Friday, April 5, 2013

The balcony is permanently closed

Roger Ebert, died yesterday, after announcing just a few days previously that his cancer had come back and was taking a 'leave of presence'.

Two big thumbs up for a life well spent at the movies.

April 5, 1965 -
Lava Lamp Day is celebrated on this date. The first motion lamp was designed in 1963 by an engineer, Edward Craven Walker, who sold it under the name Astro Lamp. In 1965, two American entrepreneurs, Adolph Wertheimer and William M. Rubinstein, saw the lamp displayed at a German trade show and were in awe at its beauty. They bought the rights to manufacture the lamp in North America. The Astro Lamp was brought to the USA, renamed the LAVA® brand motion lamp and production took off in Chicago.

Some of the original participants have not stopped celebrating.

April 5, 1987 -
The first prime time television series to air on Fox, Married... with Children, premiered on this date

The series and the fledgling Fox network were little known until the season three episode "Her Cups Runneth Over" which Michegan housewife and "family values" activist Terry Rakolta found so offensive that she began a letter-writing campaign to the show's sponsors to try to get them to withdraw their sponsorship and for Fox to drop the show. A few sponsors did cancel their commercials, but her efforts had exactly the opposite effect she wanted: the story spread like wildfire and resulted in a huge jump in the ratings for the show. It made Married with Children a major hit and put Fox Network on the map.

Today in History:
April 5, 2, 348 BC -
According to some religious calculations, Noah's Ark grounded on Mt. Ararat in Turkey. The Bible only gives a general reference as to the landing place of the Ark.

So let's all thank our progenitor grandpappy for steering that ship the right way.

April 5, 1242-
Alexander Nevsky
of Novgorod defeated the Teutonic Knights at the "Battle on the Icey More of Pskov (Battle of Lake Peipus)" in Estonia on this date.

In 1938, Sergei Eisenstein made one of his most acclaimed films, Alexander Nevsky, based on Nevsky's victory over the Teutonic Knights.

It was on this day in 1614 that Pocahontas married John Rolfe (and not John Smith) in the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia.

The story of Pocahontas has become an American legend; it's been retold countless times, in history books, novels, poems, TV shows, and movies. Many versions distort the facts by focusing on Pocahontas' relationship with John Smith and ignoring her marriage to John Rolfe. The story goes that Smith was captured by the Powhatans and was about to be clubbed to death when a young Pocahontas ran out and took him in her arms, saving his life (Daffy Duck and Porky Pig even get into this act) — but most historians think that Smith made up most of the story.

John Davis, in his 1806 historical novel, The First Settlers of Virginia, added a dramatic romance between Smith and Pocahontas, and that romance has been included in most of the Pocahontas stories since then, including Disney's animated movie that came out in 1995 and Terrence Malick's A New World in 2005.

But it was John Rolfe who married Pocahontas, after she had been abducted by the colonists. They had hoped they could use her as a bargaining chip with her father, the chief of the Powhatan tribe, to negotiate a peace treaty. The kidnapping didn't work out, but after John Rolfe fell in love with the girl, he got the chief's blessing, and the marriage led to a long period of peace between Jamestown and the Powhatan Indians.

Now prepare yourself for a shock, some genealogists have claimed that the Bush family (including US presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush) are descended from Pocahontas. This obviously is an impossibility because Duyba lacks any native sense whatsoever.

April 5, 1794 -
Georges Jacques Danton, a leading figure in the early stages of the French Revolution and the first President of the Committee of Public Safety was hoisted on his own petard on this date.

Robespierre, once an ally, sends Danton to the guillotine for antirevolutionary activity. Danton's last words were addressed to his executioner. "Don't forget to show my head to the people. It's well worth seeing."

April 5, 1887 -
Anne Sullivan had been attempting to get Keller to make the connection between objects and words for about a month before she had her breakthrough associating the word "water" with water running across her hand.

Keller progressed rapidly after that, and is said to have exhausted Sullivan by running around asking the names of everything she could reach.

April 5, 1900 -
Jean-Baptiste Victor Sipido, a 15 year old Belgian anarchist attempt to shoot Edward, Prince of Wales in his private train compartment, as the train leaves the Brussel-Noord railway station on this date.

Amazingly, although Sipido fires two shoots through the window (and Edward was not a thin man,) he missed everyone inside and was quickly wrestled to the ground. Shockingly, Sipido was acquitted at his trial due to his age.

April 5, 1902 -
Maurice Ravel's Pavane pour une infante defunte, (Pavane for a dead Princess) premiered in Paris, France on this date.

You may now feel morally superior to the person in the next cubicle for knowing this.

April 5, 1923 -
George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert (Lord Carnarvon), died in Egypt from an infected mosquito bite. He financed the excavation of the Egyptian New Kingdom Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

But remember, then was no mummy's curse.

April 5, 1964 -
Douglas MacArthur was wrong when he said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."

The controversial five-star general died in his penthouse suite at the Waldorf-Astoria on this date.

April 5, 1976 -
Today, 37 years ago, as it must to all men, death came to the frail, syphilitic, obsessive-compulsive bisexual playboy Howard Robard Hughes.

I guess if I had that much money, I'd 'sleep' with anything I could.

April 5, 1994 -
Lead singer and songwriter of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, committed suicide with a shotgun blast to the head, prompting an unprecedented 24 hour MTV Cobain-athon.

Smells like brain splattered against the wall.

April 5, 1997 -
... Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa! ...

Allen Ginsberg, Beat poet giant died on this date.

April 5, 2008 -
They were finally able to pry that rifle from his cold rigor mortis stricken hands

Actor and former NRA president Charlton Heston died at 84 on this date.

And so it goes

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