Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Celebrate as you see fit

Sunday was the start of National Mocktail Week - January 9-15, in honor of Dry January.

In case that's not how you roll, feel free to celebrate Hot Toddy Day.

January 11, 1940 -
The classic newspaper comedy, His Girl Friday, starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, premiered in New York on this date.

Rosalind Russell thought, while shooting, that she didn't have as many good lines as Cary Grant had, so she hired an advertisement writer through her brother-in-law and had him write more clever lines for the dialog. Since Howard Hawks allowed for spontaneity and ad-libbing, he, and many of the cast and crew didn't notice it, but Grant knew she was up to something, leading him to greet her every morning: "What have you got today?"

January 11, 1966 -
The children's adventure-series Daktari, debuted on CBS-TV on this date.

Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion and Judy the Chimpanzee both won PATSY Awards for the Series.

January 11, 1972 -
The TV movie, Kolchak, The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

While filming in Las Vegas, producer Dan Curtis was amazed at how oblivious the casino gamblers were to any events going on around them other than gambling. So as a joke one day, actor Barry Atwater (Janos Skorzeny) was asked to walk through the Sahara's casino in full costume and makeup to see if anyone noticed him. He did this for over 40 minutes, and didn't even get a second glance.

January 11, 1980 -
The Pretenders eponymous album Pretenders debuted on this date in the UK.

This was the breakout hit from the first Pretenders album, which was a triumph by any measure. In the UK, three singles were released before the album appeared. The first was a cover of The Kinks song Stop Your Sobbing, which was released in January 1979 and reached #34 in March 1979. Kid followed in June, going to #33 in August. In November, Brass In Pocket was released; it rose to the top in January 1980, and stayed at #1 for two weeks. The album is consistently cited as one of the greatest debuts in rock.

January 11, 1998 -
Nike debuted its I Can commercial, introducing the British band The Verve to a wide American audience with the song Bitter Sweet Symphony, on this date.

The song becomes the band's only hit in the States, which is sucked for the band because they had to sign away royalties to the song to get the publishing rights to the string sample from the Andrew Oldham Orchestra's version of the Rolling Stones song The Last Time.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History -
Harry Gordon Selfridge was born on January 11, 1864. Though American-born, he is best known as the founder of the British store Selfridge and Co., Ltd (think Macy's, for those of you unfamiliar with the store). He receives little or no attention here in the United States. His name does not appear in any textbooks, he is not honored with any holidays. And yet Mr. Selfridge's philosophy has had more impact on western civilization than a dozen Aristotles.

His great maxim is uttered carelessly by a million voices every day, is enshrined in the halls of commerce and government alike, and has permeated our culture to the point where it has become a cliche. Like most successful ideas, we can hardly imagine that his concept was ever new or controversial; we must strain our imaginations to conceive a world unilluminated by his wisdom.

It was Mr. Selfridge's philosophy that "the customer is always right."

January 11, 1878 -
Milk was first delivered in bottles by milkman Alexander Campbell, in New York on this date.

Previously, one had to keep a cow in a spare room of their apartment, making taking out the trash a mandatory daily occurrence.

January 11, 1922 -
The first insulin injection was given to Leonard Thompson, a teenager in Canada, on this date. He weighed only 65 pounds and was about to slip into a coma and die. Drs. Frederick Banting and Charles Best worked on the insulin, then called Isletin, using a fetal calf pancreas extract. Unfortunately, the injection was so impure that Thompson had a severe allergic reaction and further injections were canceled.

Researchers worked around-the-clock for the next 12 days to refine the process, and with the help of Dr. James Collip, the next injection went off without a hitch. The availability of insulin turned diabetes from a fatal condition into a treatable one.

January 11, 1928 -
Thomas Hardy, English novelist and all around curmudgeon, died near Dorchester, England on this date. In his will, Mr. Hardy specifically requested to be buried with his beloved first wife. His friends, however, didn’t think this was good enough for the author and lobbied to have him buried in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey instead.

An ugly fight between Hardy fans and family ensued, until they reached a compromise. The author’s heart was removed and buried with his wife; his ashes were preserved in a bronze urn inside the Abbey. There’s also a long-running (but unsubstantiated) rumor that Hardy’s sister’s cat snatched the heart, somehow left on a table, and that a pig’s heart had to be substituted for the burial ceremony.

January 11, 1935 -
Amelia Earhart took off from Honolulu on this date, to become the first person to fly solo between Hawaii and California. She landed in Oakland the next day.

Three years earlier, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. According to one of our favorite bunkies, Earhart was hankering for some BBQ and hopped into a taxi after her flight to California to the Everett and Jones barbecue joint. They are still there.

January 11, 1943 -
President Franklin D. Roosevelt flew to Morocco for a top-secret meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He had not flown since 1932, when he traveled from Albany, New York, to Chicago to accept his nomination at the Democratic national convention.

No U.S. president had previously flown while in office because the Secret Service regarded flying as a dangerous mode of transport.

January 11, 1971 -
I don't know. Only God knows where the story ends for me, but I know where the story begins. It's up to us to choose, whether we win or lose and I choose to win.

Mary Jane Blige, eight-time Grammy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated American R&B singer-songwriter rapper, record producer, and actress, was born on this date.

Billboard ranked Blige as the most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years.

And so it goes

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