Monday, September 29, 2008

Work Gratitude

Today was my first day on a 90-day contract with the Fruit Company. It was the smoothest first day I have ever had. The only hitch was that the contracting company had not forwarded my information, so the Fruit Company’s security systems didn’t know who I am. Because of that, I won’t have building access until tomorrow.

Amazingly enough, they were able to get my computer set up today. I can work at my desk, which is next to the windows, using my own login. OK—it may take a while to get access to all of the servers I need, but that was already in progress by the time I had non-guest computer access. I am amazed at how efficient they are.

And I have projects. Well, these may not be any better defined than anywhere else I’ve worked, but I at least have something to do. And will soon have a pay check. And for that I am extremely grateful. And I am grateful to my friend and former boss for lobbying to get me a employed. It is good to be working with her again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Job and a T-Bucket

How often do you get to see something this nice for free?

It is official now. I have a contract that will feed the family though the end of the year. I signed the paperwork to work at the Fruit Company this morning. I start next Monday, but I still don’t know which building to report to or what time to report.

On the way to the contracting company, I passed two guys having a ride in a really cool looking T-Bucket. It sounded nice, too.

While I was waiting for all the paperwork to be filed, I heard someone pull up on what I thought was a lovely sounding motorcycle, but when I left I realized it was the T-Bucket I had passed on the way in. It is owned by someone who works at the Texas Association of School Boards.

I spent a few minutes looking it over and drooling. It is definitely show quality.

Football’s Back

TubaBoy—March of the Week!

High school football resumed again last night after a two week break. The game two weeks ago was canceled (thankfully) because of hurricane Ike. If it had not been, our kids would have been coming back from College Station on roads packed with refugees. They probably would have still been in the buses when the storm caught up to them.

Last week was a by week. And the two off weeks did nothing for our team. They had their butts handed to them by another local high school. At least the band was good.

And speaking of the band: TubaBoy was the Marcher of the Week. This is the first time he has gotten to stand on the little step ladder and have the band told who he is and how great he is. He was the picture of grace and humility. Not!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cowboy Bush

I always knew that boy just ain’t right. Once again, he wants the taxpayers to bail out his buddies.

Photo source: List of the Day

Last night our Supreme Leader issued a call for the American taxpayer to rescue his cronies from their own greed. In what is the largest cash-grab in our history, Bush proposes giving billions—maybe trillions—of dollars to his drinking buds on Wall Street to keep them from going broke.

Bush does paint a relatively accurate picture of how we got into this mess, but he blames foreign investors and consumers. While these people were culpable to some degree, I believe it was a shameless financial industry—or as my dad would say, the worshipers of Mammon—that got us into this mess.

Since good rhetoric always denies itself (“I come here not to praise Caesar…”), let’s take a look at what he actually said:

“Financial assets related to home mortgages have lost value during the house decline, and the banks holding these assets have restricted credit. As a result, our entire economy is in danger.”

The banks and consumers may be overreacting, but what got us there in the first place was deregulation and greed. The housing bubble was driven by an unrealistic expectation that home prices could inflate to infinity. Deregulated financial institutions were able to relax their lending standards to lend money to people with absolutely no chance of ever paying back those loans. They did so in the expectation that when they foreclosed on those mortgages the properties would be worth more than the loan or that the purchasers would be able to flip those houses for a profit.

In some cases, purchases were not even required to be able to pay the interest on the loans; the amount over a specified minimum payment would be rolled back into the loan. After making payments for several years, the consumers would actually owe more money than they originally borrowed. Even Bush admits, this.

Many mortgage lenders approved loans for borrowers without carefully examining their ability to pay. Many borrowers took out loans larger than they could afford, assuming that they could sell or refinance their homes at a higher price later on.

Then the bubble burst. Again.

Bush swears he only wants to help us all.

This rescue effort is not aimed at preserving any individual company or industry. It is aimed at preserving America’s overall economy.

Then why does the money all go to Wall Street, the ones whose greed caused the problem? Mr. President, the amount of money you’re talking about equates to almost $300,000 per adult in this country after taxes. If you simply gave that much money to the people, almost all of us could pay off those mortgages on which you blame the problem.

What happens if we don’t save the rich? Bush essentially says we’re screwed.

  • America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.
  • More banks could fail, including some in your community.
  • The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account.
  • The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically.
  • And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit.
  • More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs.
  • Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college.
  • And, ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession.

So the options presented are either to save the rich, or we all go down together. Is it better to go down together or drown keeping the heads of our betters above water? Isn’t there another option? What about just using that money to pay off those troubled assets and giving working class people a break? That’ll never happen here.

The irony is that under the Republican free-trade regime, the United States is about to become the most heavily socialized country in the world—without doing a thing to promote social justice or take care of those most at risk. But then, as one friend of mine put it, “We socialize losses. We privitize profits.”

Is that what Bush meant when he said,

The government is the one institution with the patience and resources to buy these assets at their current low prices and hold them until markets return to normal.
If so, let’s all hope that the government can turn a profit on them—eventually.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Trey Bone

This is just a quick update on last night’s Trey Bone performance at B.B. Rover’s. It went well. We performed our set in an acoustically unstable environment, and nobody died. Even better, several people actually enjoyed it. Unfortunately, nobody thought to bring a camera.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Trey Bone Performs at Live Oak

Photo by CT

Well, here we are again. Three members of Trey Bone and Beccano played at Live Oak yesterday morning. We provided supporting music for the first sermon Aaron White delivered in his new role as sabbatical minister. He is filling in while our main minister is on sabbatical (until December). I will be glad for Chuck’s return, but I am not looking forward to losing Aaron. He is the most interesting speaker we have at Live Oak.

Beccano made his performing debut using my 1972 Jazz Bass. He did a really fine job and shows here that he has mastered the attitude.

Photo by CT

Yesterday’s sermon was about looking more for the things that unite us than those that divide us—especially in this time when the politics of division seem to be ruling all of our lives and ruining our nation. To support that theme Suna picked three songs that we can add to the band’s repertoire:

Rocky Mountain High” is about finding inner peace and harmony with nature. We performed it as the prelude to an almost empty house. But those who were there applauded loudly, and it inspired our poet in residence to read a poem he wrote about the death of John Denver when Joys and Concerns rolled around.

While Suna and Bill carried the vocals, I played “lead accoustic guitar,” which consisted mainly of finger-picking the chords and improvising melody on “Warrior.”

Photo by CT

Suna wrote “Warrior for Peace” for this sermon. We played it while the ushers passed the plate. The house was packed at this time because the kids and their teachers had not yet split off for religious education. Everyone applauded loudly.

We did “One Tin Soldier” as the postlude, primarily because it is a song about endings. And Suna didn’t want to do it while the kids were in the room because the good guys lose in this story. Again, the crowd applauded loudly.

Afterward, we got lots of compliments on all three songs. The applause and the compliments mean a lot to me because Live Oak is such a musical community. I mused with one of the parishioners whose tastes rung to big band music about that. He asked me how large an orchestra we could put together if we had everyone who played an instrument on stage. I said I thought that there would be more people on stage than in the audience.

So once again I am grateful for music. Oh yeah, and the new contract.

Shameless Plug:

Come see us Tuesday night at B.B. Rover’s. We will start playing our hour set at about 8:00PM.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Country Are You?

The National Symbol of Argintina. I couldn’t use the bikini bottom from the profile. I didn’t fit.

Photo source: Yahoo! Answers

Since Friday’s Feast appears to be down for the count, I decided to take one of those so-called psychological profiles that I got from Jo’s blog. I say “so-called” because it’s hard to see how they can distill key points of your personality from seven questions, but this one seems to have me nailed down fairly well. Here’s what it had to say about me:

You are a set of contradictions, and it often seems like you live in two worlds.

You are introspective yet outgoing. You are modern yet traditional.

You are warm and honest. Your life is petty much an open book. You are a hard worker, and you don't mind putting in long hours. And then you’ll go party til dawn! [Not so much anymore. It hurts too much.]

Argintina, huh? No wonder I despise G.W. You know…the one who stole two elections and then talks bad about others who do the same.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Beccano in Disguise As Me

First, the good news! I probably have a contract with the Fruit Company. That contract should keep us solvent through the end of the year, and it could possibly be extended after that. And the hiring manager wanted to hire me as a real employee, but after month of interviews all hiring was frozen. Sigh!

That is really good news because kids are expensive—even kids as good and self-reliant as Suna’s. It seems that TubaBoy has been texting so much that the buttons fell off of his phone. Granted this is a phone he inherited from his father who upgraded to an iPhone. (This is a day after my phone decided to become a flash light and I decided to upgrade to an iPhone.)

So yesterday, we went to buy him a new phone. He chose a really sensible model. He doesn’t need the email or calendar functions of an iPhone, so he picked one that looks like a mirror when it’s turned off. It also has a really nice display and a good camera (for a cameraphone). He seemed really happy with it.

That eats up three of our four upgrades this year. Beccano can get a new phone (if he needs and wants one) in January—right after my contract could expire.

Afterward we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet. I thought it would be a treat for Beccano because that is usually his favorite type of restaurant. But last night, he said he wasn’t very hungery. He did eat a goodly amount, as did TubaBoy who usually complains about Chinese buffets. (Why is it that teenage brothers never want to eat at the same type of places?)

What Beccano was was entertaining. One of his favorite games to play when we go out to eat is “Look! I’m Lee!” It’s amusing. I always take off my glasses (and hat, if I’m wearing one) to eat. When he finishes eating, Beccano like to put on these items and say, “I’m Lee.” This is always followed by random amusing statements. These statements are totally weird—nothing like what I would say. Quiet, those who know me!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Review: The Film Club

Gilmour, David (2008). The Film Club: A memoir. New York: Twelve.

Photo source (and another good review): Zawan

David Gilmour is a Canadian writer and film critic who shares a name with the guitarist for rock legend Pink Floyd. The Film Club is a memoir about a deal he made with his son and an unusual home-schooling strategy. Gilmour allows his son to drop out of school with caveats:

  • They will watch a minimum of three movies a week together. (Gilmour is unemployed at the time.)
  • All bets are off if there is even the hint of drug use.

Some of the reviewers on LibraryThing seem a little dismayed that a noted film critic could write a whole book without discussing a single film in depth. But this book is not about the films they watched together—the discussion of the films serves only to illustrate Gilmour’s teaching method, not as an exhaustive curriculum or instructional paradigm— it is about the relationship that develops between a father and son as they explore life. It is about being there for your kid, something I was not that good at. It is about winning by losing, holding on by letting go, and learning through freedom.

The strength of the book is that Gilmour does not gloss over his own misgivings or mistakes. Nor does he hide the bad choices his son Jesse makes. This is an honest, at time brutally so, tale of growing up and making choices.

As an instructional designer, I believe that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Gilmour had the courage to allow Jesse to make mistakes and to provide only enough of a safety net to help the boy survive them. That isn’t an easy path to follow in a classroom full of strangers, and it would be that much harder to follow with your own offspring. I would not have been able to.

Gilmour’s choices are not for everyone. Jesse’s choices, good and bad, are similar to those made by many young people. The book is the story of how they come to survive together and Jesse learns to stand on his own. It is well-written and hard to put down.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bumper Sticker Politics

As I was leaving church today, I saw a bumper sticker that sums up the political legacy of George W. Bush:

One Nation…Under Surveillance

And there was another one for this Fall’s Presidential campaign:

Jesus Christ was a community organizer. Pontius Pilot was a governor.

BTW: Feel free to add your favorite political bumper stickers in the comments—or anything you feel like.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike’s Aftermath

Yup. That’s me watering the sagging sunflowers while Ike inundates the Texas coast. Just shows to go ya how big this state is.

Photo by Beccano

It’s a good thing that Friday’s Feast remains dormant this week. Most of my day seems to have been taken up with preparation for Ike. Now we knew that we wouldn’t feel much impact from the storm, so much of my preparation involved watching the radar images of Ike advancing on the coast. Oh, and there was that bit of working with kids to bring the plants and lawn furniture into the garage.

I have touched base with all my friends and family, and all of them seem to have survived. My remaining brother even evacuated to Central Texas, in spite of my dad telling me that they were going to ride it out at home. My did did, but he said the clouds never even covered the moon last night.

My heart goes out to those people whom the storm hurt.

So what happened here? Nothing. We got a little wind but not even one drop of rain. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t want to have gone through what they did on the coast; I have done enough of that in my time. But I would like have have had a little rain. This is the third storm to hit the Texas coast without giving us any rain at all—much less breaking the drought. Sigh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Validating Multiple-choice Assessments

This post originally appeared on the now-defunct Central Texas Instructional Design blog on this date.

I said I would soon talk about how the learners tell you what a good question is, but that was a couple of months before I started this post. And it has taken me a while to publish it. “Soon” must be a relative term.

Although assessment validation may have a negative connotation, try to approach it as a collaborative process (Carpenter, 2006). The goal, after all, is to improve the assessment as a tool that measures training effectiveness, to ensure that the assessment is valid, fair, reliable, and effective. Validating an assessment helps ensure that it measures what you want it to measure. 

So how do your learners tell you that a question is effective or not? 

Every learner has an opinion on every question a multiple-choice assessment contains, but they can’t tell you in words. In fact, no single learner can tell you anything useful. To know if a question is good or not, you need to collect a lot of data from a fairly sizable population. 

But before getting into the data requirements, let’s talk about assessment validation techniques. The techniques you choose determine the data you need.

The available techniques fall into one of two categories:

  • Internal validation
  • External validation

Internal validation uses only data gathered from the learners taking the assessment. It compares learner performance on individual questions to performance on the assessment as a whole.  If any of these conditions occur, you know you have a problem:

  • More people that fail the assessment get a particular question right than people who score highly do.
  • Almost everyone gets the question right.
  • Almost everyone gets the question wrong.

Internal validation requires no data gathering outside of the classroom.

External validation compares learner performance on the assessment to some external metric, usually job performance. It requires you to study learners over a much longer period than internal validation.

My experience with external validation and job performance has been that businesses tend to react to external stimuli faster than training materials and assessments can be updated and validated. I have never seen an assessment show significant correlation to job performance (other than one entry assessment, and that was only for two quarters). Without being able to site my data because of non-disclosure agreements, you have only my word that external validation tends to be too unreliable and too expensive to be useful in a corporate training environment.


Monday, September 08, 2008


Cooler weather is Cool!

September is in the air. You could feel it at the football game last Friday: a cool breeze. And you can feel the same thing in the back yard today. We’re still getting highs in the upper 90s, but that beats the crap out of the lower 100s. And there is even a chance of rain for the next couple of days.

I’m working outside today, searching the Internet for work rather than doing yard work. The thermometer shows about 80° in the back yard, which is about where we keep the thermostat set in the house. The breeze makes it so much nicer outdoors.

Once again (as every Spring and Fall), I’m struck by how warm 70 feels in March and how cool 80 feels in September. Relativity at work.

Working for Another Grateful Monday

This lonely flower lived just long enough to bloom. Dad says we have to be more like plants and animals. They do whatever they can to survive. Maybe that’s why he has lived as long as he has.

This is a time of sadness for me. I have been having film noir dreams again about an alternate reality where I live alone in a dingy one-room shack somewhere on the Texas coast where I grew up. Last night I dreamed I awoke to go to the bathroom, where I knocked over the box fan that cooled the house and circulated heat from a space heater in the winter. Then I explored a countertop piled with debris, junk gathered over a lifetime but with too much sentimental value to throw out. All this with a sense of comfortable resoluteness and acceptance of such a fate.

I think these dreams—I can’t call them nightmares because no matter how horrifying they are, they are not scary until I wake up and think about them—must stem from the trapped feeling that unemployment brings.

I hate not having a job. I hate not being able to provide. And I hate that I had to sell part of a farm that has been in the family for more than a hundred years—even if Dad suggested it and basically told me who he wanted to have it. It is a bittersweet legacy.

But sometimes to prosper in the long term, we have to survive the short term. As Greenspan once said, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” So I am grateful that I have that bittersweet legacy to help me survive the short run. I am grateful that Dad advised me to sell. And as much as it irks me to listen to him tell the same stories over and over, I am glad that he is still around at 85 to do so.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Book Review: I, robot [sic]

No larger image available.
Smith, Howard S. (2008). I, robot [sic]. Toronto: Robot Binaries & Press.

Photo source: LibraryThing

I, robot has nothing to do with the Isaac Asimov classic of the same name or the movie that devolved from Asimov’s collection. (I wonder if the lower case r in the title is an oversight, an futile attempt to make the title seem original, or just an attempt to convey something in a manner so oblique that the meaning is lost. According to reviewer notes in the advanced copy I read, the publisher seems to have chosen the title and based on the robot-like qualities of the lead character who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Smith’s I, robot reads more like Tom Clancy than Asimov. Its short chapters make it a deceptively quick read. It seems that every time the author would have inserted a subchapter break, he simply made it a new chapter. This technique does not make the book too choppy for me, but it may bother some readers. Rather, I see it as an attempt to keep up with the attention span of many of today’s readers. The book is chunked like a technical manual, which it may turn out to be.

One thing that did bother me was the amount and quality of illustration. While the maps were useful, most of the drawings did little to supplement the text. They served simply as decoration, in case you had trouble processing text at a fifth-grade reading level. Worse, some of them seemed to be used more than once and thrown in randomly to boot.

Smith is an engineer and, unusual as it seems for that profession, a pretty good technical writer, so you won’t find any awe-inspiring phrasing or poetic language. The characters are not very well developed, and almost all of them seem robotic. The plot has no unexpected twists and often bludgeons you with predictability. But Smith pays attention to the story and keeps it moving, even if he overuses deus ex machina when he writes his lead character into a corner.

I, robot is like a shortbread cookie. It might help you stop a craving, but it won’t satisfy the underlying hunger. You’ll still have to look elsewhere for real satisfaction. But if all you want is a way to kill time in an airport, this is a good choice. You can put it down and not worry whether or not you find your exact spot when you pick it back up. If you don’t pick it back up, you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering what happened to the characters; they won’t mean that much to you.

Music Meme

I thought Year of the Cat was the best album of my senior year, but what do I know? Its singles didn’t chart until the following year.

Since Friday’s Feast is still off line, I’m using this meme from Jo’s Blog. The rules are:

  1. Retrieve a list of the 100 most popular songs for the year you graduated (from high shcool?) from Music Outfitters.
  2. Blog your reaction to the songs.
    • Bold the songs you like.
    • Strike through the ones you hate.
    • Underline your favorite(s).
    • Do nothing to the ones you don’t remember (or don’t care about).
  1. Silly Love Songs—Paul McCartney and Wings1
  2. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart—Elton John and Kiki Dee1
  3. Disco Lady—Johnnie Taylor
  4. December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)—Four Seasons1
  5. Play That Funky Music—Wild Cherry1
    This is one of those that show how tastes evolve. I hated this song at the time. Then then the radio station I worked for provided the music for a birthday party. They had a really bad PA, so I pulled the one my band used out of my van. It’s amazing how much better this song sounds with 800 watts of bi-amped sound.
  6. Kiss and Say Goodbye—Manhattans1
    I am familiar with three versions of this song: a long album version, a shorter 45 version with an interminable talk-over intro, and a 45 version without the voice over. I always preferred the album version with the voice-over cut.
  7. Love Machine (Part 1)—The Miracles
    Absolutely useless.
  8. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover—Paul Simon1
  9. Love Is Alive—Gary Wright1
  10. A Fifth of Beethoven—Walter Murphy and the Big apple Band1
  11. Sara Smile—Daryl Hall and John Oates1
  12. Afternoon Delight—Starland Vocal Band
  13. I Write the Songs—Barry Manilow
    I always thought it was ironic that BM was billed as a songwriter extrodinaire, but he didn’t write most of his early hits. I think he did write this one. It may have been the first one he wrote that he charted with.
  14. Fly, Robin, Fly—Silver Convention1
    And I don’t know why
  15. Love Hangover—Diana Ross1
    I still have a copy of this one, even though I always thought it was drivel.
  16. Get Closer—Seals and Crofts1
  17. More, More, More—Andrea True Connection1
    Again, the longer version is much better, and the song only sounds good when played on really good equipment.
  18. Bohemian Rhapsody—Queen1
  19. Misty Blue—Dorothy Moore
    This is a nice, forgettable blues song.
  20. Boogie Fever—Sylvers
  21. I’d Really Love to See You Tonight—England Dan and John Ford Coley1
    You may know England Dan by the name he currently records under: Dan Seals.
  22. You Sexy Thing—Hot Chocolate
    This is an absolute piece of tripe sung by a tone-deaf catfight, but it’s fun.
  23. Love Hurts—Nazareth1
    There are so many covers of this song, and I don’t know why.
  24. Get Up and Boogie—Silver Convention
    The Silver Convention may have won an award as the most over-produced band of all time, at least until Smoke Rings in the Dark was released.
  25. Take It to the Limit—Eagles1
  26. (Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty—K.C. and the Sunshine Band
    You can actually sing the words to every KC song to which ever one of his songs is playing. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve done it.
  27. Sweet Love—Commodores
    I honestly don’t remember this one.
  28. Right Back Where We Started From—Maxine Nightingale
  29. Theme from S.W.A.T.—Rhythm Heritage
    Can you believe that instrumentals still charted in those days.
  30. Love Rollercoaster—Ohio Players
    Another song that supports my claim that 90% of anything being played at any given time is crap.
  31. You Should Be Dancing—Bee Gees
    Pass the barf bag please.
  32. You’ll Never Find Antoher Love Like Mine—Lou Rawls1
  33. Golden Years—David Bowie1
  34. Moonlight Feels Right—Starbuck1
    The vibes solo on this one is awesome.
  35. Only Sixteen—Dr. Hook
    This one is actually fairly innocuous. It was just overplayed to the point where I still can’t stand to listen to it.
  36. Let Your Love Flow—Bellamy Brothers
  37. Dreamweaver—Gary Wright
  38. Turn the Beat Around—Vicki Sue Robinson
    Another one a just don’t remember.
  39. Lonely Night (Angel Face)—The Captain and Tennille1
  40. All By Myself—Eric Carmen
  41. Love to Love You Baby—Donna Summer
    Can you say, “Whatever!”?
  42. Deep Purple—Donny and Marie Osmond
    I always thought Marie was the only one in that family with any taste—and only when she could get away from the rest of that unseasoned porridge.
  43. Theme from Mahogany—Diana Ross
    This was voted my class song. Can you believe it? Most of us still don’t know.
  44. Sweet Thing—Rufus
    Not that bad, but not that good either.
  45. That’s the Way I Like It—K.C. and the Sunshine Band
    Same song, different words.
  46. A Little Bit More—Dr. Hook1
  47. Shannon—Henry Gross
    Don’t know that I’ve ever heard it.
  48. If You Leave Me Now—Chicago
    Chicago’s most castrated sound ever. They made so much money from this one that it took Peter C. leaving the band to wimp on his own before they could return to real music.
  49. Lowdown—Boz Scaggs1
  50. Show Me the Way—Peter Frampton
    Frampton needed the crowd noise to cover up how empty most of his songs were.
  51. Dream On—Aerosmith1
  52. I Love Music (Pt. 1)—O’Jays
  53. Say You Love Me—Fleetwood Mac
    Sorry. Did I doze off?
  54. Times of Your Life—Paul Anka
    I think this one was supposed to be uplifting. I couldn’t tell.
  55. Devil Woman—Cliff Richard1
    Just fun.
  56. Fooled around and Fell in Love—Elvin Bishop
    This was one of my favorites at the time, but neither the tune nor Bishop has weathered well.
  57. Convoy—C.W. McCall1
    I hated this one at the time. Later I hated it for different reasons. Now I think it’s kinda cute.
  58. Welcome Back—John Sebastian
    Another TV show theme.
  59. Sing a Song—Earth—Wind and Fire1
    EWF had the tightest horn section in the business.
  60. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel—Tavares
    Trite through and through.
  61. I’ll Be Good to You—Brothers Johnson
  62. Shop Around—The Captain and Tennille1
    This took a 60s classic and made it rock.
  63. Saturday Night—Bay City Rollers1
    I still remember my girl friend’s little sister singing along with this one: “S A T E R D A Y—Night!” Then there was the interview where the singer bragged that their guitar player had just learned a C chord and it would be featured on the new album. That may have been tongue-in-cheek. Maybe.
  64. Island Girl—Elton John1
    Elton proved again that white boys don’t get reggae.
  65. Let’s Do It Again—Staple Singers1
    One of the best soul songs ever. And one of the best soul singers.
  66. Let ’Em In—Paul McCartney and Wings1
    I never did understand why Sir Paul was too lazy to open the door himself.
  67. Baby Face—Wing and a Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
  68. This Masquerade—George Benson1
    My favorite cover of this Leon Russell classic.
  69. Evil Woman—Electric Light Orchestra1
  70. Wham Bam—Silver
  71. I’m Easy—Keith Carradine
    Most actors shouldn’t sing.
  72. Wake Up Everybody (Pt. 1)—Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes
  73. Summer—War
  74. Let Her in—John Travolta
    See 72.
  75. Fox on the Run—Sweet
    A waste of vinyl.
  76. Rhiannon—Fleetwood Mac1
  77. Got To Get You into My Life—Beatles1
  78. Fanny (Be Tender with My Love)—Bee Gees
    More in line with what the BGs could do well.
  79. Getaway—Earth—Wind and Fire1
  80. She’s Gone—Daryl Hall and John Oates1
    OK. This one sounded more like TSOP, but I still really like it.
  81. Rock and Roll Music—Beach Boys1
  82. Still the One—Orleans1
  83. You’re My Best Friend—Queen
  84. With Your Love—Jefferson Starship
    This one got a lot of airplay with the line, “I got my first taste of love when I went down on you.”
  85. Slow Ride—Foghat1
    The short version. The album version gets monotonous.
  86. Who’d She Coo—Ohio Players
  87. Walk Away from Love—David Ruffin
  88. Baby—I Love Your Way—Peter Frampton
    Saccarine: sweet, but empty.
  89. Young Hearts Run Free—Candi Staton
  90. Breaking Up’s Hard To Do—Neil Sedaka1
    Sedaka became the first artist ever to hit number 1 twice with the same song. The 70s version is musically more in tune with the lyrics than was the 50s version.
  91. Money Honey—Bay City Rollers
  92. Tear the Roof off the Sucker—Parliament
  93. Junk Food Junkie—Larry Groce1
    This one is a funny look at hypocrisy.
  94. Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again—Barry Manilow
    As if he ever had it to begin with.
  95. Rock and Roll all Nite—Kiss
    It took about ten years for me to learn to like this song.
  96. Disco Duck—Rick Dees
    Dees was a DJ, and this song was written to parody the crap he hated to play on the radio. Looks like it worked too well.
  97. The Boys Are Back in Town—Thin Lizzy1
  98. Take the Money and Run—Steve Miller Band1
  99. Squeeze Box—The Who1
  100. Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in LA)—Glen Campbell1

1 Still in my collection

Monday, September 01, 2008

All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down—Mostly

Back in 1989, Sam always knew that Flatch was good for a bite of breakfast.
And the hang overs hurt more then they used to
And corn bread and ice tea took the place of pills and ninety-proof
—Hank Williams Jr.

Captain Flatulence, his wife, and their children came to visit us for the weekend. I have only had lunch with the captain once since X2 and I split. We used to be roommates, friends, and drinking buddies. Somehow, it is easy to slip into those old behaviors. Our abilities to consume beer in mass quantities were once on a similar level. Not so any more.

While I didn’t awaken this morning “with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt,” (Can you tell that this friendship dates back to when PC stood for Progressive Country? Before personal computers or politically correct!) I was in no condition to get out of bed without my stomach churning and my eyeballs demanding shelter from the light storm. That after only a six pack—a quantity of Black and Tan deliciousness that we would have once called a light lunch.

So, we caught up on old times over brews after the rest of the crowd went to bed. The captain got up at his “normal” time of around 05:30, while I remained glued to the sheets until around 09:00. I was not fit company when I did manage to drag myself downstairs. We finally managed to go to the donut shop for breakfast, and they headed home around noonish, by which time I was starting to feel almost human.

Still I am grateful this week for old friends who remind me why I don’t do the things I did when I was younger. I am grateful for the sharing of families and the ability to talk politics and religion (or lack thereof) without having to self-censor or worry about repercussions. I have so much to be grateful for. Thanks for reminding me, Matt. Thanks for putting up with me, Suna.