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Feb 05

Black History Month – Emmett Chappelle

Mr. Chappelle at work

I had not heard of Emmett Chappelle  until my oldest son did a paper on him in fourth grade.  This brief blurb does nothing to highlight the numerous contributions that Mr Chappelle has made to the area of science.  I pass this brief biography on so that you too may discover this “under the radar” brilliant scientist who was born on a farm in Arizona.

Born on October 15, 1925 on a  farm in Arizona, Emmett Chappelle was determined not to be shaped by his environment. The farm did not have electricity until he was twelve years old and he attended a one-room school.  After graduated from the Phoenix Union Colored High School in 1942, he was drafted into the US Army.  He was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program, where he was able to take some engineering courses.  Later, he was reassigned to the all-Black 92nd Infantry Division and served in Italy, where he was wounded in action.

After leaving the Army and returning to the United States, he received a Bachelor of Science in 1950 from the University of California and a Master of Science from the University of Washington in 1954. From 1950-1953 Mr. Chappelle was appointed an Instructor in Biochemistry at the Meharry Medical College. Between 1955 and 1958 Chappelle served as a Research Associate at Stanford University; later, Emmett Chappelle was appointed Scientist and Biochemist for the Research Institute of Advanced Studies at Stanford University, from 1958-1963.

Between 1963 and 1966 he worked as a Biochemist for Hazelton Laboratories, then as Exobiologist (1966-1970) and Astrochemist (1970-1973). Chappelle served as a Biochemist for the division of Research Center for Space Exploration. Beginning in 1977, Emmett Chappelle began working with Goddard Space Flight Center as a Remote Sensing Scientist.

He has received fourteen US Patents and been involved with over one hundred conference papers, peer-reviewed scientific and/or technical publications.  He has also been honored as one of the top 100 Black Scientists and Engineers of the 20th century.  He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007 and now lives in Baltimore with his family.

More information on Mr. Chappelle:  http://www.thehistorymakers.com/sites/production/files/A2012_234_Chappelle_Emmett_EAD.pdf


Feb 04

Tuneful Tuesdays – Cover Songs – Cum on Feel The Noize

I did a post last month referencing cover songs that become more famous than the original.  After doing a bit of research for that post, I discovered there was a plethora of songs that were covered that I had no idea were covers.  Therefore, I decided to feature a couple for Tuneful Tuesdays.  I hope you enjoy!

Quiet Riot

Feb 03

Black History Month Facts – Condoleezza Rice

Whatever your politics, you cannot deny the fierceness of Ms. Condoleezza Rice.  Not only does she know her college football and football in general, she started college at the University of Denver when she was merely 15 years old.

She was the first Black woman to be appointed national security adviser and U.S. Secretary of State. She is also the first woman and the first Black American to serve as provost of Stanford University.

Ms. Rice is an accomplished concert pianist.  At the age of 15, she performed a Mozart composition with the Denver Symphony and while serving as Secretary of State, she played with a chamber music group.  In addition, she performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has played with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.

Her favorite composer is Brahms, because as she puts it, his music is “passionate but not sentimental”.  Furthermore, she has stated that her favorite band is Led Zeppelin.


Growing up in Jim Crow Alabama, Ms. Rice was a witness to the effects of racism in the south.  She was eight when one of her school friends was killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963.  Her comment on that:

I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

— Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004


“The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations.

Those terrorists failed.”

Ms. Rice, you are one of my heroes.

Jan 21

Tuneful Tuesdays – The Police

pierMessage in a Bottle – Live and acoustic.

“Love can mend your life, but love can break your heart.”

Jan 20

Cover Songs More Famous than the Original

What is it about a song that captures your attention?  Is it the melody?  The bass line? Or is it the way the vocalist takes the lyrics and melody and makes it their own?


Here are some songs where someone other than the original vocalist/band took the song and made it their own.  You might be surprised at some of them.  I know I was.


“Blinded by the Light”  - Manford Mann’s Earth Band

Original Artist – Bruce Springsteen

I’d heard Manford’s version many times before Springsteen’s and well, while Springteen’s has that certain “Bruce something”, eh, I prefer Mann’s version.

“I Love Rock and Roll” – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Original Artist – The Arrows

“Me and Bobby McGee” – Janis Joplin

Original Artist – Kris Kristofferson

“Blue Suede Shoes” – Elvis Presley

Original Artist – Carl Perkins

“I Heard it through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye

Original Artist – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles


There are more, of course, Whitney Houston’s version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and Sinead O’Connor’s version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares to You”, plus numerous others.  These are some that stood out to me.


Hope you enjoyed!  Leave your favorite cover song in the comments and maybe I’ll feature it in a future post!



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