Posts Tagged ‘Billboard’

Unlikely G and Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: God bless Bob Barker

December 12, 2010

(Please do.)

Major happy birthday wishes to superfly dope-fresh Unlikely G, Mr. Bob Barker. Never been a huge game show guy but I love the dude.

American readers might know that Bob Barker, the longest-running host of a game show ever (The Price is Right — one of my sorority sisters cleaned house on that show), ended every episode of his show with the sign-off line, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered,” a tradition his replacement after retirement, comedian Drew Carey, has continued. Thus I have a long association of spaying and neutering with Bob Barker. It’s an honor most would call dubious but I have a feeling that he would probably be quite happy with it. And today he turns 87!

Top five things you might not know about this gentle silver G:

  • Grew up on a reservation in South Dakota.
  • At 73, became the oldest MTV Movie Award recipient, winning Best Fight for his golf-course brawl with Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore.
  • Bowed out of longtime hosting duties for the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants when his request that the organization stop giving fur gifts was denied.
  • Gave $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation for the outfitting and secret launch of a ship (since renamed the MV Bob Barker) which interdicted the Japanese whaling fleet.
  • Has two notorious beefs: a) with the Qualla Boundary Cherokee over their treatment of bears in their zoo, the long public fights over which have resulted in Chief Michell Hicks threatening to ban the rabble rouser and PETA from the res; and b) with formerly close pal Betty White over the relocation of an elephant from Los Angeles to a sanctuary in San Andreas.

    It seems argumentative and counterintuitive to fight, but if I have learned nothing else from the rap world, it is that BAMF’s gotta have beefs, and you must admire someone tenacious enough to keep up an argument with a fellow bad-ass like Ms. White. They are both good people who are genuine friends to animals, and I predict they will patch it up, if they have not already.

    So send a big birthday wish in to the universe for Bob Barker, an old school Unlikely G from way back!

  • Flashback Friday, New Years’ Resolution Reality Check #1 — Music Moment: Les Paul and Mary Ford, “Goofus”

    December 10, 2010

    This entry was originally posted on January 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm. It contains the second of my New Years’ Resolutions for 2010. Over the next several Flashback Fridays, I will be taking them out, dusting them off, and seeing how well I followed through. I do not anticipate it always being pleasant, but the truth can’t be.

    Les Paul & Mary Ford – Goofus

    This recording of “Goofus” (King-Harold-Kahn, 1930), one of my favorite songs, is just instrumental. It’s performed by legendary husband-wife duo Les Paul and Mary Ford (so, so, so much more on them another day).

    The Paul-Ford version topped out at #21 on the Billboard chart on its release in the early Fall of 1950. The ensemble Paul and Ford had gathered is plucky and fun, although I have heard recordings from the ’30’s with saws and washboards which sort of put ukes and slides in the shade, but you work with what you got, and they did a great job re-popularizing a well-loved classic.

    It really gets me that there was a time in this country when there was a) a set of songs that everyone knew, and b) a time when you picked up an instrument and sat down together and played, sometimes just as a family, but often as part of a larger community group. What happened? Radio killed the vaudeville star, but, moreover, the vaudeville star took group singalongs and skit shows down with him. No more public singing.

    People just don’t do that often enough anymore, I think. I remember reading, quite a few years back, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (I consequently did not see the movie), and, in one of the super-tolerable parts, a character aged in her mid-70’s during the 1990’s was remarking on the emptiness of the sounds one hears walking the streets in the present day. She recalled being a child and teenager in the ’20’s and ’30’s, and how you could not so much as hang the laundry without hearing someone whistling or singing a street over or while walking past the yard.


    “One Last Tickle on the Ivorys,” St. Ebba’s Lunatic Asylum, by Christopher O’Donovan on the flickr.

    The idea of that touched me very deeply, because it resonated. I have always liked music, and always known a little about the history of radio and the record industry, being a big vinyl guy, and I’m not saying even at all that radio itself massacred town talent shows, I think increasing materialism and isolationism happened to dovetail with that new mass media, and long story short: it should change back. We need more of that old way of doing things, especially now, when so many people have lost hope and there are young people growing up for whom there are no stories about uncles who sang Irish tenor or great-grandmothers that could play the spoons.

    It’s always fun to find out what hidden talents your friends and neighbors have (unless those talents are taxidermy and soundproofing basements), and it brings communities closer together. I think I remember hearing that a song is like a prayer times two, or some such thing, and I believe it. Everything is better with music.


    “I Wanna Be a Majorette,” by Eleanor Hardwick.

    I used to perform in singing groups and church choirs, and even participated in competitive choral groups in High School. The older I’ve gotten, the more I have grown very shy about my singing, but why? Half of what I hear on the radio has been triple-processed and slickly produced, and who cares if someone hears me fall a little flat? The spirit and song in my heart that made me so happy, that urge to open my throat that I couldn’t repress, that hasn’t changed, so why do I let fear and modern ideals of social behavior fence me in?

    Holy cow, I think I just found my second resolution of 2010: Make a joyful noise. Join me, y’all!


    Reality Check: I did not do as well as I wanted on this one. I started sporadically singing in my friends’ “band practice” Rock Band video game nights, but I did not join my church choir, which was what I really wanted to do. Partly intimidation because the director is an old friend, partly feeling too busy (excuse). I guess where I feel I really failed is I did not keep that song in my heart that I felt when I had written this originally. I need to try to get that feeling back.

    Music Moment: Les Paul and Mary Ford, “Goofus”

    January 12, 2010

    Les Paul & Mary Ford – Goofus

    This recording of “Goofus” (King-Harold-Kahn, 1930), one of my favorite songs, is just instrumental. It’s performed by legendary husband-wife duo Les Paul and Mary Ford (so, so, so much more on them another day).

    The Paul-Ford version topped out at #21 on the Billboard chart on its release in the early Fall of 1950. The ensemble Paul and Ford had gathered is plucky and fun, although I have heard recordings from the ’30’s with saws and washboards which sort of put ukes and slides in the shade, but you work with what you got, and they did a great job re-popularizing a well-loved classic.

    It really gets me that there was a time in this country when there was a) a set of songs that everyone knew, and b) a time when you picked up an instrument and sat down together and played, sometimes just as a family, but often as part of a larger community group. What happened? Radio killed the vaudeville star, but, moreover, the vaudeville star took group singalongs and skit shows down with him. No more public singing.

    People just don’t do that often enough anymore, I think. I remember reading, quite a few years back, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (I consequently did not see the movie), and, in one of the super-tolerable parts, a character aged in her mid-70’s during the 1990’s was remarking on the emptiness of the sounds one hears walking the streets in the present day. She recalled being a child and teenager in the ’20’s and ’30’s, and how you could not so much as hang the laundry without hearing someone whistling or singing a street over or while walking past the yard.


    “One Last Tickle on the Ivorys,” St. Ebba’s Lunatic Asylum, by Christopher O’Donovan on the flickr.

    The idea of that touched me very deeply, because it resonated. I have always liked music, and always known a little about the history of radio and the record industry, being a big vinyl guy, and I’m not saying even at all that radio itself massacred town talent shows, I think increasing materialism and isolationism happened to dovetail with that new mass media, and long story short: it should change back. We need more of that old way of doing things, especially now, when so many people have lost hope and there are young people growing up for whom there are no stories about uncles who sang Irish tenor or great-grandmothers that could play the spoons.

    It’s always fun to find out what hidden talents your friends and neighbors have (unless those talents are taxidermy and soundproofing basements), and it brings communities closer together. I think I remember hearing that a song is like a prayer times two, or some such thing, and I believe it. Everything is better with music.


    “I Wanna Be a Majorette,” by Eleanor Hardwick.

    I used to perform in singing groups and church choirs, and even participated in competitive choral groups in High School. The older I’ve gotten, the more I have grown very shy about my singing, but why? Half of what I hear on the radio has been triple-processed and slickly produced, and who cares if someone hears me fall a little flat? What made me so happy, that urge to open my throat that I couldn’t repress, that hasn’t changed, so why do I let fear and modern ideals of social behavior fence me in?

    Holy cow, I think I just found my second resolution of 2010: Make a joyful noise. Join me, y’all!