Monday, August 15, 2022

Music Monday #10

The Explodo Boys in a jazzy mode on a tune written by Paul Scher, circa 1979

By Professor Batty

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Friday, August 12, 2022

Cedric Adams and Me Redux

An updated re-post from from April 19, 2007:

CAUTION: This is a long and somewhat pointless post about a local media figure from the past that almost nobody remembers, and even fewer care about.

Cedric Adams was a Minnesota-based writer, radio and television personality, master of ceremonies and all-around bon vivant who was active from the early thirties until his death in 1961. He got his start writing patter and “snappy” jokes for the legendary Captain Billy's Whiz Bang which was some sort of a spiritual predecessor to Mad Magazine. He was an announcer at the pioneering WCCO radio, and became the biggest media figure in Minnesota for over two decades. If he were of this era, he would have blogs, podcasts, a cable show and would probably be considered a bit insane, but harmless (think Larry King.) I can’t even imagine how much time I spent in my impressionable youth listening to this genial blowhard prattle on about nothing. At his peak he was doing seven newspaper columns, eight TV shows, and fifty-four radio shows each week. He was even interviewed on Edward R. Murrow's Person to Person (June 8, 1956.) In addition, he would tour the state with talent and variety shows; an acknowledged predecessor and inspiration to Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion. His rotund figure could be seen at all the finest of Minneapolis' restaurants and nightspots.

When I was young, perhaps eight or nine, an informal rite of passage of children growing up then (the late fifties) was to be on a TV “Kiddie Show”. All the local stations had at least one, some of which would, ala “The Peanut Gallery” on Howdy Doody, have seating for twenty or thirty youngsters, and would, at some point in the broadcast, pan the camera over our cherubic faces. A group of us kids went downtown (chaperoned by our mothers) and, because we were a bit early, found ourselves waiting on the sidewalk outside of the studio lobby. It was there where I spied the great man walking across the intersection arm in arm with a rather glamorous young woman.

“Hiya Cedric!” I shouted. He smiled the beatific smile of a local media star and gave a friendly wave in our direction as he and his companion continued past the corner and then into a nearby “lounge” (to rest, no doubt, from his busy schedule.)

“Was that woman Cedric’s wife?” I asked naively.

“That was probably his secretary,” said my mother, who seemed a bit put out by the whole scene. I absorbed this information, but imperfectly, although I did think that it might be fun to walk arm in arm with an attractive young woman some day.

There is little on the internet about him now; his work—gossip, factual tidbits, mild jokes, ads, and news read cold from the wire—didn't age very well. He died relatively young, at 58. I always thought of him as an old man.

UPDATE: Here is a video showing some aspects of his career:

CEDRIC ADAMS from Pavek Museum on Vimeo.

By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Modern Problem

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov's Laws) are a set of rules devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround" (included in the 1950 collection I, Robot), although they had been foreshadowed in some earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted from the "Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.", are:

First Law:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Second Law
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Third Law
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

By Professor Batty

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Monday, August 08, 2022

Music Monday #9

Going deep into the James Brown songbook for this cover by The Explodo Boys, circa 1979

By Professor Batty

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Friday, August 05, 2022

Alternate Reality

Suppose that in the 1930s Marijuana was legalized at the same time prohibition was repealed. We might have had ads similar to the one above, with a debonair young man and his dreamy date, lost in a weed-induced stupor.

Recently, my state’s legislature legalized a form of THC—accidentally! Evidently, now I’ll be able to buy edibles or a soda with a small amount of psychoactive cannabis.

Well, it has been some time since I’ve indulged in any sort of mind-altering substance, and I feel no compelling reason to start now. Still, perhaps it would be fun to kick back with a box of gummies or a soda and enjoy a day in the garden, whiling away an afternoon with some munchies and a lurid mystery novel. I do know, however, that if that does occur I won't be wearing a tux!

By Professor Batty

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Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Encyclopedia Saleswomen

Growing up in the pre-internet era meant that your options for absorbing minutiae were limited. We had a set of encyclopedias, just like the above, I read it cover-to-cover many times. Those days are seemingly past; with neighborhood crime-watches and Covid infections door-to-door sales seem to be an anachronism (with the exception of home-improvement schemes.)

Recently, however, I experienced a couple of references to these literary dinosaurs. The first was in a vintage Perry Mason episode, where a young woman who sells them is startled to find the picture of her roommate's husband on the mantle of one of the homes she visits. It is not a good omen and the saleswoman ends up charged with the bigamous spouse’s murder! Perry saves the day, of course, and the woman is free to resume her career in direct marketing.

The second instance happened a few days later, in real life, when a young woman came up to my door and, speaking with a distinct accent, asked if I had any children in the home. I said no, and the woman began to expand her spiel: she was a college student from Poland, working a summer job program selling “educational packages” for children. It was so preposterous that I continued talking with her. From a glimpse of her brochure, I could see that she what was she was selling was an encyclopedia-like product. Either that, or she had gone to a lot of trouble to find homes from where her criminal overlords could abduct children. She did leave a card, after she left I looked up the firm and evidently it was legitimate.

Looking at it again, maybe there is a market nowadays for encyclopedias, they are certainly less scary than the internet or Fox News, and possibly more accurate than Wikipedia (although what I’ve read from Britannica is often just a simplified re-hash of Wikipedia articles.)


By Professor Batty

Comments: 2 

Monday, August 01, 2022

Music Monday #8

Groucho gets down with Gladys:

By Professor Batty

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***** Original Flippism is the Key content copyright Stephen Cowdery, 2004-2022 *****