Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

I was saddened today when I read about Verne Gagne. Spending a great deal of my youth in the Quad Cities, Verne put on "All Star Wrestling" which featured The Crusher, Dirty Dusty Rhoads, Mad Dog Vachon and the guy who lost every match but had the coolest name George "Scrap Iron" Gadaski. It was on late at night on Saturday night and it was areal treat for us kids to stay up and watch it, then discuss in our bedrooms whether it was fake or not. Gagne was the founder and owner of the American Wrestling Association and wore its championship belt. In the 1960s and '70s, his ''All-Star Wrestling'' was a TV sensation. The show was a modest affair, taped before small audiences at various Minneapolis TV stations. But it was syndicated on up to 120 channels across the Midwest and as far away as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Winnipeg, Canada. He mostly stopped wrestling in 1981 but remained active in the business. He trained more than 140 wrestlers from the late 1950s up until 1990, including Blackjack Lanza, Larry ''The Axe'' Hennig, The Iron Sheik, Sgt. Slaughter and Jesse ''The Body'' Ventura, who later became governor of Minnesota. One of my fondest memories is going to Wharton Field House in Moline and being blown away by how big it was. We were there to watch the guys on TV wrestle locally. Verne is now 83 and is suffering from Alzheimers and dementia. Apparently, he was reliving his wrestling days and body slammed a 94 year old man, causing his death. This happened at the nursing home where both men were. The other man's family is not persuing legal action saying that Verne had no idea what he was doing. The man he body slammed escaped from Germany in 1930 and went on the develop the antitode to mustard gas.

I have already had the discussion with my family and will once again post it here. If there comes a time when I don't recognize my kids or my family, that is the day I want to leave this planet. I will have no more use for life and life will have no more use for me.

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Hank Locklin 1918-2009

This was one of my mother's favorite artists. I remember as a kid listening to "Please Help Me, I'm Falling" and especially "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On" which has been covereed by everybody from Dean Martin to Dwight Yoakum. "Please Help Me I'm Falling" released in 1960 was listed in Billboard magazine's 100th anniversary issue as the second most successful country single of modern times. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award. In Ava, the grocery stores would put out albums on the Surefine label that would feature great old country songs, "Send Me The Pillow" was on one that we played on our record player a lot. That album also featured "Alabam" by Cowboy Copas. Another voice of my early youth silenced.
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Let's hope Friday the 13th is lucky for me. Karma gifts accepted.

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