Friday, October 15, 2010

It's the third annual Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap, the campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.

According to the New York Times this week: 20 percent of people using the restrooms at Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal in New York did not wash their hands.

Remind me not to let anyone touch me when I get out of the subway this morning.

October 15, 1924 -
President Calvin Coolidge declared the Statue of Liberty to be a national monument on this date.

Previously, the statue had been considered merely a large French broad oxidizing in New York Harbor.

October 15, 1959 -
The TV show The Untouchables with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness, premiered on ABC TV on this date.

Walter Winchell received a reported $25,000 per episode for his narration on this series. With his signature machine gun dialog delivery, he could apparently rack up almost 200 words per minute.

Today in History -
It's Evacuation Day in Tunisia, I felt I had to know more. It turns out that Evacuation Day recognizes the important contributions made to the world of science by Tunisian proctologists. The less said about the gastroenterological rituals performed on this holiday the better.

It's the Feast Day of one of my favorite saints - Saint Teresa of Avila ( it's her second mention this year)

She is also known as the Roving Nun (but should not be confused with the Wandering Nun, the Meandering Nun, or the Hopelessly Disoriented Nun). In case you still don't know who this Saint is - she's the one who was repeatedly pierced by God's golden shaft of light, again and again and again. She is the patron saint not only of Spain, but also bodily ills, headaches, laceworkers, opposition to Church Authorities, and people ridiculed for their piety.

She died in the arms of her close friend Anne of Saint Bartholomew, allegedly from Transverberation ("the crossing of verbs"). Her pierced heart is on display at Alba de Tormes, so if you're the kind of person that's interested in 400-year-old pierced human hearts you'll probably want to pay a visit. (You'll probably find it in the "Pierced Human Hearts Room" of the "Three-to-Five Hundred Year Old Internal Organ Wing.")

Saint Teresa famously said , "There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers", (Truman Capote took this quote very seriously.) "God," she famously prayed, "deliver me from sullen saints!"

Friedrich Nietzsche, who was born on this day in 1844, apparently shared her sentiments if not her tactics.

October 15, 1582 -
Finally, with the formal implementation of the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII, this day actually exists in Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. The calendar jumped from October 4 directly by October 15. People are generally relieved but never quite get over the feeling that they missed something during those 11 days.

October 15, 1940 -
Two of the most famous men in the world, not only had superficially similar looks, most famously their mustaches, but were born only four days apart in April of 1889 and both grew up in relative poverty. One of them decides to take a huge risk and release a film taking advantage of this freakish similarity.

The Great Dictator, directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin, released on this date, bitterly satirizes Nazism and Adolf Hitler, culminating in an overt political plea to defy fascism. The film is exceptional in its period, in the days prior to American entry into World War II, as the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Well before the full extent of the horrors of Nazism had been uncovered, Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Hitler, fascism, and the Nazis, the latter of whom he excoriates in the film as "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts".

October 15, 1951 -
A former starlet convinced the alcoholic, womanizing head of a television network to run the TV version of her somewhat successful radio program.

I Love Lucy, the television situation comedy, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, also featuring Vivian Vance and William Frawley, goes on to run on CBS for 181 episodes (including the "lost" Christmas episode and original pilot).

Then, the show introduced three more seasons, running from 1957 to 1960, known as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (while Ball and Arnez go through an acrimonious divorce). I Love Lucy won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations. In 2002, it was ranked #2 on TV Guide's top 50 greatest shows of all time, behind Seinfeld and ahead of The Honeymooners. In 2007, it was placed on Time Magazine's (unranked) list of "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME".

I Love Lucy was the most-watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the ratings (to be matched only by The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld), although it did not have a formal series finale episode. Episodes of I Love Lucy are still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world.

October 15, 1964 -
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was too busy pounding his shoe at every official meeting to realize that he was ousted

and replaced by Alexei N. Kosygin as premier and by Leonid I. Brezhnev as Communist Party secretary.

October 15, 1990 -
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev gives up the practice of shoe banging practices of the Soviet Premier all together

and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

October 15, 1991 -
Despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, The Senate confirmed Judge Clarence Thomas as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48, the closest confirmation vote in court history.

Sorry but there's nothing funny I can say about this as we're stuck with this guy until heart disease or stroke carry him away.

October 15, 2002 -
Former ImClone Chief Executive Officer Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading as part of an ongoing investigation into the trading of shares from his biotech company,

which also involved home decor diva and Waksal friend Martha Stewart.

And that wasn't a good thing for her.

And so it goes

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