Friday, March 24, 2017

Raise your glass

Today is National Cocktail Day but since it is Lent,

I shall be abstaining, (that's my story and I'm sticking with it.)


Stopping TB requires a government program that functions every day of the year, and that's hard in certain parts of the world. And partly it's because of who tuberculosis affects: It tends to affect the poor and disenfranchised most.  - Tom Frieden

Today is World Tuberculosis Day, commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.



(also it is supposed to remind people that tuberculosis still remains an epidemic in much of the world.)


It's also National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day - a day to enjoy this tasty combination of chocolate and fruit. Chocolate lovers who like raisins, find the combination simply irresistible. Kids find them irresistible, too.



Just make sure nobody owns a rabbit (or a guinnea pig, believe me, we know from personal experience) at the home where you are enjoying those Raisinets (TM).


March 24, 1939 -
... The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.....

Twentieth Century Fox's released on this date, the first of 14 films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles.



The film was such a hit that Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were hired to play Holmes and Watson on the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This radio series consisted of new Sherlock Holmes stories written by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green.

Oh Watson, the needle


March 24, 1951 -
Scent-Imental Romeo
, another funny Looney Tunes short starring Pepé Le Pew, was released on this date.



This is the only Golden Age Pepe Le Pew cartoon in which Pepe does not continue chasing the cat (nor catches her) in the end.


March 24, 1973 -
Pink Floyd
, release the album Dark Side of the Moon, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, on this date.



I wonder how it did on the charts?


March 24, 2005 -
NBC-TV
allowed us to follow the goings on at Dunder Mifflin when The Office, starring  Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski,  Jenna Fischer, and B.J. Novak premiered on this date.



John Krasinski accidentally insulted Greg Daniels while waiting to audition for the series by telling him, "I hope they [the show's developers] don't screw this up," as had been done to many British series adapted to American television. It was at this point that Daniels introduced himself to Krasinski as one of the show's developers.


What you find at the edges of the interweb


Today in History:
March 24, 1401
-
Tamerlane conquered Damascus on this date. Tamerlane (Timur the Lane) was a descendant of Ghenghis Khan, and one of the greatest Tater leaders ever, expanding the Mongol empire from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Tamerlane is best remembered for having built pyramids out of human skulls, owing to a faulty understanding of architecture which no one ever had the courage to correct.

Feel free to bring this up at the next cocktail party you attend, perhaps tonight, while you are celebrating National Cocktail day.


March 24, 1603 -
Tudor Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen," died on this date. She had reigned from 1558-1603 and claimed never to have had a date.



Scottish King James VI, son of Mary, became King James I of England in the union of the crowns.


March 24, 1874 -
Harry Houdini, Erik Weisz (Ehrich Weiss) magician, escape artist, performed his first trick when he escaped from his mother's womb in Budapest on this date.



He is still working on perfecting his final trick of coming back from the dead.


March 24, 1895 -
Arthur Murray, American dancer who founded dance schools, was born on this date.



He proved to millions of Americans that they have no innate sense of rhythm.


March 24, 1944 -
76 Allied officers escaped Stalag Luft 3 on this date. In 1949 Paul Brickall wrote The Great Escape. The story of Jackson Barrett Mahon, an American fighter pilot, and the Allied POW escape from Stalag Luft III in Germany during WW II.



The 1963 film The Great Escape starred Steve McQueen, directed by John Sturges, was based on the true story.


March 24, 1958 - (Please note, you are about to see Elvis, stripped to the waist. Should you need healing of any sort, please press your sweaty hand upon the screen and your even damper palm upon your afflicted region.)
Elvis Aron Presley entered the United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on this date, and then spent three days at the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Reception Station.

While in the army, Elvis met his future wife, Priscilla, at a party. He left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.


March 24, 1975 -
Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from King's Lynn, England, died laughing while watching an episode of The Goodies, featuring a Scotsman in a kilt battling a vicious black pudding with his bagpipes on this date.



After 25 minutes of continuous laughter Mitchell finally slumped on the sofa and expired from heart failure. His widow later sent The Goodies a letter thanking them for making Mitchell's final moments so pleasant. (And the address where they can send her check.)


March 24, 1989 -
Cold Fusion was announced 28 years ago on this date.

To celebrate this amazing advancement in energy, Captain Joseph Hazelwood downed, in rapid succession, five double vodka on the rocks and piloted the Exxon tanker Valdez.



He ran the Valdez into a well-charted reef at Prince William sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil. An estimated 250,000 seabirds were killed.

Oops



And so it goes


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Thursday, March 23, 2017

It missed by this much

March 23, 1989 -
A 1000-foot diameter asteroid misses the Earth by only 500,000 miles on this date.

(Astronomers did not see it until it passed.) To commemorate the event, today has become known as Near Miss Day.

Oops


Huzzah, it's also Melba Toast Day.



The toast so named for the the Australian Opera singer Nellie Melba by her great admirer (and world famous French chef Auguste Escoffier.)



but folks, get a grip, it's just toast.


March 23, 1910 -
Akira Kurosawa
, Japanese film director (Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Ran), was born in Tokyo, Japan on this date.



One his closest friends was Ishirô Honda, the writer-director behind Godzilla.


March 23, 1990 –
Garry Marshall
surprise comedy hit (which at one time was called $3,000,) Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere premiered in US theatres on this date.



Edward (Richard Gere) snapping the necklace case down on Vivian's (Julia Roberts) fingers, was improvised by Gere, and Roberts's reaction (laughter) was totally natural. The filmmakers liked it so much, they decided to leave it in.


A little R & R


Today in History:
March 23, 1369
-
Pedro the Cruel, King and tyrant of Castile and Leon, was murdered on this date. Enrique, the illegitimate son of Alfonso XI of Castile, killed his half brother Pedro I in the Castilian civil war and became King Enrique I the Bastard of Castile.

Once again, I must ask, what the hell were people thinking when they named their children.


March 23, 1534 -
Pope Clement VII declared that the marriage between Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon was still valid, even though they'd been divorced the previous year and Henry had already married Anne Boleyn.

Henry decides to trump Clement with his extra I and invents his own religion and appoints a more agreeable pope.


March 23, 1840 -
Englishman John William Draper becomes the first person to successfully photograph the Moon.

The image, a full moon, is a daguerreotype, precursor of the later photograph.


March 23, 1908 -
Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.



 Joan Crawford, actress (both legitimate films and porn), executive and child beater was born on this date.


March 23, 1912 -
Wernher von Braun, German - born rocket pioneer who led the development of the V-2 rocket during World War II was born on this date.





He was deemed one of the The Good Germans we collected as a bonus prize at the end of the war. Von Braun was said to be the preeminent rocket engineer of the 20th century.


March 23, 1919 -
Benito Mussolini founded his own party in Italy on this date. He had tried all the other parties, but he was an awkward young man and had a hard time getting to know people. His Fasci di Combattimento ("Evil Fascist Bastards Party") was extremely popular, however, and even the cool kids came.



It got so crowded that the neighbors started complaining, which ended up starting a big fight, and the rest is history.


March 23, 1925 -
Tennessee Governor Austin Peay signs the Butler Act into law, making illegal the teaching in public school "any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible", on this date.



Teacher John Scopes couldn't think of anywhere else to teach evolution, so he ignored the ban and was later prosecuted in what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, which resulted in an Oscar for Spencer Tracy.


March 23, 1956 -
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth (from 1947 until 1956, it was referred to as the Dominion of Pakistan,) on this date.  Following the fighting in Pakistan and India in 1947 Muslims moved to Pakistan, creating a country where 96% of the population are Muslim.



Pakistan was the first modern nation to call itself an Islamic republic in conjunction with a largely secular constitution. Currently Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population.


March 23, 1961 -
Valentin Bondarenko was a young cosmonaut who had been doing routine medical tests in a pressure chamber as part of an isolation exercise, on this date. He removed some biosensors from his body and used a cotton ball moistened with alcohol to wash the sticky stuff off his skin.

He tossed the cotton ball aside and it landed on an electric hot plate, where it caught fire. Because the chamber's atmosphere was pure oxygen, the fire spread quickly. Bondarenko was removed from the chamber alive, but he died soon after of shock.Bondarenko's death was kept secret for 25 years. The fatal Apollo 1 disaster could have been averted if NASA had been aware of the accident


March 23, 1965 -
NASA launched Gemini III, nicknamed the “Molly Brown,” from Cape Canaveral on this date. It was the United State’s first maneuverable two-man mission. The mission was crewed by astronauts Virgil IvanGusGrissom and John W. Young.



The flight was the first for Young, who breaks quarantine regulations by smuggling a sandwich into orbit to share with Grissom. Before the end of the mission, Young would become the first man to eat a corned beef sandwich in space. Crumbs from the "weightless" sandwich scattered throughout the Gemini 3 spacecraft, posing a potential, if unintentional, flight safety risk. This rules violation caused NASA to clamp down on what astronauts could and could not carry into space.


March 23, 1997 -
Five dead bodies are found arranged in a cross formation at the burned Quebec home of Didier Queze. They were members of the Solar Temple cult who in 1994 to 1996 had totaled 69 suicides in Europe and North America.

Interestingly, in San Diego, The Heaven's Gate suicides (completely different set of nuts) leave 39 dead, all wearing NIKE shoes and many of the male members of the pact had previously voluntarily removed their members.



I believe this is the corollary to Thoreau's 'beware of all enterprises that require new clothes' - NEVER join a cult that requires you to remove your genitals.



And so it goes.


1400


Before I forgot - here are the answers to yesterday's quiz


O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
We will all be heading back to the Satellite of Love on April 14th when Netflix releases the reboot of  Mystery Science Theater 3000. The series, featuring Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston and Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester and Patton Oswalt as TV’s Son of TV’s Frank -



We've got Movie Sign - Again!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In case you are playing the home version

Today is the earliest day on which Easter Sunday may occur,



not that it occurs on this date, Easter is April 16th this year.


The lack of potable water is the second leading cause of death in many Third World countries (and it could be a lot sooner than you think in California.) World Water Day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



So remember, after your morning coffee (or tea,) please remember to recycle your 'precious bodily fluids'.


Two leading lights of twentieth century musical theatre were born on March 22: Stephen Sondheim (1930), best known for his work on Gypsy, West Side Story, Company and Sweeney Todd and Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and Phantom of the Opera.













By some mysterious natural process of compensation, March 22 is also the birthday of Marcel Marceau (1923), best known for Actor Trapped in a Role.




March 22, 1931 -
...The longer I go about living, I see it's the relationship that is most meaningful....



William Shatner, arguably the world's (or at least Canada's) greatest actor was born today on this date.


March 22, 1963 -
The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, was released in the UK on this date.  The album went to the top of the UK charts in two months and remained there for 30 weeks.



Please Please Me has been ranked in the top 50 of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" by Rolling Stone. In the US, most of the songs on Please Please Me were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing... The Beatles in 1964 and subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965.


March 22, 1978
The seminal mockumentary about The Pre-Fab Four, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, directed by Eric Idle and Gary Weis and starring some people from Monty Python and some other people from SNL, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.



Eric Idle was inspired to make the film when George Harrison showed him a rough cut of a documentary on The Beatles titled The Long and Winding Road. That documentary eventually became The Beatles Anthology.


Record review


Today in History:
March 22, 1622
-
A band led by the Brothers of Powhatan slaughtered 347 settlers near Jamestown, a quarter of the population, in the first Native American massacre of European settlers on this date.

Just think if those indigenous people had just followed the thought all the way through ....


March 22, 1687 -
Classical music and vanity do not mix, if fact, they can really kill you.

In early January of 1687, Jean-Baptiste de Lully, court music and gossip to King Louis XIV of France and notorious buggerer (but that's another story ...) was conducting a musical piece, beating time on the floor with a long staff. This was the common practice at the time before hand-held batons became the norm. He slammed his big toe.



The wound abscessed and eventually turned gangrenous. He refused to have his toe amputated (as he first started as a court dancer) because he could not bear the thought of disfigurement. The wound turned gangrenous and the infection spread, killing him three months later, on this date.


March 22, 1895 -
Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures in Paris using celluloid film. Unless it was March 19, 1895, or December 28, 1894, or cellulite instead of celluloid. And it may have been in Milan, or Warsaw, and it's possible it wasn't Louis and Auguste Lumiere, but Max and Emil Skladanowsky.



It depends who you ask. It wasn't much of a movie anyway—just footage of workers leaving the Lumiere Factory at the end of their shift—so the ambiguity surrounding its debut shouldn't be so surprising.



In honor of the Lumiere Bros 100 year anniversary, in 1995, 40 film directors created short films using the same type of camera the Lumiere brothers used. If you have the time, please seek out the film Lumiere and Company.


March 22, 1958 -
Michael Todd, movie producer, (and one of the myriad of husband's of Elizabeth Taylor) and three other people were killed in the crash of Todd's private plane Lucky Liz, near Grants, New Mexico, on this date. In his autobiography, Eddie Fisher, who considered himself to be Todd's best friend (and another one of the myriad of husbands of Elizabeth Taylor,) stated that no fragments of Todd had been found, and that his coffin contained only his ring.



The Los Angeles Times reported in 1977 that Fisher's story was false - remains of Todd were indeed found and buried. His remains were desecrated by robbers, who broke into his coffin looking for the ring. The bag containing Todd's remains was found under a tree near his plot.

How big was that bag?


March 22, 1960
The first laser was patented (US Patent #2,929,922) by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes under the title Masers and Maser Communications System.

There is no mention of whether or not drugs were involved in the creation of the laser or what album they were listening to at the time.


March 22, 1972 -
National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended ending criminal penalties for possession of marijuana on this date.



Follow along (this may be on a different test) - so far, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have made private, non-medical possession of marijuana treated as a civil, non-criminal offense. Five additional states - Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio - treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Four states - Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington - impose no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.


March 22, 1978 -
One of the Flying Wallendas, 73 year old Karl Wallenda, plunges to his death on a cable strung between two hotels in San Juan, PR on this date.



Oops!



And so it goes.


1401


Before you go - Don't forget to check out today's quiz on the Russian Monarchy


And another thing - I was reminded of a video (that I may have already posted it years ago) while alighting on the shoals of the wonderful website Casa de Ricardo, a great mashup of Cookie Monster and Tom Waits -