Monday, August 21, 2017

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

At some point today, the sun will be swallowed by a large evil dragon ... no, no, we will be experiencing a total solar eclipse over a wide swath of the US.

This will be the last total solar eclipse in the United States until April 4, 2024.

August 21, 1952 -
The classic John Ford film, The Quiet Man was released on this date.

During the filming of a take of the scene where John Wayne first kisses Maureen O'Hara, she slaps his face. When he blocked the blow, she broke a bone in her hand. Since the movie was being filmed in sequential order, she couldn't wear a cast to fix the broken bone.

August 21, 1965 -
The Lovin' Spoonful's
released their first no. 1 hit, Do You Believe In Magic on this date.

The Lovin' Spoonful turned down an offer to sign with Phil Spector because they didn't want to "be swallowed up under his name." The group signed to a new record label called Kama Sutra. This was the first song they recorded for the label, and it was the first of a string of hits for the group, which included Daydream, Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind? and Summer In The City.

August 21, 1979 -
Gary Numan
released his hit Cars from his album The Pleasure Principle, on this date.

This song is about how people use technology and material goods to isolate themselves from human contact. Numan has stated that he has Asperger Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism, but until he was diagnosed, he had a lot of trouble relating to other people.

August 21, 1981 -
John Landis'
classic comedy horror film, An American Werewolf in London, starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne, premiered in the US on this date.

John Landis had to avoid filming any full-frontal nudity of David Naughton during the transformation scene and dream sequences after Naughton informed Landis that he was not circumcised, even though his role, David Kessler, was written as being Jewish.

August 21, 1987 -
The low-budget film, directed by  Emile Ardolino, Dirty Dancing, starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes, and Jerry Orbach, premiered in the US on this date.

Patrick Swayze had to convince Jennifer Grey to be in this film, because she had disliked him so much while filming Red Dawn a few years earlier.

August 21, 1991 -
The Coen Brothers take on 30s Hollywood, Barton Fink, starring John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, and Jon Polito went into general release on this date.

The film is the first film to win all three major awards at the Cannes Film Festival (Palme D'or, Best Director, and Best Actor). Also, it was unanimously chosen for the Palme D'or.

Word of the Day

Today in History:
August 21, 1614
Erzsebet Bathory, ruler of Transylvania, died at 54, on this date. She had sought immortality by killing young virgins and bathing in their blood (or so they say.) It apparently didn't work.

I wonder if Elizabeth Arden in Union Square is still offering this service and where are they finding enough virgins.

August 21, 1888 -
William Seward Burroughs of St. Louis, Missouri (grandfather of Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs) was granted four patents for the first successful “Calculating-Machine,” sometimes referred to as an “adding and listing machine.” (US No. 388,116-388,119)

One year after making his first patent application on January 10, 1885, he incorporated his business as the American Arithmometer Corporation, with an investment of $100,000.

August 21, 1906 (
or 1905?) -
Happy Birthday Friz

Isadore 'Friz' Freleng, one of the original tennants of Warner Bros. Termite Terrace, was born on this date.

August 21, 1911 -
Pablo Picasso
was having a very bad day.

His so called friend, French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who had once called for the Louvre to be "burnt down," came under suspicion when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Lourve on this day; he was arrested and put in jail. Apollinaire, as all bad French dadaist poets would do, ratted out his friend Pablo Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning, but both were later exonerated.

Very nice guy.

At the time, the painting was believed to be lost forever, and it would be two years before the real thief was discovered. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole it by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. Peruggia was an Italian patriot who believed da Vinci's painting should be returned to Italy for display in an Italian museum.

Peruggia may have also been motivated by a friend who sold copies of the painting, which would skyrocket in value after the theft of the original. After having kept the painting in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was finally caught when he attempted to sell it to the directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; it was exhibited all over Italy and returned to the Louvre in 1913. Peruggia was hailed for his patriotism in Italy and only served a few months in jail for the crime.

August 21, 1912 -
Arthur R. Eldred
was the first person to have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest in the Boy Scouts of America.

A few weeks after becoming the first Eagle Scout, Eldred helped to save another Scout from drowning and was awarded the Bronze Honor Medal for his actions.

August 21, 1959 -
Hawaii became the 50th state to enter the Union when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the order, granting the stolen island nation, Hawaii statehood on this date.

Several bills for Hawaii had been presented to the US Congress, in 1919, 1935, 1947 and 1950, but none had passed until this day in 1959. (Nixon gleefully looking on.  He was ensuring that little Barry Obama would be born on U.S. soil.  Nixon was at the heart a many a conspiracy.)

August 21, 1983 -
Longtime political opponent of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, former Philippine senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. was not having a very good day. As Benigno stepped off a airplane at the Manila airport (ending his three years of self-imposed exile in the US,) he was assassinated on this date.

He was returning home to run in the Philippine's next election. These kind of things tend to put people off of travel.

August 21, 1986 -
1,700 people were killed in Cameroon when Lake Nyos emitted a huge cloud of fast-moving fog, quickly enveloping the villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha and Subum on this date.

The lethal mist, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide and water vapor, displaces the oxygen in the low-lying zones, killing thousands of cattle and even more birds and wild animals. One eyewitness later describes the landscape as being "littered with human remains and animal carcasses."

That would have ruined a vacation.

And so it goes.


Before you go - You'll probably hear this -

or this -

or this -

and definitely this -

by the end of the day today.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Radio is sweeping across the nation

August 20, 1920 -
The first commercial radio station begins operating in Detroit, Michigan with call sign 8MK (Now WWJ (Newsradio 950) ). The radio station was started by The Detroit News newspaper and is now owned and run by CBS.

To celebrate the event, today is National Radio Day. UNESCO formally announced the formation of International Radio Day in February of 2012 (celebrated February 13th), after a suggestion put forward by Spain to celebrate this important means of communication. In some parts of the world, radio still remains an important lifeline to the outside world.

August 20, 1941 -
William Wyler's
pitch-perfect adaptation of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, starring Bette Davis, premiered on this date.

Bette Davis was a contract player for Warner Brothers at the time, earning $3000 a week. When she heard how much Warners was receiving for her services she demanded a share of the payment.

August 20, 1942 -
An almost forgotten comedy from Columbia Pictures, Talk of The Town, directed by George Stevens starring Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Ronald Colman, premiered on this date.

This was the first time since the silent era that Ronald Colman was billed below another male lead.

Don't forget to check out our other site: Dr. Caligari's Cupboard

Today in History:
August 20, 1865
In the great tradition of the American presidency, President Andrew Johnson rouses himself from an alcoholic stupor,

and formally declared the Civil War over (months after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.)

August 20, 1885  -
Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, The Mikado opened at the Fifth Street Theatre in New York on this date.

The production originally opened on March 14, 1885, in London, where it ran at the Savoy Theatre for 672 performances.

August 20, 1940 -
Soviet Professional Leon Trotsky liked his job, but the strain was wearing on him — dictatorial burnout. In the summer of 1940 he finally used some of the vacation time he'd accumulated to head down to Mexico and think through his options.

On this date, in Mexico City, Trotsky met with one of Stalin's human resources representatives, who suggested he take an early retirement.

The suggestion was accompanied by several persuasive blows to the head with an axe, which seriously impeded Trotsky's growth potential. Sadly, he died the next day before he could sue for damages.

August 20, 1948 -
... There's nothing worse than a bunch of jaded old farts, and that's a fact....

Robert Anthony Plant CBE, button phobia rock singer and songwriter, was born on this date.

August 20, 1977 -
NASA bizarrely decided to go into the record business. Scientists, not quite understanding the record industry, press only one record but make it out of gold, believing that the unaffordable price will boost profit. The record is nearly unlistenable except for the recording of the Chuck Berry song, "Johnny B Good". NASA decided to hide this costly blunder by including the recording in the payload of the space probe Voyager 2, launched on this date, on a mission to Jupiter and beyond. (This will confused the aliens when they realize that NASA launched Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977.)

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, and thunder, and animal sounds, including the songs of birds and whales. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earthlings in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General (and ex-Nazi) Kurt Waldheim. Remember these facts when the aliens come to invade the planet. It passed Jupiter in the summer of 1979, and is still traveling, probably right out of our solar system .

In a memorable Saturday Night Live segment, it was announced by Steve Martin that the first message from extraterrestrials was being received. Once decoded, the message stated, "Send moreChuck Berry."

August 20, 1986 -
US Postal worker Patrick Sherrill shot and killed 14 coworkers, and then himself, on this date.

The shooting, which happened in Edmond, Oklahoma, is generally accepted as the event that spawned the "going postal" phrase.

August 20, 1989 -
The two Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik, shot their parents to death on this date and then went to the movies to establish an alibi. They called 911 when they returned home from the movies to report the murders.

Though they weren't initially suspected, the two brothers ultimately were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

On August 20, 1991, the Estonian parliament declared independence from the Soviet Union.

The next day, Latvia declared its independence from the Soviet Union and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared he was back in full control after a 60-hour coup by old-school Communists finally crumbled.

Full control of exactly what?

Today's brief quiz:
What did Vincenzo Peruggia steal on August 21, 1911?

a. The Shroud of Turin
b. Home plate
c. The Mona Lisa
d. The Sistine Chapel
e. The Hope Diamond

Bonus: what was his day job?
(Answer tomorrow)

And so it goes.

Before you go - Bunkies as if you could forget, there's a Total Solar Eclipse all the way from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide.

Please remember mama always told you not to look into the eyes of the sun. 

I don't care if that's were the fun is - don't do it; you'll burn your eyes out!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Another conspiracy perpetrated by Big Dairy

Today is National Soft Ice Cream Day. Soft Serve Ice Cream has been around since the 1930s. There are conflicting reports of the origins of the dessert. In 1934, Tom Carvel, the founder of eponymous ice cream brand and franchise, had to sell melting ice cream on a parking lot because his ice cream truck had a flat tire. He noticed that people were delighted with soft frozen dessert and concluded that it was a potentially good business idea.

Dairy Queen also claims to have invented soft ice cream as an experiment. Owners J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best.

Just in case this comes up in conversation - an average dairy cow can produce enough milk in her lifetime to make a little over 9,000 gallons of ice cream.

So now you know.

August 19, 1932
The Marx Brothers' fourth movie, Horse Feathers, went into general release on this date.

According to Groucho Marx, when Thelma Todd fell out of the boat, he kept rowing as she cried for help, not knowing she really couldn't swim. Crew members got her out of the water.

August 19, 1964 -
The Beatles first US tour began in San Francisco, California with their concert at the Cow Palace.

They played ten songs to a crowd of over 17,000. The Beatles returned there for another concert in 1965.

August 19, 1972 -
NBC-TV presented The Midnight Special for the first time on this date.

John Denver hosted the first episode of the show with guests including: Mama Cass, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Harry Chapin, Linda Ronstadt and Argent. Helen Reddy was also a musical guest on the show, but did not host this first episode.

August 19, 1981 -
Sidney Lumet's crime drama, Prince of the City, starring Treat Williams and Jerry Orbach premiered on this date in NYC.

To prepare for the role, Treat Williams spent a month with New York City police, participated in a drug bust and lived with Robert Leuci, the person on whom his character is based.

August 19, 1988 -
Orion Pictures released Jonathan Demme's ganster comedy, Married to the Mob, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine, Dean Stockwell, and Alec Baldwin, on this date in the US.

So many scenes didn't make it into the movie that Jonathan Demme decided to place them at the end during the credits, to retell the story.

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

Today in History:
August 19, 1601
The end of the 16th century was dominated by the personality of Michael the Brave. He became Voivode of Wallachia in 1593, joined the Christian League - an anti-Ottoman coalition initiated by the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire and he succeeded, following heavy battles (Calugareni, Giurgiu) to actually regain the independence of his country.

In 1599-1600 he united for the first time in history all the territories inhabited by Romanians, proclaiming himself "prince of Wallachia, Transylvania and the whole of Moldavia." The domestic situation was very complex, the neighboring great-powers - the Ottoman Empire, Poland, the Hapsburg Empire - were hostile and joined forces to overthrow him; so this union was short-lived as Michael the Brave was assassinated in 1601 on this date.

This bit of historical fluff was totally unnecessary but the next time you want to shut up some snooty blowhard, ask them to name their favorite Voivode of the sixteenth century.

August 19, 1934 -
The All-American Soap Box Derby, the first official soap box derby, took place for the first time in Dayton, Ohio.

The race continues annually with the World Championship race held every July.

August 19, 1934 -
Adolf Hitler won absolute power when 89.9% of the German electorate consolidates the positions of President and Chancellor into a single office, occupied by him (amazing, given the fact that Hitler was not officially a German citizen.)

Years after the war, many Germans swear that they voted for another candidate but the 'whole hanging voter' thing got in the way.

August 19, 1936 -
Federico Garcia Lorca retired from his position as Spain's most celebrated poet (and playwright) in order to become a gravedigger.

This proved to have been a poor career move: his Fascist supervisors were so displeased with his work that they shot him to death after he had dug only one grave on this date.

August 19, 1946
Bubba is 71 today! (No jokes.)

William Jefferson Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III) 42nd President of the United States of America was born on this date.

August 19, 1960 -
The Soviet Union convicted U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage on this date, sentencing him to three years in prison and seven years of hard labor.

All because he didn't jab himself with the poison needle; another example of our faulty military training.

August 19, 1960 -
The Soviet Union launched Sputnik V into orbit on this date. On board are two dogs (Belka and Strelka,) along with two unnamed rats and 40 mice. The menagerie was recovered safely the next day from the landing capsule.

The two rats were later appointed wardens of gulags in Siberia. Belka entered politics and nearly became Soviet Premier in the late 60s, unfortunately he developed mange and had to retire from public life. Strelka enjoyed a long career on Russian TV, appearing in such classics as, I Love Lenin and 14's Company. Scandal ruined his later career when doctored photos appeared of Strelka humping the leg of Gore Vidal.

August 19, 1977 -
The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

One of the world's leading commentator on the human condition, Julius Marx gave up the ghost on this date.

And so it goes.

Before you go - Puddles released a cover of REM's Losing My Religion -

Puddles wasn't appreciated on AGT - that's all I'm saying.