Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Diwali to all our friends

Diwali (the Festival of Lights,) which begins November 13, is celebrated throughout India and around the world. Diwali celebrations often honor Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth.

What could be wrong with a holiday that you have to celebrate with fireworks?

November 13, 1940 -
Walt Disney's third animated film Fantasia, opened in New York on this date.

The film was the first American film to use stereophonic sound as well as the first and only film recorded in Fantasound.

November 13, 1954 -
Looney Tunes first 3D cartoon, Lumber Jack Rabbit, starring Bugs Bunny, premiered on this date.

The legendary Chuck Jones left Warner Brothers for four months over the production of this cartoon, which he felt was unsatisfactory. It was the only time Jones left the company in a career that lasted over 25 years, until Jones was "let go" with the animation department in 1962.

November 13, 1955 -
Happy Birthday Caryn

Whoopi Goldberg (Caryn Elaine Johnson) actress, comedienne, and television host, was born on this day.

November 13, 1965 -
Get Off My Cloud by the Rolling Stones topped the charts on this date.

There was some of controversy over this song. Some U.S. radio stations refused to play the song because of the supposed drug references.

November 13, 1971 -
Steven Spielberg's first full- length film, Duel, starring Dennis Weaver, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

While filming the shot where the truck drives off the cliff, a piece of machinery designed to keep the truck traveling in a straight line without a driver failed. Instead of calling a halt, the driver, who had an important engagement the next day and didn't want to miss it, stayed in the driving seat and only jumped out at the very last second before the truck went over.

Today in History:
While it is a particularly uneventful day in history, let us opine these words:

"The students are beyond control and their behavior is disgraceful. They come blustering into the lecture-rooms like a troop of maniacs and upset the orderly arrangements which the master has made in the interest of his pupils. Their recklessness is unbelievable and they often commit outrages which ought to be punishable by law, were it not that custom protects them."

People concerned about the pace of change in human affairs can find solace in knowing that these familiar sentiments were expressed about sixteen centuries ago by St. Augustine, who was born on November 13, 354 AD.

Like many other theological luminaries, Augustine began life as a debauched young man who sought his pleasures in wine, women, and song. Eventually he became old and cranky and declared his youth wasted.

One would have thought that the drunken orgies of his youth recounted in his Confessions would have been a natural fit for an TLC reality series to follow Honey Boo Boo.

November 13, 1789 -
Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to a friend in which he said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

I would include, "extinguish all flammable objects before filling your gas cans."

November 13, 1927 -

New York's Holland Tunnel officially opened today, the first underwater tunnel built in the United States, providing access between New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River, ushering in a massive wave of Dutch immigration (and more fools them - The tunnel was named after its chief engineer, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died of a heart attack on the operating table while undergoing a tonsillectomy, as a posthumous honor, starting the trend for the NY/NJ interstate crossings to have names with no relation to their geographic locations).

Although most of the Dutch returned to Holland after learning that New Amsterdam had become New York, thank goodness the tunnel reopened to all traffic last week.

November 13, 1965 -
Appearing on a late night live satire program called BBC3, critic Kenneth Tynan becomes the first man to say “Fuck” on TV.

A national fit of apoplexy follows with one Tory MP suggesting that Tynan should hang!

November 13, 1974 -
Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., was killed in a 'car crash' while on her way to meet a reporter on this date.

The Kerr-McGee nuclear fuel plants closed in 1975. The grounds of the Cimarron plant were still being decontaminated 35 years later.

And so it goes.

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