Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Old Playground Equipment

While I was in north central Missouri this past weekend, we went through several little towns that still had old metal equipment in their parks or playgrounds. I've always been interested in these old classics, espcially since they're being replaced left and right by new, boring plastic models. It seems that people think that kids get hurt more on the metal equipment. I don't remember anybody ever getting hurt when I was growing up. Anyway, I was quite happy to see these beauties.

The best part of seeing these greats was seeing some that I actually played on when I was a kid. I couldn't believe these classics were still there. I actually got up in this slide. I felt like I was eight again.

Hopefully these beauties will stick around another 30 years. They're a great reminder of my and many other people's childhoods.

Walt Disney's Boyhood Home

This past weekend, my wife and I took a trip to north central Missouri to see Walt Disney's boyhood home of Marceline. Marceline is typical small town America. It's in the middle of nowhere and trains go through the town almost every 10 minutes or so. The old train station pictured above has been converted into a museum which chronicles the early life of Mr. Disney. Growing up in Marceline cemented Walt's love of trains. Trains are in evidence everywhere, including two cars that are in the park in the middle of town.

Outside of town is the barn and tree that Walt spent a lot of time dreaming and being inspired to do what he did later in life. The barn is still in pretty good shape considering it's over 100 years old.

The town is obviously proud of their link to Disney. There's a neat park and grade school named after Walt.

If any of you have any interest in Walt Disney or the origins of many of his ideas, including Main Street USA in Disneyland, then go to Marceline and step back in time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

Like many of us, I'm a huge fan of the 1960's space race. It showed America at its best and that fact was no more evident than 40 years ago today, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped foot on the moon. It was a year before I was born so unfortunately I don't recall any of the moon mania that surrounded it. I've been fortunate to meet a few astronauts and get several autographs of these space heroes. I managed to get Aldrin's autograph on this bookplate that was in one of the fiction books he wrote many years ago.

Unfortunately, he's the only member of the Apollo 11 crew whose autograph I have. However, I do have the third and fourth men on the moon, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean from Apollo 12, whose 40th anniversary is this November.

I'm very pleased to have these great men's signatures and I'll have a good time watching all the festivities today. Hopefully we'll have a Mars landing anniversary to look forward to some year.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite R.I.P.

I'm really saddened to learn of the passing of the great newsman Walter Cronkite. It seemed as if he was at the center of most of the major news events of the 20th century. As a war correspondent in World War II, he brought news of the fighting home. He was the rock of CBS for many many years after the war covering all the great events of those times, including that awful day in Dallas in 1963.

Cronkite was a huge proponent of the space program, covering all the flights of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. He was synonymous with those early days of space exploration. Here's a little bit of his call of John Glenn's historic launch in 1962.

There will never be another newsman like him. I'm proud he was born in western Missouri and spent a lot of time in Kansas City. Now there's a native to be proud of. I hope we see a lot of tributes in the coming days. A true American legend is gone. We'll miss you Walter.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Classic Airline Flight Attendant Outfits

Last weekend I went to the Airline History Museum, a great depository of airline artifacts through the years. One of the coolest things there were the various flight attendant outfits the different airlines had through the years. Check out some of these beauties.

While most of these date from the 50's and 60's, my favorite one was this quintessential 1970's outfit from Braniff. It's pure 70's.

There were many more examples of different outfits for flight attendants and pilots. If you have any interest at all in airline history and are in the KC area, this place is a must visit.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mascot Mania

I've always loved sports mascots. As a kid I always loved watching such cool characters as the San Diego Chicken and the Phillie Phanatic cavorting around the field messing with people. Growing up in Kansas City, the two teams here never had a mascot until much later, after I had grown up (if I really have). The Chiefs' mascot, KC Wolf, made his first appearance in 1989 and has proven to be really popular in the area. He does many public appearances throughout the year and he came by the library where I work the other day. It was very cool seeing him play around with the kids, including the biggest kid there.

The Royals got their own very cool mascot, the great Sluggerrr, about 10 years ago or so. I think he's one of the better designed mascots in baseball. I got a pretty good shot of him at a game a couple of months ago.

Although both of these mascots are great, my all time favorite mascot is the fantastic Mr. Met. I believe he's one of the oldest, if not the oldest mascot, in the major sports. He's been around at least since the late 60's, if not before. How can you not love this guy?

So the next time you're at a sporting event, check out the mascots. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ultra Violet (Light My Way)

The U2 360 Tour started last week in Barcelona, Spain. While a lot of the attention has been on the state of art stage with good reason, one of the things I was most excited about was the return of Ultra Violet to the set. It's one of my favorite songs on my all time favorite album, Achtung Baby. It hadn't been played since the Zoo TV Tour in 1993 and it's great to see it back. I hope it's still in the set when I see them in October. Here's footage from the first night. You gotta love that jacket!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th Of July

Hope everyone has a great 4th. Here's a 4th Of July tale New Jersey style.