Monday, April 2, 2018

Good Bar Bet

Nantucket had no squirrels on the island until 1989. Squirrels weren't indigenous to the island of Nantucket.

A truck carrying firewood in 1989 took the ferry to the island, and some squirrels hitched a ride on that truck on that day. The island is filled with hearty beech tree nuts for the squirrels to eat and thrive. 

Today is Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Legend has it that American soldiers in World War II mixed their rations of peanut butter and jelly to make a new treat. When they returned sales of peanut butter and jelly soared. Everyone was soon making PBJ sandwiches.

Enjoy every sandwich kids.

On this day, April 2, 1902, Tally’s Electric Theatre was established in downtown Los Angeles as the first theater built only for motion pictures.

Moving pictures had been seen in France and other parts of the U.S., but the Electric Theatre was the only theatre dedicated to showing moving pictures exclusively.

April 2, 1942 -
One of the (in)famous 'censored' Looney Tunes, Any Bonds Today?, was released on this date.

This movie stands as a testament to the rapid rise in popularity of Bugs Bunny. Only a year and a half earlier, Bugs had been introduced to the public in A Wild Hare and already the Treasury Department had commissioned a special Bugs film to sell war bonds.

April 2, 1948 -
I Taw a Putty Tat, another classic Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, premiered on this date.

Look for the first appearance of Hector the Bulldog.

April 2, 1968 -
Stanley Kubrick's influential science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, premiered in Washington D.C. on this date.

The movie was not a financial success during the first weeks of its theatrical run. MGM was already planning to pull it back from theaters, when they were persuaded by several theatre owners to keep showing the film. Many theater owners had observed increasing numbers of young adults attending the film, who were especially enthusiastic about watching the 'Star Gate' sequence under the influence of psychotropic drugs. This helped the film to become a financial success in the end, despite the many negative reactions it received in the beginning.

Pink Floyd was at one point approached to perform music for the film. However they turned it down due to other commitments. Yet they retain a connection with the film: much like The Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon, it is said that Pink Floyd's song Echoes from the album Meddle can be perfectly synchronized with the Jupiter & Beyond the Infinite section of the film.

You figure out how much dope you have to smoke in order to make that work out.

April 2, 1971 -
The last episode of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired on ABC-TV, was shown on this date.

The series premiered on June 27, 1966 and ran for 1,225 episodes.

April 2, 1978  -
The popular series Dallas premiered on CBS-TV as a five week mini-series, on this date.

Most of the cast wore their own clothes during the pilot episode and subsequent installments of the first season instead of clothing from the studio wardrobe department.

of the Day

Today in History
Back in the eighth century, countries had not yet been formally invented. That part of western Europe known today as France was simply called Frankland. This helped distinguish it from neighboring areas, such as Georgeland to the north and Hansland to the east. The Franks had allowed themselves to be ruled for several generations by the Merovingians. The Franks hoped that the Merovingians would someday make them a country, preferably France.

Unfortunately the Merovingians had names like Merowig, Dagobert and Childeric, and were therefore unlikely to produce a serious nation, such as France, but more likely Luxembourg or Liechtenstein.

Working directly beneath the kings of the Merovingian line, however, was a family that had been increasing its power and influence in the Frankish court for several generations. These were the descendants of Arnulf, and they were much more serious than the flaky Merovingians.

The Arnulfians were all named either Pepin or Charles, and they all served as Mayors of the Palace. It wasn’t much of a title, but it let them siphon power from the Merovingians until the kings had no power left at all.

The last Merovingian king was Childeric III. When he realized he was finally powerless, that the office of the palace mayor had usurped all the power of the monarchy, he became upset and refused to trim his whiskers.

He was shaved, and sent off to live in a monastery.

The first Arnulfian king was Pepin the Short, son of Charles "the Hammer" Martel, son of Pepin the Easily Confused. Pepin the Short had two sons, Charles and Carloman. The boys were too young to have acquired official nicknames, but were almost certainly referred to affectionately as Chuckie and Carlo, possibly in that order.

King Pepin got the Pope’s approval to be king, and immediately afterward began exterminating Saracens. This was a favorite recreation of European royalty at the time. History is ambiguous about these so-called Saracens, who afflicted southern and eastern Europe during this period. They may have been an aggressive species of deer, fierce carnivorous birds, or even swarms of disease-carrying rodents. Some historians call them "Mussel-men"--presumably half-mussel, half-man: such a monster is too terrible to imagine, especially if you like seafood. We know only that it was necessary to kill them, and that Pepin did this admirably.

Finally he died.

Chuckie and Carlo divided the Frankland between them until Carlo died, at which point Chuckie became king of everything.

It seemed inappropriate to call him Chuckie from that point forward, and so he came to be known as Big Chuck. As he got older, he became Charles the Great, and eventually, of course, he turned out to be Charlemagne.

He conquered a lot of territory, killed a lot of Saracens, and is often credited with the invention of France, or at least something that closely resembled it.

He was born on April 2. I forgot to mention that.

April 2, 1513 -
Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed on the coast of Florida on this day looking for the fabled "Fountain of Youth," (Fountains of Wayne hadn't formed as a group yet, so tickets would not have been on sale.)

The Captain exclaimed that he had discovered a new land and claimed it for Spain.  This annoyed the native population almost immediately and Leon and his explorers made a hasty retreat to Cuba, though the territory remained officially the property of Spain until the 1800s.

April 2, 1917 -
The world must be made safe for democracy

101 years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson, delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress and recommended that a state of war be declared between the United States and the imperial German government.

Congress granted the request four days later, and the US entered World War I. Luckily, Mr. Wilson hadn't had his debilitating stroke yet - Mrs. Wilson was still working on throwing her voice.

And so it goes .


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