Jacob Lusk Goes Home…And Then There Were Four

Ryan Seacrest said we might be surprised at the voting results, but think most Idol fans expected Jacob Lusk to go home and he did on Thursday night’s show.

We might have been surprised that Lauren Alaina Suddeth was in the bottom two, her first time to be in the bottom group. She took it really hard, but she should be back as strong as ever next week. Jimmy Iovine who has been mentoring the Idol contestants this season, said she held back on a high note, during her rendition of Unchained Melody.

Scotty McCreery was put on the spot by Ryan Seacrest and did the right thing by refusing to join the group that he thought was staying, so Seacrest led him to the right group.  I thought he did great on Wednesday night, but it was a case of Haley Reinhart and James Durbin singing a little better.

Haley who was constantly in the bottom three earlier this season seems to be gaining momentum. She seemed to be on the verge of going home every week there for awhile, but now she just might be in the final two.

Iovine criticized Durbin for being too emotional during his 60’s song, but I think his emotions made his version of Harry Nilsson’s Without You even better. Durbin has gone through a lot, having battled Tourette’s syndrome for many years, and being taunted for his uncontrollable movements. So if anyone deserved to sing with emotion, it is Durbin and he didn’t deserve the criticism of Iovine.

It was almost anti-climatic when Jacob was sent home, since it was totally expected. Jacob should make a living as an artist, but he wasn’t the best singer on American Idol this season.

And then there were four after the departure of Jacob. Anyone in the final four could be in the final two on Finale Night on May 25. The contestants will have to impress the judges and America more than ever next week, since James is in it to win it as Randy Jackson says.

I am afraid that Lauren Alaina Suddeth could be the one going home next week, unless she has the confidence to reach the highest notes in a song and goes for it, instead of backing off like she did Wednesday night.

Personally, I would like to see a Final Two of Scotty and Haley, but have a feeling right now it could James and Haley in the Final Two. James in my book is the best overall singer and will win American Idol barring any monumental mistakes the next three weeks.

If Lauren goes home next week, I look for Scotty to pick up a good portion of her votes. The worst case scenario for Scotty would be to have a Scotty and Lauren final, preventing him from picking up some of Lauren’s votes.

Casey Abrams asked his fans to vote for Haley and apparently that helped her avoid the bottom three this week.

The critiques of the judges will be more important than ever next week. A negative comment by all three judges could send someone home.

This time next week there will only be three contestants left.

Today’s poll asks again who will be the American Idol among the Final Four remaining contestants:


Nostalgic Memories From the Past

These are just some of my memories of the good old days:

When the  ice man brought ice to place in your icebox.

When milkmen brought your milk to the house with cream at the top of the bottles.

When attic fans were the only way of getting any air in a house.

When we would walk on the Murray Street Bridge and see the Red River below, when there were missing slats.

When we were hot and didn’t think about it being hot because it was all we knew since nobody had air conditioners then.

When television shows didn’t come on  till 3:30 PM.  Howdy Doody and Pinky Lee started the telecast day on KALB-TV in Alexandria, Louisiana in the 50’s.

When we listened to old time radio shows like Dragnet and Breakfast Club on the radio, while my mom listened to her soap operas like Just Plain Bill, Stella Dallas, Lorenzo Jones and Guiding Light.

When people would go to local appliance store at night and watch television through the display window at Jimmie Walker’s Appliances on Main Street in Pineville.

When we would come home from school and watch our cowboy heroes in action.

When nativity scenes could be seen in public places before ACLU raised such a fuss, that you can’t find one in a mall today.

When stores like Penneys, Sears and Montgomery Ward were located in free standing stores, before the advent of the shopping centers and malls.

When kids would trick or treat until 10PM at night, filling grocery bags full of candy, with no special Halloween bags.

When families went to drive-in movies together, while teenagers would sneak a extra kid in the trunk, to avoid paying for them.

When theatergoers would throw tomatoes at the movie screen if they were upset with a bad movie.

When Larry McHale of KALB – TV was advertising cigarettes and started coughing, but regrouped and said “Just thinking of those other brands makes me cough.”

When eating TV dinners were more popular than fast food.

When McDonald’s had 15 cent hamburgers.

When you could get a haircut for less than a dollar.

When it cost a dime to see a movie.

When it cost a dime for a school lunch in 1950 at Pineville Elementary in Pineville, Louisiana.

When kids collected baseball cards and put them in bicycle spokes.

When families would go on picnics at the city park, letting the kids play on the playground equipment.

When going to stores we would see white and colored water fountains. One black man tried both kinds and said they tasted the same.

When we watched No Time For Sergeants three times in a row at the movie theater. (One of the funniest movies ever, with Don Knotts being a dexterity expert, that became discombobulated by Andy Griffith’s character.)

When we used to drink Hawaiian Punch and Delaware Punch.

When we used to pay a nickel for a 6 ounce coke out of a machine. Now they charge over a $1.50 for a 20 ounce coke, when in the old days a 24 ounce coke would cost 20 cents.

When we walked a mile to school everyday for the entire 12 years of elementary and high school.

When there was no middle school back in the 50’s.

When Gov. Earl K. Long of Louisiana gave free chickens to voters during a gubneratorial election.

When going fishing meant taking a cane pole and not a expensive rod and reel.

When I bought a $6.50 Nokona baseball glove for $6.00 when the hardware store owner found out I didn’t have enough money to pay the full price.

When we celebrated Christmas by running around with sparklers.

When we would see the miniature church on the city square in Alexandria every Christmas.

When Christmas music was played downtown during the Christmas season.

When we used to play marbles in school.

When playing with a yo-yo was cool.

When hula hoops were the hot fad.

When high school kids rode bikes to school instead of driving cars.

When familes went to church together.

When families actually ate dinner together at a table, instead of in front of the television.

When kids made money by delivering newspapers on bicycle.

When we drank grapefruit juice at breakfast even though we didn’t like it.

When we ate Wheat Chex at breakfast even though we didn’t like it.

When we used to get excited about another school year starting.

When we went to special Christmas Eve services on a cold night in December and watching Christmas movies on television when we got home.

When we had a train set over our bed as a kid.

When we took a trip in 1957 and saw the Howard Johnson restaurants with the orange roofs.

When we got together as a family to hear mother read from the Bible.

When we used to listen to records on the record player.

When homemade ice cream was better than any ice cream bought in a store.

When pizza was delivered to the house the first time.

When mom and pop stores went out of business because of Wal-Mart.

When there used to be neighborhood groceries scattered around in residential neighborhoods.

Yes, those truly were the good old days.

Old Time Radio Poll

The last old time radio show aired on September 30,1962. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar being the last old time radio shows to be broadcast.

The poll today breaks down by age groups of people who have heard old time radio shows either live from 1920’s till September 30, 1962 or media such as MP3 CD’s and downloads:

Archive.org: Great Multimedia Website

Archive.org will keep a reader entertained for hours.

Archive.org is probably the best source for audio and video online this side of YouTube.  The home page for the website as I write this article has a link to an audio version of a Grateful Dead concert at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at New Haven, Connecticut on May 11, 1981.

The concert is only one of 803,305 audio recordings at the website.  There are 2,214 old time radio related links to old time radio shows and magazines that were printed during the height of the popularity of old time radio.

One Roy Rogers episode has been downloaded 74,882 times showing that the website is available for downloading many of the old time radio shows we grew up with.

Old time radio fans will love looking at list after list of old time radio shows available for downloading including some of the more obscure shows which have very few episodes in existence.

The live music archive features 88,813 archives while the moving image archives total 451,934.

Avid readers will enjoy knowing that there are 2.694,639 texts including books and ebooks. The new Bookreader at the site includes Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin and is the example shown of how the Bookreader works.


There is an audio version of some books but the one I listened to was not of the best quality and seemed to be a computer generated voice which probably would be tiring to listen to for an entire book.

Most readers may not enjoy the voice and instead opt to read the books without sound. For those that like the audio they should enjoy the feature that highlights the portion of the book being read by the voice.

The Mega Reader iPhone app provides access to the 1.8 million free books at archive.org so they each iPhone user can have their own personal reader.

Each volume of the Warren Report investigation of the assassination of  President John F. Kennedy is available to read.

The site is an excellent source of reading material for educators and students who are looking for books that are no longer copyrighted.

One word of caution: it could take hours just to look at what is available at archive.org. This website may have the most content of any website online and is worth going to the website to see for yourself what is available.


Locomotives And High Speed Trains

The Three Rivers Rambler pictured still operates with a steam locomotive pulling the train on a 90 minute excursion.
The Three Rivers Rambler pictured still operates today with a steam locomotive pulling the train on a 90 minute excursion.

We have a local train called the Three Rivers Rambler located in Knoxville that takes riders on a 90 minute excursion as it makes a 11 mile trip through the area.

It is good to see these locomotives still operating 97 years after the first commercially successful steam locomotives first ran in 1912.

The first locomotive was built between 1780 and 1794 by John Fitch of the United States. It took about 130 years to perfect the technology enough for commercial use.

The Three Rivers Rambler Christmas train filmed during the Christmas season of 2008.

This clip features scenery from the Mount Rainier National Park area.

This exciting technology lifts trains off the tracks after achieving top speed through magnetic levitation. It reaches top speed of 431 kilometers per hour which translates into 267 miles per hour.

In contrast the fastest regularly scheduled steamlocomotive powered commercial train according to Wikipedia:

The Milwaukee Road had the fastest scheduled steam-powered passenger trains in the world. Both it and the Chicago & North Western had timetables requiring running in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h); it is believed that both railroads’ locomotives exceeded 120 mph (190 km/h).[2]

Technology may be advancing but I still prefer the old days when you could hear the lonesome whistle blowing across the trestle as depicted in the song Blues In The Night.

Growing Up With Model Trains

One of the larger model train setups which is one of the most elaborate I have ever seen and wished I had one like this.
One of the larger model train setups which is one of the most elaborate I have ever seen and wished I had one like this.

My father set up a Lionel model train track on top of  the bed back in the 1950’s. It was fun watching the train rolling around the tracks and never have tired of seeing model trains run.

A model train layout with at least two trains running at once. This layout is located at Smoky Mountain Trains in Bryson City, North Carolina.

Model train setup in Germany.

Model trains running to the music of  City of New Orleans sung by Willie Nelson.

A Christmas train running to the music of the season.

We lived in a house from 1947 to 1952 that had a railroad track running next to our house with only a ditch between our house and the trains. We would wave to the man in the caboose as the train rolled by.

I retained my interest in trains later in life when I drove to Lecompte, Louisiana to see an old locomotive that was parked off the main track. I took photos of the locomotive while I was there.

Railroads have played a major part in the growth of the United States and are still transporting goods across the country to their destinations.

Passenger trains for the most part don’t run to smaller cities today. My last train ride was in January of 1963 when I boarded a train enroute to Indianapolis, Indiana.

I will never forget the snow falling once we reached St. Louis and even more snow was on the ground when we arrived in Indianapolis.

This post is dedicated to train lovers everywhere who enjoy seeing a model train run and riding in a full size train.