Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

There has been an annual Tulip Festival in Albany on Mother’s Day weekend for decades in Washington Park in Albany. If I go these days, it’s always been on Saturday, because Sunday involved us driving to somewhere south of here to have dinner with my various in-laws.

But THIS year, my parents-in-law were in Florida that weekend, and since the Saturday weather was pretty rotten, we went after church. We listened to some music; Radio Disney’s version of White Room was OK instrumentally, but not so much with the teenage female vocalist. We ate some food, went to some vendors.

How the city gardener gets the various plants to usually come up at just the right time is impressive. My buddy Chuck Miller took some nifty photos of the flowers here and subsequently.

My favorite part is going to the activist ghetto, where the school district, some religious organizations, environmentalists, and more are set up. In November, New York State is going to vote on whether there shall be a constitutional convention. The NY Civil Liberties Union and others, such as the ad hoc No New York Convention.org against it, noting that the LAST time this was held, about 50 years ago, most of the people selected as delegates were sitting politicians. Plus the ideas they came up with were voted down by the voters.


We saw this scene after the Tulip Festival on the way back to the car, in a window on State Street in Albany, the photo taken by the Daughter. It made us wonder about the back story. Who put up the sign first, and was the second sign in response? Are these adjoining apartments, or posters in the same one?

Which reminded me: My friend Sarah and her husband Darin were recently interviewed as part of series on married couples with divergent political views. The producer was particularly interested in the incident in which she unfriended him on Facebook. “Better that way,” she says, and that is certainly true. Oddly, I’m still FB friends with him, but I usually stick with comments about minor league baseball player Tim Tebow.

From Billboard: “On December 16, [2016] Chubby Checker releases a newly-remixed physical version of his iconic hit, ‘The Twist,’ the Billboard Hot 100’s all-time No. 1. The update had arrived for digital purchase September 16, but now fans can own a hard copy of it.”

As all American pop music junkies should know, Chubby Checker’s version of the tune is the only one to go to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in two non-consecutive years. The writing credits are somewhat in dispute, as you can read in the Wikipedia, but certainly from within the group Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, based on other tunes.

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters “originally recorded a loose version of the song in a Florida studio for Vee-Jay Records in early 1958… They did not get around to recording the released version until November 11, 1958, when the Midnighters were in Cincinnati. Ballard thought ‘The Twist’ was the hit side, but King Records producer Henry Glover preferred the ballad ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, which he’d written himself.”

After the song became popular in Baltimore and Philadelphia, the song was destined for American Bandstand, but either Ballard was unavailable for the show (Wikipedia) OR, per Songfacts, “[AB host Dick] Clark loved the song but was wary of Ballard, who was known for raunchy songs like ‘Sexy Ways’ and ‘Work With Me, Annie.”

Clark looked for his own artist to break the song. He found a young man who was a chicken plucker and great impersonator. According to the Chubby Checker official site: “Ernest Evans was born in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, but grew up in South Philadelphia, where he lived with his parents and two brothers.”

Clark’s wife suggested that Evans use a variation on Fats Domino: Fats=Chubby Domino=Checker. “It was his version that raced up the charts. The cover was so convincing that when Hank Ballard first heard the song on the radio he thought it was him – ‘They cloned it’ were Hank’s words. Ballard was not bitter toward Checker or Clark when his version was left behind, especially since Ballard’s record company had no faith in the song. Since he was the songwriter, Ballard earned massive royalties when Checker’s version became a huge hit.”

“This started a dance craze that got so popular because it was so easy to do. Even the severely rhythm-challenged could do The Twist… This helped bridge a generation gap since both kids and adults could do it.

“In late 1961 and early 1962, the twist craze belatedly caught on in high society. Sightings of celebrities doing the dance made the song a hit with adults… This new interest… marked a major turning point for adult acceptance of rock and roll music.”

There were lots of other twist-related songs on the charts in the early ’60s, including “Let’s Twist Again” (#8) and “Twistin’ U.S.A.” (#68), both by Checker, before the re-released “The Twist” hit #1 on January 13, 1962 and stayed there for 2 weeks. It was replaced by “Peppermint Twist – Part I” by Joey Dee and The Starliters, which held the top spot for 3 weeks. Checker re-recorded his biggest hit numerous times.

In this interview: Checker said, “Before ‘The Twist,’ you danced in rhythm with the song. With ‘The Twist,’ suddenly you’re dancing apart from the beat, and not with your girl. Now, you see a girl across the floor that you’ve never seen before, you’re nodding your head, you’re seeing her dance … By the time the song is over … whew,” Checker says, chuckling at the song’s impact on not only the development of early rock ‘n’ roll and dance, but perhaps also on relations between the sexes ever since. Check out this podcast as well.

“The song has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress on March 21, 2013 for long-term preservation.”

Listen to The Twist:
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters (1959)
Chubby Checker on American Bandstand (1960)
The Fat Boys with Chubby Checker (1988)
Chubby Checker (2016)

For me, this graphic is mostly fiction. I mean, it has happened to me with songs, book passages, interesting news stories that people did not appreciate what I liked, or embraced what I loathed. But I recall someone named Arthur having some sort of law – what did he call it? – that says:

“Everything you love, someone else hates; everything you hate, someone else loves. So, relax and like what you like and forget about everyone else.”

Since I started blogging, I’ve given up the notion of “guilty pleasures”. It may be pleasure, but I don’t have the need to feel guilty. I may have swiped that idea from SamuraiFrog.

In fact, I steal a lot of ideas in this blog from other places, some so long ago I don’t remember. I had been linking to articles that I didn’t have enough of an angle/time/interest to write about them. I had been doing that twice a month. But two people I know In Real Life suggested that the posts were too long, though they’re no lengthier than my usual posts. Still, as a result of being out of sync from changing servers, I did it three times in April. I may do so thrice in May. Or twice. Or four times, I dunno.

All of this technical drama on the blog was frustrating because it’s not what interests me about blogging. I’m like the guy who likes driving but he doesn’t care to look under the hood. I’m the guy who is looking around to find the latch that opens the hood – “it must be here SOMEwhere.”

I have been actively trying to write shorter pieces that are still worth your time AND my interest. I have this SEO thingy that tells me that if I don’t hit 300 words, it won’t be as popular, or something that. Guess what? I don’t care.

Enough navel-gazing for now.


Online Privacy Guide for Journalists 2017

How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind

Race and education make a bigger difference in who you vote for than ever before

Voting Rate for the Non-Hispanic Black Population Dropped in the 2016 Presidential Election

John Lewis: “Get in the way”

vlogbrothers: Your Neighborhood, Your Life Expectancy

Cartoon: Freedom to be screwed, 2017 edition

Are we monsters?

Quora: Before Obamacare, when insurance companies denied people for pre-existing conditions, did that mean people who had them couldn’t get insurance? (The short answer is “yes”, over and over.)

Climate of Propaganda

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II; last 4 minutes are true about people on the Internet

The statement issued by 50 prominent Republican national security experts in August 2016 pointing out that a man who would not, under normal circumstances, ever be given a high-level security clearance was unfit to be President

#37 counsels #45

“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” – Dante

“Closer Look” with Seth Meyers, maybe the sharpest political comedy on TV these days

The 5 Worst Dressed Men on Capitol Hill

Narcissistic personality disorder

He is what he appears to be

Pence embodies what’s wrong with Washington

‘SNL’s’ Yuuuge Year

Danth’s Law is an Internet axiom which asserts that if a person has to insist that he or she has won an Internet argument, it is likely the said person has lost

Mark Evanier writes about palliative care for Carolyn Kelly

Mauno Koivisto, president who led Finland out of Soviet shadow, dies at 93

Steve Palermo, Umpire Whose Career Was Ended by a Bullet, Dies at 67

Internet Archive cited for Lifetime Achievement at the 21st Annual Webby Awards

See Old New York in Stunning Photos

You Use Algebra All The Time (Even If You Don’t Realize it)

Find Percentage With Percent Increase Online Calculator ; I’ve had to use this to explain a point this year

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice

Word of the week: An abseil (/ˈæbseɪl/ or /ˈɑːpzaɪl/; from German abseilen, meaning “to rope down”), also called a rappel after its French name, is a controlled descent of a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope. Climbers use this technique when a cliff or slope is too steep and/or dangerous to descend without protection. Pronounced AB-sale. As seen here.

The Mystery of the Mysterious Glass

Now I Know: The Self-Aware Conference Call Line and The Off-Color Golden Arches

The sandwich alignment chart

MUSIC

Walter O’Brien: The Man Who Never Returned by PETER DREIER and JIM VRABEL. “In 1949, the Boston People’s Artists wrote ‘MTA’ for a left-wing candidate. The song became a hit — the man behind it disappeared.”

Visions, by Jules Massenet

Baltimore – Audra McDonald

Coverville Cover Stories 1169: Badfinger and Tommy James & the Shondells and 1170: Talking Heads

Julie London singing Cry Me A River and…

The great songs: Time Is Tight by Booker T. & the M.G.’s

Meet the critic who panned ‘Sgt. Pepper’ then discovered his speaker was busted; he’s still not sorry

TheDowntown.church, Springfield, MO

There are a LOT of songs with counting in them, from Len Berry’s 1-2-3 and Feist’s 1234 to the Jackson Five’s ABC (“easy as 1, 2, 3”) and the Beatles’All Together Now or the end of You Never Give Me Your Money (“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, All good children go to heaven”). Here’s a Reddit post on the topic, and there are plenty more.

By odd coincidence, I played a couple songs in the category on the same day recently.

13 Question Method by Ry Cooder is a fairly obscure Chuck Berry song. The YouTube description says it was a Berry bootleg in 1957, then released as a legitimate track in 1961.

Count the Days (1-2-3-4-5-6-7), recorded by Gene Pitney, was written by Y. Williams, C. Fox, and B. O’Dell. Pitney’s take, released at the end of 1968, does not appear to have charted. However, a version from about a year earlier, by the brother-and-sister group Charlie and Inez Foxx, went to #17 R&B and #76 pop on the Billboard charts. The duo’s big hit was Mockingbird, later covered by James Taylor and Carly Simon.

I must admit being a sucker for a Beach Boys song in the genre, When I Grow Up (To Be A Man), that starts with age 14 and fades out at 31. It got to #9 in 1964.

Listen to:

13 Question Method (live) – Ry Cooder, with David Lindley
13 Question Method – Chuck Berry (1957)
13 Question Method – Chuck Berry (1961)

Count the Days (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) – Gene Pitney
(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days – Charlie and Inez Foxx

When I Grow Up (To Be A Man) – Beach Boys

1-2-3 – Len Berry

1234 – Feist
1234 – Feist, Sesame Street version

All Together Now – Paul McCartney (live in 2013 in Tokyo)

ABC – Jackson Five

1,2,3 Red Light – 1910 Fruitgum Company

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