Monday, August 29, 2016

Who are these people?

I watched the VMAs with my daughters and I barely had an idea of who the performers were (I knew who some of them were.) I lasted about an hour into the program, gave up and went to bed.


August 29, 1953 -
Warner Brothers introduced Speedy Gonzalez in the cartoon Cat-Tails for Two on this date.



While this is the first cartoon featuring the character Speedy Gonzales, his depiction here is vastly different from the character he would later become. It wasn't until his second appearance, Speedy Gonzales (two years later,) that he was re-designed as the character we know him as today.


August 29, 1964 -
Roy Orbison’s single, (Oh,) Pretty Woman, was released on this date.



Roy Orbison and his wife Claudette had recently reconciled after some tough times, but as this song was climbing the charts, Roy found out she had been cheating on him and filed for divorce. In 1966, they remarried, but two months later Claudette was killed when the motorcycle she was riding was hit by a truck.


August 29, 1964 -
Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins opened in general release on this date. This is first movie I ever saw (but not on this date.)



When founder and (now former) chief archivist at the Walt Disney Archives Dave Smith went on a search for the snowglobe from this movie, which featured birds flying around Saint Paul's Cathedral, he finally found it on a shelf in a janitor's office. The janitor explained that he saw the snowglobe sitting in a trash can, but found it too pretty to throw away and kept it himself.


August 29, 1967 -
ABC's television ratings soared through the roof as David Janssen and Barry Morse starred in the final episode of The Fugitive on this date.



Richard Kimble was originally fleeing his hometown in Wisconsin until the producers discovered that Wisconsin did not execute murderers. The locale was quickly changed to Indiana.


Today in History:
August 29, 29/30AD
( The date is a best guess, and the subject of much debate. Once again, Romans were too busy with their orgies and draining lead-lined wine goblets to accurately document events of the day.)
John the Baptist (cousin of the itinerant carpenter of Nazareth) received a severe haircut from King Herod, because his teenage step-daughter, Salome (the Miley Cyrus of her day,) couldn't keep her shorts on while dancing.



Children are always such a handful.


August 29, 1533 -
Atahualpa, the last Incan Emperor, discovered on this date, that the European exploration of the new world was not going to go well for the indigenous people. Francisco Pizarro, one in a long line of Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Andes, with a bible in one hand and a sword in the other.  Atahualpa was quickly captured by the Spanish and held for ransom.  After paying an immense ransom for his release (a room, 22 ft by 17 ft by 8 ft high, once filled with gold and twice with silver within two months), Pizarro decided it was better to kill his hostage and keep the random.



Atahualpa was condemned to be burnt at the stake - which was anathematic since the Inca believed that the soul would not be able to go on to the afterlife if the body were burned.  Atahualpa offered and paid an additional random to be ritualistically garroted after a proper Christian baptism, which occurred on this date in 1533.

And in keeping with the true spirit of diplomacy, Pizarro had Atahualpa corpse burned afterwards.


More on Political Philosophy ...
Jean Baptiste Colbert was born on August 29, 1619.

Colbert was the finance minister to King Louis XIV of France. His own Political Philosophy consisted of a big pile of money. This was a very effective politics, and therefore deemed insufficiently philosophical, which is why you tend to hear more about Locke and Hegel.

Another important political philosopher was born this week: John Locke was born on August 29, 1632. Mr. Locke was a political philosopher, and many of his ideas found their way into the American Constitution.



He is best known for his essay concerning human understanding, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, which remains famous to this day as the shortest essay ever written.


August 29, 1896 -
Here is one of those bright dividing lines: if you know what Chop Suey is - you're old. If you've tasted Chop Suey - you're really old.



The Chinese-American dish Chop Suey was invented in New York City by the chef to visiting Chinese Ambassador Li Hung-chang on this date.


August 29, 1915 -
Ingrid Bergman, the Swedish three-time Academy Award, two-time Emmy Award, and Tony Award - winner was born (and died in 1982) on this date.



Many of her shorter male co-stars, such as Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains, had to wear lifts to avoid looking small next to her 5' 10" stature.


August 29, 1920 -
Charles Christopher "Bird" Parker, jazz saxophonist and composer was born on this date.



Along with trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, he created the sporadic rhythms known as "be bop" in the 1950s.


August 29, 1949 -
The Soviet Union joined the nuclear club on this date when they detonated a nuclear weapon, code-named First Lightning (Pervaya Molniya) at a test site in Kazakhstan. American experts were shocked and dismayed because they had thought the Soviets were still years away from having a workable bomb.



The resultant fear helped trigger an arms race that would see the Americans and Soviets stockpile approximately 32,000 and 45,000 nuclear devices.


August 29, 1958 -
Michael Joseph Jackson, the self-crowned King of Pop was born on this date.



He has achieved the dubious distinction of being in the number one position on Forbes magazine's list of "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities", four years in a row.



Last year, Jackson's posthumous earnings were $115 million dollars (Jackson beat out his former dead father-in-law Elvis, who earned over $55 million dollars.)


August 29, 1966 -
The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at in San Francisco's Candlestick Park on this date.



The performance marked the end of a four-year period dominated by touring and concerts including nearly 60 U.S. appearances and over 1400 internationally.


August 29, 1991 -
After a vote in the Soviet Union's parliament, the Supreme Soviet, dissolved the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on this date.

The move brought an end to one of the world's largest communist governments.


August 29, 2005 -
Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. The death toll eventually reached at least 1,600. An estimated 300 Louisiana residents died out of state; some 230 people perished in Mississippi. Property damage estimates were in the hundreds of billions of dollars.



The name Katrina was officially retired on April 6, 2006 by the World Meteorological Organization at the request of the U.S. government. The name will never again be used for another North Atlantic hurricane.



And so it goes.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oh, simple: "tusks."

August 28, 1930 -
... My name is Spaulding. I've always wanted to meet you, Mr. Chandler. As I say, we tried to remove the tusks. But they were embedded so firmly we couldn't budge them. Of course, in Alabama the Tuscaloosa, but that is entirely ir-elephant to what I was talking about....

The Marx Brothers second outing at Paramount, Animal Crackers, opened on this date.



In 1957, Paramount forgot to renew the soundtrack rights which reverted back to the authors of the play (the studio did renew the picture rights, though). As a result the film could not legally be seen in the USA until 1974, when Universal, which had since purchased Paramount's film library, was persuaded by fan requests to re-release it.


August 28, 1946 -
Universal's film-noir classic version of Ernest Hemingway's story, The Killers, premiered in NYC on this date.



Former Warner Bros. producer Mark Hellinger, who had started his own independent production unit at Universal-International, initially wanted either Wayne Morris or Sonny Tufts to star in this, his first picture. Tufts was ultimately considered to be too inexperienced, and Warner Bros. wouldn't loan Morris, so Hellinger cast the unknown Burt Lancaster in his first movie. It made Lancaster a star.


August 28, 1951 -
Paramount's second film version based on Theodore Dreiser's novel, An American Tragedy, A Place in the Sun, opened in NYC on this date.



Although the film was released in 1951, it was shot in 1949. Paramount Studios had already released its blockbuster Sunset Boulevard in 1950 when this film wrapped. The studio did not want what was sure to be another blockbuster in this film competing for Oscars with "Sunset Blvd." so it waited until 1951 to release this film, which actually pleased director George Stevens, as he would use the extra time to spend editing the film. As it turned out, the two films would have competed against each other at the Oscars had they been released the same year.


Today in History:
August 28, 476 A.D
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Today is believed to be the date when the Western Roman Empire, which had lasted for almost 500 years, came to an end as Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by a barbarian. (Well, his father, Orestes, the real power behind the throne, was executed on this date - he, Augustulus, relinquished the throne on September 4, 476 and disappeared into obscurity.)

Historians have been theorizing about the causes of the fall of Rome ever since. Edward Gibbon's book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) put forward the idea that the Christian Church was to blame. After Christianity became the official religion of the empire, the best and the brightest leaders became leaders of the church rather than leaders of the government or the military. Another theory is that the aqueducts, which carried the water supply, were lined with lead, and so the Romans slowly went crazy. Some geologists believe that the eruption of Mount Vesuvius released so much ash into the air that it ruined Roman agriculture and weakened the empire. One of the more recent theories is that the Roman army had been infiltrated by the barbarians themselves.



But whatever the cause, the fall of Rome actually wasn't the catastrophic event most people think it was. So-called barbarian rulers kept most of the basic laws in place, Latin remained the official language of government, everyone remained Christian and orgies continued but in private.


August 28, 1837 -
Pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins began commercially manufacturing Worcestershire Sauce on this date, based on an Indian recipe brought to them by Lord Marcus Sandys -- an ex-governor of Bengal.



If they told you the recipe (it contains anchovies), they'd have to kill you.


August 28, 1898 -
Pharmacist Caleb Davis Bradham created a beverage, he believed would aid in digestion and boost energy, calling it "Brad's Drink," on this date.



He later renamed it Pepsi-Cola, after "pepsin" and the kola nut used to flavor the drink.

And still made with no cocaine.


August 28, 1907 -
Two teenagers, Jim Casey and Claude Ryan decide to start the American Messenger Company in Seattle, on this date. The company's name was later changed to the United Parcel Service.

Hopefully you have those tracking numbers available, some of those packages will arrive soon.


August 28, 1922 -
The first radio commercial aired on WEAF in New York City (WEAF stood for Water, Earth, Air and Fire.)



It was a 10-minute advertisement for the Queensboro Realty Co., which had paid $100.  Programming must have really stunk if people listened to a 10 minute commercial.


August 28, 1938 -
Charlie McCarthy (Edgar Bergen’s wooden partner ) received the first degree given to a ventriloquist’s dummy on this date.

The honorary degree, “Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback,” was presented on radio by Ralph Dennis, the dean of the School of Speech at Northwestern University.

I wrote my dissertation on. "Chilling Gin in the freezer - the non-dilution of alcohol." And I earned my degree without someone's hand up my ass.


August 28, 1963 -
During a 200,000-person civil rights rally in at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, 53 years ago today.



The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.


August 28, 1982 -
Two crazy kids got married on this date.


Some of the people who were at that wedding are still alive. More and more of them are unfortunately not. Some of them have gotten married (even to each other.) Others are not. Some of them had children. Some do not.

Thirty four years later, those two crazy kids are still alive, married and have children.

Happy Anniversary Mary.


August 28, 1996 -
Unfortunately for others, the fairy tale has a very unhappy ending,

Britons Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, were divorced on this date.

One year later, almost to the day, Diana, would have a very nasty accident in a Paris underpass.



And so it goes

Saturday, August 27, 2016

This morning's PSA

Your friends at ACME thought you'd might like to know -

Most people have learned to watch their weight and properly apply sunscreen, but how many Americans really know how to protect themselves against political assassination? Not many. And yet, each year, millions of people are killed by assassins.

It’s tragic because these are needless deaths, almost all of which could have been prevented. ACME would like to mention a few simple precautions can help ensure that no assassin’s bullet will ever have your name on it:

A) First, get plenty of exercise, eat plenty of vegetables, and avoid being born into royalty.
B) Don’t be president, prime minister, or other Top Person.
C) Don’t create a military junta or mastermind a coup.
D) Don’t say or write anything that might be considered disparaging by anyone with their own military junta.
E) Do not found a religion.
F) Do not oppose a religion.
G) If your parents are gods, dismember them.
H) If your children are gods, devour them.
I) Excel at nothing.
J) Stay indoors.
K) Always call shotgun when driving with suicide car-bombers.



It's the feast day of St. Monica of Hippo.

Monica, who was originally from Rhino and moved to the better neighborhood of Hippo, was known as a virtuous woman. Much to her disappointment, she was also the mother of St. Augustine. She continually encouraged (nagged) her son (the lazy bum) about his debauched ways until she successfully convinced him to convert.

She is the patron saint of all mothers with disappointing children.


August 27, 1943 -
(An almost forgotten film) Warner Bros. released the Lillian Hellman anti-fascist drama, Watch On The Rhine, starring Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Beulah Bondi, on this date.



This adaptation of Lillian Hellman's play was written by her longtime companion, Dashiell Hammett. Hellman was unable to write the adaptation herself as she was contracted to work on the screenplay for The North Star. She recommended that Hammett be given the assignment as he was very familiar with the material.


August 27, 1947 -
20th Century Fox's classic film-noir, crime-drama, Kiss of Death, premiered on this date.



When New York mobster "Crazy Joe" Gallo was starting out as a small-time hoodlum, he saw this movie and instantly idolized Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark). Afterwards, Gallo began wearing his suits with black shirts and white ties in emulation of Udo.


August 27, 1961 -
Francis the Talking Mule was mystery guest on What's My Line on this date.

This was a gentle reminder that we are not living through the nadir of television.


August 27, 1991 -
25 years ago, Pearl Jam released their their debut album Ten, on this date.

 Once again, we're getting old.
Today in History:
August 27, 413 BC
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A lunar eclipse interrupted a lovely evening of sodomy among the sailors of the Athens fleet on this evening, affecting the outcome of a battle in the Peloponnesian War. The Athenians were ready to move their forces from Syracuse when the Moon was eclipsed. The soldiers and sailors were startled by this celestial omen and tenaciously clung to their nude and well-oiled ship mates.



The fleet’s commander, Nicias, gutted a sheep and postpones the fleet’s departure for 27 days. The delay gave an advantage to their enemies, the Syracusans, who went on to defeat the entire Athenian fleet and army, killing Nicias in the process.


August 27, 410 -
In case you were keeping score, the Sack of Rome still continued unabated. The orgies were winding down: lubricants were in short supply and everything that moved had been used. The Visigoths were forced to engage in unnatural acts with statuary.

For those of you with a more genteel nature, I won't tell you how the statuary was used.


Political Philosophy has caused more human death and suffering than any other disease. No inoculations exist. Outbreaks are sudden and almost always fatal. Political Philosophy strikes young and old alike, healthy and sickly, nimble and clumsy, lefty and righty. By the time its symptoms are visible, you have very little time to protect yourself. Popular referendums will only exacerbate the problem.

Emigrate at once.

Case studies:On August 27, 1793, the Committee of Public Safety in Paris, France, accepted its newest member, Maximilien Robespierre.

Robespierre soon rose to prominence on the basis of his Political Philosophy, the Guillotine, which was quicker than Inalienable Rights and more readily understood than Separation of Powers.

On August 27, 1770, Georg William Hegel was born on this date. Georg's family was so poor that they couldn't afford the second 'e' in his first name. Hegel was also a kind of political philosopher.

He believed in theses and antitheses and that sooner or later everyone ended up in Synthetics. Unfortunately there was no way to test his theory, as this was well before the invention of polyester.


August 27, 1882 -
Schmuel Gelbfisz, (Samuel Goldwyn), glove maker, sales man and pioneer filmmaker was born in Warsaw, Poland on this date.



His sayings, sometimes known as "Goldwynisms," were famous for their unintentional wit, which was partially as a result of his somewhat limited understanding of the English language that surfaced when he tried to comment on certain situations. There are many examples of this, such as "Include me out" or "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.".


August 27, 1916 -
Martha Raye, singer, actor, denture wearer was born in Butte, Montana, on this date.



Martha left the bulk of her estate to Mark Harris, but left some money to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Harris spent a portion of his money designing a line of furs.


August 27, 1952 -
Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman) actor, writer, comedian and public onanist was born on this date.



Reubens credits pioneer TV children's show host Pinky Lee as a partial inspiration for his "Pee-Wee Herman" character. Like Reubens, Lee also wore a tight checked suit and hat as part of his characterization.


August 27, 1967 -
Brian Epstein, the man who discovered the Beatles and guided them to mega-stardom, died at his London residence, from an overdose of sleeping pills, on this date.



Many critics believe this traumatic event ultimately lead to the Beatles breakup.


August  27, 1979  -
Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India (and matchmaker of his second cousin, the Queen of England to his nephew, our favorite itinerant Greek sailor, Philip Mountbatten,) was killed, along with his grandson, off the coast of Ireland in his 29-foot sail boat in Sligo, Ireland; the Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility.



Thomas McMahon was the bombmaker and was jailed at Dublin’s Mountjoy prison. He was released in 1998 as part of the Northern Ireland peace agreement.



And so it goes


Before you go - The folks at Rolling Stone had a portion of an interview John Lennon gave the magazine in 1971 animated. The interview concerns the first time he was given LSD, unbeknownst to himself, George Harrison, or their wives.

.

The moral of the story - never have coffee with your dentist.