Sunday, January 31, 2016

Inslee Touts Transportation And Job Growth

In a speech at a luncheon before Washington State Democrats, Governor Jay Inslee, who is seeking a second term spoke of improvements in the state's economy,  the governor said that the state added 250,000 new jobs.  He said that unemployment is down to single digits in every county of the state.  In addition, Inslee praised a bi-partisan transportation bill. 
Democrats were gathered for the quarterly meeting of the state central committee.  Also at the meeting were Washington State Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and State Senator Cyrus Habib.  Habib is running for the open seat for Lt. Governor.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Walla Walla Democrat Elected To DNC

Nancy Monacelli, from Conservative leaning Walla Walla, has be chosen by her peers to help represent the State Of Washington on the Democratic National Committee. Monacelli had earlier won a Maggie Award for being State Committee Woman Of The Year.  Monacelli takes the place of Lona Wilbur, who had chosen not to run in this cycle.  3 remaining DNC reps were reelected to their positions.  They were Sharon Mast, Dave McDonald, and Ed Cote.   The meeting was held at the Convention Center in Lynnwood.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Acid Rock Pioneer Paul Kantner Dies

Paul Kantner helped form the break through sound of San Francisco when he co-founded Jefferson Airplane, along with the Doors from LA, California based music went from surfer type to an indescribable guitar based sound seemingly influenced by psychedelic drugs.  With the outrageous lead Singer, Grace Slick, the hard pounding "Somebody To Love" became a Rock anthem.  To balance out the group, Marty Balin, also sang lead.  Jefferson Airplane was the first and best known of a flurry of groups to come out with an acid rock sound and  seemingly nonsensical  names (remember Strawberry Alarm Clock?). 
In the 70s', Kantner would reemerge, along with Slick, and Balin with a group with a similar sounding name, Jefferson Starship, making such commercial hits as "Miracles" and "Jane"
Kantner had many health problems and had suffered a heart attack a few days earlier.

San Francisco Rocker Paul Kantner

CBS Radio News reports Paul Kantner, who founded Jefferson Airplane and later Jefferson Starship had died.  More later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Hutch Award Luncheon

For the 7th year in a row, I attended the Fred Hutchinson Award luncheon at Safeco Field.  The purpose is to honor the great Seattle baseball player and manager Fred Hutchinson and to support the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.   For the first time, an honorary Hutch Award was given to former President Jimmy Carter.  Grandson Jason Carter accepted that award on his behalf. (bottom picture)
This year's award went to Cardinal  pitcher Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has been an ace on that staff since 2006, as both a relief pitcher, a closer, and since 2007, a starter.  He missed the 2011 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.  On the Cardinal staff, Wainwright is second only to Bob Gibson in most strike outs in franchise history.   Wainwright's foundation has worked to provide better conditions for people in impoverished countries.
Hall Of Famer Carlton Fisk was keynote speaker, with a career that started in the late 60s and ended in the early 90s. Fisk was known for hitting a game winning home run in the 1975 World Series for the Boston Red Sox.  He would later play for the Chicago White Sox until 1993.  At the time of his retirement, he had hit more Home Runs than any catcher in Major League history. The record was later eclipsed by Mike Piazza.  A 2 time cancer survivor, Fisk concluded his speech by saying that if he was as wealthy as Bill Gates, the Hutch would not need fund raisers.
The top picture is me posing with Adam Wainwright on the left and Carlton Fisk on the right.

Paul Mccartney-Goodbye

Goodbye is a lesser known Paul McCartney song, but a favorite of mine.  Mary Hopkin made a modest hit out of it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Year's Contenders

The Carolina Panthers will face the Denver Broncos on Sunday, February 7th.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Maple Valley's Brandi Carlile Gets Grammy Nomination

Area Pop singer Brandi Carlile has finally received a nomination for a Grammy Award, the music industry's most prestigious honor.  Carlile, who has been on the scene for well over a decade, is nominated for "Best Americana Album" for "The Fire Watcher's Daughter".  The awards ceremony is scheduled for February 15th.

Funny Geico Commercial 2015 - Spy #momversations

Very funny commercial.  It reminds me of Burn Notice.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Eric Clapton - Bell Bottom Blues (Live Video Version)

Legendary rock guitarist Eric Clapton. 

Star Walla Walla High School Athlete Made NFL

Wa-Hi Blue Devil graduate Dean Derby went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, then wrapped up his career with the Minnesota Vikings. He was a defensive back.
  He graduated in the same class as my mother and my uncle.  I met him at my mom's class reunion picnic in 1973.  Like fellow Wa-Hi graduate and NFL great Drew Bledsoe, Derby operates a winery in Walla Walla.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Eagles Founder Glen Frey Dies

Glen Frey co-founder of probably the most successful American Rock band of all time, The Eagles, has died.  While it may be a stretch to say that the Eagles were America's answer to the Beatles, they made a string of hits that are a backbone of classic rock.
Frey was born and raised in Detroit.  He learned piano and guitar.  He later moved to Los Angeles where the band was formed in the early '70s.  Frey sang lead vocals on songs like "Tequila Sunrise, Lyin' Eyes, and "New Kid In Town". After the group disbanded in 1980, Frey would have a successful solo career with song like "You Belong To The City".  He also embarked on an acting career, appearing in movies like Jerry Maguire.  Glenn Frey was 67. 

Happy Birthday, Dr King


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Brandi Carlile Performs On The Tonight Show

Maple Valley's Brandi Carlile performed on the Tonight Show, where Jimmy Fallon announced that she had been nominated for her first Grammy

Season Done For Seahawks

A failed attempt to recover an offside kick ended a second half comeback that looked like it was scripted out of a Rocky movie.  The Seahawks started the second half down by a seemingly insurmountable 31-0, when they scored two quick touchdowns at the start of the 4th quarter.  Unable to really get execution on either side of the ball in the first half, the second half showed the country why the team was there.  A Seahawk recovery of the onside kick could have set up an a possible touchdown and extra point of sending the game to overtime.  The final score was Carolina 31-Seahawks 24.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sunday Afternoon On The Issaquah Trail

After Sunday's hair raising Seahawk victory, Deb, Dasher, and I spent a sunny, but chilly afternoon hiking the East Sunset Trail in Issaquah.  Top picture is Dasher posing, bottom picture is the view from near the top. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NFL Approve Rams Move To Los Angeles

For the second time in the history of the NFL, a team is returning to the city which it once played.  While the Raiders move to back Oakland, it's birthplace, seems less than successful, the Rams are hoping they can call Los Angeles "home" for a long time.   In 1994, both the Raiders and the Rams left Los Angeles.  Now NFL leaders have approved a move for the Rams to return to Los Angeles, a town they played in from 1945-1994.
I'm happy to see the Rams return to LA.  Since Seattle did not have a football team when I was a boy, I became an LA Ram fan.  They were on TV every week and I grew up a fan of Roman Gabriel and the "Fearsome Foursome".   I lived and died with the Rams and rooted hard for them when they played the Baltimore Colts and the Green Bay Packers. 
One thing that will help the Rams return is that a new stadium is in the works.  That is the one difference between that and the return of the Raiders.  The NFL also gave an option for the Chargers to join the Rams in LA if no deal can be made in San Diego.  Of the three teams seeking to relocate, the Chargers were the only team that was formed in LA, in the old AFL.

Dick Spady

Area news sources are reporting that Dick Spady, founder  of Seattle's iconic Dick's Drive-In has died.  Dicks, has been a Seattle fixture since 1954 and are about as much a part of Seattle pop culture as Ivars and and the Space Needle.  Richard Jack Spady was 92.

Monday, January 11, 2016

British Rock Pioneer Bowie Dead At 69

The world was shocked with the announcement that David Bowie had died after an 18 month battle with cancer.  The rocker, whose real name was David Jones, had a career that began in the 60s, and was known for adopting to rock trends throughout the decades.  I had seen him in concert in the Tacoma Dome in the early 1980s,

Maple Valley's First Home Grown Mayor

Maple Valley City Council member Sean P. Kelly is now our mayor.  Why is he our first "home grown mayor"?  We will find out.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Vikings Miss Keeps Seahawks Super Bowl Hopes Alive

Was it the cold weather, was it over confidence, or are the Vikings better than everyone thought?  We may never know, but the Seahawks came with in a whisker hair of having their season go up in smoke.  A missed chip shot field goal by Viking Blair Walsh allowed the 'Hawks to escape with a 10-9 victory.  The Seahawks play Carolina next Sunday at 10am.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Seattle Sports Legend JJ Dies

The Seattle Times reports John Johnson, the power forward known as JJ, has died.  Johnson was on the 1979 Sonics team that beat the Baltimore Bullets for the NBA title.  When I worked at the Overlake UPS Store (I have since moved to the Crossroads UPS Store), JJ was a regular customer.  He was soft spoken, maybe a little surly, and bought nickel and dimes stuff.  I believe he worked at a car dealership down the road.  He would speak of himself in the third person as JJ. I asked him one day to show me his championship ring which did.   JJ had since moved to the Bay area since to be close to his son.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Battered Bastards Of Baseball--Review

This documentary, available only on Netflix, tells the story of the Portland Mavericks.   It was compelling to me, for one thing, because I got to watch the team a number of times. The Northwest League was and still is a Class A minor league group consisting of cities in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.   Bing Russell was a largely unknown movie actor who had played character roles in the movies.  He also played Sherriff Clem on Bonanza.  His son was Kurt Russell, at the time, an up and coming movie actor who had a summer job playing pro baseball in the Northwest League.  Kurt had just played for the Walla Walla Islanders, in the one year that Walla Walla had a weird affiliation with the Hawaii Islanders.  Before Walla Walla, he played for the Bend Rainbows. 
Bing Russell (a former bat boy for the New York Yankees) decided he wanted to own a baseball team, so for the price of around $500, he was able to gain the rites to a Northwest League.  He ran the team as an independent, meaning that it would not be affiliated with any Major League club.  He would have to pay the player out of his own pocket. 
The documentary shows how Russell was able to do the impossible. put together a rag tag team of players from open try-outs who could not only compete with major league affiliated teams but beat them on a regular basis.  But more incredibly, he was able to set many minor league attendance records.  When you consider that Portland, a showcase city with NBA basketball was in a league with cities like Medford, Lewiston, and Walla Walla, was packing it's stadium it really amazing.  What's even more amazing is that the Pacific Coast League, the class AAA league had abandoned Portland.
It's clear that Russell was a master promoter  with all sorts of gimmicks.  More traditional clubs hated the Mavericks.  They burned the book on baseball etiquette. Many of the Maverick players were rejected by the major leagues and had a chip on their shoulder.
One thing the documentary pointed out was that it is hard for Minor League teams to connect with their cities because players seldom to for a longer than a season because they often move up the farm chain or get cut.   The Mavericks, as an independent team, often held on to players for well over a season, fostering familiarity with the fans.
The documentary is narrated by former players, including Kurt Russell, who himself was with the Mavericks for a short time.  Also contributing is the former president of the Northwest League and a couple of Portland sports writers.

Griffey Will Be Enshrined In Baseball Hall Of Fame

Ken Griffey, Jr, one of the greatest all around baseball players and a man credited to saving baseball in Seattle, is now a Hall Of Famer. Griffey, who made hitting home runs look easy and was know for breathtaking catches playing centerfield, was elected with over 99 per cent of the vote, the highest ever. 
Griffey was brought up to play for the M's at 19 and was really the first player to bring national attention to Seattle baseball. He sometimes upset fans, with reported tantrums on various issues and with wanting and receiving a trade to his home town Cincinnati Reds.  His baseball career eventually brought him back to Seattle, his skills at the time were quite diminished and he would retire the next year.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Schechter 60th Gala: Rabbi Stampfer

Camp Solomon Schechter, where I was a camper in 1971 and again in 1972, made a real impression on me. Since there were essentially no other Jewish youth in Walla Walla, it was my first chance to socialize and meet Jewish youth other than my family and relatives.  It was my biggest exposure at the time to Jewish culture.  In this video, Camp founder Rabbi Joshua Stampfer of Portland speaks to the history of the camp.  The camp when I attended was south of Olympia, it's present location.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Seahawks To Face Vikings In Round 1 Of Playoffs

The Seattle Seahawks will be heading to the Twin Cities this Sunday for a 10:00am match-up with the Minnesota Vikings.  A few weeks ago, the Hawks beat the Vikings 38-6, but history shows that regular season records can be thrown out once the playoffs begin.  The team is coming off a 36-6 thrashing of the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

2016 Fred Hutch Winner Announced

He's in a different league and he plays on the other side of the country, but St Louis Cardinal pitcher, Adam Wainwright will be spotlighted in Seattle's Safeco Field on January 27th when he is named the 2016 Fred Hutchinson Award winner.   According to the Fred Hutchinson Center press release, Wainwright spends the off seasons working to supply food, water, and medical care to developing countries. 
The Fred Hutch award honors Seattle native Fred Hutchinson,  a local pitching star who went on to manage the Cincinnati Reds.  His career was cut short by cancer.    The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle was founded by Fred's brother, Dr Bill Hutchison. 
Hall Of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, who played for the Boston Red Sox, and later for the Chicago White Sox, will be the keynote speaker.