Before Motown artists Martha and the Vandellas made it big, they sang background vocals on several of Marvin Gaye’s hits. Martha Reeves worked as a Motown secretary. They experienced major success in the first half of the 1960s with Dancing in the Streets and their signature hit, Heat Wave.

Watchout!, released in 1966, is the fourth studio album and fifth album overall by the trio, and oddly the only one I own (present tense, in vinyl). The group at that point was Martha Reeves on lead vocals, Rosalind Ashford, and Betty Kelly, who replaced Annette Beard in 1963.

You can tell that the label had already decided I’m Ready for Love was going to be the hit, based on the different colored lettering on the record jacket. Jimmy Mack, though, was just about as big, and the one I remember more fondly. Both songs were written by the legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team, who also created hits for the Supremes and Four Tops, who would leave Motown shortly thereafter.

Still, my favorite song on the album was the non-single No More Tearstained Makeup, written by the incomparable William (Smokey) Robinson. It’s the second verse that really nailed me:

Like a storm my tears have rained
since your shirt was lipstick-stained
and the stains that it contained were not my color.
No sponge has quite the power
to absorb the constant shower
of the tears pancake and powder could never cover.
But today as I look in the mirror
I see things a whole lot clearer.

Elvis Costello is also a fan of the song.

Listen to No More Tearstained Makeup
original here or here
a slower version, not used here
someone’s extended play here
Marvelettes cover (1970) here

Listen to
I’m Ready for Love, #2 soul, #9 pop in 1966 here or here
Jimmy Mack, #1 soul, #10 pop in 1967 here or here

Even though she hasn’t been to our hometown of Binghamton, NY in over a decade, my sister Marcia has contributed mightily to the genealogy talk our cousin Lisa presented recently.

Lisa spoke at the Broome County Area History Conference on April 21 at the Bundy Museum. She came all the way from Washington, DC to introduce two families, one Black and one Jewish, which my wife, daughter and I attended.

As she wrote in the precis, our “second great grandfather, James A. Archer, a free Black man who, along with two other family members, fought in the Civil War. They survived and returned to Binghamton to raise families and start businesses.” In part because of other photos Marcia put online, Lisa was able to ascertain that the post-Civil War photo I’ve posted to this blog included not only James Archer, but the brothers of his wife, Harriet Bell Archer.

“In the late 1800’s the Archer family purchased a house on Maple Street, which became a hub of family activity for several generations to come.” That was the house my grandmother and mother grew up in.”

She also told about her great grandparents, Isaac and Sarah Berman, who were born in Latvia and Lithuania, emigrated, first to Denmark then to the US in 1913 and settled in Binghamton. Isaac “started an egg business that eventually turned into a trucking company that was the first to offer overnight service from the Triple Cities to Boston.

“Both families grew and in 1937, the two came together with the marriage of Ernest Archer Yates and Charlotte Berman, my grandparents, who faced their own challenges as an interracial couple.” Ernie was my grandma’s brother and Charlotte the third child of Isaac and Sarah.

This picture also came from Marcia’s collection, with Ernie and Charlotte together in the back row, my mother’s arm on Ernie’s shoulder. Given the presence of three of their four children, I peg the photo in 1945 or 1946. Someone in the audience knew Charlotte from her time in Binghamton before 1954, when she and the children moved to Queens, NYC after Ernie died unexpectedly.

When Lisa came to Binghamton, she had to take a detour off Front Street onto Gaines Street and pass another Archer property at 5 Gaines Street, where MY nuclear family lived in the 1950s and 1960s.

So Marcia, even though she was far away, was an important part of Lisa’s presentation. Happy birthday, baby sister.

As a guy who loves celebrating holidays, I must nevertheless admit that I had had no idea what Armed Forces Day was, distinct from Memorial Day and Veterans Day, though I saw it on my calendar each year. And I never even thought much about it until very recently.

From TimeAndDate:

“On August 31, 1949, Louis Johnson, who was the United States’ Secretary of Defense, announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The event stemmed from the armed forces’ unification under one department – the Department of Defense. The Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day too.”

Okay, so Memorial Day honors the war dead, and Veterans Day commemorates, well, military veterans.

“Armed Forces Day was a day for the military to show ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment to Americans. It was also a day to honor and acknowledge Americans in the armed forces. Parades, open houses, receptions and air shows were held at the inaugural Armed Forces Day.” It is celebrated on the third Saturday of May. It is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

Ah, so like that expensive parade scheduled in November that kind of remind me of the Soviet Union or North Korea? And how are we supposed to treat military contractors such as Halliburton, who made nearly $40 million from the Iraq war?

MilitaryInfo adds:

“Since Armed Forces Day is not a federal holiday, many military installations are available for public viewing for those wishing to take part in the celebration or to learn more about our country’s military. Some other ways to celebrate the special occasion include wearing red, white and blue; flying the American Flag, talking with or writing to a military member, donating to military-based organizations, or sending care packages for those serving overseas.”

About three dozen other countries have Armed Services Day, though not at the same time: June 30 in the United Kingdom, October 6 in Egypt. Here are some other dates.

Admittedly, I struggle with militarism, big time. I worry about what President Eisenhower, a former general, called the military industrial complex, “what Eisenhower called a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions… we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence… The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”


Change Can Happen Faster Than You Think

Sierra Club secures 24,000 pages of EPA emails, calls logs, and documents which expose the culture of corruption in and around Scott Pruitt

NYSUT congratulates Albany Med nurses on the decision to unionize

Waging Peace: Two Billboards Outside Albany, New York

Speaking in Code: Two phrases that no longer mean what they used to

Roy Cohn, the Original Donald Trump

America’s Word is Worthless

‘Project Trumpmore’ to Carve President’s Face into Melting Iceberg

Federal Employees Face Cuts To Retirement Benefits And Pay Freezes

Cartoon: Circular Sarah

What ‘Daily Show’ host Trevor Noah means by ‘the 5:30 curse’

The point at which the US politics firmly pivoted toward the Right

It’s A Toxic Myth That Celibacy Makes Men Violent

Monica Lewinsky: What We All Can Learn from My Disinvitation Debacle

Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World’s Largest

New Yorker cartoon: Late at night is my sacred time to catalog every single instance of when and how I am a terrible person

Is this the loneliest generation?

She was the first woman senator. Her term lasted exactly a day

Culture Cruise: ‘Homer’s Phobia’

Did Little Syria in Lower Manhattan Consist of Asian-Americans?

Their Ancestors Were on Opposite Sides of a Lynching. Now, They’re Friends

Free press: the future of Boulder, CO’s Daily Camera

The architecture of First Presbyterian Church in Albany, an article by Warren Roberts, who died this week, struck by two cars in Florida.

Science Marches On

Wait But Why: A thing happened while I was at the coffee shop

This Video is about Red-Eyed Tree Frogs? and How to Win

Ken Levine on the state of network TV

Internet Wading: The return

“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!”

Why Whales Got So Big

Gone to the dogs

Names list offers origins, statistics and popularity rankings for people names

Now I Know: The Color Changing Building (and Democracy Experiment) and The Accident and the Musical Savant and Why Dippin’ Dots Never Became the Ice Cream of the Future and When the NBA Doubled Its Money and I Can’t Believe It’s All Butter

Magnolias In The Park

Credit and Debt Management

The Best Coffee in Every State

MUSIC

Confounds the Science – parody of Sound of Silence

My Last Day Without You – Nicole Behari

Dire Straits’ “Sultans Of Swing” Played on the Gayageum, a Korean Instrument Dating Back to the 6th Century

Birdsong – Kina Grannis

I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You – Louis Armstrong

I’m Not in Love – Don’s Mobile Barbers (UK surf act)

Slow Turning – John Hiatt

Coverville: 1215: Cover Stories for Adele and Captain & Tennille and 1216: The Irving Berlin Cover Story

Uptown Funk- Big Daddy

When I’m Sixty-Four -MonaLisa Twins

The Hamilton Polka – The Casts of Hamilton

Black Water – some Doobie Brothers and the Playing for Change Band

Riley B King – Keb’ Mo’

In The Mood – Henhouse Five Plus Two

Beatle For 13 Days

Hit Parade: The B-Sides Edition

From https://www.etsy.com/listing/502738012/19th-anniversary-coffee-mug-6935-days

Like all good marriages, after 19 years, my wife and I have developed a division of labor. I know all the Cabinet secretaries in this administration, difficult because they’re so changeable. She knows what’s in our office secretary, amazing because I can’t find a damn thing.

I know all of the birthdays of the Beatles. She knows how much the mortgage payment is each month. (To be fair to me, the payment is made automatically from our bank account.)

I’m sure that I have inspired her interest in the areas of being aware of the news, of progressive causes, and the issue of inequity. She has pushed me to be more fiscally responsible; for good and ill, I wouldn’t own a house without her.

When went to see our investment adviser in 2017, she was excited and fascinated. Meanwhile, my eyed almost literally glazed over. But she helped point out that we were better off financially long term than I realized, hard to see when the day-to-day bills arrive.

This Blondie strip about housekeeping is absolutely true of her.

Sometimes, we get into that groove where one of us is talking and misspeaks, but the other one says, “Oh, I know what you mean.” This saves an inordinate amount of time.

We very seldom fight. I don’t know if that is a good thing or bad thing, but it is our modus operandi.

I see her family far more than I see mine. My nearest sister and niece are a thousand miles away and my parent are deceased. Meanwhile, her parents, a brother, sister-in-law and two nieces are less than 75 minutes from us. I used to be jealous, I suppose, but now I appreciate the comfort of the love from the in-laws, who are, to a person, generous of spirit.

I haven’t done the math precisely, but, at 19 years, I think we’ve been married longer than the length of time I went out with everyone else I ever dated, combined. Hmm.

When she goes out, she sometimes says “Don’t miss me too much.” I won’t as long as she come back.

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