Friday, June 30, 2023

Hey, everything ain't for the kids.

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.


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 premiere of the film, the world added a leap second to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) time system for the first time.)


June 30, 1979 -
Anita Ward single, Ring My Bell, started a two week run at No.1 on the Billboard chart, on this date. (This was her only charting hit.)



This was one of the first hit songs to feature a synthesized drum. The hook was the synthesized drum of Frederick Knight, which produced a sound that became copied by many other disco records. Carl Marsh is also credited for his synthesizer work on the album.


June 30, 1989
-
The quasi-biographical drama film about Jerry Lee Lewis, Great Balls of Fire! directed by Jim McBride and starring Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe, Alec Baldwin, and Mojo Nixon premiered in the US on this date.



Jerry Lee Lewis
hates the film and the book from which the film was based, but praises Quaid's performance.


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.


Another unimportant moment in history


Today in History:
June 30, 1520 -
... your armour-plated breast has long since lost its sheen ...

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 lederhosen and sodomy party in like Hitler's goons. (Not that I'm comparing the two situations but I have a feeling that after the Wagner uprising, Russia is about to experience their own Night of the Long Knives.


June 30, 1936 -
It's the 87th 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.


June 30, 1966 -
28 people, including Betty Friedan, attending the Third National Conference of State Commissions on the Status of Women, in Washington D.C., founded the National Organization for Women, on this date.



They were inspired by the failure of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and frustrated that they were unable to issue a resolution that recommended the EEOC carry out its legal mandate to end sex discrimination in employment. Betty Friedan served as its first president (1966 - 1970).


June 30, 1974 -
Alberta Williams King, mother of Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated, along with church deacon, Edward Boykin, in their church on this date. The 69-year-old former schoolteacher was shot by Marcus Wayne Chenault as she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.



Although Chenault’s lawyers pleaded insanity—the young man repeatedly said he was on a mission to kill all Christians — he was given a death sentence. This was later reduced to life in prison, in part at the insistence of King family members who opposed the death penalty. He died in prison of a stroke in 1995.


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.


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.


Before you go - Enjoy the Fourth of July Weekend

Remember, Drink til you drop, and don't drive!
Why not just stay home. It's so much easier to crawl to bed that way.



And so it goes.



And so it goes.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

While you're heading to work today

I know you're trying to drown out the sounds of the other humanoids on the subway this morning but headphones can increase the bacteria in your ears.

Wearing headphones for just an hour could increase the bacteria in your ears by 700 times. (Ew!)


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, 1979
Ivan Reitman's directorial debut, Meatballs, featuring Bill Murray, in his first starring role, premiered in the US on this date.



Additional scenes had to be shot after the initial filming ended. During the time off, Chris Makepeace had entered puberty and had the beginnings of a mustache. Bill Murray decided that it had to go so he took Makepeace over to a sink, lathered him up with soap and shaved off his mustache. So Makepeace received his first ever shave from Murray.


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, 1995 -
Ringo Starr appeared in his first-ever TV commercial (in the US), for Pizza Hut, (featuring the newly reformed Monkees, on this date.



It seems like a strange product for Ringo to hawk; the rocker has been a vegetarian since 1965, and has allergies to onions, garlic, and several spices, which have prevented him from eating pizza.


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.



Stanley Kubrick worked on the project for two decades before his death, but along the way, he decided to ask Steven Spielberg to direct, saying it was "closer to his sensibilities". The two collaborated for several years, resulting in Kubrick giving Spielberg a complete story treatment and lots of conceptual art for the movie prior to his death, which Spielberg used to write his own scenario.


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.


Another ACME Safety Film


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, 1897
Kazue Togasaki was born on this date. She and her family survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, volunteering (at age 9) to translate for many Asian immigrants to the doctors treating them. She went on to become one of the earliest women with Japanese ancestry to earn a medical degree in the United States.

She was one of the few physicians (general practitioner and obstetrician) allowed to practice medicine in the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. The San Francisco Examiner named her one of the "Most Distinguished Women of 1970". After a long career, Togasaki passed away in 1992 at age 95.


June 29, 1954 -
By a vote of four to one, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission decides not to reinstate access to classified information to Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb.” The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 required consideration of “the character, associations, and loyalty” of the individuals engaged in the work of the Commission. Substantial defects of character along with imprudent and dangerous associations, particularly with known subversives who place the interests of foreign powers above those of the United States, are considered reasons for disqualification.



The Commission thought that his associations with known Communists lasted too long to be justified as merely the intermittent and accidental revival of earlier friendships. Almost 70 years later, the United States Department of Energy has reversed the decision, stating the trial was a “flawed process that violated the Commission’s own regulations.”


June 29, 1956 -
Marilyn Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony on this date. Only two witnesses and a photographer attended the civil ceremony.

The bride, who wore a sweater and a creased skirt, had said she would not care for a Grace Kelly-style white wedding. She converted to Judaism before the wedding and had a second, religious ceremony on July 1. Their marriage lasted five years.


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.)


June 29, 2007 -
In January 2007, Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone - a touch screen smartphone with an iPod, camera and Web-browsing capabilities—at the Macworld convention in San Francisco.



When it went on sale in the United States on this date amidst huge hype, thousands of customers lined up at Apple stores across the country to be among the first to purchase an iPhone. The 4GB phone retailed for $499 and the 8GB model debuted at $599.



And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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.



Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz changed the setting from a Paris brothel to a nightclub in New Orleans and the main character was changed from a prostitute to a more ambiguous nightclub singer and hostess, when adapting the 1939 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, due to the Hays Code.


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.



It was Yul Brynner who pushed for Deborah Kerr to be cast as Anna. He had seen some of her stage work, was highly impressed with her and was convinced that she was the one for the role. Deborah Kerr was also on the short slate of A List actresses that could open a movie at that point to begin with, so it didn't make Yul Brynner's decision that hard.


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.



Much like her character, Demi Moore (Jules) had a drug problem when she was cast in the film. One day, director Joel Schumacher actually demanded that she leave the set because she was really high. Moore had to go through rehab and promise to stay clean in order to play a character with a drug problem. Moore revealed in an auto-biography later that she had a cocaine problem and was using an eighth of an ounce of the drug every two days. She went to treatment for 15 days and then had a counselor with her while shooting the film.


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.



Eddie Murphy said that even though he was playing an enormously overweight character, he had to keep himself in the best physical shape of his career. This was because he needed to look svelte and athletic as Buddy Love and also because he needed to be comfortable while wearing the heavy appliances and prosthetics for his scenes as the Klump family members.


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.



Clothing and smears of charcoal were used to conceal Johnny Depp's numerous tattoos. The "Jack Sparrow" tattoo on his arm in the movie is a fake, but he got a real replica after finishing the film, in honor of his son Jack.



Another job posting from The ACME Employment Agency


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:


Our ghosts will walk through Vienna, wander through castle and scare the lords!


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.



Don't worry about Mike, he's now selling little ear shaped CBD gummies.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday Angie



And so it goes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

No more teachers dirty looks

Hard to believe but for about 1.1 million students (and their exhausted families) the 2022/ 2023 school year is finally over.

(Enjoy what you can of summer - the 2023/ 2024 fully 'in class' school year is scheduled to begin 72 days from today, on September 7, 2023.Unless another public health crisis comes along)


Don't let anyone tell you otherwise - although today is just a primary election in NYC today-


Every vote is important and they absolutely count.


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





During the Vietnam War, American soldiers who were taken as Prisoners of War by the North Vietnamese were often interrogated and asked whom the American military leaders were. Reportedly, several POWs would respond with "Captain Video." The North Vietnamese interrogators, not being familiar with American culture, accepted this answer. This allowed the POWs to escape possible torture and avoid giving the identities of the real military leaders.


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.



Burt Lancaster and his producing partners initially considered Orson Welles for the role of J.J. Hunsecker, but after the success of his film Trapeze, Lancaster decided to play the role himself and give Tony Curtis the role of Sidney Falco.


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, 1971 -
After only three years in business, rock promoter Bill Graham closed the "Church of Rock and Roll", the Fillmore East in New York (on Second Avenue near East 6th Street,) on this date.



The final concert was billed as three acts (The Allman Brothers Band, The J. Geils Band, Albert King) and special surprise guests (Edgar Winter's White Trash, Mountain, The Beach Boys, Country Joe McDonald) in an invitation-only performance.


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



Sean Connery turned down the then astronomical sum of $5.5 million (close to $32 million in 2019 dollars) to play James Bond for a seventh time. Connery gave Roger Moore his personal seal of approval for inheriting his role, calling him "an ideal Bond".


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.



Originally Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were in mind to play the lead roles. When John Woo was brought in to direct, he decided that John Travolta and Nicolas Cage would be more suited to the roles.


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



To explore the possibilities of pure visual storytelling, Andrew Stanton and the Pixar team watched every single Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton movie, both short films and features, every day during lunch for about 18 months.


Today's moment of Zen


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, 1894 -
Leaving at about 11 o'clock in the morning, Annie Londonderry (actually Annie Cohen Kopchovsky) set off from the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill to settle a bet between two Boston business men, as to whether or not a woman could circumnavigate the world with a bicycle.



While she originally only packed a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver, she returned home 15 months later, to the day, ended up seeing Chicago, New York, Paris, Marseilles, Alexandria, Colombo, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, Shanghai and San Francisco. She also become a global celebrity in the process.


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.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Happy Barcode Day

June 26, 1974 -
At 8:01 am in the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, cashier Sharon Buchanan scanned a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum with a bar code printed on it.



This was the first product ever logged under the new Universal Product Code (UPC) computerized product recognition system. It's been all downhill ever since.


June 26, 1919 -
104 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 is still open).



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.



The scene where The Lone Prospector and Big Jim have a boot for supper took three days and 63 takes to suit director Charles Chaplin. The boot was made of licorice, and Chaplin was later rushed to a hospital suffering insulin shock. The boot was made by the firm of Hillaby's in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England; Pontefract is famous for growing licorice and making it into "Pomfret [Pontefract] Cakes".


June 26, 1964 -
The Beatles third studio album, A Hard Day's Night was first released in the United States by United Artists Records on this date and on July 10, 1964 in the UK by Parlophone.



In contrast to the band's first two albums, all thirteen tracks were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, showcasing the development of the duo's songwriting talents.


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.)



Bob Dylan wrote Mr. Tambourine Man, which was originally released on his fifth album Bringing It All Back Home on March 22, 1965. His version wasn't released as a single, but when The Byrds released their cover later in 1965, it was a transatlantic hit, topping the charts in both the US and UK. It's the only song Dylan ever wrote that went to #1 in America (in the UK, Manfred Mann's cover of Quinn The Eskimo also went to #1).


June 26, 1981 -
The Columbia Pictures' comedy, Stripes, directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, Sean Young, and John Candy opened in the US on this date.



According to Ivan Reitman, during the scene where the recruits receive their basic training haircuts he did not tell the actors that real Army barbers would be shaving their heads until the scene was shot. He lined all of the actors up and shot the scene as scripted to get their genuine reactions to their heads being shaved. John Candy became depressed after the scene was shot. This is why you see him picking up his hair and looking sad when he walks out of the barber shop. Since Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were bigger names at that point than the rest of the cast, they were required to cut their hair shorter, but not to shave their entire heads.


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.



The Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars saga makes a cameo appearance in this movie. Take a close look at the exterior shot of the Space Diner, and it can be spotted parked there among the other space vehicles. George Lucas got a chance to read the screenplay before production began, and loved it so much that he decided to have his special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, help make this movie.


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.



This was originally a hit for J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers in 1964. Eddie Vedder came across this song when he found the record in an antiques store in Seattle before a show. He bought it and stayed up all night listening to it. He took it to the band and they played it throughout the summer of their 1998 tour.


Word of the Day


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, apparently including his nephew, who happened to be the king, at the time.



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, 1956 -
Chris Isaak, actor and singer was born on this date.







With 13 studio albums, he’s been called the Roy Orbison of the 90s and is often also compared to Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and Duane Eddy.


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 the highest number of stories in the world.)


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 front of an 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.