(David) McCallum #atozchallenge


David McCallum (source: http://posterandphoto.blogspot.com/2013/03/david-mccallum-photos.html)

First time I remember seeing David McCallum was as Ilya Kuryakin on the Sixties TV series The Man From UNCLE. Kuryakin was the action hero, while Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughan) was the suave and debonair one that always got the girls. Which is interesting, because if you asked any of my female classmates, it was Ilya they wanted. Maybe it was the Glaswegian brogue made to sound like he was from Russia, or the blond hair and blue eyes, or maybe it was that he never seemed to get the girl. Whatever the case, they dug him, to use an expression from the time.

McCallum had already built an impressive resumé in TV and film before he took on THRUSH as an operative for the United Network Command for Law & Enforcement. Most important in his pre-UNCLE days was his role as Ashley-Pitt in 1963’s The Great Escape. It was on the set of that movie that spelled the beginning of the end for his marriage to Jill Ireland: he introduced her to Charles Bronson, who later told David that he was going to take his wife from him. And he did.

David was a junior: his father was first violinist for the London Philharmonic, while his mother, Dorothy Dorman, was a cellist with the orchestra. David studied oboe with an eye toward following in his parents’ footsteps, but left the Royal Academy of Music after a brief stay and finished his education at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Since 2003, he has played the role of Donald “Ducky” Mallard, MD, on the hit TV series NCIS. The writers of that series have made the character a highly intelligent and perceptive pathologist who talks to his “patients” and has a tendency to be loquacious. Recently, the character took a sabbatical from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to teach at his alma mater back in Scotland. No doubt McCallum needed the break: at 84 years young and with 65 years’ experience in front of the camera, he’s bound to be a little tired.

One of my favorite lines from NCIS was in one of the early shows, when Special Agent Kate Todd (played by Sasha Alexander) asked her boss, Special Agent Jethro Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) what Ducky looked like when he was younger. Without missing a beat, Gibbs replied, “Ilya Kuryakin.”

Keith Moon #atozchallenge

I was going to do “songs that have ‘moon’ in the title,” then realized I had already done that last August. In fact, you came up with a whole bunch more of them. So, let’s try something else.

Keith MOON

Keith Moon was the drummer for The Who from 1964 until his death in 1978. A great drummer with a manic style that spilled over into his personal life, he was as famous for destroying hotel rooms and blowing up toilets as he was for his playing. Maybe the song I remember best was from Who’s Next, which had all kinds of great drumming on it: “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” This was taped live at Kilburn in 1977, one of his last performances.

That was his style: heavy on the cymbals and tom-toms, and bang the hell out of both.

To look at him, you’d think he was Terry Jones of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and indeed, he brought that kind of craziness to the band. Here he lends his vocal skill to “Bell Boy,” from Quadrophenia, again taped live, this time at Charlton in 1974.

Moon spent much of his time with The Who addicted to alcohol, with brandy and champagne being his drugs of choice. He was prescribed Clomethiazole to deal with the alcohol withdrawal symptoms when he chose to detoxify himself. Typically, Clomethiazole isn’t recommended for unsupervised use, because it’s highly addictive itself and could be fatal if mixed with alcohol. For some reason, Keith’s lifestyle and stories of his antics were unknown to his doctor, who wrote him a prescription for a hundred, telling him to take one when he felt like drinking, but never more than three a day. After a row with his girlfriend at the time, Keith committed suicide by swallowing 32 of them (six would have been enough to kill him). He was only 31.

It’s sad that so many great musicians had a self-destructive streak in them and died much too soon.

And on that note… I’ll see you Monday with a word that starts with N and ends with O.

Five More By The Muppets #atozchallenge


Another A to Z Challenge/Friday Five mashup!

Everyone seemed to love the Muppets (the subject of today’s portmanteau) so much, I decided to make them the subject of today’s A to Z Music as well. So here are five more musical numbers by Jim Henson’s creations, including, where available, commentary by Statler and Waldorf (the two old cranks in the loge).

Danny Boy by The Leprechaun Brothers (The Swedish Chef, Animal, and Beaker)

Mahna Mahna

Rag Mop

Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women (or, if you prefer, “Cigareets and Whuskey and Wild, Wild Women”) – with Peter Sellers

Chopin’s Polonnaise in A Flat, by Doctor Teeth and Electric Mayhem

I hope your favorite was here. If not, let us know what it is. That’s The Friday Five for April 15, 2016.

#atozchallenge: Muppets

Muppet =
marionette + puppet


I don’t know of too many people who haven’t heard or seen The Muppets. Created by the late Jim Henson in 1955, they appeared first in commercials, such as these commercials for Wilkins Coffee.

At the same time, in Chicago, they advertised Kraml Milk. The commercials were almost exactly the same.

They became especially popular with the 1969 debut of Sesame Street, a show that combined education with entertainment (and lots of government funding) and aimed primarily at preschoolers and early graders. In 1976, The Muppet Show debuted in syndication, which featured a celebrity guest who would interact with the characters (one particularly funny episode featured ventriloquist Edgar Bergen with his famous dummies, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd). The Muppets would also perform routines by themselves, such as their infamous performance of “Chanson d’Amour.”

I guess it’s not as amusing as it was originally, although I still get a laugh out of it.

Sice Jim Henson’s death in 1990, the Muppets have been taken over by the Disney Corporation, who now also own the “Star Wars” franchise. Saints preserve us.

What’s your favorite Muppets sketch?


The Week That Was, #3 (#atozchallenge)

Time for another summary of the week of A to Z here at The Sound Of One Hand Typing and The Sound Of One Hand Typing FM. Again, thank you all for stopping by and leaving comments; I do keep up with what you’re doing on your blog via Feedly, my RSS reader. Leave me a comment, I’ll add you to the list, and you’ll be stuck there for all eternity BWAHAHAHAHA!….

Sorry, got a little carried away there… now, where was I? Oh yeah…

So let’s start from yesterday and work our way backward:

As always, kind of a mixed bag on the relative merits of the Marshmallow Peep, with some saying they love them, or anything with marshmallow, for that matter, and others saying “Eww, gross!” And I had at least one comment that said they haven’t made it to where you are right now. I’ll have to send a note to the people at Just Born, the confectioners who created the Peep, and let them know (not that they’ll listen to me, of course). One thing I neglected to mention is that many people like their Peeps a little on the stale side, so that they crunch when you bite into them. I like them either soft or crunchy.

By the way, I featured a video by the Crazy Russian Hacker that one or two of you mentioned you liked. His YouTube channel is a lot of fun and he does lots of other dangerous interesting things on it. Definitely worth a laugh at least. Maybe the next time you’re stuck in the house, check some of the others out, or better yet, subscribe to his channel.

People weere a little more unanimous about the Oreo, the subject of Friday’s post, everyone liking them. Whether you twist them open and lick out the creme center before eating the cookie, dunk them whole in milk and eat them that way, or just stuff them in your gaping maw like I do, we’re generally agreed that they’re a pretty darn good cookie. Lauralynn said that, although she can no longer tolerate all that sugar, she has had the deep-fried variety, and can attest that there’s all kinds of goodness there. Barbara said she wanted to see them sell just the cookie without the creme, and while it’s the cookie-and-creme sandwich that makes the Oreo great, I can see her point: the cookie portion is a mite tasty on its own. Jeffrey said he preferred the ones with the chocolate filling (those are golden Oreos with chocolate filling), while Kathy said she liked to spread peanut butter on them, something I never thought of but I think I’ll try the next time we get Oreos (we don’t get them, as a rule).

There were a lot of comments to Thursday’s post on noon, which surprises me because it was one of those subjects where I got a little more technical than usual explaining what “noon” was. Over on Facebook, someone remarked that we have the railroads to thank for time zones, which I suppose is true; theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler once opined that “Time is nature’s way to keep everything from happening all at once,” although there’s some disagreement as to whether he was the first person who said it. There were a few of you who agreed with me, that Daylight Saving Time is more trouble than it’s worth, and others who disagreed, saying they like keeping the sun out longer. My compromise was to set the clocks ahead one hour and leave them there for all eternity. There is historical precedent for that; it was done in the US during World War II, and again in the mid-1970’s during the “energy crisis.”

On a lighter note, it was nice to hear so many people remember the local cartoon shows that used to be on TV at noontime and after school when we were kids. I encourage everyone to find a copy of Tim Hollis’ excellent book, Hi There, Boys and Girls!, a well-researched directory of practically every kids’ before-school, lunchtime, and after-school cartoon show in the United States from roughly the beginning of TV through the 1980’s [and I’ll spare you the rant on that].

Everyone was equally unanimous on my post on minimum and maximum on at least one point: Minnie and Max, my cats named after the inventory-planning strategy, are “totes adorbs.” But getting back to the planning method, while it’s not entirely foolproof (vendors run out of stock due to delays from their suppliers, and it trickles down to customers), is about as close as you can get to it. It’s simple, and it works. And there are some items that are hard to plan for, such as pads, pens, and printer paper in late July and early August (when kids are going back to school) and Scotch tape and batteries in December (Christmas). There was also a time when the company I was working for was running short of coffee all the time; seems someone too cheap to buy coffee for home was grabbing it out of the coffee room on his way home. That kind of stuff really bugs me, ya know? When you come right down to it, it’s theft. And I’d better get off my soapbox before I fall off…

I generally heard one of two things about LiveJournal on Tuesday: people had either never heard of it or had been active on it once, but were no longer using it. The things LJ were good at are the same things that Facebook is good at, and a paid account on LJ (that allows you to avoid the ads and keeps your account open even if you don’t use it for, say, three years) costs more than the always-free Facebook (HA! To quote Milton Friedman, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!” What it doesn’t cost in actual dollars and cents is more than made up for in loss of privacy). But LJ has its fans, and I still have a presence there and will until LJ pulls a fast one and ruins it for everyone.

Finally, I was surprised to learn there were so many people who either hadn’t heard of kapok or didn’t realize the fiber came from a tree. I remember spending an entire geography class in 4th grade talking about the kapok tree and its fiber. Maybe geography classes don’t concentrate so much on trivia like they used to. And that’s probably a good thing.

So, this week, we’ll talk about investing, shaving, my grandmother, more time stuff, Ayer’s Rock, and a Soyuz cosmonaut.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure and vote in my Battle of the Bands from last Wednesday. Results will be posted this Wednesday. And of course, another British Invasion act on Two for Tuesday. See you tomorrow!