Saturday, October 22, 2016

Please email him, directly in full caps, to complain.

Today is the day that campaigns for the removal of the caps lock button from standard QWERTY keyboards (or for the moving of the button), due to people continually accidentally pressing the button when they mean to use other keys.

There’s also a tendency for people to ‘shout’ (either intentionally or accidentally) by using capital letters when typing, especially online. International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold Iowa.

Today's happy place song is actually a happy place song by a guy known for his happy place songs - Jimmy Buffet.

Remember to find your shaker of salt (if you so chose to drink your margarita with salt.)

October 22, 1942 -
The biggest box office hit of Bette Davis' career, Now, Voyager opened in NYC on this date.

The Walt Whitman poem that Bette Davis reads is The Untold Want from Songs of Parting (just 2 lines): "The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted,/ Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find."

October 22, 1949 -
The second film in director John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, premiered on this date.

John Ford decided to cast John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Brittles after seeing his performance as Thomas Dunson in Red River.

October 22, 1965 -
The Beatles recorded the song Nowhere Man for their influential album Rubber Soul on this date.

This is probably the first Beatles song that has nothing to do with love.

October 22, 1965 -
The Rolling Stones released the single Get Off My Cloud on this date in the U.K.

The B-side of this single was I'm Free, which remained obscure until it was revived by The Soup Dragons in 1990.

October 22, 1971 -
Peter Bogdanovich's break out film, The Last Picture Show opened on this date.

Cybill Shepherd was cast with the option of backing out of her nude scenes if she so desired. She only agreed to do them after asking the opinions of three female costars - Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan - who all thought she should do them.

Today in History:
October 22, 1797
In 1785, J.P. Blanchard threw a dog wearing a rudimentary parachute out of a hot-air balloon. History does not divulge the outcome of this experiment. Mr. Blanchard may simply have been a disgruntled cat person.

There lived at that time a swindler by the name of Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who traveled around France offering (for a fee from his spectators) to ascend into the sky in a hot-air balloon and leap to the earth in a parachute. Strangely enough, his balloon never managed to get off the ground. Refunds were never offered.

One day an angry spectator brought Garnerin's con to the attention of the local authorities, who promptly arrested him. He was given a choice: he could either get his balloon to fly and make the promised jump or he could go directly to jail.

And so, one early evening 219 years ago today, Garnerin's balloon rose 3000 feet into the evening air above Paris.

Then it exploded.

Fortunately, Garnerin was already in his parachute and survived the landing. The suddenly successful showman didn't die his inevitable horrible aviation-related death for a full quarter-century later.

It was on this day in 1836 that Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Texas had become an independent nation after winning its independence from Mexico, and would not be incorporated into the United States as a state until 1845.

There are some who insist to this day that Texas was never properly admitted into the Union because, like everything else, its admission had been Unconstitutional. (We will leave this conversation to Mr. Cruz.)

October 22, 1844 -
The 'Second Coming' fails to occur on this date, for the Seventh Day Adventists, led by Bible scientist William Miller. The Millerites were expecting the End Times to accompany the appearance of Jesus Christ, so that didn't happen either.

Oops, I guess Mr. Miller has some explaining to do.

The Gare Montparnasse, one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, became famous for a derailment on October 22, 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 100 ft off the station concourse, crashed through a two foot thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes more than 30 feet below, where it stood on its nose.

All on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, the fireman and two crew members; however, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. The conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.

Do you think the passengers got their money back?

October 22, 1907 -
President Theodore Roosevelt visited The Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the late President Andrew Jackson on this date.

Years later, Maxwell House claimed that Roosevelt had praised a cup of its coffee during this visit by saying it was "good to the last drop."

October 22, 1918 -
This puts much of your troubles today in perspective -

The cities of Baltimore and Washington ran out of coffins during the Spanish Influenza epidemic on this date

October 22, 1934 -
Here's another story of your tax dollars at work:

FBI agents, led by the ambitious Melvin Purvis and local Ohio authorities captured and killed Public enemy No. 1, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, in a shoot out on this day. Or so the official story goes. But as many of you loyal readers know the 'authorized' version and actual facts of events can differ wildly.

Chester Smith, a retired East Liverpool Police Captain, the sharpshooter who claimed that he shot Floyd first, stated in a 1979 interview, that after he had (deliberately) wounded, but not killed, Floyd.

"I knew Purvis couldn't hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle."

Smith claims that he then disarmed Floyd, and that Melvin Purvis, the agent in charge, ran up and ordered: "Back away from that man. I want to talk to him." Purvis questioned him briefly and then ordered him shot at point-blank range, telling agent Herman Hollis to "Fire into him." The interviewer asked if there was a coverup by the FBI, and Smith responded: "Sure was, because they didn't want it to get out that he'd been killed that way."

This account is extremely controversial. If true, Purvis effectively executed Floyd without benefit of judge or jury.

Floyd's body was quickly embalmed and shipped to Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between twenty and forty thousand people. It remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history.

October 22, 1962 -
President John F. Kennedy appeared on television, this date in history, to inform Americans of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

The President demanded their removal and announced a naval "quarantine" of Cuba. A little more than a year later, the nation was safe and the president was dead.

And so it goes

Friday, October 21, 2016

If you're asked, it's the Seventh one

If this week hadn't been alcohol friendly enough, today has been designated as Global (or International) Champagne Day.  Most champagne-lovers will already know that, in order for the sparkling nectar to be classified as "champagne", the wine must come from the Champagne province in France. You may not know that to be termed "champagne" it must also be made by the traditional process of secondary fermentation in the bottle.

A very good bar bet winner: the champagne drunk by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the Germans marched into Paris and he uttered the infamous line “Here’s looking at you kid” was Mumm Cordon Rouge.

If you still can't wrap you mind around the whole 'I may not concede' hubbub, our go to song today comes from  our favorite dissipated singer/ songwriter, Warren Zevon.

I can clearly remember listening to this song on my Walkman, while working on my fourth G and T, floating in the pool at Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong, while the Chinese Navy parked across the way, just before the British turned their former colony back over to China.

October 21, 1937 -
The great screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, premiered on this date.

Cary Grant was so convinced this film was not working, he begged to released during production. The film turned out to be a big hit.

October 21, 1942
The first of three movie musicals in which Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred in, For Me and My Gal, premiered in New York City on this date.

This was the first film in which Judy Garland had her name billed before the title, which showed her growing importance and stature at MGM.

October 21, 1954 -
The episode of Climax!, an anthology series - broadcast live, on this evening was the first time James Bond (Barry Nelson) appeared on-screen in Casino Royale, and more than half a century later Bond is still making movies.

The program was thought to be lost for decades until it resurfaced in 1981 when film collector and airlines executive Jim Shoenberger discovered a 16mm kinescope print of it among some old cans of film.

October 21, 1957
The film Jailhouse Rock starring Elvis Presley opened in Memphis, Tennessee on this date.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote four songs (Jailhouse Rock, I Want to Be Free, Treat Me Nice and You're So Square) in five hours after their music publisher, under deadline, locked them in their hotel room.

 (And now, the scourging of St. Elvis. As always, the sick and spiritually frigid should watch the film to receive the healing powers.)

October 21, 1964 -
Possibly the most fully realized movie musical, My Fair Lady premiered at the Criterion Theater in New York, on this date.

When Audrey Hepburn was first informed that her voice wasn't strong enough and that she would have to be dubbed, she walked out. She returned the next day and - in a typically graceful Hepburn gesture - apologized to everybody for her "wicked behavior".

There were days I could barely struggle into a size 46 or 48, months of larges and XXLs, and endless rounds of leggings with the elastic at the waist stretched to its limit and beyond - topped with the fashion equivalent of a tea cozy. And always black, because I was in mourning for my slimmer self.

Carrie Fisher, actress and writer was born on this date. You can't say anything bad or funny about her that she hasn't already said better herself.

Today in History:
October 21, 1805
The Battle of Trafalgar was a historic sea battle fought on this date, between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy - the battle, it self, was the most decisive British victory of the Napoleonic Wars and was a pivotal naval battle of the 19th century.

Admiral Lord Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming and remaining Britain's greatest naval war hero.

Nelson's body was placed in cask of brandy, mixed with camphor and myrrh, and returned to England for a spectacular funeral. An enduring rumor has evolved that the sailors aboard ship kept taking a sip from Nelson's liquory tomb hence the phrase 'Nelson's blood' came into use for rum.

October 21, 1837 -
It's another banner day for the relations between the United States and the Native American tribes. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops under Gen. Thomas S. Jesup violated a truce and captured Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida and sent him and several other leaders to prison, where the chief later died of malaria.

Osceola's capture by deceit caused a national uproar. General Jesup and the administration were condemned.

Makes you proud to be an American.

October 21, 1869 -
The first shipment of fresh oysters came West overland from Baltimore via refrigerated train cars on this date.

Fresh cases of E-coli poisoning, Salmonella and Hepatitis A cases followed soon thereafter.

October 21, 1879 -
Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated the incandescent electric lamp on this date (or some other date, as previously mentioned.)

That invention was the fruit of study, hard work (of people other that Edison,) and years of persistent experimentation (of people other than Edison,) rendering it entirely inappropriate for discussion here.

More worthy of our attention is Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, born on this date in 1833.

Mr Nobel is interesting because his fortune was founded in large part on the commercial success of something he invented in 1866: Dynamite.

Dynamite proved so lucrative for Mr Nobel that he was able to spend most of the rest of his life blowing things up in the interests of world peace. World peace was not achieved in his lifetime, however, so he endowed a foundation with millions of dollars to give prizes to the men and women of future generations who helped bring the world closer to peace by blowing things up.

In 1943, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the maƮtre d' of the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, prepared the first plate of crunchy, spicy nachos for Texas women who were on a shopping trip.

To honor his ingenious creation, we celebrate by eating his delicious gut busting cheesy dish on this date.

October 21, 1973 -
John Paul Getty III's ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome; It doesn't arrive until November 8.

So much for the Italians getting the trains to run on time.

October 21, 1992 -
A day after her Erotica album was released, Madonna's erotic-book Sex went on sale in the nation's bookstores on this date.

Shirley Booth, 94, Emmy, Oscar and Tony award winning actress accidentally flipped through the book and promptly dropped dead on this date as well.

October 21, 2015 -
Today is the day that Dr Emmett Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to the future to prevent their kids from "ruining their lives". back to the future

OK now that we have all spazzed out, let's all calm down.  (Wow, I'm so old.)

And so it goes

There are 10 days until Halloween.  Begin purchasing those candies filled with poison (loose pieces of candy corn will do in a pinch.)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thank goodness they're behind us

OK you've made it through the debate last night, you probably really need a 'go to your happy place song', so I have to break out the big guns - Tom Waits.

Tom, unfortunately, I think we've all been drinking.

October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin's most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.

Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.

October 20, 1939 -
The ninth Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.

The scene in the midget's trailer was the only time Harpo Marx was even vaguely heard on-screen (when he sneezes).

October 20, 1973 -
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.

In 2005 German chancellor Angela Merkel appropriated this acoustic ballad for her Christian Democratic Union Party. "We're surprised that permission wasn't requested," said a Stones spokesman of Merkel's choice of song. "If it had been, we would have said no."

October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.

Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.

(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)

Today in History:
October 20, 480 BC
(Sometimes the world changes in a day) The Athenian fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persians in the Naval Battle of Salamis on this date.

Though the Persians armies scored a major victory over Athens only weeks prior, this decisive naval victory, coupled with the losses the Persians suffered in the Battle of Thermopylae forced Persian forces to withdraw from Greece.

That victory will arguably lead to the rise of Greece as a global power and the eventual dissemination of Greek philosophies and ideals, such as democracy, throughout the western world. And as always, there was much roasted lamb consumed and much sodomy engaged in that night.

October 20, 1818 -
Canada and the United States in the "Convention of 1818", established the 49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.

The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.

There are some 150 people who live in the Northwest Angle, MN, a spot of land that is separated from the rest of the USA by Lake of the Woods

Students who live in the Northwest Angle go to school in Warroad, MN, the Angle Inlet School (the only surviving one room school,) and have to cross the international border on their way to and from school each day. It must suck to get a full body cavity search every day before school.

Thank you to our family from the north for your kind words.  Now keep to your side of the parallel!

October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer Wiliam Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity. He tore the red spots from a deck of playing cards, at the time the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, saturated them with water, and jammed them into a length of steel pipe from his bed frame. Kogut placed the bomb on the heater and waited for science to take it's course.

I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.

October 20, 1944 -
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return," on this date.

He landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, Gen’l. Carlos Romulo, who later served as foreign minister and a boatload of press and photographers to record the event.

October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.

The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.  (Make sure you've seen Trumbo, which opened last year.)

October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.

If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: I want to grab you by the pudendum, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.

Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.

October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date.

Who was the man who finally fired Cox: Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.

October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University, Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album

Drunken frat boys everywhere mourn and cry out, "Play 'Freebird' man".

And so it goes.