If the elevator tries to bring you down?

prince-purple-rain-ws-710Go crazy.

Punch a higher floor.

Safe passage, sir.

Sad to note the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

It’s hard to convey how much his portrayal of Spock meant to me, and to many others. He made it into so much more than the show’s creators ever imagined it could be.

Today I am greeting everyone I meet with the Vulcan salute.

To you all: Live long, and prosper.


Very sad to report the passing of Jan Hooks.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from deadspin.com

Jan Hooks, an alumnus of Saturday Night Live and several other TV shows and movies, passed away today at the age of 57 from an undisclosed illness.

She was part of the SNL cast that ran from 1986 to 1991 and featured Dana Carvey, Nora Dunn, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, Mike Myers, and Kevin Nealon. I always thought that particular SNL cast was every bit as good as the legendary first cast (Aykroyd, Belushi, Chase et al). And Jan Hooks helped make it so.


On the Christmas show in 1987, Hooks and Hartman filmed a musical clip called “Love Is A Dream.” I can’t imbed the clip in this blog post, so I have pointed toward the site where you can find it. It got to me every time I saw it, and I’m glad I can post it here in some form. As Rob Harvilla wrote, “They don’t make anything—or anyone—like this anymore.”

Image from ivstatic.com

And of course, she and Nora Dunn were The Sweeney Sisters.

Image from Yahoo

Image from bookstevechannel.blogspot.com

Jan left SNL when she was offered a role on the sitcom “Designing Women.” She appeared on several other shows, and voiced a few cartoon characters.

Rest in peace, funny lady. Thanks for all the laughs.

Unbelievably sad to note the passing of Robin Williams.

Image from giantbomb.com

Apparent suicide. What a loss. There will never be another like him.

My favorite thing he ever did.

Sad to note the passing of James Garner.

James Garner

Image from cartooncave.blogspot.com

One of my favorite actors, and an all-around decent guy to boot.

Safe travels, sir.

Sad to note the passing of Phil Everly.

Phil, left, and Don, right. Image from Wikipedia.

Died today in California at age 74.

Phil and his older brother Don were among the first group of  inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Their style, based on traditional southern close-harmony singing, influenced millions.

Phil usually, but not always, took the tenor part of the two-part harmonies with Don on the baritone. They’d swap roles with ease, though. What’s always impressed me about Everly songs is that both Phil and Don’s parts can stand alone as their own melodies.

This is my favorite song by the brothers.

Click here for more.

How I Spent My Memorial Day Weekend (or part of it).

IMG_20130524_172000_042My parents’ home is in east central Minnesota, about 120 miles due north of Minneapolis. The home is on a small lake, about ten miles away from a town of around 400 people. This is the town Dad and Mom grew up in, and became high-school sweethearts there.

About a half-mile from the lake home is a Presbyterian church with a small cemetery. Dad rests there, and so do my paternal grandparents.

For several years now I spend the Friday of Memorial Day weekend setting out flags for the veterans in that cemetery.

My dad was a Korean War-era vet, a Navy man. Dad was quietly but fiercely proud of his service. He was active with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and eventually rose to the rank of Chaplain in his local post. This never failed to amuse the rest of the family, because Dad swore like.. well.. like a sailor. Go figure.IMG_20130524_172104_733

As part of his duties as chaplain, and because it was the right thing to do, Dad took responsibility for setting out US flags for Memorial Day on the grave sites of the veterans at rest in that cemetery. Some of these grave sites date back to the Civil War. For many years I would take that Friday off from work, drive up to the lake, and he and I would spend our day honoring the vets. It was important to Dad that somebody cared.

Growing up in this town, Dad knew a great many of the veterans and their families. And Dad was a great story-teller. We’d take several breaks and he would regale me with tale after tale of the exploits of the people he grew up with.

The cemetery was bigger than it looked. It made for a long day. Lots of walking. Lots of breaks. And when the day was done, naturally there’d be burgers and beer and more stories at one of the local roadhouses.IMG_20130524_172143_000

For the past few Memorial Days I’ve taken this up without Dad there. A few years back, health concerns caused Dad and Mom to stay longer into the spring at their “snowbird” home in Kentucky. And Dad passed away the January before last. I missed him on Friday: I wished we could have stopped awhile for a story about his high-school pals and an ice-cold Grain Belt.

The headstone marker was installed on Dad’s grave just this past week. I didn’t realize how long it takes for one of those to be made. But it looks good. Dad and Mom had decided to put “Parents Of..” and the names of all six of us “kids” at the bottom of the marker, something I’d never seen before. Kinship.

IMG_20130524_172329_782I’m proud that I am his son, and that I could do my small part to honor him and the other vets in this small community. There’s something stirring in looking at the expanse of grave markers, and at a sea of American flags. I realize it’s not a lot to give up, one day of a three-day holiday weekend. But whether or not the other grave sites have visitors this Memorial Day, it will show that someone cared.

Do what you can this Memorial Day to honor those who went before us. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It will be enough.

Sad to note the passing of George Jones.

One of my dad’s favorites. Dad would do his songs as “set pieces” at jam sessions. Even as a snotty-nosed rock’n’roll teenager, I knew George Jones was a talent worthy of respect.

We sang this one as the recessional at Dad’s funeral last year:

An appropriate question today:

Sad to note the passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Image from CBC.ca

I think everyone in Canada can sing at least one of his songs. From CTV:

Canadian country legend Stompin’ Tom Connors, whose rousing songs of Canadian life covered everything from Sudbury nickel miners to P.E.I. potato farmers, has died at the age of 77.

One story has it that in 1964, at the age of 28, Connors found himself at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ont., short five cents for a beer. He made up the difference by playing a few songs, and that turned into a 14-month contract.

He was known as “Stompin’ Tom” for tapping his boot on a wooden board in rhythm to his playing, and was rarely seen in public without his signature black cowboy hat.

Connors made a point of writing songs about Canadians, and as a result his music transformed him into a cultural icon. Some of his songs have become closer to national anthems, most notably “The Hockey Song.”

If Gordon Lightfoot is Canada’s Johnny Cash, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Stompin’ Tom is Canada’s Merle Haggard.

I wouldn’t be true to Name-Brand Ketchup without featuring Stompin’ Tom’s “The Ketchup Song.”

My dad passed away a year ago today.

billjuddy2I posted about him here and here.

There hasn’t been a single day in the past year that I haven’t wanted to talk with him.

He is the best man I have ever known, or ever will know. If you knew him, you would say the same. I am proud to be his son.

Now has come the departing time
And here you must no longer stay;
But there is no comrade of thine
That will desire you were away.

Of all good times that e’er were shared
You leave us happy memory;
And for all the friendships that e’er you had
They fondly will remember thee.

I raise to thee the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befalls
Then gently rise and softly call,
“Good night, an’ joy be to you all.”