Friday, December 31, 2010

A chat with Matt Baldoni about his career and the Australian Bee Gees

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We remember General George Marshall (1880-1959)

We remember George Marshall, who was born on this day in Uniontown, PA, in 1880.    

This is his story:   

Marshall's father owned a prosperous coal business in Pennsylvania, but the boy, deciding to become a soldier, enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute from which he was graduated in 1901 as senior first captain of the Corps of Cadets. After serving in posts in the Philippines and the United States, Marshall was graduated with honors from the Infantry-Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth in 1907 and from the Army Staff College in 1908. The young officer distinguished himself in a variety of posts in the next nine years, earning an appointment to the General Staff in World War I and sailing to France with the First Division. He achieved fame and promotion for his staff work in the battles of Cantigny, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. After acting as aide-de-camp to General Pershing from 1919 to 1924, Marshall served in China from 1924 to 1927, and then successively as instructor in the Army War College in 1927, as assistant commandant of the Infantry School from 1927 to 1932, as commander of the Eighth Infantry in 1933, as senior instructor to the Illinois National Guard from 1933 to 1936, and as commander, with the rank of brigadier general, of the Fifth Infantry Brigade from 1936 to 1938. In July, 1938, Marshall accepted a post with the General Staff in Washington, D. C., and in September, 1939, was named chief of staff, with the rank of general, by President Roosevelt. He became general of the army in 1944, the year in which Congress created that five-star rank.
In his position as chief of staff, Marshall urged military readiness prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, later became responsible for the building, supplying, and, in part, the deploying of over eight million soldiers. From 1941 he was a member of the policy committee that supervised the atomic studies engaged in by American and British scientists. The war over, Marshall resigned in November, 1945.
But Marshall could not resign from public service; his military career ended, he took up a diplomatic career. He had been associated with diplomatic events while chief of staff, for he participated in the conference on the Atlantic Charter (1941-1942), and in those at Casablanca (1943), Quebec (1943), Cairo-Teheran (1943), Yalta (1945), Potsdam (1945), and in many others of lesser import. In late 1945 and in 1946, he represented President Truman on a special mission to China, then torn by civil war; in January, 1947, he accepted the Cabinet position of secretary of state, holding it for two years. In the spring of 1947 he outlined in a speech at Harvard University the plan of economic aid which history has named the «Marshall Plan».
Looking back, The Marshall Plan was one of the greatest decisions of the 20th century. It probably saved Western Europe. (Postwar Challenges)

It gave France, Germany, Italy and others a chance to rebuild their cities and industries.

The Marshall Plan was started in 1949 when Sec. of State Marshall gave this speech:
"Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist." (The Marshall Plan - George C. Marshall, Harvard University (June 5, 1947)

1944: "Frenchman's Creek" a.k.a. the lady and her pirate?

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Thanks to TCM, we got to catch "Frenchman's Creek", a 1944 romance between a beautiful lady and a pirate.    I had seen this movie a couple of times before.   

You pick something new every time.    

What can we better than that?  The story of an aristocratic English woman who falls in love with a French pirate.     The cast is Joan Fontaine (the pretty lady), Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone, Cecil Kellaway, and Nigel Bruce. 

It was based on a book but I have not read it.   

What's the best part?   No political correctness!   No preaching about global warming, identity politics, colonialism or the EPA claiming that cannons are causing environmental damage.

And Joan Fontaine looks stunningly beautiful in those dresses!

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1967 Dallas vs Green Bay: A great game known as The Ice Bowl

Related image

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We remember Paul Casanova (1941-2017)

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We learned in August 2017 about the death of Paul Casanova, who played for the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) and the Atlanta Braves.
Paulino Casanova Ortiz was born on December 31, 1941, in Perico, Matanzas.    He also played for Almendares in the Cuban winter league.
Casanova broke with Washington in 1965 and ended with Atlanta in 1974.
In 1967, Casanova made the American League All Star team as a member of the aforementioned Senators.   It was his best year in the majors, as reported on SABR:
Casanova set career highs in games played (141), plate appearances (551), and RBIs (53) in 1967. One particularly memorable game started on the evening of June 12. In Washington, the Senators and the Chicago White Sox played a 22-inning marathon. Casanova caught the whole thing, receiving 268 pitches.
As he recalled in 2012, “The reason the game went so long was because of my defense” – he wiped out a number of runners. He went 1-for-9, missing a chance to end it in the 20th inning when he hit into a third-to-home-to-first double play with the bases loaded – but his one hit was the game-winner at 2:44 A.M.”
22 innings behind the plate plus the winning hit in the 22nd frame?   That’s really something!
I met him in the 1970’s and he was a very nice friendly person.   We chatted politics, baseball and music, his other great passion.
RIP Paul Casanova.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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December 31, 1972: The day we lost Roberto Clemente

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It was a stunner, specially for those of us old remember to remember the news flash.   

As I recall, I heard the news early the next morning.    It was truly shocking because we had also heard about the horrible earthquake in Nicaragua.    Clemente was carrying some supplies to Nicaragua when his plane was lost:

We remember Roberto Clemente (1934-72)

Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash many years ago:
"On December 31, 1972, an airplane chartered by the professional baseball player Roberto Clemente to bring food and other relief supplies to survivors of a recent earthquake in Nicaragua crashes shortly after takeoff from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Five people were killed in the crash, including Clemente, whose body was never recovered."
Like most of you, I was shocked to hear the news.       

Clemente hit .317 and got # 3,000 on his last at-bat of the 1972 season.   He was the MVP of the 1971 World Series and hit .318 in 5 post season series.

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We remember John Denver (1943-1997)

John Denver was born on this day in 1943.   He died in plane crash in 1997:
"Denver was piloting the two-seat light plane along the California coast when the engine failed shortly after 5 p.m., plunging him into ocean waters just past Monterrey Bay."
In the 1970's, Denver dominated the pop charts with songs like "Rocky Mountain High" and "Annie's song".     

Great songwriter and singer!  He was born on this day in 1943.    His songs are HERE.

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1966: Eddie Matthews traded from the Braves to the Astros in the offseason

Eddie Matthews' long association with the Braves ended on this day in 1966.  

He is the only man who played for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.   Aaron joined the team in Milwaukee.   Spahn was traded the year before the Braves moved to Atlanta for the 1966 season.

His greatest years came in Milwaukee where he hit over 450 HR.   
He led the league in 1953 and 1959.    He was a huge part of the Milwaukee team that won the NL pennant in 1957 and 1958.   The Braves were also serious contenders in 1956 and lost a special playoff after tying LA for the NL pennant in 1959.

Overall, he finished with 512 HR and 1,453 RBI.

Matthews and Aaron were teammates from 1954 to their last year together in Atlanta.  Along the way, they were an awesome power duo in the middle of the Braves' lineup.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2006: Saddam executed in Iraq

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Saddam Hussein, the deposed dictator of Iraq, did not make it to the New Year: Saddam was executed on this day in 2006.   He argued with the guards before the execution, according to some news reports.

In my book, Saddam should have been removed in '98.  This is when he expelled the UN inspectors. Saddam gave the world the middle finger and made a mockery out of the UN, the cease fire and the rule of law. On top of that, he was shooting at US/UK planes enforcing the UN resolutions and paying $25,000 to the families of terrorists blowing up Israelis.

Why did Saddam do all of this?  Because he knew that President Clinton would not take him out.  

The story finally ended on this day in 2006.

P.S. I thought that President Bush made a very good case for removing Hussein:

"Sandlot" is a fantastic movie

Want to watch a great movie?   Try "Sandlot", the story about the boys and their sandlot team.

Once upon a time in Los Angeles, there was a sandlot baseball team.   They used to play ball everyday, a story that most men my age will understand.

During one of their games, a boy hit the ball over the fence and it landed next to "the beast" or a big dog that scared the heck out of them.

What was the big deal?   The ball was signed by Babe Ruth and they were using it without dad's permission.

Well, I've given you enough of the story.   Watch it because it is fantastic.

You can get the movie here!

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The "John Adams" mini-series is worth every minute!

As a naturalized US citizen, I've always had a passion for everything about US history.

I think that the US is the greatest nation in history.

It has done more good for mankind than anyone else.

Its sons have liberated millions.

It's economy has brought more prosperity to more people than anything else.

Last, but not least, I don't have patience for those who take cheap shots at the US.

This great nation opened its arms to our family.   It gave us a chance at a new life. 

It has given me so much.  Therefore, I don't stand quietly when people take "cheap shots" at the US.

Let me recommend the new "John Adams" series on HBO. It aired recently and I watched all 7 hours this weekend.

The main character is John Adams, our first VP and second president.

The series covers the Declaration of Independence (a great segment), his trip to Europe, his service as VP, President and the retirement years when he reconciles with Thomas Jefferson.

You can not understand John Adams without understanding his amazing wife, Abigail.

During their long and very happy marriage, Abigail and John wrote an amazing number of letters. The "letters" have given historians so much background about the events and passion of that period. They tell the story of a man and a woman living in the early days of a new nation.

Here is a historical gem:  John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two of the key players for independence.  They died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, or the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Watch it. You will love every minute of this great series.

We remember Irene Sendler (1910-2008)

We live in a crazy world.   

It's nice to remember those who did something unusual, specially someone who saved the lives of others.

Irena Sendler died in Poland in 2008. She was 96. Her story is amazing:
"When Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939, Sendler was just shy of her 30th birthday.

"The whole of Poland was drowning in blood, but the Jewish nation was suffering the most, with the Jewish children the most vulnerable," she recalled. Sendler and a group of friends in the Warsaw municipality's social welfare department started producing false documents to provide Jews in the ghetto with monetary assistance that the Germans had cut off."
Like so many others, Mrs. Sendler stood up to evil. She risked her life so that others could live.

Mrs. Sendler leaves a great legacy of heroism and dedication to mankind. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dec 29, 1845: Texas entered the Union

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On this day in 1845, Texas became the 28th to enter the Union.    Texas came in as a "slave state" and eventually fought with the South in The Civil War.

Over time, Texas became the second largest economy in the US and a huge political factor as well.     

Years ago, James Michener wrote a good novel about Texas:

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We remember Ray Thomas (1941-2018)

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We just heard that Ray Thomas, one of the founding members of The Moody Blues, passed away in 2018.   He was 76.   

Thomas was born on this day in 1941 and with the group when they recorded classics like "Nights in white satin" & "My lady".

We remember James Brown (1933-2006)

James Brown died in 2006, or 10 years ago this week.   I remember seeing 

"James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died Monday, his agent said. He was 73."
In the late 1960's, I was a big fan of James Brown. His legacy is a string of hits and songs!   You can get his collection HERE.

Rest in peace, James Brown. You left us a lot of good music.

The Orioles 1979-83, the best team in the AL

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We remember one of the best teams in recent AL history, the 1979-83 Orioles.    There were future Hall of Fame players on that squad:  Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray & Cal Ripken.   There were some great players, like Mark Belanger, Al Bumbry and Ken Singleton.   The pitching staff included Scott McGregor, Dennis Martinez & Mike Flannagan.

They were great teams:

1878: Pro baseball starts in Cuba

On this day in 1878,  professional baseball started in Cuba.    

The first game was between Habana and Almendares, the two teams that would be great rivals until Castro dissolved the league after the 1960-61 season.    

The league had four teams in the 1950s:   Habana, Almendares, Marianao and Cienfuegos.   

It was great and very passionate baseball.

Along the way, many major leaguers played winter ball in Cuba, from Willie Mays to Brooks Robinson.   

Havana was also a AAA franchise, the Havana Sugar Kings in the Cincinnati organization.    Havana played in The International League with other teams in Montreal and Toronto.

For more on Cuban baseball history, check out "The pride of Havana":

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December 1957: Pat Boone's "April Love" was # 1

In 1957, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone were the two most popular vocalists.   Elvis was the king of rock and Pat was the king of romantic tunes.    

On this day in 1957, it was Pat's turn to sit in the # 1 spot with "April Love".   He displaced Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock" from the top of the charts.

You can get it here!      It was based on a movie by the same name, although the song was more memorable than the film!

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Happy birthday Marianne Faithful

Does time fly or what?   Marianne Faithful was born on this day in 1946.  

She was well known as Mick Jagger's girlfriend and recorded "As tears go by" when she was still a teenager.     Her songs are HERE.

In the 1970's, I lost track Marianne and she faced a lot of challenges with drugs and other personal problems.    Nevertheless, she was one of my favorites years ago.

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Habana vs Almendares: A little “beisbol” in Cuba

We remember an important anniversary in Cuban baseball
"On December 29, 1878, the first game is played between two teams of the first professional baseball league in Cuba, later known as the Cuban League. Representing the city of Havana, the Habana club faced off against their greatest rivals, a club from the neighboring suburb of Almendares. Habana, coached by Esteban Bellán, the first Cuban to play professional baseball in the United States, won that inaugural game 21-20." 
The first game eventually turned into the very successful Almendares-Habana rivalry, the Cuban version of the Yankees-Red Sox story. Eventually, there was a winter league with teams like Marianao and Cienfuegos.  

It all started today in 1878!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We remember "super glove man" Aurelio Rodríguez (1947-2000)

We remember Aurelio Rodriguez.   He was born in Mexico on this day in 1947  and died tragically in 2000.
Aurelio broke with the Angels in 1967.    He hit 19 HRS with 83 RBI in 1970.  
After that, he was better known for his incredible glove at third base.   He finally won the Gold Glove in 1976 after Brooks Robinson of the Orioles won 16 in a row.
Overall, he hit .237, 124 HR & 648 RBI in 2,017 games.   He was a great defensive third baseman and that's he played such a long career with the Angels, Tigers & Yankees.  
PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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1973: The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago was published many years ago today:

"Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "literary investigation" of the police-state system in the Soviet Union, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956, is published in the original Russian in Paris. The book was the first of the three-volume work. The brutal and uncompromising description of political repression and terror was quickly translated into many languages and was published in the United States just a few months later."
It is a very difficult book to read but worth the effort.  The USSR died in 1992 but we can not forget what was done in the name of communism.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

1932: Radio Music Hall opens in New York City

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Have you ever been to Radio Music Hall in New York City?  

It opened on this day in 1932.   

Since then, over 300 million people have watched shows, movies, concerts and other events.   

One of the great landmarks of New York City.    

It was the brainchild of John D Rockfeller, Jr.   

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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We remember Marion Pritchard (1920-2016)

We remember  Marion Pritchard who died this week in 2016.  

She was one of those people who left her mark in the 20th century:

In the spring of 1942, Ms. Pritchard was a social work student who had been imbued by her father, a judge, with a strong sense of outrage about the injustices perpetrated against the Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. 
One day, she recalled, as she was riding her bicycle to class, she saw Nazis at the children’s home “picking up the kids by an arm or a leg or by the hair” and throwing them into a truck.
“Well, I stopped my bike and looked,” she said in an oral history recorded in 1984 by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. 
“Two other women coming down on the street got so furious, they attacked the German soldiers, and they just picked the women up and threw them in the truck after the kids.   “I just stood there,” she added. “I’m one of those people who sat there and watched it happen.”
To save and shelter Jews, Ms. Pritchard registered Jewish infants as her own children and found safe, non-Jewish homes for them. She helped feed Jews and get them ration cards. 
She secured false identification papers to help them avoid capture by the Nazis, and found medical care for children through a friendly pediatrician.
Sometimes her role was simply to be one in a line of rescuers who handed Jewish children to someone else, who would then lead them out of danger. 
By her estimate, she helped rescue 150 Jews.
We call people like Marion heroes, some of the real heroes of the 20th century.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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1995: Remember when the Bush tollway opened up?

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Around 1995, the North Texas area started construction of the Pres. George Bush Tollway.   (Of course, we are talking about the first Bush, or Bush 41!)

It was a great idea and connected the northern segment of what we call the "Metroplex".

We are so used to taking Bush today that many not remember when it was Trinity Mills Road connecting the Dallas Tollway with I-35 to the west.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

We remember Scotty Moore (1931-2009)

In 1954, fate put Elvis and Scotty Moore in the same studio.    And the rest is musical history and some of rock's most famous recordings.   

He was born Winfield Scott Moore III on this day in 1931 in Tennessee.    

He is # 29 in Rolling Stone's Top 100 guitarists:  

On July 5th, 1954, Elvis Presley, guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black messed around with a hopped-up version of Arthur Crudup's "That's All Right" during a break in a session at Sun Records in Memphis. 
The guitar would never be the same: Moore's concise, aggressive runs mixed country picking and blues phrasing into a new instrumental language. 
The playing was so forceful that it's easy to forget there was no drummer. 
If Moore had done nothing but the 18 Sun recordings – including "Mystery Train" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" – his place in history would be assured. But he continued to play with Elvis, contributing the scorching solos to "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog." 
And when Elvis wanted to get back to his roots on the 1968 "comeback special," he summoned Moore, for the sound that helped change the role of the guitar in pop music. 
"Everyone else wanted to be Elvis," Keith Richards said. "I wanted to be Scotty."
You can hear him in those great Elvis' songs.

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