Nine-Year-Old Josef Miles stages a counter-protest against Westboro Baptist Church protesters
This could solve the energy crisis. Remember you saw it here first, my new sponsor, Flying Horse Energy Drink has developed the perpetual motion engine -
Let joy reign supreme! (No pets were injured in the making of this commercial.)
Today is Rubber Band Day, honoring Inventor Stephen Perry's receiving a patent for the rubber band on this date in 1845.
The U.S. Post Office is the largest consumer of rubber bands in the world – they order millions of pounds per year. Here's another reason to legalize marijuana - think of the savings if USPS switched to hemp rope (and the number of very mellow postal employees - Please save your e-mails, I know you can't get high from smoking hemp. )
May 17, 1980 -
Call me by Blondie reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts on this date.
Impress some kid you know: In 2009, Franz Ferdinand covered this song for the War Child Presents Heroes charity album.
Today in History:
May 17, 1673 -
Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette first set out to explore the course of the Mississippi, which they believed would lead them to paradise.
Unfortunately it only took them to New Orleans, and they were out of beads. (And as a faithful reader pointed out last year, one mostly thinks of a prison when they think of Joliet.)
May 17, 1792 -
24 drunken stock brokers got together outside of 68 Wall Street in New York under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street which earlier was the site of a stockade fence and signed an agreement with two provisions:
1) the brokers were to deal only with each other. Thereby eliminating the auctioneers, and
2) the commissions were to be .25%.
Thus the New York Stock Exchange was born (and none of it involved a $2 billion dollar loss.)
May 17, 1899 -
Thomas Alva Edison copyrighted the first western film, The Cripple Creek Bar Room, which he had shot at his Black Maria studio in West Orange, New Jersey, on this date.
Although there was little, if any, plot to this short film (please note, the role of a barmaid was played by a man,) it was the first with a setting in the west.
May 17, 1940 -
Garson Kanin's screwball comedy, My Favorite Wife, opened on this date.
Cary Grant wears a leopard print smoking jacket throughout much of the last third of the film. He was just coming off the huge flop Bringing Up Baby in which the titular character is a leopard.
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, who play rivals in this film, lived together for twelve years from 1932 to 1944 (not that there's anything wrong with that.)
May 17, 1950 -
Nicholas Ray's excellent film noir, In a Lonely Place, starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame premiered on this date.
Gloria Grahame, at the time, was estranged from her husband, the film's director Nicholas Ray. She would subsequently go on to marry her stepson, Ray's son from a previous marriage (not that there's anything wrong with that - just ask Woody Allen.)
May 17, 1955 -
Paramount Pictures released, The Country Girl, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and William Holden, based on the Clifford Odets play, on this date.
In the I Love Lucy episode "Hollywood at Last", William Holden was featured as a guest star. During a conversation with Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) regarding working at the movie studio, he mentions, "I just finished a picture called 'The Country Girl' with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly."
May 17, 1974 -
During a gun battle with members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, the LAPD fires tear gas into their Watts hideout. The canisters ignite a fire which soon consumes the house.
Three other SLA members, including kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, watch the events unfold on TV in their motel room down the street from Disneyland.
Proving once again, it is the happiest place on earth.
May 17, 1992 -
The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses on this date.
"Now for my accordion solo, Myron, will you join me?"
The same day, Bandleader, accordion player, and soap bubble aficionado Lawrence Welk died of pneumonia in his beachfront condo in Santa Monica, California (not that there's any connection between the two events.)
And so it goes