Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bananarama – "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" (1983)

Na na na na
Na na na na
Hey hey hey

Yes, yes . . . I do realize that I featured “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” on 2 or 3 lines just last month.

I do occasionally forget that I’ve featured a particular song and and write about it a second time.  In fact, I just discovered today – completely by accident – that another one of the songs I wrote about in July had already been featured in 2 or 3 lines.  But that song had originally been featured in 2010 – which was a l-o-o-o-n-g time ago.  (I’ve written about well over 1200 songs since giving birth to 2 or 3 lines in 2009.  If you expect me to remember each and every one of them, you are going to be sadly disappointed!) 

But my decision to feature “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” a second time so soon about writing about the first time was not the result of forgetfulness.  Keep reading and you’ll see why I decided to double-dip on this song.

*     *     *     *     *

I wonder how many Americans could identify Roger B. Taney?  Five per cent is probably an optimistic guesstimate – two per cent may be more like it.

And I doubt that more than a handful could pronounce Taney’s name correctly.  (It’s “TAW-ney,” not “TAY-ney.”)

Taney was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1836 until he died in 1864.  That makes him the highest-ranking government official ever who hailed from Maryland.  

Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Taney had served as Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of War and his Attorney General.  Jackson nominated him to be his Secretary of the Treasury as well, but the Senate voted his nomination down because Taney had helped Jackson kill the Second Bank of the United States.  (Would you like to hear more about the controversy over the Second Bank of the United States?  I didn’t think so.)

Because Taney was kind of a big deal, his home state commissioned a life-size bronze statue of him, which has stood on the grounds of the Maryland State House since 1872.

Until last week, that is, when it was lifted on to a flatbed truck in the dead of night and driven to an undisclosed storage facility.

*     *     *     *     *

Unlike Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and the other historical figures whose statues are being hidden away faster than you can say “Jack Robinson,” Roger Taney was never a general in the Confederate Army, and he never held office in the Confederate government.  

Taney was loyal to the United States until his dying day.  In fact, he was still the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when he died in 1864, when he was 87 years old.

So why did the sovereign state of Maryland decided to remove the statue of Taney that graced the State House grounds for over 140 years?

The Taney statue in Annapolis is no more
We’ll get to the bottom of that in a future 2 or 3 lines.  But I’ve promised to explain why “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” has been featured on my wildly popular little blog twice in as many months.  And explain that I shall.

*     *     *     *     *

The Washington Post described how the Taney statue was disappeared in the dead of night:

Workers came to the Maryland State House grounds after midnight on Friday [August 18] to dismantle a controversial statue of . . . Roger B. Taney.

Thursday night, police blocked off the streets around the State House complex. Soon, a crane and two flatbed trucks arrived.

More than two dozen bystanders looked on as a crew began removing the memorial from its base.

Say goodbye to Roger Taney
As the crane’s arm extended toward the monument shortly after 1 a.m., sprinklers were activated on the State House lawn, briefly disrupting the effort. After work resumed, the crane lifted the statue and maneuvered it to a flatbed truck, where it was wrapped in a tarp and driven away around 2:20 a.m.

The onlookers, who had been largely quiet, chanted “Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye.”  

Just imagine the scene.  A few loons who have nothing better to do show up in the wee hours to cheer on the contractors hired to lift the statue on to a truck and drive it away – a lengthy and undramatic operation that was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

As the truck carrying the uprooted statue skulks away, the onlookers start to sing a sixties pop song that is routinely sung to taunt visiting sports teams.

Quelle absurdité!

Or in the words of Yakov Smirnoff,

*     *     *     *     *

Instead of featuring the original 1969 recording of “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” again, I’ve decided to feature Bananarama’s 1983 cover of the song.  

That Bananarama cover became a #5 single in the UK, but sank like a stone in this country – it failed to crack the Billboard “Hot 100.”

Here’s the official music video of Bananarama’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”  Check out the clothing, the hairstyles, and the choreography . . . all of which are simply ridiculous.

Which makes it the perfect song to accompany a story about the removal of Roger Taney’s statue.

Click below if you’d like to buy the Bananarama cover from Amazon:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bee Gees – "Words" (1968)

It's only words
And words are all I have

Actually, words are NOT all that 2 or 3 lines has.

I have pictures as well . . . like this one:

You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing a photo of Old Spice Swagger body wash with you.  I guess I've got some splaining to do!

During a recent visit with one of my children, I was assigned to use a shower that was equipped with a 32-ounce container of the aforementioned body wash.  I personally use a simple, old-fashioned bar of soap when I shower at home.  But when in Rome, one does what the Romans do . . . n’est-ce pas?

Like many consumer products, Swagger is labeled in both English and French – presumably because it is shipped to stores in Canada as well as those in the U.S., and Canadian law – in particular, Quebec law – requires bilingual labeling.

(I see cars with Quebec license plates every so often.  I think the motto on those license plates is Je me souviens or some such saying – I can’t remember.)

In case there was any doubt in your mind concerning the superiority of English to French, just look at this closeup of the Swagger container:

The product’s identity statement in English is BODY WASH.  Only two words and eight letters, and you have a clear and unambiguous statement concerning what the product is and what it does.

The product identity statement in French is NETTOYANT POUR LE CORPS.  That’s four words and twenty letters.  And even if you get rid of the superfluous “pour le” – leaving “corps nettoyant” – you’re still using 14 letters when eight is perfectly adequate.

Look a little further down on the label, and you’ll see that this 32-ounce package of Swagger is described as MAN SIZED.  (Damn straight!)  Once again, two words and eight letters get the job done.

In French, “man sized” becomes À LA HAUTEUR DE L’HOMME.  A language that requires so many words to communicate the concept of “man sized” is an undisciplined language . . . a language with no self-control . . . a language in desperate need of being whipped into shape!

*     *     *     *     *

The Bee Gees owe a lot to Robert Stigwood, who produced Saturday Night Fever.  The soundtrack album from that 1977 movie – which was the best-selling album in the U.S. for 24 consecutive weeks –  includes six songs by the Bee Gees that reached number one on the Billboard “Hot 100.”  

But before the Bee Gees became the biggest disco act of the seventies, they were a very good pop group in the sixties.

“Words,” which was released in 1968, isn’t my favorite Bee Gees song – I’d rank “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “Holiday,” “I’ve Got to Get a Message to You,” and “Lonely Days” ahead of it.  But I’ll take “Words” over “Massachusetts,” “I Started a Joke,” and especially “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” which is a really poopy song.

Here’s “Words”:

Click below to buy that song from Amazon:

Friday, August 25, 2017

1910 Fruitgum Company – "1, 2, 3, Red Light" (1968)

1, 2, 3, red light
Don't stop me

You’d think I’d be used to the government lying to me by now.  After all, they’ve been doing my whole life.

But I was shocked – shocked, I say – to find out recently that most of those pedestrian push-to-walk buttons that are mounted on traffic-light poles in big cities like Boston and New York City are placebos.  


Don't waste your time!
From the Boston Globe:

As cars poured through the intersection at Congress and Sudbury streets in downtown Boston, Megan Reilly paused at the curb and pressed the walk button.

Then she patiently waited, and waited. Like other pedestrians, she assumed the button worked some behind-the-scenes magic to change the light and allow her to cross.

Not so, it turns out.

The button at that intersection, like the vast majority of those that dot downtown neighborhoods, doesn’t actually do anything. That’s by design. Officials say the city’s core is just too congested — with cars and pedestrians — to allow any one person to manipulate the cycle.

Megan Reilly – based on her name and the fact that she lives in Boston, I’m going to take a wild guess and say she’s Irish-Catholic – told the Globe reporter “I feel like I’ve been duped” when she learned the street-corner buttons she’s been pushing for years don’t do diddley-squat.

It doesn't work!
You have been duped, Megan . . . and so have I . . . and so have you (unless you live out in the boonies where they don’t need stoplights).  But it’s for our own good, according to the Globe:

While pedestrians may be irked to learn they have been pressing what amount to placebo buttons, Boston officials say the setting is actually aimed at making life easier for walkers by eliminating the need to push a button at all.

Really?  If Boston really wanted to make life easier for walkers by eliminating the need to push a button, WHY DON’T THEY JUST GET RID OF THE GOT-DAMNED BUTTONS?

*     *     *     *     *

Boston’s not the only place where push-to-walk buttons don’t work.  

For example, New York City has 100 buttons that do work, but 1000 that don’t work.

And Dallas has some 200 push-to-walk buttons, nearly all of which do nothing to affect how quickly the “walk” light appears.

Why are you still pushing that button?
Get this: even though the push-to-walk buttons in Dallas don’t work by design, the city replaces them when they get reports that they are broken.  

From the Dallas Morning News:

Most of Dallas’ buttons are older mechanical models, built to withstand about 40,000 pushes.  They could be pressed far beyond that threshold, though.  The city doesn’t do inspections but will replace them if they are reported broken.  Those replaced are switched to a digital model that can handle nearly 20 times as many button presses.

Let me get this straight.  Dallas has a couple of hundred mechanical push-to-walk buttons that don’t function – which is by design.  But when the city gets a report that one of the mechanical buttons has broken, the city will replace it with a longer-lasting digital button . . . which doesn’t function either.

*     *     *     *     *

The elevators in my new office building are automated.  You push the number of the floor you want to go to, and a video screen tells you which elevator to board.

When assigned elevator arrives, you enter it and wait for the doors close and the elevator to whisk you to your floor.  There are no numbered buttons to push – the elevator knows where you want to go already, and takes you there automatically.

There are the usual buttons you push if you don’t want to wait for the doors to close on their own, or if you want to keep the doors open.

What are the chances that those buttons actually work?

*     *     *     *     *

I originally thought I would feature a song that had “lies” or “liar” in the title in honor of the city traffic officials who installed and maintain placebo push-to-walk buttons.

Maybe “Lies” by the Knickerbockers . . . or “Liar, Liar,” by the Castaways . . . or “Would I Lie to You?” by the Eurythmics . . . or Argent’s “Liar.”  

But it turns out I’ve used all those songs already.  Who knew I had written so much about lies and liars already?

*     *     *     *     *

While 2 or 3 lines has featured a number of songs about lies and liars, it has yet to feature a 1910 Fruitgum Company song . . . which is a shocking oversight.

“Simon Says” was the biggest hit the 1910 Fruitgum Company had, but “1, 2, 3, Red Light” wasn’t too shabby.  It sold over a million copies and made it to #5 on the Billboard “Hot 100.”

You probably didn’t know that this band was originally called Jeckell and the Hydes.  (One of its founding members was named Frank Jeckell.)

Here’s “1, 2, 3, Red Light.”  Check out the tambourine twirl at 1:27 of the video:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

P. P. Arnold – "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (1967)

The first cut is the deepest
Baby, I know
The first cut is the deepest

In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule requiring employee health insurance plans to cover 100% of the cost of contraceptives for women.  (No co-payments or deductibles were allowed.)

The rule did exempt churches, and that exemption has been broadened somewhat as the result of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby decision – a decision which has caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But there is a much more significant exception to the DHHS-imposed mandate that employee-provided health insurance pay for contraceptive drugs, devices, and services: IT DOESN’T APPLY TO MALES

So health insurers are NOT required to pick up the cost of vasectomies or other forms of male contraception.

I’m not sure how that happened.  After all, males still run the world . . . right?  So how did we end up with a law that requires employers to pick up the tab for females but not for males?

What’s ironic about this discriminatory regulation is that only females get pregnant.  If the idea behind paying for female contraceptives is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, you’d think that we’d be paying for male contraception as well.

*     *     *     *     *

The debate over insurance coverage for contraceptives is going to become irrelevant in a few years – at least in the United States and other Western countries.

That’s because the amount of sperm produced by the average male in those countries HAS DROPPED BY MORE THAN 50% IN THE PAST 40 YEARS.  

Anyone who made it through 8th-grade math realizes what that means: in another 40 years, there will be ZERO women getting pregnant the old-fashioned way in the U.S.

Scientists believe that the precipitous drop in male sperm output in North America and Western Europe may be the result of exposure to various chemicals.

If you’re a 2 or 3 lines reader who lives in South America, Asia, or Africa, don’t you worry about a thing.  Males from those continents are producing just as many swimmers as ever.

*     *     *     *     *

You’re probably familiar with Rod Stewart’s recording of “The First Cut Is the Deepest,” which was a big hit for him in 1977.  And I’m guessing you’ve heard Sheryl Crow’s very successful 2003 cover of the song, which was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy.
But I doubt that you’re familiar with the very first recording of that song, which was released by P. P. Arnold in 1967.

“The First Cut Is the Deepest” was written by Cat Stevens, who sold the rights to record it to Arnold for £30.  Her recording of it was a top-20 hit in the UK.

P. P. Arnold had a remarkable musical career.  She was a 18-year-old mother of two when she and two friends were picked by Ike Turner to replace the original Ikettes.  (When her husband found out that she had auditioned for the Ikettes, he hit her.  Arnold immediately packed her bag, dropped her kids off with her parents, and hit the road with the Ike and Tina Turner.)

She quit the Ike & Tina Turner Revue a couple of years later when they were on tour in the UK to pursue a solo career.  (Mick Jagger had encouraged to do so.)

Arnold recorded a number of singles  – including today’s featured song – but had her greatest success as a backup singer, recording and/or touring with the Small Faces, Humble Pie, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Graham Nash, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, and others.  

She also appeared in several musicals, and sang backup on the Jesus Christ Superstar album.

Here’s P. P. Arnold’s recording of “The First Cut Is the Deepest”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blur – "Stereotypes" (1995)

She's most accommodating
When she's in her lingerie

British newspapers put American newspapers to shame.  

A case in point: the UK’s Daily Mail, which recently ran a story with a headline that tops any headline I've seen in an American paper:

(Top that, New York Times!  Eat your heart out, Washington Post!)

According to the story, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana’s marriage went south relatively quickly after their storybook wedding in 1981.  

By 1989, the Prince was getting his leg over with his old girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles – the two were married in 2005 – while Diana seems to have been hooking up with James Hewitt, a dashing young British Army officer.

Charles and Diana in 1981
But although she and Charles hadn’t shared a bed for some time, Diana hadn’t entirely given up on their marriage.

So when she and the Prince were invited to Camilla’s sister’s 40th birthday party, she decided to attend – much to the chagrin of Camilla, who allegedly shouted “Why did that f*cking b*tch have to come?” to the hostess of the party when she got word that Diana would be accompanying Charles.

Little did Camilla know that she had nothing to worry about.  

Earlier that day, Diana had gone shopping for lingerie at Harrod’s, the famed London department store.  She hoped that some sexy knickers would capture her hubby’s interest.  

Camilla as a debutante in 1965
Unfortunately, it was not to be.  From the Daily Mail:

Now she stood in front of her own full-length dressing room mirror, gazing at her reflection.  The exotic lingerie she had bought that afternoon was more daring than her usual ensemble – briefer, naughtier, more provocative.  This was her desperate, possibly naive, gamble to rekindle the all-but-extinct sexual passion in her marriage.

She was realistic about the competition.  Camilla may have been 14 years older than she was, but Diana knew the seasoned Mrs. Parker Bowles had a comfortably bosomed allure that Charles, apparently, found irresistible. 

Camilla today – nice chapeau!
(How about that last phrase: “[T]he seasoned Mrs. Parker Bowles had a comfortably bosomed allure that Charles, apparently, found irresistible.”  You have to admit that the Daily Mail has a way with words.)  

At that moment, as she would tearfully relate the following day to a confidante, the prince looked in, surveyed his lingerie-clad wife up and down and declared witheringly, “You look ridiculous.”  The close friend, an intimate of Diana who has never spoken out before, recalls her despair at being dismissed so coldly.  “Those three words shattered her,” says the confidante. “They changed the whole momentum of the evening.”

(“You look ridiculous.”  Really?  What a d*ck!)

Knowing the way the male mind works from personal experience, my first reaction to this story was that Princess Diana should have done her shopping at Frederick’s of Hollywood instead of Harrod’s.

But I spent some time on the Harrod’s website.  I’m not sure what kind of lingerie Harrod’s was stocking in 1989, but the stuff they are selling today is pretty hot.  

For example, one of the brands Harrod’s offers is the aptly named Agent Provocateur, which is one of sexiest high-end lingerie lines out there.  

Agent Provocateur undies from Harrod’s
It’s hard for me imagine Charles not becoming at least a little hot and bothered by seeing his 28-year-old wife strutting her stuff in Agent Provocateur undies.  Obviously, I’m underestimating the “comfortably bosomed allure” of Camilla, Duchess of Kent. 

*     *     *     *     *

“Stereotypes” is the opening track to Blur’s fourth studio album,  The Great Escape, which was released in 1995.

Blur and Oasis were the two most successful “Britpop” groups of the mid-nineties.  (Other Britpop bands included Pulp, Suede, and The Verve.)

Here’s “Stereotypes”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Drifters – "Under the Boardwalk" (1964)

Under the boardwalk
Down by the sea

Most people seem to agree that the boardwalk that the Drifters were singing about in their 1964 hit single, “Under the Boardwalk,” was the one in Atlantic City, NJ.

Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing is located in Cherry Hill, NJ, which is a good hour’s drive from Atlantic City.  But Forgotten Boardwalk’s owner furnished her tasting room with skeeball machines, fun-house mirrors, and other items reminiscent of what you might find along the Atlantic City boardwalk, and the names of Forgotten Boardwalk’s beers refer to tall tales and “pretty true stories” of the Jersey shore.

For example, FB’s “Funnel Cake” ale is named after a favorite boardwalk food.  “1916 Shore Shiver” IPA references a century-old shark attack that left four beachgoers dead and seven other wounded.  And “What the Butler Saw” wheat beer pays homage to a sleazy peepshow film that was popular in penny arcades a century ago.

Growler the Cat
FB’s mascot, “Growler the Cat,” was inspired by the feral cats that lived under the Atlantic City boardwalk and chowed down on discarded bits and pieces of hot dogs, French fries, and other Boardwalk viands.

*     *     *     *     *

I stopped at Forgotten Boardwalk for some refreshment on my drive back from Cape Cod in July.  Visiting FB was easy because it’s located only a few miles off I-95 (a/k/a “Highway from Hell”).

I liked Forgotten Boardwalk – in fact, I liked it a lot.  Here’s why.

Forgotten Boardwalk’s
unprepossessing entrance
First, while the FB tasting room was located in an unprepossessing industrial park, the place had real style.  

As noted above, it was furnished with quirky beach-themed stuff – including a couple of operating skeeball machines:

The Forgotten Boardwalk glassware, T-shirts, and can designs were attractive and idiosyncratic.  One of its pint glasses had a particularly colorful design:

Another FB logo glass had a weird shape that immediately caught my eye.  I was told to put my mouth at the lowest point of the rim of the glass – directly over the cat logo – to drink.

That positions the higher side of the glass so that it covers your nose, concentrating the aroma of whatever you were drinking:

The second reason I liked Forgotten Boardwalk is that it had an interesting and idiosyncratic lineup of beers.  

FB always has a few basic brews available – including a pilsner, an IPA, and a Belgian-style wit beer.  But they mix things up with seasonal releases like a smoked porter and a couple of potent imperial IPAs. 

The brewery goes all-in with a variety of barrel-aged limited releases they call “Sideshow Attractions” – which have included saisons aged in red and white wine barrels, a Belgian strong ale made with potato that spent time in apple brandy barrels, and a porter and a stout that were aged in bourbon barrels.

The third and perhaps most important thing that made me glad I visited was the way the Forgotten Boardwalk bartenders treated me and the other customers who had dropped in.

Marysia greeted me and made it clear that I should feel free to ask for a taste of anything that interested me.  (Most microbreweries do offer gratis samples to customers, but some do so a little begrudgingly.  It’s as they’re afraid that you’ll have a few complimentary tastes and then skedaddle without buying anything.) 

Based on her advice and a couple of samples, I chose a limited-edition barrel-aged version of FB’s “Morro Castle” smoked porter.  It was an excellent choice for me.

As I enjoyed my beer, Kai – the other bartender on duty – was thoughtfully quizzing a couple about their food and drink tastes in an effort to help them choose the Forgotten Boardwalk offering that they would most enjoy.  After serving them a couple of cans of a FB IPA, he pulled a third can out the fridge, poured small samples from it, and handed one to each person standing at the bar– including me.  

I’m not an IPA fan, but I’m also not a person who looks a gift beer in the mouth. So I took a taste and was pleasantly surprised by the balance and drinkability of the 100-IBU IPA.

When I told Kai that I was expecting the IPA to be way too bitter to be to my liking, he explained to me of why an IPA’s IBU (“International Bittering Unit”) rating was not necessarily indicative of its bitterness.

An attractive environment, unique and tasty beers, friendly and knowledgeable bartenders with a customer-first attitude – what’s not to like about Forgotten Boardwalk?  Not a thing, if you ask me.  

*     *     *     *     *

Forgotten Boardwalk gets something that some small breweries do not.  

While a tasting room can be an important profit center for a microbrewery, it’s highest value is as a branding tool.  

There’s only so much beer you can sell at a tasting room – which is probably open only a limited number of hours.  To be truly successful, most small breweries need to sell their product to people who drink beer in bars and restaurants, and who go to retail stores to buy six-packs to take home.  

If I have a good experience at a brewery tasting room, I’m much more likely to choose one of that brewery’s beers instead of one from a competitor the next time I visit a bar or a package store.  

This large prize wheel is mounted
behind the Forgotten Boardwalk bar
Sure, the beer has to taste good.  But there are more good-tasting craft beers available these days than you can shake a stick at.  Often as not, the reason I pick one brand over another is that I have a good feeling about a brewery I’ve visited.  

Because the folks at Forgotten Boardwalk treated me and their other customers right, I want to see them succeed.

Unfortunately for Forgotten Boardwalk, I live outside its distribution footprint.  (Cherry Hill is well over a hundred miles from my home.)  But the next time I travel to or through New Jersey, I’ll look for opportunities to have one of their beers. 

And if they grow sufficiently that I start to see their offerings on the tap lists and retail shelves in my neck of the woods, I’ll happily show them some love.

*     *     *     *     *

The night before the Drifters were booked to record “Under the Boardwalk,” the group’s lead singer – Rudy Lewis – died of a suspected heroin overdose.

But the show must goes on, so the Drifters quickly called up one of their former lead vocalists, Johnny Moore, who skedaddled down to the studio and recorded the song.

Here’s “Under the Boardwalk,” which made it to #4 on the Billboard “Hot 100” in the summer of 1964:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Incredible String Band – "Waiting for You" (1971)

Yes, the hydrangeas do look divine
This time of the year

If you took chemistry in high school, you probably remember that if a solution turns litmus paper red, it’s acidic.  If a solution turns litmus paper blue, it’s alkaline (or basic). 

The opposite is true of hydrangeas.  Most hydrangeas produce pink flowers in alkaline soil and blue flowers in acidic soil.

The acidity or alkalinity of the soil isn’t directly responsible for whether a hydrangea’s blossoms are blue or pink.  What matters is the concentration of aluminum in the soil.  But aluminum is more easily absorbed by a hydrangea when the soil is acidic, which is why pH affects the color of hydrangea flowers.

So if your hydrangeas are pink and you want them to be blue, amend the soil with enough acidifier to lower its pH and increase the uptake of aluminum.

If you want pink hydrangeas, raise the pH by adding lime to the soil around the hydrangea.

It may take some time for the hydrangeas to react to the change in soil pH, so be patient.

*     *     *     *     *

My recent visit to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket came at the height of hydrangea-flowering season.  There were hydrangeas everywhere – and I do mean everywhere – and the vast majority of them were blue.  

I’m guessing that blue hydrangeas are preferred because there are a lot more plants that produce pink flowers than blue flowers.

It’s possible to manipulate soil pH to produce hydrangeas that have both blue flowers and pink flowers and in-between colors, too:  

*     *     *     *     *

Here’s are photos of some of the beautiful hydrangeas I saw on my bike rides around the Cape and islands last month:

*     *     *     *     *

The Incredible String Band, which was called a “psychedelic folk band” by one reviewer, was one of the more esoteric musical groups of the sixties.

Their music is pretty indescribable.  It’s often sort of Celtic-sounding – until they add Middle Eastern and Indian instruments (like ours and sitars) to the mix.

To say that the Incredible String Band’s music is an acquired taste is something of an understatement.  There’s a chance I’ll attempt to acquire a taste for it, but there’s also a chance – probably a much better one – that I’ll just forget about them.

The Incredible String Band at Woodstock
By the way, the Incredible String Band performed at Woodstock.  They don’t appear in the Woodstock movie, and none of their music was included on either the original three-LP Woodstock album.  

But there are two Incredible String Band songs on the six-CD Woodstock box set released by Rhino Records in 2009.  (That box set features several other of the more obscure acts that appeared at Woodstock – including Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, and Quill.  But it does not include anything by the Keef Hartley Band, which is the only band that performed at Woodstock but was left off all of the Woodstock compilations.)

“Waiting for You” was released on the Incredible String Band’s 1971 album, Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending.  It’s a very odd song, but if you’re looking for a song that mentions hydrangeas, you don’t have a lot of choices – and all the other hydrangea songs were even worse.

Here’s “Waiting for You”: