Erin Moran, Angela Lansbury, and Tom Bosley on a vintage Murder She Wrote.


Entry Date: February 16, 2013



Old Primos Station on the Media-Elwyn side of the tracks.


The new station house at Primos from the Media-Elwyn Platform. The other platform is for Philly-bound trains.


I first took the SEPTA train into Philadelphia from Primos Station in May 2008, buying paper round trip tickets that time. On June 2, 2008, I bought my first weekly pass, which I still have. I also have my (possibly) last working pass as I am scheduled to retire soon as I have the points and have to knock off a lot of the driving and typing on the computer I have to do for work as both create more problems for my bad left shoulder. There are lots of things about it, especially people I met along the way, some of them surprising, I will miss, but I have hit 6 decades now and need to take care of some things like this bad shoulder and neck. I'll write about some of the things I miss in other entries. This one is about my favorite SEPTA station and its recent reconstruction.

That first time at Primos, there wasn't much of a platform on the west bound tracks that ran from Philadelphia to Media-Elwyn. The main station house was a kind of office trailer on blocks. There was a shelter on the west bound side that was wood and painted green, and a brick one. Billboards on the platforms advertised 2008 spring movies like You Don't Mess with the Zohan and The Happening. Behind the station was a nice shopping strip which included the Ocean Buffet, a Chinese restaurant. I usually ate there after the trip back from Philadelphia every evening. Overall, it wasn't too much unlike the railroad station Gregory Peck and Eva Marie Saint used in The Stalking Moon, a Western (1969).

Now, there is a spacious station house, elevated platforms on both sides of the tracks, improved communications with SEPTA including electronic signs that use crawl announcements and flashed arrival and departure grids. Shelters and the ends of both tracks are built of brick, steel, and glass. Primos is now wheel chair accessible. The lighting is excellent and there is ample daily parking and a new overflow lot about a half-block away. The old place really cleaned up pretty good. I have more pictures that I will put up on a separate page, showing the station under construction as well as more views of the new station.


Entry Date: February 16, 2013


On what are likely my last working rides on SEPTA Regional Rail Train R3 from Primos Station into Inner City Philadelphia, I got to enjoy the completely renovated station, including an actual station house and two elevated platforms with good lighting and paved parking areas. The old place really looks good, and the new station house is spacious and comfortable, unlike the trailer-type structure it replaced.

While enjoying the new platform this morning, I noticed a gentleman of a little less than my age (60) successfully occupying the attentions of a much younger, more athletic looking, and very attractive Asian-American woman who was probably in her 20s. He was so intent on maintaining the younger woman's attention that he was on the brink of falling off the platform.

A dignified looking blonde woman I have noticed waiting for the train on past trips, and who is at least somewhat younger than I, probably late 40s or so, was walking past me on the platform when I remarked to her, "If that guy down there doesn't start paying more attention to where his feet are, and a little less attention to Lucy Liu, he is going to end up down on the tracks and deader than a stuffed moose head."

The blond woman looked back at the unlikely pair, smiled broadly and said, "He's flirting away. He has an agenda!"


Entry Date: February 5, 2013


Well, now that I can work on a keyboard a bit more without my left shoulder punishing me as much, I can fill everyone in about how karma has recently overtaken a workplace bully at this place where I toil on the open road every week. A new employee has been creating a storm of resentment and controversy by snitching to headquarters about every little thing she sees, and whatever just plain offends her sensibilities, on every crew job on which she is assigned. When the latest report was about how another female co-worker "got up from her chair too often," I had to say something to the person who reported this story to me. In the dialogue below, I am "Traveler" and the only other party to the conversation is "Co-Worker." Other names used are not the actual names of the individuals.

Coworker: That New Girl ( Note: They always call the newest female employee "New Girl." I sent one of them, Amy, a copy of a poster for the TV Show "New Girl" through the email just to let her know what her new, but temporary, name was.) is driving everyone crazy. She has managed to get Ricky Blevins investigated by the Inspector General and complained about another girl getting up and down from her chair too often.

Traveler: Is there a written standard for how many times someone can get up from their chair during a day?

Coworker: I don't know.

I had to get up and down from my chair about five times right then. Those who know me won't be surprised.

Traveler: Am I an outlaw or what?

Coworker (impatience showing): Please?

Traveler: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Coworker (sighs in frustration): What about Ricky Blevins being investigated? He is really upset about all the tattling.

Traveler: Well, I think that means snitching is the least of the problems you have.

Coworker: Why?

Traveler: The real problem is Identity Theft.

Coworker: What the hell are you talking about?

Traveler: Someone is impersonating Ricky. He should be arrested for Identity Theft and any other shit they can get on him. No one snitched on people more than Ricky did. You know that. The last Assistant Director had a Bat phone on his desk just for Ricky's calls. That guy had Ricky's Blackberry number on speed dial to make sure he got his daily dirt sandwich on everyone. Ricky snitched on everyone, including his immediate boss, and did it right in front of us. Ricky bitching about snitching is like Hitler executing his next-door neighbors because their dog took a dump on his lawn.

Coworker: So, it took you all of that to tell me this is Karma.

Traveler: Yep. But I said it funnier.


Entry Date: February 4, 2013


Yeah, I've been away for awhile. Most of the reason was to be able to maintain the main section of the Web site as much as possible and save computer input time for work. I had a "messed up" left shoulder that was just one big muscle spasm for a few months now. The only medical type to really help was a chiropractor who did more muscle work than joint work. I kind of already knew most of the muscles were in spasm, something like a perpetual charley horse. It was tolerable, but I had to take a few Excedrin Migraine capsules everyday. The trapezus muscle would contract and tug at the top of my neck, pinching all the nerves that exit the cranium up there are start down the spine. The pain is just so bad you can't lie down, sit down, or do much of anything but walk the floor and wimper a lot. These headaches are really bangers--thump, thump, thump. The migraine capsules kept that pain away and enabled me to function, but sort of like your brain was soaking in pickle brine.

Well, the medicine men didn't help much. I tried adding more potassium to my diet, which helped a bit, and added Valerian root to the medication, as that is a natural muscle relaxer. Valerian smells so bad, though, that it would probably make a starving bear pass up on me if I opened a bottle of the stuff just as the bear attacked. Valerian smells like two-year-old unwashed gym socks, but the stuff could make the muscles relax enough to let go of my neck joints and end the headaches. This went on for a few months, but then I had had enough of it. I lost about 60% of the range of motion in my right shoulder two years ago and some quack wanted to cut me. I worked out my own regimen of exercises and got the range of motion back. The exercises hurt a lot, but worked. I went to work on the left shoulder, but had to experiment. It turned out that I had to treat the thing a little rough. Instead of gentle stretching, I got a bit more energetic. I added walking every day for distances, too. It is starting to work. Now, I can type more in here, so I'm back.


Entry Date: December 20, 2012



I got up early yesterday morning and turned on the hotel television to get the weather. Instead of a news report, there was a black-and-white television show on Channel 111. It was The Patty Duke Show's opening scene which went into the theme song from 1963. Back then, my sister really liked The Patty Duke Show, and I didn't mind it. We rarely missed an episode in the earlier years of the show, and the theme song was burned into my brain like all of this stuff gets stored up there somewhere. After a few years your conscious mind just can't get at everything stuffed into your brain, but requires some kind of trigger to bring it back. After hearing the theme song once, it came back to me. The problem was, it wouldn't leave. It droned on in the background almost all day.

"Meet Cathy who's lived most everywhere


from Zanzibar to Barkley Square.


But Patty's only seen the sights a girl can see from Brooklyn Heights


what a crazy pair.


But they're cousins---Identical cousins all the way.


One pair of matching bookends--Different as night and day.


While Cathy adores a minuet--the Ballet Russe---and Crepes Suzette


Our Patty loves to rock-and-roll--a hot dog makes her loose control


what a wild duet...."


I'm a lot better now.


Entry Date: December 1, 2012


When your job takes you over long distances you eat your meals in restaurants, diners, and delis. I was in a diner for lunch yesterday and the place was so full I had lunch at the counter. My waitress was constantly in motion, but attended to all of her customers in a timely fashion. At one point, one of her fellow waitress arrived behind the counter, greeting my waitress with a casual, "Hey, Sugar Butt!" My waitress quipped back, "What's up, Lover?"

I looked up from my meal and challenged the other waitress, "Wait a minute. That's my waitress you're talking to. Call her, 'MS Sugar Butt!'"


Entry Date: November 30, 2012



Well, when I pulled the USA TODAY logic apart in an analysis of their "Fiscal Cliff" article (see post immediately below) I did not expect anyone from DC to confirm that the debt ceiling is the real target of all the "Fiscal Cliff" handwringing this early. Treasury Secretary (and long-time Goldman Sachs Bubbleboy) Timothy Geithner told Congress they need to give the President the power to raise the debt ceiling any time he wants with the Congress only having veto power over the decision with a 2/3 majority vote. The Supreme Court has ruled in the past about Congressional vetoes. They are not Constitutional. The veto was never given to Congress, but the politicians keep going back to it because the veto gives the useless Congress the ability to cop-out on their responsibilties.

What gets me is, the Bush Administration deficit spending sprees of 2002-2008 were considered "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic" by Democrats during the 2008 campaign, just like Republicans are attacking Democrat deficits of 2009-Present. The bodies of partisans that comprise approximately 40% of the electorate from both parties (40% are Republicans and 40% are Democrats) keep switching sides about deficit spending, depending upon which party holds the White House. To Republicans, Obama's deficits are evil. To Democrats, Bush's deficits were evil. The registered members of the two parties flip-flop in agreement with their politician leaders ("Our guy runs GOOD deficits. Their guy runs BAD deficits."). Are you all getting this now? Is it sinking in why we can't get a rational national budget? The two parties play you with this flip-flop game by assuming the same place in voters' emotions as the voters have for their home football teams. It doesn't matter what your Democrat President said about the destructive power of deficit spending in 2008 since a Republican ran THOSE deficits. You cheer the Democrat when he attacks deficits, but turn around and cheer as he runs up his own portion of the credit card balance. The Republican pols and professional campaigners do the same thing to their party members.

The real interesting question is, "Was the USA TODAY, supposedly a member of what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan mass media, intentionally floating a trial balloon just prior to Geithner staking out this radical position about the debt ceiling?" USA TODAY eliminated tax increases and spending cuts ("they take money out of the economy and cause recessions") as solutions to the deficit, leaving only the solution of unlimited borrowing that was later advocated on Capitol Hill by Treasury Secretary Geithner.

It is bad enough to have politicians playing the public without the media helping the politicians rather than exposing them.

Who has enough money to afford all this manipulation and propaganda through the politicians and now the media?

Could it be the Bubble Boys of the Wall Street mega-banks?

No, of course not.

Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry.



Entry Date: November 15, 2012


All right, let's begin the logic class and tear this article apart with some critical thinking for a change. We will take a look at both the handling of tax increases in the article and spending cuts in the article and see where real logic takes us in regards to the present fiscal dilemma. Actually, it is poor reasoning that got us here and it is poor reasoning that is keeping us here. First, let's take a look at the automatic deficit reduction package that will go into effect should the President and Congress deadlock. Is this deal really the disaster that USA TODAY suggests that will be?

"Taking Money Out of the Economy is B-A-A-A-D"

The USA TODAY cover story of November 14, 2012, by Richard Wolf, Tim Mullaney, and Susan Davis describe all of the automatic tax increases that will occur in 46 days from the article's date as "taking money out of the economy." Yes, taxes can indeed "take money out of the economy," but this deal would only reduce the federal deficit, not eliminate it. In other words, once all the old Bush tax cuts automatically expire after the 46 days, some $400 billion in increased taxes would only lower the deficit. In short, the $400 billion would just be spent by the federal government and not by the individuals who paid the taxes. The $400 billion would not be "taken out of the economy," but just moved around. What would happen is that there would be $400 billion less borrowed from China and then spent over here by the federal government. The money that would be "taken out of the economy" already left the economy to be spent in China, from which the federal government borrows it back to fund excess spending. The only reason we are getting away with this right now is the artificially low interest rates arranged by the Federal Reserve. If interest on the federal debt was allowed to rise, the economy would be bankrupted. Which will inevitably get us to what USA TODAY is really advocating, but we will address that at the end.

Basically, USA TODAY does not want the Bush tax cuts ended, at least not right now, but I suspect that they are in favor of President Obama's advocacy of increased taxes on people making over $250,000 per year. After all, USA TODAY endorsed Obama's candidacy for re-election, and has long argued in favor of Obama's position about raising taxes. But wait! USA TODAY is claiming increasing taxes takes money out of the economy, and that is BAD. USA TODAY made a logic mistake here. The argument that taxes "take money out of the economy" which is bad for the "recovery," is a universal premise. In a syllogism, a universal controls the parameters of the argument. The universal subject in this case is TAXES-ALL taxes, which is what makes it a universal argument.

Here is the USA TODAY Syllogism in the article cited:

All tax increases are bad because they take money out of the economy.


Letting the Bush tax cuts expire is a tax increase.


Therefore, letting Bush tax cuts expire is bad because a tax increase takes money out of the economy.




The universal consists of "all tax increases." The particular applied to the universal are all the Bush II tax cuts that will expire due to "going over the fiscal cliff." The particular is applicable to the universal, so the argument is a valid one. Not necessarily true, but logically valid. Since the government will be paying people with the $400 billion in tax increases, the money will not "vanish" from the economy, but will be saved and spend by whomever is paid by the government. The truth of the argument is questionable, but its validity by the rules of logic is not.

Unfortunately, the USA TODAY syllogism could be applied to the Obama plan to "tax the rich." Increased taxes on the rich being increased taxes after all, we now know that:


All tax increases are bad because they take money out of the economy.


Obama wants a tax increase on the rich.


Therefore, Obama's tax increase on the rich is bad because it will take money out of the economy.



OOOPS! I know USA TODAY did not see that one coming!


"Spending Cuts Take Money Out of the Economy and are B-A-A-A-A-D!"

USA TODAY really means this part of the argument. I don't believe that the authors think all tax increases are "bad." The paper's writers cannot think all tax increases are bad because the President does not think all tax increases are bad. However, reductions in federal spending really bother the USA TODAY editors and writers, particularly reductions in federal spending on social programs. USA TODAY used the formal name, Affordable Care Act, rather than the more popular "Obamacare," to identify a $9 billion in increased taxes. This gave me a clue about how sensitive the writers are about just how much this kind of spending can cost the taxpayers. So, the solution was to call "Obamacare" the "Affordable Care Act," hoping the readers would not catch on about the program to which the $9 billion in new taxes would be applied. Well, some of us rubes out here know the Affordable Care Act and "Obamacare" are the same thing . We weren't fooled by the name change. Obamacare is going to raise taxes by 9 billion dollars, so by USA TODAY'S logic, Obamacare is BAD because it will "take money out of the economy."

That's the problem with this. If you think government programs are a moral necessity, and most in the "mainstream media" believe this, then you will have to TAX THE PEOPLE to pay for them, or borrow the money from billionaires or other countries like China. There are no other alternatives to this. So, if we continue to follow the USA TODAY logic:



Anything that causes an increase in taxes is bad because it takes money out of the economy.


Social programs cause an increase in taxes.


Therefore, social programs are bad because they take money out of the economy.




Again, this is just a test of logical validity and consistency on the part of the advocate, which is USA TODAY in this case. The logic is valid, but is not consistently applied as we have done here. USA TODAY is inconsistent with its logic by fighting tax increases on one hand, and fighting spending cuts with the other. Tax increases and spending are related, after all. If you raise spending, you have to raise revenues, and taxes are the way revenue is raised.

Actually, all the social spending and tax increases do is move the money around, not "take it out of the economy." Deficit spending only brings in outside money like Japan's and China's investments in US Government debt. If we don't run a deficit, or run a lower deficit, we are just not using as much DEBT to finance the government. The debt money is what is being reduced or eliminated from the economy, but the debt money only goes to fund government, not the economy as a whole.


USA TODAY's Real Agenda: Increase the Debt Ceiling


What USA TODAY is really preparing the public for is the "inevitable" Congressional increase in the debt ceiling. The paper wants the Administration to borrow more from the Federal Reserve under "Quantitative Easing" and from China, which is not as enthusiastic about our debt instruments, along with any other private billionaires or foreign governments who are willing to buy our bonds and notes. They favored the last increase in the debt ceiling, and USA TODAY wants another, but wants the public to just go along with it as a necessity to keep "money from being taken out of the economy."

The people will have to decide just how much debt is enough, and if debt is only bad when a Republican President borrows it, but is morally good when a Democrat borrows it. I would start to apply critical reasoning to the whole partisan approach to debt and deficit, but this is enough for most people to swallow right now. Suffice it to say, the mainstream media spends a lot of time "playing" the public the same way the politicians play us. I can't take anymore of their manipulations of the public.



Entry Date: October 24, 2012


Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry





Entry Date: September 30, 2012


I was cleaning out a cupboard from the real back office at my place and found a deteriorating manila mailing envelope that had something inside. There were two copies of the magazine Catholic Digest, one from October 1992 and the other from November 1992. I had slipped the magazines into the envelope to take with me on the road for reading and never got around to packing them. The envelope with the magazines wound up in the cupboard under a pile of other old documents I had to shred. Before shredding the documents, I started reading the November 1992 issue of Catholic Digest to get an idea of what was going on 20 years ago. The Catholic Digest was set up like Reader's Digest with condensed articles from other publications with an emphasis on what might interest members of the Catholic church.

One article focused on Pope John Paul II, who, in 1992, was still in good health and was quoted discussing his skiing trips in the article. The title to the article was Public Pope, Private Pope and was published in its full version in the Los Angeles Times. There were descriptions of the late Pope's management style, members of his staff, how he conducted working lunches, and other aspects of the daily life of the late Pope. When this was published, no one knew John Paul II would pass away 13 years later.

There was an excerpt from the book Raised Catholic (Can You Tell?) by Ed Stivender . Mr. Stivender recounted how what happened when he experienced his first crush in elementary school in The Hat I Stole for Love. Stivender had a crush on classmate Diane Tasca, but in 1957, one of the only acceptable ways to express interest in a girl was to steal her hat. It was a really good story, and now that 20 years have gone by I can't help wondering if Ed Stivender every saw Diane Tasca again.

Finally, on her nineteenth wedding anniversary, Kristina M. Santos muses about what has kept her married to her husband for so long and is surprised to find the answers in how they fold the laundry together in Laundry Makes Our Marriage Work. This was in 1992. So, as of 2012, it is now 39 years since the Santos were married. What has happened with them since 1992?


Entry Date: September 9, 2012


This past summer I produced a page linked to the blog with photos of the inscribed bricks that are trimming some of Oil City's sidewalks on the North Side's old downtown. I started taking those pictures after getting my haircut at Doloniak's Barber Shop. After making my way around the downtown blocks that have the inscribed bricks, taking many digital photos, I saw a white pickup truck parked outside what I have known since 1989 as the old Mellon Bank branch. That Mellon Bank branch was in the main office of the former Oil City National Bank. The white truck was identified with a sign that said Reclaimed Relics. I went back to Doloniak's to let them know the truck was there as the name made me think of the History Channel's American Pickers. The Doloniaks told me that the Oil City National Bank building was worth more as salvage than as a building in its present location, particularly the decorative marble in the main lobby area and the huge vault. I went over to check it out, walking around the building to look through windows. I spotted a lot of old adding machines stacked up inside one part of the bank, and an ancient Underwood typewriter through another window. There had to be other stuff in there. I waited around to see if whoever was in there would show up and maybe let me go inside, but I didn't see anyone from Reclaimed Relics on site.

Well, the mystery of this visit to the Oil City National Bank Building was solved during Father Pino's homily this morning at Saint Joseph's Church. The Reclaimed Relics guys were affiliated with the National Geographic Channel and their visit to the bank was going to be telecast on Wednesday, September 12th on National Geographic Channel's America's Abandoned Treasures. It should be an interesting episode.



Entry Date: September 9, 2012



I treated myself to an eight-ounce sirloin and all the trimmings at the Villa Italia for Sunday dinner today, catching up on the Sunday paper at the same time. The editorial section included A Page of Books, which included this review of Jeff Connaughton's book about Wall Street as highlighted in the title to this post. Connaughton has been around Washington power for several years having been a White House lawyer, a lobbyist, and on a Senator's staff. A Democrat, Connaughton has long been a supporter of Vice President Joe Biden. In 2009, Connaughton was determined to actually do something about the biggest financial swindle in the history of the universe (about 17 trillion dollars), the 2008 real estate bubble scam. Nothing was done except Congress funded 18 cents on the dollar to investigate this gigantic swindle that resulted in the middle class being looted by corrupt banks, corrupt politicians and bureaucrats all aided by the enablers in the rigged news media.

It helps when "former" big shots from the Wall Street banks go through the revolving door to occupy high positions in the federal banking and finance regulatory agencies. Most of the agencies are staffed by Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs. The Administration, in Connaughton's description, assigned the task of rebuilding "the china shop to the bulls who'd helped ransack it." The investigations were worthless and any lawsuits settled for fractions of pennies on the dollar. There was a "Reform Bill" passed that Connaughton describes as being practically dictated by the Wall Street banks.

As long as "The Bubble Boys" are making policy, do not expect any real changes.

Being too big to fail means never having to say you're sorry.



Entry Date: September 6, 2012


There is still an official Web Site to the long-since-imploded Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. To take a look at the old site, head over the the Raiders of the Lost Gravesites page.



Entry Date: September 5, 2012


Photos of some of the commemorative plaques that comprise the Philadelphia Walk of Fame found on Broad Street near the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel. Two new churchsigns were added, including another home run from the pastor of the Oil City Church of the Nazarene. The pastor should write for Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.






Entry Date: September 2, 2012


I've found a few gravesites out there, old abandoned Web sites forgotten by their owners and not updated for several years, but not too many that had any interesting features until I found this one for the television show Beverly Hills, 90210. There's a countdown clock on this one that is still working and has to be seen to be believed. This new site is the last one on the Gravesite page of links.




Entry Date: August 30, 2012


The last time the government boys fooled me into thinking some kind of doomsday was on the way, so I had better get prepared like the bureaucrats told us, was for Y2K. I got the three months of various supplies, but when I went to a client's Y2K test, and their system passed even though it was still running DOS 6.0 for an operating system, I realized I had been taken in by some sort of mass hysteria. It did provide me with three months worth of everything I needed, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, razors, coffee, drinking water, and freeze dried food. During this job, one of the "client's" employees told me about a co-worker who was preparing for general Doomsday by amassing ammunition and other supplies at his house. The man asked me what I thought of this.

"Where does this guy think we live? Nigeria? What government does he think he is dealing with? You can sit there on top of a pile of ammo and our government can GPS a Hellfire missile right through your front door and up your ass. It's getting so you can't set up shop as a cult leader in Texas without someone dropping a helicopter on your head. Some medical examiners have autopsied people and found nanotechnology in their brains. Who would this guy think put nanotechnology in those peoples' brains? It sure wasn't the local Girl Scouts. No one can turn his house into a bunker, stockpile a bunch of small arms ammunition, and hold off the government for very long. So, if it is Uncle Sam who has got you scared that Doomsday is coming, about all you can do is grab your ankles."


Entry Date: August 24, 2012



The girl in the garden at the Benjamin Fox Pavilion, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania circa 2010


The last job assignment I had in the eastern part of the State was at the Benjamin Fox Pavilion in Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This was on Valentine's Day 1989. I had been on other assignments at the Pavilion in previous years, and had taken notice of this statute of a girl that presided over the garden inside the Pavilion's courtyard. I first noticed her in early 1986, so she had been a fixture in that small garden in the courtyard for some years before I showed up. After moving back to Western Pennsylvania, I would still get some assignments in the southeastern area, and went out there for some vacations to visit some friends I made out there from 1985-1989. During all of these years, the girl was part of the courtyard in the Pavilion, but the organization that now owns the Pavilion is thinking about replacing her. The British have a superstition that they will always rule Gibralter as long as there are Barbary Apes living there. I think everything will be okay as long as the girl stays in her location in the garden. Yes, it is a superstition, but she hasn't been her traditional spot since sometime after the above photo was taken in 2010. You don't need a PHD in current events to know things are not going very well.


Entry Date: August 22, 2012



There was a delay this past Sunday afternoon on US 15 South between Milton, Pennsylvania and Sunbury, Pennsylvania. There was some kind of accident in the Southbound lane, so the decision was made to shut down that whole section of the highway. An exit on PA Route 654 was available for me to keep moving South-by-East, as I had to get to Pottsville to start an assignment at a new "client's" shop. For some reason, everyone was moving south that day, so it took about 90 minutes to go from the West Milton exit on I-80 to the first exit on 654. To pass the time, I loaded a CD my cousin Nancy sent me with some hits from 1974, including Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye. This song was just a few years ahead of the peak years of "Disco" music, where it probably belonged, but the recording reminded me about why so many people who now claim to have hated Disco actually liked it back in the 1970s. Like all genres of "pop" music, some of it is good, and some of it is bad. Some of those who claim to hate Disco now, and who probably owned a copy of Travolta's white suit back in 1977, probably think the Bee Gee's How Deep is Your Love is a Disco song. No, it is a classic lullaby.

When it comes to this classic by Gloria Gaynor, Never Can Say Goodbye is good Disco. In fact, the student of popular music, and my cousin teaches popular music, and other kinds of music, at college level, will find quite a few "markers" that identify the piece as being Disco in spite of being released in 1974, a good 2-to-3 years ahead of Disco at its peak. First, you have the strings, mostly violins or violas, creating a type of "swirling" rhythm which seems to compete with a plusating beat. Disco is actually Motown soul done in a different inflection. A lot of the Supremes' oldies had a similar beat and could really get people in the mood to dance. A good example of the similar sounds of Motown and Disco would be the Supremes' hit Reflections. They are closely related popular sounds.

The Doobie Brothers peaked in popularity during the Disco era, but they never added any songs to the Disco portfolio. The Doobies were a regular rock group, and their sound changed a bit from 1972 until about 1976 when they changed lead singers. I liked the Doobie Brothers even before Michael McDonald became the lead singer with my favorites from "Early Doobies" being Listen to the Music (1972) and Black Water (1975). There are more of my favorite Doobie Brothers songs from the Michael McDonald period than before, including Taking' It to the Streets, Little Darlin', What a Fool Believes, and Depending on You, all but one of them (Takin' It to the Streets) being on the successful album Minute By Minute. I was working on the two CD Greatest Hits collection during this trip, and caught all of my favorites during the slow movement off the Southbound US 15. The thing about the Doobie Brothers is they had their greatest success at the height of Disco, but none of their songs were Disco songs. The song of the year (1979 Grammy) was What a Fool Believes, far from a Disco song. The 1970s were more than Disco in the world of popular music.