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How Did I Miss That? Dylan’s First Bandleader Walks On; Cherokee Game Returns

Robert Velline was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He was 15 years old “the day the music died,” and he was fronting a garage band called The Shadows.

I had never considered before that when the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Richard Steven Valenzuela AKA Richie Valens died in the February 3, 1959 plane crash taking off from Clear Lake, Iowa, that tragedy opened up gigs for other musicians. Robert Velline got one of those gigs, pleased the audience, and went on to chart 38 songs in the top 100 off of at least 25 albums under the name Bobby Vee.

Rolling Stone reported that Bobby Vee walked on this week at age 73 after losing a five year battle with Alzheimer’s. Early in his career, Rolling Stone pointed out that a scruffy kid played piano in Vee’s backup band. Billed at that time as Elston Gunn (or Gunnn), Robert Zimmerman would later perform under the name of Bob Dylan and sometimes cover Bobby Vee in concert.

Here’s wishing Robert Velline a good journey and thanking him for helping prove the music never dies.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published a study of the effects of climate change on wildfires in the western U.S. John T. Abatzolglouof the University of Idaho and A. Park Williams of Columbia University concluded that climate change has contributed almost half of the losses from wildfires between 1984-2015.

My cousin Ray Sixkiller was reading the conclusion that “anthropogenic climate change will continue to chronically enhance the potential for western US forest fire activity while fuels are not limiting.” He wanted an English translation.

I told him anthropogenic means humans caused it and lack of fuel will limit the fires when the forest is gone.

He guessed that the good news is there will be work for Indian fire crews, but he gave science speak a shot when he said the loss of habitat would disrupt the food chain.

The Washington Post reported on a scientific study chasing the reasons for what it calls “a truth universally acknowledged” that commercial tomatoes have no flavor. The culprit is refrigeration. You can have them last a long time or you can have them taste good but both things at once are not happening with current technology.

Cousin Ray wanted to know where the scientists who did this research came from? Cornell and the University of Florida in the U.S. and Zhejiang University in China. He harrumphed that his mother had enough sense not to put tomatoes in the fridge and she never went to a university.

The Washington Post busted the Science Channel and a bunch of print outlets that picked up a claim that the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle was solved by new satellite technology revealing hexagonal clouds associated with winds of deadly speed clocked on radar in the North Sea.

Upon finding similar formations over the Caribbean, the theory was the “microbursts” from those clouds would be sufficient to sink ships and crash planes, events that would happen suddenly and leave little evidence. It is unclear whose theory was being reported.

The editing of the report made it appear to be the brainchild of Randall Cerveny, director of the Meteorology Department at Arizona State University. Cerveny played into the drama by using the phrase “air bombs” to discuss the known phenomena called microbursts.

I remember the phenomenon well because I was in Ft. Worth, Texas on August 2, 1985, when Delta Airlines Flight 191 fell out of the sky during a landing approach. Subsequent investigation attributed the tragedy to a microburst.

What evidence links this to the distances and times necessary to unravel all the legends of the Bermuda Triangle? Turns out, Cerveny was claiming nothing of the sort. He told The Washington Post of the Science Channel show, the editing was “horrendous.”

Cerveny emphasized that he took no position one way or the other on the historical mystery, explaining, “I have no interest in studying the Bermuda Triangle.”

The Daily Mail reported that Russian scientists have rediscovered a secret Nazi base in the Arctic code named Schatzgraber (“Treasure Hunter”) evacuated in 1944 by U-boat after the entire base was sickened from eating polar bear meat from a sick bear. The base was first established on Alexandra Land, an island about 1,000 miles from the North Pole, in 1941. Hitler had ignored his non-aggression pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union.

Ostensibly a weather station, the base’s code name led some scientists to speculate the real mission was to discover ancient artifacts. Raiders of the Lost Ark was correct that the Nazis had a lively interest in antiquities, but the objective was to prove the superiority of Aryan culture rather than to find magical weapons.

The New York Times reported that Britain is offering posthumous pardons to persons convicted of homosexual conduct. Britain has been on the journey to tolerance along with the rest of what the Europeans call “Western Civilization,” eliding the memory of the indigenous civilizations they destroyed.

The British journey may have begun in 2009, when the government apologized for its treatment of the late mathematician Alan Turing or with the Queen’s pardon of Turing in 2013. Turing became a hero of WWII for cracking the German Enigma Code. Convicted of homosexuality in 1952, Turing committed suicide in 1954.

One of the most prominent Brits who may be offered his life back after he’s dead is the playwright Oscar Wilde, whose eloquence should shame the bigots almost as much as Turing’s heroism:

Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.

Last week, I reported that only two daily newspapers had endorsed Donald Trump in the entire nation, both called the News-Press, one published in California and the other in Missouri. Since then, Trump support has, relatively speaking, snowballed.

The Waxahachie, Texas Daily Light became the third daily newspaper in the country to endorse Trump. Waxahachie was to have been the home of the super-conducting supercollider built to investigate the cutting edge of theoretical physics until Congress pulled the plug and sent it to Switzerland. Of the tunnel built before the money spigot closed originally meant to accelerate particles, Cousin Ray claimed it became “the world’s most expensive mushroom farm.”

I was thinking if a long, dark tunnel was their claim to fame they could use a light, so I wondered how long the paper had that name? Before I could investigate, more endorsements poured in

The Ashland, Ohio Times-Gazette recommended The Donald, as did the Antelope Valley, California Press.

The biggest endorsement fish reeled in by the Trump campaign is so far the Las Vegas Review-Journal, recently purchased by a mystery owner who turned out to be casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Trump became an Indian fighter in the first place to destroy Indian casino competition. Maybe he’s not the only casino owner willing to spend money to shut off Indian gaming?

Trump decided to reboot his campaign 17 days out, so he set out to make a policy speech and the very first thing he said was that he intends to sue all the women who accused him of the obnoxious sexual conduct he bragged about into a hot mic.

My first thought was the lawyer response: there’s no way those lawsuits fly unless the SCOTUS is disposed to overrule New York Times v. Sullivan.

My second thought was the judge response. I was reminded of the time I had a contested race and my opponent spent more than I did but did not file any of his required financial disclosures. I wanted to file complaints after I beat him, but my wife got my attention: “You can’t do that. You’re a judge. A judge can’t be that petty.”

In my fantasy, I said to Donald, “You can’t do that. You’re the POTUS. A POTUS can’t be that petty.” That will remain a fantasy until Trump gets a personality transplant.

The Trump campaign has kept hopping, mostly with attempted internet memes that slide by the fact-checking of the print media that have pointed out so many pairs of pants on fire we expect to see Trump merging Celebrity Apprentice with one of the 10 naked reality shows reviewed by Flavorwire

In one of my Trump runs I ran across a hot rumor of interest to persons of my tribal customs that turned out to be unlikely but true. The dominant roast beef joint, Arby’s, is about to offer a venison sandwich! The offer is limited by geography and by time, so it’s not like higher protein lower fat better taste is suddenly taking over, but it has to start somewhere. Here’s the company press release.

The Cherokee Phoenix reported that the day after this column goes live, October 29, the Cherokees for Standing Rock and the Mankiller Flats Water Protectors will begin a round robin stickball tournament titled “Stickball for Standing Rock” on the grounds of the Cherokee Nation Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah.

Men’s and women’s teams will play each other until the men’s team with the most wins and the women’s team with the most wins will meet for the championship. Team entry fees are $50.

Those who think the men’s team is bound to emerge as champion do not watch much stickball. There will be arts and crafts and Indian tacos available to those who want to catch up on the traditional sport.

If venison and stickball were not enough good news, the Phoenix also reported that Cherokee citizen Jim Cosby is resurrecting a traditional game called chunkey, thought to be lost in the mists of time.

Cosby owned a chunkey stone as a family heirloom and it’s being used as a model to create more. They are also making the eight foot spears used in the game as the chunkey stone is rolled down field and the players vie to be closest to where the stone stops without hitting it

They have started a Facebook page, Cherokee Chunkey Players, and hope to incorporate the ancient game into the traditional games section of the Cherokee National Holiday.