Thursday, August 17, 2017

I'm wearing second hand hats

August 17th
Today is National Thrift Store Day.  ReuseNYC, is promoting National Thrift Store Day by encouraging everyone to shop secondhand in New York today.

Hey, it's not always the highest quality, but the price is right.

(Remember the dog days are over.) The term Cat Night harks back to a rather obscure old Irish legend concerning witches and the belief that a witch could turn herself into a cat eight times, but on the ninth time (August 17), she couldn’t regain her human form.

This bit of folklore also gives us the saying, “A cat has nine lives.” Because August is a yowly time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl in the first place.

August 17, 1908 -
, film historians site as the first fully animated film in history, was exhibited for the first time ever at the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris, on this date.

To make this film, the director, Émile Cohl placed each drawing on an illuminated glass plate and then traced the next drawing-with variations-on top of it until he had some 700 drawings.

August 17, 1934 -
MGM released its version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore, on this date in NYC.

Wallace Beery was going to appear in a 1920 silent production of Treasure Island for Paramount but was replaced at the last minute by another actor.

August 17, 1959 -
Kind of Blue
, Miles Davis' brilliant and influential jazz album, was released on this date by Columbia Records.

It has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz album of all time.

August 17, 1960 -
A great George Pal sci-fi classic, The Time Machine was released on this date.

Yvette Mimieux was actually underage when shooting began (she turned 18 during the shoot) and was not legally supposed to work a full shooting schedule, but did. She was inexperienced - as she worked on this film she kept getting better and better so that by the end of the shoot they wound up going back and re-shooting some of her earliest scenes.

August 17, 1979 -
Handmade Films released the classic religious satire film, Monty Python's Life of Brian in the US on this date.

After the first take of the scene where a nude Brian addresses the crowd from his window, Terry Jones pulled Graham Chapman aside and said "I think we can see that you're not Jewish", referring to Chapman being uncircumcised. It was corrected in subsequent takes with a rubber band.

August 17, 1986 -
Pixar Animation Studios released its first film, Luxo Jr., directed by John Lasseter.

The film sent shock waves throughout the industry. At the time most animators were fearful of the computer; Luxo Jr. made them appreciate that it was just another tool.

Another ACME PSA

Today in History:
August 17, 1807
Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat began heading up New York's Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany. It was the first vessel to demonstrate the commercial use of a steam engine for river transportation.

For some unknown reason, a friend and biographer of Fulton incorrectly referred to the steamboat as 'The Clermont' and the wrong name has stuck ever since.

August 17, 1892 -
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.

Brooklyn's own, Mae West, actress in burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway, and movies, was born on this date.

August 17, 1896 -
Bridget Driscoll
, a 44-year-old mother of two, becomes the world's first automobile fatality when she steps in front of a car outside the Crystal Palace in London. At the coroner's inquest, Arthur Edsall stated he had been driving at only 4 mph.

The motorist also claims that when he saw the pedestrian, he rang his bell and shouted "Stand back!" For whatever reason, the coroner accepts Edsall's preposterous story.

August 17, 1929 -
James Horace Alderman
, convicted of murdering two Coast Guardsmen and a Secret Service agent in 1927, was hanged at 5:00 a.m. at Coast Guard Base 6 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on this date. It was reported in the media that Alderman's neck was broken and he died a painless death.

Unfortunately, Alderman kicked and strangled for a full twelve minutes before being pronounced dead by a local doctor. He was the only person ever executed on Coast Guard property.

And I always thought seamen knew how to tie knots.

August 17, 1943 -
Robert DeNiro
, American actor, was born on this date.

He and Martin Scorsese were brought up blocks apart in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, but never formally met when they were young. When introduced at a party in 1972, the two came to realize that they had seen each other many times but had never spoken.

August 17, 1945 -
... All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others....

Animal Farm by George Orwell, the most famous satirical allegory of Soviet totalitarianism, was first published, on this date.

August 17, 1948 -
founder L. Ron Hubbard was arrested for passing bad checks in San Luis Obispo, California, on this date.  In court a fortnight later, Hubbard pays the $25 fine.

If I say anymore, I might be forced to watch several new releases starring little Tommy Cruise.

August 17, 1980 -
Dingos snatch baby Azaria from a campground near Ayers Rock, Australia, on this date. Her mother, Lindy Chamberlain (Meryl Streep - A dingo ate my baby), is later convicted of murder and spends three years in prison, but the conviction is ultimately overturned.

Apparently there have been a number of baby/dingo incidents over the years; dingos cannot differentiate animals from humans. Finally, Ms. Chamberlain was cleared of any wrong doing in regards to the death of her daughter.

August 17, 1987 -
Rudolf Hess
was found hanged by an electrical cord at Spandau prison,aged 93. He had been incarcerated there for 40 years, 21 of those years as the solitary inmate.

In 1941 Hess flew to Scotland with ideas of peace in his head, making Hitler very very upset.

August 17, 1998
President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president in American history forced to testify in a criminal case investigation of which he was the focus (having sex with Monica), on this date. Other presidents before Clinton had testified before grand juries in the past, but they had always done so to give evidence against others.

Thomas Jefferson testified against former Vice President Aaron Burr. Gerald Ford testified in a trial of a man who had tried to assassinate him. Jimmy Carter testified in the bribery trial of a financier named Robert Vesco. But Clinton was the first sitting president ever to be served a subpoena to testify in his own indictment.

Perhaps the President was celebrating the anniversary (August 17, 1992) of Woody Allen admitted to being romantically involved with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, (his longtime companion.)

August 17, 2008
American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games on this date.

Phelps win of the eight gold medals surpassed Mark Spitz for the most golds by an athlete at a single Games.

And so it goes.

Before you go - Puddles covers the Lou Reed song, Perfect Day -

Even if you didn't have a good day today, you'll have a perfect day after listening to this.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

you may scream your head off and it's not for ice cream

Each year on August 16th, many people at amusement parks and theme parks across the country participating in National Roller Coaster Day which is celebrated on this date.

J.G. Taylor received one of the earliest patents (US patent #128,674) for an inclined railway in 1872.  In 1878, Richard Knudsen received a patent (US #198,888) for an inclined-plane railway.  For years, history has believed the first roller coaster in America designed by LaMarcus Thompson, opened at Coney Island on June 16, 1884.

An article was discovered reporting the anticipated excitement of J.G. Taylor’s elevated railway in 1872 at Rocky Point, Rhode Island. According to the Providence Evening Press from June 18, 1872, the reporter describes a ride of 400 feet where nine passengers are given a shove and gravity does the rest. 

So whenever the roller coaster was first in operation, get out and enjoy the ride.

August 16, 1930 -
Fiddlesticks, was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's first sound cartoon. It is about a happy-go-lucky, needy frog, named Flip the Frog.

This cartoon was created by Ub Iwerks in 1930. He had drawn a frog and his girlfriend in Night, one of the last Silly Symphonies short films he drew while working for Walt Disney.

August 16, 1940 -
The first of Alfred Hitchcock's war-time thrillers, Foreign Correspondent, starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day and Herbert Marshall, premiered on this date

Shooting on the film was completed on May 29, 1940, after which Alfred Hitchcock made a visit to England. He returned on July 3 with the word that the Germans were expected to start bombing at any time. Ben Hecht was hurriedly called in and wrote the tacked-on final scene set at a London radio station. It was filmed on July 5, and the real-life bombing started on July 10, 1940.

I hope that I inspire women to believe in themselves, no matter where they come from; no matter what education they have; what particular background they originate from.

Happy Birthday to the Material Girl.

August 16, 1976 -
release Dancing Queen, the most popular single of the 70s, in Sweden on this date.

The song was conceived as a dance song with the working title Boogaloo. ABBA members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson drew inspiration from the 1974 George McCrae disco hit Rock Your Baby, and from the drumming on the 1972 album Gumbo by Dr. John.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

Today in History:
August 16, 1819 -
Sixty cavalrymen charge into a crowd of approximately 70,000 protesters at St. Peter's Field in Manchester, England on this date.

The soldiers began to hack away at the people with their sabers and trample them under hoof. Eleven died and 400 were wounded in the Manchester Massacre, also called the Battle of Peterloo.

August 16, 1858 -
U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

However, once again America was ill advised by the request for Prince Albert in a can: Victoria was not amused. The cable stretched from Valentia, Ireland to Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada but failed after only five days and was discontinued being used by September of that year. The first permanent telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean was laid in 1866.

August 16, 1938 -
Blues musician Robert Johnson, who presumably sold his soul to the devil (the story was referred to in the movie Crossroads), was poisoned by a jealous husband in Three Forks, Mississippi and died on this date.

Besides being a seminal figure in the history of the Blues, Johnson is often cites as an early influence in the development of Rock and Roll.

August 16, 1948 -
Famed booze hound, skirt chaser and home-run slugger George Herman "Babe" Ruth died at age 53 in New York City.

He is credited with turning baseball from a game of speed and skill to one of power.

August 16, 1954  -
Sports Illustrated was first published by Time Inc. on this date.  It was claimed that 250,000 subscriptions had been sold before the first issue came off of the presses.

The magazine would become the most recognized, widely read sports periodical in the English language. The magazine is currently read by more than 23 million people each week and has more than 3 million subscribers.

August 16, 1956 -
Bela Lugosi, Broadway star, Hollywood star, portrayer of the undead in countless films and formaldehyde connoisseur, died of a heart attack on this day while lying in bed in his Los Angeles home. He was 73.

Bela Lugosi was buried wearing one of the many capes from the Dracula stage play, in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Contrary to popular belief, Lugosi never requested to be buried in his cloak; Bela Lugosi, Jr. has confirmed on numerous occasions that he and his mother, Lillian, made the decision.

August 16, 1977 -
Elvis Presley died (or not) in his home at the age of 42, while sitting on the toilet. While doing his business, he had been perusing The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus. Presumably, Elvis' search was concluded shortly thereafter.

Elvis has long left the building

Remember, add more bran to your diet.

August 16, 1987 -
Mercury, Venus and Mars
all get bunched up near the Sun in what some call the Harmonic Convergence on this date.

Thousands of nutballs clustered at sacred locations like Mount Shasta, California begin meditating their asses off for some damn reason.

August 16, 1991 -
Shamu the Whale died at 16, from respiratory failure, on this date.

After a brief but very moving service, the Japanese mourners at the graveside were invited to consume the dearly departed; wasabi sauce and pickled ginger was served on the side.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yah - you have to go to church.

Today is the Feast of Assumption of Mary. Kids it's a Holy Day of Obligation.

If you had problems understanding this or the Immaculate Conception, remember the old lady in church, saying her rosaries that I've made mention of in the past, please go bother her, I'm not even going to try explaining this one to you. Not that I can't - I just want to see her smack you upside the head.

August 15, 1948 -
inaugurated the first nightly news broadcast with anchorman Douglas Edwards.

Mr. Edwards held the job for 14 years and was succeeded by Walter Cronkite.

August 15, 1979 -
The very long delayed epic, Apocalypse Now, premiered in NYC on this date. (Order some Banh xeo and a couple of bottles of Tiger Beer, once again we're watching the Redux version tonight, in honor of the anniversary.)

It took director Francis Ford Coppola nearly three years to edit the footage. While working on his final edit, it became apparent to him that Martin Sheen would be needed to tape a number of additional narrative voice-overs. Coppola soon discovered that Sheen was busy and unable to perform these voice-overs. He then called in Sheen's brother, Joe Estevez, whose voice sounded nearly identical, to perform the new narrative tracks. Estevez was also used as a stand-in when Sheen suffered a heart attack during the shoot in 1976. Estevez was not credited for his work as a stand-in or for his voice-over work.

I must have skipped over this title in the library

Today in History:
Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

It's the 105th birthday of Julia Child - Chef, Spy, Philosopher and in my opinion, one of the greatest Americans.

Besides Julia, today is the birthday of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769),

Rose Marie (1925),

Oscar Peterson (1925),

Linda Ellerbee (1944), (possibly the second greatest living American)

Jimmy Webb (1946),

Oh, and my friend Liz
(but she knows how old she is.)

August 15, 1057 -
was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire on this date, by Malcolm Canmore, the eldest son of King Duncan I, who was deposed by Macbeth years earlier

He had been king of Scotland for 17 years. For those of you who do not know, you're not suppose to say the name of the Scottish king 'aloud'.

August 15, 1534 -
St. Ignatius of Loyola
, Spanish ecclesiastic, founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Paris with the aim of defending Catholicism against heresy and undertaking missionary work, on this date. Ignatius converted to Christianity while convalescing after a battle and wrote his Spiritual Exercises meant as a guide for conversion.

In Paris, Ignatius and a small group of men took vows of poverty, chastity and papal obedience. Ignatius formally organized the order in 1539 that was approved by the pope in 1540. The society‘s rapid growth and emphasis on scholarship aided in the resurgence of Catholicism during the Counter-Reformation.

You may now impress your friends with that bit of knowledge.

August 15, 1843 -
Tivoli Gardens
in Copenhagen, Denmark, the world's second oldest amusement park still in operation,offers rides such as roller coasters and carousels as well as exotic flower gardens, opened on this date. Today, it is the most visited amusement park in Scandinavia.

The world's oldest amusement park still in operation is the Dyrehavsbakken park, also in Denmark.

August 15, 1877 -
Thomas Edison wrote to the president of the Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh, PA on this date (stay with me.)

The letter stated that the word, "hello" would be a more appropriate greeting than "ahoy" when answering the telephone.

So now you know

August 15, 1911 -
Procter and Gamble unveiled Crisco shortening on this date.

The new motto should be, "When you open our can, the party's started!"

August 15, 1914 -
The SS Ancon cargo ship was the first to pass through the newly-built Panama Canal on this date.

Today, more than 14,000 ships pass through each year.

August 15,1914 -
years ago today, Julian Carlton, a servant of architect Frank Lloyd Wright burned down Wright's Wisconsin home, Taliesin and murdered seven people, including Wright's lover, Mamah Borthwick Cheney, and her two children. Wright was in Chicago at the time, working on a project.

Carlton was almost immediately captured and jailed, but died six weeks later (a result of having swallowed acid), without uttering a meaningful word about the motive behind his rampage.

August 15, 1935 -
Will Rogers
, the most famous man in America, died near Barrow, Alaska when his sea plane plunges into a lagoon. At the time, he and one-eyed aviator Wiley Post were surveying possible flight paths between Seattle and the Soviet Union.

Remember kids, let this be a lesson to you - don't take a flight with a drunken, one eyed pilot.

August 15, 1945 -
Harry Truman hadn't sobered up yet. He could not quite believe that he was President and got to drop not one but two atomic bombs.

Truman had announced the Japanese surrender the day before. But it was on this day in 1945 that the Allies officially declared V-J Day.

Aug 15, 1947 -
At the stroke of midnight on the 14th of August, Britain withdrew its control on the jewel in its crown and India and Pakistan became two separate, independent, democratic nations,after some 200 years of British rule.

The division of Pakistan from India prompted mass emigration: Muslims moving west to Pakistan and Hindus moving east toward India. The event also unleashed a period of religious turmoil in India and Pakistan that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, including Gandhi.

August 15, 1965 -
The Beatles
played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, on this date,  marking the birth of stadium rock.

People tend to forget that this was one of the first major stadium concerts by a rock group.

August 15, 1969 -
The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair began on this date, on Max Yasger's farm in upstate New York.

The greatest gathering of marketing and advertising professionals in American history, the festival featured the musical artists behind some of today's hottest commercial jingles.

August 15, 1977
The Big Ear radio telescope, operated at Ohio State University by the SETI project, receives a strong seventy-two second narrowband radio signal from deep space (6EQUJ5.) The event is named the “Wow! signal” for the notation made by Jerry Ehman, a volunteer on the project.

The signal appears to have come to the northwest of the globular cluster of M55 in the constellation Sagittarius, near the Chi Sagittarii star group. It will never be detected again.

And so it goes.

In case you needed it - the folks at Casually Explained, explain the solar system


Monday, August 14, 2017

In case this comes up in conversation

The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.

August 14, 1954 -
The clean-cut Canadian quartet, Crew-Cuts (wow, they're really white) topped the charts with their cover of the song, Sh-Boom, on this date.

Their cover of the Chords' "Sh-Boom" set the pattern, going to number one in 1954 and setting the stage for their other commercially successful pop treatments of R&B hits by the Penguins, Gene and Eunice, Otis Williams and the Charms, the Robins, the Spaniels, the Nutmegs, and others.

August 14, 1960 -
The Japanese anime Alakazam the Great, based on the manga by Osamu Tezuka, was released in Japan on this date.

The film is of special note, as it will become one of the first anime films ever to be released in the United States on July 26, 1961.

August 14, 1965 -
Salvatore Bono and Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre captured the #1 spot on the American pop charts with their song I Got You Babe, launching the careers of Sonny and Cher.

Sonny Bono was an up-and-coming record producer when he got Cher a job with Phil Spector as a session singer. They started dating and moved in to their manager's house. Bono would write songs on a piano in the garage. He came up with this tune and wrote the lyrics on a piece of cardboard. Cher didn't like it at first, but Sonny changed the key in the bridge to fit her voice and she loved it.

August 14, 1975 –
Time is Fleeting

The science fiction comedy horror musical, directed by Jim Sharman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, and many of cast members from the original stage productions, opened in the UK, on this date.

The film was shot at Oakley Court in Windsor, England, where several Hammer Horror productions were also filmed. Doctor Frank-N-Furter's former castle now serves as a luxury hotel.

Word of the day

Today in History:
August 14, 410
Visigoths under King Alaric sacked Rome after slave co-conspirators open the city gates for them on this date.

Looting lasts for six days. (Back in the pre-viagra days, six days of 'looting' was an impressive feat. Even more impressive when you consider that Visigoth scribes took time out from the orgies to write the date down.)

Barbarians at the Gate indeed.

August 14, 1040 -
Scotland's King Duncan I was killed in a battle against the man who would replace him, Macbeth on this date.

Shakespeare's famous tragedy Macbeth is based upon his life, but is not historically accurate. In the play, Macbeth and his wife murder the aged King Duncan when he comes to visit them in their castle.

August 14, 1900 -
years ago today the western powers quelled the Boxer Rebellion in China. In the clearing stood the Boxers, fighters by their trade, and they carried the reminders of every glove that laid them down or cut them til they cried out, in their anger and their pain, they were leaving, they were leaving, but the fighter still remained.

Unless that was Simon and Garfunkel, in which case the Boxers were bitter, out-of-work Chinese boxers who didn't think the western powers should be allowed to control China's ports, despite the fact that everyone knew China was a poor backward country without any modern conveniences.

Emboldened by the belief that their magical boxing powers made them invulnerable to bullets, they demanded that westerners get out of China or die.

Westerners refused to get out. They crushed the rebellion, and boxing remains a neglected sport in China to this day.

August 14, 1901 -
The first purportedly powered flight, made by Gustave Whitehead in his Number 21 took place in Bridgeport, Connecticut on this date.

Though the flight is accomplished more than two years in advance of the Wright Brothers, it will go largely undocumented, unnoticed, unremarked until long after the Wrights’ globally renowned feat at Kitty Hawk.

August 14, 1904 -
The cattle-herding Hereros, a tribe of Southwest Africa (later Namibia), became the first genocide victims of the 20th century. Queen Victoria's eldest grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II had sent General Lothar von Trotha to put down a Herero uprising along with the groups of rebellious Khoikhoi. Trotha drove the Hereros into the desert and then issued a formal "extermination order" (Schrecklichkeit) authorizing the slaughter of all who refused to surrender.

Out of some 80,000 Hereros, 60,000 died in the desert. Of the 15,000 who surrendered, half of those died in prison camps. Some 9,000 escaped to neighboring countries.

Oh those wacky Germans.

August 14, 1945 -
Emperor Hirohito recorded his unconditional surrender to Allied forces, thus bringing an end to World War II on this date. The Allied forces were so concerned that the emperor would kill himself before the broadcast that they had him pre-record his message.

This broadcast would be the first chance the Japanese people had to hear their god-emperor's speaking voice. Because of the Japanese anathema to surrender and the formal, somewhat archaic Japanese used by the old Imperial Court the emperor spoke, most Japanese didn't realize that they had actually surrendered until about a day later.

August 14, 1945 -
Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

Steve Martin, actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer and banjo player was born on this date.

August 14, 1945  -
Alfred Eisenstaedt
shot one of the most iconic images of the 40's on this date - the photographs of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square.

In 2007 Houston Police Department forensic artist Lois Gibson completed a detailed investigation and concluded that Glenn McDuffie (80) is the man in the image, which was published on the cover of Life Magazine on August 27.

August 14, 1951 -
...As it must to all men, death came to Charles Foster Kane.

10 years after the fictionalized version of his life premiered, Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst died at home in Beverly Hills, California, on this date.

August 14, 1972 -
Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.

Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor, died on this date

August 14, 1995 -
Shannon Faulkner
officially became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina's state military college.

She quit the school less than a week later, citing the stress of her court fight, and her isolation among the male cadets.

August 14, 2003 -
A widespread blackout (lasting almost two days for some), affecting approximately 45 million people in the eastern United States and ten million in Ontario, Canada, occurred on this date.

The final conclusion of the investigation into the incident revealed that the blackout began when a generating plant in Eastlake, Ohio went offline amid high electrical demand. It was the second largest blackout in world history next to the 1999 blackout in Brazil.

August 14, 2126 -
In 1973, astronomer Brian Marsden, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, calculated that the next scheduled perihelion (the point nearest the sun in the orbit of a celestial body) for the "Doomsday Rock," also known as the Swift-Tuttle Comet, would occur on this date. The six-mile-diameter mass is thought to be roughly the same size as the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs.

Marsden has continued to refine his numbers.  Currently, his new calculations show Comet Swift-Tuttle will actually pass a comfortable 15 million miles from Earth on its next trip to the inner solar system in 2126. However, when Marsden ran his orbital calculations further into the future, he found that, in 3044, Comet Swift-Tuttle may pass within a million miles of Earth, a true cosmic ``near miss.''

Plan accordingly.

And so it goes.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

You become right-handed after your first sin

Today is International Lefthanders Day.

The U.S. has had eight left-handed presidents; James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

August 13, 1942 -
Walt Disney's Bambi premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York on this date.

No matter how skilled the animator, the Disney cartoonists simply could not draw Bambi's father's antlers accurately. This was because of the very complicated perspectives required. To get round the problem, a plaster cast was made of some real antlers which was then filmed at all angles. This footage was then rotoscoped onto animation cels.

August 13, 1947 -
The apex of technicolor film-making - Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Black Narcissus, premiered in New York City on this date.

The much admired Himalayan scenery was all created in the studio (with glass shots and hanging miniatures).  The backdrops were blown-up black and white photographs. The art department then gave them their breathtaking colors by using pastel chalks on top of them.

August 13, 1967 -
One of the defining movies of the 1960s, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, had its US premiere on this date.

Warner Brothers had so little faith in the film that, in an unprecedented move, it offered its first-time producer Warren Beatty 40% of the gross instead of a minimal fee. The movie then went on to gross over $50 million.

August 13, 1976 -
released the sci-fi film Futureworld, starring Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill and Yul Brynner, on this date.

It was the sequel to 1973 film Westworld and it was Yul Brynner's final film.

Don't forget to check out our other site - Dr. Caligari Cupboard

Today in History:
August 13, 1521
After a 75 day siege, Hernando Cortes captured and destroyed the capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan (Aztec for "Mexico City") on this date.

When the Spaniards fail to discover Montezuma's treasure, they tortured Cuauhtemoc (the current Aztec king) by pouring hot oil over his feet. The emperor responds by asking, "Am I on a bed of roses?" (Who knew the Aztecs were such comedians?)

It was important to defeat the Aztecs, because they were an Evil Empire that practiced Human Sacrifice and Difficult Spelling.

August 13, 1899 -
Some of our most exquisite murders have been domestic, performed with tenderness in simple, homey places like the kitchen table.

Arguably, the most famous film director in the 20th Century, Alfred Hitchcock was born on this date.  Hitchcock, known as the master of suspense, is most renowned for his films Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.

August 13, 1907 -
The first (gasoline powered) taxicabs, the New York Taxicab Company fleet, appeared on NYC streets on this date (the actual date seems to be mired in controversy.) The first 65 taxis were imported from France by businessman Harry N. Allen, who adapted the French word taxi-mètre and coined the word "taxicab" to describe the vehicles he was importing.

In time, the shortened term "taxi" came into common usage. (The first gas powered cabs were red and green.  Allen was also the first person to paint his taxis yellow, after learning that yellow is the color most easily seen from a distance.)

August 13, 1918 -
Women were first allowed to enlist in the United States Marine Corps on this date.

Opha Mae Johnson was the first of 305 women to enlist in the US Marine Corps on this day.

August 13, 1926 -
Minor league Rat Bastard (depending on your point of view) Fidel Castro was born on his father's 23,000-acre sugar cane plantation near Biran, Cuba on this date.

I wonder if Castro has gotten that chance to play ball in the Major Leagues in the after life?

August 13, 1961 -
The city of Berlin split itself right down the middle on this date.

The Cold War was running pretty hot back then. The Russians were just nasty. They were so evil they convinced East Germany to shut West Germany out. East Germany locked the Brandenburg gate and threw away the key. Then, just to be absolutely safe, they built the Great Wall of Berlin, and assigned evil socialist soldiers to shoot any West Germans who tried to sneak into East Germany.

Oddly enough, no West Germans tried to sneak in.

The soldiers, being evil socialist bastards with guns and therefore needing desperately to shoot at someone, therefore shot at East Germans.

About a year later, for example, on August 17, 1962, 18-year-old Peter Fechter was shot by East German guards as he tried to cross the Berlin Wall into West Germany. He bled to death in public view.

The guards (Rolf Friedrich and Erich Schreiber) who shot him were tracked down and convicted of manslaughter thirty-four years later.

Moral: you might think you can get away with shooting people just because you're a heavily-armed socialist bastard living in an evil socialist regime propped up by an evil socialist empire - You can run. But you can't hide. (It may seem like you can, but just wait.)

Eventually John F. Kennedy announced that he was a jelly-filled donut, Ronald Reagan asked Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall, Boris Yeltsin rode on a tank, and there didn't seem to be any real point in having a Wall any more.

So they tore it down. (Karma does appear to bite one in the ass.)

And so it goes.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Just take those old records off the shelf

National Vinyl Record Day is celebrated every year on August 12 (commemorating the day Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877) to remember the culture, art, the very sound of the vinyl record.

Don't forget, whatever you do today, don't forget to pull out your big 10 inch and listen to it.

August 12, 1927 -
The only silent film to win an Oscar for best picture, Wings, opened in NYC on this date.

The film contains some of the earliest footage of onscreen nudity (mostly male).  (Bonus trivia: The film contains the first screen kiss between two men.)

August 12, 1939 -
The Bugs Bunny everyone knows takes another step forward when Hare-um Scare-um premiered on this date.

It was during production of this cartoon that Bugs Bunny's name originated. Designer Charles Thorson redesigned the rabbit character and labeled the model sheet "Bug's Bunny," after co-director Ben Hardaway's nickname, Bugs. It's also the first time Bugs cross dresses in a cartoon.

August 12, 1939 -
Considered one of the highlights of the Golden Age of Hollywood, The Wizard of Oz premiered on this date in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

Margaret Hamilton, a lifelong fan of the Oz books, was ecstatic when she learned the producers were considering her for a part in the film. When she phoned her agent to find out what role she was up for, her agent simply replied, "The witch, who else?"

August 12, 1941 -
MGM premiered their version of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, starring Spencer Tracy, in NYC on this date.

Spencer Tracy originally wanted a realistic approach, whereby Jekyll would commit violent deeds in a neighborhood where he was unknown after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

August 12, 1988 -
Universal Pictures
released Martin Scorsese's controversial film The Last Temptation of Christ, starting Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel and Barbara Hershey on this date.

The script for this film sat in the office of Martin Scorsese's lawyer for at least five years prior to being made. Although Scorsese thought the film could be brilliant, he was concerned how the public might respond to the finished film. His lawyer agreed the script was brilliant and very "brave" but advised against making the movie because he did not think movie-goers were ready for such a story.

Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour

Today in History:
August 12, 30 BC
(Given how the Romans were keeping track of time at this point and were drinking a huge amount of wine from lead cups - this date is fluid at best.) -

O, break! O, break!

Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, former wife of Julius Caesar and mistress of Marc Anthony, committed suicide by means of the unusual practice of nursing a venomous snake.

August 12, 3 AD -
A planetary conjunction (possibly Venus-Jupiter) was visible from the Earth with the naked eye on this date.

Many astronomers will later speculate that this may have been the mentioned Star of Bethlehem in the New Testament of the Bible.

August 12, 1676 -
Wampanoag chieftain Metacom (or Philip) was killed in a swamp near Mount Hope, PA on this date. Thus ends King Philip's War, the first war between Indians and European settlers.

Unfortunately, the Indians (or Native American, for the PC of you in the crowd) have been on the losing side, for the most part, ever since.

August 12, 1813 -
declared war against Napoleon on this date.

An outraged England rushed to France's defense by declaring war against Austria,

exactly 101 years later when England officially declared war on Austria-Hungary on August 12, 1914.

August 12, 1865
After studying Louis Pasteur’s germ theory of disease which suggests that infections are caused by bacteria, Dr. Joseph Lister became the first surgeon to use anesthesia during an operation.

Lister also introduced Phenol (carbolic acid) as a form of disinfectant into his surgery. His heightened standards of hygiene will reduce his surgical death rate from 45% to 15%.

August 12, 1869 -
In San Francisco on this date, Emperor Norton I issued a stern edict outlawing both the Republican and Democratic political parties.

Violators face a prison term of five-to-ten years. Oh, for that wise man today!

Not familiar with Norton I ?  Read the amazing tale of Emperor Joshua Norton.  (Also, please check out the Emperor's Bridge Campaign website dedicated to renaming the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge after our beloved majesty, Emperor Norton.)

August 12, 1898 -
The Spanish-American War ended on this date. Spain released Cuba and gave Puerto Rico to the United States. Americans rushed to Puerto Rico in gleeful droves, only to discover that everyone spoke Spanish and there were no luaus or volcanoes.

Their disappointment was profound.

They took Hawaii as a consolation prize (Hawaii was formally annexed by the U.S. - officially stolen) later that same day.

August 12, 1948 -
Russian schoolteacher Oksana Kasenkina was injured when she jumps out the window of the Soviet Consulate in New York City on this date.

Soviet officials claim they had rescued her from "White Russian" kidnappers, but Kosenkina says she was trying to escape from the Soviets. The US later expelled the consul general and the Soviets closed their consulate.

August 12, 1953 -
In Siberia, the Soviet Union successfully tests its first thermonuclear device, based on Andrei Sakharov's fission-fusion "Layer Cake" design: alternating layers of uranium and hydrogen fuel sandwiched together and wrapped around a conventional Atomic Bomb. The fission explosion compresses the hydrogen, causing a fusion reaction.

Hopefully this is no longer a state secret or boy am I in deep trouble.

August 12, 1981
IBM introduces its Personal Computer (PC) also known as the IBM Model 5150. Developed in less than a year, using existing off-the-shelf components, it proved a runaway success in the small business market, and launched the era of the personal computer.

IBM's first PC ran with a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system.

And so it goes.

And on a personal note:
I'd like to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday.

She's a little under the weather but we're hoping to see her today.


Friday, August 11, 2017

The season is on the wane

The Dog Days of Summer are officially over today.

Mark your calendar for the upcoming 'Aardvark days of Autumn'.

It's the Feast of St. Clare today. St. Clare of Assisi (or Clair or Claire - spelling wasn't a major issue back then. Living past 29 years old was considered miraculous) didn't want to marry the rich young man her parents picked out for her and ran away from home to become the biggest Francis of Assisi groupie in the world. St Clare was too ill to attend Mass, she had reportedly been able to see and hear it on the wall of her room (she had phenomenal reception for the Middle Ages.) This led to her becoming the patron saint of television.

But I'm not sure if you pray to her for quality TV or to deliver you from all the bad TV out there. I'm sure we should pray that after the president leaves office, we may never see him on TV again.

Management has reminded me that this is not a blog about the lives of the saints, so I'll remember the lives of the saints quietly to myself for awhile. In that vein, I will remind everyone that today is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Green Ingersoll, known as the greatest orator of the 19th century.  He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic".

August 11, 1962 -
Booker T and the MG's
released Green Onions on Stax Records, on this date.

The group brought this record to the Memphis radio station WLOK the day after they recorded it. It got huge response and went on to be a national hit. Upon the release of the single, DJs ignored the A-side Behave Yourself and played Green Onions instead. Subsequent singles were pressed with Green Onions as the A-side.

August 11, 1972 -
Mott the Hoople's
Glam Rock Anthem, All The Young Dudes was released in the UK on this date.

The song was written and produced by David Bowie. Bowie intended this song for his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars concept album. But David was a big fan of Mott the Hoople and heard that they might be breaking up due to poor album sales. He offered them the song, knowing it was going to be a hit.

August 11, 1991 -
The first regularly scheduled episode of The Ren and Stimpy Show premiered on this date.

Originally, the microphone was planned to go into Stimpy's mouth during the end of part one (Stimpy's Big Day.) However, it seemed to remind Nickelodeon executives of a certain sexual act, so the scene was animated with the microphone going into his nose. The microphone in the mouth was never animated.

It's always 5 PM somewhere.

Today in History:
August 11, 3114 BC
The Mayan Long Count Calendar started on this date. A second long cycle of the calendar ended on December 21, 2012.

We are currently operating in the third long cycle.

August 11, 1772 -
The summit of Papandayan volcano in West Java suddenly implodes, unleashing a catastrophic debris avalanche which blankets an area of 250 square km. Tumbling boulders flatten 40 villages and their 2,957 inhabitants.

Alright, let's  go over this one more time: virgins, island gods, volcano pit.

I don't think I need to say any more on the topic.

August 11, 1919 -
Andrew Carnegie
, industrialist, philanthropist, and founder of Carnegie Steel, died on this date. Carnegie became a philanthropist in later life, giving away more than $350 million and building 2,509 public libraries. His value in 1999 dollars totaled $100 billion.

The man who dies rich dies disgraced, was the motto of Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie‘s last years were spent giving away as much money as possible in an effort to shed his image as one of the era‘s leading “robber barons.” Among other bequests to good causes, he established the Carnegie Institute of Technology and hundreds of Carnegie Free Public Libraries across the U.S.

August 11, 1929 -
Booze hound and notorious whore monger Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run at Cleveland's League Park on this date, becoming the first baseball player to do so.

He ended his career in 1935 with 714 career home runs - still the third best in Major League Baseball history.

August 11, 1937 -
On this day, expatriate Edith Wharton died in France, and ex-expatriate Ernest Hemingway didn't, in New York. Edith Wharton died in Paris, in the quiet, Old World style she liked to live and describe.

Also on this day, and in New World, by contrast, ex-expatriate Ernest Hemingway bared his hairy chest to Max Eastman's unhairy one, demanded "What do you mean accusing me of impotence?" and then wrestled Eastman to the floor.

I'm not accusing Hemingway of anything, it's just that he liked to strip to the waist, grease his body and wrestle smaller, slender men to the ground - sweating and grunting, stiffening, then becoming quite still.

That's perfectly normal.

August 11, 1942 -
Actress Hedy Lamarr (that's Hedy not Hedley) and composer George Antheil received a patent for a frequency hopping, spread spectrum communication system that will later became the basis for the technology behind Wi-Fi and wireless telephones.

In 1997, she and George Anthiel were honored with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Pioneer Award. And later in the same year, Lamarr became the first female recipient of the BULBIE™ Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, a prestigious lifetime accomplishment prize for inventors that is dubbed "The Oscars of Inventing."  It's rumored that when told of her being given these awards, Miss Lamarr told her son, "It's about time."

August 11, 1956 -
Jackson Pollock famous abstract artist and public urinator, died in an alcohol-related, single car crash on this date at the age of only 44, also killing one of his passengers, Edith Metzger.

The other passenger, his girlfriend Ruth Kligman, survived.

August 11, 1965
California Highway Patrolman, Lee W. Minikus (who was white) pulled over and arrested Marquette Frye (who was black), for suspicion of driving while intoxicated on this date.  This event led to the "Watts Riots" in Los Angeles, California.  The riots were the worst in the history of Los Angeles until the riots in 1992.

Riots began as spectators watched the arrests; violence spread over a 50-mile area and lasted six days, causing more than $40 million dollars in damage. 34 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.

August 11, 1984 -
Not realizing that his weekly radio address is already on the air, President Ronald Reagan quipped into his live microphone: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

It wasn't supposed to go out, but it did. The Kremlin was not pleased . Oh that rascally dead President, such a kidder. Hopefully our current President doesn't  read this.

There are 136 days until Christmas

Secure your position on the naughty/ nice list accordingly

And so it goes.

Before you go - Puddles just released an appropriate song for it being 5 PM somewhere

Perhaps you can find the proper establishment to listen to this song whilst imbibing.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

While not as good; they can be made in the microwave

The most popular campfire treat is recognized each year on August 10th during National S’mores Day.

This delicious, gooey treat is loved by millions across the United States.

Speaking of roasting something over an open fire; Today is the feast of St. Lawrence. St. Lawrence was said to have been martyred on an iron outdoor stove on this date in 258 AD. During his torture, Lawrence cried out "I' m already done on this side and it is time to turn me over."

He is, of course, the patron saint of comedians and chefs.

Interesting aside: the Perseid Meteor Shower has been known for years as the Tears of Saint Lawrence because they usually occur every year in mid-August, on or near Saint Lawrence's feast day.

This year the event peaks on the nights of August 12th and 13th (Saturday and Sunday).

August 10, 1950 -
Billy Wilder's
caustic, black-hearted masterpiece, Sunset Boulevard premiered in New York City, on this date.

Upon seeing the film at a star-studded preview screening at Paramount, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer screamed at director Billy Wilder that he should be tarred, feathered and horse-whipped for bringing his profession into such disrepute. Wilder's response was a terse, "Fuck you."

August 10, 1960
The Rat Pack's summer vacation home movie, Ocean's Eleven, premiered on this date.

In a scene between Danny (Frank Sinatra) and Adele (Patrice Wymore), Adele throws a dish of candy at Danny. The throwing of the dish was ad-libbed, which accounts for the genuine look of surprise on Sinatra's face and the faces of his co-stars.

August 10, 1962 -
While not the worst film ever made - it is the sickest. The Brain That Wouldn't Die, premiered on this date. (Watch it now.)

Original plans were for the last reel to be in color, with the doctor's head being cut off. Scenes were filmed with rats menacing the head.

August 10, 1968 -
The Doors
topped the charts with Hello, I Love You on this date.

Jim Morrison
wrote this in 1965 after seeing a beautiful woman walking on the beach. He thought up the song and wrote it that night. The song was not recorded until three years later.  There is a vague rumor on the internet that the Kinks successfully sued the Doors for copyright infringement over their song All Day and All of the Night.

As far as I can actually tell, while discussions concerning a possible lawsuit occurred, nothing came of them.

August 10, 1970 -
Frank Perry's
proto-independent film, Diary of a Mad Housewife, written by Eleanor Perry and starring Carrie Snodgrass, premiered on this date.

According to Carrie Snodgress, actor Richard Benjamin insisted that he and Carrie not have any interaction off-screen in order to have their onscreen tensions be more believable and authentic.

August 10, 1984 -
United Artists
released John Milius jingoistic war film Red Dawn, starring Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey, on this date. It's was the first film to be released in the US with a Motion Picture Association of America PG-13 rating.

The film made the Guinness Book of Records for having the most acts of violence of any film up to that time. According to their calculations, 134 acts of violence occur per hour, 2.23 per minute.

From the desk of C. Brown

Today in History:
August 10, 1628
The 228-foot Swedish warship Vasa, built by Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus to assist in his war with Poland, capsized and sank in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage because the ballast was insufficient to counterweight the 64 guns. The Vasa was the most expensive and richly ornamented warship of its time in Sweden. Twenty-five men and women drowned when the ship sank.

The ship remains submerged until it is raised in 1961 to become a tourist attraction.

Please note that the ABBA museum is across the street from the Vasa museum in Stockholm.  I can think of no finer outing.

August 10, 1846 -
In 1826, James Smithson, a British scientist, drew up his last will and testament, naming his nephew as beneficiary. Smithson stipulated that, should the nephew die without heirs (as he did in 1835), the estate should go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.

The motivation behind Smithson’s bequest remain mysterious. He had never traveled to the U.S. and seems to have had no correspondence with anyone there. An Act of Congress signed by President James K. Polk established The Smithsonian Institution, on this date, as a trust to administer the generous bequest of James Smithson in an amount over $500,000.

August 10, 1921 -
Franklin D. Roosevelt
was stricken with polio at his summer home on the Canadian island of Campobello, New Brunswick on this date. Mrs. Roosevelt acted as her partially paralyzed husband’s eyes and ears by traveling, observing and reporting her observations to him.

As First Lady, an author and newspaper columnist and, later, a delegate to the United Nations, Eleanor Roosevelt labored tirelessly for the poor and disadvantaged. In the words of historian John Kenneth Galbraith, she showed "more than any other person of her time, that an American could truly be a world citizen."

August 10, 1937
The world's first electric guitar patent #2,089,171  was awarded to Electro String Corporation on this date.

Inventor G.D. Beauchamp, who teamed up with Adolph Rickenbacher from the Electro String Instrument Corporation in Los Angeles, was awarded the patent for his guitar, the Rickenbacker Frying Pan.

August 10, 1966 -
Last words of James French, sent to the Electric Chair by the state of Oklahoma: "How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? FRENCH FRIES."

There is nothing quite like a dying man who gives good copy.

August 10, 1968 -
According to the strip below, Snoopy's birthday is August 10.

There had, however, been no reference to this in previous years and it did not become an annual feature of the strip.

August 10, 1969 -
Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were brutally murdered in their Los Feliz, California home by followers of Charles Manson.

Some of the victims' blood was used to smear the words 'HELTER SKELTER' on the refrigerator door.

August 10, 1977 -
Postal employee and avid dog listener David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers, N.Y. on this date, accused of being the "Son of Sam" gunman responsible for six random slayings and seven woundings. Berkowitz is serving six consecutive terms of 25 years to life in state prison.

So much for the rantings of the neighbor's dog.

August 10, 1996 -
Heated by the sun, power lines begin to sag in Oregon. Somehow this triggers a series of failures which cascades throughout the Western states. Four million people lost electrical service in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana and Texas.

It was probably the worst power outage in US history.

And so it goes.

Before you go - The folks from Burger Fiction (I haven't posted anything from them in awhile) have come up with the ultimate food porn supercut, The Best-Looking Food in Movies -

Tell me this doesn't make your mouth drool.