Tag Archives: Richard Nixon

Many Great People Have Been Born on November 25

25 Nov

November 25 is a big day in the life of me. It is my birthday. I wonder who else was born on this date. Wait, I have an idea. I will look it up and write a post about it.Nov 25

1753 – Robert Townsend, one of George Washington’s spies during the American Revolution

1787 – Franz Xavier Gruber, organist who composed the music for “Silent Night”

1835 – Andrew Carnegie, industrialist who led the expansion of the steel industry

1844 – Karl Benz, inventor of the first automobile to have an internal combustion engine

1846 – Carrie Nation, anti-alcohol activist who was known for attacking taverns with a hatchet

1881 – Pope John XXIII, who obviously served as pope

1883 – Harvey Spencer Lewis, Imperator of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis

1914 – Joe DiMaggio, center fielder for the Yankees who hit safely in 56 straight games

1920 – Ricardo Montalban, actor known for playing Mr. Roarke and Khan Noonien Singh

1926 – Jeffrey Hunter, who starred alongside John Wayne in The Searchers 

1933 – Kathryn Crosby, actress and wife of Bing Crosby

1940 – Percy Sledge, singer of “When a Man Loves a Woman”

1944 – Ben Stein, speechwriter for Richard Nixon and later a game show host

1952 – Crescent Dragonwagon, writer who has an awesome pen name.

1960 – Amy Grant, former contemporary Christian singer who became a Country singer

1963 -Bernie Kosar, Cleveland Brown quarterback who could not get past John Elway

1968 – Jill Hennessy, actress known for roles on Law and Order and Crossing Jordan

I am stopping at that point. This list will not include anyone younger than me. It is my birthday, and that is my option.

 

 

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Stuck in the Middle

24 Oct

I stay away from politics on this blog for a couple of reasons. First, I think my personal politics is a private matter. When I go into a voting booth, no one is allowed in there with me, and there is a reason for that. Second, no one really cares what I think nor should they care what I think. That is my biggest problem with celebrities who spout their political philosophies. I do not want to know. Third, there are probably people from all political spectrums who find their way to this blog, and I see no reason to make them mad.

With all of that being typed, this post is about politics. Specifically, it is about a couple of conversations from earlier today that I saw as a microcosm of the state of politics.Stooges

This afternoon, I was at work and met someone in the hallway. We had been talking for a few minutes when I was asked if I watched Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings. I said that I did not watch it but followed some of it on Twitter. That is when the other person started talking about how it was terrible. The committee did not hit her hard enough. They should have gone after Clinton for the terrible job she did as Secretary of State. After all, Richard Nixon erased 18 minutes of a tape and was forced out of office. She deleted 30,000 emails and nobody cares.

After our conversation, I walked outside and headed toward my car. That is when another colleague walked up and started talking. We had been talking for a few minutes when I was asked if I watched Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings. I said that I did not watch it but followed some of it on Twitter. That is when the other person started talking about how it was terrible. The committee treated her too harshly. It was sickening and was the worse thing that has happened since Joseph McCarthy was holding hearings.

When I got into my car, I started wondering what just happened. I talked to two people in a matter of minutes, and they had completely different opinions of the same event. These two people have similar backgrounds and perform similar jobs. Yet, they saw the hearings from polar opposite perspectives.

People have always disagreed politically, but it shocked me to have those hear those opinions in that short of a timeframe. Then, I realized that I had experienced our political atmosphere. It is not that people disagree. It is that people think those on the other side are evil, stupid, crazy and are driving our country over a cliff. That is why nothing can get done. Many people talk about how politicians need to negotiate and meet in the middle. However, politicians know that the conservative and liberal bases do not want that to happen.

I consider myself to be someone in the middle. On some issues, I am more conservative. On other issues, I am more liberal. Today, I found myself really in the middle as I listened to people espouse opinions from both wings.

Which one was correct? I have no idea. However, I bet the truth is somewhere in the middle. More people interested in politics should realize that.

Dates and Jams

3 Sep

My friend over at Serendipity created a great post, and I, like any good blogger, am going to copy it. She found a site called Birthday Jams that will tell you what was at the top of the charts on the day that you were born.

On my day of birth, The Supremes had “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” hanging out in the Number One spot. However, it gets better. In the United Kingdom, Hugo Montenegro and His Orchestra hit big with the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I knew I liked that movie for some reason.

As I fiddled with the site, I started to wonder about what people were jamming to when big events happened. For example, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon on July 20, 1969. Do you know what song was tops in the land on that day? “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first president to resign from office. As he flew off in his helicopter, somebody was listening to “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by Roberta Flack. Nixon also posed in one of the greatest photographs of all time with Elvis Presley.Elvis Nixon

A few years later, the nation was saddened by the death of Elvis, who had a ton of Number One hits. On August 16, 1977, the day he passed away, “Best of My Love” by The Emotions was playing on radios everywhere.

Elvis’ career began when he walked into Sun Studios. He struggled for a while but finally got into a groove on July 5, 1954 when he recorded “That’s All Right.” The nation did not know what was about to hit them. All they knew was that Kitty Kallen had a huge hit with “Little Things Mean a Lot.”

Obviously, December 7, 1941 is a huge date in American history. The Japanese attacked the island of Oahu and our base at Pearl Harbor. The nation was about to enter a war that had been raging for a couple of years. It was also the day that people were listening to “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller.

On December 15, 1944, Miller’s plane disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. On that day, Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots hit with “I’m Making Believe.”

On September 10 1993, a television show debuted that asked us to believe. As The X-Files started its rise to popularity, “Dreamlover” by Mariah Carey hit the peak of the charts.

Of course, that was a few years after Larry Hagman first dreamed of Jeannie. That show went on the air on September 18, 1965, which was the same time that The Beatles did not need any “Help!”

Of course, The Beatles would break up and go on to solo careers. Tragically, John Lennon’s life was cut short on December 8, 1980. On that day, “Lady” by Kenny Rogers was sitting at Number One.

Rogers used his popularity to transition into movies. None of them were very good, but Six Pack was one of the worst. It hit the screens on July 16, 1982. Listening to “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League had to be better than watching that film.

I reckon this exercise needs to eventually come to an end, and that will happen with one more date.

I am not going to release the date of my wife’s birth, but that event turned out to be important in my life. In other words, it needs to be recognized. One way to do that is to tell you that Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” was the big hit of the day. By the way, her name is not Rosie.

Listeria – In Memoriam

31 Jan

This is the season of awards shows, and people tune in for all kinds of reasons. To see who is going to win what. To see who is going to wear what. To see who is going to say what. I watch the shows like everyone else does, but I am looking for something else. I am fascinated by the “In Memoriam” part. It is interesting to see how they are going to pay tribute to the people who have passed away in the past year. Who will get the most applause? Who will be shown in a film clip rather than in a photograph? Who passed away that I did not know about? Who will be left out?

That last question is always the most controversial. It would be impossible to show everyone, and difficult decisions have to be made. Inevitably, people are going to get mad. I even wrote a post about people who I thought were mistakenly left out of an Academy Awards presentation.

With all of that being said, I have decided to provide my own “In Memoriam” for the people who passed away in 2013. To accomplish this, I bought a copy of Farewell, a LIFE publication honoring the deceased. It is filled with people who I know a lot about and people who I have never heard of. As the great decision maker of who should be honored in the SBI World, there will some left out just like on the awards show. However, these are the ones who I want to remember.Candle

You will have to imagine the music in the background.

In no particular order:

Margaret Thatcher – The Iron Lady. I read somewhere that the Steely Dan song “Peg” was about her. I wonder if that is true.

Helen Thomas – the White House reporter who covered every president from Kennedy to Obama.

David Frost – the interviewer who gained widespread fame for his sessions with Richard Nixon.

Dr. Joyce Brothers – the television counselor who paved the way for all of the others. She got her start on television by winning The $64,000 Question.Joyce Brothers

Roger Ebert – the movie critic who gave us “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”.

Annette Funicello – the original sweetheart of the Mouseketeers. She also became the sweetheart of beach movies. My dad and I saw her perform at the Super Bowl.

Esther Williams – the champion swimmer who became the queen of water-based movie extravaganzas. She was one of my mom’s favorites.

Jean Stapleton – the actress who served as the foil for Archie Bunker.Jean Stapleton

Bonnie Franklin – the mother on One Day at a Time, one of the many socially conscious sitcoms of the 1970s.

Karen Black – the actress who was in one of my favorite movies, Nashville.

Jonathan Winters – the genius comedian who is a hoot in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Harry Reems – the porn star who became a household name after appearing in Deep Throat, one of the most famous porn movies ever made.Harry Reems

Bobby “Blue” Bland – the blues singer who recorded, in my mind, the definitive version of “Stormy Monday”.

Patty Andrews – the last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters. If you have ever heard “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, then you have heard them at their best.

Patti Page – the singer of “The Tennessee Waltz”, one of my state’s official songs.

George Jones – the Possum. In my opinion, he is the greatest country singer to ever live. Unfortunately, his life was not as smooth as his voice.George Jones 2

J.J. Cale – the writer of “After Midnight”, “Cocaine” and a bunch of other great songs.

Lou Reed – the iconic singer who led The Velvet Underground and invited everyone to walk on the wild side.

Stan Musial – the Man. He was one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Earl Weaver – the baseball manager best known for being thrown out of games. He was also a lover of the Earl Weaver Special, the three run home run.Earl Weaver

Art Donovan – the Baltimore Colt who gained more fame from his appearances of NFL Films.

Pat Summerall – the voice of the NFL who was also a fair placekicker.

Elmore Leonard – the writer who could create great characters and put great words in their mouths. His work was the inspiration for Justified, currently my favorite television show.Elmore Leonard

That is the completion of this blog’s “In Memoriam tribute”. Who would you put on the list?

Hypothetical History

20 Nov

This weekend, I went to the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, to hear my colleague speak on his latest book about the former president. A large crowd filled a church on the property, and it was a great event. I learned a lot about a president who I have lectured about numerous time. It goes to show that we can all learn something new. Actually, that’s what the study of history is all about.

At the end, time was allowed for questions, and several people raised their hands. I asked a question that wasn’t very good, but it was far from the worst. Just before me, a man asked which side Andrew Jackson would have been on if he had been around for the Civil War. These kinds of questions bother me because they are impossible to answer. I call them “hypothetical history.” Interestingly, my colleague said that is the question he gets the most. Really? Of all the things Andrew Jackson actually did, people are more interested in what he might have done? Hypothetical

These same questions are being asked about John F. Kennedy. As we have been reminded over and over, the 50th anniversary of his assassination is coming up. That means numerous documentaries and articles about his murder and the conspiracies surrounding it. However, it also means numerous documentaries about what might have been. What if he had not been assassinated that day in Dallas?

Many people think that the world would have been a better place. There would not have been a Vietnam. There would not have been more assassinations as the 1960s moved forward. There would never have been a Richard Nixon or a Watergate. All of the bad things that have happened since 1963 would not have happened if only John F. Kennedy had lived.

On Sunday, there was an article in The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily, about this very thing. A Nashville native and friend of Kennedy’s talked about what might have been and what he thought would have been. But, here’s the thing. We don’t know that. It’s all hypothetical. Last year, I read 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It’s about a man who goes back in time and saves John F. Kennedy. In King’s imagination, the world ended up in a worse situation because of that.

Some may say that there’s no way. Kennedy would have made things better. However, Stephen King’s book is just as valid as anyone’s. He writes fiction, and that is what “hypothetical history” really is.

John F. Kennedy’s death was a tragedy that affected everyone who was alive at the time. It changed the course of American history. We just don’t know how it changed that history. The study of history is difficult enough without wondering what might have been. We can only study what happened and try to figure it out as accurate as possible.

By looking at “hypothetical history,” I believe that we are doing the people of the past an injustice. Instead of thinking about what Jackson or Kennedy might have done, we should focus on who they were and what they did. That’s the best way to honor people who we are interested in. Let’s get to know them the best we can. We can never really know the real people, but that is better than trying to know them in an imaginary way.

Those Oldies But Baddies

25 Sep

I picked up another magazine. This one was put out by the good people at Globe and is called Shocking Secrets of America’s Favorite TV Shows of the 50s and 60s. Short title. I figured it would be filled with juicy tidbits about the television stars of yesteryear, but it was actually filled with stuff that I already knew. For example, Andy Griffith was difficult to work with. As an ardent fan of his show, I knew that. Heck, he even wore a cast in a few episodes after he put his fist through a wall.

I found out that one actor on Gunsmoke walked with a fake limp while another one had to hide a real limp. Of course, everyone knows that Dennis Weaver was faking it as Chester, but I had no idea that James Arness couldn’t walk that well.

I also found out that three of the Cartwright’s wore hair pieces, and the other one wore stacked shoes. Bonanza will never be viewed the same.

Anyway, I thought that I would share some other “secrets” of the oldies. I’ll narrow it down to the shows that I have seen more than once.

The Honeymooners – A lot of drinking went on. Hey, it was Jackie Gleason. He liked a good time.

You Bet Your Life – Here’s a shocker. Groucho Marx liked women as well as the Secret Word.

I Love Lucy – Fred and Ethel hated each other.

The Munsters – In real life, Herman Munster went to Harvard.

The Addams Family – Uncle Fester was married to Betty Grable. Think about that for a second. This guy…Uncle Fester

was married to this woman.Betty Grable

My Little Margie – I had to watch these reruns because it was my mom’s favorite show. It turns out that Margie liked the sauce.

Davy Crockett – Walt Disney wouldn’t let Fess Parker play a role in The Searchers. This is one that I actually found interesting.

Gunsmoke – Here is where a scandal really hits. While everyone was waiting for Miss Kitty to hook up with Matt, she was hooking up with Doc behind the scenes.Gunsmoke

Have Gun, Will Travel – Paladin was one of television’s coolest characters, and Richard Boone was pretty cool, too. Unfortunately, that cool lifestyle of drinking killed him.

The Andy Griffith Show – This is one thing that I didn’t know about my favorite show. It was pre-empted by the debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Hogan’s Heroes – Everybody knows about Bob Crane.

The Monkees – Charles Manson auditioned to be a Monkee.

There is a lot more, but you’ll have to buy the magazine for that. It’s the least I could do for the good people at Globe.

Events of the Evening

30 Nov

This was going to be a simple evening. After work and a waxing, the plan was to head to my girlfriend’s house to decorate the Christmas tree. Work went well. The waxing went well, if slightly painful. Then, it was time for the fun to start. And, start it did.

First, I get a call from the fairgrounds. I am on the oversight committee, and a meeting had been called at the last-minute to discuss an upcoming event. Wait, it’s not really an upcoming event. It’s an event that we hope is upcoming. Right away, obstacles were being thrown into my path, but this one was easily handled. I didn’t go to the meeting.

Excitement abounds.

Excitement abounds.

The drive to her house was pleasant. It’s a winding road that goes through the countryside. The deer were not out yet, so there was not danger that I would run over a large animal. However, there was the danger that I would get caught behind a tractor, and that danger presented itself.

One of the hazards of living in the South.

One of the hazards of living in the South.

After some slow going, I made it to her house with the anticipation of eating good pizza and hanging good ornaments. Then, I heard the news. Her cousin, the hair stylist (in the old days they were called hair dressers), was coming over to work on my girlfriend’s hair. I decided to take a nap.

I’m not sure how long the nap lasted, but, for some reason, I dreamed that I was in an old timey beauty shop with women talking and those big hair dryers blowing. You know, the ones that women would sit under.

Take us to your leader.

Take us to your leader.

Anyway, I was awakened from this dream and told that it was time to get the pizza. At the pizza place, the guy was full of questions. My girlfriend lives in a really small town where everyone knows everyone else. He didn’t know me. After answering his questions satisfactorily, I was allowed to leave with the pizza.

When I got to the house, we scarfed the pizza down, and, with the hair far from being done, I hopped onto the iPad. Through the next couple of hours, I randomly went through the Internet and looked up the following:

The cast of Megaforce, a great 1980s movie starring Barry Bostwick

Yes, it is a flying motorcycle. Never say movies of the 80s were not classics.

Yes, it is a flying motorcycle. Never say movies of the 80s were not classics.

The farewell speech by Richard Nixon on the last day as president

His father had the poorest lemon farm in California.

His father had the poorest lemon farm in California.

The best songs of Eddie and the Cruisers

SPOILER: Eddie lives.

SPOILER: Eddie lives.

The previews for several episodes of The American Experience, with a special focus on George Armstrong Custer

During Custer's Last Stand, I don't think he was standing.

During Custer’s Last Stand, I don’t think he was standing.

The last speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr.

The night before his tragic assassination, Martin Luther King said that he had "seen the Promised Land".

The night before his tragic assassination, Martin Luther King said that he had “seen the Promised Land”.

There was more, but you get the point. I was all over the place. Then, my girlfriend brought her cousin into the room so I could tell her about Abraham Lincoln. We saw Lincoln last night, and my girlfriend didn’t understand why politicians were debating about outlawing slavery at the end of the Civil War when the war was being fought to end slavery.

I am not going to get into a big historical discussion here, but I had to explain that the Civil War was not as simple as many people have been taught.

I write all of that to write this: I went to my girlfriend’s house to decorate the tree, and we did everything but decorate the tree. After she got her hair colored, she spent the rest of the night fretting over how bad it looked. After filling my mind with Internet info, I was fretting over my head beginning to hurt.

In the end, we decided to go ahead and decorate the tree. We didn’t know when we would be able to do it again, and we knew that her daughter would be disappointed if we didn’t do what we had planned on.