Tag Archives: HISTORY

The Great California Potato Super Bowl

During the mid-1960s I was a student at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California. Cerritos had a football team called the Falcons and apparently, they were pretty good at the time. While I never attended one of their regular season games they did win a spot in a small college bowl game in Bakersfield called The Potato Bowl.

For whatever reason, several friends and I decided to make the drive. The Potato Bowl was played in a stadium that was literally a bowl dug into the earth and surrounded by bleacher seats.

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A Little Murals, A Little Travel, & a Little More

There seems to be a movement afoot throughout America. A manic movement to decorate old brick walls with colorful, artistic, and/or historical murals. Possibly the earliest I noticed were huge murals along Cincinnati’s Central Ave. More recently we have visited the historical flood wall artworks of Portsmouth which have become a major visitor draw. The most common visit I’m aware of is to tour the flood walls and then have supper at the Scioto Ribber.

Wilmington has a growing crop of excellent murals in its business district and several years ago Greenfield’s Community Market adorned its east wall with a trio of mostly historical murals. Not sure it’s a mural but I like what the Zint’s do with the Corner Pharmacy wall. The first murals I recall in Greenfield were those painted by Eddie Tipton back in the 1970s. I remember those being more folk art like and I believe most of have faded into the pages of time.

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Think Before Donning That Red Ball Cap

I was in a local tire shop a couple of years ago and a young man, probably not twenty yet, walked in sporting a t-shirt with large letters proclaiming “FUCK JESUS!” While I’m not a Christian I was offended. Not so much for myself but for others present, friends, who I knew were. Correct or not, I challenged the youngster and asked him if he got out of bed that morning intent on pissing people off? He just looked totally stupid at me as if he hadn’t read and considered the content of his chest. I told him that while he had the right to wear his shirt I questioned if he had a justifiable reason. Was it appropriate for the environment in which he found himself? Speech has consequences and the consequences that kid potentially faced were far more serious than some old man asking him if he was trying to piss him off.

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Is Muller Taking Too Much Time?

A couple of days ago I was in a discussion with a person who contended that the Muller special investigation should be ended because it hasn’t resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing. This claimed, in spite of a couple dozen indictments and several guilty pleas.

The Muller investigation began on May 17, 2017, so it is not yet two-years-old. How does that compare to other special prosecutor investigations? I did a little Googling and came up with the following:

  • The Samuel Pierce influence peddling during the first Bush presidency took almost 8 1/2 years.
  • The Whitewater Investigation during the Clinton administration took about 7 years.
  • The Henry Cisnero perjury investigation of the Clinton era went on for 9 years.
  • It took 3 years to conclude the Valerie Plame investigation during the G.W.B. years.

So, in light of these (and there are more), Muller is advancing relatively fast. The claim that there’s no evidence of wrongdoing is bogus. Given the number of indictments and guilty pleas, plus Muller’s ability to contain leaks simply means none of us really knows what evidence exists. We can make no judgments until the prosecutor says he’s finished and issues his report.

To think otherwise is simply to admit you’re accepting the word of paid mouthpieces like Rudi Guiliani.

My First Cell Phone

These days just about everyone has a cell phone and almost everyone who has a cell phone has a smartphone. I don’t know when you purchased your first cell phone but I got mine sometime in the mid to late 1980s and it was a “bag phone.” I don’t recall the brand but I had to drive to Dayton to purchase it and it worked on the Cingular network. I did a lot of weekend traveling back then and thought it would make things safer for me. While I never had to use it to get me out of trouble I did have occasions to call 911 for others.

The battery, antenna, and the phone were stored in a bag and to charge it you plugged it into your car’s cigarette plug. Not very portable but you could throw its strap over your shoulder and you were free…until the battery wore down.

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Some Reality About AOC’s Tax Plan

Old white men wearing dark suits and sporting locks of bright grey hair don’t like change. That’s why whippersnappers who are young, female, beautiful, intelligent, and can bust a move in the hallways of Congress, scare the shit out of them. Most specifically I’m talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a major rising star in today’s progressivism. Besides her joy of dancing the old folks don’t care much for her suggested reforms to the nation’s income tax system. What’s got their sphincters in a twist is the 70% income tax she wants to impose on the nation’s wealthiest. If one doesn’t go beyond the 70% figure it is easy for the wealth and power block to lure the average American into thinking the government is coming after their money. Quite the contrary is the case.

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Didn’t it Rain – More About Sister Loretta Tharpe

I’ve written about Sister Rosetta Tharpe at least one other time. She is arguably one of the most important persons in the history and development of Rock and Roll music. All one has to do is listen to here guitar rifts and you’ll hear what the Chuck Berry’s of rock built their sound on. Tharpe showed them the path.

Anyway, I came across an article about the Sister that I wanted to share with you rock historians. It was written by James Jordan for The Writing Cooperative and contains a couple of examples of her music.  Click the photo below to read James Jordan’s article. Enjoy.

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Trump’s Improbable History

A couple of days ago Donald Trump sat surrounded by his lackey cabinet and rambled for ninety-minutes about things he knows little of. The one thing I paid close attention to was his explanation of why the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.  History records several reasons for the invasion including the desire to increase Soviet influence in Southcentral Asia and to support the failing communist government of Afganistan.

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So, Why Now Mitt? Where You been?

A major news item today regards the “scathing” op-ed Mitt Romney wrote for the Washington Post. While Romney is now calling Trump out, I have to wonder why he waited this long to do so?  Romney was

Now, let’s talk about this Secretary of State job.

a major target of Trump’s vitreal during the GOP campaign and the victim of a Trump prank when he thought he was being offered the Secretary of State position. Romney handily won the vacated seat of Warren Hatch and probably would have even if he had spoken out long before sewing up a seat in the Senate.

Senate seat now secure Romney is openly claiming Trump to not be up to the mantle of the job. Romney is critical of Trump’s not calling out to our better angels but instead, had given reign to our worst angels. “He [Trump] has failed to offer examples of honesty and integrity.”

In the arena of world affairs, Romney said this about Trump’s behavior on the world stage, “Trump’s words and actions have caused dismay around the world. In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent.”

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Dow Jones by the Presidents

Donald Trump never tires of telling us how intelligent he is, how good a businessman he is, and how much better he is than anyone else. Of course, his favorite targets are Clinton and Obama. All year he has tooted his own horn over the record levels attained by the stock market and in fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average did reach a record high. But in December the bottom fell out, canceling all of the year’s gains and leaving the Dow around 4,000 points lower. Where he took full credit for the gains he has several people to blame the losses on.

So what’s the truth? How has the Dow performed under his leadership compared to other presidents? During Trump’s first two years in office, the Dow has grown by 19.2%. Now let’s compare that against some other presidents.

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To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

Recently I pulled into the drive-thru at McDonald’s and in front of me was a car with two teenage boys. They weren’t paying attention and keeping up with the line. So, expecting a flock of angry birds I honked my horn. It woke them and from then on they mostly paid attention.

What I noticed, when their heads weren’t bobbing to something I wouldn’t recognize as music, was that both were either smoking cigarettes or vaping. I could fault them for that but at their age, I was on my way to becoming totally nicotine addicted and working my way towards two or more packs a day.  The brief experience made me reflect back on my own experiences.

Ironically the Marlboro Man died of cancer.

I guess that I began smoking around age twelve, if not younger. That would have been 1954 and I continued smoking until 1982 at age forty when I attended a smoking cessation class and six weeks later snuffed out my devil weed. So, I smoked 28 years and have been smoke-free for 36 years.

In 1954 a pack of cigarettes in New York was .23 cents and I was smoking one or two a day.  By 1960, the year I graduated from high school the price was .26 cents and I was consuming a pack a day. In 1982 cigarettes were .82 cents a pack and I was smoking three packs a day and if I went bar hopping on Friday night it would be another two packs for a total of five.

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President Bone Spur’s Letter of Exemption

What follows is part of a New York Times article regarding the way in which the Trump family may have used its influence to obtain a bogus letter exempting Trump from the military draft.

“The New York City podiatrist who gave Donald Trump a letter stating he had bone spurs on his heels—which enabled him to dodge the Vietnam War draft—issued the document as a favor to Trump’s real-estate developer father, Fred, from whom his office space was rented, the doctor’s daughter has told The New York Times. “I know it was a favor,” said Elysa Braunstein, now 56, who said the implication from her father was that the future president did not have a disqualifying foot ailment. Braunstein’s surgical office in Jamaica, Queens, was owned by the Trump family until 2004. Braunstein said that after the letter was issued, her father received preferential treatment from his landlord. “If there was anything wrong in the building, my dad would call and Trump would take care of it immediately. That was the small favor that he got.” Larry Braunstein died in 2007. A second podiatrist, Manny Weinstein, who was also allegedly involved in testifying to Trump’s condition, was a close friend of Braunstein’s, she said. Weinstein lived in two apartments in Brooklyn owned by Fred Trump. He moved into the first space during the year Donald Trump received his exemption. In an interview with the Times in 2016, Donald Trump said a doctor provided “a very strong letter” about the bone spurs in his heels, which he then presented to military draft officials. He said he could not remember the doctor’s name. “You are talking a lot of years,” Trump said. He had been declared available for service two years earlier and underwent a physical exam, records show. Officials again declared him available for service in July 1968, by which time he had exhausted four education deferments and finished college. However, the last-minute diagnosis of bone spurs, which has been widely mocked, kept him out of military service.”

Cavalcade of Sports

This past Saturday I enjoyed a little deja vu. In the 1960s, on many a Friday night, I would watch Gillette’s Cavalcade of Sports, otherwise known as the Friday Night Fights. It was broadcast in black and white from Madison Square Garden in NYC and the ringmaster was the legendary Jimmy Lennon. You could sit in your living room and enjoy the best of the best that the sport of prizefighting could offer.

Archie Moore v. Rocky Marciano

I watched such legends as Ingemar Johansson, Floyd Patterson, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Emile Griffith, Archie Moore, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Robinson, and a young Cashis Clay. I was living in Downey, California and in the nearby community of Bellflower, a young Jerry Quarry was coming onto the scene in 1965. He would go on to become the world heavyweight champion and entering the ring with the biggest names of the day. Frank Stanley and I had the pleasure of seeing Quarry, in his early years, fight at the Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

Those days are long gone but maybe, they’re coming back. Last Saturday I scanned onto a Fox sports channel and came across what appeared to be the Saturday Night Fights. I watched two championship 10-round bouts for middleweight and super middleweight. Of course, I didn’t recognize anyone but to my surprise and pleasure, the ringmaster was Jimmy Lennon, Jr. carrying on in his late father’s footsteps. Hopefully, this is regular programming and I can break out a Guinness and enjoy some pugilism on the occasional Saturday evening.

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Patton on Walls

My wife and I were recently talking about how much of an exposed border America has. In light of that, I saw this meme that is such a good visual illustration of how meaningless a Southern wall is. There also appears to be some evidence that more illegals cross the Canadian border than the Mexican. Regardless, America is a very porous nation and no fence is going to keep people out. Once again, walls don’t work, just ask the Chinese or the French. I know that Trump knows more than his generals but just bear in mind these words from General George S. Patton, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity. If mountain ranges and oceans can be overcome, anything made by man can be overcome.”

The Cost of Living with Trump

According to CNBC  Trump’s tariff on steel and aluminum will add $1,800 to the cost of a Toyota Camry sedan, assembled in Kentucky. A similar cost would occur for a Tundra pickup truck and around $2,900 on a Sienna minivan. To some degree the same will happen to all automobile costs because so many materials and parts are imported.

Trump loves to brag about the economy and takes major credit for it. He mostly points to the rising stock market and falling unemployment rates. What he doesn’t mention is the stagnation of wages  for the working class, the shortage and rising cost of housing, the skyrocketing cost of education, the in-affordability of medical care, and the enormous tax breaks he’s given to the super wealthy.

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