Thursday, August 14, 2014

Life could be a dream

August 14, 1945 -
You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies - all of life's riddles are answered in the movies

Steve Martin, actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer and banjo player was born on this date.

August 14, 1954 -
The clean-cut Canadian quartet, Crew-Cuts  (wow, they're really white) topped the charts with their hit, Sh-Boom, on this date.

Their cover of the Chords' "Sh-Boom" set the pattern, going to number one in 1954 and setting the stage for their other commercially successful pop treatments of R&B hits by the Penguins, Gene & Eunice, Otis Williams & the Charms, the Robins, the Spaniels, the Nutmegs, and others.

August 14, 1965 -
Salvatore Bono
and Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre captured the #1 spot on the American pop charts with their song I Got You Babe, launching the careers of Sonny & Cher.

Sonny Bono was an up-and-coming record producer when he got Cher a job with Phil Spector as a session singer. They started dating and moved in to their manager's house. Bono would write songs on a piano in the garage. He came up with this tune and wrote the lyrics on a piece of cardboard. Cher didn't like it at first, but Sonny changed the key in the bridge to fit her voice and she loved it.

Today in History:
August 14, 410 -
under King Alaric sacked Rome after slave co-conspirators open the city gates for them on this date.

Looting lasts for six days. (Back in the pre-viagra days, six days of 'looting' was an impressive feat. Even more impressive when you consider that Visigoth scribes took time out from the orgies to write the date down.)

Barbarians at the Gate indeed.

August 14, 1040 -
Scotland's King Duncan I was killed in a battle against the man who would replace him, Macbeth on this date.

Shakespeare's famous tragedy Macbeth is based upon his life, but is not historically accurate. In the play, Macbeth and his wife murder the aged King Duncan when he comes to visit them in their castle.

August 14, 1900 -
years ago today the western powers quelled the Boxer Rebellion in China. In the clearing stood the Boxers, fighters by their trade, and they carried the reminders of every glove that laid them down or cut them til they cried out, in their anger and their pain, they were leaving, they were leaving, but the fighter still remained.

Unless that was Simon and Garfunkel, in which case the Boxers were bitter, out-of-work Chinese boxers who didn't think the western powers should be allowed to control China's ports, despite the fact that everyone knew China was a poor backward country without any modern conveniences.

Emboldened by the belief that their magical boxing powers made them invulnerable to bullets, they demanded that westerners get out of China or die.

Westerners refused to get out. They crushed the rebellion, and boxing remains a neglected sport in China to this day.

August 14, 1901 -
The first purportedly powered flight, made by Gustave Whitehead in his Number 21 took place in Bridgeport, Connecticut on this date.

Though the flight is accomplished more than two years in advance of the Wright Brothers, it will go largely undocumented, unnoticed, unremarked until long after the Wrights’ globally renowned feat at Kitty Hawk.

August 14, 1904 -
The cattle-herding Hereros, a tribe of Southwest Africa (later Namibia), became the first genocide victims of the 20th century. Queen Victoria's eldest grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II had sent General Lothar von Trotha to put down a Herero uprising along with the groups of rebellious Khoikhoi. Trotha drove the Hereros into the desert and then issued a formal "extermination order" (Schrecklichkeit) authorizing the slaughter of all who refused to surrender.

Out of some 80,000 Hereros, 60,000 died in the desert. Of the 15,000 who surrendered, half of those died in prison camps. Some 9,000 escaped to neighboring countries.

Oh those wacky German.

August 14, 1945 -
Over the radio, Emperor Hirohito announced his unconditional surrender to Allied forces, thus bringing an end to World War II on this date. The Allied forces were so concerned that the emperor would kill himself before the broadcast that they had him pre-record his message.

This broadcast was the first chance the Japanese people had to hear their god-emperor's speaking voice. Because of the Japanese anathema to surrender and the formal, somewhat archaic Japanese used by the old Imperial Court the emperor spoke, most Japanese didn't realize that they had actually surrendered until about a day later.

August 14, 1945  -
Alfred Eisenstaedt
shot one of the most iconic images of the 40's on this date - the photographs of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square.

In 2007 Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson completed a detailed investigation and concluded that Glenn McDuffie (80) is the man in the image, which was published on the cover of Life Magazine on August 27.

August 14, 1951 -
...As it must to all men, death came to Charles Foster Kane.

10 years after the fictionalized version of his life premiered, Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst died at home in Beverly Hills, California, on this date.

August 14, 1972 -
Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.

Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor, died on this date

August 14, 1995 -
Shannon Faulkner
officially became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college.

She quit the school less than a week later, citing the stress of her court fight, and her isolation among the male cadets.

August 14, 2003
A widespread blackout (lasting almost two days for some), affecting approximately 45 million people in the eastern United States and ten million in Ontario, Canada, occurred on this date.

The final conclusion of the investigation into the incident revealed that the blackout began when a generating plant in Eastlake, Ohio went offline amid high electrical demand. It was the second largest blackout in world history next to the 1999 blackout in Brazil.

August 14, 2126 -
The next scheduled perihelion (the point nearest the sun in the orbit of a celestial body) for the "Doomsday Rock," also known as the Swift-Tuttle Comet, is on this date.

The six-mile-diameter mass is thought to be roughly the same size as the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs and will probably come within 15 million miles of planet Earth.

Have a good day.

And so it goes.

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