Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hey, you probably still could get reservation ...

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who thought about your children to the detriment of your own mental health. I hope a mediocre Mother's Day brunch can help negate 364 days of smug indifference of your children.

May 8, 1926 -
Donald Jay "Don" Rickles, Mr. Warmth - comedian and actor and was born on this date.

... When you enter a room, you have to kiss Sinatra's ring. I don't mind, but he has it in his back pocket.

May 8, 1943 -
Another Tex Avery's masterpiece, Red Hot Riding Hood, was released on this date.

Please attempt to keep your eyes in your skull.

May 8, 1946 -
David O. Selznick's very silly but highly entertaining, Duel in the Sun, premiered in New York on this date. (Even if you hate this film, you must watch the ending.)

A possibly apocryphal (but funny none the less) story - David O. Selznick and composer Dimitri Tiomkin argued about the "love theme" in the film. Selznick, didn't like it and supposedly said, "You don't understand. I want real f*cking music!" To which Tiomkin angrily replied, "You f*ck your way, I f*ck my way. F*ck you - I quit!"

Their differences were eventually patched up, and Tiomkin's music was used in the final film.

Today in History -
On May 6, 1758, Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre was born (this is not a Today in History fact but follow along, we'll get to it). Even in the revolutionary context of his age, Mr. Robespierre stands out as one of the most revolting figures in history.

M. Robespierre fought valiantly to help revolutionary France achieve liberty, fraternity, and equality but inadvertently caused an unfortunate turn of weather known as the "rain of terror."

At first this rain caused only French loyalists to lose their heads, but M. Robespierre's egalitarian convictions led him to conclude that citoyens from all walks of life should lose theirs as well. The celebrated chemist Atoine-Laurent Lavoisier, for example, was beheaded on May 8, 1794 for having identified oxygen, which people mistakenly thought to be one of the noble gases.

M. Robespierre ended up losing his own head on the guillotine; this was called poetic justice by some Frenchmen and irony by others. This disagreement eventually produced the Napoleonic Age, in which soldiers had to crawl on their stomachs until Napoleon was disabled by the sight of Elba.

May 8, 1886 -
John Stith Pemberton was druggist and drug addict in North Carolina, plagued by his morphine addiction. Pemberton began work on a coca and cola (kola) nut beverage. It was intended to stop headaches and calm nervousness, but others insist he was attempting to create beverage to help control his addiction, also afflicting other wounded Confederate veterans (he was shot once and slashed with a saber). At that time, beverages containing coca leaf, which in turn contains cocaine were believed to be helpful in combating dependence on opiates. He began this process at his Columbus laboratory, but soon after the war, moved his entire operation to Atlanta.

He created the formula in a brass kettle in his backyard on May 8th 1886. He instructed his assistant, Venable, to mix it with ice water and chill it. They drank it, and both loved it (of course they did - it had cocaine in it). But then Venable accidentally mixed it with carbonated water. They decided to sell it as a fountain drink, as an alternative for root beer and ginger ale.

Pemberton bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robertson suggested that they name it Coca Cola for the Coca leaves and Kola (cola) nuts in it. Indeed, Coca-Cola was originally advertised (in part) as a cure for morphine addiction.

Oh, for the original formula.

May 8, 1945 -
Let's face it, Harry S. Truman was a shlub for most of his adult life. He was a failed businessman. He was a minor cog in a a political machine when he was picked to be Senator for his home state, Missouri. Roosevelt picked him to be his Vice President to spite his former Vice President, Henry Wallace, who was thought too liberal. Truman's vice-presidency was relatively uneventful, and contact with the White House was minimal; he was not asked for advice nor informed of major decisions. Truman might have slipped into historical obscurity had Roosevelt not to have a massive stroke and die on April 12, 1945.

Truman's birthday was coming up and Germany, well the part of it that didn't commit suicide in the bunker or fled to Argentina wanted to give the new President a special gift. So on May 7th, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command, General Alfred Jodl, one of the only German's left standing, signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies. All active operations were to cease at 23:01 Central European Time on May 8 1945, Truman's 61st birthday.

And what did Jodl get for this special gift - a necktie party at the end of his trial at Nuremberg. It was later learned that Jodl was neither guilty of crimes of war punishable by death under international law, nor of other crimes which would have made him a criminal or abuser of military power.

Oops, that what you get for trying to be nice!

May 8, 1963 -
Dr No, the first James Bond film, and the first to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond, premiered in US.

I guess we'll forgive the vodka (and not gin) martinis "shaken, not stirred".

May 8, 1984 -
Joanie (Erin Moran) and Chachi (Scott Baio) tied the knot (finally) on Happy Days, on this date. The comedy series, starring Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley and Marion Ross (Ron Howard and Anson Williams had already left the show), was winding down in its final season on ABC-TV.

In the same episode, Fonzie, filed papers to adopt a son .

And so it goes

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