Chuck Berry

Voyager 2, the first of two Voyager spacecraft (Voyager 2 was launched before Voyager 1 — go figure), was sent to explore the planets of our solar system on August 20, 1977.

Aboard each space craft is a Golden Record, “a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth” so that extra-terrestials might learn about life on our planet. Among the music is Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, various native music and Chuck Berry performing “Johnny B. Goode.” 

If we ever hear from extra-terrestials, I imagine their message to us will be, “Send more Chuck Berry.”

See? See What Happens!

Been coughing my way into, through and now, hopefully, out of a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) the past nine days. Just a cold in layman’s terms I think, but nasty.

Been reluctant to go out much for fear of getting caught in a crowd with a fall-down, bent-over, gagging, turning-blue coughing attack. Finally I decided I would just carry a card to distribute as I recovered my breath and dignity.



How come there’s no witch emoji?

“Typical memories. But as I recall, the special excitement of Halloween didn’t come from candy or costumes or dark, whispery streets. The overwhelming thrill came from going out of the house at night and wandering freely around the neighborhood with no parents.

“Halloween was a night of incredible freedom.”

R.L. Stine, “Scariest Sight on Halloween? Grown-Ups”

NewMexiKen could probably still identify the house that gave away packages of Krun-Chee potato chips when I was a seven or eight years old. And that someone in that same block gave out full size candy bars. Now granted, a full size candy bar in those days cost just a nickel, but “a dollar’s worth” was a common gasoline purchase then, too.

Before I lived in my present kid-less neighborhood, back when the kids would come up to the door and say “trick or treat,” I’d say “OK, I’ll take the trick” and just look at them for a few seconds before dishing out the candy. The little brats would just stare back, dumbfounded and totally clueless about dealing with an unpredictable situation.

I’m lucky I wasn’t arrested.

Harry Houdini died 89 years ago today. From the New York Times obituary, which is well worth reading.

DETROIT, Oct. 31.–Harry Houdini, world famous as a magician, a defier of locks and sealed chests and an exposer of spiritualist frauds, died here this afternoon after a week’s struggle for life, in which he underwent two operations.

Death was due to peritonitis, which followed the first operation, that for appendicitis. The second operation was performed last Friday. Like a newly discovered serum, used for the first time in Houdini’s case, it was of no avail.

Whatever the methods by which Harry Houdini deceived a large part of the world for nearly four decades, his career stamped him as one of the greatest showmen of modern times. In his special field of entertainment he stood alone. With a few minor exceptions, he invented all his tricks and illusions, and in certain instances only his four intimate helpers knew the solution. In one or two very important cases Houdini, himself, alone knew the whole secret.

Houdini was born on March 24, 1874. His name originally was Eric Weiss and he was the son of a rabbi. He did not take the name Harry Houdini until he had been a performer for many years. Legend has it that he opened his first lock when he wanted a piece of pie in the kitchen closet. It is certain that when scarcely more than a baby he showed skill as an acrobat and contortionist, and both these talents helped his start in the show business and his later development as an “escape king.”

Trick or Treat