little dogs

When dear Darai, my double classmate (Vicksburg High, U of M) couldn’t remember ‘em, I knew I had to act.  She long ago moved to the land of fruit and nuts, and after Saturday’s joyous spectacle, got her family properly decked out to go to the boardwalk.

Seeing her little Max, I recommended she show him some videos of Whiskey and Brandy, stars of many football afternoons in our college days.  She said she didn’t remember them

If they have descendants with similar ball skills, one of them would be a refreshing addition to today’s Big House afternoons.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have recognized that Jimmy’s boys – until last Saturday – were playing pretty boring football: pound the ball then throttle the opposition.  Harkens back to those early 70s teams of Jimmy’s mentor, Bo.  We hippies sitting in the end zone with our bottles of Boone’s Farm used to hoot and holler, sometimes even boo, to have Bo open it up a bit.  Instead, Billy Taylor (now Dr. Taylor (1)) would run it into the line 35 times a game.  Like Jimmy’s squad, they won.  ‘71’s team went undefeated till the Rose Bowl.  So it was into this tedium that Whiskey’s owner, who had snuck the dog into the stadium under a blanket, would release this little terrier onto the field along with a soccer ball.  Whiskey had a nose for the ball and would push the thing length of the field.  Touchdown!  Some fan on that end would throw the ball the other way and there Whiskey would go again.

Whiskey could count on the loudest cheers of the game, other than those for Michigan touchdowns.  I think the authorities looked the other way as the crowd found the shows so entertaining.  Brandy, Whiskey’s pup, succeeded Whiskey and didn’t miss a beat.  For a year or 2 they performed together.

The athletic department accepted them, and fielded requests for more exposure.  The same department had been skittish about live animals on the sidelines ever since Fielding Yost brought 2 live wolverines to the Big House 10/22/27 for the dedication game against Navy.  Plans to bring the leashed wolverines to midfield to meet Navy’s goat were shelved when the animals proved too fierce in their week leading up to the game, and they stayed in their cages (2)

Whiskey got national attention when the TV crew caught her during the ’69 OSU game (3) which became immortal in its own right.  She got press coverage (4) and reminisces since (5,6).

Medical school took me away from the Big House, not to return till ’84.  No more doggies then.

Should Michigan football go to the dogs again?  They couldn’t handle the ‘dogs they met in the semis last year.  But this year’s team has a lot of their own DAWGS, according to their coach: “Dedicated Athletes With Grit”.  They’ve shown those teeth to 12 opponents so far, with us folks in AA hoping for more.  Yeah, I guess Jimmy’s teams play slightly more exciting football than Bo’s did, especially when they unleash that JJ guy.  But it would still be fun to see a little dog on the field again.

References

1.    Taylor B.  Get Back Up.  https://www.btgetbackup.com/about.html

2.     Dickson JD.  The wolverine that wasn’t.  Michigan Today 6/16/11.  https://michigantoday.umich.edu/2011/06/16/a8003/

3.     Dr.Sap. 1969 Michigan Ohio State Whiskey The Dog.  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFtNWBqfNC8

4.     Wright R.  ‘Whiskey’ — World’s Smallest Halftime Show in Football.  Mgoblue.com 9/22/10 (from 10/17/70 football program).  https://mgoblue.com/news/2010/9/22/_whiskey_world_s_smallest_halftime_show_in_football.aspx

5.     Dooley G.  Watching whiskey go (1969).  MVictors 1/11/15. https://mvictors.com/watching-whiskey-go-1969/

6.     Jennings C.  ‘Here comes Whiskey!’ The story of Michigan’s unofficial mascot, her rise to fame and the Ph.D. student behind it.  The Athletic 3/21/19.  https://theathletic.com/879659/2019/03/21/whiskey-the-dog-michigan-unofficial-mascot-david-rodgers/

Dr. Frayne?

In May 2020, I submitted a formal nomination for Commander Cody (born George W. Frayne IV) to receive an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.  I was instructed to keep all things confidential, in part to protect the nominee who might not react well to not being chosen.  Well, George did not win the prize.  But as he’s been gone over a year, he won’t be affected by the news.  His widow, Sue Casanova, knows I did this and was moved by the fact.  So here is the document, complete with University boilerplate, that I submitted, preceded by some nice pics of the Ol’ Commander in his prime

People forget what a handsome, virile dude he was. Also a tremendous athlete who ran track and played football as a freshman at Michigan (so he says; he was also a world-class bullshitter).

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Honorary Degree

Nomination Guidelines and Submission Form

Criteria

Nominees should meet one or more of the following:

● The nominee should have demonstrable distinguished achievement in an activity related to the University’s missions of research and scholarship, education, or service.

● Ideally, there should be a particular reason for recognition of the nominee by the University of Michigan, such as an association with the University or a relationship of his or her achievement to work that is unique or highly characteristic of Michigan.

● The honorary degree should have a special meaning to the individual being recognized.

For information regarding eligibility, visit: https://president.umich.edu/about/committees/honorary-degree-committee/

The University’s Honorary Degree Committee meets twice a year, ordinarily in the Fall and Spring.

Questions can be directed to HDnominations@umich.edu or by calling (734) 764-4405.

ABOUT THE NOMINEE

Name of Nominee:George W. Frayne  
Title(s):“The Commander”      
Address:11 Lonesome Pine Trail Gansevoort, New York 12831          
Phone:518-364-0999  
Email:gfrayne@aol.com  

Please describe how the nominee has demonstrated distinguished achievement in an activity related to the University’s mission of research and scholarship, education, or service (in 1,000 words or less):

George Frayne entered the Art and Architecture school as a dedicated student of the arts, but left with a love of music superseding.  The Art & Design school has graduated many creative people over the years, but has there ever been a more unique individual than George Frayne?  Coming to Ann Arbor from Long Island, son of two established artists, he succeeded in his studies, earning a scholarship to pursue graduate work.  His sculptures populated North Campus.  He offered a jovial comment about his sculptures “I just weld bumpers together and pass it off as art”.   He earned a B.S. in Design (’66) and and an M.F.A. in Painting and Sculpture (’68).  He garnered a faculty position at the Wisconsin State University – Oshkosh, but it was music that would propel his early career.   His studies did not interfere with his extracurriculars, or vice versa.  A meeting while he was washing pots at Phi Kappa Psi with an engineering student with a penchant for country music led him to put his 9 months of boogie-woogie piano lessons in high school into a band that eventually became “Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen”. They started as entertainment for frat parties and grew to a group that would entertain 100s of 1000s across concert stages throughout the US and abroad.   The brand of music they portrayed is what would now be called “Americana”, delving into older often obscure tunes for a “hippie” audience surely hearing them for the first time.   Consider this an educational activity, introducing us hippies to styles we wouldn’t have otherwise encountered?  In his time based in Berkeley, he and his Lost Planet Airmen became a favored opening band to better known groups.  As such, George has worked with, and gained the respect of, many of the greats in the music industry.  He’s even appeared aside Godzilla in a Hollywood movie.  Of their many albums, one (“Live from deep in the heart of Texas”) has made it into Rolling Stone’s 100 best albums of all time.  The band’s journey into “almost making it big” has been chronicled in Starmaking Machinery, Geoffrey Stokes (c1976, Bobbs-Merrill).  The Lost Planet Airmen broke up in 1976, but George (“the Commander”) has continued to record and tour, his raucous concerts a must see for those who appreciate what he’s been doing.  The band’s biggest hit “Hot Rod Lincoln” rose to #9 on the Billboard hot 100 and was ranked No. 69 on the U.S. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972.  He’s released 34 albums and has had several other Billboard hits.  In 2011, the Commander and His Lost Planet Airmen were voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He’ll hold forth on his love for his days of Michigan to whomever might ask.

George has been at least as active with his art as with his music.  He has never left behind his art.  Some critics even considered the Lost Planet Airmen to be an art project.  This was before Andy Warhol was doing just that with Velvet Underground.  Canvas and metal drew him, as did the faces of the many performers he encountered.  Big vehicles – cars, ships, airplanes – also caught his attention for acrylic hyper realism.  He also delves into Cubism.  He’s exhibited in galleries from Tokyo to London, and in museums including The Museum of Natural History, the Saratoga Auto Museum and at the Directors Guild in Hollywood.   He’s been in 11 group shows from “63-’94, and participated in the ’78 “StarArt” book published by Dorothy Cheshire with Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens, now quite valuable https://www.amazon.com/Starart-Joni-Mitchell/dp/096900530X.  He’s had 30 one man shows from ’68 –’09.  He’s participated in 5 national juried shows from ‘68 –’05.  His paintings of 12 immortal rock performers graced the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He published in 2009 his own book of art renderings coupled with anecdotes of the person portrayed.  The book Art, Music, and Life (Q Book Press, 2009) contains pop-art portraits of music legends from Willie Nelson and Jerry Garcia to Sarah Vaughan and Charles Mingus. It also showcases abstract works, still lifes and elaborately painted sculptures. The book is also filled with anecdotes of a bygone era, each story accompanied by colorful portraits and paintings, over 100 images in all. He recalls meeting Hunter S. Thompson, Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa and other cultural icons https://www.amazon.com/Music-Life-Commander-George-Frayne/dp/0984265007/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=george+frayne&qid=1612715941&sr=8-1.  Judging from Amazon, it’s now something of value.  Since his brother Chris died of multiple sclerosis in ’92, he’s illustrated all his band’s albums and posters.  He continues to paint, even on commission.  He’s not sculpted for 30 years, citing lack of access to appropriate welding equipment.  He used to sell his art out of his web site.  He’s withdrawn examples, asking those interested to contact him directly for the $25 – $10,000 pieces he features.  Google for George Frayne art still finds offerings.    He’s taken up video over the past decade and has embellished many old CC&LPA songs with amusing overlying clips of old Hollywood movies.  He maintains a YouTube site as well as a Spotify site for his music.  He was part of the Future Former Alumni exhibition at Stamps School of Art and Design in 2018.  He still does portraits of famous automobiles for the Saratoga Auto Museum in Saratoga Springs, New York, where he currently resides.   He’s also lectured at 8 colleges and universities around the country; his topic: “The Function of the Sub-conscious Mind Creating Fun”.

In summary, in the early 60s, George Frayne brought considerable talents to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, where he nurtured and applied them.  He has had a productive and fascinating dual career in the arts for over 50 years, entertaining and challenging millions around the world.  His Lost Planet Airmen have been my favorite band since I first snuck into Hill to see them in April ’71.  I’ve always enjoyed pointing out to others that not only were they born in a U of M frat house, but that their leader is a Michigan Man all they way.  And not a bad painter and sculptor, either.  Please recognize this iconoclastic genius graduate of our University with the doctorate that will suit him well, while he’s still with us.

Please tell us if there is a particular reason the nominee should be recognized by U-M, i.e. a relationship with the University or an association of his/her achievement to work that is unique or highly characteristic of Michigan (in 100 words or less):

George is a proud U of M alumnus with 2 degrees from this institution.  As a student, he made an impact on both town and gown with his art and his music and has turned that on the world since his departure.  On February 17, 1974, he was included in a Michigan Daily Sunday Magazine article on “’U’ alumni: The rich, powerful, and notorious”, a group of 33 that included soon-to-be President Gerald Ford, two senators, governor Soapy Williams, astronaut Jim McDivitt, 5 CEOs, Cazzie Russell, Tom Harmon, and Arthur Miller.

Please tell us if the honorary degree would have special meaning to the nominee. If so, please describe in 50 words or less:

What if Mr. Frayne had not ventured from Long Island to Ann Arbor in ’62?  His zany, improbable dual careers were born and nurtured right here at U of M, to which I’m sure he’d be proud to pay homage by wearing the robe and cap of a Michigan doctor. 

Are there any circumstances that the University should be aware of in considering this nomination, which are related to a specific commencement date or a particular situation of the nominee? Please explain in 50 words or less:

George’s once robust good health has taken a blow, especially since undergoing a 7 hour operation at a New York City hospital last December.  His family wishes that further details of his medical condition be kept private.

Would it be appropriate for this nominee to deliver a commencement address? Check one:

Yes √                   No

If yes, please briefly explain in 50 words or less:

While George has experience speaking to college audiences, I think the best way for him to acknowledge his honor would be with his music.  I’m certain he could enliven the graduation proceedings with a performance of one of his songs, or maybe several..

NOMINATOR INFORMATION

Name of Nominator:Robert W. Ike, M.D.  
Title(s):Emeritus Associate Professor of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Division of Rheumatology University of Michigan Health System
Address:1611 Harbal Drive Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105-1815
Phone:734-474-6728  
Email:scopydoc52@yahoo.com  

Where to submit the Nomination

Nominations submitted via this form should be emailed, mailed or faxed to:

John Godfrey

Assistant Dean

Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

1120 Rackham

915 East Washington Street

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1070

Phone: (734) 764-4405

Fax: (734) 615-3832

Email: jgodfrey@umich.edu

’tis the season

As I just wrote to many dozens of my dear friends: I hope you and yours had a joyful and bounteous Thanksgiving.  With the large avian consumed, what can it mean but It’s Christmas!  Kathy and I invite you to review some of our adventures of 2022 in our attached Christmas letter.

Yes, it’s Christmas letter season, and here’s ours, in case you’re not on our e-mail list.

Dear friends:

With Christmas ads and decorations coming at us before Halloween, what can be the proper time to send out a Christmas letter?  Kathy and I still try to observe proper Holiday decorum, cutting down our tree day after Thanksgiving and waiting to put up the lights till after we’ve beaten Ohio State.  If I finish this before then, out it goes.

So, here’s how our year went.

January

We were supposed to start the year in Scotland, celebrating Hogmanay, their New Year’s blowout, instituted when Mary Queen of Scots forbid Christmas celebrations in 1561 as they were too pagan (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/12/31/hogmanay/).  COVID put the kibosh on our 9-day trip as a 10-day quarantine would have been required.  We’ll do it this December.  We took our pleasures closer to home, mainly with sports.  In a recurring theme, we had to cancel out of a trip to Santa Fe to see Lucinda Williams because COVID.  We did see an ancient Gordon Lightfoot (80) in Royal Oak.

February

COVID couldn’t crush my Bulldogs as we took the train to Kalamazoo to dip down to the ‘burg to see our boys almost take those pesky Eddies of Edwardsburg, old friend, and teammate Dan Walters at my side.  For our Valentine’s Day date, Kathy and I finally made it to the Blue Llama, Ann Arbor’s outstanding jazz club (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/02/15/blue-llama/).

We endured February till flying to Tampa for a week on Madeira Beach.  Spring Break, doncha know, Kathy’s last.  While there, we saw a magnificent performance by Rodney Crowell at Capitol Theater in Clearwater. We executed much of the Gulp Coast craft beer trail, for which we’d eventually collect our bounty in October.

March

Marked the second anniversary of Governor Whittmer’s first COVID lockdowns.  We celebrated by gathering up from house and cars all of our masks, throwing them in the fireplace, dousing them with torch fuel, and setting them ablaze (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/03/11/burn-on-ii/).  It was a magnificent conflagration.

We haven’t missed them.

April

We saw a lot of music, from Darryl Hall/Todd Rundgren in Cleveland, Lucinda Williams in Ann Arbor, to James McMurty back in Cleveland to gypsy jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembell back home at the Blue Llama.  A quickie trip to the ‘burg around Tax Day didn’t turn out as planned.  We were supposed to meet up with some folks at the Distant Whistle then go take in the Paw Paw baseball game.  It rained, so we were stuck at the Distant Whistle with folks that included my 87-year-old former basketball coach Tom Horn and his lovely wife Vickie.  That’s Coach next to me and Dan Walters next to Coach.  Sweetie, Vickie, and Rhonda opposite 

We subsisted on subs from Franco’s and lots of Distant Whistle’s product.

May

In Ann Arbor, that means graduation ceremonies.  These were to be Kathy’s last, emotional events.  So, a week later I whisked her off to California.  Our time in the Bay Area got us to her brother Bob’s “commitment ceremony” in the woods near Pescadaro, featuring my nephew Skyler wearing a white horse’s head galloping in bearing the rings.  That Friday, we got to go to Petaluma to participating in the “Safety Meeting” conducted by my old Barnes buddy Dave in the back room of Macelli’s hardware store.  The next morning, we were off to San Diego for a week on Windnsea Beach, this time in a place that wasn’t “steps from” but “on the beach!”  See our view.

And at Windnsea, the audio can surpass the visual.

June

Kathy finally got her official retirement party.  Nothing like last year’s blow out at Dominick’s, but the people important to her showed up and said nice things.  When her dean joshed would she like to come back and teach a class or two, Kathy replied “bite me!”.  She still came home with a nice chair and now we have a matching set in our living room (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/06/01/michigan-chairs)

In our previous trips to Kalamazoo, Kathy grew fond of the many topiaries in little Bronson Park.  She befriended the groundskeeper who referred her to River Street Flowerland where she could learn the art and purchase one of her own.  Kalamazoo is the bedding plant capitol of America and River Street is ground zero.  One industrial greenhouse looks pretty much the same as the other, so only Kathy’s eagle eye found the topiary place.   She found a nice 3-part sea serpent – whom she later named Cecil (remember him and Beanie?) – and learned to care for it. 

I used the time to go cross town and have lunch with some old ‘burg classmates.  I spent more time with Hooch and Marsman than Kathy did with Cecil, so she was waiting for me when I got back.  Unfortunately, my arrival was announced by the crash of a truck smashing my Patriot.\

Befuddled by the endless greenhouses, I thought a poke into the intersection might point the way.  Instead, I ended up in Bronson’s ER.  Just a cracked vertebra that would heal, and now we had the excuse to get the 4 door Wrangler softtop we’d been wanting.

We still managed to make a Detroit weekend outing the next week, taking in a Tiger’s game with my brother and my favorite nephew, watching our boys rise up and devour my Torontan baby sister’s faves, the Jays.  We rested up the rest of June to get ready for what was to come.

July

Mom had lobbied for it for at least a couple of years.  She was set to turn 90 this mid-July and wanted to celebrate that big day in Ireland.  With 25% Irish Kathy sharing that birthdate and about to see 64 – still needed and fed – it was a no-brainer to join this family outing with my two tall sisters.  We alighted in Shannon, spent nearly a week by the sea in Dingle, headed to Kilkenny where parties would be held in a fine hotel by the park and then a castle.  The girls posed the day after the second party still wearing their party hats.

We left shortly after from Cork, carrying 10 bottles of fine Uisca bethea, of which the most expensive would be confiscated in Orlando after being assessed as a possible bomb

We learned at the end of the month from Singapore Airlines that the credits we had from flights we’d booked but later cancelled a year and a half ago would expire at the end of August.  Thus, begat a mad scramble search for suitable Asian destinations.

August

Except for a quick trip to Kalamazoo for follow up on my broken back, we were going to rest up.  Then came an e-mail that the first of 3 celebrations of the life of the late Commander Cody was set to take place in Troy, outside of Albany.  It took less than 2 hours to make the arrangements and 2 weeks later we were there.  There would be 2 more.

It was almost Too Much Fun.  You can read more about it here (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/08/28/rock-dont-cry/).

We had almost 3 days to rest up for the trip to Phuket (“poo-ket”) Thailand.  It took almost that long to get there.  We enjoyed the food and especially the big animals.

September

As we rested up from Thailand, Sue Casanova (Mrs. George Frayne a.k.a. Commander Cody) announced Celebration of Life II, to take place in Mill Valley.  It was a short trip, but one that allowed some time with Jimmy & Janet and kids plus two great concerts.  Bill Kirchen, our good friend, and the Commander’s former lead guitarist, played in Novato before the COL, which wasn’t as good as the first as it featured more of the folks who joined up with Commander after the Lost Planer Airmen broke up.  We did get to have dinner with Bill and wife Louise beforehand, though. Super treat.

Home nearly a week and a half, we spent a couple days in Grand Rapids then came back and boarded the train for Chicago where we’d spend a week.

October

Chicago was highlighted by dinner with Tom Schnitzer, my lab mentor during fellowship and the person who introduced me to Kathy.  Forever grateful.  Our evening at Le Piano in Rogers Park was a wild time (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/10/02/le-piano/).

In a week and half, we were off to Florida, where we’d spend a week in our house right on Madeira Beach, mostly sitting on the porch watching the waves roll in and the pelicans and dolphins go by and wait for the day to end.

Shutesie and his young bride (VHS ’73) stopped by for a couple days of nonstop fun.

Home long enough to see the Spartoons roundly thrashed and …

November

…catch the wonderful Karla Bonoff at the Ark.  Then we were off to New Jersey.  New Jersey?  We like to do one football road trip a year, and this year the stars aligned for Piscataway.  New Brunswick, which is where Rutgers U (birthplace of college football) actually is, is quite nice.  The game was entertaining, much the way the spectators at the Colliseum felt about the lions.  You can read more about it here (https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/11/07/an-evening-in-piscataway/)

A week and a half back, we were off for the Land of Enchantment.  We’d meet up with June in Santa Fe, a place she knew from working with late husband, and my dear friend, Sam at Los Alamos many years while Kathy and I had visited her brother Bob there many times.  We didn’t do much other than sit around our very nice AirBnB, talking, drinking, and eating my cooking.   A morning stroll to the lot across from Kaune’s grocery where sat the the coffee cart for our caffeine choices plus a hot donut fresh out of the fat our only regular outing.   Good for all of us, I think.

December

So, it’s home for a few breaths before a quick jaunt to DC for Puck’s – Kathy’s NASA boss -retirement party and while there a meet up with some cousins I haven’t seen for over 40 years.  Mid-month will find us in Chicago for all the Christmas wonder and several concerts, then home for our own Christmas until we push off for Edinburgh 4 days after that.  Happy New Year.

zoom tunes for TG

No, this isn’t an announcement for a pop Zoom.  We’ll still wait till next year for the next one.  With this email I just want to give you all a little present for the Season about to unfold. 

Every year about this time, Gary, the guy who rebuilt my house in ’04-5, sends me a little trinket born of his unique skills, as he does to all his customers, past and present.  It’s clearly labeled as a Thanksgiving present.  Gary’s Jewish, and sending out a present at this time  avoids the conflicts of Christmas.  Plus it keeps his gift from being buried under the avalanche to come.

You can’t wrap this one and put it under your tree.  It’s totally digital.  You might recall that nearly all the VHS70 Zoom announcements       I sent out from July 2020 onwards contained at least one link to a tune on YouTube that I thought was somehow relevant to us at this stage of our lives.  I’ve compiled all those links, organized the tunes into 7 categories, and list them below.  I’ve also posted the whole communication on my blog, which you can reach with this convenient link                      

About small towns                 

tune                                         artist                                         released

Small Town (1)                       VHS kids                                  ‘07

Great job guys.  Was the “Shimp” guy related to one of ours?

Just Us Kids                            James McMurtry                     4/15/08

Big Day in a Small Town       Brandy Clark                            6/10/16

Small Town                            James McMurtry                     ‘89

In a Town this Size                 John Prine                               9/28/99

Friendship

tune                                         artist                                         released

Long May You Run                Neil Young                             9/20/76

Old Friends                             Guy Clark                               12/1/88

We’ll Meet Again                   The D-Day Darlings               ‘18

I Knew You When                  Bob Seger                               11/17/17

Love & Romance

tune                                         artist                                         released

I Got You Babe

(from Groundhog Day)           Sonny & Cher                         7/9/65

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBSrBqogPY (2/12/93)

Three Days                             Willie Nelson                          9/9/62

96 Tears                                  ? & the Mysterians                 8/66\

What Kind if Fool Am I?       Anthony Newley                     ‘62

Mr. Brightside                        The Killers                              9/29/03

It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips       The Notorious Cherry Bombs 7/27/04

at Night that Chew Your        (featuring Rodney Crowell)

Ass Out All Day  Long                                                          

Some good ol’ Rock’n’Roll (&Soul) from our days

tune                                         artist                                         released

Ooh La La (I wish knew then Faces                                       3/73

I knew what I know now)

Ooh La La (I wish knew then Rod Stewart                            5/18/98

I knew what I know now)

Rod softens it a bit

Time Has Come Today           Chambers Brothers                 11/67

(trigger warning: many raw, violent, and disturbing images from those times)

Feelin’ Alright                        Traffic                                     ‘68

Feelin’ Good                           Traffic                                     5/69

Rock & Roll Soul                   Grand Funk RR                      8/66

(live) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHSvSOLYYEE

(studio) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8jO6h9YeeQ

Closer to Home                       Grand Funk RR                      7/70

(I’m Your Captain)

I always thought this as sort of a theme song for our class, but it was released after we graduated

Closer to Home                       Mark Farner w/Ringo             6/27/08

(I’m Your Captain)                 Starr’s All Stars

Hot Rod Lincoln                   Commander Cody &              12/10/71

                                              His Lost Planet Airmen

live at the Johns Sinclair Rally at Crisler in’71, where they stole the show

So it Goes                      Nick Lowe                                      8/14/76

Dealing with life these days

tune                                         artist                                         released

Don’t Worry, Be Happy         Bobby McFerrin                     8/88

for fun, identify the other participants in the video

Let the Picture Paint Itself      Rodney Crowell                      ‘94

It’s a Great Day                      Paul Thorn                              ‘08

What They Say                       Chris Smither                          6/19/12

You Just can’t Beat                 Billy Joe Shaver                      5/21/80

Jesus Christ

Half a Hundred Years             Asleep at the Wheel                10/1/21

Roy Benson and the rest have been right there with us

In the Living Years                 Mike & the Mechanics           12/27/88

as our old folks depart, such are the emotions

Just fun

some leftover YouTubes and videos

tune                                         artist                                         released

Euphemisms                           George Carlin                         ‘90

(video)

The wise Professor Carlin weighs in

Peter Sellers,                           Dr. Strangelove final scene    ‘64

George C. Scott et al

(video)

Mein führer, I can valk!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf9iTZ433zs

Two Triple Cheese                 Commander Cody                   5/80

Side Order of Fries

This video is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the director won an Emmy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Cvg5VCpT4

Sprockets (Video)                   Mike Meyers (SNL)               3/22/97

Now iss de time that ve dahnse”

“We Did It”

OSU-UM highlights (2021)    Meyers Media Family             11/29/21

(video)

The joy of beating the Buckeyes to “Mr. Brightside” as a soundtrack

I Saw Mommy Kissing           John Prine                               ‘93

Santa Claus

A Christmas favorite. “On the lips!”

2020 Super Bowl                    Bill Murray                             2/2/20

Bowl Jeep Gladiator Commercial

(video)

Bill revisits Groundhog Day to sell the Jeep Gladiator.  I want one!

References

1. Tabor A.  VHS Kids.  Small Town.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpwDXiOXgjA

2. “Just us kids”-James McMurtry.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH5hTwWgHp0

3. Brandy Clark – Big Day In A Small Town (Official Audio).  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hIFMB2TW7c

4. James Mcmurtry Small Town. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_pvmEH7LJE

5. John Prine – In A Town This Size.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLMuQbYB4vM

6. Neil Young – Long May You Run (unplugged).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYna-UAt75c\

7. Guy Clark – “Old Friends” [Live from Austin, TX].  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0OmFK38_ZU

8. The D-Day Darlings – We’ll Meet Again (Official Video).YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sThuGZcEtuU

9. Bob Seger – I Knew You When (Official Lyric Video).YouTube.

10. I Got You, Babe – Groundhog Day.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBSrBqogPY

11. Willie Nelson -Three days.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GENfFXmLUHw

12. Question Mark & The Mysterians – 96 Tears. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7uC5m-IRns\

13. Anthony Newley – “What Kind Of Fool Am I” – 1962.  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ngh79TLw_Y

14. The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Official Music Video).YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGdGFtwCNBE

15. The Notorious Cherry Bombs – It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night (Official Video). YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjkLf_X88WM

16. Ooh La La – The Faces (Without A Paddle Soundtrack).YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhjHBV20ZV4  

17. Rod Stewart – Ooh La La (Official Video). YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEniy4CmSZQ 

18. Time Has Come Today(Chambers Brothers-Long Version)with no cuts to song.YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zfgoJzOCgg 

19. Traffic – “Feelin’ Alright?” – Original LP – HQ.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvAByzXT1U8  20.

20. Traffic – Feelin’ Good.YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkqGTw-WjIs   

21. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – Rock & Roll Soul. YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHSvSOLYYEE   

22. Rock ‘N Roll Soul (Remastered 2002).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8jO6h9YeeQ  

23. Closer To Home (I’m Your Captain). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvOPucs7dC0  

24. Mark Farner with Ringo’s All Star’s; “I’m Your Captain”.  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQbZpmR_eGw  0:07 / 2:22

25. Robert Ike.  Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen 12/10/71. YouTube.

26. Nick Lowe – “So It Goes” (Official Music Video).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEpr8kaczck  

27. The Real Bobby…Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU  

28. Stone Cold Country.  Rodney Crowell- Let the Picture Paint Itself (1994).YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiHYOiY4dB4

29. The Bob & Tom Show.  It’s a Great Day – Paul Thorn. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7yZ_V0KYDw

30. Chris Smither -Topic. What They Say You Tube.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1CmdTxO5XU  

31. billy joe shaver – you just can’t beat Jesus Christ.  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psvV10pohMw

32. Asleep at the Wheel Official. Asleep at the Wheel – ‘Half A Hundred Years’

33. Mike & the Mechanics.  Mike + The Mechanics – The Living Years (Official Video).  You Tube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hr64MxYpgk 

34. The Living Years (2005 remasater).  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TL_oJL0r0U

35. poyani.  George Carlin -Euphemisms.YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuEQixrBKCc

36. Lauren69.  Dr. Strangelove – Ending

37. Revisionxvieo.  Two triple cheese side order of fties – Commander Cody.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Cvg5VCpT4.The 

38. TrevorWarren.   Spockets Dance.  YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHZR9SA5pOg 

39. Meyers Media Family.  “We Did It” | Michigan vs Ohio State 2021..  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ak9Uxtntfk    Vladimir Bira.  

40. John Prine – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. YouTube. https://ww.com/watch?v=63KkLy0wyNI w.youtube

41. beastlychariarzard13. 2020 Super Bowl Extended Bill Murray Jeep Commercial.  YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3qH4TKLP0c

glamour

I spent a good part of Tuesday morning before last in Kalamazoo looking at a big computer screen where passed over 268 shots Linda Hoard had taken of my sweetheart in various comely poses.  The issue came to the fore because of a birthday present.  In June’s South County News, the monthly paper that serves my little home village of Vicksburg and all the surrounding ‘burgs, there appeared an ad for “40 over 40”, a program offered by photographer Linda Hoard (niece-in-law of my classmate and one-time girlfriend Kevvie) for mature women seeking to have captured their still evident beauty. 

Sounded perfect for my sweetie’s 64th, which then was coming right up.  My interactions with Linda prior to pushing off to Ireland in July got garbled, but we straightened things out upon return, arranging an interview, which Kathy passed.  Kathy’s birthday competed in Ireland with my mom’s 90th (same day), but I had a purple sash made for her that read “Needed, fed”.which she wore to the several birthday parties.   

After their interview in September, Kathy and Linda arranged a mid-October shoot.

Kathy and I both had some “glamour shots” already.  We came across the pictures as we rummaged through our huge collection of posters and pictures over the summer.  Apparently, our folks decided as we entered our thirties that we should have captured our fading youthful looks.  I recall my Aunt Dorie telling me she wanted pictures “before I lost my looks”.  Aunt Dorie, who took over mom duties when my mom died when I was 10, has been gone nearly 20 years, and I still have some looks, after a fashion, but I’m happy she made me do it.    Kathy’s mom Ruth sent her to a professional photographer while Aunt Dorie sent me to Sears.  Ruth’s been gone since ’05, so she can’t defend her decisions either.  We’ve framed both pics and set them on our living room credenza, but no visitors have yet suspected us of being Hollywood celebrities.

Handsome couple, eh?  They should get married!

Kathy picked 34 from Linda’s 268 to keep.  Linda’s said it would 6-8 weeks to process them, particularly since she had a vacation coming up not to mention the Holidays. But she gave us 4, and here they are.

This first is a diptych I made.  Kathy asked Linda to duplicate that pose from the ’87 shot.

A Beevis once said, “I’d do the mom.”

Then the rest.

Clearly this is a woman who means business, regardless of which uniform she’s wearing.  She got that flight suit as a guest of the admiral on the carrier U.S.S. George Washington, a perk of her duties as NASA’s Chief Scientist for human spaceflight.  She flew an F-18, from the back seat, for 18 cats (catapult launchings) and traps (hook-snagged cords for landing) off the carrier.

But don’t let that stern visage fool you.  Ultimately, she’s a sweetheart.  My sweetheart.  I’m truly the luckiest man in the world.

The Day

Thanksgiving is a week and a half away.  It’s my favorite holiday (1).  Maybe some of you obsess over it, but my worry is usually confined to getting the bird bought or thawed.  I had to jump start my focus this year as we’re headed to Santa Fe Wednesday morning, not to return till 1 AM the following Wednesday, Thanksgiving less than 24 hours in the distance.  We’d visited this charming southwestern town many times when Kathy’s brother Bob lived there.  Now that he’s in Oregon with his sweetie, we can wander “The City Different” without his interference.  Joining us from little Nathrop Colorado, just up the Santa Fe trail, will be June.  She’s widow of Sam, my dear friend whose untimely death was the subject of some early posts (2,3).  June’s a spitfire with whom we are completely sympatico.  Her love of Santa Fe came from many years living in nearby Los Alamos and working with Sam at the “top secret lab” there.   Between the three of us, we can get into all sorts of trouble.

But I don’t want it to interfere with Thanksgiving!  So, in the next couple days, I must make up the menu and begin the necessary preparations.

First off, the bird.  For just Kathy and me, a turkey is just too big.  But not a duck!  I’ve got a killer duck à ’l’orange recipe and a duck in the freezer!  That puppy goes into the garage fridge to thaw before we go.

And you can’t have a Thanksgiving bird without stuffing!  Granted, Mr. duck doesn’t have near the cavity of Mr. turkey, so you can’t cram too many chunks of bread in there and expect much.  So you have to break some culinary semantic rules and prepare the stuffing ex avian.  Can it still be stuffing when all it’s been stuffed into is a pot?  I guess General Foods showed the way when they introduced Stove Top Stuffing™ in 1972, saying yes, you can do this America.  Well, I’ve got some cornbread frozen away, to be joined by what’s left of my Zingerman’s sourdough batard.  And if it’s in a crock pot, it’s gotta be easy peasy.

Then the sides:

Garlic mashed potatoes.  Got the necessary turnips at the farmers’ market Saturday morning.

“Better brussels sprouts”.  Remarkable what some chicken stock and garlic can do.  Got the nice tight little sprouts Saturday.

Yes, that’s the recipe card I’ve used to decades.  Maybe it’s just enough to jog my memory.  It was easy enough to make a new (legible) one using my usual format, so here ya go.

Red cabbage.  A stable at big dinners as I was growing up.  Germans and Dutch both seemed to like it. In the 90s, I came across a recipe from some Austrian hotel.  Worked great with large crowds.   I bought a couple red cabbages each about the size of a softball and will try to scale down.

I’ve come across another red cabbage recipe which I might use if we don’t make it out to Therese’s today (see below).  I have all the ingredients.

Rutabaga.  Don’t know if these will make the final cut, but I bought one half the size of my head and am eager to do something with it.  If I had a trebuchet, it would make a suitable projectile.  I could rummage through all those recipes from my mom, grandma, and Aunt Dorie, but I recall not liking this vegetable too much when they made it.  Maybe it was my little boy’s palate, but the fun of root-uh-beggies stopped after you’d said their name a few times.  I found some interesting recipes on Google.   I might try this one.  I’ve got a little chunk of gruyere and some cheddar.  And it looks like something I can make in advance.

Roasted carrots.  I have some nice ones from the market, and this is a simple dish if I decide I need even more sides. I like being able to use up some pignoles (pine nuts). I bought way to much for another recipe. The recipe calls for cashews, but who wants to nut-pick?

That duck calls for some nice pinot to wash it down. Fortunately, we still have a few in our cellar.  They seem to disappear fast.

Am I forgetting something?  Dessert!  I leave the baking to my sweetheart, who curiously has lost her taste for things sweet over the past several years.  I blame it on her flirtation with the keto diet, but who knows?  Flowers, but no candy, please.  She still likes fruit and has found an interesting way to treat it to bring out the juices, which usually calls for a pile of sugar (4).  The secret ingredient? Balsamic vinegar.  She made some dandy strawberry shortcake with it, first time summer before last.  And she’s found it works for pies.  So, if we get out to Therese’s, it’ll be apple, if not, we’ve got a pile of frozen peaches.

So, I mentioned Therese twice.  Here’s what she’s about, at least as regards our Thanksgiving.  Besides being a great and sassy procedures room nurse (where I met her), she and her husband Mike have become friends of ours.  Besides their day jobs, they own and operate Alber Orchards, out in Manchester, about 20 miles southwest from here (5).  You’ll find a great variety of apples, cider (regular and leaded), donuts (of course), and other knickknacks all served up by cheerful well-scrubbed kids from the local high school.   And yes, you can even get a drink.  The got their license to serve their homemade hard cider this year.  It’s called a cidery. Like a brew-pub only with hard cider. When I was a medical student in London, cider was the cheap drink you chose at the pub if you couldn’t afford beer. I always could. Worth the extra 10p. There are fun outdoor activities like mazes and hayrides.  Worth a trip.  See ‘em before the snow flies.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for your endurance.  It’s helped me to get this written down so I can plan what I can do to prepare before we push off for the Land of Enchantment Wednesday.

I’ve only got two things left to say.  First, what’s the best thing about having duck for Thanksgiving?  You get to make duck soup!

Maybe Groucho, Chico, and Harpo won’t be stopping by 1611 Harbal, but you can!  We’ll have plenty of food, and, as you may know, Everybody Eats When They Come to My House (6).

References

1. Ike B.  My favorite holiday.  WordPress 11/27/20.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/11/27/my-favorite-holiday/

2. Ike B.  Goodbye Sam.  WordPress 1/12/20.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/01/12/goodbye-sam/

3. Ike B.  See Sam. WordPress.  1/14/20.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/ 2020/01/14/see-sam/

4. Ike B.  it’s the berries.  WordPress 6/19/21.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/06/19/its-the-berries/

5. Alber Orchard & Cider Mill.  https://www.alberorchard.com/

6. TheRetroKidsShow.  “Everybody Eats When They Come To My House”- Segment #40.  YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvkCEEj4I2s

Darth Blue

My good friend and Barnes buddy Stick commandeers an email network of disgruntled misfits who try to amuse ourselves with observations on the sorry world scene and also music.   The YouTubes have been hot and heavy lately. So, as I sat in the stands prior to today’s Wolverines’ game, I knew there was something he should see.  Even though he’s from the Lone Star State, he never caught the football bug that’s so common down there, maybe because his Austin College ‘roos aren’t such great shakes on the gridiron (1-9 this season) and his sport was tennis.  Like lots of Californians, he wonders what the hell I’m doing in the Midwest, so close to Canada to boot.  Since I love it here, I have to share reasons why.  Football and my U are a big part, so here’s what I wrote:

You’re sendin’ lots of YouTubes lately.  I thought that was my job.  But hey, the more the merrier, especially if they’re good.  As I sat in the stands before today’s game, I thought you oughta see what me and 110,000 of my closest friends see at the Big House every football Saturday.  They hired that one-time stutterer who happened to graduate from U of M in ’55 after starting out as a pre-med major to voice over the hype video.  Let me tell you, nothing like hearing Darth Vader tell you how great your University is to get you believing it.  They’ve been doing this for over 7 years, right after the national anthem and before the players stream on the field, and I never tire of seeing it. The idea was Harbaugh’s, something he came up with in the summer before his first season (1).

Go Blue (which JEJ never says)! Yeah, here’s the video(2). It’s not the current one, as Bo and deposed president Dr. Schlissel are in it. You’d think the athletic department would just put this on their web page for all to see.

They tinker with it all the time, bringing in great plays by current players to balance out the  ancients.  They even brought in our new energetic football-loving President Santa (for real).  Last name Ono.  Oh No!  One change that still irks me is when they purged all mention of Bo once he became controversial for the Dr. Anderson affair (3), which ended up costing the U $490 mill (4). Crumbs from that $17.3 bill endowment (5).

I don’t know if my U is “the best University in the world” like JEJ says, but it’s pretty damned good, just like our football team, and I’ll never tire of having Darth Vader tell me about it.

References

  1. Snyder M. Watch this: U-M football intro with James Earl Jones. Detroit Free Press 9/15/15. https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2015/09/15/michigan-football-james-earl-jones/72342938/

2. Michigan Wolverines from Diehard Sport. James Earl Jone hype video.  Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1764585847120001&ref=sharin

3.     Ike B. down the hole, Bo.  WordPress 9/12/21.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/09/12/down-the-hole-bo/

4.     Fitzgerald R.  University finalizes settlement in Anderson cases.  The University Record  9/16/22.  https://record.umich.edu/articles/university-finalizes-settlement-in-anderson-cases/

5.     Jordan D.  University’s endowment saw modest growth in FY ’22.  The University Record 10/20/22.  https://record.umich.edu/articles/universitys-endowment-saw-modest-growth-in-fy-22/#:~:text=The%20university’s%20endowment%20climbed%20%24325,among%20college%20and%20university%20endowments.

 

after Terry

Last Friday afternoon, my late cousin Terry (1) was memorialized at Blessed Sacrament CatholicChurch in Harrisonburg Virginia, 8 miles northeast from where he lived in Bridgewater.  He ashes are slated to be scattered at his wife Irene’s family farm in Sherando, 35 miles due south from there.  In that sense, he’ll be like his parents, whose ashes were scattered on a farm: the King George’s farm where they’d lived for over 25 years.

The day following the service, his brothers and sisters and theirs who had come for the funeral took advantage of the bright sunshine to gather at a special place in the woods near Terry’s home.  It was here when in a wood cutting expedition by Terry, his brother Rick, and brother-in-law Ken (Linda’s husband), one of the cut trees fell across Ken’s chest, rendering multiple injuries from which he would not recover.  Hence Linda was already in deep grief as she watched her brother fade away.  Fortunately, their parents had instilled in all their children a deep faith, which each has continued to nurture.  Rick, a woodsman in every sense of the word, crafted an impressive cross out of that tree and erected it at the site of the fatal accident.  It was there where the clan gathered.

As you can see by their faces, that’s joy not grief you see. To be sure, each ache for the brother they’ve just lost, and for the husband/in-law/uncle who preceded him.  Yet God has given them this sunny day, the love of each other, and holds in his hand the people they can no longer touch.

The cross did not use up all the wood in that tree.  Rick took some of what was left and threw several beautiful bowls.  Thus, this family will continue to be fed by that tree, in faith and with food.

This fine family is my family, from whom I’ve been estranged by circumstances for over 40 years.  How grand the bonds are still there, however tragic the way we rediscovered them.  Not only are there many reasons for dives into the past, but there’s also hope for new experiences in the future.  As I told Linda in an email Wednesday: I just told an old high school writer friend of mine that these deep dives into the past bring these people back to life momentarily, at least in our memories, which is where they live after all.  Sometimes that comes with a regret that the memories are not richer.  We can remedy that going forth packing as much in as we can by the recently departed, and those we know now!  Like Carly Simon sang in “Anticipation”: “And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days”.  Looking forward to some good old days with Linda and my other rugrats.

Reference

  1. Ike B. cousin Terry. WordPress 11/1/22. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/11/01/cousin-terry/

Jesus dinner

The concept grew out of circumstances.   Part of my duties at the U included going out to the Geriatrics center at East Ann Arbor (EAA).  Thursday afternoon was my clinic, and as I plied my way home along Plymouth Road, I passed by Plum Market, an upper crust grocery store.   I began to stop there, pick up a nice piece of fish from their counter, then a chunk of bread, maybe some wine, and venture home.  There, I’d throw the fish on the charcoal fire, then eat the result pushed around by the bread and washed down with the wine.  It didn’t take long for us to realize, who else eats like this?  All believers recall the post-resurrection Jesus encountering his disciples by a charcoal fire cooking fish (John 21:9).  And references to Jesus, bread, and wine are scattered throughout the gospels.

I haven’t been to EAA for close to 4 years. But Jesus dinner persists. Sometimes we venture outside the dietary laws and have shrimp or other shellfish, but Jesus never thought much of those laws (Mark 7:14-23). Our favorite dinner is salmon steaks, and I don’t think Jesus and his pals were pulling big pink fish out of the Red Sea. But the spirit lives on, and two juicy salmon steaks are on the grill as I type this. A loaf of Zingerman’s sourdough awaits, and we’ll pull some pinot out of the cellar. Of course, we’ll eat on the deck overlooking Northwest Ann Arbor when weather permits (like today) and enjoy the best music Spotify has to stream.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

birds

Eggy lives in London now, but he was once the Austin College roommate of my Barnes buddy and good friend Chappelletti (a.k.a. Stick, a.k.a. Hawke), who is the instigator of email traffic involving a number of others, who mostly look askance on how things in the world are going these days.  When I sent him my take on Rutgers (1), he circulated it to the rest of the crew.  Eggy took issue with the claim that college football was born at Rutgers, pointing out that football like we might actually recognize it was first played 5 years later by a team from McGill, where the ball was oblong, not round, could be carried and advanced, stopped with a tackle, and limited by downs (2).  Although the game was played at Harvard, it was the Canadian boys that came up with these innovations, and the Harvard boys took these alterations to the rest of their games, to be spread throughout collegiate football.

As my baby half-sister Jazz (for Jasmine) got her law degree at McGill, I feel a certain kinship to the school.  Excellent academically, often called “Harvard of the North”, I didn’t know they cared about sports, but indeed they do.  They claim McGill men also had roles in getting basketball and hockey started (3).  But they’ve run into a little woke problem with their team name (4).  Since 2005, their mascot has been Marty the Martlet.  Whazzat?  Turns out martlets are a fictional bird appearing in heraldry, basically a martin with no feet.  Thus from birth to death they never alight, symbolizing constant effort.  McGill teams once had a perfectly respectable name: the Redmen.  This was said to honor founder James McGill, a Scot with red hair. 

Over time, Redmen became Indians, complete with symbols.  In the 60s, McGill’s women’s teams were the “Super Squaws”.  Oh my!   Students led the charge to get all the Indian stuff wiped away in the early 90s and a second movement in the mid twenty teens to change the name succeeded.  Men’s teams became “Redbirds”, and women the “Martlets”, the latter also as mascot, although I believe marlets are usually depicted in heraldry as blue or black. But they’re red in McGill’s emblem.

They also seem to have grown feet.

As Eggy and I went back and forth about birds, I decided to throw the Trashman’s chestnut at him (5)

Though he didn’t recall the Trashmen, he sure remembered the song!

As I wrote him, I think they were one-hit wonders. But what a hit!

But if you’re a Dee-troit boy like me, you can’t hear that song without thinking about THE BIRD!  So I had to tell him.

I don’t know if you’re a baseball fan, but my Tigers had a pitcher in late 70s name of Mark Fidrych.  He was an absolute phenom: not a blazing fast ball but an assortment of other pitches, over which he had excellent control, that kept batters off balance, sometimes ridiculously so.  In his first season with the Tigers – 1976 – he led the majors with a 2.34 ERA as well as complete games, won 19 games, and was near-unanimous AL rookie-of-the-year and 2nd in Cy Young voting.  He was the first rookie to start an All-Star game, but gave up 2 runs and took the loss.  But he also was an incredible character.  Every time he got to the mound, he’d dig around and smooth it out to his liking then wouldn’t let the groundskeepers touch it. He talked to the ball, saying it focused him.  After every out, he’d strut around the mound in celebration. He’d go out and shake a teammate’s hand after a good play.  And he played with a joyous exuberance.   Fans packed the stadiums, home and away, when he started.   He was tall and geeky, with curly blonde locks and a slightly prominent proboscis.

One of his coaches in Lakeland, Detroit’s A minor league affiliate, noted a resemblance to Big Bird of Sesame Street, and thereafter he was The Bird.  And yes, they played the Trashmen when he walked on the field.  He blew out his knee the next spring doing kung-fu kicks in the outfield with fellow flake, pitcher Dave Rozema.  He tried to come back, but was never the same, although the antics were still there.  It was his arm that got him, not properly diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury till 8 years after it happened.  He’d last 5 more seasons, winning only 10 more games. 

He retired to his farm in Northborough, Massachusetts and led a happy life.  He also worked as a contractor hauling gravel and asphalt in a ten-wheeler.  On weekends, he helped out in his mother-in-law’s diner, and would frequent the local baseball field to help teach and play ball with the kids. While working on his dump truck April 13, 2009, his clothes become entangled with a spinning power takeoff shaft on the truck, suffocating him.  He was 54.  There’s never been another like him, and likely won’t ever be.

There are several videos about him in YouTube. This one – nearly a half hour – put together by the Detroit local sportscasters (6).

References


1. Ike B. an evening in Piscataway. WordPress 11/7/22. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/11/07/an-evening-in-piscataway/


2. McGill. Channels. THIS DATE IN HISTORY: First football game was May 14, 1874. 5/14/12. https://www.mcgill.ca/channels/news/date-history-first-football-game-was-may-14-1874-106694


3. McGill.CA / ABOUT MCGILL / History / 10 McGill stories. The birth of three sports. https://www.mcgill.ca/about/history/features/birth-3-sports


4. McGill Redbirds and Martlets. Wikepedia 5/14/22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McGill_Redbirds_and_Martlets


5. VDJ MikeyMike. The Trashmen – Surfin Bird – Bird is the Word 1963 (RE-MASTERED) (ALT End Video) (OFFICIAL VIDEO). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Gc4QTqslN4


6. MARK FIDRYCH: REMEMBERING THE BIRD. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFsnG8KThkU

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