Thursday, May 25, 2017

It's actually Geek Pride Day

Happy Towel Day

Remember a towel is "about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have."



Towel Day is celebrated every May 25th as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams. On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author, as referenced in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.



(How cool was that)



So don't panic.



May 25, 1953 -
Universal-International
released their first 3-D feature film, It Came from Outer Space, directed by Jack Arnold (and based on a story written by Ray Bradbury,) starring Richard Carlson, Barbara Rush, and Charles Drake in the US, on this date.



This was one of the few American movies from the 1950s to place its credits at the end rather than at the beginning.


May 25, 1966 -
Norman Jewison's Cold War
comedy, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming, premiered on this date.



Ordinary townspeople were used as extras in the film. They were so thrilled to be a part of production that the rushes were shown at the end of each day in a local theater. The townspeople went every night, bringing the entire family just to watch the rushes.


May 25, 1977 -
In a time long ago and in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas began legally printing money with the release of the first Star Wars movie, which for reasons only know to George was titled - Stars War IV: A New Hope.



George realized that he did not have enough money so he released Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on this date in 1983.



George Lucas fired his friend and producer of the previous two Star Wars movies, Gary Kurtz, before production began (although some sources say he simply quit on his own) as Kurtz disagreed with Lucas' assertion that audiences didn't care for the story but for the spectacle.


May 25, 1979 -
Twentieth Century Fox released the science fiction film Alien, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt and John Hurt, on this date.



The blue laser lights that were used in the alien ship's egg chamber were borrowed from The Who. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the soundstage next door.


Possible new sponsor


Today in History:
May 25, 1521
-
Charles V, a Holy Roman Emperor (Who was neither holy or a Roman - he was just a German King) issues the Diet of Worms edict (which neither helps you lose weight nor comprised of non-arthropod invertebrates,) on this date.



Martin Luther, German monk and all around killjoy, couldn't stomach this diet (as it declaring him an outlaw for not eating worms, banning his writings, and requiring his arrest) and goes off to start the Protestant Reformation.


May 25, 1793 -
The first Catholic priest, Father Stephen Theodore Badin, was ordained in the United States and sent on a mission in Kentucky, on this date.

Though Catholicism existed in the US before Badin's ordination, it was mostly in Maryland, and no priest had actually been ordained on American soil. Badin's ordination was a landmark in the spread of Catholicism in America.


May 25, 1803
-
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on this date. Emerson whose original profession, a Unitarian minister but secret calling was as, an amateur plumber, left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking.



Emerson became one of America's best known and best loved 19th century figures, writing such works as Trust Thyself and carry a self-threading snake and Bacchus on the chamber pot.


May 25, 1895 -
Lax laundry standards in Victorian England helped convict British playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde of "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons," to wit: buggering some rent boys. Some of the evident against Wilde was presented by a hotel housekeeper who stated that she had seen young men in Wilde’s bed and  noticed that there were fecal stains on his bed sheets.



For his crime, Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor in Reading jail. Perhaps, he should have taken up forgery instead.


May 25, 1925 -
John Scopes
was indicted for violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, on this date, which prohibits the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee public schools. Evolution was a theory put forth by Charles Darwin, whose boat was named "the Beagle." People objected to this theory, which put forth the proposition that mankind had evolved from life forms with hairy red asses.



This resulted in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, in which Spencer Tracy gave a long monologue that changed everyone's minds even though it was so darn hot in the courtroom.

It is now commonly accepted as fact that mankind evolved from life forms with hairy red asses, a proposition that anyone who's been to the beach lately shouldn't find too hard to accept.


May 25, 1950 -
The Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel, the longest-continuous, underwater-vehicular tunnel (measuring 1.7 miles long between portals) in North America, opened in NYC, on this date.



A parade of dignitaries led by Mayor William O’Dwyer and Robert Moses, head of the newly created Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, traveled by motorcade through the tunnel where they were welcomed by a cheering crowd on the Manhattan side.


May 25, 1961 -
President John F. Kennedy proposed to Congress on this date, a goal for the U.S., "before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."



The USSR had become the first country to send a man into space the month before, and Congress embraced Kennedy's plan.


May 25, 1996
-
The body of Bradley Nowell was discovered in his room at San Francisco's Ocean View Motel on this date.



Nowell, lead singer for radio trio Sublime, was killed by an accidental smack overdose.

Oops.


May 25, 2001 -
Erik Weihenmayer
was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on this date. He also completed the Seven Summits in September 2002. His story was covered in a Time article in June 2001 titled Blind Faith.



He is author of Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye can See, his autobiography.



And so it goes



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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The streets will be awash with seamen

Make sure you are wearing your rubbers -



The 29th annual Fleet Week in NYC will take place from Wednesday, May 24, 2017 to Tuesday, May 30, 2017.


May 24, 1968 -
The Rolling Stones
released Jumping Jack Flash, in Britain, on this date.



The Rolling Stones have played Jumping Jack Flash during every tour since its release; it ranks as the number the band has played in concert most frequently.


May 24, 1989 -
The third movie in Steven Spielberg's salute to Saturday afternoon serials, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, premiered nationwide on this date.



Steven Spielberg is on record as saying he made the film for two reasons: 1) to fulfill a three-picture obligation he had with George Lucas, and, 2) to atone for the criticism that he received for the previous installment, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


May 24, 1991 -
MGM released Ridley Scott's controversial (at the time) take on the 'buddy movie', Thelma & Louise, starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, on this date.



Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster were originally chosen for the leads and accepted the roles, but preproduction took too long and both actresses had to drop out due to other commitments. Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep wanted to make a movie together and Thelma & Louise was one of the scripts they considered. Ultimately, they decided to star in Death Becomes Her instead.


Don't forget to check out our other site: Dr. Caligari's Cupboard


Today in History:
May 24, 1610
-
Buggery was criminalized for the first time in North America by Sir Thomas Gates, when the Virginia colony declares that "no man shall commit the horrible, and detestable sinnes of Sodomie upon pain of death."

I've just read that the real punishment for breaking this new law was - Whipping -a good strong butt whipping.  I see. (This is what came from the lack of good lubrication in the early colonies.)


May 24, 1626 -
Peter Minuit
was the director-general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland who was credited with the purchase of the island of Manhattan on this date.



According to legend, he persuaded the natives—perhaps a Metoac band of Lenape known as the Canarsee, who were actually native to what is now Brooklyn - to "sell" the island for a handful of trade goods worth approximately 60 guilders (appx. $24.)

I've often said that there are those in Congress looking to give New York back to the Indians.


May 24, 1686 -
Gabriel Fahrenheit was born on the date. Mr Fahrenheit did pioneering work in the field of temperature. It was his dream to develop a more sophisticated temperature measurement system than the accepted worldwide standard of his era, which consisted of only seven gradations: brr!, cold as hell, chilly, warm, hot, hot as hell and ow!.

Hard at work on the same problem was his colleague Anders Celsius. Mr Fahrenheit eventually discovered the "degree." It took 32 of Mr Fahrenheit's degrees to freeze water and 212 of them to boil it. Mr Celsius, meanwhile, had discovered a different kind of "degree."

It took only a hundred of his degrees to bring water to a boil, and, even more impressively, he discovered that water would freeze without any degrees at all.



By requiring fewer degrees to get things done, and less tick marks on thermometers, Mr Celsius's system was more compact and economical than Mr Fahrenheit's. This made it a natural for the crowded lands of Europe, where storage came at a premium. In the great unsettled expanse of the New World, however, space was not an issue and Mr Fahrenheit's system took hold.


May 24, 1819 -
Queen Victoria was born as Princess Alexandria Victoria at Kensington Palace, London on this date. Through a series of accidents, debauched living and bad planning on the part of her uncles, she became Queen. She reigned for 64 years, and lent her name to an era best remembered for its prudery and chastity.



Remember, this was the time when one put skirts on piano legs for fear of arousing the passions of young men. This pent up frustration resulted in so many citizens having to stay home and care for their children, since Victoria's reign also saw the largest population explosion in British history.


May 24, 1844 -
Samuel F. B. Morse formally opens America’s first telegraph line, when he demonstrated a magnetic telegraph, sending a message from the chambers of the Old Supreme Court courthouse in Washington D.C. to his partner, Alfred Vail, at the Mount Clare Depot of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company in Baltimore, Maryland, on this date.



Vail responded by retransmitting the same message back to Morse.  The message, "What hath God wrought?" was the first message sent on a commercial telegraph line.


May 24, 1856 -
A small gang led by abolitionist John Brown murdered five unarmed pro-slavery homesteaders in Franklin County, Kansas, on this date, hacking them to pieces with swords.



The event comes to be known as the Pottawatomie Massacre.


May 24, 1883 -



The Brooklyn Bridge (originally the New York and Brooklyn Bridge), one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, stretches 5,989 feet (1825 m) over the East River connecting the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn opened for business today. On completion, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. Since its opening, it has become an iconic part of the New York Skyline and is still considered one of the Wonders of the Modern World.



The first person to jump from the bridge was Robert E. Odlum (and not Steve Brodie) on May 19, 1885.

Robert, a swimming teacher, made the jump in a costume bearing his initials. He survived the pre-announced jump, but died shortly thereafter from internal injuries. Apparently, no one told him taking the high dive off the bridge would get him killed.

This showed him.


May 24, 1920 -
Senile French President Paul Deschanel fell off a train bound for Montbrison, and was later discovered wandering along the track in his pajamas. The Station master's wife later commented that she knew he was a gentleman because he had such "clean feet."

Soon afterwards, Deschanel walked out of a state meeting, straight into the fountains at the Rambouillet chateau, fully clothed.

As I mentioned yesterday, The French, they are a strange race. (Interesting side note - the actress Zooey Deschanel is related to the former president.)


May 24, 1927 -
The final levee breach of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 occurred at McCrea, Louisiana, on the east bank of the Atchafalaya levee. The flood, which began several weeks earlier, along the Mississippi killed some 500 people and displaced thousands.



The levee system broke in 145 places and caused 27,000 square miles of flooding in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.


May 24, 1928  -
The airship Italia, commanded by General Umberto Nobile, crashed while attempting to reach Spitzbergen, during its return flight from the North Pole on this date.



Nine men, including Nobile survived the initial crash.


May 24, 1941 -
Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham Zimmerman
, a young boy from a small shtetl called Duluth, in the great state of Minnesota, don't ya know, who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades, was born on this date.







Even Zigman and Anna's grandson, Shabtai came back to the standards.


May 24, 1941 -
During the Battle of the Denmark Strait (World War II,) the German battleship Bismarck sank the HMS Hood on this date



More than 1,400 crewmen died; only three survived.


May 24, 1962 -
Scott Carpenter becomes the second American to orbit the Earth when he is launched into space aboard NASA's Aurora7 space capsule, on this date.



Carpenter circles the globe three times, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles before his spacecraft splashes into the Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral about five hours later.


May 24, 1976  -
In France, on this date, two California wines won a tasting event over several French classics for the first time. Stephen Spurrier, English owner of a wine shop and wine school in Paris, held a competition tasting of French and American wines.



The best red wine was a 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. The best white wine was a 1973 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena, owned by Jim Barrett.



And so it goes.


Before you go - And now for something completely different - the history of the entire world:



Now that you know everything you need to - you may go on with your life.


Tomorrow is Towel Day, you know what you need to do - DON'T PANIC!



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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today is World Turtle Day.

The purpose of World Turtle Day, sponsored yearly since 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue, is to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and tortoises, and encourage human action to help them survive and thrive.







It's celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities.


May 23, 1929 -
Walt Disney released the ninth film in the Mickey Mouse film series, The Karnival Kid on this date



This is first cartoon in which Mickey Mouse speaks. His first words are "Hot dogs!"


May 23, 1966 -
The Beatles released the single Paperback Writer on this date



This was a song that led the transition from early Beatles style to later Beatles style, from love songs to opening up the subject of songs to a wider variety of subjects. Paul's Aunt had been bugging him for months, challenging him to "Write a song that wasn't about love." So he wrote this just to shut her up.


May 23, 1969
-
... It's a boy Mrs. Walker, it's a boy ....



The Who released Tommy, the first rock opera on this date.

Somehow this may or may not be connected with the fact that



the BBC gave the go-ahead for 13 episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus on this date as well.


May 23, 1980 -
Stanley Kubrick's
classic horror thriller The Shining, opened on this date (I remember seeing it at the midnight showing on this date in Time Square.)



At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. Bizarrely, the trailer consists entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water.


May 23, 1984 -
Steven Spielberg/ George Lucas' theme park thrill ride film, Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom, opened on this date.



The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.


May 23, 1997 -
Steven Spielberg's sequel monster movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park opened nationally, on this date (this date must be a lucky day for Steve.)



Julianne Moore admitted that she did this film to pay off a divorce settlement.


Better lives through pharmaceuticals


Today in History:
May 23, 1430
-
The French, they are a strange race.

A little french shepherdess goes out into a field for a picnic. And instead of getting food poisoning, which was common, heard the voice of God, which is not.



Joan, heeding God's command, heads the army of France to rout the English and help crown a new French King. And for her troubles, Joan of Arc captured by Burgundians today at Compiegne, who sold her to the British. The British, known for their sense of humor, gave Joan the ultimate hot foot.



This is what comes from being the messenger of God.


May 23, 1498
-
What a day for an auto da fe...

Religious fundamentalist Girolamo Savonarola was executed in Florence, Italy, on this date, for his many heresies, after being excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI. The Catholic Church had already excommunicated the Dominican friar the year before, but Savonarola continued to preach for radical reforms. Among other things, he held bonfires of the vanities for his parishioners' worldly possessions, because they competed with the word of God for attention.



Brother Savonarola was first hanged along with two accomplices and their bodies burned. He was burned on the same spot as his famous 'bonfire of the vanities.'

This is what comes from trying to follow your own understanding of God's words. (Karma's a bitch.)


May 23, 1618 -
In what is later called the Second Defenestration of Prague, (yes there was a First) three men representing the soon-to-be Emperor Ferdinand II are thrown from a window in the Hradshin Palace by Protestant noblemen.



Luckily for the imperial emissaries, they land on a large pile of manure and survive (Catholics immediately proclaimed that God’s angels had saved them from certain death.) But when Ferdinand assumes the throne the following year, all hell breaks loose in Europe, starting with Bohemia.



Thus begins the horrific religious conflict that comes to be known as the Thirty Years War. Shockingly, given the European sense of time, the war actually lasted 30 years. It is generally agreed that the war set back the continent a full century.


May 23, 1701 -
Captain William Kidd was hanged in London on this date. After the first attempt fails when the rope snaps, Kidd was brought right back to the gallows and the process repeated. After death, the body is slathered in tar, chained up, and suspended over the Thames where it remains for years as an example to others considering a life of piracy.



Again, the British and their sense of humor.


May 23, 1734 -
Friedrich Anton Mesmer was born on this date.

Mr. Mesmer was a physician and hypnotist who developed a peculiar method of therapy-by-suggestion that bears his name to this day: Antonism.



(Antonism should not be confused with antonyms, an antonym for synonyms. Synonyms should not be confused with cinnamon, which is used on hot buns. It will spare embarrassment at the breakfast table if hot buns are confused with hot buns.)


May 23, 1873 -
The Northwest Mounted Police were founded on this date.  The Northwest Mounted Police was one of the first police forces in the Northwest Territories - present day Alberta and Saskatchewan - and the predecessor of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also known as the Mounties.



Please rise for the playing of the Mounties Anthem



Yes, this has nothing to do with that fine organization but isn't your day just a little better for having heard this again?


May 23, 1900 -
Sergeant William Harvey Carney from Company C of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, was the first African-American soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, on this date, (although he did not get his medal until nearly 40 years after the battle.)

Carney was a soldier in the Civil War, and received the medal for saving the Union flag during a fierce battle, the Battle of Fort Wagner outside of Charleston, S.C. on July 18, 1863, despite the fact that he was severely wounded.


May 23, 1911 -
More than one million books were set in place for the official dedication of The New York Public Library (on Fifth Avenue on the site of the old Croton Reservoir and the largest marble structure in the US) on this date – exactly 16 years to the day since the historic agreement creating the Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations had been signed.

The ceremony was presided over by President William Howard Taft and was attended by Governor John Alden Dix and Mayor William J. Gaynor.

Please, all of you who forgot to return your books from the opening day, return them. All is forgiven.

No questions asked.


May 23, 1934 -
A group of FBI agents and police officers from two states ambush the notorious Bonnie and Clyde on a highway near Gibsland, Louisiana, on this date.



The men open fire as the bank robbers drive past the concealed posse, unloading hundreds of rounds into the car.




And so it goes.



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