Wednesday, April 8, 2020

It's a gas

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Radon seeping from the ground, through foundations, and into homes may be causing lung cancer in as many as 20,000 people every year.

This invisible, odorless and tasteless gas is present at unsafe levels in over 21% of all US households.

Passover starts tonight - please bone up on those four questions.

Remember you will not be graded on a curve!

(If you're reading this in Japan and I'm sure I have many readers there) ACME would like to wish you "Amituofo" - Happy Birthday Siddhartha Gautama.

Otherwise, just calculate the first full moon day of the sixth month of the Buddhist lunar calendar, which would be the fourth month of the Chinese calendar, except in years in which there's an extra full moon, and then Buddha's birthday falls in the seventh month. Well, except where it starts a week earlier.

And in Tibet it's usually a month later.

April 8, 1968 -
The TV special Petula airs on NBC on this date. Most people would not remember this special except at one point in the show, host Petula Clark grabs hold of Harry Belafonte's arm while they are singing a duet.

As bizarre as this may seem, the show marked the first time a man and a woman of different races had physical contact on American television.

April 8, 1975 -
released their third album  Toys In The Attic,  on this date.

The album is their most commercially successful studio LP in the US, selling over eight million copies.

April 8, 1979 -
The 204th and final episode of All in the Family, Too Good Edith, aired on this date.

The series would come back in the fall in the less successful offering, Archie's Place.

April 8, 1990 -
It wasn't a very good day for Laura Palmer - The cult series Twin Peaks, the series about cherry pie and Damn fine cup o' coffee!, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The series was originally to be titled Northwest Passage. The character of Josie Packard (played by Joan Chen) was originally named Giovanna "Jo" Pasqualini Packard, and was intended to be played by Isabella Rossellini, who was dating David Lynch at the time.

April 8, 2000
In a Saturday Night Live skit where Blue Öyster Cult is recording "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," Christopher Walken demands more cowbell from Will Ferrell, who complies.

A catch phrase is born

Another failed ACME product

Today in History:
Some days, it's NOT good to be the king -
April 8, 217
The very hygienically minded Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Antoniius) Roman emperor (188 – 217) was murdered by one of his guards with a single sword stroke while defecating.

Not a pleasant way to go . . but don’t feel too sorry for him. He shared the empire with brother Geta until he had Geta’s throat cut as he lay in their mother’s arms.

April 8, 1143 -
John II Comnenus
Emperor of Byzantium (1118-43), died when he was accidentally infected by a poisoned arrow while out hunting.

I hate when that happens

April 8, 1364 -
John II the Good
, King of France (1350-64), died at 44 after a night of heavy drinking in London.

You may ask what the King of France was doing, drinking in London - well, that's another story.

April 8, 1498 -
Charles VIII
the Affable, King of France (1483-98), died in a freak tennis accident -

striking himself on the head while passing through a doorway, leaving the tennis court. A few hours later, he fell into a sudden coma and died.

Tennis - it's an extreme sport.

April 8, 1820 -
The famous marble sculpture, the Venus de Milo, was discovered on the island of Milos by Yorgos Kentrotas and a French naval officer, Jules Dumont d'Urville on this date.

The Marquis de Rivière presented it to Louis XVIII, who donated it to the Louvre the following year. The complete arms were never found.

April 8, 1832 -
Some 300 American troops of the 6th Infantry, lead by Brigadier General Henry Atkinson left Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, to confront the Sauk Indians in what would become known as the Black Hawk War, on this date.

This is one of history's funny coincidences, in which Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis led troops on the same side - Lincoln as a captain of militia, Davis as a lieutenant of Regulars.

Impress the habitués of your local tavern.

April 8, 1904 -
Mayor George B. McClellan signed the resolution on this date, changing the name of Long Acre Square in Manhattan, New York, to Times Square.

New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs was preparing to move the newspaper's operations to a new  skyscraper on 42nd Street at Longacre Square, hence Times Square.

April 8, 1950 -
Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky
, one of the most gifted male dancers in history - celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations, died on this date, in a psychiatric hospital in London.

No film exists of Nijinsky dancing. Sergei Diaghilev never allowed his ballet company, the Ballets Russes, to be filmed. He felt that the quality of film at the time could never capture the artistry of his dancers and that the reputation of the company would suffer if people saw it only in short jerky films.

April 8, 1973
...Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more....

Pablo Ruiz Picasso, one of the most recognized figures in twentieth-century art, he is best known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the wide variety of styles embodied in his work and sleeping with almost anything that moved, died on this date.

April 8, 1974 -
The largest crowd in Atlanta Braves history (53,775) on this date, watched Hank Aaron break Babe Ruth's home run record on this date with a hit in the 4th inning off Los Angeles pitcher Al Downing. The ball landed in the Braves bullpen where reliever Tom House caught it.

While cannons were firing in celebration and Aaron rounded the bases, two college students appeared and ran alongside of him before security stepped in.

April 8 1994 -
Kurt Colbain's
body was found three days after committing suicide with a shotgun.

That was probably not a pretty sight (I won't even mention the smell - definitely not teen spirit.)

And so it goes.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

It's a bird, it's a plane

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Some airplane-engine manufacturers test their products by firing chickens from a specially designed cannon to see if the engines are to digest the birds without malfunctioning.

Other manufacturers find out the hard way.

Today is World Health Day, celebrating the founding of WHO (World Health Organization) in 1948 on this date. Once again, this years topic of World Health Day 2020 is focusing on celebrate the work of nurses and midwives. Please remember that nurses and other health workers are at the forefront of COVID-19.

Remember, without nurses, there would be no response.

April 7, 1933 -
Today is also National Beer Day. While it is not actual a national holiday, in March of 1933, President Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act allowing the sale of beer once again with the proviso, the beer remain no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, the first legal alcohol allowed since Prohibition began in 1919.

On this date, the act became law, and beer production began – thus marking the imminent end of Prohibition. April 7th does NOT signify the end of National Prohibition. National Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933.  New Beer's Eve (which was celebrated last night) occurred during National Alcohol-Free Weekend.

Celebrate either as you see fit.

April 7, 1915 -
Eleanora Fagan
, considered by many to be the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, was born on this day. Though her career was relatively short and often erratic, she left behind a body of work as great as any vocalist before or since.

Eleanora's (or as she was professionally known, Billie Holiday) vocal style — strongly inspired by instrumentalists — pioneered a new way of manipulating wording and tempo, and also popularized a more personal and intimate approach to singing.

April 7, 1933 -
Arguably his most influential film, French filmmaker Jean Vigo's feature, Zero de Conduite (Zero for Conduct) was released on this date.

The film was banned by the French censor until after 1946. The film has been ranked as one of the "100 Movies That Shook the World".

April 7, 1970 -
John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy
won the Oscar for Best Picture on this date. It remains the only X-rated film to win an Academy Award.

The film was rated "X" (no one under 17 admitted) upon its original release in 1969, but the unrestricted use of that rating by pornographic filmmakers caused the rating to quickly become associated with hardcore sex films.

April 7, 1978 -
The Police
release Roxanne in the UK on this date.

BBC Radio 1 refuses to play it, which tanks the song, but when the band tours America a year later it catches on in that country, becoming their first hit.

April 7, 1979 -
The one and only Grammy winner for Best Disco song, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor topped the charts on this date.

The song resonates with many people, as one of empowerment, helping it sell more that fourteen million copies practically overnight. It is one of the most popular songs to be sung on Karaoke.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
April 7, 1805 -
conducted the premiere of his Eroica Symphony No. 3 in E flat major on this date. Beethoven uses the symphony to convey popular notions about heroism and revolution, which were prevalent throughout Europe at the time.

He was full of enthusiasm and respect for the French Revolution's ideals, and especially (at first) Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven, like a teenage groupie, scrawled Napoleon's name all over the dedication page of the symphony.

But then Napoleon went on a world tour and started conquering random European countries. When he became a truly evil bastard, finally declared himself Emperor of the French in 1804, Beethoven flew into a rage. He ripped through the paper as he scratched out Napoleon's name with a knife.

April 7, 1927 -
An audience in New York saw an image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover in the first successful long-distance demonstration of television. Hoover’s image and voice were transmitted across telephone lines. Edna Mae Horner, an operator at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, assisted the transmission and became the first woman on television.

Unfortunately, this was not a demonstration of a time machine and Hoover didn't get a message about the upcoming Great Depression.

April 7, 1939 -
That little old Italian wine maker, Francis Ford Coppola, (who is also a magazine publisher and hotelier) was born on this date.

Like Martin Scorsese, Coppola was a sickly youth, a case of polio which allowed him time to indulge in puppet theater and home movies.

April 7, 1954 -
President Dwight D. Eisenhower coined one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a "domino" effect in Southeast Asia on this date.

The so-called "domino theory" dominated U.S. thinking about Vietnam for the next decade.

Who know that the President was so afraid of the Pizza boy?

April 7, 1956 -
Capitol Tower
, the headquarters of Capitol Records in Hollywood, California, was dedicated on this date.

The building, designed to resemble a stack of records, was the first circular office tower in the U.S.

April 7, 1989 -
Soviet nuclear submarine K-278 Komsomolets sank in the Norwegian sea, with two nuclear reactors and two nuclear torpedoes aboard on this date.

41 crew members died, and the submarine remains one mile below the surface of the ocean, with its nuclear weapons intact.

April 7, 1990 -
A display of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs opened at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the same day the center and its director, Dennis Barrie were indicted on obscenity charges on this date.

Both were later acquitted.

April 7, 1998 -
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
was arrested by an undercover police officer after pleasuring himself in front of him in a public toilet.

If George only realized how many of his fans would have happily donned uniforms and stood provocatively before him in any restroom of his choice.

And so it goes.


Monday, April 6, 2020

Bon Appetit

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - 29% of experienced pilots have become so sick that they could not complete a flight.

Most had eaten at the airport.

Today is Sorry Charlie Day. The day is dedicated to remind us that we have all been rejected, and yet somehow survived it.

Celebrate this day by taking a minute to remember a past rejection. After doing this, be happy and realize the fact, that most of us, will not end up in a tuna can.

BTW - National Caramel Popcorn Day - enjoy

April 6, 1906 -
J. Stuart Blackton
premiered his animated film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces on this date. It is generally agreed upon that this is the first animated cartoon.

Despite the film’s rough use of simple animated chalkboard drawings, the film is a technologically revolutionary achievement.

April 6, 1936 -
Flash Gordon: The Planet of Peril, a film serial which tells the story of three people from Earth who travel to the planet Mongo to fight the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless, premiered on this date.

Despite its large budget of $360,000, this serial utilized many sets from other Universal films, such as the laboratory and crypt set from Bride of Frankenstein, the castle interiors from Dracula's Daughter, the idol from The Mummy and the opera house interiors from The Phantom of the Opera. In addition, the outer walls of Ming's castle were actually the cathedral walls from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

April 6, 1946 -
Another in the series of Daffy/ Porky cartoons, Daffy Doodles, premiered on this date.

This cartoon is the first full-length cartoon that animator Robert McKimson directed.

April 6, 1953 -
Universal Pictures
released the science fiction comedy film Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, directed by Charles Lamont and starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, in U.S. theaters on this date.

A very young Harry Shearer appears as one of the boys seen near the beginning.

April 6, 1967 -The Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever premiered on this date. It has been considered the best episode of the series by fans, critics, and crew alike.

The episode was widely be considered controversial for a number of reasons, not the least is which is that the subtext of the storyline addresses issues surrounding the Vietnam-war movement, but the episode is most notable for using the the word “hell” for the first time on television in its parting line (delivered by Kirk), “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

April 6, 1974 –
won the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden on this date.

ABBA not only recorded this song in their native Swedish and then in English but they also recorded a version in French for the French markets and one in German for the German markets. There is also a version in both French and Swedish that is an overdubbing of both the Swedish and French versions.

April 6, 1984 -
Paul Mazursky's
comedy-drama, Moscow on the Hudson, starring Robin Williams and Maria Conchita Alonso premiered in the US on this date.

In preparation for his role, for about a year, lead actor Robin Williams studied Soviet customs and learned the Russian language. Reportedly, Williams spent five hours a day learning Russian and had learned to speak it well within a month. By the time of principal photography, Williams was at a proficiency level where he could carry out a conversation.

April 6, 2009 _
J.J. Abrams
reboot of Star Trek, starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto premiered in Austin, Texas on this date.

According to Karl Urban, who played Bones, the shooting were ULTRA-secret: "There is a level of security and secrecy that we have all been forced to adopt. It's really kind of paranoid crazy, but sort of justified. We're not allowed to walk around in public in our costumes and we had to be herded around everywhere in these golf carts that are completely concealed and covered in black canvas."

Word of the Day

Today in History:
April 6, 1327 -
Francesco Petrarch
, former priest and foot fetisher, met Laura de Sade (the wife of Count Hugues de Sade, an ancestor of the Marquis de Sade) in a church at Avignon on this date, and was inspired for the rest of his life. He wrote his finest poems about her beauty and loveliness.

This event has been taken to mark the beginning of the Renaissance.

Now you know.

April 6, 1570 -
Raffaello Sanzio
(Raphael) was an Italian master painter and architect of the Florentine school in High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings. To celebrate his upcoming 37th birthday, Raphael got together with his girlfriend, Margherita and made hot monkey love. As is often the case, too much of a good thing can kill you.

So, on Good Friday, April 6, 1570, attempted to get out of bed after a night of excessive sex, Raphael fell into a fever. And not telling his doctors that this was its cause, given it was Good Friday, was given the wrong cure, which killed him.

April 6, 1868 -
To celebrate the 38th anniversary of the founding of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith Jr. and the 8th anniversary of the the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Joseph Smith III (Joe Jr.'s son), Mormon prophet Brigham Young married 23-year-old Ann Eliza Webb on this date.

This was Young's 27th wife, 18 of which are still married to him.

All I can say is - it's hard enough to keep one woman moderately happy - imagine the amount of energy it takes to keep 19 women amused.

April 6, 1896 -
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, were held in Athens, Greece starting on this date. These games were the first modern Olympic Games and the first Games since Roman emperor Theodosius I banned the Ancient Olympic Games in 393.

They were held between Monday, April 6 and Wednesday, April 15, 1896. Europeans were so enthusiastic about the revival of the Olympics, they didn't notice until four years later that the Summer Games were held in early spring.

On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde was arrested in room 118 of the Cadogan Hotel in London.

He was arrested for "gross indecency" i.e. sodomy.

April 6, 1909 -
A team lead by Robert E. Peary, Matthew A. Henson and four Inuit team members become the first men to reach the North Pole on this date. Arctic explorer Frederick A. Cook claims to have discovered the North Pole a year earlier, but the assertion will later be disproved. They established "Camp Jesup" allegedly within five miles of the pole.

The claim was disputed by skeptics and in 1988 the original navigational records were uncovered from the dog-sled voyage indicating that Peary probably never got closer than 121 miles from the North Pole. The first person to undisputedly reach the exact North Pole was Joseph Fletcher in 1952.

On this day in 1917, the United States formally declared war against Germany and entered World War I. At the time, the war had been going on in Europe for three years, but there was no real immediate threat to the United States.

Up until then, Woodrow Wilson had been opposed to the war. His campaign for president in 1916 included the slogan, "He kept us out of the war," though Wilson never used that phrase himself.

April 6, 1925
The first in-flight film was shown on an airplane (Imperial Airline) on a flight from London to Paris on this date.

The film was, The Lost World, the first science-fiction film (with early examples of stop-motion special effects) about prehistoric dinosaurs in a remote South American jungle. Given the plane’s wood frame and fabric hull, the actual film stock, which was extremely flammable, poses a significant danger on the flight.

April 6, 1930 -
Hostess Twinkies were invented by bakery executive James Dewar on this date.

Twinkies are back on the shelves and will probably be there long after we are all carried away by COVID-19.

April 6, 1971 -
The Rolling Stones
held a party in Cannes to unveil the launching of Rolling Stone Records on this date. The record label was created to promote the hits of The Rolling Stones. The famous Stones trademark, the lips logo, became widely used.

Brown Sugar was the first hit by the Rolling Stones on the new label, followed by Wild Horses and Tumbling Dice.

April 6, 1994 -
The Rwandan Genocide began, on this date, with the assassination of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana.

It lasted a little more than 100 days, but claimed over 800,000 lives.

April 6, 1998 -
Wendy O. Williams
, former porn star and singer for The Plasmatics, killed herself with a gun near her Connecticut home on this date.

Please crank this up to 11 in her honor.

Before you go - I've seen on several sites I frequent, a wonderful series of clips from the great series M*A*S*H put together by Frank Vaccariello showing how to stay safe and healthy during these trying times -

Thank you Mr. Vaccariello

And so it goes