Monday, October 24, 2016

In praise of the lowly cold cut.

It's National Bologna Day

When was the last time you had a Baloney sandwich?

Just don't ask how they make it.

We're nearing the home stretch, just about two weeks away from the election. Today's happy place song, sings the praises of wine, and its ability to make you forget your problems - what's not to like with a song like that:

Even more to like about the song is to remember that it's written by Neil Diamond.

October 24, 1962 -
A taut thriller with the underlying theme of an afternoon tea party gone horribly wrong - The Manchurian Candidate, premiered on this date.

By his own admission Frank Sinatra's best work always came in the first take. John Frankenheimer always liked the idea of using the freshness of a first take - so nearly all of the key scenes featuring Sinatra are first takes, unless a technical problem prevented them being used.

October 24, 1969 -
The original version of Brokeback Mountain, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, premiered on this date.

Lula Parker Betenson, sister of the real Butch Cassidy, often visited the set, and her presence was welcome to the cast and crew. During lulls in shooting she would tell stories about her famous brother's escapades, and was amazed at how accurately the script and Paul Newman portrayed him.

October 24, 1973 -
One of the greatest character actresses, Nancy Walker, made her first appearance in one of her most famous roles, Ida Morgenstern, in the The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode Support Your Local Mother on this date.

James L. Brooks and Allan Burns won an Emmy for "outstanding writing achievement in comedy" for this episode.

October 24, 1973 -
The series about bald, dapper, New York City policeman, Kojak, starring Telly Savalas, premiered on CBS-TV on this date. (Here's a gimme piece of trivial - Telly was Jennifer Aniston's godfather.)

Although it is stated numerous times that Theo Kojak is of Greek heritage, the name "Kojak" is actually of Polish origin. Kojak's heritage was changed to Greek in order to match Telly Savalas's Greek heritage.

Today in History:
October 24, 1601 -
Tycho Brahe, nobleman, astronomer and alchemist, died from politeness on this date. He was fabulously wealthy and had a dwarf court jester sit under the table at dinner to amuse him. Tycho lost his nose in a duel and had a metal one made which he famously wore for the rest of his life. He also had a pet moose, who died from a drunken fall (I can't make this stuff up.)

Brahe went to a party at a friend’s house and drank heavily, bound by the etiquette of the day, Tycho couldn’t leave the table until his host did -not even to go to the bathroom. When he finally left the table he found he could not go; his bladder was blocked from waiting too long. He lingered for days in utter agony for days until he died on this date.

Traditionally it’s believed he died from urine poisoning. Recent analysis of hair taken from his remains shows that he must have ingested a large dose of mercury about 20 hours before his death, possibly as a medicine for his illness or perhaps he was poisoned - some believe by his famous student Johannes Kepler, who worked for him at the time and was appointed his successor as imperial mathematician.

October 24, 1836 -
(Please follow along on your flow charts - this will be on the test) Mankind was not fully mankind until it learned how to set things on fire. That happened a long time ago and enabled such hallmarks of early civilization as cooked meat, heated homes, and flaming heretics. Only in the past few hundred years has mankind learned how to start fires quickly and easily.

In 1680, Irish scientist Robert Boyle discovered that rubbing phosphorus and sulphur together caused them to burst into flames. Such was his reward for a lifetime spent rubbing phosphorus against things to see what would happen.

In 1827, seizing upon the Irish invention with a zeal usually reserved for Irish real estate, an Englishman named John Walker invented "sulphuretted peroxide strikeables," which were like matches except they were three feet long and as likely to explode as ignite.

A variation on this firestarter was introduced in England in 1828, patented by Samuel Jones. It was called the Promethean, and consisted of a glass bulb of sulphuric acid. The bulb was coated with potassium chlorate, sugar, and gum, then wrapped in paper. To ignite the Promethean, one broke the glass bulb against one's teeth. Dentists loved it, but the public remained wary.

Germans began manufacturing small phosphorus matches in Germany in 1832. Like so many other German inventions, however, these tended to ignite with a series of explosions that spread fire about one's feet. They also exploded when stepped on. This dampened their popularity among the arson-averse public.

Finally, on this date, a patent was issued in the United States to Alonzo D. Phillips for the manufacture of friction matches and called them Locofocos.

October 24, 1901 -
Anna Edson Taylor
, a 43-year-old widow, was the first woman to go safely over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The barrel was four and a half feet high and three feet across. Ms. Taylor went over Niagara Falls and dropped 175 feet.

She made the attempt for the cash award offered, which she put toward the loan on her Texas ranch and help her make a fortune touring the world. Although the stunt did indeed receive international attention, Taylor reaped a few financial rewards but died in poverty after twenty years as a Niagara street vendor.

October 24, 1929 -
The stock market began a catastrophic collapse and this day became know as Black Thursday nearly 13 million shares traded hands and stock prices plummeted.

This ultimately led to the Great Depression. Scientists around the world desperately sought a cure for the millions of Depressed peoples on every continent. Researchers from the National Socialist Society eventually demonstrated that the people of Germany, Italy and Spain were Depressed because their trains didn't run on time, and fascism was invented to address this shortcoming.

Having resolved their train schedules, however, fascists discovered that many people were still unhappy. This was found to have been the result of socialism (remember, National Socialist are not Socialists i.e. Communist), which was incompatible with fascism, and persons who failed to become happy were subsequently shot.

This caused the Spanish Civil War, which was so successful it inspired World War II, after which everyone felt much better.

October 24, 1931 -
The George Washington Bridge opens to public traffic, linking New York City with New Jersey. The bridge became a famous New York landmark and has been featured in many movies and TV shows. The toll to cross the bridge was to be temporary -- just to cover costs.

But it costs and costs and costs when you have to keep repairing and painting a bridge that big -- so, the bridge toll continues. And the bridge is still being painted. But there are no traffic studies today

October 24, 1947 -
In a very UN-American fashion, Neo-Nazi and American Isolationist Walt Disney testified before the House Unamerican Activities Committee on this date.

Disney named employees he believes to be Communists, ranting about how Communists were infiltrating the unions he has to deal with, and how "Commie groups began smear campaigns against [him]."

October 24, 1960 -
At the Soviet Union's Baykonur space facility, an R-16 ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad, incinerating 165 people on this date.

Included among the dead is Field Marshall Mitrofan Nedelin, whose death is covered up as having occurred in a plane crash.

And so it goes

Sunday, October 23, 2016

In case you were wondering.

Once again, Mole Day has crept up and caught us unaware.  Mole Day is celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 AM until 6:02 PM - Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.

Don't tell anybody that you celebrated this day.

Today's happy place song is actually not quite a happy place song by a guy not known for his happy place songs - Ray Davies.

Perhaps we shouldn't be drinking this many days straight?

Today is also TV Talk Show Host Day. We celebrate and honor all TV Talk Show hosts (especially since so many of them have changed over this year.)

This very special day is celebrated on the birth date of legendary night time talk show host Johnny Carson. Carson is considered the "King of Late Night Television". He hosted The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 for a record 29 years, 7 months, 21 days (4,531 episodes - Letterman did a total of 6,028, counting his 1982-93 run at NBC in addition to his CBS tenure )

While this day is celebrated on Johnny Carson's birth date, it is intended to show appreciation to all Television talk show hosts, daytime and nighttime.

Celebrate today, by staying up all day and night and watch talk shows (until you pass out.)

October 23, 1941 -
Walt Disney studios release their fourth animated film, Dumbo on this date.

Initially Walt Disney was uninterested in making this movie. To get him interested, story men Joe Grant and Dick Huemer wrote up the film as installments which they left on Walt's desk every morning. Finally, he ran into the story department saying, "This is great! What happens next?"

October 23, 1992 -
The first feature length debut of a Quentin Tarantino film, Reservoir Dogs opened in the US on this date.

The film's budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn's track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.

Today in History:
October 23, 42 BC
While it is not the Ides of March - today was a very bad day for Brutus.

Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead assassins of Julius Casear, and his army are decisively defeated by Mark Antony and Octavian in the Second Battle of Philippe, on this date.

Brutus didn't take the loss well and committed suicide.

His last words were allegedly Yes, we must escape, but this time with our hands, not our feet. (I believe they really were, Ouch, that really hurts except in Latin, of course.)

According to James Ussher, the venerable 17th century Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr John Lightfoot of Cambridge, it was at exactly 9:00 a.m. on the chilly autumn morning of October 23, 4004 BC, that God created the world.

9:00 A.M. - exactly? (Where didn't appear to enter into their consideration.) This strikes me as monumental. If the world was created at 9:00 AM Greenwich Time, it would have been 5:00 AM Eastern Time, meaning the world was technically created earlier in the Old World than it was in the New. What's worse, Hawaii, the Midway Islands, Samoa, and other points west would have been created the day before.

It's conceivable, I suppose, that Ussher and Lightfoot (which sounds like either a rock group, law firm, or television action series) could have been mistaken in their calculations, but if we start questioning men of God, where will it end? Sooner or later we'll start questioning God himself, which couldn't possibly lead anywhere good. No, it's either blind obedience to God or the Hell with us all.

Just ask ISIS.

Anyway, this would make this old earth just 6012 years old on October 23 (according to Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and others.)

But then again, the voice of reason keeps rearing it's ugly head.

October 23, 1910 -
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Blanche S. Scott became the first woman to undertake a solo airplane flight on this date, reaching an altitude of twelve feet.

Early in the year, Scott was the second woman, after Alice Huyler Ramsey, to drive an automobile across the United States and the first driving westwards from New York City to San Francisco, California.

October 23,1935 -
Gangsters Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz were fatally shot at a saloon in Newark, New Jersey in what will become known as The Chophouse Massacre.

Remember kids, crime doesn't pay (except perhaps for Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.)

October 23, 1959 -
Alfred Matthew Yankovic, Grammy Award winning singer, musician, actor, satirist, parodist, songwriter, music producer, accordionist, and television producer, was born on this date.

And you just thought he was some nerdy guy who sang some funny songs.

October 23, 1987 -
United States Senate rejected the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork on a 58-to-42 vote. Ostensibly this was because he admitted to smoking marijuana as a youth, which would be the wrong reason. He should have been rejected for his dealings in the Saturday Night Massacre (with evil chin hair.)

Some have since argued that Bork was the target of a smear campaign, and they began using his last name as a verb, saying that they wanted to prevent future nominees from getting "borked." The word "bork" was added to Webster's dictionary, defined as, "[Seeking] to obstruct a political appointment or selection, also to attack a political opponent viciously." Robert Bork said, "My name became a verb, and I regard that as one form of immortality."

The chip on Mr. Bork's shoulder made the one on Clarence Thomas' very small indeed. BTW, Mr. Thomas was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on this date in 1991.

October 23, 1995 -
The murderer of the Pop Star singer Selena, and president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, was found guilty in Houston of her slaying on this date.

It helped that case tremendously that with her last breathe, Selena was able to say, "Hey, the big fat ugly embezzling head of my fan club just shot me in the back."

Very lucky break for the prosecution.

And so it goes

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Please email him, directly in full caps, to complain.

Today is the day that campaigns for the removal of the caps lock button from standard QWERTY keyboards (or for the moving of the button), due to people continually accidentally pressing the button when they mean to use other keys.

There’s also a tendency for people to ‘shout’ (either intentionally or accidentally) by using capital letters when typing, especially online. International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold Iowa.

Today's happy place song is actually a happy place song by a guy known for his happy place songs - Jimmy Buffet.

Remember to find your shaker of salt (if you so chose to drink your margarita with salt.)

October 22, 1942 -
The biggest box office hit of Bette Davis' career, Now, Voyager opened in NYC on this date.

The Walt Whitman poem that Bette Davis reads is The Untold Want from Songs of Parting (just 2 lines): "The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted,/ Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find."

October 22, 1949 -
The second film in director John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, premiered on this date.

John Ford decided to cast John Wayne as Capt. Nathan Brittles after seeing his performance as Thomas Dunson in Red River.

October 22, 1965 -
The Beatles recorded the song Nowhere Man for their influential album Rubber Soul on this date.

This is probably the first Beatles song that has nothing to do with love.

October 22, 1965 -
The Rolling Stones released the single Get Off My Cloud on this date in the U.K.

The B-side of this single was I'm Free, which remained obscure until it was revived by The Soup Dragons in 1990.

October 22, 1971 -
Peter Bogdanovich's break out film, The Last Picture Show opened on this date.

Cybill Shepherd was cast with the option of backing out of her nude scenes if she so desired. She only agreed to do them after asking the opinions of three female costars - Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn and Eileen Brennan - who all thought she should do them.

Today in History:
October 22, 1797
In 1785, J.P. Blanchard threw a dog wearing a rudimentary parachute out of a hot-air balloon. History does not divulge the outcome of this experiment. Mr. Blanchard may simply have been a disgruntled cat person.

There lived at that time a swindler by the name of Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who traveled around France offering (for a fee from his spectators) to ascend into the sky in a hot-air balloon and leap to the earth in a parachute. Strangely enough, his balloon never managed to get off the ground. Refunds were never offered.

One day an angry spectator brought Garnerin's con to the attention of the local authorities, who promptly arrested him. He was given a choice: he could either get his balloon to fly and make the promised jump or he could go directly to jail.

And so, one early evening 219 years ago today, Garnerin's balloon rose 3000 feet into the evening air above Paris.

Then it exploded.

Fortunately, Garnerin was already in his parachute and survived the landing. The suddenly successful showman didn't die his inevitable horrible aviation-related death for a full quarter-century later.

It was on this day in 1836 that Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Texas had become an independent nation after winning its independence from Mexico, and would not be incorporated into the United States as a state until 1845.

There are some who insist to this day that Texas was never properly admitted into the Union because, like everything else, its admission had been Unconstitutional. (We will leave this conversation to Mr. Cruz.)

October 22, 1844 -
The 'Second Coming' fails to occur on this date, for the Seventh Day Adventists, led by Bible scientist William Miller. The Millerites were expecting the End Times to accompany the appearance of Jesus Christ, so that didn't happen either.

Oops, I guess Mr. Miller has some explaining to do.

The Gare Montparnasse, one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, became famous for a derailment on October 22, 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 100 ft off the station concourse, crashed through a two foot thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes more than 30 feet below, where it stood on its nose.

All on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, the fireman and two crew members; however, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. The conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.

Do you think the passengers got their money back?

October 22, 1907 -
President Theodore Roosevelt visited The Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the late President Andrew Jackson on this date.

Years later, Maxwell House claimed that Roosevelt had praised a cup of its coffee during this visit by saying it was "good to the last drop."

October 22, 1918 -
This puts much of your troubles today in perspective -

The cities of Baltimore and Washington ran out of coffins during the Spanish Influenza epidemic on this date

October 22, 1934 -
Here's another story of your tax dollars at work:

FBI agents, led by the ambitious Melvin Purvis and local Ohio authorities captured and killed Public enemy No. 1, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, in a shoot out on this day. Or so the official story goes. But as many of you loyal readers know the 'authorized' version and actual facts of events can differ wildly.

Chester Smith, a retired East Liverpool Police Captain, the sharpshooter who claimed that he shot Floyd first, stated in a 1979 interview, that after he had (deliberately) wounded, but not killed, Floyd.

"I knew Purvis couldn't hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle."

Smith claims that he then disarmed Floyd, and that Melvin Purvis, the agent in charge, ran up and ordered: "Back away from that man. I want to talk to him." Purvis questioned him briefly and then ordered him shot at point-blank range, telling agent Herman Hollis to "Fire into him." The interviewer asked if there was a coverup by the FBI, and Smith responded: "Sure was, because they didn't want it to get out that he'd been killed that way."

This account is extremely controversial. If true, Purvis effectively executed Floyd without benefit of judge or jury.

Floyd's body was quickly embalmed and shipped to Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between twenty and forty thousand people. It remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history.

October 22, 1962 -
President John F. Kennedy appeared on television, this date in history, to inform Americans of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

The President demanded their removal and announced a naval "quarantine" of Cuba. A little more than a year later, the nation was safe and the president was dead.

And so it goes