Sunday, November 30, 2014

Folks, there's an important lesson here.

A mom turned her back and here's what happened.

Remember to lock the front door.

November 30, 1971 -
The TV movie that makes 'real men' weep unabashedly, Brian's Song debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

Louis Gossett Jr. was originally cast as Gale Sayers. Just days before shooting began, Gossett tore his Achilles' tendon while working out for the film. The studio execs scrambled, and quickly hired Billy Dee Williams as a replacement. Gossett, depressed over missing his "shot," was promised by producer David L. Wolper the first great role that came along. About six years later, Wolper called Gossett to play "Fiddler" in Roots, the Emmy-winning role that made him a star.

November 30, 1979 -
Pink Floyd
released its album The Wall on this date.

Syd Barrett had a great influence on the other band members even after he left.  In the movie The Wall, several scenes are inspired from actual events involving Syd. In the movie, the character Pink shaves off all his facial hair, including his eyebrows - something Syd once arrived to the studio having done himself.

November 30, 1990 -
Rob Reiner's
adaptation of Stephen King's thriller, Misery, premiered on this date.

After refusing to speak about his motivations for writing Misery for two decades, Stephen King finally came out and stated that it is indeed about his battle with substance abuse. Kathy Bates' character is a representation of his dependency on drugs and what it did to his body - making him feel alone, separated from everything, while hobbling any attempts he made at escape. In his statement he said he didn't come out with it at the time because he wasn't ready and because he was afraid it would detract from the story.

The focus of Today in History on this date should be used as a guide to help you realize the blessings you should find in life:

On November 30, 1935, the German government proclaimed a failure to accept the tenets of Nazism as grounds for divorce.

Be grateful you never married a Nazi.

Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667,

and Mark Twain was born exactly 170 years later, in 1835.

Be grateful that not everyone is taking everything so goddamn seriously.

Winston Churchill
(one of my favorite American who became British Prime Minister) was also born on November 30, in 1874, in a coat closet of his family home (really).

Be grateful that not everyone was so grateful for Peas In Our Time.

Otherwise, here are some other events that occurred on this date

November 30, 1900
Celebrated Irish author and noted sodomite Oscar Wilde, died in Paris of meningitis on this date. Wilde had been charged three times with indecency, specifically "the seduction and corruption of young men." Evidence admitted against him included testimony about fecal stains on his sheets.

Be thankful that we obviously have better cleaning detergents than the French did in 1900.

November 30, 1929 -
Dick Clark
, the American Bandstander, was born on this date.

Be thankful the few of us are faced with bargaining with Satan for our careers.

November 30, 1936 -
The Crystal Palace, originally built by Sir Joseph Paxton in London's Hyde Park for the 1851 Great Exhibition, burns to the ground on this date.

It was said that over 75,000 people came to watch the blaze, among them Winston Churchill, who said, "This is the end of an age". The glow was visible across eight counties.

Be thankful that you weren't down wind from this one.

November 30, 1954 -
At 1 pm, an 8.5 pound stone meteorite fell from the sky and struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges from Sylacauga, Alabama.  She was the first reported person in modern times to be struck by an object from outer space.

The housewife was seriously bruised but survived, although the meteorite destroyed her radio.

Oh the humanity!

And so it goes

There are 16 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 25 days until Christmas.

For those of you playing the home game, you may open the first window in your calendar (but the chocolate probably isn't very good.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

You'd like to have a nose like that full of nickels, wouldn't you?

You're probably exhausted from the various Black Friday Armageddons you waded through yesterday.  Hopefully you've a little money left to support Small Business Saturday - the day set aside to celebrate the engines of the US economy.

Not to feel left out by the American cousins, in 2013, Small Business Saturday UK began in the UK after the success of Small Business Saturday in America. (Psst, if you have an AMEX card, check out the special deals for the day and I'm not even a paid spokesperson.)

November 29, 1940 -
W.C. Fields
at his peak, The Bank Dick, premiered on this date.

Universal's censors initially objected to W.C. Fields' script and demanded many changes. Director Edward F. Cline suggested that Fields should go ahead and film it their way, and that the front office wouldn't notice the difference. They didn't.

November 29, 1945 -
Remarkable for it frank portrayal of alcoholism (for it's day), The Lost Weekend, opened in Los Angeles on this date.

Upon completion, Billy Wilder confidently predicted that Ray Milland would win an Oscar for his performance. Ray Milland didn't give an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards when he picked up his Best Actor Oscar. He merely acknowledged the crowd's applause and then left the podium without saying anything.

November 29, 1950 -
Jean Cocteau's beautifully magical, Orphee, opened in the US on this date.

Orphee's obsession with deciphering hidden messages contained in random radio noise is a direct nod to the coded messages that the BBC concealed in their wartime transmissions for the French Resistance.

(We're running around like chickens without heads, hiding most of the mess in our house, trying to get ready for a party tonight; so it's another abbreviated post today and probably tomorrow, as well.)
Today in History:
November 29, 1777 -
José Joaquín Moraga
proved that he knew the way to San Jose on this date,

when he established, for Spain, el Pueblo de San Jose de Guadelupe, the first civil settlement in California.

November 29, 1864 -
The Sand Creek Massacre occurred, on this date, when Colorado volunteers led by Colonel John Chivington, in retaliation for an Indian attack on a party of immigrants near Denver, massacred at least 400 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants (mostly children, women, physically- and mentally-challenged, and elders) inside Colorado Territory.

It also generated two Congressional investigations into the actions of Chivington and his men. The House Committee on the Conduct of the War concluded that Chivington had "deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the varied and savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty."

The American Government has so much to be proud of with their dealings with the Native Americans.

November 29, 1929 -
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd (on a break from his experiments with frozen vegetables) radioed that he'd made the first airplane flight with pilot Floyd Bennett, over the South Pole: "My calculations indicate that we have reached vicinity of South Pole."

After briefly loitering around the Pole, Byrd and his crew headed back to their home base, Little America and more intense testing of frozen zucchini.

November 29, 1951 -
The United States set off the first underground nuclear explosion named "Uncle" at Frenchman Flats in Nevada on this date.

It was a great success, except for the giant spiders, ants, grasshoppers and other insects left in the aftermath.

November 29, 1961 -
The US sends the chimpanzee Enos into space, aboard the Mercury Atlas 5 capsule from Cape Canaveral on this date.

Enos returns to earth safely but died less than a year later before he can sign with the William Morris Agency.

November 29, 1972 -
, the first commercially successful video game, was released on this date by Nolan Bushnell (who was also the co-founder of the video game company, Atari.)

Pong is similar to digital tennis or ping-pong, and its great success was a big part of the early beginnings of the video game industry.

November 29, 1986 -
I do not think Cary Grant was a homosexual or bisexual. He just got carried away at those orgies
- US congressman Bob Dornan, spoken on the House floor  (I love that quote.)

82 year old Archibald Leach, better known as Cary Grant, died on this date.

November 29, 2001 -
The Beatles will exist without us.

The "quiet" Beatle George Harrison was silenced by cancer on this date.

November 29, 2004 -
received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this date.

In honor of the event, the Toho star was allowed to run rampant through Little Tokyo that afternoon.

And on a personal note:
Oh yeah, millions of years ago (or at least more than half a century ago) the earth cooled and formed a hard crust, huge dinosaurs ruled the land and John was there to see it all. Happy Birthday John.

About a decade later, vast plains with wildflowers sprung up and Mary skipped along them all. Happy Birthday Mary.

And so it goes

Friday, November 28, 2014

People will buy anything that is one to a customer.

You can ponder these Thanksgiving facts while you standing in line this morning, still digesting last nights meal

As most of you know, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year in the US.

I'm not quite sure you're going to get the best deals in the world today,

so why not sleep in (after you finish reading the blog of course.)

It's also National French Toast Day

Eating as much French Toast (pan perdu) as you can helps defeat the terrorist. It also helps absorb some of last nights alcohol.


November 28, 1943 -
Randall Stuart Newman
, singer/songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist was born on this date.

Newman has been nominated for twenty Academy Awards, winning twice. He has also won three Emmys, five Grammy Awards, and the Governor's Award from the Recording Academy.

November 28, 1944 -
Vincente Minnelli's gift to his future wife, Judy Garland, the musical film Meet Me In St. Louis, opened in NYC on this date.

Judy Garland scoffed at the idea of portraying yet another teenager (she was 21 when filming began) and wanted nothing to do with the film. Her mother even went to MGM chief Louis B. Mayer on her behalf. However, Vincente Minnelli convinced her to play the part of Esther Smith, and Judy later fell in love with the story. In her later years she considered it one of her favorite roles.

November 28, 1962
The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.

Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, comedian, television host, political satirist and America's most trusted newscaster, was born on this date.

Today in History -
Sorry boys and girls but it's not a pleasant day in history today -

November 28, 1942 -
A fire at the overcrowded and sleazy Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston, killed 491 people on this date. Flammable artificial palm trees aided the spread of the fire.

The numerous dead were crushed, burnt, and asphyxiated, all within minutes.

There's a lesson here boys and girl - sleazy nightclubs kill!!!

November 28, 1953 -
Frank Olson
, government scientist, has a particularly bad dream and jumped to his death from the Statler Hotel in New York City on this date.

It was later revealed in 1975 that Olson had been administered LSD by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb in a CIA experiment.

That really must have been one bad trip.

November 28, 1981 -
A drunken Natalie Wood toppled off her yacht near Catalina Island and drowned. Her husband Robert Wagner and melodramatic friend Christopher Walken, were on board and unaware of her predicament, apparently having some sort of argument in the cabin -

possibly about whether or not a drunken Natalie Wood could float (you know that's still an awful joke.)

November 28, 1994 -
Jeffrey Dahmer
was beaten to death with a broomstick by inmate Christopher Scarver while cleaning the prison bathroom.

Dahmer's brain was to be preserved in formaldehyde at the request of Mom, but a court ordered its destruction in late 1995.

There's yet another lesson here boys and girls, dirty prison bathrooms kill!!!

(Bunkies, here's a tip from your old pal - don't go poking around for photos about Jeffrey Dahmer, there are some sick pixs out there. I'm going to wash my eye balls.)

And so it goes

There are 18 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 27 days until Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's really like making a large chicken.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone

Remember, it's about 20 minutes per pound for a frozen turkey and 15 minute for a fresh one.

November 27 is also the Feast of St. Josaphat, a Middle Age prince who renounced his wealth to do charitable work.

Well, St. Josephat, turns out to be a Christianized version of a legend about Buddha (yeah Siddhārtha Gautama .) Funny, as the years slip by, I can remember some things but I don't remember them telling me that back at St. John's.

Oh, that wacky Catholic Church!

November 27, 1920
United Artists released the silent film The Mark of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks on this date. The film will go on to be extremely influential in the world of comics.

In the Golden Age of Comic Books, this was the film to which Thomas and Martha Wayne took their young son Bruce on the night that they were murdered in front of him in Gotham City in 1920.

November 27, 1948 -
You see what some ducks will do for money!

Another (less familiar) Daffy & Porky pairing, Riff Raffy Daffy, premiered on this date.

November 27, 1967 -
The Beatles released Magical Mystery Tour album the US on this date.

While the film bombed both times it appeared on British television, and was never broadcast by the US networks, it did become a modest success on the American midnight and college movie circuits in the 1970s. After the premiere showing on the BBC, Ringo Starr apparently rang up the BBC complaining that the poor ratings were due to them showing "this colorful film" in B/W. The BBC responded by transmitting again, this time in glorious color a few days later.

It still bombed.

November 27, 1980 -
The sitcom Bosom Buddies, staring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

(Yes, I know, this is not the original theme song - the production company lost the rights to the song.) In the summer of 1984 as Tom Hanks was becoming a household name thanks to the movie Splash, NBC bought the rights to the ABC sitcom and re-aired selected episodes to lead off their Saturday Night line-up.

Today in History:
November 27, 1852 -
Ada Lovelace
, daughter of Lord Byron, was bled to death to cure her uterine cancer on this date. (In a strange coincidence, her father was also bled to death to cure a fever.)

She is often thought of as the world's first computer programmer, due to her interest in mathematics and her work on Charles Babbage's analytical engine.

Alfred Nobel signed his last will, which established the Nobel Prize on this date in 1895. (Yes, this is the second reference to Alfred in the same week.)

Mr Nobel is interesting because his fortune was founded in large part on the commercial success of something he invented in 1866: dynamite. Dynamite proved so lucrative for Mr Nobel that he was able to spend most of the rest of his life blowing things up in the interests of world peace. World peace was not achieved in his lifetime, however, and he therefore endowed a foundation with millions of dollars to give prizes to the men and women of future generations who helped bring the world closer to peace by blowing things up.

Sadly, in recent years the foundation appears to have forgotten its roots and has begun awarding prizes to men and women whose work for peace has resulted in things blowing up.

I encourage you all to write the Nobel Committee to take immediate corrective action, lest they continue to mislead people into thinking that Peace can be achieved by anything other than the blowing up of Evil Bastards.

November 27, 1924 -
Macy's sponsored its first "Macy's Thanksgiving Parade" (called Macy's Christmas Parade) in New York City on this date. The three-hour parade is held annually and is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade along with Detroit's "America's Thanksgiving Parade," which began on the same day.

Three floats (pulled by horses), four bands and zoo animals from the Central Park Zoo - camels, donkeys, elephants and goats - starred in the parade (balloons didn't show up until 1927.)  Santa Claus was last in the lineup, a tradition that continues to this day.

(Yes, yes, I know the parade in Philadelphia is older.)

November 27, 1978 -
City Supervisor Dan White entered San Francisco City Hall through an open basement window (avoiding metal detectors), walked into the office of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and shot him dead. Then White went on to kill Supervisor Harvey Milk on this date.

Apparently, Mr. White consumed too many Twinkies.  (Given there has been no noticeable increases in incidents of Twinkie induced rages, the Hostess Company may have changed the formula since their resuscitation.)

And so it goes

There are 19 days until the start of Hanukkah.

(And yes, it's kosher!)
There are 28 days until Christmas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanks George

November 26, 1789 -
The first national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States as recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress on this date.

The holiday wouldn't become an annual event until 1863 and wouldn't be signed into law until 1941 when US President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it an official, national holiday - but more about that tomorrow.

November 26, 1942 -
One of the classic films of the 40s, Casablanca, premiered in NYC on this date.

Ingrid Bergman's line "Victor Laszlo is my husband, and was, even when I knew you in Paris" was almost cut from the film because during that time it was deemed inappropriate for a film to depict or suggest a woman romancing with another man if she were already married. However, it was pointed out that later in the film she explains that she had thought Laszlo was dead at the time, and the censors allowed the line to stay in.

November 26, 1952 -
In Thrilling Color!

The first modern 3-D movie Bwana Devil, viewed with special glasses, premiered in Hollywood (remember to have your 3D glasses available to watch the preview.)

Arch Oboler, the director, traveled to Africa in 1948 to make audio recordings of native peoples. While in Africa, Oboler met William D. Snyder, a 16mm cameraman with his own industrial filmmaking company in Fargo, North Dakota. During their travels throughout Africa, Mr. Snyder shot the African footage that appears in Bwana Devil.

November 26, 1953 -
released the first musical in 3-D, Kiss Me Kate on this date.

Even though Hermes Pan is the credited choreographer on the film, the steamy duet between Bob Fosse and Carol Haney in "From This Moment On" (which includes Fosse doing a complete back-flip) was choreographed by Fosse himself, and lasts only 66 seconds. But it is the sequence that made critics take notice of the future award-winning choreographer and director.

Today in History:
November 26, 1865

Oxford Don and nude child photographer, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, sends the manuscript for the psychedelic novel Alice in Wonderland to his 12 year old special friend Alice Liddell as an early Christmas present.

For some reason her parents did not notify the authorities.

November 26, 1965 –
Arlo Guthrie
was arrested in Stockbridge, Mass., for dumping some trash following a Thanksgiving feast at a  run by Alice Brock, on this date.

He wrote a song about the event that became a folk classic and was turned into a movie in 1969.

Yes kids, it really happened.

November 26, 1976 -
Anarchy in the UK
, (as a single) by the Sex Pistols is released.

The song later appeared on Never Mind the Bollocks.

And so it goes

Thanksgiving is tomorrow

There are 20 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 29 days until Christmas.

Kids, sorry to tell you but, you have to eat your vegetables. 

One of Santa's elves die every time you don't eat your vegetables. 

If, for some unforeseen reason, you are gang-pressed into bringing a vegetable dish with you to your Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few recipes:

Ginger Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

I've posted an entire menu (it's basically here for my family but you're welcome to check it out.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oh great, a possible snow storm

(Because of the possible snow storm Wednesday, I have to reconfigure my Thanksgiving plans, so an abbreviated posting today.)

November 25, 1940 -
Walter Lantz's introduced Woody Woodpecker with the release of Knock Knock on this date.

Although Woody made his first appearance in this film, he doesn't have a name until his next film, Woody Woodpecker.

Today in History:
November 25, 2348 BC -
According to Biblical scholars, a powerful rain storm began on this date. It rained an inch every ten seconds. Imagine that. An inch every ten seconds. The sheer volume and velocity of the deluge, comparable to rapid-fire artillery, ought to have been enough to kill every living thing on the planet in seconds, and yet it reportedly continued at this rate for a full 960 hours.

The only human survivors were a crotchety six-hundred-year-old man and his family. Fortunately, these sturdy souls had had the foresight to gather up two to seven specimens of every species on the planet (excepting, one assumes, the undaunted creatures of the sea) and load them onto a wooden boat before the storm began.

It may not sound like much, put like that, but considering the far-flung distribution of all the various creatures of the earth, and the difficulty of tracking down, say, all the varieties of paramecium without the benefit of a microscope, or sustaining desert flora on a water-logged ship, it was a considerable accomplishment.

I applaud the foresight, initiative, and ambition displayed by Noah and his family, but remain a little wary of the person or persons behind all that rain.

November 25, 1867 -
I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize - George Bernard Shaw

A patent was granted to Alfred Nobel for dynamite on this date.

To quote Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, "May the Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good!!!"

November 25, 1914 -
Joe DiMaggio was born on this date. In addition to leading the New York Yankee to ten World Series championships, Joe DiMaggio also got to marry Marilyn Monroe.

Be grateful for role models.

November 25, 1963 -
The flag draped coffin containing the purported remains of the man, many Americans believed to have been John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And on November 29, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren the head of a commission to investigate the alleged assassination of the person believed to have been John F. Kennedy.

Be grateful the CIA, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, extraterrestrials, and the Children's Television Workshop don't give a damn about you.

November 25, 1970 -
Japanese playwright, poet, novelist, nationalism and patron of transvestite bars, Yukio Mishima committed seppuku (self disembowelment) after an aborted coup attempt in Japan on this date.

He had authored over 100 works and was deemed by Life magazine the "Japanese Hemmingway".

One has to ask themselves - why is perfect purity only possible when you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.

On November 25, 1977, Greece announced the discovery of the tomb of King Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.

On November 26, 1922, archeologists Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter opened the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen.

Be grateful that the high point of your job isn’t digging up people who’ve been dead for thousands of years.

November 25, 1987 -
Fawn Hall, Oliver North's assistant, removes documents from sealed National Security Council offices inside the White House by hiding them inside her skirt, causing President Ronald Reagan to form a task force which eventually put both North and Hall on trial.

Another true American Patriot

And so it goes

There are 2 days until Thanksgiving
There are 21 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 30 days until Christmas.

If for some reason you've been put in charge of appetizers for Thanksgiving this year and the thought fills you with terror - fear no more, help is here.

You could run to the local supermarket and grab a package of already cut up carrots and celery and a pre-made dip. Or a container of pre-cubed cheese ends. Or a pint container of mixed olives. If you're feeling a tad ambitious, you could try to make my family's shrimp dip.

(Don't forget to offer to clear the table and wash dishes if you didn't cook!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

The people stop and stare

I could use words to explain what you are about to see but they would not really explain.

All you need know is the Walken in the air

November 24, 1958 -
A precursor episode to the science fiction television series The Twilight Zone, The Time Element aired on this date as part of the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse anthology series on the CBS-TV.

Though not the pilot episode of Rod Serling's series, The Twilight Zone, it was Rod Serling's production that lead to The Twilight Zone TV series. Because TV viewers at the time were not used to the kind of surprise, twist endings that for which the show ultimately became noted (and which this episode featured), Desi Arnaz appeared on-screen after the episode was finished and offered his "explanation" of what "really happened."

November 24, 1966 -
Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.

The Star Trek episode The Menagerie, Part II first aired. (This is the only Part 2 of an episode in the original series.)

This episode incorporate most of the unseen (at the time) pilot episode of Star Trek, The Cage, featuring Jeffrey Hunter, as Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise.

Today in History:
November 24, 1740
William Duell was hanged for rape and murder on this date. A few hours later, whilst being prepared for dissection by medical students, he awakens .

The authorities took pity on him and commuted his sentence to one of transportation to Australia.

Wow that must have freaked him out.

November 24, 1835 -
The provisional government of Texas authorized the creation of the Texas Rangers (Corps of Rangers) police force.

While it's nice to think so, there's no truth to the rumor that Chuck Norris was there at the beginning.

November 24, 1859 -

Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species 155 years ago today.

And depending on your point of view, either this is a seminal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology or,

you're a monkey's uncle.

November 24, 1947 -
The House of Representatives votes 346 to 17 to approve citations of contempt against 10 Hollywood writers, directors, and producers. These men had refused to cooperate at hearings dealing with communism in the movie industry held by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

The Hollywood 10, as the men were known, are sentenced to one year in jail. The Supreme Court later upheld the contempt charges. The fallout resulted in the famous Hollywood "blacklist," which was a list of movie industry professionals suspected of either being communists themselves or supporting communist activities.

November 24, 1963 -
Extra-terrestrials used mass-hypnosis to persuade the world that someone resembling Jack Ruby had fatally shot someone resembling the person alleged to have been Lee Harvey Oswald on this date. This also became the first actual murder captured on live TV.

The next day, November 25, the flag draped coffin containing the purported remains of the man, many Americans believed to have been John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. And on November 29, President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren the head of a commission to investigate the alleged assassination of the person believed to have been John F. Kennedy.

Be grateful the CIA, the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, extraterrestrials, and the Children's Television Workshop don't give a damn about you.

November 23, 1966 -
The smoggiest day in the history of New York City occurred on this date, killing about 400 people.

The thick smog settled into the city, causing deaths from heart attacks and respiratory failure.

November 24, 1971 -
On Thanksgiving eve, DB Cooper boarded Flight 305 in Portland, Oregon, and demanded $200,000 with the threat of a bomb. He parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 with the money over the Cascade Mountains near Ariel, Washington, and was never seen again.

A packet containing $5,880 of the ransom money was found in 1980 on the north shore of the Columbia River, just west of the Washington city of Vancouver, but he's still is missing.

November 24th, 1991 -
Freddie Mercury
(45) the lead singer of Queen died, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

In 2013, Gigwise readers named Mercury the best frontman ever.

And so it goes

There are 3 days until Thanksgiving

There are 22 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 31 days until Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We're going for a drive, (in the opposite direction)

Today is the birthday of both Boris Karloff (1887)

and Harpo Marx (1888).

And that makes this a good day.

November 23, 1963 -
The first episode of Doctor Who, The Unearthly Child, premiered on the BBC, on this date.

The main character's name is not actually Doctor Who. In fact, his real name is never revealed. Other characters who know him only address him as Doctor, and he only ever introduces himself by saying "I'm the Doctor." The title comes from the idea that, after being told someone is a doctor, you would naturally ask, "Doctor Who?"

November 23, 1959 -
American International Pictures
released one of the Classic 'B' movies of the late 50s, The Angry Red Planet, in the US on this date.

The 40-foot alien monster was actually a marionette about 15 inches high. It was essentially a combination of a rat, bat, spider, and crab.

November 23, 1983 -
James L. Brooks
adaptation of Larry McMurty's novel, Terms of Endearment, starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Danny Devito, Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow, opened in limited release on this date.

Debra Winger
behaved erratically on the set of this film because she was trying to get over a severe cocaine addiction. At one point, she and Shirley MacLaine got into a shoving match.

(It's an abbreviated posting today)
Today in History:
November 23, 1499
A young man claiming to be the son of Edward IV landed in Cornwall, England, and declared himself King Richard IV. Unfortunately England already a king, the young man wasn't really the son of Edward IV, and his name wasn't Richard.

He was in fact Perkin Warbeck, and was therefore hanged to death on this date (as opposed to having been well hung.)

November 23, 1910 -
English murderer Hawley Crippen an American physician was hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, England, after he was caught aboard the SS Montrose attempting to escape to Britain, on this date.

It was the first use of wireless radio for the apprehension of a criminal.

November 23, 1936 -
The first edition of Life, the picture magazine created by Henry R. Luce, was published on this date.

It was an immediate sellout.

November 23, 1976 -
Jerry Lee Lewi
s had been a bad boy again. On this date, he was arrested in front of Graceland in Memphis for public drunkenness, and carrying a chrome plated .38.

Looking for Elvis, I bet.

November 23, 1990 -
banned Madonna's video Justify My Love due to its sexually-explicit content on this date.

Oh, do you remember when television was this quaint,

or Madonna was this relevant?

And so it goes

There are 4 days until Thanksgiving
There are 23 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 32 days until Christmas.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

See the USA, in a Chevrolet (or any other vehicle, for that matter.)

Today apparently is Go For A Ride Day.  The day is supposed to encourages you to get out into the world – hop on your bike, into your car, or simply get your walking boots out of storage and go on a trip. Don’t worry too much about where you’re going, just enjoy the journey.

We're going for one right now. 

Mr Teeny is home right now, quite cranky because we double bolted the liquor cabinet.

November 22, 1940 -
The Letter,
starring Bette Davis (at her best) premiered in NYC on this date.

Previously filmed as an early talkie in 1929 starring Jeanne Eagels, The Letter. Herbert Marshall, who plays the husband in this film, portrayed the lover in that version.

November 22, 1968 -
The Beatles
released their long-awaited double album, simply called The Beatles, but better known as The White Album.

The album was the first the Beatles undertook following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, and the first released by their own record label, Apple.

November 22, 1991 -
Barry Sonnenfeld
take on Charles Addams New Yorker Cartoons, The Addams Family, starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd and Christina Ricci, premiered on this date.

By the time this movie was made, all of the adult cast members from the original series had died except John Astin, who had played Gomez. Astin ironically also outlived the movie Gomez, Raul Julia, who died in 1994.

November 22, 1995 -
Toy Story
is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.

Billy Crystal was originally offered the chance to voice Buzz Lightyear, but declined. After seeing the finished film, he said the decision was the biggest mistake of his career.

Today in History:
November 22, 1888 -
Tarzan of the Apes
(Lord Greystoke) was born on this date,

according to the Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel.

November 22, 1928 -
Maurice Ravel
composition Boléro has it's first public performance in Paris on this date.

Boléro became Ravel's most famous composition, much to the surprise of the composer, who had predicted that most orchestras would refuse to play it

November 22, 1963 -
We, in this country, in this generation, are - by destiny rather than choice - the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. - from the address that President John F. Kennedy never got to deliver in Dallas on this date.

A covert CIA operation privately funded by a plutocratic cabal of multinational industrial interests acting in conjunction with extraterrestrial forces and the Knights Templar succeeded in making it appear that Lee Harvey Oswald had assassinated President Kennedy, on this date.

Or if this is too much for you, you can always believe in the MAGIC BULLET.

November 22, 1968 -
Many a KKK member and Daughter of the Civil War were given the vapors on this date in history.

Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) share the first interracial kiss in TV history on Star Trek on this date.

November 22, 1975 -
Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias was proclaimed King of Spain after he confirms with advisers that Francisco Franco planned to be dead for a while.

Juan Carlos is related to both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (and as you know they are related to each other.) To confuse matters even more, his wife Queen Sofia, is related to all three of them. King Juan Carlos had to abdicate in favor of his son, Felipe VI (who is so related to Prince Charles though all four of the above mentioned people that they are practically first cousins,) proving once again, sometimes it's not good to be the king who spends too much money.

Oh, love among the royals.

Before you go - According to Robert Brewer, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and co-author of a new study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, “... most adults who drink, they’re drinking maybe a couple drinks during week and then typically drinking [larger] amounts on weekends.” And that, boys and girls, means one in three adults drink excessively.

Women who consume eight or more drinks per week are considered excessive drinkers. And for men, excess is defined as 15 or more drinks a week. (The researchers defined a drink as just 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of spirits.)

No comment.

And so it goes

There are 5 days until Thanksgiving
There are 24 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 33 days until Christmas.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life imitates bad television.

The United Nations General Assembly (back in 1996) proclaimed November 21st as World Television Day. The UN want to recognize that television represented a symbol for communication and globalization in the contemporary world.

As I derisively remind my children, quite often, everything they own is due to TV.

Today is also the 41th annual World Hello Day (some sites say it's the 42nd.) Anyone can participate in World Hello Day simply by greeting ten people. My suggestion - let's call the day 'Say Hello to Kevin and hand him a fist full of money day.'

This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace. World Hello Day was begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries.

November 21, 1931 -
James Whale classic retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, premiered on this date.

The Monster in this film does not physically resemble Mary Shelley's character. It was make-up artist Jack P. Pierce who came up with innovations such as the Monster's flat head, the bolts through the neck, the droopy eyelids, and the poorly-fitted suit. Any future Frankenstein film that features any of these physical abnormalities is taking its inspiration from Pierce's make-up work.

November 21, 1942 -
and Catstello, take-offs on Bud Abbott and Lou Costello try to catch Tweety bird (in his first appearance) in A Tale of Two Kitties, premiered on this date.

Catstello tells the audience "If the Hays office would only let me, I'd give him the bird alright." This is a double entendre acknowledging that the Hays Code, which set the guidelines for content allowed in a motion picture, would never have allowed a movie character to "give the bird"

November 21, 1946 -
One of the greatest films about vets returning home after WWII, The Best Years of Our Lives, premiered in NYC on this date.

To avoid awkwardness when he first met his fellow cast members, Harold Russell made a point of reaching out with his hooks and taking their hands, thus putting them at ease with his disability.

November 21, 1976 -
Ok everybody, "...Gonna Fly Now, Flying High Now..."

Rocky, premiered in NYC on this date.

Most of the scenes of Rocky jogging through Philadelphia were shot guerrilla-style, with no permits, no equipment and no extras. The shot were he runs past the moored boat for example; the crew were simply driving by the docks and director John G. Avildsen saw the boat and thought it would make a good visual, so he had Sylvester Stallone simply get out of the van and run along the quays whilst Avildsen himself filmed from the side door.

November 21, 1980 -
In what was one of the most-watched TV cliffhangers in television history, 350 million viewers worldwide tuned into the television series Dallas to find out who had shot J.R. Ewing at the end of the show's previous season.

As it turned out, he was shot by his wife's sister, who also was his former mistress, Kristin Shepard.

Today in History:
November 21, 1694 -
Jean Francois Voltaire
(Francois Marie Arouet) was born on this date.

Voltaire is best known for having said things. Here are some of the witty things he said:

“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Common sense is not so common.”

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."

I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.

Dare to think for yourself.

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.

And most significantly:

"A witty saying proves nothing."

November 21, 1921
U.S. President Warren G. Harding signed the Willis Campbell Act, which prohibited the medical prescription of beer and liquor on this date.

He was killed - probably by his wife - two years later and nobody seemed to mind (remember, this was the genius who had his bootlegger come around the back of the White to deliver his booze.)

Enough said.

November 21, 1964 -
The upper deck of The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic on this date (at the time it was the world's longest suspension bridge).

And it still takes forever to get to Jersey through Staten Island.

November 21, 1973 -
A gap of 18 1/2 minutes is revealed in one of the Watergate tapes, a conversation between Richard M. Nixon and Bob Haldeman. The erasure is blamed on an accident by Nixon's private secretary Rose Mary Woods, but scientific analysis determines the erasures to be deliberate. Later, Chief of Staff Alexander Haig blames the erasure on "some sinister force".

Forensic experts worked on Haldeman's notebook to see if they could find the imprint of any notes he may have taken that day but later destroyed. (The experts had inconclusive results.)

November 21, 1980 -
The third deadliest hotel fire in history occurs at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, caused by faulty wiring; 84 people died. Helicopters were used to rescue stranded guests from the top floors.

No more pu-pu platters with charcoal grills in the suites please.

November 21, 1997
Lead singer of INXS Michael Hutchence was found hanged in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney, Australia on this date. Police have denied that his death was due to Autoerotic Asphyxiation.

The fact that his pants were around his ankles and copies of the magazines "Hot Chicks in Tubs of Pudding" were scattered around the room, did not enter into it.

Before too much time has passed, I wanted to share with you a very funny album from Elaine May and Mike Nichols -

A great many of the obits on Mike Nichols commented on his phenomenal directorial career but I wanted to give a brief shout out to his early career as a performer.

And so it goes

There are 6 days until Thanksgiving
There are 25 days until the start of Hanukkah.

There are 35 days until Christmas.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Today's word

Cittosis - n. - an abnormal desire for strange foods

Feel free to impress your friends.

November 20, 1981 -
Miles Foreman's
epic take on E.L. Doctorow novel, Ragtime, premiered on this date.

Because the movie was too long a twenty-minute sequence that told the story of Emma Goldman was taken out. Although Forman defended the scene the film’s producer let the author of the novel E. L. Doctorow decide whether they should put it back it. After Doctorow watched the shortened version of the film, he said that he hadn´t missed anything, and so the sequence was omitted.

November 20, 1983 -
An estimated 100 million people watched on this date, the controversial ABC-TV movie The Day After, which depicted the outbreak of nuclear holocaust in the United States.

The Department of Defense would only co-operate with the film's production on condition that it be made clear in the story that the Soviets, and not the United States, launched their missiles first.

(Parent - Teacher conference today, so it's an abbreviated version)
Today in History :
November 20, 1917 -
T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was held prisoner, whipped, and repeatedly raped by Turkish Army officers on this date. He apparently thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

50 Shade of Grey, indeed.

November 20, 1923 -
American inventor Garrett Morgan was awarded Patent No. 1475074 for the stoplight that included a third option in addition to "stop" and "go."

His invention was a major step forward in traffic safety. Besides the traffic light, Morgan is best known for his work on gas masks.

November 20, 1947 -
Princess Elizabeth married a ne'er-do-well Greek distant cousin, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, in a ceremony broadcast worldwide from Westminster Abbey on this date.

She was so happy that day that it seems to escape her attention that she related to everyone at the church, include the groom's mother.

45 years later, on this date, Liz and Phil (and all the Mountbatten-Windsors) were in the middle of their Annus Horribilis when Windsor Castle caught on fire, causing extensive damage.

It's the 39th anniversary of Generallismo Francisco Franco heroic fight to remain dead.

He is still working at it today.

November 20, 1976 -
Former-Beatle George Harrison appeared on Saturday Night Live on this date.

George Harrison seemed to have misunderstood Lorne Michaels offer of the $3,000 payment for his appearance; Michaels explained to George that the $3,000 was for all four of the Beatles - making the payment only $750 for him.

November 20, 1984 -
made its 50 billionth hamburger at 12:10 P.M. in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, in New York City on this date.

It was eaten by Richard J. McDonald, one of the founders, who cooked burger No. 1 in San Bernardino, California, 36 years previously. That first burger and the 50 billionth are still lodged undigested in the colon of the corpse of Mr. McDonald.

November 20, 1985 -
Windows 1.0
, a 16-bit graphical operating environment was released on this date. It was Microsoft's first attempt to implement a multi-tasking graphical user interface-based operating environment on the PC platform. Windows 1.0 was the very first version of Windows launched.

If you think I'm going to make fun of Bill Gates, you're mistaken.

Hooray for Big Brother!!!

And so it goes.

There are 7 days until Thanksgiving

There are 26 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 36 days until Christmas.

Before I let you go - Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé !

Since it's the third Thursday in November, it's that time of the year

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Oxford 2014 word of the year

Vape has been chosen as the word of the year by editorial staff at Oxford Dictionaries.

Vape” can be used as either a noun meaning “an electronic cigarette or similar device” or a verb in which one would “inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

November 19, 1959 -
The first episode of Rocky & His Friends aired on this date.

During the early stages of pre-production, the show was going to be titled "Frostbite Falls Follies".  (Mr. Peabody's Time Machine is called a WABAC (pronounced "Way-back").)

November 19, 1975 -
One of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, opened in the US on this date.

Louise Fletcher was so upset with the fact that the other actors could laugh and be happy while she had to be so cold and heartless that near the end of production she removed her dress and stood in only her panties to prove to the actors she was not "a cold-hearted monster".

November 19, 1980 -
It fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to obtain the success of The Deer Hunter and the Devil has just come around to collect. - Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Michael Cimino's 'tainted masterpiece', Heaven's Gate premiered on this date.

33 years later - By all means see it on the big screen if only to appreciate the enormity of Mr. Cimino's efforts.  A fascinating artifact and a monument to Mr. Cimino's towering ambitions, as much for himself as for his art. He sought to recreate the Old West in the film, but the greater marvel is how he tried to replicate Old Hollywood and a dream world that once was - a world that these days is often made in computers.Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Today in History:
November 19, 1581
Russian Czar Ivan The Terrible killed his son, Ivan The Merely Petulant on this date. The younger Ivan interrupted the elder Ivan, who was beating Ivan Jr's pregnant wife because of her inappropriate garb. Still in a fit of rage, dad smote his son with a staff, killing him dead.

This is what passed for family life amongst the Royals in the Middle Ages in Russia.

November 19, 1620 -
A group of maniacal religious fanatics reached North America and stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock on this date. Because America did not yet have a Puritan Government, they developed the Mayflower Compact while still at sea. (William Bradford had argued for a Sporty Coupe, but the more practical John Alden had carried the day.)

Eventually the descendants of these frugal and passionately religious people would invent apps that enable the downloading of pornography to your smart phones around the world at light speed.

November 19, 1703 -
The Man in the Iron Mask died in the Bastille on this date.

He was a prisoner of Louis XIV, forced to wear a black velvet mask, and his identity has never been revealed.

Seven score and 11 years ago today (November 19, 1863) -
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on this date.

The speech remains an important part of American history on account of its having been written on the back of an envelope despite stringent postal requirements that addresses be printed clearly on the front.

November 19, 1954 -
Driving to Los Angeles, Sammy Davis, Jr. was in a serious automobile accident in San Bernardino on this date.

He lost his left eye, but the resultant publicity greatly accelerated his career.

November 19, 1961 -
Michael Rockefeller, 23
year old son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller (later Vice President), was last seen while searching for Asmat wood carvings in the jungles near Atsj, Papua New Guinea on this date.

He was probably eaten by the Asmat. Hence the motto, "Eat the Rich".

And so it goes

There are 8 days until Thanksgiving
There are 27 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 37 days until Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Got a sweetie down in the chicken house

November 18, 1928 -
Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse 

(even though this is his third appearance in a cartoon - I don't mess with the Disney corporation since Vader's been working there.)

Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, was released on this date.

November 18, 1959 -
The Biblical spectaculars to end all spectaculars, Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, had its world premiere in New York, on this date.

Burt Lancaster, a self-described atheist, claimed he turned down the role of Judah Ben-Hur because he "didn't like the violent morals in the story" and because he did not want to promote Christianity.

November 18, 1985 -
Cartoon strips approached their zenith on this date.

The comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson, was first published on this date. We learn of Hobbes' love for tuna fish

November 18, 1987 -
Bernardo Bertolucci's
magnificent take on Pu Yi, The Last Emperor, premiered in NYC on this date.

During filming of the immense coronation scene in the Forbidden City, Queen Elizabeth II was in Beijing on a state visit. The production was given priority over her by the Chinese authorities and she was therefore unable to visit the Forbidden City.

November 18, 1992 -
The biopic of the influential Black Nationalist leader, Malcolm X, premiered on this date.

The first non-documentary film that was given permission to film in Mecca. The film's second unit filmed all the scenes at Mecca. Spike Lee did not accompany them because he is not a Muslim; only Muslims are allowed to enter Mecca.

Today in History:
November 18, 1307
Local Child Services authorities in Uri, Switzerland reported that a William Tell shot an apple off his son's head on this date

- Charges may still be pending.

November 18, 1421
A seawall at the Zuiderzee dike breaks, in the Netherlands, flooding 72 villages and killing somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 people on this date.

Please try to refrain yourselves from make jokes about the killer dikes.

November 18, 1477 -
William Caxton
published the first book printed in England, on this date. The book was a translation of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers, by Frenchman Guillaume de Tignoville. The translation to English was performed by Anthony Wodville, Earl Rivers, who had devoted a considerable portion of his life to the study of philosophers' dictes.

Wodville first formulated the theory that the length of a philosopher's dicte was less important than its thrust. He has also been credited with originating the theory that a philosopher's dicte was commensurate with his shoe size. Neither theory is given much credence by contemporary philosophers, most of whom appear to be dicteless anyway.

November 18, 1686 -
King of France Louis XIV's anal fistula was operated on by surgeon Charles Francois Felix, with great success, in front of the horrified yet fascinated court. To prepare for the operation Felix practiced his surgery on anuses of the peasantry, with some fatalities at first but improving his technique in time for the royal bung.

This is what passed for entertainment at the french royal court.

November 18, 1922 -
Marcel Proust
, French a pioneer of the modern novel (A la Recherche du Temps Perdu), died at 51 on this date.

While it is generally agreed upon that he died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess, I believe he was crushed by the sheer weight of the unedited proof of his massive novel.

November 18, 1966
After this final "meatless" day of sacrifice, the American Roman Catholic Church would withdraw its edict forbidding meat consumption on Fridays.

No one knows how much the American Ground Beef Consortium 'donated' to the church on that day.

November 18, 1970 -
Singer/polygamist Jerry Lee Lewis divorces his third wife Myra Gail, after 12 years of marriage. Not only was she jailbait when they got married (being 13 at the time), but Lewis was married to Jane Mitcham at the time.

It's so hard to keep details like the number of wives you have straight in your mind.

November 18, 1978 -
Congressman Leo Ryan was slain at the People's Temple compound in Guyana, after which over 900 members of the cult led by the Reverend Jim Jones drank cyanide laced Flavor Aid (a Kool Aid knockoff), including over 270 children. It was probably not a pretty sight.

The Kraft Foods Company would like you guys to stop making those damn 'drink the Kool Aid' jokes

- it wasn't them.

And so it goes

There are 9 days until Thanksgiving
There are 28 days until the start of

With only 38 days until Christmas.