Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Prize in Every Box

February 19, 1913 -
Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box for the first time on this date.



In ensuing decades, over seventeen billion prizes have been "awarded" to Cracker Jack purchasers. Among the numerous Cracker Jack prizes offered across the years are miniature plates, puzzles, books, bookmarks, pinball games, plastic figurines, and self-adhesive stickers (but alas, no Coup de Villes.)

Extra credit question: The name of Jack's dog ... Bingo.


February 19, 1974 -
KISS appeared on Dick Clark's IN CONCERT! on this date. This marks their first time on national television.



How KISS got a song about anal sex on national TV back in 1974 passed the censors is amazing.


February 19, 1982 -
The Wes Craven film Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise and Dick Durock, was released on this date.



Dick Durock was forced into the role of the Swamp Thing by necessity. He'd been brought on board the project as a stuntman, but the filmmakers found that it was impossible to go from Durock to Ray Wise - who had been cast as Alec Holland, Swamp Thing's former self - and back again because the two men looked so different in Swamp Thing's makeup.


Don't forget to check out Dr Caligari's Cupboard


Today in History:
February 19, 1329 -
(Antipope) Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in the Duomo of Pisa, at which a straw puppet representing his rival, Pope John XXII and dressed in pontifical robes was formally condemned, degraded, and handed over to the secular arm (to be "executed").

John XXII had the last laugh when he excommunicated Nicholas V in April 1329

and had him imprisoned until his death in August 1333.

Oh those wacky Antipopes.


February 19, 1473
-
Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Koppernigk - apparently he was running some sort of ponzi scheme at an early age) was born in Poland on this date.



He stated an early theory that the earth and the planets move around the sun that led the way to our understanding of planetary movement.


In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.



Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.



Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.



Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of luster to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesmodel for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge - one of our favorite corporate sponsors.)


February 19, 1910 -






February 19, 1960 -
The cartoon-strip The Family Circus by Bil Keane debuted in newspapers on this date.

For several months prior, it had been called The Family Circle.


February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.


February 19, 1997 -
Supreme Chinese leader and one time replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on this date.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.



And so it goes.



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From the very wonderful blog, Miss Cellania:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Drink to me only with thine eyes

Yeah, yeah,  I know,  it's National Drink Wine Day every day in my home.

While, I can't find the basis for the holiday, I have my suspicions: George, the English Duke of Clarence, was convicted of treason against his brother King Edward IV and murdered in the Tower of London on February 18, 1478.

The legend arose that he had been drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine.


Puddles Pity Party performs a beautiful cover of Roy Orbison‘s song Crying.



My day is complete.


February 18, 1938 -
If only he had his intercostal clavicle ...

The greatest screwball comedy, directed by Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant was released on this date.



Katharine Hepburn had one very close call with the leopard. She was wearing a skirt that was lined with little metal pieces to make the skirt swing prettily. When Hepburn turned around abruptly, the leopard made a lunge for her back. Only the intervention of the trainer's whip saved Hepburn.


February 18, 1939
-
Universal Studios released the WC Fields' comedy You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, also starring Edgar Bergen, on this date.



W.C. Fields became a big hit on radio, especially on Edgar Bergen's radio program, where he had a long-running "feud" with Charlie McCarthy. This film was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of that feud by having it carried on in a movie.


February 18, 1983 -
Martin Scorsese's
black comedy, The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard premiered in the US on this date.



In the scene where Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard argue in the street, three of the "street scum" that mock Bernhard are Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, members of the British punk rock band, The Clash.


Don't forget to check out this weeks' ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour 


Today in History:
February 18, 1268
-
On this date, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword are defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakovor.

If you hurry, I believe you can still send flowers or candy to friends and family to commemorate the event.


February 18, 1405 -



February 18, 1564 -
Michelangelo (Buonarotti), Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer died on this date.



He may have gotten the last laugh as he thought about the number of penises he got to paint on the ceiling of any church.


February 18, 1856 -
The American Party (Know-Nothings) convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on this date to nominate its first Presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.

And yes, he does look exactly like Alec Baldwin; thanks for noticing.


Elm Farm Ollie (known as "Nellie Jay" and post-flight as "Sky Queen") was the first cow to fly in an airplane, doing so on February 18, 1930, as part of the International Air Exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri.

On the same trip, which covered 72 miles from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. (Does that mean that she was the first cow to join the mile high club?) This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes. And somehow Charles Lindbergh was involved.

A St. Louis newspaper trumpeted her mission as being "to blaze a trail for the transportation of livestock by air."

Your life is better for knowing this.


February 18, 1930 -
Clyde Tombaugh like to look at French Postcards. He like to look into his neighbors' windows. When he got tired of that, he started studying photos of the night sky where astronomers predicted a "Planet X" would show up.

Tombaugh ended up discovering the dwarf planet Pluto on this date. He also discovered more than 800 asteroids during his search for "Planet X."  Our Alien Overlords were very wily avoiding Clyde.


February 18, 1933
-
Yoko Ono was born on this date.

What else is there to say?


February 18, 1967 -
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, died on this date.



His children never even send him flowers.


February 18, 1979 -
Snow fell in Sahara Desert, in Southern Algeria during a storm which lasts about half an hour on this date.

It didn't snow again until January 18, 2012. Perhaps, some of you may wish to move there now.


February 18, 2001
-
Race car driver Dale Earnhardt crashed into the wall at the Daytona 500, killing him instantly. His widow files a lawsuit to force the autopsy photos to be sealed, and a Florida law is subsequently passed to prevent them from ever being released.



Earnhardt was the most well known and most successful driver in the history of the sport.



And so it goes.


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Also, on a personal note - Happy Birthday Matt.




Friday, February 17, 2017

Mind if I smoke?

I don't care if you burn.



February 17, 1965 -
You are going to be a star
.



Joan Rivers
made her first guest appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson on NBC-TV.


February 17, 1967 -
The Beatles released Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever on this date.





These songs were intended for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Capitol Records decided to release the two songs as a single, partly to regain popularity from John Lennon's "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus" comment.


February 17, 1989
-
The cinematic masterpiece Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter opened in theaters on this date.



In the film, Bill and Ted claim that they need Edward Van Halen in their band to make it better. After the film was released, he jokingly said he would have joined their band if they had asked.


It's 10 PM somewhere in the world

Today in History:
February 17, 1600
-
Roman philosopher and mathematician Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake at Campo di Fiore in Rome, likely because of his advocating the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun.



His death at the hands of Roman Inquisition is thought to have convinced Galileo to recant his own theory of a moving Earth.  The people living around the Palatine Hills always expected the Roman Inquisition.


Celebrated French dramatist and comedian Moliere collapsed on stage and died on February 17, 1673. It is said that he was wearing green, and because of that, there is a superstition that green brings bad luck to actors. As an actor, he was not allowed by the laws of the time to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery.



His wife Armande asked the King Louis XIV to allow a "normal" funeral celebrated at night. The king agreed, and Moliere was buried in a part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptized infants. In some accounts of his death, it is said that over 800 people attended his "secret" funeral.


A bomb exploded in the dining room of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace on February 17, 1880. Tsar Alexander II survived. Being late for supper, the Tsar was not harmed, although 67 other people were killed or wounded. The dining room floor was also heavily damaged.

While it is often said that promptness is the politeness of kings; sometimes being late can save you.


February 17, 1904 -
The original two-act version Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, premiered on this date.



It did not go so well, lasting just one performance. One critic refereed to the performance as a "diabetic opera, the result of an automobile accident." Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act into two acts and making other changes. On May 28, 1904, the new version was performed in Brescia and was a huge success.


February 17, 1933 -
The first issue of the weekly news magazine, Newsweek, was published on this date.

The issue, all 32 pages of it, could be purchased for a dime, but you could get it discounted for a year's subscription at $4.




February 17, 1994 -
The decomposing corpse of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first president of the Republic of Georgia, was exhumed from a temporary grave in Djikhaskari on this date. His wife refused an autopsy, but western journalists noted a bullet wound in the side of Zviad's head. Officially listed as suicide, the wife also claims he was murdered. Another government minister oddly states the death was by cancer with the head shot administered post-mortem.

Note to self: don't seek cancer treatment in the Republic of Georgia or the state of Georgia, for that matter.

Avoid getting cancer, if at all possible.



And so it goes.



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