November 2nd, 2008 sun
November 2nd, 2008
I heard from my old friend Prof Kelly Loosli of BYU that John Ahern has passed away. He was fighting leukemia and died at the age of 76.
John had an amazing career in animation starting at Disney on Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp and going on up through Jungle Book. After his time at Disney he worked for Hannah and Barbera working in varying capacities for the studio and overseeing animation in the US, Japan, and Korea. John taught for a year in the animation program at BYU. He made a huge impact on the students and faculty and will be deeply missed.
I recall John Ahern as a layout artist and producer. I worked with John at Hanna & Barbera on Godzilla, Superfriends and Yogi's Space Race, Ruby Spears on Rubik the Amazing Cube and at Filmation on Brave Starr. You can check his IMDB page for his full credits. John was a gentle, softspoken man and great artist with a good humor and a ready smile. He will be missed.
Question: Is it true Fanta sodapop was invented by the Nazis?
Yesterday’s Question Answered Below: On a political show tonight, one pundit joked “ Have you seen Goldstein?” It’s from a famous book. What does that mean?
History for 11/2/2008
Birthdays: Daniel Boone, Pres. James Knox Polk, Jean Chardin, Luchino Visconti, Giusseppi Sinopoli, Burt Lancaster, Ray Walston, Pat Buchanan, Steve Ditko, Ray Walston, Stephanie Powers- remember the Girl from U.N.C.L.E.?, k.d.lang, David Schwimmer
Today is Dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It derives from the Aztecs, who believed the life you are living now is a dream, when you die, you awake to your real life.
1483- OFF WITH HIS HEAD! Whether you believe Shakespeares’ portrayal of King Richard III as a hunchback usurper or modern revisionist scholars who call him a maligned monarch, this day Richard III shows his friend the Duke of Buckingham how much he appreciated his help in becoming king, by cutting his head off.
1541- Archbishop Thomas Cranmer handed King Henry VIII a spy’s report that his hot young wife Queen Catherine Howard was getting-it-on with at least three other men.
1904- London newspaper The Daily Mirror first published.
1917- Britain passed the Balfour Declaration, calling for a national home for Jews in Palestine. Sit Arthur Balfour was the British Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George. Britain once considered Uganda and Argentina for a Jewish homeland before settling on Palestine, then a sleepy border province of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Balfour had the powerful former prime minister Robert Lord Salisbury as his uncle. No matter how his fortunes rose or waned his uncle ensured his career path was steady. This originated the English slang term for having good connections:” So Bobs’ yer uncle.”
1920- The first US Radio station, KDKA in Pittsburgh, began the nation’s first broadcasting with news of election results.
1930- Ras Tafari crowned Halie Selassie Ist, Ethiopian Emperor. The Jamaican movement Rastafarians are named for him.
1932- Young star Katherine Hepburn first shines in the film A Bill of Divorcement, co- starring with John Barrymore.
1937- Laguardia Airport opened. New York City’s first municipal airport.
1944- RAOUL WALLENBURG- The Jewish population of Budapest was driven off to Nazi concentration camps, but not after Swedish envoy Raoul Wallenberg saved over a thousand by granting Swedish (neutral) passports to them. Wallenberg once walked alongside an SS officer ordered to execute 25 people and pleaded for each person as they were shot. The SS officer finally tired of Wallenburgs pleas and spared the last two. When Wallenburg’s aide asked him “What good did all that begging do?” He replied: “What Good? We just saved two human lives!” When Hungary was conquered by the Red Army Raul Wallenburg was arrested and died in one of Stalin's gulag prison camps. Russia didn’t officially admit this until 1991.
1947- Howard Hughes pilots his monster wooden airplane, the "Spruce Goose" for it's only test flight, one minute over Long Beach Harbor. Two hundred tons, Eight engines, a wingspan longer than a football field, it was conceived as an aid to win World War Two but was completed long after it ended.
1950- Writer George Bernard Shaw died at 94. His last words were:" Oh well, it will be a new experience anyway."
1964- CBS television purchased the NY Yankees Baseball club. This is one of the dumber business deals in entertainment history. CBS thought they were buying the world champion Murderers Row team, if they had done their research they would have known most the Yankee top stars including Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra were scheduled to retire. Within a year of the deal the Yankees went from first to last place, and played bad until George Steinbrenner bought them in 1977.
1983- Yielding to nationwide lobbying from the African American community President Ronald Reagan created the Martin Luther King holiday in January. Arizona was the last state to officially celebrate the holiday.
Yesterday’s Question: On a political show tonight, one pundit joked “ Have you seen Goldstein?” It’s from a famous book. What does that mean?
Answer: Goldstein is the Evil Opponent of Big Brother, from George Orwell's book on futuristic tyranny-1984. No one knows if he is even alive, but he is the declared focus of every patriotic citizen’s Two Minutes of Hate.
November 1st, 2008 sat
November 1st, 2008
Happy Nov 1st, the "Most of the Trick or Treators went to the Mall, Now What am I Going to do With all this Candy?" Day.
My former colleague Helen was going with girlfriends to the big Halloween Party in West Hollywood last night. She said the hottest game this year was- every time you see a man in drag dressed as Sarah Palin, take a drink!
I heard today of the death of famed chronicler of the common working person- Studs Terkel. Terkel's real name was Lewis. He picked up the nickname from the charactr Studs Lonnegan in the James Farrel novels. Studs was a great Chicago institution and a great union man since as a child he proudly told his teacher he was a supporter of Fightin Bob LaFollette of the I.W.W. He pioneered the written form of Oral History, but more important to me, he was a great example of a good story teller.
Rest in Peace, Studs!
Question: On a political show tonight, one pundit joked “ Have you seen Goldstein?” It’s from a famous book. What does that mean?
Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?
History for 11/1/2008
Welcome to November, Roman Month #9-Novembrius.
Birthdays: Marie Antoinette, President Warren Harding, Stephen Crane, Marcel Ophuls, Benevenuto Cellini, Larry Flynt, Walter Matthau, Fernando Valenzuela, Lyle Lovett, Willie D, Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Jenny McCarthy
To the ancient Romans this was the Feast of Homona, Goddess of the Harvest. Her offerings were bright apples, a staple of the Roman diet. In the Early Christian Church they changed the name to the Feast of All Souls Day. The custom of bobbing for apples at Halloween comes from the pagan ritual.
333BC – BATTLE OF ISSUS- Alexander the Great’s Macedonian army met the main Persian army of Darius the Great King and defeated it. Alexander declared the Greek cities of Ionia (the western coast of Turkey) liberated. Persian power would not return there for 900 years. Alexander captured Darius’s family and household who he treated courteously. After the battle Darius offered Alexander 300 tons of gold to go away, but Alex was just getting started. Alexander’s warriors were the first Europeans to try bananas, but they gave them diarrhrea so he told them to throw them away. Alexander’s men also learned the painkilling characteristics of Opium bulbs, the herbal basis of Morphine and Heroin. They chewed opium “The Gift of the Gods” to recover from wounds and surgery.
307BC - Agathocles, Greek Tyrant of Syracuse, abandoned his army and even his sons in the middle of the Saharan Desert in front of the Carthaginian army because things weren't turning out that well.
79AD- Erupting since last August and burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, Mount Versuvius finally calmed down.
1290- This was the deadline King Edward Ist Longshanks ( the bad guy in Braveheart ) set for all Jews to leave England. Many drowned in small boats crossing the Channel. Once in France the French king told them they had to leave in one year. Jews would not be allowed to resettle in England until Oliver Cromwell’s time in the 1650s.
1478- THE SPANISH INQUISITION- At the request of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Pope Sixtus IV promulgated a bull setting up the office of the Holy Inquisition in Spain. The royal couple tired of civil fighting among Moslems, Jews, Christians and converts in their country and they wanted Spain united under one orthodox doctrine. The Inquisition, also called La Suprema dominated life and thought for centuries. The Holy Office of the Inquisition was administered by the Dominican monks and supported by an elite group of nobles called he Santa Hermandad, the Sacred Brotherhood. In 1709 King Phillip V broke with tradition by refusing to attend an Auto da Fe, a festival climaxed with the burning of heretics. The Inquisition was stopped by Napoleon’s French occupation in 1808 but restored after liberation and only finally died out in 1819.
1503 –IL PAPA TERRIBLE- Giuliano Della Rovere made Pope Julius II. The Holy Father delayed his coronation until his astrologers told him the stars were right. Julius drove out Caesar and Lucretia Borgia and fought in armor more than as he prayed. In his 10 year reign he'll commission the Sistine Ceiling, the rebuilding of St.Peter's Basilica ,Michelangelo's Moses, Raphael's "The School of Athens", created the Swiss Guard (uniform designed by Michelangelo), dug up the Laocoon, conquered most of Central Italy and left the Vatican treasury a surplus for the first time in decades. He was known for quotes like:"Let the whole world perish provided I get my way!" One critic wrote how during a festival where the Pope is supposed to kiss the feet of the poor Julius was careful to hold them up, then kiss his own bejeweled fingers. Still he was one of the greatest of the Popes, called "Il Papa Terrible'" the Terrible Father.
1512- Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling is unveiled to the public for the first time.
1604- William Shakespeare's play "Othello the Moor of Venice" first performed.
1700- The War of Spanish Succession began. King Charles VI "The Mad" died of enteric fever, despite being fed milk with ground pearls, freshly killed pigeons placed on his head and the hot entrails of a deer laid on his belly -i.e., the best modern medicine could do. He died leaving daughters and many Catholic countries worked under the tradition known as Salic Law, that women can't inherit property themselves.
So the King of France claims the throne of Spain for his son Phillip D'Anjou, and the Emperor of Germany claims it for his son Maximillian. The English and Portuguese and Dutch all get involved and fight it out all over Europe for 14 years. The Spanish parliament ( Cortes) makes it's own choice but it affects no-one. After all, this is the business of kings, who the heck asked the people to butt in ? Even in the remote forests of the New World it was called Queen Anne’s War. Orders came across the Atlantic from Europe so South Carolina and Georgia were ordered to attack Spanish Florida and Massachusetts men fought French Canadians.
1755- THE GREAT LISBON EARTHQUAKE-85%of the city destroyed, 50,000 killed, gallows erected ringing the city to punish looters. The earthquake happened on a Sunday at 9:40AM so most killed were in Church hearing Mass when the rooftops collapsed on them. This irony was seized upon by humanist philosophers like Votaire and Diderot- that a overwhelmingly Catholic city like Lisbon could be struck in such a way while Paris and London went on their sinful ways. This said to them that the great earthquake was not God’s punishment but a coldly impersonal force of Nature. This notion coupled with Sir Edmund Halley's discovery that Comet's are not a message from the Diety but an equally natural phenomena led to the growing disillusionment with religion engendered by the Age of Enlightenment.
1776- Mission San Juan De Capistrano founded on the California coast.
1800- President John Adams, moves into the White House, first president to do so. First Lady Abigail Adams had her wash hung in the East Room because the walls weren't in yet so it had a nice breeze. The first three buildings erected in Pierre L'Enfant's new federal capitol city are the House of Congress, the White House, and Conrad’s Tavern. The first business in Washington City that was not part of the government was a brewery. Pennsylvania Avenue was still dotted with tree stumps. Abigail Adams wrote that Georgetown was “The very dirtiest hole I have ever seen.”
1835- Davey Crockett, after losing his bid for re-election to Congress tells his Tennessee voters:" You can all go to Hell, I'm going to Texas!"
1848 -The Boston Female Medical School opened with 12 students until it merged with Boston University in 1874
1858- The British Crown takes direct control of India from the Honorable East India Company. The period known as "The Raj" begins.
1895- Emil and Max Skladowsky set up a Bioscope Projector in Berlin's Wintergarden. Birth of German Cinema.
1911- During a little war between Italy and Turkey over Tripolitania (Libya) a dangerous new precedent was set. An Italian pilot reached out of his cockpit and dropped three small grenades on a Turkish oasis. The first aerial bombing. Guernica, Rotterdam, London, Dresden, Hiroshima, Hanoi and Baghdad to follow.
1913- Notre Dame quarterback Gus Doreias throws the first "Forward Pass" to center Knute Rockne. The forward pass was the solution to a request to the coach of Notre Dame by Teddy Roosevelt to do something to make the game more mobile and less bone crunching, since parents were beginning to complain about the injuries to their sons.
1918- The Hungarian subjects of the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire declared themselves to be the new independent nation of Hungary.
1920- The first issue of American Cinematographer.
1936-Benito Mussolini in a speech coined the term “The Axis” for his new alliance with Hitler’s Germany. “There is now an “axis of mutual interest between Berlin and Rome”
1938- At Pimlico in Maryland this day was the famous horse race between War Admiral and Sea Biscuit, the two finest thoroughbreds of the age. War Admiral was sleek and aristocratic, sired from the blood of the great champion Man of War. Sea Biscuit by contrast looked ungainly and lame. But in the end The Biscuit he won the race by three lengths. The race was heard live on radio by one in three Americans.
1939- Rockefeller Center in New York City opened.
1945- OPERATION OLYMPIC- If the Atomic Bombs had failed to end the war this was the planned date for the U.S. Invasion of Japan. Based on the casualty figures to take Okinawa and Iwo Jima, Gen.MacArthur estimated 100,000 U.S. soldiers would be killed or wounded to land on the beaches of Kyushu, another 50,000 to take Tokyo and a guerrilla war in the mountains possibly lasting until 1948. The Japanese had stockpiled 2200 kamikaze planes in mountain bunkers and had mobilized the civilian population to fight with spears for the Motherland. The Soviets were already in the Kurile Islands and had timed their mainland invasion for July. So the resulting actions would probably divide the island into a North Japan, South Japan situation. But things turned out differently...
1946- THE FIRST NBA BASKETBALL GAME- The first professional game was the New York Knicks 68, the Toronto Huskies 66. The first basket was scored by Ozzie Sheckmann.
1950- Two Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar Coralzo and Griselo Torresola try to shoot their way to President Truman. Truman was staying at Blair House while the White House was being renovated. Two assassins were shot down by the Secret Service in a furious gun battle at the foot of his stairs. Secret serviceman Leslie Coffelt mortally wounded fatally shot Collazo as he himself was killed. President Truman was awoken from a nap and went to the window to see what the noise was all about. " Get down ya G-ddamn fool !" the agents shouted at him.
1952- The first U.S. Hydrogen Bomb test vaporized the island of Elugelab. Once called the Super-bomb project Dr. Edward Teller's brainchild was nicknamed-"Mike".
1959- Hockey goalie Jacques LaPlante became the first to wear a face mask during play. Before this many Hockey goalies lost their front teeth.
1968- To replace the outmoded Hays Production Code, the Motion Picture Ratings System introduced-"G,M, R, and X"- Later PG, PG-13, R and NC-17".
1972-John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company, who owned the Esso brand of gasoline, changed their name to the Exxon Corporation. Esso- S-O, Standard Oil, get it?
1988- Jeff Goldblum married Gena Davis. They divorced several years later.
Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?
Answer: The opposition party to the Whigs in England in the 1670s was nicknamed Tory after the Irish word for robber, sometimes called Jack Tory the Highwayman. Many political dissidents then were ex-Royalists from the English Civil War and so more conservative than the conservatives. After their number died out, the name stuck to all English right wingers.
October 31st, 2008 Halloween
October 31st, 2008
Question: Why are conservatives in England called Tories?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?
History for 10/31/2008 Halloween
Birthdays: Jan Vermeer, John Keats, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek, John Candy, Dale Evans, Jane Pauley, David Ogden Stiers, Dan Rather , Lee Grant, Ethel Waters, Juliet Low-founder of the American Girl Scouts, Rob Schneider, Vanilla Ice, Stephen Rea, Rob Schneider, Peter Jackson, Ollie Johnston
HAPPY ALL HALLOWS EVE- The night before the Feast of All Souls, beginning the Christian season of Advent, was confused in Medieval custom with one of the four Druid fire festivals, All Hallows. In Ireland it was called Samhein and in Scotland at this time all hearth fires in the land are extinguished then re-lit from the fire at the sacred grove. Add to this the early Church's attempt to eradicate the pagan custom of giving food to departed spirits -Greek Anthesterion in Feb., Roman Feralia and Lemuria in May- by moving the date to honor the dead to the Feast of All Souls on November 1st. Many cultures have customs of putting food offerings on doorsteps so invisible spirits would give you good luck. So today's the last night for the devil and other ghosties to romp before the Holiday Season (Advent) begins.
1517- THE REFORMATION BEGINS- Augustine monk and theology professor Martin Luther had had enough of the growing corruption of the Church. Pope Leo X the party-animal Pope who had succeeded Pope Julius II the Warrior Pope, who succeeded Pope Alexander VI Borgia the “totally-out-of-control” pope, ordered a new sale of Indulgences throughout Europe to pay off a loan on St. Peter's construction to the Augsberg banker Jacob Fugger . An indulgence was sort of " after-life insurance" absolving you of sin. When Wilhelm Tetzel, the local Bishop selling indulgences showed up in his area Luther blew his cork. On a wagon Tetzel had a big barrel that had written on it: "For every Coin tinkles in my Well, another Soul is spared from Hell."
Luther nailed 95 theses or arguments against Roman primacy in religion to the door of the Palace Church, in effect challenging Tetzel to debate, the customary university challenge. He picked today to do it because he knew tomorrow being the Feast of All Saints there would be a large crowd to read it. That Martin Luther wasn't tortured and made toast like Jan Hus or Wycliff in an earlier era was he was protected by German princes like Frederick the Wise of Saxony who were tired of sending as much as a third of their GNP to Italy. This is the official start date for the Protestant Reformation.
1663- THE GREAT PLAGUE OF LONDON- English writer Samuel Pepys noted in his famous diary: “The plague is much in Amsterdam and we in fears of it here”. The plague took another year to reach London but when it did it decimated the population for most of 1665 and 1666 until burned out by the Great Fire of London.
1820- PAPA HAYDN’S HEAD. Famous composer Franz Josef Haydn had died in 1809. The powerful Ezterhazy Family, who were great patrons of classical music, built a beautiful new tomb for him in 1820. There was only one problem. When they exhumed Haydn’s coffin it was found that his head was missing! It seems the Ezterhazy attorney Rosenbaum was a fan of Phrenology, studying the human mind through measuring bumps on the skull. He ordered Haydn’s head secretly removed three days after the burial for study. When Austrian police questioned Rosenbaum he hid Haydn’s skull under his wifes’ skirts. ( Darling, would you please do me a favor..?) The head bounced around several Viennese musical societies until it was Re-Capitated, returned to Papa Haydn’s tomb in 1939.
1846-THE DONNER PARTY MAKES CAMP- A wagon train of families, pinned down by an early autumn blizzard in the High Sierra Donner Pass made camp at Lake Truckee only 150 miles from help. They took this route because it was advertised back east by a charlatan named Lansford Hastings as a short cut. All their oxen were dead and their food almost gone and it was the worst winter for a generation. The hapless pioneers weren't rescued until the following April! In the meantime they starved, ate tree bark and dogs and finally resorted to cannibalism of their dead. Interestingly enough their Indian guides were the only ones who refused to join in the cannibalistic feast, they ran off. The Donner men caught up with the Indians, killed them and ate them too. So much for calling them savages. Of 86 pioneers, 41 died.....Oh, and the guy who sold them the map was eventually shot by one of the pioneer’s angry relatives.
1864- Nevada statehood. Abe Lincoln had rushed the application of Nevada territory into the union because he needed the new states extra votes to guarantee passage of his anti-slavery and civil rights amendments into the Constitution.
1887- Charles Goodyear takes out the first patent for a rubber tire.
1914- In World War One during the First Battle of Ypres a British counterattack mauled the Second Bavarian Reserve division, then holding a small French chateau. Less than a third of the Bavarians made it out alive, but one of the survivors was private Adolph Hitler. It’s one of those interesting“what if’s “ of history, if Hitler had been killed.
1916- Charles Taze Russell , founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, died of a heart attack on a train in Texas. He had predicted the Second Coming of Christ would happen in 1874 but no one would be aware of it and the world would end October 2,1914. He had asked to be buried in a Roman toga so his followers wrapped him in his Pullman car sheets.
1922- Communist leader Lenin was getting sicker from his many strokes and would not last long Russians who wondered who would rule Russia next. Then people began to notice something curious. Everyone party undersecretary Josef Stalin didn’t like, seemed to wind up dead. Felix Frunze, a top Bolshevik party functionary close to Lenin, went in for surgery of an ulcer. He had a strong constitution and felt healthy but Comrade Stalin insisted he take precautions and have surgery to cure it once and for all. And wouldn’t ya know! While in surgery a doctor overdid Frunze’s chloroform and he died of kidney failure. Hmph, accidents will happen.
1926 –The great magician Harry Houdini died. His real name was Eric Weiss but he had seen a French magician named Houdin who had inspired him. Some college boys in Detroit asked the great magician if it was true he could withstand any punch. When he said yes while reading his mail a large student unexpectedly started punching him in the abdomen, rupturing his already aggrieved appendix. Perintoritis set in and he died on this day. He was buried in a coffin he had used for his escape acts. He promised his wife if there was an Afterlife he would contact her. She held a seance on every Halloween hoping for a message but none ever came. She gave up after ten years.
1931- First day of shooting on the MGM film Tarzan the Ape Man, with Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Contrary to popular myth no one ever said “Me Tarzan, You Jane” in the film. MGM liked the films so much they never let Weissmuller star in any other type of film other than as Tarzan.
1936- NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena call today Nativity Day, because it commemorates the first firing of a liquid fuel rocket under the Galcit program ( Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory California Institute of Technology ) later renamed the Jet Propulsion Lab in 1944.
1938- In a speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt warned of big corporate tycoons who try to influence American politics. “ Organized Money is as great a threat to American democracy as organized mobs!”
1941-the sculpture group of U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore completed. Instead of just their heads artist–designer Judson Borglum wanted the sculpture to go down to the figures waists but he died in early 1941 and with war on the horizon his son and chief engineer rushed to complete the heads as is.
1945- The "War of Hollywood" Ends. The CSU union strike, the film business's longest and ugliest, falls apart and many of the former members drift into IATSE locals.
1956- Brooklyn ended all trolleycar service.
1964- Barbera Streisand single “People, People who need People..” goes to number one.
1964- Today in a taped phone conversation FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave President Lyndon Johnson tips on how to spot a closet homosexual: “It’s a thing you just can’t tell sometimes…There are some people who walk kinda funny. That you might think are a little bit off or kinda queer..” FBI director Hoover was gay himself.
1984- India's Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in revenge for her ordering the military storming of the Golden Temple of Amritsar earlier that year. While she lay dying her staff argued over who had the right to donate blood first.
1993- Rising young movie star River Phoenix overdosed and died on the street in front of the Viper Room night club in L.A after partying with Johnny Depp and Alicia Silverstone. The club is owned by movie star Depp and was once the Melody Room owned by Mobster Bugsy Seigel. Ironically as Phoenix was thrashing spasmodically people walked by unconcerned because it’s a common occurrence on the Sunset Strip.
2000- The first working crew blasted off from Kazakhstan to occupy the International Space Station. A NASA spokesman said ‘If all goes well today will mark the first day of Mans permanent colonization of Space. Yesterday was the last day that the cosmos would be completely devoid of human beings.”
2001- The acting Governor of Massachusetts officially overturned the convictions of the last six people executed in the Salem Witch Trials 300 years ago in 1692.
Yesterday’s Question: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?
Answer: The 5th Pakistan Mountain Division.
October 30th, 2008 thurs
October 30th, 2008
Question: In 1993, when U.S. special forces were trapped in Mogadishu, the Black Hawk Down Raid, what nation’s forces helped rescue them?
Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why is an old person called Methuselah?
History for 10/30/2008
Birthdays: John Adams, Christopher Columbus, English playwright Richard Sheridan, Ezra Pound, Emily Post, Louis Malle, Henry Winkler, Charles Atlas, Ruth Gordon, Claude LeLouch, Dick Gautier, Louis Malle, Ted Williams, Grace Slick, Diego Maradona
1501-THE BALLET OF THE CHESTNUTS, or His Holiness throws an Orgy.
One of the most notorious examples of depravity in PreReformation Rome. Pope Alexander VI Borgia, with his children Cesare and Lucretia Borgia throw a party of parties at the Vatican. The wild revelry was highlighted by a race of nude prostitutes on hands and knees through an obstacle course of silver candlesticks gobbling up chestnuts. The pope later gave gifts to the courtiers and ladies who demonstrated the greatest sexual stamina.
On another occasion His Holiness closed off St. Peter's Square to worshipers to stage a bullfight. This was the kind of holy hedonism that drove the Protestant reformers nuts and caused the eventual rift in the Christian world. One participant in these revelries was the chef of the French ambassador, who was intrigued to see the guests getting their own plates of food from large tubs set in a row. He though this was a neat way to serve food. His name was Pierre Buffet.
1811- Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility published.
1938-"THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA- 27 year old Orson Wells broadcast a radio update of H.G. Well’s story "The War of the Worlds". Despite periodic station announcements that it was only a fictional re-enactment, people across the U.S. go bonkers that an actual Martian invasion had landed in Grover’s Mill New Jersey. In Hollywood famed actor John Barrymore, drunk as usual, went over to his kennel of prize winning racing greyhounds and open their cage doors, saying: "Fend for yourselves!"
1941-The REUBEN JAMES INCIDENT-Five weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack the neutral U.S. destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat, drowning dozens of American sailors. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill thought this would be the incident to anger Americans enough into getting into World War Two like the Lusitania did a generation earlier. Woody Guthrie sang: "Oh tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names? Did you have a friend on the good old Reuben James?" However Adolf Hitler apologized and offered immediate monetary reparations. Popular anger cooled Roosevelt told his cabinet:" I think I can keep us out of this war for one more year unless Germany or Japan does something stupid."
1947- Bertholt Brecht, the playwright of Mother Courage and the Threepenny Opera, testified to the McCarthy HUAC committee. He smoked a large cigar through the whole session. Next day, as he had once fled Hitler’s Germany, he fled the U.S. and settled in East Germany.
1961- Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev has his old boss Stalin’s body removed from it’s place pickled next to Lenin, and has it buried in the back.
1963- The first Lamborghini 350GTV went on sale.
1966- An inventory done at the National Archives revealed that medical evidence of John F. Kennedy's assassination autopsy, including his brain, were missing. They have since never been found. Kennedy’s brother Robert was still attorney general at the time and some historians claim he hid evidence of conspiracy to hide his brothers mob connections and preserve the purity of the Camelot myth. We may never know.
1973- The Carlin Case- Radical radio station WBAI in New York broadcast hippy comedian George Carlin’s routine about the “Seven Deadly Words” the naughty words you can’t say on the air. I can’t write them because children read this column but you all know what they are anyway. The FCC slapped a heavy fine and WBAI sued for free speech and the case made it to the Supreme Court. Today the High Court found for the FCC and those 7 deadly words remain banned from airwaves today. Aw, Sh*t!
1975- King Juan Carlos assumed the throne in the restored monarchy of Spain.
1991- Middle East Peace Conference began in Madrid Spain. These first days about the only thing the Arabs and Israeli’s could agree upon was to politely refuse the lunch the Spaniards had set out for them- smoked ham sandwiches.
1992- QUANTRRILL’S FUNERAL- The remains of William Clark Quantrill were buried in a cemetery in his birthplace of Dover Ohio. Quantrill’s Border Raiders were infamous during the Civil War for their guerrilla depredations in Kansas and Missouri. After being shot dead in 1865 an admirer dug up his bones and kept them. After passing through several hands the bones were put up for sale, displayed in a glass case and even used by Ohio State fraternities for their initiation rituals. Billy Quantrill’s head was discovered in a refrigerator behind the tuna sandwiches and Coca Cola in the Dover Historical Society.
2002- Rap star of Run-DMC Jam Master Jay was shot dead in the lounge of his recording studio in Queens NY. The killer was never found.
Yesterday’s Question: Why is an old person called Methuselah?
Answer: Methuselah lived 900 years.
Methuselah lived 900 years.
But who calls that livin'
When no gal will give in
To no man what is 900 years.
(George Gershwin by way of Genesis 5:27)
October 29th,2008 weds
October 29th, 2008
The new Clint Eastwood, Angelina Jolie movie the Changeling, was written by J. Michael Straszynski. Jim was the creator of Babylon V, and before that was a part time animation writer, who used to work with us at Filmation on SheRa among other shows.
Congrats to Jim on such a great film!
Hmm..Angelina- She-Ra...She-Ra- Angelina...?
Question: Why is an old person called Methuselah?
Yesterday’s Question answered below:Speaking of Wall St.Collapses,in the 1929 Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Greta Garbo movie star, 2- General Blackjack Pershing WW1 Hero, 3-Republican President Herbert Hoover,4-Eddie Cantor, Broadway star.
History for 10/29/2008
Birthdays: James Boswell, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Keats, Sir Edmund Halley, Louis Blanc, Fanny Brice, Joseph Goebbels, Richard Dreyfus, Zoot Sims, Winona Ryder, Jesse Barfield, Kate Jackson, Bill Maudlin, Akim Tamiroff, Ralph Bakshi, Denis Potvin Neal Hefti-composer of the theme song for TV shows like Batman and the Odd Couple.
1618- Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on his birthday. Raleigh was once Queen Elizabeth’s favorite, but by now he was getting on King James nerves, by opposing the Kings peace overtures to Spain. Also Raleigh was implicated in a plot to keep James from attaining the throne. The king had him dangling on a commuted death sentence for treason for 15 years. Finally when Raleigh attacked Spanish settlements in Brazil against his direct orders that was enough. Off with his head! On the scaffold Raleigh thumbed the axeman’s blade. He joked:" This is sharp medicine, but it cures all ills." The man credited with introducing tobacco to Northern Europe, he puffed his pipe for one last time before putting his head on the block. His wife kept the severed head in a cabinet for the rest of her life.
1764-The Hartford Current debuts. The U.S.'s oldest continuously running newspaper.
1776- During the American retreat from the British across New Jersey, General George Washington is accidentally handed a letter from one of his officers to another. He read it and it accused him of incompetence: "The only thing worse than a Blundering Commander is an Indecisive one!" Up till then Washington had thought that the writer, Thomas Mifflin, was a friend he could count on. Washington passed on the note without any comment other than an apology for having opened it.
1787- Wolfgang Amadeus’s opera DON GIOVANNI premiered in Prague. Mozart had partied the night before and after midnight sat down and wrote the overture. As the musicians were sitting down he ran from stand to stand handing out the music. Goethe and Schiller loved it . Giacomo Rossini called it “the Greatest of All Operas”. After Don Giovanni his lyricist Lorenzo da Ponte left Europe for America and settled down in New Jersey. His niece had an affair with the son of Francis Scott Key and married a general who was wounded at Gettysburg.
1795- NAPOLEON MET JOSEPHINE- After quelling anti-government riots in Paris Napoleon ordered the citizens to turn in all weapons. Beautiful socialite Josephine de Beauharnais came this day to thank the young General for allowing her son to keep his slain fathers sword. Napoleon was at once twitterpated and their love became a legend. He would write her letters from the battlefield like “Don’t send your kisses, they burn my blood!” And “ I shall be home in a week, please don’t bathe until then, I want to smell you!”
1796- The SS Otter out of Boston under Captain Ebeneezer Dorr entered Monterey Bay, the first American visitor to Spanish Alta-California.
1836- The young nephew of Napoleon, Louis Napoleon, tries again to overthrow the French Government the way his famous uncle did. Instead of cheering, people chased him through the streets of Strasbourg yelling :"Shut Up you Blockhead!" He will eventually become Emperor Napoleon III.
1904--Mayor MacClellan opens the New York City Subway System. For 5 cents you could go 722 miles of tunnel under 30 square miles, the largest system in the world. The Mayor was given a solid silver ceremonial throttle, took controls of the first train and drove it around himself. When asked to hand the controls back he refused “Go away, I’m running this train now.”He went full throttle from Bleecker St to 146th. Later that day after the VIP’s concluded the party the subway was opened for the first commuters.
1923- The musical Running Wild opened on Broadway, introducing the dance craze the Charleston.
1929-BLACK TUESDAY-THE STOCK MARKET CRASH AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION BEGINS. The falling stock crisis which had been gaining momentum since early September finally culminates in the greatest one day collapse of the U.S. Economy. Millions of people who weren't ruined by last Thursday’s crash were ruined today. One third of all U. S. banks failed- 2,500. Eyewitnesses to that day all remember the strange low roar echoing through the glass canyons of Wall street, it was the continuous moans of thousands of investors being simultaneously ruined. Businessmen jumped to their deaths from windows. Two executives held hands as they jumped because they had a joint account. The chairman of General Motors William Durant finished his life managing a bowling alley in Chicago.
The Union Club wallpapered it's bar with worthless stock certificates. Venerable firms like Morgan and Leahman Brothers allowed 'apple-breaks' for their brokers to go out on the street and supplement their incomes by selling apples. By years end all U.S. industry was working at 17% of capacity and unemployment would soon soar to 55% in many major cities. The newly built Empire State Building was nicknamed the "Empty State Building".
The Hoover Administration, which espoused the traditional Republican hands-off attitude towards Wall Street, watched in horror as every trick known to financial wizards like Rockefeller and Lamont failed to stop the slide. People questioned whether capitalism itself was now a failure. Hoover's Vice President Charles Curtis, (for whom the nickname "Goodtime Charlie" was invented) continued to party while things collapsed. He responded to hungry, unemployed people protesting during his speech that they were all "Too damn dumb" to understand economics. His sister socialite Dolly Curtis said that she felt that the Depression, such as it was, maybe was already ending . This prompted one newspaper to run the headline:' DOLLY CALLS IT OFF!"
1957- Louis B. Mayer dies. His last words were: "Nothing Matters..." The head of MGM Studios lorded over Hollywood like a monarch, made and broke moviestars, ordered Judy Garland fed a steady stream of narcotics and had his office redesigned all white to resemble Mussolini’s , whom he admired. Humphrey Bogart was at his funeral. When asked if he was close to Mayer, Bogie replied: Nah,I'm just here to make sure he's dead !
1975- Years of bad management had brought New York City close to bankruptcy. This day President Gerald Ford announced that the United States Treasury would not help New York City out of it’s fiscal problems with any special loans. Although he reversed his position soon afterwards New Yorkers remembered his attitude. The New York DAILY NEWS paper’s headline “FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD!” remained in people’s minds as they voted overwhelmingly for Jimmy Carter.
1994- An emotionally disturbed Colorado upholsterer named Francisco Duran fired a Chinese AK-47 machine gun at the White House. He told authorities a multi-colored Alien told him to kill President Clinton in order to disperse a cosmic mist that had been over the White House for a thousand years. Pretty amazing mist, since the White House is only 200 years old. Bill Clinton –The First Bubba, was watching football on TV.
Yesterday’s Question: Speaking of Wall St. Collapses, in the 1929 Crash, which person made out okay? 1-Greta Garbo movie star, 2- General Blackjack Pershing WW1 Hero, 3-Republican President Herbert Hoover, 4-Eddie Cantor, Broadway star.
Answer: 3- Republican President Herbert Hoover. Shortly after reassuring the American people that “ The Economy is Fundamentally Sound”, Hoover quietly contacted his broker and had him sell all his stock in the market. So he personally was unaffected by the crash. In 1932 Hoover ran against Franklin Roosevelt as the more experienced candidate, and that Roosevelt was a tax and spend liberal. He lost.