Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Uncle Dusty's Guide to Music Trivia

               Anyone who knows me knows I love trivia.  My mind is filled with useless information.  I like to think it makes me devastatingly interesting.  I could be wrong, but I’m not.  Wrong, that is, on most things.  My trivia team out here in the wilds of California is pretty successful in the various pubs and other locales that host trivia on week nights.  Our team name (Unicorn Sanchez and the fill-in-the-blank) strikes fear into the hearts of all the tech nerd pretenders to the throne.   The fill-in-the-blank is as esoteric as the knowledge packed into three government manager’s minds; everything from fanny pack full of rainbows to Doris Day and the Time.

                One of the things that people always want to know when they find out I play trivia is what is the most interesting piece of trivia I know.  And that, dear readers, is a difficult thing to decide.  I know lots of things about lots of things that no one truly cares about, so to ask me to pinpoint one particular piece of minutiae is very difficult.

                Some things are easy, like real chili doesn’t have beans.  That one is for my friend Neal (Hey, Neal.  How’s Syracuse?)  Some things are far more arcane like a group of unicorns is called a blessing.  So I decided to compile a list of things I find interesting and maybe you will too.  As I have much to share I will start with my favorite category, music.  Herewith I give you Uncle Dusty’s Guide to Music Trivia:

1.       Charles Gates Dawes was Calvin Coolidge’s Vice President during his second term.  He is also the only US VP to co-write a #1 pop song, when he penned the music to “It’s All in the Game” a hit for Tommy Edwards in 1958.  On another interesting note, Mr. Dawes also won Nobel Peace Prize in Economics.  This bit of trivia allowed my inclusion in the Trivial Pursuit All American Edition when I was in college.

2.       Liquid Paper was invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of Mike Nesmith, of the 1960s rock group, the Monkees.

3.       Musicians who have surprisingly never had a #1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100:  Led Zeppelin, James Brown and Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Artists who have actually had a #1 song on the Hot 100:  Rick Dees, Lorne Green and Clay Aiken.

4.       Bette Midler beat Barry White and Marie Osmond for Best New Artist at the 1974 Grammys. 

5.       Anderson Cooper’s mother was socialite and designer, Gloria Vanderbilt.  Admittedly not musical, but still awesome.

6.       Daryl Hannah (she of "Splash" fame) sang backing vocals on Jackson Browne’s hit “You’re a Friend of Mine”.  They were dating at the time.

7.       Bob Newhart won the Best New Artist and Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1961.  Back then, comedy albums were so popular that they competed in all major categories.

8.       Politicians/Civic Leaders who have won Grammys include Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Al Franken.  All won in the "Spoken Word Album" category.

9.       Lenny Kravitz’s mother is Roxie Roker who played Helen Willis on “The Jeffersons”.

10.   Janet Jackson starred in “Good Times” as Penny, “Diff’rent Strokes” as Charlene and “Fame”.

11.   Robin Thicke is the son of Gloria Loring and Alan Thicke, who were not only actors, but songwriters, having penned and performed the theme songs to “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes” as well as the late 80s hit “Friends and Lovers”, also known as “Both to Each Other” to country music fans.

12.   More examples of the oddity of the Hot 100.  No #1 song:  Bruce Springsteen.  Actual #1 song:  Rick Springfield.  Rick Astley has had TWO #1 songs in the US.

13.   In an interesting bit of karma, Madonna’s hit “Material Girl” was kept from the #1 slot by USA for Africa’s “We Are the World”.  Dan Ackroyd performed backing vocals on that record. Why?  You'll have to ask Quincy Jones, father of Rashida Jones of "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation".

14.   The most popular song since the rock era began in 1955 (based solely on the number of weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100)?  One Sweet Day, by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.  Included in the top 10 songs of all time is “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, having spent 14 weeks at #1.  Yes, you read that correctly.

15.   The first #1 song of the rock era was fittingly “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and his Comets.

 That is not all I know about music, but that is all I’m saying...for now.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Have catheter, will remove it

                We celebrated our second anniversary last month, the Dad and I.  I can’t believe it it’s been two years since he came plowing into my life and home with his noises, smells and various old man accoutrement.  I was scanning the traffic for this blog and the most popular of my blog posts is the one from his second week here entitled ‘Suspenders and a Hospital Gown”.  And it’s an unhappy coincidence that he is again back in the hospital this past week.  He has had four different outpatient procedures on his, well, butt, if you must know.  And the three re-surgeries (if that is in fact a word) are due to his refusal to believe that a doctor would know more than he about post-surgery care.  You know, because the Dad has 4 whole hours of college credit and the MD has a measly 16 years of schooling.  Tomato-tomahto, right?

                The biggest problem is that my Dad is a man of extremes.  He is either not interested or all-in.  There is no gray area for this one.  He either wants a 32 pound steak or none.  He wants a vat of ice cream as big as his recliner or none.  He asked if I would bring him some gum as the medicine he takes makes his mouth taste ‘funny’.  I took him a double pack of Freedent, the gum preferred by denture wearers, and he chewed 32 pieces of gum in less than 32 hours!  When he called and asked for more and I questioned how one would decimate a pack of gum that large in that small amount of time, he got mad, called me a "butt" and hung up on me.  Quelle Surprise?  Then you haven’t been paying attention.

                His vacation, which is what we normally call the time when a relative is housed in a state-run facility from which they aren’t allowed to leave when the mood strikes them, has been in the hospital for the past week.  They are observing him and trying to figure out the cause of the infection at the surgery site.  I personally think they are observing the only patient who removed their catheter with a crochet needle.  Yes, I told on him.  I know the reasons behind the infection but nurses don't seem to want to believe that he would ignore doctor's orders and lie about it, so they're getting to spend some quality time with the "Wildebeest in the Hospital Gown", which is what he looks and sounds like when dozing, which is often. 
               He is unsurprisingly unhappy about being "locked up" and has reverted to creating prison stories concerning their attempts to "starve me” and “poke me to death”.  Although I will say that when I snuck a chicken nugget happy meal past the nurses, he was the happiest boy on the floor, do you hear me?  He almost hugged me.  Almost.  But he caught himself and instead shook my hand with more emotion that I expected seeing as how the nuggets only numbered 4, not 6.

                He doesn’t like visitors, he says, but what he really means is he doesn’t like to ask anyone to visit.  Fortunately, he is housed at the hospital where I work so I can see him more often than normal, although I try to limit my visits as he doesn’t want to be awakened when slumbering and the clinical staff get nervous when they see me coming as my previous visits to the wards were when I was Acting Associate Director and we were in the midst of our accreditation review.  Your cherished Dustin in his three –piece suit with coordinating tie and pocket square doesn’t bring out their joy, as it does with you, dear readers.

                I have delivered puzzle books, electronic solitaire, peanuts, mystery novels and contraband Coke Zero.  I have regaled him with tales of my birthday weekend to Hearst Castle and  Carmel, where he was more impressed with the fact that Clint Eastwood lives there than the pictures of William Randolph’s gauche interiors or the designer duds I got for 70% off in the bargain basement of J. Alexander Khaki’s.  Seriously, Mr. Hearst was Donald Trump before Donald Trump was Donald Trump.  Everything was silk damasked, gold inlaid and ivory-carved to within an inch of its life.  The roman pool was pretty but ridiculous.  I mean, who wants to exit an overly tiled lagoon up a wet marble ladder?

                So, here we are two years later and he is again in the hospital and if geriatrics tells us anything, he will only get worse.  That he has improved in his outlook is noticeable to me, but not him.  He is still somewhat depressed just perkier about it (thank you Zoloft).  He is still afraid of leaving the house without me, but is still too proud to ask me to go with him; instead he demands.  And I pretend I don’t notice the false bravado and I don’t see evidence of the scared man who is truly without his own home and uneasy about having to depend on the one child he has admitted he didn’t treat very well.

                And as much as I complain, I have missed him this week and not just because I don’t like making my own coffee in the morning.  I miss the fact that someone is waiting for me when I get home who is truly glad to see me and to talk, even if for a few minutes, over something as mundane as a funny video or a show about ancient aliens.  I never thought I would actually miss that old grouch but I do and the thought that he might one day be gone is something that I just can’t process right now.  That I am crying as I type this is as surprising to me as it would be to him.

                Luckily his four hours of college were not studying computer science so the odds of him accidentally finding this blog post are about as remote as him admitting he likes living with his “weird” son in the land of the heathen.  And that is all we are both saying.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Uncle Dusty's Guide to Unicorn Sanchez's Guide to the "Right Way to Shop"

Those of you who know me know I will shop any sort of sale, be it clearance, pop-up, garage, estate or yard.  However, I know many of my brethren and even some of my sistrethen (yes, it’s a word that I just invented) would rather be poked with a spoon by a badger than accompany someone on a shopping adventure.  This past weekend I was headed to the Haight section of San Francisco for a full day of thrift store/vintage shop wandering with two of my friends, Matt and Laura.  We ate and shopped and walked and ate and shopped and walked.  It was a great day.  However, Matt (who is Unicorn Sanchez in my trivia team of Unicorn Sanchez and the Fanny Pack Full of Rainbows) added a fun element to our day which was a scavenger hunt. 
                While I didn’t need to be otherwise occupied whilst I ferreted out vintage bargain cuff links, I thought this might be something that could be shared to amuse and/or distract your unwilling shopping companions be they toddler or adult.  So herewith is Unicorn Sanchez’s Guide to the ‘Right Way to Shop’.
                To win, you must locate:
1.  Wooden eyewear or necktie (6 points)

2.  A Hipster (actual or inadvertent) (3.14159 points, because they’re just like that)

3.  Anyone with a mullet (20,000 confederate points)

4.  Anyone with a Handlebar Moustache (one million points).  Extra points if they have rope or a Lillian Gish impersonator and are near train tracks

5.  Someone who looks like George Clinton (not a relative of Bill but he of Parliament Funkadelic fame) (40 ounces)

6.  Step 1: Baggy Pants, Step 2: Hammer time! (Does anyone this awesome really need points?)

7.  Anything polka-dotted (5 points).  Anything polka-dotted if you work in an elementary school, sorority house or the state of Mississippi (-43 points for being too easy).

8.  Convince someone to do the Worm (10 points, 20 bonus points if they have a mullet; photographic evidence required)

9.  Find someone wearing a Hawaiian shirt and do the hula with them (26.5 points)

10.Any commercial product that is an example of alliteration, such as Silly String, Lincoln Logs or Chinese Checkers. Can’t be candy because that’s way too easy. Kit Kat, Tart ‘n Tinys, Candy Corn? C’mon! (5 points)
11.A Spork (1 point), a Fnife (5 points) or a Knoon (10 points)

12.A business card from anyone who sells anything bought or processed; or buys anything sold or processed; or processes anything sold or bought; or repairs anything sold, bought, or processed (a gold Porsche…from Hot Wheels)

13.An autograph. It doesn’t have to be anyone famous, but it must be a complete stranger, and it has to be signed “To my biggest fan” (10 points)

14.Half a bowling ball (100 points)

15.An adult wearing a onsie or a snuggie (-5 points because that’s just weird, y’all)

16.Tupac Shakur, because you know he is still alive.  Biggie’s dead, y’all, but ‘Pac is alive and well (200 pts plus lots of cash for the subsequent publishing rights to tabloid photos)

17.A panhandler with an actual pan (yellow points because I’m like that)

Have fun and happy shopping.  I am not responsible if you are detained by authorities for your hyper-observant behavior or interactions with unwilling “finds”.  And that is all I’m saying.