Archive for the ‘Odd Stuff’ Category

12/02/2021

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

Take a look at today’s palindromic date: 12/02/2021. One can’t just ignore it, but on the other side, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

As I ponder that, I’m wondering how often such a perfect palindrome occurs on the calendar. Last year, we passed by 02/02/2020, and I think that the last time before that would have been 11/02/2011. That’s using U.S. notation, of course, with the month coming first; in those places where the date comes first – making today’s date 02/12/2021 and not at all significant —palindromes are a little more likely as they’d come, in this century, anyway, in years whose last digit is 0, 1 and 2. February 20, 2002, would have been 20/02/2002; February 10 the year before would have been 10/02/2001.

So that’s kind of neat. But what to do with it? Games With Numbers, obviously, but how?

Well, during the years I’m most interested in, Billboard released a Hot 100 on December 2 – 12/02 – in 1967, 1972 and 1978. We dabble in 1972 a lot, probably more than any other years except the three years that preceded it, and there’s more interest here in 1967 than there is in 1978. But I think we’ll look at the Nos. 20 and 21 records on this date for all three years.

So, what were the No. 20 and 21 records on this date in 1967? Sitting at No 20 on this date fifty-four years ago was the Bee Gees’ “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts,” and parked underneath it was Vicki Carr’s “It Must Be Him.” The Bee Gees’ record was on its way up the chart and would peak at No. 11. “It Must Be Him” was on its way down after peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and spending three weeks at No. 1 on the chart then called Easy Listening.

Let’s go to 1972. Perched at No. 20 fifty-one years ago was a country crossover, Donna Fargo’s “Funny Face,” and just below that was “Convention ’72” by the Delegates, a comedy cut-in record that wasn’t particularly funny. “Funny Face” would peak at No. 5 on both the Hot 100 and the Easy Listening chart and was No. 1 for three weeks on the country chart. “Convention ’72” was on its way down the chart after peaking at No. 8.

On this date in 1978, the No. 20 record was “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis, while the spot just below was occupied by “Don’t Want To Live Without It” by Pablo Cruise. Davis’ record would go just a little higher and peak at No. 17 and would peak at No. 7 on the Easy Listening chart, while the Pablo Cruise record would go no higher in the Hot 100.

Five of those six were familiar to me; I had to go the RealPlayer to remind myself of the Pablo Cruise record, but I still don’t remember it. Certainly the most successful among them was Donna Fargo’s, but it’s not really my thing. I’m pretty sure none of the six has been mentioned very often here, but the records by Carr, Davis and the Bee Gees are fine records, and I suppose that if I recalled ever hearing the Pablo Cruise record, it would be fine, too.

But I waded through the archives to check on “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts,” and I learned that I have mentioned the record only once in the nearly fifteen years I’ve been cobbling things together here, and that was in a listing of a radio station’s top five. I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned either the Davis record or the Carr record any more than once each, but . . . well, here’s “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts.”

‘Hammer Of The Gods . . .’

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

I’ve been reading a lot of the discussions over the past few days about how we should no longer be celebrating Columbus and how we should change the name of the holiday to Indigenous Persons Day. Some folks brought in Leif Erikson’s Norsemen, and a few even mentioned the Phoenecians as folks who got to the shores of the North American continent before Columbus.

My take on it? Columbus was an evil man, evil enough that other Spanish explorers around him – who were pretty bad actors themselves – sent him back to Spain in chains. He’s not someone we’d should really want to celebrate. His navigational feat (along with those of other explorers), however, did open the North American continent to exploration, exploitation and settlement. But there were already other folks here, of course, who were dispossessed and nearly exterminated by that exploration, exploitation and settlement.

I say: Tear down the statues, cancel the holiday and find another day in the calendar to mourn the Native American cultures lost to Manifest Destiny and to celebrate the Native Cultures that survived. I guess we can call it Indigenous Persons Day, though that seems kind of stiff. I like what Canada did when it used First Nations as a combined term for those who were here before the Europeans. That might be the term we should be using.

Anyway, to take kind of a left turn, as I was pondering this stuff in the past few days, I was reminded of a video posted at YouTube a year ago today. A user there who goes by the name of “the_miracle_aligner” posted a video offering Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” sung in old Norse.

In the notes, the_miracle_aligner credits a user named Constantine Bard for the backing track. (Constantine Bard’s page is filled with versions of current and older pop songs recast in medieval form.) And the_miracle_aligner credits Angus Bolton for translating the words of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page into old Norse and offering some pronunciation training.

So here’s how Erikson’s men might have sounded had they been singing Led Zeppelin as they came ashore in what was to become northeastern Canada sometime around the year 1000.