Friday, December 30, 2016

Pretty Things – "It Isn't Rock 'n' Roll" (1976)

There's only one thing that I
Really could be sure about:
You know it isn't rock 'n' roll

You can say that again! 

*     *     *     *     *

You can’t blame me for phoning one in every so often.  Especially not at this time of year, when I’m busy working on my annual “28 Songs in 28 Days” series of posts (among other things).

Here’s “It Isn’t Rock ’n’ Roll,” which was released by the Pretty Things on Savage Eye, their eighth studio album, in 1976:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Beatles – "She's a Woman" (1964)

My love don't give me presents
I know that she's no peasant

(If that’s not the Beatles’ worst rhyme ever, I don’t know what is.)

So are you pleased with your Christmas presents?  Or not so much?

About one-third of Americans will return one or more of the holiday gifts they receive.

Some unwanted gifts represent honest mistakes by gift givers.  But some people have hidden agendas when it comes to choosing gifts.

For example, what about a husband who gives his wife a 65-inch high-definition television for Christmas?  Call me a cynic, but I would wonder whether he bought that big-ass TV because it would enhance his wife’s enjoyment of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or because the Super Bowl was just around the corner.

Speaking of husbands and wives, a lot of wives buy their husbands clothes for Christmas.  How many of them did that because they believe that their husbands are clueless simpletons who are just as incapable of dressing themselves at age fifty as they were at age five?  (Answer?  ALL of them.)

(Don’t tell me that deep down inside, your husband really wants you to pick out his clothes for him.  Your husband already has one mother – he doesn’t need another one.)

Some gifts are clearly passive-aggressive.  Professor Deborah Cohn, author of Thanks, I Guess: What Consumers Complain About When They Complain About Gifts, heard from one childless woman who said her mother-in-law gave her a home pregnancy test for Christmas.  

Gee, I wonder what the mother-in-law’s point was?

*     *     *     *     * 
“She’s a Woman” was the eleventh Beatles singles to make it into the top ten in 1964.  No other artist or group has had more top ten singles in a calendar year.

The Beatles and their lawyers are assh*les, so I can't give you the Beatles '65 version of “She’s a Woman.”  Instead, here are the Beatles performing “She’s a Woman” live:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, December 25, 2016

First Presbyterian Church (Davenport, Iowa) – "Joy to the World" (2007)

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground

Given that there are so many sins and sorrows in the world today, I’m not sure that thorns infesting the ground is a serious enough problem that it deserves special mention.  (Maybe if you’re barefoot, or you’re constantly getting flat tires when you ride your mountain bike because the ground is infested with thorns.)

Looking back on 2016, I have to say it was the best of times (the birth of my first grandchild and the announcement that a second one was on the way), and the worst of times (my father’s death, which resulted in my mother’s emotional disintegration).  I’m thankful for the good stuff, but I find myself getting dragged down by the bad stuff. 

The best of times
Some of you have no doubt suffered more and had less to celebrate.  I sincerely regret that – but I’m afraid I’m not the best person for you to turn to for help, because I am so busy feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have much time to feel sorry for you.  

*     *     *     *     *

The words to “Joy to the World” were written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), an English minister and logician.

Watts wrote some 750 hymns.  (“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” are two of the most well-known Watts hymns.)

Stained glass at St. John's
The Christmas eve service at St. John’s Episcopal Church (Lafayette Square) in Washington, DC – which is the church where American presidents traditionally attend a special service the day they are inaugurated, and (more importantly) the church where all my children and my grandchild were baptized – always closes with an enthusiastic rendition of “Joy to the World.”

I don’t have a recording of a St. John’s “Joy to the World,” but here’s a wonderful performance of the hymn by the folks at the First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Simple Minds – "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (1985)

Don’t you 
Forget about me

Christmas is just around the corner, boys and girls.

The postman hasn’t delivered your gift to 2 or 3 lines yet.  Surely you didn’t forget about me . . . did you?

If you did, don't worry.  There's still time.

A nice gift is only fitting given all that 2 or 3 lines gave you in 2016.  We’re talking 157 snappy and informative posts so far – none of which cost you a penny.

OK, OK . . . some of them were sour and mean-spirited rather than snappy and informative.  As my fish-eating friends like to say, “Mea culpa, mea culpa . . . mea maxima culpa!

I promise things will be different in 2017.  2 or 3 lines is turning over a new leaf.  I’m going back to the golden age of 2 or 3 lines . . . no more sneering and spitefulness.  (Well, maybe a little.)

In 2016, I gave up some things that were distracting and time-consuming for the sake of my wildly popular little blog, but that wasn’t enough to restore 2 or 3 lines to its glory days.  

So next year, I’m walking away from my day job so I’ll be able to devote the time and effort to 2 or 3 lines that it deserves.  And if I don’t have to make the daily slog to my office and back every day, I’ll be in a better place mentally – which is good news for all you loyal readers:

(A sign in my cardiologist's office)
*     *     *     *     *

No one wanted to record “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”  It was offered to Bryan Ferry, Billy Idol, and Cy Curnin – all of them said thanks, but no thanks.

Simple Minds wasn’t interested in recording the song at first, but Chrissie Hynde – who at the time was married to the group’s frontman, Jim Kerr – talked them into it.

It was a good decision.  The song went all the way to #1 on the Billboard “Hot 100” after being featured in the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club:

I heard it just the other day in this Walmart TV commercial:

Here’s the official music video for “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Pornographers – "The Fake Headlines" (2000)

I wrote the news today . . .
Fake headlines

Mark Twain famously said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

If he were alive today, I have no doubt that ol’ Mark would say, “Real news is stranger than fake news.”

There’s been a lot of talk about fake news recently.  Facebook seems to be about 99% fake news, but help is on the way: it has been reported that Facebook has hired Hillary Clinton to lead the assault on fake news.

Or that was the plan until Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Clinton “hired a lesbian death squad to smother [the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice] Antonin Scalia with a pillow.”

Angela and Hillary
“Scalia knew that Hillary was having an affair with Angela Merkel,” Zuckerberg said . . . “so she had no choice but to personally contract a roving gay-lady motorcycle gang to take him out, Texas-style.”
JUST KIDDING!  That’s obviously an example of fake news.  (The lesbian death squad part of the story, that is – everyone knows that Clinton and Merkel have been an item for years.)

*     *     *     *     *

Do you know the difference between fiction/fake news and truth/real news?

Following are several statements about actress/author Ali Wentworth.  Your mission (should you decide to accept it) is to read each of them and figure out whether it is true or false:

1.  Ali Wentworth, who got her big show biz break when she was selected to be a member of the cast of  In Living Color (where she played a character named Candy Cane, an out-of-control kids’ TV show host who had one failed relationship after another with her male coworkers) is the daughter of Muffie Cabot, who was Nancy Reagan’s social secretary.

2.  Wentworth has been married to Good Morning America anchor (and former advisor to Bill Clinton) George Stephanopoulos since 2001.  (If you’re not sure about this one, here’s a clue: Wentworth is often described as a comedian, while Stephanopoulos is one of the most humorless men in America.)

Ali Wentworth
3.  In 2015, Wentworth unzipped her sweater and flashed the audience of the Jimmy Kimmel Live show.  Wentworth, a mother of two daughters who was 50 years old at the time, bared her boobs after Miley Cyrus appeared on the show topless (but for pasties) only minutes earlier.    

4.  A few days ago, Wentworth appeared on The View, and said that “I have an eleven-year-old daughter who does’t really understand what ISIS is, but she knows that she’s scared, and she’s now sleeping bed with us every night.”

5.  Later during that same The View appearance, Wentworth said that her fourteen-year-old daughter was so upset by the outcome of the recent Presidential election that she walked around “screaming ‘NO ABORTIONS!’ really loudly.”

Here are the answers:

1.  True!

Check out this video of Ali Wentworth as Candy Cane:

2.  True!

(Yes, he is short.)
3.  True!

Here’s the Jimmy Kimmel Live video:

4. and 5. True and true!

Here’s the video of Wentworth’s appearance on The View:

*     *     *     *     *

“The Fake Headlines” is the second track on the New Pornographers’ debut album, Mass Romantic, which was released in 2000:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Carole King and Louise Goffin – "Where You Lead" (2000)

All you have to do is call my name
And I'll be there on the next train

When I board the subway for my morning commute, I will occasionally find an umbrella or a pair of gloves or something else that one of my fellow passengers has forgotten.  

The other day, I saw that a book had been left behind in the subway car I boarded:

It wasn’t just any book – it was Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), by Lauren Graham.

Graham is a 49-year-old actress who starred in the original Gilmore Girls TV series from 2000 to 2007, and who stars in the revival of that series, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, that debuted on Netflix last month.  

I’ve certainly heard of the Gilmore Girls, although I’ve never watched it.  I’ve read that it was known for clever, fast-paced dialogue full of pop culture references, which sounds like something I might enjoy.  But I have a strong impression that Gilmore Girls was not a show intended to appeal to the male of the species.  

It turns out that the book hadn’t been left behind by mistake, as you can tell by looking at the yellow sticky note on its cover:

In case you’re having trouble reading that note, here’s what it said:

Books on the Metro

Hey!  Over here!  Yeah, you!  This incredible book is now yours!

Get ready for a fantastic convo with Lauren Graham!

:-)  Happy Reading!

If you know me, you won't be surprised that I picked up the book and took it with me.  I’ll never read the damn thing, but I’m thinking that my daughters – who were 14 years old when the Gilmore Girls debuted on the WB – might be interested in reading it.

It’s that time of year, after all, and I’m happy to find a perfectly good Christmas present for my daughters that didn’t cost me a penny.  

I’ll give it to the two of them jointly – let them fight over who gets to read it first like they used to fight over who got to sit in the front seat of the minivan.

I wondered whether the book I found might have been put there by the publisher to publicize it.  But I’ve been unable to find anything about a publicity campaign for this tome.  

Last month, actress Emma Watson (best known for her role in the Harry Potter movies) left a number of copies of Maya Angelou’s seventh and final autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom, on the New York City and London subways.  (You may think I'm a narcissist, but I haven't written seven autobiographies.)

Emma Watson hides a book
on the New York City subway
If there’s an Emma Watson copycat disseminating free Lauren Graham books throughout the DC subway system like some latter-day Johnny Appleseed, I haven’t been able to find anything about him or her on the internet.  So maybe the book I found is just one person’s pay-it-forward kind of thing.

Speaking of paying it forward, I’m not just a taker – I’m a giver, too.

Case in point: I recently received a case of canned meats from a client who sells products to survivalists.  I had no use for the two-pound cans of pork, chicken, turkey, beef, and ground beef, so I put them in the kitchen at my office along with a note inviting anyone to take one or more cans home.

After a couple of days, all of the cans had been taken.  That surprised me, given the unsavory depictions of the products on the can labels and the alarming sloshing sound the cans made when you shook them.  (If I ever decided I wanted to be a vegetarian, I might open one of these cans – I’m sure that what I saw and smelled inside would turn me off to eating meat forever.)

I’m guessing that whoever took the cans of meat has a large dog with an underdeveloped palate.

*     *     *     *     *

Carole King’s original recording of “Where You Lead” was released in 1971 on her hugely popular Tapestry album, which sold over 10 million copies in the United States and over 25 million copies worldwide.

In 2000, King re-recorded “Where You Lead” as a duet with her daughter Louise Goffin.  That version of the song was the theme song for the original Gilmore Girls series.

Here’s the 2000 Carole King-Louise Goffin version of “Where You Lead”:

You can click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Bobby Lewis – "Tossin' and Turnin'" (1961)

I couldn’t sleep at all last night
Just a-thinkin’ of you

A couple of weeks ago, I put the house where my parents lived for the last 20-odd years of their married life up for sale.

My sister and I didn’t grow up in that house, which is located at 2327 Alabama in Joplin, MO.  (If you have any interest in buying a 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath brick house with two separate garages on a corner lot, let me know and I’ll give your name to our realtor.)

2327 Alabama (Joplin, MO)
The house where we did grow up had only one bathroom – which made things very difficult when I brought my family back to see my parents and grandmother.  (I have four children.)

My parents didn’t buy the 2327 Alabama house for themselves – they bought it because they wanted to have a nicer place for their grandchildren to stay when we visited during the summer, or for Christmas.

When my 90-year-old father died in January, we tried to persuade my mother to an independent-living place in the Washington suburbs that's near where my kids – who are all adults now – and I live.

She resisted moving, and was getting by in her house – although just barely – until she fell and broke her neck in April.  

We moved her here in May, and there’s no chance that she will ever move back to Joplin.  So it’s time to sell the house and its contents.

*     *     *     *     *

My sister and I both went back to Joplin this fall and went through the house, putting aside everything we wanted to keep.

Most of what I’m keeping are family photos – like this photo of my parents all dolled up for a formal dinner-dance at one of the Teamsters’ conventions they attended when my father was a business agent for the Teamsters local in Joplin.  (He had driven a delivery truck for a local dairy for 20 years before getting that job.)  

My parents (circa 1972)
(You can't tell me that's not a damn good-looking couple.)

Of course, I wouldn't dream of letting these bronzed baby shoes fall into the hands of strangers:

*     *     *     *     *

It's one thing to want to hang on to your bronzed baby shoes.  But you might find it odd that I’m sentimental about an unremarkable kitchen table and the chairs that go with it.

I had graduated from law school in 1977, and moved to Washington, DC, to work for the Federal Trade Commission.  I still remember what my starting salary was – $17,051 per year.  

When I was growing up, my parents had an old and very dated formica-topped kitchen table with chromed legs.  (I can only imagine how much it would be worth today to a collector of vintage furniture.)  I knew my mother really wanted a new one, and I also knew that it wasn’t very likely that my father would give her the OK to buy one in the foreseeable future.

So I bought one for her, motivated in equal parts by gratitude for the sacrifices she and my father had made for me, and by pride that I was now an adult with a real job who could afford to buy a nice gift.

The table and chairs were nothing special – they came from a middle-of-the-road furniture store in Joplin and were affordably priced – but my parents kept them for almost 40 years:  

That table was where we sat down to eat meals whenever I visited them . . . once we moved the piles of bills and other mail so there was room for our plates and glasses.  (As is the case in many American homes, my parents’ kitchen table doubled as their desk.)

That table and chairs will be sold tomorrow – probably to a stranger, and probably for very little money.  C’est la vie.  

It would have been crazy to keep a kitchen table and six chairs as a souvenir, although I was tempted.  

But I can’t keep everything in my parents’ house that reminds me of my childhood, or my children’s childhood.  Keeping all that crap won’t turn the clock back and allow me to do things differently.  (As the Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz Zafón has written, “There are no second chances in life, except to feel remorse.”)

So what’s the use of holding on to all that stuff?  It’s time to get rid of it.  If you’re interested, drop by 2327 Alabama tomorrow morning – almost everything must go, and no reasonable offer will be refused.

*     *     *     *     *

Not everything in the house is for sale. 

For example, check out this cowboy hat.  I bought in one summer when I was home from college at a pawnshop owned by the father of a high-school friend.  The story was that a truck driver who had been drinking at a bar across the street from the pawnshop bought it in and sold it so he could keep drinking.

This hat is a 10X – which means that it’s a high-quality cowboy hat made of 100% beaver fur.  (Note the American flag pin, and the hand-tooled leather hatband.)  

I rarely wore it because it wasn’t quite big hand for my big egg-shaped head.  (I’m at least a size 8 – an 8 1/8 or 8 1/4 is more comfortable – and it’s damn hard to find a hat that big.  This one was a 7 7/8, which is about as big a hat as you’ll find.)

*     *     *     *     *

My father served on the USS Hancock – an Essex-class aircraft carrier – in World War II.  He didn’t talk about his service much, but I was intensely interested in that aspect of his life when I was a teenager.  I read everything I could find about the Hancock, which was hit twice by Japanese kamikazes.

I assembled a kit of an Essex-class carrier and gave it to my father for his birthday 20 or so years ago.  I had built a lot of model cars and airplanes when I was a kid, but that had been two or three decades before I sat down to put together that model aircraft carrier.   Not surprisingly, my model-building skills were a little rusty – but the finished product didn’t turn out too badly:

USS Hancock (CV-19)
*     *     *     *     *

I knew there were a lot of old LPs in a closet at my parents’ house.  But I didn’t realize until my last visit to Joplin that there was a box of 45s there as well.

Here’s a photo of a Beatles four-song 45 rpm EP, plus a copy of Bobby Lewis’s “Tossin’ and Turnin’,” which was one of the first two records I ever bought and is today’s featured song:

I treated myself to “Tossin’ and Turnin’” and Sam Cooke’s “Twisting’ the Night Away” after winning two dollars in a preliminary round of the Joplin spelling bee when I was in 4th grade – which was 1961.  (Good thing I won a portable record player in the next round.)

“Tossing’ and Turnin’” spent seven consecutive weeks in the #1 position on the Billboard “Hot 100.”  It was Bobby Lewis’s biggest hit record by far.

Here’s “Tossin’ and Turnin’”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pete Townshend – "All Shall Be Well" (1989)

All shall be well
And all shall be well
And all manner of things
Shall be well

“Monk” is a term used to describe a religious ascetic — someone who renounces worldly pleasures and lives a life of prayer and contemplation.

Most Christian monks were cenobitic – that is, they lived in communities where they worked and worshipped together.  

Mealtime at a monastery
But the earliest Christian monks were eremitic monks – that is, hermits.  Most hermits resided in communities that provided a certain level of physical protection and spiritual support, but lived much more secluded lives than cenobitic monks.  But some hermits lived alone in the desert or forest, wandering from place to place and shunning any human contact. 

I recently learned about a special kind of hermits known as anchorites.  Like hermits generally, anchorites withdraw from secular life and devote their time to prayer and devotions.

A hermit in his cave
But what distinguishes anchorites from hermits is that anchorites were permanently enclosed in small cells attached to churches.  Once an anchorite was walled up in her cell, she never left it.  (There were both male and female anchorites – a female anchorite was often called an “anchoress” – but anchorites were more commonly women.  So I am going to use “she” as my pronoun.)   

A typical anchorite’s cell – or anchorhold – might be 12 feet by 15 feet in size.  It was usually built with a small window looking into the sanctuary, so she could hear Mass and receive Holy Communion.  A second window on the outer wall of the anchorhold allowed the anchorite to receive food and drink from a servant or family member, and to hand over her chamberpot to be emptied.  

The anchorhold at All Saints Church,
King's Lynn, Norfolk (UK)
An anchorite was viewed as a kind of saint who was essentially dead to the world.  The presiding bishop (who had to approve the petition of the anchorite to be enclosed) would perform a rite that was very similar to the funeral rite before the anchorite was enclosed in the anchorhold for once and for all.

Some anchorholds had doors that were locked or barred from the outside.  But in some cases the anchorite was walled in.  (I don’t know what happened when an anchorite who was enclosed in such an anchorhold died.  Was she left in the anchorhold, which served as her tomb?  Or did someone knock a hole in the anchorhold and remove the body for burial elsewhere?)    

For some reason, there seem to have been more anchorites in England than in any other Christian country.  One guesstimate is that there between 700 and 800 English anchorites between 1100 and 1539 (when Henry VIII dissolved the English monasteries, which brought the practice of anchoritism to an end).

*     *     *     *     *

The most famous English anchoress was Julian of Norwich, who is believed to have been born in 1342 and to have died in 1412.  (Julian’s real name is unknown.  She is called Julian because her anchorhold was attached to St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England.)

Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich was the author of Revelations of Divine Love, which discusses 16 revelations or “showings” that Julian had while near death due to an illness.  (Her illness was so serious that a priest administered last rites.)  That book is the oldest known book written by a woman in the English language.

You can click here to learn more about Julian of Norwich and her writings

In the most famous passage of Revelations of Divine Love, Julian says that she often wondered why God allowed sin to exist, but that Jesus answered her question in these words:

Sin is behovely [i.e., useful or necessary], but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

“All Shall Be Well,” one of the songs Pete Townshend wrote for his 1989 musical, The Iron Man, is based on Julian’s words:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hank Snow – "I'm Moving On" (1950)

You just wouldn't listen 
Or pay me no mind
Now I'm moving on

I’ve moved on a number of times in my life.  Next year, I’ll be moving on from being a lawyer to being retired.

In 1977, I moved to Washington, DC to work at the Federal Trade Commission after graduating from law school.  Just a few blocks north of my office was the flagship Hecht Company department store at 7th and F Streets N.W.  

The Hecht Company building in 1925
The Hecht store was in a handsome seven-story building that had been built in 1925.  I went there every couple of weeks my first few years in Washington – mostly to eat in the store’s restaurant with friends from work.

Hecht opened a new store (which is now a Macy’s) a few blocks away from the old one in 1985.  By that time, 7th Street – once the main shopping street in Washington – had fallen on hard times.  Half the buildings in the neighborhood were vacant, and the others were mostly occupied by sketchy businesses.  (I remember a dollar store, a donut shop, a big-and-tall men’s clothing store, and an adult video/sex toy emporium.)

The Hi-Boy Donut Shop (circa 1977)
The neighborhood started to come back in 1997, when the Verizon Center (originally the MCI Center) opened.  It’s the 20,000-seat home of Washington’s NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals, and is also the site for major concerts, the circus, “Disney on Ice,” an annual week-long horse show, and so on.  

Once the Verizon Center opened, Penn Quarter (as the area is now called) became the happening restaurant and bar neighborhood in DC.    

The old Hecht Company store – which is directly across F Street from the arena – was suddenly a very desirable piece of property.  The building was renovated after years of sitting vacant, and my law firm became the its first tenant in 2003.  

Next February, I'll be moving on to my firm's new building at 600 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.:

Our move will leave about half of our current building (now called Terrell Place) vacant.

The building’s owners have spent a pretty penny renovating it in hopes of attracting a new tenant or tenants to take over the space that we’re leaving empty.

The most dramatic change they’ve made was a complete redo of the building’s spacious lobby.  

A company called ESI Design turned the largest wall in the lobby into a “media canvas” by covering that surface (which is 13 feet high and 80 feet wide) and several other first-floor surfaces with 1700 square feet of LED television screens.  

Here’s a video that shows what the lobby looks like now:

From the ESI Design website:

The displays include three content modes – “Seasons,” “Color Play,” and “Cityscape” – offering a selection of scenes that can be programmed with varying durations and sequences, ensuring that tenants never see the same scene even if they arrive and leave at the same time every day.

The “Season” mode shows the lifecycle of the iconic Washington, DC cherry trees. In the “Spring” phase, as people pass by the screens, their movement causes the trees to blossom until eventually their petals fall off; when people pause in the lobby, they trigger butterflies to flutter.

Here are photos showing the progression from early spring to winter:

The first leaves emerge

Cherry blossoms



“Color Play” shows algorithmically-generated patterns of multi-color threads which spread across the walls, weaving a tapestry that reflects the activity of Terrell Place.

The abstract “Color Play” displays are my favorites:

“City Scape” pays homage to the city of Washington, DC with iconic architecture, statuary and transportation scenes that are brought to life by people passing by.

I think the “City Scape” displays are the least successful, mostly because the images (which are somewhat cliched) are not integrated and continuous, but instead are a series of images that have been joined together somewhat unnaturally.   

The “media canvas” has been working for several months now – long enough for me to become a little bored by the constant repetition of the same content.  I’d love it if there was more variety.

*     *     *     *     *

Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On,” which was released in 1950, held on to the #1 spot on the Billboard country singles chart for 21 consecutive weeks – a feat that was unsurpassed until 2013, when Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” stayed atop that chart for 22 weeks.

“I’m Moving On” is a great song.  It’s no surprise that it’s been covered by almost everyone who’s anyone – including Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, the Everly Brothers, Roy Acuff, the Box Tops, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner,  Steppenwolf, Emmylou Harris, and Johnny Cash.  But no one did it better than Hank Snow.

Here’s “I’m Moving On”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Mayhem – "Freezing Moon" (1994)

Everything here is so cold
Everything here is so dark

I just used Google’s analytics tools to learn more about the people who read 2 or 3 lines.

A little over 71% of the people who visited 2 or 3 lines sometime in the last 365 days were from the good ol’ U. S. of A.

Not surprisingly, the country with the second-largest number of 2 or 3 lines fans is Canada.  About 6% of my readers are residents of “The Great White North.”  (No surprise there, eh?)

A recent "2 or 3 lines" post
You might expect the UK to be next on the list, but it turns out that 2 or 3 lines has more German fans than British fans.

The rest of the 2 or 3 lines “Top Ten” is France, Russia, South Korea, India, Australia, and Brazil – which just edged out the Ukraine for the #10 spot.  

I wonder why more Ukrainians than Italians, Japanese, Mexicans, and Spaniards read 2 or 3 lines.  (I don’t recall writing about a single Ukrainian pop song, or even a song by a Ukrainian-American singer.)

Vietnam, Romania, Ethiopia, and Egypt are tied for 50th place in the rankings.  Those countries and Tanzania edged out Taiwan and Hong Kong, which surprises me.

Bringing internet service (and
"2 or 3 lines") to the people of Tanzania
China barely made it into the top one hundred, which is a shocker.  In fact, I had as many visitors from Rwanda, Namibia, Iraq, Cambodia, and Albania as from China, which must block access to my wildly popular little blog.  Obviously, 2 or 3 lines is viewed as a threat to the current government regime in China.  (Since I had exactly zero readers from Cuba, I’m guessing the Castro dictatorship has taken steps to keep 2 or 3 lines from reaching the freedom-deprived Cuban citizenry.)

I had only a single visitor over the course of the last year from 21 different countries.  About a third of those countries are African nations (e.g., Zambia, Gambia, and Côte d’Ivoire), while several others are small Caribbean island-states (e.g., Grenada, Turks and Caicos, and Martinique).  

The most obscure country that 2 or 3 lines has penetrated is Svalbard and Jan Mayen, which I’ve never heard of (and neither have you).

Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean that is part of Norway, but the Svalbard Treaty of 1920 – which was eventually signed by 40-odd nations – limits Norway’s sovereignty over Svalbard.  For example, the treaty limits the militarization of Svalbard, and provides that the citizens of all nations are free to hunt, fish, and engage in mining there.

Jan Mayen Island
Jan Mayen is a 144-square-mile volcanic island, also in the Arctic Ocean, that is fully under Norwegian sovereignty.  While there are no permanent residents on Jan Mayen, eighteen members of the Norwegian Armed Forces and Norwegian Meteorological Institute spends the winter there, and about twice that number inhabit the island in the summer.  (There are a total of eight C-130 flights in and out of Jan Mayen each year – weather permitting.)

I imagine a lonely Norwegian meteorologist, far from home and family, scrolling through a 2 or 3 lines post on a long winter’s night and listening to the featured song.  

After a few minutes of that, he goes back to watching internet porn.

*     *     *     *     *

“Freezing Moon,” which was released on the Norwegian death metal band Mayhem’s first album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (“About the Mystery of the Lord Satan”), is considered by many to be the best black metal song of all time.

Mayhem’s drummer, Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg, said that the song’s lyrics were intended to make people commit suicide.  If that’s true, they worked.

The lyrics to “Freezing Moon” were penned by the band’s lead singer, Per “Dead” Ohlin, who slit his wrists and shot himself in the head with a shotgun in 1991.  Mayhem’s guitarist, Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth, found Dead’s body, but bought a disposable camera and photographed the body before calling the police.  He also gathered bits of Dead’s skull and made necklaces from them for his favorite black metal musicians.

After De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was recorded, Mayhem’s bass player, Varg “Count Grishnackh” Vikernes, murdered Euronymous by stabbing him 23 times.  Vikernes, who was also convicted of burning down several churches, served 15 years of his 21-year sentence and was released on probation in 2009.

Today, he is a leader of the Norwegian Heathen Front, a nationalistic, ecofascist, and Pagan group (which is characterized as a neo-Nazi front by some people).

(You can’t make this stuff up.)

Click here to read more about Mayhem and Burzum, which is the name under which Vikernes has recorded several albums.  (I have over 70 Burzum songs on my computer.  Believe it or not, his music is really interesting.)  

Here’s “Freezing Moon”:

Click below to order the song from Amazon: