Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Great music playlist for working

Howdy! It feels like it's been a while. I hope you're doing well and about to embark on a fun, restful, and well-deserved summer break after one hell of a school year! I'm looking forward to catching a few car shows, Milwaukee Brewers games, church festivals, and the Wisconsin State Fair, among other things.

For those of you who have graduated high school or college, congratulations! Wishing you all the best as you prepare to head out on the next part of your journey.

I'm busy today working on some ideas and planning for this blog, and I thought I'd share the music that I'm working to. Here's my playlist today, along with a few brief notes and memories to go along with each song. For more great music from a variety of genres and generations, check out my occasional, ongoing series, "Exploring the world of music".

Here's to you and your success!

Mr. Robertson

"Rockin' All Over The World": John Fogerty

Forever linked to his role as frontman for the iconic 60s band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), John Fogerty has managed to build quite an impressive solo career since CCR's breakup in 1972. Here he is performing "Rockin' All Over The World" live. I always enjoyed this tune. It's fun and upbeat. Check out my exclusive interviews with CCR drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford and bassist Stu Cook from June 2012 and July 2013, respectively.



"Killer Joe": Quincy Jones

I first came across this 1969 jazz hit by Quincy Jones as a freshman in high school in 1997. My band teacher was a big jazz fan, and he played the recording for us one day in class. I rediscovered it recently. I love it. The definition of "cool".



"Sometimes When I'm All Alone" and "Pony Express": Danny & The Juniors

From the legendary late 50s - early 60s Doo Wop group out of Philadelphia comes these two classics that are perhaps somewhat undervalued. Assuming you ever heard of Danny & The Juniors in the first place, you probably only know of them by their two smash hits, "At The Hop" and "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay". I had the pleasure of interviewing the group's founder, David White, in April 2013. I was saddened to hear of his passing a couple years ago.





"Gimme Some Lovin'": Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, and other guests - Live in London, 1983

I absolutely love this live 1983 version of this summer anthem first recorded in 1966. It brings the song's original vocalist and organist, Steve Winwood, (who recorded it as a member of The Spencer Davis Group) together with an all-star lineup of guests that includes Eric Clapton and Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.



"We're An American Band": Grand Funk Railroad

Not much to say about this 1973 hit. The music and lyrics speak for themselves. This song is a must for any decent rock playlist. Fun and lively.



"Done Somebody Wrong": The Allman Brothers Band

Recorded live in March 1971 as a part of the band's Live at the Fillmore East album, this is an old blues tune first recorded by Elmore James, a master of the slide guitar. Check out this previous post I dedicated to Elmore James. In it, I included his original version of another hit covered by the Allman Brothers Band, "One Way Out".



"1965 Belgium TV Appearance (Complete)": Chuck Berry

Growing up as a kid, I fell in love with a lot of 50s and early 60s Rock 'n' Roll, fueled largely by the music played at family parties, company picnics, weddings, and during car rides while listening to the local oldies radio station here in Milwaukee. Buddy Holly. Bill Haley. Little Richard. Ritchie Valens. Danny & The Juniors. Jerry Lee Lewis. Del Shannon. Gene Vincent. Early Beach Boys and Beatles. I can go on and on. And one of my all-time favorites from that era is Chuck Berry. I recently came across this show he did for Belgium TV in 1965. It's just under 30 minutes long, and he goes through a good number of his hits, including "Johnny B. Goode" at the end.



"Can't You See": The Marshall Tucker Band

This version of this Southern Rock anthem was recorded live in September 1973 at the Grand Opera House. I never really got into The Marshall Tucker Band, but like many others who never did, we at least know this hit of theirs. Beautiful and brilliant.



"Honeydripper": Big Joe Turner and Count Basie

Recorded in 1974, this tune brings together two legends - blues shouter Big Joe Turner and jazz pianist & big band leader Count Basie, both of whom enjoyed 60+ year careers that spanned from the 1920s-80s.



"Stormy Monday": B.B. King and Albert Collins - Live in Memphis, TN, 1993 as part of B.B. King's Blues Summit concert and album

I've heard so many takes of "Stormy Monday" in my life from countless blues musicians and rock bands. I love it. I love this version, in particular. It's a combination of King's singing, the organ in the background, and Collins' guitar work that does it for me. I had the pleasure of seeing King perform live in downtown Milwaukee back in 1998. I was a sophomore in high school. Went with my dad, and we had seats in the very front row. I was fortunate to score King's autograph on the CD jacket for the Blues Summit album that I brought along with me. While traveling to Missouri in the summer of 2015 to see family, we made a brief stop in Memphis, where we explored Beale Street, including B.B. King's club, where this was recorded.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1-833-664-3312

Did you receive a call from 1-833-664-3312? If so, it's a scam.

Yesterday, 5/18/21, I received a call from a Renee Bennett, who claimed in a voicemail to be with the mediation department of a law firm called Jacobson and Wright. Renee, who knew my name, claimed that I was in a breach of contract, and that there were allegations against my Social Security number, including allegations that I may not be aware of. She said it was important I call her back at 1-833-664-3312, ext. 105.

I'm posting this here as a sort of public service announcement. Sadly, many people fall victim to calls like this, and I seek to do what I can to educate others about these types of calls. Two major clues that quickly stood out in my mind that this was a scam call - I know I haven't entered into any contracts lately, and it's safe to assume that a legitimate concern or dispute would have prompted a letter to be sent to me. I've received no letters in the mail. Furthermore, Renee mentioned "allegations" against my Social Security number, which immediately smells fishy. I didn't call Renee back, but if I did, I most likely would have been prompted to "confirm" my Social Security number, and/or "verify" other personal information.

Be on the lookout for calls like these, and do not respond.

For more tips, check out this previous post, Protection from hackers and scammers.  

Friday, May 14, 2021

The benefits of a community garden

Get to know your neighbors by creating a community garden

Creating a community garden is a great way to get to know your neighbors. After all, the seeds of friendship are often planted as people work together toward a single goal. Even valuable networking opportunities can grow out of a community garden project.

So, what's the first step in creating a community garden? Deciding when and where to hold a community garden meeting. Ideally, aim for a date in early spring before planting season arrives. Once you've decided on a place and time for the meeting, post the meeting details on a community notice board or spread the information between neighbors through word of mouth and/or social media. Many neighborhoods and subdivisions now have their own social media pages and groups where news, information, and recommendations are shared by neighbors and local businesses.

On the day of the meeting, have the group decide the specifics of the garden. Will it be a visual garden, a vegetable garden, or both? Also, decide who from the group will obtain any needed gardening supplies and take up a collection to cover the expected expenses.

Once it's time to create the actual garden, seek out the experienced gardeners in the group and pair them off with the group's novice gardeners. Such pairings can create instant connections among group members and will allow those of all skill levels to contribute to the project with greater ease.

Please note that certain locations require residents to obtain a permit or other permissions before implementing a community garden project. If this is the case in your area, then be sure to get the proper permissions before undertaking such a project.

End-of-season clothing sales

Save money on clothes by shopping at end-of-season sales

If you don't mind not having the very latest fashions, you can save plenty of money by shopping at end-of-season sales. Moreover, if you can wait for an item to reach the most discounted rack in the store, then you can expect to save up to 80 percent on your purchase.

To give you a better idea about when to shop for your different wardrobes, here is a general timeline for end-of-season clothing sales:

Spring clothes: April through June
Summer clothes: July through September
Fall clothes: October through December
Winter clothes: January through March

It should also be noted that certain specialized items tend to go on sale around the same time each year. These items include formal party wear in January, bridal gowns in April, athletic clothes in May, and bathing suits in August.

Also, keep in mind that while the larger discounts do tend to occur near the end of a sales cycle, the longer you wait, the less of a selection you'll likely find. If you wait too long before buying an item, it may sell out at your local retailer. If there's a particular piece of clothing that you have your heart set on owning, consider purchasing it at a mid-range discount to lower your odds of it selling out in your preferred size, color, or style.

Save money on non-essential spending

Save money by tracking your non-essential purchases

It's easy to lose track of your spending if you don't pay attention to your purchasing habits. Inexpensive non-essential purchases, in particular, can be especially harmful to your overall budget because minor splurges tend to fly under the radar more often than larger, more substantial purchases. To get a better handle on your finances so you can find areas of potential savings, consider using a spreadsheet or notebook to track your non-essential purchases.

When tracking your non-essential purchases, take note of the categories in which your purchases fall. For instance, if you grab a drink at your local coffee shop each morning, consider labeling such purchases as "morning coffee" so you can better track the true cost of your morning ritual. Regardless of the specific labels you choose, just remember that the more categories you track, the easier it will be for you to spot areas of potential savings.

After a month or so of tracking your non-essential purchases, you should have a decent idea about where most of your discretionary money is going. This information is key and if used correctly, can help you save money. After all, once you know where most of your discretionary money is going, you can cut back on your spending in the worst offending categories. Armed with this knowledge, the rest is up to you. So long as you commit to making a serious effort, savings should be noted almost immediately.

Best season to buy a house

Real estate buying tips: When is the best season to buy a house?

Many eager home buyers are quick to create a list of must-haves and preferred neighborhoods. Most of these same buyers, however, end up overlooking the benefits and drawbacks of going house shopping in a particular season. That said, do seasons really matter when buying a house and if so, is there a "best season" for prospective buyers to make a purchase? Well, the answer will depend on your personal circumstances. Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a house in the spring, summer, fall, and winter, so you can better decide if you'd benefit from purchasing a home in a particular season.

Spring:

Spring is typically the season when the highest number of real estate listings hit the market. That's why it is the perfect shopping season for home buyers wanting the largest selection of homes to choose from. Unfortunately, spring is also the busiest season for buyers, so you are likely to face heightened competition if you choose to buy a home during the spring.

Summer:

Summer is the preferred buying season for most families with school-aged children as moving over the summer won't interrupt the school year. Unfortunately, the convenience of moving over the summer often drives up home prices as many families enter desperate bidding wars in hopes of securing a deal before the new school year begins.

Fall:

Fall often coincides with better home prices due to the decreased interest among families with school-aged children. While the inventory of available homes does tend to decrease as fall arrives, you may find that many sellers become quite motivated to make a deal at this time of the year so they can avoid a winter move.

Winter:

Winter is usually the slowest time of the year for real estate sales and as such, house prices are generally at their lowest point during the winter months. If you are looking for the cheapest home prices of the year, then you should probably buy a house in the winter. Unfortunately, winter moving does present certain challenges like having to deal with adverse weather conditions and colder temperatures. Another downfall is the further into winter you get, the less inventory you'll likely have to choose from.

There are various benefits and drawbacks to buying a house during a particular season. While it's entirely possible to find the perfect home in any season, you may find that shopping during a specific season better compliments your personal circumstances. Hopefully, now that you know some of the benefits and drawbacks of buying a home in the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you have a better idea about which season's benefits fall more in line with your personal circumstances.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Christmas trivia

Did you know? Christmas trivia edition

With Christmas just around the corner, there's no better time than now to expand your Christmas knowledge. To get you started, here are three interesting facts about the December holiday.

1. If you were to gift your true love with all of the gifts mentioned in the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", you'd be gifting them a total of 364 gifts.

This includes 12 partridges (each in their own pear tree), 22 turtle doves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, 40 gold rings, 42 geese a-laying, 42 swans a-swimming, 40 maids a-milking, 36 ladies dancing, 30 lords a-leaping, 22 pipers piping, and 12 drummers drumming.

2. The Statue of Liberty is quite possibly the world's largest Christmas gift ever given.

The French gifted the United States with the Statue of Liberty on Christmas Day in 1886 to commemorate the two countries' allegiance during the American Revolution. The statue stands 151 feet tall from the base to the torch.

3. The first and last American states to give Christmas Day legal holiday status were Alabama and Oklahoma.

Alabama became the first American state to give Christmas Day legal holiday status in 1836. The last American state to do so was Oklahoma in 1907 when the state joined the Union. While Alaska and Hawaii were not yet part of the Union in 1907, both territories had already made Christmas Day a legal holiday in years prior.

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in our previous post, "How to save money on Christmas gifts".