Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Major gridlock ahead

Christmas will come early for the Midtown Senegalese umbrella sellers today because it will be pouring rain on those attending the 84th annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting. Remember to bring a polo mallet with you, if you unfortunately, find yourself in midtown

Do you really want to be stuck in the middle of potential Darwin Award winners and their children who should be forced to play in traffic? So once again, I'm giving native New Yorkers a gentle reminder - watch last year's lighting here.

This year, Tony Bennett, Sara McLachlan, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and a superabundance of others, as well as, the refugees from overbooked ancient hotels in the holy land are involved this year.

Exert extreme caution!

November 30, 1971 -
The TV movie that makes 'real men' weep unabashedly, Brian's Song debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

In real life, James Caan, who had been a football player in high school, was a much better athlete than Billy Dee Williams. In the movie, Gale Sayers, was supposed to surpass Brian Piccolo, in speed and playing ability. When Caan raced Williams on film, Caan was forced to slow down considerably so Williams could beat him.

November 30, 1979 -
Pink Floyd released its album The Wall on this date.

Syd Barrett had a great influence on the other band members even after he left.  In the movie The Wall, several scenes are inspired from actual events involving Syd. In the movie, the character Pink shaves off all his facial hair, including his eyebrows - something Syd once arrived to the studio having done himself.

November 30, 1982 -
Michael Jackson’s
second solo album, Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones, was released on this date.

To date, Thriller has sold 65 million copies worldwide, making it, by far, the best-selling album ever released

November 30, 1990 -
Rob Reiner's adaptation of Stephen King's thriller, Misery, premiered on this date.

After refusing to speak about his motivations for writing "Misery" for two decades, Stephen King finally came out and stated that it is indeed about his battle with substance abuse.

The focus of Today in History on this date should be used as a guide to help you realize the blessings you should find in life:

On November 30, 1935, the German government proclaimed a failure to accept the tenets of Nazism as grounds for divorce.

Be grateful you never married a Nazi.

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667,

and Mark Twain was born exactly 170 years later, in 1835.

Be grateful that not everyone is taking everything so goddamn seriously.

Winston Churchill (one of my favorite American who became British Prime Minister) was also born on November 30, in 1874, in a coat closet of his family home (really).

Be grateful that not everyone was so grateful for Peas In Our Time.

Otherwise, here are some other events that occurred on this date

November 30, 1900 -
Celebrated Irish author and noted card carrying sodomite Oscar Wilde, died in Paris of meningitis on this date. Wilde had been charged three times with indecency, specifically "the seduction and corruption of young men." Evidence admitted against him included testimony about fecal stains on his sheets.

Be thankful that we obviously have better cleaning detergents than the French did in 1900.

November 30, 1929 -
Dick Clark, the American Bandstander, was born on this date.

Be thankful the few of us are faced with bargaining with Satan for our careers.

November 30, 1936 -
The Crystal Palace, originally built by Sir Joseph Paxton in London's Hyde Park for the 1851 Great Exhibition, burns to the ground on this date.

It was said that over 75,000 people came to watch the blaze, among them Winston Churchill, who said, "This is the end of an age". The glow was visible across eight counties.

Be thankful that you weren't down wind from this one.

November 30, 1954 -
At 1 pm, an 8.5 pound stone meteorite fell from the sky and struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges from Sylacauga, Alabama.  She was the first reported person in modern times to be struck by an object from outer space.

The housewife was seriously bruised but survived, although the meteorite destroyed her radio.

Oh the humanity!

And so it goes

Today's Special - fun with socks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Give with your Heart

Today is the Fifth Annual Giving Tuesday. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday,

#GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

November 29, 1940 -
W.C. Fields at his peak - The Bank Dick, premiered on this date.

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (the pseudonym used by W.C. Fields as screenwriter) is a play on words from stage plays of the era. "My hat, my cane, Jeeves!" And in fact, at the end of the film his butler does hand him his hat and his cane.

November 29, 1945 -
Remarkable for it frank portrayal of alcoholism (for it's day), The Lost Weekend, opened in Los Angeles on this date.

Billy Wilder claimed the liquor industry offered Paramount $5 million to not release the film; he also suggested that he would have accepted, had they offered it to him.

November 29, 1950 -
Jean Cocteau's beautifully magical, Orphee, opened in the US on this date.

Orphee's obsession with deciphering hidden messages contained in random radio noise is a direct nod to the coded messages that the BBC concealed in their wartime transmissions for the French Resistance.

November 29, 1992 -
U2's first TV special, called U2's Zoo TV Outside Broadcast, aired on Fox-TV on this date.

The show contains footage from their concerts at Yankee Stadium in New York and the Houston Astrodome, earlier that year.

Today in History:
November 29, 1777 -
José Joaquín Moraga proved that he knew the way to San Jose on this date,

when he established, for Spain, el Pueblo de San Jose de Guadelupe, the first civil settlement in California.

November 29, 1864 -
The Sand Creek Massacre occurred, on this date, when Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington, in retaliation for an Indian attack on a party of immigrants near Denver, massacred at least 400 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants (mostly children, women, physically- and mentally-challenged, and elders) inside Colorado Territory.

It also generated two Congressional investigations into the actions of Chivington and his men. The House Committee on the Conduct of the War concluded that Chivington had "deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the varied and savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty."

The American Government has so much to be proud of with their dealings with the Native Americans.

November 29, 1929 -
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd (on a break from his experiments with frozen vegetables) radioed that he'd made the first airplane flight with pilot Floyd Bennett, over the South Pole: "My calculations indicate that we have reached vicinity of South Pole."

After briefly loitering around the Pole, Byrd and his crew headed back to their home base, Little America and more intense testing of frozen zucchini.

November 29, 1951 -
The United States set off the first underground nuclear explosion named "Uncle" at Frenchman Flats in Nevada on this date.

It was a great success, except for the giant spiders, ants, grasshoppers and other insects left in the aftermath.

November 29, 1961 -
The US sent the chimpanzee Enos into space, aboard the Mercury Atlas 5 capsule from Cape Canaveral on this date.

Enos returns to earth safely but died less than a year later before he could sign with the William Morris Agency.

November 29, 1972 -
Pong, the first commercially successful video game, was released on this date by Nolan Bushnell (who was also the co-founder of the video game company, Atari.)

Pong is similar to digital tennis or ping-pong, and its great success was a big part of the early beginnings of the video game industry.

November 29, 1986 -
I do not think Cary Grant was a homosexual or bisexual. He just got carried away at those orgies - US congressman Bob Dornan, spoken on the House floor  (I love that quote.)

82 year old Archibald Leach, better known as Cary Grant, died on this date.

November 29, 2001 -
The Beatles will exist without us.

The "quiet" Beatle George Harrison was silenced by cancer on this date.

November 29, 2004 -
Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this date.

In honor of the event, the Toho star was allowed to run rampant through Little Tokyo that afternoon.

And on a personal note:
Oh yeah, millions of years ago (or at least more than half a century ago) the earth cooled and formed a hard crust, huge dinosaurs ruled the land and John was there to see it all. Happy Birthday John.

About a decade later, vast plains with wildflowers sprung up and Mary skipped along them all. Happy Birthday Mary.

And so it goes

Today's holiday theme is - Life during Wartime

Monday, November 28, 2016

Hope you didn't start your diet today?

It's National French Toast Day

Eating as much French Toast (Pan Perdu) as you can helps defeat the terrorist.


November 28, 1943 -
Randall Stuart Newman, singer/songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist was born on this date.

Newman has been nominated for twenty Academy Awards, winning twice. He has also won three Emmys, five Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy.

November 28, 1944 -
Vincente Minnelli's gift to his future wife, Judy Garland, the musical film Meet Me In St. Louis, opened in NYC on this date.

A former child star herself, Judy Garland couldn't help but be concerned about young Margaret O'Brien. Garland was worried that O'Brien was being overworked and was missing out on her childhood. However, O'Brien herself said in an interview that while she appreciated Garland's concern, this was not the case. O'Brien loved her time acting, and the child labor laws had been strengthened in the time since Garland had been an underage star.

November 28, 1969 -
The Rolling Stones released their eighth British album Let It Bleed on this date.

It is the follow-up to 1968's Beggars Banquet and the last album by the band to feature Brian Jones as well as the first to feature Mick Taylor.

Today in History -
Sorry boys and girls but it's not a pleasant day in history today -

November 28, 1942 -
A fire at the overcrowded and sleazy Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, killed 491 people on this date. Flammable artificial palm trees aided the spread of the fire.

The numerous dead were crushed, burnt, and asphyxiated, all within minutes.

There's a lesson here boys and girl - sleazy nightclubs kill!!!

November 28, 1953 -
Frank Olson, government scientist, has a particularly bad dream and jumped to his death from the Statler Hotel in New York City on this date.

It was later revealed in 1975 that Olson had been administered LSD by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb in a CIA experiment.

That really must have been one bad trip.

November 28, 1962 -
I was born with an adult head and a tiny body. Like a 'Peanuts' character.

Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, comedian, television host, political satirist and America's most trusted newscaster, was born on this date.

November 28, 1981 -
A drunken Natalie Wood toppled off her yacht near Catalina Island and drowned. Her husband Robert Wagner and melodramatic friend Christopher Walken, were on board and unaware of her predicament, apparently having some sort of argument in the cabin -

possibly about whether or not a drunken Natalie Wood could float (you know that's still an awful joke.)

November 28, 1994 -
Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death with a broomstick by inmate Christopher Scarver while cleaning the prison bathroom. (Bunkies, here's a tip from your old pal - don't go poking around for photos about Jeffrey Dahmer, there are some sick pixs out there. I'm going to wash my eye balls.)

Dahmer's brain was to be preserved in formaldehyde at the request of Mom, but a court ordered its destruction in late 1995.

There's yet another lesson here boys and girls, dirty prison bathrooms kill!!!

And so it goes

This year's holiday extravaganza starts today and once again, it involves bad carols.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent means 'Coming' in Latin.

Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas (those trying to figure out their Advent Calendars, you may open the first window on the first of December).

Today is the first Advent Sunday of this season. It is a time to "get ready" for the celebration of Christmas. (I didn't just joke around at St. John's; once in a blue moon I paid attention.)

November 27 is the Feast of St. Josaphat, a Middle Age prince who renounced his wealth to do charitable work.

Well, St. Josephat, turns out to be a Christianized version of a legend about Buddha (yeah Siddhārtha Gautama .) The years slip swiftly by and I can remember some things clearly, others only dimly; I don't remember them telling me about this back at St. John's.

Oh, that wacky Catholic Church!

November 27, 1920 -
United Artists released the silent film The Mark of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks on this date. The film will go on to be extremely influential in the world of comics.

In the Golden Age of Comic Books, this was the film to which Thomas and Martha Wayne took their young son Bruce on the night that they were murdered in front of him in Gotham City in 1920.

November 27, 1948 -
You see what some ducks will do for money!

Another (less familiar) Daffy & Porky pairing, Riff Raffy Daffy, premiered on this date.

November 27, 1967 -
The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour album the US on this date.

Paul McCartney wrote this, (John Lennon hated the song.)  His friend Alistair Taylor, who was visiting McCartney, asked Paul one day how he wrote his many songs, and how he came up with his ideas. Paul took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration of his hand-carved harmonium. As an experiment, Paul asked Taylor to shout out the opposite of whatever he sang, such as black and white, yes and no, hello and goodbye, etc. From this, the song was born.

November 27, 1980 -
The sitcom Bosom Buddies, staring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

(Yes, I know, this is not the original theme song - the production company lost the rights to the song.) In the summer of 1984 as Tom Hanks was becoming a household name thanks to the movie Splash, NBC bought the rights to the ABC sitcom and re-aired selected episodes to lead off their Saturday night line-up.

Today in History:
November 27, 1852 -
Ada Lovelace
, daughter of Lord Byron, was bled to death to cure her uterine cancer on this date. (In a strange coincidence, her father was also bled to death to cure a fever.)

She is often thought of as the world's first computer programmer, due to her interest in mathematics and her work on Charles Babbage's analytical engine.

Alfred Nobel signed his last will, which established the Nobel Prize on this date in 1895. (Yes, this is the second reference to Alfred in the same week.)

Mr Nobel is interesting because his fortune was founded in large part on the commercial success of something he invented in 1866: dynamite. Dynamite proved so lucrative for Mr Nobel that he was able to spend most of the rest of his life blowing things up in the interests of world peace. World peace was not achieved in his lifetime, however, and he therefore endowed a foundation with millions of dollars to give prizes to the men and women of future generations who helped bring the world closer to peace by blowing things up.

Sadly, in recent years the foundation appears to have forgotten its roots and has begun awarding prizes to men and women whose work for peace has resulted in things blowing up.

I encourage you all to write the Nobel Committee to take immediate corrective action, lest they continue to mislead people into thinking that Peace can be achieved by anything other than the blowing up of Evil Bastards.

November 27, 1910 -
Although Pennsylvania Station had already begun service for the Long Island Rail Road several months earlier (September 8th); it was on this date that trains from the Pennsylvania Railroad entered Manhattan for the first time by way of tunnels under the Hudson River.

The famed station was demolished in 1963, which sparked the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has preserved thousands of historic buildings in New York City and across the country.

November 27, 1924 -
Macy's sponsored its first Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (called Macy's Christmas Parade) in New York City on this date. The three-hour parade is held annually and is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade along with Detroit's "America's Thanksgiving Parade," which began on the same day.

Three floats (pulled by horses), four bands and zoo animals from the Central Park Zoo - camels, donkeys, elephants and goats - starred in the parade (balloons didn't show up until 1927.)  Santa Claus was last in the lineup, a tradition that continues to this day.

(Yes, yes, I know the parade in Philadelphia is older.)

November 27, 1934 -
Notorious US murderer and bank robber Baby Face Nelson was killed in a gun battle with the FBI on this date.  Known as the Battle of Barrington, the shootout occurred in Barrington, Illinois. Two FBI officers also were killed.

During his criminal career, Nelson, whose real name was Lester Joseph Gillis, killed more FBI agents than any other US citizen in history.

November 27, 1978 -
City Supervisor Dan White entered San Francisco City Hall through an open basement window (avoiding metal detectors), walked into the office of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and shot him dead. Then White went on to kill Supervisor Harvey Milk on this date.

Apparently, Mr. White consumed too many Twinkies.  (Given there has been no noticeable increases in incidents of Twinkie induced rages, the Hostess Company may have changed the formula since their resuscitation.)

And so it goes

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Once again it's Small Business Saturday -

Small Business Saturday is still somewhat new – the first one was in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday (which features big box retailers, and its anti-consumerist counterpart, Buy Nothing Day targets big business).

American Express used to give their customers discounts or incentives to support small businesses across America; this year, double points on selected purchases. Since AMEX isn't sponsoring me, you'll need to figure out if your favorite local business is covered.

... as it must to all men, death came to Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz....

Fidel Castro, one of the last Cold War Icons, has finally giving up the ghost.

November 26, 1922 -
The Toll of the Sea, starring Anna Mae Wong, the second two-strip Technicolor feature (it was the first one able to be projected through a normal movie projector and consequently the first to be given a wide release) was released on this date.

The film's story is a variation of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, which premiered in 1904; except, the film takes place in China and the opera is set in Japan.

November 26, 1942 -
One of the classic films of the 40s, Casablanca, premiered in NYC on this date.

Because the film was made during WWII they were not allowed to film at an airport after dark for security reasons. Instead they used a sound stage with a small cardboard cutout airplane and forced perspective. To give the illusion that the plane was full-sized, they used little people to portray the crew preparing the plane for take-off.

November 26, 1952 -
In Thrilling Color!

The first modern 3-D movie Bwana Devil, viewed with special glasses, premiered in Hollywood (remember to have your 3D glasses available to watch the preview.)

Arch Oboler, the director, traveled to Africa in 1948 to make audio recordings of native peoples. While in Africa, Oboler met William D. Snyder, a 16mm cameraman with his own industrial filmmaking company in Fargo, North Dakota. During their travels throughout Africa, Mr. Snyder shot the African footage that appears in Bwana Devil. Willian Snyder company Bill Snyder Films produced over 800 films over the years.

November 26, 1953 -
MGM released the first musical in 3-D, Kiss Me Kate on this date.

Even though Hermes Pan is the credited choreographer on the film, the steamy duet between Bob Fosse and Carol Haney in From This Moment On (which includes Fosse doing a complete back-flip) was choreographed by Fosse himself, and lasts only 66 seconds. But it is the sequence that made critics take notice of the future award-winning choreographer and director.

Today in History:
November 26, 1789
The first national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States in 1789, when recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress on this date, but we spoke all about this yesterday.

The holiday wouldn't become an annual event until 1863 and wouldn't be signed into law until 1941 when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it an official, national holiday.

November 26, 1865 -

Oxford Don and nude child photographer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, sends the manuscript for the psychedelic novel Alice in Wonderland to his 12 year old special friend Alice Liddell as an early Christmas present.

For some reason her parents did not notify the authorities.

November 26, 1965
Arlo Guthrie was arrested in Stockbridge, Mass., for dumping some trash following a Thanksgiving feast at a restuarant run by Alice Brock, on this date.

He wrote a song about the event that became a folk classic and was turned into a movie in 1969.

Yes kids, it really happened.

November 26, 1976 -
Anarchy in the UK, (as a single) by the Sex Pistols is released.

The song later appeared on Never Mind the Bollocks.

And so it goes

Friday, November 25, 2016

Something worth thinking about today

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. The day was established in 1999. The United Nations designated the day partly in reverence to the anniversary of the murder of three sisters in the Dominican Republic.

A report issued from the World Bank a few years earlier stated that about one in four women in the world would be, or had been, raped and that violence against women is as prevalent a cause of death as cancer.

(Changing gear)
While you are still digesting last nights meal, you can ponder these Thanksgiving facts.

As most of you know, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year in the US.

I'm not quite sure you're going to get the best deals in the world today,

so why not sleep in (after you finish reading the blog of course.)

November 25, 1940 -
Walter Lantz's introduced Woody Woodpecker with the release of Knock Knock on this date.

Although Woody made his first appearance in this film, he doesn't have a name until his next film, Woody Woodpecker.

(It's another abbreviated posting today - I'm in a bit of recoverage mode from yesterday.)
Today in History:
November 25, 2348 BC
According to Biblical scholars, a powerful rain storm began on this date. It rained an inch every ten seconds. Imagine that. An inch every ten seconds. The sheer volume and velocity of the deluge, comparable to rapid-fire artillery, ought to have been enough to kill every living thing on the planet in seconds, and yet it reportedly continued at this rate for a full 960 hours.

The only human survivors were a crotchety six-hundred-year-old man and his family. Fortunately, these sturdy souls had had the foresight to gather up two to seven specimens of every species on the planet (excepting, one assumes, the undaunted creatures of the sea) and load them onto a wooden boat before the storm began.

It may not sound like much, put like that, but considering the far-flung distribution of all the various creatures of the earth, and the difficulty of tracking down, say, all the varieties of paramecium without the benefit of a microscope, or sustaining desert flora on a water-logged ship, it was a considerable accomplishment.

I applaud the foresight, initiative, and ambition displayed by Noah and his family, but remain a little wary of the person or persons behind all that rain.

November 25, 1867 -
I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize - George Bernard Shaw

A patent was granted to Alfred Nobel for dynamite on this date.

To quote Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, "May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good!!!"

November 25, 1914 -
Joe DiMaggio was born on this date. In addition to leading the New York Yankee to ten World Series championships, Joe DiMaggio also got to marry Marilyn Monroe.

Be grateful for role models.

November 25, 1920  -
Contrary to popular belief, Macy's didn't host the first Thanksgiving Day parade (Macy's held their first parade in 1924, tied for second in the nation with the  J.L. Hudson's Dept. store Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit)  - that honor goes to their longtime (and now defunct) rival Gimbel Brothers (Gimbels), in Philadelphia, which started the tradition on this date.

The first parade featured 50 costumed store employees leading a fireman dressed as Santa to the store on Eighth and Market Streets. Santa Claus, upon reaching Gimbels, would scale a fire truck ladder to the store’s eighth floor, conveniently the home of Gimbels Toyland themed dept.

November 25, 1963 -
The flag draped coffin containing the purported remains of the man, many Americans believed to have been John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And on November 29, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren the head of a commission to investigate the alleged assassination of the person believed to have been John F. Kennedy.

Be grateful the CIA, the Cuban exile community, the Rosicrucians, extraterrestrials, and the Children's Television Workshop don't give a damn about you.

November 25, 1970 -
Japanese playwright, poet, novelist, nationalism and patron of transvestite bars, Yukio Mishima committed seppuku (self disembowelment) after an aborted coup attempt in Japan on this date.

He had authored over 100 works and was deemed by Life magazine the "Japanese Hemmingway".

One has to ask themselves - why is perfect purity only possible when you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood. (I don't know, maybe you don't ask yourself these type of questions.)

On November 25, 1977, Greece announced the discovery of the tomb of King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.

On November 26, 1922, archaeologists Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen.

Be grateful that the high point of your job isn’t digging up people who’ve been dead for thousands of years.

November 25, 1987 -
Fawn Hall, Oliver North's assistant, removes documents from sealed National Security Council offices inside the White House by hiding them inside her skirt, causing President Ronald Reagan to form a task force which eventually put both North and Hall on trial.

Another true American Patriot

And so it goes

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Remember, it's about 20 minutes per pound for a frozen turkey and 15 minute for a fresh one.

While you're sitting around the table with your family this Thanksgiving, opine this - The average person consumes 4500 calories on Thanksgiving day--enough to gain 1.3 pounds

November 24, 1958 -
A precursor episode to the science fiction television series The Twilight Zone, The Time Element aired on this date as part of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse anthology series on the CBS-TV.

Though not the pilot episode of Rod Serling's series, The Twilight Zone, it was Rod Serling's production that lead to The Twilight Zone TV series. Because TV viewers at the time were not used to the kind of surprise, twist endings that for which the show ultimately became noted (and which this episode featured), Desi Arnaz appeared on-screen after the episode was finished and offered his "explanation" of what "really happened."

November 24, 1966 -
Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.

The Star Trek episode The Menagerie, Part II first aired.

(The whole episode is now behind various pay walls.)

This episode incorporate most of the unseen (at the time) pilot episode of Star Trek, The Cage, featuring Jeffrey Hunter, as Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise.

Today in History:
November 24, 1740
William Duell was hanged for rape and murder on this date. A few hours later, whilst being prepared for dissection by medical students, he awakened.

The authorities took pity on him and commuted his sentence to one of transportation to Australia.

Wow that must have freaked him out.

November 24, 1835 -
The provisional government of Texas authorized the creation of the Texas Rangers (Corps of Rangers) police force.

While it's nice to think so, there's no truth to the rumor that Chuck Norris was there at the beginning.

November 24, 1859 -

Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species 157 years ago today.

And depending on your point of view, either this is a seminal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology or,

you're a monkey's uncle.

November 24, 1874  -
Joseph Glidden was granted a patent (US patent no 157,124) for barbed wire on this date.
Glidden designed a simple wire barb that attached to a double-strand wire, as well as a machine to mass-produce the wire.

November 24, 1947 -
The House of Representatives votes 346 to 17 to approve citations of contempt against 10 Hollywood writers, directors, and producers. These men had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry held by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

The Hollywood 10, as the men were known, are sentenced to one year in jail. The Supreme Court later upheld the contempt charges. The fallout resulted in the famous Hollywood "blacklist," which was a list of movie industry professionals suspected of either being communists themselves or supporting communist activities.

November 24, 1963 -
Extra-terrestrials used mass-hypnosis to persuade the world that someone resembling Jack Ruby had fatally shot someone resembling the person alleged to have been Lee Harvey Oswald on this date. This also became the first actual murder captured on live TV.

The next day, November 25, the flag draped coffin containing the purported remains of the man, many Americans believed to have been John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And on November 29, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren the head of a commission to investigate the alleged assassination of the person believed to have been John F. Kennedy.

Be grateful the CIA, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, extraterrestrials, and the Children's Television Workshop don't give a damn about you.

November 23, 1966 -
The smoggiest day in the history of New York City occurred on this date, killing about 400 people.

The thick smog settled into the city, causing deaths from heart attacks and respiratory failure.

November 24, 1971 -
On Thanksgiving eve, DB Cooper boarded Flight 305 in Portland, Oregon, and demanded $200,000 with the threat of a bomb. He parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 with the money over the Cascade Mountains near Ariel, Washington, and was never seen again.

A packet containing $5,880 of the ransom money was found in 1980 on the north shore of the Columbia River, just west of the Washington city of Vancouver, but he's still is missing.

November 24th, 1991 -
Freddie Mercury (45) the lead singer of Queen died, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

In 2013, Gigwise readers named Mercury the best frontman ever.

And so it goes

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Once again, I suggest celebrating by eating Fibanachos!

Today is the birthday of both Boris Karloff (1887)

and Harpo Marx (1888).

And that makes this a good day.

November 23, 1959 -
American International Pictures released one of the Classic 'B' movies of the late 50s, The Angry Red Planet, in the US on this date.

The 40-foot alien monster was actually a marionette about 15 inches high. It was essentially a combination of a rat, bat, spider, and crab.

November 23, 1963 -
The first episode of Doctor Who, The Unearthly Child, premiered on the BBC, on this date.

When this episode was first aired, parts of Britain were suffering a power failure. It was also the day after President Kennedy was assassinated. Both of these factors meant the program was only seen by a disappointing 4.4 million people. When repeated a week later, it was watched by 6 million.

November 23, 1983 -
James L. Brooks adaptation of Larry McMurty's novel, Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Danny Devito, Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow, opened in limited release on this date.

Debra Winger behaved erratically on the set of this film because she was trying to get over a severe cocaine addiction. At one point, she and Shirley MacLaine got into a shoving match.

(Running around like crazy today, so this is an abbreviated posting)
Today in History:
November 23, 1499
A young man claiming to be the son of Edward IV landed in Cornwall, England, and declared himself King Richard IV. Unfortunately England already a king, the young man wasn't really the son of Edward IV, and his name wasn't Richard.

He was in fact Perkin Warbeck, and was therefore hanged to death on this date (as opposed to having been well hung.)

November 23, 1910 -
English murderer Hawley Crippen an American physician was hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, England, after he was caught aboard the SS Montrose attempting to escape to Britain, on this date.

It was the first use of wireless radio for the apprehension of a criminal.

November 23, 1936 -
The first edition of Life, the picture magazine created by Henry R. Luce, was published on this date.

It was an immediate sellout.

November 23, 1976 -
Jerry Lee Lewis had been a bad boy again. On this date, he was arrested in front of Graceland in Memphis for public drunkenness, and carrying a chrome plated .38.

Looking for Elvis, I bet.

November 23, 1990 -
MTV banned Madonna's video Justify My Love due to its sexually-explicit content on this date.

Oh, do you remember when television was this quaint,

or Madonna was this relevant?

Talking Turkey here.

And so it goes

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Today apparently is Go For A Ride Day.

The day is supposed to encourages you to get out into the world – hop on your bike, into your car, or simply get your walking boots out of storage and go on a trip.  Don’t worry too much about where you’re going, just enjoy the journey.

If you're planning to have Thanksgiving dinner at your home this week, you should be planning to take a trip to your local supermarket.

November 22, 1940 -
The Letter, starring Bette Davis (at her best) premiered in NYC on this date.

In filming the opening murder scene, actor David Newell had to roll down the stairs eight times after being shot, before director William Wyler was satisfied with the scene.

November 22, 1968 -
The Beatles released their long-awaited double album, simply called The Beatles, but better known as The White Album.

The album was the first the Beatles undertook following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, and the first released by their own record label, Apple.

November 22, 1991 -
Barry Sonnenfeld take on Charles Addams New Yorker Cartoons, The Addams Family, starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci, premiered on this date.

The splash of tar from the opening gag is visible on the front of the Addams house through the rest of the movie.

November 22, 1995
Toy Story is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.

The animation team perfected the movement of the toy soldiers by gluing some sneakers to a sheet of wood and trying to walk around with them on.

Today in History:
November 22, 1888
According to the Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel,

Tarzan of the Apes (Lord Greystoke) was born on this date.

November 22, 1928 -
Maurice Ravel composition Boléro has it's first public performance in Paris on this date.

Boléro became Ravel's most famous composition, much to the surprise of the composer, who had predicted that most orchestras would refuse to play it

November 22, 1963
We, in this country, in this generation, are - by destiny rather than choice - the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. - from the address that President John F. Kennedy never got to deliver in Dallas on this date.

A covert CIA operation privately funded by a plutocratic cabal of multinational industrial interests acting in conjunction with extraterrestrial forces and the Knights Templar succeeded in making it appear that Lee Harvey Oswald had assassinated President Kennedy, on this date.

Or if this is too much for you, you can always believe in the MAGIC BULLET.

November 22, 1963 -
The Steam Ferry Cornelius G. Kolff vanished without a trace, on this date. On its way with nearly 400 hundred people, mostly on their way to work, the disappearance of the Cornelius G. Kolff remains both one of New York’s most horrific maritime tragedies and perhaps its most intriguing mystery.

You probable think that you never heard about this event because it was overshadowed by the assassination of JFK that same day - but you never heard about it because it never happened.  Artist Joe Reginella created the elaborate hoax using slick brochures, a web site and even a statue are luring hapless tourists to a far corner of Staten Island in search of a museum devoted to the made-up tragedy.

November 22, 1968 -
Many a KKK member and Daughter of the Civil War were given the vapors on this date in history.

Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) share the first interracial kiss in TV history on Star Trek on this date.

November 22, 1975 -
Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias was proclaimed King of Spain after he confirms with advisers that Francisco Franco planned to be dead for a while.

Juan Carlos is related to both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (and as you know they are related to each other.) To confuse matters even more, his wife Queen Sofia, is related to all three of them. King Juan Carlos had to abdicate in favor of his son, Felipe VI (who is so related to Prince Charles though all four of the above mentioned people that they are practically first cousins,) proving once again, sometimes it's not good to be the king who spends too much money.

Oh, love among the royals.

Before you go - In case you run out of conversational topics this Thanksgiving, tune in, once again, this:

I believe we'll be dipping a toe into this every now and then all day Thursday!

And so it goes

If you're looking for help with your vegetables on Thursday - check it out here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Say 'hello'

Today is the 43rd annual World Hello Day (some sites say it's the 44th.) Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people. My suggestion - let's call the day 'Say Hello to Kevin and hand him a fist full of money day.'

This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace. World Hello Day was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries.

The United Nations General Assembly (back in 1996) proclaimed November 21st as World Television Day. The UN want to recognize that television represented a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.

As I derisively remind my children, quite often, everything they own is due to TV.

November 21, 1931 -
James Whale classic retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, premiered on this date.

The Monster in this film does not physically resemble the character in Mary Shelley's novel. It was make-up artist Jack P. Pierce who came up with innovations such as the Monster's flat head, the bolts through the neck, the droopy eyelids, and the poorly-fitted suit. Any future Frankenstein film that features any of these physical abnormalities is taking its inspiration from Pierce's make-up work.

November 21, 1942 -
Babbit and Catstello, take-offs on Bud Abbott and Lou Costello try to catch Tweety bird (in his first appearance) in A Tale of Two Kitties, premiered on this date.

Early model sheets for this short indicated that Tweety's original name was Orson, but no name is given in the film. After censors complained that the pink bird looked naked because he had no feathers, Tweety's color was changed to yellow.

November 21, 1946 -
One of the greatest films about vets returning home after WWII, The Best Years of Our Lives, premiered in NYC on this date.

For his performance as Homer Parrish, Harold Russell became the only actor to win two Academy Awards for the same role. The Academy Board of Governors thought he was a long shot to win, so they gave him an honorary award "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance." Later that ceremony he won for Best Supporting Actor.

November 21, 1976 -
Ok everybody, "...Gonna fly now, flying high now..."

Rocky, premiered in NYC on this date.

After producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff became interested in the script, they offered writer Sylvester Stallone an unprecedented $350,000 for the rights, but he refused to sell unless they agreed to allow him to star in the film (this despite the fact that he had only $106 in the bank, no car and was trying to sell his dog because he couldn't afford to feed it). They agreed, but only on the condition that Stallone continue to work as a writer without a fee and that he work as an actor for scale.

November 21, 1980 -
In what was one of the most-watched TV cliffhangers in television history, 350 million viewers worldwide tuned into the television series Dallas to find out who had shot J.R. Ewing at the end of the show's previous season.

As it turned out, he was shot by his wife's sister, who also was his former mistress, Kristin Shepard.

Today in History:
November 21, 1694
Jean Francois Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) was born on this date.

Voltaire is best known for having said things. Here are some of the witty things he said:

“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Common sense is not so common.

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."

I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.

Dare to think for yourself.”

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

And most significantly:

"A witty saying proves nothing."

November 21, 1921 -
U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Willis Campbell Act, which prohibited the medical prescription of beer and liquor on this date.

He was killed - probably by his wife - two years later and nobody seemed to mind (remember, this was the genius who had his bootlegger come around the back of the White House to deliver his booze.)

Enough said.

November 21, 1964 -
The upper deck of The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic on this date (at the time it was the world's longest suspension bridge).

And it still takes forever to get to Jersey through Staten Island.

November 21, 1973 -
A gap of 18 1/2 minutes is revealed in one of the Watergate tapes, a conversation between Richard M. Nixon and Bob Haldeman. The erasure is blamed on an accident by Nixon's private secretary Rose Mary Woods, but scientific analysis determines the erasures to be deliberate. Later, Chief of Staff Alexander Haig blames the erasure on "some sinister force".

Forensic experts worked on Haldeman's notebook to see if they could find the imprint of any notes he may have taken that day but later destroyed. (The experts had inconclusive results.)

November 21, 1980 -
The third deadliest hotel fire in history occurs at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, caused by faulty wiring; 84 people died. Helicopters were used to rescue stranded guests from the top floors.

No more pu-pu platters with charcoal grills in the suites please.

November 21, 1997 -
Lead singer of INXS Michael Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney, Australia on this date. Police have denied that his death was due to Autoerotic Asphyxiation.

The fact that his pants were around his ankles and copies of the magazines "Hot Chicks in Tubs of Pudding" were scattered around the room, did not enter into it.

And so it goes

If you're looking for some help with your Thanksgiving dinner - today we're talking about appetizers.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Of course they could sell it year round -

November 20, 1913 -
The National Biscuit Co. sold its first Mallomars to a grocer in West Hoboken on this date.

Mallomars are only "in season" from September through March (it's to maintain tradition) and are manufactured in Toronto, but not sold anywhere in Canada, the home territory of Whippets.

November 20, 1921 -
The Famous Players-Lasky Company put the film, The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino and Adolphe Menjou, and directed by George Melford into general release in the US on this date.

The film helped established Valentino as the top male movie star and sex symbol of the day.

November 20, 1981 -
Milos Foreman's epic take on E.L. Doctorow novel, Ragtime, premiered on this date.

Though James Cagney was 81 years old when he filmed this movie, the real Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo was only 32 at the time in which the movie was set.

November 20, 1983 -
An estimated 100 million people watched on this date, the controversial ABC-TV movie The Day After, which depicted the outbreak of nuclear holocaust in the United States.

Nicholas Meyer claims he suffered severe flu-like symptoms throughout the making of this film. When doctors could find no reason for his illness, they eventually determined that Meyer was actually suffering from severe clinical depression, which the director attributes to having to face the horrors of nuclear war in such depth.

Today in History :
November 20, 1917
T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was held prisoner, whipped, and repeatedly raped by Turkish Army officers on this date. He apparently thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

50 Shade of Grey, indeed.

November 20, 1923 -
American inventor Garrett Morgan was awarded Patent No. 1475074 for the stoplight that included a third option in addition to "stop" and "go."

His invention was a major step forward in traffic safety. Besides the traffic light, Morgan is best known for his work on gas masks.

November 20, 1947 -
Princess Elizabeth married a ne'er-do-well Greek distant cousin, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, in a ceremony broadcast worldwide from Westminster Abbey on this date.

She was so happy that day that it seems to escape her attention that she related to everyone at the church, include the groom's mother.

45 years later, on this date, Liz and Phil (and all the Mountbatten-Windsors) were in the middle of their Annus Horribilis when Windsor Castle caught on fire, causing extensive damage.

November 20, 1969 -
Please feel free to use this piece of information at your Thanksgiving dinner should you run out of conversation:

Apollo 12 astronauts, Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean, landed at the Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”) and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon on this date.

It's the 41th anniversary of Generallismo Francisco Franco heroic fight to remain dead.

He is still working at it today.

November 20, 1976 -
Former-Beatle George Harrison appeared on Saturday Night Live on this date.

George Harrison seemed to have misunderstood Lorne Michaels offer of the $3,000 payment for his appearance; Michaels explained to George that the $3,000 was for all four of the Beatles - making the payment only $750 for him.

November 20, 1984 -
McDonald's made its 50 billionth hamburger at 12:10 P.M. in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, in New York City on this date.

It was eaten by Richard J. McDonald, one of the founders, who cooked burger No. 1 in San Bernardino, California, 36 years previously. That first burger and the 50 billionth are still lodged undigested in the colon of the corpse of Mr. McDonald.

November 20, 1985 -
Windows 1.0, a 16-bit graphical operating environment was released on this date. It was Microsoft's first attempt to implement a multi-tasking graphical user interface-based operating environment on the PC platform. Windows 1.0 was the very first version of Windows launched.

If you think I'm going to make fun of Bill Gates, you're mistaken.

Hooray for Big Brother!!!

November 20, 1986 -
The one billionth Little Golden Book was printed on this date.

The title was The Poky Little Puppy.

Perhaps, unwisely, this was the next book printed.

And so it goes.