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Archive for May, 2007

You know, you can save YouTube videos on your computer and replay them on your computer anytime you like, even copy them to your video Ipod. They are really FLV video files.

There are several ways to do it.

The easiest way is to click on the Youtube logo in the video player at my blog, which takes you to the location of the video at YouTube. Copy the text in the box labelled URL for the video and paste it into the Download box on the following page at Youtubex.com.

Youtubex

There is also a link at this page for a free FLV player.

Afterwards you can convert the FLV files to MP4 or WMV files, but to do that you’ll have to search on your own for a converter. MP4s are what the video IPod plays. The converter I use is called Super@ by eRightSoft and its free and comes with lots of different codecs for different video types. It has a drag and drop interface, and will even make videos into animated GIFs.

Most of the time, but not always, your computer keeps a copy on your hard drive after each video plays. So another way to save them is to open up your Temporary Internet Files folder in Windows Explorer, find the file that begins with get_video? and copy it to another directory and rename it .flv.

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KRTH radio has been playing the top 350 hits of all time over this Memorial Day weekend, counting down from 350 to number 1, and I thought I’d record the shows to MP3 files so I could listen to them later on my Ipod. There’s been quite a few surprises so far this year. The Beatles, with 23 songs, once again have the most selections in the poll – no surprise there of course.

I knew something was “goin’ on” when the first song I heard played was “Nowhere Man,” and a lot of my favorite songs appeared early in the play-list. I don’t know if there is anything useful to be gleaned from the way the voting went, but the mood in Los Angeles is decidedly rhythm and bluesy.

Here’s the top 50 songs:

#50 – It’s not Unusual (Tom Jones)
#49 – B-B-B-Benny and the Jets (Elton John)
#48 – Stand by Me (Ben E. King)
#47 – Saturday in the Park (Chicago)
#46 – Time of the Season (Zombies)
#45 – You cain’t hurry love (Supremes
#44 – Suavecito (Malo)
[Note:] Recently they have been playing a revised longer version, and a lot of people been requesting it.
#43 – Can’t take my eyes off you (Frankie Valli)
#42 – Tears of a Clown (Smokey Robinson & Miracles)
#41 – California Dreamin’ (Mamas and Papas)
#40 – Maggie Mae (Rod Stewart)

#39 – Do You Want to Know a Secret (Beatles)
#38 – Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)
#37 – Wild Thing (Troggs)
#36 – Daniel (Elton John)
#35 – Just my Imagination (Temptations)
#34 – Good Vibrations (Beachboys)
#33 – Brick House (Commodores)
#32 – I’m a Believer (Monkees)
#31 – My Sweet Lord (George Harrison)
#30 – Suspicious Minds (Elvis Presley)

#29 – I Can’t Help Myself (Four Tops)
#28 – American Pie (Don McLean)
#27 – Twist and Shout (Isley Bros.)
#26 – I Heard it Through the Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
#25 – La Bamba (Richie Valens)
#24 – (Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
#23 – Have You Ever Seen the Rain? (CCR)
#22 – Baby Love (Supremes)
#21 – Louie Louie (Kingsmen)
#20 – Let it Be (Beatles)

#19 – Under the Boardwalk (Drifters)
#18 – You are the Sunshine of my Life (Stevie Wonder)
#17 – Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
#16 – Respect (Aretha Franklin)
#15 – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
#14 – When a Man Loves a Woman (Percy Sledge)
#13 – Play that Funky Music White Boy (Wild Cherry)
#12 – Hey Jude (Beatles)
#11 – What’s Goin’ On (Marvin Gaye)

And here’s the top 10 songs:
#10 – California Girls (Beachboys)
#09 – Unchained Melody (Righteous Bros.)
#08 – Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
#07 – Brown-eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
#06 – Your Song (Elton John)
#05 – Light My Fire (Doors)
#04 – Imagine (John Lennon)
#03 – Satisfaction (Rolling Stones)
#02 – Evil Ways (Santana)

Oh no, no way!!
#01 – My Girl (Temptations)

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Damn Yankees

When I was a little boy my mother began telling me stories from her childhood.
At the time I wasn’t always interested, and now she is very old and doesn’t remember much. She was born in 1922 and lived through some of the most exciting times of the twentieth Century, including the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and World War II.

When she was a little girl, mother went to live for a time with her grandparents in Archbald Patch, and every morning she would crawl into bed with the old woman who boarded there with them, her great-grandmother, who told her stories in her room behind the kitchen. The old woman’s maiden-name was Martha Carey, and she had married my mother’s great grandfather, a man named Engles.

When I began to research my family tree, I visited the Family Research Center at the local Mormon church, and no I’m not a Mormon, and yes I do know it’s really the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I found her listed in the records for the 1920 census. The old census’ are a great way to begin tracking down your ancestors and the Mormons provide a wonderful archive for any who are interested.

Along with the name of my mother’s grandfather and grandmother, and all of her uncles that she told me time and time again were packed into that one little company home, was the name of Martha Engles, boarder. It was written on a separate line, and indented differently, and we nearly missed it. I said, “Mom, who was Martha Engles?” “That’s her,” she said, “the old woman I told you about,” and she was all excited to have one of her oldest and dearest memories confirmed. Things get a little cloudy, I guess, when you get into your eighties.

At the time this census was taken Martha Engles nee Carey was 60 years old, so I learned that she was born in Pennsylvania in 1860, just before the start of the Civil War. She is my earliest ancestor that I know much about, but I also learned that her mother and father were both born in Pennsylvania too. I haven’t really gotten into tracking them down yet, and even if I never do, it’s still pretty humbling to know that you have ancestors all the way back to the very birth of our nation.

Regretably I only remember two snippets from the stories that my mom told
about Martha Carey. The first was that she had been out West somewhere and came East with her family in a covered wagon. The other, my mom asked her once what
nationality we were, and the old woman snapped, ”We’re Yankees!”

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We came to California just before my fourth birthday. By the time I turned four my older sister Karin had made-up with the two girls next door – Beverly and Kay Hunt – and I already had a little girlfriend across the street. Her name was Cindy, and she had an older brother Matt, and I gather from old photos that our favorite thing was to sit together and play in the gutter or on the hood of my dad’s old coal-black ’48 Chevy. All old cars were black in those days; that’s how you could tell them from the new ones.

Cindy and Matt moved away the next year, and I don’t remember how long the house at 13107 Liggett lay dormant. It wasn’t long though before Ken and Ruth moved in with their two kids, Mike and Cathy. Before I even met Mike, I already knew his full name. His momma would stand at the front door every evening at dinner time, and yodel it, “Michael Leeeeee Posey,” and he’d come running. A lot of parents in those days had a unique method of summoning their boys. Brunie DiMaria would give off one high-pitched whistle for his son Freddy. Mr. Moore would stand outside and whistle too, with the little finger of each hand in his mouth, but it was a louder and meaner-sounding whistle meant to travel a lot farther because his boy Tommy was usually farther away.

The first time I was ever in Mike’s house was shortly after my next birthday. My grandma had sent each of us, me and Eddie that is, a felt cowboy hat, and Mike apparently tried to swindle us for something that he was going to throw away. It was practically a done-deal, until my mom made us both march back across the street and get our hats back.

I don’t remember when I first heard Mike play his electric guitar. It was probably that first time I was in his house. Actually, I don’t remember when he wasn’t playing it. He was always practicing on it, never playing baseball or football with the rest of the boys on the block. His fingertips were hardened with callouses, and he’d chewed his fingernails far into the quick, but I never really appreciated how good he was though, until one time he played at our yearly Talent Show at Ramona School. He told me afterwards that the number he played was called the Wildwood Flower.

One day he came over and got Eddie, and I found them and a couple other boys practicing together out in Mike’s garage. Eddie couldn’t play a guitar at all, that I knew of, but Mike had taught him several chords – C, F and G and E for good measure. I wandered in half-way through their practice, and I was surprised how good they all sounded together. They had a drummer who could keep a beat – I don’t remember who he was though, and Eddie was playing rhythm guitar. Mike was all over the place, playing all the lead parts and helping Eddie out on rhythm. Their jazziest number was “I Fought the Law (and the law won)” but they also had versions of “Selma Sue” and “House of the Rising Sun.” I was very inspired.

So inspired, in fact that not long after that I bought my first electric guitar. My dad was game for anything musical, so it wasn’t too hard to get him to buy me one for my birthday. I found one in Penney’s mail-order catalog, but it turned out not to be a very good one. I could barely press down the strings, and when the bridge began to make a buzzing sound it seemed like a good excuse to send it back. I didn’t think I would ever get another one, but one day dad surprised me with a used gray solid body electric guitar that a guy at work was selling. It was a St. George model and seemed like a nice guitar – the man had said that it was “almost as good as a Fender.” The amplifier was small and old, and not as nice even as the one from Penneys, and every once in a while I would have to jiggle the plug when it would stop working. I took it across the street and showed Mike, and he liked it, and he showed me some chords and played a few runs that I practiced when I got home. It sounded real good when he played it.

Several years later, when I was in high school, my older sister married a young man named Harry, who worked at a piano store as a tuner, and he got me a deal on a nice Yamaha classical guitar with cat-gut, not steel strings. I loved that guitar, and by that time I could strum the chords to most anything the Beatles, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan or Simon and Garfunkel had ever performed.

I might have been pretty good, if only I had been able to sing. I knew a lot songs, and a lot of them by heart – even difficult songs and songs I had only heard once or twice on The Smothers Brothers or The Glenn Campbell Hour. As I learned more chords and variations, I found that I could play more and more of the songs that I loved. And one song always led to another and another. I’d go boombedy boom, boombedy boom on the bass, and before I knew it I was playing “Folsom Prison Blues” and  then “A Boy Named Sue” and practically all of Johnny Cash’s entire repertoire. And I had all the Beatles’ songbooks, practically for all of their albums it seemed. I burned to be in a band, but by the time my playing matured Mike was already playing professionally in local night-clubs.

I would have taken the guitar with me when I went into the Navy, but one night after high school, when my dad was drunk, he and I got into a fight and he fell on it and broke the neck off the guitar. I ran out the door, and he followed me and grabbed me by the shoulder, and I could see how much he wanted to tell me he was sorry. “Dad, leave me alone,” is all I could say and shook him off. I bought another Yamaha though, better even than the first, when I was in Japan, and whenever we were out at sea I would sit alone by my bunk and play. Sometimes Bobby or Brian or some of the other guys would come over and sit and listen to me.

I hardly played at all while I was in college, having sold my guitar to Brian before I left Japan, and after Janie told me she didn’t want to see me anymore, I went to see her one last time at her apartment that she had taken with several girlfriends on Balboa Island. She was sitting there with a guitar that she had just bought, trying to play one of the songs in her Bob Dylan book, and when I asked her why she was breaking up with me, she said “Because you never do anything.” “Oh,” I replied, watching her struggle to get her fingers into postion to play the next chord. “What do you do outside of school?” “I work with the homeless downtown, and I’m learning to play the guitar,” she chirped. “I can see that,” I said.

Music has always been a big part of my life, and it’s always brought me closer to people, and I owe a lot of that to Mike Posey. He’s dead now, and I regret that I never heard him perform when he was playing with his band down at the Pioneer Room and other places around town. I went hunting with Mike one time, or actually he went with Eddie, Harry and me. Harry had loaned me an old British Enfield .303 war-surplus rifle, that kicked like a small mule and was all original right down to the metal butt-plate. Mike wanted to fire my rifle, and when I tried to warn him about the kick, he quickly assured me how he was from Oklahoma and knew all about guns and hunting. He knelt down to fire the gun, and I could see a space between his shoulder and the butt of the rifle. When he fired, the gun punched him in the shoulder and literally knocked him off his feet. Of course, we all had a good laugh about it afterwards.

You see, Mike wasn’t really all that big. He just seemed big when he played his “gi -tar,” as he called it.

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