Dave Brubeck was taking a horse ride with his father one day when he saw something that would haunt him for the rest of his life. He was along on a cattle-buying trip with his father, Pete, a rancher in Northern California. Pete Brubeck asked an African-American cowboy who everyone called "Shine" to come over and greet his son. Pete Brubeck then asked Shine to open his shirt. Brubeck, then only 6, watched as Shine unbuttoned his shirt to reveal a brand on his chest: He had been marked like cattle. Shine was the first black person Brubeck had ever seen. A furious Pete Brubeck told his son that "something like this never should happen again." Brubeck, the pioneering jazz pianist who died this month at 91, did more to help people like Shine than most people realize. The tributes that poured in after his death tended to focus on the same themes: He was the jazz legend whose "Dave Brubeck Quartet" gave the world the jazz standard "Take Five," he stretched the boundaries of jazz and was a champion for civil rights.
Family's journey to honor relative traces American history.
Every year around this time, the multiplexes start filling with so-called "serious" movies -- the Oscar bait, the festival winners, the indie fan favorites. But for the last few years, those films have had a problem: They haven't attracted much of an audience at the box office.
Animated television specials are among the most cherished holiday traditions of yuletide revelers young and old. Mention "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965), "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964) or "Frosty the Snowman" (1969) and people light up like Charlie Brown's tree (after the kids gave it a little love), Rudolph's nose, or the hot sun that melted poor Frosty. You can thank "Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol" -- the first animated Christmas special -- for that holiday gooeyness. It premiered 50 years ago this month.
Roy Pickler lay on the floor, dripping with sweat, as trainer Bob Harper quipped, "You look like you got run over by a reindeer." Pickler's job as a professional Santa was a constant joke on the latest season of "The Biggest Loser." With his long white beard and protruding stomach, the 63-year-old looked every bit the part he played. By the time he was voted off the show, Pickler had lost 88 pounds. During his elimination interview, he donned a Santa hat and told viewers his toned physique wouldn't stop him from bringing Christmas joy to children.
America should be forced to see one of the young Newtown victims, says Roland Martin, a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House."
How Santa got his reindeer, explains Laura Galloway, a communications entrepreneur and journalist studying Sami culture.