coupons on food and other items

This one would be a good one for the late Andy Rooney.

Ever notice that while coupons are bigger in value, they also require you to purchase more than one of the item?  For example, in the past, Kellogg’s might have issued coupons for 50 cents off a box of Rice Krispies, but now the coupon is for $1 off two boxes.

This hurts consumers in two ways:  one, it forces them to buy more of the product than they might otherwise need (and in the process, leave less to spend on other items at the grocery store) and two, while a 50 cent coupon would be doubled or tripled, the dollar coupon would not be eligible for doubling or tripling, being redeemed at face value.

It seems to be that if makers of food and other items sold at grocery and general merchandise stores want us to buy their products, they’d make it easy to do this with small coupons on single items–rather than force us to buy more, as is the case now, and end up driving away customers.

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Songs that belong on Rolling Stone’s Top 500, but aren’t

In no particular order they are:

“Love Is Strange”–Mickey and Sylvia–how can you NOT fall for that opening hook?

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”–The Tokens–the opening vocals (“wee….eee…..eee….um….wee….eee…eee…eee…….wee…um…uh….way”) in this classic do what the opening guitar hook does in “Love is Strange”

“American Pie”–Don McLean–Nothing like it, and nor will anything ever be like it

“The Long and Winding Road”–the most beautiful song ever recorded by the Beatles–even more beautiful than “Yesterday”.  Their list hit before their breakup.

“Classical Gas”–Mason Williams.  Perhaps the last good instrumental work–and released during the peak of the classic rock era.  That rare breed that fits into the playlist of any popular music format.

“Downtown”–Petula Clark. Women were part of the British invasion too!

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Adele’s pregnancy

Why do celebrity mags glamorize and glorify the pregnancies of unmarried entertainers such as Adele, Jessica Simpson, etc.  Don’t they realize that by doing so, they are engaging in irresponsible journalism?

Furthermore, their doing so gives the impression  to impressionable teenage and tweenage girls the impression that such pregnancies are not only the norm, but a example for them to emulate as well.  

Why don’t People magazine and its peers do something novel for a change–like  celebrating the births (or adoptions) of children to individuals who are married to each other?

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Best instrumental works of all time

…..and I don’t mean instrumental versions of songs that would otherwise have lyrics.  I mean songs that were composed as lyric-free songs.

These are the flightless birds of popular music, a style that has all but disappeared from currently popular songs.  Lacking lyrics and message, all they’ve got to go on are the melody and arrangement, so they’ve got a tall order to fill.  But thankfully, many have.  Here are a few of my faves, again in no particular order:

1.  Classical Gas by Mason Williams.  Perhaps the last good instrumental work–and released during the peak of the classic rock era.  This one belongs on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 as well.

2.  ‘Wild Weekend” by the Rebels.  Don’t those thumping opening notes grab your attention?

3.  “Red River Rock” by Johnny and the Hurricanes.  If those opening organ notes don’t hook you, the staccato notes that end each “verse” will!

4.  The theme from the TV series “The Outer Limits”

5.  “Cast Your Fate to the Wind”–the Vince Guaraldi and Sounds Orchestra versions are the most well-known, but it’s also been recorded by many other instrumentalists, including Floyd Cramer, Mike Post (of “Rockford Files” and “Hill Street Blues” fame), David Benoit, and many more (check out for an extensive menu of performers and arrangements).  It was later made into a vocal work, with Shelby Flint’s powerful vocals being my fave.

6.  “Rinky Dink”–Dave “Baby” Cortez

7.  “The Happy Organ”, also by Dave “Baby” Cortez

8.  “Green Onions”–Booker T and the MG’s

9.  The Third Man Theme (aka “The Harry Lime Theme”).  It’s impossible not to hum along with this classic from the pre-rock era (1949).  It was solely by accident that Carol Reed, the director of this film noir classic, heard the song’s creator, Antan Karas, perform it in a Viennese restaurant for tips.  Reed was instantly hooked, and it became as well known as the film itself.  Ironically, it was Karas only “hit” and he didn’t enjoy playing it.

10.  “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” – Whistling Jack Smith.  Come on, admit–you love this novelty song, don’t you?

The title has nothing at all to do with the song.  It was simply a made up title.  By the way, “Batman” has no connection to the comic book/TV/movie superhero of the same name.  The “Batman” as used in the song is a British term that means “valet.”

11. “Nola”, a song from an earlier era that has been performed by numerous performers.  Hearing it makes you think you’re watching the Lawrence Welk show.  That said, it’s catchy, and that’s what counts.

12. And my exception to this being about pure instrumentals, not instrumental versions of vocal works:  Lonnie Mack’s recording of “Memphis”  I understand that this was done on the spur of the moment just to fill idle time.  I may be wrong.

You know me and lists, so I’ll be adding to this list often!

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The penalty for not having health insurance being regarded as being a tax is a major error.
Taxes are collected by the government to raise revenues, with the anticipated revenues from taxes being part of the budget making process in determining expenditures (or at least I hope that they are). 
If the penalty for not having health insurance is a tax, then the Federal government must be counting on raising revenues from this tax, the same as it would for any other tax.
This means that the US government is counting on some citizens not having health insurance so that it may collect revenues from Chief Justice Roberts’ “tax”.   
Clearly, this is a logical absurdity.  Too bad that Justice Roberts didn’t realize this in writing his flawed ruling.
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Players, coaches, etc. who belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

1.  Otis Taylor.  The receiving end of many of HOFer Len Dawson’s passes.  Together, they embarrassed Minnesota in the last Super Bowl game played by an AFL team.

2. Jack Kemp.  More famous as a politician, he literally led San Diego and Buffalo to division titles in the AFL.

3. Ken Anderson.  One of the most modest players ever to play in the NFL, going out of his way to give others credit.  Perhaps it’s because he never won a Super Bowl.  Still he was pretty darn good in the era of Staubach, Griese, Bradshaw, Namath, Hadl, Jurgensen, Theisman, Tarkenton, etc,

4. Calvin Hill.  In an era domiated by O. J. Simpson (remember him?), one of the mst underrated players in NFL history.  He’s overdue for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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MLB players, managers, etc. who belong in the Hall of Fame

1.  Joe Torre.  Borderline HOF career statistics.  However, his managerial career ices the argument.  Surviving for 12 years under Steinbrenner and winning 4 WS is an accomplishment in itself, not to mention his other managerial stints.

2.  Davey Concepcion.  Why is the best shortstop of the 70’s overlooked? Maybe it’s because he was overshadowed by his Big Red Machine teammates of Bench, Morgan, Perez, and Rose, but that’s no excuse. There’s no quota ceiling on team HOF inductions. Davey belongs just as much as the rest of them.

3.  Maury Wills.  Stole his way into the 1962 MVP.  Revived the art of base stealing.  Is there a conspiracy keeping him out?

4.  Curt Schilling.  Perhaps it’s too soon to say he’s overlooked, so maybe he’ll get in, but still you have to wonder.

5.  Dale Murphy–one of the best overall hitters of the 1980’s and he did it all on his own without any performance enhancing drugs.  A HOFer both on and off the field.

6.  Steve Garvey–the original Dale Murphy before he got embroiled in all of those messy relationships late in his career.  Still had some of the best career numbers of his era, holds the NL record for consecutive games played (albeit, less than half of Iron Man Ripken’s record, but still a league record nonetheless) and was an All Star and MVP as well.

7.  Jim Kaat–somehow he gets ignored because he was in the second tier below the legends of his era (Koufax, Gibson, Drysdale, Marichal, Palmer, Carlton, etc.)  Yet all he did was win nearly 300 games and strike out a lot to batters to boot.  A major contributor wherever he played.  Maybe not the ace of the staff, but one of the better #2 starters in MLB history.  He would have won at least one Cy Young Award had there been a winner for each league.  Hey Veterans Committee, are you monitoring blogs?

8.  Luis Tiant–one of the most underrated pitchers of the 1970’s, but a go-to guy when the game’s on the line

9. Lou Whittaker.  He’d be in by now were it not for a quirk in the balloting procedure that eliminates candidates if they aren’t named on at least 5% of the first year ballots.  He wasn’t, so he’s off the ballot, and will have to wait until the Veterans Committee takes up his qualifications.  This shows the injustice of the way candidates are eliminated.  Certainly giving them 2 or 3 years to reach the 5% threshold isn’t unreasonable, to account for those situations where a strong class of legends eliminates many otherwise deserving candidates from induction.

10. And why not Lou’s Keystone Combination partner, Alan Trammel? Voting them in as a tandem in 2015, anyone?


You know me and lists, so I’ll be adding more later, so check often for updates!

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