Archive for the ‘ Things that make me happy ’ Category

He Ain’t Whistling Dixie!

With the political season in high gear, I’ve found that I arrive at work in a much better frame of mind if I forego CNN et. al, and stick to music.

As I’ve listened to the Sinatra and Symphony stations until I know the play list, I’ve recently moved to 60s on 6.

I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of that one, and once in a while they surprise me with a song I’ve never heard.

That’s saying a lot for a kid who had his blue transistor radio with the single ear phone glued to his head for nearly a decade!

But, once in a while they do – and the other day they played a song called I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman by Whistling Jack Smith.

All I can say is this must have come out when I was in Mexico that summer, ‘cause I totally missed it.  And to be honest, I could have lived without it.

Whistling Jack Smith was born John O’Neill in Stanley, County Durham, England in 1926.  He passed on in 1999.

He was “in demand” for his tenor singing and whistling skills.  He was also a trumpeter, was self-taught, and could sight-read music – which is a gift!  Starting his musical career in a dance band, he was drafted to India to entertain the officers of the British Army, and upon returning to England was a member of the Four Ramblers.

In the 1960s he was a regular on British Television.

His Kaiser Bill song was a top five single.  He recorded it for a set fee, never received a royalty, and never got billing for the song on the air.

As a matter of fact, when he first saw the song performed on the telly, he realized it was his whistling played while an actor mimed along.

But, all was not lost, Whistling Jack Smith went on to whistle the theme to Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly which was written by Ennio Morricone for the Spaghetti Western.

He also sang the theme song for the American TV series, Wagon Train.

He, his wife, and their four daughters lived in Ilford, Essex.

Here’s his version complete with the “mimer.”

Honestly, I don’t know why this didn’t catch on!  I mean really, what else did we have to listen to in the 1960s?

Not Done Yet.

My only living Aunt will turn 100 tomorrow.

There’s a big bash planned in the hills of Virginia, and I’m a gonna’ be there.

Hopefully most of my umpty-ump cousins will be there. I have a ton, and am looking forward to seeing them.

I have posted about my Aunt Diddie often, this is a recap of a post from one of her earlier birthdays…back when she was “just” in her 90s.

I’ve said everything there is to say, but some of it bears repeating.

She is an awesome woman, an educator, a woman of influence, and our family’s last connection to our past.

Aunt Willie

Willie and Wallace

There’s really no connection other than the date and the party.

Both events happened on June 11, one in 1916, and one in 1963.

Both were Southern, both reared by parents born in the reconstruction era, both lived through the Great Depression, both were educated, both were smart, and both were Democrats.

But they couldn’t be any more different if they tried.

In 1963, George Wallace, then Governor of Alabama stood in the door way of the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to block the entrance of Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, two black youths who were trying to enroll in college.


It took the US Justice Department and the National Guard to get them in the building and registered as part of the Student Body of the Crimson Tide.

Wallace’s stand of  “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever” was the philosophy of thousands across the nation, and the attention he brought UPon the State of Alabama caused a stirring and awakening in the land.

But, back in 1916 on that same day,  June 11, Willie Agnes Higgins was born.

Aunt Diddie and Cora (her grand daughter.)

As she spent her life in the art of educating those around her, I can not imagine Aunt Diddie barring the door to anyone who wanted to learn.

A life long Democrat and an elementary teacher for 43 years, Mrs. Ward, or my Aunt Diddie as we call her, taught thousands of kids to read and write, count, learn history, and how to behave.

I’m quite sure that had Aunt Diddie been leading the two Alabamans to Foster Auditorium, Wallace would have moved a lot faster than he did.

Happy Birthday Aunt Diddie, we love you!

Someone Had To…

This is from the things we take for granted category!

I’m sure you remember this…

…and this…

We know them, but what do we know about them.

Well, that’s why I’m here.

Someone had to write it, it didn’t just spring UP!

Victor Vic Mizzy was born on January 9, 1916, exactly 100 years ago today!

He was a composer for TV and movies and this two most well known efforts are the themes from Green Acres and The Addams Family.

But he did more than that.

He had top 20 hits back in the 30s and 40s, and wrote for The Andrews Sisters, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, and Teresa Brewer.

Yeah, I know, they’re all sooooo last century, but hey, music is music!

And what about the Mills Brothers classic, With a Hey and Hi and Ho-Ho-Ho?

He wrote that too.

Born in Brooklyn, he attended New York University after a childhood of playing the piano and accordion.  He was self taught!

He served in the US Navy during WW II and during his “idle” time, he wrote hit songs!

He broke into TV in the late 50s writing for Shirley Temple, but the 60s made him “famous”.  He was writing as late as 2007 when he worked with Sam Raimi on music for Spider Man 3.

Mizzy died at the age of 93 in Bel Air.

Now you know.

See The USA…

…in a Chevrolet, still rings in my head from old commercials.

But, on November 3, 1911, this guy…

Louis Chevrolet

Louis Chevrolet

…a Swiss born, American race car driver, and this guy…

William Durant

William Durant

…an American businessman and car maker, started this…


,,,which became this…


… and gave us wonderful things like this…

1960 Chevrolet Impala

…so we can drive around and see things like this…

Mt. Rushmore

…and this…

Grand Canyon

…aren’t you glad?

We were…

Paul David and Kitty Tom

That’s me UP there in front of our 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air.  Kitty Tom was not amused.