Acting Legend Betty White Dies

Ringing in the New Year is often signified with the depiction of an old man – Father Time – for the old year and a baby for the new year.

On this final day of 2021, Father Time struck one more time with the death of acting icon Betty White.  She was just two weeks shy of celebrating her 100th birthday.  Longtime friend and agent Jeff Witjas confirmed the death; saying, “I truly never thought she was going to pass away.  She meant the world to me as a friend. She was the most positive person I’ve ever known.”  Witjas said that White died peacefully in her sleep at home.

White began her television career almost as the medium itself was born.  In over 60 years of entertaining, she appeared in nearly 500 different productions; either as herself or as an actress.  She even lent her singing voice to some dozen productions.

It all began with appearances on daytime TV as a talk show personality.  Over the next several decades she would appear in numerous programs and series.  While known by different generations in different shows, one of those was “The Golden Girls” which featured a group of senior acting veterans.  White was the last surviving member of that cast.

In 2010 Mars featured White as a lackluster football player who came to life after eating a Snickers bar during the Super Bowl.  The appearance propelled her into even bigger stardom.  The ad also sparked a Facebook campaign that resulted in White hosting “Saturday Night Live” and earned her another Emmy Award.

A one off appearance in the sitcom “Hot in Cleveland” had White stealing the show and earned her a regular spot on the show.

Her appearance as Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was also originally scheduled as a one off appearance; one she turned into a four year role.  She was also the last surviving cast member of the show.

Considered a national treasure, television marked milestones in White’s life with grand specials.  Producers Steve Boettcher and Mike Trinklein created “Betty White: 100 Years Young – A Birthday Celebration” to mark her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022.  The due have said that the one day theatrical showing will go on as planned.  Producers said that they hope the film provides a way for celebration of her life.

White made her television acting debut in 1945 in the short “Time to Kill”.  From there she went on to appear 120 more productions including “Life with Elizabeth”, “Date with the Angels”, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, “The Betty White Show”, “Mama’s Family”, “The Golden Girls”, “The Golden Palace”, “Maybe This Time”, “Ladies Man”, “Boston Legal”, the daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful”, “Pound Puppies”, and “Hot in Cleveland”.

Her guest appearances include “Petticoat Junction”, “Fame”, “St. Elsewhere”, five episodes of “The Love Boat”, “Matlock”, “Empty Nest”, six episodes of “Bob”, five episodes of “The Lionhearts”, “The Wild Thornberry’s”, four episodes of “That ‘70s Show”, “The Practice”, “The Simpsons”, and “Bones”.

She even lent her voice to the film “Toy Story 4” as Bitey White.

As herself, White made over 350 appearances in numerous game shows, specials, documentaries, late night talk shows, award shows, talk and variety shows, and her own show “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers”.

Her accomplishment include an AP Entertainer of the Year, seven Emmy Awards, a Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born Betty Marion White on January 17, 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois.  An only child born to a salesman and homemaker, the family moved to California when Betty was very small.  Weekly trips into the Sierra Nevada mountains spawned a lifelong love of animals.  When not acting, she spent many hours as an activist and fundraiser for animal causes.

She caught the acting bug in high school where she appeared in numerous school productions.  Before entering television, White had some small parts in radio and in the local theatre.

Married three times and divorced twice, White is predeceased by husband Allen Ludden.  While the couple had no children of their own, she became a part of step children David, Martha, and Sarah’s lives.

feature photo credit: Betty White 1989 Emmy Awards.jpg

NFL Hall Names Finalists for Induction

In a months long process, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has revealed the final 15 players eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame for 2022.  The new inductees will be announced during the annual NFL Honours on February 10, 2022.

Wide receiver Andre Johnson, linebacker DeMarcus Ware, and kick returner Devin Hester have all make the finalists list on their first year of eligibility.

Joining them as the modern era finalists are:
Defensive end Jared Allen
Offensive tackle Willie Anderson
Defensive back Ronde Barber
Tackle Tony Boselli
Safety LeRoy Butler
Wide receiver Torry Holt
Linebacker Sam Mills
Defensive end/tackle Richard Seymour
Linebacker Zach Thomas
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne
Linebacker Patrick Willis
Defensive end/tackle Bryant Young

Senior Cliff Branch, contributor Art McNally, and coach Dick Vermeil have previously been selected as finalists and will be added to the list for consideration for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Sponsorship Difficulties for Brandon Brown

Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown worked very hard at the beginning of the 2021 NASCAR season to secure sponsors for his number 68 car.  He even made a video that spoofed the used car salesman banter.

The plan worked and Brown’s car panels began to fill with sponsor ads.

But since an incident after his win at Talladega Superspeedway in October, Brown’s name has taken on some very negatives connotations; as a result, the sponsorships have become very hard to come by.

Some very unsophisticated fans began a derogatory chant toward President Joe Biden.  The television reporter mistook the chant of “F***k Joe Biden” for “Let’s Go Brandon”.  Every since the term has taken on a life of its own and is being used for any negative attitudes toward the current administration.

Brown has restrained from making any comments about the chant until recently where he stated that while avoiding political statements, he will be speaking up on various issues in the coming year.

Noting that things have become “extremely difficult”, Brown spoke on the sponsorship issue saying, “if you’re a national corporation, that means you sell to all consumers … and unfortunately, when you get dragged into the political arena, people want you to take a side.  I’ve never been put in a position where it’s, ‘OK, what side are you on? Left or right?’ “

He added, “if I’m going to divide Coca-Cola, why would they want to talk to me? So the short answer is it’s been tough to connect with partnerships just because it’s kind of viewed as a ticking time bomb: ‘What is he doing to choose or say and how would that effect our consumer base?’  It’s too much of a risk. I understand it on their side but it’s made it really hard to tie everything down.”

Brown noted that while he is on the same page with the sanctioning body (NASCAR), there really is no right answer.  He noted, “even a career in NASCAR if I didn’t make it as a driver, trying to get another job in the community, I’m always going to be the “Let’s Go Brandon” guy. I’m always going to be known for that and how I handled this situation.”

Fire Suit Becomes Art

Over the course of a career, a race car driver can amass dozens of fire suits.

In a exhibit titled “Daytona Vortex”, seven time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has had one of those fire suits turned into a piece of art.

In 2006 Johnson won the Daytona 500 and it is that fire suit that has been torn apart to create some unique artwork commissioned by Johnson and created by suspension artist E.V. Day.

The exhibit will be on display at The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina until June 5, 2022.

Day spoke on his creations saying, “it celebrates the power and heroism of humankind’s innovation.  Tectonically the language of the piece highlights the friction between man and machine — softness of the highly tailored fabric to the rigid structure of the hardware. It may seem that these forces are at odds, but they are interdependent on one another.”

Chief curator and curator of contemporary art at The Mint Dr. Jen Sudul Edwards spoke on the exhibit saying, “like “Transporter”, “Daytona Vortex” is visually stunning and conceptually powerful as it pushes us to rethink ideas around gender, dress, social interactions, expectations and popular culture.  It’s also a poignant reconsideration of sports heroes like Jimmie Johnson and the tension that must be maintained between the physical and intellectual, assurances and risk, in order to succeed.” 

Feature photo credit: Jimmie Johnson’s Twitter page

AP Makes History with Female Athlete of the Year

When the panel met to choose the 2021 AP Female Athlete of the Year they did not choose an Olympian or a tennis star; but chose to make history by selecting a member of WNBA – Women’s National Basketball Association.

Winning for the second time in her career, Chicago Sky star Candice Parker has been named the Female Athlete of the Year!  It has been 13 years since she last won the award.  She last won the award in her rookie year.

Prior to coming to the Sky, Parker had spent her entire career playing in Los Angeles for the Sparks.  Going home to Chicago, she helped the Sky win their first WNBA championship.

Parker spoke on her returning home in a phone interview saying, “there was something about going to where you started playing the game.  It’s exciting to play in front of the people who first saw me pick up a basketball. To win at home, I’m just now recognizing it a little bit. How special that really is. Something that is top on my list.”

The 35 year old professional basketball player and mom also works as an analyst on TNT.

Parker continued, “I’m really thankful for those who made my journey and the people who supported me making it as smooth as possible. My daughter, my wife, my immediate family, we rolled with it. We wanted it.  Things are going to get hard, but stick with it.”

Winning the championship with the Chicago Sky was not Parker’s first award…she helped to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to a championship in 2016, won two championship titles while in college at Tennessee, and is a two time gold medal winning Olympian.  She is one of only 14 players to win championships as a college player, Olympian, and pro.

Parker’s eleven first place votes edged out gold medal Olympians Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert spoke on Parker and the Chicago Sky championship saying, “you couldn’t write a better story than the one of Candace Parker bringing the WNBA championship to her hometown in her first season with the Chicago Sky.  On top of her accomplishments on the court and in the studio, she has continued to be a leader and role model to many, including working moms around the world. The WNBA is proud to have players like Candace who continually raise the bar and elevate the game and our league to the highest level.”

feature photo credit: Parker6 20171004.jpg

Broadcast Icon John Madden Dies

NFL Hall of Fame member and broadcasting icon John Madden died just two days after celebrating his 62nd wedding anniversary on December 28, 2021 unexpectedly at the age of 85.  No official cause of death was given.

A Super Bowl winning coach, Madden was best known for his ability to explain the game during his broadcasts so that anyone could understand what was happening.  He made the telestrator famous and added his own expressions like BOOM and DOINK to play calls.

Known almost as much for his broadcasting was the annual Thanksgiving Day games and the Tur-duck-in – a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey.

He wasn’t adverse to lending his face or voice to commercials selling numerous items from beer to restaurants.

Electronic Arts had created a new video football game and asked Madden if he would help.  He said yes, and after over 100 million copies sold, he is also known as the video football guy.  He even lent his voice to an episode of “The Simpsons”.

Claustrophobic and afraid of heights, Madden refused to fly and had a custom made bus known as the Madden Cruiser that he used to travel the country.

Coaching the Oakland Raiders, Madden had a 10 season record of 103 wins with 32 losses and seven ties.  His .759 winning percentage has never been topped in the NFL with coaches of at least 100 wins. 

A knee injury prevented Madden from ever playing a down in the NFL but he brought his skills and knowledge to the sidelines where he excelled.  Madden retired from coaching after only 10 years at the age of 42.  It was then that he entered the broadcast booth where he earned 16 Emmy Awards.  He also earned the NSAA National Sportscaster of the Year award and the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.  Covering eleven Super Bowl games, at one time, Madden worked for all four of the major broadcast networks working with a number of partners including Pat Summerall and Al Michaels

Play-by-play announcer Al Michaels once spoke on Madden saying, “no one has made the sport more interesting, more relevant and more enjoyable to watch and listen to than John.”

Calling himself a coach first, Madden viewed his broadcast work as an extension of that coaching.

Madden also authored a number of books including “Hey, Wait a Minute! (I Wrote a Book!)”, “One Knee Equals Two Feet: (And Everything Else You Need to Know About Football)”, “One Size Doesn’t Fit All”, “The First Book of Football”, and “All Madden: Hey, I’m Talking Pro Football”.

John Earl Madden was born on April 10, 1936 in Daly City, California.  He played on both sides of the ball at California Polytechnic State University and earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the school.  Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, a knee injury ended his pro football career even before it started.  He began his coaching career at Hancock Junior College before becoming the defensive coordinator at San Diego State.  And then Raiders owner Al Davis called and Madden began working for the Raiders as the linebackers coach in 1967 and became the head coach just one year later at the age of 32.

Madden is survived by his wife of over 60 years Virginia, and sons Joseph and Michael.

feature photo credit: John Madden in 2007.jpg

AP Names Male Athlete of the Year

There was a time when Major League pitchers hit for themselves just like their fellow team mates.  In an age of the designated hitter, such a feat is rare.

Japanese born pitcher Shohei Otani is one of those rare players who not only strikes out players on the pitcher’s mound; he also, grabs a bat and hits them into the stands hundreds of feet away.

The Associated Press has named Otani the Male Athlete of the Year.  The Los Angeles Angels player was a standout in 2021 as the League’s only true two way player.  There has not been a player like Shohei Otani since Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox in 1919.

The American League voted Otani the League MVP – Most Valuable Player – in a unanimous vote last month.  He also earned a Silver Slugger Award for his hitting prowess.

Otani finished the year with 46 home runs, 100 runs batted in, a .965 OPS, scored 103 runs, 26 stolen bases, had a league leading eight triples, a 3.18 earned run average, 156 strikeouts, and a record of nine wins and two losses.  Oh, and he can throw a ball at 100mph!  And he’s only 27 years old.

During the season, Angles manger Joe Maddon spoke on his star player saying, “he’s doing something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes, but he’s also doing it at the very highest level of hitting and pitching.  He’s doing more than other players, but he’s also doing it better than almost everybody else on that field, and those are the greatest players in the game, his contemporaries. He’s playing their game, but he’s also playing a different game.”

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Tulsa Shootout Attracts NASCAR Drivers

While some NASCAR drivers got their start on dirt tracks, others got their first taste of dirt track racing last season when the NASCAR Cup Series turned the high banks half mile track at Bristol into a dirt track.

Waiting for the 2022 NASCAR racing season to begin, a number of drivers are hitting the dirt track at Tulsa next month.

Saying, “it’s a dirt track thing,” two time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is making it a family affair when he and son Brexton will be competing in the Tulsa Shootout.  Driving for Joe B. Miller Motorsports, Busch is set to race in the Winged Outlaw, Non-Wing Outlaw, Winged A-Class and Stock Non-Wing classes; while Brexton will race in the JR Sprint class.

It is the Tulsa Shootout debut for both Busch’s.

NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell, who has won in the Winged Outlaw class, will also be racing in the Winged Outlaw, Non-Wing Outlaw, Winged A-Class and Stock Non-Wing classes with Busch.

Joining the two Cup Series drivers is Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed who will be moving up to the Xfinity Series when the season begins.

Truck and Xfinity Series driver Brett Moffitt has also thrown his name into the mix and will run in the Non-Wing Outlaw, Winged A-Class and Stock Non-Wing classes.

When the Tulsa Shootout begins on January 4, 2022; it will have a record setting 1,500 racers set to compete in hopes of taking home a trophy on Saturday, January 8.

feature photo credit: Kyle Larson leads at 2020 Chili Bowl.jpg

No Delays in College Playoff Games

To date five of the schedule College Bowl football games have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus and its various strains.

The latest cancellation happened just hours before the game was scheduled to go on when the UCLA Bruins announced that due to the virus, they would not be able to field a team against the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

The CFP – College Football Playoffs – has announced that there will be no delays or rescheduled games for the two semi-final playoff games scheduled for December 31.  However, the championship game scheduled for January 10 in Indianapolis could be postponed as many as four days if needed.

College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock spoke on the contingency plans that have been put into place saying, “as we prepare for the Playoff, it’s wise and necessary to put into place additional precautions to protect those who will play and coach the games.  These policies will better protect our students and staffs while providing clarity in the event worst-case scenarios result.”

If any of the four playoff teams – the Alabama Crimson Tide, Cincinnati Bearcats, Michigan Wolverines, or Georgia Bulldogs – cannot play their previously scheduled game, that team will forfeit the game and the surviving team will move on to the championship game.

The CFP will wait until January 14, 2022 to allow teams time to field a team for the championship game.  If at that time one of the teams cannot play the game, the other team will be named the 2021 National Champions.  If; however, neither team can play the game, there will be no champion named for the 2021 season.

Alabama and Cincinnati will face off in the Cotton Bowl in the afternoon with Michigan and Georgia facing off in the Orange Bowl in the evening for a playoff doubleheader.

If three of the four teams are unable to play due to the virus, the sole remaining team will be named the National Champions.

Normally, bowl week is filled with numerous activities that are required for the players to attend.  With the current virus situation, all activities associated with the bowl game will be optional.

Texas A&M was scheduled to play Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl on December 31 but became the first team to pull out of a game due to the Covid virus.  Fortunately, the announcement was made early enough that the bowl committee could name a replacement with Rutgers stepping in. 

The Fiesta Bowl with Notre Dame and Oklahoma State and the Peach Bowl with Michigan State and Pitt have announced that should the virus become an issue, they will attempt to reschedule the games within the week of the original scheduled game.

While Alabama head coach Nick Saban has allowed his players to go home for the holidays, he noted that they are taking all precautions from implementing protocols from last year to sending the players home with a “care package” to help keep them safe.  Saban noted that 90 percent of the players are fully vaccinated with shots and boosters.

Michigan has arranged for all of their players to receive booster shots as a team.

Each university has been permitted to follow whatever protocols were used during the season for the bowl games; but before taking the field for their bowl game, the director of athletics and the chief medical officer must certify each player and staff member on the field is fully vaccinated and has tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of game kickoff.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Dies

Archbishop and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu died December 26, 2021 in the Oasis Frail Care Center in Cape Town, South Africa at the age of 90.  No official cause of death was given.

Called the nation’s moral conscience, Tutu championed LGBT rights, racial justice, human rights, and was a fierce opponent of apartheid – an oppression by white minority on the Black majority.  He was the first Black bishop on Johannesburg and later became the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.

Speaking at an LGBTQ rally in 2013 he said, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say, ‘Sorry, I would much rather go to the other place.’”  He called his native land of South Africa, “a rainbow nation”.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke on Tutu saying, “from the pavements of resistance in South Africa to the pulpits of the world’s great cathedrals and places of worship, and the prestigious setting of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the Arch distinguished himself as a non-sectarian, inclusive champion of universal human rights.”

Friend, the Dalai Lama spoke on Tutu saying he was, “entirely dedicated to serving his brothers and sisters for the greater common good. He was a true humanitarian.”

He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1997 but did not hide the situation, instead spoke on the matter encouraging men to get tested early.  The Archbishop Desmond Tutu Trust said, “he turned his own misfortune into a teaching opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the suffering of others.  He wanted the world to know that he had prostate cancer, and that the sooner it is detected, the better the chance of managing it.”

He once said, “when they heard upstairs in Heaven that there was the prospect of me coming soon, they said ‘no, no, no. Keep him down there. We can’t cope with him.”

He was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

He was born Desmond Mpilo Tutu on October 7, 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa.  He loved to read, especially comics.  After contracting tuberculosis as a teen, he wanted to become a doctor and find a cure.

He married his wife Leah in 1955.  The couple had four children.  A teacher, he entered the seminary – St. Peter’s Theological College – in 1958 and ordained three years later.

He has written several books over the years including a children’s book and co-authored one with the Dalai Lama.

He is survived by his wife of over 65 years Leah and their children.

feature photo credit: [[File:TutuCOP17.JPG|TutuCOP17]]

KISS To Get Museum

In over 50 years of making music as a solo artist and as a part of the Rock Roll Hall of Fame band KISS, Gene Simmons has amassed quite a collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

Simmons is planning to open a KISS museum in Las Vegas next year featuring items from his personal collection.

With a target date of March 2022, Simmons has secured a 15,000 square foot facility at the Rio Hotel and Casino for the museum.  Saying that he will be personally donating hundreds of items, Simmons said the exhibits will feature costumes, state props, and album certifications.

The Rio already includes a glow in the dark KISS Monster Mini Golf course.  Established in 2016, the mini golf will get an expansion along with the new museum.

Simmons spoke on the upcoming projects saying, “it’s going to be breathtaking.  I was there the first day, as my stuff started to come in. We have three tractor-trailers full of stuff, and it’s going to be spectacular. The fans are going to dig it. You can play golf, you can have your photo taken, you can take videos of yourself onstage with Kiss, and then go visit my private collection.”

feature photo credit: Kiss durànt al Psycho Circus World Tour.jpg

Spidey Top $1 Billion

Since flying into theatres just 12 days ago, the new Spider Man movie – “Spider-Man: No Way Home” – it has topped the billion dollar mark in ticket sales – nearly half of that is in North America alone.

Even with a 69 percent drop from opening week, Spidey brought in over $81 million at the box office – more than the remaining top 10 movies grossed combined!  With the $81.5 million weekend, the latest Spider Man film has pulled in $467 million.  The film has grossed $587.1 million outside of North America for a total of $1.05 billion.

Considering a very volatile year for entertainment venues with the Covid-19 pandemic still in full swing, the film has accomplished a feat of Hollywood proportions.  “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has tied with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in third place for reaching the billion dollar mark in the shortest amount of time.  But this time, the feat was accomplished without a film release in China and during a pandemic.

The animated film “Sing 2” brought in jut $23.8 million with “The Matrix Resurrections” comes in in third place with just $12 million in ticket sales.

With North American theatres having been re-opened less than a year, film makers have brought in some $4 billion in 2021.

The top 10 in films after the three day holiday weekend:
“Spider-Man: No Way Home”
“Sing 2”
“The Matrix Resurrections”
“The King’s Man
“American Underdog”
“West Side Story”
“Licorice Pizza”
“A Journal For Jordan”
“Encanto”
83”

feature phtot credit: [[File:Spiderman (43172253254).jpg|Spiderman_(43172253254)]]

Bluegrass Legend J.D. Crowe Dies

Before there was Bela Fleck…there was J.D. Crowe!

Bluegrass banjo virtuoso J.D. Crowe died December 24, 2021 in his Lexington, Kentucky home at the age of 84.  No official cause of death was released.  Crowe had been recovering at a rehab facility following a hospital stay last month.

the Grammy Award winning musician has been a part of Bluegrass and Country music for over 50 years including the Sunny Mountain Boys, the Kentucky Mountain Boys – later New South, and playing with Mac Wiseman.  Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, and Keith Whitley were all a part of New South at one time.

Along with his Grammy Award, Crowe is a member of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.  He also earned a Bluegrass Star Award.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py9ZPX-8CUE

When it came to the banjo, Crowe was considered an innovator, legend, and an influence on generations of players.

James Dee Crowe got his first taste of Bluegrass when he saw Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs at the age of 12.  He began his musical career in the ‘50’s.

He is survived by his wife Sheryl, children David and Stacey, and granddaughter Kylee.

J.D. Crowe discography:
“Bluegrass Holiday”
“The Model Church”
“Ramblin’ Boy”
“Bluegrass Evolution”
“J.D. Crowe & the New South”
“You Can Share My Blanket”
“My Home Ain’t in the Hall of Fame”
“Blackjack”
“Somewhere Between”
“Live in Japan”
“Bluegrass Album Vol. 4”
“Straight Ahead”
“Come on Down to My World”
“Old Friends Get Together”

feature photo credit: J.D. Crowe (3232521845).jpg

Earnhardt Matriarch Martha Dies

The Earnhardt family matriarch Martha died on December 25, 2021 in Kannapolis, North Carolina at the age of 91. 

The grandmother of NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martha was married to Ralph.  The couple had five children.  She was known as Mamaw to her grandchildren.

Ralph started the Earnhardt racing empire with son Dale following in his father’s footsteps.  Dale would go on to be one of just three drivers to earn seven NASCAR Cup Series championships.  Dale was killed in a last lap crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001; hitting the wall while trying to protect drivers Michael Waltrip and son Dale Jr.

In an official statement, NASCAR’s Jim France and Lesa France Kennedy said, “on behalf of the France Family and all of NASCAR, we extend our condolences to the family and friends of Martha Earnhardt.  Martha was not only the matriarch of a legendary NASCAR family, but a beloved and respected figure within our industry and throughout the fanbase. We will dearly miss her grace, compassion and welcoming demeanor. To her grandchildren, she was ‘Mamaw.’ To millions of NASCAR fans, she was a treasure.”

While the matriarch of the racing legacy, Martha tried racing only once – in a “powder puff derby” – where she crashed.  She noted that she just wasn’t meant to be a race car driver.  She was a server and worked as a clerk in a children’s store.

On February 15, 1998, Dale Sr finally won the Daytona 500 after 20 tries and when Dale finally made it to victory lane…he called his mother to tell her he had finally won.  She had been nervously watching the race.

Originally Mamaw wasn’t sure Dale Jr was ready for the jump to the Xfinity Series, but later admitted that he proved her wrong and she became one of his biggest advocates.

Martha was known for inviting Dale Sr fans into her modest home where she would tell them stories for as long as they would listen.  She refused to move to a larger home despite the urging of son Dale on numerous occasions.

Predeceased by her husband Ralph; and sons Dale, Randy, and Danny; Martha is survived by children Kaye and Cathy and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

feature photo credit: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Facebook page

Barry Waldrep…and Friends Celebrate Tony Rice

The discussion over who is the greatest of all time in any area is always sure to garner some very lively conversation that often borders on an aggressive discussion.  But when it comes to Bluegrass music, guitarist Tony Rice is at the top of the list.

The International Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer died last Christmas in his Reidsville, North Carolina home at the age of 69.

Producr and Bluegrass musician Barry Waldrep has compiled a tribute album to Rice that features some of the biggest names across the world of music.

“Barry Waldrep and Friends Celebrate Tony Rice” features 21 songs to celebrate the legacy of Tony Rice.

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, Warren Haynes, Oteil Burbridge, Spooner Oldham, Patrick Simmons, Jimmy Hall, Darrell Scott, Marty Raybon, Mike Farris, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Teresa Williams, Larry Campbell, John Berry, Patrick Simmons, John Paul White, Jacob Bunton, John Jorgenson, Rory Feek, Donna Hall, Kelli Johnson, Barry Waldrep, Tammy Rogers, Andrea Zonn, Aubrey Haynie, Bryan Hall, Caelan Berry, James “Hutch” Hutchinson, Jason Bailey, Bryn Davies, Scott Vestal, Benji Shanks, Dillon Hodges, Heidi Feek, and John Cowan have all lent their talents to the album.

The album is currently available at https://barrywaldrep.com/store.  A vinyl edition is scheduled for a summer 2022 release and is available on pre-order.

The tracklisting for “Barry Waldrep and Friends Celebrate Tony Rice”:
“Why You Been Gone So Long”

“Song For The Life”

“10 Degrees and Getting Colder”

“Blue Railroad Train”

“Walk On Boy”

“Early Morning Rain”

“Wayfaring Stranger”

“I’ll Stay Around”

“Song For A Winter Night”

“EMD”

“You Were There For Me”

“Church Street Blues”

“This Old House”

“9 Pound Hammer”

“Four Strong Winds”

“More Pretty Girls Than One”

“Summer Wages”

“It’s Cold On The Shoulder”

“Bury Me Beneath The Willow”

“Where The Soul Never Dies”

”Me And My Guitar”

NASCAR: Interesting Stats from 2021 Cup Series

When it comes to setting the field for the playoffs and even the playoffs themselves NASCAR has a unique setup like no other.  Only in motorsports do the playoff drivers find themselves in the middle of a field filled with playoff drivers and non-playoff drivers together.

Racing itself provides some interesting opportunities for drivers to earn points toward the playoffs…even when a driver does not win a race.  As a result, there are some very interesting statistics that appear in the record books.

In the 2021 NASCAR season the Cup Series drivers ran a total of 9,200 laps and while all four of the drivers who competed for the championship racked up hundreds of laps led, it was 2021 champion Kyle Larson who topped the list by leading nearly a quarter of the laps with 2,581 on his way to racking up 10 race wins.

While Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch won only two of the 36 races run in the Cup Series in 2021, he had no trouble when it came to racing…and winning his 10 races in the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series.  After winning half of the Truck Series races driving for his own team, Busch notched Truck Series win number 60.  In the Xfinity Series, Busch secured career win number 100 and cemented his spot in the record books for the driver with the most wins ever.  He now has a total of 222 career wins across all three of the NASCAR series – Truck, Xfinity, and Cup.

After multiple race wins in 2020, Kevin Harvick failed to cross the finish line first in 2021 or even earn a playoff point; however, it did not stop him from making it into the playoffs before just missing out a spot in the final four.  Oddly enough, Harvick finished the season in the same spot in 2021 as he did in 2020 with nine wins…fifth.

Proving that the only thing that matters is crossing the finish line first; AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, and Michael McDowell all won a race in 2021 without winning a stage.

Michael McDowell and Brad Keselowski each notched a Cup Series win in the 2021 racing season…but did so on the final lap of the race at the two biggest tracks on the circuit.  McDowell began the season by winning at Daytona and Keselowski won at Talladega

Again demonstrating that the only lap that really natters is the last one, Alex Bowman is a four time race winner in 2021, but led only 161 laps all season.

Racers love to driver and will frequently drive anything with four wheels.  Cup Series champion Kyle Larson could be found racing on a dirt track just as much as on the asphalt.  Racing in all three of the NASCAR racing series, Chase Briscoe actually ran more miles than Kyle Larson.  Briscoe ended the season in 23rd place with no race wins.

Josh Bilicki is another driver who runs in more than one of the NASCAR racing series; as a result he ended up completing more laps than final four driver Ryan Blaney who won three races.

A total of 37 different drivers finished a race in the top 10 during the 2021 Cup Series season.

Full time driver and minority race team owner Denny Hamlin finished the season on the lead lap 34 of the 36 races and is the only full time driver not to have a DNF – did not finish – during the 2021 Cup Series season.

Joey Logano won the inaugural dirt race at Bristol but failed to win any other race during the season.  It is the first time that Logano has not won a race on asphalt since 2011.

The 2021 racing season was a unique one in many respects.  For the first time since NASCAR implemented the current playoff system in 2014, all four of the championship four drivers had cars with odd numbers – Kyle Larson in the number five, Chase Elliott in the number nine, Denny Hamlin in the number eleven, and Martin Truex Jr in the number 19.

Actress Sally Ann Howes Dies

Broadway and film actress Sally Ann Howes died December 19, 2021 in her sleep at her Palm Beach Gardens, Florida home at the age of 91.

Best known for her roles at Truly Scrumptious in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and her Broadway debut as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady”; Howes began her theatrical career when she was only 12 years old in the British production “Thursday’s Child”.

While she appeared in only 40 film and television productions, Howes had a total of over 140 appearances on stage and screen.  She made her debut in a Saturday matinee, she went on to replace Julie Andrews in “My Fair Lady”. 

After portraying Eliza Doolittle, she went on to appear on the Broadway stage in “Kwamina”, “Brigadoon” – which earned her a Tony Award nomination, “What Makes Sammy Run?”, and “James Joyce’s The Dead”.  She also appeared in the touring productions of “My Fair Lady” and “The Dead”.

Other stage roles include “The King and I”, “The Sound of Music”, “Blossom Time”, “The Great Waltz”, “The Merry Widow”, and “A Little Night Music”.

Her film and television appearances include “Pink String and Sealing Wax”, “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nicklelby”, “Anna Karenina”, “The History of Mr. Polly”, the 1950 movie “Cinderella”, “Paint Your Wagon”, “The Gift of the Magi”, “Jane Eyre”, the 1966 TV movie “Brigadoon”, an episode of “Mission: Impossible”, the 1972 TV movie “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, an episode of Marcus Welby, M.D.”, and her final role in the mini series “Secrets”.

She was born in London on July 20, 1930 to a theatrical family.  Best known for her acting, she was also a talented singer and made her West End debut in 1950 in “The Boyfriend”.  She also appeared in “Caprice” and the West End production of “Paint Your Wagon” with her father which helped to launch her acting career in the United States.

Howes never had any children of her own but adopted his two children when she married Richard Adler in 1958.  The couple divorced in 1966.

Predeceased by her fourth husband Doug and son Christopher, she is survived by son Andrew.

Feature photo credit: Sally Ann Howes 1965.JPG

NHL Out in Beijing

In 1980, the United States made a historic run for the gold medal in hockey with the game that became known as the “Miracle on Ice”.

When the Winter Olympic games take over the world in Beijing, China in February 2022, there will be no chance for a repeat of the “Miracle on Ice”.  The National Hockey League has announced that none of their players will be allowed to be a part of the 2022 Winter Olympic games.

The NHL had originally scheduled a break from February six to 22 in order to field an Olympic hockey team.  However, a recent outbreak of the Covid-19 virus has forced the NHL to postpone a total of 50 games…and counting.  On December 22, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the winter Olympic break will now be used to make up all of the games that have been put on hold as several teams have been shut down and games were postponed.  Bettman told the teams, “given the profound disruption to the NHL’s regular-season schedule caused by recent COVID-related events … Olympic participation is no longer feasible.  Our focus and goal have been and must remain to responsibly and safely complete the entirety of the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs in a timely manner.”

NHL Players’ Association executive director Don Fehr also spoke on the inability to appear in the Olympics saying, “there was a clear path to Beijing before COVID-19 intervened, the Olympic break is now needed to make up games.”

The news was very disappointing for many of the players who fought to have the right to play in the Olympics as a part of their collective bargaining deal; especially those players who were looking at their last chance to play in an Olympics.

Olympic committees must now turn to a “plan B” with less than two months before the Olympic games are scheduled to open”.  The United States and Canada can still field Olympic teams but will have to look at other sources like college players, amateurs, and European players.

The NHL has now turned their focus to completing a regular season of 82 games – something that did not happen last year.  Currently the regular season is scheduled to conclude in April with the playoffs running into June.

Racing Pioneer Bob Keselowski Dies

Keselowski patriarch and racing pioneer Bob Keselowski died December 22, 2021 as a result of cancer at the age of 70.

He was a champion in the ARCA Menards Series and one of the pioneers to help launch the Camping World Truck Series.

Bob is the father of third generation driver Brad who currently is a part owner and driver for Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing.  Son Brian is a former ARCA racer who has turned to working as a crew chief and spotter.

John Keselowski began the racing legacy in the fifties racing motorcycles.  After starting a race car team, sons Bob and Ron raced the family cars before taking over the family business.

A 24 time winner and 26 time pole sitter in what is now known as the ARCA Menards Series, Bob won the championship in 1989.  From 1987 to 1993, he finished the season as one of the top three drivers in the standings.

When NASCAR launched the Camping World Truck Series in 1995, Bob Keselowski was among the first drivers to join the series; winning only once in the number 29 in his own K Automotive team.

Health issues with a bad back and hip, Bob retired from full time driving in 1999.  Continuing to run his own team, Bob had Dennis Setzer and Terry Cook; as well as, son Brad doing the driving.  Financial issues caused him to close down the team in 2006.

After stepping away from ownership duties, Bob continued to support sons Brad and Brian with their racing efforts.

Not ready to completely give up on driving, Bob pursued the record books with land-speed driving in a special Dodge Charger.  In 2018, at 67 years old, he set a record of 271.8mph in a stock car at Bonneville Salt Flats and at 69 he was clocked at over 260mph at Loring Air Force Base in Maine.

Bob Keselowski is survived by his sons Brad and Brian and grandchildren.

feature photo credit (cropped): Bob Keselowski.jpg

NCAA to Pay Officials Equally

Title IX guaranteed that female athletes would get the same opportunities as their male counterparts when it came to playing sports in school.  However, that right did not roll over professional play and game officials.

All of that will change…at least the officiating part…with the NCAA basketball tournaments next spring.

Saying, “the national office continues to prioritize gender equity and has taken steps to correct the disparity of pay for officials selected to work the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships,” the NCAA will pay the officials for both tournaments the same amount of money.  They added, “all basketball officials, regardless of the gender of sport participants, will be receiving equal pay for championship games officiated in 2022 and beyond.”

The disparity between the male and female tournaments came to the forefront earlier this year when it was discovered that the facilities used by the female players were second rate at best; while the men had access to top notch amenities.

As a result of the revelation, the NCAA commissioned the law firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP to create a report on gender equality.  The result was a 113 page document that included numerous recommendations including expansion of the field in the women’s tournament and using the term “March Madness” for both tournaments.  The pay differential was not a part of the report but the committee discovered the discrepancy during a budget meeting.

NCAA Selection committee chair Nina King spoke on the decision saying, “happy the NCAA recognized that this was the right thing to do for NCAA Tournament officials. It was almost low-hanging fruit. Why aren’t we paying the officials the same to do the same work on the men’s tournament? Pretty easy rationale to put forward. I’m really pleased that we got the approval to do that.”

The idea of equal pay is not a new concept for the NCAA who has paid officials in both sports the same from 2001 to 2012; but once the referees started making more money in conference games, the NCAA deemed it necessary to increase pay for the tournament as well.

Noting that the officials is 21 other sports are already equal, the NCAA said that officials in the softball and lacrosse tournaments will also begin to receive equal pay.

feature photo credit:NCAA Tournament balloons (3368673033).jpg

NASCAR Sets Next Gen Package

Shortly after the 2021 NASCAR season concluded in early November, NASCAR has scheduled a number of testing sessions for teams to check out the new “Next Gen” car that will make its debut in February.

On December 21, NASCAR has announced the rules package for the Cup Series cars – the only series driving the Next Gen car – in the 2022 season.  Along with an engine power of 670 horsepower, the cars will carry a four inch spoiler on the back of the car to aid in downforce.  Competition officials made the decision after testing four different configurations at Charlotte Motor Speedway and consulting with teams and drivers.

Prior to the various testing sessions, NASCAR has spent the past two years developing the car.  Revealed over the summer, the “Next Gen” cars are designed to resemble the street models.

NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell spoke on the decision saying, “we met with the industry, a number of drivers post-test on Friday with the packages we had narrowed down and really hit on what we all thought would be a great Next Gen car in terms of going out under one rules package with 670 horsepower and then a low-downforce 4-inch spoiler, which we believe we can implement across all of our tracks outside of superspeedways.”

He added, “so the bottom line of all this, and you’ll hear this from the drivers is that this package with the Next Gen car puts it back in the drivers’ hands and we’re excited about what that will do in 2022, for sure.”

Race fans will get their first look of the Next Gen car at the Busch Light Clash in the Los Angeles Coliseum on February 6, 2022.

NASCAR will announce a superspeedway package at a later date.

Not always in agreement with NASCAR, several drivers took to social media applauding the new car and rules package including Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Todd Gilliland, Chase Briscoe, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Justin Haley, Cole Custer, William Byron, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin who is anxious for the season to get started.

Accompanied by a big smiley face, Chase Briscoe said, “Slipping and sliding around on 1.5 miles, sign me up.”

William Byron simply responded with, “awesome!”

Jaguars Quickly Make Changes after Firing

There have been numerous college football players…are coaches…over the years that were stand outs but when it came to playing in the pros, could not make the grade.  Rule changes, attitudes, and even relationships all come into play.

Last week, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan fired head coach Urban Meyer “for cause”.  As a college football coach, Meyer was a standout that brought numerous winning seasons and championships to his teams; however he failed to make the transition to professional football and was fired after only 13 games.

After firing Meyer, it did not take long for the Jaguars to make some whole safe changes to how practices and game day procedures would be conducted…

There is no longer a “motivational” meeting during practice.

Nor is there an emcee giving directions via a microphone.

The “cutesy” catch phrases are gone too.

The players quickly embraced the changes.  Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence spoke on the changes saying, “it brings a little bit of clarity to the guys in the locker room.  I wouldn’t say relief, but I would say just bring some clarity and some direction moving forward.”

Currently the Jaguars have a record of 2 and 12; Lawrence added, “we really want to go and finish the season strong, and to be honest, it’s been hard to last the last week with everything going on. There’s a lot of things being stirred up by the outside, too, that didn’t help. Made things a lot worse. It’s hard to be focused and have all your attention and efforts going towards winning the game when there’s so many things going on.”

“The biggest thing that we need right now is someone that’s consistent,” Lawrence said.

Cornerback Shaquill Griffin also spoke on the changes saying, “I feel like this locker room needs a head coach that actually believes in what their players are saying, trust in that, that we can all make this work.  This is not a one-man show. I feel like sometimes head coaches can come in and flip around, ‘This is my way. Let’s do it,’ and sometimes they forget about us. For any head coach who decides to take on this job or whatever the case may be, trust your teammates. We can do this together. We can win this together. This is a team effort. That would be my main message: Let’s do this together as a team.”

Prior to being let go, there was considerable controversy surrounding Meyer and his activities including an accusation of kicking former place kicker Josh Lambo back in the pre-season, an aggressive discussion with receiver Marvin Jones over criticism over one-on-one matchups, name calling his assistant coaches including calling them “losers”, and Meyer not returning from a road trip with the team and being caught displaying questionable behaviour in a club.

And prior to being told that he was being fired, Meyer left the practice facility early and never returned; leaving his assistants to run the team.

The team learned of the firing the next morning.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Speaking on his new position, Bevell said, “all I can do is be me.  Fortunately, I’ve been around a lot of great coaches. The thing I learned from them is to take the things from them and put them into my personality, my way, and then say, ‘OK, I just can’t pull that off.’  So I’m only going to be me, and I’m going to try to be that same person each and every day.”

feature photo credit: [[File:Phil Stacey American Idol finalist.jpg|Phil_Stacey_American_Idol_finalist]]

JGR to Lose Big Sponsor After 2022

Sponsorships on the cars are as important to racing as the drivers themselves.  Fans, spotters, and announcers all look for that brightly coloured cars racing around the track to locate their favourite drivers.

But like the drivers, the sponsors also change from time to time.

On December 20 the Mars Incorporated candy company have announced that the 2022 racing season will be their final season of sponsoring a car in NASCAR.  Mars has been a part of NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing for 15 years.  Currently, Mars with M&M’s as the primary paint scheme sponsors the number 18 car driven by Kyle Busch.  Prior to sponsoring Busch’s car, Mars was a sponsor for Ernie Irvan.

The largest privately owned company in the world, Mars produces numerous forms of candy including M&M’s, Skittles, Snickers, and Wrigley.  They have been providing candy lovers with treats for 110 years.

Joe Gibbs Racing president Dave Alpern spoke on the announcement saying, “I hope in 2022 we can focus on thanking [Mars], and we’ll be really excited to announce who will be on our car with Interstate [Batteries] – the 18’s other major sponsor – in 2023.”  He added, “if you had told me in ’07, when we started talking to them for the ’08 season, that they’ll be a 15-year primary sponsor … we all would have taken it and run with it.”

JGR owner Joe Gibbs also spoke on the announcement saying, “one of the great things I love about NASCAR is the opportunity to build meaningful relationships.  Mars has been a tremendous example of that. We have experienced so much together over the past 15 years, including two Cup Series championships, while developing friendships that will extend well beyond next year.”  He concluded with, “I know everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing feels that way and I’m glad we have the 2022 season to celebrate Mars and the contributions they have made to our sport over the past three decades.”

In 2022 Kyle Busch will celebrate 20 years in NASCAR – 15 of them with JGR; Mars has sponsored his cars for all 15 of those years.  Busch took to Twitter to add his voice to his feelings on Mars saying, “my appreciation for the entire Mars family is eternal. With 55 wins and two Cup titles together, we’ve built friendships that will last way past 2022. The Mars family has always accepted me for who I am and I’ll always be thankful for that. Here’s to many more trips to VL (Victory Lane) in ‘22!” 

He added, “I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to represent Mars for nearly 15 years now.  During this time, Mars Associates have been like family to myself, Samantha, and Brexton. In particular, my friendship with the Mars Family will be something that will last a lifetime. We have a relationship so much deeper than just having the honor of driving their colorful cars.”

Busch concluded with, “I know our 18 team will work as hard as ever to bring them to victory lane as many times as we can in 2022 and hopefully even another championship we can celebrate together.”

While he currently ranks ninth on the all time Cup Series win list with 55 – number one among active drivers -; Kyle Busch has amassed over 200 career wins across all three NASCAR racing series – the Camping World Truck, Xfinity, and Cup Series.

feature photo credit: M&M’s World Las Vegas NASCAR car 2018.jpg

Brandon Brown Speaks Out on ‘Let’s Go Brandon’

Any racing fan knows that it takes a great deal of money to field a racing team.  Teams work very hard in order to secure sponsors who are willing to put up the finding necessary to run the races.

Early in the 2021 NASCAR season, Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown took the matter into his own hands by creating a video of himself taking on the persona of the used car salesman in order to secure some sponsorships…and it worked.  The empty panels began to fill with spronsorships.

In October, Brown earned his first career win at Talladega Superspeedway.  During the post race interview by the NBC Sports crew, some unruly NASCAR fans took the opportunity to loudly chant a derogatory expletive toward President Joe Biden. 

The reporter doing the interview remarked that the fans were shouting “Let’s Go Brandon”.  Unfortunately due to that “misunderstanding”, Brandon’s name has now become synonymous with the expletive.

NASCAR has tried to discourage its fans from using the expression and have even threatened taking fans to court it they use the expression as a part of any official NASCAR branding.

Two months after the event, Brandon Brown has finally opened up on the subject, “I am Brandon, the NASCAR driver and unlikely meme. A 28-year-old who now finds himself in the middle of the American political conversation. As a pro driver, I never expected to be in the passenger seat of my own viral moment.”  He added, “I am fully aware that the millions of Americans chanting my name know little about me or about my winning the Talladega race that day.”

Saying, “no one knew how my sponsors would react and, in my world, there is no car to drive without the sponsors,” Brown says that he was advised to keep quiet.  Fearing he would lose his hard fought for sponsors, Brown followed the advice and kept quiet.

“My job is to run the next lap faster than the last one. Politics has never been that interesting to me. Though, like most, I have always had the impression that politicians were likely the cause of more problems than they were the solutions,” said Brown.  He added, “I have no interest in leading some political fight. I race cars. I am not going to endorse anyone, and I am certainly not going to tell anyone how to vote.”

With one exception, Brown’s fellow drivers have avoided using the expression.  Then Wood Brothers Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto used the phrase during the last race of the season and has since apologized for his actions.  After knowing that he would be losing his ride at the end of the year, DiBenedetto has yet to secure a ride for the 2022 season. 

Fearing backlash from sponsors, drivers seldom take any kind of stance where political issues are concerned.

However, Brandon Brown has decided that it is time to take a stand, saying, “ninety-nine percent of my time this upcoming NASCAR season will be spent trying to take the next lap a little faster. But, when I have the opportunity and the time, I am not going to hesitate to speak about issues I am passionate about, or the problems we face together as Americans. How you vote is none of my business. Instead, I will use what free time I have to highlight the struggle we all feel and share, as Americans. “

“To my fans, to NASCAR fans and to everyone who has chanted my name: I dedicate myself this upcoming season to compete hard on the racetrack and to spotlight issues that are important to me and to millions of Americans across the country,” he added and concluded his remarks with, “Let’s Go America.”

feature photo credit: Brandon brown (51307958983) (cropped).jpg

Il Divo’s Carlos Dies

Il Divo’s Spanish born singer Carlos Marin dies at the age of 53.  Band mates David, Sebastien, and Urs took to social media to announce the death of their friend and fellow performer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fN49TItkdQ

Marin was on tour with Il Divo when the group announced a cancellation of shows due to illness.  On Thursday, December 16, Marin was admitted to the hospital in Manchester.  He was later placed into a medically induced coma.  While no official cause of death has been listed, Covid is suspected.

Il Divo band mates spoke on Carlos saying, “there will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos”.  He was the baritone voice in the group.

Seventeen years ago, music mogul Simon Cowell formed the pop-opera group featuring four international guys who perform classics, standards, and pop tunes in a variety of languages.

Born October 13, 1968 in Rüsselsheim, Germany; Marin’s family relocated to Spain when Carlos was 12 years old.  Long before joining Il Divo, an eight year old Carlos released his first album –  “The Little Caruso”.  He released his second album – “Mijn Lieve Mama” – at age 10.  He increased his musical studies to include the piano.  At 19 he became a popular TV star in Spain as a singer; including winning some television talent shows. He has also shared the stage with his wife.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPCe8t1Yaws

Prior to joining Il Divo, Marin appeared in a number of operas and musical theatre producitons.

Marin is survived by his entertainer wife Geraldine, also known as Innocence on stage.

feature photo credit: [[File:Carlosm.JPG|Carlosm]]

Mexican Ranchero Icon Vicente Fernandez Dies

Three time Grammy Award winning Latin entertainer Vicente Fernandez died December 12, 2021 at the age of 81. While an official cause of death was not given, Fernandez had been hospitalized since a fall at his Guadalajara ranch last August.

He had also been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome; and while he had been making some progress, his health had been failing in recent days.

An icon of Mexican ranchera music, he wore the embroidered costumes of the charro when he performed all while being accompanied by a full mariachi band. His baritone voice became the heartbeat of Mexican life itself. His music was multi-generational.

In 1991 the Houston Chronicle deemed Vicente Fernandez “the Frank Sinatra of Ranchera”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfm2zSgQ8cQ

Born on February 17, 1940 in Huentitán El Alto, Mexico; the son of ranchers, a young Vicente moved to Tijuana with his family where he worked numerous odd jobs before beginning his singing career in his teens at local bars and restaurants. But his musical journey began much earlier when he got a guitar at age eight and wasted not time learning how to play it.

After moving to Guadalajara and Mexico City, he began recording his music with his first hit in 1969 with the love song “Tu Camino y El Mío”. Fernandez spent the next five plus decades entertaining fans with his music.

Along with with three Grammy Awards, Fernandez has eight Latin Grammy Awards, recorded some 100 albums, earned Los Nestra Premero Awards, is a member of the Billboard Hall of Fame, appeared in dozens of films, and has bee named the Latiin Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences Person of the Year in 2002.

He is survived by his wife of over 50 years Maria; children – Vicente, Gerardo, Alejandro, and Alejandra -; and grandchildren.

feature photo credit: Vicente Fernández – Pepsi Center – 06.11.11.jpg

Grammy’s Name MusiCares POY Performers

As a part of the Grammy Week festivities, the Recording Academy for Arts and Sciences presents the MusiCares Person of the Year gala that includes an auction and concert paying tribute to Person of the Year.

The 2022 MusiCares Person of the Year is Joni Mitchell!  The Academy has revealed the performers set to perform in the tribute concert to the long time Folk artist.

Graham Nash, James Taylor, Pentatonix, Maggie Rogers, Brandi Carlile, Herbie Hancock, Leon Bridges, Black Pumas, Jon Batiste, and Mickey Guyton are all scheduled to perform at the January 29 gala event.

Brandi Carlile and Jon Batiste have also been named the Artistic Directors for the event.

the 75 year old Mitchell has earned six gold records, two platinum awards, one double platinum album, eight Grammy Awards, and has influenced generations of musicians during her long musical career.

MusiCares is a charitable organization dedicated to aiding musicians in time of need; whether it be medical, personal, or financial.

NFL Updates Covid Protocols

In July, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 of the NFL teams announcing that for the upcoming 2021 season, The League would NOT be rescheduling games to accommodate outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus among its players.  Instead, teams must either be ready to put the required number of players on the field and play the game or forfeit the game.

But…
the onslaught of the new omicron variant of the Covid virus, things have changed.  While delta continues to rage around the country, omicron has invaded and causing the numbers to rise dramatically.

In the last week over 100 players and coaches have tested positive for the virus; and as a result, Goodell has had to change the rules.  In the wake of three NFL games being rescheduled this weekend alone, Goodell and the NFL Players Association has issued a new set of Covid protocols.

After conferring with medical experts, the new set of protocols are designed to provide for some flexibility for the players and teams…

A fully vaccinated person who is asymptomatic will no longer have to be tested weekly; but will be required to submit to random testing.

If a fully vaccinated person shows some symptoms of the virus, they will be isolated immediately and test for the virus.  Said individual will not be allowed to interact with any other player or staff until after they have tested negative for the virus.

The League is also encouraging players and staff to get the booster shot in addition to current protocols.

However, players and tiered staff will be required to pass a “stringent symptom screening” before being allowed to enter the facility.  This screening will be conducted on a daily basis.

A new change in the protocol policy is that players who are considered “high-risk” will be allowed to opt out for the rest of the season.  Players have until 2pm on Monday, December 21 to make their declaration.

A player may volunteer for additional testing if he so desires.

All players and staff who are NOT vaccinated will still be subject to daily testing.

In the memo Goodell noted, “medical information strongly indicates that this variant is significantly more contagious but possibly less severe than prior variants, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot.  Our experience with the Omicron variant is fully consistent with this expectation – while more players and staff are testing positive, roughly two-thirds of those individuals are asymptomatic, most of the remaining individuals have only mild symptoms, and the virus appears to clear positive individuals more rapidly than was true with the Delta and other variants. In many respects, Omicron appears to be a very different illness from the one we first confronted in the spring of 2020.”

He continued, “the NFL and NFLPA medical teams believe that this comprehensive approach to testing, which mirrors public health recommendations and best practices employed in healthcare, offers the best opportunity for identifying and treating cases promptly and avoiding spread within the facility.”

NFL Reschedules Over Covid Outbreak

Before the 2021 NFL season even began, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that there would be NO rescheduling of games this season to accommodate teams with outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus.  In a statement sent to all 32 teams, Goodell said, “we will make every effort, consistent with the underlying health and safety principles, to play our full schedule within the current 18 weeks.  Each team is obligated to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. There is no right to postpone a game, and games will not be postponed or rescheduled because of roster issues affecting a particular position group or particular number of players.

HOWEVER, after over 100 positive cases were announced in just two days, the NFL has rescheduled a number of games in week 15.

The game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns set to be played on Saturday afternoon – December 18 – has been moved to Monday and will be a part of a doubleheader with a 5pm EST start on the NFL Network.  The Browns could be down as many as 16 of the 53 man roster if it had been played on Saturday.

The games originally scheduled for Sunday between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams and the game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles have both been moved to Tuesday.  FOX will carry both games beginning at 7pm EST.  Currently Washington has a total of 21 players and personnel on the Covid list.

In a statement, the NFL said, “we have made these schedule changes based on medical advice and after discussion with the NFLPA as we are seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league.  We continue to make decisions in consultation with medical experts to ensure the health and safety of the NFL community.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell added, “if games are postponed, we will make every effort to minimize the competitive and economic burden on the participating teams.”


The NFL isn’t the only sport suffering with Covid related issues…
In NCAA basketball, Kentucky is set to play North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic being held in Las Vegas on Saturday.  Seton Hall has had to cancel their second game due to Covid issues.  UCLA cancelled its game against North Carolina in a pause of all team related activities.  UCLA has also cancelled a game with Alabama State.

The Ohio State Buckeyes have also had to cancel a game in the Sports Classic due to Covid issues.

To date a total of 20 men’s and 36 women’s college basketball games have been postponed or outright cancelled due to Covid.


Cancellations and postponements in the NHL have been coming at epidemic proportions.  As the NHL has paused the activities of two more teams – the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers; a total of 20 games have been postponed so far.  The Calgary Flames have also been shut down through at least Christmas.  Not only have the games been postponed, the facilities have also been closed with no team activities.

 The NHL is hoping to avoid a complete shutdown over the virus as a new fast moving variant has appeared.  Currently 10 percent of the NHL roster is under the Covid protocols.  While no serious cases have been reported so far, the change in scheduling puts a trip to the 2022 Winter Olympics in China in jeopardy; as well as, major issues when it comes to travel across the border for games.  Current laws state that only people who have been fully vaccinated or test negative within 72 hours of travel may cross the border between the United States and Canada.

In further efforts to curtail the spread of the new omicron variant, Canada may soon re-impose capacity limits on venues.

NASCAR Continues Next Gen Testing, Sets Possible Horsepower

There are less than 60 days until the beginning of the 2022 NASCAR season with The Clash in Los Angeles.

This week, NASCAR continued to sponsor testing in the Cup Series’ Next Gen car.

With time quickly approaching the beginning of a new season and with that NASCAR has turned their attention toward setting up the parameters for the cars during the various races.

NASCAR officials has indicated that the target output for the engines will be 670 horsepower for most of the tra ks on the circuit.

NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell spoke on the decision saying, “I would say we’re more than likely going with that number across all of our tracks.  We’ve still got a few boxes to check post tests here where we get together with our (OEMs, original equipment manufacturers) and the teams and just confirm that’s the direction we want to go with. But everything we’ve seen so far, that tells us and that’s the horsepower we want to target and go with.”  O’Connell added that there would be a separate horsepower package for the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega.  After a test at Atlanta Motor Speedway next week where banking is being adjusted to a steeper angle may also be added to the superspeedway configuration.

During the past two days of testing, NASCAR had the teams test a number of different setup packages to help determine what would work best to ensure a good race and ensure safety on the track.

Noting that they needed to give the car a bit more forward downforce, NASCAR managing director of aerodynamics and vehicle performance Dr. Eric Jacuzzi said, “it seems like now that the car’s a little happier, better behaved at different ride heights, I think we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at. It seems like product-wise, we feel pretty good.”

While more testing is scheduled all the way to just before the start of the season, NASCAR officials believes that most of the configurations for the cars are set.

Korn, Cheville, Code Orange

Next spring rockers Korn, Chevelle, and Code Orange are joining forces for an arena tour around the eastern and Midwestern U.S.

Korn are preparing for the release of their upcoming album “Requiem”.

But before they hit the road in March, Korn have a few dates with System Of A Down, Helmet and Russian Circles lined up.

Korn, System Of A Down, Helmet and Russian Circles tour dates:
Jan 31 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ
Feb 1 at the Viejas Arena in San Diego, CA
Feb 4 & 5 at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA

Korn, Chevelle, and Code Orange tour dates:
March 4 at the JQH Arena in Springfield, MO
March 5 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO
March 7 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN
March 8 at the Ford Center in Evansville, IN
March 10 at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN
March 11 at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC
March 13 at the Mountain Health Arena in Huntington, WV
March 15 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA
March 16 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI
March 19 at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, NH
March 20 at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY
March 22 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY
March 23 at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, MI
March 25 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline, IL
March 26 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
March 28 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA
March 29 at The Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI
March 31 at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, OK
April 1 at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, KS

Alexandra Kay

After turning down a college scholarship to play softball, Alexandra Kay’s love of music is paying off.  She has been invited by Country music legend Time McGraw to join him for a tour next spring.  Kay called the opportunity, “a dream of a lifetime.”

But before that, she will play three dates in March with Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence.  Noting that the two artists have been a “huge influence”, Kay called it “an honor” to share the stage with Walker and Lawrence.

Two thousand twenty-one has been a busy year for Kay.  When not playing before sold out audiences, she has greatly expanding her presence on social media. 

Having appeared on both “American Idol” and “The Voice” in the past, Kay has gone on to top numerous music charts and has starred in the Netflix series “Westside”.

Alexandra Kay tour dates:
March 3 at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, NC
March 4 at the Berglund Coliseum in Roanoke, VA
March 5 at the William Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA
April 29 at the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, AR
April 30 at the Hollywood Casino Amphtheatre in Maryland Heights, MO
May 5 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL
May 6 at the MidFlorida Cred Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL
May 7 at the iThink Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
May 12 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
May 13 at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA
May 14 at The Wharf in Orange Beach, AL
May 19 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
May 20 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ
May 21 at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, NC
May 26 at the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater in Syracuse, NY
May 27 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in in Holmdel, NJ
May 28 at the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
June 2 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, CT
June 3 at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
in Wantagh, NY
June 4 at the Xfiity Center in Mansfield, MA

Burton, Alfredo Earn Rides in Xfinity Series

The merry-go-round that is the NASCAR silly season continues with two more drivers landing a spot in the Xfinity Series.

Our Motorsports driver Brett Moffitt is getting not one but two new team mates when OMS expands to three teams with Jeb Burton and Anthony Alfredo.

OMS owner Chris Our spoke on the expansion via a team release saying, “we are very excited about the plans we have put in place for the 2022 race season.  We continue to expand on the foundation built in our first two seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This combination of experienced drivers and crew members will make Our Motorsports a contender each weekend.”

Jeb Burton comes to OMS after running the 2021 racing season in the number 10 Kaulig Racing car.  After getting a multi-year contract with OMS, Burton said, “I’ve never had that before.  I think we’ve got a great lineup here and I’m just really excited about the future. Mr. Our and everybody at Our Motorsports wants to win and hopefully, we can do that a couple more times this year.”

Anthony Alfred comes to OMS after spending his rookie year in the Cup Series at Front Row Motorsports.  Speaking on his new opportunity, Alfredo said, “It’s a huge opportunity for me to go back in the Xfinity Series and run full time for the first time.  Obviously after a full season in the Cup Series, I’ve learned a lot and there were a lot of challenges to overcome. But I think all those obstacles I faced and all of the adversity made me not just a better driver, but a better person.”

OMS has also named the crew chiefs for the three teams with Jeff Hensely as Brett Moffits’ crew chief, Chad Walker as Jeb Burton’s crew chief, and Pat Tryson as Anthony Alfredo’s crew chief.

Our Motorsports has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing; they are also collaborating with ECR Engines.

Primus

The rock band Primus is paying tribute to one of the biggest bands to ever come out of Canada – Rush – when they play “A Tribute to Kings” in its entirety on their upcoming tour.

The North American tour will feature Battles, Black Mountain, or The Black Angels at various stops along the tour.

Primus’ Les Claypool notes that Rush has been a major influence on the band; adding to them the trio – Geddy, Alex, and Neil – are superheroes.

Tickets for the tour go on sale to the general public beginning at 10am local time on December 17.  VIP packages are also available.

Primus “A Tribute to Kings” tour dates:
April 15 at The Criterion in Oklahoma City, OK
April 16 at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, TX
April 19 at the Gillioz Theatre in Springfield, MO
April 20 at Grinders in Kansas City, MO
April 22 at the McGrath Amphitheatre in Cedar Rapids, IA
April 23 at The Sylvee in Madison, WI
April 25 at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, TN
April 27 at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, LA
April 30 at the Mars Music Hall in Huntsville, AL
May 3 at The Fillmore in Miami Beach, FL
May 4 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, FL
May 6 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, SC
May 7 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL
May 9 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN
May 10 at The Clyde Theatre in For Wayne, IN
May 13 & 14 at Massey Hall in Toronto, ON
May 16 at the L’Olympia in Montreal, QC
May 17 at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, QC
May 18 at the palace Theatre in Albany, NY
May 20 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY
May 21 at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ
May 22 at The Paramount in Huntington, NY
May 24 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
May 25 at The Wind Creek Event Center in Bethlehem, PA
May 27 at the Borgata Hoel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ
May 28 at the Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in LaFayette, NY
May 30 at the Old Forester’s Paristown Hall in Louisville, KY
May 31 at the GLC Live at 20 Monroe in Grand Rapids, MI
June 2 at the BMO Harris Pavilion in Milwaukee, WI
June 3 at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, MN
June 4 at Burton Cummings Theatre for the Performing Arts in Winnipeg, MB
June 6 at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina, SK
June 7 at the TCU Place in Saskatoon, SK
June 9 at the Grey Eagle Event Centre in Calgary, AB
June 10 at the Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, AB
June 12 at The Orpheum in Vancouver, BC
June 14 at the Edgefield in Troutdale, OR
June 15 at the Redding Civic Auditorium in Redding, CA
June 17 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, CA
June 18 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, NV
June 19 at the San Jose Civic in San Jose, CA
June 21 at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA
June 23 at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium in Riverside, CA
June 24 at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach, CA
June 25 at The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, NV

The Met Makes Covid Policy Changes

Last week the Broadway League announced that they will be requiring vaccinations by all cast, crew, and audience members over the age of five.

As the Covid virus numbers are once again on the rise, especially the newly discovered omicron variant, organizations are looking for ways to curtail the numbers.

The Metropolitan Opera is the first organization to not only require cast, crew, and audience attendees be fully vaccinated; but to also show proof of a booster shot.  The new mandate will take effect in the new year on January 17.  The Met will make an exception for anyone who is not yet eligible for the booster shot.  Once they become eligible, they will have two weeks to comply before not being allowed to enter the venue.

Even with the new requirement for vaccinations and booster shot, The Met will still require face coverings by all audience members and anyone not on stage during a performance.

Met General Manager Peter Gelb issue a statement about the new ruling saying, “I’m confident that our employees know this action is in their best interests and that our audiences will be in agreement, too.”

In recent days the Broadway League has had to cancel a number of performances due to positive tests among cast and crew.

NASCAR Upholds Mike Harmon Penalty

On November 22 NASCAR fined Xfinity Series owner and driver Mike Harmon for violating the NASCAR rule book in regards to vehicle testing.  Officials originally deducted Harmon 75 points – meaning he would begin the 2022 racing season minus 75 points – and fined crew chief Ryan Bell $50,000 and suspended him from the first six point races of the 2022 Xfinity racing season.

Harmon had posted photos of his number 74 car running laps at Rockingham Speedway.

Harmon has appealed the decision.

On December 15, NASCAR upheld the penalty but with a slight change.  The $50,000 fine originally assessed on crew chief Ryan Bell is not added to the penalties of the car’s owner and driver Mike Harmon.  In addition to the $50,000 fine, Harmon will lose 75 car owner and 75 driver points and will be at a deficit when the 2022 Xfinity Series racing season begins at Daytona International Speedway in February.

‘The Voice’ Crowns a New Winner

It’s the grand finale on season 21 of “The Voice”! The votes have been counted, and in a two hour gala event the singers, coaches, and special guests gather for a night of music and fun.

The night of music begins Coldplay and a holographic BTS for their hit “My Universe”.

Coach Kelly Clarkson and 14 year old Hailey Mia join forces for a performance of “Funny”.

Walker Hayes takes the stage for a performance of his smash hit “Fancy Like”.

Blake Shelton and steal Paris Winningham pair up for a performance of “Love Train”.

Tori Kelly and Kiki Palmer take the stage for the holiday classic “Baby, Please Come Home for Christmas”. The duo are joined by the top 13 from this season.

Team Legend steal Jershika Maple joined forces for a performance of “O Holy Night”.

Mega Mentor Ed Sheeran takes the stage to perform his latest hit “Shivers”. Known for his looping, Sheeran builds the song on stage, adding layers to the song as he goes.

Taking “The Voice” stage for the very first time, Jennifer Lopez performs “On My Way” from her new upcoming movie “Marry Me”.

Country music super star Carrie Underwood joins up with John Legend for a performance of their holiday song “Hallelujah”.

Kelly and the first act ever to have four songs on the itunes chart at the same time and the first trio to appear on the show – Girl Named Tom – join up for a performance.

Host Carson Daly reveals that the winner and runner up will also earn an amusement park trip of their choice in either Orlando or California.

Blake joins up with Wendy Moten for a performance. In the video clip Wendy said that she did not believe she would make it this far; Blake had her in the finals from the moment she joined his team.

Former Voice coach Alicia Keys returns to “The Voice” to take the stage for a performance of “Old Memories” from her new album “Keys”.

Ariana Grande joins up with rapper Kid Cudi for a performance of their new song “Just Look Up”.

After a night of music, the time has finally arrived to learn the final results of the season.

The artist finishing in fifth place is Jershika Maple from Team Legend.

The artist in fourth place is Hailey Mia from Team Kelly.

The artist in third place is Paris Winningham from Team Blake.

It’s down to Wendy Moten and Girl Named Tom!

And the winner is…

…Girl Named Tom!!!

This marks the first time the winner of “The Voice” that a trio wins the title. The trio of siblings give Kelly her fourth win on the show.

Wendy Moten comes in second.

Paul Overstreet

Award winning performer Paul Overstreet will be making some live concert performances in 2022 around North America.  To date, he only has a few dates in Texas booked, but look for more as the new year begins.

Over the course of his career, Overstreet has earned two Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards, and is the only person to have been named the BMI Songwriter of the Year two years in a row.

Along with his own hits, Overstreet has penned hit songs for Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, The Judds, Kenny Chesney, and Blake Shelton.

On his Sunsets and Songs tour, Overstreet will be performing his own hits; as well as, some of those he has written over the years with the stories behind them including “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”, “When You Say Nothing at All”, “Forever and Ever Amen”, and songs that fans will only hear at his live performances.

Paul Overstreet’s Sunsets and Songs tour dates:
Feb 3 at the Dosey Doe in The Woodlands, TX
Feb 4 at the Lone Star Luau in Conroe, TX
Feb 5 at The Isis Theater in Ft. Worth, TX
April 20-27 in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
May 29 at Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks in Sauk Rapids, MN

Kaulig Adds Cup Team

Kaulig Racing has announced that in addition to a full time ride for Justin Haley after moving up from the Xfinity Series to the cup cars. The team will field a second car with multiple drivers. Xfinity Series regular and veteran driver AJ Allmendinger will be among the drivers to pilot the number 16 Cup Series car. Daniel Hemric and Noah Gragson will also share the driving duties.

Kaulig purchased two of the three charters from Spire Motorsports in order to field the two Cup Series teams.

Kaulig president Chris Rice spoke on the addition to the team saying, “ Matt Kaulig is continuously showing how much he has invested in NASCAR and what he’s going to do. We’ve been working hard over the last three years on trying to secure a charter and how we went about it and it’s been so much fun it gives me cold chills but also it’s been a lot of work, a lot of endless nights. … Going Cup racing means a lot. Bringing somebody like AJ back to help us understand a little bit more about Cup racing helps, because he’s done it.”

Rice added, “we think our roster for the 2022 season features some great drivers. Having three out of the four Xfinity Series championship contenders helping to build our new Cup Series program is truly a tremendous opportunity for this Kaulig Racing team. While these guys have been fierce competitors for the last few years, having them bring that same tenacity as teammates will be extremely fun to watch and a great way for this team to grow in its first full season in the Cup Series.” The fourth member of the final four is Austin Cindric who will be driving the number two Penske car in the Cup Series.

Justin Haley spoke on his moving up from the Xfinity to the Cup Series saying, “it’s just really cool for me, right? I’ve been within their Xfinity program, and building that up to a championship-level organization has been so cool, so to kind of flood that over and get the Cup opportunity with Kaulig Racing, it just feels like the right fit. It feels like a family atmosphere and it feels like I’m still part of the family, so to go Cup racing my first full-time season, to go to the Daytona 500 with the Matt Kaulig racing machine is pretty cool.”

With the introduction of the Next Generation car in the 2022 Cup Series, it has opened a path for many owners to field more cars and new owners to come into the sport. Kaulig owner Matt Kaulig spoke on joining the Cup Series this coming season saying, “we’re super excited to get a fresh start with the Next Gen car. We’ve almost been using a saying on our race tram for us is where it’s a Next Generation car, Next Generation owner and Next Generation team. So, we’ve done a great job of trying to be really relevant in the Xfinity Series and now that we’ve got the opportunity to go Cup racing, we’re super excited about ’22 and what’s on the horizon.”

Joining AJ Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next season for Kaulig Racing are Landon Cassill and Daniel Hemric.

Noah Gragson looks to be a very busy driver next season. In addition to his full time Xfinity Series ride in the number nine JR Motorsports car, Gragson will be one of three drivers for Kaulig Racing sharing a ride in the Cup Series, and Gragson will attempt to make a run in the Daytona 500 in the number 62 car for Beard Motorsports. With no charter in hand, Gragson will have to race his way into the race.

Finalists Perform on ‘The Voice’

“The Voice” has reached the finals of another season with five finalists including the first ever trio on the show.

Eight time “The Voice” winner Blake Shelton brings two of his three live show team members to the finals. Kelly also has two team members in the finals with John finishing out the finalists. Coach Ariana Grande failed to bring one of her team members to the finals.

Tonight the finalists will sing twice – a dedication ballad and an uptempo song. There is no duet with the coach or “The Voice” single this year.

Team Kelly’s Hailey Mia – the youngest member of the finalists at 14 – gets the night of music started off with “Déjà vu” by Olivia Rodrigo. Carson called it a great way to start the show. Ariana called the performance, “so fun”; adding that it felt like being at her show. John was impressed by how in control Hailey was. Coach Kelly called it great.

Team Blake’s Paris Winningham performed “Me and Mrs Jones” and dedicated it to his Dad. Carson said whatever supper club it is, he doesn’t want to leave. Ariana called it a gorgeous performance; adding she can’t wait for the album and tour. John called Paris a classic Soul artist…and a gifted artist. Coach Blake agreed with John; adding that Paris has just sold million of tickets to concerts he hasn’t booked yet.

Team Kelly’s trio Girl Named Tom took on Fleetwood Mac with “The Chain” and brought Kelly to her feet. Blake said that they did a great job; adding that they were always so well rehearsed. Coach Kelly called it “what a moment”; adding that they have done such a wonderful job on the show.

Team Legend’s only entry into the finals Jershika Maple dedicates “I’m Going Down” by Mary J Blige to her church and brought the coaches to their feet. Carson said that the performance was fantastic. Calling herself an idiot, Kelly said that Jershika made it look easy. John called himself fortunate to get to work with Jershika; adding that she has such a gift.

Award winning singer and “The Voice” coach Kelly Clarkson takes the stage for a little holiday music with “Christmas isn’t Cancelled…Just You”.

Team Blake’s Wendy Moten finishes out round one with the Whitney Houston song “How Will I Know”. Ariana called Wendy an incredible vocal technician. Blake was at a loss for words; adding it was one of the greatest live vocal performances he has ever heard.

Hailey returns with a Billie Eilish song that she dedicates to all the little boys and girls; telling them that it is okay to be yourself. John noted that Hailey has been so good this whole season; adding that it was his favourite of her performance s. Kelly agreed with John; adding that she was dripping with amazing tone. Kelly said that Haiely has grown every week.

Paris Winningham returns with the Rufus and Chaka Khan song “Ain’t Nobody”. With arousing applause in the background, Kelly said that Paris has a perfect balance of power and strength. Ariana caught Paris’ hat when he threw it. Blake simply urged fans to vote for Paris to win.

Girl Named Tom return to dedicate their song to each other. Ariana called the performance stunning. Kelly noted that the performance was “crazy beautiful” and “flawless”.

Jershika returns to perform the Adele hit “Rolling in the Deep” and brought the coaches to their feet. Carson called it a great finale performance. John kept saying “oh my god”; adding that there is no one like her.

Wendy Moten returns to close out the show with a performance of the iconic song “Over the Rainbow” that she dedicated to her hometown of Memphis and to Nashville. Wendy began her musical career at 16 when she won a talent contest singing “Over the Rainbow”. John said that he doesn’t think he has ever seen anyone with a talent like hers; adding she makes it look effortless. Blake agreed with John; adding that they have never seen anyone like Wendy on “The Voice” stage in 21 seasons.

In a two hour grand finale, the winner will be revealed after a night of special performances.

HFPA Reveals 2022 Golden Globe Nominees

In recent years Hollywood award shows has drawn a great deal of criticism over their lack of diversity and inclusion in their choice of nominees.

On December 13, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association released the nominees for the 2022 Golden Globe Awards. The awards are set for a January 9 ceremony but a network and host have yet to be announced.

“Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog” led the nominations with seven each. The streaming service Netflix led the network nominee list with 17. “West Side Story”,“Succession”, “Ted Lasso”, and “The Morning Show” also garnered multiple nominations.

the nominees for the 79th annual Golden Globe Awards are:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Musical or Comedy Series:
Anthony Anderson in “Black-ish”
Nicholas Hoult in “The Great”
Steve Martin in “Only Murders in the Building”
Martin Short Martin in “Only Murders in the Building”
Jason Sudeikis in “Ted Lasso”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy Series:
Hannah Einbender in “Hacks”
Elle Fanning in “The Great”
Issa Rae in “Insecure”
Tracee Ellis Ross in “Black-ish”
Jean Smart in “Hacks”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Drama Series:
Brian Cox in “Succession”
Lee Jung-jae in “Squid Game”
Billy Porter in “Pose”
Jeremy Strong in “Succession”
Omar Sy in “Lupin”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Drama Series:
Uzo Aduba in “In Treatment”
Jennifer Aniston in “The Morning Show”
Christin Baranski in “The Good Fight”
Elisabeth Moss in “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Mj Rodriguez in “Pose”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Television Series or Made for TV Movie:
Paul Bettany in “WandaVision”
Oscar Isaac in “Scenes from a Marriage”
Michael Keaton in “Dopesick”
Ewan McGregor in “Halston”
Tahar Rahim in “The Serpent”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Television Series or Made for TV Movie:
Jessica Chastain in “Scenes from a Marriage”
Cynthia Erivo in “Genius: Aretha”
Elizabeth Olsen in “WandaVIsion”
Margaret Qualley in “Maid”
Kate Winslet in “Mare of Easttown”

Best Television Drama Series:
“Lupin”
“The Morning Show”
“Pose”
“Squid Game”
“Succession”

Best Limited Television Series or Made for TV Movie:
“Dopesick”
“Impeachment: American Crime Story”
“Maid”
“Mare of Eastown”
“The Underground Railroad”

Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Made for TV Movie:
Jennifer Coolidge in “White Lotus”
Kaitlyn Dever in “Dopesick”
Andie MacDowell in “Maid”
Sarah Snook in “Succession”
Hannah Waddingham in “Ted Lasso”

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Made for TV Movie:
Billy Crudup in “The Morning Show”
Kieran Culkin in “Succession”
Mark Duplass in “The Morning Show”
Bret Goldstein in “Ted Lasso”
Oh Yeong-su in “Squid Game”

Best Musical or Comedy Television Series:
“The Great”
“Hacks”
“Only Murders in the Building”
“Reservation Dogs”
“Ted Lasso”

Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture:
“Cyrano”
“Don’t Look Up”
“Licorice Pizza”
“Tick, Tick…Boom!”
“West Side Story”

Best Drama Motion Picture:
“Belfast”
“CODA”
“Dune”
“King Richard”
“The Power of the Dog”

Best Foreign Language Motion Picture:
“Compartment No. 6”
“Drive My Car”
“The Hand of God”
“A Hero”
“Parallel Mothers”

Best Motion Picture Screenplay:
Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza”
Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast”
Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog”
Adam McKay for “Don’t Look Up”
Aaron Sorkin for “Being the Ricardos”

Best Original Song for a Motion Picture:
“Be Alive” form “King Richard” by Beyonce and Dixson
“Dos Orugitas” from “Encanto” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy” from “Belfast” by Van Morrison
“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” from “Respect” by Jamie Alexander Hartman, Jennifer Hudson, and Carole King
“No Time to Die” from “No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:
Ben Afleck in “The Tender Bar”
Jamie Dornan in “Belfast”
Ciaran Hinds in “Belfast”
Troy Kotsur in “CODA”
Kodi Smit-McPhee in “The Power of the Dog”

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture:
Caitríona Balfe in “Belfast”
Ariana DeBose in “West Side Story”
Kirsten Dunst in “The Power of the Dog”
Aunjanue Ellis in “King Richard”
Ruth Negga in “Passing”

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture:
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Don’t Look Up”
Peter Dinklage in “Cyrano”
Andrew Garfield in “Tick, Tick…Boom!”
Cooper Hoffman in “Licorice Pizza”
Anthony Ramos in “In the Heights”

Best Animated Motion Picture”
“Encanto”
“Flee”
“Luca”
“My Sunny Maad”
“Raya and the Last Dragon”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama:
Mahershala Ali in “Swan Song”
Javier Bardem in “Being the RIcardos”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog”
Will Smith in “King Richard”
Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama:
Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter”
Nicole Kidman in “Being the Ricaredos”
Lady Gaga in “House of Gucci”
Kristen Stewart in “Spencer”

Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy:
Marion Cotillard in “Annette”
Alana Haim in “Licorice Pizza”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Don’t Look Up”
Emma Stone in “Cruella”
Rachel Zegler in “West Side Story”

Best Motion Picture Director:
Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast”
Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog”
Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter”
Steven Spielberg for “West Side Story”
Denis Villeneuve for “Dune”

Best Original Score:
“The French Dispatch”
“Encanto”
“The Power of the Dog”
“Parallel Mothers”
“Dune”

Kurt Busch Secures a Ride for ’22

After the announcement that Chip Ganassi was selling the NASCAR arm of his racing empire, there was much speculation about where the two team Penske drivers would land for the 2022 racing season.

One of the rumours was that Kurt Busch would move over to 23XI Racing to become the second driver for the new racing team.

On December 10, 23XI Racing announced that Busch would indeed be a part of the team and drive the number 45 car – a number majority owner Michael Jordan wore during part of the basketball and baseball careers.  Driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing number eleven Denny Hamlin owns 23XI with Jordan.  Busch’s sponsor Monster Energy is joining the new as a primary sponsor.

Busch will join Bubba Wallace at 23XI as the team expands in only their second year of operation.

Kurt Busch spoke on his joining 23XI via a team release saying, “I cannot begin to express my gratitude for this opportunity.  Racing to win is what I live for. Helping to continue developing a new team, alongside Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin, and Toyota is exactly what I want to be part of. Winning is important to 23XI, it’s important to Monster Energy, and it’s important to me. That is our goal.”  Busch is the 2004 Cup Series champion who has won 33 Cup Series races in his career.

Minority owner Denny Hamlin also spoke on the addition of Kurt Busch via a team statement saying, “when we started this team, our vision was to grow to a multi-car organization. To be able to expand in just our second year is a huge step for us.  Kurt brings a wealth of knowledge and a championship mindset to our team, and will be able to help us grow stronger and more competitive each and every week.”

23XI Racing said that they will announce additional team personnel in the coming weeks.


In other racing news…

After nearly a decade away from being behind the wheel, FOX Sports in-studio analyst for the Camping World Truck Series Todd Bodine will return to the CWTS for six races in the 2022 season.

Driving for Halmar Friesen Racing, Bodine will race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Nashville Superspeedway, and Pocono Raceway – the site of his final race in 2013.

A two time CWTS champion with 22 career Truck Series race wins, Bodine currently has a total of 794 race starts.  Running six races this season will allow Bodine to become the 28th driver in NASCAR history to hit such a milestone.  He has 220 starts in the Truck Series, 333 starts in the Xfinity Series with 15 wins, and 241 Cup Series starts.

The Darkenss

British rockers The Darkness will be shedding some light on their rock and roll next spring when they cross the pond for a North American tour.

The rockers have a new album “Motorheart” and will be touring in America to promote the album.

The Darkness lead singer Justin Hawkins spoke on the upcoming tour saying, “you there, in the Americas – hear us, and hear us well: The Darkness know your pain, know that you have cried yourselves to sleep every night, bereft of quality English rock music.  Well, desist from weeping and pull up your fully grown adult pants – salvation is upon you! We come to your shores in spring 2022 for a whopping 34 shows.”

Tickets for the tour go on sale December 13 at 10am local time.  VIP upgrade packages will also be available.

The Darkness North American tour dates:
March 9 at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA
March 10 at the House of Blues in Las Vegas, NV
March 12 at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ
March 13 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA
March 15 at The Novo in Los Angeles, CA
March 16 at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA
March 17 at the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR
March 18 at The Showbox in Seattle, WA
March 20 at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, BC
March 22 at The Palace Theatre in Calgary, AB
March 23 at the Union Hall in Edmonton, AB
March 25 at The Park Theatre in Winnipeg, MB
March 26 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN
March 28 at the Raven/Eagles Club in Milwaukee, WI
March 29 at The Majestic Theatre in Detroit, MI
March 30 at the Park West in Chicago, IL
April 1 at Pop’s Nighclub and Concert Venue in Sauget, IL
April 2 at The Truman in Kansas City, MO
Aug 3 at the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX
April 5 at the Mohawk in Austin, TX
April 6 at the Warehouse Live in Houston, TX
April 8 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN
April 9 at The Masquerade in Atlanta, GA
April 10 at The Beachman Theatre in Orlando, FL
April 12 at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa, FL
April 13 at the Culture Room in Ft Lauderdale, FL
April 15 at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte, NC
April 16 at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA
April 18 at the Webster Hall in New York City, NY
April 19 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, ON
April 20 at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, NY
April 22 at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ
April 23 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Philadelphia, PA
April 24 at the Royale in Boston, MA

Jack White

Stories of supply chain issues is all over the news these days.  Musician Jack White has added his name to the list with an upcoming North American tour he is calling “Supply Chain Issues Tour” which is set to launch in the spring.

White also has a new album “Fear of the Dawn” coming out on April 8.  Then he will do something unheard of in today’s music business…release a second album in the same year!  “Entering Heaven Alive” is set to be released in July.  The two albums feature different themes and moods.

White is releasing the albums on CD, as a digital download, and in several different vinyl variations – some of which will be limited edition releases.

Tickets for the tour go on sale to the general public beginning December 17 at 10am local time.

Jack White’s “Supply Chain Issues Tour” dates:
April 8 & 9 at the Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit, MI
April 10 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
April 12 at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago, IL
April 13 at the Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
April 14 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA
April 16 at Place Bell in Laval, QC
April 17 at the Agganis Arena in Boston, MA
April 19 at The Anthem in Washington, D.C.
April 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
April 23 & 24 at the High Water Fest in North Charleston, SC
April 23 at the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion in Portsmouth, VA
April 26-28 at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA
April 30 & May 1 at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN
May 23 at the Irving Music Factory in Irving, TX
May 24 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK
May 25 at the Moody Center ATX in Austin, TX
May 27 at the El Paso County Coliseum in El Paso, TX
May 28 at the Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, AZ
May 29 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV
May 31 & June 1 at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles, CA
June 3 at the Reno Events Center in Reno, NV
June 4 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA
June 6 at the Moda Center in Portland, OR
June 7 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC
June 8 at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA
June 10 at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
June 11 at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, CO
June 27 & 28 at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith in London, UK
June 30 at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany
July 1 at the AFAS Live in Amsterdam, Netherlands
July 2 at the Haus Auensee in Leipzig, Germany
July 4 at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Germany
July 7 at Le Radiant in Caluire Et Cuire, France
July 10 at the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid, Spain
July 14 at the Samsung Hall in Zurich Switzerland
July 15 at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
July 16 at the Forest National in Bruxelles, Belgium
July 18-20 at L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix in Paris, France
Aug 13 at the Armory in Minneapolis, MN
Aug 16 at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee, WI
Aug 17 at the TCU Amphitheater in Indianapolis, IN
Aug 19 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON
Aug 21 at Artpark in Lewiston, NY (near Buffalo)
Aug 23 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME
Aug 24 at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, MD
Aug 25 at the Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre in Charlotte, NC
Aug 27 at the Orion Amphitheater in Hunstville, AL
Aug 28 at the St. Louis Music Park in Maryland Heights, MO
Aug 29 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO

Guns ‘N’ Roses

In September Gun ‘N’ Roses fans learned that their Mexico concert dates were put on hold due to “government shut down of large gatherings and Covid restrictions.”  Those dates have now been rescheduled and will take place; just a year later than originally planned.

Guns ‘N’ Roses Nightrain fans can get an early jump on tickets December 13 beginning at 10am local time.  Tickets to the general public go on sale beginning December 16.

Guns ‘N’ Roses rescheduled Mexico dates:
Oct 15, 22 at the Xmatkuil Juntos Haremos Historia in Merida
Oct 18, 22 at Estadio Akron in Guadalajara
Oct 21, 22 at Estadio Ciudad De Los Deportes in Mexico City
Oct 23, 22 at Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey

‘Vampire Chronicles’ author Anne Rice Dies

Gothic fiction writer Anne Rice died December 11, 2021 as the result of complications from a stroke in her native New Orleans at the age of 80.  Son Christopher, who has followed in his mother’s author footsteps, was at her bedside at the time of her death.

For generations horror fans saw the vampire as a blood sucking monster who ran…or flew….around sucking the blood out of everyone they met.  Rice changed all that, giving them “human” qualities with real lives. 

In books like “The Witching Hour” she made female character – witches – as strong powerful women who defied the belief of women being the weaker sex.

Editor Victoria Wilson called Rice a writer, “decades ahead of her time.”

Over the course of her career, Rice penned over 30 works – 13 as a part of the “Vampire Chronicles” – and sold over 150 million copies around the world.

Her breakout book was “Interview with a Vampire” – a book written while she was grieving the death of her daughter who died at the age of five after a battle with Leukemia.  The book went on to become a hit movie and will spawn a television series next year.

One of those many books was a memoir titled “Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession” in which she noted, “I wrote novels about people who are shut out life for various reasons.  This became a great theme of my novels — how one suffers as an outcast, how one is shut out of various levels of meaning and, ultimately, out of human life itself.”

Her final work “Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris” – penned with son Christopher – will be released in February.

Named after her father, Howard Allen Frances O’Brien was born on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans to an Irish Catholic family.  While a postal worker, her father also wrote fiction.  She took the name Anne when she entered first grade.  Her mother, Katherine, died when Anne was 15.

In 2010 Rice announced that she would no longer be a Christian saying, “I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control.”  She added, “I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t make this declaration, I was going to lose my mind.”

Predeceased by writer husband Stan Rice and daughter Michelle, she is survived by her son Christopher.

feature photo credit: [[File:Anne Rice.jpg|Anne_Rice]]

Indy Racer Al Unser Dies

Like the names Petty and Earnhardt in NASCAR, the names Foyt, Andretti, and Unser are as much a part of Indy Racing as the cars themselves.

Unser family patriarch Al Unser Sr. died December 9, 2021 after a 17 year battle with cancer in his Chama, New Mexico home at the age of 82.  His wife Susan was at his side at the time of his death.

Unser is one of only four drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times; along with AJ Foyt, Rick Mears, and Helio Castroneves.  The Unsers are the only racing family to have two brothers and a son win the famed race.  His final win at age 47 made Unser the oldest driver to win the Indy 500.  He also holds the record for leading the most laps in the 500 with 644.  The Unser family has a total of 73 Indy 500 race starts; second only to the Andretti’s with 76.

Along with his Indy 500 wins, Unser was crowned the Indy car champion three times including beating out son Al Jr for the title in 1985.  He ran five races in NASCAR including the 1968 Daytona 500 and took home the win three IROC – International Race of Champions – races.  IROC pitted 12 drivers from different race disciplines and put them in identical cars for a racing series.  He is also a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway International Motorsports Halls of Fame.

Albert Unser Sr was born on May 29, 1939 into a family of racers in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The youngest of four racers, Al, his brothers, father, and two uncles all raced.  The Unser family began their racing legacy in 1926.

Older brother Jerry was the first Unser to qualify for an Indianapolis 500 but unfortunately died the following year in a practice crash.  The family houses their race win and championship trophies at the family museum in Albuquerque.

Predeceased by brother Bobby and nephew Bobby Jr and daughters Mary and Deborah, Al is survived by his wife of over 40 years Susan and son Al Jr.

feature photo credit: [[File:Al Unser, Sr. Lola T500 at Goodwood 2014 001.jpg|Al_Unser,_Sr._Lola_T500_at_Goodwood_2014_001]]

Broadway League Updates Covid Protocols

As Covid infections once again increase across the country, government officials are beginning to re-enact restrictions and mask mandates in an attempt to try and curb the number of positive cases.

Since its reopening, Broadway has required that all attendees must have their faces covered when entering the theatre…including cast and crew.

The Broadway League has updated their protocols and beginning December 14 to include ALL audience members aged five and above to be vaccinated.  The masking policy also continues until further notice.

Children ages five to eleven must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult and have proof of at least one FDA – Food and Drug Administration – or WHO – World Health Organization – approved shot.

The new policies are in effect until February 28, 2022 at which time the policies will be re-evaluated.

Since its reopening, Broadway has had a few shows cancelled due to positive diagnosis among cast or crew members, but as of December 5, 2021 more than two million people have attended one of the shows on Broadway with over 2,000 performances.


Freestyle Love Supreme

Currently the Hip-Hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme are at the Booth Theatre on Broadway until January 12, 2022.  But once the tour comes to an end the group is hitting the road early next year to spread the Love across America.

Currently scheduled to be a part of the tour are Andrew Bancroft as Jelly Donut, Jay C Ellis as Jellis, Aneesa Folds as Young Nees, Kaila Mullady as Kaiser Rözé, Morgan Reilly as Hummingbird, Chris Sullivan as Shockwave, and Anthony Veneziale as Two-Touch.  And of course, there will be special guests along the way.

Created by Anthony Veneziale, Thomas Kail, and Lin-Manuel Miranda; the group is comprised of rappers, singers, comedians, and beat boxers to create a troupe who takes their cues from the audience to create a truly original show every night.

Thomas Kail, and Lin-Manuel Miranda spoke on the upcoming tour saying, “we’ve had many of our happiest and most fulfilling creative moments working on Freestyle Love Supreme and are excited to see its next chapter unfold on this national tour.  It is a show that consistently surprises us: we have no idea what to expect any time we do it—and isn’t that the true beauty of live theater? We are thrilled to bring Freestyle Love Supreme to audiences across the country!”

Freestyle Love Supreme tour dates:
Jan 21-Feb 13 at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, CA
Feb 16-March 13 at the Seattle Rep in Seattle, WA
March 18, 19, 23-26, 30-31, April 1 & 2 at the Colonial Theatre in Boston, MA
April 8-May 1 at the Portland Center Stage in Portland, OR
May 10-15 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C.
May 17-22 at the Empire Theatre in San Antonio, TX
May 24-29 at the Knight Theater in Charlotte, NC
May 31-June 5 at the Music Hall in Detroit, MI
June 7-12 at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA
June 21-July 10 at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA
July 12-Aug 7 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA

Genevieve Racette

French-Canadian performer Genevieve Racette has grown up surrounded by music with a musical family.  She has channeled those surroundings into a career of her own.

On March 18, 2022 she will be releasing her third full length album – “Satellite”.  The nine song album features songs in both French and English.

But before she releases her new album, Racette will be heading out on the road with the beginning of the new year including her homeland of Quebec.

Genevieve Racette tour dates:
Jan 8 a house concert in Overland Park, KS
Jan 28 at Le Petite Boite Noire in Sherbrooke, QC
Feb 13 at MTELUS in Montreal, QC
Feb 25 Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, MO
March 5 at La Chevre Resto-Pub-Salle de spectacles in Saint-adolphe-d’howard, QC
March 10 at La Boite a Bleuets in Alma, QC
March 11 at Cote-Cour in Saguenay, QC
March 12 at Theatre du Marais in Val-morin, QC
March 27 at Minotaure in Gatineau, QC
March 31 at Eglise St-Antoine de Lavaltrie in Lavaltrie, QC

The Monkees Michael Nesmith Dies

Singer and songwriter for The Monkees Michael Nesmith died December 10, 2021 in his Carmel Valley, California home as the result of natural causes less than three weeks before his 79th birthday.

He had had a quadruple bypass in 2018.

While best known for his wool hat, Nesmith was also an actor, director, author, and entrepreneur.

Nesmith joined Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones as a made for TV band “The Monkees”.  The television sit com turned the lads into an overnight success.  Originally, the stars of the show were not the musicians that fans heard on the music; but all that changed when Nesmith revealed the fact to the media.

The music became a major bone of contention between the band and Don Kirshner.  A songwriter, Nesmith wanted to use some of his music on the show; Kirshner said no.  But after Linda Rondstadt had a hit with the Nesmith song “Different Drum” Nesmith gained some credibility.  After a threat from all four members of the band to walk out unless they could gain control of the music…and a show of violence from Nesmith – putting his hand through a wall and telling Kirshner it could have been his face – the band took over control of the music beginning with their album “Headquarters”.

After the show was cancelled, Michael, Peter, Davy, and Micky toured playing their own instruments and original music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvqeSJlgaNk

After the breakup of The Monkees, Nesmith went on to tour and record with his band The National Band and record over a dozen albums of his own.

Fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz is the only surviving member of the group.  He and Nesmith had recently completed a tour together.  Dolenz said,  “I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best – singing, laughing, and doing shtick.  I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick.”

After the breakup of The Monkees in 1970, Nesmith branched out beyond the music to become writer, producer, director, author, head of his own company, and an actor.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fp9XdisMJU

Along with the 57 episodes of “The Monkees”, Nesmith appeared in over a dozen productions including the music video for “The Beatles: A Day in the Life”,  “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, “Saturday Night Live”, an undredited appearance as the Rabbi in “Repo Man”, and a 2014 episode of “Portlandia”.

He was born Robert Michael Nesmith on December 30, 1942 in Houston, Texas.  He was an only child.  A secretary and a painter, his mother is the inventor of the ever popular typewriter correction tool Liquid Paper.  He spent 14 months in the United States Air Force.

Predeceased by bandmates Peter Tork and Davy Jones, Nesmith was married and divorced three times.   He is survived by his children Christian, Jason, Jessica, and Jonathan.

feature photo credit: [[File:Monkees 05 (46759965214).jpg|Monkees_05_(46759965214)]]

Bright Eyes

After reuniting after over 10 years last year, Bright Eyes have planned a tour this coming spring around the mid Atlantic and Midwest.

Last year the band recorded a new album and will be touring to promote the album – “Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was”.

Bright Eyes tour dates:
March 23 at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul, MN
March 25 at The Sylvee in Madison, WI
March 26 at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL
March 30 at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO
March 31 at the Parsitown Hall in Louisville, KY
April 1 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashivlle, TN
April 3 at Express Live! In Columbus, OH
April 5 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA
April 7 at the Roadrunner in Bostin, MA
April 9 at The Anthem in Washington, D.C.
April 10 at The NorVa in Norfolk, VA

Good Morning Bedlam

The Minnesota folk-pop group Good Morning Bedlam will release their new album “Lulu” on February 4, 2022.  But before that the rambunctiously energetic band will bring their high energy shows to venues in the nation’s Midwest.

Speaking on the new album, frontman Izaak Elker says, “we want to surprise our audience from song to song.  Rather than creating our music to fit a genre, we allow it to be an outpouring of our own stories and unique sound.”

Good Morning Bedlam is Izaak Elker, wife Tori, and Sophia May Beyer.


Good Morning Bedlam tour dates:
Dec 10 at The Fruited Plain Café in Sioux Center, IA
Dec 11 at Brigid’s Pub in Bemidji, MN
Dec 17 at the Worden Avenue Exchange in Ladysmith, WI
Dec 19 at the Bend in the Road in Manchester, MN
Dec 23 at the Festivus! In Marshfield, WI
Dec 31 at the Thesis Beer Project in Rochester, MN
Jan 22 at the Ozark Mountain Music Festival in Eureka Springs, AR
Jan 29 at Anodyne Coffee in Milwaukee, WI
Feb 4 at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul, MN
Feb 11 at Ed’s in Winona, MN
Feb 12 at The Venue in Aurora, IL
Feb 19 at the New York Mills Cultural Center in New York Mills, MN
March 12 at the Poplar Hall in Appleton, WI

Kat Von D

After making her successful west coast debut, Kat Von D will be hitting the road for her Love Made Me Do It tour.  This will mark her first national tour and will be followed by an European tour.

Tickets go on sale December 10 at 10am local time.  Meet and Greet and VIP ticket packages will also be available.

Electronic rockers Prayers will be joining Kat on the tour. 

Kat Von D tour dates:
Feb 28 at the Thunderbird Café and Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA
March 2 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Philadelphia, PA
March 3 at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City, NY
March 4 at the Soundstage in Baltimore, MD
March 5 at The Underground in Charlotte, NC
March 7 at District Live in Savannah, GA
March 9 at The Masquerade in Atlanta, GA
March 10 at The Basement East in Nashivlle, TN
March 12 at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit, MI
March 15 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN
March 16 at Park Westin Chicago, IL
March 17 at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, OH
March 19 at The Echo Lounge and Music Hall in Dallas, TX
March 20 at the Warehouse Live in Houston, TX
March 21 at the Paper Tiger in San Antonio, TX
March 24 at Slowdown in Omaha, NE
March 25 at the Beer City Music Hall in Oklahoma City, OK
March 27 at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO
March 30 at The Catalyst Atrium in Santa Cruz, CA
March 31 at the Cornerstone in Berkeley, CA
April 2 at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA
May 2 in London, UK
My 4 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 5 in Brussels, Belgium
May 7 in Koln, Germany
May 8 in Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
May 9 in Zurich, Switzerland
May 11 in Paris, France
May 13 in Madrid, Spain
May 14 in Barcelona, Spain
May 16 in Milan, Italy
May 17 in Munchen, Germany
May 18 in Wien, Austria
May 20 in Praha, Czech Republic
May 21 in Warsaw, Poland
May 22 in Berlin, Germany
May 24 in Copenhagen, Denmark
May 25 in Malmo, Sweden
May 27 in Stockholm, Sweden
May 28 in Oslo, Norway
May 29 in Goteborg, Sweden
May 31 in Helsinki, Finland

Landon Cassill Gets New Ride

A driver for JD Motorsports over the past season, Landon Cassill has landed himself a full time ride with Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series.  And he brings along a sponsor in the deal.

Cassill will pilot the number 10 car previously driven by Jeb Burton with Voyager Digital Ltd as the primary sponsor.  Cassill will become the first driver to receive his entire paycheck in cryptocurrency.

Cassill will join Daniel Hemric and AJ Allmendinger as the three car Kaulig team in the Xfinity Series.

Cassill spoke on being a part of Kaulig Racing saying, “ultimately, Kaulig Racing is showing itself as a destination for good drivers and a place to win.  Not a stepping stone or a place that’s on the way up. It’s a place that’s up there and it’s a place that, I think, drivers call home.”

He added, “to drive for Kaulig Racing now, the goal is to win and I need teammates to lean on to help me do that.  I have to be able to take my driving to the next level, and there’s an entire new discipline that I have to learn that I haven’t been training the last few years. I’ve got to be able to close these races from the front row if I find myself in that position. I’ve got to be able to hit pit road in the lead and come out in the lead. I’ve got to do things different. And it’s going take the team at Kaulig Racing to help me get there, and that’s why Kaulig Racing is the destination for me.”

President of Kaulig Racing Chris Rice also spoke on Landon Cassill coming to the team saying, “we are really excited to bring Landon Cassill on board for the 2022 season.  Landon has competed in NASCAR’s top series for many years and has brought with him a pivotal partner in Voyager Digital. We are looking forward to this partnership with Voyager and think Landon will be a great asset to our Kaulig Racing family.”

CEO and co-founder of Voyager Steve Ehrlich spoke on the partnership with Cassill saying, “we built a historic partnership with Landon, as the first NASCAR driver to be paid in crypto, and continuing this journey with him is an incredible ride for Voyager.  We’re excited about this collaboration with Kaulig Racing and can’t wait to see what is next in Landon’s promising career.”

During his career Cassill has run 176 races in the Xfinity Series.  His best finish so far is a third place at Daytona in 2011.  He has also made 326 stars in the Cup Series and eight starts in the Camping World Truck Series.

Pitbull to Perform at Busch Clash

The 2021 racing season in NASCAR saw some new teams and team owners in the Cup Series. 

The new 23 XI Racing brought in the second former professional basketball player when Michael Jordan joined forces with Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin.

And Trackhouse Racing brought the first Latino owner to the sport when Hip-Hop artist Pitbull became one of the owners.

Since coming to NASCAR Pitbull has performed at a few of the races.

On December 8 NASCAR and race sponsor Coca-Cola announced that Pitbull will help kick off the 2022 racing season with a performance prior to the main event of the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on February 6.

NASCAR vice president of marketing services Patrick Rogers spoke on the upcoming 45 minute concert saying, “Pitbull transcends cultures and generations with his positive, upbeat performances and his humanitarian work away from the stage and studio.  We’re excited that he’s providing his star power to this historic day for our sport.”

Armando Christian Perez, also known as Pitbull, also spoke on his upcoming show saying, “this is history in the making to be part of this special Los Angeles Coliseum NASCAR event.  It’s an honor to integrate culture, music and NASCAR racing as the universal language to unite new audiences around the world.”

Along with being an owner in Trackhouse Racing, Pitbull is a Grammy Award winning artist who has sold over 25 million albums with 18 multi platinum records.  His videos have been viewed over 15 billion times.

feature photo credit: [[File:Pitbull (7906566112).jpg|Pitbull_(7906566112)]]

Dwayne Johnson Wins Big at People’s Choice Awards

Like the American Music Awards, the People’s Choice Awards winners are completely selected by the fans.  The PCA’s cover movies, television, music, and pop culture.

The 2021 People’s Choice Awards are hosted by Kenan Thompson.

The first award of the night went to The Rock Dwayne Johnson in “Jungle Cruise” for Male Movie Star. 

The award for Male TV Star went to Tom Hiddleston for “Loki”.

The award for Action Movie Star went to Simu Liu in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.

The award for Comedy Act of 2021 went to Chelsea Handler for “Vaccinated and Horny Tour”. 

The award for Daytime Talk Show went to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.  This is Ellen DeGeneres’ 25th People’s Choice Award win.

The 2020 Fashion Icon winner Tracee Ellis Ross presented the 2021 Fashion Icon award to Kim Kardashian West. 

The award for Late Night Talk Show went to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”.

Christina Aguilera is the Music Icon of 2021.  She takes the stage for a performance that includes a medley of her songs.

“The Voice” wins the award for Competition Show of 2021.

The award for Female Movie Star award went to Scarlett Johansson in “Black Widow”.

The winner of the Comedy Movie Star of 2021 went to Dwayne Johnson in “Jungle Cruise”.

Hip-Hop star Cardi B presents the People’s Icon award to Halle Berry. 

The Female Artist Award went to Adele.

Selena Gomez won the award for Comedy TV Star of 2021 in “Only Murders in the Building”.

Lavern Cox introduced H.E.R. who gave a tribute performance to Marvin Gaye in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his album “What’s Going On”. 

The award for Reality Show of 2021 went to “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.

The award for Action Movie went to
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.

After giving a performance on “The Voice” stage and seeing two of his artists move on to the finals, Blake Shelton takes the “People’s Choice Awards” stage “Back as a Country Boy” for the second time in one night.  Shelton was named the Country Music Artist of 2021.

Jeff Bezos presented the award for People’s Champion to “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson.  Noting that boxing champion Mohammad Ali was the original People’s Champion, Dwayne said that when he was a “bad guy” wrestler in the WWE, he used the name the People’s Champion.  He added that when he told Ali’s family that if they did not like him using the name, he would stop; they told Dwayne that he had earned the right to use the name.

Having granted wishes from the Make a Wish Foundation, Dwayne had a wish recipient at the show and surprised her by calling her up on the stage with him.  He gave her his People’s Champion award, saying that she represents everything it means to be a People’s Champion.

feature photo credit: [[File:People’s Choice Awards logo.svg|People’s_Choice_Awards_logo]]

Finalists Revealed on ‘The Voice’

It’s the final night for the Instant Save on “The Voice” as the final five are chosen.

On Monday night the eight semi finalists performed twice – once as a solo act and again in a duet.

Tonight on the Semi Finals results show, three artists must go home.

Ariana Grande has just one act remaining – Jim and Sasha Allen; Kelly and John have two artists each – Girl Named Tom and Hailey Mai for Kelly and Jershika Maple and Joshua Vacanti for John; while Blake has so far retained his team in tack with Lana Scott, Wendy Moten, and Paris Winningham.

The night begins with a performance by recent CMA – Country Music Association – winner Carly Pearce with “29”.

In the first results of the night…

Team Blake’s Wendy Moten is the first artist moving on to the finals

Twelve time Grammy Award winner and “The Voice” coach John Legend takes the stage for a performance of his new holiday song “You Deserve It”.

In the next results…

Team Kelly’s Girls Named Tom become the first trio moving on to the finals

Team Blake’s Paris Winningham is also moving on to the finals to make Blake the first coach to have more than one artist in the finals.

Eight time “The Voice” winning coach Blake Shelton takes the stage to perform his new single “Back as a Country Boy”.

In the final results before the instant save…

Team Kelly’s Hailey Mia is in the finals to give Kelly two artists in the finalists.

Lana Scott, Jim and Sasha Allen, Joshua Vacanti, and Jershika Maple will all have to perform in the hopes of earning the final instant save vote…and the last spot in the finals.

Up first is Lana Scot with “Things a Man Ought to Know”.

Joshua Vacanti chose another Celine Dion song for his instant save performance with “My Heart Will Go On”.

Jim and Sasha Allen chose the Hall and Oates hit “Rich Girl” for their instant save performance.

In the final instant save performance, Jershika Maple sang “Break Every Chain”.

And the final artist moving on to the finals is…

Jershika Maple form Team Legend!

Lana Scott, Jim and Sasha Allen, and Joshua Vacanti have all been eliminated from the competition.

Blake and Kelly each have two artists in the finals with Team Legend filling the final spot.  Ariana has no artists in the finals in her first season as a coach.

 

2 Truck Series Teams Expand

For many drivers the Camping World Truck Series is the first step on the NASCAR road to becoming a driver in the Cup Series.

Two teams in the Truck Series will be expanding for the coming racing season.

The family owned team Hill Motorsports will field two trucks for the 2022 season.  Team owner Timmy Hill has been a part time driver in the Camping World Truck Series for the past three years; splitting time with younger brother Tyler.  Beginning with the 2022 season, Hill will be a full time driver in the number 56 truck.

Switching to Toyota trucks in the new season, Hill has yet to name a driver for the second truck.

Hattori Racing Enterprises has also announced that they will be expanding to two trucks for the coming season with Tyler Ankrum driving the number 16 truck and Scott Zipadelli as crew chief.

Chase Purdy will be the driver in the second HRE truck.

GMS to Field Two Cars in ’22

Last week Richard Petty Motorsports sold a majority stake in his racing team to GMS Racing.

On December 7, Petty GMS Motorsports have announced that they will field two full time cars in the NASCAR Cup Series next season.

With two full time charters that guarantee entry into each of the 36 races next season, Ty Dillon and Erik Jones will become team mates for the 2022 season.

Petty GMS used the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a backdrop for the unveiling of the new team name, logo, and car designs.

Ty Dillon will drive the number 42 car; while Erik Jones will return to the number 43 car for a second season.

Mike Beam will serve as the team president with Dave Elenz serving as Dillon’s crew chief and Jerame Donley comes to the team as Jones’ new crew chief.

Petty GMS Motorsports also plans on fielding an entry into the Camping World Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series with more details to follow at a later date.

Semi Finals on ‘The Voice’

Of the thousands of singing hopefuls who came out to audition for the show, only eight remain as “The Voice” nears the end of another season with the Semi Finals for season 21.

This week the artists will perform twice – once as a solo artist and again as a duet.  All of the duets come from the 90’s.

Only five of the eight acts will make it to the finals.

Ariana’s only surviving act Jim and Sasha Allen get the night of music kicked off with the Simon and Garfunkel 60’s hit “Mrs. Robinson” from “The Graduate”.   During the performance Sasha runs up to Ariana to grab a guitar.  John loved the performance; adding that they looked very comfortable singing the song.  Kelly thought the switching off of the harmonies was cool.  Ariana again called it her favourite performance. 

Last week’s instant save and Team Legend’s Jershika Maple takes on the legendary Sir Elton John with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and brought the coaches to their feet.  Host Carson Daly called it an incredible performance.  Blake said it was a performance that told people saving her was the right choice.  Ariana called it a powerful performance.  John said that everything about the performance said that she is a superstar talent.

In the first duet of the night, Wendy Moten and Paris Winningham take on Eric Clapton’s “If I Could Change the World”. 

Team Blake’s Lana Scott sings the Carrie Underwood song “Something in the Water”.  An excited Blake yells, “that’s what I’m talking about”.  John loved the performance.  Blake noted how consistent Lana has been; adding it was her best performance so far.

Team Kelly’s Hailey Mia sang “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Custodie.  Ariana said Hailey never looked or sounded more beautiful.  Kelly called Hailey’s voice nuts; adding that this is the most important week. 

Lana Scott returns to join Jim and Sasha for “Hold My Hand” by Hootie and the Blowfish.

Team Kelly’s trio Girl Named Tom return to the folk roots when they took on new Kennedy Center Honours Joni Mitchell with “River” and brought the coaches to their feet.  John said that they make beautiful music every week; adding that choosing Joni Mitchell was cool.  Kelly noted that the trio cares about every part of their performance. 

Jershika and Joshua sang “Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morrisette. 

Team Blake’s Wendy Moten sang “You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye.   In the rehearsal tape Wendy said that when it is all over she wants a duet with Blake at the Opry.  Blake said that he wanted an album.  Carson noted that nobody is messing around tonight.  Ariana called Wendy insane; adding that she has a gift form God.  Still on his feet, Blake said that Wendy sat on a stool and blew the roof off of the place; adding that it was historical.

Team Kelly’s Girl Named Tom and Hailey Mia join together for “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. 

Team Blake’s Paris Winningham performs the music of Teddy Pendergrass with “Close the Door”.  In rehearsals Blake noted that Paris is the guy women love and every guy wants to have a beer with.  Paris brought the coaches to their feet with his performance.  Kelly said that it was so good; adding that she didn’t know the song.  A laughing Blake said that Paris did exactly what he needed to do.  Blake said that he is married, but the performance made him feel something; adding that his heart was pounding.

Team Legend’s Joshua Vacanti closes out the show with the Celine Dion song “Ashes”.  Joshua noted that season nine winner Jordan Smith also did the song; adding that he has been following Jordan.  In rehearsals John noted that Joshua has only scratched the surface of what he is capable of doing.  Ariana said that the performance was stunning.  John called Joshua a brilliant vocalist and storyteller.

On Tuesday’s results show, three will go home as the final five are set no matter what team they are on.

Toadies

As the pandemic continues to migrate around the world, bands are continually reworking schedules as they strive to keep everyone from band members to fans as safe as possible.

As the numbers grew surrounding the Delta variant, the Toadies postponed their 25th anniversary “Rubberneck” tour.  Those dates have now been rescheduled and are set to begin next September.  Reverend Horton Heat will be joining the tour as the opening act.

The tour will feature the band performing their “Rubberneck” album in full.  Reverend Horton Heat will also be playing their “Liquor in the Front” album in full.

All previously purchased tickets will be honoured on the new dates.  For anyone who cannot attend the new dates, may obtain a refund from the point of purchase.

Texas fans can get a  sneak peak at what the Toadies have to offer with a few end of the year performances.

Toadies tour dates:
Dec 27 at Brewster Street in Corpus Christi, TX
Dec 28 at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio, TX
Dec 29 at Emo’s in Austin, TX
Dec 30 at Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth, TX
Sept 13 at Cain’s in Tulsa, OK
Sept 14 at the Diamond Ballroom in Oklahoma City, OK
Sept 16 at the Ogden Theater in Denver, CO
Sept 17 at the Grand Room at the Complex in Salt Lake City, UT
Sept 19 at The Marquee in Phoenix, AZ
Sept 21 at Observeratory North Park in San Diego, CA
Sept 22 at El Rey in Los Angeles, CA
Sept 23 at the House of Bues in Anaheim, CA
Sept 24 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, CA
Sept 25 at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, CA
Sept 27 at the Showbox in Seattle, WA
Sept 28 at the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR
Sept 29 at the Knitting Factory in Spokane, WA
Oct 4 at Knuckleheads in Kansas City, MO
Oct 5 at Pageant in St. Louis, MO
Oct 7 at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN
Oct 8 at Rave II in Milwaukee, WI
Oct 9 at the Metro in Chicago, IL
Oct 12 at the Royal Oak in Detroit, MI
Oct 13 at the House of Blues in Cleveland, OH
Oct 14 at the Madison Theater in Covington, KY
Oct 15 at Jergel’s in Pittsburgh, PA
Oct 16 at Irving Place in New York City, NY
Oct 19 at Paradise in Boston, MA
Oct 20 at the College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT
Oct 21 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NY
Oct 22 at the Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA
Oct 23 at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD
Oct 25 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN
Oct 26 at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, GA
Oct 27 at the House of Blues in Orlando, FL
Oct 28 at the Culture Room in Ft Lauderdale, FL

Early Influence Players Named to Baseball Hall of Fame

While the Baseball Writers Association of America will not reveal their decision for whom they will select as members of the Baseball Hall of Fame is still weeks away, six former professional ball players and pioneers have been selected to join the 2022 class of Hall of Famers.

The honour eluded former Negro League player Buck O’Neil while he was alive, but he will now be a part of history in two museums – the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Minnie Minoso, Gil Hodges, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, and Bud Fowler have also been selected to join the Hall of Fame.

At 83, Tony Oliva and  Jim Kaat are the only former players are the only two on the list still living.

Rule for entry into the Hall of Fame were changed last year which allowed former Negro League players to be eligible for induction.  Buck O’Neil, Minnie Miñoso and Bud Fowler are the first players to be honoured under the new rules.

While Jackie Robinson was the first player to cross the colour line in 1947, Buck O’Neil was the first man of colour to be a coach.  The two time All Star and Presidential Medal of Freedom honouree already has a life sized statue in the Hall of Fame.  He died in 2006 at the age of 94.

Born Saturnino Orestes Armas Miñoso in Cuba, he was the first non-white player to play for the Chicago White Sox.  He was a seven time All Star and a three time Golden Glove winner.

Born after the “colour line” was crossed in 1958, Bud Fowler is viewed as the first “Black professional baseball player”.

Gil Hodges will join Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese as a member of the “Boys of Summer” in The Hall.  Hodges was the manager for the New York Mets when he died as the result of a heart attack at the age of 47.

Tony Oliva had his career cut short after a knee injury; but prior to that he was a three time batting champion in the American League.

Pitcher Jim Kaat had a record of 283 wins and 237 losses in a 25 year career that also brought him 16 Gold Goves.

The players will be officially inducted into The Hall in a ceremony at The Hall in Cooperstown, New York  on July 24, 2022.

Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam’s front man Eddie Vedder is stepping away from his band mates for a short tour with his own band The Earthlings early next year.  Glen Hansard will be the opening act on the tour.

Eddie Vedder tour dates:
Feb 3 & 4 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, NY
Feb 6 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ
Feb 9 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL
Feb 15 at The Magnolia in El Cajon, CA
Feb 17 at the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, CA
Feb 21 & 22 at the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA

Keith Urban

Australian born Country rocker Keith Urban is set to tour three of the seven continents next year including his homeland.  Ingrid Andress will open the North American dates.

Urban spoke on the upcoming tour saying, “after two years we’re finally gonna get the chance to play some of the new songs we haven’t done live before. We’ll throw in a bunch of the songs that everyone comes to hear, a couple of which we’ll rework a bit, and it’s really gonna be tough to get us off the stage.”

He added, “I’ve always considered myself a live performer first. It’s what I’ve always done and it’s what my music needs to live and breathe. Our shows are all about living in the moment. They’re a totally interactive and immersive experience where everyone can participate in whatever way they want – sing, dance, do whatever.”

Keith Urban tour dates:
Feb 26 at the Choctaw Grand Theater in Durant, OK – this is a rescheduled event.  All tickets purchases will be honoured
April 28 at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, UK
May 1 at the O2 City Hall in Newcastle, UK
May 3 at the O2 Apollo in Manchester, UK
May 6 & 7 at the Eventim Apollo in London, UK
May 9 at the Edinburgh Playhouse in Edinburgh, UK
May 17 at the Mitsubishi Electric Halle in Dusseldorf, Germany
May 18 at the Zenith Munchen in Munich, Germany
May 19 at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt, Germany
May 21 at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Germany
May 22 at the RTM Stage in Rotterdam, Netherlands
May 24 at the Barclays Arena in Hamburg, Germany
May 27-29 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV
June 11 at the Carolina Country Music Festival in Myrtle Beach, SC
June 17 at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL
June 18 at the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
July 8 & 9 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON
July 10 at the CMAC in Canandaigua,  NY
July 15 at the Blossom Music Center in Cleveland, OH
July 16 at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
July 22 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA
July 23 at the Main Savings Amphitheater in Bangor, ME
July 24 at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH
July 29 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
July 30 at the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
July 31 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ
Aug 4 & 5 at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, FL
Aug 6 at The Wharf Amphitheater in Orange Beach, AL
Aug 12 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
Aug 13 at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, NC
Aug 14 at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA
Aug 18 at the Walmart AMP In Rogers, AR
Aug 19 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, MO
Aug 20 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, IA
Aug 26 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Detroit, MI
Aug 27 at the Ruoff Music Center in Indianapolis, IN
Aug 28 at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI
Sept 1 at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena in Lake Tahoe, NV
Sept 2 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA
Sept 8 at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ
Sept 9 at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in San Diego, CA
Sept 10 at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA
Sept 15 at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
Sept 16 at the Ball Arena in Denver, CO
Sept 17 at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, KS
Sept 22 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
Sept 23 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH
Sept 24 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL
Sept 29 t the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, MO
Sept 30 at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, OK
Oct 1 at the Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, TX
Oct 6 at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY
Oct 7 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN
Oct 8 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA
Oct 13 2022 at the Enmarket Arena in Savannah, GA
Oct 14 at the Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN
Oct 15 at the Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, WV
Oct 21 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT
Oct 22 at the UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY
Nov 3 at the Aliant Energy Center in Madison, WI
Nov 4 at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, IL
Nov 5 at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN
Dec 1 at the Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre in Gold Coast, Australia
Dec 2 & 3 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Brisbane, Australia
Dec 5 & 6 at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia
Dec 8 at the WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, Australia
Dec 12 at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in Newcastle, Australia
Dec 14 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia
Dec 16 & 17 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia

Carbon Leaf

The folk band Carbon Leaf are looking to spread a little cheer this holiday season with some live performances.  Barry, Terry, Carter, Jon, and Jesse promise a good time will be had by all – audience and band!

The December 12 date at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis includes two shows with an afternoon matinee.

The band also has a new album out “Hunting Ground”.

Carbon Leaf “Hunting Ground” tour dates:
December 10-12 at the Ram’s Head in Annapolis, MD
Dec 16 & 17 at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA
Dec 18 at The National in Richmond, VA

Iron Maiden

Hard rocker Iron Maiden will be taking Ed Force One out of the hangar next May to begin a tour of Europe and North America.  The tour has been set but the band has recently added some new European dates. 

The shows have been rescheduled form their original 2020 Legacy of the Beast tour dates.

Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast 2022 tour dates:
May 22 at Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia
May 24 at the Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia
May 26 at the Romexpo Open Air in Bucharest, Romania
May 29 at the VDNG in Kyiv, Ukraine
June 1 at the VTB Arena in Moscow, Russia
June 4 at the Rockfest in Hyvinkää, Finland
June 7 at the Groupama Arena in Budapest, Hungary
June 11 at the Download Festival in Donington Park, UK
June 13 at the Belsonic Festival in Belfast, UK
June 16 at the Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel, Belgium
June 18 at the Copenhell Festival in Copenhagen, Denmark
June 20 at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic
June 23 at the Tons of Rock Festival in Oslo, Norway
June 26 at the Paris La Defense Arena in Paris, France
June 27 at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands
June 30 at the Hellenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland
July 2 at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, Germany
July 4 at the Waldbühne in Berlin, Germany
July 7 at the Sonic Park in Bologna, Italy
July 9 at the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Germany
July 10 at the Neustadt Stadion Open-Air in Wiener, Austria
July 13 at the Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria
July 16 at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece
July 20 at the Bürgerweide in Bremen, Germany
July 22 at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden
July 24 at the PGE Narodowy in Warsaw, Poland
July 26 at the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany
July 29 at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain
July 31 at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal
Sept 2 at Rock in Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sept 7 at the Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico
Sept 11 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX
Sept 13 at the Moody Center in Austin, TX
Sept 15 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK
Sept 17 at the Ball Arena in Denver, CO
Sept 19 at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
Sept 21 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
Sept 25 at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, CA
Sept 27 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, CA
Sept 29 at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, WA
Sept 30 at the Spokane Arena in Spokane, WA
Oct 3 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, SD
Oct 5 at the United Center in Chicago, IL
Oct 7 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH
Oct 9 at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
Oct 11 a the Scotiabank Centre in Toronto, ON
Oct 12 at the FirstONtario Centre in Hamilton, ON
Oct 15 at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON
Oct 17 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA
Oct 19 at the UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY
Oct 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ
Oct 23 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Oct 25 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC
Oct 27 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL

Hot Water Music

When the new year begins Hot Water Music will be heading out on the road for a tour which includes some dates north of the border just as the weather begins to warm up in April.  Hot Water Music will be sharing the stage with The Menzingers on some of the dates.

The band has a new album coming out March 18th – “Feel the Void” – and are touring to promote the album.

Hot Water Music tour dates:
Jan 14 at The Bluebird in Denver, CO
Jan 21 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA
Jan 22 at The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA
Jan 23 at the Garden Amp in Garden Grove, CA
Feb 9 at the Ottobar in Baltimore, MD
Feb 10 at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH
Feb 11 at  The Crofoot in Detroit, MI
Feb 12 at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL
March 23 at The Sinclair in Boston, MA
March 24 at the Elsewhere in New York City, NY
March 25 & 26 at the Crossroads in Garwood, NJ
March 27 at the Underground Arts in Philadelphia, PA
April 9 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, ON
April 10 at the London Music Hall in London, ON
April 12 at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg, MB
April 13 at the Union Hall in Edmonton, AB
April 14 at the Palace in Calgary, AB
April 15 at the Capital Ballroom in Victoria, BC
April 16 at The Vogue in Vancouver, BC
Sept 16 at the Doug Fir in Portland, OR
Sept 17 at The Crocodile in Seattle, WA

REO Speedwagon & Styx

Classic rockers REO Speedwagon and Styx are joining forces to coheadline a tour next summer they are calling Live and UnZoomed.  Canadian rockers Loverboy will also be along for the festivities.  Many of the dates will be in outdoor venues.

Tommy Shaw of Styx spoke on the upcoming tour saying, “I can’t think of a better way of touring the USA next year than with good friends we’ve known for years and performed with on many a stage. What a great night of music this will be!”

Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon added, “Tommy (Shaw) and I have done a number of Zoom performances together during the pandemic, and REO and Styx are ready to go get UnZoomed, and out on the road for our fifth U.S. tour together. Add our great friends Mike Reno and the Loverboy guys, and I am totally psyched. If I wasn’t performing in it, I would totally come out to see this show. See you all, LIVE and UNZOOMED!”

Mike Reno of Loverboy also spoke on the tour saying, “we can’t wait to take the stage and rock this summer, it’s gonna be awesome. These are all the groups I grew up with, and I’m there too. Best tour of the summer…guaranteed.”

Live & UnZoomed tour dates:
May 31 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI
June 1 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
June 3 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in St. Louis, MO
June 4 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park, IL
June 7 at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI
June 8 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI
June 10 at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville, IN
June 11 at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH
June 13 at the Walmart Amphitheatre in Rogers, AR
June 14 at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, MO
June 17 at the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, GA
June 18 at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, FL
June 19 at the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
July 8 at the Bell Arena in Denver, CO
July 9 at the USANA Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City, UT
July 12 at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, WA
July 13 at the RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater in Ridgefield, WA
July 15 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA
July 16 at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, CA
July 19 at the North Island Credit Union Amphitheater in Chula Vista, CA
July 20 at the Ak-Chin Pavilion in Phoenix, AZ
July 22 at the Germania Insurance Amphitheater in Austin, TX
July 23 at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, TX
July 24 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, TX
Aug 5 at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach, VA
Aug 6 at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC
Aug 9 at the Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, TN
Aug 10 at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh, NC
Aug 12 at the Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA
Aug 13 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ
Aug 16 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, ON
Aug 17 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY
Aug 19 at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA
Aug 20 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ
Aug 21 at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY

NASCAR Crowns Champions

On December 2, 2021 NASCAR held its annual awards ceremonies in Nashville.  While the burnouts on Broadway were a bit hit, the presentation of the awards was the highlight of the week.

With his win in Phoenix for the final race of the season, Kyle Larson was crowned the champion.  Larson led 2,581 laps on his way to earning 10 wins for the Cup season.  NASCAR President Steve Phelps noted that this was Larson’s first championship; adding that he was sure it would not be his last.

Also earning their first championships, Ben Rhodes took home the trophy in the Camping World Truck Series and Daniel Hemric took the title in the Xfinity Series.

Winning his 14th championship as an owner, Rick Hendrick said, “It never gets old.”

Chase Elliott came up a little short to repeat as the champion but he took home the trophy for the Most Popular driver for the fourth year in a row.  Elliott noted that the fans have been a big part of his career.  Elliott also won the award twice when he drove in the Xfinity Series.

In the Xfinity Series, JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier won the Most Popular Driver award.  Allgaier joins fellow JR Motorsports winners Elliott Sadler, Regan Smith, and Danica Patrick.  JR Motorsports is owned by 15 time Cup Series Most Popular Driver winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Camping World Truck Series rookie driver Hailie Deegan took home the Most Popular Driver Award in the Truck Series.

Previously announced, Jeff Harmon – a longtime volunteer for Down Syndrome Louisville – received his award as the Betty Jane France Humanitarian winner.

Bob Jenkins was posthumously awarded the NMPA Myers Brothers Award.

Goodyear executive Stu Grant received the Buddy Shuman Award.

NASCAR Suspends Members

The NASCAR racing season may be officially over, but NASCAR continues to expect its members to follow the rule book.

Officials have suspended three Cup Series crew members indefinitely due to violating laws related to behavioural issues.

Motorsports Business Management crew chief Johnny Roten for the number 13 car has been suspended under NASCAR’s substance abuse policies.  When it comes to substance abuse, NASCAR has a no tolerance policy.

Front Row Motorsports hauler driver for the number 38 car and BJ McLeod Motorsports Xfinity Series car chief Austin Zivich were both suspended for violation for violating the behavioural policy.

NASCAR did not give any specifics of the violations but the crew members will have to undergo some form of “training” in order to be eligible to return to the sport.

Enter the Haggis

Earlier this year, Celtic rockers Enter the Haggis had to postpone their tour after an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.  Over the virus, the lads are about to hit the road again beginning with some end of the year shows.

Enter the Haggis tour dates:
Dec 29 at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural  in Old Saybrook, CT
Dec 30 & 31 at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, MA – this is a new location
Jan 1 at the Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY
Jan 28 at The Barns at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA
Jan 29 at the Phantom Power in Millersville, PA
Jan 30 at The Tin Pan in Richmond, VA
Feb 1  at the Café Wah in New York City, NY
Feb 3 at the Bank of NH Stage in Concord, NH
Feb 4 at the Waterville Opera House in Waterville, ME
Feb 24 at The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI
Feb 25 at the City Winery in Chicago, IL
March 3 at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford, MA
March 4 at the Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill, NY
March 5 at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA
March 6 at the Thunderbird Café & Music Hall in Pittsburgh, PA
March 11 at the Scott Recital Hall in Omaha, NE
April 2 at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts in York, PA
June 2 at the Center for the Arts in Natick, MA
June 3 at the Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth, MA
June 4 at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath, ME

Antarctic Dinosaurs Coming to Buffalo Science Museum

The Buffalo Museum of Science has four floors of exhibits ranging from learning about your health and ancient Egypt to learning about bugs and space.  But a portion of the second floor is reserved for the special exhibits.

On February 5, 2022 the Buffalo Science Museum will present Antarctic Dinosaurs.

The traveling exhibition from the Field Museum in Chicago presents never before seen fossils and a glimpse at one of the harshest climates on the planet.  We know Antarctica as an icy land, but at one time Antarctica was a lush green land.

Included in the exhibit are a 25 foot long Cryolophosaurus and real fossils that visitors can touch.

[[File:Cryolophosaurus skeleton mount FMNH.jpg|Cryolophosaurus_skeleton_mount_FMNH]]

The Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit was created by Field Museum, Chicago, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Discovery Place – Charlotte, NC, and the Natural History Museum of Utah with support from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.

Tickets are available for pre-sale now. Tickets for the Antarctic Dinosaurs exhibit includes admission to all of the museum’s exhibits. Adult ticket prices are $24, children from two to 17, members of the military, students, and seniors are $21, and Museum members are $6. Tickets to the exhibit are timed but visitors may remain inside the exhibit room as long as they like (or until closing time).

The Buffalo Museum of Science is located at 1020 Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo, New York. For more information contact the Museum at 716-896-5200. The Buffalo Museum of Science is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

feature photo credit: [[File:Buffalo Museum of Science – IMG 3890.JPG|Buffalo_Museum_of_Science_-_IMG_3890]]

RPM Sells Majority Stake

The name of Petty has been a part of stock car racing nearly as long as NASCAR itself.

Over the years Richard Petty Motorsports has been run under a variety of names including Petty Enterprises.  Team owner Richard Petty – also known as The King – is a seven time NASCAR champion who has won a total of 200 Cup Series wins during his career.

On December 1, 2021 Petty announced that he has sold a majority stake in his team to Maury Gallagher of GMS Racing.  The sale includes two charters which will be used during the 2022 NASCAR season.

In a statement Petty and Gallagher said, “this is a special moment for both organizations as the Next Gen car allows a new chapter to be written.”

Ty Dillon is scheduled to drive the GMS Racing number 94 car for the 2022 season.

Erik Jones drives the iconic number 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.  In the past AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson, Aric Almirola, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish Jr., Brian Scott, and Bubba Wallace have all driven the number 43 car for Petty.

feature photo credit: [[File:Richard petty (51370771398).jpg|Richard_petty_(51370771398)]]