Stephen King turns 70

Considering I’ve read almost nothing of the writings of Stephen King, and and have watched relatively little of the films based on his work, I nevertheless enjoy his observations about the world.

The first movie I ever saw based on a book of his was The Shining (1980), which I pretty much hated. And it’s because of what happens early on, when the Jack Nicholson character looks crazy pretty much as soon as he’s gotten the keys to the hotel. So the wave of blood in the hall isn’t even scary, it’s comical.

Stand by Me (1986), based on his novella The Body, I loved; a great coming-of-age story. Misery (1990) I Liked a lot, surprisingly given the sudden violence. The Green Mile (1999) I had some problems with, but enjoyed well enough.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994), based on the short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is one of my favorite films, and that’s true for a lot of people. The fact it was a commercial dud before finding its audience somehow makes the movie more satisfying.

That’s it, out of over 200 writing credits. I saw a little of the remake of The Shining (1997), but not enough to count.

I’ve read various comic book adaptations of the work of Stephen King. None was rendered better than Creepshow by the late Berni Wrightson.

The ONLY book of his I ever read cover to cover was 11-22-63, and I read it in less than a month. I know this because I took the then-newish, 800+ page tome out on a 14-day checkout, and I renewed it only once. But I was not interested enough to watch the 2016 miniseries.

Still, I’m interested in what he thinks on a variety of topics. If I were to read another of his books, it would probably be On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Here are some nifty quotes from the book. Possibly my favorite: “If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.”

He also has some things to say about politics which I must admit dovetail with my worldview.

Happy birthday to the King of Horror.

Advertisements

Yes, I DID have a happy birthday, thank you

Each month, when there’s a birthday in our office at work, someone, usually the boss, will ask, “What did you do on your birthday?” I thought I’d write it down while I can still remember.

My bride and I got up and had breakfast at a sandwich shop nearby. We might have opted for a more leisurely locale except that: 1) she had to report for jury duty and 2) I had a massage scheduled, and they’ve moved to a place I wasn’t exactly sure of. But find it I did, and it was especially needed.

I walked home, read some newspapers, watched a little TV, notably CBS Sunday Morning, which I never watch actually on the Sabbath, when The Wife came home around noon. Apparently, the court impaneled enough people before they even got into the courtroom.

I went to the library for an hour to blog. For some reason, I find that the most efficient venue to write, in a public setting, near the guy making wheezing noises, and the guy with the peculiar laugh.

The three of us went out to dinner at a family-style restaurant recommended by a bus driver I know. It had been opened since 1996, and I must have passed it dozens of times, but I had never even heard of it. It was good food, though, interestingly, the chicken parm was better as leftovers.

When we got home, PRESENTS! This included Odetta singing Dylan from the 1960s, though the CD version was released around the turn of the millennium. I also received March Book 2, the last of the trilogy penned by Georgia Congressman John Lewis that I received. I got Book 3 as a review copy and Book 1 for Christmas.

Oh, Jaquandor wrote a blog post in my honor!

The following Saturday, I held my annual hearts card game. It’s useful to do this in part because it forces us to clean the house more thoroughly. We talked a lot, ate a lot, and even played cards; I even won one, and by “shooting the moon”, taking all the points, on the last hand.

To paraphrase some song, a splendid time was guaranteed for all.

Stevie Wonder is 65

swonderPortraitSince I’ve tried to list my favorite songs by an artist on his/her 70th birthday, and Stevie Wonder’s is five years away, what to do this year?

Fortunately, I found this nifty list of songs written, co-written, by Stevie for other artists. Occasionally (Whitney, Macca, and Jermaine), Stevie also performs. These are listed, more or less up to my favorite Stevie song first recorded by another artist; Stevie did subsequently cover a couple of these. LISTEN TO ALL.

1974 Perfect Angel – Minnie Riperton (S.Wonder) Continue reading

Songs on my birthday, 2004-2014

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

Katy Perry, Lady Gaga

My friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

2/21/04 Twista feat. Kanye West & Jamie Foxx – Slow Jamz
2/28/04 <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSPhCS-15eE&feature=youtu.be&quot; target=_new.Usher feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris – Yeah!
5/22/04 Usher -Burn

Slow Jamz has lyric content I hate. Didn’t know either Usher song, but wasn’t thrilled with Yeah, so I’ll pick Burn, unheard.

1/1/05 Mario – Let Me Love You
3/5/05 50 Cent feat. Olivia – Candy Shop
5/7/05 Gwen Stefani Hollaback Girl

I like the Mario song, but I really like the Stefani song. The 50 Cent song, which I didn’t know, I pretty much hate.

1/21/06 Nelly feat. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp – Grillz
2/4/06 Beyonce feat. Slim Thug – Check On It
3/11/06 James Blunt – You’re Beautiful

Don’t know Grillz, though I probably heard it at some point. Didn’t know the Beyonce either, though it should be noted that she mentioned twerking much earlier than the general public was aware of it; it did not do much for me on first listen. Blunt, by default.

2/24/07 Nelly Furtado – Say It Right
3/3/07 Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around…Comes Around
3/10/07 Mims – This Is Why I’m Hot

That I really never heard ANY of these I must attribute to raising a toddler. Rather like the Timberlake song, now that I’ve listened to it. If there are songs you think I REALLY need to hear on this list, please let me know.

11/31/07 Alicia Keys – No One
1/5/08 Flo Rida feat. T-Pain – Low
3/15/08 Usher feat. Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Another trio of songs I don’t know. I realize that I must be a real prude, because all these songs specifically about sex make me uncomfortable. So I’ll select Alicia Keys, unheard.

2/21/09 Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent – Crack A Bottle
2/28/09 Flo Rida – Right Round
4/11/09 Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Two Flo Rida songs in a row! I like this one a lot more than the other; it sounds familiar after I played it. Still, I’ll pick Gaga.

1/2/10 Ke$ha – TiK ToK
3/6/10 The Black Eyed Peas – Imma Be Rocking That Body
3/20/10 Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris – Break Your Heart

I like the idea of the Peas’ song more than its execution. Don’t know the Cruz song. I vaguely remember the Ke$ha song which has too much Autotune for my taste, but I’ll pick it anyway.

2/19/11 Wiz Khalifa – Black And Yellow
2/26/11 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
4/9/11 Katy Perry feat. Kanye West – E.T.

I’ve been reading this book about the Beatles, and note that they were struggling to figure out their own philosophy/theology. Gaga seems to have known right off; I pick that one. It STILL sounds like a Madonna tune, though. Don’t know the Khalifa song, and only barely remember the Perry song.

2/18/12 Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
3/3/12 Katy Perry – Part Of Me
3/17/12 Fun. feat. Janelle Monae – We Are Young

For the first time in years, I actually had heard all three songs before! I’ve always had affection for Kelly Clarkson from that first season of American Idol. The changing rhythms of the Fun. song intrigue me. I like the empowerment angle in the Perry song, so I’ll keep that.

2/2/13 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz – Thrift Shop
3/2/13 Baauer – Harlem Shake
4/20/13 Bruno Mars – When I Was Your Man

I think Thrift Shop must be a good song, because it conveys the ick factor of used merchandise. I remember when I got the video for Harlem Shuffle before it was popular, and I noted that I didn’t “get” it; it WAS a different video. That leaves the straight-ahead Bruno Mars tune that I’ll choose.

1/18/14 Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – Timber
2/8/14 Katy Perry feat. Juicy J – Dark Horse
3/29/14 Pharrell Williams – Happy

There are parts of Timber I like, mostly the sections without Pitbull. I didn’t know the Perry song, and it didn’t grab me. I read later it’s some sort of “reheated trip hop”; you know you’re getting old when the description of the music is meaningless to you.

So I’ll pick Happy. There was one of those online polls of the worst pop song, the kind of thing I usually pick the Men in My Little Girl’s Life by Mike Douglas (#6 in ’66 – sign of the devil) or We Built This City. Happy showed up several times. I think they are conflating bad songs with songs people get tired of hearing (Freebird, Stairway to Heaven, Yesterday, Piano Man); doesn’t mean the song is bad, but that it’s been heard too often.

Songs on my birthday, 1994-2003

celine.dionMy friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

1/22/94 Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, And Sting – All For Love
2/12/94 Celine Dion – The Power Of Love
3/12/94 Ace Of Base – The Sign

I played the Dion song, because I didn’t recognize the song by the title, but I HAVE heard the chorus. Neither this nor the Three Musketeers song is my cuppa. Continue reading

#1 songs on my birthday, 1984-1993

mariah-carey-whitney-houstonMy friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

2/4/84 Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
2/25/84 Van Halen – Jump
3/31/84 Kenny Loggins – Footloose

I own all three of these; this may be the last time that’s true. Footloose is fun, and I like the Boy George song, but this is probably my favorite Van Halen tunes, certainly my favorite of their hits.

2/2/85 Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
2/16/85 Wham! feat. George Michael – Careless Whisper
3/9/85 REO Speedwagon Can’t Fight This Feeling
Continue reading

#1 songs on my birthday, 1974-1983

Bee_Gees_Stayin_AliveMy friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

2/9/74 Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love’s Theme
3/2/74 Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun
3/23/74 Cher – Dark Lady
Continue reading

Leonard Cohen is 80

Leonard_CohenI don’t have a lot of the music of Leonard Cohen, “Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist.” I have a lot of Leonard Cohen music.

OK, I only have one or two of his albums, on vinyl, and none on CD. He is an acquired taste as a singer, yet I must say that I’ve added his new album, Popular Problems, to my wish list, and not just because he could use the money.

But I have a number of songs written by Cohen and performed by other artists Continue reading