52

52 B-52_Stratofortress

It’s true – I just went back and counted to confirm it – I have put 51 new blog posts into the can in 2019 and need one more to make it a complete set. So I thought I might try something new this year.

52 has many mental associations for me. There is the B-52 aircraft pictured above, a military bomber that has been in service since before I was born. Then there is the card “game” of 52 pickup, which my older cousin Mike invited me to play. It was less fun than I expected (because the “dealer” throws all of the cards into the air and lets them fall on the ground, leaving the other “player” to pick them all 52 of them.

This post is, however, about none of these things. Instead it is about blog post number 52 for the year. What does one do when completing another set? Everyone in media loves to go back and do a “Top Stories of 2019” or something like it. But I thought I might go back and update a few of the things I have written about over the year.

Back in January I was finishing my third office move in four years and stopped to reflect on the usefulness of the hand truck my grandfather (the German farmer in my life) had welded up many decades ago. It is good to not be doing that again this holiday season. But I have been involved in moves of two of my kids as well as some stacks of boxes into and out of storage. The old hand truck continues to make my life better, in practical ways and otherwise.

February may have marked the post that I am most proud of, at least in terms of adding real, genuine information to the internet on a subject where there was almost nothing there – at least nothing very accessible. My piece on the 1940s recording that became the theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters involved a deep dive into some really obscure parts of the Web to pull together a tribute to an old performer who has been mostly forgotten.

I learned one really hard lesson this year. Early on I decided that I would rely on outside sources for audio files for my music posts. I highlighted one of them, the YouTube page of MusicProf78 whose wealth of old recordings online made my life so easy and pleasant. I even featured one of his collections in an eye-opening look at a single year in pop music – 1965. In a world dominated by playlists it was a reminder that there was once a lot of variety on the radio.

In a sort of good news-bad news thing, it seems that he got crosswise with a record label, which complained to YouTube, which then pronounced the death penalty on his entire channel. The good news was that I was not faced with the legal headaches of a copyright holder (to which I believe I am immune because these pieces are educational in nature and are certainly not a commercial venture). The bad news was that I had to go back and find alternate sources for music in many of my posts. And the one on the music of 1965 is just going to have to remain broken because I do not have the time go go back and individually source all of those records.

I wrote about the never-ending series of attempts by the purveyors of Sirius Satellite Radio to subscribe to their service, all brought on by buying a new Sirius-equipped car – in 2011. You will be happy to know that the promos and offers continue unabated. Who says nothing is permanent anymore?

My writing on faith topics has dropped off badly this year. There has been much to be disheartened about as a Catholic over the past year or so. But my faith got a shot in the arm when I attended a son’s final vows as a Dominican friar. I wrote about the experience and it still reminds me that there is much cause for hope and faith in an environment that tries its hardest to stamp those things out. His example continues to encourage me.

I continued to think about this September post about quitting a newspaper almost daily because the little blue or orange bag with a fresh, crisp Wall Street Journal continued to appear at the end of my driveway despite my best efforts to make it stop. I can report that my expert status at newspaper-quitting has been restored because the last paper seems to have shown up in mid December. The deliveries stopped about two or three weeks after the carrier left the little Christmas card to himself, the one which invited me to give him some money. Coincidence? And is there any other business that so blatantly seeks gifts from customers?

And just look at us – Post No. 52 is ready to go! Thank you all for coming to visit. During a year of ups and downs, one constant has been the lift I get from your views and comments. It is a diverse bunch that spends a few minutes here each week and please know that your presence is appreciated.

So 2019 is now in the books (at least for this blog) and 2020 is about to hear the starter’s pistol. Please accept my hope that each of you has a happy and healthy new year.

Photo Credit:

B-52 Stratofortress photographed May 15, 2014 by Airman First Class Victor J. Caputo in his duties for the United States Air Force, and thus in the public domain (via Wikimedia Commons).

15 thoughts on “52

  1. Thanks, Jim. You’ve now got me contemplating the events of 2019. The year started off bumpy although it transitioned into some very good events. Sadly, nature has intervened and created a particularly sour note for the year end.

    That said, 2020 will be a big year at Casa de Jason and I’m focused on that.

    May 2020 also be a great year for those of Cavanaugh House and the three off-shoots thereof. Not having to change work locations, or helping anyone move, would be a major success in and of itself.

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    • Thanks JS. You now have me curious about the momentous things that will be happening in your part of the world. Best wishes that those Big Things turn out well. For me, I am hopeful that 2020 will be a big improvement over 2019 – which has seen its share of alternating highs and lows.

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  2. A nice, neat summary of the year in writing JP. They have nice B-52s sitting in Tucson at the Pima museum, should there ever be a CC meetup down there, it is a must see. Otherwise, hand trucks, lawn mowers, and lawn ornaments continued to function for you.

    2019 gave me the privilege of meeting up with some old friends I had not seen in years, which is something that I value doing. It also gave rise to re-starting my basement reno that got stopped mid way, years ago. Progress is heartily, mostly, underway.

    2019 also gave my family some major health challenges, that appear to now be in the rear view mirror. I was also lucky enough to experience my favourite priest returning to our local parish, after a 13 year assignment elsewhere.

    Have a great 2020 Jim and family!

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  3. JP, how can you not have mentioned the jazzy B-52’s rock band from the early 80’s with such memorable songs as Rock Lobster and Love Shack? Oh yea, best forgotten….

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    • Haha, what a great idea – a group number-association discussion! I actually really liked the B-52s back then. They made the playlist at the last wedding reception I attended. I remember remarking that I would never have guessed then that they would still be played 35 years on.

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    • I would have thought, Jim, that despite your preference for jazz, you’d be a fan of the B52’s for featuring “a Chrysler … as big as a whale” in one of their songs.

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  4. I don’t think you did justice to your achievements as a musical archivist. I certainly benefit from your research and knowledge.

    And since you wrote about SPAM, I am seeing references everywhere. That is unfortunate, but one man’s nostalgia is another person’s… well, lack thereof.

    Best wishes to you and family for all good things in the coming year.

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  5. Discovered your site while I was at CC earlier this year. Enjoy your posts here quite a lot.

    The scrapple one actually moved me to try some. After reading about it here, I stumbled across some at my local Giant Eagle supermarket. “Meadows” brand, I think. Let’s just say that now I’ve been there and done that!

    (To be fair, I may have overdone it slightly.)

    Best wishes for a happy & healthy 2020!

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  6. Happy New Year, J.P. & congratulations on your son. It’s disconcerting to realize the last B-52 model made & the oldest baseball stadium after Fenway & Wrigley (Dodger Stadium) were both in the year I was born (1962)

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