Sunday, March 22, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for March 15, 2020 through March 21, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 0 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 0 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 450.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 0 miles
Current Weigh-In: 199.2 pounds

I didn't do any running this week. Instead I got sick and stayed home. as far as I know, I don't have Covid-19, just a normal late-Winter cold, but it kept me off the streets this week. Next week looks like a write-off as well. Maybe after that I'll do some cautious expeditions out when no one else is on the streets, but as I am officially in a high-risk category for Covid-19, I'm not going to be taking a lot of chances.

Previous Weekly Running Log: March 8, 2020 through March 14, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Book Blogger Hop March 20th - March 26th: DC Bar Ethics Opinion 346 Clarifies What Elements Are Required to Trigger Confidentiality With a Client


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 could add one interactive feature to reading books, what would it be?

None. Books are perfect just the way they are.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, March 16, 2020

Musical Monday - Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The weeks of September 4, 1982 and September 25, 1982.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The weeks of August 28, 1982 and September 25, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Abracadabra is pretty close to being my least favorite song by the Steve Miller Band. Even as a kid, I really liked the Steve Miller Band - I played my copy of their 1978 Greatest Hits album all the time, and loved pretty much every song on it. When I heard that the band was releasing a new album, I was really excited. And then I heard this song. And I truly knew what disappointment was like.

This isn't a terrible song. It just isn't a very good Steve Miller Band song. It lacks the guitar riffs that are the hallmark of the band. The song is gimmicky, with a wacky drum machine solo in the middle. It is as if Steven Miller's crew was channeling Kraftwerk or something - following trends and imitating the kind of music other groups were putting out instead of trying to stake out their own territory.

Sadly, Abracadabra was kind of a last hurrah for the Steve Miller Band. They released more music after this song came out, but none of it had any real impact - none of their subsequent songs managed to crack the top 50 on the main Billboard and Cash Box charts, although they did have some success on the "Mainstream Rock" charts. It was kind of predictable, but it is still kind of sad that the group went out of the popular consciousness on this note.

Previous Musical Monday: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
Subsequent Musical Monday: Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Jack and Diane by John Cougar

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

Steve Miller Band     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for March 8, 2020 through March 14, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 20 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 450.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Current Weigh-In: 199.2 pounds

I was on track to hit my mileage goal this week, but then sinus issues knocked me out of action and I lost a couple of days, and then I wound up with only twenty miles on the road this week. That isn't such an issue now, since the half-marathon that I was planning on runningn in April has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Now I'm just trying to ride out a sore throat and get back to running this week.

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 29, 2020 through March 7, 2020
Susbequent Weekly Running Log: March 15, 2020 through March 21, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Book Blogger Hop March 13th - March 19th: Phillip II Was Admitted to the Amphictyonic League in 345 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: Other than book reviews, what do you feature on your blog?

I feature a number of non-book review items on this blog.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, March 9, 2020

Musical Monday - Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of April 23, 1983.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of April 23, 1983.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: August 7, 1982 through August 28, 1982.

In a small bit of irony, one can sing "Covid-19" to the tune of Come On Eileen.

The hidden secret of this song is that it's lyrics are quite racy. Basically, the song is about a guy trying to convince Eileen to take off her clothes so they can have some sexy times. That is pretty much the entirety of the song. There is a little bit at the beginning about Johnnie ray and how much older women loved him back in the day, but the rest of the song is basically pleading with Eileen to take off her dress.

The really interesting thing about this song is that it took nearly a year for it to reach the United States. It hit the top of the U.K. charts in August of 1982, but didn't peak in the U.S. until April of 1983. This kind of delay in cultural transmission would be almost unthinkable now - the internet has ensured that once something breaks out in one area of the world, it is pretty much instantly known elsewhere. Songs like Come On Eileen taking months to wend their way from the U.K. to the U.S. is probably an artifact of the past at this point, although who knows, maybe the global pandemic will be devastating enough to isolate countries from one another again.

Previous Musical Monday: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Subsequent Musical Monday: Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Beat It by Michael Jackson

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Mr. Roboto by Styx

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Fame by Irene Cara
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

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

Dexys Midnight Runners     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for February 29, 2020 through March 7, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 30 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 430.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Current Weigh-In: 196.2 pounds

I think I am going to have to accept that my heel is not going to stop being sore. I still don't think it is an injury - it just doesn't feel bad enough for that. It is, however, very persistent. I had expected the pain to go away after a week or two as my body got acclimated to running again, but doing the high mileage days that I have been doing on weekends seems to have pushed my right heel slightly over the edge to the point that it is simply sore all the time. I'll keep running on it unless something seems seriously wrong, but it is annoying.

I am losing weight though, so that should help.

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 23, 2020 through February 28, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: March 8, 2020 through March 14, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Book Blogger Hop March 6th - March 12th: "344 Questions: The Creative Person's Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment" Is a Book by Stefan G. Bucher


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: When did you first know you're truly a bookworm? Did you lose sleep over a novel?

I think that the moment I was transformed into a bookworm was when my family moved to Tanzania when I was nine. I was a reader before then - I learned to read early, and I was always interested in books, but when we moved to Tanzania, I was cut off from most other forms of entertainment. There were no television channels, and the radio only broadcast in Swahili, a language of which I could barely speak more than a handful of words. The only thing I was left with was the collection of books my parents provided for me. I had a collection of flip books called the "Companion Library" that included a whole bunch of works of classic literature that were considered suitable for young readers - Call of the Wild, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Little Men, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Toby Tyler, Heidi, 1,001 Nights, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Gulliver's Travels, and so on. I started at one end of the bookshelf and worked my way to the other. Then I started on the other books that I had available to me such as The Pink Motel and Castaways in Lilliput.

When I was in Tanzania, I read The Hobbit for the first time. I was aware of the story before I read the book: I had seen the Rankin-Bass animated adaptation and I had an album made from that adaptation narrated by John Huston. I had never read the actual book though, so one summer night between my fourth and fifth grade year, I read the book, staying up all night to do so. That was the summer I turned into a serious fantasy and science fiction fan. I also recall staying up into the wee hours of the morning reading Samuel R. Delany's Nova, and reading the Silmarillion during a long plane ride.

In short, moving to Africa turned me into a bookworm.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, March 6, 2020

2019 Campbell Award Nominees

Location: Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

Comments: With the renaming of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, this award is now the only major award that is named for the late editor. One has to wonder, however, how long that will last. Naming awards after people is problematic, in large part because people often do not age well. attitudes and opinions that are fine in one era are often considered abhorrent in later ones. Actions that were understandable in the past are actions that would likely lead to widespread condemnation, if not arrest and imprisonment now. Thomas Jefferson was one of the most enlightened minds of his era. He also kept slaves. John Adams didn't keep slaves, but he was willing to compromise on the basic humanity of black people to accomplish other political goals. Figures of the past often have feet of clay. Campbell didn't keep slaves, but he certainly had a lot of attitudes about slavery that have not aged well. He supported segregation. He was an impediment to the publication of black and female writers. In short, he is not someone that many in the present would find admirable. The question is, how long will he continue to be honored by having awards named after him?

Best Novel

Winner:
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

Finalists:
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
Semiosis by Sue Burke
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
A Spy in Time by Imraan Coovadia
Theory of Bastards by Audrey Sculman
Time Was by Ian McDonald
Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

Go to previous year's nominees: 2018
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2019

Book Award Reviews     Home

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2019 Clarke Award Nominees

Location: Sci-Fi London at Foyles Bookshop in London, United Kingdom.

Comments: One of the reasons that I track the Arthur C. Clarke award is that it seems to march to its own beat. The requirements for eligibility - basically being published in the U.K. - don't really seem to shut out many English-language books, and yet the shortlist for this award always seems to be dramatically at odds with most other science fiction and fantasy related awards. I don't see this as a drawback to the award - after all, this just gives a new range of books and authors for me to explore. It is, however, always kind of odd for me to see a shortlist for a speculative fiction award that only includes one book by an author whose name I recognize.

Winner

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Shortlist
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
The Loosening Skin by Aliya Whiteley
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
Semiosis by Sue Burke

What Are the Arthur C. Clarke Awards?

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

Book Award Reviews     Home

2020 Nebula Award Nominees

Location: Woodland Hills, California.

Comments: So, the slate of 2020 Nebula Award nominees are fine. This isn't a criticism. It has been quite a while since one could have a reasonable expectation that a set of award nominees would simply be fine. There isn't a nominee that I am dreading reading. There isn't a nominee who secured their position on the list through questionable means. This set of nominees is, in a certain sense, completely boring.


This doesn't mean that this isn't a good set of nominees. There are great books, stories, and films up and down this list of nominees, which still feels kind of refreshing for an awards list even a couple of years removed from the controversies and shenanigans of the past decade. From a particular perspective, it feels sad that to be able to simply read and enjoy the nominees is a welcome change of pace. On the other hand, it is a welcome change of pace no matter how sad that is, and for that I am grateful.

Best Novel

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Marque of Caine by Charles E. Gannon
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Best Novella

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom by Ted Chiang
Catfish Lullaby by A.C. Wise
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Best Novelette

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
The Archronology of Love by Caroline M. Yoachim
The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye by Sarah Pinsker
) Carpe Glitter by Cat Rambo
For He Can Creep by Siobhan Carroll
His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal
A Strange Uncertain Light by G.V. Anderson

Best Short Story

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
And Now His Lordship Is Laughing by Shiv Ramdas
A Catalog of Storms by Fran Wilde
The Dead, In Their Uncontrollable Power by Karen Osborne
Give the Family My Love by A.T. Greenblatt
How the Trick Is Done by A.C. Wise
Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island by Nibedita Sen

Best Game Writing

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Disco Elysium by Robert Kurvitz
Fate Accessibility Toolkit by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
The Magician's Workshop by Kate Heartfield
Outer Wilds by Kelsey Beachum
The Outer Worlds by Leonard Boyarsky, Megan Starks, Kate Dollarhyde, and Chris L'Etoile

Ray Bradbury Award

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Good Omens: Hard Times
The Mandalorian: The Child
Russian Doll: The Way Out
Watchmen: A God Walks Into Abar

Andre Norton Award

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer
Cog by Greg van Eekhout
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions by Henry Lien
Riverland by Fran Wilde
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Go to previous year's nominees: 2019

Book Award Reviews     Home

Monday, March 2, 2020

Musical Monday - Eye of the Tiger by Survivor


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: July 24, 1982 through August 28, 1982.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: July 31, 1982 through August 21, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: September 4, 1982 through September 25, 1982.

I've noted before how many songs appear on this list that were driven to the forefront of popular culture as a result of their association with movies. By the middle of 1982, there had already been two songs reach number one that were tied to movies - Chariots of Fire and Fame. In addition, Open Arms by Journey received a substantial boost as a result of appearing on the soundtrack to the movie Heavy Metal, and the Rogers & Hammerstein song Happy Talk from the play and movie South Pacific hit the top of the charts in the U.K. Eye of the Tiger was, of course, the theme song from Rocky III, and the association with that movie launched the song to the top of all three of the charts that I track as part of the 1980s Project.

One of the more unexpected developments of doing the 1980s Project has been the realization as to just how much popular music was influenced by movies and television during the era. I would have expected such movie-related dominance in an earlier era, such as the 1940s or 1950s, when movie musicals dominated the film industry and songs drawn from those were routinely the top selling songs of the era. Musical stars such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were movie stars as well, and the crossover between popular movies and popular music was obvious. By the 1980s, the movie musical was, for the most part, a moribund genre, and yet numerous movie-related songs continued to dominate the charts. I don't know what that says about popular culture, but it is interesting.

I couldn't let this video go by without pointing out the most obvious piece of weirdness within it. The video starts off with the members of the band walking around on the street all clad in leather jackets, looking like a gang of sorts. Well, all of them wearing leather jackets except for the keyboard player, who apparently thought that an unbuttoned blue dress shirt could serve as a reasonable substitute. He looks completely out of place, like he walking in from a completely different band that was doing a completely different video shoot. He's also kind of an awkward guy, and that compounds the discordant nature of his outfit. On the other hand, he's one of the songwriters for this song, and appears to be the source of a substantial portion of the writing talent in the band, so he can be forgiven for looking like he doesn't belong.

Previous Musical Monday: Hurt So Good by John Cougar
Subsequent Musical Monday: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Don't You Want Me by the Human League
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Hurt So Good by John Cougar
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth

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

Survivor     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Running - Weekly Log for February 23, 2020 through February 28, 2020

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 15 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 400.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 40 miles
Current Weigh-In: 198.2 pounds

I fell very short of my weekly mileage goal this past week. This was mostly due to weather and bad timing. On Wednesday I went out for a run at what turned out to be exactly the wrong time. It had been very lightly raining most of the evening - really just misting for the most part - but when I went out to run, I ended up running during the one hour that the rain came down quite heavily. Even though I was wearing my water resistant jacket, the downpour was simply too much and I ended up getting completely soaked. This wouldn't have been too bad, but the temperature dropped from a comfortable mid-40s down into the 30s at the same time. It took two days for my running shoes to dry out. It took longer for my joints to recover from being drenched and cold. I ended up missing four days worth of running this week.

I am hoping that the upcoming week is going to be better. If I can avoid running out in the rain and cold, I should be able to get a full week of running days in. Even if i can only run on day that are rainy or cold, I should be fine.

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 16, 2020 through February 22, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: February 29, 2020 through March 7, 2020

Running     Home

Book Blogger Hop Feb. 28th - March 5th: 343 Industries Is the Video Game Company That Currently Makes Halo Games


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: Tomorrow is leap year. Name one book being released in 2020 that you would prefer to skip

I don't really pay much attention to authors and books that I am not interested in, but I can't really say there are any books that I am aware of that I am simply not interested in. I suppose Scrappy Pup authors such as Larry Correia or Brad Torgersen might have a book coming out this year, and I pretty much have no interest in anything any of the Pups write. I don't know if any of them actually have a book coming out this year, and I don't really care.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, February 24, 2020

Musical Monday - Hurt So Good by John Cougar


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of July 24, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1982, John Mellencamp made his first significant appearance on the music charts, hitting number one on the Cash Box chart with this song. Mellencamp is from a small town in southern Indiana, and this music video is covered in Midwestern small town-ness. Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time in one of the small towns that interrupt the sea of cornfields of southern Indiana will recognize the houses and shops that appear in the background of this video. The roads the video cast members drive their motorcycles on are actual roads in the Indiana countryside. I don't know for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if the collection of cyclists who appear in the video were just a bunch of guys that Mellencamp met in a biker bar and invited over for a video shoot.

That said, there is an air of artificiality in this song and in this video, which is odd for an artist who later went on to build his career out of being the authentic voice of the heartland. To begin with, Mellencamp was using his stage name "Cougar", which is such a very twee name that it was never believable. The song itself feels forced and doesn't really align with most of Mellencamp's remaining oeuvre. From my perspective, Hurt So Good is a kind of strange prelude to Mellencamp's career - a career that didn't really start until Jack and Diane came out.

Previous Musical Monday: Fame by Irene Cara
Subsequent Musical Monday: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Don't You Want Me by the Human League
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

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

John Cougar     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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

Last Week's Mileage Goal: 60 miles
Actual Miles Last Week: 50 miles
Run/Walk Miles: 0 miles
Cumulative Mileage: 385.5 miles.
This Week's Mileage Goal: 30 miles
Current Weigh-In: 201.6 pounds

I didn't make my mileage goal this week, which is slightly disappointing, but really only slightly so. The mileage goal was the most ambitious goal I have set in the last year. The fifty miles I did end up running is the most mileage I have run in a week in close to three decades - I ran three runs longer than ten miles this week, and I cannot remember the last time I did that. On the other hand, I was forced to sit out two days this past week that I had not intended to - one for bad weather and one because I was sick that day. At some point in the next month or two I will probably try another sixty mile goal, and I am optimistic that I will be able to complete it.

For the upcoming week, I am going to back off the mileage for a bit. Unlike last week when I had two days off from work that I do not normally have, allowing me to do more longer runs, this week is a "normal" week in terms of my work schedule. As a result, I am only planning on running my usually weekday miles most of the days this week. To make up for the lowered mileage this week, my plan is to try to pick up the pace. I'm not quite going to do threshold training, but I'm going to push harder than have been.

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 9, 2020 through February 15, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: February 23, 2020 through February 28, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, February 22, 2020

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


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

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

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

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

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, February 17, 2020

Musical Monday - Fame by Irene Cara


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

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

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

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

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

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

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Irene Cara     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

Previous Weekly Running Log: February 2, 2020 through February 8, 2020
Subsequent Weekly Running Log: February 16, 2020 through February 22, 2020

Running     Home

Saturday, February 15, 2020

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


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What genre do you like the most?

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


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, February 10, 2020

Musical Monday - Happy Talk by Captain Sensible


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

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

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

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

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

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

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Captain Sensible     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 9, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Running     Home

Monday, February 3, 2020

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Charlene     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, February 2, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Running     Home

Saturday, February 1, 2020

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


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

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

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

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

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, January 27, 2020

Musical Monday - Goody Two-Shoes by Adam Ant


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

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

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

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

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

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

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Adam Ant     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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

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

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

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

Running     Home

Saturday, January 25, 2020

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


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you talk to strangers about books, especially when you see someone reading a book?

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

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


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, January 20, 2020

Musical Monday - House of Fun by Madness


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

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

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

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

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

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Madness     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, January 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Running     Home

Saturday, January 18, 2020

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


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you think that readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not?

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

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

Book Blogger Hop     Home

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