Friday, March 15, 2013

A Shout Out

The wonderful website Mental Floss has created their own Youtube channel.  Their first video has just been released -  50 common misconceptions debunked.

To repeat, the most important facts to take away from the video - Dr. Ruth was a sniper for the Israeli Army, Julia Child probably was a spy for the OSS, forerunner of the CIA and DO NOT EAT BATTERIES.

March 15, 1941 -
The first of three appearances of Cecil Turtle, Tortoise Beats Hare, premiered on this date.

Cecil is one of the very few characters who was actually able to beat, Bugs Bunny and the only one to do so three times in a row and at the rabbit's own game.

March 15, 1946 -
Columbia Pictures released Charles Vidor's film-noir classic, Gilda, starring Rita Hayworth and Glen Ford on this date.

Rita Hayworth had to wear a corset while shooting "Put the Blame on Mame," as she had given birth to her first daughter, Rebecca Welles, months before filming.  Her experience on the film led her to tell people, "men go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me."

March 15, 1956 -
The landmark science-fiction film, Forbidden Planet (think The Tempest in Outer Space) , premiered on this date.

This movie was filmed on the same sound-stage on which the movie The Wizard of Oz had been filmed seventeen years earlier; the set of Altaira's garden is a reuse of the Munchkin Village set from The Wizard of Oz.

March 15,1972 -
The greatest film ever about pasta sauce making and risk aversion management, The Godfather, premiered in New York City on this date.

Paramount senior management, dissatisfied with the early rushes, considered replacing Francis Ford Coppola with Elia Kazan with the hope that Kazan would be able to work with the notoriously difficult Marlon Brando. Brando announced that he would quit the film if Coppola was fired and the studio backed down. Paramount brass apparently did not know of Brando's dismay with Kazan over his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.

Today in History:
March 15, 44 BC -
Julius Caesar, already warned to be wary on this the Ides of March by the astrologer Spurinna, was assassinated with pointy knives by a group of Senators, including Brutus and Cassius, at the Pompey theater.

They were angry at him because he had crossed the Rubicon. Later Marc Antony borrowed everyone's ears and told them that Brutus was an honorable man, which upset them so much they had a Civil War.

Sixteen centuries later, more or less, William Shakespeare immortalized the story and eventually Marlon Brando got to play Marc Antony, so everyone was happy in the end.

Caesar is also celebrated because he wrote a famous book called The Garlic Wars, which begins with the famous line, All garlic is divided into three cloves. It also includes the line - veni, vidi, vinci, the exact meaning of which is still a matter of debate but, if my own Latin studies are worth anything, probably involves Druids and hollandaise sauce.

March 15, 1812 -
Luddites attack Frank Vickerman's wool processing factory at Taylor Hill in West Yorkshire, resulting in general destruction and attempted arson.

The rampaging Luddites were incensed because his machines replaced workers, but Vickerman was primarily targeted because of involvement in an Anti-Luddite committee.

So now you know more about luddites than you thought you ever would (remember, smash the iPods.)

Today's episode of Oh, that Wacky Russian Revolution:
At two o'clock in the morning on March 15, 1917 the Tsar sent word to Petrograd that he was awfully sorry about the war and starvation and everything, but that he had some really good ideas about what they could do now, was looking forward to working with them, believed that healthy debate was a symptom of good government, and so on.

The new government (which had recently moved to Moscow) told him to blow it out his ass.

And so at three o'clock in the afternoon, Nicholas abdicated in favor of his son (who had measles).

The new government told him and his son to blow it out their asses.

At 11:15 pm, Nicholas signed a proclamation that both he and his son (who had measles) would abdicate in favor of his brother, the Grand Duke Mikhail.

The next day, the new government told Nicholas, his son (who had measles), and the Grand Duke Mikhail to blow it out their asses. (It seems that they were anally fixated.)

March 15, 1950 -
New York City suffering through a persistent drought, hired for $100 a day - a very large sum in those times, particularly for a scientist - Dr. Wallace E. Howell, a meteorologist to make rain, on this date.  Dr. Howell, who had participated in early scientific research into cloud seeding, set up shop at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, using a police airplane to sprinkle silver iodide crystals into clouds over the Catskill watershed.

The rains came and the reservoirs began to rise. There was even a mid-April snowstorm, referred to in the papers as ''Howell's snow.'' By 1951, the crisis had passed and Dr. Howell was laid off in February of 1951.

And so it goes.

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