Monday, December 28, 2015

1956 -- Birth of Rock-N-Roll

The new year, 2016, is upon us.

Sixty years ago, in 1956, I was 12 years old -- too old for childish things and too young for wayward women.

It was a year when a former truck driver named Elvis Presley burst upon the American scene and helped to create a new musical movement called "rock-n-roll." And the world has been rocking and rolling ever since.

January 5 -- Elvis Presley recorded his first record, "Heartbreak Hotel," for RCA. It would become the first of 45 records by Elvis to sell over a million copies.

January 19 – The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to censure Israel for attacking Syria.

January 30 – Elvis Presley recorded "Blue Suede Shoes."

March 5 – The U.S. Supreme Court banned segregation in public school (Brown vs. Board of Education).

March 13 – RCA released Elvis Presley's first record album.

March 31 – The Federal minimum wage was set at one dollar an hour.

April 25 – "Heartbreak Hotel," recorded by Elvis Presley, became the #1 hit on the charts. 

April 28 – The last of the French occupying troops left Vietnam, leading to American intervention.

May 21 – The USA dropped a thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb from a plane onto Bikini Atoll.

June 8 – Air Force Sergeant Richard B Fitzgibbon, Jr. became the first American military serviceman on record to die in Vietnam. His son, Richard B Fitzgibbon III, was killed in Vietnam in 1965.

June 29 – Actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller were married in London.

July 1 – Elvis Presley appeared on the Steve Allen Show wearing a tuxedo.

July 24 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the country's most popular comedy team, performed together for the last time at the Copacabana Club in New York City.

July 30 – The U.S. motto "In God We Trust" was authorized by Congress.

August 4 – RCA released Elvis Presley's recording of "Hound Dog."

August 11 – RCA released Elvis Presley's recording of "Don't Be Cruel."

August 16 – Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president by the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

August 18 – "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," recorded by Elvis Presley, reached #1 on the music charts.

August 22 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard M. Nixon were nominated for second terms by the Republican Convention in San Francisco.

September 9 – Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Due to viewer outrage of his gyrations, Elvis was televised only from the waist up in the final appearance. 

September 28 – RCA reported that Elvis Presley had sold over 10 million records so far.

October 8 – Don Larson, pitcher for the New York Yankees, pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0, and won the series four games to three.

October 24 – Soviet troops invaded Hungary and installed a communist regime shortly thereafter.

October 31 – Great Britain and France bombed Egyptian airfields in an attempt to take over the Suez Canal.

November 2 – Israel captured Gaza.

November 6 – Dwight Eisenhower was reelected president. The Democrats won both houses of Congress.

November 16 – "Love Me Tender," the first film by Elvis Presley, premiered in New York City.

December 2 – Fidel Castro led a small band of rebels in an uprising that would eventually liberate Cuba from a corrupt dictator named Batista, and replace him with another corrupt dictator named Fidel Castro.

All in all, 1956 was a typical year of global strife. Unfortunately, sixty years later, power struggles continue, forcing the human race to squander resources and endure ceaseless change.

But rock-n-roll is here to stay.

Quote for the Day -- “I've come too far, and I don't know how to get back.” Elvis

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and the ghost of Bo Diddley.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

High-Level Blunders

I wrote the following piece as a newspaper column in March of 2003 -- about 18 months after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and during George W. Bush's incursion into Iraq.

* * *

Due to a series of high-level blunders, the world has become increasingly divided over the Iraq situation.

BLUNDER #1 – Ultimatum to friendly nations.

Shortly after the 9/11 tragedy, President George Bush made a speech where he announced to the world that “you’re either for us or against us.” This gross error of judgement caused a great deal of resentment. No nation wants to be put into a position where they are required to either join someone else’s battle or automatically become associated with the opposing forces. There are, and always have been, nations that prefer to remain neutral whenever other countries go to war. Individual nations should be allowed to have their own viewpoint without being coerced.

BLUNDER #2 – Guilt by association.

Simply because a couple dozen crazed zealots rammed a few airplanes into our buildings doesn’t mean that the country of Iraq was responsible for the attack. No credible evidence has been presented to indicate Saddam Hussein had anything to do with it. To the rest of the world, it looks like the USA is taking out its 9/11 frustration on the wrong party.

BLUNDER #3 – Lack of proper focus.

Much of the bad publicity against Iraq has come in TV briefings by government officials claiming Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, cleverly hidden, which he intends to use on innocent people. They insist they know for certain that the weapons exist but aren’t willing to say how they know or point out where they may be hidden because of national security. If we truly know where some of these weapons are located, reveal the whereabouts and let’s get on with it. And to keep harping that Saddam Hussein has evil intentions is meaningless unless you can explain how you can read his mind.

BLUNDER #4 – The time lag.

The Gulf War ended in 1991 with Iraq agreeing to disarm itself of certain types of weapons. UN inspectors were to oversee the disarmament. Eventually, Iraq failed to cooperate and expelled the inspectors in 1996. The Clinton Administration (1992-2000), more concerned with Lewinsky matters, failed to react properly at the time, allowing Iraq to flaunt UN mandates. Twelve years have now passed. Many people no longer perceive Iraq to be an imminent threat and question the urgency for a preemptive attack.

BLUNDER #5 – Historical misconceptions.

Many people blame the whole problem on George Bush Sr. for not marching into Baghdad during the 1991 Iraqi War and capturing Saddam Hussein. Basically, he had no choice. The UN mandate was to remove the Iraqi Army from Kuwait. The only way certain Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, would agree to allow US Armed Forces to use their countries as staging areas was if the USA agreed not to march on Baghdad.

BLUNDER #6 – The trade factor.

There was a business trade show in Baghdad last year. Representatives from 81 French companies attended, seeking business connections with Iraq. France currently supplies spare military parts and other goods to Iraq. Turkey allows Iraqi oil across its border in violation of UN sanctions. Hussein has promised vast quantities of oil to France, Russia and China when the oil embargo is lifted. The fact that France, Turkey, Russia and China are resistant to a war with Iraq is primarily motivated by greed.

BLUNDER #7 – Global perceptions.

Iraq is in clear violation of UN sanctions. But too much time has passed and second thoughts are creeping in. If the USA invades Iraq without UN approval, the USA will be perceived as a global bully instead of a freedom fighter -- we will win a war and lose our prestige. The whole thing is now a colossal mess, a no-win situation, with too many potential adverse consequences.

* * *

In retrospect, many people now believe the USA make a major blunder by initiating a war against Iraq shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. But once we entered into armed conflict in the Middle East, those in power had made too many blunders to turn back.

Quote for the Day -- “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where tomorrow is a new day with no blunders in it yet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Theta Wave State

Suppose a person dreamed that he/she was a unicorn happily strolling along a sandy tropical beach. Upon awakening, how could that person determine whether he/she had just finished dreaming that he/she was a unicorn, or a unicorn that had just started dreaming about being a person?

The human brain emits nerve impulses at various rates in cycles per second, measures by hertz (Hz).

There are five states of human brain nerve wave.

  • Delta -- 0 to 3 Hz
  • Theta -- 4 to 7 Hz
  • Alpha -- 8 to 13 Hz
  • Beta -- 14 to 40 Hz
  • Gamma -- 41 to 100 Hz

Delta wave rate is the lowest of all five brain wave frequencies -- deep sleep, detached awareness -- certain frequencies within the Delta range trigger the release of human growth hormone which aids in regeneration and healing -- the subconscious mind "flows" to the conscious mind (potential intuition).

Upon awakening, the brain typically moves quickly toward the Alpha wave rate -- relaxation, awareness expands, sense of well-being & peace, new ideas, fresh creativity energy -- the frequency of the resonant frequency of the earth's electromagnetic field.

Once wide awake, you enter the Beta wave rate -- alert, cognizant, focused, primed for concentration and problem solving, physical coordination, full attention, peak performance.

If you exceed the Beta range, you fall into the Gamma wave state -- anxiety, depression, ADHD, stress, panic attack, peak arousal.

During a typical human day, we go from Delta (deep sleep) to Alpha (relaxation & awareness) to Beta (full throttle activity). We basically pass through the Theta wave state, fairly rapidly and unnoticed, as we go from Delta (sleep) to Alpha (awakening).

The Theta wave state is only experienced momentarily as we fall asleep and into the Delta state. However, when we fall into the REM dream state during a dream, our nerve impulses temporarily drift into the Theta state until the culmination of the dream.

The Theta wave state is where the mysterious adventure begins. This is the zone of nerve impulses of psychics, Zen Masters, shaman -- a zone of spiritual experiences, an altered state of reflective dreamlike consciousness, deep meditation, awakened intuition, inspiration, self-hypnosis, light trance -- a visionary state of consciousness whereby your mind expands into becoming receptive to dimensions beyond normal consciousness awareness within the present confines of earthly existence.

When you reach the Theta wave state, your pineal gland (third eye) in the middle of the brain becomes fully open to a brain circuitry whereby self-consciousness is able to separate from ego consciousness and travel within alternate levels of reality, in other dimensions beyond our physical world.

Over time, I have learned how to transform my body and mind into a deep meditative state within the Theta wave state with amazing results, somehow connecting with a higher intelligence and spiritual realities. It has been a life altering experience, compelling me to examine my spiritual purpose and embark on a journey of awareness beyond earthly consciousness.

May the Force be with you.


Quote for the Day -- “To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.” Lao Tzu

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where life is what happens when you can't sleep.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Dark Shadows

Robbinsdale High School, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, a northwest suburb of Minneapolis, was at one time the largest high school in Minnesota. I was a graduate of RHS in the class of 1962.

In the RHS class of 1961, there was a girl, Marlene Kringstad, who was named best actress of her graduating class. After high school, she moved to New York City, changed her name to Kathryn Leigh Scott, and became a Playboy Bunny (to survive financially) while she was attempting to break into a career as an actress.

In 1966, DARK SHADOWS debuted as an ABC-TV afternoon gothic-horror soap opera series set in the late 1700s and including storylines which involved a vampire theme. Kathryn Leigh Scott was one of the feature players where she portrayed Maggie and Josette DuPres, the doomed fiancée of vampire Barnabas Collins. Kathryn also starred in the 1970 MGM film HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and had a leading role in THE GREAT GATSBY movie in 1974, starring Robert Redford.

DARK SHADOWS went on to become a cult classic TV series into the mid 1970s. In 2006, Warner Brothers made a DARK SHADOWS movie, starring Johnny Depp.

Kathryn Leigh Scott has a very extensive movie & TV resume which can be seen on her website

I have seen her on many TV shows. It's always a surprise and pleasure to watch a person from your high school on a TV episode. Some of her TV appearances include Hawaii Five-O, Baretta, Return of the Saint, Little House on the Prairie, Quincy M.E., The Incredible Hulk, Magnum P.I., Police Squad, Rockford Files, Phillip Marlowe Private Eye (multiple episodes), Cagney & Lacey, Shadow Chasers, The A-Team, Hotel, Knots Landing, Mr. Belvedere, Dallas (multiple episodes), Dynasty (multiple episodes), Star Trek: The Next Generation, 21 Jump Street, Matlock, Jake and the Fat Man, CIS, The Goldbergs (multiple episodes), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (in opening episode in 2015), etc., etc . -- 71 actress credits in all.

Kathryn Leigh Scott is also a writer and owns a publishing company called Pomegranate Press, Ltd. (New York and Los Angeles). She and her husband live in Beverly Hills and London.

Recently, I sent a few of my books to Kathryn and she sent three of her books to me (listed below)

  • Dark Shadows, Return to Collingwood (by Kathryn Leigh Scott and Jim Pierson) -- a large coffee table book (photos & stories) about the original TV series and subsequent highlights of the Dark Shadows continual productions through 2012.

  • The Bunny Years (by Kathryn Leigh Scott, with a Forward by Hugh Hefner) -- "The Surprising Inside Story of the Playboy Clubs: The Women Who Worked as Bunnies and Where They Are Now" -- numerous stories of the Bunny personal experience by original Bunnies, including Susan Sullivan (actress), Lauren Hutton (supermodel & actress), Gloria Steinem (writer), Deborah Harry (musician) and many, many more -- it has sold over 165.000 copies..

  • Dark Passages (novel by Kathryn Leigh Scott) -- a terrific piece of fiction about an actress from small midwestern town caught up in the Playboy Bunny and acting scene in NYC while dealing with an intriguing supernatural subplot -- it had my attention throughout -- Kathryn is a superb writer.

Kathryn's recent novel is titled Down and Out in Beverly Heels. She is currently working on another novel titled Jinxed and her memoir titled Last Dance at the Savoy.
Other works by Kathryn Leigh Scott from Pomegranate Press:

  • Dark Shadows Memories
  • Dark Shadows Companion
  • Dark Shadows Almanac
  • Lobby Cards: The Classic Films
  • Lobby Cards: The Classic comedies

Kathryn Leigh Scott is one of my heroes -- she had a purpose in life and made it work

Break a leg, KLS

Quote for the Day -- "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Bill Shakespeare

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the purpose in life is food, clothing, shelter, and becoming one with the Universe and beyond.