July 26th, 2017

Mama said there’d be days…

…like this:

I hadn’t listened to that song in many decades, and so I didn’t recall it was about romance—although, since so many songs are, I would have guessed it. My day today was about something else.

After just a few hours of sleep, I spent the morning and much of the afternoon helping a sick friend, including doctor and hospital visits. The hospital visit was supposed to be for a quick test, but ten minutes before we arrived there was a power outage. They had a generator but it only powered one machine, so the wait was considerably longer than expected. I went to get the friend’s medication, and insurance had refused to approve it.

And then when I got home my computer was going haywire. My mouse cursor was twirling around erratically and randomly, and I need to use the mouse rather than the touchpad because the latter tends to inflame my arm injuries. My computer was insisting I update some random useless program I’ve never felt the need for, but when I tried to tell it “No!” it simply ignored me and showed me the box again and again and again…and again. While the box was up there, the computer wouldn’t allow me to navigate anywhere else. The problem persisted after I tried rebooting, so I had to uninstall the stupid worthless program—which I probably should have done ages ago. That took longer than it should have because the instructions were written by people from Mars.

So if you wonder why I’m a bit late checking in today—and a bit cranky—that’s your answer.

17 Responses to “Mama said there’d be days…”

  1. Paul R Says:

    Love reading you Neo…even for something as simple as this…

  2. J.J. Says:

    The trials of daily living. Technology is wonderful………until it isn’t. Tries our (at least my) patience everyday. When things go wrong I remind my self of the days of hand pumping water, starting a fire in the cook stove, using a mimeograph to print things, and other common tasks we performed before tech. Helps me maintain a bit of perspective.

  3. John Guilfoyle Says:

    The song that came to my mind was something like “some days are diamond and some days are stone.”
    And now I’m depressed that I know a John Denver song…sheesh…being older is no picnic.

  4. Big Maq Says:

    “My computer was insisting I update some random useless program I’ve never felt the need for” – Neo

    1) Maybe the software allows a configuration option to switch it off?

    Sometimes googling it will find a way to access this option.

    2) Sometimes this works:

    In Windows…
    Press Control (Ctrl) + Alt + Delele (Del) simultaneously
    Select Task Manager
    Click on CPU or Memory to sort from highest use to lowest (usually something that keeps popping up is using more resources)
    Check the list of Processes running for a name that you might recognize as the obvious culprit.
    Right click it and click on End Task

    If there is no name you recognize to be the culprit, don’t end any tasks. Maybe google the names of the ones you suspect and confirm it it is the culprit.

    Usually, this stops the program for good, but you won’t know until after your next reboot, if it pops up again.

    That is it, short of knowing the program doing this and digging in deeper.

    3) Sometime uninstalling it is the answer, if you know for sure it is useless (e.g. most bloatware that computer mfrs install).

    Again, googling the name of the software and the question, such as “needed?” can provide insight on how critical or superfluous it is.

  5. huxley Says:

    I think most people hear “Mama said” as a more general plaint about the human condition than hormonal crushes gone sideways.

    But weren’t the Shirelles a magnificent on the natch group.

    They were literally high school friends who showed up for a high school talent contest then became a national sensation.

    Time has not tarnished the Shirelles’ contribution.

    People forget that before rap there was doo-wop, a somewhat simple music which didn’t require high production values but could still pierce you to the heart and wasn’t mind-numbingly stupid and violent.

  6. huxley Says:

    Lately I’ve been revisiting Laura Nyro, the gal who wrote “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoney End,” “Eli’s Coming,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” and “And When I Die” among many other great songs, which she sang but mostly other people sang and got the credit for.

    Nyro (whose real name was Nigro, pronounced “NI-gro” and a total loser in show-biz terms) served part of her apprenticeship as a kid who would show up in subway stations and on streetcorners singing doo-wop with musical friends.

    The other part of her apprenticeship was as a moody obsessed teen who played piano and absorbed everything from rock, soul, pop, gospel, jazz and show tunes, then came up with a synthesis which had never been heard before or since.

    Her first score was selling “And When I Die” to Peter, Paul and Mary for $5000 when she was a teenager.

    She died prematurely of ovarian cancer (in the family) at 49. She was a musician’s musician who has received some of her due since in various awards and tributes.

    Check her out.

  7. The Other Chuck Says:

    Way back when I was giving away piano lessens (in another life it seems) one of my young students was the daughter of the local AME Church pastor. “Elmer” was a naturally talented girl who could have gone on to fame if she’d been living in Detroit or Chicago instead of a dreary California valley town. I taught her to read music and basic keyboard stuff, but the talent came from above, while the Gospel was just a part of her. I got more out of the lessons by listening to her than she got from me.

  8. The Other Chuck Says:

    …lessons… Jeesh!

  9. neo-neocon Says:


    Nyro was a favorite of mine, back in the day.

  10. huxley Says:

    The Other Chuck: I’ve long loved Philip Glass for his minimalist, yet appealing, brand of classical music. But Glass finished the job when Terry Gross asked him on NPR to what he attributed his success and he said, luck.

    Glass acknowledged how many amazing musicians he knew who just didn’t make the right connection at the right time as he had.

    Your story reminds me of Judee Sill, who grew up in Oakland — not quite a dreary California valley town — learned piano in her father’s bar, was convicted of armed robbery as a teen, then solidified her musical chops as an organist in reform school and studying Bach.

    She fit into the 70s LA music scene. David Geffen signed her as his first artist for Asylum Records. But she didn’t sell and she was complicated.

    Sill and Geffen had a falling-out. Then she had a nasty auto accident. (Danny Kaye rear-ended her on a winding LA canyon road!) She got into trouble with painkillers and eventually OD’d in a trailer park.

    She was also a homebrew Christian. Here is her signature song, recorded by Warren Zevon among others:

    Jesus Was a Cross Maker

    I love her too.

  11. huxley Says:

    Nyro was a favorite of mine, back in the day.

    neo: A brainy, beautiful college housemate played “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” for me in 1975 and I never got over it.

  12. parker Says:


    Nyro was a great songwriter. My wife introduced me to her music. We still listen to her own recordings now and then. Her interpretation of her own songs was better than the covers.

    BTW, Van Morrison does a fine cover of Momma Said.

  13. huxley Says:

    Her interpretation of her own songs was better than the covers.

    parker: Amen to that!

    Some old rock stars like Joni Mitchell and David Crosby say today’s record companies wouldn’t have signed and promoted many of the classic rock acts. Today record companies want a look and a sound they can package.

    Which isn’t to say that didn’t happen back then, but there was still room for original performers, who might not have the looks or might not be easy to pigeonhole, to succeed.

    As a thought experiment I wonder what would happen if a 19 year-old Laura Nyro showed up today to audition. Would the record companies know what to do with her?

  14. Gringo Says:

    On more than one occasion “Mamma said” showed up as a cited song in the senior write-ups in the yearbooks from my high school. One favorite was “Mama said there’d be days like this- but she didn’t say how many.”

    Although the Beatles spanned my teenage years, currently I listen more to doo-wop than I do to the Beatles.

  15. huxley Says:

    I listen more to doo-wop than I do to the Beatles.

    Gringo: Aside from the occasional commercial, doo-wop is a great, almost-forgotten music.

    I couldn’t believe the hate on Billy Joel, in part because he let his doo-wop colors fly!

    The Longest Time

  16. huxley Says:

    Aside from my conservative conversion and gray hair, I’m still a hippie at heart.

    I love the “Woodstock” concert film, but I gotta say Sha Na Na’s “At the Hop” hasn’t dated nearly as badly as Ten Years After’s “Going Home” or John Sebastian’s “Younger Generation.”

  17. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Ctrl Left vs Alt Right War = Solution is Ctrl Alt Del.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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