Monday, August 12, 2019

Musical Monday - Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 19, 1981 through October 10, 1981.

I have to say that I am kind of at a loss. I didn't understand the appeal of Adam and the Ants in the 1980s, and I don't understand the band's appeal now. Their music was mediocre, their esthetic simultaneously pretentious and juvenile, and their look silly without being cool. I am completely mystified by their popularity.

Further, while this song was number one in the U.K., Endless Love was still dominating the U.S. charts. While Endless Love wasn't groundbreaking, and probably stayed at the top of the U.S. charts longer than was really warranted, it was a better song than this one. Not only that, this song somehow knocked Tainted Love off the top of the U.K. charts, which is entirely baffling. The fact that Prince Charming went on to stay in the number one spot in the U.K. for an entire month is completely inexplicable.

Previous Musical Monday: Tainted Love by Soft Cell
Subsequent Musical Monday: It's My Party by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin

Previous Musical Monday: Tainted Love by Soft Cell
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: It's My Party by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin

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 and the Ants     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Book Blogger Hop August 9th - August 15th: The Mass of Jupiter Is Approximately 318 Times Greater Than the Mass of Earth


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 authors do you always read and recommend?

1. Kelly Sue DeConnick
2. Tom Doyle
3. Kameron Hurley
4. N.K. Jemisin
5. Alethea Kontis
6. Naomi Kritzer
7. Ursula K. Le Guin
8. Ann Leckie
9. Andre Norton
10. Sarah Pinsker


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, August 5, 2019

Musical Monday - Tainted Love by Soft Cell


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 5, 1981 through September 12, 1981.

Tainted Love is one of the first songs to reach number one that I recollect as being unequivocally identifiable as a product of the 1980s. There had definitely been quintessentially 1980s groups with number one hits prior to this point - Blondie for example. Hall and Oates for another. But their previous songs had clearly had roots in the prior decade. This one is definitively from the 1980s.

The other thing about Tainted Love is that pretty much everything about the song is memorable, from the hard hitting beat, to the wandery lyrics, to the nigh insane video that seems to mostly feature a man yelling at a little girl amidst a collection of people wearing a hodge-podge of period costumes.

I remember listening to this song on the radio in my grandmother's car. She drove a huge brown sedan - I think it was a Bonneville - and my family was visiting my grandparents in the summer, returning from the heat of Africa to spend time in the Virginia heat in the middle of August. We were in a parking lot, headed to pick something up, probably at a local drugstore, and it was beastly hot and humid. The car was cool, with the air conditioning putting in extra work to keep it that way, but what made me want to stay and sit after we had parked was the song. I remember being fascinated by it because it wasn't really like anything I had ever heard. I made my grandmother sit with the car idling until the song ended, and then we stepped out into the sun.

Previous Musical Monday: Japanese Boy by Aneka
Subsequent Musical Monday: Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Japanese Boy by Aneka
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants

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

Soft Cell     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Book Blogger Hop August 2nd - August 8th: The 317 Coalition Advocates for Increasing the Federal Funding for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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 own more than one copy of a book?

There are many books of which I own more than one copy. Most of the duplicate copies that I own were unintentionally acquired, usually because I forgot I owned a particular book and bought it again. I have been going through my collection over the past several months identifying and culling these duplicate books, so their number has been reduced considerably.

There is a very small handful of books that I have intentionally bought second copies of, mostly because I have a fancy copy and want to have a reading copy available as well.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, July 29, 2019

Musical Monday - Japanese Boy by Aneka


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: The week of August 29, 1981.

While Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross was dominating the U.S. music charts, the U.K. was busy being just a little bit racist with Japanese Boy by Aneka.

Aneka was actually a Socttish singer named Mary Sandeman who adopted the pseudo-Japanese name and an image bordering on yellowface to promote the single, complete with an affected pseudo-Japanese accent. The backup dancers in the videoed performance shown above are also particularly cringeworthy. This recording and this video are just embarrassing now - and the weird thing is that the song itself isn't particularly offensive, it is just the way it is presented that is so very awful.

It should probably come as no surprise that Sandeman abandoned the Aneka persona relatively quickly after this song hit it big and went back to singing Scottish folk music. When asked to revive it years later for a "One Hit Wonders" event, she refused, which seems to me like a wise decision.

Previous Musical Monday: Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
Subsequent Musical Monday: Tainted Love by Soft Cell

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Green Door by Shakin' Stevens
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Tainted Love by Soft Cell

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

Aneka     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Book Blogger Hop July 26th - August 1st: "316" Was an Instrumental Track on the Van Halen Album "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge"


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 always have a book with you?

Pretty much yes. I usually carry a book and a backup book in case I finish the first book. Sometimes I carry three books, just to be sure.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, July 26, 2019

2019 World Fantasy Award Nominees

Location: World Fantasy Convention, Los Angeles, California

Comments: When the World Fantasy Award was first conceived, part of the idea behind the award was to provide a fantasy oriented counterpoint to the science fiction focused Hugo and Nebula Awards. The World Fantasy Award would give fantasy fiction an opportunity to shine without having to compete with science fiction works, with the two sets of awards running parallel to one another, both dedicated to recognizing high quality works, but more importantly to recognizing a decidedly different set of works.

For many years, this seemed to be the case. The Hugo and Nebula Awards generally nominated and were awarded to science fiction oriented works, while the World Fantasy Award generally nominated and were awarded to fantasy works. In more recent years, on the other hand, these two sets of awards seem to be converging. The really interesting thing is that it isn't the World Fantasy Award that is bending towards the more venerable Hugo and Nebula awards by leaning toward more science fiction, but rather, those two awards seem to be leaning more towards fantasy. The clear implication here is that the science fiction side of the speculative fiction world has perhaps become a bit moribund, while the fantasy side has grown more dynamic and interesting. I have theories on why this might be happening, mostly related to the success of the Lord of the Rings movies and, to a lesser extent, the rise of self-publishing, but I haven't examined them rigorously as of yet.

Best Novel

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Witchmark by C.L. Polk

Best Long Fiction

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
The Privilege of the Happy Ending by Kij Johnson
The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Best Short Fiction

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker
Like a River Loves the Sky by Emma Törzs
Ten Deals with the Indigo Snake by Mel Kassel
The Ten Things She Said While Dying: An Annotation by Adam-Troy Castro
A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow

Best Anthology

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Best New Horror #28 edited by Stephen Jones
The Book of Magic edited by Gardner Dozois
Robots vs. Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
Sword and Sonnet edited by Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler
Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction edited by Irene Gallo

Best Collection

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
An Agent of Utopia: New & Selected Stories by Andy Duncan
How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
Phantom Limbs by Margo Lanagan
Still So Strange by Amanda Downum
The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell

Lifetime Achievement

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
TBD

Best Artist

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Rovina Cai
Galen Dara
Jeffrey Alan Love
Shaun Tan
Charles Vess

Special Award, Professional

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
C.C. Finlay, for Fantasy & Science Fiction editing
Irene Gallo for Art Direction at Tor Books and Tor.com
Huw Lewis-Jones for The Writer’s Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands
Catherine McIlwaine for Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth exhibition
Julian Yap, Molly Barton, Jeff Li, and James Stuart for Serial Box

Special Award, Non-Professional

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Mike Allen for Mythic Delirium
Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas for Uncanny Magazine
E. Catherine Tobler for Shimmer Magazine
Terri Windling for Myth & Moor

Go to previous year's nominees: 2018
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2020

Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, July 22, 2019

Musical Monday - Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: August 15, 1981 through October 10, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: August 15, 1981 through October 10, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

During the last half of 1981, American popular music was completely dominated by three songs. The first of those three to make its run was the Lionel Richie penned duet Endless Love. The song was used as the theme song for a relatively mediocre movie of the same name, but despite being tied to that anchor the song was a dominant force in popular music, spending nine weeks at the top of both the Billboard and Cash Box charts and receiving Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for "Best Original Song", as well as five Grammy Award nominations.

One of the odd quirks about the song is just how much it diverges in tone from the movie that it was supposed to represent. In the hands of Lionel Richie and Diana Ross, Endless Love is a sweet, almost syrupy romantic love song. One could credibly argue that the song has become one of the most iconic romantic love songs of all time, used for countless weddings and anniversaries.

The movie Endless Love, on the other hand, is a story about obsessive and destructive "love" gone horribly wrong. In his pursuit of the object of his obsession, the male lead in the story burns his girlfriend's house down and causes her father's death, all to evade what was to be a thirty day hiatus in the relationship between he and his girlfriend that was being enforced by her parents. In the end, he ends up in prison for what appears to be an extended stay. The story in the movie is decidedly unromantic, and probably wouldn't inspire anyone's wedding ceremony.

Perhaps that difference is why the song is remembered to very fondly, and the movie . . . well, the movie is not.

Previous Musical Monday: Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury
Subsequent Musical Monday: Japanese Boy by Aneka

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross

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

Lionel Richie     Diana Ross     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Book Blogger Hop: July 19th - July 25th: The 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar Is Located in Santa Fe


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 were to write your own autobiography, what would the title be?

My Life of Always Being Right When Everyone Else Is Wrong.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: 3-14 Is My Wedding Anniversary

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, July 19, 2019

2019 Locus Award Nominees

Location: Seattle, Washington.

Comments: At this point, the primary question concerning the Locus Awards is whether they serve any real purpose other than being just another award. As I have noted before, the Locus Award was originally created to serve as nominating recommendations for Hugo and Nebula voters, but that doesn't chronologically work any more (if it ever did in the first place). So are the Locus Awards now anything other than the equivalent of a AAA league in comparison to the Major League Baseball represented by the Hugo and Nebula Awards? Is that the ultimate place of the Locus Award?

Best Science Fiction Novel
Winner:
1. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Other Nominees:
2. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
3. Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
4. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
5. Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
6. Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
7. If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress
8. Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell
9. Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar
10. Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

Best Fantasy Novel
Winner:
1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Other Nominees:
2. The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley
3. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
4. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
5. Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch
6. The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
7. The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher
8. Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
9. Ahab's Return by Jeffrey Ford
10. Creatures of Want and Ruin by Molly Tanzer

Best Horror Novel
Winner:
1. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Other Nominees:
2. The Outsider by Stephen King
3. Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
4. In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
5. The Hunger by Alma Katsu
6. Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren
7. Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias
8. We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
9. The Listener by Robert McCammon
10. Unlanguage by Michael Cisco

Best Young Adult Book
Winner:
1. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Other Nominees:
2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
3. Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen
4. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
5. Cross Fire by Fonda Lee
6. The Gone Away Place by Christopher Barzak
7. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
8. The Agony House by Cherie Priest and Tara O'Connor
9. Half-Witch by John Schoffstall
10. Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Best First Novel
Winner:
1. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Other Nominees:
2. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
4. Witchmark by C.L. Polk
5. Semiosis by Sue Burke
6. The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken
7. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
8. Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield
9. Severance by Ling Ma
10. Annex by Rich Larson

Best Novella
Winner:
1. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Other Nominees:
2. The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
3. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
4. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
5. The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
6. Time Was by Ian McDonald
7. The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang
8. Black Helicopters by Caitlín R. Kiernan
9. The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
10. Umbernight by Carolyn Ives Gilman

Best Novelette
Winner:
1. The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander

Other Nominees:
2. Nine Last Days on Planet Earth by Daryl Gregory
3. Okay, Glory by Elizabeth Bear
4. An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan
5. Quality Time by Ken Liu
6. How to Swallow the Moon by Isabel Yap
7. The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly
8. No Flight Without the Shatter by Brooke Bolander
9. The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
10. Queen Lily by Theodora Goss

Best Short Story
Winner:
1. The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington by Phenderson Djèlí Clark

Other Nominees:
2. STET by Sarah Gailey
3. Firelight by Ursula K. Le Guin
4. The Storyteller's Replacement by N.K. Jemisin
5. Cuisine des Mémoires by N.K. Jemisin
6. A Witch's Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow
7. The Starship and the Temple Cat by Yoon Ha Lee
8. The Bookcase Expedition by Jeffrey Ford
9. The Court Magician by Sarah Pinsker
10. Mother of Invention by Nnedi Okorafor

Best Collection
Winner:
1. How Long 'til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

Other Nominees:
2. An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan
3. The Future Is Blue by Catherynne M. Valente
4. Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin
5. How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen
6. Starlings by Jo Walton
7. The Dinosaur Tourist by Caitlín R. Kiernan
8. The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell
9. Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
10. All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

Best Anthology
Winner:
1. The Book of Magic edited by Gardner Dozois

Other Nominees:
2. Robots vs Fairies edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
3. Infinity's End edited by Jonathan Strahan
4. The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fifth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
5. The Future Is Female! edited by Lisa Yaszek
6. Worlds Seen in Passing edited by Irene Gallo
7. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 edited by N.K. Jemisin and John Joseph Adams
8. The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume Twelve edited by Jonathan Strahan
9. The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten edited by Ellen Datlow
10. The Underwater Ballroom Society edited by Tiffany Trent and Stephanie Burgis

Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Book
Winner:
1. Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon

Other Nominees:
2. Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec Nevala-Lee
3. An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000 by Jo Walton
4. Dreams Must Explain Themselves: The Selected Non-Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin by Ursula K. Le Guin
5. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth edited by Catherine McIlwaine
6. Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson
7. Sense of Wonder: Short Fiction Reviews (2009-2017) by Gardner Dozois
8. None of This Is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer by Benjamin J. Robertson
9. Old Futures: Speculative Fiction and Queer Possibility by Alexis Lothian
10. Strange Stars by Jason Heller

Best Art Book
Winner:
1. The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Le Guin, illustrated by Charles Vess

Other Nominees:
2. Beyond Science Fiction: The Alternative Realism of Michael Whelan by Michael Whelan
3. Dungeons & Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer
4. Cicada by Shaun Tan
5. Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by John Fleskes
6. A Middle-earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor by John Howe
7. Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography – Beyond the Fantasy by Florent Gorges
8. The Tales of Beedle Bard by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
9. The Thousand Demon Tree by Jeffrey Alan Love
10. The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag

Best Editor
Winner:
1. Gardner Dozois

Other Nominees:
2. Ellen Datlow
3. Jonathan Strahan
4. John Joseph Adams
5. Neil Clarke
6. Navah Wolfe
7. Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer
8. C.C. Finlay
9. Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
10. Sheila Williams

Best Magazine
Winner:
1. Tor.com

Other Nominees:
2. Fantasy and Science Fiction
3. Uncanny Magazine
4. Asimov's Science Fiction
5. Clarkesworld
6. Lightspeed
7. Analog Science Fiction and Fact
8. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
9. Strange Horizons
10. Fireside

Best Publisher or Imprint
Winner:
1. Tor

Other Nominees:
2. Orbit
3. Subterranean
4. Saga
5. Small Beer
6. Angry Robot
7. Gollancz
8. DAW
9. Baen
10. Tachyon

Best Artist
Winner:
1. Charles Vess

Other Nominees:
2. Michael Whelan
3. John Picacio
4. Julie Dillon
5. Shaun Tan
6. Galen Dara
7. Victo Ngai
8. Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
9. Bob Eggleton
10. Kinuko Y. Craft

Go to previous year's nominees: 2018
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2020

Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, July 15, 2019

Musical Monday - Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of August 8, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Popular music is so profoundly affected by popular culture that the theme song of an early 1980s comedy about a high school teacher gifted a supersuit by mysterious aliens could reach the top of the charts. The song itself is fairly ordinary - it sounds like hundreds of other early 1980s style soft-rock songs, but because it was attached to a weekly television series, it got a lot of airplay, and apparently stuck in people's heads.

I have to admit that in 1981, I loved this series, or rather, I loved the idea of the series and what little of the series I saw. Because I spent the early 1980s mostly out of the United States in countries without access to current American television, my memories of most television of that era are confined to the ten months or so my family lived in Virginia while my father took language training before going overseas and then the once a year month-long trips back to the U.S. that we would take annually.

The end result is that I probably only saw a handful of episodes of the show, but I have fond memories of it anyway, although I can't really tell if it is because the show was actually worth watching or if my recollection is more the result of watching the show while on vacation and intertwining memories about it with memories of visiting my grandparents and having potato chips, actual milk, and Dairy Queen available. Maybe I should find a DVD set of the series and see if it still holds up at all.

Previous Musical Monday: Behind the Green Door by Shakin' Stevens
Subsequent Musical Monday: Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

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

Joey Scarbury     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Book Blogger Hop July 12th - July 18th: 3-14 Is My Wedding Anniversary


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 do you like/dislike about self-published works?

The problem with most self-published books is that there is generally simply too much chaff for the amount of wheat one can find - unless one kind of cheats when finding books by self-published authors. There are certainly self-published books that are worth reading - I know a couple of authors who have self-published their books, and their efforts are worth reading, but when one just goes out and looks through the great haystack of self-published works that are out there, finding that needle of worthwhile reading that is out there is simply too much of a hassle to really be worth doing.

In my experience, there are really three kinds of self-published authors. Most self-published books are by authors who simply aren't good enough to get published in any other way. There is just no other way to describe the quality of their writing. Once in a great while you find someone who is worth reading in this sea of flotsam and jetsam, but it is rare (and to be honest, most self-published authors in this category have such a big chip on their shoulder about their failures in "traditional publishing", that they are deeply unpleasant people who aren't any fun to read).

A handful of self-published authors are decent, and are often in the process of leveraging their work into a contract with a publisher of some sort, a path trodden by people like Hugh Howey and Marko Kloos. Their writing can be worth reading, but is often an acquired taste.

The final group of self-published authors are authors who have been published by a more traditional publisher, but are not any more, or want to get a project into print that their publisher isn't interested in. Authors who fall into this category are people like Alethea Kontis and Lawrence M. Schoen, and their self-published work is often good. The difference is that one doesn't have to hunt through the pile of self-published work to find them, rather their reputations were made by getting in print in the traditional way and self-publishing is a bonus added to their other work.

So really, the question of "what do you like or dislike about self-published works" comes down to how easy it is to find the ones that are worth reading and avoid the ones that are not, and that task often seems to come down to whether the author is able to get published in a non-self-published context. Those who are not can sometimes be worth reading, but they seem to be so few and far between that the reading payoff just isn't worth the investment.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, July 8, 2019

Musical Monday - Green Door by Shakin' Stevens


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: August 1, 1981 through August 22, 1981.

Music in the U.K. in the early 1980s was almost schizophrenic. When we last visited the U.K. Chart, the number one song was a bitter reggae style song with biting lyrics about urban decay and despair. This song, on the other hand, is a cover of a rockabilly song from the 1950s that is mostly notable because a famous porn movie was inspired by the lyrics.

On the other hand, in the United States, the two songs that hit number one on the Billboard and Cash Box charts in this same time frame that this song was number one in the U.K. were Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl, the Oak Ridge Boys' Elvira, Joey Scarbury's Theme from the Greatest American Hero and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross' Endless Love, so maybe those of us on this side of the Atlantic don't have much room to talk when it comes to musical schizophrenia.

The early 1980s were clearly an ever-shifting time of chaos in the music world.

Previous Musical Monday: Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys
Subsequent Musical Monday: Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ghost Town by the Specials
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Japanese Boy by Aneka

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

Shakin' Stevens     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book Blogger Hop July 5th - July 11th: Donald Duck's Car Has the License Plate Number 313


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 review all the books you read?

I going to answer this question with a conditional yes. For the most part, I review every book I read, but that doesn't include every book I read from. Novels, short story collections, graphic novels, and so on all get reviewed after I read them (sometimes the review writing process starts while I am reading them), but there are a wide array of books that I don't review - mostly RPG books, because I don't really "read" them so much as use them as reference works. I suppose it goes without saying that I also don't write reviews for the reference works and dictionaries that I consult either.

Most everything else I read gets reviewed. At least, that's the goal.

Subsequent Book Blogger Hop: 3-14 Is My Wedding Anniversary

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, July 1, 2019

Musical Monday - Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of August 1, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Elvira is a song that became popular because of the bass part. Nothing else about the song is particularly notable - the lyrics are kind of insipid, the harmonies are ordinary, and the backing music is bland. But I recollect that when the bass man sang "Bap-a-mmm, bap-a-mmm, bap-a-mau-mau" everyone would stop what they were doing and say "What's that song?" The little bass interlude was such a critical element of the song, that I remember some people thinking that it happened more often in the song than the four times it actually does.

On a side note, the "southern" accent that the lead singer Joe Bonsall has here is probably an affectation as he was born and raised in Philadelphia. The bass singer Richard Sterban was born in New Jersey, but he doesn't really seem to be trying to sound "southern" in the song.

Previous Musical Monday: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
Subsequent Musical Monday: Green Door by Shakin' Stevens

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury

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

Oak Ridge Boys     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home