Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kids, this is a cautionary tale.

Watch this animated special about Dock Ellis' legendary LSD fueled no-hitter.

Kids, don't do drugs (unless you play major league baseball.)

November 14, 1966 -
Fran├žois Truffaut's foray into Science Fiction, Fahrenheit 451, opened in the US on this date.

The film is the only English language film directed by Fran├žois Truffaut, who was so eager to begin filming that he and his co-writer wrote the screenplay before they had fully mastered English.

November 14, 1980 -
Possibly the greatest film ever made (there I said it), Raging Bull premiered in NYC on this date (I was actually at the premiere.)

Everyone knows that De Niro gained 60 pounds to play the older La Motta - a record weight gain for an actor. De Niro held that record until Vincent D'Onofrio gained an astonishing 70 pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket.

November 14, 1851 -
Harper & Brothers published Herman Melville's most famous novel, on this date.

Called Moby Dick, the tale is teeming with seamen, spermaceti, and rigid harpoons. Scholars continue to debate its symbolism. The British publisher accidentally left out the ending of the book, the epilogue. This confused a lot of British readers, because without the epilogue there was no explanation of how Ishmael, the narrator, lived to tell the tale. It seemed like he died in the end with everyone else on the ship. The reviews from Britain were harsh, and costly to Melville.


In America, Moby-Dick sold for $1.50 but contained the epilog (the great savings were seen by leaving off the ue). At the time, Americans deferred to British critical opinion, and a lot of American newspaper editors reprinted reviews from Britain without actually reading the American version with the proper ending. One reviewer said the book wasn't worth more than 25 cents. It took only two weeks for the publisher to see that Moby-Dick would sell even fewer copies than Melville's previous books. In his lifetime, Melville's royalties added up to a total of about $10,000.

These days, college students buy 20,000 copies of Moby-Dick every year.

Melville said, "It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

November 14, 1908 -
Albert Einstein presented his quantum theory of light for the first time

while future Senator Joseph McCarthy was being born,

although not in the same room, on this date.

McCarthy's communist witch-hunts of the mid-twentieth century live in infamy despite the fact that they failed to uncover a single communist witch.

Einstein's quantum theory remains popular because people like the word quantum. In fact, Einstein's seldom-cited Law of Quantum Usage states that there is an inversely proportionate relationship between one's understanding of quantum theory and one's likelihood of discussing it.

November 14, 1940 -

The Nazis bomb Coventry, England, destroying the cathedral and killing several hundred people.

Bad Nazis.

November 14, 1968 -
National Turn In Your Draft Card Day - featuring burning your draft card hour.

41 more shopping days until Christmas, 28 more shopping days until Hanukkah. (Black Friday is just 15 days away.)

And so it goes

1 comment:

zoe said...

poor melville..
putting einstein's thinking and mccarthy's birth next to each other really accentuates the fact that the world is all about perception, thanks for that :)