Thursday, August 7, 2014

Happy Sea Serpent Day (especially to all you sea sick ones.)

The Smithsonian Institution recognizes today as Sea Serpent Day.  I, for one, will break out the hats and hooters to celebrate.

Let us remember that in 1752, Erik Pontoppidan, the Bishop of Bergen, wrote a published report of seeing the Kraken, a horned creature so large that when it surfaced, most of its body remained underwater.

(We should always celebrate Cecil the seasick sea serpent)

Get out there and go to the beach and celebrate Sea Serpent Day!

August 7, 1971 -
The Bee Gees
early hit How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? topped the charts on this date. It became their first US #1 hit.

Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees wrote this in the style of Andy Williams, who was a popular recording artist and television presenter at the time. It became the first #1 US hit for the group, topping the chart for four weeks.

August 7, 1948 -
... Five dollars for the best duck? You mean I came all the way from Dubuque for a measly five bucks? Five thousand dollars for the best rooster? Why, they can't do this to me! It's uncostitutional! It's... it's... Brother, could I use five thousand smackereenees. Hey, there must be a way. There must be.

Chuck Jones guided Daffy Duck's personality change from a "screwball" character, to a greedy, self-centered one in You Were Never Duckier which premiered on this date.

August 7, 1953 -
The best musical of the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals (unless you consider Singing in the Rain the best), The Band Wagon, premiered on this date.

The movie reflects two real-life situations. In the movie Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) is washed up. In real life Astaire's career was at a standstill. In the movie much is made of whether Cyd Charisse's character is too tall for Fred's character. This was also true in real life. Whenever Cyd and Fred are together she is in shoes with low heels.

August 7, 1963 -
American International released the first "beach-blanket" film, Beach Party, on this date.

Rap artist Big Daddy Kane got his name from the character Vincent Price played in this film.

Today in History:
August 7, 1782
... the road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is is thus open to all.

General George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non commissioned officers.

Washington authorized the award of the Purple Heart for soldiers wounded in combat.

August 7, 1876 -
The German spy Mata Hari, a Dutchwoman named Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, was born on this day. She was executed by the French on October 14, 1917. (I seem to bring her up a lot.)

There was not much actual evidence of espionage, but she had been seen naked with German officers and the French found this distasteful enough to kill her.

August 7, 1882 -
Ellison Hatfield
was stabbed 26 times and shot in the back by Tolbert McCoy and two of his brothers. Two days later, the Hatfield clan captures the three McCoys and executes them by firing squad.

Thus begins generations of bloodshed between the families, ultimately causing about 100 casualties.

Louis Leakey was also born on this day, in 1903. Mr Leakey was a prominent British archeologist who discovered that either mankind was much older than had previously been supposed or that mankind had not actually been mankind but some other kind instead.

The archeological world was convulsed for decades by arguments over what to name this strange new species and the struggle drove Mr Leakey to become a spy for the British government and cheat on his wife (though seldom simultaneously).

August 7, 1953
If only Nixon had given Eisenhower that rum toddy today and tucked him in for his afternoon nap, the 2004 election might have been different.

President Eisenhower signed legislation retroactively granting Ohio official statehood for the previous 150 years. In 1803, apparently everyone just assumed that Ohio was a state, even though Congress had never passed legislation to that effect. The nation remained blissfully unaware of this fact until nosy historians began snooping around in preparation for Ohio's sesquicentennial.

August 7, 1955 -
The first transistor radio, the model TR-55, was sold in Japan on this date.  The first transistor radio in the US, the Regency TR1, was put on the market on October 18, 1954.

Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering, the forerunner of the later Sony, launched the line of radios.

August 7, 1957 -
It was 1954 and the world's most beloved comedy duo were getting ready for a comeback.  Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the U.S. thanks to constant showings of their old movies on television. The duo were on the verge of starring in a series of TV comedy specials when Stan Laurel suffered a stroke in April of 1955.  While recuperating, Oliver Hardy suffered a massive heart attack. Doctors ordered Hardy bed rest and a diet regime. Hardy lost an amazing 150 lbs and Laurel completely recovered from his stroke.

Unfortunately, on September 12, 1956, Oliver Hardy suffered a debilitating stroke. while he survived, he was left completely disabled. His wife cared for him constantly (at home) while Laurel visited often. Oliver Hardy succumbed to his stroke on this date. Upon hearing the news of his death, Stan Laurel said, "What’s there to say? It’s shocking of course. Ollie was like a brother."

August 7, 1959 -
Explorer 6
transmitted the first TV photo of Earth from space on this date.

The satellite, popularly known as the 'paddlewheel satellite,' featured a photocell scanner that transmitted a crude picture of the earth's surface and cloud cover from a distance of 17,000 miles .

August 7, 1960 -
Film and television actor David Duchovny (sex addict and another member of the Milton Berle club) was born in New York City on this date. Two of his most popular TV roles include Special Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files and troubled writer Hank Moody on Showtime's Californication.

Remember, the truth is out there. But then again, What is truth, what is beauty and remember hemlock is poison.

August 7, 1974 -
Yes kids - The past is a foreign country: they did things differently there.

Philippe Petit, the French high wire artist, walked between the Twin Towers in New York City on this date.

And so it goes.

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