Today is World Poetry Day - a time to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is held on March 21 each year and is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
What poem are you going to read today?
March 21, 1952 -
The first rock and roll concert was held in America on this date, when DJ Alan Freed (the man who coined the phrase "Rock and Roll") hosted The Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland, Ohio. The first rock and roll concert was shut down after the first act, when it appeared that a riot might break out.
The reason the concert ended in disaster: a minor printing error. The mistake was caused by someone forgetting to add the date to tickets issued for a follow-up ball, which Leo Mintz, an early rock-n-roll promoter had set about organizing immediately after the initial one sold out. As a result, an estimated 20,000 people showed up on the same night for the first concert - at a venue which could hold half that number.
March 21, 1964 -
The Beatles' single She Loves You, went #1 and stayed #1 for 2 weeks on this date.
The Beatles released a German version translated as "Sie Liebt Dich" in the US in 1964. They learned some German when they became the house band in Hamburg in 1962, but needed a German speaker to help them with the lyrics. They recorded the German version in Paris - it was the only time they recorded outside of England.
March 21, 1980 –
On the season finale of Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing was shot by an unknown individual - Who Shot JR?
Viewers had to wait all summer, and most of the autumn because of a Hollywood actors' strike (and Hagman's own holdout), to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible.
March 21, 1995 -
We all get to spend Dave Nelson's first day at WNYX when NewsRadio, starring Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Maura Tierney and Andy Dick premiered on NBC-TV, on this date.
The cast of NewsRadio was banned from the SAG Awards after one appearance because of their bad behavior. They took their shoes off, stole wine off of the other tables and Andy Dick allegedly asked for Helen Hunt's autograph on his penis.
Today in History:
March 21, 1556 -
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (who led the effort to help Henry VIII marry Anne Boleyn,) scheduled to denounce his errors and be burned at the stake (after Queen Mary, Henry's daughter, attained the throne), denounced his own confessions and was hustled off to be burned.
He then put forth his hand and declared: “For as much as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished.”
Oh that wacky English Reformation .
March 21, 1843 -
According to confused Biblical scholar William Miller, Christ would return sometime in the year following this day in 1843. After Jesus failed to appear by the next March, Miller claimed it was the result of an arithmetic error and recalculated the deadline to be October 22, 1844.
March 21, 1943 -
Cornelia Fort was flying with a student pilot on the morning of December 7, 1941, when they nearly collided with a Japanese aircraft leaving the scene at Pearl Harbor. Thus she became one of the few airborne eyewitnesses to the attack.
She was the second woman to volunteer for the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (the WAFS, which later merged into the WASPs, or Women Airforce Service Pilots), whose members logged millions of miles ferrying aircraft to points of embarkation and towing targets for training exercises. On a routine ferrying flight in 1943, Fort died at the controls of an aircraft when another plane struck hers. She was the first woman pilot to die in the line of duty for the U.S. military
March 21, 1947 -
In honor of the First Full Day of Spring, let us seriously consider spring cleaning and the unhappy ending of the Collyer brothers.
Homer and Langley Collyer were well-to-do New Yorkers who grew up in a fashionable brownstone in Harlem with their mother and father, just before the turn of the previous century. Unfortunately the brothers, both college graduates, over the years became eccentric hermits and literally walled themselves into their filthy brownstone, cramming it with junk Langley had found on the street (Homer had gone blind and crippled with severe rheumatism.)
On March 21, 1947, police received a tip that there was a dead body in their house. After several hours of trying to crawl their way through the ceiling high booby trapped corridors of newspapers and junk, the police found Homer, who had died apparently only a few hours previously. The problem was - where was Langley?
18 days later and almost 100 tons of trash removed later, the decomposing and rat gnawed corpse of Langley was discovered, crushed in one of his own booby trap warrens. Medical examiners concluded that Langley had died a week earlier than his brother and Homer, blind and crippled, died several days later of malnutrition, dehydration, and cardiac arrest. Not a happy way to go.
So kids, clean your room and get outside and play with your friends.
March 21, 1962 -
A two-year old female black bear, named Yogi, was taken aboard a B-58 bomber out of Edwards Air Force Base in California, flown up to 35,000 feet at a supersonic speed of 850 miles per hour, and ejected from the bomber in a specially made capsule. She landed safely, and became the first living creature to survive a parachute jump from a plane flying faster than sound.
March 21, 1963 -
Alcatraz Prison was closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on this date.
Hardened criminals would have to go elsewhere to experience the joys of prison sex by the sea.
March 21, 1970 -
On this date, Vinko Bogataj crashes during a ski-jumping championship in Germany;
his image becomes that of the "agony of defeat" guy in the opening credits of ABC's Wide World of Sports.
March 21, 1976 -
David Bowie and Iggy Pop were arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession in New York. They were released on $2,000 bail. The charges were later dropped.
Musicians using drugs - shocking, shocking, I tell you.
March 21, 1980 -
Mobster Angelo The Docile Don Bruno was killed with a shotgun blast to the head while he waits in his car after dinner. The order was probably ordered Anthony Tony Bananas Caponigro, Bruno's consigliere, so much for family loyalty. His replacement, one of Bruno's former capo Phil Chicken Man Testa, is short lived, as he is killed a year later by a nail bomb at his home.
Today's episode of Oh, that Wacky Russian Revolution:
The Russian Royal family was having a really bad day. On March 21, 1917, Nicholas II and his family were arrested. It was a confused and confusing period, and the situation would only continue to deteriorate until the October Revolution (in November).
Hereditary heads of the Romanov Russian empire, 1613-1917: 19
Hosts of the long-running PBS series Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood: 1
Russian heads of state to have died by natural causes: 10
On-screen deaths on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: 0
Average length of Russian reign, in years: 15.6
Years Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran: 31
Russian emperors to die of dropsy: 1
Dropsy deaths in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: 0
Russian emperors assassinated: 5
Assassination attempts on the life of King Friday XIII: 0
Bolshevik Revolutions in the Neighborhood of Make Believe: 0
Please be prepared for a quiz tomorrow.
And so it goes.
Before you go - While I'm not a big fan of Graham Norton, the producers of The Graham Norton Show created a very funny clip reel of some of the funniest couch stories they have:
I wholly endorse the guest on talk shows drinking.