Thursday, May 28, 2020

Put the lotion on!

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 -Looking for a good book to read?

Harvard University Library has several books (three to be exact) bound in human skin (- known as anthropodermic books).


Today is Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Day. The German based NGO WASH United wanted to raise awareness that over 1.25 billion women who do not have access basic sanitary conditions during their period. Given the fact that a little more than half the world's population are women and on any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating, it is an issue that effects everyone.







OK, I got through this without running, screaming from the room.


Don't forget, tomorrow starts Manhattanhenge viewing

(more on this tomorrow)


May 28, 1929 -
Warner Bros
released the film On With the Show! on this date.  It was the first movie shown to be fully in color and fully in sound. (The color version of the film seems to have been lost; there is only a B & W print in existence.)



It was the second movie produced by Warner Brothers, and helped start the Technicolor revolution.


May 28, 1953 -
Walt Disney's
first animated 3-D cartoon in Technicolor, Melody, premiered on this date



Originally there was going to be an entire series of Adventures in Music shorts but in fact, only one other was made: the Academy Award-winning Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom.


May 28, 1966 –
Percy Sledge 's
song When A Man Loves A Woman hit no. 1 on the Billboard charts on this date.



This song is a huge part of music history, as it is the first #1 Hot 100 hit recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and many other famous musicians would later record some of their classic songs.


May 28, 1966 -
Ike and Tina Turner
released the classic song River Deep, Mountain High, on this date. (Although this is credited to Ike And Tina Turner, Ike had no part in the recording process. Turner was paid $20,000 up front to made sure that he was not in the studio during the sessions.)



This was written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector. Greenwich and Barry were married from 1962-1965 but kept working together after their divorce. They were one of the most successful songwriting teams of the '60s, with a string of hits that included Do Wah Diddy Diddy and Leader of the Pack. Spector was a legendary producer famous for his "Wall Of Sound" recording technique, which he had used with great success on other songs he worked on with Greenwich and Barry, including hits by The Ronettes and The Crystals. Greenwich, Barry and Spector each had separate ideas for songs which they combined to form River Deep - Mountain High. The melody is a composite of three different unfinished songs.


May 28, 1989 -
Marvin Young
(Young MC, who is now 53 years old) an economics major at University of Southern California released his Grammy Award winning album, containing the hit Bust A Move, on this date.



The main sample in this song is a loop from a song that came out in 1970 called Found A Child by a Seattle Funk group called Ballin' Jack.


Another court mandated PSA concerning COVID-19 from ACME.


Today in History:
May 28, 1503
-
The Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England was signed culminating in the marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) on this date.



Once again the European sense of time prevails and the treaty would actually last only 10 years.


On May 28, 1743, Joseph Ignace Guillotin was born in France on this day. Later he became a doctor. As a politically active humanitarian, he was understandably disturbed by the grisly executions of the French Revolution. He was sure people could be killed more efficiently, and he proposed a device to do just that (Antoine Louis devised the gismo.)

Dr Louis' machine sliced the victim's head off by means of a heavy, suspended blade rushing down a pair of side rails onto (or more accurately through) the victim's neck. Not only was it quick and painless: in those dull years before cable, it was also great entertainment. Dr Guillotin enjoyed watching the youngsters scampering playfully about the machine, fighting for the severed head.

During the rough weather that followed the French Revolution (known to meteorologists as "The Rain of Terror") it became necessary to purge the Republic of all obstacles to the welfare of its people. Sadly, most of those obstacles were people themselves, and there were a damned lot of them.



Drunk with power (a lingering effect of the Bourbon era) and armed with Dr Guillotin's seal of approval, the government succeeded in eliminating thousands of such obstacles quickly and effectively, in a way that made the children laugh and sing right up to the moment that their own heads were sliced off.

Dr Guillotin probably died of natural causes and was not eventually guillotined (as many believe,) thus robbing us of the possible existence of a moral to his story.

(Readers seeking morals, however, are advised as always to conduct their searches elsewhere.)


May 28, 1892 -
The Sierra Club
was founded, with naturalist John Muir its first President, on this date.



It would later become the United States' largest grassroots environmental organization.


May 28, 1930 -
The Chrysler Building, the premier Art Deco skyscraper in New York City, had it's opening ceremony, on this date. Standing 1,047 feet (319 meters) high, it was briefly the world's tallest building before it was overtaken by the Empire State Building in 1931. With the construction of One World Trade Center, it was been again relegated to the third tallest building in New York City.

The skyscraper, designed by architect William Van Alen, was originally built to house the Chrysler Corporation. The groundbreaking occurred on September 19, 1928. At the time, the builders of New York were engaged in an intense competition to build the world's tallest skyscraper. The Chrysler Building was erected at an average rate of four floors per week and no workers were killed during construction. Just prior to its completion, the building stood about even with the rival project 40 Wall Street, designed by H. Craig Severance. Severance quickly increased the height of his project by two feet and claimed the title of the world's tallest building (this distinction excluded structures that were not fully habitable, such as the Eiffel Tower).



Van Alen secretly obtained permission to build a spire that was hidden inside the building during construction. The spire, measuring 125 feet (58.4 meters) long and composed of Nirosta stainless steel, was hoisted to the top of the building on October 23, 1929. The added height allowed the Chrysler Building to surpass both 40 Wall Street and the Eiffel Tower as the tallest building and the tallest structure in the world. It was also the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet (305 meters). The steel chosen to cap the building was Krupp KA2 "Enduro" Steel (you may buy me a drink after you win a bar bet with that bit of knowledge).



In less than a year, the Chrysler Building was surpassed in height by the Empire State Building. Van Alen's satisfaction was further muted by Walter Chrysler's refusal to pay his fee.


May 28, 1944 -
The thrice married, former prosecutor, businessman, transvestite and Republican mouthpiece for an inveterate liar from the state of New York Sir Rudolph William Louis Giuliani III, was born on this date.



I believe after his current job comes to an end, Mr. Giuliani will be fired by his only other client, Satan.


May 28, 1959 -
America
launched a Jupiter rocket on this date, containing a rhesus monkey named Able and a squirrel monkey named Miss Baker. After experiencing nine minutes of microgravity, the capsule successfully returns to Earth with both monkeys intact.



However, Able died during surgery to remove his electrodes. Able was then stuffed and mounted and is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute of Air and Space Museum.



There is no truth to the rumor that Miss Baker went on to carry on a long term ménage à trois with President Kennedy and Frank Sinatra.


May 28, 1972 -
The virtually exiled King Edward VIII, (styled the Duke of Windsor by his brother King George VI in 1936,) died on this day in 1972 in Paris. He was buried at Windsor Castle. It was the first time that his widow, the Duchess was a royal guest of the Queen.



According to Sarah Bradford, the royal biographer, the Queen Mother, who had for 36 years resented the fact that the Duke's undying love for the horse faced, possible transvestite Mrs. Simpson had put her husband on the throne right at the threshold of war and had condemned him to an early death (She conveniently forgot that her husband was a very heavy smoker from early adulthood and that his family was prone to cancer), was very solicitous about the senile Duchess and took care of her during the funeral. The Queen did not weep for her uncle, but, strangely enough, when the Duchess followed him in death 14 years later, the Queen did weep at her funeral.


May 28, 1987 -
German teenager Matthias Rust lands his Cessna in Moscow's Red Square, buzzing the Kremlin on the way in.



He serves 18 months in prison for this prank, which also costs the commander of the Soviet Air Command his job.

Oops.


Again, some people have not been wasting their quarantine time:



Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Neill are having a laugh at the telephone. (Check out the youtube site Zsuzasanna Uhlik for a lot of other interesting videos from celebrities not wasting their time either.)

And so it goes


237

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

In a few minutes

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Do you have things to do?

Procrastinators had 20% more headaches, colds, and stomach-aches than those who go their things done on time; they also visited the doctors 60% more often. Procrastinating students had grades a whole letter higher than timely students, however.


The Popsicle was first made (but not patented) in 1905 by Frank Epperson on this date (he was only 11 years old at that time.)



If only we could create a frozen concoction that mixes ice and alcohol - oh wait a minute that's a Frozen Margarita, never mind - keep celebrating the Popsicle.


May 27, 1930 -
Howard Hughes'
multi-million dollar war drama, Hell's Angels, premiered in Los Angeles, on this date



249 feet of film was shot for every foot used in the final cut. This movie cost $3.95 million to make (equivalent to approximately $58 million in 2017), so expensive that it made no profit on its first release.


May 27, 1933 -
Walt Disney
classic take on The Three Little Pigs, premiered on this date.



The commercial tie-in with Esposito's pork sausages during the original screenings of the cartoon wasn't such a big hit though.


May 27, 1933 -
The seminal pre-Code Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Gold Diggers of 1933, starring Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell,  (and choreographed by Busby Berkeley) premiered in the US on this date.



At 5:55 PM PST on March 10, 1933, the Long Beach earthquake hit southern California, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale. When the earthquake hit, Busby Berkeley was filming the Shadow Waltz dance sequence on a sound stage on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank. The earthquake caused a blackout on the sound stage and short-circuited some of the neon-tubed violins. Berkeley was almost thrown from a camera boom, and dangled by one hand until he could pull himself back up. Since many of the chorus girls in the dance number were on a 30-foot-high scaffold, Berkeley yelled for them to sit down and wait until the stage hands and technicians could open the sound stage doors and let in some light.


May 27, 1964 -
From Russia with Love
, the second spy film in the James Bond series, was released in the US on this date.



Hoping for an end to the Cold War, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman didn't want James Bond's main enemy to be Russian, so for the movie version, his nemesis is the fictitious criminal organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E., seeking revenge for the death of their operative, Dr. No .


May 27, 2005 -
DreamWorks
computer-animated film, Madagascar, with voices by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith is released on this date.



Originally, Julien was intended to be a minor character with only two lines. However, when Sacha Baron Cohen auditioned for the role, he improvised not only an Indian accent, but eight minutes of dialogue for his recording. The filmmakers found Cohen's performance so funny that they rewrote the script and made Julien a much more prominent character in the story as King of the Lemurs.


May 27, 2006 -
Guillermo del Toro's
fantasy film about the Spanish Civil War, Pan's Labyrinth, premiered at the Cannes Film festival, on this date.



Guillermo del Toro repeatedly said "no" to Hollywood producers, in spite of being offered double the budget provided the film was made in English. He didn't want any compromise in the storyline to suit the "market needs". The English subtitles were translated and written by Guillermo del Toro himself. He no longer trusts translators after having encountered problems with his previous subtitled movies.


Another failed ACME product


Today in History:
May 27, 1923 -
Henry Kissinger
was born in Fuerth, Germany on this date.



50 years later, (America Favorite Freely Roaming War Criminal - according to your political beliefs) Dr. Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize for quitting the Vietnam War.



Henry also proved that outliving your enemies is the best revenge.


Other birthday celebrants include:

The Senate is a place filled with goodwill and good intentions, and if the road to hell is paved with them, then it's a pretty good detour.





Hubert Humphrey, Vice President under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and presidential candidate, was born on this date (1911).


There's something fascinating about seeing something you don't like at first but directly know you will love—in time. People are that way, all through life. You come against a personality, and it questions yours. You shy away but know there are gratifying secrets there, and the half-open door is often more exciting than the wide.





Vincent Price
, actor, was born on this date (1911).


What I really resent most about people sticking labels on you is that it cuts off all the other elements of what you are because it can only deal with black and white; the cartoon.





Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Janet Ballion,) singer, songwriter, musician and producer was born on this date (1957).


It took me a long time, but I don't feel as anxious about stupid things anymore - or perhaps they've just been replaced by more complicated stupid things.







Neil Mullane Finn, singer/songwriter and musician was born on this date (1958).


May 27, 1937
-
The Golden Gate Bridge, arguably one of the Wonders of the Modern World, connecting San Francisco with California's Marin County opened to pedestrian traffic on this date.



More than 200,000 made the first-day trek.

Harold Wobber had the good grace to wait until August 7, 1937, to take the first leap into eternity.  Wobber supposedly turned to a stranger on the walkway and said,"This is as far as I go" then took his last step.


May 27, 1939
-
Detective Comics Number 27 featuring Batman, DC Comics debuted its second superhero on this date. The superhero is Batman, who will go on to be one of the greatest commercial successes in the comic industry.



This issue also marks Commissioner Gordon’s first appearance. According to creator Bob Kane, his inspirations for Batman were Superman, Leonardo da Vinci’s design of a bat-like glider, and two films: The Mark of the Zorro and The Bat Whispers.


May 27, 1941 -
The British sank Germany's elusive, pocket-battleship Bismarck, then the largest warship commissioned, on this date.



The destruction of the battleship was reported on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Only 110 of her crew of 2,222 survived the sinking.


May 27, 1942 -
A couple of Czech assassins ambush the car carrying Reinhard Heydrich and toss a grenade into the front seat on this date.



The man who headed the Wannsee Conference was mortally wounded in the attack and died of septicemia a week later. The Nazis retaliate by obliterating the Catholic village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia and its inhabitants.


May 27, 1977 -
After the pressing plant initially refuses to duplicate the record and the printer refuses to make the covers, Virgin finally releases God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols in time for the monarch's Jubilee celebration on this date.



Popular belief is that this song was "banned" by the BBC and most other broadcasting outlets. In truth, the BBC didn't ban records, but made programing decisions based on its standards and enforced certain rules, like barring product mentions. The BBC's Radio 1 did exclude the song from their playlist, and some major retailers (including Woolworth's and WH Smith) refused to stock it, but by labeling it taboo the song became even more marketable, and it sold an amazing 150,000 copied the first week it was released.


May 27, 1993 -
Five
people were killed and 37 wounded when a Fiat Fiorino exploded outside the Uffizi Gallery Museum in Florence, Italy on this date.

The car bomb (a combination of PETN, T4 and TNT, kids don't try to make this at home) also manages to obliterate three priceless artworks and substantially damage thirty more. The bombing appears to have been the work of the Sicilian Mafia.

Once again, if you are going to borrow money from unscrupulous sources, remember to pay your vig.


May 27, 1995 -
During the third jump of an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Virginia, Christopher Reeve was thrown headfirst over his horse on this date.

Reeve broke his neck in two places, instantly rendering him a quadriplegic, unable to move or breathe without assistance.



And so it goes.


238


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Save me a slice of cake (if you can?)

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Is your birthday coming up?



You are 14% more like to die on your birthday than on any other day of the year.


Saint Vitalis of Assisi (not to be confused with St. Vitalis of Milan, patron saint of grey haired Lotharios) was an Italian hermit and monk who died in 1370. He became a saint despite an early life marked by licentiousness and immorality. However, in an attempt to atone he went on pilgrimages to various sanctuaries.

On his return to Umbria, he became a Benedictine monk at Subiaco and later lived as a hermit. He spent the rest of his life in the hermitage of Santa Maria di Viole, near Assisi, in utter poverty. His reputation for holiness soon spread after his death. He was known as a patron against sicknesses and diseases affecting the genitals.



The severed head alleged to belong to the patron saint of genital diseases was sold in 2011 at auction. If the reliquary ever comes up for sale again, snap it up - Bunkies, nothing says love like the rotting skull of the saint of the burning loins.

There are four other Saints who glommed onto the name St. Vitalis:

Saint Vitalis of Bologna 
Saint Vitalis of Gaza 
Saint Vitalis of Savigny
Saint Vitalis of Milan, martyred in 250 under the persecution of Decius

So try to keep this all straight when you're praying to a saint to cure your STDs.


May 26, 1937 -
The Michael Curtiz boxing drama, Kid Galahad, starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart premiered in the US on this date.



While Bette Davis praised Edward G. Robinson as a performer and as a person, she was repulsed by having to kiss him.


May 26, 1970 -
The final episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, My Master The Chili King aired on this date.



The Nelson home still stands on the Warner Brothers Ranch in Burbank, CA, where it has a new role as the Ranch Operations office. Aside from minor cosmetic changes, the house remains almost exactly the same after nearly 50 years.


May 26, 1972 -
Mott The Hoople
, on the verge of breaking up, are offered help from David Bowie, who allows them to record two songs he wrote. They pass on Suffragette City but cut All The Young Dudes, which becomes their biggest hit and revives their career.



Mott The Hoople didn't know this when they recorded it, but Bowie intended this song for his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars concept album. The, "All the young dudes carry the news" line refers to part of Bowie's story where there is no electricity, and Ziggy Stardust uses songs to spread the news.


May 26, 1979 -
Blondie's
song Sunday Girl off the album Parallel Lines became the group's second UK No.1 hit single on this date.



Although the song was a #1 hit in the United Kingdom and in Australia, it was never released as a single in the United States. In Britain the sales were boosted by another previously unavailable track on the B-side: a French language version of Sunday Girl.


May 26, 1988 -
Frank Sinatra
appeared in a commercial for Michelob singing The Way You Look Tonight, as part of the brewery's "The Night Belongs to Michelob" ad campaign.



At the time, Anheuser-Busch marketing explained Sinatra's presence in the ad, "We're trying to show the length and breadth of 'the night.'" That and the brewing giant wanted its name attached to The Ultimate Event, a national tour featuring Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr. Sinatra was also a longtime collaborator with the company's flagship brand, Budweiser. The label sponsored several of his TV specials and he bought a lucrative distributorship in 1967.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
May 26, 1232 -
Pope Gregory IX
issues the bull Declinante jam mundi, bringing the Papal Inquisition to Spain.
Gregory IX was a prominent opponent of Judaism during his life, condemning it as "containing every kind of vileness and blasphemy".

Apparently he was a real dick.


May 26, 1647 -
Alse Young,
a widow, was hanged for witchcraft in Hartford, Connecticut on this date. She was the first person in America executed for the crime of witchcraft.

Her daughter Alice was accused of the same offense 30 years later, in Massachusetts.

It was something in the genes.


May 26, 1868 -
In England's last public execution, Michael Barrett was hanged at Newgate on this date. All subsequent hangings are held behind prison walls.

Presiding over the event is executioner William Calcraft, who frequently supplements his income by selling the clothes and noose worn by the condemned.

Hey, a man's got to earn a living.


May 26, 1913 –
Peter Wilton Cushing, OBE,
English actor, known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, was born on this date.



Peter Cushing was the guest of honor at the Famous Monsters of Filmland Convention in New York City in 1975. After receiving a thunderous ovation from those in attendance, he looked at everyone and said, "Have you ever felt unloved?"


May 26, 1923 -
Le Mans France
held its first Grand Prix D'endurance - the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as an endurance test for touring cars.



The first winning drivers, Amdre Lagache and Rene Leonard, averaged 57.2 miles per hour.


There were a lot of notable music birthdays on this date:

May 26, 1920 -
Norma Deloris Egstrom
, Grammy award winning singer, songwriter, composer and actress, was born on this date.





And yes Peggy, that's all there is.


May 26, 1926 –
Miles Dewey Davis III
born on this date in Alton, Illinois, was a trumpeter, bandleader, composer and widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th Century.





Duke Ellington called him "the Picasso of Jazz, the invisible art".


May 26, 1948 -
Even in my really bad, drugged-out days, I didn't go away. I still toured, still did interviews. I never gave up the fight. That's why I'm who I am today, because I didn't leave. And I think I made the right choice.






Stephanie Lynn Nicks, singer-songwriter and acclaimed goat singer, was born on this date.


May 26, 1964 -
I wasn't the kind of person that liked waiting for autographs or following them, I just liked to go to the shows, study their records, driving many, many hours to different states to go to concerts.






Leonard Albert "Lenny" Kravitz, musician and actor was born on this date.


May 26, 1960 -
America's UN
Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. charged at a speech at the UN on this date that the Soviets with having bugged the Moscow embassy. He shows off a large wooden carving of the United States seal which had been hollowed out to conceal a sophisticated resonant cavity transmitter.



Less than 30 years later a newly-rebuilt Moscow embassy was determined to be "structurally riddled with eavesdropping devices."


May 26, 1977 -
Police arrested George Willig, after he had successfully scaled the World Trade Center's south tower in NYC on this date.



He was fined $110 -- a dollar per floor climbed. The stunt paved the way for appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Good Morning America, The Merv Griffin Show and ABC's Wide World of Sports.


May 26, 1994 -
Michael Jackson
wed Lisa Marie Presley in the Dominican Republic on this date. The couple keeps their love match secret for six weeks, then files for divorce 18 months after that.

Lisa Marie has confirmed on the Oprah show that she had enjoyed marital relations with Jackson -



Stop thinking about it, it's the road to madness!!


May 26, 1998 -
Another in a series of cases that you didn't think needed to be settled -



The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island was mainly in New Jersey, not New York. When the states made the boundary final, New York ended up with 4.68 acres, or about 17 percent, of the island.



And so it goes.


239