Tuesday, March 6, 2018

What he did to Shakespeare we are now doing to Poland

March 6, 1942 -
Ernst Lubitsch World War II comedy, To Be or Not to Be, starring Jack Benny, Carole Lombard and Robert Stack premiered on this date.

When war breaks out in Poland there's a scene where grave stones are destroyed by the bombing by the German forces. One of the grave stone that is shattered has the name "Benjamin Kubelsky" which is Jack Benny's birth name.

March 6, 1998 -
The Coen Bros. off-kilter take on a Raymond Chandler detective story, The Big Lebowski, opened on this date.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, John Goodman stated that The Dude referring to The Big Lebowski as a "human paraquat" was one of the only improvised lines to make it into the final film. Virtually every other line, including every 'man' and 'dude,' was scripted.

March 6, 2009 –
Zack Snyder's
version of the seemingly unfilmable graphic novel, Watchmen, starring Malin Ã…kerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Patrick Wilson, premiered on this date.

The phrases "Who will watch the Watchmen?" was written by the Roman poet Juvenal. The original Latin phrase is "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" and is about trying to guard a woman from committing immoral and dubious behavior when the guards themselves could be corrupted by the woman they are guarding.

Today's moment of zen

Today in History:
Michelangelo Buonarotti was born on this date in 1475. He painted and sculpted so much that it began to become embarrassing for other people, so they finally decided it was time to stop procrastinating and start the Renaissance.

 So they did.

On March 6, 1619, Cyrano de Bergerac was born. Mr. de Bergerac was a brilliant French satirist and playwright, a rapier wit, and, from all contemporary accounts, an accomplished musician, an enthralling conversationalist, and a charming ladies' man.

He was unfortunately best known for his nose.

Dr. John Greenwood, George Washington's personal dentist, constructed the first 'dental foot engine' on this date in 1790.

He adapts his mother’s foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.

March 6, 1836 -
... Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

The Alamo was seized by General Santa Ana - 3,000 versus 147, it wasn't much of a fair fight. The holdouts suffered unnecessary deaths, disobeying direct orders by remaining, and losing their arms and cannon to the Mexicans.  Davy - Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Trapper, Explorer, State Legislator, Congressman was one of the last holdouts to die on this day.

(The Mexican army managed to lose over 600 men.) 

Remember the Alamo.

March 6, 1857 -      
After years in litigation, the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Roger Taney, ruled that Dred Scott did not gain his freedom by living in a free territory. Taney wrote that African Americans could not have rights of their own and inferior to white people.

The essence of the decision was that as a slave, Dred Scott was not a citizen and therefore could not sue in a federal court. The opinion also stated that Congress could not exclude slavery in the territories and that blacks could not become citizens. In 2017 Charles Taney IV apologized to the family of Dred Scott for the words of his great-great-grand-uncle.

March 6, 1869 -
Dmitri Mendeleev
presented the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society on this date in a presentation entitled “The Dependence between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements”. He left gaps in his charts and predicted the addition of three more elements in the near future.

Mendeleev's predictions were right, and he is credited with writing the first periodic table.

March 6, 1899 -
Friedrich Bayer and Co. patented their eponymous painkiller, Bayer aspirin in Berlin on this day. The main ingredient of aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, had been used since ancient times, though Bayer's company was the first to offer it in a convenient and stable pill form.

It quickly gained popularity, and at one time was the most used painkiller in the world.

March 6, 1912 -
National Biscuit Company's (Nabisco) Oreo® cookies went on sale for the first time on this date.

The brand's competitor, Sunshine's Hydrox®, had debuted in 1908. (Hydrox has up until recently, completely disappeared as a brand but secretly exists as 'cookie crumbs' for yogurt flavorings and an ingredient in piecrust.)

March 6, 1918 -
In January 1918, US naval collier (a ship that transports,) Cyclops was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and sailed to Brazilian waters to fuel British ships in the South Atlantic.

It put to sea from Rio de Janeiro on February 16, 1918, and after touching at Barbados on March 3 and 4, was never heard from again. The loss of the ship without a trace is one of the sea's unsolved mysteries.

March 6, 1950 -
Silly Putty was introduced as a toy by Peter Hodgson, a marketing consultant, who packaged one-ounce portions of the rubber-like material in plastic eggs, on this date. It could be stretched, rolled into a bouncing ball, or used to transfer colored ink from newsprint.

The original discovery was made in 1943 by James Wright who combined silicone oil and boric acid in the laboratories of General Electric. He was researching methods of making synthetic rubber, but at the time no significant application existed for the material. However, it was passed around as a curiosity.

Hodgson saw a sample and realized its potential simply for entertainment and coined its name for marketing it as a toy. Its popularity made him a millionaire.

March 6, 1965 -
... You better beat it - I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff.

Daisy Juliette Baker, Groucho's favorite comic foil, died on this date.

Groucho was often cruel to her on-screen but when the cameras stopped rolling, he had nothing but nice things to say about Margaret Dummont, calling her a “wonderful woman.”

March 6, 1970 -
In Greenwich Village, a townhouse at 18 West 11th St. exploded on this date. SDS Weathermen members Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robbins were killed at the site where a bomb was being manufactured.

Other members went underground and became known as the Weather Underground.

March 6, 1970 -
The Beatles released Let it Be in the UK on this date. Paul McCartney wrote this song supposedly after he had a dream about his mother who died when he was 14.

Since Let It Be was The Beatles last album, it made an appropriate statement about leaving problems behind and moving on in life. John Lennon hated the song because of it's apparent Christian overtones. He made the comment before recording it, "And now we'd like to do Hark The Angels Come."

The Beatles were so busy arguing with each other that Aretha Franklin was able to release a cover version of the song on her album This Girl's In Love With You (as well as Eleanor Rigby), before The Beatles version came out.

March 6, 1981 -
After 19 years presenting the CBS Evening News, Uncle Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, signs off for the last time.

Now in the age of Trump, once again we must ask, who will carry that weight now?

And so it goes.


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