Flashback: “Devil Woman” by Cliff Richard

As you may have guessed by now, I love the geographic quirkiness that pop music sometimes brings. What makes an artist successful in one part of the world, but not in other parts of the world?

One of the bigger examples of that would be Cliff Richard – who is only behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley in terms of the top selling artists in British pop music history. Over here in America, this was Richard’s biggest hit, going to #6 on the Billboard charts in 1975 – scoring ten top 40 hits in the States from 1959 to 1981.

Bonnie’s Last Hurrah?

Through bits and pieces on YouTube, and because the album won’t be released in North America until the fall (which will be the first release of a studio album of hers here since 1996) but has been released in most of Europe already – I’ve heard Bonnie Tyler’s most recent album, Between The Earth And The Stars. Since I seem to be one of the few “Bonnieologists” out there on this particular continent, I’d thought I’d give a review – as I did back in 2013 with Rocks And Honey.

In short, I think this was one of her better studio albums of the 17 she’s released since 1977 – with probably only 1983’s Faster Than The Speed Of Night rivaling it. (I’d give it an 8.5 on a 1 to 10 scale if you’re keeping score.) If what Bonnie has said recently in the European media a few times is true, I’m suspecting this will likely be (at almost two months shy of 68) her last studio album in a career that spanned half a century. I certainly don’t want that to be the case – but the clock eventually catches up to all of us sooner or later, right?

I’ve always thought Tyler might have one more hit over here in the US, as evidenced when the solar eclipse in August of 2017 briefly made her a thing once again in the United States, remembering how “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” was a big hit worldwide in 1983. A “best of” album briefly charted in Billboard’s Top 200 albums around that time, which ended a gap of over 31 years since Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire made the lower end of the charts in the spring of 1986. After that, I thought perhaps that was the “one more hit” that I had envisioned for her and not any new material that could come along.

But then again, when I had these dreams of Bonnie having that one last hit in America over the years, I kept seeing a year with a 9 in it. First I thought the 9 meant 19-something as in the previous century, then 2009 – and now, here we are in 2019. Perhaps, this will be her time.

“Hold On” was easily the best song on the newest album, though if the album is released here in the fall as planned – her new label, earMUSIC, will probably push her duet with Rod Stewart. “Battle Of The Sexes” kind of disappointed me – both put in their usual good vocal work and by no means is it a terrible song, but it didn’t seem there was any chemistry between them within the song itself. If “Battle” is released as a single and charts (and that might not be the big “if” it would have been a few years ago), Bonnie and Rod could break some of the elder age records on Billboard, and that’s probably where the money is to be made publicity-wise if anywhere.

If this indeed winds up being Bonnie’s last studio album (I do think she’ll continue on and do tours into the 2020’s – and oh by the way, North America gets another total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024), it’s not a bad capper for her. I’ll get it when it comes out over here, for sure – it could wind up being somewhat of a collector’s item.

Hoax Land

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If you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater, then it should not be allowed to say a President colluded with another country if such information is false.

The networks were abuzz late Friday afternoon with the news that the nearly two-year investigation of what happened in the 2016 Elections reached its end. In the days that followed up until the time of this typing just before noon on Sunday, very little information leaked to the media about special counsel Robert Muller’s findings – which would seem to be a preliminary indication that the President nor his family did anything wrong.

Should this continue to verify, the media and those politicians who gave no quarter to the presiding President have done the man – and, by extension, all of us – a grave disservice. Remember back in 2016 that I was skeptical of Mr. Trump – but as the election dawned, I felt the country would be better in his hands than in the hands of the wife of an impeached former President.

If Republicans had done this so a sitting Democratic president, I would be just as upset – and regardless of the political affiliation, whether or not we have a President with a “D” or an “R” next to his name – this was all done in our names. All who participated in this scam should be shunned as much as possible. As Caitlin Johnstone recently suggested, these people need to be ruthlessly mocked – as they did to Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Mitch McConnell, and others.

If that leads to the indictment of Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama – so be it.

Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.

Flashback: “Miserlou” by Dick Dale

In putting this piece together, I didn’t know that Dick Dale had passed away this past Saturday, March 16th. More of a reason to play the song made famous in Pulp Fiction and some other media outlets circa 1994 that was originally recorded in 1962.

Democracy’s Death Star?

While the argument continues to rage over who did what to who in the 2016 US Elections, there’s this matter of various states combining efforts to do away with the Electoral College – probably not before the 2020 Elections get here, but perhaps 2024 or at some point afterward.

Regardless of whether or not Democrats get away with what they did in 2016, I’m not in favor of government making another end run around the Constitution as was attempted in 2009 with the passing of the mandatory purchasing of healthcare – which didn’t last long as the law of the land. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would be just another means of bypassing the Constitution and would allow states to make laws of their own accord.

It is also worth mentioning that all of the states that have joined the NPVIC so far were all won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Should that change, the compact would only be permitted if the combined electoral vote total exceeds 270 – the majority needed for a presidential nomination.

I have had misgivings about the value of the Electoral College – and why it only applies to elections at the presidential level. But at the same time, if our society is going to make this significant of a change, it should be done the legal way: by going through the Constitution. By going through and changing the law at the state level, it gives the states that are colluding with each other too much power – which is not good for the country as a whole.

All They Do Is Win

I’ve been remiss these past few months not mentioning how wonderful it’s been to watch the local hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, burn through the rest of the NHL so far. With ten games left in the regular season, they’ve already broken team records for wins and standings points, and may wind up with one of the best regular seasons in NHL history by the time it’s all over with.

The reason I really haven’t been paying attention is that I’m basically a football and baseball guy. I watch baseball season – then when that’s over with, I watch football. When the Super Bowl comes and goes, I watch NASCAR until it’s baseball season again.

I’ll be making an exception for Lightning games as they make their playoff run – because in the world of North American sports, one bad run of games and all that good work in the regular season can go up in smoke quickly. Go Bolts!

The Knoxville Five

In the surreal world of pro wrestling, a tape has recently surfaced from some 40 years ago. If it had been released as planned – it would have altered the future of this particular form of entertainment, and changed the faces who rose to prominence thereafter.

Back in that era, wrestling had something called territories – which worked sort of like the franchises of the NBA, NFL, baseball, and so forth. It would have been highly unusual, for instance, to see a show involving wrestlers from the Florida circuit in Tampa holding a show in New Orleans, let’s say. And much like these organized sports – the individual players could move from team to team – or territory to territory. If you were a journeyman wrestler who knew how to draw (make money), you could make a decent living in 1979 working these various territories even if you were the 100th best at it. No such opportunities exist today such as these, because Vince McMahon Jr. would come along in 1984 or so and put the territory system out of business, along with the boom of cable television.

(EDIT, 3/14/2019: Oddly enough, a few hours after I typed about talent from one territory appearing in another circuit being a rare occurrence, there’s some proof that the Florida circuit sent talent to a card in the San Francisco circuit – complete with an extended commercial to promote the matches with interviews narrated by Gordon Solie.)

Two ownership groups were competing for the territory based out of Knoxville, Tennessee that ran basically in the Appalachian mountains and thereabouts. One group was headed by Ron Fuller (a family that had been in the business for a few generations) which was called Southeastern Championship Wrestling. The upstart group was called All-Star Championship Wrestling, and had some prominent names of the business at the time. Fuller’s group had the sanctioning of the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance), which was the governing body that controlled most of the business in the era, using a centralized set of champions – who would go from territory to territory to defend their belts, only changing hands when NWA executives gave permission to do so.

I should note the five man shown in this clip, who are: Robert “Bob” Roop, Lawrence Simon (Boris Malenko), Ronald “Ron” Wright, Roger Barnes (Ronnie Garvin), and Bob Orton Jr.

It wound up being one of the rare occasions when an non-NWA entity wound up winning a territorial war – although it made wrestling unviable in that region of the country thereafter. I’d have to assume the tape was never released because it must have been an absolute last-ditch plan.

An AOC Theory: An Actress?

People sometimes call me a conspiracy theorist, and I’m fine with that. I often find it weird that you are only a conspiracy theorist if you have conservative values – but if you do not, and you throw out theories, you are somehow not a conspiracy theorist.

Like many Americans who follow the news, I’ve been watching how the headlines seem to be made to an obsessive degree by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a new congresswoman from New York City. Namely, how did the voters of eastern Bronx and a portion of Queens were able to elect someone who appears to be an absolute neophyte? For that matter, why can’t conservative outlets such as Fox News just stop talking about her?

Prior to watching this video, my theory had been that the “Clinton democrats” were trying to co-opt into the socialist movement, though it’s not impossible that the puppet masters of the Democrats have this in mind as their eventual goal. If you have watched AOC for any length of time, you can tell relatively quickly that something is off of her.

YouTube poster Mr. Reagan has the theory that Cortez is merely an actress playing a role – and that her rise to power is more or less an experiment by socialists done from the safety of a highly Democratic congressional district.

With all things politics, the truth always seems to be a bit stranger than it’s fiction. If I’m Bernie Sanders, I sure as hell wouldn’t run for President as a Democrat, but as a third-party candidate. If he did that, he’d actually win a few states, much like George Wallace did in 1968, Ethically, morally, or spiritually bankrupt as he may have been, Wallace is still the last third-party candidate to win states in a Presidential election, taking four and nearly forcing an Electoral College stalemate where nobody would have won the 270 “votes” needed to win the presidency.

With all of these candidates in the race, 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting electoral year. A long way to go and a lot of time to digest what is actually going on.

Flashback: “Clapping Song” by Pia Zadora

Well, this is an odd one. This song was so memorable (he says sarcastically) – I don’t remember it being a hit, and according to my research (Wikipedia, that is), this cracked the lower part of the Billboard Top 40 in 1983 for Zadora’s biggest hit in the US.

In fairness, I remember another song from her at about the same time frame called “Rock It Out” but that failed to reach the Hot 100, bubbling under in 1984.

Harper’s Millions

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On Thursday past, former Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who had become a free agent in the offseason (a player who leaves his team and goes to the team the respective player chooses to join), signed with Philadelphia’s Phillies. He signed a $330,000,000 deal that covers the next 13 seasons.

That struck me as quite a gamble for a player who turns 27 in October who has a bit of an injury history with his knees. It also wasn’t surprising to me that another “big city” team wound up getting Harper’s services – with Philadelphia being the fourth largest media market in the United States. The move once again highlights the continuous inequity between the clubs in the larger markets as compared to their counterparts – with 14 of the 30 clubs residing in the top ten media markets in the country.

How do you fix the system? It’s been broken so long, I don’t know if it can be fixed. One of the things I have tried in my Out Of The Park Baseball simulations is a profit-sharing system. Instead of luxury taxes – have a system where all of the profits (or losses) of the 30 teams are pooled and equally divided. That would smooth things out eventually after a few seasons, I suppose – but the problem in that scenario is the short team, there will still be a lot of inequity that would exist between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, for example – and then, the inequity would totally reverse itself. The Rays, in my example, would have more equity than the Yankees for a few seasons after the switch.

So no, I don’t know how you “fix” baseball to make it fair for every team – but it is something the MLB “poobahs” should probably look at.