NewMexiKen Half Wisdom • Half Whimsy • Half Wit Mon, 29 May 2017 15:03:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NewMexiKen 32 32 1067872 Memorial Day Mon, 29 May 2017 15:03:42 +0000 Continue reading "Memorial Day"]]>

According to the Library of Congress:

In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a memorial day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

The first national celebration of the holiday took place May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery … Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated as Memorial Day. In many American towns, the day is celebrated with a parade. …

In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended it to honor all soldiers who died in American wars. A few states continue to celebrate Memorial Day on May 30.

Jill thanked her grandfather for his service in the U.S. Navy when we visited the World War II Memorial in 2006. He said it was the first time anyone had ever thanked him — in 60 years. (He served four years, January 1942 until November 1945. He was 18 when he enlisted.)

Remember all who served — and today particularly those who gave their life.

Chuck Berry Sun, 19 Mar 2017 03:11:54 +0000 Continue reading "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.”

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After the Storm Wed, 15 Feb 2017 04:20:53 +0000

It Should Be a Holiday Sat, 04 Feb 2017 15:31:27 +0000 Continue reading "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.
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Birthday Present Sat, 04 Feb 2017 14:45:35 +0000 Continue reading "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!”

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This Evening Thu, 02 Feb 2017 02:14:17 +0000 … from the front door. 

February 1st Should Be a Holiday Wed, 01 Feb 2017 23:23:59 +0000 It’s the birthday of John Ford (1894-1973), Clark Gable (1901-1960), Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and Don Everly (80). 

Contrails Wed, 01 Feb 2017 22:54:21 +0000 Yesterday evening. 

Spring Wed, 01 Feb 2017 22:48:47 +0000 Today is the first day of Spring. 

Oh, you may think Spring begins sometime in March with the equinox. 

But not me. 

For me, the official first day of Spring is the first day of the year when I wear shorts. 

And that would be today. 

Almost a Swamp Wed, 01 Feb 2017 22:42:54 +0000 Albuquerque received twice its normal January precipitation this year. 

That means a whole inch rather than the average 1/2-inch.  And that inch (1.04″ to be exact) made last month the ninth wettest January in Albuquerque history. 

Molly Ivins Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:29:21 +0000 … died 10 years ago today at age 62. Would that she were alive today to see this mess and write about it.

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Today Should Be a Holiday Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:24:27 +0000 It’s the birthday of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), Ernie Banks (1931-2015) and Nolan Ryan (70).

And Norman Mailer (1923-2007) and Zane Grey (1872-1939).

It’s Spring-like Here Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:15:56 +0000 Continue reading "It’s Spring-like Here"]]> … and my mind turns to spiritual things.

“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance….”

Annie Savoy

Pitchers and catchers begin reporting in two weeks.

The 26th of January Thu, 26 Jan 2017 19:50:42 +0000 Continue reading "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.

Lehman Caves National Monument (Nevada) Wed, 25 Jan 2017 03:35:06 +0000 Continue reading "Lehman Caves National Monument (Nevada)"]]> … was proclaimed on this date in 1922. It was made part of Great Basin National Park in 1986.

Lehman Caves attracts tens of thousands of visitors to eastern Nevada yearly, a trend that began not long after their discovery in the late 1880s. For over 60 years, Lehman Caves National Monument protected these underground wonders, with their unique geology and ecology. And today, they remain protected as part of Great Basin National Park.

The human history of Lehman Caves is both interesting and insightful. The discovery of such a natural wonder only 130 years ago is thrilling, while the abuse the cave endured during its early years causes many people to cringe. Learning about the early years of Lehman Caves provides context for the cave today. History remains the great teacher.

Great Basin National Park