Saturday, December 7, 2013

More things to like about Canada

The Canadian postal service has been giving Jolly Old St. Nicholas a helping hand. For more than 32 years, Canada Post has been helping Santa with his huge holiday volume of mail. Thanks to Canada Post's Santa Letter-writing Program, children can write to the jolly old fellow in virtually any language, including Braille, and receive a response in the same language.

Santa's correct address happens to be:

Santa Claus
North Pole H0H 0H0

(Please note the zip code)

Or you can get an e-mail from Santa at - You better hurry though, Christmas is just around the corner (and if you are a kid - what the heck are you doing reading this blog, it's not appropriate for  you.  Although you could go into your parents room while they are sleeping and fill an envelope with those green pieces of paper in their wallets and send it to me at ...)

December 7, 1945 -
Universal Pictures released the horror film House of Dracula, directed by Erle C. Kenton and starring Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Martha O’Driscoll and Lionel Atwill, on this date.

Actor Glenn Strange suffered greatly during the time it to shoot the scene in which the Frankenstein Monster is discovered in quicksand. After sitting for three hours in the makeup chair each morning, having his makeup applied by Jack P. Pierce, Strange would spend the rest of the day buried in cold liquid mud (which doubled for the quicksand). "Then everybody else went out for lunch," Strange recalled. "By the time they came back, I was so cold, I could barely feel my legs." Strange's co-star, Lon Chaney Jr., suggested that Strange use alcohol to keep himself warm. Throughout the day, Chaney passed a bottle of whiskey to Strange in between takes. By the end of the day, Strange recalled, he was so drunk he could barely dress himself after removing his monster makeup and costume.

December 7, 1958 -
Tim Butler, bass player and co-founder of the Psychedelic Furs was born on this date.

We'll let him serenade Joan, the birthday girl. (It would be very rude to ask how old she is?)

December 7, 1960 -
MGM released the science fiction film Village of the Damned, directed by Wolf Rilla and starring George Sanders on this date.

Ronald Colman was originally supposed to star in this film. He passed away in 1958 and was replaced by George Sanders, who had married Colman's widow Benita Hume in 1959 (talk about stepping into a role.)

December 7, 1979 -
Paramount Pictures released the science fiction film Star Trek: The Motion Picture, directed by Robert Wise and starring a bunch of TV actors on this date.

The Klingon words spoken by the Klingon ship's captain were actually invented by actor James Doohan (Commander Scott). Later, linguist Marc Okrand devised grammar and syntax rules for the language, along with more vocabulary words in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and wrote a Klingon dictionary. He based all his work on those few Klingon lines in this movie, so that they even made sense retrospectively.

Today's holiday special: Do people still smoke corncob pipes?

Today in History:
December 7, 43 BC -
Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his errors.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, famous Roman writer and orator, literally gets his head handed to him on this date, when soldier in Marc Antony's army chopped off his head and right hand then displayed them in the Roman Forum.

Now there's a holiday display you don't see that often.

December 7, 185 -
Emperor Lo-Yang of China took a stroll on in his imperial garden on this evening and saw a Supernova.

What he was doing listening to Liz Phair is anybody's guess?

December 7, 1907 -
Christmas seals first went on sale in the United States went to raise funds to treat tuberculosis, after Emily Bissell, a social worker and activist, read about the program in an article by Jacob Riis.

In 1903, Einar Holbøll, a Danish postal clerk developed the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp on mailed holiday greetings during Christmas. The money raised could be used to help children sick with tuberculosis.

It was on this day in 1941 that Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor. The attack came after the United States had frozen Japanese assets and declared an embargo on shipments of petroleum to Japan.

On the morning of December 7, soldiers at Pearl Harbor were learning how to use a new device called radar, and they detected a large number of planes heading toward them. They telephoned an officer to ask him what to do. The officer said they must be American B-17s on their way to the base, and he told the soldiers not to worry about it.

A sailor named James Jones, who would go on to write the novel From Here to Eternity, was in the mess hall that morning.

There were ultimately 2,390 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 wounded. Two days after the attack, the Navy passed out postcards to the survivors and told them to write to their families, but not to describe what had happened. Some families did not get their postcards until February.

December 7, 1949 -
It's Tom Waits' birthday today.

Ol' 55 -

Innocent When You Dream -

Chicago -

And that Christmas Classic, Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis -

Let's all get drunk and sing really sad songs in a raspy voice in his honor.

December 7, 1968 -
The Rolling Stones released their album Beggar’s Banquet in the US (one day after it was released in the UK,) on this date.

They soon filmed a television extravaganza entitled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. After reviewing the program, the Stones felt that they were upstaged by the Who’s performance and the film was shelved until 1996, when it was finally released officially.

And so it goes.

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