Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Toots Shor was certainly one of America's most famous saloonkeepers of the 20th century. His place was located at 51 West 51st Street in New York City, and operated, at its peak, in the 1940s and 1950s.
The place is the subject of many legendary stories and is often cited in biographies of famous New Yorkers. The place was frequented by Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Orson Welles, Mickey Mantle, Frank Gifford, Edward Bennett Williams, on and on. Yogi Berri, after being introduced at the bar to Ernest Hemingway one evening, famously ask him,"who do you play for, Ernest"?
Somewhat notoriously, wives were not welcomed in Toot's saloon. Baseball players were especially welcomed, along with actors, writers, and politicians. Then-Chief Justice Earl Warren considered Toots one of his closest friends. It was said Toots cultivated his celebrity following by giving them unqualified admiration, loyal friendship, and a kind of happy, boozy, old-fashioned male privacy. It was, of course, suits and ties only in Toot's place in those days.
The above video clip gives a wonderful "flavor" for the bar. Can you imagine going back in time and spending a few hours there? The place was very crowded and very popular at its peak. Once Charlie Chaplin was made to wait 30 minutes in line, and it's said that Toots, with drink in hand, went out and told Mr. Chaplin to entertain the others in line while he waited.
In 1971, the place was padlocked for non-payment of federal, state, and local taxes. Toots opened in another location, but for a variety of reasons, his famous clientele never regularly returned. Toots died indigent in 1977. Toots always said he didn't care if he was millionaire.....so long as he could live like one. A character of our time....Toots Shor.
Monday, July 26, 2010
(Photo compliments of Robert G. Swan)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Edward R. Murrow would be appalled, horrified by FoxNews. He would not recognize so much of what passes off as "journalism" in America today. A stern lecture from Murrow is desperately needed.
Murrow was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow near Greensboro, in Pleasant Garden, NC. After education at Washington State University, Murrow joined CBS in 1935 and remained there his entire career.
Though a decorated war correspondent during World War II, Murrow's "high-water mark" came when he took on right-wing extremist U. S. Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. Murrow and his show, "See It Now", took on McCarthy at a very critical time. Murrow, a champion for the free and uncensored dissemination of information during the anti-communist hysteria of the early 1950s, began to criticize McCarthyism and the "red scare" at a time when most all others were reluctant to fire back. McCarthy's "red-baiting" had people fearing for their jobs and for their families. At that time, in America, you could be"blacklisted", believe it or not, for what you thought.
Some credit Murrow for singlehandedly bringing down McCarthy, hence the beginnings of the far-right's decades long repudiation of CBS News as an institution. On a famous national broadcast in which CBS accepted no commercial money, Murrow exposed McCarthy in a way that was seen as a turning point in the history of television. The broadcast provoked tens of thousands of letters, telegrams, and telephone calls, running 15 to 1 in favor.
Though the proliferation of news sources and outlets have proven so valuable and such a logical product of new and abundant technology, Murrow would be very concerned with journalist hucksters and the fraud which abounds. We can only wonder what a "dress down" the world of journalism would receive were Murrow alive. The video clip above gives us a glimpse. It is the real words of Edward R. Murrow as read by David Strathairn.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The proliferation of false information and uncivil discourse on the internet and the airways is very disturbing. While we all appreciate the "upside" of technology, this distinct "downside" should be of concern to us all.
An ideological "free for all" is occuring on the electronic information highway and on the airways. In the process, how do we keep the moral fiber of America intact? I am not, of course, talking about the old, conservative moral focus on sex, drinking, smoking, etc. I am talking about how we treat one another, the way we treat our country, our culture, our neighbors, neighbors like Shirley Sherrod who have assumed roles of service in America.
A prominent piece appeared on an old-line media outlet just yesterday entitled, "The Most Successful, Failed Presidency in History." The gist of the piece was the right-wing distortion, which has taken hold, of this Presidency, one of the most accomplished Presidency's, at this point in an administration, in history. Just this morning City Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan pointed out how she had been viciously and outrageously attacked by an uninformed, and possibly unstable, blogger. The propping up by the electronic media, and resulting rise on the national scene of a character like Sarah Palin leads one to grave and scary concern.
What is our responsibility as citizens? What is our responsibility as consumers of news and as bloggers? It depends on how seriously we take our responsibility of contributing to civil dialogue and truth in America. It depends on what our motives are, what our agendas are. It depends on how we view our obligation regarding the "national conversation."
And, of course, it depends on how we view truth, on what our source for truth is. One would hope that we all have as an objective to move America forward and to help create an America based on virtuous values and principles. Adherence to universal truth and values such as honesty, courage, kindness, humility, forgiveness, modesty, cooperation should be our primary goal. The Judeo-Christian values we have all been taught would do quite well.
I clearly understand that there are different views of the world, different views on how to approach the problems of society, of the economy, etc. But we have got have a common set of values and principles on what to base our actions, our reactions, our positions.
So how should we proceed? We must be careful and diligent when consuming or contributing to the national dialogue. We must evaluate and scrutinize everything we read and everything we hear on the airways. We must seek out the motives of the disseminators of the information. We must not look only for information which reinforces our bias and our positions.
We really did "learn everything we need to know in kindergarten." We must seek out and develop a solid value system based on eternal and universal principles. "The Golden Rule" beckons. We must revert to those simple, civil, eternal virtues and principles. Without those, we do not have a chance to survive the proliferation of the destructive absurdity we face.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Long was assassinated on the federal courthouse steps in Baton Rouge in 1935. It is unclear whether he was shot by the alleged assassin or by a stray bullet from one of his bodyguards. The bodyguards put 32 bullets in the alleged assassin, who may have just punched Long in the mouth (although the assassin's distinctive Belgian pistol was found at the site).
Long died two days after the assassination attempt at age 42. His last words were reported to be, "God don't let me die, I have so much to do." At his death, Long, a Democrat, was preparing to mount a presidential campaign to oppose Frankin Roosevelt in 1936. Some 200,000 people poured into Baton Rouge for his funeral and tons of flowers came in from around the world.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Today I attended the funeral of the most Christlike person I ever knew, Al Lineberry Sr. He was a member of the Greatest Generation and he was certainly one of it's greatest. His accomplishments are too numerous to name. He can best be summed up as an effective, kind, superb Christian example....... a tremendous representative of God's kingdom on earth. He was a great businessman, a pillar of the church, a philoanthanplist, a great family man, a state legislator, a wise rock of a school board chairman during the years of racial desegregation, on and on.
Al was also uniquely connected to my family. As an young apprentice mortician at Rich and Thompson Funeral Home in Burlington in the 1930s (before becoming one of America's most successful funeral directors), he took his meals and stayed at my Grandmother's boarding house. As she transitioned her boarding house to Greensboro to become a pioneer in the nursing home business, she and Al forged a lifelong friendship and business relationship. Al knew me and my brothers from the time we were small boys.
To have attended the celebration of his life today, to process the life he led, his vast contributions to humanity as they relate to God's great commission, and to ponder his important tie to my dear Grandmother, is alot to process. It prompts serious reflection on my life, to say the least.
Tomorrow I will be meeting a group of friends from grade school and high school at a minor league baseball game, some whom I have seen only at high school reunions over the past 45 years. This should be a joy and very interesting.......and more to process and reflect upon.
Bunny's health, our children's futures, my business, America's challenges, all make for so much to process and to reflect upon. I am thankful for a solid, eternal, and firm foundation from which to reflect and from which to seek direction, guidance and assurance.
One Al Lineberry's favorite scripture passages: "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of Peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 NRSV
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In 1914, the other Boston baseball team, the American League Red Sox, signed a young rookie pitcher who went on to have a stellar career; his name........ George Herman Ruth.
Thanks to friend Neal Robertson for the photo.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Flood became a very important figure in sports history when he refused to accept a trade in 1969. Flood believed that Major League baseball's decades old "reserve clause", which kept players beholden for life to the team that originally signed them, was unfair and archaic. Flood demanded, in a letter, that commissioner Bowie Kuhn declare him a "free agent". Kuhn denied his request, citing the "reserve clause" and it's inclusion in Floods 1969 contract.
Flood took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among those testifying on Flood's behalf were former players Jackie Robinson and Hank Greenberg, and owner Bill Veeck. Flood had unanimous support from player representatives. Flood likened himself to "a well-paid slave." The Supreme Court acting on "stare decisis", meaning "to stand by things decided", ruled 5-3 in favor of Major League Baseball, upholding an archaic 1922 case. But, "the baseballs were out of the bag."
A few years later in 1974, Marvin Miller, a labor economist and executive director of the players union, encouraged Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to file a grievance arbitration. The ensuing court decision declared that both players had fulfilled their contractual obligations and had no further legal ties to their ball clubs. This effectively eradicated the reserve clause and ushered in free agency.
The concept of free agency, the ability of a player to offer his services on the free market, is the basis on which Lebron James was able to move from Cleveland to Miami with his NBA career. Jesse Jackson said Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sounded as though he was dealing with a "runaway slave." Jackson said Gilbert seemed to have a "slave master's mentality." Jesse has a way of framing things, but he does make an interesting historical analogy.
Miller was an economist. He knew that too many free agents could actually drive down players salaries. Miller agreed to limit free agency to players with more than six years of service, knowing that restricting the supply of labor would drive up salaries as owners bid for an annual, finite pool of free agents.
Salaries in sports are very high. It is the salaries of the less skilled players that is of most concern. The highly skilled players pay for themselves through ticket sells, TV revenues, and the increased value of an owner's franchise. The free marketplace hopefully works to sort out the challenge of the market price for players versus the entertainment value they add. One thing is for certain, Marvin Miller and Curt Flood certainly were literal "game changers."
Friday, July 9, 2010
JFK (on the left) ran and won in 1960. Lyndon Johnson (on the right) ran and won in 1964 after completing Kennedy's first term after his assassination. The out of control Vietnam War prevented LBJ from running in 1968 (his Vice-President Hubert Humphrey ran in his place) and lost to Dick Nixon.
A good photograph of great 20th Century Americans taken at The Beverly Hills Hotel.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Josh is from Cary, NC. His story is one of acute drug and alcohol addiction for which he is in recovery. He spent 3 years out of baseball fighting the addiction after his first year in the professional game. You can see the tattoos which cover his body from his days as an active addict. The Rangers have assigned a full-time employee to be with him at all times when the team is on the road and he is not with his family. Everyone is pulling for Josh to "keep those demons away."
He has experienced a committed religious conversion which seems to be his anchor, along with his supportive family and teammates, during his recovery. He sure has me praying and pulling for him........and reading those box scores on a daily basis! Go Josh! He is an incredibly gifted player.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
"Change will not come if wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama
Abraham Lincoln - Second Inaugural Address (last sentence) - March 4, 1865
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
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