Moonwalking

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon. Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of this historic day.

At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins were aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface. At 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: “The Eagle has landed.”

To celebrate this celestial milestone here are my top 10 favorite “Moon Tunes”. What are yours?

Posted in What's Going On | 2 Comments

Skiing Our Rocky Mountain Way

Our friendship with Jenny and Dave began in the 1980s when we lived in St. Louis. We vacationed together during this period, including two ski trips to Colorado. Today I want to tell you about the second time we went skiing. 

Dave played the role of chauffeur, picking us up at the airport in our limousine. He rented a (not so) luxurious ride from “Rent-a-Lemon”, and it lived up to its name. This beauty had a driver’s seat with permanently reclining back, and a passenger window that would not roll up completely. The rear seat was not secured so that every time you hit the brakes it lurched forward. The aroma in the car was reminiscent of wet dog. This should have been an indication of what was to come.

The condo was lovely and had a private hot tub in the back. At that point we felt like the worst was over. Silly us. The previous guests had left us with a non-working toilet. This necessitated frequent trips to the gas station for the daily paper while we waited for the plumber to arrive. Breckenridge plumbers didn’t work weekends.

On the Slopes

Linda was the fashionista, with matching ski bibs, coat, hat, gloves, and goggles. She was very stylish as she cautiously snowplowed her way down the green slopes. In sharp contrast, Dave tackled the black slopes sporting a new Thinsulate coat. As we rode the lift during whiteout conditions, he lamented losing his drab gray down filled coat. After tearing a hole in the sleeve on a tree branch, he had remedied the problem with duct tape. To save Dave from embarrassment, Jenny had given it to a homeless man in Houston. As intermediate skiers, Jenny and I preferred the blues. I enjoyed skiing fast. Coincidentally, I fell frequently and once tweaked my knee. Dave, Linda and Jenny on the other hand, rarely fell. However, Dave did fall while skiing with Linda on the green slope. Apparently he was skiing too slowly to remain upright.

We always enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate in the ski lodge at the end of the day. After a hearty dinner, a soak in the private spa, and a good night’s rest, life was good.

After a few days we were physically exhausted. Linda and I flew back to St. Louis; Jenny and Dave returned to Houston.

This week they came to visit. We talked about our families, ate too much junk food, and enjoyed a trip down memory lane. We remain good friends, despite heeding different calls which forced our physical separation.

Posted in What's Going On | 6 Comments

America: 50th Anniversary 

They formed the band America as teens. This year, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary with an International tour.

Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley formed the American rock band America in London in 1969. The trio met as sons of US Air Force personnel stationed in London, where they began performing live. Beckley, Bunnell, and Peek attended London Central High School, where they met while playing in two different bands. Peek left for the United States for a failed attempt at college during 1969. He returned to the UK the following year, and the three began making music together. Starting out with borrowed acoustic guitars, they developed a style which incorporated three-part vocal harmony, similar to contemporary folk-rock acts such as Crosby, Stills & Nash. The trio dubbed themselves America, because they didn’t want to seem like British musicians trying to sound American.

Discography

America released their first album America  (1971) in the UK to only moderate success.
The trio returned to the studio to record several additional songs. Bunnell composed one called “Desert Song” which, after several performances and a TV show, was re-titled “A Horse with No Name“. After that the song became a major worldwide hit, selling over one million copies. America re-released their debut album with the hit song added and it quickly went platinum. The band released five other albums in the 1970s:

Peek left the group in 1977, and their commercial fortunes declined, despite a brief return to the top in 1982 with the single “You Can Do Magic“.

The Recording Academy awarded America trauma a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1971. In addition, Recording Academy members nominated them for Best Pop Vocal Group at the 15th Annual Grammy Awards in 1973. Voters inducted the group into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2006, and they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.

Posted in Almanac | 2 Comments