The way back machine #11

Hard to believe I started this almost three months ago.  Tonight’s version takes us to Dec 14, 1974.  Elvis was still alive and singing, in fact he had the number 14 song in the nation this week with Promised Land.  I only remember this one from the movie Men in Black when Tommy Lee Jones was driving through the Holland Tunnel.  Never was much of an Elvis fan.  So what was happening in the world this week in 1974?  It appears to have been a pretty slow week….

Jerry Ford ( remember him??) was running things after Tricky Dick abdicated and fled to San Clemente.  I’m still not sure what he did to deserve getting shot at.  Twice.  Maybe it was the full and unconditional pardon he gave our boy Dick or it could have been the $850,000 he tried to get from Congress to help Dick transition to private life.   Congress decided that was a wee bit excessive and granted $200,000 taxpayer dollars to help our boy out.  The more things change….   I do remember him whacking his noggin on the doors to Marine One a lot.  Can’t fault him for that though; I, after close to 30 years of playing with airplanes, still bang my head on them more often than I’d like.

West Germany’s Chancellor Willy Brandt resigns after finding out his close aide is actually a spy for East Germany.  Us old farts remember when there were two Germanys.  I spent a goodly portion of my life helping to keep the guys on the other side of the wall from trying to come through it.  Those fun-loving guys in Stockholm, the Nobel Prize guys, hit another home run by giving Willy the Peace Prize in 1971.  They have one hell of a sense of humor over there in Stockholm….   Israel and Egypt sign a “disengagement” agreement brokered by then Secretary of State Henry “Buddy Holly glasses are hip” Kissinger.  It has about all the effect and binding power as the 1939 Non-aggression Pact  between Germany and England.  There will be peace in our time…and the Cubs will win the Series.  

Streaking was invented (or discovered, we quibble over semantics) and Post-it notes made their debut.  Where would we be without those ubiquitous little scraps of paper?  I don’t think I could function.  The computed axial tomography (CAT) scanner developed in England by EMI, Ltd. (formerly Electrical Musical Instruments, Ltd.) gains wide use not only for diagnosing brain damage but also for whole-body scanning. Built with money earned from sales of Beatles records, (imagine that!)  the device assembles thousands of X-ray images into a single, remarkably detailed picture of your innards.  Some bright guy named Heimlich developed a way to save thousands of people from choking to death.  He was famous before that for inventing a chest wound drain used in Viet Nam. 

Just to put things into perspective, oil climbed from around $9.50 a barrel to a whopping $11.50.  Egads!  The Dow Jones Industrial Average started the year at 850 and ended the year at 616.  Zounds!!!!!  Oil closed at $88 a barrel and the Dow closed at 11,491 on Friday, Dec 17, 2010.  How things have changed….

This week’s number one?  Kung Fu Fighting  by one hit wonder Carl Douglas.  Whoa-ho-hooo-hooooooooooo….. All in all, a fun-filled year.  A great year to be a high school freshman. (Trust me, you don’t want to see the pictures.)


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