Tuesday, January 22, 2019

You bet your bippie

January 22, 1968 -
The comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, premiered on NBC television on this date.


(sorry this isn't the entire first episode but you get the idea.)

One of the trademarks of the series was the fast cutting that happened in between videotaped segments. Blackouts, one-liners and sketches were edited together in such a way that the show had a very rapid, almost frenzied, pace. This was done before computer controlled editing machines were invented, so much of the show was edited by hand.


January 22, 2003
-
The hysterical funny and groundbreaking comedy show Chappelle's Show, starring Dave Chappelle premiered on Comedy Central on this date.



Dave Chappelle
was inspired to create the show after watching a documentary about Hugh M. Hefner that featured clips of Playboy After Dark. Chappelle was inspired by the laid-back atmosphere of Hefner's show.


January 22, 2010
-
To all the people watching, I can never thank you enough for your kindness to me and I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen - Conan O'Brien



Coco hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show on this date.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History -
Today is the birthday of Grand Duke Ivan III of Moscow, better known as Ivan the Great.

He was born in 1440 and became Grand Duke of Moscow in 1462. Although Moscow was a lot of fun, it was not yet Russia. Ivan was determined to remedy that shortcoming as quickly as possible: he had tsars in his eyes.

To enlarge his dominions he began nibbling at his smaller neighbors, paying an annual tribute to the Golden Horde of Tatars to keep them from nibbling at him. Having eventually swallowed most of his surroundings, Ivan decided in 1480 that it was time to stop paying the Golden Horde.

The Golden Horde reminded him that it was time for their annual tribute. Ivan ignored them.

The Golden Horde sent him polite reminders in the mail, but he ignored these also.

They sent reminders on brightly colored stationery embossed with the words PAYMENT PAST DUE, but Ivan, alas, remained indifferent.

Finally the Golden Horde marched against Ivan and he marched his own troops out to meet them. The two armies met, faced off, and simultaneously retreated.



This was a victory for Ivan, in that neither he nor his descendants ever paid tribute to the Golden Horde again. But it was also a defeat for Ivan, who was therefore denied the rank of tsar.

(The first real Tsar of Russia was his grandson, Ivan IV, "the shooting tsar.")


January 22, 1521 -
The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V commenced the imperial Diet of Worms, on this date, to address the issues Martin Luther brought up in his 95 Theses.



While worms in general are quite unpleasant to consume, most people were afraid to contradict the Emperor, so many people in Europe became Protestant.


It was on this date in 1807 that U.S. President Thomas Jefferson exposed a plot by his former vice-president and unconvicted murderer, Aaron Burr, to establish an empire in the southwestern part of the continent. Burr was eventually acquitted as a result of Chief Justice Marshall's tree-falling-in-forest ruling that treason wasn't treason unless someone was there to see it—along with someone else who saw the same thing. The vice-presidency was never the same.



From that date forward, retiring vice-presidents have been compelled to either retire into the political obsolescence of private life, where we can safely ignore them, or into the presidency, where we can keep an eye on them (or possibly in Mike Pence's case, continuously avoiding being seen with the President.)


January 22, 1901
-
After 63 years, England stopped sales of the Queen Victoria postage stamps series and began the King Edward VII series on this date.



Alexandrina Victoria (Hanover, if she needed a last name) the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India of the British Raj, finally gave up the ghost much to the relief of her 59 year old son Edward, permitting him to finally get a real job.


January 22, 1905 -
Thousands of demonstrating Russian workers were fired on by Imperial army troops in St. Petersburg on what became known as "Red Sunday" or "Bloody Sunday" on this date.



96 people were killed, and over 300 were wounded. This incident marks the beginning of the so-called 1905 Revolution.


January 22, 1918 -
Manitoba, Canada film censor board decides to ban comedies, on the grounds that they make audiences too frivolous.



Canada does not fully recover their true frivolousness until the broadcasting of SCTV in the early 80s.


January 22, 1970 -
A Pan Am Boeing 747-100 named Victor Clipper (N736PA) makes its first commercial passenger trip to London, England on this date

The flight had departed from New York City, and had carried 332 passengers and 18 crew. Although most passengers enjoyed the flight, one had mentioned that this plane is too big for commercial travel.



(Unfortunately, seven years later on March 27, 1977, the Clipper Victor was involved in the worst aircraft accident in history, with a total of 583 fatalities. A KLM 747 at full take off speed, while trying to get airborne crashed into Pan Am’s Clipper Victor in Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands.)


January 22, 1973 -
The Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling handed down its Roe vs. Wade decision on this date, which legalized abortion, using a trimester approach. The court ruled that a woman's right to privacy encompasses her decision to terminate a pregnancy.



Norma McCorvey, the anonymous Jane Roe, revealed her identity in 1989. She ended up having her third baby that was the initial focus of the issue.


January 22, 1984 -
The future began today. The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous 1984 television commercial.



Now that Steve Jobs is gone; we can stop saying 'Hooray for Big Brother!!!'


January 22, 1997 -
Lottie Williams was reportedly the first human to be struck by a remnant of a space vehicle after re-entering the earth's atmosphere on this date.

The debris that struck Ms. Williams has not been examined to confirm its origin, but a used Delta II rocket, launched nine months earlier, had crashed into the Earth's atmosphere half an hour earlier. Williams says she received a letter from the deputy secretary of defense apologizing for the incident.



And so it goes.


One last thing:

January 22, 1987 -
If you know, you know why





Otherwise, nothing to see here


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Monday, January 21, 2019

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Here's the reason you have the day off, it's Martin Luther King Day.



To celebrate the day and the man, I'd like you to once again opine these words:

...The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.


For some reason, today is Squirrel Appreciation Day



(Remember, they are just rats with good PR.)


January 21, 1957 -
Patsy Cline
sang Walking After Midnight on Arthur Godfrey's nighttime television show, quickly launching her career on this date.



Mr. Godfrey did not fire her after her performance.


January 21, 1957 -
NBC
recorded and later broadcasted the second inaugural ceremonies of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower.



It is the first national broadcast of a previously recorded event.


January 21, 1966 -
George Harrison
married model/actress Patti 'Layla' Boyd whom he met on the set of the Beatles movie, Hard Day's Night on this date.



The couple later divorced in 1974 and she married Eric Clapton (whom she divorced in 1989 but that's another story.)


January 21, 1984 -
The prog rock group Yes song, Owner of a Lonely Heart, hit No. #1 on this date.



This is the first single from 90125, and was the group's one and only #1 charting hit. The album was a drastic departure from Yes' progressive sound in the '70s, containing distorted guitar and synthesizers that were popular at the time.


Word of the Day


Today in History:
January 21, 1793
-
On a chilly Monday, stripped of all titles and honorifics by the republican government, citizen Louis Capet was guillotined in front of a cheering crowd in what today is the Parisian Place de la Revolution. The executioner, Charles Henri Sanson, testified that King Louis XVI had bravely met his fate.



Apparently, three years earlier, to the date, Joseph Guillotine proposed a new, more humane method of execution: a machine designed to cut off the condemned person's head as painlessly as possible.  An early urban legend has the King suggesting, after inspecting an early guillotine prototype, a slant and beveling of the blade, for better cutting action.

Sometimes, people should just keep their opinions to themselves.


January 21, 1908 -
New York City's Board of Aldermen passed the Sullivan Ordinance that effectively prohibited women from smoking in public.

Two weeks later the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr.


January 21, 1924 -
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Vladimir I. Lenin) driving force behind the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the first great dictator of the Soviet Union died from a massive stroke on this date.



Lenin, idolized during his life -- an icon after his death, helped along by an unusual effort to preserve his corpse. For decades after his death, Russians lined up in all weather to view Lenin's body on display in a glass container inside a special mausoleum in Red Square. A triumph of the embalmer's art, the corpse was removed on a regular basis for the special top-secret treatments that kept it looking remarkably lifelike.

I'm going to let you sick puppies go on your own to this site - you can enjoy the sight of the nude, mummified corpse of Lenin getting his rejuvenating bath.


January 21, 1954 -
The first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus (named after the submarine in Jules Vernes' Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) was launched by First lady Mamie Eisenhower on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut on this date.



The propulsion system of the Nautilus makes the ship the first “true” submarine. Vessel previously termed “submarines” were, in fact, only submersibles powered by diesel engines which consumed vast amounts of oxygen. However, the Nautilus can remain submerged for months on end.


January 21, 1959 -
Former Our Gang child star Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer arrived at Moses 'Bud' Stiltz's home in Mission Hills, California, to settle an alleged debt owed to Switzer on this date.

Previously, Switzer had borrowed a dog from Stiltz which was lost, but eventually found, Switzer paying the man who returned the dog $50. Switzer went to Stiltz's house to collect the money "owed" him. He banged on Stiltz's front door, demanding that he let him in, flashing a fake police badge. Once Switzer got inside he and Stiltz got into an argument. Switzer informed Stiltz that he wanted the money owed him. However, when Stiltz refused to hand over the money, the two engaged in a physical fight. Switzer bashed Stiltz in the head with a lamp, which caused Stiltz to bleed from his left eye. Stiltz retreated to his bedroom and returned holding a gun, but Switzer immediately grabbed the gun away from Stiltz, which resulted in a shot being fired but neither man being hit. Then Switzer forced Stiltz into a closet, despite Stiltz having gotten his hands back on the gun. Switzer then allegedly pulled out a knife and was attempting to stab Stiltz with it. But just as Switzer was about to charge Stiltz, Stiltz raised the gun and shot Switzer in the chest. Switzer died of intense blood loss while on his way to the hospital. He was 31 years old.



Switzer's death was largely ignored in the media, mainly because director Cecil B. DeMille had died on the same day.

Kids, never loan a dog to a former child star.


January 21, 1960 -
The Little Joe 1B was a Launch Escape System test of the Mercury spacecraft, conducted as part of the U.S. Mercury program, on this date. The mission also carried a female Rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) named Miss Sam in the Mercury spacecraft. The six pound monkey survived the 8 minute 35 second flight in good condition.



Miss Sam retired from the space program and enjoyed a successfully career in the "Straw Hat" theatre circuit, starring in, among other things, Medea and Uncle Vanya.


January 21, 1968 -
A B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminated the area after its nuclear payload ruptured on this date. One of the four bombs remains unaccounted for after the cleanup operation was completed.



If you have the bomb, the US government would be happy to take it off your hands - no questions asked.



And so it goes.


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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Today is National DJ Day

National Disc Jockey Day is celebrated in remembrance of the death of Albert James "Alan" Freed,  (AKA Moondog,) the man who coined the term “Rock ‘n’ Roll”.









The first DJ, or Disc Jockey, was sixteen-year-old student Ray Newby,



who played the first records over the airwaves at Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless located in San Fernando, California, in 1909.


Today is also the Feast day of St. Sebastian, patron saint of soldiers, plague-stricken, archers, Christian matyrs, athletes (and  homosexual icon - the saint is always depicted as a strapping youth, nude, save a haphazardly placed loin cloth, bound to the post, muscles, straining. Pierced by several arrows, still smiling -  but we shan't discuss that today.)




St. Sebastian, likewise, did not die immediately upon being shot with many arrows, but recovered and suffered a second martyrdom – hence, he is sometimes called the saint who was martyred twice. St. Sebastian was left for dead when St. Irene of Rome came to bury the relics of St. Sebastian and found that was not quite dead. 

St. Irene nursed him back to health. Sebastian went before the man who ordered him executed, the Emperor Diocletian and told him to repent. Diocletian, didn't take kindly to having the condemned speak to him and had him clubbed to death. He then had St. Sebastian corpse tossed into a sewer.

You can't keep a good man down - Saint Sebastian appeared to a pious woman named Lucina and told her where to find his remains.


It wasn't strange enough to discover that today is National Cheese Lovers Day (according to several and sundry websites,)



but then I discovered that when cheese is digested, it breaks down into an opioid.


January 20, 1941 -
Raoul Walsh's
crime-drama High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino premiered on this date.



This was the last movie Humphrey Bogart made where he did not receive top billing. The studio thought that Ida Lupino should have top billing, given the fact that she had been such a big hit in They Drive by Night, and so her name ended up above Bogart's on the title card. Bogart was reportedly unhappy about receiving second billing but never complained.


January 20, 1949 -
A surprise hit for writer/ director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (which garnered for him his first two Oscars,) A Letter to Three Wives, premiered on this date.



Joseph L. Mankiewicz
had a real battle with the American censors at the time who would not permit him to use words like "laxative" and "toilet" in his script. He got his revenge with a famous double-entendre laden exchange which used words like "penetration" and "saturation".


January 20, 1964 -
The second Beatles' album, Meet the Beatles! was released in the United States on this date.



It was the first US Beatles album to be issued by Capitol Records. Two days previously, the Beatles entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time, as 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' appeared on the Hot 100 at No. 45.


Yes I did read this book


Today in History -
Jimmy Naismith
was born in Ramsay township in Ontario, Canada in 1861. He grew up and eventually went to McGill University in Montreal. He became their Athletic Director and in 1891 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take a post at the YMCA Training School. It was there that he was confronted with the problem of developing a game that could be played indoors and in relatively little space.



On January 20, 1892, with only two peach baskets, a soccer ball, and a hand-written list of 13 rules, Dr. Naismith oversaw the world's first full game of a brand new sport, a sport that took its name from the peach baskets and soccer ball used to play it.



He had finally invented Peach Soccer (as opposed to Peachbasket - see January 15.)


January 20, 1920 -
No critic writing about a film could say more than the film itself, although they do their best to make us think the oppposite.



Federico Fellini, director, screenwriter, producer, painter and cartoonist, was born on this date.


January 20, 1936 -
King George V of England was euthanized with injections of cocaine and morphine on this date, after a painful cancer illness. His final words, a mumbled God damn you!, were addressed to his nurse when she gave him a sedative before his final lethal injection. His physician, Bertrand Dawson (later becoming Viscount Dawson of Penn,) was motivated not only to ameliorate the king's suffering, but also to break the story in the morning edition of the newspapers, rather than the less appropriate evening journals.



Remember kids - Promptness is the politeness of kings.



At the procession to George's Lying in State in Westminster Hall, as the cortege turned into New Palace Yard, the Maltese Cross fell from the Imperial Crown and landed in the gutter. The new King, Edward VIII, saw it fall and wondered whether this was a bad omen for his new reign.



He would abdicate before the year was out.


January 20, 1949 -
As a early gift for her 21st birthday, J. Edgar Hoover gives his friend Shirley Temple a tear gas fountain pen.  This is not as odd as it seems: Hoover had known Shirley for much of her professional life - the FBI have investigated several death and extortion threats against the child star for years.

I have scourged the internet but alas cannot find a picture of the pen (or Hoover in his cha-cha heels.)


January 20, 1956
-
We need more people speaking out. This country is not overrun with rebels and free thinkers. It's overrun with sheep and conformists.



Bill Maher, actor, comedian, political analyst, avowed atheist and professional pot smoker, was born on this date.


January 20, 1981-
The hostages being held by Iran had been held for almost 450 days (444 days), one of the longest durations of a hostage situation in modern history, were released on this date.



The way President Carter handled the situation was extremely unpopular, and the hostages were only released minutes after the presidency had passed from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.


January 20, 1982 -
While playing in Iowa to promote the release of his second solo album The Diary of a Madman, a live bat was thrown onstage in front of Ozzy Osbourne and, dazed by the bright spotlights and its hard landing, (the bat) was knocked unconscious.



Ozzy, thinking that the bat was made of rubber, proceeded to put the bat head into its mouth and... well, you know where we're going with this. It was the point where the bats' severed head twitched inside Ozzy's mouth that he realized that it was no Halloween decoration. He was rushed to hospital immediately following the incident and treated for rabies.


January 20, 1993 -



Although Tom Waits was notoriously against selling himself in commercials, he did let his principles slip slightly and provided voiceover work for dog food company Butchers Blend.



After the commercial began to win awards and become recognized Waits regretted the decision; when asked about it years later he said "I was really down on my luck at that time and I've always really loved dogs".



And so it goes.


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