R.I.P. Sparky Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010)

Sparky Anderson, Baseball Hall of Fame manager, died yesterday, at the age of 76, of complications resulting from dementia. He was known for managing the Cincinnati Reds’ 1970s Big Red Machine dynasty, as well as the Detroit Tigers, who had an incredible 1984 season.

The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series under Sparky Anderson in 1975 and 1976. The 1975 World Series, against the Boston Red Sox, is considered to be one of the greatest of all time. The following year, the Reds swept the New York Yankees.
Sparky Anderson was hired to be the manager of the Detroit Tigers in the middle of the 1979 season. The Tigers became a winning club almost immediately, finishing above .500 in each of Sparky’s first three full seasons, but did not get into contention until 1983, when they finished second to the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

Then the Tigers had a historic run in 1984. They won their first 9 games of the season, and were 35-5 after the first 40 games. They were in first place for the entire season from the first game all the way to the end. Relief pitcher, Willie Hernandez won the Cy Young Award and was chosen as the American League Most Valuable Player. The team also had great players such as catcher – Lance Parrish, 2nd Baseman – Lou Whitaker, shortstop – Alan Trammell, 3rd Baseman – Howard Johnson, Outfielders Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon and Larry Herndon, as well as starting pitchers Jack Morris, Dan Petry, and Milt Wilcox. The tigers finished with a record of 104-58, 15 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays.
They then went on to sweep the Kansas City Royals 3-0. And they beat the poor San Diego Padres (in the Padres first World Series), 4 games to 1. Sparky Anderson was the first manager to lead a team to a World Series victory in both leagues.
Here is a clip of Sparky Anderson receiving a phone call from President Reagan after the Tigers won the series:

The Tigers made the playoffs again in 1987, with the best record in baseball that year. However, they were upset by the Minnesota Twins.

Anderson retired from managing after the 1995 season, upset with the state of baseball after the nasty players strike from the 1994 and beginning of the 1995 season. But, it is widely believed that Anderson was pushed into retirement by the Tigers, who were unhappy that Sparky refused to manage replacement players during spring training in 1995.

Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 2000. His Hall of Fame plaque has him wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform. He chose to wear the Reds cap at his induction in honor of former GM Bob Howsam, who gave Anderson his first chance at a major-league managing job.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Valle Anderson, three children and nine grandchildren. At his request, there will be no funeral or memorial service.

New Michael Jackson Album to be released on December 14

Sony Records and Jackson’s estate announced that a new Michael Jackson album, titled Michael, will be released on December 14, 2010. These will be songs recorded just before he died – not a greatest hits compilation. The first single is called Breaking News and will be streamed on www.michaeljackson.com for one week starting from Monday. A teaser of the song will appear on the site today (November 5). The album cover is shown here. It looks pretty awesome! The album can already be pre-ordered from the site. It looks like it is $12.99 and Free Shipping, or you can get the MP3 download for $10.99.

Here is the official press release from the web site:

MUCH ANTICIPATED NEW ALBUM FROM THE KING OF POP
MICHAEL TO BE RELEASED DECEMBER 14

Exclusive Teaser and Song to be Unveiled on MichaelJackson.com

New York, NY – The much anticipated album of newly completed recordings from Michael Jackson entitled MICHAEL will be released on December 14 by Epic Records in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson. Tomorrow, an exclusive teaser for the project will appear on http://www.michaeljackson.com; on Monday, November 8th the world premiere of “Breaking News,” a full track from the album, will stream on the site for one week only.

The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop who was always planning for his next album; unbeknownst to many fans around the world Michael Jackson was writing and recording songs continuously everywhere from a friend’s home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with a small group of handpicked collaborators. Now, through the unique stories that will be told about the songs that comprise MICHAEL, fans will get mind-blowing insight into how this artist worked and a chance to hear the songs he most recently created along with tracks that Michael had a desire to bring to fruition.

“Breaking News,” a never heard before song by Michael that appears on the new album was recorded in New Jersey in 2007 and recently brought to completion. Fans can begin pre-ordering the album on http://www.michaeljackson.com in the next 24 hours.

The attached image of the album cover of MICHAEL was created by painter Kadir Nelson in 2009. In the oil painting, Kadir – who is known for story telling through his art – takes us on a journey through some key moments and important people in Michael Jackson’s life.

Stay tuned for the worldwide launch of the official first single from MICHAEL later this month.

R.I.P. Sony Walkman (July 1,1979-October 25, 2010)

The Sony Walkman, one of the greatest technologies of the ’80s, has died as Sony announced that it has stopped production of the cassette tape player. It had been suffering from the disease of irrelevance since October 23, 2001, when the Apple iPod was released. It is survived by the very ill Discman, VCR, and floppy disk. The latter will have its production stopped this coming April.
The Walkman had a great life. If it was not for the Walkman, the iPod may never had been invented.
You could listen to your music while running or working out. Depending on your job, you could listen to the Walkman while you worked. You could also listen to it at home without annoying the rest of the family.
But, you could look like a fool by singing, really loud, to what you were listening to, and nobody else could hear the music. Here is an early commercial for the Walkman:

Music Video of the Week – 11/3/10

This week’s selection is “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News from Back to the Future, which came out 25 years ago this year:

“The Power of Love”, along with the Back to the Future movie, was released in 1985. Huey Lewis and the News also had a hit with “Back in Time” from the movie.
“The Power of Love” gave the band their first number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song appears early in Back to the Future as Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) skateboards to school, then when he and his band played the song for a Battle of the Bands auditions (which Lewis, himself, is judging, and tells Marty’s group that they are “just too darn loud”).

Trivia Tuesday – 11/2/10

Question: What was the date in 1955 that Marty arrived on in Back to the Future?


Last Week’s Question: What 2 things does “Basket Case” Allison (Ally Sheedy) add to her sandwich?

Answer: Cap’n Crunch and Pixie Stix (or sugar)

This was a very funny scene in the movie. Not only was she eating this “sugar” sandwich, but she was also drinking a regular Coke with it. I’ve never tried that. But, maybe I will one of these days if I’m really tired at work! Here is the scene:

C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in UK Commercial

Dixons Retail, a UK company that owns Currys and PC World, announced that they have a new ad campaign featuring Star Wars heroes C-3PO and R2-D2 as they land on Earth to explore one of the company’s Megastores.

As usual, Anthony Daniels plays C-3PO, as he and R2-D2 land on planet Earth in a Megastore carpark late at night, with R2-D2 breaking into the store, and C-3PO following him. The droids proceed to explore the store, interacting with the store’s inventory, and using several lines from the original Star Wars trilogy.

Here is the commercial:

This isn’t the first commercial that the droids have appeared in. Remember this one?