“Hey, Ringo! Play Something Hot!”

One of the great female drummers, Sheila E!

I’m sure there are more, but when I think of female drummers, there are a few that immediately pop into my head:

  • Karen Carpenter – The Carpenters
  • Meg White – The White Stripes
  • Sandy West – The Runaways
  • Debbi Peterson – The Bangles
  • Gina Schock – The Go Go’s
  • Sheila E

In the future, there just might be another female drummer on that list – my daughter, Ella!

Future Drummer??!!

Sam was loading the dishwasher this week and she brought Ella into the kitchen. She put some pots on the floor and gave her a wooden spoon and the “music” began! I can’t even begin to tell you how cute this was! She’d rather hit the pots with her hands and chew on the spoon, but when she’s done teething I have a feeling there will be lots of noise!

The whole scene reminded me of a time when I was around 7 years old. I may have been younger, I may have been older. Any time we had a day off at school, if my mom and dad were working, we’d go to one of my grandparents for the day.

If we went to my mom’s mom, she would usually have something planned for us. We’d go to Greenfield Village, Belle Isle Aquarium, or the Henry Ford Museum. If we went to my dad’s mom’s, we would bring bags and bags of toys to play with. The funny thing about that, is that we rarely played with the toys.

My grandma had just about every possible cooking utensil imaginable. She had pie tins, rolling pins, spaghetti pots, metal strainers, whisks, wooden and metal spoons, cheese graters, cup cake pans, cookie sheets, and so much more. I swear, my brother and I would drag out every last pot and pan and play with them. We played with everything except sharp things like knives and forks. I am sure that we drove my grandmother crazy! I can only imagine the noise that we had to be making!

When we were older, my grandmother mentioned to me how much she hated us playing with that stuff. When I asked why, she simply said that she hated having to rewash all of those things! You see, the dishwasher in her house – was her! I can only imagine how exhausted she had to be when we finally went back home. I can also imagine how much she must have hated having to rewash each and every thing we pulled out of her cupboards and cabinets!!

Kids grow up too fast! I already have a hard time believing that Ella is 8 months old! In my opinion, let the noise ring out! Bang on those pots and pans, baby girl!! It is music to mommy and daddy’s ears! We will enjoy every concert you perform.

Rock on my little Princess!

A New Car! (Sort of …)

I drive about 70 miles to work each day. Round trip that means I drive about 140 miles 4 times a week. In a year, I will put about 29,000 miles on my car. I got good gas mileage on the car I was driving, however, I was about to turn 170,000 and it was time to trade it in.

Sam and I had been talking for some time about getting a newer vehicle. She was looking at vans. We wanted something that we could take on trips, as well as fit both boys, the baby and us! She had a good idea of what she was looking for. With winter just around the corner, we weren’t sure just how many miles we had left on mine, so the search was on.

Last Saturday we found a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan that fit perfectly within our budget. It took us about 2 hours and we drove off the lot with it. The question then became “Who’s gonna drive it?”

Sam drives a few less miles a day than I do, so she decided to drive the van, and I inherited her car. Prior to getting the van, if we went anywhere, we always took Sam’s car. I usually drove, so I was quite familiar with it. However, now that this car was becoming my ride, I had to adjust a few things.

I always had to put the seat back when I drove. So now the seat is where it needs to be. The mirrors are now adjusted for me. My Autism Awareness and Detroit Tigers magnets are now on the back of this car. I connected my phone to the bluetooth, which is awesome because I can talk hands free now. Finally, I programmed all my radio stations on the radio.

On my old car, I could connect my iPod and it would play the songs on shuffle. Now, the radio guy in me always thinks it is cool when songs that have something in common play back to back. It’s even cooler when different versions of the same song play back to back. And us radio guys think it is extra amazing when an old radio station jingle plays into a song we used to play at that station!

Anyway, I’m driving home this morning and check to see that the iPod will play. The song that plays is True Love by Glen Frey. That is followed by True Love (different song) by Pat Benatar. I’m loving the coincidence when True Love Ways by Buddy Holly follows that! Now that’s really cool, right?! Buddy is followed by True Love Ways by Martina McBride. Now I am a bit freaked out. This is just WAY too weird. Martina is followed by Truly by the Lionel Richie, which is followed by Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden. It is only after that song begins, that I realize the iPod is playing all the songs in alphabetical order! What a dope!!! Needless to say, I found the “Shuffle” button on the touch screen and can now listen un-alphabetically!

Quick Ella Story

Not too long ago, I stumbled on a video by Daniel Labelle. He is on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. His videos are silly, and hilarious. The one I first saw was “If People Did Everything Agressively.” It was so ridiculous that I had to send it to my best friend, Jeff. He found an “extended” video with even more silliness and sent it to me.

Anyway, this morning, he sends me a new video from this guy – “If People Did Everything in a Rush.” So, I am sitting on the floor and Ella is next to me. I start laughing at the stupidity of this video and she crawls over to me and starts watching it too. The video is looped, so it starts back at the beginning once it is over and keeps playing. The more it played, the more she laughed. These were truly the biggest belly laughs I have heard from her! What did she find so funny? See for yourself…

Daniel Labelle

She cracked up at the garbage can, the lawn mower, the vacuum, and him running toward the camera with the weed whacker! I must have watched this 40 times today just to hear her laugh. Fast forward a couple of hours. Ella woke up from her nap and Sam is out on the living room floor changing her diaper. She gets the diaper off and Ella starts rolling away. I walk out and tell Sam, “You’ve gotta see this! She was laughing so hard at this earlier!” So Ella sits on Sam’s lap and I play the video. She starts to belly laugh, just like earlier. The video loops again and she laughs even more. Then, with no warning at all and in the middle of a belly laugh, she peed all over Sam!

Our little pumpkin sure gives us so much to be happy about! She also provides many laughs and many memories which I am sure we will look back on fondly in the years ahead!

That’s all for now …

I’m As Mad As Sally!

Earlier today it was reported that all of the Charlie Brown holiday specials will NOT be airing on broadcast TV this year! Instead, it will be moving to Apple TV (a pay service) for viewing. I’m not going to lie, I am sick of all of the various streaming options! I pay for cable and Netflix. Now there is Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon, and others! CBS and NBC also have their own “pay” services! This just proves it is all about money!

I’m 50 years old, but I have always made it a point to watch the Peanuts specials (and many others). Now, I’m going to be forced to pay to watch it? No, thanks! I’ll go out and buy the specials on DVD. Then I can watch them when I want to! I’ve done the same with many of my favorite TV shows. If you look at my movie shelf, I have my favorites (not all, but most) on DVD.

Growing up, I remember it being a yearly tradition to sit down and watch Charlie Brown’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas specials. What a shame that after 60 years on broadcast TV, the almighty dollar has ruined it for kids of this generation!

The Halloween special is just fun. There are some great moments in it. I always thought it was cool that Charlie Brown was actually invited to Violet’s Halloween party! Of course, the story revolves around Linus and his belief in the Halloween entity, the Great Pumpkin. He vows to see the Great Pumpkin and convinces Sally to join him in the pumpkin patch.

I love when the gang goes out trick or treating! One of the things I always laugh at is Lucy’s witch mask! It’s hideous!

When the kids yell trick or treat at one house, the home owner passes out treats and the kids meet at the sidewalk excited to share what each of them got. It is here that Charlie Brown says the funniest 4 words in the special (in my opinion) – “I got a rock!”

As Sally and Linus wait for the Great Pumpkin, the two mistake Snoopy for the Great Pumpkin. Sally realizes that she has missed all the fun of Halloween and at this point loses it! She lets loose on Linus with one hell of a rant:

I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, when I could’ve been out for tricks-or-treats! Halloween is over and I missed it! You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle! I didn’t get a chance to go out for tricks-or-treats, and it was all your fault! I’ll sue! What a fool I was! I could’ve had candy, apples, and gum! And cookies and money and all sorts of things, but no! I had to listen to you. You blockhead. What a fool I was. Trick-or-treats come only once a year. And I miss it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. You owe me RESTITUTION!!

I guess I could easily go off on my own rant about the blockheads who made these classics unavailable to broadcast TV, but what good would it do? In the words of Charlie Brown….”good grief!”

A Creepy, Kookie, Spooky Blog?

It’s October, so in the days ahead you will be hearing Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Monster Mash more times than you care to count! As Halloween approaches, I am reminded of the great Universal Monster Movies of the 1930’s and 1940’s! I’m not sure who did this fantastic artwork, but I think it’s awesome!

Universal Monsters

This blog isn’t about the movie monsters. However, as I thought on them, I thought about a very unique thing that happened on television in the mid-1960’s that has a monster tie-in. Back in 1964, two monster-themed TV shows debuted on TV – coincidentally, they both debuted the same week. One show aired on CBS and the other aired on ABC. The two shows, of course, were The Munsters and The Addams Family.

The Munsters featured a monster family that was loosely based on the Universal Monsters.

The Munsters

Fred Gwynne played Herman Munster (based on Frankenstein), Yvonne De Carlo played Lily (based on the Bride of Frankenstein, Al Lewis played Grandpa Munster (based on Count Dracula), Butch Patrick is Eddie Munster (based on the Wolfman) and Marilyn Munster (played by Pat Priest and Beverly Owen) was the completely normal niece (and freak of the family).

The Addams Family and the characters on the show were based off the cartoon characters of Charles Addams, which appeared in The New Yorker Magazine.

The Addams Family

So how do you describe the Addams Family? The best way I can is to quote the theme song – “They’re creepy & they’re kookie!” John Astin is Gomez Addams. Carolyn Jones is his wife Morticia. Jackie Coogan is hilarious as Uncle Fester. Marie Blake is Grandmama. Ted Cassidy is Lurch, the butler. Lisa Loring and Ken Weatherwax are the Addams children Wednesday and Pugsley.

I remember thinking the exterior shots of their homes really set the mood for what was inside each of them. Both shows had fantastic sets.

The Addams Family Mansion
The Munsters Home

While both shows share a “horror/monster” theme, they were both comedies. Both were funny (I found the Munsters a bit more humorous). Having these crazy families interact with “normal” people led to wonderful comedy situations. What is really great about these shows is watching familiar faces pop up as guest stars. Harvey Korman, Bernie Koppel, Paul Lynde, and so many other stars appeared on these shows.

Both also had awesome theme songs! The Munsters instrumental has an awesome guitar melody. Fall Out Boy sampled the theme song in their hit song “Uma Thurman” recently. The Addams Family theme song is still used to get audiences at sporting events to snap or clap along with it. The great Vic Mizzy composed it!

Both shows began the same week in 1964, but even more coincidental, they both left the airwaves on the same week two years later!

If you want to read some fantastic books on both shows, may I suggest two from my Facebook friend and TV historian, Stephen Cox? Both are available on Amazon …

The Addams Family has had greater success with future incarnations, including blockbuster films. The Munsters had a couple TV reunion shows, and a recent flop on TV (Mockingbird Lane). They both still air in reruns and are still as funny today.

These two shows always seem to show up in the “Ginger or Mary Ann” type debate questions. So I guess I will wrap up by asking – Addams Family or Munsters? Which was your favorite and why??

Autumn in Michigan

The weather has been nice enough over the past two weeks for us to get out and really enjoy the fall weather! It’s been pleasantly warm with temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s. I’m glad, because this has allowed me to take Ella out for walks in the stroller through the neighborhood. At one house, the red leaves on the ground were so bright, I took her out of the stroller and let her play in the leaves.

After we got home, we both sat on the front lawn and watched the cars go by. She just loves to be outside! She loves to watch the squirrels, listen to the birds and wind chimes, and play in the grass.

This week Ella turned 8 months old! She has 4 teeth and two more popping through. She’s pretty much crawling like a champ and will no doubt be walking before we know it! To celebrate, we took her and her brother to the orchards to go pumpkin picking. I hope that this will remain an autumn tradition.

At the orchards, you can purchase pumpkins that are already picked, or you can take the hayride and pick your own from the pumpkin patch. Naturally, Ella needed to go on her first hayride, so we did that! She was SO tired when we went, but I was still able to get some amazing pictures. This one is my favorite from the hayride:

I love how she is cuddling with mom! She was loving the ride and the colors were just awesome. She wasn’t really sure what we were doing when we got out to the pumpkin patch. At one point, Sam made her sit on a pumpkin … she was unimpressed!

I love the way Ella looks at her brother. She lights up when she sees him. I have no doubt that she and him will have a strong relationship. After we got our pumpkins, there were quite a few pumpkins out in front of the orchard. I had Dimitri sit down among the pumpkins and then sat Ella next to him. While there are some really great pictures of them looking right at the camera, my favorite is probably the one below. She reached over and put her hand on him and they both are kind of looking at each other. A priceless moment!

I’m hoping that the weather cooperates in the next week or two, as I’m hoping to get both boys over and take some family pictures outside. Sam bought a cute outfit for Ella and shirts for everyone that match the polka dots on Ella’s outfit. I can’t wait to go out and get these pictures done!

Fall is my favorite season and I just love looking at the beauty of God’s creation! Happy Fall!

Tune Tuesday: That’s a Rap … A Funny Rap

I hadn’t planned on a Tune Tuesday Blog, however, I stumbled on an article online that was about Comedy Rap songs. Back in March of this year, I did a quick blurb about white rappers before Eminem. Some of these will be repeats, as they would fall into the “comedy” rap category.

Here are some forgotten “comedy” rap songs – some good … some bad:

Rappin’ Duke

Shawn Brown is one who was mentioned in the March Blog. “So you think you’re bad, with your rap? Well, I’ll tell ya, Pilgrim, I started the crap…” I had the 12 inch single of this one. It got Top 40 airplay (which was uncommon for rap songs) when it came out. Still a favorite for me. Duh- Haw, Duh – Haw…..

Wipe Out

The Safari’s had a big hit with the instrumental, Wipe Out. The Fat Boys came along and rapped along with the Beach Boys on this one. Believe it or not – it worked. I remember hearing this song first as a video on MTV. Eventually, it got airplay on the radio, too. I’m sure it was meant to be more of a serious song, but it really falls into the novelty category for me.

Rappin’ Rodney

Rodney Dangerfield got a lot of respect with this top 40 hit. Basically the song is bits from his stand up act with a musical chorus. What helped it get airplay is probably the video for it which featured 80’s singer Pat Benatar and comedian Father Guido Sarducci!

Wet Dream

Comedian Kip Addotta knocks it out of the park with his underwater Pun-fest! This was a song I used to hear often on the Dr. Demento Show. To call this a rap song is pushing it a bit, but the article I saw mentioned it, and I laughed as I recalled the puns throughout it, so I include it here.

Honeymooner’s Rap

Here is one I totally forgot about! Back in the day, Joe Piscopo would do spot on impressions of David Letterman, David Hartman, Frank Sinatra and so many more! He recruited his fellow cast member Eddie Murphy and together they relived some of the great moments from the Honeymooners TV show. Joe is Ralph and Ed is Norton in this comedy rap. I remember running out and buying the 45 of this one.

Do The Bartman

The Simpsons TV show has produced loads of musical gems! Many of those have made their way onto collections like Songs In the Key of Springfield. A song that was a radio hit (and I got requests for it at weddings and parties, too) was Do the Bartman. The song featured Nancy Cartwright as Bart, and also features the King of Pop, Michael Jackson!

White and Nerdy

The list HAD to have Weird Al Yankovic on it! The Weird Al song that made the article I read was Amish Paradise, which is indeed a great parody. However, I think White and Nerdy tops that one. Al’s Parody of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ (and the hilarious video) was all over radio and TV, not to mention social media and the internet.

Addams Groove

Lord help us! MC Hammer offered up this stinker as a movie tie in to one of the Addams Family movies. It was one of those songs that I hated hearing on the radio. The only thing it is really good for now, is Halloween parties!

City of Crime

In 1987, Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks appeared in a movie based on Jack Webb’s TV show, Dragnet. As yet another movie tie in, Dan and Tom (as their characters from the film) rap together in this one. Yes, there was a video for it and it included choreography by none other than Paula Abdul! It’s something you need to see … even if it leaves you wondering “What the hell was that?!”

The Contra Rap

Here is another I had forgotten about that got lots of airplay on the Dr. Demento show. The Iran-Contra Affair was all over the news from 1985-1987. Impressionist Rich Little had an album out entitled Ronald Reagan Slept Here. It includes some very funny bits with him as Ronald Reagan. One of the cuts on the album was The Contra Rap. It features Rich Little as Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter. The Capitol Steps also recorded this, but Rich’s is the best.

Feel free to let me know if I missed any. In the meantime, I am sure you can find all of these on Youtube!

As Political As I Will Get

Angry!

I try to stay away from politics. It is one of those things I don’t like to talk about – even more so today with the atmosphere in the world. So, here is just a few quick things that fall into the “political” realm I wanted to write about.

Text Messages

It’s bad enough that I get spam text messages about renewing my car insurance, claiming the big prize I supposedly won, and other obvious phishing scams. Most of these texts are addressed to “Edna” or “Sarah!” In the last 4 months, I have been getting 3-4 text messages a day asking me if I have registered to vote, who I am voting for, and various political stuff. As fast as I can mark them “spam” there are more that come in! I have blocked at least 200 numbers!

Shaq Votes

48 year old Shaquille O’Neal revealed that he just voted for the first time. Does anybody else find this sad? I couldn’t wait to turn 18 and vote. It’s a privilege and I am glad to do it. I just found it strange that he’s never voted before. To each his own, I guess.

Debate

Here’s a thought to all present and future candidates for whichever office you happen to be running for: Tell me what you are going to do for ME!

I didn’t see much of the debates. But what I did see was each candidate bashing or name calling the other. It was literally like watching two 4 years old children argue over a toy. It is disgusting! It’s embarrassing!

There is so much mud slinging in the political world. We get it – Republicans hate Democrats and vice versa. Do me a favor – tell me why I should vote for you and not why “the other guy” is an asshole! Give me a plan for what you are going to do to help make the world better for me and my family! It’s not rocket science.

The Fly

If you want further proof that the debates are a joke, take the recent Vice Presidential debate. No one is talking about any of the issues that were discussed. The ONLY thing I have heard people talk about (in and out of the media) is the stupid fly that landed on the Vice President’s head! Really?! THAT is what you took out of the debate??!!

Craziness in Michigan

This week here in Michigan 13 people were charged for plotting to kidnap our Governor! This is the stuff you see in movies! The FBI stopped the plot and these guys were arrested. I was floored when I saw this! Michigan Governor Whitmer said, “I knew this job would be hard,” in reaction to news of the arrests. “But I’ll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this.”

These guys were serious, too. They planned on storming the state capitol and starting a civil war according to news reports. They even staked out her vacation home! If that doesn’t tell you the state of political affairs in the country, I don’t know what will.

November

I can’t wait for the election to be over. But let’s be honest, no matter what the outcome is – someone is going to have a problem with it. There will be a whole lot of backlash from whatever happens. More disagreements, more hatred, and more division. Sigh.

And that, my friend, is as political as this blog will get.

“I Hate These Damn Stickers”

My wife reminded me of a funny story this afternoon before work.

A few days ago, she told me that she ordered a playhouse toy for Ella. As she gets older, she is getting bored with just chewing on the toys she has. So we decided to get her something that might keep her a bit more busy.

The above playhouse, can be put together in a square, like pictured above, or spread out. Anyway, it arrived today. When I woke up, the box was in the hallway, and I knew I wanted to put it together before she got home from Nana’s house. So I immediately went to work on it.

The thing that gets me about these toys is the gazillion steps it takes to put it together! There is always that 300 page instruction booklet with the bad pictures that are supposed to help you piece this thing together. Maybe it is just me, but I always find it extremely difficult to figure out which way a piece is supposed to face when I look at these pictures!

At any rate, I was practically done with it when Ella came home with Sam (who got her haircut today and looks as beautiful as ever). It was nice to actually be able to see her explore her playhouse before I left for work.

The one thing I didn’t do, was put the various stickers on it. Sam said that she would do it later tonight. When I talked with her after she got the baby down for bedtime, she said her OCD kicked in and it took her longer than she thought to put the stickers on. Hell, I’m glad she did it, because I literally have no patience for that!!

That is exactly what reminded me of a Christmas from my childhood. I think I was 10 or 11 and I had asked for the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movies. I remember seeing the commercials for it and it was my “big” Christmas gift item. It was at the top of my list and mom and dad didn’t disappoint.

I remember being so impatient as I watched my dad put this huge thing together. By the time he had gotten it all together, he pulled out this big sheet of stickers (there may have even been more than one sheet). There were little stickers that went practically everywhere on the inside and outside of the ship.

Some of these stickers were so small and went into places that my dad’s hands barely fit! The combination of him struggling to get the stickers on right and me asking him “is it done, yet?” was probably enough to drive him crazy. At one point I just remember him yelling out, “I hate these damn stickers! You’d think for the money you pay for something like this, they’d find some idiot to put them on for you!”

THANKS to my brother, Christopher, for sending me this picture of dad putting it together!

Dad all duded up to assemble Christmas presents!

He was so frustrated, and there were plenty of stickers that were a little crooked. I knew better than to say anything to him, though! I learned to appreciate his patience when I had to start putting stickers on Lego sets for my sons when they were growing up!

I have a feeling that I will be building plenty of toys in the years ahead, and yes, struggling to get tiny stickers into small places. I will love every minute of it, though, because the look of joy on your child’s face when they see the finished product is one of the best things a dad can ever experience.

Fall Photo Shoot 2020

Maybe I need to add this shirt to my wardrobe …

National Poetry Day

I missed National Poetry Day. I guess it was October 1st this year. When I was a kid, I used to write poems all the time. Topics ranged from my grandma’s food, my grandpa buying lottery tickets, why I loved baseball, etc… I was far from a talented poet. I would never have been able to make a living as a poet!

There are many famous poets, who you no doubt will know by name: Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Shel Silverstein, Carl Sandburg, and many, many more! Growing up I was very familiar with them as we often read their poems in school. Shel Silverstein had a book out called Where the Sidewalk Ends that my teachers seem to read aloud from often. In junior high and high school, we had these thick hard cover Literature books which were full of short stories, classics, and many poems. I recall reading Poe’s The Raven from one of these.

When I think of poetry, there is ALWAYS one that comes to my mind – and not for any reasons you might think! The poem is Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade. I recall one class where we had to pick a poem and read it aloud in front of the class. I chose this one. Why is this the one I remember? I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote this in 1854 about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. (It sounds like I am a history buff, right? In all honesty, I had no idea about the details of this battle or even the Crimean War until I looked it up!) He wrote this poem based on two articles he had read about the battle.

According to one source: This poem was written to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War (1854-56). 247 men of the 637 in the charge were killed or wounded. Britain entered the war, which was fought by Russia against Turkey, Britain and France, because Russia sought to control the Dardanelles. Russian control of the Dardanelles threatened British sea routes.

Many in the west best know of this war today because of Florence Nightingale, who trained and led nurses aiding the wounded during the war in a manner innovative for those times. The War was also noteworthy as an early example of the work of modern war correspondents.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Here is the poem:

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Enter – Alfalfa

So why do I remember this poem? Would you believe because of the Little Rascals?

Growing up, we watched the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy and the Little Rascals. In one particular Little Rascals comedy (Two Too Young from 1936), Alfalfa puts some firecrackers in his back pocket that he and Spanky have conned Porky and Buckwheat out of. After returning to class, the teacher asks who knows the recitation. To Spanky’s surprise, Alfalfa raises his hand. He stands and begins to recite the poem. Porky spots the fireworks and proceeds to light the fuse using the sun, which provides some “battle sound effects” to accompany the poem. “Cannons to the left of me…….”

Alfalfa in Two Too Young (1936)

So there you have it – a bit of culture today for National Poetry Day. Have no fear, this is about as cultural as this blog will ever get!

Porky and Buckwheat!

Thanks for reading! Do you have a favorite poet? Favorite Poem?

A Curly Classic!

That’s a Big 10-4

Jackie Gleason as Buford T. Justice

Sunday was October 4th. It was 10-4 day. I was tagged by about 10 friends in pictures from Smokey and the Bandit on Sunday. Those pictures featured Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds. I figured I should find a good picture of Sheriff Buford T. Justice with his CB, hence the picture above.

In the 70’s and 80’s, there were no cell phones. CB radios were a big thing! Smokey and the Bandit and the Dukes of Hazzard probably helped the craze a lot I would imagine. We had CB radios in our car and one at our house. Many of my parents friends they met from knowing them on the CB.

The car units were small and mounted on the dash, above the dash or under the radio.

Mobile CB Radio

Truckers used CB radios a lot, but in the 70’s and 80’s, it wasn’t odd to see cars with CB antennas that sat on top of their roofs, or huge “whips,” as they were called to get a farther signal.

On the CB, you had a handle. It was your CB nickname. My mom was Apollo 1. My dad was Johnny B. Goode. My grandpa was Double Bogey. I was B-Flat (cause I was a trumpet player). My folks had friends who were The Italian Stalion, Booby Trap, Arabian Knight, and countless others.

My dad played in a wedding band for years (guitar – hence the Johnny B. Goode handle). I remember my mom talking with him on the CB until he got to the gig and staying up to talk to him on the way home. We had a huge antenna on the roof of our house, but it certainly wasn’t as big as some of the ones I’ve seen. I will never forget that CB and the big silver microphone the home “base” unit had. I was lucky enough to find a picture of the exact microphone below.

Home Base CB unit

If memory serves me right, the radio above was the exact radio my folks had at home.

CB radios had 40 channels on them. The most popular channel was 19. You always hear folks saying “Breaker 1-9. Breaker 1-9.” I don’t recall what channel my folks hung out on, but I know you could go to 19 and ask where the cops were (a smokey report) and check traffic, etc…

Somewhere you can find a list of CB codes (all started with 10) and they all meant something:

10-4 meant simply that you received the message.

10-7 meant you were turning off your radio and going “out of service”

10-10 meant you were done talking and standing by.

Your 10-20 was your location.

10-100 meant you had to go to the bathroom.

Putting the Hammer down meant you were going to speed up.

Got your ears on was asking if you had your CB on.

Kojak with a Kodak was a cop with a radar gun.

A Choke and Puke was a place to stop and grab greasy food.

There were all kinds of slang terms that worked their way into the language because of CB radios.

Do you remember any more?

Did you have a CB? What was your handle?