Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ineffabilis Deus

I believe some of you are really going to need an old lady in church, saying the rosaries on a Thursday afternoon to explain this one to you:
December 8, 1854 -
Pius IX promulgates the doctrine of Immaculate Conception - the Virgin Mary is free from original sin (and not the other thing some of you think.)

Later, she achieves permanent fame when despite of her marriage, she finds herself in the family way by her acquaintance with a Supreme Being.

December 8, 1952 -
In some weird cosmic irony, the episode Lucy Is Enceinte first aired on CBS-TV ("enceinte" being French for "expecting" or "pregnant") on this date.

CBS would not allow I Love Lucy to use the word "pregnant", so "expecting" was used instead.

December 8, 1976 -
Asylum release the fifth studio album of the Eagles, Hotel California, on this date.

Hotel California would go on to sell 16 million copies in the U.S. and double that figure worldwide.

December 8, 1978 -
The EMI Film and Universal Pictures produced Michael Cimino film, The Deer Hunter, starring Robert De Niro, John Savage, Christopher Walken, John Cazale and Meryl Streep, premiered in Los Angeles on this date

Director Michael Cimino convinced Christopher Walken to spit in Robert De Niro's face. When Walken actually did it, De Niro was completely shocked, as evidenced by his reaction. In fact, De Niro was so furious about it he nearly left the set. Cimino later said of Walken, "He's got courage!"

The Canadian postal service has been giving Jolly Old St. Nicholas a helping hand. For more than 35 years, Canada Post has been helping Santa with his huge holiday volume of mail. Thanks to Canada Post's Santa Letter-writing Program, children can write to the jolly old fellow in virtually any language, including Braille, and receive a response in the same language.

Santa's correct address happens to be:

Santa Claus
North Pole H0H 0H0

(Please note the zip code)

Or you can get an e-mail from Santa at - Santa's corner. You better hurry though, Christmas is just around the corner (and if you are a kid - what the heck are you doing reading this blog, it's not appropriate for  you.  Although you could go into your parents room while they are sleeping and fill an envelope with those green pieces of paper in their wallets and send it to me at ...)

Today's holiday special - So this is Christmas

Today in History:
Henry Laurens, the Fifth President of the Continental Congress, became the first person to be formally cremated in the U.S. in 1792 on this date.

Things would have gone on in a more dignified manner if Mr Laurens was deceased at the time (just kidding - he was quite dead, especially after the cremation.)

December 8, 1793 -
Mme. du Barry, mistress of Louis XV, did not go quietly to that good death. On the way to the guillotine she continually collapsed in the tumbrel and cried "You are going to hurt me! Why?!" She became quite hysterical during her execution: "She screamed, she begged mercy of the horrible crowd that stood around the scaffold, she aroused them to such a point that the executioner grew anxious and hastened to complete his task."

Her last words to the executioner: "Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment," (One moment more, executioner, one little moment) were her most famous.

How insensitive of her to be such a pain.

December 8, 1961 -
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter, was spawned on this day (Think the movie, Splice).

Let us remember that this woman suggested that ... Even Obama's staunchest supporters are starting to leave him. Last week Michelle Obama demanded to see a copy of his birth certificate.

December 8, 1963 -
Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Nevada on this date. After Frank Sinatra paid the $240,000.00 random, Jr. was set free a few days later. It has always been speculated that Sinatra, Jr. cooperated with his abductors in their plot.

Frank Sr. was not happy. As punishment Frank Jr. was forced to become a fat, dumpy, bald headed guy who had to conduct the big band for Frank Sr. and all was well.

December 8, 1980 -
John Lennon was shot by a lunatic, Mark David Chapman, outside Lennon's apartment in New York City mere hours after receiving the Beatle's autograph.

Chapman was carrying around his dog eared copy of Catcher in the Rye.

For those of you who remember the book, I leave it to you to draw any conclusions.

December 8, 1982 -
Norman D. Mayer barricaded himself inside the Washington Monument and threatens to blow it up unless all nuclear weapons are dismantled. He was shot by police after 10 hours.

That's what you get for sticking up the largest prick in DC.

And so it goes

Before you go - It's apparently National Brownie day today, as opposed to 'Send Kevin the loose bills in your pocket day.'  According to several sources, Brownies seem to have made their first appearance at the Parker House Hotel in Chicago in 1893 celebrating the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago, (you may find their original recipe for the brownies on the hotel's website.)

My contribution to the days' festivities is my family's recipe (if you need to bring a dessert somewhere this holiday season; this is the one.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

We'll have some fun now

December 7, 1945 -
Universal Pictures released the horror film House of Dracula, directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Martha O’Driscoll and Lionel Atwill, on this date.

House of Dracula actually features four different actors in the role of the Frankenstein Monster. In addition to Glenn Strange, Boris Karloff plays the Monster in footage lifted from Bride of Frankenstein and the climax uses scenes of both Lon Chaney Jr. and his stunt double, Eddie Parker, as the Monster from The Ghost of Frankenstein.

December 7, 1958 -
Tim Butler, bass player and co-founder of the Psychedelic Furs was born on this date.

We'll let him serenade Joan, the birthday girl. (It would be very rude to ask how old she is?)

December 7, 1960 -
MGM released the science fiction film Village of the Damned, directed by Wolf Rilla and starring George Sanders on this date.

Originally begun in 1957 as an American picture to star Ronald Colman, MGM shelved the project, when Colman passed away in 1958 and was replaced by George Sanders. Interesting fact George Sanders married Colman's widow Benita Hume in 1959.

December 7, 1969 -
Another Rankin/Bass production, Frosty the Snowman, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

June Foray provided the voices of Karen, the Teacher and the other children. However, starting with the third airing of the special, most of her recordings as Karen and the other children were replaced with the voices of actual young children.

December 7, 1979 -
Paramount Pictures released the science fiction film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, directed by Robert Wise and starring a bunch of TV actors on this date.

The cast hated the uniforms, which required assistance in order to be removed. In fact, one of the cast's conditions for returning in a sequel was to have new uniforms.

Today's holiday special: Olaf's hero

Today in History:
December 7, 43 BC -
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, famous Roman writer and orator, literally gets his head handed to him on this date, when soldier in Marc Antony's army chopped off his head and right hand then displayed them in the Roman Forum.

Now there's a holiday display you don't see that often.

December 7, 185 -
Emperor Lo-Yang of China took a stroll on in his imperial garden on this evening and saw a Supernova.

Who knew he was such a Liz Phair fan?

December 7, 1907 -
Christmas seals first went on sale in the United States went to raise funds to treat tuberculosis, after Emily Bissell, a social worker and activist, read about the program in an article by Jacob Riis.

In 1903, Einar Holbøll, a Danish postal clerk developed the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp on mailed holiday greetings during Christmas. The money raised could be used to help children sick with tuberculosis.

It was on this day in 1941 that Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor. The attack came after the United States had frozen Japanese assets and declared an embargo on shipments of petroleum to Japan.

On the morning of December 7, soldiers at Pearl Harbor were learning how to use a new device called radar, and they detected a large number of planes heading toward them. They telephoned an officer to ask him what to do. The officer said they must be American B-17s on their way to the base, and he told the soldiers not to worry about it.

A sailor named James Jones, who would go on to write the novel From Here to Eternity, was in the mess hall that morning.

There were ultimately 2,390 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 wounded. Two days after the attack, the Navy passed out postcards to the survivors and told them to write to their families, but not to describe what had happened. Some families did not get their postcards until this past February.

December 7, 1949 -
It's Tom Waits' birthday today.

(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night -

Temptation  -

Jersey Girl -

Hell Broke Luce  -

And the Acme Corp. is always happy to sponsor that Christmas Classic, Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis -

Let's stay up all night, get drunk and sing really sad songs in a raspy voice in his honor.

December 7, 1968 -
The Rolling Stones released their album Beggar’s Banquet in the US (one day after it was released in the UK,) on this date.

They soon filmed a television extravaganza entitled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. After reviewing the program, the Stones felt that they were upstaged by the Who’s performance and the film was shelved until 1996, when it was finally released officially.

December 7, 1972 -
Apollo 17, the sixth and last Apollo moon mission, was launched from Cape Canaveral on this date.

It will land on the Moon December 11 and Flight Commander Eugene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, will be the last men to step on the Moon for decades to come..

And so it goes.

Before you go - apparently England isn't the only country with long Christmas commercials; here's one from Poland -

I know, you're not crying, you have something in your eye.  Don't worry, there are tissues in the bathroom.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We'll discuss Krampus another time.

Today is the Feast of Saint Nicholas (yes, that St. Nick.)

Amongst other things, he is the patron saint of children and was known for his generosity. He's also known as the patron saint of sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, prostitutes (Huh), repentant thieves, pharmacists and broadcasters.

The biggest gift he ever gave was to a poor man and his three daughters. The man had no dowry to pay for his daughters and was worried that if they never married they would have no choice but to become prostitutes. Hearing this, Saint Nicholas visited the poor man at night and anonymously threw three purses filled with gold through his window. Because of this, he became the patron saint of pawnbrokers. Traditionally, three golden baubles are hung in the window of pawn shops to represent the three purses of money.

So now you know.

December 6, 1896 -
Ira Gershwin
, lyricist (and major writer of the American Song Book) was born on this date.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

I've Got a Crush on You -

My Ship -

Someone to Watch Over Me -

If you're of an age, it part of the music you hear in your head as you walk down the street.

December 6, 1940 -
MGM released the 10th Marx Brothers film, Go West, on this date.

The name of Groucho Marx's character, S. Quentin Quayle, caused a stir when the film was first released due to the subtle but clear joke: the use of the term San Quentin quail, which means jail bait.

December 6, 1964 -
One of the first neurotic holiday Christmas specials, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, premiered on this date

When Yukon Cornelius throws his pick axe into the ground and takes it out and licks it, he's checking neither for gold nor silver. The original concept for the special stated that Yukon was in fact searching for the elusive peppermint mine, which he found eventually.

December 6, 1990 -
Twentieth Century Fox production of Tim Burton's Edward Scisshorhands, starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest and Vincent Price (in his last role,) premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

Vincent Price's role was intended to be larger, but the veteran actor was very ill with emphysema and Parkinson's disease so his scenes were cut to a minimum.

Today's Holiday Special - celebrating a plethora of holiday celebrations

Today in History:
December 6, 1877
Thomas Edison records his own recitation of “Mary had a Little Lamb” onto a cylinder wrapped with tin foil using his newly completed prototype hand-cranked phonograph at his Menlo Park Laboratory.

For all intents and purposes, it is the first recording of a human voice. (The clip is from a re-recording in 1927.  The original 1877 recording was not saved and no longer exists.)

December 6, 1917 -
On the morning of December 6, the munitions ship Mont Blanc explodes in Halifax harbor after being struck by another ship, the Norwegian ship Imo.

It is the largest explosion before the atomic age. The ship was carrying 200 tons of TNT, 61 tons of gun cotton, 35 tons of Benzyl, and 2,300 tons of picric acid; the explosion destroys 325 acres of the city, leaving 1,900 people dead and injuring over 9,000.

A nicer remembrance of the days tragic events is the official Boston Christmas tree, which sits in Boston Common.  The tree is a gift from the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and has been sent every year since the 1970s. It is in recognition of the swift and sustained relief effort the people of Boston put together to aid Halifax after the explosion. (Many Nova Scotians might be surprised that according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the province’s taxpayers footed a $179,000 bill for cutting, shipping, and surrounding last year’s tree with plenty of holiday pomp and circumstance.  That's a really nice gift.)

December 6, 1955 -
N.Y. psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers won the top prize on the TV quiz show The $64,000 Question by correctly answering questions on boxing .

Dr. Joyce Brothers is the only person to win both The $64,000 Question and The $64,000 Challenge.

December 6, 1960 -
Domino's Pizza was founded by Thomas S. Monaghan on this date.

And the pizza still sucks.

December 6, 1969 -
A concert by the Rolling Stones at Altamont ends in the death of a fan at the hands of the Hells Angels, who were hired for security. He was a fat hippie anyway. (Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name...)

(Contrary to a popular urban legend, Sympathy for the Devil was not playing while Meredith Hunter was being stabbed, rather, the song was Under My Thumb.)

And Mr. Hunter was not a fat hippie but an African American with a gun.)

December 6, 1973 -
House minority leader Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the first unelected Vice President, succeeding US Vice President Spiro T. Agnew (under President Richard M. Nixon.)

Agnew, the only VP to resign in disgrace, resigned on October 10, and pleaded no contest to one charge of income tax invasion in return for the dropping of all other charges, and was fined $10,000 and given three year's probation .

December 6, 1989 -
Andy, Opie, make Aunt Bee another Rum Toddy.

Frances Bavier - "Aunt Bee" on The Andy Griffith show died of heart failure on this date.

Suffering from advance stages of senility, Ms. Bavier became convinced that she was "Aunt Bee" towards the end of her life.

And so it goes.