Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When even puppets have your number

How to get smacked down by a piece of felt in one minute -

Don't mess with the Muppets

I thought I played the saddest song in the world when I played the Charlie Brown clip the other day, but no, I think I've found one even sadder (if that's possible) -

Langley Schools Music Project - God Only Knows. I'm sure Brian would start taking drugs again if he heard it.

Happy Hansen's Disease Day - celebrate World Leprosy Day - be like St. Francis - lick a leper's sores

Or not

January 31, 1921 -
John G. Agar, American's greatest B movie actor, first husband of Shirley Temple

and owner of the world's largest King Kong Statue (I kid you not), was born on this day.

Sometimes, it's just a red letter day.

January 31, 1957 -
It's not to be believed but on a double bill, Attack of the Crab People and Not of this Earth premiered on this date.

Oh Roger Corman, we love you!

Today in History:
January 31, 1606 -
Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics attempted to overthrow and assassinate King James I with the intention of installing his daughter, Princess Elizabeth as queen. The failed attempt came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.

Fawkes was sentenced to the traditional traitors' death - to be 'hanged, drawn and quartered'. In the event, he jumped from the gallows, breaking his own neck and thereby avoiding the horror of being cut down while still alive, having his testicles cut off and his stomach opened and his guts spilled before his eyes. His lifeless body was hacked into quarters and his remains sent to "the four corners of the kingdom" as a warning to others.

While most of England celebrates the failed Gunpowder Plot as a national holiday on November 5, Guy Fawkes was also voted #30 in the BBC-sponsored list of "100 Greatest Britons" in 2002.

January 31, 1921 -
The Carroll A. Deering was a five-masted commercial schooner that was found run aground off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on this date. Its crew was mysteriously missing.

Theories abound about the the crews disappearance ranging from piracy, mutiny and victims of the dread 'Bermuda Triangle'.

The truth is out there.

January 31, 1940 -
The first monthly retirement check was issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, in the amount of $22.54. Miss Fuller, a Legal Secretary, retired in November 1939. She started collecting benefits in January 1940 at age 65 and lived to be 100 years old, dying in 1975.

Ida May Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program. The accumulated taxes on her salary during those three years were a total of $24.75. Her initial monthly check was $22.54. During her lifetime she collected a total of $22,888.92 in Social Security benefits.

January 31, 1945 -
Private Eddie Slovik was the first U.S. soldier to be shot for desertion since the Civil War on this date.

Although over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, Slovik's was the only death sentence carried out.

January 31, 1950 -
Coming off yet another three day bender, President Truman gives the go-ahead for the development of Edward Teller's hydrogen bomb.

Hopefully, no one in the Axis of Evil is reading my blog

Explorer-I, officially Satellite 1958 Alpha (and sometimes referred to as Explorer 1), was the first Earth satellite of the United States, having been launched at 10:48 pm EST on January 31, 1958, as part of the United States program for the International Geophysical Year.

The satellite was launched from LC-26 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida onboard a Juno I rocket.

Electrical power was provided by mercury chemical batteries that made up approximately 40 percent of the payload weight. These provided power that operated the high power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days. (This is on the test.)

January 31, 1961 -
The United States sends its first space monkey into space, Ham the chimpanzee. His Mercury/Redstone 2 achieves an altitude of 158 miles. Ham's capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered by a rescue ship later that day.

After the flight, Ham lived for 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington D.C., then at the North Carolina Zoo before dying at the age of 27 on January 19, 1983. Ham the Chimp was not the first animal in space. That honor goes to Laika the dog, who was sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957. Ham could not deal with this fact and NASA had to hide the fact that Ham had become a heroin addict.

January 31, 1966 -
The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program. Three days later, on February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth.

For unknown reasons, the pictures from Luna 9 were not released immediately by the Soviet authorities.

Now the truth can be told.

And so it goes.

Before we go - In case you're waiting for the Ferris Bueller sequel (that will never come), here's Matthew Broderick's Super Bowl Commercial

Folks, I'll say this sets the bar fairly high for Sunday.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Here's your treat for the day

Find some time today and watch one of this year's five animated short films -

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

It's National Inane Answering Message Day. Observed on January 30th every year, this holiday encourages you on this day to bring an end to all of the mindless and endlessly long answering machine messages that annoy and waste the time of callers.

Or, you could leave a long, drawn out, insane message on your machine this day. The choice is up to you.

January 30, 1931 -
Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (A Comedy Romance in Pantomime) premiered at Los Angeles Theater on this date. The episodic film includes a complete musical soundtrack and various sound effects - but no speech or dialogue.

Chaplin faced extreme pressure to make the film as a talkie, but such was his popularity and power in Hollywood that he was able to complete and release the film as a silent at a time when the rest of the American motion picture industry had converted to sound.

January 30, 1969 -
At a free concert at their Apple corporate headquarters in London, The Beatles made their last-ever public appearance as a group on this date.

Their performance of Get Back was filmed for the movie Let It Be.

Today in History:
January 30, 1649 -
If history teaches us anything, it's that sometimes, it not good to be the king.

King Charles I of England, was beheaded for treason at Banqueting House on this date. It is reputed that he wore two shirts as to prevent the cold January weather causing any noticeable shivers that the crowd could have been mistaken for fear or weakness. He put his head on the block after saying a prayer and signaled the executioner when he was ready; he was then beheaded with one clean stroke.

It was common practice for the head of a traitor to be held up and exhibited to the crowd with the words Behold the head of a traitor!; although Charles' head was exhibited, the words were not used.

January 30, 1835 -
Andrew Jackson is the subject of the first recorded assassination attempt on a U.S. president. Jackson was crossing the Capitol Rotunda following the funeral of a Congressman when Richard Lawrence approached Jackson and fired two pistols, which both miraculously misfired. Jackson proceeded to beat the living daylights out of Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him.

As a result, Jackson's statue in the Capitol Rotunda is placed in front of the doorway in which the attempt occurred. Lawrence was later found to be mentally ill, having accused Jackson of preventing him from becoming King of England.

January 30, 1889
Kids, your history teachers lied to you once again - World War I really started on this date.

The bodies of Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, syphilitic, depressive, whore mongering heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, and his air headed 17 year old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera, were discovered in the Imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods on this date.

The Prince had either a.) shot himself after killing his mistress, b.) been killed by his mistress in a suicide pact or c.) been a victim of a political assisination. Their death and the resulting cover-up left Rudolf's cousin, The Archduck Ferdinand heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

And you see where that got Europe.

January 30, 1948 -
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent - Gandhi

Sometimes, it's not good to be the world's greatest advocate of non violence.

Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on his way to morning prayers on this date.

January 30, 1968 -
The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Communist forces launched a surprise offensive on the lunar New Year Tet holiday truce that became known as the Tet Offensive on this date.

Although the Communists were beaten back, the offensive was seen as a major setback for the US and its allies and shocked the complacent American television viewer who had been led to believe the war was won.

Faced with an unhappy American public and depressing news from his military leaders, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to end the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

January 30, 1976 -
George H.W. Bush became the 11th director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a position which he held until 1977.

And you still wonder how Dubya won.

And so it goes.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Win a bar bet this evening

That thing you use to dot your lowercase “i” or 'j" is called a tittle.

January 29, 1959 -
With a budget that exceeded $6 million, Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

Second only to Dumbo (who didn't speak at all), this Disney title character has very few lines of actual dialogue throughout the entire film, which is actually about the three fairies who protect her, not about the Sleeping Beauty herself. Rose/Aurora is only featured in the film in very few scenes and hardly says anything. Her first line is spoken 19 minutes into the film, and her last is delivered after she learns of her betrothal 39 minutes into the film

January 29, 1979 -
Brenda Spencer fires repeatedly at the school across from her residence in San Diego, killing 2 and wounding 8 children, using the rifle her father had given her as a gift.

I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day. -- The reason she gave inspired the Boomtown Rats song.

Remember: guns don't kill people, it's the damn gifts our father's give us.

January 29, 1954 -
Oprah Gail Winfrey, the most influential (and one of the wealthiest) woman in the world, is another year older.

Remember, Oprah wants a two term President for her brithday - don't make her mad.

January 29 1595 -
... See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
that I might touch that cheek....

William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet is probably first performed on this date(unless it wasn't).

I don't know, I wasn't there, were you?

It's Thomas Paine's birthday today. He was born in 1737.

You could commemorate the occasion by reading (or rereading) Common Sense. You could also commemorate the occasion by piercing an eyebrow or waxing your car or bleaching anal area.

I don't care, it was just a suggestion.

January 29, 1964 -
Introducing us to saving our precious bodily fluids and the rule about no fighting in the War room, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released in the United States, on this date.

There is a great deal of editing and cutting away shots in the sequence where Dr. Strangelove gets carried away in the War Room when his mechanical right hand makes Nazi salutes and tries to strangle him, mainly to cover up the cast around him cracking up with laughter.

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The saddest video you may ever see

It should be no real surprise that it involves Charlie Brown:

Somehow, find the will to live and continue reading

The word of the day is ...Serendipity - the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

The word derives from an old Persian fairy tale and was coined by Horace Walpole on 28th of January 1754 in a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann (not the same man as the famed American educator).

This should not be confused with Synchronicity - which is an album by the Police (but that's another story).

January 28, 1953 -
J. Fred Muggs joined NBC's Today Show on this date .

Please note: the more intelligent looking fellow sitting on the desk is Mr. Muggs

Today in History:
January 28, 814 -
First Reich: Charlemagne, German emperor, dies at the age of 71 on this date.

Though he had conquered much of Europe, his legacy was considerably reduced after his death from mismanagement and incompetence.

Coincidentally, The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 until January 28, 1871, bringing about French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and led to the establishment of the German Empire (Second Reich).

Due to a severe shortage of food, Parisians were forced to slaughter whatever animals at hand. Rats, dogs, cats, and horses were regular fare on restaurant menus.

* Consommé de Cheval au millet. (horse)
* Brochettes de foie de Chien à la maître d'hôtel. (dog)
* Emincé de rable de Chat. Sauce mayonnaise. (cat)
* Epaules et filets de Chien braisés. Sauce aux tomates. (dog)
* Civet de Chat aux Champignons. (cat)
* Côtelettes de Chien aux petits pois. (dog)
* Salmis de Rats. Sauce Robert. (rats)
* Gigots de chien flanqués de ratons. Sauce poivrade. (rats)
* Begonias au jus. (flowers)
* Plum-pudding au rhum et à la Moelle de Cheval. (horse)

Even Castor and Pollux, the only pair of elephants in Paris, were not spared.

January 28, 1829 -
In Scotland, serial killer William Burke was hanged for murder following a scandal in which he was found to have provided extra-fresh corpses for anatomy schools in Edinburgh. His partner William Hare had turned king's witness.

If only he had gone for the less fresh corpses. The scandal led to the 1832 Anatomy Act.

January 28, 1958 -
Those damn little toys that you step on in the middle of the night became legal today.

The Lego company patented their design of modern Lego bricks, still compatible with bricks produced today.

January 28, 1958 -
Bizarrely on the same day, Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella's career ended when he lost control of his car on a slick highway.

He became a parapalegic and was confined to a wheelchair the remainder of his life .

January 28, 1973 -
Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Ebsen, premieres on CBS, on this date.

This was George Uttley's (Tom Poston) all-time favorite show in the sitcom Newhart. George would often quote Barnaby when faced with a problem and he needed sage advice to solve it.

January 28, 1977 -
Star of TV's Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze has a violent allergic reaction to lead.

Despondent over his upcoming divorce and battling a major drug addiction, Prinze shooting himself in the head days earlier, he died on this day. He was 22 years old.

January 28, 1978 -
Fantasy Island, starring Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, debuted on ABC television on this date.

The waterfall seen during the opening sequences is the real-life Wailua Falls in Kauai, Hawaii.

January 28, 1986 -
Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates 74 seconds into its flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe and the rest of the crew. Their capsule plunged intact into the ocean, pulverizing everyone on impact, making a rescue attempt difficult, if not impossible.

The cause was later found to be failure of a booster rocket O-rings because of the cold weather .

Moral: Avoid rocket travel this week, if possible.

And so it goes.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Crapper Day

In popular American folklore, the British Mr. Thomas Crapper was the man who invented and gave his name to the flush toilet. Unfortunately, there is little historical evidence to support Mr. Crapper as anything but a friendly British plumber.

Thomas Crapper died on January 27, 1910. To honor this day and the spirit of the man, we can choose to embrace the legend of Thomas Crapper.

Thomas Crapper was born in 1839. He became a plumber. He invented the flush toilet, which is why people called it the "crapper," which eventually led to people calling the stuff they put into the toilet "crap."

It s concise. It s easy. It s elegant. Reject the truth, and give thanks this day for Thomas Crapper.

January 27, 1832
... Lewis Carroll is treated like a man you wouldn’t want your kids to meet,yet his stories are still presented as classics of pure, innocent literature. - Will Brooker, author of Alice’s Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Anglican deacon, children's author, mathematician, and photographer (child pornographer?) was born on this date.

On January 21, 1901, the great maestro Joe Green (Giuseppe Verdi was merely his stage name) suffered a stroke while staying at the Grand Hotel et de Milan, in Milan. So revered was the composer that horses hooves were wrapped in blankets to muffle their noise as they passed the hotel where he rested.

Verdi gradually grew more feeble and died six days later, on this date. To date, his funeral remains the largest public assembly of any event in the history of Italy.

January 27, 1918 -
Tarzan of the Apes, the first Tarzan film, premiered at the Broadway Theater in NYC on this date.

Louisiana was chosen as the main shooting location because of the cooperation of the residents of Morgan City, the lush jungle vegetation, bayous, waterways, abundant black extras, and facilities such as hotels, a railway-serviced wharf and an adjacent storage warehouse. Young men from the New Orleans Athletic Club played the ape parts.

January 27, 1976 -
Laverne and Shirley, a spinoff from Happy Days, starring Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, premiered on ABC TV on this date .

David L. Lander and Michael McKean were originally hired as writers/consultants. They wrote themselves into the show as Squiggy and Lenny, two characters they created in college.

Today in History:
January 27, 1756 -
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian musical genius, composer and fart joke lover, whose works included The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, was born on this date.

When Mozart died in 1791, probably of heart disease, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.

January 27, 1859 -
Kaiser Wilhelm II, (Queen Victoria's first grandchild and first cousin to both King George V and Tsar Nicholas II) emperor who ruled Germany during World War I but was forced to abdicate in 1918, was born on this date.

Oh, those wacky royals.

January 27, 1900 -
Hyman Rickover, American admiral who is considered the "Father of the Atomic Submarine", was born on this date.

Creating a detail-focused pursuit of excellence to a degree previously unknown, Rickover redirected the United States Navy’s ship propulsion, quality control, personnel selection, and training and education, and has had far reaching effects on the defense establishment and the civilian nuclear energy field.

January 27, 1967 -
A launchpad flash fire in the Apollo I capsule kills the astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H White and Roger B Chaffee at Cape Canaveral.

An investigation indicated that a faulty electrical wire inside the Apollo I command module was the probable cause of the fire .

January 27, 1992 -
Candidate Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers mutually accuse each other of lying about whether or not they had a 12 year affair.

Oh, that wacky Bubba

January 27, 2010
Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as A People's History of the United States, inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died on this date today.

Go out and buy his book, if not for a kid you know, buy it for yourself.

And so it goes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Better late than never

I'm just getting to my posting for today - I'm still reeling over the news about Demi Moore and the whippits.

January 26
It's Republic Day in India and dancers from all over the nation gather in New Delhi every year on this day to dance in the huge National Arena and all along a five mile parade route.

It's Foundation Day in Australia as, well and commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788. (The fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip, who went on to establish the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia.) The day is filled with drinking, merriment and sodomy.

On January 26, 1979, Le Freak was on the top of the American charts.

It's nice to think there's a connection.

Today in History:
January 26, 1958 -
Ellen DeGeneres, actress, comedian and Cover Girl spokes model, was born on this date.

Ellen seems to have survived the whole American Idol fiasco unscathed.

January 26, 1962 -
Mafia boss Charles Lucky Luciano died of natural causes at the Naples airport. On the day of his fatal heart attack, Luciano had plans to sell the rights of his life's story to a movie maker. Luciano dropped dead as he was about to shake hands. The Mob disliked the idea and had tried unsuccessfully to change his mind. It has been hypothesized that Luciano's heart attack was a result of poisoning by the Mafia.

He was buried in St. John's Cemetery in Queens, New York after a federal court ruled his burial on United States soil could not be blocked on the grounds that a corpse is not a citizen of any country and is therefore not subject to immigration control or deportation laws.

January 26, 1979 -
Dukes of Hazzard premiered on CBS television with One Armed Bandits - (A shipment of slot machines is hijacked.)

High comedy indeed.

January 26,1979 -
70-year-old multibillionaire Nelson Rockefeller was stricken by a massive heart attack while giving dictation to his 27-year-old research assistant, Megan Marshack on this date. Some time after that event, Marshack had called her friend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce, to the townhouse and it was Pierce who phoned 911 approximately an hour after the heart attack.

Much speculation went on in the press regarding a personal relationship between Rockefeller and Marshack. Rockefeller's will left Marshak $50,000 and the deed to a Manhattan townhouse.

January 26, 1984 -
A magnesium flash bomb at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles ignited Michael Jackson’s hair during the filming of a Pepsi television commercial, causing third-degree scalp burns.

It is later reveals that unscrupulous doctors prescribe a full but highly unorthodox regiment of pedophilia to ease the singer’s wounds.

January 26, 1998 -
U.S. President Bill Clinton denies, on television, having had sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Sometimes, a blowjob is just a blowjob.

January 26, 1996 -
Insane madman millionaire John E. Du Pont shot Olympic wrestler David Schultz three times, killing him on this date. A two day police standoff follows at the Foxcatcher estate and wrestling compound, with SWAT teams biding their time under the assumption that Du Pont, an expert marksman, possessed an arsenal at his disposal.

Mr. Du Pont died in prison. Perhaps Mr. Du Pont has gone to a better place where greasing yourself up and rolling around a mat with another person in a unitard is not considered a crime against nature.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Be kind to your web footed friends

They're probably lost.
Solar flares could really disrupt life as we know it…who knew? Besides disrupting satellites, affecting astronauts in space, and creating communication issues for planes traversing the poles, (flights are being rerouted,) scientists have found that homing pigeons are becoming disoriented.

Scientist believe that the winged rats may use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. The solar storm is distorting the Earth's normal magnetic field and the pigeons can no longer rely on their normal guidance system and may become lost.

So please, if you see a pigeon staggers around, direct him to the park.

It's the third day of the Lunar New Year
Families who had an immediate relative deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all, as it is believed that evil spirits roam the earth this day and hence it would be bad luck to be outdoors.

The third day is a good day for sons-in-law to pay homage to their parents-in-law. Bring offerings of mandarin oranges and sweet foods. Parents should give red envelopes filled with auspicious money to their sons-in-law. The third day is also a good day to propose marriage or to get married. The third day is not a good day to travel or go clubbing. It is not a good day to throw a party to celebrate. According to legend, the third day of the Lunar New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters. Thus, on that night, people are supposed to go to bed early so that the mice can perform their wedding ceremonies.

January 25, 1951 -
The story of a little boy who would only talk in sound effects, Gerald McBoing-Boing, winner of the Oscar for best animated short subject for 1951, was released on this date.

In a poll of animators, film historians and directors conducted during the 90's, this cartoon was rated the ninth greatest cartoon short of all time.

January 25, 1961 -
Walt Disney's 101 Dalmations, premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on this date.

Cruella De Vil was designed as a manic take-off on the flamboyant actress Tallulah Bankhead, as well as some of her personality quirks.

January 25, 1970 -
Robert Altman's Oscar winning film starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, M*A*S*H, premiered in NYC on this date .

The opening title sequence has a text that identifies the place as Korea. This was added at the insistence of the studio after director Robert Altman had removed every reference to Korea, intending it to be mistaken for Vietnam, which would reinforce the anti-war statement.

Today in History:
January 25, 1759 -
It's Robert Burns' birthday and people will be celebrating with a Burns Supper.

The Burns Supper is eaten all across Scotland each year on the anniversary of the national poet's birth. It consists of haggis and whiskey. It is customary for the host to read Burns' Ode to a Haggis at the dinner table, presumably as a diversionary tactic.

January 25, 1924 -
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France .

Prior to this, figure skating and ice hockey had been events at the Summer Olympics. Few, if any, of the athletes survived those winter sports Summer Olympics, as the rinks continually melted. And you don't want to know about the injuries sustained during nude hockey games.

January 25, 1927 -
Antonio Carlos Jobim, composer and primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, was born on this date.

If you are in your mid 40's to early 50's, you probably wouldn't have been born without the help of this guy - go ask your parents.

January 25, 1938 -
Etta James, blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter, was born on this date

Pour yourself a double and remember this great singer.

January 25, 1947 -
Anita Pallenberg, model, actress, fashion designer and bathtub companion to Mick Jagger, was born on this date.

January 25, 1947 -
Mobster Al Capone dies in Florida, released from Alcatraz , due to his declining health (his mind gone from long untreated syphilis.)

For the wages of sin is death

January 25, 1960 -
Actress Diana Barrymore, Drew's aunt, committed suicide by taking a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol on this date.

Go out and rent The Bad and the Beautiful (the Lana Turner character is based on Diana.)

January 25, 1971 -
Idi Amin Dada, everybody's favorite tyrant, comes to power in Uganda on this date.

Forest Whitaker won a Golden Globe award, a BAFTA, the Screen Actors' Guild award for Best Actor (Drama), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of this cannibal.

Hopefully, Forest isn't a method actor.

January 25, 1971 -
Charles Manson and three of his followers are convicted in Los Angeles of the Tate and LaBianca murders on this date.

All were sentenced to the gas chamber, with sentences commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was temporarily abolished.

January 25, 1990 -
An Avianca Boeing 707 ran out of fuel and crashed in Cove Neck, N.Y. on this date.

73 of the 161 people aboard were killed.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't it make you want to rock and roll

January 24, 1947 -
... I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed's Radio.

Warren William Zevon, singer-songwriter and musician, was born on this date.

Remember kids - keep enjoying every sandwich.

It's the Second Day of Chinese New Year Festival -

One should eat dumplings today. Some Chinese will eat dumpling because its shape like ancient Chinese money - gold ingot. On this day, people pray to their ancestors as well as the Gods to bring them good luck and prosperity in the coming year. The married women visit their own houses in the second day. The second day is also considered as the birthday of all the dogs and so the people behave kindly to the dogs and feed them.

The 2012 Oscar nominations are out this morning

January 24, 1940 -
John Ford's film version of John Steinbeck's novel, The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda, premiered in NYC on this date.

Henry Fonda, still struggling to became a big Hollywood star, tried to avoid being a contract player for 20th Century-Fox because he wanted the ability to independently choose his own projects (an increasing number of stars at the time were trying to gain such independence). But when the much-coveted part of Tom Joad was offered to him, Fonda hesitantly gave in and signed a contract to work with the studio for seven years because he knew it would be the role of a lifetime.

January 24, 1949
...I owe it all to little chocolate donuts.

John Belushi, actor and comedian, was born on this date.

Today in History:
January 24, 41 -
Roman emperor and crackpot Caligula is assassinated by his bodyguards. His last words apparently were, "I am still alive! Strike again."

Yeah, yeah, I know you know that the Roman Emperor Caligula made his horse a senator and a god, married his sister, slept with the horse, slept with the potted plants ...

I guess this guy got more unnatural things done in a day then most of us do in a lifetime.

January 24, 1848 -
James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento, starting the California gold rush.

According to the Gold Institute less than 2 million ounce's of gold were mined during the height of the California Gold Rush in 1849.

January 24, 1908 -
The first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by its founder, Robert Baden-Powell, a man who enjoyed seeing and photographing naked boys swimming just a little too much.

It is odd that such a homophobic organization would be founded by a repressed homosexual.

January 24, 1927 -
Alfred Hitchcock, former titles writer for silent movies, releases his first film, The Pleasure Garden, in England.

Cinematographer Gaetano Ventimiglia hid the camera underneath Hitchcock's bunk, in an attempt to avoid Italian duties. The unexposed film was confiscated and the crew bought new film to shoot on location, seriously depleting the film's budget. Later, the confiscated film was returned.

January 24, 1978 -
The nuclear-powered Soviet Cosmos 954 satellite plunges through Earth's atmosphere and disintegrates, scattering radioactive debris over parts of Canada's Northwest Territories. Much of the satellite lands in the Great Slave Lake; only about 1% of the radioactive material is recovered.

Hey, I hope we all enjoyed that smoked salmon from Canada in the late 70's.

January 24, 1986 -
Note to Tom Cruise - nothing to read here, move on.

Crackpot and founder of the fraudulent Scientology movement, L. Ron Hubbard died on this date. His bad science fiction writing has grown alarmingly prolific in the years since his death.

And so it goes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hong Bao Na Lai!

(Please be aware I will be celebrating Chinese New Year by recklessly shooting firecrackers in public locations for the next two weeks.)

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate. Salvador Dali, John Lennon, and Mary-Louise Parker were all born in the year of the dragon.

Occupying the 5th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon is the mightiest of the signs. Dragons symbolize such character traits as dominance and ambition. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and if left on their own, are usually successful. They’re driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks. They’re passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons feeling exhausted and interestingly, unfulfilled.

January 23, 1950 -
Richard Dean Anderson, actor and love god of Patty and Selma Bouvier, was born on this date.

I shudder to think how Patty and Selma celebrate the day.

January 23, 1977 -
The twelve-hour miniseries Roots premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

For eight consecutive nights it riveted the country. ABC executives initially feared that the historical saga about slavery would be a ratings disaster. Instead, Roots scored higher ratings than any previous entertainment program in history.

Today in History:
January 23, 1897 -
Elva Zona Heaster was found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia on this date.

The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.

January 23, 1948 -
John Huston's classic film, Treasure of Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart opens in NYC on this date.

Walter Huston, father of director John Huston, won the Academy Award for best supporting actor. John won for best direction. This was the first father/son win.

January 23, 1975 -
Barney Miller, a TV series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village, premiered on ABC TV on this date.

Many real-life police officers considered this the TV show that best depicted the reality of police life.

January 23, 1978 -
Terry Kath of band Chicago accidentally kills himself while pretending to play Russian Roulette in Woodland Hills.

The circumstances of his death gave him the dubious distinction of being one of the first celebrities to be nominated for a Darwin Award.

Moral: Remember guns don't kill - one bullet in the chamber does.

And so it goes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Before I forget

The great Etta Brown passed away the other day and I didn't want it to go unnoticed.

Perhaps someday a really good biographical film will be made about this fine singer.

I can't believe no one has thought of this before but a corruption trial in Cleveland is being covered in an unusual way - Puppet's Court:

All trials from now on should be covered this way.

January 22, 1968 -
The comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, premiered on NBC television on this date.

The show originally aired as a one-time special on September 9, 1967. It was such a phenomenal success that it was given a regular one-hour time slot on Monday nights, replacing The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Today in History -
Today is the birthday of Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow, better known as Ivan the Great.

He was born in 1440 and became Grand Duke of Moscow in 1462. Although Moscow was a lot of fun, it was not yet Russia. Ivan was determined to remedy that shortcoming as quickly as possible: he had tsars in his eyes.

To enlarge his dominions he began nibbling at his smaller neighbors, paying an annual tribute to the Golden Horde of Tatars to keep them from nibbling at him. Having eventually swallowed most of his surroundings, Ivan decided in 1480 that it was time to stop paying the Golden Horde.

The Golden Horde reminded him that it was time for their annual tribute. Ivan ignored them.

The Golden Horde sent him polite reminders in the mail, but he ignored these also.

They sent reminders on brightly colored stationery embossed with the words PAYMENT PAST DUE, but Ivan, alas, remained indifferent.

Finally the Golden Horde marched against Ivan and he marched his own troops out to meet them. The two armies met, faced off, and simultaneously retreated.

This was a victory for Ivan, in that neither he nor his descendants ever paid tribute to the Golden Horde again. But it was also a defeat for Ivan, who was therefore denied the rank of tsar.

(The first real tsar of Russia was his grandson, Ivan IV, "the shooting tsar.")

January 22, 1521 -
The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V commenced the imperial Diet of Worms, on this date, to address the issues Martin Luther brought up in his 95 Theses.

While worms in general are quite unpleasant to consume, most people were afraid to contridict the Emperor, so many people in Europe became Protestant.

It was on this date in 1807 that U.S. President Thomas Jefferson exposed a plot by his former vice-president and unconvicted murderer, Aaron Burr, to establish an empire in the southwestern part of the continent. Burr was eventually acquitted as a result of Chief Justice Marshall's tree-falling-in-forest ruling that treason wasn't treason unless someone was there to see it—along with someone else who saw the same thing. The vice-presidency was never the same.
From that date forward, retiring vice-presidents have been compelled to either retire into the political obsolescence of private life, where we can safely ignore them, or into the presidency, where we can keep an eye on them (or in Dick Cheney's case, get to run the government away from prying eyes.)

January 22, 1901 -
After 63 years, England stopped sales of the Queen Victoria postage stamps series and began the King Edward VII series on this date.

Alexandrina Victoria (Hanover, if she needed a last name) the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India of the British Raj, finally gave up the ghost much to the relief of her 59 year old son Edward, permitting him to finally get a job.

January 22, 1905 -
Thousands of demonstrating Russian workers were fired on by Imperial army troops in St. Petersburg

on what became known as "Red Sunday" or "Bloody Sunday".

96 people were killed, and over 300 were wounded. This incident marks the beginning of the so-called 1905 revolution.

January 22, 1918 -
Manitoba, Canada film censor board decides to ban comedies, on the grounds that they make audiences too frivolous.

Canada does not fully recover their true frivolousness until the broadcasting of SCTV in the early 80's.

January 22, 1973 -
The Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, using a trimester approach. The court ruled that a woman's right to privacy encompasses her decision to terminate a pregnancy.

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous Jane Roe, revealed her identity in 1989. She ended up having her 3rd baby that was the initial focus of the issue.

January 22, 1984 -
The future began today. The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous 1984 television commercial.

Now that Steve Jobs is gone, we can stop saying 'Hooray for Big Brother!!!'

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Apparently I'm very mistaken

I have been locked out of my blog for most of the day for no particular reason (sorry for the late posting.)

According to Fox News, having multiple wives makes you more ready to be President.

LinkI would have thought, that it would have helped Mitt

January 21, 1966 -
George Harrison married model/actress Patti 'Layla' Boyd whom he met on the set of the Beatles movie, Hard Day's Night.

The couple later divorced in 1974 and she married Eric Clapton (whom she divorced in 1989 .)

Today in History:
January 21, 1793 -
On a chilly Monday, stripped of all titles and honorifics by the republican government, citizen Louis Capet was guillotined in front of a cheering crowd in what today is the Parisian Place de la Revolution. The executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, testified that King Louis XVI had bravely met his fate.

An early urban legend has the King months earlier suggesting a slant and beveling of the blade, for better cutting action.

Sometimes, people should just keep their opinions to themselves.

January 21, 1908 -
New York City's Board of Aldermen passed the Sullivan Ordinance that effectively prohibited women from smoking in public.

Two weeks later the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.

January 21, 1924 -
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Vladimir I. Lenin) driving force behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the first great dictator of the Soviet Union dies from a massive stroke on this date.

Lenin, idolized during his life -- an icon after his death, helped along by an unusual effort to preserve his corpse. For decades after his death, Russians lined up in all weather to view Lenin's body on display in a glass container inside a special mausoleum in Red Square. A triumph of the embalmer's art, the corpse was removed on a regular basis for the special top-secret treatments that kept it looking remarkably lifelike.

I'm going to let you sick puppies go on your own to this site - you can enjoy the sight of the nude, mummified corpse of Lenin getting his rejuvenating bath.

January 21, 1957 -
Patsy Cline sang Walking After Midnight on Arthur Godfrey's nighttime television show, quickly launching her career

If only she sang Don't Go Flying in Inclement Weather, things might have been different.

January 21, 1959 -
Former Our Gang child star Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer arrived at Moses "Bud" Stiltz's home in Mission Hills, California, to settle an alleged debt owed to Switzer.

Previously, Switzer had borrowed a dog from Stiltz which was lost, but eventually found, Switzer paying the man who returned the dog $50. Switzer went to Stiltz's house to collect the money "owed" him. He banged on Stiltz's front door, demanding that he let him in, flashing a fake police badge. Once Switzer got inside he and Stiltz got into an argument. Switzer informed Stiltz that he wanted the money owed him. However, when Stiltz refused to hand over the money, the two engaged in a physical fight. Switzer bashed Stiltz in the head with a lamp, which caused Stiltz to bleed from his left eye. Stiltz retreated to his bedroom and returned holding a gun, but Switzer immediately grabbed the gun away from Stiltz, which resulted in a shot being fired but neither man being hit. Then Switzer forced Stiltz into a closet, despite Stiltz having gotten his hands back on the gun. Switzer then allegedly pulled out a knife and was attempting to stab Stiltz with it. But just as Switzer was about to charge Stiltz, Stiltz raised the gun and shot Switzer in the chest. Switzer died of intense blood loss while on his way to the hospital. He was 31 years old.

Switzer's death was largely ignored in the media, mainly because director Cecil B. DeMille had died on the same day.

Kids, never loan a dog to a former child star.

January 21, 1960 -
The Little Joe 1B was a Launch Escape System test of the Mercury spacecraft, conducted as part of the U.S. Mercury program, on this date. The mission also carried a female Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) named Miss Sam in the Mercury spacecraft. The six pound monkey survived the 8 minute 35 second flight in good condition.

Miss Sam retired from the space program and enjoyed a successfully career in the "Straw Hat" theatre circuit, starring in, among other things, The Little Foxes and A Doll's House.

January 21, 1968 -
A B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminated the area after its nuclear payload ruptured. One of the four bombs remains unaccounted for after the cleanup operation is complete.

If you have the bomb, the US government would be happy to take it off your hands - no questions asked.

And so it goes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New word of the day (to me, anyway.)


Having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

Dear Newt,
When the New York Daily News refers to you as a 'PIG',

It may be time to fold up your tent and head on back to Tiffany's, where they'll welcome you with open arms and a very large open line of credit.

January 20, 1956 -
Bill Maher, actor, comedian, political analyst and professional pot smoker, was born on this date.

I recently watched (for professional reasons) a Murder She Wrote episode that guest starred a very young Bill (with a mullet, no less.)

January 20, 1941 -
Raoul Walsh's crime-drama High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino (remember, nobody messes with Ida Lupino) premiered on this date.

In addition to Hal B. Wallis, Humphrey Bogart also sent several telegrams to studio head Jack L. Warner, begging to be cast as Roy Earle. After Paul Muni left Warner Bros. in a contract dispute and George Raft also turned down the role, Warner called Bogart and told him the part was his...on the condition that Bogart stop sending him telegrams.

January 20, 1949 -
A surprise hit for writer/ director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (which garnered for him his first two Oscars,) A Letter to Three Wives, premiered on this date.

The identity of the actress Celeste Holm who did the voice-over for Addie Ross was kept secret when the film was released. The studio held a number of "Who is Addie?" contests around the country where moviegoers could guess the actress' name.

Today in History -
Jimmy Naismith was born in Ramsay township in Ontario, Canada in 1861. He grew up and eventually went to McGill University in Montreal. He became their Athletic Director and in 1891 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take a post at the YMCA Training School. It was there that he was confronted with the problem of developing a game that could be played indoors and in relatively little space.

On January 20, 1892, with only two peach baskets, a soccer ball, and a hand-written list of 13 rules, Dr. Naismith oversaw the world's first full game of a brand new sport, a sport that took its name from the peach baskets and soccer ball used to play it.

He had finally invented Peach Soccer (as opposed to Peachbasket - see January 15.)

January 20, 1936 -
King George V of England was euthanized with injections of cocaine and morphine, after a painful cancer illness on this date. His final words, a mumbled God damn you!, were addressed to his nurse when she gave him a sedative before his final lethal injection. His physician was motivated not only to ameliorate the king's suffering, but also to break the story in the morning edition of the newspapers, rather than the less appropriate evening journals.

Remember kids - Promptness is the politeness of kings.

At the procession to George's Lying in State in Westminster Hall, as the cortege turned into New Palace Yard, the Maltese Cross fell from the Imperial Crown and landed in the gutter. The new King, Edward VIII, saw it fall and wondered whether this was a bad omen for his new reign.

He would abdicate before the year was out.

January 20, 1920 -
Cinema is an old whore, like circus and variety, who knows how to give many kinds of pleasure. Besides, you can't teach old fleas new dogs.

Federico Fellini, director, screenwriter, producer, painter and cartoonist, was born on this date.

And so it goes.