What, Me Worry? #socs

If you were a kid in the ’60’s and ’70’s (maybe late, I dunno), you recognize the kid above as Alfred E . Neuman, the cover boy for MAD Magazine. I’m so out of it these days, I’m not sure they even print MAD anymore, or if it’s strictly an online magazine, or if it’s gone to that Big Magazine Rack in the Sky.

I don’t know why I didn’t just subscribe to the magazine. It would have been cheaper than buying at the newsstand, but teenage logic (which you immediately recognize is an oxymoron).

For years, they advertised the picture above, which they would send you, “suitable for framing or wrapping fish,” for the cost of the stamp (and the envelope, I guess). I never did, even though I saw the ad every month. Oh, well…

I noticed I seem to have used “me” once in this post, and it was in the title and my five minutes are up. So sue me.

Linda runs Stream of Consciousness Saturday every week. Now this word from Grain Belt Beer. It’s-a justice of the pizza!

When I was young, we had a Parish Picnic every year, and the festivities started when they drove in the Grain Belt beer truck. It had spigots on the outside so the guys could collect your ticket and get you a beer right there. No bottles or cans to worry about. Paper cups, yes. I never had it, but I’ve heard it was no worse than any other retail beer, like Hamm’s or Meister Bräu. It’s probably gone the way of Hamm’s, Meister Bräu, and all the others…

Song of the Day: Shocking Blue, “Venus”

Mariska Veres, lead singer for the Dutch band Shocking Blue, was born on this day in 1947. They were part of a movement called Nederbeat, music by Dutch bands, and are considered a prime example along with Golden Earring. They had a number of Top Ten hits in Europe, but their only hit in the US was “Venus,” which reached #1 in 1970 and was a Top Ten hit in much of Europe.

Five For Friday: Lieber & Stoller (Songwriting Teams)

I first talked about Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller back in 2015. At that time I said

At a time when songs by black R&B artists were classified as “race records” and had a hard time getting airplay on Top 40 radio stations, many of those songs were written by two white Jewish guys, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. They had a long list of songs that charted on the US and UK pop charts and on the R&B chart, both as a songwriting duo and as composers working with other songwriters, and artists as diverse as Big Mama Thornton, Hank Snow, Michael McDonald, and Elvis Presley had hits with their songs, many of which were covered by other artists and became hits for them as well.

Here are five by Jerry and Mike…

  1. Wilbert Harrison, “Kansas City”
  2. The Coasters, “Yakety Yak”
  3. Elvis Presley, “Hound Dog”
  4. The Searchers, “Love Potion Number Nine”
  5. Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?”

Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, your Five for Friday, September 30, 2022.

Song of the Day: The Fifth Dimension, “One Less Bell To Answer”

I know, I just featured The Fifth Dimension a couple of weeks ago, but today is Marilyn McCoo’s 79th birthday. She’s been married to Billy Davis, another former member of the group, since 1969. “One Less Bell To Answer” was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who originally wrote it for Keely Smith in 1967. It was released in 1970 and went to #2 on the Hot 100, kept out of the top spot by George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” It went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #4 on the Soul Singles chart, #2 on the Cash Box Top 100, and #11 in Canada.

Writer’s Workshop: A Dozen Lines On Peace, Love, and Understanding

There’s something I’ve meant to talk about for some time now, and while it might (no, will) ruffle some feathers, I’m going to go there.

I read somewhere (might have been Ancestry or 23andMe, maybe Wikipedia) that every blue-eyed person in the world is a descendant of an African man who, through genetic mutation, was born with blue eyes.

The fact that nearly everyone who has blue eyes (me included) can trace their roots back to a Northern European country should make you wonder how that happened.

Sarah Hoyt wrote a very interesting article about the whole subject of race and what she calls “reading racial tea leaves.”

I found it interesting because I had been thinking along the same lines recently.

When you come right down to it, race as we’ve used it all these years is really meaningless; it’s an invention of people who consider it relevant, no matter how irrelevant it is (yes, I’m talking about anthropologists and sociologists).

There has been so much mixing and blending and swirling between people of different races and ethnicities that race and ethnicity don’t matter anymore.

I think we need to stop treating them like they do.

The only thing we can say for certain is that we’re all human beings, capable of giving and receiving love, needing to love and be loved (so sue me if I sound too ’70’s).

I’m not saying not to address past wrongs: I’m saying that reconciliation doesn’t happen until we recognize the common bond that we share, our humanity.

As Sarah says in the above article, we have more in common than not, and to pretend otherwise is “arrant [sic] nonsense.”

Let’s make it happen.