It Should Be a Holiday

Charles Lindbergh was born on this date in 1902. He died in 1974.

Byron Nelson, the golfer who once won 11 PGA events in a row, 18 in one year and 52 overall including five majors, was born on this date in 1912. He retired in 1946 at age 34 and died 60 years later.

Miss Rosa Parks — the Soul of the Civil Rights movement — was born on this date in 1913. Miss Parks died in 2005.

Betty Friedan was born on this date in 1921; she died on her birthday in 2006. Friedan was a leading figure in the women’s movement in the United States and author of the 1963 book The Feminine Mystique.

Lawrence Taylor, the NFL hall-of-famer, is 58 today. NewMexiKen was at RFK the night Lawrence Taylor ended Joe Theismann’s career by smashing his leg. There were great linebackers before Taylor, but he was the first of the new breed.

George Washington was elected first President of the United States on this date in 1789 when all 69 electors voting cast their ballot for him. John Adams was second with 34, becoming Vice President. Ten other candidates received votes. (Each elector had two votes.)

The Yalta Conference began on this date in 1945. President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union met to plan the final defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany.

Birthday Present

NewMexiKen was a Michigander in those days, though young enough to still be just a Michigosling.

Children didn’t get driven to school then. They walked. Or they took a bus. Or they rode a bike. And my bike was gone. Fortunately it was Saturday.

Still, it was my 11th birthday and it was depressing to have my bike missing on my birthday. We looked everywhere.

Finally Mom called the police. She described the vanished bike to them. “There was? Where? Downtown. OK!”

Dad and I drove the mile or so downtown to the bike shop. The missing bike was reportedly there.

We went in and Dad asked about the bike in our name. Sure enough, there was one.

Trouble was it wasn’t my bike. It was a brand new three-speed English racer.

“That’s not my bike.” I protested to Dad.

“Yes it is,” he said. “Happy Birthday!”

The 26th of January

Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 88 today.

Bob Uecker is 82. Uecker received the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters in 2003.

College of William and Mary alum Scott Glenn is 76 today.

Activist and author Angela Davis is 73.

Lucinda Williams is 64.

Ellen DeGeneres is 59.

Wayne Gretzky, the Great One, is 56. Gretsky’s number, 99, was retired by the league.

Paul Newman was born 92 years ago today (1925). Newman was nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar eight times, winning for The Color of Money in 1986, but not for Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, Absence of Malice, The Verdict, or Nobody’s Fool. He was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor for Road to Perdition at age 78.

Akio Morita was born on January 26th in 1921. He was a co-founder of Sony.

Jimmy Van Heusen was born 104 years ago today. He won four Oscars for best song: with lyricist Johnny Burke, “Swinging on a Star” and with lyricist Sammy Cahn, “All the Way,” “High Hopes” and “Call Me Irresponsible.”

Maria Augusta Kutschera was born on this date in 1905. In 1927 she married George Ludwig von Trapp. Documentation indicates she was in her six month when they married. I don’t remember that part in the movie. (In addition to his seven children, they had three.)

The most overrated — especially by himself — person in American history was born on this date in 1880. That’s Douglas MacArthur.

Julia Morgan was born in San Francisco on January 26, 1872.

Miss Morgan was one of the first women to graduate from University of California at Berkeley with a degree in civil engineering. During her tenure at Berkeley, Morgan developed a keen interest in architecture which is thought to have been fostered by her mother’s cousin, Pierre Le Brun, who designed the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower in New York City. At Berkeley one of her instructors, Bernard Maybeck, encouraged her to pursue her architectural studies in Paris at the Ecole Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts.

Arriving in Paris in 1896, she was initially refused admission because the Ecole had never before admitted a woman. After a two-year wait, Julia Morgan gained entrance to the prestigious program and became the first woman to receive a certificate in architecture. While in Paris, Morgan also found a mentor in her professor, Bernard Chaussemiche, for whom she worked as a drafter.

Soon after her graduation from the Ecole, Julia Morgan returned to her native San Francisco and began working for architect John Galen Howard. At the time Howard was the supervising architect of the University of California’s Master Plan, the commission of which he won by default from Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Morgan worked on the Master Plan drawing the elevations and designing the decorative details for the Mining Building built in memory of George Hearst. During this time Morgan also designed the Hearst Greek Theater on the Berkeley campus.

Over the course of the next 28 years, Morgan supervised nearly every aspect of construction at Hearst Castle including the purchase of everything from Spanish antiquities to Icelandic Moss to reindeer for the Castle’s zoo. She personally designed most of the structures, grounds, pools, animal shelters and workers’ camp down to the minutest detail. Additionally, Morgan worked closely with Hearst to integrate his vast art collection into the structures and grounds at San Simeon. She also worked on projects for Hearst’s other properties including Jolon, Wyntoon, Babicore, the “Hopi” residence at the Grand Canyon, the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Memorial Gymnasium at Berkeley, the Los Angeles Examiner Building, several of his Beverly Hills residences and Marion Davies’ beach house in Santa Monica.

Hearst Castle

Take a look.

57 years ago today Danny Heater scored 135 points for Burnsville (West Virginia) High School (against Widen HS). It is still the record by one player in any sanctioned game at any level. He had 50 at the half. He was 53 for 70 from the field (all two pointers, of course) and 29 of 41 from the line. He also had 32 rebounds and 7 assists. He was just 6-feet-0.

November 21st Ought to Be a National Holiday

Stan the Man was born 96 years ago today (1920). He batted .331 lifetime. It ought to be a national holiday.

After 22 years as a Cardinal, Stan Musial ranked at or near the top of baseball’s all-time lists in almost every batting category. The dead-armed Class C pitcher was transformed into a slugging outfielder who topped the .300 mark 17 times and won seven National League batting titles with his famed corkscrew stance and ringing line drives. A three-time MVP, he played in 24 All-Star games. He was nicknamed The Man by Dodgers fans for the havoc he wrought at Ebbets Field and was but one home run shy of capturing the National League Triple Crown in 1948.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Today is also the birthday

… of “That Girl” Marlo Thomas, now 79.

… of Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr. That’s Dr. John, in the right place, wrong time. He’s 76 today.

… of actress Juliet Mills. Hayley’s older sister and John’s older daughter is 75. Juliet Mills first appeared in a movie in 1942, when she played an infant.

… basketball hall-of-famer Earl Monroe. The Pearl is 72.

… of Goldie Hawn. Kate Hudson’s mom is 71 today.

… of the other Judy Garland daughter, Lorna Luft. She’s 64.

… of Björk Guðmundsdóttir. Björk is 51.

… of football hall-of-famer Troy Aikman. He’s 50.

… of hall-of-famer Ken Griffey Jr. Junior is 47.

Coleman Randolph Hawkins was born on this date in 1904. According to Wikipedia:

Lester Young, who was called “Pres”, in a 1959 interview with The Jazz Review, said “As far as I’m concerned, I think Coleman Hawkins was the President first, right? As far as myself, I think I’m the second one.” Miles Davis once said: “When I heard Hawk, I learned to play ballads.”

François-Marie Arouet was born in Paris on this date in 1694. We know him as Voltaire.

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”