Is it bad luck?

I have long been fascinated with all things related to the calendar. Last February, I received three biweekly paychecks, a phenomenon that’s possible only once in about every 56 years.

This year, we’re having two Friday the 13ths in a row, in February and March. This only happen when February 1 is on a Sunday AND February is NOT a leap year, or about thrice every 28 years. (I say “about” because the non-leap year century marks such as 1900 and 2100 throw off the calculation.)

I was born in 1953, which was one of those years. Subsequent paired Friday the 13th years were in 1959, 1970, 1981, 1987, and 1998. The next ones will be in 2015, 2026, 2037, 2043, and 2054, when I’d be 101.

This means my birthday will be on a Saturday, same as my birth day. (Hey, hearts players, game at my house on that day.) This would be more special had I not made the decision years ago to take off my birthday from work anyway. So this year, I’ll take off the day before my birthday and get a massage.

The one downside is that I was unable to go to the annual MidWinter’s party in the MidHudson of New York State, about an hour and a half south of Albany. Usually, the first Saturday of February is followed by the first Sunday of the month, and I can blow off that one church service. However, this year, the first Saturday is followed by the SECOND Sunday, which begins our church’s Black History Month celebration.

In fact, I was leading the conversation in the Adult Education class this past Sunday, using that NAACP timeline as a starting point. Conversations about whether to show the D.W. Griffith movie “Birth of a Nation” or how public education has become resegregated in the decades after Brown vs. Board of Education ensued.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty lucky today, all things considered.
I’m Lucky by Joan Armatrading, from the Walk Under Ladders album

I’m lucky
I’m lucky
I don’t need a bracelet
No salt
For my shoulder
I don’t own a rabbit
No clover
No heather
No wonder
I’m lucky

Perplexing Pixilation Problem

So what did I do on my birthday? I got up early to finish – finally!- burning some CDs that I promised to the folks involved with Lefty Brown’s Mixed Bag. It was NOT for lack of trying. It seemed as though iTunes is the culprit, for me and a co-worker at least. Even though it has this lovely way to put together collections, it appears that stuff I copy from iTunes, including things I didn’t even BUY on iTunes, has a tendency to allow the first nine songs or so to track, and then not so much after that. So, I took said disc with nine seemingly OK songs and rerecorded said tunes into another program, then made a disc of them from a third program. (I’m exhausted just thinking about this.) Problem was, those nine already recorded songs, when copied onto a disc, tended to fade in and out. Thus, I had to rip the nine songs individually AGAIN. The good news is that this actually seemed to work. Finally.

My baby sister and her daughter called at 6:15 to wish me HB (talked with my other sister later in the day), then Carol took Lydia to day care so I could have a few extra minutes playing racquetball. Came home, ate, made a list.

I hate making lists.

I hate making lists, because, inevitably, the list is longer than the time allotted for the things on the list. I will tell you that reading the newspapers, working on the blog, putting the CDs away that I’ve played recently (“recently” being since late January), or even emptying the dishwasher did not happen. Didn’t even put “going to the movies”, my traditional birthday item, on the list.

Looked at a few blogs, including the one of my good buddy Fred Hembeck, who has the Greens Goblin, Lantern, and Arrow, plus the Martian Manhunter wishing me an HB; the Hulk had another agenda. (Fred might be interested in reading the March 6 post on why “24” uses real phone numbers on the show.)

I did print out lists for the mixed CD, no small feat, since the printer had been spooling out gibberish for a couple weeks. After taking myself to lunch at an Indian restaurant, I stood in a very s-l-o-w line and finally MAIL these CDs to the participants (and also to the aforementioned Mr. Hembeck). Additionally, I sent one of them to the guy who sent me this link to the MidWinter’s event I missed this year because it was right after Lydia’s surgery:

(Not to be confused with this or this, though the process is similar.)

That guy, BTW, also, walked me through the incredibly convoluted process of burning these CDs in the first place, on Saturday. Thanks, effendi! He, Fred, and Lefty Brown also got a copy of this book. (If anyone else would like a copy, please let me know, and I’ll send you one.)

After the P.O., I went to the grocery store to get some food for the hearts card party I’m having on Sunday – call if you want to come. The card party is really what I put on my birthday wish list.

I have all this new music from these folks I’ve never met that I’m supposed to rank by Sunday, which is really difficult. I will say that Lefty’s disc is in second place, of the ones I’ve heard so far, which is all that I received before yesterday.

Watched a couple news programs. Had dinner with wife and daughter, with carrot cake for birthday dessert. Lydia sang happy birthday to me thrice on my birthday: in the morning, when she came home, and with the cake.

I did get presents: headphones (the only other thing I asked for – my old ones broke), a couple racquetball gloves, and a pass to the Spectrum movie theater. My wife was mock upset when I told her I might take my girlfriend to the movies until I noted that SHE was my girlfriend.

All in all, not the birthday I planned, but mostly pretty OK.

On the other hand, the celebration continued the next day, with a half dozen birthday messages on my voice mail and work e-mail, plus a couple cards in the mail. Most special, the drawing that Mr. Hembeck featured on his blog for March 7 was in a package at my desk when I got to work! Not only that, some, actually a LOT of, tunes were also included. Huzzah!


Songs I Used To Love QUESTIONS

Normally, over this weekend, I’d be going to a MidWinter’s celebration. However, since Lydia’s still recovering and Carol’s at a meeting all day, I have to satisfy myself by reading about it.
I was in a friend’s car recently, when “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison came on. I found myself mildly annoyed. What was THAT all about? I used to LOVE that song; now it irritates me.

So that’s the first question: what songs that you used to love now bug you because you’ve heard them too much on the radio, on on TV commercials (Like a Rock – Bob Seger), or whatnot?

Probably the #1 song is Yesterday by the Beatles. Why, oh why, are there TWO versions of it not very far apart from each other on Anthology 2? The thing that doesn’t help is that the simple song is covered so often. I have versions by the Supremes, Ray Charles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, David Essex, En Vogue, Boyz II Men, Billy Dean, and no doubt others, which is at least eight versions too many.

And I’m not alone: one of my co-workers pegged not only the song formerly known as Scrambled Eggs, but also Hey Jude and Let It Be. While I don’t share the sentiment about the latter two songs, I certainly can understand it.

And the second question is similar: what songs (or whole oeuvre of an artist) are unlistenable now because of affairs of the heart? I understand that, for heterosexual males, Joni Mitchell seems to be a great offender.

For this category, there isn’t anything that I won’t play, but there are songs that may make me melancholy:
Harvest Moon-Neil Young
Cryin’-Roy Orbison with k.d. lang
Gone Away-Roberta Flack
First Night Alone without You-Jane Olivor
Remove This Doubt-Supremes
Stay with Me-Lorraine Ellison
Sweet Bitter Love-Aretha Franklin
Have a Little Faith in Me-John Hiatt
and a good portion of Hasten Down the Wind album by Linda Ronstadt

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