Odds and ends: Beatles, Katrina, Beamon

Image from macblog.macmaster.ca.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ final American concert, held at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.

The 1966 tour hadn’t been a happy one for the Fabs — there was that international incident in the Philippines and the “bigger than Jesus” controversy. Moreover, with the early August release of “Revolver,” the group’s music had moved well beyond the relatively simple structures of the early Beatlemania days, but they were still playing the early catalog. “Eleanor Rigby” and “Love You To” never did get a live treatment from the Beatles.

Still, I know at least one person who was ecstatic to see them on that tour — at Shea Stadium, no less, thanks to an Army buddy of my father’s who worked for promoter Sid Bernstein. Lucky.

It’s also the 11th anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico landfall of Hurricane Katrina. I can remember sitting at my desk at CNN Center in Atlanta, incredulous that a Category 5 was going to smash into New Orleans, the city in which I was raised. (It was reduced to a Cat 3 just before landfall and hit just east of town, but was still incredibly destructive, of course.) My mother, who still lives in town, had decided to evacuate and came up to Atlanta that weekend, but she had to leave our cat, Nesbitt, behind. When we went back three weeks later, we found Nesbitt, but that was some of the only good news. Here’s a story I wrote about the experience, and here’s another I wrote last year.

Better yet, watch Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke.” Incredibly powerful.

Louisiana is now suffering the after-effects of the torrential rains that hit Baton Rouge, Lafayette and environs. If you’d like to help, here’s a list of ways to pitch in.

On a happier note, today is Bob Beamon’s 70th birthday. Let’s go out on one of the great sports achievements of modern times.


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