Monday, June 26, 2017

Life is like a roller coaster, live it, be happy, enjoy life.

The Cyclone roller coaster opened on this date in 1927. The roller coaster opened in Coney Island and is still available to induce vomiting today.



It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.


June 26, 1925 -
Charlie Chaplin's
classic comedy, The Gold Rush, premiered at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on this date.



Originally a stagehand wore the chicken suit from Jim's hallucination. But when he couldn't mime Charles Chaplin's walk and manners, Chaplin himself donned the suit.


June 26, 1987 -
The truly silly yet likeable Mel Brooks film, Spaceballs, starring Mel Brooks, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, Daphne Zuniga, Dick Van Patten, and Joan Rivers went into general release on this date.



According to Mel Brooks, this was one of the most expensive movies he had ever made, at 25 million dollars. By contrast, The Producers cost less than one million dollars to produce.


Word of the day


Today in History:
June 26, 1284
-
The town of Hamelin had a large rat infestation. A weirdly dressed minstrel promised to help them get rid of their rats. The townsmen in turn promised to pay him for the removal of the rats. The man accepted and thus played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. Despite his success, the people reneged on their promise and refused to pay the rat-catcher. Pied Piper extracting his revenge, luring 130 children of Hamelin away on this date.



People, let this be a lesson to us all - please pay your exterminator bill promptly.


Richard III made himself King of England on this date in 1483 by killing everyone else who wanted to be king.



It seemed a clever stratagem at the time, especially for a hunchback, but his reign came to a bloody end just two years later as a result of his making a fiscally irresponsible bid on a horse.  (To all of you Richard rehabilitators, this is a joke.  Please, no e-mails.)


June 26, 1498 -
The toothbrush (as we know it) was invented in China during the Hongzhi Emperor's reign.  The toothbrush used hog bristles (or horse hair - again, please, no e-mails), at that time.



Hog bristle brushes remained the best until the invention of nylon.  I completely understand the slight gagging feeling you're experiencing this morning. We were able to ascertain this date through the diligent work of ancient Chinese chronologists, who were not plagued by the distraction of the massive amount of sodomy that was rampant throughout Western Europe, where they were going through a touch of Renaissance at the time.


Francisco Pizarro conquered the entire Peruvian Empire of the Incas with a handful of soldiers only to have those soldiers turn on and kill him on June 26, 1541. He was stabbed in the throat, then fell to the floor where he was stabbed repeatedly. Pizarro (who now was maybe as old as 70 years, and at least 62, remember, the problem with calendars: sodomy), collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He then cried out: Come to me my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.

Mr. Pizarro was a tiny bit of a drama queen.


Abner Doubleday was born on this date in 1819. A forgotten footnote in his life is the fact that he aimed the cannon that fired the first return shot in answer to the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, starting the Civil War.



Mr. Doubleday is incorrectly credited with the invention of baseball, without which Americans would have nothing to watch between waits in line for more beer.


June 26, 1819 -
W.K. Clarkson
of New York received a patent for what was then called a velocipede (even though, Denis Johnson of London had patented his velocipede in December 1818.)







Unfortunately, the patent record was destroyed by fire, so the actual design is not known.


June 26, 1870 -
The day after Leon Day, Congress declared Christmas,

a federal holiday to the great relief of Americans who'd been forced to flee to Canada every December.


June 26, 1926 -
Ernest Hemingway
hung around Europe with several of his friends after WWI. He used to drive an ambulance.  It had a horn.  The horn went beep - beep.  It was a good sound. Hemingway and his friend wrote some novels in between, drinking, whore mongering and general lollygagging. Typewriters made a sound - clackity -clack.  It was a good sound. Hemingway novel The Sun Also Rises was published on this date. It is a good date to publish.





All in all it was a damn good novel. Isn’t it pretty to think so?


June 26, 1959
-
In a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II, the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially opened, creating a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to all the Great Lakes.



The seaway, made up of a system of canals, locks, and dredged waterways, extends a distance of nearly 2,500 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.

(Great bar bet winner for tonight: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was probably conceived in Canada on this royal visit.)


June 26, 1963 -
President John F. Kennedy stood before the Berlin Wall and announced to a quarter of a million Germans that he was a jelly donut, in his famous "I am a jelly donut" ("ich bin ein jelly donut") speech.



Although embarrassing, this was considered an improvement over Eisenhower's infamous "I am a well-hung platypus" speech on a golf course in Costa Rica.


June 26, 1968 -
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones ....


Pope Paul VI declares that the bones of Apostle and first Pope, Saint Peter, found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, were authentic. The bones are now housed in containers near where they were found, but some of them are clearly those of domesticated animals.



Oh well ... another mystery of the church best left unexplained.


June 26, 1976 -
The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was the world's tallest structure at the time, at 1,815 feet (553 meters,) opened for tourists on this date.



It now is third, behind an observation tower in China and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates.


June 26th 1977 -
St. Elvis
played his last ever concert at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Indiana on this date. Elvis was not long for this world; he was very over-weight and seemed ill, but he wanted to silence the press and make his loyal fans happy.



He played in excess of 18,000 fans as they watched his last and most historic performance. Elvis would be gone in less that two months. Remember - one hand on the screen - the other upon your afflicted area


June 26, 1990
-
Irish Republican Army bombed the Carlton Club on this date, an exclusive conservative gentleman's cabal in London.



(It is a well known fact that Margaret Thatcher was denoted an "honorary man" in order to become a member. It is not clear what surgical modifications, if any, were necessary.)



And so it goes.



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Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's one hell of a celebration

Remember that today's Gay Pride parade, (the 47th annual one,) making it's way down Fifth Avenue this afternoon, actually commemorate the Stonewall riots, which launched the gay-rights movement.



Not all of the parade features buff chiselled go-go dancing on floats - this year, the beginning of the march is devoid of floats, elected officials and corporate sponsors. Instead, it is led by local activist groups advocating for social justice, among them will be ACT-UP, Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist.



Last year’s parade had 30,000 marchers and drew approximately 2.5 million spectators, all showing their solidarity with the victims of the 2016 Orlando shootings. This year WABC NY will be covering the parade live from Noon until 3 PM. It should be a beautiful day today and once again I'm expecting the parade to run longer than it's scheduled five hours.



And do not forget the fireworks over the Hudson River.


Remember to wish everyone you meet a very Happy LEON day. LEON is NOEL spelled backwards. Christmas is but a mere six months away.



Kids, you can take a quick check of the whole naughty/ nice thing and see how you are doing.


Michael Jackson, resplendent in his celestial robes, has been singing in Heaven for eight years now. More importantly to his earth bound relatives, Michael continues to support the various members of the Jackson factions quite nicely. Death hasn't put a crimp in his record sales. 



Farrah Fawcett also died eight years ago today.  I don't believe she's singing with any heavenly children's choir.



There is no connection between these two events but it's also the birthday of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou:



I wonder how he would have celebrated his 54th birthday?


June 25, 1938 -
Another in the series of 'books come alive', Have You Got Any Castles? was released on this date.



Among the many entertainment personalities caricatured in relation to book titles are: Bill Robinson/The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greta Garbo/So Big, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, The Mills Brothers/The Green Pastures, William Powell/The Thin Man, Clark Gable/The House of the Seven Gables, Paul Muni/The Story of Louis Pasteur, Charles Laughton/Mutiny on the Bounty, and Victor McLaglen/The Informer.


June 25, 1949 -
Leopold. Leopold ...

One of Chuck Jones famous Bugs Bunny opera parodies, Long Haired Hair, premiered on this date.



Leopold Stokowski never conducted with a baton. This is the reason why Bugs Bunny, impersonating Stokowski, promptly breaks the baton before conducting, and conducts using such dramatic hand gestures.


June 25, 1963 -
One of Federico Fellini's greatest films,Otto e mezzo, (8 ½), opened in the US, on this date.



Federico Fellini was well-known for working without a stable, finished screenplay. At one point during pre-production, he had completely forgot what his next work would have been about, his original idea had completely gone. While he was set to communicate to the movie producer Angelo Rizzoli his intention of abandoning the project, Fellini was invited to the birthday party of a head camera-operator of Cinecittà. All of a sudden, during the celebration, he got a new idea: his film would have told about a film-director who was going to direct a film, but he forgot what it was about.


June 25, 1982 -
The greatest dystopian Sci- Fi film (at this point), Blade Runner, opened on this date.



Ridley Scott's first cut ran four hours. Most the crew, including the writers and director, admitted that while it looked beautiful, it was mostly incomprehensible, necessitating additional editing and an explanatory voice-over.

On the same day, Universal Pictures releases the sci-fi horror film John Carpenter’s The Thing directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell.



The producers consider the film's disappointing box office performance was down to the fact that people were flocking to a more benign interpretation of an alien presence on earth - Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial which was released several weeks beforehand.

Besides the fact that both films opened on this date, the similarities don't end there: both movies met with unfavorable reactions at the premiere but became widely loved sci-fi classics in the years to come.


June 25, 1993 -
Possibly the greatest Meg Ryan 'chick flick' (which may seem redundant to some,) Sleepless in Seattle, premiered on this date.



The role of Annie was originally offered to Julia Roberts, who turned it down. Kim Basinger was also offered the role in the early script process, but turned it down because she thought the premise was ridiculous. After Michelle Pfeiffer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jodie Foster declined as well, Meg Ryan landed the role.


Today in History:
June 25, 841
-



June 25, 1876 -
This is a little cautionary tale about pissing off the wrong people.

During the Battle of Little Bighorn, General George Armstrong Custer witnesses a large group of Indians fleeing their village, and decides to press his advantage. The cavalry officer shouts, "We've caught them napping, boys!" Then he splits his force of 210 men into three groups, in order to slaughter as many of the retreating noncombatants as possible. Which is right about the time Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse swept in and killed the white men. Two days later, Custer's body is found amidst a cluster of 42 other corpses, the general entirely naked except for one boot, one sock, and an arrow stuck in his penis.



This is the native way a sending a very serious message.


June 25, 1903 -
Eric Arthur Blair
was born on this day in eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He burned to be a writer but had no success get people to look at his work, so he was forced him into a series of menial jobs.



Finally he became a Famous Author and even a Great Writer, but by then he was dead, whatever his name was.


June 25, 1906
-
A love triangle came to a violent end atop the original Madison Square Garden as architect Stanford White, the building's designer, was shot to death by Harry Thaw, for an alleged tryst White had with Thaw's wife, Florence Evelyn Nesbit.



Thaw, tried for murder, was acquitted by reason of insanity. At the time this was called "The Crime of the Century."


June 25, 1910 -
The Mann Act, sometimes known as the White Slave Traffic Act of 1910, makes it a federal crime to convey or assist in transporting women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or "any other immoral purpose." Men convicted of this heinous (if vague) statute face up to five years and a $5,000 fine for each count. Penalties are doubled if the female is underage, (but men and boys are apparently not covered.)

This is, by far, the biggest party pooper in legislative history.

Unless you're into guys - then it's smooth sailings.


June 25, 1967 -
The first live, international, satellite television production, Our World, was broadcast on this date. Among the featured performers were opera singer Maria Callas, artist Pablo Picasso and a small English skiffle group called The Beatles.



When the The Beatles' appearance on the program was announced, John Lennon wrote the song especially for the occasion. He was told by the BBC: it had to be simple so that viewers would tune in.

I guess he was right.


June 25, 1978
The rainbow flag, created by Gilbert Blake, was flown for the first time in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, on this date.



Mr Blake, 65, passed away this past March in his sleep at his home in New York.


Begin to scare the children - there are 183 days until Christmas.



And so it goes.


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun

It's Midsummer Day throughout most of Europe.

It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)



Hey, it's big in Europe.


June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum
released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.



It was the most played song on jukeboxes in the last 75 years in public places in the UK, as of 2009.

Again, it's a European thing


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols
' adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



The film has one of the longest, most complex uninterrupted scenes ever made. In the scene, where two actors talking against a background, 16 of the 17 planes, four groups of four aircraft, took off at the same time. As the scene progresses, the actors entered a building and the same planes were seen through the window, climbing into formation. The problem was, for every take, the production manager has to call the planes back and made to take off again for every take of the particular scene. This was done four times.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (!?!), on this date.  It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



Mae West had stipulated in her contract that only she would be allowed to dress in black and white in the film. Co-star Raquel Welch showed up to shoot their first scene together in a black dress with an enormous white ruffle, and West threw a fit. When the film's producers sided with West, Welch had the ruffle on the dress dyed a very, very pale blue . . . which photographed as white.


June 24, 2005
National Geographic Films produced the Academy Award winning documentary, March of the Penguins, which was released on this date.



It was noted that, by the time of the 2006 Academy Awards, this Best Documentary winner had out-grossed all 5 Best Picture nominees ($77 million vs. $75 million for Brokeback Mountain).


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


Today In History:
June 24, 1374
-
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.

(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to puppet show presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.


June 24, 1975  -
113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on this date.



The crash was later attributed to a microburst, not experienced at the control tower because of a sea breeze front.



And so it goes.


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