Monday, December 11, 2017

I've never heard of this

Today is apparently Green Monday - a totally fabricated holiday retailers denote as '... the last Monday with at least 10 days prior to Christmas.' It is similar in nature to Cyber Monday but with more desperation as on-line stores try to lure in into spending more cash.

But as more retailers embrace fast, free shipping, it's unclear how much longer people will think that they still need a lead time of at least 10 days to order presents for Christmas.

December 11, 1957 -
The movie Peyton Place, based on the novel by Grace Metalious, had its world premiere in Camden, Maine, on this date, where most of it had been filmed.

Some of the shots of the New England fall were actually shot for The Trouble with Harry.

December 11, 1961 -
Please, Mr. Postman
by the Marvelettes was released on this date

Part of this song was written by a postman who helped Georgia Dobbins (one of the Marvelettes) complete the lyrics. His name was Freddie Gorman and his mail route included Brewster public housing where members of The Supremes lived. Gorman also sang with Motown group The Originals.

December 11, 1980 -
Hawaiian shirts and outrageous mustaches came back in style when Magnum PI, starring Tom Selleck, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.

Magnum was a Vietnam War Veteran. At the time, Vietnam and its aftermath were still controversial. Magnum, T.C., and Rick have been cited as some of the first positive portrayals of Vietnam Veterans on a network TV series.

December 11, 1982 –
Toni Basil's
surprise hit Mickey reached No. 1 of the Billboard charts on this date.

This was originally recorded as "Kitty" by a group called Racey. In the original lyrics, Kitty was a girl. Toni Basil changed the lyrics from "Kitty" to "Mickey" and the gender from female to male. She decided on "Mickey" as she was fond of former Monkee Micky Dolenz, who she choreographed in the 1968 Monkees movie Head.

December 11, 1987 -
Greed is Good
20th Century Fox released Oliver Stone's drama, Wall Street, starring  Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, and Daryl Hannah on this date.

Oliver Stone
gave Charlie Sheen the choice of having either Jack Lemmon or Martin Sheen play his father. Charlie chose his dad.

Christmas Trivia

The Word of the Day

Today in History:
December 11, 1688
King James II attempting to flee London as the "Glorious Revolution" replaced him with King William (of Orange) and Queen Mary, threw the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.

He was, however, caught in Kent. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on December 23, 1688. James was received by Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a generous pension.

December 11, 1882 -
Fiorello Enrico La Guardia
, Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945, was born on this date.

With a boundless enthusiasm and energy to match that of Teddy Roosevelt, La Guardia could be the last Mayor of NYC who really loved his job.

December 11, 1919 -
The citizens of Enterprise, Alabama, erected a monument to the boll weevil. The only monument dedicated to an agricultural pest!!

The invasive insect devastated their fields but forced residents to end their dependence on cotton and to pursue mixed farming and manufacturing.

December 11, 1931 -
Rita Moreno
(Rosa Dolores Alverio,) winner of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, was born on this date.

She is currently the only Puerto Rican EGOT winner.

December 11, 1936  -    
Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson. Edward VIII had been king of Great Britain and Ireland for less than a year when he abdicated the throne to marry "the woman I love."

After his abdication, Edward was awarded the title Duke of Windsor by his brother, King George VI. Edward and Mrs. Simpson married on June 3, 1937.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II.

UNICEF provides many types of assistance and help to children and mothers. It receives money from different governments and private persons. It works in almost all countries of the world.

December 11, 1964 -
Sam Cooke
, popular singer, was shot to death by Bertha Franklin, manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California. Franklin claimed that he had threatened her, and that she killed him in self-defense.

The shooting was ultimately ruled to be a justifiable homicide, though there have been arguments that crucial details did not come out in court, or were buried afterward.

December 11, 1967 -
The Beatles' Apple Music
signs its first group - Grapefruit, on this date.

With unwise business decisions like this, I'm sure the Beatles must have gone broke very shortly after this.

More Christmas Trivia

America’s official national Christmas tree (so designated by President Calvin Coolidge in 1926) is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the General Grant Tree, is almost 90 meters (300 feet) high is the second largest tree in the world (by volume, the first is General Sherman, his neighbor in Sequoia National Park.)  The idea was inspired by a little girl who had imagined the giant as a Christmas tree and shared the thought with Sanger, California resident, Charles E. Lee. From then on, Lee began organizing yearly Christmas programs around the tree, in the enchanted grove of sequoias, until the event became an annual ceremony.

And on a personal note:
Happy Birthday Julie

(hope you had a good birthday weekend)

And so it goes.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

In Naples, it's known as 'Caffè Sospeso'

Today is Suspended Coffee Day, a holiday I only recently heard about.  Coffee shops around the world are reviving an old Neapolitan custom, which involves paying it forward with coffee.

A customer orders one cup but pays the barista for two. This second cup - the "suspended coffee" - is served for free to someone who is down on their luck.

December 10, 1948
Another Preston Sturges Champagne cocktail laced with strychnine, Unfaithfully Yours, opened in the US on this date.

The orchestral conductor, Sir Alfred de Carter, is based loosely on the real life British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Beecham was the son of pharmacist Sir Joseph Beecham, the inventor of the laxative Beecham's Pills. Accordingly Harrison's character, Sir Alfred de Carter, is said to be named after Carter's Little Liver Pills, the American equivalent.

December 10, 1955
The Mighty Mouse Playhouse began a long-standing 'Saturday Morning Cartoon’ tradition on CBS-TV, on this date.

Terrytoons Studios produced 80 theatrical Mighty Mouse cartoons between 1942 to 1961, which were shown on this cartoon TV series on Saturday mornings. Each episode contained three Mighty Mouse theatrical cartoons and a one-shot one (especially with Heckle and Jeckle).

December 10, 1967 -
Julie Andrews!

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their first starring comedy, Bedazzled, opened in the US on this date.

At the time of its release, blasphemy was considered a common-law offense in the UK, and the British Board of Film Censors were concerned that the film's premise would offend religious groups. Director Stanley Donen defended the film against such claims. To prove his point, Donen claimed that he pre-screened Bedazzled to a London rector and the Arch Deacon of Westminster Abbey, both of whom took no offense to the film. After that assurance, the case was dropped.

December 10, 1968 -
Carol Reed's musical adaptation of the Charles Dicken's classic, Oliver!, starring Ron Moody, Oliver Reed and Mark Lester, opened in the US on this date.

While filming the scene where Oliver gets a peek at Fagin's treasure, director Carol Reed was not satisfied with the reaction on Mark Lester's face. Later, while re-shooting the scene, he hid a small white rabbit in his pocket and stood behind the camera. As Ron Moody opened the box of treasures, Reed pulled the rabbit out of his pocket. Lester's reaction to the sight of the rabbit was then used in the final film.

December 10, 1974 -
Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?

Ed Wood Jr., either the world's greatest visionary director or the worst filmmaker of all time, suffered a fatal heart attack on this date. At the time of his death, the industry newspaper, Variety, failed to run his obituary.

December 10, 1974
The classic disaster movie, Towering Inferno, opened in NYC on this date.

According to actor/stuntman Ernie F. Orsatti, Faye Dunaway was often late to the set or didn't appear at all. This made some scenes impossible to film and caused other actors such as William Holden and Jennifer Jones to become quite upset. Holden reportedly shoved Dunaway against the wall one day and threatened her. For the next month, she had a perfect attendance record.

December 10, 1982
A paean to B movies, It Came from Hollywood, opened in the US on this date. (Do yourself a favor;  find some time today to watch the whole film if you haven't seen it.)

Sadly this was never released on DVD. Paramount had planned to release the film on DVD in 2002. Due to copyright issues with several of the clips featured in the film, the release was ultimately canceled.

December 10, 1984
On a very cold night in NYC, 33 years ago, Francis Ford Coppola's Cotton Club opened in NYC. I can remember waiting on line to see the film on the opening day.

When Francis Ford Coppola called up Bob Hoskins to offer him a part, the actor didn't believe it was really him. Coppola introduced himself, to which Hoskins replied, "Yeah, and this is Henry the fucking Eighth", and hung up.

It been 33 years since Do They Know It's Christmas, the charity single by the all-star group Band Aid, was released.

As of the last check, The Band Aid/ Live Aid initiatives have raised over $200 million dollars. Not bad for basically a very crappy tune.

Another stop along the lost highway

Today in History:
December 10, 1520
The heretic Martin Luther burnt the papal bull (Exsurge Domine), on this date, issued by Leo X, demanding an end to his heresies. Luther had published 95 points against the practice of granting indulgences, and the Catholic Church only had 94 points in favor of them.

Although technically he was the winner, Luther was subsequently excommunicated.

went away mad and started his own religion.

December 10, 1830
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Poet Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on this date.  Only about 10 of her poems were published in her lifetime, and those were submitted for publication without her permission. After her death in 1886, more than 1,800 of her poems, which she had bound together in bundles, were discovered and published.

December 10, 1848 -
Napoleon III
, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte), was elected president of France. By 1852, he dismantled the Republic and replaced it with the Second Empire of France, with himself as emperor.

This is what comes from being a Napoleon - give them an inch and they're declaring themselves emperor.

December 10, 1936 -
Edward VIII
, signed the letter of abdication to the English throne (which took effect on the next day,) to marry the twice divorced, horsey faced (and possibly transvestite)  - the woman he loved on this date.

Many in the government are secretly relieved, fearing they may have bet against Mrs. Simpson when she ran at the Royal Ascot.

December 10, 1958 -
Krishna Venta (born Francis Herman Pencovic) died in Chatsworth, California in a suicide bombing when two disgruntled former followers (Peter Duma Kamenoff and Ralph Muller) who, although never offering any documentary evidence to support their claims, charged that Venta had both mishandled cult funds and been intimate with their wives.

Venta's remains are only ever identified through dental records.

This is what comes from the laying on of hands with cult members' wives.

December 10, 1967 -
Soul singer Otis Redding plus four members of the Bar-Kays were killed when his airplane crashes into Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin on this date.

So, poor Otis was laid out all over the dock of the bay.

December 10, 1993 -
Adolf Hitler was baptized by proxy into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in their London temple on this date. Mormons also continued to vicariously baptism victims of the Holocaust over the strenuous objections of various Jewish groups such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center (even Simon Wiesenthal has had a baptism performed for himself after his death.)

There's nothing worse than finding out you've become a Mormon by proxy (especially if you're already dead and in heaven.)

Before you go - Puddles covered an old James Gang song, Walk Away.

I don't know what going on with all of these peppy tunes recently

And so it goes.

Miss Mabel Snodgrass wanted to ignore the holidays. Unfortunately she couldn't.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's Santacon today.

The amateur drinkers (in various shades of holiday undress) are once again back in Manhattan this year: supposedly, they will be in Midtown and Lower Manhattan, stating at 10 AM. I can take comfort that it may snow today and many of the revelers will catch cold.

I am past outrage that several websites are suggesting that if I don't want to be bothered by drunken 20 somethings in the middle of the day, I should just stay indoors. I will be in cranky old man mood this evening - be warned! 

(Changing gears)
The first Christmas card was created in England on December 9, 1843

Like most of us, Henry Cole, an Englishman, was too busy to write personal greetings for all of his Christmas greetings in 1843. Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a ready-to-be-sent card.

The hand-colored card Horsley designed was lithographed on stiff, dark cardboard and featured adults and children raising wine glasses in a toast. Some thought the card blasphemous with the family, surrounded with religious symbols, holding glasses of wine

Printed in an edition of 1,000, Horsley's card was sold in London stores. At the time, the greeting cards could be mailed for a penny each. Less than a dozen of those cards exists today. Printed cards soon became the rage in England; the controversy is thought to have helped promote Cole's idea.

December 9, 1947 -
An oft forgotten holiday classic, The Bishop's Wife, starring Cary Grant, David Nivens, and Loretta Young premiered in NYC on this date.

Originally Cary Grant played the Bishop and David Niven the Angel. When original director William A. Seiter left the film, Henry Koster replaced him and viewed what had been shot so far. He realized that the two were in the wrong roles. It took some convincing because Grant wanted the title role of the Bishop. He eventually accepted the change and his role as the Angel was one of the most widely praised of his career.

December 9, 1965 -
A pre-teen drama about the bi-polar kid and his wacky friends first experiences of the depressive nature of the holiday season premiered on this date -

The nearly 150,000 inmates in Texas prisons are barred from using Facebook, possessing cellphones and receiving snacks in the mail. They are also prohibited from reading the pop-up edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Color Purple and the 1908 Sears, Roebuck catalog.

Now you know.

December 9, 1978 -
Nicolas Roeg's
iconic thriller Don't Look Now, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, was released in New York City on this date.

Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie met for the first time on the set of this film. The first scene they had to shoot was the sex scene, as Nicolas Roeg wanted to "get it out of the way."

December 9, 1989 –
Billy Joel's
history lesson, We Didn’t Start the Fire hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts on this date.

Joel wrote the lyrics first, which he rarely does. He says that is why the song has no melody. Joel told Billboard magazine: "It's terrible musically. It's like a mosquito buzzing around your head."

December 9, 2005 -
The adaptation of C. S. Lewis's fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe premiered on this date.

The wolves that destroyed the Beavers' home were mostly real animals, with one or two CGI ones added in, although their tails had to be digitally removed and re-added. Their tails kept wagging while filming the scene, making them seem less vicious, showing instead, being happy with frolicking around.

December 9, 2005 -
Rob Marshall's
adaptation of critically acclaimed novel (of the same name) Memoirs of a Geisha, starring Zhang Ziyi, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Youki Kudoh, and Suzuka Ohgo premiered in the US on this date.

The three leading non-Japanese actresses, including Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, and Michelle Yeoh, were put through a six-week crash course on geisha culture through a "geisha boot camp" before production commenced, during which they were trained in traditional geisha practices of musicianship, dance, and tea ceremony. 

(Today's Special - The holidays can really bring you down)

Today in History:
December 9, 1783
The site of London's executions (via the gallows) was moved from Tyburn to Newgate. The public spectacle of prisoners' executions drew large crowds.

Out with the old, in with the new.

December 9, 1902 -
A great deal of my mail comes from fans of the 'Oz' picture - fans of all ages. The scholarly, the curious, the disbelievers write and ask how? why? when? what for? did you fly? melt? scream? cackle? appear? disappear? produce? sky-write? deal with monkeys? etc., etc., etc.

Margaret Hamilton, celebrated character actress best known for her portrayal of The Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, was born on this date.

December 9, 1957 -
Donny Osmon
d was born on this date!

Still a little bit Rock and Roll.

December 9, 1968 -
The John Birch Society, is a political education and action organization founded by Robert W. Welch on this date.

The society supports associated with traditionally conservative causes such as anti-communism, support for individual rights and the ownership of private property.

If you think I'm going to make fun of them, given some of the things that the president has said, you've got another thing coming.

December 9, 1994 -
Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was dismissed after suggesting discussion of masturbation in school classes on sexuality.

This gives rise to the euphemistic term "firing the surgeon general."

Useless Christmas Trivia

The lighting of candles and decorating with candles has always been popular, but also one of biggest sources of danger during the Christmas holidays.

In 1895 a New England Telephone employee, Ralph Morris, while looking at the newly installed string of lights made for the telephone switchboard decided to take some home to decorate his tree with. And/or it may be attributed to Thomas Edison's partner, Edward Johnson for inventing the first string of lights around the same time Ralph, for safety reasons.

In 1923, after his daily scalp massage with Vaseline, President Calvin Coolidge started the annual tradition of the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the White House lawn.

And so it goes

Before you go - another funny video from the people at Bon Appetit about popular pastries from the past 100 years -

I think I could get my kids to try all of these.