Friday, April 25, 2008

We remember Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

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The great Ella Fitzgerald was born on this day in 1917.   She is known to many as "The First Lady of Song", a well deserved title in my opinion.

Ella had lots of problems as a young woman.  She was an orphan by 15 and had trouble with the law.    Eventually, she left that and became a very successful performer.


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2012 podcast: Roberto Goizueta, a Cuban American story with Fernando Hernandez, author

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Was Marichal the greatest Latino pitcher?

Who are the greatest Latino pitchers?   You can choose from Marichal, Cuellar, Tiant, Valenzuela, Martinez, etc.  It is a very impressive list.

My top five are:

1) Juan Marichal----243 wins and a 2.89 ERA. He started 451 games and completed 244 of them, pitching 52 shutouts. Marichal has one more complete game than wins. That's amazing! Marichal's career was played in the shadows of Sandy Koufax and Warren Spahn.

2) Mike Cuellar----In 15 seasons, Cuellar went 185-130 with a 3.14 ERA, 1,632 strikeouts, 172 complete games and 36 shutouts over 453 games......won 139 games in a 7 year span with Baltimore (1969-75) plus game 5 of the 1970 World Series pitching another complete game. Cuellar won't make the Hall of Fame but he is the most successful lefty from Latin America.

3) Camilo Pascual---the most underrated pitcher of his era. He was a 5 time All-Star starting in 1959 to 1962 and in 1964.......won 174 games yet pitching for bad teams for much of his career......a 3.75 ERA and 36 shutouts in 18 Major League seasons....led the league in strikeouts from 1961 to 1963 and was among the leaders in shutouts in 1959, 1961 and 1962.....struck out 2,167 batters in 2,930 innings.

4) Luis Tiant---He led the league with a 1.60 ERA in 1968 and a 1.91 ERA in 1972.....won 229 games with a 3.30 ERA over 19 seasons......won 20 games four times and led the American League in shutouts three times.

5) Pedro Martinez----A three-time Cy Young Award winner---1997, while with the Expos, and in 1999 and 2000 with the Red Sox.  Hall of Fame 2013.

Honorable mention goes to Fernando Valenzuela and Dennis Martinez.

Imagine a fantasy baseball team with a rotation of Marichal, Cuellar, Pascual, Tiant and Martinez.   I think that I'll do OK!

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World War II: A look at the political leaders with Barry Jacobsen



CLICK TO LISTEN:

World War II: A look at the political leaders with Barry Jacobsen 07/01 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts:

Guest: Barry Jacobsen, military blogger and historian......we will look at some of the political and military figures of World War II..........President Roosevelt, President Truman, Prime Minister Churchill, USSR leader Stalin, Chancellor Hitler........................plus many more.....click to listen:

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World War II: The long and difficult year of 1942


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Guest:   Barry Jacobsen, military historian and blogger..........we go from the German invasion of the USSR to the very difficult year of 1942.........the US is now in the picture......

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April 1968 and "McArthur Park" by Richard Harris



"Mac Arthur's Park" was released in April and was heard on the radio during the summer of 1968.

In an unusual move, Richard Harris, the great actor, got together with composer Jimmy Webb and the result was MacArthur Park. 

Webb was a great songwriter.   
He wrote Glen Campbell's "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", "Galveston" and "Wichita Lineman", The Fifth Dimension's "Up, up and away" and Art Ganfunkel's "All I know".

"MacArthur Park's" arrangement was over 7 minutes long!   It is really two songs, the vocal portion and a wonderful instrumental bridge in the middle.

Today, some people think that "MacArthur Park" is one of the worst songs ever recorded. (Pop music madness)

Some people really like it! (Macarthur Park is the greatest song ever)

It was many many years ago.  Here is the song and the lyrics:    

"Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and 
were pressed In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants
MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it'
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again Oh, no!
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees
MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it' Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again Oh, no!
There will be another song for me For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring itI will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life You'll still be the one
I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it.
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life I'll be thinking of you
And wondering why
MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh, no! Oh, no No, no Oh no!! "

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We remember Lew Krausse (1943-2021)

We say happy birthday to Lew Krausse, who was born on this day in 1943.   He died February 2021.

Krausse came up with the Kansas City A's in 1961 and won 38 games between 1966-69.   Frankly, he pitched for some very bad teams.

Back in 1970, The Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee just in time to start the season.   They barely had time to change "Pilots" for "Brewers" on their uniforms.

It was Lew who started that first game against the Angels.   The home team lost 12-0 but baseball was back in Milwaukee.

In 1970, he went 13-18 pitching for a second year expansion team.   He was eventually traded to Boston, St Louis and finished in Atlanta.

Great trivia question:   Who threw the first pitch in Brewers' history?   Now you know the answer!

Lew finished his career in 1974:   68-91, & 4.00 ERA.    

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April 25, 1976: Rick Monday saved the US flag


His best years were with the Cubs (1972-76), when he hit 106 home runs and was a very tough out.    Later he moved to the LA Dodgers and hit a 9th-inning HR to beat Montreal in the 1981 NLCS.
However, his greatest baseball moment had nothing to do with hits or home runs.
It happened on April 25, 1976.
You may remember that it was the Bicentennial year, and Watergate and Vietnam were behind us.  The economy was a bit sluggish, but people were looking forward to July 4 and all of the patriotic parades and celebrations.
On an April afternoon at Wrigley Field, Monday took his position in center field and was playing catch with José Cardenal, his Cuban teammate.
Rick saw a couple of guys trying to burn the U.S. flag; he ran and grabbed it before they could light the match. The two idiots were arrested, and Monday gave the flag to one of the security guards.
“I was angry when I saw them start to do something to the flag, and I’m glad that I happened to be geographically close enough to do something about it,” said Monday, now in his 13th season as a Dodgers broadcaster.
“What those people were doing, and their concept of what they were trying to do was wrong. That feeling was very strongly reinforced by six years in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. I still think it’s wrong to do that.”
It was wrong and we salute Rick Monday after all of these years later..
By the way, Rick was with the 1981 LA Dodgers that won the World Series.    He wrote about his time in LA in a very entertaining book:
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Iran 1980: The morning we got the news that the mission had failed



For my generation, the Iran hostage crisis is one of those news stories that brings back bad memories.
It started when the so called students crashed the US embassy in Tehran and held about 50 diplomats hostage.   It ended a few minutes after President Reagan was sworn in January 1981.
Between the takeover and the hostages’ release, the story was a daily grind of rumors and more bad news.   Many of us got hooked to an ABC nightly hostage show that ended up being “Nightline”.
The low point was April 24, 1980:
On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ends with eight U.S. servicemen dead and no hostages rescued. With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the retreating helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.
What a horrible morning.
As I recall, the failed mission did not become a big issue in the campaign.  I recall then-Governor Reagan holding his fire and simply expressing sympathies for the soldiers.   Democrat challenger Senator Ted Kennedy did not say much either.
There were many bad mornings in the Carter presidency.   This one was one of the worst!
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 1973: "Saw a new morning" by The Bee Gees


APRIL 1973.....yes that was many years ago.....and I was listening to this song.....maybe I'm giving away my age........it was THE BEE GEES and "Saw a new morning".

It was released as a single and included in "LIFE IN A TIN CAN" album, a very underrated album from 1973.

The single "Saw a new morning" was a clue to "sounds to come".  I hear "Nights on Broadway", specially the way that Barry & Robin share the lead vocals.  I also hear "Edge of the universe" also from "MAIN COURSE" released in 1975.

Great song!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

1978: The Blue Brothers made their debut on "Saturday Night Live"


Who knew?   I loved those early seasons of Saturday Night Live.   I guess that I'm talking about 1975-80!

On this day in 1978,  The Blues Brothers made their first appearance on Saturday Night Live and the rest is history.    

They had 3 top-40 hits (“Soul Man,” “Rubber Biscuit” and “Gimme Some Lovin'”),  a #1 pop album (Briefcase Full of Blues) and a 1980 film, "The Blues Brothers".

To say the least, one of the most hilarious and funniest acts of the late 1970s.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

April 21, 1904: Ty Cobb made his professional debut!


Debunking the 'facts' about baseball's Ty Cobb | Newsday

On April 21, 1904,  Ty Cobb made his professional with Augusta (South Atlantic League).  He hit a double and HR in an 8-7 loss to Columbus.

Cobb broke with Detroit in 1905 and his career numbers still leave you in total shock:  .366 batting average, 4,189 hits, 724 doubles, 295 triples, 892 stolen bases and 117 "dead ball era" HR.    He did it all in 3,035 games!     

What an amazing hitter!

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Billboard: The Top 10 singles by Rolling Stones


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The Rolling Stones' top singles on Billboard over the years:   

1, "Honky Tonk Women," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (4 weeks), Aug. 23, 1969

2, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (4 weeks), July 10, 1965

3, "Start Me Up," The Rolling Stones, No. 2, Oct. 31, 1981

4, "Angie," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (1 week), Oct. 20, 1973

5, "Miss You," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (1 week), Aug. 5, 1978

6, "Brown Sugar," The Rolling Stones. No. 1 (2 weeks), May 29, 1971

7, "Paint It, Black," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (2 weeks), June 11, 1966

8, "Get Off of My Cloud," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (2 weeks), Nov. 6, 
1965

9, "Emotional Rescue," The Rolling Stones, No. 3, Sept. 6, 1980

10, "Ruby Tuesday," The Rolling Stones, No. 1 (1 week), March 4, 1967

You can find most of them in this great double album!

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April 21, 1865: Abraham Lincoln's funeral train left Washington



On this day in 1865, the Lincoln funeral train left Washington DC.     The train traveled through 180 cities and seven states on its way to Illinois.   Millions lined up to say goodbye to the 16th president.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

And so started The Spanish American War in 1898



President McKinley called on the US Congress to declare war on Spain on this day in 1898.
McKinley tried to keep a distance from the situation in Cuba.   However, everything changed on February 17, 1898 when the USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor.
And so started The Spanish American War.   It lasted 4 months and changed Cuba forever and made a national hero out of Theodore Roosevelt. 

In 1900, the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won the election  easily.  Nine months later, Vice President Roosevelt became president when Mr McKinley was assassinated.

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1980: Mariel and how it impacted me

We remember Mariel 1980 with Marcos Nelson Suarez




Friday, April 18, 2008

We remember Dick Clark (1929-2012)

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On April 18, 2012, Dick Clark died of a heart attack.  He was 82.

Dick Clark's American Bandstand was on the air until the late 1980s.  He went from one generation to the other, from Elvis to U2.  I guess that he connected so well because he never "aged".  He looked as young in 1987 as he did in 1967 when we used to watch those Saturday shows.

Dick Clark was great and we thank him for all of the memories.  I used to love that "rate the record" segment and the interviews.

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1923: Babe Ruth hit 3-run homer in first game at Yankee Stadium



Yankee Stadium Opening Day: April 18, 1923 - The Bowery Boys: New ...
We remember today that Yankee Stadium opened in 1923 and Babe Ruth hit a 3-run homer.    

Who else?

We are now in the 3rd edition of Yankee Stadium.   

The first one saw the team win 24 championships, including 5 in a row from 1949 to 1953.  

The stadium was shut down after the 1974 season for renovations.    The Yankees actually played at Shea Stadium in 1975 and came back to play in a World Series in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

The second one closed after the 2008 season.    

The third one opened in 2009 and the Yankees won the World Series.

The Yankees have a flag in each of the 3 parks, another amazing accomplishment by the top franchise in US sports history.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bay of Pigs: The morning that a plane woke me up


On the morning of April 17th 1961, I woke up when a plane flew over our home.  I looked out the window and saw the aircraft flying very low.  I learned later that the plane dropped leaflets and was part of the invasion.

The Bay of Pigs invasion impacted my life in several ways:

1) It confirmed what my parents had been saying about an imminent attack from Cuban exiles determined to liberate the island from communism.  My parents knew that Castro had betrayed the democratic aspirations of Cubans who wanted change not a communist dictatorship;

2) The invasion failed and my dad's cousin Ignacio was arrested.  He spent the next 14 years in a political prison without a trial.  He was eventually released when French President Mitterrand persuaded Castro to release some political prisoners to improve the regime's image in Europe;

3) The repression in Cuba went into high gear.  All of us were targeted by the Castro dictatorship.  Our lives were hell when the CDRs (The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution) threatened my parents  and made a boy like me understand that there was no guarantee that your dad would come home that evening; and,

4) It reminds me again of what could have been.
 
President Kennedy chose not to support the men of Brigade 2506.  His decision sealed their fate and killed the invasion.

Let me tell you that no one in the Brigade, or the active anti-Castro movement inside Cuba, was looking for US troops to die for Cuba's freedom.
 
My parents would often say:  "This is our fight.  We just need Pres Kennedy to put a couple of jets in the air".  The US jets were intended to decapitate the very small Cuban force and to break the morale of very undisciplined and unprepared Cuban troops. 

A lot of years have passed and I am now living in this wonderful land that opened its doors to us many years ago.  Nevertheless, every April 17th I remember cousin Ignacio and all of the brave men and women who were ready to fight against Castro.
 
They deserved a better fate.  They really did!
 
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We remember Don Kirshner (1937-2011)


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We remember Don Kirshner who was born in New York on this day in 1937.   He died in 2011.

They called Kirsher "The Man with the Golden Ear" because of his talent for understanding what the record buying public wanted to purchase.

His resume included the songwriter teams of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.     The list goes of artists and hits includes The Righteous Brothers’  “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”   

He ran record labels such as Dimension, Colpix, Colgems, Chairman, Calendar and Kirshner.   

Last, but not least, Tne Monkees & Tony Orlando got his start with him, too.

Quite a story!  Do you see why they called him "the man with the golden ear"?
 
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1937: Daffy Duck made his debut

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We say happy birthday to Daffy Duck who made his debut in 1937.    He appeared with Porky Pig in "Porky's duck hunt".   

Over the years, we loved Daffy because of a "hyperactive, at times silly, character whose madcap capers were fueled by an unpredictable personality."    



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2014: We remember 1964 New York World's Fair


2014 has been an interesting year for 50-year anniversaries:

1) The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show;
2) The Ford Mustang; and

3) The New York World's Fair.

It was a showcase for companies and future technology, such as "a touch tone phone"!    It was also an exhibition of US confidence and self esteem!    It was the US telling the world "we are #1" rather than meaningless "hope and change" speeches!

One big development in the last 50 years is that we were a manufacturing nation in 1964 as you can appreciate in this tour of the facilities recently published in The New York Times.

We made cars, telephones, TV's and lots of other things.    Check out the industrial area from the aforementioned article:
"In the part of the fairgrounds closest to the Van Wyck Expressway, more than 45 pavilions devoted to industry (with some religious organizations sprinkled in) surrounded a pool around which was held a nightly fireworks show.
Anchored by the General Electric Pavilion’s Progressland, the Industrial area was a collective advertisement for corporate America, with the Kodak Pavilion’s roof designed like the surface of the moon, and Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen’s egg-shaped IBM Pavilion, where visitors sitting on grandstands were lifted swiftly into a theater.
At the Bell System exhibit, visitors previewed phone technology that is now commonplace.
Perhaps the biggest hit: The Pepsi-Cola Pavilion’s Unicef-Disney production of “It’s a Small World,” with a song, in rounds of several languages, that became forever lodged in people’s minds."
We don't do make products like this anymore and that is something to think about.  

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

1) How many of those companies are still making anything in the US?   Who is hiring American workers in US plants?

2) How can you maintain a middle class if everything is made by cheap labor elsewhere?

I am not peddling "doom and gloom" this morning.  I understand that 2014 is different than 1964.  

However, a great nation has to make things and we are making less of everything these days.

P. S. You can hear my chat with Frank Burke, management consultant & American Thinker contributor, about manufacturing today 





April 17 and Mickey Mantle

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We remember Mickey Mantle on April 17th
In 1951, he went 1-4 in his major league game; and
In 1953, he hit a 565-foot home run, the longest ever in the old Griffith Stadium in Washington DC.
Of course, he had a lot of other big days in his career:   .298 career average, 536 HR, 1,509 RBI, 2,415 hits in 2,401 games played.    

Mantle was the AL MVP in 1956, 1957 & 1962 and hit 18 HR in 12 World Series.
 
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The Beatles: 3 of my favorites songs!


25 Years Ago: The Secret Beatles Reunion | The Saturday Evening Post
How do you pick your favorite Beatles' songs?  Let me try these three, although I have to confess that it was not easy.

These songs are not in any particular order.

My first choice is "Day Tripper". I love the guitar rift and the way that John and Paul sing this song.

My second selection is "Paperback Writer". This song was a single released between the "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" LP's. 

It sounds like a better fit for "Revolver" because of the heavy electric guitar.   "Rubber Soul" was more melodic.

My third selection is "Hello Goodbye", a very catchy tune released between "Sgt. Pepper's" and "Magical Mystery Tour". 

In a future post, I will recall some of my favorite ballads.

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April 17, 1976: Mike Schmidt hit 4 HR vs Cubs.




We remember Roberto "Bob" Peña (1937-82)



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Roberto Peña was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on this day in 1937.  

By the time Roberto Peña got to the Brewers in 1970, he was 33 and played for the A's, Phillies, Cubs and the expansion 1969 Padres.   

Nevertheless, he became very popular in Milwaukee because he hustled and played with a lot of passion.    He also played all 4 infield positions!   His 42 RBI in 1970 were 4th best in the team.


Bob, or Bobby as I recall, played 6 seasons and retired with a .245 average.    He must have been one of the most popular .245 career hitters in major league history.


Bob was 45 when he died in 1982.    


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