Saturday, June 28, 2014

Joplin, MO

Regular readers will have noticed that I've been far from regular in my posting recently.  In fact, this is my first post in 10 days.  Well, I actually have a decent excuse.

 I've just (today) returned from a Mission Trip to Joplin, MO, with my son and 30 other youth and adults from our church.  My first mission trip, as well as my son's.  A really good experience, and quite a few photos to wade through.  Expect more posts.

This image is from Joplin's Butterfly Garden and Overlook, in Cunningham Park, which was directly in the path of the historic 2011 EF5 Tornado.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Life Is Sad, Life Is A Bust, All You Can Do, Is Do What You Must....

from Bob Dylan's "Buckets Of Rain" from the "Blood On The Tracks" album.

If you don't have it, get it. My favorite Dylan album, by far.  Ranked #16th best album of all time by Rolling Stone.

Life is sad, Life is a bust
All you can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and you do it well
I do it for you, honey baby Can’t you tell?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Sometimes you just have to take a snapshot.  Nothing deep and meaningful here, just my son (and a fellow scout).  Taken with my trusty iPhone, at Glen Carbon Homecoming, last weekend.  And posted (on the spot) to Instagram.  The scout troop was working with the local Kiwanis (who sponsors the troop), selling soft drinks and hot dogs and brats.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pop Music - June 1974

June 4th 1974, "10 Cent Beer Night" in Cleveland.  Seemed like a good idea at the time...

Sorry I missed May, moving on to June:  Looking at American Top 40 charts for June, 1974... 40 years ago this month: What songs made their Top 40 debut? What was new and trending? Well, there were 23 songs entering the Top 40 during June (5 weeks). Here they are, ranked by eventual peak:

    • Rock The Boat - Hues Corporation- 1
    • Annie's Song - John Denver- 1
    • Rock Your Baby - George McCrae- 1
    • Rock And Roll Heaven - Righteous Brothers- 3
    • Rikki, Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan- 4
    • On And On - Gladys Knight & The Pips- 5
    • The Air That I Breathe - Hollies- 6
    • Waterloo - ABBA- 6
    • Sideshow - Blue Magic- 8
    • Takin' Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive- 12
    • Radar Love - Golden Earring- 13
    • Haven't Got Time For The Pain - Carly Simon- 14
    • Finally Got Myself Together (I'm A Changed Man) - Impressions- 17
    • If You Talk In Your Sleep - Elvis Presley- 17
    • I'm Coming Home - Spinners- 18
    • If You Wanna Get To Heaven - Ozark Mountain Daredevils- 25
    • Train Of Thought - Cher- 27
    • Son Of Sagittarius - Eddie Kendricks- 28
    • Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett- 30
    • Another Park, Another Sunday - Doobie Brothers- 32
    • Already Gone - Eagles- 32
    • Workin' At The Car Wash Blues - Jim Croce- 32
    • No Charge - Melba Montgomery- 39

    I was actually able to find all of these songs on Spotify. And added to a playlist. Right now it includes through September 1974, and 164 of the 175 songs which entered the Top 40 in the 1st 9 months of 1974. I'm pretty impressed that they have over 92% of these songs...

Check it out:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

(Have Mercy), Been Waitin' On The Bus All Day

(not my photo)

Many years ago, when I live in the DC area, I rode public transportation pretty regulary.  Or at least occasionally.  Or at least the second half of the time I lived in DC (when I worked downtown). Not bad, but frankly it was as cheap to drive, if I had 1 other person riding w/ me.  Time was probably comperable, thanks to DC Traffic

When we moved to the midwest, Public Transit wasn't really a viable option, based on where I lived vs where I worked...  But for the past 6 years, I've been in a location where public transit is at least an option.  But I still drive.  Why?  Well, I did a little analysis, and confirmed what I had presumed to be the case. 

I live just under 12 miles from work.  I spend about 45 minutes / day (total) on my communte.  My schedule isn't locked to 8-5, but varies day to day (primarily when I leave). No tolls.  No parking costs.

What if I took public transportation?  In my case: walk to the bus, bus to the transfer station, another bus, and finally walk to the office.  Each walk would be 0.4 - 0.5 mile, which quite reasonable (when the weather isn't bad).

Not bad, BUT:  Based on the published schedules, total time would be about 140 minutes per day.  Just under 2.5 hours, more than triple the drive time.   That's a lot of time: almost 7 hrs/wk additional time!  And missing any connection would add at least 1/2 hour.  But what of all the money I'd save?  Well.....  As I read the schedules, the daily cost would be about 70% higher than what I'm currently spending on gas.  Even if I add estimated auto maintenance costs (from the web), it's still about 25% higher

Hmm...  Public transportation would add a LOT more time, and cost a good bit more.  And reduce my flexability. 
(not my photo)

Sorry, it's a no brainer.  I'll keep driving.  Guess I'm just a bad person...

..And Clover, Over And Over...

Just a little slice of life, from yesterday's walk at St. Ellen Mine Park.  I took the upper loop.  Taken w/ iPhone, tweaked with Snapseed...  Posted originally to Instagram.  

The psot title, of course, refers to the old Tommy James song.  Or, if you prefer, the Joan Jett remake.  Both are great.

Ah, now when she comes walking over
Now I've been waiting to show her
Crimson and clover, over and over

Those of you who remember when the song was new...  you probably sang the end part through a box fan to recreate the effect at the end....  At least once...

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Day In the Life...

I was chatting with my (14 y/o) son the other day, and he asked if there were any Beatles songs that weren't hits*.  Naturally, I was inspired to look it up.  Based on my secret source, There were 20 Beatles songs that made it to the Hot 100, but not the Top 40.  They also had 20 #1 songs, so that's a pretty good hit ratio.  Oh, and 23 songs on the Rolling Stones list of 500 Greatest Rock Songs.

Anyway, back to the 20 that didn't crack the Top 40:  Which ones are most notable?

  • From Me To You (1964) - Peaked at #41
  • All My Loving (1964) - Peaked at #45
  • Act Naturally (1965) - #47
  • You Can't Do That (1964) - #48
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1976) - #49 [Note that this was released 5 years after the band broke up]
  • If I Fell (1964) - #53
  • I Am The Walrus (1967) - #56
  • Roll Over Beethoven (1964) - #68
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends  (1978) - #71 [Again, released long after the band had broke-up]
  • I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (1964) - #95
On further review, I don't think we can call these songs duds.  I think most of them were simply drowned out by other Beatles songs.  Note that half songs listed here were released in 1964, when the Beatles had 19 other Top 40 Hits.  Wow.

In fact, between 1/18/64 and  12/18/65, The Beatles scored Twenty Six (26) Top 40 hits.  that's more than 2 per month average, over 2 years.  Double wow...

* Context:  I tend to put on obscure playlists in the car, and then explain them to whoever will listen.  This conversation started with expoundings on "Great rock songs from 1974 that were released as singles but did not make it to the Top 40".  But that's another story.

Monday, June 02, 2014

June 1974

I managed to miss May, but we'll pick it back up.  Continuing the series, (Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr):

June 1974... 40 years ago... I was freshly done with Middle School, turned 14....  Top of the World, I was...  In sports, the NFL granted a franchise to the Seattle Seahawks...  In science, we sent the first extraterrestrial message int space... in culture, UPC code debuted on consumer products.
What was happening in music?

Albums released in June 1974 include:
As for singles, 4 songs topped the charts in (the 5 weeks) of June 1974:
  • Billy Don't Be A Hero - Bo Danaldson (6/15 and 6/22/74)
  • Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot (6/29/74)
  • Band On The Run - Paul McCartney and Wings (6/8/74) 
  • The Streak - Ray Stevens (6/1/74)

Some really good songs made their chart debuts:
  • Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan (Peaked at #4)
  • If You Wanna Get To Heaven - Ozark Mountain Daredevils (Peaked at #16)
  • Another Park Another Sunday - Doobie Brothers (peaked at #32)
  • Already Gone - Eagles (Peaked at #32)

Pet Peeves #41,792

Ya know what really bugs me??  When people hit "reply-all" to informational emails that were sent using mass distribution lists.  We get that with anoying regularity.

A typical example is a promotion announcement.  For example:   Human Resources sends out a email that looks something a lot like this:

I am pleased to share John Doe's promotion to Senior Widget Engineer. Since joining Spacely Sprockets two years ago as an Associate Widget Engineer, John has worked very hard at educating both external and internal customers in the use of Spacely Sprockets products and solutions in the industrial market. Through authoring application notes and guides, designing and building demos, teaching sprockets classes, supporting industrial conferences, and teaching customers literally around the world, John has helped grow Spacely Sprockets' presence in the heavy industry market place. His efforts are very much appreciated. 

Please help me in congratulating John on his promotion.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm happy for John Doe's accomplishments.  And glad to be informed of changes in the company.  And (if I know him), I'll send him a "Congratulations".  But I am careful to NOT hit "Reply All".   Sadly, quite a few people are not.  So everybody's inbox (inclusing mine) is flooded with banal congratulatory emails.  In the past couple of days, my company have had quite a few of these kinds of accomplishments (promotions, graduations, certifications), so there's been a flood of floods...
I guess it's a "first world problem" so I should just shut up.  Or is the #FWP?