Saturday, June 24, 2017

Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun

It's Midsummer Day throughout most of Europe.

It should not be confused with the Summer Solstice except they're kind of celebrating the same thing,

(it's also the feast day of St. John the Baptist.)



Hey, it's big in Europe.


June 24, 1967 -
Procol Harum
released their classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on this date.



It was the most played song on jukeboxes in the last 75 years in public places in the UK, as of 2009.

Again, it's a European thing


June 24, 1970 -
Mike Nichols
' adaptation of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 was released on this date .



The film has one of the longest, most complex uninterrupted scenes ever made. In the scene, where two actors talking against a background, 16 of the 17 planes, four groups of four aircraft, took off at the same time. As the scene progresses, the actors entered a building and the same planes were seen through the window, climbing into formation. The problem was, for every take, the production manager has to call the planes back and made to take off again for every take of the particular scene. This was done four times.


June 24, 1970 -
20th Century Fox for some unknown reason released Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West (!?!), on this date.  It's as bad as you think it might be but you must watch it.



Mae West had stipulated in her contract that only she would be allowed to dress in black and white in the film. Co-star Raquel Welch showed up to shoot their first scene together in a black dress with an enormous white ruffle, and West threw a fit. When the film's producers sided with West, Welch had the ruffle on the dress dyed a very, very pale blue . . . which photographed as white.


June 24, 2005
National Geographic Films produced the Academy Award winning documentary, March of the Penguins, which was released on this date.



It was noted that, by the time of the 2006 Academy Awards, this Best Documentary winner had out-grossed all 5 Best Picture nominees ($77 million vs. $75 million for Brokeback Mountain).


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


Today In History:
June 24, 1374
-
Please titrate your ergot carefully, a little sexual frenzy is good and all, but ...

In a sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania (aka St. John's Dance), people in the streets of Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia experience terrible hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.



Many of the sufferers are afflicted with frothing at the mouth, diabolical screaming, and sexual frenzy. The phenomenon lasts well into the month of July. Nowadays, ergot madness is suspected as being the ultimate cause of the disorder.

(Please refrain from mentioning raves.)


June 24, 1812 -
Napoleon, ever the French cuisine booster, wants to spread his enjoyment of meals with heavy cream sauces and decides to invade Russia (ultimately with mixed results.)



He has to wait 70 years before Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky decides to write an Overture about the entire incident.


June 24, 1947 -
Businessman pilot Kenneth Arnold encounters a formation of nine flying saucers near Mt. Ranier, Washington, exhibiting unusual movements and velocities of 1,700 mph.



No explanation is found for this first report of flying saucers in the recent era, but it does earn Mr. Arnold legions of skeptics and an eventual IRS tax audit.


June 24, 1948 -
Communist forces with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to organize the massive Berlin airlift. East Germany blockaded the city of West Berlin.



During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. General Lucius Clay, the local American commander, ordered the air supply effort.


June 24, 1957 -
The U.S. Supreme Court rules, Roth v. United States, that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, though a dissenting opinion included with the ruling notes the issue of prior restraint renders this a terrible decision.



By 1973, another case, Miller v. California, a five-person majority agreed for the first time since Roth as to a test for determining constitutionally unprotected obscenity, superseding the Roth test. By the time Miller was considered in 1973, Justice Brennan had abandoned the Roth test and argued that all obscenity was constitutionally protected, unless distributed to minors or unwilling third-parties.

(Aren't you happy when important legal issues can be boiled down to puppet show presentations.)


June 24, 1967 -
Pope Paul VI published his encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (priestly celibacy) on this date.

I would bet this is when things really came to a head with that whole 'inappropriate' touching situation in the church.


June 24, 1975  -
113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on this date.



The crash was later attributed to a microburst, not experienced at the control tower because of a sea breeze front.



And so it goes.


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Heed the advice of a feckless 6 year old.

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Today is Let It Go Day - the day when you should put down all of the baggage that you have been carrying around from the past. Perhaps you can donate your old cares and woes and donate them to your favorite charity.


June 23, 1965 -
One of Frank Sinatra's best performances on film, Von Ryan's Express, premiered on this date.



The leather jacket that Frank Sinatra wore in Von Ryan's Express, was later worn by Bob Crane in Hogan's Heroes. It was later worn by Greg Kinnear in Auto Focus.


June 23, 1965 -
One of the classic Motown singles, Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, was released on this date.



When he first recorded this song with The Miracles, Robinson left out the last chorus, fading it out on the "I need you, I need you" line. He was convinced to end on the chorus when he played the song at one of the famous Monday morning meetings at Motown, where songs were scrutinized by their team.


June 23 1979 -
The rock group, the Knack releases My Sharona on this date.



In an interview with the Washington Post, Doug Fieger said: "I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy."


June 23, 1989
-
Tim Burton's dark and brooding retelling of Batman, was released on this date.



Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit. He said that his claustrophobia helped get him in the proper mood to play Batman. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.


June 23, 1994 -
Life may or may not be a box of chocolate but Forrest Gump premiered in Los Angeles, on this date.



Tom Hanks signed onto the film after an hour and a half of reading the script but agreed to take the role only on the condition that the film was historically accurate. He initially wanted to ease Forrest's pronounced Southern accent, but was eventually persuaded by director Robert Zemeckis to portray the heavy accent stressed in the novel and patterned his accent after Michael Conner Humphreys (young Forrest) who actually talked that way.


June 23, 2000 -
Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Studios released the stop-motion film, Chicken Run, directed by Peter Lord, and Nick Park (of Wallace and Grommit fame) and featuring the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Miranda Richardson, on this date.



There was a major push to get the film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The failure to get the nomination, and the popularity of the film among Academy members led to the inclusion of Best Animated Feature for the next Academy Awards, which was won by the fellow DreamWorks film Shrek


Happy Friday


Today in History:
June 23, 1611
-
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Hudson, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again.

So much for loyalty.


June 23, 1868 -
Christopher Latham Sholes received a patent for an invention he called a "Type-Writer" on this date.

His typewriter included the QWERTY keyboard format still used today. Others had invented typewriter machines, but Sholes invented the only one that became a commercial success.


June 23, 1894 -
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, briefly Edward VIII, King of England and later to be known as the Duke of Windsor (making him both brother and uncle to successive monarchs), who abdicated his throne to marry American divorcee (and possible transvestite) Wallis Simpson, was born on this date.



Sometimes, it's very complicated to be the king.


June 23, 1931
-
Pilot Wiley Post (at the time in full possession of both his eyes) and navigator Harold Gatty took off from Roosevelt Field in New York, in the Winnie Mae, on this date, attempting to be the first to fly around the world in a single-engine plane.



The trip (which was 15,474 miles,) completed when the pair landed back at Roosevelt Field on July 1st, took a total of eight days, 15 hours and 51 minutes. Wiley later became the first pilot to fly around the world solo, beating the record he and Gatty originally set.


June 23, 1950 -
Northwest Airlines Flight 2501, a DC-4 propliner operating its daily transcontinental service between New York City and Seattle, crashed into Lake Michigan killing 58 people.



The wreckage has never been discovered and the accident was, at the time, the worst commercial airliner accident in American history.


June 23, 1953 –
Frank J. Zamboni
was issued a patent (#2,642,679) for his ice resurfacer on this date. Mr Zamboni invented his Ice Resurfacing Machine in 1949.

The Olympic medal-winner Sonja Henie was one of his first customers.


June 23, 1972  -
Someone might want to introduce the president to the joys of a pitcher of very dry martinis and have him listen to this clip:

President Richard Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman discussed a plan to use the CIA to obstruct the FBI's Watergate investigation. Revelation of the tape recording of this conversation sparked Nixon's resignation in 1974.



In the “smoking gun" tape Pres. Nixon told H.R. Haldeman, to tell top CIA officials that “the president believes this (in reference to Watergate) is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." Nixon counseled Haldeman on how to use deception to thwart an FBI investigation on how Watergate was financed.

But then again, the president insisted that there are no tapes.


And on a personal note:

Happy Birthday David


and so it goes.




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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cleveland, city of light, city of magic

It's National Chocolate Eclair Day. While the eclair is a delicious dessert, their charms escape me.

Maybe it's the fake vanilla pudding most bakeries use rather than Bavarian cream.





I'd rather remember that today is the anniversary of Cleveland, Ohio’s Cuyahoga River catching fire in 1969.


June 22, 1946 -
Another of the classic 40s Daffy Duck cartoons, Hollywood Daffy, was released on this date.



The director of the cartoon was an uncredited effort by Friz Freleng.


June 22, 1955 -
Disney's first film about dog breeding, The Lady and the Tramp, was released on this date.



Peggy Lee later sued Disney for breach of contract claiming that she still retained rights to the transcripts. She was awarded $2.3 million dollars, but not without a lengthy legal battle with the studio which was finally settled in 1991.


June 22, 1961
-
A great old-fashion thriller, The Guns of Navarone, was released on this date.



There was some surprise that Stanley Baker, who along with Dirk Bogarde in 1960 was considered the most popular British movie star, accepted the relatively small supporting role of Private "Butcher" Brown. Baker revealed that he wanted to be in the movie because he was impressed at how anti-war the screenplay by the blacklisted writer Carl Foreman was.


June 22, 1966 -
Mike Nichol's
first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opened on this date.



Every credited member of the cast received an Academy Award nomination.


June 22, 1966 -
The first screenplay of Woody Allen's produced, What's New Pussycat?, starring Peter O'Toole, Peter Sellers (and co-starring Woody Allen) premiered in the US on this date.



During shooting in Paris, Paula Prentiss climbed up to the catwalk and started walking the beams. She loudly called down to everyone on the set, "I'm going to jump." She did, but a French technician grabbed her, and saved her life. She was transferred to a clinic in New York for recuperation.


June 22, 1968 -
This Guy's in Love with You by Herb Alpert topped the charts on this date.



Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.


June 22, 1984 -
Another underdog story directed by John G. Avildsen, The Karate Kid, starring Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, and Elisabeth Shue, was released by Columbia Pictures on this date.



The yellow classic automobile that Daniel polishes in the famous "wax-on/wax-off" training scene, then later offered by Mr. Miyagi as Daniel's birthday gift, was actually given to Ralph Macchio by the producer, and he still owns it. The car is a 1948 Ford Super De Luxe.


June 22, 1984
-
The atmospheric black-comedy, The Pope of Greenwich Village, starring  Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Daryl Hannah, and Geraldine Page, premiered on this date.



Michael Cimino was asked to direct this film but didn't think it was a good film for him. As a favor to the producers, who were on a deadline, he went to New York and did all the pre-production. When they were set to begin shooting, the producers again tried to get Cimino to direct but he told them he thought, considering the budget, they needed someone who could work faster than he was used to working and so they hired Stuart Rosenberg.


Just another day


Today in History:
June 22, 1633
-
The Holy Office in Rome strong-armed Galileo Galilei into recanting his scientific view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe.



This was the second time he was forced to recant Earth orbits Sun by the Pope. Almost immediately, on October 31, 1992, the Vatican admitted it was wrong.


June 22, 1906 -
Billy Wilder was born on this date. Not surprisingly, Mr. Wilder would go on to produce Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, all of whom frolicked giddily on the beach in bikinis. Mr. Wilder, you see, was comfortable in his season.



Not like some people. Some people had to force it. Some people had to prove something. Some people were like Brian Wilson, who was born the day before summer (June 20) in 1942, and subsequently became a "Beach Boy" and released an album called Endless Summer.


June 22, 1918 -
The worst circus train wreck in history occurred just outside Hammond, Indiana on this date. A seriously over-tired engineer, Alonzo Sargent, fell asleep at the throttle of a trainload of empty Pullman cars and slammed into the rear of the 26-car Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train.



85 of the 400 performers and workers on board were killed. There were no reports on whether or not the crowd at the previous days performance was greater than the gawkers at the scene of the wreck.


June 22, 1933 -
German chancellor Adolf Hitler banned every political party on this date, except his own Evil Nazi Bastards from winning elections.



The Evil Nazi Bastards swept the next elections, demonstrating the public's strong support for this measure.


June 22, 1940 -
Eight
days after German forces overran Paris, France was forced to sign an armistice on this date; hilarity ensues.



Adolf Hitler forces the instrument of surrender to be signed in the very railcar in which the French inflicted the humiliating World War I Treaty of Versailles upon the Germans. (In a bizarre co-incidence, it was also the anniversary of Napoleon's second abdication in 1815.)


June 22, 1941 -
The German Army invaded Russia on this date, quickly destroying five Russian armies and one fourth of the Red air force. At completion of the war in 1945, nearly 27 million Soviets were dead.



Thus ended the German- Soviet "Peace and Friendship" Treaty.

(Let's not discuss Hitler for the rest of the week.)


June 22, 1949 -
According to our president, one of the most over-rated actresses of her generation, Mary Louise Streep, was born on this date.



She originally applied to Law School but slept in on the morning of her interview and took it as a sign she was destined for other things.

Imagine if she applied herself, how far her career would go.


June 22, 1969 -
The patron saint of bachelors of a certain age, Judy Garland died of a barbiturate overdose in her London apartment, either by accident or suicide.



Folks, she did not do a header into the toilet and drown.


June 22, 1993
-
All lives have triumphs and tragedies, laughter and tears, and mine has been no different. What really matters is whether, after all of that, you remain strong and a comfort to your loved ones. I have tried to meet that test....



The patron saint of long suffering political wives and good Republican cloth coats, Thelma Catherine "Pat" Ryan Nixon died on this date.



And so it goes.



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