Friday, November 17, 2017

Another unnecessary fact of the day

Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers.

Thanks to all that food we gobble up, Roto-Rooter reports that kitchen drains, garbage disposals and, yes, toilets, require more attention the day after Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

November 17, 1933 -
...Calling all nations. Calling all nations. This is Rufus T. This is Rufus T. Firefly coming to you through the courtesy of the enemy. We're in a mess folks, we're in a mess. Rush to Freedonia! Three men and one woman are trapped in a building! Send help at once! If you can't send help, send two more women!  ....

Unbelievable, but, a box office flop (at the time), The Marx Brothers Duck Soup opened on this date. (This film marks the last appearance of Zeppo Marx in a Marx Brothers film.)

Shortly before this film premiered, the city of Fredonia, New York, complained about the use of its name with an additional "e". The Marx Brothers' response was, "Change the name of your town, it's hurting our picture."

November 17, 1942 -
Martin Scorsese
, Academy Award-winning American film director, writer, producer, actor, film historian, former drug addict and asthmatic was born on this date.

Go watch a movie (any movie) in his honor. He won't mind.

November 17, 1951 -
... Slight pause while I adjust my accoutrements.

Another in the series of Daffy and Porky buddy flicks, Drip-Along Daffy, opened on this date.

November 17, 1978 -
The two-hour Star Wars Holiday Special aired for the first and only time on CBS on this date. (I must strongly warn readers not to attempt to watch the entire special in one seating - stronger men have been driven to drink and drugs for less.)

The Holiday Special is the first time that James Earl Jones was credited with performing the voice of Darth Vader. The next time would be five years later, in 1983, during the end credits of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.

November 17, 1989 -
Jim Jarmusch's fourth
feature, Mystery Train, opened on this date.

The hotel where the three stories converge is no longer standing, so many fans of the movie have made pilgrimages to the site only to find that it no longer exists. The film also contains some of the last known footage of Stax Records.

November 17, 2006 -
Daniel Craig
stepped into the role of James Bond for the first time with the third adaptation of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale premiered in the U.S. on this date. This was the 21st Bond film (in the official canon.)

Daniel Craig actually rejected the part of James Bond a year before, as he had felt that the series had settled into a standard formula. He changed his mind when he read the finished script.

Speaking of James Bond: sometimes you shake it too much

Today in History:
Things you probably didn't need to know
November 17, 375 -
Valentinian I
, the Emperor of the West, enraged by the rudeness of barbarian envoys,

died of apoplexy in present day Hungary on this date.

November 17, 1558 -
Elizabeth I
of England ascended to the throne, on this date.

She is best known for her imperfect application of the cosmetic sciences, a flaw that is strikingly evident in all her portraits but that courtiers were apparently reluctant to address the issue.

November 17, 1796 -
Empress Catherine the Great died of a stroke while sitting on the commode and not while astride her steed (or something like that) on this date.

So dammit, stop making those jokes.

November 17, 1869 -
The Suez Canal
was opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red Seas on this date. The 100 mile canal eliminated a 4000-mile trip around Africa.

Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, together with Ferdinand de Lesseps, chief architect of the canal, led the first file of ships from on board the French imperial yacht Aigle.

November 17, 1871 -
George Wood Wingate
and William Conant Church established the National Rifle Association in New York on this date.

Today, the group has more than five million members (as of January 2015,) - but the truth of those numbers is a matter of debate.

November 17, 1903 -
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's
stubbornness split his Russian Social Democratic Labor Party into two factions: the slim majority who sided with him, and the vast minority who opposed him, on this date.

The Russian terms for majority and minority are Bolshevik and Menshevik, respectively, and so these factions took their names. Later the Mensheviks became the majority party, meaning that the Mensheviks had become Bolsheviks and the Bolsheviks Mensheviks.

This was confusing. If you asked someone what they were and they said "Bolshevik," you'd have no way of knowing whether they meant Bolshevik (Menshevik) or Menshevik (Bolshevik.) This state of affairs quickly became intolerable. All sorts of remedies were suggested placards, ID bracelets, hats, tattoos but it was impossible to arrive at a consensus until Lenin clarified matters by having all the Mensheviks shot.

It was easy after that.

November 17, 1917 -
The world famous 77 year old French Sculptor Auguste Rodin froze to death in an unheated attic in Meudon, France on this date. He had applied to the government for quarters as warm as those wherein his statues were stored, but the government turned him down.

His case was so desperate that he asked to be permitted to have a room in the museum the Hotel Biron, formerly his own studio. The official in charge of the museum refused. Other officials and friends promised coal but never sent it, though his situation at Meudon (ill, and freezing to death,) was apparently well known to all of them.

November 17, 1941
U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew cabled the US State Department that he has heard that Japan has 'planned, in the event of trouble with the United States, to attempt a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor.' His warning was ignored by the Office of Naval Intelligence.

His diplomatic relations with Japan were cordial until the late 1930s, when Japanese expansionism became openly aggressive toward Asian neighbors like China. The US increased economic pressures on Japan until, in late 1939, Grew had been predicting that the situation will soon come to a head. He told President Roosevelt in October 1939 that 'if we start sanctions against Japan we must see them through to the end, and the end may conceivably be 'war.'


November 17, 1968 -
preempted the final 1:05 from a very close Jets-Raiders NFL football game with the TV movie Heidi. Two touchdowns were scored during this missing time.

Sports fans everywhere applaud and understand the network's decision.

November 17, 1970 -
Douglas Engelbart
receives a patent (US No. 3,541,541) for the first computer mouse on this date.

The patent, titled “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System,” is a simple hollowed-out wooden block, with a single push button on top.

November 17, 1970 -
Things that didn't teach you in school: The Soviet moon rover, Lunokhod 1 lands on the Moon on this date. (Yes kids, the video is a simulation.)

Lunokhod was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another celestial body.

November 17, 1973 -
People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.

President Nixon spoke to more than 400 editors from the Associated Press at a gathering in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World on this date.

I guess that means Disney World isn't the happiest place on Earth for everybody.

And so it goes

Big question for the day - Fresh or Frozen?


1 comment:

Jim H. said...

Catharine's palace (now, of course, a museum) is in a suburb of St. Petersburg named Pushkin. Official tours do not include her private bathroom. The public bathrooms (I can attest) are very, very nice.