Thursday, November 30, 2023

Another page from that book

Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew, older brother of Saint Peter. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is said Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and saw Andrew and Simon Peter fishing and told them to join him and become 'fishers of men'. In many faiths, he is sometimes referred to as, 'first called', as he and his brother became the first apostles of Christ.

St. Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and singers. He is also the patron saint to several countries and cities including: Scotland, Romania, Russia,, and Ukraine. (Which must be very confusing for him at the moment.)

November 30, 1934 -
W.C. Fields was very busy in 1934 - his fifth film of the year, It's a Gift, co-starring Baby LeRoy, premiered on this date.

The final scene, on Bissonette's "orange ranch", was filmed at the house and property W.C. Fields was living in at the time of the filming. For his entire life, Fields rented living quarters, adamantly refusing to buy a house or land.

November 30, 1956
CBS became the first network to broadcast from videotape on this date. It was a rebroadcast to the West Coast of the 15-minute Douglas Edwards and the News program.

The program was broadcast live to the eastern U.S. from New York. It was recorded on 2-inch tape with an Ampex Mark IV machine.

November 30, 1971 -
The TV movie that makes 'real men' weep unabashedly, Brian's Song debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

James Caan initially turned down the role of Brian Piccolo, preferring to focus on his film career, but he liked the script so much that he eventually relented.

November 30, 1977 -
Bing Crosby's last Christmas special premiered on this date. The program was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October.

The show is remembered for Crosby's unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sing a modified version of Little Drummer Boy, with Bowie singing the new Peace On Earth lyrics composed by the show's writers. Even more strange is, when Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in 2010, filmed a shot-for-shot remake, even sticking to the original dialogue.

November 30, 1979 -
Pink Floyd released its album The Wall on this date.

Pink Floyd rarely released singles that were also on an album because they felt their songs were best appreciated in the context of an album, where the songs and the artwork came together to form a theme. Producer Bob Ezrin convinced them that Another Brick In The Wall part II could stand on its own and would not hurt album sales. When the band relented and released it as a single, it became their only #1 hit.

November 30, 1982 -
Michael Jackson’s second solo album, Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones, was released on this date.

Most homes had VCRs in 1983 and sales of videos were big business. Along with the Jane Fonda workout tapes, you could buy a VHS or Beta copy of Michael Jackson's Thriller, which included the full video and also The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller, a behind the scenes documentary. This tape became the best selling music video at the time, and was later certified by Guinness World Records as the top selling music video of all time, moving nine million units. Part of its appeal was the price, a mere $24.95 at a time when movies on tape cost much more.

November 30, 1990 -
Rob Reiner's adaptation of Stephen King's thriller, Misery, premiered on this date.

When Kathy Bates picked up her Oscar and made her speech, one thing she said humorously was, "I would like to thank Jimmy Caan, and apologize publicly for the ankles."

November 30, 1994 -
The Beatles' first album in 25 years, Live at the BBC, is released in Britain on this date.

BBC producer Peter Pilbeam meet an unknown group through their young manager Brian Epstein in February of 1962. He was impressed the group’s four-song audition and thus began a relationship that would span roughly three years, with the Beatles delivering 52 performances for the BBC between 1962 and 1965. Decades later, recordings from these shows would make up the compilation album Live at the BBC.

November 30, 2004 -
Ken Jennings' reign as Jeopardy! champion ended when he lost his 75th game to challenger Nancy Zerg, on this date. The clue: Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year. 

Nancy Zerg, who was in second place with $10,000, revealed her response: H&R Block.  Her $4,401 wager put her just a dollar ahead of Jennings. All eyes were now on the reigning champ.  His answer? ... FedEx

More tree lightings to avoid

The focus of Today in History on this date should be used as a guide to help you realize the blessings you should find in life:

On November 30, 1935, the German government proclaimed a failure to accept the tenets of Nazism as grounds for divorce.

Be grateful you never married a Nazi.

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667,

and Mark Twain was born almost 170 years later, in 1835.

Be grateful that not everyone is taking everything so goddamn seriously.

Winston Churchill (one of my favorite American who became British Prime Minister) was also born on November 30, in 1874, in a coat closet of his family home (really).

Be grateful that not everyone was so grateful for Peas In Our Time.

Otherwise, here are some other events that occurred on this date
November 30, 1858 -
The Mason Jar was invented and patented (U.S. patent #22,186) by Philadelphia tinsmith John Landis Mason.

I wonder if he knew his jar would be used as a cocktail glass.

November 30, 1886 -
George Westinghouse opens the first commercially successful alternating current power plant in the U.S. in Buffalo, New York to compete against Edison’s direct current ventures.

Alternating current power can be transmitted much further than direct current power by using transformers at the source for a higher voltage, which decreases the loss of energy.

November 30, 1900 -
Celebrated Irish author and noted card carrying sodomite Oscar Wilde, died in Paris of meningitis on this date. Wilde had been charged three times with indecency, specifically "the seduction and corruption of young men." Evidence admitted against him included testimony about fecal stains on his sheets.

Be thankful that we obviously have better cleaning detergents than the British did back then.

November 30, 1929 -
Dick Clark, the American Bandstander, was born on this date.

Be thankful the few of us are faced with bargaining with Satan for our careers.

November 30, 1936 -
The Crystal Palace, originally built by Sir Joseph Paxton in London's Hyde Park for the 1851 Great Exhibition, burnt to the ground on this date.

It was said that over 75,000 people came to watch the blaze, among them Winston Churchill, who said, "This is the end of an age". The glow was visible across eight counties.

Be thankful that you weren't down wind from this one.

November 30, 1940 -
Comic actress Lucille Ball first met Cuban-born bandleader Desi Arnaz while filming the Rodgers and Hart stage hit Too Many Girls. At first, Arnaz was not fond of Lucy. When they met again later that day, the two connected immediately and eloped the same year.

They got married in Greenwich, Connecticut on this date. Lucy said "It wasn't love at first sight. It took a full five minutes."

November 30, 1954 -
At 1 pm, an 8.5 pound stone meteorite fell from the sky and struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges from Sylacauga, Alabama. She was the first reported person in modern times to be struck by an object from outer space.

The housewife was seriously bruised but survived, although the meteorite destroyed her radio.

Oh the humanity!

And so it goes

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Another dictionary heard from

Merriam-Webster has announced its Word of the Year for 2022: Authenic.

Merriam-Webster said it saw a “substantial increase” in searches for the word in 2023, which the dictionary publisher says was “driven by stories and conversations about AI, celebrity culture, identity and social media.” Merriam-Webster said people are searching for the word because it has a number of different meanings, including “not false or imitation” and “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.

So now you know.

Today is Electronic Greetings Day. So sending your greetings are now just a click away.

The day celebrates the fact that you can send someone a card from one office bathroom stall to another.

November 29, 1940 -
W.C. Fields at his peak - The Bank Dick, premiered on this date.

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (the pseudonym used by W.C. Fields as screenwriter) is a play on words from stage plays of the era. "My hat, my cane, Jeeves!" And in fact, at the end of the film his butler does hand him his hat and his cane.

November 29, 1945 -
Remarkable for it frank portrayal of alcoholism (for it's day), The Lost Weekend, opened in Los Angeles on this date.

Ray Milland actually checked himself into Bellevue Hospital with the help of resident doctors, in order to experience the horror of a drunk ward. Milland was given an iron bed and locked inside the "booze tank." That night, a new arrival came into the ward screaming, an entrance which ignited the whole ward into hysteria. With the ward falling into bedlam, a robed and barefooted Milland escaped while the door was ajar and slipped out onto 34th Street where he tried to hail a cab. When a suspicious cop spotted him, Milland tried to explain, but the cop didn't believe him, especially after he noticed the Bellevue insignia on his robe. The actor was dragged back to Bellevue where it took him a half-hour to explain his situation to the authorities before he was finally released.

November 29, 1950 -
Jean Cocteau's beautifully lyrical, Orphee, opened in the US on this date.

Both Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo were approached about playing the mysterious Princess. Both declined.

November 29, 1969 -
The Beatles' double A sided single Come Together/ Something, (their twenty-sixth release in the United States,) went to # 1 on the Billboard charts, on this date. Come Together / Something became the group's 18th US No. 1.

John Lennon was inspired by Timothy Leary's campaign for governor of California titled "Come together, join the party" against Ronald Reagan giving him the idea for the track. Something was the first Beatles song written by George Harrison to appear as an A-side.

November 29, 1975 -
Silver Convention's single Fly, Robin, Fly hits #1 on the Billboard Charts for the first of three weeks. The disco tune has very few lyrics because the German group can't speak English.

This was the first #1 US hit with a species of bird in the title. Rockin' Robin - both the Bobby Day original and Michael Jackson cover - stalled at #2. The next bird song to reach the top was When Doves Cry by Prince in 1984.

November 29, 1992 -
U2's first TV special, called U2's Zoo TV Outside Broadcast, aired on Fox-TV on this date.

The show contains footage from their concerts at Yankee Stadium in New York and the Houston Astrodome, earlier that year.

Today's guest programmer

Today in History:
November 29, 1777 -
José Joaquín Moraga proved that he knew the way to San Jose on this date,

when he established, for Spain, el Pueblo de San Jose de Guadelupe, the first civil settlement in California.

November 29, 1864 -
The Sand Creek Massacre occurred, on this date, when Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington, in retaliation for an Indian attack on a party of immigrants near Denver, massacred at least 400 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants (mostly children, women, physically- and mentally-challenged, and elders) inside Colorado Territory.

It also generated two Congressional investigations into the actions of Chivington and his men. The House Committee on the Conduct of the War concluded that Chivington had "deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the varied and savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty."

The American Government has so much to be proud of with their dealings with the Native Americans.

November 29, 1924 -
Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died in Brussels before he could complete his opera Turandot. Franco Alfano finished it.

His death marked the end of a 300-year tradition of Italian opera.

November 29, 1929 -
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd (on a break from his experiments with frozen vegetables) radioed that he'd made the first airplane flight with pilot Floyd Bennett, over the South Pole: "My calculations indicate that we have reached vicinity of South Pole." (He was wrong. )

After briefly loitering around the Pole, Byrd and his crew headed back to their home base, Little America and more intense testing of frozen zucchini.

November 29, 1935
Once the cat is in the box, do you know if it really alive, or dead? (Don't tell the PETA people about this.)

Physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his famous thought experiment ‘Schrödinger’s cat’, a paradox that illustrates the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.

November 29, 1944 -
File this under: - Things they didn't tell you in school -
The first open heart surgery was performed at Johns Hopkins hospital, on this date.

A surgical fix for a fetal heart defect, tetralogy of Fallot or blue baby syndrome, was first performed at Johns Hopkins by surgeon Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, a black assistant who actually perfected the procedure. Thomas 'contribution to the lifesaving surgery remained largely unacknowledged, outside of the medical profession.

November 29, 1951 -
The United States set off the first underground nuclear explosion named "Uncle" at Frenchman Flats in Nevada on this date.

It was a great success, except for the giant spiders, ants, grasshoppers and other insects left in the aftermath.

November 29, 1961 -
The US sent the chimpanzee Enos into space, aboard the Mercury Atlas 5 capsule from Cape Canaveral on this date.

Enos returns to earth safely but died less than a year later before he could sign with the William Morris Agency.

November 29, 1972 -
Pong, the first commercially successful video game, was released on this date by Nolan Bushnell (who was also the co-founder of the video game company, Atari.)

Pong is similar to digital tennis or ping-pong, and its great success was a big part of the early beginnings of the video game industry.

November 29, 1986 -
I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.

82 year old Archibald Leach, better known as Cary Grant, suffered a major stroke in his hotel room prior to performing in his one man show An Evening With Cary Grant at the Adler Theater in Davenport, Iowa, on this date. He died later that night at St. Luke's Hospital.

November 29, 2001 -
The Beatles will exist without us.

The "quiet" Beatle, George Harrison was silenced by cancer on this date.

November 29, 2004 -
Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this date.

In honor of the event, the Toho star was allowed to run rampant through Little Tokyo that afternoon.

And on a personal note:
Oh yeah, millions of years ago (or at least more than half a century ago) the earth cooled and formed a hard crust, huge dinosaurs ruled the land and John was there to see it all. Happy Birthday John.

About a decade later, vast plains with wildflowers sprung up and Mary skipped along them all.

Happy Birthday Mary, our guest programmer for the day.

Before you go - you thought I was done with holiday commercials - I would have never expected this from a multinational corporation -

I should have reminded you to get your tissues.

And so it goes

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.

Today is the Twelfth Annual Giving Tuesday. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and standing in stark contrast of the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a movement to create an international day of giving as a response to commercialization and consumerism.

#GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

It's National French Toast Day

Eating your French Toast (Pan Perdu) as you are served it, is always the best bet.


November 28, 1944 -
Vincente Minnelli's gift to his future wife, Judy Garland, the musical film Meet Me In St. Louis, opened in NYC on this date.

In Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland refused to sing the grim original lyric, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last" to little Margaret O'Brien. The star's creative opposition inspired songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane to form the more optimistic lyric, "let your heart be light."

November 28, 1951 -
The British film Scrooge (aka A Christmas Carol,) starring Alastair Sim, Kathleen Harrison, George Cole, Hermione Baddeley, Mervyn Johns, Jack Warner, and Patrick Macnee, premiered in NYC on this date. (One of our favorite versions.)

The word "humbug" is misunderstood by many people, which is a pity since the word provides a key insight into Ebenezer Scrooge's (Alastair Sim's) hatred of Christmas. The word "humbug" describes deceitful efforts to fool people by pretending to a fake loftiness or false sincerity. So when Scrooge calls Christmas a humbug, he is claiming that people only pretend to be charitable and kind in an effort to delude him, each other, and themselves. In Scrooge's eyes, he is the one man honest enough to admit that no one really cares about anyone else, so for him, every wish for a Merry Christmas is one more deceitful effort to fool him and take advantage of him. This is a man who has turned to profit because he honestly believes everyone else will someday betray him or abandon him the moment he trusts them.

November 28, 1969 -
The Rolling Stones released their eighth British album Let It Bleed on this date.

It is the follow-up to 1968's Beggars Banquet and the last album by the band to feature Brian Jones as well as the first to feature Mick Taylor.

November 28, 1974 -
John Lennon makes his last-ever concert appearance when he joins Elton John on stage at Madison Square Garden, reciprocating for Elton's appearance on Whatever Gets You Thru The Night and making good on a bet he lost: Elton wagered that Whatever Gets You Thru The Night would hit #1 in the US, and when it did, Lennon owed the appearance.

The pair perform that song and also do The Beatles' I Saw Her Standing There and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds that evening.

November 28, 1978 -
Atlantic Records released the album Briefcase Full of Blues, the debut album by The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi) on this date.

The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 and went double platinum. It is among the highest-selling blues albums of all time.

November 28, 1981 -
The short-lived series (only 12 episodes were shot), Open All Night, starring George Dzundza, Susan Tyrrell, Sam Whipple, Bubba Smith, Jay Tarses, and Bever-Leigh Banfield premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The US TV version of the show was somewhat based on the hugely successful British sitcom, Open All Hours which ran for four seasons on the BBC. The American series was cancelled after 10 episodes.

November 28, 1984 -
Prince releases the song, I Would Die 4 U, on this date

On the Purple Rain tour, this was a showcase song for Sheila E., who served as Prince's opening act and also joined him on stage. Her live percussion on I Would Die 4 U compensated for the beats that couldn't be generated outside of the studio, due to Prince's use of a drum machine to create the rhythm on this track.

November 28, 1985 -
Ahmad Rashad proposed to Phylicia Ayers-Allen on live TV during NBC's halftime coverage of the Detroit Lions-New York Jets football game, on this date.

Ayers-Allen, was in New York for NBC's coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, was rushed to network's New York studio and looked at Rashad over a video monitor and simply said, "Yes." On December 14, 1985, at the Church of the Master in Harlem, Ahmad married Phylicia. The marriage ended in divorce in 2001.

November 28, 1987 -
Coming out of the surprise hit film Dirty Dancing, the Jennifer Warnes' duet with Bill Medley (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, went to No.1 on the US singles chart on this date.

Jennifer Warnes
compared singing with Bill Medley to dancing with Fred Astaire. While Bill Medley is best known for being one half of the Righteous Brothers, Warnes also has experienced her biggest success with duets. In addition to this song, she had another American chart topper in 1982 with Up Where We Belong, a duet with Joe Cocker from the An Officer And A Gentleman soundtrack. She also had an American solo hit in 1977 with Right Time Of The Night.

November 28, 2012 -
Peter Jackson's first of the Hobbit film series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, premiered in Wellington, New Zealand on this date.

The production team returned to the same shooting location for Hobbiton as they used in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The land is part of a farm, which the owners allowed to be transformed into the Hobbiton set by The Lord of the Rings production crew in the late 1990s. After filming wrapped on the first trilogy, the farm's owners turned the land into a Tolkien tourism spot, offering guided tours of the Hobbiton set. With the crew from The Hobbit trilogy making improvements and additions to the aging Hobbiton set, the farm owners were happy to temporarily close down their tourism business, so filming could take place there again.

It's here - Welcome to the start of our 16th Annual Holiday Spectacular.

History Today -
November 28, 1895 -
The first American automobile race, The Chicago Times-Herald race, took place over the 54 miles from Chicago's Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea's Motorized Wagon won in approximately 10 hours. (The average speed was 7 mph. )

Sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald, the race was held in Chicago, attracted 80 entries but only had six starters: four cars and two motorcycles. The race created considerable publicity for the motocycle, which had been introduced in the United States only two years earlier.

November 28, 1922 -
The first use of skywriting for advertising happened when Captain Cyril Turner of the Royal Air Force flew over New York City, spelling out, “Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200,” on this date

Within just a few hours, 47,000 people had done just that. And of course operators were standing by at Vanderbilt 7200 to take their orders although no one had any idea what was being sold.

(Sorry boys and girls but it's not all a pleasant day OTD) -
November 28, 1942 -
A fire at the overcrowded and sleazy Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, killed 491 people on this date. Flammable artificial palm trees aided the spread of the fire.

The numerous dead were crushed, burnt, and asphyxiated, all within minutes.

There's a lesson here boys and girl - sleazy nightclubs kill!!!

November 28, 1943 -
Randall Stuart Newman, singer/songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist was born on this date.

Newman has been nominated for twenty Academy Awards, winning twice. He has also won three Emmys, five Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy. (Even though it is his birthday, he didn't murder anyone (as far as we know) then eat their liver with a fine chianti. He probably shouldn't be listed here today.)

November 28, 1953 -
Frank Olson, government scientist, has a particularly bad dream and jumped to his death from the Statler Hotel in New York City on this date.

It was later revealed in 1975 that Olson had been administered LSD by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb in a CIA experiment.

That really must have been one bad trip.

November 28, 1962 -
I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.

Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, comedian, television host, political satirist and formerly, America's most trusted newscaster, was born on this date.

November 28, 1966 -
One of most famous parties of the 20th century, Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on this date.

The masquerade ball was held in honor of The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and cost Capote a total of $16,000. The Black and White Ball was credited with starting an immediate upsurge in masquerade and costume parties.

November 28, 1981 -
A drunken Natalie Wood toppled off her yacht near Catalina Island and drowned. Her husband Robert Wagner and melodramatic friend Christopher Walken, were on board and unaware of her predicament, apparently having some sort of argument in the cabin -

possibly about whether or not a drunken Natalie Wood could float (you know that's still an awful joke.)

November 28, 1994 -
Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death with a broomstick by inmate Christopher Scarver while cleaning the prison bathroom.

(Bunkies, here's a tip from your old pal - don't go poking around for photos about Jeffrey Dahmer, there are some sick pixs out there. I'm going to disinfect my eye balls.)

Dahmer's brain was to be preserved in formaldehyde at the request of Mom, but a court ordered its destruction in late 1995.

There's yet another lesson here boys and girls, dirty prison bathrooms kill!!!

Before you go: Today's moment of Zen. (We're going to take a short break from our usual look into the cupboard to facilitate the holiday spectacular. But don't worry we'll be back peeking into the cupboard soon enough.)

And so it goes

Monday, November 27, 2023

Flash - News Bulletin from your Mutual Broadcasting Network

We have just been notified that it is Cyborg Monday, oh no, run for your lives.

Wait - an update - it's Cyber Monday. Continue to run for your lives!!!

The term "Cyber Monday" was dreamt up in 2005 by by a young public relations executive named Ellen Davis at, a division of the National Retail Federation. Monday is the day of the week when most people do their online shopping. I’d hazard a guess to say that’s a lot of unproductive, demotivated, bored employees shopping online at work, unless they are working from home. Then they are probably playing with their pet.

As the years slip by more swiftly, I can remember some things clearly, others only dimly; As an old friend from elementary school can testify, I don't remember them telling us about this back at St. John's.

November 27 is the Feast of St. Josaphat, a Middle Age prince who renounced his wealth to do charitable work.

Well, St. Josephat, turns out to be a Christianized version of a legend about Buddha (yeah Siddhartha Gautama.)

Oh, that wacky Catholic Church!

November 27, 1920 -
United Artists released the silent film The Mark of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks on this date. The film will go on to be extremely influential in the world of comics.

In the Golden Age of Comic Books, this was the film to which Thomas and Martha Wayne took their young son Bruce on the night that they were murdered in front of him in Gotham City in 1920, the experience which led him to become Batman.

November 27, 1948 -
You see what some ducks will do for money!

Another (less familiar) Daffy and Porky pairing, Riff Raffy Daffy, premiered on this date.

November 27, 1967 -
The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour album the US on this date.

Unfortunately, Charles Manson used to refer to life as A Magical Mystery Tour after hearing the title song. He later warped other Beatles songs (Helter Skelter, Piggies, Blackbird) to explain a race war named Helter Skelter. He used to say that the Beatles were telling it like it is.

November 27, 1970 -
George Harrison's first solo work after the break-up of the Beatles, All Things Must Pass, a three album set, was released on this date. The album includes the hit singles My Sweet Lord, What Is Life, Isn’t It a Pity, and All Things Must Pass.

Harrison was joined by Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr and others, and featured Harrison’s signature slide guitar sound and his deeply spiritual themes, The chart-topping music was certified six times platinum and became the most successful album ever released by an ex-Beatle.

November 27, 1977
The Rankin/Bass animated special, The Hobbit, first aired on NBC TV, on this date.

In the book, Bilbo is knocked unconscious by a falling rock during the Battle of Five Armies immediately after seeing the eagles arrive to help. In the movie, perhaps due to an anti-war bias at the time of filming, Bilbo states that he "simply doesn't understand war" and then hides behind a stone, using the ring to become invisible and watching the entire battle. When asked about his whereabouts Bilbo lies and says that he had "a bump to the head" and was "out for hours".

November 27, 1979 -
For those so inclined, you could start spending time in the boys locker room of Carver High School when The White Shadow premiered on this date.

Ken Howard was nicknamed "The White Shadow" while he played for Manhasset High School 's basketball team. He was the only white starter on his team. Howard based his performance on his high school basketball coach, Fritz Mueller. Carver's team colors, orange and blue, were based on the the colors of Howard's school.

November 27, 1980 -
The sitcom Bosom Buddies, staring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

(Yes, I know, this is not the original theme song - the production company lost the rights to the song.)
The producers pitched the series to ABC as a relatively straightforward buddy comedy in the spirit of Billy Wilder's comedy films. When they used the film Some Like It Hot as an example, the network agreed to the series, but only if the main characters were disguised as women. Although the producers had to change the series quickly, they were able to produce it with little network creative interference.

November 27, 2013
The Walt Disney's film, Frozen, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, starring Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, went into general release in the US on this date.

In a magazine interview, Idina Menzel told the story about her young son boasting to his classmates that his mom sings the songs in Frozen. To this, another child replied, "So does everyone else's."

Word of the Day

Today in History:
November 27, 1835 -
On this date, a crowd gathered outside Newgate Prison in London to witness a macabre, notorious and historic event – the hanging of the last two men in England to be executed for the ‘abominable crime of buggery’ - sodomy.

Londoners James Pratt, also known as John Pratt, and John Smith were arrested in August 1835 after being observed having sex in the room of another man, William Bonill. Pratt and Smith were hanged in front of Newgate Prison.

November 27, 1852 -
Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, was bled to death to cure her uterine cancer on this date. (In a strange coincidence, her father was also bled to death to cure a fever.)

She is often thought of as the world's first computer programmer, due to her interest in mathematics and her work on Charles Babbage's analytical engine.

Alfred Nobel signed his last will, which established the Nobel Prize on this date in 1895. (Yes, this is the second reference to Alfred in the same week.)

Mr Nobel is interesting because his fortune was founded in large part on the commercial success of something he invented in 1866: dynamite. Dynamite proved so lucrative for Mr Nobel that he was able to spend most of the rest of his life blowing things up in the interests of world peace. World peace was not achieved in his lifetime, however, and he therefore endowed a foundation with millions of dollars to give prizes to the men and women of future generations who helped bring the world closer to peace by blowing things up.

Sadly, in recent years the foundation appears to have forgotten its roots and has begun awarding prizes to men and women whose work for peace has resulted in things blowing up.

I encourage you all to write the Nobel Committee to take immediate corrective action, lest they continue to mislead people into thinking that Peace can be achieved by anything other than the blowing up of Evil Bastards.

November 27, 1910 -
Although the Pennsylvania Station had already begun service for the Long Island Rail Road several months earlier (September 8th); it was on this date that trains from the Pennsylvania Railroad entered Manhattan for the first time by way of tunnels under the Hudson River.

The famed station was demolished in 1963, which sparked the creation of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has preserved thousands of historic buildings in New York City and across the country.

November 27, 1924 -
Macy's sponsored its first Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (called Macy's Christmas Parade) in New York City on this date. The three-hour parade is held annually and is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade along with Detroit's "America's Thanksgiving Parade," which began on the same day.

Three floats (pulled by horses), four bands and zoo animals from the Central Park Zoo - camels, donkeys, elephants and goats - starred in the parade (balloons didn't show up until 1927.)

Santa Claus was last in the lineup, a tradition that continues to this day.

(Yes, yes, I know the parade in Philadelphia is older.)

November 27, 1934 -
Notorious US murderer and bank robber Baby Face Nelson was killed in a gun battle with the FBI on this date. Known as the Battle of Barrington, the shootout occurred in Barrington, Illinois. Two FBI officers also were killed.

During his criminal career, Nelson, whose real name was Lester Joseph Gillis, killed more FBI agents than any other US citizen in history.

November 27, 1978 -
City Supervisor Dan White entered San Francisco City Hall through an open basement window (avoiding metal detectors), walked into the office of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and shot him dead. Then White went on to kill Supervisor Harvey Milk on this date.

Apparently, Mr. White consumed too many Twinkies. (Given there has been no noticeable increases in incidents of Twinkie induced rages, the Hostess Company may have changed the formula since their resuscitation.)

Don't forget:

coming soon to a channel near you

And so it goes

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Such is the fate of some

November 26, 783
Queen Adosinda, Kingdom of Asturias (now an autonomous community in NW Spain), had not given Asturia an heir before her husband died, so her nephew Alfonso II was proclaimed king.

Mauregatus, the illegitimate son of Alfonso I, usurps the throne by force and drives Alfonso II into exile in Álava in Basque territory. Mauregatus sends Queen Adosinda to the monastery of San Juan de Pravia on this date, where she was held until she died. But what the hell do you care. This is ancient history, European history, at that.

November 26, 1922 -
The Toll of the Sea, starring Anna Mae Wong, the second two-strip Technicolor feature (it was the first one able to be projected through a normal movie projector and consequently the first to be given a wide release) was released on this date.

The film's story is a variation of Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, which premiered in 1904; except, the film takes place in China and the opera is set in Japan.

November 26, 1934 -
John M. Stahl's adaptation of Fannie Hurst's novel, Imitation of Life, starring Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Louise Beavers, and Fredi Washington, premiered on this date.

Although cast as the daughter of Louise Beavers (Delilah), Fredi Washington (Peola,) was in reality less than two years younger than her onscreen mother. She was, however, considerably slimmer than the matronly Beavers, which enabled the pair to "pass" as mother and daughter.

November 26, 1938 -
Michael Curtiz's crime drama, Angels with Dirty Faces, starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, and The Dead End Kids, premiered on this date.

The Dead End Kids terrorized the set during shooting. They threw other actors off with their ad-libbing, and once cornered co-star Humphrey Bogart and stole his trousers. They didn't figure on James Cagney's street-bred toughness, however. The first time Leo Gorcey pulled an ad-lib on Cagney, the star stiff-armed the young actor right above the nose. From then on the gang behaved.

November 26, 1942 -
One of the classic films of the 40s - Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premiered at the Hollywood Theatre in New York City, on this date.

Contrary to common belief, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) never said "Play it again, Sam" in Casablanca. Bergman did not consider Casablanca to be one of her favorite performances. "I made so many films which were more important, but the only one people ever want to talk about is that one with Bogart.

November 26, 1945 -
David Lean 's adaptation of Noël Coward's one-act play Still Life, Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard went into general release in the UK on this date.

Celia Johnson was not looking forward to the four-week location shoot at the railway station, but her opinion changed when they got there and the cast and crew developed a spirit of camaraderie. Between scenes, she usually played poker with the crew or worked a crossword puzzle. She also was impressed with the hospitality shown by the station master, who let them warm up in his office during the cold winter nights.

November 26, 1952 -
In Thrilling Color!

The first modern 3-D movie Bwana Devil, viewed with special glasses, premiered in Hollywood .

Arch Oboler traveled to Africa in 1948 to make audio recordings of native peoples. While in Africa, Oboler met William D. Snyder, a 16mm cameraman with his own industrial filmmaking company in Fargo, North Dakota. During their travels throughout Africa, Mr. Snyder shot the African footage that appears in Bwana Devil.

November 26, 1953 -
MGM released the first musical in 3-D, Kiss Me Kate on this date.

The original stage show was based upon the backstage bickering of the illustrious married stage couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne during their 1935 Broadway production of Taming of the Shrew.

November 26, 1988
Russian cosmonauts took the Pink Floyd cassette version of Delicate Sound Of Thunder and play it in orbit, making Pink Floyd the first rock band to be played in space.

David Gilmour and Nick Mason both attend the launch of the spacecraft. The cosmonauts had requested the album to listen to as they completed their mission of docking with the orbiting Mir space station. Delicate Sound Of Thunder was also the only Pink Floyd album to receive an official release in the Soviet Union. “To say that we are thrilled at the thought of being the first rock band to be played in space is something of an understatement,” said Gilmour.

Another book from the back shelves of The ACME Library.

Today in History:
November 26, 1789 -
The first national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States in 1789, when recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress on this date, but we spoke all about this the other day.

The holiday wouldn't become an annual event until 1863 and wouldn't be signed into law until 1941 when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it an official, national holiday.

November 26, 1865 -

Oxford Don and nude child photographer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, sends the manuscript for the psychedelic novel Alice in Wonderland to his 12 year old special friend Alice Liddell as an early Christmas present.

For some reason her parents did not notify the authorities.

November 26, 1948 -
The first instant Polaroid cameras went on sale to the public at Jordan Marsha, a Boston department store for $89.75 ($900 in today’s money) on this date.

All 57 had sold by the end of the day. Its inventor, Edwin Land was inspired to come up with the camera by his daughter, Jennifer, who asked why she had to wait so long to see her vacation photos.

November 26, 1965 -
After cleaning a church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where they had Thanksgiving dinner the day before, Arlo Guthrie and a friend clean up the place, but toss the trash down a hill when they can't find an open dump. They are arrested, fined $25 each, and forced to pick up the garbage.

When they return to the church, Guthrie writes Alice's Restaurant Massacree about the incident, embellishing some details. The director of the film, Arthur Penn, who owns a home in Stockbridge where the story takes place, realized it was for the most part based on events that had actually taken place. Therefore, what appears to be a continuity problem is in fact a correct representation of the facts. The movie portrays the actual photos used as evidence at the trial. The real life "blind judge" in Guthrie's song, Judge James Hannon, was played by James Hannon, himself in the film. Sheriff William Obanhein demanded that he play the role himself. His reason: "If anyone is going to make a fool out of me, it might as well be me!"

November 26, 1976 -
Anarchy in the UK, (as a single) by the Sex Pistols is released.

This was the Sex Pistols' first single, and it caused quite a stir in England with its lyrics advocating violence against the government. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols was not released until a year later, partly because of distribution concerns: after hearing Anarchy In The UK, some organizations refused to ship the album.

And so it goes

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Still trying to play catch up

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. The day was established in 1999. The United Nations designated the day partly in reverence to the anniversary of the murder of three sisters in the Dominican Republic.

A report issued from the World Bank a few years earlier stated that about one in four women in the world would be, or had been, raped and that violence against women is as prevalent a cause of death as cancer.

(Let's take a moment and change gears)

It's Small Business Saturday once again - the first one was in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts in 2010 as a counterpart to Black Friday (which features big box retailers, and its anti-consumerist counterpart, Buy Nothing Day targets big business).

American Express used to give their customers discounts or incentives to support small businesses across America. Since AMEX isn't featuring me, you'll need to figure out if your favorite local business is covered.

November 25, 1933 -
An almost forgotten horror film, The Ghoul, starring Boris Karolff , Cedric Hardwicke, and Ralph Richardson (in his film debut) opened in the U.S. on this date.

For years this was regarded as a "lost film" with no prints or elements known to exist. A nitrate release print was discovered in the Czech National Archives in Prague. This print was a subtitled edited version that was in poor condition and contained numerous splices. Years later, a print of the uncut British version was finally discovered.

November 25, 1937 -
William A. Wellman's wonderful screwball comedy, Nothing Sacred, starring Carole Lombard and Fredric March, premiered in NYC on this date.

Ben Hecht wrote a role for his friend John Barrymore, but David O. Selznick refused to hire Barrymore due to Barrymore's alcohol abuse. Hecht refused to work on any more drafts and quit the film.

November 25, 1940 -
Walter Lantz's introduced Woody Woodpecker with the release of Knock Knock on this date.

Although Woody made his first appearance in this film, he doesn't have a name until his next film, Woody Woodpecker.

November 25, 1942 -
Raoul Walsh's bio-pix about the boxer, James Corbett, Gentleman Jim, starring Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale, William Frawley, and Ward Bond, went into general release in the U.S. on this date.

Soon after completing Gentleman Jim, Flynn became embroiled in an infamous rape trial. During screenings of Gentleman Jim, his closing line of "I'm no gentleman" was met with laughter and derision.

November 25, 1952
Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opened at the Ambassadors Theatre in London, on this date, beginning the longest continuous run of a play in theatre history, (the play moved to the St Martin's theatre in 1974 where it is still running to this day.)

The Mousetrap began as a radio play, titled Three Blind Mice, and was written at the request of the BBC for Queen Mary. Christie then expanded Three Blind Mice from a twenty minute radio play into a full length stage play, adding some extra characters and a fuller background and plot. The title was changed and The Mousetrap was created.

November 25, 1967 -
The Strawberry Alarm Clock single Incense And Peppermints hit #1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.

The group's guitarist, who co-wrote this song, was Ed King. In 1970, an unknown band called Lynyrd Skynyrd opened some shows for The Strawberry Alarm Clock, and King got to know them. In 1973, King joined Skynyrd on guitar.

November 25, 1987 -
The now classic John Hughes' Thanksgiving film, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John Candy, premiered in the US on this date.

The Marathon Car Rental scene is exactly one minute long from the time Steve Martin starts his tirade, to the time the attendant ends the scene. In that sixty seconds, the "F" word is used eighteen times. The film would've easily been rated PG or PG-13 by the MPAA if it weren't for this one scene.

November 25, 1992 -
Neil Jordan's controversial (for the time) thriller, The Crying Game, starring Stephen Rea, Miranda Richardson, Jaye Davidson, and Forest Whitaker, went into limited release in the US on this date.

Neil Jordan originally intended to call the movie The Soldier's Wife. His friend Stanley Kubrick recommended a title change because he believed that films with religious or military titles usually deterred audiences and were often financial failures, something Jordan had experienced when The Miracle and We're No Angels flopped at the box office. Jordan selected the new title from a 1960s British pop hit

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

Today in History:
November 25, 2348 BC -
According to Biblical scholars, a powerful rain storm began on this date. It rained an inch every ten seconds. Imagine that. An inch every ten seconds. The sheer volume and velocity of the deluge, comparable to rapid-fire artillery, ought to have been enough to kill every living thing on the planet in seconds, and yet it reportedly continued at this rate for a full 960 hours.

The only human survivors were a crotchety six-hundred-year-old man and his family. Fortunately, these sturdy souls had had the foresight to gather up two to seven specimens of every species on the planet (excepting, one assumes, the undaunted creatures of the sea) and load them onto a wooden boat before the storm began.

It may not sound like much, put like that, but considering the far-flung distribution of all the various creatures of the earth, and the difficulty of tracking down, say, all the varieties of paramecium without the benefit of a microscope, or sustaining desert flora on a water-logged ship, it was a considerable accomplishment.

I applaud the foresight, initiative, and ambition displayed by Noah and his family, but remain a little wary of the person or persons behind all that rain.

November 25, 1867 -
I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize - George Bernard Shaw

A patent was granted to Alfred Nobel for dynamite on this date.

To quote Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, "May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good!!!"

November 25, 1914 -
Joe DiMaggio was born on this date. In addition to leading the New York Yankees to ten World Series championships, Joe DiMaggio also got to marry Marilyn Monroe.

Be grateful for role models.

November 25, 1920 -
Contrary to popular belief, Macy's didn't host the first Thanksgiving Day parade (Macy's held their first parade in 1924, tied for second in the nation with the J.L. Hudson's Dept. store Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit) - that honor goes to their longtime (and now defunct) rival Gimbel Brothers (Gimbels), in Philadelphia, which started the tradition on this date.

The first parade featured 50 costumed store employees leading a fireman dressed as Santa to the store on Eighth and Market Streets. Santa Claus, upon reaching Gimbels, would scale a fire truck ladder to the store’s eighth floor, conveniently the home of Gimbels Toyland themed dept.

November 25, 1944 -
On this date, a carrier pigeon Paddy was decorated for his effort in the war against Nazi Germany. In the service of Royal Air Force, Paddy had achieved to get a message from Normandy to England in the fastest crossing of the English Channel: 4 hours and 50 minutes.

When receiving his Order of Merit Paddy was described as "exceptionally intelligent". Unfortunately for Paddy and his compatriots, wartime rationing was still on-going and they were broasted and served at a White House holiday luncheon soon therefafter.

November 25, 1963 -
The flag draped coffin containing the purported remains of the man, many Americans believed to have been John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And on November 29, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren the head of a commission to investigate the alleged assassination of the person believed to have been John F. Kennedy.

Once again, be grateful the CIA, the Cuban exile community, the Rosicrucians, extraterrestrials, and the Children's Television Workshop don't give a damn about you.

November 25, 1970 -
Japanese playwright, poet, novelist, nationalist, body building enthusiast and patron of transvestite bars, Yukio Mishima (Kimitake Hiraoka) committed seppuku (self disembowelment) after an aborted coup attempt in Japan on this date.

He had authored over 100 works and was deemed by Life magazine the "Japanese Hemmingway".

One has to ask themselves - why is perfect purity only possible when you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood. (I don't know, maybe you don't ask yourself these type of questions.)

On November 25, 1977, Greece announced the discovery of the tomb of King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.

On November 26, 1922, archaeologists Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen.

Be grateful that the high point of your job isn’t digging up people who’ve been dead for thousands of years.

November 25, 1987 -
Fawn Hall, Oliver North's assistant, removes documents from sealed National Security Council offices inside the White House by hiding them inside her skirt, causing President Ronald Reagan to form a task force which eventually put both North and Hall on trial.

Another true American Patriot. Be grateful you're not called upon to assist your boss by shoving stuff in your panties.

And so it goes