Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Even I can't make this stuff up


I checked this five times and it appears to be true - the writer P.J. O'Rourke has a very treatable form of anal cancer, not colon cancer mind you but anal cancer - cancer of the anus,(a malignant hemorrhoid).

Here is a partial quote from the man himself:

I looked death in the face. All right, I didn't. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I've been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I'm told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it -- as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound -- my chance of survival has been improved by cancer.

I still cursed God, as we all do when we get bad news and pain. Not even the most faith-impaired among us shouts: "Damn quantum mechanics!" "Damn organic chemistry!" "Damn chaos and coincidence!"

Read the rest of his article here:


Once and for all - God is a comedian.

Today in History -

September 30, 1452 -

It's the anniversary of the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz, Germany on this date. It was the first book ever printed with movable type. What made Gutenberg's invention revolutionary was not that it allowed you to print letters on paper, but that you could print an infinite number of different pages from a small number of letter blocks simply by rearranging them.

The first section of the Bible came out on this day. He printed 180 copies on expensive Italian paper. It was designed to be used for public reading in the dining halls of monasteries. But within three decades there were print shops all over Europe, and Gutenberg's invention launched a revolution in education.

Today about four dozen copies of the Gutenberg Bible survive. One of the most recent copies to come on the market was auctioned in New York in 1987 and sold for more than $5 million.

September 30, 1630 -
Pilgrim John Billington, who arrived on the Mayflower, is hanged at Plymouth for killing John Newcomen with a musket. Billington is the first Englishman executed in New England.

September 30, 1927 -
Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season,on this day. (Mark McGwire was born on October 1, 1963, however, so this no longer matters.)

September 30, 1938 -

The Germans occupied the Sudetenland in late summer of 1938. This enraged the British and the English, who both feared for the loss of the Sudetenland's celebrated pea crops. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Hitler at Bertesgaden to discuss the situation, on this date. Hitler assured him that there would be plenty of peas to go around, and Chamberlain returned to England with the famous proclamation of Peas in Our Time. World War II was therefore avoided and did not break out until some time later.

September 30, 1955 -
Teen idol James Dean was killed in a car accident that probably could have been avoided if he had had his car inspected and tuned up regularly, obeyed all posted highway signs, and driven only when alert and sober (Remember kids, if you are going to drink til you drop, drop where you drink), on this date. On the other hand, if he had survived, today James Dean would probably be tottering aimlessly around celebrity golf tournaments, pimping life insurance or antacids, and writing tell-all memoirs.

September 30, 1970 -
The Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography releases its 646-page report concluding that all sexually-explicit films, books, and magazines aimed at adults should be legalized. One publisher, William Hamling, sells 100,000 copies of the report with 546 additional "illustrations," for which he receives four years in

September 30, 1982 -

Cheers, the comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993, premiered on this date. It was produced by Charles-Burrows-Charles Productions in association with Paramount Television for NBC, having been created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles. It was nearly cancelled during its first season when it ranked dead last in ratings. However, Cheers eventually became a highly rated television show in the United States, earning a top-ten rating during eight of its eleven seasons, including one season at #1, and spending the bulk of its run on NBC's "Must See Thursday" lineup.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Heather Locklear

Still guarding the lower 48

Today in History -

September 29, 1399 -
Richard II was deposed, on this date,which only served him right for having posed in the first place. He was succeeded by Henry IV part I. So, for God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...

September 29, 1513 -

Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, on this date. How something that covers roughly a third of the earth's surface could have been lost for so long is a question that stumps historians to this day.

It's Miguel de Cervantes's birthday. Born in 1547, Cervantes is best known as the author of Don Quixote, a cunning satire on mental illness. The work is an epic treatment of the perennial question, "wouldn't the world be better off if we were all crazy?"

The answer from the novel is a qualified yes: the story supports the premise, but its length and lucidity suggest that the author himself was not crazy, which contradicts the premise.

Ever since the publication of Don Quixote, the idea of improving through world through mental illness has taken root in the popular culture of the west. From the good soldier Svjek and Prince Myshkin to Chauncy Gardener, Elwood P. Dowd, and Forrest Gump, western readers and filmgoers have a galaxy of benevolent lunatics to show them the way to a better, purer existence. Grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, and hallucinations are merely the price of admission to their wistful world of blissful ignorance.

The sane and hard-working do not come off nearly so well in film or literature. In fact, sane and hard-working people seldom even appear in film or literature. No one wants to read about them, or spend good money to watch them go about their plodding lives, because most of us are surrounded by sane and hard-working people already and know what they're like—they're just like us, only less so.

Early to bed and early to rise may make a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise, but it won't do a goddam thing for his Nielsens. In fact, if you're healthy, wealthy, wise, and well-rested, you're only going to piss the rest of us off. Lighten up, slack off, drink up, and spend plenty of quality time with imaginary friends. That's the real road to happiness—or at least our acceptance, without which you have no right to be happy.

September 29, 1952 -

John Cobb dies at Loch Ness attempting to break the world water speed record. There is no truth to the rumor that Nessie ate Mr. Cobb.

September 29, 1957 -

An explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137, and plutonium. This accident releases twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.

September 29, 1976 -
At his birthday party, musician Jerry Lee Lewis accidentally shoots his bass player Norman Owens twice in the chest, trying to open a soft drink bottle with a .357 magnum. Owens survives and files a lawsuit.

Now don't you wish you were at that party !!!

September 29, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor, a person famous for no apparent reason and with no visible means of support (It's too weird to think that Zsa Zsa was once Paris Hilton's step-grandmother), is convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills police officer. Gabor later complains that she was denied a jury of her peers, saying "It was not my class of people, There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor."

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman R.I.P.

A Great Actor and Humanitarian

Today in History -

British history began on September 28, 1066, with the Norman invasion of England. The Normans were a group of Franks who'd grown weary of being so Frank. Their decision to become Normans cost them their Frankness, so they joined together and invaded England under the leadership of William (or, in Norman, "Norman") the Conqueror.

Prior to this invasion, Britain had been occupied mostly by Angles, Saxons, and large stones, who had never properly appreciated cricket, fog, or Kipling and had therefore been unable to invent England. William (Norman) the Conqueror realized that, if it was ever going to amount to anything, what England really needed was a Great King, preferably someone very much like himself.

Appropriate arrangements were made.

September 28, 1850 -
The United States Navy abolishes the practice of flogging. Among the crimes for which this was the penalty are: stealing poultry from the coop (12 lashes), being lousy (6), stealing a wig (12), and being naked on the spar deck (9). This reform is perhaps the signature moment in Millard Filmore's presidency.

It's the birthday of Ed Sullivan, born in New York City (1902). He was writing a gossip column for the New York Daily News called "Little Old New York," moonlighting now and then as a master of ceremonies at variety shows and benefits. He was emceeing a dance contest when somebody asked him if he'd like to try hosting a show on this new thing called television.

The Ed Sullivan Show premiered live on CBS in 1948, and within a few years about 50 million people watched it every Sunday night. It was like vaudeville. It had opera singers, ventriloquists and magicians and pandas on roller skates and big stars. Ed Sullivan said, "Open big, have a good comedy act, put in something for children, and keep the show clean."

He was a shy, awkward man, but he loved performers. He personally chose every guest for his show. He was one of the first hosts to invite black performers, including Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington, Richard Pryor, and James Brown.

Ed Sullivan: the last television host who tried to appeal to everyone in America.

September 28, 1920 -
A Cook County grand jury indicts the Black Sox 8 -- the White Sox players paid to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Even though they are found not guilty, Commissioner Landis bans them all from professional baseball for life.

September 28, 1978 -

A nun at the Vatican discovers the lifeless body of Pope John Paul I, formerly Albino Luciani, in bed. The pontiff had been on the job only 33 days before unexpectedly dying in his sleep, after having taken some sort of pills with dinner. The church refuses to grant an autopsy. See Godfather III for further explanations.

September 28, 1989 -
Former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos dies in Waikiki, Hawaii, after three years in exile. He was in ill health, and awaiting US charges on looting funds from his country. His wife keeps the cadaver in a refrigerated coffin for years.

And so it goes

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's all over except for the spin

The first debate is over and we can see two dramatically different world views. Next up - the VP debates: the battle of views- one from across the aisle, the other across the Russian border where any moment the evil grinning Putin may rear his ugly KGB head.

Here's your Today in History:

Today is the 103 year anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=MC2. Before this E equaled just about anything you wanted it to equal. Just think what the atomic bomb would have been like if E = banana peels or dog turds.

September 27, 1854 -
The wooden steamship Arctic sinks in foggy weather after colliding with the iron bow of the Vesta. When Captain Luce orders women and children into the lifeboats, the crewmen rebel and take the boats for themselves. Of 435 on board, only 85 survive -- and none of them women or children. It is the first major ocean liner disaster in the Atlantic. The "Artic" disaster shattered high Victorian notions of how men were supposed to respond under duress.

September 27, 1934 -
Wilford Brimley's birthday, huzzah!

September 27, 1954 - The nationwide debut of Tonight! (The Tonight Show) hosted by Steve Allen on NBC. Bedtime was never the same.

September 27, 1959 -
Typhoon Vera, otherwise known as the Isewan Typhoon, kills 4,464 people on the Japanese island of Honshu and injures 40,000 more. 1.5 million are made homeless.

September 27, 1964 -

The Warren Commission issued its final report, concluding that president Kennedy had been assassinated and was probably dead.

September 27, 1967 -
Seventeen people are killed in Tijuana, most of them children, when the neurotoxic insecticide methyl parathion is accidentally mixed into bread. Over three hundred others required medical treatment. I'm guessing this is not the way Wonder Bread wanted to built young bodies.

September 27, 1996 -

In Afghanistan, the Taliban capture the capital city Kabul after driving out President Burhanuddin Rabbani and executing former leader Mohammad Najibullah.

And so it goes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It must be really bad

When Bill O'Reilly starts ranting about Conservatives and the Economic Bailout:

I wanted to keep everyone updated as to the where will the candidates be today?

Barack Obama

Oxford, Mississippi - Presidential Debate

Joe Biden

No public events scheduled

[Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have no public events scheduled]

John McCain

TBD: Details may emerge during one of the many media interviews McCain is doing during his "suspended" campaign.

Sarah Palin

Protecting America from Russian invasion.

Here's your Today in History-

September 26, 1895 -
George Raft was an American film actor who was most closely identified with his portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s, was born on this date. George may have achieved an unenviable place in Hollywood folklore as the actor who turned down some of the best roles in screen history, most notably High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Double Indemnity.

What a dummy.

September 26, 1580 -

Francis Drake returned to Plymouth, England, ending a three-and-a-half year journey around the world,on this date. It was nearly four more centuries, however, before "The Beverly Hillbillies" premiered on CBS (on this day in 1962). The lengthy lapse between these watershed events has never been explained.

September 26, 1687 -

Troops laying siege to Athens led by Venetian general Francesco Morosini rain cannon fire down on the Acropolis and the Turkish soldiers garrisoned inside. One cannonball penetrates the Parthenon, which happened to serve as the Turks' gunpowder magazine. The roof, walls, and 16 columns are blown off by the resulting explosion. Oops, sh*t happens.

September 26, 1937 -
The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, sustains grave injuries in a traffic accident on US Highway 61. She is taken to a colored hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi and her arm amputated. Smith dies later that day from blood loss. According to legend, Bessie had been refused treatment by a closer, whites-only hospital.

September 26, 1960 -
Kennedy and Nixon face off in the first televised presidential debate. Nixon had been recuperating from illness yet refused to wear makeup for the camera, looking haggard and gray. Radio viewers gave positive opinions for Nixon's performance but so many people saw the debate televised that Kennedy gained the lead in the polls, ultimately winning the election. Remember what I said about Checkers, his kids' dog.

And so it goes

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Baba Wawa

Here's your Today in History -

On this day in 1789 Congress proposed twelve amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Habeas Corpus Christi and Freedom from Unreasonably Surging Seashores were ultimately rejected but the other ten passed and have come to be known as the "Bill of Rights."

In honor of this important anniversary, I have chosen to celebrate my favorite amendment, in the hopes that it may also soon be yours. I am speaking of the Ninth Amendment.

Like that of Beethoven, the Constitution's Ninth is the standard against which all others must be measured. Unlike Beethoven's, it doesn't climax with a resounding choral tribute to Joy (but that could be fixed).

Here is the ninth amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This important amendment should not be neglected just because of some awkwardly placed commas.

Under the first amendment, for example, I have been given the right to say any stupid thing that pops into my head. (This should not be confused with the responsibility of doing so, which is reserved to journalists.) This is an enumerated right. My right not to have to listen to anyone else's idiotic opinion is not enumerated, but it's just as important.

In the second amendment, in order to preserve peace and order in the state, I have been granted the right to stockpile dangerous weapons. Unenumerated but no less important is my right not to be caught in the crossfire while you fire off a couple of clips at a Sunday School picnic.

Under the eighth amendment, I have the right not to be drawn and quartered, boiled in pitch, burned at the stake, or belittled by a British producer on national television. But this does not overrule my right to be entertained.

Let us all take a moment to give thanks to the Ninth Amendment, which preserves us not only from the tyranny of government, but the far more dangerous tyranny of one another.

September 25, 1919 -
President Wilson became seriously ill and collapsed after a speech. The cause of his incapacitation was the physical strain of the demanding public speaking tour he undertook to obtain support of the American people for ratification of the Covenant of the League. After one of his final speeches to attempt to promote the League of Nations in Pueblo, Colorado, on this date, he collapsed. On October 2, 1919, Wilson suffered a serious stroke that almost totally incapacitated him, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye. For at least a few months, he was confined to a wheelchair. Afterwards, he could walk only with the assistance of a cane. The full extent of his disability was kept from the public until after his death on February 3, 1924.

Remarkably, Wilson was, with few exceptions, kept out of the presence of Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, his cabinet or Congressional visitors to the White House for the remainder of his presidential term. His second wife, Edith, would continually tell people for the next five years that the President was in the bathroom and couldn't be disturbed. This was, as of 2008, the most serious case of presidential disability in American history and was later cited as a key example why ratification of the 25th Amendment and a large supply of TP at the White House was seen as important.

September 25, 1890 -
The "1890 Manifesto", sometimes simply called "The Manifesto", is a statement which officially ceased the practice of plural marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Announced by church president Wilford Woodruff in this date, the Manifesto was a dramatic turning point in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as many of the church leaders are finally able to sleep with both eyes closed.

September 25, 1980 -
John Bonham, drummer for the seminal rock band, Led Zeppelin, actually did choke to death in his sleep on a regurgitated ham sandwich on this date. The coroner's report concludes that it was his own vomit and no one else's.

And so it goes

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lindsay Lohen has apparently

done more than kiss a girl

And she likes it.

Here is your (abbreviated)Today in History -

September 24, 1896 -
"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.

It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning -

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

On this date in 1896, a young Minnesota woman gave birth to a depressive young alcoholic named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. The boy did badly in school and went to train for war in 1918. While training at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the mentally unstable daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The war ended before Fitzgerald could be sent overseas and shot, however, so he went to New York to become rich and famous.

He became neither, so Zelda broke off their engagement.

Fitzgerald then moved to Minnesota. A year later he became a famous writer. He moved to Connecticut, Zelda married him, and they became drunken celebrity wrecks.

They spent a lot of time in Europe. This lasted until Zelda went mad and Fitzgerald died.

Fitzgerald is best remembered for having said the rich were different, even though Hemingway made fun of him.

Oh yeah, he also wrote several books.

September 24, 1946 -
Charles Edward Greene, known as "Mean Joe" Greene, is a former all-pro American football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL was born on this date. He is considered by many to be one of the best defensive lineman to ever play the game and was the cornerstone of the famous "Steel Curtain" defense.

September 24, 1988 -
High on PCP and brandishing a shotgun, James Brown interrupts an insurance seminar next door to his business office in Augusta, Georgia and accuses the attendees of using his private restroom. The resulting 90-minute interstate pursuit ends only after police shoot out his truck tires. The Godfather of Soul ends up serving two years in prison.

September 24, 1991
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish died on this date. No greater tribute was given to the Doctor than when the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on SNL following his death -

(sorry for the quality of the clip)

And so it goes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jane, stop this crazy thing!!!

September 23, 1962 -
The Jetsons debuted on Sunday night's prime time lineup. This cartoon series marked the debut of color television on the ABC network.

Here's your Today in History -

September 23, 480 BC -

It's the birthday of the Greek poet Euripides, born near Athens on this date. Of the poets of Greek tragedy whose plays we know, Euripides' survive in the greatest number—19 of them—including Medea. Remember Euripides, I ripa dos.

September 23, 63 BC -

August Caesar was born on this day. The first real Roman Emperor, Caesar introduced the famous Pax Romana. This was a political policy which stated that any country which did not object to being conquered by Rome would be conquered by Rome. Countries not wishing to be conquered by Rome stood in violation of this policy, and were therefore invaded until they agreed to be conquered. This ensured peace throughout the world.

September 23, 1939 -

Sigmund Freud commits suicide with the help of his personal physician, Max Schur. The good doctor obligingly administered 21mg of morphine -- a lethal dose. Sometimes 21 mg of morphine is just 21mg of death.

September 23, 1949 -

It's the birthday of the Boss. And no, not the fat man in the Bronx.

September 23, 1950 -
Congress passes the McCarran Act, also known as The Internal Security Act of 1950, overriding Harry Truman's veto. The act provides for severe restrictions on civil liberties, suspension of free speech, and placing of undesirable Americans in concentration camps. The act has never been repealed. So watch it, bub.

September 23, 1952 -

Responding to accusations that he diverted $18,000 in contributions into his pocket, Senator Richard M. Nixon rescues his candidacy for Vice President by insisting that he had never accepted any money. Although Nixon does admit he accepted a cocker spaniel named Checkers for his daughter Tricia. The televised monologue rescues his political career.

Little is know about this political operative, Checkers. Recently unclassified FBI documents reveal that Checker advised Nixon not to shave just prior to his famous televised debate with Kennedy. Checkers was also recorded on his deathbed in late '68 advising Nixon's men about creating a list of enemies of the future President.

September 23, 1969 -

An article in the Northern Illinois University student newspaper The Northern Star propagates the rumor that "Paul is dead." But if you play "I'm so Tired" from the White Album, you hear the question "Is Paul McCartney Dead?" And "Revolution #9" implores, "Turn me on dead man." Well, sort of. Remember it's "I buried Paul" and not "Strawberry Jam"

And so it goes

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today is the first day of autumn.

By happy coincidence, it's also the first day of fall.

Many people in the northern hemisphere are disturbed by the changes they see around them at about this time each year. It gets darker earlier, temperatures drop, leaves change color and die, and the Red Sox tend to drop out of playoff contention.

There have been myths about the changing of the seasons as long as there have been children to lie to. Some primitive peoples believed that leaves changed color because Nature was pining for her abducted daughter; others blamed it on the seasonal absence of sunlight-fed chlorophyll, allowing xanthophyll, carotene, and antocyanin to determine leaf color. We may never know the truth.

The first day of autumn is sometimes also referred to as the "Autumnal Equinox." Don't be alarmed by the title. It's just fall. We can get through this thing.

September 22, 1869 -
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich. Beer drinkers around the world rejoice!!!

September 22, 1975 -
In front of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, Sara Jane Moore pulls out a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver and points it at Gerald Ford. Before she can assassinate the President, a bystander named Oliver "Bill" Sipple grabs Moore's arm.

September 22, 1980 -
In a stunning blow to America's feminine hygiene, consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble initiates the largest tampon recall in history, pulling Rely Tampons from store shelves. The action results from the ongoing Toxic Shock Syndrome controversy.

No comment.

And so it goes

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't hit that delete key just yet.

A federal judge on Saturday Sept. 20, 2008 ordered Dick Cheney to preserve a wide range of the records from his time as vice president. The decision by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is a setback for the Bush administration in its effort to promote a narrow definition of materials that must be safeguarded under by the Presidential Records Act. If Cheney loses this case, expect a 'mysterious fire' in the Vice President's office that will make Berlin in April of 1945 seem like a marshmallow roast.

Today in History

September 21, 1327 -

Former King Edward II had a particularly painful end on this date. Edward had been overthrown by his wife, Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Edward had pissed off Isabella royally for among other things, sleeping with men. Isabella and Mortimer had Edward II imprisoned, after his abdication in favor of his son, Edward III.

It was rumored that Edward had been killed by the insertion of a piece of copper into his rectum (later a red-hot iron rod, as in the supposed murder of Edmund Ironside - King Edmund II was murdered in a lavatory; stabbed in the bowels when he sat down to relieve himself). Murder in this manner would have appeared a natural death, as a metal tube would have been inserted into the anus first, thus allowing the iron rod to penetrate the entrails without leaving a burn on the buttocks.

As I have said in the past, sometimes it is NOT good to be the king.

September 21 1597 -
The Dean of Guild, William Dun, receives a bonus of 47 pounds, 3 shillings, and 4 pence for "the great number of witches burnt this year."

September 21 1915 -
With a winning bid of £6,600, Mr. Cecil Chubb purchases Stonehenge and 30 acres of land at auction. He donates the monument to the British state three years later. He donated the monument because he could not reset Stonehenge correctly.

September 21 1983 -

Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, describes his staff's racial diversity to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: "We have every mixture you can have. I have a black, a woman, two Jews and a cripple. And we have talent." Watt is forced to resign 18 days later over these comments.

Ans so it goes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

But Sandra ...

How do you really feel about Sarah Palin?

(Sorry for the late abbreviated post - I'm a little under the weather)

Today in History

September 20 1970 -
A jury in Miami, Florida finds vocalist Jim Morrison guilty of profanity and indecent exposure for whipping out his mojo at a Doors concert in Coconut Grove the previous year. Oh you naughty Mr. Mojo Rising ...

September 20, 1973 -

A Beechcraft D-18 charter plane crashes into a tree near Natchitoches, Louisiana, killing singer/songwriter Jim Croce, his lead guitarist, and the entire flight crew. I guess if he could have put time in a bottle, the first real thing he would have done would be chartering a different plane.

September 20, 1975 -
David Bowie's "Fame," single goes #1 for 2 weeks

September 20 1986 -
Officials in Latvia test the structural integrity of a 40-year-old bridge by driving 14 heavy vehicles containing gravel on top of it. A 250-foot span of the bridge collapses, killing ten people.

September 20 1992 -
Nine months prior to the infamous Bobbitt incident, a Los Angeleno named Aurelia Macias castrates her husband with a pair of scissors. Macias is found innocent by reason of insanity, and the case never generates much publicity. (It turns out that such deeds are not uncommon in certain third world countries, notably Thailand and the Philippines.)

There is a lesson here somewhere but I just can't seem to find it at the moment as I am cringing and clutching my crotch.

And so it goes

Friday, September 19, 2008

Make sure you don't leave home without your eye patch

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. ITLAPDis a parody holiday invented in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Corvallis, Oregon, who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.[1] For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello," but with "Ahoy, me hearty!" The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Now back to Today's history -

September 19, 1692 -
Giles Corey was accused of witchcraft in 1692. This put him in a difficult spot. If he pleaded guilty, he'd be burned alive at the stake. If he pleaded not guilty, he'd have to take a lie-detector test.

The state-of-the-art lie detector of 1692 wasn't any less accurate than today's models, but it was significantly rougher on its subjects. It was called "dunking." The tightly bound subject would be dunked repeatedly into a pond or lake until the truth emerged.

One of the primary symptoms of demonic possession was immunity to water, so those who survived the process were rewarded with a warm, dry burning at the stake. Those who drowned, on the other hand, were clearly innocent and received a favorable ruling.

Giles Corey wasn't eager to be burned at the stake, but he wasn't keen on posthumous vindication, either. A plea of guilty meant the stake; a plea of not-guilty meant drowning (or the stake, depending on the results of the lie-detector test). Mr. Corey therefore did what any reasonable person might have done: he claimed his Fifth
Amendment rights under the Constitution and said nothing.

This was a foolish and costly blunder, as the Constitution had not yet been invented.

Baffled by the accused's refusal to enter a plea, the court pressed him for an answer. Literally. Giles Corey became the first, last, and only American ever to have been pressed to death by his own government, on this date in history.

September 19, 1931 -

Adolf Hitler's 23-year-old half niece, Geli Raubal, is found dead in her uncle's Munich apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Some allege that she and Adolf had a sexual relationship, which involved Geli urinating on him. Hitler conveniently happens to be out of town at the time of the shooting. Oh that Hitler, what a wacky Fuhrer.

September 19, 1934 -

Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh baby. We aren't sure if he did it, but he did have $11,000 of the ransom money. They fry him two years later.

September 19, 1947 -
The U.S. conducted its first underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert. This caused a major disturbance in the natural order of the fragile desert eco-system, ultimately resulting in Las Vegas

and giant spiders

and ants

September 19 1959 -

In a Cold War setback, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev is annoyed to learn that he will not be permitted to visit Disneyland, due to concerns for his personal safety. This mean, most of the cold war could have been prevented, if we let that fat bald premier ride the freakin' teacups.

September 19 1961 -
Betty (Estelle Parsons) and Barney (James Earl Jones) Hill are picked up near Indian Head, New Hampshire and anally probed by five beings in a flying saucer. The couple later describes the craft as being "banana-like, with pointed tips and windows."

Anyway, that's what Barney told Betty what happened.

September 19 1991 -
A body was found frozen in a glacier in the Alps between Austria and Italy. A German tourist found the body and called the Austrian police. They tried to free the body from the ice with a jackhammer. It was only when an anthropologist showed up to examine the body that they realized it was a very, very old corpse—5,300 years old, in fact — of a man between 25 and 35 years old. He was five feet, two inches tall, with hair about three inches long. He had tattoos. He wore an unlined fur robe, a woven grass cape, and size six shoes stuffed with grass for warmth.

He came to be called Ötzi the Iceman, and what made him such a remarkable discovery for anthropologists was the fact that he died while he was out walking on an ordinary day wearing ordinary clothing. He carried a copper axe and a fur quiver for his arrows, the only quiver from the Neolithic period that has ever been found. His arrows had sharp flint points and feathers that were affixed at an angle that would cause the arrows to spin. And he carried mushrooms in his bag that scientists speculate were used for medicine.

It was not until ten years later that a forensics expert noticed in an x-ray that the Iceman had an arrowhead lodged in his back. He had been murdered. Who murdered the Iceman. Stay tuned to CSI Austria on your local CBS networks.

September19 1995 -
The New York Times and the Washington Post publish the Unabomber's rambling, 35,000-word anti-technology screed, "Industrial Society And Its Future." In exchange, he promises to halt his bombing campaign.

And so it goes

Thursday, September 18, 2008

File under: Excuses NOT to use at work.

Another very funny commercial:

Today in History:
On September 18, 1793, President George Washington laid the foundation stone for the U.S. Capitol. According to numerous sources, President Washington "laid the stone in a Masonic ceremony... preceded by a parade and followed by celebration and feasting."

(I am troubled by such deviant sexual behavior on the part of our founding father. I am surprised by our young nation's apparent celebration of his bizarre geological fetish. I therefore endorse a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting federal representatives from engaging in sexual relations with rocks.)

The 1792 competition for the design of the Capitol had been won by an amateur architect, and the building was therefore burned by the British before it could be completed. Congress had moved into the building on November 22, 1800, but managed to escape the fire.

On September 18, 1830, the first locomotive ever built in the U.S., the "Tom Thumb," lost a nine-mile race to a horse.

September 18, 1932 -
24-year-old starlet Peg Entwhistle dives head first from the letter "H" of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign in Los Angeles. She is the first person to commit suicide at the landmark.

Her body was discovered in the brush at the base of the hill two days later, and pronounced dead. When police examined her belongings, in her purse they found a note that read:

"I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E."

Two days later, in an ironic twist, Entwistle's uncle opened a letter addressed to her from the Beverly Hills Playhouse; it was mailed the day before she jumped. In it was an offer for her to play the lead role in a stage production—in which her character would commit suicide in the final act.

September 18, 1970 -
A sleeping Jimi Hendrix dies in London from of a barbituate overdose when chunks of vomited tuna sandwich wind up in his lungs, causing him to choke. He was 27 years old.

Kids, if you plan on taking barbituates before bedtime, NO late night snacks.

And remember Mama Cass did not choke to death on a ham sandwich. It is an urban myth born out of a quickly discarded speculation by the coroner, who noted a part eaten ham sandwich and figured she may have choked to death. In fact, she died of heart failure. So cut it out.

September 18, 1979 -
NBC television premieres The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, a spinoff of BJ and the Bear. Claude Akins stars as Elroy P. Lobo, the slightly corrupt sheriff of Orly County, who faces his first misadventure in "The Day That Shark Ate Lobo." Don't you wish you were at that pitch meeting.

September 18, 1992 -
Two weeks after being outed in the New York weekly QW, attorney John Schlafly admits in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner that he is homosexual. This causes a certain amount of consternation for his mother, archconservative gay rights opponent Phyllis Schlafly.

The Schlafly family have yet to fulfill their obligation as good Christians to present their rebellious son to the town elders and have him stoned to death as instructed in Deut. 21:18.

September 18, 1994 -
Vitas Gerulaitis is killed in his sleep in the guest cottage of a friend's Long Island estate. The professional tennis player dies from carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by a faulty propane swimming-pool heater. How many more people must die from killer swimming pools?

And so it goes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No, that's just a transvestite. Got it.

What I would have given to be in the meeting when the Ad Agency presented this to their client:

Another reason to live.

Today in History:

On July 4, 1776, the American colonies told Britain to kiss their hairy American asses. This began the Revolutionary War, during which the Redcoats were coming, a shot was heard 'round the world, and Paul Revere could see the whites of their eyes.

The complexities of war demanded organization between the states, so they established Articles of Confederation, which in turn created a Continental Congress. This Congress was adequate to see them through the war, but by the late 1780s it became clear that both the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation sucked.

Even way back then Americans didn't want anything to do with anything that sucked (unless it meant a substantial discount, which in this case it did not).

The Continental Congress tried to fix the Articles of Confederation in 1786. The Congress still sucked, of course, and so they failed.

In the spring of 1787 the states sent new delegates to a new convention designed to produce a government that wouldn't be so awful.

On September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention voted its approval of a new Constitution, which they immediately ran out to have printed.

The Continental Congress acted with its usual efficiency, and by July 2 of the following year, the Constitution had become the law of the land. The last act of the Continental Congress was to schedule federal elections for their replacements.

Today is Constitution Day in the U.S. Celebrate by refusing to allow soldiers to be billeted in your home.

It's also the 378nd anniversary of the founding of Boston, but since that's not divisible by 3 it can't possibly be significant.

September 17, 1859 -
Our old pal, San Francisco resident Joshua A. Norton proclaims himself Emperor of these United States, a title he retains until his death in 1880. The successor to Emperor Norton I has yet to be anointed.

I am consulting attorneys as we speak.

September 17, 1908 -

Thomas E. Selfridge becomes the world's first airplane fatality when the Wright Flyer, a craft he's co-piloting with Orville Wright for the U.S. Army, crashes near Fort Meyer, Virginia. An untested propeller ripped apart the plane's structure, causing it to nosedive from an altitude of 75 feet.

Orville walks away unscathed and Wilber never quite trusted his brother again, as he was supposed to fly the plane with his brother

September 17, 1939 -
The Soviet Union invades Poland, to fulfill its end of the secret protocols contained in the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. They partition the country along pre-decided lines.

As you well know the last laugh will be on the Russian, when Hitler turns on them.

September 17, 1965 -
CBS television premieres Hogan's Heroes, the first and perhaps only sitcom based in a German prisoner-of-war camp. The show is proof once and for all that Nazis are hilarious.

And so it goes

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When we all lose our home,

will we call the shanty towns we live in Bush Towns or W villes?

September 16 1498 -
Tomas de Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, dies in Avila, Spain. More than 2,000 heretics were burned to death and 9,654 otherwise tortured under his aegis before all the Jews were expelled in 1492. In 1836, vandals break into Torquemada's tomb, cremate the bones, and scatter his ashes upon the winds.

The Inquisition (What a show)
The Inquisition (Here we go)
We know you're wishing that we'd go away ...

September 16 1920 -

A horse-drawn carriage loaded with dynamite exploded in front of the J.P. Morgan & Company headquarters at 23 Wall Street in New York's financial district, on this date. Thirty Americans were killed in the blast. More than 400 were injured.

Although the crime was never solved, it was believed to have been the work of the Anarchists, angry internationalists who believed the only good institutions were smoldering ruins. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz had assassinated President McKinley two decades earlier, on September 6, 1901, in Buffalo—an assassination that caused Teddy Roosevelt and the bully pulpit.

(Despite similarities in spelling, Anarchists should not be confused with Antichrists, Arachnids, or Pimentos.)

It was perhaps no accident that the Morgan bombing took place on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's departure from England. Passengers were mostly members of a separatist Protestant congregation separating from the Church of England (Puritan Bastards). They were from the English Midlands. They had gone at first to a village near Amsterdam, lived in Holland for ten years (generally bringing everybody down) and then decided to start their own society from scratch. They had two boats for the trip across the Atlantic: the Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell was leaky, and they spent time trying to repair it.

So when they finally set sail on September 16, they were way behind schedule. The journey took 66 days. It was rainy, it was cold, and the ocean was rough (They loved it). The boat was 90 feet long and carried 102 passengers. There were no separate cabins. They all had to live in the cargo area. But the Mayflower had previously been used to transport wine, and so the hold smelled wonderful (They hated it).

The Mayflower (and the Speedwell) carried its cargo of Puritan Bastards ("Pilgrims") to Massachusetts, where they became the first tourists in history to visit Plymouth Rock.

Anarchists hate tourists.

September 16 1968 -
Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon appears on the NBC comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and asks "'Sock it to me'?"

And so it goes

Monday, September 15, 2008

Goodbye Ike

Today in History -

September 15, 1776 -
The British occupied Manhattan, on this date. Outraged by the rents, discouraged by the lack of parking and homesick for bubble and squeak and spotted dick, however, they left shortly afterwards, leaving only journalists behind.

September 15, 1830 -

British MP William Huskisson was chatting amiably with the Duke of Wellington at the grand opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, when all at once the right honorable gentleman distinguished himself for posterity by becoming the first human being in history to be run over by a train. (The Duke of Wellington, on the other hand, is remembered for his Beef.)

September 15, 1864 -

Thirty-four years later, on this date, another hardy British soul, the explorer John Speke, distinguished himself by becoming the first European to see Africa's Lake Victoria and then accidentally shoot and kill himself while hunting partridges (conveniently, the day before he was to debate his finding with his famous exploration partner, Richard Burton - no, not that Richard Burton, the famous self circumciser and translator of 1001 Arabian Nights.)

September 15, 1885 -

P.T. Barnum's prize elephant Jumbo is struck dead by a freight train in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. It takes 150 men to haul the carcass up an embankment, from whence it is taken to a taxidermist. The stuffed Jumbo becomes a featured attraction in Barnum's circus.

Goodbye Jumbo.

September 15, 1890
It's the birthday of Agatha Christie (Vanessa Redgrave), born in Devon, England. She was a Red Cross nurse during World War I. She started reading detective novels because she found they took her mind off her troubles and soon after, started writing her own.

Her big breakthrough book was her novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which came out in 1926. It was the same year in which Christie had a fight with her husband, fled her own home, and was missing for ten days. There was a nationwide search. It was on the front pages of all the papers. And when she finally turned up, she was famous and all of her books were best-sellers.

September 15, 1928 -

Scottish bacteriologist and noted slob Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered that the mold penicillin had an antibiotic effect, on this date. Had he cleaned his laboratory every night and put all his things away like a good little boy, he never would have discovered penicillin, and half of us would be dead right now.

As I am deathly allergic to penicillin, his discovery has done little for me but I pass this along to you all.

September 15, 1954 -
In front of thousands of spectating New Yorkers at 51st and Lexington, Marilyn Monroe performs the now-famous skirt blowing scene during filming for The Seven Year Itch. The event basically boils down to a publicity stunt, as the whole thing gets reshot later on a Hollywood soundstage. Unfortunately, this event is the final straw in the Monroe - Dimaggio marriage and it soon comes undone.

September 15, 1972 -
Indictments are brought against the seven Watergate conspirators: McCord, Frank Sturgis, Barker, Martinez, Gonzalez, E. Howard Hunt (noted spy, novelist and possible Kennedy assassin, rumored to have been the man on the grassy knoll), and Liddy (noted rat connoisseur).

And so it goes

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Soon to be the hardest working woman in show business!!!

Tina Fey

Here's your today in History:

September 14 1849 -

Ivan Pavlov was born on this date. Pavlov was a Russian scientist who discovered that dogs drooled whenever bells were rung. Only after his death were his ideas discredited by a group of Swedish scientists who determined that dogs also drooled when bells were not rung. In the decades since, science has repeatedly and conclusively demonstrated that dogs will sometimes drool and sometimes not drool.

September 14 1812 -
Napoleon's army invaded the city of Moscow, on this date. He began the invasion of Russia in June of that year, hoping to continue his "One Europe, One Cuisine" Tour. The Russian forces kept retreating, burning the farmland as they went so the French wouldn't be able to draw provisions from the land.

The troops were exhausted and hungry by the time they reached Moscow on this day, in 1812. The gates of the city were left wide open. And as the French came through, they noticed that all over the city small fires had begun. The Russians had set fire to their own city. By that night, the fires were out of control.

Napoleon watched the burning of the city from inside the Kremlin, and barely escaped the city alive. The retreat began across the snow - covered plains, one of the great disasters of military history. Thousands of troops died from starvation and hypothermia.

Of the nearly half million French soldiers who had set out in June on the invasion, fewer than 20,000 staggered back across the border in December.

September 14 1901 -
President William McKinley succumbs to his gunshot wound, on this date - the third American president to be assassinated. He had won a landslide victory in the election of 1900. He had gone on a tour of the country, a victory tour, which he ended in Buffalo, New York, where the Pan-American Exposition was being held near Niagara Falls.

McKinley was shaking hands with a long line of people on September 6, when a 28-year-old anarchist from Cleveland named Leon Czolgosz came up to shake his hand. Czolgosz's right hand was wrapped in a handkerchief which concealed a gun. He shot the president twice, hitting him in the abdomen. At first it seemed as though the wound was minor and that McKinley would recover, but he died on this day in 1901. He died, historians believe, because he needed an infusion of
fluids and nutrients, and the IV had not been invented yet. It didn't help matters that Teddy Roosevelt kept peeking into his hospital room, shouting, "Is he dead yet? Am I president yet? Bully, bully!!!"

September 14 1927 -
Legendary dancer Isadora Duncan is killed in Nice, France when her long silk scarf gets tangled in the rear wheel of the convertible she's riding in. Her neck is broken and an artery severed. Some accounts have her thrown against the pavement and dragged for 100 feet. The freak accident occurs in full view of a number of friends.

Strange but true fact - the mother of famed 40's comedy director, Preston Sturges, was famous for her friendship with Isadora Duncan, even giving her the very scarf that led to Duncan's freakish death. Kids, remember what Gertrude Stein said, "affectations can be dangerous and where the hell are those brownies Alice made."

September 14 1936 -
Surgeons Walter Freeman and James W. Watts perform America's first prefrontal lobotomy on a depressed, 63-year-old Kansas woman in Washington, D.C. They successfully create a lethargic dullard, and the duo hails the result for years to come as a medical triumph, despite the fact that two of their next twenty lobotomy subjects end as fatalities.

Here's a easy way you can remember this, "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

September 14 1982 -
Grace Kelly, American-born princess of Monaco, dies after a high speed car crash the previous day. She and daughter Princess Stephanie were badly injured when their British Rover 3500 plunged into a ravine, tumbling 45 feet. In the official version of events, Grace suffered a mild stroke while driving; however, although rumors persist that 17-year-old Princess Stephanie was actually behind the wheel, there is no truth to the rumor that she was engaging in oral sex with a blind Bolivian hunchbacked midget. So dammit, please stop printing these lies .

And so it goes