So, life has been rather different these last couple of weeks as I, along with so many other college educators, have been forced to completely revamp the structure and delivery of our courses. I don’t mean to whine, but at times it’s been overwhelming and plenty stressful (and I know that holds for many of my students). I suspect this will remain the case for the duration of the semester. Efficiency has plummeted, and I still spend much too high a percentage of the day checking on the latest developments in the spread of and fight against COVID-19. My friend Warren, who teaches English at a small college in South Carolina, and I compared our respective situations messaging on FB over the weekend. He’s feeling relatively Zen about matters, seemingly recognizing what he can and can’t control. I am nowhere near there yet; while I’m not exactly waking with anxiety in the middle of the night, worries aren’t held at bay easily or often, either (it probably doesn’t help that I have a bit of a hypochondriacal streak). I’m sufficiently introverted that staying cooped up at home for days at a time hasn’t bothered me much. Yet.
My guess is that dealing with classes will make it harder to break away to write, at least for the next little bit. I’m hoping it will do me good to indulge occasionally, even if I’m not sure I can completely afford it.
Last weekend’s 1977 and 1984 AT40 rebroadcasts were both thorough delights; I even listened to the former twice, on two different upstate NY stations. The national commercials, particularly those for Purple Mattress, felt largely disconnected from current reality (ads for online degrees from Arizona State University were an exception of sorts). The local spots and news break-ins, though, reflected well what’s going on in the Empire State, including one from, coincidentally enough, a regional mattress firm. They were pitching a variety of deal sweeteners to entice folks to scurry in and make a purchase before the close of business on Sunday (after which stores would be shuttered for an indefinite period). Crafty–and nimble–salesmanship, I thought. I wonder if it convinced anyone to drop by.
Leading off the 1977 show was the second and final Top 40 appearance for porn actress-turned-singer Andrea True (Casey called her a solo female act on this show, ignoring her Connection). Like the recently-blogged “Dreamin’ Is Easy,” this was a 45 I picked up in the late 80s. It doesn’t groove me nearly the way that “More, More, More” did a year earlier, but that’s okay.
(Rambling stream-of-consciousness aside: “More, More, More” was one of the first three singles I ever bought, in June of 1976. Got it at Sears not long after they moved to Florence, one of four anchor stores for a mall that opened a few months later. There’s a water tower adjacent to the mall that was originally painted with the words “FLORENCE MALL.” It was soon determined that advertising a commercial enterprise in a such a manner was legally dubious, at best; my uncle, C. M. “Hop” Ewing, mayor of Florence at the time, devised a brilliant branding solution: transform the M to a Y’.
There’s a major interstate that runs right past the tower and mall. This is still a significant local landmark after almost 45 years. And by the way, his daughter, my cousin Diane, is now mayor of Florence.)
“N.Y., You Got Me Dancing” reached #27 a month after debuting. Not trying to be glib, but I’m so sorry it’s going to be a good while before N.Y. gets dancing again.