Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Although I am a gin man myself ...

Once again, it's National Vodka day.  While it's not my first choice of drink - I'm not one to pass up the chilled neutral spirit.

Whatever brand you drink, it always taste better fresh out of the freezer. (Yes, they may quote me on that, I'd be willing to endorse the stuff.)

St Francis of Assisi, (nee Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone,) was born the son of a rich silk merchant in Italy during the late 12th and 13th centuries. He is remembered for his generosity to the poor, love of animals and his willingness to minister to the lepers. He was fond of kissing leper's sores which comes across today as somewhat of a fetish.

St. Francis, who at the time, was not a saint or a priest, for that matter, went on to found the Catholic Church’s Franciscan order as well as the women’s Order of St. Clare (remember the patron saint of Television.)  St. Francis was reportedly the first person to receive a stigmata (please seek out the old ladies in the back pew of church to explain that one,) as well as developing the Christmas creche. Exhausted, St Francis decided to rest on his laurels and died in Portiuncula, Italy on October 3 or 4, 1226, (neither electric lights, clocks nor calendars were around his monks' cell, so the exact time could not be established.)

In many churches around the United States, The Feast of St Francis is celebrated by offering animal blessing services. One of the largest services in the United States is held at St. John the Divine in NYC.

October 4, 1951 -
Vincente Minnelli's
gorgeous technicolor valentine to the movie musical, An American in Paris, premiered in NYC on this date.

Gene Kelly discovered Leslie Caron while vacationing in Paris where he saw her perform in a ballet. Leslie Caron had suffered from malnutrition during WWII and was not used to the rigorous schedule of filming a movie. Because she would tire so easily, she was only able to work every other day.

October 4, 1957 -
Leave It To Beaver premiered on CBS-TV on this date. Once again, another show from the 50s where the lead actor (Hugh Beaumont not Jerry Mathers) was a raging alcoholic.

In addition to his role as Ward Cleaver, Hugh Beaumont also did some writing and directing for the series.

October 4, 1964 -
Gerry Anderson's
third Supermarionation could freak out unsuspecting children again when Stringray, premiered in the UK on this date.  (It was the first British series to be filmed entirely in Colour: the extra U was particularly expensive.)

Stingray takes place a few years prior to Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, with some WASP (the World Aquanaut Security Patrol) personnel becoming members of the later SPECTRUM.

Impress your friends with that bit of knowledge. (or not.)

Today in History:
October 4, 1822
Rutherford Hayes was born on this date, in Delaware, Ohio.

That's not especially interesting in itself. Presidents, after all, must be born somewhere - and President Hayes was not the only one to have chosen Ohio. But consider: Jimmy Carter was born on October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia, and Chester Arthur was born on October 5, 1830, in Fairfield, Vermont (or Canada.) That's three presidential birthdays in a four-day period, a glut of presidential timber not to be found anywhere else on the calendar. Hayes came into office by one electoral vote, accomplished nothing, and did not run for a second term.

Arthur came into office as James Garfield's vice-president and was promoted eight months later, upon Garfield's assassination. He accomplished nothing, and wasn't even nominated for a second term (although he does look a lot like Captain Kangaroo.)

Through no fault of his own, Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976 (and must therefore bear his share of responsibility for my own difficult misspent youth). He sought but was denied a second term.

Significance? Zero.

October 4, 1957 -
Sputnik One (meaning "companion" or "fellow traveller"), the first man-made satellite, was launched on this date, beginning the "space race."

The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles.

In 1958, it reentered the earth's atmosphere and burned up.

Significance? A Little More Than Zero.

October 4, 1969 -
A despondent Diane Linkletter jumps out the kitchen window of her tenth-story apartment in West Hollywood, California on this date.

Even before an autopsy can be performed, television personality Art Linkletter blames his daughter's death on a bad LSD trip. Even though the toxicology report disputes Art's assertion, the LSD story persists.

October 4, 1970 -
When I sing, I feel like when you're first in love. It's more than sex. It's that point two people can get to they call love, when you really touch someone for the first time, but it's gigantic, multiplied by the whole audience. I feel chills.

Janis Joplin accidentally overdoses on an unusually-pure dose of heroin at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Los Angeles on this date.

October 4, 1976 -
Earl Butz, President Ford's Secretary of Agriculture, was forced to resign after newspapers print a comment he made regarding race relations

(and I will paraphrase for those with weak constitutions) : "I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight female reproductive organ; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to go to the bathroom."

October 4, 1986 -
Network news anchorman Dan Rather was mugged in New York City on this date. The attacker, one William Tager, shouted the question "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" during the beating.

While the "frequency" refers to the wavelength of the transmissions that CBS was beaming into Tager's head, history is still unclear on exactly who "Kenneth" is or why R.E.M. would record a song about it. It is rumored that the attack occurred because of Rather's uncanny resemblance to underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger.

October 4, 1989 -
Secretariat, 1973 triple crown winner and one of the greatest athletes of all time, was euthanized in Paris, Kentucky. He was 19.

Not surprisingly, viande de cheval appeared on the menu of several Parisian Bistros that night.

October 4, 1989 -
Death can really absorb a person. Like most people, I would find it pleasant not to have to go, but you just accept that it's more or less inevitable.

Dr. Graham Chapman (though he never actually practiced medicine professionally) died from complications related to spinal and throat cancer on this date.

And so it goes.

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