Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Put a hi ball in the crank case

St. Christopher once was the patron saint of bachelors, travelers, transportation workers, protector against sudden death and toothaches.



The Saint Christopher feast day of July 25 was removed from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1969.  But by all means, please feel free to continue to pray to this beleaguered saint (or non-saint.)


July 25, 1953 -
The Merrie Melodies cartoon, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, starring Daffy Duck as space hero Duck Dodgers, Porky Pig as his assistant and Marvin the Martian as his opponent, was released on this date



It would go on to become one of the most famous of the Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons. In animation historian Jerry Beck's 1994 poll of animators, film historians and directors, this cartoon was rated the fourth greatest cartoon of all time.


July 25, 1980 -
The very silly movie, Caddyshack, premiered on this date (watch it - you'll laugh in spite of yourself.)



As it was his first directing job and he wanted to make sure the production was successful, Harold Ramis avoided fraternizing with the cast and crew's late night parties to focus on the next day's shoot. However when filming wrapped, Ramis had gone to the wrap party and partied so heavily and early into the party, that he had to be carried back to his hotel room.


July 25, 1986 -
Paramount Pictures
released the Mike Nichols version of the Nora Ephron novel, Heartburn, starring Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Kevin Spacey (in his film debut) on this date.



Jack Nicholson replaced Mandy Patinkin as Mark Forman. Patinkin was originally cast as the male lead but was suddenly replaced by Nicholson after two days of shooting when director Mike Nichols realized there was no chemistry between Patinkin and lead actress Meryl Streep.


Today's moment of Zen


Today in History:
July 25, 1689
-
King Louis XIV of France, a few years after his anal fistula surgery (See Nov. 18) declared war on Britain on this date, for having joined the League of Augsburg and the Netherlands in order to oppose the French invasion of the Rhenish Palatinate.

This caused the Battle of Schenectady in New York. (Really.)

Please feel free to drop that at your next cocktail party.


July 25, 1848
-
British statesman Arthur James Lord Balfour was born on this date. In 1917, as Foreign Secretary of the British Government, Lord Balfour declared that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."



This came to be known as the Balfour Declaration, acknowledged by scholars throughout the world as the beginning of the Middle East Peace Process.


July 25, 1865 -
Dr. James Barry, British military medical officer and senior inspector general, died on this date.



As the good doctor was being laid out, a charwoman, Sophia Bishop noticed that Barry was a ‘perfect female’. She satisfied her curiosity and also noticed what appeared to be stretch marks on Barry’s stomach indicating the doctor had once been pregnant. It was soon revealed that Dr. Barry was likely a female, born Margaret Ann Bulkley.


July 25, 1909 -
French aviator Louis Blériot became the first person to fly across the English Channel when his aircraft (a 28hp wooden monoplane tied together with piano strings) landed in Dover, on this date.



The 36-year-old took off at 5.00 am from an airstrip near Calais and landed 43 minutes later. Blériot had followed his course by looking at ships below, having no compass in the airplane. Blériot claimed his prize of £1000, offered by the newspaper Daily Mail for this feat.


July 25, 1917 -
Margaret Zelle, also known as Mata Hari, was found guilty of spying and was sentenced to death, on this date.



There is no actual evidence that she is a spy, although she may have slept with half of the German army (and the French had a thing about that.)


July 25, 1936 -
After NYC's 'Master Builder' Robert Moses had millions of yards of brown and white sand shipped from the Rockaways, Northport and Sandy Hook to Pelham Bay Park, Orchard Beach, the Bronx Rivera, was opened to the public on this date.

At one time, this was the largest Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) project in New York City and the beach had one of the largest parking fields in the city.


July 25, 1943 -
Benito Mussolini attempted to resign as Head Rat Bastard of Italy on this date. He did not receive a gold watch. His 401(K) was in tatters (and had not yet matured.)

He was therefore machine-gunned to death, suspended upside down, and urinated on by the people of Italy on April 28, 1945, as a civic reminder of the severe penalty for early withdrawal of principle.


July 25, 1946 -
The US conducted the first underwater test of the atomic bomb, as part of the Operation Crossroads series of nuclear bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.



The bomb, called Baker was detonated 90 feet underwater. Its explosion contaminated the target ships so badly that the Navy had to cancel the one remaining nuclear weapon test called Charlie.


July 25, 1956 -
Yes, I know that the ships Andrea Doria and Stockholm collided off Nantucket on this date

We're going to talk about it tomorrow


July 25, 1978 -
Lesley and Peter Brown, had tried for years to have a baby, but Lesley suffered from blocked fallopian tubes. Their doctors, a British gynecologist named Patrick Steptoe and a scientist named Robert Edwards, successfully developed the world's first in-vitro fertilization procedure and helped the Browns conceive. Their daughter, Louise Brown was born in Oldham, England on this date.



Though it was controversial at the time, the procedure now is considered mainstream — hundreds of thousands of babies have been conceived via IVF.


July 25, 1984 -
Russian astronaut Svetlana Savitskaya performed a space walk while stationed on the Soviet space station Salyut 7, becoming the first woman who walking in space.



She also was the second woman in space - the first was Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, 17 years earlier.


July 25, 1990 -
Please rise for the singing of our National Anthem -



At a baseball game, actress Rosanne Arnold warbled the Star Spangled Banner, grabbed her crotch and endeared herself to an entire nation on this date.


July 25, 1999 -
Woodstock '99 festival ended on this date with looting and rioting, leaving 12 trailers burned, towers toppled, and several women attacked during the course of the show.



About 500 state troopers were needed to quell the mass uprising of peace and love, apparently triggered by overpriced vendors and commercialization.


July 25, 2000 -
A right tire explosion on the Concorde caused the plane to crash after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on this date, leaving 113 dead.



It is the first crash in Concorde's history, and the only supersonic commercial flight to ever crash.



And so it goes.


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Before you go - The fantastic website snopes.com is in financial trouble and could use everyone's help -

https://www.gofundme.com/savesnopes


In times like these, it's good to have a place to uncover what really is the 'fake news'.




Monday, July 24, 2017

It's National Tequilla Day today.

Tequila originated from Mexico in the 1800s and is now one of the most popular alcohols worldwide, especially in America.



While I am not a tequila man myself, I would not turn a Frozen Margarita down on a hot and humid day.


July 24, 1946 -
Paramount Studios released the film-noir classic, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, starring Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott and Kirk Douglas (his film debut,) on this date.



The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film.


July 24, 1948 -
... Crumbly Crunchies are the best
Look delicious on your vest
Serve them to unwanted guests
Stuff the mattress with the rest
....

A great Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, Haredevil Hare, was released on this date. (It was the first appearance of Marvin the Martian, though he wasn't named until decades later.)



Look for a photo of then freshman California Congressman Richard M. Nixon who appears in the faux newspaper The Daily Snooze under the headline "Heroic Rabbit Volunteers As First Passenger."


July 24, 1965 -
Bob Dylan released his classic Like a Rolling Stone on this date.



The title is not a reference to The Rolling Stones. It is taken from the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Dylan got the idea from the Hank Williams song Lost Highway, which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost."


July 24, 1978 -
The truly execrable Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band starring the Brothers Gibbs was released upon an unsuspecting public on this date.



Aerosmith was the second choice to play the Future Villain Band. KISS was approached first, but turned down the role fearing it would hurt their image. They instead opted to star in KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.


July 24, 1998 -
The unflinchingly gritty Steven Spielberg war flick, Saving Private Ryan premiered on this date.



Steven Spielberg cast Matt Damon as Private Ryan because he wanted an unknown actor with an All-American look. He did not know Damon would win an Oscar for Good Will Hunting and become an overnight star before the film was released.


Word of the day


Today in History:
July 24, 1567
-
Mary of Guise, the French wife of Scotland's King James V, gave birth to a daughter named Mary in 1542. A week later King James died and the very young Mary became the Queen of Scotland.

Prince Edward of England proposed marriage to the Queen immediately and his proposal is therefore known as the Rough Wooing. While the pedophile Prince waited for the Queen to acquire enough verbal skills to reply, the Scottish parliament annulled the engagement.

Edward's father, the English King Henry VIII, considered this an insult and declared war. Following an especially nasty Scottish defeat in 1547, Mary was sent to France. It was hoped she would learn to read and write there, and perhaps reach puberty.

She was raised in the court of Henry II, which ought to have taught her some manners, but instead inspired her to marry a dolphin. Eventually the dolphin became king and died, leaving Mary the dowager queen of France. She was 18. Her mother had meanwhile died in Scotland, which caused the Protestants to rebel. They imported the Reformation and banned the Pope. Mary, being Catholic, returned to Scotland to work out a compromise: the country could be Protestant as long as she was allowed to be Catholic.

Four years later she married her cousin, Lord Darnley, a Two-Door Steward. Unfortunately he turned out to be disgusting, and even the birth of a son could not induce Lord Darnley to behave. He was therefore struck by an explosion the following year and subsequently died of strangulation. She was then kidnapped by one of the men suspected of strangling Lord Darnley, a certain Earl of Bothwell, whom she therefore made a Duke and married.

This angered the Protestants, who rose up against her and, on this very day in 1567, made her abdicate in favor of her son, who was immediately crowned as James VI.



She then escaped, raised an army, and was promptly defeated. She became a guest (or, in English, "prisoner") of Queen Elizabeth, until she was caught writing letters asking friends to support (or, in Scottish, "kill") the English Queen.



She was therefore beheaded, and remains dead to this day.


316 years ago today, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded a trading post at Fort Ponchartrain for France on the future site of the city of Detroit, Michigan, in an attempt to halt the advance of the English into the western Great Lakes region.

Mr Cadillac himself thereby came to be known as "the Rolls Royce of settlers."  M. Cadillac would be happy to see the improvements going on in Detroit today.


July 24, 1883 -
Captain Matthew Webb wasn't having a great day today. Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel in 1875, was attempting to swim across the Niagara River just below the falls.

The Captain was looking to collect a £12,000.00 fortune, when he jumped from his small boat into the raging torrent. He hit his head on jagged rocks and drowned while trying to swim across the Niagara River. His last words were (apparently,) "If I die, they will do something for my wife?"


July 24, 1915 -
Almost 850 Western Electric employees and their family members perish when the chartered steamer SS Eastland rolled over in Chicago harbor on this date. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.



Moral: Avoid company picnics.


July 24, 1959 -
While visiting a model kitchen in a U.S. exhibition in Moscow, Vice President Richard M. Nixon debated with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a U.S. exhibition in the famous 'Kitchen' debate, on the merits of capitalism and communism



Nixon correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker. (Stop dreaming about a $100-a-month mortgage.)



And so it goes.


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Sunday, July 23, 2017

And now, a young man leaning against the dryer




July 23, 1966 -
Frank Sinatra's song Strangers in the Night, hits the top of the charts on this date.



This was a big comeback song for Sinatra, becoming his first #1 Pop hit in 11 years.  Sinatra despised the song, calling it "a piece of shit." Even though it was his biggest hit in 11 years, the singer never included this number in any of his late 1960s specials.


July 23, 1982 -
Warner Bros. released George Roy Hill's adaptation of John Irving's novel, The World According to Garp, starring Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close, and John Lithgow, on this date.



This picture was one three films providing four performances that were Oscar nominated for drag at the 1983 Academy Awards ceremony, an all-time record for any one year. The movies and actors were: Dustin Hoffman for Tootsie; Julie Andrews and Robert Preston for Victor Victoria; and John Lithgow for The World According to Garp.


July 23, 1987 -
Columbia Pictures released the biopix about Richie Valens, La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, and Elizabeth Peña, on this date.



Ritchie Valens' family were so attached to Lou Diamond Phillips that when he was shooting the scene where Valens gets on the airplane that led him to his death, the family begged Phillips not to get on, fearing that he would die. The family was warned not to come to the filming the day that they filmed him getting on the plane but his sister ignored this and drove up to the set anyways. She cried, hugged him and begged him not to get on the plane


Today in History:
July 23, 776BC -
A very large number of sweaty, muscular men poured into Greece, shaved their entire bodies, greased themselves up and ran naked through the streets on this date (and it wasn't even Greek Pride Day.)



The first Olympic Games opened in Olympia on this date.


July 23, 1848 -
Protesting slavery as well as the U.S. involvement in the Mexican War, Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his $1 poll tax and was arrested on this date in history. That night, a relative came by and paid Thoreau's poll tax.

When he was told he could leave, Thoreau objected and was threatened with force to remove him. His written account of the experience is later read by Leo Tolstoi, Marcel Proust, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, Sinclair Lewis and William Butler Yeats and it persuaded them to advocate civil disobedience.


July 23, 1885 -
One of the most famous residents of West 122th Street and Riverside Drive made a most fateful decision on this date.



He decided to give up the ghost.

In 1881, Ulysses S. Grant, American general, the eighteenth President of the United States and famous horseback riding drunk, purchased a house in New York City and placed almost all of his financial assets into an investment banking partnership with Ferdinand Ward, as suggested by Grant's son Buck (Ulysses, Jr.), who was having success on Wall Street. Very wrong move.

Ward swindled Grant (and other investors who had been encouraged by Grant) in 1884, bankrupted the company, Grant and Ward and fled. Ward had invented the Ponzi scheme before the term was invented.

Grant learned at the same time that he was suffering from throat cancer. Grant and his family were left destitute; at the time retired U.S. Presidents were not given pensions, and Grant had forfeited his military pension when he assumed the office of President. Grant first wrote several articles on his Civil War campaigns for The Century Magazine, which were warmly received. Mark Twain offered Grant a generous contract for the publication of his memoirs, including 75% of the book's sales as royalties.



Terminally ill, Grant finished the book just a few days before his death. The memoirs sold over 300,000 copies, earning the Grant family over $450,000. Twain promoted the book as "the most remarkable work of its kind since the Commentaries of Julius Caesar," and Grant's memoirs are also regarded by such writers as Matthew Arnold and Gertrude Stein as among the finest ever written .

Ulysses S. Grant died at 8:06 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 1885, at the age of 63 in Mount McGregor, Saratoga County, New York. His last word was a request, "Water" (I'd like to believe it was actually, "Sir, cut my bourbon with water."

Grant's funeral was one of the greatest outpourings of public grief in history. A large funeral parade marched through New York City from City Hall to Riverside Park. It had 60,000 marchers, stretched seven miles, and took up to five hours to pass. Well over one million spectators witnessed the parade.



The funeral was attended by numerous dignitaries, including President Grover Cleveland, his cabinet, the justices of the Supreme Court, the two living ex-presidents (Hayes and Arthur), virtually the entire Congress, and almost every living figure who had played a prominent role during the Civil War.

Civil War veterans from both North and South took part, reflecting the high esteem in which he was held throughout a reunified country. General Winfield S. Hancock led the procession, and Grant's pallbearers included former comrades -- General William T. Sherman, General Philip H. Sheridan and Admiral David D. Porter - as well as former Confederates - Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Simon B. Buckner.

Completed in 1897, Grant's Tomb is the second largest mausoleum in North America (President Garfield's Memorial is the first).


July 23, 1886 -
New York saloonkeeper Steve Brodie claimed to have made a daredevil plunge from the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River on this.



However, having the perfect new New York spirit, few historians believe the jump actually occurred


July 23, 1904 -
According to popular legend, Charles E Menches invented the practice of serving ice cream in an ice cream cone on this date at the St. Louis World's Fair.

It beats the old system of cramming your mouth with as much ice cream as you could hold in it before suffocating.


July 23, 1966 -
The "longest suicide in Hollywood" finally came to a sad on this date, with the death of Montgomery Clift of a heart attack brought on by his severe drug and alcohol addictions.



After his near-fatal car accident in 1956, (in which, Elizabeth Taylor saved the actor from choking to death by removing two teeth lodged in his throat) Montgomery Clift stumbled through life in a haze of pain and professional disappointments. Clift still managed to turn in some amazing performances during this period



(Monty got a raw deal indeed.)

He is now the most famous 'resident' of Quaker Cemetery in Prospect Park Brooklyn.



And so it goes.


Before you go - here's a sneak peak of Puddles appearance on Tuesday's episode of AGT -



Can't wait to see how the voting goes.


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