Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm running around, getting ready for Thanksgiving

I don't have a lot of time today - so we'll start off with a picture of Picasso dressed like Popeye:

Why?  I don't have a freaking clue but it does give one pause.

November 18, 1985 -
Cartoon strips approach their zenith on this date.

The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, created by Bill Waterson, was first published on this date.

We learn of Hobbes' love for tuna fish (and as I've said before, the world's greatest strip)

November 18, 1959 -
The Biblical spectaculars to end all spectaculars, Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, had its world premiere in New York, on this date.

William Wyler was a renowned stickler for detail. Charlton Heston recalled one particular scene where Judah Ben-Hur simply walks across a room upon his return from slavery. Such a simple scene required eight takes before the actor finally asked Wyler what was missing. The director informed him that he liked the first take where Heston had kicked a piece of pottery to give the scene its only sound. Heston on the other hand had assumed that Wyler didn't like the kicking and had therefore deliberately avoided doing it again.

November 18, 1987 -
Bernardo Bertolucci's magnificent take on Pu Yi, The Last Emperor, premiered in NYC on this date.

An Italian chef was brought in to cook for the international cast. He brought with him 22,000 bottles of Italian mineral water, 450 pounds of Italian coffee, 250 gallons of olive oil and 4,500 pounds of pasta.

November 18, 1992 -
The biopic of the influential Black Nationalist leader, Malcolm X, premiered on this date.

The original director was going to be Norman Jewison but he had to withdraw from the project due to outside pressure demanding that the subject be made by a black film-maker.

Today in History:
November 18, 1307 -
Local Child Services authorities in Uri, Switzerland reported that a William Tell shot an apple off his son's head on this date

- Charges may still be pending.

November 18, 1421 -
A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike breaks, in the Netherlands, flooding 72 villages and killing somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 people.

Please try to refrain yourselves from make jokes about the killer dikes.

November 18, 1477 -
William Caxton published the first book printed in England, on this date. The book was a translation of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers, by Frenchman Guillaume de Tignoville. The translation to English was performed by Anthony Wodville, Earl Rivers, who had devoted a considerable portion of his life to the study of philosophers' dictes.

Wodville first formulated the theory that the length of a philosopher's dicte was less important than its thrust. He has also been credited with originating the theory that a philosopher's dicte was commensurate with his shoe size. Neither theory is given much credence by contemporary philosophers, most of whom appear to be dicteless anyway.

November 18, 1686 -
King of France Louis XIV's anal fistula was operated on by surgeon Charles Francois Felix, with great success, in front of the horrified yet fascinated court. To prepare for the operation Felix practiced his surgery on anuses of the peasantry, with some fatalities at first but improving his technique in time for the royal bung.

This is what passed for entertainment at the french royal court.

November 18, 1922 -
Marcel Proust, French a pioneer of the modern novel (A la Recherche du Temps Perdu), died at 51 on this date.

While it is generally agreed upon that he died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess, I believe he was crushed by the sheer weight of the unedited proof of his massive novel.

November 18, 1928 -
Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse (Even though this is his third appearance in a cartoon - I wouldn't mess with the Disney corporation since Vader's been working there.)

Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, was released on this date.

November 18, 1966 -
After this final "meatless" day of sacrifice, the American Roman Catholic Church would withdraw its edict forbidding meat consumption on Fridays.

No one knows how much the American Ground Beef Consorium 'donated' to the church on that day.

November 18, 1970 -
Singer/polygamist Jerry Lee Lewis divorces his third wife Myra Gail, after 12 years of marriage. Not only was she jailbait when they got married (being 13 at the time), but Lewis was married to Jane Mitcham at the time.

It's so hard to keep details like the number of wives you have straight in your mind.

November 18, 1978 -
Congressman Leo Ryan was slain at the People's Temple compound in Guyana, after which over 900 members of the cult led by the Reverend Jim Jones drank cyanide laced Flavor Aid (a Kool Aid knockoff), including over 270 children. It was probably not a pretty sight.

The Kraft Foods Company would like you guys to stop making those damn 'drink the Kool Aid' jokes

- it wasn't them. So go 'drink the damn Flavor Aid and drop dead'.

36 more shopping days until Christmas, 19 more shopping days until Hanukkah, Black Friday is just 6 days away and the world may just be over in 32 days.

And so it goes

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