Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Swift! to the head of the army!

May 20, 1873
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent (#139121) for blue jeans with copper rivets.

18 years later, on this date, George Sampson patents the clothes dryer. It's just that simple.

May 20, 1967 -
disc jockey Kenny Everett gave the official preview of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on the radio show Where It's At, broadcast on the BBC Light Program on this date.

He was unable to play the final track A Day in the Life, which the BBC had banned a day earlier due to drug references.

May 20, 1982 -
The last episode of the series Barney Miller aired on this date.

During its broadcast run amid the many cop shows on television, many real-life police officers considered this the TV show that best depicted the reality of police life.

May 20, 1993 -
The last episode of the series Cheers aired on this date.

In one of the last scenes shows Sam straightening a photograph on the side of the bar. The picture is of Geronimo. This is an homage to the late Nicholas Colasanto, who played "Coach" Ernie Pantusso from 1982-1985. The picture held special meaning to Colasanto and hung in his dressing room. When he died in 1985, the picture was moved to the bar in his memory.

Today in History:
Honore de Balzac
was born in France on May 20, 1799 (or May 19th.) The exact date could not be determined as all of France had just started on a drinking binge that has only recently just ended. Balzac created a vast body of literature that he called La Comédie Humaine (“A Vast Body of Literature”).

It consisted of dozens of novels, short stories, and plays interwoven with many of the same characters, places, events, horses, etc. One of his most popular characters was the brilliant and big-hearted Dr. Bianchon. It is rumored that Balzac’s dying words were, “If Bianchon were here, he would save me!

The anecdote is probably apocryphal, as Balzac didn’t speak English.

May 20 1867 -
Queen Victoria
laid the foundation stones in the Royal Albert Hall on this date.

Two thoughts immediately came to mind:
a.) Who thought she would do it in the road?
b.) Wow, Keith Richards is really old.

May 20, 1921 -
Marie Curie
was presented with a gram of Radium (worth $100,000) at the White House, in Washington, D.C. on this date.

(Warren G. Harding approach Madame Curie and informed her that the broom closet in his office was free.  Madame Curie, ever mindful of Mrs. Harding, correctly declined.) At the time, the good doctor was riddled with cancer from her research, an ounce of pot would have been a more auspicious gift from our government.

May 20, 1927 -
Charles Lindbergh
took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., at 7:40 AM aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France on this date.

Little did he know that he would become an Isolationalist, Neo-Nazi and Whore-Monger in the intervening years. Had he known, he may have stayed in the Midwest and never ventured out to Europe.

May 20, 1944 -
Mad dogs and Englishmen celebrate this day as a national holiday.

Joe Cocker was born on this date.

May 20, 1946 -
Cherilyn Sarkisian, pop singer-songwriter, Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and a People's Choice Award winner was born on this date.

Wig manufacturer's everywhere celebrate this day as an international holiday. (Probably coincidentally, but I like to think not, the Supreme Court struck down, 6-3, a Colorado constitutional amendment banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination on this date in 1996.)

May 20, 1956 -
The first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from the air was exploded over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific (Operation Redwing), but it was a much earlier (July 1, 1946,) non-aerial atomic detonation that originally inspired the bikini swimsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, $90 million has been appropriated by Congress "to be used by the Bikinians to clean up their atoll" since 1990. How embarrassing must it have been for the guy who had to call the Bikinians and tell them we had soiled their atoll—that we wanted to help them clean their filthy atoll?

(Which isn't to say it'd be a cakewalk being called a Bikinian.)

May 20, 1960 -
Music DJ Alan Freed, originator of the term "Rock and Roll," is indicted in New York in the Payola scandal.

Freed had accepted $30,650 from five record companies to play their records, although to be fair "pay for play" was the accepted practice up to that point.

May 20, 1989 -
The Chinese government imposed martial law on Beijing on this date, in response to student-led protests that had brought millions of people onto the streets.

The demonstrations continued, however, until the brutal military crackdown on June 3 and 4 in Tiananmen Square, in which thousands of Chinese dissidents were killed by the Chinese military. In a June 9 speech, Deng Xiaoping announced that the government had suppressed a "counterrevolutionary rebellion" in which the "dregs of society" had tried to "establish a bourgeois republic entirely dependent on the West."

I'm still not winning any friends with the Chinese Government.

May 20, 1989 -
The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.

Gilda Radner, Emmy Award winning American comedienne and actress, best known for her five years as part of the original cast of the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live, died at 42 of ovarian cancer on this date.

And so it goes

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