Sunday, June 30, 2019

It could go on all day!

Remember that today's NYC Gay Pride parade, (the 50th annual one - the city is hosting WorldPride, a massive, monthlong celebration of the LGTBQ community around the globe,) making it's way in some direction (they've changed the route yet again) this afternoon, actually commemorates the Stonewall riots, which launched the gay-rights movement.


Last year's parade had more than 550 organizations participating, and it’s likely to be even bigger this year,  drawing approximately 2.5 million spectators, all in recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those lost to illness, violence and neglect. Again this year WABC NY will be covering the parade live from Noon until 4 PM. It should be a beautiful day today and I understand the parade may run an unprecedented nine hours.



And do not forget the fireworks over the Hudson River.


Today is National Ice Cream Soda day. Remember to pour the soda over the ice cream (you get a thicker ice cream soda foam.)



If you added a little Kahlua in first, even better.

(Everything ain't for the kids folks.)


June 30, 1972 -
The sci-fi film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the third sequel in the Planet of the  Apes oeuvre, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Roddy McDowall, was released in U.S. theatres on this date.



The film is the most violent film of the Planet of the Apes film series: 59 people are killed in the film. This is the only film from the original Planet of the Apes series of five films, that was not rated G, and the only entry released without a pre-title sequence. Reason: the opening was deemed too violent, and the producers wanted to avoid an R rating. The opening showed police on night patrol shooting an escaped ape and discovering his body covered with welts and bruises that are evidence of severe abuse. (Governor Breck and MacDonald refer to this incident in a scene that survived the final cut.) That and many other bloody images were deleted after a pre-release print was shown to a preview audience. The opening scene appears in the novelization and the comic book adaptation of the movie. On November, 2008, the Blu-Ray unrated version restored many of those graphic scenes, but not the pre-credit opening.

(To celebrate, the world added a leap second to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) time  system for the first time.)


June 30, 1989 -
One of Spike Lee's big early films, Do The Right Thing, went into limited release in the US on this date.



In the original scripted ending, Sal and Mookie reconcile. Sal, although upset, tells Mookie that he understands that Mookie had to do the right thing. Spike Lee changed the ending during filming, and has never explained why.


June 30, 1995 -
Ron Howards'
film about the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission bound for the moon, Apollo 13, premiered on this date.



Over the course of lunch with his idol Billy Wilder, Ron Howard has said that he was thrilled to learn that Wilder deemed this movie to be Howard's best work as a director  because it was about a guy who did NOT realize his dream, and that's what made it so remarkable.


June 30, 2006 –
The 20th Century Fox
comedy, The Devil Wears Prada, starring (the lousy actress) Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci and Adrian Grenier,  premiered on this date.



On the first day of filming, Meryl Streep told Anne Hathaway, "I think you're perfect for the role. I'm so happy we're going to be working together." Then she paused and followed it up with, "That's the last nice thing I'll say to you." And it was.


I'm heading to the beach next week ...


Today in History:
June 30, 1520
-
... And as the gloom begins to fall ...

After witnessing the murder of Montezuma II (or committing the murders themselves,) the Conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes, did what any red-blooded Spaniard would do and looted Tenochtitlan, the ancient Mexican capital of the Aztec empire on this date. The retreating Spaniards were attacked by an angry Aztec mob. Tied down by armor and treasure, they are no match for the natives and nearly half of Hernan Cortes' men lose their lives.


June 30, 1837 -
England outlawed the use of the pillory on this date.

That still left the British Navy the three things they loved the most - the lash, sodomy and rum.


June 30, 1859 -
Charles Blondin
(Jean Fran├žois Gravelet,) a French acrobat became the first person to walk  across Niagara Falls on a tightrope on this date. Blondin walked a 1,100 feet long rope  that was 160 feet above the water.



The entire walk from bank to bank to bank took 23 minutes, and Blondin immediately announced an encore performance to take place on the Fourth of July (which he gave and survived.)


June 30, 1882 -
Charles Guiteau
, the assassin of President Garfield, was hanged on this date.



Tickets for the event went for as much as $300. Proving once again, give the people what  they want and they'll show up.


June 30, 1894 -
Under a cloudless sky and as part of a pageant which delighted tens of thousands of people, the new Tower-Bridge, which deserves to be reckoned among the greatest engineering triumphs  of the Victorian age, was declared open for traffic by land and water... - The Times of  London,  July 2, 1894



One of London's most iconic symbols, The Tower Bridge was officially opened on this date by The Prince of Wales (Teddy, the future King Edward VII, took time out of his unofficial  profession of Royal Whore Monger, to officiate on this date.)


June 30, 1908 -
An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia on this date, incinerated some 300 sq. km. that encircled the impact of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. It flattened  some 40,000 trees over 900 sq. miles and caused damage equivalent to a 15-megaton hydrogen  bomb.



The explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 30-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away, is believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling  fragment from a meteorite.


June 30, 1934 -
Acting on behalf of the Fuhrer, SS troops around Germany arrested hundreds of loyal SA stormtroopers under the charge of treason in order to eliminate the group.



One squad descends on a Bavarian resort, where it interrupts a contingent of SA men engaged  in homosexual festivities. Lieutenant Edmund Heines was caught in bed with a teenaged boy, and shot to death on the spot. The rest were taken into custody. Hitler sacrificed Ernst  Rohm (his pal and head of the SA stormtroopers) rather than lose the support of the  military. He personally confronted Rohm in a jail cell and left a single shot pistol in the cell. Ten minutes later, Rohm had killed himself (unless he didn't, in which case, he was  executed at point blank range by Hitler's goons - reports are sketchy.)



Nobody ruins a good sodomy and lederhosen party in like Hitler's goons.


June 30, 1936 -
It's the 83rd anniversary of publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind on this date.



Despite spending 10 years of her life working on the tome, Mitchell didn’t really have much  intention of publishing it. When a “friend” heard that she was considering writing a book  (though in fact, it had been written), she said something to the effect of, “Imagine, you writing a book!” Annoyed, Mitchell took her massive manuscript to a Macmillan editor the  next day. She later regretted the act and sent the editor a telegram saying, “Have changed  my mind. Send manuscript back.



It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews -- "Gone With the Wind is very  possibly the greatest American novel," said Publisher's Weekly -- that it was certain to  sell, though few predicted the sustained, record-breaking numbers. Though she had been  eager and active for her fame, Mitchell too was caught off guard.


June 30, 1953 -
The first Corvette rolled off the production line on this date.  The car only came in white  with a black top and red interior. Optional features included a curtain instead of roll-up  windows and interior door handles.



300 cars were made the first year and sold for $3,498.


Tomorrow is Canada Day, and ACME, in an effort to fulfill its legal obligation to broadcast  a quota of Canadian content, er... I mean, to honor our sister of the north:

June 30, 1987 -
The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, affectionately known as the Loonie, on this date.



It bears images of a common loon, a bird which is common and well known in Canada, on the  reverse, and of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. It is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint at its facility in Winnipeg.

And now you know.


June 30, 1997 -
Hong Kong
was acquired by Britain in 1842, when it was ceded in perpetuity by China as a base for Britain's trading ventures. Under the First Convention of Peking, signed in 1860,  the tip of the Kowloon peninsula and Stonecutters' Island were ceded to Britain.

In 1898, China granted Britain a 99-year lease for a much larger stretch of land north of Kowloon and a large number of islands, known collectively as the New Territories. The lease ran out on this date, in 1997. The handover ceremony occurred on the following day. Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC.

(I haven't mentioned Mr. Teeny as of late (he gets moody when we get ready to leave for our early July vacation) and he likes to relax with a bowl or two of beef chow mein.

He has asked me to refrain from insulting the Chinese for the time being. Take it from me, you don't want to try to reason with an edgy chain smoking monkey.)



And so it goes.


571

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Where does the time go?

There are 185 days left in 2018



Therefore, there are 179 day until Christmas.


June 29, 1940 -
According to the Batman Canon: two gangsters working for Tony Zucco rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons, leaving their son Dick (Robin) an orphan on this date.



Lucky for Dick, a rugged virile older man, Bruce Wayne was there to give him the care and attention a strapping young man in snug fitting swimming trunks and tights needs.


June 29, 1968 -
Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me by Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) peaks at #17 on this date.



Proof positive, people did massive amounts of drugs in the '60s.


June 29, 1979 -
United Artists releases the eleventh film in the James Bond franchise, Moonraker, directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Roger Moore in his fourth outing as James Bond, in the US on this date.



The cost for this movie was $30 million, nearly as much as the first 8 films combined.


June 29, 1984 -
One of the original gross out comedies of the 80s, Bachelor Party, opened on this date.



Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, and Tim Robbins were considered for the role of Rick. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was considered for the role of Debbie.


June 29, 1988 -
The John Landis blockbuster film, Coming To America, starring  Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos and a plethora of stars in funny cameo roles, opened on this date.



The "McDowell's" restaurant was actually a Wendy's on Queens Boulevard that was scheduled to be closed for a complete renovation. Although the production had approval from McDonald's corporate headquarters, they apparently didn't pass the word down to their local outlets. On the day the "McDowell's" sign was erected, the manager of the McDonald's 1/2 mile further up the road arrived with his lawyer, and proceeded to take photographs while telling the set dressing crew they were going to be sued for everything they were worth.


June 29, 2007 -
Brad Bird's brilliant film, Ratatouille, starring the voice work of Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, and Brian Dennehy premiered in the US on this date.



Anthony Bourdain's favorite food-centric movie. Bourdain said, "They got the food, the reactions to food, and tiny details to food really right, down to the barely noticeable pink burns on one of the character's forearms. I really thought it captured a passionate love of food in a way that very few other films have."



Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour today


Today in History:
June 29, 1613 -
The Globe Theater, William Shakespeare's original theatrical venue, burns to the ground on this date. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man who put out his burning breeches with a bottle of ale.



It must have not been a very good bottle of ale.


Canada Day is soon upon bunkies, so here's some history about our neighbor to the north -
June 29, 1864 -
The worst railway disaster in Canada's history killed 99 people and injured 100 more on this date, when a train, which had been carrying many German and Polish immigrants, failed to stop at an open bridge (the Beloeil Bridge) and plunged into the the Richelieu River near Quebec.

The engineer, who was new to his job, claimed that he did not see the signal. The St-Hilaire train disaster is still considered Canada's worst train crash in history.


June 29, 1967 -
Actress Jayne Mansfield may or may not have been decapitated in a car crash, when her convertible collides with a parked tractor-trailer. To downplay the supposed gruesome death, sources spread the falsehood that only her wig flew off in the accident.



Her three children survived in the back seat of the 1966 Buick Electra. Daughter Mariska Hargitay was 3 years old at the time and began her film career at 19.

Don't forget to check out our tribute to Ms. Mansfield on our other site.


June 29, 1971 -
When Soyuz 11 disengaged from the Salyut space station, cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev were killed by a faulty pressurization valve on this date.



All the oxygen leaks out of the Soyuz cabin before Patsayev could close the valve by hand, and the crew was asphyxiated.

I hate when that happens.


June 29, 1978 -
The body of Bob Crane was discovered in bed with an electric cord wrapped around his neck and his head smashed in, on this date.



When Scottsdale police searched the apartment belonging to the former star of television's Hogan's Heroes, they discovered a video camera and a large library of amateur porn starring Crane and a parade of random women. (Parade of Random Women - still a great name for an indie band.) No one has every been convicted of his murder.


June 29, 1992 -
Mohammed Boudiaf was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards less than six months after becoming President of Algeria. A former hero in the war of independence, Boudiaf had been chosen by the Islamic Salvation Front to serve as figurehead for their regime. More than 100,000 Algerians would later die in political bloodshed in the following decade.

(Please note - this was probably not a good business motto to choice a protection agency - we will not kill you within the first six months or your money back.)



And so it goes


572

Friday, June 28, 2019

Today is Paul Bunyan Day.

Paul Bunyan is a larger-than-life folk hero who embodies frontier vitality. He is a symbol of might, the willingness to work hard, and the resolve to overcome all obstacles.



He was popularized by newspapermen across the country in 1910 and has been a part of the American culture ever since.


June 28, 1944 -
Universal Pictures released Robert Siodmak's obscure film noir, Christmas Holiday starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, on this date.



Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz changed the setting from a Paris brothel to a nightclub in New Orleans and the main character was changed from a prostitute to a more ambiguous nightclub singer and hostess, when adapting the 1939 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, due to the Hays Code.


June 28, 1951 -
A TV version of the popular radio program Amos 'N' Andy premiered on CBS on this date.



Although criticized for racial stereotyping, it was the first network TV series to feature an all-black cast.  I'm ambivalent about embedded the episode, but it's out there on the internet.



If you have the time, watch the interview posted above so you can understand what the show is about.


June 28, 1956 -
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, The King and I premiered in New York City, on this date.



Yul Brynner is the only actor to have played a lead role in a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II production both on the stage and on the screen, winning a Tony and an Oscar, respectively.


June 28, 1985 -
Hard to believe now but Hollywood employed some of the Brat Pack again when Joel Schumacher's St. Elmos's Fire, starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham, premiered on this date.



Director Joel Schumacher saw Demi Moore walk down the hallway in his office's building and asked a colleague to run after her and find out if she was an actress. Schumacher's production office at the time was in the same place as that of John Hughes' office where Moore had just been visiting regarding a casting call.


It's been a long week; I need my 5 pm


Today in History:
June 28, 1778
-
It was a hot day in New Jersey on this date. Temperatures reportedly reached 96 degrees in the shade. Possibly invented historical character, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, "Molly Pitcher," wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, N.J. and, supposedly, took her husband's place at his cannon after he was overcome with heat.



According to myth she was presented to General George Washington after the battle.


June 28, 1820 -
Robert Gibbon Johnson proved that tomatoes were not poisonous when he ate two homegrown tomatoes in front of a horrified crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey.



At the time in the US, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous because of their relationship with some wild plants of the nightshade family that produce toxic berries.

This is what passed for entertainment in New Jersey - the current democratic machine of southern New Jersey hadn't been formed yet.


June 28, 1902 -
Today is the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)



At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.



Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago. And as stated previously, it is widely rumored (but hotly denied) pug ugly transvestite FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, ordered Dillinger's well-endowed member detached from his corpse and pickled, for his private files.



His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.



And I have no idea if Hoover did with his trophy.


Jun 28 1905 -
At 5:30 a.m. on this date, a murderer named Henri Languille lost his head on the guillotine in Orleans. Dr. Jacques Beaurieux, an official witness to the execution, picks up the freshly-severed head of Languille just after it drops into the guillotine basket (don't worry, he's an official - the French just don't let anybody pick up freshly severed heads) and shouts the man's name three times. According to the doctor's report: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. ... I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me."

Again, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the French they are a funny race.


June 28 1914 -
Archduck Franz Ferdinand was having an extremely bad day.

He was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)



During their tour, Nedjelko Cabrinovic tosses a grenade into the automobile carrying Archduck Franz Ferdinand and wife Sofia. But Ferdinand knocks the bomb away with his arm and his driver speeds away from the would-be assassin. The driver was naturally addled and the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road (and as most men know this is a no-no - if you are lost, never ask for directions). The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"



The boy was Gavrilo Princip and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the Second World War.



Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:



Happy Birthday Mel Brooks



I'm so happy to once again note that it's always a good day to know that Mel is still around.


June 28, 1969 -
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia run bar in Greenwich Village, the gay community fought back against routine police harassment that persecuted sexual minorities. Police raided the bar this time because it had refused to pay an increase in bribery. This incident is regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for the LGBT community.



34 years later, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, struck down a Texas sodomy law and proclaimed that gay Americans have a right to private sexual relations. 44 years later (on June 26, 2013) the Supreme Court overturned DOMA and just two years after that, the court legalized marriage for same-sex couples, nationwide.


June 28, 1975 -
Rod Serling (b.1924), iconoclastic writer and director of the TV series Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, died on this date.



Serling, a decorated World War II veteran suffered from PTSD and insomnia throughout his life.  His wartime experiences led him to become an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.


June 28 1997 -
Mike Tyson was disqualified from a championship boxing bout after biting off a large portion of Evander Holyfield's ear.



Tyson was later banned from boxing and fined $3 million for the incident.

Yeah, it tastes like chicken.



And so it goes

And on a personal note: Happy Birthday Angie


573


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Astounding! Phenomenal! Adventure without precedent ...

June 27, 1949 -
Guardian of the Safety of the World, private citizen-scientist Captain Video and his Video Ranger's, premiered on the Dumont Network on this date.



Captain Video was an agent of, and worked for, the Solar Council of the Interplanetary Alliance.


June 27, 1957 -
... You're a cookie full of arsenic.

The brilliant film-noir, Sweet Smell of Success, partially based on columnist Walter Winchell starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis was released on this date.



After writer Ernest Lehman withdrew from the project because of a stomach problem, much to the chagrin of producer/star Lancaster, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster hired Clifford Odets for rewrites. The noteworthy writer reconstructed every scene. As soon as he had finished writing a scene in his hotel room, it was rushed to the location for Alexander Mackendrick to shoot.


June 27, 1966 -
The first broadcast of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV on this date.



For more than a year and a half the characters of Dark Shadows used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.


June 27, 1973 -
Roger Moore stepped into the role of James Bond with Live and Let Die, released in the US on this date.



Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz dabbled with tarot cards to familiarize himself with the art. He took them to a party and performed tarot readings on the guests. At that party, Michael Caine and his then-girlfriend attended, and he used his tarot cards to predict the two would be married. The two married and Mankiewicz said in his autobiography that for years afterwards, Michael's wife, Shakira Caine, was convinced he had special powers


June 27, 1997 -
Paramount Pictures backed John Woo effort to create a film with more hammier acting that William Shatner/ Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when it put Face/Off, starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, and Gina Gershon into general release on this date.



Nicolas Cage and John Travolta spent two weeks together before filming to learn how to play each other. They decided on specific gestures and vocal cadences for each character that could be mimicked.


June 27, 2008 -
The Disney/ Pixer Academy Award winning animation film, WALL-E went into general release on this date.



This was the first Pixar film to be nominated for 6 Academy Awards. This ties it with the only other animated film to garner this many nominations: Beauty and the Beast.


A word to the wise


Today in History:
June 27, 363 -
The Roman Emperor Julian died on this date from grievous wounds he sustained in battle.

With his death, so ended the revival of Paganism (and state sanctioned, rigorous devotion to sodomy) in Rome.



I believe this is the third day in a row I got to reference sodomy.  (I continue to scare the children and horses in the street but as long as I do it in the privacy of my own home, it's not illegal.)


June 27 1844 -
Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, were shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois.

According to church legend, after Smith was shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but was thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven. God was having an off day and the thunderbolt was meant to fry Smith's body to a crisp.


Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill (born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859) an authority on Negro spirituals and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

Music publisher Warner/Chappell will no longer be allowed to collect licensing royalties on those who sing "Happy Birthday" in public and had pay back $14 million to those who have paid for licensing in the past.

You no longer have to substitute any of the following for our purposes under "Fair Use".



June 27, 1905 -
Sailors from the Battleship Potemkin start a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, on this date, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.



Sergei Eisenstein, wacky Russian film director, thought he could make a summer comedy from the subject matter.



He unfortunately had no sense of humor and went on to create the classic silent film, The Battleship Potemkin, in spite of himself.


It's Bob Keeshan's birthday.



If you're of a certain age, you remember him very well.


June 27, 1928 -
Sylvia Beach invited James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald to dinner at her apartment over her Paris Bookstore Shakespeare and Company on this date. Fitzgerald became drunk (which is like stating, the sun rose this morning). He said he was such a fan of Joyce's that he would throw himself out the window to prove it.

Neither writer was having much success. Fitzgerald had just published The Great Gatsby and it had not been selling well. Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be published outside of Paris for another five years. Both men died 13 years later, less than a month apart, with no money and very few readers.

Such are the vagaries of life.


June 27, 1964 -
Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman (the woman who learned love at the hands of Ernest Borgnine) were married on this date.




The marriage lasted 38 days.  Truly, such are the vagaries of life



And so it goes


574


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Enjoy your summer break

 The dull roar you hear is 1.1 million students cheering that the 2018/ 2019 school year is over.


(Enjoy the hell out of it - the 2019/ 2020 school year begins 71 days from now, on September 5, 2019.



June 26, 1919 -
100 years ago today, The New York Daily News started publishing the print edition.


The paper was originally known as the Illustrated Daily News. And its first subscriber wasn't a New Yorker — it was a Boston shoe manufacturer named Louis Coolidge.


The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today.



It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.


June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.



Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.


June 26, 1987 -
The truly silly yet likeable Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs, starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and Joan Rivers went into general release on this date.



According to Mel Brooks, this was one of the most expensive movies he had ever made, at $25 million dollars. By contrast, The Producers cost less than one million dollars to produce.


Another failed ACME produce


Today in History:
June 26, 1284 -
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.



People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.


Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.



It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.  (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke.  Please, no e-mails.)


June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was invented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign.  The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.



Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon.  I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.


Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember, the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.


Abner Doubleday was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.



Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.


June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)







Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.


June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas,

a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.


June 26, 1926 -
Ernest Hemingway hung around Europe with several of his friends after WWI. He used to drive an ambulance.  It had a horn.  The horn went beep - beep.  It was a good sound. Hemingway and his friend wrote some novels in between, drinking, whore mongering and general lollygagging. Typewriters made a sound - clackity -clack.  It was a good sound. Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises was published on this date. It is a good date to publish.





All in all it was a damn good novel. Isn’t it pretty to think so?


June 26, 1959 -
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.



The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.

(Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)


June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.



Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.


June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....

Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.



Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.


June 26, 1976 -
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was the world's tallest free-standing structure at the time, at 1,815 feet (553 meters,) opened for tourists on this date.



It now is third, behind the Tokyo Skytree in Japan and an observation tower in China.  Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates is currently the world's tallest building (with  floors from the ground up.)


June 26th 1977 -
St. Elvis played his last ever concert at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana on this date. Elvis was not long for this world; he was very over-weight and seemed ill, but he wanted to silence the press and make his loyal fans happy.



He played in excess of 18,000 fans as they watched his last and most historic performance. Elvis would be gone in less that two months.

Remember - one hand on the screen - the other upon your afflicted area


June 26, 1990 -
The Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.



(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)



And so it goes.


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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Christmas is but a mere six months away.

Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards.



Kids, you can take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you are doing.


Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for a decade now. More importantly to his earth bound relatives, Michael continues to support the various members of the Jackson factions quite nicely. Death hasn't put a crimp in his record sales.



Farrah Fawcett also died ten years ago today.  I don't believe she's singing with any heavenly children's choir.



There is no connection between these two events but it's also the birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou:



George would have been 56 this year.


June 25, 1938 -
Another in the series of 'books come alive', Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.



Among the many entertainment personalities caricatured in relation to book titles are: Bill Robinson/The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greta Garbo/So Big, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, The Mills Brothers/The Green Pastures, William Powell/The Thin Man, Clark Gable/The House of the Seven Gables, Paul Muni/The Story of Louis Pasteur, Charles Laughton/Mutiny on the Bounty, and Victor McLaglen/The Informer.


June 25, 1949 -
That's the nice fat opera singer ...

One of Chuck Jones famous Bugs Bunny opera parodies, Long Haired Hair, premiered on this date.



Leopold Stokowski never conducted with a baton. This is the reason why Bugs Bunny, impersonating Stokowski, promptly breaks the baton before conducting, and conducts using such dramatic hand gestures.


June 25, 1963 -
One of Federico Fellini's greatest films,Otto e mezzo, ( ), opened in the US, on this date.



was shot, like almost all Italian movies at the time, completely without sound recording on set. All dialogue was dubbed during post production. Fellini was known for shouting direction at his actors during shooting, and for rewriting dialogue afterwards, making a lot of the dialogue in the movie appear out-of-sync.


June 25, 1982 -
The greatest dystopian Sci- Fi film (at this point), Blade Runner, opened on this date.



Ridley Scott was dismayed to discover that American crews operated very differently from British ones (this was Scott's first American film). In his native UK, Scott was primarily a camera operator and would always step behind the camera to see through the viewfinder himself. This wasn't common practice in America and led to much tension between director and crew. Scott also frustrated cast and crew by continuously making changes to sets and story. Screenwriter David Webb Peoples, who was asked to re-write the screenplay throughout the shoot, often found that his re-writes were already obsolete by the time he handed them in.

On the same day, Universal Pictures releases the sci-fi horror film John Carpenter's The Thing directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell.



The producers consider the film's disappointing box office performance was down to the fact that people were flocking to a more benign interpretation of an alien presence on earth - Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which was released several weeks beforehand.

Besides the fact that both films opened on this date, the similarities don't end there: both movies met with unfavorable reactions at the premiere but became widely loved sci-fi classics in the years to come.


June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the greatest Meg Ryan 'chick flick' (which may seem redundant to some,) Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.



In Everything Is Copy, the 2015 documentary about Nora Ephon's life and career, Tom Hanks reveals that there was another child actor cast as his character's son, Jonah, before Ross Malinger, but Ephron thought the first kid was not working out and she fired him. Hanks avoided specifying who that first child actor was.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
June 25, 841 -



June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Bighorn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse swept in and killed the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.



This is the native way a sending a very serious message.


June 25, 1903 -
Eric Arthur Blair was born on this day in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He burned to be a writer but had no success get people to look at his work, so he was forced him into a series of menial jobs.



Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.


June 25, 1906 -
A love triangle came to a violent end atop the original Madison Square Garden as architect Stanford White, the building's designer, was shot to death by Harry Thaw, for an alleged tryst White had with Thaw's wife, Florence Evelyn Nesbit.



Thaw, tried for murder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. At the time this was called "The Crime of the Century."


June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, (but men and boys are apparently not covered.)

This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys - then it's smooth sailings.


June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production, Our World, was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas, artist Pablo Picasso and a small English skiffle group called The Beatles.



When the The Beatles' appearance on the program was announced, John Lennon wrote the song especially for the occasion. He was told by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers would tune in.

I guess he was right.


June 25, 1978 -
The rainbow flag, created by Gilbert Blake, was flown for the first time in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, on this date.



Mr Blake, 65, passed away last year in his sleep at his home in New York.


Begin to scare the children -

there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.


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Monday, June 24, 2019

Summer is very precious

It's Midsummer Day throughout most of Europe.

It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)

Hey, it's big in Europe.


June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum
released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.



Nearly 40 years after this song was released, Matthew Fisher, who played the organ in the recording, filed a lawsuit claiming that he deserved songwriting royalties for his contributions. In 2006, a judge agreed and awarded Fisher part of the copyright. In 2008, the British court of appeals overturned Fisher's right to collect royalties due to the delay in filing his claim, but it upheld, by a unanimous decision, his composer credit which had been awarded by the High Court, confirming that Fisher's organ solo was part of the song's composition. Fisher was granted permission to appeal this decision in the House of Lords and on July 30, 2009 the Law Lords unanimously ruled in the organist's favor, pointing out that there were no time limits to copyright claims under English law. The ruling means that he now receives a share of future royalties for the track. A delighted Fisher commented: "This was about making sure everyone knew about my part in the authorship."


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols'
adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



Since shooting took longer than planned, Art Garfunkel wasn't able to make it back to New York City in time to start creating harmonies for and recording the Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Angered by the delay, Paul Simon wrote the track The Only Living Boy in New York  about the incident. The lyrics "Tom, get your plane right on time / I know your part'll go fine / Fly down to Mexico" were a thinly veiled attack aimed at Garfunkel (who was "Tom" of Simon & Garfunkel's earlier incarnation, Tom & Jerry), leaving Simon alone in New York City to prepare and produce the bulk of the album himself.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox
for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (!?!), on this date.  It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



When Raquel Welch was hired for the movie, she was under the impression that she would be playing both Myra AND Myron. She was disappointed that she didn't have the opportunity to undertake the acting challenge of playing both parts.


June 24, 2005 –
National Geographic Films
produced the Academy Award winning documentary, March of the Penguins, which was released on this date.



Morgan Freeman recorded his narration in one day.


Word of the Day


Today In History:
June 24, 1374
-
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.



(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.



(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to stick figure cartoon presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.


June 24, 1975 
-
113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on this date.



The crash was later attributed to a microburst, not experienced at the control tower because of a sea breeze front.



And so it goes


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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.   - attributed to Buddha

Today is Let It Go Day - the day when you should put down all of the baggage that you have been carrying around from the past. Perhaps you can donate your old cares and woes to your favorite charity.


June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra's best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.



Mia Farrow was introduced to Frank Sinatra when she visited her friend John Leyton on the set. Farrow had co-starred with Leyton earlier that year when the actress made her screen debut in another British military drama, Guns at Batasi. She and Sinatra later married.


June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.



When he first recorded this song with The Miracles, Robinson left out the last chorus, fading it out on the "I need you, I need you" line. He was convinced to end on the chorus when he played the song at one of the famous Monday morning meetings at Motown, where songs were scrutinized by their team.


June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack released the ear worm, My Sharona on this date.



In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: "I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy."


June 23, 1989 -
Tim Burton's
dark and brooding retelling of Batman, was released on this date.



Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker when Jack Nicholson hesitated. He had even accepted the role, when producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the part if he didn't. Nicholson took the role, and Williams was released.


June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premiered in Los Angeles, on this date.



Tom Hanks signed onto this film after an hour and a half of reading the script, but agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by Robert Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel, and he patterned his accent after Michael Conner Humphreys (young Forrest), who actually spoke that way..


June 23, 2000 -
Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Studios released the stop-motion film, Chicken Run, directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommit fame) and featuring the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Miranda Richardson, on this date.



The filmmakers were nervous about showing Rocky and Ginger kissing, fearing the sight of two chickens touching beaks would look too awkward. This led to the running gag of their being interrupted every time they are about to kiss (by the sound of the pie machine, by Ginger slapping Rocky, by the gravy explosion, et cetera.). When the kiss finally comes, it is staged so that the actual contact of "lips" is hidden.



The title does seem familiar


Today in History:
June 23, 1611
-
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Hudson, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.


June 23, 1868 -
Christopher Latham Sholes
received a patent (US patent #79,265) for an invention he called a "Type-Writer" on this date.

His typewriter included the QWERTY keyboard format still used today. Others had invented typewriter machines, but Sholes invented the only one that became a commercial success.


June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
, briefly Edward VIII, King of England and later to be known as the Duke of Windsor (making him both brother and uncle to successive monarchs), who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born on this date.



Sometimes, it's very complicated to be the king.


June 23, 1931 -
Pilot Wiley Post (at the time in full possession of both his eyes) and navigator Harold Gatty took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, in the Winnie Mae, on this date, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.



The trip (which was 15,474 miles,) completed when the pair landed back at Roosevelt Field on July 1st, took a total of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Wiley later became the first pilot to fly around the world solo, beating the record he and Gatty originally set.


June 23, 1950 -
Northwest Airlines Flight 2501
, a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle, crashed into Lake Michigan killing 58 people.



The wreckage has never been discovered and the accident was, at the time, the worst commercial airliner accident in American history.


June 23, 1953 –
Frank J. Zamboni
was issued a patent (#2,642,679) for his ice resurfacer on this date. Mr Zamboni invented his Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949.

The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.


June 23, 1972  -
Someone might want to introduce Mr Trump to the joys of a pitcher of very dry martinis (Nixon's problem: he did not take his martinis bone dry) and have him listen to this clip:

President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI's Watergate investigation. Revelation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixon's resignation in 1974.



In the “smoking gun" tape Pres. Nixon told H.R. Haldeman, to tell top CIA officials that “the president believes this (in reference to Watergate) is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." Nixon counseled Haldeman on how to use deception to thwart an FBI investigation on how Watergate was financed.

But then again, the president insisted that there are no tapes.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday David



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