September 2015

"Important Information! Open Immediately!" Whenever you see these words on an envelope, it means the exact opposite: you should discard it immediately! Hopefully, this important tidbit will actually be helpful to you. If not, no harm done, I write to amuse myself and horrify friends and family!

In order to keep you reading, I am offering a contest somewhere on this page, where the winner could get to pull a Benjamin out of my wallet. Be sure to check it out!

It's been a while since I wrote some words of wisdom.  Mostly this is due to procrastination, and also a fear of saying something an IEEE lawyer would find "actionable".  For example, I am biting my tongue on the Republican debates.  And religion.  And immigration. And education. But there's still plenty of Important Information I can share that helps you keep up with current world events.

Triple Crown Winner

In case you haven't heard, American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015, the first horse to win in 37 years. I'd bet that I am the only person reading this who placed a bet on him in all three races. I'm not cashing the tickets, I'm going to frame them.  That picture is from Wikipedia, in case a lawyer asks where I got it. It's funny how American Pharoah got his mispelled name. The people responsible for registering the name couldn't spell "pharaoh". In any case, the name is unique, and so is the horse!

American Pharoah2

Jockey Victor Espinoza normally donates 10% of his winnings to a pediatric cancer research organization called City of Hope, but not this time. After winning big at Belmont, Espinoza gave them 100% of his Triple Crown earnings. He is an immigrant from Mexico. How much do you give?

In honor of this outstanding horse, I have been working on a Halloween costume, to which I assign no copyright (feel free to copy it, right?) I am still in need of some crowns, for this picture I just attached them with PowerPoint.  Perhaps I need to develop a way to hold it onto my head (bridle?), and it will obviously need a beverage injection system. And maybe some fake horse ears, I'll have to see what is in the recycle bin.

Triple crown2

Cree is now Wolfspeed

Just when we were done digesting the company name Qorvo, along comes Wolfspeed. It has some meaning behind it, to do with sports (how appropros for September...) The "Wolf Pack" is the name of the North Carolina State team (who knew? Just glad they weren't the Red Skins...), and the founders of Cree came from there.  Also, there are two "e"s in Cree and in "speed", a significant measure of the fifth letter of the alphabet. "W" on the periodic chart is the first letter for wolfram, another name for tungsten, and Mozart's first name was Wolfgang. However, the wolf is never the good guy in a fairy tale, just ask Aesop (The Boy Who Cried Wolf), the Grimm brothers (Little Red Riding Hood) and Joseph Jacobs (The Three Little Pigs), so  "wolf" scores 3 out of 6 for positive connotations if you count sports as important (I don't).  At the holiday party, Wolfspeed can play Duran Duran's 1982 new wave song "Hungry like the Wolf", not a particular favorite of mine as they say the title phrase so many times it is hard to count.  You can probably hire Duran Duran for short money, last I heard they were playing state fairs and casinos. Wolfspeed to you on your new journey, Wolfettes!

Did I mention it is childish to make sport of someone's given name? Yes it is, but not as childish as calling other players on the public playground names like "fat pig" and "loser". In third grade I held an advanced degree in such nonsense, thanks to neighbor kids such as Terrifically Tubby Ten-Ton Townsend and D&*%less Douglas Dirtbag DeCosta, so I know what I am talking about. I haven't seen Mr. D in almost fifty years, but Mr. T and I just had dinner without disparaging each other. He's still a little chunky.

Forever is not possible

There are lots of words that are misused, and "forever" suffers the most.  "I haven't eaten in forever" is simply not true. A recent paper proposes that we only have a few tens of billions of years left before the universe collapses. Forever is not even possible.

Here are two more words that bother me: "impactful" and "do". Impactful is inserted into sentences by people who are usually stretching the truth. "Do" is the new word for "have" in restaurants as in  "I'm gonna do the tuna steak."  Rewind the clock 30 years to when the word "do" meant something else entirely.  I just can't get that image out of my head. If you're really gonna do that tuna steak, at least get a room, I don't want to watch this.

Could your cell phone erase your hotel room key?

This is a new page, located here.

 September 2015 Contest! What do these three songs have in common? 

Update October 2015: This contest has already been won... the answer is, these songs are all cha-cha dance songs.  How can you tell?  They all end in the "cha-cha-cha beat! I've added two more songs below, one that ends in the actual words "cha-cha-cha", which has some interesting origins... No where else on the web will you find a list of songs that end in cha-cha-cha but here.  More solid gold from!

Here's three seemingly unrelated songs that I put together because of a problem I have with certain sounds (I notice sounds so much it hurts, part of the Engineering Spectrum Disorder). The first person who notices the similarity and sends me the correct answer wins fifty bucks! I'll double the award if the winner suggests a fourth song in the same category.  No, they are not in the same key. While we're on the subject, you can learn about some interesting people. And maybe I'll throw in a hint or two about the similarities...

Robin Luke, Susie Darlin, 1958

Robin Luke wrote and recorded Susie Darlin in Hawaii in 1958. Because of limited equipment, the recording was done by positive over-dubbing on a single tape, an exercise in frustration to say the least, especially when you live near a hospital and ambulances often whiz past your house... it literally took months to record this piece, but it hit #5 on the Billboard Chart. It also put him into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Hawaii is (at the time of this writing, 2015) the only state in the US where white people are a minority.  I doubt anyone in Honolulu loses sleep over that, but it is kind of sad how we took over the island from Queen Liliuokalani. No worse than what we did to Crazy Horse I guess.

Later, Robin Luke earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.  He was a professor and head of the Marketing Department at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. How's that for two impressive careers?

The Essex, Easier Said Than Done, 1963

Walter Vickers, Rudolph Johnson, Billie Hill and Anita Hume, four Marines stationed at Camp LeJeune, N.C., formed a group called The Essex in 1960.  In the summer of 1963, Roulette Records released the group's first single, Easier Said Than Done , recorded in a twenty minute session, and it charted to #1 in the United States. Anita Hume stayed with the military, even after a tour with Dick Clark. Two careers: one is fun, but the other is important... She died in 2010 at age 69.

Look at those faces... African Americans make up 20% of the United States armed forces while in total they make up just 13 percent of the US population. You'd better believe black lives matter, they are disproportionately on the front line of our defense. Does your presidential candidate have any skin in that game?

Did I mention that Victor Espinoza has agreed to be on the 2016 Dancing with The Stars TV show?  I don't watch TV much, but I wish him all the luck, he is certainly The Man.  Hey, this paragraph gave a second hint for the contest, I practically gave the answer away!!!

Stevie Wonder, I Just Called to say I Love You, 1984

This song went to #1 for three weeks in 1984 and remains one of Stevie Wonders' most popular works. Mr. Wonder is an integral part of the Steve Force that makes the universe better. The Steve Field has a few holes in it since Steve Jobs and Steve Irwin passed on, but we will keep it together for the good of humankind.

Stevie Wonder (born 1950) had the unfortunate timing (that's another hint!) of being a premature baby during the decade (roughly, 1942-1952) where hospitals immediately put them into a high oxygen atmosphere. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) caused blindness in at least 10,000 kids during that time, and most of this epidemic was later found to be completely preventable.  It was postulated almost immediately that ROP was caused by the oxygen administered to turn blue babies pink, no one wanted to be known as the doctor that killed a few kids experimenting by denying them oxygen that was proven to improve their chances.

Dr. Arnall Patz self-funded a study, after he was denied a grant. He put premature babies into two groups: one that received oxygen all the time, and one that received it only when they were distressed.  His method showed a 60% drop in blindness. A larger study was initiated at 18 hospitals, coordinated by Dr. V. Everett Kinsey, which confirmed the hypothesis. The epidemic soon ended.

Patz Keller Kinsey

Above, Helen Keller bestows the Laskar Award to Kinsey and Patz, in 1956. She was flustered because she read the inscriptions on the trophies with her hands and realized that they had handed her the wrong ones! If you look closely, the trophy on the right was meant for Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine. Look at that face: why isn't Helen Keller on the 20 dollar bill? Sorry, Mr. Hamilton, you are going to join Mr. McKinley soon...

Dr. Arnall Patz was born in Georgia, the son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. He was also a Ham radio operator, and used his 80 foot tower to help coordinate cornea transplants.  Patz was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (our highest civilian award) in 2004, and died in 2014. This is just another example of how immigration has provided enormous benefits  to host countries, once they get over themselves.

Special bonus tracks

The Fendermen, Mule Skinner blues, 1960

Mule Skinner Blues was first recorded in 1930, but there is no better version than the Fendermen's rockabilly recording.  The first lines of Muleskinner Blues are:

Good Morning Captain

Well good Morning to you!

(ha ha etc)

Well, you need another mule skinner, down on your new mud run?

In 1928, Tom Dixon recorded Labor Blues, you can hear that here. Mule Skinner is clearly based on it.  Dixon's song is about an African American getting screwed on pay day, and finally quitting his job.  "Shine" is not a nice word in this context. Racism, what racism? Indeed.

It’s "good mornin’ Captain", ‘e said "good mornin’ Shine",

Said "good mornin’ Captain", said "good mornin’ Shine".

T’ain’t nuthin’ the matter, Captain, but I just ain’t gwine.

I don’t mind workin’, Captain, from sun to sun,

I don’t mind workin’, Captain, from sun to sun.

But I want my money, Captain, when pay-day come."

The Bell Notes, I've had it, 1959



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