Country Music Icon Merle Haggard Has Died at 79, Rest in Peace

Country music icon Merle Haggard has died …

It is with incredible sadness to announce that country music icon Merle Haggard has passed away at the age of 79. Wow, this one hits close to home. I grew up on listening to the likes of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Sr. as my parents played the 8-track tapes over and over. Yes Millennials, 8-track tapes, Google it. There were just so many songs to like from country great Merle Haggard, The Tennessean has provided 15 songs that defined a legendary career. Rest in Peace Merle.

Okie From Muskogee

Merle Haggard, one of the most successful singers in the history of country music, a contrarian populist whose songs about his scuffling early life and his time in prison made him the closest thing that the genre had to a real-life outlaw hero, died at his ranch in Northern California on Wednesday, his 79th birthday.

His death was confirmed by his agent, Lance Roberts. Mr. Haggard had recently canceled several concerts, saying he had double pneumonia.

Few country artists have been as popular and widely admired as Mr. Haggard, a ruggedly handsome performer who strode onto a stage, guitar in hand, as a poet of the common man. Thirty-eight of his singles, including “Workin’ Man Blues” and the 1973 recession-era lament “If We Make It Through December,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard country chart from 1966 to 1987. He released 71 Top 10 country hits in all, 34 in a row from 1967 to 1977. Seven of his singles crossed over to the pop charts.

Mama Tried

More from The NY Times:

Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937, in Oildale, Calif. His first years were spent in the abandoned boxcar that his father, James, a railroad carpenter, had converted into a home for his family. James Haggard died of a stroke in 1946, after which Mr. Haggard’s mother, the former Flossie Mae Harp, a strict and pious member of the ultraconservative Church of Christ, took a bookkeeping job to provide for her three children.

Sing Me Back Home

From Billboard Magazine – Merle Haggard on Death: ‘Sometimes I Fear It and Other Times It Calls to Me Like a Forgotten Dream’ (Exclusive):

Merle wanted to be seen the way he was.

“Wrote a tune not long called ‘I Am What I Am,’” he said, “that sums me up pretty damn good. Song says, “I believe Jesus is God and a pig is just ham…I’m a seeker, I’m a sinner, and I am what I am.”

Seated in an easy chair in the living room of his modest home, he discussed a recent operation that removed a cancer from his lung, the cancer that ultimately returned and took his life on April 6 at age 79.

“All this near-death stuff has me thinking that it’s time to reconcile all the many Merles. There’s Merle the daddy’s boy, the son of a railroad man. Then there’s the juvenile delinquent Merle who tore up more than one reform school, the Merle who spent a decade of hard time in prison, the Merle who had the guts to stand up in those Bakersfield barrooms imitating his idol Lefty Frizzell, the Merle who finally found his own voice and muddled his way through show business. And most devilishly complicated of all, the Merle of four marriages.”

Darkness fell. Merle grew quiet. He slipped in a DVD of his favorite preacher, Dr. Gene Scott, who spoke of eternal life. When the sermon ended, I asked Merle whether he feared death.

“Sometimes I fear it,” he said, “and other times it calls to me like a forgotten dream or an old song. I’m not saying I welcome it, but I recognize it as part of a holy process. Born of nature, return to nature. Maybe that’s the name of my last song.

Eagles Co-Founder & Musci Icon Glenn Frey Has Passed Away at Age 67 … RIP

OMG, ANOTHER MUSIC GIANT HAS DIED FAR TOO EARLY … THE LIGHTS ARE A LITTLE LESS BRIGHT TODAY AT THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA.

Glenn Frey, the co-founder and guitarist of The Eagles has passed away at age 67 in New York City. Frey co-wrote most of the legendary Eagles songs that we all know so well and grew up with.  And then there is an entire generation of people who are saying Eagles who, we know him for the soundtrack and his recurring role from Miami Vice. No matter what the case, Music just lost another one of their giants and far too young. This one hurts. The Eagles broke up in the 80′s and thankfully “hell froze over” in 1994 when the Eagles got back together for their monster Hell Freezes Over tour and recorded music till the end.

We’re told the cause of death was a combination of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.

Frey had been battling intestinal issues for months and had surgery in November. We’re told in the last few days his condition took a turn for the worse. He died in New York City.

Glenn co-wrote and sang on most of the Eagles hits, including “Take It Easy,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Heartache Tonight,” to name a few. He also co-wrote “Hotel California” and “Desperado” with Don Henley and took home 6 Grammys with the band.

Tequila Sunrise

From The Eagles comes the following,

It Is With The Heaviest of Hearts That We Announce …

the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016.

Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.

The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery.

Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide.

Don Henley issued a statement following the news, in which he called Frey “the one who started it all.”

Henley praised his fellow musician’s work ethic, “encyclopedic” knowledge of music, and devotion to his family. Read Henley’s moving and profound statement below:

“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed.

“But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything.

A great tribute at Instapundit.

Fantastic Glenn Frey interview from 1992

Dan Haggerty, Actor Who Played Grizzly Adams, Dies at 74 from Cancer

SAD NEWS, ACTOR OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE 70′S SHOWS PASSES AWAY …

Dan Haggerty, the actor who played mountain man Grizzly Adams with his sidekick, a real bear named Ben, in the 1974 movie (VIDEO) that would become a NBC TV weekly show, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, has passed away. Dan Haggerty died Friday in Burbank, California at 74 as a result of cancer of the spine. Haggerty. who rose to stardom with his rose as the gently mountain man, Grizzly Adams, who was falsely accused of murder and fled to the woods. On a personal note, how I loved this show growing up as a kid and could not wait for it all week to come on. Grizzly Adams and his relationship with an orphaned bear named Ben, Hollywood take note. The TV series ran from 1977 to 1978. Why does it seem like it was so much longer? Maybe it was because it was one of my favorite TV shows of all time!

Dan Haggerty – Rest in Peace

dan_haggerty_with_Ben

Early on in his career and this was something I never knew, Haggerty was cast in a small non-speaking role as a bodybuilder in the 1964 film Muscle Beach Party, with Franky Avalon and Annette Funicello, and also as a bodybuilder in Girl Happy. These were followed by appearances in various biker and wildlife films such as Easy Rider, Angels Die Hard, The Adventures of Frontier Fremont, and Terror Out of the Sky.

dan_haggerty

Dan Haggerty IMDb

Dan Haggerty, who played a gentle mountain man with a luxuriant beard and a bear named Ben in the 1974 movie “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams” and the NBC television series of the same name, died on Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 73.

The cause was cancer of the spine, his friend and manager Terry Bomar said.

Mr. Haggerty was working as a stuntman and animal handler in Hollywood when a producer asked him to act in some opening scenes he was reshooting for a film about a woodsman and his bear. Based on the novel “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams,” by Charles Sellier Jr., it told the story of a California man falsely accused of murder who flees to the woods, where he develops a rapport with the animals around him and tames an orphaned bear.

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – The Adams Cub

ABC News has confirmed with the actor’s manager Terry Bomar:

“Dan Haggerty, a beloved Father and friend, has died at 4:30 this morning at St Joseph Hospital in Burbank, CA, surrounded by his family that loved him. He had fought a long hard battle with cancer of the spine that was discovered in August of this year,” Bomar wrote in a press release.

He continued, “All the awards pale in comparison to his huge laugh and wonderful sense of humor that made everyone laugh with him. He would light up any room he entered. He loved life, loved his family, loved his friends and fans.”

Grizzly Adams Pilot Episode Part 1

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

NY Times OBIT:

Daniel Francis Haggerty was born on Nov. 19, 1942, in Los Angeles. His parents separated when he was 3, and he had a troubled childhood, escaping several times from military school before going to live with his father, an actor, in Burbank, Calif.

At 17 he married Diane Rooker. The marriage ended in divorce. His second wife, the former Samantha Hilton, died after a motorcycle accident in 2008. He is survived by his children, Megan, Tracy, Dylan, Cody and Don.

His first film was “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), in which he played a body builder named Biff opposite Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Bit parts in biker and wildlife films followed, as characters like “Bearded Biker” or “Biker With Bandana.” He appeared briefly in “Easy Rider” as a member of the hippie commune that Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper visit.

He made several films with an outdoor setting, including “Where the North Wind Blows” (1974), in which he played a Siberian tiger trapper, and “The Adventures of Frontier Fremont” (1976). He appeared as a dog trainer in the David Carradine film “Americana” (1983). In “Grizzly Mountain” (1997) and “Escape to Grizzly Mountain” (2000) he played a character very much like Grizzly Adams.

As his career cooled, Mr. Haggerty appeared in horror films like “Terror Night” (1987), “Elves” (1989) — playing an alcoholic mall Santa — and “Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan” (2013).

Golden Age of Hollywood Actress Maureen O’Hara Has Passed Away at Age 95, Rest in Peace

WE HAVE LOST ANOTHER GIANT FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD …

It is a sad day for those of us who love classic movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood and movies actually worth watching. Irish born actress Maureen O’Hara has passed away at age 95. One of my all-time favorite actresses and a classic beauty that represents Hollywood gone by, Maureen O’Hara, died on Saturday at her home in Boise, Idaho. Her family confirmed in a statement that she passed away from natural causes peacefully in her sleep at her on home Saturday morning surrounded by family. Maureen O’Hara is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA next to her husband, US Navy pilot General Charles Blair who died in a plane crash in 1978.

She was born Maureen FitzSimons on August 17, 1920, in Ranelagh, Ireland, on the outskirts of Dublin and was the second of six children of Charles FitzSimons. But we knew her best for her tremendous acting roles in movies like “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939), “How Green Was My Valley” (1941), “The Black Swan” (1942), “This Land Is Mine” (1943),”The Quiet Man” (1952) and “McLintock!” (1963). However, my favorite is the timeless holiday classic, “A Miracle on 34th Street” (1947).

One of my favorite stories of Maureen O’Hara was the one where John Wayne, The Duke, paid her one of his highest complaints. John Wayne said, “I’ve had many friends, and I prefer the company of men, except for Maureen O’Hara,” he said. “She is a great guy.”

 Maureen O’Hara, Rest in Peace

Maureen_OHara

New York Times: Maureen O’Hara, Irish-Born Actress Known as Queen of Technicolor, Dies at 95.

Maureen O’Hara, the spirited Irish-born actress who played strong-willed, tempestuous beauties opposite all manner of adventurers in escapist movies of the 1940s and ’50s, died on Saturday at her home in Boise, Idaho. She was 95.

Johnny Nicoletti, her longtime manager, confirmed her death.

Ms. O’Hara was called the Queen of Technicolor, because when that film process first came into use, nothing seemed to show off its splendor better than her rich red hair, bright green eyes and flawless peaches-and-cream complexion. One critic praised her in an otherwise negative review of the 1950 film “Comanche Territory” with the sentiment “Framed in Technicolor, Miss O’Hara somehow seems more significant than a setting sun.” Even the creators of the process claimed her as its best advertisement.

Miracle of 34th Street, (Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood)

Yet many of the films that made the young Ms. O’Hara a star were in black and white. They included her first Hollywood movie, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1939), in which she played the haunted Gypsy girl Esmeralda to Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo; the Oscar-winning “How Green Was My Valley” (1941), in which she was memorable as a Welsh mining family’s beautiful daughter who marries the wrong man; “This Land Is Mine” (1943), a war drama in which she was directed by Jean Renoir; and “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947), the holiday classic in which she played a cynical, modern Macy’s executive who tries to prevent her daughter from believing in Santa Claus.

The Quiet Man (Maureen O’Hara & John Wayne) – The Kiss scene

I am in 100% agreement with the PJ Tatler, in they just don’t make movies like this anymore like the ones that Maureen O’Hara acted in. Imagine a movie with a plot, movies that set up the dramatic scenes, rather than just using special HD effects. Imagine a movie where the sexual tension is set up between a man and a woman rather than they just jump each others bones in two seconds and leaving a woman’s beauty to the imagination rather than a gratuitous nude scene. If you have never seen any of Maureen O’Hara’s movies, take this moment and do so.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Irish Times: Actor Maureen O’Hara dies aged 95.

“It is with a sad heart that we share the news that Maureen O’Hara passed away today in her sleep of natural causes,” a statement from the Fitzsimons family read.

“Maureen was our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favourite movie, The Quiet Man.”

“While we mourn the loss of a very wonderful woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world, especially in Ireland, to work hard to make their dreams come true and to always have the courage to stand up for themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honour Maureen, we have a simple request: visit Ireland one day and think of her.”

Her manager said that Ms O’Hara had “a wicked sense of humour and never took her good fortunes for granted.”

“She was a classy, warm, feisty, funny woman and she was always so proudly Irish,” he said.

Memorial Day – 2015: A Debt We Can Never Repay … Remembering, Thanking & Honoring Our Military Heroes For Their Service & Sacrifice

REMEMBERING AND HONORING OUR MILITARY HEROES WHO GAVE ALL … BECAUSE FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE.

On this Memorial Day 2015, Scared Monkeys sends a special thank you to all of the military men, woman and their families who have sacrificed their lives to that We, the United States of America, remain the home of the free because of the brave. We thank from the bottom of our hearts those who we can no longer thank in person for their sacrifice to this great Country. Thank you and God Bless you, we shall never forget you your service and sacrifice.

Please take time today to remember what this day is truly about and the men and women that we have lost.

Memorial-Day-Arlington_nat_taps

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 – King James Version)

America has lost so many lives to protect the freedoms and liberties that we hold to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We have lost so many brave souls to not only protect our Freedoms, but the freedoms of others from tyranny.  On this day we remember that Freedom is never Free and all those that gave all in their service and sacrifice to us.

The words of President Ronald Reagan, Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 1982:

“The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves.” [...]

“As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.”

Remarks at Memorial Day Ceremonies Honoring an Unknown Serviceman of the Vietnam Conflict – 5/28/84

I can remember like it was yesterday, but in fact it was more than 25 years ago, when I stood in Arlington National Cemetery for the funeral of my Uncle and namesake. I can remember the sound of Taps and the 21 gun salute as tears flowed down my face as I laid to rest my hero. A man that gave so much for his country and for me. A man who was the toughest and most honorable, proud and yet humble man I have ever known. By all accounts he should have died in the Ardennes forest during WWII, but God had other plans. However, in many respects he did lose all as he came home forever changed. My uncle volunteered for WWII at age 18, although, when I review the records he was actually 17. He, like 5 of his brothers, took part in WWII. However, my Uncle Red saw the most action in Patton’s 3rd Army. Much of what he witnessed, he took to his grave as he lost so many Brothers in Arms. When he came home some 4 years later after having defeated the Nazis, his own mom, my grandmother, did not recognize him.

As always and on a personal note I say thank you and you are missed to my uncle Red who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. My uncle served in Patton’s 3rd Army where he received the following medals. a silver star. bronze star and multiple purple hearts.  So often he did not want to talk of what went on during his military server and his heroic efforts during WWII; however, true heroes are also humble. It was not until much later when I was in college and became a history major with a specialty in US military warfare and tactics did my uncle open up and provide me with the truth of what he experienced during his military days, some of that time spent in the Ardennes , better know as the Battle of the Bulge.

Thank you from your nephew and namesake, Red

A thank you to all that made the greatest sacrifice for us. May we honor your sacrifices and make you proud.

Blind Mother Tatiana Guerra Could Only Imagine What Her Unborn Son Might Look Like Until Her Doctor Let Her See Him With 3D Printing

This will absolutely bring tears to your eyes on this Mother’s Day … belo , simplesmente belo.

Without doubt as stated at CNET, one of the most exciting and emotional events for parents about to have a child is getting to see their little tyke through an ultrasound. However, such an exciting moment was not possible for the blind. Not any more. This might be one of the most touching VIDEOS ever as Tatiana Guerra, a blind mother-to-be was provided a way to see her unborn baby for the first time thanks to 3D printing technology. The VIDEO will warm your heart. The video is entitled, ‘Meeting Murilo.’ But before Tatiana feels the actual 3D-printed sonogram of Murilo she reads a message in braille.“I am your son,” she says, laughing and crying all at all once. The 30 year old mom, who lost her sight when she was 17, was 20 weeks pregnant at the time of the exam. The video was uploaded on 4/30/15 and at last check it had 8,338,785 views.

Blind Mother_Ultrasound

Pic via YouTube video

A blind mother-to-be was able to “see” her unborn baby boy thanks to the advanced technology of 3D printing.

Tatiana Guerra didn’t think she could look forward to the moment many parents anticipate when they see their unborn child for one of the first times. But little did Guerra know what a surprise she was in for when she got to “see” her baby boy, Murilo in a way she probably never would have expected.

Guerra, who was 20-weeks pregnant at the time of her sonogram visit, lost her sight when she was 17, according to 3Dprint.com. Now 30, Guerra could only imagine what Murilo looks like now and what he’ll look like once he’s born.

“Mommy can’t wait to feel your little body, your little face, your little hands,” Guerra says in a video uploaded to YouTube April 30.

She then describes to the doctor how she imagines her baby boy will feel: ”His nose like a little potato, a small mouth, a chubby little hand.”

This is the heartwarming moment a blind mom-to-be got to “see” her unborn baby for the very first time — thanks to a 3D-printed ultrasound.

The 30-year-old, who lost her sight aged 17, is then handed a printout by her doctor.

She firstly runs her finger over a line of Braille at the top of the tablet, which reads “I am your son.”

Guerra then bursts out into tears of joy as she carefully caresses and traces the rest of the special ultrasound.

“I’m very happy to meet Murilo … before he’s born,” she says.

35th Anniversary of Greatest Sporting Moment in United States History … MIRACLE ON ICE

35 years ago today, February 22, 1980 … DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLESYES!!!

It is hard to believe that it has been 35 years since “Miracle on Ice,” it seems like just yesterday in some respects and in others it seems so long ago. In a time that many today under the age of 45 could never comprehend. There was no social media, no Twitter, no Facebook and no Internet to follow the game live. To show just how far back we reminisce, ESPN had just started operations in September 1979.  As a matter of fact, that was probably a good thing as they game was scheduled to be played in the afternoon, but not to be shown on TV until later that night in prime time. As it turned out, the Russians refused to change the time of the game so it could be televised in America live. Imagine that from the USSR. Do you remember where you were, when you watched the one any only DREAM TEAM? Watching highlights of this game always puts a smile on my face and a tear to my eye.

USA-USSR flags

Remember back to 1980, the game was more than just a hockey game, it was us against them, it was freedom vs. communism. It was a piece of the Cold War played out in an arena, of a sheet of ice in Lake Placid, NY during the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was the fresh faced college kids from America taking on the the paid athletes of so-called amateurs of the big bad Soviet bear. As Al Michaels would later say, the confluence of events was so extraordinary, it could never happen again. Who knew that a bunch of college kids over a two week period would become the essence and the vehicle to make Americans proud again? That is exactly what ‘Miracle on Ice’ was and did and the game will forever be remembered as the greatest sports moment in US history, EVER!

Final minutes of Miracle on Ice: Do you believe in Miracles … YES!!!

For events that take place, we sadly remember where we were when terrible ones occur. Everyone remembers where they were when JFK was assassinated, when the Challenger Space shuttle blew up in 1986 (VIDEO) and when on 9-11 terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, PA. However, for those that were alive and were old enough to watch the medal round game between the USA and USSR, you remember like it was yesterday where you were and the feeling of incredible patriotism and pride that you had as a bunch of college kids coached by the dearly departed Herb Brooks pulled off the greatest upset in sports history.

Over the weekend, all of the living members of the 1980 US Hockey team came together in Lake Placid, NY to reunite and fondly remember that heroic day and the weekend that the Americans brought home the gold medal, first defeating the Russians 4-3 and then beat Finland 4-2.

The ovation wasn’t quite as deafening as it was 35 years ago. It was riveting, nonetheless, for Dave Christian and his old Olympic buddies, together again to celebrate their Miracle on Ice.

“It feels exactly the same,” Christian said Saturday night as the members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team returned to the rink they made famous with their triumph over the Soviet Union. “You could feel the electricity in the (locker) room. It’s still there.”

The “Relive the Miracle” reunion at Herb Brooks Arena attracted more than 5,000 fans for a two-hour celebration of one of the most memorable upsets in sports history. Every surviving player from the team made the trip, including Mark Pavelich, who drove from his Oregon home with two dogs. It was the first time the team had all been together since that memorable night.

However, let’s go back and fondly remember the greatest sporting event in American history and the greatest upset victory ever. It was Friday, February 22, 1980 and the United States hockey team was slated to play the invincible, mighty Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.  The Soviet Union hockey team was a machine, who had not lost the Olympic gold medal since the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Games. The Soviet team was basically a professional hockey team, playing the United States, made up of a collection of armature college hockey players. Many of those kids would go onto to greatness in the NHL, but that was down the road.

On a personal level, I can remember like it was yesterday. I had been discharged from the hospital earlier in the day after spending almost all of the Olympics in the hospital after suffering from an acute appendicitis, emergency surgery and complications following the surgery. I finally made it home around 5 pm to prepare and watch the game later that night. The irony being that the hockey game actually began live at that time, America on the East coast would not see the tape delay of the game until 8 PM. I can remember waiting in my bedroom in anticipation, trying to get caught up on school work as I had missed two weeks of school having been in the hospital. My father came up to my room and asked my if I wanted to know the score, he had heard it on the news, I said … NOOOOO!!! I had watched all of the games that were televised from my hospital room and there was no way I wanted to know the outcome in advance after all this.

The 1980′s were a different time, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, US hostages were being held in Iran, the United States was in the midst of a terrible recession, marked by what many remember as the misery index (double digit inflation, unemployment and inflation rate), high gas prices and a disastrous Jimmy Carter presidency. The mood in America was grim, patriotism was down and nothing seemed to be going good. Wait a minute, did I just describe the Barack Obama presidency? But I digress, back to the story at hand. As previously stated, the 80′s were a different time, from my home TV in New England we got 3 channels, ABC, CBS and NBC. Well actually 5 if you consider those 2 UHF channels that you had to maneuver that pesky antenna to have them viable. Oh yes, and then there were the rabbit ear antenna on the TV that had to be at just such in order to view anything. What, you don’t remember rabbit ears? It is kind of comical when one tries to describe this stuff to a 20-30 year old, what you mean there was no digital TV, no HD TV, no cable … 3 channels, are you kidding!!!

Prior to the game between the USA and USSR, United States head coach Herb Brooks gave Team USA one of the greatest motivational speeches in sports history. The speech was made famous by the 2004 movie ‘Miracle’, however, word for word, Brooks gave the speech to the wide eyed college kids. A plaque exists today in Lake Placid at the aptly named the 1980 Rink -Herb Brooks Arena.

Herb Brooks Miracle Speech from the move ‘Miracle’ – “Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you.”

“Great moments … are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys.
That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game. If we played ‘em ten times, they might win nine.
But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can!
Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you.
And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over.
I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ‘em. This is your time.
Now go out there and take it!” (Herb Brooks)

20 Things You Might Not Know About the “Miracle on Ice”. I think the only one I was not aware of what the Jammie Farr, who played Klinger on M*A*S*H, was the only celebrity in attendance. Hmm, can we really refer to Jammie Farr as a celebrity?

For your viewing pleasure, below is the full VIDEO version of the 1980 Olympic medal round game between the United States hockey team vs. the original evil empire, the Soviet Unions, the USSR. Every February 22 I make sure that I find time during the day to watch the full game and remember back in time those incredible moments of the feeling of pride and admiration of that game.  As we now know and knew at the time, it was more than just a hockey game. It was a proxy war fought on a sheet of ice where the United States of America defeated the invincible Soviet Union and gave a county a rallying point that thrust us into the 1980′s, Ronald Regan and the fall of the Soviet Union.

Full game via ESPN Classic, and it was the classic of all-time

TEAM USA – 1980 Olympic Hockey Team Roster

USA 1980 Olympic Hocky team

PERIOD 1:

When the USA fell behind early in the game 1-0, I remember going, “rut-oh” please do not tell me we are about to get steam-rolled by the Soviets. After all this, after all the USA hockey team had accomplished, they did not deserve to get embarrassed. The Soviets Union had stormed through their opposition during group play by destroying the opposition as they defeated Japan 16–0, the Netherlands 17–4, Poland 8–1, Finland 4–2, and Canada 6–4 and advanced to the medal round. Would the USA be next? However,  after giving up the early goal the USA seemed to settle down a bit, although you could tell they were tight, the crowd was tight, something good had to happen to releave the nerves. Then at the 14:03 Buzz Schneider scored, with an assist from Mark Pavelich, coming down the left wing at quite an angle, putting one past goalie Vladislav Tretiak, tying the score at 1-1.

USA-USSR 1980 1

20:00 minute mark of the VIDEO above, Buzz Schneider ties the game 1-1

The goal was huge. Why, because it was the first one, it tied the score and it was a precursor of things to come as it was an unusual goal to the best goal tender in the world to give up. Not going down by multiple goals was a big motivational advantage for the USA as it played into Brooks’ speech … “Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can!” However, the USSR scored again with 2:20 remaining in period #1 as they skated in so easily thru the USA defense and one of the Russian “ov’s” scored. I can remember thinking, “eesh, that was way to easy”. The CCCP was ahead 2-1. The Soviet’s kept putting so much pressure on in the USA end as goalie Jim Craig had to make amazing save after amazing save. I thought to myself, “Craig was playing the game of his life, could this kid keep it up.” Ha, I call him a kid now, I was younger than all of those playing for USA at the time.

USA-USSR 1980 2

At the 30:40 minute mark of the video above, Johnson scores past Tretiak with 1 second left.

Then it happened, out of no where. With 5 seconds left in the period,  Dave Christian fired a slap shot from 100 feet away from beyond the center line on goal, Tretiak made the save but misplayed the rebound, and Mark Johnson split the defense got the rebound and scored with 1 second on the clock to tie the game at 2-2. The crowd erupted at the arena and I can remember jumping off my bed in excitement and damn near pulling my stitches. For one brief moment, the Soviet hockey machine let their guard down thinking the period was all but over and it cost them dearly.

What was interesting in retrospect as I never remembered it at the time was that because there was 1 second left in the period, the referee needed by rule to drop the puck at center ice. It was goalie Vladimir Myshkin that came back from the dressing room to be in goal, not Tretiak, as following the American goal the entire Soviet team had left the ice and went to the locker room. This would be an interesting omen. Interesting indeed.

PERIOD 2:

The start of the second period began with the unthinkable, the USSR National team coach, Viktor Tikhonov, pulled the best goalie in the world, Vladislav Tretiak, and replaced him with Vladimir Myshkin. What? I remember thinking back at the time, wow, they pulled their best goalie because of one shaky period, unreal. Even in the eyes of a 14 year old who had played team sports his entire life, knew this was big and a knee-jerk, emotional reaction.  Russians acting emotionally? That was akin to Mr. Spock from ‘Star Trek’ fame acting like a human. Russian coach Tikhonov would later say that this move was the “turning point of the game” and called it “the biggest mistake of his career”.

USA-USSR 1980 3

48:17 minute mark of above video

That being said, the second period was tough to watch as the USA was dominated by the Soviet Union being out shot 12-2. In the process the Russians scored another goal in the onslaught of Jim Craig as the USSR went ahead 3-2. Thanks to Craig, the Russians only scored 1 goal, which turned out to be huge. It looked bleak for the Americans as the Russians crashed into goalie Jim Craig and appeared to have knocked him out as he lay horizontal on the ice. The period ended with the Soviet Union leading the USA 3-2.

PERIOD 3:

USA-USSR 1980 4

1:01:24 minute mark in above video Johnson scores and it was all tied up 3-3

After being outplayed most of the beginning of the third period and able to muster very little offense, USA got a power play. I thought to myself, finally, a chance to maybe go on offense. As the power play was running out and the Americans had done little to nothing in taking advantage of the man advantage … it happened. In the final rush of the power play opportunity with 13 seconds left in the penalty, Mark Johnson fired off a shot that went under Myshkin into the net at  8:39, tying the game at 3-3. The crowd went crazy. I remember again jumping out of my chair, popcorn flying everywhere, and when going OMG, did I just pull my stitches again. I did not care.  The goal came out of no where and energized the American crowd.

This was exactly what coach Herb Brooks had wanted, the Americans had a chance to win in the third period. The building was alive. Brooks pre-game words were coming to fruition, “And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over … Now go out there and take it!”

THEN IT HAPPENED … THE SECOND SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD. Almost like it was scripted out of a Hollywood movie, Ken Dryden,  one of the announcers and former Montreal Canadian goaltender said,”the US team is depending just a little too much now on Jim Craig” and then it happened, oh boy it happened. USA captain Mike Eruzione, who had just come onto the ice, fired a shot past Myshkin, and Team USA had the lead on the Soviet Union for the first of the game, 4-3. ALL PANDEMONIUM BROKE OUT!!!

At that moment 35 years ago I can remember thinking to myself, Oh my God they are going to do it. We are going to beat the Soviet Union, those bastards! Why would ABC sports being showing this game in tape delay if the USA was not going to pull this off? You see folks, back then the MSM actually showed some sort of patriotism for a beleaguered country. They were not a bunch of socialists like today that seem to revel in bad things, all the time. The crowd went mental, USA teammates mauled each other on the boards after the goal and the Soviets were in disbelief. I can remember the look on coach Herb Brooks face, the smile, the look of … my boys are going to do this, this truly is “your time” and they did “go out there and take it!” Brooks reactive was priceless, a smile. A smile? Brooks never smiles! As Al Michaels’ said, “now we have bedlam”.

The score was USA 4 – USSR 3, but there were were exactly 10:00 minutes to go, half a period.

Then came the next 10 minutes that seemed like 30. The clock could not countdown fast enough as the Soviet hockey team made offensive rush after offensive rush. I remember Herb Brooks telling Team USA, “play your game boys, play your game.” Then there was 5 minutes left. Then there was 3 minutes left and no one was breathing.

I can remember thinking with about 1:20 minutes left in the game, I think we have this. Because the Soviet Union always blew their opponents out, they had no idea how to play a close game and it was showing. It was hard to believe after having seen the Soviet Red Army team and Wing team defeat NHL teams and NHL All-Star teams, the Soviets were in disarray and panicking. I thought to myself as the USSR cleared the puck from their zone, why aren’t they pulling their goalie? Why are they not putting another attacker on the ice, it was obvious at this point all the USA was trying to do was clear their defensive zone, not score. But the Soviet coach never pulled the trigger.

THEN THERE WAS LESS THAN A MINUTE …

And when there was 33 seconds left, I had a smile ear to ear. It was over, the puck was cleared from the USA end and the Soviet Union was in complete and total disarray. They were now playing a game they did not now. The Soviet bear had cracked under the pressure.

Final Minute of the “Miracle on Ice”

Then those words from Al Michaels that still bring a chill down my spine, a smile to my face and overwhelm me with pride … “You have 11 seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds,  the countdown is going on right now. Morrow up to Silk. 5 seconds left in the game, DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES … YES!!!”

I can remember just welling up with emotion and crying with pure joy. The chants of USA, USA, USA rang out throughout the arena and across the United States.

The United States Hockey team had shocked the Soviet Union and the world. The invincible commies had been taken down by America’s youth. The pure emotion of the USA college kids was priceless and so pure and honest. This is what winning the gold medal looked like when no one gave them a chance. The average age of the USA hockey team was 22. They had done the unthinkable and much, much more. They had beaten the Russians. But what these kids really did not realize, is that they energized a nation.

The USA had not won the gold medal, at least not yet. However, they had done something that no one had even dreamed of, they beat the Soviet Union 4-3 and went down not only in sports history, but in the annuls of American history as the symbol of hope, dreams and all things are possible.

Monkey Revives & Saves Electrocuted Monkey Friend at Train Station in India

VIDEO OF THE DAY …

Just another example of what monkeys do best, helping their fellow monkey out.

A monkey saves the life of another monkey who fell unconscious after being electrocuted in India’s northern city of Kanpur on Saturday This little monkey is a real hero, it saved the life of another primate who fell unconscious after being electrocuted in India.

The monkey was electrocuted while walking on high tension wires in Kanpur’s railway station.

It then fell down on the tracks and lost consciousness while the other monkey came the rescue. The conscious monkey tried to revive the other by hitting, biting and tipping him in water Hero monkey revives electrocuted friend Commuters in the northern Indian city of Anpur have bore witness to amazing events on Saturday as a monkey saved the life of its companion.Monkey saves another electrocuted by power line Kanpur: In a heroic act, a monkey saved another’s life who lost consciousness after being electrocuted on the rail track at Kanpur station. Indian monkey saves mate after electrocution A monkey saved the life of another monkey who fell unconscious after being electrocuted in India’s northern city of Kanpur on Saturday. A monkey navigating the high tension wires above a train station in India’s Kanpur got the shock of a lifetime on Saturday.
A high voltage electrocution sent the monkey tumbling to the tracks.

But its friend wasn’t ready to say goodbye: after pulling the unconscious ape to safety, the older monkey worked on his buddy for 20 minutes – hitting, biting and dunking it in water. Monkey revives electrocuted companion at train station in India The monkey swooped to help his primate pal, who had been knocked unconscious after walking on electrified high-tension wires at a train station in Indian’s northern city of Kanpur on Saturday.

Posted December 22, 2014 by
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Kevin Durant’s Incredibly Amazing and Humble NBA MVP Acceptance Speech … Thank God for Changing My Life … And Said to his Mom, “You Sacrificed For Us. You’re the Real MVP.”

An amazing Mother’s Day gift from the NBA’s MVP, Kevin Durant.

There has been so much negative news coming out of the NBA these days; however, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder MVP speech is all about what is good. Durant won the MVP award for the first time, but that is not the story. The struggle to get to the top is the real story. There are so many amazing stories of sacrifice and behind one of the game’s best players, is his mom. Durant thanked God for changing his life, humbly thanked his teammates and last but certainly not least tearfully thanked his mom. Durant called his mom “the real MVP”. THIS IS MUST WATCH VIDEO.

And last, my mom. I don’t think you know what you did,” he began, sniffling and wiping away tears. “You had my brother when you were 18 years old — three years later I came out. The odds were stacked against us; single parent with two boys by the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren’t supposed to be here.”

“You made us believe, you kept us off the street, you put clothes on our backs, food on the table,” he added. “You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You’re the real MVP.”

The Best Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial, Hands Down – Budweiser: “A Hero’s Welcome” … Lt. Chuck Nadd Comes Home

AWESOME!!!

Whether you are a Seattle Seahawk or Denver Broncos fan, whether you enjoyed the games outcome or were distraught, there is one thing that everyone can agree on … the best and most touching Super Bowl XLVIII commercial was Budweiser’s “A Hero’s Welcome.” It was by far the best commercial of the day. Budweiser deserves huge kudos for this effort. This was more than a commercial, it was a thank you to the sacrifice for our brave men and women who protect our liberty and freedoms.

Because ever soldier deserves a hero’s welcome home … Yes they Do!

Budweiser Twitter

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “A Hero’s Welcome”

Watch the full story of the return home of Lt. Chuck Nadd

Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII — “A Hero’s Welcome: Full Story”

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