Saturday, February 22, 2020

Book Blogger Hop: February 21st - February 27th: I Once Dealt With a Case Involving a Sovereign Citizen and 11 U.S.C. § 342


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: What is your go-to recommendation for someone who doesn't read often?

I usually recommend The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If I think the person would be more interested in a fantasy novel, I recommend A Wizard of Earthsea instead, which also happens to be by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: Epicurus Was Born in 341 B.C.

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, February 17, 2020

Musical Monday - Fame by Irene Cara


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 17, 1982 through August 7, 1982.

Fame was the theme song for the 1980 movie Fame, and by July of 1982 it had already been available for almost two years. In 1980 the song won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song, and had garnered Irene Cara two Grammy nominations for Best New Female Artist and Best New Pop Artist. Although it had not reached number one on the Billboard or Cash Box charts, it had still been a big hit. In 1980, Cara seemed poised to become the big star based on the success of this song and her performance in the movie as Coco Hernandez.

Fast forward two years later and this song reaches number one on the U.K. charts. Why? Basically, television. The success of the movie Fame led to the creation of the television show Fame, and the rerelease of the song Fame. Ironically, although several members of the movie cast became regulars on the television show, Cara was not one of them. Although the television show used the song Fame as its main title, the version used for the show was not sung by Cara. To sum up: This song became a hit to promote a show the singer was not on that used a version of it that the singer did not sing.

One of the recurring themes that has run through this project is the pronounced influence that movies and television have had upon the landscape of popular music, and this song reflects that reality on two axes. First it became a hit because ti was attached to a movie, then it became a hit again because it was attached to a television show. Of course, the song never would have become a hit without being an actually pretty good song powered by Cara's powerful and almost transcendent voice.

Previous Musical Monday: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible
Subsequent Musical Monday: Hurt So Good by John Cougar

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express

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

Captain Sensible     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for February 9, 2020 through February 15, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 31 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 335.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 60 miles
Current Weigh-In: 199.6 pounds

I hit my mileage goal for this week - actually I exceeded it by a mile. I've been having some trouble with my feet, specifically my plantar tendons, which have been very sore due to the mileage I have been racking up. This happens every time I ramp up my mileage, so this soreness is a predictable consequence of pushing the mileage following the forced layoff that resulted from the December dog bite. I'm hoping it goes away in the next week or two, which is what has happened every previous time it has cropped up.

With President's Day giving me an extra day off work this week, I am going to set a very ambitious mileage goal - more than I have run in a week in that last three decades. I figure I can do it at this point, and I am trying to push myself as much as possible.

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 2, 2020 through February 8, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Book Blogger Hop February 14th - February 20th: Epicurus Was Born in 341 B.C.


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: What genre do you like the most?

I don't think it is any secret that my favorite genre of fiction is science fiction, although fantasy is a close second. I love science fiction and fantasy, and those two genres comprise almost all of my fiction reading. One only needs to look at the list of reviews I have done for this blog to realize this. I'm not sure what else I could say in response to this question.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, February 10, 2020

Musical Monday - Happy Talk by Captain Sensible


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 3, 1982 through July 10, 1982.

Happy Talk is a song originally composed for the 1949 Broadway musical South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein. In the play, set during World War II, Bloody Mary uses the song to help her daughter Liat woo American Lieutenant Cable, overcoming Liat's inability to speak English and Cable's inability to speak Tonkin with the lyrics of a song about talking to each other.

With that background, this seems like an odd choice of a song to become a top hit in the U.K. in the early 1980s. After all, a song about a U.S. serviceman fighting the Japanese falling in love with a Polynesian girl who he cannot speak to or understand seems like something that wouldn't really resonate with the average person in the U.K. in 1982. I suppose it isn't that surprising that a Rogers and Hammerstein song became a pop hit - Jay and the Americans had a hit with Some Enchanted Evening in the 1960s.

Given the songs that dominated the U.K. pop charts in the early 1980s, there seems to have been some sort of weird nostalgia craze running through the culture. It would still be some time before the 1980s found their own voice. I guess it could have been stranger. You've Got to Be Carefully Taught could have been the pop hit from South Pacific that hit the top of the U.K. charts in 1982.

Previous Musical Monday: I've Never Been to Me by Charlene
Subsequent Musical Monday: Fame by Irene Cara

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: I've Never Been to Me by Charlene
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Fame by Irene Cara

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

Captain Sensible     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for February 2, 2020 through February 8, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 28 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 304.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Current Weigh-In: 201.1 pounds

I missed this week's mileage goal by two miles. I should have gone out and run two miles on one of my days off. Oh well, I can take consolation in the fact that I still ran 28 miles this week, and crossed the three hundred mile cumulative threshold.

I'm setting my running goal at thirty miles this week as well. If things go well this week, I'll probably up my mileage goal for the week after that.

Previous Weekly Running Log: January 26, 2020 through February 1, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, February 3, 2020

Musical Monday - I've Never Been to Me by Charlene


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of June 26, 1982.

If you think this song sounds like a soft-rock ballad from the 1970s, there is a reason for that: It is. I've Never Been to Me was originally released by Charlene in 1977, at which point it more or less flopped, barely breaking into the top 100 on the charts. The song was later rereleased in 1984, whereupon it hit number three in the U.S. and topped the charts in a couple other countries, including the U.K. This song became the first truly successful Motown single by a white female artist.

To a certain extent, this song is kind of insulting. The song posits a conversation between two women. One is a desperate wife and mother who wants to trade her life for the high-flying rock star life of the singer of the song. The singer then relates several of her life experiences and concludes that she has never been able to find self-fulfillment, concluding 'I've never been to me". The implication of the lyrics is that the housewife is somehow better off than the wealthy singer who has traveled the world and lived what can only be described as a fantasy life. This is the kind of condescending thing that rock stars sometimes do - bemoaning their difficult lives of wealth and privilege while pining for an "ordinary" life that is supposedly more fulfilling. Nothing actually keeps them from choosing the sort of "ordinary" life that they claim to yearn for, but they will still moan and whine about how good it would be if they had it.

I mean, everyone knows that their whining about wanting a "regular" life is just bullshit, but pop singers keep hypocritically trotting it out. The melody is nice though.

Previous Musical Monday: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant
Subsequent Musical Monday: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible

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

Charlene     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for January 26, 2020 through February 1, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 23.5 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 15.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 276.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Current Weigh-In: 198.8 pounds

I didn't reach my mileage goal, but I still feel like I had a productive running week. Every run I had was fairly substantial, with three four mile runs and one three and a half mile run. I did miss two days that I had planned on running, but that was due to circumstances beyond my control. Overall, this was the first week since the dog bite back in December that I really felt like I was making progress. I also had my best weigh-in since I started tracking that - really this is the first time in several years that I have been able to write a "1" as the first digit of my weight.

Even though I did not reach my running goal last week, I am going to set a fairly ambitious goal for this week. I have some plans for the future, and a kind of self-imposed deadline for an assessment, so I need to build up my mileage to get to where I want to be. I know that is a little cryptic, but basically it means that I am going to push hard for this week and the next. If things go well, I'll be posting more on that subject after that.

Previous Weekly Running Log: January 19, 2020 through January 25, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: February 2, 2020 through February 8, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Book Blogger Hop January 31st - February 6th: The Area Code for the U.S. Virgin Islands Is 340


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: What is your opinion of bibliotherapy? Do you think this is a useful way of dealing with psychological issues? If you've used it yourself, or know someone who has, what book(s) would you recommend?

I didn't even know bibliotherapy existed until I started trying to write my response to this Book Blogger prompt, so I don't think I really had an opinion on it. That said, given the fact that behavioral science tells us that almost any form of sensory input or information can change the thinking of an individual, I suppose it could work. The only real question is whether anyone knows the effects of reading particular materials well enough to apply them in a way that is helpful for the treated individual. On that score, I will defer to people who have made it their life's work to study that issue.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: Epicurus Was Born in 341 B.C.

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, January 27, 2020

Musical Monday - Goody Two-Shoes by Adam Ant


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: June 12, 1982 through June 19, 1982.

I must admit that I never really got the appeal of Adam Ant. I still don't. This song has not given me any additional illumination of the subject.

Goody Two Shoes was Ant's most successful song in the United States, a kind of Elvis-like rockabilly tune that seems to want to say something biting and satirical but seems to just collapse into irrelevance due to its own sense of self-importance. I vaguely recall seeing this song performed when it was new, I believe it was part of an appearance Ant made on Solid Gold, and I recall thinking "this song is popular, there must be something here to like" and just not finding anything that grabbed me. I also recall that Ant basically vanished from the U.S. music scene shortly thereafter and so I didn't have to really care any more. And I still don't.

To put this in simple terms: Adam Ant and his music are a cultural artifact that I didn't get then and don't get now and don't really care enough to figure out.

Previous Musical Monday: House of Fun by Madness
Subsequent Musical Monday: I've Never Been to Me by Charlene

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: House of Fun by Madness
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: I've Never Been to Me by Charlene

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

Adam Ant     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for January 19, 2020 through January 25, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Actual Miles Last Week: 7.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 261 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 23.5 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done

I only ran three days last week, but those three days were good enough that I am finally ready to set a mileage goal for this week. I ran 3.5 miles today, and based on that, I think I can move up to four miles with my next run and sustain that as a daily distance for most of the next week. I figure I'll need one rest day in the week, so I'm only projecting five four miles days in my weekly goal, but I am comfortable enough on the roads now that I can finally actually set a goal.

Previous Weekly Running Log: January 12, 2020 through January 18, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: January 26, 2020 through February 1, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Book Blogger Hop January 24th - January 30th: Ex Parte Virginia, 100 U.S. 339 (1879) Held That State Judges Could Not Exclude Black Citizens from Serving On Grand Juries or Petit Juries


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 talk to strangers about books, especially when you see someone reading a book?

First, I would never talk to a stranger who was reading a book. They are reading a book. Unless they stop reading and want someone to talk to them, people who are reading books should be left alone with their book.

Second, I have frequently talked to strangers about books, which is probably an inevitable consequence of attending science fiction conventions, especially reading-oriented science fiction conventions. Since pretty much everyone is there to talk about books, you end up having a lot of conversations about books, and a fair number oft hose are with people you have never met before.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, January 20, 2020

Musical Monday - House of Fun by Madness


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: May 29, 1982 through April 3, 1982.

Madness had one hit in the U.S. This is not it. This was, however, their highest charting song in the U.K.

The late 1970s through the mid-1980s were the heyday of Ska music in Britain, and to be honest, to me all Ska bands sound like a bunch of guys just cosplaying a band. Madness, for example, sounds to me like a bunch of guys from the neighborhood went down to the local pawn shop and bought whatever instruments happened to be for sale. They then parceled out the instruments among themselves and declared themselves to be a band. I'm sure that's not the real story of the origin of Madness, but the almost ramshackle sound of their music and the chaotic nature their of presentation makes me think that it should have been.

Previous Musical Monday: A Little Peace by Nicole
Subsequent Musical Monday: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: A Little Peace by Nicole
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant

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

Madness     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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

Last Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Actual Miles Last Week: 7.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 1.5 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 253.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Current Weigh-In: Not done

As promised, I did in fact start running this week. I only got out on the roads three days out of the week, and I only managed a couple of miles each day, but I did run. I will run more this week, although I am not going to set a mileage goal for the week. I am still figuring out how much the enforced layoff caused by the dog bite set me back, and I don't want to try to force substantial distance too soon.

I did notice the puncture wounds when I went running. Even though they have finally scabbed over and stopped weeping, when I run I can tell that there is still internal damage. It isn't enough to be anything more than annoying, but it is a reminder that I am not entirely healthy yet.

Previous Weekly Running Log: January 5, 2020 through January 11, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: January 19, 2020 through January 25, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Book Blogger Hop January 17th - January 23rd: Phillip II Established Macedonian Hegemony Over Central Greece in 338 B.C.


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 readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not?

I believe that readers do make better employees than non-readers, mostly on the grounds that in general, readers are simply better people than non-readers.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: Constantine the Great Died in 337 A.D.

Book Blogger Hop     Home