My mind is wandering all over the place this weekend. Here are the random thoughts and comments that result from it:
1. Yesterday morning I heard that China launched its third manned space mission, this time with three astronauts, and one of them is going to try a spacewalk. I have followed their space program with considerable interest; if I could talk with Yang Jiwei, the first astronaut they sent up, I would say to him and his country, “Now that you are here, I hope we can still be friends.”
This is only their third space flight since 2003; by contrast, back in the early days of the American and Soviet space programs, the USSR launched eight missions in the same amount of time, and the USA launched sixteen. I’m guessing part of the reason is because space capsules and launch vehicles cost a lot more than they used to, as our own space shuttle showed us. Another factor might be pride. The Chinese are insisting that they do it all by themselves, rather than get help from us or the Russians, the way the European Space Agency does. In fact, the excavation of the tomb of China’s first emperor has been proceeding very slowly for the same reason — the Chinese are waiting for the day when they can properly dig into the main mound, without assistance from foreign scientists.
China: Space Craft Launches in key Mission
2. A website called Spike.com has posted a list of the top ten bad songs that hit #1 on the billboard charts. For whatever reason (the author thought it was bad taste), people liked these songs when they came out, and because they did so well, they’ll never fade completely away. Here they are, with a few comments from me:
10. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley (1988). The video for this one is enjoying new life on YouTube. I take it this is somebody’s idea of a practical joke?
9. “Batdance” by Prince (1989). The theme of most Batman movies is that the hero is a borderline psychotic, especially in the latest one, “The Dark Knight.” It seems to me that a heavy metal star would do a more appropriate song for a moody story like that, rather than a quirky star like Prince.
8. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1988). Darn, I liked that one. I even remember my pastor using it as the topic for a sermon!
7. “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys (1999). For what it’s worth, the Backstreet Boys were Orlando’s biggest contribution to pop music. Other central Florida bands worthy of note were N’Sync and the Genitorturers. I still remember taking three hours to download this video for my daughter, back in the days of dial-up connections.
6. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred (1992). The article said this one’s supposed to be a satire. I thought the satire was Elmer Fudd’s version of the song.
Weird Elmer Fudd Version
5. “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter (2006). I never heard this one at all; it’s probably just as well.
4. “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by Baha Men (2000). The less you hear of this one, the better.
3. “Wannabe” by Spice Girls (1997). For someone like me, who prefers exotic music, this one is dull, D-U-L-L.
2. “Macarena” by Los Del Rio (1995). Like #6 above, the parodies of it were better. I’ll probably bring back bad memories if I say more.
1. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt (2005). I honestly thought Rod Stewart was singing this one. Which shows I wasn’t really paying attention to pop songs back then.
My main complaint is that the author of the article is too young to remember any bad songs from before 1988. My memories go back to the early 1970s, so I’ve got a decade and a half more full of songs I’d like to forget. Here in Lexington we have three classic rock stations and no top 40 station, so I hear the oldies just about every time I turn on an FM radio. Of course, some of them were probably meant to be be bad, like Loudon Wainright III’s “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” (1973), and most of the stuff that Dr. Demento plays. If you want to read the whole article, and have the stomach to watch the videos, click on the link below.
The Ten Worst Songs That Hit #1
3. Speaking of dead skunks, I have noticed that there are more skunks in Kentucky than in Florida. Since I drive through the countryside to get to work, it’s normal for me to smell one on the way. You definitely don’t want a skunk to become roadkill, because if it does, you can smell it a mile away, and the stench on that spot can last as long as two weeks. One time last week I passed one that was bad enough to make me gag, and I rolled up the windows — too late. Evidently some of that stink got into my car while I had the window down, because I smelled it again when I got into the car to drive home that afternoon, eight and a half hours later!
Anyway, on Wednesday I happened to see a live skunk running across the road in front of me. Don’t worry, it was lucky enough to reach the other side. This reminded me of the time down in Florida when I was driving Lindy home from a music practice, one Saturday afternoon, and I happened to see an armadillo strolling on a sidewalk. Now armadillos are nocturnal, so what was this one doing out in the daytime? I don’t know. I told Lindy, but she was too slow in turning her head, and missed the shelled mammal completely. Because of the armadillo’s habits, most people are far more likely to see one dead than alive, and Lindy had never seen a live one, so she didn’t believe me.
4. Finally, yesterday I found out that September is National Chicken Month. The town of London, KY is in the part of Kentucky where Colonel Sanders got started (you may remember that I visited his first restaurant last June), so this weekend they’re having the 19th Annual World Chicken Festival. Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun for everybody but the chickens. Meanwhile, back here in Lexington, the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus has arrived in town, and the city celebrated by getting some firemen with a hose to wash five elephants in a downtown park.
Something to Cluck About