ELVIS AARON PRESLEY


One of the most significant cultural icons, successful in many genres:
Pop, Country, R&B, Adult Contemporary and Gospel

1935 BORN January 8

1977 DIED, overdose of prescription drugs, age 42

1946 – 1977 Actively singing and performing. Did not receive formal musical training, could not read music.

1948 Moved with parents from Tupelo, MS to Memphis, TN, lived in rooming houses.

1950 Formed small band with neighboring brothers, began working as an usher in Loew’s State Theater

1953 Performs: TILL I WALTZ AGAIN WITH YOU – a recent hit for singer Teresa Brewer, in wild, flashy clothes, competing in L.C. Humes’ High School Annual Minstrel show in April

1953 Sang HOUND DOG in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His autograph on the abdomen of one girl and her thigh prompts an urgent message sent from the Catholic diocese’s newspaper to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, warning that Presley was a definite danger to the security of the USA!

1954 Musical career seriously began in Memphis at age 13 with SUN RECORDS, producer Sam Phillips

1954 Cut his second acetate at Sun Records, I’LL NEVER STAND IN YOUR WAY, and another, IT WOULDN’T BE THE SAME WITHOUT YOU

1954 Following an unsuccessfully long night of recording on July 5, Sam Phillips of SUN RECORDS suddenly hears the sound and performer he was seeking when Elvis begins riffing the song THAT’S ALL RIGHT by Arthur Cudrup. Next morning, Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips played the song on his RED, HOT AND BLUE SHOW. Listeners begin eagerly calling to know who the singer was. “INSTANT” SUCCESS!

1954 Performs on LOUISIANA HAYRIDE – The Opry’s adventurous rival show broadcast to 198 radio stations in 28 states. He continues to perform for more than a year’s worth on that show. Inspired, Elvis discarded his $8 child sized guitar for the purchase of a Martin guitar for $175. His trio band begins playing.

1954 First television appearance: KSLA-TV. Played music considered ROCKABILLY.

1955 RCA VICTOR acquires Presley’s contract, managed by Colonel Tom Parker for more than two decades.

1956 First single: HEARTBREAK HOTEL, (Blue Suede Shoes) released by RCA Victor in January 27. Claims were made about how Presley urged the young to believe in themselves, unifying the generation.

1956 Camera angles show Elvis only from the waist up (and he was ordered not to gyrate) when appearing on CBS Television City in Los Angeles on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW, hosted that night by actor Charles Laughton.

1956 Performs live at the Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds in Tupelo in September. Fifty National Guardsmen were added to the police security to control the crowd

1956 December 4, Elvis has an impromptu jam session turned into a recording session with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips ensures the session is recorded.

1956 60 million viewers preferred to watch the STEVE ALLEN SHOW over the ED SULLIVAN SHOW. A judge in Jacksonville, FL ordered Presley to tame his act.

1956 Film debut: LOVE ME TENDER

1957 Singles released: TOO MUCH, ALL SHOOK UP, LET ME BE YOUR TEDDY BEAR

1957 Third, final appearance on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW, shown from waist up only. Two days later Presley was classified A-1 and drafted into military service.

1957 Purchased an 18-room mansion he names GRACELAND on March 19 for $102,500. Nine miles from downtown Memphis the house was for him and his parents.

1957 October, films: JAILHOUSE ROCK with Judy Tyler

1958 March 24, drafted into military service, Sergeant w 1st Medium Tank Battalion,
32nd Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Division. Received GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL

1958 Mother was diagnosed with hepatitis. She died when he was on leave on Aug 12

1958 Following training at Ft. Hood, TX. Introduced to 14-yr-old Priscilla Beaulieu.

1960-1968 Seven years break from live performances

1960’s FLAMING STAR (1960) AND wild in the country (1961) were less commercial films but Parker pressed on with his heavy film schedule to produce 27 films.

1966 Just prior to Christmas, Elvis proposed to Priscilla Beaulieu.

1967 May 1, Elvis marries Priscilla Beaulieu

1968 Return to the stage in a television comeback: ELVIS

1968 Priscilla has Lisa Marie on Feb 1, Elvis’ first and only child.

1968-1972 Extended concert residency and tours generate from Las Vegas shows

1968 ’68 COMEBACK SPECIAL, recorded on June 29, originally entitled ELVIS

1969 IF I CAN DREAM reached number 12 on the charts. Jerry Shilling claimed Elvis had told him he hadn’t been able to do anything like it for years. After watching the show for 60 minutes, he told Steve it was the greatest thing he had ever done in his life and gave his word that he would never sing a song he didn’t believe in.

1970’s When a journalist referred to him as the KING of ROCK & ROLL, Elvis quickly pointed to Fats Domino who was there, saying “NO, he is the REAL King of Rock and Roll.” Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) reported that he was so anti-drug when she met him, he discouraged her from smoking marijuana, telling her to never do that again. Elvis was deeply opposed to recreational drugs and rarely drank liquor after watching several of his family members become alcoholics.

1970 December 21, met with President Richard Nixon at the White House, explaining that he could be of help in countering the drug culture in young people. He asked Nixon for a BUREAU OF NARCOTICS & DANGEROUS DRUGS badge.

1971 January 16, Presley was named one of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of its annual TEN MOST OUTSTANDING YOUNG MEN OF THE NATION. City of Memphis name Highway 51 South: ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD


1971 Deemed one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Received GRAMMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, age 36

1971 Three studio albums were released: ELVIS COUNTRY, ELVIS SINGS THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHRISTMAS, and MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY (a raunchy old Charles Brown blues tune).

1971 An affair with Joyce Bova produced a pregnancy and abortion, saying he was “likely” to leave Priscilla who was busy having an affair with Mike Stone a karate instructor. Five months later, Elvis moved in with new girlfriend: Linda Thompson, songwriter, and Memphis beauty queen.

1972 July 10, evening sold out concert in Madison Square Garden became one of his biggest-selling albums, releasing the single: BURNING LOVE was Elvis’ last top ten hit on the US pop chart.

1972 MGM films Elvis in April for ELVIS ON TOUR which won him the GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD for BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM. Gospel album released that month: HE TOUCHED ME.

1972 Elvis Presley designed an elaborate concert jacket (rhinestone-studded eagle design on leather) which would be recognized as his signature design.

1973 First artist to be broadcast worldwide on January 14: ALOHA FROM HAWAII

1973 In December Elvis recorded 18 songs, a total that would produce two albums, released in 1974.

1973-1976 RCA and Parker concerned enough to request Elvis record the entire contents of six albums. Three of those went to number one: PROMISED LAND (1975), FROM ELVIS PRESLEY BOULEVARD, MEMPHIS, TN (1976), and MOODY BLUE (1977)

1974-1977 Addicted to prescription drugs, yet eight studio top ten singles were produced.

1975 MOODY BLUE topped the county chart, reaching the second spot on the adult contemporary chart in 1976.

1976 Releases the soul classic HURT. On July 13, Vernon Presley, deeply involved in his son’s financial affairs cut back on expenses by firing bodyguards (MEMPHIS MAFIA). Rumors at the time were that the bodyguards had become too loose with stories of Presley’s drug abuse.

1976 Presley returns to recording in Hollywood in March of 1975 but Parker’s attempts to schedule another session were unsuccessful. In 1976 RCA sent a mobile recording unit to GRACELAND where he completed his final recording.

1976 Linda Thompson and Elvis split in November, he advanced to another love: Ginger Alden, proposed and gave her an engagement ring two months later.

1977 March 31, Baton Rouge, Presley unable to get out of bed, four shows cancelled. Reminiscent of Howard Hughes craziness, cousin Billy Smith recalled hours of chatting with Elvis about past escapades, Monty Python routines, his reading of
spiritualism books.


1977 WAY DOWN is released in June. CBS tape two concerts for a TV special: ELVIS IN CONCERT to be broadcast in November.

1977 Elvis Presley’s final live performance was at MARKET SQUARE ARENA in Indianapolis on June 26.

1977 Elvis Presley died suddenly at Graceland at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16.

1977 Tuesday, August 18, Presley’s funeral was held at Graceland. About 80,000 people lined the processional route to the Forest Hill Cemetery where he was buried next to his mother. WAY DOWN topped the country and UK singles within that week.

2018 Posthumously awarded PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM by DJT

MANY more awards, songs, albums, movies were made by Elvis,

but would require a full length book to enumerate them.

STRAWBERRIES!

Luscious orbs of summer joy. Knowing how to properly snap the stem off the plant without ending up with a juicy red handful of squished fruit is truly an art. Knowing how to properly zip a nearly rotten berry into the side of your friends’ head is another matter.

Waiting on the corner by the mailbox on an early foggy summer morning I notice a runner coming down the road, hear loons crying on the surface of the lake, listen to the dull din of an old 25-horse boat motor, the older guy who lives in the cove trolling for fish again. The rattle and clank of the stake body farm pickup truck coming down the road to pick me up is what I have been standing here waiting for this morning. He stops to allow me to swing myself up into the back, where I sit on the floor/bed of the truck alongside three others who have been picked up to be delivered into today’s “picking field.”

When we arrived in the field, the fog continued to hover just above our heads. We had dressed in layers. The morning will be hooded sweatshirt weather. When the sun began to heat up the day, we slough off the sweatshirts to reveal a long-sleeved t-shirt over a tank top, allowing us to shed layers as we worked picking berries. The reddish brown skin on our hands and under our fingernails by the end of our weary days was not the incentive either. Our mothers complained about the strawberry stained clothing, but our noses seemed to remember the sweet smell of ripened fruit and the juicy taste we enjoyed in a hot dusty strawberry patch.

The pay was actually not what drew us to this summer job, thirsty laboring in dusty fields under hot July sunshine, but the camaraderie, the berry-slinging, the trash talking, the shared lunches, the complaining about picking conditions was what the crew looked forward to sharing. “I can’t even fill a box with these knobby things!” A common complaint until the field manager decided to move that picker to a more lucrative row. “Look at the size of this sucker” was another field cry whenever someone discovered the monster of all berries. The meager wages earned from these few weeks on a summer break made all the difference when going school-clothes shopping a couple of weeks later.

These are childhood memories from Maine in the 1960’s. I wonder what crews volunteer to pick berries for the local farms now? I see a lot of kids lingering around the center of town these days, seemingly looking for something to do. I know many elderly people struggling to manage independent living now who could definitely use some of the youth-energy of a small river town in Maine. I notice a multitude of HELP WANTED signs in many windows as I drive the 20-mile radius around the town where I live. Rather than considering farm work a chore, it was the “Facebook” of our time and a social experience where we learned how to have a conversation, how to care about someone else, what different families were like, and many new words!

Today, I am going to make a strawberry pie! Ummmmmmm.

OPINIONS DIVIDE

by T. BLEN PARKER

We currently live in a world where the FBI is disrespected, disparaged by a past president in public, and humiliated on the world stage. World-leading scientists and physicians who specialize in contagious diseases are discouraged. The shaming and blaming from a previous president needs to stop. The behavior is a severe presentation of who Americans are not. Does anyone study history? Can we relate past experiences to the present and learn from mistakes?

BROKEN GLASS AGAINST A BLUE SKY

If:
you can cast aside the children and number of people in general in the USA alone who have been killed by people with firearms,
can discount the Holocaust, Spanish flu of 1918, Civil War,
and can ignore many other significant historical events, we can stick our heads in the sand until we have ultimately killed off all life on the planet. Lately, it appears this plan is a much easier solution, not requiring any action at all on anyone’s part, without guilt or violence against our fellow man.

I am confused. That very same past president is still allowed hours and hours of free airtime on television stations to promote his well-crafted lies about what a loving crowd of tourists assembled for an insurrection on January 6, 2021. What method do the rest of the rational world citizens have to bring the facts into the light and the world’s citizens? Thankful for the Lincoln Project and their innovative ways of producing sound ideas for us to think about, coupled with facts, laws, constitutional references, educating via historical events, and scientific reports. We need patriotic citizens to express their love of America and willing to work to improve life for everyone before the rapidly dying planet implodes, rather than devise ways to divide us. We all share the same planet. These tenets were subjects I first remember being concerned about long ago, yet it seems the crickets I heard are still sounding off but the downslide has obviously taken a crash course since then.

The solution will not be by having constructive conversations with your friends and family who disagree with you! The hostile arguments remind me of flying monkeys (who have NOT attended college or become self-aware of current world events) ready to attack. Someone shared with me the other day that “We do not watch the nightly news. It is way too depressing, and I am sick of hearing that I should receive a vaccination that may cause side effects.” An elderly man I admire said, “You aren’t even watching the RIGHT news channel!” I would not dare to issue that directive to anyone that I know casually. Even close friendships don’t feel my wrath, even though I am a straightforward woman. There are various ways we can present our opinions, and some do not need to be shared! I learned that valuable lesson effectively and at an early age. I was encouraged to find common ground whenever put in a position of sharing my ideas, rather than pick at the differences, attempting to change someone else’s convictions. Now, at this point, I need to disclose that I grew up as a voracious reader, homeschooled for a great time with grandparents on a tiny freshwater island in Maine. I lived and worked in five other states as an adult, returning to Maine to be close to my daughter and that special island.

I wonder where these people who feel entitled to share their private opinions freely were brought up, what they have learned as adults, what would make them fearful of science or democracy, and why they feel entitled to issuing warnings to people with whom they are unfamiliar?

How can we return to a moralistic society? Where are the actual devout conservatives? In the church (pick any one you like), it is taught to be “kind to your neighbor.” We learned as children to share and listen and behave in public. I learned to respect firearms and use them only when necessary to kill a threatening bear, wild pig, or other animal encroaching to harm. I would use a gun if I owned one to obliterate the woodchucks that eat my vegetable garden every year. I was shot while driving through the woods in Maine one non-hunting-season Sunday afternoon, so yes, I do have something in “that game.” I also respect gun owners who use targets and have invested serious money in locating special guns for their collections. I do not appreciate out of control people who, in anger, devise plans to obsessively take the lives of many children attending school (to learn about how to behave in the adult world), or blow away adults at a lazy Sunday afternoon concert (and you all know the many other examples I am speaking of).

Americans no longer enjoy the fair amount of respect we once had in the world. Why is that, do you suppose? Why do we no longer find compromising a challenge? It seems there were several older white males who have perpetuated lies, become resistant to compromise, and who have more power than the Constitution that men designed for the governance of ALL AMERICANS for all time. If we look at the United States of America, we now see regions cut off from those rights, especially when it comes to voting and elections. Rather than in the land where my grandparents were born, I chose America. Yes, my family were immigrants. America is proud to claim we are the land of the free and brave.

At my high school graduation, the theme song was “This Land is Your Land; This Land is My Land.” I don’t see that land anymore, despite my recent ophthalmic exam.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE….FOR JUST BEING MEAN


By Julia E Hubbel

And here’s a perfect example.

Yesterday I read, and got permission to use, a perfectly lovely comment about kindness. Look, I’ve written about this before, but for my Medium dollar, it’s a lot more powerful when you and I can share other folks’ comments about how they operate in the world. To that, here is Shefali O’Hara’s comment, with her consent:

Small, consistent gestures of kindness change the world. People are constantly telling me how nice I am, which used to really surprise me, because I was just acting the way I was raised.

I grew up with a mother who always planted extra tomatoes so she would have some to give to the neighbors and who would ask the elderly woman across the street if she wanted anything from the store. In India, where my mom is from, she saw her own mother routinely do small acts of kindness — she would always make an extra roti or two to give to the hungry stray dogs and she’d always gather up any leftovers from meals for the local beggars.

I always give up my seat to a pregnant woman or an elderly person and hold the door open for someone carrying packages. I routinely fill dishes of water for the birds and wee critters in my back yard and, in the spring, after brushing my dog’s hair I toss it on the wind so that the birds can use it to line their nests.

It astonished me one time when I was in New York City and this black man was struggling on the sidewalk trying to get his crutches and people just walked by. I stopped to help him and he said he’d been lying there for several minutes. That just astonished me. He said it was because he was black. I couldn’t believe it. Who cares about skin color when someone on crutches falls down? You just give them a hand and move on. It takes half a second.

The other day I read a piece that stated that how you handle your cart in the parking lot speaks to who you are. Okay. Let’s talk. First, whether or not you corral your cart is just one indicator. I am in the habit of not just corralling my own, but last night when an older woman was clearly struggling with her big one just outside Lowe’s after loading her plants into her car, I put hers away for her first. Now.

Did I stand in the parking lot and scream LOOK AT ME?

Did I demand a hero button for being polite? Oh, fer crying out loud.

Nope. I finished with mine and loaded my cart in the corral and went home.

I often will pick up multiple carts at my TJ Maxx store, especially on a brutally hot day and take them back inside.

However, just taking care of your cart isn’t the point. You could simply suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Neatness and not give a flying shit about people.

Shefali’s comment speaks to the fact that we are often born with a kind gene. More so that kindness, an appreciation of others and the ability and willingness to notice other people and creatures in need are demonstrated by example via those closest to us. We are born with the capacity, at least most are, but how we see it modeled has a great deal to do with how we operate.

We learn empathy by watching empathy, although there are some powerful arguments that

humans are often hardwired already to care about others’ needs.

WHY THINGS NEVER SEEM TO GET BETTER

Researchers may have identified a brain quirk that promotes pessimism


by Markham Heid

Your brain is like a faultless movie projector. Sights, sounds, and a jumble of other sensory information pass into it via the spinning reel of your existence, and your brain reconstitutes that hodgepodge into an objective, lossless experience that you call consciousness.


Of course, that’s wrong.


Your brain is actually not a faultless projector. The reality it makes for you is biased and suggestible. Expectation, experience, emotion, and many other variables shape the world that your brain creates.


In his 2019 book Rethinking Consciousness, the Princeton psychologist and neuroscientist Michael Graziano explains that the brain’s interpretation of reality is built upon internal models that are patchy, subjective, and skewed— “like impressionistic or cubist paintings of reality,” he writes.


“Our intuitive understanding of the world around us and our understanding of ourselves, always distorted and simplified, are dependent on those internal models,” he adds.


A lot of recent scientific inquiry has explored how the brain constructs these internal models, and how their flaws may get us into trouble.


Some of that work has examined the brain’s heavy reliance on predictions born of experience. While helpful in some contexts, those predictions — and, by extension, your reality — may be imbalanced in deeply problematic ways.


Take a look at this dot:

COLORED DOT

Is it blue or is it purple?


For a 2018 study in the journal Science, researchers posed this question again and again. Over a series of five experiments, they found that peoples’ answers were surprisingly vulnerable to manipulation.


In one experiment, the researchers showed people hundreds of dots that ranged in hue from solidly blue to solidly purple. At first, the proportion of blue- to purple-colored dots was equal, and the people’s answers reflected this split. But after a while, the researchers showed some of the people fewer and fewer blue dots. Invariably, these people started to label more of the purple-shaded dots as blue.


“When the prevalence of blue dots decreased, participants’ concept of blue expanded,” the study authors wrote. The peoples’ brains seemed intent on balancing out the proportion of dots based on prior experience. Even when the researchers explicitly told people that they would see fewer blue-shaded dots, the people continued to make the same error.


Dots are one thing. But in two additional experiments, the study team found that the same effect turned up when people assessed threatening faces or weighed in on ethical matters.


“For all of these different types of judgments, what counts as blue or threatening or unethical is affected by the prevalence of what you’ve seen before,” says David Levari, Ph.D., first author of the study and a post-doctoral research associate at Harvard University. “So when the threatening faces or blue dots go away, you still see them.”


“The brain makes relative judgments, and those can be pushed around in ways people don’t appreciate.”


He and his colleagues termed this phenomenon “prevalence-induced concept change.” Basically, the reality your brain constructs is susceptible to a kind of experience-based inertia.


“Your brain’s not like a tape measure that measures exactly how long something is,” Levari says. “The brain makes relative judgments, and those can be pushed around in ways people don’t appreciate.”


In a lot of situations, this tendency to make relative judgments is helpful and efficient. It can facilitate quick decisions or assessments that are context-appropriate. But as Levari’s research showed, this tendency can also lead us to perceive threats or unethical behavior where none exists.


In their study paper, Levari and his colleagues wrote that the brain’s apparent tendency to mold new information to align with its prior expectations may have some “sobering” implications.


“Although modern societies have made extraordinary progress in solving a wide range of social problems, from poverty and illiteracy to violence and infant mortality, the majority of people believe that the world is getting worse,” they wrote. “The fact that concepts grow larger when their instances grow smaller may be one source of that pessimism.”


There are big problems out there that demand our attention and energies. No one is suggesting otherwise. But Levari’s work indicates that even when things get objectively better—a happy event that should gratify and inspire us — our minds may struggle to acknowledge that improvement.


He says that prevalence-induced concept change can work in both directions — meaning it can pull us toward overly sanguine viewpoints. But some of our habits may be nudging (or shoving) our minds toward excessively negative representations of the world.


“We are very sensitive to what we get exposed to, and especially to things we see over and over again.”


According to a 2020 Nielsen report, the average American adult spends somewhere between 11 and 12.5 hours a day consuming some type of media. That’s up from about seven hours in 1980.


As our media diet has swelled, the rise of machine learning and targeted-content algorithms have created “filter bubbles” (a.k.a., information echo chambers) that lead us to content that reinforces our beliefs, feelings, or proclivities. Levari’s research suggests that, even when we know what we’re seeing is imbalanced or inaccurate, our views are nonetheless influenced.


“The things you see on social media or in other media may not be appropriately representative of things in the real world, or in your world, but they can loom very powerfully in your mind,” he says.


If you’re exposing your brain to a steady stream of content that is excessively angry, snarky, aggrieved, despondent, politically preoccupied, or otherwise lopsided, these attributes will gradually saturate your reality. Your brain will detect them everywhere. Blue dots will become purple.


“The main takeaway,” Levari adds, “is that we are very sensitive to what we get exposed to, and especially to things we see over and over again.”