Music throwback: We’ll Meet Again

The Daughter was singing We’ll Meet Again. I asked her how the heck did she know that song, which first came out long before I was born?

She was watching a video called Film Theory: Gravity Falls ISN’T OVER! (Bill Cipher LIVES!) Gravity Falls is an animated TV series that ended a couple years ago. There’s a reference to We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn at the 9:00 mark.

Then The Daughter tested me to come up with the songwriter – not that she knew herself, mind you. Not only did I not know, none of my choir buddies did, though we guessed a lot of the likely suspects.

It turns out that it was written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles, who also wrote “There’ll Always Be an England.”

The singer most associated with the tune is Lynn who turned 100 on March 20, 2017 and is still alive, I believe. She was described as England’s most popular singer during World War II, and she appeared on British TV for many years.

From the Wikipedia:
The song gave its name to the 1943 musical film… in which Dame Vera Lynn played the lead role. Lynn’s recording was used in the closing scenes of the 1986 BBC television serial The Singing Detective. British director John Schlesinger used the song in his 1979 World War II film, Yanks, which is about British citizens and American soldiers during the military buildup in the UK as the Allies prepared for the D-Day Invasion…

Lynn sang the song in London on the 60th Anniversary of VE Day in 2005.

Pink Floyd makes reference to this song and the performer in Vera, a song from their album The Wall: “Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?/Remember how she said that we would meet again some sunny day?”

Listen to We’ll Meet Again (chart action from US Billboard singles chart):

Vera Lynn, #29 in 1954

Kay Kyser, Ginny Simms, Harry Babbitt, and ensemble vocal, #24 in 1941

Guy Lombardo, #24 in 1941

Benny Goodman with Peggy Lee, #16 in 1942

The Ink Spots, 1949

Frank Sinatra, 1962

The Byrds, closing track of their debut album in 1965, inspired by the Lynn version’s use in the film Dr. Strangelove

Johnny Cash, closing track on his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, the final album released during his lifetime

She and Him, 2014

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End of year rambling: who ARE these people?


Is God a Robot That Just Hasn’t Been Invented Yet?

Hating the poor in the season of giving

How to Hire Fake Friends and Family

Fiction from the New Yorker: Cat Person

Thousands Once Spoke His Language in the Amazon; Now, He’s the Only One

How ancient mastodon bones sparked a modern-day battle among scientists

Chuck Miller: When I caught the Times Union editing my blog headlines without my permission

2018 US postage stamps: Musician John Lennon, performer and activist Lena Horne, America’s first woman in space Sally Ride, and children’s television pioneer Mr. Rogers

Mark Evanier has been blogging for 17 years this month, a site I check out daily

RIP, Sue Grafton at 77 – Y Is For Yesterday: her last mystery series novel

Arthur answers Roger’s questions about the regime in DC and the nasty people in DC and blogging, and Kiwi language and his most evergreen post

RIP to Rose Marie, who was of an uncertain age; at least she was around for this – Dick Van Dyke has lost two costars this year, with Mary Tyler Moore passing in January

RIP Dick Enberg

Clifford Irving, Author of a Notorious Literary Hoax, Dies at 87

Quotable Kirby

Erie, PA Receives Record 53 Inches of Snow in 30 Hours

Now I Know: The People Who Protect Chewbacca and The Worthless $65 Million Masterpiece That Cost $29 Million and The Town That Pays Criminals to Cut it Out and The Accidental Masterpiece and The New York Police Department’s Giant Problem and The People Who Protect Chewbacca

What is it like to go through a car wash with the windows down?

Wise Old Sayings

TICKS, MANY OF THEM

What Do You Call a World That Can’t Learn From Itself?

This is the thanks he gets for “overhauling” the American tax system?

‘He Would Probably Be a Dictator by Now’

The Nationalist’s Delusion

The United States of America Is Decadent and Depraved

Should We Care What Happens to the GOP’s Soul?

I Won’t Tolerate A ‘Different Viewpoint’ When It’s Based On Blatant Lies

The Whoppers of 2017: the year’s worst falsehoods and bogus claims

How life is now in Puerto Rico

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet – It’s a real, powerful set of ideas

“Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” – Augustine of Hippo

TWENTY-SEVENTEEN

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2017 and 1957

2017 is the best?

Instagram’s Favorite New Yorker Cartoons of 2017

YouTube’s highest paid stars – who ARE these people? I’m old

The Biggest Tech Fails of 2017

Turner Classic Movies’ annual Obituary Video

The Daily Show team looks back at the biggest events of 2017 in news, sports, and pop culture

MUSIC

RIP Keely Smith

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron

Keep On Doing What You’re Doing/Jerks On The Loose – Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor

Two songs from Björk’s 2017 album Utopia

Dmitri Shostakovich – Waltz No. 2

Regretro -Lifestyle album

The Last Day of Summer – Elyxr, ft Color Theory

Retrospect -Freen in Green, ft. Liz Enthusiasm

Heavensent – Bao

TWO TICKET TO PHUKET

Sufjan Stevens, Chris Cornell, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Taylor Swift on longlist for Best Original Song Oscar

Dominic Frontiere, Composer for ‘The Outer Limits,’ ‘The Flying Nun,’ Dies at 86

Ted Danson turns 70

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska — Capt. Amy Slinker, commander of the Alaska Army National Guard’s 134th Public Affairs Detachmen, poses for a photo with Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson during a meet and greet event held Nov. 6, 2010. Photo by Maj. Guy Hayes, Alaska National Guard Public Affairs Office.

There’s a cover story about Ted Danson in AARP, The Magazine, with a coquettish tease about him revealing his age. Interestingly, it states that, while his career may have hit a peak with the May 20, 1993 final episode of the TV show Cheers, his personal life was “approaching a nadir.”

“He had suffered through a costly divorce, his highly publicized 18-month relationship with Whoopi Goldberg was ending, and he found himself at the center of [a] controversy over his notorious appearance in blackface at a Friars Club roast.”

His life turned around when he met actress Mary Steenbergen, and hers as well. He stopped playing the carousing lightweight of Cheers and the movie Three Men and a Baby. I’m not the only one who thinks bartender Sam Malone was written more stupidly over the 11 years of Cheers.

After being in dramas such as Damages and CSI, Danson’s back in a comedy, The Good Place, which is, or not, about heaven. He notes, “Professional athletes are always in rehab and laying hurt. That’s me at 70. I have to work harder to memorize my lines. Same with my body – I have to work a little harder, but so what?”

As a regular reader of Ken Levine’s blog, I’m amazed how often the former writer of Cheers has mentioned Ted Danson, and always in a positive light. On December 24, in listing his blessings, Levine noted which actors were a pleasure to work with and Danson tops the roster.

Guest blogger Dave Hackel explained how Danson took the job on Becker, the misanthrope who was the opposite of Sam Malone.

Danson twice has played characters distant from his real personality. “Sam Malone was a former athlete and womanizer. Ted knew very little about baseball and was as far from a Lothario as one could be. It actually took him a while that first year to get into a groove because he was so the opposite of Sam. And then as Becker. Ted is the world’s nicest guy playing a disagreeable crank.”

Also, listen to Episode 50 of Levine’s podcast for an Behind The Scenes Cheers Episode Commentary, naturally mentioning Ted Danson throughout.

Stan Lee turns 95, true believers

When I started reading Marvel Comics in the early 1970s, Stan Lee wasn’t writing them anymore. He became the publisher right around that time. When I started looking back at what came out before I started collecting, Stan the Man was in the center of it all.

As most even casual comic readers know, the man born Stanley Lieber co-created the Avengers, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, the Silver Surfer, Spider-Man, Thor, and the X-Men, among many others in a shared superhero universe.

Moreover, it’s was Stan’s Soapbox which really established the Marvel brand throughout several comic books by various creative teams. He also “addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice.”

Lee took a lot of grief, not entirely of his making, because Marvel, in the main, created him, if not entirely fairly financially, then certainly less badly than Lee’s co-creators, people such as Steve Ditko, and especially the late Jack “King” Kirby. This was particularly egregious because of what was dubbed the Marvel method, as described in the Wikipedia:

“Typically, Lee would brainstorm a story with the artist and then prepare a brief synopsis rather than a full script. Based on the synopsis, the artist would fill the allotted number of pages by determining and drawing the panel-to-panel storytelling. After the artist turned in penciled pages, Lee would write the word balloons and captions, and then oversee the lettering and coloring. In effect, the artists were co-plotters, whose collaborative first drafts Lee built upon.”

This tension has largely dissipated to a great degree when Kirby’s heirs settled with Marvel in 2014, which has meant the artists behind the characters are getting on-screen notice as well as compensation when those films show up in the movies.

And speaking of cinema, Stan Lee has cameo appearances in every single feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This means that he has appeared in the movies that have grossed more money than any other actor. More than Harrison Ford or Tom Hanks or Frank Welker or even Marvel movies actor Samuel L. Jackson.

“At the 2016 Comic-Con International, Lee introduced his digital graphic novel Stan Lee’s ‘God Woke’, with text originally written as a poem he presented at Carnegie Hall in 1972. The print-book version won the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards’ Outstanding Books of the Year Independent Voice Award.”

Sadly, Joan, Stan’s wife of nearly 70 years died on July 6, 2017 at the age of 95.

Fun Home, the musical

Fun Home

My wife and I saw Fun Home at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady back in November, and it was revelatory.

It’s about a girl named Alison, played at three points in her life, by three different actors. Small Alison lives in a funeral home with her brothers, making up would-be commercials for the facility. Her father Bruce is a professor but also the funeral director. Helen, his wife, tries to keep the house up to his exacting standards or retreats to playing the piano.

Medium Alison goes away to college, realizes she is a lesbian but is not eager to share this news with her father. She sings my favorite song from the show, “Changing My Major,” a paean to her girlfriend Joan. The adult Alison ruminates on all of this, including the death of her father shortly after she came out; is there a connection between the two events? Sometimes, there are two or even three Alisons on stage simultaneously.

The musical was adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir. It is not at all a linear telling but bounces back and forth in time, yet it works.

I’ve had the cast album for well over a year, so I knew the songs. “Ring of Keys” by Small Alison & Alison is another favorite. But “Days and Days,” sung by Helen near the end of the production, was particularly moving in the show I saw.

Considering that the show won the 2015 Best Musical Tony for Best Musical in 2015 and other awards, I was slightly surprised how many people are unfamiliar with the story. Then again, I actually WATCH the Tonys.

Not only that, one of my colleagues had a relative who played one of Small Alison’s brothers, so she’d seen the show on Broadway. She’s also seen a couple other productions and shared with me the fact that the show can be performed “in the round” or on a traditional stage.

It’s an odd thing getting a subscription for Sundays when the shows only run six days, starting on Tuesdays. I see the last show before it leaves town, and can’t say, “Go see it!” And in the case of Fun Home, I’ve discovered that the touring company ended its run on December 3.

This means that perhaps some local theater company in your area will be doing a production. I imagine it will be worthwhile.

The Lydster: when your heroes have feet of clay

Our family has developed a ritual of turning on CBS News This Morning to watch the 7 a.m. “eye-opener.” The morning of Tuesday, November 21, the Daughter noticed that Charlie Rose, co-anchor of the program wasn’t on, which wasn’t that odd.

What WAS unusual was the fact that in that segment of “your world in 90 seconds,” Charlie Rose DID appear. He had been suspended by CBS News the night before over sexual misconduct, as reported in the Washington Post, part of a string of men caught up recently. A reporter laid out the case, and then the other co-hosts, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King, forcefully showed their disdain and shock.

And while she hadn’t said anything at the time, I could see the Daughter was confused and disappointed. I’ll admit I was, and that went for my wife as well. What I didn’t know at the time was that, a couple years prior, she’d written some report for school about the now-75-year-old anchor and contributor on 60 Minutes.

It’s that weird thing about how you begin to feel about people when you metaphorically let them into your home. You get a sense that you know a person. Heck, Norah and especially Gayle had expressed shock at the allegations, and they worked with the man for five years.

The initial allegations concerned his show put together by his production company, and airing on PBS and Bloomburg, prior to 2011. By the time he was fired, less than a day later, the accusations also included more recent events, including at CBS.

Of course, you DON’T know the people you see on TV or listen to on the radio. What I thought that knew about O.J. Simpson and especially Bill Cosby made their falls from grace much more difficult to comprehend.

We all discover that our heroes sometimes have feet of clay, and that’s an uncomfortable part of the learning process. It sucks, no matter at what age it happens.

All I want for Christmas this year

My wife asked me for my Christmas wish list. I want the new Hess toy truck, and…

I was stumped. I didn’t have a book I wanted that would sit on my “I really need to read that” pile. There’s always music but I don’t always listen to what I have already.

Unfortunately, what I REALLY want is a country that believes in encouraging people to cast their ballots and one person, one vote, rather than restricting the franchise and gerrymandering their districts.

I want a country that values our natural resources, rather than ignoring climate change and despoiling the earth for profit. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, ” as it says in Numbers.

I want a country that doesn’t elect known sexual predators to high office.

I want a country that welcomes the immigrant and appreciate the strength that diversity brings to the country, rather than promoting bigotry and divisiveness. “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land.” (Leviticus 19:33)

I want a country that provides a living wage and a secure safety net, with access to resources for those who need it, rather than tax breaks for those with private planes. “If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.” (Isaiah 58:10)

I want a country that believes in transparency of government, not backroom dealings with lobbyists.

I want a country that works for peace, not goads others into war. “Let there be peace on earth,” and all that.

You get the idea.

And the really annoying thing about my Christmas wish list is that there is not anything that will fit on Santa’s sleigh.

Even worse, in order for me to be able to get the presents I want, I, and a whole slew of of other folks will have to work, to fight to make it happen.

What kind of presents are these anyway? They are the presents that require us to be present.

Ugh, activism. OK, then, let’s see how close I can get to matching up with my wishlist.

But I still want the Hess truck.

Merry Christmas.

Y is for the year 2018

2017 was so …interesting that I’m actually looking forward to 2018. The number 2018, of course is not a prime number, obviously divisible by 2, but 1009 IS a prime number.

This coming February 9th through 25th, the Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This will be very interesting for a couple reasons: the ongoing belligerence between the United States and North Korea which we HOPE doesn’t lead to all-out war; and Russia being banned from the Games because of a doping scandal, though some of their athletes may compete under the Olympic flag.

On April 4–15, the 2018 Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Seventy countries will compete in athletics, badminton, boxing, hockey, lawn bowls, netball (for women), rugby sevens, squash, swimming, weightlifting and more. Sounds exciting, and less controversial.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be held in Russia, mostly west of the Urals, June 14 – July 15. Unfortunately, the US did not make the cut.

On June 24, Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive. RADICAL!

Mars will make its closest approach to Earth since 2003 on July 27.

In the United States, about a third of the 100 US Senators (upper house) and all 435 members are up for reelection in November. There’s no secret that incumbents do quite well generally. Still, the changing political terrain has CNN dubbing 2018 the year of women; I’ve heard that before, but next year, it MAY actually come true.

Ericsson has identified 10 Hot Consumer Trends for the upcoming year, among them, Your body is the user interface and Augmented hearing.

Pinterest has also weighed in with The top trends to try in 2018. For instance, Food: Healthy meets tasty. Good to know.

Inc has sought 22 Predictions for 2018. Some of them seem to contradict each other. “The artificial intelligence (AI) hype bubble will burst.” “Artificial intelligence (AI) will drive smart video meetings.”

Hope your 2018 is grand.

Music throwback Christmas all over again

Here’s a great thing about when someone puts labels on posts on the Blogger platform: you can access Jaquandor’s Daily Dose of Christmas, not just for this year, but for several years back. You’re welcome.

A couple new tracks from this year:

Indigo Christmas -Theresa Olin, written by Linda Bonney Olin

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – MonaLisa Twins

Away in a Manger – Pentatonix

You Ain’t Gettin’ S#!t (For Xmas) – Emily “Boo Boo” Miller

Some random older cuts I’ve come across:

Christmas Rappin’- Kurtis Blow, 1979

The Christians and The Pagans – Dar Williams

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love, from her recurring appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love, from her recurring appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

We Need A Little Christmas – Angela Lansbury, from the Broadway musical MAME

Winter Song – Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson

Chrissy The Christmas Mouse – Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Allan Sherman

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

A Shadows of Knight mashup of a Christmas carol and a Dave Brubeck hit

Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger, which I have on some holiday record or other

Plus: Coverville 1197: The 2017 Christmas Cover Show

Finally, some tunes I tend to play every year:

Every Valley – Handel’s Messiah, A Soulful Celebration; it was such a great surprise

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole; my late mom was a huge fan of Nat

White Christmas – the Drifters; not just the song but this particular animation I love

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi, from a Charlie Brown Christmas

The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet, from the very first A Very Special Christmas album in 1987

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty, from the second A Very Special Christmas album in 1992; I can’t believe he’s gone

Winter Snow – Booker T. and the MG’S (at 2:30) – Silver Bells is OK, but Winter Snow, which I first head on that first Stax-Volt box set, really gets to me

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder; there are quite a few Motown Christmas albums and this is my favorite cut, the last song on the Someday at Christmas album from 1967

The Bells of Christmas -Julie Andrews; the version I have on vinyl skips the unnecessary instrumentation from about 1:08 to 2:02, which appeared on an album from Firestone tires in the 1960s. Oh, here it is at 17:05

I never voted for Jimmy Carter

Chris wondered:
You voted third party? What made Jimmy Carter unattractive?

Hey, I was young and foolish and headstrong. In 1976, I wanted to vote for Eugene McCarthy in the Democratic presidential primary. Remember him, the guy who challenged President Lyndon Johnson in the 1968 New Hampshire primary and received 43% of the vote, which prompted LBJ not to seek reelection?

But the Carter forces in New York State got Clean Gene knocked off the ballot. I had no idea how or why at the time, but I now wonder if it was because, as the Wikipedia states, he had quit the Democratic party. In any case, that anti-democratic behavior really ticked me off.

In the race between President Gerald Ford and the peanut farmer from Georgia, I opted to vote for McCarthy; I don’t think he was on the ballot in my state, though he was in about 2/3s of the others, so I wrote him in.

I rather liked Jimmy Carter as President early on. He was saying enough of the right things for me, especially when he talked about conserving energy. Sitting in the White House wearing a sweater, he called the energy crisis the Moral Equivalent Of War. But it wasn’t what the country, already feeling down after Watergate and Vietnam, wanted to hear; his plan was ridiculed as MEOW.

Still, it was the Iran hostage crisis that began on November 4, 1979, that did him in. Maybe not immediately. But as the news networks started delaying their late-night programming in favor of 15 minutes of news from Tehran – DAY 42, DAY 108, DAY 159 – it made him appear weak, and the failed rescue mission even more so.

When Senator Edward Kennedy and California governor Jerry Brown challenged him in the primaries, this just codified that feeling that Jimmy Carter was ineffectual. I worried about Teddy running, fearing that if he had won, he would die in office, like Presidents elected in years ending with zero, going back to 1840, and the fact that all of his brothers (Joe, Jack, Bobby) had died violently. Despite that, and despite Chappaquiddick, I’m pretty sure I voted for him.

Of course, a battered Carter prevailed at the Democratic convention and faced the Republican, Ronald Reagan, who I disliked intensely from when he was governor of California. He was also challenged by Congressman John Anderson of Illinois. But I didn’t vote for ANY of them.

I figured that if I were going to throw away my vote, I had to REALLY toss it. I had read the 1971 book The Closing Circle by Barry Commoner, where he “suggested that the American economy should be restructured to conform to the unbending laws of ecology.” I voted for him – he was on the ballot in New York – and he came in fifth nationally, behind the Libertarian.

So it wasn’t that I disliked Jimmy Carter, or thought he was that bad. It was that he didn’t excite me, inspire me. I also figured that if Reagan were to get elected, the Democratic Congress would keep him in check. HA!

Of course, in hindsight James Earl Carter wasn’t THAT bad a President. And he is is, by far, the best ex-President ever.