Friday, November 11, 2011

In Flanders fields the poppies blow ...

I know it's juvenile but November 11 is one of the twelve days of each calendar year I've come to love the most, since it's "11/11" in American and European notation.

My kids love it even more because it's 11/11/11

It's Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day for many in Europe (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ...).

I'd like to thank our veterans for having fought, and in many cases died, to preserve my liberties -

and I'd like to apologizes for having made such foolish use of them.

November 11, 1943 -
The under-appreciated wartime-drama Sahara, starring Humphrey Bogart premiered on this date.

The 'Hollywood Reporter' during mid January 1943 reported that Humphrey Bogart replaced Brian Donlevy for this Columbia Studios film whilst Donlevy in turn replaced Bogart on the same studio's Once Upon a Time. Donlevy was reportedly tired of appearing in war pictures and he doesn't actually appear in the credits for Once Upon a Time.

November 11, 1947 -
Elia Kazan's searing expose of anti-Semitism, Gentleman's Agreement, starring Gregory Peck premiered in New York on this date.

Among the concerns that the movie's anti-anti-semitic message would stir up a "hornet's nest"was the bizarre belief that "Jewish friendly" films and novels from the time were linked with communism. The fear was not entirely unfounded, as many of the people involved with the film were brought before the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC), including Daryl Zanuck, Anne Revere, Elia Kazan and John Garfield.

November 11, 1958 -
The (relatively unknown) British-comedy The Horse's Mouth, starring Alec Guinness, opened in the US on this date.

Joyce Carey, the author of the novel which inspired the film, based the role of the self-destructive painter on his good friend, the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

Do yourself a favor and rent this one.

Today in History:
November 11, 397 -
St. Martin of Tours, another in the series of anorexic visionaires is a patron saint of France, soldiers (he is known as the he man's saint), reformed alcoholics and winemakers. When the armistice fell on the Saint Martin’s Day, November 11, 1918, the French people saw it was a sign of his intercession in the affairs of France.

Martin, after another of his life long practice of fasting, has a dream about Jesus wearing the cloak he had recently given to a naked beggar. Pieces of Martin's actual 'cloak' were revered as holy relics and the derivation of the name of the priest who looked after these relics became 'chaplain'.

And now you know.

November 11, 1215 -
The Fourth Lateran Council meets. They adopt the doctrine of transubstantiation, meaning that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

This means all Catholics are essentially cannibals on a feeding schedule, but who am I to judge a theology of which I am a nominal member.

November 11, 1634 -
Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passes "An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery". Seven years later, the good Bishop Atherton is himself is found well hanged under the Act.

I guess the religious right has always been a little loose on this issue.

November 11, 1821 -
Originality and a feeling of one’s own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Russian novelist who wrote Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, was born on this date.

November 11, 1925 -
If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it!

Jonathan Winters, the great improvisational comedian and actor, was born on this date.

November 11, 1969-
The Beatles with Billy Preston released Get Back in the UK on this date.

The Let it Be album was originally going to be called Get Back. The concept was The Beatles "getting back" to their roots and playing new songs for a live audience without any studio tricks. This song came closest to capturing that spirit, but the album became something completely different when they decided to scrap the idea of a live album.

November 11, 1978 -
A perennial favorite suicide location, the renovated Hollywood Sign is unveiled, due in large part to the public campaign to restore the landmark by shock rocker Alice Cooper.

The original sign was built in 1923, and said "Hollywoodland".

And so it goes

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