Thursday, March 12, 2015

You better give 'em what they really own

The world wide web turns 26 today.

87% of all U.S. adult are sending e-mails.  What are the other 13% using - aldis lamps?

March 12, 1953 -
John Huston's
very off-beat comedy starring Humphrey Bogart, Beat the Devil, premiered in New York City on this date.

Humphrey Bogart
was involved in a serious automobile accident during production of this film, which knocked out several of his teeth and hindered his ability to speak. John Huston hired a young British actor noted for his mimicry skills to rerecord some of Bogart's spoken lines during post-production looping. Although it is undetectable when viewing the film today, it is Peter Sellers who provides Bogart's voice during some of the scenes in this movie.

March 12, 1971 -
Robert Wise's
taut Sci-Fi Thriller, The Andromeda Strain, opened on this date.

Michael Crichton was invited to take a tour of Universal Studios during the production of this film. His guide was none other than Steven Spielberg, who went on to adapt his most successful novel, Jurassic Park.

March 12, 1971 -
John Lennon released Power to the People in the United Kingdom on this date.

The song was released as a single credited to "John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band." Phil Spector produced it with Lennon.

Today in History:
March 12, 1888
The day before started off seemingly fine - the temperature was mild as a light rain began to fall on March 11th, 1888. And then the weather changed. The rain became heavier and by the next day, the rains changed to heavy snow and buried the unprepared city in drifts of up to thirty feet deep! The temperature plunged and winds reached over eighty miles per hour.

On the first day of 1888 blizzard, Roscoe Conkling, former congressman and US Senator (from NY) was at his law office at 10 Wall Street. Despite the severity of the storm, Conkling decided to walk from his office to his club on Madison Square, even though it was 6:00 PM and already dark.

He made it up Broadway as far as Union Square where he (as he later put it): “got to the middle of the park and was up to my arms in a drift…. For nearly twenty minutes I was stuck there and I came as near giving right up and sinking down there to die as a man can and not do it.” But somehow Conkling freed himself and continued up Broadway to Madison Square, where the people at the New York Club could “scarcely believe” he had walked from Wall Street.

Conkling developed a slight cold a few day later and a few weeks later on April 18th, became one of most famous victims of the blizzard. Conkling friends immediately set about to memorialize him with a statue in Madison Square Park. (Apparently the city fathers balked at commemorating Conkling in Union Square amidst George Washington and Abraham Lincoln - he was not that well liked.) Aside from the statue, Roscoe Conkling's greatest legacy was perhaps silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, who was reportedly named for Conkling by Fatty's father, who thought that his son was the product of an affair between his wife and Conkling.

March 12, 1912 -
Juliette Gordon Low
organized the Girl Guides, which later became the Girl Scouts of America, at the 1848 Andrew Low House in Savannah, Ga. on this date.

Mrs. Low rented a carriage house for "club rooms" for the Girl Guides on the property of a prominent family in Georgia, the Nash family. Ogden Nash, 10 years old in 1912, grew up to be a well-known poet; he immortalized "Mrs. Low's House" in one of his poems. The Nash family continued to pay rent for the carriage house even after it was converted for use by the Girl Guides, becoming one of the first financial supporters for the fledgling movement.

On May 29, 2012, the centennial of the Girl Scouts was commemorated when Low was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

March 12, 1918 -
Today episode on the Wacky World of the Russian Revolution -

peasants and workers are still exhausted by the war and its attendant famine. The Tsar and Tsarina are past caring about their suffering - they were under arrest The Russian peasants and workers are still furious with the government, which had become two governments and therefore twice as bad. And they were tired of all this nonsense about March being February, St. Petersburg being Petrograd, the Czar being Tsar, and all those crazy, mixed-up fonts.

So what does the country do - move the capital from Petrograd to Moscow on this date

March 11, 1921 -
At the end of the Second World War, America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. Each bomb killed so many people so quickly and made the world so safe for peace-loving democracies that America began feeling pretty good about things and forgot all about being Depressed, etc. This caused the hula-hoop, the soda fountain, and the young Annette Funicello.

Not everyone could master the hula-hoop, however, and the alienation experienced by those who couldn't resulted in the development of an American counterculture.

Scoffing the traditional values of mainstream America, the counterculturalists experimented with bold new ideas. They forsook the established middle-class pleasures, such as wine, woman, and song, in favor of radical new ones, such as sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll.

Born 94 years ago today, Jack Kerouac was a child of the Depression and a veteran of the second world war. He was therefore torn between these competing value systems and roamed the country aimlessly in search of grammar and punctuation.

The adventures described in On the Road were based loosely on his real-life travels with the infamous Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, whose insatiable appetite for borscht led Kerouac to dub them "The Beet Generation."

March 12, 1932 -
Ivar Kreuger, the so-called Swedish Match King, (at one time, he controlled two thirds of the worldwide match production) committed suicide in Paris on this date, leaving behind a financial empire that turned out to be a massive Ponzi scheme.

The 'Kreuger crash’ shook Wall Street and led to a 1933 Securities Act, which strengthened disclosure requirements for all companies selling stock.

Madoff was a piker compared to Kreuger.

March 12, 1938 -
Germany enters Austria in the Anschluss, to annex it as part of Grossdeutchland.

Oh those wacky Germans and their World Domination Tour.

March 12, 1945 -
...The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be....

Anne Frank
is thought to have died at Auschwitz on this date.

March 12, 1955 -
Bird Lives.

Charles Parker, Jr., one of the most influential jazz musicians, died on this date while while watching Tommy Dorsey on television.

Due to many years of drug and alcohol abuse, the coroner who performed his autopsy mistakenly estimated Parker's 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.

March 12, 2000 -
Pope John Paul II asked God's forgiveness for the many wrongs committed by the Roman Catholic Church on this date. The pardon he requested divided into seven categories of Church sin, including sins against the Jews, against native peoples of the world, the crimes of the Inquisition, and general crimes against humanity.

This pardon was requested only for past sins, and apparently did not ask for it to apply to the Church's many, many, many ongoing sins.  Let's hope Pope Francis has the strength to keep asking for all of that forgiveness.

And so it goes.

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