Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Sea Serpent Day (especially to all you sea sick ones.)

I've celebrated a lot of silly holidays (remember Arbor Day anybody) and I scoffed when I read that August was Sea Serpent Month and Today is Sea Serpent Day. But nay, nay, no less that the august body of the Smithsonian Institution recognizes today as Sea Serpent Day. So who am I to mock?

Let us remember that in 1752, Erik Pontoppidan, the Bishop of Bergen, wrote a published report of seeing the Kraken, a horned creature so large that when it surfaced, most of its body remained underwater.

(Hey, how did that commercial get in here?)

Get out there and go to the beach and celebrate Sea Serpent Day!

August 7, 1971 -
The Bee Gees early hit How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? topped the charts on this date. It became their first US #1 hit.

Barry and Robin Gibb wrote this for the singer Andy Williams, but Williams turned it down and the Gibbs decided to record it with their group The Bee Gees. The band had broken up in early 1969, but got back together shortly before this was recorded. This was written on the same afternoon as another Bee Gee hit, Lonely Days in Barry Gibb's basement apartment in London.

August 7, 1782 -
... the road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is is thus open to all.

General George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non commissioned officers.

Washington authorized the award of the Purple Heart for soldiers wounded in combat.

August 7, 1948 -
An early Chuck Jones example of Daffy Duck's greedy nature, You Were Never Duckier premiered on this date.

... Huh! I must be walking in my sleep. But how can I be walking in my sleep if I'm awake enough to know I'm walking in my sleep. The strange things people do in their sleep, especially if they're awake.

August 7, 1953 -
Arguably, the best musical of the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals, The Band Wagon, premiered on this date.

During the Louisiana Hayride number, Nanette Fabray gashed her leg when she broke through the top of a prop crate she was standing on. She said that shooting the Triplets number, which was filmed later and where she was forced to stand on her knees, was so painful that she had to take large numbers of pain pills.

August 7, 1963 -
American International released the first "beach-blanket" film, Beach Party, on this date.

Although "old fogey" Professor Sutwell knew nothing about beach life, actor Robert Cummings was a competent surfer in real life.

Today in History:
August 7, 1876 -
The German spy Mata Hari, a Dutchwoman named Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, was born on this day. She was executed by the French on October 14, 1917.

There was not much actual evidence of espionage, but she had been seen naked with German officers and the French found this distasteful enough to kill her.

August 7, 1882 -
Ellison Hatfield was stabbed 26 times and shot in the back by Tolbert McCoy and two of his brothers. Two days later, the Hatfield clan captures the three McCoys and executes them by firing squad.

Thus begins generations of bloodshed between the families, ultimately causing about 100 casualties.

Louis Leakey was also born on this day, in 1903. Mr Leakey was a prominent British archeologist who discovered that either mankind was much older than had previously been supposed or that mankind had not actually been mankind but some other kind instead.

The archeological world was convulsed for decades by arguments over what to name this strange new species and the struggle drove Mr Leakey to become a spy for the British government and cheat on his wife (though seldom simultaneously).

August 7, 1953 -
If only Nixon had given Eisenhower that rum toddy today and tucked him in for his afternoon nap, the 2004 election might have been different.

President Eisenhower signs legislation retroactively granting Ohio official statehood for the previous 150 years. In 1803, apparently everyone just assumed that Ohio was a state, even though Congress had never passed legislation to that effect. The nation remained blissfully unaware of this fact until nosy historians began snooping around in preparation for Ohio's sesquicentennial.

August 7, 1959 -
Explorer 6 transmits first TV photo of Earth from space on this date.

The satellite, popularly known as the 'paddlewheel satellite,' featured a photocell scanner that transmitted a crude picture of the earth's surface and cloud cover from a distance of 17,000 miles .

August 7, 1960 -
Film and television actor David Duchovny (sex addict and another member of the Milton Berle club) was born in New York City on this date. Two of his most popular TV roles include Special Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files, and transvestite DEA agent Dennis Bryson in three episodes of Twin Peaks (second season, though).

Remember, the truth is out there. But then again, What is truth, what is beauty and remember hemlock is poison.

August 7, 1974 -
Philippe Petit the French high wire artist walked between the Twin Towers in New York City on this date.

Yes kids, that was another time, another place.

And so it goes.

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