Friday, July 31, 2015

Now I'm no longer alone

This evening, make sure that you take a quick peek at this month's Blue Moon.

As I'm sure you know, the second full moon that occurs within a calendar month, is referred to as a 'Blue Moon'.

Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent.

It's the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Ignatius of Loyola (65), founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit order of Catholic priests and brothers, died in Rome on this date in 1556

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, 1790 -
Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent for a process of making potash, potassium carbonate, an ingredient used in fertilizer. The patent was signed by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington.

Since then, over 6 million patents have been granted by the US PTO.

July 31, 1944 -
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French aviator  and author best know for his novella The Little Prince, went missing while flying in a Lockheed P-38 Lightning on a reconnaissance mission over Marseilles, on this date.

In the days and weeks that followed, various parties speculated that Saint Exupéry was shot down over the Mediterranean, had a flight accident, or even committed suicide. The latter theory grew out of the fact that the flyer had felt isolated from his squadron and was pessimistic about the future.

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 assisting underage children sneak into the country across the border.)

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, 1964 -
The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted the first photo moon’s surface ever taken by a U.S. spacecraft, mapping the surface for a future lunar landing, on this date. Ranger 7 carried six slow-scan vidicon TV cameras capable of transmitting high-resolution television pictures of the lunar surface.

A total of 4,308 photographs before Ranger 7 crashed in Mare Cognitum (Sea of Clouds). The total cost of the mission was about $170 million (your tax dollars at work.)

July 31, 1966 -
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 killed 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 this 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 released 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 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 (born 1965). Her 'children's stories' have made her a billionaire.

Who knew an orphaned kid with a facial birthmark could make someone so much money?

July 31, 2003 -
Felix Baumgartner, became the first man to glide across the English Channel without an aircraft when he jumped from a plane thirty thousand feet above Dover, England wearing carbon fiber wings attached to his back.

He glided 23 miles across the Channel in ten minutes at a starting speed of 220 mph and slowing to a speed of 135 mph. Baumgartner finished his flight using a parachute landing in Cap Blanc-Nez, France.

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Holy Sweaty Tights

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 cartoon premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theater as the opening short to the feature Strange Interlude.

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.

Julie Newmar (Catwoman in the TV series) does not appear in this film because she was not aware about the production and had signed to do another project. By the time she was informed, she could not get out of the other commitment in time to do this movie. Because of this, Lee Meriwether was hastily cast as Catwoman and does not appear with the other villains in the first scene aboard the Penguin's submarine.

July 30, 1966 -
The Beatles' album Yesterday... & Today,  went #1 and stayed #1 for 5 weeks, on this date.

The record was released just after John's infamous interview in which he stated that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus", which angered Americans and provoked many bans on their music and public incinerations of memorabilia. But Yesterday And Today would take public dispproval to a whole new level, as the original cover featured the band in butcher's smocks with baby doll parts and raw meat covering them. The record was pulled almost immediately - creating an instant collector's item - and in the confusion that followed, several replacement covers were issued.

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

The film features early screen roles for both Kevin Costner and Shannen Doherty. Costner as a frat boy in the morgue party scene (a non-speaking bit part); Doherty plays a "Blue Bell" (liken to a Girl Scout) in an elevator scene (with one line).

Today in History:
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 'Uberman', 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, 1965 -
As part of President Johnson's Great Society program, the president signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law established Medicare and Medicaid in the United States, on this date.

Both older Americans and people living in poverty benefited from passage of the Social Security amendments. Medicare initiated a basic program of insurance for those aged 65 and over, funded by a tax on employees wages and matched by employer contributions. Medicaid provided grants to states to establish health care programs for low-income individuals and families. The act also lowered the age at which widows could begin collecting benefits and added certain divorced women to the list of benefit recipients.

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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Scream for your lives!

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.

The film was one of the first Disney movies to be shown on television, this was first telecast in January 1955, as part of the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color television program.

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.

While the Beatles are attempting to solve Ringo's ring problem at the jeweler's, George can be seen quietly shoplifting various jewels and slipping them into his overcoat pockets!

July 29, 1972 -
Gilbert O'Sullivan topped the charts with his hit  Alone Again (Naturally) on this date.

(I will not take responsibility for the following ear worm; listen to the clip at your own risk.)

In 1982 O'Sullivan took his former manager Gordon Mills to court over his original contract, ultimately winning back the master tapes to his recordings as well as the copyrights to his songs. Nine years later in 1991, O'Sullivan went to court again to sue the rapper Biz Markie, who used an unauthorized sample from this song in his track Alone Again, which appeared on Markie's third album, I Need A Haircut. The judge made a landmark ruling in O'Sullivan's favor that the rapper's unauthorized sample was in fact theft. From this point on, artists had to clear samples or be subject to costly lawsuits.

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, 1966 -
Returning home from his manager Albert Grossman's house, Bob Dylan had some sort of motorcycle accident, on this date.  The accident, which has become somewhat mythic, purportedly left Dylan with a broken vertebrae in his neck, but no ambulance was called and he was not admitted to a hospital. Dylan spent years recuperating and became something of a recluse, disappearing from the public spotlight for eight years.

 He continued to write and record music, but with only a few exceptions, did not appear in public again until January 1974, when he launched his "North American Tour."

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.

The couple was later divorced in 1996, Diana was 'killed' in a car accident in 1997, and Charles 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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's Milk Chocolate Day today.

American eat on average 12 lbs of chocolate per year; The Swiss on the other hand eat a little more than 26 lbs a year (that works out to about 450 bars of chocolate.) 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.)

The animation sequences of Dracula-as-a-bat and Dracula-changing-from-bat-to-Dracula were done by Universal-International's animator, Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker fame).

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

Sam Spiegel sent the script to Marlon Brando and it came back with a refusal. Spiegel however had inserted small pieces of paper between the pages which were still in place when the script was returned to him, indicating that it hadn't been read. While Spiegel continued to work on Brando, Frank Sinatra agreed to take on the role.

July 28, 1954 -
One of Humphrey 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.)

Producer Stanley Kramer and director Edward Dmytryk cast Lee Marvin as one of the USS Caine's supporting sailors, not only for his knowledge of ships at sea--he had served in the US Marine Corps during World War II--but for his acting talent. Throughout the production, Marvin served as an unofficial technical advisor to the filmmakers. Sometimes a shot would be set up, only to be criticized by Marvin as being inauthentic.

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 other victims 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 -
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 were 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. (Kids, please, do not try this at home.)

And as of this morning, from my new office, I can see that 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 were 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 looking for voters again.

And so it goes.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I saw this floating around Reddit

It needs to be embroidered onto a pillow

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.

This cartoon is considered the first to feature both Bugs' and Elmer's catchphrases - "What's Up, Doc?" and "Be vewy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits" respectively.

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, (in fact, when Joe smashes through the facade during the nightclub riot, the first scream you hear is that of Fay Wray, stock audio from the original King Kong.)

Though Willis H. O'Brien gets top special-effects billing, Ray Harryhausen actually did 85%-90% of the stop-motion animation for this film, although the animation is based on O'Brien's designs and storyboards.

(Remember, 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?)

According to John Landis, Universal Pictures President Ned Tanen objected so strongly to the Dexter Lake Club scene that he interrupted a screening of the film and ordered the scene be removed immediately, claiming it would cause race riots in the theaters. In response, Landis screened the film for Richard Pryor, who then wrote a note to Tanen which read: "Ned, Animal House is fucking funny, and white people are crazy. Richard."

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.

Tom Hanks auditioned for the role of JoelTimothy Hutton was the first choice for the role of Joel, but turned it down.

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

Purple Rain was shopped around to numerous production companies including Indigo Films; which was owned by Jim Brown and Richard Pryor. Brown himself expressed his disappointment about not acquiring the project in the Spike Lee documentary Jim Brown: All American .

(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 died 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 ran 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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I'd rather be dead than singing 'Satisfaction' when I'm forty-five.

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 - his daughter Jade is a grandmother

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

The 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 door frame 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 established a postal system for the colonies with Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general in Philadelphia on this date.

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.)

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, 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 NSA 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 your old 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. There is still talk of a new Pee Wee movie sometime soon.

And so it goes.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Put a hi ball in the crank case

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.  But by all means, please feel free to continue to pray to this beleaguered saint (or non-saint.)

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

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

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

Harold Ramis wanted to use Pink Floyd to write music for the film, but couldn't get them. After an audition, Kenny Loggins came up with the famous theme song for the film, "I'm All Right" and played it for the producers and got the job. Johnny Mandel, who wrote the film's musical score, was also hired immediately afterward.

Today in History:
July 25, 1689
King Louis XIV of France declared war on Britain on this date, for having joined the League of Augsburg and the Netherlands in order to oppose the French invasion of the Rhenish Palatinate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 36-year-old took off at 5.00 am from an airstrip near Calais and landed 43 minutes later. Blériot had followed his course by looking at ships below, having no compass in the airplane. Blériot claimed his prize of 1000 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 not yet matured.)

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

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

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

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

We're going to talk about it tomorrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it goes.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Today is National Tequila Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Frampton wanted to get on the trampoline during the "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" sequence, but was disallowed because he wasn't insured.

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

When Tom Hanks' character tells the rest of the unit what he does for a living back home, Hanks' speech was much longer in the original script. But Hanks felt that his character wouldn't have said so much about himself, and he told director Steven Spielberg so. Spielberg agreed, and the speech was shortened.

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.

314 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 rolled over in Chicago harbor on this date. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.

Moral: Avoid company picnics.

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

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

And so it goes.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scooby dooby do

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

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

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

The first Olympic Games opened in Olympia on this date.

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

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

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

He decided to give up the ghost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 23, 1904 -
According to popular legend, Charles E Menches invented the 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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

That's easy for you to say

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

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, following his usual practice, bid for the film rights to Winston Graham's novel anonymously, so as to keep the price down. However, in this instance, the scheme backfired - the anonymity of the purchaser made Graham suspicious, although he regarded the amount of money on offer as extremely generous. He instructed his agent to ask for twice as much. Hitchcock agreed, on condition that the deal be closed immediately. When Graham discovered who it was who had bought the rights, he said he would have given them away free for the honor of having one of his stories filmed by Alfred Hitchcock.

July 22, 1967 -
The Toho Studio released King Kong Escapes, directed by Ishiro Honda in Japan on this date. (Despite the master villain being named Dr. Who, this film has no connection to Doctor Who.)

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.

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. Dillinger 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.

July 22, 1982 -
It's a happy 33rd 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.)

And so it goes.