Friday, October 20, 2017

In case you were wondering

You can’t kill yourself

by holding your breath.


October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin's most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.



Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.


October 20, 1939
-
The ninth Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.



The scene in the midget's trailer was the only time Harpo Marx was even vaguely heard on-screen (when he sneezes).


October 20, 1973
-
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.



In 2005 German chancellor Angela Merkel appropriated this acoustic ballad for her Christian Democratic Union Party. "We're surprised that permission wasn't requested," said a Stones spokesman of Merkel's choice of song. "If it had been, we would have said no."


October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte
, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.





Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.



(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)


And now, a commercial for Gin.


Today in History:
October 20, 480 BC
-
(Sometimes the world changes in a day) The Athenian fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persians in the Naval Battle of Salamis on this date.

Though the Persians armies scored a major victory over Athens only weeks prior, this decisive naval victory, coupled with the losses the Persians suffered in the Battle of Thermopylae forced Persian forces to withdraw from Greece.



That victory will arguably lead to the rise of Greece as a global power and the eventual dissemination of Greek philosophies and ideals, such as democracy, throughout the western world. And as always, there was much roasted lamb consumed and much sodomy engaged in that night.


October 20, 1818 -

Canada and the United States in the "Convention of 1818", established the 49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.



The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.

There are some 150 people who live in the Northwest Angle, MN, a spot of land that is separated from the rest of the USA by Lake of the Woods



Students who live in the Northwest Angle go to school in Warroad, MN, the Angle Inlet School (the only surviving one room school,) and have to cross the international border on their way to and from school each day. It must suck to get a full body cavity search every day before school.



Thank you to our family from the north for your kind words.  Now keep to your side of the parallel!


October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer William Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity. He tore the red spots from a deck of playing cards, at the time the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, saturated them with water, and jammed them into a length of steel pipe from his bed frame. Kogut placed the bomb on the heater and waited for science to take it's course.

I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.


October 20, 1944 -
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return," on this date.



He landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, Gen’l. Carlos Romulo, who later served as foreign minister and a boatload of press and photographers to record the event.


October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.



The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.


October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.



If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: I want to grab you by your nether regions, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.



Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.


October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date.



Who was the man who finally fired Cox: Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.


October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University, Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album



Drunken frat boys everywhere cry out in their mournful lamentations, "Play 'Freebird' man".



And so it goes.


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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life is very narrow without glasses of gin and tonic

Several sources, including the eponymously named Facebook page, lists today as International Gin and Tonic Day.  Some cite April 9th as the date.  I'm up for celebrating on both dates. (But don't confuse it with World Gin Day which always falls on the second Saturday of June.)



So celebrate the day with the British Royal Family by drinking your G and T and make the room begin to spin.


October 19, 1966 -
The first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (who went on to work together in 11 additional films), The Fortune Cookie, premiered on this date.



This was director Billy Wilder's second film in a row in which one of his lead actors suffered a heart attack. In preceding film, 1964's Kiss Me, Stupid, Peter Sellers' health problem forced Wilder to replace him with Ray Walston. In The Fortune Cookie, Walter Matthau suffered attack midway through production but shooting was postponed until he recovered; his drastic weight loss from scene to scene is noticeable.


October 19, 1973 -
Columbia Pictures
released Sydney Pollack's romantic drama, The Way We Were, written by Arthur Laurents and starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, on this date.



Robert Redford was unhappy with cuts made to the film following a preview. He said, "I think we'd both have preferred a more political Dalton Trumbo -type script, but finally Sydney came down on the side of the love story. He said, 'This is first and foremost a love affair,' and we conceded that. We trusted his instincts, and he was right."


October 19, 1977 -
Richard Brooks'
somewhat lurid look at the 70s dating scene, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld, William Atherton, and Richard Gere, premiered in Los Angeles on this date



Actress Diane Keaton's contract explicitly prohibited the manufacture of any production photograph stills from any "sexually suggestive" frames from the film's print.


October 19, 1985 -
The Norwegian band a-Ha, who went from total unknowns to chart-topping pop stars when the song Take On Me, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart on this day.



A-ha wrote and recorded the first version of this song in 1982 with the title Lesson One - it had different lyrics but contained the basic keyboard riff. In 1983, the song got the attention of industry veteran Terry Slater, who becomes their manager and helps them secure a contract with Warner Bros. Records later that year.


This didn't work out.


Today in History:
October 19, 1879
(I've also seen the date as 10/21/79, 10/22/79, 10/25/79 or 11/03/79 - I'm guessing geniuses can't be bothered when they're filing other people patents under their name every 12 minutes or crushing their competition with false and scurrilous rumors.) - Thomas A. Edison successfully demonstrates the electric light.



Unfortunately, it took several years to straighten out his first electric bill.


October 19, 1890 -
My favorite self-circumcising, Muslim passing, male brothel going, Late-Victorian pornographer and international man of mystery Richard Francis Burton, explorer, British consul, translator, died on this date.

His wife, Lady Burton, spent several years burning most of his unpublished notes (he had been working on translating the book The Perfumed Garden and its controversy chapters concerning homosexual sex positions - I kid you not,) before published a (highly sanitized) biography of her late husband.


October 19, 1901 -
Alberto Santos-Dumont
successfully circled the Eiffel Tower in his Santos-Dumont No. 6 dirigible within a half hour and won a 100,000 franc prize.

An initial ruling said that he failed by 40 seconds because the race wasn’t finished until he touched ground. A 2nd vote granted him the win.

This proved the airship maneuverable and parking was very bad in Paris at the turn of the previous century even for dirigibles.


In the midst of the First World War, Salvation Army volunteers in France found themselves stymied by inadequate supplies and ovens for baking. Unable to prepare the cakes and and pies they so badly wanted to bake for the troops, they came up with the novel idea of frying rather than baking the dough.



Two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Stella Young and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. This resulted in the appearance of the world's first fried donut on a WWI front on October 19, 1917.



The donut should not be confused with the bagel, despite their physical resemblance. The bagel is boiled and baked, whereas the donut is fried (but sometimes baked.)



Bagels are found in varieties such as onion, garlic, salt, poppy-seed, and sesame-seed, and are frequently consumed with cheese and fish.

Donuts are found in varieties such as glazed, chocolate, chocolate-frosted, strawberry-frosted, powdered, jelly-filled, and sprinkled.

They are rarely consumed with cheese or fish, but they go pretty damn well with coffee (or tea.)


October 19, 1953 -
After Julius La Rosa had finished singing Manhattan on Arthur Godfrey Time, the host (and general scum bag) Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air, announcing, "that was Julie's swan song with us."



Unaware the firing was coming (or what the phrase "swan song" meant), La Rosa tearfully met with Godfrey after the broadcast and thanked him for giving him his "break."


October 19, 1982
-
Maverick carmaker John DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles with $24 million dollars worth of cocaine in his suitcase on this date.

The case was later thrown out of court when a judge rules that the FBI sting operation constituted entrapment.


October 19, 1987 -
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 22% (508 points), in what has become know as Black Monday.



$500 billion in market capitalization was evaporated from the Dow Jones stock index, making the drop the largest decline ever.



And so it goes



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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

America's Last Frontier

October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - once again, avoid the Palin clan; reports are in that they had been celebrating earlier. They have been out looking at Russia again and they are mean drunks.)

It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on October 18, 1867.


October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.



Rita Moreno stated that her line reading of "Don't you touch me!" after the Jets attack Anita was her imitating Marlon Brando, her then-boyfriend. Brando even noticed at the film's premiere.


October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.



Walt Disney died during production of this film. Many people wondered at what the studio's fate would be, particularly the animation division. The film performed extremely well at the box office, ensuring that the animators would not be put out of work. Had the film failed, it is likely that animation would have been closed down at the Disney studio.


October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.



Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.


October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)



Sara Gilbert's contribution to the show was considered so important to Roseanne that the show's producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York.


The zen moment of the day


Today in History:
October 18, 1216
-
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting  the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)



Once John became king, he argued with everyone: the Pope, the King of France (whom his brother may or may not have been involved romantically with) and most of the Barons of England. King John died on this day after eating too many peaches and drinking too much cider. He was trying to cheer himself up after being chased by revolting Barons half way across England and losing the crown jewels while fleeing from them.


October 18, 1767
-
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.



Bad confederates, bad.

October 18, 1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.

So class, once again, that makes all Puerto Ricans - U.S. citizens!


October 18, 1903 -
Hundreds of people in San Francisco were startled to see Dr. August Greth fly his 80-foot-long American Eagle airship over the city on this date.

At first his flight seemed successful but then the dirigible's engine stalled and the wind carried it over the bay where it plummeted into the water. He and his assistant, overcome by escaping gas, were safely recovered by soldiers from Fort Point.

Bad Hydrogen, bad.


October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.



Bad Grim Reaper, bad.
(or good, depending on your viewpoint of Mr. Edison.)


October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.



Bad spy, bad spy.


October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union
announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon a few days earlier.

Remember kids, there is no dark side of the moon - it's all dark.


October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.

Bad Beatle, bad Beatle.


October 18, 1974
-
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

Bad Dick, bad.


October 18, 1984 -
President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

Bad - oh forget it, he's dead.



And so it goes


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