Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oldest elephant in North America dies

Trainers at Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo are mourning the loss of Taj, the oldest elephant in North America, who passed away on Tuesday. The 71-year-old has been with discovery kingdom since 1978, when it was known as marine world, in Redwood City.

Taj lived at the park for 33 years. Before her retirement three years go, the former Circus Vargas performer entertained crowds by stacking logs and playing tug of war with visitors, according to the Mercury News.

God grant me the strength to live to 89 and spit take vodka like Betty White

January 20, 1956 - Bill Maher, actor, comedian, political analyst and professional pot smoker, was born on this date.

The new season of Real Time started last week.

January 20, 1941 - Raoul Walsh's crime-drama High Sierra, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino (remember, nobody messes with Ida Lupino) premiered on this date.

This was a pivotal film in Humphrey Bogart’s career. It was the last of his films where he received second billing (co-star Ida Lupino actually had top billing.)

January 20, 1949 -
A surprise hit for writer/ director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (which garnered for him his first two Oscars,) A Letter to Three Wives, premiered on this date.

General Douglas MacArthur was so confused by the ending of the film that he had his aide write Joseph L. Mankiewicz a letter asking with whom Addie had, in fact, run off.

Today in History - Jimmy Naismith was born in Ramsay township in Ontario, Canada in 1861. He grew up and eventually went to McGill University in Montreal. He became their Athletic Director and in 1891 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take a post at the YMCA Training School. It was there that he was confronted with the problem of developing a game that could be played indoors and in relatively little space.

On January 20, 1892, with only two peach baskets, a soccer ball, and a hand-written list of 13 rules, Dr. Naismith oversaw the world's first full game of a brand new sport, a sport that took its name from the peach baskets and soccer ball used to play it.

He had finally invented Peach Soccer (as opposed to Peachbasket - see January 15.)

January 20, 1936 -
King George V of England was euthanized with injections of cocaine and morphine, after a painful cancer illness on this date. His final words, a mumbled God damn you!, were addressed to his nurse when she gave him a sedative before his final lethal injection. His physician was motivated not only to ameliorate the king's suffering, but also to break the story in the morning edition of the newspapers, rather than the less appropriate evening journals.

Remember kids - Promptness is the politeness of kings.

At the procession to George's Lying in State in Westminster Hall, as the cortege turned into New Palace Yard, the Maltese Cross fell from the Imperial Crown and landed in the gutter. The new King, Edward VIII, saw it fall and wondered whether this was a bad omen for his new reign.

He would abdicate before the year was out.

January 20, 1920 -
Federico Fellini, director, screenwriter, producer, painter and cartoonist, was born on this date.

All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography

And so it goes.

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