Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mark your calendars: The beginning of the end

Scientist at MIT have  designed small, very cute robot cubes that can move around and assemble themselves.

These people have never heard about Transformers.  Remember what I'm telling you - when your kids buy these things, smash them immediately ( the bots. not your kids.)

Today is Armed Forces Day in Egypt (we'll get back to Armed Forces Day in a moment but it's not in celebration of the Elvis Costello album) and Ivy Day in Ireland. (Ivy Day is not a horticultural celebration. The date marks the anniversary of the 1891 death of Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell;

Irish favoring home rule traditionally pin a bit of ivy to their lapels in his honor. Ivy Day should not be confused with I.V. Day,

celebrated only by drips.)

October 6, 1927 -
Good, bad or indifferent to it, The Jazz Singer (the first feature-length movie with audible dialogue), premiered in NYC on this date.

Al Jolson's famous line "you ain't heard nothin' yet" was an ad-lib. The intention was that the film should only have synchronized music, not speech, but Jolson dropped in the line (which he used in his stage act) after the song "Dirty Hands, Dirty Face". The director wisely left it in.

October 6, 1963 -
The wonderful adaption of the classic 18th Century novel, Tom Jones premiered in NYC on this date.

The production of Tom Jones was a bit of a family affair. At time of production, director Tony Richardson, married to Vanessa Redgrave at the time, was the son-in-law of Rachel Kempson, who portrayed Bridget Allworthy, and the brother-in-law of Lynn Redgrave, who portrayed Susan.

October 6, 1976 -
The song, Disco Duck by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots received a gold record on this date. The song was featured in the movie Saturday Night Fever but was not included on its soundtrack album.

The song became only the fourth single to be certified platinum in December of 1976.

Today in History:
Aeschylus was the first Greek playwright to produce tragedies as we would know them today, but that's not important to our story today.

According to legend, Aeschylus died when an eagle, mistaking his bald head for a stone, dropped a tortoise on it, killing him instantly on this date in 456BC (that was tragedy for Aeschylus but it's comedy to us.)

October 6, 1014 -
Czar  Samuil of Bulgaria died of a heart attach after an army of 15,000 of his men returned, blinded by his enemy Emperor Basil of the Byzantine Empire. One out of every hundred of his men was permitted to keep one eye, such that they were able to return home.

For this victory Basil earned the title Bulgaroctonus, slayer of Bulgars.

I guess we shouldn't complain.

October 6 is the anniversary of one of the greatest moments in the history of literary criticism. It was on that date in 1536 that William Tyndale was recognized for his important contribution to world literature—the first translation of the New Testament into English—by being tied to the stake, strangled, and his dead body then burnt.

Ah, when men were men, women were women, and critics were murderous, torch-wielding fanatics!

October 6, 1966 -
was declared illegal in the US on this date.

Hopefully you timed your intake accordingly.

October 6, 1973 -
In a surprise attack on the Jewish highest holiday of Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement - Syrian and Egyptian armies invaded Israel on this date, starting, what became known as, the Yom Kippur War. The US came to Israel's aid, but as Israel began winning the war, Israel wouldn't back down from the siege brought on by the Egyptian troops to the south.

The Soviet Union threatened to intervene on Egypt's behalf, causing high tensions between the US and Soviet Union that caused lasting damage to the relationship between two. Eventually, all parties came to a peace agreement.

October 6, 1976 -
During a televised debate on this date, President and candidate Gerald Ford asserts that there was no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

Ford lost the election. (I wonder if he and Sarah Palin ever had lunch.)

October 6, 1981 -
During Armed Forces Day (commemorating Egypt's participation in the Arab-Israeli War,) armed gunmen leapt from a truck and began shooting into the reviewing stand at Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

The assassination had been approved by Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

And so it goes.

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