Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rosa Parks - 1913 - 2005

It was hot in the summer of 1963, particularly on Ringgold Street where the houses had no air conditioning and during summer, if you were a kid, you stayed outside until you parents made you come in for a bath. This particular day, the sun beat down and I remember going inside our house and the old Westinghouse fan which always sat between the kitchen and living room was running full blast, as it would until late in the evening when we might turn it down to medium so our house would be quieter for sleeping.

My mother was watching television which was unusual for her during the day. She told me to come in and watch "something that was very important". I noticed many black people (which many called negros or colored people in 1963) as far as you could see from Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol steps, as well as sitting and standing on both sides or the reflecting pool on the mall in Washington D.C.

This would become known as the "March on Washington" which signaled the true beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in America. I watched it live on black and white television. It was August, 28, 1963. An estimated 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. to urge support for pending civil rights legislation. The event was highlighted by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I remember Martin Luther King giving this speech and I remember Charlton Heston being shown on televison with the leaders of the movement. I thought this was very cool as my reference to Charlton Heston was as Ben Hur in the movie by the same name. He was a democrat in those days and very active in issues viewed as liberal. My mother explained to me what was going on and I remember my parents talking about the Civil Rights Movement at the dinner table.

This year, in the fall of 2005 I am reminded of these significant events and how I processed them as a child and as an adult through the death of Rosa Parks, at 92. Ms. Parks died Monday, October 25, 2005 and many refer to her as the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement" for not giving up her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. The segregation laws in Montgomery at this time required her to give up her seat.

Sparking the modern civil rights movement in the United States by this event, Rosa Park's arrest for breaking Montgomery segregation laws started a boycott of the city bus line that lasted 381 days. This eventually lead to the 1956 US Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation illegal on public buses.

Mrs. Parks made history again after her death this fall as she became the first woman and only the second African-American to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington. She is entombed in a mausoleum at the prestigious Woodlawn Cemetary, where some of Detroit's leading citizens have been laid to rest.

I am fortunate to have experienced the tremendous progress we have made the last 50 years with civil rights in America. I am fortunate to have had parents who helped me understand the importance of this movement and I continue my commitment to develop my own children's view and contribution to our world through understanding the importance of acceptance, equality, tolerance.

It is important each day to remind ourselves of the words Thomas Jefferson wrote in our Declaration of Independence in 1776:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

We also must remind ourselves of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address where he began:

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought fourth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

And lastly, we must remember Martin Luther King, Jr's famous "I Have a Dream" speech:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all mean are created equal."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color to their skin but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little black boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

"I have a dream today."

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States

On Sunday, November 6, 2005, at 7:30 pm my son Ben and I enjoyed the rare opportunity to see a former US President speak in person. The location was Butler University in Indianapolis and his appearance was part of the University's Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series honoring the university's Sesquicentennail. When I first learned President Clinton would be speaking at Butler I thought what a wonderful opportunity it would be for my son to experience seeing a hearing a former president in person. I had only seen one US President in my lifetime and that was Lyndon B. Johnson ("LBJ") when he was in Indianapolis speaking on Monument Circle just three years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy ("JFK") which occurred November 22, 1963.

I took the Monday morning off when tickets were first being distributed on Butler's campus; arriving at 7:00 am I stood in the rain with an already lengthy line of ticket hopefuls, complete with local news teams shooting footage and interviewing many who had braved the weather in hopes of having the opportunity to hear our former president speak. The morning actually went by quickly; by 10:00 am I had two tickets in hand for me and Ben. As I drove home and anticipated the impact I hoped this would have on my son, I reflected upon my own experience seeing and hearing LBJ 39 years earlier in our hometown of Indianapolis.

President Johnson's speech was on the west steps of Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, on July 23, 1966. The day also included a speech at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, located at 350 N. Meridian Street; formerly a predominately democratic club open to members only. This site is now condominums called "Athletic Club".

I remember the day so well. In those days Presidents rarely came to Indianapolis (and for the most part that is still true) so the excitement surrounding the appearance of our President was significant, particulary considering the extraordinary degree of social change and unrest ccuring in our country during LBJ's presidency.

Upon reflection, during this time our nation was recovering from the recent assassination of President Kennedy. This in itself was difficult for a nation who lost an immensely popular, charismatic leader and the youngest president ever elected in our country. Additionally, the degree of profound historical events that were occuring at this time would also present to our nation some of the most troubling, significant, historical, and radical times our country has experienced during a presidency. These include:

Lastly, on a positive note during these difficult times for our country and the presidency, we witnessed Martin Luther King, Jr., become the youngest man ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1964 in Oslo, Norway.

Research from the the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas reveals in 1966, "on July 23 -- Johnson warned African Americans that riots impede reforms, Indianapolis, Ind., after racial tensions caused riots in Omaha (July 3-5); Chicago, Il. (July 12-15), Brooklyn, NY (July 15-22), Jacksonville, Fl. (July 18) and Cleveland, Ohio (July 18-23).

In a speech at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, he said: Riots in the streets do not bring about lasting reforms. They tear at the very fabric of community. They set neighbor against neighbor and create walls of distrust and fear between them. They make reform more difficult by turning away the very people who can and must support reform. They start a chain reaction the consequences of which always fall most heavily on those who begin them".

My brother, mother and father all went down to see LBJ and it was a memorable event. On top of the Circle Tower Building you could easily observe in full sight many secret service agents with rifles; this was a period of time when a strong and visable presence of federal and local law enforcement in all public appearances of the President was expected due to the recent assassination of President Kennedy.

Now, sitting with my 17 year old son in Hinkle Fieldhouse 39 years later, I hear the only other President I have seen in person begin with "Tonight I want to have a conversation", and President Clinton went on to ask the crowd a provacative question that set the tone for the rest of the speech: "If you were asked to describe this era in one work, what would it be?" He said most people would probably answer globalization, but suggested it should be interdependence. "There is no more stunning example of global interdependence than the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. We need to move away from interdependance and move towards a set of integrated communities."

Clinton addresed serious issues concerning the world today, but he kept the evening light hearted with his typical smooth sense of humor and casualness that he is noted for. "The great thing about being a former president is being able to say what you think," and then added "Of course, no one cares what you think." He also began his speech, after the long standing applause by saying "it is great to be in Hinkle Fieldhouse, Hoosiers is on of my all time favorite movies". The crowd cheered loudly.

He went on to say he had lots of friends in Indianapolis and remembers well spending time here while working on the Jimmy Carter presidential campaign with his wife Hillary and enjoys coming back here often.

Perhaps more indicative of his ability to wax humor in his opening remarks he said "I am also happy to be here for Butler's Sesquicentennial, I never knew what that word meant until I was governor of Arkansas and the state celebrated their Sesquicentennial during my term - I learned how to say this and after some practice and it's a fun word to say, but once you master it, only one in four people know what it means".

On a serious note he said "You have to make a world with more partners and fewer enemies". That "we're out there telling Iran they can't have nuclear weapons, but we can have a few more?", and talked about the great economic theory he brought to the White House to balance the budget, "Arithmetic", and went on to say "we voted in 2000 to adandon arithmetic".

I thought his commentary on the human condition to be most salient:"one half of the people in the world live on $2 a day and one quarter of the people in the world die of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria or diarrhea-related infections. He said that it is statistics like this that drive him to donate so much of his time and money".

President Clinton closed the evening by saying, "You have the power to make a difference and I urge you to use it." All 9600 people in Hinkle Fieldhouse stood and applauded for several minutes. Clinton then answered pre-written questions from students where the course name and instructor was mentioned first. Upon conclusion of the question and answer session, he spent probably 20 minutes standing in front of the stage shaking hands and talking with as many people as he could who waited around for an opportunity to meet him briefly.

This was an outstanding evening for me and my son. It took almost 40 years for me to see a President again. I am glad we had this experience together, as I did with my father many years earlier. It leaves a profound memory.

Edward Hopper - the connection

I have always had an appreciation for art, not so much because I understand the artist's history or the various generes, but simply because I enjoy most artistic expressions. Since I was a young man I have always liked Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Early on, I never really knew much about American Realism or Hopper himself, but is seems that anyone you have a conversation with about this painting cannot help being intrigued by the depiction of three lonely people sitting in an all night diner. In fact, it has become so popular over the years that many renditions have appeared which range from comedic to Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe sitting at the counter of the all night diner. Nighthawks hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

I have been to Chicago several times to view this painting and it is absolutely striking to see it in person. It appears to have much more green to it than if the photo's. However, it is not only Hopper's Nighthawks I have come to love, but virtually all of his works which I have read about in various books that I have purchased, or been given through the years.

My first formal exposure to Nighthawks as a prominent American painting was during an art appreciation class at an undergraduate at Indiana Univeristy. Charles Haynes was the instructor and I remember how much I enjoyed learing about the movement of the Ashcan painters and how American Realism grew out ot that movement. Hopper was mentored by Robert Henri, one of the leaders of this movement at the beginning of the 20th century which depicted painting scenes of daily life in poor urban neighborhoods.

I met my wife during this same period and we were discussing art; she is a big fan of Impressionism, and I mentioned how much I enjoyed Hopper's works and that he was in fact my favorite painter. She mentioned her late grandfather was a urologist in New York City and Edward Hopper was one of his patients. His office was at 121 East 60th Street. At times, he would give Dr. McLellan a book, or lithograph, some of which are still in the family. I have been fortunate enough to have one of the books titled: Edward Hopper, Retrospective Exhibition, Text by Lloyd Goodrich which Edward Hopper provided my wife's grandfather. Inside the cover it reads "To Dr Allister McLellan Edward Hopper", and is signed by a cartridge pen, which was common during this time period. The book is a collection of plates from Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts and Detroit Institute of Arts - These include: Evening Wind, 1921 - Room in New York, 1932 which clearly resemble the inside of Hopper's studio which was located at 3 Washington Square North, in Greenwich Village.

As I have studied Hopper and come to adore his works, upon a recent trip to NYC I decided to walk by his studio and home which was a flat in Greenwich Village at 3 Washington Square North. This address is on the northside of Washington Square Park and the door is not an entrance these days, as the building is occupied by New York University's Sociology Department. The door is still there with the number #3 on it in the event you would like to take a photo on the steps of this Greenwich Village walk-up.

You can walk around the corner of the building "to the northeast" and find a door that says "NYU Sociology Department", and the receptionist with let you go up and see Edward and Josephine's flat and studio. You must leave your ID at the receptionist station. When NYU bought the Washington Square building the Hopper's lived and worked in, the agreement was that their flat and studio would always be retained and visitors could come in and tour it on their own during the hours the sociology department is open.

The flat and studio for the most part are vacant, but there are several photo's sitting around of Hopper painting in the studio which has a fireplace and a beautiful window facing due south overlooking Washington Square. One of the large black and white photo's shows Hopper standing next to the fireplace. It is small and quaint and provides more insight into Hopper the man, and his lifestyle. You can take pictures while you are there.

Also, I encourage you to hang out in the area; this is the heart of NYU and Washington Park is a wonderful green space to sit and enjoy the atmosphere of college life in Greenwich Village.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Edward Hopper - the artist

Nighthawks, 1942, oil on canvas, 84.1 x 152.4 cm, the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60603

Edward Hopper, (July 22, 1882 - May 15, 1967) was an American painter best remembered for his eerily realistic depictions of solitude in contemporary American life.

Born in Nyack, New York, Hopper studied commercial art and painting in New York City. One of his teachers, artist Robert Henri, encouraged his students to use their art to "make a stir in the world." Henri, an influence on Hopper, motivated students to render realistic depictions of urban life. Henri's students, many of whom developed into important artists, became known as the Ashcan School of American art.

Upon completing his formal education, Hopper made three trips to Europe to study the emerging art scene there, but unlike many of his contemporaries who imitated the abstract cubist experiments, the idealism of the realist painters enamored Hopper. His early projects reflect the realist influence.

While he worked for several years as a commercial artist, Hopper continued painting. In 1925 he produced House by the Railroad, a classic work that marks his artistic maturity. The piece is the first of a series of stark urban and rural scenes that uses sharp lines and large shapes, played upon by unusual lighting to capture the lonely mood of his subjects. He derived his subject matter from the common features of American life — gas stations, motels, the railroad, or an empty street.

The best known of these paintings, Nighthawks (1942), shows the lonely customers frequenting a downtown all-night diner. The diner's harsh electric lights set it off from the gentle night outside. The diners, seated at stools around the counter, are similarly isolated from one another, leaving the viewer to wonder what led them to the diner late at night. Hopper explained that Nighthawks was inspired by "a resturant on New York's Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet". The diner has since been destroyed, but the painting reveals three customers lost in their own private thoughts. the anonymus and uncommunicative night owls seem as remote from the viewer as they are from one another. Although Hopper denied that he purposely infused any of his paintings with symbols of isolation and emptiness, he acknowledged of Nighthawks that, "unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city."

Other examples include "Chop Suey", "Rooms for Tourists", and "Office in a Small City".

Hopper's rural New England scenes, such as Gas (1940), are no less wistful. In terms of subject matter, he can be compared to his contemporary, Norman Rockwell, but while Rockwell exalted in the rich imagery of small-town America, Hopper depicts it in the same sense of forlorn solitude that permeates his portrayal of city life. Here too, Hopper's work exploits vast empty spaces, represented by a lonely gas station astride an empty country road and the sharp contrast between the natural light of the sky, moderated by the lush forest, and glaring artificial light coming from inside the gas station.

Hopper died in 1967, in his studio near Washington Square, in New York City. His wife, the painter Josephine Nivison, who died 10 months later, bequeathed his work to the Whitney Museum of American Art. Other significant paintings by Hopper are at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. Josephine, a former actress as well, sat as a model, for every woman Hopper painted.

In 2004, a large selection of Hopper's paintings toured through Europe, visiting Cologne, Germany and Tate Modern in London. The Tate exhibition became the second most popular in the gallery's history, with 420,000 visitors in the three months it was open.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

New York City - 121 E. 60th Street - Dr. Allister M. McLellan

I took my son on his second trip to New York City in November of 2004. The purpose was to have a fun weekend and to catch the Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 15, 2004 @ 7:30 pm. I asked my mother-in-law, who was born and raised in Manhatten for the address of her late father's medical practice in the city. I wanted to take my son to see where his great-grandfather's office was in the city. My wife was also born in NYC, so as we talked about this trip, I asked my mother-in-law to write as much as she could remember that might be of interest to my son for our visit. This writing was directed to my son, and her comments were written very quickly, and are unedited.

Life in New York City 1927 - 1950 - I've tried to think of my life in New York in an organized fashion, but things keep popping into my head! Here goes! EMJ November, 2004.

"My parents had been living in New York City before I was born. It was on Third Avenue in a 4th floor walk-up. Mother washed her clothes and linens in the sink and hung them on the lines provided on the roof of the building. There was no air conditioning anywhere. Later we moved to Jackson Heights on Long Island until I went to Junior High. My grandfather lived with us after awhile and he would take me to the orthodonist in the City - a bus trip over the Queensboro Bridge. The office was on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. After seeing the doctor we went downstairs to the Schraft's Resturant and every week I had a club sandwich and vanillia ice cream with butterscoth sauce and almonds!

Lillias and I took piano lessons. Our teacher took us to several concerts in NYC. I remember hearing Myra Hess play somewhere. We always had to wear white gloves with our dressy clothes to go! Also we rode our two wheeler bikes and we played with our dolls. Shopping for clothes was usually at Bloomingdale's very near Father's office, which was at 121 East 60th Street, between Lexington and Park avenues. Macy's Paraade at Thanksgiving went down Fifth Avenue. Usually we went, sometimes with Father's secretary. All I remember is large balloons and lots of floats and bands.

When I was in Junior High we moved to Pelham. Our regular dentist was on Park Ave. in the City. (Believe it or not, I had 12 gold inlay fillings before I was through high school!). So we made lots of trips, since there were so many of us. From Pelham we had to take the New York-New Haven-and-Hartford local train into Grand Central Station to get to NYC. It was about a 40 minute ride, but then we were in the middle of the City. In summer all the summer camps going to New England met about the same days to load on the trains. It was bedlam in the station! We were headed for Vermont and it was an all-day long trip.

Mother enjoyed the theater and father was not too keen on it, so she and I would attend afternoon theater plays and then meet father for dinner. We always went to a fancy resturant, but I can't recall any names. In my senior year 3 couples of us went to NYC for New Year's Eve. We ate somewhere and then at 11 pm headed for Times Square to see the ball drop. The crowd was horrrendous and it wasn't long before my feet were not touching the gound. I was just being carried along. I could see my friends but I could not get to them for, what seemed like a long time. We missed the last train to Pelham, so had to wait for the mild train at ??30 am. I assured everyone that my parents were not concerned, that they would know we were OK, and would reassure their parents. Well, when we pulled into Pelham station at 4:00 am, who was there, but my father. He was very calm and asked what had happened, but he must have been the most relieved person around! Some of the other parents punished their children, but in my home we just talked about it and what it meant to them, not to hear from us. I kept saying, "I just didn't want to wake you up!".

I wnet to nursing school at Cornell University School of Medicine at New York Hospital on 68th and York Ave. Although the nursing school is gone, the hospital is there and growing. One of my classmates was from Iowa and on our day off we went to the top of the Empire State Building, where I had never been. On another trip we went to the Statue of Liberty and climbe to the head. You could not go up the ar to the flame any longer. Ellis Island was not a place for tourists at that time. While I was in school there, I was assigned to the Neuro-surgery floor, where a Dr. Jeck was the resident. My father came to visit me (which he often did, just to say hello, when he cam to see his patients). ON this occasion he saw Sheff's name stamped on his whites and recognized him as the son of a former colleague. He wnet home later and invited Sheff for the weekend. Then called me arranging for me to meet Dr. Jeck in the parking garage on a certain Saturday morning. I was to bring him home - but, I was to let him drive, not me! and entertain him for the weekend.

Several months later Sheff asked me to go ice skating in Rockefeller Plaza one evening. He knew I could skate a little at least, but he was really good. We skated to music for several hours. How romantic!!!!! it was!!!! Meanwhile I was assigned to public health for three months. My district was 125th Street, not a very respectable neighborhood, but certainly one that needed all the help they could get. One day, I visited a woman with cancer who lived in a 6th floor walk-up in a "bad area". Armed with nothing but my bag and determination I walked up the stairs, which wer dark because the lights had been shot out. When I arrived I found she had four little children with her, whom she was afraid to let out of her one room apartment. I did what I could for her and promised to get her some help for the children. It was an education for me and perhaps that is why I have always done public health work.

I am sure there is more, but I can't think of it. If you get this, this evening and have questions, give me a call I will be here".

EMJ/November 2004

On Sunday, my son and I walked to Central Park to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude "The Gates" which was the largest public display of art in the history of NYC. The 7,500 free hanging saffron colored fabric panels placed throughout Central Park were on display for only 16 days. We were fortunate to see them. After walking through the park we visited the 121 East 60th Street office of my son's great-grandfather, Dr, Allister M. McLellan. As we walked east on 60th Street from Central Park, I encouraged my son to try to think about what life must have been like for his great-grandfather in New York during the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. As we peered through the glass doors we saw an older woman who was the Sunday receptionist. She approached the locked doors, and I talked to her through a voice-box about what we were up to, and she let us in; we discoved this was still a building occupied by physicians, and she actually remembered Dr. McLellan. She told us she had worked in this building as a young pharmaceutical sales representative and now was retired, but enjoyed the people she had come to know so much she decided to work part-time as the receiptionist. She appeared to be about 70 or so. We know she did in fact remember Dr. McLellan, as she said, "ah yes, Dr. McLellan, he was a urologist", which in fact he was. After our brief visit we went to Serendipty 3 at 225 E. 60th for lunch, and then a brief walk through of Bloomingdale's on the corner of 59th & Lexington. We returned home Sunday evening after a wonderful weekend.

Resturant Review - concept & introduction, October 2005.

I have been encouraged by my brother to write a resturant review for my blogsite. It seems like something fun to do, and useful for those who know me. I have an affection for resturants that generally fall into three catagories: historical, eclectric, funky. Generally, the food is secondary to the experience. That being said, you should understand I enjoy great dining, but my selection will be based upon the overall experience, including those who are with me.

Each month I plan to write about one of my favorite resturants. Some will be local, and some will be not-so-local, some will be high-end, some will be low-end. I might write on a place in the upper 70's in Manhatten's upper east side, such as Luke's Bar & Grill; a wonderful small resturant and bar you may recall received publicity when Mike Wallace was arrested for disorderly conduct as his driver double-parked and was cited by the police while Wallace was inside getting take-out meatloaf; or it might be be a charming off-the-beaten path place in Southern Indiana, such as the Story Inn where I enjoyed a wonderful, romantic dinner and evening with my wife. Regardless, the idea is to have fun and introduce my friends and those visiting this site some great places to hang out and enjoy food and the experience.

Also, I want to introduce the Zagat Survey thought to be the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based dining, travel and leisure information, with more than 250,000 voters participating worldwide. This is a subscription based service that I believe to be very good, after all it's a review by those who actually have eaten at these establishments, not some suit engaged in a marketing effort. Zagat provides instant acces to trusted ratings and reviews for over 30,000 resturants, nightspots, hotels and attractions. If you want to subscribe to the resturant section only, that's possible. The cost for a 365 day subscription at this writing is $24.95 for the full subscription and $19.95 for the resturant only subscription. Spare the extra $5 bucks and get the full access. As you visit different cities, many times you will see a Zagat placard in the window of resturants, hotels and entertainment venues stating: "This Establishment is Zagat Rated". The placard will generally include commentary from customers.

If there is a story to tell about the place, I will include that as well. And many times, the best stories are those we create ourselves through our own experiences and engagement.

Chicago White Sox - October 2005

I was at the Holiday Inn Chicago - Mart Plaza giving a talk to an industry trade group on Friday, October 28, 2005. It was, without any doubt, exciting to experience the energy in Chicago after the White Sox won the 2005 World Series on Wednesday evening. To celebrate their first World Series since 1917, the city sponsored a parade on Friday; this public event attracted tens of thousands of fans who turned out to see what was referred to in the media as a "giant block party". The team rode in double-decker buses from US Cellular Field through several neighborhoods where fans lined the streets leading to the downtown loop cheering, waving and saluting the new world champions of baseball.

The White Sox won the 2005 World Series over the Houston Astros by a sweep.

Game 1 - October 22, @ Chicago, CWS 5 - HOU 3
Game 2 - October 23, @ Chicago, CWS 7 - HOU 6
Game 3 - October 25, @ Houston, CWS 7 - HOU 5
Game 4 - October 26, @ Houston, CWS 1 - HOU 0

I have enjoyed the experience of watching two White Sox games in person; once in 2003 and again in 2004, both at US Cellular Field, previously Comiskey Park, on Chicago's southside. In 2003 the Sox played the Yankees and I had seats directly behind home plate and saw Derek Jeter, the popular short stop for the Yankees batting several times. I was not more than 20 yards from him. On a wacky side note, as I was leaving the stadium, I ran into Jerry Springer, the popular, but controversial Chicago based talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati. I politely shook hands and he signed my ticket. The ticket is dated September 23, 2003, game 80, box 130, row 5, seat 5. It was a 7:05 pm game. I recently read where Derek Jeter made $19,600,000 in base salary for 2005. Not a bad year!

In 2004, my second experience seeing the White Sox, they played the Minnesota Twins. This was a unique in that I took the subway to US Cellular Field which was very cool. If you have never done this, it is an absolute "must" Chicago sports experience. You can catch the subway at various places. The subway which runs "under ground" is not to be confused with the Chicago "L" that runs "above ground", i.e. "elevated" which is where the nickname "L" comes from.

I normally stay in the Gold Coast which is the area around the Hancock Building. In this area you can catch the subway at State & Chicago, this stop is marked as "Chicago" (Red Line) on the train maps. You take the train to the "Sox/35th St." stop. You'll come up the stairs and the ball park will be a brief 5 minute walk. On the way, you'll be entertained by street artists, vendors hawking their wares and people enjoying the spirit of the event. As you return to the Gold Coast, the (CTA) Chicago Transit Authority, which is our nation's second largest public transportation system, has several trains cars attached, all heading north and waiting for White Sox fans to board. Your return back will include every kind of entertainment you might imagine on a train packed like sardines of wild Chicago White Sox fans. It's one of the best experiences you can have.

For articles about the White Sox celebration visit the Chicago Tribune website.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Favorite 20 Songs for My Son.

My son asked my wife and I to provide him a list of our favorite 20 songs when we were his age (senior in HS). It took about 10 minutes for me to compile my list, and it could have easily contained probably 200 songs. We like and remember songs for various reasons, i.e. significant experiences such as military, college, early years of marriage. I am listing my 20 in no particular order.

The Weight/I Shall Be Released - The Band
US 1968 single for the The Band's debut album "Music from Big Pink", with "The Weight". The artists are listed as Robertson, Danko, Manuel, Hudson, Helm, this was before "The Band" became the group's name. Label: Capitol, Catalog #P2269 (promotional single) and 2269, Year: 1968 - Released September 1968 in the US and reached #63 on US Charts and #21 in the UK.

Let It Be - The Beatles
The Beatles thirteenth album was also their last. Let It Be was issued in Britian on PXI on May 8, 1970 as part of a special boxed package which also included the glossy book The Beatles Get Back. When it was issued in America on Atlantic Records (AR) 34001 on May 18, 1970, it had the highest advance sales on record for that time - a total 3,700,000. A film by the same title was produced as well.

Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf
From the album, "The Second" which was a follow-up to their enormously successful first album release titled: "Steppenwolf". This landmark first album contained the songs, "Born to be Wild", "Sookie Sookie", "The Pusher", later used in the movie "Easy Rider", and "Hootchie Cootchie Man". The next album, which contained "Magic Carpet Ride" was titled simply "The Second" and also was produced in 1968, Label: ABC Dunhill/50037, artist: Steppenwolf, words and music by John Kay and Rushton Moreve. John Kay commented "The Second was a record full of experimentation. It was started a few short months after the first album Steppenwolf was released. At that time we were contractually obligated to record two albums a year. That pressure, along with our greatly increased touring schedule, TV show appearances, etc, quickly had us behind schedule".

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
From the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road released in 1973, produced by Gus Dudgeon, recorded at Strawberry Studios in Chateau D'Heirouville, France, May 1973, Music by Elton John, Lyrics by Bernie Taupin. Includes other notable songs such as Candle In The Wind, Bennie And The Jets, Saturday NIght's Alright (For Fighting).

Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix
From the album Are You Experienced which was The Jimi Hendrix Experience's debut album. Even after Jimi Hendrix's death in London on September 18, 1970 from drug-related complications, this was the most sold of his albums, and remained so for 20 years. Hey Joe was released as a single also on Monday, May 1. 1967, Reprise Records, 0572. Hey Joe was the first single Jimi Hendrix released and it went to #6 and lasted ten weeks on the U.K. charts.Are You Experienced was released on Wednesday, August 23, 1967, Reprise Records, 6261 and contained other notable Hendrix songs as Purple Haze, Manic Depression, The Wind Cries Mary, Foxy Lady.In his brief four-year reign as a superstar, Jimi Hendrix expanded the voacbulary of the electric rock guitar more than anyone before or since. He coupled hurricane blasts of noise and dazzling showmanship - he could and would play behind his back and with his teeth and set his guitar on fire - which some believed obscured his considerable gifts as a songwriter, singer, and master of a gamut of blues, RB, and rock styles. It was in a New York Club, most likely Max's Kansas City, the Bitter End or the Cafe Au-go-go (all Greenwich Village clubs) that Hendrix was spotted by Animals bassist Chas Chandler. The first line-up of the Animals was about to split, and Chandler, looking to move into management, convinced Hendrix to move to Londo and record as a solo act in England. There a group was built around Jimi, also featuring Mitch Mitchell on drums and Noel Redding on bass, that was dubbed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The trio became stars with astonishing speed in the U.K. where "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," and "The Wind Cires Mary" all made the Top Ten in the first half of 1967. These tracks were also featured on their debut album, Are You Experienced, a psychedelic meisterwerk that became a huge hit in the U.S. after Hendrix created a sensation at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967. The following year Hendrix released "Electric Ladyland" which ranks as one of the greatest albums of the rock era. Jimi Hendrix appeared at Woodstock in the summer of 1969 and many famous pictures depict him onstage at this festival playing his 1968 Fender Stratocaster.

Initial Posting - Sunday Morning, October 23, 2005.

I thought I should provide a few thoughts on my initial entry and why I have decided an attempt to create a weblog of important and not so important experiences of my life.
  • First. I believe writing is good for the soul; it allows us to express, refine, solidify, change and express through our eyes one's view of events, experiences and life itself.
  • Second. I believe I am at a point in life where I would like to capture my thoughts and experiences for others to view; primarily my family and children.
  • Third. I believe if used properly and responsibly, the digital tools we have available provide superior archival and accessibility of information. I do not want to write in a journal and worry about leaving it somewhere or getting damaged.

It is important on my initial post to recognize an important person who introduced me to the electronic frontier and encouraged me to explore the many applications for communication. Perry Nelson, a colleague and friend provided me a copy of "Being Digital", by Nicholas Negroponte, Vintage (January 3, 1996), 272 pages, ISBN: 0679762906. As I read the book, and Perry demonstrated the "possibilities" for endless applications in learning, communication, commerce and information gathering, I became intrigued. This was over a decade ago.

Being Digital - Nicholas Negroponte, Editorial Review:

As the founder of MIT's Media Lab and a popular columnist for Wired, Nicholas Negroponte has amassed a following of dedicated readers. Negroponte's fans will want to get a copy of Being Digital, which is an edited version of the 18 articles he wrote for Wired about "being digital."
Negroponte's text is mostly a history of media technology rather than a set of predictions for future technologies. In the beginning, he describes the evolution of CD-ROMs, multimedia, hypermedia, HDTV (high-definition television), and more. The section on interfaces is informative, offering an up-to-date history on visual interfaces, graphics, virtual reality (VR), holograms, teleconferencing hardware, the mouse and touch-sensitive interfaces, and speech recognition.

In the last chapter and the epilogue, Negroponte offers visionary insight on what "being digital" means for our future. Negroponte praises computers for their educational value but recognizes certain dangers of technological advances, such as increased software and data piracy and huge shifts in our job market that will require workers to transfer their skills to the digital medium. Overall, Being Digital provides an informative history of the rise of technology and some interesting predictions for its future. -- This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

In closing, I must also thank my brother Rob who never fails to help me maintain curiosity about the world and unconditionally supports every new endevor I attempt.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

My weblog has been established.

Established Saturday Night, October 22, 2005