#AtoZChallenge – Reflections


It was my sixth year participating, and I was very happy with my theme (1968). As in past years, I’ve tried to ensure I can cover the tougher letters (Q, X, Z) before I settle on my theme.

But 1968 wasn’t my first choice. I had a few other ideas, and maybe I’ll use them for future challenges. Or, I might choose 1969 as next year’s theme!

Typically, I start planning right after the holidays. I set up an Excel spreadsheet and fill in the blanks under each letter with as many ideas as I can come up with. This way, I try to have some variation each day. 1968 was dominated by troubling news, it seemed, so I decided to add a song at the end of the post, for balance. I used the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles and worked my way up to #1, making sure I had a decent video for each song.

I gained a few new followers through the challenge, and discovered a dozen or more blogs, which I added to my own follow list. While I was disappointed that more folks didn’t ‘like’ or leave a comment on my daily posts, that part was out of my control. I tried to keep my posts short (under 300 words), knowing that people wanted to visit multiple blogs during April.

I’ll be back next year, God willing.

#AtoZ 1968 – “Z” is for Zodiac killer


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Zodiac-killer

The ‘Zodiac Killer’ was a serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer’s identity remains unknown.

The killer originated the name ‘Zodiac’ in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press. The letters included cryptograms.

There have been suspects named by law enforcement, but there’s never been any conclusive evidence brought forth. The case remains open in San Francisco, as well as in the Vallejo, Napa County, and Solano County.  The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969. The first murders widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the shootings of high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on December 20, 1968, just inside the Benicia city limits. The couple were on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School about three blocks from Jensen’s home. The couple instead visited a friend before stopping at a local restaurant and then driving out on Lake Herman Road. At about 10:15 p.m., David Faraday parked his mother’s car in a gravel turnout, which was a well-known lovers’ lane. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby.

While officially connected to five murders and two attempted murders, the Zodiac Killer hinted that he had killed at least 37 victims. After taunting the police and the public with nearly two dozen letters, he seemed to vanish in the late 1970s. But his twisted legacy endures, having inspired three real-life copycat killers and dozens of books, TV shows and movies—including, most famously, Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the film “Dirty Harry.”

(Sources: Wikipedia and History)

A to Z badge 2
BONUS MUSIC!

The #1 song from Billboard’s Top 100 Singles of 1968 was “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. This video runs a little over 8 minutes, but I can’t close out my A to Z posts from 1968 without including it. Enjoy!

Sunday Music Bonus 1968


There’s no blog post today, but I’ll be back tomorrow to conclude this year’s A to Z Challenge with the letter “Z.”

But it’s the last Sunday in April, and I’m featuring Grammy Award winners on Sundays. The winner of Album of the Year went to Glen Campbell and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Here is Mr. Campbell performing the title song of the album:

#AtoZ 1968 – “Y” is for Yale


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Yale

On November 14, 1968, Yale University announced it would admit women. Yale, founded in 1701, is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Yale has graduated five US Presidents, 19 Supreme Court Chief Justices, and many living billionaires, as well as numerous heads of state. In 1793, Lucinda Foote passed the entrance exams for Yale, but was rejected on the basis of her gender. Women studied at Yale as early as 1892 in graduate-level programs.In 1966, Yale began discussions with its sister school, Vassar College, about merging to foster coeducation at the undergraduate level. At that time, Vassar was all-female and part of what was known as the Seven Sisters – an association of seven liberal arts colleges in the Northeast. The colleges – Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley – served as sister institutions to the Ivy League when the Ivy League still only admitted men. Yale introduced coeducation in 1969, and Amy Solomon was the first woman to register as a Yale undergraduate. The undergraduate class of 1973 was the first class to have women starting from freshman year.

Note: It cost $3,300 for the 1968-69 year at Yale. It’s a bit more expensive these days.

A to Z badge 2

BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #3 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles for 1968

“Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro

#AtoZ 1968 – “X” is for XR-7 Cougar


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

xr7 Cougar

The Mercury Cougar was referred to as a “pony car,” and like its mentor, the Ford Mustang, it was affordable, compact, and had a sporty or high-performance image. In the Cougar’s case, it was about performance. Available as a base model and the XR-7 shown above, it was a two-door beauty. By 1968, the Cougar had federally-mandated side marker lights and front shoulder belts. A V8 engine was standard on all XR-7s.

Comfort and performance options available for the Cougar included the “Tilt-Away” steering wheel that swung up and out of the way when the driver’s door was opened. And in 1968, a new option was available: a factory-installed electric sunroof. It was available on any hardtop Cougar, but rarely ordered on early cars.
(Source: Wikipedia)

 

A to Z badge 2

BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #4 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

#AtoZ 1968 – “W” is for the White Album


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

BEATLES

Its title isn’t really “The White Album,” it’s simply “The Beatles.” But it was their ninth studio album, and everyone knew who The Beatles were. The record was released on November 22, 1968, and its plain white cover only had the group’s name on it.

Most of the songs on the album were written in March and April 1968 in India. The Beatles returned to London in May to record the album, but there were problems – creative differences between members, and more notably, the presence of Yoko Ono (not yet John Lennon’s wife).

Most music critics wrote favorable reviews of the album, and “The Beatles” hit number one on both the UK and the US music charts.

Many (many!) have recorded what is my favorite song from the White Album, but here he is, Sir Paul McCartney, in a performance from Abbey Road Studio:

 

A to Z badge 2

BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #5 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“People Got to be Free” by The Rascals

#AtoZ 1968 – “V” is for Vietnam


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Vietnam 2

It would be impossible to write anything about 1968 without including Vietnam. More than 3 million people were killed (including over 58,000 Americans). The war bitterly divided Americans.

The series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is worth watching, as it details the history (back to the end of World War II) that led up to the conflict, and has interviews with those who fought and those who opposed it.

By 1962, the United States military presence in South Vietnam had reached some 9,000 troops, compared with fewer than 800 during the 1950s. By June of 1965, 82,000 combat troops were stationed in Vietnam, and by November 1967, the number of American troops there was approaching 500,000.

Class was always the domestic issue during the Vietnam War, not communism. ~ John Gregory Dunne

Vietnam

By March 1968, Johnson promised to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Peace talks opened in May 1968 but soon reached an impasse.

I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost – and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along. ~ Walter Cronkite

A to Z badge 2

BONUS MUSIC!

Here’s the #6 song from Billboard’s Year-End Top 100 Singles of 1968

“Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream