Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I did not know this

It is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley in Rhode Island

So don't plan on doing it this summer on your vacation.

Clear you calendar for the next few minutes and watch this fun mashup of 150 movie clips showing our lives from birth to death (and the added bonus of Orson Welles narrating it.)

I'm hoping I get to hear Orson when I have to go towards the light.

Laugh and grow strong

It's the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

July 31, 1928 -
MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time on this date.

He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, White Shadows on the South Seas. The film was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starred Monte Blue. It won an Oscar in 1928-29 for Best Cinematography

Today in History:
July 31, 1485 -
Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, was first published on this date.

Malory wrote this classic tale of knightly love and chivalry while in prison for armed assault and rape.

July 31, 1945 -
Wearing a stolen army uniform, prisoner John Giles attempted to escape from Alcatraz island by boarding an outbound cargo boat. But instead of San Francisco, the vessel heads for Angel Island, where Giles was promptly captured.

When attempting your escape from prison, do not attempt to save money by purchasing a round trip ticket. Please confirm that you have boarded the correct escape craft.

It was on this day in 1954 that human feet first stood upon the summit of Pakistan's K2 mountain, the second-tallest mountain in the world.

K2 was known to the Chinese as "Great Mountain" and to Indian and Pakistani locals as "That Big Thing Over There." It was not until 1856, when T.G. Montgomerie of Britain's Survey of India was logging the mountains of the Karakorum range, that it was dubbed K2. This helped distinguish it from K1, to its left, and K3, to its right.

(K1 was later named Mount Masherbrum. K3 moved to Arizona, where Jan Brewer believes the mountain is hiding under an assumed name.)

It was an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio that first succeeded in ascending to the peak of K2. Team members Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni achieved that distinction on July 31, 1954.

The summit wasn't reached again until 1977, when a Japanese team with more than 1500 porters found their way to the top.

The first American expedition reached the top in 1978 without the aid of any stinking porters.

July 31, 1948
At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport was dedicated by President Harry Truman on this date.

A 30 year old Congressman John F. Kennedy suddenly has a blinding headache that day and doesn't know why.

July 31, 1966 -
Beatles records were burned in Birmingham, Alabama on this date -- only because John Lennon innocently declared that the band happens to be "more popular than Jesus."

The record burning of course has the opposite effect, as sales of Beatles records dramatically increase (in part to burn them.)

July 31, 1966 -
Charles Whitman, as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, wounded 30 and kills 16 on this date, before being killed by police.

Two years later, Peter Bogdanovich directs his first film, Targets, based of the the Whitman slayings.

Roger Corman told Peter Bogdanovich he could make any film he wanted to, with two conditions: he had to use stock footage from The Terror, and he had to hire Boris Karloff for two days (Karloff was under contract and owed Corman those two days). Karloff was so impressed with the script that he refused pay for any shooting time over his contracted two days. He worked for a total of five days on the movie.

July 31, 1971 -
Don't go, there's a lovely Earth out evening....

One of the most expensive car rides occurred on this date, when James B. Irwin and David R. Scott took the Lunar Roving Vehicle or "Moon Buggy" on it's premiere jaunt on the surface of the moon. 

July 31, 1976 -
NASA releases the famous Face on Mars photo taken by the Viking 1, on this date.

Later, after analysis of higher resolution photos from the Mars Global Surveyor, the face will be determined to be an optical illusion,

but until then, the face will spark imaginations and lead to rampant conspiracy theories.

July 31, 1980 (I'm now going with 1980 and not getting involved in the 1979 controversy)-
Harry Potter, an orphan who discovers that he is a wizard was born on this dates. J K Rowlings, the Harry Potter brand author, shares a birthday with her creation, who has made her a billionaire.

Last year on this date, she was listed as the world's wealthiest author.  Who knew an orphaned kid with a facial birthmark could make someone so much money?

And so it goes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't need reason, don't need rhyme

Once again, I wish I could be this clever - real life trumps me again

The Satanic Temple wants to spread their message by the adopt-a-highway program in New York City where they will maintain voluntary beautification of a stretch of public highway for at least 2 years by way of litter cleanup and landscaping.

Remember, the road to hell is now cleaned by good intentions.

Flowers and Trees is a 1932 Silly Symphonies cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by Burt Gillett and released to theatres by United Artists on this date. It was the first commercially released film to be produced in the full-color three-strip Technicolor process, after several years of two-color Technicolor films.

The original work was started in black and white. The black and white footage was scrapped when the decision was made to try Technicolor.

July 30, 1966 -
The Dynamic Duo make the jump from the TV scene to the movie scene - Batman, The Movie, premiered in Austin, Texas on this date.

The movie was originally intended to be an introduction to the TV series. When the series wound up being produced and aired months ahead of schedule, the movie was made to cash in on the show's popularity.

July 30, 1982 -
One of Ron Howard's early movie directorial efforts Night Shift, premiered on this date.

The fraternity having the party in the morgue is Delta Tau Chi (seen on the wall) which is the same fraternity as in Animal House.

Today in History:
Prague has always been a tough town for elected officials.

On July 30, 1419, Jan Zelivsky, a Hussite priest at the church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, led his congregation on a procession through the streets of Prague to the Town Hall. The town council members had refused to exchange their Hussite prisoners, and an anti-Hussite threw a rock at one of the protesters. Enraged, the crowd stormed the town hall and threw seven of the council members from the windows onto the spears of the armed congregation below. Thus, the First Defenestration of Prague occurred.

Less you think that was the only defenestration in that tough old town, at Prague Castle on May 23, 1618, an assembly of Protestants tried two Imperial governors, Wilhelm Grav Slavata (1572 - 1652) and Jaroslav Borzita Graf Von Martinicz (1582 - 1649), for violating the Letter of Majesty (Right of Freedom of Religion), found them guilty, and threw them, together with their scribe Philip Fabricius, out of the high windows of the Bohemian Chancellery. They landed on a large pile of manure and all survived unharmed. Philip Fabricius was later ennobled by the emperor and granted the title "von Hohenfall" (lit. translating to "of Highfall").

Apparently, the streets of Prague were literally full of crap.

But what there were more, a defenestration (chronologically the Second Defenestration of Prague) happened on September 24, 1483, when a violent overthrow of the municipal governments of the Old and New Towns ended with throwing the Old-Town portreeve and the bodies of seven killed aldermen out of the windows of the respective townhalls.

Sometimes, the name the Third Defenestration of Prague is used, although it has no standard meaning. For example, it has been used to describe the death of Jan Masaryk, who was found under the bathroom window of the building of the Czechoslovakian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 10, 1948, allegedly murdered by Communists, though the official Communist line claimed this to be a suicide.

It's tough to be an elected official in Prague.

So, here are some quick rules for avoiding defenestration:

7. Don't throw stones at angry mobs.
6. Watch out for Catholics.
5. Watch out for Protestants.
4. Don't piss off really powerful people.
3. Surround tall buildings with piles of manure.
2. Never go to Prague.

And, of course,

1. Never go indoors.

Again, it's a tough town for politicians but it's the gravy train for glazers.

July 30, 1729 -
Happy Birthday Crab Cake Capital of the World

The city of Baltimore was founded on this date and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert).

July 30, 1818 -
It's Emily Bronte's birthday.

The Brontes were three hideous sisters who dwelt in a cave and had to share a single eyeball between them. They were eventually outwitted and slain by wily Odysseus. (Unless that was the Gorgons, in which case the Emily Brontes were three Englishwomen who wrote poetry and novels in the middle nineteenth century.)

Women were not allowed to write books at the time because novels were still being written in the formal style, and it was feared that women would corrupt that classic form with their penchant for multiple climaxes. The Brontes therefore wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Charlotte got to be Currer and this made the other girls jealous: Currer was the handsome and swarthy sailor, while Ellis was the stuttering librarian and Acton was the simpleminded shepherd.

As authors, the Emily Brontes were heavily influenced by the Romantics (That's What I Like About You), but most scholars contend that Emily's Wuthering Heights owes more to the Meteorologists.

She is perhaps best known for her invention of Heathcliff, most recently popularized by American cartoonist George Gately.

July 30, 1871 -
The boiler on the Staten Island Ferry Westfield exploded, killing as many as 100 people and  injured hundreds of others as well, on this date.

The ferry was owned by the president of the Staten Island Railway, Jacob Vanderbilt, who was arrested for murder, but was not convicted.

July 30, 1938 -
In his Dearborn, Michigan office Henry Ford proudly accepts a Nazi medal on his 75th birthday, on this date. The Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle was the highest award the Reich can bestow on foreigners. The medal arrives with a note of personal greetings from Adolf Hitler.

A rabid anti-semite, Ford paid for copies of the racist hoax Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion to be deposited in major U.S. libraries.

Hopefully, there isn't a Ford in your future.

July 30, 1947 -
As the 'Siegfried' leitmotif from Act III of Wagner's opera played in the background - Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last gasp of the dream of the Aryan 'Uperman', was spawned on this date.

I'm not quite sure that an overly greased muscle man in a speedo (who would become the governor of a bankrupt US state and fathered children out of wed-lock ) was what Hitler had in mind, but who knows.

July 30, 1975 -
Jimmy Hoffa was or wasn't killed on this date.

Jimmy is or isn't buried somewhere in the Meadowlands or a horse farm or was made into ground meat and consumed at some very unfortunate barbecue (the FBI still continue to try to sort it all out.)

And so it goes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rum, the lash and sodomy, brought to you by Walt Disney!

July 29, 1950 -
RKO pictures released Walt Disney's production of Treasure Island on this date. This was the first live action movie by Disney.

Walt Disney started the project when postwar restrictions stopped him from transferring profits from his cartoons out of Great Britain. Rather than set up a new animation studio, he used the profits and existing facilities to produce a conventional film.

July 29, 1957 -
Jack Paar took over as new host of The Jack Paar Tonight Show on this date. Paar brought the show back to its in-studio interview format.

More a conversationalist than comedian, audiences were drawn to Paar's show because of the interesting guests be brought on, from entertainers to politicians, and for the controversy that occasionally erupted there.

July 29, 1959 -
Another campy cult classic William Castle flick, The Tingler opens on this date.

This is one of the earliest films to depict an LSD trip.

July 29, 1965 -
The Beatles movie Help! premiered in London on this date.

The scenes set in the Bahamas and the Alps were written expressly to satisfy the Beatles' demands for both a sunny, tropical locale and a skiing holiday, respectively. Another reason for filming in the Bahamas was the tax-breaks it offered, and Cavalcade Productions was formed there to receive the Beatles' appearance fees.

Today in History:
July 29, 1588 -
Phillip II of Spain sent his armadillo to invade England. This Spanish armadillo was defeated by the belly-buttons of Lord Howard and Sir Francis Drake in one of the greatest navel engagements of all time.

The defeat altered the balance of power in Europe irreversibly and marked the last use of armadillos in navel warfare.

July 29, 1900 -
Italian King Umberto I thought he was have a good day. It was a warm summer evening and he had just finished distributing prizes to athletes after a sporting competition. Umberto got back into his carriage and Gaetano Bresci, an Italian-born anarchist who had resided in America, burst from the crowd brandishing a revolver and fired four times, killing the king instantly.

The murder was believed to be due to the king’s decision to fire cannon rounds into a crowd of starving peasants and workers that had assembled asking the king for assistance; 100s were killed; Bresci was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to a life of hard labor at Santo Stefano Prison on Ventotene Island. Humbert was succeeded by his son, Victor Emmanuel III. After serving less than a year of his life sentence, Bresci was found dead in his cell, in extremely suspicious circumstances.

July 29, 1921 -
The Council on Foreign Relations was incorporated in New York City on this date by a group of bankers and other influential people, including John D Rockefeller. The CFR remains a vital component of the New World Order, and is surpassed in importance only by the Trilateral Commission.

Now that you have this information, you know too much and you'll probably have to be killed.

July 29, 1921 -
Adolf Hitler was selected as leader of the National Socialist Party on this date.

I'm guessing there are still some Germans of a certain age that have regrets concerning this election.

July 29, 1945 -
After delivering parts of the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian, the cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk by the I-58 Japanese submarine around midnight on this date.

Some 900 survivors jumped into the sea and were adrift for 4 days. Nearly 600 died before help arrived. Most of its crew was ravaged by sharks.

Talk about karma.

July 29, 1958 -
President Eisenhower stopped playing golf long enough to signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created NASA on this date.

Richard Nixon immediately gave Ike a rum toddy and let him take his afternoon nap.

July 29, 1968 -
Pope Paul VI issues encyclical Humanae Vitae, prohibiting all unnatural forms of birth control.

This did not please many practicing Catholics, although it answers the age-old question ever priest knows - Altar boys can't get pregnant.

July 29, 1974 -
Cass Elliot (Ellen Naomi Cohen,) a very large part of The Mamas and the Papas, died in London on this date.

Although initial reports ascribe the cause of death to choking on a ham sandwich, in actuality it was a heart attack.

July 29, 1981
Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in an internationally televised ceremony at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London, England on this date.

They were divorced in 1996. She was dead by 1997 and he married his long time tampon holder in 2005.

Hey, fairy tales don't always have happy endings.

July 29, 1987
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream introduces their Cherry Garcia flavor, named after the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, on this date.

For a month following the musician's death in 1995, the ice cream was made with black cherries instead of Bing Cherries as a show of mourning.

And so it goes.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Better late than never

(Just got back and am just able to post)

It's Milk Chocolate Day today. In 2000, chocolate consumption was 3.323 billion lbs; in 2010, chocolate consumption was 3.616 billion lbs. If you don't keep this increase in chocogorging, the terrorist have won.

(Psst, I've mentioned this before - it is a conspiracy organized by a large Mid Western Syndicate of Big Sugar corporations and dentists.)

July 28, 1948 -
Bud and Lou's biggest box-office success, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, opened on this date, (this was one of my favorite childhood films.)

Marks the first time Universal-International stopped using the effective but lengthy application time of make-up artist Jack P. Pierce for the monster make-up, using Bud Westmore and Jack Kevan's more cost-effective rubber appliances. The rubber head appliance that Glenn Strange wore to play the Frankenstein monster fitted him so tightly that, after a few hours under the hot lights, he could shake his head and hear the sweat rattling around inside it.

July 28, 1954 -
The Elia Kazan classic, On the Waterfront, premiered in New York on this date.

Elia Kazan was loath to do business with Darryl F. Zanuck who had insisted on multiple cuts on Man on a Tightrope. Fortunately when Kazan and writer Budd Schulberg met with Zanuck, he started talking about widescreen Technicolor pictures. Zanuck eventually came clean and said he didn't like a single thing about it, stating "Who's going to care about a bunch of sweaty longshoremen?" This led Kazan and Schulberg to meet with independent producer Sam Spiegel who set up a deal with Columbia.

July 28, 1954 -
One of Bogart's best late work, The Caine Mutiny, premiered in New York on this date. (Bogart was already seriously ill with esophageal cancer, although it would not be diagnosed until January 1956.)

This marked a spectacular comeback for director Edward Dmytryk, formerly one of the "Hollywood Ten" who had been jailed for contempt of Congress and for lying under oath while being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee because of his former membership in the American Communist party. The irony should not be lost on anyone that this film and Kazan's On the Waterfront opened on the same date.

Today in History:
July 28, 1540 -
King Henry VIII married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard on this date.

To celebrate his nuptials, Henry had his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, executed.

It must have been some reception.

July 28, 1794 -
Maximilien "The Incorruptible" Robespierre who had dominated the Committee of Public Safety during the 'Reign of Terror,' was having an extremely bad day. The day before, lobsters throughout France grew tired of his dictatorial ways and staged the Coup of Thermidor, relieving him of his power.

Maximilien Robespierre was relieved of his head and guillotined for having ravaged the French meteorological cycle with his nefarious Rain of Terror on this date.

July 28, 1835 -
King Louis Philippe of France survived an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Maria Fieschi, who rigged 25 guns together and fired them all with the pull of a single trigger, killing approximately 18 people but not his intended target

Fieschi was wounded in the attack and the King spared no expense in tending to the injuried of his trigger happy would be assassin. Once Fieschi was deemed medically fit, he was tried, condemned to death and was guillotined on February 19, 1836.

Perhaps he should have spent more time on the practice range.

July 28, 1841 -
James Boulard and Henry Mallin pull the decomposed body of a young woman from the Hudson River near Hoboken, New Jersey. Mary Cecilia Rogers, who worked at a popular cigar store, is initially thought to have been killed in the course of a brutal gang rape, but ultimately it seems more likely that she died from a botched abortion.

Years later, novelist Edgar Allen Poe adapts the sensational news story about "The Beautiful Cigar Girl" into the short story The Mystery of Marie Roget.

July 28, 1914 -
One month after the recent assassination of the Archduck Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, on this date.

World War One was underway. In just four years, it would claim 8.5 million lives and leave 21.2 million wounded, and lay the groundwork for an eventual rematch.

Sometimes family feuds just get out of hand.

July 28, 1945 -
A US Army B-25 bomber crashes into the Empire State Building between the 78th and 79th floors. An engine plunges down an elevator shaft, sparking a fire in the basement. Eleven people in the building are killed, in addition to the three man bomber crew. Elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a plunge of 75 stories inside an elevator, which still stands as the Guinness World Record for the longest survived elevator fall recorded.

And as of this morning, it's still standing.

(And folks - Please, this clip doesn't prove or disprove any 9/11 Conspiracies.)

July 28, 1957 -
A C-124 Globemaster II cargo plane of the US Air Force left Dover AFB in Delaware, carrying three nuclear weapons jettisons its precious cargo into the Atlantic, somewhere east of Delaware and New Jersey, on this date. The bombs are never recovered.

Remember every time you go to a beach off the Jersey Shore, a 200 foot radioactive mutant Blue Crab is lurking. Either that or Governor Christie is skinny-dipping again.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I'm hunting wabbits.

July 27, 1940 -
Bugs Bunny made his debut in a cartoon called A Wild Hare, on this day. Warner Brothers' writers and animators set out to make a rabbit who would be the epitome of cool. They modeled bugs on Groucho Marx with a carrot instead of a cigar. Mel Blanc gave him a Brooklyn accent.

There are at least two conflicting stories as to who came up with the "What's up, Doc?" line. Tex Avery claimed that he based the line on an expression used by his friends in Texas. However, Mel Blanc claimed that it was an ad-lib that he came up with while recording the dialogue.

July 27, 1949 -
Mighty Joe Young, an RKO Radio Picture made by the same creative team responsible for King Kong, premiered in New York City on this date.

When Mighty Joe Young gets frustrated, he pounds the ground with his fist. Ray Harryhausen was inspired to do this by the scene from King Kong where Kong pushes open the gates, then forcefully brings his hand down.

(I'm no longer going to direct you to Terry Moore's photo spread in Playboy.  You go on ahead and find it yourself.)

July 27, 1978 -
National Lampoon's Animal House, the grandfather of all gross-out comedies, premiered in New York City on this date. (Toga party, anyone?)

The movie concludes by describing each character's fate. Neidermeyer was "killed in Vietnam by his own troops." In director John Landis' segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, some soldiers are overheard discussing "fragging Neidermeyer."

July 27, 1983 -
Little Tommy's break out film, Risky Business, opened on this date. This film is not, as usually noted, an above average teenage sex comedy but the precursor to 'Greed is Good' mantra that sunk this country for years to come.

In an effort for Tom Cruise to look more "teenage" in appearance, the producers of Risky Business put him though an unusual bit of physical training. Cruise worked out 7 days a week in order to lose ten pounds. Once that had been accomplished, he immediately ceased working out and ate extremely fatty foods in order to add a layer of baby fat. This is how he achieved that "fresh-faced" teenage look.

July 27, 1984 -
Warner Bros. gift to an unsuspecting world, Purple Rain, starring Prince, premiered on this date.

Albert Magnoli filmed a second love scene that was not included in the final cut of the film. This scene has special meaning because it contains the actual illusion of the purple rain. A snippet of this scene is included in the theatrical trailer for the film as well as the When Doves Cry montage. This scene, as well as the other deleted footage that led up to it, is also outlined in the film's screenplay found on various websites.

(you may put your arms down now and resume your day.)

Today in History:
July 27, 1586 -
Sir Walter Raleigh and some of his men returned to England and disembarked at Plymouth smoking tobacco from pipes, which caused a sensation, on this date.

William Camden, a contemporary witness, reports that "These men who were thus brought back were the first that I know of that brought into England that Indian plant which they call Tabacca and Nicotia, or Tobacco" Tobacco in the Elizabethan age was known as "sotweed."

President Johnson celebrated this momentous date in history by signed the 1965 Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act; required cigarette makers to print health warnings on all cigarette packages about the effects of smoking on this date (in 1965.)

July 27, 1890 -
At the Chateau d'Auvers, Vincent van Gogh presses a revolver to his chest and pulls the trigger. Somehow the bullet misses the vital organs, and the painter manages to stumble over to a friend's house.

The following night, Van Gogh dies of an infection in the arms of his brother Theo.  (Or did he)

July 27, 1953 -
The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on this date. It was a war that began in June 1950 when North Korea invaded the south. Almost 35,000 Americans were killed in the conflict, more than 5,000 captured or went missing. A corporal in the 1st Marine Division named Anthony Ebron said, "Those last few days were pretty bloody. Each time we thought the war was over we'd go out and fight again. The day it ended we shot off so much artillery that the ground shook. Then, that night, the noise just stopped. We knew it was over."

Harry Truman said that if he had signed the same armistice, the Republicans would have drawn and quartered him, but Dwight D. Eisenhower had run for president on the platform that he would end the war, and when he was elected, that's what he did.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform the North Koreans that they, in fact, signed the armistice, because technically, they are still at war with someone.

July 27, 1980 -
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, died of lymphatic cancer in Cairo on this date.

Maybe we can borrow Mr. Peabody's wayback machine and send the former Shah somewhere else for his surgery other than New York–Weill Cornell Medical Hospital.

July 27, 1996 -
During a celebration for the Atlanta Olympics, security guard Richard Jewell notices a suspicious green knapsack in Centennial Park. He immediately alerts police and helps to clear people from the area shortly before the pipe bomb explodes. For his trouble, Jewell becomes the FBI's preliminary suspect and news organizations run wild with the story.

Because he didn't do it, numerous media outlets end up paying him large undisclosed settlements. Eric Rudolph was later charged with the bombing. He was arrested May 31, 2003. Rudolph later pleaded guilty to the bombing.

And so it goes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Attack of the Cannibal Lobsters

Global warming is having a strange effect on the lobster population - it's increasing their number and it's making them eat their own.

The take away here is - don't swim in the waters around Maine.

Winsor McCay, an American cartoonist and animator, died on this date in 1934. A prolific artist, McCay's pioneering early animated films far outshone the work of his contemporaries, and set a standard followed by Walt Disney and others in later decades.

His two best-known creations are the newspaper comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ran from 1905 to 1914, and the animated cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur, which he created in 1914.

July 26, 1943 -
Michael Philip Jagger, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, occasional film producer and actor, was born on this date.

Remind yourself - he has 4 grandkids, (one of whom is 17) and a 14 year old son.

July 26, 1951 -
Walt Disney's 13th animated feature, Alice in Wonderland, premiered in the UK and New York City on this date.

Continuing the pattern of film versions of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" not being commercially successful, this movie was a huge box office failure. However, it did become something of a cult film during the 1960s, where it was viewed as a "head film". Several years later it became the Disney studio's most requested 16mm film rental title for colleges and private individuals. In 1974, the studio took note of this fact, withdrew the rental prints, and reissued the film nationally themselves

Today in History:
July 26, 1753 -
Professor Georg Wilhelm Richmann, German physicist, died of electrocution in St. Petersburg, Russia on this date. He was attending a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, when he heard thunder. The Professor ran home with his engraver to capture the event for posterity. While the experiment was underway, a supposed ball lightning appeared and collided with Richmann's head leaving him dead in a red spot. His shoes were blown open, parts of his clothes singed, the engraver knocked out; the doorframe of the room was split, and the door itself torn off its hinges.

Beside not telling him that hemlock was poison, his mother did not sit Little Georg upon her knee and tell him about the evils of electricity. He was apparently the first person in history to die while conducting electrical experiments.

July 26, 1775 -
The Continental Congress establishes a postal system for the colonies with Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general in Philadelphia.

Franklin also established the standardized method of charging for mail delivery based on weight and distance.

July 26, 1826 -
Schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoll was hanged in Valencia, after uttering his last words: "I die reconciled to God and to man," on this date. He was the last person executed by the Spanish Inquisition.

Gee, I guess at that point everybody should have expected the Spanish Inquisition. (I promise I won't mention the Inquisition for a while.)

July 26, 1947 -
President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, creating the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The act forbade the CIA from operating within the US.

With the PRISM surveillance program, that's not quite working out at the moment, is it?

July 26, 1956 -
A little more than 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm, the Italian liner Andrea Doria, carrying 1,134 passengers and 572 crew, sank off New England coast.

46 people on the Andrea Doria and 5 crew members of the Stockholm died as a result of the crash. The SS Ile de France had been near the collision site and was able to assist in the rescue of many of the passengers of the Andrea Doria.  Within four years, the Ile de France was used as a floating prop for the nautical disaster film, The Last Voyage, which had some plot similarities to the disaster involving the Italian liner SS Andrea Doria.

July 26,1959   -
There was a partial nuclear reactor meltdown at Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, on this date. Little known outside of the area, the nuclear accident released far more radiation that the Three Mile Island accident.

A report in 2006 said it may have caused hundreds of cases of cancer in the community, and that chemicals threatened to contaminate ground and water.

July 26, 1984 -
Serial killer, cannibal and flesh suit wearer Ed Gein died at the Mendota Mental Health Institute, a home for the criminally insane on this date.

Gein inspired the films Psycho and Silence of the Lambs.  Kiddies, please follow this advice from the Doctor - don't check out some of the true crime scene photos attached to Mr. Gein's name unless you'd like the truly grizzly.

July 26, 1991 -
Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) was arrested in Florida, for exposing himself at the South Trail XXX Cinema on this date.

Following the incident, Reubens lost his children's television show and product endorsements. But Pee Wee is back. Maybe he could to give Mr. Weiner a call for a pep talk and some career advice.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

This could be the most racist representative in Congress

Rep. Steve King (R. Iowa) told a conservative web site that for every young illegal immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) were quick to condemned King on Tuesday.

It used to be St. Christopher's Day on this date. 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.

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 will go on to become one of the most famous of the Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons, and in 2003, after many years of cult status, it will be briefly spun off into its own animated series.

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

Bill Murray improvised the "Cinderella story" sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to emulate a kid announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of 'mums' and did the scene in one take.

Today in History:
July 25, 1689 -
King Louis XIV of France declared war on Britain 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 pounds, 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 yet to mature.)

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 withdrawl of principle.

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,  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 -
America the Beautiful.

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.

Before I let you go - do you have an unnatural craving for a brilliant encapsulation of Victor Hugo's epic tale of life during the French Revolution by Scottish cotton hosiery speaking in a high whiny voice - let it be satisfied

Les Miserables by the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is only one in a series of clips by the group. 

Once again, life is worth living!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thank you Science Guy!

The guys at ASAP Science have Bill Nye explain an urgent question - Could We Stop An Asteroid?

Hopefully they will ask Bill about the flavor of chewing gum left on the bedpost at night?

Breaking news story - Dildos were hunted to extinction!

And Anthony Weiner is being lambasted?

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, 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.

Mel Blanc creates the sound of the Martian's bugle by simultaneously vocalizing and squeezing his hands together in rhythm.

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 were the second choice to play the Future Villain Band. KISS were 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.  (What a wise choice.)

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

All the principal actors underwent several days of grueling army training - except for Matt Damon, who was spared so that the other actors would resent him, and would convey that resentment in their performances.

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.

312 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 very ashamed of the on-going 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 rolls 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 capitalism

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.

Before I let you go, here's another reason to live - Walk Us Uptown; an early release from the forthcoming album, Wise Up Ghost and other songs, featuring Elvis Costello and The Roots -

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This could get great ratings

PBS has created a series of very clever commercials about faux reality TV series to show the sad state of affair of regular TV.

You know there are people looking for the series on their local station.

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

Legendary Country star Glen Campbell, who was then a session musician for hire, played rhythm guitar on this track. He recalled to The Daily Telegraph October 9, 2008 that he was so dumbstruck by being in the presence of the master that he couldn't stop staring at him. "Frank asked [the producer] Jimmy Bowen, 'Who's the fag guitarist over there?' I told him I'd slap him if he said that again."

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 refuses 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 persuades 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 & 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 (Garfield 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 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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sometimes, even rank does not have its' privilege

In the newest Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry grabs a cup of joe with Chris Rock.

You know that Chris wasn't kidding that was happy he had a very rich, famous, white guy in the car with him.

Spoonerisms are usually a two-word phrase in which the first letters (and occasionally the initial vowels) of the words are reversed.  July 22nd is Spooner's Day, honoring Reverend William Archibald Spooner, a 19th Century British clergyman, who was born on this date in 1844.

Reverend Spooner was adept at the art of the oopsy linguae, or misspeak. As a result, certain verbal miscues have been tagged Spoonerisms.

July 22, 1964 -
One of Hitchcock's most underrated (and sexually twisted) films, Marnie premiered on this date.

Alfred Hitchcock was loathe to use a mechanical horse to film the shots of Marnie riding, but sent a crew member to inspect a mechanical horse owned by Disney that was supposed to be the best in existence. Walt Disney spotted the crew member on the Disney lot and personally offered to let Hitchcock use it, which he did.

July 22, 1967 -
The Toho Studio released King Kong Escapes, directed by Ishiro Honda in Japan on this date.

Two costumes of King Kong were made. The arms of the first costume were very long, so Haruo Nakajima's hands did not reach those of the costume. He had to grasp onto sticks that were attached to the hands of the costume. He wore a second costume with shorter arms whenever they were shooting footage of King Kong battling other monsters.

July 22, 1982 -
It's a big 31th anniversary for over 2000 couples who were married by Rev. Moon in NYC on this date in Madison Square Garden.

As far as I can find out, nearly 75% of the couples are still married (although, perhaps not to each other.)

Today in History:
July 22, 1587 -
Roanoke, the colony founded by Sir Walter Raleigh, might have gone missing on this date.

Recent development point to the fact that the inhabitants of Roanoke didn't go missing, they appear to have originated the joke that after certain people left, everyone else moved and didn't leave a forwarding address.

July 22, 1933 -
Wiley Post (who possessed his flying license signed by Orville Wright) took off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York City and traveled 15,596 miles over a period of 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes and became the first person to fly solo around the world on this date.

Post lands back at Floyd Bennett Field in New York, completing the first round-the-world solo flight. His return was greeted by some 50,000 people.

July 22, 1934 -
John Dillinger was shot dead outside Chicago's Biograph Theatre,on this date in history. And one of the most bizarre urban legends is born.

According to the rumor, J Edgar Hoover, pug ugly head of the FBI and notorious transvestite, rushes to Chicago to see the corpse himself. Dillinger, Public Enemy No. 1, was a ladies man and was reported to be very specially endowed.

Hoover, after viewing the nude lifeless body of Dillinger in the morgue, orders Dillinger's member to be removed and preserved as a 'specimen' for his private files.

Rumors of Hoover's trophy dogged him for the rest of his life. He even went to the extraordinary step of stating sometime in the late '60's that he "did not now nor even have Dillinger's privates in a jar". His comments were not taken seriously as he was wearing a size 28 Dior outfit with matching handbag (and Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge) at the time.

The Smithsonian museum is still flooded with requests annually to view this 'special exhibition'.

July 22, 1951 -
It's the first episode of Dogs In Space

Two Russian dogs, Dezik and Tsygan, were the first canines to make a sub-orbital flight in history on this date.

The Russian space program used dogs quite often to determine whether a particular space mission would be safe for humans. Little know fact: the real reason Nikita Khrushchev slammed his shoe on the desk in the UN - Khrushchev had just been passed a note about a ten year investigation of Tsygan's over-familiarity with his shoe.

At the time of his death on this date in 1982, King Sobhuza II was the longest-reigning monarch in the world. His death also established him as the most recently-deceased monarch in the world. Today he is on a long list of continuously dead rulers.

Sobhuza began his career as Paramount Chief of the Swazi in 1921, but was not recognized as king by Great Britain, which ran the nation as a protectorate, until 1967. (The forgetful Brits have a long history of failing to recognize kings, perhaps owing to the difficulty of seeing clearly in the London fog.)

The Brits wrote a Constitution before they left, but Sobhuza did not discover it until 1973, at which point he discarded it on the grounds of its being British. Five years later he implemented a better Constitution that, surprisingly enough, left all political power in his own hands.

He died in 1982. The Constitution declared that he should be succeeded by one of his children, which seemed simple at first but was complicated by the revelation of his having had over 600 children. (Apparently he had time on his hands for more than political power.) It took four years to find the right son, and King Mswati III has reigned ever since.

And so it goes.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

So, you think it's been a tad hot lately?

The heatwave seems to have been finally broken but here's a little fact that should cool you right down:   The Earth's record lowest temperature was recorded.on this date in 1983. Scientists at the Vostok Station in Antarctica measured the temperature at -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-89.2 degrees Celsius).

Are you up for an adventure?  Heineken USA sponsored a great little game at JFK airport recently - Departure Roulette.  Hit the red button and see where Heineken is going to send you.

I guess it could be fun - unless you had to go to Detroit.

It's National Junk Food Day - Eat whatever the hell you want.

It doesn't really matter what you eat - at some point, you'll be dead.

July 21, 1951 -
Robin McLaurim Williams, actor and comedian, was born on this date (or was it 1952.)

Robin is set to return to network tv this fall with the tv series The Crazy Ones co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Today in History:
July 21, 365 -
Earthquake destroys the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, causing the sea to recede and then re-enter the city with tremendous force. Many of those not killed by collapsing buildings were drowned. Fifty thousand die.

It was not a good day in Ole Alexandria

July 21, 1730 -
Holland established the death penalty for acts of sodomy on this date.

I've often said, this is what comes from trolls and the lack of proper lubricant.

July 21, 1899 -
Ernest Hemingway was born on this date. He was young at the time of his birth. It was fine to be young.

He drove an ambulance in the first world war. It wasn't called the first world war then. It was called the war. It was one of those times when people shot at each other. When people were shooting at each other they didn't have time to worry about what to call it. It was only afterwards that they needed to call it something. "What should we call that time when we were shooting at each other?"

"Let's call it the Great War."


It was a good ambulance. It was long and white. It had flashing lights and a siren that went "wee-ooo, wee-ooo." He liked that.

After the war he lived in Paris. A lot of Americans lived in Paris after the war, but only a few of them had ever driven an ambulance. In the 30s he went to Spain. He was a journalist. They were having a war.

They called it the Spanish Civil War. It was started by an Evil Stoogie named General Franco on July 18, 1936. It was a test drive to see whether or not they should have World War II. They had fascists and socialists and anarchists. They even drank sangria. People shot at each other.

(General Franco finally gave up power on July 19, 1974, because he was sick. Maybe he had always been sick. It is sometimes hard to understand sickness. Maybe we are not meant to understand it.)

Later Hemingway lived in Cuba. He liked to fish. He liked to drink. He thought all men should fish. He wrote stories about fishing. Finally he blew his brains out at his home in Idaho. It was July 2, 1961.

He had written a lot of books but now he was dead.

July 21, 1919 -
The Wingfoot Air Express (owned by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company) caught fire and crashed into the Illinois Trust and Savings Building in Chicago, 13 people were killed. This was the worst Airship disaster in the USA until the Zeppelin Airship, Hindenburg crashed in 1937.

Of the 13 who died: one was a crew member, two were passengers whilst the remaining 10 were bank employees in the building below.

July 21, 1925 -
The so-called "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T. Scopes convicted of violating state law for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.

Scopes was found guilty and was fined $100. The conviction was later overturned on the technicality that the judge had set the fine rather than the jury.

July 21, 1972 -
In Milwaukee, George Carlin was arrested for obscenity and disorderly conduct for performing his "Seven Dirty Words" routine on a Summerfest stage in Milwaukee. (Tits is still the funniest.)

He was released after posting $150 bail.

July 21, 1981 -
Mark David Chapman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting of John Lennon. His only response is to read a passage from Catcher in the Rye.

I can only wish, in between bouts of forced sodomy with irate Beatle fans (without the proper lubricant,) Mr. Chapman has had a chance to rethink his crime.

And so it goes.

I'm not using the wayback machine at the moment - why not take a trip back to 1984 with this appearance by the Talking Heads in a BBC documentary?