Sunday Stealing: Catalyst quartet


Here’s another Sunday Stealing. But before that, I want to plug the Catalyst Quartet, a barbershop quartet in my area. I got to see the relatively new group perform on Friday at my church. They were cool even though the room was rather warm. You can see the program on their Facebook page for June 21, 2024. 

They recently qualified for this year’s international barbershop quartet competition in Cleveland, OH and they are thrilled. The competition is in the first week of July and between hotels, travel costs, and registration fees, the expenses are adding up. So they have a GoFundMe campaign.  

I should note that two of these guys are regulars in my church choir and a third has sung there occasionally.

Here are a couple of their tunes I found on YouTube from the 2023 NextGen Varsity Finals:

I’ll admit to be enough of a sucker for barbershop that I attended the Sweet Adelines competition in New York in April 1976.
Now back to our regular quiz.

1. Are you double-jointed?


2. Are you ticklish?

Decreasingly so.

3. Cookies, cakes, or donuts?

Well, it depends on the item at hand. Oatmeal raisin cookies. Carrot cake. Donuts are okay, but I liked them more as a kid. Specifically, Spaulding Krullers. The linked post is one of this blog’s most popular ever.

But the choices do not include the OBVIOUS answer, which is PIE. It is well documented that PIE rules. 

4. Did you go to prom? 

I went to two proms, as noted here

5. Do you bite your nails?

No, but I used to.

6. Do you enjoy dancing?

There are rare periods when I do. Most don’t even involve alcohol.

7. Do you forgive easily?

Yes. But I rarely forget. There are people I keep at arm’s length because they’ve so wounded me decades ago. I suppose forgetting involves apparent remorse on their part, and the people I’m thinking of unfortunately don’t appear to be capable of that.

8. Do you prefer to bathe or shower? 

I haven’t taken a bath in this millennium. 

9. Does your name have any special meaning? 

Roger means spearbearer. I think it’s Germanic. Green is a color, which I’m sure I wrote about several times, including here. I found a guy named Owen for his interpretation of his name.

10. Have you ever gone camping? 

Yes. Hated it.

I am a winner!

11. Have you ever won something?

Back in the days of calling into radio stations to win prizes, I had a pretty good track record. I’ve gotten several LPs; Hunky Dory by David Bowie, with Changes immediately comes to mind.

When I lived in NYC in 1977, I was the ninth caller with the phrase “99X is my radio station,” and I had to name the last song played which was She’s Gone by Hall and Oates; I received twice my age, so $48, and I’m pretty sure I took my sister Leslie to a New York Mets game.

In the early 1980s, I scored tickets to see Judy Collins in Glens Falls, NY. 

The only trophy I ever won was for racquetball.

I ‘ve been on a trivia team that once was victorious.   Oh, and there’s that JEOPARDY thing.

12. What did you last eat?

Red grapes.

13. What’s your longest relationship so far? 

The person I’ve known the longest is my sister Leslie. If we’re talking romantic relationship, that’d be my wife. Interestingly, both are born in July and are left-handed.

14. Have you ever been on a diet? 

I’m often on a diet. That’s why I’m eating grapes. 

15. Do you enjoy DIY or crafts?

Let’s say no. 

The 1954 #1 rhythm and blues hits

Guitar Slim

What was the top #1 1954 rhythm and blues hit? It depends on how you measure it.

Like in pop and country, there were charts for Best Sellers (BS), beginning in May  1948; JukeBox (JB), starting in January 1944; and Jockeys (JY- radio play) starting in December 1949. This is how one ended up with 71 weeks of #1 hits in 1954.

The record that spent the most time on one of these charts is The Things I Used To Do by Guitar Slim and his Band, with Ray Charles on the piano, at 14 weeks. But that’s 14 weeks JB but only 6 as BS, which arguably is more significant.

Hearts of Stone by The Charms spent nine weeks atop the BS list, more than any other recording but only two weeks each on JB and JY.

Honey Love by The Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter was #1 for eight weeks on both BS and JB. It was co-written by McPhatter. I’m sure I have this track on some Atlantic Records compilation. Per Wikipedia:  “According to Rolling Stone, the Drifters were the least stable of the great vocal groups, as they were low-paid musicians hired by George Treadwell, who owned the Drifters’ name from 1955, after McPhatter left. The Treadwell Drifters line has had 60 musicians, including several splinter groups by former Drifters members (not under Treadwell’s management). These groups are usually identified with a possessive credit such as ‘Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters,’ ‘Charlie Thomas’ Drifters.'”

You’ll Never Walk Alone by Roy Hamilton was #1 for eight weeks BS, five weeks JB. Yes, this is the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from Carousel. 

Oh What A Dream by Ruth Brown And Her Rhythmakers was #1 for eight weeks JB and four weeks BS.

More of ’54

Work With Me Annie by The Midnighters was #1 for seven weeks BS, four weeks JB.  Group member Hank Ballard wrote it. The record notes “Formerly known as The Royals.” They changed from the Four Falcons to the Royals and later to The Midnighters to avoid confusion with other groups’ names. You should read the Wikipedia page about the group, specifically about Dick Clark and the Twist, written by Ballard (and perhaps others).

The Charms, The Drifters, Hamilton, and The Midnighters might have outsold Guitar Slim.

Hurts Me To My Heart by Faye Adams was #1 for five weeks BS and JB.

Shake, Rattle, And Roll by Joe Turner and his Blues King was #1 for three weeks JB. This I have on multiple compilations.

Annie Had A Baby by The Midnighters was #1 for two weeks BS. Interestingly, it was NOT written by Hank Ballard.

You Upset Me Baby by B.B. “Blues Boy” King and His Orchestra was #1 for two weeks JB, written by King.

Mambo Baby by Ruth Brown And Her Rhythmakers was #1 for a single week in both BS and JB

I’ll Be True by Faye Adams with the Joe Morris Orchestra was #1 BS for a week

When these charts consolidated into one in October 1958, fans were much less confused.

Ask Roger Anything, especially this

blogging on a pizza

Yeah, I’m asking you to Ask Roger Anything because I do. But I’m seeking, especially this particular wrinkle. I would like you to list the names of bands or solo musicians, as many as you like. And I must name the ONE or maybe two or three favorite songs from the artist or group, and why.

I hope that your choices include folks from whom I know more than one song. Don’t ask me about Dexys Midnight Runners because I don’t know any other tunes, though I have heard some in the past.

It’s interesting to me that music, most of which I have heard before, is now more likely to make me emotional. Sometimes, it’s sadness but more often, it’s joy. One example is the end section of Surf’s Up by the Beach Boys, originally scheduled for the Smile album, but which appeared at the end of the Surf’s Up album.


I linked to a meme on Facebook. “Umberto Eco, who owned 50,000 books, had this to say about home libraries: ‘It is foolish to think that you have to read all the books you buy, as it is foolish to criticize those who buy more books than they will ever be able to read. It would be like saying that you should use all the cutlery or glasses or screwdrivers or drill bits you bought before buying new ones…

“‘If, for example, we consider books as medicine, we understand that it is good to have many at home rather than a few: when you want to feel better, then you go to the ‘medicine closet’ and choose a book. Not a random one, but the right book for that moment. That’s why you should always have a nutrition choice!'”
So you could make me cut my 2,000 or 3,000 books – I didn’t count them –  down to (ouch!) 100. What would I keep? You could ask that.
Or whatever 

There was an item on Quora recently. “Can you answer this question: ‘Can you explain the process of blogging on a pizza?'” I was tempted to respond that I tend to blog on media slightly more permanent than a pizza, but I didn’t know how helpful that would be.

But you can ask anything else as well. I will answer, more or less truthfully, in the next month.  Please make your requests in the comments section of this post, email me at rogerogreen (AT) Gmail (DOT) com, or contact me on Facebook. Heck, I’m still on Twitter as ersie, more out of inertia. (This is why I don’t call it whatever.) Always look for the duck.

Willie Mays

Rickwood Field

I have a postcard with this on the back which I bought in Cooperstown at least 30 years ago.

On May 6, 2006, I wrote:  “Back in 1994, I bought some beverage from McDonald’s and I ended up with a Willie Mays glass. It features a replica of his 1957 baseball card when he played with the New York Giants. That was the team’s last year at the Polo Grounds, before moving to San Francisco. (I still have the glass.)”

Not only did I have the glass, it was in the cabinet with other drinking glasses. I never used it. The rest of my family did. My wife used it on the morning of June 18 to drink water. When I learned that Willie Mays had died, I wrapped the glass in plastic and put it in a box to keep it. It could have broken any time during the previous quarter century, but only then did I know I needed to retire it.

I noted:  “When I went to Cooperstown one year, I got to buy this plastic figurine of Willie. I loved it. The arms even moved! Then the dog bit off one of his feet, and one of the arms (the one with the glove) fell off, but I kept it for a good long time anyway.”


I also wrote about him on May 6, 2011.  Suffice it to say,  Willie Mays was my favorite player. Not only that, I decided I loved San Francisco long before I had visited there, in large part because the Say Hey Kid played there.

The 1962 World Series was difficult for me because the New York Yankees, the parent team of the minor league Triplets of Binghamton, with Ford, Howard, Tresh, Richardson, Mantle, and ROGER Maris against the San Francisco Giants of Cepeda, McCovey, Davenport, Alou, Alou, Marichal, and of course, Mays.  It was a great Series, with the NYY winning Game 7, 1-0.

The loss pained him. So the World Series victories by the Giants in 2010, 2012, and 2014 reportedly thrilled him, especially the first one.  

The Globe

I could give you the stats. From the Boston Globe (paywall likely):

“Over 22 MLB seasons, virtually all with the New York/San Francisco Giants, Mays batted .301, hit 660 home runs, totaled 3,293 hits, scored more than 2,000 runs, and won 12 Gold Gloves. He was Rookie of the Year in 1951, twice was named the Most Valuable Player, and finished in the top 10 for the MVP 10 other times. His lightning sprint and over-the-shoulder grab of an apparent extra-base hit in the 1954 World Series remains the most celebrated defensive play in baseball history.

“He was voted into the Hall in 1979, his first year of eligibility, and in 1999 followed only Babe Ruth on The Sporting News’ list of the game’s top stars. (Statistician Bill James ranked him third, behind Ruth and Honus Wagner). The Giants retired his uniform number, 24, and set their AT&T Park in San Francisco on Willie Mays Plaza.” The center fielder had been baseball’s oldest living Hall of Famer. 

But it wasn’t just his enormous five-tools talent, but his effervescent personality. “For millions in the 1950s and ‘60s and after, the smiling ball player with the friendly, high-pitched voice was a signature athlete and showman during an era when baseball was still the signature pastime. Awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2015, Mays left his fans with countless memories.”

The Times

From the New York Times: “Mays captured the ardor of baseball fans at a time when Black players were still emerging in the major leagues and segregation remained untrammeled in his native South. He was revered in Black neighborhoods, especially in Harlem, where he played stickball with youngsters outside his apartment on St. Nicholas Place — not far from the Polo Grounds, where the Giants played — and he was treated like visiting royalty at the original Red Rooster, one of Harlem’s most popular restaurants in his day.”


I was afraid he was unwell when he declined to attend a Major League League game played in his native Alabama. “Rickwood Field is the oldest still-existing professional ballpark in the nation, and it’s best known for being the home of the Negro Leagues’ Birmingham Black Barons in the early-mid 20th century, a franchise that produced eventual Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Mule Suttles, and Willie Mays.”

Mays, just days before he died, revealed in “a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle that he would not be attending Thursday’s [i.e., today’s] contest.

“’I wish I could come out to Rickwood Field this week to be with you all and enjoy that field with my friends. Rickwood’s been part of my life for all of my life. Since I was a kid. It was just ‘around the corner there’ from Fairfield [the town where Mays went to high school], and it felt like it had been there forever. Like a church. The first big thing I ever put my mind to was to play at Rickwood Field. It wasn’t a dream. It was something I was going to do. I was going to work hard to be one of the Birmingham Black Barons and play ball at Rickwood Field. That’s what I did. It was my start. My first job. You never forget that. Rickwood Field is where I played my first home game, and playing there was IT — everything I wanted. “

I should end with this benediction, which I’ve used before. Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song) –  The Treniers 


Blue hydrangeas

States in Monopoly

I’m blaming the blue hydrangeas. We’ve had a sparse array of purple hydrangeas in the two dozen years I’ve lived at my current residence. This year’s crop of blue flowers is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, though they’ve since wilted under the broiling sun.

This must explain why I’ve felt less than great for the last several days. Despite taking allergy medication, my head is stuffed up, my throat is scratchy, and periodically, I experience a coughing jag.

This makes me tired all of the time. Saturday night, I went to bed about 8:30 p.m. I woke up a half dozen times. Then Sunday night, I was sitting in my office chair when I fell asleep, waking up at 2 a.m.

This was very disorientating. What should I do? I should go to bed, right? Or should I play Wordle?  Seriously? OK, I’m loopy enough to do that. I got an R in the second position, and an O not in the third position. For some reason, I thought of the late comedian Richard Pryor.

Wordle 1,094 2/6 ⬜🟩🟨⬜⬜AROSE 4  🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩PRIOR

Then I HAD to go to bed. I felt pretty dragged out on Monday; I didn’t even get dressed. I was required to go out on Tuesday for a library thing, but I may not leave the house the rest of the week; it’ll be 9F/33C or above.

My wife and I had installed the air conditioner on Saturday. It’s funny how no matter how many times we put it in, it’s as though we’d never done it before.

Off, eventually

Speaking of my spouse, she’s finally going to take eight weeks off this summer. But this, of course, means she has to get many things done beforehand. Also, she and her colleague had to work on student recognition and volunteer appreciation events in the past two weeks.

Our daughter and I also attended the latter event after we helped set up. There was a trivia contest and I joined a group of people I didn’t know. we started slowly, but after the middle round, we were in second place.

Then we were to name the four Pac-Man ghosts. I knew Blinky and that two others ended with inky. We guessed Pinky, though we missed Inky and Clyde, and were ahead by two.

The final question category was board gamers. we bet 79 of our 82 points. How many states appear on a Monopoly board? We guessed eight but fell short: VT, CT, VA, TN, NY, KY, IL, IN, NC, and PA Avenues plus the PA Railroad, for 11. The team in last place, with 40 points, bet it all and won. Everyone else bet it all and lost. we came in second place with our 3 points.  I should have started thinking geographically rather than alphabetically since none are west of the Mississippi River.

Outside the hall where the trivia event took place was a cute little bunny. A guy with a leaf blower, who almost certainly didn’t see the creature, terrified him.

I almost forgot: at some point in the last week, I got a second-degree burn on the side of my right hand. I had taken the lid off the boiling water, poured in the oatmeal, and attempted to set the timer when I grazed the hot lid.  

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