vic fortezza
3 min readNov 25, 2022

RIP hockey great Borje Salming, 71, who succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Born in Sweden, he won two world championship medals playing for the national team. He did everything in his 23-year career except win a Stanley Cup. He made his North American debut in 1973 with Toronto, for whom he played 16 seasons. He holds six career and single season Maple Leafs records including most career points by a defenseman, most career goals by a defenseman, most career assists (any position), most assists in a season by a defenseman, and best career plus-minus. He was an All-Star six straight seasons. He was the first Swedish (and European) player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. His #21 was retired by the Leafs. He was a dad of six. Awesome, sir. Facts from Wiki, photo from Google Images:

Last night I had a rock station from iheart radio playing in the background as I played Microsoft solitaire games, then trivia games at A song I have no recollection of from back in the day, which I hear now and then on that station, was cued: Black Betty by Ram Jam. London’s Bill Bartlett rearranged Lead Belly’s 59 second song and released it on the while a member of Starstruck on the band’s own label, and it was a regional hit. NY producers picked it up and formed Ram Jam around Bartlett. The track was re-released and became a hit nationally, hitting #18 in the USA and the top ten in the UK and Australia, and powered the album into the Top 40 in America. Even though the song was credited to Huddie Ledbetter, the NAACP and Congress of Racial Equality called for a boycott due to the lyrics. The group’s second album went nowhere. It was not Bartlett’s only moment in the sun. He was the lead guitarist on the Lemon Pipers Green Tambourine, which was #1 in the USA in 1968 and a huge hit worldwide. Bartlett claimed his inspiration for Black Betty was white pinup up girl Bettie Page. No one is quite sure who or what Lead Belly is singing about. He adapted the song from a 1933 acapella take recorded at a Texas prison by career criminal James “Ironhead” Baker. Facts from Wiki and an article by Henry Yates at Here’s a three-minute video of the track, not live. It’s hard rock:
And here’s a still of Bartlett, photo from GI:

And his muse, from GI:

Class dismissed.

The forecast was eerily accurate, claiming the light rain would cease mid-afternoon. The floating book shop was delayed two hours and I displayed only ten percent of the wares. My thanks to the woman who bought a book in Russian, and to the gentleman who took home The Natural by Bernard Malamud; and to those who purchased books on Thanksgiving on Bay Parkway.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.