Friday, July 12, 2013

Fortunes -- "You've Got Your Troubles" (1965)

You need some sympathy?
Well, so do I
You've got your troubles, I've got mine

So you've think you've got problems, huh?  Just remember what the famous self-help author, Tony Robbins said:  "Every problem is a gift.  Without problems we would not grow."

Tony Robbins
Feeling a little better now?  Here's a quote for you from motivational speaker Dr. Steve Maraboli: "The universe is so well balanced that the mere fact that you have a problem also serves as a sign that there is a solution."

That's very comforting, isn't it?  Here's one more quote, from children's author Wendelin Van Draanen:  "Sometimes I get so caught up in my own problems that I forget how amazing the world is." 

I'm guessing you're feeling pretty damn good about things now.  However, if you're still feeling anxious about your problems, there are about a million more pearls of wisdom like these online.  

But please don't expect me to find them for you -- you're on your own, boys and girls.  To quote today's featured song, "Forgive me if I seem unkind -- you've got your troubles, I've got mine."

Perhaps I can make my point more clearly by telling a story.

Many years ago, popular singer Eddie Fisher was a guest on the television show, This Is Show Business.  

Fisher did OK with the ladies.  He had three wives, all of whom were major babes: Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, and Connie Stevens.

Liz, Eddie, and Debbie
(I'm guessing that he also had a few extracurricular dalliances, if you catch my drift.)

But he told the show's panel of regulars that some women his own age refused to date him because he was so young-looking.  (Poor guy!)

George S. Kaufman
One of the panelists on This Is Show Business was the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist, George S. Kaufman, who was not all that sympathetic to Mr. Fisher's "problem."  Here's how he responded to Fisher's complaint:

"Mr. Fisher, on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars up to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope.  This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the construction of the Mount Palomar telescope, an even more remarkable instrument of magnification.  Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope.  Mr. Fisher, if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn't be able to detect my interest in your problem."

Mr. Kaufman sort of took the long way around the barn to make his point, but I know exactly what he meant.  I feel pretty much the same way about Eddie Fisher's problems, except when I say "Eddie Fisher's problems," I really mean "your problems and everyone else's problems except my own."

Like this guy, for example, who ran aground on Lake Needwood in a paddleboat today.  Sucks to be him, but his predicament provided me with a humorous photo for 2 or 3 lines.  It's an ill wind, etc.

Speaking of ill winds . . .

About a year ago, those of us who live in the Washington, DC, area learned a new word: derecho, which is defined as a long-lived, straight-line wind storm that can carry hurricanic or tornadic force and deliver torrential rains and flash flooding.  

One of the most powerful and destructive derechos in North American history got started as a relatively small thunderstorm cell in central Iowa on the morning of June 29, 2012.  It became a derecho as it tracked eastward into Indiana around noon.  It moved across Indiana and Ohio at about 60 mph, hitting Columbus around 5 pm.  The storm continued to expand after it crossed the Appalachians, hitting the Baltimore-Washington area with winds as high as 87 mph.

In Maryland, 1.6 million customers (including me) lost power.  I spent most of the weekend cleaning up the tree limbs that had come crashing down, smashing our patio table and tearing up our gutters.

This was a common sight in our neighborhood
Almost a year to the day later, we got nailed again.  

We have a bunch of big-ass trees in our backyard, as this photo shows.  We didn't lose any of these bad boys, but some pretty big pieces of them came down as a result of the storm.

My son and I performed triage in our backyard the next morning, but barely made a dent in the tree debris covering our backyard and garden.  I was prepared to do battle with all those limbs over the weekend, but my wife hired one of the landscapers who was roaming through the neighborhood, and he cleaned up the mess for us:

A couple of days later, there were cut-up trees all over the neighborhood:

Our primary loss was a redbud tree that I had planted soon after we moved into the house.  I assumed there was nothing to do but cut it down, but the landscaper assured me it would survive -- although it would probably never look the same.

Here's what left of that tree:

A couple of weeks after the storm, there are some tiny leaves starting to grow, but you have to look very close to see them:

"You've Got Your Troubles" was a top ten hit for the Fortunes in the United States and the UK in 1965.  The song was written by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, who also wrote "Long Cool  Woman in a Black Dress" for the Hollies and "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," a hit single that was originally a Coca-Cola jingle.  

The Fortunes didn't do that jingle, but did record another famous Coke jingle, "It's the Real Thing":

The Fortunes were managed by Reginald Calvert, who also owned a pirate radio station called Radio City, which was housed in some abandoned World War II forts that stood in the Thames estuary.

The Maunsell forts, home of Radio City
The owner of a rival pirate station, Major Oliver Smedley, hired a group of henchmen to steal Radio City's transmitter crystals.  When Calvert went to his rival's home on June 21, 1966, to demand the return of the crystals, he and Smedley began to fight.  Smedley killed Calvert with a shotgun, but claimed self-defense and was acquitted at trial.  

Here's "You've Got Your Troubles":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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