Friday, June 17, 2011

In a world of fading sadness

I've been listening to the new Bryan Ferry album, Olympia (yes, I am that old, album and not CD, although I am listening to it on CD) in heavy rotation.

I especially appreciate David Gilmour's guitar work.

June 17, 1950 -
Bugs Bunny recounts his life story to a reporter from Disassociated Press in What's Up Doc?, released on this date.

... but now we have to go.

June 17, 1983 -
A late Kubrick masterpiece, Full Metal Jacket, is released on this date.

Except for the title cards "A Stanley Kubrick Film" and "Full Metal Jacket", there are no opening credits.

Today in History:
June 17, 1775 -
American forces were defeated by the British at Breed's Hill, near Boston, in the Battle of Bunker Hill, after famously withholding their fire until they could see the whites of their enemies' eyes.

This battle should not be confused with that of Bunker Hill, fought on Breed's Hill, during which the Americans shot like hell at anything that moved.

June 17, 1797 -
Agha Muhammad Khan, Shah of Persia (also a eunuch, but that's another story) ordered his servants to bring him a melon cut into slices. He finished half, ordered the other half to be put away and vowed to his servants, that if even one slice of the melon was missing in the morning, all three servants would be beheaded by him. Later on that night one of the servants forgot and ate a slice. The servants then killed Agha Muhammad Khan with the dagger because they were afraid he would kill them in the morning.

There's a lesson here somewhere - Treat your staff better? Purchase more fruit for dessert? Dare to eat the peach?

The Statue of Liberty, France's gift to the United States marking the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isere (only nine years after the gift was offered.)

To prepare for transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. (The right arm and the torch, which were completed earlier, had been exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and thereafter at Madison Square in New York City.)

June 17, 1939 -
In Versailles, Eugene Weidmann becomes the last person to be publicly guillotined.

The "hysterical behaviour" by spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions.

A few people can ruin it for everybody.

June 17, 1963 -
The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to strike down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

The case began in 1956 when Edward L. Schempp, on behalf of his son, objected to a 1949 Pennsylvania law requiring 10 Bible verses each day followed by the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. This decision was decided concurrently with Murray v. Curlett, Madalyn Murray O'Hair battle with the Baltimore school board over school prayer. We've been godless heathens ever since.

June 17, 1968-
Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy (I've got love in my tummy) goes gold.

The song was used in an episode of The Simpsons where in a flashback to 1969, Homer is singing this song while ignoring the moon landing.

June 17, 1972 -
Five men broke into the Democratic Party National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, DC on this date. They had hoped to bug the offices but were arrested before they could release any insects.

President Nixon will later describe as a "third rate burglary." Their arrests ultimately led to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974.

(Nixon's resignation prior to 1974 is attributed to simple melancholia.)

June 17, 1994 -
Convicted memorabilia thug O.J. Simpson fails to turn himself in to the LAPD at a prearranged time and is later spotted in a white Ford Bronco on a Los Angeles expressway. After a low-speed pursuit through the freeways and streets of Brentwood, O.J. is finally arrested live on television in the driveway of his mansion.

According to one of the defense attorneys who served on O.J.'s "Dream Team," Simpson tried to kill himself in the car, but the gun misfired. The Juice allegedly told him: "I pulled the trigger and it didn't go off."

That would have saved everyone a boatload of trouble.

And so it goes.

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