Monday, December 2, 2019

Musical Monday - I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: March 20, 1982 through May 1, 1982.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: March 20, 1982 through March 27, 1982 and April 10, 1982 through April 24, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1982, Joan Jett exploded into popular consciousness with I Love Rock n' Roll, dressed like Leather Tuscadero and sporting a sneer and all the eyeliner in the world. This was her most commercially successful song. That said, I don't think this is her best song, I would contend that I Hate Myself for Loving You or Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) hold that distinction. This is, however, the song that she is most closely identified with, and the one that comes to mind when most people think of her.

One mildly interesting fact about this song is that even though it is closely associated with Joan Jett and is more or less her signature song, it was not original to her. Her version is a cover, with the song originally released by the Arrows in 1975. There have been a couple instances in which a cover version of a song has essentially obliterated the popular memory of the original, and this is probably one of them.

Previous Musical Monday: Open Arms by Journey
Subsequent Musical Monday: Seven Tears by the Goombay Dance Band

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Centerfold by the J. Geils Band
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Chariots of Fire by Vangelis

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Open Arms by Journey
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: That Girl by Stevie Wonder

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

Joan Jett and the Blackheartsnbsp;    1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Running - Weekly Log for November 24, 2019 through November 30, 2019

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 23 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 23 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 162 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 24 miles
Current Weigh-In: 202.8

Last week was a pretty bad week, but I kind of expected that. Any week with travel and a holiday in the middle of it is going to be rough. I did do the miles on the road that I had hoped to do, but they weren't really particularly good miles. I had hoped to get in a speed workout. I didn't. I had hoped to get in a long run. I didn't. I had hoped to run sub-40 in the 5K race. I didn't. Overall, I don't think I made much progress, but as a condolence, I think I mostly held my ground. Despite the abundance of food during Thanksgiving and the following days, I only seem to have gained one pound.

The 5K on Saturday was especially disappointing. I had hoped to be able to run it in under 40 minutes, but I struggled to maintain a pace that was just under 15 minutes a mile. I missed the 40 minute goal by more than 5 minutes, which is an eternity in 5K race terms. Not only that, I really had to grind to get even that result. Everything about Saturday's race was just discouraging.

Even so, the experience was valuable. I now know just how far away I am from even the relatively modest goals I have set for myself. I think that my training regimen is still in the embryonic phase, as opposed to the more mature stage I thought it was getting to. The conclusion I have come to is that it is still far to early to seriously begin doing regular speed workouts. Right now, my focus needs to be continuing to put a base of miles under my feet and building endurance.

The upshot of all this is that for the foreseeable future I am going to continue my plan of running four to five miles a day on workdays and eight to ten miles a day on non-work days. I am actually in a position at this point that I don't think I need to build rest days into my weekly training regimen unless other commitments require them.

I have a 5K time trial scheduled in a month. I'm going to just pile on miles until then, and I'll reevaluate my training regimen iin January after the time trial.

Previous Weekly Running Log: November 17, 2019 through November 23, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Book Blogger Hop November 29th - December 5th: xkcd 331 Is Titled "Photoshops"


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: Did you go shopping on Thanksgiving Night, Black Friday, or on Cyber Monday? If so, did you buy any books?

No, and also no. I actively try to avoid doing any shopping of any kind on either Thanksgiving or Black Friday. The first one is easy to explain: I avoid shopping on Thanksgiving, because I don't think anyone should be required to work retail on Thanksgiving, and as a result I won't support stores on that day.

The second is slightly more complex. I won't say I don't like shopping, provided, of course, I am shopping for something I need - I am not the sort of person who just goes out and shops to pass the time. I do despise shopping in crowded or hectic environments, and as a result, I generally try to avoid even leaving the house on Black Friday. I don't need to take advantage of the sales, and I can do my needed shopping on some other day.

I didn't buy anything on Cyber Monday because I simply didn't.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 25, 2019

Musical Monday - Open Arms by Journey


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of March 3, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Journey was one of the signature bands of the 1980s, churning out hit after hit and dominating the airwaves. This song, however, came to my attention by a slightly unorthodox route: I first heard it on the soundtrack album for the Heavy Metal animated movie. I didn't first encounter it watching the movie - I didn't actually see the movie until a couple of years later, but I did have a copy of the soundtrack, and I listened to it over and over.

Heavy Metal was an odd project. The name of the movie isn't directly drawn from the name of the genre of music, but rather from a cult comic magazine first published in 1977. The movie itself is a series of short vignettes loosely connected by a framing story centered on a magical orb of glowing green evil. Despite being animated, the movie is full of sex, violence, and other adult themes, while also being relentlessly crass and juvenile.

Despite the fact that the name of the movie was derived from the magazine and not the genre of music, the soundtrack did feature some metal artists - Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, and Nazareth all appear on the album. But it features several decidedly non-metal artists as well, such as Stevie Nicks, Don Felder, and Journey. Like the movie it was attached to, the soundtrack album was an ungainly, chaotic, patchwork beast that was stitched together seemingly almost at random.

Still, it featured one of the greatest power ballads of all time in Open Arms, and seems to have been at least partially responsible for launching Journey into the upper stratosphere of superstardom.

Previous Musical Monday: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit
Subsequent Musical Monday: I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Centerfold by the J. Geils Band
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

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

Journey     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Running - Weekly Log for November 17, 2019 through November 23, 2019

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 26 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 25 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 3 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 139 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 23 miles
Current Weigh-In: 201.6

I was a mile short of my goal this week, but on the whole, I think it was a pretty good running week. I did my first speed workout, running intervals during one of my daily four mile runs, and I did a long eight mile run on Saturday. On the other hand, I missed two days of running, which is why I ended up falling short even though my longest daily run was longer than what I had originally projected last week. This is one of the pitfalls that one can run into if you build in a rest day into your week - if circumstances cause you to miss another day after you have taken your rest day, you miss two days instead of one, and before you know it, missing days turns into a habit and in fairly short order you're just slacking off for days on end. I don't want that to happen.

As we are coming up on the holiday season, keeping to a running schedule is likely to be more difficult, so I'm going to have to work hard to stay on track. I already know that I am going to miss two days of running this week - Monday because I will be traveling, and Friday because of schedule conflicts. Saturday is going to be a shorter day than normal, although probably a faster one, as that is the day I am running a 5K race. I need to make sure I put in worthwhile miles every other day this week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: November 9, 2019 through November 16, 2019
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: November 24, 2019 through November 30, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Book Blogger Hop November 22nd - November 28th: Constantine the Great Moved the Roman Capitol to Constantinople in 330 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: Excluding the Bible, name one book that makes you feel thankful and happy.

Many books make me feel thankful and happy - Dune, The Lord of the Rings, Ancillary Justice - the list goes on and on. But the books that make me feel most thankful and happy are the books that the littlest starship captain loves, or that I believe she will love in the future. Right now she loves We Are in a Book and Should I Share My Ice Cream, but it won't be too long before she discovers Pink Motel, The House with a Clock in Its Walls, and Encyclopedia Brown, and for that, I am thankful.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: xkcd 331 Is Titled "Photoshops"

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 18, 2019

Musical Monday - The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: March 6, 1982 through March 20, 1982.

This may be the laziest cover recording of a song in music history. Usually, a cover version of a song changes something. For example, when the Pet Shop Boys covered Always on My Mind, they did it in an entirely different musical style from previous versions and added a new chord progression to the chorus. Or the song is recorded by a singer who is a different gender from the original artist, recontextualizing the song, as in the case of Aretha Franklin's cover of Otis Redding's song R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Or the song being covered is recorded in a different musical genre than the original, as happened when Johnny Cash covered the metal song Hurt.

This cover version, in contrast, is basically identical to the Tokens' 1961 recording of the song (which was itself a cover version of the song which has been originally written and recorded in 1939 by Solomon Linda). There is nothing new or interesting about this version. There isn't even anything that makes it distinctive from the Tokens' version of the song. Essentially, this was more or less just a giant waste of vinyl.

The uselessness of this cover version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight is compounded by the fact that the people you see dancing around in this video aren't even the people who sang this amazingly tepid remake of the song. The singer on the recording was Roy Ward. When the song unexpectedly had commercial success, the recording company hired male model Steve Grant and female singers Denise Gyngell and Julie Harris, dubbed them 'Tight Fit" and made them the face of the song. This is pretty much the same thing that happened with Bonney M and Milli Vanilli. I think that Grant, Gyngell, and Harris got it into their head to try to sing themselves on later recordings, which seems to have had mixed success, so this isn't exactly the same as Milli Vanilli, but it is definitely the same sort of origin, and the same sort of situation as far as this song is concerned.

So, basically, the U.K. followed up on a biting punk song with this piece of tepid crap portrayed in public by a fake band. Great job.

Previous Musical Monday: Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam
Subsequent Musical Monday: Open Arms by Journey

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Seven Tears by the Goombay Dance 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

Tight Fit     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Running - Weekly Log for November 9, 2019 through November 16, 2019

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 32 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 27 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 4.5 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 114 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 26 miles
Current Weigh-In: 203.8

I fell short of my mileage goal this week, although there were some extenuating circumstances. Basically, the redhead was under the weather for a few days this week, and on one of those days I needed to take care of more than my usual amount of responsibilities, leaving not enough time to work in a daily run. Basically, I missed my Saturday run, and as a result, only ran twenty-seven miles this week. That's just how things work out some times.

This week, I am setting a slightly lower mileage goal. I haven't been building any rest days into my schedule, mostly because I haven't really needed them in the past. If I needed to "rest", I just did a slower or shorter run for a day or two. The problem is that now, there isn't really a lot of "slower" or "shorter" than my normal run that would still be a worthwhile run. I am going to plan on taking off one day a week for the next few months at least, which is why my mileage goa for this week is only twenty-six miles. We'll see how this goes.

Previous Weekly Running Log: November 3, 2019 through November 8, 2019
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: November 17, 2019 through November 23, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Book Blogger Hop November 15th - November 21st: In Archie #329, Archie Gets Issued a Computer So He Can Do His Schooling from Home


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 think that overall work morale would be improved by having a "book lunch", sponsored by the company, at least once a month, or perhaps once a week? (Participation would be voluntary).

No. In my experience, organized group activities like this never actually improve work morale. They come off as forced and artificial, and mostly do nothing of substance other than annoy people.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 11, 2019

Musical Monday - Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: February 13, 1982 through February 27, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

The early 1980s were start of the Thatcher years in the United Kingdom. They were also the years in which a lot of British working class bands released bitter, angry songs about the state of the world their country and how they were getting screwed over by their society. This is one of them. In fact, most of the songs by the Jam seem to fall into that category. It is no accident that punk caught on in the U.K. earlier than it caught on in the U.S., and the Jam were a big part of that musical movement.

This is a style of music that probably didn't last long enough. Before too long, the style of punk represented by Town Called Malice was replaced in popular music by New Wave music, represented by groups like the Human League. In effect, punk was a short-lived movement that was already dying as a prominent cultural force even when it was hitting its stride in what should have been its heyday. By 1983 or 1984, punk would be mostly a memory as far as popular music goes - it continued to have, and will always continue to have adherents, but by 1982 the days of punk bands being considered relevant in popular consciousness were rapidly coming to an end.

Previous Musical Monday: Computer Love/The Model by Kraftwerk
Subsequent Musical Monday: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Computer Love/The Model by Kraftwerk
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit

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

The Jam     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Running - Weekly Log for November 3, 2019 through November 8, 2019

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 27.5 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 27.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 4.5 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 87 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 32 miles
Current Weigh-In: 200.8

This was my most ambitious running week yet, and I completed the goal I set out. I am still painfully slow - at times I am not sure what I am doing could fairly be called "running" rather than "walking kinda quickly with a run-like motion". On the other hand, I recall that, during my high school days, in order to even qualify to participate in early cross-country training in the fall, you had to have run 200 miles over the previous summer. I'm not even to half that mark, and my starting point was a lot worse than I ever was then, so until I get two to three hundred miles on the road completed, I have to keep reminding myself that speed isn't important now, just the miles.

This upcoming week is even more ambitious, and will probably the highest mileage week I will have for a few months. This is the last week that I will bump up my weekday miles, going from three-and-a-half miles per day to four miles per day. Due to a quirk of scheduling, I have four "weekend" days this week, so I'll be doing five mile runs on each of those days. I call them "weekday runs" and "weekend runs", but what I really mean are "runs on days when I work" and "runs on days when I don't work". On days when I work, I don't really have a good time to run that is earlier than 9:00 PM, so I'm keeping those runs shorter, and on days I don't work I can take a longer time with my run. In a few weeks, I'll probably bump up my "weekend run" length, but that's in the future. Right now, I'm just going to try to complete a 32 mile week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 27, 2019 through November 2, 2019
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: November 9, 2019 through November 16, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Book Blogger Hop November 8th - November 14th: The BMW 328 Was Voted a Top 25 Finalist for "Car of the Century" in 1999


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: Can you stop reading before the end of a chapter?

I don't like to, but I often have to. As I have said before, much of my reading is done while I am on mass transit to or from work. Consequently, when I reach my stop, I have to put my book aside to get off the train and either get to my office, or walk home for the evening. As a result, I often have to stop reading in the middle of a chapter, the middle of a page, or even the middle of a sentence. It isn't an ideal situation, but one that simply has to be dealt with. The choice is either to deal with that petty annoyance, or simply not do much reading at all.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: xkcd 327 Is Titled "Exploits of a Mom"

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 4, 2019

Musical Monday - Computer Love/The Model by Kraftwerk


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of February 6, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Michael Myers had a recurring bit on Saturday Night Live where he would play the part of Dieter, the host of a fictional German talk show called "Sprockets". At the end of the segment, Myers would announce "Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance", and then some electronica music would begin playing and everyone would begin doing a stylized robot dance.

Kraftwerk, other bands like Kraftwerk, and fans of this style of music were the targets that this sequence was poking fun at. In fact, the actual song used in the bit was another tune by Kraftwerk called Electric Café. Myers' bit is a kind of good-natured japery, but it is japery directed not just at a specific era of music and, but a certain extent at a specific band, which may or may not be something that is generally known.

Previous Musical Monday: Centerfold by the J. Geils Band
Subsequent Musical Monday: Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Oh Julie by Shakin' Stevens
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam

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

Kraftwerk     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Running - Weekly Log for October 27, 2019 through November 2, 2019

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 21 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 20 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 6 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 59.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 27.5 miles
Current Weigh-In: 202.0

I ran five miles yesterday, which is the longest run I have done in about a decade. I followed that up with another five miles today. Mostly I ran the five miles yesterday because I missed running on Thursday due to bad weather - I don't mind running in the rain (after all, I did run in the rain on Wednesday), but I don't really have the clothing to go running in a downpour. As I reaccumulate running gear, I eventually will, but that day has not yet arrived.

I also ran the five mile runs just to see if I could do it. I've been slowly building up my distance over the last couple of months, and figured that it was about time to do some longer runs on the weekends. Right now, a "longer run" is five miles. The long-term goal is to make five to six mile runs a daily thing and eight to ten mile runs the weekend "long runs". That's a ways off in the future - probably not until some time in early-ish 2020.

The redhead has been keeping up with her "Couch to 5K" podcasts, and I have been going with her for those, hence the six miles of run/walk listed above. We've also signed up for the "Big Turkey Burn Turkey Trot" in Williamsburg on November 20, so there's that.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 20, 2019 through October 26, 2019
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: November 3, 2019 through November 8, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Book Blogger Hop November 1st - November 7th: xkcd 327 Is Titled "Exploits of a Mom"


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 classics? If so, what is your favorite?

I have read several classics, which is one of the benefits of being educated at a private high school. I suppose my favorite would probably be As I Lay Dying or Light in August, both of which are by William Faulkner. I've read a lot of Faulkner's work, and I always enjoy reading his books, despite them being as dark and gloomy as they are.


Book Blogger Hop     Home