The Usual Yearly Ration

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(Pictured: “This is all very nice for you, I’m sure, but how come you never write about things cats enjoy, like being fed and throwing up on the floor?”)

This website began on July 11, 2004, which means that as of today it’s old enough to vote. In keeping with ancient custom, here are some of my favorite posts since last July 11, in no particular order.

—I spent some time on a recent afternoon at the radio station recreating the radio edit of the Isley Brothers’ 1975 hit “Fight the Power,” which bleeped the word “bullshit.” A couple of posts about naughty language in radio songs (here and here) were fun to write and got a lot of response from the readership, which I always appreciate.

—I provided the usual yearly ration of philosophical navel-gazing: about the people we see in dreams, about how and when our narrow childhood perspective starts to widen, about long autumn mornings on the school bus and a Thanksgiving Day 50 years gone, and about what it would be like if we could remember everything.

—I got annoyed with “people of my generation who mistake normal processes of growth and change for assaults on All We Hold Dear.”

—In 1972, somebody thought it would be a good idea to invite Adolf Hitler to a Dean Martin roast, and hired Casey Kasem to play the part. That in turn inspired a closer look at Martin’s impact on the record charts.

—I wrote tributes to Charlie Watts and Howard Hesseman.

—I wrote about how doing a radio show is best thought of not as performing, but as making something. Alongside a firm belief in the service responsibility of the radio jock, it’s the rock I stand on these days. Every piece of a show must have a purpose, and the pieces should be consciously assembled, like building a bookshelf or a birdhouse. I’m not just spitballing to fill time anymore—the way I did for quite literally decades on the air.

Joy and Fear: The Beatles, Chicago, and the Sixties by John F. Lyons inspired a couple of posts. I wrote about differing perceptions of the Beatles among boys, girls, and Black listeners, and (yet again) how Chicago was the first American city to hear the Beatles on the radio.

—Last December, I wrote about several Christmas warhorses celebrating 50th anniversaries: “Santa Claus and His Old Lady” by Cheech and Chong, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John and Yoko, and A Partridge Family Christmas Card.

—This is not a television website but it does have a TV category and the analytics available to me show that people like my occasional TV posts. I wrote about a series of programs commissioned by the U.S. Treasury to plug savings bonds, which featured mini-episodes of Cheers, Taxi, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Benson. I also wrote about the locally produced entertainment shows that used to run on daytime TV, and about the shows that topped the Nielsen ratings in summer of 1977.

—I also write The Sidepiece, a free e-mail newsletter you can subscribe to, which covers subjects not on-topic for this website. You can read about the likelihood that  American voters will freely choose Hell this November, or about the sick and helpless feeling one gets watching the GOP do what it does while the Democrats stand feebly by and do nothing. The Sidepiece post archive is available to all, even non-subscribers.

Almost every year in this post I write about how much I abused the editorial “we” in it, which I notice I have not done this year. So, in closing:

We do not write quite as often here as we used to; working for The Man puts demands on our time that are different from what they were during the first 17 years of this blog’s existence, when our gig-economy lifestyle permitted us to spend entire days noodling with it. Nevertheless, our intention is to soldier on here whenever we can, for as long as we can. If you keep reading, we will keep being grateful to you.

10 thoughts on “The Usual Yearly Ration

  1. Connor McGrath

    I’ve enjoyed reading your work since the Popdose days! Glad I discovered the blog a few years back and hope I’m around to enjoy it for years to come! If you keep writin’ em, I’ll keep readin’ em!

  2. I look forward to “The Hits Just Keep On Coming” and the occasional “One Day In Your Life.” Thanks for continuing that feature. And, thanks for “The Sidepiece.” It’s great to have an outlet to rant about how effed up a certain major political party is, and the fantasy world they’re trying to achieve.

  3. Wesley

    This is a great summation of just some of the many highlights of your 18 years of blogging, jb. Happy anniversary to The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ and here’s hoping that the next 18 will be just as fun and insightful as the previous ones were.

  4. John Gallagher

    I’m always stopping by your blog for some enjoyable reading on an almost daily basis. Keep up the great work.

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