We used to carry on and drink and do the rock ‘n roll

Tuesday morning get-up and get-going music:

Even though it was the opening track on the “Nilsson Schmilsson” album, “Gotta Get Up” did nothing on the charts when it released as a single in 1971.

Instead, most DJs played the other side, which was Nilsson’s cover of the Badfinger song “Without You”; that song went to Number 1 on charts around the world, including for four weeks in the U.S.

It would take almost 50 years for the public to discover the song. In 2019, “Gotta Get Up” was featured in the Netflix series “Russian Doll,” and within a few days had been played almost a quarter of a million times on Spotify. Wikipedia also notes about 1,000 people paid to download the song.

I guess I’m enough of an old fart to wonder why people wouldn’t just pay the 99 cents or $1.29 to own the song and download it.

Speaking of old, I’m also old enough to know better than to get involved in arguments on Facebook, but I did anyway. Why? I don’t know.

It’s been just about one year since I more or less exited Facebook. The final straw, you may remember, was when I posted something about Drew Carey being a better host of “The Price is Right” than Bob Barker. This post — and the ensuing discussion — so enraged a friend of mine that he not only unfriended me, he blocked me.

Moments later, I was put on notice by Facebook for “inciting violence” and my posting was restricted for 30 days. Did my now ex-friend report me? No, I think Facebook’s bug-infested algorithm just blew a fuse, as usual. Naturally I appealed to Facebook’s “oversight board,” and naturally, I was denied.

So I more or less stopped posting, except for the pages I maintain for work.

Until this week. On Monday, after the Conservative Political Action Conference, I was seeing a lot of posts defending transgender people from violence and biogtry, but I also was seeing some push-back and some vicious misinformation from transphobes, and I couldn’t keep silent.

It was probably a mistake. Was anyone’s mind ever changed by a Facebook comment thread?

One of the people I with whom I was arguing was comparing transgender care for youth to child abuse. “All of my friends are gay and liberal, and they agree with me,” she said.

If you believe that, I have oceanfront property for sale in Meadville.

When I kept challenging her — saying what she really wanted was for trans people to go so far into the closet they couldn’t be found — she told me she was sorry that I was “triggered” by her comments. “I wish you well,” she said. Which, of course, is Facebook-speak for “go f-ck yourself.”

I’ve been part of online groups since 1992 on Usenet, various web forums, chat boards and now Discord, and something about Facebook really is designed to make discussions as volatile and nasty as possible.

Maybe it’s because all of those other chat services required people to sign up who had an affinity for a cause, organization, event or fandom, so the people holding the discussion had at least one thing in common; whereas Facebook is open to everyone. It’s the online equivalent of holding a coffee hour for your book club and suddenly having strangers show up, playing tubas, and becoming angry when they’re asked to leave.

In the case of the person with whom I was arguing, I think I was the tuba player at her book club.

On a lighter note, Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre — now the Benedum Center — is on the March 2023 cover of Signs of the Times Magazine, which celebrates the work of sign painters and designers:

The story is about sign companies that have been in business for 100 years or more, and one of them is Philadelphia Sign Co., which designed the theater’s famous lighted sign.

That’s the good news. The bad news is inside, where the caption puts the theater on the wrong side of the state: “Philadelphia Sign Co. has contributed many landmarks to its hometown.”

Oh no. Oh, no.

Nancy Nall Derringer has a good column on her website about the third anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. She quotes a New York Times story that interviews people who lost a little bit of faith in their fellow Americans who spent the pandemic spreading misinformation and lies, attacking public health workers and trying to score political points for their side. One person told the Times, “I used to think that we lived in a society, and I thought that people would come together to take care of one another, and I don’t think that anymore.”

Says Nancy, “My faith in my fellow citizens (is) in the toilet. Maybe that’s why I’m enjoying ‘The Last of Us,’ the post-zombie apocalypse show on HBO now. It posits a future where the thing you most have to fear is not the zombies, but your fellow healthy American. Everyone is armed to the teeth; busting a cap in someone’s ass is considered totally acceptable to protect one’s food or vehicle or whatever. The government is a dominating fascist force. There’s a thriving black market in the human settlements that remain. That, I regret to say, is what I expect the next time a pandemic hits.”

That’s a cheerful thought on which to end today’s entry.

So how about this, instead? If you missed my interview with Hugh Geyer of The Vogues, you have one more chance to hear it with the music intact, from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday (March 8) on Tube City Online Radio.

And if you want to order the CD we were discussing, it’s called “At Co & Ce: The Complete Recordings and More.” Besides all of the Vogues’ original hits — restored from master tapes — you also get several tracks that were never released until now.

Click the CD cover or this link to purchase the record through Amazon. If you do, Tube City Community Media gets a tiny cut, but every little fiskie helps.

You can read more about the group’s history at a webpage maintained by Hugh’s stepson.

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