Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia

I have the perception that this is where all goes awry in the song. There are more four event phrases (Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go) and the strict chronology goes out the window. So, it’s off the rails we go…

Every time I think of Buddy Holly:

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I think of Elvis Costello (nee Declan MacManus):

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One of them had an 18 month career; died in a plane crash and the other married:

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Ben Hur is another one of the epic movies that I’ve never seen and probably won’t have time to review. Meh.

From epic chariot races (yes I have anecdotal knowledge) to MONKEYS! No, CHIMPS!

Space Monkey is a most likely a reference to “Ham the Space Chimp/Monkey”:

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AMERICA is obviously more humane than the RED THREAT (poor doggie Laika). We put a close relative to humans in space AND we brought him back!

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For Bokononism’s sake! Our FUTURE PERFECT LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD loved chimps/monkeys!:

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*warning!!! this entry based almost entirely on sarcasm.

Oh! and GOODFELLAS/CASINO/GODFATHER/EVERYTHING SCORSESE!!! That should cover me for the mafia right?

Starkweather homicide, Children of Thalidomide

And we’ve hit the awkward part of this verse. Awkward to the point of no pictures and me struggling to apply humor.

I didn’t know who Charles Starkweather was until I looked him up on the internet about 10 years ago or so. I had seen “Natural Born Killers” in its theatrical release back in 1994. But, I didn’t make the Starkweather connection until years later. I can’t particularly remember what triggered me searching the name. And I haven’t seen any of the other movies based on Starkweather/Fugate. Not even True Romance on TNT or anything. This article seems to be a fairly decent overview of the saga.

Thalidomide is the product of the German drug company Chemie Grünenthal (now known exclusively as Grünenthal). It was originally introduced as a cure for morning sickness. Thalidomide has horrible affects on the normal human gestation process. The most well known is severely truncated limbs. I can remember seeing pictures of children affected by thalidomide in my grade-school textbooks. Only half of the 10,000 children known world-wide to be affected by thalidomide survived their childhood years.

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball

I remember it because it has a cedar tree on it. And the second thing I contemplate about Lebanon is this promontory proboscis:

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When I was a kid, the Toledo Mudhens were the Triple A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins.

Charles de Gaulle is an airport and a brain in a jar. And I’m passing him quickly to get back to baseball.

The era of California Baseball starts in 1958 on the major league level. The Giants move from New York to San Francisco and the Dodgers abandon Brooklyn for the less bum-infested Chavez Ravine. Although Chavez Ravine is in Sulfur Canyon and therefore probably smells a lot like bums. Two points to make here:

    1. I am obsessed with Ebbets Field
    2. Vincent Edward Scully is still calling Dodger games.

Seriously folks, hear him call a game while you still can. He IS a tie that binds back to multiple eras of baseball. I’m out of superlatives so I’m switching to analogies. Imagine being able to listen live to a performance by Liszt, or Chopin. Or having to move your beer to avoid a Carrie Nation hatchet blow. Do it.

Sputnik, Chou En-Lai (Zhou Enlai), Bridge on the River Kwai

Ah, back on the horse. Honestly, I suspected the lag to be longer and the finish to be more distant when I picked back up. So count this as a Pinter Pause and move forward.

Sputnik translates into English as “traveling companion” which reminds me of the following (with reverse translation by me) Paul Simon lyric from “Graceland”:

My Sputnik is nine years old. He is the child of my first marriage.

Maybe that doesn’t really work.

I remember my father telling me the story of his father waking the family up so that they could listen to the beep of Sputnik on the radio. Maybe they even watched it’s orbital track? Not sure on that.

Chou En-Lai (Zhou Enlai) attended a religious school in Japan, swung through France to pick up Communism, and ended up as Mao’s slightly less bumbling Dan Qualye. He’s also responsible for Nixon going to China. So thanks for taking him off our hands for a week or so. Writing this is making me feel exceptionally ignorant about everything outside of my small world. I did actually finish reading a whole entire book written primarily for adults recently:

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It was fiction, about Japan, and interesting. I bought it in an airport.

The Bridge on the River Kwai is a novel written in 1952 by Pierre Boulle. The movie is better known than the book. The Music Section in the Wikipedia article provided me much amusement upon reading. Mostly because it lead me to the song “Hitler Has Only Got One Ball” (Spotify link).

The end is a beginning

Much of the past few weeks have been spent thinking of, acting on behalf of, talking or being with my fraternal grandmother Mabel. I’ve spent more time with her in the past 6 weeks than I did in the previous 30 years. Until she moved to Wichita, we never had a particularly close relationship. She was never outgoing, gregarious, and she always called me “Champ”.

Grandma Mabel is the strongest fighter I’ve ever known and I’m certain she’s never thrown a punch.

I was sitting with Grandma last night. We looked at the picture from her kitchen. The picture of her wedding day. She stands straight, dark, and beautiful next to Grandpa John. The smiles on their faces and the synchronized twinkles in their eyes have been genetically transferred to their great-grandsons. Miles, Abe, Tynan, Otto, Owen, Leo, Ronan, and especially Huey. They possess all those mischievous possibilities in their own eyes.

Her initial words to me last night were a croaked, “I love you.” I left her in hospice care to tend to my own and she left me with a clear admonishment to “hold your moments with them close.”

And I trust that clarity because I know she spent her life fighting for it.