Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lookin' so outrageous

Today is National Ice Cream Soda Day. Remember to pour the soda over the ice cream (you get a thicker ice cream soda foam.)



If you added a little Kahlua in first, even better. 

(Everything ain't for the kids folks.)


June 30, 1972 -
The sci-fi film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the third sequel in the Planet of the Apes oeuvre, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Roddy McDowall, was released in U.S. theatres on this date.



Much of the film was shot in and around the University of California, Irvine campus, which was designed by futurist architect William L. Pereira, and was only six years old at the time of filming.

(To celebrate, the world added a leap second to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) time system for the first time.)


June 30, 1989 -
One of Spike Lee's big early films, Do The Right Thing, premiered on this date.



The key scene when Danny Aiello and John Turturro talk alone approximately midway through the film was partly improvised. The scripted scene ended as the character Smiley approached the window. Everything after that until the end of the scene was completely ad-libbed.


June 30, 1995 -
Ron Howards'
film about the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission bound for the moon, Apollo 13, premiered on this date.



Jim Lovell wore his old navy captain's uniform in the scene where he greets the astronauts aboard the Iwo Jima. When Ron Howard asked Lovell if he'd like to be in the film as the ship's admiral, Lovell agreed but pointed out, "I retired as a captain; a captain I will be."


Today in History:
June 30, 1520
-
... I see your armour-plated breast has long since lost it's sheen ...



After witnessing the murder of Montezuma II (or committing the murders themselves,) the Conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes, did what any red-blooded Spaniard would do and looted Tenochtitlan, the ancient Mexican capital of the Aztec empire on this date. The retreating Spaniards were attacked by an angry Aztec mob. Tied down by armor and treasure, they are no match for the natives and nearly half of Hernan Cortes' men lose their lives.


June 30, 1837 -
England outlawed the use of the pillory on this date.

That still left the British Navy the three things they love the most - the lash, sodomy and rum.


June 30, 1859 -
Charles Blondin (Jean Fran├žois Gravelet,) a French acrobat became the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope on this date. Blondin walked a 1,100 feet long rope that was 160 feet above the water.



The entire walk from bank to bank to bank took 23 minutes, and Blondin immediately announced an encore performance to take place on the Fourth of July (which he gave and survived.)


June 30, 1882 -
Charles Guiteau
, the assassin of President Garfield, was hanged on this date.



Tickets for the event went for as much as $300. Proving once again, give the people what they want and they'll show up.


June 30, 1894 -
Under a cloudless sky and as part of a pageant which delighted tens of thousands of people, the new Tower-bridge, which deserves to be reckoned among the greatest engineering triumphs of the Victorian age, was declared open for traffic by land and water... - The Times of LondonJuly 2, 1894



One of London's most iconic symbols, The Tower Bridge was officially opened on this date by The Prince of Wales (Teddy, the future King Edward VII, took time out of his unofficial profession of Royal Whore Monger, to officiate on this date.)


June 30, 1908 -
An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia on this date, incinerated some 300 sq. km. that encircled the impact of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. It flattened some 40,000 trees over 900 sq. miles and caused damage equivalent to a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb.



The explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 30-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away, is believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.


June 30, 1934 -
Acting on behalf of the Fuhrer, SS troops around Germany arrest hundreds of loyal SA stormtroopers under the charge of treason in order to eliminate the group.



One squad descends on a Bavarian resort, where it interrupts a contingent of SA men engaged in homosexual festivities. Lieutenant Edmund Heines was caught in bed with a teenaged boy, and shot to death on the spot. The rest are taken into custody. Hitler sacrificed Ernst Rohm (his pal and head of the SA stormtroopers) rather than lose the support of the military. He personally confronted Rohm in a jail cell and left a single shot pistol in the cell. Ten minutes later, Rohm had killed himself (unless he didn't, in which case, he was executed at point blank range by Hitler's goons - reports are sketchy.)



Nobody ruins a good sodomy and lederhosen party in like Hitler's goons.


June 30, 1936 -
It's the 79th anniversary of publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind on this date.



Despite spending 10 years of her life working on the tome, Mitchell didn’t really have much intention of publishing it. When a “friend” heard that she was considering writing a book (though in fact, it had been written), she said something to the effect of, “Imagine, you writing a book!” Annoyed, Mitchell took her massive manuscript to a Macmillan editor the next day. She later regretted the act and sent the editor a telegram saying, “Have changed my mind. Send manuscript back.”



It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews -- "Gone With the Wind is very possibly the greatest American novel," said Publisher's Weekly -- that it was certain to sell, though few predicted the sustained, record-breaking numbers. Though she had been eager and active for her fame, Mitchell too was caught off guard.


June 30, 1953 -
The first Corvette rolled off the production line on this date.  The car only came in white with a black top and red interior. Optional features included a curtain instead of roll-up windows and interior door handles.



300 cars were made the first year and sold for $3,498.


Again, tomorrow is Canada Day, and ACME, in an effort to fulfill its legal obligation to broadcast a quota of Canadian content, er... I mean, to honor our sister of the north:

June 30, 1987 -
The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, affectionately known as the Loonie, on this date.



It bears images of a common loon, a bird which is common and well known in Canada, on the reverse, and of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. It is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint at its facility in Winnipeg.

And now you know.


June 30, 1997 -
Hong Kong was acquired by Britain in 1842, when it was ceded in perpetuity by China as a base for Britain's trading ventures. Under the First Convention of Peking, signed in 1860, the tip of the Kowloon peninsula and Stonecutters' Island were ceded to Britain.

In 1898, China granted Britain a 99-year lease for a much larger stretch of land north of Kowloon and a large number of islands, known collectively as the New Territories. The lease ran out on this date, in 1997. The handover ceremony occured on the following day. Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC

(Mr. Teeny has been on the wagon lately and enjoying the Schezuan food we've recently been getting and has asked me to refrain from insulting the Chinese for the time being. Take it from me, you don't want to try to reason with an edgy cigar smoking monkey.)



And so it goes.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey, just one more video

To cap off Pride weekend, here's a funny response to Judge Scalia's dissenting opinion from Stephen Colbert.



Colbert's just a Summer break away from his new show.  I can't wait but don't want to rush the Summer.


June 29, 1940 -
According to the Batman Canon: two gangsters working for Tony Zucco rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons, leaving their son Dick (Robin) an orphan on this date.



Lucky for Dick, a rugged virile older man, Bruce Wayne was there to give him the care and attention a strapping young man in tights needs.


June 29, 1968 -
Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me by Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) peaks at #17 on this date.



Proof positive, people did massive amounts of drugs in the '60s.


June 29, 1984 -
One of the original gross out comedies of the 80s, Bachelor Party, opened on this date.



Both Kelly McGillis and Paul Reiser were originally considered for the lead-roles early in production but were replaced due to lack of chemistry between the actors.


Today in History:
June 29, 1613
-
The Globe Theater, William Shakespeare's original theatrical venue, burns to the ground on this date. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man who put out his burning breeches with a bottle of ale.



It must have not been a very good bottle of ale.


Canada Day is soon upon us, so here's some history about our neighbor to the north -
June 29, 1864 -
The worst railway disaster in Canada's history killed 99 people and injured 100 more on this date, when a train, which had been carrying many German and Polish immigrants, failed to stop at an open bridge (the Beloeil Bridge) and plunged into the the Richelieu River near Quebec.

The engineer, who was new to his job, claimed that he did not see the signal. The St-Hilaire train disaster is still considered Canada's worst train crash in history.


June 29, 1967 -
Actress Jayne Mansfield may or may not have been decapitated in a car crash, when her convertible collides with a parked tractor-trailer. To downplay the supposed gruesome death, sources spread the falsehood that only her wig flew off in the accident.



Her three children survived in the back seat of the 1966 Buick Electra. Daughter Mariska Hargitay was 3 years old at the time and began her film career at 19.


June 29, 1971 -
When Soyuz 11 disengaged from the Salyut space station, cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev were killed by a faulty pressurization valve on this date.



All the oxygen leaks out of the Soyuz cabin before Patsayev could close the valve by hand, and the crew was asphyxiated.

I hate when that happens.


June 29, 1978 -
The body of Bob Crane was discovered in bed with an electric cord wrapped around his neck and his head smashed in on this date.



When Scottsdale police searched the apartment belonging to the former star of television's Hogan's Heroes, they discovered a video camera and a large library of amateur porn starring Crane and a parade of random women. (Parade of Random Women - still a great name for an indie band.) No one has every been convicted of his murder.


June 29, 1992 -
Mohammed Boudiaf was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards less than six months after becoming President of Algeria. A former hero in the war of independence, Boudiaf had been chosen by the Islamic Salvation Front to serve as figurehead for their regime. More than 100,000 Algerians would later die in political bloodshed in the following decade.

(Please note - this was probably not a good business motto to choice a protection agency - we will not kill you within the first six months or your money back.)



And so it goes


Before you go - Here's a clip, from the Super Cuts people, containing 161 people flipping someone off.



I'm amazed by the number of kids giving the middle finger in this clip. (I love Mr. Bean happily flipping everybody off.)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The parade today will be something to see

Hopefully the sun will break out for the Gay Pride parade making it's way down Fifth Avenue this afternoon.

Given the recent Supreme Court decision, I wonder if the parade will run more than the legal five hours - there's a lot of happiness to cram into five hours.


Happy Birthday Mel Brooks



I'm so happy to once again note that it's always a good day to know that Mel is still around.


June 28, 1951 -
A TV version of the popular radio program Amos 'N' Andy premiered on CBS on this date.

Kingfish Gets Drafted

Although criticized for racial stereotyping, it was the first network TV series to feature an all-black cast.  I'm ambivalent about embedded the episode, it's out there on the internet.  I've linked to it (see above). 



If you have the time, watch it so you can understand what the show is about.


June 28, 1956 -
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, The King and I premiered in New York City, on this date.



The shooting of the "Shall We Dance" sequence was particularly strenuous for the cast. Deborah Kerr suffered continual bruising from the hoops in her skirt, and Yul Brynner - a chain smoker who had already lost a lung to his habit - had to take oxygen in between takes.


Today in History:
June 28, 1778 -
It was a hot day in New Jersey on this date. Temperatures reportedly reached 96 degrees in the shade. Possibly invented historical character, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, "Molly Pitcher," wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, N.J. and, supposedly, took her husband's place at his cannon after he was overcome with heat.



According to myth she was presented to General George Washington after the battle.


June 28, 1820 -
Robert Gibbon Johnson proved that tomatoes were not poisonous when he ate two homegrown tomatoes in front of a horrified crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.

At the time in the US, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous because of their relationship with some wild plants of the nightshade family that produce toxic berries.

This is what passed for entertainment in New Jersey - Chris Christie wasn't born yet.


June 28, 1902 -
Today is the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)



At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.



Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago. And as stated previously, it is widely rumored (but hotly denied) pug ugly transvestite FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, ordered Dillinger's well-endowed member detached from his corpse and pickled, for his private files.



His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.

And I have no idea if Hoover did with his trophy.


Jun 28 1905 -
At 5:30 a.m. on this date, a murderer named Henri Languille lost his head on the guillotine in Orleans. Dr. Jacques Beaurieux, an official witness to the execution, picks up the freshly-severed head of Languille just after it drops into the guillotine basket (don't worry, he's an official - the French just don't let anybody pick up freshly severed heads) and shouts the man's name three times. According to the doctor's report: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. ... I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me."

Again, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the French they are a funny race.


June 28 1914 -
Archduck Franz Ferdinand was having an extremely bad day.

He was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)



During their tour, Nedjelko Cabrinovic tosses a grenade into the automobile carrying Archduck Franz Ferdinand and wife Sofia. But Ferdinand knocks the bomb away with his arm and his driver speeds away from the would-be assassin. The driver was naturally addled and the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road (and as most men know this is a no-no - if you are lost, never ask for directions). The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"



The boy was Gavrilo Princip and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the Second World War.



Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:

Our ghosts will walk through Vienna And roam through the Palace Frightening the Lords.


June 28, 1969 -
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia run bar in Greenwich Village, the gay community fought back against routine police harassment that persecuted sexual minorities. Police raided the bar this time because it had refused to pay an increase in bribery. This incident is regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for the LGBT community.



34 years later, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, struck down a Texas sodomy law and proclaimed that gay Americans have a right to private sexual relations. 44 years later (on June 26, 2013) the Supreme Court overturned DOMA and just the day before yesterday, the court legalized marriage for same-sex couples, nationwide.

(I bet Antonin Scalia thrashes around in his sweat soaked bed linens this time every year, pondering state sponsored homosexual sodomy.)


June 28, 1975 -
Rod Serling (b.1924), iconoclastic writer and director of the TV series Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, died on this date.



Serling, a decorated World War II veteran suffered from PTSD and insomnia throughout his life.  His wartime experiences led him to become an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.


June 28 1997 -
Mike Tyson was disqualified from a championship boxing bout after biting off a large portion of Evander Holyfield's ear.

Tyson was later banned from boxing and fined $3 million for the incident.

Yeah, it tastes like chicken.


And on a personal note: Happy Birthday Angie



And so it goes

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Direct from the secret mountain retreat

June 27, 1949 -
Guardian of the Safety of the World, private citizen-scientist Captain Video, premiered on the Dumont Network on this date.



Captain Video was an agent of, and worked for, the Solar Council of the Interplanetary Alliance.


June 27, 1957 -
... I love this dirty town.

The brilliant film-noir, Sweet Smell of Success, partially based on columnist Walter Winchell starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis was released on this date.



After writer Ernest Lehman withdrew from the project because of a stomach problem, much to the chagrin of producer/star Lancaster. The production company, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster, hired Clifford Odets for rewrites. The noteworthy writer reconstructed every scene. As soon as he had finished writing a scene in his hotel room, it was rushed to the location for the director to shoot.


June 27, 1966
-
The first broadcast of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV on this date.



For more than a year and a half the characters of Dark Shadows used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.


June 27, 1973 -
Roger Moore
stepped into the role of James Bond with Live and Let Die, released in the US on this date.



Sean Connery
turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million to play James Bond. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".


Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill (born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859) an authority on Negro spirituals and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

So remember you can start to sing 'Happy Birthday' but don't finish it, the rights to the song are incredibly expensive. You may substitute any of the following for our purposes under "Fair Use":

* Happy birthday to you, cha cha cha, happy birthday to you, cha cha cha
* Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, you look like a monkey, and belong in a zoo!
* Happy birthday to you, you belong in a zoo, cause you look like a monkey and you smell like one too!
* Happy birthday to you, squashed tomatoes and stew, bread and butter in the gutter, happy birthday to you.
* Happy birthday to you, you're one hundred and two, you smell like a monkey, and you eat like one too!
* Happy birthday to you, you were born in a loo, and since it's your birthday, I'll flush it for you!
* Happy Birthday to you, stick your head down the loo, don't waste it, just taste it, happy birthday to you.
* Happy birthday to you, I went to the zoo, I saw a fat monkey, and it looked just like you!
* Happy birthday to you, you live in the zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too.
* Happy birthday to you, you're one hundred and two, you smell like a monkey, and you look like one too!


Today in History:
June 27, 363
-
The Roman Emperor Julian died on this date from grievous wounds he sustained in battle.

With his death, so ended the revival of Paganism (and state sanctioned, rigorous devotion to sodomy) in Rome.



I believe this is the third day in a row I got to reference sodomy.  (I continue to scare the children and horses in the street but as long as I do it in the privacy of my own home, it's not illegal.)


June 27 1844 -
Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, were shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois.

According to church legend, after Smith was shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but was thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven. God was having an off day and the thunderbolt was meant to fry Smith's body to a crisp.


June 27, 1905
-
Sailors from the Battleship Potemkin start a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, on this date, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.

Sergei Eisenstein, wacky Russian film director, thought he could make a summer comedy from the subject matter.



He unfortunately had no sense of humor and went on to create the classic silent film, The Battleship Potemkin, in spite of himself.


It's Bob Keeshan's birthday.



If you're of a certain age, you remember him very well.


June 27, 1928 -
Sylvia Beach invited James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald to dinner at her apartment over her Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Company on this date. Fitzgerald became drunk (which is like stating, the sun rose this morning):. He said he was such a fan of Joyce's that he would throw himself out the window to prove it.

Neither writer was having much success. Fitzgerald had just published The Great Gatsby and it had not been selling well. Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be published outside of Paris for another five years. Both men died 13 years later, less than a month apart, with no money and very few readers.

Such is life.



And so it goes.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Congratulations!

School's out for NYC elementary school kids.

But don't get too comfortable - school starts up again in 75 days (or 100,800 minutes if that makes you feel better.)


The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today.



It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.


June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's
classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.



Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.


Today in History:
June 26, 1284
-
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.



People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.


Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.



It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.  (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke.  Please, no e-mails.)


June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was invented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign.  The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.



Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon.  I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.


Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.


Abner Doubleday
was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.



Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.


June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson
of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though, Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)



Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.


June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas
 
a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.


June 26, 1959 -
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.



The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior. (Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)


June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.



Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.


June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....

Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.



Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.


June 26, 1990 -
Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.



(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)



And so it goes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is it Leon Day again, so soon?

Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Christmas is but a mere six months away.



Kids, you can take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you are doing.


Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for six years now. More importantly to his earth bound relatives, Michael continues to support the various members of the Jackson factions quite nicely. Death hasn't put a crimp in his record sales.  (Michael Jackson's estate is making more money now that Michael did in the prime of his career.)



Farrah Fawcett also died six years ago today.  I don't believe she's singing with any heavenly children's choir.



There is no connection between these two events but it's also the birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou:



I wonder how he will celebrate his 52nd birthday? (whatever he's up to, hopefully he's doing it safely.)


June 25, 1938 -
Another in the series of 'books come alive', Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.



The globe on the cover of Pearl Buck's book The Good Earth requests blessings for people in his family, including "Papa Leon and Uncle Ray." This is in reference to Leon Schlesinger, who was the executive producer of the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons up until 1944, and Raymond Katz, Schlesinger's brother-in-law, who also worked in the cartoon studio.


June 25, 1963 -
One of Federico Fellini's greatest films, Otto e mezzo, (8 ½), opened in the US, on this date.



Federico Fellini attached a note to himself below the camera's eyepiece which read, "Remember, this is a comedy."


June 25, 1982 -
The greatest dystopian Sci- Fi film (at this point), Blade Runner, opened on this date.



After Pris (Daryl Hannah) first meets Sebastian (William Sanderson), she runs away from him, skidding into his car and smashing the window with her elbow. This was a genuine mistake caused by Hannah slipping on the wet ground. The glass wasn't breakaway glass, it was real glass, and Hannah chipped her elbow in eight places.

On the same day, Universal Pictures releases the sci-fi horror film John Carpenter’s The Thing directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell.



John Carpenter and Kurt Russell both admit that after all of these years they still do not know who has been replaced by the creature and when.

Besides the fact that both films opened on this date, the similarities don't end there: both movies met with unfavorable reactions at the premiere but became widely loved sci-fi classics in the years to come.


June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the greatest Meg Ryan 'chick flick' (which may seem redundant to some,) Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.



The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts, who turned it down. Kim Basinger was also offered the role in the early script process, but turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous. After Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jodie Foster declined as well, Meg Ryan landed the role.


Today in History:
June 25, 84
1 -



June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Bighorn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse sweep in and kill the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.



This is the native way a sending a very serious message.


June 25, 1903 -
Eric Arthur Blair was born on this day in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He burned to be a writer but had no success get people to look at his work, so he was forced him into a series of menial jobs.



Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.


June 25, 1906 -
A love triangle came to a violent end atop the original Madison Square Garden as architect Stanford White, the building's designer, was shot to death by Harry Thaw, for an alleged tryst White had with Thaw's wife, Florence Evelyn Nesbit.



Thaw, tried for murder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. At the time this was called "The Crime of the Century."


June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, (but men and boys are apparently not covered.)

This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys and it's smooth sailings.


June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production, Our World, was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas, artist Pablo Picasso and a small English skiffle group called The Beatles.



When the The Beatles' appearance on the program was announced, John Lennon wrote the song especially for the occasion. He was told by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers would tune in.

I guess he was right.


Begin to scare the children - there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh, the pain is getting worse

I saw this vintage joke and


I remembered this song for some reason



How bizarre.


It's Midsummer day throughout most of Europe.

It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)

Hey, it's big in Europe.


June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.



It was the most played song on jukeboxes in the last 75 years in public places in the UK, as of 2009.

Again, it's a European thing


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols'
adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



This is the first American film to show an actor on the toilet - Martin Balsam, playing opposite Anthony Perkins. Ten years earlier, the first American film to show a toilet was Psycho, starring Martin Balsam and Anthony Perkins.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (?), on this date.  It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



Upon its release, the film was met not merely with atrocious reviews, but critical condemnation that crossed the line into moral indignation. The review in the July 6, 1970 edition of Time was entitled "Some Sort of Nadir" (referring to the scene where Myra anally rapes Rusty with a strap-on dildo). The review became famous for its opening line: "Myra Breckinridge is about as funny as a child molester."


Today In History:
June 24, 1374
-
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder. 

(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to puppet show presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.



And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I see a new sponsor in my future

Climax Cleaner

Let Climax be a joy to you! (It just writes itself - I was just going to say Rub it Out)


June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra's best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.



Mia Farrow was introduced to Frank Sinatra when she visited her friend John Leyton on the set. Farrow had co-starred with Leyton earlier that year when the actress made her screen debut in another British military drama, Guns at Batasi.


June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.



When he first recorded this song with The Miracles, Robinson left out the last chorus, fading it out on the "I need you, I need you" line. He was convinced to end on the chorus when he played the song at one of the famous Monday morning meetings at Motown, where songs were scrutinized by their team.


June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack releases My Sharona on this date.



In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: "I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy."


June 23, 1989 -
Tim Burton's dark and brooding retelling of Batman, was released on this date.



Jack Nicholson received a percentage of the gross on the film, and due to its massive box-office took home around $60 million. As of 2013 it is still the single-movie record for actor's salary.


June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premiered in Los Angeles, on this date.



Tom Hanks wasn't paid for the film. Instead he took percentage points which ultimately netted him in the region of $40 million.


Today in History:
June 23, 1611 -
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Hudson, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.


June 23, 1868 -
Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention he called a "Type-Writer" on this date.



His typewriter included the QWERTY keyboard format still used today. Others had invented typewriter machines, but Sholes invented the only one that became a commercial success.


June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, briefly Edward VIII, King of England and later to be known as the Duke of Windsor (making him both brother and uncle to successive monarchs), who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born on this date.



Sometimes, it's very complicated to be the king.


June 23, 1931 -
Pilot Wiley Post (at the time in full possession of both his eyes) and navigator Harold Gatty took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, in the Winnie Mae, on this date, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.



The trip (which was 15,474 miles,) completed when the pair landed back at Roosevelt Field on July 1st, took a total of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Wiley later became the first pilot to fly around the world solo, beating the record he and Gatty originally set.


June 23, 1950 -
Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle, crashed into Lake Michigan killing 58 people.

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The wreckage has never been discovered and the accident was, at the time, the worst commercial airliner accident in American history.


And on a personal note:




and so it goes.

Monday, June 22, 2015

And yet it moves

It's National Chocolate Eclair Day. While the eclair is a delicious dessert, their charms escape me.

Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than Bavarian cream.


June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40s Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.



The director of the cartoon was an uncredited effort by Friz Freleng.


June 22, 1955 -
Disney's film about dog breeding, The Lady and the Tramp, was released on this date.



Peggy Lee later sued Disney for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts. She was awarded $2.3m, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.


June 22, 1961 -
A great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.



Because the stars were all too old for their characters, the movie was nicknamed "Elderly Gang Goes Off to War" by the British press.  David Niven initially felt that he was badly miscast in the offbeat role of a corporal, but later said he considered it to be one of his best performances despite being too old for the part.


June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.



Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? became the first motion picture in Academy Awards and cinema history to be nominated for every Academy Award category in which it was eligible, including Best Adapted Screenplay (Ernest Lehman), Director (Mike Nichols), all the acting categories (Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis), and Picture of the Year (Ernest Lehman), since Cimarron (1931).


June 22, 1966 -
The first screenplay of Woody Allen's produced, What's New Pussycat?, starring Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers (and co-starring Woody Allen) premiered in the US on this date.



While rehearsing his lines about people cheating on each other in the hotel, French actor Jacques Balutin suddenly saw Peter O'Toole unexpectedly roar with laughter. Asking Peter Sellers to join them, O'Toole insisted that he did it one more time. Obliging to his request, his performance produced the same hysterical effect. Only when both actors stopped laughing out loud did they admit to Balutin his bad pronunciation of "cheat on" made it sound more like "shit on".


June 22, 1968 -
This Guy's in Love with You by Herb Alpert topped the charts on this date.



Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.


Today in History:
June 22, 1633
-
The Holy Office in Rome strong-armed Galileo Galilei into recanting his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.

This was the second time he was forced to recant Earth orbits Sun by the Pope. Almost immediately, on October 31, 1992, the Vatican admitted it was wrong.


June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder
was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.



Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and released an album called Endless Summer.


June 22, 1918 -
The worst circus train wreck in history occurred just outside Hammond, Indiana on this date. A seriously over-tired engineer, Alonzo Sargent, fell asleep at the throttle of a trainload of empty Pullman cars and slammed into the rear of the 26-car Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train.

86 of the 400 performers and workers on board were killed. There were no reports on whether or not the crowd at the previous days performance was greater than the gawkers at the scene of the wreck.


June 22, 1933 -
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party on this date, except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.



The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.


June 22, 1940 -
Eight days after German forces overran Paris, France was forced to sign an armistice on this date; hilarity ensues.



Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans. (In a bizarre co-incidence, it was also the anniversary of Napoleon's second abdication in 1815.)


June 22, 1941 -
The German Army invaded Russia on this date, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.



Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.


June 22, 1949 -
Possibly, the most talented actress of her generation, Mary Louise Streep, was born on this date.



She originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.

Imagine if she applied herself, how far her career would go.


June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.



Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drown.


June 22, 1993 -
I never have tantrums. If anything makes me mad, I'm silent. If I'm not talking, leave me alone. ...



The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats, Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.



And so it goes.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

According to our mother,

you're our father, and that's good enough for us!


I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing. But my kids love me. Go figure. - Louis C.K.



I hope all of you fathers, stepfathers, fathers to be, mothers who are the fathers to their kids and fathers (but you don't know it) have a great Father's Day today.


Summer means happy times and good sunshine. It means going to the beach, going to Disneyland, having fun. - Brian Wilson



Today is the first day of Summer, also known as the Summer Solstice. It's the longest day of the year (and the shortest night).



The actual moment of the solstice will occur at about 12:38 P.M. EDT, while the sun sits directly above the Pacific Ocean to the west of Hawaii.  Don't complain about the rain today, remember that it's the beginning of Winter in Australia.  (The naked run is optional - please.)


June 21,1955 -
The David Lean movie, Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi premiered in New York on this date.



Director David Lean said filming on location in Italy was expensive because he had to pay local merchants whose customers were scared off by the camera equipment and crew.


June 21, 1977 -
Martin Scorsese's
homage to movie musicals - New York, New York, premiered on this date.



Although Robert De Niro did learn the basic technique of how to play the saxophone, the sax music on the soundtrack was dubbed in by cast member Georgie Auld.


June 21, 1988 -
Robert Zemeckis'
incredible advance in animation, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, opened in NYC on this date.



Since the movie was being made by Disney, Warner Brothers would only allow the use of their biggest toon stars, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, if they got an equal amount of screen time as Disney's biggest stars, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Because of this, both sets of characters are always together in frame when on the screen.


Alright, I will now make it a habit of watching the Late, Late Show more religiously



Where else will I see a chubby guy sing with Iggy Azalea while tooling around in a car, wearing a wedding dress?  Ah TV, sometimes you don't let me down.


Today in History:
June 21, 1877
-
The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants who were labor activists, are hanged at Carbon County Prison in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.



Author and Judge John P. Lavelle of Carbon County said of this, "The Molly Maguire trials were a surrender of state sovereignty...A private corporation initiated the investigation through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested the alleged defenders, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. The state provided only the courtroom and the gallows."


June 21, 1893 -
The first Ferris wheel debuted at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, on this date. The Ferris wheel was designed by George W. Ferris, a bridge-builder from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



The exposition commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's landing in America. The Chicago Fair's organizers wanted something that would rival the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel had built the tower for the Paris World's Fair of 1889, which honored the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.


June 21, 1905 -
It would have been the 110th birthday of Jean-Paul Sartre today.



But what the hell does he care; he's dead and it doesn't mean anything anyway.


June 21, 1982 -
Using an innovative Jodie Foster defense, John Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, on this date.

Nobody was impressed by this verdict.


June 21, 1989 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning is indeed protected speech under the Constitution, prompting Congress to put forth an endless series of amendments to ban the activity.





And so it goes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The air will clear my mind

If you're going to be around Coney Island, don't forget to check out the 33rd annual Mermaid Parade.


(scenes for last year's parade)

The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation.

This year's King and Queen of the parade are Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz


June 20, 1942 -
It's Brian Wilson's birthday today, ushering in those lazy, hazy days of summer.



Do yourself a favor and check out the Brian Wilson film, Love and Mercy, this weekend.


June 20, 1946 -
Rex Harrison's
first American movie, Anna and the King Of Siam, with Irene Dunne, opened in theaters on this date.



In a scene early in the film, Anna is seen walking through an open-air market. While this scene was being filmed, an airplane passed over the set, creating a low hum on the soundtrack. Composer Bernard Herrmann was instructed to compose an accompanying score that would obscure the airplane motor. He used low gongs. .


June 20, 1974 -
Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown
The unforgettable film noir classic, Chinatown, was released on this date.



After several takes that never looked quite right, Faye Dunaway told Jack Nicholson to actually slap her. He did, and the scene made it into the movie.


June 20, 1975 -
Steven Spielberg's
thriller, Jaws, premiered 40 years ago on this date. Beach vacations were never the same again.



An accident during filming caused the Orca to begin sinking. Steven Spielberg began screaming over a bullhorn for the nearby safety boats to rescue the actors. John R. Carter, already up to his knees in water on the sinking Orca, held his Nagra (tape recorder) up over his head and screamed, "F**k the actors, save the sound department!"


Today in History:
June 20, 1793
-
Eli Whitney applied for a patent on his Cotton Gin on this date. More affordable than gin distilled from grain alcohol and juniper berries, Cotton Gin quickly became the drink of choice among America's rural poor.



This led to widespread outbreaks of Cotton Mouth and eventually caused the Civil War.


June 20, 1756 -
In Calcutta, 146 British prisoners are placed in a 18 foot by 14 foot cell known as The Black Hole by a Bengali, Siraj-ud-daula, and held there until the following morning.


Of those imprisoned, only 23 survive. Even with the economic downturn, a 250 sq ft apartment would start a huge bidding war in Manhattan.


June 20, 1782 -
Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States on this date.




Although several people on the committee were Masons, the Masonic institutions themselves deny that the Seal is Masonic; therefore, any resemblance is purely coincidental.

Of course.


June 20, 1791-
King Louis XVI and his family attempted their escape from Paris to the royalist citadel of Montedy on this date.



They were captured at Varennes-en-Argonne when they were recognized. It didn't go too well for them after this.


June 20, 1893 -
Lizzie Borden
is found innocent of giving her stepmother and father 40 and 41 whacks, respectively.



Once O.J. finds the real killers of his wife while in prison, he promised to get cracking on this case as well.


June 20, 1947 -
Bugsy Siegel
(Warren Beatty) was shot to death at Virginia Hill's (Annette Bennings) mansion, on orders purportedly from Meyer Lansky.



The drive-by shooting never was solved and remains an open case.


June 20, 1967 -
Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) had refused to serve in the U.S. military, stating that it went against his religious beliefs and his opposition to the Vietnam War. This led to his conviction of violating Selective Service laws on this date.

The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.



And so it goes.