The setting for “The Good Ship Enterprise Birthday Party” could have been on the Good Ship Lollypop with Shirley Temple or another good ship, the “USS Enterprise” with George Takei. However, our party location for this week is inspired by one of our other birthday celebrants this week, the majestically joy-giving John Muir, “Father of America’s National Parks,” who is recognized for the protection of the 404,000 acres of forested, mountainous terrain of the Sequoia National Park.
We’re pitching our party tent under one of the sequoia trees in the “Giant Forest.” The tree we choose is “The Largest Tree On Earth” by volume. If you haven’t had the joy of seeing this tree in the wild, please put it on your post-pandemic, travel list.
You sense the joy the minute you walk under the canopy of the giant sequoia tree. HOORAY FOR THE JOY-GIVERS! (Note: The comments attributed to these famous joy-givers come from words they have written or said.)
Please give A ROUND OF APPLAUSE for these American joy-givers celebrating a birthday this week:
April 17—DON KIRSHNER was called “The Man with the Golden Ear.” As a music publisher, producer, talent agent and songwriter, he helped launch the careers of joy-givers: Bobby Darin, Tony Orlando, Neil Diamond and Carole King. Without him, the world might not have had relentlessly bouncy “Bubblegum Music,” such as The Monkees or The Archies. He produced and hosted the weekly television show, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert’ and is in the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Pardon the earworms but here are my list of “The 10 Yummiest Bubblegum Songs:”
- “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”–Ohio Express
- “I’m a Believer”—The Monkees
- “Jam Up and Jelly Tight”—Tommy Roe
- “Knock Three Times”—Dawn
- “I Think We’re Alone Now”—Tommy James and The Shondells
- “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”—Edison Lighthouse
- “Sugar Sugar”—The Archies
- “Smile a Smile for Me”—The Flying Machine
- “Easy Come, Easy Go”—Bobby Sherman
- “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’”—Crazy Elephant
April 18—SUPERMAN was born on the planet, Krypton, but he grew up in Smallville, USA where he was adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, a farming couple. They named him Clark and were amazed when he grew up to be “faster than a speeding locomotive” and have superhuman strength. The Kents advised Clark to use his gifts for the benefit of humanity. So, he became a newspaperman. Yes, I’m making this joy-giving story all about the wonder that is American newspapering. When he changed out of his street clothes and donned the blue tights and red cape—he flew, depending on whom you’re quoting, like a bird, or like a plane; he was—SUPERMAN! He fought bad guys like mad scientists and bad businessmen. He was the most-popular American hero for decades.
April 19—ALI WONG is a proud, loudmouth comedian, actress and humorist who doesn’t shy away from “all things considered blue.” Much of her stand-up comedy is slice-of-life about being Asian American and the exasperated mother of little children. Wong’s dad is Chinese American and her mother is Vietnamese. Her husband, Justin Hakuta, is the son of famous inventor, Ken Hakuta. Her father-in-law is Japanese American and her mother-in-law is Filipino. For three seasons, Ali Wong was a writer on the tv sit-com “Fresh Off The Boat.” (MISS MANNERS ALERT!!) If you haven’t had the joy of Ali Wong’s wide open and often risque’ commentary on motherhood, put her Netflix specials “Baby Cobra” and “Hard Knock Wife” in your queue. (One last warning, Ali Wong comedy is not for the faint-of-heart or super-conservative but is a complete joy-giving treat for millions of viewers.)
April 20—GEORGE TAKEI (born Hosato Takei) is a popular actor, author and freedom activist. He is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, the helmsperson of the “USS Enterprise” in the sci-fi television show, “Star Trek.” He also portrayed that heroic character in six “Star Trek” feature films and one episode of “Star Trek: Voyager.” Takei has 10 million Facebook followers where he often posts original, joy-giving comments. His internment in two, US-run “holding camps” during WWII provides a platform for him to speak about hopeful, immigration reform.
April 21—JOHN MUIR was a Scottish-American naturalist and author, and as was mentioned earlier, was known as “The Father of America’s National Parks.” He was an early advocate for preservation of the wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains, have been read by millions. Muir’s passionate and charismatic environmental activism helped preserve the Yosemite Valley National Park and Sequoia National Park. The Sierra Club, which he co-founded, remains a prominent organization for American conservation.
April 22—GLEN CAMPBELL, “The Rhinestone Cowboy,” was a singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host and actor. One of his most joy-giving contributions to American pop culture was as the host of “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” on CBS television which ran from 1969-1972. He released 64 record albums over the five decades of his career and sold 45 million records. His hits include: “Gentle On My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Southern Nights,” and, of course, “Rhinestone Cowboy.” He won numerous Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
April 23—SHIRLEY TEMPLE was the most popular American celebrity to endorse merchandise for children and adults, rivaled only by Mickey Mouse. She was a dancer, singer, actress, businesswoman and U.S. ambassador to Ghana and to Czechoslovakia. She appeared in 29 films from the ages of 3 to 10 and a sprinkling of films afterward. Shirley Temple retired from film in 1950 at the age of 22. She was the recipient of many awards, including a special “Juvenile Academy Award, “Oscar,” a Kennedy Center Honors award and a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
COMMENTS OVERHEARD at “THE GOOD SHIP ENTERPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY” for AMERICAN JOY-GIVERS:
“There is a superhero in all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape.”—Superman
“My dream was to be a trophy wife but then I found out to do that, you have to be a trophy. I’m more of a commemorative plaque.”—Ali Wong
“Good grief! If we can’t laugh at ourselves, and at one another, in good spirit and without malice, then what fun can be left? If we must withhold all ribbing in the name of protecting everyone’s feelings, then we truly are a toothless society. We will reach what I call “the lowest common denominator of butthurt.”—George Takei
“I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains.”—John Muir
“You’ve got to try a little kindness, yes, show a little kindness, just shine your light for everyone to see. And, if you try a little kindness, then you’ll overlook the blindness of narrow-minded people on their narrow-minded way.”—Glen Campbell
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. My mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”—Shirley Temple
“Dreams lift us up and transform us into something better. And on my soul, I swear until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice are the reality that we all share I will never stop fighting…EVER!”—Superman
“If I ever do a nude scene in a movie, I want to be just in shape enough so no one calls me ‘courageous’ for doing it.”—Ali Wong
“It’s really hard to hate someone for being different when you’re too busy laughing together.”—George Takei
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”—John Muir
“We didn’t have electricity when I was a kid. We had to watch television by candlelight.”—Glen Campbell
“Some people liked Rudolph Valentino. I liked Rin Tin Tin.”—Shirley Temple
“It’s not about where you were born or the powers you have or what you wear on your chest; it’s about what you do.”—Superman
“Yoga is ‘Simon Says’ for adults who have lotsa free time.”—Ali Wong
“I myself am a Buddhist, not a Christian. But, I cannot help but think that if Jesus Christ ran a public business, it would be open to all, and He would be the last to refuse service to anyone.”—George Takei
“To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.”—John Muir
“It seemed like fate was always leading me to the right door.”—Glen Campbell
“I don’t like to do negatives. There are always pluses to things.”—Shirley Temple
“I believe in second chances. I believe in redemption. But mostly, I believe in my friends.”—Superman
“I can tell I’m getting older because my Kindle is turning into a self-help library.”—Ali Wong
“The starship ‘Enterprise’ was a metaphor for starship Earth, and the strength of the starship ‘Enterprise’ lay in its diversity.”—George Takei
“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new life.”—John Muir
“I have cried and I have laughed. Laughing is a hell of lot better.”—Glen Campbell
“You’ve got to S-M-I-L-E to be H-A-Double P-Y!”
PARTY MENU FOR “THE GOOD SHIP ENTERPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY:”
APPETIZER—Glen Campbell Galveston Crab Balls (urbancowgirllife.com)
SALAD—John Muir Wilderness Forage Salad (inhabitat.com)
ENTRÉE—George Takei Starship Enterprise Pizza (wonderlandrecipes.com)
SIDE DISH—Ali Wong Hand-Pulled Asian Noodles (seriouseats.com)
BREAD—Don Kirshner Challah Monkee’s Bread (food.com)
BEVERAGE—Shirley Temple, The Good Ship Lollypop Cooler (see below)
DESSERT—Superman Cookies (food.com)
ONE TO GROW ON—This newspaper series is about happy, joy-giving people, places, things, moments. I’ll be the first to admit when I first heard about the 2014 documentary, “I’LL BE ME,” I was pretty certain it would be a downer. The film is about country music legend Glen Campbell embarking on one last concert tour as he is beginning his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. “I’LL BE ME,” exudes love, respect and compassion. There is real hope and deeply resonating joy found watching this real, hard story. The reason for the tour is simply that Glen Campbell asked to go—one last time. And, his loving family offered him a lifeline. “I’LL BE ME,” gives a lot of joy and there are even moments tinged with Glen Campbell’s joy-giving humor. He was forgetting some things, but he still knew his music and that he was surrounded by love. He remembered to tell his adoring fans and his family that he appreciated and loved them.
Now, back to the stars twinkling in the black velvet, big sky through the leaves of the giant sequoia tree. Everyone at “The Good Ship Enterprise Birthday Party” raised their Shirley Temple pink mocktail and the former child star gave a toast, adding, “Don’t forget to tell your favorite people that you love them.”
THE SHIRLEY TEMPLE GOOD SHIP LOLLYPOP COOLER
- 1/2 tbsp. grenadine
- 1/3 cup lemon-lime soda
- 1/3 cup ginger ale
- Maraschino cherry for garnish
- Pour grenadine into a Collins glass with ice cubes.
- Top it with equal amounts of lemon-lime soda and ginger ale.
- Stir well.
- Garnish with cherry.
- Serve and enjoy with occasional attempts at tap-dancing.
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