Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For your entertainment

Conan the Musical

I know you all want more.

June 30, 1520 -
After looting Tenochtitlan, Spaniards are attacked by an angry Aztec mob. Tied down by armor and treasure, they are no match for the natives and nearly half of Herman Cortes' men lose their lives.

Conquistador, your stallion stands in need of company ...

June 30, 1837 -
England outlaws the use of the pillory.

This only leaves the British Navy - the lash, buggery and rum.

June 30, 1882 -
Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, is hanged.

Tickets for the event went for as much as $300. Proving once again, give the people what they want and they'll show up.

June 30, 1908 -
An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia incinerated some 300 sq. km. that encircled the impact of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. It flattened some 40,000 trees over 900 sq. miles and caused damage equivalent to a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb.

The explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 30-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away, is believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.

June 30, 1934 -
Acting on behalf of the Fuhrer, SS troops around Germany arrest hundreds of loyal SA stormtroopers under the charge of treason in order to eliminate the group.

One squad descends on a Bavarian resort, where it interrupts a contingent of SA men engaged in homosexual festivities. Lieutenant Edmund Heines is caught in bed with a teenaged boy, and shot to death on the spot. The rest are taken into custody. Hitler sacrificed Ernst Rohm (his pal and head of the SA stormtroopers) rather than lose the support of the military. He personally confronted Rohm in a jail cell and left a single shot pistol in the cell. Ten minutes later, Rohm had killed himself (unless he didn't, in which case, he was executed at point blamk range by Hitler's goons - reports are sketchy.)

June 30, 1936 -

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind was published on this date. It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews -- "Gone With the Wind is very possibly the greatest American novel," said Publisher's Weekly -- that it was certain to sell, though few predicted the sustained, record-breaking numbers. Though she had been eager and active for her fame, Mitchell too was caught off guard.

One trip to an Atlanta department store for a dress ended with a clutch of curious women throwing back the fitting room doors to stare at Mitchell in her petticoat: "They wanted to know the size of my intimate wearing apparel. They screamed to one another about me as I stood there like an animal in a cage, one asking the other: 'Ain't she skinny?' while still another observed: 'I expected her to look more middle-aged around the hips.'"

And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Richard

June 29, 1947 -
Richard Lewis, comedian, actor and all around neurotic, was born on this date.

Billy Joel has said Lewis is the "old friend who bought a ticket to the West Coast and gives them a stand-up routine in L.A." in his song My Life. Richard Lewis and Larry David have known each other since they met at summer camp in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York when they were thirteen.

June 29, 1956 -
The very lush version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I, premiered on this date.

Darryl F. Zanuck first cast Maureen O'Hara as Anna because she was not only gorgeous but had a fine soprano voice and would not have to be dubbed. When Zanuck told her the news, she immediately sent sample recordings of her voice. Richard Rodgers agreed that O'Hara had a great voice but reportedly said, "No pirate queen is going to play my Anna!"

June 29, 1984 -
One of the original gross out comedies of the 80's, Bachelor Party, opened on this date.

Today in History:
June 29, 1613 -
The Globe Theater, William Shakespeare's original theatrical venue, burns to the ground. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man who put out his burning breeches with a bottle of ale.

It must have not been a very good bottle of ale.

June 29, 1967 -
Actress Jayne Mansfield may or may not have been decapitated in a car crash, when her convertible collides with a parked tractor-trailer.

To downplay the gruesome death, sources spread the falsehood that only her wig flew off in the accident.

June 29, 1971 -
When Soyuz 11 disengages from the Salyut space station, cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev are killed by a faulty pressurization valve.

All the oxygen leaks out of the Soyuz cabin before Patsayev can close the valve by hand, and the crew is asphyxiated.

I hate when that happens.

June 29, 1978 -
The body of Bob Crane is discovered in bed with an electric cord wrapped around his neck and his head smashed in.

When Scottsdale police search the apartment belonging to the former star of television's Hogan's Heroes, they discover a video camera and a large library of amateur porn starring Crane and a parade of random women (isn't that a great name for a band - Parade of Random Women)

June 29, 1992 -
Mohammed Boudiaf is assassinated by one of his own bodyguards less than six months after becoming President of Algeria. A former hero in the war of independence, Boudiaf had been chosen by the Islamic Salvation Front to serve as figurehead for their regime. More than 100,000 Algerians will later die in political bloodshed in the following decade.

(Please note - this is not a good way to promote one's services as a bodyguard - we will not kill you within the first six months.)

And so it goes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hey, hope you're enjoying the parade yesterday.

June 28, 1969 -
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village, the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

And literally kids, that's the way it was.

Happy Birthday Mel Brooks

It's a good day to know that Mel is still around -

Hast Du gesehen in deine Leben? The funniest line ever on film

Today in History:
June 28, 1902 -
Today is the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)

At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.

Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago. And as stated previously, it is widely rumored (but hotly denied) pug ugly transvestite FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, ordered Dillinger's well-endowed member detached from his corpse and pickled, for his private files.

His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.

And I have no idea if Johnny Depp used his own penis or wore a prosthetic one.

Jun 28 1905 -
Dr. Beaurieux picks up the freshly-severed head of Henri Languille just after it drops into the guillotine basket and shouts the man's name three times. According to the doctor's report: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. ... I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me."

Again, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the French they are a funny race.

June 28 1914 -
Franz Ferdinand was having an extremely bad day.

He was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)

During their tour, Nedjelko Cabrinovic tosses a grenade into the automobile carrying Archduke Franz Ferdinand and wife Sofia. But Ferdinand knocks the bomb away with his arm and his driver speeds away from the would-be assassin. The driver was naturally addled and the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road (and as most men know this is a no-no - if you are lost never ask for directions). The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne, and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"

The boy was Gavrilo Princip, and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the second World War.

Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:

Our ghosts will walk through Vienna And roam through the Palace Frightening the Lords.

June 28 1997 -
Mike Tyson is disqualified from a championship boxing bout after biting off a large portion of Evander Holyfield's ear.

Tyson is later banned from boxing and fined $3 million for the incident.

Yeah, it tastes like chicken.

And on a personal note: Happy Birthday Angie

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I can't afford to play any clips

Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill (born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859) an authority on Negro spirituals, and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

So remember you can start to sing 'Happy Birthday' but don't finish it, the rights to the song are incredibly expensive. You may substitute any of the following for our purposes under "Fair Use":

* Happy birthday to you, cha cha cha, happy birthday to you, cha cha cha
* Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, you look like a monkey, and belong in a zoo!
* Happy birthday to you, you belong in a zoo, cause you look like a monkey and you smell like one too!
* Happy birthday to you, squashed tomatoes and stew, bread and butter in the gutter, happy birthday to you.
* Happy birthday to you, you're one hundred and two, you smell like a monkey, and you eat like one too!
* Happy birthday to you, you were born in a loo, and since it's your birthday, I'll flush it for you!
* Happy Birthday to you, stick your head down the loo, don't waste it, just taste it, happy birthday to you.
* Happy birthday to you, I went to the zoo, I saw a fat monkey, and it looked just like you!
* Happy birthday to you, you live in the zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too.
* Happy birthday to you, you're one hundred and two, you smell like a monkey, and you look like one too!

Today in History:
June 27 1844 -
Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, are shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois.

According to church legend, after Smith is shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but is thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven. God was having an off day and the thunderbolt was meant to fry Smith's body to a crisp.

June 27, 1905 -
Battleship Potemkin uprising: Sailors from the Battleship Potemkin start a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war. Sergei Eisenstein, wacky Russian film director, thought he could make a summer comedy from the subject matter.

He unfortunately had no sense of humor and went on to create the classic silent film, The Battleship Potemkin, in spite of himself.

It's Bob Keeshan's birthday.

If you're of a certain age, you remember him very well.

June 27, 1928 -
On this day in 1928, Sylvia Beach invited James Joyce and Scott Fitzgerald to dinner at her apartment over her Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Company. Fitzgerald became drunk (which is like stating, The sun rose this morning):. He said he was such a fan of Joyce's that he would throw himself out the window to prove it.

Neither writer was having much success. Fitzgerald had just published The Great Gatsby, and it had not been selling well. Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be published outside of Paris for another five years. Both men died 13 years later, less than a month apart, with no money and very few readers.

Such is life.

June 27, 1957 -
The brilliant film noir, Sweet Smell of Success, partially based on columnist Walter Winchell starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis was released on this date.

... I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic.

June 27, 1966 -
The first broadcast of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV on this date.

Since the show was canceled rather suddenly, viewers never learned Barnabas Collins' fate. But according to one of the writers, here's what they had planned - Barnabas was going to marry his doctor, Julia Hoffman, and move to Asia, where she would eventually discover a cure for his vampirism.

And so it goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More on Leon Day

June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.

June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.

Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.

Today in History
June 26, 1284 -
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted, and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, lures 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.

People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.

Richard III made himself King of England on June 26, 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.

It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two months later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.

Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He cried: Come to me my faithfull sword, companion of all my deeds.

This was the Dawn of the Ironic Age in the New World.

Abner Doubleday was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.

Mr. Doubleday is credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.

June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though, Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)

Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.

June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.

Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech.

June 26, 1968 -
Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, were found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.

Oh well, another mystery of the church best left unexplained.

June 26, 1990 -
Irish Republican Army bombs the Carlton Club, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.

(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)

If you're in NYC tomorrow, get ready to shake your groove thang, the Gay Pride parade makes it's way down Fifth Avenue. I'm curious if it's going to keep to the new 5 hour rule.

And so it goes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Doctor is everywhere!

Your humble servant is every vigilant

And if not me, my somnambulist slave, Cesare will be there.

Happy LEON day

LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. It is now six months until Christmas. Kids, you can take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you are doing.

And who better to celebrate this day then birthday boy George Michael:

Speaking of Michaels - Michael Jackson has been moonwalking in Heaven for one year today. His record sales have been way up.

And reports of 'inappropriate' touching are way down.

Death tends to put a slight crimp in ones way.

June 25, 1963 -
Going out on a limb, one of the greatest films ever made, Federico Fellini's Otto e mezzo (), opened in the US, on this date.

Federico Fellini attached a note to himself below the camera's eyepiece which read, "Remember, this is a comedy."

June 25, 1982 -
(Once again, going out on a limb) the greatest dystopian Sci- Fi film, Blade Runner, opened on this date.

... All those moments will be lost like tears in rain. Time to die.

June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the best Meg Ryan 'chick flick', Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.

Believe it or not, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks only share approximately two minutes screen time together.

Today in History:
June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Big Horn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse sweep in and kill the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.

This is the native way a sending a very serious message.

Eric Arthur Blair was born on this day in 1903, in the Indian village of Motihari near the Nepalese border. His British father was an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. The family returned to England in 1907 so that young Eric could struggle and fail out of school. By 1921 he had returned to the subcontinent and joined the police in Burma. He spent five years with the Burmese police before returning to England to quit and struggle. He stayed in England for a year, then went to France to be poor.

Finally he returned to England and wrote a book about being poor in Paris but no one wanted to publish it. He told his mother to burn the book (she did not), then wrote a new one about being a policeman in Burma. It too was rejected by several publishers. Meanwhile, however, his mother had been sneaking around with the book she hadn't burned and had found a publisher for her son.

Upon submitting the final manuscript to the publisher, Blair decided that a book about being poor in Paris written by a middle-class servant of the British Empire might not look good, so he decided to write under a pen-name. The name he chose was George Orwell.

Later he wrote a book about the political frivolities of farm animals, and another one about a future that sucked (he later acknowledged that it would have been a cheerier book if he hadn't been dying of tuberculosis).

Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.

June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, but men and boys are apparently not covered. This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys.

June 25, 1938 -
Another classic Merry Melody cartoon, Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.

June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production (Our World) was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas and artist Pablo Picasso.

Oh yeah, and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon and Graham Nash.

And so it goes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You think you have it tough

I saw this oddly inspirational clip this morning

... What a piece of work is a man ...

It's Midsummer day throughout most of Europe.

Hey, it's a European thing.

June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.

It was the most played song in the last 75 years in public places in the UK, as of 2009.

Again, it's a European thing

Today In History -
June 24, 1374 -
In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.

Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.

No this was not the first rave and not to beat a dead horse - it's a European thing.

June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)

He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.

June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.

No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.

June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift.East Germany blockades the city of West Berlin.

General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered an air supply effort.

June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision. By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

Now you know.

June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet here's when things got really dicey with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.

June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols' adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .

Orson Welles tried to acquire the rights to the novel so that he could film it. He had to be content with playing the part of General Dreedle.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's going to be a hot one today

Keep hydrated

June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.

Sinatra insisted that his character to be killed off to add a token of believability to the movie as well as for there to be redemption for the death of the female character Gabriella.

June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.

Today in History
June 23, 1611 -
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Henry, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.

June 23, 1860 -
The U.S. Secret Service is founded to fight counterfeiting, protect the President

and give Robert Conrad a career.

June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, later to be known as the Duke of Windsor and briefly Edward VIII, King of England who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born.

Sometimes, it's not so good to be the king.

June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack releases My Sharona.

Could be one of the worst songs every.

June 23, 1989 -
Tim Burton's dark and brooding of Batman, is released on this date.

Willem Dafoe, David Bowie, Dan Aykroyd, Danny DeVito, John Lithgow and James Woods were considered for the Joker.

June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premieres in Los Angeles, on this date.

Dave Chappelle turned down the role of Bubba, thinking the movie would bomb and has since admitted to deeply regretting it.

And on a personal note:
Happy Birthday David (you're 50 and I'm not for a few weeks at least)

and so it goes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

National Chocolate Eclair Day

While the eclair is a delicious dessert, it's charms escape me.

Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than bavaran cream.

June 22, 1949 -
Possibly, the most talented actress of her generation, Mary Louise Streep,was born on this date.

Streep has received 16 Academy Award nominations and 25 Golden Globe nominations (winning seven), more than any other person in film history. Her work has also earned her two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, four New York Film Critics Circle Awards, five Grammy Award nominations, a BAFTA award, and a Tony Award nomination.

Imagine if she really applied herself to her craft.

June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40's Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.

...What's Errol Flynn got that you haven't got? Don't answer that!

June 22, 1961 -
A Great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.

Because the stars were all too old for their characters, the movie was nicknamed "Elderly Gang Goes Off to War" by the British press.

June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.

The only Best Picture Academy Award nominee to be nominated for every award category in which it was eligible.

Today in History -
June 22, 1633 -
The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe:

"I abjure with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith these errors and heresies, and I curse and detest them as well as any other error, heresy or sect contrary to the Holy Catholic Church."

June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.

Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and produced an album called Endless Summer.

June 22, 1933 -
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.

The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.

June 22, 1940 -
France surrenders; hilarity ensues.

Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans.

June 22, 1941-
The German Army invades Russia, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.

Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.

June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland dies of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.

Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drowned.

June 22, 1993 -
Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.

The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats. "Even when people can't speak your language, they can tell if you have love in your heart."

And so it goes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The living is easy, starting today

This year, Summer begins on June 21 at at 7:28 a.m in the northern hemisphere (which happens to be my favorite hemisphere, with the possible exception of the southern one). Summer is the period between the June solstice and the September equinox, and its broad appeal should therefore come as no surprise.

Twenty-five percent of all winning lottery tickets are issued in summer.

Two incredible mash-up by Leandro Braga, movie-lover extraordinaire

This guy has a career in film ahead of him.

June 21, 1988 -
Robert Zemeckis' incredible advance in animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, opened in NYC on this date.

This movie marked the first time cartoon characters from both Walt Disney and Warner Brothers appeared together on screen.

Today in History
June 21, 1877 -
The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants who were labor activists, are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Author and Judge John P. Lavelle of Carbon County said of this, "The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty...

... A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows."

June 21, 1893 -
The first ferris wheel debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, on this date. The ferris wheel was designed by George W. Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The exposition commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America. The Chicago Fair's organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel had built the tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

June 21, 1905 -
It would have been the 105th birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre today.

But what the hell does he care; he's dead and it doesn't mean anything anyway.

June 21, 1977 -
The much under appreciated - New York, New York, directed by Martin Scorsese, was released on this date.

Do yourself a great favor and rent the restored DVD version.

June 21, 1982 -
Using an innovative Jodie Foster defense, John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

Nobody is impressed by this verdict.

June 21, 1989 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johns on that flag burning is indeed protected speech under the Constitution, prompting Congress to put forth an endless series of amendments to ban the activity.

And so it goes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I hope all of you fathers, stepfathers, fathers to be, mothers who are the fathers to their kids and fathers (but you don't know it) have a great Father's Day today.

I am still celebrating National Martini Day!

June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday

and luckily he's no longer hearing those voices in his head.

June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's first American movie, Anna & The King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters.

In the film, Linda Darnell's character dies by being burned at the stake. In a bizarre ironic twist, 19 years later, she was killed in a house fire.

June 20, 1974 -
"Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown" - the unforgettable film noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.

At this point, this is the last movie Roman Polanski filmed in the U.S.

June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's thriller, Jaws, premiered on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.

Steven Spielberg named the shark "Bruce" after his lawyer.

Today in History -
June 20, 1793 -
Eli Whitney applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.

This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.

June 20, 1756 -
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning. Of those imprisoned, only 23 survive.
Even with the economic downturn, an apartment that size would sell for $300,000.00 in Manhattan.

June 20, 1782 -
Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States.

Although several people on the were Masons, the Masonic institutions themselves deny that the Seal is Masonic; therefore, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Of course.

June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden is found innocent of giving her stepmother and father forty and forty-one whacks, respectively.

Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.

June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) is shot to death at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders from Meyer Lansky.

Siegel gets it twice in the face, and his right eyeball ends up on the dining room floor.

And so it goes.