Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Indian Pole Dancing

No, it's not what you're thinking. Minds out of the gutter, folks.

This is considered a sport in India. A sport that dates back to the 12th Century. Men in such superior physical condition that they can balance themselves with their legs and arms, vertically or horizontally, on a pole. The craze is now spreading to other countries as well.

In India, it is attributed to part of the training for wrestlers. The dexterity it takes to perform these acrobatic skills is so intense that people there are now showcasing these artistic moves as a sport unto itself. It truly is amazing to watch. It is so popular in fact that there is now a movement to make this an Olympic sport. One look at what it takes to do this is enough to convince me that it deserves inclusion.

Supreme Sunday

Except for a maternity break in 1972, Cindy Birdsong remained with The Supremes for many years. She was a constant for the trio, often serving as a buffer between her singing partners whenever tensions ran high, and her contributions to the group’s success are, in my opinion, somewhat overlooked. She never had a full lead on any of The Supremes’ albums and she’s the only Supreme who’s never released a full length solo LP.

In 1987, she did travel to London where she recorded an EP for Hi-Hat Records with a lead track that sounded fabulous. Dancing Room really showcased Cindy’s lovely soprano and her vocals were very fresh, very powerful on this song. She recorded a few other songs for the EP, but Dancing Room was the only one that made any noise. A minor hit in the UK, it didn’t receive any attention here in the US and Cindy didn’t follow it up with any more recordings for Hi-Hat.

Dancing Room is one of my favorite songs by any former Supreme. It’s exciting and it really made use of the post disco dance groove of the late 80’s. Even now it still makes you want to get up and move. Cindy was at home on this material and the result is a small classic all her own.

This Day in History: December 19

1154 - Henry II became King of England.

1562 - The Battle of Dreux was fought between the Huguenots and the Catholics, beginning the French Wars of Religion.

1732 - Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."

1776 - Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay.

1777 - General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, PA, to camp for the winter.

1842 - Hawaii's independence was recognized by the U.S.

1843 - Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published in England.

1871 - Corrugated paper was patented by Albert L. Jones.

1887 - Jake Kilrain and Jim Smith fought in a bare knuckles fight which lasted 106 rounds and 2 hours and 30 minutes. The fight was ruled a draw and was halted due to darkness.

1903 - The Williamsburg Bridge opened in New York City. It opened as the largest suspension bridge on Earth and remained the largest until 1924. It was also the first major suspension bridge to use steel towers to support the main cable.

1907 - A coalmine explosion in Jacobs Creek, PA, killed 239 workers.

1917 - The first games of the new National Hockey League (NHL) were played. Five teams made up the league: Toronto Arenas, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers.

1918 - Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column in "The New York Globe".

1932 - The British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its "Empire Service" to Australia.

1957 - Meredith Wilson’s "The Music Man" opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City. It ran for 1,375 shows.

1957 - Air service between London and Moscow was inaugurated.

1959 - Penn State’s Nittany Lions beat Alabama, 7-0, in the first Liberty Bowl football game.

1959 - Walter Williams died in Houston, TX, at the age of 117. He was said to be the last surviving veteran of the U.S. Civil War.

1961 - "Judgment At Nuremberg" opened in New York City.

1972 - Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, ending the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

1973 - Johnny Carson started a fake toilet-paper scare on the "Tonight Show."

1978 - Indira Gandhi was expelled from the Lok Sabha for contempt and imprisoned.

1979 - ESPN televised its first NHL game. The teams were the Washington Capitals and the Hartford Whales.

1984 - Wayne Gretsky, 23, of the Edmonton Oilers, became only the 18th player in the National Hockey League (NHL) to score more than 1,000 points.

1984 - Ted Hughes was appointed England's poet laureate.

1984 - Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

1985 - Jan Stenerud announced his retirement from the NFL. The football kicker held the record for the most career field goals with 373.

1985 - ABC Sports announced that it was severing ties with Howard Cosell and released ‘The Mouth’ from all TV commitments. Cosell continued on ABC Radio for another five years.

1986 - The Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.

1986 - Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh was appointed to investigate the Iran-Contra issue.

1989 - U.S. troops invaded Panama to overthrow the regime of General Noriega.

1990 - Bo Jackson (Los Angeles Raiders) became the first athlete to be chosen for All Star Games in two sports.

1996 - The school board of Oakland, CA, voted to recognize Black English, also known as "ebonics." The board later reversed its stance.

1997 - "Titanic" opened in American movie theaters.

1998 - U.S. President Bill Clinton was impeached on two charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the U.S. House of Representatives.

1998 - A four-day bombing of Iraq by British and American forces ended.

2000 - The U.N. Security Council voted to impose sanctions on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers unless they closed all terrorist training camps and surrender U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden.

2003 - Images for the new design for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site were released. The building slopes into a spire that reaches 1,776 feet.

2008 - U.S. President George W. Bush signed a $17.4 billion rescue package of loans for ailing auto makers General Motors and Chrysler.

Sunday's Flashback

Queen was one of the biggest bands of the 70’s and 80’s. Fronted by the immortal Freddie Mercury, Queen racked up an enviable string of hits that included Another One Bites The Dust, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love. During their heyday no one could touch them. They were a tight, cohesive quartet of friends who only wanted to make music and audiences swooned for them.

Then the unthinkable. In late 1991 Freddie Mercury died of AIDS at his London home. He had just completed work on the final Queen album to be released in his lifetime, Innuendo. A superior project in all respects, this was a huge hit in the UK and Europe. Here in the US it didn’t make a lot of noise until Freddie’s untimely death, and then it went platinum. With Mercury’s vocals, as pristine as ever despite the illness he was dealing with at the time, Innuendo is packed with one great track after another. It’s a true Queen masterpiece in every sense.

These Are The Days of Our Lives is a fitting finale to Freddie’s tenure on this planet. The biggest hit from the album, it served as a swan song of sorts for him. Shortly after the video was completed, Freddie withdrew from public appearances and eventually went public with his AIDS battle. The next day he died. I can never hear this song without getting misty eyed, remembering Freddie in all his glory, and taking to heart the last line of the song’s refrain… “I still love you…”

Thought for Today

“Keep the other person's well being in mind when you feel an attack of soul-purging truth coming on” – Betty White