Archive for The Way We Were

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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Those were the days

The Oklahoman is putting out a quarterly slick called The OK, and while it’s okay (sorry) as such things go, some things are bound to get by that will make you wonder.

On page 111, there’s an image of the paper’s front page on 13 June 1931, where the nominal Big Story was yet another gubernatorial hissy fit from Alfalfa Bill Murray, but the historical moment to be remembered was a visit by Amelia Earhart. Then I caught this little darb up in the corner:

Oklahoman circulation May 1931

In the previous month, the Oklahoman was selling 199,000 copies a day; in the afternoon, the co-owned Oklahoma City Times was moving almost a hundred thousand more. The population of Oklahoma City, according to the 1930 Census, was 185,389, twice what it was in 1920. Today, 640,000 people live in this town; the paper sells, on a good day, 110,000 copies. The only time they’ll ever see 200,000 again is if they find Amelia Earhart out on some Pacific island.

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Near a psychedelic shack

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Cloud Nine:

It says it’s a Motown song; it’s on the Gordy label, fercryingoutloud. But this late-’68 artifact, as un-Motown as it seems — the singing, in particular, owes a lot to Sly and the Family Stone — is one of the premier examples of the Hitsville, USA art. These are, after all, the Temptations, and Norman Whitfield, who co-wrote this tune with Barrett Strong, had by now worked long enough with the group to know how to make it work for them. It was, amazingly, the first Grammy winner on Motown. And “Cloud Nine” was the first post-David Ruffin record by the Tempts; the Ruffinesque gravel is still there to be heard, but this time it’s coming from Dennis Edwards, previously with, though never a lead for, the Contours.

Great as it was, “Cloud Nine” wasn’t quite Dennis Edwards’ — or, for that matter, Norman Whitfield’s, finest hour. This was:

Twelve minutes, one chord, and you dare not turn away. Of course, “Papa” had to be severely trimmed for concert and television purposes; even the 45, at 6:58, was damn near as long as “Hey Jude” or “MacArthur Park.” And when Dennis Edwards, two or three or how many minutes in, declares “It was the third of September,” you, too, will always remember. He would have been seventy-five today.

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The man with the horn

“Black as night,” sang Eric Burdon about Hugh Masekela’s music in “Monterey.” One might note that Burdon wasn’t given to really florid descriptions — Ravi Shankar, he said, “made me cry” — but the lead Animal was out in front of the rest of us, who didn’t notice Masekela until The Promise of a Future, his eighth album, and the unexpected pop hit “Grazing in the Grass.” (Anyone who calls out “More cowbell!” will be asked to leave the room.)

Masekela’s death this week brought out this family statement:

Statement by the family of Hugh Masekela

It must be noted that Masekela left his homeland in 1960, following the massacre at Sharpeville; two years later, the South African government imprisoned Nelson Mandela. In 1985, Masekela got what might be considered a fan letter from Mandela, who had long been familiar with Masekela’s music; Masekela responded with “Bring Him Back Home” and gradually evolved into an anti-apartheid activist, though he’d had the impolitic politics of South Africa on his mind for many years, which is why we close with “Soweto Blues,” sung here and on record by Miriam Makeba, to whom Masekela had been married for a couple of years:

Now that’s a robust engagement.

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Never not working

Connie Sawyer circa 1935In 2014, Connie Sawyer, by all appearances quite the ingenue in her day, appeared in an episode of New Girl as the Oldest Woman in the World. What makes this remarkable is that (1) she has three other credits in IMDb in that year of 2014, and (2) that photo dates back to the early 1930s. At the very least, you’d think of her as the World’s Oldest Working Actress,” and so she was; she took on a recurring role as James Woods’ mother in the Ray Donovan series when she was 101.

Clearly she had a lot of fun in this bit from Dumb and Dumber (1994):

The only way she was ever going to stop working was if the skinny guy with the scythe showed up, and he didn’t make it until yesterday. Connie, born Rosie Cohen in 1912, died quietly at her Southern California home yesterday at the age of 105.

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From the Rodford Files

Jim Rodford was a founding member of Argent, the band formed by keyboardist Rod Argent, a cousin of Jim’s, after the Zombies went the way of all dead flesh. After Argent broke up, Rodford joined the Kinks; he played bass for the band until its dissolution in 1996. And in 2004, Rodford and son Steve became part of the resurrected Zombies, beside original vocalist Colin Blunstone and, yes, Rod Argent on keyboards.

There’s a third Rodford son, Russ, and the three of them appear in this 2016 video as, yes, the Rodford Files. And neatly enough, they’re playing a Kinks song:

Jim Rodford died Saturday; he was seventy-six.

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It seemed funny at the time

And then I ordered a couple of sheets of them, which diminished the humor factor by about 13 percent:

US postage stamp - Repeal of the Stamp Act

Of course, this had nothing to do with postage, or, for that matter, the United States of America, which did not exist as such in 1766. The Act itself — well, this was its title in Parliament:

An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British colonies and plantations in America, towards further defraying the expenses of defending, protecting, and securing the same; and for amending such parts of the several acts of parliament relating to the trade and revenues of the said colonies and plantations, as direct the manner of determining and recovering the penalties and forfeitures therein mentioned.

Passed on the 22nd of March 1765, the Act went into effect in November and set the standard for Unpopular Legislation in the colonies. In February 1766 Parliament voted to repeal the tax; George III gave his assent the following month. Imagine that: getting rid of an unpopular law.

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Life during wartime, sort of

A lot of things changed in World War II, and a lot more didn’t. Consider this 1943 advertisement for Claussner hosiery:

Claussner Hosiery ad 1943

At this point in time, all the good fabrics are being used for parachutes and such, leaving our Fashionable Woman making some compromises:

“Ration fashion, and the war-time woman emerges slim and effective as a magic wand! She accepts regulation as a challenge to her chic, counts on ingenuity to provide style innovations that laugh at limitations.”

Well, okay, if you say so.

While she’s made wardrobe adjustments, the young fellow earning his nickel is doing what young fellows were doing three years before — with the exception of having to submit to price controls, of course. Most of his customers, I suspect, are men, which might explain his apparent delight in having a woman visit his stand. I’ve been down this road myself; when I was in the Army, circa 1972, there was a female in the battalion who had me shine her shoes on a regular basis, since (1) I had a wooden box just like that, with a place to rest her foot, and (2) I did a pretty good job shining shoes. I didn’t even charge her 12 cents (a nickel after 29 years’ inflation) for it, and she was perceptive enough not to ask why. (Still have that box, by the way.)

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From the top-center square

Rose Marie put this up yesterday:

And a couple of hours later, she was gone.

At least she was around for this:

Meanwhile, in the little Writers’ Office at The Alan Brady Show:

Sally Rogers: … and Alan says, ah, “Good night, folks, and remember, if you find yourself in hot water, take a bath.”

Maurice B. “Buddy” Sorrell: Good! Good, I like it. Oh, wait a minute!

Sally: What?

Buddy: We can’t do it.

Sally: Why?

Buddy: We did it last week.

Sally: Oh, yeah, that’s where I heard it.

You may even have heard this:

And the inevitable Fark blurb:

Dick Van Dyke/Hollywood Squares star Rose Marie dead at 94; Paul Lynde now cracking jokes about how she was the only woman ever to get on top of him.

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We can still work it out

Sir Paul is seventy-five; Ringo is seventy-seven; John and George have already moved to the Next Level. And with 2018 nearly upon us, the Beatles sell darn near as many records now as they did in 1963, fifty-five years ago. Is all this going to grind to a halt? Not in my lifetime, or in yours:

Here There & Everywhere is due out around this time next year. Yours truly is one of the financial backers thereof. (The project, as they say in the crowdsourcing game, is 56 percent funded so far.)

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Minor historical note

From the Bridgeport Post (now the Connecticut Post), 27 December 1956:

CT newspaper clipping: Only 1 woman in 1100 now wears black lace panties

I can’t imagine things have improved any since then.

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Track three

Last year, for no particular reason, I showed you my absolute favorite Partridge Family record, one so certain of its place in the repertoire that David Cassidy cut it again for his Now and Then album in 2002.

Now with David gone (liver failure, at sixty-seven), I give you my second favorite Partridge Family record, produced and cowritten by savvy old Wes Farrell. And if it seems odd to you that the Partridge Family would be doing a sort of pre-Jeffersons pop tune, yearning for the time when you actually can move on up to the East Side, well, this works better than it has any right to:

Since you asked: “Bandala” is track 3 on The Partridge Family Album, from deepest 1970.

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Little slices of time

I’ve always been an op, not a coder: I could pound on a DECwriter, I could change a ribbon on some arcane IBM printer like the 4214, and when called upon, I could speak some pidgin version of VAXese. But I remember these days frighteningly well:

The last time I went down this road I wrote my own search function that would return the element with the closest value to my requested target. I also wrote my own insert and delete routines. I did this because when I went to school everything about computer programming was about saving CPU cycles. Beginning programmers got seven seconds of execution time on the mainframe. I screwed up once in a junior level class and burned my entire semester’s allotment before the OS kicked me off. That rated some words from my professor.

I wonder why it took me so long to figure this out. I’m thinking it might because most of the programming work I did involved making things work, and there was no end to it. Well, I guess it did come to an end which is why I am unemployed. Computer companies eventually got their acts together and started building machines that worked when you turned them on, and software companies started producing software that people could use to do something useful. Took a while but they eventually got it sorted.

I got a reminder of this last week when I ran an optimization cycle on the database that underlies this site. Cut the size from 125 MB to 121. And I remembered my very first hard drive, which would hold almost one-sixth of that database — reluctantly.

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One among many (a repost)

I was standing on a mountaintop at the Edge of Nowhere, or so it seemed, staring into the face of the enemy, and I knew he was staring back.

Not that anything scary was about to happen. There was a rather large body of water between us, and even on the clearest of days I couldn’t see him and he couldn’t see me. Still, I knew he was there, and I assumed he knew I was there, and a few dozen other guys were making a list and checking it twice and delivering it to the commanding officer. They were doing their job, and I was doing mine.

And a few months later, that particular job came to an end; I left this post, a little older, maybe a little wiser, an unexpected medal added to my uniform, and after a few days of R&R — well, maybe some R, but not a whole lot of R, if you know what I mean — I reported back Stateside and was assigned to the Reserves for three more years.

This was before “Be all that you can be,” and I’ve never been sure I was all that I could have been. But we had a mission, and I was part of it, and I’d like to think that I had something to do with the fact that the enemy no longer exists.

That enemy, anyway.

On this day of remembrance, there are millions more with their own stories to tell. You’ve already heard mine.

(Originally posted 11/11/2004.)

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The Fat Man

Actually, celebrating his rotundness wasn’t Antoine Domino’s priority that day in 1949; he’d cut a single for Imperial called “Detroit City Blues,” and he and producer Dave Bartholomew came up with a little throwaway for the B-side. He’d play that throwaway for the rest of his life:

Much is made of the fact that Fats placed thirty-seven songs in Billboard’s Top 40 but never quite made Number One. A lot of this can be blamed on radio-format apartheid: “Ain’t That a Shame,” which peaked at #10, was drowned out on the airwaves by a blandified cover by Pat Boone, which soared to the top. According to one story, one of the other trade papers (not Billboard) explained why they factored airplay into their chart computations: if they scored simply on sales, said their rep, the entire Top Ten would consist of black acts. And really, do you know anyone who bought Boone’s version? (Other than me, I mean.)

Besides, if we add up the entire Hot 100, Fats wins, 66-60. His last entry, #100 for two weeks in 1968, was a cover of a Beatles song that Paul McCartney said was inspired by Fats. You can’t close the circle any better than that:

Farewell, Fat Man. Rock and roll heaven will make good use of your voice, your piano, and every one of your two hundred (as if) pounds.

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All the product placement you could want

Here we have Dean Jones sneaking a photo of Dorothy Provine:

JCPenney hosiery ad 1965

Okay, he’s probably not all that sneaky.

JCPenney’s “Gaymode” brand name disappeared many years ago, of course. What’s amusing here is that darn cat, which is intended to suggest the movie That Darn Cat! Hayley Mills had top billing, but the next two down were Jones (as FBI agent “Zeke Kelso”) and Provine. An improbable crime caper, it did well for Disney, grossing $28 million in 1965, when $28 million was a fair chunk of change. And the cat in the ad, like the cat in the movie, is a Seal Point Siamese.

Now to figure out that bottle of Canada Dry.

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These I swear

Jimmy Beaumont, lead singer of the Skyliners, has passed away at seventy-six. If the name draws a blank, allow me to refresh your memory:

The group dissolved in 1963, but reformed in 1974; Beaumont was the last of the original members. (The Skyliners’ last show was last month in New York.)

During the interim, Beaumont drove a cab, but also cut some singles, including the fearsomely soulful “I Never Loved Her Anyway.”

There is a movie called Since I Don’t Have You, but it’s not about Beaumont: it’s about soprano Janet Vogel, who died in 1980, perhaps by her own hand.

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A man, a plan, pajamas

LeeAnn remembers Hugh Hefner:

When I was little, all I wanted to be was the Playmate of the Month. Seriously. In the spirit of “always dream big,” since I was a short, chubby, bespectacled, monkeybutt ugly little slug, it seemed the biggest dream I could get. Nevermind I was born too late to really get in on the whole working at the Playboy Club thing. I think most of them were gone by the time I was old enough to crave high heels and a fluffy tail.

I never bought the whole “degrading to women” bullshit. I also don’t have the energy to have the perpetual fury it takes to be a feminist. If I’m anything, I’m a me-ist. Then a puppy- and kitten-ist, then maybe a people-ist. No, wait, I mean humanist. There are far less humans than there are people.

I think she’s got us there.

She also defends the mag:

Playboy, to me, was the classier of the nudie magazines. Not “shot on a G-string budget” like Penthouse, or the wanna-be gynecological textbook by way of Ed Gein, Hustler. Nice lighting, casually draped sheets, healthy looking girls who like to take long walks by the beach and hate men who light their farts on fire the first date.

Nothing, of course, lasts forever. I complained several years ago:

Playboy, godfather to all the lad mags, has sacrificed a few IQ points in the past forty years. (Playboy Interview, April through June 1965: Art Buchwald, Jean-Paul Sartre, Melvin Belli. Playboy Interview, April through June 2005: Les Moonves, James Spader, Lance Armstrong.)

By 2045, it will be all grunts, all the time.

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No longer a young man

From earlier this month:

Rick Stevens, the former lead singer of Tower of Power, died Tuesday [5 September] after a battle with cancer. He was 77.

Stevens replaced Rufus Miller in the R&B band in 1969 and three years later, their album Bump City put Tower of Power in the national spotlight, including hit single “You’re Still a Young Man.”

In 1976, Stevens, who had left the band shortly after their big hit, was now addicted to drugs and shot three men to death during a deal gone wrong. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he kicked his addiction before being released on parole in 2012 after 36 years behind bars.

I heard about this, and thought: Some of the Tower of Power guys have been together for nearly 50 years now. Wouldn’t it have been great if Rick Stevens got to sing with them one more time?

He did, and it was:

And hey, the hippest threads and the bad boogaloo will never, ever die.

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