May 4th, 2007 friday
May 4th, 2007

Birthdays: Bartolomeo Christofori'-inventor of the modern piano, Audrey Hepburn –real name Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Rusten, Roberta Peters, Maynard Ferguson, Pia Zadora, Howard Da Silva ,Tammy Wynette, Randy Travis, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, George Will

1799- The Assault on Seringhapatamb- In India the British army storms the fortress of Sultan Tipoo Sahib the 'Tiger of Mysore'. Commanding General John Baird leapt up on the parapet and shouted over the scream of rockets, cannon and elephants :" Up my brave lads and show the world you are worthy of the title- British Soldiers!" Present at the battle was a young colonel Arthur Wellesley who would later gain fame as the Duke of Wellington. Tipoo Sahib was England's chief enemy in India and had been defeated a decade earlier by Lord Cornwallis, who made up for his loss to George Washington at Yorktown. After the battle among the plunder they found the Sultan's favorite toy- a life-size mechanical tiger clawing a man. The tiger had a set of organ keys that played a medley of roars and human screams for Tipoo's amusement. It's in the Victoria and Albert Museum today.

1891 –THE DEATH OF SHERLOCK HOLMES According to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle this was the day Sherlock Holmes, perished at the Reichenback Falls grappling with sinister Prof. Moriarity- The Napoleon of Crime. Conan Doyle had tired of his eccentric detective and wanted to get on to other types of writing like novels. But English readers were horrified he had killed off the great sleuth. Conan-Doyle couldn’t take a walk down the street without someone stopping him:” Sir, How could you?!” When touring the US he wanted to lecture about historical subjects but people only wanted know more about Holmes and Watson. After a while Arthur Conan-Doyle gave in and began a new series of the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.


1897- In Paris during a charity cinematograph show the nitrate film catches fire and 200 die. Movie film before the 1940’s was made from a very unstable mixture and could explode from the slightest contact with flame.

1927-The Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences formed. Studio heads Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer originally conceived the Academy as an an arbiter and ombudsman where studio artists could air grievances without fear of retaliation, thereby sidetracking the call for unions. It didn't work because of the nature of it's founders. Writer Dorothy Parker commented: "Going to the Academy with your problems is like trying to get laid in your mother's house, someone's always peeking through the curtains"
After the stock market crash the Academy supported the studio heads enforced employee salary cuts. Soon all pretense as a human resources ombudsman was abandoned and AMPAS focused on being the arbiter of artistic achievement.

1948- Norman Mailor's first novel published: "the Naked and the Dead".

1953 - Pulitzer prize awarded to Ernest Hemingway for The Old Man & The Sea.

1957 - Alan Freed hosts "Rock n' Roll Show" 1st prime-time network rock music show.

1967- The Big Mac hamburger is invented in a MacDonald's restaurant in Pittsburgh.

2000- The Love Bug Computer virus ravaged the worlds commerce through Microsoft Outlook causing $10 billion dollars in damage and shutting down temporarily the e-commerce of large firms like Reebok. It was launched by a Philipino AMA Computer College graduate student as part of his thesis.

2001- Bonnie Lee Bakely, the wife of actor Robert Blake, was found in her car dead of a gunshot wound to the head outside of Vitello’s Restaurant in Studio City, Ca. They had just had dinner and Mr. Blake had returned into the restaurant to retrieve a gun he had left at his table. In 2005 the actor was acquitted of his wife’s murder, but lost a wrongful death suit to Blakely’s family. It is still on appeal. Why did Robert Blake bring a gun to his dinnertable? I guess it’s in case the waiters get snippy or something.


May 3, 2007 thr
May 3rd, 2007

------------------------------------------------------
Birthdays: Niccolo Macchiavelli, Golda Meir, Sir Richard D'Oly-Carte, Peter Gabriel, James Brown, Pete Seeger, Betty Comden, Doug Henning, Beaulah Bondi, Mary Astor, Sugar Ray Robinson, Alex Cord, 70’s singer Englebert Humperdinck, Dule Hill

1702-William Hyde- The Fifth Earl of Clarendon called Lord Cornbury arrived from England to be Royal Governor of colonial New York. This English aristocrat surprised the solid Dutch Calvinists of former Nieu Amsterdaam by his eccentric behavior. His favorite pastime was dressing up in ladies clothing and jumping out at people at night and pulling their ears. When in drag he bore an uncomfortable resemblance to England’s Queen Anne. He later explained he dressed this way so the colonists could see what their queen in England looked like, but nobody believed him. There is today a painting of the Lord Governor in drag at the New York Historical Society . It was alleged that he was a fence for pirates and once asked the New York City council for money to repel a fictitious French attack which he pocketed and bought the land today called Hyde Park.

Lord Cornbury in drag at the New York Historical Society

1888- Poem "Casey at the Bat" published.

1948-THE PARAMOUNT DECISION- In 1938 the independent theater chains had brought suit in Federal court against the major Hollywood Studios over their monopolistic practices. Ten years and a World War later the Supreme Court ruled the Motion Picture Studios did constitute a monopoly and under the Sherman AntiTrust Act ordered them to sell their theater chains. One casualty of this rule was the short cartoon. Because theater managers no longer were forced to run a cartoon, newsreel and short with a feature (block-booking), they opted for the time to run more showings of the main feature.



1968- THE PARIS '68 REVOLT- Police are sent into the Sorbonne University in Paris to break up student demonstrations. The grounds of the university had never been violated by police, even during the Nazi occupation. This act enraged the student leaders who are joined by labor unions and there is fighting in the streets of Paris for the next three weeks that eventually brought down the DeGaulle gov't. All night political meetings center in the Odeon theatre as the likes of Jean Paul Sartre and John Luc Goddard make intellectual manifestations of aesthetic freedom."The More I make Love, the More I make Revolution!" One of the student leaders was Daniel Cohn-Bedit "Danny the Red". Gaullist-Conservative media tried to draw attention to Cohn-Bendit’s Jewish foreign background . This caused an even larger angrier march of everyday Parisians and Unionists chanting: "We are all Jews!"

Danny the Red Cohen-Bendit. Vive L'Danny!


1969- Groundbreaking in Valencia for the California Institute of the Arts.

1971- National Public Radio’s news program "All Things Considered" goes on the air, the first national news program with women news anchors- Linda Ellerbee and Susan Stanberg.

1973- Chicago’s Sear Tower was topped off at 443 meters, to be the worlds’ tallest office building.

1978- THE FIRST SPAM E-MAIL- Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager for Digital Equipment Corp wanted to invite all the scientists and professors on the ARPANET system to an event. It was too much work to do one e-mail at a time so he devised a way to mail 600 people at once. So thank Gary that you get endless messages like "Biancas Backdoor Bliss","Increase your potency" and "Nigerian Bank Trustee Investment schemes."


May 2, 2007 Weds
May 2nd, 2007

Birthdays: Czarina Catherine the Great, Domenico Scarlatti, Manfred Von Richtofen the Red Baron, Bing Crosby, Dr. Benjamin Spock the Baby Doctor, Vernon Castle, Theodore Bikel, Lesley Gore, Roscoe Lee Browne, Satyajit Ray, Pinky Lee, Link Wray of the Wraymen, Dwayne Johnson called The Rock is 35

1349- The Kings of England and France are forced to declare a ten year truce in their Hundred Years War because of the ravages of the Black Plague. After all, how can one be expected to have a good war when everyone was already dead?

1519- Leonardo Da Vinci died at the chateau of Amboise in the arms of King Francis Ist. He had accepted the offer of the French King of a stable retirement (even then artists worried about that kinda stuff). Two hundred and eighty years later during the French Revolution peasants broke into his tomb to get the lead lining for cannonballs and threw his bones in a pile. So no one is sure where he's buried.

1921- Chicago’s Field Museum opened to the public. It was housed in the building originally called the Hall of Fine Arts in the Great Chicago Exhibition of 1893.

1932- Jack Benny's Radio Show on radio debuts. Oh Rochester! Mel Blanc the voice of Bugs Bunny did many characters and voices on the show, including the engine of Jacks’ old Maxwell automobile.
Benny, real name Benjamin Koubielsky, with Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, courtesy of JackBenny.org

1972- First day shooting on Steven Speilbergs film JAWS. The giant mechanical shark used as a prop was nicknamed "Bruce" after Speilberg’s lawyer.

1982- The 24 hour Weather Channel started.

1997- Movie star Eddie Murphy was busted for picking up transvestite hooker Artisone Seiuli at 4:45 in the morning on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Murphy said he was just being a good Samaritan and giving the young He/She a ride home.


Birthdays: Mary Harris a.k.a.Mother Jones, Benjamin Latrobe designer of the US Capitol, Calamity Jane, Joseph Addison, Kate Smith, Jack Paar, Joseph Heller, Rita Coolidge, Steve Cauthen, Judy Collins, Glen Ford, Ray Parker Jr., Maurice Noble, Soviet animator Fyodor Khytruk, Louis Nye, John Woo, the Batman,

Happy Birthday Eric Goldberg!

May or Maius is named for Maia, Roman god of flowers, daughter of Fauna and Vulcan.

This day Romans celebrated the LARALIA- the feast of the Lares, your personal domestic gods who watch over you and your family. Many times they included the founder of your house, a famous family member or a particular allegiance to one deity, for example Julius Caesar claimed to be descended from Venus. It’s also the Roman festival for the Bona Dea or the Good Goddess, a deity of fertility.

62BC- Publius Clodius Pulcher- The Handsome, seduced the wife of Julius Caesar by dressing like a woman and sneaking into Caesars home while the women were celebrating the secret sacred mysteries of Bona Dea. Caesar wasn’t too upset because he was sleeping around as well. Part of Greco-Roman religious mysteries was the drinking of a wine mixed with herbs approximating the effect of modern LSD. Sex, Drugs and Latin Conjugations!

1886- MAYDAY- In most of the world except the U.S. this is Labor Day. Ironically the tanks and red banners that used to parade down Tianamehn or in Havanna celebrate events that began in the United States. In 1886- The Knights of Labor- an underground movement of unions came out in the open and announced itself America's first national labor organization. On this day they called for strikes against all employers who wouldn't institute an 8 hour workday. The norm in America was 12 hours, 7am to 7pm six days a week. 500,000 people go out on 1,700 strikes and paralyze the nation's economy. The authorities crushed the strikes with violence, shootings, arrests and firings with a brutality that shocked the rest of the world. Karl Marx said: " Isn't it amazing what's happening in America ?". The 8 hour day doesn't become normal in America until 1913. In 1889- in Europe the International Socialist Congress declaring itself in sympathy with the embattled American worker designated May 1st as International Worker's Day. In 1894 American Federation of Labor, a less militant successor to the Knights, ask President Cleveland to move Labor Day from May 1st to the end of August. This was so people can have a holiday between Independence Day and Thanksgiving, but also a Labor Day free of "radical politics".

1893- The WORLD COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION opened in Chicago. A great White City topped by the first Ferris Wheel, a giant that carried passengers higher than the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Worlds Fairs then still had a certain amount of cheap sensationalist burlesque to attract customers uninterested in dynamos and new farming exhibits. This exhibition was made famous by the erotic gyrations of an hootchie-cootchie dancer named Little Egypt. It was the first example of belly dancing in America but the famous tune "In the Land of Oz Where the Ladies Smoke Cigars" was not written in Egypt but by a local songwriter named Joe Blume. Candy maker Milton Hershey inspected some new German milk chocolate machines and was inspired to build his new business around chocolate. It also displayed the World’s Largest Red Cedar Bucket, then filled with lager beer. I had the pleasure of seeing the Bucket at Mufreesboro Tennessee, minus the beer.

1898- BATTLE OF MANILA BAY- Admiral Dewey's fleet sinks the Spanish fleet when he gives the order to the captain of the USS Olympia :"You may fire when ready, Gridley:" I'm sorry, Bugs Bunny didn't say it first.

1902- Richard Outcault's comic strip Buster Brown and Tige first appeared. Outcault, the creator of the first hit cartoon the Yellow Kid was so famous that as part of his deal to do this strip he negotiated the first back-end deal for a percentage of the merchandise sales.

1914-THE BIRTH OF THE BIG BLUE- Thomas Watson got a job at a little business machine company called CTR, the Calculating, Typewriter and Regulating Company. He quickly rose to the top and renamed the company International Business Machine or IBM. When he retired in 1956 it employed 60,000 and is one of largest companies in the world.

1931- The Empire State Building in New York dedicated. For fifty years it was the worlds tallest office building and King Kong’s hangout. It’s topmost deck was designed to be a dirigible mooring post but despite several tries no zeppelin has ever been able to park there. A Goodyear Blimp attempted mooring there in 1976 but the highwinds bobbed it around like a bucking bronco. The building was dedicated during the depths of the Great Depression when business was so bad it was nicknamed the 'Empty State Building'.

1939- The first Batman comics created by Bob Kane appear on newsstands.

1941-ROSEBUD- Orson Welles film "Citizen Kane" debuted at the Paramount theater (the El Capitan) in Hollywood. At the last minute William Randolph Hearst's friend Louis B. Mayer tried to buy and destroy every print of the film and the Hearst press went crazy attacking it. Hearst spokesperson Louella Parsons threatened "A Beautiful Lawsuit" if the film was not pulled. Despite winning some Oscars the film didn't do well in it's initial release, but it remains one of the greatest films of all time. Welles said later:" The problem I've always had is my movies become classics ten years later."

1967- Elvis Presley marries Priscilla Beaulieu at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas.

1989- Walt Disney Feature Animation in Orlando Florida opens. It closed in 2006.

1993- The Florida Animation Union Local 843 chartered.

1997- Bebe, the dolphin who played Flipper on the television show, died at age 40.

1997- Tony Blair defeated Tory John Major to become Prime Minister of Britain.

2003-MISSION ACCOMPLISHED? President George W. Bush lands a military jet onto the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver a speech declaring the war in Iraq to be officially over. In the next three years 2800 more Americans would be killed, 25,000 wounded and an untold number of Iraqis. A big banner on the carrier read Mission Accomplished. The White House said it was set up spontaneously by crewmen, but later admitted it was conceived, printed and hung by West Wing functionaries.

My best investment since Billy Carter's Billy Beer.


April 30, 2007 monday
April 30th, 2007

Birthdays: Elector Johann-Frederich the Magnanimous, Franz Lehar, Max Skladanowsky, Jaroslav Hasek, Eve Arden, Jill Clayburgh, Alice B. Toklas, Willie Nelson,Cloris Leachman,Jane Campion,Lars von Trier, Burt Young, Kirsten Dunst is 25,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BILL PLYMPTON!

Walpurgisnacht- In the Hartz Mountains of Germany the eve the Feast Day of St. Walpurga the demon chaser is a Halloween kind of party, when the Devil can romp for a night. It's the inspiration for Mussogorsky's "Night on Bald Mountain".

1900- John Luther Jones , called CASEY JONES died in a spectacular train crash near Vaughn Mississippi. Jones' freight train was running 75 minutes late so he stoked up his engine to 100 mph. Suddenly a switching error put a passenger train in his path. Jones stayed at the controls trying to stop the train while his crew jumped to safety. There was a head on collision but because of Jone’s bravery his was the only death. A brakeman later wrote the famous folksong. Union activists prefer to remember that Jones was a strikebreaker running his train recklessly in defiance of a strike to impress his employers. The union still paid his widow his $3000 dollar life insurance. Folksinger Joe Hill in his song "Casey Jones the Union Scab." tells how when he went to heaven the Angel’s Union Local #23 "fired Casey down the Golden Stair.."

1939- The 1939 World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows, NY. The Trylon & Perisphere presided over the gleaming Art-Deco paean to optimism, even as the world waited nervously for Hitler’s next move. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt in attendance the NBC network began regular television broadcasting. It only went to a few homes. Experts were not optimistic."It requires a darkened room and constant attention." one said.

1945- BERLIN FALLS. Sergeants Yegorov and Kantariya raise the red flag over the Reichstag as the last Nazi resistance in the capitol was stamped out. After a late supper of spaghetti and a tossed salad Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun bit down on cyanide capsules and Hitler put a revolver in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Dr. Josef Goebbels and his family took poison but secretary Martin Bormann decided to take his chances making a run for it. For years it was thought he had made it to Latin America but in the late 1980's excavations in Berlin found his skeleton under a collapsed building crouching behind a tank. Hitler even left instructions to have his Alsatian dog Blondi poisoned. The bodies were taken out to a ditch and burned with gasoline. A famous photo of a dead man with a Hitler mustache was of a double shown the Russians to throw them off the track. Today Hitlers skull is sitting in a filing cabinet in Moscow,
When Marshal Zhukov informed Soviet leader Josef Stalin by telephone of Hitler's death, Uncle Joe said:"Doigralsya, podlets!" So, that's the end of the bastard!". Soviet troops found in Hitler’s office that he did possess a large world globe like Charlie Chaplin’s film the Great Dictator. The globe had arrows drawn in red pen pointed at England and the United States with Hitler’s handwritten scribbles "Look out! Here I come!". Russians covered the Reich Chancellery building with graffiti- the most popular being "Svenia went to Berlin" a version of the American "Kilroy was Here".

1945- "Arthur Godfrey Time" debuts on CBS radio. Godfrey was a local Washington D.C.deejay who gained nationwide fame for his emotional coverage of the funeral of FDR. He then went from radio to television, hosting the first regularly successful television entertainment program.

1948- David Ben-Gurion read the declaration of independence of the State of Israel to a cheering crowd in Tel Aviv.

1952 - Mr Potato Head is 1st toy advertised on television. In 2000 Rhode Island declared itself the Mr Potato Head State. the Hasbro Toy Company is headquartered in Pawtucket, a city just outside of Providence.

1988- Tom Hanks married actress Rita Wilson.

1993- In Hamburg young tennis star Monica Seles had just completed a match when lunatic fan named Gunter Parche jumped out of the crowd and stabbed her in the back with a knife. He didn’t want Monica to overtake Stephy Graff, whom he was stalking . Monica Seles recovered and resumed competition but never again regained her world championship poise. Parche spent a little time in prison but was soon released and Stephy Graff did stay the number one seed.

1992- BERN, the Geneva particle lab where the World Wide Web was developed by Tim Berner, declared that WWW. aka the Web would be open and free to all with no restrictions or royalties to be paid to them.

1993- The Walt Disney Company announced it’s purchase of the independent film producer Miramax.

1997- In the last show of the season comedian Ellen Degenere’s character admits to Laura Dern that she’s gay. Disney cancelled the Ellen Show the following season.


RSS