The Fifth-To-Last Week That Was of 2016

Here’s Marshall Brodein for Siegfried and Roy’s Pocket Magic: mystifying tricks you can perform anytime, anywhere! Available at Walgreens and Osco Drug Stores!

I talked about Marshall Brodien back in January for Just Jot It January.

The Week That Was

So, Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over here in the US. I didn’t realize they have Black Friday in the UK as well. I saw some pictures of it here. Pretty wild stuff. Anyway, there are five more weeks in the year, so enjoy them! Here’s this week’s summary.

The theme for this past Monday was “I Am Thankful For (blank),” where (blank) was the name of a single artist or group whose music I’m thankful for. I chose Django Reinhardt, Gypsy jazz guitarist extraordinaire. I see that that the first video was taken down because of a copyright claim by Lobster Films. Sorry about that. You can probably find it out on YouTube somewhere else, unless Lobster Films’ lawyer has managed to take them all down.


Sarah Vaughan was the featured artist this week. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy 1500th post. Scott Yanow is right: Sarah had one of the most wonderous voices of the 20th Century.


The battle over who does a better job of “Happy Days Are Here Again” was won by Ben Selvin and The Crooners by a slim one-vote margin over Mitch Miller. Alana said “thank you” for using her idea. It was a good one, Alana, and that was the general consensus. A close battle always makes it seem worthwhile. Thanks again for letting me use it. Arlee liked the GIF of Mitch Miller directing his singers, saying he and his sister used to imitate him for laughs.


I included a line I heard about the aches and pains of getting older from a guy at church. Uncle Jack mentioned my dear stepfather Jack Christian (known as “Tex” to the Holton boys) and how he would cook the turkey at Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and any other time we had turkey) on his Weber kettle grill. Tex did all the cooking on the big holidays, except for the cranberry relish; that was Mom’s job. Tex would spend most of the day cooking and peeling and mashing and running to the store a half dozen times for items he forgot; Mom would spend it in her “command module” at the end of the couch on the back porch, smoking Chesterfield cigarettes and talking on the phone to her sisters, each conversation ending with “I have to get off the phone, (insert sister’s name here), I have to make the cranberries.” More often than not, we’d have to hold dinner until Mom made the cranberries, which consisted of boiling the cranberries in sugar and water until they popped. (To be fair, we had one of the smallest kitchens in the Western Hemisphere, and only one or two people could fit in it at a time, fewer if Tex was working there.)

Do I miss them and wish I could have Thanksgiving dinner with them one more time? Oh yeah.

Also on Wednesday, I tested a new applet I added to IFTTT that would add information about each new post to the end of a spreadsheet in Google Drive. It worked perfectly, and I’m getting all the right information and everything. Janet was a little indignant about being “used as a guinea pig” for my test, but was happy it worked, and asked me for the “recipe.” For those of you who are familiar with IFTTT or would like to see what it can do, check applet (they don’t call them “recipes” anymore, I guess) #44681084d. I use IFTTT a lot to do the administrative work on the blog (e.g. filing the posts in Evernote, putting notices on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc.). It’s a blogger’s best friend.

I was prompted for several lists of five things (five things about me, five things I’m knowledgeable about, five things I know nothing about, and five things I believe). Small Talk Mama said it’s never too late to start to learn dancing. Trust me, Mama, it’s too late; my dancing days, such as they were, ended with the stroke. Arlee says he’s as good at home repair as I am, i.e. no good at all. Janet said the only grease she gets on her hands when she has car trouble are from the AAA driver when he hands her card back. Trust me, it’s good to know your limitations and call in an expert before you make a mess of things. A $500 job can quickly turn into a $5000 job that requires the assistance of the electric company, the gas company, and maybe the fire department.

Funny story: we had the vinyl flooring in the kitchen replaced a number of years ago. A couple of days later, Mary noticed a small bump under the flooring, and the two of us determined it was a loose nail. I was ready to get a hammer and smack it in, and she said, “No John, let a professional do it.” So we called the company, and the guy who installed the floor (who, for the life of me, looked like Jerry Van Dyke) came out, saw the situation, took a hammer, and smacked it in. Mary, laughing like a crazy woman, called to tell me this, and hastened to add “He put a towel down before he hit the nail.” That’s the professional part.

I featured your songs whose titles are the names of cities only. Thanks again to all who contributed. Joey had suggested Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York,” but I went with Liza Minnelli’s version from the movie of the same name, which for some reason I always preferred.


The prompt was “pretty,” so I discussed its use as both an adjective and as an adverb. Cathy had never thought about “pretty” as an adverb being a weasel word, but doesn’t mind being told she’s pretty. As I said, I have nothing against the word, just think it’s weak, but hey, if you like it, that’s great. My thinking it’s a weak word probably stems from its use as an adverb.

So that’s last week in a nutshell. We’ll do some Christmas music tomorrow, a Battle of the Bands on Thursday, and all the usual features this week. Thanks to everyone who commented, and hope you tune in!

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