Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Alan Parsons Project releases "I Robot" 1977

June must have been a busy time for the Alan Parsons Project, since at least 3 of their albums were released in that month.  I've been celebrating their releases in reverse chronological order though.  I Robot, their second album, was released in June 1977.  They released Pyramid the following June and Eye in the Sky June 1982.  I Robot was supposed to be based on Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot" but since the movie rights had already been sold they changed the name and dropped the comma.  The album is more about robots than Asimov's trilogy.

I Robot reached #9 on the Billboard 200 and three singles were released:  "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", "Don't Let it Show", and "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Alan Parsons Project releases "Pyramid" 1978

The Alan Parsons Project released their third album, Pyramid, June 1978.  The band based the theme of this album on the pyramids of Giza in Egypt.  It was nominated for the 1978 Grammy for the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical but it went to Steely Dan's Aja.  It only reached as high as #26 on Billboard's 200.

I found this unofficial video of "In the Lap of the Gods" (Instrumental) with a compilation of pictures from Egypt.

Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with Russian space station Mir 1995

On the back row, left to right, are Norman E. Thagard, Mir 18 crew download; Gennadiy Strelalov, Mir 18 crew download; Gregory J. Harbaugh, mission specialist; Ellen S. Baker, mission specialist; Charles J. Precourt, pilot; Bonnie J. Dunbar, mission specialist; and Nikolai Budarin, Mir 19 crew upload.

On the 100th U.S. human spaceflight, the space shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir, June 29, 1995. It was the first docking since the Apollo-Soyuz mission in July 1975. It became the largest spacecraft ever in orbit and the first change-out of a shuttle crew.

They undocked on July 4 and the Atlantis returned to Earth July 7.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The horrors continue! "Beginning of the End" released 1957

First, it was a giant gila monster, then giant killer shrews and now, giant killer grasshoppers.  Actually, "Beginning of the End", which premiered on June 28, 1957, came about 2 years before the other two.

Atomic testing has turned grasshoppers into gigantic beasts and they are closing in on Chicago.  This Bert I. Gordon "classic" starred a predictably stoic Peter Graves.  At least until he picks up an automatic rifle.

One of the best lines:  "You can't drop an atom bomb on Chicago!"

Monday, June 27, 2016

Captain Kangaroo born in 1927

Few people my age don't remember waking Saturday mornings with Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, Moose and Bunny Rabbit.  Bob Keeshan, the man who was Captain Kangaroo, was born June 27, 1927 in Long Island, NY.  As an ex-Marine, he debuted as the captain in 1955 and the show ran for almost 30 years.

Awesome man who provided children with great role models as he was himself!  Children these days don't have it as good.  He passed away in 2004.

More Horrors! "Dark Shadows" premieres 1966

The gothic classic horror TV series about the mysterious Collins family "Dark Shadows" aired its first episode June 27, 1966.  The show ran from 1966 - 1971 and featured werewolves, ghosts, witches and time travel and, of course, everyone's favorite vampire Barnabas Collins.  (Okay, maybe not everybody's favorite.) It drew story inspiration from Charlotte Bronte to Edgar Allan Poe.  It still has a huge cult following today.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Double the Terror! "The Giant Gila Monster" and "The Killer Shrews" released in 1959!

Wow!  Imagine what it was like June 25, 1959 when two B&W horror classics were released the same day!  "The Giant Gila Monster" and "The Killer Shrews" were thrust upon an unsuspecting public. Oh, the terror!  The horror!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Pointer Sisters release "Black and White" 1981

My girls released their eighth studio album "Black and White" in June 1981.  It featured "Slow Hand" which went all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.  They released "Should I do it?" in 1982 and it went to #13, so "Black and White" was the first album to yield two Top 20 hits.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Republicans against clean air!

Shocking!  Obama signs a major bill to overhaul rules on toxic chemicals, which is amazing despite the intense opposition from Republicans.  The GOP has tried to reduce funding for the EPA, or even eliminate because environmental law "stifles businesses and creates unnecessary burdens".  Businesses will have more burdens if environmental laws aren't passed because of providing health insurance for their employees.  Oh.  Right.

So Republicans.  What businesses have been stifled?  What burdens have environmental laws put on businesses that justify not regulating chemicals?

Senator Barbara Mikulski has bigger cajones than Inhofe and Lankford combined.

Fifty-three senators sided with terrorists, putting more American lives at risk.  Unfortunately, they have no shame.  Oklahoma senators (Inhofe and Lankford) were reimbursed for their votes accordingly, but Maryland senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin stand with us, not their own interests.  Vote the corrupt politicians out!

Happy birthday, Lt. Tuvok!

Tim Russ, the Vulcan Lt. Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, celebrates a birthday today, born in 1956 in Washington, DC.  He originally auditioned for the part of Lt. Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the role went to Levar Burton.  Oh, well, because Tim got the role of Tuvok.

Even though I didn't watch much of Voyager, I enjoyed Star Trek's return to having a Vulcan as a main character when the episode "Ex Post Facto" aired during the first season.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy birthday, Rachel McLish, first Ms. Olympia!

Rachel McLish, born June 21, 1955, paved the way for female bodybuilding in the 1980's.  She won the first ever Ms. Olympia competition and the first US BodyBuilding Championship.  She and Cory Everson served as inspiration (along with Lou Ferrigno, Lee Labrada, Rich Gaspari,  Bob Paris, Mike Matarazzo, etc.) during my "bodybuilding" days.

Still beautiful!

Monday, June 20, 2016

"Murder at the Green Lantern" - book trailer

Check out this video trailer for the second Corey Shaw mystery, Murder at the Green Lantern!

A $100,000,000 mistake? Only in Oklahoma. reported on Friday that Oklahoma finance officials found a $100 million surplus near the end of the fiscal year, which ends in two weeks. So they find this extra cash after cuts to education and agencies that serve the poor and mentally ill were drastic. The article reports Shelly Paul, deputy budget director said the money 
"will likely be returned to state agencies in proportion to how much they were cut during two revenue failures that led to across-the-board spending reductions of 3 percent in December and 4 percent in March."
Is anybody holding their breath?  The operative word here is 'likely', which can also mean 'likely not'. How does a group of finance professionals misplace $100 million?  The Department of Human Services had to hold off sending payments to the elderly, disabled and those with mental illness for three months due to budget cuts.  How 'likely' are they to receive  three months backpay?  Certainly no one in Oklahoma politics went without pay for three months.

Dr. Kurt Hochenauer pulled no punches in his editorial today.  He urges people who can save themselves to get out of the state.  It seems legislators are trying to out do one another on who can  trash the state the best, or quickest.  

Move. It sounds like sage advice.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"The Bewitchin' Pool" Last episode of "The Twilight Zone" aired 1964

The last episode of the Twilight Zone to be broadcasted, The Bewitchin' Pool, aired June 19, 1964.  It wasn't the last episode to be produced  and wasn't meant to be the last episode, but shortly after this episode aired, the series was canceled.

The Bewitchin' Pool starred Mary Badham (Sport) who appeared in "To Kill A Mockingbird" as "Scout".

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Alan Parsons Project releases "Eye in the Sky" 1982

"Eye in the Sky" the sixth studio album from British band, The Alan Parsons Project, was released June 1982.  Although the title track was the best-selling single from the album, "Sirius" the opening track has been used by numerous sports teams and celebrities as their entrance song.

It's a haunting but awesome song!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Them!" a sci-fi classic released in 1954

The B-movie science fiction classic "Them!" was released in New York City, June 16, 1954.  The rest of the U.S. would have to wait three more days before they could watch it.

After numerous nuclear tests in the New Mexico desert, ants have mutated into giant man-eaters.  Just when they think they've eliminated all the giant ants from their colony, they realize two queen ants have made their way to Los Angeles.  James Whitmore, James Arness and Fess Parker have major roles, but Leonard Nimoy has a cameo appearance!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mary Failing meets the Donald in NY: Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket?

Failing released a statement blaming the Obama Administration for regulations that "hurt state economies and destroy jobs."

She's so stupid she actually believes it's Obama's fault that Oklahoma's economy is $1.3B short this year.  She and her Republican-led state senate are the ones to blame.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Billy Joel's "Glass Houses" is #1 1980

Billy Joel released his seventh studio album "Glass Houses" March 12, 1980 and this week it reached No. 1 and stayed there for six weeks!  It garnered him his first #1 single "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and he won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male.  He also won an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Album.

Here is Billy performing his first #1 single in Russia:

NASA Might Be Close to Finding Tatooine

NASA announced earlier this week they have discovered a gas giant about the size of Jupiter, orbiting a two-star system, roughly 3700 light years away.

We all remember in the beginning of Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope Luke Skywalker looking hot (and that has nothing to do with him being on a desert planet), watching the two suns set on the horizon while John Williams’ music the Force Theme swells in the background.

Now you’re saying, “Hey!  Tatooine isn’t a gas giant.  It’s just a rock in space!”

True, but planet Kepler-1647b is in the “habitable zone” a range of distances from a star where liquid H2O could exist on the surface of a planet.  Although Kepler-1647b is a gas giant, there is the possibility it has moons large enough to sustain life.

Kepler-1647b is not the only planet found to be orbiting two suns but it is the largest.  It takes 1107 days to complete a single orbit which is the longest of any exo-planet discovered so far, which is why it took so long to confirm it.  Its transit across its suns was noted back in 2011 from data acquired by the Kepler Space Telescope launched in 2009.  The telescope discovers planets when they cross in front of their host sun, causing a dip in the sun’s brightness.

The Kepler Space Telescope’s initial observations ended in May 2013, when two of the four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed, but scientists still have mountains of data to sort through.  In 2014, mission members found a way to stabilize Kepler using “sunlight pressure”.  So Kepler is back in business and has discovered over 2200 alien planets to date.

Monday, June 13, 2016

New Trailer for "Breathless"!

I made a trailer for my first Corey Shaw novel, "Breathless"!  Check it out!

Available at

Pioneer 10 Passes Pluto 1983

Way back on June 13, 1983, when Pluto was still a PLANET, Pioneer 10 passed its orbit and entered interstellar space.  Of course, if Pluto had been demoted to a dwarf planet at the time, Pioneer 10 would've entered "interstellar space" years before.

Pioneer 10 carries a gold disc designed by Carl Sagan, which contains depictions of a human male and human female.  It also has diagrams to pinpoint Earth's location in the galaxy, in a solar system with NINE planets.

We've put it out there, people.  We told the entire Milky Way we have nine planets in our solar system!

Pioneer 10's last signal was received January 22, 2003, when it was about 12 billion kilometers from Earth.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Pointer Sisters release "Right Rhythm" 1990

The Pointer Sisters released their fourteenth studio album, Right Rhythm, June 12, 1990.  Although the album and the singles released from it did not chart well, it's an awesome album.  My favorite is "Insanity", a great dance tune.

They appeared on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" to promote the album, performing "Friends' Advice".

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Twilight Zone: "The After Hours" airs 1960

Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!  And you thought it was "The Brady Bunch" that coined that term!  One  of my favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone" aired June 10, 1960. Anne Francis (Marcia) goes to a department store for a golden thimble and is waited on by a wonderfully sinister Elizabeth Allen.

This clip doesn't have good video or audio but it gives you a sense of the creepiness of the episode.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Oklahoma legislature: "Let them use duct tape!"

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is recommending that schools do not purchase new textbooks for the upcoming school year since Oklahoma lawmakers did not appropriate any funds for purchasing new textbooks for the fiscal year, which begins July 1.  Students will have to use tattered, beat-up, dog-eared books held together by duct tape.

Oklahoma Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister

The Oklahoma Legislature has a method to their madness.  By gutting the state's education budget so it looks like a child's piggy bank account, the legislators are forcing the schools to cut back to four day school weeks and shorter school years.  That means that students will have less time to abuse their textbooks, ensuring the books will be in as good shape as the previous year.  In the meantime, if books do begin to deteriorate, the Oklahoma Legislature says "Let them use duct tape.  Duct tape is the item that holds the universe together so why not use it to fix textbooks, the highway infrastructure, homes damaged by earthquakes caused by fracking, etc.  The possibilities are endless!"

In an unrelated newstory, the Oklahoma Legislature approved funding for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and homeowners to buy duct tape.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Def Leppard releases "Euphoria" 1999

Def Leppard released their seventh studio album, "Euphoria", June 8, 1999.   

In June 2009, The Record Review noted that "the band has yet to match it with any release since (despite the stiff competition of 2002's X) and it still stands between leaders "Hysteria" and "Pyromania" as the band's best album." I tend to think its third behind the other two.  My favorite is the haunting but beautiful "Paper Sun".

Electric Light Orchestra releases "Discovery" 1979

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released their 8th studio album, "Discovery" or "Disco Very" as it has been nicknamed, June 8, 1979.  It also became one of their most successful albums as well.  The single "Don't Bring Me Down" is their highest charting single in the U.S.

Get ready for some 70's glam!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pirate Paradise destroyed by earthquake 1692

On the morning of June 7, 1692, the  pirate haven of Port Royal, Jamaica (or Sin City, as it had been referred to) was destroyed by a series of earthquakes.  Later, a tsunami washed was left of the city into the ocean. The sandy soil became liquefied during the quakes and buildings sank into the ground.
People who weren't killed in the earthquake or tsunami died from diseases and injuries.  Port Royal was never rebuilt.

Captain Morgan must have stayed here!

Monday, June 6, 2016

ABBA reunites for the first time in over 30 years!

Over the weekend at a private gala to celebrate 50 years of collaboration of song-writers Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-frid Lyngstadon joined them for an improptu performance of "Me and I".

Never say never:

“We took a break in ‘82, and it was meant to be a break,” Ulvaeus said in 2014. “It’s still a break and will remain so. You’ll never see us on stage again.”

David Scott, first man to drive on the moon, born in 1932

David Randolph Scott, born June 6, 1932, was the seventh man to walk on the moon but the first to drive on it.  On his third trip into space, Scott commanded the Apollo 15 crew on the fourth manned  mission to the moon from July 26-August 7, 1971.  It was Scott's third trip into space.  His first was piloting Gemini VIII with Neil Armstrong.  He piloted Apollo 9 with James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart. 

Besides driving the lunar rover, Scott proved Galileo's theory of gravity with a hammer and a feather.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan released 1982

I'm glad to read I'm not the only one who thinks this is the best movie out all the ones with the  cast from original Star Trek.  "Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan" was released June 4, 1982, was a sequel to the original series episode "Space Seed" starring Ricardo Montalban.  The difference in release dates between "Space Seed" and "Star Trek II" is 15 years, which is the same difference in the time in which these events are to have happened.

Ricardo Montalban did not wear a prosthetic chest.  That's his real chest, folks!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ed White, first American to walk in space, 1965

White and McDivitt

Gemini IV, the second manned mission  into space in the Gemini program, launched June 3, 1965.  Ed White II became the first American to walk in space.  The Soviets had managed the feat just a few months prior.  James A McDivitt served as Command Pilot and White was the Pilot.

The mission helped pave the way for the Apollo program.

"Turnabout Intruder" last episode of "Star Trek" aired 1969

June 3, 1969, "Turnabout Intruder", the last episode of the original "Star Trek" series, aired.  It had been initially set to air March 28, but the network preempted it to cover Dwight D. Eisenhower's death.

The episode's date is 2269, four years before the events in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", which are set in 2273.  Nurse Chapel's hair is brown and Lt. Uhura doesn't even appear.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Pete Conrad, 3rd person to walk on the moon, born in 1930

During the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, Pete Conrad, born June 2, 1930, became the 3rd man to walk on the moon.  He made his first EVA shortly after the lunar module landed in the Ocean of Storms, followed by Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean.  This was Conrad's third space flight having flown on Gemini 5 and Gemini 11.  He later commanded the Skylab 2 mission.

When Pete stepped off the ladder onto the landing pad, he said:
"Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."

He was referring to his shorter stature compared to Neil Armstrong.  Pete made a $500 bet with Italian reporter Oriana Fallaci that he would say those words, proving that NASA does not write a script for the astronauts.  He never collected on his bet, though.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Oklahoma: Where the hate comes sweeping down the plain

Oklahoma is a non-discriminatory state:  They hate everybody and don't care who knows it. First, blacks, then LGBT, educators, poor, women and now just businesses in general. 

KFOR published a story yesterday how Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the repeatedly negative legislation from the state legislature and federal representatives are hurting chances of Oklahoma garnering new businesses.  Elected officials in OKC and Washington are more concerned about where people can pee rather than addressing the crises facing education and the poor.

Who would want to set up business in an area that isn't welcoming?

On Sunday, the New York Times posted an editorial "Oklahoma Makes the Poor Poorer".  In it, they report Oklahoma Legislature voted a 5% increase in their budget before cutting tax breaks for the poor.

If that wasn't bad enough, Oklahoma 5th Congressional District Representative to the House of Representatives Republican Steve Russell introduced an amendment (which passed after some shady movements) which allows contractors to discriminate against LGTB people based on religious views.

U.S. Representative Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney tried to stop the amendment because it was all "about bigotry, plain and simple".  But Republicans sent him a message that bigotry, hate and inequality are just fine with them.

"Star Trek III: Search for Spock" premieres 1984

The third motion picture, which opened June 1, 1984, from the original Star Trek crew wasn't the best of the entire series, but it certainly wasn't the worst.  Leonard Nimoy supposedly regretted his decision to kill off Spock in "Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn" so he decided to resurrect him.  The movie did have some great moments though:  Sulu kicking a much bigger guy's ass.

One of my favorite scenes: Stealing the Enterprise!