Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm getting really old

I was listening to a news story about a documentary about Soul Train. The director had to tell his crew who Al Green was

Hey, I was dancing up a storm listening to the Reverend in the kitchen (well, the second martini might have helped.)

February 5, 1914 -
William Seward Burroughs II, junkie, novelist, murderer, painter and performer was born on this date.

Hey, he was a busy guy.

February 5, 1940 -
Hans Ruedi Giger, Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer best known for his design work on the film Alien, was spawned on this date.

He had a very happy childhood.

February 5, 1816 -
Rossini's Opera "Barber of Seville" premieres in Rome on this date.

February 5, 1919 -
Four of the leading figures in early Hollywood: Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith, incorporated to form their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. The company was United Artist.

Their collective corpses have not stopped spinning in their graves when they heard that Tom Cruise wanted to revive the company in 2006 (trust me, I can't get the image of rotating corpses out of my head.)

February 5, 1927 -
Buster Keaton's movie The General premiered on this date. The film was a box-office disaster at its original release,

but is now considered by critics as one of the greatest films ever made.

February 5, 1936 -
Charlie Chaplin Little Tramp makes his final silent-film appearance, Modern Times, is released on this date.

The Little Tramp is shown struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. This was one of the films which, because of its political sentiments, convinced the House Un-American Activities Committee that Charles Chaplin was a Communist, a charge he adamantly denied. He left to live in Switzerland, vowing never to return to America.

February 5, 1953 -
Walt Disney's Peter Pan, opens at Roxy Theater, on this date.

Remember, it's the second to the right (and straight on till morning.)

February 5, 1967 -
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premieres on CBS, on this date.

Mom actually liked both of them equally.

Today in History
Today is Liberation Day in San Marino. Americans remain woefully misinformed about San Marino.

(American remain woefully misinformed about most countries that aren't located between Canada and Mexico, but today is only Liberation Day in San Marino so let's not get off-topic.)

About seventeen-hundred years go, during an epic game of hide and seek, Marinus the Stonemason ran up Mount Titano in Italy to hide from the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It was a good hiding spot and he was never found. He started his own country to pass the time, and the Republic of San Marino survives to this day, an island of foreign nationals in the middle of Italy.

Citizens of San Marino are not San Mariners. They are Sammarinese.

The population of San Marino is about 25,000. The population of San Marino, California, is about 13,000.

The California town was named in 1878 by James de Barth Shorb, who had built his home there and didn't think people would go for Shorbtown. Instead, he named it after the Maryland town in which he'd been born.

That was reportedly San Marino, Maryland, which the California town's website claims to have been named "for the tiny European republic."

There is no Maryland town named San Marino. (If there is, they haven't yet made their presence felt on Google.) Foul play is obviously afoot.

Proceed with caution.

February 5, 1783 -
A large earthquake in Calabria Italy leaves 50,000 dead.

Luckily none of my wife's or a good friend of mine forebearers were involved or they wouldn't be here.

And so it goes.

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