Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Joe Cocker RIP

Once you get into entertaining a quarter of a million people, it's a very weird place to be.

John Robert "Joe" Cocker OBE, singer (and greatest interpreter of Beatles music) succumb to lung cancer yesterday.

It's over, it's over, it's over.

It's the Eighth night of Hanukkah. For your own health, consume bran muffins for the rest of the year.

Out of that a new holiday was born - Happy Festivus everyone.

As not to embarrass yourself tonight at your Festivus family gathering, here are the four tenets of the holiday:

The Festivus Pole: During Festivus, an unadorned aluminum pole is displayed. The pole was chosen apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is "very low-maintenance," and also because the holiday's patron, Frank Costanza, "find[s] tinsel distracting."

Festivus Dinner: The Festivus dinner menu is flexible, but it should consist of filling, non-holiday comfort food (no turkey, duck, goose, or ham). The televised dinner featured what may have been meatloaf or spaghetti in a red sauce. (Presumably, an entree in a red sauce is more festive.) Kruger took a flask out from his jacket and took a swig; so one might interpret that drinking is optional.

The Airing of Grievances: At the Festivus dinner, each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.

The Feats of Strength: The head of the family tests his or her strength against one participant of the head's choosing. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned to the ground. A participant is allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the family only if they have something better to do instead.

A Healthy and Happy Festivus to you and your family.

Today's holiday special
: It is a man's world.

December 23, 1942 -
The Noel Coward-David Lean War time drama, In Which We Serve, premiered in the US on this date.

The Hays office tried to delete the words "God", "hell", "damn", and "bastard" from the American release. Uproar from England forced the office to back down on everything except "bastard".

December 23, 1954 -
Walt Disney's
live-action film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, premiered on this date.

Richard Fleischer was surprised at being considered for the director's chair for this film, as he was the son of Disney's biggest competitor, Max Fleischer. He approached Walt Disney to inquire if Disney knew who he was. Disney told him that he was well aware of who he was and hired him because he thought he was the best man for the job.

Today in History:
December 23, 1750 -
Benjamin Franklin
was severely shocked while electrocuting a turkey on this date.

Lost in the annals of history is the crime the fowl committed.

December 23, 1823
The famous poem A Visit From St. Nicholas was first published on this date. It begins, Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ....

Fourteen years after its first publication, an editor attributed the poem to a wealthy professor of classical literature named Clement Clarke Moore.

In the last few years, new evidence has come out that a Revolutionary War major named Henry Livingston Jr. may have been the actual author of The Night Before Christmas.

His family has letters describing his recitation of the poem before it was originally published, and literary scholars have found many similarities between his work and The Night Before Christmas. He was also three quarters Dutch, and many of the details in the poem, including names of the reindeer, have Dutch origins.

December 23, 1888 -
After an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh took a razor and removes a portion of his left ear. Their quarrel regarded the prostitutes in Arles who seemed to prefer Gauguin over Van Gogh; the painter delivered his ear a startled prostitute. She fainted.

Some women get very emotional when they receive that special gift.

December 23, 1938 -
The Coelacanth is one of the oldest living fish, and was thought to have gone extinct some 60 million years before Captain Hendrick Goosen caught one off the coast of South Africa on this date.

Since that time, more than 200 Coelacanths have been caught. It is one of the textbook examples of a "living fossil."

December 23, 1948 -
Japanese Premier Tojo and six others were hanged by the War Crimes Commission at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, for the crime of starting an aggressive war on this date.

Now, that's not a necktie you want for Christmas.

December 23, 1968 -
On the first day of the first flight ever by astronauts to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman suffers from the first documented case of motion sickness. Previous astronauts had reported nothing -- partly because their ships were too small for them to move around a lot and get queasy, partly because they kept their mouths shut for fear they'd never fly again.

There is nothing worse than barfing into your own spacesuit.

Oh, wait a minute, yes there is - barfing into someone else's spacesuit.

December 23, 1985 -
In a Lutheran school playground, James Vance and Raymond Belknap acted upon a drunken suicide pact forged while listening to Stained Class by Judas Priest. Belknap shot a 12 gauge shotgun under his chin, dying instantly, and Vance followed, but survived with a severely disfigured face. He later dies from painkillers on Thanksgiving three years later. Both kids' parents file suit against the band, but a judge ultimately rejects their subliminal message theory.

I believe anyone would kill themselves being forced to listen to Judas Priest.

And so it goes.

There are 2 days until Christmas

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