It’s only been two weeks since we last Scrambled but somehow the notebook has filled up so let’s do it again……
Sixty-one years ago this week — October 16-28, 1962 — the United States and Cuba were in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a 13-day confrontation when American deployments of nuclear missiles in Italy and Turkey were matched by Soviet Union missiles in Cuba. This Cold War conflict was resolved diplomatically between JFK and Nikita Khrushchev when both sides removed the aforementioned foreign arms and a joint agreement that the United States would never invade Castro’s Cuba without direct provocation. I was 10 and remember it. While not fully understanding the implications, I do vividly recall my parents being scared and consequently so was I.
We went to the Sphere a couple of Sundays ago to see U2. It’s a venue that is as phenomenal as billed with reviews worthy of the $2.4 billion Madison Square Garden development. The concert was great; Bono taking time to improvise and lyrically support Israel a day after the Hamas attacks was very touching. The special effects throughout the concert almost beyond comprehension. If you get a chance on a future Vegas visit make sure to add it to the must-see list. Even if a concert isn’t scheduled there is a video production almost daily called Postcard From Earth by producer Darren Aronofsky. This, too, getting rave reviews. We’ll see it Monday afternoon.
Happy birthday Trixie! Joyce Randolph, Norton’s wife and Alice Kramden’s BFF on The Honeymooners, celebrated her 99th on Saturday.
Today’s music trivia quiz for your next cocktail party conversation lull is probably a bit too easy, but what the heck? Who was the only Vice President of the United States who composed the music for what would become a number-one hit on the American Billboard record charts? The answer of course is Illinois’ Charles Dawes who served as VP under Calvin Coolidge from 1925-29. Dawes was a self-taught pianist, flutist and composer. In 1912 he wrote Melody in A Major. In 1951, the year Mr. Dawes died, Carl Sigman added lyrics to the music transforming it into the song “It’s All In A Game.” Tommy Edwards recorded it in 1958 becoming a hit record and staying atop the charts for six weeks.
Only one other member of Congress, aside from Dawes, is also credited with a number one pop hit. That honor belongs to Sonny Bono, who served California as a member of the House from 1995-98. He and wife Cher recorded I Got You Babe and The Beat Goes On.
Running around Vegas like we all used to do ain’t that easy anymore for an old guy. In a period of four nights this senior went to the Sphere for U2; Monday Night Football with the Raiders and Packers; the Golden Knights opener unveiling the Stanley Cup championship banner and the Broadway production of The Temptations Ain’t Too Proud at our performing arts venue, the Smith Center. On the fifth day, I slept.
‘Cause it can only happen out here, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup banner was raised out of a slot machine to the roof of T-Mobile Arena. And picking up where they left off, the Knights have won their first six games this season, the best start ever for a defending Cup champion.
In the course of a lifetime, the average American spends about $70,000 for alcohol. Dean Martin used to do that in about a week.
This probably won’t be a very popular recommendation. The Social Security Administration just announced a 3.2% increase for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2024. The average Social Security check is $1,705 monthly which means an average increase of $55 a month. I’d advocate suspending the raise to anyone receiving over $3,000 a month, instead getting the COLA every other year. In the meantime, use the saved monies to either strengthen the Social Security pool or raise the monthly stipend for anyone at $1,000 or less.
I don’t use this space to raise funds, just maybe try to sell a few books every now and then. Since last week’s Sunday Morning Coffee many have asked me how best to give to Israel’s war relief fund. Here is the link for Nevada’s Jewish Federation where every dollar goes directly to Israel: https://jewishnevada.givingfuel.com/swords-of-iron.
Brock Purdy, the San Francisco 49ers phenom quarterback who came out of nowhere last season and now is a viable MVP candidate, is the lowest paid starting quarterback in the league at $930K per season. He is locked-in for that amount next year as well. Consider that Joe Burrow of the Bengals is paid $55M for his work. In other words, Burrow makes more in one quarter of one game than Purdy does for the entire season.
With the launch of the NBA season dawning Tuesday night, today’s ticket stub from yesteryear is from the opening of the 1969-70 season, a very special one for Knicks fans. October 14, 1969, was a Tuesday night, and I was a senior in high school. I’m sure I used the ‘I’ll be studying at the library’ line to my parents, hurrying out of the house in time to catch the train into NYC. Once I got there, instead of the library, 19,499 others joined me at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks kicked off the schedule against the Seattle SuperSonics. The good guys starting five of Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett and Bill Bradley ran to a 126-101 win over player-coach Lenny Wilkins and the Sonics. Five bucks got a great seat to see Reed drop in 28 points and Barnett 22. The win was a precursor to a World Championship season, beating the Lakers in seven games eight months later. When I got home my dad asked me ‘how was the game?’ So much for studying.
Congratulations for the second straight year to the Las Vegas Aces who won back to back WNBA championships on Wednesday night. With the Golden Knights winning the Cup, that’s now three professional sports titles for Sin City, I mean Win City, over the past six years since our first professional franchise, the Knights were born. Not too shabby. The Aces, majority ownership to Mark Davis of the Raiders and a minority piece to Tom Brady, finished the best regular season in WNBA history this year and breezed to the champagne bath beating the New York Liberty in four games in front 17,000 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. If you’ve never seen a WNBA game don’t scoff at it. Andi and I went to one of the semifinal playoff games — it’s fast paced and entertaining.
And before we leave the hardwood my NBA season plays are Toronto under 36.5 wins; Houston over 31.5 and my double pop is Oklahoma City over 44.5 wins. I have no idea why on any of them.
So, when hard copy newspaper readership declined what was the first thing the industry did? Of course, raised per issue prices to offset the shortfall. That did nothing but ensure less people read a newspaper. Going in the same direction, with so many bills paid online and greeting cards sent virtually, the Postal Service has requested an increase in the cost to mail a letter from 66 cents to 68. Clever.
This isn’t political just an observation. During the 2022 election cycle the American electorate entrusted the Republican Party to lead the House of Representatives. They haven’t. In fact, in less than a year they have failed us miserably. To lead you have to have a leader. Checking egos at the cloak room door, it’s not that hard to find a consensus. We are very impatiently waiting.
On Netflix very much worth the eight episodes: the thrilling mystery Pieces of Her.
ACT scores for high school seniors have fallen to a 30-year low. The average in 2023 was 19.5, down 0.3 from the year before. It’s also the sixth straight year of declines. Some can be blamed on COVID and the suspension of the in-school learning experience. Most of it is probably all the distractions kids have these days. Either way, not a good trend.
That was fast. In only the seventh week of the college football season I won my first over/under total wins play when UNLV won their sixth game Saturday night. The season total was 5.5.
The 70 points the Miami Dolphins posted against Denver withstanding, so far this season across the NFL scoring is the lowest it’s been over the past 15 seasons. And while we’re at it, home field advantage which the sportsbooks used to factor worth at least three points on the betting line is now down to 1.5. Parity and technology at the root.
There is something wrong with the Major League Baseball playoff format when the five winningest teams during the 162-game regular season: Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Tampa and Milwaukee didn’t make it past the second round.
Let’s start a MLB fantasy league. I’ll take Jose Altuve. Who you got?
And finally whoever said this, said it best — “In life everyone gets a chance to be young, but not everyone gets a chance to grow old.” Enjoy every day friends and thanks for sharing your Sunday with SMC.