Monday, March 11, 2013

I never noticed the theme before

March 10, 222 -
Most of you with teenagers think that yours are the worst, but no, Ancient Rome had the worst by far, the Emperor Elagabalus.

His real name was Varius Avitus Bassianus but as he developed an intense interest in worshippng the Syrian god Elagabal, became High Priest of the cult and so had his name changed to Elagabalus. After the death of his grandfather, father and cousin within a year, Elagabalus, all of 14, found himself the Emperor of the known world (this is not to say, the millions of people living in Asia, Africa, Australia and the New World, even had a clue who this snarky teen was.) Rather than even thinking of governing, Elagabalus immersed himself in heavy drinking and self-worship (very intense sodomy - it is rumored that he had engaged in a sexual act ever hour he was awake for the entire four years he was Emperor - think about it - he had sex over 23,000 times in four years), leaving the affairs of the state mostly in the hands of his grandmother Julia Maesa.

Elagabalus was probably the first famous transsexual, rumored to have consulted his physicians about an early version of a sex-change operation. Having found this impossible, he took a series of male lovers, chosen by the enormous size of their private parts. When Elagabalus was enjoyably getting buggered, he also was getting drunk. Legend has it that he and his friends had gotten so drunk that when Elagabalus had a shower of rose pedals dropped on his dinner guest, many of them had suffocated under the weigh of the flowers.

Finally the Pretorian gaurd had enough of Elagabalus notorious excesses (but let's be clear about this; like most of the GOP, the Roman elite professed a disgust of homosexuality yet vigorously engaged in it,) and on this date, hunted down the young reprobate in a private bathroom and executed him on this date, as he tenaciously clung to his mother.

Speaking of transvestites -
March 11, 1967 -
Pink Floyd released one of the best songs about underwear stealing transvestites, Arnold Layne on this date.

Some believe that Arnold Layne was actually based on a real person, and that he routinely stole underwear from the mothers of Syd Barrett and bassist Roger Waters during their childhood days in Cambridge.

And yet more tales of cross dressing
March 11, 1970 -
Federico Fellini's take on ancient Rome, Fellini - Satyricon (Another movie had registered the title Satyricon first. Federico Fellini fought to use the title for his movie but lost the case. Subsequently the title was changed to Fellini - Satyricon) premiered in the US on this date.

When asked why both the leading roles were played by foreign actors and not Italians, Federico Fellini replied. "Because there are no Italian homosexuals." (oh you very silly Fellini and you lived so close to the Vatican.)

March 11, 1956 -
Laurence Olivier's version of William Shakespeare's Richard III became the first film to have its U.S. premiere in theaters and on TV simultaneously, when NBC-TV broadcast the film on the same day it had its U.S. premiere in New York, on this date.

Olivier based his characterization of Richard on a much-despised theatrical director named Jed Harris. Years later he learned that the animators at Disney used Harris for the basis of the Big Bad Wolf.

Today in History:
March 11, 1302 -
This is Romeo & Juliet's wedding day, according to Shakespeare.

I've seen all of these websites that can offer to help you plan a romantic wedding 'just like Romeo and Juliet', does that mean you have to kill yourself shortly after the honeymoon?

March 11, 1669 -
After a series of premonitional earthquakes near Mount Etna, the largest volcano in Europe spectacularly erupts, destroying the Sicilian town of Nicolosi and killing 20,000 people.

Where there no virgins to toss into the volcano to appease the gods back in 1669?

March 11, 1811 -
Ned Ludd (not a real person) led a group of workers in a wild protest against mechanization on this date.  Members of the organized bands of craftsmen who rioted against automation in 19th century England were known as Luddites and also Ludds. The movement, began near Nottingham as craftsman destroyed textile machinery that was eliminating their jobs. By the following year, Luddites were active in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Leicestershire.

Although the Luddites opposed violence towards people (a position which allowed for a modicum of public support), government crackdowns included mass shootings, hangings and deportation to the colonies. It took 14,000 British soldiers to quell the rebellion. The movement effectively died in 1813 apart from a brief resurgence of Luddite sentiment in 1816 following the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

I'm still waiting for the anti-tweeting movement - Smash the I-Pads!

March 11, 1818 -
Frankenstein, "The Modern Prometheus," was published on this date. The book started out as basically a scary story told on a rainy night. That is, if you are telling scary stories to England's greatest romantic poet and his best friend, Europe's most notorious clubfooted, bisexual poet.

The book, by 21-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, is frequently called the world's first science fiction novel.

More on the Wacky Russian Revolution
On March 11, 1917 the Russian Cabinet finally became indignant and tried to dissolve the Duma, but the Duma refused to dissolve. The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies also refused to dissolve, even though the Cabinet had not asked them to dissolve.

(The Cabinet could not ask them to, because the Cabinet had determined that The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies did not exist.)

March 11, 1927 -
Samuel Roxy Rothafel opened The Roxy Theatre in New York City, a 6,214 seat movie theater at 153 West 50th Street at 7th Avenue, on this date. It was designed by Chicago architect Walter W. Ahlschlager.

The opening night film was The Love of Sunya produced by and starring Gloria Swanson. The Roxy was overshadowed by the opening of Radio City Music Hall in the Rockefeller Center in NYC in 1932.

The Roxy closed and was demolished in 1960, and Swanson was famously photographed on October 14, 1960 by Time-Life photographer Eliot Elisofon in the midst of the ruins during the theater's demolition.

March 11, 1931 -
F. W. Murnau (born Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe,) one of the most influential German film directors of the silent era, was out for a relaxing drive with his fourteen-year old Filipino valet Garcia Stevenson, when Mr. Murnau failed to heed one of the basic tenets of auto safety - it was rumored that Murnau decided to perform fellatio on the young driver.

Mr. Murnau and Mr Stevenson were involved in a car crash and both died on this date.

Kids, let this be a lesson to us all - for heaven's sake, please pull over if you decide to fellate the driver of your automobile.

March 11, 1950 -
... Well, Toodles, do I get my home back, or do I have to get tough?

A very funny Bugs Bunny cartoon, directed by Chuck Jones, Homeless Hare, was released on this date.

March 11, 1957 -
Charles Van Doren, darling of the American public, lost to Vivienne Nearing on the rigged TV quiz show Twenty One when both are asked to name the kings of Norway (Olav V) , Denmark (Frederick IX) , Sweden (Gustaf VI Adolf), Jordan (Hussein) , Iraq (Faisal II) , and Belgium (Baudouin).

Doren "missed" - the king of Belgium.

March 11, 1958 -
A B-47 bomber drops a nuclear bomb in the town of Mars Bluff in South Carolina. While it did not detonate a nuclear explosion, conventional explosives within the bomb left a 75 foot crater, destroying one house and damaging five others.

The government has to send out hundreds of 'oops' letters to the town's residents.

March 11, 1969 -
Levi Jeans added Bell Bottoms to their line of Jeans which had become fashionable as part of the hippie counterculture movement.

Though the actual creation of the first pair of bell-bottoms is unknown, the first mention of bell-bottom pants was in 1813 in reference to the uniforms of U.S. Navy sailors.

March 11, 2004 -
In Madrid, Spain, a series of 10 bombs hidden in backpacks exploded in quick succession at 3 stations, blowing apart four commuter trains on this date. 191 people were killed and over 1,450 wounded. Spanish leaders were quick to accuse Basque terrorists but a shadowy group claimed responsibility in the name of al-Qaeda.

On October 31, 2007, three lead defendants were convicted of murder. Four other top suspects were acquitted of murder but convicted of lesser charges. In all 21 of the 28 defendants were convicted. On July 17, 2008, a Spanish court cleared four of the 21 people charged for crimes related to the train bombings. In 2009, seven people were indicted for helping the bombers flee.

March 11, 2011 -
Two years ago today, an earthquake and a tsunami sparked one the most severe atomic accident since Chernobyl at the Fukushima  Daiichi power plant in Japan.

Over 81,000 jobs were lost due to the tsunami and two years later, 315,000 refugees of the tsunami remain in limbo.

And so it goes

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