Let The Sunshine In

(top row) Some original Hair production photos. Diane Keaton (far right) was in one of the early shows. (2nd row l to r) The Duluth Minnesota News Tribune sensationalized (on page one!) the 10 seconds of nudity at the end of act one with this censored photo and the headline “Does ‘Hair’ cast go all the way?” I’m thinking they sold more papers that day; Love beads; The cast at one of the performances in Germany. (3rd row left) The original show poster (3rd row middle) Four of the album covers of cast recordings (the original in the upper left) and a promotion banner created through the years. (3rd row right) Everyone gets into the act including Lulu, the hairiest of them all at bottom right.


Wow, what a glorious day here in Cleveburgh. After my run this morning, I found myself really enjoying spring in all its glory, watching the sun come up from my office overlooking Lake Erie – birds chirping, trees and flowers blooming and the fresh budding smells of the season. And, like you may often do, I found myself singing out loud that so familiar “sunshine” tune, as I cracked open my window to feel the warmth and rays of the sun. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that I can only sing in my office when no one else is around! It’s hard to describe in words, but fresh air and sunshine just puts me in a great mood as I head off to work and tackle your fun and challenging PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs of the day. For this week’s post, I did some digging, too, to learn more about the famous musical that rocked our culture of the day, and personally spoke to me years later (yes, as you know I am follicly challenged). Here is some fun reading about this awesome musical HAIR, a link to the Aquarius/Sunshine soundtrack and few of the other great tunes in the show – and thanks again Wikipedia and history.com.

  • In a year marked by as much social and cultural upheaval as 1968, it was understandable that the New York Times review of this controversial musical newly arrived on Broadway describes the show in political terms. “You probably don’t have to be a supporter of Eugene McCarthy to love it,” wrote critic Clive Barnes, “but I wouldn’t give it much chance among the adherents of Governor Reagan.” The show in question was Hair,
  • The now-famous “tribal love-rock musical” that introduced the era-defining song “Aquarius” and gave theatergoers a full-frontal glimpse of the burgeoning 60s-counterculture esthetic, premiered this weekend on Broadway almost 50 years ago.
  • Hair was not a brand-new show when it opened at the Biltmore Theater. It began its run 40 blocks to the south, in the East Village, as the inaugural production of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Despite mediocre reviews, Hair was a big enough hit with audiences during its six-week run to win financial backing for a proposed move to Broadway, exceedingly rare for a musical at the time, and a particularly bold move for a musical with a nontraditional rock and roll score.
  • The novelty of the show didn’t stop with its music or references to sex and drugs. Hair also featured a much-talked-about scene at the end of its first act in which the cast appeared completely nude on the dimly lit stage. It turned out that these potentially shocking breaks from Broadway tradition didn’t turn off Broadway audiences at all, as Hair quickly became not just a smash-hit show, but a genuine cultural phenomenon that spawned a million-selling original cast recording and a #1 song on the pop charts for the Fifth Dimension.
  • Hair tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves, and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb to the pressures of his parents, and conservative America, to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifist principles and risking his life.
  • Hair was conceived by actors James Rado and Gerome Ragni. The two met in 1964 when they performed together in the Off-Broadway flop Hang Down Your Head and Die, and they began writing Hair together in late 1964. The main characters were autobiographical, with Rado’s Claude being a pensive romantic and Ragni’s Berger an extrovert. Their close relationship, including its volatility, was reflected in the musical. Rado explained, “We were great friends. It was a passionate kind of relationship that we directed into creativity, into writing, into creating this piece. We put the drama between us on stage.”
  • The inspiration for Hair as “a combination of some characters we met in the streets, people we knew and our own imaginations. We knew this group of kids in the East Village who were dropping out and dodging the draft, and there were also lots of articles in the press about how kids were being kicked out of school for growing their hair long”. 
  • Said Rado, “There was so much excitement in the streets and the parks and the hippie areas, and we thought if we could transmit this excitement to the stage it would be wonderful…. We hung out with them and went to their Be-Ins [and] let our hair grow. “Many cast members (Shelley Plimpton in particular) were recruited right off the street. It was very important historically, and if we hadn’t written it, there’d not be any examples. You could read about it and see film clips, but you’d never experience it. We thought, This is happening in the streets,’ and we wanted to bring it to the stage.”
  • The first recording of Hair was made in 1967 featuring the off-Broadway cast. The original Broadway cast recording received a Grammy Award in 1969 for Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album and sold nearly 3 million copies in the U.S.  It charted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the last Broadway cast album to do so (as of 2016). It stayed at No. 1 for 13 weeks in 1969. The New York Times noted in 2007 that “The cast album of Hair was… a must-have for the middle classes. Its exotic orange-and-green cover art imprinted itself instantly and indelibly on the psyche…. [It] became a pop-rock classic that, like all good pop, has an appeal that transcends particular tastes for genre or period.”
  • Forty years after its initial downtown opening, Charles Isherwood, writing for the New York Times, placed Hair in its proper historical context: “For darker, knottier and more richly textured sonic experiences of the times, you turn to the Doors or Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell or Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin. Or all of them. For an escapist dose of the sweet sound of youth brimming with hope that the world is going to change tomorrow, you listen to Hair and Let the Sunshine In.”  Listen to Hair and Let the Sunshine In!

Watch & Listen: “Hair” LIVE @ The 2009 Tony Awards HERE
Listen to the original cast version: The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In) HERE
Listen to the 5th Dimension version: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In HERE





Do April Showers Really Bring May Flowers?

Walking into the office early this rainy morning, I marveled at the color explosion of the trees and flowers in the neighborhood. Around here, the tree buds are just turning that awesome bright green, birds are singing everywhere, signaling the much anticipated transition from winter to spring. As heat treating professionals who obsess with temperatures and quenching all day when solving your pesky PIA (Pain in the #$%) Jobs, I was wondering where the expression “April Showers Brings May Flowers” came from, and just what triggers all of these early blooms. So here is a little science (thanks Wikipedia), a little history (thanks Library of Congress), a little poetry (thanks feelingsandflowers.com) and some fun random facts about the arrival of spring.  Enjoy.

The poem as we know it today originated in 1557, in the form of a short poem written by Thomas Tusser, found in the April section of a collection of his writings titled, “A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry.” The poem goes as follows:

“Swéete April showers,
Doo spring Maie flowers.

While this poem is clearly a direct ancestor to the version we know today, we need to go back to the Fourteenth Century, where legendary poet Geoffrey Chaucer had his own say on the month of April in his famous collection of stories titled, “The Canterbury Tales.” Chaucer’s version goes as follows:

“Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour;”


“When in April the sweet showers fall

That pierce March’s drought to the root and all

And bathed every vein in liquor that has power

To generate therein and sire the flower;”

  • While Chaucer speaks of April in relation to March rather than April, it could certainly be said that while Thomas Tusser may be the father of this saying, Geoffrey Chaucer is certainly the grandfather.
  • There is meaning behind the words, as well. “April showers bring May flowers” is a reminder that even the most unpleasant of things, in this case the heavy rains of April, can bring about very enjoyable things indeed – an abundance of flowers in May – a good lesson in patience.
  • The proverb is an example of the spring cycle of renewal that many parts of the Earth go through, and can be scientifically analyzed. There are actually several contributing factors to the appearance of flowers in spring, primarily driven by temperature (yeah baby, we love temperature!!). As the days grow warmer, plants find it easier to grow, as they are genetically hard-wired to begin growth as the soil thaws and the frost becomes more distant. This combined with the rain is a perfect signal to the plant that it’s time to return to life, or begin life in the case of a seed or bulb.
  • Rain is at the forefront of positive stimuli bringing about floral displays in May. Increased levels of moisture in the soil help plants to grow faster and healthier. The water helps nutrients reach the roots faster as well, but an abundance of rain can actually slow the blooms.
  •  Springtime sees the return of many animals, birds and insects. The renewed ecosystem involving things eating and being eaten provides nourishment for new plants in the form of fecal matter and decaying organic compounds. The presence of insects also helps to pollinate the plants, which in turn allows them to reproduce.
  • In the United Kingdom and Ireland, one of the major causes of the often heavy April downpours is the position of the jet stream. In early spring, the jet stream starts to move northwards, allowing large depressions to bring strong winds and rain in from the Atlantic. In one day the weather can change from springtime sunshine to winter sleet and snow. The track of these depressions can often be across Ireland and Scotland bringing bands of rain followed by heavy showers (often of hail or snow) and strong blustery winds.  The same holds true in the US, as jet stream patterns can move northward, capturing chilling temperatures, and sweeping them down into the Great Lakes region.
  • Usually, we try to dodge April showers, but the one that arrives on the morning of April 22 may be worth seeking out. Every year in late April, the Earth passes through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), and the encounter causes a meteor shower – the Lyrids. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn. (Geek alert: Comet C/1861 G1 (Thatcher) is a long-period comet with roughly a 415-year orbit discovered by A. E. Thatcher. It is responsible for the Lyrid meteor shower. Carl Wilhelm Baeker also independently found this comet. The comet passed about 0.335 AU (50,100,000 km; 31,100,000 mi) from the Earth on 1861-May-05 and last came to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 1861-Jun-03.
  • Annuals, the flowers you have to replant each year, are different than perennials in that they can’t be planted each year until after the threat of frost passes. Once planted, what matters is the amount of rainfall in the months after they’re planted, not the month before. They need enough rain in the months after they’re planted to sustain their growth and health.
  • In some areas, a “false spring” may result in great harm to flowers and fruit crops. Early warm spells may trigger flowers to begin to bloom. If those warm spells are short-lived and are followed by a hard frost, flowers and fruit trees may die and not bloom again until the following year.
  • According to the 2017 Farmer’s Almanac, REGION 7: OHIO VALLEy – Spring will begin with cold rain and snow showers. April and May will be warmer than normal, with rainfall below normal in the east and above normal in the west. The end of spring will be predominantly sunny and mild, with occasional thunderstorms (pretty much what happens every year).
  • April showers also bring May rainouts – come on Tribe, let’s get rolling!





(top row l to r): Golf courses are beautiful, but this one is exceptional; Nice photo of Danny Lee of New Zealand playing his second shot on the fifth hole during the second round of the 2016 Masters (second row l to r): In 1934 Horton Smith won the very first Masters; Arnold Palmer used to say “Drive for show, putt for dough.” Amen; Jack Nicklaus has the most Master’s wins at six; Gary Player rounds out the top three greatest of their era with Palmer and Nicklaus (third row l to r): Tiger Woods is tied with Arnie at four Masters wins and tied with Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus as having the only back to back Masters wins; The Masters flag; the Masters trophy (fourth row l to r): Don’t know who’s lining up his putt here but it sure shows the intensity of play at the Masters; I’m on the far right of this motley crew photo at our recent (23rd annual) South Carolina Golf Trip; I love Phil Mickelson and I hope he joins Tiger and Arnie this year by winning his fourth Masters, but I ran out of room for his photo.


One of my favorite spring traditions is to watch the Masters golf tournament. For me, it’s more than just a great sporting event – it kicks off “spring” in my mind, and usually follows my traditional golf trip with 7 really, really, really determined golfing buddies! We celebrated our 23rd year by playing 139 holes over a recent 4 day period! Now, after all of our efforts there is something really special about the Masters, beyond just the competition. Great setting, typically great weather, dogwoods and azaleas in bloom, and sort of a salute to professionalism, sportsmanship and tradition. I decided that this week I’d poke around on the internet and capture some of the known and no-so known trivia about the tournament. Thanks as always to Wikipedia for the details. Enjoy.

  • The Masters Tournament, also known as The Masters or The US Masters, is one of the four major championships in professional golf, scheduled for the first full week of April, and it is the first of the majors to be played each year.
  • Unlike the other major championships, the Masters is held each year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in the city of Augusta, Georgia, USA. The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie.
  • The idea for Augusta National originated with Bobby Jones, who wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game. He sought advice from Clifford Roberts, who later became the chairman of the club. They came across a piece of land in Augusta, Georgia, of which Jones said: “Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it.
  • The tournament has a number of traditions. Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory, although it remains his personal property and is stored with other champions’ jackets in a specially designated cloakroom.
  • A golfer who wins the event multiple times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win (unless he needs to be re-fitted with a new jacket).
  • The Champions Dinner, inaugurated by Ben Hogan in 1952, is held on the Tuesday before each tournament, and is open only to past champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club.
  • Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play. These have included Fred McLeod, Jock Hutchinson, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.
  • Since 1960, a semi-social contest at the par-3 course has been played on Wednesday, the day before the first round.
  • Nicklaus has the most Masters wins, with six between 1963 and 1986. Palmer and Tiger Woods won four each, and five have won three titles at Augusta: Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, and Phil Mickelson.
  • The first “Augusta National Invitational” Tournament, as the Masters was originally known, began on March 22, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith. The present name was adopted in 1939. The first tournament was played with current holes 10 through 18 played as the first nine, and 1 through 9 as the second nine[9] then reversed permanently to its present layout for the 1935 tournament.
  • Gene Sarazen hit the “shot heard ’round the world” in 1935, holing a shot from the fairway on the par 5 15th for a double eagle (albatross). This tied Sarazen with Craig Wood, and in the ensuing 36-hole playoff Sarazen was the victor by five strokes.
  • The tournament was not played from 1943 to 1945, due to World War II. To assist the war effort, cattle and turkeys were raised on the Augusta National grounds.
  • The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus dominated the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event 11 times among them during that span. After winning by one stroke in 1958, Palmer won by one stroke again in 1960 in memorable circumstances. Trailing Ken Venturi by one shot in the 1960 event, Palmer made birdies on the last two holes to prevail. Palmer would go on to win another two Masters in 1962 and 1964.
  • Jack Nicklaus emerged in the early 1960s, and served as a rival to the popular Palmer. Nicklaus won his first green jacket in 1963, defeating Tony Lema by one stroke. Two years later, he shot a then-course record of 271 (17 under par) for his second Masters win, leading Bobby Jones to say that Nicklaus played “a game with which I am not familiar.” The next year, Nicklaus won his third green jacket in a grueling 18-hole playoff against Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer. This made Nicklaus the first player to win consecutive Masters. He won again in 1972 by three strokes and in 1975, Nicklaus by one stroke in a close contest with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller in one of the most exciting Masters to date.
  • Gary Player became the first non-American to win the Masters in 1961, beating Palmer, the defending champion. In 1974, he won again by two strokes. After not winning a tournament on the U.S. PGA tour for nearly four years, and at the age of 42, Player won his third and final Masters in 1978 by one stroke over three players.
  • Player currently shares (with Fred Couples) the record of making 23 consecutive cuts, and has played in a record 52 Masters.
  • The golf course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated.
  • The Masters has the smallest field of the major championships with 90–100 players. Unlike other majors, there are no alternates or qualifying tournaments. It is an invitational event, with invitations largely issued on an automatic basis to players who meet published criteria. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are all invited.
  • CBS has televised the Masters in the United States every year since 1956 when it used six cameras and covered only the final four holes. Tournament coverage of the first eight holes did not begin until 1993 because of resistance from the tournament organizers. In 2008, ESPN replaced USA and Universal as the weekday coverage provider. Westwood One has done the radio broadcast sine 1956.
  • As traditional as the green jacket, the Pimento Cheese Sandwich is another one of those beloved, (but odd) icons of the Masters.  Priced at $1.50, the sandwich, and its price, seem to be frozen in time.