Monday, October 23, 2017

Oh Joy

In case you weren't looking, Mole Day has crept up and caught us unaware.  Mole Day is celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 AM until 6:02 PM - Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.





Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.



Don't tell anybody that you celebrated this day.


Today is also TV Talk Show Host Day. We celebrate and honor all TV Talk Show hosts (especially since so many of them have changed over this year.)



This very special day is celebrated on the birth date of legendary night time talk show host Johnny Carson. Carson is considered the "King of Late Night Television". He hosted The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 for a record 29 years, 7 months, 21 days (4,531 episodes - Letterman did a total of 6,028, counting his 1982-93 run at NBC in addition to his CBS tenure )




While this day is celebrated on Johnny Carson's birth date, it is intended to show appreciation to all Television talk show hosts, daytime and nighttime.



Celebrate today, by staying up all day and night and watch talk shows (until you pass out.)


October 23, 1939 -
Raoul Walsh's crime-thriller, The Roaring Twenties,  starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, and Gladys George, premiered on this date.



This marked the end of James Cagney's cycle of gangster films for Warner Bros. Cagney wanted to diversify his roles and would not play a gangster again until White Heat, ten years later.


October 23, 1941 -
Walt Disney studios release their fourth animated film, Dumbo on this date.



Initially Walt Disney was uninterested in making this movie. To get him interested, story men Joe Grant and Dick Huemer wrote up the film as installments which they left on Walt's desk every morning. Finally, he ran into the story department saying, "This is great! What happens next?"


October 23, 1992 -
The first feature length debut of a Quentin Tarantino film, Reservoir Dogs opened in the US on this date.



The film's budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn's track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.


Word of the day


Today in History:
October 23, 42 BC
-
While it is not the Ides of March - today was a very bad day for Brutus.

Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead assassins of Julius Casear, and his army are decisively defeated by Mark Antony and Octavian in the Second Battle of Philippe, on this date.

Brutus didn't take the loss well and committed suicide.

His last words were allegedly Yes, we must escape, but this time with our hands, not our feet. (I believe they really were, Ouch, that really hurts except in Latin, of course.)


According to James Ussher, the venerable 17th century Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr John Lightfoot of Cambridge, it was at exactly 9:00 a.m. on the chilly autumn morning of October 23, 4004 BC, that God created the world.



9:00 A.M. - exactly? (Where didn't appear to enter into their consideration.) This strikes me as monumental. If the world was created at 9:00 AM Greenwich Time, it would have been 5:00 AM Eastern Time, meaning the world was technically created earlier in the Old World than it was in the New. What's worse, Hawaii, the Midway Islands, Samoa, and other points west would have been created the day before.



It's conceivable, I suppose, that Ussher and Lightfoot (which sounds like either a rock group, law firm, or television action series) could have been mistaken in their calculations, but if we start questioning men of God, where will it end? Sooner or later we'll start questioning God himself, which couldn't possibly lead anywhere good. No, it's either blind obedience to God or the Hell with us all.

Just ask ISIS.



Anyway, this would make this old earth just 6013 years old on October 23 (according to Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and others.)



But then again, the voice of reason keeps rearing it's ugly head.


October 23, 1910 -
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Blanche S. Scott became the first woman to undertake a solo airplane flight on this date, reaching an altitude of twelve feet.

Early in the year, Scott was the second woman, after Alice Huyler Ramsey, to drive an automobile across the United States and the first driving westwards from New York City to San Francisco, California.


October 23,1935 -
Gangsters Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz were fatally shot at a saloon in Newark, New Jersey in what will become known as The Chophouse Massacre.



Remember kids, crime doesn't pay (except perhaps for Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.)


October 23, 1959 -
Alfred Matthew Yankovic, Grammy Award winning singer, musician, actor, satirist, parodist, songwriter, music producer, accordionist, and television producer, was born on this date.



And you just thought he was some nerdy guy who sang some funny songs.


October 23, 1987 -
United States Senate rejected the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork on a 58-to-42 vote. Ostensibly this was because he admitted to smoking marijuana as a youth, which would be the wrong reason. He should have been rejected for his dealings in the Saturday Night Massacre (with evil chin hair.)



Some have since argued that Bork was the target of a smear campaign, and they began using his last name as a verb, saying that they wanted to prevent future nominees from getting "borked." The word "bork" was added to Webster's dictionary, defined as, "[Seeking] to obstruct a political appointment or selection, also to attack a political opponent viciously." Robert Bork said, "My name became a verb, and I regard that as one form of immortality."

The chip on Mr. Bork's shoulder made the one on Clarence Thomas' very small indeed. BTW, Mr. Thomas was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on this date in 1991.


October 23, 1995 -
The murderer of the Pop Star singer Selena, and president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, was found guilty in Houston of her slaying on this date.

It helped that case tremendously that with her last breathe, Selena was able to say, "Hey, the big fat ugly embezzling head of my fan club just shot me in the back."

Very lucky break for the prosecution.



And so it goes


1187

Sunday, October 22, 2017

You don't know what you're missing

Today is International Caps Lock Day. It is the day that campaigns for the removal of the caps lock button from standard QWERTY keyboards (or for the moving of the button), due to people continually accidentally pressing the button when they mean to use other keys.



There’s also a tendency for people to ‘shout’ (either intentionally or accidentally) by using capital letters when typing, especially online. International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold Iowa.


October 22, 1942 -
The biggest box office hit of Bette Davis' career, Now, Voyager opened in NYC on this date.



Paul Henreid's act of lighting two cigarettes at once caught the public's imagination and he couldn't go anywhere without being accosted by women begging him to light cigarettes for them.


October 22, 1948 -
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger technicolor fever dream about the world of ballet, The Red Shoes, starring Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook, opened in New York City on this date.



Much to his surprise, Michael Powell had great difficulty persuading Moira Shearer to be in the film. She held out for a year before giving in to him. Shearer herself, however, did not particularly care for Powell. In later years she described the making of the film as being a terrible ordeal. She said that Powell was distant and aloof and never really gave her much direction; and having to dance for hours on end on concrete floors also physically took its toll on all the dancers, making their legs swell up.


October 22, 1949 -
The second film in director John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, premiered on this date.



John Ford initially was uncertain who to cast in the lead role. However, he knew that he did not want John Wayne for the part-considering, among other factors, that Wayne would be playing a character over twenty years older than he was at the time. Reportedly, Wayne's performance in Red River changed Ford's mind, causing him to exclaim, "I didn't know the big son of a bitch could act!"


October 22, 1965 -
The Beatles
recorded the song Nowhere Man for their influential album Rubber Soul on this date.



This is probably the first Beatles song that has nothing to do with love.


October 22, 1965 -
The Rolling Stones released the single Get Off My Cloud on this date in the U.K.



The B-side of this single was I'm Free, which remained obscure until it was revived by The Soup Dragons in 1990.


October 22, 1971 -
Peter Bogdanovich's break out film, The Last Picture Show opened on this date.



Peter Bogdanovich had originally offered the role of "Sam the Lion" to James Stewart, who liked the part but had already committed to a TV series and couldn't get out of it. The role was then offered to Ben Johnson, who took it eventually won an Academy Award for it.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
October 22, 1797
-
In 1785, J.P. Blanchard threw a dog wearing a rudimentary parachute out of a hot-air balloon. History does not divulge the outcome of this experiment. Mr. Blanchard may simply have been a disgruntled cat person.

There lived at that time a swindler by the name of Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who traveled around France offering (for a fee from his spectators) to ascend into the sky in a hot-air balloon and leap to the earth in a parachute. Strangely enough, his balloon never managed to get off the ground. Refunds were never offered.

One day an angry spectator brought Garnerin's con to the attention of the local authorities, who promptly arrested him. He was given a choice: he could either get his balloon to fly and make the promised jump or he could go directly to jail.

And so, one early evening 220 years ago today, Garnerin's balloon rose 3000 feet into the evening air above Paris.

Then it exploded.

Fortunately, Garnerin was already in his parachute and survived the landing. The suddenly successful showman didn't die his inevitable horrible aviation-related death for a full quarter-century later.


It was on this day in 1836 that Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Texas had become an independent nation after winning its independence from Mexico, and would not be incorporated into the United States as a state until 1845.

There are some who insist to this day that Texas was never properly admitted into the Union because, like everything else, its admission had been Unconstitutional. (We will leave this conversation to Mr. Cruz.)


October 22, 1844
-
The 'Second Coming' fails to occur on this date, for the Seventh Day Adventists, led by Bible scientist William Miller. The Millerites were expecting the End Times to accompany the appearance of Jesus Christ, so that didn't happen either.

Oops, I guess Mr. Miller has some explaining to do.


The Gare Montparnasse, one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, became famous for a derailment on October 22, 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 100 ft off the station concourse, crashed through a two foot thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes more than 30 feet below, where it stood on its nose.

All on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, the fireman and two crew members; however, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. The conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.



Do you think the passengers got their money back?


October 22, 1907
-
President Theodore Roosevelt visited The Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the late President Andrew Jackson on this date.

Years later, Maxwell House claimed that Roosevelt had praised a cup of its coffee during this visit by saying it was "good to the last drop."



October 22, 1918 -
This puts much of your troubles today in perspective -

The cities of Baltimore and Washington ran out of coffins during the Spanish Influenza epidemic on this date


October 22, 1934 -
Here's another story of your tax dollars at work:

FBI agents, led by the ambitious Melvin Purvis and local Ohio authorities captured and killed Public enemy No. 1, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, in a shoot out on this day. Or so the official story goes. But as many of you loyal readers know the 'authorized' version and actual facts of events can differ wildly.



Chester Smith, a retired East Liverpool Police Captain, the sharpshooter who claimed that he shot Floyd first, stated in a 1979 interview, that after he had (deliberately) wounded, but not killed, Floyd.

"I knew Purvis couldn't hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle."

Smith claims that he then disarmed Floyd, and that Melvin Purvis, the agent in charge, ran up and ordered: "Back away from that man. I want to talk to him." Purvis questioned him briefly and then ordered him shot at point-blank range, telling agent Herman Hollis to "Fire into him." The interviewer asked if there was a coverup by the FBI, and Smith responded: "Sure was, because they didn't want it to get out that he'd been killed that way."

This account is extremely controversial. If true, Purvis effectively executed Floyd without benefit of judge or jury.

Floyd's body was quickly embalmed and shipped to Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between twenty and forty thousand people. It remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history.


October 22, 1962 -
President John F. Kennedy appeared on television, this date in history, to inform Americans of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.



The President demanded their removal and announced a naval "quarantine" of Cuba. A little more than a year later, the nation was safe and the president was dead.


October 22, 2008 -
India launched the unmanned Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe on this date. It was India's first lunar exploration mission.



The mission ended early, after just 312 days, but largely succeeded in its objectives.



And so it goes


1188

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Save Water, Drink Champagne

If this week hadn't been alcohol friendly enough, yesterday was designated as Global (or International) Champagne Day - the third Friday in October.  Most champagne-lovers will already know that, in order for the sparkling nectar to be classified as "champagne", the wine must come from the Champagne province in France. You may not know that to be termed "champagne" it must also be made by the traditional process of secondary fermentation in the bottle.





A very good bar bet winner: the champagne drunk by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the Germans marched into Paris and he uttered the infamous line “Here’s looking at you kid” was Mumm Cordon Rouge.


October 21, 1937 -
The great screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, premiered on this date.



Much of the film was improvised by director Leo McCarey and the cast during filming each day.


October 21, 1942
-
The first of three movie musicals in which Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred in, For Me and My Gal, premiered in New York City on this date.



Gene Kelly's film debut. It is known that Judy Garland got him the job after seeing him in the Broadway musical "Pal Joey".


October 21, 1954 -
The episode of Climax!, an anthology series - broadcast live, on this evening was the first time James Bond (Barry Nelson) appeared on-screen in Casino Royale, and more than half a century later Bond is still making movies.



The program was thought to be lost for decades until it resurfaced in 1981 when film collector and airlines executive Jim Shoenberger discovered a 16mm kinescope print of it among some old cans of film.


October 21, 1964 -
Possibly the most fully realized movie musical, My Fair Lady premiered at the Criterion Theater in New York, on this date.



When Rex Harrison accepted his Academy Award for this film, he dedicated it to his "two fair ladies", Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, both of whom had played Eliza Doolittle with him.


What I've realized recently is that the difference between me and Mickey Mouse is, there's not a man that can go and say, 'Look, can you get me in any faster? I'm Mickey Mouse.' Whereas I can go in and say, 'Look, could you get me a table faster? I'm Princess Leia.'

Carrie Fisher, actress and writer was born on this date. You can't say anything bad or funny about her that she hasn't already said better herself.

Even after death, Carrie Fisher still impresses.


Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour


Today in History:
October 21, 1805
-
The Battle of Trafalgar was a historic sea battle fought on this date, between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy - the battle, it self, was the most decisive British victory of the Napoleonic Wars and was a pivotal naval battle of the 19th century.



Admiral Lord Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming and remaining Britain's greatest naval war hero.



Nelson's body was placed in cask of brandy, mixed with camphor and myrrh, and returned to England for a spectacular funeral. An enduring rumor has evolved that the sailors aboard ship kept taking a sip from Nelson's liquory tomb hence the phrase 'Nelson's blood' came into use for rum.


October 21, 1837 -
It's another banner day for the relations between the United States and the Native American tribes. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops under Gen. Thomas S. Jesup violated a truce and captured Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida and sent him and several other leaders to prison, where the chief later died of malaria.

Osceola's capture by deceit caused a national uproar. General Jesup and the administration were condemned.

Makes you proud to be an American.


October 21, 1869 -
The first shipment of fresh oysters came West overland from Baltimore via refrigerated train cars on this date.

Fresh cases of E-coli poisoning, Salmonella and Hepatitis A cases followed soon thereafter.


October 21, 1879 -
Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated the incandescent electric lamp on this date (or some other date, as previously mentioned.)



That invention was the fruit of study, hard work (of people other that Edison,) and years of persistent experimentation (of people other than Edison,) rendering it entirely inappropriate for discussion here.

More worthy of our attention is Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, born on this date in 1833.

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, so he 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.


In 1943, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the maître d' of the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, prepared the first plate of crunchy, spicy nachos for Texas women who were on a shopping trip.



To honor his ingenious creation, we celebrate by eating his delicious gut busting cheesy dish on this date.


October 21, 1959 -
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in New York City on this date.



The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as "a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed." Another called it "an indigestible hot cross bun." NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses snapped that it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."


October 21, 1973 -
John Paul Getty III's
ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome; It doesn't arrive until November 8.

So much for the Italians getting the trains to run on time.


October 21, 1992 -
A day after her Erotica album was released, Madonna's erotic-book Sex went on sale in the nation's bookstores on this date.



Shirley Booth, 94, Emmy, Oscar and Tony award winning actress accidentally flipped through the book and promptly dropped dead on this date as well.



October 21, 2015 -
Today is the day that Dr Emmett Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to the future to prevent their kids from "ruining their lives". back to the future





OK now that we have all spazzed out, let's all calm down.  (Wow, I'm so old.)



And so it goes


There are 10 days until Halloween.  Begin purchasing those candies filled with poison (loose pieces of candy corn will do in a pinch.)



1189

Friday, October 20, 2017

In case you were wondering

You can’t kill yourself

by holding your breath.


October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin's most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.



Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.


October 20, 1939
-
The ninth Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.



The scene in the midget's trailer was the only time Harpo Marx was even vaguely heard on-screen (when he sneezes).


October 20, 1973
-
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.



In 2005 German chancellor Angela Merkel appropriated this acoustic ballad for her Christian Democratic Union Party. "We're surprised that permission wasn't requested," said a Stones spokesman of Merkel's choice of song. "If it had been, we would have said no."


October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte
, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.





Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.



(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)


And now, a commercial for Gin.


Today in History:
October 20, 480 BC
-
(Sometimes the world changes in a day) The Athenian fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persians in the Naval Battle of Salamis on this date.

Though the Persians armies scored a major victory over Athens only weeks prior, this decisive naval victory, coupled with the losses the Persians suffered in the Battle of Thermopylae forced Persian forces to withdraw from Greece.



That victory will arguably lead to the rise of Greece as a global power and the eventual dissemination of Greek philosophies and ideals, such as democracy, throughout the western world. And as always, there was much roasted lamb consumed and much sodomy engaged in that night.


October 20, 1818 -

Canada and the United States in the "Convention of 1818", established the 49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.



The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.

There are some 150 people who live in the Northwest Angle, MN, a spot of land that is separated from the rest of the USA by Lake of the Woods



Students who live in the Northwest Angle go to school in Warroad, MN, the Angle Inlet School (the only surviving one room school,) and have to cross the international border on their way to and from school each day. It must suck to get a full body cavity search every day before school.



Thank you to our family from the north for your kind words.  Now keep to your side of the parallel!


October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer William Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity. He tore the red spots from a deck of playing cards, at the time the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, saturated them with water, and jammed them into a length of steel pipe from his bed frame. Kogut placed the bomb on the heater and waited for science to take it's course.

I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.


October 20, 1944 -
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return," on this date.



He landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, Gen’l. Carlos Romulo, who later served as foreign minister and a boatload of press and photographers to record the event.


October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.



The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.


October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.



If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: I want to grab you by your nether regions, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.



Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.


October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date.



Who was the man who finally fired Cox: Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.


October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University, Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album



Drunken frat boys everywhere cry out in their mournful lamentations, "Play 'Freebird' man".



And so it goes.


1190

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life is very narrow without glasses of gin and tonic

Several sources, including the eponymously named Facebook page, lists today as International Gin and Tonic Day.  Some cite April 9th as the date.  I'm up for celebrating on both dates. (But don't confuse it with World Gin Day which always falls on the second Saturday of June.)



So celebrate the day with the British Royal Family by drinking your G and T and make the room begin to spin.


October 19, 1966 -
The first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (who went on to work together in 11 additional films), The Fortune Cookie, premiered on this date.



This was director Billy Wilder's second film in a row in which one of his lead actors suffered a heart attack. In preceding film, 1964's Kiss Me, Stupid, Peter Sellers' health problem forced Wilder to replace him with Ray Walston. In The Fortune Cookie, Walter Matthau suffered attack midway through production but shooting was postponed until he recovered; his drastic weight loss from scene to scene is noticeable.


October 19, 1973 -
Columbia Pictures
released Sydney Pollack's romantic drama, The Way We Were, written by Arthur Laurents and starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, on this date.



Robert Redford was unhappy with cuts made to the film following a preview. He said, "I think we'd both have preferred a more political Dalton Trumbo -type script, but finally Sydney came down on the side of the love story. He said, 'This is first and foremost a love affair,' and we conceded that. We trusted his instincts, and he was right."


October 19, 1977 -
Richard Brooks'
somewhat lurid look at the 70s dating scene, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld, William Atherton, and Richard Gere, premiered in Los Angeles on this date



Actress Diane Keaton's contract explicitly prohibited the manufacture of any production photograph stills from any "sexually suggestive" frames from the film's print.


October 19, 1985 -
The Norwegian band a-Ha, who went from total unknowns to chart-topping pop stars when the song Take On Me, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart on this day.



A-ha wrote and recorded the first version of this song in 1982 with the title Lesson One - it had different lyrics but contained the basic keyboard riff. In 1983, the song got the attention of industry veteran Terry Slater, who becomes their manager and helps them secure a contract with Warner Bros. Records later that year.


This didn't work out.


Today in History:
October 19, 1879
(I've also seen the date as 10/21/79, 10/22/79, 10/25/79 or 11/03/79 - I'm guessing geniuses can't be bothered when they're filing other people patents under their name every 12 minutes or crushing their competition with false and scurrilous rumors.) - Thomas A. Edison successfully demonstrates the electric light.



Unfortunately, it took several years to straighten out his first electric bill.


October 19, 1890 -
My favorite self-circumcising, Muslim passing, male brothel going, Late-Victorian pornographer and international man of mystery Richard Francis Burton, explorer, British consul, translator, died on this date.

His wife, Lady Burton, spent several years burning most of his unpublished notes (he had been working on translating the book The Perfumed Garden and its controversy chapters concerning homosexual sex positions - I kid you not,) before published a (highly sanitized) biography of her late husband.


October 19, 1901 -
Alberto Santos-Dumont
successfully circled the Eiffel Tower in his Santos-Dumont No. 6 dirigible within a half hour and won a 100,000 franc prize.

An initial ruling said that he failed by 40 seconds because the race wasn’t finished until he touched ground. A 2nd vote granted him the win.

This proved the airship maneuverable and parking was very bad in Paris at the turn of the previous century even for dirigibles.


In the midst of the First World War, Salvation Army volunteers in France found themselves stymied by inadequate supplies and ovens for baking. Unable to prepare the cakes and and pies they so badly wanted to bake for the troops, they came up with the novel idea of frying rather than baking the dough.



Two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Stella Young and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. This resulted in the appearance of the world's first fried donut on a WWI front on October 19, 1917.



The donut should not be confused with the bagel, despite their physical resemblance. The bagel is boiled and baked, whereas the donut is fried (but sometimes baked.)



Bagels are found in varieties such as onion, garlic, salt, poppy-seed, and sesame-seed, and are frequently consumed with cheese and fish.

Donuts are found in varieties such as glazed, chocolate, chocolate-frosted, strawberry-frosted, powdered, jelly-filled, and sprinkled.

They are rarely consumed with cheese or fish, but they go pretty damn well with coffee (or tea.)


October 19, 1953 -
After Julius La Rosa had finished singing Manhattan on Arthur Godfrey Time, the host (and general scum bag) Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air, announcing, "that was Julie's swan song with us."



Unaware the firing was coming (or what the phrase "swan song" meant), La Rosa tearfully met with Godfrey after the broadcast and thanked him for giving him his "break."


October 19, 1982
-
Maverick carmaker John DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles with $24 million dollars worth of cocaine in his suitcase on this date.

The case was later thrown out of court when a judge rules that the FBI sting operation constituted entrapment.


October 19, 1987 -
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 22% (508 points), in what has become know as Black Monday.



$500 billion in market capitalization was evaporated from the Dow Jones stock index, making the drop the largest decline ever.



And so it goes



1191

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

America's Last Frontier

October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - once again, avoid the Palin clan; reports are in that they had been celebrating earlier. They have been out looking at Russia again and they are mean drunks.)

It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on October 18, 1867.


October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.



Rita Moreno stated that her line reading of "Don't you touch me!" after the Jets attack Anita was her imitating Marlon Brando, her then-boyfriend. Brando even noticed at the film's premiere.


October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.



Walt Disney died during production of this film. Many people wondered at what the studio's fate would be, particularly the animation division. The film performed extremely well at the box office, ensuring that the animators would not be put out of work. Had the film failed, it is likely that animation would have been closed down at the Disney studio.


October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.



Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.


October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)



Sara Gilbert's contribution to the show was considered so important to Roseanne that the show's producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York.


The zen moment of the day


Today in History:
October 18, 1216
-
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting  the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)



Once John became king, he argued with everyone: the Pope, the King of France (whom his brother may or may not have been involved romantically with) and most of the Barons of England. King John died on this day after eating too many peaches and drinking too much cider. He was trying to cheer himself up after being chased by revolting Barons half way across England and losing the crown jewels while fleeing from them.


October 18, 1767
-
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.



Bad confederates, bad.

October 18, 1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.

So class, once again, that makes all Puerto Ricans - U.S. citizens!


October 18, 1903 -
Hundreds of people in San Francisco were startled to see Dr. August Greth fly his 80-foot-long American Eagle airship over the city on this date.

At first his flight seemed successful but then the dirigible's engine stalled and the wind carried it over the bay where it plummeted into the water. He and his assistant, overcome by escaping gas, were safely recovered by soldiers from Fort Point.

Bad Hydrogen, bad.


October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.



Bad Grim Reaper, bad.
(or good, depending on your viewpoint of Mr. Edison.)


October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.



Bad spy, bad spy.


October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union
announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon a few days earlier.

Remember kids, there is no dark side of the moon - it's all dark.


October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.

Bad Beatle, bad Beatle.


October 18, 1974
-
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

Bad Dick, bad.


October 18, 1984 -
President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

Bad - oh forget it, he's dead.



And so it goes


1192

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In case this comes up in conversation




October 17, 1939 -
Frank Capra's
contribution to the Golden age of Hollywood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, premiered in Washington D.C. on this date.



Frank Capra wrote in his autobiography that he and Harry Cohn received a cablegram from U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy saying that he felt the film would damage "America's prestige in Europe" and should therefore be withdrawn from European distribution. In response, they mailed favorable reviews of the film to Kennedy, which persuaded him not pursue the matter any further, even though he still maintained his doubts.


October 17, 1944 -
The little known and under appreciated drama directed by Clifford Odets, None But the Lonely Heart, starring Cary Grant, Ethel Barrymore and Barry Fitzgerald, was released on this date.



This film marked a return to the big screen after an 11 year absence by star Ethel Barrymore. Prior to making this film, Barrymore had considered movie appearances an inferior art to the stage. However, her time on set, her critical acclaim, and her hefty paycheck changed her mind.


October 17, 1956 -
Producer Michael Todd's adaptation of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Niven, Shirley Maclaine, Cantinflas and just about every other actor in Hollywood, premiered in New York on this date.



The role of Passepartout was greatly expanded from the novel to accommodate Mexican star Cantinflas. In the mid-1950s he was the wealthiest movie star in the world, and got top billing in Latin countries.


October 17, 1957 -
MGM released the film that contained the sequence that some have called, "Elvis Presley's greatest moment on screen," when Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis premiered in Memphis, Tennessee, on this date.



Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote four songs (Jailhouse Rock, I Want to Be Free, Treat Me Nice and You're So Square") in five hours after their music publisher, under deadline, locked them in their hotel room. 

(Please note: this is the film that Elvis is scourged for your sins. Only you know how much clothing you should remove to receive the healing benefits from St. Elvis. As always, place one hand upon the screen and the other upon your bare (or nearly bare) afflicted region.) 


October 17, 1958 -
What is considered a comeback special, An Evening with Fred Astaire premiered on NBC-TV on this date.



The special was the first color show pre-recorded on videotape at NBC's new state-of-the-art "Color City" studios in Burbank, California.


October 17, 1966 -
Another iconic film from the 60s, Georgy Girl, starring James Mason, Lynn Redgrave and Alan Bates, premiered in the US on this date.



Tom Springfield, co-writer of the film's classic title song "Georgy Girl", is the brother of 1960s pop singer Dusty Springfield.


October 17, 1968 -
One of the defining police crime dramas of the 60's, Bullitt starring Steven McQueen premiered on this date.



Steve McQueen based his character on San Francisco Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi, made famous for his work on the Zodiac killings. McQueen had a copy made of Toschi's custom fast-draw shoulder holster.


Today's ACME PSA


Today in History:
The Sixth Crusade ended on this date in 1244 after the Saracens ("Infidels") defeated the Franks ("Infidels") at Gaza.

But you know after the Fourth Crusade, I just stopped counting, didn't you?.


October 17, 1777 -
At one of the turning points of the American Revolution, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, N.Y. on this date.



The surrender demonstrating American determination to gain independence. After the surrender, France sided with the Americans, and other countries began to get involved and align themselves against Britain.


October 17, 1814 -
Late on a Monday afternoon on this date, one of the 800lb iron restraining hoop fell off one of the two giant porter vats at the the Meux and Company Brewery on London’s Tottenham Court Road. A clerk made a note of the occurrence but thought no more of it until about an hour later when the wooden staves of the vat burst.



The vat, which was full to the brim with 3,550 barrels (more than a million pints) of finest 10-month-old Meux’s Porter, created a tsunami of beer, bursting the other behemoth vat. The resulting flood, weighing close to 600 tons, plus wood and metal from the vat knocked out the wall of the brewery and gushed into the street, drowning eight and injuring dozens more. A ninth final victim actually succumbed some days later of alcohol poisoning.

What a way to go!


October 17, 1961 -
Henri Matisse's Le Bateau went on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art. 47 days later, the curator learned from an art student the painting had been hung upside down.

An estimated 116,000 viewers, during the period, had not noticed the mistake.


October 17, 1967 -
The play Hair, full of dancing naked people, unshaven armpits, and body odor, opens at the 299-seat Anspacher Theater on Broadway on this date. At the time, the musical's depiction of the use of illegal drugs, sexuality, profanity, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy.



The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast, and by inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.


October 17, 1979 -
... so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something.



Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Roman Catholic nun who cared for the sick and poor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on this date.



She may have been canonized but what she really wanted to do was direct.


October 17, 1984 -
The New York Times
ran an article entitled CIA Primer Tells Nicaraguan Rebels How to Kill. The story describes the secret manual Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare which the CIA furnished to the Contras in Nicaragua.

The booklet instructed how to kidnap and assassinate civil officials, such as judges and police.

Most people do not have access to the CIA's gift shop and Barnes and Noble no longer sells the primer but you can order it from Amazon.

(You didn't hear it from me.)


October 17, 1989
-
The Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco on this date. The damaging earthquake was notable for being the first in history to be broadcast on live TV.



The World Series was being played there at the time and cameras covering the event live were able to capture the devastating scenes.



And so it goes


1193

Monday, October 16, 2017

Epistemophiliac

Look it up - it's a great word to use to describe the day - Happy Dictionary Day.



October 16, the birth of Noah Webster is commemorated as Dictionary Day. Celebrate the day by learning some new words, learning how dictionaries came to be, sprucing up your dictionary skills, or even creating your own dictionary!

OK, I'll calm down.


October 16, 1944
Universal Pictures released the 11th Walter Lantz Woody Woodpecker cartoon, The Beach Nut, on this date.



The cartoon marked the debut of  Wally Walrus, Woody Woodpecker's first steady nemesis.


October 16, 1954 -
Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the radio on the program Louisiana Hayride, on this date.



Whether it was Elvis' stage fright or the originality of his act before a new audience, his performance was flat much like his Grand Ole Opry debut a few weeks previous.


October 16, 1968 -
20th Centurt Fox
released Richard Fleischer's crime drama, The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman and William Hickey in the US on this date.



Horst Buchholz was among those actors considered for the Tony Curtis part. Other actors considered for the role of Albert DeSalvo were Robert Redford and 


Word of the Day


Today in History
:
On this date in 1792 (or 1799), there was baptized in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a boy named Francisco Morazàn. He was young, like most newborns, and full of idealism. After a disappointing childhood, in which he turned out not to have been born to wealth and privilege, he decided first to educate himself and then to enlist in the fight against Mexican annexation of Honduras.

After a disappointing loss, in which Honduras turned out to be a part of Mexico even though neither of them was any longer a part of Spain, Morazàn joined the government of the United Provinces of Central America. Two years later he was the president of the Honduras State legislature and the following year he became president of the entire United Provinces by means of the traditional Central American electoral process ("civil war").



As president, he tried to limit the powers of the Roman Catholic Church, which eventually led to a new round of elections ("civil wars") that produced a new president, this time from the State of Guatemala. The new president exiled Morazàn, who returned several years later calling for electoral reform ("revolution") and was therefore impeached ("shot in the head") by one of his own troops.

It's a holiday in Honduras today.

But it is not a holiday in Guatemala. Or Mexico.


October 16, 1793 -
Deposed French queen Joséphe Jeanne Marie Antoinette sat in an open cart, enduring hours of public ridicule as she is slowly driven around the streets of Paris, on this day.

Finally, she was taken to the guillotine. On the scaffold she accidentally stepped on the executioner's foot, and her last words were, "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose."



She wasn't having a good day.


October 16, 1846
-
The first successful demonstration of the inhalation of ether vapour as a means of overcoming pain of surgery by the dentist William Thomas Green Morton at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, on this date. Edward Abbot, the 20-year-old patient, had a congenital vascular formation removed from his neck. Afterwards Mr. Abbott told those assembled, “I did not experience pain at any time, though I knew that the operation was proceeding.

Ether Day, the anniversary of that events is still celebrated today by the doctors and staff of Massachusetts General annually on October 16th. I can not verify if the drug is actually huffed by the staff or merely admired.


Today is the birthday of Oscar Wilde (1854), known for his barbed wit, was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day.

In between bouts of buggery and posing for his Sodomite Trading Card photo, he found time to write the following passage in The Picture of Dorian Gray: "Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, History would have been different." Unfortunately for Oscar, had he fled England in the spring of 1895, his history would have been different.



I believe that cavemen did indeed know how to laugh, and that people who accuse humanity of being too serious obviously aren't paying attention. Voluminous scientific research has incontrovertibly proven that we are the only species to giggle at one other's farts.



I reminds you that our lives are haphazard accidents in an indifferent world and that the very absurdity of life is what gives it

the most meaning. Burp. Laugh.

Ignore the serious bastards (and remember that the only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.)


October 16, 1908 -
The first airplane flight in England was made at Farnborough, accomplished by Samuel Cody, a self-proclaimed American cowboy who built his own flying machines.

The machine had been damaged at the end of the October 16th flight.

After repairs and extensive modifications Cody flew it again early the following year.


October 16, 1916  -
Margaret Higgins Sanger opened the first birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in Brooklyn on this date. After opening her clinic in Brooklyn, she spent 30 days in jail for creating a public nuisance.

Sanger coined the term "birth control" and made the cause a worldwide movement.


October 16, 1934 -
Mao Tse-tung decided to abandon his base in Kiangsi due to attacks from Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists. With his pregnant wife and about 30,000 Red Army troops, he set out on the "Long March," - the longest march in the history of warfare.



The march lasted one year and four days, covering more than 6,000 miles (about 9,656 kilometers). In late 1935, with 8,000 survivors, he reached northwest China, and established Chinese Communist headquarters.

(Hey, I want the Chinese censors to note that I occasionally have good stories of the PRC.)


October 16, 1946 -
10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed by hanging for World War II war crimes in Nuremberg, Germany, on this date.

Many of the hangings were badly botched as of the prisoners were slowly strangle to death. One would have thought we'd have perfected that whole 'hanging thing' - America had been hanging prisoners with pride for almost two centuries at that point.



Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force, was to have been among them but he committed suicide in his cell the night before.


October 16, 1964 -
China detonated its first atomic bomb (to commemorate the anniversary of the "Long March") and became the world's fifth nuclear power on this date.



If you know what's good for you, please tip the delivery guys a hell of a lot more.


October 16, 1968 
-
American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos sparked controversy at the Mexico City Olympics by giving "black power" salutes during a victory ceremony after they'd won gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race on this date. (And you thing people are pissed at the 'kneeling during the anthem' thing.)



Little remembered is the third athlete on the podium with Smith and Carlos, Australian athlete Peter Norman, who joined the American athletes in solidarity and paid a huge price.



Take a moment to read about the story of this forgotten man in a major story of the Olympic Games history.


October 16, 1972 -
A light plane carrying House Democratic leader Thomas Hale Boggs of Louisiana (the most outspoken and critical member of the Warren Commission) and three other men was reported missing in Alaska. The plane was never found.

Perhaps if they had that famous bridge to nowhere, they would have found them.


October 16, 1984 -
... Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.



Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa won the Nobel Peace Prize on this date, for his struggle against apartheid.



And so it goes



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