Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy Hansen's Disease Day

Celebrate World Leprosy Day - be like St. Francis - lick a leper's sores.

Or not.

You could think about the fact that Barry Manilow's song, Mandy went gold on this date in 1974.

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

and once the 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 -
Terrorama! Double Horror Sensation! Oh Roger Corman, we love you!

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

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, on November 5, 1605. 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 any event, on this date, 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 on this date.

The "hell bomb," as it was called, served to greatly heighten US-USSR tensions in the Cold War.  Hopefully, the terrorists are not reading my blog and taking notes.

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, on board 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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

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.

Charles Chaplin re-shot the scene in which the Little Tramp buys a flower from the blind flower-girl 342 times, as he could not find a satisfactory way of showing that the blind flower-girl thought that the mute tramp was wealthy.

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.

The performance, filmed for the documentary Let It Be, was eventually halted when police arrived after neighbors complained about the racket.

January 30, 1981 -
Universal Pictures
released the Joel Schumacher film The Incredible Shrinking Woman,  starring Lily Tomlin and Charles Grodin, on this date.

John Landis was the original director of the project. In his version, the film would have ended with the heroine giving a speech in Washington D.C. when she was less than a foot tall. Universal wanted the budget scaled back from $30 million to $10 million, so the script was rewritten and Landis dropped out.

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
was 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 assassination. 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 -
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - 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.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

For you and I are past our dancing days

January 29 1595 -
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.

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

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

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), Sleeping Beauty had only about 18 lines of actual dialogue throughout the entire film in which she only appears in the film for 18 minutes

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.

George C. Scott was reputedly annoyed that Stanley Kubrick was pushing him to overact for his role. While he vowed never to work with Kubrick again, Scott eventually saw this as one of his favorite performances. Many fans consider it some of his best work on-screen.

Today in History:
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 your navel or waxing your car or bleaching someone's rectal area.

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

January 29, 1886-
Karl Benz patented the "Benz Patent Motorwagon", on this date, which looked much like a tricycle with a cushioned seat; this was the first gas-powered car.

Making a gas-powered car had been a long-time dream of Benz, who had originally started tinkering with engines in his spare time as a bicycle shop owner.

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

Once again, Oprah got snubbed for an Oscar nomination this year.  I just want to remind those folks in Hollywood, Oprah could get enriched uranium in a human heart beat.

January 29, 1979 -
Brenda Spencer fired repeatedly at the school across from her residence in San Diego, killing two and wounding eight 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.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

(Another) word for today:

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 January 28, 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

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

Shortly after the cancellation of The Beverly Hillbillies, Buddy Ebsen was Quinn Martin's first choice for the lead role in the show, he accepted it.

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

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

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

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

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 Pollux and Castor, 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, 1915 -
The Coast Guard
was formed with the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service on this date, as an organization under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. They were originally intended to crack down on piracy while helping people out as a side interest.

Their services were later incorporated the US Lighthouse Service, and was itself incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

January 28, 1921 -
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was installed under the Arc de Triomphe on this date. The tomb was dedicated to the French soldiers who had died in World War I.

It has remained a popular tourist spot both for French citizens and international visitors to Paris. Jacqueline Kennedy was inspired by her visit with her late husband, President Kennedy to the Arc de Triomphe in 1961, to request that an eternal flame, much like the one she had seen at the Tomb, to be placed at her husband's grave, in 1963.

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 paraplegic and was confined to a wheelchair the remainder of his life.

January 28, 1986 -
The Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hopefully you survived the Snow Apocalypse

While most people didn't quite get the massive amount of snow that forecasters were predicting -

you still should be safe out there.

I hang my head in shame - while I did point out that yesterday was Australia Day, I didn't post Puddles the Sad Clown singing the unofficial national anthem.

Please accept my sincere apology Australia

Today is Punch the Clock Day.  I have no idea why anyone would want to celebrate the soul-numbing activity of having to punch into work. So instead, let's celebrate a great cut from the Elvis Costello album Punch the Clock, TKO (Boxing Day).

We could also note that it's Thomas Crapper day (more about Mr. Crapper later.)

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.

Production began with Stellan Windrow playing Tarzan. After five weeks of shooting, Windrow quit to enlist in the First World War. Footage of him swinging from vines remains in the final film. According to Edgar Rice Burroughs' biographer Robert Fenton, Windrow was using "Winslow Wilson" as a stage name at the time.

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 .

Frustrated at TV shows constantly repeating who the characters are and what they do, Penny Marshall came up with the idea of Laverne having L's on all her clothes, figuring that would solve the problem. To her chagrin, they still had to say on a regular basis who was who and where the girls worked; she got tired of all the times Cindy Williams would say 'Laverne' in an episode.

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, 1832
... If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

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

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.

Hooray, it's Thomas Crapper Day

Thomas Crapper died on January 27, 1910. In popular American folklore, the British Mr. 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.

I say unfortunately because the world is ambiguous enough as it is, and the toilet is one of a very few things that can be counted on to acquit itself without any ambiguity. Having a toilet in the home improves our quality of life enormously; the contributions of most other appliances pale by comparison. Like other vital but widely available amenities, however, a toilet’s importance is most strongly felt in its absence. Most of us have had at least one experience where we’ve made a hefty contribution to a toilet only to discover afterwards that it won’t flush.

Can you not remember the horror as you stared down into the bowl and wondered what to do? Can you not remember the icy panic that gripped you as you noticed that not only wouldn’t the toilet flush, but that the water was rising?

(The Germans have a word for that bone-chilling dread, and it reflects poorly upon us as a nation that we do not. The Germans also have a word for the feeling you get when you notice just as you’re locking your car door that the keys are still in the ignition. Clearly, they have more to offer the world than beer, pretzels, and maniacal plans for world conquest.)

The importance of toilets cannot be overstated, and anything that important deserves a good legend. Thomas Crapper may not have invented the toilet, and his name may not have been the source of our "crap" or "crapper," but that doesn’t mean we have to tolerate the truth. 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, 1967 -
A launchpad flash fire in the Apollo I capsule killed the astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H White and Roger B Chaffee at Cape Canaveral on this date.

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

January 27, 1973 -
North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the United States signed the Paris Peace Accord on this day, ending one of the longest and most unpopular wars in American history.

Despite a ceasefire that had been put into effect a few days earlier, the last American troop to die in Vietnam was killed just 11 hours before the treaty was signed.

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 on this date.

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.

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

And so it goes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Take the warnings seriously: stock up on essentials

Among the most important things you need to do today to get ready for the upcoming storm - check and restock your liquor cabinet

You don't want to be house bound with your family without sufficient supplies.

Another great Sesame Street Mash-up - Rowlf singing Biz Markie's Just a Friend (possibly better than Biz Markie.)

What's not to like here?

In honor of  the late great Joe Franklin

Let us all have that blush of springtime!

President Obama has a front row seat for 65th annual Republic Day in India to watch 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 Australia Day today (formerly known as 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.

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

So remember, Ellen is not spreading anybodies agenda.

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

High comedy indeed.

Today in History:
January 26, 1885
General Charles George “Chinese” Gordon (Charlton Heston), an extremely popular and influential figure in the British Empire and governor-general of Sudan, was killed on the palace steps in the garrison at Khartoum by the forces of Muhammad Ahmed, El Mahdi on this date.

Unfortunately for Gordon, immediate after he was stabbed to death, he was decapitated and his head was paraded around for several hours until it was presented as a trophy to Muhammad Ahmed.

January 26, 1961 -
President Kennedy appointed Janet Travell as his personal physician, making her the first female presidential physician (as well as possibly the only woman he did not sleep with) on this date.

It was later found that she prescribed over five painkillers to the president at one time, as well as a variety of sleep aids and orthopedic shoes. The real original Dr. Feelgood.

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 -
-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 denied, on television, having had sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The president must have skipped class that day.

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 (see Foxcatcher.)

Mr. Du Pont later 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 nothing but a jock strap or a unitard is not considered a crime against nature.

January 26, 2004 -
A decomposing sperm whale exploded while in transport in Tainan City, Taiwan on this date. The whale was being moved to a laboratory for study when a critical build-up of gas caused it to explode, covering people and shop fronts in Tainan City with whale viscera.

Though decomposing whales are regularly exploded with dynamite to clear beaches, it is thought to be the first time a whale exploded in a city.  You may have had a bad day but you never had to go home to change because you were covered in whale viscera.

And so it goes.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

These should be sold in the NYC metro area

Just so we could get to see this commercial on TV,

then we could all say, don't forget to get, 'Locally Laid'.

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

The company was in debt following the flop of Sleeping Beauty and desperately needed a hit. There was even talk of closing down the animation division as the company was refocusing on live action films, television and theme parks.

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.

In the opening titles, when a soldier carrying a wounded soldier on a stretcher and when the soldier trips and falls down, it wasn't scripted. It was actually an accident by the actor who tripped over something. Robert Altman decided that instead of editing it out, to use it to foreshadow the dark humor theme as the movie's first small, but real, laugh.

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 opened on this date 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 during the 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,

bathtub companion to Mick Jagger and bedmate companion to Keith Richards, was born on this date.

January 25, 1947 -
Mobster Al Capone died in Florida on this date, having only recently been 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 24, 1961 -
Mel BlancThe Man of a Thousand Voices, was involved in a near-fatal auto accident on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California on this date. Hit head-on, Blanc suffered a triple skull fracture that left him in a coma for three weeks, along with fractures of both legs and the pelvis.

The accident prompted over 15,000 get-well cards from anxious fans, including some addressed only to "Bugs Bunny, Hollywood, USA", according to Blanc's autobiography. One newspaper falsely reported that he had died. After his recovery, Blanc reported in TV interviews, and later in his autobiography, that a clever doctor had helped him to come out of his coma by talking to Bugs Bunny, after futile efforts to talk directly to Blanc. Although he had no actual recollection of this, Blanc learned that when the doctor was inspired to ask him, "How are you today, Bugs Bunny?", Blanc answered in Bugs' voice. Blanc thus credited Bugs with saving his life.

January 25, 1971 -
Charles Manson
and three of his followers were 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 -
Avianca Flight 52
ran out of fuel and crashed in Cove Neck, N.Y. on this date.

73 of the 161 people aboard were killed.

January 25, 1995 -
Hey, the world almost ended on this date and you probably didn't even know it.
Russia almost launched a nuclear missile at a Norwegian research rocket after mistaking it for a US missile.

The event, known as the Norwegian Rocket Incident, highlighted remaining Cold War tensions, despite the fact that the war had officially ended four years earlier.

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ice isn't slippery.

What makes people and things slip on ice is water.

A thin layer of ice melts when pressure is applied to it and it is this wet layer on top of the ice that is slippery.  Keep this in mind while traveling today.

January 24, 1927 -
Alfred Hitchcock's
first film, The Pleasure Garden, went into general release on this date in England.

Although shot in 1925, and shown to the British press in March 1926, the film wasn't actually released in the UK until after The Lodger, his third film, was a massive hit in 1927.

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

Prior to filming, producer Darryl F. Zanuck sent undercover investigators out to the migrant camps to see if John Steinbeck had been exaggerating about the squalor and unfair treatment meted out there. He was horrified to discover that, if anything, Steinbeck had actually downplayed what went on in the camps.

January 24, 1947 -
... Well, first of all, let me say that I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years. It was one of those phobias that really didn't pay off.

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

Remember kids - keep enjoying every sandwich.

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 was assassinated by his bodyguards on this date. 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
found gold at Sutter's Mill near Sacramento, starting the California gold rush on this date.

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 was organized in England on this date, by its founder, Robert Baden-Powell, a man who enjoyed seeing and photographing, just a little too much, naked boys swimming.

I wonder what Baden-Powell would think (a noted repressed homosexual) now that openly gay boys can join the scouts.

January 24, 1925
A motion picture of a solar eclipse was recorded by the United States Navy from the dirigible USS Los Angeles, about nineteen miles east of Montauk Point, Long Island, New York on this date.

It is the first time a dirigible has been used for astronomical observations in the U.S.

January 24, 1972 -
Shoichi Yokoi
, despite the fact that the war had been over for more than 27 years, was still at his post in Guam. Yokoi was unaware that the war had ended, and had been hiding out in the jungles of Guam since American troops occupied the island in the 1940s.

He refused to surrender until his old commanding officer, who had retired from the military for more than 20 years, was found and told him to stand down on this date. He was the last Japanese soldier from World War II to surrender.

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 landed in the Great Slave Lake; only about 1% of the radioactive material was recovered.

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

January 24, 1986 -
Note to John Travolta, please continue to take those 3 AM selfies at the gym - nothing to read here, move on.

Crackpot and founder of the fraudulent Scientology movement, L. Ron Hubbard died on this date (laughing his ass off about the crap he made up.) His bad science fiction writing has grown alarmingly prolific in the years since his death.

And so it goes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

We don't got to show you no stinkin' badges

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

A doctor was assigned to the unit in Mexico and one night he had to attend to John Huston, who had an adverse reaction to marijuana, having smoked it for the first time with his father. He never touched the stuff again.

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

During its broadcast run amid the many cop shows on television, many real-life police officers considered this the TV show that best depicted the reality of police life.

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

The show was programmed by ABC to air on several consecutive nights in prime time. It was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a mini-series, since most minis were aired once or twice a week over several weeks' time. It was revealed years later that the reason the network did this was so that they get the show "out of the way" in a hurry because they felt, nobody would watch the story if it aired over a longer period of time.

January 23, 1983 -
The A-Team starring George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and Mr. T premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The crime the team didn't commit was that their commanding officer in Vietnam, Colonel Morrison, ordered them to rob the Bank of Hanoi. The hope was that this would help bring the war to an end. The mission was successful, but when they returned to headquarters, the A-Team found it burned to the ground, and that Morrison was murdered by the Viet Cong. All the evidence that they were acting under orders vanished in the fire.

Today in History:
January 23, 1849
It is not easy to be a pioneer - but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.

English-born Elizabeth Blackwell, becomes the first woman to receive an American medical degree, graduated at the top of her class from the medical school of Hobart College, Geneva, NY on this date.

January 23, 1897 -
Elva Zona Heaster
was found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia on this date. Authorities originally thought Heaster had died of natural causes, but her mother later claimed that Elva's ghost visited her and told her otherwise, leading to her widowed husband's arrest and conviction.

It was one of the few times in American legal history that the testimony of a ghost was taken into account at trial.

January 23, 1931  -
While touring in the Netherlands, the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova's train had a slight accident, derailing and being delayed for 12 hours. She went outside dressed only in pajamas and a light scarf to see what was happening. As a result of this she caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia.

She died three weeks later on this date. At the end, she asked to hold her Dying Swan costume. Her last words were, "Play that last measure very softly."

 So kids, once again, your mother was right - it's cold outside, put on a sweater.

January 23, 1978 -
Terry Kath
of band Chicago accidentally killed himself on this date 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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Worry no more

Fruit stickers are edible!

They’re actually made out of “edible paper” or other food grade materials with that possibility in mind.  Even the glue is food grade.

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.

(sorry it's not the first episode but you get the idea.)

One of the trademarks of the series was the fast cutting that happened in between videotaped segments. Blackouts, one-liners and sketches were edited together in such a way that the show had a very rapid, almost frenzied, pace. This was done before computer controlled editing machines were invented, so much of the show was edited by hand.

January 22, 2003 -
The hysterical funny and groundbreaking comedy show Chappelle's Show, starring Dave Chappelle premiered on Comedy Central on this date.

Dave Chappelle was inspired to create the show after watching a documentary about Hugh M. Hefner that featured clips of Playboy After Dark. Chappelle was inspired by the laid-back atmosphere of Hefner's show.

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 contradict 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" on this date.

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, 1970
A Pan Am Boeing 747-100 named Victor Clipper (N736PA) makes its first commercial passenger trip to London, England on this date

The flight had departed from New York City, and had carried 332 passengers and 18 crew. Although most passengers enjoyed the flight, one had mentioned that this plane is too big for commercial travel. (Unfortunately, seven years later on March 27, 1977, the Clipper Victor was involved in the worst aircraft accident in history, with a total of 583 fatalities. A KLM 747 at full take off speed, while trying to get airborne crashed into Pan Am’s Clipper Victor in Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands.)

January 22, 1973 -
The Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision on this date, 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 third 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!!!'

January 22, 1997 -
Lottie Williams was reportedly the first human to be struck by a remnant of a space vehicle after re-entering the earth's atmosphere on this date.

The debris that struck Ms. Williams has not been examined to confirm its origin, but a used Delta II rocket, launched nine months earlier, had crashed into the Earth's atmosphere half an hour earlier. Williams says she received a letter from the deputy secretary of defense apologizing for the incident.

And so it goes.

Before I let you go:

January 22, 1987 -
If you know, you know why

Otherwise, nothing to see here

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Aw nuts

For some reason, today is Squirrel Appreciation Day

(Remember, they are just rats with good PR.)

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 on this date.

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 died 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, 1954 -
The first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus (named after the submarine in Jules Vernes' Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) was launched by First lady Mamie Eisenhower on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut on this date.

The propulsion system of the Nautilus makes the ship the first “true” submarine. Vessel previously termed “submarines” were, in fact, only submersibles powered by diesel engines which consumed vast amounts of oxygen. However, the Nautilus can remain submerged for months on end.

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

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 on this date.

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 Hedda Gabler.

January 21, 1968 -
A B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminated the area after its nuclear payload ruptured on this date. 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.

Hey before you go - I just noticed that we had a snowstorm on this date last year and it is supposed to snow later today.  The significance of that - nil.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's never too early to start Christmas shopping

I've checked several sources and these figures are really for sale in Russia (at present.)

I'm anticipating you'll be able to buy this at a store near you very soon

January 20, 1941 -
Raoul Walsh's
crime-drama High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino premiered on this date.

This was the last movie Humphrey Bogart made where he did not receive top billing. The studio thought that Ida Lupino should have top billing given the fact that she had been such a big hit in They Drive by Night and so her name ended up above Bogart's on the title card. Bogart was reportedly unhappy about receiving second billing but never complained.

(Proving once again, nobody fucks with Ida Lupino.)

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.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz had a real battle with the American censors at the time who would not permit him to use words like "laxative" and "toilet" in his script. He got his revenge with a famous double-entendre laden exchange which used words like "penetration" and "saturation".

January 20, 1964 -
The second Beatles' album, Meet the Beatles! was released in the United States 51 years ago on this date.

It was the first US Beatles album to be issued by Capitol Records. Two days previously, the Beatles entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, as 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' appeared on the Hot 100 at No. 45.

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, 1920 -
All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.

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

January 20, 1936 -
King George V of England was euthanized with injections of cocaine and morphine on this date, after a painful cancer illness. 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, Bertrand Dawson (later becoming Viscount Dawson of Penn,) 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, 1949 -
As a early gift for her 21st birthday, J. Edgar Hoover gives his friend Shirley Temple a tear gas fountain pen.  This is not as odd as it seems: Hoover had known Shirley for much of her professional life - the FBI have investigated several death and extortion threats against the child star for years.

I have scourged the internet but alas cannot find a picture of the pen (or Hoover in his cha-cha heels.)

January 20, 1956 -
Kids. They're not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex.

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

January 20, 1981-
The hostages being held by Iran had been held for almost 450 days (444 days), one of the longest durations of a hostage situation in modern history, were released on this date.

The way President Carter handled the situation was extremely unpopular, and the hostages were only released minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

And so it goes.