July Ramblin’

When the swine flu – I’m sorry, the H1N1 virus – was first announced in the spring, I was feeling bit peevish about the pundits who seemed to think that the government – actually world governments – were making too much of the disease. Frankly, i think it was due to lack of understanding of the nomenclature. We don’t know what a Level 6 (pandemic, declared weeks ago) feels like. We understand gradations of temperature, the difference between a Category 1 and category 3 hurricane or a 3.6 earthquake vs. a 6.6. Anyway here’s John Berry’s 2009 WHITE PAPER ON NOVEL H1N1 (PDF). Barry wrote the book The Great Influenza about the 1918 flu epidemic: “Three of the preceding four pandemics, 1889, 1918, and 1957, show clear evidence of some fairly intense but sporadic initial local outbreaks scattered around the world.

“The novel H1N1 virus seems thus far to be following the pattern of those three pandemics, and it seems highly likely that it will return in full flower. If the virus is fully adapted to and efficient at infecting humans, this would occur soon, possibly during the influenza season in the southern hemisphere or possibly a few months later in the northern hemisphere. The 1918 and 1957 viruses both exploded in September and October in the northern hemisphere, even though this is not the influenza season.

“If the virus needs further adaptation to become fully efficient in infecting humans, that could be delayed, quite possibly a year or two later. It seems very unlikely that this virus will peter out.”
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Got this e-mail: Black Male Teachers – Do you know any Black males who are seniors in high school who want to go to college out of state for “FREE” ? Several Black Colleges are looking for future black male teachers and will send them to universities/colleges for 4 years FREE .

The ‘Call Me MISTER’ program is an effort to address the critical shortage of African American male teachers particularly among South Carolina ‘s lowest performing public schools . Program participants are selected from among under-served, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities…

Visit here for more details and the online application or call (800) 640-2657.

But if you GO to that page, you’ll ALSO read “Please read this memo regarding an email hoax that provides misinformation about our program.”
It has been brought to our attention that an erroneous e-mail, rife with inaccuracies and misinformation about the Call Me MISTER Program, is making its way around the country. Said e-mail makes such false claims as “South Carolina HBCUs offer FREE TUITION” and our program is for “African American MALES ONLY”, neither of which is true. While we do offer tuition assistance and book support, plus a small stipend to defray other associated costs of attending college, we DO NOT now offer, nor have we ever offered, a full scholarship.
Myths need to be debunked.
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Lean times in L.A. County leave no money for the dead. This is a story about more people opting for cremation. As someone heavily influence by Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death, I applaud the trend, even if it’s being done out of economic necessity.
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On a lighter note, from Yahoo! Food: 5 Summer Food Mysteries Solved. I KNEW the ice cream one to be true.
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My wife and her class saw the movie The Yes Men last weekend. “Shocking and funny,” she described it. as it turned out there was an article in the local paper about the movie’s follow-up, now playing on HBO and perhaps coming to a theater near you.
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Paul McCartney returns to the Ed Sullivan Theater as he appears on Letterman, 45 years after his first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Paul at Citi Field, NYC.
***Amusing and even educational. Church Advertising
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This video was made in the Antwerp, Belgium Central (Train) Station on the 23rd of March 2009. With no warning to the passengers passing through the station, at 08:00 am a recording of Julie Andrews singing ‘Do, Re, Mi’ began to play on the public address system.” As the bemused passengers watch in amazement, some 200 dancers begin to appear from the crowd and station entrances.
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A final goodbye for S. Palin, YouTube fodder from last year, but what they hey.

ROG

And Gordon

One of the very first albums I ever bought from the Capitol Record Club -11 albums for only one cent! (But read the fine print) was BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND USA: one side had two songs each from BEATLES, BEACH BOYS, and PETER & GORDON, the other side, 2 songs by NAT KING COLE and CILLA BLACK, plus “Tears and Roses” by AL MARTINO. I probably still have it upstairs in the attic.

The intriguing thing I discovered as I actually looked on the record’s label was that Lennon-McCartney were listed as composers not only of the Beatles’ songs, Can’t Buy Me Love and You Can’t Do That, but also of the songs of Peter & Gordon, A World Without Love and Nobody I Know. It took me a while to catch up on the Beatles’ trivia that Peter, the one with the glasses, was the brother of Paul’s girlfriend Jane Asher. Peter & Gordon recorded a number of Lennon/McCartney (really Macca) tunes such as I Don’t Want To See You Again and Women, attributed to Bernard Webb to see if the songs were moving because of the Beatles’ connection; based on its chart action, maybe they were.

Peter later became a prolific record producer for James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, among others.

But what of Gordon Waller after the 1968 breakup? According to Gordon’s website, he also stayed busy in the music business, with an extensive, if not commercially successful discography.

He also had opportunities to sing with his old mate from time to time. Gordon Waller died of cardiac arrest on July 17 at the age of 64. Peter writes:

Gordon played such a significant role in my life that losing him is hard to comprehend – let alone to tolerate.

He was my best friend at school almost half a century ago. He was not only my musical partner but played a key role in my conversion from only a snooty jazz fan to a true rock and roll believer as well. Without Gordon I would never have begun my career in the music business in the first place. Our professional years together in the sixties constitute a major part of my life and I have always treasured them.

We remained good friends (unusual for a duo!) even while we were pursuing entirely separate professional paths and I was so delighted that after a hiatus of almost forty years we ended up singing and performing together again more recently for the sheer exhilarating fun of it. We had a terrific time doing so.

Gordon remains one of my very favourite singers of all time and I am still so proud of the work that we did together. I am just a harmony guy and Gordon was the heart and soul of our duo.

I shall miss him in so many different ways. The idea that I shall never get to sing those songs with him again, that I shall never again be able to get annoyed when he interrupts me on stage or to laugh at his unpredictable sense of humour or even to admire his newest model train or his latest gardening effort is an unthinkable change in my life with which I have not even begun to come to terms.

I’d read on one of the sites that the duo was originally billed as Gordon & Peter. It’s tougher when you’re after the ampersand.

World Without Love:

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There was this old Shake ‘N Bake commercial – do they still make that stuff?– and this girl with a STRONG Southern accent says, “And I Haiped!” Which is supposed to be “helped”. Brian Ibbott’s recent Kinks Koverville, er Coverville was a topic I suggested in honor of Ray Davies’ 65th birthday last month. I also pointed out the Tom Jones version of Sunny afternoon, which he played to, so far, positive reaction, I’m surprised to note.
ROG

Macca and Ebert

It’s James Paul McCartney’s 67th birthday.

I continue to like about 50% of Macca’s output. Never really warmed to the Fireman album as I did Chaos and Creation. But I LOVED this bootl unauthorized recording of Paul doing Beatles songs someone sent me. Some are straight covers, but others, notably Yesterday and Hey Jude are just plain goofy; in the former, rabbits are mentioned.

There’s always one story in Beatlefan magazine that I treasure. The March/April 2009 edition is no exception. Bruce Spizer did a tribute to Alan Livingston. Don’t know who he was? He was the one who signed the Beatles to Capitol Records. The bare facts of his life are reflected on the Wikipedia page, but not his personality. As Livingston’s widow recalled, he was the one who recognized the group’s full potential and put the resources of Capitol Records behind the group. Here’s a different, less in-depth Livingston interview. But his career ran from Bozo to Sinatra and from Beatles to Star Wars; he was president of entertainment at 20th Century Fox when the movie was being developed. Livingston died on March 13, 2009 at the age of 91 and without him, you might not have heard of Paul McCartney.

It’s also Roger Joseph Ebert’s 67th birthday. I used to watch Ebert & Roeper religiously, and before that, Siskel & Ebert. Lately, I’ve been more interested in his non-film essays than his reviews. His recent essay about death is a prime example. Always engaging.

Happy birthday, Paul and Roger.
ROG

Songs That Move Me, 40-31

40. Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – the Supremes.
Much of Motown lived on the bottom, and this did too, but had lots of other elements, including a great vocal.

39. Got to Get You into My Life – the Beatles.
The Fabs get soulful. I’d play the (US) Revolver album once through this song, then, if my parents weren’t home, play the song again very loudly. This made Tomorrow Never Knows particularly noisy.
Feeling: hopeful.

38. Barabajagal – Donovan (With The Jeff Beck Group)
It’s jazzy, it rocks, it has those sexy female vocals.
Feeling: love IS hot.
HERE.

37. Hurt-Johnny Cash
If I included my feelings about the video, this would be even higher, maybe even Top 10. Still that insistent keyboard is quite affecting.
Feeling: sadness.
HERE or

36. Season Of Hollow Soul – k.d. lang.
Very sad, very autumnal song from her pop breakthrough album, Ingenue. Unfortunately, this anime video cuts off.
Feeling: hollow.

35. Church-Lyle Lovett.
I feel like I’ve BEEN to church after this. The second song from the CD named after the sixth, seventh, and eighth books of the Bible, Joshua Judges Ruth.
Feeling: righteous.
HERE.

34. Maybe I’m Amazed-Paul McCartney.
A song on the first solo LP as good as anything his old group did. the bridge and the end are especially strong.
Feeling: joyful.

33. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
Of course, there’s that quintessential opening hook. But it’s also the shared lead vocals, the oddly effective harmony, and the Blue Moon bridge.
Feeling: good.

32. ‘Til I Die – Beach Boys
While the verse and chorus structure is evocative, it’s the end part stating the title, and the vocals wrapped around it that is most moving.
Feeling: reflective.
HERE.

31. Can’t Get Next to You – the Temptations
After David Ruffin left the group, it was the wisdom of producer Norman Whitfield to cop the shared vocals motif from Sly Stone, to great effect.
Feeling: mind-blowing.

ROG

Macca’s Route 66

I saw this PETA ad in some magazine recently.

Made me at least think about my carnivore ways.

I love this old piece on Paul McCartney and Jack Kirby.

Paul’s still out there playing. Recently he did a benefit concert in Ukraine. One of the songs he sang in Ukraine, of course, was Back in the USSR. Here’s an interesting cover:

One of my favorite Paul songs with his first group:

Paul turns 66 today. Happy birthday.

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Willie Randolph was 86’d by the NY Mets. Yes, the team is better than the record, but I almost never favor in-season managerial replacements.
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I was watching ABC News last night, and the segment they showed in observation of Cyd Charisse’s passing happened to be this first piece I found on YouTube searching by her name, from about 50 seconds in, and running just over a minute. It also features some other dancer of note:

I remember seeing her well past her prime, probably on some awards program, and she STILL had great legs.

ROG