Monday, August 6, 2012

Is the glass half full or empty?

It's the half way point of summer today.

Have you had a good one so far?

Kudos for the folks at NASA; Curiosity has landed safely on the Martian surface.

So right now, WE are the aliens in the universe.

August 6, 1911 -
I'm not funny. What I am is brave.

Lucille Ball, film and television executive, actress and comedian, was born on this date.

For many years during their marriage, Lucy and Desi Arnaz hid the fact that she was six years older than he by splitting the difference in their ages. She (born in 1911) said she was born in 1914 and he (born in 1917) also said he was born in 1914.

August 6, 1982 -
Alan Parker's rock-musical interpretation of the classical album, Pink Floyd The Wall, premiered in NYC on this date. (Kids, turn out the lights, send the adults out to eat and spark 'em up; it's the whole movie.)

In his autobiography "Is That It?", Bob Geldof tells the story of how he was first told about the project by his agent while riding in a taxi, and how he didn't want to do it because he didn't like the music of Pink Floyd. Roger Waters knows this story, not because he read it in Geldof's book, but because the taxi driver was actually Roger Waters' brother.

Today in History:
August 6 is noted historically as the official end of the Holy Roman Empire, which collapsed on that date in 1806 as Emperor Francis II abdicated.

As always, please note, the Holy Roman Empire was not holy, roman or an empire (per se).

Discuss amongst yourselves.

August 6, 1890
At Auburn Prison in New York murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.

The first shock of electricity did not kill Kemmler, and a second shock was required. The second jolt lasted until the smell of burning flesh filled the room, about four minutes. As soon as his charred body stopped smoldering, Kemmler was pronounced dead.

It was not a pretty sight.

August 6, 1926 -
Gertrude Ederle becomes first woman to swim English Channel. Before setting out from Cap Griz-Nez, France, at 7:09 a.m., Ederle coated her body with layers of lard and petroleum jelly to insulate her from the cold waters.

Only five men had been able to swim the English Channel before Ederle. The best time had been 16 hours, 33 minutes by an Italian-born Argentine, Enrique Tiraboschi. Ederle walked up the beach at Dover, England after 14 hours and 39 minutes. The first person to greet her was a British immigration officer who requested a passport from "the bleary-eyed, waterlogged teenager."

That man's name has been lost in the miasma of history but truly he is the spiritual grandfather of the TSA.

August 6, 1926 -
One of John Barrymore's classic silent movies, Don Juan, co-starring a young Mary Astor, opened in NYC on this date.

Warner Brothers premiered its Vitaphone system in New York with the premier of this film. (The film was the first feature-length film with synchronized Vitaphone sound effects and musical soundtrack, though it has no spoken dialogue.)  The tickets went for the astronomical price of $10 a head.

August 6, 1938 -
An early pairing of this comedy duo, Porky and Daffy, was released on this date.

... In this corner, at 203 and one-third pounds, the most magnificent marvelous multiple monstrous mad mauling mass of meaty muscles ever to master, modify, mat, make mince-meat, and mangle many menacing monsters from Manitoba to Minneapolis!

August 6, 1945 -
The first atomic bomb used in combat was dropped on Hiroshima by the Enola Gay, piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets, on this date.

President Truman ordered the use of the first nuclear bomb, which the military referred to as "Little Boy." Harry had been vice president for only 82 days when President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 and didn't even know of the existence of the 9,600 pound bomb until he was told about it upon his assumption of the presidency.

In minutes the massive blast and the firestorm it produced destroyed the majority of the city and killed 66,000 people instantly and a total of as many as 166,000 died over a period of months from the nuclear fallout (a third of Hiroshima's population.)

August 6, 1991 -
On December 25, 1990, Tim Berners-Lee (not Al Gore,) successfully connected an http client with an Internet server, thus inventing the World Wide Web.


Less than a year later, on this day, the World Wide Web became publicly available.  (Yes, this is the reason, this guy was in the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.)

A quick PSA from your friends at ACME - avoid mosquitoes, they're not good!

And so it goes.

Before I let you go, I found this clip of outtakes of the TV show, You Bet Your Life (deemed too racy to air, by TV censors, at the time) on the Boingboing website

I've said it before - Groucho was one of God's greatest achievements.

Checking the calendar:
There are 141 days until Christmas
There are 137 days until Mayan end times

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