Monday, March 12, 2012

Celebrate the day - buy their cookies

March 12, 1912 -
Juliette Gordon Low organized the Girl Guides, which later became the Girl Scouts of America, at the 1848 Andrew Low House in Savannah, Ga. on this date.

On July 3, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill authorizing a stamp in honor of Juliette Gordon Low. The stamp was one of the few dedicated to women.

March 12, 1953 -
John Huston's very off-beat comedy starring Humphrey Bogart, Beat the Devil, premiered in New York City on this date.

Although John Huston was Humphrey Bogart's first choice to direct, Huston had some scheduling conflicts - he was due to make a movie with Katharine Hepburn (which was never made) and he had to finish his then-current project Moulin Rouge. Nicholas Ray, who Bogart had worked with twice before, was considered to direct in case Huston could not finish in time.

March 12, 1971 -
Robert Wise's taut Sci-Fi Thriller, The Andromeda Strain, opened on this date.

Michael Crichton, author of the novel, was invited to take a tour of Universal Studios during the production of this film. His guide was none other than Steven Spielberg, who would go on to adapt his most successful novel, Jurassic Park

March 12, 1971 -
John Lennon released Power to the People in the United Kingdom on this date.

"Power to the People" was a popular phrase in the 1960s and early '70. It indicated a need for individuals to take control from governments and institutions, which is something Lennon advocated. He said of the song: "I wrote 'Power to the People' the same way I wrote 'Give Peace A Chance,' as something for the people to sing. I make singles like broadsheets. It was another quickie."

Today in History:
March 12, 1888 -
The day before started off seemingly fine - the temperature was mild as a light rain began to fall on March 11th, 1888. And then the weather changed. The rain became heavier and by the next day, the rains changed to heavy snow and buried the unprepared city in drifts of up to thirty feet deep! The temperature plunged and winds reached over eighty miles per hour.

On the first day of 1888 blizzard, Roscoe Conking, former congressman and US Senator (from NY) was at his law office at 10 Wall Street. Despite the severity of the storm, Conkling decided to walk from his office to his club on Madison Square, even though it was 6:00 PM and already dark.

He made it up Broadway as far as Union Square where he (as he later put it): “got to the middle of the park and was up to my arms in a drift…. For nearly twenty minutes I was stuck there and I came as near giving right up and sinking down there to die as a man can and not do it.” But somehow Conkling freed himself and continued up Broadway to Madison Square, where the people at the New York Club could “scarcely believe” he had walked from Wall Street.

Conkling developed a slight cold a few day later and a few weeks later on April 18th, became one of most famous victims of the blizzard. Conkling friends immediately set about to memorialize him with a statue in Madison Square Park. (Apparently the city fathers balked at commemorating Conkling in Union Square amidst George Washington and Abraham Lincoln - he was not that well liked.) Aside from the statue, Roscoe Conkling's greatest legacy was perhaps silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, who was reportedly named for Conkling by Fatty's father, who thought that his son was the product of an affair between his wife and Conkling.

At the end of the Second World War, America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Each bomb killed so many people so quickly and made the world so safe for peace-loving democracies that America began feeling pretty good about things and forgot all about being Depressed, etc. This caused the hula-hoop, the soda fountain, and Annette Funicello.

Not everyone could master the hula-hoop, however, and the alienation experienced by those who couldn't resulted in the development of an American counterculture.

Scoffing the traditional values of mainstream America, the counterculturalists experimented with bold new ideas. They forsook the established middle-class pleasures, such as wine, woman, and song, in favor of radical new ones, such as sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll.

Born 90 years ago today, Jack Kerouac was a child of the Depression and a veteran of the second world war. He was therefore torn between these competing value systems and roamed the country aimlessly in search of grammar and punctuation.

The adventures described in On the Road were based loosely on his real-life travels with the infamous Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, whose insatiable appetite for borscht led Kerouac to dub them "The Beet Generation."

March 12, 1918 -
Today episode on the Wacky World of the Russian Revolution -

Russia's peasants and workers are still exhausted by the war and its attendant famine. The Tsar and Tsarina are past caring about their suffering - they were under arrest The Russia's peasants and workers are still furious with the government, which had become two governments and therefore twice as bad. And they were tired of all this nonsense about March being February, St. Petersburg being Petrograd, the Czar being Tsar, and all those crazy, mixed-up fronts.

So what does the country do - move the capital from Petrograd to Moscow on this date

March 12, 1932 -
Ivar Kreuger, the so-called Swedish Match King, (at one time, he controlled two thirds of the worldwide match production) committed suicide in Paris on this date, leaving behind a financial empire that turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme.

The 'Kreuger crash’ shook Wall Street and led to a 1933 Securities Act, which strengthened disclosure requirements for all companies selling stock.

Madoff was a piker compared to Kreuger.

March 12, 1938 -
Germany enters Austria in the Anschluss, to annex it as part of Grossdeutchland.

Oh those wacky Germans and their World Domination Tour.

March 12, 1945 -
...I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness; I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too; I can feel the sufferings of millions; and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again ... I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out....

Anne Frank died at Auschwitz on this date.

March 12, 1955 -
Charles Parker, Jr., one of the most influential jazz musicians, died on this date while while watching Tommy Dorsey on television.

Due to many years of drug and alcohol abuse, the coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker's 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.

Bird Lives.

March 12, 2000 -
Pope John Paul II asks God's forgiveness for the many wrongs committed by the Roman Catholic Church. The pardon he requested divided into seven categories of Church sin, including sins against the Jews, against native peoples of the world, the crimes of the Inquisition, and general crimes against humanity.

This pardon was requested only for past sins, and apparently does not apply to the Church's many, many, many ongoing sins.

And so it goes.

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