Saturday, October 07, 2006

On This Day in History

Some good and some bad stuff that happened on October 7:
1714 - Beer tax riots in Alkmaar, Netherlands.
1769 - English explorer, Captain Cook, discovers New Zealand.
1780 - American Revolutionary War: Battle of Kings Mountain American Patriot militia defeat Loyalist irregulars led by British colonel Patrick Ferguson in South Carolina.
1916 - Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland University 222-0 in the most lopsided victory in American college football.
1919 - KLM of the Netherlands was founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.
1940 - Germany invades Romania.
1942 - U.S. and British government announce establishment of United Nations.
1949 - German Democratic Republic (East Germany) formed.
1949 - One of the earliest television shows, "Ford Theater" debuts
1950 - United States forces cross the 38th parallel.
1951 - David Ben-Gurion forms Israeli government.
1957 - Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" debuts.
1958 - U.S. manned space-flight project renamed Project Mercury.
1959 - Far side of the Moon seen for first time, compliments of U.S.S.R.'s Luna 3.
1960 - Second Kennedy and Nixon debate Cold War foreign policy in the second of four scheduled debates.
1960 - Tony Plutonium born.
1963 - John F. Kennedy signs ratification for nuclear test ban treaty.
1968 - Hollywood adopts the movie ratings system.
1982 - Cats opens on Broadway and runs for nearly 18 years before closing on September 10, 2000.
1984 - NFL running back Walter Payton breaks Jim Brown's rushing record.
1985 - The "Achille Lauro" is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists.
1996 - The Fox News Channel, an American cable news network, is launched.
2001 - Start of U.S. invasion of Afghanistan with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.
2003 - California recall: California governor Gray Davis is recalled from office and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2004 - King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia abdicates.

How's this for an odd combination of good and evil birthdays to share?
1471 - King Frederick I of Denmark and Norway (d. 1533)
1853 - James Whitcomb Riley, American poet (d. 1916)
1885 - Niels Bohr, Danish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d.1962)
1888 - Henry A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States (d. 1965)
1897 - Elijah Muhammad, American Black Muslim leader (d. 1975)
1900 - Heinrich Himmler, Nazi official and leader of the SS (d. 1945)
1905 - Andy Devine, American actor (d. 1977)
1931 - Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and Nobel Laureate
1943 - Oliver North, U.S. Marine and politician
1951 - John Cougar Mellencamp, American singer
1952 - Vladimir Putin, 2nd President of Russia
1955 - Yo-Yo Ma, French-born cellist
1959 - Simon Cowell, English recording executive
1960 - Tony Plutonium, blogger
1968 - Toni Braxton, American singer
1968 - Thom Yorke, English singer (Radiohead)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Watch The Taillights Fading...

I don't normally read celebrity stuff but the "Top Funeral Songs" headline of the WaPo celebrity blog caught my eye as did the lede:

"Britain's Bereavement Register announced that James Blunt's "Goodbye My Lover" tops a list of songs played at funerals. A look at the full list (below) makes it clear that a British funeral is now officially as boring as the music piped into my dentist's office."

And that list is:
1 "Goodbye My Lover" - James Blunt
2 "Angels" - Robbie Williams
3 "I've Had the Time of my Life" - Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4 "Wind Beneath my Wings" - Bette Midler
5 "Pie Jesu" - Requiem
6 "Candle in the Wind" - Elton John
7 "With or Without You" - U2
8 "Tears from Heaven" - Eric Clapton
9 "Every Breath You Take" - The Police
10 "Unchained Melody" - Righteous Brothers
11 "Danny Boy" - Daniel O'Donnell
12 "Time to Say Goodbye" - Sarah Brightman
13 "What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong
14 "Knocking on Heaven's Door" - Bob Dylan
15 "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" - Aerosmith
16 "Bright Eyes" - Simon and Garfunkel
17 "Eternal Flame" - The Bangles
18 "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" - Bon Jovi
19 "I Want to Live Forever" - Fame
20 "Reach for the Stars" - S Club 7

First of all, BON JOVI'S I'll Sleep When I'm Dead!?!?!?! WTF is up with that? And any list that includes James Blunt or Sarah Brightman should be thrown out without further reading. And Every Breath You Take? A song about stalking as a funeral song? Huh?

As with most guys my age (the dark side of mid-40's as of tomorrow), Elton John's Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding was my first choice when I was in high school and we started thinking about this (certainly not Candle in the Wind - too bloody sweet and didn't become a funeral song until the whole Diana thing). But by the time I'd been in college a couple of years, I'd settled on my song and it hasn't changed - The Rolling Stones' Before They Make Me Run. What could be better than having Keef's nasal drawl singing "Well here's another goodbye to another good friend"?
Watch the taillights fading, there ain't a dry eye in the house
They're laughing and singing
Started dancing and drinking as I left town
Gonna find my way to heaven, `cause I did my time in hell
I wasn't looking too good but I was feeling real well

After all is said and done
I gotta move I had my fun
Let us walk before they make me run
The article suggested that we should come up with 1 to 3 songs, in which case I'd go with Send Lawyers, Guns and Money from Warren Zevon ("Dad, get me out of THIS one!") and Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party and throw in It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) as the recessional/staggering out to the cab song.

I don't intend to need this answer for some time to come, but I suspect Mick and Keef will still be the tune of choice no matter how much longer I hang in here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

RIP, Uncle Marion

A couple of years ago I posted a note about my trip to South Pittsburg, TN with Mom and our visit with my Aunt Bertha and Uncle Marion. A few weeks ago, they celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary - most of us just hope to have 72 years on this earth period and they've been blessed with that many years together. Got a note from Mom today that Uncle Marion passed away yesterday at the age (I think) of 93. He had had a little trouble getting around the last year or so, but make no mistake, this was not a man that has been bedridden for a long time or anything of the sort. When I was there two years ago, he was still getting out on the farm a little bit and was in health that lots of men 20 years younger would envy. Aunt Bertha is even more amazing - at 89 she could pass for 65 and I understand she's hardly slowed down at all in the two years since I've seen her. I'm sure she's still driving to church every Sunday - just an amazing woman.

I'm sure that if my uncle had any regrets, it was leaving my aunt behind. I can only hope that having her family with her will see her through. And that the rest of us are blessed with having such a long time together with our sweeties!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's Fall!

It actually felt like fall this weekend as we made a quick trip up to the mountains to visit the 'rents. Dad took us out to dinner in Spruce Pine to Foxfire (his home away from home) on Saturday night and owner/chef Robin outdid herself with the best German chocolate cake I've ever had. That was followed up by brunch at the Toe River Lodge up in Plumtree - first time J and I had ever been and it was quite the treat! The family that runs it are some of the nicest, friendliest folks you'll ever meet and the food was outstanding. I believe the restaurant is only open for another couple of weeks before they close for the season (except for what sounds like the world's greatest Thanksgiving dinner - better make your reservations NOW!) but we'll definitely want to go back next spring. Stopped off in Blowing Rock for a walkabout as usual on the way home - there are few days in one's life that are as pretty as this one!

Photo 1: Idyllic scene near the Toe River Lodge on 19A
Photo 2: Unnamed (I'm guessing) little falls on US 221 near Grandfather Mountain
Photo 3: Don't tell this maple in Blowing Rock that the trees are changing color for another couple of weeks...