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


Friday, January 30, 2015

Time Machine week 10

This week we land on Tuesday, January 30th, 1973.  And tonight, the band Kiss has its first live performance!  It was attended by roughly 10 people at the Popcorn Club in Queens, and they grossed $50 for two sets.  Ten years later, they'd almost fill the Nashville arena (9000+) on a tour that was considered a failure and cancelled partway through.

From KissOnline

Welcome to Time Machine for the week that saw a TON of debuts- including our first listens to Bread's Aubrey, Four Tops' Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got, Johnny Nash's Stir It Up, Jim Croce's One Less Set Of Footsteps, Dawn's Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree, and Deodato's 2001 (Also Sprach Zarathustra).  In 2 months time, five of the six were in the top 16, and in the following month, two of them would top the charts.  And that is a story for another time, but this week, we have:  a six degrees that kicks off with the unlikely combo of John Cleese and Kermit the Frog; an "unknown song" that I actually knew;  and the next episode of the Great Nineties Countdown!  So don't call Doctor Love... read on!

Our panel of stations this week include semi-regulars WLS Chicago, WFIL Philadelphia, WAKY Louisville, WDGY Minneapolis, and CLKW Detroit, along with WFRS Big Rapids, MI; WMYQ Miami; KYNO Fresno; WOLF Syracuse; WKWK Wheeling; WHB, Kansas City; and WNCT Greenville, NC.  They racked up a fascinating 24 separate tunes amongst the 12 top fives, six of them getting number one votes.  Those included Wings and Hi Hi Hi (Big Rapids, who were a bit different...) and the O'Jays' Love Train (Louisville).  When I say a bit different, Hi Hi Hi, while ranked #6 on Cashbox, had it's only vote here; #2 Could It Be I'm Falling In Love by the Spinners, while coming in at 13 on CB, had only two other votes; #3 was Dreidel by Don McLean, which sat at #23 on CB and had one other vote; #4 was Valerie Simpson's Silly Wasn't I, which sat at #58 on CB and had just this one vote; and #5 was Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man, which was at #8 on CB, and had but the single vote.

It was a tighter than usual race this week, with just 8 points between #s 1 and 2.  This top 4 comes in as:

Lobo with Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend, with one #1 and 11 points, #12 on CB.

Carly Simon's You're So Vain, with 2 #1s and 25 points, sitting at #4 on the national chart.

Stevie Wonder's Superstition at the runner up spot, with 27 points and 2 #1s, and also #2 on Cashbox.

And the number one... coming up.


At this point, let's dive into the Great 90s Countdown for this week! We have up numbers 40-36 this time around, and in those slots:

40- Tom Petty, Into The Great Wide Open, 1991.  My son's theme song pretty much, it hit #2 on the MSR chart, though only 92 pop (WTH?)

39- Radiohead, Creep, 1992.  This song literally changed the course of my life... maybe I'll tell the story someday, but not here.  #34 pop, #2 alternative.

38- Verve Pipe, The Freshmen, 1996.  A real heartbreaker about an abortion...

I can't be held responsible
she was touching her face
And I won't be held responsible
she fell in love in the first place
For the life of me
I cannot remember
what made us think that we were wise and we'd never compromise
for the life of me
I cannot believe we'd ever die for these sins
we were merely freshmen...

It made it to #5 pop and topped the alternative charts.

37- The Lemonheads, Mrs. Robinson, 1992.  A great remake that they got TOTALLY sick of playing.  #8 Alt, but only 118 on the pop charts.

And at #36...

36- Sheryl Crow, Leaving Las Vegas, 1994.  This is one of those songs that has a strange hold on something in me I can't quite name.  The video's a hoot, too.  #60 pop, but #8 Alt.


My unknown for the week belonged to a song I didn't remember by name.  It was at #2 in Miami this week, 5 on WLS, 4 in Philly, and I was shocked to see it at the #3 slot on Cashbox. It was by a fellow Hoosier, a one-hit wonder on the pop chart, though he would hit the R&B top 40 5 times.  His name is Timmy Thomas, and while I didn't remember his hit by name, I remembered once I played a bit of it.  It's called Why Can't We Live Together.  Maestro?


I had to dig clear down to #17 to get to our six degrees victim (that was the highest song the panel hadn't voted on), and for you to get to him, you have to start with John Cleese on the Muppet Show.

Cleese was informed by Kermit that, much against his will, he was going to sing The Impossible Dream- which lead eventually into him singing with a muppet mariachi band.  This song also was recorded, not on the Muppet Show, but by Jack Jones, and it was one of his three #1s on the AC chart back in 1965.  Another of those #1s, I was surprised to hear, was a pop version of The Race Is On, which George Jones had taken to #3 on the country charts a month or two before.  Even more surprising, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered it on their 1965 lp Chipmunks A Go-Go.  This lp also had a cover of a tune called I'm A Fool, which Dino, Desi, and Billy (14-y-o Dino Martin, 12-y-o Desi Arnaz, Jr., and 14-y-o Billy Hinsche) took to #17 that year.  It was written by Red West, a high school friend of our six degrees victim.  Red also co-wrote the song at #17 this week with one Richard Maingera ("22 years old and right out of Slidell)- and that song was Elvis Presley's Separate Ways.  Oddly enough, I have the flip side of this single on my spotify- the #16 hit in the UK, Always On My Mind.


And now, the shuffle top ten!

At number ten, you could say it's Jefferson Starship- the lp calls it Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Jefferson Starship- but it wasn't really officially JS yet.  Whatever it was, it was called Ride The Tiger, and it peaked at #84 back in 1974 (which is going to be a theme here...).

The song that refuses to go away, The Loco-Motion, in its Grand Funk Railroad incarnation, comes in at #9 this week.  It was a #1 back in- wait for it- 1974.

The second biggest hit off the Cars' 1979 Candy-O album never got released, but got a lot of airplay nonetheless.  The last track on the LP, Dangerous Type, sits at #8 this week.

The Moody Blues make their second appearance in the shuffle ten, with The Other Side Of Life.  It went #58 pop, 18 on MSR, in 1985.

One more time from 1974, and it's another chart topper- Average White Band's Pick Up The Pieces, at #6 this week.

The Four Tops gets some more love, reaching #5 on the shuffle ten with Baby I Need Your Loving, their debut single from 1964, when it hit #11.

I had to do some soul searching about this one before deciding to allow it the #4 spot this week.  You see, I made the rule that an act can only be in the shuffle ten once every five weeks- but I never said anything about the same song by different artists.  And after some debate, I decided remakes are cool, and the Captain and Tennille claim the spot with their #1 from 1975, Love Will Keep Us Together- just two weeks after Neil Sedaka hit the same spot with the same song!

The Guess Who make their second trip into the shuffle ten with one I grew up listening to on Best of the Guess Who Volume 2 on 8-track.  It's a live recording of Running Back To Saskatoon, and it was top ten in Canada (but #92 here).

Our runner up this week comes to us from the spring of 1976, when Starbuck taught us that Moonlight Feels Right.  It peaked back then at #3, but comes in at #2 here.

And the number ones this week?  Survey says....

Elton John and Crocodile Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Are you shocked I didn't use the duck picture?)  It was the #1 in Philly, Fresno, Wheeling, Syracuse, and Greenville, as well as this week's CB #1.

And, shuffle says...........

....Gerry Rafferty, in his second trip to the shuffle ten from his lp City To City, and Mattie's Rag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A "daddy's home" type song for his daughter, it was released as the flip side of the single Home And Dry, which hit #28 back in '78.  If you liked Gilbert O'Sullivan's Clair, this is right up your alley!

Well, that's it for another week!  Hope you enjoyed, see you next spin!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Martin World News

ITEM:  Just because Blogger's being stupid again, I'll start by mentioning that I had to reload my home page FIVE TIMES before it stopped telling me "You're not following any blogs."  What a selfish pig I am!  BTW, I did complain about it on a message board.  They didn't like it when I translated their reply as, "Just grin and bear it."  Wah.  Wah.

ITEM: My thoughts are with those who are going through tropical storm  Winter Storm Juno.  We had a bit of it Sunday- albeit our end of it rapidly declined from "3 to 5 inches" to "1 to 2 inches" to "less than an inch, but with some really nasty winds."  With the micro-flakes we were getting, it snowed most of the day and it looked like we were going to get just what they said the last time...

After nearly 7 hours of constant snowing, grass wasn't even covered at 4 PM...

 But right about the time it was supposed to stop, it kicked it in the butt and we ended up with just about three inches...

In other words, just a typical winter in Indiana.

ITEM:  From the Tim Taylor file of home remodelling:

(NEWSER) – Picture this: You've just stepped out of your New York home for a bit to run errands. You return to find the home completely demolished ... by your own husband. That's what happened to Diane Andryshak on Monday, News 12 reports. Her husband, James Rhein, 48, rented a bulldozer while she was out and tore the Middletown house down, along with everything inside it; as the Times Herald-Record notes, the only thing that wasn't razed is part of the front steps. He says the 840-square-foot house was falling apart and needed to come down, NBC New York reports, but his wife had no idea of his plans. When she got home, says a neighbor, "She was in the middle of the road screaming, her house, what happened to her house?" Andryshak, who is the legal owner of the house, says they were doing repairs on it and weren't staying there at the time, but she has no idea why her husband of nine years decided it had to come down.

Of course, he didn't bother to take anything out;  the debris included " all his wife's clothes and medications, appliances, etc., a neighbor tells CBS New York—and is facing a felony criminal mischief charge. He says he attempted to get a permit for the demolition but couldn't since the relevant office was closed Monday—a federal holiday. He also says he tried to call his wife before starting the project, but she didn't answer. "  And once again, the cart finishes a few furlongs ahead of the horse.

ITEM:  Speaking of disasters, there was a collision the other day in Phoenix featuring a bus, a dump truck... and a flasher:

Shortly after the Monday afternoon crash in central Phoenix a man ran out from behind a nearby row of bushes and flashed everyone gathered in the area before running away, according to passengers at the scene.

The flasher seized the opportunity that arose after the bus was leaving a stop in the area at about 1 p.m. Monday, according to passengers and eye witnesses.

Apparently the assembled audience included the disembarking bus passengers, the nearby construction workers, and the usual slew of rubberneckers, all of which got a little more than they were expecting.

ITEM: The only (non-perverted) sex-themed item of the show today, a story worthy of Walt Disney:

Zookeepers in Israel have uncovered evidence of a porcupine love affair between a captive female and a wild male, it's been reported.

Dorit the porcupine has been living at the Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel for eight years, since being orphaned as a baby. Unable to survive in the wild, she lives alongside three eagle owls, but it seems she is also getting some porcupine affection by night, the Haaretz website reports. Staff were baffled when they found porcupine droppings outside her enclosure, and after a spiky creature was spotted on the other side of the wire, they feared the worst, thinking Dorit had made a break for freedom. A night-time camera proved otherwise. "The mystery was solved," the zoo says in a statement. "Dorit had a secret lover."

The camera footage showed a large male porcupine visiting Dorit each night for a few hours of one-on-one time, separated only by the enclosure's bars. Staff are surprised by his consistent interest because it isn't mating season, and they don't know how he gets into the safari park. "If he's hiding inside the park, he's doing it very efficiently," spokeswoman Sagit Horowitz tells Haaretz. The discovery has left them with a dilemma over whether to let the pair unite. In the meantime, the droppings keep piling up, suggesting that Dorit's male suitor hasn't lost interest yet.

I'm guessing Dorit and her beau know a security guard who likes to sleep on the job, or has an in with the zoo's rhinos*.  What is it with Israeli zoos, anyway?

(*If you haven't read last week's MWN, shame on you!  You are now officially behind.)

ITEM:  Other than in reply to a comment asking my opinion here on the subject, I have stayed away from Deflategate- the mysterious losing of air by footballs in the recent Patriots/Colts playoff game.  Because I think the whole thing is retarded.  And to add proof to my thesis, here comes Bill Nye the Science Guy.  You see, Pats' coach Bill Belichick theorized that the rubbing done to the balls to rough up the skin prior to the game combined with the colder temps outside the locker room to make the air pressure drop.  Along comes Bill:

But what does science say about this? Well, Bill Nye the Science Guy appeared on Good Morning America this morning. His verdict on Belichick's was: "Pfffft."  As Deadspin reports, Nye offered: "I'm not too worried about coach Belichick competing with me. What he said doesn't make any sense."  Nye insisted that only an inflation needle could change the ball's pressure in some radical way. He also added: "I cannot help but say -- go Seahawks."

Science is not universally standing behind Nye, however. The boffins at HeadSmart Labs, who develop testing devices to aid in reducing sports concussions, did their own experiment.  They tested a temperature difference of 75 degrees and the game time on the field 51 degrees. They also wet the 12 brand new footballs to simulate real game time conditions on the day in question.

The moisture, these scientists argue, would increase the volume of the ball and decrease the pressure.

Let me give you another example.  My tires in the cold we have been enduring have chosen to drop below the car's "check tire pressure" threshold.  They might start out the morning say, 24, 24, 23, and 22 psi- but amazingly, within one mile, with no air injection tooling required, they suddenly are at 28, 27, 24, and 24.  Friction causes heat, which raises air pressure- and that pressure goes back down when the object cools.  So, yes, Belichick, while not honest, and certainly not the best of friends to Tom Brady after blaming it all on him, did make sense.  It isn't a wonder that Nye lost his debate against creationist Ken Ham.  He could probably lose a debate with canned ham.

At least it's swift...

ITEM: When the headline reads "Naked Violinist Sues Police, "  You know it's gotta be kinda funny...

PORTLAND, Ore. –  A Hillsboro, Oregon, man arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland last year is suing police.

The Oregonian reports that 25-year-old Matthew T. Mglej claims authorities used excessive force and violated his First Amendment rights. He named the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Portland Police Bureau as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week, and he's seeking $1.1 million in damages.

Police showed up after receiving complaints about the demonstration, during which the man played violin, meditated and quoted former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they arrested him for indecent exposure and carried him to a patrol car when he refused to walk.

Mglej claims jail deputies cut his wrists by jerking on his handcuffs and called him names when he cried from the pain and for his service dog.

He has a hearing on the indecent exposure charge next month.

Okay, I have a lot to say here...


...Mglej and Ahmanutjob... separated at birth?

2-  With a name like Mglej, I think he's going to have a hard time proving that "calling him names" wasn't "trying to pronounce the unpronounceable".

3- Let's see if we can guess which of Ahmanutjob's quotes Matt was using.  Here are some choice possibilities:

-"I do hope that all nations can live in complete security and welfare."

-"Nuclear energy is the scientific achievement of the Iranian nation."

- "They (the Western powers) launched the myth of the Holocaust. They lied, they put on a show and then they support the Jews."

- "It is obvious that the African countries must be plundered of their wealth and resources. The major powers and despots are behind the development of these diseases (like HIV) so they could then sell their drugs and medical equipment to the poor countries."

- "I'm not anti-Jew. Jews are respected by everyone, like all human beings, and I respect them very much."

- “We will convert the entire world to Islam with our logic. We are confident that the Islamic logic, culture, and discourse can prove their superiority in all fields over all schools of thought and theories.”

And one more knee-slapper:

- "We thank God that our enemies are idiots. "  Ba dum-DUM!

ITEM:  A very un-funny story was about the fall of the New England Compounding Center, a prescription drug manufacturer whose negligence led to a score of deaths via tainted meningitis medicine.  What was somewhat amusing though, was that, in spite of the boss's admonitions to the workers making up fake names for patients to defraud the government- do not use names that may sound fake or celebrity- the workers failed miserably.  Here are just a few examples of the "patients" that NECC was billing medicare over:

Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Chris Rock, and ALL the Baldwins;

Fat Albert, Ned Flanders, Chester Cheeto, Stuart Little, and Hugh Jass;

L.L. Bean, Filet O'Fish, Coco Puff, Tony Tiger;

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Betty Ford;

Calvin Klein, Harry Potter, Donald Trump, Jennifer Lopez, and Bob Barker;

And my very favorites, Mike Marker and Carol Sharpie.

In fact, the list I saw had 30 celebrities, two super-heroes (Silver Surfer and Wonder Woman), 12 misspelled celebrities (such as Cyndi Lopler) 4 companies or agencies, 7 cartoon or TV characters (including the misspelled Al Bundie), one sandwich, and two NASCAR drivers (Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson).  Not too conspicuous...

ITEM:  A couple of notes from the good old spam file:

One was a missive from a Amanda Novak, with the familiar story- I'm dying from fill-in-the-blank, and I'm donating my money to a stranger.  But, there was a bit of a twist:

I have decided to donate my money to you. I am also donating my body after i am gone for research.

They never want to donate BEFORE they're dying...  just saying.

Also, I had a spam comment the other day I would have sworn was typed by my daughter (God love her, English ain't her best subject):

Guess what I aam doing riight now!I'm consumong 
doughnut iin the middle of the evening and searching via your posts :D

Well, you go ahead and consumong that doughnut.  I won't stop you!

I do have one question for spellcheck, though.  You squiggle-line all the spelling mistakes on the spam comment BUT for "consumong"... but the time I type it, I get a squiggle.  What gives?

Monday, January 26, 2015


Martyrs- a subject you hear a lot about these days, between persecuted Christians around the world and Islamist radicals blowing up explosive-laden children.  But what is a martyr, really?

I started this train of thought by reading a BBC article titled, "What Is Boko Haram?"  As I read, I saw that for those that really believe any kind of faith motivates these people, that faith would have to be in hate.  Hate was the key word, why do Muslims hate?  I don't think all muslims do.  But let me tell you what I learned.

After trying to sift out statements made by "experts" who were only able to judge them from the distorted image of the West the Islamists see, and marginal whack jobs who weren't quite subtle enough about the hate THEY had, It came down to a single overriding observation- that Muslims are a lot like the Amish.  When they ruled much more of the world than they inhabit now, they were leaders in science, literature, astronomy.  But then, in the 1500s, the high scholars and religious leaders, called Ularna, began to see science much the way the Roman Catholic Church of the day did- as trying to remove the Divine from the study of nature.  In the Christian Church, this resistance to change resulted in schism;  for many Muslim groups, it meant retreat into "the way things were"  where the Koran became the arbiter of everything.  A psychologist and lecturer on Muslim integration named Nicolai Sennels identified six thought processes in the Muslim community- particularly the radicals- that strove to keep Islam a medieval religion doomed to hate and oppose the Western world.

Among these were the prohibition on individual believers to seek their own understanding of the scriptures; and because of this, a fear bordering on the irrational of anything contrary to the Koran and an accompanying fear of the consequences of questioning the religious leaders.  This with other factors, some of them making sense and others bordering on racism were listed by Sennels, but the gist is that once the ularnas started the turn inward, Islam became irreconcilably opposed to anything that the west, having decided to dig deeper and move forward, did, thought, or desired.  In short, they became what Europe would have been without the Reformation and Enlightenment.  They became an anachronism, that depended on religious AND political power to be wielded in one hand, to survive.

And that brought you back to Boko Haram, which is predicated solely on the idea that "Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors."

Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it "haram", or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.

This includes voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education.

Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers, even when the country had a Muslim president - and it has extended its military campaign by targeting neighbouring states. (From the BBC article)

And so they can justify war by the need for a religious state; murder by their concept of who is "faithful"; and rape because women are the single biggest danger to men becoming one with God and must be put down in any way possible.  And hate, because hate is all they know.

Now, I can hear you say, there are factions in Christianity just like that.  The inquisitions, the Crusades, Westboro Baptist Church.  I would posit to you that the first two came at a time where the Church in Rome was trying very hard to build that same religious/political state that Boko Haram is trying to build.  And, thank God, failed in that to everyone's benefit.  And the third makes my point.  Have you ever looked up WBC's website?  Hate.  Just like Boko Haram, ISIS, name the group, religion is just a convenient cover for institutionalized mass murder.

So what is a martyr?  Let me show you some excerpts from another BBC story I found right after the Boko Haram story:

Father Thomas Byles, rector at St Helen's Roman Catholic church in Chipping Ongar for eight years, was among the 1,500 people to perish aboard the SS Titanic on 15 April 1912.

Father Byles, originally from Staffordshire, was ordained as a priest in 1902 and came to the Catholic Parish of Ongar and Doddinghurst three years later. According to the current priest at St Andrew's church, Father Andrew Hurley, he was "much loved and appreciated by the people of the parish".  Such was their affection, when Father Byles was invited to officiate at his brother's wedding in New York, parishioners helped pay for his trip on the liner.

Father Hurley explained how Father Byles had said Mass for second-class passengers on the morning of the disaster.  In it he talked about the "spiritual lifeboats that take us to God".

Following the iceberg strike on 14 April, eyewitness accounts told how Father Byles refused several offers to board a lifeboat.  Instead, he remained on board to help others to lifeboats, take confessions, offer absolution and pray with those still on board as the ship went down.

His body was never recovered.

Father Hurley said: "He had the opportunity to take a lifeboat and come to safety.  "But he stayed with the people, prayed with them, gave them spiritual sustenance."  In the ship's final moments Father Byles prayed with the 100 plus passengers trapped at the stern - Protestants, Catholics and Jews knelt in the rising waters as he gave absolution to all.

DO YOU GET THIS?  He wasn't worried about the politics or the denominations of the doomed passengers.  He didn't give one good whit about what his reward would be, only for those gathered around him at the end.  He didn't see death as a heroic sacrifice, an entrance into paradise, or something he should push others into.  His death was an extension of his LIFE.

So you see, the Islamists have it wrong.  So did the Crusaders, so did the Buddhist monks who became human s'mores for their cause.  Because martyrdom is isn't about a person's death.  It's about living a life in faith, valuing others above oneself, right up until death.  Because of the way Father Byles lived his life, others' lives were changed, right up to the moment of death.  And that is true martyrdom, and a damn sight better memorial for a life than being the smallest blood spot in a pile of dead bodies.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday message-wherein the challenge lies

For a change, I am not going (for the most part) to quote from the Bible.  Instead I'm going to quote from the book, It's Not Just A Job, by Kenneth Lynch (a "friend" of Al Penwasser's).  Is this a highly-technical, inspired spiritual tome?  No, it's actually a fairly bawdy look at a soon-to-be sailor's start in that man's navy back in the day.  But one of the things you experience in the book is the discipline, the iron routine that gets drilled into the young servicemen.  And one of the amusing things was how that broke down when no longer so life and death:

"Once formed and ordered to march by Blakeley, the twenty of us stepped off like a drunk caterpillar.  You'd think that, with most of us fresh out of boot camp, we'd look better than an accordion in Winter Blues."

And I think that this boils down to your attitude towards the training.  Are you seeing it AS life and death, as an extension of training that will keep you alive in a crisis, or as, "Geez, you don't march on a ship anyway"?  And this has a lot to do with our challenges as a Christian.

This problem has had an enormous effect on the Church today.  The Telegraph quoted from a recent study that showed the declining "discipline" of faith:

The findings also suggest that Muslims have by far the strongest faith in modern Britain, with Christians from smaller evangelical churches the only group coming close to the same levels of certainty.
By contrast only one in six members of the Church of England or the other main protestant denominations say they believe without doubt in God.
Just a third of Roman Catholics in the study said the same compared to 88 per cent of Muslims and 71 per cent of those categorised as evangelical Christians.

But the findings also point to major confusion among the population about beliefs and what even constitutes religion – with a quarter of those involved in the study changing their minds over time on the basic question of whether they would say they had a “religious” upbringing.
More than a quarter of those sampled fell into a middle category of so-called “fuzzy believers” who either said they believe in a vague “higher power” but not a specific deity or that they believed in God or a god “some of the time”.

This week I have heard several sermons that converged, it seemed, on the topic of whether one was really saved or just "dating Christ"- like the seeds that landed on the rocky path in the parable, springing up with joy at first hearing, then withering away in times of trouble because there was "no root" to the faith.  But what constituted a challenge?

One set of sermons dealt with Esther, who was safe in the palace but had to challenge herself to stand up against Haman's hateful politics for her people.  Another marks what I was finding in my own walk, that when I focused on a particular sin, the temptation to it jacked into the stratosphere.  I'm not saying the sin didn't need to be addressed, but by putting your battle in such a narrow area, you allow Satan to concentrate his forces, as it were.  A lot easier to defeat the ministry of a Christian when you only have to defeat him in ONE thing.

But the thing that made it clear to me what God was driving at was a dream I had Saturday morning.  All I clearly remember was being pinned down by a knife (BIG knife) wielding terrorist, point stuck at the top of my abdomen.  For a moment, I begged for mercy, but then realized he was going to do it anyway, and said, "Just do it."  I remember the slash down the belly, which- being a dream- I didn't feel;  but then, a savage stroke down my right temple that I DID feel.  And then I woke up.  And I said to myself, "Why did I ever beg?  Why did I not just say, I'm safe in Jesus' arms, and laugh at him?"

And as I woke up (2:30 AM, not exactly my favorite time to wake up), I was listening to a pastor who was speaking to the subject of knowing your salvation.  And he made the point that our salvation isn't based on our ability, but on God's nature- that His character says "I promise and don't relent," and once your are saved, YOU ARE SAVED.  Unless you have been "dating Christ", and have that "fuzzy belief."

Which took me back to the dream, and what it was a symptom of.  Because my focus had been on the battle, the specific, the "boot camp", it had not spread out to APPLY TO EVERYDAY LIFE.  And this is the point.  Actually it is one I am getting better at.  "Boot camp" for a Christian is more than just buffing your boots, inspecting your "winter blues", and having yourself ready for inspection on Sunday.  It's the morning time in prayer, the stopping before you start your workday to give it to God, the watching the Super Bowl as if Jesus was next to you on the couch.  AKA everyday life.  If I discipline myself to normal everyday life, rather than throwing all my weight into fighting one sin I'll never beat for all that effort, I'll wake up saying, "Isn't it great I told that terrorist in my dream, he can only hurt my body..."

And the net result of that effort... well, let's let Mr. Lynch finish this...

"As we pivoted, seemingly on a dime, I realized what all those countless hours spent on the grinder had been about.  Sure, it was to instill discipline and a sense of order into us.  But it was primarily to prepare us for the moment we became more than a group of guys from Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Kansas, and wherever the hell Otero was from...We became sailors that very day, prepared for whatever the next couple, or more, years would throw at us.  We were ready to serve in our nation's defense...  Hell, if we could handle "Counter March", the Russians would be a piece of cake."

(PS:  It bears noting that the above quote came upon graduating boot camp and the first one came several weeks later.  Discipline takes constant work.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Time Machine week 9

This week we touch down just one year further up, in 1977.  Today, Roots premieres on ABC (I was likely on CBS watching Switch with Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert), and Pink Floyd's Animals is released (and at this point, the only lp I own is Eagles Greatest Hits- I'm still a few weeks from buying Boston).  On the bright side, it seems to have been a catastrophe-free Sunday, so we can get on with Time Machine for the week that Boston's Long Time, Hall and Oates' Rich Girl, and ARS's So Into You first hit the charts.

Eddie was a retired cop and Wagner a former con man who form a detective agency to "out-con the cons".   Loved that show!

This week, not one, not two, but 3 videos- mostly because I have a "unknown song" that plays out like a six degrees, and a six degrees that plays out like an "unknown song"!  Plus, two instrumentals in the shuffle top ten, the next five of the Great Nineties Countdown, and more fun that you can pack into a much shorter post!  So let's have at it, shall we?  (BTW- sorry, guys, Neil Sedaka does NOT make it 3 six degrees in a row....of course, two is a record that should stand for a long time...)

This week, our panel consists of old favorites KTKT, Tuscon; WDRC, Hartford; WHYN, Springfield;  KROY, Sacramento; WPGC, out of D.C.; WLS, Chicago; CHUM; Toronto; WABC, NYC; CKLW, Detroit; and relative newbies WISM, Madison, WI; WYSL, Buffalo; and CFTR, also out of Toronto.  They combined for six different #1s, including the Jacksons with Enjoy Yourself (D.C.) and Mary McGregor's Torn Between Two Lovers (Buffalo).  Once again, it wasn't much of a battle- #1 (also the Cashbox #1 for a third week) won by a 39-25 margin, not as bad as last week, but pretty convincing.  The panel's selections...

Fourth, with the #1s of Madison and Chi-Town, Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Blinded By The Light;

Third, with the top spot in Springfield, Stevie Wonder's I Wish (one of those votes being for the entire Songs In The Key Of Life lp);

Second, with the #1s from CHUM and CLKW, Leo Sayer with a song I never did like then and, unlike most songs I didn't like then, STILL don't care for now, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.

And the number one, with the other five #1s, comes up later.


Let's knock off the next buncha the Great 90s Countdown, shall we?  This week from 45-41:

45- Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, #22 pop and #2 alternative, 1995.  From one of my top lps of all time.

44- Metallica, Enter Sandman, #16, 1991.  The dude that ran karaoke at La Hacienda (back when I could sing) rocked on this one.

43- Love Rollercoaster, Red Hot Chili Peppers, #40 pop, #14 Alt, 1996.  A great funked-up remake from the Beavis and Butt-Head Do America soundtrack.

42- Dave Matthews Band, Ants Marching, #21 pop, #18 Alt, 1995.  Here's one you might like, Bobby!  "People in every direction/no words exchanged, no time to exchange them..."

And 41- Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun, #24 pop, #2 Alt, 1994.  The best imagery of any song on a great record- Superunknown.


As Arlee Bird mentioned last week, this end of the Martin Era was a bit lackluster, and it shows in the charts not having those local surprises like you have in the early years.  And when I do find one, it's not one that I'm real wild about.  Take this week.  The best of the unknowns this week was a disco instrumental called Fighting On The Side Of Love, by the THP Orchestra, which was sitting at 13 on the CFTR chart.  These guys were a studio group, like so many of this genre, and one of the leaders was one Ian Geunther, who was a founding member of one of my favorite Canadian bands- Lighthouse.  He was one of the several "hired gun" classical artists brought into the band at the beginning.  He had more fame as featured violinist for a folk duo called Fraser and DeBolt.   Allan Fraser and Daisy DeBolt never made it big commercially, but developed a cult-like following that years later led a Canadian music trade paper to say of them,  "Fraser & DeBolt were the greatest Canadian band never to have made it."

And their big hit with Geunther in 1971 was a lot better unknown than the THP one.  Here, give a listen.


And our six degrees this week starts in a very pleasant spot- with a recent beauty contestant, Melanie Safka.

Melanie was married to one Peter Schekeryk until his death in 2012.  Peter was a producer who worked back in 1967 with a band you never heard of likely, called Balloon Farm.  BF had a #37 hit that I thought deserved better called A Question Of Temperature.

These boys included a guitarist named Mike Appel- who would go on to fame as Bruce Springsteen's first producer/agent.  Appel was also known as a writer for the Partridge Family, co-writing Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted with Jim Cretecos and Wes Farrell.  And Wes was a writer/producer who gave Kenny Nolan his first job as a writer/producer with his label.  Nolan teamed with Bob Crewe of the Four Seasons to co-write a score of big hits, such as My Eyes Adored You, Lady Marmalade- and the one that Kenny recorded himself and had sitting at #13 this week- I Like Dreamin'.


And that brings us to the shuffle top ten:

Pablo Cruise had one of their lesser hits in 1978 with the #21 song Don't Wanna Live Without It, and it spins in at #10 this week.

Rush's biographical hit Limelight from 1981 slips in at #9.  It peaked at #55 on the main chart, but #4 on MSR.

Since we've already brought up Boston twice, we might as well have them with their second trip into the shuffle ten.  Something About You was on the back side of that first lp, back in 1976-7, and comes in this week at #8.

I promised you two instrumentals in the shuffle ten, and you were probably thinking something from Percy Faith or Paul Mariat.  Truth is, both of them are in the later end of the ME, and the first one is the title track from the Alan Parsons Project's I Robot lp.  While it was released as the album's 4th single (the only one to really hit was I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You), it did not chart.  It takes our #7 slot.

And our country hit for the week falls at #6- Hank Williams, Jr, and Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound.  It made it to #2 C&W in '79.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers come in at #5 with the third single from their breakthrough lp Damn The Torpedoes.  That was Here Comes My Girl, and it peaked at #59 in 1980.  (It might have been a #1 MSR hit, but that chart wasn't started till March of the following year.)

Our Canadian stars for the week are the Stampeders with their #8 hit Sweet City Woman, at #4.

Blues Traveller, who were in last week's G90sC, are at #3 here with Hook.  It hooked it's way to #23 in 1995.

Poco comes in at the runner-up spot with their #20 hit, Heart Of The Night- which featured Phil Kenzie at sax, the same guy who played on Al Stewart's Year Of The Cat.

And at number one this week?  Survey says...

...Rose Royce with Car Wash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And shuffle says, here's our other instrumental...

... Another Heart Breaks by ELO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From the lp Time, it was the b-side of yet another "shoulda done better" single, Rain Is Falling, which snuck up to #101 in 1981.

And that, dear friends, is a wrap!  See you next time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Martin World News

Well, it's that time again, and here I come with the latest in stupidity...

ITEM:  Just one quote for the "That goes without saying" file:

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rare admission of error, the White House said Monday that President Barack Obama or another high-level representative should have joined dozens of world leaders at an anti-terror rally in Paris.
While leaders from Europe, the Middle East and Africa linked arms for Sunday's march through the boulevards of Paris, the United States was represented by its ambassador to France. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris for security meetings but did not attend the march.
"It's fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. 

Barack Obama.... making America look like idiots since 1997.

ITEM: So the mighty Boko Haram, capable of kidnapping unarmed civilians and defeating what passes for a military in Nigeria, got clobbered when they tried to take their game to Cameroon:

Issa Tchiroma, Cameroon's communication minister and government spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that between 200 and 300 Boko Haram fighters had been killed in the attack.

And the reason that so many of these big brave Muslim extremists got killed?

Sources said Kolofata is on a hill, which gave Cameroonian troops strategic advantage over Boko Haram fighters.

So let's put this into perspective:  Not bright enough NOT to attack a heavily guarded position uphill from themselves... but still takes Nigeria to the mat on a daily basis...

ITEM:  My favorite item of the show- a new twist on an old story:

A woman has been arrested after she reportedly chopped off her cheating husband's penis twice.
According to The Mirror, the woman flew into a rage once she discovered her 32-year-old husband, father of five children, had been having an affair.
Fan Lung reportedly used his wife's phone to send photos to his mistress, 21-year-old Zhang Hung, in the city of Shangqiu.
But his wife Feng, 30, found the image and in a rage grabbed the scissors and stormed into the room where he was sleeping, and attacked him.
He was taken to hospital and emergency surgery was performed - but the wife returned to the hospital and cut it off for a second time, reportedly throwing it out of the window where it was lost.

According to The Mirror, a hospital spokesman said: "The first we were aware of what happened was when someone came into the reception area to say a naked man was beating up a woman outside the hospital.
"Staff rushed out to see what was happening and found the patient with blood streaming down his legs hitting the woman.
"He was stopped and the woman was taken in for treatment, and then we discovered she had chopped his penis off again."
Doctors and police officers combed the area outside but failed to find the man’s missing member. They believed it may have been taken by a stray dog or cat.

For the record, this is SO not funny.

ITEM: So what do you do when you're passed-out drunk and need to get home to your 7-y-o son in China?

...why, you call that son to drive your three-wheeler 12 miles down busy streets to come pick you up!

For SOME reason, this incident has gone viral in China as the qualifications of the father (seen here passed out with his feet up in the wagon) to be a father are hotly debated.  But before you condemn him TOO badly, at least he had a designated driver...

ITEM: And now, a good story...

Russian stray cat is being hailed as a hero for using her warm snuggles to save the life of a baby abandoned in a cardboard box near Moscow.
Residents of an apartment building in the city of Obninsk said they heard the cat, dubbed Masha by residents who leave her food, meowing for help Jan. 10 near the building's entrance and they followed the sound to find the feline keeping a baby warm in a cardboard box.

The residents said the baby had apparently been abandoned next to the building's entrance in the box with some food and diapers.

Paramedics said the cat attempted to get into the ambulance with the baby, but was forced to stay behind. Witnesses said Masha seemed to be waiting at the side of the road to see if the vehicle was going to return with the child.

Police said they are working to identify the infant's parents.

Residents said they are rewarding Masha for her heroic deed by showering her in treats and her favorite foods.

Three cheers for Masha!

ITEM:  Some good animals, some bad animals...

RAMAT GAN, Israel, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- An Israeli zoo said it has fired a security guard whose on-the-job snooze was blamed for the on-camera escape of three female rhinos.
The Ramat Gan Safari park near Tel Aviv said the guard fell asleep while manning an open side gate at the facility and the three female rhinos, named Rihanna, Keren Peles and Karnabella, were able to sneak past him.

Passersby alerted police to the rhino escape and the three animals were recorded by a CCTV camera being chased by a zoo manager.

ITEM:  And from Chicago, home of our beloved President...

CHICAGO, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A Chicago neighborhood group is defending its decision to give a neighborhood beautification award to a strip club, saying the winner was voted on by residents.
The Albany Park Neighbors group said the Block Star Award -- described on its website as a prize for "local businesses who are going above and beyond in the fight against litter, while also providing great customer service and going the extra mile for our community" -- was given to the Admiral Theatre after voting by neighborhood residents using its Facebook group.

Now I have known to appreciate the beauty of strip clubs in the past... I would have never thought of giving one a neighborhood award.  Certain employees, maybe...

...but not the bouncer, lol...

ITEM: In oh-so-progressive Sweden, sex ed for kids has taken a turn... and they are fighting a battle with YouTube censors to show it:

"Snoppen och snippan," from SVT public television kids' show Bacillakuten, features cartoon penises and vaginas bopping along to a song featuring lyrics such as, "Here comes the penis at full pace," and "the vagina is cool, you better believe it, even on an old lady. It just sits there so elegantly."

I was going to just do the story, but the cartoon is just TOO funny....

ITEM:  And now we know how the dinosaurs really went extinct- and it wasn't beavers or squirrels:

COVENTRY, England, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Firefighters in Britain said they extinguished a warehouse blaze blamed for wiping out a herd of eight animatronic dinosaurs.
The West Midlands Fire Service said crews responded Friday morning to a fire at the Besp-Oak furniture company's warehouse in Coventry, England, and they discovered a group of eight 9-foot-tall animatronic dinosaurs, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex, were burned down to their metal framework when a lamp fell from the ceiling and ignited the blaze.

ITEM:Oh, those enterprising entrepreneurs of Costa Rica...

Police in Guapiles, Costa Rica, are stumped at how a woman was able to steal a plasma TV set by sticking it up her skirt.

The shocking theft occurred two months ago, but is being made public in hopes of finding the robber, ABC Chicago reports.

Surveillance video shows two unidentified females walking into an unnamed store. One of the women is wearing a flowing skirt and somehow is able to tuck a flat screen television between her legs.

...And, if you watch the video,, you'll see she manages a damn fine job walking out with something that big between her legs!  Really makes one wonder...

ITEM:  Thirsty?

An Icelandic micro-brewery has announced its new beer will be flavoured with smoked whales' testicles, it's been reported.

The Stedji brewery's Hvalur 2 beer is being sold for a limited period to mark the Icelandic midwinter month of Thorri, the Visir website reports. The testicles of fin whales - which are an endangered species - are cured "according to an old, Icelandic tradition" before being salted and smoked, with one being used per brewing. "We want to create a true Thorri atmosphere, and therefore we decided to use smoked testicles from fin whales for flavouring the beer," says Dagbjartur Ariliusson, a co-owner of the brewery. "We put a lot of effort into this and it's a long process.

Well, I'm sure it would be better than Hamms was, but...

ITEM:  And what would MWN be without a slap at what passes for science these days?

The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.
In a press release on Friday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.
The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.

But by God... er, by golly, it's a record!!!!

The article goes on to mention that despite the scientists' reluctance to admit it, the whole schemology (another new MWN word?) is flawed:

Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Forum, said ‘there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1997’ – because the entire increase over this period was smaller than the error margin.

Thank you to the Daily Mail for letting us in on what the inteligencia wouldn't.  SAL-UTE!

ITEM:  Finally, reason #1,267 on why you should be glad you don't live in Mother Russia:

A Russian politician has irked residents in St Petersburg by saying people should clear snow from the city's streets themselves, it's reported.

Deputy Governor Igor Albin made the comment after city authorities were criticised for not keeping the roads clear following heavy snow, the Meduza news website reports. One complaint came from magazine editor Pavel Smolyak, who says in a Facebook post that he slipped and almost fell over because the road hadn't been cleared. But there isn't much sympathy from Mr Albin, a member of the city's development and maintenance committees, who describes dependence on government services as "the disease of modern Russian society". People expect help to "do their dishes, maintain the yard, raise their children, protect them from foreign aggressors, and put things in order in their country and their home", he says. Mr Albin suggests that instead of watching television, people should grab a shovel and get digging, adding that physical activity is "good for one's health and helps to order one's thoughts".

For pity's sake, don't let Mayor Tom Henry read this!!!!

"Why, we could save thousands of dollars in Bobby G.'s neighborhood alone... oh, wait, we already do!"

Monday, January 19, 2015

the fairness doctrine

I wasn't going to go with this story- I was planning a Martin World News and not an Op-Ed.  But someone at work brought this story up, and I've given the whole thing some careful thought.

On the 5th of January, Arroyo Valley High (California) girls' basketball team lined up to play Bloomington.  When the smoke cleared, the scoreboard read 161-2 in favor of Arroyo- and a few days later, their coach was suspended for running up the score.  The Bloomington coach complained that Arroyo ran a full-court press the entire first half.  The Arroyo coach said he never played the starters in the second half.

First half, 104-1.
Second half (without the starters and the press) 57-1.

So, who is the real a-hole here?

Well, I did a little digging.  Bloomington is playing in division 3- out of six divisions in CA.  Their average score against their opponents- NOT including the Arroyo game- is 65-11.  Average.  They have scored in single digits in 7 of 14 games, gave up over 100 points three times, and the only time that they have been beat by LESS than 40 points was a 51-13 loss to Ontario the very next night.

So tell me this- why division three?  Why not division six, where they might play a game that ends in the same zip code?  And why, if it was SO terrible that Arroyo beat them by 159, why do their coach and Athletic Director allow them to play cannon fodder to teams so much better than they?

Here's what I'm getting at.  The coach of Arroyo got suspended because his team "ran up the score", "damaging the other team's self esteem".  Just like in our schools, where we are about to lose the A-B-C-D-F system that served us so well because getting a c, d, or f might damage little Billy's self esteem.  Everyone should feel "equal", no matter what the truth is.

My daughter, God love'r, struggled in school.  Mainly do to application.  Why try hard when you can follow in Mom's footsteps- work only when absolutely necessary, mooch off a gullible boyfriend.  She saw it work fine for Mom, and she was smart enough to do it her way.  So what if she got d's and f's in class after class, she got passed on anyway- despite the best efforts of teachers that genuinely tried to help her- and out through high school, if sans diploma, just like Mom.  If the school had made the grade worth something, it might have made a difference.  And it might not have.

Because, let's face it, self-esteem is NOT built in school.  It is built at home, by a child's parents.  And here is where I will take my fair share of blame.  Shenan struggled in a lot of areas, and her struggles combined with our divorce most likely did a real number on her self esteem, as her Mom's parentage did one on her work ethic.  (So why did you marry her mom?  Well, that's a whole other story, best summed up with the words "Chris", "idiot", and "was".  Maybe I'll tell it later.  But it's pretty far afield of the subject here.)

But what Shenan is a good example of, is accomplishment by the numbers doesn't have anything to do with being a sweet, loving person, which she is.  Now, let's veer back to the original story.  And we left it with a question- if the powers that be at Bloomington HS and the California HSAA are so concerned about the girls at Bloomington, why then not let them play at a level they could be competitive in?  Why blame the coaches of other teams good enough to beat them with three girls sitting in lawn chairs, when it's BLOOMINGTON picking their schedule?  I can't prove it, but I have an Idea...

On the second week of the college football season just past, #9 at the time Texas A&M whalloped FCS lightweight Lamar 73-3.  That same day, another SEC power- Arkansas- destroyed another team that had trouble winning against teams their own size, Nichols State, 73-7.  Why on earth would either of these small, weak schools, play SEC powerhouses- at the SEC teams home field?  Because the payout they get from playing one game in a packed FBS stadium pays for their entire season.  Never mind that their players' "self-esteem" is damaged, by golly, they'll have new band uniforms next year. (Parenthetically, Nicholls State also lost to Lamar 63-21.  As Huey Lewis said, "Sometimes, bad is bad..."

So tell me, what payout does Bloomington get for being the worst team in state history?  For being in the top half of the state's divisions, and being ranked 1271 out of 1279?  Maybe the Arroyo coach shoulda/coulda backed off... but I'd like to hear Bloomington administration tell us why they were playing so far out of their weight class in the first damn place.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Time Machine week 8

This week, we open up the door and it's January 16th, 1976- a day which was apparently only notable for two things- the premiere of the Donny and Marie show, and the release of Frampton Comes Alive.  That is, if you believe History Orb and Dates In History... but when you check the details, IMDB and Wikipedia tells us that Donnie And Marie premiered one week later, on the 23rd, and Wiki also tells us the Frampton lp was released on the 6th, not the 16th.  So what's going on today?  Your guess is as good as mine.

And if you Google images "Donnie and Marie Peter Frampton" you get Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren.  Neat, huh?

Anyway, welcome to this week's Time Machine, a week in which Cashbox had no real notable debuts (other than Rod Stewart's first attempt at This Old Heart Of Mine).  This week, we kick off  the fifty song extravaganza that is the long-threatened Great Nineties Countdown;  a group first mentioned on Time Machine a few years back with a rather unpleasant name; a six degrees that starts with Norro Wilson (?) and ends right where it did last week- with Neil Sedaka!  How's he manage that again?

Let's see that bozo Wayne Newton do THAT!

So let's kick the party off with our panel for this week!  KBEQ, Kansas City; WRKO, Boston- a repeat panelist; KKLS, Rapid City; WIXY, Cleveland;  Charleston, SC's WTMA; WGNG Pawtucket; KROY Sacramento (a city I am getting seriously tired of getting busted by spellcheck on); WRAW, Reading PA; WAVZ, our friends in New Haven CT; Sounding like a drug store station, WCVS, Springfield, IL;  semi-regulars KIKX, Tuscon; and finally, another semi-regular, CHUM, Toronto.  This was a real consensus week, as seven stations had the same #1 (as did Cashbox), and only 5 tunes were #1s out of the 12, including Charleston's pick, Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing.  And with 7 #1s, our winner this week was the biggest runaway we've had yet- claiming a 48-26 win over #2!  So let's look at the also rans other members of the top 4 this week.

Fourth, with the #1 vote from Tuscon, The Ohio Payers with Love Rollercoaster...
Third, with the top dog from Pawtucket, Diana Ross with the Theme From Mahogany...
Second, with the #1s from Cleveland and Springfield, Barry Manilow and I Write The Songs...

And the numbero uno... well you know how this works by now.

No, the above picture isn't an editorial comment.  It is road apples, which was the name a Cambridge MA band took for itself, the Road Apples.  Back on week 23 of the original Time Machine (AKA October 1, 2010), I mentioned this group in passing as they made their debut on the Cashbox Charts that week in 1975.  This week in '76, they held the #3 spot in Boston, the #6 slot in Pawtucket, and the #27 position in Reading with this song:

For whatever reason, their career on Cashbox was substantially less than that on Billboard;  they would peak this week at 48, while over on BB they were spending a second and last week at #35.  Led by a gentleman named Flip Morse (who was still recording as late as 2011), they would make a Partners For The Americas trip to Latin America... but just never catch on from there.  If you like old Dr Hook, you'll like this... I hope.

Due to my extreme (re-) tardiness, I am getting the shuffle top ten as I type this... and I'll be darned if Neil Sedaka doesn't show up there, too!

AHEM:  As you know, I try to fit the six degrees to the highest charting song on Cashbox for the week that NONE of the panelists had in the top 5.  And this week's journey starts with country songwriter Norro Wilson.  Norro didn't have scads of luck doing his own tunes - in 1970 he hit his peak on the C&W charts with Do It To Someone You Love at #20, one of only three trips to the Country top 40 in ten charting attempts.  But one of his co-writes was Charlie Rich's crossover hit The Most Beautiful Girl In The World.  The co-writer with him on that effort was a name we hit on just recently- Billy Sherrill.  He had a long partnership with Rich (as well as his more famous partnership with George Jones), and was a producer as well, producing among others (and including the two gentlemen mentioned before) Andy Williams, on an lp titled You Lay So Easy On My Mind.  Andy's only hit off that lp was a song called Another Lonely Song, which hit the easy listening charts (and went to #1 country for Tammy Wynette).

Just so you don't think bringing up Mr. Williams is such a stretch, I bring up another song covered by both Charlie Rich and Andy- Since I Fell For You, which Rich took to #10 country in 1975-6.  The original hit recording of this song was by a gentleman named Lenny Welch, who took it to #4 in 1963.  And Lenny, in 1970, took a number one from the sixties, turning it's fast bubbly pace into a slow ballad, and hit #35 with it.  And five years later, the man who originally did that bubbly number one did it the Lenny Welch way... and was at #12 this week in 1976 with it.  And that would be... Neil Sedaka... and the song:  Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.  And that's how Neil gets the six degrees two weeks in a row.

And now... THE GREAT 90S COUNTDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I picked out my top 50 songs from the nineties, and I'm gonna share them with you five at a time until we hit spring #1.  Mind you, these were the days that 90% of my listening was alternative... and the count seems to have a handful of acts with a lot of hits, and a LOT of one-hit (or so) wonders.  So without further doo-doo, here are the first five:

50- R.E.M., The Great Beyond, from their Andy Kaufman tribute lp.  Peaked at 57 (11 Alternative) in 1999.

49- Fastball, The Way.  One of our favorite sing-along songs of all time.  #4 on the pop charts in 98.

48- Blues Traveller, The Run-Around.  Our local paper was using this as an example of Alt-rock before it even started playing on the radio. #8 in 1995.

47- Pearl Jam, Last Kiss.  I will have to tell you one day about the first time I heard this song.  It will likely be on a "reasons not to drink and drive" post.  #2 in 1999.

And closing out this week's five...

46- Better Than Ezra, In The Blood.  There is no doubt who my favorite 90's act was.  These guys come in a very close second.


And that brings us to our finally finished shuffle top ten!

Coming in at #10, one of the many songs inspired by the movie Breakfast At Tiffany's- Bread with Aubrey.  It hit 15 in 1973, and is one of my big tear-jerkers, ever since it got woven into a plotline on Guiding Light back in the day.

At number 9, a tune from The Supremes, vol. 2- which I liked so much better than the Diana Ross Supremes- Nathan Jones.  It was a #16 peaker in 1971.

Cowboy up at #8- Waylon and Willie with their 1978 crossover (#1 C&W, #42 pop), Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.

At #7, a tune that just missed the top ten on BB, but made it on CB and in Canada- again from 1978, Steely Dan with Peg.

Next, a song from the 90's a song I used to do at karaoke all the time- but just couldn't quite squeeze into the Great 90's Countdown top 50- Bush with a #30 pop/#1 Alt hit from 1995, Comedown.  Number #6 on the shuffle this week.

I fell in love with Roseanne Cash when her lp Rhythm And Romance hit the air waves.  Her first two hits therefrom, I knew, somehow, were her after but three notes.  The first of that pair, her country #1 from 1985, is I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me, and it sits at #5 on the shuffle countdown.

And at #4 is where Mr. Sedaka comes in.  His original of the tune popularized by the Captain and Tennille, Love Will Keep Us Together, came up here.  It first was released stateside on the 1974 lp Sedaka's Back.

At #3 was the number one song about a month before my birth in 1962 (and the start of the Martin Era), Shelley Fabres and Johnny Angel.

In the runner up song, what would have been my favorite by Tommy James and the Shondells, had I not heard the live version of Getting Together, and that would be Sweet Cherry Wine.  It peaked at #7 in 1969.

And that brings us to our #1s!  Survey says...

CW McCall and Convoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, shuffle says...

Well shuffle says a song that I first heard very recently on Robin's Battle Of The Bands post from a few weeks back.  I fell in love with this song right off the bat, and it takes the top spot as this week's shuffle #1.  Ladies and gentlemen...

...Tim McGraw with When The Stars Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tim hit #4 with this tune in 2006 on the country charts, which not only puts us at 3 country tunes in the shuffle top ten, but also makes it one of the most recent songs on my shuffle, lol!  Tune in again next week, kids, as this is a wrap...