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Monday, March 28, 2016


Music is fun and entertaining to most of us whether it is from our own memories of pop tunes recorded during our lifetimes or before.

I love the old songs because the tunes are so great and supply us with a vision of their times and plus some of the lyrics infuriate the holier than thou liberals of today who don’t understand the era that produced the songs.
A favorite is “Let’s Do It" (Let’s fall in love)” written in 1928 by the prolific Cole Porter.  The irony in this song is in the opening chorus where it states that “Chinks do it, Japs do it, up in Lapland little Laps do it...” 
Porter wrote it for the show Paris which was his first Broadway success.  With the politically correct world that evolved, the lyrics were later changed to “Birds do it, bees do it”.  I think that is a cop out; I think Porter was just having fun with the first lyrics and meant nothing harmful with “Chinks do it, Japs do it” but as we know, tastes change and skin gets thinner .
I’ve been a music freak forever and still carry a harmonica around much to the disdain of some but, hey, that’s just me.  I’ve been following pop music since I was 6 or 7 and have never tired of it although some of the stuff today makes me glad I like what are now the radio oldies. 
One favorite from the late 40’s was a regular on the hit parade from WCKY in Cincinnati:  Peggy Lee and her then husband Dave Barbour doing “Manana.”  Peggy was great with any tune.  As she sang so well:  "Manana is soon enough for me."
The 60s were nice.  I spent 4 years in the Air Force; plenty of time to learn things I would never had learned by staying in Cincy.   Also a time to meet girls and dance and love in clubs from Texas and Missouri to Germany only to come home in 1965 and find my true love a month later.  I have been with her for 49 years!  Isn’t fate great?  The young guys today don’t know what they missed by not having to serve in the military..
Meanwhile, tunes like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “The Twist”, “The Duke of Earl”, “Surf City”, “Sugar Shack”, all the great British invasion songs including “Downtown” by Pet Clark; "Monday, Monday,” “Crimson and Clover”, and many other great tunes came along.
Even today, I still like to occasionally turn up the volume all the way and break off the knob as I am doing while I write this paean to pop music.  So far while writing I have played The Smithereens, Donnie Iris, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, Norman Greenbaum, "West End Girls," Jefferson Starship,  "One Night in Bangkok," Greg Kihn Band, and Yes. 
Great stuff.

(Comments?, Questions? Please post below.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016


I remember as a kid in the 1950's how teenage girls had a style of wearing a dog collar around their ankle.  Apparently, when a girl wore the collar on her LEFT ankle, it indicated she was going steady. If it was on her RIGHT ankle, it meant she wasn’t going steady. Sound strange? Remember, it was an era of petticoats, sock hops, padded bras, girdles, and girls washing their hair with bath soap.  Let's not forget Evening in Paris perfume that was available at most drugstores.  Cheap stuff for sure but every guy dreamed of going home after a date with the smell of it lingering on him courtesy of some lovely 17 year old babe.

At this moment, if you are young enough, many of you are probably asking, "What the hell is ‘going steady?’" Going steady happened when a boy and girl THOUGHT they were in love as teenagers and made a pact that they wouldn’t date anyone else. Of course, the fickle nature of youth would eventually kick in and the couple would break up but it was a pretty good deal for a while as it guaranteed both members a date on a Saturday night. Unfortunately, occasionally the couple would become a bit too serious and another baby boomer would enter the world courtesy of a hot night in the back seat of a ‘51 Ford.

Having never had kids of my own (I think), I’m not sure what teenagers do now other than what I see from a distance. For example, it doesn’t look like going steady or dating is a big deal anymore. In the ‘50s, a boy would nervously call a girl in the hopes of obtaining a precious date for a Saturday night. That few moments between asking the big question and waiting for the answer was agony! What if she said "No!"? Even worse, what if she said, "Gee, I really like ya a lot but Ralph already asked me out." I think "I like ya a lot" was more devastating to hear than "No." It meant "Not in your wildest dreams are you ever going to touch me."

I’ve noticed in recent years that teenage boys and girls run in groups. I’ve seen mobs of them at places like Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix and have noticed that several malls in recent years have imposed restrictions on having kids "hangin’ out." The girls dress sloppy like the boys and receive the same minimal respect from their peers. That’s a lot different from my teenage days when we put girls on a pedestal. Well, some girls anyway!

It’s more proof of how the world has changed. Today kids have iPhones which never leave their ears. We had 45 rpm records. We had gas stations with attendants and "ding-ding" bells and restrooms that had a purple neon light under the toilet seat to give the illusion it was sanitizing. Today you pump your own at Circle K. We had girls with dog collars on their ankles, today they actually put collars on dogs. Imagine that!