Monday’s Music Moves Me: Summer 2019 Playlist!

Summer playlist time again! I was initially going to use my playlist from last year, but said “nah, that’s cheatin’.” My next thought was to do the #1 hits from a random summer, such as 1974, but the more I did, the more I realized I’d already done that and you probably were sick of the songs. So I created a new playlist with summerlike songs. Some of them aren’t specifically summer songs, but they work.

  1. The Jamies, “Summertime, Summertime” Brother and sister Tom and Serena Jameson had a minor hit with this in 1958, when it reached #26. After a bunch more records that didn’t go anywhere, the re-released it in 1962, and it reached #38.
  2. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, “Summer Nights” From the 1978 movie Grease, which was based on the musical of the same name. John and Olivia, as Danny and Sandy, are talking about their summer vacations, totally unaware that they’re talking about each other.
  3. Johnny Rivers, “Summer Rain” Johnny’s tribute to the summer of 1967, also known as The Summer Of Love. I was in San Francisco that summer, but only being 11, I didn’t partake in any of the festivities, so to speak…
  4. Kool & The Gang, “Summer Madness” A great instrumental that still gets a lot of play on Smooth Jazz stations, from their 1975 album Spirit Of The Boogie.
  5. Ramsey Lewis featuring Earth Wind & Fire, “Sun Goddess” Some more Smooth Jazz from a couple of Chicago acts. Title track from Ramsey’s 1975 release.
  6. Martha & The Vandellas, “Dancing In The Street” Summer’s here and the time is right… From 1964, when it went to #2.
  7. Linda Ronstadt, “Heat Wave” This could have been a Martha & The Vandellas twofer, then I remembered that the lovely Ms. Ronstadt had done it as well. 1975 is well represented in this list: this is from her Prisoner In Disguise album from that year, and reached #5.
  8. The Motels, “Suddenly Last Summer” From Berkeley, California, these New Wavers reached #9 in 1983 with this one.
  9. The Trashmen, “Surfin’ Bird” You have to include a surf tune if you’re talking summer, and The Trashmen are considered the greatest landlocked (they’re from Minneapolis, Minnesota) surf band ever. This is a combination of two R&B hits by The Rivingtons, “Bird Is The Word” and “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow”. This went to #4 in 1963.
  10. Corey Smith, “The Baseball Song” Baseball players are sometimes referred to as “the boys of summer,” right? Corey’s from outside Athens, Georgia, which we all know by now is a sort of hotbed of musical activity. After graduating from UGA, he taught Geography, History and Guitar at North Gwinnett High School (the other side of Atlanta from me) until he decided to make music his life.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 24, 2019.

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.

ZX81 #atozchallenge

Almost done here!

In the early days of microcomputing, machines were really expensive. Pretty much the least expensive computer you could get in the US was the Radio Shack TRS-80 (affectionately known as the “Trash 80”), which cost $600 ($2500 in 2018 dollars) and that was just for the computer, which came with 4 KB of memory, a 64-line monitor, and a keyboard. I don’t even think it had a disk drive (although I can’t imagine it didn’t), but you could add on floppy disk drives, hard drives, tape backup, more memory, and other peripherals, all available from Radio Shack. The TRS-80 came out in 1977 and quickly dominated the market.

Pretty soon, just about everyone and his brother had a computer of some kind. All, of course, except me. I couldn’t justify spending that much money on something that was basically a toy that I knew I’d be on all the time. So I did without.

Until I heard about the Sinclair ZX81.

The Sinclair ZX81, pretty close to full size. Evan-Amos [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D

The ZX81 came with a whopping 1 KB of memory, but a 16 KB memory expansion (pretty much a sine qua non if you wanted to do anything besides write a program that spit out “HELLO WORLD”) was available. Storage was supplied by your own cassette recorder, while the monitor was your own black-and-white TV. It was delivered with a version of BASIC loaded on it so you could write programs to do stuff. I made my case to Mary, and $80 later, I was the proud owner of a ZX81 (which I soon learned was pronounced “ZED-X-81”).

I have to say, for a little computer, you could write some pretty interesting stuff on it. First thing I did was to type in some programs that I found in a couple of books we found at Crown Books. I had to get used to the way you typed in the various BASIC commands, which was not to type them, but to press one of the keys that would type the whole command out for you. I also had to learn how to adapt the programs in the books (written for the TRS-80) so they would run on the ZX81. Once I had done that, though, I was in business. I actually designed and wrote a program to balance the checkbook that worked pretty well, and I was quite proud of myself.

The ZX81 had almost cult status. There were magazines that talked about new software that was available (on cassette) and how to get the most out of the machine, and I started reading them. Another guy at work had one, and we’d talk about what we had done and what we had found out, we’d share magazine articles… I mean, it was great!

For about nine months, anyway. After about that long, I had gotten tired of it. Setting it up was a drag, trying to keep one of my cats from chewing through the power cord became a hassle (as did soldering the wires back together), and, let’s face it, it was an $80 computer that was pretty severely limited in what it could do. Timex, the company that owned Sinclair, started marketing the computers under its own name (the Timex-Sinclair 1000), but it was pretty much the same little computer that I had grown tired of.

Then, it just sort of vanished. The magazines were gone, the books, the software, the computers themselves, all gone, pretty much overnight. It was time to move on.


And that, my friends old and new, is that for the 2019 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, whether you’re a participant or just someone who dropped by to read. Watch the Challenge blog for further updates.

Yex #atozchallenge

The letter that gave me the most trouble this year wasn’t X, it was Y. There is really only one word that I could find that fit the criteria: yex, which means “hiccup” or “belch.” George Carlin, in his (in)famous routine “Class Clown,” talked about a classmate who could belch at will…

We all knew a guy like that. There was a guy a year ahead of me in grammar school who would always announce himself whenever he’d walk into the theater at school. There was another guy who could make a sound kind of like a tiger coughing up a hairball.

I was looking at yex, and if you capitalize it, YEX, it looks like an IATA airport code. I consulted a list, and was disappointed that there’s no airport with that code. There’s a YAX, which is the Angling Lake/Wapekeka Airport in Wapekeka, Ontario, Canada, and a YBX (Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon Airport in Blanc-Sablon, Quebec), and a few more, all in Canada. But no YEX. Damn.

XX #atozchallenge

Call it cheating if you want. I had plans to make this a scholarly work on Xerxes I (“The Great”), King of Persia, but history just isn’t my thing. Then, I was going to write about Xerox, and realized… nah. It’s Saturday! Have a beer!

Specifically, a Dos Equis, Spanish for “two X’s.”

Dos Equis is brewed by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, a Mexican brewery based in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, with plants in Monterrey, Guadalajara, Toluca, Tecate, Orizaba, and Meoqui. Also called Heineken Mexico, it brews a number of Mexican beers, including Dos Equis, Sol, Bohemia, Superior, Carta Blanca, Noche Buena, Indio, Casta and Tecate, to the tune of over 3 gigaliters (almost 800 million US gallons) per year. They have a Lager Especial and an Ambar, both of which are good. The two X’s were originally placed on the bottles to signify the 20th Century, in case you were wondering.

Most people know of Dos Equis because of their ad campaign, The Most Interesting Man In The World. Jonathan Goldsmith played the role from 2006 to 2016, after which he retired, replaced by Augustin Legrand. Here are some examples of the commercials (they’re all in the video).

Mr. Goldsmith’s Most Interesting Man in the World has become a minor classic as an Internet meme. I founde a meme generator and made this:

Stay thirsty, my friends.

Waxing #atozchallenge

A couple of years ago, when I was doing words that started with the letter of the day and ended with the next day’s letter, my word for W was “wax,” when I discussed waxing the floor. This is another kind of waxing.

One of the things that you’d always see in the weather report in the newspaper was the phase of the moon. What that had to do with the weather, I have no idea, but it was always kind of interesting to me.

Phases of the moon for Atlanta, 2019. Source: timeanddate.com

This past Sunday was Easter, which commemorates the day that Christians (including Orthodox Christians) believe Jesus, having been crucified a couple of days earlier, rose from the dead and exited the tomb to which he had been committed. The official day that we celebrate Easter is defined as “the Sunday immediately following the first full moon of spring.” However, we don’t rely on the astronomers to determine the date of the vernal equinox (i.e. the start of spring). Rather, the beginning of spring is presumed to be March 21, and an involved algorithm is used to compute the date of Easter based on the year. The result yields a date between March 22 and April 25. The formula is actually pretty accurate: you’ll notice from the table above that the first full moon of spring was on April 19, meaning Easter would fall on April 21, the same date as the formula gives us. (Orthodox Easter, being based on the Julian calendar, is a week later. This year, anyway.)

So, what does all this have to do with waxing? Nothing, really. Just took you on a side trip.

Looking at the calendar above, we see the dates of the new moon, first quarter (when the right-hand half of the moon is lighted), full moon, and last quarter (when the left-hand side is lighted). Between the new moon and the first quarter, the moon is waxing crescent; from the first quarter to the full moon, it’s waxing gibbous; from the full moon to the last quarter, it’s waning gibbous; and from the last quarter to the new moon, it’s waning crescent.

There’ll be a test on this next week. Class dismissed.