Thursday, March 22, 2012

Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink

Today is Worldwide Water Day. Lack of potable water is the second leading cause of death in many Third World countries.

So remember, after your morning coffee (or tea,) please remember to recycle your 'precious bodily fluid'.

Two leading lights of twentieth century musical theatre were born on March 22: Stephen Sondheim (1930), best known for his work on Gypsy, West Side Story, Company and Sweeney Todd and Andrew Lloyd Weber (1948), best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and Phantom of the Opera.

By some mysterious natural process of compensation, March 22 is also the birthday of Marcel Marceau (1923), best known for Actor Trapped in a Role.

Today in History:
March 22, 1622 -
A band led by the Brothers of Powhatan slaughtered 347 settlers near Jamestown, a quarter of the population, in the first Indian massacre of European settlers on this date.

Just think if the Indians had just followed the thought all the way through ....

March 22, 1687 -
Classical music and vanity do not mix, if fact, they can really kill you. In early January, 1687, Jean-Baptiste de Lully, court music and gossip to King Louis XIV of France and notorious buggerer (but that's another story ...) was conducting a musical piece, beating time on the floor with a long staff. This was the common practice at the time before hand-held batons became the norm. He slammed his big toe.

The wound abscessed and eventually turned gangrenous. He refused to have his toe amputated (as he first started as a court dancer) because he could not bear the thought of disfigurement. The wound turned gangrenous and the infection spread, killing him three months later, on this date.

March 22, 1895 -
Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures in Paris using celluloid film. Unless it was March 19, 1895, or December 28, 1894, or cellulite instead of celluloid. And it may have been in Milan, or Warsaw, and it's possible it wasn't Louis and Auguste Lumiere, but Max and Emil Skladanowsky.

It depends who you ask. It wasn't much of a movie anyway—just footage of workers leaving the Lumiere Factory at the end of their shift—so the ambiguity surrounding its debut shouldn't be so surprising.

March 22, 1958 -
Michael Todd, movie producer and one of the myriad of husband's of Elizabeth Taylor and three other people were killed in the crash of Todd's private plane Lucky Liz, near Grants, New Mexico. In his autobiography, Eddie Fisher, who considered himself to be Todd's best friend (and another one of the myriad of husbands of Elizabeth Taylor,) stated that no fragments of Todd had been found, and that his coffin contained only his ring.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 1977 that Fisher's story was false—remains of Todd were indeed found and buried. His remains were desecrated by robbers, who broke into his coffin looking for the ring. The bag containing Todd's remains was found under a tree near his plot.

Now you know.

March 22, 1972 -
National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommends ending criminal penalties for possession of marijuana.

So far, no subsequent administration has heeded their recommendation.

March 22, 1978 -
One of the Flying Wallendas, 73 year old Karl Wallenda, plunges to his death on a cable strung between two hotels in San Juan, PR.


William Shatner, arguably the world's (or at least Canada's) greatest actor was born today in 1931.

...How do I stay so healthy and boyishly handsome? It's simple. I drink the blood of young runaways....

Have you been paying attention. Please match the Russian Czar (Tzar, Tsar) with how he met his untimely end:

A. Nicholas II
B. Peter III
C. Paul I
D. Peter the Great
E. Ivan VI
F. Alexander II

1. Overthrown by his own wife, imprisoned, killed by his wife’s favorite
2. Struck in the head with a sword, then strangled and trampled to death in his bedroom.
3. Killed by a bomb thrown by a revolutionary
4. Overthrown in a coup, exiled, imprisoned, killed while trying to escape
5. Caught a chill and died
6. Shot to death by revolutionaries

And so it goes.

No comments: