Saturday, March 17, 2018

May the road rise to meet you

The Feast Day of St. Patrick is celebrated on March 17.

St. Patrick is considered the father of Celtic Christianity. He founded more than three hundred churches, drove the snakes out of Ireland, invented green beer, and coined the popular slogan, Kiss me, I'm Irish.

The Citizenry of Chicago is encouraged to drink cheap green beer early and often before St. Patrick's Day so the Chicago River can be dyed with their vomit.

I find few things more scenic than 40 tons of green dye dumped in a river of raw sewage

I'm pretty sure that St. Patrick would be horrified by St. Patrick's Day.

March 17, 1756 -
St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern). The patrons finally sober up and six years later, the celebration evolves into a parade (the first in NYC) and the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City has become the largest celebration of the holiday in the world (drawn more revelers than any parade for the holiday in the whole of Ireland.)

March 17, 1958 -
The song Tequila by the Champs was number one on the music charts on this date.

Danny Flores, who was the saxophone player in The Champs, wrote this song (it's credited to his pen name, Chuck Rio). Flores had the melody kicking around for a while, and would play it as an interlude during the group's club shows.

March 17, 1968 -
The Bee Gees made their U.S. television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, on this date.

Besides their song, Words (which went on to become a no. 1 hit in several countries,) they sang To Love Somebody, (which went on to be one of their most covered songs.)

March 17, 1972 -
John Water
presented Divine to an unsuspecting world: Pink Flamingos, premiered in Baltimore on this date.

The dog feces in the infamous final scene are real. According to director John Waters, the dog was fed steak for three days beforehand.

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

Today in History:
March 17, 965
Pope Leo VIII died of a stroke during sexual congress with a prostitute on this date.

Perhaps a fine way for a man to die, but not a very appropriate choice for the Bishop of Rome. (it's OK if you hum to yourself, Back in the saddle again.)

March 17, 1845 -
Stephen Perry and Thomas Barnabas Daft, British inventors and businessmen patented the rubber band on this day.

They conceived of the device after experimentally slicing up rubber bottles that had been manufactured by South and Central America natives and brought to England by sailors. Other regional names for the rubber band include a binder, a laggy band, an elastic, and a gum band.

March 17, 1884 -
John Joseph Montgomery made the first manned, controlled, heavier than air flight in a glider he built. Although not publicized at the time, this flight was first described by Montgomery as part of a lecture delivered at the Conference on Aerial Navigation at Chicago, 1893 and published by Octave Chanute in Progress in Flying Machines.

While Montgomery himself never claimed firsts, his flight experiments of the 1880s are considered by several historians and organizations to have been the first controlled flights in America, or in the Western Hemisphere depending on source. After a crash destroyed his glider in 1886, Montgomery abandoned aviation, but then took it up again in 1903.

March 17, 1905 -
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, niece of President Theodore Roosevelt, married her fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in New York on this date.

Apparently, Roosevelt confuses himself with British Royalty by marrying his distant relative.  FDR jokes with friends that, "Only on St. Patrick's Day can you marry your cousin".

March 17, 1919 -
Nathaniel Adams Coles, the premiere singer and jazz pianist was born on this date.

Cole's popularity allowed him to become the first African American to host a network variety program, The Nat King Cole Show, which debuted on NBC television in 1956. The show fell victim to the bigotry of the times, however, and was canceled after one season; few sponsors were willing to be associated with a black entertainer.

March 17, 1939 -
After German troops crossed the Czech border, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain threw all his years of careful diplomacy out the window and accused Adolf Hitler of breaking his word.

He instantly regretted having let these angry words slip, however, and subsequently resigned.

March 17, 1941 -
President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the National Gallery of Art to the public, on this date. The National Gallery of Art would become known as one of the best museums in the world. It contains a collection of more than 130,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, decorative arts, and furniture pieces.

At the time of its inception, it was the largest marble structure in the world. The museum stands on the former site of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station, most famous for being where 20th president James Garfield was shot in 1881 by Charles Guiteau.

March 17, 1942 -
John Wayne Gacy, part time clown, serial killer, and sodomizer of dozens of boys, was born in Chicago on this date. His father was convinced Gacy was a "sissy", but friends and family didn't really suspect anything untoward was afoot until his 1968 arrest for coercing a teenage boy employee into committing multiple homosexual acts.

It's always a clue.

March 17, 1966 -
A U.S. midget submarine, the Alvin, located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from an American bomber into the Mediterranean off Spain on this date. Oops.

Most famously, the Alvin was involved in the exploration of the wreckage of RMS Titanic in 1986. Launched from her support ship RV Atlantis II, she carried Dr. Robert Ballard and two companions to the wreckage of the great liner. RMS Titanic sank while attempting to transit the North Atlantic Ocean, after striking a large iceberg in 1912.

Alvin, accompanied by a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV) named Jason Jr., was able to conduct detailed photographic surveys and inspections of the Titanic's wreckage. Many of the photographs of the expedition have been published in the magazine of the National Geographic Society which was a major sponsor of the expedition.

March 17, 1999 -
Six members of the International Olympic Committee were expelled for corruption, all from poor third world countries. They received bribes from Salt Lake City totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, a practice that had been going on for years.

It should also be noted that the IOC Vice President at the time was named Dick Pound.

And so it goes.

And on a personal note:
March 17, 1960 -
My good friend John (a fraternity brother) was born on this day.

Not to be confused with his cousin, John, who was also born but not on this day.

March 17, 1970
My actual fraternal brother was born at Jewish Memorial Hospital in Upper Manhattan on this date.

As was noted at the time, he must be a lucky kid as he was a Puerto Rican baby born in a Jewish Hospital on an Irish holiday.

Happy Birthday guys.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Swallow a tablespoon of lemon juice

It's National Hiccup Day today (apparently, according to the interweb, this is a cure for hiccups. Well, either that, or a rectal massage.)

It's also known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or singultus.

Now you know.

March 16 -
Today is the celebration of St. Urho's Day, Patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers. Attributed to him is the miracle of banishing grasshoppers from Finland which he accomplished with a few choice Finnish phrases, thereby saving the season's grape crop.

But in reality a bunch of very drunk people made this up in 1956.

March 16, 1934 -
An (almost) all singing Popeye cartoon, The Man on the Flying Trapeze, premiered on this date.

The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze is based on a real person: Jules Leotard. He was a former law student who ran away from home and joined a circus as an adolescent. Young Jules was the first performer to wear the skin-tight suit of clothes that would later be named after him; he died of tuberculosis aged only twenty-eight.

March 16, 1954 -
Max Ophüls
beautifully acted film, La Ronde, premiered in the US on this date. (Psst kids, the films about the transmission of syphilis - really.)

The film was shot entirely in the studio.

This is a must-see film - find time to watch it today..

March 16, 1954 -
Elia Kazan's
powerful family drama, East of Eden, premiered in Los Angeles on this date (this is the only one of the "big three" James Dean films to be released before his death.)

On the last day of shooting, Julie Harris went to James Dean's trailer to say goodbye because she was not sure she would attend the wrap party. She found Dean crying because the production was over. "It was so moving. It was his first picture [sic], it meant so much, and now it was over."

What time is it?-

Today in History:
March 16 1190
More than 150 and perhaps as many as 500 Jews, secured in Clifford's Tower at York, died from suicide and massacre after they were sieged by townspeople under Richard Malebys on this date. Malebys was a nobleman who owed money to the Jews; after their siege all records relating to moneylending were destroyed.

This was seen as a warm-up for the Crusaders invasion of the Holy Land. It is the largest massacre of Jews in the history of the United Kingdom.

March 16 1792 -
At a masquerade ball, a disgruntled Captain Jacob Johan Ankarstroem shot Swedish King Gustav III near the heart with a bullet composed of lead and carpet tacks, on this date. It took the King almost two weeks to die.

Shakespeare never wrote about Gustavus, probably because Gustavus was born well after Shakespeare's death, but Giuseppe Verdi (or under his stage name, Joe Green) wrote an opera about the affair called Un Ballo in Maschera ("A Bull in Mascara").

As punishment, the Captain was decapitated, drawn, and quartered.


March 16, 1912
I have sacrificed everything in my life that I consider precious to advance the political career of my husband.

Thelma Catherine Pat Nixon (nee Ryan) - the patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats was born on this date.

March 16, 1916 –
Tsutomu Yamaguchi
, born on this date, was one of the only individuals who witnessed and survived both atom bombs in Japan, Hiroshima on August 6th, and Nagasaki on August 9.

Mr. Yamaguchi slowly recovered and went on to live a relatively normal life. He died from radiation related stomach cancer at 93, on January 4, 2010.

March 16, 1926 -
I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can't get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly. That's in friendship, that's a deal, that's a commitment. Don't give me paper - I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it. But if you shake my hand, that's for life.

Joseph Levitch, comedian, actor, producer, writer, director, singer, Légion d'honneur recipient and the dollar sign in Dean Martin eyes, was born on this date.

March 16, 1926 -
Robert H. Goddard
, fueled the first hopes of space travel when he successfully launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket at Auburn, Massachusetts on this date.

The rocket traveled for 2.5 seconds at a speed of about 60 mph, reaching an altitude of 41 feet. The rocket was 10 feet tall, constructed out of thin pipes, and was fueled by liquid oxygen and gasoline.

March 16 1949 -
It's Erik Estrada's birthday today.

Reason enough to live another day.

March 16 1978 -
Italian Red Brigades
kidnapped former Italian Premier Aldo Moro on this date, in order to obtain the release of imprisoned comrades.

Moro was murdered and his body was later found on May 9, 1978.

And so it goes.

Before you go: Continuing the cow theme - Cows fart on average about 300 times a day.

Humans fart, on average, only 8 times per day.

So now you know.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Something to opine

Milk delivered to the store today was in the cow two days ago

I should have thought of this on Tuesday, when I had steak.

March 15, 1941 -
The first of three appearances of Cecil Turtle, Tortoise Beats Hare, premiered on this date.

Cecil is one of the very few characters who was actually able to beat Bugs Bunny and the only one to do so three times in a row and at the rabbit's own game.

March 15, 1946 -
Columbia Pictures released Charles Vidor's film-noir classic, Gilda, starring Rita Hayworth and Glen Ford on this date.

When Gilda is brought back to Argentina by Tom, she slaps Johnny hard across both sides of his face. In reality, Rita Hayworth's smacks broke two of Glenn Ford's teeth. He held his place until the take was finished.

March 15, 1956 -
The landmark science-fiction film, Forbidden Planet (think The Tempest in Outer Space) , premiered on this date.

This film marked one of the first times a science-fiction project had received a large budget. The genre had rarely been taken seriously by studio executives, and sci-fi films generally received the most meager of budgets. The critical success of this film convinced many in the film industry that well-funded science-fiction projects could be successful.

March 15, 1972 -
The greatest film ever about pasta sauce making and risk aversion management, The Godfather, premiered in New York City on this date.

Animal rights activists protested the horse's head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, "There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don't know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies."

March 15, 1975 -
The Doobie Brothers song Black Water hit the No. 1 position on the Billboard charts, on this date.

Black Water wasn't seen as having hit potential, so it was relegated to the B-side of Another Park, Another Sunday.

March 15, 1977 -
Everybody was first welcomed to The Regal Beagle when Three's Company, starring John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers, premiered on this date.

John Ritter
is the only cast member to appear in every episode.

March 15, 1977 -
One of the first TV "dramedies", Eight Is Enough began airing on ABC-TV on this date.

Mark Hamill and Kimberly Beck only appeared in the pilot. Mark was later replaced with Grant Goodeve and Kimberly left to do the series Rich Man, Poor Man and was replaced by Dianne Kay.

An average day in the city

Today in History:
March 15, 44 BC -
Julius Caesa
r, already warned to be wary on this the Ides of March by the astrologer Spurinna, was assassinated with pointy knives by a group of Senators, including Brutus and Cassius, at the Pompey theater.

They were angry at him because he had crossed the Rubicon. Later Marc Antony borrowed everyone's ears and told them that Brutus was an honorable man, which upset them so much they had a Civil War.

Sixteen centuries later, more or less, William Shakespeare immortalized the story and eventually Marlon Brando got to play Marc Antony, so everyone was happy in the end.

Caesar is also celebrated because he wrote a famous book called The Garlic Wars, which begins with the famous line, All garlic is divided into three cloves. It also includes the line - veni, vidi, vinci, the exact meaning of which is still a matter of debate but, if my own Latin studies are worth anything, probably involves Druids and hollandaise sauce.

March 15, 1812 -
Luddites attack Frank Vickerman's wool processing factory at Taylor Hill in West Yorkshire, on this date, resulting in general destruction and attempted arson.

The rampaging Luddites were incensed because his machines replaced workers, but Vickerman was primarily targeted because of involvement in an Anti-Luddite committee.

So now you know more about Luddites than you thought you ever would (remember, smash the iWatches.)

Today's episode of Oh, that Wacky Russian Revolution:
At two o'clock in the morning on March 15, 1917 the Tsar sent word to Petrograd that he was awfully sorry about the war and starvation and everything, but that he had some really good ideas about what they could do now, was looking forward to working with them, believed that healthy debate was a symptom of good government, and so on.

The new government (which had recently moved to Moscow) told him to blow it out his ass.

And so at three o'clock in the afternoon, Nicholas abdicated in favor of his son (who had measles).

The new government told him and his son to blow it out their asses.

At 11:15 pm, Nicholas signed a proclamation that both he and his son (who had measles) would abdicate in favor of his brother, the Grand Duke Mikhail.

The next day, the new government told Nicholas, his son (who had measles), and the Grand Duke Mikhail to blow it out their asses. (It seems that they were anally fixated.)

March 15, 1950 -
New York City
suffering through a persistent drought, hired for $100 a day - a very large sum in those times, particularly for a scientist - Dr. Wallace E. Howell, a meteorologist to make rain, on this date.  Dr. Howell, who had participated in early scientific research into cloud seeding, set up shop at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, using a police airplane to sprinkle silver iodide crystals into clouds over the Catskill watershed.

The rains came and the reservoirs began to rise. There was even a mid-April snowstorm, referred to in the papers as ''Howell's snow.'' By 1951, the crisis had passed and Dr. Howell was laid off in February of 1951.

March 15, 1964 -
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, finally legitimized their scandalous affair and were married on this date.

Both were already married –  he was married at the time to former actress Sybil Williams, she to her fourth husband Eddie Fisher, who she had famously ‘stolen’ from Debbie Reynolds.

And so it goes.