Saturday, October 21, 2017

Save Water, Drink Champagne

If this week hadn't been alcohol friendly enough, yesterday was designated as Global (or International) Champagne Day - the third Friday in October.  Most champagne-lovers will already know that, in order for the sparkling nectar to be classified as "champagne", the wine must come from the Champagne province in France. You may not know that to be termed "champagne" it must also be made by the traditional process of secondary fermentation in the bottle.

A very good bar bet winner: the champagne drunk by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the Germans marched into Paris and he uttered the infamous line “Here’s looking at you kid” was Mumm Cordon Rouge.

October 21, 1937 -
The great screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne, premiered on this date.

Much of the film was improvised by director Leo McCarey and the cast during filming each day.

October 21, 1942
The first of three movie musicals in which Judy Garland and Gene Kelly starred in, For Me and My Gal, premiered in New York City on this date.

Gene Kelly's film debut. It is known that Judy Garland got him the job after seeing him in the Broadway musical "Pal Joey".

October 21, 1954 -
The episode of Climax!, an anthology series - broadcast live, on this evening was the first time James Bond (Barry Nelson) appeared on-screen in Casino Royale, and more than half a century later Bond is still making movies.

The program was thought to be lost for decades until it resurfaced in 1981 when film collector and airlines executive Jim Shoenberger discovered a 16mm kinescope print of it among some old cans of film.

October 21, 1964 -
Possibly the most fully realized movie musical, My Fair Lady premiered at the Criterion Theater in New York, on this date.

When Rex Harrison accepted his Academy Award for this film, he dedicated it to his "two fair ladies", Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, both of whom had played Eliza Doolittle with him.

What I've realized recently is that the difference between me and Mickey Mouse is, there's not a man that can go and say, 'Look, can you get me in any faster? I'm Mickey Mouse.' Whereas I can go in and say, 'Look, could you get me a table faster? I'm Princess Leia.'

Carrie Fisher, actress and writer was born on this date. You can't say anything bad or funny about her that she hasn't already said better herself.

Even after death, Carrie Fisher still impresses.

Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour

Today in History:
October 21, 1805
The Battle of Trafalgar was a historic sea battle fought on this date, between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy - the battle, it self, was the most decisive British victory of the Napoleonic Wars and was a pivotal naval battle of the 19th century.

Admiral Lord Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming and remaining Britain's greatest naval war hero.

Nelson's body was placed in cask of brandy, mixed with camphor and myrrh, and returned to England for a spectacular funeral. An enduring rumor has evolved that the sailors aboard ship kept taking a sip from Nelson's liquory tomb hence the phrase 'Nelson's blood' came into use for rum.

October 21, 1837 -
It's another banner day for the relations between the United States and the Native American tribes. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops under Gen. Thomas S. Jesup violated a truce and captured Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida and sent him and several other leaders to prison, where the chief later died of malaria.

Osceola's capture by deceit caused a national uproar. General Jesup and the administration were condemned.

Makes you proud to be an American.

October 21, 1869 -
The first shipment of fresh oysters came West overland from Baltimore via refrigerated train cars on this date.

Fresh cases of E-coli poisoning, Salmonella and Hepatitis A cases followed soon thereafter.

October 21, 1879 -
Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated the incandescent electric lamp on this date (or some other date, as previously mentioned.)

That invention was the fruit of study, hard work (of people other that Edison,) and years of persistent experimentation (of people other than Edison,) rendering it entirely inappropriate for discussion here.

More worthy of our attention is Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize, born on this date in 1833.

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, so he 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.

In 1943, Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, the maître d' of the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, prepared the first plate of crunchy, spicy nachos for Texas women who were on a shopping trip.

To honor his ingenious creation, we celebrate by eating his delicious gut busting cheesy dish on this date.

October 21, 1959 -
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened in New York City on this date.

The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as "a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed." Another called it "an indigestible hot cross bun." NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses snapped that it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."

October 21, 1973 -
John Paul Getty III's
ear was cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome; It doesn't arrive until November 8.

So much for the Italians getting the trains to run on time.

October 21, 1992 -
A day after her Erotica album was released, Madonna's erotic-book Sex went on sale in the nation's bookstores on this date.

Shirley Booth, 94, Emmy, Oscar and Tony award winning actress accidentally flipped through the book and promptly dropped dead on this date as well.

October 21, 2015 -
Today is the day that Dr Emmett Brown takes Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to the future to prevent their kids from "ruining their lives". back to the future

OK now that we have all spazzed out, let's all calm down.  (Wow, I'm so old.)

And so it goes

There are 10 days until Halloween.  Begin purchasing those candies filled with poison (loose pieces of candy corn will do in a pinch.)


Friday, October 20, 2017

In case you were wondering

You can’t kill yourself

by holding your breath.

October 20, 1918 -
Rarely seen now, but one of Charlie Chaplin's most popular films at it time, Shoulder Arms, was released on this date.

Many in Hollywood advised Chaplin not to tackle the subject of WWI but with his usual keen sense of what material was right for him, Chaplin would go on to direct what was to become the most popular film of the entire war period.

October 20, 1939
The ninth Marx Brothers film, At the Circus, premiered on this date.

The scene in the midget's trailer was the only time Harpo Marx was even vaguely heard on-screen (when he sneezes).

October 20, 1973
One of the rare ballad for The Rolling Stones, Angie became a #1 hit on this date.

In 2005 German chancellor Angela Merkel appropriated this acoustic ballad for her Christian Democratic Union Party. "We're surprised that permission wasn't requested," said a Stones spokesman of Merkel's choice of song. "If it had been, we would have said no."

October 20, 1955 -
Harry Belafonte
, advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, recorded the famous "Day-O" (Banana Boat Song) on this date.

Belafonte's version used lyrics adapted by Irving Burgie and William Attaway. Burgie, sometimes credited as "Lord Burgess," is a popular Caribbean composer. Attaway was a novelist and songwriter who was friends with Belafonte. Burgie and Attaway wrote most of the songs on the Calypso album.

(Now try getting the song out of your head today.)

And now, a commercial for Gin.

Today in History:
October 20, 480 BC
(Sometimes the world changes in a day) The Athenian fleet, under the command of Themistocles, defeated the Persians in the Naval Battle of Salamis on this date.

Though the Persians armies scored a major victory over Athens only weeks prior, this decisive naval victory, coupled with the losses the Persians suffered in the Battle of Thermopylae forced Persian forces to withdraw from Greece.

That victory will arguably lead to the rise of Greece as a global power and the eventual dissemination of Greek philosophies and ideals, such as democracy, throughout the western world. And as always, there was much roasted lamb consumed and much sodomy engaged in that night.

October 20, 1818 -

Canada and the United States in the "Convention of 1818", established the 49th Parallel as their mutual boundary (known as the International Border) for most of its length from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky mountains.

The International Boundary is commonly referred to as the world's longest undefended border, but this is true only in the military sense, as civilian law enforcement is present. But we're keeping an eye on those sneaky Canadians and their cheese curd fries.

There are some 150 people who live in the Northwest Angle, MN, a spot of land that is separated from the rest of the USA by Lake of the Woods

Students who live in the Northwest Angle go to school in Warroad, MN, the Angle Inlet School (the only surviving one room school,) and have to cross the international border on their way to and from school each day. It must suck to get a full body cavity search every day before school.

Thank you to our family from the north for your kind words.  Now keep to your side of the parallel!

October 20, 1930 -
Death row murderer William Kogut committed suicide in San Quentin prison with MacGyver like ingenuity. He tore the red spots from a deck of playing cards, at the time the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, saturated them with water, and jammed them into a length of steel pipe from his bed frame. Kogut placed the bomb on the heater and waited for science to take it's course.

I wonder if he went to a specialized High School.

October 20, 1944 -
Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped ashore at Leyte in the Philippines, 2 1/2 years after he'd said, "I shall return," on this date.

He landed with Sergio Osmena, the president-in-exile, Gen’l. Carlos Romulo, who later served as foreign minister and a boatload of press and photographers to record the event.

October 20, 1947 -
Chaired by J. Parnell Thomas (one of the committee's members was Richard M. Nixon), The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood.

The resulting hysteria results in the creation of a blacklist in the film industry, preventing certain individuals from working in the business for years.

October 20, 1967 -
Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reported that on this date they had captured a purported Sasquatch on film at Bluff Creek, California. This came to be known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, which is purported to be the best evidence of Bigfoot by many advocates.

If only that had named their film - Bigfoot: I want to grab you by your nether regions, perhaps it would have done better box office in it's opening weekend.

Many years later, Bob Heironimus, an acquaintance of Patterson's, claimed that he had worn an ape costume for the making of the film. Organizations such as Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization have suggested that that Heironimus himself is a fraud.

October 20, 1973 -
The Saturday Night Massacre: Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus when they each refuse to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on this date.

Who was the man who finally fired Cox: Robert Bork - it's that evil beard.

October 20, 1977 -
En route to a gig at Louisiana State University, Lynyrd Skynyrd band members Ronnie Van Zandt and Steve Gaines were killed when their private plane runs out of fuel and crashes into a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi. Their record company MCA withdraws the flame-filled cover art for their ironically-named Street Survivors album

Drunken frat boys everywhere cry out in their mournful lamentations, "Play 'Freebird' man".

And so it goes.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life is very narrow without glasses of gin and tonic

Several sources, including the eponymously named Facebook page, lists today as International Gin and Tonic Day.  Some cite April 9th as the date.  I'm up for celebrating on both dates. (But don't confuse it with World Gin Day which always falls on the second Saturday of June.)

So celebrate the day with the British Royal Family by drinking your G and T and make the room begin to spin.

October 19, 1966 -
The first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (who went on to work together in 11 additional films), The Fortune Cookie, premiered on this date.

This was director Billy Wilder's second film in a row in which one of his lead actors suffered a heart attack. In preceding film, 1964's Kiss Me, Stupid, Peter Sellers' health problem forced Wilder to replace him with Ray Walston. In The Fortune Cookie, Walter Matthau suffered attack midway through production but shooting was postponed until he recovered; his drastic weight loss from scene to scene is noticeable.

October 19, 1973 -
Columbia Pictures
released Sydney Pollack's romantic drama, The Way We Were, written by Arthur Laurents and starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, on this date.

Robert Redford was unhappy with cuts made to the film following a preview. He said, "I think we'd both have preferred a more political Dalton Trumbo -type script, but finally Sydney came down on the side of the love story. He said, 'This is first and foremost a love affair,' and we conceded that. We trusted his instincts, and he was right."

October 19, 1977 -
Richard Brooks'
somewhat lurid look at the 70s dating scene, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld, William Atherton, and Richard Gere, premiered in Los Angeles on this date

Actress Diane Keaton's contract explicitly prohibited the manufacture of any production photograph stills from any "sexually suggestive" frames from the film's print.

October 19, 1985 -
The Norwegian band a-Ha, who went from total unknowns to chart-topping pop stars when the song Take On Me, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart on this day.

A-ha wrote and recorded the first version of this song in 1982 with the title Lesson One - it had different lyrics but contained the basic keyboard riff. In 1983, the song got the attention of industry veteran Terry Slater, who becomes their manager and helps them secure a contract with Warner Bros. Records later that year.

This didn't work out.

Today in History:
October 19, 1879
(I've also seen the date as 10/21/79, 10/22/79, 10/25/79 or 11/03/79 - I'm guessing geniuses can't be bothered when they're filing other people patents under their name every 12 minutes or crushing their competition with false and scurrilous rumors.) - Thomas A. Edison successfully demonstrates the electric light.

Unfortunately, it took several years to straighten out his first electric bill.

October 19, 1890 -
My favorite self-circumcising, Muslim passing, male brothel going, Late-Victorian pornographer and international man of mystery Richard Francis Burton, explorer, British consul, translator, died on this date.

His wife, Lady Burton, spent several years burning most of his unpublished notes (he had been working on translating the book The Perfumed Garden and its controversy chapters concerning homosexual sex positions - I kid you not,) before published a (highly sanitized) biography of her late husband.

October 19, 1901 -
Alberto Santos-Dumont
successfully circled the Eiffel Tower in his Santos-Dumont No. 6 dirigible within a half hour and won a 100,000 franc prize.

An initial ruling said that he failed by 40 seconds because the race wasn’t finished until he touched ground. A 2nd vote granted him the win.

This proved the airship maneuverable and parking was very bad in Paris at the turn of the previous century even for dirigibles.

In the midst of the First World War, Salvation Army volunteers in France found themselves stymied by inadequate supplies and ovens for baking. Unable to prepare the cakes and and pies they so badly wanted to bake for the troops, they came up with the novel idea of frying rather than baking the dough.

Two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Stella Young and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. This resulted in the appearance of the world's first fried donut on a WWI front on October 19, 1917.

The donut should not be confused with the bagel, despite their physical resemblance. The bagel is boiled and baked, whereas the donut is fried (but sometimes baked.)

Bagels are found in varieties such as onion, garlic, salt, poppy-seed, and sesame-seed, and are frequently consumed with cheese and fish.

Donuts are found in varieties such as glazed, chocolate, chocolate-frosted, strawberry-frosted, powdered, jelly-filled, and sprinkled.

They are rarely consumed with cheese or fish, but they go pretty damn well with coffee (or tea.)

October 19, 1953 -
After Julius La Rosa had finished singing Manhattan on Arthur Godfrey Time, the host (and general scum bag) Arthur Godfrey fired him on the air, announcing, "that was Julie's swan song with us."

Unaware the firing was coming (or what the phrase "swan song" meant), La Rosa tearfully met with Godfrey after the broadcast and thanked him for giving him his "break."

October 19, 1982
Maverick carmaker John DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles with $24 million dollars worth of cocaine in his suitcase on this date.

The case was later thrown out of court when a judge rules that the FBI sting operation constituted entrapment.

October 19, 1987 -
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 22% (508 points), in what has become know as Black Monday.

$500 billion in market capitalization was evaporated from the Dow Jones stock index, making the drop the largest decline ever.

And so it goes


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

America's Last Frontier

October 18 is Alaska Day, observed in the U.S. state of Alaska. Previously, they tried celebrating Alaska Day in Hawaii. The seething resentment of stealing their nation hadn't abated in Hawaii, so sponsors thought better of the plan. (Note to readers who find themselves in Alaska today - once again, avoid the Palin clan; reports are in that they had been celebrating earlier. They have been out looking at Russia again and they are mean drunks.)

It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States which took place at a flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sitka on October 18, 1867.

October 18, 1961 -
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story, premiered in New York City on this date.

Rita Moreno stated that her line reading of "Don't you touch me!" after the Jets attack Anita was her imitating Marlon Brando, her then-boyfriend. Brando even noticed at the film's premiere.

October 18, 1967 -
The 19th animated feature and the first film Disney Studios released after Walt Disney's death, Jungle Book, premiered on this date.

Walt Disney died during production of this film. Many people wondered at what the studio's fate would be, particularly the animation division. The film performed extremely well at the box office, ensuring that the animators would not be put out of work. Had the film failed, it is likely that animation would have been closed down at the Disney studio.

October 18, 1974 -
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, based loosely on Ed Gein's story opened in theatres on this date. At the time of release, the film was so strongly criticized for its content that it was eventually banned in various countries around the world, including Australia and the United Kingdom.

Director Tobe Hooper claims to have got the idea for the film while standing in the hardware section of a crowded store. While thinking of a way to get out through the crowd, he spotted the chainsaws.

October 18, 1988 -
Poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, sex, menstruation, birth control, teenage pregnancy, masturbation, obesity, abortion, race, social class, domestic violence, and homosexuality - some of the topics dealt with on the series, Roseanne (which premiered on this date.)

Sara Gilbert's contribution to the show was considered so important to Roseanne that the show's producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York.

The zen moment of the day

Today in History:
October 18, 1216
King John was not a happy sovereign. Not the favorite child; his brother Richard the Lionheart was. John was king of England on and off while his brother enjoyed fighting  the Crusades in the Middle East and sodomy with the King of France. Finally John became king outright when some kid shot his brother in the neck with an arrow (but that's another story.)

Once John became king, he argued with everyone: the Pope, the King of France (whom his brother may or may not have been involved romantically with) and most of the Barons of England. King John died on this day after eating too many peaches and drinking too much cider. He was trying to cheer himself up after being chased by revolting Barons half way across England and losing the crown jewels while fleeing from them.

October 18, 1767
The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled on this date. Dubbed the Mason-Dixon line, it became the unofficial boundary between North and South.

Bad confederates, bad.

October 18, 1898 -
The United States took control of Puerto Rico one year after Spain had granted self-rule to the Caribbean nation. Since 1917, people born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.

So class, once again, that makes all Puerto Ricans - U.S. citizens!

October 18, 1903 -
Hundreds of people in San Francisco were startled to see Dr. August Greth fly his 80-foot-long American Eagle airship over the city on this date.

At first his flight seemed successful but then the dirigible's engine stalled and the wind carried it over the bay where it plummeted into the water. He and his assistant, overcome by escaping gas, were safely recovered by soldiers from Fort Point.

Bad Hydrogen, bad.

October 18, 1931 -
Thomas Alva Edison, one of the most prolific inventors (and evil businessmen) in history, forgot to file a patent on avoiding death so he died in West Orange, N.J., at the age of 84, on this date.

Bad Grim Reaper, bad.
(or good, depending on your viewpoint of Mr. Edison.)

October 18, 1945 -
The USSR's nuclear program receives plans for America's plutonium bomb, courtesy of secret agent Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, on this date.

Bad spy, bad spy.

October 18, 1959 -
The Soviet Union
announced an unmanned space vehicle had taken the first pictures of the far side of the moon a few days earlier.

Remember kids, there is no dark side of the moon - it's all dark.

October 18, 1968 -
A police with the help of two sniffer dogs named Yogi and Boo-Boo, on this date, raided the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and finds a very small amount of pot. The couple is fined £150.

Bad Beatle, bad Beatle.

October 18, 1974
On this date, the jury in the Watergate cover-up trial heard a tape recording in which U.S. President Richard Nixon told aide John Dean to try to stop the Watergate burglary investigation before it implicated White House personnel.

Bad Dick, bad.

October 18, 1984 -
President Ronald Reagan ordered an investigation of a CIA handbook for Nicaraguan rebels that suggested assassination as a political tactic.

Bad - oh forget it, he's dead.

And so it goes


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In case this comes up in conversation

October 17, 1939 -
Frank Capra's
contribution to the Golden age of Hollywood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, premiered in Washington D.C. on this date.

Frank Capra wrote in his autobiography that he and Harry Cohn received a cablegram from U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy saying that he felt the film would damage "America's prestige in Europe" and should therefore be withdrawn from European distribution. In response, they mailed favorable reviews of the film to Kennedy, which persuaded him not pursue the matter any further, even though he still maintained his doubts.

October 17, 1944 -
The little known and under appreciated drama directed by Clifford Odets, None But the Lonely Heart, starring Cary Grant, Ethel Barrymore and Barry Fitzgerald, was released on this date.

This film marked a return to the big screen after an 11 year absence by star Ethel Barrymore. Prior to making this film, Barrymore had considered movie appearances an inferior art to the stage. However, her time on set, her critical acclaim, and her hefty paycheck changed her mind.

October 17, 1956 -
Producer Michael Todd's adaptation of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Niven, Shirley Maclaine, Cantinflas and just about every other actor in Hollywood, premiered in New York on this date.

The role of Passepartout was greatly expanded from the novel to accommodate Mexican star Cantinflas. In the mid-1950s he was the wealthiest movie star in the world, and got top billing in Latin countries.

October 17, 1957 -
MGM released the film that contained the sequence that some have called, "Elvis Presley's greatest moment on screen," when Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis premiered in Memphis, Tennessee, on this date.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote four songs (Jailhouse Rock, I Want to Be Free, Treat Me Nice and You're So Square") in five hours after their music publisher, under deadline, locked them in their hotel room. 

(Please note: this is the film that Elvis is scourged for your sins. Only you know how much clothing you should remove to receive the healing benefits from St. Elvis. As always, place one hand upon the screen and the other upon your bare (or nearly bare) afflicted region.) 

October 17, 1958 -
What is considered a comeback special, An Evening with Fred Astaire premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

The special was the first color show pre-recorded on videotape at NBC's new state-of-the-art "Color City" studios in Burbank, California.

October 17, 1966 -
Another iconic film from the 60s, Georgy Girl, starring James Mason, Lynn Redgrave and Alan Bates, premiered in the US on this date.

Tom Springfield, co-writer of the film's classic title song "Georgy Girl", is the brother of 1960s pop singer Dusty Springfield.

October 17, 1968 -
One of the defining police crime dramas of the 60's, Bullitt starring Steven McQueen premiered on this date.

Steve McQueen based his character on San Francisco Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi, made famous for his work on the Zodiac killings. McQueen had a copy made of Toschi's custom fast-draw shoulder holster.

Today's ACME PSA

Today in History:
The Sixth Crusade ended on this date in 1244 after the Saracens ("Infidels") defeated the Franks ("Infidels") at Gaza.

But you know after the Fourth Crusade, I just stopped counting, didn't you?.

October 17, 1777 -
At one of the turning points of the American Revolution, British General John Burgoyne surrendered to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, N.Y. on this date.

The surrender demonstrating American determination to gain independence. After the surrender, France sided with the Americans, and other countries began to get involved and align themselves against Britain.

October 17, 1814 -
Late on a Monday afternoon on this date, one of the 800lb iron restraining hoop fell off one of the two giant porter vats at the the Meux and Company Brewery on London’s Tottenham Court Road. A clerk made a note of the occurrence but thought no more of it until about an hour later when the wooden staves of the vat burst.

The vat, which was full to the brim with 3,550 barrels (more than a million pints) of finest 10-month-old Meux’s Porter, created a tsunami of beer, bursting the other behemoth vat. The resulting flood, weighing close to 600 tons, plus wood and metal from the vat knocked out the wall of the brewery and gushed into the street, drowning eight and injuring dozens more. A ninth final victim actually succumbed some days later of alcohol poisoning.

What a way to go!

October 17, 1961 -
Henri Matisse's Le Bateau went on display at New York's Museum of Modern Art. 47 days later, the curator learned from an art student the painting had been hung upside down.

An estimated 116,000 viewers, during the period, had not noticed the mistake.

October 17, 1967 -
The play Hair, full of dancing naked people, unshaven armpits, and body odor, opens at the 299-seat Anspacher Theater on Broadway on this date. At the time, the musical's depiction of the use of illegal drugs, sexuality, profanity, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy.

The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast, and by inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.

October 17, 1979 -
... so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a Roman Catholic nun who cared for the sick and poor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, on this date.

She may have been canonized but what she really wanted to do was direct.

October 17, 1984 -
The New York Times
ran an article entitled CIA Primer Tells Nicaraguan Rebels How to Kill. The story describes the secret manual Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare which the CIA furnished to the Contras in Nicaragua.

The booklet instructed how to kidnap and assassinate civil officials, such as judges and police.

Most people do not have access to the CIA's gift shop and Barnes and Noble no longer sells the primer but you can order it from Amazon.

(You didn't hear it from me.)

October 17, 1989
The Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco on this date. The damaging earthquake was notable for being the first in history to be broadcast on live TV.

The World Series was being played there at the time and cameras covering the event live were able to capture the devastating scenes.

And so it goes


Monday, October 16, 2017


Look it up - it's a great word to use to describe the day - Happy Dictionary Day.

October 16, the birth of Noah Webster is commemorated as Dictionary Day. Celebrate the day by learning some new words, learning how dictionaries came to be, sprucing up your dictionary skills, or even creating your own dictionary!

OK, I'll calm down.

October 16, 1944
Universal Pictures released the 11th Walter Lantz Woody Woodpecker cartoon, The Beach Nut, on this date.

The cartoon marked the debut of  Wally Walrus, Woody Woodpecker's first steady nemesis.

October 16, 1954 -
Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the radio on the program Louisiana Hayride, on this date.

Whether it was Elvis' stage fright or the originality of his act before a new audience, his performance was flat much like his Grand Ole Opry debut a few weeks previous.

October 16, 1968 -
20th Centurt Fox
released Richard Fleischer's crime drama, The Boston Strangler, starring Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman and William Hickey in the US on this date.

Horst Buchholz was among those actors considered for the Tony Curtis part. Other actors considered for the role of Albert DeSalvo were Robert Redford and 

Word of the Day

Today in History
On this date in 1792 (or 1799), there was baptized in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a boy named Francisco Morazàn. He was young, like most newborns, and full of idealism. After a disappointing childhood, in which he turned out not to have been born to wealth and privilege, he decided first to educate himself and then to enlist in the fight against Mexican annexation of Honduras.

After a disappointing loss, in which Honduras turned out to be a part of Mexico even though neither of them was any longer a part of Spain, Morazàn joined the government of the United Provinces of Central America. Two years later he was the president of the Honduras State legislature and the following year he became president of the entire United Provinces by means of the traditional Central American electoral process ("civil war").

As president, he tried to limit the powers of the Roman Catholic Church, which eventually led to a new round of elections ("civil wars") that produced a new president, this time from the State of Guatemala. The new president exiled Morazàn, who returned several years later calling for electoral reform ("revolution") and was therefore impeached ("shot in the head") by one of his own troops.

It's a holiday in Honduras today.

But it is not a holiday in Guatemala. Or Mexico.

October 16, 1793 -
Deposed French queen Joséphe Jeanne Marie Antoinette sat in an open cart, enduring hours of public ridicule as she is slowly driven around the streets of Paris, on this day.

Finally, she was taken to the guillotine. On the scaffold she accidentally stepped on the executioner's foot, and her last words were, "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose."

She wasn't having a good day.

October 16, 1846
The first successful demonstration of the inhalation of ether vapour as a means of overcoming pain of surgery by the dentist William Thomas Green Morton at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, on this date. Edward Abbot, the 20-year-old patient, had a congenital vascular formation removed from his neck. Afterwards Mr. Abbott told those assembled, “I did not experience pain at any time, though I knew that the operation was proceeding.

Ether Day, the anniversary of that events is still celebrated today by the doctors and staff of Massachusetts General annually on October 16th. I can not verify if the drug is actually huffed by the staff or merely admired.

Today is the birthday of Oscar Wilde (1854), known for his barbed wit, was one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day.

In between bouts of buggery and posing for his Sodomite Trading Card photo, he found time to write the following passage in The Picture of Dorian Gray: "Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, History would have been different." Unfortunately for Oscar, had he fled England in the spring of 1895, his history would have been different.

I believe that cavemen did indeed know how to laugh, and that people who accuse humanity of being too serious obviously aren't paying attention. Voluminous scientific research has incontrovertibly proven that we are the only species to giggle at one other's farts.

I reminds you that our lives are haphazard accidents in an indifferent world and that the very absurdity of life is what gives it

the most meaning. Burp. Laugh.

Ignore the serious bastards (and remember that the only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.)

October 16, 1908 -
The first airplane flight in England was made at Farnborough, accomplished by Samuel Cody, a self-proclaimed American cowboy who built his own flying machines.

The machine had been damaged at the end of the October 16th flight.

After repairs and extensive modifications Cody flew it again early the following year.

October 16, 1916  -
Margaret Higgins Sanger opened the first birth control clinic at 46 Amboy St. in Brooklyn on this date. After opening her clinic in Brooklyn, she spent 30 days in jail for creating a public nuisance.

Sanger coined the term "birth control" and made the cause a worldwide movement.

October 16, 1934 -
Mao Tse-tung decided to abandon his base in Kiangsi due to attacks from Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists. With his pregnant wife and about 30,000 Red Army troops, he set out on the "Long March," - the longest march in the history of warfare.

The march lasted one year and four days, covering more than 6,000 miles (about 9,656 kilometers). In late 1935, with 8,000 survivors, he reached northwest China, and established Chinese Communist headquarters.

(Hey, I want the Chinese censors to note that I occasionally have good stories of the PRC.)

October 16, 1946 -
10 high-ranking Nazi officials were executed by hanging for World War II war crimes in Nuremberg, Germany, on this date.

Many of the hangings were badly botched as of the prisoners were slowly strangle to death. One would have thought we'd have perfected that whole 'hanging thing' - America had been hanging prisoners with pride for almost two centuries at that point.

Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and chief of the German air force, was to have been among them but he committed suicide in his cell the night before.

October 16, 1964 -
China detonated its first atomic bomb (to commemorate the anniversary of the "Long March") and became the world's fifth nuclear power on this date.

If you know what's good for you, please tip the delivery guys a hell of a lot more.

October 16, 1968 
American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos sparked controversy at the Mexico City Olympics by giving "black power" salutes during a victory ceremony after they'd won gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter race on this date. (And you thing people are pissed at the 'kneeling during the anthem' thing.)

Little remembered is the third athlete on the podium with Smith and Carlos, Australian athlete Peter Norman, who joined the American athletes in solidarity and paid a huge price.

Take a moment to read about the story of this forgotten man in a major story of the Olympic Games history.

October 16, 1972 -
A light plane carrying House Democratic leader Thomas Hale Boggs of Louisiana (the most outspoken and critical member of the Warren Commission) and three other men was reported missing in Alaska. The plane was never found.

Perhaps if they had that famous bridge to nowhere, they would have found them.

October 16, 1984 -
... Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa won the Nobel Peace Prize on this date, for his struggle against apartheid.

And so it goes


Sunday, October 15, 2017

I felt I had to know more.

It's Evacuation Day in Tunisia.  It turns out that Evacuation Day recognizes the important contributions made to the world of science by Tunisian proctologists .

The less said about the gastroenterological rituals performed on this holiday the better.

Which leads us to the fact that today is Global Handwashing Day. It is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap, the campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.

Children suffer disproportionately from diarrheal diseases – with more than 3.5 million children under five dying every year from diarrhea and pneumonia-related diseases. The simple act of washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea rates among children under five by almost 50 per cent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing for at least 20 seconds and suggests singing “Happy Birthday” twice to allow enough time to remove and rinse off germs.

Remind me not to shake hands with any children, people from Tunisia (or employees from the food service industry, for that matter.)

October 15, 1940 -
Two of the most famous men in the world, not only had superficially similar looks, most famously their mustaches, but were born only four days apart in April of 1889 and both grew up in relative poverty. One of them decides to take a huge risk and release a film taking advantage of this freakish similarity, The Great Dictator, on this date.

Adolf Hitler banned the film in Germany and in all countries occupied by the Nazis. Curiosity got the best of him, and he had a print brought in through Portugal. History records that he screened it twice, in private, but history did not record his reaction to the film. Charles Chaplin said, "I'd give anything to know what he thought of it." For political reasons in Germany, the ban stayed after the end of WWII until 1958.

October 15, 1951 -
A former starlet convinced the alcoholic, womanizing head of a television network to run the TV version of her somewhat successful radio program.

I Love Lucy
, the television situation comedy, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, also featuring Vivian Vance and William Frawley, went on to run on CBS for 181 episodes (including the "lost" Christmas episode and original pilot).

Then, the show introduced three more seasons, running from 1957 to 1960, known as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (while Ball and Arnaz go through an acrimonious divorce). I Love Lucy won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations. In 2002, it was ranked #2 on TV Guide's top 50 greatest shows of all time, behind Seinfeld and ahead of The Honeymooners. In 2007, it was placed on Time Magazine's (unranked) list of "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME".

I Love Lucy was the most-watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the ratings (to be matched only by The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld), although it did not have a formal series finale episode. Episodes of I Love Lucy are still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world.

October 15, 1959 -
The TV show The Untouchables with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

Van Heflin and Van Johnson both turned down the role of Eliot Ness. Fred MacMurray, Jack Lord, and Cliff Robertson were also considered for the part.

October 15, 1965 -
The poker playing version of The Hustler, The Cincinnati Kid, directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Tuesday Weld, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell, Rip Torn, and Cab Calloway premiered in New Orleans on this date.

This was Ring Lardner Jr.'s  (one of the scren writers) first major studio work since his 1947 blacklisting as one of The Hollywood Ten.

If you are dreaming,

Today in History:
It's the Feast Day of one of my favorite saints - Saint Teresa of Avila (I've mentioned her at least twice this year)

She is also known as the Roving Nun (but should not be confused with the Wandering Nun, the Meandering Nun, or the Hopelessly Disoriented Nun). In case you still don't know who this Saint is - she's the one who was repeatedly pierced by God's golden shaft of light, again and again and again. She is the patron saint not only of Spain, but also bodily ills, headaches, laceworkers, opposition to Church Authorities and people ridiculed for their piety.

She died in the arms of her close friend Anne of Saint Bartholomew, allegedly from Transverberation ("the crossing of verbs"). Her pierced heart is on display at Alba de Tormes, so if you're the kind of person that's interested in 400-year-old pierced human hearts you'll probably want to pay a visit. (You'll probably find it in the "Pierced Internal Organ Room" of the "Three-to-Five Hundred Estactic Orgasm Wing.")

Saint Teresa famously said , "There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers", (Truman Capote took this quote very seriously.) "God," she famously prayed, "deliver me from sullen saints!"

Friedrich Nietzsche, who was born on this day in 1844, apparently shared her sentiments if not her tactics.

October 15, 1582 -
Finally, with the formal implementation of the Gregorian calendar by Pope Gregory XIII, this day actually exists in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

The calendar jumped from October 4 directly to October 15. People are generally relieved but never quite get over the feeling that they missed something during those 11 days.

October 15, 1783 -
Frenchman Jean Pilâtre de Rozier made a tethered, captive-balloon ascent, in the gardens of La Muette on this date. The Montgolfier (of Monty Python fame)-made balloon, Aerostat Reveillon, carrying Pilâtre, first man to leave the earth, rose to the end of its 250 ft tether.

It stayed aloft for15 minutes, then landed safely nearby.

October 15, 1893 -
The New York Times declared Coney IslandSodom-by-the-Sea" for the thrilling rides that let men and women clutch each other.

The Elephantine Colossus, a 200-foot-tall elephant-shaped hotel had a howdah on its back, topped with a gilded crescent was built on Surf Avenue, in 1885.  It housed a concert hall and events bazaar in its belly, a museum in what would be its left lung. Its head was an observatory and its eyes were telescopes; you could climb up and peer out at the surrounding city. With 31 rooms and 12 stories, its front legs housed a cigar store and diorama, and its hind legs had spiral staircases leading to the rooms contained above. By 1893, though, tourists got tired of the gimmick, and prostitutes started moving in. It became a giant elephant-shaped brothel. “Seeing the elephant” became local parlance for picking up prostitutes,

October 15, 1917 -
The German spy Mata Hari, a Dutchwoman named Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, was executed by the French on this date. There wasn't much actual evidence of espionage, but she had been seen naked with German officers and the French considered this distasteful enough to kill her.

(I think I've killed her off on various dates this year - but this appears to be the actual date of her execution. Sorry about that, Margaretha.)

October 15, 1924 -
President Calvin Coolidge declared the Statue of Liberty to be a national monument on this date.

Previously, the statue had been considered merely a large French broad oxidizing in New York Harbor.

October 15, 1928 -
The airship LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin completed its first transatlantic crossing when it arrives in the United States at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey four days after leaving Friedrichshafen, Germany on this date.

The Naval Air Station Lakehurst, located in Lakehurst, New Jersey, was the western terminus for the commercial transatlantic flights of the German dirigibles Graf Zeppelin and, later, the Hindenburg.

October 15, 1964
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was too busy pounding his shoe at every official meeting to realize that he was ousted

and replaced by Alexei N. Kosygin as premier and by Leonid I. Brezhnev as Communist Party secretary.

October 15, 1990 -
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev gave up the practice of shoe banging practices of the Soviet Premier all together

and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on this date.

October 15, 1991 -
Despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, The Senate confirmed Judge Clarence Thomas as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48, the closest confirmation vote in court history.

Given all that's gone on this past week with Mr. Weinstein, what is there to say?

October 15, 2002 -
Former ImClone Chief Executive Officer Samuel Waksal pleaded guilty to insider trading as part of an ongoing investigation into the trading of shares from his biotech company on this date.

And this wasn't a good thing for his friend, home decor diva, Martha Stewart.

And so it goes

Before you go - Puddles Friday release was The Sound of Silence -

It's an incredible interpretation of the song


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Making Bald Look Good

Today is Be Bald and Free day!

The Rock
and I show ours off every day, why don't you?

October 14, 1888 -

French inventor Louis Le Prince shot a brief film which lasted for about two seconds, in Leeds, England, he called Roundhay Garden Scene, on this date.

The footage is thought to be the oldest surviving film footage in world history.

October 14, 1953 -
Possibly the ultimate film noir, Fritz Lang's The Big Heat opens in NYC on this date.

When Lee Marvin first sees Glenn Ford face to face, the music in the background is Put the Blame on Mame, reference to Ford's performance in Gilda.

October 14, 1954 -
Michael Curtiz’s holiday musical White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen, and Danny Kaye premiered in New York City on this date

Third of three films to feature Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. The other two are Holiday Inn and Blue Skies.

October 14, 1972 -
Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and that infamous stick of butter premiered in New York City, on this date.

According to Maria Schneider, the famous "butter scene" was never in the script and improvised at the last minute by Marlon Brando and Bernardo Bertolucci without consulting her. Though the sodomy act was faked, her real tears in the film clearly testify to her state of shock.

October 14, 1972
The TV-series Kung Fu, starring David Carridine, debuted on ABC-TV on this date.

According to Bruce Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee originated the concept and was intended to star in the series, but David Carradine was cast because the network felt the American audience was not ready for an Asian actor as the lead and Lee received no credit for his concept.

October 14, 1978 -
The gang finally got off the damn island (sort of) when the first TV movie from a TV series, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, premiered on CBS-TV with all of the original cast except Tina Louise (who wanted too much money,) on this date.

The Rescue from Gilligans Island TV movie was one of the most viewed shows of all time. The made for TV movie scored 52 % (30.2) in the Nielson ratings which remains of the highest ratings of all time for a TV movie.

Don't forget to tune into The ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour today

Today in History:
October 14, 430 BC

October 14, 1066  -
As bad as King Harold's day yesterday; today was worse, much worse.  The King and his army were locked in a massive battle and faced Duke William, William the Conqueror, and his mounted knights near the town of Hastings.

Duke William planned a three point attack plan that included a) heavy archery b) attack by foot soldiers c) attack by mounted knights at any weak point of defense. The Normans routed the Saxons and won out after Harold was killed by a stray arrow. This placed William on the throne of England. There is nothing worse than losing the throne of England to a stray arrow which appears to have happened far more frequently than thought.

October 14, 1651
Massachusetts passed laws prohibiting the poor from dressing excessively, on this date.

It was felt that persons of limited means should save their money and learn to get by with simple vinaigrettes.

October 14, 1893 -
You can get through life with bad manners, but it's easier with good manners.

Lillian Diana Gish, was born on this date. Although she was the archetypal silent film heroine, she was a star of movies, television, radio, and the stage for nearly all of the 20th century. She closed her career in the 1987 film The Whales of August.

October 14, 1912 -
Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning for a return to office, was shot in Milwaukee by a saloon keeper named John Schrank on this date.

What saves Teddy was the bullet lodged in Roosevelt's chest only after hitting both his steel eyeglass case and a copy of his speech he was carrying in his jacket. Roosevelt declined suggestions that he go to the hospital, and delivered his scheduled speech.

He spoke vigorously for ninety minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, "I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Afterwards, doctors determined that he was not seriously wounded and that it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in his chest. Roosevelt carried it with him until he died.

Schrank was captured and uttered the now famous words "any man looking for a third term ought to be shot."

Teddy Roosevelt, one of America's First Superheroes.

October 14, 1944 -
Field Marshal Rommel (James Mason) of Germany was visited by two of Hitler's personal staff on this date in history.

They informed him that he was suspected of involvement in the July 20th plot to assassinate the Fuhrer and that he would therefore be required either to (a) stand trial and die, or (b) just die. They brought some poison along to facilitate his decision.

Hitler always liked him.

October 14, 1947 -
American pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in a rocket-powered airplane, on this date. Yeager insisted it was already broken and consequently refused to repair it despite repeated admonitions by his mother.

It remains broken to this day. (The sound barrier should not be confused with the Long Island Sound barrier, sometimes referred to as the Throg's Neck Bridge.)

October 14, 1959 -
Omni-sexual actor and Nazi sympathizer Errol Flynn, dubbed "the most despicable human being yet born" (and that was by a friend), died of a heart attack in Vancouver on this date. Flynn reported didn't have a sexual preference, he merely slept with anything with an orifice (and possibly a pulse) including (but not limited to) Truman Capote, Howard Hughes, as well as countless Hollywood starlets.

Presumably, not at the same time.

October 14, 1962 -
The US collected photographic evidence that the Soviet Union had positioned missiles about 90 miles off the US coast, in Cuba. The missiles were capable of transporting nuclear warheads.

The tense situation that arose in the next two weeks would bring the US and Soviet Union the closest the two countries had ever been to nuclear war

October 14, 1968  -
Captain Walter Schirra, Jr., Major Donn Eisele and Major Walt Cunningham, gave the American public a tour of the spacecraft and showed the view through their craft’s windows on this date.

The crew on NASA's Apollo 7 mission, the first successful manned mission to the Moon, broadcast the first live transmission from their spacecraft.

And so it goes