2021

Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Four-Pick 13-Baker Street-Gerry Rafferty (1978)

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Baker Street Gerry Rafferty Blog Image One
Image Credit: ladiscothequeabob.blogspot.com

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.

I nearly abandoned the rest of the 1970s for the 1980s until Quinn’s pick. Listening, again, to Tears for Fears reminded me of how much I love a saxophone in rock music. I think I might stay in 1978 for a little while. It was a good year, musically…for me, anyway. I can remember buying this 45 at a Woolworths in my hometown’s only mall. I also remember playing it on my little suitcase record player. I was eleven at the time. There’s not much that Gerry Rafferty put out that I didn’t like. ~Vic

A Scotsman (I am from Clan MacPherson), Rafferty’s first band was The Humblebums (founded in 1965), joining comic Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in 1969. Harvey departed shortly afterwards and, in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo album when he and Connolly parted company. In 1972, he joined with Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel, their biggest hit being Stuck In The Middle With You from their first, self-titled album. After disbanding in 1975, legal issues over Stealers Wheel prevented him from releasing new material for three years.

Baker Street, the second track from the album City To City, was released February 3, 1978 or, possibly, January 20, 1978, depending and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 22, 1978. It made it to #2 the week of June 24, 1978 and stayed there, stuck behind Andy Gibb‘s Shadow Dancing, for six weeks (as a side note, my paternal aunt gave me the Shadow Dancing 8-track album for my twelfth birthday and it was shoved into a brand new stereo system from my parents):

Bill Wardlow & Cher Getty Image Two
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Bill Wardlow & Cher
September 18, 1976

“…Baker Street was a smash and it allegedly took some serious chart chicanery to keep it out of the #1 spot. [It] stalled out at #2 right as […] Gibb’s Shadow Dancing was in the midst of its seven-week run at #1. According to legend, the chart tabulators at Billboard had actually figured out that Baker Street had finally ascended to the #1 spot in one of those [seven] weeks and they’d called the new chart into the producers at Casey Kasem’s radio show, America’s Top 40 [sic]. But, because of a last-minute correction, Kasem had to re-record the end of that week’s show, putting Shadow Dancing back on top.

According to rumor, Bill Wardlow, Billboard chart director, made the call to keep Shadow Dancing at #1. Wardlow had supposedly gone to dinner with Andy Gibb’s managers and he’d mentioned that Baker Street had knocked Shadow Dancing out of the #1 spot. Gibb had been scheduled to perform at a Billboard-sponsored show in New York and his label threatened to pull him from the bill if Billboard didn’t keep Shadow Dancing on top…so that’s why Baker Street never got to #1. This is all pure speculation and hearsay but, it’s a good story. Record labels have been doing everything in their power to game the Billboard charts ever since those charts began and it certainly seems possible that Baker Street could’ve been a casualty of all that.

Tom Breihan
The Number Ones Bonus Tracks
Stereogum
September 22, 2020

“While doing a bit of research the other day, I found myself poking around the edition of Billboard dated February 17, 1973 (PDF), as one does.

Here’s some of what’s inside:
Willis “Bill” Wardlow has been named associate publisher of Billboard. Over the next several years, Wardlow would be responsible for occasionally jiggering the Billboard charts to reward or punish record labels and to do favors for industry friends. As we learned a few years ago, his manipulations led to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” spending only 12 hours at #1.”

J. A. Bartlett
The Only War
The Hits Just Keep On Comin’
February 24, 2021

Additional Reading:
40 Years Later: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street ~ The Most Controversial No. 2 Song Ever? (DJ Rob Blog/04-17-2018)
Baker Street: The Mystery of Rock’s Greatest Sax Riff (The Atlantic/Adam Chandler/12-17-2015)
Scott Paton: Billboard Insider Comment (The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Website/AT40 From The Inside/09-16-2013)

Lyrics

Long Version

Smoking The Bible

POTD: Sturgeon Moon 2009

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I’ve been digging around in some old photos. I stumbled across this…apropos for the month. Full illumination for the August 2009 moon occurred at 8:54pm EDT on the 5th. I almost nailed the day! I did a 2018 post and a post last year. I didn’t take this one. This shot is much clearer than what my stupid-phone can come up with. It belongs to my buddy Ray and he doesn’t remember where he took it. The upcoming full moon will be full on the 22nd at 8:02am EDT. ~Vic

Sturgeon Moon August 2009
Photo Credit: Ray Tutterow
08-08-2009
Click for a larger view.

Picture of the Day

Story Sunday: HiccAway

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HiccAway Oddity Image One
Image Credit: Oddity Central

The Plastic Straw That Can Instantly Cure Hiccups…

Described as a “forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool”, HiccAway is essentially a special type of plastic straw scientifically designed to almost instantly cure hiccups. According to a new study, the L-shaped tool works in 92% of cases.

From holding your breath and drinking water, to jump scares and anti-hiccup lollypops, there is no shortage of hiccup cures in the world, which only emphasizes how pesky of a problem it can be. Unfortunately, few, if any, have a proven track record when it comes to efficiency but, luckily, we now have a scientific solution that promises to end those annoying hiccups […]. [T]here’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

When we get the hiccups, our diaphragm and intercostal muscles suddenly contract and, the abrupt intake of air causes the opening between the vocal folds to produce that “hic” sounds every one of us has experienced at least once in our lives. Luckily, simply using the HiccAway to sip a bit of water from a glass apparently cures the hiccups almost instantly.

The HiccAway straw has a mouthpiece at one end and an adjustable cap with a pressure valve, in the form of a small hole, at the other. The intense suction required to draw water up through the device requires the phrenic nerve to trigger a contraction of the diaphragm, while swallowing the water involves activation of the vagus nerve. It’s these two nerves that are responsible for the hiccups in the first place, so by keeping them busy with something else, we keep them from producing the annoying phenomenon.

Dr. Ali Seifi, a neurointensivist from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, came up with the design for the HiccAway after seeing his son’s McFlurry ice cream spoon. In fact, he says people can try to make one from a McFlurry spoon by sealing up most of the small hole at the top, to increase suction pressure. Or, you can just buy the real thing, for $14.

[T]he HiccAway works by essentially making our brain forget to keep spasming that diaphragm.

Spooky
Oddity Central
June 22, 2021

POTD: Strawberry Full Moon

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I’ve done previous Strawberry Moon posts, the first, of which, I did shortly after returning to blogging after a four year absence. I think I have covered all the data.

Full illumination occurred June 24 @ 2:39pm EDT. You can howl if you want to. Go ahead. ~Vic

Full Strawberry Moon 2021 Image
Strawberry Moon 2021

Picture of the Day

Flower Moon 2021

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I’ve done two previous posts. I did the big write-up in 2019. The second post in 2020 had some older pix. My stupidphone still can’t get a clear moon shot but, it does make an artistic blur. Today’s Full Moon for EDT occurred at 7:13a but, tonight’s Moon rise was around 10:20p. Howl for me! ~Vic

Flower Moon 2021 Image One
Held in place by wires.
Flower Moon 2021 Image Two
Peeking thru the leaves.

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Seven-Pick Six-Cop Land 1997

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Cop Land Miramax IMDb & Amazon Image One
Photo Credit: Miramax, IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.

Category: Crime/Film Noir
Film: Cop Land

Written and directed by James Mangold, it was executive produced by the Weinstein brothers (though their names have been removed from the Wikipedia article). Released August 6, 1997 in New York (premiere) and nationwide on August 15, it was an incredible ensemble cast of Sly Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Janeane Garafalo, Edie Falco, Michael Rapoport, Annabella Sciorra, John Spencer, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Emmerich, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur Nascarella and, cameos of Deborah Harry & Geraldo Rivera.

Sylvester Stallone put on 40 pounds to play Nowheresville, N.J., sheriff Freddy Heflin in Cop Land […]. His town is run by Ray Donlan (Keitel) and the other New York cops who have settled there with their families. He wears blinders when it comes to their lawbreaking and mob dealings. Moe Tilden (De Niro), the internal-affairs officer out to get the goods on Cop Land, correctly pegs Freddy as “a man looking for something to do.” Keitel’s [Donlan] exudes dangerous energy. He cares for his own as long as they don’t cross him […]. Robert Patrick brings sly menace to Rucker […]. Ray Liotta […], as Gary Figgis, [is] a tainted cop who sides with Freddy.

Mangold […] has a rare talent for finding the human drama in ordinary lives.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 15, 1997

Stallone IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb

Writer-director James Mangold […] wrangles an impressive cast […] and spins a compelling tale of cancerous corruption among a secretive group of New York’s finest who have settled in the fictional New Jersey burg of Garrison. [Stallone] indeed looks chunky and plays the sleepy, docile Sheriff […] with sluggishness to spare in a largely commendable performance as a half-deaf small-town dreamer. [He] is not given much in the way of memorable dialogue but, he makes the character work […]. [Having] yet to replace his LP of The River with a CD, [he] carries a torch for the local Jersey girl (Sciorra) he saved from drowning…the reason for his loss of hearing in one ear…[he] once longed to be a big-city cop but, had to settle for policing them.

Freddy gradually realizes that he doesn’t like how the town has turned out.

David Hunter
The Hollywood Reporter
August 11, 1997

I saw this at the theater when it came out and caught it, again, a few nights ago. I was born and raised in law enforcement and, worked in it, too (non-sworn). I’ve known good cops and I’ve known some really bad ones. I love a well written cop movie and this was an unusual one in that Stallone wasn’t playing a bad ass like Rambo, Cobra, Tango, John Spartan (though I do love that movie) or Ray Quick. This character was different…subdued. His scenes with Annabella Sciorra have Springsteen playing in the background which adds depth and texture to the mood. This is clearly a period piece as all the vehicles, hair cuts and clothing styles are, effectively, early 80s. The River came out in 1980 and music from the Director’s Cut, like Blue Oyster Cult‘s Burnin’ For You came out in 1981. This also manages to cover the Crime category via IMDb and the Film Noir category, simultaneously, via Historical Dictionary of Film Noir (2010). ~Vic

Trivia Bits:
There is a disclaimer at the end of the credits which states “This film is a work of fiction. It is currently illegal for New York City Police officers to live outside the state of New York.”
♦ Arthur J. Nascarella was a real-life NYPD officer.
Debbie Harry acted in the movie but, was edited out in the final cut. She explained on a live television special that although she was cut, she still got paid.
♦ In the scene in which Ray Liotta confronts Robert Patrick in the bar, the dart that Liotta shoves up Patrick’s left nostril was made out of rubber.
♦ Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and John Travolta were considered for Sheriff Freddy Heflin.

Stallone’s Variety Interview 2019

Awards & Nominations

The Making of an Urban Western

Shutterbug Saturday: First Snow 2021

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We don’t get the snow like we used to when I was a kid. I remember lots of snow and ice in the 70s. There were some decent snows in the middle 80s. There was one big snowstorm in early 1996 and that was the last one I saw until the two snow bombs in 2018. I spent nearly a decade in Texas and, I saw one small snow covering and two minor ice storms. That was it.

Here is our first snow of 2021. Colorado has gotten some, too. ~Vic

Snow Trucks Image One
A little dusting on the trucks.
01-28-2021
Click for a larger view.
Dogwood In The Dark Image Two
Cold little Dogwood.
Click for a larger view.
Dark Snowy Street Image Three
Snowy street corner.
Click for a larger view.

POTD: Ilex

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Happy New Year! 2020? Good riddance.

Now that I got that out of my system, I am officially retiring my Flower for the Day posts. I will continue to post flowers and/or pretty leaves and/or trees and/or other plants. I will just be posting them under the Picture of the Day heading.

Everyone will recognize this as Holly but, which one of the 600 species it could be? Even Pl@ntNet isn’t helping. My wild-ass guess is Ilex Cornuta or Burfordii Compacta or Burfordii Nana or Dwarf Burford. After all that, it’s still a Holly. It’s lovely for Merry Christmases and New Years. ~Vic

Holly Bush/Tree Image
02-13-2020
Click for a larger view.

Picture of the Day

Song Sunday: Desperate But Not Serious

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Adam Ant Image One
Image Credit: lettiemusic.wordpress.com

“If you don’t stop, you will go blind…”

Rolling down the Samsung playlist for a Sunday evening submission, we come to Adam Ant or, Stuart Leslie Goddard and Desperate But Not Serious. The fourth track from the album Friend or Foe, it was co-written by Goddard and Marco Pirroni and, released November 19, 1982, the third single from his solo debut. This is the album that brought us Goody Two Shoes that went to number #1 in Australia and the UK. Desperate didn’t fare as well peaking at #33 in the UK and #66 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

I bought the album as a cassette and nearly wore it out. This is what I term as eclectic music. It’s different, it’s catchy, Goddard has a crazy voice that he plays to the hilt and the writing is very coy and, tongue-in-cheek. He will be at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, April 28, 2021. I’ve been to that venue many times. I would love to see him there.

Lyrics