Category Archives: The Top Eight List

Because there are way too many top ten lists.

Thanks Mr. Edison!! And Every Inventor After Him

 

by Rick Bretz

The digital, broadcast and print media reflect,  daily, the worst parts of human nature.

Evil ISIS hate groups commit atrocities in the name of religion. Countries invade neighboring countries killing innocent civilians. In the United States road rage violence continues just because a mother wanted to teach her daughter the proper way to drive. With all of that in the open, I think it is time to focus on an event that has given people joy since it first sent audio waves across a room to the human ear.

On this day, February 19th, 1878, Thomas Edison received his patent for the gramophone or phonograph. Since this invention dropped its first needle on a cylinder and then a disc, musical instruments, arrangements, lyrics and the human voice have made the audience forget their problems for just a few minutes, or for a good hour if you wanted to hear the whole album, LP or song list. Producers, singers and talent have given us songs we’ll never forget.

Here are some of my favorites. These are songs, I think, have a perfect mix of lyrics, vocals and instrumental arrangements. Music and the arts in general are the best parts of civilization. Especially when being civilized is the exception rather than the norm in some parts of the world.

 

Let the Day Begin-The Call

Everyone should wake up and listen to this song before they do anything else. If everyone did, there would be happier people on the highways during the morning commute.

 

Night Train-Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee’s voice is an instrument in itself and she uses it to perfection on this song about love and moving down the line.

 

 

On the Turning Away-Pink Floyd

This is a song that simply states, stop looking away and start doing something to make the society a little better.

 

It Was a Very Good Year-Frank Sinatra

This song is about growing up but all you have to do is think about your experiences to connect with this song. Also, reading between the lines for this song is a fun exercise because in Sinatra’s day, a song writer had to be more subtle with words.

 http://www.lyricsfreak.com/f/frank+sinatra/it+was+a+very+good+year_20056372.html

I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston

Wow! Whitney Houston could sing. It’s worth listening to this song just to hear Whitney Houston hit all those notes. The words by Dolly Parton are pretty emotional also.

 

Jokerman-Bob Dylan

Interpreting Dylan’s words are always mind-benders. However, this song is perfect union with the music and lyrics. I never get tired of listening to it.

 

I Blinked Once-Steve Forbert

A song about growing and before you know it time has passed you by. Forbert knows how to put words together.

 

Games People Play-Alan Parson’s Project

Alan Parson produced a masterpiece for his “Turn of Friendly Card” album. It’s about luck, life and happiness and this song talks about it all.

 

This is my list of top eight great songs. You may have a list or other considered songs. If so, write a comment and let me know your opinion.

Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Fleetwood Mac Jackson Browne,  Stevie Wonder, Eagles and anything by Van Morrison

 

Notable Links:

http://edison.rutgers.edu/phonpats.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-20110407

 

Eight Songs About History That Move You

Lyndon_Johnson_signing_Civil_Rights_Act,_July_2,_1964

 

by Rick Bretz

The Way It Is-Bruce Hornsby and the Range, 1986

Notable Links:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5494

http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_histmats_civilrights64text.htm

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/short-history-snap

A song that references the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 and specifically the formation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to “Give those who ain’t got a little more” as Bruce Hornsby sings.  The also refers to the Food Stamp Act of 1964 to help those people who need an assist to boost themselves up the economic ladder.  Best remembered words of the song:   That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.  That’s just the way it is.  Ah-but don’t you believe them.

 

We Didn’t Start The Fire-Billy Joel, 1989

Notable Links:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1581

http://music-mix.ew.com/2014/09/27/we-didnt-start-the-fire-billy-joel-25th/

http://www.billyjoel.com/music/storm-front/we-didnt-start-fire

 

Billy Joel has stated that he doesn’t like singing this song in concert because he has to remember a string names and events from history. Indeed, he’s on record as saying he didn’t think the song was “that great to begin with.”   Song criticisms aside, the song does a good job of listing several famous people and historical events while rhyming at the same time.

Here’s one of the best:

“Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England’s got a new queen Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye”

SS Edmund Fitzgerald

 

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald-Gordon Lightfoot, 1976

Notable Links:

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2192

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgI8bta-7aw

http://gordonlightfoot.com/wreckoftheedmundfitzgerald.shtml

Gordon Lightfoot researched the tragedy of the Edmund Fitzgerald  and put the events leading up to the freighter sinking into a song that is classic still being heard today.  The SS Edmund Fitzgerald Great Lakes Freighter surrendered to the cold waters of Lake Superior on November 10, 1975 during a heavy storm and with it took the lives of its crew of 29 souls on board.  It’s a perfect blend of words and haunting music.

 

Dirty Laundry-Don Henley, 1982

Notable Links:

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/don+henley/dirty+laundry_20042033.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNC4FHR4XLA

I know this doesn’t reference history but it refers to the people who write the first draft. This is an amusing song to listen to but it is so true. He wrote this song in 1982 but it is relevant as ever today. He’s turns the microscope on media but he’s really scolding us, the audience, for liking it way too much. Lines like “People love it when you lose” throughout the song disrobe the media so the listener can see the king, the media, without their clothes while simultaneously scolding the audience for giving the media the power to continue their wicked ways.

 

Bloody Sunday

Sunday Bloody Sunday-U2, 1983

Notable Links:

http://terrific-top10.com/2013/01/09/top-10-songs-based-on-historical-events/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQZLPV6xcHI

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=890

Considered one of the best call to action songs of all time. Bono tells the listener he’s tired of the violence. It’s non-partisan song but he is clear from the lyrics that he wants the killing to stop.   The militaristic drum beat in the beginning sets the tone for the words and music U2 brings to the song.  Lead singer Bono sings, “I can’t believe the news today.  Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.”   Later, he asks “How long must we sing this song.” From their “War” album, the song concentrates on the “Bloody Sunday” incident in Derry, Northern Ireland in the Bogside area on January 30, 1972 when 13 protestors died from injuries from battling British forces during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association March.

 

Abraham, Martin and John-Dion, 1968

Notable Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5hFMy4pTrs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mobZZRcrCHA

http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2724

 

This is a song that has been covered by many singers and is about three significant people in the fight for civil rights. The words, “Has anybody here seen by old friend Abraham” and repeated for Martin and John are poignant throughout the rendition. A song about what might have been.

memorial for day the music died

American Pie-Don McLean, 1971

Notable Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsV5-Hv-7U

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Pie_(song)

http://understandingamericanpie.com/

 

A song about a terrible plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3, 1959 that killed everyone on board including Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

On the surface this masterpiece of writing is about that plane crash but has several references and meanings in the lyrics left to interpretation of the listener. The interpretation is left to the audience because Don McLean refuses to say what he had in mind when writing the lyrics. This has left several people to create websites to fill the void about what the song means.

 Vietnam

“19”-Paul Hardcastle, 1985

Notable Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8JlTIo–CQ

http://lyrics.wikia.com/Paul_Hardcastle:19

This song is about the Vietnam War and how it affected soldiers after they came back to the United States.  It is a song that is relevant to every soldier coming home  from every country involved in a conflict, As the song title states, the average age of the Vietnam soldier was 19 years old.  An age significantly lower than the Korean War and World War II.

 

 Honorable Mentions: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down-Joan Baez; Strange Fruit-Billie Holiday; Pride (In The Name In Love)-U2; Zombie-The Cranberries; Ohio-Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Eight Grateful Reasons to be Living Today

earth

by Rick Bretz

I see and hear many negative news items on the web, radio and television. I decided to write about what is great about living in today’s society. For the most part, people practice their religious faith or lack thereof despite a few pockets of backward groups and societies. Wars and violence have always existed. Unlike the past with local papers and radio, today each instance is magnified by all of our media choices. Blank internet pages need to be filled with content so local news gets more real estate on the screen. This means that the world and the people who live on it, separated by cultures, religions, language and nation boundaries, remain a work in progress. We all have issues to work on but overall today’s societies have many positives to offer.

 1. Fighting Diseases–The current Ebola virus issue is an example of how countries today are better equipped to stop the spread of dangerous diseases. Sure it has moved to other countries but it has been identified and individuals quarantined. In the past, the disease might have moved without anyone knowing about the virus until it would have become a worldwide epidemic. Today the Center for Disease Control and the Worldwide Health Organization monitor the spread of diseases and create strategies to combat any epidemic. In addition, vaccines prevent the spread of disease among children and adults. Penicillin and other drugs prevent or hold many health issues in check.   A hundred years or so, it was common for parents to lose children to diseases before the age of 10. Today it happens but rarely from a common disease like mumps or other types of contagious diseases

.http://www.cdc.gov/

http://www.who.int/en/

 

2. Technology–Let’s face it. We have hardware today that just makes life easier. The dishwasher, the microwave, the GPS, the SMART phone, ATM machines, remote controls, cameras on cars for backing up, and garage door openers help us get through the day. Here’s hoping that all of the satellites stay in the sky because if they fall out, all of us will have to pull over on the side of road because we will all be lost.   We even have automated windshield wipers. I recently bought a new car after driving the same one for more than 10 years. The new car has all of the wiz-bang stuff such as satellite radio and Bluetooth command technology but it also has auto sensing windshield wipers so if it rains we don’t have to bother with turning the knob on the steering wheel. Just in case I can’t recognize that it is raining, the car does it for me. Yesterday’s cars didn’t even have power steering.

http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/

http://data.worldbank.org/topic/science-and-technology

balloons

 

3. Freedom of Movement–We can go anywhere, anytime by car, train, airplane or boat as long as we have the money, time and the means. Today travelers move at a faster rate across the country and the globe for less cost than at any time in the history of the human race. We can run anywhere but we can’t hide. But that’s another list about today’s tracking technology.

http://travel.trade.gov/outreachpages/inbound_historic_visitation.html

http://www.ntsb.gov/

http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/guides/hist/historicalstatistics.html

 

4. Consumer and Worker Safety–Watchdog groups have made it a safer world to live and work. Some may hold the view that they go overboard but you could also say that if it has the potential to happen, it will happen, either at work or at play. Nobody wants to see a loved one hurt and organizations like the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the Food and Health Administration and Occupational Safety and Health Administration oversee safety and health in the United States. International organizations include the International Consumer Product, Health and Safety Organization in addition to an individual country’s safety departments. With procedures and equipment in place like fall restraints, harnesses and safety glasses, the labor force is more secure and protected than ever. Lately work place violence has been in the news but that has always been a danger due to personalities and conflict issues. Stress will always be a part of everyday life. Making sure one takes care of a family’s health and well-being tends to do that to someone.

https://www.osha.gov/

http://www.icphso.org/

http://www.usa.gov/directory/consumerorgs/

 

5. Less Crime and Violence–This one may be controversial but it is true. Taking into account the single years where crime statistics rise slightly, FBI Crime figures show a decrease. If you cherry pick certain years and types of crime you can justify certain increases but overall there has been less crime. In addition, if you zero in on cities with large populations with high murder rates, you would think that violent crime in increasing. Statistics by the FBI and other organization like the Department of Justice show a downward trend. From its peak in the middle 90s, violent crime rates have been dropping or holding steady. That’s in the United States. In most European and Asian countries you can walk around relatively safely. Now that is not taking into account areas of the world where war is raging. For any traveler though, it is best to take precautionary measures whether traveling form the United States to another country or international citizen flying to the United States.  We always need to work on decreasing violence but domestic violence, reported and unreported, is what needs to be addressed. Check it out for yourself.

http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats

http://www.ucrdatatool.gov/Search/Crime/State/RunCrimeStatebyState.cfm

http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html

http://peacealliance.org/tools-education/statistics-on-violence/

http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5111

 

war photo

 

6. Less War–It’s true that more people have been killed by war and conflict in the 20th century than any other.  The statistics are inflated due to weapons technology. Bigger, better, faster weapons used against citizens as well as the military means more death and higher numbers. Two world wars and a long Vietnam War as well as the war on terrorism that began long before this century has contributed to the human death toll. Having stated that, previous centuries were filled with conflict in several countries at the same period in history for different reasons.  The exception was peace rather than war during a lifetime. You can point to a certain year on a timeline and examine Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Asia Minor, Russia and Africa and more often than not a conflict or war was raging among countries on those lands. Although the United Nations has its critics, the organization does provide an opportunity for countries to resolve differences and hold leaders accountable for their actions.

http://necrometrics.com/wars18c.htmhttp://www.bookofhorriblethings.com/ax02.html

http://www.bookofhorriblethings.com/ax01.html

http://www.taphilo.com/history/war-deaths.shtml

7.  Economic Stability–Despite pockets of poverty and suffering throughout the world, a majority of the world enjoys the ability and the right to earn a comfortable wage and most make enough to satisfy the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, such as food, shelter, security, and other things like SMART Phones. Furthermore, governments, having passed measures and legislation, prevent wild stock market fluctuations and crashes by using all of the countermeasure tools after learning the lessons of 1929 and 2008 economic collapses.  Laws such as antitrust legislation also exist today enabling justice departments to catch white-collar financial crime.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.htmlhttp://www.mybudget360.com/how-much-does-the-average-american-make-breaking-down-the-us-household-income-numbers/

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/

http://www.weforum.org/

 

best storm clouds

8. Natural Disaster Measures and Warnings—The ability to forecast hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, tornadoes as well as snow storms and other weather problems has helped  people throughout the world prepare before nature unleashes its wrath. Sometimes forecasters miss the mark but more often they let us know what is moving in well before the day it arrives. Often predicting disasters like the 2004 Tsunami is difficult. The good news is that with each year, forecasters and scientists are learning and finding out more information about how to prepare.

http://www.tsunami.noaa.gov/

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.phphttp://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/drr/

http://www.world-earthquakes.com/

That’s it. When you think about it as President Barack Obama said to the United Nation’s General Assembly recently, “this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, and to be free to pursue your dreams.” He is right. If you think objectively without any political leanings, he is correct. We do live in a world today that is much safer and more convenient than ever. And that’s a positive.

President Barack Obama’s speech here.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/full-text-of-president-obamas-2014-address-to-the-united-nations-general-assembly/2014/09/24/88889e46-43f4-11e4-b437-1a7368204804_story.html

 

Eight Great Historical Mini-Series

 

band of brothers

 

by Rick Bretz

Band of Brothers (2001)

The story of Easy Company from their tough initial training through World War II’s D-Day to V-J Day. The 10 part series, based on a Stephen Ambrose book, covers the hardship and the elation of being part of a great cause. Each episode begins with an interview showing the real members of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Best Line:  Lt. Winters,  “That night, I took time to thank God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. And if, somehow, I managed to get home again, I promised God and myself that I would find a quiet piece of land someplace and spend the rest of my life in peace.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185906/?ref_=nv_sr_1

468-09-Buzz-aldrin-us-flag

From the Earth to the Moon (1998)

This mini-series shows the challenges, heartache and triumph of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs as they achieved the nation’s goal of sending a man to the moon and bringing him back safely.

Best Line: Astronaut Frank Borman speaking about the cause of the Apollo 1 fire, “A failure of imagination. We’ve always known there was the possibility of fire in a spacecraft. But the fear was that it would happen in space, when you’re 180 miles from terra firma and the nearest fire station. That was the worry. No one ever imagined it could happen on the ground. If anyone had thought of it, the test would’ve been classified as hazardous. But it wasn’t. We just didn’t think of it. Now whose fault is that? Well, it’s North American’s fault. It’s NASA’s fault. It’s the fault of every person who ever worked on Apollo. It’s my fault. I didn’t think the test was hazardous. No one did. I wish to God we had.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120570/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

james-peale-george-washington

George Washington (1984)

Barry Bostwick gives an outstanding performance of a young and ageing George Washington in this almost forgotten mini-series from 1984. It covers his early life as a young officer and his wooing of Martha Custis whom he would marry. The cast includes some of the greats: Hal Holbrook as John Adams, Patty Duke as Martha Washington, James Mason as General Braddock, Jaclyn Smith as Sally Fairfax and many more. Many actors have attempted to portray George Washington and some have succeeded but Barry Bostwick comes pretty close to getting the personality and spirit of the man.

Best Line: General George Washington addressing his officers, “Gentlemen, you’ll permit me to put on my spectacles, as I have grown not only grey but also blind in the service of my country.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086720/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

centennial

Centennial (1978)

This is considered one of the best mini-series of all time. Based on the novel by James Michener, It’s on just about every one’s “best of” list. The central theme identifies the many challenges and hard ships associated with settling in the West as the concept of manifest destiny was put into practice. The cast includes just about every major actor of that era. Raymond Burr, Robert Conrad, Lynn Redgrave, Sally Kellerman, Richard Crenna and Sharon Gless and more. The story crosses two centuries and chronicles the lives of people living in and around the town of Centennial, Colorado.

Best Line: “Only the rocks live forever.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076993/?ref_=nv_sr_1

john adams

John Adams (2008)

Paul Giamatti captures John Adams prickly personality as well as his determination in forging a new country. More than that, he was perfect for showing the audience how intellectually sound John Adam’s was when arguing for his clients in court or persuading the founders to adopt a course of action. The mini-series also makes a point to show how important Abigail Adams was to her husband’s success. Based on the book by David McCullough, the series makes it a point to show the hardships the John and Abigail Adams endured.

Best Lines: John Adams, “My thoughts are so clear to me… each one takes perfect shape within my mind. But when I speak, when I offer them to others, they seem to lose all definition.”

Also,

Benjamin Franklin, “You are a guest in Philadelphia. Fish, and guests, stink after three days.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472027/?ref_=nv_sr_2

 

The Men Who Built America (2012)

Before you can succeed anywhere you have to possess a vision. These men had it with some to spare. This series points the key and fill lights on the Mount Rushmore of businessmen who built America. Each segment tells the story of giants in their field. The series tells the stories of J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry Ford and how they accumulated their vast empires and wealth. More importantly, the series tells how they worked with one another or challenged each other for another’s piece of the economic pie. If you want to know how America became an economic superpower after the civil war, this is the mini-series to watch. Many of today’s business leaders talk about what it takes to be ultra-successful in the business world during the series.

 

Best Line:  H. W. Brands (historian) “Carnegie demonstrated that if you’re the first at whatever you do, you have a huge advantage over the people who come along later because you got the jump on them and very often that jump allows you to carve a niche and to maximize your profits within that niche.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2167393/?ref_=nv_sr_2

 

North and South (1985)

This series covers the friendship between two young cadets at The United States Military Academy at West Point. One is from, you guessed it, from a wealthy plantation owning family in the South and the other from a wealthy industrial and factory owning family from the North. The series tackles racism issues as well as the ideological differences among plantation owning southerners and industry building northerners. The civil war wages on and the friendship between the two main characters is tested.

Best Line: Orry talking to George, “This is our way of life, it has been for more than a hundred years! (Pause) How would you like me, to come up to Lehigh Station, telling you how to run your life, to change the way you have always lived?”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088583/?ref_=nv_sr_1

roots

Roots (1977)

Roots is one of the most celebrated and well know mini-series since the inception of genre. It has great actors and a compelling story of slave family and slave owners. The first episodes in the series show the viewers what slave ships would have been like and how the slave trade was perpetuated by profiteers. LeVar Burton plays the lead character Kunta Kinte as we follow him from Africa to the United States. Based on the book by Alex Haley, the series shows how families were torn apart when the United States thought it was acceptable to own another human being. The all-star cast gives a bravura performance that captivated the country in 1977.

Best Lines: Omoro, Kunta Kinte’s father, holding his infant son up to a starry sky, “Kunta Kinte, behold the only thing greater than yourself!”

and

Fiddler, “Christmas is when White folk give each other stuff don’t neither of em need.”

Also

Kintango, “It is impossible to kill an enemy. You may end a man’s life, but his son becomes your new enemy. A warrior respects another warrior, even he is his enemy. A warrior kills only to protect his family, or to keep from becoming a slave. We believe not in death, but in life, and there is no object more valuable than a man’s life.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075572/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

 

Honorable Mentions: The Company, The Kennedys, Jesus of Nazareth, Shogun, Holocaust, The Civil War, The Winds of War, War and Peace, Hatfields & McCoys

Eight Greats at Madison Square Garden

 

Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden

 

by Rick Bretz

On this day, May 31st, 1879, Madison Square Garden opened in New York City at 4, Pennsylvania Plaza. Yes, that’s right, 1879. That’s the age of the venerable building indirectly named after the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, because the building was constructed inside Madison Square. The Garden officially seats 18, 200 people but has fit more and has been the location of many historical events.

Here are some of the most remembered events that occurred in Madison Square Garden.

1. George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s benefit concerts for Bangladesh-August 1, 1971. He had Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Billy Preston there to help him out.

Interior of a Democratic Convention

2. The Democratic National Conventions-1924, 1976, 1980, 1992. Politics in New York City? Boss Tweed would have never stood for it!

 

3. Former Republican Presidential Candidate, Wendell Willkie, leads 20,000 African-Americans in 1943, as the group organized a civil rights rally at the Garden, the largest of its kind for the time. He called for equal rights and for the defeat of Hitler. Despite the democratic message of today, republicans are champions of equal rights.

 

Frazier throws punch at Ali
Frazier throws punch at Ali

4. The Fight of the Century-Challenger Mohammed Ali and Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier meet at the Garden for a boxing match on March 8, 1971. Frazier wins by unanimous decision. The second Ali-Frazier fight happens at the Garden three years later in 1974, when Ali wins by decision. The best fights of all time are between these two. Joe Louis fought at the Garden too but these two were warriors.

 

5. 1898-Nikola Tesla demonstrates the first remote control robot by using radio control hardware. Further proof Tesla was way ahead of everyone else.

 

Monroe singing Happy Birthday
Monroe singing Happy Birthday

6. May 19th, 1962. President John F. Kennedy’s 42nd birthday party celebration is held at the Garden. Marilyn Monroe sings the famous “Happy Birthday Mr. President” song. Every man deserves to be serenated Happy Birthday just like that.. It doesn’t even have to be at the Garden and the title could be “Mr. Guy that works all day at his job down the street.”

 

7. June 17, 1978 Bob Marley performs at MSG and increases awareness in America for reggae music. In 1980 he performs two shows again the Garden. Days later Marley collapses due to the spreading cancer in his body. He dies on May 11, 1980. The great Bob Marley’s last words were to his son Ziggy, “Money can’t buy life.”

 

8. 1973, Led Zeppelin performs three consecutive sold out performances that are recorded on both film and recording tape. A concert film is later released called, “The Song Remains The Same.” This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band is one of the best-selling groups of all time.

There are many more performances that span the entertainment, political and social worlds. The list of entertainers who have performed at MSG is a hall of fame for musicians and singers. Ricky Nelson even wrote a song about it called “Garden Party”, which is a song about performing there with his fellow fifties greats.

Notable Links:

http://www.thegarden.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Events_at_Madison_Square_Garden

Eight Moms in the Movies

By Rick Bretz

On this Mother’s Day, let’s look back at the some of the best movie moms as they protect, defend, encourage and stand by their sons and daughters.  As everyone knows, Don’t mess with Mom!

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor

 

1. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in the Terminator (1984) and T2 (1991)

Sarah Connor reloads the assault weapon with one arm as she becomes a one-woman army. She fights Arnold’s terminator first and then a Robert Patrick’s T-1000 shape shifter who keeps on coming like a human Tsunami.  All of this while she fights to keep her son safe so he can lead people into future battles with the machines. What does she get for her troubles? She gets locked up and fed drugs. But, not to worry, she’s been counting pull ups and sit ups and studying how to be the best survivalist ever. The time has come for her to get busy being a Mom when she breaks out.

 

shining

 

2. Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance in The Shining (1980)

Wendy Torrance has to put up with tons of brooding and abuse from Jack Nicholson’s character in this movie. He drags her to a Ski Lodge in the mountains so he can get away to write his next masterpiece and he comes up with “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” In addition, his son sees waves of blood coming from the elevator and repeats the word “REDRUM.’   (Spoiler, but if you haven’t seen it by now…!) She wins in the end because she has spent her days at the isolated getaway figuring out the maze outside the hotel. Moms are always prepared.

 

Clara Thornhill with her son in the elevator as the bad guys surround him.
Clara Thornhill with her son in the elevator as the bad guys surround him.

3. Jessie Royce Landis as Clara Thornhill in North By Northwest (1959)

Clara Thornhill as Roger Thornhill’s mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s cross country thriller plays her part perfectly. She stands by her son although she thinks he is paranoid and a little over-worked. Roger Thornhill, of course, is not imagining anything but Clara’s past history with her son plays into her assessment of his well being at the estate once being released by the court system. The mother sets up the rest of the movie. Jessie Royce Landis was only eight years older than Cary Grant at the time but she succeeds in making us believe she is his mother. Perfect case of standing by your child even if you think he is off his rocker.

 Margaret Wycherly

 4. Margaret Wycherly as Mother York in Sergeant York (1941)

Before Sergeant Alvin York becomes a war hero in World War I, he goes through a process of rehabilitation where he is born again and follows the word of God. He takes this seriously and becomes a conscientious objector because of the commandment “I shalt not kill.” While he was transforming and soul-searching, Mother York stood by him and gave him encouragement. After some long thought while on furlough, he decided it would be wise to go to war with his weapon and save lives by doing his best to end the war early. The decision would have been more difficult if Mother York had not let him decide for himself.

lion in winter

5. Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter (1968)

Being a mother in 1183 had to be tough no matter your status in life. Not many comforts back then. For Queen Eleanor, she had to be a mother while being in imprisoned by King Henry II while he was running around with his mistress whom he wanted to marry. In the movie, although she is imprisoned she holds her own in the verbal sparring department. The dialogue between O’Toole and Hepburn is one of the best movie scenes in history. As a Mother, The Queen knows when to scold and when to support. One of the movie’s best scenes involves Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins’  portraying Prince Richard (The Lion-Hearted). She talks to him as a Mother and not as a Queen.  For Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Peter O’Toole’s King Henry II, she schemes to control the situation as an aging King Henry struggles to name a successor among his sons.

The-Blind-Side-2009-001

6. Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in The Blind Side (2009)

Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her performance in this film. Based on real events, this movie shows how a Mom with a purpose can change someone’s life. She’s a one woman wrecking crew and won’t stop until people understand. Along the way, she won’t put up with any racism or any other nonsense, even when it comes from gang members. She also knows how to coach and gives her adopted son a great piece of advice during football practice.

Cher-Mask_l

7. Cher as Florence “Rusty” Dennis in Mask (1985)

 Moms don’t have to be perfect. What great moms have in common is that they all defend their children. They also support and encourage when needed. Cher’s performance as “Rusty” shows all her flaws but it also shows her supporting her son “Rocky”, who has a condition that deforms his skull. He looks different from everyone on the outside but is just the same as every other teen who has dreams. Judging someone from the inside and not how they look or by skin color is a lesson that still applies today and still has to be learned by others.

 

 Jane Darwell with Henry Fonda and John Carradine

8. Jane Darwell as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

 

 Darwell’s performance as Ma Joad holds the movie together. Sure, Henry Fonda gives a great soliloquy at the end of the movie but look who he’s giving it to—his mother. She endures the mid-west dust bowl conditions that takes their loses their livelihood. She packs up the family and their possessions and travels all the way to California for a chance at a better life. Bad luck continues but she continues holding the family together. Fantastic movie and a great performance.

 

 

 

 

Notable Links:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034167/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_37

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089560/?ref_=nv_sr_3

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032551/?ref_=nv_sr_1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapes_of_wrath

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_L._Dennis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniodiaphyseal_dysplasia

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20090192,00.html

http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine2.html

http://www.sgtyork.org/

 

 

The Bully Pulpit

by Rick Bretz

President Theodore Roosevelt during his presidency  coined the term “Bully Pulpit” to mean a “terrific or advantageous” platform to promote ideas.   The position of President of the United States might be the best place in the world to promote ideas.  Back then, in his day, the word “Bully” meant a good thing, as in “”Bully for You” or “Good For You.”  But somewhere, as in the case of many words, the meaning of the word was hijacked to the more popular definition of the word today, “A person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.”  The verb form meaning to force or harass someone using superior strength to do force him or her to do what one wants.

President of the United States Theodore Roosev...
President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Deutsch: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von 1901 bis 1909, Friedensnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The word bully meant something good in the early 1900s but turned into a word that defines the evil angels of our nature. Interesting to note that the synonyms listed for this word include, Tyrant, Tormentor, Oppressor, Persecutor, Intimidator and Thug.  Today there is a new moniker that defines the Bully.   The technology savvy persecutor, tormentor and thug–The Cyber bully. This bully uses all of the tools available to the persecutor and this tool has the added benefit of making the tormentor anonymous if he or she so desires.   Beside being a jerk, the online tormentor violates a key policy outlined in most organizations’ information technology code of ethics documents. That is: “Do no harm.”

There are many varieties of bully.  Some are less harmful than others but the different speciesalways leave some form of destruction in their wake.  Here are my top eight types of bullies that wreak all kinds of havoc as we all try to live, thrive and survive day-to-day.

1. The Government Bully– Someone who has gained a position of power by military take over, Coup de Tat,  violence against the voting populace, political maneuvering or government appointed position.  This type of bully proves the most dangerous because they can use their position to gain wealth, kill people, keep power and bully other countries into entering into unwise diplomatic agreements as well as any number of wrongs against the people.  They include the likes of Saddam Hussein. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Chairman Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Genghis Khan and many more.

2. The Office Bully-This person creates the toxic atmosphere at work.  The person everyone knows , whom management lets run rough shod over other co-workers either by using something they know, someone in management they know, or just using an acidic personality to create havoc in the work place or torment the one individual in the office who takes the abuse.  This where other co-workers should step in and take a stand even if the bully sits at a higher level in the organization.

3. The Teleconference and Meeting Bully-That certain someone who raises his or her voice, try to talk over people, cuts off another person talking,  ridicules someone else’s ideas.  You know that someone in the office.  A person  who wants to take over the entire meeting to look fantastic in front of “The Boss.” I dislike these people and managers should call them out and make them stop.

4. The Driving Bully– You know.  We’ve all seen  them on the highway, in the city or even on some rural road. They pass on double lines, bogart their way into a parking spot, merge their vehicle in the wrong place, change lanes from the far left to the exit ramp in less than 20 yards just to prove they can.  I got news for you people: you’re not impressing anyone.  Some advice I know will be ignored but here goes anyway, “Drive like you are supposed to-like the rest of us-obey the traffic laws. Just maybe you won’t be the next person to cause a wreck.”

5. The Internet Bully-These people are the trolls you see at the bottom of a story you have read in the comment list but they are also the same people who use the social media to harass and torment another person. Cyber bullies are the worst because they are going after a person for the whole world to see.  These people are the cause of some teen ager or young person committing suicide because the cyber bully won’t back off on the social media comments and criticism.  Someone who bullies a person through social media has no self esteem and no compassion for other human beings.

6. Corporate Bully-The corporate bully intimidates start-ups, harasses inventors, steals inventions, steals software or worse yet, calls in some government friends for favor so a certain agency can do an audit or create an avalanche of paperwork and lawyers so that a company or individual can go away.  You know who they are: some have been around for a long time.  President Teddy Roosevelt called them monopolies and decided he had enough of them.  He did what good bully fighters do, he made them stop.

7. Gang Bully-Any person using his position as part of a group, gang or union to intimidate, harass, persecute or just plain beat up.  These people get their so-called “courage” because they know their buddies will be standing behind them in case the scene gets a little tough for them to handle. I see no courage in that.  The person who takes on the group alone, now that’s courage.
8. Law Enforcement Bully-A majority of law enforcement officials are superb human being and logical in their approach to handing out citations and tickets. But now and then you get someone who you can just tell hasn’t been in a position of power or leadership and they carry an attitude of, “OK, now I’m in power position and people are going to pay.”  They are few,  but when you come across one, you never forget them.

Ok, now I’m off the bully pulpit about bullies, for now.

 

Notable Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bully_pulpit

http://www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/Files/Bullying.pdf

http://www.internetsafety101.org/cyberbullyingstatistics.htm