Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Today is National Ice Cream Soda day.

Remember to pour the soda over the ice cream (you get a thicker ice cream soda foam.)



If you added a little Kahlua in first, even better.

(Hey, everything ain't for the kids.)


June 30, 1972 -
The sci-fi film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the third sequel in the Planet of the Apes oeuvre, directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Roddy McDowall, was released in U.S. theatres on this date.



In the film (set in 1991), the apes were enslaved after a plague brought back from space wiped out all of the Earth's cats and dogs a decade earlier before the events portrayed. In 1978, six years after the film's release, there was a worldwide pandemic of canine papillomavirus (a disease not known until then) that killed several thousands of dogs.

(To celebrate, the world added a leap second to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) time system for the first time.)


June 30, 1989 -
One of Spike Lee's big early films, Do The Right Thing, went into limited release in the US on this date.



The key scene when Danny Aiello and John Turturro talk alone, approximately midway through the film, was partly improvised. The scripted scene ended as the character Smiley approached the window. Everything after that, until the end of the scene, was completely ad-libbed.


June 30, 1995 -
Ron Howards' film about the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission bound for the moon, Apollo 13, premiered on this date.



Ron Howard stated that, after the first test preview of the film, one of the comment cards indicated "total disdain"; the audience member had written that it was a "typical Hollywood" ending and that the crew would never have survived.


June 30, 2006
The 20th Century Fox comedy, The Devil Wears Prada, starring (the lousy actress) Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci and Adrian Grenier, premiered on this date.



Anna Wintour, the powerful Vogue editor on whom Meryl Streep's character was widely believed to be based on in the novel (Lauren Weisberger once worked as her assistant), reportedly warned major fashion designers, who had been invited to make cameo appearances as themselves in the film, that they would be banished from the magazine's pages if they did so. Wintour's spokespeople deny this claim. However, it is notable that Vogue and other major women's and fashion magazines have avoided reviewing or even mentioning the book in their pages.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
June 30, 1520 -
... And as the gloom begins to fall ...

After witnessing the murder of Montezuma II (or committing the murders themselves,) the Conquistadors, led by Hernan Cortes, did what any red-blooded Spaniard would do and looted Tenochtitlan, the ancient Mexican capital of the Aztec empire on this date. The retreating Spaniards were attacked by an angry Aztec mob. Tied down by armor and treasure, they are no match for the natives and nearly half of Hernan Cortes' men lose their lives.


June 30, 1837 -
England outlawed the use of the pillory on this date.


That still left the British Navy the three things they loved the most - the lash, sodomy and rum.


June 30, 1859 -
Charles Blondin (Jean Fran├žois Gravelet,) a French acrobat became the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope on this date. Blondin walked a 1,100 feet long rope that was 160 feet above the water.



The entire walk from bank to bank to bank took 23 minutes, and Blondin immediately announced an encore performance to take place on the Fourth of July (which he gave and survived.)


June 30, 1882 -
Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, was hanged on this date.



Tickets for the event went for as much as $300. Proving once again, give the people what they want and they'll show up.


June 30, 1894 -
Under a cloudless sky and as part of a pageant which delighted tens of thousands of people, the new Tower-Bridge, which deserves to be reckoned among the greatest engineering triumphs of the Victorian age, was declared open for traffic by land and water... - The Times of London, July 2, 1894



One of London's most iconic symbols, The Tower Bridge was officially opened on this date by The Prince of Wales (Teddy, the future King Edward VII, took time out of his unofficial profession of Royal Whore Monger, to officiate on this date.)


June 30, 1908 -
An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia on this date, incinerated some 300 sq. km. that encircled the impact of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. It flattened some 40,000 trees over 900 sq. miles and caused damage equivalent to a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb.



The explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 30-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away, is believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.


June 30, 1934 -
Acting on behalf of the Fuhrer, SS troops around Germany arrested hundreds of loyal SA stormtroopers under the charge of treason in order to eliminate the group.



One squad descends on a Bavarian resort, where it interrupts a contingent of SA men engaged in homosexual festivities. Lieutenant Edmund Heines was caught in bed with a teenaged boy, and shot to death on the spot. The rest were taken into custody. Hitler sacrificed Ernst Rohm (his pal and head of the SA stormtroopers) rather than lose the support of the military. He personally confronted Rohm in a jail cell and left a single shot pistol in the cell. Ten minutes later, Rohm had killed himself (unless he didn't, in which case, he was executed at point blank range by Hitler's goons - reports are sketchy.)



Nobody ruins a good sodomy and lederhosen party in like Hitler's goons.


June 30, 1936 -
It's the 85th anniversary of publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind on this date.



Despite spending 10 years of her life working on the tome, Mitchell didn’t really have much intention of publishing it. When a “friend” heard that she was considering writing a book (though in fact, it had been written), she said something to the effect of, “Imagine, you writing a book!” Annoyed, Mitchell took her massive manuscript to a Macmillan editor the next day. She later regretted the act and sent the editor a telegram saying, “Have changed my mind. Send manuscript back.”



It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews -- "Gone With the Wind is very possibly the greatest American novel," said Publisher's Weekly -- that it was certain to sell, though few predicted the sustained, record-breaking numbers. Though she had been eager and active for her fame, Mitchell too was caught off guard.


June 30, 1953 -
The first Corvette rolled off the production line on this date. The car only came in white with a black top and red interior. Optional features included a curtain instead of roll-up windows and interior door handles.



300 cars were made the first year and sold for $3,498.


Tomorrow is Canada Day, and ACME, in an effort to fulfill its legal obligation to broadcast a quota of Canadian content, er... I mean, to honor our sister of the north:

June 30, 1987 - The Royal Canadian Mint introduced the $1 coin, affectionately known as the Loonie, on this date.



It bears images of a common loon, a bird which is common and well known in Canada, on the reverse, and of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. It is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint at its facility in Winnipeg.

(This will be on the test.)


June 30, 1997 -
Hong Kong was acquired by Britain in 1842, when it was ceded in perpetuity by China as a base for Britain's trading ventures. Under the First Convention of Peking, signed in 1860, the tip of the Kowloon peninsula and Stonecutters' Island were ceded to Britain.

In 1898, China granted Britain a 99-year lease for a much larger stretch of land north of Kowloon and a large number of islands, known collectively as the New Territories.

The lease ran out on this date, in 1997. The handover ceremony occurred on the following day. Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC.



And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

I did not know this

Canada is south of Detroit,

(just look at a map).


June 29, 1940 -
According to the Batman Canon: two gangsters working for Tony Zucco rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the Flying Graysons, leaving their son Dick (Robin) an orphan on this date.



Lucky for Dick, a rugged virile older man, Bruce Wayne was there to give him the care and attention a strapping young man in snug fitting swimming trunks and tights needs.


June 29, 1968 -
Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me by Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) peaks at #17 on this date.



Proof positive, people did massive amounts of drugs in the '60s.


June 29, 1979 -
United Artists releases the eleventh film in the James Bond franchise, Moonraker, directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Roger Moore in his fourth outing as James Bond, in the US on this date.



Richard Kiel (Jaws) has only one line of dialogue in his two Bond appearances. He says, "Well, here's to us", toasting with a glass of champagne with his new girlfriend, near the end of this movie.


June 29, 1984 -
One of the original gross out comedies of the 80s, Bachelor Party, opened on this date.



Kelly McGillis and Paul Reiser were considered for the lead roles early in production, but were replaced due to lack of chemistry between them.


June 29, 1984 -
After a failed attempt shooting a studio video for Dancing In The Dark, Bruce Springsteen performs the song live at his concert in St. Paul, Minnesota, on this date.



Directed by Brian DePalma, the video was filmed during Springsteen's concert at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota on June 29, 1984. Courteney Cox, who was planted in the audience, got the role of the adoring fan in the front row who gets to dance on stage with Bruce. Springsteen performed the song midway through the show, so by that time he was good and sweaty and the crowd was worked into a frenzy. To get the shots, Springsteen did the song twice, with DePalma repositioning his cameras after the first take.


June 29, 1988 -
The John Landis blockbuster film, Coming To America, starring Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos and a plethora of stars in funny cameo roles, opened on this date.



After the make-up and clothing was applied for the Jewish character Saul, Eddie Murphy wanted to test the make-up and costume out. He got a golf cart and drove from one studio department to another in Paramount Studios. He would get out of the cart and say in his regular voice, "Hi. I'm Eddie Murphy." No one believed him.


June 29, 2001 -
Steven Spielberg's take on a film originally conceived by Stanley Kubrick, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, starring Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law and Frances O'Connor, went into general release in the US on this date.



The World Trade Center is seen in the New York City scenes of this movie, set many years into the future after 2001. Less than three months after this movie's release, they were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Though risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the twin towers in the DVD release.


June 29, 2007 -
Brad Bird's brilliant film, Ratatouille, starring the voice work of Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm, Janeane Garofalo, Peter O'Toole, Brad Garrett, and Brian Dennehy premiered in the US on this date.



The ratatouille dish prepared by Remy is the alternate variation called confit byaldi. It was adapted by film consultant Thomas Keller. This variation differs much from the conventional ratatouille in terms of preparation and method. The major difference is that the vegetables used are sliced thinly and baked instead of cooking them in the pot.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
June 29, 1613 -
The Globe Theater, William Shakespeare's original theatrical venue, burns to the ground on this date. According to one of the few surviving documents of the event, no one was hurt except a man who put out his burning breeches with a bottle of ale.



It must have not been a very good bottle of ale.


Canada Day is soon upon bunkies, so here's some history about our neighbor to the north -
June 29, 1864 -
The worst railway disaster in Canada's history killed 99 people and injured 100 more on this date, when a train, which had been carrying many German and Polish immigrants, failed to stop at an open bridge (the Beloeil Bridge) and plunged into the the Richelieu River near Quebec.

The engineer, who was new to his job, claimed that he did not see the signal. The St-Hilaire train disaster is still considered Canada's worst train crash in history.


June 29, 1967 -
Actress Jayne Mansfield may or may not have been decapitated in a car crash, when her convertible collides with a parked tractor-trailer. To downplay the supposed gruesome death, sources spread the falsehood that only her wig flew off in the accident.



Her three children survived in the back seat of the 1966 Buick Electra. Daughter Mariska Hargitay was 3 years old at the time and began her film career at 19.


June 29, 1971 -
When Soyuz 11 disengaged from the Salyut space station, cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev were killed by a faulty pressurization valve on this date.



All the oxygen leaks out of the Soyuz cabin before Patsayev could close the valve by hand, and the crew was asphyxiated.

I hate when that happens.


June 29, 1978 -
The body of Bob Crane was discovered in bed with an electric cord wrapped around his neck and his head smashed in, on this date.



When Scottsdale police searched the apartment belonging to the former star of television's Hogan's Heroes, they discovered a video camera and a large library of amateur porn starring Crane and a parade of random women. (Parade of Random Women - still a great name for an indie band.) No one has every been convicted of his murder.


June 29, 1992 -
Mohammed Boudiaf was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards less than six months after becoming President of Algeria. A former hero in the war of independence, Boudiaf had been chosen by the Islamic Salvation Front to serve as figurehead for their regime. More than 100,000 Algerians would later die in political bloodshed in the following decade.

(Please note - this was probably not a good business motto to choice a protection agency - we will not kill you within the first six months or your money back.)



And so it goes.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Today is Paul Bunyan Day.

Paul Bunyan is a larger-than-life folk hero who embodies frontier vitality. He is a symbol of might, the willingness to work hard, and the resolve to overcome all obstacles.



He was popularized by newspapermen across the country in 1910 and has been a part of the American culture ever since.


June 28, 1944 -
Universal Pictures released Robert Siodmak's obscure film noir, Christmas Holiday starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, on this date.



Some viewers consider Gene Kelly's role as Oedipally-afflicted psychotic killer Robert Manette to be a radical departure from his typically sunny screen persona. In fact, the role was closer to his norm at the time. This film was made at a point in Kelly's career where MGM, his home studio, was unsure of how to capitalize on his image, which resulted in several loanout assignments to Columbia and Universal.


June 28, 1951 -
A TV version of the popular radio program Amos 'N' Andy premiered on CBS on this date.



Although criticized for racial stereotyping, it was the first network TV series to feature an all-black cast. I'm ambivalent about embedded the episode, but it's out there on the internet.



If you have the time, watch the documentary posted above so you can understand what the show is about.


June 28, 1956 -
The film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, The King and I premiered in New York City, on this date.



At one point, Fox executives suggested that the story be changed so that the King would be gored by a white elephant, rather than become ill because of a personal humiliation. Understandably, this made Yul Brynner furious, and he insisted that the story stick to the stage version.


June 28, 1975 -
David Bowie released the song, Fame, featuring John Lennon on backing vocals, on this date. It become Bowie's first #1 hit in the US.



John Lennon helped write this song - he came up with the title and also sang the background Fame parts in the high voice. They started working on the song when Bowie invited Lennon to the studio, and Lennon played rhythm guitar on a jam session that resulted in this track. Bowie met Lennon less than a year earlier at a party thrown by Elizabeth Taylor. Lennon was one of Bowie's idols, and they became good friends.


June 28, 1985 -
Hard to believe now but Hollywood employed some of the Brat Pack again when Joel Schumacher's St. Elmo's Fire, starring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and Mare Winningham, premiered on this date.



According to director Joel Schumacher, he had to fight hard to cast Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, and Andie MacDowell. Schumacher says the studio had easily approved Rob Lowe (who was a teen idol at the time), Ally Sheedy (who had been in the hit movie WarGames) and Mare Winningham (who had a significant body of work in television).


June 28, 1996 -
Tom Shadyac's remake of the Jerry Lewis classic, The Nutty Professor, starring Eddie Murphy (in just about ever role,) Jada Pinkett, James Coburn, Larry Miller, Dave Chappelle and John Ales, went into general release in the US on this date.



The family scene was nearly cut out of the final film due to lack of relevance with the film's plot. However, the Klump family turned out to be one of the most popular elements of the film, so much that the Klumps got a greatly expanded presence in the sequel, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.


June 28, 2003 -
Gore Verbinski's Disney moneymaking blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Jonathan Pryce, premiered at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, on this date.



Geoffrey Rush has a theory that people watch the screen from left to right, just like when they read a book. Therefore, he tried to be in the left side of the screen as often as possible. He was particularly intent on doing this in the scenes with the monkey and Keira Knightley, because he didn't think anyone would look at him otherwise.


Word of the Day


Today in History:
June 28, 1778 -
It was a hot day in New Jersey on this date. Temperatures reportedly reached 96 degrees in the shade. Possibly invented historical character, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, "Molly Pitcher," wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, N.J. and, supposedly, took her husband's place at his cannon after he was overcome with heat.



According to myth she was presented to General George Washington after the battle.


June 28, 1820 -
Robert Gibbon Johnson proved that tomatoes were not poisonous when he ate two homegrown tomatoes in front of a horrified crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New Jersey (some sites place the date of Mr Johnson's demonstration in September of 1820.)



At the time in the US, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous because of their relationship with some wild plants of the nightshade family that produce toxic berries.

This is what passed for entertainment in New Jersey - the current democratic machine of southern New Jersey hadn't been formed yet.


June 28, 1902 -
Today is the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)



At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.



Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago. And as stated previously, it is widely rumored (but hotly denied) pug ugly transvestite FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, ordered Dillinger's well-endowed member detached from his corpse and pickled, for his private files.



His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.



And I have no idea if Hoover did with his trophy.


Jun 28 1905 -
At 5:30 a.m. on this date, a murderer named Henri Languille lost his head on the guillotine in Orleans. Dr. Jacques Beaurieux, an official witness to the execution, picks up the freshly-severed head of Languille just after it drops into the guillotine basket (don't worry, he's an official - the French just don't let anybody pick up freshly severed heads) and shouts the man's name three times. According to the doctor's report: "Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. ... I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me."

Again, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the French they are a funny race.


June 28 1914 -
Archduck Franz Ferdinand was having an extremely bad day.

He was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)



During their tour, Nedjelko Cabrinovic tosses a grenade into the automobile carrying Archduck Franz Ferdinand and wife Sofia. But Ferdinand knocks the bomb away with his arm and his driver speeds away from the would-be assassin. The driver was naturally addled and the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road (and as most men know this is a no-no - if you are lost, never ask for directions). The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"



The boy was Gavrilo Princip and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the Second World War.



Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:



Happy Birthday Mel Brooks



I'm so happy to once again note that it's always a good day to know that Mel is still around.


June 28, 1969 - In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia run bar in Greenwich Village, the gay community fought back against routine police harassment that persecuted sexual minorities. Police raided the bar this time because it had refused to pay an increase in bribery. This incident is regarded by many as history's first major protest on behalf of equal rights for the LGBT community.





34 years later, on June 26, 2003, the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, struck down a Texas sodomy law and proclaimed that gay Americans have a right to private sexual relations. 44 years later (on June 26, 2013) the Supreme Court overturned DOMA and just two years after that, the court legalized marriage for same-sex couples, nationwide.


June 28, 1975 -
Rod Serling (b.1924), iconoclastic writer and director of the TV series Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, died on this date.



Serling, a decorated World War II veteran suffered from PTSD and insomnia throughout his life. His wartime experiences led him to become an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.


June 28 1997 -
Mike Tyson was disqualified from a championship boxing bout after biting off a large portion of Evander Holyfield's ear.



Tyson was later banned from boxing and fined $3 million for the incident.

Yeah, it tastes like chicken.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday Angie



And so it goes.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

It's still in the air

It's Pride Day in NYC again. Last year, the in-person New York City Pride Parade was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year the parade will once again be held virtually. The parade, when it is held, actually commemorates the Stonewall riots, which launched the gay-rights movement.



Again this year WABC NY will be covering the virtual parade live from Noon until 3 PM. It should be a beautiful day today, so get out there and support whatever Pride event that's going on in your neighborhood.



And do not forget the fireworks over the Hudson River.


June 27, 1949 -
Guardian of the Safety of the World, private citizen-scientist Captain Video and his Video Ranger's, premiered on the Dumont Network on this date.



Captain Video was an agent of, and worked for, the Solar Council of the Interplanetary Alliance.


June 27, 1957 -
... I love this dirty town.

The brilliant film-noir, Sweet Smell of Success, partially based on columnist Walter Winchell starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis was released on this date.



After writer Ernest Lehman withdrew from the project because of a stomach problem, much to the chagrin of producer/star Burt Lancaster, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster hired Clifford Odets for rewrites. The noteworthy writer reconstructed every scene. As soon as he had finished writing a scene in his hotel room, it was rushed to the location for Alexander Mackendrick to shoot.

June 27, 1964 -
Peter & Gordon's A World Without Love - written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney - goes to #1 in the US, on this date.



This song found its way to Peter Asher when Paul McCartney was living in the Asher household at 57 Wimpole Street in London during his time dating Jane Asher. He played the song for Peter while in his bedroom. It went on to be the biggest hit John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote that was not released by The Beatles. It became the first and biggest hit for Peter & Gordon.


June 27, 1966 -
The first broadcast of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV on this date.



For more than a year and a half the characters of Dark Shadows used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.


June 27, 1973 -
Roger Moore stepped into the role of James Bond with Live and Let Die, released in the US on this date.



The producers offered Clint Eastwood the role of James Bond, fresh from his success with Dirty Harry. He was flattered, but declined, saying Bond should be portrayed by an English actor.


June 27, 1997 -
Paramount Pictures backed John Woo effort to create a film with more hammier acting that William Shatner/ Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, when it put Face/Off, starring John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, and Gina Gershon into general release on this date.



Nicolas Cage and John Travolta spent two weeks together before filming to learn how to play each other. They decided on specific gestures and vocal cadences for each character that could be mimicked.


June 27, 2008 -
The Disney/ Pixer Academy Award winning animation film, WALL-E went into general release on this date.



WALL-E stands for: Waste Allocation Load Lifter: Earth Class. EVE stands for: Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator.


A book for those who have lost some of the social niceties during the lockdown


Today in History:
June 27, 363 -
The Roman Emperor Julian died on this date from grievous wounds he sustained in battle.

With his death, so ended the revival of Paganism (and state sanctioned, rigorous devotion to sodomy) in Rome.



I believe this is the third day in a row I got to reference sodomy. (I continue to scare the children and horses in the street but as long as I do it in the privacy of my own home, it's not illegal.)


June 27 1844 -
Mormon leader Joseph Smith, along with his brother Hyrum, were shot and killed by a mob while in jail at Carthage, Illinois.

According to church legend, after Smith was shot a man raises a knife to decapitate him, but was thwarted by a thunderbolt from heaven. God was having an off day and the thunderbolt was meant to fry Smith's body to a crisp.

Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill (born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859) an authority on Negro spirituals and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.



Music publisher Warner/Chappell will no longer be allowed to collect licensing royalties on those who sing "Happy Birthday" in public and had pay back $14 million to those who have paid for licensing in the past.

You no longer have to substitute any of the following for our purposes under "Fair Use".


June 27, 1905 -
Sailors from the Battleship Potemkin start a mutiny aboard the Battleship Potemkin, on this date, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war.



Sergei Eisenstein, wacky Russian film director, thought he could make a summer comedy from the subject matter.



He unfortunately had no sense of humor and went on to create the classic silent film, The Battleship Potemkin, in spite of himself.


It's Bob Keeshan's birthday.



If you're of a certain age, you remember him very well.


June 27, 1928 -
Sylvia Beach invited James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald to dinner at her apartment over her Paris Bookstore Shakespeare and Company on this date. Fitzgerald became drunk (which is like stating, the sun rose this morning). He said he was such a fan of Joyce's that he would throw himself out the window to prove it.

Neither writer was having much success. Fitzgerald had just published The Great Gatsby and it had not been selling well. Joyce's Ulysses wouldn't be published outside of Paris for another five years. Both men died 13 years later, less than a month apart, with no money and very few readers.

Such are the vagaries of life.


June 27, 1964 -
Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman (the woman who learned love at the hands of Ernest Borgnine) were married on this date.

The marriage lasted 38 days.



Truly, such are the vagaries of life



And so it goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Yeah, but it tends to go on forever.

Jellyfish are considered biologically immortal.



They don’t age and will never die unless they are killed.

So now you know


June 26, 1919 -
102 years ago today, The New York Daily News started publishing the print edition.



The paper was originally known as the Illustrated Daily News. And its first subscriber wasn't a New Yorker — it was a Boston shoe manufacturer named Louis Coolidge.


The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today, (it's great to know that the ride has re-opened).



It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.


June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.



Location filming proved problematic, so Charles Chaplin shot the entire film on the backlot and stages of his Hollywood studio, including an elaborate reconstruction of the Klondike. His leisurely approach to film-making - and multiple takes - did not suit the demands of location filming. One of the problems was that the crew could not make the cabin look like it was being moved by the wind convincingly on location. Eventually, Chaplin's cinematographer, Roland Totheroh, convinced him that it would be more practical to shoot the sequence with miniature models with his firm assurances that it could be shot convincingly.


June 26, 1965 -
The Byrds went to No.1 on the US singles chart with their version of Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man. (Only Roger McGuinn from the band played on the song, the drummer Hal Blaine who played on the track also played on Bridge Over Troubled Water.)



This song changed the face of rock music. It launched The Byrds, convinced Dylan to "go electric," and started the folk-rock movement. David Crosby of The Byrds recalled the day Dylan heard them working on the song: "He came to hear us in the studio when we were building The Byrds. After the word got out that we gonna do 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and we were probably gonna be good, he came there and he heard us playing his song electric, and you could see the gears grinding in his head. It was plain as day. It was like watching a slow-motion lightning bolt."


June 26, 1987 -
The truly silly yet likeable Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs, starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and Joan Rivers went into general release on this date.



Of all of the jokes in this movie, writer, producer, and director Mel Brooks says that the two he is most proud of are the running gag about merchandising ("Spaceballs: the Breakfast Cereal", "Spaceballs: The T-Shirt", et cetera) and Colonel Sandurz's renting Spaceballs before it was finished.


June 26, 1999 -
Pearl Jam score their biggest Hot 100 hit when Last Kiss, a cover of a song from the '60s originally recorded by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers, reaches #2, held off the top spot by Jennifer Lopez' first single, If You Had My Love.



Pearl Jam recorded this song at a soundcheck and released it as a single to their fan club, who often get songs that are unavailable to the public. After a while, radio stations got copies and started playing it. By the spring of 1999, it was getting a lot of airplay and becoming a hit, even though it was not released as a single or available on an album.



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


Today in History:
June 26, 1284 -
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.



People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.


Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.



It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse. (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke. Please, no e-mails.)


June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was patented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign. The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.



Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon. I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.


Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember, the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.


Abner Doubleday was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.



Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.


June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)







Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.


June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas a federal holiday,

to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.


June 26, 1926 -
Ernest Hemingway hung around Europe with several of his friends after WWI. He used to drive an ambulance. It had a horn. The horn went beep - beep. It was a good sound. Hemingway and his friend wrote some novels in between, drinking, whore mongering and general lollygagging. Typewriters made a sound - clackity -clack. It was a good sound. Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises was published on this date. It is a good date to publish.





All in all it was a damn good novel. Isn’t it pretty to think so?


June 26, 1959 -
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.



The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.

(Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)


June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.



Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-endowed fruit bat" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.

June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....

Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.



Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.


June 26, 1976 -
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was the world's tallest free-standing structure at the time, at 1,815 feet (553 meters,) opened for tourists on this date.



It now is third, behind the Tokyo Skytree in Japan and an observation tower in China. Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates is currently the world's tallest building (with floors from the ground up.)


June 26th 1977 -
St. Elvis played his last ever concert at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana on this date. Elvis was not long for this world; he was very over-weight and seemed ill, but he wanted to silence the press and make his loyal fans happy.



He played in excess of 18,000 fans as they watched his last and most historic performance. Elvis would be gone in less that two months.

Remember - one hand on the screen - the other upon your afflicted area


June 26, 1990 -
The Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.



(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)



And so it goes.

Friday, June 25, 2021

It may not seem possible,

But for about 1.1 million students (and their exhausted families) the 2020/ 2021 school year is finally over.

(Enjoy what you can of summer - the 2021/ 2022 fully 'in class' school year is scheduled to begin 80 days from today, on September 13, 2020. But who knows?)


Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Christmas is but a mere six months away.



Kids, now that you are being released from your pandemic lock downs and are once again allowed to freely roam in polite society, you had better take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you haven been doing.


Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for more than a decade now. More importantly to his earth bound relatives, Michael continues to support the various members of the Jackson factions quite nicely. Death hasn't put a crimp in his record sales.



Farrah Fawcett also died 11 years ago today. I don't believe she's singing with any heavenly children's choir.



There is no connection between these two events but it's also the birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou:



George would have been 58 this year.


June 25, 1938 -
Another in the series of 'books come alive', Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.



Among the many entertainment personalities caricatured in relation to book titles are: Bill Robinson/The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greta Garbo/So Big, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, The Mills Brothers/The Green Pastures, William Powell/The Thin Man, Clark Gable/The House of the Seven Gables, Paul Muni/The Story of Louis Pasteur, Charles Laughton/Mutiny on the Bounty, and Victor McLaglen/The Informer.


June 25, 1949 -
That's the nice fat opera singer ...

One of Chuck Jones famous Bugs Bunny opera parodies, Long Haired Hare, premiered on this date.



Leopold Stokowski never conducted with a baton. This is the reason why Bugs Bunny, impersonating Stokowski, promptly breaks the baton before conducting, and conducts using such dramatic hand gestures.


June 25, 1963 -
One of Federico Fellini's greatest films, Otto e mezzo, (), opened in the US, on this date.



was shot, like almost all Italian movies at the time, completely without sound recording on set. All dialogue was dubbed during post production. Fellini was known for shouting direction at his actors during shooting, and for rewriting dialogue afterwards, making a lot of the dialogue in the movie appear out-of-sync.


June 25, 1982 -
The greatest dystopian Sci-Fi film (at this point), Blade Runner, opened on this date.



The studio wasn't happy with the original final ending where Rick Deckard is looking at the piece of origami, and leaves his building with Rachael. The ending of the U.S. theatrical cut, with Deckard's voice-over about Rachael, used left-over helicopter footage from the opening scene of The Shining. Stanley Kubrick was contacted for this, and being a fan of Ridley Scott's previous movie, Alien, he happily gifted it on the condition that only shots were used that had not been used in The Shining. Since there was copious footage (something for which Kubrick was notorious), this wasn't a problem.

On the same day, Universal Pictures releases the sci-fi horror film John Carpenter's The Thing directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell.



This is the first of John Carpenter's films which he did not score himself. The film's original choice of composer was Jerry Goldsmith, but he passed and Ennio Morricone composed a very low-key Carpenter-like score filled with brooding, menacing bass chords. Morricone's score would be dubiously nominated for a Razzie award for worst score.

Besides the fact that both films opened on this date, the similarities don't end there: both movies met with unfavorable reactions at the premiere but became widely loved sci-fi classics in the years to come.


June 25, 1993 -
David Letterman's series Late Night with David Letterman aired for the last time on NBC-TV on this date. Letterman began hosting Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in August 30, 1993.



Letterman left Late Night in 1993 for Late Show with David Letterman on CBS when NBC give the Tonight Show to Jay Leno following the departure of Johnny Carson in 1992. However, NBC refused to allow Letterman to use elements that made the show famous such as "Larry 'Bud' Melman" or "The Top Ten List". NBC claimed those bits were their "intellectual property". "The Top Ten List" was renamed "Late Show Top Ten" and "Larry 'Bud' Melman" used his real name, Calvert DeForest.


June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the greatest Meg Ryan 'chick flick' (which may seem redundant to some,) Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.



Tom Hanks simultaneously did voice work for the character of Woody in Toy Story during his days off from filming.


Another unimportant moment in history


Today in History:
June 25, 841 -
The army of Charles the Bald and Louis the German met the troops of Lothar and of his nephew Pippin of Aquitaine on this date in 841.



Some say it was one of the most traumatic experiences of the ninth century, but what the hell do you care!


June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Bighorn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse swept in and killed the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.



This is the native way a sending a very serious message.


June 25, 1903 -
Eric Arthur Blair was born on this day in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He burned to be a writer but had no success get people to look at his work, so he was forced him into a series of menial jobs.



Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.


June 25, 1906 -
A love triangle came to a violent end atop the original Madison Square Garden as architect Stanford White, the building's designer, was shot to death by Harry Thaw, for an alleged tryst White had with Thaw's wife, Florence Evelyn Nesbit.



Thaw, tried for murder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. At the time this was called "The Crime of the Century."


June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, (but men and boys are apparently not covered.)

This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys - then it's smooth sailings.


June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production, Our World, was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas, artist Pablo Picasso and a small English skiffle group called The Beatles.





When the The Beatles' appearance on the program was announced, John Lennon wrote the song especially for the occasion. He was told by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers would tune in.

I guess he was right.


June 25, 1978 -
The rainbow flag, created by Gilbert Blake, was flown for the first time in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, on this date.



Mr Blake, 65, passed away three years ago in his sleep at his home in New York.


It's time to start scaring the children -

there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Hey, it's big in Europe.

It's Midsummer Day throughout most of Europe.



It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice (or the Swedish horror film) except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)

Upon further thought, avoid all parties throw by Northern Europeans today


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols' adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



Since shooting took longer than planned, Art Garfunkel wasn't able to make it back to New York City in time to start creating harmonies for and recording the Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Angered by the delay, Paul Simon wrote the track The Only Living Boy in New York about the incident.



The lyrics "Tom, get your plane right on time / I know your part'll go fine / Fly down to Mexico" were a thinly veiled attack aimed at Garfunkel (who was "Tom" of Simon & Garfunkel's earlier incarnation, Tom & Jerry), leaving Simon alone in New York City to prepare and produce the bulk of the album himself.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (!?!), on this date. It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



Raquel Welch later said she was fascinated at working with Mae West, mainly because she could never actually figure out if West was a man or a woman.


June 24, 1971 -
Robert Altman brilliant take of the Western, McCabe and Mrs Miller, starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie (featuring songs by Leonard Cohen) premiered in NYC on this date.



Carpenters for the film were locals and young men from the United States, fleeing conscription into the Vietnam War; they were dressed in period costume and used tools of the period, so that they could go about their business in the background, while the plot advanced in the foreground.


June 24, 1983 -
Warner Bros. releases the sci-fi film Twilight Zone: The Movie, directed by Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller, and Steven Spielberg and starring Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Vic Morrow, Scatman Crothers, Kathleen Quinlan, John Lithgow, and Burgess Meredith in U.S. theaters on this date. The film remakes three classic episodes of the original Twilight Zone television series and includes one original story.



As Vic Morrow was waiting to film what would turn out to be the scene that killed him, he said to a production assistant, "I must be out of my mind to be doing this. I should've asked for a stunt double. What can they do but kill me, right?!" While he was filming Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, he insisted on having a $1 million life insurance policy before he would shoot any scenes involving the helicopter in which he was due to ride. He was very insistent, and when asked why, Morrow replied "I have always had a premonition I was going to die in a helicopter crash!".


June 24, 1994 -
Weezer release the song Undone - The Sweater Song, from their debut album, Weezer (aka The Blue Album) on this date.



Cuomo told Billboard magazine: "It's been the case since our first album that people thought we were just being sarcastic and ironic. When I wrote 'The Sweater Song,' to me it was a very sad song about depression, and people heard it on the radio and thought it was hysterical."


June 24, 2005
National Geographic Films produced the Academy Award winning documentary, March of the Penguins, which was released on this date.



It was noted that, by the time of the 2006 Academy Awards, this Best Documentary winner had out-grossed all 5 Best Picture nominees.


Today's moment of edifying culture


Today In History:
June 24, 1374 -
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.



(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin Airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.



(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to animated cartoon presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.


June 24, 1975 -
113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on this date.



The crash was later attributed to a microburst, not experienced at the control tower because of a sea breeze front.



And so it goes.