A cup. The beautiful elegance of form and function. It is the most efficient delivery method for coffee, beer, water or other beverage requiring ice, hot cocoa on cold days, and even soup: the perfect comfort food. Despite the wide range of sizes, the basic form is the same but each with such very specific purpose.
The US may not put much emphasis on Anders Celsius birthday, but in 18th century Sweden, scientists were pretty important. The Celsius family was a lineup of astronomers, mathematicians, and professors. (a.k.a. nerds)
Andy developed reliable results measuring water’s consistent freezing and boiling point on a thermometer. The Celsius temperature scale, when he first developed it, had freezing at 100 and boiling at 0. Let’s assume it was out of respect that they waited until he was dead before they flipped it. If your temperature is 38, you are considered to be running a fever.
If you are unfortunate enough to live where you can do this… do this.
Charles Dodgson was his name, mathematics was his game. But all you know him for is penning a book under the name Lewis Carroll. He was not married but had a longstanding friendshhip with his colleague Henry Liddell and his family. Henry had three daughters and the youngest of which was named Alice.
Alice and her active imagination inspired Charles to combine a set of stories and ideas into a congruent although unusual work of fiction. It was today in 1865 that young Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were available to the literary public. And 6years later she got lost behind the looking glass in a second book. Of course your brain immediately conjured up the 1951 Disney film. Which was sort of a combination of both books. Not to be confused with the 2009 Tim Burton film which was more of a sequel than an adaptation. So let’s start the day with some nostalgia…
The NRA was founded today in 1871. Charlton Heston was still quite young at the time. They are known for their defense of the 2nd Amendment and being proponents of the safe use of guns. It was established in New York but the current headquarters are in Virginia.
Flash forward to today in 1963. Jack Ruby, a known affiliate of organized crime, happened to be wandering around Dallas’s police headquarters. He whipped out a pistol and took out Lee Harvey Oswald who was in police custody for the assassination of JFK. All on broadcast television. At this point Charlton Heston was not quite as young.
Jump ahead one more time to today in 1993, the “Brady Bill” was passed by President Clinton. It was so named after James Brady, the press secretary for Ronald Regan. John Hinkley’s failed presidential assassination attempt in 1981 left Mr. Brady permanently wounded. This gun control law forces background checks and limits the types of weapons deemed legal in the U.S. (Charlton Heston is officially old)
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”—Roald Dahl, Sept 13, 1916 - Today, 1990. Author of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Golden Ticket, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG…
My hat is reverently removed. True creativity is sorely missed.
The bad news: the arctic/antarctic cruise ship, M.S. Explorer*, struck an iceburg today in 2007. It sank within hours having sustained a significant gash in the hull. It cost the Toronto based company that owned it a big stack of toonies, eh.
The good news: 91 passengers and 63 crew made it onto life boats and were promptly and safely rescued. The ship had known many extreme voyages since it’s maiden voyage in 1969.
The ironic news: This ship was the first and a leader in cruise ships specifically designed to brave the icy waters of the poles. It bragged one of the most advanced sonar and radar systems in the world. Yet it suffered the same fate as another famous cruise ship with a warning system consisting of a guy on a perch with binoculars.
*Not to be confused with Microsoft Explorer or MS Internet Explorer which is well known for crashing.
Pixar has become a staple, family household name. Prior to 1995 though, most had never heard of it. Their first film, released exactly 15 years ago, was a huge success. Thanks, in part, to the Disney marketing and merchandizing machine. Not to belittle the excellent production, story, and innovation of the computer graphics that created “Toy Story”.
Here’s something you can do to watch it again for the first time in 15 years: Look for the ‘easter eggs’ in it. These cool visual references and inside jokes are repeated through many of the Pixar films. I’ll post a few to get you started. Get your “Toy Story” Trilogy BluRay box set and a new legal pad if you want to list them all. (then send them to me)
On a lighter note, America was treated to the best thing to come out of Australia since, um, things started coming out of Australia. The #1 chart topper for 6 weeks starting today in 1981 came from down under. Thanks to MTV, the “Let’s Get Physical” video for Olivia Newton John’s was a sight to behold for men and women alike. (That’s a nice way to say it made a lot of people mad because of how racy it was). Want to be the judge? click play.
Depending on your age, you’ll remember Bill Bixby as Tim O’hara in “My Favorite Martian” or as Eddie’s father Tom in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”. Or if you are my age, you remember him as Dr. Bruce Banner, who made the show much more interesting when you got him mad. Finally he became a spokesperson for prostate cancer awareness in the early 90’s after he was diagnosed.
The emmy award winning actor’s season finale was today in 1993. He left a wife, many friends, and a notable legacy behind at age 59.
Naturally, Edwin Hubble’s legacy influenced NASA’s decision to name the biggest, deepest field space based telescope in his honor. The Hubble Space Telescope (or HST for those of us in elite academic circles) launched in April 1990 aboard the STS-31, Discovery shuttle mission. And subsequently repaired a few times because of technical difficulties. $36 Million dollars doesn’t get what it did in Hubble’s time I guess. But if you want to see why it interested him so, click here.
Today would be Mr. Edwin Hubble's 121st birthday. Despite the fact that he died in 1953 at the age of 63. If you can't quite recall why he is important, he is the guy who discovered the Doppler-like “Red shift” in galaxies. When observing extra-terrestrial phenomena, he observed that things shifted toward the red light spectrum. (That means they are moving away.) The poor fella never got to see man go into space.
As an astronomer he had many claims to fame. Even the classification of galaxies is named for him based on his keen eye staring through big expensive telescopes.
Makes you want to go outside and appreciate the full moon tonight too doesn’t it?
Today is World (I'm not making this up!) Toilet Day
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t." - Mark Twain.
I’m not creative enough to come up with World Toilet Day so you know it has to be true (click for proof). The World Toilet Organization, the WTO, (also true, I promise) spans 58 countries spreading a message of cleaner facilities for all. Think about the repercussions of the last time you had Mexican food, and the comfort you felt spending all those hours afterward in your nice clean bathroom with lots of clean running water. Many countries, including Mexico don’t have this luxury.
It is actually a good cause and a worthwhile pursuit. Much pestilence comes from untreated sewage and improperly contained waste. You can donate, or perhaps now that you know, join the WTO in a foreign country installing commodes. Either way, now you’ll definitely feel a twinge of celebration after lunch.
Another cool aspect of Victoria Falls: the Devil’s Pool. 8ft deep, hundreds of feet to the bottom. As a natural waterfall, it’s breathtaking. But as a swimming hole, it will really test your moxie. If you are really scared of heights, you might not want to even click play.
Scottish missionary and doctor David Livingstone stumbled upon one of the wonders of the natural world today in 1855. If you can call a 4 year manned expedition ‘stumbling’. The natives called it the ‘smoke that thunders’. Livingstone quickly christened it ‘Victoria Falls’ in honor of the reigning queen.
By the numbers, this liquid landmark is well over a mile wide and 360ft high, dwarfing even the mighty Niagara. It straddles the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Here, I looked that up for you.
Nine years ago today, an emerging legend took flight. The story of a boy prodigy crossed over from the literary world to the big screen in the first installment of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. We meet Harry as the character crosses over from the muggle world that we know, to a realm of magic and centuries old mystery.
Since the book swept shelves across the Atlantic, it was no surprise the movie’s opening weekend passed $90mil. It introduced Daniel Radcliffe as Harry and capitalized on the brilliance of Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and Dame Maggie Smith. In my opinion, it is the least eventful, but still critical to the series storyline.
In 3 days, part 1 of 2 of the gripping finale, film 7, of this pop culture smash and the current generation’s Lord-of-the-Ringsesque tale. You need popcorn just to watch the trailer. Proof:
The reason you have time to read this on your lunch break is because you ordered a #4 combo with, ironically, a diet soft drink. Thanks, Dave Thomas (rip 2002) for the drive-thru concept we know and need every day. Wendy’s may not be the biggest fast food chain (it’s #3), but it certainly has signature items you can’t get anywhere else. (Anyone else remember the salad bar?)
The first Wendy’s opened today in 1969. One restaurant in Columbus, OH turned into two within a year. They spread quickly and went international by `83. Dave Thomas obviously knew what he was doing since he was head chef and an instrumental part of KFC’s early rise to fame.
Finish your fries, enjoy your Frosty® and watch their still famous and adorable “Where’s the Beef?” commercial. The current promo is Dave’s daughter, Wendy, hyping the ‘Hot N Juicy’. see also: #awkward on Twitter
I want to make this post about computer graphics. I want to talk about the emergence of the Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and digital pictures and video. But nerdy ranting doesn’t interest most folks. But the ‘king of pop’ and one of the most innovative music videos ever produced, does.
Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” was simultaneously broadcast tonight in 1991 on VH1, MTV, BET, and FOX. It got Fox their highest ratings to that point. The end segment with people of various ethnicities ‘morphing’ into one another broke entirely new ground. Not everyone had seen “The Abyss” (1989) and “Terminator 2” had only been out for a few months.
Without further ado, here’s a sober young Macauly Culkin, Norm from “Cheers”, Jack-o, and Slash from Guns n` Roses on guitar with the video that made being a nerd a whole lot cooler.
I wont belabor the London Bridge being in Arizona, just transfer the irony of the Holland Tunnel being in New York City. Technically it only starts in New York, goes under the Hudson River, and emerges in Jersey City. That’s where the running gag dies. Jersey City should be in Idaho for comedic effect, but it is, much to the dismay of its residents, in New Jersey.
Clifford Holland was the engineer heading this monumental project. If you consider, two tubes about a mile and a half long under 93 feet of water carrying 950,000 cars a day monumental. No? How about doing that in the mid 1920s? (It opened today in 1927)
There are some magazines in which the articles aren’t really that important to the audience. But “Rolling Stone” is not one of them. As of today, after 43 years it has proven its appeal and staying power. Now it is unsurpassed advertising and insight for aspiring musicians or established legends with new work to display.
The first cover showed John Lennon from a scene in his movie “How I Won the War”. This clever periodical guaranteed a particular reader base by giving away a roach clip with each issue. (if you don’t know what that is, ask the nearest grown-up).
November 7th in
1972 - Nixon/Agnew defeated McGovern/Eagleton in the presidential election. But maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.
1805 - Lewis & Clark finally reach the Pacific Ocean. Only to find miles of backed-up traffic on I-5.
1932 - “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” debuted on CBS radio and it lasted for 15 years. Fortunately, the TV show of the same name only lasted 2 seasons: 79-81.
1874 - Harper’s weekly ran a political cartoon depicting the Republican party as an elephant. The donkey had been in use for Democrats since the 1828 Jackson candidacy. The brilliant political analyst Dave Barry once said “politics is from the Latin terms poli meaning many and ticks meaning blood sucking parasites”. I guess ticks are harder to draw.
James Barrie was of modest Scottish stock and would have been a barely successful playwrite. You may never have known him had he not took a mentoring role to some fatherless boys in London at the turn of the 20th century. An active imagination, coupled with ongoing playtime sessions with young children lead to a unique and unusual bed time story. Tonight in 1905, “Peter Pan” opened in New York to critical acclaim. It’s unorthodox approach to stagework from children’s point of view was very welcome. Regardless of the literary or technical merit, the global appeal caters to anyone who was once a child. Jim’s imagination captivates us to this day.
P.S. James invented the name Wendy for this play about the boy who never got old. Disney bought all the rights to the story. So if your name is Wendy, you might owe Disney some royalties. (jsyk)
‘Twas British royalty that brought you the PB&J you’re munching over your keyboard and mouse. Crunchy Jiff nd Smucker’s strawberry preserves for me. No substitutes!! Hot pastrami on marble rye, was it? (please not Oscar Mayer on wonder bread) John Montagu, specifically the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is rumored to be the inventor of this life altering creation.
The southeastern corner of England is the area (now city) of England where John was born. With advantage of his nobility he held the posts as First Lord of the Admiralty, Colonel of the Army, Postmaster General, and a Secretary of State. Yep, none of that means anything to me either. But he was obviously busy , therefore often ate at his desk. And when dining with others, they wanted “the same as Sandwich”. By this they meant a convenient, hand-held, meat-on-bread meal of timeless importance.
Let’s go finish John’s birthday celebration over lunch. I’m starving!
This Latin American tradition ties it’s roots to indigenous Mexican populations in the late fall. It resembles the concept of Catholicism’s All Saints Day (yesterday) which spawned the pagan (et al.) tradition of All Hallowed Evening (the day before). Which is how it came to be today. Saints are reverently honored first. Those who ride coach are fondly remembered second.
Typical celebrations and remembrances include candy in the shape of skulls, popular with the shorter crowd. People light candles, deck the halls, drag out photos or drawings of deceased loved ones. Prayers are offered. Parties occasionally break out (in case you need a reason).
If you know any one who has gone on to the fiesta in the sky, take a moment today to relive good memories.
Tim Burton used familiar imagery in “Corpse Bride”. A modern day “calavera de la catrina” lovely, although dead.