Monday, June 27, 2022

No more pencils, no more books

Believe it or not. but for about 1.1 million students (and their exhausted families) the 2021/ 2022 school year is finally over.

(Enjoy what you can of summer - the 2022/ 2023 fully 'in class' school year is scheduled to begin 73 days from today, on September 8, 2022.Unless another public health crisis comes along)


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





During the Vietnam War, American soldiers who were taken as Prisoners of War by the North Vietnamese were often interrogated and asked whom the American military leaders were. Reportedly, several POWs would respond with "Captain Video." The North Vietnamese interrogators, not being familiar with American culture, accepted this answer. This allowed the POWs to escape possible torture and avoid giving the identities of the real military leaders.


June 27, 1957 -
... I'd hate to take a bite outta you. 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.



Ernest Lehman's original novella was first published in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1950, whose editors refused to print a story with the word "smell" in the title. For this publication, the title was changed to Tell Me About It Tomorrow, although it reverted to Lehman's original title when published in book form. Lehman took some comfort from the fact that his original title was a term which entered the language.


June 27, 1964 -
Peter & Gordon's A World Without Love - written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - goes to #1 in the US, on this date.



This song found its way to Peter Asher when Paul McCartney was living in the Asher household at 57 Wimpole Street in London during his time dating Jane Asher. He played the song for Peter while in his bedroom. It went on to be the biggest hit John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote that was not released by The Beatles. It became the first and biggest hit for Peter & Gordon.


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



Due to the grueling five-shows-a-week schedule, the expense and the difficulty of video editing in those days, most scenes were shot in a single take. Actors and actresses routinely flubbed their lines and searched for the teleprompter, set pieces collapsed, props malfunctioned, crew members walked into shots, microphones and secondary cameras got in the way, and it all wound up being preserved, because the production team figured each episode would only be seen one time.


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



Sean Connery turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million (close to $32 million in 2019 dollars) to play James Bond for a seventh time. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".


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.



Originally Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were in mind to play the lead roles. When John Woo was brought in to direct, he decided that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage would be more suited to the roles.


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



WALL-E stands for: Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class. EVE stands for: Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator.


Word of the Day


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, 1894 -
Leaving at about 11 o'clock in the morning, Annie Londonderry (actually Annie Cohen Kopchovsky) set off from the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill to settle a bet between two Boston business men, as to whether or not a woman could circumnavigate the world with a bicycle.



While she originally only packed a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver, she returned home 15 months later, to the day, ended up seeing Chicago, New York, Paris, Marseilles, Alexandria, Colombo, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, Shanghai and San Francisco. She also become a global celebrity in the process.


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.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Before the parade passes by

Remember that today's NYC Gay Pride parade, (the 52nd annual parade - the first in-person Pride Parade since 2019 due to COVID concerns,)

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.



NYC Pride announced Planned Parenthood will be the first contingent to march in the parade following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Organizers expected more than 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 3 PM. It should be a beautiful day today and remember to stay hydrated, it's going to be hot out there today.



And do not forget the fireworks over the Hudson River.


June 26, 1919 -
103 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's great to know that the ride is still open).



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.



While searching for a new leading lady, Charlie Chaplin rediscovered Lillita Louise MacMurray, whom he had employed, as a pretty 12-year-old, in The Kid. Still not yet sixteen, Lillita was put under contract and renamed Lita Grey. Chaplin embarked on a clandestine affair with her. When the film was six months into shooting, Lita discovered she was pregnant. Chaplin found himself forced into a marriage which brought misery to both partners, though it produced two sons, Charles Chaplin Jr. and Sydney Chaplin. As a result of these events, production for The Gold Rush was shut down for three months.


June 26, 1965 -
The Byrds went to No.1 on the US singles chart with their version of Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man. (Only Roger McGuinn from the band played on the song, the drummer Hal Blaine who played on the track also played on Bridge Over Troubled Water.)



The Byrds version is based on Bob Dylan's demo of the song that he recorded during sessions for his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan (Dylan's version was not yet released when The Byrds recorded it). It was The Byrds' manager, Jim Dickson, who brought in the demo and asked them to record it - the group refused at first because they thought it didn't have any hit potential. When The Byrds did record it, they took some lyrics out and added a 12-string guitar lead.


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.



The Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars saga makes a cameo appearance in this movie. Take a close look at the exterior shot of the Space Diner, and it can be spotted parked there among the other space vehicles. George Lucas got a chance to read the screenplay before production began, and loved it so much that he decided to have his special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, help make this movie.


June 26, 1999 -
Pearl Jam score their biggest Hot 100 hit when Last Kiss, a cover of a song from the '60s originally recorded by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers, reaches #2, held off the top spot by Jennifer Lopez' first single, If You Had My Love.



This was originally a hit for J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers in 1964. Eddie Vedder came across this song when he found the record in an antiques store in Seattle before a show. He bought it and stayed up all night listening to it. He took it to the band and they played it throughout the summer of their 1998 tour.


Another book from the back shelves of the ACME Library


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 patented 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-endowed fruit bat" 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 the highest number of stories in the world.)


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 front of an 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.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The seasons come and go so quickly

Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Christmas is but a mere six months away.



Kids, now that most of you are out of school and are once again allowed to freely roam in polite society, you had better take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you haven been doing.


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 Hare, premiered on this date.



Giovanni Jones' singing voice remained uncredited and unknown for many years. It was since revealed to have been provided by opera singer Nicolai Shutorov. Mel Blanc voices Jones when, after getting stuck in a tuba in the orchestra pit, he yells for someone to let him out.


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



Federico Fellini attached a note to himself below the camera's eyepiece which read, "Remember, this is a comedy."


June 25, 1976 -
Richard Donner's supernatural horror film, The Omen, starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Martin Benson, and Leo McKern, premiered in the US on this date. The film opened to mixed reviews but went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of 1976.



Gregory Peck, apparently took this role at a huge cut in salary (at a mere $250,000) but was also guaranteed 10% of the film's box office gross. When it went on to gross more than $60 million in the U.S. alone, it became the highest-paid performance of Peck's career.


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



The term "replicants" is used nowhere in Philip K. Dick's writing. The creatures in the source novel are called "androids" or "andies". The movie abandoned these terms, fearing they would sound comical spoken on-screen. "Replicants" came from screenwriter David Webb Peoples' daughter, Risa, who was studying microbiology and biochemistry. She introduced her father to the theory of replication - the process whereby cells are duplicated for cloning purposes.

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 film's budget ($15 million) was substantially larger than the average horror films of the time. Friday the 13th had cost a mere $700k while John Carpenter's original Halloween had been a paltry $375,000.

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 -
David Letterman's series Late Night with David Letterman aired for the last time on NBC-TV on this date. Letterman began hosting Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in August 30, 1993.



Letterman left Late Night in 1993 for Late Show with David Letterman on CBS when NBC give the Tonight Show to Jay Leno following the departure of Johnny Carson in 1992. However, NBC refused to allow Letterman to use elements that made the show famous such as "Larry 'Bud' Melman" or "The Top Ten List". NBC claimed those bits were their "intellectual property". "The Top Ten List" was renamed "Late Show Top Ten" and "Larry 'Bud' Melman" used his real name, Calvert DeForest.


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



The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts, who turned it down. Kim Basinger was also offered the role in the early script process, but turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous. After Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jodie Foster declined as well, Meg Ryan landed the role.



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


Today in History:
June 25, 841 -
The army of Charles the Bald and Louis the German met the troops of Lothar and of his nephew Pippin of Aquitaine on this date in 841.



Some say it was one of the most traumatic experiences of the ninth century, but what the hell do you care!


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 three years ago in his sleep at his home in New York.


June 25, 2009
-
Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for more than 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 13 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 59 this year.


It's time to start scaring the children -

there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.