Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Arbitrary European Explorers Day!

Happy Columbus Tells a Lie Day! Let's celebrate the only illegal immigrant in history that Republicans respect.

It was discovered that Columbus' ships really landed on the October  13, 1492, he was persuaded by Dutch sailor Piet de Stuini (or DeStynie) to change it to the 12th in the logs because he said that the number 13 might frighten sailors and future investors away. An Italian study group  called the Colombiani detected this change.

And for all of this has nothing to do with the fact that it's Canadian Thanksgiving.

Continuing the celebrations of  Cephalopod Awareness Week (with all that is going on this week, some may not remember that we are celebrating cephalopods this week) - Today we celebrate Squid Day/Cuttlefish Day. Revel in all their inky delights.

Calamari could loom large in your day today - celebrate responsibly.

Today is also Hug a Drummer Day.

Without drummers, we would soon notice how different and even weak music can be, so hail a day to celebrate such percussionists!

October 10, 1941 -
The last movie W C Fields starred in, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, premiered on this date.

According to Fields' 2003 biography, the vehicle crashing into the drugstore was a real accident that occurred during filming. The director decided to leave it in to give the film the appearance of having a bigger budget.

October 10, 1953 -
The wonderful Stan Freberg topped the charts on this date with his record, St. George and the Dragonet.

The B side was another Dragnet spoof, Little Blue Riding Hood, based on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.

October 10, 1956 -
George Steven's sprawling epic, Giant, premiered in NYC on this date.

When Rock Hudson was cast, director George Stevens asked him whom he preferred as his leading lady, Grace Kelly or Elizabeth Taylor. Hudson picked Taylor, who was cast and ended up becoming lifelong friends with Hudson.

October 10, 1957 -
Guy Williams galloped across TV screens as the masked hero, when Zorro, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Although Zorro was the most popular show in its Thursday evening slot, the series was pulled in 1959 due to legal wrangling between the Disney Studios and the ABC network. Disney tried to keep the character before the audience by shooting four one-hour episodes for another anthology series, but by the time the lawsuit was settled, the studio had decided the public had lost interest in the character and the series was cancelled.

October 10, 1958 -
The private-eye series 77 Sunset Strip starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd Byrnes, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The restaurant, Dino's Lodge, used in the TV series was owned by Dean Martin.

October 10, 1961 -
Elia Kazan's bittersweet romance, Splendor in the Grass, starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, premiered on this date.

Jane Fonda wrote in her autobiography that she tested for the role of Deanie. When Elia Kazan asked her if she was ambitious, she said no (even though she was) because "good girls aren't supposed to be ambitious." Fonda believes this was the reason for her not getting the role.

October 10, 1962 -
The British Broadcasting Company banned Monster Mash -- the Halloween-themed novelty tune by Bobby "Boris" Pickett -- for being "offensive."

The BBC felt the song was offensive (but never specifies precisely why) and banned it from the airwaves until 1973. It was re-released in 1973 and the song rose to #3 in the charts in the UK. By this time, Boris Pickett was driving a cab in New York City to earn a living.

October 10, 1964 -
The Shangri-Las released their operatic hit, Leader of the Pack, on this date.

A young Billy Joel played the piano on this song - probably. In an interview in Uncut Magazine in 1998, Joel explained: "I know I played piano on a session. The girls themselves weren't at the session, but that kinda happens all the time, the singers come in later. I played note for note what is on the record, but I wasn't in the musician's union – I was about 14 or 15 – so for all I know they may have got a union guy in to do it later. I never got paid, never got a form to show it was me on the record, so I can't say for sure it's me, but I like to think it was. Actually, it was my very first recording session – a guitar player friend got me in. I also did 'Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)'".

Later in 1964, The Detergents recorded a parody of this song called Leader Of The Laundromat.

October 10, 1968 -
One of the silliest movies Jane Fonda (or anyone else, for that matter) ever made, Barbarella, landed in US theatres on this date.

The scenes during the opening credits where Barbarella seems to float around her spaceship were filmed by having Jane Fonda lie on a huge piece of Plexiglas with a picture of the spaceship underneath her. It was filmed from above, creating the illusion that she is in zero gravity.

October 10, 1969 -
King Crimson releases their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, considered by many to be the first progressive rock album.

The title song is arguably one of King Crimson's most famous songs and is one of only two in the band's entire existence that Robert Fripp did not co-write.

Today in History:
October 10, 1780 -
Over 48 hours, a slow-moving hurricane decimates Barbados, killing 4,326 (however according to the island's governor, "fortunately few people of consequence were among the number").

Over the next week, the catastrophic storm system moves on to Martinique (9,000 dead) and St. Eustatius (4-5,000). The unprecedented Great Hurricane of 1780 remains the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record.

October 10, 1813 -
It's Joe Green's birthday today.

Verdi was so beloved in Italy that while he lay dying in the Grand Hotel in Milan, the horses in town had their hooves covered in cloth, so the noise would not disturb him.

October 10, 1886 -
Pierre Lorillard's family were wealthy tobacco magnates who owned country property in Tuxedo Park, just outside of New York City. At a formal ball, held at the Tuxedo Club in October 1886, the young Lorillard wore a new style of formal wear for men that he designed himself.

He named his tailless black jacket the tuxedo after Tuxedo Park. The tuxedo caught on and became fashionable as formal wear for men.

October 10, 1910 -
You think "The Skull and Bones" Society rule this country. Several of the readers and I (and well as George Stephanopoulos) are members of the fraternity, Tau Epsilon Phi. (It causes me a great deal of grief to think that Rick Santorium  and I share a common fraternity.)

Tau Epsilon Phi (TEF, commonly pronounced "TEP") is a predominantly American fraternity with approximately 40 active chapters, chiefly located at universities and colleges in the Northeastern United States. The organization was founded on this date, by ten Jewish men at Columbia University, as a response to the existence of similar organizations who would not admit Jewish members. The national headquarters is currently located in Voorhees, New Jersey and the official colors of the organization are lavender and white (although most chapters use purple instead of lavender).

But don't ask about our secret handshake or whose pinball machine we had in the basement.

October 10, 1911 -
Jasper Newton "Jack" Daniel was the distiller and the founder of the Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey company.  He was known as an impatient man; he wouldn't wait for anything.
One day, coming to work early, he was unable to open his safe, having trouble remembering the combination. In frustration he kicked it, injuring his toe. The toe became infected and he died of blood poisoning on this day.

October 10, 1911 -
The Chinese revolution began in Hankow, on this date.

The revolution spread rapidly, resulting in the abdication of six-year-old Henry Pu-Yi, the Academy Award-winning "Last Emperor" of China.

October 10, 1913 -
Two years later on this date, President Woodrow Wilson was bored and puttering around the White House. He started fiddling around with things on his desk and pressed a button.

This triggered a blast which exploded the Gamboa Dike down in Panama and somehow the Panama Canal was completed on this date and a popular palindrome was born.  Why the China Revolution and the opening of the Panama Canal are connected is anybody's guess?

October 10, 1957  -
A fire in the Windscale plutonium production reactor (later called Sellafield) north of Liverpool, England, spread radioactive iodine and polonium through the countryside and into the Irish Sea. Livestock in the immediate area were destroyed, along with 500,000 gallons of milk. 

At least 30, and possibly as many as 1,000, cancer deaths were subsequently linked to the accident. The event, known as the Windscale fire, was considered the world's worst nuclear accident until the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. (Then both were dwarfed by the Russian Chernobyl disaster in 1986.) PM Harold Macmillan ordered the disaster hushed up.

October 10, 1973 -
Bribe-happy Vice President Spiro T. Agnew finally resigned, after pleading Nolo contendere to federal income tax evasion on this date.

It should be noted that humorist Dave Barry points out that one can rearrange the letters in "Spiro Agnew" to spell "Grow A Penis."

October 10, 1985 -
... Our works in stone, in paint, in print, are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash - the triumphs, the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. A fact of life: we're going to die. "Be of good heart," cry the dead artists out of the living past. "Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing."

As to all, cheap wine hawker, voice-over whore and movie legends, Orson Welles, whose remarkably innovative Citizen Kane was named the best American-made picture of all time in a 1998 American Film Institute poll, died of a heart attack at the age of 70 on this date.

Yul Brynner, Russian-born, Academy Award-winning Broadway and Hollywood actor died on October 10, 1985 (the same day as Orson Welles, his co star in The Battle of Neretva) in New York City. The cause of death was lung cancer brought on by smoking. Throughout his life, Brynner was always seen with a cigarette in his hand. In January 1985, nine months before his death, he gave an interview on Good Morning America, expressing his desire to make an anti-smoking commercial.

The clip from that interview was made into just such a public service announcement by the American Cancer Society and released after his death; it includes the warning "Now that I'm gone, I tell you, don't smoke."

If only he listened to himself.

And so it goes

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