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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st and 15th of each month and six days later, on the 7th and 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of DOG BITE High Gravity Lager (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

BOTB RESULTS: 2018, AUG. 15 (Or, MARK McCAIN VS. LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE)

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STMcC’s Vote On '2018, August 15th: Battle Of The Bands (BOTB)' (Or, 'Johnny Crawford Versus Aileen Quinn') And The Final Tally:
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HOOT GIBSON! This was an excellent BOTB contest which far exceeded my expectations. The song was 'LONESOME TOWN' and the competitors were two former child actors -- Johnny Crawford (Mark McCain from 'The Rifleman') and Aileen Quinn (Little Orphan Annie from the movie musical 'Annie'). The Battle can be found HERE.
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I'll be honest -- before this Battle went live and open for voting, I believed that Aileen was going to take it pretty badly on the chin. I was thinking: [link> "Come on, Aileen!" But secretly, I was fearful of a blowout. Boy, was I ever wrong. And, but doggone, it can sometimes be hard to predict these BOTB outcomes even after 5 years of hosting them!
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The contest started the way I feared it would go: The first 4 votes all went to the little cowboy, Johnny Crawford, and I was thinking: Yip! Here it comes. Over as soon as it started. But then the next 5 votes all went to Aileen, and she took the lead. (It can be fascinating to chart the voting patterns that develop in these BOTB installments!)
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After 3 more votes rolled in, the Battle was tied 6-6. It wasn't until the very last day of voting, when Johnny Crawford scored 5 unanswered votes, that the coffin lid was finally hammered shut. Plainly, the contest was much, much closer than the final score would seem to indicate:
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Johnny Crawford = His votes went "up to 11"
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Aileen Quinn = 6 votes
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I liked BOTH versions of the song. And I appreciated the sparse musical arrangement of Aileen's recording, which enhanced the "lonesome" feeling of her 'Lonesome Town'. But -- with apologies to Lelly, whose guitar playing was indeed "spot-on" (as Calamity Kat said) -- I also had to side with Johnny Crawford's rendition. All those weeping strings and his surprisingly good vocal control leave me thinking that he might actually be able to give even Ricky Nelson a run for his money on this song.
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It was a very nice voter turnout (I sincerely thank all y'all for that!), and as is usually the case, I had a lot of fun in the comment section! I love the banter -- the clever and creative back 'n' forth -- that takes place in my BOTB comment sections. Over the years, I have often said that I think I have the best commenters in Blogland. I may have a meager following, but those folks who read and interact with me are truly A-list & E-Ticket commenters. They know how to ramp up the stream o' consciousness badinage.
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Someday, I'd like to go through all of my BOTB comment sections, excerpting many of the amusing exchanges, and create an entire blog bit out of them. I think that would be Comedy Gold!
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In The Battle Within The Battle, both The Magic 8-Ball and The Amazing Sixwell predicted the outcome accurately. So they remain tied at 7 hits and 3 misses. Pretty good prognosticating. (Can I say that on a family-friendly blog?)
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I hope you will all return again (and bring a friend!) for my next Battle Of The Bands installment here on September 1st. I'm strongly leaning toward doing a Twisted Battle with a twist that no one has previously conceived of. It will feature two rockin' hit songs that you're probably all familiar with. See ya then! Be here or... bring a note from Doctor Cheech or Doctor Chong.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

2018, AUG. 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, MARK McCAIN VS. LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE)

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"Yup. Tyin' muh shoes is a great way to start the day!"
~ Goofy
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Shoop-Shooby -
Shooby-Duh-Dooby-Doop-Dooby-Dooby-Doo-Wah -
Buh-Doo-Wah!
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Yes, it's time once again for . . .
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BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB)
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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We're doing something a bit different this time and it includes some very interesting coincidental connections. Just follow the bouncing ball and try to keep up!
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To begin with, what we have are two former child actors Battling it out over the song .Lonesome Town.. The song was made famous by another former kid actor / singer, Ricky Nelson, of the old TV show 'The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet'. Nelson's version is considered to be the "classic" and it was one of his biggest hits, climbing to #7 on the Billboard music chart in 1958.
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You with me so far? Buncha kid actors and the song 'Lonesome Town'.
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Today's first competitor is [link> Johnny Crawford. He was a kid actor who appeared in a godzillion TV shows including 'Mister Ed', 'Hawaii Five-O', 'The Frank Sinatra Show', and 'The Donna Reed Show'. But most famously he was known as Mark McCain, the son of Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors) in the classic TV Western 'The Rifleman' (1958-1963).
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Video clip of Johnny Crawford in 'The Rifleman':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMbhH5DjAPA

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OK, here's Johnny Crawford (aka Mark McCain) singin' the song:
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LONESOME TOWN -- Johnny Crawford (1963)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okgYyNed96E


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And now for our next competitor: [link> Aileen Quinn was a child actress best known for playing Little Orphan Annie in 1982's movie musical 'Annie'.
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Video clip of Aileen Quinn in 'Annie':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrr3EmaF3gA

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Years after Aileen Quinn had starred in 'Annie', she became a lead singer fronting a band called The Leapin' Lizards, comprised of Larry Rosen (guitar), Terry Rangno (bass and background vocals), and Tom Murray (drums). In 2011, they recorded their own version of 'Lonesome Town' (sans drums).
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Interestingly, [link> Terry Rangno, the bassist who also provided the male vocal harmonies, had also been a child actor. Among many other productions, he had appeared in the TV shows 'Lassie' and 'Maverick', and played the late boxer Rocky Graziano as an 8-year-old boy in the movie 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' (1956). {How you like-um that, Judge Al?} 
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Rangno had danced on The Elizabeth Montgomery Variety Show in 1961 and appeared in four episodes of 'The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet' in 1956 and '57. Let us not forget that 'The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet' also starred Ricky Nelson, who made the song 'Lonesome Town' famous in 1958. Dang! But ain't it a small and strange world?!
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We've all heard of the trivia contest [link> 'Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon'. Well, Terry Rangno has been involved in so many entertainment projects, from movies and television to music, that guitarist Larry Rosen has suggested there should also be a 'Six Degrees Of Terry Rangno' trivia game.
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RANDOM FUN FACT: The Bacon number of an actor is the number of degrees of separation he or she has from Kevin Bacon ... The higher the Bacon number, the greater the separation from Kevin Bacon that the actor is. ... Kevin Bacon himself has a Bacon number of 0. Those actors who have worked directly with Kevin Bacon have a Bacon number of 1.
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According to [link> The Oracle Of Bacon, your BOTB host (me) has a "Bacon number" of 2. Not bad for a nobody in Hollywood, eh? (I'm not sure what my "Rangno number" would be.)
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OK, here's Aileen Quinn (aka Little Orphan Annie) singin' the song:
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LONESOME TOWN -- Aileen Quinn & Leapin' Lizards (2011)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32Z40spM1LU

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The Battle Within The Battle
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VERSUS
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Question: "Will Aileen Quinn lose to Johnny Crawford?"
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The Magic 8-Ball (6-3) sez:  "As I See It Yes"
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The Amazing Sixwell (6-3) sez:  "Most Likely"
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other.
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote...
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Friday, August 10, 2018

ON THE ROAD AGAIN (Or, ME, LYNTH AND THE BEACH REPORT!)

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As those of you who know know, I had a birthday a few days ago. Having been born in the classic year of '59, that makes me currently 59. (Cool how that works out, eh?)
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Here's a T-shirt birthday gift that my sister, Bonehead, gave to me back around when I turned 39:
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ALWAYS wear that shirt on my birthdays... when I remember to (which, oddly enough, seems to happen less frequently the older I get).
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FUN FACT: One reason 1959 is such a classic year (aside from the fact that I was born in it) is because it marked the largest tail fins ever put on a car -- the '59 Cadillac.
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.'59  CADILLAC  &  80-PROOF  FRIENDS.
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That '59 Caddy pictured above (with bottles of Whiskey, Brandy, Gin & Vodka in the trunk) belonged to my old buddy, Cranium, back in Bay Street's 'The League Of Soul Crusaders' era (1981-1984). The car had no reverse, so any time we needed to back up (which was rare, as we were usually going forward "pedal to the metal"), we boys would have to climb out and push that behemoth backwards.
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Cranium had a job (more like a vacation) working the Santa Monica Beach parking lots. He'd put on his little straw hat, and then set up his ancient school desk and plastic mascot dog (Nipper) at the entrance of the lot and start collecting money. Sometimes Cranium's buddies, The League Of Soul Crusaders (Torch, Twinkie, Nappy, Pooh and me), would visit him on the job and bring him a beer or two. We'd just cruise along the beach parking lots until we saw Nipper sitting at the entrance of one of them.
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Now speaking of cruising and "pedal to the metal", for a great many years I used to imagine having a compact disc of what I considered to be the all-time greatest tunes to drive to -- whether fast (Pedal To The Metal) or slow (Cruise Control). I had definite ideas about which sorts of songs had the necessary beat / rhythm making them ideal for hearing behind-the-wheel.
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Well, just recently, my good friend and beer brother, Julio Seis-Abeja (you know him as Bryan), who has skills when it comes to computers and techno stuffs, made my dream a reality. And it just happened to coincide with my recent birthday, so I'm thinking of these compact discs as birthday gifts for a young old guy (namely: STMcC).
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.MUDDY  (not  Nipper)  WITH  2  OF  MY  BIRTHDAY  GIFTS.
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Yes, I know those look like professional, commercial-quality compact discs, but that's just the sort of work that Julio (Down By The Trainyard) does. How freaking awesome is THAT?! I knew he was creating these CDs for me, but when they arrived and I opened the box and saw what they looked like, my jaw fell open!
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I had personally selected the songs and the order they would be presented in, but Trainyard Julio did all the amazing artistic packaging. I was just expecting some plain-looking home-recorded CDs. I had no idea they were going to look A-list & E-Ticket professional (and then some!)
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Those song listings are small and probably difficult to read, so I'll provide them below:
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'ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Pedal To The Metal' (for faster daytime driving)
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RADAR LOVE - Golden Earring
PEACE FROG - The Doors
BORN TO BE WILD - Steppenwolf
OH, WELL - The Rockets
TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN' - Aerosmith
TAKE IT EASY - The Eagles
CHINA GROVE - The Doobie Brothers
T FOR TEXAS - Lynyrd Skynyrd (live)
SHAKIN' - Eddie Money
WHOSE CADILLAC IS THAT? - War
LUST FOR LIFE - Iggy Pop
HIGHWAY STAR - Deep Purple
SPACE PHUQIN' TRUCKIN' - Deep Purple
RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM - Tom Petty
ROCKIN' DOWN THE HIGHWAY - The Doobie Brothers
MOVIN' DOWN LIFE - Golden Earring
GOING MOBILE - The Who
HANG ON, SAINT CHRISTOPHER - Tom Waits
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Although 'Peace Frog' is probably my favorite song on that list (however, obviously I dig every one of them), without any question whatsoever, I KNEW the CD had to begin with 'Radar Love'. It just did, that's all. No Q about that!
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Too late did I realize that there was one extremely egregious omission: 'Frankenstein' by The Edgar Winter Group. But trying to figure out what to remove in order to make room for it would have made my brain explode.
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For me, the songs 'Shakin'' and 'Whose Cadillac Is That?' are strongly associated with The League Of Soul Crusaders and those fantastic years of the early 1980s. The authentic 1950s diner, RAE'S, which appears in Eddie Money's 'Shakin'' video, is a place that we Soul Crusaders regularly conducted B.C. Meetings (Breakfast Club Meetings) all hungover 'n' shit. We liked the "bithkith 'n' gravy" at RAE'S:
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SHAKIN' -- Eddie Money
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tcD_dVcXE4

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Blood stains the roofs and the palm trees of Venice
Blood in my love in the terrible Summer
Bloody red Sun of fantastic L.A. ...

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PEACE FROG -- The Doors.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-UUX-H6WUw

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HANG ON, SAINT CHRISTOPHER -- Tom Waits.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBqFq0c1ANU

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'ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Cruise Control' (for late night driving)
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ARE YOU GOING WITH ME? - Pat Metheny Group (live)
RIDERS ON THE STORM - The Doors
THE CAPTAIN OF HER HEART - Double
SARAH'S CRIME - Toshi Hinata
BUMPIN' ON SUNSET - Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (live)
GREEN ONIONS - Booker T & The MGs
LOW RIDER - War
SLOW RIDE - Foghat
T FOR TEXAS - Tompall Glaser
ON THE ROAD AGAIN - Willie Nelson
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SARAH'S CRIME -- Toshi Hinata
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1w8a_lfvGY

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'ME, LYNTH AND THE BEACH REPORT!'
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And as if what he had already done wasn't awesome enough, Trainyard Julio did something for me even (unbelievably!) better!!
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To this day, I don't remember what prompted me to do this. Heck, I'm not sure that I EVER knew what prompted me to do it! But back in September of 1985, I was living in the Los Angeles area (the beach town of Santa Monica -- also known as "Dogtown"), and I got the idea to put a 90-minute cassette into my tape deck and start recording stuffs from off the radio. I'd just hit the "Record" button and then start turning the radio dial, running across the various stations until I found a song I wanted to record. When the song ended, I'd start turning the radio dial again until I found something else I was inspired to stop at. I think I did this over the course of a few days or so.
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As a result, I wound up with a cassette tape filled with songs (from the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s -- up to September of '85), and radio advertisements, traffic reports, disc jockeys talking to listeners who called into the station, a smidgen of an L.A. Dodgers' baseball game, and a weather report from a lifeguard at Santa Monica Beach. (I even captured the voice of my longtime fantasy gal, "Carmelita", being broadcasted from a radio station in Tijuana, Mexico.)
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After I'd filled the tape (which appropriately ran out while Jim Morrison was singing 'L.A. Woman'), I made a cover illustration for it by cutting up a post card of L.A.'s Westwood Village and slipping it into the plastic cassette case. I called it 'Me, Lynth And The Beach Report!' (M,L&TBR). "Lynth" was another nickname for my Soul Crusaders buddy "Pooh". I recall him stopping by to see me one day in September of '85 while I was in the process of creating that tape, and so I tossed his name into the title when it was completed.
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Over the past 33 years, I'd listened to that tape only about 5 or maybe 6 times. And it had been so long since I'd heard it (well over a decade!) that I couldn't really recall anything that was on it when I decided to pop it into my cassette player this past March. I was blown away by it! It was like stepping into Mr. Peabody & Sherman's 'Waybac Machine' and being dropped right into 1985. I felt as if I had time-traveled like Richard Collier in the movie 'Somewhere In Time'.
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I got hooked on that cassette and started playing it repeatedly for the next few months. But each time I did, I was a little worried that the 33-year-old tape might finally break, and what was on it was literally "irreplaceable". As I told Julio:
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"I think M,L&TBR is exactly the way it was 'meant' to be, and it's the best thing I ever created. If I collected in one place all of the drawings and paintings I ever did, all of the acting I ever did, all of the things I ever wrote -- including manuscripts, poetry, short stories, blog bits, and my screenplay -- I don't think it would equal M,L&TBR. Somehow, without really even putting much thought into it, and basically just trying to entertain myself, I feel like I created something kind of special. Even great."
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Well, guess what Trainyard Julio did! He borrowed my cassette tape and recorded the entire thing on two compact discs for me. Now I can play it as often as I want, and I can replay certain portions of it over and over and over again without any worry that in an instant the whole thing could be lost forever.
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"But, no! But, no! But, no!" (as Pooh used to say). Julio didn't just electronically preserve 'Me, Lynth And The Beach Report' on CDs. He did it in the same awesomely A-list & E-Ticket professional manner that he created my 'On The Road Again' CDs!!! Take a look at THIS!...
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ORIGINAL  CASSETTE  &  CDs,  WITH  COVER  AND  TAPE  NOTES  DUPLICATED
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When someone does something THAT spectacular for you, you better-gotta publicly acknowledge it! There is NO WAY I could have failed to say: "Hey, World, look at THIS!!"
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Julio Seis-Abeja, you are E-Ticket, Brother!
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1: I thank you! 2: I thank you!! (Two Witnesses)
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The greatest gift I ever received in my life was Spiritual. It came from Christ Yeshua: Baptism, Salvation from my sins, and a Pre-Approved Ticket to Paradise. But Me, Lynth And The Beach Report on compact discs is among those physical gifts that get filed under 'An Old Timer's All-Timers'. That's where you'd find Muddy & The Hula Girls and only a few other items.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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