Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Prize in Every Box

February 19, 1913 -
Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box for the first time on this date.



In ensuing decades, over seventeen billion prizes have been "awarded" to Cracker Jack purchasers. Among the numerous Cracker Jack prizes offered across the years are miniature plates, puzzles, books, bookmarks, pinball games, plastic figurines, and self-adhesive stickers (but alas, no Coup de Villes.)

Extra credit question: The name of Jack's dog ... Bingo.


February 19, 1974 -
KISS appeared on Dick Clark's IN CONCERT! on this date. This marks their first time on national television.



How KISS got a song about anal sex on national TV back in 1974 passed the censors is amazing.


February 19, 1982 -
The Wes Craven film Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise and Dick Durock, was released on this date.



Dick Durock was forced into the role of the Swamp Thing by necessity. He'd been brought on board the project as a stuntman, but the filmmakers found that it was impossible to go from Durock to Ray Wise - who had been cast as Alec Holland, Swamp Thing's former self - and back again because the two men looked so different in Swamp Thing's makeup.


Don't forget to check out Dr Caligari's Cupboard


Today in History:
February 19, 1329 -
(Antipope) Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in the Duomo of Pisa, at which a straw puppet representing his rival, Pope John XXII and dressed in pontifical robes was formally condemned, degraded, and handed over to the secular arm (to be "executed").

John XXII had the last laugh when he excommunicated Nicholas V in April 1329

and had him imprisoned until his death in August 1333.

Oh those wacky Antipopes.


February 19, 1473
-
Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Koppernigk - apparently he was running some sort of ponzi scheme at an early age) was born in Poland on this date.



He stated an early theory that the earth and the planets move around the sun that led the way to our understanding of planetary movement.


In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.



Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.



Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.



Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of luster to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesmodel for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge - one of our favorite corporate sponsors.)


February 19, 1910 -






February 19, 1960 -
The cartoon-strip The Family Circus by Bil Keane debuted in newspapers on this date.

For several months prior, it had been called The Family Circle.


February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.


February 19, 1997 -
Supreme Chinese leader and one time replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on this date.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.



And so it goes.



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From the very wonderful blog, Miss Cellania:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Drink to me only with thine eyes

Yeah, yeah,  I know,  it's National Drink Wine Day every day in my home.

While, I can't find the basis for the holiday, I have my suspicions: George, the English Duke of Clarence, was convicted of treason against his brother King Edward IV and murdered in the Tower of London on February 18, 1478.

The legend arose that he had been drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine.


Puddles Pity Party performs a beautiful cover of Roy Orbison‘s song Crying.



My day is complete.


February 18, 1938 -
If only he had his intercostal clavicle ...

The greatest screwball comedy, directed by Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant was released on this date.



Katharine Hepburn had one very close call with the leopard. She was wearing a skirt that was lined with little metal pieces to make the skirt swing prettily. When Hepburn turned around abruptly, the leopard made a lunge for her back. Only the intervention of the trainer's whip saved Hepburn.


February 18, 1939
-
Universal Studios released the WC Fields' comedy You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, also starring Edgar Bergen, on this date.



W.C. Fields became a big hit on radio, especially on Edgar Bergen's radio program, where he had a long-running "feud" with Charlie McCarthy. This film was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of that feud by having it carried on in a movie.


February 18, 1983 -
Martin Scorsese's
black comedy, The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard premiered in the US on this date.



In the scene where Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard argue in the street, three of the "street scum" that mock Bernhard are Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, members of the British punk rock band, The Clash.


Don't forget to check out this weeks' ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour 


Today in History:
February 18, 1268
-
On this date, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword are defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakovor.

If you hurry, I believe you can still send flowers or candy to friends and family to commemorate the event.


February 18, 1405 -



February 18, 1564 -
Michelangelo (Buonarotti), Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer died on this date.



He may have gotten the last laugh as he thought about the number of penises he got to paint on the ceiling of any church.


February 18, 1856 -
The American Party (Know-Nothings) convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on this date to nominate its first Presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.

And yes, he does look exactly like Alec Baldwin; thanks for noticing.


Elm Farm Ollie (known as "Nellie Jay" and post-flight as "Sky Queen") was the first cow to fly in an airplane, doing so on February 18, 1930, as part of the International Air Exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri.

On the same trip, which covered 72 miles from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. (Does that mean that she was the first cow to join the mile high club?) This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes. And somehow Charles Lindbergh was involved.

A St. Louis newspaper trumpeted her mission as being "to blaze a trail for the transportation of livestock by air."

Your life is better for knowing this.


February 18, 1930 -
Clyde Tombaugh like to look at French Postcards. He like to look into his neighbors' windows. When he got tired of that, he started studying photos of the night sky where astronomers predicted a "Planet X" would show up.

Tombaugh ended up discovering the dwarf planet Pluto on this date. He also discovered more than 800 asteroids during his search for "Planet X."  Our Alien Overlords were very wily avoiding Clyde.


February 18, 1933
-
Yoko Ono was born on this date.

What else is there to say?


February 18, 1967 -
J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, died on this date.



His children never even send him flowers.


February 18, 1979 -
Snow fell in Sahara Desert, in Southern Algeria during a storm which lasts about half an hour on this date.

It didn't snow again until January 18, 2012. Perhaps, some of you may wish to move there now.


February 18, 2001
-
Race car driver Dale Earnhardt crashed into the wall at the Daytona 500, killing him instantly. His widow files a lawsuit to force the autopsy photos to be sealed, and a Florida law is subsequently passed to prevent them from ever being released.



Earnhardt was the most well known and most successful driver in the history of the sport.



And so it goes.


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Also, on a personal note - Happy Birthday Matt.




Friday, February 17, 2017

Mind if I smoke?

I don't care if you burn.



February 17, 1965 -
You are going to be a star
.



Joan Rivers
made her first guest appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson on NBC-TV.


February 17, 1967 -
The Beatles released Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever on this date.





These songs were intended for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Capitol Records decided to release the two songs as a single, partly to regain popularity from John Lennon's "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus" comment.


February 17, 1989
-
The cinematic masterpiece Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter opened in theaters on this date.



In the film, Bill and Ted claim that they need Edward Van Halen in their band to make it better. After the film was released, he jokingly said he would have joined their band if they had asked.


It's 10 PM somewhere in the world

Today in History:
February 17, 1600
-
Roman philosopher and mathematician Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake at Campo di Fiore in Rome, likely because of his advocating the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun.



His death at the hands of Roman Inquisition is thought to have convinced Galileo to recant his own theory of a moving Earth.  The people living around the Palatine Hills always expected the Roman Inquisition.


Celebrated French dramatist and comedian Moliere collapsed on stage and died on February 17, 1673. It is said that he was wearing green, and because of that, there is a superstition that green brings bad luck to actors. As an actor, he was not allowed by the laws of the time to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery.



His wife Armande asked the King Louis XIV to allow a "normal" funeral celebrated at night. The king agreed, and Moliere was buried in a part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptized infants. In some accounts of his death, it is said that over 800 people attended his "secret" funeral.


A bomb exploded in the dining room of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace on February 17, 1880. Tsar Alexander II survived. Being late for supper, the Tsar was not harmed, although 67 other people were killed or wounded. The dining room floor was also heavily damaged.

While it is often said that promptness is the politeness of kings; sometimes being late can save you.


February 17, 1904 -
The original two-act version Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, premiered on this date.



It did not go so well, lasting just one performance. One critic refereed to the performance as a "diabetic opera, the result of an automobile accident." Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act into two acts and making other changes. On May 28, 1904, the new version was performed in Brescia and was a huge success.


February 17, 1933 -
The first issue of the weekly news magazine, Newsweek, was published on this date.

The issue, all 32 pages of it, could be purchased for a dime, but you could get it discounted for a year's subscription at $4.




February 17, 1994 -
The decomposing corpse of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first president of the Republic of Georgia, was exhumed from a temporary grave in Djikhaskari on this date. His wife refused an autopsy, but western journalists noted a bullet wound in the side of Zviad's head. Officially listed as suicide, the wife also claims he was murdered. Another government minister oddly states the death was by cancer with the head shot administered post-mortem.

Note to self: don't seek cancer treatment in the Republic of Georgia or the state of Georgia, for that matter.

Avoid getting cancer, if at all possible.



And so it goes.



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Before you go - Save The Thimble:




Thursday, February 16, 2017

Everyone's gone to the movies

Now we're alone at last

Start the projection machine


Today is the Feast of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia. She refused to marry a Roman official, so he had her roasted in flames, then dipped into boiling oil before finally being beheaded, which seems rather harsh even for Roman times.

Once again, Springsteen was right - it's hard being a saint (in the city.)


February 16, 1940 -
A truncated version of A Chump at Oxford (the second to last Laurel and Hardy feature) was released on this date



The short version of the film was originally in four reels, a "streamliner" designed to compete with theaters' new double feature concept. Roach produced only a few of these hybrids, and added the dinner party sequence later to bring it up to it's feature length.


February 16, 1956 -
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Carousel, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, premiered on this date.



At the time that this film was released, it was not successful at the box office, but the film's soundtrack album did become a national best seller.


February 16, 1964
-
The Beatles appeared for the second time on the Ed Sullivan Show on this date.



The Beatles performed six songs: She Loves You, This Boy, All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. The Beatles received $25,000 for their appearance; half of what Elvis got for his.


February 16, 1975 -
The music variety series Cher premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



How did this get on the air?


Today in History:
February 16, 1899 -
Félix François Faure
, President of France and the owner of the most audacious mustache in the late 19th century, died suddenly from a massive heart attack in his private offices while in the act of some sort of sexual congress with the notable courtesan, Marguerite Steinheil on this date.

Apparently when Faure reached his petit mort, he had his grand mort. A probably apocryphal story, listed as fact by many sources, is that M. Le President died with his hands gripping Miss Steinheil's head and an anxious government official nearly 'brained' her trying to remove the hysterical lady from the vise-like grip of his 'cold dead hands.'

The French statesmen and future president, George Clemenceau famously said, after hearing of Faure's death, "...il voulait être César, il ne fut que Pompée," which is incredibly witty and very filthy for a family newspaper (go look it up yourself.)


February 16, 1918 -
Lithuania declared its independence from Russia on this date. Independence lasted until World War II.

It was such a successful declaration that they declared their independence again in 1990.


February 16, 1921 -
Vera-Ellen
, actress and possible anorexia nervosa sufferer (there is a raging debate on the internet about whether or not she was - and I am still legally obligated to state this,) was born on this date.



Vera went to the same Cincinnati ballroom dance studio as a child as Doris Day. Their parents used to carpool together to the dance studio.


February 16, 1923 -
Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened King Tut's tomb, revealing one of the most well-preserved treasures from the ancient world on this date.



While it has been frequently reported that a curse killed 13 of the 20 people present at the opening of the tomb, there was no curse and no unusual death patterns occurred. What a minute, what's that lurking in the shadows.


February 16, 1935 -
Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono, politician, musical artist and producer was born on this date.  -



Little known facts about Salvatore - Bono was the godfather of Anthony Kiedis and in later years dabbled with Scientology, although his last wife (of whom he had four including Cher,) said that he was trying to distance himself from the religion at the time of his death.

Kids, once again we have to repeat - do not mess around with Scientology.


February 16, 1935 -
The Phantom, created by Lee Falk (also creator of Mandrake the Magician), makes his first appearance in a comic strip on this date.

The Phantom is credited as being the first "costumed superhero", i.e. the first crimefighter to wear the skintight costume attributed to comic book superheroes,


February 16, 1937 -
Nylon material was patented by Wallace H. Carothers, a researcher for DuPont on this date. He also helped to produce the first synthetic rubber, Neoprene, and was instrumental in the development of synthetic silks.


Sadly, Carothers committed suicide after a long battle with depression by drinking lemon juice laced with cyanide (not a cocktail that I would recommend.)


February 16, 1959 -
Failed baseball player Fidel Castro was sworn in as President For Life of Cuba after having led the revolution that removed Fulgenico Batista. At the time, Cuba was a nation plagued by poverty, racked by corruption, and held in thrall by the military force of its leader.

During his first year of rule, 500 were put to the firing squad, an RBI record any dictator would be proud of.


February 16, 1990 -
See, when I paint, it is an experience that, at its best, is transcending reality.



Keith Haring, artist/cartoonist, died of AIDS-related complications at 31 on this date.



And so it goes


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Before you go - The word for the day

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Your mind has a lot to take in today

Today is the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia.

This was a fertility festival in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus.


It's also Nirvana Day,

no, it's not the day you wear your flannel shirts and listen to grunge music; it's the day Buddha died and achieved bliss (Parinirvana.)


Hopefully you had a very nice time yesterday.



in case you didn't have such a hot time, here's John Oliver explaining why he sets the bar so low.



OK, swipe you nose, wash you face and get back out there.


February 15, 1950 -
Walt Disney's 12th animated feature, Cinderella was premiered in Boston, Massachusetts on this date.



Walt Disney had not had a huge hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 13 years previously. The production of this film was regarded as a major gamble on his part. At a cost of nearly $3,000,000, Disney insiders claimed that if this movie had failed at the box office, it would have been the end of the Disney studio. The film was a big hit.


February 15, 1985 -
Don't you forget about me - Universal Pictures released John Hughes' film (and introduced the Brat Pack to an unsuspecting world), The Breakfast Club, starring, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy on this date.



The film was shot entirely in sequence.


February 15, 1987 -
Broadcast over the course of seven nights, Amerika, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.



This was developed in direct response to The Day After, which many right-wing conservatives claimed was left-wing propaganda.


Today in History -
Galileo Galilei
was born on February 15, 1564. He invented a telescope with which he later discovered craters on the moon, the satellites of Jupiter, and every luscious detail of the girl next door's nubile young form. Galileo's astronomical observations seemed to confirm Copernicus' theory that the Earth went around the Sun rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, Copernicus' theory was heresy and therefore not supposed to be confirmed.



The church was in a tough spot. Galileo was every bit as Bad and Heretical as Copernicus had been, but they didn't want to inspire a bunch of angry Germans to start another church, as Martin Luther's followers had not long after the church's previous brush with Astronomy.

High-ranking church officials pleaded with the astronomer: "Come on, Galileo." "Please, Galileo." "Knock it off, Galileo."

But he wouldn't stop talking about the Earth spinning around the Sun. He couldn't even be persuaded to talk about something else, such as sports, the weather, or the girl next door's nubile young form. So they threatened to kill him.



At this point Galileo remembered that the Sun actually did revolve around the Earth, and the church rewarded his improved memory by giving him free room and board for the rest of his life (a level of hospitality sometimes referred to as "house arrest".)


February 15, 1758 -



Mustard was first advertised for sale in America on this date, by Benjamin Jackson who had set up business in Globe Mills, Germantown, Philadelphia, selling mustard packed in glass bottles with his label on them.



In the Philadelphia Chronicle, he claimed to be "the original establisher of the mustard manufactory in American, and ... at present, the only manufacturer on the continent," and that he had brought the art with him from London to America.


February 15, 1882 -
You can't drown yourself in drink. I've tried, you float.



John Barrymore, noted thespian and alcoholic, was born into the bosom of his famous theatrical clan on this date.


February 15, 1898

The battleship U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana Harbor on this date, commencing a splendid little war against Spain that ends with the United States owning a colonial empire and Cuba under martial law.



The situation is immortalized in the film Citizen Kane with the lines, "You supply the prose poetry. We'll supply the war."


The first teddy bear is introduced in America by two Russian immigrants, Morris and Rose Michtom, who own a toy and novelty store in Brooklyn, New York on this date in 1903.



While bear hunting in Mississippi in 1902, President Teddy Roosevelt decided to spare the life of a bear cub which had been orphaned during the hunt. The event was the subject of a cartoon in the Washington Post seen by the Michtoms. Inspired by the cartoon, Mrs. Michtom made a toy bear which became enormously popular with the public in short order.

Now you know.


February 15, 1933 -
President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami on this date. Giuseppa Zangara, an unemployed New Jersey bricklayer from Italy, fired five pistol shots at the back of President-elect Roosevelt's head from only twenty-five feet away.



While all five rounds missed their target, each bullet found a separate victim. One of these was Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago. Gunman Giuseppe Zangara was executed a little more than four weeks later, on March 20, 1933.


February 15, 1936 -
At a speech in Berlin on this date, Hitler confronts German industry with the challenge of creating the Volkswagen.

Thus Ferdinand Porsche designed the Beetle which is now widely seen as the final solution to fahrvergnugen.


February 15, 1961 -
The U.S. figure skating team is obliterated when Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium on this date.



The crash was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 707 in regular passenger service.


February 15, 1995 -
Kevin Mitnick, at the time the most wanted computer hacker in history, was arrested in Raleigh, North Carolina for various offenses, one of which was breaking into security specialist Tsutomu Shimomura's computer on this date.



Mitnick now runs Mitnick Security Consulting, a computer security consultancy.

Kids sometimes, crimes does pay.


February 15, 2005 -
You Tube, the video-sharing website, was launched by three former PayPal employees on this date. The first video was uploaded on April 23, 2005.



I can't confirm that most videos posted on You Tube are any more interesting than the one posted above.



And so it goes.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I know of only one duty, and that is to love.

Happy Valentine's Day folk





Remember to enjoy the day and don't eat too much chocolate


For those of you not in a romantic mood today:
February 14, 1931 -
Just in time for the Valentine's Day holiday, Universal Pictures released Tod Browning's horror classic, Dracula, on this date.



Bela Lugosi was so desperate to repeat his stage success and play the Count Dracula role for the film version, that he agreed to a contract paying him $500 per week for a seven week shooting schedule, an insultingly small amount even during the days of the Depression.


Today in History:
February 14, 1400 -
... For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground / And tell sad stories of the death of kings.



King Richard II of England, who had been deposed in 1399, died mysteriously on this date.


February 14, 1779 -
English explorer Captain James Cook and some of his crew are slaughtered (and possibly eaten) by angry Hawaiian islanders, after he tried to take a Hawaiian chief hostage over a dispute regarding a stolen boat.



There was possibly a better way to get the deposit back on a boat.


February 14, 1929 -
The Capone gang killed six members of the Bugs Moran gang and one other person at the S.M.C. Cartage company in Chicago, in an event known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.



Bogus police officers were used so that it appeared to be a routine police bust. Except for all the bodies.


February 14, 1948 -
Raymond Joseph Teller (Teller) an illusionist, comedian and writer best known as the silent half of the comedy magic duo known as Penn and Teller, accomplished sleight of hand artist, painter, atheist, debunker, skeptic and Fellow of the Cato Institute was born on this date.



He legally changed his name to Teller and possesses one of the few United States passports issued in a single name.

Yeah, he can speak (you idiots.)


February 14, 1962 -
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, with her breathless voice, takes television viewers on a tour of the White House. (Haven't you always found it strange that Marylin Monroe and Jackie Kennedy basically have the same voice?)



It was estimated that hundreds of millions of people saw the program, making it the most widely viewed documentary during the genre's so-called golden age.


February 14 - 2016 -
Antonin Scalia has been dead for a year now,



yet we haven't confirmed a replacement for him.



And so it goes.


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Before you go - you may join me in giggling like a little schoolboy

Monday, February 13, 2017

You bring your knees in tight.

But it's the pelvic thrust.

They really drive you insane.


It's National Tortellini Day



And it has something to do with Venus di Milo's belly button


February 13, 1932 -
The Our Gang short, Free Eats premiered on this date. This marked the introduction of George "Spanky" McFarland to the Our Gang comedies.



He and his brother Tommy auditioned for Our Gang in the Spring of 1931, with Spanky passing a screen test easily. Tommy also appeared in many Our Gang film in bit roles.


February 13th, 1966
-
The Rolling Stones returned for their third appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on this date.







Their performances had been taped the day before.


February 13, 1972 -
Bob Fosse's
film version of the musical Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey premiered on this date.



British author Christopher Isherwood, who originated the character of Sally Bowles in his short story Goodbye to Berlin, enjoyed the attention the movie Cabaret brought to his career, but felt Liza Minnelli was too talented for the role. Sally, an amateur talent who lived under the delusion she had star quality, was, according to Isherwood, the antithesis of "Judy Garland's daughter".


Today in History:
On February 13, 1542, Henry VIII of England's Vth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery on this date.



Given the track record of Henry's other wives, one would have figured out marrying Henry was not a career with a lot of advancement possibilities.


On February 13, 1883, German composer and posthumous Hitler idol Richard Wagner, best known for writing the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now, died on this date.







Almost exactly eleven years later (February 12, 1894), Hans von Bulow, German pianist and composer, and the first husband of Wagner's wife Cosima, also died on this date.


February 13, 1945 -
An estimated 135,000 people, mostly women and children, died in the firebombing of the 13th-century city of Dresden, a revenge bombing that had no real military justification, which had begun on this date.



Kurt Vonnegut was one of just seven American prisoners of war in Dresden to survive, in an underground meatpacking cellar known as Slaughterhouse Five.


February 13, 1950 -
 ... Jacques the Monkey! Jacques the Monkey! ...





Peter Gabriel, singer, was born on this date.


February 13, 1953 -
Transsexual Christine (nee George) Jorgensen arrived in New York with much fanfare on this date.



She had had sex change operations performed in Denmark by Dr. Christian Hamburger, becoming the first successful surgical transgender. Upon return, she became a cabaret actress
.


The excess parts of George went on to become the other half of the famous East German TV Comedy Duo, Gunther and Smeckel.


February 13, 1959 -
Barbara Millicent Roberts, noted American Idol contestant, Ballerina, Fashion model, Movie producer, Movie star, Rock star, Radio City Music Hall Rockette, Aerobics instructor, Olympic gymnast, Olympic figure skater, Tennis star, WNBA basketball player, Dentist, Medical doctor, Nurse, Pediatrician, Surgeon, Veterinarian, United States Army officer,United States President, UNICEF Summit diplomat, Ambassador for world peace, Firefighter, Police officer, Canadian Mountie, Astronaut, Flight Attendant ( for both American Airlines & Pan Am ), NASCAR driver, Pilot, Cowgirl, Chef, Paleontologist, McDonald's Front Desk and Flight Attendant, etc. was introduced by Mattel in California on this date.



What have you done with your life? (There is some debate whether or not today or March 9th is actually her birthday.)


February 13, 1960-
France conducted its first nuclear test, code-named “Gerboise Bleue” (Blue Desert Rat). The day marked the beginning of a series of four atmospheric nuclear tests at the Reganne Oasis, in the Sahara Desert of Algeria.



The test also sets France on the path to building the country’s nuclear capacity, acquiring nuclear aircraft, missiles and submarines. France is happy to remind it's neighbor, Germany, that she has the bomb and Germany does not.


February 13, 1961 -
Henry Lawrence Garfield (Henry Rollins), singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, stand-up comedian, author, actor, activist and publisher, was born on this date.



And he will mess you up if you don't believe he is a sensitive soul.


February 13, 2004 -
Astronomers announced the discovery of the largest "diamond" in the universe on this date.  The diamond was actually a white dwarf star which was found to be very similar in composition to a diamond.



It was nicknamed "Lucy" after the Beatles' hit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.



And so it goes.


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Sunday, February 12, 2017

I don't remember seeing this card


A Community Chest card I've never been dealt before

I guess this is why I'm barred from visiting most petting zoos.


February 12, 1924 -
George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York on this date.



It has become one of the most popular American concert works.


On this day in 1940, Superman appeared on a radio station (a Mutual Radio station WOR in New York City) for the first time, the first time in a non-print medium.  It was the debut of the radio show called The Adventures of Superman and the episode was called "The Baby From Krypton."



We don't get to hear Superman speak though until the second episode: "Clark Kent, Reporter" (February 14, 1940.)


February 12, 1972 -
The Rev. Al Green's song, Let's Stay Together, hit no. 1 on this date.



You do not have to place your hands upon the screen when listening to the good reverend; just hearing his voice will send the healing power directly to your nether regions.


Today In History:
On February 12, 1554, The sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey, puppet Queen of England for nine days, was beheaded in the Tower of London, on this date.



Questions arose as to where to bury this semi-queen, until it was decided to place her among the beheaded former wives of Henry VIII.


Adolf Frederick was King of Sweden until he died of digestion problems on February 12, 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sour cabbage, smoked herring and champagne, which was topped off with 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla (a hot cross bun filled with cream) served in a bowl of hot milk.



He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as the king who ate himself to death.

Kids remember -  push away from the dessert tray.


February 12, 1789 -
Ethan Allen
died in a drunken sleigh accident while crossing the frozen Lake Champlain, reminiscing with friends and rye. Much of the circumstance remains a mystery.

The Spirit of Ethan Allen is Lake Champlain's largest cruise ship.

So kids remember, if you're lucky and you die while drunkenly crossing a frozen lake, you too can get a cruise ship or a line of furniture named after you.


Immanuel Kant, a real pissant, died on February 12, 1804. His last words were reportedly "It is good."



This is hard to believe, since Kant did not speak English.


It's the 208th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln, a man with only a years' worth of formal education and still became our 16th President



and Charles Darwin, the man who tried to ride a dog to the tropics and the uncle of most monkeys.



Go try preserving a union and question people's fundamental religious beliefs in their honor.


On February 12, 1894, Hans von Bulow died, (yes, Klaus is related to him).

He was a popular pianist and composer, and the husband of composer Franz Liszt's daughter, Cosima, who screwed around behind Hans' back and ultimately left him for Richard Wagner, (more about him tomorrow)


Emperor Pu Yi of China's Manchu dynasty abdicated on February 12, 1912, allowing the establishment of a provisional republic under Sun Yat-sen, eventually causing Red China.



And the making of a fine movie.


February 12, 1912 -
With pilot Frank Coffyn flying the plane, American Press Association photographer Adrien C. Duff, shot the first ever film of New York City from overhead on this date



By doing so, this made Duff the very first airplane passenger over New York Harbor. Mr Duff spent the next 10 years getting a full body cavity search from the TSA.


February 12, 1935 -
The 785-foot USS Macon, the last US Navy dirigible (ZRS-5), crashed on its 55th flight off the coast of California. After takeoff from Point Sur, California, a gust of wind tore off the ship's upper fin, deflating its gas cells and causing the ship to fall into the sea. Two of Macon 's 83 crewmen died in the accident.



The U.S. Navy lost the airships Shenandoah in 1925 and Akron in 1933. Some considered airships too dangerous for the program to continue at that point, and work on them in the United States was halted temporarily.


February 12, 1967 -
Police in London arrest Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull on this date, after they discover amphetamine pills, cannabis resin, and Marianne scandalously naked but for a fur rug. (There has been rumors for years that either Paul McCarthy or George Harrison were at the party and were allowed to leave before the arrest were made - they were MBE's and it would have been awkward to arrest them at the time.)

The two Rolling Stones received jail sentences which were successfully appealed.

Questions still persist - where exactly was that Mars Bar anyway?


February 12, 1976 -
Sal Mineo, film and theater actor, was stabbed to death in Los Angeles while coming home from a play rehearsal on this date.



A pizza deliveryman, Lionel Ray Williams, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 57 years in prison for killing Mineo and for committing 10 robberies in the same area.


February 12, 2004 -
After 43 years together, Barbie and Ken, shocked the nation when they announced that they were breaking up on this date.



The couple had met on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961.

Don't worry, those crazy kids have patched things up and they're still going strong.



And so it goes.


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Saturday, February 11, 2017

BTW - Peppermint Patty's real name is Patricia Reichardt.

We should wish George Washington, a very happy birthday,

but they've moved his birthday a couple of times and he's quite dead -  so why bother


Today is the Yuan Xiao festival, also called Lantern Festival. This is the 15th day of the Lunar Festival; it marks the end of the New Year celebrations.



There is a story about the Lantern Festival. A beautiful heavenly bird flew down a village and was killed. The God of Heaven was very angry and wanted to burn down the entire village on the 15th lunar day. One wise guy advised every family hang candle lanterns around the house, carried lantern on the street, burn fire outside to explode the firecracker at the 15th lunar night. The soldiers of the God of Heaven saw the village was on fire from the heaven, and returned back to the heaven. The village survived and people keep the lantern activity on this day every year.


It's also Peppermint Patty Day - No, not this one

This one



It's minty chocolatey goodness.


February 11, 1962 -
Sheryl Suzanne Crow, singer-songwriter, musician and Michael Jackson backup singer survivor, was born on this date.





When sending birthday wishes, don' t bring up any of her exes.


February 11, 1969 -
The former lady of the perpetual bad relationship, Jennifer Aniston, now happily wed, was born on this date.





Jennifer deserves to be well and happy (Greek girls always have a special place in my heart.)


February 11, 1975 -
One of the most iconic films of the 70s, Shampoo, directed by Hal Ashby, written by Robert Towne and starring Warren Beatty was released on this date.



The lead character was based on actual hairdresser Jay Sebring and Jon Peters.


Today in History:
On February 11, 1573, Francis Drake saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time on this date, and this is noteworthy, since 100's of thousands of West Coast living indigenous Native Americans saw it before they went to bed the night before.

And he still had time to create those delicious little cakes.


February 11, 1650 -
Rene Descartes, mathematician, drunken fart and philosopher best known for his statement "I think therefore I am", stops thinking on this date.



Queen Christina of Sweden (remember - the boy queen - see December 18 ) persuaded Descartes to come to Stockholm. On this date, after only a few months in that cold climate, he died of pneumonia.

Kids let this be a lesson to you - never accept an invitation from transvestite royalty.


Friedrich Ebert was elected the first president of the German Republic on February 11, 1919.

President Ebert brought about the Weimar constitution that eventually resulted in Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

I bet he didn't see that coming.


February 11, 1929 -
The Lateran Treaty was signed on this date - Mussolini granted recognition to the Vatican in return for their support of his fascist dictatorship.

Kids, here's another lesson for you - entering a treaty with balding dictators can never lead to anything good.


February 11, 1936
-
It's Burt Reynolds' birthday. He's not the one who squealed like a pig in Deliverance (what he does in his private life is none of my concern.)



Burt should have charged for all those mustache rides; he wouldn't have been in such financial straits.


February 11, 1938 -
BBC Television produces the world's first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Capek play R.U.R., which coined the term robot.

The show was a thirty-five-minute adaptation of a section of the play, performed live from the BBC's Alexandra Palace studios. The BBC had no professional facility for recording programs in those pre-war days, so save a few on-set publicity photographs and reviews in the press, all records of this production are lost.


February 11, 1960 -
Jack Paar, temperament host of the Tonight Show, in a fit of pique, walks off his TV show when he is not allowed to tell a very lame joke about W.C. 's on this date.



Yes Jack, there is a better way to make a living than this, nowadays, you would be allowed to broadcast live while you are getting a colonoscopy.


February 11, 1963 -
American writer Sylvia Plath, committed suicide by asphyxiation from a gas stove (sticking her head in the oven) in London after her husband, English poet Ted Hughes, left her for another woman.



Assia Wevill, the woman for whom Hughes left Plath committed suicide 6 years later.


February 11, 1979 -
Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power in Iran, nine days after the religious leader returned to his home country following 15 years of exile on this date.



But 43 million people in the US try to seek salvation by watching Elvis! on ABC-TV on this date.



Most do not find it because they forgot to place one hand on the TV screen and the other hand upon their damp nether regions.

When will the damned ever learn!


February 11, 1986 -
Frank Herbert, author of Dune, died from pancreatic cancer on this date.



If only he had access to the spice Melange.


February 11, 1990 -
Nelson Mandela, a political prisoner for 27 years, was freed from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa on this date.



In April 1994, he was elected president in the first all-race elections.  If only he had access to the spice Melange years earlier.


February 11,  2006 -
Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot Harry Whittington, a major Texas Republican insider, in the face while bird hunting on this date.



Almost immediately after being released from the hospital, a shaken Whittington, apologizes to the Vice President for getting in his line of fire. After this event, no one in Washington D.C. messed with Dick Cheney.




And so it goes.


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