What I See ~

You Little Bastard


Cursed Bastard

One of the last known pictures of the star alive, it was taken at a gas station in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, as Dean fueled up en route to the race he never made.

One of the last known pictures of the star alive, it was taken at a gas station in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, as Dean fueled up en route to the race he never made.

On this day in 1955 at 5:45 PM, a freekin’ little bastard killed James Dean. Witnesses maintain that Dean was not speeding and the sun was still out when that “Little Bastard” Porsche 550 Spyder forced the Ford Tudor driven by Donald Turnupseed to turn left right in front of the Spyder and crush James Dean. [click on images to enlarge]

Dean is killed, his friend and Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich, who is ejected from the car, survives. Turnupseed is dazed and mostly uninjured.

Dean had George Barris of movie car fame customize the car and master pinstriper, Dean Jeffries, paint the car’s name, “Little Bastard” on the rear bonnet.


Dean Jeffries

Dean Jeffries



Seven days earlier, Obi-Wan Kenobi (you may know him as Alec Guinness) was with Dean outside a restaurant looking at the car. He mentioned that the car had a sinister appearance and told him, “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.”

But that is not the end of this little bastard’s reign of terror.


The crash site

George Barris

George Barris

George Barris bought the crushed car for $2500 and while moving it, the Little Bastard slipped off its trailer and broke both of his mechanic’s legs.

Not long after, Barris sold the engine and drivetrain to racers Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While racing against each other in cars that had parts from that little bastard, McHenry lost control of his car and hit a tree. He died instantly.

Eschrid was seriously injured when his car mysteriously locked up and rolled over as he was going into a turn.

The Little Bastard in the garage

Little Bastard in the garage

George Barris still had two tires from that bastard car that were untouched and looked like new. He sold the tires only to find out soon after that both tires blew out simultaneously running the car with its driver off the road. The driver was uninjured.

Barris kept possession of the car at his lot. It caught the attention of two would-be thieves who would regret coming across the Little Bastard. One had his arm torn open trying to steal the steering wheel. The other was injured trying to remove the blood stained seat.

James Dean and his mechanic and friend, Rolf, in the Porsche shortly before Jimmy's tragic death.

James Dean and his mechanic and friend, Rolf, in the Porsche shortly before Dean’s tragic death.


Barris had had enough and decided to hide the car. That didn’t last long as the California Highway Patrol convinced him to let them use it for a highway safety exhibit.

The first exhibit didn’t go very well as the garage that housed the car caught fire and burned to the ground. Oddly enough, the car suffered virtually no damage from the fire.

The next exhibition was set up at a local high school. The event ended abruptly as that little bastard fell off its display and broke a student’s hip.


The Little Bastard continued its jinx while being transported to the next event. The driver of the truck lost control and was ejected. The driver, George Barkhuis, was killed when he somehow got crushed by the car as it fell off the truck.

After the car fell off two more transport trucks while on the freeway causing minor accidents the CHP had enough.James-Dean-james-dean-930826_1920_1497

While transporting the car to Oregon for an exhibition, the truck hauling the car drove through a store window when the safety brake failed. Then in New Orleans in 1959, the Little Bastard broke into eleven pieces while it was anchored to stationary posts.

Enough was enough. Barris called off any more tour dates for the Little Bastard. He had it loaded into a box car in Miami to send by train back to California. When the box car was opened up in California the rail car was empty. It has not been seen again.

Last known picture of Dean alive heading to Cholame.

Last known picture of Dean alive heading to Cholame.

Rolf Wütherich never got over his guilt after the accident and tried to commit suicide twice. The second time was a failed murder/suicide attempt, stabbing his wife 14 times in their kitchen. He died in a drunk-driving accident in 1981. Turnupseed, the driver of the Ford died of lung cancer, also in 1981.


James Dean enjoying the sun washing his Porsche Speedster.

Back in August of 2005 the Volo Auto Museum offered a one million dollar reward to anyone producing the missing Porsche Spyder. To date no one has come forward with the body.

“There was something strange about that particular car…it made me uneasy. Dean was all worked up about how he was going to race it that weekend, but I couldn’t get enthusiastic about it. He dropped it off Thursday morning and returned that afternoon. I had crazy feelings about wanting to stop him as I watched him drive away from my shop. Everything that car has touched has turned to tragedy.It’s baffled me for years. I’ve never been able to come up with logical or rational answers to my questions. The only answer seems to be that the car was cursed.”

~ George Barris


Prince of Darkness

miles_davis__03____roll_magazine___2009___january_by_vagharshabadi-d5a4t0rMiles and Miles of Smiles

Today, September 28, 1991, Miles Davis passed from this world. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Davis 220px-milesdaviskindofblueis considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His 1959 album, Kind of Blue – one I’d take to my proverbial desert island – considered by critics as the greatest jazz album of all time, received its fourth platinum in 2008 for selling at least 4 million copies in the US.


On December 15, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives recognized Miles by passing a resolution commemorating the album Kind of Blue on its 50th anniversary, “honoring the masterpiece and reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”. Geez, never knew the House of Representatives as a ‘House of Music Appreciation’.


At 13 his father (a prominent dentist) gave him a trumpet to irk his mother who disliked the trumpet sound but also played blues piano, a fact she kept secret from Miles.

At 16 he played his first professional gig (Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the Billy Eckstine band) but his parents made sure he graduated high school before attending Julliard School of Music in 1944.

miles-davis-e28093-jack-johnson-8_5x11_flat1By 1953 MD was almost a gonner as his heroin addiction messed with his playing abilities and he spiraled downwards. Somehow he realized he had to quit and returned to his father’s home in St. Louis. With family support, he basically locked himself in his bedroom for several months until he had gone through the painful withdrawals.


In 1955 he had an operation to remove polyps from his larynx and was told not to speak for ten days. Miles being Miles got pissed at someone and raised his voice to argue with him. Besides damaging his vocal cords forever, he ended up with the characteristic voice that came to be associated with him.

RAY CARLESSThe “nocturnal” quality of his playing, Davis’ somber reputation, and his whispering voice, earned him the lasting moniker, “Prince of Darkness“.


By Ricardo Mainieri

His last recordings, both released posthumously, were the hip hop-influenced studio album Doo-Bop and Miles & Quincy Live at Montreux, a collaboration with Quincy Jones for the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival.

51C5S8Z0NPL Doo-Bop


BRUNI Sablan

On September 28, 1991, Davis died from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure in Santa Monica, California at age 65.

sir-miles-davis-david-lloyd-gloverMiles Davis is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in the history of music. He has been described as “one of the great innovators in jazz”. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll noted “Miles Davis played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-’40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. UntitledMiles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music”. His album Kind of Blue is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music. On November 5, 2009, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan sponsored a measure in the United States House of Representatives to recognize and commemorate the album on its 50th anniversary. The measure also affirms jazz as a national treasure and “encourages the United States government to preserve and advance the art form of jazz music.” It passed, unanimously, with a vote of 409–0 on December 15, 2009. [Wikipedia]


Don’t Be Evil


Happy Birthday Google

Today, September 27, in 1998, is Google’s birthday, at least that’s what they say. This date falls somewhere between the beginning of the company and the launch of the search engine. Google uses this date to celebrate its birthday. [above image, Google founders, Larry Page on the left and Sergey Brin right]

At one time it was on September 7th. For some peculiar reason, Google has at times chosen the date of September 27th as their birthday, even though it is more officially September 4th or 7th. Confused? Google has no explanation for celebrating their birthday on different days over the years other than to say:

Google opened its doors in September 1998. The exact date when we celebrate our birthday has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake.

Sergey Brin left & Larry Page

Sergey Brin left & Larry Page

Google was founded by Larry Page 23, and Sergey Brin 24, who were pursuing their Ph.D. at Stanford University when they got a great idea; create a new search engine. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998.

Page & Brin

Page & Brin

Its mission statement from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and its unofficial slogan was:

   “Don’t be Evil”

Google co-founders Sergey Brin, left, and Larry Page in 2002
While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorized a sergey-brin-and-larry-pag-001better system that analyzed the relationships between websites. They called this new technology PageRank – it determined a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site.


Above is Google circa 1999 – Google’s First Production Server… with its hair pulled back, revealing a rack of cheap networked PCs.

Each level has a couple of PC boards slammed in there, partially overlapping. This approach reflects a presumption of rapid obsolescence of cheap hardware, which would not need to be repaired. Several of the PCs never worked, and the system design optimized around multiple computer failures.

Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub”, as the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. Eventually, they changed the name to Google, originating from a misspelling of the word “googol” (the number one followed by one hundred zeros). When Page and Brin received their first $100,000 paycheck in the name of Google Inc., they had to run and create a bank account for the name so that they could cash it.

Susan Wojcicki in front of the garage she rented to Page & Brin

Susan Wojcicki in front of the garage she rented to Page & Brin

Craig Silverstein

Craig Silverstein

The domain name for Google was registered on September 15, 1997. The company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in a friend’s (Susan Wojcicki) garage in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.


Above: First Hardware Setup:

Sun Ultra II with dual 200 MHz processors and 256MB of RAM. This was the main machine for the original Backrub system.

2 x 300 MHz Dual Pentium II Servers (donated by Intel) with 512MB of RAM and 9 x 9GB hard drives between the two. The main search ran on these.

F50 IBM RS/6000 (donated by IBM) with 4 processors, 512MB of RAM and 8 x 9GB hard drives.

Two additional boxes included 3 x 9GB hard drives and 6 x 4GB hard drives respectively (the original storage for Backrub). These were attached to the Sun Ultra II.

IBM disk expansion box with another 8 x 9GB hard drives (donated by IBM).

Homemade disk box which contained 10 x 9GB SCSI hard drives.

The corporation has been estimated to run more than one million servers in data centers around the world and to process over one billion search requests each day. In December 2012 Alexa listed google.com as the most visited website in the world.

A row of servers in Google’s Mayes County, Calif., data center. The bright wires are color-coded across the building to ensure there is no confusion when doing maintenance.

A row of servers in Google’s Mayes County, Calif., data center. The bright wires are color-coded across the building to ensure there is no confusion when doing maintenance.

In 1997 Yahoo rejected an offer to buy Google for $1 million. Yahoo is now worth $20 billion, whereas Google has grown up to $200 Billion. This is perhaps one of the most interesting financial losses of the IT industry. [David Vise – The Google Story]

Google’s servers in its Council Bluffs, Iowa data center give the room a sci-fi like glow. This data center has more than 115,000 square feet of space.

A row of servers in Google’s data center in Douglas County, Ga. The blue lights indicate that everything is running smoothly.

Google’s servers in its Council Bluffs, Iowa data center give the room a sci-fi like glow. This data center has more than 115,000 square feet of space.]

Google’s servers in its Council Bluffs, Iowa data center give the room a sci-fi like glow. This data center has more than 115,000 square feet of space.]

In May 2011, the number of monthly unique visitors to Google surpassed one billion for the first time, an 8.4 percent increase from May 2010 (931 million). In January 2013, Google announced it had earned $50 billion in annual revenue for the year of 2012. This marked the first time the company had reached this feat, topping their 2011 total of $38 billion.

Want to know more? Google it!

The Tree Of Peace


The Tree of Peace

The Iroquois tribes were a fierce warlike people. Young warriors were trained to become immune to pain. Aggressive warriors had no respect for any sign of weakness. The tribes were mercilessly brutal in the treatment of their enemies. Captives were often violently tortured, sometimes roasted alive and eaten.

1491-coverCharles Man, in his book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, writes of the circumstances in which the Great Law of Peace arose:

“Sometime around 1000 A.D., the Indian agricultural trinity of maize, beans and squash appeared in the area (near the modern day American city of Syracuse). Population rose, as has happened time and time again when human societies make the transition from foraging to farming. The burgeoning cultures took to fighting with each other. Because the abduction, injury or death of a family member had to be revenged, every violent incident that to us pile of brutal, tit-for-tat skirmishes.”

The Great Law of Peace

Depiction of Hiawatha - Tuck Oilette

Depiction of Hiawatha – Tuck Oilette

Enter Hiawatha. Depending on the narrative, Hiawatha was a leader of the Onondaga, or the Mohawk… or both. His leadership became the stuff of legend, immortalized in Longfellow’s famous poem, “The Song of Hiawatha”. [click to link to poem] pid=62

Hiawatha was a follower of the Huron spiritual leader and prophet, Deganawida – The Great Peacemaker. There are many accounts and legends regarding Deganawida but all agree he was a significant figure that counseled peace among the tribes and an end to ritual cannibalism.

Known as a great orator, Hiawatha traveled across the Iroquois territory with Deganawida talking up their ideas of unifying the tribes to stop the brutality and wars among their people.

Hiawatha meeting the Great Peacemaker ~ Plummer

Hiawatha meeting the Great Peacemaker ~ Plummer

Eventually they united the Iroquois Nation creating the Iroquois Confederacy Constitution known as The Great Law of Peace. Deganawida was given the title of, Great Peacemaker.

The Iroquois Nation initially consisted of five large families, or tribes; Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. Later joined by the Tuscarora in 1720. They occupied a belt of territory extending across the present state of New York but after uniting, their power and strength extended west to the Great Lakes and south almost to the Gulf of Mexico.


Historians differ but the best guess is the Iroquois Confederacy started around 1491   It is the oldest living participatory democracy on Earth.

The Great Law of Peace is an oral constitution but was written on wampum belts, conceived by The Great Peacemaker, Dekanawidah. The belt of wampum was a broad belt of thirty-eight rows having a white heart (Tree of Peace) in the center. Connected to the Tree are symbols of the five Nations (Tribes).

Hiawatha Belt

Hiawatha Belt

The structure of the Iroquois Confederacy inspired the American Colonists. On June 11, 1776, Iroquois chiefs were formally invited to a meeting of the Continental Congress debating the question of independence.

We are indebted to Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congress, for recognizing the importance of the ceremony in the records of the Continental Congress. His knowledge and respect for the Iroquois leaders shows in his records and acknowledges that on the eve of American Independence, the impact of the Iroquois ideas to the founding fathers is unmistakable.

These portraits, by John Verelst, are believed to be the earliest surviving oil portraits of Aboriginal peoples taken from life. The four

These portraits, by John Verelst, are believed to be the earliest surviving oil portraits of Aboriginal peoples taken from life. The four “Mohawk Kings” who travelled to London in 1710.

There is so much more to the rich culture and history of the Iroquois than this piece discusses but we, as a people, connected by our DNA, can take a lesson from the Iroquois. Hiawatha and The Great Peacemaker thought the Common Good of their people could take precedence over personal revenge and the tit-for-tat skirmishes of their day. They agreed to stop killing each other.

And that’s a beautiful thing.


Mohawk Chief Jake Swamp explains the Tree of Peace.

“Through logic, reasoning and spiritual means the Great Peacemaker inspired the warriors to bury their weapons (origin of the saying, “bury the hatchet”) and planted on top of a sacred tree of peace. Roots have spread out… their nature is peace and strength. We place at the top of the Tree of Peace an eagle… If it sees danger in the distance any danger threatening, he will at once warn the people of the League. If any man or any nation outside the Five Nations shall obey the laws of the Great Peace, they may trace back the roots to the Tree and be welcomed to take shelter.”

“The Tree of Peace,” the Peacemaker explains, “has four white roots extending to Earth’s four corners. Anyone who desires peace can follow the roots to their source and find shelter under The Great Tree.”

Hey Good Lookin’


Born today September 17, 1923, Hank Williams is considered to be one of the most influential and significant American singers and songwriters of the 20th century.

Williams first hit came in 1947 with, Move It On Over.

In April of 1948 he scored a second with Honky Tonkin.

In 1949 he notched his first number 1 hit, Lovesick Blues. It was a throw away recording Hank did at the end of a tapping session, but ignited his rise to stardom in a major way.

Williams professional career spanned only 6 years. But in those 6 years he became one of Country music’s first superstars. During his lifetime he had seven number one hits. Kaw-Liga, Your Cheatin’ Heart and Take This Chains From My Heart became posthumous number-one singles.

Williams was born with spina bifida occulta, a disorder of the spinal column which gave him lifelong pain. It figures in as a factor for his abuse of alcohol and drug use. On the night he died, he hired a collage student, Charles Carr, to drive him to a concert at the Palace Theatre in Canton Ohio for News Year’s Day, 1953.


They got to Knoxville, Tennessee where Carr stopped to find a doctor as Williams wasn’t doing very well. The doctor injected Williams with vitamin B12 that contained morphine. They drove until they stopped for gas in Oak Hill, West Virginia where Carr discovered Williams dead in the backseat of his powder blue Cadillac. His death was officially listed as a heart attack – he was 29 years old.



  • Never Again (Will I Knock on Your Door)
  • Wealth Won’t Save Your Soul
  • My Love for You (Has Turned to Hate)
  • Pan American
  • Move It On Over
  • On the Banks of the Old Ponchartrain


  • My Sweet Love Ain’t Around
  • Honky Tonkin’
  • I’m a Long Gone Daddy
  • I Saw the Light
  • A Mansion on the Hill
With his son Hank Jr.

With his son Hank Jr.


  • Lovesick Blues
  • Wedding Bells
  • Mind Your Own Business
  • You’re Gonna Change (Or I’m Gonna Leave)
  • My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It
  • Never Again (Will I Knock on Your Door)
  • Lost Highway
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry


  • I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Living
  • Long Gone Lonesome Blues
  • Why Don’t You Love Me
  • Why Should We Try Anymore
  • Moanin’ the Blues
  • My Son Calls Another Man Daddy
  • They’ll Never Take Her Love from Me
  • Nobody’s Lonesome for Me


  • Dear John
  • Howlin’ At the Moon
  • Hey Good Lookin’
  • (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle
  • Baby, We’re Really in Love
  • Cold, Cold Heart
  • I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)
  • Crazy Heart


  • Honky Tonk Blues
  • Half as Much
  • Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
  • Settin’ the Woods on Fire
  • I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive
  • You Win Again


  • Your Cheatin’ Heart (posthumous)

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Hank Williams Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Hank Williams Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


At What Temperature Does Paper Burn?


Thanks Ray


Ray Bradbury was born on this day in 1920.

I first became aware of Ray Bradbury after reading Fahrenheit 451 in my youth. It was a story that changed my perspectives providing me with the joys, imagination and knowledge of the ages, all delivered through books. This one work instilled an appreciation of books that would never allow me to take them for granted… ever.


Born Ray Douglas Bradbury, his middle name was taken from the famous actor of the era, Douglas Fairbanks. He was related to the American Shakespeareian actor Douglas Spalding and oddly enough descended from Mary Bradbury, who was tried at one of the Salem witch trials in 1692.

[More than 100 of her friends, neighbors and townspeople testified on her behalf but to no avail. Mary was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Her friends continued to support her, creating delays of her execution, enough so that when the hysteria passed she was released]


1938 HS Yearbook

1938 HS Yearbook

Bradbury was a prolific writer, scribing daily from 12 years of age. He tells the story of when it began for him. In 1932, a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electro, touched him on the nose with an electrified sword. The sword made his hair stand on end as Mr. Electro shouted, “Live forever!”

Bradbury says, “I felt something strange and wonderful had happened to me because of my encounter with Mr. Electro… [he] gave me a future… I began to write, fulltime. I have written every single day of my life since that day 69 years ago.”76778

Bradbury recounts his first published novel, The Martian Cornicles. It was 1949. He took a Greyhound bus to New York and checked into a YMCA for fifty cents a night. He shopped his short stories to a dozen publishers but had no takers. They wanted novels. He landed a dinner with publisher, Walter Bradbury (no relation), and told him of his striking out. Walter B asked if he could tie the stories together. The title was the publisher’s idea, “You could call it The Martian Chronicles.”

Ray liked the idea and stayed up all night at the Y typing out an outline. He took it to the Doubleday editor the next day and landed a check for seven hundred and fifty dollars. Back in Los Angeles, he connected the stories and The Martian Chronicles was created.


Maggie Bradbury

Maggie Bradbury

Bradbury dated only one woman his entire life, Ray’s dear wife Maggie of fifty-six years. Living in Los Angeles he never got a driver’s license relying on public transportation or his bicycle.

Ray Bradbury is credited with writing 27 novels and over 600 short stories. There are more than eight million copies of his stories published in over 36 languages. This is not to mention all his work in film and TV.


The New York Times obituary stated that Bradbury was, “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”

Steven Spielberg said that Bradbury was “[his] muse for the better part of [his] sci-fi career…. In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal”.


Stephen King released a statement after Bradbury’s death saying, “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories. One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.”

Ray-Bradbury-Quotes-410 of Bradbury’s best:


Books by Ray Bradbury


Bradbury on film and TV


If you want to read it, here is the complete text of Fahrenheit 451:


home-promo-thanks-ray-bradbury[thanks pc for the inspiration]

Kind of Blue


Kind of Blue Released

What albums to take to a desert island? If you could only bring ten albums. We could discuss it forever but my first pick is always Kind of Blue. I’ll occasionally have Freddie Freeloader or So What running through my mind.

The Miles Davis masterpiece is the best selling jazz album of all time and still sells 5000 albums a week.1 Considered by critics as the greatest jazz album of all time the universally acknowledged masterpiece has been revered as much by classical and rock music fans as by jazz lovers. 

Recorded in the studio on March 2 and April 22 of 1959, Kind of Blue was released on August 17 of ‘59.

For Kind of Blue, Davis brought together a few of his favorite musicians, legendary artists in the prime of their careers:

John Coltrane, tenor saxophonist.

John Coltrane

Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, alto saxophonist.

Cannonball Adderley

Bill Evans, pianist.

Bill Evans

Wynton Kelly. pianist.

Wynton Kelly


Paul Chambers, bassist.

Paul Chambers

Jimmy Cobb, drummer.

Jimmy Cobb

and of course Miles Davis, trumpeter.


In true Davis style the musicians had almost no rehearsal. When he had the guys together Davis gave the band sketches of scales and melodies on which to improvise. After brief instructions for each piece he began taping. Although legend has it that the entire album was recorded in one take this is not true. Though “Flamenco Sketches” was a complete take on the first try.

During a recording session John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans in the studio. (Photo by Frank Driggs}

During a recording session, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, and Bill Evans in the studio. (Photo by Frank Driggs}

Check out this list of accolades:

October 7, 2008, certified quadruple platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In 2002, it was one of fifty recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as number 12 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Rolling Stone stated: “This painterly masterpiece is one of the most important, influential and popular albums in jazz”

In 1994, the album was ranked number one in Colin Larkin’s Top 100 Jazz Albums.

In 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue and “reaffirming jazz as a national treasure”.


I love how pianist Chick Corea, one of Miles’ devotees, put it:

“It’s one thing to just play a tune, or play a program of music, but it’s another thing to practically create a new language of music, which is what Kind of Blue did.”

Here is AllMusic senior editor Stephen Thomas Erlewineput’s take:

“Kind of Blue isn’t merely an artistic highlight for Miles Davis, it’s an album that towers above its peers, a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album, a universally acknowledged standard of excellence. Why does Kind of Blue possess such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius…. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality…. It may be a stretch to say that if you don’t like Kind of Blue, you don’t like jazz — but it’s hard to imagine it as anything other than a cornerstone of any jazz collection.”

And one more from world renowned jazz critic, Dan Morgenstern:

“It’s so well balanced. There is not an unnecessary note in any of those pieces. And you keep coming back to it. It doesn’t wear out its welcome.”

Following are the five tracks, in order, from, Kind of Blue.


Kind of Blue – Complete Album


A Boy (Girl) Named Sue

T-rex-32545705743August 12, 1990: Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex Discovered

Susan Hendrickson made an amazing discovery on this day in 1990. Three huge bones were jutting out of a cliff near Faith, South Dakota. They turn out to be the largest complete skeleton of a T Rex ever discovered. [click images to enlarge]

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is thought to be 65 million years old and extremely well preserved. The dinosaur is dubbed Sue after it’s discoverer and amazingly over 90% complete.


Sue Hendrickson at site

Hendrickson was working for the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research at the time who paid the land owner $5000 for the right to excavate the skeleton.

Turns out the landowner, Maurice Williams, didn’t actually own the land. He traded his land to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe twenty years earlier to avoid paying property taxes on the land. The Feds got involved and claimed the dinosaur as government property.



Finally in October of 1997, after many long legal battles, Chicago’s Field Museum was able to purchase Sue at public auction at Sotheby’s in New York City for $8.36 million. McDonald’s and Disney corporations helped finance the purchase.

Excavation site

Excavation site


Sue’s skeleton went on display at the Field Museum in May 2000. The tremendous T.rex skeleton – 13 feet high at the hips and 42 feet long from head to toe – is displayed in one of the museum’s main halls. Another exhibit gives viewers a close-up of Sue’s five foot-long, 2,000-pound skull with its 58 teeth, some as long as a human forearm.


trex77kSue’s bones are extraordinarily well-preserved and have allowed scientists to determine so much about the life of a T.rex. For instance, they have determined that the carnivorous dinosaur had an incredible sense of smell, as the olfactory bulbs were each bigger than the cerebrum, the thinking part of the brain.

In addition, Sue was the first T.rex skeleton to be discovered with a wishbone, a crucial discovery that provided support for scientists’ theory that birds are a type of living dinosaur. One thing that remains unknown is Sue’s actual gender; to determine this, scientists would have to compare many more T.rex skeletons than the 22 that have been found so far.

imagesCA59R6QF Tyrannosaurus_rex_Sue_2Close examination of the bones revealed that Sue was 28 years old when she died, making her the oldest T. rex known. During her life she received several injuries and suffered from numerous pathologies. An injury to the right shoulder region of Sue resulted in a damaged shoulder blade, a torn tendon in the right arm, and three broken ribs. This damage subsequently healed (though one rib healed into two separate pieces), indicating Sue survived the incident. The left fibula is twice the diameter of the right one, likely a result of infection.

Sue2Poor Sue suffered from gout and arthritis as some of the tail vertebrae are fused in a pattern typical of arthritis due to injury. In addition, there is extra bone in some of the tail vertebrae likely caused by the stresses brought on by Sue’s great size. Sue’s tendon avulsion was likely caused by contact with struggling prey. Sue did not die as a result of any of these injuries; her cause of death is not known.


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.”

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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

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