J-Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)


He sang “Rock Around the Clock.” When that song was popular Elvis had yet to chart nationally, Chuck Berry’s first single had barely been recorded, and Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly didn’t even have contracts. Haley was at the time, in other words, the only white rock ‘n’ roll star in the world. Now there are all sorts of white rock ‘n’ roll stars, like Nelson. Without Bill Haley, there might not be “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” and we’d all be the worse for it. Thanks Bill Haley. Thanks Matthew. Thanks Gunnar.


”HARAJUKA GIRLS,” by Gwen Stefani
What the heck is a Harajuka girl? I’m not one. To be one, you have to be a girl who gathers in the Harajuka district of Tokyo in Japan. You have to dress distinctly, in such styles as Gothic Lolita, Gothic Maid, Wamono, and Decora. It also helps if you’re hired by Gwen Stefani. I tried, believe me. In ’04 when Stefani’s Love.Angel.Music.Baby album came out I totally got into the Harajuka scene. I checked out the fashion magazines, like FRUiTs. Then, I dressed like a Gothic Lolita ALL THE TIME. I lost my job. My wife left me. I became institutionalized (for awhile there I thought I was Commander Yomon of the Star Cluster Beanofactor V). I became suicidal losing all self-respect and self-awareness and the basic knowledge that I was, in fact, a “human.” I crawled on all fours ALL THE TIME. I watched “Young and the Restless” finding hidden messages from Leo Tolstoy. Anyway, it hasn’t been easy.

Hark! Who is that writing a Christmas hymn? It’s good ol’ Charles Wesley! Who is Charles Wesley? Well, duh, he’s the brother of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism! Charles wrote the carol in 1739. In fact, Charles wrote over 6000 hymns, many of them still popular, like the catchy “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” and “Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise” and “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” Sure, John Wesley gets a lot of credit, but Charles was nothing to scoff at! We should take a look at other brothers of famous religious figures as well, like Bob Smith (brother of Mormon founder Joseph Smith) who revolutionized the way horses are made into glue; and Stevie Gautama (brother of Buddha) who invented the Sizzler salad bar.

Scholars have found similar Hokey-Pokey dances and lyrics dating back to the 17th century. Let’s take a look, then, at some major developments of the 17th century in which the Hokey-Pokey is inextricably tied…

1618: Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for not “shaking right hand about” properly.

1626: St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is completed. On the far wall above the sacristy one can see Jesus “turn himself around.”

1672-1678: The Franco-Dutch War rages when, at a roller skating party, a Frenchman accidentally trips on the left foot of a Dutch patriot during a group Hokey-Pokey dance.]

1692: Salem witch trials take place in Massachusetts after several witches refuse to put their “left foot in.”

You probably know all sorts of things about Hole. Courtney Love started it in 1989 in Los Angeles. Their first major-label album, Live Through This, was set to release in April of 1994. Four days before the release, Love’s husband killed himself. Two months later Kristen Pfaff, a member of Hole, overdosed and died. Anyway, they’ve had some difficulties, Hole, and those associated with Hole. Why the difficulties? Well, a note to the kids: Don’t do heroin.

Another note to the kids: Seriously. Don’t do heroin.

The huluhu is a Chinese bowed instrument in the huqin family of instruments. The instruments name is derived from the Chinese words hulu (“gourd”), hu (“huqin), and huhuhu (“Sizzler salad bar”).

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