Sunday, April 23, 2017

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 23, 2017): Billboard Hot 100 Creative Challenge

NPR Sunday Puzzle (Apr 23, 2017): Billboard Hot 100 Creative Challenge:
Q: It's a two-week creative challenge. The object is to mashup the titles of past No. 1 hits on the Billboard 100 pop chart to tell a story. For example: "I Shot The Sheriff" "The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia." "The Morning After" "I'll Be There" "Leaving On A Jet Plane."

Wikipedia has a list of the Billboard No. 1 singles from the Hot 100 era, 1958 to present, which you can use. Your story can include up to seven song titles. Entries will be judged on cleverness, naturalness of reading, memorableness of the songs and overall elegance. You can send up to three entries and the best one, based on Will's opinion, will play the puzzle on the air in two weeks.
Get those creative juices flowing...

111 comments:

  1. Again, this is a TWO week challenge. Don't post any outright spoilers unless you want to give away your submission. If you have a good set of song titles, click on the NPR link in the post and then remember it so we can talk about it after the deadline.

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  2. Here is a link to a sorted list of the number 1 singles from 1958 to present.

    Blaine's link above only covers 1958 - 1969.

    BTW, there were reportedly only 400 correct entries last week.

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    1. You can also use Wikipedia's HOT 100 ERA website and click on each year from 1958 to the present.

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    2. That's the source I used to compile my list. I thought it would be more useful for the assigned challenge if it were sorted alphabetically and all in one file.

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    3. Jan, your list is very useful. But going through year by year I noticed at some point I stopped recognizing the songs.

      So, what year was that for y'all? Exclude those that might linger from later years - how can we forget the embarrassing Democrats doing the Macarena in 1996?

      Please help me forget that!!!

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    4. For me, it was in the early 90s, eco.

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    5. But, eco, Al Gore demonstrated algorithm.

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    6. Hey, Guys, the Pocahontas Warren Chapter of the Order of Deplorables is looking for the most politically incorrect story cobbled together this puzzle cycle. There were reservations to the idea, of course.

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    7. Well I am not intending to submit this one I came up with this morning:


      Jack & Diane
      Beat It
      Nice & Slow
      All night Long
      With A Little Luck
      Come Together
      Time After Time

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    8. Guess they're no longer Strangers in the Night.

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    9. It's just "One of These Nights."

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    10. "It's All in the Game", so they say.

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    11. [I'm gonna regret this one] The result could be "The Happy Organ". (May 11, 1959, so I'm merely quoting.) "I'm Sorry".

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    12. I suppose it was located in "The House of the Rising Sun" during "The Hustle."

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    13. "Good Vibrations". Or was it just "Hanky Panky"?

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    14. PWCOD clubhouse leader is:

      I'm Telling You Now,
      Running Bear.
      If You Wanna Be Happy,
      Walk Right In;
      Grease
      Soldier Boy
      Mr. Custer

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  3. The NPR Sunday Puzzle page includes only 6 of the 15 on-air puzzle challenges that Will threw at me on Friday. Here's the full list:

    BEING
    MINOR
    ADMIT
    CROON
    GAUGE
    FAVOR
    DEMON
    MURAL
    COUNT
    DONOR
    STOCK
    DINAR
    SPARE
    DISHY
    AMORE

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    1. jan, you were great! This was one of Will's toughest on-air challenges ever, in my recollection and opinion. I'll wager I speak for many, if not all, Blainesvillians (and Puzzlerians!): We are proud of you.

      LegojanFan

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    2. Wow, DISHY to DINGHY. Those are really difficult!

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    3. DEMON to DEACON even harder. Nice job jan.

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    4. SPARE to SPHERE even harder.

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    5. SHONE to SHRINE, all easy with a crossword clue website, but without and while being recorded....

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    6. I am curious about your answers to the ones not on the radio. Impressive to say the least to listen to your answers this morning.

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    7. Try this one without using your crossword clue website:

      REIGN>>>? Remember you replace the I with "two new (different) letters," so RESIGN is unacceptable.

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    8. Natasha, I think there was one word that stumped all three of us. But there was a lot more "dead air" that got edited out.

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    9. What was the word that stumped all three of you? I think WS was impressed with your quick responses? Seemed surprised.

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    10. Not sure. STOCK -> STRUCK, maybe?

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    11. Ron - planting a bug at the end of your reign is repugnant.

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    12. Jan, your being on the air places you up there with other luminaries from the Garden State--notably, The Chairman of the Board and The Boss. Since we're in a creative mood, let's come up with an appropriate moniker to honor Jen. Perhaps "The Puzzle Goddess"?

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  4. An excellent job, Jan, on a very hard puzzle. And thanks for compiling that Google doc, makes our lives much easier.

    And just to make your life harder, how about some more spoonerisms? Each of these is a well-known 2 syllable town or city in the US, and a clue to the spoonerized result is listed below:

    1) ancient musician?
    2) a fair job
    3) variant on a Schwarzenegger insult
    4) 2 verbs that are antonyms (1 present, 1 past tense)
    5) an embarrassing event (yes, we are 6 years old)

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    1. eco, re: 5) Some of us. . . (Of course, that's the first one I got.)

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    2. WW: I thought #2 was more up your alley. And that SDB would be the first to crack #5.

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  5. Jan -

    My congratulations. That was one of the hardest on-air puzzles I can remember. You did great.

    As far as this two-week puzzle goes, I won't be playing. I just don't care for the "you never know when you're through" kind of puzzle. But good luck to all who do play.

    Unfortunately, you can't use the one of my favorite song titles because it only hit #3 on the Billboard chart, not #1: Da Doo Ron Ron.

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    1. The original 1963 version of Da Doo Ron Ron by The Crystals only made it to #3, but the reprise by the legendary Shaun Cassidy took it to #1 on July 16, 1977.

      This proves that either Shaun Cassidy was an awesome talent or 1977 was a really f**ked-up year for pop music.

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  6. Thanks, everyone. Besides cutting out most of the puzzle questions, they also got rid of the question I prepared for Will, which was something like, why does he seem to favor word puzzles, especially anagrams, rather than logic, math, or other kinds of puzzles. Part of his reply was that it's harder to come up with original logic or math puzzles.

    I was also sad to discover that Flying Purple People Eater preceded the Hot 100 Era (just barely).

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    1. Very impressive work - that was a very hard on-air puzzler! --Margaret G.

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  7. jan,
    I like the question you asked that was not used. It certainly was better than having that redundant guest you had to put up with, as did we all. I thought you did well with a rather unfair challenge in relationship to those in the past.

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  8. If Le Pen wins, it's FREXIT. Hey Jude, everybody's somebody's fool... If SDB wins, it's Washington State WAXIT.

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    1. Le Pen is mightier than accord.

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    2. Yeah, but that Macaron is one tough cookie.

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    3. True, but François is less Fillon.

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    4. And don't rule out Benoît Hamon cheese.

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    5. I think you've found the long & short of it, the micron & the macron of it.

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    6. It's an Eiffel bunch to have to choose from.

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  9. Good job, Jan! At least he spared you anagrams.
    It turns out that the bit of wordplay he unleashed on you (did your "team mates" get any?) is easy to come up with.

    Try some six-letter words at random and reverse the rules, i.e. replacing the middle two with one. It is a lot easier, hence the number of them in his barrage.

    With last week's runny cheese and this on-air bullying, it will be nice to take a few weeks off.
    I suggest posting your song title sentences here and not sending them in to be graded by the PM.

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  10. Jan: A late congrats to you, that would have been a tough challenge for me!!
    The fear of getting a challenge like that is what keeps me away from submitting answers a lot of times.

    Just curious, how long do they keep you on the line once your challenge is over? Do they get more info from you or do they maybe make small talk for a while?

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    1. I was late for an appointment, so I didn't stay on the line to listen to Lynn re-record the contest rules. She had originally read the standard "one entry per person" rules, but Will reminded her that for this challenge, they will accept 3 entries. But they had nothing else to say to me after the on-air play.

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  14. Jan..what are you going to do with two NPR PINS? Can you post a picture? Never have seen one.

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  15. Am I the only nerd here categorizing the song titles by noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase, etc...?

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  16. Jan - I thought my -rio on air questions were tough, but you had it much tougher and you were awesome. Congratulations. Now for the three-peat.

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  17. Approximately how many song titles are available to use?

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    1. Looks like a bit over 1000. Not much of a vocabulary for telling a story. Particularly weak on verbs.

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  18. I’m sure some of you will be able to use Bryan Hyland’s 1960 #1 hit, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini.”

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  19. Would the more appropriate Rickrolling be a string of six logical titles followed by Never Gonna Give You Up or simply
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    Never Gonna Give You Up
    ?

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  20. I just started looking at the titles to be used in this fortnight's creative challenge. I have a few observations:
    1. I believe Will will receive more dupicate or near-dupicate entries than he normally does for these challenges.
    2. I was lucky to be born in 1951, and was just beginning to listen to music when this list began taking off. "The Chipmunk Song, Neil Sedaka's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," Little Eva's "Loco-Motion," and Bobby Boris Pickett's "Monster Mash" were the first four 45-rpm records I bought (actually, my parents bought) from Bill Hoppe's music store in Chippewa Falls, WI. I think each cost a dollar.
    3. I realize that Bruce Springsteen is more of an "album artist" than "singles artist," but I was very surprised to discover that his highest position on the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles chart was #2, with "Dancin' In the Dark." As I recall, "Born in the U.S.A." seemed to be played incessantly during the summer of '84, but couldn't crack it either.

    LegoWhoHasNotYetCreatedWillWorthyEntriesForThisCreativeChallenge

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    1. I'm a believer, help, respect, we can work it out...

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  21. A bit over 1000 titles, eh? Now I know where "Billboard 100" comes from.
    There is a rumor that they are taking nominations for the new Sunday Puzzle guest slot. Sean Spicer is the Special one for next week, with Henry Kissinger and Ann Coulter soon to follow.

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    1. OMG! If they'd have any of those choices, the listening audience would be in a world of hurt!
      AAAHHHH!!!!
      Come to think of it, that would be cool if "Spicey" would just chase Ann Coulter with his motorized podium!

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  22. My wife and I were wondering who the "special guest" next week will be. I'm thinking either Bill Clinton, who's known to be a crossword fan, or Obama, who's recently come back from vacation.

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    1. I also awoke this morning thinking about the surprise, special guest we have to suffer through come Sunday next, not to mention having to put up with this bullturd two week challenge that takes no more than a day at most to put together.

      Isn't that what NPR does all day; invite special guests, mostly from the Heritage Foundation, I admit, but you know, what's the big deal with having a special guest on a six or seven minute crappy word game? What could possibly be of any value from doing this, even if the guest turns out to be Putin, Obama, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, or Kim Jong-il, pushing old hair styles, etc.? To me this comes across as another insult to the NPR audience.

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    2. If it's HerHillaryness, will she get the questions in advance?

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  23. We keep hearing that Trump still wants to build a concrete wall on our Southern border although Mexicans are no longer the majority of undocumented aliens living here. They tell us Asians are now in the lead in this regard. Therefore I am suggesting it might be better for us to spend our tax dollars on building a huge, concrete wall along the Pacific Ocean coastline. I realize this may upset a handful of moguls from Hollywood and Silicone Valley who have expensive estates with great views, but perhaps they would then relocate to Kansas and Indiana, etc. where they could have amazing views of corn fields, and this would give a boost to the Mid-west economy. Would someone please nominate me for a MacArthur 'Genius' Fellowship grant award?

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    1. Of course you do! Why would anyone want to look at the boring Big Sur if he could feast on the exciting soybean fields? Miles of damp sand vs. acres of tofu. No contest, huh?

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    2. I love the smell of glyphosate in the morning!

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    3. "Pesticides are safe!" A pack o' lies now.

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  24. SDB: Careful now, WA state has some Pacific Coastline, too!!
    I'll trade my cornfield view for a view from a hillside CA ocean view, anytime!
    If you grant me that as a wish, I'll nominate you for that award! :)

    ps, Cornfields aren't that bad, just have to mix it up every so often!

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  25. MY LOVE/I'M LEAVING IT UP TO YOU/IF YOU WANNA BE HAPPY/LISTEN TO WHAT THE MAN SAID/IT'S ALL IN THE GAME/WE CAN WORK IT OUT/OUR DAY WILL COME
    Just a sample of my work.

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  26. THE FIRST TIME/THE WAY WE WERE/COMING UP/COMING OUT OF THE DARK/SAILING/UPSIDE DOWN/GRAZING IN THE GRASS
    My most bizarre-sounding one yet.

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  27. Now you have long ago finished with this fake puzzle, here is a must read interview with Noam Chomsky you can cut & paste to Google:

    Noam Chomsky: US Is the "Most Dangerous Country in the World"
    Truth-Out · 2 days ago

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    1. And/or watch Amy Goodman's one hour interview with Chomsky broadcast this morning on Democracy Now! They cover much the same and more.

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    2. eco,
      Thanks, that was excellent!

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    3. Sounds like it was just a 'dog and pony show' getting most of the Senate together today, to discuss N. Korea.
      To me, Trumpster's policy is basically like most previous presidencies, just more bluster.

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    4. The reality is North Korea is not the real threat. The real threat to world peace is the United States of America. Sorry! That is a true fact, and I know those are not in vogue these days.

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    5. That's why I mention Trump's bluster as a detriment. It can be very destabilizing, especially when dealing with N. Korea.
      (I should have put that comment in with this group of replies)

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  28. Of course, more bluster can be a bad thing, considering the maturity level of the country's leaders.

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  29. Margaret G -- Last week, you asked about how quickly the Sunday Puzzle swag arrives after an on-air appearance. The last of my goodies from last week has arrived already. (The lapel pin came on Monday, the Scrabble set yesterday, and the books today.) If you haven't gotten yours yet, I definitely recommend getting on the horn to NPR.

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    1. Thanks, I've sent a message to Morning Edition, since I didn't figure out how to do it directly to the Sunday Puzzler. Glad to hear you got everything so quickly! --MG

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  30. So Dumpy Jumpy Trumpy is going to re-negotiate NAFTA with Mexican President Piñata. I hope he can come out swinging this time against our idiot and doesn't get walled in.

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    1. Speaking of "walled in", do you know about Banksy's Walled Off Hotel, in Bethlehem?

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    2. Lovely! No, I didn't know about it, but I bet they serve up a great Waldorf salad. Probably a bit cheaper than Mar-a-Lago too.

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  31. A week too late for loose brie fans, today is the 256th ("two to the fighting eighth power," as Yossarian put it) birthday of Marie Harel, inventor of camembert.

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  32. The extent of Donald Trump's Korean Policy:
    "Hey, Kim Jong un, go ahead, pull my finger!"
    "OK, problem solved. Now, when is that next flight to Mar-a-Lago??"

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    1. I don't think so. Trump and Tillerson are playing a dangerous game that we, not North Korea, started.

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    2. I'm just saying that he has no policy!

      BTW, I wonder if today's missile failure was due to corrupted software introduced by the Obama administration?? Just wondering...

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    3. He does have a policy and it is Bluster. It is the policy of a bully and it is never the policy of peace. Trump is the most dangerous person on our planet. Working down from there it is Republicans in Congress. There are many evil world leaders with some degrees of power, but we are at the top of the list and the catalyst for most of the trouble in the world today. A major part of the problem is that a majority of Americans are too ignorant to understand the situation. Facts keep getting in their way.

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    4. I agree with you but I think the problem is that people are too set in their ways and beliefs, so much so that they won't even listen to other points of view.
      I've always been amazed at how many conservatives are swayed by AM talk radio. Over the years, people with normally better sense, fall for some of the most bizarre ideas coming from kooks on AM radio!
      The game changer may be when the hardliners try to ram through the next version of the health care bill. Maybe then, when it really hits people in the pocket book, that they start to feel the pot starting to boil.
      It is so very frustrating!

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    5. Who doesn't like to take a test? Below are 20 traits, check yourself (or your favorite marginally-elected leader). A value of 0 is assigned if the item does not apply, 1 if it applies somewhat, and 2 if it fully applies.

      The traits are:
      glib and superficial charm
      grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
      need for stimulation
      pathological lying
      cunning and manipulativeness
      lack of remorse or guilt
      shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
      callousness and lack of empathy
      parasitic lifestyle
      poor behavioral controls
      sexual promiscuity
      early behavior problems
      lack of realistic long-term goals
      impulsivity
      irresponsibility
      failure to accept responsibility for own actions
      many short-term marital relationships
      juvenile delinquency
      revocation of conditional release
      criminal versatility

      After you total your score you can read about the results here. And then listen to some appropriate music here.

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    6. Eco - I liked the test and, also used a marginally-elected leader! Very interesting!!

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    7. I think Bill Clinton might do slightly better on this test than Trumposity, but probably not by much.

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    8. I agree that Bill Clinton would score very high, as, I suspect, would LBJ and Nixon. Carter seems like a low score.

      I think it's also worth noting how many Presidents have had daddy issues. It also seems that strong mothers were dominant in the upbringing of many Dems (Roosevelt, Carter, Obama) and strong fathers for Repubs (both Bushes, Trumpster). None of them seem to have had "normal" happy childhoods. But I'm too lazy to really look into that.

      Perhaps the lesson to parents is: if you want your child to grow up to be President you better abuse or traumatize them!

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  33. First, my apology to our lady Jen for my typo typing her name as "Jan."

    Browsing the lists on Wikipedia brought back many memories as I am sure that it did for legolambda and many others. My musical radar became active in 1962, although I vaguely remember "Volare", "Witch Doctor"=", and "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie..."--you know the rest. My musical radar recalls the pre-British invasion days of the Phil Spector girl groups and when pop music radio playlists crossed over into several genres--rock, country, R&B, instrumentals ("Theme from a Summer Place"), etc.--and despite the different styles, it all sounded so natural Those were the days my friend; I thought they'd never end!

    Limiting us to post-1958 songs leaves out such classics as the icons by Elvis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. (NB: Surprisingly, Chuck Berry never had a number one hit during that era) Great Balls of Fire--I'm all shook up--ain't that a shame!

    It's also surprising to find some songs you thought were number one hits, but surprisingly, weren't--notably Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" and "Go Your Own Way" --both of which I'm sure could easily fit into entries on several themes.

    I perused all lists up to 2017 for titles, realizing that my musical antenna stopped receiving signals sometime around 1985, with Paul Simpn's "Graceland" and Enya's "Orinoco Flow" being about the only two albums/songs that stuck in my mind (BTW, "The Flow" surprisingly was also not a number one hit, despite being a worldwide sensation that put Enya on the map and in my mental jukebox).

    Likewise, there are many songs from all eras that make you wonder how/why anyone liked them--let alone bought them--in the first place. But what's annoying to one person is a sweet melody to the ears of another person.

    I submitted songs on three themes--a plea for love, a plea to get back together after a breakup, and the opposite--demands for an ex-lover to get lost.

    Finally, let me suggest "The Brain" as a moniker for our lady Jen.

    Now let's get our own brains working on this one!

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  34. Yikes! What's gotten into me? Just realized that the name of the Brain is "Jan" after all. I don't look at this blog every often, just skim it. Thus, merely glancing at names somehow made "Jen" stick in my mind. As Brenda Lee would say "I'm sorry." or equal time to the males "There--I've Said it again" (Bobby Vinton)

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    1. And, I guess you don't actually listen to the puzzle on air, else you'd know that I'm a male.

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    2. Correct on the comment regarding not listening to the puzzle segment and my error regarding the gender of The Brain. I'm at church when it airs, so I catch it later by reading it on the website.

      However, despite my faux pas, you're Still the Brain! (to modify the title of the Orleans hit from the mid-70's).

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  35. jan: You sound pretty sure.
    http://doctor.webmd.com/doctor/jan-wolitzky-5da69b62-008e-45d8-9d2a-d7a34dc0b1dd-overview

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  36. libertarianmathprofessor -

    Ah, the Phil Spector girl groups. One of my very favorite genres. Many consider Spector to be the second-greatest record producer of all time, right after the Beatles producer, George Martin.

    Spector was never a nice guy and is currently serving 18 years for second degree murder. But a hell of a producer!

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  37. NEW KID IN TOWN/MOVES LIKE JAGGER/HIPS DON'T LIE/AT THIS MOMENT/IT'S NOW OR NEVER/DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT/DANCING QUEEN
    Sort of a dance competition story.

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