Archive for The Way We Were

Teenaged and British

[I’d been wanting to do this story for some time, and I figured the best time for it was a Friday, for, um, obvious reasons.]

How big was Helen Shapiro? About five foot two. More to the point, in 1961, when she was fourteen, she recorded a song called “Don’t Treat Me Like a Child,” which she sang in an amazingly grown-up voice. It made #3 on the UK charts, and was followed by two #1s and a #2.

How big was Helen Shapiro? The Beatles opened for her in 1963. She recorded for UK Columbia, an EMI label, which meant that in the States, Capitol Records got the first shot at releasing her records. They put out all four of those tracks, though they went nowhere in a hurry. (Well, “Walkin’ Back to Happiness,” the third single, showed up for one week in Billboard at #100.) Capitol’s US branch dropped her from the roster, though the Canadian office continued to release Shapiro’s material. (I note purely in passing that Capitol passed on the Beatles’ first singles.)

That Number Two track was “Tell Me What He Said,” a Jeff Barry tune that started life as a Ginny Arnell B-side in 1960; the Playmates (“Beep Beep”) covered it in 1961, with the obligatory gender-flip. Both versions were arranged in typical US Top 40 styles, in the hopes of getting them on the radio; both acts were at different stages of their careers, the Playmates having had four Top 40 hits up to that point, but Arnell, going solo after a couple of flop singles with Gene Pitney (as “Jamie and Jane”), was still a couple of years away from finally cracking the chart with a song you dare not play on the radio anymore.

Meanwhile, Norrie Paramor, Shapiro’s producer, gave her a not-even-slightly-teenage sound:

Paramor was contemplating a Shapiro album from Nashville, of all places, and began hitting up EMI composers for material — including, yes, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who turned out a number called “Misery.” Paramor turned it down, though Kenny Lynch, who’d been on that tour with Helen and the Beatles, decided to cut it himself.

Teen sensations, alas, seldom remain so. Helen Shapiro disappeared from the charts, resurfacing now and then with a song from a stage musical or a jazz number. Her last new track, from 1984, was an Allen Toussaint song:

It was 2002 when she finally retired from show biz; she was still only 56.

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Where the Good Guys were

Found on a music board this past weekend:

To those of you in the NY area … If you take the NJ Transit train to Newark, and keep your eyes peeled when the train goes outside, you will see the transmitter shack of the old WMCA radio. It still has the “WMCA” sign on top. Its in the middle of NOWHERE, with nothing but reeds around it. Brave was the transmitter tech who had to go in there … no telling what animals he’d find in there trying to get warm.

And here’s that shack:

Old transmitter shack of WMCA New York

Once a Top 40 powerhouse, WMCA now runs a Christian format. And no, not from there.

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I just wanted to preserve my car

But I guess this particular argument has merit of its own:

Why you need a garage

Summer of 2010. The adjuster was here to discuss my insurance claim: hail ripped most of my roof to shreds. He headed for the garage. “Let’s see how much damage your car sustained.”

“None,” I said. “It was in here the whole time.”

He looked at me from an obtuse angle. “You sure about that?”

Just the same, he gave it the once-over.

Historical note: When the palatial estate at Surlywood was built in 1948, the plan did not call for a garage; one was added in a 1951 remodel.

(Via Larry Kim.)

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Billions and billions ago

Which no one, I submit, ever predicted:

The McDonald Brothers, before opening Store #1

Seventy years later, McDonald’s is almost everywhere, though the founding brothers have long since passed on.

(From the HistoryPorn subreddit via TYWKIWDBI.)

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Ancient smut

Pornography certainly existed online in the 1980s, but most of us didn’t even have a pornograph. We did, however, have bulletin-board systems and near-infinite patience, which is how I scored this particular 8-bit “photo” about thirty years ago. (Don’t even think of trying that phone number.)

Random semi-smutty graphic from the 1980s

I have one other picture in this, um, series. Its focus is, shall we say, similar.

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Find out what it means

Something I mentioned last week:

Aretha Franklin’s electrifying debut for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), pulled off a couple of amazing feats. First, it opened with a version of Otis Redding’s “Respect” that wasn’t so much a cover at it was a usurpation: from that day forward, hardly anyone ever again would refer to it as anything but an Aretha original.

On a hunch, I pulled up Otis on YouTube, and sure enough, most of the discussion was about Aretha.

It’s a legitimately great record that Otis had here; it’s just that Aretha’s was just that much greater.

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The once and future Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin’s electrifying debut for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), pulled off a couple of amazing feats. First, it opened with a version of Otis Redding’s “Respect” that wasn’t so much a cover at it was a usurpation: from that day forward, hardly anyone ever again would refer to it as anything but an Aretha original. Second, it made almost everyone forget that it was, technically, her eleventh album: she’d done ten LPs for Columbia, the undisputed giant of American labels, all of which had gone mostly unnoticed.

From The Steve Allen Show, 1964; Aretha had charted with that old standard (at #37) in 1961, and that was still her biggest hit three years later. Columbia wasn’t sure what to do with this singer they’d signed, and let her contract lapse; Jerry Wexler took her to Muscle Shoals and got the hell out of her way. The rest, as they say, is history.

And here, on “Border Song,” Aretha nearly does to Elton John what she did to Otis.

But maybe this statistic says everything that needs to be said. Aretha won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1968, for “Respect.” She won again in 1969.

And 1970.

And 1971.

And the next four years. Natalie Cole finally won one in 1976, the first year Aretha wasn’t nominated.

We are honored to have been alive when Aretha was in her prime, and centuries from now, people will envy us for having been so fortunate.

Aretha Franklin looks toward the sky

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It’s for you

One thing Fillyjonk remembers about dormitory life:

I remember there were wall-phones in every room. I bet now dorms don’t bother with that and expect students to have cell phones. And I had a “calling card” (remember those? They were like a portable long-distance plan where you could call from any phone that did long distance, and it would be charged to you) so I could call my parents. (I think once or twice, when I didn’t have the card handy and it was an emergency, I called collect — probably something else today’s kids don’t know about — but I understood that was an emergency thing because of the expense.

I was insane enough to order my very own single-party line for my dorm room, which cost a fair sum of cash during an era when minimum wage, about the most a student could reasonably expect in those days, was a buck-thirty. (And yes, I remember the number.)

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What’s the ugliest car in your garage?

TTAC was asking “What’s the worst-looking car from the year you were born?” I gave this about ten, maybe twenty seconds before deciding on this, um, contraption:

The interior wasn’t bad at all, considering, but whose idea was it to fit front fender skirts? This thing steers like a Kenworth, and requires just about as much space to turn around.

Hideous as it was, Frank Zappa may have loved it. From “The Air” off the Uncle Meat album, the doo-wop tale of a Customs bust:

Yes, they grabbed me then they beat me
Then they told me they don’t like me
And I crashed in my Nash
We can crash in my Nash…

Or you can dial back a couple of years to Cruising with Ruben & the Jets:

RUBEN SANO was 19 when he quit the group to work on his car. He had just saved up enough money to buy a 53 Nash and four gallons of gray primer. His girl friend said she would leave him forever if he didn’t quit playing in the band and fix up his car so they could go to the drive-in and make out. There was already 11 other guys in the band so when he quit nobody missed him except for his car when they had to go to rehearsal or play for a battle of the bands at the American Legion Post in Chino.

Ruben & the Jets, of course, was 100 percent doo-wop, Zappa being a legendary doo-wop fiend. (The latter-day Penguins’ “Memories of El Monte,” a deadly-serious nostalgia piece from 1963, was produced and co-written by Zappa.) Brother Paul, once a member of an aggregation called Eddie Chevy and the Carburetor Kids, honed his doo-wop skills on Ruben & the Jets, especially on the closer, “Later That Night.”

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Washed out

You know the song:

There was green alligators and long-necked geese,
Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees.
Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born,
The loveliest of all was the unicorn.

And yet:

The last words of the unicorns

Now there’s some climate change for you.

(Via Mermaids, Fairies and Other Mythical Beings.)

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Every shot counts

There exists, somewhere in a box on the premises, a two-track mixdown (from a four-track master) of brother Paul trying to duplicate this organ riff on the family instrument. He was only partly successful, but you wouldn’t argue with his enthusiasm, inasmuch as he was only 18 and still weighed what he did as a high-school offensive lineman.

This is the riff in question:

John McElrath, who played this very riff for the Swingin’ Medallions in Greenwood, South Carolina in 1966, and at scores of public appearances thereafter, died last week at 77; he’d retired from touring, but the group is still active today.

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A man of another time

You seldom see guys like this at the dealerships anymore:

My father hated smooth. He liked plain talk and despised euphemism and manipulation, especially among salesmen. He’d fire car salesmen working under him if he caught them lying or even shading the truth to make a sale. “A man that will lie to a customer will lie to you,” he’d say. He looked at every deal brought to him for approval that the buyer didn’t have the credit for as a failed sale and wouldn’t approve them. “Bad for the buyer and worse for the business,” he’d say. “If you let a man buy what he can’t afford on credit, you’re going to be taking the car back and making an enemy. We’re here to get cars off the lot, not see them come back after repossession. A man who can’t make his car payments is a man who can’t maintain his car. A salesman who’s so smooth he’s selling people cars bigger than they can afford is a salesman who’s taking a kickback from the repo man.”

This paragraph ought to be on permanent display at Yahoo! Answers, which is just crammed full of subprime buyers in deep doo-doo.

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Tube equipment

I remember hearing this on the radio in 1964 and wondering how the hell Pete Drake got those noises out of a steel guitar. It went something like this:

You play the notes on the guitar and it goes through the amplifier. I have a driver system so that you disconnect the speakers and the sound goes through the driver into a plastic tube. You put the tube in the side of your mouth then form the words with your mouth as you play them. You don’t actually say a word: The guitar is your vocal cords, and your mouth is the amplifier. It’s amplified by a microphone.

I admit, it wasn’t as much fun to watch on TV, where the secrets were given away, but the song, written by Buddy Killen and made into a hit by the Anita Kerr Singers under the pseudonym “The Little Dippers” circa 1959, does stay with you, as the title says: forever.

Drake, who died in 1988, had a gold record on his wall from exactly this tune.

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Greece is the way we are feeling

At least, if we fancy ourselves small-d democrats on the Athenian model. Severian would like to remind you that it wasn’t all that democratic:

Whatever Cleisthenes and the gang actually practiced, it wasn’t based on a social contract as we’d understand it. As you probably remember from your high school Social Studies class, the Greeks were world-class chauvinists. Aristotle famously ranked women just below slaves on the rationality scale, and the word “barbarian” simply meant “not-Greek.” You probably couldn’t play a pickup softball game with the total number of Athenian “voters.” But it didn’t matter, because Athens was so small that Demosthenes himself could come over to your house and personally demagogue you. Socrates, too, for that matter (he fought at Potidaea). Athens’s organizing myth, then, was “democracy” in the football hooligan sense — you voluntarily joined up, but mostly just to have a row with the wankers. Needless to say, this doesn’t work in anyplace bigger than a Greek polis. (The early Roman Republic worked the same way, and yes, I’m aware that I just called Romulus and Remus the original soccer yobs).

Do they even teach Social Studies anymore? The last Civics class I remember hearing about was apparently abandoned about the time the Republicans came up with something they teasingly called the Contract with America; however contractual it might have been, it was seriously lacking in enforcement mechanisms.

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Undissolved creepiness

This could be more offputting only if Robert Stack himself appeared as a stuffed sub-Muppet:

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A yardstick for lunatics

So this shows up in my Twitter timeline:

It works for me. Not only did the song in question reach Number One for that week and that week only, but the lead singer wasn’t even a member of the band. It’s like it was designed for me.

Oh, and one member of the band, guitarist Ed King, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not for this. (Two words: “Lynyrd Skynyrd.”)

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So far away

Yet another area where the Digital Age is no improvement over its analog ancestor:

[S]ometimes on summer evenings, you could play a little with “atmospheric skip” and get stations from farther away than you normally would. It was like dxing on a radio, but with a television)

(And for that matter: do kids today even know what dxing is? It was a thing my dad taught me about and it was kind of fun in that geeky way — “Oh, hey, I’m picking up St. Louis!”)

And St. Louis was one of the first places you’d get, assuming you lived somewhere east of the Rockies; in the middle of the dial, in the middle of the country, KMOX had 1120 kHz all to itself after dark, one notch above the station pairs on opposite coasts. (Example: KGO San Francisco and WGY Schenectady, New York, both running full time on 810 kHz, though KGO’s signal is slightly directional at night to protect WGY.) This clear-channel stuff was important to us in South Carolina, which had only two 50,000-watt signals, both way the heck up around Greenville and — wait for it — operating with that much juice only in the daytime. Down on the coast, our hardy Top 40 perennials ran 5,000 watts daytime, 1,000 watts night (WTMA) or 1,000 watts daytime, 250 watts night (then WQSN). We eagerly hunted down stuff like the Big Ape (WAPE Jacksonville, a mere 25,000 watts at night but so close by we could sometimes pick it up in the daytime. I remember once or twice managing to snag their competition, WPDQ, only 5,000 watts but still only a state and a fraction away.

I discovered Nashville early: they had two blowtorch AMs, WSM, then and now home of the Grand Ole Opry, and WLAC, now news-talk but back then a serious R&B outlet, anchored in the evenings by the legendary John R. (I regret to say I never made it to Ernie’s Record Mart in Nashville, a major John R. sponsor.) After you’d heard all the big boys, it became something of a game to try to locate low-powered rivals to said big boys. I think my single greatest night of DX was the night I got an amazingly clean signal from the amazingly weak WKWK (Wheeling’s Krazy, Wacky Kilocycles), 1,000 watts day, 250 watts night, not even a patch on the mighty WWVA just up the dial, but competitive just the same.

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A matter of remembrance

Jack Benny, signing off his radio show on 30 May 1943:

Today Valley Forge and Bull Run and Gettysburg and Château Thierry come marching out of the past and we see them clearly again … because marching at their side are the men of Bataan and Pearl Harbor and Corregidor and Wake.

Someday time will erase the pain of the memory of Bataan and Pearl Harbor as it once erased the pain of Verdun. But tonight the gold stars are too new and bright, the wounds in our hearts too fresh and the pain too sharp to forget. And thus Memorial Day becomes more than a roll call of our honored dead and a roll call more of the living. And the living must step forth and answer and they must say … “all these men from 1776 to 1943 — they died for me. So let me work and let me buy the bonds, and let me — with the helping hand of God — make the sacrifice that tells the soul of each one of these men, “You did not die in vain.”

(Complete episode via transcription here. Originally posted in 2016.)

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Adolescent, after all

“Do you know why the German Wehrmacht girls are in the Netherlands? As mattresses for the soldiers.”

So said Anne Frank. Yes, that Anne Frank:

Teenagers will be teenagers, regardless of their circumstances.

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An earlier Standard

A little family history from Warren Meyer:

My older readers will know that my dad was President of Exxon from the early 70’s (a few weeks before the Arab oil embargo) until the late 1980’s. In that job he never had to do analyst calls, but he did about 15 annual shareholders meetings. I don’t know how they run today but in those days any shareholder with a question or a rant could line up and fire away. Every person with a legitimate beef, every vocal person who hated oil companies and were pissed off about oil prices, every conspiracy theorist convinced Exxon was secretly formulating chemtrail material or whatever, and every outright crazy would buy one share of stock and show up to have their moment on stage. My dad probably fantasized about how awesome it would be to just get asked dry financial questions about cash flow. And through all the nuts and crazy questions and outright accusations that he was the most evil person on the planet, dad kept his cool and never once lost it.

If you asked him about it, he likely would not have talked about it. Dad — who grew up dirt poor with polio in rural Depression Iowa — was from that generation that really did not talk about their personal adversity much and certainly did not compete for victim status. He probably would just have joked that the loonies at the shareholder meeting were nothing compared to Congress. My favorite story was that Scoop Jackson once called him to testify in the Senate twice in 6 months or so. The first time, just before the embargo, he was trying to save the Alaska pipeline project and Jackson accused Exxon of being greedy and trying to produce more oil than was needed. The second time was just after the embargo, and Jackson accused Exxon of being greedy and hiding oil offshore in tankers to make sure the world had less oil than it needed.

Good old Scoop. Remember when he was the sane Democrat?

Through all of this, the only time I ever saw him really mad was when Johnny Carson made a joke about killing the president of Exxon (he asked his audience to raise their hands if they thought they would actually get convicted for killing the president of Exxon) and over the next several days our family received hundreds of death threats. These had to be treated fairly credibly at the time because terrorists were frequently attacking, kidnapping, and bombing oil company executives and their families. We had friends whose housekeeper’s hand was blown off by a letter bomb, and I was not able to travel outside of the country for many years for fear of kidnapping. (For Firefly fans, if you remember the scene of Mal always cutting his apples because he feared bombs in them from a old war experience, you might recognize how, to this day, I still open packages slowly and carefully.)

And that was during the Age of Carson, a largely apolitical comedian — yet the nitwits spun their way out of the woodwork with frightening speed. Today, no thanks to the current corps of synthetically edgy talkers and their reinforcement from the echo chambers of social media, there is no longer any such thing as a rhetorical question; it’s always a cry for a rally.

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Gone to the dogs

The American Kennel Club recognizes about 200 sort-of-different dog breeds. (The Belgian sheepdog and its sort-of-distant cousins, the Malinois and the Tervuren, are three separate breeds in AKC reckoning; in Belgium, they’re three varieties of the same dog.) There are lots of other breeds that have yet to receive AKC attention. And there are breeds that will never be seen again, by AKC or anyone else:

Are any current breeds marked for extinction? Surely not deliberately so; but, say, the otterhound — pretty much nobody hunts otters anymore — is fairly unemployable.

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Getting the shaft

A single sentence sums it up:

Archaeologists near the Swiss city of Basel are trying to definitively establish if mysterious shafts discovered at Switzerland’s extensive Augusta Raurica site in 2013 could have been ancient refrigerators.

And the most sensible way to deal with this conjecture is to get those ancient fridges to work:

The Romans used shafts like the four-metre deep examples at Augusta Raurica — some 20 kilometres from Basel — as cool stores during summer.

The shafts were filled with snow and ice during winter and then covered with straw to keep the space cool well into the summer months. This then allowed for everything from cheese to wine — and even oysters — to be preserved during warm weather.

Two previous attempts produced reasonable cool, but not what you’d call cold. This time:

Now, however, researchers plan to use methods developed by the so-called “nevaters” or ice-makers on the Spanish island of Majorca. This will see [Peter-Andrew] Schwarz and his team placing 20–30-centimetre-thick layers of snow into the shaft. These individual layers will then be compacted down with a straw cover placed on top of each one.

“With this method, people in Majorca could keep food cool in summer before the arrival of electric fridges,” Schwarz told regional daily Basler Zeitung in 2017.

Which, of course, doesn’t prove these particular shafts were bad mothers actually used for refrigeration, but there’s a lot to be said for proof of concept.

And Dave Schuler cracks: “What amused me about this story is that, if they had been found in the UK, they’d still have been in use.”

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There goes the judge

Because I have to, this scene from season three of Night Court, a wondrous juxtaposition of pathos and punchlines, with John Larroquette and the late Harry Anderson:

You may remember that Harry Stone got his judgeship by accident: the outgoing mayor of New York made a crapton of appointments on his last day in office, and Harry was the only nominee for judge who was actually at home when the phone call came. You tell me life isn’t like that.

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Where America used to be

Paul and Kathy hit the road: “So we bought a pack of cigarettes / And Mrs. Wagner pies / And walked off to look for America.”

Cigarettes you know. Mrs. Wagner’s pies, maybe not:

The Bitter Irony Department notes that Mrs. Wagner’s company ceased operations in 1968, the same year that Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends album, whence came Simon’s song “America,” was released.

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Standing in the draft

From the Wikipedia article on conscription in the United States:

Following the 1953 Korean War Armistice, Congress passed the Reserve Forces Act of 1955 with the aim of improving National Guard and federal Reserve Component readiness while also constraining its use by the president. Towards this end, it mandated a six-year service commitment, in a combination of reserve and active duty time, for every line military member regardless of their means of entry.

I finished my six years, evenly split between reserve and active duty time, exactly forty years ago today.

Just FYI, the last men to be drafted had their birth dates selected in early 1972.

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And that’s what killed the dog

Fillyjonk, as is her wont, came up with a charming little French fable from 1935 called “Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise.” Madame seeks to know how things are going while she is away, and what problems have arisen prove to be minor — at first.

This très French number has an ancient American ancestor, very popular on the vaudeville circuit at the end of the century — the nineteenth century, that is. Perhaps the best-known version of this comic monologue came from Nat M. Wills (1873-1917), who read it off into a Victor Talking Machine in 1908. I first heard it on the Dr. Demento Show just about this date in 1976.

The good Doctor apparently last played this record in the summer of 2014.

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Hawking forever

The Friar recalls:

[Stephen] Hawking was inspirational even if he didn’t much care for the designation. His 1970s work would have changed physics and cosmology had it come from a fully able scientist but it stands higher because it came from a man who wasn’t able to stand or write on his own and had to visualize the equations in his head while developing them. He leaves a legacy of great impact as a physicist and as a human being, and it seems to me that he did so in large part because in physics and physical limitations, he eagerly sought nothing less than the truth the proverbial red pill is supposed to offer. The universe is weird, and the human mind will not be limited by such things as physical handicaps unless its owners choose to let it be.

I am advised that he found certain hip-hop parodies of his persona flattering. They are, however, not even slightly safe for work.

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Thunderously

Somehow it seems unlikely that a Bollywood actress would be nicknamed “Thunder Thighs.”

Then again:

Sridevi in 1980, all of seventeen years old. This clip came from Guru, her fifty-third (!) Tamil film. In all, she did over 200 movies in five different languages.

Sridevi on the sidelines

Sridevi with a smile

Sridevi waits patiently

Sridevi in display mode

After an eight-year hiatus, Sridevi returned to the big screen in English Vinglish, playing a housewife who was tired of being mocked by family for her lack of English skills.

Sridevi died in Dubai last weekend; she apparently drowned in a hotel bathtub. She was 54.

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To mourn such a man

In memory of Terry Ward (1946-2018):

He enjoyed many, many things. Among those things were hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, ABBA, hiking Turkey Run, chopping wood, shooting guns, Bed Bath & Beyond, starlight mints, cold beer, free beer, The History Channel, CCR, war movies, discussing who makes the best pizza, the Chicago White Sox, old Buicks, and above all, his family.

He was a renowned distributor of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren. He also turned on programs such as Phineas and Ferb for his grand-youngins, usually when they were actually there.

He despised “uppity foods” like hummus, which his family lovingly called “bean dip” for his benefit, which he loved consequently. He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new. He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.

Terry died knowing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, (young) Clint Eastwood was the baddest-ass man on the planet, and hot sauce can be added to absolutely any food.

Mr Ward will probably never appear in Wikipedia, but they don’t deserve someone like him anyway.

(Via TYWKIWDBI.)

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It’s four o’clock somewhere

Roger remembers a detail from his kindergarten classroom:

We had clocks that had Roman numerals; I recall the four was shown as IIII rather than IV.

Along about sixth grade, I asked about why the clock in the hall outside the headmaster’s office was so equipped, and got this for an answer:

Once upon a time, when Roman numerals were used by the actual Roman Empire, the name of the Romans’ supreme deity, Jupiter, was spelled as IVPPITER in Latin. Hesitant to put part of the god’s name on a sundial or in accounting books, IIII became the preferred representation of four.

By Jove, this made sense. Well, maybe:

Of course, IVPPITER wasn’t being worshipped much by the time clocks and watches replaced sundials, but clockmakers may have stuck with IIII just for the sake of tradition.

Or for the sake of doing less actual work:

Using IIII may have also made work a little easier for certain clock makers. If you’re making a clock where the numerals are cut from metal and affixed to the face, using IIII means you’ll need twenty I’s, four V’s, and four X’s. That’s one mold with a V, five I’s, and an X cast four times. With an IV, you’d need seventeen I’s, five V’s, and four X’s, requiring several molds in different configurations.

At this point, you might be forgiven for chucking all this quasi-historical mumbo-jumbo and going digital, though a digital grandfather clock would be somewhat offputting. (If I remember correctly, the Swillmart ad in the Dacron [Ohio] Republican-Democrat of 12 February 1978, actually the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody, was offering such a clock, and it was hideous.)

Movado Museum WatchI wear a Casio digital. When I get to the point when I get sick of its inaccuracy — damn thing gains about four seconds a day — I have an excuse for finally picking up a Museum watch by Movado:

The Movado Museum Watch traces its roots to the beginnings of the modern design movement and the group of international artists who founded the Bauhaus School in 1919. “Simplicity, tastefulness, function” was their dictum. One of its purest expressions was the black watch dial defined by a single gold dot, designed by American artist Nathan George Horwitt in 1947.

“We do not know time as a number sequence,” Horwitt said, “but by the position of the sun as the earth rotates”. Hence a solitary gold dot at 12 o’clock symbolizing the sun at high noon; the moving hands suggesting the movement of the earth.

It’s as least as informative as the “classic” Infiniti analog clock, which apparently achieved its Classic status about 1997 when Nissan saw fit to delete it from the Q45. (It was restored in 1999.)

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