Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Manhattanhenge time again

Once again, the sun will be perfectly lined up with the east-west streets of New York.

So get outside and enjoy it. (It was great foresight on the part of our beloved city forefathers to lay out the city in such a way that this happens every year just around my birthday.)

July 12, 1984 -
Madonna's Like a Virgin video premiered on MTV and became an instant hit.

So many jokes could be made but it is still a fact - we are all old.

July 12, 100 BCE -
Julius Caesar was born on this date. He is famous for fighting the Garlic Wars and dying of the unkindest cut. His death so shocked the people of Rome that they buried him instead of praising him, although this may have been because he was a Proud Man.

Interesting to note that in between, fighting across most of Europe, Julie baby was quoted as saying, "Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor. For patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind."

July 12, 1843-
Mormon numero uno Joseph Smith discloses a divine revelation instructing his followers to take multiple wives, in what the LDS Church calls "plural marriage" but everyone else calls polygamy.

The Mormons are ultimately forced to disclaim the practice in September 1890.

July 12, 1908 -
Milton Berle was an Emmy-winning American comedian who was born Milton Berlinger. As the manic host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater (1948-1955), he was the first major star of television. He became known as Uncle Miltie to millions during TV's golden age.

That's all well and good but the real reason you want to know about Uncle Miltie is his prodigious member.

Berle was notorious within show business for the rumored size of his penis. Phil Silvers once told a story about standing next to Berle at a urinal, glancing down, and quipping, "You'd better feed that thing, or it's liable to turn on you!" Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel, who had written many Friars Club jokes about Berle's penis for other comedians, described being treated to a private showing: "He just takes out this-- this anaconda. He lays it on the table and I'm looking into this thing, right? I'm looking into the head of Milton Berle's dick. It was enormous. It was like a pepperoni. And he goes, 'What do you think of the boy?' And I'm looking right at it and I go, 'Oh, it's really, really nice.'" At a memorial service for Berle at the New York Friars Club, Freddie Roman solemnly announced, "On May 1st and May 2nd, his penis will be buried."

Now try getting that out of your mind's eye.

July 12, 1912 -
The French silent-film Queen Elizabeth (Les Amours de la Reine √Člisabeth), starring Sarah Bernhardt and Albert Decoeur, became the first foreign feature exhibited in NYC.

July 12, 1979 -
Bonanno boss Carmine Galante, the "cigar problem", is whacked at Joe and Mary's Restaurant in Brooklyn. Galante dies with a cigar still in his mouth.

Almost everyone in the New York mob feared the ruthless crime boss, so the killing was sanctioned by the consensus of Paul Castellano, Joe Bonanno, and Santo Trafficante.

July 12, 1979 -
It is "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park, where baseball tickets cost only $.98 if the purchaser brings along a disco record for the bonfire.

During the second game of the doubleheader, thousands of vinyl LPs fly onto the field, generating enough chaos that the White Sox are forced to forfeit.

July 12 birthdays include:
Henry David Thoreau (1817)

George Washington Carver (1861)

Oscar Hammerstein II (1895)

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895)

Andrew Wyeth (1917)

Bill Cosby (1937)

Richard Simmons (1948)

Cheryl Ladd (1951)

Me (1960)

Kristi Yamaguchi (1971)

On a personal note: Thanks for all the kind notes and messages about turning 50 today. A good friend gave me the best piece of advice - 50 is the start of the trip to sandblast your illusions. Hopefully, I can use it to get rid of some of the wrinkles.

And so it goes.

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