Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Steve's Dead Rock Stars

Steve's Dead Rock Stars is a memorial to the many great musicians who have blessed us with their gift. Sadly, many left the party early. Fortunately, the music lives on! This is a nice up to date site for those of us who love the music and their creators. Lots of info and again... for a change "up to date!" Info on stars such as: Dan Fogelberg, Ike Turner, Frankie Lane, Freddie Fender (to name a few) and it goes back to the 1950's!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ride Accidents. Straightforward Info ... Beware that Carnival Ride : (

RideAccidents.com is the world's single most comprehensive, detailed, updated, accurate, and complete source of amusement ride accident reports and related news. The site includes a record of fatal amusement ride accidents in the United States since 1972, and, for the past nine years, has recorded all types of accidents, including many from outside the United States. The number of injuries and fatalities recorded at this site does not reflect the total number of injuries and deaths that have occurred as a result of amusement ride accidents.

It's very comprehensive. Sections on Water Rides, Amusement Parks, Rollercoasters and even those cute inflatables you see everybody using. Worth reading! And, to be honest, I'm really surprised how many injuries and deaths there are. Quite mind boggling.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mr. Krueger's Christmas...

Still lovin' Jimmy Stewart... Have to post this movie as well!

"A Real" Meaning of Christmas movie : )

Friday, December 21, 2007

Everybody I Shot is Dead

What a great title for a book "Everybody I Shot Is Dead"... dont'cha think? Sad thing is it is a true statement. Read about this book in today's Washington Post. think I will have to buy it. Seems like fascinating reading and looking ... great for the coffee table!

Forty-eight of the hundreds of musicians Deborah Chesher photographed from 1974-79 have since passed away. "Everybody I Shot Is Dead" is a high quality 208-page coffee-table book with over four hundred iconic never-before-published photographs, accompanied by biographies and Deborah Chesher's personal behind-the-scenes reflections of a time when music was the magic that drove a generation. Musicians honored in "Everybody I Shot Is Dead" include Ron Aspery (Back Door), Peter Bardens (Camel), Ronnie Barron (Paul Butterfield, John Mayall), Michael Bloomfield, Marc Bolan (T-Rex), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Tim Buckley, Paul Butterfield, Albert Collins, Papa John Creach (Jefferson Starship), Steve Currie (T-Rex), John Denver, Tom Evans (Badfinger), John Fahey, Tony Flaim (Downchild Blues Band), Rory Gallagher, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Lowell George (Little Feat), Maurice Gibb(BeeGees), Mike Gibbins (Badfinger), Keith Godchaux (Grateful Dead), Pete Ham (Badfinger), George Harrison, John Hartford, Alex Harvey, Donny Hathaway, Tony Hicks (Back Door), Hollywood Fats (Jimmy Witherspoon), John Lee Hooker, Waylon Jennings, Terry Kath (Chicago), Keith Knudsen (Doobie Bros.), Rick Nelson, Harry Nilsson, Gene Pitney, Billy Preston, Malcolm Roberts, Hank Snow, Darrell Anthony Sweet (Nazareth), Stanley Turrentine, Jane Vasey (Downchild Blues Band), Carl Wilson (The Beach Boys), Dennis Wilson (The Beach Boys), Jimmy Witherspoon, Peter Wood (Al Stewart, Pink Floyd), Tammy Wynette, Mighty Joe Young, Frank Zappa.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Avoid Death ... Wacky Label Contest

A warning on a small tractor that reads "Danger: Avoid Death" has been chosen as the nation's wackiest warning label by an anti-lawsuit group.

The Wacky Warning Label Contest, now in its 11th year, is conducted by Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch as part of an effort to show the effects of lawsuits on warning labels.
Kevin Soave of Farmington Hills, a Detroit suburb, won the $500 grand prize for submitting the winning label.

The $250 second place was given to Carrianne, Jacob and Robby Turin of Greensburg, Pa., for a label they found on an iron-on T-shirt transfer that warns: "Do not iron while wearing shirt."

Richard Goodnow of Lancaster, Mass., earned the $100 third-place prize for a label on a baby stroller featuring a small storage pouch that warns: "Do not put child in bag." (source)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jimmy Stewart Recounts "It's a Wonderful Life"

Appease me. It's Christmas. My favorite movie of all time is "It's a Wonderful Life," and I am a Jimmy Stewart Freak. So I just have to post this:

The following piece, written by Jimmy Stewart ..... from Guideposts Magazine, an inspirational magazine originally founded by Norman Vincent Peale ..... provides his thoughts and insights on this magical movie.

"A friend told me recently that seeing a movie I made over 50 years ago is a holiday tradition in his family "like putting up the Christmas tree." That movie is "It's a Wonderful Life," and out of all the 80 films I've made, it's my favorite. But it has an odd history.When the war was over in 1945, I came back home to California from three years' service in the AirForce. I had been away from the film business, my MGM contract had run out, and frankly, not knowing how to get started again, I was just a little bit scared. Hank Fonda was in the same boat, and we sort of wandered around together, talking, flying kites and stuff. But nothing much was happening. Then one day Frank Capra phoned me. The great director had also been away in service, making the "Why We Fight" documentary series for the military, and he admitted to being a little frightened too. But he had a movie in mind, so we met to talk about it.

He said the idea came from a Christmas story written by Philip Van Doren Stern. Stern couldn't sell the story anywhere, but he finally had 200 twenty-four-page pamphlets printed up at his own expense, and he gave them to his friends as a greeting card. "Now listen," Frank began hesitantly. He seemed a little embarrassed about what he was going to say. "The story starts in heaven, and it's sort of the Lord telling somebody to go down to earth because there's a fellow who's in trouble, and this heavenly being goes to a small town, and ..."Frank swallowed and took a deep breath. "Well, what it boils down to is, this fella who thinks he's a failure in life jumps off a bridge. The Lord sends down an angel named Clarence, who hasn't earned his wings yet, and Clarence jumps into the water to save the guy. But the angel can't swim, so the guy has to save him, and then ..."Frank stopped and took a deep breath. "This doesn't tell very well, does it?" I jumped up. "Frank, if you want to do a picture about a guy who jumps off a bridge and an angel named Clarence who hasn't won his wings yet coming down to save him, well, I'm your man!

The Production of "It's a Wonderful Life" started April 15, 1946, and from the beginning there was a certain something special about the film. Even the set was special. Two months had been spent creating the town of Bedford Falls, New York. For the winter scenes, the special-effects department invented a new kind of realistic snow instead of using the traditional white cornflakes. As one of the longest American movie sets ever made until then, Bedford Falls had 75 stores and buildings on four acres with a three-block main street lined with 20 full grown oak trees. As I walked down that shady street the morning we started work, it reminded me of my hometown, Indiana, Pennsylvania. I almost expected to hear the bells of the Presbyterian church, where Mother played the organ and Dad sang in the choir. I chuckled, remembering how the fire siren would go off, and Dad, a volunteer fireman, would slip out of the choir loft. If it was a false alarm, Dad would sneak back and sort of give a nod to everyone to assure them that none of their houses was in danger. I remembered how, after I got started in pictures, Dad, who'd come to California for a visit, asked, "Where do you go to church around here?" "Well, " I stammered, "I haven't been going... There's none around here." Dad disappeared and came back with four men. "You must not have looked very hard, Jim," he said,"because there's a Presbyterian church just three blocks from here, and these are the elders. They're building a new building now, and I told them you were a movie star and you would help them." And so Brentwood Presbyterian was the first church I belonged to out here. Later that church was the one in which Gloria and I were married. A few years after that it was the same church I'd slip into during the day when Gloria was near death after our twin girls were born. Then, after we moved, we attended Beverly Hills Presbyterian, a church we could walk to.

It wasn't the elaborate movie set, however,that made "It's a Wonderful Life" so different; much of it was the story. The character I played was George Bailey, an ordinary kind of fella who thinks he's never accomplished anything in life. His dreams of becoming a famous architect, of traveling the world and living adventurously, have not been fulfilled. Instead he feels trapped in a humdrum job in a small town. And when faced with a crisis in which he feels he has failed everyone, he breaks under the strain and flees to the bridge. That's when his guardian angel, Clarence,comes down on Christmas Eve to show him what his community would be like without him. The angel takes him back through his life to show how our ordinary everyday efforts are really big achievements. Clarence reveals how George Bailey's loyalty to his job at the building-and-loan office has saved families and homes, how his little kindnesses have changed the lives of others, and how the ripples of his love will spread through the world, helping make it a better place. Good as the script was, there was still something else about the movie that made it different. It's hard to explain. I, for one, had things happen to me during the filming that never happened in any other picture I've made. In one scene, for example George Bailey is faced with unjust criminal charges and, not knowing where to turn, ends up in a little roadside restaurant. He is unaware that most of the people in town are arduously praying for him. In this scene, at the lowest point in George Bailey's life, Frank Capra was shooting a long shot of me slumped indespair. In agony I raised my eyes and, following the script, pled, "God ... God ... Dear Father in heaven, I'm not a praying man, but if You're up there and You can hear me, show me the way. I'm at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God ..."As I said those words, I felt the loneliness, the hopelessness of people who had nowhere to turn, and my eyes filled with tears. I broke down sobbing. This was not planned at all, but the power of that prayer, the realization that our Father in heaven is there to help the hopeless, had reduced me to tears. Frank, who loved spontaneity in his films, was ecstatic. He wanted a close-up of me saying that prayer, but was sensitive enough to know that my breaking down was real and that repeating it in another take was unlikely. But Frank got his close-up anyway. The following week he worked long hours in the film laboratory, again and again enlarging the frames of that scene so that eventually it would appear as a close-up on the screen. I believe nothing like this had ever been done before. It involved thousands of individual enlargements with extra time and money. But he felt it was worth it.
There was a growing excitement among all of us as we strove day and night through the early summer of 1946. We threw everything we had into our work. Finally, after three months, shooting some 68 miles of 35-millimeter film we completed the filming and had a big wrap-up party for everyone. It was an outdoor picnic with three-legged races and burlap-bag sprints, just like the picnics back home in Pennsylvania. At the outing, Frank talked enthusiastically about the picture. He felt that the film as well as the actors would be up for Academy Awards. Both of us wanted it to win, not only because we believed in its message, but also for the reassurance we needed in this time of starting over. But life doesn't always work out the way we want it to. The movie came out in December 1946, and from the beginning we could tell it was not going to be the success we'd hoped for. The critics had mixed reactions. Some liked it ("a human drama of essential truth"); others felt it "too sentimental ... a figment of simple Pollyanna platitudes."As more reviews came out, our hopes sank lower and lower.

During early February 1947, eight other current films including "Sinbad the Sailor" and Betty Grable's "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim," outranked it in box-office income. The postwar public seemed to prefer lighthearted fare. At the end of 1947,"It's a Wonderful Life" ranked 27th in earnings among the releases that season. And although it earned several Oscar nominations, despite our high hopes, it won nothing. "Bestpicture for 1946" went to "The Best Years o fOur Lives." By the end of 1947 the film was quietly puton the shelf. But a curious thing happened. The movie simply refused to stay on the shelf. Those who loved it loved it a lot, and they must have told others. They wouldn't let it die any more than the angel Clarence would let George Bailey die. When it began to be shown on television, a whole new audience fell in love with it. Today, after some 50 years, I've heard the film called "an American cultural phenomenon." Well, maybe so, but it seems to me there is nothing phenomenal about the movie itself. It's simply about an ordinary man who discovers that living each ordinary day honorably, with faith in God and a selfless concern for others, can make for a truly wonderful life. "

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wikipedia's List of Unusual Deaths . . . Interesting Reading

Wikipedia's List of Unusual Deaths

In 458 B.C., an eagle clutching a tortoise mistook "a bald head for a stone" and dropped its catch on the shiny cranium—which, unfortunately, topped the body of the Greek playwright Aeschylus. Thus did the great bird bring to a close the life of the legendary philosopher-scribe. But what an ending! This tale and others like it may, just may, "be apocryphal." But that doesn't diminish the enjoyment to be found in reading through Wikipedia's list of outlandish historical deaths (or the rumors thereof). From burial by book to drowning by wine, the famous fatalities recounted here are sure to amaze you. We all know Isadora Duncan departed this life thanks to her overreaching scarf, but how many culturally literate folk know of Frank Hayes, the jockey who suffered a heart attack, but still won the race? Or that Henry I loved lampreys that much? Read, enjoy, and keep an eye out for large birds of prey toting reptiles and winging overhead.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The "Drake Cabin" - Log Cabin Tomb Stone... Interesting

Fabulous workmanship and interesting story. First found it on Neataorama, but then had to dig to get more info. Quite fascinating. Ole Rustard built it, and in the end, it also killed him.
According to Neatorama reader Eric Purkalitis, who wrote:

"I love the clothespin tombstone you wrote of recently. I live in Denver and there is a really strange cemetery tucked away in the industrial part of town. The link is to a photo of my favorite grave marker, a reproduction of a log cabin. There are many interesting graves at Riverside Cemetery, but the interesting part is the story behind it.

Riverside Cemetery was created to relocate the graves from Denver City Cemetery, which had become dilapidated. Go figure City Cemetery contained the graves of Denver’s elite and was smack in the middle of the wealthiest part of town.E.F. McGovern was hired to move the graves, but was caused a scandal by piling up multiple bodies together in the new graves. It’s unclear whether he actually matched all of the bodies with their markers.

Denver City Cemetery went on to become Cheesman Park. Adjacent to the park the city erected the Denver Botanical Gardens. Every once in a while the Gardens still dig up old caskets. If the people in the park only knew."

My question is, "Whose under it?" (The Neatorama Picture didn't show the name) So of course I had to Dig, Dig, Dig.... And here is the answer -- it is called the "Drake Cabin."

The Denver Public Library Western History Department has some great pictures of the cemetery archived. The art in the park is beautiful and much of it is in need of proper attention.
The Drake Cabin is very cool and was made, I believe, in a stone studio at 36th and Blake. The caption of the photo posted here reads:“In the older part of Riverside Cemetery is a small replica of a log cabin complete with the needs of that day, shovel, pick-axe, etc. It was carved by a well-known early Denver sculptor, Norwegian born Ole Rustad. His niece, Bertha L. Baerresen, says she remembers when it was delivered to Riverside on a flat-bed wagon. It was cut from a large rock and very heavy, of course, and as it was being unloaded, one of the men who was helping stumbled, throwing much of the weight onto her uncle injuring his back. As a result of the accident, her uncle (her mother’s brother) died a short time later. Miss Baerresen, standing beside the cabin in the upper left picture gives an idea of the size of the cabin. The other photo shows the chimney at the back.”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Interesting Tidbit ... Do you know how Allan PInkerton Died?

Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884) was the world's first private detective. Emigrating to Chicago from Glasgow, Scotland, he discovered a gang of counterfeiters and assisted in their capture. He became deputy sheriff of Kane County, then Cook County, resigning from the police to form the Pinkerton Detective Agency in 1852. The Pinkerton logo, the All-Seeing Eye, inspired the phrase "Private Eye". Allan Pinkerton died of an infection after biting his tongue when he slipped on a sidewalk!