Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Superman a madman?

This Day in History: April 18, 1938 

Action Comics #1 (June 1938),
the debut of Superman.
Cover art by Joe Shuster.
Superman created by Siegel and Shuster was originally a bald madman who used his telepathic abilities to wreak havoc on mankind. Having tried for years to no avail in finding a publisher for their Superman character, Seigel had a reverse thought, "What if this Superman was a force for good instead of evil?"

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster saw their creation, Superman (also known as Kal-El, originally Kal-L), launched in Action Comics #1 on April 18, 1938. This Superman is the Superman we have all known and loved for decades. In its first issue having been dubbed by the publisher as being ridiculous, strong sales proved differently. So, instead of being banned from the cover of Action Comics as intended, Superman became a permanent presence in issue #19 onward.

The series saw the introduction of several characters and themes which would become longstanding elements of the Superman mythos.
Cover of Action Comics #23 (April 1940).
The first appearance of
Superman's archenemy Lex Luthor.
Art by Joe Shuster.
Action Comics #1 - Lois Lane made her debut in the first issue with Superman.
Action Comics
An unnamed "office boy" with a bow tie makes a brief appearance in the story "Superman's Phony Manager" (November 1938), which is claimed to be Jimmy Olsen's first appearance by several reference sources.
Action Comics #13 - Superman was first depicted as possessing the power of flight
(June 1939).
Action Comics
- Superpower of
X-ray vision depicted for the first time (November 1939).
Action Comics
Superpower of telescopic vision and super-breath introduced (January 1940).
Action Comics
- Luthor, a villain who would later become Superman's archenemy, was introduced (April 1940).

Action Comics
- The original Toyman was created by writer Don Cameron and artist Ed Dobrotka (September 1943).

Superman has remained a pop culture icon, a protector and defender blessed with X-ray vision, herculean strength and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound. After the initial launch in April, 1938, a daily newspaper comic strip came next, debuting on January 16, 1939, with a retelling of the character’s origin on the doomed planet Krypton. Since then, Superman has appeared in innumerable comic books, TV shows, movies, radio serials, video games, novels and even a Broadway musical.


Today in Music History: April 18

1985 Wham! became the first-ever Western pop act to have an album released in China. When the musical duo formed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley released the album Make It Big, that was merely the opener. Western music has since invaded the expansive country. In honor of this musical history-making moment, here are some of the more recent pop songs to hit the charts in China.

  “Party in the U.S.A” – Miley Cyrus

  “We are the People” – Empire of the Sun

 “She Wolf” – Shekira
“Obsessed” – Mariah Carey

 “Waking up in Vegas” – Katy Perry

1987 Aretha Franklin scores a #1 US hit with "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me," a duet with George Michael of Wham! Her first Number One in 19 years and ten months, it breaks the record for the longest span between #1 hits.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...
Related Article:

China Top 20

Questionable Courage

This Day in History: April 18, 1906

Panoramic view of earthquake and fire damage from Stanford Mansion site, April 18–21, 1906
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Stockton Street from Union Square, looking toward Market Street
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Earthquake history in the San Francisco area did not begin with the one recorded on this day in 1906 but history was made with it being scaled the highest...almost 8.0. Only one other occurred (1911) before San Francisco experienced a 68 year quiet period (1911-1979). Its magnitude reached 6.5.

Howard Street
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
The sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust causes seismic waves, which are the result of an earthquake. Left in an earthquake's wake is evidence of death and massive destruction. As a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the devastating fires inflicted upon the city, some 3,000 people died. Close to 30,000 buildings were destroyed. This included most of the city's homes and nearly all of the central business district.

The quake itself is not the high point of this post. It is a happenstance that occurred during the quake itself. When an earthquake hits, there is no preparation. It simply occurs. Without warning. That is the thought to keep in mind.

Arnold Genthe's famous photograph,
looking toward the fire on Sacramento Street
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
One of the most recorded eye-witness accounts of the Great San Francisco Earthquake came from Enrico Caruso. Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in 1903. He is considered by many music lovers to be the greatest operatic tenor of all time. His tour at this time in San Francisco included performing in Carmen at the Mission Opera House.

Having been abruptly awakened at 5 am, he recounted feeling "my bed rocking as though I am in a ship on the ocean." He recalls getting up, going to the window, raising the shade to a view that made him tremble with fear. Buildings were topping over, bit pieces of masonry falling all around, and from the street below, resounding cries and screams of men, women and children. He is speechless. Upon regaining composure, approximately 40 seconds had passed during which time 40 thousand different things passed through his mind. He gathers his faculties together and calls for his valet.
... we run down the stairs and into the street, and my valet, brave fellow that he is, goes back and bundles all my things into trunks and drags them down six flights of stairs and out into the open one by one. While he is gone for another and another, I watch those that have already arrived, and presently someone comes and tries to take my trunks saying they are his. I say, “no, they are mine”; but he does not go away. Then a soldier comes up to me; I tell him that this man wants to take my trunks, and that I am Caruso, the artist who sang in “Carmen” the night before. He remembers me and makes the man who takes an interest in my baggage “skiddoo” as Americans say.
Source: SFMuseum.org
Questionable courage? The question here is not so much about courage per se but the reason behind being so brave. The devoted valet managed to remove the bulk of Caruso's luggage, which included 54 steamer trunks containing, among other things, some 50 self-portraits. Was it so important for the valet to risk his life for trunks filled with 'things', among which were items of nothing more than sheer vanity reflective of Caruso himself? Things are material and can be replaced. Life is priceless and not replaceable.

Should Caruso have been satisfied with his life and that of his valet being spared? Even one of his friends commented he had lost everything except his voice and was grateful. What about all of the people wailing and screaming in the streets? Could they have used assistance?

What do you think? Would love to know your thoughts...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stories Behind the Music

Today in Music History: April 17

With every song comes a story. It may be the song itself, the songwriter or a song's performance. Each story conveys emotions capable of bringing on jubilation to tearing your heart out. Music is life. Music is what feelings sound like.

1970, While performing at the White House at the invitation of President Richard Nixon, Johnny Cash was asked to perform 'Okie From Muskogee'. Cash declined because it was not his song, but had been a hit for Merle Haggard. Instead, Cash selected other songs, including 'The Ballad of Ira Hayes' (about a brave Native American World War II veteran who was mistreated upon his return to Arizona), and his own compositions, 'What Is Truth' and 'Man in Black'.

 1970, Santana began sessions for what would be their breakthrough album Abraxas at Wally Heider Recording Studio, San Francisco, California. When released in September of this year, Abraxas peaked at #1 on the US chart. Carlos Santana learned to play the guitar when he was 8 years old. His father was a professional violinist.

 1971, All four Beatles had solo singles in the UK charts, Paul McCartney with 'Another Day', John Lennon, 'Power To The People', George Harrison, 'My Sweet Lord' and Ringo Starr, 'It Don't Come Easy'. The Beatles are talked about as one of the best bands of all times but surprisingly none of The Beatles could even read music! They did know chords and where middle C was on a piano. In a 1980 interview with Playboy, John Lennon said, "I think Paul and Ringo stand up with any of the rock musicians. Not technically great — none of us are technical musicians. None of us could read music. None of us can write it. But as pure musicians, as inspired humans to make the noise, they are as good as anybody."

The Beatles are talked about as one of the best bands of all times but surprisingly none of The Beatles could even read music!
Read more at http://www.omgfacts.com/lists/318/17-Shocking-Facts-About-The-Beatles/8#DCzZFQ9HGkX3CL5S.99

 1971, Three Dog Night started a six week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Joy To The World'. The group's second US No.1; a No.24 hit in the UK. The group didn't think much of this song when they recorded it, tacking it on to the album because they needed one more song to complete it. The song ended up being a massive hit staying 6 weeks at #1 on the US charts. Three Dog Night got their band name from an old Australian Aborigine saying they heard. If it was cold at night, you slept with your dogs for warmth. The next day you might tell a friend, "Man, it was a three dog night last night." This led a lot of people to believe that the group was Australian, but they were based in California.

 1973, Pink Floyd's album 'The Dark Side of the Moon' went gold in the US. The LP went on to stay in the US chart for more than ten years and became the longest charting rock record of all time. Enough copies have been sold that 1 in 12 people in the ENTIRE WORLD own the record. Despite their enormous record-breaking chart success with 'The Dark Side of the Moon', they’ve only topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart ONCE, with 'Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II,' hitting #1 in 1979.

 1982, Vangelis was at No.1 on the US album chart with 'Chariots Of Fire', he later also won an Oscar for the album for best original score. With so much talent, one would think Vangelis could read and write music. Not really. He did finally enroll at a special arts academy, and when the professors asked him to play something, he said that he pretended to read the music and play from memory. He didn't fool the profs one bit, but like a true Aries, he didn't care.

 1991, Nirvana appeared at the OK Hotel in Seattle, where they played a new song, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', live for the first time. Other local bands, such as Mudhoney, Tad, Mother Love Bone, and Soundgarden all appeared at the club, which has now been turned into a residential property. One night, Kurt Cobain got into an argument with Kathleen Hanna (from Bikini Kill). When he woke up the next morning, he found that Tobi had written "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the wall of his hotel room. Tobi was actually referring to the deodorant brand that she wore (Teen Spirit). Unaware of the deodorant, Kurt loved the term so much that he decided to name his Pixies-influenced song, Smells Like Teen Spirit, after the phrase. While he probably had to pay a fine for the vandalism on the hotel's wall, we're pretty sure the song more than paid for the damages.

 1993, David Bowie went to No.1 on the UK album chart with 'Black Tie White Noise' his eighth UK No.1 LP. Bowie has always been quite visionary, extremely theatrical with his music and the way it is presented to the audience. This was most evident in the late 1960's. He studied mime to portray his music in a different way to many of the 60's clone bands. He believed the future of music would be a combination of acting and video. This would appeal to a greater audience. Hello MTV!

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times... 

Classic Raw Horsepower

This Day in History: April 17, 1964

Cars from the 1960s are not considered just cars...they are classics! From the moment they rolled off the assembly line, they made their mark in automobile history: Mustang. GTO. Camaro. Charger. Barracuda. The list goes on. Cruising in an American made 60s classic car was, and still is, an irresistible thrill!

Today, focus is on the Ford Mustang, which was first shown to the public at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It was a smash hit! No wonder in 1964, Motor Trend's Car of the Year award went to the entire Ford lineup, recognizing its combination of design, engineering excellence, and performance.

It began with a vision...
A car that would seat four people, have bucket seats, a floor mounted shifter, be no more than 180 inches long, weigh less than 2500 pounds, and sell for less than $2500.00. ~1961, Lee Iacocca
It evolved into...

1962 Mustang Prototype

1963 Mustang Prototype

The First Production Mustang to Roll Off The Assembly Line
The Ford Mustang was heavily advertised during the latter part of it's development. On April 16, 1964, the day before it's release, Ford ran simultaneous commercials at 9:30 pm on all three major television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS. The following day, April 17, 1964, people "attacked" the Ford showrooms. Everyone was in a frenzy to be one of the first to own the Mustang. Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs the first day. By the end of the year, Ford had sold 263,434. By the end of the Mustang's first anniversary, April 17, 1965, Ford had sold 418,812 Mustangs. The Mustang had made a name for itself, and it was here to stay!!!
Source: History of the Ford Mustang
And stay it did!

2015 Ford Mustang

The Mustang is one of Ford’s classic and most well-known vehicles. This iconic car has been the target of the arts and music for decades and has appeared in hundreds of movies.


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How did the Ford Mustang get its name?

How the Mustang Became a Legend