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The Questions…

1. The Taser stun gun was developed in 1974 by NASA researcher Jack Cover. “Taser” is an acronym for what?

2. It’s probably no surprise that Americans eat more food on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. What day comes in second, consumption-wise?

3. What is the longest-running show in Broadway history?

4. For which Granny Smith is the apple named?

5. Who is the Prudence in the 1968 Beatles song “Dear Prudence”?

The Answers…

1. Jack Cover’s childhood hero was the fictional character Tom Swift. Taser is loosely based on the book title Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. Cover added an A to make TSER less confusing.

2. Super Bowl Sunday.

3. The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The show opened in 1988 and still is performed eight times a week today.

4. Maria Ann Smith, who operated a fruit farm in Australia with her husband. In 1868, she discovered a “chance seedling” that arose from a pile of discarded apples and propagated it. She died in 1870, but left behind numerous trees for future cultivation. Experts think the Granny Smith is a hybrid of the Paradise apple and the European crab apple.

5. Prudence Farrow, the younger sister of Mia Farrow. The Farrow sisters were in India with the Beatles in 1968 studying Transcendental Meditation. Prudence was so dedicated to practicing TM techniques that she rarely socialized. John Lennon wrote the song to try to get her to lighten up.

TASER

Prudence

 

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Problem

Read your mind

Campers

WWJD

 

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The 1966 song “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by Paul Simon is a poet’s lament about the passing of time and his “manuscripts of unpublished rhyme.” The changing of seasons is a metaphor for the cycle of life, lost opportunities, and all that. Another pretty ballad that is bleak in tone.

Two decades later, The Bangles were asked to contribute a song to the soundtrack of “Less Than Zero,” a movie about drug addiction and wasted lives. The Bangles already performed Simon’s song regularly on stage (shortened to “Hazy Shade of Winter”), so it was the natural choice.

But at the recording session, oddly, their record producer objected to the line “Drinking my vodka and lime.” The Bangles accommodated him by shortening the verse that included itwhich deleted the reference to the poet. These lyrics were cut:

Funny how my memory skips
While looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme,
Drinking my vodka and lime.

If the deletion irritated Simon, and it probably did, I expect the royalties made up for it. The Bangles’ version was a much bigger hit than the Simon and Garfunkel original.

Bangles

Hazy Shade of Winter

By The Bangles, 1987
Written by Paul Simon

Time, time, time,
See what’s become of me…

Time, time, time,
See what’s become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities.
I was so hard to please.

Look around.
Leaves are brown,
And the sky
Is a hazy shade of winter.

Hear the Salvation Army band
Down by the riverside.
It’s bound to be a better ride
Than what you’ve got planned.
Carry a cup in your hand.

Look around.
Leaves are brown,
And the sky
Is a hazy shade of winter.

Hang onto your hopes my friend.
That’s an easy thing to say,
But if your hopes should pass away,
Simply pretend
That you can build them again.

Look around.
Grass is high.
Fields are ripe.
It’s the springtime of my life.

Seasons change with their scenery,
Weaving time in a tapestry.
Won’t you stop and remember me.

Look around.
Leaves are brown,
And the sky
Is a hazy shade of winter.

Look around.
Leaves are brown.
There’s a patch of snow on the ground.

Look around.
Leaves are brown.
There’s a patch of snow on the ground.

Look around.
Leaves are brown.
There’s a patch of snow on the ground.

 

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Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.

— Desmond Tutu

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Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.

— Marcel Proust

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I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

— Douglas Adams

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Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it.

— Anne Lamott

Lamott-A

Lamott

Tutu-D

Tutu

 

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Tune o’ the Day

“Yesterday” by The Beatles is one of the least Beatles-like of their songs, but among the most popular. In 1999, it was voted the best song of the 20th century by BBC Radio. In 2000, MTV and Rolling Stone named it the number one pop song of all time.

Those accolades may be a bit excessive, but the song is still exceptional. “Yesterday” has been covered over 2,000 times, which is amazing.

According to McCartney, the melody came to him during a dream. When he woke up, he hurried to a piano and played it so he wouldn’t forget it. The lyrics, however, weren’t written for another year.

As the months passed, the band gave the song the working title “Scrambled Eggs.” The opening verse was “Scrambled eggs. Oh, my baby, how I love your legs. Not as much as I love scrambled eggs.”

Eventually, Lennon suggested the title Yesterday, which clicked with McCartney, who finally did the rest.

Help!

Yesterday

By The Beatles, 1965
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly
I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she had to go, I don’t know,
She wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong,
Now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday
Love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she had to go, I don’t know,
She wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong,
Now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday
Love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm.

 

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The Questions…

1. The US Postal Service introduced the ZIP code in 1963 and expanded it with the ZIP+4 system in 1983. What does “ZIP” stand for?

2. The Pacific Ocean is the planet’s largest body of water. What percent of Earth’s surface does it cover?

3. After a long career as a womanizer in the 1700s, how did Italian playboy Giacomo Casanova spend his declining years?

4. What do the words gallows, scissors, binoculars, and pliers have in common?

5. Why is a monkey wrench called a monkey wrench?

The Answers…

1. Zone improvement plan.

2. About 30 percent. The Pacific is larger than all of the planet’s land area combined.

3. He became a librarian for Count Ferdinand von Waldstein at a remote castle in Bohemia. Secure and comfortable, but bored by life among the peasants, he kept himself secluded with his fox terriers and wrote his memoirs.

4. They only exist in plural form.

5. No consensus on the origin of the name. The inventor, Loring Coes, patented it in 1841 as a “screw wrench.” It’s possible the term “monkey wrench” evolved because, in those days, a small implement or piece of equipment sometimes was called a monkey. I don’t get it either.

ZIP Code

Monkey wrench

 

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WATERLOO, IOWA — An Iowa man and a wildlife sanctuary are engaged in a legal battle over the custody of an adolescent coyote named Drifter.

Matthew Stokes said he found Drifter last spring after the young coyote became separated from his mother. Stokes said Drifter helps him deal with anxiety and depression, and he obtained a letter from his doctor claiming that Drifter is an emotional support animal.

Recently, when Drifter was roaming loose, a neighbor captured him and took him to the wildlife sanctuary. “This is not an emotional support animal,” said the director, who warned that Drifter will be dangerous when he matures and his predatory instincts kick in. The sanctuary wants to return Drifter to the wild.

As legal proceedings approach, Stokes has applied for a license to keep a dangerous animal and possibly get Drifter classified as an educational animal.

Coyote

CEDAR ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA — Three cows thought to have died last fall in Hurricane Dorian recently were found living in the Cape Lookout National Seashore on the Outer Banks.

Park staff said the cows had to swim across five miles of open water to get there.

The three survivors were part of a herd of 20 wild cows living on private land on Cedar Island. No trace was found of the other cows or of 28 wild horses that lived with them.

A Park spokesman said the cows survived by foraging on the barrier island’s vegetation.

The cows are not accustomed to humans and flee when people get too close. Eventually, they will be sedated and returned to Cedar Island by boat.

Cows

WAUSAU, WISCONSIN — The Wausau City Council is expected to decriminalize snowball fights within the city limits, tweaking a 1962 ban on throwing dangerous projectiles.

The ban included snowballs to prevent people from throwing them at passing cars, but technically, it also bans snowball fights between mutual combatants. Reacting to a series of news stories making fun of the city, the council is expected to fix that.

In a TV interview, the Wausau police chief said his officers have never enforced the ordinance in cases of friendly play. “A fun snowball fight is a fun snowball fight,” he said.

The chief then turned and nailed the mayor in the back of the head with a snowball.

Snowballs

 

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