Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bring back Lou Rawls

Well, I was sitting here and thinking about a bunch of nothing (this being the 'happy hour' of the day) and what just did happen in my head but this?

Oh, yeah.


Mmm hmmm!!


Background for you young folks in the audience: This tune was released in 1976, the year of our United States Bicentennial, the year of me being 14, the year of being beguiled by this smoky-voiced crooner named Lou Rawls, who could sing the estrogen out of an audience of retired librarians.  What a voice, what a voice.  Who CARES if it's a breakup song when Lou is sliding his way into your eardrums and heart with All His Emotions???  Nobody, that's who, not even those people who had just experienced a breakup and might never ever be happy again.  Lou was there to sing their pain. to take control of their sadness and turn it into a power ballad of self-love.

Then when I started thinking about it, I was shocked that I remembered every dang word and could probably do the backup vocals too.

Which, naturally, got be to thinking.  What OTHER songs of my 14th year might I possibly remember that made it to the Top Hits of 1976?

Well, after doing 5 minutes of research, it turns out...a lot.

From the "Top 100 hits of 1976" list from, here is the list.  Using only the song title as prompt, the ones I can probably at least hum the chorus of are in bold below:

1. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney and Wings
2. Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee
3. Disco Lady, Johnnie Taylor
4. December 1963 (Oh What a Night), The Four Seasons
5. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
6. Kiss and Say Goodbye, The Manhattans
7. Love Machine, Pt. 1, The Miracles
8. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon
9. Love Is Alive, Gary Wright
10. A Fifth of Beethoven, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band
11. Sara Smile, Daryl Hall and John Oates
12. Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band
13. I Write the Songs, Barry Manilow
14. Fly Robin Fly, Silver Convention
15. Love Hangover, Diana Ross
16. Get Closer, Seals and Crofts
17. More, More, More, Andrea True Connection
18. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
19. Misty Blue, Dorothy Moore
20. Boogie Fever, The Sylvers
21. I'd Really Love to See You Tonight, England Dan and John Ford Coley
22. You Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate
23. Love Hurts, Nazareth
24. Get Up and Boogie (That's Right), Silver Convention
25. Take It to the Limit, The Eagles
26. (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, K.C. and The Sunshine Band>
27. Sweet Love, The Commodores
28. Right Back Where We Started From, Maxine Nightingale
29. Theme From "S.W.A.T", Rhythm Heritage
30. Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
31. You Should Be Dancing, The Bee Gees
32. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls (Ed note: <3 br=""> 33. Golden Years, David Bowie
34. Moonlight Feels Right, Starbuck
35. Only Sixteen, Dr. Hook
36. Let Your Love Flow, Bellamy Brothers
37. Dream Weaver, Gary Wright
38. Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson
39. Lonely Night (Angel Face), The Captain and Tennille
40. All By Myself, Eric Carmen
41. Love to Love You Baby, Donna Summer
42. Deep Purple, Donny and Marie Osmond
43. Theme from "Mahogany" (Do You Know Where You're Going To), Diana Ross
44. Sweet Thing, Rufus
45. That's the Way I Like It, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
46. A Little Bit More, Dr. Hook
47. Shannon, Henry Gross
48. If You Leave Me Now, Chicago
49. Lowdown, Boz Scaggs
50. Show Me the Way, Peter Frampton
51. Dream On, Aerosmith
52. I Love Music, The O'Jays
53. Say You Love Me, Fleetwood Mac
54. Times of Your Life, Paul Anka
55. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
56. Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop
57. Convoy, C.W. McCall
58. Welcome Back (Theme from "Welcome Back, Kotter"), John Sebastian
59. Sing a Song, Earth, Wind and Fire
60. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Tavares
61. I'll Be Good to You, The Brothers Johnson
62. Shop Around, The Captain and Tennille
63. Saturday Night, The Bay City Rollers
64. Island Girl, Elton John
65. Let's Do It Again, The Staple Singers
66. Let 'Em In, Paul McCartney and Wings
67. Baby Face, Wing and A Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
68. This Masquerade, George Benson
69. Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra
70. Wham Bam, Silver
71. I'm Easy, Keith Carradine
72. Wake Up Everybody, Pt. 1, Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
73. Summer, War
74. Let Her In, John Travolta
75. Fox On the Run, The Sweet
76. Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
77. Got to Get You Into My Life, The Beatles
78. Fanny (Be Tender With My Love), The Bee Gees
79. Getaway, Earth, Wind and Fire
80. She's Gone, Daryl Hall and John Oates
81. Rock and Roll Music, The Beach Boys
82. Still the One, Orleans
83. You're My Best Friend, Queen
84. With Your Love, Jefferson Starship
85. Slow Ride, Foghat
86. Who'd She Coo?, The Ohio Players
87. Walk Away from Love, David Ruffin
88. Baby I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
89. Young Hearts Run Free, Candi Staton
90. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, Neil Sedaka
91. Money Honey, The Bay City Rollers
92. Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker), Parliament
93. Junk Food Junkie, Larry Groce
94. Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again, Barry Manilow
95. Rock and Roll All Nite, Kiss
96. Disco Duck, Rick Dees
97. The Boys Are Back In Town, Thin Lizzy
98. Take the Money and Run, The Steve Miller Band
99. Squeeze Box, The Who
100. Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.), Glen Campbell

Wow.  My 14-year old's brain is HOLDING ON, y'all.  Maybe it's because in 1976 pop music was EVERYWHERE, maybe because some of these songs are still being played, maybe because this was a period of life that just had great music, maybe because my brain was opening up new nodes to cram in useless information to be retrieved almost 40 years later, who knows?

Just sit back, click a link, and enjoy.

And while you're at it, maybe think about what was popular when you were 14, and share with us how many of THOSE top 100 songs you can jam to, instantaneously, however many years it's been since then.

Thanks for listening - Tiff out.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Well, here's TMI

Ah, the internet, where long-lost talents of gifted persons from days gone by are unearthed and aired out for us to admire, be horrified by, or a combination of the 2.

An example:  Le Petomane.

A man who could CAPTURE and then release wind at will, in many amusing and various tones and timbres, through which legions of Parisians (and visitors) found much enjoyment.

What a career that would be.  One for which I am well-suited, I'm not embarrassed to say.

My 'talent' has never been in eager demand, but I do amuse myself with it, as I suspect most people do.  I abide by my Grandmother's admonishment "wherever you be, let your wind flow free, for that my dear was the death of me."  She was wise, my Grandmother, at least in the ways of bodily functions.

Now, lest you think I'm just randomly and at will releasing the hounds, so to speak, I do not.  Restraint and respect for people are high on my list of Things to Be and Do, so I will use the power of sphincters to wait until a seemly time to practice my art, sometimes in great pain to do so.  For my talents come through natural means, not those to the Great Performer mentioned about who retrograded his gaseous supply.  Sure, he had talent, but really, true talent comes from within, and well kids, I have that talent.


It's been said (here, for one) that most people release one-half a liter of gas a day through the nether regions.  Well, MOST people are flat-out amateurs!  It takes real skill to have reached MY level, I will tell you!  And that's only from what I know about the daytime issues.  Heaven, and Biff, knows what goes on overnight.  Half a liter.  Child's play, a weak effort!  Pssssh.


Anyhow, it's really great what the internet will remind you of, guide you into finding more about, give you a gauge against which to measure yourself, and then allow you to brag about, isn't it?

Dear Lord I hope so.

Billowingly yours,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So much fluff

He's much bigger than this now.
Our dog, Wernstrom, is a good pup.  He has trained us well.

We go out with him when he needs to do his business, and will stand outside until he's done, plus 10 minutes of play time.

We hand him an after-meal treat because that's just what happens.

We let him out at regular intervals, serve him food at 7 and 5, teach him new things weekly, get all up in his face nightly, hug him and love on him and administer reproach when necessary.

OK, the reproach thing might not be him training us, but we are human and need authoitay!

All along this dog journey I have wondered if we did the right thing.  Was getting a dog into our home and family the right thing to do?  Was it OK to add all that responsibility to our lives, all that routine, all that energy expenditure?  Dogs are WORK, and puppies moreso.

This is what I have to say now about how things are going:

   Biff left a while ago to work up at the shop.  He took Wern with him.

   I woke up this morning with a nice big puppy sleeping with me after Biff had to leave for work.  Puppy stayed quietly in bed with me until it was time to get up.  Good boy.

   Thing 2 came home for lunch today and one of the first things he did was play with and treat the dog.  That's love.

   Wern loves to run around the backyard, and MORE if he has something from the firepit in his mouth.  Goofyness is great.

   He is  smart.  New tasks/tricks are usually learned in 5 minutes, and remembered.

   He barks at the right time.  Excellent skill.

   He loves EVERYONE. 'Nuff said.

   He growls at the 'right' times, even if it seems like nothing is worthy of growling at.  Big boy knows his tribe!

  And, when I come home from work and there's a giant pile of toy stuffing on the floor.  I don't really care.  That just means he's been having fun.  Fun is good!!


What can I say?  This kid is growing on me.  He will be 8 months old in early February.  EIGHT MONTHS!  He's big as a grown dog, sleek and shiny and almost-nearly not a puppy anymore.

Guess dogs are OK after all.

Tiff out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The sad hard work

(a story, adapted from life)

It's hard to help someone die.  The process can be exhausting. 

Take Nona, for example.  She's been dying a while now.  At first it seemed like maybe her death was going to come soon, a thing of the Maker's mysterious choosing, but she's hanging on, day after day keeping up with breathing and eating, though she's still really weak.

Helping the dying takes a lot out of a person.  Having to be helpful and positive and sympathetic and 'there' for them wears a body down.  Like, each day you help the dying you die a little too, which is pretty close to the truth if you think about it.

Nona's not much trouble.  She knows something's up but still feels good enough to try to sit up and eat small bites of the soft food I make for her.  Chopped up pasta, some pudding, spoons of milkshake, creamed corn on a good day when she seems like she can chew.  Ground up meatloaf is Saturday's treat, after which she needs to nap because protein is hard on her.  Nona gets along, breathing in and out, spending her days looking at things and listening to the talk around her.

But she is, in fact, dying.  As pleasant as she is, and as little trouble as she is, she's headed Home, as my folks would say.  It's taking a while, but her feet are on the path.  Death is inevitable. 

The odd thing is, Nona's not old at all.  Odder still, Nona's my baby.

Oddest of all, she's perfectly healthy.

But still is going to die.  One day.  And the worst part is that I did this to her.  I gave her life, so that one day she will die.  Some day, when I'm not around and she is old, she will rely on someone else to comfort her, to feed her, to change her, to sing to her, to read to her, to talk with her, to point out the sun and birds and trees to her, to comfort her when she is hurt and scared and alone and cold.  I cry to think of it, and hate myself for what I've done.

I did this to my baby.  Every day she's one day closer to death.

She sleeps peacefully, not aware of her ultimate demise.  She's happy in the tub, not caring about being frail and confused someday.  She looks at me with love, unaware that I have killed her by having her.

I have done this horrible wonderful thing, this Nona.

God help me wring this terrible wretched truth from my thoughts.


Readers, please note: if you have ever wondered what women with post-partum depression think of while they're catatonically wandering around their homes after having a baby, this is pretty much it.  At least it was for me.  I was so SAD to have had Thing 1 that I apologized to him time after time for being part of his death. 

PPD isn't just being sad; it's capable of rendering a normal woman completely crazy and derranged and thinking the very darkest of thoughts.  It scared me.

I did finally get better.


Tiff out.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


So, I think I've hit a wall.

When smiling becomes tough, when every dang muscle is tense, when 'angry' is the first thing I go to in the big book of emotions, it's pretty clear that something is awry.

Amiss, even.

The dog, while cute, is irritating.

The cats, while admirable and fuzzy, tick me off.

The house, while cozy and warm, irritates me with just How Very Much needs to be done, daily, always.

My lack of vim and vigor is distressing.

I do want to just crawl into bed and not come out.

Stupid job loss, anyhow.  It's making me crabby and uncool.  Tense, terse, dense.  It feels like my arms weigh 50 pounds and my head is full of smog.  Hard to shake off.

Must. Shake. Off.

Sunshine and unicorns tomorrow.   Tonight I'm going to disappear into a book and let Lovecraft rule my world.

Tiff out.