Thursday, May 16, 2013

But there's no X-Ray Specs Day

It's National Sea-Monkey Day (you're probably saying to yourself, It can't already be Sea-Monkey Day again, wasn't it just last week!)

So go out and enjoy the day thinking about these krill-like wonders. But don't think about their creator, Harold von Braunhut and the allegations that he financially supported white-supremacist groups.

May 16, 1940  -
I think that I used to love Hollywood movies. I remember great phases and moments. But, unfortunately, now is not the moment.

Bernardo Bertolucci, film director, was born in Parma, Italy on this date.

May 16, 1953  -
Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn't have.

Jean Django Reinhardt, one the the greatest jazz guitarist, died in France on this date.

May 16, 1966 -
The Beach Boys released their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds on this date.

It has since been recognized as one of the most influential albums in the history of popular music and is widely regarded as one of the best albums of the 1960s.

All that beautiful music and barking dogs, too.

May 16, 1980 -
One of the classics of Australian film renaissance, Breaker Morant, premiered in Australia on this date.

The location of Burra and its surrounding environs was chosen because it resembled the South African veldt, particularly the British Military Camp, Fort Edward and Pietersberg areas of the South African Transvaal where the 1902 Boer War incident occurred. 

May 16, 1986 -
Paramount released the film Top Gun, on this date.

Val Kilmer did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations.  Both John Carpenter and David Cronenberg turned down the chance to direct the film.  And director Tony Scott was officially fired three times during production.

Today in History:
May 16, 1763 -
James Boswell first met Samuel Johnson in Tom Davie's London bookshop on this date. Due to the lax stalking laws of the period, Mr. Boswell followed Mr. Johnson around for several decades. On May 19, 1795, Mr. Boswell died.

(This could not have come a relief to Mr. Johnson, who had already been dead for some time and was probably relishing the privacy.)

May 16, 1801
Please follow along, I promose there's a point to all of this:
The process of pickling was first practiced thousands of years ago by Mesopotamians.

William Seward was born hundreds of years ago in New York.

Seward served as a Whig governor of New York (although he, himself was bald,) but later served as a Republican Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Compare this to the fact that refrigerated pickles account for about 20 percent of all pickle sales.

North Americans prefer pickles with warts.

Europeans prefer wartless pickles.

William Seward may have had warts.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that pickles are technically a fruit, not a vegetable. William Seward was not a vegetable and never served on the Supreme Court.

William Seward helped negotiate the deal that made Alaska an American territory.

Americans consume about 2.5 billion pounds of pickles annually.

Add some comments about Ethan Frome and the symbolism of the pickles and donuts, throw in a footnote about Sarah Palin and you have a doctoral thesis.

You may thank me later.

May 16, 1879 -
Wallace Wilkerson was condemned to death by firing squad in Utah, for the killing of a man in an argument about a card game. The execution did go quite as planned on this date. The 'sharp shooters' missed the 3-inch patch over the condemned man's heart.

Wilkerson fell from of his chair, writhing and screaming in pain, in front of the 20 or so horrified spectators. Four doctors rushed to Wilkerson, who was struggling and gasping on the ground. Officials were concerned at one point that they would have to shoot him again, but he was pronounced dead 27 minutes later, having bled to death.

This must have been one hell of a day.

When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during an Academy banquet in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. There were 270 people in attendance and guest tickets cost $5.

Though this was the first time these awards were to be given, the attendees were not anxious. Unlike the secrecy that surrounds the winners of today's ceremonies, the winners of the first Academy Award ceremony were announced three months early.

May 16, 1965 -
"The neat round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon", Spaghetti-O's went on sale today, on this date.

Oh happy day, the squirrel meat brand will be back on the market soon.

May 16, 1977 -
Five people were killed on this date, when a New York Airways helicopter, idling atop the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, toppled over, sending a huge rotor blade flying.

Three men were killed instantly and another man died later in a hospital. The blade sailed over the side of the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison Avenue and 43rd Street.

That will definitely put a crimp in your day.

May 16, 1984 -
Intergender wrestling champion and conceptual comic Andy Kaufman pretended to die of lung cancer on this date. In order to make it really convincing, Andy underwent months of radiation therapy and six weeks of psychic surgery in the Philippines.

And he's never made another public appearance. You must admire someone who can stick with a joke for this long.

May 16, 1986 -
In the most notorious cheats in the history of television, Pam Ewing wakes up to find her husband Bobby in the shower -- no small feat, considering he's been dead for a whole season.

In order to revivify Bobby's character, the Dallas writers resorted to dismissing the entire preceding year as nothing more than Pam's protracted dream.

May 16, 1990 -
Sammy Davis, Jr. died of throat cancer in Beverly Hills on this date. After the legendary Rat pack singer/entertainer is buried with $70,000 in jewelry, the family discovers that Mr. Bojangles was broke and left millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes.

His widow then orders the body exhumed so they can repo the jewelry.

Imagine the look on Sammy's face when they opened the casket.

May 16, 1990 -
Attached to a ventilator and swimming in antibiotics, Muppet creator Jim Henson died of a severe case of pneumonia in a New York hospital on this date.

In keeping with his express wishes, no one is permitted to wear black at Henson's funeral service, which features 5,000 fans waving painted butterflies and a live band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In."

And so it goes

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