Step Into History: 45th Anniversary of Apollo 11

The motto of the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda seems straightforward. People often think it applies only to the venerable World War II aircraft carrier itself, since it had fought in many famous WWII Pacific Ocean battles and did three tours of duty in the Vietnam War.DSC_4538

However, of equal importance, is hearing stories and learning lessons from people who served on the ship or were involved in its historical actions. In July 1969, the USS Hornet (CVS-12) recovered the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon’s surface, it was the first time in history that humans had set foot on a heavenly body other than earth. This epic event will be remembered for the rest of mankind’s existence.

In order to “transfer” some of that 1960’s excitement, knowledge, and inspiration to young Americans, the museum holds a special event every 5th year on the anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight. A moon-walking astronaut always attends as the keynote speaker, augmented by a more recent member of the NASA astronaut corps.
[<photo 1> Pier view of Hornet]DSC_4575

This year, on July 26, Buzz Aldrin was the featured Apollo guest at Splashdown 45. Bay Area residents enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet, listen to, and even get a book signed by the second of 12 men who walked on the moon. This popular event was also graced by the presence of Bay Area shuttle astronaut Yvonne Cagle. Both astronauts were former members of the US Air Force and were “piped aboard” in a traditional Navy welcoming ceremony with local Navy League Sea Cadets acting as sideboys.
[<photo 2> Buzz saluting cadets]

Months before the event, the Hornet Museum had teamed up with the Alameda school district to hold a space-related essay contest. The question was “Why I want to be an astronaut when I grow up”. The age bracket winners were Grace Tauscher and Khushi Randev. Each was personally introduced to Buzz Aldrin and had their photo taken with him during Splashdown 45.DSC_4609
[<photo 3> Grace & Buzz]

Many organizations brought educational exhibits or interactive displays, ensuring a large Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) component. Hornet’s youth programs have always augmented normal classroom teaching with tactile activities whenever possible. With great support from many sponsors, partners and participants, visitors of all age groups and various socio-economic backgrounds had a memorable experience. The robotics club from Bellarmine College Preparatory was a big hit!
[<photo 4> Robot & Toddler]DSC_4774

Upon arrival, astronaut Yvonne Cagle headed straight to the STEM education center to observe the various classes being given. With great enthusiasm, she jumped into an interactive session being run by GoldieBlox, a local company whose mission is to inspire the next generation of female engineers. A willing co-conspirator, Yvonne definitely inspired a number of youngsters during this visit to the Hornet.
[<photo 5> Yvonne & GoldieBlox]

In the early afternoon, Yvonne introduced Buzz with a few personal remarks about her childhood dreams of going into space. Buzz gave his keynote presentation to an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 people on the aircraft carrier’s huge hangar deck. Everyone listened intently, as he spoke about his experiences on the Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 space flights – especially walking on the moon’s surface. He then articulated his vision for future human space exploration, with a primary focus of landing on Mars within the next 2 decades.
[<photo 6> Crowd & Buzz in HB]DSC_4915rtcp

Afterward, the audience was able to get their Mission to Mars books signed by Buzz (who autographed 719 copies in just two hours) and/or interact with the many members of the NASA and Navy Apollo 11 Recovery Team who were present. Julian Cruz was a lucky youngster who managed to collect an autograph from the Apollo 11 flight surgeon Dr. William Carpentier. The doctor actually spent more time in the NASA “moon germ” quarantine facilities than the astronauts!
[<photo 7> Bill & Julio]

After a long yet enjoyable daytime event, most visitors left the ship as it was being transitioned over to the evening cocktail reception and gourmet dinner. All hands – young and elderly – agreed that history is much richer than what is gained by just reading a book and, that learning can be fun. Proving the point are these two Sea Cadets from the Diablo Squadron, Aidan Mone and Jarod Whitman. Along with many fellow cadets and Boy Scouts, they provided great volunteer DSC_5344-2assistance, including passing out programs to arriving guests.
[<photo 8> Two Cadets & pgms]

I thoroughly enjoy chatting with people who have made history. Few of them protect their fame – most simply say they were “just doing their job.” Given my membership in the baby boomer generation, those individuals are often participants in major world events of the World II or Korean War eras.

However, it’s very clear to any historian alive today that a major shift in “demographics” is well underway. This was clearly demonstrated by our two featured astronaut speakers at Splashdown 45.DSC_4841

Buzz Aldrin is an alpha-male reflection of his generation. In that timeframe, positions of power and responsibility were largely held by Caucasian men, with a majority having had military service and some level of combat action. The primary metric for becoming a hero within the Greatest Generation was military-oriented achievement. But, as shown by the trials and tribulations of the Tuskegee Airmen or the 442nd Regimental Combat team, it was difficult for minorities to break into the ranks of those who were publicly recognized for high achievement.

Buzz was a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. As a USAir Force fighter pilot, he shot down two MIGs in combat over Korea. He earned an advanced Sc.D degree from MIT by writing a thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous, which became extremely useful to NASA’s upcoming lunar landing program. When he joined NASA in 1963, he was in the right place with the right training and knowledge. He performed well during the Gemini 12 flight, which placed him in position to became world famous as the second human to ever walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Even at age 84, Buzz continues to be a major voice for expanded US manned space exploration.DSC_5156rttw

Yvonne Cagle is an African-American woman who was born at West Point because her father was an officer in the US Air Force. Yvonne earned her BA in biochemistry from SF State University, and an M.D. degree from the University of Washington. She received a certificate in Aerospace Medicine from the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in 1988.She was actively involved with aircraft assigned to provide medical support and rescue in a variety of aero-medical missions.

Selected by NASA in April 1996, Yvonne completed two years of training and evaluation, and is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Her initial assignment was at the Astronaut Office Operations Planning branch, supporting the Space Shuttle Program and International Space Station, followed by a special assignment to NASA’s Ames Research Center. The shuttle program was terminated before she was assigned a spaceflight mission. Yvonne continues a significant role with NASA and is also a practicing family physician.

Both of them are a credit to their generation and a reflection of the times and needs during which they served America’s space program. They, both being highly educated, possess keen intellects and are interesting to talk to!

Would one have been the “better astronaut” than the other during their years of top physical and mental performance? Well, it depends on the mission! If we needed to launch a hazardous mission to lasso a killer asteroid that was bearing down on earth, Buzz would be the better choice. But, if we needed to launch a mission to Mars to study its potential habitability, Yvonne is clearly better suited. Americans are very lucky to have such a diverse group of heroes who answer the call of national service throughout many generations.

ALIVE East Bay magazine was an important Media Sponsor of Splashdown 45.
More event photos can be found on this website: http://susanwoodphotography.com/Splashdown/Splashdown-45

Starmaker: Hollywood Talent Agent

Budd Burton Moss is an old school Hollywood talent agent and part of a family dynasty that made magic in the Motion Picture industry. His father Louis B. Moss was a film editor at Fox, later becoming 20th Century Fox when it merged with Darryl F. Zanuck’s 20th Century Pictures. During Hollywood’s Golden Age, Budd’s mother’s brother Sam Zimbalist, produced films for MGM Studios, many acclaimed as the best films of all time.photo1 edit

Zimbalist was good friends with power couples Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Moss recalls being at his uncle Sam’s house on weekends and hearing the actors read scripts aloud and playing tennis or swimming in the pool.

Budd Moss and his brother David were born in the shadows of Hollywood Boulevard. Being products of Los Angeles when the Motion Picture Industry rode the uncontested magic carpet, they can very well understand the intricacies of the Hollywood scene better than most newcomers.

Budd Burton Moss and I connected on Face Book as I knew his brother David in Spain. He commented upon reading my recent ALIVE Magazine D-Day article that he was co-producing a film, Mother of Normandy, about Simone Renaud who lived in Sainte Mere-Eglise. It was where many paratroopers in the 101st and 82nd Airborne Division died when they dropped behind enemy lines during the 1944 Invasion of Normandy.

Hollywood über-agent Moss has chronicled his experiences in a memoir; …And All I got was Ten Percent—What it’s Like to be a Famous Hollywood Agent. His close friend Larry King wrote the book’s introduction which guarantees to entertain film aficionados with titillating insider accounts of Hollywood and revelations of once-guarded secrets.

Moss paints a rich portrait of Hollywood before the monolithic studios fell to indie mavericks. He opens his book with the account of his daily business breakfasts in Nate and Al’s Deli in Beverley Hills where film industry veterans kibbutz about the good old days. “Who’d you sign?”

Budd Burton Moss had the right connections; a direct pipeline to studio heads and those who decided which scripts to deep-six and which to produce for the silver screen. Sam Zimbalist, iconic movie mogul and MGM head honcho, had offices in the Thalberg Building on the studio lot. Zimbalist expected his nephew Buddy to segue into film producing, but he wanted to act in films, not produce them.

And Moss dreamed of becoming a matador. It had all started as a pubescent when he became smitten by Rita Hayworth in the bullfighting saga Blood and Sand. Imbued with desire for the beautiful femme fatale, he decided to become an actor and a matador. Moss may not have been a match for Anthony Quinn or Tyrone Power, but he gave it his best shot and later they became friends.

Unbeknownst to the rooky Buddy Moss, he was later to become Rita Hayworth’s agent and close friend, and his youthful dream was fulfilled when they traveled to Europe together.

VANISHING HOLLYWOOD

While Budd Moss was at college as a Theatre Arts major, he took a job at Duke’s Union 76 across from MGM Studios. The teenager serviced the cars of the stars and at day’s end delivered the shiny gassed up motor cars to Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson, Esther Williams, and Judy Garland et al. One can only imagine them flipping the teenager a two-bit tip, and Buddy catching the silver coin in the air with an adoring smile. “MGM had more stars than heaven,” he says sentimentally.

Moss recalls the early days when cowboys rode horses down Hollywood Boulevard in the hope of getting parts in Roy Rogers or Gene Autry movies, and the Indians who came down from Cahuenga Pass and sold beads from spread-out blankets on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.  He recalls being awestruck when meeting Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, the latter becoming his client, and others he catapulted to stardom. Moss reminisces how his parents packed him and David in their Model A sedan and drove from West LA into Hollywood for Saturday double features, then hung out on the Hollywood Hotel verandah where Rudy Valentino and Mary Pickford once may have passed.

High school buddies were Linda Darnell’s brother Calvin, Academy Award winner Joel (Katz) Grey, and Bobby Blake who gained fame as the killer in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.

After the garage gig Moss bussed tables at Fox Studios restaurant where he met Marilyn Monroe, Ty Power, Bette Grable, and Henry Fonda and got close to the beauty of his dreams, Rita Hayworth lunching with Studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck.

Budd’s odd jobs lead to film work, and was ecstatic when he got his SAG extra’s card. He reported to Central Casting and got a dance number gig in It’s a Wonderful Life, with Jimmy Stewart, and later a part in Blackboard Jungle, with Sidney Poitier. “Not bad for my first films,” said Budd.

To hone his acting skills, Budd did summer stock along with other neophytes James Coburn, Hugh O’Brian, Robert Vaughn. And at “The Rack” bar he drank with a lanky guy who had just gotten out of the service and earned his way as a carpenter and pool digger. That shy guy went far in Hollywood; Clint Eastwood was to become one of the world’s leading Box Office draws of all time.

When his father, Lou Moss, left Fox, he and wife Shirley (Zimbalist) opened a restaurant. The Matador Bar decorated with Manolete bullfight posters, with a definitive macho ambiance, was the dwelling of pure California cool, where Tony Quinn, Lloyd (Bud) Bridges, Robert Taylor and Gilbert Roland rubbed elbows with bullfighters and other Hollywood icons.

When Budd wasn’t running the busy bar of the family restaurant, he worked in films. He recalls his entire body being burnished with brown make-up for bit parts in the 1954 epic, The Egyptian, with Edmund Purdom. “I was killed several times in one day.”

During the Korean War Moss enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed at Parks Air Force Base, now called Camp Parks in Dublin, California. It was just a matter of time before he was recruited to Special Services Units to produce plays and entertain the troops.

Ironically it was there he first met USO entertainer Barbara Eden, whom he later signed to star in I Dream of Jeannie. He returned to LA after the Air Force stint and to a life of incredible excitement.

Tony Quinn introduced him to the actress Ruth Roman, a beautiful older woman whose marriage was rocky. As fate would have it, he and Ruth fell madly in love. Ruth was a seasoned actress having starred in Hitchcock’s Stranger on a Train, and had dated Ronnie Reagan when they were contract players at Warner Bros. The rest of their love story reads like the script of a Hollywood melodrama.photo3 edit

Ruth Roman had to wind up filming final scenes with Akim Tamiroff in France. To return stateside she and her three-year old son Dickie boarded a luxury liner in Cannes for the transatlantic crossing. That July of 1956, as the “S.S. Andrea Doria” liner was passing the Nantucket coast and edging towards New York in thick fog, her midriff was gored by the liner “M.S. Stockholm” en route to Sweden.

Over fifty people died in the collision, half the starboard-side lifeboats went down on impact. Rescue ships, including the “Ile de France,” rushed from New York harbor; planes flew overhead capturing the disaster on film, and darkness made rescue difficult. The ship sank to the bottom of the sea within hours. Ruth Roman’s son was lost. Lifeboats were lowered. She was taken ashore still frantically searching for her boy. She called Budd Moss in LA.

Finally her son was located on the “Stockholm” and taken to the hotel. Budd Moss booked a flight from California, arrived in New York at her hotel the next day. They needed to be together; romance flourished. They stayed in New York negotiating her role in the play Two for the Seesaw. They later moved to her Rockingham Road house in Brentwood and spoke of marriage. They sailed to Panama and married in a storied ceremony worthy of a full chapter.

Roman’s work took them to Spain until 1958 when she starred with Richard Burton in Bitter Victory. Madrid was then the filming epicenter of several sword-and-sandal epics and was teaming with LA Studio executives and Hollywood stars.

Being avid aficionados, Budd and Ruth hung out at the flamenco Corral de Moreria and mingled with the bullfighting crowd. They were friendly with toreros Luis Miguel Dominguin and his brother-in-law Antonio Ordonez. Dominguin, not only gained fame in the bullring, but also as Ava Gardner’s paramour. Hemingway was in town too writing about the dueling toreros in The Dangerous Summer for Life Magazine, believed to be his last work.image3 edit

TEN PERCENT STARMAKER

After their sojourn in Spain, Budd Moss launched his career as a talent agent and joined Marty Baum’s agency in 1959 in LA. He built an impressive repertoire of clients; Rita Hayworth (Gilda), Cyd Charisse (Singin’ in the Rain), Robert Vaughn (Man from U.N.C.LE.), Karl Malden, and June Allyson. In 1992 Burton Moss Agency merged with boutique Shapiro-Lichtman Literary Agency bringing with him client MPAA president Jack Valenti whose novel, Protect and Defend, soared to bestseller.

Over the span of his illustrious career, Moss had placed Dyan Cannon in Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice; Sally ‘Hot Lips’ Kellerman in M*A*S*H; Tom Bosely in Happy Days; nose-wiggling Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched; and Mia Farrow in Peyton Place.

The business took much of Budd’s time away from Ruth Roman and the marriage became strained. Perceiving that he may be having an affair, and knowing that Budd valued his $500 Harry Cherry custom-tailored suits, she cut them to ribbons and burnt them in the fireplace. After six tumultuous years the marriage went south.

Budd concentrated on his business as a premier Hollywood Motion Picture and Television agent with General Artists Corporation and represented some of Hollywood’s most bankable clients. When he suggested Mia Farrow for Peyton Place he was also instrumental in setting her up with future husband Frank Sinatra.

Moss worked with then-actor Aaron Spelling’s wife, Carolyn Jones, Morticia in the Addams Family. While Moss represented Jones at GAC he placed her in a poignant role in Dr. Kildare in 1963. Her marriage to Spelling was heading for the rocks and Budd and Carolyn started dating. They became engaged and celebrated with an Addams Family-themed party. After she went on tour, they grew apart.

Years later as head of Burton Moss Management he suggested Melvin Belli to Coppolla for the part of Vito Corleone in The Godfather but was beaten out by Marlon Brando.

His friendship with Melvin Belli, King of Torts, lead to his getting married to his present wife Carolyn on the verandah of Belli’s San Francisco penthouse with Sidney Poitier as best man. Moss’ page-turner memoirs reveal Hollywood backstories like when he clinched a $10,000 per week guest spot for

Shelly Winters on the Ben Casey TV series. She had just won an Oscar for her performance in Diary of Anne Frank and was a hot property. At her Chateau Marmont suite she vehemently stated she was worth more than 10K a week and the über-agent had to handle the fading star with kid gloves.

Budd reminisces about Hollywood’s Golden Era and writes about his beloved uncle, Sam Zimbalist who died in November 1958 during the filming of the epic masterpiece Ben Hur in Rome. Zimbalist had produced some of Hollywood’s best films; Tortilla Flat, King Solomon’s Mines, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Quo Vadis.

Sam Zimbalist died of a heart attack hours after filming the iconic chariot race scene in Ben Hur at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios. He was in stressful negotiations to secure five million dollars more for the MGM picture. Ironically he died immediately after the intense chariot race scene when Charlton Heston drives four white horses against nemesis Stephen Boyd’s four black stallions and he becomes impaled by the wheel spikes. Sam Zimbalist won a posthumous Best Picture Oscar for Ben Hur with a record-breaking total of eleven Oscars. The film epic is acclaimed as one of the best films of all time.

In Budd Burton Moss’ memoirs, he paints a cinematic picture with words cutting to the core of Hollywood’s Golden Era—an era that is no more. The once-monolithic movie-making industry has yielded to multi-million dollar productions, CG-enhanced mega films, and low-budget indies that appeal to a different kind of audience—a youth-oriented audience that yearns for fast-paced action. Moss tells it like it was. And it was great.

Gone are the days that Hollywood had a terra firma sense of place. Now “Hollywood” is a mythical Xanadu, an ephemeral Shangri-La fantasy that can be anywhere on earth, even in our dreams. Movie deals are different now; androgynous terms have broken the mysterious myth of movies. Gone are the days that hedonistic star makers longed to rendezvous with ingénue starlets over three-martini lunches and when, but a forbidden kiss, was a powerful aphrodisiac.

…And All I Got Was Ten Percent! By Budd Burton Moss, is available as an e-book available on Amazon.com

Sports Snobs – A Bay Area Right

A snob, by definition, is someone who exhibits a haughty attitude. Haughty means arrogantly proud or supercilious. That’s right “supercilious.” Look it up. I’m not giving vocabulary lessons. I will admit to being “haughty” when it comes to my Bay Area professional sports teams. I could make an argument that we live in one of the greatest professional sports regions known to man. Not since the gladiators were getting eaten by lions in the Coliseum (Rome not Oakland) has one area dominated the national sports section of the periodicals like our Giants and A’s, 49ers and Raiders, Sharks and Earthquakes. Whatever became of the San Jose Stealth lacrosse team?

From football to baseball, basketball to hockey, we can even boast a professional soccer team. The Bay Area is cleats and helmets above the rest of the country in professional sports franchises and I’m proud to share my history with each one as a lifelong Bay Area native.

San Jose Sharks:

I attended my first Sharks game, my first hockey game to be precise, during their inaugural season in 1991 at the Cow Palace in Daly City. Nothing screams hockey louder than a 4H exhibition hall, but during those first two Sharks seasons San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucksit served as home ice for the Bay Area’s new NHL hockey franchise. The early stars included Pat Fallon (the Sharks first draft choice), Doug Wilson (the team’s current General Manager) and Artus Irbe. Although the South Bay’s only professional franchise has yet to bring home a world championship (Stanley Cup) it has graced our regions with a wealth of playoff appearances thanks to stars such as Owen Nolan, Patrick Marleau and Jeremy Roenick. Today, we place our faith in the likes of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. I still don’t understand all the rules of the game, but the Sharks are a wildly fun, entertaining and competitive team to root for and residents of the Shark Tank believe they can ultimately hoist the cup.

San Jose Earthquakes:

I’ll be honest, I’ve never attended an Earthquakes game, but once their new stadium near Norm Mineta San Jose International Airport is completed I may just have to check it out. The team was founded in 1974 as part of the North American Soccer League, but I vaguely recall the George Best days when almost no one, includiAlan Gordon (16)ng myself, took notice of soccer in the Bay Area. The team folded in 1989 and reemerged in 1991, as the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks playing in the WSL/USISL and the APSL with such big names stars as Eric Wynalda and our very own John Doyle, however, due in large part to lack of fan attendance, the team folded again in 1993. The team came back together in 1996 as the San Jose Clash and officially changed their name back to the Earthquake in 1999 with Landon Donovan being their biggest star attraction. Today, with the team boasting Tri Valley native (and former Mustang Soccer star) Chris Wondolowski on the roster, the team should experience continued success while building on the World Cup popularity of soccer.

San Francisco Forty-Niners:

The team was founded in 1946 and joined the NFL in 1949. Because my dad was a fan, I’m pretty sure I was a 49ers fan Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Franciso 49erseven before I was born. An in-vitro, diehard, bleed red (my blood is actually red), Niner fanatic. My earliest gridiron memories are seeing the team play at Candlestick Park in the early 1970s with John Brodie, Gene Washington, Cedric Hardman and Dave Wilcox being largely responsible for my life long obsession with football. However, after the 10-3 season of 1970, I suffered through a lot of really bad teams, bad coaches and bad players (does Steve DeBerg ring a bell?) before we were rewarded with the glory days of the 1980s and 90s. When Joe and Jerry, Brent and Ronnie, Roger, Charles, Dana, Harris, Bryant, Eric, Steve, Guy, Keena, Dwight and JT arrived to lift the deserving fan base to a religious glory every Sunday. One Super Bowl would have been a Godsend, but we won five glorious Lombardi Trophies (1981, ’84, ’88, ’89 and ’94) during a run of sixteen seasons with at least ten wins. Flash forward 20 years, after some ups and downs, the team now has a brand spanking new state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara, a proven coach in Jim Harbaugh and an incredibly popular team of hard working (Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Joe Staley and Frank Gore) and hard hitting (Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman and Justin Smith) players committed to achieving the ultimate goal. The future is bright if the Yorks can keep it all together and the franchise has 1.3 billion reasons to keep it all together.

Oakland Raiders:

The Raiders were founded in Oakland in 1960, but didn’t join the NFL until 1970 when the league merged with the AFL. oakland-raiders4I’ve only been to one Raider game in my lifetime and that was one game too many. Growing up, my two favorite teams were the Forty-niners and anyone playing the Raiders. I think the term is “Raider Hater.” I never denied the Raiders success (Super Bowl victories in 1976, 1980 and 1983), but I never bought into the whole Al Davis “Commitment to Excellence,” when there were years when the team and players weren’t really committed to Excellence. Ok, maybe there was a small (regional) snob part of me that took pride in the Raider’s good fortunes, mostly because I’ve always been a fan of certain players including; Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, Howie Long, Dave Casper, Tim Brown, Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, Rich Gannon and Steve Wisniewski. The move to Los Angeles (1982-1994) was unforgivable, even if they did come back. If I were to show a slight glimpse of compassion or hope for the team it would only so my friends who are Raider’s fans can hold their head up high once again.

Golden State Warriors:

The Warriors moved to San Francisco from Philadelphia in 1962. They changed their name to Golden State in 1971 and Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game Fourmoved to Oakland in ’72. I wasn’t a big basketball fan until the Warriors won their one and only NBA Championship concluding the ’74-75 season. With a line-up that included Rick Berry, Clifford Ray, Jaamal Wilkes and Phil Smith, the Dubs (Ws) shocked the NBA when they beat the Washington Bullets 4-0. My first Warriors game was in the Fall of 1976. By then the team had begun their downward decent. Through no lack of effort from key players such as Sleepy Floyd, Joe Barry Carroll, Pervis Short and Bernard King, the team didn’t become relevant again until the emergence of Run TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullen) during the mid-1990s. Again, the team went through another horrendous dry spell, while fans rooted for the likes of talented, yet not real likeable, players such as Latrell Spreewell, Chris Weber, Stephen Jackson, Byron Davis and Monte Ellis. Thanks to the new ownership group of Joe Luber and Peter Gruber and a planned new home in San Francisco, the Warriors have placed the future of the franchise in the hands of superstar Stephen Curry and his supporting cast which includes Klay Thompson, David Lee, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut. All I can say is, I believe!

Oakland A’s:

While the A’s originated in Philadelphia, the team moved to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968. My earliest memory of Oakland Athletics v Houston Astrosthe A’s was watching afternoon World Series games on an old black & white TV set in my elementary school classrooms while they ran the table winning three consecutive titles in 1972, ’73 and ’74 with a charismatic line-up that included Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Campy Campaneris and Captain, Sal Bando. While my heart belonged to the Giants, I did learn to appreciate the Swinging A’s for their speed, power and pitching, whether it was Billy Ball or Money Ball. What’s more amazing is those Amazing A’s stacked the deck again in the late 1980s with the bash brothers – Mark McGuire and Jose Conseco, Ricky Henderson, Dave Stewart and Dennis Eckersly. This time they won three consecutive American League Championships in 1988, ’89 and ‘90, but captured only one World Series – when they beat the Giants in 1989. Sadly, the most notable event of that series was the Loma Prieta earthquake. Today, a group of green and gold overachievers have won two consecutive American League West pennants thanks to Jake Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Coco Crisp and Scott Kasmir. The Giants will always be “my team,” but I like to think of the A’s as their adorable little brother who I can root for to win best team in their league.

San Francisco Giants:

The Giants moved New York to San Francisco for the start of 1958 season with a talented young outfielder named Willie San Francisco Giants v Arizona DiamondbacksMays. They added a rookie infielder named Orlando Cepeda and in 1959 brought up another rookie, 1st baseman Willie McCovey. I attended my first Giants game in 1966 at the ripe old age of four and I’ve been hooked ever since. As up and down (mostly down) as the Giants were for so many years, with players such as Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal, Bobby Bonds, Chris Spier, John Montefusco, Atlee Hammacker, Will Clark, Jack Clark, Candy Maldenado, Jeffrey Leonard, Dave Draveky, Mike Krukow, Duane Kiper, Jeff Kent, Chile Davis, Darrel Evens, Matt Williams, Robbie Thompson, and a relatively productive homerun hitter named Barry Bonds, my prayers were finally answered when the team won their first World Series title in 2010 and then miraculously did it again in 2012. I’m secure enough in my masculinity to admit I shed actual tears when I attended the Giants World Series parade following their World Championship victories. I can only hope that with a nucleolus of charismatic players including Posey, Pence, Pegan, the Panda, the Freak, the baby giraffe, Mad Bomb, Crawford, Hutty and Romo, I’ll have another chance to cry like a little girl after another World Series.

Name me another geographic area in the 50 United States that can boast such a preeminent line-up of successful sports teams. You can’t. Oh sure, there’s Chicago (Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks and Fire) or Philadelphia (76ers, Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Union), but those areas have crappy weather that can make it difficult to get to the games so we win by default. Even when I attended college in Southern California, it was loyalty over location. I could never ever root for the Rams, Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Angels, Ducks or LA Raiders even if I did live amongst their people. Appreciate what we have—the teams, the players and the venues—because it’s as good as it gets anywhere.

This article is dedicated to Paul Hirsch. Paul was a great guy, a talented writer and a respected colleague. I was always a big fan of his sports-related articles. Paul’s contributions to the magazine will be missed as will his presence in community.

Get Your ZEN On & Reduce Stress…Ahhh

Your alarm screams in your ears, and you are jolted out of a deep sleep. You look at the clock on your nightstand in utter disbelief. “But I just lay down!” you protest.

After you slide out of your cozy cocoon, your feet hit the floor—running. Frantically, you remind yourself not to forget to pay the mortgage, update your ex about the parent-teacher meeting, and call a plumber about the dripping bathroom faucet. Then, you bolt to the kitchen, practically tripping over your Labradoodle, Isabelle, as you beeline toward your coffee maker.

Sound familiar? For many of us, in today’s fast-paced world, chronic rushing is a way of life. Of course, being productive is admirable; however, making a lifestyle out of rushing is quite another story. Chronic “hurrying” becomes problematic when we feel uncomfortable slowing down…and don’t take breaks to recharge.503526463 copy

In your own life, do you find that it’s often difficult to slow down during the day? If so, then you may be experiencing the “Inner Pusher/Do-er” part of yourself taking over. Unfortunately, for some people, when this high-achieving part becomes too domineering, it can create stress-related health challenges.

I remember, as a kid, hearing my mother say many times that she hadn’t stopped or sat down—all day long. She was a stay-at-home mom who kept the house absolutely spotless. However, she paid a high price health-wise for her inability to stop, take some nice deep breaths, and recharge. Mom’s blood pressure stayed extremely high for several years. Unfortunately, medication didn’t solve her health problem.

Being in a chronic state of rushing can create anxiety and bring on fight-or-flight responses. In this hyper-alert state, our minds and bodies make us feel as though “saber-toothed tigers” are chasing us. As a result, stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, are released.

I, too, have a strong “Inner Pusher/Do-er” part—that loves to achieve. Thank goodness, back in my college years, I learned how to meditate. As a result, meditation helped me create more internal balance. And now, I have been a meditator for over two decades…and I’m grateful for this peaceful practice.

When I first became a meditator and got a taste of some of the benefits, I suggested my mom consider trying it. As a result of learning to meditate and practicing every day, her high blood pressure went down substantially. My mom’s doctor asked her if anything had changed in her life. She told him the only change was that she was meditating twice a day.

Over the last thirty years, more than one thousand studies exploring the effects of meditation have been reported in scientific publications. Brain scans, EEGs, and blood tests are only a few of the scientific research methods used. These studies provide evidence of the physical and psychological benefits of meditation.

Potential Benefits of Meditation:

• Reduced stress-related diseases (including heart disease)
• Lowered blood pressure
• Decreased anxiety & depression
• Increased concentration & creativity
• Improved coordination & motor skills

Meditation invites us to calm the tensions of our minds and bodies by learning how to slow down and let go. In my book, Stress Reduction Journal—Meditate and Journal Your Way to Better Health, I teach readers, step-by-step, how to meditate.

The good news is, by breaking the cycle of a continual doing mode, you can gently relax into a being mode that honors the present moment. Finally, if you’re ready to receive practical tools to help you “get your ZEN on”—and reduce stress—then call me for a private session or sign-up for one of my workshops or groups.

Trina’s Upcoming FUN & Empowering Events:

1) “The ZEN of Sketching,” for details go to www.TrinaSwerdlow.com and click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.” Join her for this CREATIVE FUN!

2) Guided Imagery for Weight Loss: INSPIRING groups are now forming! Receive holistic, leading-edge tools (based on 30 years of research) while getting heartfelt support from Trina. Get ready to “lighten up,” from the inside out—after all, belly laughs DO burn calories! Email for details: info@TrinaSwerdlow.com

3) Managing Emotional and Compulsive Eating—a one-evening workshop for women and men—at John Muir Women’s Health Center in Walnut Creek: Thursday, Oct 16, 6:30-8:30 pm. Fee: $40 (includes self-hypnosis for weight loss: 2-CD set). Register today: (925) 941-7900 option 3.

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an author and artist. She has a private practice in downtown Danville. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or info@TrinaSwerdlow.com.

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.