Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Damn, Migraine This Morning

(Illustration Dave Cutler)

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Book Of Rules

Singer-songwriter Barry Llewellyn of The Heptones died a few days ago. He along with Leroy Sibbles formed the group in 1965 and made the change from rock steady to reggae without missing a beat. Leroy Sibbles usually sang lead for the group but Barry Llewellyn sang lead on their 1973 hit Book of Rules, which is the reason why I picked it even though it is not a Llewellyn song. Plus, I like it.

Isn't it strange how princesses and kings
And clowns that'll caper in sawdust rings
Just while common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

Each must make his life as flowing in
Tumbling block or a stepping stone
Just while common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

Look when the rain has fallen from the sky
I know the sun will be only missing for a while
I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules

I says common people like you and me
We'll be builders for eternity
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass
And the Book of Rules
Rest in Peace, Barry Llewellyn.

-Barry Llywellyn's obituary in the Jamaica Observer here.

-A short history of Jamaican music from 1953-1973 here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Found My Thrill...

So, how many besides me woke up with a Turkey Hangover this morning? Love, love, love the turkey holiday. My holiday started on Wednesday when we drove to Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with one of my sisters and her family. For that long drive in I brought along Sing Cowboy Sing: The Gene Autry Collection which contains eighty-six songs on three CDs. If you are not a big fan of  Gene Autry it is not a good idea to listen to what seems like every single song he ever recorded in one sitting. Sometimes it got a little painful.

This collection includes his hit songs, That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine, Sioux City Sue, Here Comes Santa Claus, South of the Border, Rudolph The Red Nose-Reindeer, and Back in the Saddle Again, but it also includes songs from his radio show Melody Ranch which was on the air for sixteen years (1940-1956). Since new songs had to be written for each show there are some clunkers that have not aged that well mixed in with ones that are a total surprise:

Yep, Gene Autry recorded a hit version of Blueberry Hill back in 1941. I associate Blueberry Hill with Fats Domino so listening to a version that was recorded 15 years before Domino's hit recording was a revelation. It turns out that Blueberry Hill was written by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis, and Larry Stock in 1940 and recorded by six big bands including the Glenn Miller Band, the Kay Kyser Orchestra, Gene Krupa and his Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. The first band to release a recording of the song in 1940 was the Sammy Kaye Orchestra with vocalist Tommy Ryan so that is the version I have below (Since this is an orchestra, Tommy Ryan doesn't begin to sing until 1:30 into the recording.):

But let's end this post with the definitive recording of Blueberry Hill. The one Richie Cunningham is thinking of every time he sings the lyric, " I found my thrill," in the television show Happy Days.

Domino's version is always a rocking good time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Umbrella Man

"In historical research there may be a dimension similar to the quantum dimension in physical reality."
-John Updike


On the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated a man holding an umbrella was filmed opening his umbrella at the exact spot and instant President Kennedy was hit by Oswald's second bullet.  He then closed his umbrella and walked away. Josiah Thompson, philosopher and author of one of the first Kennedy assassination conspiracy books, Six Seconds In Dallas (1963), discusses how quickly historical research can jump down the rabbit hole in this six minute film by Errol Morris.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Old Geezers Laments

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
-Socrates (around 390 BCE)

"In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older then themselves the full benefits of their inexperience."
-Oscar Wilde (last quarter of 19th century)

"You know, you see these bums, ya know, blowing up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses are the luckiest people in the world."
-Richard Nixon (1969)

"Respect my authority!"
-Eric Cartman, old geezer trapped in a little boy's body. (1998)

"All the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.That is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something by saying to them, 'Go get a job right after you take a bath."
-Newt Gingrich  (2011)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digging In The Past Again 2

My great-great grandparents on my father's side. I can see my father in my great-great grandmother's face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Digging In The Past Again

Name: Elizabeth Collins
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 23 Sep 1865
Birth Place: Newark, Essex, New Jersey
Christening Date: 26 Sep 1865
Christening Place: Saint Patricks Pro-Cathedral-Catholic, Newark, Essex, New Jersey 

Father's Name: Patrick Collins
Mother's Name: Bridget McCormick

My great-great grandmother on my mother's side.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Failing Our Children

The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
-Albert Einstein

Two news stories caught my eye this morning:

1. This one, the latest development in the Penn State scandal which concerns the sexual abuse of several young boys, some in the Penn State Lasch Football Building showers, by a former assistant Penn State football coach named Jerry Sandusky and the school's failure to stop it. Sandusky says he did not do it. Current assistant coach Mike McQueary, who was a graduate student back in 2001 when he saw Sandusky rape a young boy, did nothing to stop it, and failed to call the police, says he didn't just walk away back then.

2. This one from Greeley, Colorado is about a children's store carrying crotchless panties. In this instance, the store owner failed to see why trying to sell crotchless panties to young girls is bad idea.

What is happening,  have we turned into a morality bankrupt society which willing puts greed above protecting our children?  Penn State did not want to hear or do anything about Sandusky since doing so would affect their biggest money making program, the football team. In a way, I understand this as covering up any wrong doing seems to be normal procedure in large organizations be they governmental or private. Penn State won't walk away from this unpunished.

What I find more disturbing is the Greeley story. The owner of the store said that they "had only been in business for two weeks and were still trying to figure out what to include as merchandise."
Really? Have we sexualized young girls to the point where a business owner sees crotchless panties for girls in a catalog and doesn't react with an "Ewwwww!" but actually thinks she can make money selling them? I weep for us as a people.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Dog's Goofier Than Your Dog

Little Sally Pumpkinhead relaxing

Getting the books out from the behind the bookcase is going to be fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

-The Andrews Sisters

He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, a-blowin' reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
It really brought him down because he couldn't jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the Cap' went out and drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddel-yada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playin' with 'im
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He was ah boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
And when he plays the boogie woogie bugle he was busy as a "bzzz" bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight-to-the-bar
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Toot toot toot-diddel-yada, Toot-diddel-yada, toot-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with 'im
Ha-ha-hand the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B


He puts the boys to sleep with boogie every night
And wakes 'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stamp their feet
Because they know how he plays when someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-dup
Dat-da da-do-do da-da
Ha-ha-hand the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
-Ambrose Bierce, American author (1842-?), from his book, The Devil's Dictionary

There was another Republican Presidential Debate last night. What was it, number three hundred and twenty-two? Anyway, political rhetoric was flying every which way and as I looked at all those smiling faces behind that row of lecture stands all I could think of were the lyrics to that old The Undisputed Truth song, Smiling Faces.
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don't tell the truth, uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof
Today, as a public service, I am giving you the link to a website called PolitiFact. PolitiFact  fact-checks the truthfulness of statements made by politicians. Finding a quick way to ferret out what is true and what is not inside the hyperbole of political campaigning is something we can all use in an election year crowed with contenders. If you are interested you can find last night's Republican debate fact checks here.  Don't be fooled by the smiling faces.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


The state of Mississippi ranks 49th out of 50 states on the Best Educated Index.  It ranks 40th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has  finished high school.  It ranks 49th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has completed a Bachelor's degree program  and it ranks 47th out of 51 states for percentage of population that has completed an advanced degree. So, even though Mississippians  are not that well educated,  they do know that a fertilized human egg is not a person.  Thank you, Mississippi, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Joe Frazier 1944-2011

"Ali always said I would be nothing without him. But who would he have been without me?
-Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier had the misfortune of being a great boxer during the same time period as Muhammad Ali. He was a 1964 Olympic Gold Medalist and the undisputed Heavyweight Champion from 1971 to 1975. In his career he won 32 fights (27 by knock out) and lost 4 (twice to both Muhammad Ali and George Foreman). Below is video of the last round of the first of three championship fights between Ali and Frazier in which Frazier stunned the world by knocking Ali down and winning the fight. Ali made the mistake of calling Frazier ignorant, a gorilla, and a white man's lackey, which fueled Frazier desire to beat him.

Joe Frazier died yesterday of liver cancer and in the NY Times obituary Frazier's name in mentioned 78 times while Muhammad Ali's name is mentioned 62 times. Joe Frazier may have been right when he asked who Ali would have been without him. Their names will always be linked together as Frazier was the man who proved to the boxing world that Ali was not invincible.

You can find Frazier's NY Times obituary here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Cain Mutiny

In a kill the message move, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain is threatening to sue the political news website Politico but just what for has not been decided yetPolitio is the news organization that first broke the story about the sexual harassment lawsuit settlement  made on Herman Cain's behalf by the National Restaurant Association back in the late nineteen-nineties. His lawsuit threat is another example of Cain and his people lashing out in anger and blaming others instead of just admitting their man behaved inappropriately at the time, learned his lesson, is apologizing for it, and would just like to move on.

After watching Herman Cain's multiple TV interviews I don't think he is capable of doing this, even if doing so would guarantee him the Republican Party nomination. His anger at having to deal with this incident from his past is palpable. His scorn for the women who accused him of sexual harassment and the media who dare to bring this subject up causes his upper lip to curl in disdain and his face to assume the look of a man who has just smelled something disgusting. I find his behavior now almost as disturbing as his behavior then.

This is a man who cannot disguise his feelings let alone control them. That alone should disqualify him for the presidency. I expect the president of the United States not only to be a leader but to be a diplomat, especially at a time when the world is a political tinder box. The last thing we need is a man whose shows signs of having an explosive temperament. Hotheads need not apply.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Blame Game!

Herman, Herman, bo Berman
Bonana fanna fo, Ferman
Fee fi mo, Merman, Herman!

Come on everybody!
I say, now let's play a game
I betcha I can always find, someone else to blame!

Media, Media, bo Bedia,
Bonana fanna fo Fedia
Fee fi mo, Edia, Media!

Everybody do Anger!
Anger, Anger, bo Banger
Bonana fanna fo, Fanger
Fee fi mo, Manger, Anger!

Memory, Memory, bo Bemory
Bonana fanna fo, Femory
Fee fi mo, Emory, Memory!

Pretty good, let's do, the Women!
Women, Women, bo Bomen
Bonana fanna fo, Fomen
Fee fi mo, Momen, Women!

Talk Shows!
Talk shows, Talk shows, bo Balk Shows
Bonana fanna fo, Falk Shows
Fe fi mo, Mock Shows, Talk Shows!

Very good, let's do Lies!
Lies, Lies, bo, Bies
Bonana fanna fo, Fies
Fe fi mo, Mies, Lies!

A little trick with Rick!
Perry, Perry, bo Berry
Bonana fanna fo, Ferry
Fe fi mo, Merry, Perry!

The blame game!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Everything Old Is New Again

-Marvin Gaye , Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), 1971

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on, the have nots
Money, we make it
'Fore we see it, you take it

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life, (Yeah)
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

This ain't livin', this ain't livin'
No, no,baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no, no

Inflation, no chance
To increase, finance
Bills pile up, sky high
Send that boy off, to die

Oh, make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life (Oh yeah)

(Instrumental Interlude)

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural,fact is
Oh. honey that I can't pay my, taxes

Oh, it make me wanna holler
Throw up both my hands
Yeah, it make me wanna holler
Throw up both my hands

Crime is, increasing
Trigger happy, policing
Panic, is spreading
God knows where, we're heading

(Instrumental interlude)

Mother, Mother, Mother
Everybody thinks we're wrong (Mother)
Who are they to judge us? (Mother, Mother)
Simply 'cause we wear our hair long? (Mother)