Spyder, man

I hesitate to call a singer an Unsung (!) Hero, but David Dwight “Spyder” Turner, born in Beckley, West Virginia but raised in Detroit, seems to be largely forgotten except by collectors of old R&B singles and Northern Soul buffs. His big hit came up on the shuffle today, and I figured it was time he got a shout-out from this corner.

A lot of people have covered Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” over the years, but none of them quite like Spyder Turner, who sang every verse in the voice of some other soul singer, the sort of tribute you don’t dare try unless you’re utterly devoted to what you’re doing and you have a voice that can pull it off. Turner did. MGM cut his 5:40 original in half to fit it on a single in late 1966; it made #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart. On the LP, Turner sounded like everyone from Jackie Wilson to Smokey Robinson to three different Temptations.

And judging by the concert footage here, Turner, then 64, can still do it. It continues to amaze me that he had only one subsequent chart record: a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “I Can’t Make It Anymore,” the sort of lost track that reminds you that if you go straight south from Detroit, you end up in Canada.

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Hands across the nation

Unlikely friendships may be the best kind: you’ve already overcome the presumed obstacles, probably without even thinking about them. Lisa knows how this goes:

I don’t think it was the Internet that opened up the doors to friendships between people who otherwise would never meet in real life. Ham radio operators used to have whole communities of “friends” out on the airwaves. Even before that, people had foreign pen pals with whom they shared years of correspondence without any expectation that they would ever shake hands in real life. Sometimes it was better that way. I remember a professor telling me a story about Henry James that may or may not be apocryphal. Among the many woman, James corresponded with regularly was one he had never met even through years of letters where they found themselves to be soul mates in matters of literature and philosophy. Finally, returning to America after a long stay in Europe, James decided to visit this woman in New York or Boston or wherever it was that she lived. According to the story, just before James walked up the drive to this woman’s home, a housemaid, distracted by something, dropped a basket of soiled linen on the front stoop. Henry, who we all know was a bit of a prig, saw this basket of unmentionables where no respectable home should allow it to be. He was so horrified at the indelicacy that he turned around and never wrote to the woman again. Who knows if the story’s true? But it might tell us that some friendships work best on other planes of existence.

Cue the voice of somebody’s mother, with just the slightest hint of condescension: “Are you talking to your little Internet friends again?”

Well, yes, we are. And some of them, we treasure as though we’d grown up beside them. Lisa knows about that sort of thing, which is why, after a season full of whirlwind activity, she’s taken keyboard in hand to pay tribute to a friend of hers, and mine, and likely one of yours too.

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Acts to grind

If you’ve ever told yourself “I just can’t get into opera,” here’s a handy guide to make it easier for you:

Anatomy of Operas

(Via the Facebook page of San Francisco classical station KDFC.)

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Wheelbase measured in inches

Enough of this “overcompensation” stuff, says Bark M.:

These guys hate me with a passion. Not only does my car have over four hundred horsepower, it’s yellow. To this particular group of internet commenters, I may as well have a target placed on my size 38 chest. According to them, my dong is actually so small that it’s inverted.

I would suggest that, in this day and age, that line of thought is outdated as the stereotype that only women of a certain persuasion drive Subarus. The only thing my car is an extension of is of my personality. In fact, I’d suggest that perhaps the opposite might be true — that men who drive underpowered cars do so because they think it supplements their identities as hipsters or intellectuals. Also, your girl just drooled over that Viper that drove by.

That Subaru stereotype, incidentally, once got a TTAC editor lambasted and then sacked.

I’m not buying the tweedy-hipster routine, though. In any given automotive class, the car with the least horsepower is likely to be the Mazda; this particular automaker values lightness and litheness more than pony count. If J. Random Wuss persistently chose the smallest horsepower number available, Mazda would be selling a million cars a year in the States instead of a mere 300,000.

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At the sign of the catty

We open with a quote from TLC regarding “scrubs”:

A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
Hanging out the passenger side
Of his best friend’s ride
Trying to holler at me

The hollering here is also dubbed “catcalling,” which was news to me: I grew up with the notion that “catcalling” was what Philadelphia sports fans did to the visiting team — or, sometimes, to the home team. Then again, doing the wolf-whistle thing was so far out of my comfort zone back then that actually doing it was unthinkable. Women, I suspect, aren’t keen on it anyway:

I’m still always shocked and confused when a person says “I don’t know what you’re so mad about! They’re just trying to COMPLIMENT you for God’s sake!”

I guess my confusion stems from my definition of a compliment: “a polite expression of praise or admiration,” because to me, yelling at a woman from a moving vehicle doesn’t feel as polite as I guess it was intended. Because the way I was taught, polite would be allowing me the chance to respond which, since you’re driving at 50 MPH straight past me doesn’t really seem like an option. Although I suppose it is always an option for me to write down your license plate number and track you down through the DMV or local police station. Or maybe I could just run after your car until you stop, and we’re finally united in true love.

But all of that aside, I was always of the opinion that a compliment is intended to make the recipient feel good, not the complimenter. And if that were the case, there wouldn’t be women confronting you about it, or men going on the defensive when they do.

I’m not staking any claim to the moral high ground here: had I been persuaded that this particular practice might actually work, I might well have given it a try — nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? But there is no set of circumstances under which I could believe that she’d dressed herself up and planted herself in that particular location just to catch my eye: in my experience, this simply does not happen, and I can think of no reason why it should.

And yes, I suppose, once in a while it might pay off for someone; if it never did, it would never occur to anyone else to try it.

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For the long term

The October Motor Trend has an interview, not with the usual grand high muckety-muck of the automotive industry, but with a 70-year-old corporate accountant, unaffiliated with the industry, who’s been on their subscription rolls ever since 1960, at which time he was sixteen and the magazine was eleven.

I did like this interchange:

Have we ever steered you wrong?

No, absolutely not. Never was sorry on anything I ever bought, really.

So you never bought a Vega, huh?

The Vega was MT’s 1971 Car of the Year; they’re still living that one down.

I did some counting, and my current longest subscription run is with MT rival Car and Driver, which I started in 1978. I’m sure someone — possibly Tam — can beat that.

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You may work with someone like this

Or one very much like him, because there are a heck of a lot of guys like this:

30 years ago, I was in my boss’ office talking shop with him. The door was open, and it was the day annual reviews were implemented and raises first showed up on paychecks.

One young lower-level manager, upset with the size of his increase, stormed into the office, ignoring me, slapped his paycheck down on the boss’ desk, and exclaimed, “This is an insult! When are you going to pay me what I’m worth?”

Without batting an eye, the boss slid his check back over towards the young chap and said, “I’d love to, son, but there is the minimum wage law to consider.”

In fact, I’ve seen some people who should have been billed for the work they did.

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Coolen on the side

Nancy Anna Francina Coolen wound up with a shortened name (“Nance”), a career in Eurodance music, and a second career as a TV host, all before turning 40. (She’s 41 tomorrow.) There is, of course, the usual array of slightly exciting pictures:

Nance Coolen

Nance Coolen

Nance was discovered by Ruud van Rijen, who created the dance act Twenty 4 Seven in 1989. She remained with van Rijen through 1996; he continues the group today.

This video, set to Nance’s 2003 solo single “If You Wanna Dance,” contains a brief history of her career:

Last I looked, she was doing Showniews for the Dutch channel SBS 6.

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Why we hate buying cars

A field report from Bayou Renaissance Man:

As part of my search for solutions to my truck’s electrical problems, I visited a few used car dealers (and used car departments of new car dealers) to price alternative transport. I went well armed with information, having researched possible cars and trucks on Edmunds.com and made lists of what Edmunds terms the “true market value” of relevant ones for several model years. I always found that the cars’ sticker prices were several thousand dollars above those listed by Edmunds, and I always asked the salesmen to justify that. They uniformly tried to persuade me that Edmunds.com didn’t know what it was talking about. When I produced corroborating values from NADA and the Kelley Blue Book, they’d fall back on the old “Well, we use a different book” excuse. When I refused to buckle, and insisted on answers, about half of them hemmed and hawed and waffled; the other half simply refused to talk any further.

It was always thus. When I retired Deirdre, my ’84 Mercury Cougar, I was offered something like $1400 above KBB for her in trade. This made no sense to me, but I was ready to deal. The new(ish) car was a ’93 Mazda 626, for which they were asking $9995. In plum condition, and this one was close to it, it was worth a KBB-estimated $8600. By any definition of the term, this was a wash.

(The next Mazda was bought new. Sticker was just over $20,000. But that’s another story.)

There is, however, a silver lining:

Only one dealer was honest enough to tell me that they charged the price they believed the market would bear. If their price was higher than Edmunds’ recommendation, it was because that make and model were in demand in this area, or they’d had to invest extra money in getting the vehicle ready for sale (which they backed up with invoices showing the work that had been done). They made no excuses and didn’t try to waffle.

That sort of forthright statement deserves some sort of signal boost.

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The latest whiz kids

I admit to a certain difficulty trying to determine a motive here:

Imagine going to Walmart only to find that what you need is off the shelf. Not because it’s out of stock, but because it’s been soaked with doe urine.

Arrest and booking reports show that the damage amounted to more than $2,500.

I mean, who carries this stuff around? Besides deer, I mean, and they get rid of it as quickly as they can.

Police said Cody Hudson, 18, and Jon Ohlman, 24, sprayed doe urine on toys, fabrics and shoes inside the Walmart near East 96th Street North and Highway 169 in Owasso.

I’m guessing the culprits, nabbed right across the street, were not exactly fawned over.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Nothing new under the sunroof

The view from the driver’s seat of the freshly-hatched 2015 Lincoln MKC:

Instrument panel of 2015 Lincoln MKC

(Photo from worldautomodification.com.)

The buttons down the upper left side of the center stack bear letters you’ve seen before: P, R, N, D, S. (The last one is the engine start/stop switch.)

Now really: how much has changed in fifty-nine years?

Advertisement for 1956 Dodge

Oh, yeah: the Lincoln has shift paddles. Hot (actually kinda tepid) diggity.

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Down on the hardwood plantation

Bruce Levenson, majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, has decided to give up his stake in the team, presumably in atonement for revealing, in a 2012 email to GM Danny Ferry, some insensitive-sounding sentiments about the fan base’s demographics:

for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

— it’s 70 pct black

— the cheerleaders are black

— the music is hip hop

— at the bars it’s 90 pct black

— there are few fathers and sons at the games

— we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.

Levenson, it should be noted, works out of Washington.

Anyway, he found the situation intolerable:

I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.

Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pct to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.

This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.

And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).

The Atlanta Thrashers, a National Hockey League team, were sold in 2011, and the new owners relocated them to Winnipeg, giving Atlanta the dubious distinction of having lost two NHL teams to Canadian ownership. (The Calgary Flames were the Atlanta Flames through 1980.)

Oh, and you may be certain that Levenson officially took a dim view of the racist leanings of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling: in April he said that he would support Sterling’s ouster. So give the man credit for consistency, for volunteering for his own. But could this simply be that Levenson hopes for a Sterling-sized payoff? The Hawks, up to now, have been worth maybe one-fifth the $2 billion Steve Ballmer put up to own the Clips.

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Strange search-engine queries (449)

Welcome to Monday. Here’s what you (not you you, necessarily) were looking for last week.

muslims cameltoe:  Not the same thing. They use real camels.

how to set tappets on a mazda 626 1983 model:  Did you consider checking this out with Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers? Because this is, like, their wheelhouse.

hit records that should be in stereo:  These days, all of them. Then again, they’re so loud, who can tell?

rolling stones monaural records:  Practically all of them in the Andrew Loog Oldham days, with the exception of the ones recorded at Chess in Chicago. Then again, they’re so loud, who can tell?

the invisible woman 1983:  Haven’t seen her since.

names of female that can turn invisible:  I warn you, she may not look like her passport photo.

what can i put in my cd4e transmission to quiet the pump:  The proper fluid, for once?

are specialistauthors.com spammers:  No. They’re just hard up for work.

threadbare essentials:  The epitome of shabby chic.

pictures of mature sexy irish tinker women:  Come on now. Be specific.

andrea harris in a thong:  Not a chance. Trust me.

trip to gunnison beach saw penises:  What were you expecting, some sort of Playboy pictorial? Approximately half the population has penises (usually men).

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Indy Rock City

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but paper causes lawsuits:

KISS bassist Gene Simmons is among the defendants being sued by a security guard over a confetti-initiated stage accident during a 2012 concert in Noblesville, Indiana.

Courthouse News Service reports security guard Timothy Funk says he worked the band’s September 1, 2012 show at the city’s Klipsch Music Center and was injured after falling on the “slippery, waxy, and glassy” stage.

According to Funk’s lawsuit, “some or all of the defendants” sprayed water from hoses “on the stage, the area around the stage, and on some of the crowd.” They also sprayed confetti around the stage and crowd “in a foolish and reckless manner,” Funk claimed.

Remember, kids: use confetti responsibly.

Said defendants include Live Nation (as owner of the Klipsch Center) and Simmons’ production company.

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Quote of the week

In Iraq War 3.0, whose boots will actually be on the ground? A prediction by nemo paradise:

So, if the Kurds (excellent cavalrymen all, and demonstrably fierce warriors) and the “Iraqi security forces” (who, when they last encountered ISIS, ran like scalded dogs, littering the battlefield with weapons ranging from pistols and rifles to armored personnel carriers and field artillery) are going to do the actual fighting, what is left for the US/Euro coalition?

According to our sources, the following assignments are contemplated:

U.S.: Carpet-bombing.
Britain: Blathering and pettifoggery.
France: Catering.
Australia: Loud insults.
Canada: Snowplows.
Germany: Beer.
Turkey: Colorful banners.
Italy: White flags.
Poland: Paprika.
Denmark: Skis and luges.

At least they’re contributing in the way they know best. I am minded of General Schwarzkopf’s comment on our catering-minded ally: “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordion.”

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Can we all get along?

In which I attempt to answer the question posed by the late Rodney King, with a notable lack of success.

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