Wednesday, July 18, 2018

I am more than willing to be a paid spokesperson

Today is National Caviar Day. Caviar is full of vitamins, protein, and low in calories.

While it's normal to wash down the briny fish roe with champagne or iced vodka;

why not down shots of iced Bombay Sapphire.  (Bacardi Limited , owner of the brand, know how to reach me.)

July 18, 1970
Mama Told Me (Not to Come) by Three Dog Night (written by Randy Newman) topped the charts on this date.

This song was the very first #1 hit on American Top 40 syndicated radio program hosted by Casey Kasem.

July 18, 2008 -
Warner Bros.
released the Christopher Nolan superhero film The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Heath Ledger, in US theaters, on this date.

In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During this extended stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing The Joker's every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding laugh (for the voice, Ledger's goal was to create a tone that didn't echo the work Jack Nicholson did in his 1989 performance as the Joker).

Another failed ACME product

Today in History:
July 18, 64
Most of imperial Rome was burned to the ground because Emperor Nero had been playing the fiddle. This resulted in the persecution of Christians, many of whom were believed to have encouraged him.

You know how those early Christians love their city burning, fiddle playing, crazed Emperors.

Yes, I'm aware that Nero wasn't even in Rome at the time of the fire. At this time, I do not believe even the stringent libel laws in England cover this.

July 18, 1870 -
At the end of Vatican I, Catholic popes are proclaimed infallible by chapter four of the papal bull Pastor Aeternus. The pope's declarations on matters of faith are protected from error by the Holy Spirit. In a nutshell: whatever he says about the scripture, goes.

This is an interesting doctrine, considering how often St. Peter is himself contradicted by the Gospels.

July 18, 1913 -
Richard "Red" Skelton, was born in Vincennes, Ind., on this date. During a career that stretched through medicine shows, vaudeville, motion pictures, radio and television, the gentle Skelton created a host of characters from the silent tramp Freddie the Freeloader to the Mean Widdle Kid, who coined the catch phrase, "I dood it!"

In a People Magazine interview late in his life, Skelton admitted that he fudged his officially accepted birth year, but did not elaborate. The year 1910 is sometimes given instead of 1913, but Skelton's biographer Arthur Marx claims that the comedian told close associates he was really born in 1906.

July18, 1918 -
There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

July 18, 1925 -
Today marks the 93rd anniversary of the publication of Adolf Hitler's best-selling political memoir, Mein Kampf (or, in English, "I'm Crazy and I'm Gonna Kill You"). The book remains extremely popular with genocidal sociopaths and is therefore experiencing a renaissance of sales.

The book's original title was Four-and-a-Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice.

Taking him at his word and assuming the little lance-corporal really had struggled against lies, stupidity, and cowardice for 54 months, one has to ask, in light of his later activities, if maybe lies, stupidity, and cowardice aren't so bad.

July 18, 1929 -
It's Screamin' Jay Hawkins Birthday.

Remember, get naked and dance around the house, just do it.

July 18, 1936 -
The first Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled out of General Body Company’s factory in Chicago (when Carl Mayer approached his uncle Oscar with the idea of driving a giant hot dog through Chicago streets.) on this date.

The Wienermobile started as a smallish 13-foot affair (Carl Mayer drove around with his head sticking through a hole in the roof)

July 18, 1939 -
Hunter S. Thompson's birthday is today.

He was once considered, armed, and dangerous. Now he is no more than soot on the window sills of his and his neighbors homes. Dr. Thompson founded the Gonzo school of journalism in the 1970s; graduates from that school can today be seen every night on cable news.

Dr. Thompson inspired the character "Uncle Duke" in the comic strip Doonesbury, by former Canadian Prime Minister Gary Trudeau.

(Uncle Duke first appeared in Doonesbury was on July 8, 1974.) Several movies have been made about Dr. Thompson's life and work and psychotic episodes. He is perhaps the only American journalist to have been played on-screen by both

Bill Murray

and Johnny Depp.

July 18, 1947
British seized the Exodus 1947 ship of Jewish immigrants to Palestine on this date. The British Royal Navy intercepted the ship President Warfield, which had been renamed Exodus by its passengers, forcing the 4,000 Jewish would-be immigrants aboard back to Displaced Person camps in Germany.

Britain was still the ruling power in Palestine, which was being wracked by conflict resulting from Jewish national aspirations. The return of the Jewish immigrants, many of them survivors of Nazi persecution, heightened anti-British sentiment among Jews in Palestine and elsewhere.

On July 18, 1947, President Harry Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act.  The original act of 1792 had placed the Senate president pro tempore and Speaker of the House in the line of succession, but in 1886 Congress had removed them.

The 1947 law reinserted those officials, but placed the Speaker ahead of the president pro tempore.

So now you now.

July 18, 1950 -
You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

While it's good to be kind, it doesn't suck to be Richard Branson.  British music entrepreneur Richard Branson was born on this date.

July 18, 1966
In Los Angeles, the beaten corpse of Bobby Fuller was found sprawled across the front seat  of his mother's Oldsmobile. Fuller, whose band The Bobby Fuller Four released the hit I  Fought The Law, was found to have died from "forced inhalation of gasoline."

Technically, Fuller died from huffing... although circumstances point to murder.

July 18, 1969 -
Driving home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy's car goes over the  side of Dike Bridge and flips over into a pond. Kennedy manages to free himself from the  automobile, but his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.

(Once again - don't hitch a ride with a Kennedy.)

For some reason, Kennedy told no one about the accident for at least an hour, and waited until the following morning to notify local police.

July 18, 1976 -
Romanian Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast to receive a perfect-ten score in 1976 Olympic competition.

In 2000, Comaneci was named as one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.

July 18, 1988 -
I'm flying to Ibiza. It's my favorite place, and I think I'll die there.

Rock and Roll performer/ heroin addict Nico wiped out on her bicycle on Ibiza and died from  a brain hemorrhage on this day - that, combined with a lack of medical treatment.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Kids, Don't Hyperventilate

But there are 50 days until school starts again

You might want to start looking at those summer homework packages.

(SOS starts college in 37 days.)

July 17, 1943 -
Originally released in B & W (re-release as a color version in 1968 and 1990,) Porky Pig's Feat premiered on this date. This is the first time the Raymond Scott composition Powerhouse is used in a Warner Bros. cartoon.

A rare appearance for Porky Pig (his last appearance in a black and white cartoon,) Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny (his only appearance in a theatrical black and white film.)

July 17, 1956
The musical version of The Philadelphia Story, High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, premiered on this date.

The song True Love, written by Cole Porter especially for the movie, was a million seller and both Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby were awarded platinum records for the song. This is the only platinum record ever given to sitting royalty as Grace Kelly had become Princess Grace by the time it was awarded.

July 17, 1959 -
Alfred Hitchcock's
superlative North By Northwest, starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, premiered on this date.

Alfred Hitchcock couldn't get permission to film inside the UN, so footage was made of the interior of the building using a hidden camera, and the rooms were later recreated on a soundstage.

July 17, 1968
The premiere of the drug-induced, Big Blue Meanie-infested cartoon Beatles film Yellow Submarine, was held at the London Pavilion on this date.

John Lennon's son Sean Lennon knew nothing about his father's former life among The Beatles, until he saw the movie at his babysitter's. When Sean asked, Lennon explained that he'd given up that life, to be with Sean and Yoko Ono.

July 17, 1992 -
Walt Disney Pictures
releases the science fiction comedy Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, directed by Randal Kleiser, on this date.

The film was, at first, not supposed to be a sequel to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Originally titled Big Baby, it was about a young toddler who grew to giant size by a freak accident involving a growth ray and eventually terrorized Las Vegas in a non-violent, yet Godzillaesque way.

July 17, 1999 -
The series, Spongebob Squarepants, created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, started regularly airing on Nickelodeon on this date. (It's actually the second episode.  The pilot episode had premiered in May of 1999)

The cartoon gained popularity in its second season and continues that popularity today. It was once the highest-rated show on the Nickelodeon television network.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
July 17 1913
On this date, audiences attending the silent film A Noise from the Deep observed Mabel Normand striking Fatty Arbuckle in the face with a pie. It was purportedly the first use of the pie-in-the-face routine in film history.

It may not seem that remarkable when you consider how much history there'd been in film prior to 1913, but it was an important milestone nonetheless.

The act of hitting someone in the face with a pie was itself nothing new. Hieroglyphics engraved on the sarcophagus of the ancient Egyptian King Amenhotep III, for example, depict that merry lord hurling pies of polished stone at his subjects with such force that they were frequently decapitated.

Thucydides and Herodotus both make mention of a great pie battle at Salamis, with the latter observing that "it was a moment of much hilarity until someone hit Xerxes."

Plutarch describes the wanton Messalina "grinding her pie in the face of a slave."

The merriment of the ancient world gradually succumbed to the joyless monotony of the middle-ages, however and pie facials were neglected for centuries. The mirth did not resume until 1518, when Martin Luther nailed Pope Leo X with a cream-covered blueberry pie - the first documented case of torte reform.

Roughly a century later, Shakespeare introduced the routine to Elizabethan audiences with memorable pie-in-the-face scenes in King Lear, Hamlet and Othello. Scholars have recently unearthed a draft of what Shakespeare clearly intended to be his comedic masterwork, Two Bakers of Venice.

After Shakespeare's pioneering work in the field, the pie-in-the-face became a staple of popular entertainment. Seen in this context, the celebrated Arbuckle pie facial was just one more step on a very long journey.

Indeed, being struck in the face by baked goods is likely to remain the most hilarious thing in the world for centuries to come.

July 17, 1917 -
Britain's King George V issues a royal proclamation changing his family's surname from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor.

Thus, everyone is fooled into believing that a bunch of inbred Germans are really English. Which is convenient, because England just so happens to be at war with the other side of the family, Germany.

(Yes, they're cousins, identical cousins - King George V and Tsar, Czar, Csar Nicholas II)

Speaking of George's cousin, Russian Czar Nicholas II was murdered with his family and servants by the Bolsheviks at Yekaterinburg on this date in 1918 (they were murdered in the middle of the night on the 17th of July.) It's too bad his cousin, George V was more concerned with changing his Germanic surname then saving his cousin.

This included his daughter Anastasia, who may not actually have been killed with the rest of them but was almost certainly killed along with the rest of them despite persistent rumors to the contrary--even in the face of almost insurmountable evidence suggesting otherwise (except when interpreted differently). Even if she wasn't dead then, she's certainly dead now. This has been scientifically proven by scientists who ought to know.

July 17, 1918 -
The RMS Carpathia, famous for rescuing 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic six years earlier, sank off the coast of Ireland after being torpedoed by a German U-boat, on this date.

While 5 crew member were killed in the attack, 57 passengers and the remaining 218 crew members survived to board lifeboats off the sinking vessel.

July 17, 1936 -
General Francisco Franco, low level Spanish Evil Stooge, seizes control of the Canary Islands (in the misguided belief that Spain could become a world power by controlling the supply of small yellow birdies), signaling the start of the three-year Spanish Civil War.

And he's still dead.

July 17, 1938 -
On this date, Douglas Corrigan took off from Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field for a cross-country flight to the West Coast in his nine-year-old, single-engine Curtiss Robin airplane.

Twenty-eight hours later he landed in Dublin, Ireland, thus earning himself the nickname "Wrong Way Corrigan" and becoming the patron saint of baggage handlers.

July 17, 1945
President Harry Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II on this date.

Among the issues the delegates were there to negotiate terms for the end of World War II and to hash out were the borders of a post WWII Europe.  What the delegates there didn't know was Truman had a coded telegram in his pocket confirming the success of the Trinity test and Churchill was about to lose a general election and be replaced as Prime Minister by Clement Attlee.

July 17, 1947 -
Jackie Robinson
was playing his historic first season with the Dodgers, the Yankees finally lost after 19 straight victories and Perry Como topped the Billboard charts with “Chi-Baba,Chi-Baba (My Bambino Go to Sleep)” and Jack Kerouac began his “On the Road” trip, on this date. He left his mother’s apartment in Ozone Park and wound up on the West Side IRT local, passing Columbia, where he had dropped out, and got off the train at the 242 Street terminal. At 242 Street, (near Van Cortlandt Park) he boarded a trolley for Yonkers, transferred to another for as far as it would go, then hitchhiked farther up the Hudson. He wanted to take the “long red line called Route 6” that he had seen on a map, and the nearest place for him to join it was the Bear Mtn Bridge.

When he got there, he discovered that little traffic passed through that semi-wilderness, and while waiting futilely for a ride, he got drenched in a thunderstorm. Humiliated by his “stupid hearthside idea that it would be wonderful to follow one great red line across America,” he ended up taking a bus back to NYC and another all the way to Chicago. He took a third bus to the Chicago suburbs and began hitchhiking to Denver, to see friends he had made in NYC, including Neal Cassady.

Such is the stuff of great literature - a subway ride that many of you loyal readers have made countless times, is transformed into the the opening trip of the classic novel of the Beat Generation, On the Road.

July 17, 1952 -
It's David Hasselhoff's (noted 'actor', 'singer', talent judge, hamburger connoisseur and drunk) birthday!

Yeah for David! Yeah for Germany!

(David shares his birthday with Angela Merkel born two years later in 1954 - co-incidence, you be the judge.)

July 17, 1955 -
That place is my baby, and I would prostitute myself for it. - Walt Disney

Disneyland, the happiest place in the world, opens in Anaheim, California on this date.  Things didn't go so well on that first day.

A 15 day heat wave raised temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, due to a plumbers strike, few water fountains were operating in the hot weather. Asphalt still steaming, because it had been laid the night before, literally "trapping" high heeled shoes. To add to the chaos, a gas leak forced the closing of several sections of the park.

If things didn't turn around, I shudder at the thought of Ole Walt and his pal J. Edgar, having to walk the street in matching lipstick, handbag and stiletto, offering to 'go around the world' for 20 bucks to pay back his loans.

July 17, 1959 -
You've got to have something to eat and a little love in your life before you can hold still for any damn body's sermon on how to behave. - Billie Holiday

Today is the 59th anniversary of the death of Billie Holiday.

July 17, 1975
Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 successfully docked and crew member of the two shuttles shook hands in space on this date.

It was the first orbital docking of spacecraft of two different nations

July 17, 1984

The national drinking age in the United States was changed from 18 to 21.

As I had already been drinking for 11 years and was over 21, what did I care.

July 17, 1996 -
TWA flight 800, bound for Paris, exploded 12 minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy airport, killing all 230 people on board, on this date.

Though there was speculation, no evidence of a terrorist attack was ever found.

And so it goes.


Monday, July 16, 2018

I say smack her and let it go at that.

July 16, 1948 -
John Huston's
version of Maxwell Anderson's play, Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall premiered in New York on this date.

Apart from the opening shots, the movie was filmed entirely at Warner Bros. Studio head Jack L. Warner - still reeling from the cost of shooting John Huston's previous film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, on location - refused to approve any more location filming for the director. The pier scenes were filmed using the studio tank with miniature boats in the background to give an illusion of depth. The shipboard shots at the end were also filmed using the studio tank, with fog used to mask the artifice.

July 16, 1951 -
One of the best adaptations of a Charles Dickens' novel, David Lean's Oliver Twist was released in the US on this date.

The film was released in England in 1948. The film's release in the US was delayed until 1951 because of protests from Jewish pressure groups, who judged Alec Guinness' portrayal of Fagin to be anti-Semitic

July 16, 1958 -
The classic Vincent Price Sci-Fi film, The Fly, opened in San Francisco on this date.

This became the biggest box-office of director Kurt Neumann's career, but he never knew it. He died a month after the premiere, and only a week before it went into general release.

July 16, 1999 -
Stanley Kubrick final film, Eyes Wide Shut, was released on this date.

Though often referred to as Stanley Kubrick's "unfinished masterpiece", the final edit of the film was actually presented to Warner Bros. (by Kubrick) a full four days before his death, though the score and other aspects were not finalized.

Word of the day

Today in History:
July 16, 1054
The 'Great Schism' between the Western and Eastern churches began over rival claims of universal pre-eminence.

Remember kids, there's no schism like a great schism.

(In 1965, 911 years later, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I met to declare an end to the schism.)

Mary Baker Eddy was born on this date in 1821.

Ms. Eddy invented Christian Science, and was elected to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 for having been the only American woman to found a worldwide religion without exposing her breasts.

July 16, 1860 -
A decree from Emperor Norton I of San Francisco, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, ordered the dissolution of the United States of America on this date.

(More on the good Emperor next month.)

July 16, 1945 -
...If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One - I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds....

Code-named Trinity, the first experimental plutonium bomb (The Gadget) was detonated in a United States test of an atomic explosion at Alamogordo Air Base, Los Alamos, New Mexico on this date. The explosion yields the equivalent 18,000 tons of TNT.

July 16, 1951 -
The Catcher in the Rye was published 67 years ago today. The book contained secret code words by means of which its author, J.D. Salinger, was able to communicate diabolical commands to his evil minions. (Exactly fourteen years later, the tunnel connecting France and Italy through Mont Blanc was opened to the public.

Draw your own conclusions.)

Salinger was a one-hit wonder. (He did write several other books, but these are of interest only to insomniacs and those with wobbly furniture.) The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951, and Salinger subsequently hid himself away in the hills of Vermont, emerging from this self-imposed cloister only briefly, to serve as Prime Minister of Canada and then again, to appear as a corpse at his own funeral. For nearly half a century, The Catcher in the Rye has captured the imagination of the American teenager like no other book without pictures.

Holden Caulfield, the hero and narrator of Salinger's slim classic, may be the finest portrait of twentieth-century American teenage angst bequeathed to posterity.

Either him or Archie, it's hard to say.

(although Archie gave up his life to save a friend.)

July 16, 1964 -
In accepting the Republican presidential nomination in San Francisco, Barry M. Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" and that "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Goldwater's speech ultimately doomed his candidacy but revived the American Conservative movement and gave birth to the political rise of Ronald Reagan.

July 16, 1969 -
49 years ago on this date, the 363-foot-tall Apollo 11 space vehicle was launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:37 a.m. (As I have gotten older, I have only now  put it together that some sick puppies at NASA (probably some of the 'Good Germans') arranged to have the launch on the anniversary of the Trinity test.)

It carried Mission Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.

I couldn't afford the Revell kit, so I had to satisfy myself with working on my 18-inch-tall Gulf Oil cardboard lunar module model kit while watching the launch.

July 16, 1973 -
In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Ervin Committee on Watergate), former presidential assistant Alexander Butterfield disclosed that President Richard Nixon had tape recorded all of his conversations in the White House and Executive Office Building.

Bad, Nixon, bad.

July 16, 1999 -
19 years ago today, John F.Kennedy Jr. was killed along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. (Don't hitch a ride with a Kennedy.)

He was flying a Piper Saratoga II HP from Essex County Airport in New Jersey to Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy and his wife were traveling together to the wedding of his cousin Rory in Hyannis, Massachusetts, while Lauren was to have been dropped off at Martha's Vineyard en route.

And so it goes.


Before you go - I hadn't check onto the CineFix site in a while and I saw this good video essay on their Top 10 Musical Moments of All Time -

I'm sure you can think of some others that were left off the list.