Monday’s Music Moves Me: Independence Day 2018

Welcome to the second half of 2018, which happens at noon wherever you are. It’s also two days before Independence Day in the US, and two days before July 4 everywhere else. Fittingly, Michelle a/k/a Naila Moon has us doing patriotic songs today.

  1. Yes, “America” Simon & Garfunkel’s song gets a prog-rock treatment.
  2. Steve Miller Band, “Livin’ In The U.S.A” A great song from 1968, when Boz Scaggs was still a member. Steve Miller is an underrated guitarist.
  3. James Cagney, “Yanke Doodle Dandy” From the 1942 movie of the same name, a biopic of the great American songwriter George M. Cohan. Damn, but that Jimmy Cagney can dance!
  4. Timothy Miller, “God Bless America” For I don’t know how long now, Atlanta Opera tenor par excellence Timothy Miller has been singing this during the seventh-inning stretch at Atlanta Braves Sunday games. In recent years, it’s been the highlight of the ballgame. Timothy loves God, loves his country, loves his family, and loves the Braves, and we’re blessed by his talent. You can buy a copy of him singing this on iTunes.
  5. Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops, “Stars and Stripes Forever” The Boston Pops Orchestra frequently plays this at the end of their concerts, a tradition started by their founder and original director Arthur Fiedler. Fiedler loved Sousa marches.
  6. “America (My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee)” Yes, we borrowed the music to “God Save The King/Queen” from the British and wrote our own lyrics to it. What about it?
  7. “America The Beautiful” The lyrics were written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1895, the music was written by choirmaster and organist Samuel A. Ward several years earlier (as a melody called “Materna”), and the two of them never met. It still ended up being just beautiful.
  8. United States Army Chorus, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” Julia Ward Howe wrote new lyrics to the song “John Brown’s Body” in 1861, and it links the judgment of the wicked to the American Civil War, known in these parts as “The War of Yankee Aggression.”
  9. “You’re A Grand Old Flag” A double shot of George M. Cohan today.
  10. “The Star Spangled Banner” We all know how Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry” in 1814, during the War of 1812. It was set to John Stafford Smith’s melody “To Anacreon In Heaven,” written for the Anacreonic Society, an 18th Century British gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians. This is the full version, with all four verses; generally only the first is sung. Too bad…

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 2, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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The Friday 5×2: Summer Playlist, 2018 Edition

I was going to do a new summer playlist, then I went back through the playlists I already did here, here, and here, and decided “why re-invent the wheel?” So, I combined the three lists, knocked out the duplicates and a couple that weren’t totally appropriate, and added one more, to give me a 20-song list. Here it is, with little commentary.

  1. Billy Stewart, “Summertime”
  2. Gale Garnett, “We’ll Sing In The Sunshine”
  3. Chad & Jeremy, “A Summer Song”
  4. The Happenings, “See You In September”
  5. Sly & The Family Stone, “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
  6. Mungo Jerry, “In The Summertime”
  7. The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Summer In The City”
  8. Seals & Crofts, “Summer Breeze”
  9. Eddie Cochran, “Summertime Blues”
  10. Alice Cooper, “School’s Out”
  11. Bryan Adams, “Summer Of ’69”
  12. Nat King Cole, “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer”
  13. Chicago, “Saturday In The Park”
  14. The Cowsills, “Indian Lake”
  15. Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, “Palisades Park”
  16. The Beach Boys, “All Summer Long”
  17. Frank Sinatra, “The Summer Knows”
  18. Brian Hyland, “Sealed With A Kiss”
  19. Brian Hyland, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”
  20. “Moonglow,” from the 1955 movie Picnic

And that’s your Friday 5×2 (x2) for May 25, 2018. Have a good Memorial Day!

Reflections on the 2018 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge

Well, another A to Z Challenge is done and dusted. It was my seventh, and I still consider it the highlight of my blogging year.

In keeping with the way I tend to do things lately, I’m going to stream-of-consciousness my way through this, or to put it another way, riff my way through.

I was finished with all my posts well in advance of April Fool’s Day, i.e. April 1. Unless I’m mistaken, I was done by my birthday, March 25, so that part of the challenge was a piece of cake. (Mmmmmm…. caaaaaaaake….) In fact, I already have my theme for next year, word list and all. You’ll have to wait until next March to find out what it is.

But, as we all know, getting the posts done and sitting in the queue is only half the battle. The other half is visiting other blogs, particularly the blogs of folks you don’t already count among your “blog buddies.” That’s a bit of a problem, because as it stands a good portion of the blogs I follow are people I’ve met during previous A to Z Challenges. I don’t think I did a good enough job of keeping up with the Kardashians people I follow all year, let alone any new people. I think what happens is that I wake up and see there are over 200 posts in my RSS reader of choice (Feedly) and immediately become overwhelmed. By about April 20, I decided to do what I could during April, then do an extended road trip (about which you’ll hear plenty more in the coming days – watch the challenge blog for details) and try and visit everyone who did the Challenge.

I don’t think anyone wants to hear about the technical challenges I had to cope with. Suffice it to say I coped with them. I would like to remind everyone that the WordPress “simulcast” blog is just that, and that if the entries are unavailable there, you can always read the posts on the main blog. I know there are those of you who don’t like Blogger, but the posts you see on the simulcast blog are simply rebroadcasts of the ones on Blogger.

While I’m on the subject of technical stuff, I want to do a shout-out to Jayden, who came up with the idea of using Google Forms and Google Sheets to build the master list of participants as well as the daily lists of posts (which replaced last year’s system of posting your link as a comment on the daily letter page). I’m not sure how long they’ll be out there, so you might want to save them to your Google Drive account for posterity.

It’s always an honor and a pleasure to work with the other members of the A to Z Challenge Team. Arlee‘s blog was one of the first ones I read when I started thinking about blogging myself, and I’ve learned a lot from him in the 6 ½ years I’ve been doing this. J served as our team captain this year and did a fantastic job, making sure everything was done before the challenge began and keeping things going through the month. Csenge is always a joy to work with and ran the Twitter chats and was busy visiting everyone. I’d go to a blog to leave a comment, and nine times out of ten she had already been there. The aforementioned Jayden found a solution to the chaos we had last year as far as collecting links was concerned. I was so happy someone had thought of it that I welcomed her to the team before she actually agreed to be a member. And finally, but certainly not least, there’s Jeremy, who created all the badges and graphics and has A to Z Challenge t-shirts and other goodies available for purchase at his Neato Shop.

I’ll probably have more to say as time goes on, but this is as good a stopping point as any. Thank you so much to all the participants in the challenge, to those who commented whether or not you were doing the challenge yourself, to Arlee for starting this and to the rest of my teammates for keeping it going. Next year’s challenge will be the tenth, by the way, so be prepared for some excitement. See you in the funny papers!

Zwieback #atozchallenge

zwieback

Almost done!

Zwieback (source: Amazon.com)

When you were a baby, did your mom give you zwieback? It’s more popular in Europe, but they sell it in this country, and parents frequently give it to teething babies to give them something to gum on. It’s a sweetened bread that’s been sliced thin and toasted twice until it’s brittle and crunchy. The name comes from German, “zwei” meaning “two” and “back” meaning “baked.” The word biscuit means the same thing, from the Italian “biscotto” (“bis” twice, “cotto” baked).

I think the only time I had zwieback was when one of my friends had a baby sibling at home. He had this habit of taking the baby’s zwieback for himself. One day I was at his house. He went into the kitchen, came out with two pieces of it and handed me one. Turns out they were the last two pieces, and his mother was not happy. It might have been because he left the empty box in the pantry, I don’t know. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed, and felt bad that the baby had to go without.

The Wikipedia article about zwieback says that it’s similar to Melba toast. I know I’ve had that before. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the bread basket is filled with crackers and such wrapped in plastic? There are usually a few packages of saltines, some packages of bread sticks (plain and garlic), one or two packages of Melba toast, some garlic rounds (as the name suggests, thy’re round crackers that are garlic-flavored), and usually one or two packages of Ry-Krisp, which looks and tastes like acoustical tile or packing material. You could always tell when the Holton boys were at one of those restaurants: there were empty wrappers all over the table and on the floor.


And that’s my final entry in this year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Hope you enjoyed it!