Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Hang on for just one more day

Today is the last day of Dry January

You may resume drinking with abandon tomorrow.

January 31, 1921 -
John G. Agar, American's greatest B movie actor, first husband of Shirley Temple,

and once the owner of the world's largest King Kong statue (I kid you not),

was born on this day.

Some days, it just doesn't get any better.

January 31, 1957 -
It's a crustacean catastrophe! A Fiend with X-ray Eyes!

It's not to be believed but on a double bill, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Not of this Earth premiered on this date.

Oh Roger Corman, still alive and kicking, we love you!

January 31, 1970 -
Led Zeppelin's single, Whole Lotta Love reaches #4 in the US, on this date,the highest any of their songs will ever chart on the Hot 100. Most of their songs, including Stairway To Heaven, were not released as singles.

Jimmy Page served as Led Zeppelin's producer, and on this song, he let loose in the studio, using all kinds of innovative techniques, particularly in the freeform section about 1:20 in, which was the result of him and engineer Eddie Kramer "twiddling every knob known to man." This part is often referred to as "the freakout."

January 31, 1976 -
Ohio Players' single from their album Honey, Love Rollercoaster climbed up the No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, on this date.

This song is the subject of an urban myth. During an instrumental break, there is a scream that sounds a little out of place. It was rumored that the scream was the sound of a woman being murdered in the studio. According to the story, which was started by a DJ in California, this woman was the model who appeared on the album cover. She was kneeling on glass and pouring honey in her mouth. While she was doing it, she found out that the glass was actually fiber glass and the honey reacted with the fiber glass by sticking to her legs and ripping all the skin off. She went in the manager's studio while the band was still recording and threatened to sue the band, which is when the manager stabbed her to death. The band left in the scream as a cruel joke. The scream was actually keyboard player Billy Beck. Instead of telling the truth, the band agreed to coyly answer "no comment" when asked about the rumor, claiming they took a vow of silence. The ploy worked, as the urban legend gave the song a buzz and helped sell records.

January 31, 1986 -
Paul Mazursky's remake of Jean Renior's comedy Boudu Saved From Drowning, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, starring Nick Nolte, Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss, premiered on this date.

Right before Richard Dreyfuss is rear-ended by the police car, he drives past a movie marquee advertising Jaws, the movie that propelled him to stardom.

January 31, 1988 -
Everyone went back to the late 60s and early 70s when The Wonder Years, starring Fred Savage, Danica McKellar and Josh Saviano premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Arye Gross performed the narration for the pilot when it originally aired. However, Arye's narration was later removed and replaced with Daniel Stern's voice when the pilot aired in reruns.

January 31, 1989 -
Two months after his death, Roy Orbison's first album of all-new material since 1979, Mystery Girl was released on this date.

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Bono and George Harrison all contributed to the album; the lead single, You Got It, which gave Orbison his first US Top 10 hit since 1964 with (Oh) Pretty Woman.

January 31, 1999 -
Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy premiered on Fox, on this date.

This is the most watched episode of the all the episodes from all the series. It is estimated that 22,000,000 Americans saw this when it was originally broadcast in 1999, (it aired immediately after Super Bowl XXXIII.)

Another job posting from The ACME Employment Agency

Today in History:
January 31, 1606 -
Guy Fawkes and a group of English Catholics attempted to overthrow and assassinate King James I with the intention of installing his daughter, Princess Elizabeth as queen, on November 5, 1605. The failed attempt came to be known as the Gunpowder Plot.

Fawkes was sentenced to the traditional traitors' death - to be 'hanged, drawn and quartered'. In any event, on this date, he jumped from the gallows, breaking his own neck and thereby avoiding the horror of being cut down while still alive, having his testicles cut off and his stomach opened and his guts spilled before his eyes. His lifeless body was hacked into quarters and his remains sent to 'the four corners of the kingdom' as a warning to others.

While most of England celebrates the failed Gunpowder Plot as a national holiday on November 5, Guy Fawkes was also voted #30 in the BBC-sponsored list of "100 Greatest Britons" in 2002.

January 31, 1919
Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson, born in Cairo, Georgia on this date, made history in 1947 as the first black baseball player to appear in a Major League game. Despite experiencing terrible racism from players and fans around him, Jackie stayed mostly graceful and earned peoples’ admiration–both on and off the field.

January 31, 1921 -
The Carroll A. Deering was a five-masted commercial schooner that was found run aground off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on this date. Its crew was mysteriously missing.

Theories abound about the the crews disappearance ranging from piracy, mutiny and victims of the dread 'Bermuda Triangle'.

The truth is out there.

January 31, 1940 -
The first monthly retirement check was issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, in the amount of $22.54. Miss Fuller, a Legal Secretary, retired in November 1939. She started collecting benefits in January 1940 at age 65 and lived to be 100 years old, dying in 1975.

Ida May Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program. The accumulated taxes on her salary during those three years were a total of $24.75. During her lifetime she collected a total of $22,888.92 in Social Security benefits.

January 31, 1945 -
Private Eddie Slovik was the first U.S. soldier to be shot for desertion since the Civil War on this date.

Although over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including 49 death sentences, Slovik's was the only death sentence carried out.

January 31, 1950 -
Coming off yet another three day bender, President Truman gave the go-ahead for the development of Edward Teller's hydrogen bomb on this date.

The "hell bomb," as it was called, served to greatly heighten US-USSR tensions in the Cold War. Hopefully, the terrorists are not reading my blog and taking notes.

January 31, 1951 -
I had a very different trajectory from the others in Roxy. They all went to art school and university and posh things, and I came over from South America, and ended up in a weird duality, which is half-South American and half-European. It was just serendipitous, joining them. From the first time I heard a tape of them, they seemed to tick every box for me. And I really liked the people in Roxy.

Phil Manzanera, guitarist for Roxy Music was born on this date.

January 31, 1958 -
Explorer-I, officially Satellite 1958 Alpha (and sometimes referred to as Explorer 1), was the first Earth satellite of the United States, having been launched at 10:48 pm EST on this date, as part of the United States program for the International Geophysical Year.

The satellite was launched from LC-26 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on board a Juno I rocket. Although it carried a number of instruments, Explorer I was relatively small, weighing just 30 lbs (13 kg).

Electrical power was provided by mercury chemical batteries that made up approximately 40 percent of the payload weight. These provided power that operated the high power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days. (This is on the test.)

January 31, 1961 -
The United States sends its first space monkey into space, Ham the chimpanzee. His Mercury/Redstone 2 achieves an altitude of 158 miles. Ham's capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean and was recovered by a rescue ship later that day.

After the flight, Ham lived for 17 years in the National Zoo in Washington D.C., then at the North Carolina Zoo before dying at the age of 27 on January 19, 1983. Ham the Chimp was not the first animal in space. That honor goes to Laika the dog, who was sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957. Ham could not deal with this fact; and NASA had to hide the fact that Ham had become hooked on smack.

January 31, 1971 -
NASA launched the manned U.S. lunar lander Apollo 14 on a mission to the Fra Mauro region of the Moon, on this date. The crew consists of Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell.

The crew will land on February 5, 1971 and collect 42.9 kilograms of lunar samples, completing the aborted mission of the Apollo 13.

Before you go - What a great way to end the month - Puddles Pity Party came out with a new video yesterday - Brain Damage / Eclipse!

It was a great choice to cover Pink Floyd. I'm sure we're all in agreement that he should cover the entire album

And so it goes

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Does anyone still have a stand alone answering machine?

Today is National Inane Answering Machine Day, observed on January 30th every year. This holiday encourages you on this day to bring an end to all of the mindless and endlessly long answering machine messages that annoy and waste the time of callers.

Or, you could leave a long, drawn out, insane message on someone's machine this day.

The choice is up to you.

January 30, 1931 -
Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (A Comedy Romance in Pantomime) premiered at Los Angeles Theater on this date. The episodic film includes a complete musical soundtrack and various sound effects - but no speech or dialogue.

Charles Chaplin's first film made during the sound era. He faced extreme pressure to make the film as a talkie, but such was his popularity and power in Hollywood that he was able to complete and release the film as a silent (albeit with recorded music) at a time when the rest of the American motion picture industry had converted to sound.

January 30, 1961 -
The Shirelles' single, Will You Love Me Tomorrow? hits #1 in the US on this date. It's the first big hit for the songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

Shirelles lead singer Shirley Alston initially disliked the song, dismissing it as "too Country and Western" for the four-girl group from Passaic, New Jersey. Their producer Luther Dixon convinced her they could do it in their style, and asked King and Goffin if they could add strings and turned it into an uptempo song, which they did.

January 30, 1961 -
Patsy Cline released the single for her hit, I Fall To Pieces, on this date.

Written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard, this was arguably the first pure country single to cross over to the pop charts. It also established Patsy Cline's sophisticated weepy style.

January 30, 1969 -
At a free concert at their Apple corporate headquarters in London, The Beatles made their last-ever public appearance as a group on this date.

The performance, filmed for the documentary Let It Be, was eventually halted when police arrived after neighbors complained about the racket. (Once again, I strongly encourage you to seek out the Peter Jackson documentary, Get Back.)

January 30, 1981 -
Universal Pictures released the Joel Schumacher film The Incredible Shrinking Woman, starring Lily Tomlin and Charles Grodin, on this date.

Initially planned as a Holiday 1980 release, Universal delayed the release until January 1981, hoping to take advantage of the buzz surrounding the release of 9 to 5, which also stars Lily Tomlin.

January 30, 1987 -
Woody Allen's warm remembrance of the Golden Age of Radio, Radio Days premiered on this date.

The story of Kirby Kyle, the ill-fated baseball player, is a parody of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton, whose promising career was derailed after he lost part of his leg due to a hunting accident. Stratton attempted a comeback and then retired. His life was made into a movie: The Stratton Story.

January 30, 1988 -
INXS' single from their fourth album Kick, Need You Tonight, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts on this date. It is the only INXS single to reach No. 1.

The song segues seamlessly into the next track on the album, a poem Andrew Farriss wrote and put to music called Mediate. Both tracks are in the same tempo and based on the same drum machine groove, so they flow together very well. When the band heard how well they stitched together, they decided to segue them, à la Queen with We Will Rock You into We Are The Champions. Many radio stations play the songs together, which is how they appear in the video.

Today's moment of Zen

Today in History:
January 30, 1649 -
If history teaches us anything, it's that sometimes, it NOT good to be the king.

King Charles I of England, was beheaded for treason at Banqueting House on this date. It is reputed that he wore two shirts as to prevent the cold January weather causing any noticeable shivers that the crowd could have been mistaken for fear or weakness. He put his head on the block after saying a prayer and signaled the executioner when he was ready; he was then beheaded with one clean stroke.

It was common practice for the head of a traitor to be held up and exhibited to the crowd with the words Behold the head of a traitor!; although Charles' head was exhibited, the words were not used.

And sometimes, it is NOT good to have been the executioner of a king:
January 30, 1661 -
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector and ruler of the English Commonwealth died of natural causes in 1658, and the job strangely went to his son Richard, who was overthrown shortly therefore. Radda, radda, radda, Charles' son, surprisingly known as Charles II was restored as King of England – this was known as the restoration.

Charles decreed that Cromwell be disinterred from Westminster Abbey, and that he be ‘executed’ – despite already being dead – for regicide. The bodies of Cromwell, Henry Ireton, (General in the Parliamentary Army during the Civil War), and John Bradshaw, (the President of the High Court of Justice), were removed from their graves.

They were hanged in chains at Tyburn before being beheaded. Their bodies were thrown into common graves, and their heads were placed on spikes above Westminster Hall.

So there really is no rest for the wicked, even after death.

January 30, 1835 -
Andrew Jackson was the subject of the first recorded assassination attempt on a U.S. president. Jackson was crossing the Capitol Rotunda following the funeral of a Congressman when Richard Lawrence approached Jackson and fired two pistols, which both miraculously misfired. Jackson proceeded to beat the living daylights out of Lawrence with his cane, prompting his aides to restrain him.

As a result, Jackson's statue in the Capitol Rotunda is placed in front of the doorway in which the attempt occurred. Lawrence was later found to be mentally ill, having accused Jackson of preventing him from becoming King of England.

January 30, 1889 -
Bunkies, your history teachers lied to you once again - World War I really started on this date.

The bodies of Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, syphilitic, depressive, whore mongering heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, and his air headed 17 year old mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera, were discovered in the Imperial hunting lodge at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods on this date.

The Prince had either:

a.) shot himself after killing his mistress,
b.) been killed by his mistress in a suicide pact or
c.) been a victim of a political assassination.

Their death and the resulting cover-up left Rudolf's cousin, The Archduck Ferdinand heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

And you see where that got Europe.

January 30, 1945 -
The German liner Wilhelm Gustloff, built to carry a few thousand people, overcrowed with some 7,000-10,000 people, including 4,000-5,000 children, sank in the icy waters of the Baltic Sea between the Bay of Danzig and the Danish island of Bornholm on this date. Three torpedoes fired from a Russian submarine had scored direct hits on the ship.

Close to 9000 people, civilian refugees from East Prussia and wounded German soldiers, drowned in the icy waters. The result was the largest, at least four times bigger, in terms of human life, than the sinking of the Titanic, and and most horrible naval disaster of all time.

January 30, 1948 -
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Gandhi

Sometimes, it's not good to be the world's greatest advocate of non violence.

Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on his way to morning prayers on this date.

January 30, 1968 -
The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Communist forces launched a surprise offensive on the lunar New Year Tet holiday truce that became known as the Tet Offensive on this date.

Although the Communists were beaten back, the offensive was seen as a major setback for the US and its allies and shocked the complacent American television viewer who had been led to believe the war was won.

Faced with an unhappy American public and depressing news from his military leaders, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to end the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

January 30, 1976 -
George H.W. Bush became the 11th director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a position which he held until 1977.

And you still wonder how Dubya won.

And so it goes

Monday, January 29, 2024

A plague o' both your houses!

Today is Hansen's Disease Day. Celebrate World Leprosy Day - be like St. Francis - lick a leper's sores.

Or not.

But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.

William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet was probably first performed on this date (unless it wasn't).

I don't know, I wasn't there, were you?

January 29, 1959 -
With a budget that exceeded $6 million, Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

Eleanor Audley--one of Walt Disney's favorite voice artists, most memorably as Lady Tremaine in Cinderella, initially turned the part of Maleficent down, much to Disney's surprise. As it later transpired, Audley was in the midst of battling a bout of tuberculosis and did not want to tax her voice too much. Fortunately, she recovered and accepted the part.

January 29, 1964 -
Introducing us to saving our precious bodily fluids and the rule about no fighting in the War room, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb was released in the United States, on this date.

Peter Sellers improvised most of his lines. And one of the most significant is in the final scene, when Sellers as Dr. Strangelove, exclaims "Mein Führer! I can walk!" According to Kubrick, "Peter said he couldn't promise to do the same thing twice. And he couldn't do anything more than two, three times. So the day we did the sequence...I had six cameras lined up and he came in and... no one knew what he was going to do, himself included."

January 29, 1977 -
The Rose Royce song Car Wash, went to No. #1 on this date. The soundtrack album for the film Car Wash, went gold as well.

Norman Whitfield, who wrote many Motown classics, was commissioned to write songs for the soundtrack of the movie Car Wash. He was having a meal of Kentucky Fried Chicken while watching a basketball game, when inspiration struck. He wrote the lyrics on the bag containing the chicken.

January 29, 1981 -
Dolly Parton's theme song for the film 9 to 5 went to No. 1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.

In a 2009 interview with 60 Minutes, Parton talked about the unlikely inspiration for this song: her fingernails. She had very long, acrylic nails, and discovered that when she rubbed them together she could create a rhythm that sounded like a typewriter, and since the movie was about secretaries, she was able to use that sound to compose the song on the set. She even played her fingernails as part of the percussion sound when she recorded the track.

January 29, 1983 -
The Australian group, Men At Work's song Down Under reached #1 on the UK pop music chart.

This became an unofficial national anthem when Australia won the America's Cup in 1983, an event the United States had never lost. The then Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, was so delighted with Australia's win, he gave the whole country the day off and announced on the news that any boss who fired an employee for taking the day off "is a bum!"

January 29, 2000 -
The PBS series In the Spotlight presented Steely Dan, showcasing selections from Two Against Nature, their first new studio recording in more than 20 years, on this date.

This is the Home Version of Steely Dan's PBS In The Spotlight Special, with additional documentary footage, (I didn't think anyone would complain.)

January 29, 2018 -
The Marvel film Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

While in London promoting the film, Martin Freeman introduced his young son Joseph to his co-star Danai Gurira who played Okoye, the boy's favorite character in the film. According to Danai, the boy was so entranced by the experience he would not let go of her hand. Danai was deeply touched by how the film had so completely captured the imagination of one so young.

Word of the Day

Today in History:
It's Thomas Paine's birthday today. He was born in 1737.

You could commemorate the occasion by reading (or rereading) Common Sense. You could also commemorate the occasion by registering to vote or piercing your perineum or bleaching someone else's rectal area.

I don't care, it was just a suggestion.

January 29, 1845 -
Edgar Allan Poe’s narrative mystery poem The Raven was first published in the Evening Mirror in New York on this date.

Its publication made Poe famous in his day, and today it is still one of the most recognized and respected poems in American literature. However, he only earned about $9 from the work.

January 29, 1856 -
Queen Victoria issues a Warrant under the Royal sign-manual that establishes the Victoria Cross to recognise acts of valour by British military personnel during the Crimean War, on this date.

Since then, the medal has been awarded 1,358 times to 1,355 individual recipients. Only 15 medals, of which 11 to members of the British Army and 4 to members of the Australian Army, have been awarded since the Second World War.

January 29, 1880 -
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.

William Claude Dukenfield, vaudevillian, film actor and juggler was born on this date.

January 29, 1886 -
Karl Benz patented the Benz Patent Motorwagon, on this date, which looked much like a tricycle with a cushioned seat; this was the first gas-powered car.

Making a gas-powered car had been a long-time dream of Benz, who had originally started tinkering with engines in his spare time as a bicycle shop owner.

January 29, 1929 -
The Seeing Eye was incorporated in Nashville, Tennessee by Dorothy Harrison Eustus and Morris Frank, on this date. A few weeks later, the first seeing-eye Dog Guide School in the United States opened in Nashville. (The name the Seeing Eye came from Proverbs 20:12 in the Bible, "The seeing eye, the hearing ear; The Lord hath made them both.")

Frank had trained under Jack Humphrey in Switzerland at a kennel owned by Dorothy Eustis. Humphrey's became the Seeing Eye’s first geneticist and served as chief instructor.

Buddy was Frank's first dog and in 1936 became the first seeing-eye dog to ride as a passenger on an American commercial airline.

January 29, 1954 -
Oprah Gail Winfrey, the most influential (and one of the wealthiest) woman in the world, is another year older.

Oprah could easily get weapon grade uranium - don't piss her off.

January 29, 1979 -
Brenda Spencer fired repeatedly at the school across from her residence in San Diego, killing two and wounding eight children, using the rifle her father had given her as a gift.

I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day.
-- The reason she gave inspired the Boomtown Rats song.

Remember: guns don't kill people, it's the damn gifts our father's give us.

And so it goes

Sunday, January 28, 2024

It's a travel day for us

(We've been travelling this weekend and I will probably not be able to get to a computer to more fully update this entry, so today will be an abbreviated posting. Hopefully, I'll be back tomorrow.)

A special word for today

Serendipity - the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

The word derives from an old Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, (Serendip is the Persian name for Sri Lanka,) and was coined by Horace Walpole on January 28, 1754 in a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann (not the same man as the famed American educator).

This should not be confused with Synchronicity - which is an album by the Police (but that's another story).

January 28, 1953 -
J. Fred Muggs joined NBC's Today Show on this date.

Please note: any reselmblance between Mr. Muggs and any of my nephews is purely coincidental.

January 28, 1956 -
Elvis Presley appeared on the Dorsey brothers' TV program Stage Show, singing Shake, Rattle and Roll, on this date.

It was Elvis' first network television appearance.

January 28, 1973 -
Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Ebsen, premieres on CBS-TV, on this date.

Barnaby Jones guest stars frequently included children of the regulars. Among them, Buddy's daughter Bonnie Ebson appeared in six episodes, playing a different character every time. Also featured were Lee Meriwether's daughter, Kyle Aletter, and producer Quinn Martin's daughter, Jill Martin.

January 28, 1978 -
Fantasy Island, starring Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

The plane that was used on this show was up for auction in the 1990s. This plane was autographed by all of the guest stars. Before this show, this plane was also owned by Richard D. Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

January 28, 1995 -
TLC started a four week run at No.1 on Billboards singles chart with Creep, the group's first US No.1 hit. The song made No.6 in the UK the following year.

This was written and produced by the Atlanta-based producer Dallas Austin. Though he had already made a name for himself working alongside producers like L.A. Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and hot acts like Another Bad Creation and Bell Biv DeVoe, Creep would be an important song for Austin because it proved he could write from a female perspective.

Another book from the back shelves of The ACME Library

Today in History:
January 28, 814 -
First Reich: Charlemagne, German emperor, dies at the age of 71 on this date.

Though he had conquered much of Europe, his legacy was considerably reduced after his death from mismanagement and incompetence.

Coincidentally, The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 until January 28, 1871, bringing about French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and led to the establishment of the German Empire (Second Reich).

Due to a severe shortage of food, Parisians were forced to slaughter whatever animals at hand. Rats, dogs, cats, and horses were regular fare on restaurant menus.

* Consommé de Cheval au millet. (horse)
* Brochettes de foie de Chien à la maître d'hôtel. (dog)
* Emincé de rable de Chat. Sauce mayonnaise. (cat)
* Epaules et filets de Chien braisés. Sauce aux tomates. (dog)
* Civet de Chat aux Champignons. (cat)
* Côtelettes de Chien aux petits pois. (dog)
* Salmis de Rats. Sauce Robert. (rats)
* Gigots de chien flanqués de ratons. Sauce poivrade. (rats)
* Begonias au jus. (flowers)
* Plum-pudding au rhum et à la Moelle de Cheval. (horse)

Even Pollux and Castor, the only pair of elephants in Paris, were not spared.

January 28, 1813 -
Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice was published by Thomas Egerton in the United Kingdom on this date.

Austen didn’t put her name on her novels, and would only say they were “By a Lady.” The title page of Pride and Prejudice said, “by the author of Sense and Sensibility.” It wasn’t until after her death that her brother revealed her name to the public.

January 28, 1829 -
In Scotland, serial killer William Burke was hanged for murder following a scandal in which he was found to have provided extra-fresh corpses for anatomy schools in Edinburgh. His partner William Hare had turned king's witness.

If only he had gone for the less fresh corpses. The scandal led to the 1832 Anatomy Act.

January 28, 1896 -
Mr Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent became the first person to be fined for breaking the speed limit on this date.

He was fined one shilling plus nine shillings costs for driving his car at 8mph when the speed limit was 2 mph.

January 28, 1915 -
The Coast Guard was formed with the merger of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service on this date, as an organization under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. They were originally intended to crack down on piracy while helping people out as a side interest.

Their services were later incorporated the US Lighthouse Service, and was itself incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

January 28, 1921 -
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was installed under the Arc de Triomphe on this date. The tomb was dedicated to the French soldiers who had died in World War I.

It has remained a popular tourist spot both for French citizens and international visitors to Paris. Jacqueline Kennedy was inspired by her visit with her late husband, President Kennedy to the Arc de Triomphe in 1961, to request that an eternal flame, much like the one she had seen at the Tomb, to be placed at her husband's grave, in 1963.

January 28, 1958 -
Those damn little toys that you step on in the middle of the night became legal today. Ole Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark began building simple wooden toys in 1932 in his workshop after losing his job. Two years later, Christiansen founded The Lego company.

Christiansen filed a patent for the Lego plastic brick with its stud-and-hole design, on this date. Those bricks are still compatible with bricks produced today.

January 28, 1958 -
Bizarrely on the same day, Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella's career ended when he lost control of his car on a slick highway.

He became a paraplegic and was confined to a wheelchair the remainder of his life.

January 28, 1977 -
Star of TV's Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze has a violent allergic reaction to lead on this date.

Despondent over his upcoming divorce and battling a major drug addiction, Prinze, shot himself in the head days earlier, died on this day. He was 22 years old.

January 28, 1986 -
The Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 74 seconds into its flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe and the rest of the crew. Their capsule plunged intact into the ocean, pulverizing everyone on impact, making a rescue attempt difficult, if not impossible.

The cause was later found to be failure of a booster rocket O-rings because of the cold weather.

Moral: Avoid rocket travel this week, if possible.

And so it goes

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented

The United Nations General Assembly designated this date, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

It's Punch the Clock day.

I have no idea why anyone would want to celebrate the soul-numbing activity of having to punch into work.

So instead, let's listen to a deep cut from the Elvis Costello album Punch the Clock, TKO (Boxing Day).

January 27, 1918 -
Tarzan of the Apes, the first Tarzan film, premiered at the Broadway Theater in NYC on this date.

Edgar Rice Burroughs sold the film rights for Tarzan of the Apes to the National Film Corporation on June 6, 1916. He received a record $5,000 cash advance on royalties, $50,000 in company stock and 5% of gross receipts.

January 27, 1948 -
Consumer magnetic tape recorders were sold for the first time on this date. Magnetic tape recorders had been developed at the same time as steel tape recorders, but it had taken slightly longer to perfect the technology.

In place of a steel wire, magnetic tape recorders use a thin magnetized coating on narrow strips of plastic. Ampex and 3M would have the most influence in the growth of magnetic tape recorders.

January 27, 1956 -
Elvis Presley released the first of his 14 records in a row that sold more than a million copies, Heartbreak Hotel, on this date.

It climbed to the top of the pop chart reaching #1 in April and spending eight weeks at the top. The success of Heartbreak Hotel began Elvis' period as the most famous American musician and teen idol.

January 27, 1976 -
Laverne and Shirley, a spinoff from Happy Days, starring Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as Shirley Feeney, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Various Happy Days cast members have talked about the vicious fights next door on set of Laverne and Shirley, so loud that they would listen with glasses to the wall.

January 27, 1984 -
Cyndi Lauper released the second single, Time After Time, from her debut album She's So Unusual on this date.

Cyndi Lauper wrote this song with Rob Hyman, who also sang backup. Hyman was in a Philadelphia band with Eric Bazilian and Rick Chertoff. When Rick took a job as a staff producer at Columbia Records, he kept in touch with Rob and Eric, who formed The Hooters. Chertoff was assigned to produce Lauper, a then-unknown artist. Lauper's band, Blue Angel, had broken up, so she needed musicians. Rick suggested Rob and Eric, then brought her to see The Hooters at a club called The Bottom Line.

January 27, 1987 -
One of Woody Allen's favorite films, Broadway Danny Rose, starring Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and Nick Apollo Forte premiered in the US on this date.

Woody Allen's manager and producer, Jack Rollins, was the inspiration for the Danny Rose character. Rollins appears in the movie as himself.

January 27, 1984 -
The Mike Nichols' drama, Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep, Cher, and Kurt Russell, premiered in the US on this date.

Cher was nervous about meeting Meryl Streep for the first time. "I thought it was going to be like having an audience with the Pope," she said. Streep, however, immediately put her at ease. "The first day on location," Cher told People magazine, "Meryl just came up, threw her arms around me and said, 'I'm so glad you're here.' She's all communication and warmth and friendship with a great sense of humor."

January 27, 1991 -
The little remembered TV series, Davis Rules, starring Randy Quaid and Jonathan Winters premiered on ABC TV on this date. (The series moved to CBS TV for its' second and final season.)

The show premiered right after the Super Bowl in 1991.

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

Today in History:
January 27, 1756 -
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian musical genius, composer and fart joke lover, whose works included The Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute, was born on this date.

When Mozart died in 1791, probably of heart disease, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave.

January 27, 1832
... While the laughter of joy is in full harmony with our deeper life, the laughter of amusement should be kept apart from it. The danger is too great of thus learning to look at solemn things in a spirit of mockery, and to seek in them opportunities for exercising wit..

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Anglican deacon, children's author, mathematician, and photographer (child pornographer?) was born on this date.

January 27, 1859 -
Kaiser Wilhelm II, (Queen Victoria's first grandchild and first cousin to both King George V and Tsar Nicholas II) emperor who ruled Germany during World War I but was forced to abdicate in 1918, was born on this date.

Oh, those wacky royals.

January 27, 1888 -
National Geographic Society was incorporated on this date after having been founded in Washington, D.C. two weeks prior by a group of well known men 'to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge'.

The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. Nine months after its creation, the Society published its first issue of National Geographic magazine.

January 27, 1900 -
Hyman Rickover, American admiral who is considered the "Father of the Atomic Submarine", was born on this date.

Creating a detail-focused pursuit of excellence to a degree previously unknown, Rickover redirected the United States Navy’s ship propulsion, quality control, personnel selection, and training and education, and has had far reaching effects on the defense establishment and the civilian nuclear energy field.

On January 21, 1901, the great maestro Joe Green (Giuseppe Verdi was merely his stage name) suffered a stroke while staying at the Grand Hotel et de Milan, in Milan. So revered was the composer that horses hooves were wrapped in blankets to muffle their noise as they passed the hotel where he rested.

Verdi gradually grew more feeble and died six days later, on this date. To date, his funeral remains the largest public assembly of any event in the history of Italy.

Thomas Crapper died on January 27, 1910. To honor this day and the spirit of the man, we can choose to embrace the legend of Thomas Crapper.

In popular American folklore, the British Mr. Thomas Crapper was the man who invented and gave his name to the flush toilet. Unfortunately, there is little historical evidence to support Mr. Crapper as anything but a friendly British plumber.

January 27, 1967 -
A launchpad flash fire in the Apollo I capsule killed the astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H White and Roger B Chaffee at Cape Canaveral on this date.

An investigation indicated that a faulty electrical wire inside the Apollo I command module was the probable cause of the fire.

January 27, 1967 -
Negotiated and drafted under the auspices of the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union signed the Outer Space Treaty (formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,) in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes, on this date. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1967.

Key provisions of the Outer Space Treaty include prohibiting nuclear weapons in space; limiting the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes; establishing that space shall be freely explored and used by all nations; and precluding any country from claiming sovereignty over outer space or any celestial body.

January 27, 1973 -
North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the United States signed the Paris Peace Accord on this day, ending one of the longest and most unpopular wars in American history.

Despite a ceasefire that had been put into effect a few days earlier, the last American troop to die in Vietnam was killed just 11 hours before the treaty was signed.

January 27, 1992 -
Candidate Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers mutually accuse each other of lying about whether or not they had a 12 year affair on this date.

Oh, it's hard to keep the old hound dog on the porch.

January 27, 2010
Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and whose books, such as A People's History of the United States, inspired young and old to rethink the way textbooks present the American experience, died on this date.

Go out and buy his book, if not for a kid you know, buy it for yourself.

And so it goes

Friday, January 26, 2024

It does not pay to be a prude

Today is the Feast Day of St. Timothy. St. Timothy is known to be the patron saint of those who suffer from stomach aches or other intestinal disorders (he was prescribed 'a little wine' for his own stomach troubles.) Timothy is famous for being the companion and secretary to St. Paul. One of the requirements of the job was circumcision; Timothy, ever pious and eager for the job, immediately went out and did the job himself, (remember that the next time you are hiring administrative assistants.)

Timothy, in his later life, become the first bishop of Ephesus. While he was there, he objected to the parading around of a nude statue of the goddess Diana in celebration of the festival of Katagogian, which seems odd as Timothy was Greek himself and seeing nude statues of Greek goddesses should have been no big deal. It apparently was a big deal to the locals of Ephesus and he was stoned to death on this date.

Today is the 74th (or 75th, I've seen it referred to both ways) annual Republic Day in India. Usually spectators line up to watch dancers from all over the nation gather in New Delhi every year on this day to dance in the huge National Arena and all along a five mile parade route, (not so much, this year.)

It's Australia Day today (formerly known as Foundation Day in Australia) as well and commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney, in 1788. (The fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip, who went on to establish the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia.) The day was filled with drinking, merriment and sodomy -

Unfortunately, more and more Australians are reconsidering the holiday and are now beginning to view it as a 'Day of Mourning' because of the massacres and treatment Indigenous people experienced at the hands of the British settlers after the arrival of the First Fleet.

On January 26, 1979, Le Freak was on the top of the American charts.

It's nice to think there's a connection.

January 26, 1967 -
The Star Trek episode, Tomorrow is Yesterday in which, the crew of the Enterprise is flung back in time to the sixties, where they must correct the damage they have caused to the timeline, premiered on this date on NBC TV.

This is one of the rare occasions in which it can be seen that the middle finger on actor James Doohan's (Scotty) right hand is missing. He took great pains to conceal its absence during the series, but he is leaning on that hand - with only three fingers visible - when he informs Captain Kirk that the engines can be repaired, but that there is nowhere for them to go in the 20th century.

January 26, 1970 -
Simon and Garfunkle's fifth and last studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, was released on this date. The album went on to be the biggest selling ever for Columbia Records.

The title song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, is one of the most-covered songs ever. In the '70s, so many people sang a version that it became a bit of a joke, the punch line being that most renditions were terrible, as the song is very hard to sing with any competence. Years later, the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Free Bird reached a similar level of musical ubiquity.

January 26, 1973 -
Elton John's sixth studio album, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, was released on this date. It was his second straight No. 1 album in the US.

According to Elton John: The Definitive Biography, here's how the album got its title: While in Los Angeles, Elton was introduced to the legendary comedian Groucho Marx. They hit it off, but Groucho was always giving Elton a hard time about his name, insisting that he must have it backwards and really be John Elton. After Groucho refused to lay off the name thing at a party, Elton threw up his hands and said jokingly: "Don't shoot me, I'm just the piano player."

January 26, 1974
Ringo Starr's song, You’re Sixteen, hit #1 on this date.

Richard Perry, who worked with Carly Simon, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles and many other stars, produced this track. He said that producing Ringo's album was the "greatest thrill" of his career.

January 26, 1979 -
The sitcom McLean Stevenson left M*A*S*H for, Hello, Larry, created by Dick Bensfield and Perry Grant, premiered on NBC TV, on this date. (TV Guide ranked the sitcom #12 on their 50 Worst Shows of All Time in 2002.)

Since it was cancelled, the show has become a metaphor for low-quality and failure. It has also been held up as an example of how a show can be doomed by network interference, retooling and time slot shifting.

January 26, 1979 -
Turnabout, a sitcom developed by Steven Bochco and Michael Rhodes, and starring John Schuck and Sharon Gless, premiered on NBC TV, on this date.

It lasted seven episodes, before being cancelled due to poor ratings. This was in part due to airing after the poorly rated Hello, Larry, and competing with the CBS hit Dallas.

January 26, 1979 -
Dukes of Hazzard premiered on CBS television with One Armed Bandits - (A shipment of slot machines is hijacked.)

High comedy indeed.

January 26, 1980 -
Three months after the 1979 release of his second album, simply-titled Prince, Prince made his debut on American Bandstand on this date.

While he delivered confident performances of I Wanna Be Your Lover and Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad, the 'shy' artist struggled to answer Dick Clark’s questions.

January 26, 1994 -
The pilot episode of Babylon 5, Midnight on the Firing Line premiered on TNT Network on this date.

Michael O'Hare's struggles with schizophrenia caused him to miss an increasing amount of work as the first season progressed. Creator J. Michael Straczynski offered to hold production so O'Hare could get the help he needed. O'Hare refused, feeling it wouldn't be fair for the cast and crew to be left without work for so long. He and Straczynski mutually agreed to have O'Hare leave at the end of the season. Bruce Boxleitner replaced O'Hare, and Straczynski used the "trap door" storyline at the beginning of the second season to explain Sinclair's absence. He also honored O'Hare's request to keep the real reason for his departure a secret until after O'Hare died in October 2012.

January 26, 2001 -
The Columbia Pictures film The Wedding Planner, starring Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, and Alex Rocco, premiered in the U.S. on this date.

Jennifer Love Hewitt was developing a separate film with the same premise for her to star in but was forced to cancel the project when this film was released.

Another unimportant moment in history

Today in History:
January 26, 1885 -
General Charles George “Chinese” Gordon (Charlton Heston), an extremely popular and influential figure in the British Empire and governor-general of Sudan, was killed on the palace steps in the garrison at Khartoum by the forces of Muhammad Ahmed, El Mahdi on this date.

Unfortunately for Gordon, immediate after he was stabbed to death, he was decapitated and his head was paraded around for several hours until it was presented as a trophy to Muhammad Ahmed. I'm still unsure what size trophy case you display that in?

January 26, 1913
Jim Thorpe, the World's Greatest Athlete, relinquished his 1912 Olympic medals for being a professional athlete. He was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateur rules at that time.

His Olympic medals were reinstated posthumously by an act of Congress in 1983.

January 26, 1958 -
Ellen DeGeneres, actress, comedian and former Cover Girl spokes model, was born on this date.

So kids remember, while it's not OK to ignore your staff being abused, it doesn't suck to while away your retirement in a multi-million dollar estate.

January 26, 1961 -
President Kennedy appointed Janet Travell as his personal physician, making her the first female presidential physician (as well as possibly the only woman he did not sleep with) on this date.

It was later found that she prescribed over five painkillers to the president at one time, as well as a variety of sleep aids and orthopedic shoes. The real original Dr. Feelgood.

January 26, 1962 -
Mafia boss Charles Lucky Luciano died of natural causes at the Naples airport. On the day of his fatal heart attack, Luciano had plans to sell the rights of his life's story to a movie maker. Luciano dropped dead as he was about to shake hands. The Mob disliked the idea and had tried unsuccessfully to change his mind. It has been hypothesized that Luciano's heart attack was a result of poisoning by the Mafia.

He was buried in St. John's Cemetery in Queens, New York after a federal court ruled his burial on United States soil could not be blocked on the grounds that a corpse is not a citizen of any country and is therefore not subject to immigration control or deportation laws.

January 26,1979 -
70-year-old multibillionaire Nelson Rockefeller was stricken by a massive heart attack while giving dictation to his 27-year-old research assistant, Megan Marshack on this date. Some time after that event, Marshack had called her friend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce, to the townhouse and it was Pierce who phoned 911 approximately an hour after the heart attack.

Much speculation went on in the press regarding a personal relationship between Rockefeller and Marshack. Rockefeller's will left Marshak $50,000 and the deed to a Manhattan townhouse.

January 26, 1984 -
A magnesium flash bomb at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles ignited Michael Jackson’s hair during the filming of a Pepsi television commercial, causing third-degree scalp burns.

It is later reveals that unscrupulous doctors prescribe a full but highly unorthodox regiment of pedophilia to ease the singer’s wounds.

January 26, 1996 -
Insane madman millionaire John E. Du Pont shot Olympic wrestler David Schultz three times, killing him on this date. A two day police standoff follows at the Foxcatcher estate and wrestling compound, with SWAT teams biding their time under the assumption that Du Pont, an expert marksman, possessed an arsenal at his disposal (see Foxcatcher.)

Mr. Du Pont later died in prison. Perhaps Mr. Du Pont has gone to a better place where greasing yourself up and rolling around a mat with another person in nothing but a jock strap or a unitard is not considered a crime against nature.

January 26, 1998 -
U.S. President Bill Clinton denied, on television, having had sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The president must have skipped class that day.

January 26, 2004 -
A decomposing sperm whale exploded while in transport in Tainan City, Taiwan on this date. The whale was being moved to a laboratory for study when a critical build-up of gas caused it to explode, covering people and shop fronts in Tainan City with whale viscera.

Though decomposing whales are regularly exploded with dynamite to clear beaches, it is thought to be the first time a whale exploded in a city. You may have had a bad day but you never had to go home to change because you were covered in whale viscera.

And so it goes