Saturday, February 27, 2010

1972: Hank Aaron signed the biggest contract in baseball






On this day in 1972, the Atlanta Braves made Hank Aaron the best paid baseball player before the season:   a 3 year deal worth around $ 600.000!

A couple of years later, Aaron passed Ruth in the all time HR list.    

He retired with 755 after the 1976 season.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

We remember Preacher Roe (1916-2008)

Image result for preacher roe images

We remember Preacher Roe who was born in Arkansas on this day in 1916.  

Roe broke with the Cardinals in 1938 but did not return to the majors until 1944 with the Pirates.   

His best years were with the Dodgers, 1948-54.    

In 7 seasons with Brooklyn, Roe was 93-37 with an excellent 3.26 ERA plus 74 complete games & 12 shutouts.     

He pitched in 3 World Series against the Yankees:   2-1, 3 complete games, 1 shutout & a 2.54 ERA.     In 1951, Roe was named National League Pitcher of the Year when he won 22 with a 3.04 ERA.

Roe's career totals:  127 wins, 101 complete games and 17 shutouts.

He died in 2008.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.
 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1968: We won the Tet offensive on the ground but lost it on the front pages


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During February 1968, thousands of North Vietname and Viet Cong troops crossed into South Vietnam.  It came to be known as "The Tet Offensive".  

Overall, US soldiers successfully beat back troops in the Vietnam War.

By any measurement, the offensive was a crushing military defeat for the communist invaders.   

Unfortunately, the media reported a smashing communist victory and lied about what happened on the ground.

Shame on the news media.

Indeed, we were caught by surprise but US troops fought back and stopped the offensive.

Sadly, President Johnson was so weak that he could not go over the news media and talk to the American voters.  He allowed the news media to tell us that Tet was a defeat when it really wasn’t.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.   In my opinion, the best book about Vietnam was written by President Nixon after he left office:



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1861: President elect Lincoln avoided assassination attempt

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The United States was an angry country when President-elect Lincoln took a train from Illinois to Washington DC to assume the presidency.   

There were threats of secession and war.   It was not a happy time.

On this day in 1861, President elect Lincoln arrived in Washington DC rather than Baltimore.    He was warned about an assassination attempt in Baltimore and reluctantly changed plans.

Two weeks later, he became the 16th president of the US.    

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


Monday, February 22, 2010

Remembering what my late great-uncle used to say about George Washington

(My new American Thinker post)

George Washington was born on February 22 in 1732.  

No one is indispensable but Washington came pretty close, as Scott Johnson reminds us very year.  With all due respect to Scott Johnson, a real favorite of mine, but that post reminds me of my late great uncle every time that I read it. I feel that he could have written it!

My late great-uncle, or Tio Joaquin as we called him, was one of those men who got to live a lot of the history that we've read.

He was born in the 1890s or when Cuban was still a Spanish colony. The US and Spain got into a war in 1898 and Cuba finally achieved its independence in 1902. Unlike most of Latin America that became independent in the first 30 years of the 19th century, Cuba remained the last Spanish outpost in the New World until the end of the century. 

He remembers the day that Cuba became an independent country.  He lived through the Great Depression or when the price of sugar collapsed in the 1930s.  He saw the Machado dictatorship that followed the economic turmoil, the Batista uprising, the establishment of a republic in 1940 and communist takeover of 1959.

He saw it all and died in Cuba in the 1980s.  He chose not to leave because he didn't want to be a burden to his nephews (my father and two uncles) starting a new life in the US.  He used to say that the communist were not going to convert old folks like him and Aunt Clara.

He was a huge fan of US history, specially Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

He told me something that I will never forget. Let me paraphrase it for you:

"The US was very lucky to have a man of Washington's character at every turn of the young nation's history.  He earned the respect of the rebels with his integrity.  He was the man trusted by those colonists embarking on a constitutional experiment.    And he knew when to leave when his two terms were up.  Did you ever hear of a man walk away from a position of power?  He could have been president for life but he left."

It was a history lesson that I did not quite understand as a kid in Cuba.

I understand it today as we celebrate the man's life on his birthday. 


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1980 Winter Games & the most enjoyable hockey game ever!

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We celebrate today another anniversary of George Washington’s birthday in 1732.  
Back in 1980, many of us spent President Washington’s birthday watching an Olympic hockey game.  It passed into the history pages as the “Miracle on Ice”.
As you may remember, we were in the middle of various crises, abroad and at home.  
First, the USSR had just invaded Afghanistan and was pushing its weight around in Nicaragua and paying for Cuban troops in Africa.
Second, Iran had kidnapped U.S. diplomats and mocking President Carter every day.
It seemed like no one feared the U.S. and the bad buys certainly didn’t.  
Third, the U.S. economy was struggling, from long gas lines to inflation.
In the middle of all of this, a bunch of young Americans gave us the time of our lives. 
It was the first hockey game that I ever paid attention to!
The U.S. beat the old USSR in the Olympic semifinals to move on to the gold game.  It was a great game.  In fact, listening to Al Michaels of ABC call the last minute of that game was unbelievable.  
Here is the story of that day:
“In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the finest in the world, fell to the youthful American team 4-3 before a frenzied crowd of 10,000 spectators. Two days later, the Americans defeated Finland 4-2 to clinch the hockey gold.”
It gave us the uplift that we all needed back then!   
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.

We remember President Washington, 1732-1799

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We remember another of George Washington's birthdays.

He was so vital to the success of the new American nation.


Our friends at Power Line call him the indispensable man and they are right.  

Washington led an army of colonists and then held together the new constitution by serving as the first president.

He could have been "president for life" or reelected to a 3rd term.  However, he respected the constitution and set the example by walking away from power.

He was indeed the indispensable man to the new nation.  Where would we be today without the work of George Washington?

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.  Click here for our commentary with Clayton Cramer:




1732: We remember George Washington

We remember another of George Washington's birthdays.

He was so vital to the success of the new American nation.


Our friends at Power Line call him the indispensable man and they are right.  

Washington led an army of colonists and then held together the new constitution by serving as the first president.

He could have been "president for life" or reelected to a 3rd term.  However, he respected the constitution and set the example by walking away from power.

He was indeed the indispensable man to the new nation.  Where would we be today without the work of George Washington?

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.  



What a way to celebrate George Washington’s birthday in 1980

Image result for miracle on ice images
We celebrated this week another anniversary of George Washington’s birthday in 1732.  
Back in 1980, many of us spent President Washington’s birthday watching an Olympic hockey game.  It passed into the history pages as the “Miracle on Ice”.
As you may remember, we were in the middle of various crises, abroad and at home.  
First, the USSR had just invaded Afghanistan and was pushing its weight around in Nicaragua and paying for Cuban troops in Africa.
Second, Iran had kidnapped U.S. diplomats and mocking President Carter every day.
It seemed like no one feared the U.S. and the bad buys certainly didn’t.  
Third, the U.S. economy was struggling, from long gas lines to inflation.
In the middle of all of this, a bunch of young Americans gave us the time of our lives.  It was the first hockey game that I ever paid attention to!
The U.S. beat the old USSR in the Olympic semifinals to move on to the gold game.  It was a great game.  In fact, listening to Al Michaels of ABC call the last minute of that game was unbelievable.  
Here is the story of that day:
“In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the finest in the world, fell to the youthful American team 4-3 before a frenzied crowd of 10,000 spectators. Two days later, the Americans defeated Finland 4-2 to clinch the hockey gold.”
It gave us the uplift that we all needed back then!   
P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1972: Nixon to China

Who remembers Air Force One landing in China this week in 1972?   It was quite a TV image for those who remember that day.
It is still one of the most incredible presidential trips in US history.  Can you think of another one more unexpected or revolutionary?
President Nixon built his career as an anti-communist in the days of The Cold War.  He was the last person in the world that anyone would have expected to go to China and shake Mao’s hand.
His visit also created the phrase “Nixon to China” moment.  It became a popular slogan to describe a presidential move that goes against conventional wisdom.
President Nixon’s motives were to improve relations with China and divide the two communist superpowers.  He also understood the potential of China, diplomatically and economically.   
Today, China is an emerging superpower with a billion people and lots of challenges.  Time will tell whether China will continue to grow or blow up from within.  
Today, the US-China relationship is more complex than ever,  from a trade deficit to a cocky Chinese Navy in the Pacific.  

Nevertheless, it was an amazing moment this week in 1972.
By the way, President Nixon wrote a lot about the trip to China in his wonderful memoirs published in 1978.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.







1972: President Nixon in China

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One of the benefits of old age is that you remember President Nixon's trip to China in 1972.  

It caught everyone by surprise.  It must be one of the best kept secrets in modern history.

Nobody expected such a move from President Nixon, the anti-communist.  At the same time, it was proof of President Nixon's brilliance and his ability to look forward and promote US interests.

Again, I'm old enough to remember watching the scenes on the evening news.  It's amazing how China has changed, from all of those people in bicycles to huge cities polluted by industries and cars.   

Was it the right thing to do?    We are still debating that today.   

We remember Henry Kissinger, who became Secretary of State a year later in 1973.  Also, President Nixon discussed the trip in his memoirs.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Beatles and February 1965


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Again....do we love the Beatles or are we getting old?  YES and YES!

We are looking back at 1965, the second year of The Beatles in the US, and much of the world as well.

1965 began with a great 45.  Here are the digital versions of "I feel fine" & "She's a woman".   They showed up in “Beatles '65", a very good LP from the vinyl days!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February 16, 1964: The Beatles returned to The Ed Sullivan Show a week later.........





On February 16, 1964, The Beatles came back to the "The Ed Sullivan Show".     

It was the follow up visit to their historic debut the week before.

They sang "She Loves You," "This Boy," "All My Loving," "I Saw Her Standing There," "From Me To You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand."


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Friday, February 12, 2010

We remember Dom DiMaggio (1917-2009)


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We remember Dominic Paul DiMaggio, who was born in San Francisco on this day in 1917. 
Dom, as he was known by his brothers, actually wanted to be a chemical engineer.   Eventually, baseball caught up with engineering, and Dom played in the majors with his famous brother Joe and other brother Vince.
How do you get any attention when your brother Joe is the best paid player in the game and your teammate (Ted Williams) playing right field is arguably the best hitter ever?
Well, Dom did and made the All Star team several times.
Dom had big seasons after his military service. He hit .328 average in 1950 with 193 hits and led the A.L. with 131 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. 

He kept it up in 1951 with a 27-game hitting streak, .296 batting average with 189 hits, and again leading the A.L. with 113 runs. 
Who knows what his career numbers would have looked like without those three full seasons of military service? He was between 26 and 28 years old, or normally the prime years to win a batting title or score a few more runs – a Dom specialty! 
Dom retired in 1953 after playing in seven All Star games and hitting .298 over 1,399 games.
Dom died in 2009 after a successful business career..
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We remember Joe Garagiola (1926-2016)


Joseph Henry “Joe” Garagiola was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on this day in 1926.    
My first memory of Garagiola was when he hosted the pre-game show on NBC.   He was also on The Johnny Carson show once in a while.

Garagiola was a catcher with the Cardinals before going to the TV booth.   He was a great ambassador for the game, as well.   
He died in 2016.    

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.   By the way, he wrote a funny book years ago:  “Baseball is a funny game“.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We remember Luis Donaldo Colosio (1948-1994)


Image result for luis donaldo colosio imagesWe remember Luis Donaldo Colosio who was born on this day in Mexico in 1948.    
In 1994, Sr. Colosio, the PRI candidate for president. was assassinated in North Mexico.     As the PRI candidate, he was the favorite to win the election.     He was replaced by Ernesto Zedillo who turned out to be a very centrist president.

As expected, there are still many questions about the assassination and whether or not the gunman acted alone.

It's hard to believe that it happened so many years ago.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.

We remember Laura Ingalls Wilder who died in 1957

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We remember Laura Ingalls Wilder who died on this day in 1957.

We know Laura from "The Little House in the Prairie" TV series.  

In real life, Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin back in 1867.   She lived in Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota with her family:  Charles her father, Caroline her mother & sisters.    
Eventually, Laura became a school teacher and married Alonzo Wilder.

In 1932, she wrote her family story in "The Little House" series.   It became a TV series in 1974.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.
 




Tuesday, February 09, 2010

February 9, 1964: The Beatles met the country on The Ed Sullivan Show

Ed Sullivan introduced Elvis in 1956.   He presented The Beatles on this day in 1964.   

According to a story that I read, Mr Sullivan was waiting for a flight in London and heard a bunch of girls screaming at the airport.   He concluded correctly that American girls would probably scream too.   Shortly after, he directed his team to get The Beatles on his show.

Around 8:12 pm ET, Paul McCartney sang "Close your eyes....." and Beatlemania was on.     All together, The Beatles performed twice that night and 73 million people watched them.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.

1964: Fredd Kaps or the man who followed The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show

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Who was Fred Kaps?   He was a popular magician and the man who followed The Beatles on their first appearance on US TV. 

It was years ago that Ed Sullivan introduced millions in the US to the Fab Four from Liverpool.

Fred Kaps had to deal with hundreds of girls in the audience who could not get enough of The Beatles.  As we understand, he did it well and entertained many with his magic act.

He died in 1980.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

February 1958: George joined John & Paul



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George Harrison joined the band that we'd later call The Beatles this week in 1958.    John & Paul needed a strong lead guitarist and George was available.

In the early days, George was always in the background.  He got the nickname of "the Quiet Beatle".

He sang background vocals.  Once in a while, George sang "lead".

One of those early examples was "Devil in her heart", a tune made popular by US groups.

In the US, the song was released on "Second album", an LP thrown together from early songs recorded in the UK in 1963.    

So we remember the day that George joined John & Paul.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

We remember Laura Ingalls Wilder (1860-1957)


Most of us learned of Laura Ingalls Wilder when we got hooked on "Little House on the Prairie".    We fell in love with the cast, from Pa to Ma and the cute girls.

The real Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin on this day in 1860 and died in 1957.  The Ingals lived in Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.  In 1885, she married Almanzo Wilder and they had one daughter.  

Frankly, I never read the books but the TV shows were fantastic.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

February 6: Happy birthday to ‘The Gipper’ and ‘The Babe’


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All of my conservative friends are flooding social media with birthday wishes for the late President Reagan who was born on this day in 1911 in Tampico, Illinois.    

To this day, President Reagan ranks high as one of the most popular presidents of the last 50 years. We remember him as a leader, a man who stood up to the USSR, defended the US and the kind of figure that you were proud to see on stage as the US president.   In fact, a 2011 Gallup ranked him as our greatest president

Greater than Lincoln and Washington?  Not so fast but it is evidence that a lot of us remember him as a successful president, a man who made us feel good about the country.

We also remember that Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland on this day in 1895.  

Like Reagan, Ruth came along at an opportune time. 

Baseball was in deep trouble after the White Sox scandal and fans soured on the game. The "Black Sox" scandal was a complicated story but the Commissioner had no choice but to ban the players.  The biggest tragedy of the commissioner's decision is that we never got to see "Shoeless" Jackson play a full career in the majors.

Ruth put fans in the seats, made baseball fun and became a legendary American hero. 

What was God telling us by making this day a birthday for two such dynamic individuals?  I think that he was saying that our leaders come from humble homes and unexpected places like Tampico, Illinois and the rough streets of Baltimore, Maryland. 

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We remember Natalie Cole (1950-2015)

Image result for natalie cole images"

Natalie was born February 6, 1950 in Los Angeles.   She was 15 when her father, Nat King Cole, died young in 1965.   

In 1991, Natalie recorded an album of her father's music and it sold 14 million copies.  It included a great version of "Unforgettable".  Thanks to technology, they mixed the two vocal tracks and it was great.

Natalie Cole died in 2015.  

By the way,  her music is available on a digital format, such as that great album of her father's songs.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

February 2005: Alberto Gonzalez confirmed as Attorney General


President Bush got off to a historic start with his second term Cabinet appointments. 
President Bush appointed a black woman as Secretary of State and a Mexican-American man as Attorney General

Alberto Gonzalez is a great American story, or as they say “Only in America”

He is the son of poor Mexican immigrants.  He worked hard and made his way to Harvard Law School. In the 1990’s, he met Governor Bush in Texas and became the Attorney General of the US. 

Well done, Alberto!
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Memories of going to Lubbock and Buddy Holly's grave

Back in the mid-1990's, I took a business trip to Lubbock, Texas. 

I had a pleasant conversation with the taxi driver about Buddy Holly.  It seems that every 60-something resident of Lubbock knew Buddy Holly. 

Later, we drove to the Holly grave site, which is a popular tourist landmark.

Over the years, I have grown to love Buddy Holly's music


His repertoire included high energy rock tunes and some nice ballads. Some of his arrangements, such as "Raining in my heart" were a bit ahead of their time.

Holly was a very influential rocker.  We believe that The Beatles named their group after the Crickets. The Hollies were apparently named after him, too.


His songs have been recorded by The Beatles ("Words of Love"), Peter & Gordon ("True Love Ways") and The Rolling Stones ("Not Fade Away").

Buddy Holly was killed February 3, 1959 in a plane crash.  It inspired Don McClean's "American Pie" and introduced millions of us to the story and the music.


Check out "The Buddy Holly Story", a good movie about his life. 

Last but not least, get a Holly CD and turn up the volume.

P.S.  You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).  If you like our posts, drop a dime here.

Buddy Holly is still making fans years later!


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We recall what they call “the day that the music died”.

Like most of my generation, we learned of Buddy Holly when Don McClean released “American Pie”.    

I just  remember reading the lyrics and asking a friend:  What’s this guy singing about?   

He said:  “Buddy Holly”, the guy who sings “Peggy Sue”.    

We didn’t have “You Tube” or downloads back in the 1970’s.   So I went to the record store and bought me a copy of a “Best of ” Buddy Holly vinyl LP.    I became a fan instantly when I heard those guitar rifts and catchy songs like “That’ll be the day” and “Maybe baby”.

It was many ago that Buddy Holly (along with Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper) were killed in a plane crash .    I don’t think that anyone in 1959 had a clue that we’d be talking about them so many years later.

Holly touched a nerve with his music.  One of his biggest fans was a teenager in Liverpool, Paul McCartney.   (The Beatles recorded “Words of Love” in a 1965 LP)

Holly’s impact was huge, as Phillip Norman wrote from the UK:

”Holly and Elvis Presley are the two seminal figures of Fifties rock ‘n’ roll, the place where modern rock culture began. Virtually everything we hear on CD or see on film or the concert stage can be traced back to those twin towering icons – Elvis with his drape jacket and swivelling hips and Buddy in big black glasses, brooding over the fretboard of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.
But Presley’s contribution to original, visceral rock ‘n’ roll was little more than that of a gorgeous transient; having unleashed the world-shaking new sound, he soon forsook it for slow ballads, schlock movie musicals and Las Vegas cabarets. 
Holly, by contrast, was a pioneer and a revolutionary. 
His was a multidimensional talent which seemed to arrive fully formed in a medium still largely populated by fumbling amateurs. 
The songs he co-wrote and performed with his backing band the Crickets remain as fresh and potent today as when recorded on primitive equipment in New Mexico half a century ago: That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Not Fade Away.
To call someone who died at 22 “the father of rock” is not as fanciful as it seems. 
As a songwriter, performer and musician, Holly is the progenitor of virtually every world-class talent to emerge in the Sixties and Seventies. 
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Bruce Springsteen all freely admit they began to play only after Buddy taught them how. 
Though normal-sighted as a teenager, Elton John donned spectacles in imitation of the famous Holly horn-rims and ruined his eyesight as a result.”

We will never know what other great songs Holly would have recorded.  We do know that he had a monumental influence on rock groups and even country stars.

Who knows what kids in 2059 will be listening to?  I’ll bet you that quite a few will be marking the 100th anniversary of Holly’s death.

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