Monday, November 23, 2020

Musical Monday - Tell Her About It by Billy Joel


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of September 24, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1983, Billy Joel more or less took his career on a left turn, releasing the album An Innocent Man, which was a collection of music inspired by and paying tribute to the do-wop style of music of the late 1950s and early 1960s, a time frame that coincided with Joel's own teenage years. This video for Tell Her About It drives home the homage, imagining a 1963 appearance on the iconic Ed Sullivan Show. The video says that the appearance was supposedly on July 31, but that day in 1963 was a Wednesday, not a Sunday, so it could not actually have happened.

I think it is not an accident that the video chose a date in the summer of 1963 as the time for the fictitious Ed Sullivan appearance. This was, essentially, the closing phase of the dominance of do-wop music in American pop culture. Within the next six months, Beatlemania would sweep the country, pushing do-wop music out of the limelight. In February 1964, the Beatles would appear on the Ed Sullivan Show, marking a clear end to one era of music and the beginning of another.

This is not to say that Joel didn't appreciate the Beatles. I have seen interviews in which he talks about how much he loved the Beatles and how much they influenced his own music. They did, however, fundamentally change music and push aside a lot of the kind of music that Joel remembered fondly from his early teenage years. I suppose, by putting out this album and this video, Joel tried to rectify that by just a little bit.

Previous Musical Monday: Puttin' On the Ritz by Taco
Subsequent Musical Monday: Kama Chameleon by Culture Club

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Maniac by Michael Sembello
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Total Eclipse of the Hart by Bonnie Tyler

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

Billy Joel     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Monday, November 16, 2020

Musical Monday - Puttin' on the Ritz by Taco


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: September 17, 1983 through September 24, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Every era has a hit that is both inexplicably and weirdly out of step with the pop culture of the era and simultaneously a prime example of the zeitgeist of the time. Taco's rendition of Puttin' on the Ritz is an example of this kind of song. An electronica cover version of a decades old song originally made popular by Fred Astaire and quite notably parodied in the movie Young Frankenstein, this was somehow both bizarrely out of step with the 1980s and also emblematic of the era. The fact that Taco himself appears to be channeling Tim Curry's Dr. Frank-n-Furter while cosplaying Astaire just makes this whole set-up seem both stranger and more comforting at the same time.

Previous Musical Monday: Maniac by Michael Sembello
Subsequent Musical Monday: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats

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

Taco     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Monday, November 9, 2020

Musical Monday - Maniac by Michael Sembello


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: September 10, 1983 through September 17, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

I have noted before the pervasive influence that television and movies have on popular music, and to a certauin extent, the reverse is true as well. Maniac, from the sountrack of the movie Flashdance is yet another example of a movie pushing a song to the heights of popularity, and the music of a movie making the movie have cultural influence that vastly outweighs its actual performance as a movie.

Flashdance was a surprise success of a movie in 1983. No one expected it to do as well as it did, but the footprint it left on the culture outeighed anything that even its financial success would have predicted. Because of this movie, leg warmers and sweatshits with the neck cut out became ubiquitous fashions. The iconic "water drop" dance has been replicated, parodied, and paid tribute to countless times. "Welder-chic" briefly became a thing. And so on and so forth.

The weird thing is that even though the movie altered the cultural landscape of the decade, it did relatively little to help the careers of those who appeared in it. Jennifer Beales' career meandered aimlessly for a decade with roles in forgettable movies before having a couple of notable roles in the 1990s, and she finally settled in as a moderately successful television actress in the 2000s. None of the other actors had much of a boost to their careers. Michael Nouri's career also drifted from mediocre movie to mediocre movie. Cynthia Rhodes had a highlight in a secondary role in Dirty Dancing and a more prominent role in the Saturday Night Fever pseudo-sequel Staying Alive, but her career petered out after that (although, to be fair, that was in part because she married Richard Marx and started having children). Other than this song and the title track Flashdance . . . What a Feeling and Gloria, none of the other songs on the sountrack had significant chart success. None of the artists who appeared on the soundtrack got much of a career boost from it, and most of them, including Michael Sembello, saw their careers basically fizzle out shortly thereafter. Flashdance was a hit, and it pushed a couple of songs to the forefront of pop music for a bit but it appeared to have very little else in the way of coattails.

On a kind of unrelated note: Beals was not a dancer, despite being cast as the lead in a movie that was about a dancer working in a bar with other dancers who aspired to become a professional ballet dancer. As a result, most of the dance scenes in the movie, including the dance scenes in this video, were performed by a body double, mostly Marine Jahan, who was not credited in the movie. The only scenes in the video that are actually Beals are the close-ups of her face. Pretty mucyh everything else is Jahan. Flashdance doesn't really seem to have helped Jahan's career much either.

Previous Musical Monday: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
Subsequent Musical Monday: Puttin' On the Ritz by Taco

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel

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

Michael Sembello     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, November 8, 2020

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

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 34.7 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 1,092.7 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

I ended up missing more days that I would have liked this week, so I think that to avoid this in the future, I'm going to be adding a short morning run to me routine. I don't really have enough time before work to do a full run the way I would like to, but I can put in a short run every day before I need to settle down and put in my workday. That way, on the days when I won't be able to do a full run in the evenings due to scheduling issues, I'll still get a couple of miles in to kick off the day. I've started experimenting with this, and I am cautiously optimistic that this will have some further benefits, as the day I tried this, I felt better the rest of the day as well. The upcoming week is the real test, so we'll see how this goes.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 26, 2020 through November 1, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - November 6th - November 12th: Saint Augustine Adopted Manichaeism.in 372 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: Have you ever participated in the NaNoWriMo? If yes, how did it go?

Nope. I have enough going on without adding an effort to write a novel as well.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, November 2, 2020

Musical Monday - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of September 3, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: September 3, 1983 through September 10, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

This song is where synthesizer music crashed into the pop world. There had been techno pop hits before this, but none had topped the charts, none launched a figure to as much pop cultural dominance as this song did with Annie Lennox.

Literally everything about this song and this video was a metaphorical punch to the face of pop music. From the very first beat through to the very end, this song basically said to people who had grown up with pop rock from the 1970s "we aren't doing this the same way any more". There aren't any actual instruments being played on this track - it is entirely a synthesizer-generated song with the exception of Lennox's vocals. Layered on top of a driving bass line, Lennox's vocals are what really set this apart, soaring high above everything else in the song.

The video is just as in your face about its difference from the past. Lennox appears with a buzz cut, her hair dyed orange, and wearing a business suit, giving her a look that is simultaneously androgynous and incredibly sexy. Dave Stewart isn't even shown playing a keyboard or anything else that might be constructed as a "normal" piece of musical equipment. Instead, he taps on an MCS drum computer keyboard, almost daring the audience to try to figure out how his tapping links up with the music they are hearing. The only tiny concession to "music" in the video is the repeated showing of a cello, but the cello doesn't seem to actually have been used to create the string sounds in the song - apparently that was an Oberheim OB-X synthesizer.

It is hard to say exactly when "the 1980s" really arrived. The pop cultural zeitgeist of a decade always comes a few years after the calendar rolls over to a new tens digit, but the moment represented by this song is a strong candidate for when the 1980s swept away the last vestiges of the 1970s.

Previous Musical Monday: Red Red Wine by UB40
Subsequent Musical Monday: Maniac by Michael Sembello

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Every Breath You Take by the Police
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Maniac by Michael Sembello

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Every Breath You Take by the Police
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Puttin' On the Ritz by Taco

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

Eurythmics     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for October 26, 2020 through November 1, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 36.4 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 1,058 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

I missed three days of running this week. The first, Thursday, looks like it is going to be unavoidable going forward due to scheduling issues. I'm just going to have to factor that in as my weekly rest day going foward. The other twu - Saturday and Sunday - were because I was recovering from a nearly fifteen mile run on Friday. I like the really long runs, and to get to where I would like to be, I'm going to have to figure out how to incorporate them without putting me off the roads tfor two days afterwards.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 19, 2020 through October 25, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: November 2, 2020 through November 8, 2020

Running     Home

Monday, October 26, 2020

Musical Monday - Red Red Wine by UB40


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of October 15, 1988.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of October 15, 1988.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 3, 1983 through September 17, 1983.

This version of Red Red Wine is a cover version of a cover version of a 1967 Neil Diamond song that was rereleased in the U.S. five years after it was a top hit in the U.K. That's a pretty long and winding road for a song to take.

This song is actually an example of something that probably can't really happen any more. The song was a big hit in the U.K. in 1983, but went almost entirely unnoticed in the U.S. Five years later, it was promoted by some interested music industry folks following a performence of the song at Nelson Mandela's birthday celebration, and it became a top hit in the United States. This sort of delayed flow through the cultural psyche just doesn't happen in the modern interconnected world where pop culutre flashes around the globe so quickly that if you blonk you miss it.

The delay in the song reaching popularity in the U.S. did create a kind of oddly jarring circumstance in which a song made during the ennui of the economic malaise of the early 1980s in the U.K. became a big hit in the U.S. in 1988, when the country was kind of riding high. The song and the video that goes with it depict a kind of depressing existence in which drinking is the only respite from a life of underemployment and disappointment, which fit perfectly with the zeitgeist of the recessionary economy of the early-1980s. It also fit perfectly with a band whose name was a reference to a government form used for claiming unemployment benefits. By 1988 though, the song felt kind of weirdly out of place.

Previous Musical Monday: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band
Subsequent Musical Monday: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Love Bites by Def Leppard
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: A Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Love Bites by Def Leppard
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: A Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

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

UB40     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, October 25, 2020

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

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 36.3 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 1,021.6 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 45 miles
Current Weigh-In: 180

I was able to run seven miles every weekday this week, but I wasn't able to get any running done over the weekend, so I missed my weekly mileage goal again. Even so, I was able to run 36 miles this week, which has me feeling pretty good about my conditioning. on the downside, one of the reasons I didn't run over the weekend was that my right heel was bothering me again, so I'm hoping that doesn't run into an issue that hampers my running again.

In a fit of optimism, I'm going to aim for 45 miles again this week. Also, since we are getting close to the end of the month, I'll be aiming for my monthly goals as well. The largest goal I set for this month was to run 300 kilometers this month - an average of just under ten kilometers per day. I'm pretty much on track for that, so with any luck I should get there in the next week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: October 12, 2020 through October 18, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: October 26, 2020 through November 1, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - October 23rd - October 29th: The Roman Poet Ausonius Wrote the Mosella in 371 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: If you go trick-or-treating with your favorite book character, who would it be?

Éomer from the Lord of the Rings. I'd definitely go trick or treating with Éomer. We'd probably ride horses from house to house, looting the candy from each dwelling as we go.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

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 U.K. Chart: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: 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
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: October 19, 2020 through October 25, 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

Monday, September 7, 2020

Musical Monday - Candy Girl by New Edition


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of May 28, 1983.

Candy Girl is crap.

I know that last week I said that I loathed True by Spandau Ballet when it was released in 1983, and that is definitely accurate, but I could at least admire the artistry and talent that went into making True even if it was treacly sweet and so blandly inoffensive as to be the song equivalent of the color beige. Candy Girl (and to a certain extent, New Edition as well at this point in their careers), on the other hand, is cynical, corporate-designed, piece of crappy extruded bubblegum pop. This song is pure, unadulterated, crap and represents every musical trend that had gone wrong in the early 1980s.

Previous Musical Monday: True by Spandau Ballet
Subsequent Musical Monday: Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: True by Spandau Ballet
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: 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

New Edition     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for August 30, 2020 through September 5, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 46.2 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 7 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 760.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done (scale not usable)

So this week obviously went fairly well. I was able to take advantage of being off on Friday to do an extra long run, which I think I will plan on doing from now on. I am almost finished with the "Run the L" virtual challenge, and shouls wrap that up this week. I have signed up for some Strava-based challenges, two of which I have already completed (the 5K challenge and the 10K challenge), two of which I am about 30% through (the distance challenge to run at least 200K in September, and the climbing challenge to climb at least 2,000 meters in September). I'll probably look for some other virtual challenges to sign up for once I've finished the "Run the L" challenge. I saw one the other day that was a "Run Hadrian's Wall" virtual challenge, so may try to find that again.

For next week, I'm going to stay at 40 miles for my goal. After that, I'll see how I feel for the next week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: August 23, 2020 through August 29, 2020
Previous Weekly Running Log: September 7, 2020 through September 13, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - September 4th - September 10th: GK Persei Went Nova in 367 A.D. No One on Earth Knew About This Until 1901 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: What book or books are you going to read on Labor Day weekend?

I am still working through The Creature Chronicles, which has turned into kind of a slog as it has run out of interesting material about the Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy. To add a little levity to my reading, I started on the book The Greeks Until Alexander by R.M. Cook.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, August 31, 2020

Musical Monday - True by Spandau Ballet


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: April 30, 1983 through May 21, 1983.

One of the dominant musical styles of the early 1980s was a kind of smooth jazzy music that grew out of the relatively brief New Wave movement. Spandau Ballet's True was more or less the apotheosis of this style of music. The song is a magnificent example of the kind of music that dominated the early 1980s.

In 1983, I hated this song. It was exactly the wrong style of music for my tastes and I loathed the song. I have mellowed a bit on it, but True was not one of my favorites back then, and it isn't a song that I intentionally go back to when I'm feeling nostalgic now.

Previous Musical Monday: Mr. Roboto by Styx
Subsequent Musical Monday: Candy Girl by New Edition

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Let's Dance by David Bowie
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Candy Girl by New Edition

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

Spandau Ballet     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for August 23, 2020 through August 29, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 35 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 36.5 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 7 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 714.3 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: Not done (scale not usable)

I hit my mileage goal for the week again, so I am going to up the goal for this week. I will note that I reached the goal despite having to take a day off unexpectedly as we got some pretty heavy rains on Friday - the last vestiges of the recent hurricane working its way up the coast. I'm feeling pretty good most days on my runs - the last day of the week I pushed up to an 8 mile weekend run, which gets me back to where I was for weekend runs before my late-spring layoff. I'm about a week away from getting back to where I want to be as a baseline. If all goes well, the week after this one will get me back to where I want to be.

A fiends of mine asked me this week if I was training for something specific. The short answer is no, I am not. One reason is that pretty much every race in 2020 has either been cancelled, postponed indefinitely, or made into a virtual event. I have looked at a couple of races that theoretically might happen in 2021, but thus far the organizers appear not to have decided whether they are going to hold their events or not next year. The other reason is that I have never been a runner who really spends much time racing. In the past, I have gone years without racing. I just don't need the carrot of a race to keep going out and running every day, so I don't bother a lot of the time. I'll probably run a race or two in 2021, but right now I don't have any particular plans for any.

Previous Weekly Running Log: August 16, 2020 through August 22, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: August 30, 2020 through September 5, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Book Blogger Hop - August 28th - September 3rd: Emperor Valens Defeated the Usurper Procopius at the Battle of Thyatira in 366 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: Have you ever read a book that was suggested by another blogger?

No. Not consciously at least. I just have so many books in my backlog, and so many other sources of new book recommendations that I just don't really have the ability to add new books on a whim. On the other hand, it is certainly possible that I saw a book that I eventually read on a blog and simply didn't remember that was where I first saw it referenced. I don't know where I learned all the things I know, and as David Mitchell says, if I knew the source for all the things I knew, I would only know half as many things as I do.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: There Are 365 Days in a Common Year

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, August 24, 2020

Musical Monday - Mr. Roboto by Styx


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of April 30, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Mr. Roboto was the signature song of Kilroy Was Here, the concept album that destroyed Styx. The brain child of Dennis DeYoung, Kilroy Was Here told the story of Kilroy, the last rock star in a dystopian future in which rock music has been banned by the Majority for Musical Morality led by Dr. Everett Righteous. Kilroy has been imprisoned for his music, and as part of the story, he uses one of the Japanese-manufactured guard robots assigned to his prison to fashion a disguise and escape. This song details Kilroy's escape from imprisonment, which is the reason for the refrain "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto": He's thanking the robots for their unwitting assistance in his escape.

Despite the fact that the album debuted at #10 on the charts, and produced two top ten hits (this song and Don't Let It End), the tour supporting the album was a financial disaster for the band. DeYoung envisioned the tour as essentially musical theater featuring a lot of dialogue and other interstitial material connecting the songs. The band booked into smaller musical theaters for this, bringing with them a fairly expensive stage production, and they consequently hemorrhaged money. They then moved to arena shows, and tried to do a modified version of the musical theater routine, but it didn't match well with the venues, and despite the rest of the band pushing to discard the art theater routine, DeYoung was insistent that they continue.

This all came to a head at a music festival when (according to Tommy Shaw) DeYoung wanted the group to forge ahead with long acting sequences in front of what was, by the time they reached the stage, a restless and increasingly hostile crowd. Shaw walked off the stage in the middle of the show. The band disintegrated by the end of the tour. The live album that resulted from the tour was released after the band had already broken up for good.

In a very real sense, this song and the album it was on were not only the swan song for Styx, they were the nails in their coffin. The really annoying thing about this is that as interesting an idea a concept album that presents a science-fictional dystopian future is, the album itself is one of Styx's weaker efforts. Most of their previous albums were notably better, with better songs, than Kilroy Was Here. But it was this one that ended their run and destroyed the band.

Previous Musical Monday: Let's Dance by David Bowie
Subsequent Musical Monday: True by Spandau Ballet

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Beat It by Michael Jackson

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

Styx     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for August 16, 2020 through August 22, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 35.8 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 677.8 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 35 miles
Current Weigh-In: 195.8

This week marks my entry into the 21st century, as I downloaded Strava onto an old cell phone we keep around for emergencies and started using it combined with the phone's GPS to track my mileage. It turns out that the running routes that I thought were 4 miles long and 5 miles long are actually 4.5 miles long and 5.5 miles long, so I've been running further than I thought. It also turns out that I;ve been running a bit faster than I thought - about a minute a mile faster. This seems to me to be good news, and it means that I don't have quite as much between my current status and my long-term running goals. It does, however, mean that I will not be able to deceive myself about my progress towards those goals.

In any event, I'm upping my mileage goal for the week, pushing to run the 5.5 mile route every weekday and running a new 6.3 mile route I've put together on the weekends. I'm basically going to keep pushing up the mileage for the next few weeks and then hold there for a bit before I decide how much more my body can handle and make an assessment from there.

Previous Weekly Running Log: August 9, 2020 through August 15, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: August 23, 2020 through August 29, 2020

Running     Home