Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lob one for me

La Tomatina tomato fight in Buñol near Valencia happens every year on the last Wednesday in August though the partying starts earlier in the week. The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm on that day. Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this World's Biggest Food Fight.

There is no political or religious significance to La Tomatina, it's just good, messy fun. The tradition’s beginning remains a mystery but this event is estimated to have begun in 1945. The event has become one of the highlights on Spain’s summer festivals calendar with thousands of people flocking to this little Valencian town for this chaotic event.

August 30, 1935 (It could have been on the 29th, I don't know, I wasn't there.) -
RKO released the fourth Astaire and Rogers, Irving Berlin filled musical, Top Hat, in New York, on this date.

The finale of Top Hat, White Tie and Tails production number with Fred Astaire miming his cane as a weapon "attacking" his supporting dancers, 13 canes were prepared for it. During shooting, Astaire, ever the unforgiving perfectionist, was continually breaking his canes in frustration at his mistakes, which concerned the crew that he was running out of them. As it turns out, the shooting of the scene was finished with the very last cane.

August 30, 1959 -
Bobby Darin's
jazzy interpretation of Mack The Knife began its 26-week stay on the pop-singles charts.

Darin decided to perform this song when he saw a production of The Threepenny Opera in Greenwich Village in 1958. He thought up his own way of presenting the song, and started performing it in his nightclub act, where it was well received.

August 30, 1967 -
John Boorman's
crime drama thriller, Point Blank, premiered on this date.

This was the first major picture to film on location at Alcatraz Island after the closure of the federal prison in 1963.

August 30, 1968 -
Apple Records
released its first single, Hey Jude by The Beatles on this date.

This was the Beatles longest single, running 7:11, and at the time was the longest song ever released as a single. It was the first long song to get a lot of airplay, as radio stations still preferred short ones so they could play more of them. When this became a hit, stations learned that listeners would stick around if they liked the song, which paved the way for long songs like American Pie and Layla. Disc jockeys were the real winners here, as they could finally take a reasonable bathroom break.

August 30, 1993 -
...You know, ladies and gentlemen, if you think about it, all I really did was take the summer off....

Moving himself and his gang of cohorts from NBC-TV, The Late Show with David Letterman premiered on CBS-TV, on this date, .

A moment of Zen

Today in History:
August 30, 1780
General "Eggs" Benedict Arnold secretly promised to surrender the West Point fort to the British army during the American Revolution. The measure of Arnold's treachery was made worse by the fact that he was considered by many to be the best general and most accomplished leader in the Continental Army.

In fact, without Arnold's earlier contributions to the American cause, the American Revolution might well have been lost; notwithstanding, his name, like those of several other prominent traitors throughout history, has become a byword for treason and a brunch staple.

August 30, 1859 -
At the University of Göttingen, PhD candidate Albert Niemann isolates the alkaloid C17H21NO4 from leaves of the plant Erythroxylum coca.

Niemann names his white, powdery discovery Cocaine and observes firsthand its peculiarly strong anesthetic effect: "it benumbs the nerves of the tongue, depriving it of feeling and taste."

Oh, that's what cocaine does. Now I know.

August 30, 1918
Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin should have been having a great day on this date. Six weeks earlier, Lenin had the previous tenant of Kremlin, Tsar Nicholas II, permanently taken off the lease. After speaking at a factory in Moscow, Lenin was shot twice by Fanya Kaplan, a member of the Social Revolutionary party. Lenin narrowly survived an assassination attempt, but was severely wounded.

As Lenin was a 'godless' communist, he did not turn the other cheek. The assassination attempt set off a wave of reprisals by the Bolsheviks against the Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents. Thousands were executed as Russia fell deeper into civil war.

August 30, 1930 -
Warren Edward Buffett
often called the "Sage of Omaha", "Oracle of Omaha", or "Omaha Steak", American investor, businessperson and philanthropist is born on this date. Buffett has amassed an enormous fortune from astute investments managed through the holding company Berkshire Hathaway, of which he is the largest shareholder and CEO.

With an estimated current net worth of around $75.6 billion, he was ranked by Forbes as the second-richest person in the world as of this past March, falling behind behind Bill Gates (with a net worth of $86 billion) and ahead of Jeff Bezos (with a net worth of $72.8 billion.)

I, on the other hand, did not make a blip on the list.

August 30, 1963
Almost a year after the world barely averted World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Hotline between the Pentagon and the Kremlin went live, on this date.

The system consists of two teletype machines, with a full-time communications link routed through London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki.

August 30, 1967 -
Thurgood Marshall
, the lawyer who was best known for arguing the Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court, became the first black US Supreme Court Justice.

The US Senate voted 69 to 11 to appoint Marshall (20 senators did not vote.) He served on the Court from 1967 to 1991.

August 30, 1983 -
The first black astronaut, Guion S. Bluford Jr., a US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, flew on the third mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Bluford had entered the US Astronaut program in 1979; this was his first mission.  This was also the first mission to launch and land at night.

And so it goes.


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