Raymond Scott and His New Orchestra, “Huckleberry Duck”

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Huckleberry Duck (Columbia, 1939)

In 1939, Raymond Scott and his New Orchestra released Just a Gigolo with the B-side being Huckleberry Duck. Scott wrote Huckleberry Duck himself.

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Pete Ham

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Pete Ham (April 27, 1947 – April 24, 1975)

Peter William Ham was born in Swansea, Wales. He formed a rock group The Panthers circa 1961. Undergoing numerous name changes, they ended up as The Iveys in 1965. They relocated to London. The Iveys came to the attention of Ray Davies of the Kinks and Mal Evans, personal assistant to The Beatles. After all four of the Beatles approved, the Iveys were signed to their Apple Records label.

With the release of their debut single, Come and Get It, they changed their name to Badfinger. More hits followed with No Matter What, Day After Day and Baby Blue. Ham’s greatest song writing success as co-writer of Without You, the worldwide number one hit of Harry Nilsson. Ham won two Ivor Noevllo Awards (British song writing awards) in 1973. In 1972, Badfinger was picked up by Warner Brothers Records as Apple Records was crumbling.

In April 1975, Warner Brothers sued the band’s business manager Stan Polley after an advance vanished. Polley disappeared and the band were left penniless. Three days before his 28th birthday, Ham hanged himself in his garage believing his finances had been wiped out. On April 27, 2013, an official blue plaque was unveiled by the Swansea City Council to honor Ham in his hometown.

The Pointless Book

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The Pointless Book (Dorking, 2014)

For those of you who don’t like reading, this could be the “book” for you, just based on title alone. “What are you reading right now?” You: “The Pointless Book.” Ha! Actually, The Pointless Book isn’t even a book, it’s an activity book. “Written” — credited on the cover as “Started by” Alfie Deyes, a British vlogger and YouTuber. The book contains pointless tasks such as baking a cake out of mud or creating a time capsule (that’s pointless?)

So here’s the funny part: The Pointless Book actually topped “The Times of London’s” Bestseller list. At a signing (? it’s an activity book) in London’s Piccadilly Circus, the 8,000 screaming fans (? it’s an activity book!) resulted in road closures and forced police helicopters (?! it’s an activity book!!) to be used. All of this forced Deyes to reschedule the signing at the ExCel (an international conventions center) London. It’s an activity book!!!

Brock’s Candy Puffs

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Brock’s Candy Puffs

Family-run Brock Candy initially produced penny candies early in the 1900s. By the 1920s, they expanded into marshmallow and jelly candies. In the 1930s, they introduced Chocolate Covered Cherries which became a Christmastime favorite. Under their catalog, they produced Candy Puffs, very soft, melt-in-your-mouth candy balls. In the 1990s, the E.J. Brach Corporation purchased the controlling interest in the Brock Company.

While not exactly the same, there are currently a few incarnations of Candy Puffs available. The assorted candy puffs or peppermint puffs are as close as http://www.oldtimecandy.com can get you to the original. Try the Jooblers Candy Crumble Melts in either assorted or just strawberry from http://www.candywarehouse.com. Candy Warehouse also sells the peppermint puffs available at Old Time Candy.

“Family Ties”

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Family Ties (NBC, 1982-1989)

Family Ties was an American sitcom that aired for seven seasons from September 22, 1982 to May 14, 1989. The series aired and reflected the move underway in the United States from the cultural liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s to the conservatism of the 1980s. Therefore, Family Ties honestly expressed the relationship between young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) and his ex-hippie parents Steven and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter). Throughout its run, Family Ties won numerous awards, including three consecutive Emmy Awards for Michael J. Fox as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The cast was rounded by fashion-conscious/gossipy daughter Mallory (Justine Bateman) and tomboy youngest daughter Jennifer (Tina Yothers).

Derek and the Dominoes, “Layla”

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Layla (Atco/Polydor, 1971)

Layla was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon for their blues rock band Derek and the Dominoes. It appeared on their only album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in 1970. The piano part has been controversially credited to Rita Coolidge, who was Gordon’s girlfriend at the time. Layla was inspired by a love story that originated in 7th century Arabia and later formed the basis of the book The Story of Layla and Majnun by 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, which was given to Clapton as a gift. Profoundly moved by it and his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of friend George Harrison, Clapton and Gordon composed Layla. (Clapton and Boyd eventually married in 1979 and divorced in 1989.) Clapton rereleased it as an acoustic song for his 1992 MTV Unplugged performance. In 1972, Layla hit #1 in Puerto Rico, peaking at #7 in the UK and #10 in the U.S. In 1992, Layla topped the Canadian and Japanese charts and peaked at #45 in the UK and #12 in the U.S.

“Goddess of Love”

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Goddess of Love (New World Television, 1988)

Goddess of Love was a 1988 made-for-TV fantasy film that aired on NBC on November 20, 1988. It was directed by Jim Drake and written by Don Segall and Phil Margo. It starred Vanna White, David Naughton, Amanda Bearse and David Leisure. Singer Little Richard starred as Alphonso. The plot? Zeus (John Rhys-Davies) sends Venus (White) down to Earth to find her own true love.

From http://www.rottentomatoes.com: “The famed Wheel of Fortune gameshow letter-turner Vanna White makes her acting debut in this sub-par TV movie. The silly film was universally panned by critics.” It also says that it was released for streaming on May 18, 2004.

“Hot Box”

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Hot Box (Hot Box Records, 1976)

Barbara Mackay is an American musician who trained in piano and violin at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. When she moved into pop music, she really let her sense of humor loose. Her first pop music foray was a five-part female singing group, The Girl Scouts. She moved on to a musical theater troupe, Little Lulu and the Humpers. With her own band Mackay released her debut album, Hot Box. Two singles were released: It’s All Rite to Fuck All Nite and Give Your Dick to Me. Yep. Unsurprisingly both singles had to be heavily censored before they could receive airplay. Other songs included: Eat Me, Vibrator Blues, Sessame Snatch, Whore House Blues and Lesbians Lament. There are more on the album as well. The album is listed as a comedy album and was dedicated to Rabelais, Bessie Smith, Lenny Bruce and all the other mothers who liberated our language by making people laugh.

Mackay has since switched genres again thanks to the singles from Hot Box finding commercial success in Europe. She now writes world music and new age. Mackay’s most recent album was 2008’s Heaven and Earth.

Feisty Pets

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Feisty Pets (William Mark Corporation)

Feisty Pets are cute plush toys. Being so cute and so soft your natural inclination is to squeeze them. Big mistake! In an instant, that cute toy becomes so angry. The line has been dubbed “The Bad Boys of Plush.” Manufactured by the William Mark Corporation, they are available for purchase at M&M Toys, Vat19 or Amazon and select Hallmark stores. If you head to http://www.feistypets.com you can check out the full line of products, but you cannot purchase from the site. Some of the plush toys comes in mini sizes and with different faces. Currently all the animals available are (these names are hilarious and worth the purchase price for the name alone!):
-Glenda Glitterpoop (unicorn)
-Sammy Suckerpunch (dog)
-Princess Pottymouth (cat)
-Sir Growls-a-Lot (bear)
-Lightning Bolt Lenny (sloth)
-Grandmaster Funk (monkey)
-Ginormous Gracie (giraffe)
-Jacked-Up Jackie (kangaroo)
-Junkyard Jeff (goat)
-Black Belt Bobby (panda)
-Liza Loca (koala)
-Lethal Lena (leopard)
-Rascal Rampage (raccoon)
-Ferdinand Flamefart (dragon)
-Rude Alf (reindeer)
-Billy Blubberbutt (narwhal)
-Taylor Truelove (Valentine Bear)
-Marky Mischief (lion)
-Katy Cobweb (black cat)
-Vicky Vicious (bunny)
-Karl the Snarl (polar bear)
-Tony Tubbalard (harp seal)
-Brainless Brian (triceratops)
-Extinct Eddie (stegosaurus)
-Sparkles Rainbowbarf (pegasus)
-Lunatic Lexi (golden doodle)
-Buford Buttsniffer (basset hound)
-Evil Eden (horse)
-Sly Sissypants (fox)
-Ice Cold Izzy (penguin)
-Dolly Llama (llama)
-Suzie Swearjar (pig)
-Louie Ladykiller (turtle)
-Lady Monstertruck (calico cat)
-Ali Cornball (alicorn)
-Scarin Erin (butterfly)
-Henry Whodunit (snowy owl)

Keep Calm and Carry On

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Keep Calm and Carry On

The original Keep Calm and Carry On appeared on a 1939 poster. It was produced by the British government in preparation for World War II. It was intended to raise the morale of the British public as they were being threatened with mass air attacks on several major cities. 2.45 million posters were printed. Interestingly, the posters were rarely publicly displayed and wasn’t known much until a poster was rediscovered in 2000 at Barter Books, a bookshop is Alnwick. It struck a chord and has been re-issued by a number of private companies and has become the decorative theme for a range of products.