Sunday, March 26, 2017

A word to the wise

Here's a brief PSA from ACME

Now that spring seems to be on the ascent


March 26, 1942 -
Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!



The Bulleteers, part of the Fleischer Superman animated series, was released on this date


March 26, 1971 -
Balding, middle-aged, and portly (hey I better watch out, that's starting to describe me) - the Cannon pilot with William Conrad premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



Frank Cannon was originally a policeman, but he quit the force after the tragic death of his wife and infant son in an automobile accident. The tragedy drove Cannon to become a top private investigator.


March 26, 1975
-
The Who's rock opera Tommy, directed with his usual flair by Ken Russell premiered in London on this date.



The original choice to play the Acid Queen was David Bowie.


March 26, 1977 -
Less Than Zero, the debut single from Elvis Costello, was released by the newly formed Stiff Records in London, England on this date.



This was Costello's first single - it was only issued in Europe. At the time, he had a day job working on a computer at Elizabeth Arden cosmetics.


March 26, 1989 -
The science fiction series, Quantum Leap, starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.



Scott Bakula was the first actor cast, and thus was asked to read with actors under consideration for the role of Al Calavicci. Bakula immediately felt a connection with Dean Stockwell during his audition, and lobbied the producers to cast him as Al Calavicci.


Today in History:
March 26, 1199
-
All seemed right with the Medieval world. Richard the Lionheart was taking an evening stroll around the castle perimeter without his chain mail, investigating the progress of soldiers trying to destroy the fortress in which he was seeking refuge. Arrows were occasionally fired from the castle walls, but these were given little attention.

One defender in particular was of great amusement to the King - a man standing on the walls, cross bow in one hand, the other clutching a frying pan which he had been using all day as a shield to beat off missiles (this is what passed for amusement in 1199). He deliberately aimed an arrow at the King, which the King applauded. However, another arrow then struck him in the left shoulder near the neck. He tried to pull this out in the privacy of his tent, but failed; a surgeon, called a 'butcher' by Roger of Hoveden, (a 12th-century English chronicler,) removed it, 'carelessly mangling' the King's arm in the process. However, the wound swiftly became gangrenous.

Accordingly, Richard asked to have the cross bowman brought before him - the man proved a boy. This boy claimed that Richard had slain the boy's father and two brothers, and that he had slain Richard in vengeance. The boy expected to be slain; Richard, as a last act of mercy, forgave the boy his crime, saying, "Live on, and by my bounty behold the light of day," before ordering the boy to be freed and sent away with 100 shillings. Richard then set his affairs in order, bequeathing all his territory to his brother John and his jewels to his nephew Otto.



Richard died on Tuesday, April 6, 1199 in the arms of his mother; it was later said that "As the day was closing, he ended his earthly day." His death was later referred to as 'the Lion [that] by the Ant was slain'. His last act of chivalry proved pointless: as soon as Richard was dead, his most infamous mercenary captain Mercadier had the boy who fired the fatal arrow flayed alive and then hanged.

So much for pardons.


March 26, 1827
-
German composer Ludwig Van Beethoven died in Vienna on this date. He had been deaf for the later part of his life, but said on his death bed "I shall hear in heaven."



I wonder what the first thing that he heard in heaven?


March 26, 1830 -
Joseph Smith published The Book of Mormon on this date, after translating it from golden plates turned over by the angel Moroni.



Smith maintained that the text contained in the tablets were written in Reformed Egyptian which he read by means of two magic stones from the Old Testament, the Urim and Thummim.


March 26,1920 -
They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don't know why I bother bringing this up but F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel was published on this date, bringing his talents into the spotlight.



The novel This Side of Paradise immediately launching 23-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald to fame and fortune.

But what do you care, you don't read anything, anyway.


March 26, 1931 -
As if some cosmic force far greater than any of us can understand,



Leonard Nimoy was born four day after William Shatner.


March 26, 1953 -
Dr. Jonas Salk announced he had a vaccine for polio, on this date. Following Salk's discovery, a nationwide inoculation campaign began in 1955.



By 1957, the number of new polio cases dropped from 58 thousand to under six thousand.


March 26, 2233 - (There is some controversy surrounding this date)
James Tiberius Kirk will be born to Winona and George Samuel Kirk, Sr. in a small farming community in Riverside, Iowa. As the Captain will be quoted in the future, "I'm from Iowa, I only work in outer space."



Although born on Earth, he was apparently raised, at least for a time, on Tarsus IV, where he was one of only nine surviving witnesses to the massacre of 4,000 colonists because of utilitarian extermination by Kodos the Executioner so that the colony could survive a devastating famine.



And so it goes.


1397

Saturday, March 25, 2017

It's a busy day today

March 25, 2017  -
Earth Hour is a global event (organized by World Wildlife Fund) held usually on the last Saturday of March. Earth Hour is celebrated annually by asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.



Earth Hour 2017 will be held from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. EDT (hopefully you've already read this post.)


It's also the Feast of the Annunciation (now a days known as The Solemnity of the Annunciation),



I'm not even going to try to explain this one to you.



While you're in church this afternoon, sorry kids, it is a holy day of obligation, ask one of the old lady in the back saying her decades of rosary to explain it to you. (This is for extra credit,) today is also the feast of St. Dismas, the patron of undertakers and prisoners.

Dismas was the repentant thief crucified with Christ. (You can impress the old lady saying her rosaries with that fact.)


March 25, 1932 -
Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weismuller first stripped dpwn to his leopard skin loin cloth - Tarzan the Ape Man premiered in NYC on this date.



At no point in this movie is the line "Me Tarzan, you Jane" spoken. When Jane and Tarzan meet, it is she who initiates the verbal exchange, repeatedly indicating herself and giving her name until he repeats it. She then points to him, indicating that she wants to know if there's a word for who he is as "Jane" is the word for who she is, until eventually he understands and says, "Tarzan."


March 25, 1942 -
Aretha Louise Franklin
(The Queen of Soul,) born in Memphis, Tennessee, is a singer, songwriter and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings, Franklin is adept at jazz, blues, R&B and gospel music.









Franklin has won eighteen Grammy Awards in total during her nearly half-century long career and holds the record for most Best Female R&B Vocal Performance awards with eleven to her name.


March 25, 1947 -
Reginald Kenneth Dwight
, singer-songwriter, composer and pianist was born on this date as well.







In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked him as the most successful male solo artist on "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists"


March 25, 1968 -
The 58th and final episode of  The Monkees, Mijacogeo (also known as The Frodis Caper,) aired on this date.



The four Monkees were each paid $450 per episode, raised to $750 for the second season. They received standard royalty rates for their recordings (and publishing, when they wrote the songs), but received virtually nothing for their merchandising. Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones sued Columbia Pictures in the late 1970s, but had to settle for a payment of only $10,000.


March 25, 1972 -
ABC-TV
aired the final episode of Bewitched, The Truth, Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me, Sam on this date.



This episode is actually a remake of episode #50 "Speak the Truth" that aired during the second season.


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


Today in History:
Anne Brontë
was baptized on March 25, 1820. She and her sisters Charlotte and Emily were avid writers. Women were not supposed 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 Brontës therefore wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.

Charlotte got to be Currer, which made the other girls jealous, because Currer was the handsome and swarthy sailor: Ellis was the stuttering librarian, and Acton was the simpleminded shepherd.


March 25, 1821 - (Για τους Έλληνες φίλους μου)
Greece revolted against the Ottoman Empire on this day (starting the Greek War of Independence,) which had been occupying and ruling it since the mid-1400s.



The war for independence lasted nine years, and was only settled after significant intervention


March 25, 1911 -
It's the 106th year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, the largest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York, causing the death of 148 garment workers who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. It was the worst workplace disaster in New York City until September 11th, 2001.



The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers in that industry.


March 25, 1915 -
During submarine maneuvers off Honolulu, Hawaii, USS F-4 (SS-23) sank on this day. Despite all efforts of naval authorities, all 21 of the crew members were lost.

This was the first major submarine disaster. An investigation board will later speculate that the lead lining around the vessel’s battery tank had corroded, leading to a leak that caused the crew to loose control during a submerged run.


March 25, 1967
-
As part of Operation Green Mist, the U.S. Army detonates explosive warheads containing the deadly sarin nerve agent at Upper Waiakea Forest Reserve on the big island of Hawaii.

The open-air tests are kept secret for more than 30 years.

Oops.


March 25, 1975 -
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by his nephew during a reception at Ri'Assa Palace on this date.

The nephew was beheaded the following June: his head was displayed on a spike as a warning for all to see.

Kids don't let this happen to you - remember to immediately pass the Baba ghanoush when dining with your family.


March 25 1990 -
An intentionally set fire at the Happy Land Social Club in NYC killed 87 by smoke inhalation, on this date.



At the time, the fire set by a jealous ex-boyfriend, held the record for a mass murder in the U.S. (until, of course the World Trade Center disaster.)



And so it goes



1398

Friday, March 24, 2017

Raise your glass

Today is National Cocktail Day but since it is Lent,

I shall be abstaining, (that's my story and I'm sticking with it.)


Stopping TB requires a government program that functions every day of the year, and that's hard in certain parts of the world. And partly it's because of who tuberculosis affects: It tends to affect the poor and disenfranchised most.  - Tom Frieden

Today is World Tuberculosis Day, commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus.



(also it is supposed to remind people that tuberculosis still remains an epidemic in much of the world.)


It's also National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day - a day to enjoy this tasty combination of chocolate and fruit. Chocolate lovers who like raisins, find the combination simply irresistible. Kids find them irresistible, too.



Just make sure nobody owns a rabbit (or a guinnea pig, believe me, we know from personal experience) at the home where you are enjoying those Raisinets (TM).


March 24, 1939 -
... The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.....

Twentieth Century Fox's released on this date, the first of 14 films based on Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles.



The film was such a hit that Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were hired to play Holmes and Watson on the radio series The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This radio series consisted of new Sherlock Holmes stories written by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green.

Oh Watson, the needle


March 24, 1951 -
Scent-Imental Romeo
, another funny Looney Tunes short starring Pepé Le Pew, was released on this date.



This is the only Golden Age Pepe Le Pew cartoon in which Pepe does not continue chasing the cat (nor catches her) in the end.


March 24, 1973 -
Pink Floyd
, release the album Dark Side of the Moon, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, on this date.



I wonder how it did on the charts?


March 24, 2005 -
NBC-TV
allowed us to follow the goings on at Dunder Mifflin when The Office, starring  Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski,  Jenna Fischer, and B.J. Novak premiered on this date.



John Krasinski accidentally insulted Greg Daniels while waiting to audition for the series by telling him, "I hope they [the show's developers] don't screw this up," as had been done to many British series adapted to American television. It was at this point that Daniels introduced himself to Krasinski as one of the show's developers.


What you find at the edges of the interweb


Today in History:
March 24, 1401
-
Tamerlane conquered Damascus on this date. Tamerlane (Timur the Lane) was a descendant of Ghenghis Khan, and one of the greatest Tater leaders ever, expanding the Mongol empire from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Tamerlane is best remembered for having built pyramids out of human skulls, owing to a faulty understanding of architecture which no one ever had the courage to correct.

Feel free to bring this up at the next cocktail party you attend, perhaps tonight, while you are celebrating National Cocktail day.


March 24, 1603 -
Tudor Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen," died on this date. She had reigned from 1558-1603 and claimed never to have had a date.



Scottish King James VI, son of Mary, became King James I of England in the union of the crowns.


March 24, 1874 -
Harry Houdini, Erik Weisz (Ehrich Weiss) magician, escape artist, performed his first trick when he escaped from his mother's womb in Budapest on this date.



He is still working on perfecting his final trick of coming back from the dead.


March 24, 1895 -
Arthur Murray, American dancer who founded dance schools, was born on this date.



He proved to millions of Americans that they have no innate sense of rhythm.


March 24, 1944 -
76 Allied officers escaped Stalag Luft 3 on this date. In 1949 Paul Brickall wrote The Great Escape. The story of Jackson Barrett Mahon, an American fighter pilot, and the Allied POW escape from Stalag Luft III in Germany during WW II.



The 1963 film The Great Escape starred Steve McQueen, directed by John Sturges, was based on the true story.


March 24, 1958 - (Please note, you are about to see Elvis, stripped to the waist. Should you need healing of any sort, please press your sweaty hand upon the screen and your even damper palm upon your afflicted region.)
Elvis Aron Presley entered the United States Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on this date, and then spent three days at the Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, Reception Station.

While in the army, Elvis met his future wife, Priscilla, at a party. He left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.


March 24, 1975 -
Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from King's Lynn, England, died laughing while watching an episode of The Goodies, featuring a Scotsman in a kilt battling a vicious black pudding with his bagpipes on this date.



After 25 minutes of continuous laughter Mitchell finally slumped on the sofa and expired from heart failure. His widow later sent The Goodies a letter thanking them for making Mitchell's final moments so pleasant. (And the address where they can send her check.)


March 24, 1989 -
Cold Fusion was announced 28 years ago on this date.

To celebrate this amazing advancement in energy, Captain Joseph Hazelwood downed, in rapid succession, five double vodka on the rocks and piloted the Exxon tanker Valdez.



He ran the Valdez into a well-charted reef at Prince William sound, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil. An estimated 250,000 seabirds were killed.

Oops



And so it goes


1399

Thursday, March 23, 2017

It missed by this much

March 23, 1989 -
A 1000-foot diameter asteroid misses the Earth by only 500,000 miles on this date.

(Astronomers did not see it until it passed.) To commemorate the event, today has become known as Near Miss Day.

Oops


Huzzah, it's also Melba Toast Day.



The toast so named for the the Australian Opera singer Nellie Melba by her great admirer (and world famous French chef Auguste Escoffier.)



but folks, get a grip, it's just toast.


March 23, 1910 -
Akira Kurosawa
, Japanese film director (Rashomon, The Seven Samurai, Ran), was born in Tokyo, Japan on this date.



One his closest friends was Ishirô Honda, the writer-director behind Godzilla.


March 23, 1990 –
Garry Marshall
surprise comedy hit (which at one time was called $3,000,) Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere premiered in US theatres on this date.



Edward (Richard Gere) snapping the necklace case down on Vivian's (Julia Roberts) fingers, was improvised by Gere, and Roberts's reaction (laughter) was totally natural. The filmmakers liked it so much, they decided to leave it in.


A little R & R


Today in History:
March 23, 1369
-
Pedro the Cruel, King and tyrant of Castile and Leon, was murdered on this date. Enrique, the illegitimate son of Alfonso XI of Castile, killed his half brother Pedro I in the Castilian civil war and became King Enrique I the Bastard of Castile.

Once again, I must ask, what the hell were people thinking when they named their children.


March 23, 1534 -
Pope Clement VII declared that the marriage between Henry VIII of England and Catherine of Aragon was still valid, even though they'd been divorced the previous year and Henry had already married Anne Boleyn.

Henry decides to trump Clement with his extra I and invents his own religion and appoints a more agreeable pope.


March 23, 1840 -
Englishman John William Draper becomes the first person to successfully photograph the Moon.

The image, a full moon, is a daguerreotype, precursor of the later photograph.


March 23, 1908 -
Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.



 Joan Crawford, actress (both legitimate films and porn), executive and child beater was born on this date.


March 23, 1912 -
Wernher von Braun, German - born rocket pioneer who led the development of the V-2 rocket during World War II was born on this date.





He was deemed one of the The Good Germans we collected as a bonus prize at the end of the war. Von Braun was said to be the preeminent rocket engineer of the 20th century.


March 23, 1919 -
Benito Mussolini founded his own party in Italy on this date. He had tried all the other parties, but he was an awkward young man and had a hard time getting to know people. His Fasci di Combattimento ("Evil Fascist Bastards Party") was extremely popular, however, and even the cool kids came.



It got so crowded that the neighbors started complaining, which ended up starting a big fight, and the rest is history.


March 23, 1925 -
Tennessee Governor Austin Peay signs the Butler Act into law, making illegal the teaching in public school "any theory that denies the story of divine creation of man as taught in the Bible", on this date.



Teacher John Scopes couldn't think of anywhere else to teach evolution, so he ignored the ban and was later prosecuted in what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, which resulted in an Oscar for Spencer Tracy.


March 23, 1956 -
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth (from 1947 until 1956, it was referred to as the Dominion of Pakistan,) on this date.  Following the fighting in Pakistan and India in 1947 Muslims moved to Pakistan, creating a country where 96% of the population are Muslim.



Pakistan was the first modern nation to call itself an Islamic republic in conjunction with a largely secular constitution. Currently Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population.


March 23, 1961 -
Valentin Bondarenko was a young cosmonaut who had been doing routine medical tests in a pressure chamber as part of an isolation exercise, on this date. He removed some biosensors from his body and used a cotton ball moistened with alcohol to wash the sticky stuff off his skin.

He tossed the cotton ball aside and it landed on an electric hot plate, where it caught fire. Because the chamber's atmosphere was pure oxygen, the fire spread quickly. Bondarenko was removed from the chamber alive, but he died soon after of shock.Bondarenko's death was kept secret for 25 years. The fatal Apollo 1 disaster could have been averted if NASA had been aware of the accident


March 23, 1965 -
NASA launched Gemini III, nicknamed the “Molly Brown,” from Cape Canaveral on this date. It was the United State’s first maneuverable two-man mission. The mission was crewed by astronauts Virgil IvanGusGrissom and John W. Young.



The flight was the first for Young, who breaks quarantine regulations by smuggling a sandwich into orbit to share with Grissom. Before the end of the mission, Young would become the first man to eat a corned beef sandwich in space. Crumbs from the "weightless" sandwich scattered throughout the Gemini 3 spacecraft, posing a potential, if unintentional, flight safety risk. This rules violation caused NASA to clamp down on what astronauts could and could not carry into space.


March 23, 1997 -
Five dead bodies are found arranged in a cross formation at the burned Quebec home of Didier Queze. They were members of the Solar Temple cult who in 1994 to 1996 had totaled 69 suicides in Europe and North America.

Interestingly, in San Diego, The Heaven's Gate suicides (completely different set of nuts) leave 39 dead, all wearing NIKE shoes and many of the male members of the pact had previously voluntarily removed their members.



I believe this is the corollary to Thoreau's 'beware of all enterprises that require new clothes' - NEVER join a cult that requires you to remove your genitals.



And so it goes.


1400


Before I forgot - here are the answers to yesterday's quiz


O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
We will all be heading back to the Satellite of Love on April 14th when Netflix releases the reboot of  Mystery Science Theater 3000. The series, featuring Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston and Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester and Patton Oswalt as TV’s Son of TV’s Frank -



We've got Movie Sign - Again!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In case you are playing the home version

Today is the earliest day on which Easter Sunday may occur,



not that it occurs on this date, Easter is April 16th this year.


The lack of potable water is the second leading cause of death in many Third World countries (and it could be a lot sooner than you think in California.) World Water Day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



So remember, after your morning coffee (or tea,) please remember to recycle your 'precious bodily fluids'.


Two leading lights of twentieth century musical theatre were born on March 22: Stephen Sondheim (1930), best known for his work on Gypsy, West Side Story, Company and Sweeney Todd and Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and Phantom of the Opera.













By some mysterious natural process of compensation, March 22 is also the birthday of Marcel Marceau (1923), best known for Actor Trapped in a Role.




March 22, 1931 -
...The longer I go about living, I see it's the relationship that is most meaningful....



William Shatner, arguably the world's (or at least Canada's) greatest actor was born today on this date.


March 22, 1963 -
The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, was released in the UK on this date.  The album went to the top of the UK charts in two months and remained there for 30 weeks.



Please Please Me has been ranked in the top 50 of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" by Rolling Stone. In the US, most of the songs on Please Please Me were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing... The Beatles in 1964 and subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965.


March 22, 1978
The seminal mockumentary about The Pre-Fab Four, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, directed by Eric Idle and Gary Weis and starring some people from Monty Python and some other people from SNL, premiered on NBC-TV on this date.



Eric Idle was inspired to make the film when George Harrison showed him a rough cut of a documentary on The Beatles titled The Long and Winding Road. That documentary eventually became The Beatles Anthology.


Record review


Today in History:
March 22, 1622
-
A band led by the Brothers of Powhatan slaughtered 347 settlers near Jamestown, a quarter of the population, in the first Native American massacre of European settlers on this date.

Just think if those indigenous people had just followed the thought all the way through ....


March 22, 1687 -
Classical music and vanity do not mix, if fact, they can really kill you.

In early January of 1687, Jean-Baptiste de Lully, court music and gossip to King Louis XIV of France and notorious buggerer (but that's another story ...) was conducting a musical piece, beating time on the floor with a long staff. This was the common practice at the time before hand-held batons became the norm. He slammed his big toe.



The wound abscessed and eventually turned gangrenous. He refused to have his toe amputated (as he first started as a court dancer) because he could not bear the thought of disfigurement. The wound turned gangrenous and the infection spread, killing him three months later, on this date.


March 22, 1895 -
Auguste and Louis Lumiere first demonstrated motion pictures in Paris using celluloid film. Unless it was March 19, 1895, or December 28, 1894, or cellulite instead of celluloid. And it may have been in Milan, or Warsaw, and it's possible it wasn't Louis and Auguste Lumiere, but Max and Emil Skladanowsky.



It depends who you ask. It wasn't much of a movie anyway—just footage of workers leaving the Lumiere Factory at the end of their shift—so the ambiguity surrounding its debut shouldn't be so surprising.



In honor of the Lumiere Bros 100 year anniversary, in 1995, 40 film directors created short films using the same type of camera the Lumiere brothers used. If you have the time, please seek out the film Lumiere and Company.


March 22, 1958 -
Michael Todd, movie producer, (and one of the myriad of husband's of Elizabeth Taylor) and three other people were killed in the crash of Todd's private plane Lucky Liz, near Grants, New Mexico, on this date. In his autobiography, Eddie Fisher, who considered himself to be Todd's best friend (and another one of the myriad of husbands of Elizabeth Taylor,) stated that no fragments of Todd had been found, and that his coffin contained only his ring.



The Los Angeles Times reported in 1977 that Fisher's story was false - remains of Todd were indeed found and buried. His remains were desecrated by robbers, who broke into his coffin looking for the ring. The bag containing Todd's remains was found under a tree near his plot.

How big was that bag?


March 22, 1960
The first laser was patented (US Patent #2,929,922) by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes under the title Masers and Maser Communications System.

There is no mention of whether or not drugs were involved in the creation of the laser or what album they were listening to at the time.


March 22, 1972 -
National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended ending criminal penalties for possession of marijuana on this date.



Follow along (this may be on a different test) - so far, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have made private, non-medical possession of marijuana treated as a civil, non-criminal offense. Five additional states - Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio - treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Four states - Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington - impose no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.


March 22, 1978 -
One of the Flying Wallendas, 73 year old Karl Wallenda, plunges to his death on a cable strung between two hotels in San Juan, PR on this date.



Oops!



And so it goes.


1401


Before you go - Don't forget to check out today's quiz on the Russian Monarchy


And another thing - I was reminded of a video (that I may have already posted it years ago) while alighting on the shoals of the wonderful website Casa de Ricardo, a great mashup of Cookie Monster and Tom Waits -





Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Music falls on silence like a sense

Today is World Poetry Day - a time to appreciate and support poets and poetry around the world. It is held on March 21 each year and is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.


What poem are you going to read today?


March 21, 1952 -
The first rock and roll concert was held in America on this date, when DJ Alan Freed (the man who coined the phrase "Rock and Roll") hosted The Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland, Ohio.  The first rock and roll concert was shut down after the first act, when it appeared that a riot might break out.



The reason the concert ended in disaster: a minor printing error. The mistake was caused by someone forgetting to add the date to tickets issued for a follow-up ball, which Leo Mintz, an early rock-n-roll promoter had set about organizing immediately after the initial one sold out. As a result, an estimated 20,000 people showed up on the same night for the first concert - at a venue which could hold half that number.


March 21, 1964 -
The Beatles' single She Loves You, went #1 and stayed #1 for 2 weeks on this date.



The Beatles released a German version translated as "Sie Liebt Dich" in the US in 1964. They learned some German when they became the house band in Hamburg in 1962, but needed a German speaker to help them with the lyrics. They recorded the German version in Paris - it was the only time they recorded outside of England.


March 21, 1980
On the season finale of Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing was shot by an unknown individual - Who Shot JR?



Viewers had to wait all summer, and most of the autumn because of a Hollywood actors' strike (and Hagman's own holdout), to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible.


March 21, 1995 -
We all get to spend Dave Nelson's first day at WNYX when NewsRadio, starring  Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Maura Tierney and Andy Dick premiered on NBC-TV, on this date.



The cast of NewsRadio was banned from the SAG Awards after one appearance because of their bad behavior. They took their shoes off, stole wine off of the other tables and Andy Dick allegedly asked for Helen Hunt's autograph on his penis.


Soup's On


Today in History:
March 21, 1556
-
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (who led the effort to help Henry VIII marry Anne Boleyn,) scheduled to denounce his errors and be burned at the stake (after Queen Mary, Henry's daughter, attained the throne), denounced his own confessions and was hustled off to be burned.



He then put forth his hand and declared: “For as much as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished.”

Oh that wacky English Reformation .


March 21, 1843 -
According to confused Biblical scholar William Miller, Christ would return sometime in the year following this day in 1843. After Jesus failed to appear by the next March, Miller claimed it was the result of an arithmetic error and recalculated the deadline to be October 22, 1844.

The Lord had other plans on that date as well.


March 21, 1943 -
Cornelia Fort was flying with a student pilot on the morning of December 7, 1941, when they nearly collided with a Japanese aircraft leaving the scene at Pearl Harbor. Thus she became one of the few airborne eyewitnesses to the attack.



She was the second woman to volunteer for the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (the WAFS, which later merged into the WASPs, or Women Airforce Service Pilots), whose members logged millions of miles ferrying aircraft to points of embarkation and towing targets for training exercises. On a routine ferrying flight in 1943, Fort died at the controls of an aircraft when another plane struck hers. She was the first woman pilot to die in the line of duty for the U.S. military


March 21, 1947 -
In honor of the First Full Day of Spring, let us seriously consider spring cleaning and the unhappy ending of the Collyer brothers.



Homer and Langley Collyer were well-to-do New Yorkers who grew up in a fashionable brownstone in Harlem with their mother and father, just before the turn of the previous century. Unfortunately the brothers, both college graduates, over the years became eccentric hermits and literally walled themselves into their filthy brownstone, cramming it with junk Langley had found on the street (Homer had gone blind and crippled with severe rheumatism.)



On March 21, 1947, police received a tip that there was a dead body in their house. After several hours of trying to crawl their way through the ceiling high booby trapped corridors of newspapers and junk, the police found Homer, who had died apparently only a few hours previously. The problem was - where was Langley?



18 days later and almost 100 tons of trash removed later, the decomposing and rat gnawed corpse of Langley was discovered, crushed in one of his own booby trap warrens. Medical examiners concluded that Langley had died a week earlier than his brother and Homer, blind and crippled, died several days later of malnutrition, dehydration, and cardiac arrest. Not a happy way to go.



So kids, clean your room and get outside and play with your friends.


March 21, 1962 -
A two-year old female black bear, named Yogi, was taken aboard a B-58 bomber out of Edwards Air Force Base in California, flown up to 35,000 feet at a supersonic speed of 850 miles per hour, and ejected from the bomber in a specially made capsule. She landed safely, and became the first living creature to survive a parachute jump from a plane flying faster than sound.

Imagine what PETA would have made of this test at the time.


March 21, 1963 -
Alcatraz Prison was closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on this date.



Hardened criminals would have to go elsewhere to experience the joys of prison sex by the sea.


March 21, 1970 -
On this date, Vinko Bogataj crashes during a ski-jumping championship in Germany;



his image becomes that of the "agony of defeat" guy in the opening credits of ABC's Wide World of Sports.


March 21, 1976 -
David Bowie and Iggy Pop were arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession in New York. They were released on $2,000 bail. The charges were later dropped.



Musicians using drugs - shocking, shocking, I tell you.


March 21, 1980 -
Mobster Angelo The Docile Don Bruno was killed with a shotgun blast to the head while he waits in his car after dinner. The order was probably ordered Anthony Tony Bananas Caponigro, Bruno's consigliere, so much for family loyalty. His replacement, one of Bruno's former capo Phil Chicken Man Testa, is short lived, as he is killed a year later by a nail bomb at his home.

One must assume that their parents knew something about their future careers when giving them middle names.


Today's episode of Oh, that Wacky Russian Revolution:

The Russian Royal family was having a really bad day. On March 21, 1917, Nicholas II and his family were arrested. It was a confused and confusing period, and the situation would only continue to deteriorate until the October Revolution (in November).

The eventual triumph of the proletariat, as everyone knows, finally put an end to all the suffering and oppression in Russia.

Since yesterday was Fred Rogers birthday, I believe an important comparison should be shown to help you better understand the Russian Imperial dynasty:

Hereditary heads of the Romanov Russian empire, 1613-1917: 19
Hosts of the long-running PBS series Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood: 1
Russian heads of state to have died by natural causes: 10
On-screen deaths on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: 0
Average length of Russian reign, in years: 15.6
Years Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran: 31
Russian emperors to die of dropsy: 1
Dropsy deaths in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: 0
Russian emperors assassinated: 5
Assassination attempts on the life of King Friday XIII: 0
Bolshevik Revolutions in the Neighborhood of Make Believe: 0

Please be prepared for a quiz tomorrow.



And so it goes.


1402


Before you go - While I'm not a big fan of Graham Norton, the producers of The Graham Norton Show created a very funny clip reel of some of the funniest couch stories they have:



I wholly endorse the guest on talk shows drinking.

Monday, March 20, 2017

International Day of Happiness

The United Nations now recognizes that 'progress' could be measured in the increase in human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.  March 20 has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.



This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organizations.

So, smile, darn ya, smile


I know it doesn't seem possible with snow still on the ground but Winter appears to be officially over.



While you're balancing those eggs (and the new thing to balance is brooms) today remember that it's the Vernal Equinox at 6:28 am (EDT) today.



That means it’s spring. Take off your clothes.



And avoid opening up a 1,000 year old book while you're on a picnic (if you know what's good for you.)

Also, this is the last time this year that you can call in sick because of your New Year's Eve celebration from the night before; Happy Nowruz or Persian New Year as it is sometimes known as - hopefully this does not put me in the wrong with the NSA.


March 20, 1971
Janis Joplin's hit Me and Bobby McGee reached no.#1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.  It was her only solo number one single, released on the posthumous album Pearl.



Kris Kristofferson wrote and released the song originally in 1970 on his first album, Kristofferson. A year later, when it became a hit for Joplin, Kristofferson's album was re-released as Me And Bobby McGee to take advantage of the song's new popularity.


March 20, 1987
Robert Townsend's seminal satirical comedy Hollywood Shuffle, starring Robert Townsend and a whole bunch of the Wayan family premiered on this date.



Robert Townsend put $40,000 of the film's $100,000 budget on ten personal credit cards. Shot without permits, the crew wore UCLA T-shirts so they could pass themselves off as students learning how to film in the field.


March 20, 1992 -
Crossing one's legs would never be the same - Basic Instinct starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, premiered on this date.



Sharon Stone was only offered the role of Catherine after 13 actresses had turned it down.


Today's weather forecast:


Today in History:
March 20, 1345

According to some very drunk french scholars at the University of Paris, the Black Death was created on this date, from what they called “a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius, occurring on the 20th of March 1345.”

Actually, the bubonic plague came from infected fleas from sickened and dead rats and at its peak, the disease wiped out over a third of Europe. (This will be on the test.)


March 20, 1413 -
During his lifetime it had been predicted that King Henry IV would die in Jerusalem. The king himself took this to mean that he would die on Crusade. Rather wisely he kept away from entering the holy city – wouldn’t you?

As it happened on this date, Henry visited the Abbot of Westminster's house and has a massive coronary as he entered the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey.


On March 20, 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte entered Paris and began his "Hundred Days" rule, which lasted 94 days.



Days were measures in the metric system back then.


March 20, 1828 -
It's the birthday of playwright Henrik Ibsen, born in Skien, Norway on this date. He was a small time cherry herring bootlegger and an assistant stage manager for a new theater, where it was his job to produce a new drama each year based on Norway's glorious past. He produced a number of plays, but none got any attention (owning much to the fact that while it was true that Norway did have a past - most of it was quite boring. None of it was glorious.) Overworked, under paid and very cold, he applied to the government for a stipend to study the fjords. The government decided to give him one to to travel abroad, and off he went. He spent the next 27 years living in Italy and Germany, pining for the fjords.



He found that by leaving his homeland, he could finally thaw out and see Norway clearly, and he began to work on creating a true Norwegian drama. At a time when most people were writing plays full of sword fights and murders, Ibsen started to write plays about relationships between ordinary people. The type of people that have terrible social diseases, suicidal tendencies, murderous intent in their heart, incestuous thoughts and old leches - the ordinary people of Norway.

He used dialogue rather than monologues to reveal his characters' emotions, and he stopped writing in verse. He said, "We are no longer living in the age of Shakespeare. ... What I desire to depict [are] human beings, and therefore I [will] not let them talk the language of the gods." Except he said that in Norwegian.



One of Ibsen's first important plays was A Doll's House (1879), about a woman named Nora who refuses to obey her husband and eventually leaves him, walking out of the house and slamming the door in the final scene. When it was first produced, European audiences were shocked, and it sparked debate about women's rights, divorce and home improvements across the continent. It also changed the style of acting. At the time, most actors were praised for their ability to deliver long poetic speeches and avoiding bumping into the furniture, but Ibsen emphasized small gestures, the inflection of certain words, and pauses, and he inspired a new generation of actors to begin embodying the characters they played.

A Doll's House made Ibsen a celebrity across Europe. His play Ghosts (1881) came out two years later. It's frank depiction of pottery making further scandalized the theatre going population.

Henrik Ibsen said, "You should never have your best trousers on when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. You should also never wear them when mucking out the toilets of the theatre. Have you seen what these actors eat?"

There is only one known picture in which Ibsen smiles. And yes, he was passing gas at the time.


March 20, 1899 -
Martha M. Place, the first woman to be honored with a warm seat in the electric chair, for the bloody murder of her 17 year old stepdaughter Ida, died at Sing-Sing Prison on this date.

Having never executed a woman in the electric chair, those responsible for carrying out the death warrant devised a new way to place the electrodes upon her. They decided to slit her dress and place the electrode on her ankle. Edwin Davis was the executioner. According to the reports of witnesses, she died instantly (having a large amount of electric course through your body normally results in ones death).

The governor of the State of New York Theodore Roosevelt was asked to pardon Place, but he refused. "Bully!"

Martha Place was buried in the family cemetery plot in East Millstone, New Jersey without religious observances.


March 20, 1900
-
Nikola Tesla received a patent (US 645576 A) for the wireless transmission of electric power on this date.

Early radio antennas and telegraphy used the invention, but variations of the coil can also do things that are just plain cool - like shoot lightning bolts, send electric currents through the body and create electron winds.


March 20, 1917 -
Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?



Dame Vera Lynn,  actress and singer, who was enormously popular during World War II, was born on this date. Earlier this year, she broke her own record as the oldest living artist to release an album on the British charts, at the age of 100.


March 20, 1928 -
Remarkably, Fred Rogers was born today in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood,



and not some other place.


March 20, 1969 -
Small town musician (John Lennon) married small time conceptual artist (Yoko Ono) on this date.



I wonder what ever happened to them.


March 20, 1985
-
Libby Riddles made history on this date when she became the first woman to win the grueling 1,049-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race, after a daring move across Norton Sound in a deadly blizzard.



She was named 1985 Sports Woman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation and honored by the Iditarod veterinarians with the 1985 Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award for her humane treatment of her dogs. In addition, her two lead dogs, Dugan and Sister, won the 1985 Golden Harness Award that year.


March 20, 1995 -
The last words of Thomas J. Grasso, executed in Oklahoma by lethal injection on this date: "I did not get my Spaghetti-O's, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this."

Duly noted Mr. Grasso.


March 20, 1995
The Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) cult released Sarin gas into the Tokyo subway system, killing a dozen people and sickening thousands.



The attack was the worst in modern Japanese history, and prompted global concern about terrorist groups obtaining chemical weapons.



And so it goes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Another page from the lives of the saints

It's the Feast of St. Joseph, stepdad to Jesus and patron saint of real estate closers.

Remember to go out and have the very delicious Sicilian pastry that bears his name (but get the ones with canolli filling, not the custard.)  It's so good, it brings you that much closer to God.

Also, if you live in Capistrano,



remember the swallows are coming back today, eat you pastries indoors.


March 19, 1921 -
The German silent film classic, Das Kabinett Des Docktor Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - wait a minute, I know that title from somewhere), starring Werner Kraus and Conrad Veidt premiered in the US on this date. The film is considered to be the first true horror film ever made.



Weeks before the initial release of the film, posters with the tag-line "Du mußt Caligari werden!" ("You have to become Caligari!") were put up in Berlin without the slightest hint that they were promotion for the upcoming movie.


March 19, 1947 -
Another Bob Hope film (at the peak of his career), My Favorite Brunette, opened in Los Angeles on this date.



Bing Crosby, Bob Hope's long-term co-star and rival in the Road movies, plays an executioner who is livid when he doesn't get to execute Hope's character. Hope fires back saying, "He'll do any kind of role" (at the time, Crosby's one-scene cameo earned him the highest amount ever paid an actor for a cameo appearance.)


March 19, 1958 -
The film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical, South Pacific, was released on this date. (Please feel free to sing along with Rossano Brazzi)



Concerned that the film's lush tropical settings would appear unnatural in Technicolor, and partially to cover up the fluctuations in weather during the shoot, director Joshua Logan hoped to soften the effect by filming several scenes through the newly available colored filters. He later indicated he considered this to be the biggest mistake he had made in his filming career. He wanted the filters to be subtler, but he says that the film processing lab had made them more extreme than he liked.


March 19, 1962 -
Luis Buñuel's sacrilegious masterpiece, Viridiana, opened in the US on this date.



The film was initially banned in Spain and completely denounced by the Vatican.  The script was initially approved by the Spanish authorities with a few minor changes. They had no opportunity to view the finished film until it played at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Palme d'Or. Nevertheless they were sufficiently horrified by what they saw to ban the film.


March 19, 1984 -
CBS TV premiered the midseason replacement show Kate & Allie starring Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin on this date.



The series was the brainchild of Sherry Coben who came up with the idea for the series while attending a high school reunion. There she noticed that a couple of divorcees who seemed unhappy and dissatisfied found comfort in sharing with each other.


But then the drink takes you


Today in History:
March 19, 1931
-
Though unregulated gambling had taken place in mining towns all over Nevada, gambling was outlawed in the early 20th century as part of a nationwide campaign against corruption.



The state re-legalized it on this day in 1931, and became the state's primary source of revenue.


March 19, 1943 -
Francesco Raffaele Nitto, better known as, Frank 'The Enforcer' Nitti, one of the top henchmen of Alphonse "Big Al" "Scarface" Capone and later the front man for the mob Capone created, the Chicago Outfit, was having a very bad day. Many top members of the Chicago Outfit were indicted for extortion. The Outfit was accused of trying to strong arm some of the largest Hollywood movie studios. The studios had cooperated with The Outfit to avoid union trouble stirred up by the mob.



The day before his scheduled grand jury appearance, Nitti shared breakfast with his wife in their Riverside, Illinois home at 712 Selborne Road. As his wife was leaving for church, Nitti told her he planned to take a walk. After his wife left, Nitti began to drink heavily. He then loaded a .32 caliber revolver, put it in his coat pocket, and walked five blocks to a local railroad yard. Two railroad workers (William F. Sebauer and Lowell M. Barnett) spotted Nitti walking on the track of an oncoming train and shouted a warning. They thought the train hit him, but Nitti had managed to jump out of the way in time. Then two shots rang out.

The trainmen first thought Nitti was shooting at them, but then realized he was trying to shoot himself in the head. The two bullets went through his hat. Nitti finally sat on the ground against a fence and, with the railroad workers watching from a distance, shot himself in the head on this date.


March 19, 1945 -
The Third Reich's World Tour was drawing to an abrupt close. And the band members were understandably depressed. The ever wacky and truly evil bastard Adolf Hitler issued his so-called "Nero Decree" on this date, ordering the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands.



Albert Speer, gave himself a birthday present today (avoiding the noose at the Nuremberg trials) and does everything he can to stop this from happening, in direct defiance of Hitler. Speer knew he had some precedent, Hitler also had decreed that Paris should be left a smoking ruin the previous summer, but Dietrich von Choltitz thought better of his Fuhrer's order.


March 19, 1953 -
NBC TV
aired The Academy Awards on television for the first time on this date.  Though the winners had been announced several months earlier, the program still garnered a lot of attention.



The show was hosted by Bob Hope and Conrad Nagel.


March 19, 1957 -
Elvis Presley was touring and has a vision. Before he immediately act upon it, St. Elvis wolfed down seven fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and agreed to purchase the 14 acre Graceland estate from Ruth Moore for $100,000 on this date.

The place is now his cemetery. Or is it?


March 19, 1982 -
The guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, died during the Diary of a Madman tour after the plane he is flying in buzzed the band's tour bus and clipped the wing of the plane, crashing into a nearby farmhouse.



Kids, once again, repeat after me, Drugs are bad.


March 19, 1987 -
Televangelist Jim Bakker resigns his PTL ministry after it is revealed he was delivering a little too much spiritual healing to former church secretary and future Playboy playmate Jessica Hahn.



Some $265,000 in ministry funds had been used to keep Hahn quiet about a one-time sexual encounter in 1980. (That was one very expensive tryst.)


March 19, 2003 -
President George W. Bush announced on this date, the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a military mission to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein.   The American led coalition began with the launch of U.S. cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs aimed at Saddam Hussein near Baghdad.



The war was internationally unpopular from the start, and lost a lot of popularity in America after Bush's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were found to be unsubstantiated.


March 19, 2005 -
John Zachary DeLorean
former American engineer and executive in the U.S. automobile industry, and drug dealer died on this date.



He quit GM in 1973 to launch the DeLorean Motor Car Co. in Northern Ireland. Eight years later, the DeLorean DMC-12 hit the streets.

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2404238.1445360108!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/699871r.jpg
8,900 cars were built.



And so it goes.


Before you go - Spring starts tomorrow  in Northern Hemisphere at 6:28 AM

with all of the crud from the snow storm last week still on the ground.