Wednesday, December 2, 2020

On ev'ry Christmas tree

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - Christmas tinsel was initially made of lead until the US government persuaded manufacturers to change it to plastic.

Lead foil was a popular material for tinsel manufacture for several decades of the 20th century. Unlike silver, lead tinsel did not tarnish, so it retained its shine. However, use of lead tinsel was phased out after the 1960s due to concern that it exposed children to a risk of lead poisoning.

Avoid Midtown Manhattan today -

they're lighting the Rockefeller Christmas tree tonight.

December 2, 1957 -
Al Priddy, a disc jockey at the Portland, Oregon on radio station KEX, was fired for playing the Elvis Presley version of  White Christmas,  which the station has banned. Their program manager saying it "desecrates the Spirit of Christmas and transgresses the composer's intent."

The story makes national news, but it turns out to be a brilliant publicity stunt - Priddy was back on the air two weeks later, with the station claiming letters were pouring in to support the DJ. As part of the stunt, Priddy recorded the GM calling in to "fire" him for playing the song and played the conversation on his show before he left.

December 2, 1969
Jeanie finally married Major Anthony Nelson (her 'master') on the I Dream of Jeannie episode, The Wedding, on this date.

The premise of the episode is that genies can't be photographed. To solve this, Jeannie blinks up an automaton/robot of herself to walk down the aisle. At the end of the episode when Tony and Jeannie are watching a film of the wedding, Tony is walking with an invisible Jeannie. The robot/automaton should have shown up in the film.

December 2, 1972 -
One of the longest chart-topping singles, The Temptations' Papa Was A Rolling Stone hits #1 in the US, on this date.

The album version of this song runs 11:46. The single was released with the song split into two parts: the A-side was the "vocal" version and runs 6:58; the B-side is the "instrumental" and goes 4:49. Even truncated for single release, the A-side was exceptionally long and remains one of the longest chart-toppers in Hot 100 history. It was not, however, the longest #1 of 1972 - that was Don McLean's American Pie, which clocked in at 8:33.

December 2, 1972 -
Carly Simon released her hit, You're So Vain, with background harmonies supplied by Mick Jagger (who just happened to be in an adjoining studio at the time,) on this date.

Carly Simon
started recording this with Harry Nilsson singing backup, but Mick Jagger ended up singing on it instead (listen for him on the "don't you" parts), although he was not credited on the album. When asked how she was able to get him, Simon said: "I guess it was kind of chance in a way. I was in London, it was 1972 and he happened to call at the studio while I was doing the background vocals with Harry Nilsson. Mick said 'Hey, what cha doin'?' and I said 'We're doing some backup vocals on a song of mine... why don't you come down and sing with us?' So Mick and Harry and I stood around the mic singing 'You're So Vain' and Harry was such a gentleman - he knew the chemistry was between me and Mick; in terms of the singing, so he sort of bowed out saying, 'The two of you have a real blend - you should do it yourselves.'" "

December 2, 1988 -
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! premiered on this date.

Several years later, Queen Elizabeth II attended a Oakland A's versus Baltimore Orioles game in Baltimore, Maryland, and met both teams in their respective dugouts. Reggie Jackson, then an Oakland A's coach, was the first person in the receiving line in the Oakland dugout. Some news channels showed gag footage from this movie of the Queen's impersonator throwing out the first pitch. Leslie Nielsen met the real Queen Elizabeth II in 2005.

December 2, 1997
Gus Van Sant's drama, Good Will Hunting, starring (and written by) Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as well as, Robin Williams, Minnie Driver, and Stellan SkarsgÄrd, premiered in Westwood, California on this date.

The lines in the scene when Sean talks about his late wife's farting antics were ad-libbed by Robin Williams. That is why Matt Damon was laughing so hard. If you watch the scene carefully you can notice the camera shaking a bit, possibly due to the cameraman laughing as well.

How lovely are thy branches

Today in History:
December 2, 1763 -
The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island was dedicated on this date.

Touro is the only surviving synagogue from the colonial era in the US and has operated more or less continually since its dedication.

December 2, 1814 -
Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, Marquis de Sade, died in a lunatic asylum at Charenton on this date.

The Marquis must have been a panic at parties - talk about getting carried away at orgies.

The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed on this day in 1823, "... that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by European powers."

The doctrine set forth the principle that meddling European bastards should keep their meddling goddam hands out of the Americas. Former US Pres. Thomas Jefferson (one of our original grabby-ass forefathers) helped Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

It should not be confused with the Marilyn Monroe Doctrine, which stated that fondling European bastards should keep their fondling goddamn hands off of ...

December 2, 1859 -
At Charlestown in Western Virginia, abolitionist John Brown was hanged for treason on this date.

His body is still moulding in the grave.

December 2, 1877 -
Louis-Paul Cailletet became the first to liquify oxygen. He went on to liquify nitrogen, hydrogen, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and acetylene.

None of them could beat a finely made gin martini.

December 2, 1908 -
John Baxter Taylor Jr. was an American track and field athlete and member of the Irish American Athletic Club (yes, they were integrated) notable as the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal.

According to the Winged Fist Website: Less than five months after returning from the Olympic Games in London, Taylor died of typhoid fever on this date, at the age of 26. In his obituary, The New York Times called him "the world's greatest negro runner."

December 2, 1939 -
New York's La Guardia Airport began operations as an airliner from Chicago landed at 12:01 a.m. on this date.

The TSA is still hoping to screening most of the luggage for some of those passengers from those original flights.

December 2, 1942 -
On the squash court underneath a football stadium of the University of Chicago, at 3:45 p.m., control rods were removed from the "nuclear pile" of uranium and graphite, revealing that neutrons from fissioning uranium split other atoms, which in turn split others in a chain reaction. The Atomic Age was born when scientists, led by Enrico Fermi, demonstrated the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

The reaction was part of the Manhattan Project, the United States' top-secret plan to develop an atomic bomb. This little event led to nuclear power and nuclear weapons and had an incalculable effect on geopolitics, the economy, and art.

December 2, 1954 -
The US Senate voted 67-22 to condemned Joseph R. McCarthy (Sen-R-WI) for misconduct after his ruthless investigations of thousands of suspected communists, for 'conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.'

This followed the McCarthy investigation of the Army. Roy Cohn was McCarthy's aide and Joseph Welch was the attorney for the army.

December 2, 1956 -
George P. Metesky, better known as The Mad Bomber, struck again. Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky plants yet another bomb at Brooklyn's Paramount Theater, injuring seven, on this date.

Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people in New York City theaters, terminals, libraries and offices, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway between 1940 and 1956.

Metesky was finally arrested in January of 1957. After undergoing extensive psychiatric examinations, for the time, he was found to be legally insane and incompetent to stand trial.

December 2, 1959 -
The first color photograph of the Earth from outer space was taken from the nose of a Thor missile launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The data capsule containing the camera was recovered February 16, 1960 on the beach of Mayaguana Island, Bahama Islands, approximately 1,700 miles from the take-off point

December 2, 1986 -
Desi Arnaz died from lung cancer, on this date.

Although recognized as a great innovator of television, I guess he might have had second thoughts about that Philip Morris sponsorship of the I Love Lucy show.

And so it goes


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