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Yeah, yeah, I know — another birthday coming around. Big deal!

When I was young, my family made a big deal out of the fact that my birthday was “The First Day Of Spring.” Actually, the Vernal Equinox would occur on Mar. 20 sometimes and Mar. 21 others.

It also marked the first day of Ares, for those who follow astrology.

But some few years ago, I lived long enough that the universe rotated and my birthday was no longer the first day of spring — which now will be either Mar. 19 or 20 some years.

“The precession of the equinoxes refers to the observable phenomena of the rotation of the heavens, a cycle which spans a period of (approximately) 25,920 years, over which time the constellations appear to slowly rotate around the earth, taking turns at rising behind the rising sun on the vernal equinox.”

So I will have to be patient if I want to wait around for my birthday to synch with spring.

What this means in astrological terms — I really don’t care.

Precession of the equinoxes

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The Academy Awards show will be the talk of the world tomorrow. Unlike most programs on television (even awards programs) the Oscar ceremony is not presented for the people watching it on TV but the live audience in the room — the movie business insiders.

And as in all awards shows (and many other facets of life) I am against competition. We have turned everything in our lives into a contest with winners and losers, and a decision on who is the best.

But — does the Oscar itself matter?

Do you think the Oscar award goes to the best movie or actress or director? Well then you probably believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. The Academy awards are presented

Walt Disney presents Shirley Temple's Honorary Oscar

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As a middle child, I have a lot to thank my older brother for. But in a few things, I wish I hadn’t followed in his footsteps.

My older brother was a trail-blazer when it came to drinking, smoking and most of the other passages from childhood to adult. Being only slightly more than two years younger, I became his sidekick — his drinking monkey.

Monkey smoking a cigarette and carrying a bottle of booze.I’ve since wised up and dropped my evil habits. But I know that many people aren’t able to master their habits.

On an unrelated topic, my younger brother (when he was very young) asked my mother if she would have another boy so HE could have a little brother (the poor lady had already given birth to three boys.)

She told him that more children were not in the picture.

So little brother asked, “Then can we have a monkey?”

For purposes of these anecdotes, both brothers will remain nameless. Please forgive me, my brothers.

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I have reason to believe that I am the last person on Earth who drives a regular-sized car.

All around me are SUVs, Mini-vans and full-sized vans, Hummers, Jeeps and their clones and deriviatives, and mainly pickup trucks (most of the Monster Truck variety).

How does society compensate to all this? By reducing parking spaces.

3 cars squeeze into 2 parking spacesTo squeeze more people into a business (and squeeze more money out of them), you simply draw the lines in the parking lot narrower and write COMPACT in them. Of course, there are no compact vehicles, but that is not the fault of the businesses.

So the Hummers and Monster trucks can park in every other space, taking up one and a half of them so nobody can park between them, and the parking lot capacity is down to 1/3 of its optimal space.

A shrink I know would probably say that people feel so battered and vulnerable in this world of diminishing freedoms and shrinking income that they feel better in large (HUGE) vehicles.

You can fight back by driving recklessly, cutting people off in traffic, running them off the road. If you have a huge metal shell around you and can speed away, nobody can harm you — no matter how small and weak you are.

But then, I’m no shrink — I don’t know the reasons behind anything. I’m just looking for a parking space. A full-sized parking space.

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My Funny Valentine — You will still hear this every Valentine’s Day, even 80 years after it was written. The song is tender but odd — like the person who wrote it.

Actually, the beautiful music was written by “Richard Rodgers” — the guy who wrote Oklahoma and The Sound of Music and a lot of other classic Broadway musicals that were hits on the big screen.

But the lyrics were not written by Hammerstein — the better known of Rodgers’ partners.

For about 25 years, Richard Rodgers wrote with Lorenz — or Larry — Hart. And no story from Broadway or Hollywood could match the real-life story of this tortured but talented soul.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart composing a song

Larry Hart and Dick Rodgers

“Funny Valentine” was written for (in most opinions) the greatest of Richard Rodgers’ musicals — “Babes in Arms.” The score of that show is like a greatest-hits compilation of Rodgers & Hart. “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Have You Seen Miss Jones,” “Where or When” all have been adopted as

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As usual, most of the comments on losing our treasured Mary Tyler Moore were delivered by tweet. Quite a few celebrities said nothing more than quoting her theme song from the legendary 70’s TV Series.
 
“Love is All Around” was written and sung by Sonny Curtis, who started out as a good ole boy from Texas who happened into an historic gig as the lead guitarist for Buddy Holly.
Sonny Curtis and the Crickets 1950s
 
In case you think he was a one-shot-wonder, he also wrote “Walk Right Back”, for the Everly Brothers (and played in their band) and “More Than I Can Say”for the Crickets’ and later covered by Bobby Vee in the 60s and Leo Sayer in the 70s.
His biggest hit “I Fought the Law (and the law won” was covered by numerous artists. My favorite among his tunes is “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” which became a country hit for Keith Whitley.
Yeah, Sonny has done pretty good for himself, including induction into both the Musicians Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
 
It’s great to see him get recognition again (and probably a big boost in his royalty checks) from the beloved Mary Tyler Moore theme.
 
It’s a pity about the circumstances, though.

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I learned to play the guitar when I was about 13 –8th grade. My family had a 3rd or 4th hand acoustic guitar originally bought for my older brother, but since he was left-handed, it just laid around unused for a couple of years.

I had a Beatles song book and I had all the Beatles records (and loved them) so that was my stimulus to learn to play. The guitar wasn’t easy to play, but I was determined. I even persevered when I broke the high E string and didn’t have any means to get a replacement (I was just a kid in a small town and had no idea how to go about getting a replacement). I just adjusted my chords so they didn’t use the high string.

After learning the basics, and being determined to stick with it, I really longed for an electric guitar. Eric Clapton had one. Carlos Santana had one. Jimi Hendrix had one. I really needed one!

Then I saw it — the perfect guitar.

On the inside back page of most comic books were lots of novelty items for sale. X-ray Specs

I play a little guitar

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“Let’s Get Lost” is an intriguing title for a movie, taken from a popular song by trumpet legend Chet Baker. Baker crossed that big divide between pop music stardom and jazz obscurity with his song selection, trumpet-playing and his distinctive vocals. It didn’t hurt that he was matinee-idol handsome either.

Film director Bruce Weber made the documentary a year before Baker died and released it right about the time of his death in 1988. I’m not sure if it came out before or after the event. I’m 

Chet Baker on drugs

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Joe Hardaway had a long career in the movies — specifically cartoons. He did everything over time — voices, script and gag writer, and director. By the time he died in 1957, he had contributed great things to the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood Animation.

Joe was known to his friend as Bugs — like gangster Bugsy Siegel, who was hitting all the headlines at that time. The name meant “Crazy as a bedbug” in the slang of that era.

Hardaway was working with all the biggies of that time, including Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker creator) and Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones at Warner Brothers. The story

Bugs Bunny Origin

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