Betty's Blog

Hey There! Mickey Mouse Club Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary!

March 20, 2015

Were you one of the millions who rocketed through the door after school, landing square in front of the rabbit-eared TV to watch The Mickey Mouse Club? As kids, my sister and I sang and danced along with the Mouseketeers. Those kids seemed so friendly and fun, and despite our lack of talent, we thought we were just like them. I recently read something that supported our impressions. Apparently, Walt Disney insisted on recruiting average, everyday kids—not talented stars—to be in his show. As long as the kids were well-behaved, quick learners with camera appeal, they had a chance. Which is not to say that the Mouseketeers weren’t talented. Who could forget Annette Funicello’s singing and beach movies… Johnny Crawford as Mark McCain in The Rifleman, or Tim Considine and Don Grady as the handsome Douglas brothers of My Three Sons? Bet you didn't know that Cubby became a drummer for a rock band! Even in the 90s revival of the show, a few of the kids hit it big—ever heard of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake or Ryan Gosling? They all began as Mouseketeers! If you want details on every kid who wore the official ears on the original show, check out this site: http://www.whosaliveandwhosdead.com/l_mouse.asp

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Visit & Enjoy Our National Parks!

February 26, 2015

Have you ever enjoyed a scenic road trip through, or actually set up camp in one of our nation’s national parks? If so, you can thank President Ulysses S. Grant! Back in 1872, he signed a bill creating the country’s very first national park: Yellowstone. After a government expedition, geologist Ferdinand Hayden, accompanied by a photographer and a landscape artist, presented Congress with visual proof of the beauty and resources out west. President Grant designated over 1.2 million acres to be “preserved from injury and spoliation of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, and wonders within.” Luckily, in spite of the westward-ho land-grab that took place at the time, the idea of preserving large tracts of land as public domain caught on over the years—including more than 800,000 acres of Grand Canyon later designated by President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, we can enjoy dozens of national parks all across the country. Next time you’re planning a vacation, you might want to bypass the sprawling cities and overcrowded theme parks, and head for the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Check out this state-by-state list to find the national park nearest you!

http://www.nationalpark-adventures.com/united-states-national-parks.html

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The Oscars®: The Excitement Is Building!

February 20, 2015

Where will you be Sunday? I’ll be sitting in front of my TV, eyes glued to the screen, absorbing every wonderful minute of the 87th Annual Academy Awards! The glitz & glamour of the Red Carpet, the stunning musical performances, the celebrity presenters, the anticipatory faces of the nominees in the audience, and yes, even the acceptance speeches! I especially enjoy the tribute for Lifetime Achievement, and the moving moments as we honor and recall the fine talents we’ve lost since the last ceremony.

So get ready--these are the masterful movies we’ll be recalling years from now, when we look back at some of Tinseltown’s best! Think you can predict the winners? Here’s your chance to challenge your friends and show them just how movie-savvy you are!

http://oscar.go.com/mypicks

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Great Love Story Memories For Valentines’ Day

February 13, 2015

The approach of Valentines’ Day made me think of some famous couples and the relationships that made them so memorable. How does your own love story stack up against my top 10?

  1. Rhett & Scarlett – We thought they were meant to be, yet they could never be.
  2. Marilyn & Joe DiMaggio - united by passion and fame, but torn apart by the same.
  3. Lucy & Ricky Ricardo – despite everything, true love kept the wacky wife and harried husband together.
  4. Elvis & Priscilla - a little less traditional, compared to The King’s formulaic movies, where he and (insert name of Hollywood starlet here) kissed as the credits rolled!
  5. The Phantom & Christine – even LESS traditional, with elements of mystery and obsession.
  6. Superman & Lois Lane – admittedly, their “will they or won’t they?” relationship was a bit complicated.
  7. Cinderella & Prince Charming – the quintessential happy ending we could only dream of!
  8. Lady & The Tramp – Disney’s canine version of “happily ever after” never gets old.
  9. Kevin Arnold & Winnie Cooper – it was puppy love in its truest form (#8 notwithstanding)!
  10. Raggedy Ann & Andy – they began as friends, and have been there for each other for generations

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Weather Forecasting Is A "Chancy" Undertaking

February 05, 2015

Today is National Weatherperson's Day—an official day set aside to recognize those in the fields of meteorology & forecasting. I think the weather "people" have the best job in the world. The way I see it, they get it right, no matter what they tell us, because they can use terms like"percentage," "chance," "partial," and "probability". Rain probability is 60%. Partial sun throughout the day. There’s a chance of snow this evening. Nice work if you can get it! I wish I could tell my boss each evening that there’s a high probability of me coming to work tomorrow, followed by a 40% chance that I'll get everything done—and still HAVE a job! But that’s just me with my head in the cumulonimbus clouds.

Anyway, I thank you, National Weather People, for a job well done! In your honor, I’m keeping my umbrella AND my sunglasses at the ready!



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Try "Negotiating" Through Airport Security!

January 29, 2015

Yesterday, I saw my brother off at the airport for a trip out west. He's flown only once before--in the 1990s--and air travel has changed a lot since then, especially when it comes to security. I knew he was going to be surprised at all the hoops he had to jump through before getting on the plane. But he’s in good company. Even William Shatner, the man who navigated galaxies in the 60s as the original Captain Kirk, cannot escape airport security. Shatner recalls that once during a pat-down at L.A. International, his loose-fitting pants actually FELL down! I’m sure we can all agree that this would NEVER have happened, had he been wearing his snug Star Fleet commander uniform!

Mr. Shatner, who will celebrate his 84th birthday in March, stays busy as the spokesperson for priceline.com travel company, starring in clever commercials like this one that debuted during last year’s Super Bowl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE1Yx1_xYQc" target="_blank"> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE1Yx1_xYQc

The star just finished a national one-man stage show tour and has another in the works. The avid motorcyclist is also planning a Chicago-to-L.A. charity motorcycle ride, and enjoys competitive horseback riding to keep fit. Wouldn’t Spock be as pleased as we are to know that Captain Kirk has indeed been able to live long and prosper?

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It's A Long Way To The Top...

January 23, 2015

This week, I had a chance to catch the James Brown biopic “Get On Up.” Although I’ve been a fan of Brown’s music and funky style for decades, I never realized what he endured to earn the title of “The Godfather of Soul.” But the same could probably be said for anyone who chooses music as a career. There are very few “overnight” sensations, and even those people could tell you that their success was anything but overnight.

For almost 30 years now, the industry has recognized those who made the brutal climb to the top and remained relevant for 25 years or more, by inducting them into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The first induction took place on January 23, 1986, and included 10 mega-stars: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley—the very ROOTS of rock & roll! Every year since, the music industry shows its appreciation and respect for another roster of talented people who’ve made their musical mark on the world. On April 18, this year’s inductees will be Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble, Green Day, Lou Reed, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and 3 others, bringing the 29-year total of inductees to 304! Read all the names and reminisce about your favorites at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website: http://rockhall.com/inductees/

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Happy Birthday, Kate Middleton!

January 12, 2015

On Friday, January 9th, the lovely Duchess of Cambridge turned 33! Her radiant smile, keen fashion sense, and hands-on parenting style remind us of another princess we adored-- Princess Diana.

Our fascination with royal women isn’t something new. For centuries, princess stories have been told through ancient hieroglyphics, Greek mythology, medieval plays, Grimm’s fairy tales, and of course, Walt Disney animation. There’s something so compelling about the idea of a commoner being swept off her feet by a handsome prince—or being manor-born and living happily ever after in a palace! But there’s more to royalty than tiaras and ball gowns. The princesses we adore are generous, kind and brave—traits shared by the fairy tale variety like Cinderella and Snow White, warrior princesses Wonder Woman and Princess Leia, and real-life modern day women like Diana Princess of Wales and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge. Long may they reign!

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Rockin' With The Flying "V"!

January 05, 2015

My friend Ellen bought herself an electric guitar for Christmas. She’s always wanted to learn to play, and she decided that 2015 will be the year to make it happen. That in and of itself is not so unusual; millions of people pick up the guitar each year. What makes it unique is that she is 62 years old! And her guitar of choice? The iconic Gibson Flying V!

In early January of 1958, Gibson Guitar launched its newest guitar design. Nicknamed the “Flying V,” the wide round edges of previous models were replaced by sharp futuristic angles so popular in the furniture and autos of the 50s. The name caught on, but unfortunately the design did not. After producing less than 100, Gibson stopped production of the Flying V the next year. Back in 1958, you could buy one from the Gibson catalog for $247.50. Today, an original will cost you anywhere from $200,000 to $250,000.

In the mid-60s, a young Jimi Hendrix, in search of a distinctive look and powerful sound, discovered the Flying V. His style and skill inspired a new interest in the model among musicians, so Gibson reissued it in 1967. Since then, artists including Lenny Kravitz, Neil Young, Johnny Winter, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Perry, Paul Stanley, Billy Gibbons and many others have added the iconic model to their collection, placing my friend in very good company! Rock on, Ellen!



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