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The career of the late singer/songwriter Bill Withers, best known for “Lean on Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” followed an unusual path. Withers stuttered badly as a child. He joined the Navy at 17 and overcame the stuttering with the help of speech therapy arranged by his commanding officer.

At age 33, Withers left the Navy and released his first album. He went on to win three Grammies, and he was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But his music career lasted only from 1970 to 1985. By the early 80s, he was butting heads with the bosses at Columbia Records (he called them “blaxperts”), who wanted to alter his style. When Columbia delayed a new Withers album and released one by Mr. T instead, Withers quit.

Ain’t No Sunshine” won a Grammy in 1971 for Best Rhythm and Blues Song.

Ain’t No Sunshine

By Bill Withers, 1971
Written by Bill Withers

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.
It’s not warm when she’s away.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
And she’s always gone too long,
Anytime she goes away.

Wonder this time where she’s gone.
Wonder if she’s gone to stay.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
And this house just ain’t no home,
Anytime she goes away.

And I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,
I know, I know — hey —
I oughta leave the young thing alone,
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.
Only darkness every day.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
And this house just ain’t no home,
Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.
Anytime she goes away.

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More random photos I’ve taken over the years that still make me smile.

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The Questions…

1. What is the oldest active volcano on earth?

2. What are the world’s number one and number two fruit crops?

3. Where and when did the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history occur?

4. What’s the difference between jam and jelly?

5. What do the writer Edgar Allen Poe and the singer Jerry Lee Lewis have in common?

The Answers…

1. Mt. Etna on the island of Sicily. Its first known eruption was in 1500 BC. It has erupted 200 times since then, the most recent being on May 22, 2020.

2. Number one, grapes. Number two, bananas.

3. Galveston, Texas, 1900. Between 8,000 and 12,000 people died.

4. Jam is made by crushing the fruit and adding the gelling agent pectin. Jelly is made by crushing the fruit, discarding the solid parts, and adding pectin.

5. Both married a 13-year-old first cousin.

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Tune o’ the Day

George Harrison’s first solo album after the breakup of the Beatles was “All Things Must Pass” in 1970. The album was a great success — as well as proof that Harrison was the creative equal of Lennon and McCartney, thank you very much.

The album also showcased Harrison’s Hindu spiritual and philosophical beliefs. “Beware of Darkness” is one of several examples.

In the song, Harrison warns against the corrupting influences of pop idols (fallen singers), con men (soft shoe shufflers), politicians (greedy leaders), and negative thoughts (thoughts that linger). For good measure, Harrison tossed in a line about the Weeping Atlas Cedar, a tree of which he was especially fond.

Beware of Darkness” is Harrison’s baby, but my favorite version is by Concrete Blonde. It was on the group’s magnificent 1986 debut album.

Concrete Blonde never recorded a dud.

Beware of Darkness

By Concrete Blonde, 1986
Written by George Harrison

Watch out now, take care, beware
Of fallen singers
Dropping all around you
The pain that often mingles
In your fingertips.
Beware of darkness.

Watch out now, take care, beware
Of thoughts that linger,
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night.

Beware of darkness.


It can hit you,
It can hurt you,
Make you sore, and what is more,
That is not what you are here for.

Watch out now, take care, beware
Of soft shoe shufflers
Dancing down the sideboards
As each unconscious sufferer
Wanders aimlessly.
Beware of darkness.

Watch out now, take care, beware
Of greedy leaders.
They take you where you should not go,
While Weeping Atlas Cedars,
They just want to grow.
Beware of darkness.

https://rockysmith.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/beware-of-darkness.mp3

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Socialism is a scare word they [Republicans] have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.

Harry Truman, 1952

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Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.

W. C. Fields

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Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.

George Orwell

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Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Elie Wiesel

Truman

Wiesel

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This Just In

COLUMBUS, OHIO — The website Change.org is hosting a petition calling for the City of Columbus to be renamed Flavortown in honor of celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

The petition was launched after the city announced plans to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus outside city hall, as well as to change the city seal, flag, and other symbols to remove references to the explorer who subjugated and killed countless indigenous people.

The petition says renaming the city Flavortown would honor both Fieri, who was born there, and “Central Ohio’s proud heritage as a culinary crossroads.” It also says the name Flavortown “would be superior to its current nomenclature.”

GRANDVIEW, WEST VIRGINIA — A West Virginia woman whose husband told police she fell to her death from an overlook at New River Gorge was found hiding at home in a closet. She and her husband were arrested on charges of conspiracy and giving false information to the police.

Earlier this year, the woman pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges regarding a “pill mill” operation and faced up to 10 years in prison. Police said the couple faked her death to avoid sentencing.

After several days, of searching the area below the Grandview Overlook, police obtained a search warrant and subsequently found the woman.

In June, she was sentenced on the fraud charges to 3-1/2 years in federal prison. In August, she and her husband were indicted for conspiracy to obstruct justice and are awaiting trial.

LOUISA, VIRGINIA — Police have arrested one of two men accused of stealing beer from a convenience store while wearing hollowed-out watermelons on their heads to hide their identities.

The 20-year-old man faces charges of misdemeanor larceny of alcohol and misdemeanor possession of alcohol by an underage person. Police say they expect to arrest the second suspect soon.

A customer at the convenience store said she thought the disguises were “innovative, but ridiculous.” She said the work of preparing the watermelons and the mess of wearing them was “kind of crazy,” when ordinary bandanas would have sufficed.

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The Questions…

1. What is the technical difference between poultry and fowl?

2. The medical condition sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, better known as brain freeze or an ice-cream headache, is caused by eating or drinking something cold too quickly. Physically, what happens to cause it?

3. In the 1960 film Psycho, what did director Alfred Hitchcock use to simulate blood in the famous shower scene?

4. What is the most profitable commodity sold in supermarkets?

5. What is a diastema?

The Answers…

1. The word poultry describes domesticated fowl.

2. Behind your nose are nerves that are highly sensitive to pain, probably designed to protect your brain. Scientists think brain freeze is a case of those nerves objecting to the cold.

3. Hershey’s chocolate syrup diluted with water.

4. Dog food.

5. A gap between the upper front teeth.

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Tune o’ the Day

Cowboy Junkies is a band from Toronto whose debut album came out in 1986. They are still touring today with the original members: Vocalist Margo Timmins, her two brothers, and a family friend.

The Junkies are categorized in various ways — country rock, alternative country, alternative rock, folk rock. Whatever they are, I’m a big fan. They’ve released 21 albums/CDs, and I have 13 of them.

For a love song, “A Common Disaster” is seriously bleak and gritty. But a love song it is. The singer is asking someone to forget about all that “happily-ever-after” stuff and embark on a relationship, even if, odds are, it will end badly. The Junkies excel at this kind of tune.

A Common Disaster

By Cowboy Junkies, 1996
Written by Michael Timmins

A candle burning for everything I’ve ever wanted.
A tattoo burned for everything I’ve ever wanted and lost.
I had a long list of names that I kept in my back pocket,
But I’ve cut it down to one, and your name’s at the top.

Won’t you share a common disaster?
Share with me a common disaster.
A common disaster.

I found myself a friend,
But he’s crooked as a stick in water.
So now I’m writing fairy tales
To catch the spirit of revenge.
He’s got a plan to steal my little sister,
But I’m not too concerned
‘Cause I will get him in the end.

Won’t you share a common disaster?
Share with me a common disaster.
A common disaster.

Going to find me someone to share a common disaster.
Run away with me from a life so cramped and dull.
Not worry too much about the happily-ever-after.
Just keep the Caddy moving ‘til we’re well beyond that hill.

Won’t you share a common disaster?
Share with me a common disaster.
A common disaster.

The Junkies today.

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