President Ford Escaped Assassination today in 1975

In 1975 California was dangerous for then-President Gerald Ford, as two attempts on his life were made within 17 days. The first, on September 5 by Charles Manson-follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme in Sacramento, put Fromme in jail where she remains.  September 22, in San Francisco radical activist and mental health patient Sara Jane Moore tried to shoot Ford as he left the St. Francis Hotel. The president was uninjured. Moore was paroled from prison in 2007.

Published in: on September 22, 2009 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nine Eleven Remembered, Moving Video

This video is a compilation of  amateur videography and photography about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the crash of Flight 93 in PA. Caution – music is loud, scenes are disturbing.

Published in: on September 11, 2009 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Woodstock 40th Anniversary

woodstock-photos-2 woodstock-photos-3 Are we really that old????? Woodstock turns 40 this weekend. Did you know it wasn’t held in Woodstock? I was listening to some CNN conversation about it while I was driving and they were conjecturing that that was the preferred location but they never got permission from the town itself. So, 500,000 people showed up instead in Bethel, on the land of a farmer named Max Yasgur. If you were a rock band or rock singer of that era, it seemed, you performed at “Woodstock.”

Performers included Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Blood Sweat & Tears, Santana, Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Any one of these could have commanded a pretty penny from attendees on their own. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

photos courtesy of Life Magazine via .

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Boeing born today in 1916

Boeing facilityThe world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing turns 93 today.  You can tour its Future of Flight museum, in the world’s largest building in Mulkiteo WA near Seattle.

The Boeing Everett factory tours are conducted to showcase The Boeing Company and the  product line –  the 747, 767, 777 and soon 787. As part of the tour, visitors walk through part of the largest building in the world by volume (472,000,000 cubic feet). On the Boeing flight line, visitors see airplanes in various stages of assembly, manufacture and flight test for airline customers around the world.

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 7:15 am  Comments (2)  

Surprise AZ Historical Society Kicks Off

city of surprise logo I attended the first public meeting of the Surprise (AZ) Historical Society.  The meeting was productive, setting pricing for membership at a low $15, with patron status offered to those who donate more to this worthy non-profit. Attendance was poor, but that is partly attributable to its daytime schedule. Hopefully they’ll move meetings to evenings as things get rolling.

A Surprise 50th anniversary book is in the offing, as is a Surprise museum. Surprise, as well as nearby Sun City, celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2010.

If you live in Surprise and are able to break away during the day, why not join us for the next meeting, Monday August 10 1-3pm. It’s in the beautiful new City Hall building on Civic Center Drive, right down the street from the library and tennis courts.

And the city is soliciting photos and memories of early Surprise. Contact City Clerk Sherry Aguilar if you have something to share.

Published in: on July 14, 2009 at 6:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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History of Independence Day

fireworksHAPPY 4th OF JULY!

This video has some interesting tidbits. I didn’t know, for example, that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of U.S. Independence. The celebration first became a paid federal holiday in 1938.

Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 6:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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We Are the World

After many hours of watching CNN about the passing of Michael Jackson, and two hour-long specials about him I guess it hit me this morning as I was watching this We Are the World video that he’s really gone. It’s very sad – not just that he’s dead but that his life got so bizarre and he was so lonely and he got so withdrawn. As I watch this video he’s a handsome young man who is just starting down his weird road. Why did all that have to happen?

When all the child molestation charges began I just didn’t believe it, then the evidence seemed overwhelming to me – especially paying $20 million to settle. Now I wonder. I rewatched his 60 minute interview with Ed Bradley in which Bradley questioned him repeatedly about having small boys in his bed and Michael just seemed like a confused lost soul who genuinely loved children and would never hurt them. Yes, his thinking wasn’t appropriate or the norm and he got himself into trouble. But it does seem like he may have been innocent.  As someone pointed out  – and it was an eye-opener for me –  MJ surrounded himself with other child stories who hadn’t had a chance to have a childhood. He had friends like Brooke Shields, Liz Taylor and Liza Minnelli (whose mother Judy Garland suffered the same child-star traumas as Michael) .

So sad. Such a wonderfully talented man who became so lost. I’ll surely miss him and his extraordinary talent.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Boston Celebrates Bunker Hill Day & Evacuation Day No More?

bunkerhill The New York Times carried this story about Boston/Suffolk County legislative discussion of eliminating two local holidays – Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day. Of course, the first refers to the American Revolution’s 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. The latter commemorates the retreat of British troops from Boston.  The issue is one of economy – the cost of two paid holidays seems excessive to some during the country’s current recession.

The illustration, courtesy of, portrays the death of American General  Warren during the Bunker Hill battle.


YoreTowninVintageSign I’m really excited. Jay Small of Small Initiatives, the Web developer for Yore Town, just advised me that my partner Kevin Hill and I will be able to demo the first phase of our Yore Town site Friday May 22. We’ll spend a couple of hours with Jay while he shows us around and teaches us  to upload content. Then we start doing so. Laurie Hosken, who is writing content for Yore Town, is hard at work gathering material to share the story of local metro businesses for the metro Phoenix AZ rollout , and Kevin and I have started video interviews of local residents who would like to tell their personal stories for the site. We also travel that week or soon after to Yuma AZ to demo the product to the folks at The Daily Sun, our beta community newspaper site.  Perri Collins, Communications Director for the Arizona Newspapers Association, is offering her time to help us with video, and Dee Dees, the “Life Story Lady” and memoir writing expert, will share her expertise as well.

This is probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life, after the birth of my son Kevin. This is my second baby, and something I truly believe can be helpful to community newspapers.  And for our local area, it just couldn’t come at a better time. Two local metro Phoenix cities – Surprise (my home) and Sun City – both celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2010, and we’re talking to those government agencies and folks responsible for gathering the celebratory photos, videos and stories, about housing them on the Yore Town site, as the interactive home of their historical celebration.  And I have something of a personal milestone to celebrate as well. The week of the demo launch I turn 60 years old. So me and my second child celebrate our births together.

A local publisher in any community can offer a community service that will be attractive to all age groups, and will naturally gain the support of local governments, and historically-focused agencies and groups. Schools will love it, as will museums, historical societies and city and county governments. It will offer many revenue opportunities such as advertising and sponsorship. It will provide an opportunity for community conversation and the sharing of personal stories without anywhere near the concern for inappropriate content that plague so many social sites or citizen journalism products. It answers the needs of community newspapers – to be a good neighbor, to allow their audience into the conversation, and to make money and build traffic. While licenses are not restricted to just community newspapers, these local media houses with their pulse on the local market and their trained sales staff, would seem the most natural fit.

 The site,, will launch this fall. In the meantime, please check out the licensee feature page, If U Owned the Local Yore Town.  Once we have something suitable for public viewing we’ll be scheduling a free Webinar at various times and days. If you’d like to be put on the notification list for the  Webinar, or would like to schedule a private demo, please email me at or send me a DM on Twitter, to @YoreTown.  Entrepreneurs, industry vendors, business owners, museums, historical societies, government agencies and potential investors are most welcome also.  We are open to partnerships and collaborations that make sense.

Published in: on May 9, 2009 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Woodstock – Were you There?

Joe Cocker at Woodstock

Joe Cocker at Woodstock

 My friend and former boss, Jim Townsend, Editorial Director of The Aim Group, posted this hysterical Woodstock video of Joe Cocker  on Facebook.  You have to watch this! The photo of Cocker is courtesy of, where you can find many other Woodstock photos.

So, were you at Woodstock? My brother got to go but I wasn’t allowed. Still angry. 🙂