Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The next time that you're in the Netherlands

Remember, you can be fined for not using a shopping basket at a grocery store.

I don't believe you have to worry about the random panda attacks for using one though.

September 30, 1938 -
RKO Studios
released the eighth Marx Brothers film, Room Service, on this date.

The only film The Marx Brothers made at RKO. During salary negotiations with the studio, erstwhile member Zeppo Marx represented The Marx Brothers, threatening to rejoin the group if their demands weren't met.

September 30, 1948 -
Howard Hawks
released his iconic western, Red River, starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift on this date.

John Wayne felt the film was slightly overlong, and was concerned how Montgomery Clift could fight him on screen. Howard Hawks filmed the final fight in such a way that Clift was able to realistically stand up to the much taller and heavier Wayne.

September 30, 1952 -
The motion picture process Cinerama -- which employed three cameras, three projectors and a deeply curved viewing screen -- made its debut with the premiere of This Is Cinerama at the Broadway Theater in New York City on this date.

Besides developing the Cinerama process, Fred Waller was a pioneer of the sport of water-skiing. This explains why the Cypress Gardens water-ski show was included in This is Cinerama.

September 30, 1960 -
The first prime-time animated series aimed at adults, The Flintstones, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Like appearing as a guest villain on Batman, doing a guest voice on The Flintstones animation series was considered, by most celebrities during the 1960s, to be a badge of honor.

September 30, 1958 -
The first network series to be filmed entirely in New York City, the police drama, Naked City debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Because the show was filmed in black and white on location in New York City, the police cars for the show were painted in false colors so that they would not be mistaken for real police cars.

September 30, 1982 -
, the comedy television series that ran eleven seasons from 1982 to 1993, premiered on this date.

From the start of the series, writers and producers made it a point to never show anyone leaving the bar drunk to drive home. The series would come to be recognized and cited by anti-drinking and driving groups for depicting and helping promote designated driver programs.

Today in History:
September 30, 1452
It's the anniversary of the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz, Germany on this date. It was the first book ever printed with movable type. What made Gutenberg's invention revolutionary was not that it allowed you to print letters on paper, but that you could print an infinite number of different pages from a small number of letter blocks simply by rearranging them.

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

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

September 30, 1630 -
Pilgrim John Billington, who arrived on the Mayflower, was hanged at Plymouth for killing John Newcomen with a musket, on this date.

Billington was the first Englishman executed in New England.

September 30, 1846 -
On this evening in 1846, Mr. Eben Frost, suffering from a violent toothache, called upon Dr. William Thomas Green Morton. Dr. Morton administered ether and extracted the tooth.

Thus ether was used for the first time as an anesthetic on this date.

September 30, 1927 -
Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, on this day.

(Mark McGwire was born on October 1, 1963, however, so this no longer matters to some. Although, the Bambino was only hopped up on booze.)

September 30, 1938 -
The Germans occupied the Sudetenland in late summer of 1938. This enraged the British and the English, who both feared for the loss of the Sudetenland's celebrated pea crops.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Hitler at Bertesgaden to discuss the situation, on this date.

Hitler assured him that there would be plenty of peas to go around, and Chamberlain returned to England with the famous proclamation of Peas in Our Time. World War II was therefore avoided and did not break out until some time later.

September 30, 1955 -
Teen idol James Dean was killed in a car accident that probably could have been avoided if he had had his car inspected and tuned up regularly, obeyed all posted highway signs, and driven only when alert and sober on this date.

(Remember kids, if you are going to drink til you dropdrop where you drink.)

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Today is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and All Angels

It's also known in England as Michaelmas Day.  St. Michael is the patron saint of the sea and maritime lands, of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen. He was the Angel who hurled Lucifer down from Heaven for his offenses against God.

There’s a legend concerning Lucifer falling into a blackberry bush after being expelled from heaven by St. Michael and spitting on the blackberries to make them bitter so that they cannot be picked after Michaelmas. So kids, don't eat those blackberries tomorrow until you want Satan's saliva in your mouth (unless you're into that.)

September 29, 1948 -
Laurence Olivier's
powerful interpretation of Shakespeare's melancholy Dane, Hamlet premiered in New York City on this day.

When the movie was released Laurence Olivier said it had been filmed in black and white for artistic reasons. The true reason, as he later admitted, was that "I was in the middle of a furious row with Technicolor".

September 29, 1953
The family comedy Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, premiered on ABC TV on this date.

Danny Thomas was forced against his will to have Jean Hagen as his TV wife. He could not stand her attitude or what he considered her slovenly appearance. During one rehearsal he is said to have have shouted "For God's sake, Jean, put on a little lipstick". She left after the third season and, at the beginning of the fourth season, to assure that she could not come back he had her character die.

September 29, 1954 -
The movie musical A Star Is Born, (the third version of the film, fourth, if you count What Price Hollywood) starring Judy Garland and James Mason, had its world premiere at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood on this date.

Groucho Marx called Judy Garland not winning an Oscar for A Star Is Born, "the biggest robbery since Brink's."

September 29, 1954 -
United Artist released the Joseph L, Mankiewicz film, The Barefoot Contessa, starring Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart on this date. (If you haven't seen this movie, seek it out!)

The character of Maria Vargas is said to be based on Rita Hayworth, who was actually offered the part. The stormy relationship between Maria and the tycoon movie producer Kirk Edwards (Warren Stevens) is based on Gardner's own relationship with billionaire film producer Howard Hughes.

September 29, 1955 -
The only film Charles Laughton directed, The Night of the Hunter opened in New York City on this date.

Later on in life, Robert Mitchum, who was usually indifferent to such matters, said that Charles Laughton was his favorite director and indicated that this was his favorite of the movies in which he had acted.

September 29, 1959 -
One of the first series that featured the lives of American teenagers, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, starring  Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver and Tuesday Weld premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

This show was the first professional acting job for Bob Denver, who had been a grade school teacher and postal worker before joining the cast.

September 29, 1960 -
We were all welcomed into the Douglas household when My Three Sons, starring another of TV favorite alcoholic dads, Fred McMurray, premiered on ABC on this date.

When William Frawley left the show midway through the 1964-65 season due to declining health, his absence was explained by having Bub move to Ireland to live. William Frawley really enjoyed working on the show and did not want to leave. To make matters worse, he was replaced by William Demarest, whom he hated in real life.

September 29, 1963 -
My Favorite Martian
, starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

My Favorite Martian was filmed on sound stage 10 on the DESILU lot from 1963-1965. In 1966 Star Trek used Stage 10 for its alien planet sets.

September 29, 1967 -
Gerry Anderson's
supermarionation take on superheroes, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons premiered on this date in the UK.

Real human hair was used for the marionette heads. Photographs of actual human eyes were used to increase the realism of the marionettes.

September 29, 1985 -
The Sci-Fi anthology series created by Steven Spielberg, Amazing Stories, premieres on NBC-TV on this date.

The title is taken from a bi-monthly, Sci-fi journal famous in the 1940s and '50s and edited by TV and film writer Howard Browne.

Today in History:
September 29, 1399
... For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings...

Richard II was deposed on this date,which only served him right for having posed in the first place. He was succeeded by Henry IV Part I.

September 29, 1513 -
Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean, on this date (although he may have discovered it four days earlier - I'm not sure what the Spanish Navy's stance was on the the whole rum ... question.)

How something that covers roughly a third of the earth's surface could have been lost for so long is a question that stumps historians to this day.

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

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

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

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

Early to bed and early to rise may make a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise, but it won't do a goddamn thing for his Nielsens. In fact, if you're healthy, wealthy, wise, and well-rested, you're only going to piss the rest of us off. Lighten up, slack off, drink up, and spend plenty of quality time with imaginary friends.

That's the real road to happiness—or at least our acceptance, without which you have no right to be happy.

September 29, 1957 -
An explosion at the Chelyabinsk-40 complex, a Soviet nuclear fuel processing plant, irradiates the nearby city of Kyshtym with strontium-90, cesium-137 and plutonium.

This accident releases twice the radioactivity of the Chernobyl incident.


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

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

September 29, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor, a person famous for no apparent reason and with no visible means of support (It's too weird to think that Zsa Zsa and her sisters were the original Kardashians, without the sex tapes), was convicted of slapping a Beverly Hills police officer on this date.

Gabor later complains that she was denied a jury of her peers, saying "It was not my class of people, There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor."

And so it goes.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah,

September 28, 1949 -
The first of the 12 films Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made, My Friend Irma, premiered in New York City on this date.

Jerry Lewis was originally cast to play Al. But it was decided to let Lewis act similar to his onstage comic persona and the character of Seymour was created for him.

September 28, 1964 -
I would have to say loneliness is next to uncleanliness.

Janeane Garofalo, comedian, actress and writer was born on this date.

September 28, 1968
The Beatles' single, Hey Jude, went to number one on the Billboard Charts and stayed there for nine weeks. (Listen how the song starts with one instrument and the record ends with with 50 instruments playing.)

The Beatles
inner circle was shifting when Paul McCartney wrote this song. John Lennon had recently taken up with Yoko and cast off his first wife, Cynthia; McCartney had broken off his engagement with his longtime girlfriend Jane Asher. He was the only Beatle to reach out to Cynthia and Julian at this time.

September 28, 1980 -
Billions and billions of brilliant moments on TV are about to be aired - Carl Sagan's 13 part Cosmos premiered on PBS.

For the time, the series featured the most extensive use of special effects ever conducted for a documentary. In one notable episode, special effects were used to make it seem as if host Carl Sagan was walking through a model recreation of the Library of Alexandria.

September 28, 1987 -
Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered  on CBS-TV with the episode Encounter at Farpoint on this date.

The original version of the Starfleet uniform was very uncomfortable for the actors, leading to a change of design from one-piece to a two-piece outfit in Season Three. Although the new uniforms were easier to wear, the jackets had a tendency to "ride up" when the actors were sitting down. Patrick Stewart got into the habit of straightening his jacket with a sharp downward tug as he stood up, an action that became known among the cast and crew as "The Picard Maneuver" (from a tactical maneuver mentioned in the show).

September 28, 1994 -
Tim Burton's
love letter to the early career of Edward D. Wood, Jr., Ed Wood premiered on this date.

One day Kathy Wood, the wife of Edward D. Wood Jr., visited the set and asked to meet Johnny Depp. That day they were filming a scene where Wood would look really messed up, which made Burton nervous for what Kathy would think of the movie. When Depp exited his trailer she said, "That's my Eddie."

Today in History:
September 28, 48 BC
Pompey was not having a great day today. 

After the First Triumvirate of Rome (between Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Licinius Crassus) had fallen apart, the Roman civil war had not been going well for Pompey. After the catastrophic defeat to Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, he hightailed it to Egypt, where he had been employed as a protector. Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey was murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt. Pompey head was lopped off and sent to Caesar as an offering.

Ptolemy, reading the global tea leaves as much as 11 year olds can, thought to gain favor with Caesar, by killing Pompey. Ptolemy had misjudged the Roman sense of honor completely. Caesar demanded the assassins be executed, and had Pompey's head cremated with honor. Ptolemy was later deposed in favor of his sister, Cleopatra.

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

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

Appropriate arrangements were made.

September 28, 1850 -
The United States Navy abolished the practice of flogging. Among the crimes for which this was the penalty are: stealing poultry from the coop (12 lashes), being lousy (six), stealing a wig (12), and being naked on the spar deck (nine).

I believe nine lashes for being naked merely encouraged most of the men.

September 28, 1902 -
It's the birthday of Ed Sullivan, born in New York City on this date. He was writing a gossip column for the New York Daily News called "Little Old New York," moonlighting now and then as a master of ceremonies at variety shows and benefits. He was emceeing a dance contest when somebody asked him if he'd like to try hosting a show on this new thing called television.

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

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

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

September 28, 1920 -
A Cook County grand jury indicts the White Sox players paid to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds on this date.

Even though they are found not guilty, Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis bans them all from professional baseball for life.

September 28, 1978 -
A nun at the Vatican discovered the lifeless body of Pope John Paul I, formerly Albino Luciani, in bed. The pontiff had been on the job only 33 days before unexpectedly dying in his sleep, after having taken some sort of pills with dinner.

The church refused to grant an autopsy.

See Godfather III for further explanations.

September 28, 1989 -
Former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos died in Waikiki, Hawaii, after three years in exile on this date. He was in ill health and awaiting US charges on looting funds from his country.

His wife keeps the cadaver in a refrigerated coffin for years.

(Wow, this is the second time in about a week that I've mentioned the Popsicle ex-dictator.)

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

In case this comes up in conversation.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue. 

Use that piece of information, as you see fit.

I nearly forgot -
Folk, although some observers are viewing the upcoming lunar eclipse with fear - calling the event a "blood moon" (a sure sign of the oncoming apocalypse)

 - for astronomers and stargazers, the event is to be welcomed with celebration.  For those fearful souls believing the end time is nigh, please contact me privately, you don't have much time, I will be happy to accept all of your filthy lucre to help you secure a better place in the next world.

September 27, 1947 -
Delmer Daves stylish noir-thriller, Dark Passage, opened on this date.

Humphrey Bogart's complete uncovered face is not seen clearly until 62 minutes into the movie, when his character finally removes his bandages and looks into a mirror. All previous scenes with the character are either shown from his point of view or have his face obscured with shadows or bandages.

September 27, 1951 -
Marvin Lee Aday, singer songwriter was born on this date.

Despite his famous moniker, Marvin doesn't like to eat meatloaf.

September 27, 1964
The Beach Boys appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time on this date.

(sorry, the Sullivan clip is no longer available.)

They performed  the song I Get Around that evening. The song was released as a double A-side single in May 1964 with Don't Worry Baby.  It is considered one of the best ever single releases along with Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles and Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog by Elvis Presley.

September 27, 1975 -
The documentary film by Albert and David Maysles, Grey Gardens, premiered in the New York Film Festival on this date.

Drew Barrymore played Little Edie in the TV movie Grey Gardens but, ironically, in the original Grey Gardens, David Maysles asked Little Edie who she would like to portray Big Edie if a movie based on Grey Gardens were made, suggesting Ethel Barrymore (Drew's great-aunt), despite the fact that Ethel Barrymore had been dead since 1959.

Today in History:
September 27, 1854
The first great disaster involving an ocean liner in the Atlantic occurred when the steamship Arctic sank in foggy weather after colliding with the iron bow of the Vesta on this date. When Captain Luce of the Arctic orders women and children into the lifeboats, the crewmen rebel and take the boats for themselves.

Of 435 on board, only 85 survived -- and none of them women or children. It is the first major ocean liner disaster in the Atlantic. The "Arctic" disaster shattered high Victorian notions of how men were supposed to respond under duress.

Today is the 109th anniversary of the publication of Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?" in the Annalen der Physik, introducing the equation E=MC2.

Before this, E equaled just about anything you wanted it to equal. Just think what the atomic bomb would have been like if E = banana peels or dog turds.

September 27, 1938 -
RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched by Queen Elizabeth (after a couple of G & T's) at the John Brown and Company yard in Clydebank, Scotland.

She (the ship and not her majesty) was the largest passenger liner ever built and named to honor Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI of England and mother to Queen Elizabeth II.

September 27, 1940 -
Japan, Germany and Italy, signed the Tripartite Pact in Berlin on this date. The pact saw the formation of the World War II Axis powers, an opponent group against the Allies.

The Axis alliance bizarrely hoped to persuade the US against joining the Allies during the war, but failed. In 1940, Hungary was forced by Germany to became the fourth country to sign the Pact, allying themselves with the Axis powers.

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

The severe storm conditions of Typhoon Vera caused the most of destruction and loss of life of any tropical cyclone in Japanese history.

September 27,  2008 -
Chinese astronaut, Zhai Zhigang, aboard Shenzhou 7, became the first person from China to walk in space on this date.

Mr. Zhiagang
would immediately return to his space craft when he realized that he could not get delivery in space.

And so it goes

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In conscience, I must ask you to resign.

September 26, 1945 -
But when I started writing songs, I stopped painting completely, and the only art things I do are connected to the career, like album sleeves and, to some extent, posters and things like that.

Bryan Ferry (the Lord of Louche) lead singer of the group Roxy Music and solo artist, was born on this date.

September 26, 1962 -
The cult film Carnival of Souls, premiered on this date

Star Candace Hilligoss' agent refused to represent her any further after seeing this film.

September 26, 1580 -
Francis Drake
returned to Plymouth, England, on this date, ending a three-and-a-half year journey around the world.

It was nearly four more centuries, however, before The Beverly Hillbillies premiered on CBS-TV (on this day in 1962).

The lengthy lapse between these watershed events has never been explained.

September 26, 1964 -
S. S. Minnow
started it's three hour tour (and lasted 98 shows) when Gilligan’s Island premiered on CBS-TV, on this date.

Alan Hale Jr. was on location in Utah filming a movie when he got a call to come back to Los Angeles to do a screen test for Gilligan's Island. Hale rode a horse to the highway, hitchhiked to Las Vegas and flew to L.A. to test with Bob Denver.

September 26, 1968 -
(The real) Hawaii Five-O premiered on CBS TV on this date.

Jack Lord was the only cast member to stay with the series during its entire 12-year run.

September 26, 1969 -
An unsuspecting American public is forced to deal with the vaguely incestuous family comedy series The Brady Bunch which premiered on ABC-TV on this date. Remember, the Bradys were so good, clean and wholesome that didn't even go to the bathroom (you never saw the toilet.)

The dog who played Tiger was killed by a car between seasons on the show. A replacement dog proved unworkable. The doghouse remained on set because one of the studio lights fell and burned a hole through the astroturf, and the doghouse covered up the burned spot.

September 26, 1969 -
The Beatles release the Abbey Road album in London, on this date.

It was their 13th album in the U.K. It was also their last album together as a group.

September 26, 1975 -
Great Scott! Twentieth Century Fox released upon an unsuspecting nation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when it premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

As Brad and Janet drive in the rain before reaching the castle, the radio is playing Richard Nixon's resignation speech delivered August 8, 1974.

September 26, 1980 -
The concert film of Bette Mildler's 1979 tour, Divine Madness, was released on this date.

The film was edited together from four separate concerts filmed over three consecutive nights at Pasadena's Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California in 1979.

Today in History:
September 26, 1895 (he may have been born in 1901 - who knows) -
George Raft was an American film actor who was most closely identified with his portrayals of gangsters in crime melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s, was born on this date. George may have achieved an unenviable place in Hollywood folklore as the actor who turned down some of the best roles in screen history, most notably High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Double Indemnity.

Also, George Raft also gave more actresses and bit players 'the clap' than any other actor during the 30s.

What a wonderful way to be remembered.

September 26, 1687 -
Troops laid siege to Athens led by Venetian general Francesco Morosini rained cannon fire down on the Acropolis and the Turkish soldiers garrisoned inside. One cannonball penetrated the Parthenon, which happened to serve as the Turks' gunpowder magazine.

The roof, walls, and 16 columns were blown off by the resulting explosion.

Oops, sh*t happens.

September 26, 1937 -
The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, sustains grave injuries in a traffic accident on US Highway 61 on this date. She is taken to a colored hospital in Clarksdale, Mississippi and her arm amputated. Smith died later that day from blood loss.

According to legend, Bessie had been refused treatment by a closer, whites-only hospital.

September 26, 1960 -
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in the first televised presidential debate. Nixon had been recuperating from illness yet refused to wear makeup for the camera, looking haggard and gray.

Radio viewers gave positive opinions for Nixon's performance but so many people saw the debate televised that Kennedy gained the lead in the polls, ultimately winning the election.

Remember what I said about Checkers, his kids' dog.

September 26, 1983 -
The Soviet Union's early warning system wrongly signaled the launch of a US Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile. Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, in charge of the system, decided the alarm was false and did not launch a retaliatory strike. (Please thank Col. Petrov in your prayers tonight for saving the world.)

Because of military secrecy and international policy, Petrov's actions were kept secret until 1998. In 2004 the San-Francisco-based Association of World Citizens presented Petrov a World Citizen Award.

September 26,  2003 -
Robert Palmer, the famous blue eyed soul singer also known for his sharp suits, died in Paris of a heart attack on this date.

His first big break into the music business was a stint as lead singer for The Alan Bown Set in the late sixties.

And so it goes

Friday, September 25, 2015

World Pharmacist Day

It's also National One Hit Wonder day.  Celebrate responsibly - listen to only one or two of them at a time.
Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

Party All The Time - Eddie Murphy

I Ran (So Far Away) A Flock of Seagulls

Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell

Michael Jackson sang backup. Rockwell's sister Hazel was married to Jackson's brother Jermaine. Michael Jackson was at the height of his powers, and Rockwell knew he could get the song released if he could convince Michael to sing on it.

September 25, 1943 -
An excellent Merrie Melodies cartoon, A Corny Concerto was released on this date.

This is the only Looney Tunes cartoon in which Porky Pig hunts Bugs Bunny (not counting Porky's Hare Hunt, the first cartoon to feature the rabbit character eventually known as Bugs.)

September 25, 1961 -
One of the greatest sports movies of all time, The Hustler, premiered on this date.

Boxer Jake LaMotta appears as as one of the many bartenders in the film. His one line is "Check," and he says it three times.

September 25, 1964 -
The series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., starring Jim Nabors (who was not married to Rock Hudson) premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

Although, the series has a military setting, and the Vietnam War was going on at the time it originally aired, the war itself is never discussed.

September 25, 1965 -
The Beatles Cartoon Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date. It racked up a 13 score (or 52 share), then unheard of in daytime television.

The Beatles themselves reportedly did not care for this series. They were also less than enthusiastic about the idea of the producers doing a feature film. However, they changed their minds about the feature film when they began seeing completed footage from Yellow Submarine.

September 25, 1970 -
Everybody was implored to 'Get Happy' when The Partridge Family on this date.

Danny Bonaduce revealed years later that during the run of the series, many people actually thought the kids played their own instruments and thought that they should perform live. However, the only member of the cast to actually tour and perform was David Cassidy who at the time had a successful singing career in the USA and UK.

September 25, 1987 -
20th Century Fox releases the Rob Reiner directed film, The Princess Bride, starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Christopher Guest, Robin Wright and Peter Falk, in limited release, on this date.

Writer William Goldman was on set during one of the flame burst scenes in the forest when Robin Wright's dress caught fire. Although Goldman knew this was intentional, he was so caught up in the moment that he shouted, "Her dress is on fire!", thus ruining the take.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 25, 1890 -
The "1890 Manifesto", sometimes simply called "The Manifesto", is a statement which officially ceased the practice of plural marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Announced by church president Wilford Woodruff on this date, the Manifesto was a dramatic turning point in The Mormons renounced the practice of polygamy after six decades in exchange for statehood for Utah. This was a great day in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as many of the church leaders are finally able to sleep with both eyes closed.

September 25, 1919 -
President Woodrow Wilson became seriously ill and collapsed after a speech to promote the League of Nations in Pueblo, Colorado, on this date. On October 2, 1919, Wilson suffered a serious stroke that almost totally incapacitated him, leaving him paralyzed on his left side and blind in his left eye. For at least a few months, he was confined to a wheelchair. Afterwards, he could walk only with the assistance of a cane. The full extent of his disability was kept from the public until after his death on February 3, 1924.

Remarkably, Wilson was, with few exceptions, kept out of the presence of Vice President Thomas R. Marshall, his cabinet or Congressional visitors to the White House for the remainder of his presidential term. His second wife, Edith, would continually tell people for the next five years that the President was in the bathroom and couldn't be disturbed. This was, as of 2015, the most serious case of presidential disability in American history and was later cited as a key example why ratification of the 25th Amendment and a large supply of TP at the White House was seen as important.

September 25, 1980 -
John Bonham, drummer for the seminal rock band, Led Zeppelin, actually did choke to death in his sleep on a regurgitated ham sandwich on this date.

The coroner's report concludes that it was his own vomit and no one else's.

September 25, 1981 -
Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court when she was sworn in as the 102nd justice on this date.

She had been nominated the previous July by President Ronald Reagan. (One of my faithful reader was one of her law clerks.)

* There are 90 days until Christmas

(I'm sure many of you have failed the naughty/ nice test already. Maybe you still have time.)

I was mistaken and there are 91 more days until Christmas. Please feel free to go to hell in a hand basket on me; I'll take it up with Santa.

And so it goes

Thursday, September 24, 2015

the spirits are about to speak

September 24, 1046 -
I was going to tell you that today is the feast day of St. Gerard Sagredo of Hungary.

During mass, hordes of heathens, stormed his church, bundled him up and wheeled him to the top of  Gellert Hill, in Hungary (but you don't care.)  Those heathen hordes shoved the cart down the hill, then beat him to death on this date (but I'm sure this is all meaningless to you because there's no Feast of St. Gerald Sagredo festival in your neighborhood.)

Today is National Punctuation Day!!?!

It's a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the every mysterious ellipsis (but screw the Oxford comma.)

September 24, 1938 -
One of the craziest cartoons Looney Tunes ever produced, Porky in Wackyland was released on this date.  You need to watch it a few times to really get everything that's going on in this one.

This cartoon set the bar for outlandishness in animation.

September 24, 1945 -
Michael Curtiz' tense film noir, Mildred Pierce, starring Joan Crawford and her enormous shoulder pads, was released on this date.

After seeing the film, James M. Cain sent Joan Crawford a signed first edition of the original novel. The inscription read: "To Joan Crawford, who brought Mildred Pierce to life just as I had always hoped she would be, and who has my lifelong gratitude."

September 24, 1958 -
The Donna Reed Show premiered on ABC-TV on this date. Ladies (and some men), don't you always wears heels, pearls and chic frocks to do the housework?

During the show's early years, whenever a scene takes place in a supermarket, look very closely in the background. Chances are, you'll see large amounts of Campbell's Soup, V-8 Vegetable Juice, Franco-American Spaghetti, and various Johnson & Johnson products including their famous baby powder. Not coincidentally, those brands were the series' original advertisers during its network run.

September 24, 1961 -
Students of Great Comedy lined up around the block to enroll in Whatsamatta U when The Bullwinkle Show moved to primetime on NBC TV on this date.

The first story of the season was an epic multi-part adventure about the moose and squirrel's search for the elusive Kirwood Derby. In November 1961, Durward Kirby threatened to file suit. Jay Ward reportedly responded to the threat, in his usual style, by offering to let Kirby use any name of his choosing for any character from his show.

September 24, 1964 -
We all visited 1313 Mockingbird Lane for the first time when The Munsters premieres on ABC-TV on this date.

The first season opening credits were an outrageous parody of the opening credits of The Donna Reed Show, which always began with Donna Reed lovingly passing out lunches to her departing family members as they left the house one by one. Yvonne De Carlo, as Lily Munster, did the same thing.

September 24, 1968 -
The TV show Mod Squad premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Series creator Buddy Ruskin, a former Los Angeles police officer, used his experiences with a special L.A.P.D. youth squad as the basis for this show.

September 24, 1977
Everyone got to order their first drink from Isaac when The Love Boat set sail for the first time on ABC-TV on this date.

Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell and Ted Lange are the only actors to appear in every episode of the series.

September 24, 1991 -
Nirvana's album Nevermind was released 24 years today on this date.

This album helped ignite the "grunge" craze, led by bands coming out of the Northwest. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were other top Grunge bands of the era. Cobain would often dismiss the term as a meaningless label when asked about it in early interviews, but their bass player Krist Novoselic explained that it was a growling, organic guitar sound that defined it.

Today in History:
September 24, 1896
... Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go according to any rules. They're not like aches or wounds, they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there's not enough material.

On this date in 1896, a young Minnesota woman gave birth to a depressive, witty young alcoholic named Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.

The boy did badly in school and went to train for war in 1918. While training at Camp Sheridan in Alabama, he fell in love with Zelda Sayre, the mentally unstable daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge.

The war ended before Fitzgerald could be sent overseas and shot, however, so he went to New York to become rich and famous. He became neither, so Zelda broke off their engagement.

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

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

Fitzgerald is best remembered for having said the rich were different, even though Hemingway kept telling him to act like a man and strip down, grease himself up and get into a boxing ring.

Oh yeah, he also wrote several books.

... All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.....

September 24, 1947 -
Majestic 12
, a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, is allegedly established by a secret executive order issued by President Harry Truman (who may or may not have been sober at the time) to investigate UFO activity in the aftermath of the Roswell incident.

Conspiracy theorists consider the Majestic 12 major evidence supporting the government-cover-up theories. The FBI has since attempted to debunk any documents associated with the committee. Debate continues to this day about whether or not the committee existed.  (And remember, you didn't read any of this here.)

September 24, 1954 -
Steve Allen sat down at his piano and the Tonight Show premiered on NBC on this date.

Simply called Tonight, the show was a blend of comedy, interview and musical performance that set the basic template for future late-night television.

September 24, 1964 -
The Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, (which had occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas,) was presented to President Lyndon B. Johnson on this date.

The report did little to quiet conspiracy theories, but it documented that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone and that the Secret Service had made poor preparations for JFK’s visit to Dallas, had failed to sufficiently protect him, and was not part of a larger-scale plot. 

President Johnson never slept another full nights' sleep again.

September 24, 1969 -
The trial of the "Chicago Eight" (later seven) began on this date. Demonstrations began outside the court house, with the Weatherman group proclaiming the "Days of Rage" in protest of the trial. The Chicago Eight staged demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago to protest the Vietnam War and its support by the top Democratic presidential candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. These anti-Vietnam War protests were some of the most violent in American history as the police and national guardsmen beat antiwar protesters, innocent bystanders and members of the press.

Five defendants (Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger and Rennie Davis) were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; the convictions were ultimately overturned.

September 24, 1970 -
Luna 16
was the first robotic probe to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth. An automatic drilling rig was deployed and 101 grams of lunar soil was collected.

The samples were returned to Earth on this date and marked the first time lunar sampled were recovered by an unmanned spacecraft.

September 24, 1991 -
Theodor Seuss Geisel, an American writer and cartoonist best known for his classic children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss, including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, died on this date.

No greater tribute was given to the Doctor than when the Reverend Jesse Jackson appeared on SNL following his death.

And so it goes

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower

Today is the first day of Autumn.

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

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

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

The first day of Autumn is sometimes also referred to as the Autumnal Equinox (the autumnal equinox is when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from north to south.) The autumnal equinox brings the fall season to the Northern Hemisphere on: September 23 at 4:21 A.M. Don't be alarmed by the title. It's just fall.

With courage and some heavy drinking, we can get through this thing.

It's Yom Kippur today. If you're celebrating it today (strange choice of words,) you shouldn't be reading this today. May your fast pass easily.

Hopefully your sins are so few that you really can cast them upon the water.

September 23, 1944 -
Frank Capra's screwball comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace finally gets it US general release on this date. The film was based on a hit play and had to wait to be released until after it Broadway run had ended.

Cary Grant considered his acting in this film to be horribly over the top and often called it his least favorite of all his movies.

September 23, 1962 -
The Jetsons
debuted on Sunday night's prime time lineup on this date.

The Jetsons only ran for only 24 episodes during the 1962-1963 TV season.

The youth of America want to know, "Where did all that dog poop go?"

September 23, 1967 -
The Letter by Box Tops topped the charts on this date.

At 1:58, the Box Tops' version of this was the last #1 hit to be shorter than two minutes in length. (You can thank me for the earworm later.)

September 23, 1969 -
Marcus Welby MD,
starring the not terribly sober Robert Young, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The exterior of Dr. Welby's office was the same building used as the Cleaver family home on Leave It to Beaver with only Welby's shingle as the new addition to the set.

September 23, 1970
The only American film Akira Kurosawa almost directed, Tora! Tora! Tora!, was released on this date. Akira Kurosawa agreed to direct the Japanese part of the film only because he was told that David Lean was to direct the American part. This was a lie, David Lean was never part of the project. When Kurosawa found out about this, he tried to get himself fired from the production - and succeeded.

The film was considered a flop when it was released in the United States, but was a huge success in Japan.

September 23, 1990 -
premiered Ken Burns powerful 11 hour miniseries The Civil War on this date.

The documentary took six long years to make - two years longer than the actual war.

Today in History:
September 23, 480 BC
It's the birthday of the Greek poet Euripides, born near Athens on this date.

Euripides has the greatest number of plays that have survived for the modern reader -19 of them—including Medea.

Remember -  Euripides, I ripa dos.

September 23, 63 BC -
Gaius Octavius Thurinus (Augustus Caesar) was born on this day. The first real Roman Emperor, Caesar introduced the famous Pax Romana. This was a political policy which stated that any country which did not object to being conquered by Rome would be conquered by Rome.

Countries not wishing to be conquered by Rome stood in violation of this policy, and were therefore invaded until they agreed to be conquered. This ensured peace throughout the world.

September 23, 1779 -
During the Revolutionary War, while on break from Led Zeppelin, the American navy under Scotsman John Paul Jones (Robert Stack), commanding from Bonhomme Richard, defeated and captured the British man-of-war Serapis on this date. Jones, chose to name the ship after Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Fierce fighting ensued, and when Richard began to sink, Serapis commander Richard Pearson called over to ask if Richard would surrender and Jones responded, "I have not yet begun to fight!"--a response that would become a slogan of the U.S. Navy. Pearson surrendered and Jones took control of Serapis. Imagine the amount of rum consumed (it was an American Ship - I'm sure there was no sodomy!)

The Bonhomme Richard sank two days after the battle.

September 23, 1939 -
Sigmund Freud was not having a good day. He had been suffering from the late stages of cancer of the jaw when he decided to commit suicide with the help of his personal physician, Max Schur on this date.

The good doctor administered 21 mg of morphine -- a lethal dose, in three large doses of  morphine in the space of several hours. Sometimes 21 mg of morphine is just 21 mg of death.

September 23, 1949 -
Happy Birthday Bruce!

If you are of a certain age, at one point, Bruce meant everything to you.

September 23, 1950 -
Congress passes the McCarran Act, also known as The Internal Security Act of 1950, overriding Harry Truman's veto. The act provides for severe restrictions on civil liberties, suspension of free speech, and placing of undesirable Americans in concentration camps.

Much of the Act has been repealed, but some portions remain intact.

So watch it, bub.

September 23, 1952 -
Responding to accusations that he diverted $18,000 in contributions into his pocket, Senator Richard M. Nixon rescues his candidacy for Vice President by insisting that he had never accepted any money.

Although Nixon does admit he accepted a cocker spaniel named Checkers for his daughter Tricia. The televised monologue rescues his political career.

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

September 23, 1969 -
An article in the Northern Illinois University student newspaper The Northern Star propagated the rumor that "Paul is dead."

But if you play I'm so Tired from the White Album (and smoke an enormous amount of dope,) you hear the question Is Paul McCartney Dead?

And Revolution #9 implores, Turn me on dead man.

Well, sort of. Remember it's I buried Paul and not cranberry sauce.

And so it goes

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The day when Jewish guilt is formally imposed

This evening is the start of Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement,

Acme wishes that you have an easy fast.

September 22, 1957 -
The comedy-western series Maverick, premiered on ABC-TV on this date .

Producer Roy Huggins stated the writers' guiding principle for the Maverick series was his belief that, "In the traditional Western, the situation was always serious but never hopeless. In a 'Maverick' story, the situation is always hopeless but never serious."

September 22, 1958 -
The Private Eye series, Peter Gunn, starring Craig Stevens premiered on this date

The pianist who played the well known piano portion of the Peter Gunn Theme was future film composer John Williams.

September 22, 1964 -
Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, who kept the world safe on The Man from U.N.C.L.E, made their first appearance on NBC-TV on this date.

Robert Vaughn worked on his Ph.D. during the course of the series and often was allowed to leave the set early so that he could attend night classes.

September 22, 1994 -
You could get a cup of coffee at Central Perk for the first time when Friends, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

Courteney Cox was originally asked to play Rachel, but she asked to play Monica instead after reading the parts.

Today in History:
September 22, 1761
George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were crowned King and Queen of the Great Britain. Which is funny because George was not British. He was German. He had been Elector of Hanover. (Although he was the first King of England in a very long time that spoke English as his first language, if at all.)

But he ended his days, completely blind, increasingly deaf and totally insane locked up in Windsor Castle, with his son acting as Regent for the remainder of George III's life.

I've said it before - sometimes it's not so good to be King.

September 22, 1776 -
An American Captain was hanged as a spy with no trial by the British, under the orders of General William Howe, in New York City during the Revolutionary War on this date. He was considered as one of the incendiaries of the burning of NYC.

Moments before his execution, he expressed regret that he couldn't be hanged more than once. This remark catapulted him to posthumous fame (but only after his death), and Nathan Hale is revered to this day.

September 22, 1869 -
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold premieres in Munich on this date.

Beer drinkers around the world rejoice!!!

September 22, 1961 -
President John Kennedy took a break from hanging out with Frank Sinatra, shooting speed and having sex with Marilyn Monroe to sign a congressional act establishing the Peace Corps on this date.

The government-funded volunteer organization was created to fight hunger, disease, illiteracy, poverty, and lack of opportunity around the world.

Sometimes it good to be the President (and sometimes it sucks, as Mr. Kennedy would eventually find out.)

September 22, 1960  (or 1958) -
Joan Marie Larkin, singer/ musician extraordinaire was born on this date.

If you love Rock and Roll, you love Joan

September 22, 1966  -
In between inviting the press to watch him use the bathroom and calling a tailor to order pants with extra long zippers, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated Columbus Day a federal public holiday to be celebrated on October 12.

In 1968, he moved it to the 2nd Monday of October.  In 2004, President George W. Bush set it to October 11. Columbus Day in 2015 is on Monday, the 12th of October.

September 22, 1980 -
In a stunning blow to America's feminine hygiene, consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble initiates the largest tampon recall in history, pulling Rely Tampons from store shelves, starting on this date.

The action results from the ongoing Toxic Shock Syndrome controversy.

No comment.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Kathy Najimy, get down with your bad ass self.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21st. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Given that it's the 70th anniversary of the UN, it's almost criminal how not close to peace we are this year.

Ok, here's another mashup to start your day - this time Bruno Mars is providing the background track (Uptown Funk) for 100 Movies (see how many you can identify.)

Watch it a second time to appreciate how wonderfully this is edited together.

Do you remember the 21st Night of September?

Remember the true love we share today

Two giants of animation sharing the same birthday:

September 21, 1912 -
Chuck Jones
, animator and director of Warner Brothers cartoons Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, was born on this date.

Chuck was close friends with both, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Ray Bradbury.

September 21, 1920 -
Jay Ward
, cartoonist (Rocky & his Friends, Bullwinkle), was born on this date.

Jay drove a sound-truck across the U.S. to gather signatures for a Statehood for Moosylvania campaign, and then tried to storm the White House with them, right at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

September 21, 1968 -
The police drama ADAM 12, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

In keeping with the reputation of Jack Webb's series being scrupulously accurate about police procedures, select episodes of this series were used in police academies as instructional films.

September 21, 1975 -
Sidney Lumet's
amazing film, Dog Day Afternoon, starring Al Pacino and John Cazale, premiered on this date.

The entire film is mostly improvised, though around the script. After rehearsing the script for weeks with his cast, Sidney Lumet took the improvisations that were made while rehearsing and made that the official screenplay.

September 21, 1957 -
Perry Mason starring our favorite nipple rouge wearing actor, Raymond Burr, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

During the series' original run, Raymond Burr was accosted in public by a woman who demanded to know: "How come you never lose?" To which Burr dead-panned: "Madam, you only see the cases that I try on Saturdays."

September 21, 1993 -
The police drama NYPD Blue, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Dennis Franz (Detective Andy Sipowicz) is the only cast member to stay with the series throughout its entire run and the only actor to appear in all 261 episodes.

Today in History:
September 21, 1327
Former King Edward II had a particularly painful end on this date.

Edward had been overthrown by his wife, Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Edward had pissed off Isabella royally for among other things, sleeping with men. Isabella and Mortimer had Edward II imprisoned, after his abdication in favor of his son, Edward III.

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

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

September 21, 1897 -
The New York Sun ran its famous editorial that answered a question from 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon: "Is there a Santa Claus?"on this date.

Obviously, times were different back then given that The New York Sun was printing an editorial about Christmas in September.

September 21, 1915 -
With a winning bid of  £6,600, Mr. Cecil Chubb purchases Stonehenge and 30 acres of land at auction. He donates the monument to the British state three years later.

He donated the monument because he could not figure out how to reset Stonehenge correctly.

September 21, 1937 -
George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. of London published the first edition of  J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit on this date. It was illustrated with many black-and-white drawings by Tolkien himself.

The original printing was only a 1,500 run and sold out by December due to enthusiastic reviews.

September 21, 1975 -
Self-proclaimed revolutionary Sara Jane Moore attempted to kill President Gerald Ford as he walked from a San Francisco hotel on this date.

A bullet she fired slightly wounded a man in the crowd but once again President Ford walks away unscathed.

September 21, 1981 -
On August 19 1981, President Reagan, who had pledged during the 1980 presidential campaign to appoint the first woman to the Supreme Court, nominated  Sandra Day O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing the retiring Potter Stewart. Ms. O'Connor was confirmed by the Senate 99-0 on this date and took her seat September 25.

In her first year on the Court, O'Connor received over sixty thousand letters from the public, more than any other justice in history.

September 21, 1983 -
In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on this date, Interior Secretary James G. Watt jokingly described a special advisory panel as consisting of 'a black ... a woman, two Jews and a cripple.'

Although Watt apologized, he later resigned .


And so it goes.