Thursday, April 27, 2017

Truth in its Sunday clothes

April 27, 2017 -
Today is New York City's 15th Annual Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Please Mrs Butler
by Allan Ahlberg


Please Mrs. Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do?
Go and sit in the hall, dear.
Go and sit in the sink.
Take your books on the roof, my lamb.
Do whatever you think.

Please Mrs. Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps taking my rubber, Miss.
What shall I do?

Keep it in your hand, dear.
Hide it up your vest.
Swallow it if you like, my love.
Do what you think best.

Please Mrs. Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps calling me rude names, Miss.
What shall I do?

Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.
Run away to sea.
Do whatever you can, my flower.
But don't ask me!

In 2002, as part of New York City’s National Poetry Month celebration, the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, initiated Poem in Your Pocket Day, a time for New York City residents to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day.


April 27, 1922 -
Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse, der Spieler (some have called it the first film-noir,) premiered in Berlin, Germany on this date.



Soviet editors re-cut the Dr. Mabuse films into one shorter film. The lead editor was Sergei M. Eisenstein.


April 27, 1930 -
One of the greatest anti-war films, based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, premiered in NYC on this date.



With the loss of limbs and gory deaths shown rather explicitly, this is undoubtedly the most violent American film of its time. This is because the Production Code was not strictly enforced until 1934, and also because Universal Pictures deemed the subject matter important enough to allow the violence to be seen.


April 27, 1971 -
CBS executives finally sobered up and the last episode of Green Acres aired on this date.



This was to have been the pilot for a proposed spin off featuring Elaine Joyce as Carol. Oliver and Lisa only appear briefly in the beginning as an excuse to introduce Carol and the pilot. Oliver appears later talking to Carol on the phone.


Oopsie


Today in History:
April 27, 4977 BC -
Today should have been Earth Day,

God creates the universe on this day, according to calculations by mystic and part-time astronomer Johannes Kepler.


April 27, 1509 -
The entire state of Venice was excommunicated by Pope Julius II for an entirely secular reason:



the refusal to place parts of Romagna under the Pope's control.

Oh, those wacky Pre-counterreformation Popes.


April 27, 1521 -
In an hour long battle with Philippine islanders, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men were repeatedly jabbed with sharpened bamboo spears. After Magellan finally succumbs to his wounds, the natives hacked him to pieces with their swords, barbecued and consumed him on this date.



They were surprised that they were not hungry an hour after eating him as they had been after eating some Asian explorers previously.


April 27, 1822 -
Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States, would have been 195 today.



And if the rumors are true, he is still buried in Grant's Tomb, which was dedicated on this date in 1897.


April 27, 1861 -
In a blatantly unconstitutional act, President Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus inside a zone between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The government could detain citizens indefinitely without ever filing charges. A year and a half later, Lincoln expanded the scope of his order to the entire nation.

I will grant you that President Obama might have read a little too much, but thank God that the current resident of the White House doesn't read much at all.


April 27, 1865 -
The worst steamship disaster in the history of the United States occurs on this date. The SS Sultana, carrying over 2,000 passengers, the majority being freed Union POWs from the notorious Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons, exploded on the Mississippi River, while en route to Cairo, Illinois.



Neither the cause of the explosion nor the final count of the dead (estimated at between 1,450 and 2,000) was ever determined. Today, the Sultana disaster remains the worst of its kind .

Talk about bad luck.


April 27, 1871 -
The American Museum of Natural History opened to the public in New York City, on this date. With a series of exhibits, the Museum’s collection went on view for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal, the Museum’s original home, on the eastern side of Central Park.

The museum began from the efforts of Albert Smith Bickmore, one-time student of Harvard zoologist Louis Agassiz, who was successful in his proposal to create a natural history museum in New York City with the support of William E. Dodge, Junior, Theodore Roosevelt, Senior, Joseph Choate and J. Pierpont Morgan. The Governor of New York, John Thompson Hoffman, signed a bill officially creating the American Museum of Natural History on April 6, 1869.


April 27, 1932 -
Writer Hart Crane was racked with self-doubt about his ability to write good poetry and agonizing over his sexuality, had been mentally unstable for some time. Crane stood on the railing of the ship Orizaba in his pajamas (en route to the United States from Mexico,) shouted, "Goodbye Everyone," to the other stunned passengers and jumped over the side of the ship on this date.

Life preservers were thrown to him, but he makes no effort to reach them and drowned. The ship halted in the water, ten miles off the Florida coast, but never recovers his body.


April 27, 1986 -
Someone interrupted the HBO satellite feed during the movie The Falcon and The Snowman on this date. For five minutes, two-thirds of their customer base receives the message: Good evening HBO from Captain Midnight. $12.95 a month?



(Showtime-Movie Channel Beware.) Captain Midnight turned out to be John R. MacDougall of Florida, who was fined and placed on probation.


April 27, 1987 -
After determining that Kurt Waldheim had "assisted or otherwise participated in the persecution of persons" during his Nazi years, the Department of Justice places him on a watch list of undesirable aliens on this date. As such, the sitting President of Austria was disallowed entry into the U.S. It is the first time that a foreign head of state is legally forbidden from visiting America.



I suppose that he suffered from Waldheimer's Disease - it's having difficulty recalling that you're a Nazi



And so it goes


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I did not know this

The average American will eat

11.9 pounds of cereal a year


April 26, 1933 -
My grandmother and I followed my mother here, to a house a block north of Hollywood Boulevard but a million miles away from Hollywood, if you know what I mean. We would hang out behind the ropes and look at the movie stars arriving at the premieres.





Carol Creighton Burnett, the funniest woman in America was born on this day - don't argue with me, I will come to your home and hurt you.  I was forced to watch The Carol Burnett Show in my bedroom and not with my family because I laughed so loudly and so hard, no one could hear it.


National Pretzel
Day celebrates pretzels of all shapes and sizes. Pretzels are believed to be the world's oldest snack. (This appears to be a legitimate celebration, as there are many stores giving away free pretzels today.)



Wake me up when it's Very Dry Martini, straight up with Olives Day.


April 26, 1956
-
Godzilla debuted in America on this date. (Gojira premiered in Japan on November 3, 1954.)



The American version of the film had 40 minutes of the original excised (mostly the content dealing with World War II or the anti-nuclear message,) and had 20 minutes of the masterful deadpan stylings of Raymond Burr. The American version was released in Japan with Japanese subtitles and did very well.


April 26, 1967 -
CBS
broadcast the documentary, Inside Pop - The Rock Revolution, with the host Leonard Bernstein, on this date.



The program marked the first time that television presented pop music as a legitimate art form.


Today in History:
April 26, 1452
-
Leonardo da Vinci was born on this date. Mr. da Vinci was one of the great minds of the Renaissance. Sadly, he is best known for having painted the Mona Lisa (in Italian, La Joconde,) in which he accurately and exquisitely captured the unmistakable smile of a dignified woman who's just farted.



For some reason, many lonely computer geeks celebrate this day by releasing computer virii in hopes that female FBI agents will break down their doors.


April 26, 1865 -
Discovered hiding in a farmer's tobacco shed, John Wilkes Booth was shot in the neck by a complete lunatic. Dying and paralyzed from the neck down, he whispers: Tell my mother I did it for my country.



As his hands are held up to his face, Booth mutters "useless...useless..."

They are his last words.


On April 26, 1923 (almost 88 years previously to the date of his great-grandson's nuptials,) the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey.



This wedding might have slipped into the ephemera of time had the Duke's brother not wanted to marry a woman reported so ugly, many thought her a man in drag. And calling a woman ugly in England is really saying something, as many of the British upper crust often marry their horses out of confusion.

That's British royalty.

Count Basie died on April 26, 1984; Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899; Ella Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song," was born on April 25, 1917.

That's American royalty.


April 26, 1933 -
Hermann Goering founded the Geheime Staatspolizei, otherwise known as the Gestapo on this date.



The original purpose of this "Secret State Police" is to disrupt and harass opponents of National Socialism, but it will later come to adopt many additional responsibilities.


April 26, 1937 -
It was a beautiful Monday afternoon in Guernica, Spain on this date. At about 3:30 pm the day took a tragic turn. For over three hours, twenty-five or more of Germany's best-equipped bombers, accompanied by at least 20 more Messerschmitt and Fiat Fighters, dumped one hundred thousand pounds of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the village, slowly and systematically pounding it to rubble.



Guernica had served as the testing ground for a new Nazi military tactic - blanket-bombing a civilian population to demoralize the enemy. It was wanton, man-made holocaust.



The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso.


April 26, 1937 -
Due to a publishing error, LIFE magazine was printed without the word "LIFE" on the cover on this date.

It was the only time that LIFE was nameless.


April 26, 1986 -
44 seconds into a late-night experiment at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, reactor number four sustains two large explosions. The exploded at Chernobyl burned for 10 days. About 70% of the fallout fell in Belarus. Damage was estimated to be up to $130 billion. The Soviet news agency TASS held off reporting the incident for almost 48 hours.



A 300-hundred-square-mile area was evacuated and 31 people died as unknown thousands were exposed to radioactive material that spread in the atmosphere throughout the world. By 1998 10,000 Russian liquidators involved in the cleanup had died and thousands more became invalids. It was later estimated that the released radioactivity was 200 times the combined bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was later found that Soviet scientists were authorized to carry out experiments that required the reactor to be pushed to or beyond its limits, with safety features disabled.

Oops.



And so it goes



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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The loathsome, lethal mosquito

Malaria Awareness Day was designated on this date by President George W. Bush in 2007, to remind people that Malaria kills 3,000 children a day. He asked the world to join the fight to wipe out malaria on the African continent.



So I encourage all Americans to begin heavily drinking Gin and Tonics to honor the day



(While I am a Bombay Sapphire man, I am not affiliated in anyway with that fine brand - not that I wouldn't consider any offers, I'd suggest using Tanqueray.  I believe it goes better with the Tonic.)



Today is the holiday of Robigalia, honoring the god Robigus.  The purpose of the holiday was to prevent mildew from ruining crops.  Dog and sheep sacrifices were encouraged to honor Robigus. (I didn't suggest this, the ancient Romans did)

For some reason, it's also the holiday of celebrating male sex workers.  I'm not sure how one was supposed to celebrate that portion of the holiday slaughtering livestock.

But maybe it's just me.


April 25, 1917
Ella Jane Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, was born 100 years ago on this date.





Ella Fitzgerald’s life was the quintessential American success story. Through 58 years of performing, 13 Grammys and more than forty million records sold, she elevated swing, bebop, and ballads to their highest potential.


April 25, 1959 -
The Fleetwoods hit No. 1 with their recording of Come Softly to Me on this date.



The original title of this song Come Softly, was changed because Dolphin (later Dolton) Records owner Bob Reisdorff feared that AM radio DJs would think it to be too suggestive. He was being extra-cautious, Dolphin Records was formed by the Seattle DJ for the sole purpose of distributing Fleetwoods records.

Remember kids, don't dance so close. Leave room for the Holy Spirit.


April 25, 1992 -
The final episodes of Who's the Boss, aired on this date on ABC-TV.


(Sorry, this is a very bad copy of the show.)

Two days before the start of the series, Tony Danza was sentenced to 250 hours of community service after a fight with a bouncer at a New York hotel. His lawyer got him off by mentioning he had a series about to premiere.


Don't forget to rummage through our other site:  Dr Caligari's Cupboard.


Today in History:
April 25, 1507
-
At a small college in Eastern France, German geographer Martin Waldseemüller published a map with the region of the world commonly referred to as “the New World” labeled as “America” for the first time ever in a book entitled Cosmographiae Introductio on this date.

In the book, Waldseemüller credited Amerigo Vespucci with discovering the continent.  The amount of money that make have changed hand is uncertain but Columbus was said to be quite pissed.


April 25, 1792 -
French highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was beheaded by the guillotine, after extensive testing during its development with corpses and sheep, making him its first victim on this date. The speed that the guillotine worked as quick as lightening and in the twinkling of an eye - it was over.

The outcome was not well received by the crowd who called for the return of the gallows.


April 25, 1856 -
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, mathematician and an Oxford professor, met a three year old girl named Alice Liddell on this date.



Charles had a penchant for making up stories to entertain the little girls he liked to photograph (many of them happened to be in the nude, at the time.) Alice had a penchant for consuming unknown (and apparently psychoactive) food, pills and liquids that she found while exploring a very large rabbit hole.

And 40 years later Oscar Wilde went to prison for the shoddy laundry services provided by the hotels he and several local young men frequented.  I'm not sure that there s a connection, I'm just pointing it out.


April 25, 1926 -
The premiere of Giacomo Puccini's opera, Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on this date, one year and five months after Puccini's death. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini.



Turandot was unfinished at the time of Puccini's death and was later completed by Franco Alfano.


April 25, 1939 -
DC Comics debuted what will become its second major superhero, Batman, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (the May issue) on this date.



The first book to feature Batman sold for 10 cents when it was published and one of the rare comics in pristine condition sold for $1,380,000 when it came up for auction .


April 25, 1947 -
Harry S. Truman officially opened the two-lane White House bowling alley on this day.

Though Truman himself wasn't much of a bowler, it became embarrassing for the staff to have to search local DC bowling alleys trying to find where the President was knocking back boiler makers every other night. The White House staff members formed a bowling team and even competed in national events.


April 25, 1963 -
The bronze statue of The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) is Denmark's most visited tourist attraction. The statue was unveiled on August 23, 1913 at it's current location in Copenhagen Harbor. It gives hope to the Danes when they are not pining for the Fjords.

So imagine the horror, when Denmark woke up on this date to find that the unimaginable had happened, someone had sawed off the head of  The Little Mermaid, the night before. The head was never recovered and a new head was made from the original cast.


April 25, 1972 -
... And if you covered him with garbage, George Sanders would still have style....



George Sanders, actor and husband of not one but two Gabor sisters, killed himself, leaving this great suicide note: "Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool - good luck," on this date.

Short and to the point.


April 25, 1980 -
In Iran, a commando mission to rescue hostages was aborted after mechanical problems disabled three of the eight helicopters involved. During the evacuation, a helicopter and a transport plan collided and exploded. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed on this date.



The mission was aimed at freeing American hostages that had been taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.


And on a personal note - still as lovely as ever, Andrea once again is celebrating her 39th birthday.



And so it goes



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