What Doesn’t

I cut my nails and I twiddle my thumbs

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

October 8

Great Balls of Fire1957: Jerry Lee Lewis records Great Balls of Fire at Sun Recording Studios in Memphis following a long dispute with his producer about the song. Jerry Lee has doubts about whether he should be recording “the Devil’s music.” The title of this song uses a phrase considered to be blasphemous by some Christians. It is a reference to the flames of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit manifests as “tongues of fire.” His doubts assuaged, Jerry Lee rips into it. Released in November 1957, it will peak at #1 on country charts in the U.S. and hit #1 on the U.K. singles chart. It also becomes something of a signature song for Jerry Lee.

Are the voices in your head calling

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

July 3

Laura Branigan

1957: Laura Branigan is born in Brewster, N.Y. Her biggest hit is Gloria, a million-selling record that stays at #2 on Chart Toppers’ Hot 100 for three weeks in 1982.

Jim Morrison1971: Jim Morrison of The Doors is found dead in his Paris apartment.

A little bit of rhythm and a lot of soul

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

June 29

Little Eva1945: Singer Little Eva (Eva Narcissus Boyd) is born in Belhaven, N.C. She is discovered by songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin while she is baby-sitting their daughter. Her biggest hit is The Loco-Motion, a #1 song in 1962.

 

 

Gordon Lightfoot1974: The #1 song in the land is Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot.

Flashback: Nine Steve Kline Poems

SteveKaTomorrow we enter the final week of National Poetry Month. The NPM fire was kindled in my heart by my good friend Bill McGlothing.  My salute to the month is this compilation of the poems I have written and posted to this blog since January 1 of this year. Until I looked back through them this morning, I had forgotten that I had written the first three. What’s that about? Guess that’s why I should go back and look at them now and then. Here’s your invitation to do the same:

And You’ll Wish There Was Someone to Hold You Tight

Oh Domino

Eastbound Highway 20 Cherry County

Quantum Flood

Birthday

Conversation at Coredo, Tokyo

Turkish Coffee at Ahmad’s Persian Cuisine

Walking Westroads Mall

Late as Usual to the Judgment

Late as Usual to the Judgment

by Steve Kline


Late as usual to the Judgment, I offered up

the usual excuse and apology: Sorry. I was busy.

I was told that no apology was necessary

and that here

we sing and dance, and

I could go ahead and get to it, that is

unless I wanted to “be productive”

and do something with decent ROI.

If that is the case, they said,

I should fetch some ochre and charcoal

and start in

painting the walls

of the cave.

— Steve Kline, April 25, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Steve Kline

Let me try with pleasured hands

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

March 29

Time of the Season1969: The Zombies have a hit two years after they disbanded. Time of the Season hits #1 on the Cashbox chart and peaks at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. This success prompts some members of the band to reunite. Zombies keyboardist Rod Argent writes Time of the Season — he will say that the line “What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me” is inspired by George Gershwin’s Summertime lyric: “Your daddy’s rich . . .”  Unlike most songs of the era, Time of the Season does not pound you with its refrain, confining itself to that simple “It’s the time of the season for loving.” What gets my attention is the opening bass riff / handclap / “ahhhhhhhhhhh.”

Hook Stone1973: Dr. Hook gets on the cover of Rolling Stone, mostly because he sings sarcastically about being on the cover of Rolling Stone. This blows Rolling Stone’s credibility decades before the publication finally cuts its own throat by reporting on a rape that never happened.

Brick. No ‘s’. Packaging and Banding.

Copyright (c) 2015 Steve Kline

Fired brick have been used in construction work for some 7,000 years. They are made of a mixture of sand, clay, lime, iron oxide and magnesia.

The Brickyard had none of your newfangled rail kilns, where you stack green brick on railcars and move them slowly through the firing. Nope. We had a broad field full of squat round brick and concrete mounds with thick walls and one opening large enough to admit a six-foot tall pallet of brick hoisted on a forklift. Three or four gas burners were spaced evenly around the base of the kiln.

The vast majority of what we produced were extruded perforated facing brick, the kind you see everywhere you go. In the U.S., we made our cities out of brick during the first half of the 20th Century mainly because Chicago and then San Francisco burned down. Brick won’t burn.

Fired brick are brought to life in temperatures that exceed Farenheit 2,000. After that, they’re not very susceptible to fire.

The temperatures in our kilns never were evenly distributed around and about the stacks of brick inside. The color of a fired brick depends on the mix of chemicals and the firing temperature. Because none of these factors remains consistent throughout the process, no fired brick has precisely the same shade as another. And the color varies more and more dramatically depending on each brick’s placement in the space inside the kiln.

If the brick are not properly “shuffled” after firing, the result would be brick walls with big blotches of darker and lighter shades. Masons want their brick to arrive on-site pre-shuffled. They also have to be pre-sorted — contractors won’t buy brick from plants that ship out flawed, cracked #2s.

That was my job. Shuffling and sorting brick. All day long.

The shuffling was as automated as it could be. The stacks of brick dragged from the kilns were loaded onto massive creaky merry-go-round type machines. We had two merry-go-rounds, each holding a dozen or so stacks of brick. I was stationed on a plywood board attached to a six-foot by six-foot metal box that could be raised and lowered so that the top layer of stacked brick always was at about waist level. The box is where I built and banded my packages of shuffled brick.

Brick TineI wore thick work gloves and carried in my right hand a two-pronged tine, which fitted perfectly into the outermost of the three holes in each brick.

The shrill bell would sound and the merry-go-round would moan, groan, sqeak and squeal to life, circulating the massive stack of brick. Around the perimeter of this grotesque amusement-park caricature were all the sweaty red-brick-dust stained guys, including me, who shuffled, packed and banded brick all the rocking day long.

The shuffling pattern: Two brick from one stack, two brick from the next stack and one brick from the next after that. My hand-tine — which we just called a “fork” — held five brick. The first two-and-two I snagged with the fork, tipping it upward between snags so the brick would slide all the way back on the prongs. The “one,” the fifth brick, I grabbed with my left hand, then transferred it to the tine. All loaded up with five shuffled brick, I would pivot to my right and deposit the load into the packaging-and-banding box.

Each package contained 10 courses of 10 brick each, with empty rows built in to admit the tines of the forklift. My packaging-and-banding box held five such packages. Once I had it filled, I lined the topmost edges with strips of cardboard, pulled the metal strapping machine down from where it dangled from the ceiling, and banded up tight each package. Then I signaled Kenny it was time for him and his forklift to clear out my banding box so I could throw more brick.

The noise around this operation was unearthly. Loud. Yet I had to listen to the brick as I tined and stacked them. A flawed brick will have a distinctive ringing sound when it hits up against another brick. When I heard that ring, I was to stop and examine the brick I was handling for the bad one, the #2. Those were picked out and tossed into the big steel hoppers that were stationed nearby. The #2 brick were recycled — crushed and then remade into good brick.

That little asshole Chet liked to stand near your box and nag at you that he could hear the brick you were handling ringing. Now, I was standing high up on that packaging box and Chet’s feet were on the concrete floor. It would have been sooo easy for me to just haul off and kick him in the face with my steel-toed boot.

Chet. Fuck him.