The Penultimate Day of August

Warren Buffet, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, is 86 today. I’ve always thought of him as Uncle Warren. Happy Birthday, Uncle.

Teddy Ballgame is 98 today. Again as he has in recent years, Ted Williams will spend the day hanging out and just chillin’.

Williams played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox. He was American League MVP twice, won the batting title six times and twice won the Triple Crown (led league in batting average, home runs and rbi). (The MVP years and the Triple Crown years were four separate seasons!) Williams career average was .344 and he hit 521 home runs.

Williams was the last hitter to bat over .400, hitting .406 for the season in 1941. “If I was being paid thirty-thousand dollars a year, the very least I could do was hit .400.”

Williams did not play during the 1943-1944-1945 seasons due to military service. And he only played 43 games over the 1952-1953 seasons, also due to military service. Nearly five years between age 24 and 34 missing from his career. Had he been available to play those seasons he might have reached Ruth’s 714 home runs.

It’s also the birthday —

… of Ellen Muriel Deason, known to us as Kitty Wells, and famous for “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Miss Wells was born in 1919; she died in 2012.

It wasn’t God who made Honky Tonk angels
As you said in the words of your song
Too many times married men think they’re still single
That has caused many a good girl to go wrong

Fred MacMurray was born on this date in 1908. MacMurray required that all his scenes for My Three Sons be filmed at one time. After MacMurray was done, the rest of the cast started filming the shows in the normal sequence. IMDb has MacMurray saying: “The two films I did with Billy Wilder, ‘Double Indemnity’ and the ‘The Apartment’ are the only two parts I did in my entire career that required any acting.” It showed Fred, it showed.

Oscar-nominee Raymond Massey was born on this date in 1896. Massey received the nomination for Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Massey, related to the Masseys of Massey-Ferguson (tractors and such), was in a lot of westerns and did a lot of TV.

Best actress Oscar-winner Shirley Booth was born on this date in 1898. Booth won the award for Come Back, Little Sheba. Sadly, she’s probably better known for playing the maid Hazel on the sitcom.

The Kingfish, Huey Long, was born on August 30th in 1893. Governor of Louisiana 1928-1932 and U.S. Senator 1932-1935, Long was assassinated at age 42. Historians have argued whether he was dictator, demagogue, messiah or populist. I’d say he was just a little more megalomaniacal than almost any other politician.

Ty Cobb made his major league debut 111 years ago today.

Fort Bowie National Historic Site (Arizona)

… was authorized on this date in 1964. According to the National Park Service:


Fort Bowie commemorates in its 1000 acres, the story of the bitter conflict between the Chiricahua Apaches and the United States military. For more than 30 years Fort Bowie and Apache Pass were the focal point of military operations eventually culminating in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the banishment of the Chiricahuas to Florida and Alabama. It was the site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers. The remains of Fort Bowie today are carefully preserved, the adobe walls of various post buildings and the ruins of a Butterfield Stage Station.

Visiting Fort Bowie requires a three mile round trip hike — unless you use the handicap entrance, which they keep a secret until you show up after walking a mile-and-a-half on a July afternoon with a daughter eight months pregnant and a two-year-old grandson.

NewMexiKen photo, 2003. Can you see the deer?
NewMexiKen photo, 2003. Can you see the deer?

Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)

… was established as a national battlefield site on this date in 1890. It was redesignated a national battlefield in 1978.

Antietam Sunrise

23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Antietam National Battlefield

It was the bloodiest day in American history. Among the battlefields I’ve visited, Antietam is my favorite, perhaps because it less congested and monumented-up than Gettysburg. It retains, it seems, more of its 1862 feel.

NewMexiKen photo, 2009
NewMexiKen photo, 2009

Juan Gabriel

Juan Gabriel’s Death, Like His Music, Brings Mexicans Together. The New York Times obituary.

It is difficult to overstate the popularity in Mexico of Juan Gabriel, whose music tapped a deeply sentimental vein in Mexican culture. His appeal transcended regional, racial and class boundaries in an otherwise stratified and fractured society. His music was played at children’s birthday parties and the wedding anniversaries of retirees. It provided the soundtrack for joyous occasions and, just as much, for heartbreak.

August 29th

Senator John McCain is 80-years-old today. Seriously, Senator for Life?

Seven-time Oscar nominee for best actress, Ingrid Bergman was born on this date in 1915. She won the award three times: Gaslight, Anastasia, Murder on the Orient Express. No, she was not nominated for Casablanca. Ms. Bergman’s last role was as Golda Meir in 1982. She died that same year on her birthday, August 29.

Charlie Parker was born on this date in 1920.

Charlie Parker was one of the most influential improvising soloists in jazz, and a central figure in the development of bop in the 1940s. A legendary figure in his own lifetime, he was idolized by those who worked with him, and he inspired a generation of jazz performers and composers.

Above from PBS – JAZZ A Film By Ken Burns

Parker died in 1955.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Ruth Jones was born on this date in 1924.

Dinah Washington skirted the boundaries of blues, jazz and popular music, becoming the most popular black female recording artist of the ’50s.

She changed her name from Ruth Jones upon joining jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton’s band in 1943. After leaving Hampton in 1946, she began her own recording career, leading to Top 10 R&B hits in “Baby Get Lost” (No. 1, 1949), “Trouble in Mind” (No. 4, 1952), “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes” (No. 4 R&B, No. 8 pop, 1959), and “This Bitter Earth” (No. 1 R&B, No. 24 pop, 1960).

In 1960, Washington also sang two No. 1 R&B duets with Brook Benton, “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)” (No. 5 pop) and “A Rockin’ Good Way” (No. 7 pop).

Washington died in 1963 after mixing alcohol and pills.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

August 29th is the birthday of Michael Jackson. He would have been 58 today.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (Arizona)

… was authorized on this date in 1965.

The squeaky wooden floor greets your entry into the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. When your eyes adjust to the dim light in the “bullpen” you find you’ve just entered a mercantile. Hubbell’s has been serving Ganado selling groceries, grain, hardware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site



NewMexiKen photos 2013.