The way we sang off-key

Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus

Here’s more Mixed CD music. “The way we sang off-key” comes from one of the songs.

Hey Bartender– Floyd Dixon and I Don’t Know – Willie Mabon. I have these on an Atlantic Blues CD. I assume they made the cut because they both appear on that Blues Brothers album, Briefcase Full Of Blues, here and here, respectively. The label was implicitly saying that those songs came from somewhere.

Salt Peanuts – Gillespie/Parker/Powell. That would be Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and the rest of the Quintet, Max Roach, and Charlie Mingus. I almost certainly learned of the song from the Pointer Sisters’ version.

They Can’t Take That Away from Me – Sarah Vaughan. I LOVE the way she sings “off-key” intentionally off-key.

45 Men in a Telephone Booth – Four Top Hatters (1955). My father had a 45 of this song. When I saw this tune, and a few other songs, on a Cadence Records CD compilation, I HAD to buy it.

Walkin’ the Blues – Willie Dixon. The shot at the singer’s MIL sounds like something my father might have thought.

More than 98.6F

Fever – Little Willie John (#28 pop, #5 RB in 1956). I heard the Peggy Lee version (#8 in 1958)first.

Stranded in the Jungle – the Cadets (#15 in 1956). This is such a strange song.

Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (#6 in 1956). I always loved the bass vocal intro. It’s so iconic that Joni Mitchell covered the song on one of her live albums.

Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins (1956). This was a massive hit for him, #2 for four weeks. But he was in a severe car crash at the time and was unable to exploit the momentum. Lots of folks only associate the song with Elvis Presley.

April in Paris – Count Basie (1956). I’m a fan of the Pop Goes the Weasel version that signals the two short encores. I know someone who is irritated by it; so it goes.

April rambling: history on the road

The King of Canned Italian Food

Used with permission. and

History on the Road: After decades of reading, writing, and teaching about the American past, Ed Ayers sets out to see how that past is remembered in the places where it happened.

American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860. There’s more to every story, and the making of America is no exception. Visions for a more perfect union—often originating from the margins of society—continue to shape our nation in profound ways. These original voices are resurfaced in the book American Visions and brought to life through short films, original sources, and visits to the places where history unfolded.

The Deadliest Infectious Disease of All Time | Crash Course Lecture (Tuberculosis)

Will the World Central Kitchen attack change anything?

What Updates to OMB’s Race/Ethnicity Standards Mean for the Census Bureau. They included Using a Combined Race/Ethnicity Question and a New “Middle Eastern or North African” Category

Food Delivery Apps: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Today in book banning

djt: Stock Plummets (Literally) ft. Liz Dye and revealing his true abortion position: Lying to win elections and his mental health diagnosis was confirmed by a forensic psychiatrist. A Weekend Show Special

How a small change to U.S. quarters is part of a big trend in logo design. A subtle change on the front of the 2022 U.S. quarters mimics a shift in the design of corporate logos.

Basque has no known linguistic relatives.

Pop culture
The film fans who refuse to surrender to streaming: ‘One day you’ll barter bread for our DVDs’

TV Ratings: Men’s NCAA Basketball Final Falls Short of Women’s Title Game for First Time

Broadway Openings Crowd Theaters As Hopefuls Aim for Tony Nominations

Joe Flaherty, ‘SCTV’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ Actor, Dies at 82

Irwin and Fran (2013) | Full Documentary about comedian Irwin Corey and his wife of 70 years, Fran (Berman)

The King of Canned Italian Food, Chef Hector Boyardee, née Boiardi, and his spaghetti recipe

Carolyn by Mark Evanier

The tyranny of the algorithm: why every coffee shop looks the same

Now I Know

The Million Pound Cough and The Case of the Missing Space Tomatoes and The $0 Baseball Player With the Priceless Contract and The Birds That Didn’t Want to be Tracked and The Speeding Ticket That Sent a Judge to Jail and The King of the Solar Eclipse and But What Did Delaware?


Peter Sprague Plays Playground of the Gods featuring Rebecca Jade

English drummer Gerry Conway (1947-2024)

Mickey Guyton – Black Like Me

Come In From The Cold – Joni Mitchell

Coverville 1482: The Nick Lowe Cover Story II and 1483: The Richard Thompson Cover Story II

Linda Martell: Bad Case of the Blues

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Concerto

Brittney Spencer: I Got Time 

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Modern English

Rhiannon Giddens: Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind 

K-Chuck Radio: Pass it on the left-hand side…

Franz von Suppe’s Poet and Peasant Overture

Ann Peebles: I Can’t Stand The Rain 

Weird Al Yankovic: Polkas, Parodies, and the Power of Satire

Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, and Nicki Minaj are among a group of 200 artists who penned an open letter to tech and digital music companies, expressing their concerns over the use of AI in music

Beyoncé fans say songs missing from Cowboy Carter vinyl and CDs

The #1 hits of 1934

When Your Heart’s On Fire

Bing CrosbyThe #1 hits of 1934 were far less robust than five years earlier. But it wasn’t all bleak.

Per A Century of Pop Music by Joel Whitburn, the record market was boosted in “September 1934 with the American debut of the European company Decca Records, which startled the industry with an energetic promotional campaign built around its stable of top stars (led by Bing Crosby) and its affordable 35-cent record prices.”

You’ll note that 73 weeks are designated, a function of competing record charts. About half of these songs could be considered as part of the Great American Songbook.

June and January– Bing Crosby with Georgie Stoll and his Orchestra  (Decca), seven weeks at #1. From the Paramount picture Here Is My Heart

Love In Bloom – Bing Crosby with Irving Aaronson and his Commanders (Brunswick), six weeks at #1. From She Loves Me Not.

(When Your Heart’s On Fire) Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence (Victor), six weeks at #1, from the musical Roberta.

The Very Thought Of You – Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (Victor), five weeks at #1

I’ll String Along With You – Ted Fio Rito with Muzzy Marcellino (Brunswick), five weeks at #1, from Twenty Million Sweethearts.

Murder at the Vanities

Cocktails for Two – Duke Ellington (Victor), five weeks at #1. Instrumental. From the Paramount film Murder at the Vanities.

Little Dutch Mill – Bing Crosby (Brunswick), five weeks at #1

Let’s Fall In Love – Eddie Duchin with Lew Sherwood  (Victor), five weeks at #1. From the Columbia film Let’s Fall In Love.

I Saw Stars– Freddy Martin with Elmer Feldkamp (Brunswick), four weeks at #1

One Night Of Love – Grace Moore (Brunswick), four weeks at #1. From One Night In Love.

Stars Fell On Alabama – Guy Lombardo with Carmen Lombardo (Decca),  four weeks at #1

The Old Spinning Wheel – Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (Victor), three weeks at #1

Stay As Sweet As You Are – Jimmie Grier with Harry Foster (Brunswick), three weeks at #1

The Object Of My Affection – Jimmie Grier with Pinky Tomlin (Brunswick), two weeks at #1

Carioca – Enric Madriguera (Columbia), two weeks at #1. Instrumental. From the RKP picture Flying Down To Rio.

The Continental (You Kiss While You’re Dancing) – Leo Reisman (Brunswick), two weeks at #1. From the film Gay Divorcee.

My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii –  Ted Fio Rito with Muzzy Marcellino (Brunswick), one week at #1

Wagon Wheels – Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence (Victor), one week at #1. From the Broadway revue Ziegfeld Follies of 1934.

Moonglow – Benny Goodman (Columbia), one week at #1. Instrumental.

March rambling: censorship figures

Unsold Pilots

The American Library Association (ALA) released censorship figures from 2023. The data are alarming.

The 10th anniversary of the Foilies — awards given to public agencies responsible for the most egregious, absurd, and outrageous defiance of freedom of information requests.

Student Loans: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

FTC Releases Report on Grocery Supply Chain Disruptions: Pandemic-induced disruptions disproportionally impacted smaller firms, as larger companies sought to protect market share, power

Businesses Are Not as Agile as They Think

Jobs most impacted by AI

Bob Westphal died early this morning. Someone accurately wrote, “He was a wonderful person, an honest seeker, lover of poetry, storyteller, and friend.” He was also one of the Bible Guys until he moved away a few years ago and a member of the First Pres Choir from 2007 to 2009.

Jeanette Sharp,  Ph.D. died. From her obit:  “She developed macular degeneration at an early age, which eventually progressed to complete blindness. Despite this hurdle, she earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from SUNY Albany. She worked at Albany Medical Center, and held a private practice until her retirement in 2018.” I sang with her for several years at the Trinity UMC choir. We shared a birthday. I was quite fond of her.

Why the I’s have it. Is there a physiological reason why we say “tick tock” rather than “tock tick?” Why does the “i” get first position in all of our i/o word combinations (as in “ping pong”)? Writer and narrator Robert Krulwich explores the phenomenon in this video essay.

Are You Mispronouncing These U.S. City Names, such as Schenectady?

Doctors warned women of developing “bicycle face” from cycling in the 19th century.
Kelly gets rid of some open tabs
Bad proposed laws in New York State
Steven Sanders of Troy, a former member of the state Assembly for 28 years, writes in the Times Union: 
“Legislation being circulated in Albany would criminalize certain acts of protest. Such laws would be way out of bounds…

“According to a state Senate bill (S. 8646), anyone who obstructs public thoroughfares, even a single street or avenue, with an “intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm” could be charged with ‘aggravated disorderly conduct’ and jailed for up to a year. Under an Assembly proposal (A. 8951), persons engaged in similar conduct could be indicted as “domestic terrorists,”  a Class D felony that could be punishable by up to seven years behind bars. Those measures would surely intimidate individuals from exercising their First Amendment rights or participating in time-honored civil disobedience or protests. Criminalizing such actions would be a serious suppression of political speech.

“Under another measure before the Assembly (A. 8334), a person who disrupts a public meeting by being unruly or not obeying the rules set forth by the moderator could end up charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which could bring up to one year in jail. This kind of protest conduct is common, albeit bothersome. But who may or may not be arrested for such behavior is a totally subjective decision. Giving such wide discretion to police officials will inevitably lead to selective enforcement.”

Pop culture

“It’s a Silent Fire”: Decaying Digital Movie and TV Show Files Are a Hollywood Crisis. Industry pros sweat the possibility that many digital files will eventually become unusable — an archival tragedy reminiscent of the celluloid era.

Oscars’ Best Casting Award: Which Movies Would’ve Won Over 96 Years of Academy History?

M. Emmet Walsh, Actor in ‘Blood Simple,’ ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Jerk,’ ‘Slap Shot,’ ‘Brubaker’ and ‘Critters’ Dies at 88

Mark Evanier celebrated Unsold Pilots Week March 10-16, including these television one-offs: Stick Around (1977) with Andy Kaufman as a robot; Carol Channing Show (1966); Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe (1959) with Kurt Kasznar as Nero Wolfe and William Shatner as his sidekick, Archie Goodwin; Operation Greasepaint (1968) created by the comedy team of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster, it starred the comedy team of Jack Burns and Avery Schreiber;  Scared Stiff (1971), written and produced by Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson much in the vein of an old Abbott and Costello movie, starring Bob Denver and Warren Berlinger;  Dick Tracy (1967) by most of the folks who brought you the Batman TV, starring Ray MacDonnell; and Bozo the Clown (1954) with Gil Lamb

William Shatner on His Biggest ‘Star Trek’ Regret – and Why He Cried With Bezos

2024 ToC Champion Yogesh Raut | Inside Jeopardy!
Greg Hatcher: ‘And Friday’s Contestants Are …’
Up in the sky … it’s a restored Superman!

Now I Know: Good Mousekeeping and The Blind Man and the Armless Man Who Planted 10,000 Trees and The Town Where It’s Fun to Be a Grouch and The World’s Oldest Kindergartener and The Endless “Africa” in Africa and The Problem with Customer Support Chatbots [I DO so hate them]


Kamasi Washington – Prologue

Peter Sprague Plays We Love The Drums featuring Duncan Moore

Favorite Songs By Favorite Artists: Guadalcanal Diary and Earth, Wind, & Fire

Polovtsian Dances by Alexander Borodin from his opera Prince Igor 

Coverville 1480: Eric Carmen Tribute and Sly and the Family Stone Cover Story and 1481: Tributes for Steve Harley (and Cockney Rebel) and Karl Wallinger (and World Party)

Bully – Atom Bomb

Hoagy Carmichael sings the Yabba Dabba Doo Song on The Flintstones

Your Forgiveness – Paul Simon (LIVE on The Late Show)

“Life Is Incredible” – Stephen Colbert’s FULL EXTENDED interview with Paul Simon

The Father Of All Music — Why Not Listening To Bach Is A Mistake


Starting on St. Patrick’s Day, I received the same spam comment from several sources. But they had one feature in common: the names were related to vaping, such as best mouth to lung vape and brit beast sub-ohm tank.

“Hi, It has come to our attention that you are using our client’s photographs on your site without a valid licence. We have already posted out all supporting documents to the address of your office. Please confirm once you have received them. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to settle this dispute by making the below payment of £500. Visual Rights Group Ltd, KBC Bank London, IBAN: GB39 KRED 1654 8703, 1135 11, Account Number: 03113511, Sort Code: 16-54-87 Once you have made the payment, please email us with your payment reference number. Please note that a failure to settle at this stage will only accrue greater costs once the matter is referred to court. I thank you for your cooperation and look forward to your reply. Yours sincerely, Visual Rights Group Ltd, Company No. 11747843, Polhill Business Centre, London Road, Polhill, TN14 7AA, Registered Address: 42-44 Clarendon Road, Watford WD17 1JJ”

Interestingly, the photos included ones I’ve taken myself, pics from federal government sites, the promo stuff from movies, and even the duck I’ve been using for nearly 19 years.

Lydster: something substantial


My daughter has commanded that I write something substantial about her for her significant birthday. But it’s TWO hard! How can I encapsulate her TWO decades in one post? I know – I’ll write TWO posts over TWO months! My blog, my rules.

Let’s start before the beginning. My wife had asked, more than once, if I was ready to have a child. My response, of course, was: how the heck do I know? I had said I was amenable to trying, but when you’re five decades old, you don’t know if it would happen.

Then it did. My wife and I remember when we first knew she was pregnant, but no one else, save for folks in the doctor’s office, did. We were returning from a small party when we saw our friend Fred. He was out with his one-week-old named Carol. Indeed, Fred has mentioned this encounter in the past year, so it was significant to him, too, especially after he heard about our secret.

We developed a birth plan, and when we realized the ob/gyn was not on board, my wife changed doctors at eight months pregnant, which I thought was great. Scary, but bold.


The child was born. She didn’t sleep well for a few days, so neither did we. But things got better eventually. Someone had told us that the way one gets a child to sleep is to drive them around. This was SO not the case for her! On trips to see her maternal grandparents in Oneonta, NY, she’d cry -OK, wail – for ten minutes before falling asleep for an hour. She’d wake up and start wailing again UNLESS her father got into the back seat with her and sang to her constantly: e.g., OldMcDonaldHadAFarmEIEIOAndOnThatFarm… This generally worked.

My workmates had gotten us a red carriage, and I loved to ride her around the neighborhood. The school district has razed the 99-year-old School 19 and then built Pine Hills Elementary School on the same site. I appreciated that they built a new structure just for my daughter, or so I chose to believe.

After my wife returned to work, she dropped our daughter off at a private daycare for the first year. It was during that time that I SHOULD have been recording all of her milestones: when she started to crawl then walk – the former was earlier than the norm, the latter, slightly later. She crawled up the stairs, much to the horror of her mother.

As a result of NOT tracking her progress in the book, I’ve been writing about her EVERY month on the 26th since May 2005. I might have written about her on other days, but this is at least the 227th piece. Now, I could wade through this blog and pick out highlights in her life. But, with few exceptions, I will wing it instead.


Around that time,  I took her to Mercy Cares for Kids, right on the bus line. We were happy about the diverse population of the children. I loved dropping her off, and it was our little time together. Then I’d take another bus to work.

Only one time that she got there but refused to stay, and it was a morning that, for some reason, we got there about a half hour late. She did NOT like to go in when all of the other kids were already there. So I brought her home and took off the day from work. Even then, she had rules.

When she started school, she attended Watervliet Elementary for kindergarten since her mother taught there. Then, she went to Pine Hills Elementary for grades 1-6. She met her bestie, Kay, there.

Her sense of fashion was evident early on. After she outgrew the hand-me-downs my wife’s friend Alison gave us, my daughter largely specified her wardrobe. Early on, it was pink and purple, but she quickly developed her own style. She also started taking care of her hair, in part because her parents were fairly hapless. Eventually, she also got into makeup. Her process is tied to her sense of art, which is very strong.

Popular culture

We watched a lot of television together, such as Little Bear and Franklin. Wonder Pets was a favorite; her mom was Linny, the guinea pig, I was Turtle Tuck, and she was Ming-Ming Duckling. Later, she watched some Disney shows, some of which were not awful.

The first compact disc I bought her was the Beatles #1s. When we saw Paul McCartney in 2014, she knew most of the band’s songs but was less versed in solo Macca and Wings. I also tried to let her know about 1960s and 1970s Motown.  Ultimately, she found her taste, listening to Pentatonix, then BTS, but ultimately 1990’s soul, especially Blaque. She owns a 3-LP set of Aaliyah, and Santa got her record player last Christmas.

My daughter was involved in various ballet, soccer, and other activities. It’s all a learning process, and we never prodded her to continue. She WAS pretty good at the clarinet, though, and we still have the instrument in case she ever wants to return to it.

That’s enough for this month, except to wish her a wonderful birthday!

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