Thursday, September 10, 2009

Meet the Elements

They might be Giants new video from their new kids album, release, Here Comes Science.

You and I are complicated but made of elements - It will happily rattle around in your head the rest of the day.

Today in History -
On September 10, 1419, supporters of the French Dolphin murdered John the Fearless.

John's brothers, Thomas the Prudent and Henry the Wary, lived on into old age.

On September 10, 1623, a cargo load of lumber and fur became the first exports in history from North America to England. This ensured the commercial success of the new world, as Europe had long been paralyzed by a shortage of sticks and hair.

September 10, 1898 -
Empress Elizabeth of Austria was not a particularly happy royal. Known as the Princess Diana of her day, she was estranged from her husband, Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria (because of the stifling nature of court life) she lost her daughter, Sophie, in 1857, and her favourite cousin, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, in a tragic fashion. Her brother-in-law, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico was shot by revolutionaries. She never was able to get over her most terrible tragedy, the suicide of her son, Rudolph, in 1889.

She was still known as one of the most beautiful women in Europe well into her 60's. Her decades-long hunger diets coupled with a need for movement and exercise which compelled her to undertake lengthy and strenuous hikes, caused malnutrition and depressions and led finally to suicidal fantasies. The sixty-year old empress was stabbed with a file by a twenty-four year old anarchist, Luigi Lucheni, shortly after noon on September 10, 1898 on the promenade of Lake Geneva as she boarded a steamship for Montreux. After the incident the Empress still walked for a few minutes. Because she was so strictly corseted, she was unaware how seriously she had been wounded.

Her last words were "What happened to me?"

September 10, 1932 -
"You must take the A Train
To go to Sugar Hill way up in Harlem..."

It's the 77th Anniversary of the famed NYC transit line.

September 10, 1951 -
The underrated classic film (in spectacular Technicolor) by Jean Renoir, The River, was released in the USA on this date.

The producer, Kenneth McEldowney, a successful florist and real estate agent in Los Angeles, never produced a movie before this one. He sold his home and floral shops, and from 1947 to 1951 worked on producing the film. The film was a huge success yet he then returned to real estate and never made another movie, because, he said "I did it once. I proved my point."

September 10, 1953 -
Brothers Gilbert and Clark Swanson contributed to an American food revolution by selling their first TV dinner, for 98 cents, on this date.

It let customers feast on turkey with corn bread stuffing, buttered peas, and sweet potatoes - right in front of their television screens. Americans eating habits and health would never be the same.

September 10, 1955 -
"Gunsmoke" premieres on CBS TV. The television series ran from September 10, 1955 to September 1, 1975 on CBS for 635 episodes. It had the longest run of any scripted series with continuing characters in American primetime television. William Conrad was the first choice to play Marshall Matt Dillon on TV, having established the role on radio, but his increasing obesity led to more photogenic actors being considered. Losing the role embittered Conrad for years, though he later starred in another CBS television series, Cannon (1971-1975). Denver Pyle was also considered for the role, as was Raymond Burr who was ultimately seen as too heavy-set for the part.

Rumors that the role was offered to John Wayne have been largely debunked, although he did apparent in an opening promotional video for the program.

Ah, if only Raymond Burr.

Believe it or not, Mike the Headless Chicken (April 1945 – March 1947) was a Wyandotte rooster (cockerel) that lived for 18 months after its head had been cut off. Thought by many to be a hoax, the bird was taken by its owner to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to establish its authenticity.

On Monday, September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen failed to completely decapitate the five-and-a-half month old bird named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact. Lloyd wasn't trusted with the knife on the farm after that.

On the first night after the decapitation Mike slept with his severed head under his wing.

September 10, 1977 -
Convicted torture-killer Hamida Djandoubi, an immigrant from Tunisia, becomes the last person executed by France when he is guillotined in Marseilles.

He did not survive his execution and there are no notes as to whether or not Djandoubi was buried with his head under his arm.

And so it goes

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