HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!

HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!


However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Kicking 2015 to the Curb ► The Ultimate Throwback Thursday

As we all look forward to a New Year, some highlights before all the sand runs out of this one:


THE JOHNNY DOLLAR WARS

Maybe I was just asking for trouble, but I began 2015 by . . .


While I thought these crazy cyber-bullies were finally vanquished, just recently "Angie Simmoril" -- who hides behind a wall of complete anonymity -- popped up again to promise big doings on the Aurelius Project for the beginning of 2016. While I had almost forgotten The Flying Monkey Squad existed, this is simply more proof that an obsessed crazy person never really goes away -- unless they die, which is really what I thought had happened with Grayhammy.

Watch this space.


COCONUT GROVE PLAYHOUSE & PARKING LOTS

I wrote so many stories about Coconut Grove this year, but most of them were about the Coconut Grove Playhouse and its surrounding parking lots. That meant I spent a lot of time in parking lots this year, and the year before, while I did research in the field, as it were:










When I agreed to drive a car at this year's King Mango Strut, little
did I know it would be the one with Ken Russell doing yo-yo tricks
MIAMI DISTRICT 2 POLITICS

My campaign to SAVE THE E.W.F. STIRRUP HOUSE not only led to all those stories on the Coconut Grove Playhouse -- which is catercorner to it -- but also got me deeper then ever into District 2 politics. That led to a series of stories about [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff, which naturally led to that time When Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff Lied To My Face.

When the term-limited Sarnoff put up his wife Teresa to run in his place for District 2 Commissioner, I started following the election closely. My first foray in covering the candidates didn't go so well. Jammed For Time tells the story of getting thrown out of the Grace Solaris campaign kickoff. That didn't auger well for the rest of the Commissioner race. As far as I knew the rest of the field would treat me similarly. Luckily, none of them did. All were gracious about answering questions and posing for pictures. That provided a number of stories, the best of which are:



Interview With District 2's Ken Russell

During the race several of the candidates agreed to talk to me, allowed me to accompany them on door knocks, let me sit in on private meetings and phone calls, and gave me some very interesting inside skinny on the donation process. All of this was done on an OFF THE RECORD basis, to be embargoed until after the election. I'm still processing my notes and recordings to see what kind of story I can get out of it.

To be continued.


PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

As much of a political junkie as I am, I've been mainlining what's been going on in the presidential race. While I've not written specifically about Donald J. Trump, I have created a number of memes currently whizzing around the innertubes. Collect 'em all. Trade 'em with your friends.

However, I have covered the joke that is some of the rest of the current GOP field, and some previous races:







PASTORAL LETTERS

Late last year I reconnected with my childhood friend Kenneth John Wilson. Ken, who is an evangelical pastor in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has written a very important book on LGBT acceptance in the church. I started following his extraordinary story and began a series of Pastoral Letters to him. Occasionally he replies, but I am writing then more to understand my mind than his.





I've started another Pastoral Letter, but it will be a while before I get all my thoughts in order.


FALSETTO VOICE:

I began my research into Coconut Grove years ago at the E.W.F. Stirrup House. While there's not been that much to write about on that issue over the last year -- because almost nothing has changed -- that doesn't mean I've forgotten all about Gino Falsetto, the rapacious developer who got his grimy hands on the historic structure:



I'm also prepping a new story on the E.W.F. Stirrup House.  It's almost half written. Stay tuned. Watch this space. Coming to a browser near you.


This year I also bonded with Fox's Campaign Carl Cameron
THE FOX "NEWS" CHANNEL

My fascination/revulsion with the Fox "News" Channel continues, which is how I picked up Johnny Dollar as an enemy in the first place. No matter. For the last year I've written a Friday Fox Follies for PoliticusUSA website, continued to run Fox Follies and Fallacies, over at the facebookery. However . . .


. . . sums up my attitude whenever I encounter a Fox "News" spouting parrot.


ROAD TRIPS:

This year I took 2 marathon road trips, both more than 3,000 miles from door to door. These are just some of the posts these road trips generated:






TWO NEW SERIES:

Before the road trips I stopped aggregating the Headlines Du Jour. It took several hours 3 days a week and it was a trap, without any achival value. When I got back from the road trips I began two brand new series. Launching Throwback Thursday with The Westerfield Journals was one and Monday Musical Appreciation the other. I'm quite proud of both of these series. In both these series I am highlight some of the lesser-known history-makers.


NAME DROPPING

One of the things I've been accused of over the years is name-dropping. I plead guilty and throw myself on the mercy of the internet. What's the penalty? Izzit just a fine or jail time?

No matter. Exhibit A and B as evidence against me this year:




Those are just some of the highlights from the last year. No one knows what 2016 will hold for the Not Now Silly Newsroom, but I'll be writing it from Toronto. More specifically, Kensington Market. It felt so good in September, I'm going to do it all over again. To that end, I've launched a Go Fund Me to help defray my moving expenses. It's amazing how much stuff I've accumulated in the last decade. Help me get back to Toronto:


 

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Big Day for Florida & Music ► Monday Musical Appreciation

Two musical events occurred on this day in history -- 8 years apart -- that changed South Florida and music. 

In 1960 the teen comedy Where the Boys Are was released to theaters around the country. SPOILER ALERT: It's the madcap story of 4 college girls who take a road trip to Fort Lauderdale on Spring Break for some sand, surf and sex.

Where the Boys Are made Fort Lauderdale an official destination for every footloose college student. Starting with the very next break in 1961, college students poured into Fort Lah De Dah. The media publicized it, creating new converts for the next year.

At first no one minded so much because the kids brought money. However, every year there were more Spring Breakers than the previous until, as TIME magazine told its readers in A Brief History of Spring Break:



By the free-loving '70s, Fort Lauderdale's fun and sun had become decidedly raunchier. With gratuitous PDA and "balcony-diving" — negotiating one's way from balcony to balcony to get to other floors or rooms, a practice typically performed in a drunken stupor and thus madly dangerous — the norm, many communities began questioning why the heck they had invited such unruly houseguests in the first place. By 1985, some 370,000 students were descending on Fort Lauderdale (or fondly, "Fort Liquordale") annually — prompting yet another exploitative film, Spring Break starring Tom Cruise and Shelley Long. But by the end of the '80s, the town had enough: stricter laws against public drinking were enacted and Mayor Robert Dressler went so far as to go on ABC's Good Morning America to tell students they were no longer welcome. As a result, spring breakers were pushed even farther south, and to destinations outside the U.S. where the sun was hotter and drinking ages lower.
By the time I moved to the Fort Lauderdale area in 2015, Spring Break was just a shadow of its former Bacchanalian self.

Where the Boys Are is a pretty good movie and has held up over the years. It's a wonderfully kitchy throwback to a simpler time, but still explores some serious social issues about teens and their sexuality. It also hosts a wealth of good acting, including Paula Prentiss in her first movie; Yvette Mimieux, playing an innocent who has a downfall; and George Hamilton, playing George Hamilton, the role he was made for.

However, avoid 1984's Where the Boys Are. It's so bad it's not even good.

Eight years after Where the Boys Are came the Miami Pop Festival, a 3-day extravaganza featuring a who's who of the music scene, including (alphabetical list stolen from the WikiWackyWoo): The Amboy Dukes, Chuck Berry, Blues Image, The Box Tops, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Canned Heat, Wayne Cochran, Cosmic Drum, James Cotton Blues Band, Country Joe and the Fish, José Feliciano, Fish Ray, Flatt and Scruggs, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, The Grass Roots, Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, Ian & Sylvia, Iron Butterfly, Junior Junkanoos, Jr. Walker & The Allstars, The Charles Lloyd Quartet, Hugh Masekela, Joni Mitchell, Pacific Gas & Electric, Procol Harum, Terry Reid, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Steppenwolf, The Sweet Inspirations, Sweetwater, Joe Tex, Three Dog Night, and The Turtles. All for $7.00 per day!!!

The Miami Pop Festival was the first big festival on the east coast and was the precursor to Woodstock.

And, nothing was ever the same again.



Friday, December 25, 2015

Endings Mean New Begingings

I already have the right hat
As you may, or may not, have heard, the Not Now Silly Newsroom is moving to Canada. My time in Florida is coming to an end.

I've been here in paradise for the last decade taking care of Pops. Now the time has come to turn his continued care over to one of my 4 sisters.

Looking back on the last 10 years: 

My attachment to Coconut Grove is a flame that cannot be extinguished. I will continue to visit West Grove, as well as write about this unique and magical place. I already have a couple of new articles in the pipeline.

But, as I say, it's time for me to leave.

I'll need to find long pants and warm socks because I'm heading back to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the city I call home no matter where I am.

Just like Coconut Grove, I fell in love with Toronto the first time I saw it. That was long before I ever moved there. I miss The Big Smoke and my brief visit earlier this year -- 4 days in September -- only whetted my appetite for more.

I've not seen a Canadian winter in 11 years. I wonder if they are as bad as I remember, although it's balmy up there right now. That won't last long. I've never liked Winter and I am not sure whether I'll survive the cold, or not, but the effort will be worth it.

My biggest mistake was choosing to quit before I really had the means to do so. However, I just hit the wall. Consequently, I have fired up a Go Fund Me account to help get me back to Toronto. Please take a look and see if you can find your way clear to contribute a few bucks to get me home.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Birthday of the Ku Klux Klan ► Throwback Thursday

As the south grapples with removing the names of Confederate traitors from buildings and monuments, it's a good time to remember the Ku Klux Klan was formed exactly 150 years ago today.

Wait. That's a not entirely true. It's more accurate to say the first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan was formed on this date in 1865. There were two others.

Three, if you count what's been going on in this election cycle.


"I'm so glad we're living in a post-racial society" is something I say frequently on Facebook and Twitter. I am always being sarcastic because I've never thought racism was eradicated. Ten years ago, when I first moved back to the States, I had people come up to me and say the most racist things, thinking we belonged to the same White skin club. And, this was before that Muslim Obama (/sarcasm) smoked out all the current racists.

According to History.com:
The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of the second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865 to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto. Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male suffrage.
From 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in the South became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks won election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For its part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence against Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort to reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in the South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such as the Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the White Brotherhood. At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the 1867-1868 constitutional conventions became of violence during Reconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as “carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbols of black autonomy—were also targets for Klan attacks.

By 1870, the Ku Klux Klan had branches in nearly every southern state. Even at its height, the Klan did not boast a well-organized structure or clear leadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in the organization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out their attacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals of defeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South. Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blacks were a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relatively limited in others. Among the most notorious zones of Klan activity was South Carolina, where in January 1871 500 masked men attacked the Union county jail and lynched eight black prisoners.
*

The Ku Klux Klan was eventually broken up by the Federal government, which passed the Enforcement Act of 1871 (aka the Civil Rights Act or the Ku Klux Klan Act). Then it took measures to arrest and convict the terrorists attacking Black folk in the south.

Then came the sequel. From the WikiWackyWoo:

Refounding in 1915

In 1915 the film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologising and glorifying the first Klan and its endeavors. The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons at Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta, with fifteen "charter members".[86] Its growth was based on a new anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, prohibitionist and anti-semitic agenda, which reflected contemporary social tensions, particularly immigration and industrialization. The new organization and chapters adopted regalia featured in The Birth of a Nation.

The Birth of a Nation


Director D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan. His film was based on the book and play The Clansman and the book The Leopard's Spots, both by Thomas Dixon, Jr.
Much of the modern Klan's iconography, including the standardized white costume and the lighted cross, are derived from the film. Its imagery was based on Dixon's romanticized concept of old England and Scotland, as portrayed in the novels and poetry of Sir Walter Scott. The film's influence was enhanced by a purported endorsement by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner. A Hollywood press agent claimed that after seeing the film Wilson said, "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." Historians doubt he said it.[87] Wilson felt betrayed by Dixon, who had been a classmate. Wilson's staff issued a denial, saying he was entirely unaware of the nature of the play before it was presented and at no time has expressed his approbation of it."[88]

The new Klan was inaugurated in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons on top of Stone Mountain. It was a small local organization until 1921. Simmons said he had been inspired by the original Klan's Prescripts, written in 1867 by Confederate veteran George Gordon, but they were never adopted by the first Klan.[89]

The third Klan is generally accepted to be that time after World War II, through the Civil Rights Era of the '60s.

Today there has been a reemergence Ku Klux Klan. The Klan's former leader came out in support of Donald Trump, whose racist and xenophobic rants have energized the White Power Movement.

Everything old is new again.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Zappa, Elvis & Nixon ► Monday Musical Appreciation(s)

Frank Zappa before the mustache
There are two big events in today's music history and I couldn't decide between them. On this day in 1940 Frank Zappa was born. In unrelated news, 30 years later Elvis Presley bluffs his way into Nixon's White House and is presented with a law enforcement badge so the drug-addled King of Rock and Roll can help fight the War on Drugs. No, really!

I can still remember the day I bought Zappa's first LP, Freak Out. It was in the Kresge's record department and the band was one of the ugliest I had ever seen. I was 14 years old and had never heard of The Mothers of Invention before, but there was something about the cover that made me buy it. The back cover has what purported to be a letter from what purported to be a Suzy Creamcheese:
These Mothers is crazy. You can tell by their clothes. One guy wears beads and they all smell bad. We were gonna get them for a dance after the basketball game but my best pal warned me you can never tell how many will show up...sometimes the guy in the fur coat doesn't show up and sometimes he does show up only he brings a big bunch of crazy people with him and they dance all over the place. None of the kids at my school like these Mothers... specially since my teacher told us what the words to their songs meant. Sincerely forever, Suzy Creamcheese, Salt Lake City, Utah.
All of that added up to GOTTA HAVE IT!

I distinctly remember taking it home and being surprised by that it was a 2 LP set (apparently only the 2nd double album of the Rock era, following Dylan's Blonde on Blonde by mere weeks). I also remember how utterly confused I was after I listened to the entire 4 sides. The first 2 sides consisted of what could only be described as Demented Doo Wop. It was hard to tell if Zappa was satirizing the genre or lovingly recreating it, especially after listening to the final 2 sides. I didn't have the language then for what it was, but I was immediately hooked. I have been a life-long Frank Zappa fan ever since.


However, as I keep saying, it's all about the music. Here's Frank Zappa's first official LP of a career that produced more records than anybody else in the Rock era:




The unanswered question is why my unformed, teenager mind so readily glommed onto Zappa, way ahead of the curve.

Animation created by author from public domain White House photos
The Elvis Presley incident is a bizarre footnote to the entire Watergate presidency of Richard Nixon and provided a strange capper to the long career of Elvis Presley.

To make a long story short: Nixon went on the lam from Graceland and the Memphis Mafia after an argument with his wife Priscilla and his father Vernon over the cost of Christmas gifts.

First he flew to Washington, but then took off to Los Angeles. There he concocted an incredible plan to meet President Nixon. According to the Smithsonian Institute, of all places:
Elvis was traveling with some guns and his collection of police badges, and he decided that what he really wanted was a badge from the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs back in Washington. "The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him," Priscilla Presley would write in her memoir, Elvis and Me. "With the federal narcotics badge, he [believed he] could legally enter any country both wearing guns and carrying any drugs he wished."
After just one day in Los Angeles, Elvis asked [Jerry] Schilling to fly with him back to the capital. "He didn't say why," Schilling recalls, "but I thought the badge might be part of the reason."

On the red-eye to Washington, Elvis scribbled a letter to President Nixon. "Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out," he wrote. All he wanted in return was a federal agent's badge. "I would love to meet you," he added, informing Nixon that he'd be staying at the Washington Hotel under the alias Jon Burrows. "I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent."
That's all it took to get an Oval Office meeting with Nixon, who happily posed for pictures with the King of Rock and Roll. The National Archives has an entire online exhibit called When Nixon Met Elvis and there's a hilarious movie, Elvis Meets Nixon, which takes some liberties with the truth and features my cyber-friend Curtis Armstrong as Farley Hall. Both are highly recommended by me.

Nixon went on to quit the presidency over Watergate, while Elvis died on the crapper.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wright Flight ► Throwback Thursday

On this day in 1903, the Wright Brothers made the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air plane powered by its own motor. And, nothing was ever the same again.

According to the WikiWackyWoo:
The U.S. Smithsonian Institution describes the aircraft as "the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard."[2] The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale described the 1903 flight during the 100th anniversary in 2003 as "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight."[3] The Flyer I's date of its first flight generally marks the beginning of the "pioneer era" of aviation.
People have dreamed of flying, ever since we saw our first bird. We've now had 112 years of flight and airlines still lose people's luggage.

The Wiki also tells us:

Orville Wright
Wilber Wright
The Wright brothers, Orville (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948) and Wilbur (April 16, 1867 – May 30, 1912), were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are credited[1][2][3] with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903. From 1905 to 1907, the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
To quote myself from 3 years ago:
Inventors around the globe were looking for a way to control flight, including bicycle salesmen Orville and Wilbur Wright. The idea began with them in 1899, when Wilbur wrote to the Smithsonian Institution asking for info on aeronautics. The brothers spent the next several years working on their invention, realizing that they should perfect controlled glider flight before adding an engine to their airplane. There were many failures, but the Wright Brothers kept refining the glider until they were able to control its flight. In 1903 they added an engine and traveled to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, their perennial testing ground. On December 14, Wilbur -- who won a coin toss -- took a 3-second flight, but the engine stalled after take-off and the subsequent crash made repairs necessary. On December 17, 1903, this time with Orville behind the controls, they succeeded with the "first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier than air human flight." It doesn't sound like much today, but Orville traveled 120 feet in 12 seconds about 10 feet above the ground, which works out to about 6.8 MPH. Exactly one photograph was taken of the historical event.
Other early attempts at flight were not nearly as successful:


FULL DISCLOSURE: The truth of the matter is that one of the reasons I take my marathon road trips is because I have an inner ear problem. Flying, in a pressurized cabin, makes me wonky. When I get off a plane I am dizzy for days, as if I just got off the wildest ride at the C.N.E., with a migraine that lasts several days. It's a leftover symptom of the vestibular disorder I had several years ago.

Happy flying!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Spike Jones on the Box ► Monday Musical Appreciation

On this day in 1911 Lindley Armstrong Jones was born. He later got the nickname Spike because he was as thin as a railroad spike.

Spike Jones was, essentially, a drummer. He got his first drum kit at the age of 11 and never looked back. As a young man he played in various bands, orchestra pits and radio shows as he was coming up. As a drummer in the John Scott Trotter Orchestra, Jones can be heard playing on Bing Crosby's biggest hit "White Christmas."

Bored with playing the same music night after night, Spike found some musicians who were as warped as he was and they started playing parodies of the songs of the day for their own enjoyment. Then they started recording the songs to play for their wives.

One of those recordings found its way to RCA Records, where Spike Jones and His City Slickers recorded their first single, "Der Fuhrer's Face." The song, written by Oliver Wallace, was skedded for a 1943 Donald Duck cartoon called, originally, "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land," and later "Der Fuhrer's Face. It later won an Academy Award.


However, Spike Jones' version was released first and became a huge hit.


Jones thought this would be a flash in the pan, but the 'Merkin public surprised him. They demanded more from Spike Jones and His City Slickers and Jones was happy to accommodate them.

As the shows became more elaborate, Jones' impeccable timing came to the fore, with guns, whistles, and pots and pans all taking the place of percussion in some songs. He called his concerts Musical Depreciation.

It wasn't just the hit parade that Spike Jones and His City Slickers parodied. According to the WikiWackyWoo:
Among the series of recordings in the 1940s were humorous takes on the classics such as the adaptation of Liszt's Liebesträume, played at a breakneck pace on unusual instruments. Others followed: Rossini's William Tell Overture was rendered on kitchen implements using a horse race as a backdrop, with one of the "horses" in the "race" likely to have inspired the nickname of the lone chrome yellow-painted SNJ aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic team's shows in the late 1940s, "Beetle Bomb". In live shows Spike would acknowledge the applause with complete solemnity, saying "Thank you, music lovers." An LP collection of twelve of these "homicides" was released by RCA (on its prestigious Red Seal label) in 1971 as Spike Jones Is Murdering the Classics. They include such tours de force as Pal-Yat-Chee (Pagliacci), sung by the Hillbilly humorists Homer and Jethro, Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours, Tchaikovsky's None but the Lonely Heart, and Bizet's Carmen.


The first time I ever heard a Spike Jones tune, it was on an 78 RPM platter of "My Old Flame"at Craig Portman's house. It was one of his parents' records. We played it dozens of times and laughred because we were just old enough to recognize the impersonation of Peter Lorre talk/singing the lyrics as the scenario became more and more macabre. [Later we used the stack of wax as Frisbees, long before the Frisbee was invented. While I'm not proud of that fact today, I'd still like to find Craig Portman, who moved to California when we were still teenagers. Google has been no help.]

Comedy music has a long and honourable history, as the Wiki also tells us:
There is a clear line of influence from the Hoosier Hot Shots, Freddie Fisher and his Schnickelfritzers and the Marx Brothers to Spike Jones — and to Stan Freberg, Gerard Hoffnung, Peter Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach, The Goons, Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Billy Barty [who appeared with Spike Jones] appeared in Yankovic's film UHF and a video based on the movie. According to David Wild's review in Rolling Stone Magazine, Elvis Costello's 1989 Album "Spike" was named partly in tribute to Jones.

Syndicated radio personality Dr. Demento regularly features Jones' music on his program of comedy and novelty tracks. Jones is mentioned in The Band's song, "Up on Cripple Creek". (The song's protagonist's paramour states of Jones: "I can't take the way he sings, but I love to hear him talk.") Novelist Thomas Pynchon is an admirer and wrote the liner notes for a 1994 reissue, Spiked! (BMG Catalyst). A scene in the romantic comedy I.Q. shows a man demonstrating the sound of his new stereo to Meg Ryan's character by playing a record of Jones' music.
As always, it's about the music. Here's a selection:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mighty Mouse ► Throwback Thursday

On this day in 1955 Mighty Mouse Playhouse is first broadcast on tee vee.

Mighty Mouse originally appeared 1942 as cartoon shorts in movie theaters. According to the WikiWackyWoo: 

The character was originally conceived by Paul Terry.[1] Created as a parody of Superman, he first appeared in 1942 in a theatrical animated short titled The Mouse of Tomorrow. His original name was Super Mouse, but after seven films produced with that name from 1942-1943, it was changed to Mighty Mouse for 1944's The Wreck of the Hesperus, after Paul Terry learned that another character named "Super Mouse" was to be published by Marvel Comics.

Sing along with me:

Mister Trouble never hangs around
When he hears this Mighty sound.

"Here I come to save the day"

That means that Mighty Mouse is on his way.
Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right
Mighty Mouse will join the fight.
On the sea or on the land,
He gets the situation well in hand.


In one of his first appearances on Saturday Night Live,
Andy Kaufman does the Mickey Mouse theme song.

Mighty Mouse moved from movie theaters to television in 1955, where the cartoons lived on for decades, inculcating generations of children with the theme song. Again, according to the WikiWackyWoo: 
Mighty Mouse was not extraordinarily popular in theatrical cartoons, but was still Terrytoons' most popular character. What made him a cultural icon was television. Most of the short film studios, both live-action and animated, were in decline by the 1950s, pressured both by the loss of film audiences to television as well as the increased popularity (and financial benefits) of low-budget, stylized, limited animation. Most of the studios cashed out of the short-film production business and began licensing or selling their back catalogs to television. Paul Terry went as far as to sell the entire Terrytoon company to CBS in 1955.[1] The network began running Mighty Mouse Playhouse in December 1955. It remained on the air for nearly twelve years (and featured The Mighty Heroes during the final season). Mighty Mouse cartoons became a staple of children's television programming for a period of over thirty years, from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Just pretend it's Saturday morning and you are a kid again. Here's some Mighty Mouse for you to enjoy:

Monday, December 7, 2015

Rock, Rock, Rock! ► Monday Musical Appreciation

A precurser to the Baby Boomer Youth Culture to come, Rock, Rock, Rock! is one of the earliest Rock and Roll movies, released all the way back in 1956.

Youth culture was a phrase barely known when this movie was released and I was a mere 4 years old.

Top billed is Disk Jockey Alan Freed, who coined the term Rock and Roll and was an important link for teenagers until the Payola scandal brought him down in the early '60s. Despite this disgrace, Freed was among the first class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The RnRHoF was placed in Cleveland to pay tribute to Freed and his Moondog Coronation Ball, considered the first major Rock and Roll concert.

Rock, Rock, Rock! was the first movie for Tuesday Weld, years before she appeared as Thalia Menninger in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Her singing was dubbed by Connie Francis. This is also the film debut of Valerie Harper -- seen at the middle table during the performance of Cirino and the Bowties's tune "Ever Since I Can Remember" -- and actor Jack Collins, who played dozens of roles on tee vee.

Not only was the movie in Black and White, so were the performers. According to jgp3553@excite.com on the Internet Movie Data Base:
A young teenage girl desperately tries to earn enough money to buy a dress for a school rock and roll dance. This early rock and roll feature, the 3rd in a series of 5 staring Disc Jockey and Rock N Roll impresario Alan Freed, includes performances by artist Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Flamingos, The Moonglows and The Johnny Burnette Trio.
Because the movie entered the Public Domain, as the result of not getting the copyright renewed, it can be posted here without fear of a lawsuit. Enjoy:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Beatles Meet Brian Epstein ► Throwback Thursday

On this day in 1961 The Beatles meet with Brian Epstein to discuss whether he would manage them. And, nothing was ever the same again.

According to This Day In Music:
Brian Epstein invited The Beatles into his office to discuss the possibility of becoming their manager. John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best arrived late for the 4pm meeting, (they had been drinking at the Grapes pub in Matthew Street), but Paul McCartney was not with them, because, as Harrison explained, he had just got up and was "taking a bath".
McCartney, bathed and dressed, eventually showed up and The Beatles decided to let Epstein become their manager. Over the next few years he helped take them to the "toppermost of the poppermost" as the most successful boy band of all time.


As the WikiWackyWoo tells us:
Epstein first discovered the Beatles in November 1961 during a lunchtime Cavern Club performance. He was instantly impressed and saw great potential in the group.[1] Epstein was rejected by nearly all major recording companies in London, then he secured a meeting with George Martin, head of EMI's Parlophone label. In May 1962, Martin agreed to sign the Beatles, partly because of Epstein's conviction that the group would become internationally famous.[2]

The Beatles' early success has been attributed to Epstein's management style, and the band trusted him without hesitation. In addition to handling the Beatles' business affairs, Epstein often stepped in to mediate personal disputes within the group. The Beatles' unquestioning loyalty to Epstein later proved detrimental, as the band rarely read contracts before signing them.[3] Shortly after the song "Please Please Me" rose to the top of the charts in 1963, Epstein advised the creation of Northern Songs, a publishing company that would control the copyrights of all Lennon–McCartney compositions recorded between 1963 and 1973. Music publisher Dick James and his partner Charles Silver owned 51-percent of the company, Lennon and McCartney each owned 20%, and Epstein owned 9%.[4] By 1969, Lennon and McCartney had lost control of all publishing rights to ATV Music Publishing. Still, Epstein's death in 1967 marked the beginning of the group's dissolution and had a profound effect on each individual Beatle. In 1997, Paul McCartney said, "If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian."[5]

That's not all that happened to The Beatles on this day. Today in Beatles History gives us the full lowdown:

1938: Marriage of Alfred Lennon and Julia Stanley. After the ceremony, they go to the movies and then to their respective houses.

1963: Concert at the Guild Hall, Portsmouth ('The Beatles Autumn Tour') (postponed 12 November).

1964: Brian flies from Los Angeles to London.
1964: Appearance on BBC-TV's 'Top Of the Pops'.

1965: Start of UK tour, with the Moody Blues and The Kobbas & Beryl Mardsen. Concert at the Odeon Cinema, Glasgow.
1965: UK single release: 'We Can Work It Out'/'Day Tripper'. First single officially released as double A side.
1965: UK LP release: 'Rubber Soul'.

1966: 'Yesterday'... And Today', 24th week in the Top 200 (Billboard).

1971: UK LP release: 'Fly'.

1977: Start of 'London Town' LP sessions at AIR London Studios.

1980: John and Yoko's apartment, Dakota Building. Photographic session of John and Yoko, with Annie Leibovitz.

1988: 10th episode of a BBC series, essentially based on 'The Beatles At The Beeb' collection.
1993: Paul's concert at the Pacaembu Stadium, Sao Paulo, Brazil ('The New World Tour').


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memo #1

I've read and watched so many of these Talking Point Memos, I could probably write one. All one needs do is use as many of the 7 types of propaganda techniques as possible.

With this post the Not Now Silly Newsroom tests the watters [geddit?] for a new series of Annotated Bill O'Reilly Talking Point Memos. Aunty Em used to do this over at NewsHounds with Glenn Beck's Comedy Caliphate when he was still slinging the crazy over at the Fox "News" Channel. It's a lot of fun and it usually got a good reaction. Let me know what you think. Weigh in and let me know whether I should continue.

In order to win the presidency in 2016 both the Republican and Democratic candidate will have to get a good amount of votes from Hispanic Americans.

But the leading GOP is doing everything in his power to drive them away. Therefore, you've got to make people afraid.

On Thanksgiving the New York Times ran an editorial that pretty much laid out what the liberal viewpoint is on people coming to live in America.

Of course, almost all the other times O'Reilly, or Fox "News," mentions the NYTs it is to trash it. But, do go on. I'm fascinated to learn where this is going.

Point number one: The left no longer distinguishes between illegal aliens and those who come here legally.

Of course, you can show where the NYTs said exactly that, right? I thought not. I've done several searches and while this is not conclusive proof, I couldn't find it. But, I'd be happy to link it HERE if anyone points it out to me.

All foreign nationals who enter are now described by the Times and others as immigrants.

All? That's a sweeping statement. Even I hedged above when I said, "...almost all the other times O'Reilly, or Fox "News," mentions the NYTs..." But, things are just Black and White to you, no pun intended.

And if you use the term illegal alien, you are a bigot.

Uh, oh! Someone must have called Loofah Lad a bigot recently.

Point two: The left believes that any fence on the southern border is nativist bigotry that is a hateful action towards non-Americans, especially Hispanics.

Any fence? Again, a sweeping statement. I don't know anybody who is against a border fence. But, you're just calling it a "fence" to cover for the GOP's head bigot, Donald Trump, who wants to build a yuuuuuuuge wall to keep out all the rapists and criminals he talks about.

Point number three: The left wants open borders, no restrictions on those who come here, no detention, no physical barrier, no deportation proceedings unless a serious crime other than illegal entry is committed.

I have yet to hear anyone advocate that. Which orifice are you pulling your facts from?

And if you disagree with that you are a promoting an anti-immigrant police state.

We already have a police state. That's what ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ is all about.

Point four: The left says all immigrants -- again illegal and legal -- should be welcomed and assimilated.

Again, I have yet to hear anyone advocate for that. Altho', I have heard people with good hearts talk about welcoming Syrian refugees. Is this what this is really about? Syrian refugees?

And not only that, the government should give them money to settle in and they should be immediately eligible for all the entitlements Americans can secure.

An earlier Talking Point Memo delivered without a hint of irony
You're really pushing every negative and already debunked trope you can think of, ain't you?

Point five: All illegal aliens already here should be put on a pathway to citizenship.

What is your proposal, Falafel King? You can't deport them all. And, you can't have a second tier of U.S. resident, where some immigrants are allowed to become citizens and others are not. I'd love to hear your proposal.

The left wants full amnesty.

The Rabid Right wants deportation. What's the 'Merkin thing to do? You're a Catholic, Bill O. What would Jesus do?

And finally point number six: The left wants free lawyers for all immigrants so they can gather up the entitlements and citizenship requirements.

Actually, the Constitution requites lawyers. That whole "You have a right to remain silent" speech ends with an acknowledgment of that.

At the end of the editorial in the New York Times, the paper asks is that so radical?

Okay, I just went and looked again. I've not found the editorial you speak of. Could you just point it out to me so I can see how you've misquoted it, if it even exists at all.

The answer of course is yes, open borders, full amnesty, complete entitlement access is indeed radical and dangerous to public order and safety.

Be afraid! Be very Afraid!!

But that is the vision of the Democratic Party.

WAIT! I thought you said it was the entire Left Wing, but now it's just the Democratic Party?

Not everyone, but you will not hear many Democrats go up against that, as the Kate's Law debate demonstrated.

WAIT!!! You just said it was the entire Democratic Party. Which is it. Who are you talking about?

Now many believe this is a pure political strategy, that flooding the nation with foreigners -- many of whom will get the right to vote -- strengthens the Democratic Party.

An earlier Talking Point Memo delivered without a hint of irony
Call me crazy, but I think immigration strengthens the nation. But that's just me.

But there is much more in play.

And, you'll let us in on the secret of this Left Wing Cabal, right? I'm breathless with anticipation.

The radical left immigration vision would profoundly change all of America’s traditions, all of them.

WAIT!!! Now it's just the radical left. Make up your mind. You can't keep moving the target like this.

And that's what the left wants because that ideology sees the American Judeo-Christian tradition as oppressive, exploitative and a white-privilege legacy.

Now this screed makes sense. I get it now. You're worried about your precious White Privilege being taken away, ain't you? You're downright scared, ain't you?

Thus, the uber-left wants traditional America wiped off the face of the earth.

WAIT!!! Now it's just the uber-left? That's the fringiest of the fringe. You're scaremongering about those crazy outliers?

That's what is truly going on and if Americans don't wise up quickly, the left-wing vision of immigration may very well become a reality.

That's not what's going on at all. You pulled all of that out of your ass to create a strawman you've conditioned your brain-dead viewers to believe is their enemy.

And that's the memo.

One of the biggest piles you've ever crapped out, which is why I decided to annotate it.



Not a single word of Loofah Lad's has been omitted or changed. For comparison, the entire Talking Points Memo without annotation can be found here, because I show my work, unlike Loofah Lad.