Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013



Last week, KATY PERRY notched her eighth #1 song when 'ROAR' topped the Billboard Singles chart.  This event set off a wave of debate at the DUNER BLOG.  Who has the most #1 songs of all time?  Is Katy close?  We conducted research.  It turns out she is #12 on the list.  Here is the Top Ten:

#1. BEATLES: 20 #1's Hopefully, the Fab Four will always top this list.  Their first #1 was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in 1964.  Their last was "The Long & Winding Road" in 1970.  To Pop Music fans, all their #1 songs are sacred.  While other bands have scored numerous but forgettable #1 hits, the average person can sing all twenty of the Beatles' songs.  NOTE: Paul McCartney has nine #1 hits with Wings and solo artist.

#2.  ELVIS: 18 #1's  The King was dethroned on this list by the Fab Four in 1968.  Like the Beatles, Elvis songs are an integral part of Americana.  For example, every kid starts singing "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog" to the family pooch at age four.  Elvis worship then continues throughout the adult life.  NOTE: Even after death, Elvis came close to notching a posthumous #1 when a re-mix of "A Little Less Conversation" hit #4 in 2007.

#2.  MARIAH CAREY: 18 #1's  On thing is for certain: This songbird knows how to make a smash record.  An amazing 72% of her Top Ten hits go to #1.  They also stay there.  Her total of 79 weeks at #1 is more than anyone else.  NOTE:  This ranking has not gone to her head.  Said the Diva: "Elvis and the Beatles changed the world.  The Pop Music Industry is different today."

#3. MICHAEL JACKSON: 13 #1's  The King of Pop deserves his title.  In addition to his chart-toppers, MJ also has three dozen Top 10 hits.  He also wrote numerous #1s for other artists and has five additional #1 hits with the Jackson 5.  

#4. MADONNA: 12 #1's  Love her or hate her, MADONNA is a survivor.  While the Beatles crammed their 20 #1's into seven short years (3.1 #1's per year), the Material Girl is quite the opposite.  Her dozen top hits are spread out over nearly thirty years (0.4 #1's per year).  NOTE: Her full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone.

#4. SUPREMES:  12 #1's  While Martin Luther King gets much of the credit for the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, we here at the DUNER BLOG beg to differ.  We thank Diana, Florence and Mary for our racial equity.  These gals were talented elegant, sophisticated.  Oh yeah!  They happened to be black as well.  NOTE: Diana Ross had six more #1's as a solo artist.

#6.  WHITNEY HOUSTON:  11 #1's  When Whitney died last year, many people felt there were too many tributes and eulogies.  "Was she really that great?" they asked.  Being #6 on this list answers that question. 

#8.  STEVIE WONDER:  10 #1's  Little Stevie Wonder still holds the record for the youngest person ever to top the Pop Charts.  He was only 12 years old when 'Fingertips' went to #1 in 1962.  In addition, this musical genius has 10 Top Ten Albums and 22 Grammy Awards.

#8.  JANET JACKSON: 10 #1's   When people think of JANET JACKSON, they think of a very spiky nipple ring at the Super Bowl Halftime concert.  However, Michael's kid sister is much more than that.  She's sold 100 million albums worldwide. 

#10.  BEE GEES:  9 #1's  Many people forget just how large Disco's impact on humankind really was.  We here at the DUNER BLOG have not.  For us, the Disco Revolution was a spiritual rebirth of the mind, body and the Electric Slide.  NOTE: The Brothers Gibb also wrote four #1 songs for other artists, including Dolly Parton, Frankie Valli and kid brother Andy.

#10. ELTON JOHN: 9 #1's  This conversation took place in 1974: John Lennon: 'Elton, you're so big right now, if you sung an old Beatles song, I bet you it would go to #1.' Elton John: 'You're on!  How about I record Lucy & the Sky With Diamonds?' Guess what?  John Lennon won the bet.  The cover was Elton John's third #1 hit of 1974. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



First of all, we'd like to give a big THANK YOU to our loyal readers who wrote to the DUNER BLOG, begging us to cover this story.  It's true: This news item is TAYLOR MADE for us... 

It all began on a hot desert afternoon in the south of Egypt.  A man was strolling the banks of the River Nile.  He gazed idly at a flock of white storks, drinking and feeding in the water.  Suddenly, he noticed something strange:  One of the storks had a device strapped to its back!! Next, the suspicious man got on all fours and began pursuing the three foot-high winged creature.  Waiting, waiting, for just the right opportunity...the spry Egyptian lunged at the stork.  Gotcha! 

Menes the Pharaoh
The surprised bird made a desperate attempt to escape, but it was too late.  With some rope around his beak and legs, Menes (the name of this particular White Stork) was taken to the local police station for questioning. As expected, the stork did not answer any of the inspector's questions.  'What is this device on your leg?'  'Who sent you?' 'Where are you going?'  Nope, Menes just sat there, with a glazed look on his face.  He wasn't talking.  Unfortunately for Menes, they don't have trials in Egypt.  The innocent stork was instantly thrown in the slammer.  There, depressed bird sat, next to petty thieves and drug dealers.  His crime?  Espionage.  The evidence is attached to his back.

Fortunately, an inspector arrived from nearby Aswan.  He was able to translate the writing on the tracking devise: Property of U.K. Nature Conservancy.  He called the number and revealed Menes' true identity.  It turns out he was not carrying any secret messages for the US, Iran or even SPECTRE.  Nope, it turns out the stork was simply migrating.  While it's easy to laugh at the  assumption that a bird can be a spy, we must remember: The average Egyptian has only heard Mubarak/Morsi propaganda in the "news" for the last 20 years.  No wonder they assumed Menes was actually an evil alien planning to steal the Sphinx!

Unfortunately, the story of Menes does not have a happy ending.  Our stork was turned over to wildlife officials who released him into a nature reserve.  Menes flew straight back to a small island in the Nile.  There, he was captured by humans for a third time.  Only this time he wasn't caught by a Brit nor was it done by an Egyptian.  This time, Menes was caught by Nubian hunter, who ate the stork for dinner.  Meanwhile, the Nature Conservancy was by no means surprised.  Their statement: "We truly are saddened by the tragic end to Menes' journey, but once again, we would like to thank the park rangers of Aswan for their excellent initial efforts to get Menes the White Stork released safely."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Here’s the scene: Five small-town elected officials huddle together in a small town hall.  They laboriously debate until deep into the night.  A crippling economic crisis has resulted in runaway inflation and unemployment. Despite multiple, desperate pleas for help, the wealthy governor in the far-away capital city has not responded.  Finally, with tears in their eyes and coffee in their cups, they held a final vote.  The tally is read aloud: “By a vote of 4 to 1, we hereby announce our intent to secede.  From now on, we wish to be recognized as the United State of Jefferson!”  The 100 or so supporters waiting outside roar with joy!
Sound like something from a Civil War textbook?  Well, this actually happened last week in Northern California. The location was the Siskiyou County Municipal Building. Here, disgruntled and disrespected voters have long felt alienated from the large metropolises who monopolize politics from South.  In California, Assembly and Senate districts are both drawn from Census data.  This means 80% of legislature members are from Los Angeles, the Bay Area or San Diego.  The folks up north feel neglected and they are!

The notion of a 'State of Jefferson' has been knocked around for centuries.  Back in the 1800's, the original plans had four states on the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington and Jefferson.  Things changed and the borders were redrawn.  Then, in 1941, the movement reemerged.  A group of Jeffersonians were angry that slick freeways were being built in LA, while they drove on old muddy roads.  The group gained national attention when they set up a makeshift border stop on Highway 99.  Armed with rifles, they halted traffic and handed out proclamations of independence.  Their 'state' was five California counties and three from Oregon.  
Sadly, the movement lost all momentum in December, when Pearl Harbor happened and shifted every one's focus away from the silly new state.  (NOTE: Ironically, the only place on the mainland United States attacked during the war was the State of Jefferson.  In 1942, a lone pilot named Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs on Brookings, Oregon.)   Seventy years later, in 2011, the sentiment has resurfaced again.  That's when the California Assembly passed legislation authorizing a $150 annual fee on 800,000 Jefferson residences to offset fire prevention costs.  The residents began to cry "Taxation Without Representation Is Tyranny" and starting flying the Jefferson State Flag again.

First official act: Change stupid flag!
Let's rewind and look at the facts:  The folks in Jefferson have a long road ahead of them.  First, they need a two-thirds vote in the California Legislature.  Then, the resolution must pass the US Congress with a three-fourths vote.  None of which is very likely.  However, the four elected supervisors of Siskiyou County are sending a clear message to Sacramento: We're Not Gonna Take It!  We here at the Duner Blog hope they listen.  All over the world, recent secessions have resulted in better places to live.  War in the former Yugoslavia is down. In the new states of Assam, the standard of living is up.  And both the Czech and Slovak Republics are thriving.  Long Live Jefferson! 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013



This week’s blog begins a long, long time ago…waaaay back in the Ice Age. (To clarify: We are not referring to the Ice Age cartoon movies.  You know, the ones with the hilarious sloth, caring wholly mammoth and dashing sabre tooth tiger.)  We’re talking about the actual Ice Age, which covered the earth from 11,000 BC to 8,000 BC.  Afterwards, human hunters and gatherers flourished in the newly created lush grasslands.  Today, most peoples from this era have evolved into modern folk, but a few pockets of hunter and gatherers remain on the planet.  The islands of Borneo and Papua New Guinea have the largest such populations, but there are large numbers in the rain forests of the Amazon and Congo Rivers as well. 

In highly civilized Europe, only one such group remains.  The Sami People inhabit the semi-tundra lands of Northern Scandinavia.  Also known as Lapps, their homeland is so horribly cold and violently dreary, the remote people have been ignored by all.  Roman Emperors, Medieval Kings and Soviet Dictators alike have left them alone.  This tradition continues today.  The collective governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia still allow the nomadic reindeer herders to roam freely without regard to international borders.  However, a sudden announcement last month has sent the normally tranquil relationship between the Sami and the Scandinavian governments into turmoil.

What happened?  The Swedish Government granted permission to a British Mining Company to start digging an open pit iron mine on Sami land.  To house the miners, a camp will be built in the town of Jokkmok, which is located on the Arctic Circle, deep in tribal lands.  All of these decisions were made by the corporation and the government without any consultation with the Sami people whatsoever.  Under the law, Sami people have the right to use the area for grazing, but “cannot claim ownership” of Swedish land.  So this group is powerless to do anything other than non-violent protest.

Not so fast, says Fred Boman of a Swedish Mining subsidiary.  Let’s look at the numbers.  The proposal is to develop twenty square kilometers in the Sami reindeer herding region of 4,000 square kilometers.  Do the math.  It comes to 00.5% of Sami land in Sweden.  We here at the DUNER BLOG are pretty sure that the 4,500 reindeer will continue to find enough grass to eat and survive, despite losing a half of a percent of their grazing area.

While it is highly unlikely anyone can stop the mining companies from digging for iron ore, the Sami People want the world to know of their unfortunate situation.  They feel that other native groups in other First-World Nations have much greater political rights.  The Government of Sweden claims they are just trying to help an economically depressed area by bringing in jobs and commerce.  However, the Sami know better.  Sweden has the world’s 12th highest GNP per capita.  They can afford to treat Europe’s only remaining indigenous group better.