Saturday, January 31, 2015

Big Boy Pants Can Wait

 Try as I might, it's hard not to constantly be reminded of my advanced age.

Bobby Burris
Just yesterday, as I was in the middle of deep thought concerning how much better the Central Wildcat football team of 1953 would have been if only Bobby Burris hadn't broken his arm during  a practice drill just before our season opener...when my day dream was interrupted by a caller on the radio bragging about how he was so old that he remembered watching SUPER BOWL number 32 "way back when."

Joe Namath Super Bowl 3
Hell, I remember Super Bowl ONE!  Although I sometimes confuse it with the one in which Joe Namath  boldly guaranteed a Jets' victory over  Don Shula's NFL Baltimore Colts and then made good on his prediction with a 16-7 win for the Jets.

That was Super Bowl 3 in 1969.

Other than the two Super Bowls the Redskins were in, I've pretty much ignored them, much as I've always tried to avoid most  forms of "group think."  But that's just me. Unlike an article I read today by  Jared Taylor, writing in The American Thinker, I'm not against others doing what they enjoy.

"Nothing is so colossally, magnificently unimportant as professional sports. Unless you have money on the game, whether the Bumble Bees beat the Polar Bears has real-world consequences that can be measured to a value of precisely, exactly, irrefutably zero. Win or lose, nothing changes. No one has been fed or clothed, nothing has been produced, no problem solved -- it’s a gigantic waste of time. And yet the happiness of millions hangs in the balance. There are fully grown adults who seem to care more about a game than the results of a biopsy.
 Sports are a great way to fill an empty mind. People who can’t name the last 10 presidents can proudly tell you who won the last 10 Super Bowls. And sports make boobs into experts; people with no discernible opinion on anything else can tell you why it was a mistake to trade away the second-string quarterback. The more a man knows about professional sports the more I wonder about his judgment. -Jared Taylor"

Interesting, but we do lots of things that one could call a gigantic waste of time. It's called living.  Anything can be taken too far, and too seriously.

And are there more than our share of "boobs" running around loose?

You bet!

As the great philosopher, my Mom, used to say,  "This country is Ball Crazy!"

Meanwhile, have fun tonight; stuff yourself, drink plenty of...whatever floats your boat....Cheer, Laugh, belch, and enjoy the Super Bowl!  That's what I'm going to do.


The good news is that you aren't
as important as you thought you were.
Relax. The weight of the world
is not on your shoulders.
Take a day off.
Go for a long silent walk in the woods.
The world will still be there tomorrow -
as good and as bad as ever.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie 

Another WOW! Video

Our Electronic Reporter, Bob Ellis has found another video that will knock your socks off.

Watch what this guy, Lars Anderson., can do with a Bow and Arrow.

Eat your heart out Hollywood!

Thanks Bob.


BUT WAIT...There's More

This one was sent in by R.L. Clark:

This sign was prominently displayed in front of a Business in Florida and you are probably outraged At the thought of such an inflammatory sign.
However, we are a society which holdsFreedom of Speech as perhaps one of our greatest liberties. And after all, it is only a sign, right?
You may ask: "What kind of business would dare ​​Post such a sign?"

Answer: A Funeral Home!

Thanks R.L.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You Should be on the Stage...

...there''s one leaving tonight.

That may be the oldest one liner ever uttered on a vaudeville stage.  If not, it's certainly a close second to:

Typical Vaudeville Act 1931
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make:  Miss Helen Hunt has found an envelope that someone dropped in the lobby containing five 100 Dollar bills...and there's no name on the envelope.  If you happened to have lost it.....go to Helen Hunt for it.

Vaudeville had died a natural death in the early 30's just before we came along Nevertheless, there was no shortage of  outstanding live entertainment which was ours for the taking. 
chs stage show 1952

I think my love of Plays, Stage Shows, Concerts, and live performances (we didn't have a cute name like Vaudeville for shows like that) began in Junior High School with plays and musicals that we produced....and continued at Central....which I think to this day were pretty darn good!

The Briarhoppers

My parents took me to the Broadway Theatre a couple of times to see my favorite band, The
Briarhoppers, perform. It doesn't get any better than that.

Whoops, I take that back. Once my Mom took me to a matinee performance at the Broadway, and didn't realize that the Briarhoppers only performed on the evening show.  The afternoon show turned out to be a Hootchi Kootchi show.

My Mom pulled me out of there pretty quickly, but not before I had developed a fondness for a new kind music.

Over the years, I've been fortunate to see several of my favorite
Frank Sinatra
musicians perform on stage: a few were true all time Greats, like Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, The Mills Brothers, and Peggy Lee.

Their music is not played much anymore, and after we're gone there will be very few people who have any idea who those people were, much less care to listen to their music.

I thought of those great performances the other day as I was in a line of traffic that had come to a stop to allow a huge tractor trailer back into a small commercial garage in downtown McLean VA. The driver of the truck, using only his mirrors backed that enormous rig into an unbelievably tight space (only inches to spare on either side of the trailer) on his first try, holding up my line of traffic for no more than 60 seconds!

I wanted to jump out of my car and applaud....and shout "BRAVO!"

I didn't because the citizens around here think I'm kinda strange anyway. They tend to dismiss "old people" like me, as those whose only talent is having existed for a long time.  They seldom realize that, as the song says:

From Natchez to Mobile, from Memphis to St. Joe
Wherever the four winds blow, 

I've been in some big towns an' heard me some big talk
And there is one thing I know

...great performances when I see them!


And, speaking of great performers, two of our CHS54 super stars, Warren and Obie got together for what Warren called a "Back to the Future" meeting at the McDonald's executive conference room, adjacent to Love's Truck Stop off I-85 in Salisbury.

Why there?

Two reasons:  It's halfway between their homes...and Love's gas was $1.95.

 I have no idea what that ghostly puff of "smoke" is above Obie's head.
Perhaps the exhaust from an alien spaceship?

Monday, January 26, 2015

The OPHICLEIDE and Friends

 I often think of those old teachers we had growing up in Charlotte. I sincerely believe that among all the good luck, or blessings, we enjoyed, our teachers rank pretty high on the list. Many of the men were WW2 veterans and all of the faculty were members of "the greatest generation.

It would not have even occurred to us to mention that every one of them "loved this country."

One of my favorites was Mr. Michael Wise, my violin teacher at Piedmont, and from whom I took private lessons for a good 10 years.  His studio was in one of those big old beautiful houses on Elizabeth Ave....a couple of blocks up from Central High. I don't believe he served in WW2; my guess is he was a bit too old at the time. 

He was a fine violinist himself  and although  he also had a number of "wind instrument students" his first choice was without a doubt the fiddle.  I remember him saying one time that whoever invented the Saxophone should be shot.

Well, now that we (even us C students) can find the answer to just about anything by simply hitting a button or two on a computer I decided to find out who Mr. Wise might be gunning for...if they were both still around.

And the answer is..........

The ophicleid
Adolphe Sax, a Belgian instrument maker and accomplished ophicleide player, an instrument he also invented.

His namesake horn made its first appearance in 1840. It was actually an improved ophicleide which itself was an improvement over a somewhat similar keyed instrument called the SERPENT...

undoubtedly the ugliest instrument ever made.  And it didn't sound that great either.

The Serpent

Not sure who invented this monstrosity, but I believe this could be called the "first" Saxophone...invented in 1530.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

World Wide Web

I love the Internet!

I never got over the fact that  I could talk to one of my little friends from one end of my yard at East 5th Street to the other using two tin cans and a string.

And the telephone!  Good grief, I still think that's a miracle.

Radio?  Well, I had no problem believing that Santa didn't really exist, but I'm still not convinced that there's not really a little man inside my radio doing the talking.

And seeing pictures flying through the air via TV blew me away.

And finally, the INTERNET!

I jumped on that puppy like a tornado in a trailer park.  It was called the World Wide Wait back then, because it took so long to go from one page to another. 

Now if it takes more that 2 seconds most people simply click on something else!

I say all that to say this:  l enjoy the heck out of getting emails from my old Wildcat friends...and especially the ones that include interesting pictures and articles that I may have missed.  (There's so much out there that no one person can find them all.)

Bob Ellis is particularly adept at finding "amazing" stuff and bouncing my way. Here are some pictures he found that I think you will find as interesting as I did!

Keep 'em coming, Bob!


American Gothic Models

Hollywood Sign 1923 (Orig HollywoodLand)

Onlookers at Challenger Disaster 1985

The Iceberg that sunk the Titanic 1912 Notice red and black paint

Washington Monument  when funds ran out 1857

Wilbur Wright buzzing the Statue of Liberty 1909

Woodstock 1969
Thanks Bob!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pictures of Yesterday's LDL

To quote the famous Senator Claghorn, "That's a joke, son!"

Apparently, everyone attending the LDL events is so busy having a great time that nobody remembers to take snapshots and send me copies to put up on the website!  I haven't received any for months!

Those of us who live too far away to attend these happy events would love to see some of our old buddies shoveling down calories at Jimmies!

Oh well, maybe next time.

One of my favorite "over the transom" publications is the Quora Digest.
Here is their latest list of "products you didn't even know existed:"

The Heated Butter knife

The Onion Holder

The sofa to bunk bed

The Suitcase Scooter   Why carry a suitcase when a suitcase can carry you?


Last but not least......

My favorite.......


And, just in case you don't remember who Senator Claghorn was..

  but I bet that you do......


Sunday, January 11, 2015


LDL TODAY!  Tuesday January 13th

 It's a brand new year!  Get started on the right foot!
This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
This is your invitation to join us. Spread the word to others! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!

Bits and Bytes

According to the CHS54.NET mailbag, a number of you remembered that convoluted machine I wrote about several weeks ago called the comptometer, which was the earliest version of the electronic calculator.

In fact, Bob Ellis told me that he used to operate one!

"When I started work in 1955 at Duke Power, all the ladies in the office used comptometers.   6-7 months later, I had to learn and never got as good as the ladies.  
The Independence Bld.  was on the Square.  The National Shirt Shops was on the street level.   Brings back the days."

And I can't believe I forgot the name of the Independence Bld!  My bad.

Speaking of the progress we have made since the comptometer :

And another statistic I saw on the internet that really got my attention ...was this one!



Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Truth and Nothing But...

The Editorial Department here at the CHS54.NET complex was pleased to receive  this true life adventure story from one of our all time favorite writers, Warren Sparrow!

Ed, Hope all is well.  Your latest plea has reminded me of one of my "finest(?) hours." Actually, it only lasted a few seconds. Listen to this....

Once upon a time I was a lawyer, a proud member of the Forsyth County, North Carolina, Bar. In addition I was "on the court-appointed list." Being on the list brought me in contact with folks who were truly "down on their luck." One of them was charged with two counts of armed robbery of an apartment-management office run by two women. The police had arrested him not long after the incident, fairly confident that he had done the crime. He had been thrown in the clink, unable to post bond pending trial. I was appointed to defend him. Naturally, I went to see him. He denied any involvement in the crime. I was skeptical but was determined to mount a vigorous defense. A few weeks passed and the trial date was at hand. I returned to the jail for a final meeting.

After a few tense moments of my telling him things did not look good, my client expressed disbelief, saying "You ain't come up with nothing yet?"

My response was "Yes!"

I had come up with the fact that two women had told the police that you threatened to kill them with a knife, pushed them into a utility closet and ran off with the rent money they had collected.

He was convicted and was sent to prison. The story does not end there. Many years later he was released from prison and got a job at a local restaurant, one I frequented. I saw him there. He was cordial. Actually, he was down-right friendly.

By the way, that client's name is Moses. He did not write the Ten Commandments. I am not sure if he ever read them.


 Thanks Warren.  Next time you dine at that restaurant, I hope you take along your "official taster."
 By the way class,  before retiring, Warren had become the District Attorney for Forsyth County (Winston Salem, etc.)


Thursday, January 08, 2015

January LDL

You may have seen the article recently about a University of Cambridge-trained computer scientist who claims that the second Sunday in April 1954 was the most boring day since the dawn of the 20th Century.

He says that his analysis has determined that nothing great happened on that day.

According to the story I saw, he analysed more than 30 million facts via a computer program he invented and concluded that nothing great happened on 4-11-54.

I have no idea who paid for this ridiculous study, but my instinct tells me that it has Uncle Sucker written all over it.

I have no idea exactly what any of us were doing on that particular day, but if it were possible to go back in time, 4-11-54 sounds like a winner to me!

However, the next best thing to a time machine is this month's LDL at Jimmies!

Jerry Gaudet has details: 

 It's a brand new year!  Get started on the right foot!
This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
This is your invitation to join us. Spread the word to others! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Our 78th

Or was it our 79th?  Anyway, Christmas has come and gone, and I'm glad.

 Now we can return to some kind of normalcy.

Warren Harding
Incidentally, that word normalcy at one time was not accepted as correct English.  The proper word was normality. However, Warren Harding used normalcy in a major speech when campaigning for the Presidency in 1920 and thereafter, it magically became "proper English grammar.."  I suppose the mindset back then was, "if it's good enough for the President of the United States, it's good enough for us little people."

Thank goodness Americans don't think that way now, otherwise, we'd have to start pronouncing CORPS as corpse and change our history books from 50 to 57 states, etc., etc.

But I digress.

Barack Obama
Normality, normalcy, whatever, we can now go back to our regular routine; doctors appointments, MRIs, Xrays, blood tests, power naps...

You know, Golden Age stuff.

One of my wishes for the new year is that MORE of you chronologically gifted Wildcats will send me a note from time to time telling me about yourself and all that you've been up to and all about your kids and grand kids and great grand kids....and just about anything you want to talk about.

Your lovable, handsome and modest webmaster would love to hear from you!
And pictures too!!

Blessings and good wishes to you all, and stay well!!


Saturday, January 03, 2015

End of an Era

Some of my fondest childhood memories were those Saturday nights my Dad and I sat around the radio together and listened to The Grand Old Opry!

They call that "bonding" now, but to us, it was just plain old entertainment!

Jimmy Dickens 1948
I won't swear to it, but I'm almost positive that I remember listening to the show on which Little Jimmy Dickens made his debut performance on that classic American institution.

The year was 1948, according to his obituary, which was all over the news yesterday.

I immediately identified with hm back then because I assumed that his title of "Little" was because of his youth. But in reality, it was because of his diminutive size, which was 4 feet, 11 inches.
He performed almost continuously since that first appearance and was the oldest and one of the most loved performers in the Opry's history.

"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens," said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. "He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."

Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.

His biggest hit was a novelty song titled, "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" which
crossed over from a "country" hit to also become a "pop" best seller:
May the bird of paradise fly up your nose; 
May an elephant caress you with its toes; 
May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose;
May the bird of paradise fly up your nose."

He was 94.