The birds and bees are doing fine

Another example of how songwriting credits do not necessarily coincide with actual songwriters:

Over the years, “Money” has generated millions of dollars in publishing royalties. It was recorded by both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, has been widely used in films and advertisements and is now featured in Motown: The Musical on Broadway. But the pianist and singer Barrett Strong, who first recorded “Money” and, according to records at the United States Copyright Office in Washington, was originally listed as a writer of the song, says that he has never seen a penny of those profits.

Unbeknown to Mr. Strong, who also helped write many other Motown hits, his name was removed from the copyright registration for “Money” three years after the song was written, restored in 1987 when the copyright was renewed, then removed again the next year — his name literally crossed out.

Documents at the copyright office show that all of these moves came at the direction of Motown executives, who dispute Mr. Strong’s claim of authorship. Berry Gordy Jr., Motown’s founder, declined requests for an interview, but his lawyers contend that the original registration resulted from a clerical error, and that Mr. Strong passed up numerous opportunities to assert his claim.

I checked my own copy — not an Anna 1111 or Tamla 54027 original, but a reissue — and the songwriters are indeed listed as Berry Gordy Jr., Motown founder, and Janie Bradford, then the Motown receptionist. (Bradford did establish herself as a songwriter; for instance, her name’s on “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby,” a Marvin Gaye classic written with Norman Whitfield and, um, Barrett Strong.)

Matthew Fisher’s similar case in re “A Whiter Shade of Pale” should probably not be viewed as a precedent.

Comments off

Strange search-engine queries (396)

Supposedly, this is the end of summer, though most of the kids are back in school already and the equinox is still almost three weeks away. Change is in the air — except here, where we have yet another batch of odd search strings.

this is not a usual occurrence:  Oh, sure it is. Three hundred ninety-six of these. That’s pretty darn usual.

micrometer gdansk:  Your friends don’t Gdansk and if they don’t Gdansk then they’re no friends of mine.

Where did the ethnic Chubbo migrated from:  From behind the Taco Bell on Route 13.

why does my throttle body have two cables on a 1991 Mazda 626 lx:  Why doncha pull one off and see what happens, Chubbo?

100000 leagues under my nutsack wiki:  Arguably, the scariest word of the lot is “wiki.”

art garfunkel “mean meat”:  Which makes Paul Simon the vexed veggie, I suppose.

“the song” “abortion”:  Available for a limited time, and void where prohibited by law.

what words are no longer modern:  Fain would we tell thee, sirrah, but we’re busy twerking over here.

while wild in wood the noble savage ran:  At least he didn’t twerk.

We at the Internal Revenue Service would like to inform you that you have qualified for 2013 subsidy benefit. Simply reply to this secure message with the following details:  Which will then be pasted into the definition of “gullible” at

Comments (1)


From yesterday’s tweetstream:

If that suggests mixed emotions to you, welcome to the club.

Comments (1)

Grab this, pal

From last night’s spam harvest:

That is really attention-grabbing, You are an overly skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and sit up for searching for more of your wonderful post. Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

You have no social networks. You’re just a bot, and an ineffective one at that. I know this because I am overly skilled.

Comments off

We just don’t give a [bleep]

In fact, for all you fans of Life in the Fast Lane, we take out the whole doggone line:

But on 101.3 FM, this is what we heard instead: We’ve been up and down this highway / there were lines on the mirror, lines on her face … Yup. They cut out the entire line mentioning the word “goddamned.”

This is not precisely what Pink Floyd called “goody-good bull—,” but I suppose it could have been.

Comments (3)

Cleanliness is next to impossible

Armor All is selling what appears to be a baby wipe — the sort that usually comes in one of those pop-up plastic canisters — for automotive purposes. Jeffro is not impressed:

Are you kidding me? All you get done is to clean some of it off, then smear the rest of the dirt around. When it dries, it looks like crap. So, lather, rinse and repeat until it becomes obvious that it will never get clean — those little white sheets are gonna come up dirty each and every time you wipe it across that door panel you’ve already wiped off about thirty seven times.

This is consistent with the Law of Conservation of Filth, which states that to get something clean, you must get something else dirty. Anyone who’s had a baby knows that.

Comments off

One of the last of the breed

Peter Egan says he’s ready to retire:

Not completely, mind you; I’ve asked editors Larry Webster and Mark Hoyer if I could continue to contribute feature stories to my two favorite magazines [Road & Track and Cycle World respectively], but I’d like to pull back from the monthly-column routine and have more free time to wander about the country, visiting friends and family and exploring the hinterlands. Just feels like time. I also have a couple of moderately serious health problems (tainted with the usual whiff of hypochondria and sloth) and feel the need to step down onto a slightly slower treadmill.

After thirty years of the routine, I don’t blame him. And this is a position I can appreciate, as I’m only five years younger than Egan and have done my own routine for twenty-three.

R&T has been even skinner than corporate sister Car and Driver of late; I can remember when they were properly stapled instead of perfect-bound and were so thick you could barely bend them into the typical mail slot. (Advertising, or the lack of same, is the name of the game: the 900-page September issue of Vogue, about as bendable as a volume of Britannica, costs the same $5.99 on the stand as either of the car mags.)

Perhaps Egan and I will meet up somewhere down the road. It’s something I, if not necessarily he, would look forward to.

Comments off

Probably the last Twinkie report

Scored a box of ten gen-u-wine Hostess Twinkies today at Crest, NW 23rd and Meridian. (They had seven.) For the record, I paid $2.98.

This is called “getting it out of one’s system.” I normally don’t fixate on food of this sort, with the honorable exception of the McRib — and I know where those will be.

Comments (1)

Some of those Immaterial Girls

For the last several days I have been deluged in bogus come-on messages, ostensibly from women with remarkably uncommon first names and no last names, all claiming addresses at Rocketmail, and all demanding highest priority. A sample subject line, from “Barbara”:

Fwd: Fwd:This place is overrun by bots. Let’s move to reddit.

As though these things would actually be forwarded twice. (And Reddit? Um, no.)

In the body of the message:

I’m still here waiting for you to verify so we can meet up.
Please dont take it personal I have to be careful these days.

click here to verify yourself now

This will work out if your not a creep like that other guy I met. I really hope your legit and I am sorry to be so paranoid but I’m being careful this time.

Prove to me your safe I’m waiting here. I attached a recent pic of myself as well. :)

The “click here” goes to something called, which, if it’s anything like, implies that I don’t even need a companion in these matters. (See also “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “One More Minute”: “I’m stranded all alone in the gas station of love, and I have to use the self service pump.”)

The “recent pic” is named “mis_fotos_666.jpg”. Oh, yeah, I’m gonna click on that.

Comments (2)

Negative potential

I’m not entirely sold by this metric, but it does make you think:

Toyota sold almost 10 million cars last year. Divide the market value of the company by the number of cars and you get around $22,000 per car. Do the same calculation for Mitsubishi, who sold around 600,000 cars last year, and you get $10,000 per car. So people think the Toyota company is twice as good as Mitsubishi.

Do the same calculation for Tesla and you get nearly $1,000,000. That’s one million dollars, 50 times as much as Toyota, and 100 times as much as Mitsubishi. Tesla may be in fashion now, but sooner or later they are going to take a fall, and it’s going to be a big one.

Possible insulation: A substantial portion of Tesla’s income — 12 percent, according to its first-quarter report — came from selling California zero-emission vehicle credits, a market whose sole “product” has zero intrinsic value, and right now they own that market, an exceedingly comfortable position to be in. (Nissan, which has now sold a pretty fair number of Leafs, is the next entrant.)

Comments (4)

Lox will be opened

From Steve Lackmeyer’s Q&A session yesterday:

Jane [10:52 a.m.] What type of cuisine would you like to see Good Egg or Chris Lower bring into the city center (between 23rd and i40) next?

Steve Lackmeyer [10:52 a.m.] I challenge them to figure out how to create a genuine Jewish deli to Oklahoma City.

Hey, if it works in Noshville…

They slaved over a hot stove all day. Eat something.

Comments (1)

Quite a toaster

Recovering Cylon Tricia Helfer, seen here on the red carpet at this week’s premiere of Riddick:

Tricia Helfer at the Riddick premiere 8-28-13

This fall, she’s slated to star in ABC’s Killer Women, a remake of an Argentine drama about, um, women who kill.

Comments off

Quote of the week

What mattered about the President’s speech on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech:

The fact is that the man who stood where King stood at the Lincoln Memorial today as the chief executive of the United States of America is one who would have had to have stood with King if too many white people wanted seats on the bus. He would have had to drink with King from water fountains that said “colored,” or sat in balconies instead of on the main floor of the theater, or eaten at the back door of the restaurant because no one would seat him, or walked with King past hotel after hotel until he finally came to one that would allow him to stay.

But he does not have to do any of these things. People stand when he enters. Traffic stops when he passes. The powerful call him, “Sir,” and address him not just as “Mister,” but “Mister President.” Martin Luther King Jr., had he not been slain just five years after this speech, would be 84 today and very possibly alive to see this.

And although he might have had to pinch himself to see if he was still dreaming, he would have found — I hope to his great pleasure and satisfaction — that he was not.

Of course, it’s not 1963 anymore, as some people need reminding now and then. The greatest legacy of Dr. King may be that we’ll never have to see 1963 again.

Comments (3)

It’s like Entertainment on ESPN

Kathleen Parker gets herself all twerked up over that Miley Cyrus incident:

This is not the first offensive display — and probably not even the worst. I pretend to no authority but have seen enough to know that MTV videos often resemble soft-porn mini-movies. Children marinating in a culture of online porn, sexting, rainbow parties and worse have little experience with other ways of relating emotionally.

Someone actually pretending to authority, I suppose, would have known that MTV doesn’t show videos and hasn’t for years. (Not that their “reality” shows are any less noxious.) And has anyone ever actually attended a rainbow party? Snopes seems skeptical.

Comments (4)

Drools of the road

The very model of a low-information driver:

Is it normal for a 4 hour drive to use half of tank of gas?

I mean, don’t you watch television? Anything that takes four hours calls for immediate medical attention.

Comments (6)

Aio, Aio, it’s off to court we go

November 2007: T-Mobile claims trademark on the color magenta.

August 2013: Out come the lawyers:

Chances are you probably don’t even know about AT&T’s Aio Wireless prepaid service, as it’s currently only available in a handful of markets. But the folks at T-Mobile have sued the subsidiary now before the world gets confused by two phone companies that use similar colors.

In a lawsuit [pdf] filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Texas, T-Mobile alleges “trademark dilution, trademark infringement and unfair competition with regard to T-Mobile’s trademark rights to the color magenta in the field of telecommunications services.”

T-Mobile claims that Aio was a deliberate and immediate response to its decision earlier this year to do away with phone subsidies and allow customers to get wireless plans without two-year contracts.

So far as I know, Pantone has not been asked for a statement, or even a color sample.

Comments (2)