Author: brucelcampbell

What’s Stuck In My Head – 20 September

Sorry, I haven’t been keeping up with this series as of late, but I’ve been up to my you-know-what with my genealogy.

This song runs through my head on a regular basis. I’ve always enjoyed Bruce Hornsby’s music, either solo or playing on other folks records. And this one fits right in line with my social justice thoughts. “Did you really think about it when you made the rules?” Such a great lyric.  Especially when paired with the command “But don’t you believe them!” at the end of the song.

Then this morning I get up and see this tweet on my timeline;

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And that doesn’t just fit in with this song I don’t know what does. This administration doesn’t give a rats ass about folks on the fringe of society. If you’re not a rich white republican male, you do not matter. This country is in a sad state right now. That’s all I’ll say about this, I will get off my soapbox now.

So here’s The Way It Is. I hope you enjoy it. (And yes, I realize this may be a repeat, but this song means a lot to me. Plus I should probably start a spreadsheet or something of the songs I’ve already posted.)

Peace,
B

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Scotland Or Bust!!

Ah, Scotland! The land of bagpipes, majestic highlands, Nessie, wonderful single malt scotches (the nectar of the Gods), and haggis.  Well, the jury is still out on haggis. I will give it a taste while we’re there, but I’m not really expecting much.

Wifey® and I have booked an 8 day, 7 night bus tour for May 2019. This has been a long drawn out process fraught with perils. We started looking at a Scotland trip several years ago but just could not get the time and funds to match. Seems when we had the money saved up, something came up (like the clutch in my truck blowing up), or when we had time off from work we didn’t have the money.

So fast forward to July of this year. Wifey’s® father had passed away and she and her brothers and finally closed on selling his house. And that would be a whole ‘nother post. What a fiasco that was! We had been vacillating between buying an RV and finally making a trip to Scotland since both of our families are of Scots descent. After several visits to various RV places in and around our home, we were just about set on the RV.  When one Friday evening it all changed. We really didn’t want to spend all the money Wifey® received from her share of the house “all in one place”. So that made the decision much easier.

I immediately contacted the agency we’ve been talking to over that last couple of years to get updated tour dates and prices. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we decided on which tour we wanted.

The agency we were using is Exploring Vacations, based out of Ireland. They have a New Jersey phone number, but I think it routes back to Ireland as everyone we’ve ever talked to has a most beautiful accent.

On July 31st we made our deposit. It’s really happening! This began the process of getting everything together. We had to renew our passports (a surprisingly easy process), start buying all the “little things”, like a power converter, RFID blocking passport wallets, pillows and eye masks for the overnight flight. OH! Wait! We need airline tickets too. That means days and days of watching Priceline, Kayak, Booking, Orbitz etc…

Then on August 28th, we made the decision to pay off the tour completely.  That proved to be a very wise move. Because on September 14th, I received this email;

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Suddenly, we were not sure our trip would happen. Needless to say, my heart just about jumped out of my chest. That RV was looking better and better. I told Wifey® to call the credit card company we used to see if there was anything we needed to do so we wouldn’t lose all of what we paid.  But when she looked at the website for the card, she saw that we didn’t pay Exploring Vacations, we paid directly to the actual tour company, CIE Tours International! A glimmer of hope appeared. And sure enough, when I open the PAID IN FULL invoice, it’s from CIE Tours! CIE is also based out of Ireland, and also has a New Jersey phone number. You know I’m calling as quick as my shaking hands can dial.

While I’m waiting for someone to answer I tweet this;

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A lovely sounding lass “Alli” is the representative I get to talk to (with an amazing accent too!).  I explain the situation to Alli, but she doesn’t know about Exploring Vacations going out of business. Heart rate is starting to go up again. She sends me to a supervisor, Ernesto. Ernesto is either in New Jersey or is from there, he has an entirely different accent than Alli. But right now I really don’t care where I’m calling as long as someone can tell me what’s going on.

Turns out Ernesto is on the ball. He can find our tour and yes, we are PAID IN FULL! Ernesto takes care of the transfers to and from the airport and hotels since that was one step we didn’t get to finish (at no cost!). The only issue he sees it that our tour is reserved under the Exploring Vacations name and not ours. He says that is a minor issue as the receipt has our names.

One thing that amazes me about this entire deal is that Exploring Vacations has been in contact throughout. As much heartburn and stress this situation has caused us, the fact that they emailed me to tell me what’s going on and have answered every email I have sent with questions says that this was a solid company. It also says a lot about corporate America. If this had been an American company we would only find out that they went bankrupt when a letter showed up, or we tried to call and found the phone disconnected.

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The email that allowed me to sleep again

We still have lots of stuff to procure for this trip. We need real raincoats (or should I say a “mac”?), more clothes, luggage, and exchange currency.  But we have time.  I’ll post more about the trip as things get settled. The itinerary is not finalized yet but should be by the end of the month.

Tell me your travel horror stories!!

Peace,
B

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P.S. Samhain is getting close!!

What’s Stuck In My Head – 11 September

Have a weird one running through my head this morning. Jesus Christ Superstar! Now I’ve posted about this before here.  I guess the reason this song is screaming at me is that the Live In Concert show has won several Emmys and the three lead performers are also nominated.

Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and John Legend (who plays the title character), along will all the other executive producers won the Outstanding Variety Special (Live), Emmy.  This makes all three of those gentlemen “EGOT”.  That means they have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony! Now that’s entertainment.

John is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie, for his portrayal of Jesus Christ, Brandon Victor Dixon is nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series Or Movie for his Judas, and the nominee for Outstanding Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie is Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene. You see all the nominations and awards for this amazing show here.

I have two questions about the awards. First, why use the term “Outstanding”? I never see any nominations much less any awards for “Mediocre” or “So – So” performances. (“And the award for the Meh Lead Actor goes to…”) Isn’t the “Outstanding” implied?  Second, why is “Jesus” listed as the lead actor? The story is told from Judas’ view, and Judas has a bigger stage part than “Jesus”. But I didn’t write the script, so I’ll leave it alone. I enjoy the music and the entire performance (except the movie – that sucked).

So here’s Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas;

Did you see this show or any performance of Jesus Christ Superstar? Give me your thoughts!

Peace,
B

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P.S. It’s Patriot Day – Never Forget.

countries-usa_patriotic_ribbon

Genealogy Sucks

So yesterday I tweeted this;

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And believe me, that is a true statement. I have been chasing my Campbell line (and other family lines – but mostly Campbell) since the late 90’s. I have had and canceled, renewed and canceled again my Ancestry account ad nauseum.  I’ve had accounts at least three email addresses ago.

In the beginning, finding family members from long ago wasn’t all that hard. My paternal grandmother (Nanny – I’ve written about her before), told me many stories of my dad’s early time and his father. His father, my paternal grandfather died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919. Although my siblings tell me that they believe Nanny had some men friends, she never remarried leaving my father as an only child. Because of this, finding cousins and other distant relatives isn’t easy.

I remember one day at my mom’s house in South Carolina (she moved back near where she grew up after dad died) and Wifey® and I going through boxes of old stuff in her garage. Everybody said we wouldn’t find anything but what did they know!  We found sister-the-eldest’s baby book with birth records. So sweating our asses off and drinking cheap ass beer (this was before the wonderful Craft Beer revolution), paid off greatly. I found my paternal great-grandfather’s name along with his wife!  So let’s renew that Ancestry account and go searching the census records.

While it still took about ten more years to add another generation, I kept going. I finally found my great-great-grandfather and his family along with all my great-grandfather’s siblings.

In those ten years or so, I managed to fill out a lot of the missing data on my family. Birth, marriage, and death dates were located and added to my family tree.

But I still have two stumbling blocks. One, my father had a marriage prior to marrying my mother. He has always told us that “Trudie” had died within the first year of their being married. I have pictures of her (quite the beauty too). But that is all he would tell us. No dates, places, or even her real name. So that is a minor hurdle.

don & trudie campbell

Donald & Trudie Campbell

And mom was no slouch in the look department either..

with love neva

The second hurdle is finding the next generation. What I have so far;

  • My father – Donald Sherwood Campbell 1912 – 1985
  • My grandfather – Herbert J. Campbell 1884 – 1919 (No idea what the “J” is for but guessing James as that name is all over the place)
  • His father – Samuel W. Campbell  1861 – 1924 (This was the one I found in the baby book)
  • His father – James Harris Campbell 1825 – 1902

There the train falls off the tracks.  I do have a lead on his father, a possible James Richard Campbell.  The problem in the 1880 US census James Harris lists his father’s birthplace as Pennsylvania (my paternal line is very heavy in Centre County, PA), but in the same census, James Richard lists his birthplace as Maryland. No this is not a show stopper. From what I’ve read, back then the census was done by hand. After all, they didn’t have all the technology we have today to screw everything up. Instead, they screwed it up by hand, you know, the old-fashioned way!

It would not be unheard of for the census taker to ask questions about neighbors instead of the individual in question. If the person that the census taker need information from was not at home, or maybe the next home was far away (this was rather rural country then), or just plain lazy, they would ask neighbors. And many times the neighbors guessed at the answers, or the worker just made it up. Let’s face, it still happens today.

Enter the DNA tests. I have done DNA at both Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. They both are quite similar in results. The problem lies in that I cannot find any close matches from the Campbell side. Nanny’s side, Bodle, is all over the place. I have more cousins on that line that I could list! But, Campbell’s? Not so much.

Then about five minutes after tweeting the tweet above, I found a new line! It had all the correct sibling names and dates, but a different set of parents for James Harris. Naturally, this peaked my interest.  A whole different set of parents could very well fix my birthplace problem. So I jumped right in with both feet.

One of the main goals I have right now is to find the “immigrant ancestor”. The first person to come over the Atlantic from somewhere in Europe, most likely either Ireland or Scotland.  This family tree had exactly that and so much more!

As I went generation by generation back I became more and more suspicious. The names that were appearing were the BIG names in Campbell history. This tree placed me directly in the same tree as the Duke of Argyll (the current Chief of Clan Campbell, The 28th Mac Cailein Mòr, the thirty-fifth Chief of Clan Campbell, His Grace, the 13th Duke of Argyll (S), and the 6th Duke of Argyll (UK) Torquhil Ian Campbell. See here for more information on His Grace.

This “tree” listed the 1st Mac Cailein Mòr, Sir Colin Campbell or “Colin The Great” (wiki here). But (and there’s always a “but” and this one is big) it didn’t stop there. Many generations after Mac Cailein Mòr was (wait for it…) the one, the only, King Arthur. Yes, that King Arthur. With a birth date and place none the less! I just about punched my laptop screen when I read that. I mean come on. There is no proof of a real Arthur, King or not. There is no consensus of a date, place or even a name for this legend. A great resource for King Arthur can be found at The Great Courses, King Arthur: History And Legend. This 24 lecture series is presented by Professor Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.  I highly recommend it.

And, of course, the “tree” continued another five generations or so. I was so pissed, so frustrated. Who would post a tree to a reputable genealogy site, with “myth and legends”.

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Two hours wasted…

So now I’m stuck back in 1825 Pennsylvania. No Campbell DNA matches, no hints other than one with questionable parentage.

If you have any hints on other research areas for Pennsylvania genealogy, and onwards to Scotland, please, PLEASE let me know. I did contact a professional genealogist but was basically told: “go find someone else”.

And yes, I renewed my Ancestry membership (but only for a month). With any luck, this link will take to Ancestry to view my current tree.

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 6 September

This is song goes in and out of my head on a regular basis, but I have hesitated to post it because Wifey® absolutely hates it.  Well, in all honesty, she hates everything about the band.

But this is my blog, not her’s so I’m posting it.

tull

This song is what most likely gave Ian Anderson the “mad flutist” nickname.  Ian is a pretty decent guitarist in his own right. But was not quite up to snuff for the band’s manager who wanted to keep on rhythm guitar, but as Ian says:

I didn’t want to be just another third-rate guitar player who sounded like a bunch of other third-rate guitar players. I wanted to do something that was a bit more idiosyncratic, hence the switch to another instrument. When Jethro Tull began, I think I’d been playing the flute for about two weeks. It was a quick learning curve … literally every night I walked onstage was a flute lesson.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jethro_Tull_(band)

The story I heard was that Ian was checking out local bands for ideas when he came across Eric Clapton playing and realized he could never match what he was hearing so he picked up the flute because nobody else was playing it.  The fact that whichever band Eric was playing with at the time isn’t mentioned, probably makes this an “urban myth”. But it sounds cool!

This is a high-energy video of Tull in concert.  Enjoy!

Peace,
B

P.S. Samhain is coming up!

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DJ Tips

(Granted, techniques have changed since I was a DJ, but the basic idea of keeping the music and your comments as coherent as possible is timeless)

So yesterday as I was driving home from work (in the rain of course), listening to Classic Vinyl, and they played a clip of Graham Nash saying how underappreciated Stephen Stills is as a guitar player.  And I totally agree. Stephen, with his custom tunings, is an outstanding player. I love to listen to him play.

But here’s the issue. They play a clip about a guitar player and follow it up with what, Suite: Judy Blues Eyes, or maybe Southern Cross? Nope, they played Our House. Now don’t get me wrong, Our House is a wonderful song. But it’s a piano song – a guitar is not heard.

From the Wiki:

The song originates in a domestic event that took place while Graham Nash was living with Joni Mitchell (and her two cats) in her house on Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles), after they had gone out for breakfast and had bought an inexpensive vase on Ventura Boulevard. Nash wrote the song in an hour, on Mitchell’s piano.

In October 2013, in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, Nash elaborated:

Well, it’s an ordinary moment. What happened is that Joni [Mitchell] and I – I don’t know whether you know anything about Los Angeles, but on Ventura Boulevard in the Valley, there’s a very famous deli called Art’s Deli. And we’d been to breakfast there. We’re going to get into Joan’s car, and we pass an antique store. And we’re looking in the window, and she saw a very beautiful vase that she wanted to buy… I persuaded her to buy this vase. It wasn’t very expensive, and we took it home. It was a very grey, kind of sleety, drizzly L.A. morning. And we got to the house in Laurel Canyon, and I said – got through the front door and I said, you know what? I’ll light a fire. Why don’t you put some flowers in that vase that you just bought? Well, she was in the garden getting flowers. That meant she was not at her piano, but I was… And an hour later ‘Our House’ was born, out of an incredibly ordinary moment that many, many people have experienced.

 

So, to get back on topic here. When you talk about a great guitar player you probably shouldn’t play a piano song right after. No matter how good that piano song is.

So here’s a live version of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes for you. Have a great Labor Day weekend for us in the USA or just a fabulous weekend everywhere else!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 29 August

Actually, this song has been stuck in my head for two days now. I didn’t have time to post it yesterday. But that allows me to add something I heard on SiriusXM Classic Vinyl this morning.  Earle Bailey (the DJ) mentioned that this song was about Fats Domino, the legendary R&B artist. So I had to look that up. Not that I don’t trust Mr. Bailey, but I wanted confirmation.  Turns out, it is. Click here to read the wiki.

Peace,
B

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A Sad Day In Music History

27 August 1990 – the day Stevie Ray Vaughan died.

Son-the-younger was almost named for Stevie, but at the last-minute we changed it to honor his maternal grandfather.

From http://ultimateclassicrock.com/stevie-ray-vaughan-dies/

After the second of two shows on Aug. 26, everyone from Vaughan and Clapton’s bands and crews boarded four nearby helicopters to take them to Chicago. Vaughan himself was on a craft with Clapton’s agent, bodyguard and assistant tour manager. Reports indicate that there was fog and haze as they departed around 1 a.m. and attempted to fly over a 1,000-foot ski hill.

The helicopter didn’t make it — it veered to the left and crashed into the hill. Everybody on board was killed, including the pilot. An air patrol team wouldn’t locate the accident site until hours later. No drugs or alcohol were involved in the tragic crash. And contrary to rumors, Clapton did not hand over his seat to Vaughan.

One of my favorites of Stevie’s The Sky Is Crying

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 27 August

It’s a bit funny that I’m just adding this song to the series, as it’s almost always stuck in my head.

People generally associate this song with Vietnam. But according to Stephen Stills, it’s about “The Sunset Riots”. Seems that the folks that lived on and around sunset boulevard in L.A., were getting fed up with the kids that were hanging out at the clubs, cruising and just basically being kids. When the police started enforcing the law and probably not being very nice to the kids (what do I know? I grew up on the other coast, and was only about 9), the kids did what kids did in 1967. For the little I’ve been able to find about the riots, it wasn’t very nice.

The video isn’t the best quality, but I love the hat and outfit that Stephen is wearing in the beginning. Also off to the right is Neil Young in his signature jacket. Richie Furay is on the left sitting, Dewey Martin is handling the drums and Bruce Palmer on bass with his back to the camera.

So here is “For What It’s Worth”.

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 25 August

Today’s entry is an easy one. The opening guitar riff, played by Paul – not George, is stuck in my head on a lot of days. Plus I’m drinking my coffee from my “Rubber Soul” mug (I used the “Revolver” mug yesterday).

John listed this track in his “Worst 20 Beatles songs”, claiming it was all Paul and called it “the son of Day Tripper“, another song with a great guitar riff. Although recorded in 1966, and released as a single (hitting #1), it was not included on an album until “Hey Jude” which was released in 1970. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperback_Writer)

So without further delay here is The Beatles! Geez.. I feel a little like Ed Sullivan…

Peace,
B

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