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Thursday this and that

I woke up with this song in my head, the original version, but the Mel Tormé recording always pops into my head when I'm thinking about it. 

When I was little, and older vocalists who sang "standards" would try to score with pop hits, it made me so uncomfortable. Now I understand they were just trying to stay relevant in a world that no longer had teams of songwriters churning out [music by/lyrics by] for singers to eventually take and make their own. Little wonder they hated early rock and roll; it must have seemed so silly and ephemeral (as it largely was,) but later pop hits seemed like fair game at first, only they weren't. Even singing a banal Carpenters song took a certain light youthful touch most of them didn't have.

It feels sorta sad to realize that now. Most of those people were relegated to singing the same old thing they'd started with, to ever aging and shrinking crowds and during guest appearances on afternoon talk shows, prime time variety shows, and The Love Boat. And then all of that went away, too. 

Only a few of them lived long enough to see their music revived and appreciated again during the file-sharing years and nascence of YouTube. But here we are, fighting over the original goods at estate sales alongside west coast jazz and classic rock collectors. And we have room in our hearts for many more different styles of music than previous recent generations did.

this is too long. but I really appreciate the slow, slow tense build-up. eight minutes will do, though, to love humans for awhile.


Here is a conversation I had with someone my age about his first complete viewing of The Lion King. Of course if I'd realized he wouldn't have checked the connections before asking about the problem, most of it would be unnecessary. But then I was thinking this is something else we need to do a lot less often these days, and he just took his setup for granted. It's funny or alarming or I don't know, how quickly our patterns change. Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 9.16.41 AM

Screen Shot 2019-02-28 at 9.16.23 AM
The Lion King is pretty epic, and it has sumptuous sounds and visual artistry, and I'm mildly disappointed in his reaction to it. Oh, well. I wonder what he would think of Marvel's live version of African landscape? He'd notice you enter Wakanda from it in a similar manner to entering Themyscira from the sea, but hopefully he wouldn't pick up on that note so singularly as to lay down the rest. 


Next, here is a blog post I wrote just about nine years ago. Gosh, nine years ago me was so young. And comparatively full of mental energy. It's incredible how much has changed since then. My sons are grown up, the daughter mentioned in it has her own family now, and that New Jersey garden is hundreds of miles away. But it was a sweet though brief time in my life. I will probably share some other posts like this one now and then for awhile.


Do you watch The Orville? It's one of a handful of current TV shows I am very happy with. People sometimes complain that all the nostalgia and pop culture knowledge in it is from mid-late 20th century U.S.A. I think that's a hilarious conceit, personally, but I also wonder if some specific future era will look back at our youth and find that time one of the most appealing, the way people are currently fascinated with (a highly fictionalized version of) 15th century Europe? It could happen. 


Hmm, not wanting to end this post on what is essentially a commercial, let me just say that I'm still thinking over what the space is best suited for these days, however, I like having it as a collection container for whatever happens to be on my mind, and can only hope a few other people like seeing what's there, as well. Let's find a photo in the Bussard Collector to finish the page! (Probably the whole blog could just be devoted to whatever I have saved on my hard drive over the past few years, tbh.)Addio-a-Gabriele-FerzettiThis is Gabriele Ferzetti. Wasn't he dreamy? Click on the photo to see a film clip featuring him with Monica Vitti; you see mostly her face rather than his, but, well. And then so. You should just watch this whole movie, L'Avventura, if you've never seen it. 


Monday Miscellany

I have 90% prepared a blog post on the letdown of hearing the top 50 songs of 1982, but it will keep. I’m going to cover the highlights of my day yesterday, instead. It will be interspersed with a few of the songs I have played in obsessive amounts that are from…THIS VERY CENTURY. 

I know. But I was informed I spend too much time on nostalgia. This is incorrect. All the nows are still now. I heard “Knee Socks” yesterday, though, and the beat is back in my head for awhile. The video here is a cool slightly stripped-down live version, but this is the album recording that can stay with me for days.

IT WAS SUNNY YESTERDAY! AND THERE IS SUN RIGHT NOW! I doubt that will last; two entire days of sun in Cincinnati in late February is not even a thing. But for now, I am soaking it in and getting things done. 

I was trying to clean the front room, where the TV is, and that involved taking apart the vacuum cleaner again. But when I reassembled it, the vacuumed dirt still didn’t reach the canister. As I had cleared every tube and opening, and shook out the filter, this was puzzling. 

I took my son to Meijer to pick up something he wanted and was disappointed to find no Meyer lemons. Later I had a conversation with another son, who is assistant manager of a Kroger produce department, and he told me he and the manager decided they would never order any because they just go bad. That was so irritating to learn, but he said the larger Kroger would have them.
amusing live performance of this song

Between those two things, I was rereading a comment someone made to me at Google Plus and thinking about how uncomfortable it made me. I’d told this person before to stop making personal comments like that, but he doesn’t get it. I talked to two people about it who both agreed my reaction was sound. Only the more I thought about it, the more upset I became, what with that and the vacuum cleaner and the lemons, so I stopped what I was doing and took some comfort measures.

I put on some Tom Hiddleston speaking in foreign languages videos on YouTube, and made some risotto. Risotto is a nice meditative thing to make, and I will show you how in my other blog later today. 

Did I doze off after that? Have you?

It was still sunny later in the afternoon after more things that actually matter got done so I turned my attention to the big canvas I want to finish painting on. Well, I turned my attention to finding an audiobook to listen to while working on it, but just as I got started, a threeway text conversation began about my son arranging all the oranges in the known world in order to win a Kroger produce department contest, and that’s when I learned about the Meyer lemons, and was mad again, but I did get some painting done. Paint
My son was home by then, the costermonger one, and we decided to drive together to gigundous Kroger for a few things. They had the Meyer lemons marked at $1.99/lb, because they do have a tough time selling them to these food heathens, and he paid for me to have three bags, also two bottles of Ommegang Three Philosophers, one of my favorite domestic ales, and then we went home to drink strong ale and watch The Lion King, which he didn’t remember ever seeing, beyond a couple song videos.

He was just blown away by the movie, and yes, the beer enhanced that, but anyway, we spent about three and a half hours watching it because we had to pause now and then to discuss 2D animation and so forth, and it was really a very rewarding time. Ale
Oh, but also, my other son took off the vacuum hose and found a bent bobby pin in it. No one here uses bobby pins, so that was odd. It did explain why I thought the hose was clear when it wasn’t, because the pin was wrapped around the inside perimeter, but that thing was causing most, though not all of the trouble. 

Lemons


Friday Farrago

I keep a Text Edit document open and paste things into it, to look up, think about, or use later. Today I'm going to share some of what's on the current one. And random images downloaded to my phone.

Here's a list of famous people who have hazel eyes. I meant to look some of them up to see if they look like mine, but was too lazy so far. Kelly Clarkson, Brooke Shields, Kristen Stewart, Ben Affleck, Jenny Mollen, Olivia Munn, Jason Statham, Tyra Banks, Jeremy Renner, Dianna Agron, Steve Carell, David Beckham, Heidi Klum, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jessica Biel, Jason Bateman, Demi Moore, Rebel Wilson and Angelina Jolie.

I just looked up a few and they seem to all have the blue/green kind instead of the yellow/green/brown kind, except Jada Pinkett-Smith, but all her photos seemed to have colored contacts, so whatever. Oh, here's one. 86305602

"being a grown-up, and your petulant fascism about the things you like" 

Probably a topic I wanted to address, because it often is. People are so weird, to me, about their tribal consumer preferences, and actually judging people who are not interested in them. But also people like to talk about how they wish to not be a grown-up, and I do not relate to that at all. I get that they just mean all the pressure and worry sucks, but being adults is our general life goal, and we get to drive cars, have sex (theoretically, anyway,) and drink cocktails, so. Dsc_3651_20367388613_o

Anyway. Like what you like, and pat yourself on the back for it being "nerdy," if that enhances your pleasure. None of it is a contest.

Avarice is enthroned as his bosom's lord, and assumes the style of the Great King; the rational and spirited elements sit humbly on the ground at either side, the one immersed in calculation, the other absorbed in the admiration of wealth. The love of honour turns to love of money; the conversion is instantaneous.  The man is mean, saving, toiling, the slave of one passion which is the master of the rest: Is he not the very image of the State? He has had no education, or he would never have allowed the blind god of riches to lead the dance within him.  And being uneducated he will have many slavish desires, some beggarly, some knavish, breeding in his soul.

--Plato, The Republic

That probably needs no explanation.
Nihilist

The United States has grown wary of impeachment. The history of its application is widely misunderstood, leading Americans to mistake it for a dangerous threat to the constitutional order. That is precisely backwards. It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would delineate a mechanism too potent to ever actually be employed. Impeachment, in fact, is a vital protection against the dangers a president like Trump poses.

This is true, and I think it is a paraphrase of an essay in The Atlantic. The reason it is important to me is because it's yet another indicator of the world we're living in which is determined to ignore contextual logic in favor of hysteria, keywords, and short-sightedness. But I don't feel like repeating myself today.
Mark

palliative care for a non-viable fetus ≠ the execution of newborns. 

Duh.

The press keeps trying to manipulate what people have said lately in a fervent attempt to stir up even more divisions between us. Let's just say no to that. No one is going around trying to "abort" healthy babies after they're delivered. Sunny

You were not a 1940s movie star or a major league baseball player. You certainly weren’t Jim Garner. You were not even Robby Benson.

Oh, I wanted to draw on that for a bit of writing on boys and their self-conscious need to assume if you were friendly to them you liked them and wasn't that icky? Whatevs. But also, Robby Benson. I'd forgotten about him. He turned out awfully well, too, which is nice.

Here's a link to a super terrible website about the village where my grandpa grew up.

It has a chicken salad recipe for some reason. My mom would have said they meant well. Montalbano

Finally, I made a list of shows that appear on American TV at varying times that I follow/am trying to follow. I think it's incomplete? Because there isn't a strict schedule anymore. I left out the ones you have to work to find in alternative places.

The Cool Kids
Criminal Minds
Doctor Who
DuckTales
Endeavor
Midsomer Murders
The Orville
Riverdale
Stranger Things 
Young Sheldon (way better than the show which spawned it)

But also I hope to see A Discovery of Witches, not because I was super keen on the series after the first book but because I just now learned Matthew Goode plays Clairmont, and I am ready for that. If I don't have to pay someone extra for it.


Speaking of obsessions…

I love this, you know. I love it so much.

And lots of other people do, too. I feel they are my tribe on this big strange planet.

I feel a little bad about it, but my favorite is the only one on here sung by a man; the Polish one. I just do respond to a man’s voice, and I like his. I mean, I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t good. But for me, he’s almost the new version of original Dutch Guy, except Polish. Very pleasing. 

(This is original Dutch Guy.)

My new favorites otherwise are: Arabic, because the language is neat fitted into that space and there’s extra groovy harmony, Chinese (Mandarin,) because she is awesome and could sing me into a calm dreamy place, plus there’s a fun vocal background bit, and Czech, which is maybe how a woman would sound good to me if I were attracted to women. 

Apparently, the German version is also sung by a man. Let’s hear it.
Ooh, these lyrics are way different than the original German version. They make a lot more sense now for the show, though the original sounded pretty fun. 

The Latin American Spanish was also left out of the collection.
That’s pretty cool. I like the pacing.

 

Speaking of obsessions and my tribe, the Wall Street Journal posted a fluff piece on how people are going out in winter with no socks on. As it was posted at Facebook, naturally there were people snidely decrying others who do things purely in the name of fashion. Like, your choices are facile and stupid because they aren't the ones I make. 

But then I saw this and responded, and the world felt better, and then the DuckTales thing turned up, so today is not too bad so far. Sensitivetypes(I removed the names even though it was a public post, since people have odd illogical ideas about how that works.)

I do own socks. First, my oldest daughter sent me a couple of funny pairs that go up past my ankles and are just right with boots, and then one of my sons gave me a large package of thin, cute, “no show” ones for Christmas year before last, which are good for the suede oxfords that need light cushioning and for when I have a cold or etc. Between these two sets I am set for a long time to come.

In general, though, ugh. Socks are the clothing equivalent of crumbly meat mixed into in smooth food or raisins in cookies, or bubble tea. Life is far more enjoyable without them. The person who mentioned foot odor should probably just take better care of her skin or shoes or both. It’s generally avoidable. 

 


They're playing my song again

I was thinking about the nature of pop music and how it changes a lot from time to time, by which I don’t mean instrumental trends, or what kind of beat or who’s laying it down, but the formula itself, which changes less often than those little details. 

Bearing in mind it hasn’t been my primary form of music since I was a child, I still think, looking back over it all, that what I did sing along with in the 70s was not materially different than what my oldest daughter (again, briefly,) sang along with in the mid-late 90s. But when I overhear a “top pop” song lately, it’s something else altogether. I first noticed it when the neighbor next door would have on what seemed like a station that played only Disney Channel interstitials, while the kids were in the pool. The formula was even more basic and narrower in scope, and super artificial.

I would have accepted this:
 
But what they played is what kids around my youngest son’s age (20) on down to around 10 will have adapted their ears to, unless they grow up, as he did, never really hearing it at all. At least there’s a lot more variety for their parents to share with them and for them to discover on their own through the internet. Some will develop broad tastes swiftly, others wlll settle into one thing or another and stay there, at least for awhile. My son listens to: Radiohead, Interpol, David Bowie, and some classical music. But he’s pretty young, and might add in another band some day.

When a song comes along like “Funk You Up” did a few years back, everyone pays attention because they got it just right, combining new and old elements that most of us respond to; in this case it was nostalgic with a contemporary edge. But that isn’t happening very often lately. I don’t think that means it won’t anymore; this era is just not one of the…better ones for it.

My middle son listens to current alternative music and that has recently taken a rather banal turn, to my ears. (Sorry, Brendon.) That waxes and wanes, though. The youngest millennials, like him, probably take comfort in it. I’m waiting it out. 

Back to me! I listened to pop music most heavily from ages 3-13, and you know, during one of the best eras for it; 1968-1978. It would be silly for anyone to dispute that, so we won’t try. It had everything pop music was meant to have, and the best examples of it are still good to listen to now. The novelty songs from that time haven’t aged so well, of course, nor the ones meant for what were then called “teenyboppers.” I liked some of those at the time, because I was a child. They weren’t the ones I obsessed over, though. 

Here are some songs that I either craved hearing as much as possible, or that I did own and so I would put the record on and let it repeat for an hour or more, with brief explanations as I remember them now. Laugh as much as you like.

"Reuben, Reuben," by whoever…(but this is a hilarious version featuring Patsy Cline)

When I was 7, my grandma gave me a record player for my birthday, with a box of children’s records. It was a green and white carrying case, and you opened the lid to set it up to play records. I had it til I was 16. I adored the song "Reuben, Reuben," and played it over and over again. Also, "Buffalo Gals." Such fun to sing along to.

"Brandy," by Looking Glass (turns out the lead singer would have been cute if he got a proper haircut)
I think this is one of those deals wherein the band played something different from their usual repertoire, it hit big, and they had to suffer with it thereafter. Too bad. I related hardcore to this song at age 7 or 8, and pretty much all along for years afterwards. If I confess I also had a thing for "Delta Dawn," you might just feel sorry for me or think I was a strange child, and as that was established long ago, let’s leave it.* 

I grew up thinking I would wear a braided silver chain and mourn happily for the man who loved me briefly and then went away. I just now realized I’ve sort of written it into my NaNoWriMo stories about Lena Spano and Lily Palm. Hmm. Well, anyway.

"On and On," by Stephen Bishop (this was an okay haircut for back then; at least it framed the face well)

I had the album containing this song when I was about 12. But mainly I played this one song on an endless loop while lying on my white ruffled organdy canopy bed, thinking about what it would be like to go somewhere with a beach and be very alone and sad, alone in the middle of a vast space with an atmosphere that seemed just right for it. Also, it made me Sinatra-curious. It's a more clever song than you might have noticed.

You Should Be Dancing (live) by the Bee Gees (this is not the same recording, which was better; is contained in link below)
The live version from Here At Last…the Bee Gees Live, which I played while dancing on the stair landing in our house, with my neon disco light flashing that I earned through the junior high magazine (or maybe the wrapping paper) sales they forced us to do. The stair landing was about four or five feet square, so, you know, about the size of a real disco floor in some places, and it was my special spot. I snuck down to it to watch Carol Burnett when I was supposed to be in bed when I was 8 or 9, and it’s where I fell asleep with the new puppy, Monty Python, when we first brought him home when I was 11, and where I answered the phone when I won tickets to a Royals game from a radio station, which started me and Mom going to games regularly for about three years starting when I was 13. It’s likely I was listening to this song when I took the call, but I did love a lot of the album, and learned to love the rest of it later on.

"Anybody Wanna Party?" by Gloria Gaynor

I was about 14, and played this for an hour at a time on my parents’ cheap stereo in the living room, until my mom asked me to stop for awhile. It was the 12 inch “disco version,” and I’d dance to it at first, then lie under the speakers and just let it move through me. 

 

There’ve been other songs I obsessed over since then, but the last pop hit that caused "emotions" was about 20 years ago. I listened to it when I was alone in the car, and sang along until I was sobbing.
But now I’m back to thinking about what kind of man I’d enjoy loving from a distance while wearing my cool silver chain with the locket and serving up drinks to a mostly faceless crowd. I suppose it’s who I was always meant to be, at least until we get to have androids made to order. 

 

 *What in the...ugh, ew. Don't ruin this for me. Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 11.00.03 AM


reading [between thoughts on music] between the lines

This weekend I am reading the Lord and Lady Hetheridge series by Emma Jameson for the third time. 

I needed to be able to picture Tony in order to appreciate the story better, so I have decided to see him as Anthony Bourdain, only shorter. If he looked in formal wear like Bourdain did at the 2016 Emmys, it would explain a lot about why Kate is able to overlook their extreme age difference so easily.

Fitted
I was never particularly interested in or knew anything about Bourdain, by the way, until he died. His death was certainly a real tragedy, and I learned a little about him at that time, but not much; it seemed too sad.

The main reason I’m rereading this series this time is because I want to get back to the Doyle and Acton series by Anne Cleeland. I read the first five, maybe the sixth, don’t perfectly remember, and there are eight in total. So I requested six-eight from the library and will pick up with them in a few days when they arrive.

These two book series have a lot in common, and they also are both clearly influenced by Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series, and maybe a bit of P. D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh series, as well, though that one belongs more to the "lonely widower detective" genre, which is totally a thing in case you didn't know. Of course, it all starts with Lord Peter Wimsey, but that's for a longer piece of writing than I intend to do.

Those two series are rather more cerebral, but they both feature a police detective who is a member of the British peerage, and that aspect of his character factors into the plotlines and how others see him. Inspector Lynley works with a female sergeant who is from a lower class background, and that is the element both the Cleeland and Jameson series share. 

In both these newer series, the bond between the young woman and her “guv” develop rapidly, the people around them don’t fully understand it, and the ensuing tensions are explored amidst the solving of murders. Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 5.32.35 PMOverlaying that basic setup are two very different atmospheres. Lord Hetheridge is straightforward and fairly transparent. He’s confident and has a certain amount of innate power, so he uses that to solve crimes, build relationships, arrange life to his satisfaction. He’s wholly a good guy, though with some of the same feelings we all have from time to time that could lead to ethically ambiguous decisions, but generally don't. We see the stories develop from his point of view, but also from Kate’s, and the other member of their team, Deepal Bhar. 

If you like “light” crime reading with a bit of romance, and don’t mind a few inconsistent minor details, you might like this series. It doesn’t go nearly so deep as the Inspector Lynley series, and a lot of cliched ground is covered, but the characters are people to root for and the crime plots are fairly interesting. I suppose they're what people like to refer to as "guilty pleasure" more than anything else. I enjoy them without guilt, don't need things like this to be more than what they are. If the basic premise sounds good, but you want to stick with something more deep and absorbing, have a look at the Elizabeth George series, instead.

The other series, about Doyle and Acton (I searched for far too long for a good list or review that was also spoiler-free, which is how I started the first book; this is the closest I could come) is another matter. It began, I think, in 2013, and I expect if Cleeland tried to sell the beginning of it now, she’d have to change a lot about it; Acton's personality would displease quite a few people. As it is, I read she had a tough task selling her publishers on a couple later entries. The stories, mainly from (Irish and therefore intutive, don'tcha know) Kathleen Doyle’s point of view, follow a similar progression to the Hetheridge ones, but with more moral ambiguity and some sinister twists, revealed in measured electric shocks as the plots unfold. I appreciate that a lot in fiction, which allows us to explore the darker paths we’d never take in real life. It’s often mentally arousing.
StylusBut not everyone can enjoy fiction that both mirrors real life and disrupts our basic understanding of good guys and bad guys. I think that’s one reason people like fantasies set in made-up times and places; the characters in them sometimes get to behave intriguingly in ways that we could not accept in a setting that looks and sounds just like our own. To that end, if that's you, I'd say go back and read the old Adam Dalgliesh books for thought-provoking crime stories with more literary merit and fewer moral dilemmas. I enjoy Doyle and Acton's dialogue, but am not sure to whom I'd recommend the series. I might reevaluate that statement after I read the remaining books.

And it’s possible someone else could write this premise as a series and do it better, but would they? I kinda figure that since stories are told by the people most interested in telling them, they are pretty much told as they’re meant to be…but I don’t want to get any more existential than that, because I meant to talk today about songs I was obsessed with from ages 10-15 or so, and here we are, instead. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


1200 Light-Hearted and Colorful Words On the Use of Apostrophes, Divided Into Easy-To-Digest Chunks

Valentine's Day paragraph breaks brought to you by screenshots I took from a Buzzfeed page the other day; they don’t link to anything because, honestly, you'd just get distracted. 

A. Specific Person For Whom This is Written, But Likely Also Others: you should know that if you stop using apostrophes entirely, except when forming contractions, you’ll be correct more often than you are now, sprinkling them in whenever it takes your fancy or you’re worried you aren’t being fancy enough. 

I used three in the sentence above. They were for contractions: two words squeezed into one. This just requires understanding how our speaking habits translate into written ones. You will = you’ll, you are = you’re, are not = aren’t. The apostrophe takes the place of the letters that are removed when the squeezing takes place.
Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.52.49 PMTwo contractions people tend to get wrong more commonly since the internet came along are would’ve and could’ve. If you read those aloud, you hear the problem from the standpoint of someone who doesn’t read or write much, or at least didn’t until the driving need emerged to share an uninformed and/or emotionally-wrought opinion on every gotdamned thing in existence. (More on that, again, another time, perhaps after drinks.) So anyway, those stand for would have and could have, not would of and could of, which are meaningless phrases. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.53.08 PMB. The other apostrophe uses are strictly for possessives, and they are trickier, but wholly logical, if you just think it over carefully. First, assume that if you are adding s or es to suggest more than one item, you do not also need an apostrophe. Plural does not mean “possessive.” It just means more than one. There are some slight exceptions to this, but you won’t use them very often. Hang tight and I will explain.

Possessive means ownership, plural means more than one. Apostrophes are for ownership. You might need a mnemonic device to help with that. I’m not the best at those, but possessive has an o, as does apostrophe. Plural contains no o, so it doesn’t have an apostrophe (nearly always.) Um, an apostrophe is a trophy, and you can’t possess a trophy without an O. Maybe that will work for you. 

Here are some examples.

“I bought some sweet pajamas with cats on them.” Pajamas, of course, refer to two pieces of sleepwear. The cats are not actual cats, just images of some.

“These cats pajamas are the cat’s pajamas.” These pajamas have multiple cats on them. They are so cool, it’s like if a cat possessed them. I have no idea why, but it is a fun old expression. 

Bob’s bed: a bed which belongs to Bob. Bob’s friends are Carol, Ted and Alice. He possesses more than one of them. 

Bobs I have known: a list of Roberts, including my brother, my uncle, Bob Crane, and the lead singer of The Cure, the best band in the world except for maybe Earth, Wind & Fire.

Uncle Bob’s unlabeled jar of powdered “creamer” that he brought with him everywhere he went back in the 70s: a plastic jar he possessed which contained mysterious off-white powder for his coffee.

 Bob Crane of Hogan’s Heroes: eponymous member of the funny heroic group portrayed on TV when we were little. Incidentally, Hogan’s first name (the name he possessed) was Robert. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.51.38 PMAs to hers, well, do you ever add an apostrophe to his? Of course not. So you never would with hers, either, unless Her is the last name of someone owning something you wish to mention. But I think that’s generally spelled Herr. So you might see Herr’s Fine Meats or some such thing, suggesting the meats possessed by Herr. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.50.55 PMC. Now, Specific Person, where you get hung up is in thinking that words already ending in S are more complicated than they actually are. First, again, if it’s just friends or pajamas or Roberts, no apostrophe.**  (Note: one of the rules I’m about to cover is slightly different in British English. Sorry, if that’s you.)

The Brown Hotel in Louisville is famous for Hot Browns, a plain name for a fairly plain food. No need for apostrophe there. 

The Browns ran this hotel before we were born. Their name was Brown and there were more than one of them. 

White’s Club in London was frequented by elite male members of society. It was started by one man called White; he possessed the club, at least initially. 

In the possessive instance, no preceding “The” was needed; that might be a clue for you. If you said “The Whites” you’d be talking about two or more people named White, not about something one of them owned. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.54.20 PMWhat if someone’s last name ends in S? Let’s use Don Simmons as our example. First, leave his name alone; don’t go sticking an apostrophe before the S; that makes his name Simmon, which is rude of you to do. Next, if you are talking about his lack of soul, you might write it either, “Don Simmons has no soul,” or “Don Simmons’ soul is missing.” 

In the sentence above, I used soul as an object and then as a subject. When someone possesses a subject, they usually have an apostrophe attached to their name. And if their name ends in S, the apostrophe follows it. If their name does not end in S, you’ll add one after the apostrophe. 

Let’s pause so you can think that over. Possessive apostrophes are for ownership of subjects. Add an S to the name if one isn’t present, leave the person’s name alone if it already has one, and just stick that apostrophe on the end. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.53.18 PMDo you understand the difference between these two sentences?

Over there is the Simmons house. 
This is the Simmons’ house.
 

The first one is a little old-fashioned, but we still use it sometimes. We’re naming the house for the people who live there. The second sentence is like, “Yes, this is where we turn in, the Simmons own this place.” Never add an apostrophe to their name unless you are referring to a subject they possess (it can be a conditional subject, like their collective anger or something,) even if you are talking about more than one Simmons. 

Don’s office is upstairs. 
Simmons’ office is upstairs.
 

Did you see Don Simmons’ gloriously soulless performance of that old Carpenters tune at Karaoke night? It was once Richard Carpenter’s favorite composition.

Oh, the Carpenters. Their name is just Carpenter. If one of them wrote the song, it was Carpenter’s song. If both of them did, it was the Carpenters’ song. 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 3.53.26 PMA few more instances:

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

It’s a Girl’s World

Girls’ names

The Boys Are Back in Town

A Boy’s Life

Boys’ Town

The Kids Are All Right

One Kid’s Mission To Travel the Universe

The Kids’ Choir

The Children’s Choir (S added because children was already a plural term.)

Hottie**It’s in the starred sentence stood for “it is.” At no other time do you ever use an apostrophe with its, unless you're referring to Cousin It’s hair; the hair possessed by Cousin It. Generally, things can’t possess nouns, only people can.


All Skate

The other day I was listening to my iPod and “Stuff Like That” started playing, and I started thinking about things and reminiscing, which got me to marveling, as I always have, at the divine voice of Nickolas Ashford. Not to say Valerie Simpson and Chaka Khan were not the vocal key to the awesomeness of that particular song. How cool is Quincy Jones? The coolest

So, thinking about the wonder of Nick Ashford's vocals, and that time period in general, I was going to make a Super Sexy Seventies playlist, but the fact is, I don’t own a whole lot of music I’d add to it, and so I’ll need to make an online sort of playlist, which is more work and thus less fun to me. When I was a kid, I didn’t go in much for love stuff, especially if it was slow. I didn’t understand why any kid would, but of course, some of them did. People, you know, and their different ways. Thus, what I've collected in my iPod memory bank mostly reflects my tastes at that time.

I didn’t like much sentimentality unless it was accompanied by (really, secondary to) a strong bass line and a good beat, or maybe an adorable hook; if it was good for harmonizing to or dancing to, etc. Gosh, if I’d been a child in the 90s, listening to yodeling “divas” on the radio, I’d have lurched even more swiftly into the past, or whatever I could find as alternative. Anyway, so the songs I liked back then that we’d think of as sexy still mostly “had a beat and I could dance to it.”

Where was I? Somehow I found myself thinking next about the music played at the skating rink on Friday nights. Everyone went to the Friday night skate for awhile, at Landmark Skate Center on the outskirts of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It’s still there! But no longer outskirts, I guess. I loved skating nights, though I was never part of a crowd of kids. It was nice, people were mostly nice, and having fun, and skating was one thing I could do reasonably well, having learned it for a Girl Scout badge. 46277258_K2w5uvy1uUwY7OvK6sEMOd6kS-Xrz99_9zksowfthIY

I was never great at it, because I feared falling down. Some years later, I took a tae kwon do class at the church, for some exercise and social time, but he could never get me to practice falling the way everyone else seemed able to do. My brain says, “No, falling is a bad thing. Don’t pretend to do that.” So I didn’t master much tae kwon do, or skating backwards, though I could manage it if necessary. (About like driving a manual transmission: only if an absolute must. Car transmissions have advanced pretty far, you anachronistic driving elitists.) 

But we’d skate around and around, and people who could do fancy things stayed in the middle, and sometimes we’d do the Hokey Pokey or the Limbo. Mostly I was there for the adrenaline and the fun music, and to feel like I was a part of things, which is something I rarely felt. Now and then, the DJ would call for a “couples skate,” and we’d have to sit down while a boring song played and people skated while clutching each other, though a few always put on a nice dance-skate show.
this is the epitome of a 1978 couples skate song. i'm sharing it because the video shows us everything we wish to forget about that period of time. 

All the girls wanted a boy to ask her to couples skate, so I did, too, but also did not. First, no boy would ever have asked me, anyway, so why pine too much for it? I was repulsive to boys who had just discovered girls.* Second, I’d have had to skate backwards more than I’d like. Third, the music was, you know, love stuff. So during couples skates, we’d go to the refreshment stand for a drink we called “Suicide.” It was three kinds of soda mixed together. I’ve never been a great fan of sweet soda, but the Suicide was the drink to order, and so I did.

And then a cool song would start again and we’d all rush back onto the rink. I decided to collect the ones I remembered hearing during that time into a playlist, limited by what I already own on my iPod, and factoring in the other place I went to sometimes on Saturday nights, Skateland USA in nearby Grandview. They had a slightly broader crowd, and slightly broader music. Skateland closed about ten years ago, it seems, because it was drawing a rough crowd, causing area problems, and driving away the family friendly appeal. But I liked going there now and then when I was in 8th grade. 5565bd06409915002d730551dfc33d17

In junior high I became very fashion-forward. And in 8th grade, narrow jeans came in style, finally, and I had them before or as early as anyone else. My mom converted the dumb flares to them, and I got a pair of Levis I just worshipped. But when a woman ran into me on the skating rink I did nearly the splits trying not to fall, and though I weighed nearly nothing back then, maybe 100 lbs, I tore those pants open! Yes, in back! So I had to sit at a table the whole rest of the night until my friend’s mom arrived to bring us home. I had people to talk with sometimes, and was happy to laugh at myself about it, for some reason? But it grew boring and frustrating. I think maybe that was the last time I was at that skating rink. And then in high school, I stopped going skating altogether. Still, when I hear certain songs, I tend to think of them as “skate songs.”
i don't know if this was a skate song where i lived. it would have been one in the city. you know, how things were/are. but I played it some evenings at home for an hour at a time and so it should count. 

So I made a list of top skating songs that I own and remember (I’m sure my memory is the faultiest aspect of it,) and put it in a Google spreadsheet with links. I thought of making it a YouTube playlist, and maybe I still will, but I like spreadsheets. I’m going to add more notes and more alternative recordings, but it’s otherwise complete for now, and you can access it here, if you care to.


*I think I’ll cover this soon. Who would be a kid in the early teens again—anyone? It’s the worst, even for the people who looked to everyone else like they had it easy. Thirteen(this was not my bedroom, which was at all times both very cute and even messier than my brother's.) 


interstitially, on mustard and memories

Going forward, all my images have hover text. The news clipping has a link to more info.

Today I read a recipe for “Peruvian chicken,” in a British newspaper, which wanted me to use “American mustard.” I had to think about what that is. I remembered how much my mom loved mustard when I was growing up. She loved German mustard most, I think; the grainy kind that tends to come in round glass pots, on a hot dog with sauerkraut. 6f0102b774ad03e9ff0a2038809b5ee9
And there was English mustard, very sharp, French mustard, brown like German but smoother, Dijon mustard, mostly the same as French, to us, and then later there was a sweet-hot one that started to appear at delis. And “beer mustard,” of course, which I think people liked with pretzels. This was back in the 70s, before all the boutique flavors. 15428423934_e8305ebdbe_b

I concluded they must mean yellow mustard is American mustard. D97e520ee06c9a1893b97ce107ecfce5
If here (and apparently Canada) is the only place that’s sold, it makes sense. I thought I didn’t like mustard much at all til I had the sweet-hot kind, because I’d tasted only yellow and German and Dijon. The yellow was sort of briney (like if Chinese mustard was very mild,) and I didn’t like the texture of the German. Dijon was okay in a chicken dish. But these days there is yellow mustard here at the house; it’s okay with a hot dog or ham sandwich, and one of my sons likes it. He likes all mustards, though, like my mom, and now as an adult, I do, too, mostly. I also have champagne mustard in there, a beer one, and Dijon, currently. There might be a grainy brown one in there, too, but I never hear it called German anymore; just brown or "deli." I made some a couple years ago, and I think the recipe just said, "homemade mustard." I think I might try this recipe for spicy beer mustard next, cut down to size. 10.-Pittsburgh_Post_Gazette_Thu__Aug_25__1927_-1-768x900

So if you’re reading this from another country, in case you’re interested, we have many mustards, just like you probably do, since you also live in a culture that was created almost entirely through immigrant migration from every part of the world. And in one of the Carolinas, I never remember which because I guess I don't care enough being from Kansas City, they add it to their barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is different everywhere you go, but I’ve been to two decent restaurants that serve a good variety. One of the restaurants was near Times Square in New York, the other next to a motel in an industrial area of St. Louis, Missouri, 950 miles away (roughly 590k; two days into your six day driving trip across the country if you don't stop for anything but food and sleep, which would be silly.) I think it was this place. But barbecue, like mustard, comes in infinite varieties, for infinite personal tastes. Condiments are life. 8c5fad4af99405320c144d0f6ba75622
I think something everyone should realize is that what you see of our culture in ordinary grocery stores is usually just the cheapest and easiest to transport, and it's the same for what we see of yours. But if this is the only country (besides Canada!) that serves mild yellow mustard regularly, certainly that does make it American. At the same time, we have hundreds of different ones we can buy, in various regions. Jungle Jim's here in Cincinnati has a huge selection. And look: there is a National Mustard Museum!

On another note, I read that Dutch and Belgian people have an "American" sandwich spread which resembles steak tartare. The person mentioning it didn't understand why, because "Americans hate that." No, ma'am, they do not, at least, not all 300 million plus of them. They just don't see it as often as they did long ago, because trends come and go here, as they do elsewhere. My grandma used to make it for herself, having the meat ground at a butcher the same day, but I just get it at one of my favorite restaurants here in Cincinnati, as an appetizer. If someone still wants to make it at home, it just takes a bit of nice sirloin (from a good local butcher if possible, but not necessary,) partially frozen and diced by hand. And of course you need a delicious farm-fresh egg for the top. Tartare