Monday, July 24, 2017

It's National Tequilla Day today.

Tequila originated from Mexico in the 1800s and is now one of the most popular alcohols worldwide, especially in America.



While I am not a tequila man myself, I would not turn a Frozen Margarita down on a hot and humid day.


July 24, 1946 -
Paramount Studios released the film-noir classic, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and Kirk Douglas (his film debut,) on this date.



The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film.


July 24, 1948 -
... Crumbly Crunchies are the best
Look delicious on your vest
Serve them to unwanted guests
Stuff the mattress with the rest
....

A great Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, Haredevil Hare, was released on this date. (It was the first appearance of Marvin the Martian, though he wasn't named until decades later.)



Look for a photo of then freshman California Congressman Richard M. Nixon who appears in the faux newspaper The Daily Snooze under the headline "Heroic Rabbit Volunteers As First Passenger."


July 24, 1965 -
Bob Dylan released his classic Like a Rolling Stone on this date.



The title is not a reference to The Rolling Stones. It is taken from the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Dylan got the idea from the Hank Williams song Lost Highway, which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost."


July 24, 1978 -
The truly execrable Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band starring the Brothers Gibbs was released upon an unsuspecting public on this date.



Aerosmith was the second choice to play the Future Villain Band. KISS was approached first, but turned down the role fearing it would hurt their image. They instead opted to star in KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.


July 24, 1998 -
The unflinchingly gritty Steven Spielberg war flick, Saving Private Ryan premiered on this date.



Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an All-American look. He did not know Damon would win an Oscar for Good Will Hunting and become an overnight star before the film was released.


Word of the day


Today in History:
July 24, 1567
-
Mary of Guise, the French wife of Scotland's King James V, gave birth to a daughter named Mary in 1542. A week later King James died and the very young Mary became the Queen of Scotland.

Prince Edward of England proposed marriage to the Queen immediately and his proposal is therefore known as the Rough Wooing. While the pedophile Prince waited for the Queen to acquire enough verbal skills to reply, the Scottish parliament annulled the engagement.

Edward's father, the English King Henry VIII, considered this an insult and declared war. Following an especially nasty Scottish defeat in 1547, Mary was sent to France. It was hoped she would learn to read and write there, and perhaps reach puberty.

She was raised in the court of Henry II, which ought to have taught her some manners, but instead inspired her to marry a dolphin. Eventually the dolphin became king and died, leaving Mary the dowager queen of France. She was 18. Her mother had meanwhile died in Scotland, which caused the Protestants to rebel. They imported the Reformation and banned the Pope. Mary, being Catholic, returned to Scotland to work out a compromise: the country could be Protestant as long as she was allowed to be Catholic.

Four years later she married her cousin, Lord Darnley, a Two-Door Steward. Unfortunately he turned out to be disgusting, and even the birth of a son could not induce Lord Darnley to behave. He was therefore struck by an explosion the following year and subsequently died of strangulation. She was then kidnapped by one of the men suspected of strangling Lord Darnley, a certain Earl of Bothwell, whom she therefore made a Duke and married.

This angered the Protestants, who rose up against her and, on this very day in 1567, made her abdicate in favor of her son, who was immediately crowned as James VI.



She then escaped, raised an army, and was promptly defeated. She became a guest (or, in English, "prisoner") of Queen Elizabeth, until she was caught writing letters asking friends to support (or, in Scottish, "kill") the English Queen.



She was therefore beheaded, and remains dead to this day.


316 years ago today, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a trading post at Fort Ponchartrain for France on the future site of the city of Detroit, Michigan, in an attempt to halt the advance of the English into the western Great Lakes region.

Mr Cadillac himself thereby came to be known as "the Rolls Royce of settlers."  M. Cadillac would be happy to see the improvements going on in Detroit today.


July 24, 1883 -
Captain Matthew Webb wasn't having a great day today. Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel in 1875, was attempting to swim across the Niagara River just below the falls.

The Captain was looking to collect a £12,000.00 fortune, when he jumped from his small boat into the raging torrent. He hit his head on jagged rocks and drowned while trying to swim across the Niagara River. His last words were (apparently,) "If I die, they will do something for my wife?"


July 24, 1915 -
Almost 850 Western Electric employees and their family members perish when the chartered steamer SS Eastland rolled over in Chicago harbor on this date. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.



Moral: Avoid company picnics.


July 24, 1959 -
While visiting a model kitchen in a U.S. exhibition in Moscow, Vice President Richard M. Nixon debated with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a U.S. exhibition in the famous 'Kitchen' debate, on the merits of capitalism and communism



Nixon correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker. (Stop dreaming about a $100-a-month mortgage.)



And so it goes.


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Sunday, July 23, 2017

And now, a young man leaning against the dryer




July 23, 1966 -
Frank Sinatra's song Strangers in the Night, hits the top of the charts on this date.



This was a big comeback song for Sinatra, becoming his first #1 Pop hit in 11 years.  Sinatra despised the song, calling it "a piece of shit." Even though it was his biggest hit in 11 years, the singer never included this number in any of his late 1960s specials.


July 23, 1982 -
Warner Bros. released George Roy Hill's adaptation of John Irving's novel, The World According to Garp, starring Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close, and John Lithgow, on this date.



This picture was one three films providing four performances that were Oscar nominated for drag at the 1983 Academy Awards ceremony, an all-time record for any one year. The movies and actors were: Dustin Hoffman for Tootsie; Julie Andrews and Robert Preston for Victor Victoria; and John Lithgow for The World According to Garp.


July 23, 1987 -
Columbia Pictures released the biopix about Richie Valens, La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, and Elizabeth Peña, on this date.



Ritchie Valens' family were so attached to Lou Diamond Phillips that when he was shooting the scene where Valens gets on the airplane that led him to his death, the family begged Phillips not to get on, fearing that he would die. The family was warned not to come to the filming the day that they filmed him getting on the plane but his sister ignored this and drove up to the set anyways. She cried, hugged him and begged him not to get on the plane


Today in History:
July 23, 776BC -
A very large number of sweaty, muscular men poured into Greece, shaved their entire bodies, greased themselves up and ran naked through the streets on this date (and it wasn't even Greek Pride Day.)



The first Olympic Games opened in Olympia on this date.


July 23, 1848 -
Protesting slavery as well as the U.S. involvement in the Mexican War, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his $1 poll tax and was arrested on this date in history. That night, a relative came by and paid Thoreau's poll tax.

When he was told he could leave, Thoreau objected and was threatened with force to remove him. His written account of the experience is later read by Leo Tolstoi, Marcel Proust, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis and William Butler Yeats and it persuaded them to advocate civil disobedience.


July 23, 1885 -
One of the most famous residents of West 122th Street and Riverside Drive made a most fateful decision on this date.



He decided to give up the ghost.

In 1881, Ulysses S. Grant, American general, the eighteenth President of the United States and famous horseback riding drunk, purchased a house in New York City and placed almost all of his financial assets into an investment banking partnership with Ferdinand Ward, as suggested by Grant's son Buck (Ulysses, Jr.), who was having success on Wall Street. Very wrong move.

Ward swindled Grant (and other investors who had been encouraged by Grant) in 1884, bankrupted the company, Grant and Ward and fled. Ward had invented the Ponzi scheme before the term was invented.

Grant learned at the same time that he was suffering from throat cancer. Grant and his family were left destitute; at the time retired U.S. Presidents were not given pensions, and Grant had forfeited his military pension when he assumed the office of President. Grant first wrote several articles on his Civil War campaigns for The Century Magazine, which were warmly received. Mark Twain offered Grant a generous contract for the publication of his memoirs, including 75% of the book's sales as royalties.



Terminally ill, Grant finished the book just a few days before his death. The memoirs sold over 300,000 copies, earning the Grant family over $450,000. Twain promoted the book as "the most remarkable work of its kind since the Commentaries of Julius Caesar," and Grant's memoirs are also regarded by such writers as Matthew Arnold and Gertrude Stein as among the finest ever written .

Ulysses S. Grant died at 8:06 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 1885, at the age of 63 in Mount McGregor, Saratoga County, New York. His last word was a request, "Water" (I'd like to believe it was actually, "Sir, cut my bourbon with water."

Grant's funeral was one of the greatest outpourings of public grief in history. A large funeral parade marched through New York City from City Hall to Riverside Park. It had 60,000 marchers, stretched seven miles, and took up to five hours to pass. Well over one million spectators witnessed the parade.



The funeral was attended by numerous dignitaries, including President Grover Cleveland, his cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court, the two living ex-presidents (Hayes and Arthur), virtually the entire Congress, and almost every living figure who had played a prominent role during the Civil War.

Civil War veterans from both North and South took part, reflecting the high esteem in which he was held throughout a reunified country. General Winfield S. Hancock led the procession, and Grant's pallbearers included former comrades -- General William T. Sherman, General Philip H. Sheridan and Admiral David D. Porter - as well as former Confederates - Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Simon B. Buckner.

Completed in 1897, Grant's Tomb is the second largest mausoleum in North America (President Garfield's Memorial is the first).


July 23, 1886 -
New York saloonkeeper Steve Brodie claimed to have made a daredevil plunge from the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River on this.



However, having the perfect new New York spirit, few historians believe the jump actually occurred


July 23, 1904 -
According to popular legend, Charles E Menches invented the practice of serving ice cream in an ice cream cone on this date at the St. Louis World's Fair.

It beats the old system of cramming your mouth with as much ice cream as you could hold in it before suffocating.


July 23, 1966 -
The "longest suicide in Hollywood" finally came to a sad on this date, with the death of Montgomery Clift of a heart attack brought on by his severe drug and alcohol addictions.



After his near-fatal car accident in 1956, (in which, Elizabeth Taylor saved the actor from choking to death by removing two teeth lodged in his throat) Montgomery Clift stumbled through life in a haze of pain and professional disappointments. Clift still managed to turn in some amazing performances during this period



(Monty got a raw deal indeed.)

He is now the most famous 'resident' of Quaker Cemetery in Prospect Park Brooklyn.



And so it goes.


Before you go - here's a sneak peak of Puddles appearance on Tuesday's episode of AGT -



Can't wait to see how the voting goes.


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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Have you seen her sick duck?

July 22nd is Spooner's Day, honoring Reverend William Archibald Spooner, a 19th Century British clergyman, who was born on this date in 1844. Spoonerisms are usually a two-word phrase in which the first letters (and occasionally the initial vowels) of the words are reversed.



Reverend Spooner was adept at the art of the oopsy linguae, or misspeak. As a result, certain verbal miscues have been tagged Spoonerisms.


July 22, 1964 -
One of Hitchcock's most underrated (and sexually twisted) films, Marnie premiered on this date.



Alfred Hitchcock
and Tippi Hedren had a major falling-out during the filming and there was a rumor that by the end he directed her through intermediaries. Although Hedren admits the she and Hitchcock's friendship ended during shooting, she denies the rumor that he didn't finish directing the film.


July 22, 1967 -
The Toho Studio released King Kong Escapes, directed by Ishiro Honda in Japan on this date. (Despite the master villain being named Dr. Who, this film has no connection to Doctor Who.)



Two costumes of King Kong were made. The arms of the first costume were very long, so Haruo Nakajima's hands did not reach those of the costume. He had to grasp onto sticks that were attached to the hands of the costume. He wore a second costume with shorter arms whenever they were shooting footage of King Kong battling other monsters.


July 22, 1983
20th Century Fox jumped on the strange new bandwagon of Dad's taking care of their kids when the film, Mr. Mom, starring Michael Keaton, Teri Garr, Martin Mull, Ann Jillian, and Christopher Lloyd went into a limited release on this date.



Michael Keaton turned down a role in the film Splash to do this movie.


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


Today in History:
July 22, 1587
-
Roanoke, the colony founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, might have gone missing on this date.



Recent development point to the fact that the inhabitants of Roanoke didn't go missing, they appear to have originated the joke that after certain people left, everyone else moved and didn't leave a forwarding address.


July 22, 1933 -
Wiley Post
(who possessed his flying license signed by Orville Wright) took off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York City and traveled 15,596 miles over a period of 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes and became the first person to fly solo around the world on this date.



Post lands back at Floyd Bennett Field in New York, completing the first round-the-world solo flight. His return was greeted by some 50,000 people.


July 22, 1934 -
John Dillinger was shot dead outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre, on this date in history. And one of the most bizarre urban legends is born.



According to the rumor, J Edgar Hoover, pug ugly head of the FBI and notorious transvestite, rushes to Chicago to see the corpse himself. Dillinger, Public Enemy No. 1. Dillinger was a ladies man and was reported to be very specially endowed.

Hoover, after viewing the nude lifeless body of Dillinger in the morgue, orders Dillinger's member to be removed and preserved as a 'specimen' for his private files.

Rumors of Hoover's trophy dogged him for the rest of his life. He even went to the extraordinary step of stating sometime in the late 60s that he "did not now nor even have Dillinger's privates in a jar". His comments were not taken seriously as he was wearing a size 28 Dior outfit with matching handbag (and Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge) at the time.

The Smithsonian museum is still flooded with requests annually to view this 'special exhibition'.


July 22, 1951 -
It's the first episode of Dogs In Space

Two Russian dogs, Dezik and Tsygan, were the first canines to make a sub-orbital flight in history on this date.

The Russian space program used dogs quite often to determine whether a particular space mission would be safe for humans. Little know fact: the real reason Nikita Khrushchev slammed his shoe on the desk in the UN - Khrushchev had just been passed a note about a ten year investigation of Tsygan's over-familiarity with his shoe.


At the time of his death on this date in 1982, King Sobhuza II was the longest-reigning monarch in the world. His death also established him as the most recently-deceased monarch in the world. Today he is on a long list of continuously dead rulers.

Sobhuza began his career as Paramount Chief of the Swazi in 1921, but was not recognized as king by Great Britain, which ran the nation as a protectorate, until 1967. (The forgetful Brits have a long history of failing to recognize kings, perhaps owing to the difficulty of seeing clearly in the London fog.)



The Brits wrote a Constitution before they left, but Sobhuza did not discover it until 1973, at which point he discarded it on the grounds of its being British. Five years later he implemented a better Constitution that, surprisingly enough, left all political power in his own hands.

He died in 1982. The Constitution declared that he should be succeeded by one of his children, which seemed simple at first but was complicated by the revelation of his having had over 600 children.

(Apparently he had time on his hands for more than political power.) It took four years to find the right son, and King Mswati III has reigned ever since.


July 22, 1982 -
It's a happy 35th anniversary for over 2000 couples who were married by Rev. Moon in Madison Square Garden on this date in NYC.

As far as I can find out, nearly 75% of the couples are still married (although, perhaps not to each other.)



And so it goes. 


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