Observation for Now

It has always seemed to me that the human race needs more things to wonder about, rather than less.

-- Gregory L Reece

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Thursday, September 03, 2015

MA-66 - Spy Craze




Welcome back to my musical compilations.

These songs reflect a smidgen of the impact on pop culture created by the popularity of spies and secret agents in recent pop culture.

You can probably trace the antecedents of 007, U.N.C.L.E., and the rest to Cold war anxieties.  After all, some secrets could be literally earth-shattering!

And the fascinating concept of sneaking around supposedly for a greater good was cast backwards in time to such TV characters as Honey West, or James West and his partner Artemus Gordon.  Were there any pup-culturally famous futuristic, sci-fi spies?  You tell me!

The present compilation covers songs from 1963 to 2012.  I hope you like it!

01. Special Agent - The Eagles (2:19)  1963
02. The Spy - The Original Checkmates (1:58)   1963
03. Agent Double-O-Soul - Edwin Starr (2:44)   1965
04. Would You Believe - George Kent (2:33)   1965
05. 007 - Stan Kenton (2:25)   1965
06. 99 - Barbara Feldon (2:49)   1966
07. Max - Barbara Feldon (2:22)   1966
08. I Spy for the FBI - Jamo Thomas (2:33)   1966
09. The Last of the Secret Agents - Nancy Sinatra (2:45)   1966
10. L’agent Secret - Petula Clark (2:13)   1966
11. Secret Agents - The Olympics (2:25)   1966
12. The Silencers - Vikki Carr (2:58)   1966
13. Come Spy with Me - Smokey Robinson (2:57)   1967
14. Undercover Man - The Edgar Winter Group (3:49)   1972
15. Secret Agent Man - DEVO (3:35)   1979
16. Love Secret Agent - Lew Kirton (4:18)   1980
17. I Spy - The Dooleys (3:07)   1980
18. Spies in the Night - The Manhattan Transfer (4:02)   1981
19. Goodbye, Mr. Bond - Blotto (5:42)   1982
20. Spy vs Spy - Toto Coelo (3:26)  1983
21. Secret Agent - Robin Gibbs (4:53)   1984
22. Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man) - The Plugz (1:47)   1984
23. Get Smart - The Kaos Killers (0:57)   1993
24. Secret Agent - Letters to Cleo (2:53)   1998
25. My Baby Loves the Secret Agent - The Detroit Cobras (1:59)   2003
26. Undercover Agent - The Caroloregians (2:42)   2008
27. I Wish I Was a Spy - Peter Bjorn & John (1:51)   2011


Remember, maintain plausible deniability at all costs!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Man from U.N.C.L.E. Cards -- Then and Later



One of the accoutrements of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was the toys and other items that we kids wanted.  And of course, it fell to toy makers and folks in the show’s publicity department to create stuff for us to crave!  Around my grade school, a “Man from U.N.C.L.E. card” became one of those items.

On the show …

In the Second Season’s “The Nowhere Affair,” U.N.C.L.E. agent Napoleon Solo takes a temporary-amnesia pill as he’s being captured by Thrush agents.  While under its influence, he checks his wallet and finds these clues to his identity:



And here are my reproduction of the calling card:



My  reproduction of his ID, with and without his name:







I always thought it was embarrassingly cheesy for a multinational spy organization to use a Dymo label maker for its agents’ IDs.  Of course, with our grown-up brains we realize that the cheesy party was MGM-Arena’s props budgeteer.




*          *          *          *          *

If you bought one of the “TV Action Figures” from Gilbert Toys (of Erector set fame), it came with its own ID card:



 Here’s a close-up of the card, and my own reproduction:





Ideal Toys had the license for U.N.C.L.E. Guns.  They were pretty cool!


 
Here is a close-up of the gun set card’s front and rear:





Those who wrote in to the studio or network with fan letters got a special treat.  You guessed it, it was an U.N.C.L.E. card!



Here are my own reproductions of front and back:







But the last item is perhaps the U.N.C.L.E. ID card I worked the hardest over.  I made it in about 1983 -- on my Commodore 64 -- one dot at a time!



Fellow agents, your current assignment is to go see the movie again!

See you next time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Time Off -- See You in September!

We'll be taking a little time off ... See you on Tuesday, September 1st !

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day Notions

Father's Day is for being thankful, and yes I am!
Tolstoy is reported to have written, "Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man."

I hope I'm not at the "old" part yet, but it is surprising to look around at all of the things and other people that have come along since I came around!

Photos of my Mom and Dad, taken in my own adulthood, don't show the strength, the humor, and the faith on the inside.  Considering all the shortsighted, selfish, and antisocial elements in my emotional makeup, it's great for the world as well as for me that these wonderful folks were saddled with me. 



And now, two Fatherly things. One is from our friend Nick at Grammarly.  It's a Father's Day grammar quiz that's brief and fun.

The other is a tale ending in some good advice:  When we first discovered that Joyce was pregnant (in fall/winter of 1982), I asked my dad if he would give me some advice on how to be a good father.

He said, "The best way to be a good father is to be a good husband."

Thank you, Dad!
 
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