Sunday, March 29, 2015

Today is the Festival of Ishtar

Ishtar is an ancient fertility goddess and a goddess of war.  She spends half her time on earth, while the earth is in bloom and animals are fecund and the other after of the year locked in the lower world.

Spring, the time of fertility, is the time Ishtar reappears on earth.   This is represented in the symbols of an Egg and a Rabbit. (it's all starting to make sense but we'll get back to this later this week.)

For those Paschally inclined - Happy Palm Sunday

In Luke 19:41 as Jesus approached Jerusalem, he looked at the city and wept over it (an event known as Flevit super illam in Latin), foretelling the suffering that awaits the city.

Please refrain from hitting your siblings with the palm fronds. Please let me quote the great theologian, my mother, "I swear to God if you kids don't cut that shit out, I will beat your asses all the way home with those palms, in front of all your friends. I don't care how embarrassed you are."

March 29, 1943 -
John Cleese once told me he'd do anything for money. So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.

Eric Idle, comedian and composer, made his first public appearance at Harton Hospital, South Shields, England on this date. (A documentary about Monty Python and their recent reunion performance opens at the Tribeca Film Festival.)

March 29, 1959 -
Billy Wilder 's film, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, premiered on this date.

When Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon first put on the female make-up and costumes, they walked around the Goldwyn Studios lot to see if they could "pass" as women. Then they tried using mirrors in public ladies rooms to fix their makeup, and when none of the women using it complained, they knew they could be convincing as women. There is a scene on the train recreating this moment.

March 29, 1975 -
song Lady Marmalade (psst, it's about New Orleans prostitutes) hit no. #1 on this date.

In a 1986 interview, Patti LaBelle explained: "That song was taboo. I mean, why sing about a hooker? Why not? I had a good friend who was a hooker, and she died. She never took the mike out of my mouth and I never took the mattress from under her. She was a friend, doing her thing. It'd be like discriminating because you're white and I'm black, or you're gay and someone's straight. I don't believe in separating people. If your job is as a hooker, more power to you."

Today in History:
Georges Seurat died on March 29, 1891. Mr. Seurat was a dotty artist who painted the world as he saw it.

Sadly, his eye condition was never treated.

March 29, 1932 -
A vaudeville comedian made his radio debut, saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Jack Benny talking. There will be a slight pause while you say, 'Who cares?' "

The eternally 39 year old Benjamin Kubelsky premiered on his weekly radio show which ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1948 to 1955 on CBS, and was consistently among the most highly rated programs during most of that run.

March 29, 1951 -
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were both convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage on this date. While Julius probably pass along secrets to the Soviets, recently declassified documents show that none of them lead to the development of the Russian nuclear weapons.

Ethel, unfortunately, is another matter. The same declassified document show that the government never believed that Ethel had anything to do with the case and the prosecution led by the lovely Roy Cohn wanted to use her as a 'lever' to pressure Julius into giving up the names of others who were involved.

She was mainly convicted on the testimony of her brother David Greenglass, a co-defendant in their trial. Greenglass was spared execution in exchange for his testimony. In late 2001, Greenglass recanted all of his testimony against his sister and claimed that he had committed perjury when he testified about her involvement in the case. Greenglass said he chose to falsely testify against his sister in order to protect his wife, who in fact was spying for the Russian.

Isn't sibling love grand?

March 29, 1977 -
Lee Harvey Oswald's best friend, and coincidentally a friend of both Jackie Kennedy and George HW Bush, Dallas socialite George de Mohrenschildt died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the mouth, on this date.

It is likely he was going to be called to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

March 29, 1979 -
A U.S. House of Representatives committee report finds that John F. Kennedy's assassination was the result of a conspiracy.


March 29, 1992 -
Arkansas Governor and Presidential candidate Bill Clinton told the New York Times on this date: "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale, and never tried it again."

Strangely, the POTUS and Monica Lewinsky had an 'encounter' on this date in 1997. It would be their final 'liaison'.

But remember, he did not have sexual relations with that woman.

And so it goes.

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