Thursday, December 3, 2020

OMG, look out. It's attacking that tree!

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Australian Christmas trees are the world's largest parasites.

If you've heard the phrase "Australian Christmas tree," you might imagine a fir tree on the beach, or possibly one in the ocean Down Under. However, the plant that Australians call a "Christmas tree" is actually an aggressive, hemiparasitic type of mistletoe. This parasite is believed to be the largest in the world, with its roots stabbing victims up to 360 feet away! It looks nothing like a conifer, but its yellow-orange flowers bloom around the holidays, hence the name.

December 3, 1927 -
The first 'official' film of the great comedy team, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Putting Pants on Philip, premiered on this date.

Although they had appeared in several films together at this point, Stan Laurel considered this the first official Laurel and Hardy film.

December 3, 1965 -
Rubber Soul, the sixth album by The Beatles was released on this date. With the 14 new songs, the British band expanded their sound using a wide range of instruments. Influences included soul music and the new folk-rock of Bob Dylan. George Harrison’s use of a sitar on Norwegian Wood sparked a craze for the Indian instrument that lasted beyond the 60s.

The album greatly influenced Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys who believed it marked the first time in pop music that focus had shifted from just making hit singles to making an actual album..

December 3, 1968 -
Touch the screen and feel the healing powers of his 'hunka, hunka burning love' course through your loins.

St. Elvis appeared to his devoted acolytes on this date. The leather clad Elvis - not the sweaty holy Elvis. This is the "Elvis has left the building" Elvis.

December 3, 1976 -

During a shoot for the cover of Pink Floyd's the Animals album, one of the props, an inflatable pig broke free due to a strong gust of wind (gaining a lot of press coverage). The pig, named Algie, floated above Battersea Power Station, then disappeared from sight within five minutes, and was spotted by airline pilots at forty thousand feet in the air. Flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled as the huge inflatable pig flew through the path of aircraft, eastwards from Britain and out over the English Channel, finally landing on a rural farm in Kent that night.

A few years ago to commemorate the special reissue of the entire Pink Floyd catalog, the band recreated the album’s cover. The original Algie could not be used because it was too leaky. (There is nothing worse than a leaky rubber pig.)

December 3, 1998 -
The romantic comedy film Shakespeare in Love, premiered in NYC on this date.

Gwyneth Paltrow saw the script at Winona Ryder's office table in 1997, and asked her if she could read it. Paltrow got the part, without telling Ryder she was going to try for it. The former friends haven't been friends since, because of Paltrow's selfishness, later winning an Oscar for the part.

December 3, 2010 -
Darren Aronofsky's intense psychological drama, The Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder went into a limited release in the U.S. on this date.

The budget on this film was so tight that when Natalie Portman had a rib dislocated during a lift and called the producer for help, she was told that the production could not afford a medic. Portman stated that if they needed to cut items from the budget they could take away her trailer to hire a medic. The next day her trailer was gone. Portman also had to receive physical therapy during filming and one of her sessions was incorporated into the final cut.

A Little Less Conversation

Today in History:
December 3, 1552 -
Francis Xavier was a saint with a few too many fans. In the early 16th century, the Spanish missionary was sent to Asia by the king of Portugal to convert as many souls to Christianity as possible. Turns out, he was pretty good at the job.

Francis Xavier became wildly popular, and after his death in 1552, so did his relics.

In fact, demand out-fueled supply. Throughout several years and multiple exhumations, his body was whittled away.

Today, a piece of the venerated saint is in Cochin, India, while his humurus is in Malacca, Malaysia. One of his arms resides in Rome, and various other cities lay claim to his internal organs. The leftovers? They went to Goa, India.

December 3, 1890 -
Isaac Jordan, the U.S. Congressional Representative from the great state of Ohio, died after taking a drunken stumble down an open elevator shaft in his law offices on this date.

Remember to check if the elevator is there when entering, especially if you are drunk.

December 3, 1948 -
John Michael Osbourne, rock star, 'Prince Of Darkness', drug use casualty and animal vivisectionist is born on this date.

Continue to ride the Beast, Ozzy!

December 3, 1967 -
The first successful heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christaan Barnard at Capetown, South Africa, on this date. The patient, Louis Washkansky, lived 18 days with the new heart.

While a practical artificial heart may someday become a reality, transplants of real human hearts would become widely accepted surgery, with some patients living on new hearts for many years.

December 3, 1976
Bob Marley was shot in the upper arm, on this date, when intruders storm his house in Kingston, Jamaica, attempting to assassinate the singer. Also shot were his wife Rita, manager Don Taylor and Lewis Griffiths, a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The attack was motivated by politics, as elections in Jamaica were days away and Marley was seen as supporting the ruling party. Marley made a full recovery and never had the bullet removed, as he was told that the operation could cause him to lose movement in his fingers.

December 3, 1979 -
Festival seating anyone - At Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on this date, eleven concertgoers were trampled several dozen others injured in the rush for seating at the opening of a sold-out concert by The Who.

Only a few doors were in operation that night, and there are reports that management did not open more doors due to the concern of people sneaking past the ticket turnstiles.

December 3, 1984 -
Methyl Isocyanate leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant located at a slum in Bhopal, India on this date. The gas killed 4,000 people and injured 200,000 others, many of whom were permanently blinded or disabled.

The event set a standard for industrial accidents that has yet to be equaled.

What else can one say.

And so it goes


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