Monday, December 14, 2020

Don't think about this too much

(Sorry for the delay in posting this morning.)

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - In the 1930’s, an American toilet bowl brush manufacturer changed the look of artificial trees.

The artificial tree was made by the Addis Housewares Company, producers of brushes used for cleaning toilets. During World War II, when real trees were hard to come by, Addis made these artificial trees on their brush-making machinery. Many of these fake trees were sent to London where, after the city was bombed, there was no access to real trees for the holidays. Earlier versions of artificial trees used feathers, but these bottle brush trees are more similar to the artificial trees produced today.

A Special Word of the Day - Halcyon

The Halcyon Days of yore, begin today, a week before the winter solstice and end a week after.

According to legend, this two-week period is associated with unusually calm seas; hence the common meanings of halcyon as 'quiet' or 'peaceful' and by extension, 'prosperous.'

December 14, 1919 -
Felix the Cat first appeared in film, Feline Follies (under the name 'Master Tom',) on this date. This was a full nine years before Mickey Mouse’s debut in Disney’s Steamboat Willie.

The legendary cartoon character created in the silent film era by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer in Australia was a whimsical black cat that walked on two legs and often had the moves and childlike nature of Charlie Chaplin (who was an inspiration for Sullivan).

December 14, 1967 -
Richard Brooks' adaptation of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe, premiered in New York City on this date.

The "Jenson"/"Narrator" characters are based on the author himself, Truman Capote. Capote went to Kansas soon after the murders to cover the manhunt and to interview those who knew the Clutter family.

December 14, 1969 -
Michael Jackson and the rest of The Jackson 5 made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on this date.

The Jackson Five performed Sly and the Family Stone's Stand, Smokey Robinson's Who's Loving You, and their first hit single I Want You Back.

December 14, 1972 -
A very obscure (and not particularly good) Ringo Starr directed concert film, Born To Boogie starring Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Ringo Starr, and Elton John was released on The Beatles Apple Films label in the UK, on this date.

The Tea Party sequence was filmed at John Lennon's estate in the same spots as Lennon's Imagine video was filmed. Marc Bolan's wife June plays one of the nuns in the Tea Party sequence.

December 14, 1979 -
The Clash released their third studio album, London Calling, an album mix of punk, reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock, on this date.

London Calling was produced by Guy Stevens, best known at that point for his work with Mott the Hoople and the Faces. The album was ranked #8 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

December 14, 1984 -
The David Lynch version of Frank Herbert's Science Fiction classic, thought to be unfilmable; Dune, starring Kyle MacLachlan, Jose Ferrer, Francesca Annis and Sting, premiered on this date.

David Lynch has said he considers this film the only real failure of his career. To this day, he refuses to talk about the production in great detail, and has refused numerous offers to work on a special edition DVD.

Christmas Trivia
Brenda Lee was just 13 years old when she recorded Rockin around the Christmas Tree back in 1958.

The record mostly flopped upon its initial release, selling just 5,000 copies. The next year, they released the song a second time and it again flopped, selling just over what it did on its initial release. It finally started to gain some traction the next year as Brenda Lee's fame began to skyrocket, managing to rise as high as number 14 on the Hot 100 Pop Singles list. Within five years of that, it went as high as number three on that same list. By the song's 50th anniversary in 2008, Brenda Lee's original version of it had sold over 25 million copies, including about 700,000 digital copies, making it the fourth most digital downloads sold of any Christmas single.

Remember, according to J. Edgar Hoover, there is no Mafia!

Today in History:
December 14, 1503 -

Nostradamus, famous french huckster (forerunner of Miss Cleo, for those of you who remember Miss Cleo) was born on this date. He predicted correctly French king Henri II's manner of death. Nostradamus was the author of a book of prophecies that many still believe foretold the future. He wrote in rhyming quatrains, accurately predicting the Great London Fire in 1666, Spain's Civil War and that Hitler would lead Germany into war. He even correctly predicted his own death on July 2, 1566.

If you write vague enough prophecies, they will fool almost anyone.

December 14, 1656 -
Artificial pearls were first manufactured by M. Jacquin in Paris on this date.

They were made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales.

December 14, 1702 -
A major part of Japanese history - the 47 Ronin were samurai until their master was ordered to commit suicide after killing an arrogant official. In revenge, the Ronin killed the official, and were then were ordered to commit suicide themselves.

The story of the 47 Ronin remains a popular Japanese legend, and the 47 Ronin are seen as examples of loyalty and faithfulness.

Try getting your staff to turn in reports on time.

December 14, 1807 -
A 'shooting star' fell in Weston, Connecticut at 6:30am on this date, making a hole five feet long and 4.5 feet wide. A young Yale professor, Benjamin Silliman, who rushed to the scene of the phenomenon pronounced it a meteorite.

The meteorite is believed to be the first meteorite to have been seen falling in the New World since the arrival of European settlers. Silliman's study of the Weston meteorite led the foundation of modern scientific research and helped in the development of the field of meteoritics.

December 14, 1861 -
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, of tobacco can fame and husband of Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle from typhoid fever on this date.

The death of the Prince Consort sent Queen Victoria into a deep depression, which effected the entire Empire and even after her recovery she would remain in mourning for the rest of her life.

December 14, 1900 -
Max Planck published his theory of quantum mechanics, which is often considered one of the most radical scientific discoveries of the 20th Century, on this date. It's even more radical than the belief in the collection of Turkish union dues or statements made by the president.

Max Planck was working in a laboratory in 1900, heating up various substances and examining the color of light they emitted when they reached certain temperatures. He also accidentally invented crack cocaine but that's another story. He wanted to describe his results in mathematical terms, but no matter how hard he tried, his mathematical calculations didn't make sense. The only way he could fix the problem was to assume that light travels in little packets, like bullets or balloon condoms filled with cocaine, lodged in the colon of drug mules, even though this seemed impossible.

But five years later, Albert Einstein took Planck's theory of light seriously, and wrote his first major paper exploring the idea of light traveling in packets, which he called photons. Even though he became better known for his theory of relativity, it was Einstein's work expanding on Planck's original ideas about light that won him a Nobel Prize. Einstein later said, "I use up more brain grease on quantum theory than on relativity."

With the discovery of quantum mechanics, physicists found that subatomic particles were by nature unpredictable. If you shot one across the room, you could guess where it might end up, but you could never be sure. This idea made Einstein miserable. He famously said, "I am at all events convinced God does not play dice."

Today quantum mechanics remains one of the most mysterious and difficult scientific theories ever. The Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said that a person who was not shocked by quantum theory did not understand it, and the physicist Richard Feynman once said that while only a modest number of people truly understand the theory of relativity, no one understands quantum mechanics.

Max Planck himself died in 1947 and he never came to fully accept the theory he discovered. But even if few people really understand it, quantum mechanics led to the development of modern electronics, including the transistor, the laser, and the computer.

December 14, 1911 -
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his expedition successfully reached the South Pole on this date, beating out the rival expedition of British Robert Falcon Scott by almost a month.

Amundsen would later become the first explorer to ever fly over the North Pole in 1926.

December 14, 1934 -
The first streamlined locomotive, nicknamed the Commodore Vanderbilt, was introduced by the New York Central Railroad on this date.

Despite its elite status and opulent accommodations, the Commodore saw a short life in the postwar years. Following a series of cutbacks the Commodore was removed from the timetable in 1960.

December 14, 1944 -
Lupe Velez, Hollywood's Mexican Spitfire of the 1940s, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills on this date.

Contrary to her plans of being found laid out on the bed in a silk nightgown, she is instead discovered in the bathroom with her head in the toilet. (OK bunkies, this is just an urban legend but let it get in back of the list of others, like the death of Cass Elliot or Judy Garland. Don't even get me started about the death of Albert Dekker.)

What a way to go!!!

December 14, 1955 -
The Tappan Zee Bridge (formerly known as Governor Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee toll bridge, now the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge) in New York opened to traffic on this date.

The bridge was decommissioned in 2016 and the first section of the new bridge opened in 2017. The entire bridge was completion in 2018.

December 14, 1963 -
Dinah Washington (nee Ruth Lee Jones,) the "Queen of the Blues", juggled numerous prescription medications, primarily for dieting and insomnia, most of her life.

Ain't Misbehavin' -

Harbor Lights -

Love Walked In -

An unintentional but lethal combination of alcohol and pills forever stilled her magnificent voice on this date. She was only 39 and was thankfully found in bed.

December 14, 2013 -
Chang'e 3 became the first spacecraft to land on the Moon since 1976 on this date.

Chang'e 3 was an unmanned lunar exploration mission operated by the China National Space Administration, incorporating a robotic lander and China's first lunar rover, the Yutu rover.

On this anniversary of the terrible act at Sandy Hook,

please honor the families of the victims by spreading kindness.

Before you go - More useless Christmas trivia - “Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow.

Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

And so it goes


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