Saturday, July 27, 43 A.B.

Just An Old Fashioned Update

About Last Night...

I'm not proud of what transpired in my kitchen after I posted yesterday's entry.

But I don't regret a moment of it.

About That Woodchuck...

8:10 a.m. - First appearance.  Wandered from northeast quadrant to northwest quadrant, munching all the while.  Ran off to the southeast as I buttered my toast.  Made a note to use margarine tomorrow.

4:46 p.m. - Second appearance.  Wandered from northeast quadrant to southeast quadrant.  Munched munched munched, pausing only long enough to stand up and flash his light brown belly at me.  I run off to the northwest corner my office and try to decide if I'm dealing with a shameless tease.

8:10 p.m. - Third and final appearance.  Once again, the northeast quadrant received the brunt of the munchification.  Made a note to get out there on my hands and knees first thing in the morning and see what I've been missing.  Also made a note to call the Columbus Zoo tomorrow and ask if their animals tend to suddenly appear at 8:10.

Why I Don't Read To My Cat More Often 

My Significant Other was out of town today.  To pass the time between woodchuck sitings after I'd finished mopping down the kitchen, I read Simon Winchester's The Map That Changed The World to Jester.

Winchester's book tells the story of William Smith, a man who explored Britain's terrain for 20 years and then used the data he collected to draw the first geological map in 1815.

It's the best book on stratum and strata I've ever held in my hands, hands down.  Even at this late hour, just thinking about its full-color reproduction of Smith's map makes me wanna grab some colored pencils, hop a flight east, and personally hand-tint the hills and valleys of the old U.K. so that they perfectly accord with Smith's genius.

Jester, however, won't let me. Not until I've read a certain passage on p. 31 to him a few more thousand times, anyway.

"Smith asked questions of his teacher - an eccentric villager named Billy Watts, who seems to have taught his classes while sitting with a cat on each knee."

Jester likes that passage so much, he insisted that I grab a colored pencil and underline it in red.

Even though this is a library book we're talking about here.

And even though I suspect I'll need all the red that pencil has to offer if I ever do make my way to the Emerald Isle.

Jester is convinced that my Significant Other will like this passage as much as he does.  In fact, he thinks she'll want to adopt Billy Watts' teaching methods once she returns to teaching in the fall.  He can't wait to clue her in.

I have refrained from warning my Significant Other what's in store for her the moment she enters the front door lest she be tempted never to enter the front door again.

After all, it's not as if I can have her using the back door all the time from now on.  That's reserved for the woodchuck!

Reaching Into The Mailsack

"So, Dan, you told us that Three Dog Night did NOT sing 'Spinning Wheel.'  That's great.  That's fantastic.  Glad to hear it.  Now, do you think you could tell those of us who aren't dinosaurs what they DID sing?  Thanks!"
- Kristie M., Fargo, North Dakota

Dear Kristie -

Sure!  But first, let me say this: Three Dog Night also did NOT sing "Brandy" - that was a group called Looking Glass.  Although I never thought Three Dog Night did sing "Brandy," I DID think Blood, Sweat and Tears did, and that's just wrong wrong wrong.  Blood, Sweat and Tears sang "Spinning Wheel" - which amazingly enough did NOT reach #1 although I swear it's the only song I can recall Toledo AM radio stations playing between 1969 and 1972.  Of course I didn't think Blood, Sweat and Tears OR Three Dog Night sang it back then - I thought Johnny Ginger did.  Now, chances are you never heard of Johnny Ginger but back then he was the hottest celebrity Toledo had produced since Danny Thomas.  The guy not only hosted his own kiddie show on TV every weekday afternoon from 4 to 4:30, he also had once had a small part in an episode of The Rifleman, so of course I was in awe of the guy and never missed an episode of his show.  And one of the things he did on that show was sing "Spinning Wheel."  It was years before I figured out that he had merely been lip-synching to the record.  I even wrote him a letter once, complimenting him on his performance and telling him how proud I was that a hot singer like him had chosen to stay in Toledo hosting a kiddie show when he could have been jetting around the world with Mick Jaggar, the Rat Pack, and the Cowsills.  I also asked him to check his puppet for gray hairs.  And he actually read my letter on the air!  Ok, so he skipped the part about jetting around with Mick.  The important thing to remember here is that he actually turned to his puppet midway through my letter and checked his puppet for gray hairs!  You see what I'm saying here?  I got the singer of "Spinning Wheel" to check his black-furred hand puppet side kick for gray hairs on live TV!  That's what I thought, anyway.  And it got me through my teens years, so keep your damn giggles to yourself.

Reaching Back Into The Mailsack

"So, Dan, you told us that Three Dog Night did NOT sing 'Spinning Wheel.'  That's great.  That's fantastic.  Glad to hear it.  Now, do you think you could tell those of us who aren't dinosaurs what they DID sing?  Thanks!"
- Kristie M., Fargo, North Dakota

Dang, Kristie - do you send two checks to ConEd every month, too??

Guess that explains why you don't have time to type "Three Dog Night" into a search engine and see what they sing, huh?

Well, ok.  Even though I really ought to be repainting the ceiling of my kitchen, here's some of what I heard performed a week ago tonight:

Mama Told Me Not to Come

Easy to be Hard (from HAIR)

One (is the Loneliest Number)

Never Been to Spain

Old Fashioned Love Song

Joy to the World (I know Jeremiah was a bullfrog but what am I?)

Black and White

Eli's Coming

Celebrate (Now being used in a prescription drug ad on TV)


Not a bad list for a bunch of guys who DIDN'T sing "Spinning Wheel," eh?  Sure, not a single song is as funny as Casey Kasem going nuts, but until the Columbus Symphony invites him to perform at one of their picnic concerts, we'll just have to settle for what we can get.

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher while lip-synching Vangelis' "Chariots of Fire")


HEY, KIDS!  It turns out that Johnny Ginger is STILL available for bookings!  That's what his home page says, anyway.  Gee, I wonder how much he charges to lip-synch to Casey Kasem going nuts??