Sunday, March 2, 2014

Your Local Jurisdiction would like to remind you

Actual betting on the results of the Oscars is illegal in most states.

March 2, 1900 -
... There is only good music and bad music.

Kurt Weill, composer, Brecht and Gershwin collaborator, was born in Dessau, Germany on this date.

March 2, 1904 -
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was born on this date. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, and is one of only a few men in history to have written illustrated books in verse about a pedophiliac cat.

You can hardly blame the guy for changing his name.

The film King Kong opened today in 1933. In the original film, the character's name is Kong - a name given to him by the inhabitants of "Skull Island" in the Indian Ocean, where Kong lived along with other over-sized animals such as a plesiosaur, pterosaurs, and dinosaurs. 'King' is an appellation added by an American film crew led by Carl Denham, who captures Kong and took him to New York City to be exhibited as the "Eighth Wonder of the World".

Kong escapes and climbs the Empire State Building (the World Trade Center in the 1976 remake) where he is shot and killed by aircraft. Nevertheless, "it was beauty who killed the beast", as he only climbed the building in the first place in an attempt to protect the lead female character Ann Darrow.

The film saved RKO Studios from bankruptcy.

March 2, 1939 -
The first of many collaborations between John Ford and John Wayne, Stagecoach, went into general release on this date.

When the film was being cast, John Ford lobbied hard for John Wayne but producer Walter Wanger kept saying no. It was only after constant persistence on Ford's part that Wanger finally gave in. Wanger's reservations were based on Wayne's string of B-movies, in which he came across as being a less than competent actor, and the box office failure of Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail  in 1930, Wayne's first serious starring role.

March 2, 1944 -
... There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.

The late great Lewis Allan Reed, singer, songwriter, poet and guitarist was born (on the wild side) on this date.

March 2, 1965 -
The movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, had its world premiere at New York’s Rivoli Theater on this date.

Christopher Plummer intensely disliked working on the film. He's been known to refer to it as The Sound of Mucus or S&M and likened working with Julie Andrews to "being hit over the head with a big Valentine's Day card, every day." Nonetheless, he and Andrews have remained close friends ever since.

Today in History -
When he was a young man, no one knew for sure if Nicholas I of Russia, the son of Paul I, was Czar, Tsar or Tzar. It was hard to know anything at all about someone whose last name was a vowel, especially when he lived in a hermitage. Nicholas was therefore as confused as he was powerful, which inevitably led to his becoming an Evil Bastard.

He didn't realize what an Evil Bastard he'd become until he lost the Crimean War, however, at which point he discovered that in addition to being Evil he was also an Incompetent Bastard. This made him Autocratic and he therefore died on March 2, 1855.

His first son Alexander, was left to ponder all of this when he became Alexander II on the same day.

March 2, 1882 -
Queen Victoria was a much beloved monarch, except by her would-be assassins. The queen escaped another assassination attempt on this date. Roderick Maclean, the final in a series of eight malcontents over the course of her very long reign,  took a shot at the queen as her carriage pulled away from Windsor railway station after she refused to accept one of his poems.

He was beaten back by two schoolboys with umbrellas and arrested by Superintendent Hayes of the Windsor Police. He was tried for high treason but found “not guilty but insane” and sent to an asylum.

On March 2, 1931, Mikhail Gorbachev was born with a big red splotch on his head, so he got right into politics. Mr. Gorbachev was the last Evil Bastard to reign over the Soviet Empire. Fortunately, he was also Bumbling Bastard, and his invention of glasnost and perestroika accidentally made walls fall down in Germany.

This caused Boris Yeltsin to ride on top of a tank and was therefore historical. (Let hope Mr. Putin is not trying to revive the corpse of the Soviet Empire at the moment.)

March 2, 1939
Howard Carter died of King Tut's curse on this date.

But dammit remember there is no mummy's curse.

March 2, 1944 -
A train of mixed military/civilian passengers stalls inside a tunnel outside Salerno, Italy, asphyxiating 426 from fumes. Authorities question Mussolini on the necessities of have trains run on a timely basis to meet ones death in such an unpleasant manner.

But he was having his own problems at the time.

March 2, 1968 -
Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd, after melting his mind with various extremely dangerous drugs on this date.

He spent the following years mumbling about pork chops and refrigerators.

March 2, 1982 -
Science fiction author Philip K Dick died of a stroke in Santa Ana, California on this date. Since 1974 the author had been possessed by a Super Alien who arrived in his head via a beam of pink light.

It has been suggested that Mr Dick and Mr Barrett had been in regular communication via the pork chops in his refrigerator.

March 2, 1997 -
Don P. Wolf
and a team of researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center announce that they had produced rhesus monkeys from cloned embryos, the first successful use of cloning-related technology in primates.

Isn't this how that whole the Planet of the Apes problem began?

And so it goes.

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