Friday, November 11, 2016

Music is the emotional life of most people.

November 10, 2016 -
I don't really understand that process called reincarnation but if there is such a thing I'd like to come back as my daughter's dog.

As if this week couldn't get any worse, everybody's favorite witty, charming and self-deprecating Jewish Zen Buddhist Canadian moved to the next level of consciousness.

(completely changing directions)
A 94-foot Norway spruce from the northern foothills of New York’s Catskill mountain range has been chosen as Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree this year in New York. The spruce hails from a backyard of Angie and Graig Eichler in Oneonta, which is a little over an hour from Albany. The tree was cut yesterday, November 10th and arrive in Manhattan on November 12th and begin a round of intensive wardrobe fittings.

The tree will be lit for the first time on Wednesday, November 30 at Rockefeller Plaza. The tree will remain lit and on display on the plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues until 9pm on January 7th  - remember to avoid midtown at all cost on that date.

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month ... World War I ended on this date in 1918 -

It's Veterans Day in the United States and Armistice Day for many in Europe (and it's Singles Day in China, 11/11- it's considered China's Anti-Valentine's Day, but we're not going to discuss that now.)

I'd like to thank our veterans for having fought, and in many cases died, to preserve my liberties -

and I'd like to apologizes for having made such foolish use of them.

November 11, 1943 -
The under-appreciated wartime-drama Sahara, starring Humphrey Bogart premiered on this date.

The Sahara desert in this movie was portrayed by the California desert's Borego Desert which is located in the Imperial Valley, north of the American-Mexican border as well as Brawley, Imperial County, California; Chatsworth, California and the sand dunes of Yuma, Arizona.

November 11, 1947 -
Elia Kazan's searing expose of anti-Semitism, Gentleman's Agreement, starring Gregory Peck premiered in New York on this date.

When other studio chiefs, who were mostly Jewish, heard about the making of this film, they asked the producer not to make it. They feared its theme of anti-Semitism would simply stir up a hornet's nest and preferred to deal with the problem quietly. Not only did production continue, but a scene was subsequently included that mirrored that confrontation.

November 11, 1958 -
The (relatively unknown) British-comedy The Horse's Mouth, starring Alec Guinness, opened in the US on this date.

One day director Ronald Neame found Guinness sulking in his dressing room, refusing to come to the set. According to Neame, Guinness felt he hadn't been stroked enough and explained, "Actors are emotionally 14-year-olds. We need to be chastised like children, and we need to be hugged and told we're doing fine work. We are the children who never grow up."

Do yourself a favor and watch this one.

November 11, 1959 -
The beginning of American independent cinema can be traced to this date when Shadows, directed by John Cassavetes, premiered in NYC.

John Cassavetes was the guest on a Manhattan radio show, promoting Johnny Staccato, a TV series Cassavetes was starring in. Somehow the conversation moved into making a feature film, and Cassavetes told listeners that if he were to make a feature film, they should donate a dollar or two by sending it to the station. A few days later, a surprised Cassavetes had received a couple of thousand dollars from listeners sending money to the station, which he put toward the making of this film.

Today in History:
November 11, 397
St. Martin of Tours, another in the series of anorexic visionaries is a patron saint of France, soldiers (he is known as the he man's saint), reformed alcoholics and winemakers. When the armistice fell on the Saint Martin’s Day, November 11, 1918, the French people saw it was a sign of his intercession in the affairs of France.

Martin, after another of his life long practice of fasting, has a dream about Jesus wearing the cloak he had recently given to a naked beggar. Pieces of Martin's actual 'cloak' were revered as holy relics and the derivation of the name of the priest who looked after these relics became 'chaplain'.  (My father-in-law always reminded us that today is the day when the grapes you pressed and bottled turned into wine.)

And now you know.

November 11, 1215 -
The Fourth Lateran Council met on this date. They adopt the doctrine of Transubstantiation, meaning that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

This means all Catholics are essentially cannibals on a feeding schedule, but who am I to judge a theology of which I am a nominal member.

November 11, 1634 -
Following pressure from Anglican bishop John Atherton, the Irish House of Commons passes "An Act for the Punishment for the Vice of Buggery". Seven years later, the good Bishop Atherton is himself is found well hanged under the Act.

I guess the religious right has always been a little loose on this issue.

November 11, 1821 -
One can know a man from his laugh, and if you like a man's laugh before you know anything of him, you may confidently say that he is a good man.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Russian novelist who wrote Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, was born on this date.

November 11, 1862  -
Joe Green's (stage name - Giuseppe Verdi) Opera, La Forza Del Destino premiered in St Petersburg, Russia on this date.

La Forza Del Destino is an opera that many old school Italian singers felt was "cursed" and brought bad luck. The very superstitious Luciano Pavarotti avoided accepting a role in the opera for this reason.

November 11, 1921 -
One year after unknown soldiers were simultaneously buried at Westminster Abbey, London, and the Arc de Triomphe in France, President Warren G. Harding dedicated the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (a white marble sarcophagus in Arlington National Cemetery.)

The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

November 11, 1925 -
The most terrible fear that anybody should have is not war, is not a disease, not cancer or heart problems or food poisoning - it's a man or a woman without a sense of humor.

Jonathan Winters, the great improvisational comedian and actor, was born on this date.

November 11, 1969 -
The Beatles with Billy Preston released Get Back in the UK on this date.

Get Back was going to be the title of the album. The concept was The Beatles "getting back" to their roots and playing new songs for a live audience without any studio tricks. This song came closest to capturing that spirit, but the album became something completely different when they decided to scrap the idea of a live album.

November 11, 1978 -
A perennial favorite suicide location, the renovated Hollywood Sign is unveiled, due in large part to the public campaign to restore the landmark by pornographer Hugh Hefner and shock rocker Alice Cooper.

The original sign was built in 1923, and said "Hollywoodland".

And so it goes

Before you go - This is a very British thing but the John Lewis Christmas Commercial is out -

Apparently, besides the Queen's Christmas speech, here's how you mark the holidays in England.

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