Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cleveland, city of light, city of magic

It's National Chocolate Eclair Day. While the eclair is a delicious dessert, their charms escape me.

Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than Bavarian cream.

I'd rather remember that today is the anniversary of Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969.

June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40s Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.

The director of the cartoon was an uncredited effort by Friz Freleng.

June 22, 1955 -
Disney's first film about dog breeding, The Lady and the Tramp, was released on this date.

Peggy Lee later sued Disney for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts. She was awarded $2.3 million dollars, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.

June 22, 1961
A great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.

There was some surprise that Stanley Baker, who along with Dirk Bogarde in 1960 was considered the most popular British movie star, accepted the relatively small supporting role of Private "Butcher" Brown. Baker revealed that he wanted to be in the movie because he was impressed at how anti-war the screenplay by the blacklisted writer Carl Foreman was.

June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's
first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.

Every credited member of the cast received an Academy Award nomination.

June 22, 1966 -
The first screenplay of Woody Allen's produced, What's New Pussycat?, starring Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers (and co-starring Woody Allen) premiered in the US on this date.

During shooting in Paris, Paula Prentiss climbed up to the catwalk and started walking the beams. She loudly called down to everyone on the set, "I'm going to jump." She did, but a French technician grabbed her, and saved her life. She was transferred to a clinic in New York for recuperation.

June 22, 1968 -
This Guy's in Love with You by Herb Alpert topped the charts on this date.

Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.

June 22, 1984 -
Another underdog story directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, was released by Columbia Pictures on this date.

The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.

June 22, 1984
The atmospheric black-comedy, The Pope of Greenwich Village, starring  Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Geraldine Page, premiered on this date.

Michael Cimino was asked to direct this film but didn't think it was a good film for him. As a favor to the producers, who were on a deadline, he went to New York and did all the pre-production. When they were set to begin shooting, the producers again tried to get Cimino to direct but he told them he thought, considering the budget, they needed someone who could work faster than he was used to working and so they hired Stuart Rosenberg.

Just another day

Today in History:
June 22, 1633
The Holy Office in Rome strong-armed Galileo Galilei into recanting his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.

This was the second time he was forced to recant Earth orbits Sun by the Pope. Almost immediately, on October 31, 1992, the Vatican admitted it was wrong.

June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.

Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and released an album called Endless Summer.

June 22, 1918 -
The worst circus train wreck in history occurred just outside Hammond, Indiana on this date. A seriously over-tired engineer, Alonzo Sargent, fell asleep at the throttle of a trainload of empty Pullman cars and slammed into the rear of the 26-car Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train.

85 of the 400 performers and workers on board were killed. There were no reports on whether or not the crowd at the previous days performance was greater than the gawkers at the scene of the wreck.

June 22, 1933 -
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party on this date, except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.

The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.

June 22, 1940 -
days after German forces overran Paris, France was forced to sign an armistice on this date; hilarity ensues.

Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans. (In a bizarre co-incidence, it was also the anniversary of Napoleon's second abdication in 1815.)

June 22, 1941 -
The German Army invaded Russia on this date, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.

Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.

(Let's not discuss Hitler for the rest of the week.)

June 22, 1949 -
According to our president, one of the most over-rated actresses of her generation, Mary Louise Streep, was born on this date.

She originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.

Imagine if she applied herself, how far her career would go.

June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.

Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drown.

June 22, 1993
All lives have triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears, and mine has been no different. What really matters is whether, after all of that, you remain strong and a comfort to your loved ones. I have tried to meet that test....

The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats, Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.

And so it goes.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summers have a logic all their own

The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing. - Dan Simmons

Today is the first day of Summer, also known as the Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year (and the shortest night).

The actual moment of the solstice occurred at about 12:24 A.M. EDT, while the sun sat directly above the Pacific Ocean to the west of Hawaii.  Don't brag about the good weather tomorrow; remember that it's the beginning of Winter in Australia.  (The naked run is optional - please.)

June 21,1955 -
The David Lean movie, Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi premiered in New York on this date.

Having been cast as the older widowed concierge of the hotel, David Lean was upset to find that Isa Miranda had recently had a facelift and looked too young for the part. Since recasting at that late stage was out of the question, Lean went with it. Aside from her appearance, Lean was also displeased with her performance. She was having trouble working up tears for her scene with Darren McGavin, which was frustrating Lean to no end. Katharine Hepburn said she would coach Miranda, took her aside and slapped her sharply across the face. Miranda was shocked and then began to tear up. Lean was impressed and told Hepburn she was a tougher director than he.

June 21, 1977 -
Martin Scorsese's
homage to movie musicals - New York, New York, premiered on this date.

The original song titled Theme from New York, New York was scrapped at the insistence of Robert De Niro. Grudgingly, John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote a new version, which has since become one of the most famous and often recorded songs in history. Kander and Ebb have often expressed extreme gratitude to De Niro for his influence.

June 21, 1985 -
Walt Disney
released the only directorial effort of film editor Walter Murch, Return to Oz, starring Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, and Fairuza Balk, on this date.

Fairuza Balk actually performed most of the film barefoot, as she found her black shoes uncomfortable, and the ruby slippers were very fragile and easily damaged. Thus, the actress only wore shoes when they would be visible on camera.

June 21, 1988 -
Robert Zemeckis' incredible advance in animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, opened in NYC on this date.

Bob Hoskins said that, for two weeks after seeing the movie, his young son wouldn't talk to him. When finally asked why, his son said he couldn't believe his father would work with cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and not let him meet them.

A questionable ACME PSA

Today in History:
June 21, 1877
The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants who were labor activists, are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Author and Judge John P. Lavelle of Carbon County said of this, "The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty...A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows."

June 21, 1893 -
The first Ferris wheel debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, on this date. The Ferris wheel was designed by George W. Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The exposition commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America. The Chicago Fair's organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel had built the tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

June 21, 1905 -
It would have been the 112th birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre today.

But what the hell does he care; he's dead and it doesn't mean anything anyway.

June 21, 1982 -
Using an innovative Jodie Foster defense, John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, on this date.

Nobody was impressed by this verdict.

June 21, 1989 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning is indeed protected speech under the Constitution,

prompting Congress to put forth an endless series of amendments to ban the activity.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

You never need to doubt it

June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday today, ushering in those lazy, hazy days of summer.

Brian Wilson has just finished his tour in support of last year's 50th anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds.

June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's
first American movie, Anna and the King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters on this date.

Filming was delayed two months because Irene Dunne's husband was recovering from a heart attack. Twentieth Century Fox almost considered replacing her with Myrna Loy or Jean Arthur.

June 20, 1974 -
Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown

The unforgettable film-noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.

After several takes that never looked quite right, Faye Dunaway got annoyed and told Jack Nicholson to actually slap her. He did and felt very guilty for it, despite it being Dunaway's decision. The shot made it into the movie.

June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's
thriller, Jaws, premiered on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.

When 'Bruce' the shark was built, it was never tested in the water. When it was put in the water at Martha's Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor; it took a team of divers to retrieve it.

June 20, 1997 -
It was literally nipples to the wind when Joel Schumacher's contribution to the caped crusader saga, Batman and Robin, starring George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman, went into general release on this date.

Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion.

Oddities from the internet

Today in History:
June 20, 1756
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning.

Of those imprisoned, only 23 survive. Even with the economic downturn, a 250 sq ft apartment would start a huge bidding war in Manhattan.

June 20, 1793 -
Eli Whitney
applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.

This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.

June 20, 1782 -

Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States on this date.

Although several people on the committee were Masons, the Masonic institutions themselves deny that the Seal is Masonic; therefore, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Of course.

June 20, 1791 -
King Louis XVI and his family attempted their escape from Paris to the royalist citadel of Montedy on this date.

They were captured at Varennes-en-Argonne when they were recognized. It didn't go too well for them after this.

June 20, 1837
The 18-year old Princess Victoria ascended the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV, on this date.

Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, which is the second longest of any British monarch, after her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden
was found innocent of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively.

Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.

June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel
(Warren Beatty) was shot to death at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders purportedly from Meyer Lansky.

The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.

June 20, 1967 -
The late great Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) had refused to serve in the U.S. military, stating that it went against his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. This led to his conviction of violating Selective Service laws on this date.

The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.

And so it goes.

Before you go - the summer solstice begins on Wednesday, June 21, at 12:24 A.M. EDT, this means due to time zones, the Solstice falls on Tuesday, June 20 in other time zones in North America

I'll be asleep at the time and we'll discuss this in further detail tomorrow.


Monday, June 19, 2017

One of the most important holidays of the year

I’d like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc. A very dry martini. A very dry, arid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowl of a martini. I want a martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a martini.
- Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H

There is nothing quite so stimulating as a strong dry Martini - T. S. Eliot

Please stop global warming - we need the ice for martinis

Today is National Martini Day! Well, sort of. It's debated exactly what day this momentous occasion is actually supposed to occur, but why not celebrate now.

It just has to be GIN and bone dry (and for god sake, don't swallow the toothpick!)

June 19, 1954 -
... All the world loves a lover, but in this case, we'll make an exception.

The Tasmanian Devil, Taz, made his debut in the Looney Tunes cartoon, Devil May Hare, on this date.

June 19, 1957 -
The classic 50s teenage-horror film, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, starring Michael Landon, premiered on this date.

American International Pictures released this on a double bill with Invasion of the Saucer Men with the tag line "We DARE You To See The Most Amazing Pictures of Our Time!"

June 19, 1962 -
One of the great film-musicals from the 60s, The Music Man, premiered on this date.

Even though Robert Preston had played the role of Harold Hill on Broadway, Frank Sinatra was Warner Bros' personal choice to play the role in the movie. However, Meredith Willson told them, "No Robert Preston, no movie." Cary Grant was also offered the lead role, but told Warner Brothers, "Not only will I not star in the movie, if Robert Preston does not star in it, I will not see it."

June 19, 1963 -
Columbia Pictures releases the Ray Harryhausen fantasy film Jason and the Argonauts, directed by Don Chaffey in the U.S. on this date.

It took Ray Harryhausen four months to produce the skeleton scene, a massive amount of time for a scene which lasts, at the most, three minutes.

June 19, 1978 -
It was on this day that we got the first appearance of Garfield the Cat in the comics section.

In cat years, it would make that lasagna eating fur ball - gets out calculator and do some figuring, ….. Dead.

Word of the day

Today in History:
June 19, 1312 -
Piers Gaveston, close personal friend of King Edward II of England, was beheaded after he attempted to return to Edward's side, having been banished for being too close a personal friend, on this date.

After succession to king, Edward appointed Gaveston as Earl of Cornwall for no other reason than being his close personal friend.

And for his troubles, Edward II ends his day developing rectalgia - a serious pain in his ass.

June 19, 1623 -
Blaise Pascal was born in France on this date (which worked out extremely well for him as he wanted to grow up to be French.)

At the age of 17 he wrote a paper entitled Essay on Conic Sections, which quickly became the best-selling paper on conic sections in European history and eventually inspired the classic French noir film, Death by Conic Section.

By the age of 22 Mr. Pascal had invented a calculator. Unfortunately he could not invent the battery, so he turned to religion.

And he meant to get around to it right away, but in 1647 he ended up proving the existence of a vacuum. The famous French philosopher Rene Descartes visited Pascal, inspected his vacuum, and bemoaned its lack of attachable hoses. This caused an epistemological split that has endured to the present day.

("The more I see of men," Pascal observed at about this time, "the better I like my dog." This was a famous quotation and can be found on many greeting cards.)

In 1653 he discovered Pascal's Law of Pressure. A year later he was involved in a carriage accident that reminded him he had turned to religion. He turned back to it.

He began work on his famous Pensées ("Blather") in 1656 and worked on it for three years. In the book, Pascal proved that if God didn't exist then believing in Him wouldn't hurt, whereas if He did exist, not believing would hurt like Hell.

It has been observed that if Pascal was wrong, not reading his book wouldn't hurt, and if he was right it wouldn't hurt either.

When he was 39 a malignant growth in his stomach spread to his brain and he died horribly, proving that unbearable pain is unbearable pain whatever you think of God or philosophy.

June 19, 1865 -
Marching his troops into Galvaston, Texas, Union General Gordon Granger announced the emancipation of slaves on this date.

The day has become known as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day.

June 19, 1867 -
Emperor Maximilian of Mexico (Brian Aherne), unwitting stooge for Napoleon III (Claude Rains), was executed by firing squad on this date Although he bribed the seven riflemen to not shoot him in the head, one did anyway.

Bette Davis somehow figures into this as the Mad Empress Charlotta who just snapped when she returned to France to get help for her beleaguered husband. She lived in her private mad world for over 60 years, dying in the mid twenties of the next century.

So much for the privileges afforded royalty.

June 19, 1934 -
The Federal Communications Commission, perhaps the most wicked body of do-gooders ever to exist in the United States, was created.

These are the clowns that perfected the fine art of capricious and arbitrary.

June 19, 1945 –
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician and Nobel laureate was born on this date.

June 19, 1953 -
Atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were electrocuted at Sing-Sing Prison on this date, becoming the first civilians ever executed for espionage in American history. Five jolts of electricity were required to kill Ethel on this date. Ethel did not succumb immediately and was subjected to two more electrical charges before being pronounced dead. The chair was designed for a man of average size; and Ethel Rosenberg was a petite woman: this discrepancy resulted, it is claimed, in the electrodes fitting poorly and making poor electrical contact. Eyewitness testimony (as given by a newsreel report featured in The Atomic Cafe) describes smoke rising from her head.

That must have been a pretty sight.

While her husband Julius was on the Soviet payroll, according to recently released archives, is now clear that Ethel had no involvement in the espionage ring. For that matter, it is unclear how much Julius actually assisted the Soviet atomic bomb effort.

So much for American Justice.

June 19, 1982 -
Roberto Calvi, chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from Blackfriar's Bridge in London on this date. His death was initially ruled a suicide, though it was quite obviously murder; that assessment was later overturned. Calvi may have been killed because of his involvement in the laundering of drug money through the Vatican Bank.

This is part of the back story of Godfather III.

Roberto Calvi's life was insured for $10 million with Unione Italiana, and attempts by his family to obtain a payout resulted in litigation. Following the forensic report of 2002 which established that Calvi was murdered, the policy was finally paid out, although around half of the sum was paid to creditors of the Calvi family who had incurred considerable costs during their attempts to establish that Calvi had been murdered.

So much for Italian justice.

And so it goes.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

It is a wise father that knows his own child.

Happy Father's Day

I know when the girls got me a “World’s Best Dad” mug, they were being sarcastic.

June 18, 1969 -
Sam Peckinpah's violent western elegy, The Wild Bunch, premiered on this date.

In an interview, Ben Johnson said that the Mexican women who "frolicked" with him and Warren Oates in the huge wine vats weren't actresses but prostitutes from a nearby brothel, who were hired by Sam Peckinpah so he could tell people that Warner Bros. paid for hookers for his cast.

June 18, 1952 -
True elegance for me is the manifestation of an independent mind.

Isabella Rossellini, one of Hollywood's' most intelligent and beautiful actresses was born on this date.

June 18, 1980 -
... We're on a mission from God.

The Blues Brothers Movie, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi premiered on this date. Ounce for ounce (other than Walt Disney's The Jungle Book,) the most amount of dope was smoked in film history during the production of a major Hollywood film.

During the filming of the opening scene, security guards of the prison fired shots at the helicopter filming the overhead shots, thinking that the helicopter was attempting to spy on the structure.

Don't forget to check out our other sight - Dr. Caligari's Cupboard.

Today in History:
European history would have been dramatically different if only for a higher fiber diet.

One of the most decisive battles in the history of Europe was fought in Belgium on June 18, 1815, as a resurgent Napoleon Bonaparte launched his last military offensive against the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian Marshal Blücher. Nearly 50,000 men were killed in the battle. Napoleon lost in part due to a case of inflamed hemorrhoids.

The battle was commemorated by Swedish sensation Abba in their 1970s hit, Waterloo.

Abba's interpretation of Waterloo's significance has been controversial from the start, as it tended to focus less on the military and political implications of the battle than on the feelings of euphoria typically incited by hormonal rushes of erotic excitement.

On June 18, 1817, Waterloo Bridge was opened over the River Thames in London,

probably in anticipation of the great Abba hit.

June 18, 1900 -
The Empress Douairiere, Dowager of China orders all foreigners killed on this date. Among those meeting this fate are the foreign diplomats, their families, as well as hundreds of Christian missionaries and their Chinese converts.

She was apparently having a very bad day (perhaps she needed a high fiber diet as well.)

June 18, 1940 -
The "This was their finest hour speech" was delivered by Sir Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on this date.

It was given shortly after he took over as Prime Minister of Britain on May 10th, in the first year of World War II.

June 18, 1942 -
Sir James Paul McCartney, CH, MBE, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, entrepreneur, record and film producer, poet, painter, and animal rights activist, was born on this date.

McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history."

June 18, 1959 -
Based on his erratic behavior, the Governor of Louisiana, Earl K. Long, was committed to a state mental hospital.

Long responds by arranging for the hospital's director to be fired, and the new director proclaims him perfectly sane. (It is no secret that the man was completely nuts.)

June 18, 1967 -
Famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix burnt his guitar on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival on this date.

There had to be a better way to toast marshmallows.

June 18, 1983 -
Almost 20 years to the day after the USSR sent Valentina Tereshkova into orbit, the United States sent its first woman astronaut into space. Sally Ride, an astrophysicist from Stanford University, and four other colleagues lifted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

During the six-day mission, Ride operated the robot's arm, which she had helped design. Ms. Ride dedicated her life to be an inspiration for young women wanting to enter the field of science

And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday John!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rare these days, very rare

Mayor Eric Garcetti flipped the switch to light the Bat Signal on Los Angeles City Hall in honor of Adam West

Adam West died June 9 after a short battle with leukemia.

It's Eat Your Vegetables Day

Another voice heard from

June 17, 1950 -
The Disassociated Press
sent a reporter to get Bug Bunny's life story in What's Up Doc?, which was released on this date.

Bugs and Elmer perform the What's Up Doc? title song. This is the first cartoon in which its lyrics are heard.

June 17, 1968 -
Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy (I've got love in my tummy) went gold on this date.

Joey Levine, who was the lead singer of the Ohio Express, wrote this with Arthur Resnick, who also wrote Under The Boardwalk and Good Lovin'.

June 17, 1987 -
A late Kubrick masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket, was released on this date.

One of the scenes cut from the movie was a scene that showed a group of Marines playing soccer. The scene was cut because a shot revealed they were not using a soccer ball, but a human head.

Don't forget to tune into today's episode of The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour

Today in History:
June 17, 1775
American forces were defeated by the British at Breed's Hill, near Boston, in the Battle of Bunker Hill, after famously withholding their fire until they could see the whites of their enemies' eyes.

This battle should not be confused with that of Bunker Hill, fought on Breed's Hill, during which the Americans shot like hell at anything that moved.

June 17, 1797 -
Agha Muhammad Khan
, Shah of Persia (who was also a eunuch, but that's another story) ordered his servants to bring him a melon cut into slices. He finished half, ordered the other half to be put away and vowed to his servants, that if even one slice of the melon was missing in the morning, all three servants would be beheaded by him.

Later on that night one of the servants forgot and ate a slice. The servants then killed Agha Muhammad Khan with the dagger because they were afraid he would kill them in the morning.

There's a lesson here somewhere -
a.) Treat your staff better?
b.) Purchase more fruit for dessert?
c.) Dare to eat the peach?

The Statue of Liberty, France's gift to the United States marking the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isere (only nine years after the gift was offered.)

To prepare for transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. (The right arm and the torch, which were completed earlier, had been exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and thereafter at Madison Square Park in New York City.)

June 17, 1928 -
Amelia Earhart
became the first woman to make a transatlantic flight on this date.

June 17, 1933 -
FBI agents and the fugitive they were transporting, Frank Nash, were killed in a shootout with gangsters who were trying to free Nash, at the Union Square Station in Kansas City on this date. (Please be sure to visit the Pierpont Steak House when you find yourself at the Union Square Station in Kansas City.)

After being pardoned twice for murder and burglary, Frank Nash was arrested and convicted again for assault and was serving a 25-year sentence when he escaped in 1930. The FBI had just recaptured Nash after his three-year run when they were all gunned down.

Killing the person you are trying to free defeats the whole purpose

June 17, 1939 -
In Versailles, Eugene Weidmann becomes the last person to be publicly guillotined.

The "hysterical behavior" by spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions.

A few people can ruin it for everybody.

June 17, 1947 -
Pan Am i
naugurated the first round-the-world passenger service when the Lockheed Constellation 'Clipper America' with 21 passengers, 9 crew members and 400 pounds of food, departed from LaGuardia Airport in New York bound for San Francisco, the long way around.

The trip covered more than 20,000 miles in 13 days, with 92 hours 43 minutes of flight time, landing in 17 cities and 10 countries.

June 17, 1963 -
The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to strike down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

We've been godless heathens ever since.

June 17, 1967
China tested its first hydrogen bomb, a U-235 implosion fission device named “596,” over the Lop Nur Testing Grounds.

It was China’s first full-scale implosion weapon test, and its sixth nuclear test within thirty-two months, a record for the shortest development period of any nation’s nuclear weapons program.

(Remember that the next time you try to short tip the Chinese delivery guy.)

June 17, 1972 -
Someone ask the President to watch the following - Five men broke into the Democratic Party National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, DC on this date. They had hoped to bug the offices but were arrested before they could release any insects.

President Richard Nixon would later describe the incident as a "third rate burglary." Their arrests ultimately led to President Nixon's resignation in 1974.

(Nixon's resignation prior to 1974 was attributed to simple melancholia.)

June 17, 1994 -
Convicted memorabilia thug O.J. Simpson failed to turn himself in to the LAPD at a prearranged time and was later spotted in a white Ford Bronco on a Los Angeles expressway on this date. After a low-speed pursuit through the freeways and streets of Brentwood, O.J. was finally arrested live on television in the driveway of his mansion.

According to one of the defense attorneys who served on O.J.'s "Dream Team," Simpson tried to kill himself in the car, but the gun "misfired". The Juice allegedly told him: "I pulled the trigger and it didn't go off."

That would have saved everyone a boatload of trouble.

And so it goes.

Before you go
- Puddles released a new video clip yesterday of a cover of the Cure's Boys Don't Cry -

The Dylanesque touch was perfect!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Well, she's the girl in the red blue jeans.

June 16, 1956 -
Gene Vincent
(Capitol Record's answer to Elvis Presley) and the Bluecaps' (so named after Ike's golf cap) Be-Bop-A-Lula, was released on this date.

Recorded in Nashville on May 4, 1956, this was released as the B-side of Vincent's first single, a provocative number called Woman Love. Radio stations in the United States wanted nothing to do with Woman Love, and the BBC banned it, so Capitol flipped the sides and put out Be-Bop-a-Lula as the A-side; for some reason the scandalous Woman Love was deemed inoffensive when relegated to a B-side.

June 16, 1960 -
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho opened in New York on this date.

When the cast and crew began work on the first day, they had to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge one word of the story. Alfred Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.

June 16, 1984 -
Cyndi Lauper's
song Time After Time topped the charts (her first no.1 hit) on this date.

Lauper wrote this song with Rob Hyman, who also sang backup. Hyman was in a Philadelphia band with Eric Bazilian and Rick Chertoff. When Rick took a job as a staff producer at Columbia Records, he kept in touch with Rob and Eric, who formed The Hooters. Chertoff was assigned to produce Lauper, a then-unknown artist. Lauper's band, Blue Angel, had broken up, so she needed musicians. Rick suggested Rob and Eric, then brought her to see The Hooters at a club called The Bottom Line.

Today in History:
June 16 1750 BC
King Hammurabi died in Babylon on this date and was succeeded by his son Samsu-iluna.

I know you're saying to yourself, "Who cares?". Well, now you know.

June 16, 1556
Keep this in mind: Always read your Baedeker before traveling.

June 16, 1858 -
More than 1,000 Republican delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. By late afternoon, they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas.

Later that evening, Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title comes a sentence from the speech's introduction, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," which paraphrases a statement by Jesus in the New Testament.

If only Lincoln had read his Scriptures a little more closely he would have uncovered the passage that had confused many biblical scholars, "Hey Abe, Don't go to Ford's Theatre on Good Friday."

June 16, 1890 -
British comedian Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Stan Laurel), was born on this date. He acted in 190 films (many of them with his partner Oliver Hardy) and was awarded a Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1961.

He died in 1965 from a heart attack. At Laurel's funeral, Buster Keaton said, "Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man was the funniest."

June 16, 1904 -
Happy Bloomsday!

The straight-A English majors will greet one another joyously. Yes - yes - yes! they'll titter. It will all be terrific fun (for them, anyway.)

They'll feel smart and proud and better than the rest of us (and you again can feel morally superior for knowing it), and now you know why.

June 16, 1948 -
In the first skyjacking of a commercial plane, three armed men stormed the cockpit of the Miss Macao, a passenger seaplane operated by Cathay Pacific airline.

When the pilot refuses to turn over the controls, he was shot dead and the plane crashes into the ocean. The only survivor among the 27 people on board was the leader of the terrorists.


June 16, 1958 -
Imre Nagy, once prime minister of Hungary for all of ten days, was executed by the Soviet Union for attempting to withdraw his country from the Warsaw Pact on this date.

It is said that Nikita Khrushchev had Nagy executed, "as a lesson to all other leaders in socialist countries."

That'll learn em.

June 16, 1959 -
While entertaining friends at his home, George Reeves (Ben Affleck), who played the title character in the original Superman TV series, went upstairs to his bedroom and committed suicide with a 9mm German Luger.

This has been hotly debated and it is now believe that the irate husband of a B movie actress Reeves was sleeping with, shot the actor in his home.

June 16, 1961
This may be a shock to some of you readers but some male ballet dancers engage in an active sodomy lifestyle. Rudolf Nureyev was a major buggerer, much to the consternation of both the Kirov management and the Russian political authorities. In the Kirov's first-ever appearance in Paris in 1961, Nureyev was an outstanding success, yet his defiance of company regulations about mingling with foreigners, provoked a command return to Moscow.

Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet at Le Bourget Airport in France while he was on the verge of flying back to USSR on this date. Within five days, Nureyev embarked on a six-month season with the international Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, dancing the Prince and the Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty.

June 16, 1963 -
Valentina Tereshkova
was the first female to travel outside the Earth's atmosphere.

She traveled to space aboard the Soviet Union's Vostok 6.

June 16, 1976 -
schoolchildren took to the streets of Soweto to protest South Africa's adoption of bilingual instruction in the Afrikaans language.

The nonviolent march ended abruptly when police and soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing 600 and igniting days of rioting throughout the region.

June 16, 1999 -
The founder of the United Kingdom's Monster Raving Loony Party, one Screaming Lord Sutch (real name David Edward Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow), was found hanged at his late mother's residence. Sutch was the longest lasting party leader in the UK at the time of his death, which was ruled a suicide.

One of the Loony Party planks was, all vegetables sold in supermarkets, should be clearly marked “Strictly for oral use only

And so it goes.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don't forget the drawn butter

Today is National Lobster Day.

I'm not sure if the holiday is celebrating this crustacean for its' longevity or its' delicious taste (Yes, you smartpants, if you are celebrating National Lobster Day today, you are celebrating the consumption of Canadian lobsters. I don't care, I love lobsters, especially in my tummy, floating in a sea of gin.  If you feel you must, celebrate National Lobster day on the 25th of September, when you clearly will be honoring the Maine variety. Remember, Father's Day is June 18th, National Martini Day is June 19th; need I say more.)

Here's a tip from your old friend, the doctor: Look for a lobster that seems active and alive, and the more active, the better. Steaming is better than boiling. You only need about an inch of water (or white wine or beer) in a pot and steam the lobster rather than boil it.

June 15, 1960
The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, opened in New York on this date. This is the film Billy Wilder completed after his smash hit Some Like It Hot.

Billy Wilder originally thought of the idea for the film after seeing Brief Encounter and wondering about the plight of a character unseen in that film. Shirley MacLaine was only given forty pages of the script because Wilder didn't want her to know how the story would turn out. She thought it was because the script wasn't finished.

June 15, 1967 -
The WWII adventure film, The Dirty Dozen, premiered on this date.

Lee Marvin referred to this movie as "crap" and "just a dummy moneymaker", although he enjoyed the film. The movie has nothing to do with war, he stressed, and he was very pleased that he got to do The Big Red One, which mirrored his own wartime experiences.

June 15, 1973 -
20th Century Fox releases the fifth and final entry in the Planet of the Apes series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, John Huston, and Paul Williams, was released on this date.

Roddy McDowall
and Natalie Trundy are the only cast members to appear in 4 of the 5 original "Planet of the Apes" movies.

June 15, 1990 -
Warren Beatty's
take on the comic strip detective, Dick Tracy, opened on this date.

Gene Hackman turned down a role, because he couldn't bear being directed by Warren Beatty again after his experience on Reds.

June 15, 1994 -
Disney's 32nd animated feature, The Lion King, opened in limited release in the US on this date.

A few weeks before the film opened, Elton John was given a special screening. Noticing that the film's love song had been left out, he successfully lobbied to have the song put back in. Later, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Parental advice

Today in History:
June 15, 1215
King John was forced by all the English Barons to sign the Magna Carta, which asserted the supremacy of the law over the king, at Runnymede, England on this date.

The Magna Carta (the Great Charter) was adopted and sealed by the King at Runnymede, England, granting his barons more liberty.

June 15, 1330 -
Please take notes, this will be on the test:

King Edward III was a famous English king, celebrated for his invention of manners and discovery of the economy. He played tennis, and once famously rebuked the King of France for having sent him his balls in a box.

King Edward established the Order of the Garter because he was what English nobles referred to as a "leg man." (It was he who also famously remarked, Honi soit qui mal y pense, or Honey, show us some cheesecake.)

King Edward had many sons, one of whom was born on June 15, 1330. This son he named Prince Edward. Though white at birth, he eventually became England's first Black Prince.

Prince Edward eventually married Joan of Kent. In her youth, Joan had been known as the Fairly Made because she was so fat; in later years she was referred to as Chubster and Lardass, though seldom to her face.

At the age of sixteen, Prince Edward and his father the king led the English against the French at Crecy, in order to start the 100 years war. There were many more French than English, but the English had the advantage of the Long Boa. The French were powerless against this innovation. Ten years later, the English and French took the field again, this time at Poitiers. The French had learned from experience, and tried to counter the English Long Boa with their own Very Large Scarf. They failed. The English took France's King John prisoner and ransomed him for half a million pounds (250 tons). Prince Edward was kind to the French king, however, and prayed with him, which proved that the apple had not fallen far from the tree. (Edward was also a legman.)

By now he had become the Black Prince.

In recognition of his prowess, the Black Prince was made the ruler of Aquitaine in 1362. When some of the French rebelled at Limoges in 1370, he had all 3000 inhabitants killed. This resulted in peace. The Black Prince died before he could succeed to the throne, thereby losing the opportunity to become England's first Black King.

Edward and Joan had two children. One was Edward, who died in infancy and was therefore ineligible to be king. The other was Richard, also known as Richard II, who succeeded to the throne only to abdicate in favor of Henry IV, Part 1. Following Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 came Henry V, then Henry VI parts 1, 2 and 3, and then finally Richard III.

They kept William Shakespeare busy for many years.

June 15, 1409 -

June 15, 1520 -

June 15,1667 -
Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys, the personal physician to Louis XIV, performed the first blood transfusion in history on this date. He performed the transfusion on a fifteen year old boy, using blood drawn from the severed neck of a sheep.

While the experiment was considered a success (the boy died?), it was clearly a disappointment if you were rooting for the sheep.

June 15, 1752 -
Benjamin Franklin and his son tested the relationship between electricity and lightning by flying a kite in a thunder storm on this date (or some other date, don't forget Mr. Franklin was a member of the notorious Hellfire Club.) There is no record on how much the Franklins drank earlier that day.

This now proved the famous theory that lightning is some powerful sh*t.

June 15, 1785 -
Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier died during an attempted crossing of the English Channel when his balloon, a combination hydrogen and hot air balloon, exploded on this date.

Thus, he and his companion, Pierre Romain, became the first known victims of an air crash. The term "pilot" is sometimes erroneously thought to derive from his first name, Pilatre.

June 15, 1904 -
The General Slocum worked as a passenger ship, taking people on excursions around New York City. On this date, the ship had been chartered for $350 by the St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the German district Little Germany, Manhattan. This was an annual rite for the group, which had made the trip for 17 consecutive years. Over 1,300 passengers, mostly women and children, boarded the General Slocum. It was to sail up the East River and then eastward across Long Island Sound to Locust Grove, a picnic site in Eatons Neck, Long Island. It caught fire and burned to the water line in New York's East River.

More than 1,000 people died in the accident, making it New York City's worst loss-of-life disaster until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

June 15, 1955 -
Duck and cover, people.

The Eisenhower administration stages the first annual OPAL exercise. In the Operation Alert drill, air raid sirens blare across America to assess our preparations for a nuclear attack.

And so it goes.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Please remove your hat while reading this:

It was on this date in 1777 that the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the official flag of the United States of America.

The first Flag Day observance was not held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes on June 14, 1877, as some sites might tell you, but read on my friend, this seems to the real story:

In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, a man named George Morris persuaded his city of Hartford, Conn., to undertake a patriotic celebration on behalf of the Union. But the concept didn't catch on, there or elsewhere.

Two decades later, in 1885, a 19-year-old Waubeka schoolteacher named Bernard Cigrand plunked a small flag into an inkwell on his desk and assigned his students to write essays on patriotism. Later he traveled the country to promote respect for the flag, becoming president of the American Flag Day Association.

In 1916, Cigrand, after years of toil, got President Woodrow Wilson, on May 30, 1916, to issue a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day.

In 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day.

So now you know. (You may now be seated and put your hat back on.)

June 14, 1949 -
This truly dark comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring the ever present Alec Guinness, was released on this date.

Initially Alec Guinness was only offered four of the roles; it was Guinness himself who insisted on playing all eight.

June 14, 1967 -
One of the iconic films from the 60s, the British drama To Sir, with Love, starring Sidney Poitier premiered in the US on this date.

Sidney Poitier was appointed an Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974. (He's a native of the Bahamas, part of the Commonwealth of British Nations.) This is not an honorary award. He is entitled to be known as Sir Sidney Poitier, but does not use it himself.

June 14, 1976 -
The Gong Show debuted on NBC on this date. People with dubious talents perform their acts before a celebrity panel of judges, who are free to eject the performer at any time by banging a large gong. The best non-gonged performer each night wins $516.32.

During the time the show is on the air, it's creator, Chuck Barris, suffered a complete mental breakdown, he said from the stress of being a secret CIA hit man.

No really, I'm not kidding you.

June 14, 1985 -
One of John Houston's last films, the black comedy Prizzi's Honor, opened on this date.

Julie Bovasso taught Jack Nicholson how to speak "Brooklynese". Researching the role, he hung out in lowlife dives in Brooklyn.

A message from outer space

Today in History:
June 14, 1648 -
Midwife Margaret Jones was hanged in Boston for witchcraft on this date.

It is the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony, but not the first in the colonies.

June 14, 1940 -
Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund had a quick drink as they planned to leave Paris ahead of the Nazi invasion. Little does Rick know that Ilsa does not plan to join him (but that's another story ....)

Paris falls to the Nazis on this date. Marshal Philippe Petain became the head of the French government and sued for peace. Gertrude Stein translated Petain's speeches and hailed him as a hero of the French nation.

And sometimes, a rose is just a collaborator.

June 14, 1946 -
My whole life is about winning. I don't lose often. I almost never lose.

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States was born on this date.  That's all I'm going to say.

June 14, 1954 -
At the Lincoln Memorial, President Dwight Eisenhower signs a law inserting the words "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. Eisenhower declares: "From this day forward, the millions of our schoolchildren will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our nation and our people to the Almighty." Precisely which Almighty is left to the listener's imagination.

This year, I'd like to think that Ike was thinking about the Mayan god - Backlum Chaam.

June 14, 1961 -
I suppose there is a lot of toughness in me.

1980s pop music star George Alan O'Dowd was born in Kent, England on this date.

June 14, 1962 -
Albert Henry DeSalvo, a small time petty criminal confessed that he murdered Anna Slesersby, a petite divorcee, by strangling her with the belt from her robe on this date. She was only the first victim of The Boston Strangler.

Or did he? (Yeah apparently, he did; as of a few years ago there was positive DNA evidence to link DeSalvo to the crimes.)

June 14, 1966 -
The Vatican announced the abolition of its Index librorum prohibitorum (Index of Prohibited Books), originally instituted in 1557 by Pope Paul IV. Notable novelists on the list were Laurence Sterne, Voltaire, Daniel Defoe, Honor de Balzac, Jean-Paul Sartre.

If you are ever in doubt of what to read - check out the Index.

June 14, 1989 -
Zsa Zsa Gabor was arrested for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer and driving with an expired license. Afterwards Zsa Zsa complains to the press that the handling she received from the BHPD "was like Nazi Germany."

Ultimately, Gabor is convicted and sentenced to 72 hours in jail.

And on a personal note:
Happy Birthday Thierry

Also, congratulations to Tracy K. Smith, America's New Poet Laureate.