Couple Things That Really Improved in My Lifetime

If only to counter general shadows and doubts …

Store-bought food for dogs and cats — dogs especially — now amounts to something they actually enjoy eating and is better for their health (though we have not had pets for decades). Ranch-raised dogs in my youth looked tortured as they fought off starvation by snarfing meat-flavored grains. And I remember vets repeatedly telling us how many cats came in with digestive disaster because they weren’t fed properly. One unfortunate side effect was that our dogs were all terrible dinner-table beggars — amusing on occasion, annoying more of the time.

As a kid in bed, all I had to fight off the most extreme cold of winter was enormous feather quilts. I felt smothered and couldn’t move properly. Then came the miracle of the electric blanket. Wasn’t as heavy, for sure, but felt as natural as sleeping on a hot frying pan. With modern materials, you can enjoy a couple light layers extra that keep you snug as you want. Whew.

Day of the Doddering Dodo

This morning I think, “Hell’s smells, the last print issue of the Village Voice will hit town today, so why don’t I cruise over to Harvard Square — and specifically Out of Town News — where I grabbed acres of publications when I first moved here — and pick up a copy if any are left.”

So I get there and look around and no nuthin’ nowhere. Adding to my flightless and   clueless condition I ask: “Has the Village Voice sold out already?” Manager looks at me like I’m wearing paisley shorts with hair down to my butt and says “We haven’t got the Voice for four or five years!” “Well, the last print edition was yesterday.” “Ended for us a long time ago.”

So I go to the still-prime Newbury Comics and buy a couple CDs.

I attend an excellent free class on digital marketing of your brand. I am informed that Twitter analytics exists, which is serious news to me. Now I can see what’s going on over there a lot more. Might help me ask question to improve blog traffic,even.




Michael Jackson: On the Cross or Off the Hook?

In the process of retiring summer wear, now-skinnier me was able to wear the T-shirt I picked up when I covered the first performance of Michael Jackson and the Jacksons’s Victory Tour. Like so much associated with these performers, the shirt itself was a contradiction: beautifully designed and printed, but made of oddly thin, fragile fabric.


(Mine has red sleeves.)

MJ really was the king of pop then. Ten times more alive than even excellent performers on stage, he turned into an enigma the second he walked off. Now I thought how far he had rumbled down and never quite climbed out of the rubble. How it was impossible to have settled feelings about him.

This is a good examination of the whole story, which, to coin a cliche, should be in the dictionary next to “sordid.”

What saddened me most this time, however, is that Michael Jackson has become a King Donald-type symbol.

OF COURSE he was a wicked, guilty monster who bribed his way out of it.

OF COURSE he was an emotionally stunted superstar who showed disgraceful bad judgement and was attacked by evil extortionists because of it.

But either way, on the cross or off the hook, he ain’t gonna be resurrected into the Victory-era life he knew anytime soon.

“All I Listen To Are Number Ones” Pt. 2

I think I’m gonna stop this listing (for now, anyway) after the second cassette, because, well, it’s tedious, and because I have to put the series of tapes away and get back to disc listening tomorrow. [One curious footnote that I had completely forgotten — and that marks this project as pre-digital to the max — is that the second side of Tape Five is called TIME STANDS STILL and consists of Number One 45s that I loved but was unable to track down until I ran across this rich selection of them I can’t remember where. (Maybe they bought a big collection at Cheapo’s?) So that whole side fills in gaps in earlier tape programs.]


TAPE TWO: May 22, 1961 — March 13, 1965


  1. Ernie K-Doe, “Mother in Law”
  2. Ricky Nelson, “Travelin’ Man”
  3. Roy Orbison, “Running Scared”
  4. Gary “U.S.” Bonds, “Quarter To Three”
  5. Bobby Lewis, “Tossin’ and Turnin” (#1 for 7 weeks!)
  6. Ray Charles, “Hit the Road”
  7. Dion & the Belmonts, “Runaround Sue”
  8. The Marvelettes, “Please Mr Postman” (talk about pre-digital)
  9. Gene Chandler, “Duke of Earl”
  10. The Shirelles, “Soldier Boy”
  11. Ray C., “I Can’t Stop Loving You”
  12. Crystals, “He’s a Rebel”
  13. Chiffons, “He’s So Lord” (yes I did a parallel goof for Geo. Harrison)
  14. Jan & Dean, “Surf City”
  15. Stevie Wonder, “Fingertips”
  16. The Beatles, “Please Please Me”
  17.                          “She Loves You”
  18.                          “Can’t Buy Me Love”


  1. Mary Wells, “My Guy”
  2. Beatles, “Love Me Do”
  3. Dixie Cups, “Chapel of Love”
  4. Beach Boys, “I Get Around”
  5. Beatles, “Hard Days Night”
  6. The Supremes, “Where Did Our Love Go”
  7. The Animals, “House of the Rising Son” [sic]
  8. Roy Orbison, “Pretty Woman”
  9. Manfred Man, “Oh Wah Diddey”
  10. Supremes, “Baby Love”
  11. Shangri-Las, “Leader of the Crack” [sic — I thought it could be remade as “Smoker of the Crack”]
  12. Supremes, “See About Me”
  13. Beatles, “I Feel Fine”
  14. Righteous Bros., “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”
  15. Temptations, “My Girl”
  16. Beatles, “8 Days a Week”


A point I would make is that once the British Invasion began competing with Motown and a hundred other flowers bloomed, America entered a golden few years where the best music being made was, almost without exception, the most popular.