Thursday, April 30, 2020

Jam or Honey?

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Are you having toast with breakfast this morning?



Margarine is lower in fat than butter but most brands contain trans fatty acids, which actually raise cholesterol levels.


Today is Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night or Beltane Eve.) It is celebrated in most of Northern Europe the night of April 30 to May 1.

Legend has it, this night was the last chance for witches and various demons to stir up trouble before Spring reawakened the land.


April 30, 1938 -
Bugs Bunny
first appeared, so to speak, in the cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt, released on this date. This short was co-directed by Cal Dalton and Ben Hardaway.



The cartoon had an almost identical theme to a 1937 cartoon, Porky's Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery and introducing Daffy Duck. Following the general plot of this earlier film, the short cast Porky Pig as a hunter against an equally nutty prey more interested in driving his hunter insane than running away. But instead of a black duck, his current prey was a tiny, white rabbit. Bugs Bunny introduces himself with the expression "Jiggers, fellers," and Mel Blanc gave the rabbit a voice and laugh that he would later use to voice Woody Woodpecker. In this cartoon, he also quoted Groucho Marx for the first time (from the movie Duck Soup): "Of course, you know, this means war!"


April 30, 1948 -
Frank Capra's
political drama State of the Union, starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Adolphe Menjou, Van Johnson, and Angela Lansbury, premiered in the US on this date.



Adolphe Menjou was an ultra-right-wing political conservative who had eagerly co-operated with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), named names of persons he considered to be Communists and was a strong proponent of "blacklisting" those whose political beliefs he didn't share. Katharine Hepburn was decidedly more liberal and had been an outspoken critic of the blacklist. Menjou had made several comments accusing Hepburn of being a Communist sympathizer, and possibly a Communist herself, which angered Hepburn and her co-star/romantic partner Spencer Tracy. Frank Capra was so concerned about the tension that he closed the set to the press.


April 30, 1950
-
The film-noir classic, DOA, starring Edmond O'Brien, was released on this date. (Stick around for the whole movie.)



The scene in which Bigelow runs in panic through the streets after learning he has been poisoned was a stolen shot. The pedestrians had no idea a movie was being made and no warning that Edmond O'Brien would be plowing through them.


April 30, 1952 -
Mr. Potato Head®
became the first toy to be advertised on television on this date.



Over one million kits were sold in the first year.  Mrs.Horned Melon or Mr. Cherimoya didn't sell so well.


April 30, 1962 -
Tony Richardson's
contribution to British  kitchen sink dramas, A Taste of Honey, starring Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, and Paul Danquah, opened in the US on this date.



Morrissey is a huge fan of this film and many lyrics from The Smiths's songs are inspired by this film. Listen to 'This night has opened my eyes' and 'Reel around the fountain'.


April 30, 1997 -
Ellen DeGeneres'
character came out of the closet on the sitcom Ellen on this date.



The show was the highest rated episode the series ever aired, with over 42 million viewers and won an Emmy for writing.


A special PSA from ACME


Today in History:
April 30, 1789 -
George Washington
was inaugurated and took office in New York as the first president of the United States on this date. He took his oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street and spoke the words “So help me God,” which all future US presidents have repeated.



Please note: The oath as prescribed by the Constitution makes no mention of God, or of the Bible.


April 30, 1900
-
John Luther "Casey" Jones was born March 14, 1863 in southeast Missouri. While he was still a small child, his family moved to Cayce, Kentucky, which is how he got his nickname. As a boy, he liked trains - HE really liked trains. In 1878, at the age of 15, he went to work for the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as an apprentice telegrapher. By 1890, "Casey" had reached the pinnacle of the railroad profession as a crack locomotive engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad.



In 1899, Jones was given a regular passenger run on the Cannonball route which ran between Chicago and New Orleans. On April 29, 1900, Jones was in Memphis, Tennessee, from the northbound Cannonball when he agreed to take the southbound Cannonball because the scheduled engineer called in sick. He left Memphis at 12:50 am, 95 minutes behind schedule, but made up almost an hour between Memphis and Grenada, Mississippi, nearly 100 miles away. By Durant, 55 miles farther down, they were almost on time.



At Durant, Jones received orders to "saw by" two freights that had taken the siding in Vaughan. The two freights were too large to fit into the siding, leaving one end on the main line. If the "sawing" maneuver had been done correctly, the freights would have allowed the approaching train to pass the first switch, and then the trains on the siding would move past the other switch. However, an air hose on one of the freight trains burst, applying the brakes on the freight cars behind the break, and left them immobile on the main line. Meanwhile, Jones was traveling excessively fast, possibly up to 70 miles per hour, and did not have enough time to brake. When collision seemed imminent, Casey told his fireman, Sim Webb, to jump for it, but Jones rode the engine into the cars and was killed. It is believed that because Jones stayed to slow the train, he saved the passengers from injury and possible death (Casey himself was the only fatality of the collision).



Popular legend holds that when Jones' body was pulled from the wreckage of his train his hands were still firmly latched onto the whistle cord and the brake.


April 30, 1900
-
Another file from: Thing my teachers never told me - A group of American businessmen, led by Samuel Dole (of pineapple fame,) had overthrown the traditional monarchy of Hawaii several years earlier and operated the island themselves, occasionally clashing diplomatically with the US.



The US Congress finally got around to lend a legitimacy to the coup by American citizens by passing the Hawaiian Organic Act on this date. The provisional government finally allowed Hawaii to become a US territory after receiving a guarantee that they would not be punished for the coup.

And that bunkies is how the US stole Hawaii.


April 30, 1939
-
On a very hot New York Sunday, The 1939 World's Fair had its grand opening, with 200,000 people in attendance. The April 30 date coincided with the anniversary of George Washington's inauguration as President in New York City. Although many of the pavilions and other facilities were not quite ready for this opening, it was put on with pomp and great celebration.



President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the opening day address, and as a reflection of the wide range of technological innovation on parade at the fair, his speech was not only broadcast over the various radio networks but also was televised. NBC used the event to inaugurate regularly scheduled television broadcasts in New York City over their station W2XBS (now WNBC). An estimated 1,000 people viewed the Roosevelt telecast from about 200 television sets scattered throughout the New York area.



Little remembered but equally important, the View-Master was introduced at the World's Fair that day.



Don't worry about those storm clouds overhead (it's just World War II).


April 30, 1943 -
The British submarine HMS Seraph dropped ‘the man who never was,' a dead man the British planted with false invasion plans (which indicated the Allies would not invade Sicily,) into the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain on this date.



German agents discovered the body of a non-existent RAF major, bought the ruse and were unprepared for the actual attack on that island.


April 30, 1945 -
Holed up in a bunker under the Reich Chancellery headquarters in Berlin (conveniently called the Fuehrerbunker), blushing bride Eva Braun had a hankering for Almond Roca. Finding none available, she decide to chew a cyanide capsule and commit suicide instead (she was impulsive.) Distraught honeymooner Adolf Hitler, never one to go it alone, decides to commit suicide himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule and (to gilt the lily) shoot himself in the head (he was having a very bad day for an Evil Bastard.)



Soon after, Germany unconditionally surrendered to the Allied forces, ending Hitler's dreams of a "1,000-year" Reich.



Guess that didn't work out for him.


April 30, 1975 -
The capital of South Vietnam - Saigon, fell on this date.  Communist forces gains control of Saigon. The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, the largest helicopter evacuation in history.



The Vietnam War formally ends with the unconditional surrender of South Vietnamese president Duong Van Minh.

This was a really big Oops for America.



And so it goes


Before you go - a brief glimmer of joy-



reminding us that quarantine will be over someday


265

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

No discount sushi for me, thank you

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Luckily you're probably not having much takeout sushi lately. A tapeworm can grow 20 centimeters a day in your belly

You probably won't lose and weight: they don't eat that much. More than of the northern pike living in U.S. rivers and lakes harbor tapeworms.


Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, the co-patron saint of ItalyThe Renaissance was tough on women, Catherine's older sister and younger sisters died in 1463 (she had 22 other siblings, although, at that point, who could tell who was alive or died or the neighbor's cat.)  Catherine's father did what any other father would do - tried to make the teenage Catherine marry her sister's widow.

It didn't matter to anyone, save Catherine, that her brother-in-law was a filthy, lascivious old man.  Catherine fasted until her father relented and let her enter a nunnery.  While fasting, she, like our old pal Teresa of Avila, was pierced by God's shaft of 'pure love', (is this what comes from anorexia in the Middle Ages?).

Though, supposedly illiterate, Catherine famously corresponded with the leading church figures (both men and women) of her day. In fact, Catherine is one of the few women Saints who are thought of, as holding doctorates. She is one of the church most famous bulimics, disgorging everything she ate for the next 17 years, except the Eucharist she received every day.



She, of course, is the patron saint of bulimics and anorexics, the sick (in general), nurses, firemen and sexual temptation (there is a connection between the two, but I'm not going there.)

As is always the case, when saints die, people clamor after their body parts. She is scattered over most of Italy; her head and one of her fingers are resting in Siena and a major part of her is beneath the main altar at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church in Rome.


Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

Today is also International Dance Day.  The date was chosen in commemoration of the death of the greatly influential dancer, choreographer and innovator Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810).







The goals of Dance Day are to increase the awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education.


One last thing, today is also National Shrimp Scampi Day



Don't forget a few red pepper flakes (we may have to wait a few days to have our scampi.)


April 29, 1953
In the first 3D television broadcast, an episode of Space Patrol was shown on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

Viewers needed special 3D glasses for proper viewing. Of course most viewers didn't have 3D glasses handy, so "while the show aired, it appeared to be a blurry mess."


April 29, 1964 -
The Toho Studios released their first cross-over monster movie Mosura tai Gojira (Godzilla vs. the Thing (Mothra)) in Japan on this date. This is the first Godzilla film without newly-shot American footage added for the American release.



1964 was the only year when Toho released two Godzilla movies in the same year. Right after this film, Toho began working on Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, which premiered that December.


April 29, 2005 –
Buena Vista
releases a somewhat confusing (for the uninformed) but amusing version of Douglas Adams classic sci-fi classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, starring  Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel and the voices of Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman on this date.



This was the ninth version of the Hitchhiker's Guide. It has previously appeared as a radio series, two record albums, novels, a television series, a computer game, a stage show, a comic book, a video game and a towel.


Another failed ACME product


Today in History:
April 29, 1852
-
The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published (produced, made, created) on this date.



Dr. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869) was a London physician of French-Swiss ancestry who began to collect and organize English words to improve his public speaking.


April 29, 1901 -
Train robber and one of the last of the Old West outlaws, Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum was unsuccessfully hanged in Clayton, New Mexico on this date.



The executioner's poor choice of rope and Ketchum's recent increase in weight combine to produce a gruesome decapitation in the gallows.

Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum was the only person ever hanged in Clayton, New Mexico. He was also the only man ever hanged for train robbery in the entire state, a law that was later found to be unconstitutional. But, a little too late for poor Black Jack.


April 29, 1939 -
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge
connecting the Bronx and Queens opened for traffic on this date.



The primary reason for its construction was to provide access to the 1939-40 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows.


April 29, 1945 -
Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun on this date (the Allies sent the Fuhrer a wedding gift via liberating Dachau.) The very next day she killed herself. So did he. This demonstrates the importance of not rushing into marriage. You've got to take your time, get to know the other person, and really think it through. Especially if the other person happens to be an Evil Bastard at the head of a hellish genocidal war machine on the brink of defeat.

But it's not enough just making sure your intended isn't a war-criminal-in-training. The sad truth is that if you plan to marry a human being you're in for a pretty bumpy road no matter what—which isn't to say it would be all roses if you married something other than a human.



So maybe Adolf and Eva were doomed anyway. Who knows? I'm only saying they should have given it a little more thought. Bunker marriages have a notorious failure rate.


April 29, 1961 -
ABC's Wide World of Sports
, debuted on this date. Rather than focus on one sport, it presented a variety of athletic events in one show. Each week, Wide World of Sports transported the viewer across the United States and around the world.



In addition to presenting races, bouts, and meets (often live via satellite), Wide World of Sports revolutionized sports coverage by including "up close and personal" features on athletes. The show's rallying cry, "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," not only became one of the most familiar catchphrases on TV but captured the essence of athletic competition.


April 29, 1968 -
Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
, the rock musical opened on this date. Hair tells the story of the "Tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. They struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society.



It was also a way for middle class America to see nudity on the stage without going to a strip club or porno house.


April 29, 1976
After a gig in Memphis, Bruce Springsteen took a cab to Graceland and proceeds to climb over the wall in an attempt to meet Elvis.

He is apprehended and escorted off the premises by guards who inform him that Elvis is not in the building, anyway. Even the Boss needed the healing powers of The King.


April 29, 1992 -
Rioting erupts in  after Rodney King's assailants are acquitted by a jury. The looting and destruction began in South Central L.A. and quickly radiates outward.



By the time things are under control, 51 people were dead, 1093 buildings were damaged or destroyed (764 retail stores were owned by Koreans) and the city has sustained $1.5 billion in property damage.


It's the ninth anniversary for His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, the once and future king of England and Catherine, (nee Katherine Middleton), Duchess of Cambridge. (the couple are probably going to be spending home with their kids, observing quarantine, just like any other millionaire future monarch and his consort would be.)



Remember, Pottery or leather goods are the tradition gifts for an ninth anniversary.



Before you go: The Met has been posting an At-Home Gala series - This one from Joe Green's (Guiseppe Verdi) opera Nabucco, Va, pensiero seems poignantly appropriate:



Remember it's a casual affair, you may leave (even your cowboy) hat on.


And so it goes.


266

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Someday, a cure for happiness

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - in the June 1992 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics, a clinical psychologist proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder.



The article argues that happy people suffer from impaired judgment that prevents them from acquiring a realistic understanding of their physical and social environment.


Today is International Workers' Memorial Day.  The day is a day set aside to remember all of those people who have been injured or killed on the job.



Each year, more than two million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases.


April 28, 1939 -
Cecil B. DeMille
brought the Western into a new realm when Union Pacific, premiered in Omaha, Nebraska on this date.



Robert Preston
, who appeared in several Cecil B. DeMille productions, not only disliked the director personally but felt he was inept at directing actors. The scene where Preston, Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea are trapped in the boxcar took two weeks to film and, according to Preston, DeMille had nothing but "Action," "Cut," and "Print" to say to the actors. He didn't seem to care about scenes that did not include action or spectacle. When Preston became a bigger star, he turned down offers to appear in other DeMille films and avoided any relationship or contact with him.


April 28, 1965 -
Barbra Streisand's
first television special, My Name is Barbra, premiered on CBS-TV, on this date.



The audience segments were filmed in a small TV studio in New York City just down the street from where Barbra Streisand was performing in Funny Girl. The audience consisted of about 200 members of Streisand's fan club.


April 28, 1975 –
Tom Snyder
interviewed ex-Beatle John Lennon on The Tomorrow Show.



At the time, no one knew then that John Lennon would be taking an extended hiatus from public life, taking time to raise his son and live a less public life. The interview Lennon gave Tom Snyder in 1975 revealed he had tremendous humility and an affecting sense of humor.


April 28, 1979 -
The first of their four chart-toppers, Blondie's Heart Of Glass hits #1 in the U.S. on this date.



Blondie members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein wrote the first version of this song in early 1974, shortly after they first met. They didn't have a proper title for the song, and would refer to it as "The Disco Song."


April 28, 2011 -
Universal Pictures
mega-hit comedy Bridesmaids, starring Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Rebel Wilson, Matt Lucas, Michael Hitchcock, Jon Hamm, and Jill Clayburgh, premiered in the US on this date. (This film is my daughters' favorite comedy.)



The cast spent about two weeks improvising with each other, a lot of which was incorporated into the movie.


April 28, 2012
The Gotye song (featuring Kimbra), Somebody That I Used to Know hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart on this date.



The song was a commercial success, topping the charts in a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. It was the second best selling single of 2011 in Australia.


Today's moment of Zen.


Today in History:
April 28, 1789
-
In the middle of the South Pacific, the crew of the HMS Bounty, led by either Clark Gable, Marlon Brando or Mel Gibson mutinied, setting Charles Laughton, Trevor Howard or Anthony Hopkins and 18 other crewmen adrift in an open boat, so they can hang out with topless Tahitian teens.



Sometimes history is very confusing.


April 28, 1881 -
Billy the Kid
escaped from a New Mexico jail, killing jailer Bob Ollinger and a fellow prisoner in the process. Billy survived for another three months before Pat Garrett finally killed him.

Somehow Bob Dylan, Paul Newman, Dracula and Jane Russell's braless bodaeous ta-tas are involved in this story



Once again, history is exceedingly confusing.


April 28, 1910 -
In England, Claude Grahame-White became the first person to pilot a plane at night on this date.

The landmark flight came during the 1910 London to Manchester air race.


April 28, 1941 -
... Ever since I was four years old, I loved making people smile, making them think, making them feel good, feel some kind of emotion
.





Ann-Margret Olsson, actress, singer and dancer, was born on this date.


April 28, 1945 -
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were captured by partisan fighters and executed (castrated and hung upside down on a meat hook - well, Mussolini had his junk removed - Clara, well, she just got hung.)



Just because you can get the trains to run on time does not mean that the voters love you (it should be a motto every politician has tattooed to their ass.)


April 28, 1947
-
Sailing from Peru on the balsa-raft Kon Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl began his six-man, 101-day expedition across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia.



Heyerdahl's expeditions were spectacular and caught the public imagination. Although much of his work remains unaccepted within the scientific community, Heyerdahl increased public interest in ancient history and anthropology.


April 28, 1967 -
Muhammad Ali
refused to be inducted into the army because of religious reasons on this date, and was stripped of his boxing titles and sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for draft evasion.



The conviction was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court



Before you go - One of the most intelligent and entertaining people in the world, Stephen Fry, discusses the future of the Coronavirus pandemic.



The video strangely made me think of "Finland , Finland , Finland. The country where I quite want to be ..."



And so it goes


267

Monday, April 27, 2020

Watching from above

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Do you feel that you are being watched?



CIA spy satellites are equipped with at least 20 different types of sensorsthat are so powerful that the government can identify you in your backyard, see if you are barbecuing chicken or steak, and hear how you like it?


April 27, 1922 -
Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse, der Spieler
(some have called it the first film-noir,) premiered in Berlin, Germany on this date.



Fritz Lang
originally wanted the actress portraying Venus to be completely nude. When the first take was completed, he didn't like how the woman's pubic hair looked, and ordered her to shave it off. The actress indignantly refused, sending Lang into a tantrum. Eventually, a compromise was reached when a small strip of cloth was draped over the offending hair.


April 27, 1948 -
Alexander Korda's
lavish remake of Anna Karenina directed by Julien Duvivier and starring Vivien Leigh and Ralph Richarson premiered in NYC on this date.



Michael Redgrave
was cast, but pulled out when he was offered Mourning Becomes Electra in Hollywood.


April 27, 1971 -
CBS
executives finally sobered up and the last episode of Green Acres aired on this date.



This was to have been the pilot for a proposed spin off featuring Elaine Joyce as Carol. Oliver and Lisa only appear briefly in the beginning as an excuse to introduce Carol and the pilot. Oliver appears later talking to Carol on the phone.


April 27, 1990 -   
The British film based on the lives and crimes of the English gangster twins Ronald and Reginald Kray, The Krays, starring Gary Kemp (of Spandau Ballet) and Martin Kemp, premiered in the UK on this date.



Roger Daltrey had originally intended to produce a film about the Kray twins life after acquiring the rights to John Pearson's book The Profession Of Violence. The idea was abandoned however once the Peter Medak version was announced.


April 27, 2001 -
And I fell out of bed hurting my head from things that I said ...




The Bee Gees perform audience and viewer requests for tunes from their long career in a concert at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom on the A&E series, Live By Request, on this date.


Word of the Day


Today in History:
April 27, 1509
-
The entire state of Venice was excommunicated by Pope Julius II for an entirely secular reason:



the refusal to place parts of Romagna under the Pope's control.

Oh, those wacky Pre-counterreformation Popes.


April 27, 1521
-
In an hour long battle with Philippine islanders, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men were repeatedly jabbed with sharpened bamboo spears. After Magellan finally succumbs to his wounds, the natives hacked him to pieces with their swords, barbecued and consumed him on this date.



They were surprised that they were not hungry an hour after eating him as they had been after eating some Asian explorers previously.


April 27, 1822 -
Ulysses S. Grant
, Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States, would have been 198 today.



And if the rumors are true, he is still buried in Grant's Tomb, which was dedicated on this date in 1897.


April 27, 1861 -
In a blatantly unconstitutional act, President Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus inside a zone between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The government could detain citizens indefinitely without ever filing charges. A year and a half later, Lincoln expanded the scope of his order to the entire nation.



I will grant you that President Obama might have read a little too much, but thank God that the current resident of the White House doesn't read much at all.


April 27, 1865 -
The worst steamship disaster in the history of the United States occurs on this date. The SS Sultana, carrying over 2,000 passengers, the majority being freed Union POWs from the notorious Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons, exploded on the Mississippi River, while en route to Cairo, Illinois.



Neither the cause of the explosion nor the final count of the dead (estimated at between 1,450 and 2,000) was ever determined. Today, the Sultana disaster remains the worst of its kind .

Talk about bad luck.


April 27, 1871 -
The American Museum of Natural History opened to the public in New York City, on this date. With a series of exhibits, the Museum’s collection went on view for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal, the Museum’s original home, on the eastern side of Central Park.

The museum began from the efforts of Albert Smith Bickmore, one-time student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, who was successful in his proposal to create a natural history museum in New York City with the support of William E. Dodge, Junior, Theodore Roosevelt, Senior, Joseph Choate and J. Pierpont Morgan. The Governor of New York, John Thompson Hoffman, signed a bill officially creating the American Museum of Natural History on April 6, 1869.


April 27, 1932 -
Writer Hart Crane was racked with self-doubt about his ability to write good poetry and agonizing over his sexuality, had been mentally unstable for some time. Crane stood on the railing of the ship Orizaba in his pajamas (en route to the United States from Mexico,) shouted, "Goodbye Everyone," to the other stunned passengers and jumped over the side of the ship on this date.



Life preservers were thrown to him, but he makes no effort to reach them and drowned. The ship halted in the water, ten miles off the Florida coast, but never recovers his body.


April 27, 1986 -
Someone interrupted the HBO satellite feed during the movie The Falcon and The Snowman on this date. For five minutes, two-thirds of their customer base receives the message: Good evening HBO from Captain Midnight. $12.95 a month?



(Showtime-Movie Channel Beware.) Captain Midnight turned out to be John R. MacDougall of Florida.  After media pressure forces the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to act, MacDougall was charged and sentenced, per a plea bargain, to a $5,000 fine and one year’s probation.


April 27, 1987 -
After determining that Kurt Waldheim had "assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of persons" during his Nazi years, the Department of Justice places him on a watch list of undesirable aliens on this date. As such, the sitting President of Austria was disallowed entry into the U.S. It is the first time that a foreign head of state is legally forbidden from visiting America.



I suppose that he suffered from Waldheimer's Disease - it's having difficulty recalling that you're a Nazi



And so it goes


268


Sunday, April 26, 2020

It's nice of you to say 'hello'

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - are you reaching out to keep in contact with you loved ones via your home phone?

Saliva is a steady source of nutrients for microorgaganisms living inside a telephone mouthpiece.


On this day in 4977 B.C., the universe is created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science.



Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.


National Pretzel Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes. Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. (This appears to be a legitimate celebration, before all this social lock down, there were many stores giving away free pretzels today.)



Wake me up when it's Very Dry Martini, straight up with Olives Day.


April 26, 1935 -
The Tod Browning MGM comedy-horror film Mark of the Vampire, starring Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, and Jean Hersholt, premiered in the US on this date.



Throughout the film, Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) has an unexplained bullet wound on his temple. In the original script Mora was supposed to have had an incestuous relationship with his daughter Luna, and to have committed suicide. After filming began, however, MGM deleted references to the crime (and any remaining references may have been deleted when 20 minutes of footage was removed after the film's preview).


April 26, 1945 -
United Artists
wartime drama, Blood On The Sun, starring James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney, premiered in the US on this date.



The movie is based on the history behind Japan's alleged Tanaka Plan, aka the Tanaka Memorial document (it was made public after his death in 1929). This allegedly was Prime Minister Baron Gi-ichi Tanaka's militarist strategic plan for world domination prepared for Emperor Hirohito. It was first printed in China by the Chinese communists and in the US by a communist periodical, leading some to think that it was a forgery. No Japanese version has ever been found.


April 26, 1950 -
Twentieth Century-Fox
released the Cold War drama, shot on location in Berlin, The Big Lift, starring, Montgomery Clift, and Paul Douglas, on this date.



With the exception of Montgomery Clift and Paul Douglas, all military personnel in the film were actual members of the US military on duty in Germany at the time.


April 26, 1954 -
One of the greatest films in world cinema, Akira Kurosawa's iconic Seven Samurai, starring Toshiro Mifune, was released in Japan on this date.



This was the first film on which Akira Kurosawa used multiple cameras, so he wouldn't interrupt the flow of the scenes and could edit the film as he pleased in post-production. He used the multiple-camera set-up on every subsequent film.


April 26, 1956 -
Godzilla debuted in America on this date. (Gojira premiered in Japan on November 3, 1954.)



The American version of the film had 40 minutes of the original excised (mostly the content dealing with World War II or the anti-nuclear message,) and had 20 minutes of the masterful deadpan stylings of Raymond Burr. The American version was released in Japan with Japanese subtitles and did very well.


April 26, 1967 -
CBS broadcast the documentary, Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution, with the host Leonard Bernstein, on this date.



The program marked the first time that television presented pop music as a legitimate art form.


April 26, 1978 –
NBC
aired a a musical version of The Prince and the Pauper, Ringo, starring Ringo, Art Carney,  Angie Dickinson, Carrie Fisher, Vincent Price, John Ritter, and George Harrison narrating, on this date.



Really, don't feel you have to watch the whole thing (it's not very good.)


A good book for the young person in your life during the PAUSE


Today in History:
April 26, 1452 -
Leonardo da Vinci
was born on this date. Mr. da Vinci was one of the great minds of the Renaissance. Sadly, he is best known for having painted the Mona Lisa (in Italian, La Joconde,) in which he accurately and exquisitely captured the unmistakable smile of a dignified woman who's just farted.



For some reason, many lonely computer geeks celebrate this day by releasing computer virii in hopes that female FBI agents will break down their doors.


April 26, 1865 -
Discovered hiding in a farmer's tobacco shed, John Wilkes Booth was shot in the neck by a complete lunatic. Dying and paralyzed from the neck down, he whispers: Tell my mother I did it for my country.



As his hands are held up to his face, Booth mutters "useless...useless..."

They are his last words.


On April 26, 1923 (almost 88 years previously to the date of his great-grandson's nuptials,) the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey.



This wedding might have slipped into the ephemera of time had the Duke's brother not wanted to marry a woman reported so ugly, many thought her a man in drag. And calling a woman ugly in England is really saying something, as many of the British upper crust often marry their horses out of confusion.

That's British royalty.

Count Basie died on April 26, 1984; Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899; Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song," was born on April 25, 1917.

That's American royalty.


April 26, 1933 -
Hermann Goering
founded the Geheime Staatspolizei, otherwise known as the Gestapo on this date.



The original purpose of this "Secret State Police" is to disrupt and harass opponents of National Socialism, but it will later come to adopt many additional responsibilities.


April 26, 1933 -
My grandmother and I followed my mother here, to a house a block north of Hollywood Boulevard but a million miles away from Hollywood, if you know what I mean. We would hang out behind the ropes and look at the movie stars arriving at the premieres.





Carol Creighton Burnett, the funniest woman in America was born on this day - don't argue with me, I will come to your home and hurt you.  I was forced to watch The Carol Burnett Show in my bedroom and not with my family because I laughed so loudly and so hard, no one could hear it.


April 26, 1937 -
It was a beautiful Monday afternoon in Guernica, Spain on this date. At about 3:30 pm the day took a tragic turn. For over three hours, twenty-five or more of Germany's best-equipped bombers, accompanied by at least 20 more Messerschmitt and Fiat Fighters, dumped one hundred thousand pounds of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the village, slowly and systematically pounding it to rubble.



Guernica had served as the testing ground for a new Nazi military tactic - blanket-bombing a civilian population to demoralize the enemy. It was wanton, man-made holocaust.



The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso.


April 26, 1937 -
Due to a publishing error, was printed without the word "LIFE" on the cover on this date.

It was the only time that LIFE was nameless.


April 26, 1986 -
44 seconds
into a late-night experiment at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four sustains two large explosions. The exploded at Chernobyl burned for 10 days. About 70% of the fallout fell in Belarus. Damage was estimated to be up to $130 billion. The Soviet news agency TASS held off reporting the incident for almost 48 hours.



A 300-hundred-square-mile area was evacuated and 31 people died as unknown thousands were exposed to radioactive material that spread in the atmosphere throughout the world. By 1998 10,000 Russian liquidators involved in the cleanup had died and thousands more became invalids. It was later estimated that the released radioactivity was 200 times the combined bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was later found that Soviet scientists were authorized to carry out experiments that required the reactor to be pushed to or beyond its limits, with safety features disabled.

Oops.


Before you go - some people enjoy sheltering in place with their family -



The great Neil Finn of both Crowded House and Split Enz and his musical sons Liam and Elroy performed the classic Croweded House song Better Be Home Soon while staying home at Liam’s Los Angeles house.


And so it goes


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Saturday, April 25, 2020

one mosquito can be more than a swarm

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Today is Malaria Awareness Day. Malaria Awareness Day was designated on this date by President George W. Bush in 2007, to remind people that Malaria kills 3,000 children a day. He asked the world to join the fight to wipe out malaria on the African continent.



So I encourage all Americans to begin heavily drinking Gin and Tonics to honor the day



(While I am a Bombay Sapphire man, I am not affiliated in anyway with that fine brand - not that I wouldn't consider any offers, I'd suggest using Tanqueray.  I believe it goes better with the Tonic.)


Today is the holiday of Robigalia, honoring the god Robigus.  The purpose of the holiday was to prevent mildew from ruining crops.  Dog and sheep sacrifices were encouraged to honor Robigus. (I didn't suggest this, the ancient Romans did)

For some reason, it's also the holiday of celebrating male sex workers.  I'm not sure how one was supposed to celebrate that portion of the holiday slaughtering livestock.

But maybe it's just me.


April 25, 1917 –
Ella Jane Fitzgerald
, the First Lady of Song, considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, was born on this date.





Ella Fitzgerald’s life was the quintessential American success story. Through 58 years of performing, 13 Grammys and more than forty million records sold, she elevated swing, bebop, and ballads to their highest potential.


April 25, 1959 -
The Fleetwoods
hit No. 1 with their recording of Come Softly to Me on this date.



The original title of this song Come Softly, was changed because Dolphin (later Dolton) Records owner Bob Reisdorff feared that AM radio DJs would think it to be too suggestive. He was being extra-cautious, Dolphin Records was formed by the Seattle DJ for the sole purpose of distributing Fleetwoods records.

Remember kids, don't dance so close. Leave room for the Holy Spirit.


April 25, 1992 -
The final episodes of Who's the Boss, aired on this date on ABC-TV.


(Sorry, this is a very bad copy of the show.)

The original ending for the series, as proposed by the writers, was for Angela and Tony to get married. ABC executives, however, balked at this ending and were supported by Tony Danza, who was against having Tony and Angela get married in the series finale. So the series ended with Tony and Angela breaking up but with Tony appearing on Angela's doorstep to apply for the housekeeper job in a scene that is almost identical to the opening scene in the pilot episode.


April 25, 1997 -
The surprise comedy hit, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, starring Lisa Kudrow, Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo, Camryn Manheim and Alan Cumming, premiered in the US on this date.



The trailer has a small bit of dialog edited out of the movie: In a scene from the film used in the trailer, Michele tells the A-list girls "We're not the ones who got fat," to which Christine replies "We're pregnant." In the trailer Michele then retorts "Okay, we're not the ones who got pregnant," but this line does not appear in the movie.



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


Today in History:
April 25, 1507
-
At a small college in Eastern France, German geographer Martin Waldseemüller published a map with the region of the world commonly referred to as “the New World” labeled as “America” for the first time ever in a book entitled Cosmographiae Introductio on this date.

In the book, Waldseemüller credited Amerigo Vespucci with discovering the continent.  The amount of money that make have changed hand is uncertain but Columbus was said to be quite pissed.


April 25, 1792 -
French highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was beheaded by the guillotine, after extensive testing during its development with corpses and sheep, making him its first victim on this date. The speed that the guillotine worked as quick as lightening and in the twinkling of an eye - it was over.

The outcome was not well received by the crowd who called for the return of the gallows.


April 25, 1856 -
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
, mathematician and an Oxford professor, met a three year old girl named Alice Liddell on this date.



Charles had a penchant for making up stories to entertain the little girls he liked to photograph (many of them happened to be in the nude, at the time.) Alice had a penchant for consuming unknown (and apparently psychoactive) food, pills and liquids that she found while exploring a very large rabbit hole.

And 40 years later Oscar Wilde went to prison for the shoddy laundry services provided by the hotels he and several local young men frequented.  I'm not sure that there s a connection, I'm just pointing it out.


April 25, 1926
-
The premiere of Giacomo Puccini's opera, Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on this date, one year and five months after Puccini's death. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini.



Turandot was unfinished at the time of Puccini's death and was later completed by Franco Alfano.


April 25, 1939 -
DC Comics
debuted what will become its second major superhero, Batman, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (the May issue) on this date.



The first book to feature Batman sold for 10 cents when it was published and one of the rare comics in pristine condition sold for $1,380,000 when it came up for auction .


April 25, 1947 -
Harry S. Truman
officially opened the two-lane White House bowling alley on this day.



Though Truman himself wasn't much of a bowler, it became embarrassing for the staff to have to search local DC bowling alleys trying to find where the President was knocking back boiler makers every other night. The White House staff members formed a bowling team and even competed in national events.


April 25, 1953 –
Francis Crick
and James D. Watson published Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid describing the double helix structure of DNA, in the scientific journal Nature, on this date.

In it, Crick and Watson reveal the double helix structure of DNA and explains how DNA transmits hereditary information between cells and generations, (the boys conveniently forgot to mention the work they 'cribbed' from Rosalind Franklin.) Their work will earn them a Nobel Prize in 1962.


April 25, 1963 -
The bronze statue of The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) is Denmark's most visited tourist attraction. The statue was unveiled on August 23, 1913 at it's current location in Copenhagen Harbor. It gives hope to the Danes when they are not pining for the Fjords.

So imagine the horror, when Denmark woke up on this date to find that the unimaginable had happened, someone had sawed off the head of  The Little Mermaid, the night before. The head was never recovered and a new head was made from the original cast.


April 25, 1972 -
... And if you covered him with garbage, George Sanders would still have style....



George Sanders, actor and husband of not one but two Gabor sisters, killed himself, leaving this great suicide note: "Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool - good luck," on this date.

Short and to the point.


April 25, 1980 -
In Iran, a commando mission to rescue hostages was aborted after mechanical problems disabled three of the eight helicopters involved. During the evacuation, a helicopter and a transport plan collided and exploded. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed on this date.



The mission was aimed at freeing American hostages that had been taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.


And on a personal note - still as lovely as ever,

Andrea once again is celebrating her 39th birthday.


One last thing - here's a moment of musical zen:



Everything, even quarantine, goes better with ukuleles



And so it goes


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Friday, April 24, 2020

Finger lickin' good

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - roughly 50% of all commercially raised chickens and turkeys succumb to Salmonella poisoning  every year.



More than a billion pounds of dead poultry are recycled annually into poultry feed. So not only are the chicken that you eat cannibalistic, but possibly disease ridden cannibals who can transmit salmonella to humans. Enjoy your dinner this evening


Somehow it's Pig in a Blanket Day, encouraging the consumption of ‘pigs in blankets’ – small pork sausages wrapped in bacon or pastry, and cooked until crispy (for those of you porcine adverse, choose your own ground meat filling.)



Please celebrate sensibly.


Today is also Arbor Day. The holiday is celebrated on the last Friday of April  -

The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan.  Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.



But unless you plan on hugging or planting a tree, what do you care?


April 24, 1939 -
The Warner Bros
. bio-pix on the life of Benito Juarez, Juarez, starring Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains, and John Garfield, premiered in the US on this date.



Orry-Kelly designed costumes for Bette Davis which changed in tone as the film progressed: from white at the beginning, changing to gray in mid-film, and then to black at the end when she goes insane.


April 24, 1941 -
George Stevens'
tearjerker classic, Penny Serenade, starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Beulah Bondi, and Edgar Buchanan, premiered in the US on this date.



In a flagrant disregard of the then Production Code, it would appear that Irene Dunne and Cary Grant share a marital bed instead of separate ones. Also, there's an implication that the two have sex on a train, something unheard of in the morally hidebound 1940s.


April 24, 1974 -
David Bowie
released his iconic album, Diamond Dogs, on this date.



This song introduces us to Bowie's post-Ziggy Stardust persona, Halloween Jack: "The Halloween Jack is a real cool cat and he lives on top of Manhattan Chase." It has also been suggested this song was influenced by Dhalgren, a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany.


A special Quarantini recipe


Today in History:
April 24, 1184 BC
(this is an approximated date.)
... burnt the topless towers of Ilium...



It is traditionally held that city of Troy fell on this date after a ten year siege by the armies of Greece.


April 24, 1800 -
The Library of Congress, the oldest cultural institution in the nation's capital, was established by an act of Congress on this date.



Initially it was housed in the new Capitol in Washington, D.C., but British troops burned the Capitol building and stole the library materials. Retired president Thomas Jefferson then offered his personal library to the Congress.


April 24, 1913 -
The Cathedral of Commerce built one nickel at a time, the Woolworth building opened on this date.



The Five and Dimes are long gone but the skyscraper remains.


April 24, 1915
-
The Ottoman Turkish Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians on this date. Turkey said Armenians had sided with Russia and issued deportation orders for the mass deportation of Armenians. Armenian organizations in Istanbul were closed and 235 members were arrested for treason. Turkish police arrested some 800 of the most prominent Armenians in Constantinople, took them into the hinterlands and shot them



It is generally agreed upon (except by the Turkish Government) that this was the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. And here I go, losing another whole demographic.


April 24, 1916 -
... And what if excess of love, Bewildered them till they died? - W. B. Yeats



Some 1,600 Irish nationalist, the Irish Volunteers, launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin, including the General Post Office. Eemon de Valera was one of the commandants in the uprising. It was provoked by impatience with the lack of home rule and was put down by British forces several days later. Michael Collins, a member of Sinn Fein, led the guerrilla warfare.


April 24, 1953 -
Winston Churchill
, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on this date.

Later, this same year he also won the Nobel peace prize for literature.


April 24, 1970 -
The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, was launched aboard a Long March rocket on this date. Upon reaching orbit, the satellite transmits the popular Communist Chinese song, The East is Red.



With the launch, China became the fifth country with a satellite in space.


April 24, 1986 -
'Her Royal Highness' The Duchess of Windsor, Bessie Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor former maitresse en titre (official mistress), plain-faced, twice-divorced American, possible transvestite and Nazi sympathizer died on this date.



And the House of Windsor breathed a sigh of relief -

until Princess Diana.


April 24th, 1990 -
The Space Shuttle Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. It is hoped that the Telescope will be able to see up to the edge of the known universe. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the largest space telescopes ever used, at the time, and has contributed to many astrological discoveries, notably in the area of supernovas and dark energy.



Hubble has sent back a series of stunning photographs of deep space, and revolutionized thinking about the universe. Unlike many other spacecraft, the HST is open for public use — anyone regardless of education level or nationality can apply for time to use it.



And so it goes


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