Saturday 9: Go Where Baby Lives

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) The lyrics tell us that the girl of his dreams lives up on a hill. Is there a hill near your home? Or is the terrain pretty flat where you are? I kind of live on a hill. I just forget about it because it’s small and I don’t go down it much.

2) Another clue to her whereabouts is that she’s about a mile from town. Will you be staying close to home this weekend, or will you be traveling a mile or more? We’re heading into Pittsburgh for brunch this afternoon.

3) Sam admits she’s crazy about the sax solo. Is there a particular musical instrument that you love to listen to? Guitar, violin, and piano.

4) This is the only record The Strollers made for States, a company based out of Chicago. States was only in existence for five years (1952-57) and this was the 63rd or 64 records released before they went out of business. Tell us about a business in your neighborhood that recently closed their doors. It wasn’t super recent–within the last several months–but my favorite Italian restaurant in town. It was kind of a dive but everyone knew they had the best food, and they shut down. The story I heard was they couldn’t keep it staffed.

5) More than 60 years after its initial release, this song enjoyed new popularity when Xfinity used it in commercials for their wifi. What company is your internet service provider? Are you happy with it? I have Xfinity. I know hating Comcast is popular, but other than the prices, I have no complaints.

6) In researching this week’s song, Sam googled “strollers” and was surprised to discover how many different types of baby buggies are available today. When did you most recently push a child in a stroller? Strangely, despite having a baby niece, I haven’t in a long while. Last time I was out and about with her, she was in a carrier, and normally everyone just wants to hold her and fights for her.

7) In 1957, the year this song was released, President Eisenhower celebrated his second inaugural with a parade featuring more than 50 marching bands. The mercury never quite reached 45º that day. How’s the weather outside your front door? Well, we woke up to a nice dusting of snow.

8) One of the best-selling books of 1957 was Peyton Place. This steamy saga of small town life launched two films, two television series, and several made-for-tv movies. Is there a book that you enjoyed that was successfully turned to a movie? I’m reading a couple of those now, actually, now that I think about it. I’m reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, which didn’t get an American movie but did get a Swedish one, although I haven’t seen it yet; The Vampire Lestat, the plot of which was shoehorned into the movie Queen of the Damned and wasn’t necessarily what I’d call a success; and Good Omens, which got what sounds to be a very faithful and beloved miniseries adaptation on Amazon Prime.

9) A Peyton Place-inspired question: Can a man be physically unfaithful to a woman, but still love her? I think so because I think sometimes these things are more complicated than we think they are or want them to be–in some ways, it’s easier to think someone cheated because they don’t love you. But I do think if someone’s cheating, there are bigger problems that need to be addressed.

Saturday 9: Miss Independent

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) The song begins with Kelly describing a woman who is “independent” and “self-sufficient.” Are you feeling especially independent and self-sufficient this morning? Or is there a particular task on your to-do list that you wish you had help with? Lately, I’ve been more self-sufficient, but a few weeks prior, I was needing some help.

2) Kelly especially enjoys that this song was a hit, because she had to argue with the record company to even include it on her album. Tell us about a time you’re glad fought to get your way. Most times I do it, probably!

3) The video depicts a very lively party that spills from the house to the pool area. What’s the last party you attended? Was it held indoors, outdoors, or did the revelers enjoy themselves both inside and outside? A family Christmas party, and since this is Pennsylvania and not one of those weird 60-degree days we did have recently, it was indoors only.

4)The partiers are playing with “silly string.” Have you ever indulged in a “silly string” battle? I think I have. They might not have been true battles so much as one or two people getting totally doused with the stuff–some of my friends were into that for a bit.

5) Kelly Clarkson has a new daytime talk show. Who hosted the last entertainment talk show (as opposed to news) that you watched? Dr. Phil, which I watched at my job.

6) Kelly Clarkson told a foodie website that one of her favorite foods is sushi (especially California rolls). She said she’s surprised how fond she is of it, since as a kid, sushi is a food she wouldn’t even try. Tell us about something you had to be convinced to try, or do, that you were surprised to find you enjoyed. Sushi was certainly one of them! I got half talked into repelling once, and I say half talked into because I felt comfortable with the group that was going but it was still intimidating. I loved it.

7) In 2003, when “Miss Independent” was released, Microsoft and Sony were furiously competing for gamers’ attention. Do you own Playstation or Xbox, neither or both? Both, but only the Playstation works–the Xbox is pretty old, probably from high school, and I’m 30 now. It crapped out on us maybe a year ago, and it’s still sitting there until we figure out what the hell one does with a broken Xbox. I hate to put it in the garbage when there are parts that can probably be recycled somehow.

8) Also in 2003, the best-selling cookbook was The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. It features foolproof recipes for old favorites like waffles, pancakes, flat breads and crackers. When you look for a new recipe, are you searching for an easier/better way to make something familiar, or are you more likely looking to try something new? I’m definitely looking for something new, but I welcome it if I stumble upon an improvement for something familiar. I’m not super into cooking, so I’m happy to take any tips and tricks I can.

9) Random question: Which has gotten you in more trouble — love or money? Money, easily.

Saturday 9: Sultans of Swing

Unfamiliar with this week’s song. Hear it here.

1) The song begins by mentioning how it feels to shiver on a rainy night. As you answer these questions, is it chilly … or rainy … or dark? Dark.

2) The lyrics describe a bar at closing time, when the owner announces, “Goodnight, now, it’s time to go home.” Can you recall a time when you lingered until you closed the joint? Not in particular, but it’s definitely happened.

3) This song was written years before it was recorded, back in the days before Dire Straits was a success. Composer/lead singer/lead guitarist Mark Knopfler recalls that, when he was working on “Sultans of Swing,” he was worried about paying his gas bill. Is anything troubling you this Saturday? This pain-in-the-ass cold I have.

4) When this song was popular, Sam often played it on the jukebox because, well, who doesn’t like Dire Straits? 40 years later, both that  jukebox and the bar it was in are gone. Have you recently been in a restaurant or bar that has a jukebox? Those newer digital ones, yeah.

5) In 1978, the year “Sultans of Swing” topped the charts, Garfield first appeared in newspapers all around the United States. Over the years, it was revealed that the cartoon cat loved lasagna and hated raisins. What’s a food you love? What’s one that you hate? I, too, love lasagna and pasta in general. I don’t know that there’s I food I really, truly hate.

6) One of People magazine’s top-selling issues of 1978 featured Carrie Fisher and Darth Vader on the cover. The article celebrated the theatrical re-release of Star Wars and announced that the cast was on board for a sequel. How many Star Wars movies have you seen? Seven–the original three, the prequels, and The Force Awakens. We’re very behind on the new ones.

7) The most popular movie of 1978 was Grease. What’s your favorite song from the Grease soundtrack? Man…none? I don’t like Grease. It’s about changing for someone. No thanks.

8) In 1978, Yves St. Laurent made fashion news by putting his female runway models in menswear-inspired suits, complete with neckties and pocket squares. Do you know how to tie a windsor knot? Can you fold a handkerchief into a pocket square? Nope.

9) Random question: You’re visiting a friend. He graciously offers you the use of his super-expensive, brand-new luxury sedan for the duration of your stay. Do you take him up on it? Or do you rent a car instead? I probably avoid it as much as possible but take him up on it if necessary. And drive much more slowly and carefully than normal.

Saturday 9: Keep Me Warm

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

Here’s our first Saturday 9 of 2020!

1) Are you feeling warm and cozy as you answer these questions? Yep!

2) This time of year is important to college football fans. Are you watching/have you watched any of the Bowl games this year? Nope. I don’t like football.

3) Crazy Sam’s been cold/flu free so far this winter and credits the Echinacea she takes every morning. Her brother insists she’s wasting her money. Do you take any herbal supplements? I’m taking vitamins at the moment. They’re Flintstones vitamins. There’s a story behind this–in short, I was advised by a doctor to do so, and I find it hilarious.

4) In the video for this song, Erin Bowman is singing in front of lights and ornaments. Are you sorry to see the decorations slowly disappear? Or do you think they should all come down right away? I like letting them linger. No reason to tear it all down ASAP–it lets the Christmas spirit hang on until Hallmark is back at it in July.

5) She sings about socks, a scarf and a sweater. Tell us about your favorite sweater. I don’t know if I have a favorite!

6) Erin credits her 8th grade choir teacher for believing in her and giving her a solo. That helped give her the confidence to go into performing professionally. When you were in 8th grade, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? I think I kind of did, I just hadn’t considered it as a serious option.

7) This song has been used in commercials for McDonald’s and Turner Classic Movies. What commercial have you seen recently? Was it on TV or online? My mom sent me one this morning for cat food, where it’s implied a mom is more attentive to her cat than her kid. I swear it was funnier than it sounds.

8) In 2014, when this song was first released, we lost both Joan Rivers and Robin Williams. What comedian always makes you laugh? There are a few, but my husband’s been on a John Mulaney kick lately.

9) Random question — There are two performers in the trapeze act: the one who flies through the air and the one who catches the flier. Which would you rather be? As risky as it is, the flier! I don’t need the pressure of catching someone. I can barely catch a ball.

Saturday 9: Cold as Ice

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Look back on 2019 and share a happy moment. When my niece was born! And one forthcoming announcement. And that’s about it. 2019 was a shitshow. My mom has said that the two things mentioned here were the only good things to come out of the year for her.

2) As 2019 ends, are you making any New Year’s resolutions for 2020? I usually do make some sort of list of goals for the year, at least, and I’ll be getting to posting those soon. But I don’t have any true resolutions, no.

3) Tell us about an obstacle or challenge you faced in 2019. Oof. My dad was diagnosed with cancer around February and died in August. And while my mom handled the brunt of things like his care, obviously, watching your parent waste away and die is rough. My mom said she felt like she was having an out-of-body experience, and that’s probably the best way to describe sitting at your parents’ dining-room table with your uncle, mom, and a hospice nurse going over what’s happening.

4) Is it “cold as ice” outside where you are today? It is not. It’s cold, but it’s in the 40s. Yesterday was a 70-degree heatwave, though!

5) Foreigner is this week’s featured artist. The band formed in New York City. If you were to travel to New York City, what would you be sure to see? I’ve been twice and tackled a few of the big touristy things, but I didn’t see a Broadway show or the Statue of Liberty, so those would be on my list. I’d definitely eat my way across Chinatown and Little Italy again, though. That was great.

6) The band went by the name Trigger. They changed it because their prospective record label was already auditioning a different group named Trigger. They settled on Foreigner because half the members were foreign — from England. If you received a free, round-trip airline ticket to any foreign country, where would you go? I’d visit truly every country in the world if it made financial sense and was safe. But if we’re talking a free one-time thing, probably Australia. As much as this is probably an awful time to visit, I’d also spend my time doing what I can to help with the devastation of the fires.

7) In 1977, when this song was popular, Star Wars was breaking all box office records. The Spy Who Loved Me, a James Bond movie, was also a 1977 hit. Which film series do you prefer: Star Wars or James Bond? Star Wars. James Bond films are so hit and miss, and it’s easy for them to be predictable or silly.

8) In 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated Apple. Are you answering these 9 questions on an Apple product (PC, laptop, pad or phone)? A laptop, yep.

9) Random question: What was the last thing you thought of as you dozed off last night? I was a little hungry but didn’t want to get up, so I was hoping I’d fall asleep anyway. Success.

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick’s lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you bypass it altogether — either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn’t celebrate Christmas? I enjoyed it when we went, but it wasn’t something we did every year.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there? Nice because I’m not an asshole.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest? Nah, not this year.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year? You know, I usually do, but I don’t think I did this year.

5. What’s your favorite holiday-themed movie? Have you seen it yet this year? A Muppet Christmas Carol, and although I try to make it a point to watch it every year, I did not this year!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day? No.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party? Nope! My company only started having them in the last few years, we’re limited to two drink tickets, and I’m not the type to overdo it at an event like that anyway.

8. What’s your favorite beverage in cold weather? Tea.

9. Share a memory from last Christmas. My brother and sister-in-law found out like the day before that they were gonna have a baby girl, my niece, Eliana.

Saturday 9: The Christmas Song

Saturday 9: The Christmas Song (1961)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) The lyrics mention “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” Do you often eat chestnuts? Never.

2) There’s a reference to Jack Frost, too. Does cold weather help you get into the holiday spirit? Kind of, but I hate it so much that I don’t mind if it stays warm.

3) Nat sings that turkey helps to make the season bright. We just had it last month for Thanksgiving. Do you enjoy turkey all year around? Or do you consider it primarily a holiday dish? I don’t eat it because I’m a vegetarian, but I did used to really like turkey sandwiches all year.

4) This song was published as “The Christmas Song,” but people often refer to it as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” or “Merry Christmas to You.” When you think of this song, which title comes to mind? Because I’m a music nerd, “The Christmas Song.”

5) Nat King Cole had a big hit in the 1950s with “Mona Lisa.” The ballad compares an enigmatic woman to the da Vinci painting, which hangs in the Louvre. The Mona Lisa has been called the most instantly identifiable painting in the world. Can you think of another famous painting that you recognize on sight? (Extra points if you include a picture!) Van Gogh’s Starry Night–as well as a few other Van Goghs–and some of Monet’s many water lilies. I’m a sucker for those Frenchies.

6) Best remembered today as a singer, Cole was also an accomplished composer and jazz pianist. Do you like jazz? I do, but I feel like I don’t appreciate it as much as some do.

7) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far this year is from her dentist. She never sees Dr. Douglas socially. In fact, she hasn’t seen him since her annual check-up last March. Have you received many cards this year? Only a few, but I also didn’t send any, despite buying some and intending to. Next year!

8) When did/will you start holiday shopping this year: Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving/Black Friday, Halloween? Earlier than that? I start after Thanksgiving. I don’t shop on Black Friday because of crowds and because most deals aren’t the best deals of the year, plus we’ve kind of gone nuts with it in this country and retail workers don’t deserve that mess. I hit some Cyber Monday deals this year and then really started shopping the following weekend or so.

9) This time of year is big for charitable fundraising. Here’s your chance to plug a cause or organization that’s near and dear to you. I can’t think of a specific one, but in thinking about what’s happening in the world right now, I urge anyone concerned about the Australia wildfires to donate to organizations helping with relief.

Saturday 9: The Champion

Saturday 9: The Champion (2018)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about doing what it takes to win. What’s the most recent competition you won? (Yes, online solitaire counts.) In that case, probably solitaire. Or a Candy Crush level.

2) The lyrics tell us to “go ahead and put your bets on me.” Do you often play games of chance — like the office football pool, or slot machines, or the lottery? Not often, but I do enjoy them.

3) The video includes footage of young people competing in The Special Olympics. What’s your favorite sport to watch? Is it the same sport you most enjoying playing?  
Hockey. I’ve never played it–outside of air hockey, which I always loved–but I do think I’d enjoy it if I did.

4) This week’s featured artist, Carrie Underwood, first came to America’s attention when she won on American Idol. Prior to competing on that show, she’d never been on an airplane. How old were you when you took your first flight? 17.

5) Carrie loves horror and her favorite author is Stephen King. What book are you currently reading? I believe there are four in my current stack–Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larson, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay. There’s a slight fantasy/supernatural bent at the moment, which is pure coincidence.

6) Carrie’s duet partner on “The Champion” is rapper Ludacris. In addition to making music, he acts and has appeared in one Sam’s favorite shows, Law & Order: SVU. What’s your favorite “cop show?” That’s definitely one of them. It’s tough because I do generally enjoy them, but they’re also all mostly the same.

7) Ludacris is a distant cousin of comedian Richard Pryor. Have you studied your family’s genealogy? Not extensively, but I know a couple relatives know a good bit and keep track of everything, even now–marriages, births, deaths, everything.

8) Soccer was a big deal in 2018, the year this song was released. According to Google, “FIFA World Cup” was the news story that generated the most internet searches. What’s the last thing you “googled?” I believe it was hours for one of the local malls.

9) Random question: You’re battling the flu. The doctor advises you to stay in bed a full five days. As you begin feeling better (around Day 3), do you continue to follow doctor’s orders? Or do you get up and start moving before you’re supposed to? Oof. I probably make myself stay in bed until at least Day 4, because I do know myself well enough to know that I have a tendency to overdo it when I’m sick and make things worse, so I try to be aware of that and give myself more time to rest than I think I need. But if I’m really feeling a lot better, I don’t think I’m making it until Day 5. I may know that bedrest is probably for the best, but I’m impatient and still kind of an idiot when it comes to listening to my body.

Saturday 9: Baby’s in Black

Saturday 9: Baby’s in Black (1964)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

 From our archives.

1) Black is this week’s signature color because Friday was “Black Friday,” the day when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any “Black Friday” bargains? No, but I did hit Cyber Monday deals.

2) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game? Nope.

3) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam’s homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she’s so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) What was particularly delicious at your Thanksgiving table? My mom made my grandma’s potato salad, and then at some point, my dad had made and frozen a few pans  of lasagna before he died, so we had one of those. It was nice and weird all at once.

4) Among the biggest the Black Friday advertisers are Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Best Buy. If you could have a $100 gift card to any one of those stores, which would you choose? Probably Target.

5) This week’s song, “Baby’s in Black,” is about a girl who wears black because she’s in mourning. Do you find that the color you’re wearing reflects your mood? Almost never.

6) The woman who inspired this song, Astrid Kirchherr, has been friends with Paul McCartney since he and his bandmates (John Lennon, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best) met her in Hamburg back in 1960. Tell us what you believe are the components of a strong, lasting friendship. Respect, trust, and dependability.

7) In the early days of the Beatles, Paul McCartney and John Lennon began writing a play but abandoned it. Do you have a novel, painting, play, song or poem that you’re going to finish “someday?” Ha, story of my life.

8) When he was 16, George Harrison dreamed of moving to Canada, Australia or Malta. In just a few years, he would visit all those places with Beatles and eventually decided there was no place like home and stayed in England (though he did also maintain a home in Hawaii). Have you ever thought about moving to another country? If so, where? No, but I think I’d do okay in Canada or England.

9)  Random question: Finish this sentence — If you want me to give you “yes” for an answer, the best time to approach me is _____________________. Probably afternoon or evening, as long as I’m not hungry.

Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) 1979

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This lyrics use weather as metaphor for romance. Here at Saturday 9, we’re more literal. How do the skies look where you are this morning? Well, it’s dark out now, and earlier, even when the sun was up, it was cloudy and grey.

2) According to Merriam-Webster, “enough is enough” is what you say when you want something to stop because you “can no longer accept or deal with it.” When did you recently say — out loud or to yourself — “enough is enough.” I have no idea. It’s not really a phrase I use, and I wouldn’t have had a recent reason to use it, either.

3) Grammy winner Luther Vandross began his career as a background singer and performed on “No More Tears.” Tell us about one of your early jobs. When I was a kid, I washed dishes at the restaurant where my dad cooked. I was on my feet all night, got paid under the table, of course, but I enjoyed feeling like I had actual responsibility and getting spending money, too, as well as a little share of whatever my dad was cooking.

4) Both Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand made slight changes to their first names. Summer was christened “LaDonna,” while Streisand’s parents spelled her name the more conventional “Barbara.” When she was in high school, meme mistress Samantha Winters went from “Sammy” to “Sam.” Did you ever make a similar change to your first name? Nah. The name Janelle isn’t easy to shorten in a way that makes sense, although my mom has always called me Nellie.

5) Hair was higher maintenance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Streisand and Summer are both sporting styles that would require chemical treatment, like a perm or relaxer. Today’s looks are less rigidly styled and tend to be smoother or slightly messy. How often do you change your look? I change my hair color somewhat often–I’ve stuck with the same thing for a few months for a couple of reasons, one of which I’m not sharing just yet, but overall, I’ve changed it every eight weeks. I very well may go blonde when I go back in a month, too!

6) In 1979, it seems every kid was asking Santa for Star Wars toys. Some things don’t change, since the Star Wars franchise remains popular with children and toymakers after more than 40 years. What book or toy did you love as a child that remains popular today? The Wizard of Oz, sort of. It’s still considered a classic.

7) Thinking of things that endure … In 1979, the #1 show in the ratings was 60 Minutes. It’s still on, every Sunday night, and in the summer of 2019 it came in at #4 in the Nielsen ratings. What’s the most recent show you watched? Was it news, sports or entertainment? Entertainment–I think it would’ve been the original Twilight Zone. Or possibly Kitchen Nightmares, which I don’t usually watch but got interested in thanks to a mention online of that infamous episode with the couple who was so insane that Gordon Ramsay walked out. I think Gordon Ramsay is a dick, but I was on his side here.

8) In 1979, the price for a dozen eggs averaged 85¢. Today, it’s about twice that. Are you more likely to use eggs to prepare a main course (like an omelette or Eggs Benedict) or as part of a recipe (anything from a cake to a meatloaf)? Main course, especially lately. But I would like to get into trying to do more cooking and baking soon. I just haven’t felt up to it, again, for reasons I’ll get into another day.

9) Random question: You’re alone in your car, driving through your neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. You get a flat tire. You have a spare and a jack in your trunk. Would you fix it yourself or call for help? I’d use my AAA membership my mom renews as a gift every Christmas. I know I don’t have it in me physically to fix on my own. If I was with someone else, though, I’d probably do it. In fact, my brother and I did once when we got a flat when he was picking me up from college for the weekend, but my mom was so worried that it would, like, fly off while we were driving that she sent my dad out to follow us home. It didn’t.