Monday, July 6, 2020

Yes, I suppose you can celebrate through your masks

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Today is International Kissing Day



Established in 2006 in the United Kingdom, celebrates the sign of affection and greeting that we share with the people we know. Kissing can also share 80 million microbes of bacteria. How are you supposed to celebrate the holiday? Wake up in the morning and kiss your partner good morning, then greet your friends with a quick kiss on the cheek to show them how much you appreciate them - except during a global pandemic!

And please remember to use ACME toothpaste!


July 6, 1928 -
The first true sound picture, Lights of New York, (Jolson's 1927 The Jazz Singer was basically part-silent film part-sound film) previewed in New York on this date.



Director Bryan Foy (originally a member of the famous vaudeville act, Eddie Foy and The Seven Little Foys,) had no previous experience directing features. He had been a gag writer and supervised a multitude of Vitaphone musical shorts shot in New York.


July 6, 1933 -
MGM's
Pre-Code musical comedy short, Nertsery Rhymes, featuring Ted Healy and His Stooges premiered this date. This was one of five short films the comedy team  made for the studio and the first film appearance of The Three Stooges.



Jennie Horwitz, the mother of Moe Howard, Curly Howard, and Shemp Howard, was aghast when she saw this film. She began screaming at Moe on the screen for hitting his little brother, Curly. She had to be escorted from the theater.


July 6, 1945 -
The Abbott and Costello film, The Naughty Nineties (featuring longest recorded version of their "Who's on First" routine,) directed by Jean Yarbrough was released on this date.



One of the few films ever made about a show boat that depicts it correctly. A show boat was not a self-contained steamer but a barge, moved by another boat that was called a "tow boat" but was actually mounted behind the show boat, pushing it up and down the river.


July 6, 1964 -
The Beatles'
film Hard Day's Night premieres in London, on this date.



After filming for the day on April 1, 1964, John Lennon had met his father, Alfred Lennon, for the first time in seventeen years. In the morning, Alf had walked into NEMS Enterprises (where The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein worked) accompanied by a journalist. After explaining to the receptionist that he was John's father, and when Epstein was informed, he immediately sent for a car to pick up John and the rest of The Beatles.  The meeting was unsuccessful, however; the first words John said to his father were, "What do you want?" The meeting lasted no longer than twenty minutes, and ended up with a furious John ordering his father off the premises. The encounter was kept out of newspapers by trading with the journalist for exclusive stories about the other bands Epstein managed.


July 6, 1967 -
Pink Floyd
made their first appearance on the BBC music show Top Of The Pops to promote their new single See Emily Play, on this date. Like many television programs from the '60s, the videotape master was erased for re-use and the performance was assumed to be lost.



A badly damaged home video recording recovered by the British Film Institute of this show was given a public screening in London in January 2010.

July 6, 1972 -
I had to phone someone so I picked on you-hoo-oo

David Bowie scandalized British home viewers on this date, while performing Starman on the TV show, Top Of The Pops, by singing with his arm draped around the shoulder of guitarist Mick Ronson – this was the moment Bowie became a star.



This was the last song written for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, supposedly because nobody had heard a potential single on the album. It became Bowie's first UK hit in three years. His only previous chart entry had been Space Oddity in 1969.


July 6, 1979 -
The B-52s, a New Wave band based in Athens, Georgia, released Planet Claire on this date.



The B52's are from Athens, Georgia, where many so called 'eccentric' artists and musicians emerged, including R.E.M. On Planet Claire they embrace their otherworldly side, opening with various bleeps and electronic sounds as if they're trying to make contact with space aliens.


July 6, 1988 -
MTV refused to play Neil Young's video for This Note's For You, citing a policy against videos that mention products, on this date.



The video is a parody of various ad campaigns, with lyrics mentioning Coke, Pepsi, Miller and Bud. Forced to admit they were refusing to air an excellent video to protect their sponsors, MTV went into damage control mode and agreed to air the video. They made it into an event, debuting the video on August 21 as part of a 30-minute special about the controversy. Then they awarded it Video of the Year at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards. Young showed up to accept it.


Word of the Day.


Today in History:
July 6, 1415 -
Jan Hus
was burned at the stake for various heresies by the Council of Constance.



Among other things, Hus had incited the citizens of Prague to protest against Antipope John XXIII and his policy of granting indulgences.

Those Antipopes are so moody.


July 6, 1535 -
Thomas More
, the patron saint of politicians, was beheaded in England for treason, on this date.  He got a little off the top for refusing to renounce the Catholic church in favor of King Henry VIII's Church of England.



More's sentence to death by hanging was commuted to beheading (what a lucky duck.) He was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1935.


July 6, 1919 -
The British airship R.34 landed in New York at Roosevelt Field on this date. (There's no word what was on sale at the Mall.)



It completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an airship. It had left Firth of Forth, Scotland, 108 hours earlier and there was no beverage cart service throughout the entire flight!


July 6, 1921 -
Several members of the Chicago White Sox went on trial for throwing the 1919 World Series, on this date. The White Sox players despised their owner Charles Comiskey. He was notoriously stingy. He would offer bonuses for performance and then take them back at the last minute. Gamblers knew that the players were frustrated and angry and offered several of them money to throw the World Series. The night before the series began, a Sox pitcher found $10,000 under the pillow in his hotel bedroom. The next day his first pitch landed between the batter's shoulder blades. The Sox lost the series to the Cincinnati Reds 5 to 3.



Many journalists knew right away that the series had been fixed. One of the accused players, one of the most tragic figures, was Shoeless Joe Jackson, who admitted to taking money, but during the series he didn't make a single error. He also hit the only home run of the series. All of the White Sox players were acquitted for lack of evidence, but the commissioner of baseball banned them from the game for the rest of their lives.

None of the gamblers was ever punished.


July 6 1944 -
Fire broke out at a matinee performance of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Baily Circus, in Hartford, Connecticut, burning 168 people to death, and injuring an additional 250. The main tent had been waterproofed with wax thinned by gasoline. Said one of the Flying Wallendas, "I can never look down at a crowd again without smelling the flames and the burning flesh."



I believe with thoughts like this, even I would give up showbiz.



Among notable survivors, beside the Flying Wallendas, were Eunice Groark, first female lieutenant governor of Connecticut and Charles Nelson Reilly.


July 6, 1944  -
Lieutenant Jackie Robinson (yes that Jackie) while riding a civilian bus from Camp Hood, Texas, refused to give up his seat to a white man.



Lt. Robinson was court marshaled for refusing the order of a civilian bus driver to move to the back of the bus. He was acquitted of the charges.


July 6, 1945 -
The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation OVERCAST, intended to "exploit ... chosen rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use," on this date. The directive authorizes the immigration of up to 350 German and Austrian specialists, primarily experts in rocketry.



Operation OVERCAST is later renamed Operation PAPERCLIP. This is how we got the 'Good Germans' to work on our space program.


July 6, 1957 -
It was 63 years ago today ... it was on this date that the 16 year old John Lennon met the 15 year old Paul McCartney for the first time.



In the afternoon, John Lennon's band the Quarrymen were playing at the garden fete of St Peter's Church, Woolton, Liverpool and Paul McCartney heard them. McCartney impressed Lennon when he showed John and Eric Griffiths how to tune their guitars, something they'd been paying someone else to do for them.



Louis Armstrong, an essential influence on jazz, and pot and Swiss Kriss (herbal laxative) enthusiast,



died on this date, in 1971.

I do not wish to imply that the supernal Mr Armstrong died in some freak pot/ laxative accident.



And so it goes.


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Sunday, July 5, 2020

What are you snacking on?

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Do you like Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread?

Apparently most of you do. Nutella is so popular, 25% of all hazelnuts grown, end up in a jar. It's so popular that with the amount consumed, you could cover The Great Wall of China eight times, you could circle the world 1.8 times, and the amount weighs the same as the Empire State Building. (Why someone would want to - is beyond me?)


Hope you all had a great time last night and all got home safely from where ever you were celebrating.

But remember don't try to light any unexploded fireworks you might find along the road; you don't know where it's been and you don't know what you could pick up.


July 5, 1954 -
Elvis Presley
recorded his first commercial song, That’s All Right (Mama) on this date.  The song, which hadn't been rehearsed by Elvis, was recorded at Sun Records by Sam Phillips (who is commonly credited for discovering him.)



The following evening, Blue Moon of Kentucky was recorded as the B side. That’s All Right (Mama) was played on Memphis, Tennessee's own WHBQ radio program Red, Hot and Blue just two days after it was recorded and became Elvis' first hit.

You know what to do.


July 5, 1956 -
MGM
released boxer Rocky Grazaiano's film biography, Somebody Up There Likes Me, starring Paul Newman and Pier Angeli on this date.



Originally, the movie was to be filmed on-location in New York City in Technicolor with James Dean in the lead role. However, after James Dean's death, it was decided the film should be in black and white, and filmed on studio sets. Director Robert Wise felt the sets looked very fake, and only used them for night scenes, while filming the daytime scenes on-location.


July 5, 1965 -
Motown President Berry Gordy, Jr. appears on the popular TV show To Tell The Truth on this date.



The Supremes performed Baby Love and Back In My Arms Again during his segment.


July 5, 1989
-
The pilot for Seinfeld, called The Seinfeld Chronicles (Good News, Bad News) aired on NBC on this date.



Julia Louis-Dreyfus did not appear in this pilot episode. In fact, she was unaware that the episode existed until it was released as part of the DVD box set in 2004.


It's the 22nd anniversary of the destruction of earth by invading alien armies known as the X-ists on July 5, 1998.



Although the world did not end in 1998 (unless this is an elaborate alternate universe), 22 years on, the pipe and the slack of Bob still comfort me.


A book I've enjoyed reading in the past


Today in History:
July 5, 1794 -
Sylvester Graham
was born in Suffield, Connecticut, on this date. He was ordained in 1826 as a Presbyterian minister. He was an early advocate of dietary reform in United States most notable for his emphasis on vegetarianism, and the temperance movement, as well as sexual and dietary habits.

Graham believed that a firm, crusty bread made of coarsely ground whole-wheat flour was more nutritious and healthy. He correctly argued that chemical additives in bread that make it whiter in color and more commercially appealing also made it unwholesome.

Graham was also inspired by the temperance movement and preached that a vegetarian diet was a cure for alcoholism, and, more importantly, sexual urges. The main thrust of his teachings was to curb lust. While alcohol had useful medicinal qualities, it should never be abused by social drinking. For Graham, an unhealthy diet stimulated excessive sexual desire which irritated the body and caused disease. While Graham developed a significant following known as Grahamites, known for stuffing Graham crackers in their mouths when the urge came over them (as opposed to Sodomites known for stuffing ... oh never mind.) He was also ridiculed by the media and the public for his unwavering zealotry.



According to newspaper records, many women fainted at his lectures when he aired opinions both on sexual relations and the wearing of corsets. Whether their fainting was due to the subject matter or the tight corsets they wore is still debated.


July 5, 1801
-
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, born on this date, was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and full admiral of the Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his possibly apocryphal order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!".

If you have the time go out and see him, he's in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. (I guess that's only convenient if you're near the Bronx.)

If you're not in the Bronx,

you can check out his Memorial statue in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.


July 5, 1865 -
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum - (Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)



The Salvation Army began with the efforts of two founders, William Booth and Catherine Booth, to bring salvation to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and the destitute. On this date, William Booth established The Christian Mission in London, England, which would later be called as The Salvation Army in 1878. The name was changed to The Salvation Army (apparently by the request of an initial member; the Christian Mission's mission-statement originally called the organization a 'volunteer army', and the speaker felt that he wasn't strictly a 'volunteer') and a quasi-military outlook was adopted.



When William Booth became known as the General, Catherine was known as the “Mother of The Salvation Army.” William preached to the poor, and Catherine spoke to the wealthy, gaining financial support for their demanding work. She also ministered, which was a revolutionary act at the time. From the beginning it was already clearly stated in the Foundation Deed of the Christian Mission, that women had the same rights to preach as men. Together the Booths worked tirelessly to help others and brought a spiritual and practical message of rejuvenation. As William said, “The three ‘S's’ best expressed the way in which the Army administered to the 'down and outs': first, soup; second, soap; and finally, salvation".


The memorable "Spam" was rebranded on July 5, 1937,  when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share.



The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was "Shoulder of Pork and hAM". According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam – The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of "SPiced hAM", but on their official website, Hormel denies this and states that "SPAM is just that. SPAM." The fact that the originator was given a $100 prize for coming up with the name, however, still appears on the site's SPAM FAQs.



Other varieties of Spam include Spam Less Sodium, Spam Garlic, Spam and Cheese, Spam with Bacon (Hormel bacon), Spam Spread, Spam Lite (containing pork and chicken), Spam Golden Honey Grail, Spam Hot and Spicy (with Tabasco sauce), Spam Hickory Smoked and Spam Oven Roasted Turkey - the latter is a halal food, meaning that it is allowed under Islamic law, and is especially popular in Muslim markets.


July 5, 1942 -
Psst, do you want to know a secret?

Ian Fleming graduated from a training school for spies in Canada on this date.

But you didn't hear it from me.


July 5, 1946 -
The bikini bathing suit, was created by Louis Réard, a French automotive engineer who was running his mother's lingerie business, made its debut during a fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris on this date.



A famous nude dancer, Micheline Bernardin, modeled the two-piece outfit at the show.

Réard, hoping to capitalize on the notoriety, named his new two-piece, atom-sized swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll Island Nuclear test site.


July 5, 1958 -
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

Bill Watterson, cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes cartoon series, was born on this date.


July 5, 1975 -
31-yea
r-old Arthur Ashe beat 22-year-old Jimmy Conners in four sets at Wimbledon on this date, winning the fourth set 6-4. With his win, Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win the tennis singles title.



Ashe won 51 tournaments in his career, and the US Open home court was named after him in 1997.



And so it goes


Happy Birthday Augie Iannuzzi, wherever you are!


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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Enjoy that BBQ today

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - How's that hamburger today?

Although we may be accustomed to beef burgers, goat meat accounts for 70% of the red meat eaten globally. I guess this is great news because goats are better for you and the environment.


July 4, 1964 -
The Beach Boys'
song I Get Around topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks on this date.



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


July 4, 1970 -
Casey Kasem's American Top 40
debuts on station KDEO in El Cajon/San Diego, California on this date.



The concept of playing the 40 most popular songs from a national chart was a new one, and no one was sure of the success of the show at the time.


July 4, 1992 –
Sir Mix-A-Lot's
great patriotic song, Baby Got Back, hit No. 1 on this date and remained there for a month.



The video was directed by Adam Bernstein, who also did Hey Ladies for Beastie Boys and Love Shack for The B-52's. According to Bernstein, casting the video was one of the strangest experiences of his professional life. Since it was the butts they were interested in, he and his crew took photos of the applicants' fundamentals, which they sent to Sir Mix-A-Lot for evaluation.


ACME's salute to Sedition against Our Former Sovereign Nation Day


Today in History:
July 4, 1776
-
The Continental Congress approved adoption of the amended Declaration of Independence, prepared by Thomas Jefferson and signed by John Hancock - President of the Continental Congress - and Charles Thomson, Congress secretary (among others,) without dissent.



However, the New York delegation abstained as directed by the New York Provisional Congress. The United States was very busy for the next couple of years and didn't get around to commemorating Independence Day until 1796.


July 4, 1804 -
The first 4th of July celebration west of the Mississippi River was held, when Lewis and Clark's expedition team stopped in Kansas to throw the party  on this date.

They fired the expedition canon and the men on the team got an extra ration of whiskey to celebrate the day.


July 4, 1826
-
Frienemies Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both lay dying in there respective homes on this date. Jefferson, the nation's third president, deeply in debt at age 83, died at one o'clock in the afternoon and correctly surmised that Adams had outlived him. John Adams, the second president died at age 90 in Braintree, Mass, just a few hours after Jefferson. Adams' last words were, Thomas Jefferson still survives.



It was exactly 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted.


July 4, 1831 -
James Monroe
, fifth President of the United States, died in New York City at age 73 on this date.



This made him the third ex-President to die on Independence Day.

How patriotic.


July 4, 1850 -
President Zachary Taylor stood hatless in the sun for hours listening to long-winded speeches. He returned to the White House and attempted to cool off by eating cherries, cucumbers and drinking iced milk. Severe stomach cramps followed.



It is likely that Taylor's own physicians inadvertently killed him with a whole series of debilitating treatments. The cur lingered on until he unpatriotically died on July 9th.


July 4, 1862 -
Charles Dodgson,
an Oxford mathematician and nude child photographer, told little Alice Liddell on a boat trip the fairy tale he had dreamed up for her called Alice's Adventures Underground on this date. We assume he had his pants on at the time.



Three year later, to the day, the first edition of Alice in Wonderland was published under Dodgson's pen name, Lewis Carroll.


July 4, 1884 -
The Statue of Liberty was presented to the United States in ceremonies at Paris, France, on this date. The 225-ton, 152-foot statue was a gift from France in commemoration of 100 years of American independence. The French, always the comedians, presented the gift eight years late of the centennial celebration and left the shipping and handling costs to the United States.



Created by the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the statue was installed on Bedloe Island (now Liberty Island) in New York harbor in 1885. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

July 4, 1898 -
The French passenger liner La Bourgogne, sank within an hour after a collision with the British ship Cromartyshire, in dense fog, 60 miles south of Sable Island near Nova Scotia, in the Atlantic, on this date. Only 165 of the 711 passengers survived.

While there are no deaths on the British ship, only one woman of the more than 300 women and children listed as passengers aboard the La Bourgogne, was among the survivors. The remainder were mostly the crew, along with a few men from steerage. After a brief and horrifying inquiry, the French maritime authorities heard stories of  the officers vainly trying to maintain order (only 3 of the 18 officers survived) and of the crew members using knives, boat hooks, oars and whatever else came to hand, against the passengers for places in the few lifeboats that survived the collision. Even more shocking, once the boats were in the water, the brave French crew beat off and stabbed swimming passengers who had tried to clamber aboard.

The authorities refused to hold a proper investigation and the entire incident was hushed up to avoid an international scandal.

Once again, the stellar principle of 'Woman and Children first' at work.


July 4, 1916   -
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs
opened a stand at Brooklyn’s Coney Island and (according to highly specious legend) held an eating contest as a publicity stunt that became an annual event on this date.

Not to be too indelicate but some of the corpses of the first patrons have just about finished digesting that meal.



And so it goes.


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