Firstly, for those of my readers who celebrate it, happy Easter. For those of you who dont celebrate it, enjoy the holiday period in whichever way you wish to do so.
Its actually quite funny that over my working years, a lot of the time, bank holiday weekends meant little different to me, as for all those years in the betting industry, they were just another working weekend. Of course, in the good old days in the last century (that really makes me sound old, doesnt it?), there actually was no horse racing on Good Friday, and betting shops were closed on this day. Now, thanks to the god of consumerism, we race pretty much every day of the year, (there were also 3 days at Christmas, now just Christmas Day) and betting shops are open every day bar one, and I suspect the bookies begrudge their staff that, knowing them.
The last couple have been a bit weird, as I’ve had Friday off, Monday off, but worked the Saturday in between. At least I think I did, as it would be logical, but the brain is no longer up to working out if it actually happened or not? But this year, I’m (in theory) still working, and the long bank holiday weekend means nothing to me (I was tempted to use Vienna, by Ultravox, but no) because the body, and most critically, the brain is no longer up to complex things like work at present. If I believe the medical advice given so far, thats a case of game over, anyway. But the funny thing is, this would actually have been a long weekend for me, as it wouldnt have been my Saturday to work, so would have been a week off. Whereas now…?
The other thing I’ve decided needed to change, is me. When I had to cut back to 4 days a week at work (let alone 3), I had to economise somewhere, especially given I was paying out for therapy treatments. So basically, goodbye to pampering for me. Which means that my nails are a mess (arthritis and tremor make that impossible to do myself), and even if I’m not a hairy woman (I’m wondering if the drugs I got after seizure caused some to drop out or not? Probably not, as still got hair in places), I’m definitely in need of waxing by now. Even more so, if as planned by a wonderful friend, I’m going to do the Clara Johnson look thing (if not in public eye), I need to look decent! So yes, on Tuesday afternoon, the old girl is getting a bit of a makeover. Sadly not a 20 year old, slim, pretty dancer look, but as best as can be achieved, within sane cost. So yes, no massage, no facial unless someone wishes to provide the funds? If you should, then, https://ko-fi.com/merrybrooks is probably the easiest way.
After that, what changes, who knows? I wont hold my breath for the fully interfacing robot suit (ideally now with AI function, to override my busted brain), but it would be nice!
The funny thing is, before I even get to see a Neurologist (unless I get a very large fund donation), there are 2 more bank holidays to get through as a non working worker! Somehow I suspect I may have had my last excitement at looking forward to a bank holiday meaning extra time off work, but who knows?
OK, video time. Some vintage Paul Young for you
In truth, I love this song, which is why I’m offering the additional bonus tonight of the 12″ version. Obviously there is no video to this, so your call on either, both, or none. But you’re missing out if you go with none!
Sorry, or thankfully, depending on your views, you’re going to have to do without a video with the blog, due to the fact I’m away for Christmas, and dont have headphones to check its working OK.
Back in March 1983, I moved away to Somerset, my first real job away from home, in a small town I’d never visited before, named Yeovil. In June 1983, there was a General Election, one of Thatchers numerous successes. But lets not talk about her.
In those days, there wasnt the millions of betting markets that there are now, due to the lack of internet and stuff, so unless it was a standard market, the big name bookmakers wouldnt bet on it. Anyway, there was talk around town about a candidate standing at the forthcoming election, for the Liberal Party, named Paddy Ashdown. What you have to consider at this time, Yeovil was a nice safe Conservative seat, so…
There was a wonderful man, named Tony Woods, who had an independent bookmakers up the road from where I worked. Anyway, he decided to quote a price on this young whippersnapper (well, 42, by politician standards…fairly young) for the next General Election to take the seat. Yes, as history shows, it cost him a bit of money, lol.
Paddy was still MP for Yeovil when I left the town about 16 years later. He hadnt been my MP since 1988, when I moved across the border to live in West Dorset, but he was still the MP where I worked at least. He finally retired from the position in 2001, but the Liberal/Liberal Democrat vote held up until recently anyway.
I only saw Paddy Ashdown once. He walked into the Liberal Club in town, when I was there, playing darts, and that was the only time I ever actually saw him. But I know he did a lot of good for Yeovil, and his constituents. He continued to do good for the country after his retirement, and moved into the house of Lords. Of course, he also led the Liberals for a very long period of time in the interim, some of their more successful years.
Yes, he passed away in the last couple of day, at the age of 77. Maybe we never knew each other, but both of us let Yeovil leave its mark on us back in 1983.
Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!
Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.
I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!
Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…
Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.
Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!
OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…
Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…
Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.
I must admit that when I heard this news yesterday, I was pretty stunned. Mind, its quite apt in the week in which I get (briefly) to Las Vegas, that the US decide to shake up their betting legislation dramatically.
For those who know, here in the UK, betting outlets are everywhere, in the form of betting shops, though according to some, nowadays they are more like mini casinos, or amusement arcades. As I now only go in once a year (or twice, if like this year, I get winnings), I have no idea of the pros, or cons of the glittery betting terminals now in all the shops, as I never even glance at the things. Apart from the Grand National, I havent had a bet since William Hill made me redundant in 2015, nor do I plan that to change…well, in the UK at least!
Up to now, if you wanted to bet legally on any sport in the US, you either did it in Nevada, or through a Nevada outfit, and that was it. Principally Las Vegas, though I suspect Reno had options too. Horse racing, well there is on course betting there, and some states have betting outlets, purely for racing, and thats it! Yes, I have actually been in an off track betting shop in New York State, firstly about 30 years ago (somewhere near Watkins Glen), and slightly more recently, when I went to Rochester, but they were like old fashioned betting shops over here, very basic, not places designed to stay in for hours. But other sports, oh no!
Oh, please, yes, people in the US bet on sports games outside of Nevada, very illegally, but it happens! So anyway, recently, the state of New Jersey started a court case to permit venues in their state to bet on all the other main sports. Yesterday, they won! In the case of Delaware, they seem to have only been waiting on the result of this case to start doing the same. On top of all this, numerous states have got things in early planning stages, and will follow in the near future. Some of those states listed didnt surprise me (Yes, New York was among them), but then there was ‘Bible Belt’ states like Kansas, and Oklahoma, wow! Yes, I could see the irony of me working in a betting outlet in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, in the footsteps of Clara Johnson! No, I dont imagine it will happen, especially with me being Transgender, but I cant deny I would love the irony of that!
Sadly, the only state I’m going to visit this year isnt on the list, Washington, and I dont think Florida was on them either, and thats only a maybe at this time. But yes, sports betting in the US, legalized, who would have thought it? So if anyone needs experienced staff to run one of these outlets for them…? Be a fun thing to do before retirement, I must admit!
Right, video time. The moment I knew I was blogging this, this song came immediately to mind. Not one of those songs that The Who are remembered for, but anyway…
Its funny to think, in the week when I reach 60, that as little as 8 years ago, if I’d been off this week (and fine, I probably wouldnt have been, in that case), I’d be retiring from work this week, and drawing my state pension. Yes, up to April 2010, women retired at 60, wow! Since then, much to the annoyance of those affected by it, the pension age for women has risen to 65, to match men, and in the next couple of years, will actually go up to 66, the age I will get to retire at. Dont get me wrong, something had to be done, as everyone (well, most people) seem to live longer now, so this was sort of inevitable.
One of the amusing challenges I have to look forward to, or think about in that case, is one of my occupational pensions! Yes, William Hill, round 2 (there have been 3 rounds in all), between 1985 (2 years after starting there) until I left in 1999, I was paying into an occupational pension scheme with them. And actually, that was drawable, even for a man back then, at the age of 63! And I guess if I’d worked there now, for 33 years, with 3 to go, it would be quite a decent sum! But no, it was about 14 years, so not a fortune (I’m guessing about £3000 – 4000 pa, from what I can remember of last salary), but better than nothing.
The thing is, since then, I’ve changed gender, I’ve changed name twice, and though ‘theoretically’ I’ve got the deed polls to cover that, I’m not sure how easy they would be to find? National Insurance number hasnt changed though, and at least one of those names was used on William Hill, round 3, so who knows how complex that would be? Still, something to think about in the next 3 years or so, for sure. Not a fortune, but given the state of my body, a top up to wages like that might be handy? And where I’d start, 22 years after leaving, no idea? Anyway, something to consider, I guess?
Its funny to think what I’ve packed into my first 60 years, though yes, the transition stands out as my proudest moment by far. Maybe one day, I’ll even brave the surgery, and get everything done, though as I’m not one for surgery now, for the sake of it, I cant see it, unless the need really arises to get ‘my bits bobbed’ as such.
Its funny though. I’ve written, I’ve acted, but in neither case, anything I’m likely to be remembered for. Well, up to now at least, anyway! Still a few years to go, hopefully, though how much more acting I will get to do, no idea? I know, given that I will definitely play the role on Friday, you could say I’ve got one more part, but I suspect I might be the only one looking at it like that! I suspect most, if not all of the others just see it as helping out, and being dressed in an old fashioned way, but we will see?
Writing, well I keep saying I might do more when I ease off work, but doesnt seem to be happening just yet. I only wish I could gather enough information to do a biography of a certain chorus line dancer, and bit part actress, but given she died in the 50’s, and any children (she mentioned one, a daughter, seemingly) would be in her late 70’s by now, if still alive, if I could hope to trace her!
Oh, other point of amusement for you. Not surprisingly, for someone who has spent so much of her life working in the betting industry, the Cheltenham Festival has always been a bit of a special event for me. When I’ve been able to, I’ve tended to take some time off that week, ostensibly because of my birthday, but hey, its good racing, so… Well this week, I missed a couple of races today (only able to watch 5 on ITV), because of the need to go to the doctors, I’ll miss all of tomorrow, due to getting things done to me for Friday, and then I’ll miss all of Friday, because of the Blackpool thing! Funny thing is though, I didnt really mind. Is it because I’m now a woman that I worry less about it? Who knows? I’ll let you know next year lol!
Right, thats enough, dont want to keep you here forever with my waffle. So, video time. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest singers of my lifetime. Yes, I used one of his songs recently, and here’s another!
I know, the blogs have got a bit of a mess day wise this week, due to sad events, but whether this just rights the ship, or whether you still get one tomorrow night, lets wait and see. But yes, with all the news sources mentioning this, and the fact that I do remember a few other events around it, lets mention what happened 20 years ago today, the death of Princess Diana.
Firstly, let me say I’m not a royalist, and leave it there. So if you’re expecting a gushing tribute to her, just move on. Not that I’m one of those great anti-monarchy types either, to be honest, I can just take, or leave them, but agreed, pretty much most of the time, its to leave them well alone.
Given that back in those days (gasp, shock horror, for some), betting shops werent open on Sundays, I got up about 9 am, switched on the TV, and it was wall to wall news about her death. Given that for me, and I suspect most others back then, this was in the days before internet, and mass swamping of satellite channels on your TV, your choice was limited, to Diana, or Diana! Mind, if they had existed, I suspect they would have been swamped by the news too.
This actually happened a week before me, and my partner at the time were due to go on holiday to the Baltic States. The irony of events for me was that, they cancelled all the racing for the day of the funeral, the following Saturday, so I actually finished work a day early. Now, they’d probably not shut the shops for anything, have wall to wall virtual racing, plus those ghastly machines going all day, but back then…nothing!
I saw bits of the funeral, though I took the chance to pack for the holiday in a slightly saner way than I would have done had I been working. There are 2 things that will always stick with me from that holiday, even when most of the details are faded by time. Firstly, just about everywhere out there, you heard this catchy tune, which I could tell was going to be a huge hit, if released in the UK. Yes, it was the second biggest selling single that year, aka Barbie Girl, by Aqua. You’ll be thrilled to hear that isnt the video! Second one, and more pertinent, was when we walked into a church/cathedral (please, its 20 years ago, I cant remember) in Tallinn, and saw a shrine to Diana there. Yes, her mark, and her fame had clearly spread that far.
I suppose it has to be mentioned, was it an accident, or was it murder? The rumor conspiracies both ways are quite amazing. My answer, I really dont know. I’d like to think it was a genuine accident, but given all that came out afterwards, well, you do have to wonder, but anyway, no comment…!
Sadly, the funeral I’d rather be here for, out of that, or my friend, is the one I wont be here for, as its happening on the first Monday I’ll be in the US. And given it will be 4.30 in the morning where I will be, and everything else, I will just wait to hear how it goes, by email, or message service. I know, thats life, I guess?
OK, video time. No, I’ve not picked the ‘obvious’ version of the song. I’m more of a Monroe fan, than I will ever be of Diana, so…
Given this will be my last blog before the big race on Saturday, I will mention here and now that the Grand National is being run at Aintree this Saturday, 8th April. Why do I specify the date, you’ll soon see. The first running of the race I actually remember is the 1966 version, though I may have seen one earlier, thats the first I recall, as it was my first bet, at the age of 8! No, I didnt pay for it, my father did, a big sixpence (2.5p) each way on a horse that I picked because of the name, and nothing more. How things have changed since then, and now the heavy gambler that I am, will pick 3 horses out, and put a pound each way on each of them! Probably know as much about the racing now, as I did then, though there was a period in between when I knew a bit more.
I havent seen every race live since 1966 though. Because I was working in the betting shops in the late 70’s, and again from 1983, I missed seeing the big race during those years, until 1986! Why? Because there were no pictures in the betting shops back then! I know, sounds amazing now, but thats the way it was.
This year actually has a few related milestones, it will be 40 years since Red Rum won his last National, it will be 20 years since the ‘bomb scare’ that caused the race to be run on the Monday. But the event I’m looking back on is an even older milestone than that, going back to 8th April, 1967.
To be fair, there was definitely one horse that most serious punters would have given no glance at, as a possible winner. Perhaps a few shrewdies in the Highlands of Scotland would have backed it because of the name, but no one else would. Indeed, as history tells, neither owner, or trainer of the horse even went to Aintree that day, they thought it would be a waste of time.
In truth, 22 fences passed out of 30, they were right, the horse was still standing, but a very long way behind the leaders. Then history was made, carnage at the smallest fence on the track, and out of all that, one horse from the very rear of the field located a gap in the melee, jumped the fence, and yes, the rest was history. I’m sure, as a few of you already know, that horse was Foinavon. I found some film of the race, for those interested
Many others remounted, and chased after him, but the lead was too great, and the 100/1 no hoper had won the big race! 17 years later, that fence was named after the horse that made it famous!
Its fair to say that with all the changes to the fences in recent years, the race isnt the ferocious test it used to be. Still challenging, but not as hard all the same. So I’m not sure the same will happen again, though a 100/1 shot has won the race again since then, all the same. Who wins it this year? Who knows? But on the 50th anniversary, to the day, of that amazing race, will it be another great turn up?
Oh, that hardened young gambler, well, it took me 4 attempts to back my first winner of the race, and 3 of those were placed on the same horse. Highland Wedding, you can tell my Celtic roots! I have backed a few winners, and a few more placed horse since then, but fine, you will always remember your first winner, I guess?
Right, video time. The blog title gives the song away. Its not the greatest song of all time, but certainly works here!
Back in the ‘bad old days’ of the 80’s and 90’s, while managing a betting shop for William Hill, it was far from an unknown practice that on weeks when too many people were on holiday, off sick, or had simply left without being replaced, that we tended to be ‘offered’ the chance to work a 6 day week, with overtime payment. Yes, the term ‘offered’ was pretty much a case of ‘Do it, or else’, so…fine…
What occasionally happened to me, is that the lack of sleep, and non lack of stress related to this, would mean I would literally ‘flop’ on a Sunday, desiring sleep for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, or face violent headaches, and nausea. To be fair, it was usually the signs of those two things that had me heading to bed in the first place!
I might add, its not like I was working the modern day betting shop hours, as for most of my time there (just towards the end, opening for evening racing kicked in), we would open at 10.00, and be shut by 6.30, but it was tougher mentally back then, because all the settling was done by yourself, not by the till. For all the fuss about it now, I used to man that shop on my own each morning (except Saturday), though they were very different to shops now. But fine, this isnt about betting shop life, so…
What I’ve been doing during my training period for my new job, is getting up early, but going to bed about my normal time. So I guess I’ve been running up a sleep deficit, 5 days a week! Now, thankfully, apart from Saturday’s, I will be able to sleep a little longer, so all should be fine, but…
This morning was like my body reacting to the change, and I got that ghastly sleep deprivation feeling again. Unfortunately it didnt time it well, as it kicked in, just before I was going out to get my hair done! Somehow, with the aid of a couple of cups of coffee, and a lot of yawning, I got through, but felt shattered by the time I got home again.
So yes, just like the old days, I went to bed for a couple of hours during the day, and felt better for it! Hopefully its a one off, and my body doesnt think it can pull that trick again soon. Mind, it always seems to only be when I relax, so that might be why its never happened while at work? I hope so, anyway. I know, I’m getting old, but…
Yes, before you ask, I’m blonde again, all over. Irony is, if I would go a little grey, it wouldnt be so obvious that it wasnt natural, but…! Next thing I need to sort out is waxing, so give me a little time, and…
The video is a lesser known Ultravox track, which you could almost say I was doing earlier, in a non traditional sense!
Given that I’ve now been out of work for over a year, with little or no joy job hunting, you would think that a job that in my life, I’ve done previously, for about 20 years as a manager (78-80 and 83-01), would be the perfect option? But I’ll be quite blunt, you wouldnt get me working in a betting shop again, for all the money in the world, let alone the minimum wages that cashiers get paid nowadays. Why? Because its changed out of all comprehension from the betting shops I worked in, and not for the better, as this article will show
When I started out, back in the late 70’s, shops opened at 10.00 in the morning, Monday to Saturday, and some even, 10.15 during the week! Oh, and in winter, shut at 5.00, and 6.30 was the latest in summer. Now, most shops open at 8.00 in the morning (9.00 Sunday), and shut at 10.00 at night. Some, mainly in London, open earlier, and shut later than that!
Back then, we had people bet on horses, dogs, and football, and that was pretty much it. And that was horse racing in the UK, and Ireland, and Football was just the UK leagues. Even that was minimum trebles, and fivefolds for home wins, not singles like today, on just about every league in the world. OK, during winter, when the weather was bad, you’d get weird trotting racing from France, and Belgium, but that was it. Oh, and no live pictures back then, either.
Now, you get racing from all over the world, with US racing filling in, when there is no evening racing over here, and sometimes on top of that! You also get virtual computerised racing, all designed to take money off the punters. Well, the mug punters, anyway! Thats the other thing, back then, there were no exchanges, so no one was looking to arb (back, and lay a horse in a way, so you cant lose), so beyond the odd hot horse, you just took the bets with little concern back then. Nowadays, when most of your larger bets are only from people trying to arb, its a whole different business.
Ah, the thing you see mentioned in the article, the FOBT machines. In truth, when I left in 2001, we had recently experienced the introduction of fruit machines, and their jackpots, but that was it. But then in came the FOBT machines, and all those sparkling lights, and chances to win money, took punters eyes. Not for the better, as you can see from the article.
In truth, nowadays, betting shops arent betting shops, they’re amusement arcades, that take bets on the side. Given that there is no risk of losing money on the machines, but plenty on the horses, and sports, its not hard to work out what the bookies prefer to have punters using nowadays. Thing is, losing large sums of money to a machine, and the frustrations that brings about, make a new, worse kind of shop punter nowadays. Dangerous? Yes, many at least, judging by this article, I must say.
So no, please dont suggest to me that I should go back to working in betting shops, I like my life, and my sanity way too much for that, for minimum wages. And in truth, anyone with sense shouldnt want to work in them either, but some are brave, or crazy enough to do so, I guess?
The video, just a jaded comment about how things are in betting shops nowadays
…Dont assume its practical!
Having applied for one job at William Hill, I wasnt expecting to get bombarded by other vacancy opportunities by the company, seeing I didnt request them! Anyway, I’m guessing that if you apply for one office based role, they think you’re interested, and available for others.
But yes, fine, I was stunned when the next morning, a vacancy opportunity appeared in my mail box from them. I mean, the job is nothing I couldnt handle doing, in British terms, it sounded the equivalent of a betting shop manager, or assistant manager. But yes, you’ve guessed it, it wasnt in Britain. Fine, Tahoe, Nevada. And it clearly said asked if I would be interested in such a role.
Silly question, by half! Of course I would. And given they were suggesting it to me, I assumed that someone along the way, over there liked the look of my CV, and wanted me to apply. So, excitedly, I did! Filled in all the details, only to be told that I didnt meet the qualification requirements, and that it would be taken no further.
Fine, I wasnt surprised, if still a shade disappointed by the news. I only realised that their system just sent out everything randomly the next day, when I received similar job offers from Romania, and the Philippines! Yes, it was then I took a closer look at the settings, and adjusted them (sadly) to Leeds area only.
But yes, for a few hours, I lived the dream, I was going to work in America, in the sports betting industry. Ah well…
No, thats not everything! This morning, they tried again, and this time it was a job in Leeds. Yes, could do everything required for that role, I’m positive, absolutely. You know why? It was the job I was doing before being made redundant, when they cut back on numbers! No, I didnt apply, because the shift hours wouldnt work for me, now you dont get taxis home late at night.
And fine, it wouldnt be Nevada, either. Ah well…at least I got to dream the dream, briefly.
The video. Well, given its one of the big casino cities in the US, I thought of this number from the 70’s.