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King of the Sport of Kings: Secretariat.

The immortal Triple Crown winner Secretariat is generally considered to be the greatest thoroughbred racehorse ever, along with Man o’ War. After winning Horse of the Year as a 2 year old, a rare feat, he took part in the triple Crown races as a 3 year old. He swept them, running the fastest Derby, Preakness, and Belmont of all time in the process. Sham, a very fine horse, who finished behind the big chestnut colt in the Derby and Preakness, ran the *second* fastest time ever in both. Secretariat set a *world* record in the 1 1/2 mile Belmont, besting the old mark by a simply unreal 2 3/5 seconds. His winning margin was an absurd 31 lengths.

Later in the season, he took part in the Marlboro Cup, which featured his stablemate Riva Ridge, a champion 4 year old. Secretariat prevailed easily, and ended up setting yet another world record for the distance, at 1:45 2/5 seconds. Truly the stuff of myth and legend.

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BjΓΆrn Borg and John McEnroe: Their Epic Confrontation.

Homeric valor, unfathomable resolve, and titanic talent were exhibited by both champions in this unforgettable battle.

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Dreamer of Trains: Robyn Hitchcock.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of the more prolific and gifted figures in a certain (eccentric) quadrant of music history. After leaving The Soft Boys, a Neo-psych outfit he founded, Hitchcock emerged as a most formidable solo figure. Heavily influenced by Dylan, and Syd Barrett, his compositions tend towards the obscure, the ineffable, the humorous, the surreal. He remains a vital figure to this day.

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The Velvet Underground, and Lou Reed.

The Velvet Underground consisted, in their heyday, of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, keyboardist/bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and Moe Tucker on the drumkit. Doug Yule replaced Cale in 1969, and Teutonic songstress Nico appeared on the group’s debut record.

Often cited as Godfathers of Punk, this hugely influential New York band mixed art rock, minimalism, garage rock, and often quite taboo lyrical subject matter. Brian Eno commented on the group’s initial lack of sales, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 albums (referring to the “Banana Album”) ended up starting a band.”

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Auteurs Bands composers hit singles Music music videos photography Poetic Genius Psychedelic Music Singers Syd Barrett

Look Homeward, Angel: The Great Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett, co-founder and main braintrust of Pink Floyd until his mental state made his departure inevitable, was without doubt one of the greatest, most original musicians of his time. Until being ousted from the band, he contributed the vast majority of the material.

Embarking on a solo career, Barrett composed and performed a wealth of brilliant, if patchwork, songs. Flashes of his genius abounded, but his increasingly erratic behavior made production quite challenging, indeed. Syd released 2 albums worth of material, then retired to private life for the rest of his days.

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A Giant Talent: Wilt Chamberlain.

Wilt Chamberlain accomplished seemingly impossible feats. 100 points in a game; a 50.4 scoring average in a season; 55 rebounds in a game; seven consecutive scoring titles to begin his career. And on and on. As a Harlem Globetrotter, he hurled Meadowlark Lemon around in one skit as if he weighed 210 ounces, rather than 210 pounds. Lemon called Chamberlain the strongest athlete who ever lived. He was certainly one of the greatest.

Wilt won his 2nd and most satisfying NBA championship in 1972 with the Lakers, who set a then-league record with 69 wins, including a stunning 33 in a row. His role had changed, and he showed he could dominate by defending (though he was already a great shot-blocker), rebounding and fuelling the team’s lethal fast-break. There was nothing the great man couldn’t do…including win.

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President Obama: 2020 DNC.

Full transcript of 2020 DNC speech here. Truly one for the ages.

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Giant Steps. SF World Series Championships.

Highlights from the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series Championships for the San Francisco Giants.

Please see our related post focusing on 2010 and 2012, at our site Bideodromage II.

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Allan Holdsworth Fusion Jazz Miles Davis Music music videos photography

Electric Jazz.

Great moments in so-called Fusion. Miles pretty much invented it, then along came Mahavishnu Orchestra. The latter’s John McLaughlin is a towering instrumentalist, and is featured also in Davis’s Jack Johnson. Belew and Fripp are gods. But perhaps this music’s most brilliant practitioner might be guitarist Allan Holdsworth. A titan of the instrument, revered by Eddie Van Halen, Frank Zappa, and countless others, Holdsworth’s improvisations induce breath-holding and goosebumps.

Addendum: as this post evolves, more will be revealed. Inserting now some Weather Report, featuring Wayne Shorter. And *now*, Jeff Beck.

And furthermore: Pat Martino. And Larry Coryell.

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The Missouri Breaks {1976}.

This offbeat, rather twisted Western presents the intertwined stories of Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson) and his good-hearted, somewhat hapless rustling gang, and Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando), a so-called “regulator” (hired killer) whose job it is to identify and curtail the activities of Logan, et al. As the film progresses, an ever-increasing sense of dread and disquiet permeate the proceedings, as it becomes clearer all the time that the eccentric Clayton is a ruthless, sadistic sociopath, who relishes his deadly machinations and depraved exploits. The bounty hunter’s bewildering array of accents and disguises also merits mentioning.

Arthur Penn directed this cult masterpiece, and allowed the actors, especially Brando, to find their own way with the characters, including improvising much of the dialogue. Idiosyncratically paced, this oddball absurdist comedy/western thriller deconstructs the genre to beautiful effect, and Marlon Brando’s incomprehensibly stunning performance ultimately defines and lifts the film to the very heights.