What We Didn’t Have in 1950

1954 Admiral Television

I was 10 years old in 1954, when we bought our first television. We didn’t even buy the television to watch television. If I remember correctly my sister had a lazy eye, and prescribed a television (talk about an expensive prescription) so she would use her lazy eye more. We fixed a screen on one side that fit over half the screen, that made her use her lazy eye. If it wasn’t for her eye problem we probably wouldn’t have bought a television so soon.

The first thing I remember watching on the television was the movie Buck Privates (1941) with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Howdy Doody would come on at about 3:30 in the afternoon, then was followed by Pinky Lee, then usually a western movie with Bob Maynard, Kit Carson, Gene Autry and many others would come on till it was time for the Camel Caravan news program with John Cameron “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking” Swayze doing a 15 minute news program. He was later well-known for being the spokesman for Timex watches, as he demonstrated how much abuse the watches could take and keep on ticking.

We only had one channel at first, so we had no problem working the controls. It became more complicated, when cable television companies began to go into business. We then had the old wired remote controls, which later went the way of the do-do bird and gave way to remote controls with batteries. Now we could not only change the channels, but could also turn the volume up and down, adjust the picture, record programs to watch later and best of all could zap through the commercials. Sponsors of the television programs were not too hep on the idea, since you record a show, then watch it about 20 minutes later and zap through the commercials and cut an hour-long show into about 40 minutes minus the commercials. After the show we would wonder who was sponsoring the show.

We got along fine without cell phones, since there was no such thing in 1950. I only had a cell phone when I needed one for working as a caregiver, since I had to call the office all night, so they knew I wasn’t dozing off at work. I haven’t had a cell phone since 2011, since I never did learn to text on the contraptions.

We didn’t Google it in 1950. We would just go to the library and would usually find the information there. It would be 48 years later, before we could Google it and find information in seconds, that used to involve riding to library and digging through index cards, or going through the reference books section to find the same information, that we can find in seconds today.

I don’t remember having a microwave oven, while growing up so got along well without one. I did find out later, that after buying one years later, that it was easy to ruin popcorn, by cooking it too long. Now I never cook it as long as recommended, to prevent having to throw out charcoal popcorn. My favorite use for microwave ovens is to melt ice cream in it. I am not a fan of ice cream right out of the freezer, so would put it in microwave and leave it on for about 2 hours….just kidding….about 35 seconds later the ice cream would be good and creamy but still cold.

It was about 1966 or 1967 when we got our first air conditioner. I was about 21 at the time and had just came back from Vietnam, and was thinking it would have been nice to have an air conditioner over there. I didn’t know how to act with an air conditioner, since I had lived 21 years without one, so it took awhile to get used to putting on a jacket when the air conditioner was running. I didn’t have to worry about putting on a jacket from 1992 to 1998, since I was in bankruptcy and had to choose between eating and staying cool and eating won out. I bought a 10 inch box fan and had it blowing on my face, and I was able to sleep at night with no problem during those six years. I couldn’t wait to get to work at Town Talk, since air conditioning usually worked there.

I remember when we were growing up that we bought ice in blocks and put the blocks in the refrigerator. About 60 years later we bought our first icemaker, since my wife liked to have crushed ice. It was nice having crushed ice, till the icemaker went on the blink. Best of all it saved paying $2 or more for a bag of crushed ice.

The only personal computer we owned back in 1950 was our brain that computed what we learned in school, and solved math problems before Common Core made it all complicated. My mother bought us our first computer, a Commodore 64 which was very rudimentary compared to the computers of today. It was mostly a machine to play games on, and we sometimes would type the code for games out of magazines published for Commodore 64 users. Later on we bought more advanced computers, but they were still too complicated for me. It took me a year to figure out how to send emails. I have never been a computer whiz. I know how to do the basics like copy and paste, but don’t ask me how to hook up a router or modem, or the computer may cease to function.

Before we bought our television in 1954 the only entertainment we had been listening to was old-time radio shows on our table radio, and playing records on our phonograph player. Then cassettes became popular, but were a real headache if the tape got tangled up inside the tape player. 8 track players were also around about this time, but I completely missed the boat on 8 track players, since I never owned a 8 track player or a 8 track tape.

The compact disc became the most popular way to listen to music, since the CD players let you pick a certain track if you wanted to play it, unlike cassette players where you had to more or less play the whole tape to hear a song from the starting point.

It was 2004 when I bought my first MP3 player and I was surprised to learn that you could carry thousands of songs, in one device and the Creative Nomad Zen Xtra Jukebox (pictured above) was my first MP3 player. It was 40 GB and I had 3,000 songs on it the last time I checked. You could go directly to any of the 3,000 songs in a matter of seconds.

One of my favorite uses for the MP3 player was to listen to old-time radio shows from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I found out I could buy 800 Jack Benny shows for $12 on a MP3 CD. Sam’s at about that time was selling about 10 shows for $20, so I bought the MP3 CD’s exclusively from old-time radio retailers and ebay sellers and it was possible to build up my collection fast. I currently own 17,000 episodes of many old-time radio shows of all genres. Best thing all 17,000 episodes fit inside one binder manufactured for CD’s.

All I had to do was place the MP3 CD’s into the computer and copy the files into the computer, then transfer them from computer to the MP3 player, and it works the same way with regular music CD’s.

Whoever invented the GPS probably had me in mind, since I hated folding and unfolding paper maps, to find out if I was going the right direction, to arrive at my destination. I don’t know how many times I had taken wrong roads, before the GPS was invented. It still is scary when the GPS tells you that you have arrived at your destination, when you are in the middle of nowhere with no houses in sight.

It is amazing to me that this lady telling me directions is flying around up in space, with nothing better to do, than to keep an eye on my vehicle, and if I miss a turn she is nice enough to say recalculating and letting me know we will still arrive even if it is a 20 mile detour to get to the destination.

One of the handiest inventions is the automated teller machine, that gives people money at all hours of the day and night. It used to be if they locked up the bank on Saturday afternoon, then the customer would have to wait till Monday morning to make a transaction. Now they can drain their bank accounts down to nothing in just minutes, instead of draining it a little bit at a time, while waiting in line at the bank.

Sometimes criminals have to call for assistance even with automated banking, if the bank card they stole won’t work, or even worse the automated teller machine takes the card and won’t return it to the bank card thief. The bank will send someone to the bank and tell them the pin number for the card and apologize for the inconvenience.

My mom was very slow when using the automated tellers, and more than once someone would walk in the building housing the ATM machine and get aggravated about the long wait, then finally go back to their car, drive off with wheels squealing in search of a ATM machine with someone faster using the machine.

Sometimes I wonder how we got by back in 1950 with no television, no cell phone, no Google, no icemaker, no GPS, no MP3 player, no ATM machine, no personal computer and no microwave oven. We managed to get by without all of these inventions, because most of them hadn’t been invented in 1950.

Bernie Madoff – The Man Who Had No Shame

 

Charles Ponzi 1882-1949

Charles Ponzi, who originated the Ponzi scheme stepped off a boat, as an Italian immigrant with $2.50 in his pocket in 1903. He moved to Canada in 1907 and was arrested, for writing himself a $423.58 check, from a checkbook he had found. He didn’t want his mother to know he was in prison, so wrote her telling her he was a special assistant to the warden.

Without going into the details, Ponzi’s investors lost $20 billion in 1920 dollars, but $225 million in 2011 dollars. This is just a little background, on how Ponzi schemes started about 60 or 70 years, before Bernie Madoff set new records for bilking investors out of their money.

Bernie Madoff took Ponzi scheme to a whole new level.

Bernie Madoff was born in Queens, New York on April 29, 1938. His Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities company was started in 1960. He was influenced by his father Ralph Madoff, who had been a plumber/stock broker and Bernie decided to enter the investment securities business.

Bernie Madoff in high school

It was only a matter of time, before Madoff saw that he could make huge sums of money, by investing funds of his investors in his own account. He promised investors high interest rates, in return for their investments. Once a Ponzi scheme starts there has to be a steady stream of new investors, so the money of the new investors can be used, to make regular payments to the early investors.

Investors thought Madoff was reliable, since he was one of the first brokers, to join Nasdaq and even became a Nasdaq official. Madoff was secretive, about his “investment” and using the word investment in the loosest sense of the word. His 17th floor office in the Lipstick Building had signs telling people Do Not Enter and Do Not Clean. He knew the papers in that office could end his Ponzi scheme. His own secretary for 8 years didn’t even know he was running an investment firm.

SEC Warned About Madoff

Harry Markopolos a hedge fund manager got his hands on some of Madoff’s paperwork and it only took him four hours, to figure out that Madoff’s investments were a fraud. Another red flag for Markopolos was that Madoff’s investments were only down 3 months in a 87 month span, while Standard and Poor’s results showed 28 months of being down in that same 87 month span.

Harry Markopolos warned SEC about Madoff 8 years before arrest.

Markopolos filed an eight page complaint about Madoff in 2000 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC ostensibly, because of work overload declined to investigate the complaint, which left Madoff with no roadblocks in his way, so he continued to bilk his investors.

I can imagine the way Markopolos felt after the SEC decided not to pursue an investigation. It was in effect giving Madoff a license, to steal for another 8 years, as corporations and individual investors poured millions more into Madoff’s pockets.

Bernie Madoff’s Penthouse apartment bought by Al Kahn (left inset photo) of Time Warner

While Madoff’s investors were watching their investments grow on paper at least he was living, in a $7.4 million penthouse which was very much real. The apartment gave Madoff time to ponder, on how he was bilking thousands of investors out of their life savings, and didn’t even know it was happening. The worst thing is that Madoff didn’t really care. His only concern was that his financial chicanery would be exposed.

Zsa Zsa Gabor lost $10 million after investing with Madoff.

This is a 162 page list of the Madoff clients in PDF format. It only lists the names and not the amount they lost in the Ponzi scheme.

Click to access madoffclientlist020409.pdf

Madoff’s world came crashing down at 8:30 AM on December 11,2008, when he was arrested. He was indicted on March 10,2009, and was sentenced to 150 years in prison on July 29,2009. He will be released on November 14, 2139, if he doesn’t have any bad behavior while in prison. He will be approximately 200 years old, when he is released in 2139.

Aftermath

Madoff is imprisoned in a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Bernie Madoff’s new home at federal prison in Butner, North Carolina featuring 3 hots and a cot

He says he is being well treated in prison in this Wikpedia entry:

In his letter to his daughter-in-law, Madoff said that he was being treated in prison like a “Mafia don“.

They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can’t walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It’s really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well-being, including the staff … It’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York.

However this entry tells an entire different story of his life in prison:

Madoff’s projected release date is November 14, 2139.[115][114] The release date, described as “academic” in Madoff’s case because he would have to live to the age of 201, reflects a reduction for good behavior.[116] On October 13, 2009, it was reported that Madoff experienced his first prison yard fight with another senior citizen inmate.[117] When he began his sentence, Madoff’s stress levels were so severe that he broke out in hives and other skin maladies soon after.[118]

On December 18, 2009, Madoff was moved to Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, and was treated for several facial injuries. A former inmate later claimed that the injuries were received during an alleged altercation with another inmate.[119] Other news reports described Madoff’s injuries as more serious and including “facial fractures, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung”.[118][120] The Federal Bureau of Prisons said Madoff signed an affidavit on December 24, 2009, which indicated that he had not been assaulted and that he had been admitted to the hospital for hypertension.[121]

Ironically, his son Mark was found dead in his apartment on December 11, 2010, which was second anniversary of Bernie Madoff being arrested. Coroner ruled it was death by hanging. His other son Andrew died of lymphoma on September 3, 2014. 

Ruth Madoff taking out garbage since Bernie is predisposed

His wife Ruth was ordered to give up $85 million in assets, which left her $2.5 million. 

However, I can’t feel sorry for her knowing, that so many Madoff clients literally lost everything. A lot of wealthy people thinking they were becoming more wealthy, as they looked at the phony financial statements sent by Madoff ended up having to pay any money they received in the Ponzi scheme, above their original investment. The saddest stories were those of investors, who had invested their life savings only to lose everything. 

It was astounding that so many charitable organizations invested with Madoff and lost everything. 

One investor took his life after losing $1.5 billion, by investing in Madoff:

A more extreme loss is the loss of life. Thierry de la Villehuchet, the French aristocrat who refused to believe Casey or Markopolos’ theory that Bernie operated a Ponzi scheme, lost $1.5 billion. This included his personal fortune along with substantial funds from European royalty and aristocrats. On December 22, 2008, unable to pay his 28 employees or office rent, Villehuchet committed suicide in his downtown Manhattan office.

Madoff is not doing well healthwise, with him telling CNBC, that he now has kidney cancer and had a heart attack in December of 2013. 

Sadly, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme will not be the last one. I am sure right now somebody is bilking investors out of their money, but their day will come like all the others, when investors demanded their investments back and the money is long gone.

This article below gives many more details, of how Madoff cheated so many investors, in his elaborate Ponzi scheme:

Click to access Madoff%20Case.pdf

Conclusion; Mr. Madoff have you no shame? How could you function as a human being all those years, while knowing that you were using the life savings of your investors, to pad your own bank account, to buy yachts, mansions, $7.4 million apartments and too many other luxuries to list them all?

The Voice Winning Ratings Battle With American Idol

AMERICAN IDOL

American Idol Season 13 bottomed out this season with only 7.63 million viewers for their Top 8 results show last Thursday. Season 13 drew 15.19 viewers for their debut this season. That is a drop of approximately 7.5 million viewers 27 shows into the season.

The 2003 Season 2 finale drew the largest audience for a premiere or finale, by attracting 38.06 million viewers. Compare that with the 7.63 million viewers last Thursday and that is a drop of almost 31 million viewers.

January 13, 2009 was the last time that a premiere, final performance or season finale show drew over 30 million viewers.

The May 23, 2012 finale was the last time American Idol attracted more than 20 million viewers.

March 12, 2014 was the last show to draw over 10 million viewers for a Season 13 episode.

I think one problem this season is that Season 13 has few good singers. I look for Caleb Johnson to be the next American Idol. If not him, then it might be Jena Irene or Jessica Meuse. C.J. Johnson will probably go home on Thursday night, unless he has a superb performance on Wednesday night.

The judges this season Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban have been refreshing, after the feud between Mariah Carey and Nicky Minaj took the focus off the contestants in Season 12.

This could be the right time to end American Idol. Ryan Seacrest will probably not be paid $15 million a season again and Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to do a cop show, so can’t see her having time to do American Idol, due to the filming schedule of a weekly series. Seacrest is probably ready to move on to other jobs and American Idol ties him down during the auditions and regular season and he sure doesn’t need the money.

It is time to end the show before its ratings fall even further behind those of The Voice.

 

THE VOICE

The premiere of The Voice was shown on April 26, 2011 and drew 11.78 viewers. Season 2 drew 37.61 million viewers due to Super Bowl lead-in. Season 3 attracted 12.8 million viewers for premiere. The Voice drew about a million more viewers, for each year and this year attracted 15.86 million for the premiere.

Season 4 finale night for the June 18,2013 drew 15.59 the most ever for a finale.

The finale night for Season 5 on December 17, 2013 fell to 14.01 viewers, so it will be interesting to see if Season 6 finale ratings fall below that number.

Season 6 ratings have fallen from a season high of 15.86 million, for the premiere of the Blind Auditions on February 24, 2014. Last Tuesday’s episode drew 11.08 million, which is a dropoff of about 4.78 million viewers.

If The Voice and American Idol were aired in the same time slot, then it would be almost a certainty that American Idol would be clobbered.

The interplay between coaches Blake Shelton, Shakira, Usher and Adam Levine has been, in my estimation a big part of the success of The Voice. It is fun to watch them beg for the contestants to choose them, as their coach and belittling the other coaches in the process.

It is a more of a fun show than American Idol. I haven’t watched during the battle rounds and playoff rounds, so I can’t say how good the singers on The Voice are. I will resume watching when they start the live shows and will get a better idea of who the best singers are.

The Voice is the king of the singing competitions and may find itself the only singing competition, if American Idol ends its 13 year run after this season.

 

 

 

Vinyl Records Refuse To Die

A 45 vinyl single of the Beatle’s song I Feel Fine.

 

The first flat disc record was invented by Emil Berliner in 1888. 125 years later the technology may have improved, but vinyl records have survived, because vinyl fans continue to buy and play vinyl records today.

Singers are still making vinyl records today. The late Johnny Cash has a vinyl album American IV: the Man Comes Around, that will be released on February 4, 2014. The vinyl version is advertised for $33.89, while the audio CD is being sold for only $8.49.

Bruce Springsteen’s new album High Hopes will be released on January 14, 2014 and it will be released on vinyl for $29.46, while the audio CD will be sold for $15.99. Meanwhile the Beatles are releasing Live at the BBC, which will be sold for $49.99 on vinyl, but consists of three vinyl records, while at the present time no CD version is being released.

Vinyl was first used in 1948, after shellac had been used in the early years of record production. So vinyl records have been around now for 65 years and going strong. 1949 would bring music fans the 45 single records, which usually had one song on each side, which were sometimes called the A and B side.

 

This was one of my first vinyl record albums bought in 1967. I still have that same record album 45 years later.

 

The  popularity of vinyl records waned, after the invention of eight tracks, cassettes and compact discs. This was about the time, that I decided to sell my vinyl albums for a quarter each. At that price my collection of about 100 records was gone in a couple of days.

The Electro Brand phonograph which we currently own.

 

The Electro Brand phonograph has served us well, since my wife bought it for me in 2009. It doesn’t play cassettes or record, but it plays records and we can listen to the radio and can plug the MP3 player into the back and hear the old-time radio shows and music, that had been downloaded into the MP3 player.

 

We no longer had a record player, so decided to sell them, which was a huge mistake. One of my sisters found my Frank Sinatra album (pictured above) and returned it to me, about three or four years ago. My wife surprised me by buying me a $45 record player at Big Lots. Then a local book store in Knoxville, Tennessee had tons of vinyl albums for only a quarter each. Sometimes I would splurge and buy 10 albums at a time for a total of $2.50.

It didn’t take long to find that there were very few southern gospel or country music albums, among the vinyl records for sale. I found loads of Johnny Mathis albums in the bargain bin, along with the music of many orchestras. So I bought some Mantovani, Henry Mancini, Harry James, Guy Lombardo and Lawrence Welk albums.

So now my record collection is up to about 30 albums. It is great hearing Christmas music emanating from a record player.

 

This is one of many record players for sale today, that have a retro look.

 

You can buy a basic record player today, or you can buy the models, that not only play vinyl records, but have the ability to copy the music from the vinyl onto a CD. Some players also record from the radio and from cassettes. Some players also have docks for I-Pods or a connection for MP3 players. So those players are capable of playing the radio, records, compact discs, cassettes and the music from a MP3 player.

 

There is little chance of being stuck with vinyl records again, since so many manufacturers are not only making the vinyl records, but also are making the record players to play them on.

 

For instance, Amazon.com has a total of 1,338,799 vinyl records for sale as of today. Ebay.com has even more records listed with 3,857,050 vinyl records for sale. That is a total of over 5 million vinyl records for sale combined at amazon.com and Ebay.com. Over 493,000 of the vinyl records at sale at Ebay.com are new.

 

Remember Jimmy features Bob Eberly, Helen O’Connell and the great Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

 

I bought the Jimmy Dorsey album Remember Jimmy pictured above at a thrift store in Sulphur, Louisiana for $2.98. That same album is being sold on ebay.com today for $40.49.  The main reason I bought the album was because it included the classic song Tangerine, which was one of my all time favorite big band songs.

Helen O’Connell later would be known for being the host of the Today show.

 

It looks as if vinyl records will be with us for a long time to come. Ebay.com lists a 1982 John Cougar album for only 99 cents. Not bad for a 31-year-old vinyl record. The most expensive album for sale, at Ebay is a $125,000 Michael Jackson album that is autographed and is ultra rare, according to the description. 91 offers have been made for the album, but none have been accepted yet. It is listed at $125,000 or best offer. The album is the first album released by Michael Jackson and titled You Got To Be There.

 

Technology has changed over the years, but we can still hear music, from a phonograph 136 years, after Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, which was only 12 years after the Civil War ended.

 

 

Technology – Yesterday and Today

My grandpa who lived on a farm in Allendale, Missouri had a radio similar to this one and I listened to some Kansas City Athletics games on his radio console and will never forget how good the sound was, that emanated from that radio.
Phonograph records have never really went away completely. Now many manufacturers are building modern versions of the record players we grew up. Those being built today play records, CD’s, cassettes and even have an input, for MP3 players to play their music over the phonograph system.  Some record companies are still making vinyl records. Just went to eBay and found that there are 1,328,915 records for sale, so there will be a need for record players for years to come. Surprisingly, over 489,000 of those albums are new.  I was fortunate about three or four years ago, to find a bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee selling record albums for 25 cents each. You can build up a collection fast at those prices since $10 buys 40 record albums.
Eight track players technology went right on by me, since I went straight from vinyl to cassettes. I never owned an eight track player or eight track tape. Not sure if eight track players are still being made today. If they are I have not heard about it.
Compact disc players can be found in portable CD players, CD boomboxes, CD shelf systems and some CD players today can be found in phonograph combos, that play CD’s, cassettes, records and have a AM-FM radio, plus either have a dock for an I-pod or a line in for a MP3 player. Some even have the capability of recording from a record, cassette or radio to a CD.
This Ipod Classic 160 GB player is the ultimate player, for those who like to record music, videos and store photos. This player can record 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums, with 10 songs each stored in this player. However, if you want to store videos and photos, then that would reduce the storage place for music. Who has 4,000 albums anyway? This player may not have all the bells and whistles, of an iPod Touch, but an iPod Touch is not going to have near the capacity of this player. One drawback to the 160 GB version is that the screen is only 2.5 inches, which is small, compared to the newest IPod Touch, which has a 4 inch screen.
Technology has come a long way from the phonographs of the early days, to machines that can hold 40,000 songs and play any song, almost instantaneously, after going through the folders to find the song you want to play or you can watch videos of movies and TV shows.
This is a Maytag ringer washing machine. There may be still be people using these machines, but they have to be few and far between, with the technology today, that lets the operator turn the machine on and put some soap in the machine and leave it to wash the clothes and come back an hour later or so and put those clothes into a dryer.
When is the last time you have seen bottles of milk, on your porch when door to door delivery of milk was popular? I remember when our milkman had only a four number telephone number on his truck.
When is the last time you saw someone actually typing on a typewriter like this Underwood Typewriter? There are probably some holdouts still using typewriters like this, but there can’t be a whole lot of them.
I can still remember the days of the nickel coke. The bottles may have been only 6 ounces, but today you spend at least $1.50 most places for 20 ounces of Coca-Cola. Back in the old days you could buy 24 ounces for only 20 cents. A $1.50 back then would buy 30 bottles of 6 ounce Cokes. So if I am figuring right, then that comes out to 180 ounces of Coca-Cola, which would be equivalent to about three 2 liter Coca-Colas today. Not many stores today sell three liters of original Coca-Cola for $1.50. Today it is usually cheaper to buy a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola for a $1-$1.25 or more, than to spend $1.50 or more on a 20 ounce Coca-Cola.

MP3 Players Popularity Waning

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 Player.

 

It was 2004, when I bought my first powerful MP3 player. It was a Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra 40 GB MP3 player that held 10,000 songs. It was much clunkier, than the lighter MP3 players of today.

Have never had a smart phone and don’t have any kind of cell phone today. I would rather use my MP3 players for music, than a cell phone. I doubt that they can hold much music, since smart phones also have cameras to take photos and some phones are capable of taking video.

The best thing about the Creative Nomad MP3 player is that it is used exclusively to play music and in my case, also able to play back old-time radio shows of the past. I even have a 1934 baseball game, between the Yankees and Tigers in the player.

That player no longer works, but may only need a new battery, which when I last checked was about $12. Best thing is that it has a removable battery, unlike most MP3 players, which have built-in batteries.

Another feature is that I could delete radio shows, after listening them from the player itself and not have to remove them using a computer.

Sony NWZ 545 16 GB MP3 Player.

 

The above photo is of my next MP3 player bought about four years ago. It is a Sony NWZ 545 16 GB player that can hold far less music, than the Creative Nomad Jukebox could hold. Unlike the Creative player, I have to be careful to pick and choose what songs to download to it, since it would fill up much faster.

It too lets me listen to old-time radio shows. I usually download a few shows at a time. Then I have to go to the computer to delete shows, that I have already heard.

The best thing about the MP3 players is that they don’t have to have a wi-fi connection to play the music. We have made a lot of trips to VA hospitals in Alexandria, LA and Houston, TX and listening to old-time radio shows and music make the long trips a little more bearable.

Apple iPod Nano 8 GB 6th Generation

 

While recuperating at home from cancer surgery my sister from Colorado sent me a gift of a Apple iPod Nano, which only weighs a pound  and is 5×5 inches. The earphones that come with the Nano have a great sound and you really can hear the stereo affect from the song being played.

My sister also sent a speaker that doesn’t come with the Nano. It is not a huge speaker, but it pumps out a lot of sound, without being overly loud.

Not Much Mention of MP3 Players

I have noticed that you don’t hear much mention of MP3 players online. If you go to the tech section of an online sight there will be little or no mention of MP3 players. Most of the articles are about the latest cell phones coming out.

Apple has had two huge events announcing new products, but no mention was made of new iPods being released in the near future.

Personally, I hope there will be a market for MP3 players for years to come. Not everyone wants a MP3 player in their cell phone. I like MP3 players better as standalone products, rather than incorporating them into other electronic devices.

Another thing I have noticed is that most of the MP3 players being released today are 8 GB and 16 GB players, while the players with 32 GB and 64 GB are less common, than they were in the past.

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB

 

The Apple iPod Classic 160 GB player is the Cadillac of MP3 players, for those who like to record a lot of music. The player has the capacity to store 40,000 songs, 25,000 photos and 200 hours of video.

The player has 1,133 five-star reviews at amazon.com, while only 141 reviewers give it a one star rating. A selling point for the player is that the battery can play for up to 36 hours.

Most users of the Classic will be hard pressed to fill up this player with 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums with 10 songs each. Of course the capacity depends on how many photos and videos are downloaded into the Classic.

There are rumors that the Classic may be discontinued in the near future. I think it should remain in production, for those fans who could store only a fraction of 40,000 songs in a cell phone.

We could see the popularity of MP3 players continue to decrease in 2014. The fact that MP3 players are seldom even being mentioned today tells me, that someday they could become another extinct electronic device that disappears from the landscape like reel to reel tape players and eight track players. Very few new cassette players are being made today, except with phonographs and we should have vinyl records for a long time, since we have seen a resurgence in their popularity.

 

Pineville, Louisiana in the 50’s and 60’s

Entrance to Louisiana College campus in Pineville, Louisiana.

 

I was born in 1944 in West Lafayette, Indiana and moved to Pineville, Louisiana, before my 2nd birthday in 1946, so my dad could teach chemistry at Louisiana College.

My first memory of Pineville was starting the first grade at Pineville Elementary in 1950 and walking the mile to school. I did ride the bus in the second grade, until the day I didn’t get off, at my stop and wound up in Libuse, Louisiana, which was about a ten-mile walk back home. Needless to say I never rode a bus to school after that incident. The bus driver was Harold Price, who drove a school bus many years.

I remember being in the class of Mrs. Eva Price, if I recall her first name right. One of my best friends in first grade was Robert Cavanaugh, who would later run track for Pineville High School and LSU. Then later Dr. Cavanaugh would become the chancellor of LSU in Alexandria and was responsible for it becoming a four-year college.

One thing I remember about the first grade is the ten-cent lunches. The price has probably gone up to 15 cents some 63 years later.

The second grade through fourth grade years sort of ran together, with no standout memories from those years. I do remember my second grade teacher being Mrs. Frankie Reed, third grade teacher being Mrs. Clarice Ellis and fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Effie O’Neal.

My fifth grade teacher was Mrs.Mabel  Powell and my main memory of that year was that I played my first Little League game the last day of school. I played for Bates Insurance Co. team that year and made a shoestring catch in that first game off of a ball hit by Luther Richardson. Think I was more surprised, than  anyone else that I caught the ball.

Mrs. Scivique (sp) was my sixth grade teacher if I remember right, but can’t remember her first name. Grady Harper was my seventh grade teacher and I think Robert Cespiva was my eighth grade teacher, but not sure of that.

1957 was a year that stood out, since that was the year Hurricane Audrey hit the Pineville area that June. I can remember Jim Gaines of KALB radio giving the latest reports about the hurricane. One memory is that we had no power for three days and my dad went to Jimmie Hoyt’s to buy some dry ice.

1957 Trip To Maine

My most vivid memory of 1957 didn’t take place in Pineville, since my dad and my older brother took a trip to Maine that summer. The trip was an education in itself, as we stopped at tourist stops like Rock City and can remember the signs saying SEE ROCK CITY on the roofs of barns along the way. We also saw many Burma Shave signs on the trip.

Stopping at Mount Vernon was one of the highlights, while  Washington, D.C. was the place that I remember best. We went inside the Capitol building and saw Congress in action, saw the U.S. Mint making bills and visited the National Archive building. We also visited the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian Institution was particularly interesting, where we saw the Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the ceiling. The last place I remember seeing was the Library of Congress.

Having been an avid baseball fan it was a thrill to see a major league game in Connie Mack Stadium, which was my first game to ever see. Saw future Hall of Famers like Roberto Clemente and Richie Ashburn in the game that, plus another Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that landed on tin roof above us in left field bleachers.

We also went to the planetarium in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell.

New York City was a place I will never forget and have not been there in the last 56 years. The main thing I can remember is seeing drunks lying on sidewalk in the Bowery District. That is something a 12 year-old kid always remembers.

We drove on to Beverly, Massachusetts, which was our next destination, since my Dad was there for the American Chemical Society convention there. I remember stopping at a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant with the famous orange roof and was impressed that they had 31 flavors of ice cream.

While in the area we were able to see the House of Seven Gables and Cape Cod.

The convention dealt with such topics as radiocarbon dating of trees and many other topics, that a 12 year-old would never comprehend.

Then we went on to Maine to see my Uncle John for the first time and I think the only time. It would be the only time to see my Maine relatives, since my cousin Jim would die in Vietnam in the 60’s, while piloting a helicopter and was shot down.

We stopped in Millville, New Jersey to pick up my Dad’s mom and while there saw my Grandpa Godfrey for the first and only time, while he was in the hospital. That reminds me of the times pranksters would call his grocery store and ask if he had Prince Albert in cans and then when he said yes, they would say then let him out.

The first and only stop on the way back home was Warsaw, Kentucky and Dad drove almost non-stop from there to Pineville, since school started the same day we got back home.

Random Memories

I don’t remember this but my mom told me I had gotten out of the A&P Grocery store at the age of three and walked down to the Murray Street Bridge. George Huffman a Pineville policeman, according to my mom said when he took me off the bridge that he was going to put me in jail, if it ever happened again. I probably didn’t even know what a jail was at that time, since we wouldn’t even have a television till six years later.

We didn’t have a television till I was about 9 years old and the only reason we got one was because, of my sister’s eye doctor prescribed it for her, so she could use both eyes and we had a polaroid screen on one side to make her use her “lazy” eye.

Being on Cactus Jack with Jack McCall hosting the show on KALB TV was one of my memories from this period and being in the Cub Scouts was another and I can remember riding in the Alexandria Christmas Parade one year.

George Huffman was part of another memory, when we thought our cat may have had rabies, so he tried to shoot at it with a shotgun under the house, but missed and the cat lived happily ever after.

My folks liked to go to Berwick’s Drug Store in downtown Pineville. The dilapidated building was not like Walgreen’s stores of today, but they must have had good prices on prescriptions.

Plane Crashes During Little League Game

One night we were playing a Little League game at Sandy Canyon, when I heard someone say “That plane’s going to crash” and we could see the plane heading downward and it landed near the Memorial Cemetery for veterans about a block from Main Street in downtown Pineville.

Pineville Elementary Burns Down

Pineville Elementary burned down shortly after I finished the eighth grade. This photo shows the firemen battling the blaze:

The story as it appeared in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk the next day:

Will never forget riding the mile from home to the fire that night. News traveled fast back then, even without any media coverage to speak of.

Fast Thinking Commercial Spokesman

Will never forget Larry McHale of KALB TV, who was ordinarily a newsman, but was advertising the virtues of a certain brand of cigarettes. Then in the middle of the commercial he starts coughing and thinking fast said “Just the thinking of those other brands makes me cough”.

Daredevil Over Red River

One memory that stands out is when a motorcyclist ran across the Red River on a some kind of contraption, that enabled him to ride a motorcycle. Anyone there that day is welcome to give their version of what happened that day.

College Drive Baptist Church Founded in 1947

Think we were living on Lawrence Boulevard, when College Drive Baptist Church was founded in 1947. It is now 66 years old and was located close to Louisiana College. I can remember J. Taylor Walworth as the founding pastor, when we joined in 1948. He is one of the few people in my life that never changed and looked the same shortly before his death many years later.

Can remember when Harvey McGraw was the education superintendent and a Sunday, which had 237 people present in Sunday School. It was a different time back then when fewer Louisiana College students had their own car, so they naturally walked to the church, which was closest to the college. As the years went by and more students had their own vehicles attendance started to fall. Students then could drive to the bigger churches in Alexandria and Pineville.

Starting Pineville High School in 1958

It was a huge change going from elementary school to high school and it took time to get used to moving from class to class all day at Pineville High. Went to summer school for three years, but graduated from Pineville High in September of 1962.

State Football Champions in 1960

The highlight of my high school years was when the Pineville High Rebels won the state football championship in 1960. Coach Jimmy Keeth and assistant Coach Vernon Beall led the team to a year, that the coaches and players will never forget. I think Coach Gene Millet was also a coach that year, but not positive. There has not been another championship football team from Pineville High School in the last 53 years making that year even more special.

Said Goodbye to Pineville in October of 1962

I joined the United States Army Reserve in 1962 and went to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training. Finished basic shortly before Christmas, then about two weeks later boarded a train at the Missouri Pacific station for Indianapolis,Indiana and headed for the brutal Indian winter, with snow on the ground in Indianapolis, when I arrived in January of 1963.

Returned home again from the Adjutant General School in Indianapolis in April of 1963. It didn’t take long to get tired of going to Army Reserve meetings, so joined the Regular Army for a three year enlistment in May of 1963 and would only come home in October of 1964 and 1965, before being honorably discharged in May of 1966 after a tour of duty in Hawaii and Vietnam.

Town Talk Employment

It was later in 1966, when I would be employed by the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, not having any idea that I would be working there for 36 years with two years working for the Monroe Morning World from 1974-1976 leaving Town Talk for an $8 a week raise, but Monroe paper had me working so much overtime, that I earned $5,000 more than I had earned with Town Talk the year before. Elvis Presley, indirectly helped me get the job in Monroe. We were in Monroe to see Elvis Presley and happened to drive by the newspaper and I wound up mailing in a job application, which was accepted.

More Memories of Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s

I remember we didn’t worry about how hot it was, because we didn’t know what air conditioning was and didn’t have one till the late 60’s. We only had one television station the first few years, before Alpine Cable came to town.

We would go out Highway 28 on our bicycles, since there was not much traffic. Nowadays it would be foolish to try to ride a bike on that same road today.

I can remember the Star Theater on Main Street catching on fire and Chief Crazy Horse and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were on the marquee that day.

Think it was still in the 60’s when Louisiana College ended their football program, due to lack of attendance at the games. I can remember the names of some players from back then like Clayton and Harry Bullard, Bill Mount, David Corley, Harry Ingalls, Frank Mobley, Gene Southern, Jim Jossick and Moose Munyan and of course Hamburger Harrison.

I remember George Huffman and Gus Perry from the Pineville Police Department and for some reason those are the only names I can recall.

Will never forget T.C. Brister who owned a sporting goods store letting me pay $6 for a $6.50 Nokona baseball glove, because that was all the money I had with me.

Can remember going to the display window of Jimmy Walker’s Appliance to watch television at night. I can remember visiting neighbors who had a television, which only got a New Orleans station and the picture was mostly snow, but a better picture would appear from time to time.

Trips to A&W Root Beer stand in Alexandria were a special treat. Those frosty mugs filled with root beer always hit the spot.

It is good to know that the same Martin Library we used to go to in the 50’s and 60’s is still operating many years later.

Remember well walking to Jack’s to buy the Sporting News baseball newspaper for a quarter on way home from high school.

Can remember the KALB radio record hops with the Big Bopper appearing a year or two before his death in a plane crash,which also killed Buddy Holly in Iowa.

Who can forget Mr. Pendergrast walking down the street with his top hat? There were rumors that he was rich, but not sure if he was or not. He sure didn’t live like a rich man.

Hope this article revives memories of what it was like growing up in Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s.

 

 

 

 

Long Wait Almost Over: Twinkies Back On Shelves in 492 Hours, 34 Minutes, 42 Seconds

Twinkieaholics will be happy to know that Twinkies will be on store shelves in 21 days and best of all, on even more shelves than in the past. They should be on store shelves nationwide on July 15.

The Twinkies will now even be sold in dollar stores. Price reportedly will be $3.99 for a 10 count box of the crème filled treats, which was the price before production ended. However, they were on sale in the past as shown in this photo:

Hostess had stopped manufacturing Twinkies and a vast array of other Hostess treats like Ding Dongs And Snoballs, due to striking union workers. Some of the former workers are back in the factories, but are non-unionized workers now.

Donettes and CupCakes will also be returning to the store shelves, after Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management bought out some of the Hostess products. Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s are other products that will be offered for sale.

Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930 by James Dewar of the Continental Bakery in River Forest, Illinois. So it is only fitting that a product, with that long of a history can be purchased still 83 years later.

The spongy crème filled treat is not for the weight conscious, since one Twinkie is 13 percent of recommended fat intake on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Twinkie the Kid won’t be standing in the unemployment line much longer, since he will be back at work on July 15 and his Twinkie outfit and cowboy boots will be trendy again.

For those Twinkie fans that don’t like the standard Twinkie they can be deep-fried, for a whole new taste treat different from your standard Twinkie.

Beware of the fact that some criminals have blamed Twinkies for causing them to commit crimes, in what has come to be known as the Twinkie defense.

Twinkies have been seen in many movies, including Die Hard in which a character almost gets sick from eating a 1,000 year old Twinkie.

Kansas State University professor Mark Haub went on a diet of Twinkies, Doritos and Oreo cookies and lost 27 pounds in two months on the diet.

Guess that means Nutri System and Jenny Craig will be including Twinkies, in the meals sent to the homes of their clients.

More time has passed since I posted the latest countdown at the top of the page. The latest countdown now shows 492 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

It won’t be long till Twinkie lovers will be lining up outside stores to be first in line to buy the first Twinkies on shelves in several months.

American Idol: Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj Announce Departure As Judges

Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj shown in this photo won’t be returning for Season 13 after Carey and Minaj announced they will be leaving the show recently.

 

Rumors were swirling around that all four American Idol judges would not be returning for Season 13, before the end of Season 12, but it looks like those rumors are coming true.

Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj have announced they won’t be returning, while Randy Jackson had announced he was leaving the show before the finale.

We may never know if the producers told the three judges, that they were leaving the show and gave them a chance to make it look like they were leaving on their own volition.

 

Keith Urban is the only remaining American Idol judge who has not announced that he is leaving the show as his status is uncertain.

 

Keith Urban may also be leaving the show, but no announcements have been made to that effect, that I am aware of at the present time. He has stated that he has no idea, if he will be returning or not as recently as yesterday.

Urban may be retained if only because of monetary reasons, since he only earned $5 million as a judge last season, while Mariah Carey earned $18 million for her stint as a judge, while Nicki Minaj collected $12 million for her time on the judging panel.

The falling ratings for American Idol in Season 12 apparently have the producers going in another direction as they choose their Season 13 judges.

Plus, they don’t want a repeat of the Carey-Minaj feud, which was a major distraction last season. Fans tune in the show to hear the contestants and don’t want to see a feud between two of the judges.

 

Jennifer Hudson could be first former American Idol contestant to become a judge on the show.

 

Jennifer Hudson’s name has been mentioned as a possible judge on American Idol for the Season 13 season. We could even have a judging panel of all former American Idol. She is reportedly in negotiation to sign on with American Idol.

Other names mentioned as possible judges are Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken. This article says Urban will not be returning, but have yet to have seen an official announcement on his leaving.

http://www.eonline.com/news/422628/jennifer-hudson-signs-on-as-american-idol-judge-plus-find-out-who-else-is-close-to-coming-aboard

Yahoo has listed the ratings of American Idol for each finale and the drop this season, as compared to the finale in Season 11 has to be a cause of alarm for the producers:

Wed-09/04/2002  8-10 PM  23.021M  10.8/30

Wed-05/21/2003  9-10 PM  38.060M  16.8/37

Wed-05/26/2004  8-10:02 PM  28.839M  12.0/32

Wed-05/25/2005  8-10:01 PM  30.269M  12.5/31

Wed-05/24/2006  8-10:04 PM  36.383M  14.2/36

Wed-05/23/2007  8-10:09 PM  30.755M  11.5/31

Wed-05/21/2008  8-10:06 PM  31.688M  11.4/30

Wed-05/20/2009  8-10:07 PM  28.838M  10.0/28

Wed-05/26/2010  8-10:07 PM  24.215M  8.2/24

Wed-05/25/2011  8-10:07 PM  29.288M  9.2/26

Wed-05/23/2012  8-10:07 PM  21.5M      6.4/18

Thurs-05/16/2013 8-10:07 PM  14.3M     3.6/11

17 million fewer viewers tuned in for the 2013 finale, compared to 31 million viewers watching the 2008 finale. The 14 million viewers this year saw a drop of 15 million viewers since 2011.

It will be interesting to see who comprises the Season 13 judging panel, but it is incumbent on the producers, to reverse the downward trend in the ratings.

The ultimate sign that the show is not drawing well as in the past, is when Duck Dynasty a A&E cable network reality show recently attracted more viewers, than American Idol in the 18-49 demographic.

 

 

 

 

Blast From The Past: RC Cola and Moon Pie

Royal Crown Cola and Double Decker Moon Pie.

 

RC Cola and Moon Pies have been staples in the south for many years. Even better is a RC Cola with a Double Decker Moon Pie that is in the above photo.

The combination of RC Cola and Moon Pies became popular in the 1950’s, when workers enjoyed them with their lunch.

The RC Cola ginger ale was founded in 1905 by pharmacist Claude Hatcher in Columbus, Georgia. Royal Crown was the first company to sell cola in a can in 1954 and would also be the first company to sell cola in an aluminum can.

The cherry flavored RC Cola was one of my favorite cherry cola drinks, which came closer to duplicating the flavor of a soda fountain cherry coke than most cherry flavored drinks.

Union Bottling Works was the first name of the company and it was later changed to Chero-Cola, then the name of the company was changed to Nehi in 1928.

Nehi Orange Soda.

 

There were few sodas, that were as refreshing as a cold Nehi orange soda, on a hot summer day in Louisiana in the 50’s and 60’s.

Mr. Hatcher dies on December 31, 1933 and the RC Cola soda we know today was developed in 1934. The Nehi company would change its name to Royal Crown Cola in 1959, due to the immense popularity of RC Cola.

1962 would bring Diet-Rite Cola, which was the first diet cola made by any company.

Royal Crown Cola would go into the fast food business in 1978, by acquiring the Arby’s fast food chain. RC Cola has been purchased by Triarc Companies, Inc. in 1993, Cadbury Schweppes in 2000, and Cott Corporation in 2001.

 

History of Moon PIes

Chattanooga Bakery was founded in 1902 in Chattanooga,Tennessee. There is an interesting story behind how the moon pies became their best known product. Coal miners were wanting something solid and filling, since they didn’t always have time for a real lunch break.

Mr. Earl Mitchell Sr. returned to the store after talking to the miners and noticed employees dipping graham crackers into marshmallow and leaving them in window to dry. They then came up with the idea of adding another cookie on top of the graham crackers and adding chocolate covering to the cookies. The first moon pie was sold in 1917 and went on to become one of the most popular products for the Chattanooga Baking Company.

Hundreds of thousands of moon pies were sent to soldiers serving overseas during World War II. Racegoers to NASCAR races in the 50’s were known to carry moon pies with them to the races.

The first Double Decker Moon Pie was manufactured in 1964 and it is my personal favorite, since it has three cookies and two layers of marshmallow in each Double Decker Moon Pie.

Moon pies started being thrown in Mardi Gras parades in the 1970’s, since they were softer, than the Cracker Jack boxes that had been thrown in previous parades.

Mini moon pies which debuted in 1998.

The larger moon pies were ruining the appetites of kids, before dinner so a mini moon pie was developed to give the kids the taste of a moon pie, without filling them up so much, that they wouldn’t eat their dinner.

Sam Walton the former owner of Wal-Mart was telling about how he motivated his employees, by having them tell about their favorite product. Walton then proceeded to talk about his favorite product and brought out a box of moon pies and extolling the virtues of the moon pies.

 

World’s Largest Moon Pie

The world’s largest moon pie weighs 50 pounds and consists of 14 pounds of marshmallow, 6 pounds of chocolate and contains 45,000 calories and is 40 inches wide. A person would be well advised to not try to eat it in one sitting.

 

 

 

 

Blast From the Past: Burger Chef

Burger Chef was founded in 1954.

 

Burger Chef at one time was the chief competition for McDonalds, but the company no longer existed after the last restaurant was closed 14 years ago in 1999.

The Burger Chef restaurant chain started with the opening of a fast food restaurant in Indianapolis, Indiana in the 1950’s.

 

Burger Chef featured a 45 cent combo, which consisted of 15 cent hamburger, 15 cent French fries and 15 cent milk shake . This same combo today would cost at least $3 and up since shakes aren’t usually included in combo specials.

This menu shows prices of a combo had skyrocketed to 60 cents with 23 cent hamburger, 22 cent French fries and  25 cent milk shake which was still a real bargain compared to what a value meal costs today.

 

The photo above shows coffee being sold for 12 cents. Try going to Starbucks and asking for a 12 cent cup of coffee and see the looks you get. Five apple turnovers for a $1 also sounds like a good deal. Noticed that you had to spring for an extra four cents to buy a cheeseburger for 27 cents.

 

Burger Chef saved on labor costs by having dogs cooking up the burgers.

 

Burger Chef was sold to General Foods Corporation in 1968. They started a Fun Meal for kids in the early 70’s and sued McDonalds, when they started serving Happy Meals, but lost their case in court.

General Foods would divest themselves of their ownership in Burger Chef, by selling the company to Imasco, a Canadian company which also owned the Hardee’s chain of fast food restaurants.

There may no longer be any Burger Chef’s in operation, but will always have the memory of the store in Alexandria, Louisiana too many years ago to remember.

Burger Chef no longer exists, but their competitor McDonalds is still going strong with over 34,000 stores operating worldwide with 1.7 million employees.

McDonalds may have won the burger wars, but they can’t take the memories away from Burger Chef fans.

 

Not Your Average Resume

 

 

 

 

Resumes can make the difference between being hired and not being hired. The following resumes are not your average resume:

Internet Headaches

My No.1 complaint about the internet is to be reading an article, then a pop-up ad covers up the article, which makes you have to X out the ad, so you can finish reading the article. Guess you can call this kind of pop-up a pop-over since it covers up an article. If the advertiser thinks pop-up ads will make me want to look at their ad, then they are dead wrong, since I will never buy a product, from a company that intrudes on my time on the computer.

Another culprit is the spammer who reads your blog and likes it and posting a phony message, about how much they like your blog, then you see it is a business trying to use your blog to advertise their business.

You Tube videos are another headache, when you expect to see a music video, but instead an advertisement starts playing for 30 minutes or 60 minutes. You are a prisoner to the advertiser, since you have no choice, but to watch their ad if you want to see the music video. I hate inserting a link in my blog, to a You Tube video that first shows an ad, since some viewers won’t want to sit there for 60 minutes watching an ad, before seeing the video.

Some websites are interminably slow to open a page, so eventually I will avoid those websites. For instance I have seen some websites take forever to open, but then go to ESPN which opens almost immediately, despite being graphic intensive website.

Then there are the websites, that require you to sign in with your email address and a password, just to view the content of that website. Another pet peeve of mine is going to a website that lets you read only part of an article, then says you have to pay to read the complete article.

There is nothing more aggravating, than to go to a website and start reading, then the page becomes unresponsive and you have to wait till the page lets you start scrolling again.

One thing that often happens on the internet is to go to a website and you get a message saying you need to download a program, before you can view that website. If you have problems downloading the program, then you have wasted several minutes for nothing.

Bloggers like me have another problem, by posting a photo found in a Google search, then go back to that page later and the photo is gone. Copyrighted photos should not show up in a Google search. I have about 925 posts in my blog, so it is impossible to go through each blog to see which photos or videos have been removed by someone.

Charging to view a website tells me it is time to forget about that website. That is why Facebook will not charge to use Facebook, because Facebookers will leave the site in droves, if they start charging. Facebook doesn’t want to tell their advertisers, that millions have closed out their Facebook accounts, so the advertiser will ask Facebook to reduce their advertising rates and Facebook surely doesn’t want to lose revenue.

The only internet service that I would ever consider paying for is if all the email services begin charging, for using their email service. Email is almost certainly the most widely used service on the internet, especially those that don’t use the social media for one reason or the other.

Note: Readers are welcome to list their complaints about the internet in the comments section. Any comments are appreciated.

Duck Dynasty Stars Holding Out For $200,000 An Episode

The stars of Duck Dynasty are holding out for more money before starting filming on Season 4.

Duck Dynasty attracted over 8 million viewers in their Season 3 premiere, which makes it the most watched show on the A&E cable network. The ratings for last week showed only Walking Dead and The Bible with a higher rating than the show about the Robinson clan from Louisiana.

Phil Robertson who created the Duck Commander duck call played football at La. Tech and started ahead of Terry Bradshaw who went on to win several Super Bowls and was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Robertson turned down a chance to go to the pros, because it interfered with duck season.

This article from ABC News tells more about the Robertson family and how they created a duck call business, with sales in the millions.

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/redneck-millionaires-built-duck-dynasty-duck-call-business/story?id=15961955#.UVTzqjYo6M9

The Robertson family is holding out for $200,000 an episode of the reality show. A&E is currently filming about 15 episodes a season, which would mean A&E would have to pay the Robertson family $3 million a season.

A&E is caught in a bad place. They surely don’t want to pay the family $3 million a season, but on the other hand they don’t want to lose their most watched television program. The Robertson family is in a win-win situation, since even if they get $100,000 an episode they will make $1.5 million. There were two complete seasons filmed last year, so the Robertson family would make $6 million if they get the $200,000 episode that they want and $3 million if they get $100,000 an episode.

The show is a show that the family can watch, in that they don’t have any profanity on the shows and the family was angered by A&E inserting bleeps in the earlier seasons, so it would look like the family was using bad language.

I had never seen a Duck Dynasty show before this week and can see why the show is so popular. Best of all it is filmed in West Monroe, Louisiana, where we lived from 1974-1976.

It is almost a given, that A&E and the Robertson family will work out an agreement, on their pay per episode in Season 4, since A&E doesn’t want to lose this gold mine of a show.

Little Couple Adopts 3 Year-Old, Return to TLC on April 30

Dr. Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein who star in the Little Couple series on TLC are adopting a three year-old child from China.

Dr. Jennifer Arnold had problems conceiving a baby on her own and then they tried having a surrogate mother for their child. That didn’t work either when the surrogate mother suffered a miscarriage. Now Dr. Arnold and her husband Bill Klein have adopted a three year-old boy from China named William.

The parents who star on TLC’s Little Couple series had wanted a child with dwarfism and this child is a dwarf like them.

The show was last seen on May 15, 2012 and will be returning for a sixth season, almost a year later when they return to TLC, for a new season on April 30.

Little Couple has been one of the most drama-free reality shows, since Jen and Bill get along so well. They have to be the most likeable reality stars on television today.

They both apparently make a very good living as Dr. Arnold is a doctor working as a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Bill owns a sales, training  and telecommunication business.

When the new season starts on April 30 we should see some shows about the adoption process and how they are settling into their new home in Houston, plus they have a pet shop in Houston.

This couple has been through a lot in recent seasons, when they hoped Jen would be able to conceive a baby on her own. When that didn’t work they went the surrogacy route and that also failed, so it will be good to see them with their new adopted child in Season 6.

http://www.parents.com/blogs/parents-news-now/2013/03/13/celebrities/tvs-the-little-couple-adopts-baby-boy/

Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars : A Trainwreck Waiting to Happen

Celebrity Apprentice All Stars minus Omarosa and La Toya Jackson shown with Donald Trump.

Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars should provide plenty of drama this season. Donald Trump has assembled a cast guaranteed to spark some fireworks. With Dennis Rodman, Omarosa and Gary Busey in the cast we can expect a lot of in-fighting among the contestants.

Trace Adkins and Bret Michaels were chosen by Trump to pick their teams. Michaels made a huge mistake, by selecting Omarosa first for his team. Trace Adkins’s team chose Plan B, as the name for their team and he was chosen as project manager. Michaels was prepared to be project manager for his team after naming the team Power, but reluctantly let Brande Roderick be the project manager, when she got down on her knees begging Michaels for the job.

The challenge was for each team to make meatballs and sell them to those on street and to celebrities. However, Trace Adkins decided to close his meatball store and sell only to high rollers. Adkins became very upset when Gary Busey went outside and hollered at the people on a tour bus to come in and buy some meatballs. So Adkins team really had little to do, since they more or less waited for the big money to come in. Amy Grant came in and donated $75,000, but the big contributor was T. Boone Pickens who sent his representative with a check for $100,000.

Meanwhile Stephen Baldwin apparently didn’t call anyone as he collected no money. His reasoning was why use up his contributors to help Trace Adkins, when he could use those contributors on a week, when he was project manager.

Power’s meatball store was a beehive of activity, as they scrambled to sell the meatballs to people off the street and to big contributors. Roderick made a huge mistake, by putting Omarosa in charge of keeping track of which contestants had raised how much money. Omarosa was talking about bringing down Bret Michaels.

Boardroom Chaos

Trump called all the contestants into the boardroom and found out, from Steven Baldwin that Baldwin had not collected a penny. Trump said that Baldwin was at a risk of being fired if Team Plan B raised the least money. He then asked Adkins if Baldwin should be fired and Adkins replied in the affirmative.

Piers Morgan who along with Ivanka Trump were the advisors in the boardroom seemed to enjoy trashing Omarosa, who deserved the criticism since she was anything but a team player, by working against her own team member Michaels.

It was then revealed that Team Power had raised $250,333, which included a $20,000 bonus for their meatballs being chosen the best on Live with Kelly and Michael. Then the total for Team Plan B was announced and they raised $419,539. When combined with the money Team Power raised it totaled over $670,000 raised for the American Red Cross, which was Adkin’s charity.

Team B was sent upstairs to watch Team Power while they battled each other in the boardroom. Trump and the two advisors wanted to know who raised how much money but Roderick or Omarosa couldn’t give them a total, in which the numbers didn’t add up. I feel Omarosa was low-balling Michael’s total by mentioning he gave $15,000, while Michaels said he collected over $25,000.

Roderick had raised $132,000, while rapper Lil’ John raised $60,000 according to his total, but $55,000 according to Omarosa. Roderick finally decided to bring Bret Michaels and La Toya Jackson in with her to the boardroom, while the rest of Team Power went upstairs. I have no idea why La Toya Jackson was brought back into the boardroom, since Omarosa didn’t have a clue as to how much each team member had given and her total didn’t match with the total raised by Team Power.

Once Roderick, Michaels and Jackson returned to the boardroom it looked like Michaels would be going home. Trump who repeatedly said that Michaels should not have returned to the show. If he was that concerned about Michaels he could have refused to let Michaels return.

Trump then asked Michaels how he (Trump) could fire Roderick when she raised $132,000, which was over $100, more than what Michaels had raised, then told Michaels he was fired.

The show may be an hour too long, as the boardroom sessions seem to last longer and longer. Don’t know if I will be in the mood to watch this two-hour program week after week.

Fans that love confrontation should see plenty of it as the season progresses. Omarosa by herself provides enough drama to keep the shows interesting and can see her and La Toya Jackson won’t be best friends on the show. There should be more confrontations between her and Piers Morgan, as long as he remains an advisor. I have a feeling Trump will avoid firing Omarosa as long as he can avoid it. He knows her value as a troublemaker on the show, to push buttons of the other contestants.

One question I have about the show is how many times will the celebrities ask their big money contributors to contribute. I can’t imagine T. Boone Pickens donating another $100,000 if Adkins needs to raise money again this season.

One down and 13 contestants to go.

Note: This is the 900th article posted on Nostalgia and Now since it was first published in April of 2009.

Undercover Boss of O’Neil Clothing Offered Weed, Checkers Boss Closes Store On the Spot

Jesus, an employee at O’Neill makes a bad impression on Undercover Boss Toby Bost of O’Neill Clothing by telling him he knows where to get some good weed and asks the boss if he ever thought about opening a pot dispensary.

Toby Bost the CEO of O’Neills Clothing was shocked when he encountered an employee named Jesus in one of his stores. Jesus didn’t win any points by saying the clothes were clothes a five-year old would wear. He won even fewer points by telling his boss, who was disguised as Frederick that he knew where to score some weed. Jesus even went so far as to ask Frederick if he ever thought about opening a pot dispensary. He also revealed he took drugs before going to work to make it through the workday. Bost said in a film snippet that he was worried that Jesus might offer other employees or customers some weed. Surprisingly he didn’t fire him on the spot, but I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had.

Toby Bost left, is shown by employee Jorge how to make a T-shirt at the print shop.

 

Bost then meets the polar opposite of Jesus at the print shop. Jorge loves his job and is patient with Frederick as he shows him to make T-shirts. However, Jorge has a sad back story as he talks to Frederick on a break. He asks Frederick if his children are healthy, then tells about his child having a rare disease and telling about how the child is being fed by a tube.

Won’t go into details about the other employees he encounters, since these were the two most interesting employees to me.

Jesus, Jorge and the other employees featured on the program are sent to meet with someone about how Frederick did on the job. They are really there to meet Toby Bost the CEO of O’Neill Clothing, who reveals his true identity to them. It was not a fun meeting for Jesus, as Bost tells him how disappointed he was in his behavior at the store and mentioned that about the weed and pot dispensary. Jesus asks if he is fired, but Bost says he is not fired but will have to undergo a training program to learn how to treat customers and fellow workers with respect. Jesus thanks Bost for the second chance and at the end of the show it is mentioned that he may even stop smoking.

The meeting with Jorge went much better as Bost thanked him for his company loyalty and then offered a large sum of money to help with the medical expenses of Jorge’s sick child. This is when the show really connects with the audience, when you see someone who did their job the right way be rewarded.

 

 

Rick Silva CEO of Checkers and Rallys fast food restaurants appeared as Alex Garcia, who had a pharmacy go out of business in Philadlelphia. trying to find work in the fast food business.

Rick Silva the CEO of Checkers and Rallys  fast food restaurants went undercover as Alex Garcia in an episode of Undercover Boss. He learned that almost none of the staff had been trained for their jobs. He took particular interest in a worker named Todd who worked hard, but was constantly being hounded by the general manager. Todd needed the job to help support his mom and was trying to go to culinary school to be a chef.

The behavior of the general manager upset Alex enough to talk to him in the parking lot, about how he treated his employees. The general manager named Stevens said he had to yell at them, for them to pay any attention to him. Alex finds out during the conversation that Stevens was thrust into the general manager’s position after completing only three weeks of the six weeks training course. He reveals to Stevens that he is the CEO of Checkers, so he lost his secret identity as Alex to correct the situation.

Alex then apologized to Stevens for not providing more training before he was promoted to the general manager position. Alex tells Stevens that he is closing down the store immediately. He then reassures the employees that they still have their jobs and apologizes to them for not making sure they had been trained properly. He then tells the employees that he is going to have several general managers in the store next day, to train the employees and to get the restaurant back on track.

When Todd goes to meet the boss after Alex has returned to being Rick Silva again he is not shocked since he already knew Alex was really Rick the CEO. Silva tells Todd how much he appreciated him as a worker then tells him he is giving him $15,000 to go to culinary school and to help his mother.

 

These two episodes of Undercover Boss made me realize how good this show is. It shows how CEO’s don’t have a clue, as to what is happening at their stores and how inept they are at doing the work of the employees. It also shows how CEO’s can be compassionate, when they learn about their employees struggling to pay their bills.

This show is reality television at its best. There is more real emotion in the last 15 or 20 minutes of this show, when the CEO’s reveal themselves and help their workers financially, than most reality shows have in an hour.

This article tells more about the Checkers episode and has photos of the show:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2104085/Rallys-Checkers-CEO-Rick-Silva-shuts-restaurant-Undercover-Boss-episode.html

 

 

Magazine Ads From the Past

These ads will bring a lot of memories to the old-timers among us and will let the younger generation know about the days, when you could buy a Coca-Cola for 5 cents and a pack of gum for 5 cents.

Smokesational! Radiolutionary! Smokerette-Radio by Stewart Warner: The only combination smoker and radio set. Magazine Ad, later 1940’s
A combination radio-smoker which provided smokers with a place for their cigarettes, cigars, pipes and tobacco, while listening to their favorite radio programs on this $49.95 radio.
This is the precursor of the Sony Walkman for only $7.95, before shipping and federal tax.

 

A one pound bag of Bazooka Bubble Gum will set you back $7.99 today after inflation kicked in.

 

 

You could look up and down every aisle of every grocery store in the United States today and not find these prices. Two boxes of Wheaties probably cost at least 25 cents nowadays and two pounds of coffee has probably doubled to 50 cents.

 

Barber shop prices of the 1900’s on the left. No date given for the prices on the right.

 

Barber shop prices over a 100 years later. The shave and a haircut of the 1900’s cost a total of 60 cents. That same shave and haircut today costs $33.00.

 

Memories of a Lifetime: 2011-2013

2011 – We were living in Sulphur, Louisiana, a city of about 20,000 at the start of 2011. We were living on Live Oak Street in Sulphur and we found a home church in Calvary Baptist Church on Lewis Street. We were impressed by the pastor Rev. W.D. Darnell, who lived what he preached and only used the King James Version of the Holy Bible. We made many friends, among the members of the church. Rhonda was very involved with the activities at the church and I often sang special music on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Rhonda and me sang duets a couple of times and she sang On The Wings Of A Dove with another lady one time.

Rhonda liked living in Sulphur, since she had a sister and her mom living there. We lived close to the neighborhood, where my daughter and family had lived before moving to Groves, Texas.

I would return to working as a caregiver again in November of 2011. I worked with a disabled man with diabetes and lost the job at the end of the year, when his family changed to another caregiving company.

An international news story was when an earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan took 15,840 lives.

President Obama announces the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1.

Casey Anthony was acquitted of the murder of her daughter Calee Marie Anthony, in a controversial verdict by the jury.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers dies on October 5 of cancer.

House were renting at $955 a month in 2011.

A gallon of gas cost $2.89.

Movie tickets were selling for $8.20.

 

2012 – I worked as a crossing guard at a school in Sulphur for a few weeks, toward the end of the school year. It was interesting work and enjoyed the job. The job could turn out to be the last job I will ever work, since I haven’t worked since becoming sick a couple of months later.

We moved to DeRidder, Louisiana in July and are living in a trailer, that is about halfway between Merryville, Louisiana and DeRidder. We are living in the country and liking it so far.

Knew something was wrong when I began vomiting up blood and lost about 35 pounds in less than two months during the summer. Found out in October in Houston VA Hospital, that I had duodenal cancer. It was a very disease to diagnose, since it mimics acid reflux and duodenal ulcers. It is very rare disease with only two percent of gastrointestinal diseases being duodenal cancer.

Surgeons in Houston performed a resection surgery on Oct. 16 to remove a blockage, which was cancerous and was successful. However I found out in November, that duodenal cancer has a history of returning and has a relatively low survival rate.

Chemotherapy started at the VA hospital in Pineville, Louisiana on Dec.13 and have had three chemo IV’s since that date, with five more to go. Have finished six of a 24 week program of chemotherapy. It seems like the side effects have been worse with each chemo IV. Had difficulty walking in a straight line after the last IV and sort of lurch from side to side.

2012 was a life changing year for us, with us being evicted, moving to a new city and finding out that I had cancer and had surgery a few days later. Spent a total of 32 days in hospital in Houston.

July 20 would be the first of two mass shootings in the United States, when a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado theater.

December 14 would bring the second mass shootings of 2012, when a man kills 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, along with six adults, before killing himself.

A gallon of gas would rise to $3.89 during 2012. It is about 64 cents a gallon cheaper now in 2013.

House rent average goes over the $1,000 mark for the first time, as it rose to $1,045 a month.

A pound of bacon which was $2.96 in 2008 had risen to $4.48 in 2012.

 

2013 – This year should be a very interesting year, as the chemotherapy continues through May and it will be interesting to learn the results of the bloodwork after the last week of chemotherapy. May 21 will be another important date for us as we return to Houston for another C-scan, which will show if the cancer is completely gone or has returned.

We don’t know what this year holds, but we plan to remain positive, even if the news is bad and I don’t plan on being negative, regardless of what happens in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of a Lifetime: 2006-2010

2006 – I would return to my job at Louisiana Community Care, after losing my job with Coastal Culvert. I primarily worked in a group home with seven guys at the time. It was a very demanding job as I had to assist them with their hygiene and washed and dried all their clothes. I would walk in the door at the group home at 4:30 PM and wouldn’t sit down for the first time till about 11 PM, when I had to write down the events of the day for each individual client.

One time a client who ate too fast threw up and I was mopping up the mess and he came up to me and hit me in the head and stomach with a 1-2 punch. Needless to say I was more wary around that client from then on. Another time he woke up during the night wanting chips and when I didn’t give him any he overturned a table and dumped a pitcher of Kool-Aid on the kitchen floor.

I made a point of having all the clothes washed and put away and the floors all swept and mopped, by the time the 12:30 AM relief worker came in. I worked there till around Christmas and retired, since I was now 62 and eligible for Social Security.

Andrew and Rhonda in 2006 at Matthew’s baseball game.

Wikipedia lists very few newsworthy events during 2006 in the United States, with Twitter being launched that year, which turned out to be the most newsworthy event of the year.

Gasoline was selling for $3.03 on August 11, but had dipped to $2.21 by November 17.

 

2007 – We moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in August of 2007, as we followed my daughter, son-in-law, when he was named manager of a Knoxville Domino’s store. About three weeks later, when things didn’t work out well with the job they moved back to Pineville, Louisiana.

Since we had used our savings to make the move we remained in Knoxville till December of 2010.

We had a traumatic event that August, when Rhonda was driving down a Knoxville street and was hit by a car turning out into traffic, from an apartment parking lot. Rhonda sustained a broken foot in the accident and was unable to go for a job interview, that was scheduled the next week. We moved to another apartment in the same apartment complex in September and Justin and me moved everything by ourselves, which was a day long job, since Rhonda was unable to help.

Then I went to work for Luxottica, a company that makes lenses for eyeglasses in Knoxville. It was another typical manufacturing job, with pressure to produce the most lenses in the least time. I was operating four machines at once in the fining department. After finishing the fining, we would take the lenses to the next department the polishing department, which made the lenses look even better. This was another temporary Westaff job, so the job played out soon and was without work again. We were given an eviction notice from the apartment on Thanksgiving Eve, but managed to stay there till I found work the next month.

I went to work as a caregiver with Evergreen Ministries in Knoxville, whose headquarters are located in Haughton, Louisiana in December of 2007. The job went well and I remained there till August of 2008. I was required to take a test, to be allowed to administer meds to the clients and scored 91 on the test. I wasn’t allowed to give meds, till I had passed the test, but it made it easier to work in homes, that needed a certified meds person, since some workers never were certified to give meds.

This was the year that the Va. Tech student killed 30 people. My brother lived next to the campus and was driving on campus toward work, when he saw several police cars speeding toward the site of the shootings.

The big news in technology was the introduction of the iPhone and the Nintendo Wii.

Average income was over $50,000 but doubt many of those people worked at the Alexandria Town Talk.

Price of a gallon of gas was $3.38, which is more than it is now six years later, with it being in the $3.25 range in DeRidder, Louisiana area.

An ounce of gold is $630, compared to when I was growing up, when it was $35 an ounce. Someone that had bought 100 ounces of gold at $35 an ounce for $3500 would have seen their gold raise in value to $63,000 for that 100 ounces in 2007.

 

2008 – Would continue to work for Evergreen Ministries till August of 2008, when Rhonda found a better paying job at Comcast working in their call center. We only had one vehicle, since our Ford Contour had been totaled in the wreck in August of 2007, so only one of us could work.

Would move into this house in Knoxville in 2008:

Our home in Knoxville, Tennessee from August 2008 till December 2010.

 

We joined Piney Grove Baptist Church in Knoxville and would sing special music there many times and would sometimes be a replacement song leader. The prayers of the congregation had a lot to do, with Rhonda surviving a life or death surgery in 2010.

The average income dipped $10,000 during the year to $40,000.

Gasoline had risen one cent to $3.39 in 2008, while a barrel of crude oil was selling for a record $147.

The average rent for a house was now $800 and the housing market totally collapsed as the value of houses declined precipitously.

 

2009 – Rhonda drove me to Groves, Texas to spend time with my daughter’s family in June and attended a Astros-Cubs game on June 9. Rhonda drove back to Knoxville, while to boarded a plane to Knoxville from Houston later. While I was gone a tornado hit our home in Knoxville, but luckily the only real damage was to the deck as a tree fell on it.

A tornado hit our deck in June of 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

Rhonda would experience the first signs of having a serious health problem about November of 2009, when she was sent home from work being very sick. The next year would see Rhonda have her large intestines removed and will have more on that in the 2010 post.

Monthly rent fell to $675 in 2009, while a gallon of gasoline dropped to $2.73, which is about 52 cents cheaper, than it is in 2013. A barrel of oil which had peaked at $147 in 2008 was now only $53 a barrel.

 

2010 – Westaff found me a temporary job working at a call center, which involved taking orders for Talbots a clothing company, which had an office in Knoxville. Temp job is an apt description for this job, since it lasted for about two hours. I completed one transaction and then heard the customer telling someone “If this order comes out right it will be a miracle”. My career as a call center employee came to a screeching halt about two minutes later.

March 1, 2010 was a monumental day for Rhonda, as she had her large intestines removed that day and she also smoked her last cigarette that day and hasn’t smoked since. The surgeon found out she had colon cancer that day, but the colon had already been removed and he also found out that Rhonda had diabetes.

The surgery was on Monday and it was on the Thursday night before Rhonda was to go home, that everything went terribly wrong. She went into septic shock and was moved into intensive care. The doctors were at a loss of what to do, before deciding the next day to perform an ileostomy on Rhonda. Her organs were shutting down and was having problems breathing when the surgery started. The surgery went well, but the surgeon told us, that he didn’t expect Rhonda to be alive the next Monday, after the Friday surgery was performed, but was shocked to see that she was still alive.

Rhonda and me after her second surgery in four days, while she was in a six day coma at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in March,2010.

 

Rhonda was in a coma for six days and didn’t wake up till March 11 on the 16th birthday of Justin. Her sisters had driven from Louisiana to Tennessee, but Rhonda was in the coma the whole time they were there. I did all the housework till Rhonda was feeling able to do it that next summer.

I would return to work at Evergreen Ministries in July of 2010 and would remain there till a couple of days, before we moved to Sulphur, Louisiana. I enjoyed the work and didn’t miss any days of work. Had one close call, when driving the clients home and the brakes failed. I managed to get up on the sidewalk, to avoid hitting a car and drove into a parking lot and stopped the company van.

After the hospitalization and recovery we were ready to return home to Louisiana and left Knoxville. It was 16 the morning we left Knoxville, but when we arrived in Sulphur it was 78 degrees, which is even warm for Sulphur late in December.

Our relatives helped us unload the truck in about a half hour or so. It had taken us three days to load the truck in Knoxville, so it was good to unload it fast.

2010 was a slow news year, with no major story listed at the Wikipedia site.

The Apple iPad is released in 2010.

A gallon of gasoline cost $2.73 and a barrel of crude oil was selling for $73.00 a barrel, which was $20 more than the 2009 price.

Price of gold had skyrocketed to $1237 an ounce, which was $1202 more than the price I remembered as a youngster.

 

 

 

Memories of a Lifetime: 1986-1990

For some reason my memory of the 1986-1990 period in my life is drawing a blank for the most part. Anyone with memories of what happened in Pineville-Alexandria during these years are welcome to comment.

1986 – Halley’s comet appeared in 1986 and won’t reappear till the year 2061. It had last appeared before 1986 in 1911. IBM launches the first laptop computer 27 years ago. Smoking was banned on all public transportation, in the United States which had to be tough for smokers on coast to coast airplane flights. The nicotine patch was invented in 1986. A Plymouth Colt could be purchased for $4,999. A gallon of gas only cost 89 cents. Average rent was $385 a month. Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee were popular movies in 1986.

1987 – A Private First Class in the Army was earning $9,385.20 a year. When I joined the Army in 1962 a recruit earned $936 a year as a E-1. A gallon of gas was 89 cents, the same price as in 1986. The U.S. stock market crashed on October 19 with a 508 point drop. Fox Broadcasting made its debut 26 years ago. A seven-day Caribbean cruise cost $1195.

1988 – The price of a gallon of gasoline remained relatively stable, rising to only 91 cents, after being 89 cents the previous two years. Movie tickets were $3.50 and average rent was now $420. Yellowstone National Park had 250 separate fires in 1988 that destroyed 793,880 acres of the park, which was a third of the total acreage of the park. A Logitech mouse cost $89.99, while a Amiga 500 with a color monitor cost $849.

1989 – I had surgery in July of 1989 at Rapides Hospital. I would be off work for six weeks. I would then work from 1989-2004 at the Town Talk , while missing a total of one day of work and was in the hospital that day, after being admitted from emergency room, due to emergency room physician thinking I may had a blood clot, but it turned out to be a muscle tear. I think I got my work ethic from my dad who didn’t miss a day of work over a 40 year period.

That same month before the surgery I had gone to grocery store to get snacks to watch the 1989 All Star game. By the time I got back an earthquake had hit the San Francisco area and film was being shown of the players leaving the stadium with their families. Then we saw hours of coverage of the devastation in the area. Hard to believe 24 years have passed since that date.

Other big news in 1989 is that the Yugo cars went bankrupt. The Yugo is 39th on the list of worst cars in history. One feature was the rear window defroster, which kept your hands warm, while you pushed it. The car looked like it had been assembled at gunpoint. The article also has this to say about the Yugo:

The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system — such as it was — would  sizzle, and things would just fall off.

1990 – I think this is the year my son Steve played football for the Pineville High School Rebels. He played end and endured practices from summer till the end of the season, but only played in the last game of the season, for only one play and the worst thing is that his mom had left the stadium, by the time he played in the game and I was at work, so no family member was there to see him in that one play. I still respect his work ethic to stick with it all season, even if he didn’t get to play but in that one play.

Gasoline had skyrocketed to $1.34 by 1990. Today gasoline is in the $3.25 range in our area. A Super Nintendo cost $159. Cabbage Patch Kids were $29.99. A six volt Batman car could be purchased for $199 and had a top speed of 3 MPH. A Smith Corona Daisy Wheel Typewriter could be purchased for $179, while a cellular car phone could be bought for $325.

Typical Day In Small Town America 60 Years Ago

This ten minute video shows what life was like in small town America in 1952. It is sickening to read the comments made by those who viewed this video. They turn what was a special time to those of us, who grew up in the 50’s, into a platform for hatred of races.

Even the ugly remarks can’t ruin a video that brings so many fond memories  of the past.

I was eight years old when this video was filmed so can identify with what happened during a typical day 60 years ago.

It was a simpler time, before cell phones, I-pods, laptop computers and HD television sets. The television sets back then still had the huge tubes, that made them so bulky, unlike the lightweight television sets of today.

Growing up in the 1950’s was a special time and this video captures the feeling from having grown up in that era.

Cajun Justice: Latest Cajun Reality Show

 Louisiana has recently been the subject of many television reality shows. The latest is Cajun Justice which can be seen at 9PM CDT and 10PM EDT on Thursdays on the A&E television network.

The Cajuns have their own brand of frontier justice, as can be seen on these shows. This clip is an example of how out of hand things get in Cajun country:

definition-of-cajun-justice-20275390?pfilter=ALL%20VIDEOS#20275390

Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois is the sheriff for Terrebonne Parish. The following page has a short biography of Sheriff Bourgeois and his ten deputies.

http://www.aetv.com/cajun-justice/meet-deputies/keith-bergeron/

Cajun Justice was originally going to be named Cajun Blue, but guess any name with the word Cajun in the title is more likely to attract viewers.

There are presently eight television reality shows, that have been filmed in Louisiana. Four of the shows are being filmed above Alexandria and one is filmed in Alexandria and the other three are being filmed south of Alexandria.

This page tells more about the shows and a map depicts, where the different shows are being filmed:

http://www.louisiana-destinations.com/louisiana-reality-tv-shows.htm

Kris Allen: May Be Time To Pull Plug On American Idol

American Idol producers can’t be too happy with Kris Allen, after he said it may be time to pull the plug on American Idol. It is surprising that he would say that, considering that without American Idol he probably would be singing at grocery store grand openings. It wasn’t that long ago that Lee DeWyze sang at a bowling alley opening, which is not saying much for how the career of Allen and DeWyze is going.

To his credit Allen’s latest album Thank You Camellia has 12 reviewers giving it a 5 star rating out of 15 reviewers.

The following article and video from TMZ.com includes a poll at bottom, that is showing that 74 percent of the voters think American Idol should be canceled, which has to be troubling for American Idol producers and may signal more losses in viewership in Season 12. This is a fairly large sampling of over 51,000 voters, so this tells me there is still some backlash, after Phil Phillips became the fifth guy in a row to win American Idol.

kris-allen-american-idol-finale

After viewing the video, am not sure that Allen said what he reportedly said in the article, unless he made some remarks, not shown in the video. Anyway, the alarming poll results have to be a huge concern.

We can’ t help but wonder if X-Factor and The Voice are killing the American Idol reality star.

Will A Girl Ever Win American Idol Again?

Phillip Phillips became the fifth consecutive boy to win the title of American Idol last night in Hollywood defeating Jessica Sanchez.

It really was no surprise when Ryan Seacrest announced, that Phillip Phillips was the Season 10 American Idol. He became the fifth consecutive boy to win the coveted title. He joins David Cook, Season 7 winner, Kris Allen, Season 8 winner, Lee DeWyze, Season 9 winner and Scotty McCreery, Season 10 winner as American Idol winners, since Jordin Sparks won in Season 6.

Kelly Clarkson won Season 1, while Fantasia Barrino won Season 3, Carrie Underwood won Season 4 and Jordin Sparks was the Season 6 winner and are the only girls to win American Idol in 11 seasons.

The girls won three of the first four seasons, but the guys have won six of the last seven seasons. Jessica Sanchez was a much better singer, than Phillip Phillips, yet saw her American Idol dreams dashed last night.

American Idol needs to address the voting issue, to keep this trend of guys winning from continuing, whether they are best singer or not. The more votes cast, then the more chance of a guy winning. 

I have a feeling that the girls are voting early and often for the guys, especially when 132 million votes were cast on Wednesday night. It may be time to forget about announcing these huge vote totals and allow one vote per person. That change should give the girls a better chance of winning.

Taylor Hicks and Lee DeWyze are two guys that may have never been voted as American Idols, if the voters had been limited one vote. I know that American Idol doesn’t want the final vote for each singer released, but it would give us an idea of how the voting is slanted toward the guys.

Just my opinion but I think Josh Ledet and Jessica Sanchez should have been the two finalists last night, but Phillips voters kept Josh from having a chance to make the final two. 

Jessica was very fortunate that the judges hadn’t used their save on someone like Heejun Han, or she wouldn’t have been saved. It is difficult to believe that she received the fewest votes that week, since she was showing week after week, that she was the best female singer on the show.

American Idol lost almost six million viewers, compared to the 2011 final performances. The final performance show drew a record 31.78 million viewers in Season 5, but only 14.85 million voters tuned in on Wednesday night, a drop of almost 17 million viewers from the record.

The ratings for the finale last night have not been announced, but I look for it to be lowest total for a finale night.

The Voice and X-Factor have caused a huge dent in American Idol ratings. With The Voice and X-Factor returning in September, viewers may have tired of watching reality singing competitions even more, by the time American Idol returns next January. X-Factor is hoping to increase their ratings with the addition of Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, as judges to replace the departed Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul.

American Idol producers will be making changes to the show, hoping to slow the declining ratings. American Idol isn’t the juggernaut it once was, but it is usually near the top in the ratings.

Now American Idol has to deal with Phil Phillips having surgery very soon, since he will need four to six weeks to recover from his surgery and ma y not even be available for rehearsals for the summer tour.

Angel Food Ministries Founders Indicted On Fraud Charges

Linda and Joe Wingo have been charged with fraud in a 49 count indictment listed in a 71 page document that details their misuse of funds in the name of the Angel Food Ministries that provided food at affordable prices for those in need.

The Angel Food Ministries organization has helped less fortunate families put food on their table at reasonable prices.The organization was founded in 1994 by Joe and Linda Wingo. They provided groceries for struggling families for about half the price, of what they could be bought at a grocery store.

However due to the Wingos being indicted on fraud charges, the ministry no longer exists. Greed seems to be the motivating  factor that caused the Wingos to focus more on themselves, than the people they were supposed to be helping.

Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia made this statement about the charges:

 “As alleged in the indictment, these Defendants raised money in the name of Christian charity, and then used a number of schemes to defraud the organization.”

The ministry reportedly had expenses of $17,000, while reporting revenue of $96,000 in 2006. Meanwhile the Wingos and their two sons reported income of $2.1 million for the  year. One of the more egregious law violations was that Joe Wingo set up a corporation to buy a personal jet, then leased the jet to Angel Food Ministries for a $10,000 a month profit.

Menus were posted on website to show what foods were on the menu for a certain month. The following menu shows the food items on the September 2010 menu:

http://www.brownwoodnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3025:angel-food-ministries-september-2010-menu-&catid=36:life&Itemid=59

If convicted of the fraud charges Joe Wingo could receive a 105 year prison sentence, while his wife Linda would receive a 85 year sentence. Linda also told an employee to remove a hard drive from a computer and destroy it to thwart a federal grand jury investigation.

I was doing a search for Angel Food Ministries to see they had a local distribution point, when I encountered many articles about the Wingos being indicted.

Could find no information about a trial, so the prosecutors are probably still gathering evidence and should announce a trial date sometime in the future.

It is sad that a Christian ministry was enriching their own bank accounts, while seemingly concerned about those who couldn’t afford to pay exorbitant prices, for their groceries at local supermarkets.

Angel Food Ministries no longer is an active ministry, thanks to the Wingos who founded the ministry 17 years ago. Instead of focusing on the ministry the Wingos were busy padding their bank account, by using unscrupulous methods to enrich themselves.

The ministry was a good one, until the Wingos saw there was money to be made through the ministry. They funneled money to themselves instead of the ministry, but justice may have finally caught up with them. Wearing shackles to the courtroom may have given them the message, that they are in serious trouble, even though they deny any wrongdoing.

For more information on Angel Food Ministries and the charges against the Wingos:

http://www.christianpost.com/news/angel-food-ministries-founders-indicted-on-fraud-charges-64054/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Food_Ministries

Lizard Lick Towing Averages 2.5 Million This Season

TruTV network’s Lizard Lick Towing drew the largest audience in the 18-34 age demographics, in the first quarter of 2012. The show featuring Ron and Amy Shirley and their co-worker Bobby Brantley average 2.5 million fans per show this last quarter.

Only Hardcore Pawn, which average 3.2 million fans a show, attracted more fans per show than Lizard Lick Towing among TruTV shows in the first quarter.

Lizard Lick Towing fans will be glad to know that there will be new episodes of the show returning on June 11.

Big Juicy Coming To Clayton, Louisiana


Big Juicy will be appearing at Clayton Park in Clayton, Louisiana on May 5 at 10:00 AM, then will be appearing as part of All Star Pro Wrestling’s Last Man Standing match.  Big Juicy will partner up with Hank Wiley better known as Pretty Boy George against Giant Kamala, Jr. and his manager Jounger Jean.

It is two months away but Big Juicy is looking forward to the new season starting June 11, making these comments about the return of the show:

TO ALL OF THE LICK NATION!!!! WE WILL BE BACK IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS SO BE PATIENT, GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT AND TRUST US, THIS NEXT SEASON OF LIZARD LICK TOWING IS GOING TO BE CRAZIER THAN A THREE EYED DOG IN A HUBCAP FACTORY!!!!!

Lizard Lick Trivia: Bobby Brantley started working at Lizard Lick Towing after Ron had repossessed his truck.

To stay up to date with what is going on with Ron, Amy and Bobby you can go to the website to see if they are appearing in your area:

http://www.lizardlicktowing.com/

There are a lot of towing shows on television, but none of them are as much fun as Lizard Lick Towing. Ron, Amy, Bobby and Big Juicy like to have fun, but they take care of business when someone tries to cross them.

This is a list of all the episodes from Season 1 and Season 2 of Lizard Lick Towing:

http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/lizard-lick-towing/episodes-season-1/328821

World of Kardashians Crumbling?

The Kardashian family franchise may be showing signs of crumbling in the last few months. First of all there was the backlash, after Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries. There are questions now if their wedding was genuine or a made for television sham that had nothing to do with reality.

Kourtney Kardashian is having a second baby born out-of-wedlock with Scott Dissick the father. That only shows a weakening of family values in American society, when a family with one child out-of-wedlock has another one on the way. Apparently Kourtney is still waiting for Dissick to prove his worth as a father for the children, but to me that should have been decided long ago. Of course Ryan Seacrest who produces Keeping Up With the Kardashians wants this kind of tension between Kourtney and Scott to continue, since drama drives ratings and the more drama the better for the E network.

 

Khloe and Lamar Move To Dallas

The relationship of Lamar Odom and his wife Khloe is being tested by the trade, that sent Odom to the Dallas Mavericks from the Los Angeles Lakers. Odom has not played well since joining the Mavericks and it could be that he is still incensed over being traded, so is not the player he was with the Lakers. He is too good of a player, to suddenly become a terrible player.

Odom is earning over $8 million this season and will continue to be paid his salary. The situation can’t be helped by the filming of Khloe and Lamar. All the drama during the filming may make for good television, but it can’t be good for the relationship or for Odom’s basketball career.

The situation became even worse last week when Odom was demoted to the developmental team but in the last 22 minutes that move has been rescinded. The same player who was voted the best sixth man in NBA last year is having a season to forget.

 A quick look at Odom’s percentage numbers this season compared to last season show badly he is playing this year. His field goal percentage has dropped from .530 last season to .357 this season. His free throw percentage fell from .675 to .577 and his scoring has almost been cut in half from 14.4 points per game last season to only 7.7 points per game this season.

 

Back To Lawsuit

Meanwhile back to the lawsuit, it raises the question, of if celebrities who endorse products should be financially liable, if that product is not as advertised. Assuming that the Kardashians actually used QuickTrim, they should have some idea of whether it is a good product or not. If they knew it was not as advertised and continued to endorse it, then they may be liable. However, it may be impossible to prove in a courtroom, that they knowingly endorsed a less than effective product, while knowing that product was not worthy of their endorsement.

One positive outcome from the suit is that it may warn celebrities, to really check out the products they are endorsing and not just assume they are as advertised.

This situation is reminiscent of when Pat Boone appeared in commercials touting Acne-Statin which was supposed to clear up skin blemishes. This Wikipedia entry tells about what happened to Boone, when it was proved that Acne-Statin was not what it was cracked up to be:

In 1978, Boone became the first target in the Federal Trade Commission‘s crackdown on false claim product endorsements by celebrities. He had appeared with his daughter Debby in a commercial to claim that all four of his daughters had found a preparation named Acne-Statin a “real help” in keeping their skin clear. The FTC filed a complaint against the manufacturer, contending that the product did not really keep skin free of blemishes. Boone eventually signed a consent order in which he promised not only to stop appearing in the ads but to pay about 2.5% of any money that the FTC or the courts might eventually order the manufacturer to refund to consumers. Boone said, through a lawyer, that his daughters actually did use Acne-Statin, and that he was “dismayed to learn that the product’s efficacy had not been scientifically established as he believed.”[14

It will be interesting to follow the class action suit against the Kardashians, to see if they have to make restitution or whether they can emerge from the lawsuit, without having to pay anyone.

There are plans for even more Kardashian spin-off shows on the E channel. It is surprising that people still watch these shows knowing there is very little reality involved in the so-called reality shows. Ryan Seacrest is getting richer and is making all the Kardashians richer from these shows. 

Maybe the Kardashian family will be more cognizant of the fans that buy the products they endorse and make more of an effort to insure that those products do what the Kardashians say they will do.

Their world may not be crumbling, but there are signs of cracks in the foundation.

 

 

 

Where Have All The Delivery People Gone?

A man shown delivering blocks of ice to a home from a Oscar Mayer truck so the residents could keep their food cold in their icebox.

There was a time back in the 50’s and 60’s when a multitude of delivery men, or women delivered products to a typical home. Back in the day there were delivery people for milk, eggs, ice, groceries and the local cleaners would pick up clothes and deliver them when finished cleaning them. The florists would also deliver flowers to a home. Today a florist is  about the only one still delivering to a home, among those delivery people mentioned above. There were more people back then who didn’t own a car, so delivery was the only option in some cases.

There were ice cream trucks playing their music, as they drove through neighborhoods both back then and they can still be heard years later selling ice cream to neighborhood kids.  However they were not considered delivery people, since they didn’t deliver from house to house, but only stopped when they made a sale. 

An ice cream truck playing The Entertainer. There is some online grocery websites that do deliver groceries today, but probably are limited only to larger cities:

Home delivery for the most part has disappeared from the American scene, but those of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s will always remember the delivery people of those years.

Louisiana Gambling History: From Smashing Slot Machines To 22 Casinos Operating Today

Gov. Robert F. Kennon was governor of Louisiana from 1952-1956.
It was almost 60 years ago when Louisiana State Police Superintendent Francis Grevemberg started making surprise raids on gambling establishments in the 50’s and seized and smashed slot machines, rendering them to the point of which they were completely useless.
 
Grevemberg and his associates made 1,000 raids and destroyed 8,229 slot machines during 1952-1956 when Gov. Robert F. Kennon was the governor of Louisiana.
 
Gangster Frank Costello was forced out of the slot machine business in New York City when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia destroyed the machines and pushed them into a watery grave in the 30’s.
 
Senator Huey P. Long sensing a chance to make some quick money offered Costello a deal, where he could set up his slot machines in Louisiana, with Long demanding ten percent of the profits.
 
That is how Louisiana became saturated with slot machines and Grevemberg was given the task of ridding the state of slot machines.
 
Former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards was a Crowley attorney at the time and argued that the slot machines were legal, since they were being taxed by the state. For more on the raids and the history of slot machines see this Eunice Today article:
 
 
 
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Francis Grevemberg shown smashing slot machines during a raid in the 50’s on a gambling establishment during the Gov. Robert F. Kennon administration.
 
Governor Earl K. Long took office in 1956 and ordered a stop to the destruction of slot machines. Little did Long or anyone else for that matter foresee that the gambling industry was down, but not down for the count.
 
Now it is almost 60 years later and slot machines are in operation, by the thousands in Louisiana casinos. There are now 22 casinos in operation currently in the state of Louisiana.
 
With the proliferation of casinos today in Louisiana, the chances of slot machines being destroyed are slim and none. The taxes from the casinos are pouring into Louisiana coffers and any opposition to gambling casinos is probably a waste of time.
 
So instead of smashing slot machines being smashed, they are kept in good repair, so the state of Louisiana can continue to reap tax dollars from their use.
 
 
 

Simon Cowell Wants Sing-Off With American Idol, The Voice and X-Factor Winners

Simon Cowell is so desperate to elevate X-Factor winner, up to the same playing field as American Idol and The Voice winners, that he is proposing a sing-off between the winners of the three shows.

For instance if was held between the winners last year, it would pit Scotty McCreery, Javier Colon and Melanie Amaro against each other with Cowell being the host.

American Idol producer Nygel Lythgoe has stated that the American Idol winner would have been a star, before the competition and is opposed to the idea.

To further complicate things for X-Factor, there are rumors circulating that The Voice will have another season this fall, which would give them two winners the same season, not to mention possibly competing directly against X-Factor, depending on the scheduling of the two shows.

X-Factor is in third place in ratings among the three shows, since even The Voice has bettered the X-Factor ratings so far in 2012. American Idol is showing signs of weaker ratings, but when they get into the live shows it will be the real test, since some fans don’t really follow the show until they know the 12 finalists.

The Voice doesn’t have the mass auditions, like American Idol and X-Factor, so they can have a second season this year, which would be Season 3 of the singing competition.

The way I look at it is that the singers have competed enough by the time they win one of the singing competitions and are ready to start their career, instead of appearing in yet another singing competition.

If The Voice does have a second season this calendar year, we could see even more erosion in the ratings. There is such a thing as overkill and The Voice and X-Factor could see falling ratings if they go head-to-head this fall.

http://www.vh1.com/news/articles/1679472/american-idol-voice-x-factor-simon-cowell.jhtml

1968-1969: Years of Assassinations, Moonwalks and Protests

 

 

 

Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

 1968 and 1969 were years defined by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, American astronauts being the first to walk on the moon, anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the New York Jets and the New York Mets were surprise Super Bowl and World Series winners.

 

Super Bowl II would be won by the Green Bay Packers when they defeated the Oakland Raiders on January 14.

 

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood would be seen for the first time on February 19, 1968.

 

March 16, 1968 would be one of the low points of the Vietnam War when between 374-504 unarmed civilians were killed at My Lai by United States troops. 2nd Lt. William Calley was charged with 22 of the deaths and sentenced to life imprisonment, but only served three-and-a-half years of house arrest.

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced on March 31 that he would not be running for president in the 1968 election. His decision resulted in the Democrats only having one president elected in the next 24 years, when Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976. It would be 1993 before Bill Clinton took office as the 42nd president and he would become the first Democratic president to serve two complete terms since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 

April 4, 1968 started a year of assassinations and demonstrations, when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of his Memphis motel room. Ironically only seven days later the Civil Rights Act bill was passed by Congress, which outlawed racial discrimination, which Dr. King had been fighting before his death.

 

Then only two months and one day after the assassination of Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated while celebrating a win in California primary during his 1968 presidential bid. Sirhan Sirhan is arrested for the murder of Kennedy.

 

 If Kennedy had lived to win the Democratic nomination, he may have defeated Richard Nixon in the 1968 election. Instead Nixon defeated Senator Hubert Humphrey by half a million votes.

 

The Yippies led by Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman would descend on Chicago and the streets of Chicago turned into a riot zone as the Yippies and other radical groups battled Chicago police, U.S. Army and National Guard, while the Democratic convention was being held.

 

The chaos on the streets of Chicago poured onto the Democratic Convention floor when Senator Abraham Ribicoff denounced the use of Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago. His remarks enraged Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago would could be seen yelling at Ribicoff.

 

Anti-war protesters in Chicago may have hurt their own cause. In retrospect they may have protested at the wrong convention since the Democrats were more on their side than the Republicans. The Republican convention in Miami was turmoil free, in contrast to the chaos in Chicago.

 

Richard Nixon would go on to defeat Senator Humphrey in the general election.

 

1969 was another year with many newsworthy events and January 12 of 1969 would see the New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts 16-7, after Jets quarterback Joe Namath had predicted the Jets would upset the Colts.

 

Richard Nixon would take office as the 37th president on January 20. The Beatles who had first sang in America almost five years ago would hold their last public concert on January 30.

 

Sirhan Sirhan admits assassinating Bobby Kennedy on March 3. Ironically seven days later James Earl Ray would plead guilty to assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King. Later that month former President Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 8 years after finishing his second term as president.

 

The first American troop withdrawals of the Vietnam War were made on July 8. Senator Teddy Kennedy would end any hope of becoming president, when he drove his car off a bridge on July 18, in what became known as the Chappaquiddick incident. Mary Jo Kopechne would die at the age of 28 in the submerged car.

 

Two days later on July 20, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon. It had to be ranked as one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. The first flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903 would have been another major advance in the 20th century. Their flight led to commercial flights by airlines in later years.

 

August 9, 1969 was a day of violence as Charles Manson followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others. The next day August 10, they would murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home.

 

August 15, 1969 will always be remembered as the day the Woodstock Music Festival kicked off on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The promoters were expecting 50,000 fans, but those numbers were very conservative, considering 500,000 fans showed up.

 

August 17 would be another deadly day, this time because of Hurricane Camille which hit the Mississippi coast killing 248 people and causing damage of $1.5 billion.

 

The first ATM was installed in Rockville Centre, New York on September 2, while on the same day Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam died.

 

The Chicago Eight trial begin on September 24 in Chicago, but was changed to the Chicago Seven, when Bobby Seale a Black Panther was sentenced to four-year sentence for contempt of court.

 

Another New York sports team would win a championship, when the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Seven years earlier the Mets had been the laughingstock of baseball when they posted a 40-120 record in 1962.

 

On a lighter note Sesame Street would be seen for the first time on the National Education Network on November 10.

 

While 250,000-500,000 demonstrators were protesting against the war in Washington, D.C. on November 15, Dave Thomas is busy opening the first Wendy’s in Columbus Ohio.

 

American astronauts would walk on the moon, only four months after the initial landing, four months prior to the Apollo 12 landing. Pete Conrad and Alan Bean would both walk on the moon.

 

With the year drawing to a close, a draft lottery was put in place on December 1 and would be the last major event of 1969.

 

A quick rundown of the events in 1968-1969:

 

1968

 

Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy Assassinated

Unarmed Vietnamese Citizens Killed By U.S. Troops

President Lyndon B. Johnson Announces He Will Not Run For Presidency

Anti-war protesters riot during the Democratic National Convention

Richard Nixon is elected president in general election.

 

1969

 

Richard Nixon takes office of presidency

Withdrawal of Vietnam troops commences

Teddy Kennedy drives car off bridge in Chappaquiddick incident

Four astronauts become first men to walk on moon

Charles Manson followers kill seven in two days

500,000 anti-war protesters attend Woodstock Music Festival

Hurricane Camille kills 248 persons

First ATM installed in Rockville Centre, New York

Ho Chi Minh Dies

Chicago 7 Trial Begins in Chicago

250,000-500,000 demonstrate in anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.

Dave Thomas opens first Wendy’s

Sesame Street shown for the first time on National Education Network

Draft lottery is instituted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Factor: Steve Jones, Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul Leaving the Show

Three of the five X-Factor cast from the 2011 season won’t be returning for the 2012 season, since Steve Jones, Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger have been told by Fox that they won’t be part of the 2012 show leaving only Simon Cowell and L.A. Reed from last season.

 

 

Simon Cowell  may have made a huge mistake, when he predicted X-Factor would draw 20 million fans. He may have raised the expectations so high, that it doomed the first season of the show. The show never got past the 13 million mark and mostly drew, between 10 and 12 million viewers for most of the shows.
 
Now with the first season over, the host Steve Jones and a judge, Nicole Scherzinger  have been told they will not be returning and it has just been announced today that Paula Abdul has also received the same news.
 
Jones Departure No Surprise
 
It was not a huge surprise that Jones would be leaving, since he seemed out of his element on the show and seemed discombobulated and not tuned in to what was going on around him. The firing of Scherzinger was not entirely unexpected, since her lack of decisiveness sent Rachel Crow home. She couldn’t make a decision, forcing the judge’s panel to be in a deadlock. The show then had to use the America’s vote, which ended the dream of winning X-Factor for Crow, when it was disclosed Crow had garnered the fewest votes that week.
 
Personally, I thought Paula Abdul did an efficient job as a judge, but apparently the producers wanted a more goofy Paula. She was paid only a million dollars for her work as a judge. She had reportedly left American Idol when she found out that Ryan Seacrest was being paid millions more as a host than she was being paid as a judge.
 
Paula Given Groups To Mentor
 
When Paula was given the groups to mentor, it showed the producers didn’t want her team to win, which was evident in the voting. Groups are an afterthought in singing competitions, since viewers identify more readily with a solo artist.
 
Cowell is wanting to take the show in another direction. With him and L.A. Reid  the only returnees from the 2011 season, it will be interesting to see just what that other direction will entail.
 
My hope is that the group category will be eliminated from next year. How can a viewer identify with a group, especially when the show made groups out of solo singers? It takes time to form a group and make them a cohesive unit and the new groups weren’t allowed the luxury of having that time.
 
Cowell May Scale Back On Production Numbers
 
Cowell, who didn’t seem to go for the big production numbers, may try to scale back on the glamor and glitz and focus more on the singers and their performance. He will definitely need a host who is more comfortable onstage than Steve Jones. I am sure he would like to have Seacrest as his host, but Mr. Seacrest has so much on his plate already, doubt that will happen
 
It will be critical that the new judges  will connect with the audience and be prepared to make hard decisions, without falling apart like Scherzinger did last season.
 
Paula-Simon Pairing Didn’t Draw Viewers
 
The general consensus was that Simon and Paula being together would help the ratings. However, that didn’t seem to be the case with X-Factor drawing 7 or 8 million viewers per show less than American Idol.
 
It is not like X-Factor was a complete failure, since most shows would be tickled to have 12 million viewers tuning most weeks. More viewers mean more money from the sponsors and Cowell realizes that.
 
Cowell has eight months to fine tune X-Factor, assuming the next season will start in September again. So we have to wait till then. to see what direction Cowell is taking the show.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Big Bang Theory Tops American Idol In Early Ratings

Those that are saying there are too many singing competition shows, gained some more ammunition last night, when Big Bang Theory drew 15.5 million viewers to 15 million viewers for American Idol.

It was the second consecutive week that Big Bang Theory topped American Idol in the ratings. The Voice and X-Factor may have played in a part in the American Idol decline in ratings.

Too Many Singing Competition TV Shows?

Apparently music fans don’t like the idea of three singing competition shows, when considering that American Idol drew over 20 million fans in almost every show last year, but this year is floundering around the 15 million mark lately. Most shows would be happy to have 15 million tuning in, but for Idol it is a staggering blow to attract only 15 million fans.

Now the question is if the three judges really disagreed on the talents of some of the singers on the show last night, or was it a ploy to increase ratings in the future. Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson have got along well, for the most part since the three became the judging team in Season 10. Maybe it was a one-time thing, but it seems like the American Idol judges, may be trying to emulate the tension between Simon Cowell and the other judges on X-Factor.

Producers May Be Contemplating Changes

The producers are probably re-evaluating the show, now that the show is not No.1 in its time slot. American Idol has been a juggernaut in the ratings, but now Big Bang Theory has shown they can post even better ratings.

The Voice Returns on Super Bowl Sunday

The Voice will return on Super Bowl Sunday for another season. That could make things worse for American Idol having two singing competition shows on each week.

I don’t think anyone thought we would see a situation comedy beating the No.1 singing competition show, but Big Bang Theory has done just that.

Ratings May Jump During Hollywood Week

American Idol may regain the top spot when they get into Hollywood week, with all the drama that comes with Hollywood week. I still remember someone tell Scotty McCreery he wasn’t good enough for his group, then Scotty went on to become the American Idol, showing he was more than good enough for their group.

The ratings should be even better when the singers for the live show are chosen, then once they are chosen viewers may pick a favorite and watch till their favorite is voted off.

American Idol doesn’t seem to be that different from past years. It may just be the victim of overkill when it comes to singing competition shows and American Idol is paying the price by receiving lower ratings.

 

 

 

Have The Voice and X-Factor Killed Off The American Idol Star?

Erika Van Pelt a DJ and wedding singer was the best singer on the Thursday night American Idol show.

Hallie Day had one of the most impressive auditions on American Idol on Thursday night’s show and has a great chance of being in the Final 12 in Season 11. Hallie should go far in the competition, if she can get past Hollywood week which has been known to end singing careers, before they even get off the ground.

Fewer Viewers Than Last Year

American Idol drew less fans on Thursday night, than they drew in any audition or Hollywood show last year. 21.89 million was the lowest number of viewers, in the auditions before the final 24 show last year. 

Only 14 million viewers tuned into American Idol last night, which was less than any show last year. It could be that fans are experiencing singing competition burnout after a heavy dose of American Idol, The Voice and X-Factor. It will be interesting to see if The Voice makes a dent into the American Idol franchise, when it debuts on Feb. 5 on Super Bowl night.

The magic was still there for me in both American Idol shows telecast this week. However, The Voice and X-Factor fans may not be as likely to watch American Idol as in the past.

There is still little likelihood that Javier Colon and Melanie Amaro, who won The Voice and X-Factor respectively, will come close to having the name recognition of Scotty McCreery, who may have won only $250,000 but has sold over a million albums in three months.

It is not likely that The Voice and X-Factor have killed off the American Idol star, since American Idol drew over 20 million in almost every show in 2011, while X-Factor maxed out at 12.59 million on finale night. The American Idol finale drew 29.29 million when Scotty McCreery was voted the American Idol.

The American Idol franchise may be a little shaky, but I look for ratings to get better as fans choose their favorites and follow them as long as they survive the cuts during Hollywood week.

 

 

American Idol: Still King of the Singing Competition Hill

The return of American Idol last night signaled that the No. 1 singing competition show, by far outshines The Voice and X-Factor. The other shows have their moments, but neither show comes close to matching the drawing power of American Idol.

Shaun Kraisman was one of the most interesting contestants, as he did an excellent Ryan Seacrest impression, but didn’t advance to Hollywood despite singing very well in my book, but the judges didn’t agree.

My personal favorite was Shannon Magrane, the daughter of former major league pitcher and MLB Network analyst Joe Magrane. The judges coaxed Shannon into bringing her family to the audition room, so they learned, that she was going to Hollywood the minute the judges told her the good news.

The last singer at the Savannah, Georgia audition was Phillip Phillips, who impressed the judges so much that he was asked to sing a second song. Phillip will be a singer to watch when the Hollywood week round starts.

American Idol was a breath of fresh air after The Voice and it’s chairs that turned around, to reveal the singer that was singing, if  the judge liked the song, plus it reminded us how much we disliked the constant bickering of the X-Factor judges. The bickering between Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul was a huge distraction, not to mention the annoying host Steve Jones, who seemed to annoy the judges, as much as the fans.

There is no doubt that American Idol is still the best singing competition. It may be difficult to follow-up the success of Season 10, when Scotty McCreery won the title of American Idol. Even more impressive was that Scotty sold a million copies of his debut album, only three months after being released. His sales far eclipsed those of Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze, whose record sales never did take off.

It is safe to say that Scotty is the most successful recording artist, after winning American Idol, since 2005 when Carrie Underwood won Season 4.

We won’t know until May who wins Season 11 of American Idol, but fans will have fun watching the shows, till the winner is revealed by Ryan Seacrest.

Cajun Pawn Stars: Hometown Reality Show

Jimmie DeRamus, owner of Silver Dollar Pawn Shop in Alexandria, Louisiana is being featured in Cajun Pawn Stars which recently debuted on the History Channel.

It may never draw the viewers garnered by the original Pawn Stars on the same channel.

There have even been reports, that the owners of the original Pawn Stars show, filmed in Las Vegas, were less than pleased, when they found out about the spinoff show.

They reportedly had not been notified by the network, that the Cajun Pawn Stars show was even in the works. They claim to have  in their contract, that there would be no spinoffs, from the original Pawn Stars shows.  They are probably concerned, that with two reality pawn shop shows, on the air will lower the rating for their original Pawn Stars show.

For those who don’t get the History Channel on their cable service, they will be pleased to know, that the shows can be viewed, in their entirety at the History channel website.

I recently watched the first two shows and the main difference, between the two shows is that DeRamus offers more money for items brought to his pawn shop. DeRamus even offered twice the value for one item. That is not normal practice for most pawn shops.

Having grown up across the river from Silver Dollar Pawn Shop it makes it more interesting to watch. Folks from the area are probably seeing people, that they actually know on the show. I have been in the store a couple of times myself.

DeRamus really wanted the first record ever made by Jerry Lee Lewis, that the expert verified was authentic, but the owner, who just happens to be married to Jerry Lee’s sister, decided he couldn’t part with the record, even though the offer by DeRamus was more, than what the record had been valued at.

He also tried to buy a pair of $5,000 and $10,000 sister bills, but came up empty, when the owner turned down his $500,000 offer, then DeRamus upped that offer, but it was no deal.

The pygmy goat that was leaving souvenirs, for someone to clean up was sold for $40, after DeRamus declined to buy it for $60.

The show to me was an excellent representation, of life in Central Louisiana. It may not be able to compete with the flashy Pawn Stars reality show, being filmed in Las Vegas, but I look for it to catch on, as the weeks go by. This show seems to give more background on the customers, than the Las Vegas based Pawn Stars show, which for the most part, doesn’t come close to offering the money,  that is offered on Cajun Pawn Stars.

It was almost like going home again for me, since we live 125 miles from Alexandria now.

X-Factor Season Drawing To Close

X-Factor has sent four acts home in the last two weeks, with the finale only 17 days away. We have seen LeRoy Bell, Lakoda Rayne, Astro and Drew sent home during the last two weeks. The field has been reduced from nine singers to five singers, over the last two weeks so the season will soon be drawing to a close.

The first three acts mentioned above, that were sent home were no surprises, but to see Drew sent home last week, tells me that the voters will have an even tougher decision, each week the rest of the way.

Before looking at the final five acts remaining, would like to congratulate Astro, on handling his elimination so well. After acting very childish two weeks ago, when he found himself in the bottom two and threatened to not even sing, he has acted much better, but the damage probably had already been done.

Astro was a one trick pony for the most part, working his rapping into whatever the theme was for a particular week, without really singing. However, Astro was very good at writing and rapping, which should result in his being signed by a record label.

Final Five Singers

Chris Rene – Chris will probably suffer the fate of Astro this week, unless he can come up with two great performances, with each contestant being required to sing two songs this week. Chris is my personal favorite, since it would be a great story if he won, since he would be going, from being a drug addict picking up garbage, to winning a $5 million recording contract. He may pick up some of Astro’s voters, since he is only remaining rapper on the show.

Marcus Canty – Marcus has been living on the edge lately, finding himself in the bottom two often, but his ballad that saved him last week, was one of the best performances of the entire season. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the bottom two again next week. I look for Marcus and Chris to be in the bottom two this week.

Melaine Amaro- Melanie is the best singer in my book, that remains in the competition. I can see her winning on finale night in two weeks. She is definitely the best female singer remaining.

Rachel Crow – Rachel is another that just may win this competition, because of her likeability factor. She sings well, but not at the level of Melanie or Josh. Rachel will be a star in some form of entertainment world, in the near future. She is tailor-made for the Disney Channel and may wind up there, if she doesn’t receive the $5 million recording contract.

Josh Krajcik – Josh has a powerful voice, which could be his ticket to winning the recording contract. However I can’t see him drawing more votes than Rachel or Melanie. I am surprised that Nicole Scherzinger, the mentor for Josh hasn’t had him adopt a cleaner look, as far as facial hair is concerned. His fan base probably won’t come close to that of someone like Rachel.

Predicted Winner

My prediction is that Rachel Crow will win the $5 million recording contract, unless she falters badly in the last two weeks. Melanie is by far a better singer and can belt a tune with the best of them, but I have a feeling that Rachel’s voters are very loyal and could propel her to victory.

Summary

Simon Cowell’s gaffe of having Drew remain seated in a chair, probably cost Drew her dream of winning X-Factor. My personal thought is that the singers should be able, to choose their own songs. Simon knows he is the reason, that Drew made an early exit from the show.

If the singers choose the wrong song, at least they will know, that  they didn’t lose because of a mentor making a bad song choice. It was heartbreaking to see Drew so upset, about being eliminated and it hurt Simon too, since he knew it was his fault.

The ratings prediction by Simon that predicted 20 million viewers, for X-Factor never materialized. The show is drawing about half that many viewers, with rating numbers close to the 10 million mark.

X-Factor may never be the ratings juggernaut, that American Idol has been, but it is still drawing well enough to win the nights, on which it appears.

 

EDITORS NOTE: I am now working a full-time job, after being retired for the last year, so the posts will be sporadic, as long as I am working. Thank you to the readers for understanding the situation.

Andrew Godfrey

 

 

Evolution of Phones: From Wall Phones to iPhones That Convert Speech Into Text

This wall phone reminds me of the wall phone at my grandpa's farm in Allendale Missouri on his 80 acre farm, back in the late 50's.
This rotary phone was seen in most American homes in the 50's and 60's.
This touch tone phone was found in almost any office for many years for office workers with a phone at their desk.
The latest cell phone today is the Apple iPhone 4s which looks nothing like the phones we grew up with over 50 years ago.

I remember back in the old days, when we would have to rent our phones from Bell South, paying a monthly charge to use the phones.

Now after the evolution of the phone from a wall phone, to a rotary phone, then to a touch tone phone found in most offices and also used at home.

It seems like it was only yesterday, when we only used phones to make phone calls and receive phone calls. Nowadays cell phones not only make and receive calls, but allow you to not call at all by using texts to transmit messages back and forth.

Cell phones have become a multi-purpose electronic device that enables owners to listen to music, watch television shows, movies and videos.

They can be used to play games, pay bills, make bank transactions on the phone, take notes, take photos and shoot HD quality videos. The iPhone 4s also can browse the web and remind you of an important event, that is approaching. If you get lost, you can use a built-in GPS to find your way.

The Apple 4s also has an intelligent assistant named Siri which will let you use your voice to ask questions:

It knows what you mean.

Siri not only understands what you say, it’s smart enough to know what you mean. So when you ask “Any good burger joints around here?” Siri will reply “I found a number of burger restaurants near you.” Then you can say “Hmm. How about tacos?” Siri remembers that you just asked about restaurants, so it will look for Mexican restaurants in the neighborhood. And Siri is proactive, so it will question you until it finds what you’re looking for.

This is taking smart phones to a whole new level.

It helps you do the things you do every day.

Ask Siri to text your dad, remind you to call the dentist, or find directions, and it figures out which apps to use and who you’re talking about. It finds answers for you from the web through sources like Yelp and WolframAlpha. Using Location Services, it looks up where you live, where you work, and where you are. Then it gives you information and the best options based on your current location. From the details in your contacts, it knows your friends, family, boss, and coworkers. So you can tell Siri things like “Text Ryan I’m on my way” or “Remind me to make a dentist appointment when I get to work” or “Call a taxi” and it knows exactly what you mean and what to do.

One of the best features is that the iPhone 4s takes dictation, then converts your spoken words into text. If you are sitting at a dinner table, trying to make conversation with a 4s user, it will be a futile endeavor, since they will be too busy using the features of the 4s, to even notice you are in the room.

iPhone 4S takes dictation.

Here’s another amazing way to get things done: just use your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard. Then say what you want to say and iPhone listens. Tap Done, and iPhone converts your words into text. Use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web, and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write and send Instagrams.

Summary: We have come a long way from the wall phones of the past, which couldn’t be used to text or send emails, shoot videos or play music, to phones that are the electronic center of what is going on in our lives.

My problem is that I don’t have a cell phone, so still use a regular home phone to make and receive calls. The new technology is astounding, but if you can’t afford it, then it becomes worthless.

We all remember the high telephone bills of the past, when making a lot of long distance calls in a month. Owning a cell phone today may actually be cheaper, if someone was having $150 worth of long distance calls, month after month.

It becomes cost prohibitive to own a iPhone, a iPod and a iPad and a laptop not to mention paying for  monthly cable and internet service.

Steven Jobs Dies at 56 in Palo Alto, California

A young Steven Jobs pictured with three Apple computers.

Steven Paul Jobs was born February 24, 1955 in San Francisco. Jobs died yesterday (Oct. 5, 2011) at the age of 56. He was given up for adoption by his parents, who were two University of Wisconsin graduate students. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs and grew up in Silicone Valley.

His dad taught him how to take apart electronics and then rebuild electronics. He would spend a lot of time at Hewlett-Packard during his high school years and met his future business partner Steve Wozniak during those years.

Jobs quickly tired of the college scene, dropping out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after only six months. He then went to work as a game designer for Atari, but left that job to travel to India and dabble in psychedelic drugs.

He and Wozniak founded Apple Computers when he was 21 years old and funded their operation by him selling his Volkwagen bus and Wozniak selling his scientific computer.

They developed computers which were smaller and easier to use. Their first computers were sold for $666 each and were part of the Apple I line. They earned $774,000 from the sales of that model. Then the Apple II took off and the sales totaled $139 million three years after its release.

By 1980 the value of the company was $1.2 billion. Then came a devastating blow when Apple president John Scully phased Jobs out of Apple. He left Apple in 1985 and bought an animation company, which later would become Pixar. He then invested $50 million of his own money into Pixar. The company would make huge hits like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and the company has made $4 billion in sales.

Jobs would return to Apple in 1997 as CEO with a contract of $1 a year. He was discovered to have pancreatic cancer in 2003. That tumor was removed in 2004.

The year 2007 would see Apple stock worth $199 a share. The company also recorded a profit of 1.58 billion with $18 billion in the bank. Even more amazing was the fact the company didn’t owe any debt.

The iPod and the iTunes music downloading service account for half of the revenue earned by Apple. The iPhone and iPad have kept the Apple name at the forefront of technology today.

Jobs resigned from his job as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. He died about six weeks later, yesterday in Palo Alto, California.

For a more extensive biography of the life of Steven Jobs:

http://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805