What I See ~

First Special Olympics


You could trace it back to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, although the Special Olympics are the result of many dedicated people joining to make something special happen.

Eunice started with a day camp she created for children with intellectual disabilities at her home in Potomac Maryland, back in 1962. She was concerned with these children having no place to play and used the camp as an example of how people with intellectual disabilities could be involved with physical activity and competition opportunities. Camp Shriver became an annual event.

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A Canadian physician, Dr. Frank Hayden became involved. His research showed that persons with intellectual disabilities can and should participate in physical exercise and competition. Dr. Hayden connected with Rose Kennedy and got funding help from the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was head of the foundation. And so it started.

Shriver on the field during warmups

Shriver on the field during warmups

A few minutes after the above picture was taken, she put on her bathing suit  and helped athletes at the aquatics events

A few minutes after the above picture was taken, she put on her bathing suit and helped athletes at the aquatics events

To understand the impact of the Chicago Games let’s take a look at the era. America was deeply divided. We saw young against old, man against woman, black against white, pro Vietnam War, anti War. The Tet Offensive and ‘Nam came into our living rooms. Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated just seven weeks earlier. A month after the Games, Chicago exploded into a maelstrom of violence. Change was happening everywhere.

Chicago Mayor, Richard Daily, who would become a national figure just a month later for ordering his police to beat on the Chicago protesters sounded like a much gentler, forward thinking guy when he said to Shriver, “You know Eunice, the world will never be the same after this.”

field w pool

Soldier’s field – you can see the pool for aquatic events mid picture

The first Special Olympics – as it came to be known – featured 1500 athletes from Canada and the United States and took place at Soldier’s field in Chicago on July 20, 1968.


Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities providing year round training and competition for more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries.

We can see the next World Games happening this summer, July 25 to August 2, 2015 in Los Angeles California.

Feelin’ It!

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Nicole Freeo of Monroe County, left, rushes into the arms of her assistant coach, Kerri ann Freeomanning, after Nicole was awarded a gold medal in the softball throw event at the 2007 Pa Special Olympics Summer Games at Penn State. (John Beale/AP Photo)

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Cindy Hasselquist, 10, runs into the waiting arms of her mother, Rose, after completing the 50 meter dash during the Special Olympics at Greenbrier High School Friday afternoon.  3/17/00 Michael Holahan photo METRO

Nadia Comaneci on Special Olympics: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nadia-comaneci/special-olympics-athletes_b_7753014.html

Revolutionaries Die Same Day – 50th Independence Day

Artwork from Red Door Magazine

Today July 4 in 1826 John Adams, 90 years old, lay on his deathbed as the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. His last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives”. By a crazy coincidence he did not know that Thomas Jefferson, his friend, antagonist and then friend again had died 5 hours earlier at Monticello at age 82. [above artwork from Red Door Magazine]


Jefferson left – Adams right

Adams and Jefferson were the second and third presidents of the United States, respectively. They both were instrumental in the drafting of the Declaration; Jefferson authored it and Adams served on the drafting committee, arguing with eloquence for its passage. Adams was known as, “colossus of debate”.

Adams was the first Vice President under Washington. In those days the person with the second most votes became the Vice President. Jefferson was appointed Secretary of State.


Adams left – Jefferson right

Next time around. Adams defeated Jefferson as the second President of the States, with Jefferson as his Vice. This is where things heated up.

Adams was an irritable and hot tempered man with a firm belief in a powerful centralized government. The knowledgeable and chivalrous Jefferson believed the federal government should take a more hands-off approach and rely more on individual states rights. Needless to say, their personalities were as distinct as their politics which made for heated times in the “Oval Office”.


Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans (forerunner to the Democratic Party) defeated the Federalist Party of Adams in 1800 to become the third President of the US. After reducing the power and expenditures of the central government, Jefferson retired to Monticello, VA. Adams had already retired to his estate in Quincy, Massachusetts.


Adams and Jefferson became stanch adversaries and didn’t’ talk for over 10 years. Over time though, the two ex-presidents expressed to third parties their respect for each other and desire to renew their friendship. Adams broke the ice on January 1, 1812 with a Happy New Year note in which he wished Jefferson “many happy new years to come”.

Adams 1812 letter to Jefferson [click to enlarge]

Adams 1812 letter to Jefferson [click to enlarge]

Jefferson responded with a note in which he fondly recalled their labors to a common cause. Well, that was all it took, the former revolutionaries resumed their friendship with letters of correspondence over the next 14 years. These letters discussing politics, philosophy and religion are considered masterpieces of American enlightenment.


For further reading, the complete letters between Adams and Jefferson can be found at your local library.


Artwork by Josh Lange

Artwork by Josh Lange

Absolutly Not Absolute


Time and Space Not Absolute – It’s All Relative.


On this day, June 30 of 1905, Albert Einstein published an article that transformed humanity’s understanding of our universe. The theory of Special Relativity revolutionized modern physics and changed our views on space, time, mass and energy.

It was part of his Annus mīrābilis (Latin for “extraordinary year” sometimes called “miracle year”) papers he published in the scientific journal, Annalen der Physik.

The Annus mīrābilis papers were actually four articles [see end of article for more details]

The Photoelectric Effectal

Brownian Motion

Mass–energy Equivalence


Special Relativity – this was his third paper that year, and was received on June 30, 1905.


Special relativity created a link between space and time; viewing the universe in four dimensions – up/down, left/right, forward/backward, and one time dimension. These four dimensions are referred to as the space-time continuum.

General relativity has been confirmed many times over through numerous experiments and simple observations, like the deflection of light from the Sun. In practical applications you can thank Albert for getting your GPS to work. That GPS you use needs to account for earth’s gravitational fields, its precision uses the Theory of Relativity to get it right.


It’s About Time

One of the odd consequences of general relativity is that a clock will run more slowly in deeper gravitational wells. This is called gravitational time dilation.

James Chin-Wen Chou

James Chin-Wen Chou

James Chin-Wen Chou of the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted an experiment. He explained that: “If you are experiencing stronger gravitational pull, then your time is going to go slower”, gravity actually slows down time. Whaaaaa?

So Chou ran an experiment. Pretty simple, he set two clocks to the same time. One was put on a staircase 33cm high, the other at ground level. The higher clock started to tick slightly behind the lower one.

Maybe not so simple an experiment as they had to be able to measure the difference of 90 billionths of a second over an 80 year period. Yes that was the difference it added up to, about 90 billionths of a second over an 80-year life span.

[for details of the experiment, use back button to return to article] http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2010/sep/24/relativity-with-a-human-touch

Some Einstein quotes

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?


There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity Made Easy

The four articles of the annus mīrābilis papers:

The photoelectric effect: The observation that many metals emit electrons when light shines on them. Electrons emited in this manner can be called photoelectrons. This phenomenon is studied in electronic physics, and fields of chemistry, like quantum chemistry or electrochemistry.

Brownian motion: The random motion of particles suspended in a fluid (liquid or gas) resulting from their collision with quick atoms or molecules. Thus creating a mathematical model describing such random movements, often called particle theory.

Mass–energy equivalence: The concept that the mass of an object is a measure of its energy content.

Special relativity – Einstein’s “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” (“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”), as his third paper that year brought together the equations for electricity and magnetism by introducing major changes to mechanics close to the speed of light. This is what later became known as Einstein’s special theory of relativity.


Get Your Kicks On 66


Arabian camelThrough camels caravans and Corvettes, Route 66 ended on this day, June 27 in 1985. State Highway and Transportation Officials decertify US 66 and voted to remove all its highway signs. [click images to enlarge]

Route 66 became official in 1926, creating a diagonal southwesterly course from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA. It measured some 2200 miles and cut through 8 states becoming a lifeline for long distance trucking and a romantic pathway that opened the Southwest and California to all Americans.

Edward Beale

Edward Beale

Back in 1857 Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale blazed a path through the wilderness with a caravan of camels that would become Route 66. Yes, a Navy Lieutenant on camels!

Beale, as part of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, was ordered to build a wagon road along the 35th Parallel. His secondary order was to test the feasibility of using camels as pack animals in the Southwest desert. His efforts became a main part of Route 66.

For more on Beale (and his camels): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Fitzgerald_Beale


Route 66, sometimes known as the Main Street of America, linked hundreds of small rural communities to larger cities and gave farmers an easier way to transport their wares for distribution. By 1930 the Route was competing with the railroads for dominance in shipping. Back in the day, most small towns had no practical access to major national thoroughfares.

Road between Oatman and Kingman, AZ

Road between Oatman and Kingman, AZ


In 1926 the highway earned its official designation as Route 66. Sixty Six was chosen because the planners believed it would be easy to remember… they also thought it was pleasant to say and hear. Cyrus Avery (right – Highway Commissioner known as the Father of Route 66) and John Page (a highway engineer) appreciated the number 66’s use in numerology as a master number bringing material pleasure and success.AZ 1015

Early on the road was either gravel or graded dirt. By 1938 Route 66 became the first highway to be completely paved.

During the 1930s Route 66 became the escape route for more than 200,000 people migrating west, leaving the Dust Bowl of the US prairies. John Steinbeck’s classic 1939, “The Grapes of Wrath” immortalized Route 66 when he called it “The Mother Road”.

Reds in Springfield MO - The first drive thru

Reds in Springfield MO – The first drive thru… literally, showed up on Route 66

The beginning of the end came in 1953 with the first major bypass of the highway, the Turner Turnpike between Tulsa, OK and Oklahoma City. 88 miles that paralleled US 66 and passed each of the towns along the way. In 1957 the Will Rodgers turnpike joined the Turner and soon the entire state of Kansas become I-44.

Cadillac Ranch - Armadillo Tx

Cadillac Ranch – Armadillo Tx on Route 66

By 1970 modern four lane highways bypassed almost all sections of the historic Route and in October of 1984, I-40 bypassed the last original stretch of Route 66 at Williams, AZ.  On June 27, 1985 Route 66 was officially decertified.

Wigwam Motel Holbrook AZ

Wigwam Motel Holbrook AZ along Route 66

NPin Vet

The National Historic Route 66 Federation says that drivers can still use approximately 85% of the road and it is still a destination route for drivers from all over the world. See you on Route 66…

The “Main Street of America” inspired its own song written in 1947 by Bobby Troup.

But I like Nat’s version:


Your Impression


$54 Million Painting

Imagine one painting worth $54 million. But wait, this is only the SECOND highest price paid for a single painting. The highest paid was $80.1 million in 2008 for Monet’s, Le bassin des Nymphéas [pictured above – click images to enlarge] . It was on June 23 of 2014 that a painting in the Claude Monet series, Nympheas’ (Water Lilies) sold for the $54 mil. Both of these paintings came from his Nymphéas series.


Water Lilies


$54 Million!

Monet created this series of about 250 oil paintings from his flower garden in Giverny, located in Northern France. The Giverny garden was the main focus of his work during the last 20 to 30 years of his life, many of which were painted while he suffered from cataracts.

Nympheas - Monet

Nympheas – Monet

Monet's Garden

Monet’s Garden

Monet and his good friend, Auguste Renoir, took their easels outside to paint directly from nature. Call it the beginnings of en plein air (French expression which means “in the open air” describing the act of painting outdoors). The guys often worked as fast as they could so their paintings looked like sketches. That sketchy style became known as… Impressionism.

Monet painting in his garden by Renoir

Monet painting in his garden by Renoir

Monet explored the idea that you can never really see the same thing twice. In one day he would paint the same subject several times taking only an hour or so on each canvas, exploring the subject from different angles and lighting.

In his youth, when Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, his experience was unlike his contemporaries who were copying from the old masters. Monet instead sat by a window painting what he saw.

Venice Twilight

Venice Twilight

Monet by Renoir

Monet by Renoir

When he met Auguste Renroir they shared their new approaches to art and painting… the effects of light en plein air, broken color and rapid brush strokes (Impressionism).

Art critic, Louis Leroy, in his review in the French publication, Le Charivari, thought he was insulting Monet by mocking the title of his painting, “L’Exposition des Impressionnistes,” (Impression, Sunrise) thus unwittingly coining the term Impressionism… a completely new and fluid, daring and bold style of painting, where a water lily pond became the starting point for a form of almost abstract art.

L'Exposition des Impressionnistes - Impression, Sunrise

L’Exposition des Impressionnistes – Impression, Sunrise

Enjoy some Monet

Irises in Garden

Irises in Garden





Weeping Willow

Weeping Willow

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

The Water Lily Pond

The Water Lily Pond

Sea Roses

Sea Roses





Woman with Parisol

Woman with Parasol

Claude_Monet_1899_Nadar_crop young-claude-monet1

Down In Monterey


The people came and listened

Some of them came and played

Others gave flowers away

Yes, they did

Down in Monterey

 ~Burdon, Weider, Briggs, McCulloch, & Jenkins


The Monterey Pop festival embodied the face of the counter culture in California and the beginnings of the Summer of Love. Monterey was the inspiration and template for Woodstock and of future music festivals to come. [click on images to enlarge]

Held June 16th  to 18th  in 1967 at the Monterey Fairgrounds, crowd estimates for the festival ranged from 25,000 to 90,000 people. Ticket prices varied from $3.00 to the expensive seats at $6.50.


All revenue was donated to charity. Artists preformed for free with a couple exceptions. Ravi Shankar was paid $3000 for his afternoon performance and Country Joe received $5000 from a later documentary.

Janis Joplin9

Monterey launched the careers of several artists becoming almost overnight sensations: Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Laura Nyro, Otis Redding, Steve Miller, and Ravi Shankar.

According to John Phillips, Joplin was so nervous before her performance she was drinking Southern Comfort to calm down and literally shaking with fear. Afterward, coming off stage, people found her crying because she couldn’t believe she had gone over so well.

Laura Nyro - I'm a fan

Laura Nyro – I’m a fan

Otis Redding - Respect

Otis Redding – Respect

Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield

torkand joplin

montereypopfestival MFM670616-35-FP

Music writer Rusty Desoto suggests that:

“…Monterey Pop was a seminal event… featuring debut performances of bands that would shape the history of rock and affect popular culture from that day forward.”



Check out this line up.

Friday, June 16
  •    The Association
  •    The Paupers
  •    Lou Rawls
  •    Beverly
  •    Johnny Rivers
  •    Eric Burdon and The Animals
  •    Simon & Garfunkel
Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

Brian Jones

Brian Jones

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Saturday, June 17
  •    Canned Heat
  •    Big Brother and the Holding Company
  •    Country Joe and the Fish
  •    Al Kooper
  •    The Butterfield Blues Band
  •    The Electric Flag
  •    Quicksilver Messenger Service
  •    Steve Miller Band
  •    Moby Grape
  •    Hugh Masekela
  •    The Byrds
  •    Laura Nyro
  •    Jefferson Airplane
  •    Booker T. & the M.G.’s
  •    The Mar-Keys
  •    Otis Redding

Summer_of_Love maxresdefault

June 1967, Monterey, California, USA --- Janis Joplin with the guitarists of Big Brother and the Holding Company, on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival. The fame garnered from this performance caused Joplin to leave the band about a year later. --- Image by © Ted Streshinsky/CORBIS

Joplin with Big Brother – Photo credit, Ted Streshinsky


The Airplane

Grace Slick with drummer Spencer Dryden

Grace Slick with drummer Spencer Dryden

Sunday, June 18
  •    Ravi Shankar
  •    The Blues Project
  •    Big Brother and the Holding Company
  •    The Group With No Name
  •    Buffalo Springfield (played with David Crosby)
  •    The Who
  •    Grateful Dead
  •    The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  •    Scott McKenzie
  •    The Mamas & the Papas

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Cancellations and no-shows:
  • The Beach Boys were involved in the conception of Monterey but were going through so many issues they failed to perform.
  • The Beatles were rumored to appear but declined, suggesting their music was too complex to perform live.
  • Donovan was refused a visa to enter the United States
  • No Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band.
  • Dionne Warwick and the Impressions were advertised in some early promotions but for conflicting issues they did not play.
  • Dylan was still recovering from his motorcycle accident.
  • Zappa and the Mothers of Invention declined because Frank didn’t like the San Francisco bands.
  • The Stones didn’t play but Brian Jones was there and introduced Hendrix.
  • According to Clapton, Cream did not preform because the band’s manager wanted to make a bigger splash for their American debut. Clapton was pissed.
  • No Monkeys. They were the biggest selling musical act of the time but weren’t invited.

Here is a link for the set list for the Festival – almost like a greatest hits list. [click on back button to come back to article] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monterey_Pop_Festival_%28set_list%29

Amazing footage of unreleased performances from the festival. It’s about 2 hours long. If you play it while doing something else, you’ll find yourself coming back to see who’s playing. Around the 45 minute mark is one of my favs Laura Nyro. Just after that, Grace Slick and the Airplane. Incredible Joplin around the 1 hour mark.


monterey-pop-fest 5715025_orig a_venue_1


What Does It Take


Who was Autry Mixon Jr.?

Born on this day in 1931 his birth certificate says Oscar Mixon… we all know him as Jr. Walker.

Walker claims he got his stage name because he walked everywhere after the family moved to South Bend, IN. Walking to school, to the store, into town, he says the kids started calling him “Walker”. I don’t know, may be true, but maybe it might have had something to do with his stepfather’s name being Walker.

 Illinois Jacquet

Illinois Jacquet

Junior started young, leading his first band, The Jumping Jacks”, when he was 14. He picked up styles playing along to the records of Boots Randolph, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker and Lester Young. He learned to play that high “G” note listening to Illinois Jacquet.

Junior developed into quite a showman playing bar gigs. He’d play from his knees or blow the sax while on his back, sometimes he would do a little duck walk on stage. Those days he and the band regularly tore down the house.

Jr. Walker & The All Stars

Jr. Walker & The All Stars


I said… Shotgun, do the jerk baby, we’re gonna break it down baby now

One night he found himself watching a new dance where the dancers did moves imitating shooting a gun. He asked one of the girls dancing what it was. She told him it was the Shotgun and suggested he write a tune for it.

Walker took it on and soon penned a song he called, “Shotgun”. It was 1964 and Jr. Walker and the All Stars had just signed with Motown. In those days Motown was small enough that Walker was able to just call Berry Gordy directly. He explained the dance he saw and the tune he’d written. Gordy liked the idea and his first big hit, what became his signature song, was born.


“Shotgun” was an immediate hit when it was released in 1965. We saw it on Shindig, Hullabaloo and of course American Bandstand as Jr. Walker & The All Stars made the rounds playing their big hit and getting lots of television exposure.


He followed up Shotgun with several more hits like, I’m a Roadrunner, Shake and Fingerpop, Come See About Me, How Sweet it Is (To Be Loved By You) and my favorite all-time Jr. Walker tune…                                                           d

What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)

Junior Walker died of cancer at the age of 64, on November 23, 1995.


Murder Is My Business



Born today in 1899, Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, was a photojournalist and photographer known for his gritty black and whiter street photos of New York initially during the 30’s and 40’s. He chased ambulances, firetrucks and the dark side of New York. Many of his photographs featured harsh realistic scenes of crime, injury and death in the city. [all photos, except those of Weegee were taken by Weegee – click on photos to enlarge]]

Arthur Fellig, AKA, Weegee

Arthur Fellig, AKA, Weegee

In describing his beginnings, Weegee stated:


In my particular case I didn’t wait ’til somebody gave me a job or something, I went and created a job for myself—freelance photographer. And what I did, anybody else can do. What I did simply was this: I went down to Manhattan Police Headquarters and for two years I worked without a police card or any kind of credentials. When a story came over a police teletype, I would go to it. The idea was I sold the pictures to the newspapers. And naturally, I picked a story that meant something.


His nickname, Weegee, came from the phonetic spelling of Ouija (Ouija Board). Like he was psychic, Weegee had the uncanny ability to be at the crime scenes before the police or fire department arrived.


He used basic press photographer equipment of the era, a Speed Graphic camera, set it at f/16 at 1/200 of a second, using 199wgflashbulbs with a set focus of ten feet. Weegee developed his photographs in the rear of his car where he created a homemade darkroom that provided almost instantaneous results. These photos had a “hot off the press” feeling that worked perfectly with the nature of the tabloid industry.


Weegee in his truck

Some of Weegee’s work:


Marilyn Monroe


Yes this guy is in a gas chamber… see the W on his hood… it was supplied by… Westinghouse!


65-year-old Frank Birskowsky lies on the sidewalk after being struck by a taxi on the Bowery, New York.


Peter Sellers during the filming of Dr. Strangelove

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Grooving to Charlie Paarker

Grooving to Charlie Paarker


This guy (right) killed that guy (left)

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Happy Birthday Weegee

Unknown Rebel


Who was he… the man who stopped a column of Type 59 tanks on the morning of June 5, 1989? Just the day before, Chinese troops and security police massacred hundreds of pro-democracy protesters. Reporters on the scene estimated that at least 300 and perhaps thousands of protesters were killed. As many as 10,000 were arrested. [click on images to enlarge]


Nearly a million Chinese, mostly students, crowded into central Beijing protesting for greater democracy in the Chinese political system. They called for the resignations of Party Leaders they thought were overly repressive. This went on for three weeks. Then, on June 4th, Chinese troops stormed Tiananmen Square firing into the crowds of protesters.

This photo taken on June 2, 1989 shows hundreds of thousands of Chinese gathering around the Goddess of Democracy, in Tiananmen Square demanding democracy despite martial law in Beijing. (Photo by CATHERINE HENRIETTE/AFP/Getty Images)

This photo taken on June 2, 1989 shows hundreds of thousands of Chinese gathering around the Goddess of Democracy, in Tiananmen Square demanding democracy despite martial law in Beijing. (Photo by CATHERINE HENRIETTE/AFP/Getty Images)


** FILE ** The bodies of dead civilians lie among mangled bicycles near Beijing's Tiananmen Square in this June 4, 1989 file photo.  A leading pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong insisted that Chinese troops did not massacre people during the bloody crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, in Beijing, local media reported Wednesday, May 16, 2007.  (AP Photo/File)

The bodies of dead civilians lie among mangled bicycles near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in this June 4, 1989 file photo. A leading pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong insisted that Chinese troops did not massacre people during the bloody crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, in Beijing, local media reported Wednesday, May 16, 2007. (AP Photo/File)


Crushed remains.

The very next day, along came Tank Man. He stood in front of a column of approaching tanks. When the tank maneuvered to go around him he repeatedly shifted his position to obstruct the tank’s progress.


As others flee you can see Tank Man in the background walking out to meet the tanks.

After talking to the tank’s driver, video footage shows two figures in blue pulling the man away and disappearing with him into a nearby crowd.


There is no reliable information as to the man’s identity. Most think he is alive and possibly unaware of his international recognition. The Chinese are very good at repressing media events. Many young Chinese born after 1980 are not familiar with the Tiananmen Massacre and when shown a picture of the Tank Man have no idea who he was or what it meant.

140527041714-tam-goddess-horizontal-large-galleryThe Goddess of Democracy (look familiar?) was a 10-meter-tall (33 ft.) statue created during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The statue, built by students of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, was constructed of foam and papier-mâché in only 4 days. The Goddess stood for five days before it was destroyed by a tank from the People’s Liberation Army. As the statue fell, protestors shouted “Down with Fascism!” and “Bandits! Bandits!” Since its destruction, numerous replicas and memorials have been erected around the world.


Perhaps the need for freedom is in our genes. No matter how oppressive a regime is humankind needs to be free. It may take generations, years, centuries, but the desire for freedom will always live on. Inch by inch, step by step, let freedom ring.

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May The Force Be With You

t-shirt-amiga-atari-manga-amstrad-geek-facebook-apple-moi-star-wars-c-3po-z-6po-han-solo-cookies-intel-insideMay 25, 1977: Star Wars Released

Yes fans, it was on this day in 1977 that the film opened to become the world-wide pop culture phenomena that it was and still is. Star Wars earned $461 million in the U.S and $314 overseas totaling $775 million, surpassing Jaws (1975), being the highest-grossing movie until E.T came along in 1983. Now if we adjust for inflation, it becomes the third highest-grossing film in the world. [click images to enlarge]

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Star Wars won six Academy Awards at the 50th Academy Awards:

  1. Best Art Direction
  2. Best Costume Design
  3. Best Film Editing
  4. Best Original Score
  5. Best Sound
  6. Best Visual Effects.

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A Special Achievement for Sound Effects Editing went to sound designer Ben Burtt. Additional nominations included Alec Guinness for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and George Lucas for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, which were instead awarded to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.



“What makes the Star War experience unique, though, is that it happens on such an innocent and often funny level. It’s usually violence that draws me so deeply into a movie — violence ranging from the psychological torment of a Bergman character to the mindless crunch of a shark’s jaws. Maybe movies that scare us find the most direct route to our imaginations. But there’s hardly any violence at all in Star Wars (and even then it’s presented as essentially bloodless swashbuckling). Instead, there’s entertainment so direct and simple that all of the complications of the modern movie seem to vaporize.”

—Roger Ebert, his review for the Chicago Sun-Times


Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced three new Star Wars films, with the first film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, planned for release in 2015.

Little known Star Wars facts:

Yoda’s face was based on Albert Einstein, and initially his first name was Minch. Yoda’s original voice was done by Frank Oz who also did the voices for Miss Piggy and Cookie Monster.


Skywalker’s original character’s name was Starkiller but Lucas wanted to soften that up some reflecting a more peaceful character.

The iconic poster for Return of the Jedi featured Lucas’ hands. He didn’t trust Mark Hamill to do it correctly so those are his hands holding the light saber.


In The Phantom Menace, the communicator used by Qui-Gon Jinn is a women’s electric shaver.


Darth Vader’s physical presence was played by English actor and body builder David Prowse. He was a bit pissed that Lucas used James Earl Jones’ classic voice for the role and not his. Good call.

David Prowse

David Prowse

Film makers were originally going to use a real monkey for the Jedi Master, Yoda. Thankfully they called on “Muppets” creator, Jim Henson, to help bring the puppet to life.

While filming the first movie few people in the crew knew that Vader was Luke’s father. Lucas had James Earl Jones record “I killed your father” for the big scene so the crew thought that would be the big surprise revelation.


Jen Burtt created the sound of the light sabers by recording the sound of television feedback emitted when he carried a microphone past the TV’s speakers. He combined this with the hum of an old projector which is heard whenever a light saber is active.

Going one step further, he achieved the Doppler effect when characters were swinging the weapons around by swinging a microphone cord back and forth in from of a speaker while playing the hum of the saber.


The Wookiee Chewbacca language was again created by Ben Burtt. He recorded the screams, squeals and moans of camels, walruses, bears, badgers and sick animals. He collected sounds that he felt had emotion behind them.


There is one line featured in all six Star Wars movies, sometimes slightly altered – “I have a very bad feeling about this”



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