Monday, October 19, 2020

Musical Monday - Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: August 13, 1983 through August 27, 1983.

This is a song by a band at the end of its life, bereft of interesting ideas, desperate to churn out anything that will keep it relevant and failing badly. By 1983, the career of KC and the Sunshine Band was on life support. Their last notable hit had been in 1980 with the eminently forgettable Please Don't Go. They were, by 1983, a disco-era band that was trying to make it in a pop music landscape that was extremely hostile to disco music.
It doesn't help that this song is simply not very good. It has a dance beat, but everything about it seems almost like the band is just going through the motions. There's no real hook, no real substance to the lyrics, nothing particularly interesting about the vocal delivery, and nothing particularly memorable about the instrumentation. This song is bland, generic, and boring.

The blandness of the song isn't really helped by the video, which doesn't really do anything to illustrate or highlight the song. In the past I highlighted a couple of music videos that had inexplicably science fictional themes, and this one goes onto that list. The song is a generic dance song, while the video is a badly acted oddball fantasy horror quest where the climax is untying some ropes and an almost completely random deus ex machina. There's literally no connection between the music and the images presented, and that makes the entire thing almost entirely unmemorable.

This was the last gasp of KC and the Sunshine Band, and I can only say that after this they deserved the obscurity that awaited them.

Previous Musical Monday: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young
Subsequent Musical Monday: Red Red Wine by UB40

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Red Red Wine by UB40

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

KC and the Sunshine Band     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for October 12, 2020 through October 18, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 35.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 985.3 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

I should have known going into this week that my running schedule was going to be disrupted. I took the week off from work because the Redhead had her midterm exam this week, and that allowed me to spend the week taking care of the Littlest Starship Captain. That also meant that the day before the exam I wasn't able to go running at all because I needed to stay home all day so that the Redhead could study. Then, over the weekend, we helped run a virtual convention, and once again, I wasn't able to get away to run on either Saturday or Sunday. On the other hand, that means that I was able to run 35 miles in only four days of running for the week, so there is that at least.

Going forward I am hoping to have an uneventful but productive week. There appears to be no reason for me to miss any running days this week and I've gotten to where my weekday run is a seven mile route, so I am aiming at 45 miles as my weekly goal again. I should top 1,000 miles tracked this week, so that's kind of exciting. We'll see how this goes.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 5, 2020 through October 11, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - October 16th - October 22nd: Until It Was Revoked, Article 370 Defined Kashmir's Relationship with India


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Would you consider giving out books to trick-or-treaters instead of candy?

First, I would need to have some trick-or-treaters. I live in a condominimum, which one might think would be a good spot for attracting trick-or-treaters, given the fairly high density of the residents and the fact that there are clearly many children living in the neighborhood. In practice, however, we have had so few trick-or-treaters show up that we have even contemplated not even buying candy, since we get so few knocks on or door on Halloween, and the few we do get are older teenagers.

On the other hand, the rarity of actual trick-or-treaters might be an argument in favor of giving out books, since I would only have to hand out a few. The problem is that while candy is pretty much an all ages kind of handout, to give books in a way that would be worthwhile, you'd have an array of books on hand that would be suitable for a variety of age ranges. Books that would make for good handouts for a five-year-old kid are probably going to be completely unsuitable for a ten-year-old kid, and vice versa. This would make planning for the night a lot more complicated.

The other issue with handing out books is that if you end up with extra books at the end of the night, there's not a lot of good options for what to do with them. With candy, you can just eat the candy yourself over the next month or so, but if you end up with a dozen leftover copies of the same book there's not much you can do with them. I suppose you could save them to give as gifts later, or possibly donate them, but that seems like more work than it would be worth.

So, I guess the answer is that I would consider it, but I probably won't actually do it.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, October 12, 2020

Musical Monday - Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 23, 1983 through August 6, 1983.

This recording is yet another example of a lightweight British pop star covering a song originally performed by an American soul singer. Like most such efforts, this one is completely forgettable, and the only reason to listen to it is to remember just how much better of an artist Marvin Gaye was.

Don't bother with this. Just go listen to Marvin Gaye's 1962 recording of this song and if you are lucky, you will completely forget this version by Paul Young exists.

Previous Musical Monday: Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant
Subsequent Musical Monday: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Baby Jane by Rod Stewart
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Paul Young     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for October 5, 2020 through October 11, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 43.6 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 949.8 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

I was on pace for a 50+ mile week this week, but a muscle strain today made me decide to take Sunday off, which left me at only 43.6 miles for the week. That's still higher than my mileage goal of 40 miles for the week, so I suppose it is wrong for me to be a little disappointed at not hitting 50 miles. In any event, I've had two good running weeks in a row, so I am going to up my mileage goal to 45 miles for this week. I am still ridicuklously slow, but at least I can put in more miles now. With any luck, as I get in better shape from the extended mileage, I will get faster again.

Previous Weekly Running Log: September 28, 2020 through October 4, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: October 12, 2020 through October 18, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - October 9th - October 15th: Supernova SN 386 Probably Exploded in 369 A.D.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you read paranormal romances? If so, what is your favorite thing about the genre?

I have read a few paranormal romance novels, actually it would be more accurate to say I have read very few paranormal romance novels. The only ones I can remember reading are the first Sookie Stackhouse novel Dead Until Dark, and a couple of C.J. Archer's books from the Glass and Steele series, although those I "read" more or less over the redhead's shoulder when she was listening to them as audiobooks.

I can't really say what my "favorite thing" about paranormal romances is, because I have read so few that I can't really give any sort of accurate assessment of the genre like that. I'm not even really sure I have much in the way of a fix on the genre as a separate entity from non paranormal romance fantasy, other than paranormal romance fantasy seems to always take place in a slightly more magical version of our world as opposed to a secondary world.

Other than that, it just seems like fantasy fiction to me.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, October 5, 2020

Musical Monday - Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of July 9, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1983, Eddy Grant seemed poised to become a huge star. He had been a successful performer for quite a while by the time the early 1980s rolled around, but with a big hit in 1982 in I Don't Wanna Dance, and a massive hit in 1983 with this song, Grant seemed like he was due to break through and become the kind of superstar that would soar acorss the sky and leave a lasting mark. Instead, this was the high-water mark of his career. He released a couple more albums, and even had a modest hit in the early 1990s, but more or less faded from the pop music scene after 1983.

The real shame of Eddy's fade is that he was doing music that was really unlike most everything else that was being put out at the time. This song, for example, is a funky, Carribbean dance song that has bitter, biting lyrics about the troubles of and unrest in a primarily Caribbean neighborhood in London. Although the musical style is very different, from a tonal perspective, Grant's song is a successor to the angry disaffected voices of punk rock from the late1970s and very early 1980s, a tone that became progressively muted in pop music as the 1980s went on.

It seems to me that something was lost when Grant didn't become a bigger star. Maybe if the U.S. hadn't been being swept into a false sense of euphoria by Reagan, people might have paid attention to people like him more and there might have been a chance to address some issues in the world. It didn't happen, and there's nothing that can be done about that now.

Previous Musical Monday: Baby Jane by Rod Stewart
Subsequent Musical Monday: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Every Breath You Take by the Police

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Eddy Grant     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for September 28, 2020 through October 4, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 49 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 906.2 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

This week has been a good week for me. I was able to run six out of the seven days this week and turned in the longest run I have doen in months with a fourteen mile jaunt on Friday. On Sunday, I got better news when I noticed that the new scale I had recently acquired needed to be properly calibrated, and when I had done so I discovered that I weigh significantly less than I had thought. I don't know if I will be able to replicate this week of mileage next week, since I don't have this Friday off to allow me to take a long run this week. I think aiming for another forty mile week is a doable goal though.

Previous Weekly Running Log: September 21, 2020 through September 27, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: October 5, 2020 through October 11, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, September 28, 2020

Musical Monday - Baby Jane by Rod Stewart


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 2, 1983 through July 16, 1983.

Rod Stewart has had a long and illustrious career with numerous classic rock hits. This is not one of them. This is Rod Stewart basically mailing in a song and being rewarded by the British public with a number one song. This song is such a rote, by the numbers, boring number that listening to it dfeels like eating a mayonnaise sandwich made on white bread.

The thing is, you can tell that Stewart himself realizes that this song is a limp piece of blandness, and spends the entire video vainly and desperately trying to inject some life into it. There is no saving this song from its own medicocrity, but Stewart really tries hard here, so at least there's that.

Previous Musical Monday: Every Breath You Take by the Police
Subsequent Musical Monday: Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Every Breath You Take by the Police
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Rod Stewart     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for September 21, 2020 through September 27, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 25.6 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 857.2 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: 198

I was sick this week and missed three days of running. On the other hand, I got my new running watch and my running routes are now apparently more accurate. My phone's GPS appears to have been just inaccruate enough to short my running routes by just enough the be annoying. I ended up having to throw a bit of extra distance on all of my regular routes in order to keep up with my plan of running at least a 10K every regular running day. I am feeling better and I am hoping to be able to push things further this week to get back to running 40 miles per week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: September 14, 2020 through September 20, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: September 28, 2020 through October 4, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, September 21, 2020

Musical Monday - Every Breath You Take by the Police


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: July 9, 1983 through August 27, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: July 16, 1983 through August 27, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: June 4, 1983 through June 25, 1983.

This is not only one of the signature songs of the Police, it is one of the signature songs of the decade. Even though they had at least a half-dozen other significant hits, this is the song that they will be remember for. Decades from now, when all of their other songs have been forgotten, this one will still be being inappropriately used for weddings and engagements.

Fundamentally, this is not a romantic song. This is not a sweet ballad about caring devotion. If you thought this was anything other than a song about creepy, stalker obsession, then you weren't paying attention. I have seen interviews with Sting where he expresses astonishment that anyone would use this song for their first dance or other significant moment with their spouse.

Creepy. Stalker. Obsession.

Previous Musical Monday: Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara
Subsequent Musical Monday: Baby Jane by Rod Stewart

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Candy Girl by New Edition
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Baby Jane by Rod Stewart

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Police     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for September 14, 2020 through September 20, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 37.3 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 5 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 831.6 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: 192

I'm not sure if this week's results are reliable, as I had some trouble with the GPS on my cell phone. I figured it out, but ended up ordering a new running watch to head off any future porblems, which should show up in a few days. I missed two days of running this week, only one of which was planned. The other day I missed was because I felt a bit under the weather.

Previous Weekly Running Log: September 7, 2020 through September 13, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: September 21, 2020 through September 27, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, September 14, 2020

Musical Monday - Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: May 28, 1983 through July 2, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: May, 28, 1983 through July 2, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Irene Cara should have been a bigger star. Before singing the title track to the movie Flashdance, she had starred in the movie Fame and sung two of the hits from that soundtrack - the number one hit Fame and the top twenty hit Out Here on My Own. She won a Grammy award, and this song, which she wrote, won an Academy Award. A sitcom was planned as a vehicle for her to star in, and even had a pilot filmed and aired. She was a blazing, incandescent talent and seemed poised to become the kind of huge, international star that would dominate the rest of the 1980s.

But she didn't. She had a couple more movie and television appearances, had a couple of very minor hits, and then her career more or less dwindled away, fading first quickly and then slowly over the next several years. The odd thing is that the movie Flashdance seems like the sort ofm movie Cara should have been in - It is a movie about a group of women working as dancers (but not strippers) in a kind of seedy bar in Pittsburgh. Alex, the main character, works as a welder by day and dances at the bar by night while dreaming of making it big with a professional ballet company. One would think that this part would be perfect for someone with Cara's dance ability, but instead the lead was played by Jennifer Beals, who is a perfectly fine actress, but can't dance at all. In fact, virtually all of Beals' dance routines were done by body doubles, and it is painfully obvious when they are not, becasue Beals looks awkward and unsure of herself.

From what information is available about the movie, Cara wasn't even really considered for the part of Alex. Whether she simply didn't audition for the part, or if her status as a "rising star" made her too expensive, or the studio executives were just too dumb to realize how good she was is unclear. I can only wonder how Cara's career might have been different if she had starred in what amounted to one of the signature movies of the decade.

Previous Musical Monday: Candy Girl by New Edition
Subsequent Musical Monday: Every Breath You Take by the Police

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Let's Dance by David Bowie
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Every Breath You Take by the Police

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Let's Dance by David Bowie
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Irene Cara     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for September 7, 2020 through September 13, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 33.8 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 5 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 794.3 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done (scale not usable)

In good news for this week, I completed the "Run the L" virtual challenge, and have now logged enough miles to have run the entire length of the Chicago L-train system. I'll be looking to sign up for another virtual running challenge in the upcoming week.

In bad news for this week, I got a little bit sick on Saturday and Sunday, and didn't run either of those days. I blame the fact that I got caught out in the rain while running on Wednesday and was soaked to the bone for most of the run. I'm going to be cautious about my mileage goal for the upcoming week and hope to get back out on the roads soon.

In neutral news, I am switching my "running week" from Sunday to Saturday to Monday through Sunday. This will allows my "running week" to coincide with the tracking system used for weekly miles by Strava. This is mostly for my convenience, because this means I won't have to calculate my weekly mileage tallies by hand any more.

Previous Weekly Running Log: August 30, 2020 through September 5, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: September 14, 2020 through September 20, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - September 11th - September 17th: "368" Was a Project by Casey Nestiat Intended to Offer Space to Creators in New York


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you read books by authors from outside your country? Any book recommendations? Also, if non-U.S./U.K., could you name one author/book from your country?

Taking these questions in turn:

If you read any amount of science fiction or fantasy, you will end up reading a lot of books by people from outside the United States, where I currently live. The bulk of such "non-U.S." authors are from the U.K., such as Arthur C. Clarke, J.R.R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Bernard Cornwell, J.G. Ballard and Iaian M. Banks. That said, there are a lot of prominent science fiction and fantasy authors from a variety of places - Tansy Rayner Roberts and Greg Egan from Australia, Cixin Liu from China, Isabel Allende from Chile, Nnedi Okorafor from Nigeria, Stanislaw Lem from Poland, and authors of classic works such as Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas from France. I've even read the entire Tintin series by Belgian author Hergé and almost all of the Asterix series by French authors Goscinny and Uderzo. It is almost impossible to be a well-read science fiction fan and not have read a bunch of works by authors from outside of the United States.

As far as recommendations go, there are so many possibilities that it is difficult to narrow them down to a manageable number. How about The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, Binti by Nned Okorafor, and the Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. I could come up with a couple dozen more if needed, but that should do for now.

I live in the U.S., so the last question doesn't really apply to me.


Book Blogger Hop     Home