Friday, July 3, 2009

Birthday shoutouts are in order.

Happy Birthday Geraldo Rivera [Gerry Rivers] (1943)

and Tom Cruise [Mapother IV] (1962).

I believe I can say that both men have have plastic surgery without fear of goons kicking down my door and dragging me away.

But that is about all I'm going to say.

The Dog Days of summer begin today


That was an inside joke for astronomers. The following is provided for the benefit of non-astronomers.

Sirius is the name of the brightest star in the night-time sky (the brightest star in the day-time sky is called "the sun"), and it's known as the dog star because it's located in the constellation Canis Major—or, in English, Major Dog. The hottest days of the year in the northern hemisphere happen to coincide with the period during which Sirius rises with our own sun, and primitive bastards therefore concluded that Sirius was contributing to the heat.

Like most primitive bastards, they were wrong, but like most modern bastards, we continue to cherish their timeless wisdom anyway. Plus, having "Dog Days" of summer is a great boon to advertising copywriters, whose creativity is surely the driving force behind western civilization.

Changing the topic -
July 3, 1951 -
An almost forgotten Hitchcock classic, Strangers on a Train, was released on this date.

Raymond Chandler is credited as the main author of the script, but it was almost completely written by Czenzi Ormonde who was credited as second author. Chandler seems to have gone out of his way to behave disagreeably to Alfred Hitchcock. When Hitchcock arrived at Chandler's home for a story meeting, Chandler hollered from his window, "Look at the fat bastard trying to get out of his car!"

July 3, 1996 -
One of the great summer popcorn movies, Independence Day, was released on this date.

If I had known I was gonna meet the president I would've worn a tie. Look at me, I look like a schliemiel.

Happy Birthday Quebec, you don't look a day over 350.

On this date in 1608, French explorer Samuel de Champlain invented Quebec. Since then, the French Canadians have been even more obnoxious than the French themselves.

On July 3, 1969, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones drowned in his own swimming pool. Although he was the first Rolling Stone to do so, Mr Jones is just one of millions of people to have drowned in their own swimming pools. As a public service I have therefore chosen to help American readers prepare for the long holiday weekend with some advice on how not to drown in one's pool.

1. The easiest way not to drown in your own pool is not to have one. Readers without pools may enhance their safety further by consulting the previous articles, "How Not to Break Your Neck in Your Own Backyard" and "How Not to Set Your House on Fire."

2. If you insist upon owning a pool, don't swim in it, walk by it, or nap in its vicinity.

3. Pools don't drown people: water does. A drained pool is a safe pool. In troubling times like these, it's also worth noting that empty pools may be put to good use as bunkers or bomb shelters.

4. Avoid the use of electronic equipment while swimming. Today's multi-tasking professionals may feel inclined to save time by checking their email or drafting a Powerpoint presentation while taking a few laps, but this can prove ruinous for one's telecommunications equipment and, in the case of desktop computers or mainframes, not much better for one's own health.

5. Wait at least 45 minutes before swimming after the ingestion of mind-altering substances.

6. Don't be a rock star. Scientific research has proven that rock stars are seven times more likely than the general population to drown in swimming pools, bathtubs, or pools of their own vomit.

7. Do not attempt to convert the water in your pool to Jell-O. Jell-O is just as deadly as chlorinated water when ingested by the lungs, but far more likely to attract insects and vermin. It is one thing to drown in your own pool: it is quite another to drown in your own pool and then be devoured by maggots.

8. Avoid poisonous snakes.

July 3, 1971 -
Jim Morrison is found dead of an apparent heart attack in his Paris apartment bathtub.

That's what he wants us to think, anyway.

July 3, 1939 -
Lou Gehrig day; Gehrig makes "luckiest man" speech.

Once again I've got to say - if only he had known he had a disease named after him.

If you are traveling today, have a safe and sane Fourth of July. (I've already left for my mini vacation - so if I missed some breaking news event, like Michael Jackson has hopped off the autopsy table and is moonwalking with Farrah Fawcet and their zombie hordes towards the Neverland Ranch, you'll have to excuse me.)

And so it goes.

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