Monday, September 21, 2009

1959 - MY YEAR

For everyone who turns 50 this year - like me! - here are some interesting facts about OUR YEAR.

Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states.

Mattel launches the Barbi doll.

Fidel Castro takes charge of Cuba.

James Michener's Hawaii is published.

NASA introduces the original seven Mercury astronauts.

In the Congo, the first known human death from HIV.

First Annual Grammy Awards. Frank Sinatra wins "Best Album" Award for Come Dance With Me.

Motown Records is started by Berry Gordy, Jr.

Sound of Music debuts on Broadway.

Dalai Lama flees from Tibet.

Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper are killed in Iowa.

Top movies included: Some Like It Hot, Ben Hur (11 Academy Awards), North By Northwest, Sleeping Beauty.

Bonanza premieres on NBC, the first television show completely in color.

Huckleberry Hound show premieres.

First Boeing 707 transatlantic flight.

William Burroughs publishes The Naked Lunch.

Xerox introduces the first commercial copy machine.

Frank Lloyd Wright dies.

Texas Instrument announces the invention of the integrated circuit - the microchip.

First weather station placed in orbit.

Parker Brothers introduce the game Risk.

Bozo the Clown premieres.

Busch Gardens opens in Florida.

George Reeves (TV's Superman) commits suicide.

Average price for a gallon of gas: $0.25

Cost of a new car: $2200.00

#1 Song of the Year: Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin.

In Kansas Herb and Bonnie Clutter and their 2 children were murdered by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The event was the basis for the 1966 Truman Capote novel In Cold Blood, and a 1967 film.

Pillow Talk starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day is a big hit.

Miles Davis records Kind of Blue with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Philley Joe Jones, Paul Chambers and Bill Evans.

Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams opens on Broadway.

The first two American soldiers are killed in Vietnam.

The Twilight Zo
ne premieres on CBS.

A Separate Peace
by John Knowles is published.

Eveready introduces the first alkaline battery.

Pantyhose is introduced.

Dr. Zhivago
by Boris Pasternek is published.

Cecile B. Demille, Lou Costello and Raymond Chandler die.

West Side Story
closes on Broadway.

Billie Holiday dies.

Americans purchase 100 million Hula Hoops.

Rocky and his Friends
premieres. Cartoons will never be the same.

Chubby Checker introduces "The Twist" on The Dick Clark Saturday Night Show.

The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon is published.

Mark Martin (NASCAR Driver)
Keith Olberman
John McEnroe
Irene Cara
Brian Setzer
David Hyde Pierce
Robert Smith (The Cure)
Brian Williams (NBC)
Jim Nantz
Nicole Simpson Brown (O.J.'s ex-wife)
Suzanne Vega
Rosanna Arquette
Danny Bonaduce
Magic Johnson
Emma Thompson (still hot!)
Fred Couples
Simon Cowell
Marie Osmond
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Neal Stephenson (writer)
Bryan Adams
Kim Delaney (actress - still very hot!)
Val Kilmer

Thursday, September 10, 2009


PRESTON BROOKS was a member of the South Carolina State house of representatives in 1844. Brooks was elected to Congress in 1853 as a Democrat. On May 22, 1856, Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner with his Gutta-percha wood walking cane in the Senate chamber because of a speech Sumner had made three days earlier, criticizing President Franklin Pierce and Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas. In particular, Sumner lambasted Brooks' kinsman, Senator Andrew Butler.

At first intending to challenge Sumner to a duel Brooks consulted with fellow South Carolina Rep. Laurence Keitt on dueling etiquette. Keitt instructed him that dueling was for gentlemen of equal social standing, and suggested that due to his coarse language in public, Sumner occupied a lower social status lower than a drunkard. Keitt argued that a duel was too good for Sumner.

PHOTO: J.L. McGee's famous political cartoon of Preston's attack.

Two days after the speech, on the afternoon of May 22, Brooks confronted Sumner as he sat writing at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber. Brooks was accompanied by Keitt and Henry A. Edmunston of Virginia.

Brooks said, "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine."

As Sumner began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner on the head with his thick cane with a gold head. Sumner was trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to bash Sumner until he ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane, then quietly left the chamber. Several other senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who was holding a pistol and shouting "Let them be!" (Keitt would be censured for his actions.)

South Carolinians sent Brooks dozens of brand new canes, with one bearing the phrase, "Hit him again." The Richmond Enquirer crowed: "We consider the act good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in consequences. These vulgar abolitionists in the Senate must be lashed into submission."

Brooks survived an expulsion vote in the House but resigned his seat, claiming both that he "meant no disrespect to the Senate of the United States" by attacking Sumner and that he did not intend to kill him, for he would have used a different weapon if he had. His constituents thought of him as a hero and returned him to Congress.

However, Brooks's attack on Sumner was regarded in the north as the act of a cowardly barbarian. One of the bitterest critics of
the attack was Sumner's fellow New Englander, Congressman Anson Burlingame. When Burlingame denounced Brooks as a coward on the floor of the House, Brooks challenged him to a duel, and Burlingame accepted the challenge. Burlingame, as the challenged party, specified rifles as the weapons, and to get around American anti-dueling laws he named the Navy Yard on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls as the site. Brooks backed out of the challenge, claiming that he would be murdered on his way north. Burlingame's reputation as a deer hunter and a deadly shot with a rifle could also have been a factor. Brooks remained in office until his death in 1857. He is buried in Edgefield, SC.

est John) JAMES PATTERSON was a businessman and U.S. Senator from SC. Honest John was perhaps the most successful swindler during Reconstruction. In fact, when there was a suggestion that the Republican Party should reform he replied, “Why, there are five more years of good stealing in South Carolina!” His greatest swindle was the manipulation of the Columbia, Greenville and Blue Ridge Railroads. The state spent $6 million and received nothing in return. Some estimates claim that Patterson absconded with more than a third of the money for the railroad venture.

Honest John was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1872. During that time, U.S Senators were selected by the state legislature. Patterson claimed the election cost him $40,000 in bribes to each state Legislator - bribed by the state’s own money which Honest John had stolen from the railroad swindle.

BENJAMIN TILLMAN (Pitchfork Ben) served as SC governor from 1890 to 1894, and as a U.S. Senator from 1895 until his death as a Democrat. Tillman also was a founder of Clemson University and served as one of its earliest trustees.

As a young man he was involved in the execution of a black state senator, Simon Coker. Two of Tillman’s men executed Coker with a shot to the head. Tillman ordered that a second shot was needed just in case he was playing possum.” Tillman believed that the payment for the death of one white man should be the death of seven blacks. Tillman began to attract statewide attention through his diatribes against blacks, bankers and aristocrats who he claimed were running and ruining the state. Tillman believed that farmers were butchering the land by renting to ignorant lazy Negroes.”

He was present at the Hamburg Massacre (near current day Aiken, SC) in July 1876, during which an African-American federal militia was overthrown and its arms seized. After their surrender 6 members of the militia were killed in cold blood by a group of armed white citizens led by Tillman's fellow "Red Shirts."

As governor Tillman was largely responsible for calling the State constitutional convention in 1895 that disenfranchised most of South Carolina's black men and instituted Jim Crow laws. As Tillman proudly proclaimed in 1900:

"We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting]...we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it. We do not intend to submit to Negro domination and all the Yankees from Cape Cod to hell can make us submit to it."

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1894, and was re-elected in 1900, 1906, and 1912. He served from 1895 to his death in 1918. A hotheaded and intemperate debater, Tillman became known as "Pitchfork Ben" after a speech he made on the Senate floor in 1896. In this speech, Tillman made several references to pitchforks and threatened to go to the White House and "poke old Grover [Cleveland] with a pitchfork" to prod him into action.

During his Senate career, he was censured by the Senate in 1902 after assaulting his counterpart SC Senator John L. McLaurin. As a result, the Senate added to its rules the provision that "No senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator."He was also barred from the White House.

Reacting to news that Booker T. Washington had dined at the White House with President Theodore Roosevelt and his family, Tillman predicted, "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will learn their place again."

COLEMAN BLEASE was elected SC governor (1910) and U.S. Senator (1924) favored complete white supremacy in all matters. He encouraged the practice of lynching, was steadfastly against the education of blacks, and he even derided one of his opponents for being a trustee of a black school. Blease once buried the severed finger of a Black man who had been lynched in the South Carolina gubernatorial garden.

In addition, Blease failed to enforce laws and even encouraged breaking the law. His black chauffeur was fined twice for speeding and both times Blease pardoned him. Blease enjoyed the use of the pardon and he stated that he wanted to pardon at least one thousand men before he exited office because he wanted "to give the poor devils a chance." He far exceeded his goal and it is estimated that he pardoned between 1,500 to 1,700 prisoners, some of whom were guilty of murder and other heinous crimes. Blease received payments to pardon criminals.

JOHN JENRETTE (Congressman 1975-80) is most famous for two actions during his days as a Congressman. First, he had sex with his then-wife, Rita Jenrette, behind a pillar on the steps of the Capitol Building during a break in a late night session of Congress. The comedy group "Capital Steps" takes their name from this escapade. Second, he was charged with and convicted for accepting a $50,000 bribe in the FBI Abscam sting operation conducted by the FBI in 1980. Jenrette was sentenced to two years in prison, of which he served 13 months. He had not been videotaped taking bribes, as some of his colleagues had, but he was recorded saying he'd been given cash by an associate.

In January 1981, Jenrette's second wife, Rita, said she was seeking a divorce. Rita found $25,000 in $100 bills (much of it FBI bribe money) in her husband's brown suede shoes. Rita didn't help relations with the constituents back home when she once called them "cornballs."

Rita is probably best known for (1) telling us that she and John had sex on the steps of the U.S. Capitol (and that became a hot stop on the Washington Sex Scandals tour for out-of-towners; and (2) posing nude in Playboy. She also wrote that she found him on Capitol Hill "drunk, undressed and lying on the floor in the arms of a woman who I knew was old enough to be his mother."

In 1989 John Jenrette was convicted of shoplifting a necktie from a department store in Bailey's Crossroads, VA. and was sentenced to 30 days.

PHOTO: Rita's nude scene in the cinema classic Zombie Island Massacre.


SEPT. 10, 1977. Gerald Gallego met a young, two time divorced woman, Charlene Adell Williams, at a poker club in Sacramento, CA. The two immediately hit it off and within a week of their first encounter, Charlene moved in with Gerald. Thus began the couple’s infamous relationship, resulting in one of the worst serial killing teams in American history.

Gerald Gallego already had a checkered past before he met Charlene. In 1955 Gerald's father was executed in Mississippi's gas chamber for killing two cops. At age thirteen Gerald was arrested for raping a six-year-old girl. By age 32 he had been married five times and a daughter who lived with Gerald's mother. He also had seven felony convictions. By the time Charlene met Gerald, she had already gone through two marriages and had acquired a hard-drug habit.

Gerald told Charlene he was impotent and the only cure was frequent sex with virgins and multiple women in his bed. Within a month of Charlene moving in, Gerald brought home a teenage runaway for a threesome. However, he became extremely angry when he found out that Charlene and the girl were having sex without him. He went into a rage and physically abused Charlene and her young lover while berating and shouting at them.

The couple decided the best way to deal with Gerald's sexual problem was to seek out victims that could keep Gerald sexually satisfied.

JULY 17, 1978. Gerald and Charlene celebrated his thirty-second birthday by sodomizing his teenage daughter Krista. They also discovered Charlene was pregnant.

SEPT. 1 1, 1978. He and Charlene hopped into their 1973 Dodge van and drove off in search of a sex slave for Gerald. They soon spotted two young girls, seventeen-year-old Rhonda Scheffler, and sixteen-year-old Kippi Vaught. Gerald pulled the van over a short distance away and Charlene approached the girls on the pretext of joining them in the van to smoke some Marijuana. The girls quickly agreed and followed Charlene back to the van. When Rhonda and Kippi stepped into the back of the van they were greeted by Gerald and a .25 caliber pistol. He forced the girls to lie face down as he bound their hands and feet with adhesive tape. He then drove to a secluded area where he unbound the girl’s ankles and led them out of the van and into the cover of trees, warning Charlene to stay put. Two hours later Gerald returned to the van without the young girls. He looked at Charlene and recanted the chilling words, "Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies."

SEPT. 13, 1978. Two days later, two migrant farm workers discovered the girl's bodies. Gerald took Charlene to an abortion clinic and forced her to abort their unborn child.

SEPT. 27, 1978. Gerald's daughter Krista filed charges of incest, sodomy, oral copulation, and unlawful intercourse against her father.

SEPT. 30, 1978. Gerald and Charlene were wed. Not wanting to face the charges his daughter had filed, they moved to Nevada.

DECEMBER 1978. The couple moved to Houston Texas, and Gerald took on the alias Stephen Feil.

JUNE 24, 1979 (Fathers Day). The couple went to the Washoe County Fair and Gerald sent Charlene off to find the new victim(s). She approached two girls, fourteen-year-old Brenda Lynne Judd, and thirteen-year-old Sandra Kay Colley, and offered them money to distribute handbills and place them on the windshields of parked cars. The two girls agreed and followed Charlene back to the van. However, once they arrived at the van, Gerald pulled a .44 caliber pistol, forced the girls into the van and bound there feet and wrists. As Charlene drove Gerald began to sexually assault the two young girls in the back of the van. Hours later, in the high Nevada desert, Gerald led the girls off one at a time, carrying with him a hammer and a shovel.

SEPT. 1979. The Gallego’s moved back to Sacramento and continued to live under the aliases of Mr. and Mrs. Feil. Gerald eventually got a job as a bartender and soon began having an affair with a woman by the name of Patty, who eventually became pregnant with his child.

April 24, 1980. Gerald woke that morning and told Charlene, "I want a girl! Get up!" They drove around until he spotted two girls, seventeen-year-old Karen Chipman Twiggs, and seventeen-year-old Stacy Ann Redican, coming out of a book store. Charlene approached the two girls and offered them to join her in the van, again using the pre-text of smoking some weed. The girls agreed and followed her back to the van. As the girls got into the back of the van, Gerald greeted them with a .357 Magnum pistol. Charlene drove to a wooded are and they took turns raping and sexually assaulting the girls. Again, Gerald led the girls one at a time into the woods carrying a hammer and a shovel. However, this time he forced Charlene to view the graves. She claimed that she saw movement but Gerald insisted that they were good and dead. Then they left.

JULY 27, 1980. Picnickers discovered the coyote-ravaged remains of Karen and Stacy in two shallow graves in an area twenty miles outside of Lovelock, Nevada. They had both been raped, and suffered massive and fatal head injuries by a blunt instrument.

MAY 1980. Charlene was again pregnant by Gerald, and he was again pissed off.

JUNE 1, 1980. Gerald and Charlene married each other for a second time. However, this time they were wed as Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Robert Feil.

JUNE 7, 1980. Gerald and Charlene spotted a lone pregnant woman hitchhiking, twenty-one-year-old Linda Aguilar who four months pregnant. The young woman gladly accepted the ride and joined the couple in the van. After a short drive to a remote beach area, Gerald raped Linda, and then beat her over the head with a rock. To satisfy himself that she was dead he strangled her corpse for good measure and then buried her in the beach sand.

JUNE 22, 1980. German tourists walking the beach discovered Linda’s badly decomposing body. After an autopsy was completed, it was determined that Gerald was unsuccessful in murdering Linda, she actually had awaken after her captors left, and in her panic and struggle to get free suffocated in the sand.

JULY 17, 1980. Gerald’s thirty-fourth birthday, he abducted thirty-four-year-old Virginia Mochel as she walked from the tavern where she worked as a barmaid. The strange thing about this victim is the fact that Gerald and Charlene knew her and had been served drinks by her on numerous occasions. At any rate, Gerald raped Virginia, and afterwards she begged him to kill her. He gladly obliged and strangled her. He then dumped her body by a pond.

NOV. 2, 1980. Twenty-two-year-old Craig Miller, and his fiancée, twenty-one-year-old Mary Elizabeth Sowers, were leaving a fraternity party. Gerald got out of the car, walked right up to them on the street and brazenly pulled out a .25 caliber Beretta. He ordered them into the car. Unfortunately for Gerald, friends of the young couple saw them get into the vehicle and wrote down the license plate number. After driving to a secluded area, Gerald commanded Craig out of the car, as the young man turned to walk towards the front of the vehicle, Gerald aimed his pistol and shot the boy point blank range in the back of the head while his fiancée looked on in horror. Gerald then fired two more shots into Craig’s head, as he lay lifeless on the ground. Gerald got back into the vehicle and ordered Charlene to drive to their apartment. Once back at the apartment, Gerald took his new sex slave into the bedroom and raped her for hours on end. After he was satisfied, he ordered Charlene to drive to a rural area. Once there, Gerald ordered Mary out of the car. He then shot her three times in the head.

Craig and Mary's friends turned over the license plate number to the police. The police questioned Charlene and obtained a search warrant for their vehicle and house. Within minutes, investigators to find substantial evidence such as bullet casings and other suspicious tools. After mercifully interrogating Charlene, she spilled her guts and told all.

JAN. 17, 1981. Charlene, while in a prison ward, gave birth to Gerald Armond Gallego Jr. Custody of the child was given to Charlene’s parents.

JUNE 21, 1983. Gerald Armond Gallego Sr., was sentenced to death for the murder of the Craig Miller and Mary Elizabeth Sowers.

NOV. 1983. Due to a plea-bargain struck with prosecutors to testify against Gerald, Charlene was sentenced to sixteen years and eight months in prison, with the understanding that no other charges in ANY other state could or would be pressed against her, as long as she gave full cooperation, which she did.

June 25, 1984. Gerald was extradited to Nevada and sentenced to death for the murders of Karen Twiggs and Stacey Redican.

August 1997. At the age of forty, Charlene Adell Williams Gallego, was released on parole from the Department of Prisons Woman’s Center in Carson City, Nevada.

March 22, 1999. A competency hearing was held to determine the mental state of Gerald Gallego. Gallego, 52, has been undergoing a court-ordered evaluation by doctors since exhibiting bizarre behavior at a hearing in November that was supposed to be the first step toward a penalty-phase retrial of his 1984 murder convictions. That evaluation has been concluded, and attorneys from both sides conferred and settled on the starting date for the hearing that will decide if Gallego is competent to proceed. During much of his competency hearing Gerald Gallego slept under a table in his cell and communicated with doctors through a food slot in the door. According to Dr. David V. Foster, such behavior, combined with evidence of organic brain dysfunction, is indicative of a mental state that renders him incapable of assisting counsel in a retrial of his penalty-phase proceedings. Foster, an Auburn psychiatrist hired to assist Gallego's appellate defense team in California in 1994, added that Gallego's behavior is a result of a "delusion that there's a herd of people from the dark side who are his enemy." Claiming that Gallego suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from an extremely abusive childhood, and is afflicted by brain damage caused by head injuries sustained in his youth, the good doctor declared it would, "inhibit his ability to plan, problem-solve, comprehend and make judgments."

Gerald Gallego is currently still in prison.