Friday, June 23, 2017

Solving A Vinyl Mystery

Last winter while traveling through northern Illinois, I stopped at the Half Price Books outlet in Rockford. This is where the millions of unwanted copies of the Transformers movies and The South Beach Diet go to be sold for $3. They also have some clearance vinyl records and they have some of their better albums in frames on the wall. This particular one stood out to me as I love space-themed albums and I had no idea whose album it was. I snapped a photo of it to remind myself to search it out later when I had time later. 

As you can imagine, "later" turned into several months as that photo got pushed back with Christmas photos and every once in awhile I would be reminded of that vinyl mystery. I finally did a a reverse image search and it turned out that that image was the back cover of the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack. Here is the front cover: 

The gate-fold has some great photos from the film and an essay on the classical compositions used on the soundtrack.

And here again is the image in question. It was created by artist Robert McCall who designed the round space station and the space suits used in the movie. You can find his webpage HERE.

While the cover had a some wear, the vinyl was just a little dusty with no obvious problems. 

Scarlett approves of the purchase and she also loves the smell of musty cardboard and vinyl. 

And so I framed the album up with some of my other covers including an album by The Association with a moon/space theme. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Visiting Adlai Stevenson's Grave

My home in Decatur is located about 40 miles from three major central-Illinois cities, the capital Springfield to the west, the home of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana to the east, and Bloomington-Normal to the north. Bloomington's favorite son is for Senator and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson who grew up in the town and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Stevenson twice was the Democratic Party nominee for president against Dwight Eisenhower and during President Kennedy's administration he served as the U.S. representative to the United Nations. He was there during the Cuban Missile Crisis and famously confronted the Soviet Union representative about missiles in Cuba at the United Nations and i
n front of Stevenson's grave a United Nations flag flies.

Stevenson is really Adlai Stevenson II and he is named after his Grandfather, Adlai Stevenson, who was also as major politician and was actually the Vice President during Grover Cleveland's second term as President. They are buried next to each other in the cemetery.

Adlai Stevenson I's grave. 

Probably the most famous moments of Stevenson's presidential campaigns was when he was photographed with a hole in the bottom of his shoe. Eisenhower capitalized on the moment as representing much more than a presidential candidate too busy to get his shoe repaired or buy a new pair. It is funny to think about the things that the American voter used to care about when choosing their president compared to our current way to doing things.

This is Adlai Stevenson II's rather simple and modest grave. He died suddenly of a heart attack in 1965 while still the United Nations representative at a conference in Switzerland.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Mystery Science Theater 3000 Membership Card

My all-time favorite TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, is coming back in April for the Kickstarter backed Season 11. Back in November 2014, Joel Hodgson, the creator and first host of the show, began their fan-funded campaign to bring back the series and I think it is fair to say that the excitement of the idea blew away everyone's expectations. In the end, the Season 11 campaign had over 48,000 backers and raised over $5.7 million dollars. It proved so popular that Netflix bought the project and new episodes begin airing April 14th. 

Here is the trailer to the new season which features all new characters from the original series...except for the bots.

Of course, I donated to the Kickstarter and as part of the perks we could request a MST3K membership card. Mine came in the mail earlier in the year and I'm proud member #42859. 

If you look at the front and scream "I'm not just a number, I'm a human being!" then you can add your name to the reverse side. I don't have the heart to write on it yet but maybe someday. 

There is also a certificate I can print out and they were also sent a Gizmonic Institute sticker add to it. Gizmonic was the backdrop of the original experiments of the series and around the "G" you will notice the Latin phrase "istud scibunt populi veri." With a little research and twisting the meaning slightly it roughly states "the right people will get it" which I think is a perfect sentiment for the series as a whole. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Visiting Spottswood Poles Grave In Arlington National Cemetery

This past summer, my wife and I lived in Washington D.C. and during our months there I spent the good part of two days walking around in the midday sun in Arlington National Cemetery. If you ever make it to the nation's capital, I highly recommend it as you can easily visit the big names (JFK, RFK, William Howard Taft) or expand your visit to visit the graves of a whole host of lesser known celebrities and historical figures. 

While planning out my walking route around the cemetery, a name jumped out at me that was familiar, Spottswood Poles. A great Negro League player, he also served in World War I, making him eligible to be buried at Arlington. With a little effort (there are about 400,000 graves in the cemetery), I was able to locate his grave.

Spottswood, shortened to simply Spot, was one of the best speed demons on the bases in the early days of the Negro Leagues. He debuted with the Philadelphia Giants in 1909 (pictured below) and bounced around with several teams through 1923. He is credited with having a .400+ batting average over his career and had great success in inter-league play against white teams. 

Poles' World War I service was in the 369th Infantry Regiment which earned the nickname of the "Harlem Hellfighters" as it was based out of New York. The regiment was the first African American regiment in the Army and was active all the way through the end of World War II.