Monday, October 23, 2017

Oh Joy

In case you weren't looking, Mole Day has crept up and caught us unaware.  Mole Day is celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 AM until 6:02 PM - Mole Day commemorates Avogadro's Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.





Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.



Don't tell anybody that you celebrated this day.


Today is also TV Talk Show Host Day. We celebrate and honor all TV Talk Show hosts (especially since so many of them have changed over this year.)



This very special day is celebrated on the birth date of legendary night time talk show host Johnny Carson. Carson is considered the "King of Late Night Television". He hosted The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 for a record 29 years, 7 months, 21 days (4,531 episodes - Letterman did a total of 6,028, counting his 1982-93 run at NBC in addition to his CBS tenure )




While this day is celebrated on Johnny Carson's birth date, it is intended to show appreciation to all Television talk show hosts, daytime and nighttime.



Celebrate today, by staying up all day and night and watch talk shows (until you pass out.)


October 23, 1939 -
Raoul Walsh's crime-thriller, The Roaring Twenties,  starring James Cagney, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart, and Gladys George, premiered on this date.



This marked the end of James Cagney's cycle of gangster films for Warner Bros. Cagney wanted to diversify his roles and would not play a gangster again until White Heat, ten years later.


October 23, 1941 -
Walt Disney studios release their fourth animated film, Dumbo on this date.



Initially Walt Disney was uninterested in making this movie. To get him interested, story men Joe Grant and Dick Huemer wrote up the film as installments which they left on Walt's desk every morning. Finally, he ran into the story department saying, "This is great! What happens next?"


October 23, 1992 -
The first feature length debut of a Quentin Tarantino film, Reservoir Dogs opened in the US on this date.



The film's budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn's track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.


Word of the day


Today in History:
October 23, 42 BC
-
While it is not the Ides of March - today was a very bad day for Brutus.

Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the lead assassins of Julius Casear, and his army are decisively defeated by Mark Antony and Octavian in the Second Battle of Philippe, on this date.

Brutus didn't take the loss well and committed suicide.

His last words were allegedly Yes, we must escape, but this time with our hands, not our feet. (I believe they really were, Ouch, that really hurts except in Latin, of course.)


According to James Ussher, the venerable 17th century Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr John Lightfoot of Cambridge, it was at exactly 9:00 a.m. on the chilly autumn morning of October 23, 4004 BC, that God created the world.



9:00 A.M. - exactly? (Where didn't appear to enter into their consideration.) This strikes me as monumental. If the world was created at 9:00 AM Greenwich Time, it would have been 5:00 AM Eastern Time, meaning the world was technically created earlier in the Old World than it was in the New. What's worse, Hawaii, the Midway Islands, Samoa, and other points west would have been created the day before.



It's conceivable, I suppose, that Ussher and Lightfoot (which sounds like either a rock group, law firm, or television action series) could have been mistaken in their calculations, but if we start questioning men of God, where will it end? Sooner or later we'll start questioning God himself, which couldn't possibly lead anywhere good. No, it's either blind obedience to God or the Hell with us all.

Just ask ISIS.



Anyway, this would make this old earth just 6013 years old on October 23 (according to Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and others.)



But then again, the voice of reason keeps rearing it's ugly head.


October 23, 1910 -
In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Blanche S. Scott became the first woman to undertake a solo airplane flight on this date, reaching an altitude of twelve feet.

Early in the year, Scott was the second woman, after Alice Huyler Ramsey, to drive an automobile across the United States and the first driving westwards from New York City to San Francisco, California.


October 23,1935 -
Gangsters Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz were fatally shot at a saloon in Newark, New Jersey in what will become known as The Chophouse Massacre.



Remember kids, crime doesn't pay (except perhaps for Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.)


October 23, 1959 -
Alfred Matthew Yankovic, Grammy Award winning singer, musician, actor, satirist, parodist, songwriter, music producer, accordionist, and television producer, was born on this date.



And you just thought he was some nerdy guy who sang some funny songs.


October 23, 1987 -
United States Senate rejected the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork on a 58-to-42 vote. Ostensibly this was because he admitted to smoking marijuana as a youth, which would be the wrong reason. He should have been rejected for his dealings in the Saturday Night Massacre (with evil chin hair.)



Some have since argued that Bork was the target of a smear campaign, and they began using his last name as a verb, saying that they wanted to prevent future nominees from getting "borked." The word "bork" was added to Webster's dictionary, defined as, "[Seeking] to obstruct a political appointment or selection, also to attack a political opponent viciously." Robert Bork said, "My name became a verb, and I regard that as one form of immortality."

The chip on Mr. Bork's shoulder made the one on Clarence Thomas' very small indeed. BTW, Mr. Thomas was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice on this date in 1991.


October 23, 1995 -
The murderer of the Pop Star singer Selena, and president of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, was found guilty in Houston of her slaying on this date.

It helped that case tremendously that with her last breathe, Selena was able to say, "Hey, the big fat ugly embezzling head of my fan club just shot me in the back."

Very lucky break for the prosecution.



And so it goes


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Sunday, October 22, 2017

You don't know what you're missing

Today is International Caps Lock Day. It is the day that campaigns for the removal of the caps lock button from standard QWERTY keyboards (or for the moving of the button), due to people continually accidentally pressing the button when they mean to use other keys.



There’s also a tendency for people to ‘shout’ (either intentionally or accidentally) by using capital letters when typing, especially online. International Caps Lock Day was created in 2000 by Derek Arnold Iowa.


October 22, 1942 -
The biggest box office hit of Bette Davis' career, Now, Voyager opened in NYC on this date.



Paul Henreid's act of lighting two cigarettes at once caught the public's imagination and he couldn't go anywhere without being accosted by women begging him to light cigarettes for them.


October 22, 1948 -
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger technicolor fever dream about the world of ballet, The Red Shoes, starring Moira Shearer and Anton Walbrook, opened in New York City on this date.



Much to his surprise, Michael Powell had great difficulty persuading Moira Shearer to be in the film. She held out for a year before giving in to him. Shearer herself, however, did not particularly care for Powell. In later years she described the making of the film as being a terrible ordeal. She said that Powell was distant and aloof and never really gave her much direction; and having to dance for hours on end on concrete floors also physically took its toll on all the dancers, making their legs swell up.


October 22, 1949 -
The second film in director John Ford's Cavalry Trilogy, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, premiered on this date.



John Ford initially was uncertain who to cast in the lead role. However, he knew that he did not want John Wayne for the part-considering, among other factors, that Wayne would be playing a character over twenty years older than he was at the time. Reportedly, Wayne's performance in Red River changed Ford's mind, causing him to exclaim, "I didn't know the big son of a bitch could act!"


October 22, 1965 -
The Beatles
recorded the song Nowhere Man for their influential album Rubber Soul on this date.



This is probably the first Beatles song that has nothing to do with love.


October 22, 1965 -
The Rolling Stones released the single Get Off My Cloud on this date in the U.K.



The B-side of this single was I'm Free, which remained obscure until it was revived by The Soup Dragons in 1990.


October 22, 1971 -
Peter Bogdanovich's break out film, The Last Picture Show opened on this date.



Peter Bogdanovich had originally offered the role of "Sam the Lion" to James Stewart, who liked the part but had already committed to a TV series and couldn't get out of it. The role was then offered to Ben Johnson, who took it eventually won an Academy Award for it.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
October 22, 1797
-
In 1785, J.P. Blanchard threw a dog wearing a rudimentary parachute out of a hot-air balloon. History does not divulge the outcome of this experiment. Mr. Blanchard may simply have been a disgruntled cat person.

There lived at that time a swindler by the name of Andre-Jacques Garnerin, who traveled around France offering (for a fee from his spectators) to ascend into the sky in a hot-air balloon and leap to the earth in a parachute. Strangely enough, his balloon never managed to get off the ground. Refunds were never offered.

One day an angry spectator brought Garnerin's con to the attention of the local authorities, who promptly arrested him. He was given a choice: he could either get his balloon to fly and make the promised jump or he could go directly to jail.

And so, one early evening 220 years ago today, Garnerin's balloon rose 3000 feet into the evening air above Paris.

Then it exploded.

Fortunately, Garnerin was already in his parachute and survived the landing. The suddenly successful showman didn't die his inevitable horrible aviation-related death for a full quarter-century later.


It was on this day in 1836 that Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas. Texas had become an independent nation after winning its independence from Mexico, and would not be incorporated into the United States as a state until 1845.

There are some who insist to this day that Texas was never properly admitted into the Union because, like everything else, its admission had been Unconstitutional. (We will leave this conversation to Mr. Cruz.)


October 22, 1844
-
The 'Second Coming' fails to occur on this date, for the Seventh Day Adventists, led by Bible scientist William Miller. The Millerites were expecting the End Times to accompany the appearance of Jesus Christ, so that didn't happen either.

Oops, I guess Mr. Miller has some explaining to do.


The Gare Montparnasse, one of the six large terminus train stations of Paris, became famous for a derailment on October 22, 1895 of the Granville-Paris Express that overran the buffer stop. The engine careened across almost 100 ft off the station concourse, crashed through a two foot thick wall, shot across a terrace and sailed out of the station, plummeting onto the Place de Rennes more than 30 feet below, where it stood on its nose.

All on board the train survived, five sustaining injuries: two passengers, the fireman and two crew members; however, one woman on the street below was killed by falling masonry. The accident was caused by a faulty Westinghouse brake and the engine drivers who were trying to make up for lost time. The conductor incurred a 25 franc penalty and the engine driver a 50 franc penalty; he was also sent to prison for two months.



Do you think the passengers got their money back?


October 22, 1907
-
President Theodore Roosevelt visited The Hermitage, in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the late President Andrew Jackson on this date.

Years later, Maxwell House claimed that Roosevelt had praised a cup of its coffee during this visit by saying it was "good to the last drop."



October 22, 1918 -
This puts much of your troubles today in perspective -

The cities of Baltimore and Washington ran out of coffins during the Spanish Influenza epidemic on this date


October 22, 1934 -
Here's another story of your tax dollars at work:

FBI agents, led by the ambitious Melvin Purvis and local Ohio authorities captured and killed Public enemy No. 1, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, in a shoot out on this day. Or so the official story goes. But as many of you loyal readers know the 'authorized' version and actual facts of events can differ wildly.



Chester Smith, a retired East Liverpool Police Captain, the sharpshooter who claimed that he shot Floyd first, stated in a 1979 interview, that after he had (deliberately) wounded, but not killed, Floyd.

"I knew Purvis couldn't hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle."

Smith claims that he then disarmed Floyd, and that Melvin Purvis, the agent in charge, ran up and ordered: "Back away from that man. I want to talk to him." Purvis questioned him briefly and then ordered him shot at point-blank range, telling agent Herman Hollis to "Fire into him." The interviewer asked if there was a coverup by the FBI, and Smith responded: "Sure was, because they didn't want it to get out that he'd been killed that way."

This account is extremely controversial. If true, Purvis effectively executed Floyd without benefit of judge or jury.

Floyd's body was quickly embalmed and shipped to Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between twenty and forty thousand people. It remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history.


October 22, 1962 -
President John F. Kennedy appeared on television, this date in history, to inform Americans of the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.



The President demanded their removal and announced a naval "quarantine" of Cuba. A little more than a year later, the nation was safe and the president was dead.


October 22, 2008 -
India launched the unmanned Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe on this date. It was India's first lunar exploration mission.



The mission ended early, after just 312 days, but largely succeeded in its objectives.



And so it goes


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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Save Water, Drink Champagne

If this week hadn't been alcohol friendly enough, yesterday was designated as Global (or International) Champagne Day - the third Friday in October.  Most champagne-lovers will already know that, in order for the sparkling nectar to be classified as "champagne", the wine must come from the Champagne province in France. You may not know that to be termed "champagne" it must also be made by the traditional process of secondary fermentation in the bottle.





A very good bar bet winner: the champagne drunk by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the Germans marched into Paris and he uttered the infamous line “Here’s looking at you kid” was Mumm Cordon Rouge.


October 21, 1937 -
The great screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, premiered on this date.



Much of the film was improvised by director Leo McCarey and the cast during filming each day.


October 21, 1942
-
The first of three movie musicals in which Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred in, For Me and My Gal, premiered in New York City on this date.



Gene Kelly's film debut. It is known that Judy Garland got him the job after seeing him in the Broadway musical "Pal Joey".


October 21, 1954 -
The episode of Climax!, an anthology series - broadcast live, on this evening was the first time James Bond (Barry Nelson) appeared on-screen in Casino Royale, and more than half a century later Bond is still making movies.



The program was thought to be lost for decades until it resurfaced in 1981 when film collector and airlines executive Jim Shoenberger discovered a 16mm kinescope print of it among some old cans of film.


October 21, 1964 -
Possibly the most fully realized movie musical, My Fair Lady premiered at the Criterion Theater in New York, on this date.



When Rex Harrison accepted his Academy Award for this film, he dedicated it to his "two fair ladies", Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, both of whom had played Eliza Doolittle with him.


What I've realized recently is that the difference between me and Mickey Mouse is, there's not a man that can go and say, 'Look, can you get me in any faster? I'm Mickey Mouse.' Whereas I can go in and say, 'Look, could you get me a table faster? I'm Princess Leia.'

Carrie Fisher, actress and writer was born on this date. You can't say anything bad or funny about her that she hasn't already said better herself.

Even after death, Carrie Fisher still impresses.


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


Today in History:
October 21, 1805
-
The Battle of Trafalgar was a historic sea battle fought on this date, between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy - the battle, it self, was the most decisive British victory of the Napoleonic Wars and was a pivotal naval battle of the 19th century.



Admiral Lord Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming and remaining Britain's greatest naval war hero.



Nelson's body was placed in cask of brandy, mixed with camphor and myrrh, and returned to England for a spectacular funeral. An enduring rumor has evolved that the sailors aboard ship kept taking a sip from Nelson's liquory tomb hence the phrase 'Nelson's blood' came into use for rum.


October 21, 1837 -
It's another banner day for the relations between the United States and the Native American tribes. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops under Gen. Thomas S. Jesup violated a truce and captured Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida and sent him and several other leaders to prison, where the chief later died of malaria.

Osceola's capture by deceit caused a national uproar. General Jesup and the administration were condemned.

Makes you proud to be an American.


October 21, 1869 -
The first shipment of fresh oysters came West overland from Baltimore via refrigerated train cars on this date.

Fresh cases of E-coli poisoning, Salmonella and Hepatitis A cases followed soon thereafter.


October 21, 1879 -
Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated the incandescent electric lamp on this date (or some other date, as previously mentioned.)



That invention was the fruit of study, hard work (of people other that Edison,) and years of persistent experimentation (of people other than Edison,) rendering it entirely inappropriate for discussion here.

More worthy of our attention is Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, born on this date in 1833.

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, so he 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.


In 1943, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the maƮtre d' of the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, prepared the first plate of crunchy, spicy nachos for Texas women who were on a shopping trip.



To honor his ingenious creation, we celebrate by eating his delicious gut busting cheesy dish on this date.


October 21, 1959 -
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in New York City on this date.



The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as "a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed." Another called it "an indigestible hot cross bun." NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses snapped that it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."


October 21, 1973 -
John Paul Getty III's
ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome; It doesn't arrive until November 8.

So much for the Italians getting the trains to run on time.


October 21, 1992 -
A day after her Erotica album was released, Madonna's erotic-book Sex went on sale in the nation's bookstores on this date.



Shirley Booth, 94, Emmy, Oscar and Tony award winning actress accidentally flipped through the book and promptly dropped dead on this date as well.



October 21, 2015 -
Today is the day that Dr Emmett Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to the future to prevent their kids from "ruining their lives". back to the future





OK now that we have all spazzed out, let's all calm down.  (Wow, I'm so old.)



And so it goes


There are 10 days until Halloween.  Begin purchasing those candies filled with poison (loose pieces of candy corn will do in a pinch.)



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