Gloria Estefan - March 24, 2014

Happy Monday, blog readers!  We at the American Treasure Tour have, as our loyal fans know, discussed many different elements of the tour of late - moving between our signs, the movie posters, record albums, manufacturers of mechanical music, yadda yadda yadda.  And of course we have examined the "Faces of the Tour."  Today, we are going to continue with the "Faces of the Tour," not because we are running out of other topics, but because we like to look a little closer at the celebrities honored with their own plaques....

It is time to spend some time focusing on the life and career of Gloria Maria Milagrosa Fajardo Garcia de Estefan, or more simply, Gloria Estefan.  She was born in Cuba in 1957, while her father worked as a bodyguard to then-President Fulgencio Batista.  Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution compelled the family to hastily emigrate to America a few years later ( dad Jose also participated in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961).  Gloria is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and may have been approached by the CIA to work for them as a translator before she began her career as a singer. Her band, the Miami Sound Machine, formed in 1977 and became amazingly popular internationally.  In fact, she has sold over 100 million albums across the world (with 31.5 million of those albums sold in the States!) in both English and Spanish.  With seven Grammy Awards under her belt, she is considered the most successful crossover performer in Latin music to date, and she continues to perform, with her most recent album, The Standards, being released just last year.

QUESTION:

Gloria and Emilio Estefan are part-owners of what professional athletic team?

a)  Jacksonville Jaguars 

b)  Tampa Bay Rays

c)  Florida Panthers 

d)  Miami Marlins 

e)  Miami Dolphins

Answer Below.

HISTORY TODAY:

The year was 1958, and teenage girls across the United States wept at the news.  Some wrote letters to the government in Washington, D.C., desperate to stop the tragedy.  But it was true: Elvis Presley received his draft notice on this date and would be off to Germany as part of a two year stint with the Army.  Worse, still, Elvis had to cut his hair!  Some believed that his draft was a government conspiracy designed to destroy the career of the controversial rock 'n roller.  If that was true, it didn't work.  He came back more popular than ever, and ready to jump into a new medium for the rocker:  the movies.

The older members of the ATT blog-writing committee recall the Exxon Valdez oil spill like it happened yesterday.  In fact, it happened on March 24th, 1989.  25 years ago!  It was bad.  Approximately 750,000 barrels of oil spilled into Alaska's Prince William Sound when the ship struck a reef just after midnight and punctured the hull under  mysterious circumstances.  The captain was apparently drunk but off duty, the ship may or may not have been up to code, and many questions followed the tragic accident. The remoteness of the Sound made it difficult for adequate environmental clean up, too, such that the oil spread over 1,300 square miles. There was no loss of human life, but intense environmental devastation in the area. The Valdez accident inspired many new rules in the effort to prevent future maritime pollution incidents.

BIRTHDAYS:

There have been way too many notable March 24th babies, so it has been especially challenging to highlight only two Americans born on this day.  We must sadly look past Ub Iwerks and his contribution to animation, presidential candidate Thomas Dewey, and actor Steve McQueen. Maybe next year. Today, we are going to recognize the pioneering spirit of the second ever Director of the American Geological Survey:  John Wesley Powell.  He held his position in the federal government for twelve years but, before taking on that assignment, he fought for the Union during the Civil War.  He lost an arm at the Battle of Shiloh, but continued fighting.  Then he became an adventurer and the first white man to explore the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.  He passed away in 1902 at the age of 68 having led a fascinating life.

Another interesting American celebrating a birthday today, whose career may not have been as constructive as Powells, was Clyde Barrow.  Born in 1909, the poor Texan had ambitions to be a rich man, although he did not have the patience to actually work for it.  He partnered with Bonnie Parker and a few other nogoodniks for a two year robbery spree that left a trail of bodies behind it.  By 1934, his was one of the bodies.  He was 25 years old when, on May 23rd, a posse of four Texas Rangers caught up with him and Bonnie in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.   

QUOTE:

The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself.  The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features.  Language and illustration combined must fail. - John Wesley Powell.

Answer:  e)  The Miami Dolphins.  The Estefans are the first Hispanic-American couple to buy a stake in a professional football team in the United States.