Sunday, October 31, 2010

We remember Dave McNally (1942-2002)

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Dave McNally was one of my favorite Orioles.    He broke with Baltimore in 1962 and won 184 games.   

Along the way, Dave pitched in 4 World Series, 2 LCS and won 87 games over 1968-71.

Just a great lefty who kept you in every game.    

McNally won game 4 of the 1966 World Series with a 1-0 shutout of the LA Dodgers.    He hit a grand slam in game 4 of the 1970 World Series against Cincinnati.

He was 7-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 9 post seasons series with Baltimore.

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Happy Halloween!

At around 6pm, little kids will come to your door and say "trick and treat". Make sure that you have lots of candy.

I have always been curious about the story of Halloween, specially when we have a candidate promising a tax cut for 95% of the population.

Nevertheless, I read that Halloween goes back to the Celts about 2,000 years ago!

Don't hold me to the Celts' version. However, it sounds pretty dramatic.

About 10 years ago, my wife and I took the boys around to get candy from our neighbors. Today, our sons are in college or going to a Halloween party.

My wife and I just hand out candy these days!

Enjoy your Halloween!

Still the best Halloween song after all these years!

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My sons don't "trick or treat" anymore but it's still great to see the next generation with their costumes knocking on your door.

To say the least, Halloween is a great excuse for us adults to eat those chocolate treats.    I've had my share of "treats" over the years. 

Over time, we've seen movies, TV specials and have heard songs about Halloween.   I guess that The Charlie Brown special is my favorite.  The Disney stuff is usually good.  I don't care much for the "Friday 13th" movies.  They're a bit too scary for me!

Halloween song?  My favorite, and # 1 after all of these years, is Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash".   It gets a lot of airplay every year:


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Happy Halloween!

Our boys have grown up and left we've been out of the "trick or treat" business for a few years.   However, we still enjoy all of those kids coming to our door looking for candy.

Happy Halloween. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wonderful TV: The story of John & Abigail Adams

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We remember John Adams who was born in colonial Massachusetts on this day in 1735.  

He died on July 4, 1826, or the 50th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence.  

Thomas Jefferson also died the same day.  In the other words, two of the men most responsible for independence died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the document.  

A few years ago, I saw a TV series called "The Adams Chronicles".   It was the story of the Adams from Massachusetts.   A bit later, I saw "The American Experience" or the wonderful story of John & Abigail Adams.

The two documentaries tell us about President and First Lady Abigail Adams, perhaps the greatest couple of the early days of the nation.

What a great show. What a great story. Most of all, it's true.    

P.S.  A must watch for any US history fan is "John Adams", the HBO series:

We remember Agustin Lara (1897-1970)

Like so many of you, I grew up listening to Agustin Lara's songs on our family's turntable.

My favorite Lara songs were recorded by Los Panchos, Pedro Vargas and other Latin American vocalists.

I can still recall my grandmother rocking on her favorite chair and humming one of Lara's songs. (She once told me that Lara was from Veracruz and then showed me the location on the map!)

What day was Agustin Lara born?   I can't confirm whether he was born in 1897 or 1900.....or October 1st or 30th!  I have seen both dates in my research!

Lara was, and continues to be, my favorite Mexican composer.   I'm not an expert on Mexican music.   Yet, I can't think of any other Mexican who comes close to writing words & music like Lara.

We remember Lara with two of my favorite compositions: "Solamente una vez" and "Farolito":

We remember John Adams (1735-1826)

We remember John Adams, who was born on this day in 1835.

This is what John Adams wrote to Abigail about July 4th:
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.

It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.

It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Check it out.

It is a great story about the making of the US.

It is also a great story about a wonderful couple, John and Abigail Adams.

October 30, 1938: Orson Wells and "The War of the worlds" radio show.

 Years ago, Sunday night was radio prime time.   Enter Orson Wells:

“The show began on Sunday, October 30, at 8 p.m. A voice announced: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells.”
Sunday evening in 1938 was prime-time in the golden age of radio, and millions of Americans had their radios turned on. But most of these Americans were listening to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy “Charlie McCarthy” on NBC and only turned to CBS at 8:12 p.m. after the comedy sketch ended and a little-known singer went on. By then, the story of the Martian invasion was well underway.
Welles introduced his radio play with a spoken introduction, followed by an announcer reading a weather report. Then, seemingly abandoning the storyline, the announcer took listeners to “the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.” Putrid dance music played for some time, and then the scare began. An announcer broke in to report that “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” had detected explosions on the planet Mars. Then the dance music came back on, followed by another interruption in which listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.
Soon, an announcer was at the crash site describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder. “Good heavens,” he declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me … I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… it … ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”
The Martians mounted walking war machines and fired “heat-ray” weapons at the puny humans gathered around the crash site. They annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman, and after being attacked by artillery and bombers the Martians released a poisonous gas into the air. Soon “Martian cylinders” landed in Chicago and St. Louis. The radio play was extremely realistic, with Welles employing sophisticated sound effects and his actors doing an excellent job portraying terrified announcers and other characters. An announcer reported that widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands desperately trying to flee. In fact, that was not far from the truth.
Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”
When news of the real-life panic leaked into the CBS studio, Welles went on the air as himself to remind listeners that it was just fiction. There were rumors that the show caused suicides, but none were ever confirmed.”
Let me recommend that you check out the whole show.   It is one of the finest audio programs ever made.  
I can understand why so many people bought into the Martian attack.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

1886: Another anniversary of The Statue of Liberty

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"On this day in 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
The statue’s full name was Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. It had been a gift from French citizens to their American friends in recognition of the two countries’ commitment to liberty and democracy and their alliance during the American Revolutionary War, which had begun 110 years earlier. 
The 151-foot copper statue was built in France and shipped to New York in 350 separate parts. 
It arrived in the city on June 17, 1886, and over the next several months was reassembled while electricians worked to wire the torch to light up at night."
It is one of the country's great landmarks.

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October 1983: Quite a month for President Reagan

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We remember President Ronald Reagan as a rather consequential president. Let’s remember the events of this week in 1983.
First, a terror bombing in Beirut killed over a hundred U.S. Marines.   
President Reagan was getting ready for reelection and talking about the economic recovery underway. However, he had to deal with a major terrorist attack in Beirut when a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a U.S. Marine base at the international airport:   
The explosion killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. 
A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratroopers’ barracks, killing 58 more people.  
Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating.
It was a terrible story and one of the early signs of terrorism. Many criticized President Reagan for not retaliating, but I am not exactly sure what response could have followed this attack.
A few days later, President Reagan invaded Grenada. It turned out to be a major victory against Fidel Castro that prevented the USSR from having another strategic piece of real estate.   
Grenada was a small island where some U.S. citizens were attending medical school. Most people had never heard of Grenada or the Cuban efforts to turn the island into a communist beachhead, an important runway for Soviet MiGs.
However, the Reagan administration had their eye on Grenada for some time. They knew the strategic importance of Grenada and its proximity to the Panama Canal.    
We learned a lot that week about President Reagan and how foreign policy can force itself on the agenda. In Beirut, we were introduced to the type of terrorism that we saw eventually on 9/11. In Grenada, we saw President Reagan as the competent leader of the free world, or a man unwilling to let the USSR gain a strategic foothold over here.
It was quite a week for President Reagan and the U.S.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

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2006: Aikman elected to Hall of Fame

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(A post from February 2006)

Great news from the NFL:  Troy Aikman was selected to the Hall of Fame!

Unlike Marino and Moon, Aikman did not have the most TDs, yards or completed passes. He did win 3 Super Bowls and made 4 consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances. 

I remember the spring of '89. Jones and Johnson had taken over the Cowboys.  Landry was out and most fans were very angry. Jones and Johnson selected Troy Aikman as the # 1 draft pick. 

Aikman was subsequently surrounded by great players and the Super Bowls came quickly.

Off the field, Aikman was a first class model citizen. He avoided controversy and involved himself in a number of charities.

Aikman was great on the field and was a wonderful role model for the kids.

Texas vs St, Louis and that painful Game 7 from the 2011 World Series

Who can forget?   I think that all of us know how David Murphy felt watching the other guys celebrate the 27th out. 

What was the turning point of game 7?  It was Molina walking on a 3-2 pitch that was simply too close to take.

Frankly, most umpires would have rung up the batter and given the pitcher the benefit of the doubt on a borderline pitch like that.    

As you know, Molina walked and it was 4-2 and the series was probably over.

Don't get me wrong.  I think that the Cardinals won fair and square.  They got the clutch hits and we didn't.  They threw strikes and our guys didn't.  They manufactured runs and we didn't.

Nevertheless, I believe that the Rangers ran into a very hot team that was meant to win the 2011 World Series.

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1922 and college football on the radio

We are so used to college football on the radio these days.  In fact, I caught a lot of the Texas A&M-Vanderbilt game on the radio last Saturday.

Back in 1922, the Princeton and Chicago game was broadcast across the country for the first time:     

"On October 28, 1922, hundreds of young men gather around radios in Western Union offices, speakeasies and a Princeton University physics lab to hear the first-ever cross-country broadcast of a college football game.   

Telephone lines carried a play-by-play of the matchup—between Coach Amos Alonso Stagg’s formidable Chicago Maroons (frequent Big Ten champs in those days) and the well-regarded Princeton Tigers—from Chicago’s Stagg Field to radio receivers up and down the East Coast.  

After Princeton’s unlikely victory, her fans were just as unruly as they would have been if they’d seen the game for themselves: 

They thronged the town’s main street, lit bonfires and stole into Nassau Hall to ring the University’s bell, a celebration usually reserved for victories over Princeton’s Big Three rivals Harvard and Yale."   

It must have been a lot of fun!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 1966 and "96 tears" is a year older

Back in October 1966, "96 tears" topped the US charts.

"? and the Mysterians" were Mexican American teenagers from Michigan.  Their parents were Mexicans who came here to work in Michigan's farms.

The band's lead vocalist was known as '?" or Question Mark.   

The song was written and produced by Rudy Martinez.  We believe that he was "?" or the lead vocalist.

The song had a "killer organ"!  It was a 'must" for garage bands or teens dancing at the Friday night school dance.

To be fair, the group did have a follow up hit that made the Top 30.  However, they never charted big again. 

Whatever happened to this band?  I don't know but this was a great song:

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Game 6 of 2011 Series: What happened Nelson?

We remember one of the craziest games in baseball history.    I am talking about game 6 of the 2011 World Series.    

The Rangers went into the bottom of the 9th with a 2 run lead.   The Cardinals tied the game when Nelson Cruz missed a fly ball.     

To be fair, we should add that Cruz was one of the big reasons that Texas was in the Series.

Josh Hamilton hit a 2-run homer in the top of the 10th.    However, the Cardinals came back again.

It finally ended in the bottom of the 12th when Freese hit a walk off HR.

Texas was within a strike in the 9th and 10th and could not close it.    It still hurts!

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1991 and probably the best game 7 of our generation

As I recall, nobody picked Minnesota and Atlanta to meet in the 1991 World Series.   

The Twins had won in 1987 and came back for another title.   

The Braves had struggled in the 1980's and started their amazing run of 14 consecutive divisional titles under Bobby Cox.

Game 7 featured veteran Jack Morris and young John Smoltz.    

The game was 0-0 after 9 innings.   The Twins finally scored in the bottom of the 10th and won 1-0.

It was a great game and probably one of the very best World Series game ever.

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We remember President Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Future President Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York on this day in 1858.

In reality, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man who ever became president.   He assumed the presidency at 42 after President McKinley was assassinated.   (Kennedy was the youngest elected at 43 in 1960)

In 1906, President Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize.  He brokered a peace treaty between Russia and Japan.   Mr. Roosevelt became the first American ever to win a Nobel Prize in any category.

Overall, a very dynamic president who left his mark in many areas.

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We remember Nathan Aguirre (1984-2006)

Army SPC Nathaniel Aguirre

We remember Nathan Aguirre, the young man from our church killed in Iraq

This is from the obituary:   
Nathan was born December 11, 1984, in San Antonio, Texas. His family later moved to Carrollton, where Nathan met his best friend, Joseph Posenecker, at a church gathering. Joseph described Nathan as a leader and a responsible person. “Always keeping us in line,” Joseph said of his friend, “He was very outgoing and wanted to be the best at everything.” Nathan’s family remembers his always adventurous spirit. 
He enjoyed rock climbing so much so that he volunteered at his local climbing gym in order to climb for free. He later became a rock climbing instructor at the gym. Nathan was also passionate about being a Boy Scout, said his mother, Mary. He even designated the Boy Scouts as one of his life insurance beneficiaries. “Boy Scouts presented him with structured adventures and learning along with teaching him leadership skills, responsibility, integrity and loyalty that he embraced with such happiness,” his mother said.
Nathan always longed to serve his country. He joined the Army Reserves while still in high school, putting off plans to attend Texas A&M University to study architecture. 
“He didn’t want to wait four years to go into the service,” Nathan’s father, Louis, said about his son. “He wanted to serve.” 
SPC Aguirre blogged about his experiences in Iraq on his MySpace page. Since his death, his page on the social networking site has turned into an online memorial. 
Nathan's death reminds us that we live in a dangerous world. We are grateful that young men like Nathan are willing to serve their country.

1970: "Jesus Christ Superstar" on Broadway

It took me a while to accept the idea of a show named "Jesus Christ Superstar" but I eventually did.   

The composers were Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.   

The show was very successful on Broadway.  Later, they made it into a movie.

The soundtrack was very popular but I don't remember any songs other than "I don't know how to love him" by Yvonne Elliman.     It was also recorded later by Helen Reddy.

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President Reagan and Grenada 1983

(My new American Thinker post)

Back in October 1983, I was in Mexico City visiting some clients.

On the day of the Grenada invasion, I attended a scheduled lunch at a local chamber of commerce. There were several Mexican businessmen and politicians at my table.  

We quickly started talking about the news of the day; President Reagan's decision to invade Grenada.

Grenada was a small island where US citizens were attending medical school. Most people had never heard of Grenada or the Cuban efforts to turn the island into a communist beachhead, an important runway for Soviet MIGs.

However, the Reagan administration had their eye on Grenada for some time. They knew the strategic importance of Grenada and its proximity to The Panama Canal. 

As I sat down to have lunch, I found their reactions to be surprising, especially given Mexico's criticism of US support of the UK in the Falklands the year before.

I prepared myself for a lot of criticism of President Reagan and "Yankee imperialists." To my pleasant surprise, I heard the exact opposite:

1) One politician directly said: "Carter would have never done this! He would have been afraid";

2) A businessman said: "This is why I love Reagan....the man is "un lider", i.e. a leader;

My favorite one came from one prominent Mexican politician who gave me the thumbs up and said: Reagan 1, Castro 0!

After the lunch meeting, I walked back to my office trying to understand their reactions.

I came to one conclusion: People like to see US leadership and determination. They want a strong president because a weak US president is such a lousy alternative.

Thank you President Reagan for pushing Fidel Castro back and giving communism a major defeat!

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

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1881: The real shootout at the OK Corral happened this day

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On this day in 1881, the Earp brothers faced off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.   

We've seen the shootout in movies over the years, such as "Frontier Marshal" (1939), "Gunfight at the OK Corral" (1957), "Tombstone" (1993) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994).

The story has been featured in several books and the 1957 movie with Burt Lancaster is the best:

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October 1971: Rod Stewart and "Maggie May"

Back in the fall of 1971, Rod Stewart released one of the best selling singles of the decade.  It was 'Maggie May" on one side and "Reason to believe" on the other.

The record company released "Reason to believe" as the A-side because they thought that 'Maggie May" was too long (over 5 minutes) to get air play on Top 40 radio.  (Let's remember that most hit songs back then were between 2-3 minutes long)

Eventually, the fans flipped the record and the rest is history:
"In October 1971 Stewart became the first artist in history to hold all four #1 positions in the British and American singles and albums charts.

While "Maggie May" topped the singles tally in both territories, "Every Picture Tells A Story" achieved the same feat on the album charts."  (Songfacts)
Before releasing this solo record, Rod Stewart was the lead vocalist with Faces, a great British band.   I understand that he was a soccer player, too.  In the late 1970's, Rod Stewart's career exploded and he's been a great concert attraction ever since.

Here is the song that put Rod Stewart on top of the charts.  It is # 131 of Rolling Stone's Top 500 songs:

You can click to listen to "Maggie May.".............and the B-side of "Reason to believe"...........

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1986: Bill Buckner, great player but a bad moment in game 6

On this day in 1986, the Boston Red Sox were one out away from winning the World Series.     

And then the unthinkable happened:     
In the wee hours of the morning on October 26, 1986, Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner lets an easy ground ball dribble between his legs and roll down the right-field line.
It was just a routine fielding error, but it was a disaster for the Boston Red Sox: It was the 10th inning of the sixth game of the World Series; the game was tied; and, thanks to Buckner’s mistake, the runner on third had time to score, winning the game for the Mets and forcing a tiebreaking seventh—which, in the final innings, the Mets also won. 
Even though Game 6 was tied because Boston’s pitchers couldn’t hold a two-run, two-out lead, and even though the Sox managed to fritter away a three-run lead in Game 7, people still blame Buckner for losing the championship. “I can’t remember the last time I missed a ball like that,” he said, “but I’ll remember this one.”
Bill Buckner hit .289 with 2,715 hits and a .408 on-base average.   In other words, there was a lot more to his career than missing that ground ball in game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  

He was a tough out, a great competitor and the kind of guy that you wanted on your team.   

Tough day for a great major league hitter.

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October 2012: A chat with Mark Meckler & Leslie Eastman

Leslie Easman of Temple of Mut introduced us to Mark Meckler last night.  It was a great conversation.

Mark is also involved with Citizens for Self Governance:

"Our platform is a simple one.  Just as each branch of government checks and balances the power of the others, our four basic principles can restore us to a citizen-fearing republic with effective self-governance.
  1. Disperse power
  2. Engage the citizens in the political process
  3. Break the Left vs. Right Paradigm
  4. End the cycle of incumbency"
Great goals.  We have a lot in common with Mark.

Click on the radio show:

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