Sunday, November 13, 2011

News from the Euro Zone

Italian Prime Minister, despot and aging whore monger, Silvio Berlusconi finally resigned yesterday not because of his teenage bunga-bunga ways but because of the near collapse of the Italian economy. (At least he wasn't hanging from a meat hook in Piazzale Loreto.)

On a related note, mere hours after Berlusconi's resignation, European stock prices of Pfizer, maker of Viagra, plunged precipitously low.

While it is a particularly uneventful day in history, let us opine these words:

"The students are beyond control and their behavior is disgraceful. They come blustering into the lecture-rooms like a troop of maniacs and upset the orderly arrangements which the master has made in the interest of his pupils. Their recklessness is unbelievable and they often commit outrages which ought to be punishable by law, were it not that custom protects them."

People concerned about the pace of change in human affairs can find solace in knowing that these familiar sentiments were expressed about sixteen centuries ago by St. Augustine, who was born on November 13, 354 AD.

Like many other theological luminaries, Augustine began life as a debauched young man who sought his pleasures in wine, women, and song. Eventually he became old and cranky and declared his youth wasted.

One would have thought that the drunken orgies of his youth recounted in his Confessions would have been a natural fit for an MTV reality series to follow 16 and Pregnant.

November 13, 1789 -
Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

I would include, "never have chili after 9 PM."

November 13, 1940 -
Walt Disney's film Fantasia, opened in New York on this date.

The animators secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" on their boss, Walt Disney. The raised eyebrow was regarded as a dead giveaway. They call the character Yen Sid, which is "Disney" spelled backwards.

November 13, 1954 -
Looney Tunes first 3D cartoon, Lumber Jack Rabbit, starring Bugs Bunny, premiered on this date.

This cartoon was intended for release with House of Wax, which was also filmed in 3D. Warner Brothers had released another 3D cartoon last year, a Coyote and Roadrunner outing called Coyote Falls.

November 13, 1955 -
Happy Birthday Caryn

Whoopi Goldberg (Caryn Elaine Johnson) actress, comedienne, and television host, was born on this day.

Today in History:
November 13, 1927 -

New York's Holland Tunnel officially opened today, the first underwater tunnel built in the United States, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River, ushering in a massive wave of Dutch immigration (and more fools them - The tunnel was named after its chief engineer, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died of a heart attack on the operating table while undergoing a tonsillectomy, as a posthumous honor, starting the trend for the NY/NJ interstate crossings to have names with no relation to their geographic locations).

Most of the Dutch returned to Holland after learning that New Amsterdam had become New York.

November 13, 1965 -
Appearing on a late night live satire programme called BBC3, critic Kenneth Tynan becomes the first man to say “Fuck” on TV.

A national fit of apoplexy follows with one Tory MP suggesting that Tynan should hang!

November 13, 1974 -
Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., was killed in a 'car crash' while on her way to meet a reporter.

The Kerr-McGee nuclear fuel plants closed in 1975. The grounds of the Cimarron plant were still being decontaminated 25 years later.

And so it goes.

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