Betty's Blog

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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Light Strings Brighten My Holiday!

December 22, 2014

Here’s an "illuminating" fact I just discovered… the first string of Christmas lights was invented way back on December 22, 1882, by none other than the brilliant Thomas Edison! He and his business partner Edward Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white and blue light bulbs, and wound them around his Christmas tree. But it would be almost 40 years before electric Christmas light strings became the popular tradition that they are today. Now there are so many choices! You can choose from movie themes, cartoon characters, lights that blink and flash to music, and much more. Personally, I love the retro style, but I'll bet you already knew that!

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Joan Rivers' Legend Lives On

December 15, 2014

Last week, details of Joan Rivers’ Last Will & Testament were made public, revealing that the late star left the lion’s share of her $150 million estate to her daughter, Melissa. The two have always been completely devoted to one another, so this really came as no surprise. What DID surprise me, however, is that the woman who carved out a successful Hollywood career by being aggressive, caustic and rude was just the opposite in her real life. One of her assistants characterized Miss Rivers as “generous to a fault.” Another remembers her as being “an incredible lady.” The comedienne left money to relatives, friends, employees, and large bequests to many charities. We miss Joan Rivers and her acerbic wit, but knowing that she left behind such a wonderful legacy makes this legendary performer all the more endearing.

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Thanksgiving: Turkey, Pie & Football

November 28, 2014

And another Thanksgiving holiday goes into the record books! My turkey tipped the scales at 23 lbs.—biggest one I’ve ever prepared—and we ended up with five pies! Add that to all the football we watched, and we certainly got our fill of everything yesterday! Speaking of records, ten years ago today in 2004, the Bengals/Browns matchup resulted in a HUGE combined score of 106 points (Bengals won 58-48)—making it the second-highest scoring NFL game ever. The Redskins and Giants 72-41 thriller from 1966 still holds the top spot (113 points if you don’t feel like doing the math). But, as any football fan knows, even a low-scoring game can be exciting with enough turnovers to keep you guessing! Turnovers… that reminds me, would anyone like some pie?



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Staying Warm In "Snow-vember"

November 21, 2014

OK, who ordered all the snow? Enough, already! We’ve all been reading the stories about the polar vortex--aka Snow-vember, aka the Snowpocalypse-- and hearing about the towns and cities that are virtually buried in record-setting amounts. Although it IS that time of year, Mother Nature has been overly generous with the white stuff in some places, and authorities are advising people to stay inside. But sometimes you just have to go out! The secret to staying warm is layers! Start with thin against the skin, and build outward with thicker and thicker garments. Wool is best, but cotton or cotton/poly blends can be just as warm and are easier to care for. A hoodie is a great option, because you can wear a few layers underneath, flip up that hood and snug it up tight to protect against brisk winds or bitter cold, and if you don’t have gloves, the pouch pocket in front is a terrific hand warmer. Plus, hoodies come in an endless assortment of colors and styles so you can show off your personality. If you’re up north right now, you might want to pick a bright color so everyone can spot you in that vast field of white!

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I'm Missing My Yankees!

November 14, 2014

Here it is mid-November, and I’m really missing baseball. It’s been about a month and a half since the last game of Derek Jeter's 20-year career with the Yankees. Being a devoted Yankees fan, this year was especially bittersweet with the retirement of my sports hero. In my opinion, he made the game so much more exciting. Drafted right out of high school where he had been a superstar, Jeter didn’t make a great impression until about 1995, when he really started to shine. In 1996, he was unanimously chosen as AL Rookie of the Year, and in 2000 he was named MVP after the Yanks took home their 3rd straight World Series title. Well-respected and always the consummate pro, (listen to his farewell words: http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/derek-jeter-true-2-form-even-on-his-special-day-at-yankee-stadium-we-ve-got-a-game-to-play-1.9250051), the star shortstop served as team captain from 2003 until his retirement a few weeks ago. He’ll be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game--and not just by me, even though I'm probably his biggest fan. That said, I've found a few more things to add to my “shrine”!

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Veterans' Day Thoughts

November 10, 2014

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1. November 11 is the day we honor the lives lost in WW1 and other wars, up through and including the Middle East conflicts and the war on terror still being waged today. You may have seen that this year, the UK is honoring their WW1 war dead with an unusual and very striking memorial. Ceramic poppies have been placed in the moat around the Tower of London, with the first “planted” in July and the final one to be placed on Armistice Day, November 11th. The completed memorial will hold 888,246 bright red blooms-- one for each of the British or colonial soldiers who perished fighting for the United Kingdom. The virtual sea of red presents a stunning image and visually drives home the staggering number of casualties—just one country’s toll from the most deadly war this world has ever known. The memorial is scheduled to be dismantled starting the day after Armistice Day, but many are in favor of it remaining in place. What do you think? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-29935592

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My Saturdays with John Wayne

October 30, 2014

I remember being in school all week just dying for Saturday to hurry up and come so I could go to the matinee. If a John Wayne movie was on the bill, I'd really have a hard time sitting still while the week dragged on and on and on. Every Saturday morning I 'd rush through my chores and snatch my allowance so fast that all my parents saw was a blur as I banged out the front door, hopped on my bike and pedaled as fast as I could to the neighborhood theater.

I can still recall how it felt to enter the cool darkness of the theater. I'd stand at the top of the sloping floor, waiting for my eyes to adjust so I could find the best seats--as close to the front as possible, of course. From science fiction to monster movies to shoot-'em-ups, I'll bet I saw every movie that played at that theater. But my favorites were John Wayne's Westerns.

Riding the range with John Wayne was much better than sitting in school. Instead of trying to make sense of something as mundane as fractions, you could imagine yourself saving the townsfolk from a black-hatted stranger, tossing cattle rustlers in the town jail cell and herding cows with a whistle and a flick of the reins. Filled up with Jujubees, Raisinettes, popcorn and icy cold Cokes, I'd leave the theater already hoping for The Duke's new movie to come out so I could rush back to the Saturday matinee and see what my favorite wrangler would get into next!