Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Try falling asleep with a mosquito in the room.

Malaria Awareness Day was designated on this date by President George W. Bush in 2007, to remind people that Malaria kills 3,000 children a day. He asked the world to join the fight to wipe out malaria on the African continent.



So I encourage all Americans to begin heavily drinking Gin and Tonics to honor the day



(While I am a Bombay Sapphire man, I am not affiliated in anyway with that fine brand - not that I wouldn't consider any offers, I'd suggest using Tanqueray.  I believe it goes better with the Tonic.)


Today is the holiday of Robigalia, honoring the god Robigus.  The purpose of the holiday was to prevent mildew from ruining crops.  Dog and sheep sacrifices were encouraged to honor Robigus. (I didn't suggest this, the ancient Romans did)

For some reason, it's also the holiday of celebrating male sex workers.  I'm not sure how one was supposed to celebrate that portion of the holiday slaughtering livestock.

But maybe it's just me.


April 25, 1917
Ella Jane Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, was born on this date.





Ella Fitzgerald’s life was the quintessential American success story. Through 58 years of performing, 13 Grammys and more than forty million records sold, she elevated swing, bebop, and ballads to their highest potential.


April 25, 1959 -
The Fleetwoods hit No. 1 with their recording of Come Softly to Me on this date.



The original title of this song Come Softly, was changed because Dolphin (later Dolton) Records owner Bob Reisdorff feared that AM radio DJs would think it to be too suggestive. He was being extra-cautious, Dolphin Records was formed by the Seattle DJ for the sole purpose of distributing Fleetwoods records.

Remember kids, don't dance so close. Leave room for the Holy Spirit.


April 25, 1992 -
The final episodes of Who's the Boss, aired on this date on ABC-TV.


(Sorry, this is a very bad copy of the show.)

Two days before the start of the series, Tony Danza was sentenced to 250 hours of community service after a fight with a bouncer at a New York hotel. His lawyer got him off by mentioning he had a series about to premiere.


April 25, 1997
The surprise comedy hit, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, starring Lisa Kudrow, Mira Sorvino, Janeane Garofalo, Camryn Manheim and Alan Cumming, premiered in the US on this date.



Lisa Kudrow received a degree in Biology from Vassar College, and Mira Sorvino a degree in Asian Studies from Harvard University, so during production of Romy and Michele, they nicknamed each other "Smart" and "Smarter".


An exciting new product from the designers at ACME


Today in History:
April 25, 1507 -
At a small college in Eastern France, German geographer Martin Waldseemüller published a map with the region of the world commonly referred to as “the New World” labeled as “America” for the first time ever in a book entitled Cosmographiae Introductio on this date.

In the book, Waldseemüller credited Amerigo Vespucci with discovering the continent.  The amount of money that make have changed hand is uncertain but Columbus was said to be quite pissed.


April 25, 1792 -
French highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier was beheaded by the guillotine, after extensive testing during its development with corpses and sheep, making him its first victim on this date. The speed that the guillotine worked as quick as lightening and in the twinkling of an eye - it was over.

The outcome was not well received by the crowd who called for the return of the gallows.


April 25, 1856 -
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, mathematician and an Oxford professor, met a three year old girl named Alice Liddell on this date.



Charles had a penchant for making up stories to entertain the little girls he liked to photograph (many of them happened to be in the nude, at the time.) Alice had a penchant for consuming unknown (and apparently psychoactive) food, pills and liquids that she found while exploring a very large rabbit hole.

And 40 years later Oscar Wilde went to prison for the shoddy laundry services provided by the hotels he and several local young men frequented.  I'm not sure that there s a connection, I'm just pointing it out.


April 25, 1926 -
The premiere of Giacomo Puccini's opera, Turandot was at La Scala, Milan, on this date, one year and five months after Puccini's death. It was conducted by Arturo Toscanini.



Turandot was unfinished at the time of Puccini's death and was later completed by Franco Alfano.


April 25, 1939 -
DC Comics debuted what will become its second major superhero, Batman, in issue 27 of Detective Comics (the May issue) on this date.



The first book to feature Batman sold for 10 cents when it was published and one of the rare comics in pristine condition sold for $1,380,000 when it came up for auction .


April 25, 1947 -
Harry S. Truman officially opened the two-lane White House bowling alley on this day.

Though Truman himself wasn't much of a bowler, it became embarrassing for the staff to have to search local DC bowling alleys trying to find where the President was knocking back boiler makers every other night. The White House staff members formed a bowling team and even competed in national events.


April 25, 1953
Francis Crick and James D. Watson published Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid describing the double helix structure of DNA, in the scientific journal Nature, on this date.

In it, Crick and Watson reveal the double helix structure of DNA and explains how DNA transmits hereditary information between cells and generations, (the boys conveniently forgot to mention the work they 'cribbed' from Rosalind Franklin.) Their work will earn them a Nobel Prize in 1962.


April 25, 1963 -
The bronze statue of The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) is Denmark's most visited tourist attraction. The statue was unveiled on August 23, 1913 at it's current location in Copenhagen Harbor. It gives hope to the Danes when they are not pining for the Fjords.

So imagine the horror, when Denmark woke up on this date to find that the unimaginable had happened, someone had sawed off the head of  The Little Mermaid, the night before. The head was never recovered and a new head was made from the original cast.


April 25, 1972 -
... And if you covered him with garbage, George Sanders would still have style....



George Sanders, actor and husband of not one but two Gabor sisters, killed himself, leaving this great suicide note: "Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool - good luck," on this date.

Short and to the point.


April 25, 1980 -
In Iran, a commando mission to rescue hostages was aborted after mechanical problems disabled three of the eight helicopters involved. During the evacuation, a helicopter and a transport plan collided and exploded. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed on this date.



The mission was aimed at freeing American hostages that had been taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979.


And on a personal note - still as lovely as ever, Andrea once again is celebrating her 39th birthday.



And so it goes


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pigs treat us as equals

Somehow it's Pig in a Blanket Day encouraging the consumption of ‘pigs in blankets’ – small pork sausages wrapped in bacon or pastry, and cooked until crispy (for those of you porcine adverse, choose your own ground meat filling.)



Please celebrate sensibly.


April 24, 1939 -
The Warner Bros. bio-pix on the life of Benito Juarez, Juarez, starring Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains, and John Garfield, premiered in the US on this date.



Because the film shows many of Maximilian's generals to be Mexican, many viewers attribute it to typical Hollywood historical distortions. It is, however, indeed accurate. It's a little-known fact that, although Maximilian was eventually overthrown and executed by Mexican revolutionaries, there were actually more Mexicans fighting on Maximilian's side than against him. This was due in large part to the Catholic Church's strong support of the French occupation of Mexico and its "encouraging" Mexican Catholics to fight against the revolutionary forces by joining Maximilian's army, which they did in large numbers.


April 24, 1941 -
George Stevens'
tearjerker, Penny Serenade, starring Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Beulah Bondi, and Edgar Buchanan, premiered in the US on this date.



This is the third time that Cary Grant and Irene Dunne appeared in a film together, following The Awful Truth and My Favorite Wife. In all three films, they played spouses.


April 24, 1974 -
David Bowie
released his iconic album, Diamond Dogs, on this date.



This song introduces us to Bowie's post-Ziggy Stardust persona, Halloween Jack: "The Halloween Jack is a real cool cat and he lives on top of Manhattan Chase." It has also been suggested this song was influenced by Dhalgren, a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany.


Today moment of Zen


Today in History:
April 24, 1184 BC
(this is an approximated date.)
... burnt the topless towers of Ilium...



It is traditionally held that city of Troy fell on this date after a ten year siege by the armies of Greece.


April 24, 1800 -
The Library of Congress, the oldest cultural institution in the nation's capital, was established by an act of Congress on this date.



Initially it was housed in the new Capitol in Washington, D.C., but British troops burned the Capitol building and stole the library materials. Retired president Thomas Jefferson then offered his personal library to the Congress.


April 24, 1913
-
The Cathedral of Commerce built one nickel at a time, the Woolworth building opened on this date.



The Five and Dimes are long gone but the skyscraper remains.


April 24, 1915 -
The Ottoman Turkish Empire began the brutal mass deportation of Armenians on this date. Turkey said Armenians had sided with Russia and issued deportation orders for the mass deportation of Armenians. Armenian organizations in Istanbul were closed and 235 members were arrested for treason. Turkish police arrested some 800 of the most prominent Armenians in Constantinople, took them into the hinterlands and shot them



It is generally agreed upon (except by the Turkish Government) that this was the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. And here I go, losing another whole demographic.


April 24, 1916 -
... And what if excess of love, Bewildered them till they died? - W. B. Yeats



Some 1,600 Irish nationalist, the Irish Volunteers, launched the Easter Rising by seizing several key sites in Dublin, including the General Post Office. Eemon de Valera was one of the commandants in the uprising. It was provoked by impatience with the lack of home rule and was put down by British forces several days later. Michael Collins, a member of Sinn Fein, led the guerrilla warfare.


April 24, 1953 -
Winston Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on this date.

Later, this same year he also won the Nobel peace prize for literature.


April 24, 1970 -
The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, was launched aboard a Long March rocket on this date. Upon reaching orbit, the satellite transmits the popular Communist Chinese song, The East is Red.



With the launch, China became the fifth country with a satellite in space.


April 24, 1986 -
'Her Royal Highness' The Duchess of Windsor, Bessie Warfield Spencer Simpson Windsor former maitresse en titre (official mistress), plain-faced, twice-divorced American, possible transvestite and Nazi sympathizer died on this date.



And the House of Windsor breathed a sigh of relief -

until Princess Diana.


April 24th, 1990 -
The Space Shuttle Discovery launched the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. It is hoped that the Telescope will be able to see up to the edge of the known universe. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the largest space telescopes ever used, at the time, and has contributed to many astrological discoveries, notably in the area of supernovas and dark energy.



Hubble has sent back a series of stunning photographs of deep space, and revolutionized thinking about the universe. Unlike many other spacecraft, the HST is open for public use — anyone regardless of education level or nationality can apply for time to use it.



And so it goes


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Monday, April 23, 2018

Your future's all used up.

April 23, 1896 -
Thomas Edison presented the first publically-projected Vitascope motion picture (with hand-tinting) in the US to a paying American audience on a screen, at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City (at 34th Street and Broadway), with his latest invention - the projecting kinetoscope or Vitascope.



Customers watched the Edison Company's Vitascope project a ballet sequence in an amusement arcade during a vaudeville act.


April 23, 1931 -
William A. Wellman
pre-code crime drama masterpiece, the Public Enemy, James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Mae Clarke, Edward Woods, Donald Cook, and Joan Blondell premiered in the NYC on this date.



Because of the famous grapefruit scene, for years afterward when dining in restaurants, fellow patrons would send grapefruit to James Cagney, which--almost invariably--Cagney would happily eat.


April 23, 1947 -
Carol Reed's
IRA drama Odd Man Out starring James Mason, Robert Newton, and Cyril Cusack premiered in the US on this date.



James Mason
called this his best performance of his career, and his favorite Carol Reed film.


April 23, 1958 -
Orson Welles'
noir thriller Touch of Evil, starring Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh, was released on this date.



Orson Welles
initially despised the title Touch of Evil, having had nothing to do with its conception. Over the years, however, he grew to like it, and eventually considered it the best title out of all his films.


April 23, 1977
-
Please get ready to shake your groove thang - Thelma Houston's remake of the song, Don’t Leave Me This Way reached no.1 on the Billboard charts on this date.



This song was originally recorded by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes with a soulful lead vocal by Teddy Pendergrass. Released on their 1975 album Wake Up Everybody, it wasn't issued as a single in America.


April 23, 1988 -
... And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it – you've got to go sometime....



Pink Floyd's album Dark Side Of The Moon, after spending the record total of 741 consecutive weeks (over 14 years) on the Billboard 200, left the charts for its first time ever.

How did they ever make ends meet?


Word of the day


Today in History:
April 23, 303
-
St George, the future patron saint of England, literally lost his head when he annoyed the Emperor Diocletian so much that the emperor had him separated from his head.



According to legend, George, saved a Libyan king's daughter (Cleodolinda) from a fiery dragon.  You'd think people would be more patient with a local dragon slayer.


William Shakespeare was born on this date in 1564 and wrote a lot of plays then died in the end—on April 23, 1616.



His accomplishments are all the more remarkable when you consider that he died on the same day he’d been born.


April 23, 1616 -
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra died the very same day as Shakespeare. Mr. Cervantes was a brilliant Spanish humorist, best known for his novel Don Quixote, in which an old man suffering from acute mental illness rides around the Spanish countryside hallucinating, then dies.



Sometimes that's all there is.


April 23, 1867
-
The Zoetrope was patented (#64,117) by William E. Lincoln of Providence, Rhode Island on this date. The device was the first animated picture machine.



It provided an animation sequence of pictures lining the inside wall of a shallow cylinder, with vertical slits between the images. By spinning the cylinder and looking through the slits, a repeating loop of a moving image could be viewed .


April 23, 1899  -
Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained.



(This is some kind of trifecta for writers.) Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, writer and avid butterfly collector, was born in Saint Petersburg on this date. His work included Lolita, Pnin and Pale Fire.


April 23, 1936
-
I've really learned a lot, really learned a lot, love is like a stove, burns you when it's hot.









Roy Orbison, the coolest singer in sunglasses,was born on this date.  ( Luxuriate in the voluptuousness of despair.)


April 23, 1940
-
A fire broke out in the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez, Mississippi on this date. More than 200 people died, making it one of the worst fires in US history at the time.



News of the tragedy reverberated throughout the country, especially among the African American community, and blues performers have recorded memorial songs such as The Natchez Burning and The Mighty Fire ever since.


April 23, 1967 -
The USSR launched Soyuz One on this date.



The next day, forced to return to earth, cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first casualty of space flight when his capsule's parachute opened improperly.

Oops.


April 23, 2005 -
The first video uploaded to YouTube, entitled Me at the zoo, made its online debut on this date. The 19-second video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky and shows YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.



It racked up 19 million views in its first ten years online. It currently has over 48 million views.



And so it goes


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