Friday, October 13, 2017

Believe In America

Re-establishing the National Space Council

President Trump has asked three things of American citizens since his election in 2016; to believe in themselves, believe in their future and believe in America.

One thing that could have skipped your notice through all the recent news reports is one that particularly grabbed me. Maybe it's because I remember seeing and being impressed by our young President Kennedy's profound TV speech on September 12, 1962, when we first put a man on the moon. "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." That was the part that grabbed me and I never forgot it.

That's the way America has always been, we've always been the pioneers in everything and choose to do the hard things, because they are the things that need doing and there's no one better than us to do them. So what happened to our Space program? Read on.....

The National Aeronautics and Space Council, (NASA) was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act in 1958 by then President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower never really made use of the Council and in his last year as President, recommended that it be abolished.

When John F. Kennedy became President he re-invigorated it and named his Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson as Chairman, which required an amendment to the original Act.

From 1989 to 1993, George W. Bush created the National Space Council by "Executive Order #12675." It was chaired by then Vice President Dan Quayle. Friction between astronaut members of NASA and the Administration members of the board caused its disestablishment in 1993. Its functions were then absorbed by the National Science and Technology Council.

In August 2008, when campaigning for the Presidency, Barack Obama promised his constituency that he would re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council, but his 8 years in office came and went without that promise fulfilled.

Within 6 months of Donald J. Trump's Presidency, on June 30, 2017, he signed an Executive Order for its re-establishment, with Vice President Mike Pence as Chairman. Following the order, the Council first meets on October 25, 2017 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. See the order at Executive Order 13803.

It seems that with President Donald J. Trump, we choose to do things once again, "not because they are easy, but because they are hard." I am grateful we have a President who believes in our people and our nation, that we are once more able to accomplish great things.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our Politics, Our Business

Pope Francis in Mexico

 Pope Francis: Trip To Mexico

Pope Francis made a recent journey to Mexico. There, he gave blessings and spiritual comfort to the faithful. He also went on record with the media in condemning Presidential candidate Donald Trump for his stand on immigration and "the wall," even going so far as to say that because Trump wants to secure our borders with a wall, that he isn't Christian. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have both gone on record lately (although that wasn't their initial stand) with saying they want the borders secure. No one criticized them for their opinion, only Donald Trump.

This Is America, OUR Country

This is OUR country, our safety concerns, our borders, our politics, our business. With all due respect to the Pope, none of those things are his concern. He is a man who resides inside an enclave surrounded by 50-feet walls. He never has to contend with high crime rates or lack of resources in communities. His luxurious surroundings include his own Army and a bevy of servants who provide his every need.

Between God and Trump

I think it's highly improper for anyone to make remarks about whether someone is Christian or not, based solely on what they know of Trump's public life. Only God and Trump know what is in his heart. Mr. Trump has done many good things in his life, including paying off mortgages for families who fell upon hard times. I'm sure you didn't know that because those who are in power and the media who help them, don't want you to know anything good about Trump. What Donald Trump believes and stands for is between God and Trump.


Let's talk about the word "hypocrisy," for a moment. The common definition of that word is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense, falseness, false virtue, affectation, duplicity, deceit, dishonesty, dissimulation, posturing, insincerity, etc. Mr. Trump does not claim to be perfect, nor does he go about making a show of his Christian virtues. For a man high in any church to say about another man that he is not Christian because he believes in securing our borders is plain hypocrisy on the part of the man living within the kind of walls that the Pope does. So, Pope Francis, "tear down that wall," and let's see how grand you think it is when everyone has access to YOUR home anytime they feel like it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Coping With Emphysema/COPD

Photo of Nancy Hardin, wearing nasal cannula, courtesy of Judy Schweitzer

Coping With emphysema/COPD

Nobody gets through life without some sort of illness or condition that must be dealt with in their daily living. We've all had surgeries, broken bones, but then there's something called chronic illness or disease which is a condition that is incurable but can be lived with. This is usually something that challenges the immune system and makes life difficult, challenging our dexterity or ability to be as active as we once were. One of these conditions I've lived with since my diagnosis in 1997 is Emphysema and/or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Emphysema is included in a group of diseases called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a long-term progressive disease of the lungs that produces extreme shortness of breath. The main cause of these conditions is cigarette smoking, followed by air pollution such as chemicals or toxins in the work place or home, and an inherited trait known as alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency.

If you smoke, quitting can lessen the severity or stop the progression of the smoking and pollution produced symptoms. The effect of the inherited trait can be greatly modified by not smoking, taking care not to inhale second hand smoke, and avoiding breathing other toxins and chemicals.

Why is it so hard to breathe?

Here's the reason why people with this condition have trouble getting enough oxygen. Our lungs are like an old-fashioned bellows, in that they are comprised of lung tissue around small air sacs called alveoli. As the lung expands and contracts, like a bellows, these little air sacs (alveoli) help us to keep the old stale air pushed out to make room for the new air coming in. The causes mentioned above destroy the tissue, making the air sacs unable to hold their shape upon exhalation. They collapse and air becomes trapped in the lungs, lessening the space for incoming fresh air and filling the lungs with carbon dioxide, resulting in a continual shortage of breath. Not a pretty picture, but one that is necessary to understand the effect emphysema has on the human lung.

Emphysema Lungs Through A Microscope

This photo shows what's happening to the lung tissue, as the alveoli break down, causing huge stale air pockets that cannot be expelled with normal respiration. As more and more of these little sacs disappear into the large open space, it's a slow suffocation, and the need for oxygen therapy becomes necessary.

 Photo Credit

A Special Breathing Method Helps
This Video Shows How It's Done

Nothing panics a person more quickly than the inability to breathe. But panic feeds panic, and makes getting enough air a virtual impossibility. A method called pursed lip breathing can help to get you through these difficult times and possibly save your life. Practice this during times when you are not stressed, so when the time comes you need to do it, it will become automatic.

This breathing technique is done by taking a breath IN through the nose, and sloooooowly pushing it OUT through your lips that are "pursed" as if you are going to whistle. The trick is to do the breathing out slowly, and not to completely empty the lungs, as that will make you gasp for the next breath. This is a controlled breathing method that can help you through those times when you have an exacerbation, and find you are fighting for air. Controlled breathing also helps to lower your blood pressure and remove carbon dioxide from your lungs.

Whenever you experience a shortage of breath while walking, bathing, changing clothes, or any exertion, remember to stop the activity and do "pursed lip breathing" until you are back in control again.

Travel Is Still Possible

 Photo from our family album of The Regal Princess docked in Juneau, AK

If you've been diagnosed with emphysema or COPD, you can still have an active, enjoyable life if you take care of yourself. Travel is one of the things many people believe is now impossible. That's not true, but certain planning and precautions are needed beforehand. Airlines allow travel with portable oxygen concentrators, however you must  notify them of the condition when making the reservations. Modern day, portable concentrators are easier and more comfortable for use, and airlines will inquire as to what sort of accommodations you are using. 

Road trips are one of my favorite things to do. It's great to tool along our Interstates  connecting all of our states. Makes the trip shorter, and you can still take side trips to scenic or historic places if you wish. We've done many trips by car, and I can tell you I enjoy it tremendously. We stop from time to time to stretch our legs, to eat and use restroom facilities. The United States is a beautiful place when you see it on a road trip.

Don't think a cruise is ruled out, because they're possible too, with advance planning. I went on a cruise to Alaska, my oxygen was delivered to the ship on the day we embarked, along with a concentrator. (More about the concentrator below.) We enjoyed our Alaskan Cruise thoroughly. We were on what is known as "The Inside Passage," visiting Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau, as well as Victoria, Canada. We plan to do it again.

Yes I know there probably are things you can no longer do, like hiking the Grand Canyon, or bicycling a marathon, or dancing all night. But you might not have done that anyway. Concentrate on the things you CAN do, not on the things you've lost. Mourning about the loss of those abilities won't reinstate them. Take pleasure in the things you ARE able to do and enjoy your life.

Don't Stay Home All The Time

I urge you not to allow your condition to make you a prisoner in your own home. You can still get out and go places. There are companies who deliver oxygen tanks to your home, so that you need never become a recluse. You can still be active to the best of your abilities, as long as you have the proper equipment. There are two three methods for portable oxygen currently in use; tanks, liquid, and portable concentrators. You and your doctor should make the decision as to what is the right one for you. Whatever method is chosen, you can go places and do things without fear, as long as you go prepared.

Oxygen Tank Storage

Depending on the method you use, this part may not apply to you. But if you are using oxygen tanks, always store them upright in a well-ventilated area. One of the things I've found works well for me is using a cardboard shoe storage container, turned with the shoe openings up. I put it inside my front door in my foyer, and this is where I store my tanks of oxygen upright. They also get good ventilation there, since there is an air conditioner vent nearby. This arrangement also makes it easier for the delivery person to quickly swap out the empties for the full ones.

TIP#1: Oxygen tanks come with a tape or plastic seal around the top,usually green in color. In order to use the oxygen that seal must be removed. This makes it possible at a glance, to see how many tanks have been used and let your oxygen provider know how many you need on the next delivery.

TIP#2: Never allow any smoking in a home that contains oxygen or an active concentrator. Oxygen is not in itself explosive, but feeds the fire around it. An open flame or cigarette smoking nearby could result in terrible injury or even death. Make sure you have no smoking signs on your door, so that nobody is smoking when you open the door.

Breathe Easy With Help Of Inhalers

Another helpful aid for your breathing are inhaled medications prescribed by your doctor for emphysema or other lung diseases. Those shown here are the two prescribed for me by my doctor; Spiriva and Symbicort, used for their long term effect on your lungs. They are both used for the specific purpose of helping your airway and lungs provide your maximum breathing capability. Spiriva is normally used once a day, and Symbicort twice a day. Your doctor may prescribe something else, depending on the severity of your condition. These are NOT to be used in case of an emergency breathing problem. (See paragraph below.)

Photo Spiriva and Symbicort Inhalers courtesy Nancy Hardin

Emergency Rescue Inhalers

Because of the nature of emphysema/COPD, patients like myself experience what is known as "exacerbations." When one of those hits, we need quick relief. If you've been diagnosed with a lung condition that may cause these episodes, chances are that your doctor will  prescribe a "rescue inhaler" for you. The one provided for me by my doctor is Proventil, to be used in the event I am struggling to breathe. It works almost immediately and allows me to begin to breathe evenly and deeply. If you've been prescribed one of these, be sure you always have your rescue inhaler with you whenever you leave home for any period of time. A side effect of this medication is that it may cause you to feel shaky and nervous for a while. But those effects are soon over, and the ability to breathe again is certainly worth it.

Proventil Rescue Inhaler photo courtesy Nancy Hardin

No Smoking Oxygen In Use


Your Lifeline Is An Oxygen Converter

Here's the good, the bad and the funny about being connected to an oxygen converter. A converter is a necessity for anyone who is on a continual, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week usage. The converter runs plugs into your regular household electricity and you can set the liters of air it delivers and go about your house without having to carry a tank. That's the good part, but the bad part is being tethered to it by a 50-foot line. Now I admit, I wasn't happy about that part, but I soon learned to live with it, which is a heck of a lot better than not living. At first it may seem to be a hindrance, having that line connected to you at all times. But here's the funny part, gradually as you adjust to it, you actually sometimes forget that you are wearing it. I've had my purse on my arm, ready to go out the door, when I've suddenly realized..."Hey, I can't get any further than 50-feet with this! What was I thinking?" I've gotten a laugh from my family more than once over this. Oh well, I grab my portable tank, turn it on, turn off the concentrator and away we go.

 What  About A Power Outage?

If there is a power failure any time, even during the night when you are asleep, the machine has a loud, sharp whistle that will bring you to your feet. That's when you go on your portable oxygen tanks until the power comes back on. Physicians advise not to go to sleep with a portable tank, because when the oxygen runs out, you could be in danger. Accordingly, if your power stays off for longer than a couple hours, go to a friend or relative's house where you can take your concentrator and run it from their electricity, so you can sleep. Failing that, go to a motel and take your concentrator. When your power is back on, you may safely return home.

A video on how to use your nebulizer - Plus troubleshooting tips

It's possible you've been advised to use a nebulizer. Before I was put on Spiriva and Symbicort, my doctor had me doing breathing treatments with albuterol in a nebulizer every 4 to 5 hours. This is another medication that makes you shake, but it opens your airways. Some doctors find that with the use of the long term inhalers, this is no longer necessary. I keep my nebulizer and some albuterol on hand, just in case I ever need it. The video below explains how to properly use the nebulizer.

 Other places for information about emphysema/COPD

Enjoy Your Life

It is my hope that you will live your life well, even with emphysema or COPD  and on oxygen daily. You can still live your life, you just need to make a few modifications to the way you do it. Once you accept that, you find there's still so much to enjoy in the world






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rita Hayworth: Down To Earth

Glamorous, Beautiful Rita

The Goddess of Dance Comes Down to Earth

Once upon a time a goddess came down to earth and I went to see her. It's true! Well, Rita Hayworth was the goddess and it was my favorite movie of all time, called "Down To Earth," costarring Larry Parks. She played the Goddess Terpsichore (Goddess of Dance) in this musical comedy and first mysteriously appeared onstage at rehearsal. She immediately attracts the attention of Danny Miller (Larry Parks,) who is the producer/director of the play. He is entranced with her beauty and her dancing and puts her in the starring role, even though it meant taking another girl out of the spot.

Terpsichore Persuades Danny

As the movie progresses, Danny is smitten with her, not knowing that she is actually a Goddess who has persuaded the other Gods to allow her to "fix" his play. He had the Muses (of which Terpsichore is but one) appearing as loose women who are fighting for the attention of two Air Force pilots who crashed on a mountain where the Gods live. This angers Terpsichore because not only are the muses depicted in what she considers a derogatory manner, but even the name of the mountain where the Gods live is wrong. She decides to teach these humans a lesson, hence her reason for appearing on earth. She proceeds to persuade Danny to change the play into a classical ballet, instead of a comedy. She wants to show this good looking man the correct way to portray the muses and herself, which changes the focus of the play entirely.

Terpsichore falls in love.

Once she is put in the starring role, she suggests changes to the play that will better depict the dignity and beauty of the Muses. Because Danny is enamored of her, he allows them to be made. However, the play is a flop with human audiences, who want to see something fun, carefree and entertaining. When the play goes belly-up, Danny Miller's life is at risk from gangsters who have helped fund the play. Terpsichore finds this out, and upon realizing that she has fallen in love with Danny, she helps to put the play back to the original fun comedy, saving the play and Danny's life.

She begs to stay on earth.

Because of her love for Danny, she begs to be allowed to stay on earth. But Mr. Jordan, her handler, says it is not possible. She must return to Mt. Helicon, where the Gods actually live. She understands though she isn't happy about it. After that she becomes invisible to everyone and sees that Danny manages his life without her, though he's sad and misses her. Because of her obedience, Mr. Jordan tells her they will meet again, and he gives her a preview of their meeting in a new life. This comforts her as she knows they will eventually be together again.

A bit of trivia regarding this movie.

In 1980, a movie called Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and Michael Beck was inspired and based on the 1947 movie Down to Earth.

The Goddess Comes "Down To Earth."

What Price Glamor?

Rita Hayworth Was Hollywood Glamor Personified

Rita was a treasured pinup girl during WWII, and any movie with Hayworth in it was guaranteed box office gold. She was probably one of the only glamor girls that not only appealed to men, but also to the women. Guys loved her, gals wanted to be like her. Ironically, her hair style was emulated by women the world over. The hair and its style was not natural since Rita was naturally dark-haired and of Spanish origin, born Rita Cansino. Studio Boss Harry Cohn and her then-husband Edward Johnson, had electrolysis done on her hairline because they felt her original hairline looked "too Latin." In addition to that, they had her hair dyed dark red to go with the personality they felt she should have. It all went into making the star that became Rita Hayworth. Rita was used to men making decisions for her, since her father Eduardo Cansino had always done so until then.

 You Were Never Lovelier


Hayworth and Astaire

Rita Hayworth made two films as dancing partner to Fred Astaire. "You'll Never Get Rich," in 1941 and "You Were Never Lovelier," in 1942, both romantic musical comedies. Hayworth was a dancer in her own right, having grown up as the daughter of two dancers. She began dance lessons, as she said, "as soon as I could stand on my own two feet." Those lessons continued through the years until the family moved to Hollywood in 1927, establishing a dance studio. Rita and her father danced at area clubs and she was spotted dancing by the head of Fox Film Corporation, Winfield Sheehan. He felt she could be a star and arranged for a screen test. From that to dancing with Fred Astaire, what a leap!

Rita and Fred

Rita,  in video below, dancing as Terpsichore in "Down To Earth."

Watch her dance as Terpsichore. She was one of the best dancers of the era, because she was a professional dancer before becoming a film star.



 Rita Hayworth, 1977, Accepting An Award

National Screen Heritage Award - 1977

Hayworth was honored in 1977 with the National Screen Heritage Award presented at the National Film Society convention. In less than 10 years, on May 14, 1987 she died from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. She is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA. In 1999, she was included as one of American Film Institute's Greatest Stars of All Time.


"Rita Hayworth was one of our country's most beloved stars. Glamorous and talented, she gave us many wonderful moments on stage and screen and delighted audiences from the time she was a young girl. Rita became known for her struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Her courage and candor, and that of her family, were a great public service in bringing world wide attention to a disease which we all hope will soon be cured. Nancy and I are saddened by Rita's death. She was a friend who we will miss."
— Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, 1987

Movies Starring Rita Hayworth You Might Like:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

"The Blob" Introducing Steve McQueen

"The Blob" Introducing Steve McQueen

Beware The Blob!

Looking back on the movies of the 1950s, I particularly remember the movie "The Blob" from the days of going to drive-in movies. At that time, invaders from outer space films were the rage. It was science fiction and horror rolled into one. It affected many of us because of our fear of a communist invasion, and in our minds at least, it was practically the same kind of thing. The Blob was even more terrifying because it was without a definite form; just matter, that could slip, slide and glide through any tiny opening. It could then cover you, and eat you alive! With each human absorption, it grew larger. Oh yes, it was terrifying and being terrified just fascinated all movie goers.


Another Reason "The Blob" Was Interesting

There was another reason for our fascination, at least for the females. The movie introduced a guy in his first leading role, whom we all came to know and love; Steve McQueen. He played a teenager (he was actually 27 years old) who tried to warn the community about this menace, but who was ignored. I liked his big blue eyes and his way of handling himself. For his role in "The Blob" McQueen received only $3,000, turning down an offer of a smaller upfront share with 10 percent of the profits. He didn't believe the film would make any money and he needed the money to live on. Too bad he couldn't see the future when making the deal; the blob grossed over $4 million dollars at the box office. Still, it gave him the toehold in Hollywood that he needed.

Who knew then that he would go on to be the legendary "tough guy" of so many films we loved? His performances in "The Sand Pebbles" (for which he received an Academy Award Nomination) "The Thomas Crown Affair," "Bullitt," "Papillon," "The Great Escape," "The Magnificent Seven," "The Towering Inferno," and other roles, brought him to the peak of his craft in earnings, making him the highest paid star in Hollywood in 1974. After that, he did not make another film for six years. In 1980 he made his last two films, "Tom Horn," and "The Hunter." Steve McQueen died of cancer on November 7th, 1980.

The Movie Plot "Thickens" (Pun Intended)

In a small rural town in Pennsylvania, a teenager, Steve Andrews (McQueen) and his girlfriend Jane Martin (Aneta Corsaut) are doing some heavy kissing in a local lover's lane when they see something speed out of the night sky and crash just beyond the next hill. Curious to see what the object is, they decide to go see what it's all about. Before they can get there, an old man has found it first and he pokes it with a stick. The meteorite breaks open and a small jelly-like substance suddenly leaps and attaches to his hand and arm. In pain and unable to remove the substance, he runs into the road and is nearly struck by McQueen's car as they arrive at the site. They take him to the doctor, who asks Steve to go back to the site and see what kind of information he can find about the substance. They leave and we pan back to the doctor's office, where the old man is slowly being absorbed, and both the doctor and the nurse are also absorbed by the Blob, which then grows in size. It's the beginning of many more such horrific scenes. The fright overcomes most folks watching because it's the sort of thing we dread; the invasion of something that overcomes us without our being aware of its intentions until it's too late.

 The movie may be purchased here from Amazon.

The Blob (1958)



The Blob: Not The Best or The Worst of 1958's Movies.

By all means, this movie was not Academy Award winner material. But it certainly wasn't the worst of the bunch that were produced during the 1950s, there were lots who qualified for that title. But there were others, like "Them," "The Thing," "Creature From The Black Lagoon," and more of that genre, that were good at scaring us. They all played on our fear of being invaded, either by alien beings, or (translated in our minds,) by the Communists. We just switched one "bogeyman" for another in our imagination. But they were spooky, gave us the chills and were fun to watch, just the same. Movie goers went to films of this sort in droves, it was the fad of the day.

Popular Movie? Let's Make A Song!

Once "The Blob" was a big hit the theaters, of course, there had to be a song about it. It was written by none other than the famous Burt Bacharach and Mack David and became a nationwide hit for singer Bernie Knee, using an overdubbing technique so that it sounded like there were more singers. It was a fun song, and people went around singing the catchy tune. Even today, once you hear it you find yourself humming the tune. At the time I didn't find the song particularly delightful, because to me it didn't fit with the terror you felt watching that thing envelope someone. Now I think it's cute...give a listen and see if you agree.



Blob Trivia

  • "The Blob" was actually made from silicone, adding more and more red dye to it as it "absorbed" people, and as it grew with each "absorption."
  • The Town of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, where parts of the movie were filmed, holds an annual Blob Fest. A scene is re-enacted, (one you can see in a video above,) where the crowd runs screaming from a theater where the blob is wreaking havoc.
  • In 1972 Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing in "Dallas") directed a sequel known as "Beware! The Blob!" It didn't have near the popularity the original did.


More Terrifying Movies, Based On Atomic Mutation

What about the movies that have mutations from atomic radiation? That was a biggie during the 50s too. Giant ants so terrorized a little girl in "Them," that she was traumatized to the point all she could scream was "Them!" I can't believe what a good actor she was at such a tender age. And believe me when I tell you, this movie scared me! After all, we were in awe of such a terrible force and what it might do to the world. So why wouldn't it make ordinary things mutate into horrible monsters? I never looked at ants the same way again in my life as I did before watching this movie.




The Thing - "Look To The Sky!"

"The Thing" was also a nightmare for me for a couple nights. He was violent, scary and huge (James Arness, standing tall, and in make-up.) Thawed from Arctic ice, a flying saucer is found with some sort of "being" frozen inside. Taken inside the laboratory, the creature thaws and comes back to life. The scientist thinks he's just frightened and misunderstood and tries to communicate with him, only to realize all the monster wants to do is kill. The makeup Arness was wearing made him look like a big carrot to me, but obviously much more frightening.

The Thing From Another World

The Thing from Another World

 Creature From The Black Lagoon

For me, this film was a little hokey, not really that scary. But, it was different, and in those days, that was the big draw for any movie. That's all that was necessary, that it have some sort of odd appeal, either in the central character, or a monster, or a comic relief part. As long as there was something in the "unusual" mode, the movie was a winner. "The Creature From The Black Lagoon," was kind of fun for me. Maybe I'd grown up a bit more by then, or maybe I'd become insensitive to these "atomic age" monsters. Fear can only haunt you so long, until you finally become immune to it.


Friday, May 15, 2015

The Blues According to B.B.King

 The Blues According to B.B. King

B.B. King, blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, sings the blues no more. He passed away in his Las Vegas home on Thursday, May 14, 2015. But his legacy lives on in the blues he loved, played, sang and promoted. This story is about the blues according to B.B. King.

Nobody could surpass King's way with the blues and as he said:  "The blues is life, but it's sort of sad to think you have to be sad" to sing them. But then he remarked, "I think the blues are like a tonic," and added, "they're good for what ails you."

Riley B. King Is Born

Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation, September 16, 1925 in Berclair, Mississippi to sharecropping parents Albert and Nora Ella King. At the age of 4, his mother left his father, and the boy was raised by his maternal grandmother, Elnora Farr in Kilmichael, Mississippi.

Growing up, he sang in a gospel choir in his community, and began his lifelong interest in the guitar at the age of 12. Some say his first guitar was a gift from Bukka White, his mother's cousin, whom he followed to Memphis, Tennessee. He began playing on the street for nickles and dimes. In the next few years he would develop his skill at playing the guitar. He would also begin to grow a faithful audience of his music who would continue to follow his blossoming career.

B.B. King Is Born

He gained his name "B.B. King," at WDIA, a Memphis radio station where he performed a 10-minute spot that became so popular it was expanded and became known as The Sepia Swing Club. He was initially called the "Beale Street blues boy," shortened to "blues boy," and eventually to B.B. While at the radio station he met T-Bone Walker, innovator and pioneer of the electric blues sound. B.B. was enthralled with the sound of the electric guitar, and said, "I knew I had to have one, short of stealing."

His recording career began in 1949 on RPM Records, many of which were produced by Sam Phillips of Sun Records (the same man who took a chance on recording Elvis Presley for the first time.) He eventually formed his own band, entertaining audiences across the United States with his unique talent and the blues. He helped raise the genre to new heights, taking it from juke joints and small clubs to Las Vegas lounges and stages around the world. He was becoming a legend in his own time.

Partial List of Awards

King played as the opening act for the 1969 Rolling Stones American Tour. He won a 1970 Grammy for "The Thrill Is Gone," which was a hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1980 and the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987, he went on to be inducted into the Official Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2014. The International Polar Music Prize was awarded to him in 2004, " in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music."

 Favorite Singer

Frank Sinatra was his favorite singer and King gave him credit for opening doors in Las Vegas lounges in the un-integrated 1960s. In his autobiography "Blues All Around Me," King tells about a Caesars Palace executive asking their star, Sinatra, if it was okay for King to play the lounge, and Sinatra answered, "Hell yes!" King said, "not just 'yes' but 'Hell yes'. That meant a lot to me." In his autobiography King says he went to sleep every night listening to Sinatra's recording of "In The Wee Small Hours."

How "Lucille" Came To Be Named  

If you know anything at all about B.B.King, you know he names his guitars "Lucille." Why was it always that name? Here's the story:  In 1949 a common practice to heat dance halls and clubs was a burning barrel of kerosene. In one such establishment in Arkansas a fight broke out between two men during which the barrel was knocked over. This sent blazing kerosene flooding the floor, catching it on fire, and the hall was then evacuated. Once outside, King realized he'd left his $30 guitar inside and he ran back into the burning building to retrieve it. Making his way safely back outside, guitar in hand, he was glad to be alive. Two men actually died in the fire. Later, he heard that the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille. He named that guitar and subsequent editions "Lucille" to remind himself never to be so stupid as to fight over women or run INTO a burning building! He wrote a song named "Lucille" which tells the story and is included in his album B.B. King Anthology 1962-1998. In 1980 the Gibson Guitar Company introduced the B.B.King Lucille Model Guitar. The difference between the Lucille and the earlier model on which it is based is that it bears "Lucille" in script on the headstock, has a maplewood neck and lacks F holes on the top, at King's request, to reduce feedback.


"When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille." - B.B. King


 B.B. King Plays His "Lucille" and sings her story in this video.

 Goodbye B.B. King, Not Goodbye To Your Music

In 1991 B.B. King's Blues Club opened on Beale Street in Memphis, TN, a second club in 1994 in Universal City Walk in California, and a third in New York City's Times Square in 2000. Since then there have been five other clubs opened, one in Foxwood Casino in Connecticut in 2002, one in Nashville, TN in 2003, one in Orlando FL in 2007 and one in the Mirage Hotel Las Vegas in 2009. Blues had made it big time and so had B.B. King, a sharecropper's son,  singing the tunes that were "good for what ails you."

RIP B. B. King 5/14/2015

Both the autobiography of B.B. King and the Anthology Album that are mentioned in this text are available below for purchase.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gifts For A "Live-Alone" Person

Gifts For A "Live-Alone" Person

Photo Courtesy of Amazon
Item is Available For Purchase On This Page

A Person Hard To Buy For? ~ Problem Solved!

I have a bachelor uncle who used to present a problem for gift buying in years past. But after taking another look at his interests, likes and dislikes, and making a few discreet questions, I've decided it's not so difficult after all. Just really put some thought into the person you're buying for. Do your snooping into his/her life (nicely now!) and find out what they can use, what they really want, what they actually like. Chances are you'll come up with a whole list of possibilities.



The Keurig

The Keurig K-Cup Home Brewer is an excellent gift for someone living alone, because every cup of coffee or tea is fresh. No more burnt smell or taste from  sitting on a hot plate too long. Not only that but the person receiving this gift can try different flavors whenever they want, without being committed to that flavor for a long time. Keurig puts out a sample pack of flavors for those looking for a favorite. If they already have a Keurig Brewer then send them boxes of K-cups in their favorite flavor. That's something they'll not have to spend money to purchase for themselves.


Food and Goodies


Food and munchies and goodies are always a good choice, taking into account any health problems they have or food restrictions. If your "live-alone" person loves snacks, cookies, sweet treats, and they have no health reason not to have them, get them a gift basket filled to the brim with lots of treats. Or perhaps you bake and send your own cookies. Maybe you can send several dozen so they can freeze them and take out just what they want each day. That way they stay fresh for many months. These go especially well accompanied by the Keurig Brewer.


Who Do You Find Hard to Buy For?


Which "live alone" relative or friend do you find it difficult to buy for? Almost every family seems to have at least one person who fits this description and everybody during a time of giving gifts is wracking their brain as to what to get this person. First of all, they really don't want more knickknacks to dust, so don't buy that bust of Beethoven for the classical music lover (unless that's what they've mentioned they want.) You can always send flowers or a plant, but why not get them something useful and more practical? 


Sometimes Life Causes "Live-Alones"


Life itself often causes someone to become a "live-alone" person.Uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, even a grandparent or Mom or Dad, may find themselves living alone as they grow older and a life-long partner passes away. Every family seems to have at least one person who fits this description and we find it difficult to find gifts for them. Here's a few more things to set you to thinking about the person you're buying for.





Barbecue Basket Gift

Perfect for the person who is Master or Mistress of the Grill, Here are sauces, marinades, utensils, cutting board, wicker tray and some goodies to munch while dinner is grilling. Nobody needs to get another tie or pair of funny socks for Christmas or birthday. When you've done your snooping into their interests, you can tailor the gift to their tastes.





Electric Blanket

When the winter winds blow, it's nice to snuggle down into the warmth of a good electric blanket. If your "tough to buy for" relative is anything like mine, they'd appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gift of an electric blanket. You can find these on Amazon in twin, full, queen, or king size and various colors. 




Hot Dog Roller

Yummm, hamburgers and hotdogs are two of the most cooked meals in a single man or woman's house. Why? Because they're quick, require no pre-planning and they satisfy hunger. Be sure not to gift this to someone who is a vegetarian. The gift won't be appreciated, and you'll have wasted your money, when you could have done something more appropriate. But if they like hamburgers and hotdogs, you'll be thanked profusely for this gift.





Flannel Pajama Lounge Sets

Everyone likes to be comfortable, and these lounging pajamas are sure to be a favorite gift. They come in all sizes, 100% cotton, machine washable, with various plaids, prints and colors. Men's come with crew neck, drawstring pants and handy back pocket. Women's come with drawstring pants, and button down the front tops.




DVD Player and DVDs

If they love movies and don't have a DVD player, get them one. Show them how to use it several times so they are familiar with it. Then provide them with DVDs of their favorite movies or their favorite TV programs.

    "Whether it's in-laws, outlaws or other-laws, every family seems to have one person whom it is impossible to buy an appropriate gift."   -Nancy Hardin


 Amazon Gift Card

If you really can't use any of the ideas on this page, try this: an Amazon gift card in any amount you want beginning at $25. Anyone you find hard to buy for, can buy anything they want with the gift card. (Maybe they don't want you to know they have a secret passion for romance movies or novels!) Amazon Gift Cards are reloadable, so later all you have to do is go to Amazon and put more money on the card. Couldn't be simpler. If your giftee doesn't do internet, then buy them a gift card for a book store if they love books, a clothing store they like, or a restaurant gift card (make sure it's enough for two; nobody likes eating alone in a restaurant.)

Hope these tips helped you to buy for that "live-alone" who is hard to buy for.