November 9th, 2007 friday
November 9th, 2007
My old comrade and fellow pencil-pusher Michael Sporn is having a retrospective of his films this week at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. On Monday he will be interviewed on stage by historian John Canemaker. Check his site listed on my links for the details.
It is an interesting part of growing older when you see friends you hung out with and got drunk with, one day having retrospectives in a museum. While I wrestle with my mortality, Michael Sporn has been making wonderful films in New York for the last twenty five years. Many folks recall fondly getting their first jobs under his aegis and learning the animation ropes.
My favorite films of his are the William Steig projects like Dr DeSoto and the Amazing Bone. I recall when I was heading story on SHREK at Dreamworks, when the topic of what the production design of the picture should be, I would say, "why not DO STEIG?" After all, IT'S HIS STORY!" The others would look at me like I had grown another head.
from the amazing bone, courtesy michaelspornanimation.com
So, thank you Mike for bringing Steigs' intriguing and whimsical style to the screen, among many others, and keeping a big viable studio going in the home of Max Fleischer and John Hubley. Congratulations, Slava and Vivat! I'll stand behind you in the chariot holding the laurel wreath, and mumbling the ancient device- Remember thou art but a Man!
I urge anyone in the area to run don't walk to go see it!
Today's Question: How long has the motto IN GOD WE TRUST been stamped on U.S. money?
Answer to yesterday' question: What is a Smart Aleck? below.
history for 11/9/2007
Birthdays: English King Edward VII-Bertie, Stanford White, Marie Dressler, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Ann Sexton, Spiro Agnew, Tommy Dorsey, Dr. Carl Sagan, Whitey Herzog, Dorothy Dandridge, Dr. Herbert Kalmus the inventor of Technicolor film, Lou Ferrigno, Sisqo
In ancient Rome this was the Feast of Mania, like the Greek Anthesterion it was a time when the Gates of Underworld were said to be open and the shades of the dead could visit their old haunts. This is where we get the word Maniac.
64BC- Marcus Cicero delivered the first of his great speeches against Catiline, a Roman noble he accused of gathering an army of the disaffected to overthrow the Republic.
1699- According to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels this was the day Lemenual Gulliver was shipwrecked on the island of Liliput.
1799- THE COUP OF THE 18TH BRUMAIRE- Napoleon seized power in France. The name referred to the date in the French Revolutionary calendar. The little general began by giving a speech in the National Assembly denouncing the Jacobin menace and the need to restore order. Throwing around the term Jacobin then was akin to calling people Al Qaeda today. However, he was never as good a political speaker as he was a soldier. The senior politicians recognized baloney when they heard it and mobbed him. His brother Lucien who was a senator pulled him out of the crowd. So Nappy called in his troops and cleared the hall, pushing some senators out of the windows, it was a one story building so the effect was purely symbolic. At 2:00 AM a small group of friendly senators were convened to vote to create a leadership system of three Counsels with Nappy to share power, but he soon outmaneuvered the other two. Napoleon became dictator of France and declared the French Revolution complete. “I am the Revolution!” He was 31.
1872- The Great Fire of Boston. Much of the city center was destroyed because an equine virus, The Great Epizootic, had killed off the horses of the fire brigades.
1875- A treaty had declared all of the Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota to be protected Indian land “ So Long as Grass grows and Water Flows.”But prospectors supported by General George Custer had discovered gold in those hills and a gold rush began, Indians or not. This day a confidential memo from Supreme Commander of the U.S. Army Phil Sheridan with President Ulysses Grant’s approval ordered the frontier cavalry to cease preventing settlers and gold prospectors from moving into the Black Hills. This memo in effect violated the Indian Treaty of 1868 and would lead to Custer's Last Stand next June.
1888- The last victim of Jack the Ripper found. 25 year old prostitute Mary Kelly. After her murder the Ripper attacks ceased as mysteriously as they had started.
1911-The first Neon sign illuminated.
1918- KAISER WILHELM ABDICATED the collapsing German Monarchy . A curious fact was that no Tommy, Doughboy or Poilu ( the nicknames for British, American and French soldiers) in World War One ever made it to Berlin, much less entered Germany. The German war machine collapsed from within- bread riots, the economy in shambles, The entire Navy mutinied, Bolshevik Worker’s Soviets were set up in eleven cities including Cologne, Munich and Hamburg..
At first the Kaiser hoped to first sign the peace with the victorious Allies then use the German army to put down the riots and restore order. But changed his mind when 40 combat officers selected at random said 38 to 2 that they would refuse to kill other Germans to save his dynasty. Even then leaders resorted to polls. “What about the Fananeider-the German Soldiers Oath to die for the Monarchy?! “he asked General Von Groener. “Sire, today the Oath is just some empty words!” Even the Kaiser’s personal bodyguards were setting up a Revolutionary Workers Committee. So rather than wind up arrested and maybe even shot like his cousin the Czar of Russia, Wilhelm abdicated.
1928- Anthropologist Margaret Mead arrived in Ta’u, Samoa to begin work on her book “Coming of Age in Samoa” which will have a great effect on how people raise their children.
1937- KRYSTAL NACHT- In Paris an angry German-Jewish exile shot and killed a German diplomat named Ernst Von Rapt. Ironically Rapt was anti-Nazi and was being watched by the Gestapo. Back in Germany the Nazis use this incident to order the mass destruction of 191 synagogues and 1,000 Jewish businesses. Then the Jewish community was ordered to pay fines up to $40 million to pay for the damage. The name Crystal Night pertains to the sound of smashing glass in the streets. German boxing champion Max Schmelling was the media idol of Aryan Superiority for defeating American Joe Louis. One thing no one knew was that Schmelling concealed two Jewish boys from danger on Krystalnacht and had them smuggled out of the country. In 1961 Schmelling was invited to a testimonial in his honor at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, owned by one of those boys.
1964- First "Wizard of Id" comic strip published.
1953- Welsh poet Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning and liver failure in New York after downing 18 straight shots of whiskey . There's actually some debate as to whether or not Dylan Thomas intended to drink himself to death. Scholars have recently suggested that he was a diabetic and died of hypoglycemia. Whatever the actual agent of Thomas' demise may have been, the coroner wrote on his death certificate under the cause of death heading, "Insult to the brain."
1965- "WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?" The first Great East Coast Blackout. A transformer near Rochester shorts out and the surge overloads station after station until the entire eastern seaboard from Boston to Delaware is in darkness for 12 hours. (nine months later there was a notable rise in the birthrate, there was nothing else to do....).
1966- In London Beatle John Lennon went to an art exhibit and met a Japanese avant garde photographer named Yoko Ono.
1981- The Screen Actor's Guild under President Ed Asner votes emergency moneys for striking PATCO air traffic controllers fired by the former SAG president, now U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1979- National Public Radio goes on the air. The first US national news show with women as anchor reporters.
1989- THE BERLIN WALL OPENS UP. The East German authorities back down as the people (guards included) dance and sing on the hated symbol of Cold War division. A student points up at the t.v. cameras and triumphantly shouted: "Look, the Whole World is Watching !" Some West German politicians drove to the scene of the spontaneous demonstration and they tried to get everyone to sing patriotic songs like "Deutschlandlied", but the crowd drowned them out dancing to the theme from the movie:"GhostBusters". The next day people found the streets covered in banana peels. It was the first thing East Germans bought in the west, and they ate their bananas as they window shopped.
2004- The Jones Soda Pop Company of Seattle announced its new creation – Mashed Potato Flavored Soda. This was to follow up on their success last year of Roast Turkey and Gravy Soda.
QUESTION: what is a smart-aleck?
ANSWER: The Vice President of the Confederate States, Alexander Stephens (1812-1883), was reputed to be a brilliant debater in Congress. He was so quick-witted, people referred to Smart- Alex, or Aleck, so it came to be a name for a quick witted wiseass.
November 08, 2007 thurs.
November 8th, 2007
Mark Mayerson reported recently on his blog that my old boss Disney CEO Michael Eisner has bought the Topps Chewing Gum company, and wants to merchandise the cartoon character Bazooka Joe. I thought it was a gag at first, but the story is confirmed by the Beat and USA Today. Michael is quoted as saying ” It won’t be Raiders of the Lost Ark…. but Bazooka Joe is my new Mickey Mouse!” Uh, huh…okay...
Going tonight to see PBS animation producer Linda Simenski be awarded the Discovery Award by the Zimmer Children's Museum Foundation. Congrats Linda!
QUIZ: What is origin of the term, a smart-aleck?
Yesterday's Question answered below:
history for 11/8/2007
Birthdays: Roman Emperor Nerva, Bram Stoker, Sir Edmund Halley, June Havoc, Margaret Mitchell, Joe Flynn- the cranky Captain Binghampton in the 60’s TV comedy McHales Navy, Ricky Lee Jones, Bonny Raitt, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, Ester Rolle, Katherine Hepburn, Parker Posey, Gretchen Mol, Tara Reid
1519- Spanish Conquistador Hernan' Cortez first met the Aztec Emperor Montezuma II. Cortes was guided by Malinche', the "Pocahontas of the Aztecs". This noblewoman guided Cortez's little band into the heart of the empire. Conquistador Bernal Diaz described how after dinner the Spaniards were given tobacco pipes to smoke, but a special pipe with different tobacco was given to Montezuma, after smoking it "The Emperor became merry, as we do when drunk with wine.." Cortez was also offered vanilla beans and a cup of chocolate, then a bitter brew called Tchocolatl.
1789- Elijah Craig first distilled whiskey from Indian corn and strained it through a wool blanket. He lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky, so the stuff soon became popularly known as Bourbon.
1793- In one of the positive results of the Reign of Terror, the French Revolutionary Government opens the royal art collection of the Louvre to the public as a museum.
1805- Lewis and Clark stand on the sand at the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River.
1880- Famous actress Sarah Bernhardt made her American stage debut in La Dame aux Camelias. She made a further ten tours of the US, all billed as Farewell Appearances.
1887- Dentist-gunfighter Doc Holliday dies of tuberculosis or consumption at 35. He knew he had it for a long time, and in those days it was considered fatal and incurable. Some say this knowledge is what made him such a bold pistolero. But unfortunately for him, he won all his gunfights and died in bed anyway. His last words after taking a shot of whiskey were:" Well, I'll be damned!"
1910- Patent for the first electric bug-zapper. FHZZZZITT !
1910- Congressman Victor Berger of Wisconsin became the first Socialist to be elected to Congress. Revisionist histories since the Red Scares and the Cold War tend to ignore the achievements of the American Socialist Party. But in the first decades of the 20th century a number of big city mayors and congressmen were socialists. In the 1912 presidential election when Woodrow Wilson won by a slim one million votes third party socialist Eugene Debs polled over a millions votes.
1923- When it sounds like they would be found out early Nazi leader Adolf Hitler put into motion his attempt to overthrow the German government. Because they started in a beer hall in Munich the coup is called the Beer Hall Putsch.
1926- New York Mayor Jimmy Walker, a former vaudeville hoofer who wrote the hit song: "Will You Love Me in December like You do in May? ", met chorus dancer Betty Compton at the musical "Okay" and fell in love. His romancing his mistress openly in front of New York Society, not to mention in front of his wife, is the scandal of the Roaring 20's. Forced to resign as mayor after a probe unearthed volumes of corruption within his administration Jimmy tried once more to run for mayor against Fiorello Laguardia in 1933. But he was blocked by the Roman Catholic Cardinal of New York and NY Governor Franklin Roosevelt, who had just become president and found Walker an embarrassment. Jimmy Walker and Betty Compton lived in Europe for the next ten years. In 2000 married NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani lost the chance to run for the US Senate in part because he made open appearances at shows and dinners with his girlfriend.
1929- New York’s Museum of Modern Art opened.
1943- The first one man show of American abstract painter named Jackson Pollock. Pollock later created his brushless dripping form of painting that earned him the nickname:”Jack the Dripper”.
1950- In Korea two Chinese MIG fighters tangled with US Sabre jets. The first jet-to-jet dogfight.
1952- The Supreme Court upholds a 1922 ruling that Baseball a sport, not a business. Therefore it is exempt from anti-trust laws.
1965- The Days of Our Lives soap opera first premiered on TV.
1966- Former actor and SAG president Ronald Reagan elected Governor of California.
QUESTION:On Hollywood movie sets, what are Honeywagons?
ANSWER: Multiple mobile dressing rooms that go on location. They got that named because they were originally the dressing rooms for the many leggy showgirls of the big Busby Berkeley musicals.
November 7th, 2007 weds
November 7th, 2007
QUIZ- In motion pictures, what are Honey Wagons?
The answer to yesterdays question- For Election Day-How many American presidential elections were deadlocked elections? Below
Birthdays: Francesco Zubaran, Madame Curie, Billy Graham is 89, Leon Trotsky –real name Lev Bronstein, Albert Camus, Al Hurt, Joni Mitchell, Joan Sutherland, Judy Tenuda, Clive Barnes
1805- “Oh Joy of Joys!” explorers Lewis and Clark first see the Pacific.
1820- This day President James Monroe was re-elected after running unopposed for nomination and unopposed for the election. It was the most boring election in US History. One presidential elector refused to vote for him only because he wanted George Washington to go down in history as the only US President ever elected unanimously.
1865- The London Gazette is founded.
1876- THE STOLEN ELECTION- The Presidential election between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared a dead heat. Tilden had actually won an overwhelming majority in the popular vote, but when did that ever matter in Washington politics? The electoral votes were even, so Republicans forced the issue to be decided by the House of Representatives. In the meantime they made a secret deal with former Confederate territories that were not allowed to vote that if they would vote for Hayes they could come back into the Union as States again. The Hayes government also promised to slow down civil rights for African Americans and withdraw occupying troops from the South. On March 3rd 1877 with the aid of the new electoral votes of Louisiana, Georgia and Florida Republican Rutherford Hayes was declared the winner. Republicans chanted: “Hooray for Hayes and Honest Ways!” while Democrats protested: “RutherFRAUD Hayes !”
1917- RED OCTOBER, THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION- As the guns of the battleship Aurora boomed out across Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Lenin's Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and overthrew the provisional government of A.P. Kerensky ( who died in Queens, New York in 1973.) Two Bolsheviks sent to take over the Petrograd telephone exchange had forgot to bring their weapons but succeeded nonetheless.
In the ten months between the Tsar’s fall and the Communist coup Russia had tried to govern itself with a fragile democracy. But no middle class support base, powerful extremists like elitist officer corps and landless peasants pulling on either side and the disastrous decision to stay in the Great War with Germany doomed the government. It was said Kerensky was a brilliant speaker but he had no serious plans or ideas beyond ebullient oratory. He was making it all up as he went along. Red Army leader Leon Trotsky ( real name Lev Bronstein ) had at one point lived in exile in New York. This day a Bronx newspaper proudly put as it's headline:" Bronx Boy Seizes Power in Russia !"
1944- President Franklin Roosevelt won an unprecedented Fourth Term as president, even though Democratic party insiders knew he was dying. After FDR the conservative Congress created a constitutional amendment barring anyone else from having more than two terms. Roosevelt joked this night with friends:” You know, the first twelve years are always the hardest. “
1956- Eugene O’Neill’s biographical masterpiece play “Long Days Journey into Night” first premiered.
1962- After losing the California Governor's race to Pat Brown, Richard Nixon bitterly says to assembled newsmen and women:" You boys have been having a lot of fun....well, You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore..". Nixon felt his career in politics was in shambles and a final jab from the Kennedys was the news he was being audited by the IRS. Tricky Dick spent the next few years reinventing himself before making his successful Presidential run in 1968.
1963- The movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” premiered at Hollywood’s new Cinerama Dome theater.
1965- the first Pillsbury Doughboy commercial debuted. ‘Tee-hee-hee!”
1965- Dorothy Kilgallen was a New York socialite who’s witty sparring with Bennett Cerf and other panelists enlivened a CBS quiz show called What’s My Line.
But beyond that role she was an accomplished reporter and columnist who uncovered facts on the famous Dr. Sam Shepard murder case. In mid 1965 she announced publicly that she knew the real facts on the John F Kennedy assassination and she had interviewed Jack Ruby. She would shortly announce her proof of conspiracy in a new book .
This night she had dinner with friends then asked them to drop her off at the Regency Hotel Lobby where she was meeting a new mysterious boyfriend. Next morning police found her dead body in her bed at her Greenwich Village apartment. Pills and liquor were strewn about her night table and a book was in her lap so police assumed she took too many sleeping pills and liquor. But conspiracy buffs point out she never read without her reading glasses which were across the room. Her files were confiscated by the Justice Department and never released.
1980- Rebel actor Steve McQueen died of cancer at age 50.
1991- “Even Me”-Los Angeles Laker Basketball star Irvin “Magic” Johnson admitted to the world that he was HIV –positive. He said he got it from casual sex and was retiring from the NBA. Coming soon after the death of movie star Rock Hudson , Magic Johnson’s example brought home to the world that HIV/AIDS wasn’t merely a “gay plague” but that straight people could get it too. His life is also an example that an HIV positive person can still lead a full productive life.
1997- Someone published a stolen home video of Baywatch star Pamela Anderson and rock star Tommy Lee having graphic sex on their honeymoon, not to mention Tommy steering his boat with his John-Thomas. The Pamela-Tommy video became the most downloaded file on the Internet and rented video in history. In 1998 Pamela Anderson Lee was the subject of 1% of the Total Traffic on the entire World Wide Web!
2000-THE DEADLOCKED ELECTION- Al Gore and George W. Bush electoral votes came to a statistical dead heat. In 1960 with a population of 150 million Kennedy beat Nixon by 60,000 votes. In 2000 with over 250 million Gore and Bush were separated by 140 votes! With nothing in the Constitution about a European style second round of voting. the decision was made in courts and precincts of Palm Beach Florida. Americans learned to study chads and dimples on punchcard butterfly ballots. Katherine Harris the Attorney General of Florida who validated the election for Bush was also the Republican campaign chair in that area. In 2004 an outraged Florida voter drove his Cadillac up onto the sidewalk and tried to run her over. Finally after 36 days the Supreme Court ended all recounts and declared Bush the winner. Other highlights of the election included Hilary Rodham Clinton became the first former First Lady to win an election to the US Senate, Alabama became the last state to rescind it’s laws barring interracial marriage and Missouri elected a dead man senator over an incumbent. The incumbent, John Ashroft, was made by President GW Bush attorney general.
For Election Day-How many American presidential elections were deadlocked elections?
ANSWER: The first election that was decided in the House of Representatives was the election of 1800- Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Charles Pinckney all vied for high office. After 46 deadlocked votes Jefferson won. In 1824 John Quincy Adams juggled the electors due to King Caucus and wrested the presidency from Andrew Jackson, who won it back in 1828. And you see above the results of the elections of 1876 and 2000, so the answer is four elections were contested.
November 06, 2007 tues.
November 6th, 2007
The WRITER'S STRIKE, that we all expected, has finally started. Good luck to them and all creative people who seek to better their conditions in this corporate heavy world.
courtesy of brilliantbutcancelled.com
Sounds like the producers were preparing for this showdown for awhile, so it is likely to be long.
Animation people are only partially effected, since only a portion of the people who write for animation do so under a WGA contact. Most work under the Animation Guild 839 contract, which is not up until next year, including it's no strike-clause. But our hearts go out to our brother and sister artists in their time of trial.
As animators, look at this example when you see powerful members of your profession going out to support their union. Tina Fey, Jay Leno, John Stewart. That's what makes the WGA and the Actors and Directors' Guilds so powerful in Hollywood. You're as strong as you are willing to stand up for your friends. The bosses love when we all think only about ourselves. We are much more easily controlled then. For people who think unions are only for auto-workers, what is a more solitary and creative job than being a writer? Yet there they are. Think of all the good we could do if all animators supported each other this way.
In the next weeks, expect to hear a lot of nasty stuff in the media about the spoiled-rich-Hollywood writers who make millions. That we should be sensitive to the problems of multinational corporate CEOs. Duh-? Remember these "news" stories are produced by the same corporate media who spin Iraq and politics and get us so frustrated. It's all about how the message if delivered to you. The fact is 46% of the WGA is unemployed, most of the big studios are an annex of some giant multinational companies and they are all making a killing in DVD and download profits. They won't give anything up without a fight.
People think the good money and cushy life of a Hollywood film person was created out of the ether like the seasons turning. Don't be naive. No company head wakes up and says" I feel so good today I think I'll give all my people a raise!" The fact is, all those better conditions were wrung out of the companies by struggle. According to that lefty rag Business Week, 25 years ago, for every dollar you and I made, our employer made $29. Today the ratio is $456 to our one!
So if you come upon a WGA picketline, You're all welcome to show support,shoulder a sign for awhile, and even a kind word or a cheer as you pass by. I've been on picket lines often, and it's no fun to see cold angry stares of strangers passing by, and even an occasional expletive shouted from a moving car.
So the good wishes really count.
courtesy of my pal,writer Earl Kress, www.mynameisearlkress.com
QUIZ- How many American presidential elections were deadlocked elections?
The answer to yesterdays question- what is marinara sauce? Below.
History for 11/6/2007
Birthdays: Sophocles 495BC, Joanna La Loca (the Mad- 1479), John Phillip Sousa, Joseph Smith the founder of the Mormons, Ignacz Paderewski, Charles Dow of Dow Jones, Adolphus Sax inventor of the Saxophone, James Naismith the inventor of Basketball, Mike Nichols, Edsel Ford, animator Eddie Rehberg, Sally Field is 62, Ray Coniff, John Olsen of the comedy duo Olsen & Johnson, Harold Ross the founder of the New Yorker magazine, Maria Shriver is 53, Ethan Hawke is 27, Rebecca Romjin
Today is the Feast of Saint Leonard of Noblac, the Patron Saint of Women in Labor and Prisoners of War. -is there a connection there..?
1528-Conquistador Alva Nunez Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked on the coast of Texas. The first European to set foot in Texas. Cabeza de Vaca means Head of a Cow.
1566-Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe got his nose cut off in a duel. Thereafter he wore a gold cup over the scar, held in place by a string .
1730- King Frederick William Ist of Prussia has General Von Katte, the gay lover of his son Crown Prince Frederick, beheaded by saber. He even made his horrified son to watch the execution from a window. Young Frederick was never that fond of his dad after this. When the old sadist died, he became King Frederick the Great and slept with whomever he liked. Frederick William Ist was the originator of mechanically strict Prussian discipline that made the German Army famous. He was so feared by his subjects that they used to run away when he arrived. The king caught one wretch in a doorway and drubbed in the face with his cane, shouting: "WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE ME-YOU SCUM!"
1806- The news reached London of the great naval victory of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Nelson. The news was brought by a small ship named the HMS Pickle. Englishmen great and small fell into extreme grief over the death of their greatest naval hero. Samuel Coleridge wrote: 'When Nelson died, it seemed as if no man was a stranger to another, for all were made acquaintances in the rites of a common anguish."
1812- On this day during Napoleons Retreat from Moscow, it began to snow.
1860- Abraham Lincoln of Illinois won the presidency of the United States. The first Republican to win an election. Back then, almost no one in the South voted Republican.
1869- Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4 in the first college football game.
1916- The elderly cowboy showman Buffalo Bill made one of his last public appearances in El Paso Texas. El Paso had been as wild and bloody a frontier town as Deadwood or Tombstone, but now it was a quiet modern city. Telephone and electricity wires crisscrossed overhead and streetcars clattered down the streets where gunfighters once shot it out. Buffalo Bills parade seemed to make plain to all the final passing of the Old West. The cheers brought tears running down the old scout's long white mustache. He died of prostate cancer a few weeks later.
1941- In an evening nationwide radio broadcast Comrade Josef Stalin told the Soviet Union that although Russian losses were heavy, the Germans had already lost 4.5 million men and were on the run. It was all pure fiction. In reality Leningrad was surrounded, Moscow was threatened and almost 40% of Russia’s population was under Nazi occupation.
1947- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization- NATO created.
1962- Ted Kennedy first elected to the Senate from Mass.
1966- A great flood hits the City of Venice. An international effort is mounted to save her priceless artifacts. Venice never suffered floods until the end of the nineteenth century when a deep channel was dug in the Venetian lagoon to accommodate modern heavy shipping to the new harbor of La Spezia. This imbalance messed up the natural flood cycle from the Adriatic. Added to that the whole darn city is resting on thousands of wooden pilings pounded into a sand bar when Attila the Hun was still running around. Venice is still sinking a few inches each century.
1975- First appearance of the band the Sex Pistols.
ANSWER TO YESTERDAYS QUIZ-
Question: What is Marinara Sauce?
Answer: In the 16th century the Spanish introduced the tomato from America. Italian women who were married to fishermen used the new thing to make a quick, inexpensive sauce which could sit around all day for them to return from the sea. It was known as Mariners’ Sauce, La Marinara. Ironically, it has no fish ingredients of any kind in it.
November 5th, 2007 mon
November 5th, 2007
QUIZ: What makes Italian Marinara Sauce, well…marinara sauce? Fish?
History for 11/5/2007
Birthdays: Gen Benjamin "Spoons" Butler, Eugene V. Debs, Art Garfunkel, Roy Rogers, Tatum O'Neill, Elke Sommer, Ike Turner, Vivien Leigh, Will Durant, Joel McCrea, Sam Shepard, Bill Walton, John Berger
In Jolly Old England it is
HAPPY GUY FAWKES DAY! in -1605 Sir Guy Fawkes, a Catholic nobleman, was caught digging a tunnel under the English Parliament and filling it with gunpowder. His goal was no less than blowing up the King and the entire blinkin' government! Sir Roger Catesby was actually the mastermind of the plot, but Sir Guy gets the fame.
Modern day Brits commemorate this as a kind of April Fools Day with bonfires and merrymaking. Children go from door to door asking :"A penny for Sir Guy, please." But in olden times it was also a let's have a good laugh on the Roman Catholics day.
This is why George Washington was against transplanting the holiday in America. Pope Day was celebrated in some American colonies but it died out after the Revolution. In 1775 Washington called it-A ridiculous and childish festival, burning effigies of the Pope." Many English folks I know told me they celebrate the day they tried to blow up the government because wouldn't things have been lovely if he had succeeded !
1805- The Royal Spanish Governor of New Mexico, Joaquin del Real Alencaster, dispatches a cavalry troop under Don Pedro Vial on a secret mission. On this day Vial's force is attacked by hostile Indians on the Arkansas River. Vial drives off the Indians but his command is too battered by the fight to continue and has to return, their mission aborted. What was their mission? To kill or capture the American explorers Lewis and Clark. The Spanish government in Madrid knew full well the object in the American President Jefferson’s mind in sending this "scientific" expedition to find a land route to the Pacific, over territory Spain still claimed as her own despite the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark, at this point in the Columbia River Gorge, were unaware of the drama around them.
1820- Old British sea dog Lord Thomas Cochrane had joined the Latin American cause trying to gain independence from Spain. This night he decided the best way to do that was to capture the flagship of the Spanish Pacific fleet, the 44 gun Esmerelda. Cochrance with 80 Chilean sailors dressed in white rowed up to the frigate and captured her after a brief but violent hand to hand struggle. As they rowed silently past the neutral USS Mendocino they were almost given away by the American sailors cheering for them.
1895- Invention of the Car Clutch.
1940- President Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to an unprecedented 3rd term. His defeated Republican opponent- Wendell Wilkie, became the butt of jokes in many Looney Tunes.
1954- THE WRONG DOOR RAID- Baseball great Joe DiMaggio was stewing over the collapse of his marriage to sexy movie star Marilyn Monroe. He was especially sensitive to the rumors that she was seeing other men. This night Joltin Joe was having dinner with Frank Sinatra and a few friends when a detective brought him a report that Monroe’s car was spotted parked in front of an apartment complex on Kilkea Dr.. Enraged, he drove out to the building and kicked in the back door hoping to catch her en-flagrante. But Marilyn was staying in a girlfriend’s apartment upstairs. This was the home of a terrified old lady named Mrs Florence Klotz. We don’t know what she thought about her door suddenly kicked in by Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra and the RatPack but the tabloids had a field day.
1975- Logger Travis Walton was abducted by aliens and experimented on for five days, then returned to his Snowflake Arizona home. Walsh published a bestseller Fire in the Sky.
1977- George W. Bush married Laura Welsh. Laura was a Democrat who campaigned for lefty George McGovern in 1972.
1979- National Public Radio’s news show Morning Edition started.
1994- Retired President Ronald Reagan gave his last public speech. He confirmed he had Alzheimers Disease.
1999- A man was arrested in Minneapolis for stealing and keeping 150 shopping carts in his apartment.
ANSWER TO YESTERDAY’S QUESTION-
QUESTION: Why is German dark rye bread called Pumpernickel?
ANSWER: Referred to in writing since 1746, the Oxford English Dictionary is uncertain as to the origin of the name. One theory is the name means Pumper- German for Fart, and Nickel, for Old Nick, another nickname for Satan. So Devil’s Fart Bread.
My favorite version is Oxford historian Katharine MacDonnough related the story of Napoleon marching his army in triumph into Berlin in 1806. He was riding a young colt named Nicole for the occasion. Part of the ceremony of submission, the Berlin city fathers present the conqueror with the keys of the city and a platter of the local delicacies to eat. Napoleon sampled the dark bread, and allegedly said:” Ech! Give that bread to my horse!- C’est pain pour Nicole!”