Sunday, February 28, 2010

My new favorite sponsor

I was going to comment on Rick Sanchez, CNN reporter extraordinaire but I saw this clip from last night's SNL

Gyne-Lotrimin Vaginal Creme - There's nothing fina than a yeast free vagina.

February 28, 1915
Samuel Joel Zero Mostel, larger than life actor and comedian, was born on this date.

Flaunt it baby, flaunt it.

February 28, 1948 -
Bernadette Lazzara (Bernadette Peters), Actress/Singer was born on this date.

Today in History:
February 28, 1574 -
Two impertinent heretics are burned at the stake in Mexico at a spectacular auto-da-fe comparable to those in Spain.

The two are the first victims of the Inquisition in the New World, dying for their heretical crimes of...Lutheranism.

February 28, 1844 -
Julia Gardner meets her future husband, President John Tyler, on this date.

The USS Princeton departed Alexandria, Virginia on a pleasure and trial trip down the Potomac with President John Tyler, his Cabinet and approximately two hundred guests on board. Upon the final firing of Stockton's Peacemaker, the defective gun finally burst, instantly killing Secretary Upshur; Secretary Gilmer; Captain Beverly Kennon, Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs; Virgil Maxcy of Maryland, Charge d'Affaires to Belgium, 1837–42; David Gardiner of New York, the father of Julia Gardiner; and the President's valet, a black slave named Armistead.

It also injured about 20 people, including Captain Stockton (who received severe powder burns on his face, and all the hair on his head was burned off.) A Court of Inquiry exonerated Capt. Stockton due to his political influence (he supported Tyler’s campaign), blaming the explosion on John Ericsson, designer of the ships' engines (despite the fact Ericsson had nothing to do with the design of the Peacemaker gun), and "bad luck". When Julia Gardiner, who was aboard, found out her father had died in the explosion she fainted into President Tyler's arms.

Isn't love grand.

February 28, 1905 -
Jane Lathrop Stanford, the wife of the late Leland Stanford, died of suspected arsenic poisoning at the Moana Hotel in Honolulu. A coroner’s jury confirmed the result. Her body was returned to the mainland under the care of David Starr Jordan, the president of Stanford Univ. An examination by Stanford physicians claimed no trace of strychnine and set heart attack as cause of death.

A will signed 19 months earlier had left the bulk of her $30 million estate to Stanford University. After 100 years the only thing certain about the case - Stanford did in fact died of strychnine poisoning and somebody got away with murder.

February 28, 1968 -
Singer and early 60's heartthrob Frankie Lymon is found dead from a heroin overdose next to his syringe, in his grandmother's New York City apartment. Years later, three women, Zola Taylor, Elizabeth Waters, and Elmira Eagle, each claim to be Lymon's rightful widow and sue to stake out a piece of his estate.

SO, I'm hoping the answer to the question, "Why do fools fall in love?" isn't - so that they can O.D. and have three women pick over the bones of your rotting corpse.

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen was the 251st and final episode of M*A*S*H. Closing out the series' eleventh season, the -hour episode first aired on Monday, February 28, 1983.

Written by a large number of collaborators (including series star Alan Alda) and directed by Alda, Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen was the single most watched episode of a television series in American history until this year's Super Bowl.

February 28, 1986 -
Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme was assassinated as he left a movie theater in Stockholm.

In 1996 South African former police officer Eugene de Kock said that Craig Williamson, a South African spy, was involved in the murder. In 1997 lawyer Pelle Svensson said that his client, Lars Tingstrom, wrote a statement on his deathbed in prison in 1993 that he committed the killing. the family was convinced that Christer Pettersson, a drug addict and alcoholic, was the killer. In 1999 Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey suggested that a rival PKK organization killed Olaf Palme.

It seems everybody wanted to get into the act.

February 28, 1993 -
Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco use armed force attempting to serve Branch Davidian leader David Koresh with a search warrant (one with no actual evidence of any illegal activity whatsoever), in what the BATF viewed as a publicity stunt to improve their image. While the agents carefully coordinated the raid with eleven different media outlets, something apparently tipped off Koresh and as these things usual happen - things do not go well: six Davidians and four ATF agents were killed.

The warrant instead could have been served peacefully, while Koresh did his daily morning jog.

And so it goes

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's National 'No Brainer' Day

My research shows that today is the day for you to do all those "no brainer" tasks and activities. If a project requires thinking, study, or analysis of any kind, then its not the chore to do today. (It's all I got.)

Purim starts tonight. Purim is the festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther).

Save some poppy seed Hamantaschen for me!

February 27, 1932 -
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, actress and serial bride was born on this date.

A tad overweight but with violet eyes to die for ....

February 27, 1937 -
An early Porky Pig, drawn by Tex Avery, Picador Porky, premiered on this date.

This is the first Warner Bros. cartoon to feature Mel Blanc's voice. (Sorry for the colorized version.)

Today in History:
On this date in 280 A.D., Emperor Constantine the Great was born. Constantine took half the Roman Empire and moved it to Byzantium, a little village which he built up into such a magnificent city that it was eventually named after him: Istanbul.

And it's nobody's business but the Turks. (I can't help myself - I love that song and I love Craig Ferguson.)

February 27, 1859 -
Censured Congressman Dan Sickles of New York (who escorting a known prostitute into State chambers) shoots and kills Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. The younger Key was having an affair with the congressman's wife.

He was tried on a charge of murder, but was acquitted after a sensational trial involving the first use of the insanity defense in U.S. history.

(His defense attorney was Edwin M. Stanton, later to become Secretary of War.)

February 27, 1933 -
The Reichstag conveniently burns. A mad Dutchman who was arrested at the scene, Marinus van der Lubb, may have been partially responsible but if this is so, he is likely someone's patsy. The Nazi Party benefit greatly from the subsequent crack down, and it's suspected that SA stormtroopers set things up for van der Lubb.

Another important life lesson - bad Germans, beer halls and matches do not mix.

On February 27, 1939, General Francisco Franco's rebellion achieved victory in the Spanish Civil War.

Ernest Hemingway had been defeated.

The war had been so successful that Europe decided to have the second world war, which was every bit as exciting as the Spanish Civil War but with more geography and submarines.

General Franco and Ernest Hemingway are still dead.

February 27, 1951 -
The 22nd Amendment to the American Constitution was ratified by Minnesota, the 36th state out of 48 to ratify, thereby making it the law of the land. The 22nd Amendment states that no person shall be president of the United States more than twice unless they're Harry Truman.

Really, look it up - it says that.

In the graphic novel Watchmen, a crushing U.S. victory in the Vietnam War leads to the repeal of the 22nd Amendment and the repeated reelection of President Richard M. Nixon, who still serves as of 1985, the year in which Watchmen is set.

Similarly, in the time-travel movie Back to the Future Part II, an alternate timeline newspaper headline, before changing to report Reagan considering a second term, reports Nixon considering a fifth term. In a Saturday Night Live sketch, Dan Aykroyd portrayed Richard Nixon writing to random congressmen, asking for repeal of the amendment.

February 27, 1968 -
CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite‘s commentary on the progress of the Vietnam War solidified President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s decision not to seek reelection in 1968. Cronkite, who had been at Hue in the midst of the Tet Offensive earlier in February, said: "Who won and who lost in the great Tet Offensive against the cities? I‘m not sure." He concluded: "It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out...will be to negotiate, not as victors but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could."

Johnson called the commentary a turning point, saying that if he had "lost Cronkite," he‘d "lost Mr. Average Citizen." On March 31, Johnson announced he would not seek reelection.

February 27, 1992 -
Trying to get the lid off her McDonald's coffee to add cream and sugar, 79-year-old Stella Liebeck accidentally splashes the 180-degree liquid on herself, causing third-degree burns to the thighs, genitals, and buttocks.


After skin graft surgery and weeks of recuperation, Liebeck asks McDonald's to turn down the temperature of their coffee and pay $20,000 to defray her hospital bills. McDonald's tells the old lady go take a flying leap, as they had done for a decade of similar burn claims. Ultimately, a jury awards Liebeck $2.9 million in the resulting lawsuit, which immediately triggers a renewed call for legislative tort reform and makes that one expense cup of coffee.

February 27, 2003 -
All of our neighborhoods were a little less beautiful when our good neighbor, Fred McFeely Rogers died on this date.

But let's make the most of this beautiful day.

And so it goes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dedication Time

This one goes out to Governor Paterson:

I hope David Johnson will, at least, help him pack.

February 26, 1908
Frederick Bean (Tex) Avery, animator, cartoonist, and another member of the legendary Termite Terrace was born on this date.

His work proved that, 'In a cartoon you can do anything...'

February 26, 1916 –
John Herbert Gleason, (The Great One) comedian, actor and musician was born on this day.

That's a good cup of coffee

February 26, 1988 -
John Water's great, albeit more mainstream feature (Water's first PG-rated film), Hairspray, opened on this date.

Ricki Lake began rapidly losing weight due to the intense dance lessons she had to take for the film. She reportedly had to "eat like crazy" in order to stay plump.

February 26, 1994 -
Bill Hicks, writer and comedian, died of pancreatic cancer on this date. In the years after his death, Hicks' work has achieved significant admiration and acclaim.

A film about Hicks' life and career, rumored to be directed by Ron Howard, is said to be in pre-production.

Today in History:
February 26, 1815 -
Able was I ere I saw Elba.

Napoleon leaves his exile on the Island of Elba, intending to return to France.

On this date in 1936, Some junior officers in the Japanese Army mistook Japan for a foreign country and tried to conquered it. This disrupted the Japanese automotive industry, giving Adolf Hitler the opportunity to preside over the official opening of the first Volkswagen factory.

(The good people at Volkswagen seem to overlook this anniversary every year.)

February 26, 1918 -
Grandstands at the Hong Kong Jockey Club collapse and burn, killing 604 spectators. It is the worst disaster in sports history.

Even though mad dogs and Englishmen may go out in the midday sun - they apparently will not leave a burning stadium.

February 26, 1974 -
A U.S. Senate report reveals Ford Motor's involvement in Nazi Germany's war efforts, for which CEO Henry Ford received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Adolf Hitler himself. After the war, the car company was paid nearly $1M reparation by the U.S. government to compensate for one of its plants that was bombed within the Reich.

And some people worry about buying a BMW.

February 26, 1993 -
A bomb explodes on level B2 of the World Trade Center, creating a five story crater and leaving six dead and over 1,042 injured.

Mohammed A. Salameh is later arrested in connection with the bombing as he tries to claim a refund on a rented van believed to have carried the explosion.

Genius, sheer genius.

And so it goes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes Keith hits it out of the park

Yeah, yeah he can be as dramatic as Glenn Beck but

sometimes he's actually right (unlike Mr. Beck.)

February 25, 1941 -
Another Preston Sturges' comic masterpiece, The Lady Eve, premiered in the US on this date.

Preston Sturges wrote the script in Reno, Nevada, while awaiting his third divorce.

February 25, 1945 -
Part of Roberto Rossellini Neo-realist classic war trilogy, Roma, città aperta (Rome Open City) opened in the US on this date.

Anna Magnani delivers one of the greatest performances in the history of world cinema in this film.

February 25, 1950 -
The comedy-variety program Your Show of Shows, starring Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner, debuted on NBC on this date.

Writers for the show included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Larry Gelbart. A common misconception is that Woody Allen wrote for Your Show of Shows; he in fact wrote for its successor program, Caesar's Hour, which ran from 1954 to 1957.

Today in History:
February 25, 1570 -
Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England, for the sin of being a Protestant.

As Elizabeth was already the head of her own religion, Church of England,

this Papal Bull did not make her break stride.

February 25, 1601 -
Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, was beheaded following a conviction of treason. His plan to capture London and the Tower had failed.

He was the last person to be beheaded in the Tower of London. It was reported to have taken three strokes by the executioner to complete the beheading. Ouch!

Let this be a lesson to all you playas - never try to steal you girlfriends' country.

February 25, 1888 -
John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State to President Eisenhower, was born on this date.

Haven't we all made a fool of ourselves over John Foster Dulles.

February 25, 1922 -
Henri Landru, the notorious French serial killer known as "Bluebeard", guillotined for murdering ten women, and one boy. His motive was purely financial; by placing classified ads Landru lured selected women into his clutches, married them, and disposed of their bodies without a trace.

While denying guilt to the end, a drawing given to his attorney had written on the reverse, "I did it. I burned their bodies in my kitchen oven".

Charles Chaplin based his movie, Monsieur Verdoux on this case.

February 25, 1932 -
Austrian Adolf Hitler is granted German citizenship, to meet a "minor" technical requirement in order to run for president.

Hitler was thus able to stand against Hindenburg in the forthcoming Presidential election.

February 25, 1969 -
In Vietnam, a 25 year old Navy Lt., Bob Kerrey, took part in a SEAL raid in the Mekong Delta where over a dozen women, children and old men were killed in the village of Thanh Phong. Kerrey received a Bronze Star for the raid and later strongly regretted his actions.

Soon after the raid, Lt. Kerrey lost a leg at Hon Tam Island and was later awarded a Congressional medal of Honor. In 2001, the former Governor and Senator from Nebraska, publicly discussed his participation in the raid after Bui Thi Luom of Thanh Phong, the only survivor from her hut of 16, said, "Only civilians, women and children" were killed. Kerrey described the event in his 2002 memoir When I Was a Young Man.

February 25, 1983 -
Playwright Tennessee Williams found dead in his New York hotel room after he choked on a bottle cap during the night.

Once again, another victim of not reading the pill bottle label correctly.

February 25, 1996 -
Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the Cambodian who won the 1984 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Killing Fields, shot during a robbery attempt in the carport of his Los Angeles apartment.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Abe

February 24, 1921 -
It's Abe Vigoda's birthday.

Not dead yet!

I was helping one of the kids with a bath when this song came on the radio. I forgotten about this song.

... Seven for a secret never to be told

Today in History:
On February 24, 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a proclamation that made everyone change their calendars from the Julian calendar to his own new and improved Gregorian calendar. (Obviously he was in cahoots with the calendar printing people, or he would have done it in November or December.)

It was this shameless act of self-promotion that led to subsequent Vatican proclamations being called Papal Bull.

February 24, 1807 -
It was not a good day for a hanging - In a crush to witness the hanging of Holloway, Heggerty and Elizabeth Godfrey in England, 17 people died and 15 were wounded.

People, please remember that you can see the executions perfectly well if you stand back.

February 24, 1838 -
Thomas Benton Smith, brigadier general in the Confederate States Army , was born in Mechanicsville, Tennessee, on this date. He was wounded at Stone’s River/Murfreesboro and again at Chickamauga. He was captured at the Battle of Nashville (December 16, 1864) where he was beaten over the head with a sword by Col. William Linn McMillen of the 95th Ohio Infantry. His brain was exposed and it was believed he would die.

He recovered partially, ran for a seat in the U. S. Congress in 1870, but lost and spent the last 47 years of his life in the State Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee, where he died on May 21, 1923.

Now you know

February 24, 1868 -
President Andrew Johnson impeached for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, which is fancy talk for removing Secretary of War Stanton.

This remains an honor not bestowed again until the blowjob years of the Clinton Administration.

On February 24, 1920, the spokesman of a radical political group in Germany announced that it would change its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The group had previously been called the East Munich Crips. Rejected names had included The Genocidal Maniacs Party, The World Conquest Party and The Party of Smiley People Who'll Make Life a Happy Little Picnic for Everyone.

This name change made all the difference in the world, and eventually led to Evil Nazi Bastards, who later teamed up with the Evil Fascist Bastards of Italy and became a Significant Problem. They did not kill quite as many people as the Evil Communist Bastards of the Soviet Union, however, and were therefore unable to scare posterity into producing apologists.

(The party spokesman who had announced the change was of course Adolf Hitler, who did not change his own name and is therefore known to history as... you guessed it... Adolf Hitler.)

February 24, 1990 -
Businessman Malcolm Forbes dies of a heart attack, at his home in Far Hills, New Jersey.

Call boys all over New York, mourn his death.

Once again and we are staring down at another possible Nor'easter in the NYC area. Huzzah - more snow. You know some of us are more prone to bone breakage at this age.

At this point, you're probably out of rock salt. You can use ACME's Gritty Kitty Litter in it's place (please use clean litter.)

And so it goes .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy 100th day.

It's the hundredth day of class at the kids' school today. They are treating the day with the solemnity pilgrims reserve for reaching a holy shrine.

It's also National Pancake Day (it should have been on the 16th - Shrove Tuesday - but who am I to tell the Pancake Syndicate what to do.)

IHOP is giving away a free short stack today - hurry.

A good mash up of Jay Leno's new commercial

Far more appropriate music.

February 23, 1896 -
The Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield an Austrian immigrant, in his small candy shop located in New York City

For many, this day should be a Federal holiday.

Maybe you've been wondering what Kristen Dunst has been up to (maybe you haven't.)

Now you can wonder WTF.

Today in History:
February 23, 303 -
Roman Emperor Diocletian issues an edict to suppress Christianity, "to tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire". Further edicts require that church officials engage in animal sacrifice to appease traditional Roman gods.

One can only image the kind of orgies that when on that night.

February 23, 1885 -
The British hangman at Exeter Gaol tries three times to hang John Lee of Devonshire, for the murder of Emma Keyse. The trap refused to open.

His sentence was commuted to life, and he was eventually released.

February 23, 1915 -
Nevada enacts a law reducing the quickie divorce residency requirements down to six months, a figure further reduced in 1931 to six weeks.

February 23, 1821 -
English poet John Keats died in Rome. Mr. Keats was Romantic and therefore wrote an Ode to a Nightingale, an Ode to Psyche, and even an Ode to a Grecian Urn.

None of them would have him, so the poor man died alone.

February 23, 1836 -
The siege of the Alamo began. It was quite an adventure. For years afterward people would sigh, Remember the Alamo?

And they'd kind of nod and smile, but eventually they forgot.

February 23, 1919 -
Benito Mussolini founded the Fasci del Comattimento (Evil Fascist Bastards) party in Italy in hopes of improving the nation's irregular train schedules.

The Evil Fascist Bastards did eventually succeed in getting the trains to run on time, but their success was short-lived: allied forces entered the country in the 1940s and threw off their timetables for ever.

February 23, 1940 -
Walt Disney's animated movie Pinocchio went into general release, on this date.

Have you wished upon a star lately?

February 23, 1945 -
U. S. Marines raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi (Battle of Iwo Jima).

The photograph of the event was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time.

February 23, 1996 -
The Freeway Killer William G Bonin was executed at San Quentin. He was the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the history of California.

For his last meal, Bonin requested two large pepperoni and sausage pizzas, three pints of coffee ice cream and three six-packs of regular Coca Cola.

That kind of diet will kill you.

Thought of the day:

Imitation is the sincerest form of Television - Mighty Mouse

And so it goes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday George (I guess)

Young George Washington was born on February 11, 1731 (or so he thought.) Unfortunately for him, England had been stubbornly holding onto the Julian calendar - they wanted none of that Papist Gregorian calendar crap. But England finally wanted to get with the times, so in 1752, Parliament adopted the Gregorian calendar. Many prominent colonists supported the new system; including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Washington updated his own birthday from the old February 11th to the Gregorian February 22th.

But wait, there's more - the calendar switch of 1752 included another significant change. Under the Julian system, the year began on March 25. That means a colonist who went to bed on March 24, 1700, would wake up on March 25, 1701. The new Gregorian rules set the start of the year to January 1st. This created some confusion, since anyone who was born between January 1st and March 25th in the old system would have the wrong birth year in the new one. So you have wish the Father of Our Country birthday greetings for the third time this month.

Much heavy drinking ensued.

February 22, 1934 -
Frank Capra's romantic comedy It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, premiered at Radio City Music Hall .

This was the first film to win the Oscar "grand slam" (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Screenplay).

February 22, 1977 -
The single New Kid in Town, the first release from the album Hotel California, is the Eagles's first to be certified gold for selling more than 1 million copies .

On February 26, 1977, it reached the Billboard #1.

February 22, 2001 -
Mira Nair's wonderful Monsoon Wedding, opened in both Los Angeles and New York on this date.

A large portion of the original footage (including the wedding itself) was ruined by an airport x-ray machine. The scenes had to be re-shot, when additional funds had been raised to do so, some months later.

February 22, 2002 -
Charles Martin Chuck Jones, director of many of the classic short animated cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote, died on this date.

In 1996, Jones received an Honorary Academy Award in, for "the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than half a century." At that year's awards show, Robin Williams, a self-confessed "Jones-aholic," presented the Honorary award to Jones, calling him The Orson Welles of cartoons.

Today in History:
On February 22, 1862, Jefferson Davis was officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia.

He was previously inaugurated as a provisional president on February 18, 1861. I guess his mother was proud of him.

February 22, 1987 -
Andy Warhol dies of complications after gallbladder surgery, though the details are hazy. The official cause was listed as cardiac arrhythmia, but speculation includes his fear of hospitals as well as possible Cefoxitin allergy. Mr. Warhol is best known for painting pictures of Campbell's Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe, although never together. Warhol's death brings him a bonus 15 minutes of fame.

His work can be seen in museums and galleries around the world to this very day.

Campbell's Soup cans can still be found in the canned goods section of your favorite supermarket to this very day.

February 22, 1980 -
During the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, the United States hockey team defeats the Soviet Union hockey team 4-3.

It is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history (the Miracle on Ice.)

February 22, 1994 -
CIA agent Aldrich Ames and his wife are charged by the United States Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.

And though by 1989 Ames had acquired unexplainable wealth from his spying and did very little to conceal the spying, he somehow managed to evade being caught for five more years.

February 22, 1997 -
The first cloning of an advanced mammal, a sheep known as Dolly, was announced in the news media. Dolly, actually born on July 5, 1996, was cloned from a mammary cell -

Dolly was purportedly named after Dolly Parton.

I guess that's a compliment.

And so it goes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

There are days ...

I wish I could wake up this enthusiastic about the alphabet

I also wish I could be this high and still functioning. Oh Richard, sheer genius!!!

February 21, 1967 -
One Million Years B.C., starring Raquel Welch and a bunch of dinosaur puppets, premiered on this date.

Sarh Palin still believes this is a documentary.

February 21, 1981 -
Charles Rocket, first in the long line of performers on Saturday Night Live to drop the f-bomb, curses live at the end of the episode in response to a question about how it felt being shot during a skit.

Due partially to the violation of broadcast standards, along with Saturday Night Live's low ratings, Rocket and most of that seasons cast and writers were fired shortly thereafter.

Today in History:
King James I of Scotland was assassinated on February 21, 1437. James I's grandfather, Robert II, had married twice and the awkward circumstances of the first marriage (the one with James's grandmother Elizabeth Mure - he didn't get around to marrying her until several years and children into their relationship) led some to dispute its validity. Conflict broke out between the descendants of the first marriage and the unquestionably legitimate descendants of the second marriage over who had the better right to the Scottish throne.

Matters came to a head on February 21, 1437, when a group of Scots led by Sir Robert Graham assassinated James at the Friars Preachers Monastery in Perth. He attempted to escape his assailants through a sewer. However, three days previously, he had had the other end of the drain blocked up because of its connection to the tennis court outside, balls habitually got lost in it.

I'm sure the irony was not lost on James while he scrambled around in the sewer.

February 21, 1803 -
Edward Despard and six co-conspirators were executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol for plotting to assassinate England's King George III and to destroy the Bank of England, in front of a crowd of at least 20,000 spectators. Despard was originally sentenced, with six of his fellow-conspirators (John Wood and John Francis, both privates in the army, carpenter Thomas Broughton, shoemaker James Sedgwick Wratton, slater Arthur Graham, and John Macnamara), to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

These were the last men to be so sentenced in England, although prior to execution the sentence was commuted to simple hanging and beheading, amid fears that the Draconian punishment might spark public dissent.

This must have been a very pretty sight indeed.

February 21, 1878 -
The first telephone book is issued in New Haven, Connecticut.

The first prank phone call to a Mr. Lipshitz soon follows.

February 21, 1885 -
America's greatest phallic symbol, the Washington Monument, is dedicated by President Chester A. Arthur. The shaft towers over 555 into the air, and sports an aluminum foreskin.

Talk about feeling inadequate.

February 21, 1916 -
The Battle of Verdun began today, which in nine months yielded 975,000 casualties and almost no change in the front line.

It is the bloodiest battle in history, and often the one remarked as having the "highest density of dead per square yard."

February 21, 1953 -
Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of the DNA molecule.

At first they were going with a squiggle or smiley face structure until they hit upon the double helix.

February 21, 1965 -
Malcolm X is assassinated in a Manhattan ballroom,

probably by members of the Nation of Islam.

February 21, 1972 -
Nixon visits the People's Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations,

fulfilling the old Vulcan proverb, Only Nixon could go to China.

February 21, 1988 -
Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart of the Assemblies of God, with tears streaming down his face, confesses sinning with a prostitute in a Louisiana hotel room.

A second scandal with yet another prostitute emerges in 1991, further killing his evangelical career.

And so it goes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Better late than never ( I guess)

I have been rushing to get to the computer today - this is the earliest I could.

I could tell you about the Dragon parade I saw this morning or the 50 pound Grouper dispatched with a rubber mallet. But, as always, that's another story.

February 20, 1932 -
Tod Browning's incredible film, Freaks, about sideshow performers, was released on this date.

I won't even try to describe this masterpiece any further - you must see it.

February 20, 1956 -
The wonderfully evil comedy, The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellars, opened in New York on this date.

This is one of the classic films from the Ealing studios - rent it if you haven't seen it.

February 20, 1967 -
Kurt Cobain, musician and lead guitarist of seminal grunge band Nirvana, was born on this date.

I thought you died alone, a long long time ago.

Today in History:
February 20 is just one many dates on which Francois-Marie Arouet may have been born in 1694.

Francois-Marie was a supremely intelligent, fiercely independent man and was therefore instructed to leave Paris.

Each time he was kicked out, however, he simply came back, said something witty, and was kicked out yet again.

Eventually the French invented reverse psychology. They invited Francois-Marie back from his latest exile and threw a big party for him. The shock of his reception killed him and Paris has mourned his loss ever since.

Except now they call him Voltaire.

February 20, 1947 -
A chemical mistake at the O'Connor Electro-Plating Co. in Los Angeles caused a blast that destroyed/damaged more than 55 structures in a 300-foot radius, 150 people were injured and 15 persons perished.

The incident resulted in the city's first ordinance stipulating regulations for the storage, transportation, production, processing, and use of hazardous chemicals and led to one of the first Hazmat Dictionary's in the U.S.


February 20, 1962 -
While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn orbits the earth three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes, becoming the first American to orbit the earth.

I bet when he got back, he had to pee like it was nobody's business.

February 20, 1971 -
An erroneous warning is emitted on the Emergency Broadcast System causing a number of stations to go off the air, and others to completely ignore the alert (thus pointing out that many key stations would not react to any emergency broadcast over the system.)

So remember this just a test, unless it's not.

February 20, 1980 -
After some heavy drinking, Bon Scott, vocalist for heavy metal band AC/DC, is found in a friend's automobile - he apparently choked to death on his own vomit.

His family was relieved that he hadn't choked to death on someone else vomit.

February 20, 1984 -
Ballerina Julia Pak married Heung Jin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon, religious icon. The ceremony was a tasteful affair save one small detail - Heung Jin Moon was prevented from attending the service in person; he had died in an auto accident the previous Decemeber. As adult Moonies are only allowed to enter Heaven once they are married, there was a dire need for this awkward necro-ceremony.

Imagine the honeymoon - yuck!!!

And so it goes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

So, to summerize

Sorry I got caught sleeping with all of those women. Gees, even I didn't realize it was that many - Tiger Woods

February 19, 1940 -
William Smokey Robinson, singer was born, on this date.

Robinson, when still a child, was nicknamed "Smokey Joe" by an uncle because of his love of cowboy movies.
Betta you didn't know that!

Today in History -
In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.

Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.

Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.

Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of varnish to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesperson for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge.)

February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage, on that date, of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.

Nobel laureate, Protestant, cocaine addict and noted pederast, Andre Gide died on February 19, 1951.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

Supreme Chinese leader and replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on February 19, 1997.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.

And so it goes.