Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Chuck

November 14, 1948 -
Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne of England, was born on this date.



Charles, should his mother continue in her current position, would be the heir apparent longer that his great great grandfather, Edward VII on April 21, 2011. Edward VII was heir apparent for 59 years, 2 months and 14 days (and Coco complained about waiting to take over the Tonight Show.)


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, 1975 -
Queen released its fourth album A Night at the Opera album on this date (There actually were other songs on the album besides Bohemian Rhapsody you know.)



At the time of it's release, the albums was reported to be the most expensive album ever recorded,


November 14, 1980 -
I'll go out on a limb and say (possibly) the greatest film ever made, 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, 1988 -
The comedy series Murphy Brown, starring Candice Bergen premiered on CBS TV on this date.



The show did not have an opening theme song, but instead many episodes began with a Motown song whose lyrics were somehow relevant to the plot of the episode. The show did employ a regular closing theme.

Today in History
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.



Oops.

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, 1889 -

Nellie Bly, the pen name of journalist Elizabeth Cochran, sailed from New York to begin her record-breaking 24,899-mile trip around the world--a journey that would end on January 25, 1890.

The around-the-world trip originated in an attempt to beat the Jules Verne's fictional hero Phineas Fogg's 80-day journey. Millions of people followed the adventures of the plucky reporter through stories posted back to the World at every stop. Tremendous celebrations greeted Nellie when she arrived in New York. Her trip lasted 72 days, six hours and eleven minutes--a record that would stand until the Graf Zeppelin circled the globe in 20 days, four hours and fourteen minutes in 1929.



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

while future Senator Joseph McCarthy was being born,

on this date, although not in the same room.

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 Nazi Luftwaffe's two-day blitz of Coventry, England, began on this date, killing several hundred people.



The German raids, codenamed Moonlight Sonata, destroyed much of the historical, English city.

Bad Nazis.


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





41 more shopping days until Christmas, 16 more shopping days until Hanukkah. (Black Friday is just 11 days away.)



And so it goes

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