Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.

Dr. Sally Ride, physicist and NASA astronaut, died of pancreatic cancer yesterday.

She joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman to travel into space.

The Olympic opening ceremonies are on Friday.  Here's a very interesting background video by my favorite vblogger C.G.P. Grey on the difference between (Greater) London (the city) and The City (of London) -

July 24, 1946 -
Paramount Studios released the film-noir classic, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and Kirk Douglas, on this date.

This film marked the debut of Kirk Douglas

July 24, 1948 -
... Crumbly Crunchies are the best
Look delicious on your vest
Serve them to unwanted guests
Stuff the mattress with the rest. ....

A great Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, Haredevil Hare, was released on this date.

First appearance of Marvin the Martian, though he wasn't named until decades later. He has a higher voice and has slightly larger eyes than in his later appearances.

July 24, 1965-
Bob Dylan released his classic Like a Rolling Stone on this date.

The title is not a reference to The Rolling Stones. It is taken from the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Dylan got the idea from the Hank Williams song Lost Highway, which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost."

July 24, 1998 -
The unflinchingly gritty Steven Spielberg war flick, Saving Private Ryan premiered on this date.

Although Steven Spielberg reduced the color saturation of the movie by 60% for artistic reasons, both major American satellite providers (DirecTV and Dish Newtork) and numerous cable TV providers turned up the chroma gain to re-enhance the color saturation to normal-looking levels when broadcasting the movie. They did this because on the first day or two of the movie's broadcast run, their customer service centers were swamped with calls from viewers complaining that something was wrong with the color.

Today in History:
July 24, 1567 -
Mary of Guise, the French wife of Scotland's King James V, gave birth to a daughter named Mary in 1542. A week later King James died and the very young Mary became the Queen of Scotland.

Prince Edward of England proposed marriage to the Queen immediately and his proposal is therefore known as the Rough Wooing. While the pedophile Prince waited for the Queen to acquire enough verbal skills to reply, the Scottish parliament annulled the engagement.

Edward's father, the English King Henry VIII, considered this an insult and declared war. Following an especially nasty Scottish defeat in 1547, Mary was sent to France. It was hoped she would learn to read and write there, and perhaps reach puberty.

She was raised in the court of Henry II, which ought to have taught her some manners, but instead inspired her to marry a dolphin. Eventually the dolphin became king and died, leaving Mary the dowager queen of France. She was 18.

Her mother had meanwhile died in Scotland, which caused the Protestants to rebel. They imported the Reformation and banned the Pope. Mary, being Catholic, returned to Scotland to work out a compromise: the country could be Protestant as long as she was allowed to be Catholic.

Four years later she married her cousin, Lord Darnley, a Two-Door Steward. Unfortunately he turned out to be disgusting, and even the birth of a son could not induce Lord Darnley to behave. He was therefore struck by an explosion the following year and subsequently died of strangulation.

She was then kidnapped by one of the men suspected of strangling Lord Darnley, a certain Earl of Bothwell, whom she therefore made a Duke and married.

This angered the Protestants, who rose up against her and, on this very day in 1567, made her abdicate in favor of her son, who was immediately crowned as James VI.

She then escaped, raised an army, and was promptly defeated. She became a guest (or, in English, "prisoner") of Queen Elizabeth, until she was caught writing letters asking friends to support (or, in Scottish, "kill") the English Queen.

She was therefore beheaded, and remains dead to this day.

311 years ago today, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a trading post at Fort Ponchartrain for France on the future site of the city of Detroit, Michigan, in an attempt to halt the advance of the English into the western Great Lakes region.

Mr Cadillac himself thereby came to be known as "the Rolls Royce of settlers."

July 24, 1883 -
Captain Matthew Webb wasn't having a great day today. Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel in 1875, was attempting to swim across the Niagara River just below the falls.

The Captain was looking to collect a £12,000.00 fortune, when he jumped from his small boat into the raging torrent. He hit his head on jagged rocks and drowned while trying to swim across the Niagara River. His last words were (apparently,) "If I die they will do something for my wife"

July 24, 1915 -
Almost 850 Western Electric employees and their family members perish when the chartered steamer Eastland rolls over in Chicago harbor. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.

Moral: Avoid company picnics.

July 24, 1959 -
While visiting a model kitchen in a U.S. exhibition in Moscow, Vice President Richard M. Nixon debated with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a U.S. exhibition in the famous 'Kitchen' debate, on the merits of capitalism and capitalism

Nixon correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker. (Stop dreaming about a $100-a-month mortgage.)

And so it goes.

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