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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Squirrels with chainsaws

This has nothing to do with squirrels or chainsaws, I just thought that was a GREAT title. Plus, someone will google 'squirrels with chainsaws" and they will get this. I have always bored my kids talking about places I have been and people I have met. I was thinking today that I wanted to make a list of famous (or almost famous) people I have met. When I say I met them, I am not talking about seeing them across a room or hearing them speak. I am talking about having a conversation or more. Here you go - Political - Al Gore - then Senator Gore from Tennessee. I was his chauffeur for a ride to and from a rally we were having on Capitol Hill. I have a flag that flew over the Capitol and a letter from him thanking me. Richard Burr - then sales manager Burr from Winston-Salem, NC. I was in retail and he was working for a distributor trying to sell us products. Jesse Helms - on various occasions Jesse Jackson - at the time, he was running for president of the U.S. I was on an elevator, and he and his security got on. Athletes - Hakeem Olajuwon - then a center for the Houston Rockets David Thompson - then a forward for N.C. State. I actually played several pickup games with him on one side or the other. Joe Namath - then a retired pro quarterback. I gave him a cab ride in Ft. Lauderdale. Garo Yapremian - then the kicker for the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately for him, most famous for the "pass" he threw in the Superbowl that went nowhere (except to the Redskins). I actually have (or had) a tie that a company he started and ran made. Tommy John - then a retired pro baseball pitcher. Now most famous for the "Tommy John" surgery on elbows that he was the first recipient of. Entertainers/Personalities - Sinbad - then a stand up comic. Heather Locklear - then a relatively new face on TVs B.J. & the Bear Alan King - then the "godfather of stand up comedy" Jay Leno - then a stand up comedian and sometimes substitute host for the Tonight Show. Hulk Hogan - then a #1 draw in the wrestling world Roger McQuinn - then a rock and roll legend in the hall of fame for his work with the Byrds. I actually had lunch with him (and three or four others)at Skywalker Ranch in California. Tom Scott - one of the greatest jazz sax players in the world Dave Grusin - one of the greatest jazz pianist and composers in the world Three Dog Night - just after their career peaked in the early 70s. I was actually working security at their concert in Ft. Lauderdale and got assigned to the backstage area. I also saw them last year at a show by LG, and rode the elevator with two of them. Bob Denver - at the time, pretty much retired. He looked OLD! Also on an elevator. Eddie Egan - was running the security agency I worked for when I did the Three Dog Night concert. EE was the REAL detective that did the French Connection drug bust (that the movie was taken from). Buddy Martin - of Sox & Martin racing. I worked for Buddy for six or seven years in retail. If I could only list the people Buddy knew and talked to on the phone, this would be great! (every famous racecar driver you have heard from in the 60s and 70s) Alice Cooper - was eating dinner at a table next to ours at at steakhouse in Scottsdale, AZ. We traded greetings. He was with his Mom and was not too talkative. Business People Ray Kroc - founder of McDonald's - one of my jobs was in management for McDonald's Corp. I was first assistant manager at the McDonald's nearest to the Krocs Ft. Lauderdale home. I had dinner with him in our restaurant on two occasions. Sam Wurtzel - founder and chairman of WARDS Company - the company that owned the Circuit City Stores and eventually changed its name to Circuit City. I worked for WARDS at a time they were small enough for Sam and his son Alan to attend and participate greatly in our manager meetings in Richmond, VA, their home. H. Taylor Howard - the "father of the satellite dish". Taylor was the chairman of the board of SPACE, the satellite industry trade organization when I served on the board in the eighties. He built his own "earth station" to see what he could pick up in the late 70s or early 80s and the helped design systems for his friends co-workers and neighbors. He then founded Chapparal, the first company to built satellite equipment for home use. He worked at Stanford and JPL for years. He was a brilliant man. I have had this in the draft stage for over a week. I am going to post this today (Sat 6/21) and I will add to it as I remember them.

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