Wednesday, October 18, 2017

America's Last Frontier

October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - once again, avoid the Palin clan; reports are in that they had been celebrating earlier. They have been out looking at Russia again and they are mean drunks.)

It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on October 18, 1867.

October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.

Rita Moreno stated that her line reading of "Don't you touch me!" after the Jets attack Anita was her imitating Marlon Brando, her then-boyfriend. Brando even noticed at the film's premiere.

October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.

Walt Disney died during production of this film. Many people wondered at what the studio's fate would be, particularly the animation division. The film performed extremely well at the box office, ensuring that the animators would not be put out of work. Had the film failed, it is likely that animation would have been closed down at the Disney studio.

October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.

Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.

October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)

Sara Gilbert's contribution to the show was considered so important to Roseanne that the show's producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York.

The zen moment of the day

Today in History:
October 18, 1216
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting  the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)

Once John became king, he argued with everyone: the Pope, the King of France (whom his brother may or may not have been involved romantically with) and most of the Barons of England. King John died on this day after eating too many peaches and drinking too much cider. He was trying to cheer himself up after being chased by revolting Barons half way across England and losing the crown jewels while fleeing from them.

October 18, 1767
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.

Bad confederates, bad.

October 18, 1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.

So class, once again, that makes all Puerto Ricans - U.S. citizens!

October 18, 1903 -
Hundreds of people in San Francisco were startled to see Dr. August Greth fly his 80-foot-long American Eagle airship over the city on this date.

At first his flight seemed successful but then the dirigible's engine stalled and the wind carried it over the bay where it plummeted into the water. He and his assistant, overcome by escaping gas, were safely recovered by soldiers from Fort Point.

Bad Hydrogen, bad.

October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.

Bad Grim Reaper, bad.
(or good, depending on your viewpoint of Mr. Edison.)

October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.

Bad spy, bad spy.

October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union
announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon a few days earlier.

Remember kids, there is no dark side of the moon - it's all dark.

October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.

Bad Beatle, bad Beatle.

October 18, 1974
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

Bad Dick, bad.

October 18, 1984 -
President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

Bad - oh forget it, he's dead.

And so it goes


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