Thursday, June 16, 2011


Hey kids, want to learn every curse word you can in under 10 minutes, well watch these two videos. (You may ask what is my prurient interest in foul language. Work in television for over 20 years and you develop an unhealthy interest in foul language.) Please ask you parents if you can watch them (Not for my sake - I could give a good rat's ass, I just don't want any complaints if your language suddenly becomes overly florid and more colorful.)

The first is a wonderful re-imagining of Pulp Fiction told only by the 429 expletives within the narrative:

The next one is a children's picture book for adults narrated by Samuel L. Jackson:

I am tingling with anticipation about the forthcoming Werner Herzog version

June 16, 1956 -
Gene Vincent (Capitol Record's answer to Elvis Presley) and the Bluecaps'(so named after Ike's golf cap) Be-Bop-A-Lula, was released on this date.

A possibly apocryphal story is that the song was inspired by the Little Lulu comic books. Regardless of it's inspiration, the song became a hit and launched Vincent as a rock 'n' roll star.

June 16, 1963 -
Valentina Tereshkova, piloting the Vostok 6, became the first woman to travel in space.

With her single flight, she logged more flight time than the combined times of all American astronauts who had flown before that date.

Today in History:
June 16 1750 BC -
King Hammurabi died in Babylon on this date and was succeeded by his son Samsu-iluna.

I know you're saying to yourself, "Who cares?". Well, now that you know, you can feel morally superior to the schlub sitting next to you on the subway going home tonight.

June 16, 1556 -
Always read guide books before traveling.

Pedro Fernandes Sardinha, the first bishop of Bahia did not and he encountered some unpleasant results. The good bishop was shipwrecked between the rivers Sao Francisco and Cururipu and murdered by the indigenous natives there.

Had he read his guide book, he would have learned that; a.) he should not wear chimichurri sauce as a cologne and b.) the Caytes of the Brazilian coast ate the crews of every wrecked Portuguese ship they found. Besides the first Bishop of Bahia, the obviously very hungry Indians also ate two Canons, the Procurator of the Royal Portuguese Treasury, two pregnant women and several children.

Who knew Portuguese was that good?

June 16, 1858 -
More than 1,000 Republican delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. By late afternoon, they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas.

Later that evening, Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title comes a sentence from the speech's introduction, "A house divided against itself cannot stand," which paraphrases a statement by Jesus in the New Testament.

If only Lincoln had read his Scriptures a little more closely he would have uncovered the passage that had confused many biblical scholars, "Hey Abe, Don't go to Ford's Theatre on Good Friday."

June 16, 1904 -
Happy Bloomsday! the straight-A English majors will greet one another joyously. Yes - yes - yes! they'll titter. It will all be terrific fun.

Today is the date on which all the events depicted in James Joyce's famous novel Ulysses take place, even though the book itself was published in 1922 and therefore cannot celebrate a real centennial until my daughters have graduated college. There is probably also a lot of excitement in all sorts of intellectual circles.

And now, you can truly impress your friends by telling them the plot -

Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, does not have much work to do, so he spends most of his day wandering around Dublin doing some errands. He leaves his house on Eccles Street, walks south across the River Liffey, picks up a letter, buys a bar of soap, and goes to the funeral of a man he didn't know very well. In the afternoon, he has a cheese sandwich, he feeds the gulls in the river, helps a blind man cross the street, and visits a couple of pubs. He thinks about his job, his wife, his daughter, his stillborn son. He muses about life and death and reincarnation. He knows that his wife is going to cheat on him that afternoon at his house. In the evening, he wanders around the red light district of Dublin and meets up with a young writer named Stephen Dedalus, who is drunk. Leopold Bloom takes him home with him and offers to let him spend the night. And they stand outside, looking at the stars for a while. And then Bloom goes inside and climbs into bed with his wife.

They'll feel smart and proud and better than the rest of us (and you again can feel morally superior for knowing it), and now you know why.

June 16, 1948 -
In the first skyjacking of a commercial plane, three armed men storm the cockpit of the Miss Macao, a passenger seaplane operated by Cathay Pacific airline.

When the pilot refuses to turn over the controls, he was shot dead and the plane crashes into the ocean. The only survivor among the 27 people on board is the leader of the terrorists.


June 16, 1958 -
Imre Nagy, once prime minister of Hungary for all of ten days, is executed by the Soviet Union for attempting to withdraw his country from the Warsaw Pact.

It is said that Nikita Khrushchev had Nagy executed, "as a lesson to all other leaders in socialist countries."

That'll learn em.

June 16, 1959 -
While entertaining friends at his home, George Reeves (Ben Affleck), who played the title character in the original Superman TV series, goes upstairs to his bedroom and commits suicide with a 9mm German Luger.

This has been hotly debated and it is now believe that the irate husband of a B movie actress Reeves was sleeping with, shot the actor in his home.

June 16, 1960 -
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho opened in New York on this date.

One of the reasons Alfred Hitchcock shot the movie in black and white was he thought it would be too gory in color.

June 16, 1961 -
This may be a shock to some of you readers but some male ballet dancers are homosexuals. Rudolf Nureyev was a major buggerer, much to the consternation of both the Kirov management and the Russian political authorities. In the Kirov's first-ever appearance in Paris in 1961, Nureyev was an outstanding success, yet his defiance of company regulations about mingling with foreigners, provoked a command return to Moscow.

Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Kirov Ballet at Le Bourget Airport in France while he was on the verge of flying back to USSR on this date. Within five days, Nureyev embarked on a six-month season with the international Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, dancing the Prince and the Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty.

June 16, 1976 -
15,000 schoolchildren take to the streets of Soweto to protest South Africa's adoption of bilingual instruction in the Afrikaans language.

The nonviolent march ends abruptly when police and soldiers open fire on the crowd, killing 600 and igniting days of rioting throughout the region.

June 16, 1999 -
The founder of the United Kingdom's Monster Raving Loony Party, one Screaming Lord Sutch (real name David Edward Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow), is found hanged at his late mother's residence. Sutch was the longest lasting party leader in the UK at the time of his death, ruled a suicide.

One of the Loony Party planks was to ask rhetorically, "Why is there only one Monopolies Commission?"

And so it goes.

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