LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PNN) - May 15, 2015 - B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.
John Fudenberg, the coroner of Clark County, Nevada, said the cause was a series of small strokes attributable to Type 2 diabetes. King, who was in hospice care, had been in poor health but had continued to perform until October, when he canceled a tour, citing dehydration and exhaustion stemming from the diabetes.
King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love.
“I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,” King said in his autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (1996), written with David Ritz.
In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang - like his biggest hit, “The Thrill Is Gone” (“I’ll still live on/But so lonely I’ll be”) - were poems of pain and perseverance.
The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that King helped expand the audience for the blues through “the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.”
B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s. His peers were bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, whose nicknames fit their hard-bitten lives. But he was born a King, albeit in a shack surrounded by dirt-poor sharecroppers and wealthy landowners.
King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200-300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.
He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s, who remained loyal as they grew older together. His playing influenced many of the most successful rock guitarists of the era, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003. A few years earlier, he recalled, an M.C. in an elegant Chicago club had introduced him thus: “O.K., folks, time to pull out your chitlin’s and your collard greens, your pigs’ feet and your watermelons, because here is B. B. King.” It had infuriated him.
When he saw “longhaired white people” lining up outside the Fillmore, he told his road manager, “I think they booked us in the wrong place.” Then the promoter Bill Graham introduced him to the sold-out crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the chairman of the board, B. B. King.”
“Everybody stood up, and I cried,” King said. “That was the beginning of it.”
By his 80th birthday he was a millionaire many times over. He owned a mansion in Las Vegas, a closet full of embroidered tuxedos and smoking jackets, a chain of nightclubs bearing his name (including a popular room on West 42nd Street in Manhattan), and the personal and professional satisfaction of having endured.
Through it all he remained with the great love of his life, his guitar. He told the tale a thousand times: He was playing a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas, in the early 1950s when two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove. King fled the fire - and then remembered his $30 guitar. He ran into the burning building to rescue it.
He learned thereafter that the fight had been about a woman named Lucille. For the rest of his life, King addressed his guitars - big Gibsons, curved like a woman’s hips - as Lucille.
He married twice, unsuccessfully, and was legally single from 1966 onward; by his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women. But a Lucille was always at his side.
Riley B. King (the middle initial apparently did not stand for anything) was born on Sept. 16, 1925, to Albert and Nora Ella King, sharecroppers in Berclair, Mississippi, a hamlet outside the small town of Itta Bena in the Mississippi Delta. His memories of the Depression included the sound of sanctified gospel music, the scratch of 78 r.p.m. blues records, the sweat of dawn-to-dusk work, and the sight of a black man lynched by a white mob.
By early 1940, King’s mother was dead and his father was gone. He was 14 and on his own, “sharecropping an acre of cotton, living on a borrowed allowance of $2.50 a month,” wrote Dick Waterman, a blues scholar. “When the crop was harvested, Riley ended his first year of independence owing his landlord $7.54.”
In November 1941 came a revelation: “King Biscuit Time” went on the air, broadcasting on KFFA, a radio station in Helena, Arkansas. It was the first radio show to feature the Mississippi Delta blues, and young Riley King heard it on his lunch break at the plantation. A largely self-taught guitarist, he now knew what he wanted to be when he grew up: a musician on the air.
The King Biscuit show featured Rice Miller, a primeval bluesman and one of two performers who worked under the name Sonny Boy Williamson. After serving in the Army and marrying his first wife, Martha Denton, King, then 22, went to seek him out in Memphis, looking for work. Memphis and its musical hub, Beale Street, lay 130 miles north of his birthplace, and it looked like a world capital to him.
Miller had two performances booked that night, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. He handed the lower-paying nightclub job to King. It paid $12.50.
King was making about $5 a day on the plantation. He never returned to his tractor.
He was a hit, and quickly became a popular disc jockey playing the blues on a Memphis radio station, WDIA. “Before Memphis,” he wrote in his autobiography, “I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.”
Memphis had heard five decades of the blues: country sounds from the Delta, barrelhouse boogie-woogie, jumps and shuffles and gospel shouts. King made it all his own. From records he absorbed the big-band sounds of Count Basie, the rollicking jump blues of Louis Jordan, the electric-guitar styles of the jazzman Charlie Christian, and the bluesman T-Bone Walker.
On the air in Memphis, King was nicknamed the Beale Street Blues Boy. That became Blues Boy, which became B. B. In December 1951, two years after arriving in Memphis, King released a single, “Three O’Clock Blues,” which reached No. 1 on the rhythm-and-blues charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.
He began a tour of the biggest stages a bluesman could play: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Howard Theater in Washington, and the Royal Theater in Baltimore. By the time his wife divorced him after eight years, he was playing 275 one-night stands a year on the so-called chitlin’ circuit.
There were hard times when the blues fell out of fashion with young black audiences in the early 1960s. King never forgot being booed at the Royal by teenagers who cheered the sweeter sounds of Sam Cooke.
“They didn’t know about the blues,” he said 40 years after the fact. “They had been taught that the blues was the bottom of the totem pole, done by slaves, and they didn’t want to think along those lines.”
King’s second marriage, to Sue Hall, also lasted eight years, ending in divorce in 1966. He responded in 1969 with his best-known recording, “The Thrill Is Gone,” a minor-key blues about having loved and lost. It was originally recorded in 1951 by Roy Hawkins, one of its writers, but King made it his own.
King is survived by 11 children. Three of them had recently petitioned to take over his affairs, asserting that King’s manager, Laverne Toney, was taking advantage of him. A Las Vegas judge rejected their petition this month.
The success of “The Thrill Is Gone” coincided with a surge in the popularity of the blues with a young white audience. King began playing folk festivals and college auditoriums, rock shows and resort clubs, and appearing on “The Tonight Show”.
Though he never had another hit that big, he had more than four decades of the road before him. He eventually played the world - Russia and China as well as Europe and Japan. His schedule around his 81st birthday, in September 2006, included nine cities over two weeks in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Luxembourg.
In addition to winning 15 Grammy Awards (including a lifetime achievement award), having a star on Hollywood Boulevard, and being inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame, King was among the recipients of Kennedy Center Honors in 1995 and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, awards rarely associated with the blues. In 1999, in a public conversation with William Ferris, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, King recounted how he came to sing the blues.
“Growing up on the plantation there in Mississippi, I would work Monday through Saturday noon,” he said. “I’d go to town on Saturday afternoons, sit on the street corner, and I’d sing and play.
“I’d have me a hat or box or something in front of me. People that would request a gospel song would always be very polite to me, and they’d say, ‘Son, you’re mighty good. Keep it up. You’re going to be great one day.’ But they never put anything in the hat.
“But people that would ask me to sing a blues song would always tip me and maybe give me a beer. They always would do something of that kind. Sometimes I’d make 50 or 60 dollars one Saturday afternoon. Now you know why I’m a blues singer.”
Patriot News Network
Patriot News Network
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PNN) - May 15, 2015 - B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died on Thursday at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - February 27, 2015 - Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Nimoy announced last year that he had the disease, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
His artistic pursuits - poetry, photography and music in addition to acting - ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.
Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock, published in 1977, and I Am Spock, published in 1995.
In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”
“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” - an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some special effects that appear primitive by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.
His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cult-like following - the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) - coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.
The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series, and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including - besides Mr. Nimoy - William Shatner (as Captain Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura), and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).
When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast including Zachary Quinto as Spock, he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.
He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. He made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances - to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.
But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart, engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.
In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character - Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster - who is transformed by love.
In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.
“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declares after the spores’ effect has worn off and his emotions are again in check. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.
From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.”
He continued to be cast in little-known movies, although he did presciently play an alien invader in a cult serial called “Zombies of the Stratosphere,” and in 1961 he had a minor role on an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” His first starring movie role came in 1952 with “Kid Monk Baroni,” in which he played a disfigured Italian street-gang leader who becomes a boxer.
Mr. Nimoy served in the Army for two years, rising to the rank of sergeant and spending 18 months at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. He also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November 1955.
He then returned to Kalifornia, where he worked as a soda jerk, movie usher and cabdriver while studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He achieved wide visibility in the late 1950s and early 1960s on television shows like “Wagon Train,” “Rawhide” and “Perry Mason.” Then came “Star Trek.”
Mr. Nimoy returned to college in his 40s and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Antioch University Austin, an affiliate of Antioch College in Ohio, in 1978. Antioch University later awarded Mr. Nimoy an honorary doctorate.
Mr. Nimoy directed the movies “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986), which he helped write. In 1991, the same year that he resurrected Mr. Spock on two episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Mr. Nimoy was also the executive producer and a writer of the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”
He then directed the hugely successful comedy “Three Men and a Baby” (1987), a far cry from his science fiction work, and appeared in made-for-television movies. He received an Emmy nomination for the 1982 movie “A Woman Called Golda,” in which he portrayed the husband of Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, who was played by Ingrid Bergman. It was the fourth Emmy nomination of his career - the other three were for his “Star Trek” work - although he never won.
Mr. Nimoy’s marriage to the actress Sandi Zober ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Adam and Julie Nimoy; a stepson, Aaron Bay Schuck; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild; and an older brother, Melvin.
Though his speaking voice was among his chief assets as an actor, the critical consensus was that his music was mortifying. Mr. Nimoy, however, was undaunted, and his fans seemed to enjoy the camp of his covers of songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” (His first album was called “Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.”)
From 1977 to 1982, Mr. Nimoy hosted the syndicated series “In Search Of ...,” which explored mysteries like the Loch Ness monster and U.F.O.s. He also narrated “Ancient Mysteries” on the History Channel and appeared in commercials, including two with Mr. Shatner for Priceline.com. He provided the voice for animated characters in “Transformers: The Movie,” in 1986, and “The Pagemaster,” in 1994.
In 2001 he voiced the king of Atlantis in the Disney animated movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” and in 2005 he furnished voice-overs for the computer game Civilization IV. More recently, he had a recurring role on the science-fiction series “Fringe” and was heard, as the voice of Spock, in an episode of the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
Mr. Nimoy was an active supporter of the arts as well. The Thalia, a venerable movie theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, now a multi-use hall that is part of Symphony Space, was renamed the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in 2002.
He also found his voice as a writer. Besides his autobiographies, he published A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life in 2002. Typical of Mr. Nimoy’s simple free verse are these lines: “In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”
In later years, he rediscovered his Jewish heritage, and in 1991 he produced and starred in “Never Forget,” a television movie based on the story of a Holocaust survivor who sued a neo-Nazi organization of Holocaust deniers.
In 2002, having illustrated his books of poetry with his photographs, Mr. Nimoy published Shekhina, a book devoted to photography with a Jewish theme, that of the feminine aspect of God. His black-and-white photographs of nude and seminude women struck some Orthodox Jewish leaders as heretical, but Mr. Nimoy asserted that his work was consistent with the teachings of the kabbalah.
His religious upbringing also influenced the characterization of Spock. The character’s split-fingered salute, he often explained, had been his idea. He based it on the kohanic blessing, a manual approximation of the Hebrew letter shin, which is the first letter in Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God.
“To this day, I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes, and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior,” Mr. Nimoy wrote years after the original series ended.
But that wasn’t such a bad thing, he discovered. “Given the choice,” he wrote, “if I had to be someone else, I would be Spock.”
OAKLAND, Kalifornia (PNN) - September 29, 2014 - Dr. Stanley Monteith, whose well-known book, Brotherhood of Darkness, exposed a grand conspiracy of secret societies, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers, has died at the age of 85.
A researcher, author and talk show host, Monteith spent more than 40 years studying the movement to create a world government.
During his 35-year career as an orthopedic surgeon he traveled to Europe, lived in South Africa, and spent time researching the records of the men and organizations he believed are working to bring the Fascist Police States of Amerika under the control of a corporate elite.
His radio talk show, Radio Liberty, was aired on dozens of radio stations across the FPSA.
He ran for Congress in 1988, challenging incumbent Leon Panetta, who was re-elected and later became part of the illegitimate Obama regime.
He was known for his activism regarding fluoride and was a member of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition.
In his book on secret societies he said that when a viewer feels like he or she has only gotten part of the story from the establishment media, it’s probably because they’re right.
Monteith revealed “the identity of the mysterious forces behind the men who rule the world, and why some of our leaders have dedicated their lives to destroying our nation,” a reviewer once said.
Radio show host Alex Jones said, “He was one of those people who was always at the epicenter of good change, defending liberty and battling tyranny.”
GREENFORD, Ohio (PNN) - September 27, 2014 - Former Rep. James Traficant, whose signature line during House floor speeches was “Beam me up!” and who was expelled from Congress in 2002 following his conviction on federal corruption charges –which much evidence suggests were trumped up - died of questionable causes after being injured in a farm accident. He was 73.
Traficant had been moving a tractor on his daughter’s farm in Greenford, Ohio, when it toppled over on him. Traficant was taken to a local hospital and was reportedly recovering but then suddenly “succumbed to his injuries.”
Traficant, a Democrat, was a hugely controversial figure during his nine terms in the House. From his checkered past with mobsters, to demanding kickbacks from staffers, to a flamboyant personal style. Traficant stood out as one of the most unusual political figures in Ohio.
“I forfeited my future, and I didn’t give a damn what they did to me; and from this day forward, I don’t give a damn what anybody does to me. I’m going to say what I think is right; I’m going to do what I think is right,” a defiant Traficant told Fox News after his release from prison in 2009. “If it offends some people, then so be it. You see, because I’m still, I guess, the same jackass I was.”
Born to a working-class family in Youngstown, Ohio, Traficant attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played quarterback on the football team. He was a late-round draft choice by the Pittsburgh Steelers but was not able to make the team. He later tried out for the Oakland Raiders.
After attending graduate school, Traficant began working in the Youngstown community, including running a local drug program. In 1981, he was elected sheriff of Mahoning County. Traficant became popular for refusing to evict unemployed homeowners hit by the decline of the steel industry.
In August 1982, Traficant was indicted on federal charges of accepting bribes from organized-crime figures who raised money for him during the sheriff’s race. Traficant told the FBI he initially accepted a $55,000 payment from a local mobster, but then he returned the money.
Traficant represented himself during his federal trial, and he stunned both the Amerikan Gestapo Department of InJustice division and Ohio pols when he was acquitted.
Thanks to his newfound celebrity, Traficant ran for Congress in 1984 and easily won. Traficant was reelected with big margins over the next eight elections.
Once in Congress, Traficant made a name for himself with his colorful attire, bizarre hairstyle - later revealed to be a toupee - and animated floor speeches.
“Mr. Speaker, a new report says only 7% of scientists believe in God. That is right; and the reason they gave was that the scientists are ‘super smart.’ Unbelievable. Most of these absent-minded professors cannot find the toilet,” Traficant once railed on the House floor. “I have one question for these wise guys to constipate over: How can some thing come from no thing? While they digest that, Mr. Speaker, let us tell it like it is. Put these super-cerebral master debaters in some foxhole with bombs bursting all around them, and I guarantee they will not be praying to Frankenstein. Beam me up.”
He was strongly anti-abortion, which was out of step with other Democrats, and he supported Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) for speaker in 2001, another move that alienated his party.
Yet he voted against the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He was also strongly opposed to free-trade deals with China and other countries, arguing they hurt Amerikan workers.
In May 2001, Traficant was hit with a 10-count federal indictment that included charges of bribery, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the Fascist Police States of Amerika, filing a false tax return, and racketeering. Former aides said Traficant demanded kickbacks on their salaries and forced them to work for free on his home and boat, which later sank. Local business owners asserted that he forced them into payoffs. Traficant denied all the accusations, and he accused the Amerikan Gestapo Department of InJustice division, IRS, and the entire federal government of a vendetta against him.
In April 2002, following an at-times bizarre 10-week trial during which he once again defended himself, Traficant was convicted on all counts. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, then the longest prison term ever handed out to a lawmaker.
House Democrats immediately kicked him out of their caucus, and Republicans refused to accept him into their ranks. Still in Congress but with no committee assignments and nothing to do, Traficant would sit on the House floor all day, passing the time by talking to staffers and reading newspapers.
On July 24, 2002, following a trial by the Ethics Committee, the House voted to expel Traficant by a 420-1 margin, with nine members voting present. Democrat Rep. Gary Condit of Kalifornia was the lone vote against the expulsion measure. Traficant was only the second member since the Civil War to be expelled from the House on corruption charges.
Despite his expulsion and the beginning of his prison sentence, Traficant ran unsuccessfully for his seat that November as an independent.
Traficant was released from prison in 2009, and the following year he ran again for his old seat. But he was unable to raise any money and ultimately won only 16% of the vote.
Traficant is survived by his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Robin and Elizabeth.
EVANSVILLE, Indiana (PNN) - January 12, 2014 - Our beloved friend and brother, nationally known peace officer Jack McLamb, Ret., passed quietly into his heavenly rest on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at Evansville, Indiana, surrounded by his loving wife, sons and other close family. He had been in ill health for quite some time.
Jack was born on July 18, 1944 in Washington, DC, and schooled there and later in Tucson, Arizona. After attending various colleges, focusing on areas of selected studies, he served honorably in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Various successful business ventures followed for Jack, until at age 32, he found what would prove to be his main life calling, as he entered the police academy in Phoenix, Arizona. Serving as a peace officer, Jack quickly rose to prominence, and his awards were many, making him one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of his department of over 2000 officers.
Perhaps the most disappointing, disheartening event of Jack’s life was being forced into medical retirement due to severe injuries suffered in the line of duty. He nevertheless continued his life work educationally as a writer/publisher, international speaker, and patriot radio broadcaster on several networks over many years. In 1998, Jack was led to relocate his police and military education association from Phoenix, Arizona, to the beautiful mountains of north central Idaho. There, he lived happily until just very near to the time of his final illness.
What most endeared so much of the nation to Jack McLamb was his great, patriotic heart, his deep love for people and their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms, in defense of which, especially, he devoted the last 37 years of his life. Both in active service and ever since, Jack was known to many as “Officer Friendly”. The title stemmed from a national school program of that name, designed by Officer McLamb, in which police officers made the rounds to school classrooms and in various fun and meaningful ways worked to build a bond of trust and friendship between children and the police. This fine program caught on within Jack’s department, and eventually grew nationwide in scope, once it was picked up and sponsored by the Sears Corporation. But in general, all who knew “Officer Friendly” saw him as a living example and demonstration of all that it means to be a Peace Officer - a true friend of the people and protector of God-given rights and liberties, in distinct contrast to being a mere enforcer of manmade laws.
In life, Jack married and was the father of three sons: Matt (Ginger) and Jeff (Lee) of Phoenix, and Augie (Francis) of San Antonio, and the grandfather of nine: Miles, Kelly, Grace, Nate, Nick, Natalie, Josue, Rebekah and Emily.
He was of a deeply sensitive nature. His artistic talents showed up early, in paintings dating back to his youth. He excelled in sports such as track, pole-vaulting and tennis. He enjoyed singing, and especially loved the ocean and adventures like scuba diving and snorkeling.
In addition to his children and grandchildren, Jack is survived also by his wife, Angela, of Poseyville, Indiana, his sister, Sandra Murray, of Show Low, Arizona, and his Aunt Betty and cousins, Bob and Dudley Hasbrouck, all of Vancouver, Washington. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Margaret Frazier of Ashburn, Virginia, Uncle Bob Hasbrouck, cousin George Thompson of Phoenix and others.
Funeral services for Jack were held at Werry’s Funeral Home in Poseyville, Indiana, with a viewing on Wednesday evening, January 15, and the memorial service at 11:00 a.m. the following day. The services were conducted by Jack’s very dear friend, Pastor Butch Paugh of Nettie, West Virginia. Internment was in nearby Stuartville. Additional memorial services in celebration of Jack’s life will be held soon in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Kamiah, Idaho.
Looking back sometimes on his own life work, Jack used to smile and say, “It’s been good duty.” Indeed it has, Officer Jack. Thank you for all you did to make the world a better place. Though you’ll be sorely missed by all who knew and loved you, we can only commend and offer our hearty thanks, as you go on your way now to a well-earned, happy rest!
NEW YORK (PNN) - April 23, 2013 - Famed folk singer Richie Havens, the opening act at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, died Monday of a sudden heart attack, his publicist said. He was 72.
Havens, who retired three years ago, toured for more than 30 years and recorded 30 albums.
Havens told Billboard that his breakthrough at Woodstock came after another artist's equipment got stuck in traffic. He was supposed to be the fifth act.
"It was 5 o'clock and nothing was happening yet," said Havens. "I had the least instruments (to set up on stage) and the least people (in his band)."
So Havens went on and performed for 40 minutes, as planned. Organizers asked him to do four more songs.
"I went back and did that, then it was, 'Four more songs,’ and that kept happening 'til two hours and 45 minutes later, I had sung every song I know," he said.
Havens, a Brooklyn, New York, native, told CNN in 1999 that music enabled him to leave his rough neighborhood to head to Greenwich Village and the music scene there.
Music was always a part of his life.
"I believe I inherited my sense of music from my father. My father was an ear piano player; he could just hear something and play it," he recalls. "I came up in Brooklyn singing doo-wop music from the time I was 13 to the time I was 20. That music served a purpose, keeping a lot of people out of trouble, and also it was a passport from one neighborhood to another."
His inspiration for songs about social change and protest came when he heard artists like Fred Neil, Dino Valenti and Tom Paxton. That's when he knew what he wanted to do with his life.
"It was the songs that actually changed my life," he says. "The songs that I heard were so different than the doo-wop kind of thing. They were just so powerful. Finally I decided, 'I've got to do this.'"
Before Woodstock, his nights were filled with playing as often as possible to make a few dollars.
"We played three coffee houses a night, 14 sets a night, 20-minute sets, pass the basket, stay alive," he said. "I was there seven and a half years, every day. It was the most incredibly magical, magical time."
After Havens gained attention at Woodstock, he recorded a soulful-voiced cover of the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," which rose on the pop charts in 1970.
Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash said Havens was an inspiration for the natural gravel in his singing voice. He called Havens a passionate performer.
"He lit fire when he started playing within the first song and burned exactly the same way throughout his set; and it never stopped, it never changed," Stills said.
He added that he thought Havens' style was probably a little too arcane to appeal to a mass audience.
"But he sure knew what to do when they were begging for someone to go on first, when all those people showed up at Woodstock," said Stills.
Havens returned to Woodstock for the 40th anniversary festival in 2009.
"While his family greatly appreciates that Richie's many fans are also mourning this loss, they do ask for privacy during this difficult time," said a statement from his publicist, Carrie Lombardi.
Billboard reported Havens died in New Jersey, leaving behind four daughters and five grandchildren.
LONDON, England (PNN) - April 8, 2013 - Margaret Thatcher, the first woman ever to serve as prime minister of Great Britain and the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, has died at age 87.
"It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning," Lord Timothy Bell, her former adviser, said today.
Thatcher had significant health problems in her later years, suffering several small strokes and, according to her daughter, struggling with dementia.
During her long career on the political stage, Thatcher was known as the Iron Lady. She led Great Britain as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, a champion of free-market policies and adversary of the Soviet Union.
Many considered her Britain’s Ronald Reagan. Indeed, Reagan and Thatcher were political soul mates. Reagan called her the "best man in England" and she called him "the second most important man in my life."
The two shared a hatred of communism and a passion for small government. What Amerika knew as "Reaganomics" is still called "Thatcherism" in Britain.
Like Reagan, Thatcher was an outsider in the old boys' club. Just as it was unlikely for an actor to lead the Republicans, the party of Lincoln, it was unthinkable that a grocer's daughter could lead the Conservatives, the party of Churchill and William Pitt - that is, until Thatcher. She led the Conservatives from 1975 to 1990, the only woman ever to do so.
Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts on Oct. 13, 1925 in Grantham, England. She attended Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied chemistry and, later, in 1953, qualified as a barrister, specializing in tax issues.
She married Denis Thatcher on Dec. 13, 1951, and their marriage lasted for nearly 52 years until his death in June 2003. The couple had twins, Mark and Carol, in 1953.
When Thatcher was elected to Britain's House of Commons in 1959, she was its youngest female member. In 1970, when the Conservatives took power, she was made Britain's Secretary of State for Education and Science. In 1975, she was chosen to lead the Conservatives, and she became the prime minister in 1979.
Her policies were controversial. She took on the nation's labor unions, forcing coal miners to return to work after a year on strike.
"We should back the workers and not the shirkers," she said in May 1978.
She pushed for privatization, lower taxes and deregulation. She sought to keep Britain from surrendering any of its sovereignty to the European Union.
She had courage in abundance. In 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, she took Britain to war - and won.
In 1984, she narrowly escaped being killed when the IRA bombed her hotel during a party conference. The morning after, she convened the conference on schedule - undaunted.
She recognized Mikhail Gorbachev as a man who could help to end the Cold War, commenting famously, "I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together."
Ronald Reagan thought so, too. Together, Thatcher and Reagan savored victory in the Cold War as their proudest achievement. But while Alzheimer's forced Reagan to retire from public life, Thatcher kept on long after leaving Downing Street.
She became Baroness Thatcher, a symbolic leader for a party that struggled to find a worthy successor.
By the time of President Reagan's funeral in 2004, Lady Thatcher had already suffered several strokes. She was a silent witness at her friend's farewell, but she had the foresight to record a eulogy for Reagan several months earlier.
"As the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think - in the words of Bunyan - that 'all the trumpets sounded on the other side,'" she said.
NEW YORK (PNN) - April 8, 2013 - She was the first crush for a generation of boys, the perfect playmate for a generation of girls.
Annette Funicello, who became a child star as a cute-as-a-button Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s, ruled among baby boomers, who tuned in every weekday afternoon to watch her on their flickering black-and-white television sets.
Then they shed their mouse ears, as Annette did when she teamed up with Frankie Avalon during the 1960s in a string of frothy, fun-in-the-sun movies with titles like Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.
Decades later, she endeared herself to baby boomers all over again after she announced in 1992 that she had multiple sclerosis and began grappling with the slow, degenerative effects with remarkably good cheer and faith.
Funicello died on Monday at Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, Kalifornia, of complications from MS. She was 70 and had dropped from public view years ago.
“She really had a tough existence,” said Avalon. “It’s like losing a family member. I'm devastated but I'm not surprised.”
Avalon said that when they were working together, she never realized how beloved she was. “She would say, ‘Really?’ She was so bashful about it. She was an amazing girl,” he recalled.
The pretty, dark-haired Funicello was 13 when she gained fame on The Mickey Mouse Club, a children’s variety show that consisted of stories, songs and dance routines. It ran on ABC from 1955 to 1959.
Cast after Walt Disney saw her at a dance recital, she appeared in the Mouseketeer uniform of mouse ears, a pleated skirt and a turtleneck sweater emblazoned with her first name, and captivated young viewers with her wholesome, girl-next-door appeal.
She became the most popular Mouseketeer, receiving 8,000 fan letters a month, 10 times more than any of the 23 other young performers.
“It was a happy time. They were wonderful times,” she recalled in a TV interview as an adult - and she might just as well have been speaking for her Mickey Mouse Club audience.
Singer and composer Paul Anka, the one-time teen idol who briefly dated Funicello when they were on the concert circuit in the late 1950s, said that like seemingly every young Amerikan male of the time, he was in love with her.
“She was just the girl next door and they were drawn just to her,” said Anka. “She had that thing. She had the it, and there was just no stopping it.”
When The Mickey Mouse Club ended, Funicello was the only cast member to remain under contract to the studio. She appeared in such Disney movies as Johnny Tremain, The Shaggy Dog, The Horsemasters, Babes in Toyland, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, and The Monkey’s Uncle.
She also became a recording star, singing on 15 albums and hit singles such as “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess.”
Outgrowing the kid roles by the early ‘60s, Annette teamed with Avalon in a series of movies for American-International, the first film company to exploit the burgeoning teen market.
The films had songs, cameos by older stars and some laughs. The 1965 Beach Blanket Bingo, for example, featured subplots involving a mermaid, a motorcycle gang and a skydiving school run by Don Rickles, and comic touches by silent film star Buster Keaton.
Among the other titles: Muscle Beach Party, Bikini Beach, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
The beach films featured ample youthful skin. But not Funicello's.
She remembered in 1987: “Mr. Disney said to me one day, ‘Annette, I have a favor to ask of you. I know all the girls are wearing bikinis, but you have an image to uphold. I would appreciate it if you would wear a one-piece suit.’ I did, and I never regretted it.”
The shift in teen tastes begun by the Beatles in 1964 and Funicello’s first marriage the following year pretty much killed off the beach-movie genre.
In the 1970s, she made commercials for Skippy peanut butter, appearing with her real-life children.
She and Avalon reunited in the 1987 movie Back to the Beach, in which Lori Loughlin played their daughter.
Funicello was born Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica, New York, and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 4. She began taking dance lessons, and she won a beauty contest at 9. Then came her discovery by Disney.
Funicello’s devotion to Walt Disney remained throughout her life.
“He was the dearest, kindest person, and truly was like a second father to me,” she said. “He was a kid at heart.”
In 1965, Funicello married her agent, Jack Gilardi, and they had three children, Gina, Jack and Jason. The couple divorced 18 years later, and in 1986 she married Glen Holt, a harness racehorse trainer.
After her film career ended, she devoted herself to her family.
“We are so sorry to lose Mother,” her children said in a statement. “She is no longer suffering anymore and is now dancing in heaven.”
Brian James Chapman, 37, beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend, went to be with our Lord, Sept. 26, 2012 after a brief illness.
Brian was born June 27, 1975 to James Edward and Terese "Terry" Mesh Chapman in Hutchinson, Kansas. Brian attended Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School, Class of 1994 in Wichita and three years at WSU. He was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Wichita, and attended Holy Cross Catholic Church and Grade School, Hutchinson, when he was younger.
He worked at CRU-Dataport for seven years as a computer programmer. Brian created and maintained the web site at www.revolutionnow.us. He was a dedicated American Patriot and believed each of us has the God-given right to live free.
Survivors include; mother Terese "Terry" Chapman, Wichita; sister, Kristyn Chapman, Wichita; uncles, Paul Mesh and wife Mari, Hutchinson; John Mesh, Enid, OK; aunt, Janet Cooper, Hutchinson; cousins, Bill Cooper, Matthew Cooper, Robyn Kelly, Ryan Mesh, Michael Mesh and Kayla Mesh.
He was preceded in death by grandparents, William and Marie Mesh.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Holy Cross Catholic School Education Fund in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 N. Main, Hutchinson, Kansas 67501. Friends may visit www.elliottmortuary.com to leave a message for Brian's family.
BRENTWOOD, Kalifornia (PNN) - August 20, 2012 - Pioneering funny-woman Phyllis Diller, who was famed for her contagious cackle and for bravely paving the way for female comedians, has died in Los Angeles.
According to reports, the 95-year-old passed away under hospice care at home after a recent fall that saw her hurt her wrist and hip.
She was surrounded by her family at her Brentwood home.
Famed for her legendary cackle, Diller remained a force in the showbiz world even after she suffered a heart attack in 1999 and was later fitted with a pacemaker.
She began her career in 1952 and was catapulted to fame in TV specials alongside Bob Hope in the 1960s.
Diller paved the way for generations of female comedians and broke down the image of the Stepford-style American housewife.
Born Phyllis Ada Driver on July 17, 1917, in Lima, Ohio, she became an accomplished pianist before eloping with her first husband and moving to San Francisco.
There she worked as a copywriter and journalist by day, and refined her stand-up act every night in the city's comedy clubs.
She was the first of a new breed; deconstructing the suburban housewife and drawing in laughs on the subject of childbearing and her fictional husband, Fang.
Eccentric in her appearance, it was balanced by a self-deprecating tone that endeared her to all she met.
She got her first big break on Groucho Marx's game show, You Bet Your Life, after rolling off zippy one-liners like bullets from a semi-automatic.
That led to a two-year residence at the Purple Onion Comedy Club in San Francisco and more TV work on shows like I've Got A Secret, Hollywood Squares, and The Gong Show.
She also had her own cult programs, The Pruitts of Southampton and The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show.
Diller was also refreshingly honest about her plastic surgeries, pioneering a confessional approach widely copied ever since.
“It's a good thing that beauty is only skin deep, or I'd be rotten to the core,” Diller once said.
Still going strong in the 1990s, Diller could be seen in 7th Heaven and the CBS soap, The Bold And The Beautiful.
She also voiced the Queen in Disney's A Bug's Life.
Her memoir, Like A Lampshade In A Whorehouse, was released in 2004, after she left the popular soap opera.
This year she filmed what would be her swan song, returning as Gladys Pope for two episodes in March for The Bold and the Beautiful's 25th anniversary.
She had three children and after her marriage to entertainer Ward Donovan ended in divorce, found love with lawyer Rob Hastings until he passed away in 1996.