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

Monday, January 13, 2020

Musical Monday - A Little Peace by Nicole


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: May 15, 1982 through May 22, 1982.

Eurovision is a giant ramshackle song contest that produces a one-hit wonder pretty much every year, and 1982 was no different. This was Germany's entry that year, by Nicole. This was pretty much her only hit of any kind, which seems to be pretty typical for Eurovision song contest winners - they show up, win the contest with a song that charts in multiple participating countries, and then they more or less disappear until they are trotted out to sing their one hit at Eurovision nostalgia events.

As far as Eurovision song winners go, this slightly out of the ordinary, insofar as it is a non-English language winner. Most winners - even those by entries from non English-speaking countries - are performed in English, to ensure maximum appeal because English has become the second language of a large proportion of Europeans. It also isn't a supper flashy over-the-top gala production like many of the competitors. On the other hand, the theme of the song, a wish for world peace, is pretty much Eurovision voter bait.

Previous Musical Monday: Chariots of Fire by Vangelis
Subsequent Musical Monday: House of Fun by Madness

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: House of Fun by Madness

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

Nicole     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 12, 2020

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

Last Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Actual Miles Last Week: 0 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 246 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Current Weigh-In: Not done

Last week I said that I hoped this week would be better. It was not. The bite punctures continued to weep all week, keeping me on the sidelines for the entire week. They appear to have finally closed up, which means I will be getting back on the road this week, but given that I have had a layoff of almost three weeks, I am more or less starting from scratch again. I am aiming at starting on Monday and taking things slowly. My plan is to start with just a few miles a day and see how much I have lost over this period of forced inactivity. I don't know how my body will react or how much mileage I will be able to do. Almost everything is uncertain at this point.

This much is certain: I will start running again this week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: December 29, 2019 through January 4, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: January 12, 2020 through January 18, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Book Blogger Hop January 10th - January 16th: Constantine the Great Died in 337 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 have a reading challenge for 2020?

Not really. Mostly I just want to read more than I did in 2019, which won't be hard, since I didn't read much at all in 2019.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, January 6, 2020

Musical Monday - Chariots of Fire by Vangelis


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of May 8, 1982.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: May 1, 1982 through May 8, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Chariots of Fire was a formative piece of music for me, in large part because it was associated with a formative movie for me. I always knew I wanted to be a runner. It was the only sport I was ever really good at. I was an okay soccer player, and a pretty good ultimate Frisbee player, but my aptitude for those sports was the direct result of my affinity for running. Simply put, I would wear down my opponents by remaining in constant motion throughout games. With cross-country and track and field, I simply cut out the part where you chased a ball or a Frisbee.

The movie, a very loose retelling of the story of runners Harold Abrams and Eric Liddell and their pursuit of athletic glory in the 1924 Summer Olympics, was exactly what I needed to inspire me. It didn't matter that they were sprinters and I was a distance runner. It didn't matter that they were aristocratic British college students from the 1920s and I was an American teenager in the 1980s. It didn't even matter that the movie mangled the actual history in a myriad of odd ways, both great and small. The story in the movie spoke to me in a way that no movie about athletics had before. I could (and probably should) write an extended piece about the movie, but this post is supposed to be about the song, so I won't do that here.

That said, it is impossible for me to think of the music associated with the movie without thinking of the movie as well. To me, this song is what running sounds like. I can't hear the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire without seeing images in my head of barefoot runners on a beach. Or images of men on a cinder track getting up after falling on the infield to come back and win their race. Or images of a man running while holding a crumpled up piece of paper bearing a Bible verse in his hand. Or a man running with an anger and intensity in his eyes that simply will not accept defeat. The fact that many of the events in the movie are simply fabricated is of no consequence. This song is running.

Previous Musical Monday: Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Subsequent Musical Monday: A Little Peace by Nicole

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: I Love Rock 'n Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: That Girl by Stevie Wonder
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and 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

Vangelis     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for December 29, 2019 through January 4, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Actual Miles Last Week: 0 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 246 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: Not set
Current Weigh-In: Not done

I kicked off 2020 in exactly the opposite manner that most people do in terms of fitness: I didn't run at all last week. Instead of finding newfound resolve and starting training with the coming of the new Year, I spent the first week still recovering from the dog bite I suffered on December 24. As of now, the wounds are still weeping, and as I determined that I shouldn't run again until they had at least closed up, I've spent the last week sidelined and out of action.

I think that the end of this enforced layoff is in sight, and I hope to be running again by the end of this week, but I just don't know when that will happen. I am, essentially, at the mercy of my body's ability to heal. I'm not going to set a weekly running goal this week for the same reason I didn't set one last week: I don't know when I'm going to be able to run again, and I don't know how this layoff will have affected my ability to get back on the road. I figure that when I do start, I'll probably start slowly and ramp up the distance over the course of a week or two until I am back to where I was before the dog bite.

With any luck, next week's running log will be better.

Previous Weekly Running Log: December 22, 2019 through December 28, 2019

Running     Home

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Book Blogger Hop January 3rd - January 9th: The Video "3:36" by Poppy Is, Ironically, Only 40 Seconds Long


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 have any New Year's Blogging Resolutions?

I don't really have any specific blogging-related resolutions other than to keep on blogging and try to blog more often. 2019 was a really trying year for me in several ways, and one of the most apparent ways in which that manifested was in my lack of reading, reviewing, and other blogging. I figure I should be relatively conservative in my ambitions, so as an initial matter I'd like to at least get back to the volume of blogging I was doing in 2018. More than that would be great, but I'm trying to be conservative in my expectations.


Book Blogger Hop     Home