Friday, January 23, 2015

Visit the New Ranting and Raving Blog

As you can see, this blog is infected with a virus.

I have tried everything to get rid of it, and Google won't help me with it.

Please go to the Ranting and Raving II Blog at to continue to read my posts.

Thanks for bearing with me during this unfortunate circumstance.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Rant #1,353: Bubbling Under

Several months ago, I told you that I was on a quest, a musical one, to obtain as many of the Bubbling Under tunes that I could, put them on disks, and listen to them in the car.

Just to refresh your memory, Bubbling Under songs are those 45 RPM singles that did not manage to reach the Hot 100 singles chart in Billboard, for whatever reason, but did get some airplay and sales, so they fell just short of the main chart and became part of the Bubbling Under chart.

These songs include regional hits, songs that in their original release simply did not do well, and songs that, well, they are lucky they made even this chart.

I chose the years 1964-1971 to focus on, because those are my favorite years in music, and it would keep me from taking years to accumulate all of these songs if I did it from the inception of this chart in the 1950s.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I am done with the first part of my quest.

I have accumulated approximately 1,950 songs that charted in the Bubbling Under chart from 1964-1971. I have done this by searching through my thousands of records, and using other sources for these songs.

I have to tell you, it's been a lot of fun doing this, and I have discovered an incredible resource of music that I would have never heard, or at least probably totally forgotten, if I had not started this quest.

However, I am missing about 270 songs, music that I could not find anywhere, and that leads to the second part of my quest.

I have tons of music stored on CD-Rs that I have accumulated over the years, and it is time to start searching through them for the tunes that I am missing.

I figure that if I can even get 50 of those missing tunes, I will be way ahead of the game.

This process is going to take some time, but I am sure I will find that I actually have at least some of the songs that I am missing.

Next comes the hardest part.

I will have to ask the public--the public that reads this blog and that participates in the various Yahoo Groups and Facebook groups that I run and participate in--to assist me in my quest.

I am sure somebody has these missing pieces somewhere, so maybe they can help me. If even someone can contribute one song that I need, that would be fantastic.

So I have reached this juncture, and it has been lots and lots of fun.

Everyone from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones to Elvis to heck, a group like the Robbs had Bubbling Under songs, tunes that simply didn't catch the fire of the listening public.

They weren't bad 45s, just singles that missed the widest listening ear, I guess.

Some are as good as what did make the Hot 100 during those years, some deserved to be where they were placed.

When I come up with that final list of missing songs, I will let you know.

I guess we all have our quirks, and this is one of mine. It helps to pass the time, and it is fun, doesn't effect anyone but me, and it has opened up a whole new world of music to me.

And I am all for fun!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rant #1,352: Very Timely Happenings

I would like to talk about two completely unrelated things today.

They are so unrelated that they are somehow interrelated.

Let me explain.

First of all, I have to make a mention of Bess Myerson's death. She was 90, lived in California in her golden years, and actually died on Dec. 17.

There was no announcement then, because over the years, she had become nothing more than a footnote on our culture, but at one time, she was probably one of the most famous women in the world.

She was the first, and only, Jewish Miss America, and she held that title when it actually meant something.

She was a real beauty queen, refusing to change her name from something so ethnic, which she was urged to do.

Sponsors pulled out of the pageant because of her presence, because they just couldn't fathom promoting such an event where a Jew was involved.

She later became a major presence on television, and later, in politics in New York.

Her later years were not happy ones, and the last thing I heard about her was that she was picked up for shoplifting.

She had dementia when she died, so her last days were not happy ones, but in the history of Jews in America, she is a bit more than a footnote.


The next thing I wanted to talk about today was a movie my wife and I watched on Saturday night. It was an extremely low budget 90 minute film from 1966 that caught our eye because of the title.

It was called "The Black Klansman," and it was also theatrically shown back then as "I Crossed the Color Line."

Today, the story might be looked at as trite, but back then, and perhaps even now, the story is far more than that, even in its low budget circumstances.

It concerns a light-skinned black man--actor Richard Gilden, who was actually white in real life--a musician, who has passed as white in his circles in the jazz clubs of Los Angeles.

He is estranged from his family, but has a daughter who lives in his old neighborhood with his mother.

Anyway, the Klu Klux Klan is prevalent in the Deep South, and was during those times.

The man's community has a virulent strain of this vermin in its midst, and one night, they decide to cause havoc, firebombing a church where the girl attends services with her grandmother.

The little girl dies in the firebombing, the man hears about it, and decides to do something about it.

He goes back to his old town as a white man and joins the KKK, vowing to avenge the murder of his daughter.

Look, this is not high drama. It is an exploitation film, little more, the acting is horrid--look for a young Whitman Mayo. later Grady on "Sanford and Son," in a small role--but it does bring up some interesting points even nearly 50 years after its initial release.

What does a person have to do to be respected in this country if they do not match the "profile" of what a "real American" is thought to be?

I think Myerson and this movie are kind of related, in a funny way, because both the person in the movie who eventually avenges his daughter's death, and Myerson herself in real life, sought that respect, even though they, perhaps, were not what many people believed to be "real Americans" way back when.

Check out the movie, and also, check out Myerson's bio when you have a chance.

You will find that the question I asked is still being asked today, all these years later, and years after the question should have been answered.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Rant #1,351: Just Another New Year's

Well, that was pretty much what it was this past New Year's holiday.

We were invited to a New Year's party taking place near where my wife's brother lives, but my wife got sick, and is still is under the weather, so we did not go.

Instead, we stayed home, ate the traditional Chinese food, and I, at least, planned to watch the ball drop ... but I fell asleep at 10:30 p.m. and that was that for me.

It is one of the few times as an adult that I didn't make the ball drop. I did record it for posterity, though. I must have known I was going to conk out.

I usually force myself--or will myself--to stay up, watch the ball drop, watch one or two "The Honeymooners" episodes, and fall right to sleep.

Not this time.

I decided to mix it up a bit on New Year's Day, and rather than watch "The Honeymooners" as I normally do, I watched "The Odd Couple" instead.

This is another classic, another very funny show that I watched when it was originally on, and laughed then and still laugh at now.

It is perfectly cast--Jack Klugman IS Oscar Madison in my book, and Tony Randall IS Felix Unger--and they are two of the better pairings in TV history.

I am so dismayed that later this current TV season, "The Odd Couple" is being brought back once again, with Matthew Perry as Oscar and someone else who I can't remember as Felix.

To me, it is almost blasphemy, after over the years coming out with various other failed versions, including a black version and a female version.

What a waste.

Anyway, it was back to work on Friday--yes, my place was open for whatever reason--I had a very busy day--stuff that honestly, I could have done on Monday--and then the weekend came, did the usual stuff, and here I am now, at 4:45 in the morning, typing all of this out.

I watched the police funeral on Sunday morning, and after spending an afternoon at my sister's house yesterday afternoon, sans my wife who is still under the weather, I watched the Knicks lose once again last night, and went to sleep.

Now, I am back in the same routine that I have been in recently. Wake up at 4 a.m., shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and type this column on my computer.

Today, I have to go right back into trying to get my son the needed programs he is entitled to, and I will do that as I prepare for work.

Yes, I am the hamster in the cage all right, running that wheel, but I have to believe that 2015 will be a lot better than 2014 was, or at least have a calmer year than 2014 was.

So I am back, back here to give you my perspectives on things as I see them, back for another year.

Barring anything unforeseen, we should go past 1,500 Rants this year, which I think is pretty good, showing "sticktoitiveness" and longevity.

Not every column is going to be at the top of its class, but I can guarantee that you will get a unique perspective on things here that you might not get anywhere else.

I don't propose that I am always correct, but you will know where I stand on matters important and matters much less important here, that's for sure.

So here is to another year ... and sometime this week, I am going to talk to you about a movie I watched on Netflix on Saturday night which, even thought it was an exploitation film made 50 years ago, kind of resonates with all the bad tidings we, as a nation, have had to endure during the past few months or so.

Stay tuned for that.


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