Friday Night Music

From a musician’s perspective, the South Africa of my youth — that would be White South Africa — was very similar to the southern states of Murka, in that they loved  country music.  Demographically, White South Africa outside the cities was largely rural in character, and I think that other than cowboy hats and stitched boots, those people had more in common with the American South than, say, New Yorkers of the Manhattan persuasion.

So we had a lot  of country music in our repertoire when not playing in and around Johannesburg — and sometimes even then.  Here’s a sample:

Mr. Bojangles — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (killed two birds with one stone by playing this song:  country, and  a waltz)

If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body — Bellamy Brothers (cheesy as hell — but man, people loved this song, as they did the next one)

Kiss You All Over — Exile (note: for the time — mid-1970s — the lyrics for this and the previous song were unbelievably suggestive.  Sometimes I still miss that innocence.)

Lying Eyes — Eagles (I know, some would say the Eagles weren’t a country band;  I would suggest that before Joe Walsh joined them, they were.  Another crowd-pleaser, this one:  I think we performed it every time we played outside a club.)

Sunday Morning Coming Down — Kris Kristofferson (and by the way, our guitarist Martin had a MUCH better voice than Kristofferson:  pure velvet)

It’s A Heartache — Bonnie Tyler (I know, she’s a Brit;  but the song is pure Nashville.  And I used to sing it, because I could — and still can — do that raspy-voice thing like Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker.)

Stranger In My House — Ronnie Milsap (his version is a little too  country;  we hardened it up into a rock song.  By the way:  I saw Milsap live after I came over to the U.S., and to this day I think he’s the greatest percussive pianist ever.)

Love Is In The Air — John Paul Young (everyone in the band hated this thing — and everyone in the audience loved  it.  Talk about selling out…)

Next week:  old-time rock ‘n roll.

So Much For Progress

at least when it comes to buying food:

A checkout-free Sainsbury’s branch has reinstalled its tills after just three months because customers chose to queue at the helpdesk to pay in the traditional way, rather than use the app.
The Holborn Circus shop was made till-free in April this year, with customers able to pay for products using the company’s app on their phone – in a drive to speed up shopping.
Shoppers download an app, called SmartShop then scan the barcode of the items they want to buy.
But the experiment resulted in long queues at the help desk, as people tried to pay for their groceries in the traditional way.

See, I know where this came from.  Some twerp in Finance looked at the staffing costs and recommended to Management that the company eliminate people altogether from their stores.
“But how do we do that?”  Management cried.
“Fear not,” said IT (or a $2,000/hour team of consultants from Bain, after a 2-year study), “We can just force people to use Technologeh!”

So now Sainsbury’s has had to re-install checkouts and hire staff — but the Finance / IT / consultant wizards are not dangling from lamp posts along Holborn Street, as would have happened under the reign of World-Emperor Kim.

And more’s the pity, methinks.

Gag Reflex

This article sparked my interest simply because I have a personal “worst dish” (one I will never eat, under any circumstances):

Irish Stew

Seriously, just looking at the pic makes me gag.

It’s a strange thing because lamb is one of my favorite meats of all — if roasted or barbecued — but I think it’s the lamb fat released in the cooking of the stew which revolts me — after eating it, one’s mouth and teeth are coated in a furry slime which

Ugh, I can’t write anymore or I’ll puke.

So, Gentle Readers:  what’s your  won’t-eat-at-any-cost dish?

Another Modernized Failure

I have written before about auto companies relaunching beloved older models, but in modern (post-modern?) shape and form.  To remind everyone of the concept:

Now comes Land Rover, who sold their soul company to some furriners, only to have said furriners turnaround and re-release a model long ago discontinued by the British Land Rover (for reasons which escaped me then, and still do).  I speak of course of the peerless Defender model, as exemplified by the one owned by The Englishman, Stout Bulldog that he is:

In that Defender’s place comes the newer version, to the universal acclaim of journalists and the undiluted scorn of the people who are in the target market of prospective purchasers.  Even better [eyecross], the New-N-Improved Defender is made not in Britishland, but in Slovakia.

I’m not going to post any pics of the new version because copyright hucksters and asshole lawyers (some overlap), but follow the link above and form your own opinions.  (Spoiler:  it’s the one that looks like a 4×4 New Mini.)

Now all that said:  maybe the new Slovo-Defender provides a more comfortable ride than the Anglo-Defender — it could hardly be less  comfortable, and I speak as one who has driven from Wiltshire to Scotland and back in Mr. Free Market’s Defender, as well as from Wiltshire to Cornwall and back in The Englishman’s one, and have the distressed kidneys to prove it.  But that’s not the point of a Defender, is it?  I mean, one could (technically speaking) drive a Caterpillar bulldozer from Wisconsin to Iowa along the interstate highway system, but that’s not what it was designed for.

However, I rather think that I’m missing the point.  I bet that the target market is not members of the farmer-Stout Bulldog Set [massive overlap]  such as The aforementioned Englishman and Mr. Free Market.  Instead, the new owners of Land Rover are aiming for the suburban / urban middle class, purchasers of “utility” vehicles such as the Porsche Macan, BMW X3 and Audi Q5 (vehicles referred to in Britishland as “Chelsea Tractors” and in north Texas as “Plano Off-Roaders”, for obvious reasons).

And this was written in all seriousness:

“…down the toilet.” FIFY

Anyway, the reaction of existing Defender owners to this new product can best be summed up from a joint communique issued by Mr. Free Market and The Englishman via my email:

“Looks like we’ll be holding onto our old Defenders for some time to come.”



LOL I see that Monopoly is getting in on the War Between The Sexes:

Hasbro has introduced the first Monopoly that celebrates women trailblazers
Aimed at players 8 years old and up, properties are replaced by groundbreaking inventions and innovations made possible by women throughout history
Players are told ‘Collect 240 salary as you pass GO, if you’re a man collect 200’
Women also get a $1,900 at the start, compared to $1,500 for male players
Tokens include a pen, jet, glass, a watch, a barbell, or Ms. Monopoly’s white hat
Ms. Monopoly celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories – including WiFi, chocolate chip cookies, and solar heating
Players of any gender can build business headquarters around the board to collect more money from others
In hope of inspiring others, it spotlights women who challenged the status quo

To make the thing even more true to life, CHANCE cards should include ones like:

  • “Congratulations on your divorce!  Collect your free house on Boardwalk*” or
  • “Congrats on your new baby!  As you aren’t sure of its paternity, collect $500 from each male player every time you pass GO” or
  • “You accuse someone of sexual harassment at your job.  Collect $50,000** from the bank” or
  • “You were caught shagging one of your students, a fifteen-year-old boy.  Go straight to jail.  (Just kidding;  get three extra rolls of the dice)”

The funniest part of all of this is that the more Ms. Monopoly is tilted in Teh Grrrls’ favor, the fewer men will want to play this poxy game — which will no doubt cause women to write weepymoany articles in Salon or HuffPo about how men are shunning them.

*Mayfair, in the Brit version

**I know $50,000 would bankrupt the Monopoly bank and end the game.  So?