Tuesday, November 12, 2019

I'm not joking, I've seen this exception on many sites

It's National Pizza with the Works (Except Anchovies) Day. (Can we skip the pineapple?)

What's so wrong about anchovies?

(Well there is an old joke by George Carlin, but I'm not going to play it to you, you'll have to find it yourself, but I guess that would put me off anchovies.)

November 12, 1964
On his 19th birthday, Neil Young wrote Sugar Mountain, where he reflects on his fleeting youth ("You can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain"), the first formal release was a recording of the song made on November 10, 1968.

Joni Mitchell's The Circle Game was inspired by this song. As she explained to a live audience at The Paris Theatre in 1970, "Neil Young wrote this song that was called 'Oh to live on sugar mountain' which was a lament for his lost youth. And I thought, God, you know, if we get to 21 and there's nothing after that, that's a pretty bleak future, so I wrote a song for him, and for myself just to give me some hope. It's called 'The Circle Game.'"

November 12, 1976 -
Featuring a cast of 50 million, the very strange documentary All This And World War II, a collection of WWII newsreel footage, clips from other movies, and covers of Beatles songs, opens in US theaters on this date.

This movie has been pretty much buried and hardly ever seen since its brief theatrical release in 1976. The film has never been officially released on home video, laserdisc or DVD. It has been rumored that 20th Century-Fox destroyed all the prints of this film after its disastrous critical reception and box-office returns but these have proved false.

November 12, 1982 -
Robert Altman's
low budget (and well received) adaptaion of Ed Graczyk's play, Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, starring, Sandy Dennis, Cher, Karen Black, and Kathy Bates premiered in NYC on this date.

The film's one set was actually one double-set with two-way mirrors which were utilized for the flashback sequences. The two-way mirrored double-set was operated by computerized lighting modules which caused their own unique problems for the production.

November 12, 1993 -
Jane Campion's
Oscar-winning film, The Piano starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel (and his penis), Sam Neill and Anna Paquin, was released in the US on this date.

Jane Campion became the first woman to win the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with this film, though she was unable to receive the award in person, as she was due to give birth.

November 12, 2008 -
Danny Boyle's
international hit, Slumdog Millionaire, starring Dev Patel and Freida Pinto went into limited release in the US on this date.

The film was originally intended to receive a PG-13 rating. In the end, it received an R rating because of its intense tone. With no time or money for appeals, the film was released with its given rating.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
King Cnut of England, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden died on this date in 1035. (Cnut is better known to most Americans as King Canute, which offers fewer typographical hazards.)

Cnut was the son of Svein Forkbeard, son of Harald Bluetooth, son of Gorm (now you know.) In 1013 Cnut's father conquered all of England from the Saxon King Aethelred but died anyway. This allowed Aethelred to take England back, which made it necessary for Cnut himself to reconquer England in 1016. He enjoyed this so much that he went on to conquer Scotland, Denmark, Norway, and part of Sweden, all of which came to be known collectively as Cnutland, perhaps explaining the region's subsequent popularity among European dyslexics.

This will be on the test.

November 12, 1859 -
The first flying-trapeze circus act was performed by Jules Leotard at the Circus Napoleon (later renamed  Cirque d'Hiver) in Paris on this date.

His act caused a sensation in Paris, and soon other circus performers were trying out his technique. Leotard designed the garment that bears his name. Jules died at the age of 28 in Spain, leaving behind the famous Leotard and the art of flying trapeze.

November 12, 1912 -
The bodies of Captain Robert Scott and his men were found on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, frozen solid in one huge block of ice, on this date.

So he had literally become Scott of the Antarctic.

November 12, 1928 -
S. S. Vestris left New York November 10, 1928, with 129 passengers and 196 crew. The next day she ran into a severe storm and developed a starboard list, caused by a partially open coal port four feet above the water line

An SOS was sent out on November 12, some 200 miles off Hampton Roads, Virginia, and the ship was abandoned and after a few hours, the ship fell on her side and sank. Approximately 112 of the 325 onboard were lost (there was never a conclusive count - you know how it is during a disaster): all 13 children on board perished, as well as 28 of the 36 women.

November 12, 1933 -
Hugh Gray of the British Aluminum Company took five pictures of the Loch Ness Monster, the first known photos. Four the the five exposures were blank, and the remaining photo was later proven to be a hoax.

The brand of whiskey, Mr. Grey consumed has been lost in the ethers of time.

Early on the morning of November 12, 1942, Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, mob informer, then in protective custody, fell to his death from a hotel window. It is not known whether he was thrown or pushed out the window, or if he was trying to escape. The angle of trajectory suggests that he was, in fact, defenestrated (my favorite word.)

Because of his mob status as a stool pigeon and the circumstances surrounding his death, Reles gained another moniker after his passing. In addition to "Kid Twist," Reles became known as "the canary who sang, but couldn't fly."

November 12, 1945 -
As I get older, I get smaller. I see other parts of the world I didn't see before. Other points of view. I see outside myself more.

Happy Birthday Neil Percival Young !!! (Hopefully they will resolve your citizenship issue.)

It was on this date in 1948 that former Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and seven others were sentenced to hang.

(This was back in the quaint old days, when the world considered it legal not only to have enemies, but to kill them after they tried to kill you.)

November 12, 1955 -
Today was one of the most event-filled dates in Hill Valley, CA history:

George McFly and Lorraine Baines kissed for the first time at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance on this date. One week earlier, George had been struck by a car driven by Lorraine's father, Sam Baines, and Lorraine looked after him during his recovery. Lorraine accepted George's invitation to go the dance. Marvin Berry and the Starlighters played popular music during the entire dance, such as Night Train and Earth Angel.

During the famous Hill Valley Thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning strikes the Clock Tower at precisely 10:04 p.m., and it hasn't rung since.

November 12, 1980 -
NASA's space probe Voyager 1 reached Saturn on this day and sent photos of the planet's rings back to Earth, nearly a billion miles (about 1.6 billion km) away.

This was the first photograph of Saturn's rings were transmitted to Earth. OK you can get the laugh out - the ring around Uranus were photographed in 1986.

And so it goes

Before you go - November 12, 2016 -
Kate McKinnon sang Hallelujah in character as Hillary Clinton to open Saturday Night Live the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election.

Still oddly powerful and moving.


Monday, November 11, 2019

The War to end all Wars, failed

World War I ended on this date in 1918 -

It's Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day for many in Europe -

(and it's Singles Day in China, 11/11- it's considered China's Anti-Valentine's Day, but we're not going to discuss that now.)

November 11, 1943 -
The under-appreciated wartime-drama Sahara, starring Humphrey Bogart premiered on this date.

Two thousand tons of sand were transported to the filming set in order to create the feel of loose desert sand, so reported the New York Times. The newspaper also reported that shadows were spray-painted on desert hills to make them be seen more clearly by the audience. Moreover, sand dune ripples were created by spray-painting the sand with light paint and then turning on a wind-machine.

November 11, 1947 -
Elia Kazan's
searing expose of anti-Semitism, Gentleman's Agreement, starring Gregory Peck premiered in New York on this date.

Despite winning an Oscar for his direction, Elia Kazan revealed in a later interview that he was never fond of this movie, feeling that it lacked passion on his part and he thought that the romance was too forced. Gregory Peck did not get along with director Elia Kazan. Kazan told the press he was very disappointed with Peck's performance and the two men never worked together again.

November 11, 1958 -
The (relatively unknown) British-comedy The Horse's Mouth, starring Alec Guinness, opened in the US on this date.

The director, Ronald Neame was introduced to the Joyce Carey novel by Claude Rains, who was very anxious to play Gulley Jimson, but the director tried and failed to read the book. Several years later Alec Guinness came to him with his own adaptation. Neame reread the book and thought Guinness was perfect for the role.

Do yourself a favor and watch this one.

November 11, 1959 -
The beginning of American independent cinema can be traced to this date when Shadows, directed by John Cassavetes, premiered in NYC.

John Cassavetes was the guest on a Manhattan radio show, promoting Johnny Staccato, a TV series Cassavetes was starring in. Somehow the conversation moved into making a feature film, and Cassavetes told listeners that if he were to make a feature film, they should donate a dollar or two by sending it to the station. A few days later, a surprised Cassavetes had received a couple of thousand dollars from listeners sending money to the station, which he put toward the making of this film.

Word of the Day

Today in History:
November 11, 397
St. Martin of Tours, another in the series of anorexic visionaries is a patron saint of France, soldiers (he is known as the he man's saint), reformed alcoholics and winemakers. When the armistice fell on the Saint Martin’s Day, November 11, 1918, the French people saw it was a sign of his intercession in the affairs of France.

Martin, after another of his life long practice of fasting, has a dream about Jesus wearing the cloak he had recently given to a naked beggar. Pieces of Martin's actual 'cloak' were revered as holy relics and the derivation of the name of the priest who looked after these relics became 'chaplain'.  (My father-in-law always reminded us that today is the day when the grapes you pressed and bottled turned into wine.)

And now you know.

November 11, 1215 -
The Fourth Lateran Council met on this date. They adopt the doctrine of Transubstantiation, meaning that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

This means all Catholics are essentially cannibals on a feeding schedule, but who am I to judge a theology of which I am a nominal member.

November 11, 1634
Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passes "An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery". Seven years later, the good Bishop Atherton is himself is found well hanged under the Act.

I guess the religious right has always been a little loose on this issue.

November 11, 1821
A real gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion. Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Russian novelist who wrote Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, was born on this date.

November 11, 1862  -
Joe Green's
(stage name - Giuseppe Verdi) Opera, La Forza Del Destino premiered in St Petersburg, Russia on this date.

La Forza Del Destino is an opera that many old school Italian singers felt was "cursed" and brought bad luck. The very superstitious Luciano Pavarotti avoided accepting a role in the opera for this reason.

November 11, 1921 -
One year after unknown soldiers were simultaneously buried at Westminster Abbey, London, and the Arc de Triomphe in France, President Warren G. Harding dedicated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (a white marble sarcophagus in Arlington National Cemetery.)

The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

November 11, 1925 -
I've done for the most part pretty much what I intended - I ended up doing comedy, writing and painting. I've had a ball. And as I get older, I just become an older kid.

Jonathan Winters, the great improvisational comedian and actor, was born on this date.

November 11, 1978 -

A perennial favorite suicide location, the renovated Hollywood Sign was unveiled, due in large part to the public campaign to restore the landmark by pornographer Hugh Hefner and shock rocker Alice Cooper.

The original sign was built in 1923, and said "Hollywoodland".

And so it goes


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Rushing out the door

(Godzilla is getting ready for an overnight tour of a college and we're getting her ready. Quickly posting this before she leaves.)

November 10, 1942 -
The third 'Road' movie, the Road to Morocco, starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, and Anthony Quinn, premiered in NYC on this date.

Dorothy Lamour
commented that the "boys" ad-libbed their lines so much she often didn't know when to say her lines since they didn't give her her cue.

November 10, 1953 -
Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom was an educational Adventures in Music animated short film produced by Walt Disney Productions, and originally released to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution on this date.

This was the first animated cartoon in CinemaScope.

November 10, 1956 -
Billie Holiday
returned to the stage at Carnegie Hall after a three-year absence on this date.

The concert was called, by some, a high point in jazz history .

November 10, 1967
The Moody Blues released their hit, Nights in White Satin, on this date. This was written by Justin Hayward, who joined the band the previous year. He got the idea for the song after someone gave him a set of white satin sheets - yes, sometimes, it's just that inane.

This song introduced a new sound for the band. When they formed, they were more of a Blues band, and had a hit in 1965 with a cover of Bessie Banks' Go Now. With the songs on Days of Future Passed, they distinguished themselves with original songs in a more psychedelic/orchestral sound.

November 10, 1969
Come and play. Even at 50, everything's still A-OK (even on HBO.)

Sesame Street premiered on PBS-TV on this date.

November 10, 1969 -
Just four months after the Apollo 11 moon landing, Columbia Pictures released the thriller Marooned, directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck and Gene Hackman, in U.S. theaters on this date.

The Film Ventures International re-edit of this film (retitled Space Travelers) was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This was also the only film featured on the show to have won an Academy Award.

November 10, 1974 -
Bob Fosse's devastating bio-pix about Lenny Bruce, Lenny, starring Dustin Hoffman and Valerie Perrine premiered in NYC on this date.

Al Pacino was offered the part of Lenny Bruce but turned it down. He later said he regretted it after seeing the film.

November 10, 1990 -
John Hughes' classic holiday film, directed by Chris Columbus, Home Alone, starring  Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern, premiered in Chicago on this date.

Joe Pesci deliberately avoided Macaulay Culkin on-set, because he wanted Culkin to think he was mean.

No I did not read that scary book

Today in History:
November 10, 4004 BC
Are you having that , "Gee, I'm feeling rather shamed about my engorged genitals today", here's the reason why:

Adam and Eve, all our forebearers, were driven from Paradise on this date, according to our good old friend Rev. Ussher.

November 10, 1871 -
New York Newspaperman Henry M. Stanley finally found Scottish explorer Dr. Livingstone at Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika (helpfully identified by some sources as being "near Unyanyembe"), and remarked, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?", on this date.

This was extremely witty and therefore historical.

November 10, 1903 -
U.S. patent  no. 743,801 was issued to Mary Anderson, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama. She tried to sell her invention to a manufacturing firm in Canada, but the offer was rejected as having no practical value.

Others belittled her creation as well, insisting it would distract drivers and result in accidents. In the end, her patent expired before she was able to profit from her invention.

November 10,  1911
The following entry was made by George Levick, a surgeon and the medical officer on Scott's famous 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole: This afternoon I saw a most extraordinary site - A Penguin was actually engaged in sodomy upon the body of a dead white throated bird of its own species.

How I know this and why I though it important to note it in this blog speaks volumes to my education and general mental state.

(The rest of today's posting is dedicated to the 40th President of the United States:)

November 10, 1925 -
Richard Burton was born on this date.

No, not the Victorian international man of mystery, self-circumcisor and male brothel frequenter but Welsh actor with the greatest voice of the 20th Century.

Ronald Reagan somehow figures into this story.

November 10, 1928
Playing against Army at Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne gave what is considered the greatest locker room speeches of all time by saying "Win one for the Gipper."

Somehow Ronald Reagan got mixed up in all of this.

November 10, 1928 -
Michinomiya Hirohito was crowned the 124th Emperor of Japan, Emperor Showa on this date.

Somehow Ronald Reagan got mixed up in this, as well.

November 10, 1938
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, one of the most extraordinary men of the 20th Century, statesman and first President of Modern Turkey, died of cirrhosis of the liver on this date.

Will Durant had said, "men devoted to war, politics, and public life wear out fast, and all three had been the passion of Atatürk."

Ronald Reagan makes a bizarre appearance here

November 10, 1940 -
Walt Disney begins serving as a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI, to report back information on Hollywood subversives. He was made a "Full Special Agent in Charge Contact" in 1954.

We should note that Disney was also atheist, Neo-Nazi, racist and possible child pornography collector, thus subversive in his own little way. Also remember that he reported in directly to a cross-dressing, homosexual who would never make left turns in his car.

You just knew Reagan was going to show up here.

November 10, 1954 -
The Iwo Jima Memorial, also known as the US Marine Corps (USMC) War Memorial, was dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Arlington National Cemetery on this date.

The Marine Corps War Memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have served and given their lives in the defense of the United States since a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on this date in 1775 ordered their formation.

I'm not going to insult the Marines with any association with Mr. Reagan.

November 10, 1975 -
The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board

and unfortunately is the subject of Gordon Lightfoot's annoying hit song, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

Thankfully, Mr. Reagan was not in Canada at the time.

And so it goes.