6 June 1944

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2014 by Travis Cody in

It doesn't matter that this space is dark in 2014.  Today I am present for the 70th commemoration of the Allied invasion of the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944.

  • In 2008 I wrote about US Army E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
  • In 2009 I wrote about the diversity of the combined Allied effort
  • In 2010 I wrote about US Army 2nd Raider Battalion
  • In 2011 I wrote about the British 6th Airborne Division
  • In 2012 I wrote about the Omaha Beach assault by elements of 1st and 29th Divisions of US Army V Corps supported by 5th Ranger Battalion and 5th Engineer Special Brigade 
  • In 2013 I wrote about deception and spy craft to misdirect Germany in the weeks leading up to the invasion
I don't have a new essay for you today.  I simply wish to ask you to please remember them today, tomorrow, and in all the days to come.  Remember ordinary men who did extraordinary things because those things needed to be done.

To those who never came home, I thank you profoundly for the sacrifice you made. 

To those who returned, may these your twilight years be filled with light and peace. 

It is the nature of time that they leave us.  I make the choice granted me by liberty and freedom to remember their service and sacrifice, and to honor it always.

Going dark

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013 by Travis Cody in

It has been my pleasure over the last seven years to share my thoughts with the blogosphere.  I have decided that enough is as good as a feast, and so today Trav's Thoughts goes dark.

Whether the thoughts cease to be shared permanently or only for a short while remains to be seen.

Cheers and best wishes to all.

Five on Friday Set 200

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Edit:  Jamie pointed out that I forgot Mr Linky one last time.  I fixed that.

Now we come to the end.  Set 200.

Seriously...200 is a pretty big deal.  To date I've posted 1025 songs on 199 Sets.  The math should make it 199 x 5 for 995, but there were a few times when I posted more than 5 songs on a Set, bringing us to 1025.

Through Set 199 I have included 474 different artists and there have been 67 duplicate tracks, not counting the same track recorded by different artists or coincidentally having the same title.  Here is a list of tracks that have been used more than twice.
  • Photographs and Memories by Jim Croce has been used three times
  • People Got To Be Free by the Rascals has been used three times
  • The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield has been used three times
  • Landslide by Stevie Nicks has been used three times
  • Good Morning Starshine by Oliver has been used three times
  • I Can Hear Music by The Beach Boys has been used three times
  • Rainy Night in Georgia by Brook Benton has been used three times
  • Secretly by Jimmie Rogers has been used three times
  • Turn Around Look at Me by The Vogues has been used three times
  • Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls has been used four times
Now you all know that I don't typically commit to single favorites, except in very rare cases.  My tastes change daily in terms of what I consider best or favorite.  I like all 199 Sets I've posted for different reasons.  But when you're closing down a long standing feature, I think it makes a good ending to put together something special. 

So Pam chose her favorite tunes from Sets 1 through 198, while I chose groups of tunes I can safely say I've enjoyed more than others.  For our final Set 200, I'm combining my 5 favorite Five on Friday Sets from the last 199.

You'll note from my list above that Iris appears four times on FoF.  It was on three of the five Sets I chose for today, so I replaced two of the appearances.

Please enjoy my Super-Sized-Mega-Step-Over-Lip-Lock Set 200.  I've enjoyed preparing this feature every week.  I've enjoyed visiting those who share their own musical interests.

But 200 is enough for me.  And so, The End.


Five on Friday Set 200 by Travis on Grooveshark Set 22
  • A Summer Song, written by Chad Stuart/Clive Metcalfe/Keith Noble, released by Chad & Jeremy in 1964
  • The Rain, the Park, and Other Things, written by Artie Kornfield/Steve Duboff, released by Cowsills in 1967
  • Clair, written by Gilbert O'Sullivan, released in 1972
  • A World Without Love, written by John Lennon/Paul McCartney, released by Peter & Gordon in 1964
  • I Saw the Light, written by Todd Rundgren, released in 1972
Set 38
  • The Time of My Life, written by Steve Lipson, released by David Cook in 2008
  • Iris, written by Anthony Romo, released by Goo Goo Dolls in 1998
  • Better Together, written by Jack Johnson, released in 2006
  • For the First Time, written by James Newton Howard/Jud J Friedman/Allan Dennis Rich, released by Kenny Loggins in 1996
  • The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, written by Ewan MacColl, released by Roberta Flack in 1972
Set 94
  • Could I Have this Dance, written by Wayland Holyfield/Bob House, released by Anne Murray in 1980
  • If, written by David Gates, released by Bread in 1971
  • The Goodbye Girl, written by David Gates, released in 1977
  • And I Love You So, written by Don McLean, released in 1970
  • Sunday Morning Sunshine, written by Harry Chapin, released in 1972
Set 108
  • Do You Want to Dance, written by Bobby Freeman, released by Bette Midler in 1972
  • Light as the Breeze, written by Leonard Cohen, released by Billy Joel in 1995
  • Songbird, written by Christine McVie, released by Fleetwood Mac in 1977
  • Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
    • Replaced with Elusive Butterfly, written by Bob Lind, released in 1966
  • Here, There, and Everywhere, written by Sir Paul McCartney, released by The Beatles in 1966
Set 156
  • Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
    • Replaced by I Knew You When, written by Joe South, released by Billy Joe Royal in 1965
  • If You Could Read My Mind, written by Gordon Lightfoot, released in 1970
  • Photographs and Memories, written by Jim Croce, released in 1972
  • Landslide, written by Stevie Nicks, released in 1975
  • Maybe You Should, written by Taylor Hicks/Gary Nicholson/Mike Reid, released by Taylor Hicks in 2008

Cue that theme music

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Welcome to our final encore post.

I thought Jack and Cheryl had a great night.  First they danced a lovely Viennese Waltz.  Then they followed up with a fun Samba in the Trio Round with Sharna Burgess.  Both performances are encore worthy.

First the Viennese Waltz.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

Then the Trio Samba.  Scroll forward to 1:55 for the dance.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

The Trio Jive from Leah and Tony with Henry Biyalikov was so clever and creative.  It was also danced extremely well.  Scroll forward to about 1:49 for the dance.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

Our final dance of the night selection could conceivably crack the Top 10 all time performances in the run of the show.  This is the Trio Jazz from Corbin and Karina featuring Witney Carson.  Scroll forward to about 1:49 for the dance.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

It has been my pleasure over the years not only to recap performance night, but also to bring you a taste of the dancing in my encore posts.

Cheers gang!

Cue that theme music!

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by Travis Cody in

It's live from Hollywood!

Well gang, welcome to my last performance recap.  After due consideration, I have decided that it's time to stop.  So we've duded up in our fru fru finery, we've got our cheese and crackers, we've cracked open a fine merlot, and we have CAKE.

Our six remaining pairs will each have an individual dance, and then it's the return of the Trio Round.  More on that later.

First it's our individual round.

Amber and Derek dance Quickstep.  She's got both of her knees wrapped this week and she's having a tough time getting through practice.  You need to be on both legs for Quickstep.  There's no hiding when your wheels aren't healthy.  I love this music.  It's more classic and Quickstep looks right to it.  Amber is keeping up, and Derek did a smart thing by not making too many super difficult steps.  There was plenty of classic content, so there shouldn't be any complaints there.  She gave it her all, but there were some issues with her posture and a couple of mistakes with footwork.  I suspect she was leaning forward a bit more to favor those knees.  I've done that myself.  She's always spot on for performance.  It's a shame that her knees won't allow her to go full out.  Judges say 8s across for a total of 24.    

Leah and Tony dance Tango.  The drama of Tango suits her as an actor.  All she has to do is keep up with the tempo and not make any footwork or posture mistakes.  I'd still like to see her extend her legs and arms.  I want her to reach out beyond her feet and hands.  Reach right out into the audience and pull them back in.  That extension and line emphasizes the drama, particularly in Tango.  These routines are seeming very short to me.  It doesn't seem like the full 90 seconds.  I liked this routine, but there just didn't seem to be enough of it.  I thought her frame was very good.  She never missed her footwork.  But I wanted more of the performance.  I was just getting into it and then it was over.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Corbin and Karina dance Waltz.  They talked in rehearsal about dancing traditional.  If you do that with Waltz, you can't go wrong.  Rise and fall.  Fairy tale.  Spins.  Twirls.  Add it all up and you get romance, and that's Waltz.  I think they did a fine job with every element.  It was a pretty dance.  I thought Corbin's frame was excellent.  He was expressive and classy.  Leah should watch some tape of the way he extends through his hands and feet.  You create entirely different and complete shapes when you do that.  You also enhance the little performance details, because that extra quarter beat on the reach helps you breathe through the phrasing.  I thought the movement in this piece was smooth and fluid, mainly due to that wonderful extension.  Judges say 9,9.10 for a total of 28.

Jack and Cheryl dance Viennese Waltz.  Happy Birthday Jack!  Cheryl gave him a mini mirror ball trophy.  Sweet!  I enjoy the shapes he makes.  Jack understands extension and pause.  His frame is excellent.  His footwork is excellent.  He always looks like he's leading in the ballroom styles.  This Viennese Waltz had all the content.  It had so many lovely turns.  It had fluidity and flow.  I thought he had tremendous control in spins.  If he could just release the tension in his hands, he'd have the entire package.  I really enjoy the way he has embraced and built on technique.  That foundation lets him dance with incredible confidence, particularly in the ballroom styles.  Judges say 10,10,9 for a total of 29.

Bill and Emma dance Charleston.  Bill was a bit stompy with his footwork.  Yes, stompy.  It's a word.  It was a bit of a silly routine.  Certainly entertaining.  But I didn't see enough real Charleston in that dance.  Or perhaps it was that I had trouble recognizing the real Charleston elements of the piece.  I thought Bill's musicality and timing were way off.  He didn't turn out on the kicks.  He wasn't able to swivel.  There was almost no bounce.  The movement didn't seem to match the tempo of the music.  Yes, he works hard and tries and puts out his best effort.  Unfortunately some of the dance styles require a minimum amount of technique, otherwise they just look bad no matter how hard you work and how much you try.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21.

Elizabeth and Val dance Viennese Waltz.  They struggled last week, I believe due entirely to Elizabeth making the music change.  This week, Val took back control and asked her to dance what he choreographed.  She did that, and the performance was beautiful.  There was drama in the story, directed by Val's choices to leave an edge to the movement rather than to soften it.  I thought it was an unusual piece of choreography.  There was a bit more jerkiness in the movement than I typically care for in Viennese Waltz.  I prefer the smooth flow.  However, I thought this piece made lovely use of a contemporary darkness and for that creativity, I enjoyed the performance.  Judges say 9,8,9 for a total of 26.

Here's our leader board after first round.

29 Jack and Cheryl
28 Corbin and Karina
27 Leah and Tony
26 Elizabeth and Val
24 Amber and Derek
21 Bill and Emma

Now it's the Trio Round.  Each of our couples gets to add an eliminated pro or a member of our Troupe.  The idea is to make the celebrity shine.

Amber and Derek are joined by Mark Ballas to dance Salsa.  The performance quality was high in that dance.  It had energy.  With the bad knees, she's limited.  She can't get across the floor, and she can't push off her feet to get more hip action.  The dance was essentially static, except when Derek and Mark lifted her to move across the floor.  Typically Salsa is characterized by constant flow, and this choreography had stops and starts as it moved between work in hold and side by side by side work.  Overall the dance was entertaining and I enjoyed it.  It's just a shame that Amber's knees keep her from doing some of the things I'm sure she's capable of.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Leah and Tony are joined by Henry Biyalikov to dance Jive.  HA!  They've decided to play the judges in their routine.  That was surprisingly effective.  Not only were the characterizations excellent, but the dancing was nearly flawless.  The piece was well designed.  The parodies weren't mean.  The choreography was difficult and full of outstanding Jive content.  There were a couple of issues with Leah's kicks and flicks.  I would have liked to see them a little sharper and cleaner.  But the routine was so entertaining that those things are easy to overlook when taking in the whole.  Judges say 9s across for a total of 27.

Corbin and Karina are joined by Witney Carson to dance Jazz.  That was really good gang.  This is right in Corbin's wheelhouse.  He's a Broadway performer and this routine was straight off a Broadway stage.  It had character and pizzazz.  The choreography built from note and movement one.  It had a Fosse-esque quality to it, interpreted by all three dancers.  There wasn't anything to dislike about it.  The rehearsal footage showed Corbin taking a more active role, adding his ideas to the piece.  It seemed like all three dancers were able to meld individual styles into a cohesive and complete routine.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.

Jack and Cheryl are joined by Sharna Burgess to dance Samba.  Let's see if Jack can turn loose and just dance a Latin number.  Oh he's done it.  He's got some Latin hips going.  He gave in to it.  He got some Samba bounce.  He completely embraced the character and the cheesiness in the story.  That brought this performance up to a level he hadn't quite been able to reach in Latin styles.  The routine was clever and creative, without being too silly.  Yes, sometimes he was flat footed and he did get a little out of control when trying to dance between the two Cheryl and Sharna.  But when he danced in hold with Cheryl, he did have solid posture and frame.  I thought the whole performance was entertaining.  Judges say 8,8,9 for a total of 25.

Bill and Emma are joined by Peta Murgatroyd to dance Salsa.  We have a Willy Wonka Salsa.  Well, there wasn't a whole lot of actual Salsa in the routine.  What there was...well, I can't say Bill danced it very well.  It was another silly routine, designed principally to entertain.  I suppose it was successful in that respect.  But there really wasn't any musicality or rhythm.  There was no technique.  It was just a combination of bizarre choreography and movement.  It's really unfortunate for Bill, because in the early part of the competition he was learning and improving his technique.  I thought he actually had potential to do fairly well.  But he has regressed in the last few dances, almost as though Emma has given up on the teaching and just gone for the entertainment value.  I guess that's one choice.  Judges say 7s across for a total of 21. 

Elizabeth and Val are joined by Gleb Savchenko to dance Salsa.  This is some classic Salsa.  The flow never stopped.  The choreography was so difficult.  I thought Elizabeth lost timing a couple of times.  But the neat thing about dancing with Val and Gleb was that they kept time and synch between them so that Elizabeth became a center piece.  That meant that when she was off time, it looked like it was by design.  Val's choreography was outstanding.  It make the most of Elizabeth's strengths.  I thought the way they transitioned Elizabeth between them was excellent.  They kept her right on the edge of balance.  Just as it looked like one of those turns was going to trip her up, one or the other of the guys was there to save the movement and make it look like a natural progression in the routine.  Judges say 10s across for a total of 30.

Here's our leader final board with the scores from both rounds.

58 Corbin and Karina
56 Elizabeth and Val 
54 Leah and Tony
54 Jack and Cheryl
51 Amber and Derek
42 Bill and Emma 

Results...Corbin and Karina are safe.  Jack and Cheryl are safe.  Amber and Derek are safe.  Leah and Tony are safe.  Bill and Emma are safe.

That means Elizabeth and Val are eliminated.

You know, I can't say that's the wrong result because it's about who gets the fans to pick up the phone and vote.  Having said that, it's not really the right result.

And that's a wrap for me gang.  I've enjoyed sharing my dancing thoughts with you over the years. 


Veterans Day

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 by Travis Cody in

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, major hostilities in World War 1 ended with the signing of the Armistice.

Whether you call it Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, please turn your thoughts to the men and women of the armed forces who have defended our freedoms.

Thank you to all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and members of the US Coast Guard for their service and sacrifice.  May you all be safe today, and in all the tomorrows of your service.  And if you must make the ultimate sacrifice, may you go to your rest with the humble thanks of a grateful nation and her citizens.

This I also send to the men and women of all other nations who defend freedom and justice around the world.  

Happy Birthday USMC, 10 November 1775

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2013 by Travis Cody in

The United States Marine Corps was established 10 November 1775 as the Continental Marines to provided infantry support to the Navy. Today, USMC stands as our amphibious force-in-readiness capable of rapid deployment as first responders to international incidents. As of Feb 2013, there are currently about 195,000 active duty Marines, with another 40,000 in the reserves.

Marines have seen action in the Revolutionary War, Quasi-War, Barbary Wars, War of 1812, Seminole Wars, Mexican-American War, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, Boxer Rebellion, Banana Wars, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Invasion of Grenada, Bombing of Libya (1986), Gulf War I, Somali Civil War, Bosnian War, Kosovo War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, and Bombing of Libya (2011).

In 238 years of history, Marines have been decorated by the governments of France, the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam. Marines have been awarded 400 Medals of Honor and scores of other decorations for valor in action.

The current Commandant of the Corps is General James F Amos.  The Assistant Commandant is General John M Paxton Jr.  Sergeant Major of the Corps is SgtMajMC Michael P Barrett.

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines 

Today, cake-cutting ceremonies will be held in honor of the Corps' birthday. The first piece of cake goes to the oldest Marine present, who will hand it off to the youngest. Then, Marine Corps Order 47 will be read. This is Commandant Lejeune's Birthday Message:
On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

If you have a chance, please cruise by Castra Praetoria and wish SgtMaj Mike Burke and his Ninjas a Happy Birthday for their Corps.

Semper Fi.

Five on Friday Set 199

Posted: Friday, November 08, 2013 by Travis Cody in

As we close in on Set 200, Pam combed through all of the songs I've used in the previous 198 Sets and chose her favorites...the ones I won't be using next week.  She settled on 12.

Enjoy our penultimate Five on Friday!

Five on Friday Set 199 by Travis on Grooveshark

Secretly, written by Al Hoffman/Dick Manning/Hugo Peretti/Luigi Creatore, released by Jimmie Rodgers in 1958, Set 171

Early Morning Rain, written by Gordon Lightfoot, released by Gordon Lightfoot in 1966, Set 26

Turn Around Look At Me, written by Jerry Capehart, released by The Vogues in 1968, Set 72 and 102

The Worst That Could Happen, written by Jimmy Webb, released by The Brooklyn Bridge in 1968, Set 143

I Can Hear Music, written by Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich/Phil Spector, released by The Beach Boys in 1969, Set 45 and 123

Good Morning Starshine, written by James Rado/Gerome Ragni, released by Oliver in 1969, Set 56 and 143

Every Day With You Girl, written by Buddy Buie/JR Cobb, released by Classics IV in 1969, Set 76

Love Can Make You Happy, written by Jack Sigler Jr, released by Mercy in 1969, Set 121

I Just Can't Help Believing, written by Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, released by BJ Thomas in 1970, Set 76

Walking in the Rain, written by Barry Mann/Phil Spector/Cynthia Weil, released by Jay and the Americans in 1970, Set 172

The Last Song, released by Edward Bear in 1972, Set 85

Over the Rainbow, music by Harold Arlen/lyrics by EY Harburg, released by Sam Harris in 1984, Set 51 and 123 as released by Eva Cassidy

Peace in review

Posted: Thursday, November 07, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Another Blog Blast Day has come and gone, but the journey to peace in our lives and the greater world continues.  As I do every year, I'd like to share some of the posts that stood out for me as I traveled the bloggosphere.

Not only did Michelle at Crows Feet create yet another stunning Peace Globe, but she gave us some pretty inspiring words to go along with it.

Sue at Sunflower Roots captures the essence of Blog Blast in a few short sentences.

Then there's this gem From the Desk of Susan Demeter-St Clair.

Mama Pajama at The Unused Portion reminds us that peace is a journey and sometimes 4 November catches us in a valley instead of at a peak.

Find ten minutes and spend them listening to Marilyn at More Random Than Average.  I promise you won't regret the time. 

The Screaming Pumpkin reminds us that peace always begins from within each of us.

That's just a sample of some of the wonderful graphics and words bloggers shared about peace.  

Join us again on 4 November 2014 when we'll Blog for Peace again.  Until then, use your voice in the way that seems best to you...every day.

I believe that words have power, so this matters.

Dona Nobis Pacem

Cue that theme music

Posted: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 by Travis Cody in

Here's what we liked from Monday's performance show.

I didn't think the Argentine Tango from Corbin and Karina was up to their usual standard, but I did enjoy the performance.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

I loved the Rumba from Amber and Derek.  Len wasn't around to whine about it not being standard, so bonus!  Click here if the video doesn't play.

Dance of the night goes to the Tango from Jack and Cheryl, which I thought was outstanding.  Click here if the video doesn't play.

I'm still working my way through Peace posts from Blog Blast Day on Monday, so if you haven't seen me yet, I'll be there soon.

Cheers gang!