Wednesday, November 19, 2014

They Don't Make em Like They Used to

Our Leaders in 1965

As the Baby Boomers take their turn at being our ruling class, it has become obvious that they are driving our country full speed ahead directly toward the cliff. Everyday they come up with new solutions to non problems and non solutions to real problems.

Michael Moore
They never rest.

Meanwhile, the run of the mill Lefties, Busybodies, DoGooders, the Deranged,
and the Nincompoops have nothing better to do than to demand that the Washington Redskins change their name.  They contend it is insulting to Indians.

Trying to make sense of all the ridiculous machinations of our "leaders" is  like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon.

I've given up. From now on, if I can help it, what brain cells I have left will concentrate only on my family, old friends and old memories.

Dan Snyder and Navajo chief
But having said that, maybe we can win at least one battle; Redskins owner Dan
Snyder says he will never change the name of his team!  I hope he's not forced to give in!

But if he does, I'll only know about it from news reports, because I've stopped watching my much loved Redskins as well as all the other football games.

The reason, in a way, is similar to what happened to me and the Democratic Party. It began shortly after JFK was killed, when the party slowly, but surely turned left;  leaving me and anyone else who happened to love this country, and was paying attention, behind.

Terrel Brown 6'10" 403 lbs
It's not so much the game, that has left me, but the players.  They're not to blame of course, but they've gotten SO big, SO fast and SO mean, that it's no longer a game of men;

it's a game of Freaks!

Freaks of Nature.

Back in the 1920s, when the NFL was just getting started, the average lineman weighed 190 pounds. Now they average 300 pounds.
That means Hall of Fame-er Morris "Red" Badgro, who played for the New York Giants in 1930, would lay down quarterbacks with about 970 pounds of force.

Ngata in action
Now, Baltimore Ravens starting lineman Haloti Ngata  weighs 335 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in just under five seconds. When he sacks a quarterback, he unleashes about 1,700 pounds of force.

Getting stopped by Ngata is literally like having a ton of bricks fall on you.

I was in the audience of a boxing match down in Charlotte in the late 1940's when one of the fighters died in the ring.

I'm not going to risk seeing a repeat of that on the football field.

And, sooner or later, common sense tells me that it's going to happen.

But as I say goodbye to modern football, my mind drifts back to the 50's when the Redskins were Charlotte's, and indeed, the South's team!

4:30pm on weekdays was "Briarhopper Time."(A famous local Hillbilly Band.)  And in the Fall, 1pm on Sunday afternoons was "Redskin Time!" We were seeing professional football for the first time. And what a show!  The Redskins even had a band, and cheerleaders; and our own Charlie Choo Choo Justice, although he never got to burst through the line for touchdowns like he did at Carolina, because they made a defensive back out of him.

The NFL, along with boxing and professional wrestling, (before the public learned it was "fake") were the pioneers of television sports.  Before 1960, Major League Baseball was the most popular sport in America. After that, it was no contest. NFL broadcast contracts are now among the most valuable in the world.

And the weekly broadcasts all began with George Preston Marshall's Redskins. They were the first to have their entire season televised! That happened in the  early 1950's, which were the games we watched on good old WBTV.

Eddie LeBaron (L)
Who can ever forget number 14, that amazing, scrambling quarterback, Eddie La Baron, the
Little General! What a performer!
In 1952 when LeBaron returned to this country from serving in Korea, only one NFL team had any interest in him because of his diminutive size, 5'7'' 165 lbs. The Redskins drafted him in the 10th round.

In his rookie year, he threw 14 touchdown passes  and punted for over 2,000 yards.
Part of LeBaron’s magic was his unmatchable ability to “hide” the football from defenses.
Offensive lineman Jim Ricca said it best of his fake out skills:

“Eddie was a magician with the ball. You never knew who had the ball, he was so slick.
“I remember one time three different players on the defensive line got confused and all of a sudden Eddie’s standing in the end zone with the ball. He rolled out and had the ball on his hip, and he was gone. He was elusive and tricky, and he was so short that people couldn’t really see him.”

I don't believe the Redskins won a whole lot of games back then, but I don't think we cared. No matter the final score, we knew who the winners were; they were us!

What a show!

We learned lots of names we never knew before: Joe Kuharich (Coach), Chuck Drazenovich, Gene Brito, Dick James, and of course Eddie LeBaron.

I learned those too.......but more impressive to me (being a TV wannabe) were the names that rolled by on the credits at the end of the game; the big time television wizards who were responsible for bringing those exciting games to our living rooms!

Jim Gibbons, Eddie Gallagher, etc and the PRODUCER/DIRECTOR, Jim Silman

Those were my "Heroes;" the people I wanted to meet someday!

And, as those pleasant black and white memories slowly fade to black, a mental slide appears that reads, "Wait, there's more!"

There is:  I DID get to meet them all. In fact, the man who was inventing "How to televise football games" for the NFL, the Producer/Director, Jim Silman, was my boss for 10 years and my friend for 53.

He remembers those days too:

Lee . . .
Jim Silman

  When TOP got the Redskins' rights,  they were playing in Griffith Stadium. Eddie LeBaron had replaced Sammy Baugh a year or so before. Baugh was not in any of our coverage.

Our TV broadcasts were simulcast on the Amoco radio and television networks covering the south (all the way to Miami). I set up the network formats and disseminated them to the stations involved. And, as you know, our remote truck was on the road for all the out of town games with our crew. I was the producer/director for both radio and television.

Jimmie Gibbons (play by play) and Eddie Gallagher were the announcers for game coverage. The quarter time-outs and commercial breaks were handled by Arch McDonald for the radio network who would return it to Jim and Eddie for coverage. 

An interesting sidelight (I had never heard of this nor have I seen it since) was one of our cameras was aligned with a film projector for Amoco film commercials to be rolled between quarters. The film was projected directly into a field camera. Our own telecine on the road! 

We were doing three camera shows which meant taking one of the cameras away from game coverage ahead of the end-of-quarter breaks to prepare for the film commercial. The projector was on a similar high hat side-by-side with the camera. All the camera had to do was pan to the projector and be fitted by a gooseneck connector. Fun, Huh? 


Hail to the Redskins.
And to old memories...and old friends!


Monday, November 17, 2014


As a card carrying, official, member of the WHERE IN THE HELL DID MY WAIST GO club of America, I'd like to offer some advice.

First, an explanation.  As we get older, our bodies change. You remember puberty, right?  Well, it's just like that, except opposite.

Instead of adding tissue, muscle and body we age, our bodies start subtracting that stuff. What puberty gaveth, Old age taketh away.

The obvious result is that your waist winds up closer to your chest, than down where your hips used to be.
George P. Marshall (middle), early member of  WITHDMWG

But all is not lost. No way. Nature, in its infinite wisdom makes up for the loss of muscle, and bone mass in our hips and things, and adds up to 30% of body fat in our stomachs at the exact spot we used to pull our pants up to.

Now that's a problem. Most men solve it by pulling their pants up past what some call the Santa Claus bowl, since there's no longer enough hip bone left to hang them on.

Problem solved, right?


Nature is not through with us yet. Just about the time we think the "belt just below the chest" solution has solved our fashion problem, it becomes apparent that while we weren't looking, we got about 3 inches shorter!

So now, the pants legs are dragging at the bottom!

Oh, the humanity!

So, what's the solution!?  I think there are two:

We could adopt the fashion of the rappers and gangstas....and wear our pants like they do......

or we could take a page from the popular "Duck
Dynasty" TV show and dress in Camo!

(As you can see, this is a one piece suit!)

That's the route I'm going with: THE CAMO SOLUTION

But as you know, like any other fashion, the Camo is constantly being upgraded and improved. The latest in Camo Chic is an even more intense emphasis in obscuration.

I've ordered a whole new outfit in the latest line of CAMO outfits for "Men of Distinction" like myself.


(The photograph of the original Washington Redskins owner, George P.
 Marshall (Middle) with Eddie LeBaron former quarterback (far Left) and my father in law, George Hartford (far Right) was taken sometime in the 1950's at a Redskin training camp, probably at Carlisle, PA.) 

Monday, November 10, 2014


What a load off my mind!

American Ingenuity
It's said that one major reason we won World War 2 was the practical superiority of the average American Soldier.  For example, if the Jeep or truck he was riding into battle in were to beak down, the GI would jump out, take a look under the hood, fix it, and return to battle; whereas, the German Soldier would have no idea why his truck broke down...and would have to wait by the side of the road for someone to come a fix it.

This kind of practical knowledge was expected of us boys of the 50's as well. And many of us carried on the mechanical tradition very well.  But I wasn't one of them. But thank goodness for the average filling station attendants back then. They bailed me out of some very sticky situations. Just imagine having the fan belt on your car break and fall off in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday night.

That happened to me about 50 miles outside of Charlotte chugging along in my little foreign TR3 roadster.

Gas Station Mechanic
Luckily, I found a station that was still open and even luckier was the fact that the attendant was
probably one of those ex GIs who helped defeat the Nazis.  He had never seen a little foreign car like mine, and his gas station certainly didn't stock TR3 fan belts, but he though maybe one of the tractor belts he had in stock could be made to fit my car.

It did, and I went merrily on my way home.

That was just one of many times, some nameless gas station mechanic bailed me out of trouble. After each incident, or course, I vowed to learn something about automobile engines so I wouldn't be such a helpless nerd.

Well, cars got better and better in the 60's and 70's and I'm naturally lazy, so I kept on remaining ignorant....and feeling guiltier and guiltier...until today I read an article in the UK TELEGRAPH

"There's never been a better time to know nothing about cars."

It goes on to say:

"Perhaps there was a time when men really were men and could repair their car with nothing but their wits, an elastic band and the foil from a cigarette packet. If mechanics are your thing then so much the better, but otherwise it’s now a task for a specialist. As this week’s study points out, engines are more complicated - or sophisticated - than ever before, with key parts in different places in the current popular models, and other components hidden from view. "

But the article does say everyone should know how to check your oil level and change it regularly to protect the engine. I can do that. "As the old saying goes, if you can't find the dipstick, the dipstick may be you!"

What a relief!


Sunday, November 09, 2014

Immortality? Kinda

Professor Corey
Some of the so-called "scientists" of our time are now saying that the human race is about 20 to 25 years away from being able to live as long as they want to.

They are not saying "FOREVER" since they probably are convinced that no one really wants to live forever.

At least, I don't know of anyone who does.

However, I already see signs of maybe hanging around a lot longer most people thought.  Not us, necessarily, but our IMAGES.

For example, I've noticed that pictures I posted way back when I first started "blogging" are still showing up on the Internet, many in unlikely places.

Google is the leader of Internet technology and they "invented" something as best I remember as
Web Crawler
"Search Spiders"....machines, or robots, that just  grab pictures that may or may not be associated with anything else ever mentioned in the same article and slap 'em up there

Here are some pictures I found looking through all that are listed under "Jimmies Restaurant, Mint Hill, NC"

These are some of our past LDLs.

Unless Google comes up with another that DELETES instead of ADDS.....there's a good chance our LDL photos will stay on the Internet FOREVER!  Or at least, for a long time.





That's reason enough to get out of your easy chair and join your old friends on Tuesday at Jimmies!! 

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.

Please accept this as  your invitation to join us. It will help if you spread the word by inviting other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! 



Friday, November 07, 2014

To Err is Human, to Moo is Bovine

Amazing weather picture taken by Mike Maze of WRAL in Raleigh, NC

We've had a couple of cool days here in Northern Virginia and, like clockwork, the young whippersnappers (when you get my age, just about everyone is a whippersnapper) on the local radio stations are speculating on what the upcoming winter is going to be like.

Invariably they'll bring up The Old Farmer's Almanac and speculate on it's forecast for the coming winter.

Don't tell me, don't tell me....let me guess:  "It's going to be cold as heck, blustery, heavy snow...all coming down at once...etc.


And how did I know that?

Very simple; I know how to sell books and magazines and stuff.  Same way you sell newspapers or get people to watch TV news. It's the old white bread trick;  "White Bread is not that nutritious."  or "Killer in the Bread Box."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know which headline sells.  (Although Rocket Scientists haven't been getting very good press lately.)

Of course you or I couldn't just come up with something out of the blue and get the public and the media's attention without having "street cred," as it's called these days. And the Farmer's Almanac has plenty of that: It's old as dirt  (Started in 1792 or 1829, depending on which Farmers Almanac you're talking about; there are two; Old Farmer's Almanac and the "Farmer's Almanac."

I think the Old Farmer's Almanac might have a slight edge because of one thing. And that is, like Coca Cola, they keep their forecasting secret...secret.  So does their competition.

Old Farmers Almanac Black Box
However, the Old Farmer's Almanac keeps theirs in a locked black box! And to low information, TV numbed minds that probably means a lot.

There's another weather prognosticator that no one up here in Virginia has mentioned, but you may have heard of her because she's a native North Carolinian.  Her name is  Melissa Bunker better known as, The "Persimmon Lady,"

Persimmon Seeds
She predicts the weather by opening up some persimmon seeds; if the seeds are shaped like forks, it means, according to her, the winter will be mild; if they are shaped like spoons, there will be a lot of snow, and if they are shaped like knives, winter will be bitingly cold.

Her prediction for this winter is"

"Never have seen all spoons before!!! Tell the readers to prep for lots of snow. Even our ground hornets are moving up into our pecan tree."

Now,  she's starting to speak my language.  I'm a firm believer in the old school of weather forecasting;  or as my old friend Ty Boyd used to say,  "Wisdom gleaned from the passage of the sands of time through the hourglass of destiny."  The people's brilliance:

Hornets’ nest built in the top of trees indicate a harsh winter is ahead; nests built close to the ground indicate that a mild winter is coming.

If the cat washes her face over her ear, the weather is sure to be fine and clear.

Clear moon, frost soon.

When leaves fall early, autumn and winter will be mild; when leaves fall later, winter will be severe.
Woolly Worm (both ends look alike
to me.)

The darker the woolly caterpillar’s coat, the more severe the winter will be. If there is a dark stripe at the head and one at the end, the winter will be severe at the beginning, become mild, and then get worse just before spring.

A warm November is the sign of a bad winter.

When the chairs squeak, it’s of rain they speak.

Chimney smoke descends, our nice weather ends.

Three days rain will empty any sky.

When smoke hovers close to the ground there will be a weather change.

A ring around the sun or moon means rain or snow coming soon.

Catchy drawer and sticky door, coming rain will pour and pour.

When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.

Birds on a telephone wire predict the coming of rain.

Finally, it seems that a lot of the old sayings involve cows so perhaps they are the most reliable predictors of weather: 

A cow with its tail to the West makes the weather best; a cow with its tail to the East makes the weather least.

When a cow endeavors to scratch his ear, it means a rain shower is very near. When he thumps his ribs with an angry tail, look out for thunder, lightning and hail. 

Makes sense to me.

Except, how in the world does a cow scratch his, I mean her, ear?



(Editor's Note:  I wish I could take credit for the title of this article, "To err is human, to moo is Bovine," but it is not original with me. I borrowed it from someone else....I have no idea who. My research tool (the Internet) doesn't seem to know either.  Although I think the author is the same guy who said, "Something in the way she moos attracts me like no udder lover.  -Ed

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I Love Used Book Stores

My favorite is “The Hole in the Wall”right here in Falls Church on Main Street.

It’s owned by one of the nicest ladies in this town.  Her name is…THE BOOKSTORE LADY.  (I’m pretty sure she has another more formal one, but after all the years I’ve known her, it’s too late now to ask what her name is.)

We were talking the other day and she commented on how I ought to consider writing a book about all of the famous people I interviewed on TV over the years. She suggested a possible title, “Famous Interviews I’ve had.”  Or something like that.
I thought about that for a few seconds and told her that I had a better idea in mind and it would be an even thicker book, “Famous Interviews I NEVER had.” 

Because I had many more near misses than home runs in the interview department.  And a lot of the
time it was my fault.  In the early 60’s former President Harry Truman would often visit Washington and when he did, he continued his habit of “walking” several blocks every morning, like he had always done during his days as President.

Harry Truman morning walk
My friend Paul Niven of CBS had arranged with the ex President to walk along with him and be interviewed as he walked.
Paul invited me to come along.  Then, the day before the event, something else came up…something totally forgettable and insignificant and in my infinite poor judgement chose it over the walk with Harry Truman!

Then there was the story I’ve told before on this site when I turned down an interview with the WTOP switchboard operator’s ex husband………who later turned out to be Carlos Casteneda who TIME Magazine called  “THE MOST MYSTERIOUS MAN IN AMERICA.”

I came very close to interviewing JOHN F. KENNEDY.  I had gotten clearance for 5 minutes with him following one of his many press
conferences. We were to meet behind the stage of the State Department Auditorium following  the briefing, but as  luck would have it the news event went long, and my interview was scrapped.  However, I’ll always remember how different Kennedy looked in person as he answered the reporter’s questions that day.  His complexion was very ruddy and…his face was extremely puffy…and swollen.  It was almost like his head didn't match his body. 
We all learned later it was the result of Addison’s disease, but to this day, I have no idea how the TV cameras failed to show this. Perhaps it was because of the “black and white” video images of that day.

Drew Pearson
Then, there was the time I almost interviewed Frank Sinatra. It was May 3, 1967. The famous “Muckracker"  Drew Pearson (who was proud to be called that) was President of the Washington “Big Brothers,” and to raise money for them had arranged for his friend Frank Sinatra to perform for free at the Shoreham Hotel. More that 14 hundred people paid $50 each for attending this testimonial affair.

I was one of them.

Pearson had become a fairly regular guest on a local morning TV show I was hosting at the time and he seemed to like me. I was fairly confident he was going to get Sinatra to say yes to an interview with me after his performance. Hubert Humphrey, the Vice President, was also a guest at the Sinatra Concert and mentioned that President Johnson had invited Drew to come by the White House after the show.

Frank Sinatra
So, there went my interview with Sinatra.  Although, as it turned out, Frank would probably have wished to have stayed around the hotel and had  an interview with me……or …..ANYBODY……rather that to be at the White House that night.
Oliver Pilat, in his book, “Drew Pearson,” describes what happened:

“The three men (Pearson, Humphrey, and Sinatra) arrived at the Lincoln bedroom in the White House well after midnight.  Lady Bird was already under the covers in the big four poster Lincoln bed with its overhanging canopy. The President, bare above pajama bottoms, was lying on a table being pounded by a masseur.

After a quick glance, Johnson turned his head away from his visitors without saying anything.  Humprey’s light conversation with Lady Bird gradually evaporated.  The President finally threw a few words of greeting at Humphrey and Pearson, ignoring Sinatra, who had gone over to the famous mantelpiece, on which Pearson had reported in the column, Jacqueline Kennedy had carved a strange record of her husband’s tenancy.

Johnson jumped off the rubbing table, grabbed an old souvenir booklet about the White House dating back to the Kennedy administration and thrust it at Sinatra. “I don’t suppose you read, “ the President said, with an edge on his Texas drawl, “but this has lots of pictures.”  The pictures included Rat Pack members Eddie Fisher and Dean Martin.

“Here’s something else,” Johnson said, even more offensively, handing Sinatra a presidential trinket for women visitors, a lipstick with the White House seal on it.   “It’s a conversation piece,” he said.  “It will make a big man of you with your women,”

Stiffening under the patter of insult, Sinatra turned and walked from the room without a word. 

Pearson and Humphrey followed after hurried farewells.

-Oliver Pilat  from his book DREW PEARSON

Classy Guy, that LBJ!


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Ain't Modern Science Wonderful

No sooner had I posted how much I missed the wonderful smell of “burning leaves” in the fall than “voila”…I learn that there is a perfume called BURNING LEAVES.
Is modern science amazing…or what!

Now, it may be a stretch to call it modern science, but there’s a guy named Christopher (don’t call him Chris!) who for $100 bucks will sell you a bottle of that once aromatic feature of nature’s most colorful season of the year.

There are hundreds of aroma deprived fans who swear that Chris, I mean Christopher, is a genius and his perfumes smell like exactly what is written on the bottle!
His last name is Brosius, and his shop (I mean Gallery) is on a street next to New York’s East River.  The sign, just outside the door reads, CB. The official name of his company is CB I HATE PERFUME GALLERY.

He says he has a strong sensitivity to certain aromachemicals, like musk. “The aldehydes in Chanel No. 5 make me puke.” Maybe that how he came up with his company’s name.
You’ve probably guessed by now that Brosius marches to a different drummer but he IS a perfumer!  And, they say, a very good one.
In an article in INTELLIGENT LIFE, Jessica Gallucci writes,
Christopher started crafting perfumes as an assistant at Kiehl's in the late 1980s. He soon launched his own fragrance range, Demeter, which became popular at big-name American retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Sephora. In 2000, his Snow perfume won two Fragrance Foundation ("FiFi") awards. But a rift grew between Christopher and his backers, and the company was acquired by Freedom Marketing Group in 2002. The following year, 70 of Christopher's compositions for Demeter became the first perfumes ever to be featured in the Cooper Hewitt museum's triennial design exhibition.
Some of the intoxicating scents featured in the gallery are Inner Tube, Rubber Cement Wet Pavement, Roast Beef  and “In the Library."

But the scent that got my attention is the one Christopher calls either "Coppertone 1967 " or  "North Atlantic. "The base of the scent contains a bit of Wet Sand, Seashell, Driftwood and just a hint of Boardwalk." 

Now, I think with a little bit of “tweaking” we could help CB with that fragrance. Perhaps add just a whiff of "Evening in Paris" and we could name it, “Myrtle Beach 1953.”