Monday, February 16, 2015

It's Sonny Bono's birthday

But that's why you have the day off -

It's Generic Executive Office Holder of the Government Day.

Celebrate anyone of them in style - William Howard Taft for example. Let's celebrate the fact that he was a big man.  Once, he got stuck in the White House bath tub and required six aides to pull him free. The tub was replaced with a new one large enough to hold four men (but let's not dwell too long on the image of four naked men in a White House bath tub.)

Or Chester A.Arthur, the 21st president of United States, was known for his impeccable attire, earning him the nickname "Elegant Arthur."  Also, he owned 80 pairs of pants.

Or the fact that Calvin Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in bed.

Or my personal favorite, Warren G. Harding.

Besides being the only President probably murdered by his wife because of his philandering ways (he actually did have sex with someone in a White House broom closet), Warren was such a lousy poker player that he once lost a complete set of china that had been in the White House dating back to President Benjamin Harrison's years.

So let's hear it for all the generic Presidents.

Today is the Feast of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia. She refused to marry a Roman official, so he had her roasted in flames, then dipped into boiling oil before finally being beheaded, which seems rather harsh even for Roman times.

Springsteen was right - it's hard being a saint (in the city.)

February 16, 1940 -
A truncated version of A Chump at Oxford (the second to last Laurel and Hardy feature) was released on this date

The short version of the film was originally in four reels, a "streamliner" designed to compete with theaters' new double feature concept. Roach produced only a few of these hybrids, and added the dinner party sequence later to bring it up to it's feature length.

February 16, 1956 -
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Carousel, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, premiered on this date.

According to most biographers, Frank Sinatra was originally cast to play Billy Bigelow. But when he arrived on the set, Sinatra discovered that he had to shoot the scenes two times: one for regular Cinemascope and the other for CinemaScope 55. Sinatra, who never liked to do two takes of a scene, walked away from the set and said: "You’re not getting two Sinatras for the price of one". Ironically, shortly thereafter, it was discovered that both prints could be made from the one negative, and so it was filmed in 55mm CinemaScope only.

February 16, 1964 -
The Beatles
appeared for the second time on the Ed Sullivan Show on this date.

The Beatles performed six songs: She Loves You, This Boy, All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. The Beatles received $25,000 for their appearance; half of what Elvis got for his.

February 16, 1975 -
The music variety series Cher premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

How did this get on the air?

Today in History:
February 16, 1899
Félix François Faure, President of France and the owner of the most audacious mustache in the late 19th century, died suddenly from a massive heart attack in his private offices while in the act of some sort of sexual congress with the notable courtesan, Marguerite Steinheil on this date.

Apparently when Faure reached his petit mort, he had his grand mort. A probably apocryphal story, listed as fact by many sources, is that M. Le President died with his hands gripping Miss Steinheil's head and an anxious government official nearly 'brained' her trying to remove the hysterical lady from the vise-like grip of his 'cold dead hands.'

Viva La France

February 16, 1918 -
Lithuania declared its independence from Russia on this date. Independence lasted until World War II.

It was such a successful declaration that they declared their independence again in 1990.

February 16, 1921 -
, actress and possible anorexia nervosa sufferer (there is a raging debate on the internet about whether or not she was - and I am still legally obligated to state this,) was born on this date.

Vera went to the same Cincinnati ballroom dance studio as a child as Doris Day. Their parents used to carpool together to the dance studio.

February 16, 1923 -
Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened King Tut's tomb, revealing one of the most well-preserved treasures from the ancient world on this date.

While it has been frequently reported that a curse killed 13 of the 20 people present at the opening of the tomb, there was no curse and no unusual death patterns occurred. What a minute, what's that lurking in the shadows.

February 16, 1937 -
Nylon material was patented by Wallace H. Carothers, a researcher for DuPont on this date. He also helped to produce the first synthetic rubber, Neoprene, and was instrumental in the development of synthetic silks.

Sadly, Carothers committed suicide after a long battle with depression by drinking lemon juice laced with cyanide (not a cocktail that I would recommend.)

February 16, 1959 -
Failed baseball player Fidel Castro was sworn in as President For Life of Cuba after having led the revolution that removed Fulgenico Batista. At the time, Cuba was a nation plagued by poverty, racked by corruption, and held in thrall by the military force of its leader.

During his first year of rule, 500 were put to the firing squad, an RBI record any dictator would be proud of.

February 16, 1990 -
See, when I paint, it is an experience that, at its best, is transcending reality.

Keith Haring, artist/cartoonist, died of AIDS-related complications at 31 on this date.

And so it goes

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