1979.

Not bad enough you bashed on Tiff... now you're coming after me again, too?

This week's top 40 has 4 new additions.  At 39, climbing 13, are duo Jim and Cathy Post, recording as Friend and Lover, with Reach Out Of The Darkness.  Better known, perhaps, as "I think it's so groovy now, that people are finally getting together".  Here's a didja know- Ray Stevens played the keyboard and arranged the strings on that one!  Moving up ten to #36 is Andy Kim with How'd We Ever Get This Way, the future bubblegum star's first US hit.

 The Association move from 51 to 34 with Time For Livin'; and the high debut this week was the lovely Merilee Rush with Angel Of The Morning, an eleven-notch rise to #32.

Anyone who thinks I'll miss a chance to put her picture up doesn't know me at all...

Have you made your guesses?  Well, if you picked Crimson and Clover, Crystal Blue Persuasion, Sweet Cherry Wine, or Mirage- YEROUDDATHERE!  But you still gotta tell me which of the remaining three are the highest on our chart this week!

Well, you don't have to tell me... you could always... no, that's not right... maybe you should... no, you can't do that, either...

Three new songs entered the top ten this date in '68, so three drop out.  The three drop outs (sixties lingo, there) are Bobby Goldsboro's Honey (8 to 13), The Irish Rovers' The Unicorn (9 to 18), and Dionne Warwicke's Do You Know The Way To San Jose (10 to 19).

Annnnnnnnnd... the top ten!

Four Jacks and a Jill with one of my all time childhood favorites, Master Jack, climbs a notch to #10.

One I'll have to admit I don't know- Stevie Wonder's Shoo-Be Doo Be Doo Da Day, slips from 7 to 9. (Note: after a quick listen, I have a vague recollection, but that's it.)

Roaring into the countdown with a 21-notch jump to #8, Richard Harris and MacArthur Park.

Slipping from 5 to 7 is a song by a group we featured when another of their tunes (Love Is Like A Baseball Game) was the 45 @ 45 a while back, the Intruders with Cowboys To Girls.

The final newbie, leaping 7 spots to #6, the Ohio Express with Yummy Yummy Yummy.

And your winnah... it wasn't Hanky Panky ( it was at #91, debuting this week in 1966); it wasn't I Think We're Alone Now (29 and falling in '67); it was...

Mony Mony, up a notch to #5 in '68!

But wait, there's more!

Holding at 4 for a third week, Hugo Montenegro with the Theme To The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. 

Holding at 3 for a third week (haven't I heard that somewhere before?), The Rascals with A Beautiful Morning.

At #2 where it was kicked to last week, the former top dog for Archie Bell and the Drells, Tighten Up!

And the second week at number one for....

Simon and Garfunkel with Mrs. Robinson!!!!!!

And now as we close, a couple things.  One, did you like the year hopping thing?  Would you like it to be a recurring event?  Are you already too young for the seventies' songs I usually do and this REALLY baffles you?  Let me know!  In the meantime, here's that favorite that didn't make their top seven, topping out at #18.  But it made me feel good today, here's hoping it will do the same for you all.  Next week, kids!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Martin World News

ITEM:  First of all, whatever made me go all screwy last week finally let go this morning.  Nothing changed work or stress-wise, except a lot of answered prayer.  I feel like the COPD elephant in the commercials has gotten off my back.  So you know what that means...

ITEM:  I tried to take a nap today, I really did.  But there was one little problem...

...and I'll bet you all can guess what it is.  Fortunately- we rent.  Other than getting used to nature's telegrapher again, not my problem.

ITEM:  I have a lot more saved than I thought, so let's hit the road flying.  James Doppler of Anchor Point, AK, may be a bit off the radar (NOW you know what that means- bad puns are back!), but even in the remotest places in the world, I think his medical sense may be a bit off.  He accidentally shot himself in the HEAD... but insisted all he needed to treat it was to use some antibiotic ointment.  After several days, however, his girlfriend finally convinced him that, even though he had no brain to injure, he might want to get it looked at.  The doctor in Homer, AK, told him the wound was "serious, but not life threatening."  Uh-huh.

ITEM:  Russell Becklaw, currently a guest of the Missouri penal system, had his execution stayed by idiot Supreme Court "Justice" Sam Alioto.  It seems that he has an odd medical condition that could cause him "undue pain" if executed by lethal injection.

Poor guy, just because he killed his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in front of her AND her two children AND bf's two sons- then beat her, took her to a secluded place and raped her- shot at a state trooper who discovered him in the act- hid out at the ex's mother in law's house, whom he beat with a hammer- who'd wanna hurt a sweetheart like that?  As for the "more suitable means" that Alioto told them to find, I have a suggestion:

ITEM: How do you, as a former Major League baseball player, hitting .368 with 10 home runs, get released by your parent team?  Well, here's how Miguel Olivo did it:

Two minor leaguers for the Los Angeles Dodgers got into a heated argument Tuesday night that lead to a physical confrontation and one player having part of his ear bitten off, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Scott Boras, an agent, told the paper that Miguel Olivo bit off part of Alex Guerrero's ear after the two exchanged words during the Triple-A game in Salt Lake City.
"Guerrero was in the far end of the dugout," Boras told The Times. "He went to the front to get his bat and helmet to hit. As he walked across, Olivo decked him."
According to the report, the two were separated by teammates in the dugout and Olivo had a part of Guerrero's ear in his mouth.

I believe we call that move "the Tyson."  So far, no one else has taken a chance on Olivo, but I'm sure they'll be someone out there, before all is said and done, willing to take on a hungry player such as Miguel.


What is that, you ask?  Why, it is a 40-ft high condom, standing in a park in the Santiago, Chile, suburb of La Florida.

...mayor Rodolfo Carter says it's meant to help tackle sexually transmitted diseases and high levels of unwanted teenage pregnancy...


Carter's safe sex campaign isn't the only part of his agenda likely to raise eyebrows with conservatives - he's also planning to create a cannabis plantation for La Florida cancer patients. He has asked President Michelle Bachelet to take marijuana off Chile's list of hard drugs.


 The social media reaction has been generally positive, although one user commented
: "What's next, a flying sperm over Santiago?"

ITEM: Meanwhile, in Manning, OR, we have a distant relative of James Doppler:

A 19-year-old man caused a three-car crash when he fainted while holding his breath as he drove through a tunnel northwest of Portland, Oregon State Police said.
Daniel J. Calhon, of Snohomish, Washington, told investigators he fainted Sunday afternoon while holding his breath in the Highway 26 tunnel near the community of Manning, according to a news release. His car, a 1990 Toyota Camry, drifted across the centerline and crashed head-on with a Ford Explorer.

Both vehicles struck the tunnel walls before a pickup hit the Camry.
Calhon and his passenger, 19-year-old Bradley Meyring, of Edmonds, Washington, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as did the two people in the Explorer: Thomas Hatch Jr., 67, and Candace Hatch, 61, from Astoria. All four were taken to hospitals.

Apparently this tunnel is a hotbed for this game- hold your breath until you make it out of the tunnel.  And most people are probably a bit better at it than Calhon:

The tunnel, called the Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel, was completed in 1940 and carries the highway through the Northern Oregon Coast Range mountains. It's 772 feet long, meaning that a car traveling at the posted speed limit of 55 mph would get through it in about 10 seconds.

I hope Danny doesn't take long showers...

ITEM:  And we have a winner in the "Stupidest Debate of All Time" category, and the winners might surprise you.  Hats off to Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis.  The debate?  What language would Jesus have spoken? 

Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis appeared to have a momentary disagreement. "Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew," Netanyahu told the Pope at a public meeting in Jerusalem. "Aramaic," interjected the Pope. "He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew," Netanyahu shot back.

Excuse me, but Netanyahu, who is Jewish, could be excused for booting this, but the Pope?  Think about it, dude.  Jesus is GOD.  He can speak ANY language!  He knows languages you never heard of, and languages no one's spoken yet!  Remember Peter's first sermon after the Spirit descended upon the Disciples?  He was understood by the speakers of at least FIFTEEN languages according to Luke.  What language did Jesus speak?  Doesn't matter.  Whatever it was, you UNDERSTOOD it.

ITEM:  Finally, there was a BBC article of the Ten Greatest Miscalculations of all time.  Allow me to share this fun with you.

10- London's Millenium Bridge, that was braced for the up and down of mass foot traffic- but not the side to side aspect.  Two years after it's original, frightening opening, it was re-opened with side-to-side shock absorbers installed.  Shake it, you won't break it!

9- One of the many stories of Russian know-how from the Sochi Olympics- the Biathlon track was 130 feet too short.

8- Robert Falcon Scott's fatal South Polar race was full of miscalculations, but one of the most severe was their missing the mark on how much food to bring by 3,000 calories PER MAN.  A doctor who studied the expedition now says that they may have lost as many as 55 lbs per man on the trip.  As if the blizzards and the below-ridiculous temperatures weren't enough.

7-  The builders of a bridge in Lauffenburg, a town that sits on the border of Switzerland and France, knew they had a problem.  You see, Switzerland goes by German measurements of "sea level", which is based on the North Sea coast.  However, the French base theirs on the Mediterranean.  Knowing this, they adjusted for the approximately 10.6 inch difference.  In the wrong direction.  So that when the two ends of the bridge met in the middle, they were almost 2 feet off.  The shabby state of technology in 2003, I guess.

6- Black Sabbath's 1983 tour was supposed to have a life-size version of Stonehenge on the stage.  A mix up in feet versus meters resulted in "very few of the stones fitting on the stage"- and those that did blocked the view of the band.

5- The Big Ben bell at the Houses of Parliament in London cracked during testing in 1857 and was melted down to be recast. But the new bell, winched into position over three days in 1859, also quickly cracked. Disputes raged over who was at fault - there was even a libel case. One theory is that the massive hammer, at 6.5 hundredweight(725 lbs), was too heavy - at least for the particular alloy the bell was made from (seven parts tin to 22 of copper). The foundries which cast the bells had always argued this material was too brittle. The second bell was not replaced (it is still cracked), just rotated by an eighth of a turn. The hammer, however, was replaced by a lighter one.

I guess we aren't the only ones whose bells are cracked...

4- The Hubble Space telescope.  The 2.2 Micron difference that nearly blinded the telescope was blamed on a speck of paint on a measuring device.

3- The "Gimli glider"- the first jet Air Canada sent up after converting from English to metric had only half the fuel they thought because they mistook kgs of fuel for lbs.  The flight got it's name from its safe, gliding landing on the airstrip of Gimli, Manitoba.

2- In 1628, the brand new warship Vasa, armed with 64 bronze cannon and thought to be the most powerful ship in the world, sank less than a mile into her maiden voyage with a loss of all 30 hands.  Apparently, it was asymmetrical, and thus sank- how did that happen?

Archaeologists have found four rulers used by the workmen who built the ship. Two were calibrated in Swedish feet, which had 12 inches, while the other two measured Amsterdam feet, which had 11 inches.

Reminds me of a tale I told a Mexican co-worker once... ah, but this is a family show.

Annnnnnd #1:

The good ol' Mars Climate Orbiter... which didn't really get the hang of the orbiting part:

Designed to orbit Mars as the first interplanetary weather satellite, the Mars Orbiter was lost in 1999 because the Nasa team used metric units while a contractor used imperial. The $125m probe came too close to Mars as it tried to manoeuvre into orbit, and is thought to have been destroyed by the planet's atmosphere.  Oops!

Scrappy says it's dinnertime, and while his sits in his bowl, untouched, he awaits the making of MY dinner with groans and sighs.  See ya next time!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WWI this week

This week, I thought I'd get my overview up to the date at hand.  When we last left German Kaiser Wilhelm II, he was trying to cut himself off from all the useful allies Otto von Bismarck had lined up for him.  By far the stupidest thing he could have done was to hack off England, and not because they could beat him up.  When he came to his throne, England was in a "stay the hell outta Europe" mood; not only that, but at the time they were rivals with Russia in their Great Game contest in Central Asia, and rivals with France in Africa.  Thus, they would have likely been out of the fight in any war between Germany and her two main enemies.

But somebody HAD to have a navy to rival England.

Which caused a bunch of dominoes to fall.  First, it turned England's attention home.  Which meant it basically got out of the Game, and it made a series of arrangements with France in the 1890's that by 1904 included a near-uniting of their general staffs.  The Germans then tried to humiliate France in Africa, but the Algeciras conference of 1906 and the Agadir crisis of 1911 both gave the Germans some concessions and drove Britain and France ever tighter together, with the result that by 1914 both their military and naval arrangements were co-ordinated.  Wilhelm had tried to separate them; instead, he performed the wedding ceremony.

In the meantime, another set of dominoes fell when Russia got whupped by Japan in a 19 month war in 1904-5 that might have ended even worse for them had not Teddy Roosevelt rode in to mediate a armistice.  Then, the Russian people revolted and were crushed on what became known as Bloody Sunday- January 22, 1905.  Russia was on the ropes; but France began pouring money into the Kremlin to rebuild the army and infrastructure. 

But with Russia down for the moment, Austria tried to take advantage.  After an 1878 Russo-Turkish War much like the last dozen, Russia rolled the Ottoman armies, and tried to change the face of the Balkans.  Romania and Serbia gained de facto independence, and Bulgaria was turned into a huge puppet empire right in the middle of it.  Of Course, Europe wouldn't tolerate such a huge change in the balance of power, and the Congress of Berlin not only shrunk Bulgaria, but chopped it in two, with a semi independent north and a Turkish-occupied south ("Eastern Rumelia").  But the important part for our story- Bosnia-Herzegovina, heretofore a Turkish province, was to be "administered" by Austria (AKA "it's still yours, but we'll run it for you".) 

Austria and Russia tear chunks from Turkey.

With Russia's defeat by Japan, and the British Army's reality-check in the Boer War, as well as the metamorphosis of the little Balkan nations (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania) from little minnows to little piranhas, Austria deemed it time to strike in 1908 and annexed B-H (AKA, "never mind, they belong to us").  Everyone could protest, but nobody could really do anything about it, especially Turkey.  In 1911, Italy (who had got dusted by Ethiopia in 1887), beat Turkey in a short war that gave them Libya and Albania semi-independence.  Then in 1911-2, the two Balkan Wars ended with Turkey having no more left to them but that little chunk in Europe they have now.

You'd think that would have settled things down.  No such luck.

“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans (1888).”
― Otto von Bismarck

By 1914, German and Austrian experts and idiots alike agreed on one thing- if they waited the coming war until 1916 or 1917 at the latest, Russia would be revived enough to crush them both.  On May 12th, 1914, German head of the General Staff von Moltke and his Austrian counterpart Conrad von Hotzendorf met in Karlsbad.  Now von Moltke was the son of the great Helmuth von Moltke; and while everyone hoped he would be his father's equal, he was nothing close.  Hotzendorf was a boob on a par with Willie;  Clamoring for decades for a war with Serbia, and then trying to back out of it when it came, because he knew his nation to be a barking dog without much bite left.  He would later go on to write a book after the war blaming everyone but himself for the sandwich his nation had to eat.

If only we'd done it MY way... no, not that "my way", the OTHER "my way"...

What they decided was that they had to find an immediate way to trigger the war, before Russia could get any stronger.  And they had to be slick about it, because the alliance with Italy was a defensive one, and the least excuse would make them say, "mi scusi, devo vedere un uomo a Parigi." *  And they would have to find a way to placate the English.  You see, the German war plan since 1905 was to wheel through Belgium and come around the back side of the French armies, cutting them off from Paris.  But to attack Belgium was to bring England into the war, because EVERYBODY had signed a paper on Belgium's independence in 1830 to respect its neutrality. 

* "Excuse me, I have to meet a man in Paris."

So they knew a war with Russia was a war with France.  And a war with France would most likely be a war with Britain.

And even as these two sought the spark that would make them seem innocent bystanders, the spark itself was being arranged.  On May 26th- 100 years ago this Monday- a Major in the Serbian Army, Vojislav Tankosić, right hand man of Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević (known more commonly as Apis),  through a Bosnian gun runner named Milan Ciganović, supplied a cache of weapons to a trio of Bosnian youths looking to graduate to "terrorists".  These weapons included "six hand grenades, four Browning automatic pistols and ammunition, money, suicide pills, training, a special map with the location of gendarmes marked, knowledge of contacts on a clandestine tunnel used to infiltrate agents and arms into Austria-Hungary, and a small card authorizing the use of that tunnel."    (from Wiki)  It would take them until the first of June to cross the border into Austrian Bosnia- with a goal of killing the heir to the Austrian throne.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where the heart is

Moments ago, a man knelt at close to the highest point in his neighborhood and re-dedicated himself to working for his Lord.  Whatever the consequences.  Will anyone notice the change?  I do not even know what outward changes will be required.  The problem was within.

When Satan works his works, he tells, me, "Yes, it is your body doing it, but your MIND allows it.  The mind is the seat of your faith, and thus you are a failure."

But Satan is wrong.  Sunday a radio show reminded me:

Rom 10:9 If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Your heart, not your mind.  The mind takes in what the eyes send it.  The mind and body are partners in dissolution.

But in my heart, I believe all I have been taught at the foot of Jesus.  In my heart, the Holy Spirit prays, convicts, and awaits the moment that my heart takes the wheel long enough to join Him.

Because of my heart, as Oswalt Chambers said, prayer and supplication flow through me like breath and blood.  I have sinned.  But I have failed nothing, for my charge is to believe, and confess, and those things I do.

Many of you have prayed for me in my dark spell, and it is reaping rewards.  Whether it means my head will be screwed on straight tomorrow morning, I can only hope.  But I am on my feet again.  I am leaning on a Strong Arm to do it, but I'm supposed to.  Despite what my subconscious thinks, I'm not supposed to do it alone.  I pray that the blessings come to me through your prayers return to you tenfold.

So here I came to kneel at the second most public place I could go.  Just so you know, Jesus IS Lord.  The one thing I have never lost sight of.

Now, to work on disciplining mind and body...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decompression 2: What you can see when all the damn joggers are out grilling somewhere

Fox on the soccer pitch- that's the game I WANT to see!!!

This is ol' girl's mate.  We was out in the open, and chose just to watch and see what we'd do.

He basically stuck around until we got tired of watching him.

These were making the whole woods smell like a perfume factory.

I did a head count of our super-family- ten adults, 21 goslings, roughly divided in families of 3, 7, 3, 5, and 3.

Da dum...da dum... da dum...

Blue Jay and Blackbird were pal-ing around...

Look just left of center...

Muskrat with a mouthful.

I have to interrupt here to tell you of something that happened Friday.  We were just walking, and I wasn't of a mood to even take pictures, until, at a gap near California Road on the creek, I heard splashing...

So we had to climb across a narrow bank path and through thick brush to get here...

...a bend in the creek in which a group of BIG carp were spawning...

But today, we heard the splashing along the back of the main IPFW pitch.  Climbing (again through brush) down the bank opposite the Reed Island, we saw...

More carp, more splashing, all the way around the island and up the inlet.  It sounded like a bunch of drunks wading...After that we saw some ducklings at the duck pond (sans parents), but they took off as fast as you've ever seen ducklings move.  Soon after a bunny pulled a similar disappearing act, and then...

Then Scrappy found a fawn's leg.  Obviously SOMEBODY had a big meal.
I would suspect our foxes got it, but maybe not... I've long suspected, but have never proved, that bobcats prowl the area too.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Decompression and Scrappy's big day

I appreciate the comments suggesting that I need a physical release to get through my "whatever-it-is", and while I do think that a punching bag would be more effective than bashing cardboard cores over the dumpster, I'm not sure it's feasible.  My main means of letting it all out physically is walking.  So Saturday morning (after a good talk with my boss as I tried to help her figure out what she was doing wrong to make the cutter go, via phone), we went to lovely Bixler Lake in beautiful downtown Kendalville (Raine, I figured you guys had your holiday weekend mapped out, so we'll do it another time).  This would also be Scrappy's first time to a real lake.

First, we parked on one side of the lake and took the pleasant stroll around to the beach.  Our first event was a group of hoodlum geese who menaced us along the way.

This guy charged Scrappy- and he said, "yes, sir, right away, sir!"

 They had a lot of "decorative planter/bicycles" in the trees around the lake.

 A rare first-take butterfly snap.

And Scrappy at last meets the beach.

Mmmm mmm good...

My favorite shot.

Dude near us caught a fish in about a minute and a half.

Minnows made Scrappy jump- he's been nipped before.

The obligatory "Laurie coming out of the restroom" shot.

Putting my shoes back on... that water was COLD!

This butterfly I think had just got out of the chrysalis.  He flew all around us, and kept beating his wings even when he landed.

One last dip...

In case you can't see it, the sign says, "STAFF PARKING."  For the beach lifeguards.

Hot dog!

Scrappy was none-too-pleased at having to pass this thug again!

Rolling to cool off.
Afterwards it was Culvers for a bowl of ice cream (and burgers for me and Laurie).  I don't know if it helped me, but they sure enjoyed it!