Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Springsteen Set list analysis - Late Summer 2016.

Tonight oldest Son and I are off to see Bruce. Again. For the second time this year.

We saw an excellent but very predictable "River" set in February. Bashing into a 30 something set with 20 songs leaves very little room for improvisation. Add into that the songs that are standards (Your Born to Run, Rosalita, Thunder Road) and he only changed up maybe 5-6 songs a night on the first leg of the US indoor tour back in winter.

This time is different.

After playing nearly 4 hours in the first two Meadowlands sets and seemingly mixing things up, he went completely off the reservation on the third night, playing no song past the 70's until the 13th song, Atlantic City (and that was from 1982!). Then he turned around and did nearly the same thing in DC. Tonight should be an interesting show.

Some facts about the 6 outdoor sets played in the US so far:

82 Different songs have been played.

Only 9 songs made every set:

Badlands
Because the Night
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
Hungry Heart
Out in the Street
Shout
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out
The Rising

35 Songs were only played once.

Here is a quick analysis of songs so far:


By Times Played:
 
Song Times Played % of Shows
Badlands 6 100%
Because the Night 6 100%
Born to Run 6 100%
Dancing in the Dark 6 100%
Hungry Heart 6 100%
Out in the Street 6 100%
Shout 6 100%
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out 6 100%
The Rising 6 100%
American Skin (41 Shots) 5 83%
New York City Serenade (with strings) 5 83%
Rosalita 5 83%
Spirit in the Night 5 83%
The Promised Land 5 83%
Sherry Darling 4 67%
She's the One 4 67%
Backstreets 3 50%
Bobby Jean 3 50%
Candy's Room 3 50%
Darlington County 3 50%
Death to My Hometown 3 50%
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? 3 50%
Growin' Up 3 50%
Incident on 57th Street 3 50%
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City 3 50%
Jack of All Trades (with strings) 3 50%
Jersey Girl 3 50%
Jungleland 3 50%
Kitty's Back 3 50%
Lost in the Flood 3 50%
Working on the Highway 3 50%
Cadillac Ranch 2 33%
Downbound Train 2 33%
I'm a Rocker 2 33%
I'm on Fire 2 33%
Land of Hope and Dreams 2 33%
Mary's Place 2 33%
Night 2 33%
No Surrender 2 33%
Prove It All Night 2 33%
Secret Garden 2 33%
Summertime Blues 2 33%
The River 2 33%
The Ties That Bind 2 33%
Thunder Road 2 33%
Waitin' on a Sunny Day 2 33%
Wrecking Ball 2 33%
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) 1 17%
Atlantic City 1 17%
Better Days 1 17%
Blinded by the Light 1 17%
Brilliant Disguise 1 17%
Darkness on the Edge of Town 1 17%
Factory 1 17%
For You (solo piano) 1 17%
Glory Days 1 17%
I'm Goin' Down 1 17%
Independence Day 1 17%
Living Proof 1 17%
Mansion on the Hill 1 17%
Murder Incorporated 1 17%
My City of Ruins 1 17%
My Hometown 1 17%
My Love Will Not Let You Down 1 17%
None But the Brave 1 17%
Pink Cadillac 1 17%
Pretty Flamingo 1 17%
Racing in the Street 1 17%
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 1 17%
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town 1 17%
Save My Love 1 17%
Seven Nights to Rock 1 17%
Something in the Night 1 17%
The E Street Shuffle 1 17%
The Ghost of Tom Joad 1 17%
This Hard Land (solo acoustic) 1 17%
Tougher Than the Rest 1 17%
Trapped 1 17%
Twist and Shout 1 17%
Two Hearts 1 17%
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) 1 17%
Youngstown 1 17%


Alphabetically.


Song Times Played % of Shows
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) 1 17%
American Skin (41 Shots) 5 83%
Atlantic City 1 17%
Backstreets 3 50%
Badlands 6 100%
Because the Night 6 100%
Better Days 1 17%
Blinded by the Light 1 17%
Bobby Jean 3 50%
Born to Run 6 100%
Brilliant Disguise 1 17%
Cadillac Ranch 2 33%
Candy's Room 3 50%
Dancing in the Dark 6 100%
Darkness on the Edge of Town 1 17%
Darlington County 3 50%
Death to My Hometown 3 50%
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? 3 50%
Downbound Train 2 33%
Factory 1 17%
For You (solo piano) 1 17%
Glory Days 1 17%
Growin' Up 3 50%
Hungry Heart 6 100%
I'm a Rocker 2 33%
I'm Goin' Down 1 17%
I'm on Fire 2 33%
Incident on 57th Street 3 50%
Independence Day 1 17%
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City 3 50%
Jack of All Trades (with strings) 3 50%
Jersey Girl 3 50%
Jungleland 3 50%
Kitty's Back 3 50%
Land of Hope and Dreams 2 33%
Living Proof 1 17%
Lost in the Flood 3 50%
Mansion on the Hill 1 17%
Mary's Place 2 33%
Murder Incorporated 1 17%
My City of Ruins 1 17%
My Hometown 1 17%
My Love Will Not Let You Down 1 17%
New York City Serenade (with strings) 5 83%
Night 2 33%
No Surrender 2 33%
None But the Brave 1 17%
Out in the Street 6 100%
Pink Cadillac 1 17%
Pretty Flamingo 1 17%
Prove It All Night 2 33%
Racing in the Street 1 17%
Rosalita 5 83%
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 1 17%
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town 1 17%
Save My Love 1 17%
Secret Garden 2 33%
Seven Nights to Rock 1 17%
Sherry Darling 4 67%
She's the One 4 67%
Shout 6 100%
Something in the Night 1 17%
Spirit in the Night 5 83%
Summertime Blues 2 33%
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out 6 100%
The E Street Shuffle 1 17%
The Ghost of Tom Joad 1 17%
The Promised Land 5 83%
The Rising 6 100%
The River 2 33%
The Ties That Bind 2 33%
This Hard Land (solo acoustic) 1 17%
Thunder Road 2 33%
Tougher Than the Rest 1 17%
Trapped 1 17%
Twist and Shout 1 17%
Two Hearts 1 17%
Waitin' on a Sunny Day 2 33%
Working on the Highway 3 50%
Wrecking Ball 2 33%
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) 1 17%
Youngstown 1 17%


Monday, August 01, 2016

Oldest Son

Twenty-Six years ago today, Oldest son was born. Here is what I recall from the day.

We had been married almost ten months and were living in Holland, Pa which was far from everywhere. I had been working at Telesciences in Moorsetown, NJ and was 2 1/2 years into a 10 year stint. At the beginning of the summer I was put on a new project at work called CBU and CBU was shaping up to be a disaster. There were 4 of us on CBU and none of us were UNIX programmers. We used UNIX for our day to day tasks so we were familiar with it but none of us had written UNIX programs . Of course CBU was UNIX. Well SCO UNIX on PCs but that's a story for a different day. It seemed simple enough - take an established product running on high end HP UNIX machines and make it fit on 486 HP PC Towers.

I made a cartoon about it.



When the four of us sat down together for the first time we all said the same thing - "I thought you were the UNIX guy".  What we lacked in experience we made up in late nights until a software release at the end of the year. All I recall is dreading every evening at 7 PM in the office when the cleaning staff would come around with the vacuums.

We were working around the clock and I was exhausted.

The Chancellor's due date was 31 July which came and went like the many days before it with me sleeping next to the Chancellor in the heat of summer. They say a pregnant woman "glows" and well the Chancellor glowed too - like a furnace. It was like sleeping next to furnace.

Early in the morning of the 1st of August I awoke to find the Chancellor missing from bed and her marching around the condominium doing breathing exercises. It was still early and I was still trying to get some sleep when I heard "ught ohh - somethings happening somethings happening something happening" (Note: The Chancellor recalls this differently: She woke up to "somethings happening somethings happening something happening")

Her water broke.

There would be no going back now and CBU would have to wait.  Thankfully.

We started to get ready to get things moved over to the hospital for the main event. Packing, phone calls, etc when the rush to the hospital hit a snag.

We were young and broke and really didn't splurge on much but one thing we (and when I say we, I mean she) did buy the was a bit expensive, was a comforter set from the Spiegel's catalogue.  It was sheets, pillow cases, something called throw pillows and cylindrical fancy continental pillow with lots of frills.

The Chancellor wanted to bring the continental pillow with the frills and I was imagining the pillow after a medieval birthing process, blood stained and a worthless mess that we would end up throwing out rather than keep. I said no way. She said she wanted to take it.

It was a stand off. We "discussed it" a bit until she finally gave in. There would be no pillow.

Once admitted and in the maternity ward, we found that our Dr. had three women in labor at the same time and was feeding all of them the labor-inducing Pitocin. It was like a horse race. The Chancellor would be in the lead and headed to the stretch, then she would slow down. One of the other ladies would take the lead and so it went all morning.

She didn't care, she just wanted an epidural. 

The Chancellor was having difficulty with her vision and thought everything was too bright. She wanted sunglasses and the only thing we had were a colorful and cheap pair of drug store glasses I had that were too big for her.

She wore them anyway.

And that's how the anesthesiologist found her. Sunglasses. In bed.

He came in and asked a few simple questions including "Have you ever experienced numbness?"

For future reference, if you want an epidural, do not answer yes. The anesthesiologist left and said that he couldn't give an epidural in that case.

So there it was, no epidural.  No drugs.

The horse race continued into the afternoon until finally at around 6 we had a healthy baby boy. I'll spare you the medieval details but I will tell you he was 8lbs 2 ounce on 8-1.

I went out to the visitor's area and both my parents and the Chancellor's parents were there. I don't even think I said hello - just "It's a boy". That is were I really felt it. Seeing their faces light up. Technically he was my parents third grandson but first for the Chancellor's parents. I recall they were shocked at how little time labor was - of course they had just got there so for them it was short. For me, it had been a long day and even longer day for the Chancellor.

We hung out for a bit, grabbed a quick dinner somewhere close and then I went home.

I recall feeling holy. Separated out and close to God for some reason as I sat and home alone and tried to unwind before bed.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Buderus Logicmatic 2107 external hour meter using Raspberry Pi

When home heating oil reached close to $5 a gallon here in Southern New Jersey, I was on a mission to reduce consumption as much as possible without causing The Chancellor to bundle up like a hooded monk.

To accomplish that, the first step was to accurately be able to determine daily oil consumption, something nearly impossible to do with the crude hour meter on my Buderus Logicmatic 2107 boiler controller. 


I needed a digital hour meter that would record oil burner usage to an electronic file that could then be analyzed to determine usage. 

Step 1 - build an hour meter. 

I had been playing with the Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized computer that runs a Linux variant and thought this was the best approach for me. 

After some research with the Buderus unit I found two terminals that were designed to run an external hour meter that energized a 120 VAC line when the burner was turned on. 

Here I've attached the external power line on terminals 8 & 4


I figured that having the Pi sense 120 VAC sounded like a dangerous and unnecessary proposition, I connected the 120 V line to an old 12 VDC AC to DC brick and now had drive a DC relay to apply a ground to the PiFace logical line that represented when the burner was on. 

Rather than tie directly to the GPIO interface on the Pi I had purchased a PiFace relay board which was designed to accept such inputs and can be accessed programmatically with python. 

And the python code (which must also do a similar function for the garage)
:
#!/usr/bin/python3
#   FILE NAME
#       /usr/local/bin/HouseMeters.py
#
#   FILE CREATION
#       March. 22, 2014 by Mike Falciani.
#
#   FILE REVISION
#       %W% %E% Copyright 2014 amflabs.
#
# A script to record garage and oil burner usage to a file.
#
#
import argparse
import readline
import pifacedigitalio
#from daemonize import Daemonize
#pid="/tmp/test.pid"

#
# Sense when the garage has been opened and closed.
#
def GarageFunction(GarageMagSwitch):
        import time
        global Garagekeepme
        global debug
        global pifacedigital
        global GaragePin
        if GarageMagSwitch.direction == 0:
# Garage was opened
                if pifacedigital.input_pins[GaragePin].value:
                        Garagekeepme = GarageMagSwitch.timestamp
                        pifacedigital.leds[GaragePin].turn_on()
                        outstr = "Opened,%.2f,%s,-1\n" % (GarageMagSwitch.timestamp,time.asctime(time.localtime(GarageMagSwitch.timestamp)))
                        GarageHours.write(outstr)
                        GarageHours.flush()
                        if debug:
                                outstr = "Garage Opened %s " % (time.asctime(time.localtime(GarageMagSwitch.timestamp)))
                                print (outstr)
                else:
                        if debug:
                                print ("False Postive Hairtrigger")
# Garage was closed
        elif GarageMagSwitch.direction == 1 and Garagekeepme:
                pifacedigital.leds[GaragePin].turn_off()
                duration = GarageMagSwitch.timestamp - Garagekeepme
                outstr = "Closed,%.2f,%s,%.2f\n" % (GarageMagSwitch.timestamp,time.asctime(time.localtime(GarageMagSwitch.timestamp)),duration)
                GarageHours.write(outstr)
                GarageHours.flush()
#               outstr = str(out)
                if debug:
                        outstr = "Garage Started %s,Ended %s,\n\tDuration %.2f Sec" % (time.asctime(time.localtime(Garagekeepme)),time.asctime(time.localtime(GarageMagSwitch.timestamp)),duration)
                        print (outstr)
#
# Sense when the oil burner comes on and off.
#

def OilFunction(Oil):
        import time
        global Oilkeepme
        global debug
        global pifacedigital
        global hours
        global OilPin
        if Oil.direction == 0:
# Oil burner ON
                Oilkeepme = Oil.timestamp
                pifacedigital.leds[OilPin].turn_on()
                if debug:
                        outstr = "Oil Started %s " % (time.asctime(time.localtime(Oilkeepme)))
                        print (outstr)
        elif Oil.direction == 1 and Oilkeepme:
                pifacedigital.leds[OilPin].turn_off()
                duration = Oil.timestamp - Oilkeepme
                hours += duration/(60*60)
                outstr = "%.2f,%.2f,%.2f,%.2f\n" % (Oilkeepme,Oil.timestamp,duration,hours)
                OilHours.write(outstr)
                OilHours.flush()
#               outstr = str(out)
                if debug:
                        outstr = "Oil Started %s,Ended %s,\n\tDuration %.2f Sec, Hours=%.2f" % (time.asctime(time.localtime(Oilkeepme)),time.asctime(time.localtime(Oil.timestamp)),duration,hours)
                        print (outstr)
# interrupt_flag:    0b10000000
# interrupt_capture: 0b11111111
# OilPin_num:           7
# direction:         1
# chip:              
# timestamp:         1393882878.562755
#
#
#
# Main loop
# Sense when Opened, write to repective files.
#
#def main_loop():
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument('-d',dest='debug',default=0,help='Debugging On')
args = parser.parse_args()

debug=args.debug

OilPin=2
GaragePin=3

OilHours = open('/charmander/home/mfalcian/data/OilBurnerHours.csv','br+')
OilHours.seek(-60,2) # go to middle of next to last line
last=OilHours.readline() # read partial line
last=OilHours.readline() # read last line as byetstr
OilHours.close() # close binary mode
OilHours = open('/charmander/home/mfalcian/data/OilBurnerHours.csv','r+')
OilHours.seek(0,2) # go to end of file

bhours=last.split(b',')
hours=float(bhours[3])
Oilkeepme=0
Garagekeepme=0
if debug:
        print('Oil last line',last)
        print(hours)
        print('Debug turned on to level ',debug)
#
GarageHours = open('/charmander/home/mfalcian/data/GarageBurnerHours.csv','r+')
GarageHours.seek(0,2) # go to end of file
#
#
pifacedigital = pifacedigitalio.PiFaceDigital()
pifacedigital.leds[OilPin].turn_off()
pifacedigital.leds[GaragePin].turn_off()
listener = pifacedigitalio.InputEventListener(chip=pifacedigital)
listener.register(OilPin, pifacedigitalio.IODIR_RISING_EDGE, OilFunction)
listener.register(OilPin, pifacedigitalio.IODIR_FALLING_EDGE, OilFunction)

listener.register(GaragePin, pifacedigitalio.IODIR_RISING_EDGE, GarageFunction)
listener.register(GaragePin, pifacedigitalio.IODIR_FALLING_EDGE, GarageFunction)
listener.activate()
# Main
#daemon = Daemonize(app="HouseMeters", pid=pid, action=main_loop)
#daemon.start()
#main_loop()


And the resulting log with Start Time (epoch time), End time, Duration and current Oil burner hours after burn. 
1393973497,1393973732,234.88,4937.065244
1393973957,1393974468,510.89,4937.207158
1393974781,1393975176,394.89,4937.31685
1393975513,1393976020,506.9,4937.457656
1393976475,1393977114,638.9,4937.635128
1393977673,1393978020,346.9,4937.731489
1393978345,1393978914,568.89,4937.889514


I'm growing older but not up

Ah it's springtime once again in Mt La-La and that means me lying flat on my back and closely examining the living room ceiling paint job for 35 hours.

I once again experienced painful back spasms that took me out for days but this time I ended up in the Hospital.

The short version is After a day and half on the floor we called and Ambulance and I went to the hospital and was back home Saturday night.

The long version:
I was having some difficulty with my back - but minor. I'd say it was a week and half of steady lower back  pain.

As was my habit,  I walked two miles in my neighborhood on Tuesday, , came home took a shower and began to get dressed. It was about here that I should have sat down to dress myself but bent over instead.

Bang! my lower back lit up like a Christmas tree and I was stuck there half dressed hanging onto the furniture, half naked, unsteady on my feet.

With The Chancellor's help I was able to complete dressing and make a lap or two around the bedroom. (Luckily the bedroom is quite large)  - then I needed to sit. And sit I did, for most of the day in my office in the chair. I got up once once in awhile but I had all my meals there.

And if you know the Chancellor, there is nothing she enjoys more than waiting on me hand and foot bringing me unhealthy food and snacks.

That night I was able to make it downstairs and so we sat in the matching recliners watching Anderson Cooper's documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt - That's  right, Anderson Cooper's mom in THE Gloria Vanderbilt. Who knew?

Anyway, all was going well unto I tried to get up. try as I might there was nothing I could do to get upright as God intended. The pain of each attempt was nearly unbearable and forced me first to my knees and then down to the ground. And that's where I lay for the next 35 hours on the dusty livingroom floor binge watching "The Americans" on Amazon Prime, peeing in a jar and eating meals sideways. At least this time, I didn't have to fight the dog for a hamburger like the Hoff. In retrospect, The Americans was probably a bad choice considering that a certain scene frightened me so much I flinched and had a massive back spasm.

On Wednesday two of the neighbor ladies stopped by to see the Chancellor while I lay glued to the floor. It was like a little party, except I lay prone looking up at people. I spent the time being interrogated.

What are you doing there?
Does it hurt?
Do you want help getting up?
Do you want some of my medicine the Dr gave me in 2008 for a totally unrelated incident?

Actually, I did take the Naproxen from my neighbor. Well, take is the wrong word and slipped in by my spouse is more accurate. It was all a  little surreal.

By Thursday, still pinned by pain, I called "no mas" and figured I needed help.

The Chancellor called 911. It's embarrassing and expensive (we'll see exactly how much) and into home came the man and woman team from my local ambulance corps. (side note: I've noticed that today all EMT teams are a man and a woman).

After some questions (What are you doing there? Does it hurt? Do you want help getting up? Do you want some of my medicine the Dr gave me in 2008 for a totally unrelated incident?) they were able to get me onto a "Reeve's Sleeve" stretcher and began lifting me.

This did not go well. The flexibility of the Reeve's sleeve bent my back in such a way that it spasmed the entire 15 steps to the front door and that's where they put me down, half in and half out the front door. They called the local Fire Dept for backup.

10 minutes later,  there is an Ambulance AND some sort of Fire equipment in front of my house. I don't what equipment since all I can see is straight up at my hallway ceiling.

The team of people now got me onto the regular Ambulance gurney and into the Ambulance.

And so began my first ever Ambulance ride.

So many memories. The harsh ride of the Ambulance. The view as I was pushed into the hospital with the word "Emergency Room" on the side of the building as we entered the Hospital. Hanging out in the demarcation between the EMTs and the Hospital where they all hang out and, drink coffee and discuss their day. The EMT's tale of how she struck her head when she was 14 diving into a pool.

Finally, I was admitted to the ER where I was pushed into the hallway adjacent to the multi-sex, single-toilet bathroom.
For the next 9 hours I now had a job - reassuring people that the bathroom was indeed empty and they were free to enter.
I was able to complete my "assignment" only when I wasn't passed out from the Valium injection.

By 9:30 that night I was admitted to a double room and pumped full of drugs.

I get the the best room mates in the Hospital. Unable to get up and tiring of watching "The Americans", I had only his sad story to entertain me.

He was older than I and at first I thought he was admitted for a stroke but then the staff starting asking him other crazy questions.

When did you last have a drink?
Are you shaking?
How is your hand where the dog bit you?

Dog bite?

It turns out his story can not be made up:
He was in his yard when the neighbors dog approached him and sort of bit him on the hand. I say sort of because he didn't break the skin. Not sure if anything was wrong , he drove himself to the hospital ER. When examined he showed signs of a stroke within the last 2 hours and the ER has a very strict stroke protocol which includes admission.

Once admitted, he was cut off from his usual intake of alcohol and began to go through withdrawal.

Like I said, it can't be made up.

Clearly God is trying to get the man's attention.

I laid there for 48 hours, still unable to move until Saturday when PT came and a miracle occurred. I was able to stand and walk. I headed for the door and did not look back.

Once home and off drugs, I accounted the number of times this has happened to me recently and determined it's time for a change. It's time to lose weight. Again. It's time to build up my core.

So it's off to the next adventure - losing weight without speed, eating sunflower seeds.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Springsteen Setlist Analysis

Here is the % of setlists a particular songs has appeared on so far for the River 2016 Tour


Songs  % of setlist
Atlantic City 13%
Backstreets 25%
Badlands 63%
Be True 13%
Because the Night 63%
Bobby Jean 25%
Born to Run 100%
Brilliant Disguise 38%
Cadillac Ranch 100%
Candy's Room 38%
Cover Me 13%
Crush On You 100%
Dancing in the Dark 100%
Darlington County 13%
Detroit Medley 13%
Drive All Night 100%
Fade Away 100%
Human Touch 38%
Hungry Heart 100%
I Wanna Marry You 100%
I'm a Rocker 100%
Independence Day 100%
Jackson Cage 100%
Lonesome Day 13%
Meet Me in the City 100%
Night 13%
No Surrender 25%
Out in the Street 100%
Point Blank 100%
Prove It All Night 25%
Ramrod 100%
Rebel Rebel 13%
Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) 100%
Roulette 13%
Sherry Darling 100%
She's the One 50%
Shout 100%
Stolen Car 100%
Take It Easy 13%
The Price You Pay 100%
The Promised Land 25%
The Rising 100%
The River 100%
The Ties That Bind 100%
Thunder Road 100%
Tougher Than the Rest 13%
Two Hearts 100%
Working on the Highway 13%
Wreck on the Highway 100%
Wrecking Ball 63%
You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) 100%

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bowie Memories.

My first David Bowie Memory is from Jr High School. A group of older kids, mostly girls from High School were hanging out at the Kindergarten Alcoves at Loomis school one Saturday afternoon. I remember I had on my jean jacket with all the cool patches on it: The zig-zag man, a "Cocaine" patch fashioned like a Coca-Cola Ad, etc.

The discussion turned to Bowie and how he was now "a girl". Which I simply found confusing. I didn't really know Bowie. I'm sure I had heard his music but it didn't stick out - yet.

Second Bowie Memory was later in Sr High as a freshman. Mike DeSanto was telling us how "this Bowie song had Wham-Bam-Thank-You-maam" in it. Then we heard it in school. I'm not sure how we heard it but we were in class room and we stood silently, listening, straining to hear the magic line which as I'm sure you are aware today, comes at the end. What seemed like hours passed and then we were giggling like the Teen Aged  boys we were at the time.


Third is the Glass Spider tour in '87, Veterans Stadium, Philly.

Four of us had a house in Sea Isle City for the summer and up the street was an analogous house of girls who had tickets for the Philly shows. The girls invited some of us to drive up from the shore to the Vet to see the show - no big deal.

After the show we were walking back the car and were at the corner of Broad and Pattison and we were waiting there for some reason.

There was a clearly super-intoxicated man stumbling west on Pattison and headed east was group of Bro's from NE Philly clearly up for anything.

You could tell they were going to intersect and something was going to happen.

Look left- Bros. Look Right - drunk guy. left Bros. Right drunk

The two met nearly right in front of us and one of the Bros reached back and sucker-punched the west-bound traveler who collapsed like a cheap card table. The Bros laughed and moved on.

I remember how the drunk guy's head sort of bounced off the concrete and back down.

He laid there for a  few minutes and we were sort of standing around uncomfortably deciding if we should help him when a Philly cop came up and approached the still unconscious man.

I know I was thinking "OK good, now the guy can get some help".

The cop bent slightly over, took out his night stick and poked the guy in the side saying "Hey buddy, you OK?" - just like they taught him at the academy. Twice.

Eventually, the guy woke, got up and ran behind some bushes at the Broad Street line station and puked. We never saw him again.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Mummer's '59

My father was a terrible photographer - especially with outdoor photography. This was largely due to the rudimentary technology available in 1959 using his post war era Agfa Silette Pronto but as the recipient of a large number of blurry Kodachrome slides, I can attest that he did not understand "depth of field".  Indoor photography of that age was much more forgiving with safety flash bulbs - a generation removed from Mathew Brady era flash bars - but outdoors it was a wild set of assumptions about shutter speed, F-stop and range.

There were two sets of outdoor photos that stood out as some-what-acceptable:

1. A set of photos taken of my Aunt's '61 DeSoto after it had been the victim of a hit and run on Morris Street in South Philly, taken presumably for insurance purposes.

2. The 1959 Mummer's Parade.

Let's focus on the '59 parade.

I've had the slides for years but after this year's parade decided to rescan them at a higher resolution and research what bands were which. My Dad always said "that was the year South Philly won with the African Theme." but beyond that I had no idea which were which,

First I needed some historical resources and I found this, what appears to be 8mm home movies of the same parade.



This movie helped place most of the bands since it has many of the lead vehicles with band name banners.

From Newspapers.com I found out that the parade had been started and cancelled on New Year's Day because of weather. The Comics and Fancies marched on New Years but by time the string bands were due, the parade was cancelled and delayed to the following Saturday, the 3rd.
Found on Newspapers.com

I found this record of the order of march in '59
Marched  Place Band Theme
1 5 Fralinger Toyland
2 20 Broomall Tournament of Roses
3 2 Polish American Melodies of the Season
4 18 Quaker City When Hearts are Young
5 4 Ferko Carnival of Venice
6 19 Avalon Welcome Alaska
7 16 Woodland Easter Parade
8 7 Greater Kensington The King and I
9 6 Aqua Gypsy Baron
10 11 Uptown Puppets on Parade
11 14 Durning An Orchid to You
12 17 Trilby Honor Guard of the Mummers Hall of Fame
13 10 Hegeman Cavalcade of States
14 1 South Philadelphia African Fantasy
15 8 Greater Overbrook American Jubilee
16 12 Duffy Serenade of the Stars
17 21.(DQ) Ukranian American Prisoner of Love
18 9 Harrowgate The Prince of India
19 15 Palmyra Serenade of the Bells
20 3 Greater Bucks The Great White Way
21 13 Garden State The Cobra and the Charmer

I also found this photo of the presumably 1959 Polish American String Band here.


And using the movie above I found the 5th band to march in Dad's photos was Ferko String Band with a theme of Carnival of Venice. Yes, it just makes you want to shout Shutter Speed! but it's bright and clear.

1959-Mummers-String-Bands-004

This was the 4th picture of nine and helped identify the remaining.

Since I couldn't find the Polish American String Band among Dad's photos, I just assumed he skipped it and I also assumed that the slide number determined the proper sequence. That meant the following:

The first slide was the Fralinger String Band and "Toyland"
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-001

The second slide was the Broomall String Band and Tournament of Roses.
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-002


And third was Quaker City and When Hearts were Young.
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-003

That leaves Avalon String Band and it's 1959 appropriate "Welcome Alaska" theme:
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-005

Hegeman and "Cavalcade of States":
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-006

Next are two shots of the prize winner of '59, South Philadelphia and "African Fantasy"
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-007
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-0091959-Mummers-String-Bands-00

and finally, Overbrook and "American Jubilee"
1959-Mummers-String-Bands-0091959-Mummers-String-Bands-009