More lies your teachers told you

Don't let them tell you otherwise, today is actually Independence Day - The US Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain on this day (in 1776);

the formal Declaration of Independence was approved two days later on July 4.

July 2, 1946 -
Orson Welles first attempt at restarting his Hollywood career, The Stranger, starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, and Orson Welles premiered in Los Angeles, on this date. (This was the first mainstream American movie to feature footage of Nazi concentration camps following World War II.)

Orson Welles originally wanted Agnes Moorehead to play the FBI part. believing that it would be much more interesting to have a spinster lady at the heels of this Nazi but studio head,Goetz didn't like the idea said no and instead gave him Edward G. Robinson.

July 2, 1958 -
The Michael Curtiz, musical drama, King Creole (based on the Harold Robbins novel, A Stone for Danny Fisher,) starring Elvis, Carolyn Jones and Walter Matthau premiered in the US on this date.

Walter Matthau said about the fight scene where he hits Elvis Presley with a chair "we used a balsa wood chair in that scene, I can remember it very clearly. And I also remember we did the scene right after lunch. I hit him -bang- with the chair and he threw up. He obviously had too much to eat at lunch." Matthau added "now that particular scene got me into a lot of trouble a little while later when I was doing a television series in the South, in Florida. I was driving past a girls parochial high school and about fifty fat girls, they were all fat, jumped on my car and said 'there's the guy who beat up Elvis!"

July 2, 1959 -
Ed Wood's greatest opus (not counting Glen or Glenda), Plan 9 from Outer Space, opened on this date.

Maila Nurmi (Vampira) was paid $200 for her appearance in the film. She insisted that the character be mute as she didn't care for the dialogue.

July 2, 1966 -
The title track of Frank Sinatra's comeback album, Strangers in the Night reached the number one spot (on this date) on the Billboard charts and marked his return to the top of the pop charts in the mid-'60s.

Sinatra knocked The Beatles down a peg when this song hit #1 in the US and pushed Paperback Writer to #2. After one week, the group reclaimed their spot at the top. A month earlier, Strangers in the Night dominated the UK chart for three weeks before The Beatles' song took over.

July 2, 1971 -
Gordon Parks' classic crime-drama Shaft, starring Richard Roundtree, premiered on this date.

Much of the action centers around 125th Street in Harlem. The exterior of Shaft's apartment was at 55 Jane Street, in Greenwich Village, across the street from the (real) No Name Bar at 621 Hudson Street. The bar later became a deli.

July 2, 1980 -
The David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker smash comedy, Airplane!, starring Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty premiered in the US on this date.

For the argument between announcers concerning the white and red zones at the airport, the producers hired the same voice artists who had made the real-world announcements at Los Angeles International Airport. At the real airport, the white zone is for loading and unloading of passengers only, and there's no stopping in the red zone (except for transit buses). They were also married to each other in real life.

July 2, 1997 -
Columbia Pictures released the science fiction comedy film Men in Black, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio and Rip Torn, on this date.

Tommy Lee Jones only accepted the role of Kay after Steven Spielberg promised the script would improve. He had been disappointed with the first draft, which he felt did not capture the tone of the comic.

Another unimportant moment in history

Today in History -
One day in the second half of the ninth century, a poor young woman on her way to the market dropped her basket of eggs, breaking all of them.

The young woman knelt on the ground beside the fallen basket and began to weep.

The local bishop had been out for his morning stroll and happened to see the entire episode. He attempted to console the woman, but she was having none of it. Without the eggs, she had nothing to sell at market. Nothing to sell meant no money to sustain her family. Being unable to sustain her family meant, well, what it usually means: degradation, illness, and eventually death. Soothing words from a bishop weren't much help.

The bishop then prayed for her pain to be eased. When he was done praying, the woman looked into her basket and saw that all of the eggs had been made whole.

"Wot's all that about, then?" she asked.

"Tis a sign of God's grace and compassion," the bishop said. "I am but his -"

"God fixed me eggs, what?"

"All things are possible with God," the bishop began, but the poor young woman interrupted again.

"All-powerful God? All-knowing God? I work meself to death eight days to the week, and when he finally comes through with a miracle - it's fixin' me eggs? What about a floor for me hut? What about clothes for me young-uns? What about -"

It is probably not necessary to record the full text of the woman's stirring solecism.

That great religious leader was St. Swithun, who died on this date, in 862. It is his feast day in Norway today, (his feast day in England is celebrated on the 15th of July and his name is spelled 'St. Swithin'.) He was the Bishop of Winchester and royal counselor to kings Egbert and Aethelwulf.

(Yes - the skull cap of the good bishop)

History tells us very little about St Swithun, besides the fact that he died when he did, which is why I bring him up: someone ought to invent a life for the guy. Maybe he was raised by honey badgers. Maybe he was kidnapped by cross-dressing pirates. Maybe he met three witches in the forest and they hailed him as the Thane of Cawdor. Or maybe he fell in love with the beautiful red-headed daughter of a rival landowner and they had a tempestuous love affair before tragedy struck her down and Swithun turned to religion for consolation. Who knows? Nobody.

So make up a St Swithun you can live with.

140 years ago today, Charles J. Guiteau stood up in the lobby of the B&O Railroad Depot in Washington, DC, and yelled, "I am a stalwart and Arthur is President now!" (Maybe it would have sounded less crazy if he said it in Latin - Ego sum a stalwart quod Arthur est Praesieo iam! All future Presidential assassins should take up Latin. ) The event might have passed without notice had Guiteau not been shooting President James Garfield at the time.

A wounded President Garfield lingered for 11 weeks, during which time surgeons attempted to find the bullet which had lodged in his back. The state-of-the-art technology for removing foreign objects from the body was at that time the hand. Dozens of physicians, nurses, and curious hangers-on probed Garfield's wound with their fingers in search of the bullet that had struck him. The inevitable infection of his wound killed him.

Charles Guiteau was hanged on June 30, 1882.

July 2, 1900 -
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's airship LZ-1, took the first zeppelin flight over Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.

"LZ" stood for Luftschiff Zeppelin, or "Airship Zeppelin"

July 2, 1937 -
Attempting to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane, Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific with her drunken navigator, Fred Noonan, on this date. (Apparently drunkenness is a prerequisite to fly with aviation heroes.)

She still holds the record for a spouse going out for a carton of milk and not returning.

July 2, 1947 -
An object speculated to be a UFO crashes near Roswell, New Mexico on this date, though the United States Air Force claims it is a weather balloon.

I love a good 'faked' alien footage. It's World UFO Day today. So remember to Keep Watching The Skies!

60 years ago today Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. Hemingway was a writer. He was also a man. He knew things about being a man. He also knew things about trying to be a man.

He wrote about them, those things. He wrote love stories and stories about fishermen and soldiers. He liked to write. And in the end he blew his brains out. Maybe that means something. Maybe it doesn't. Either way, don't bother asking for whom the bell tolled.

It wasn't for you.

On this date in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, prohibiting racial discrimination.

The way one of our former President was treated by Congress is proof that America has remained a paragon of racial harmony to this very day.

July 2, 1982 -
Larry Walters, a truck driver, using 45 helium filled weather balloons to lift him and his lawn chair three miles high on this date. He later was barely able to control his descent using a BB gun shooting holes in balloons when he accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard. Walters then slowly descended back down to the ground.

He landed in a residential neighborhood in Long Beach where got tangled in some power lines, causing a 20 minute power blackout. Walters was able to climb to the ground.

Before you go - Enjoy the Fourth of July Weekend

Remember, Drink til you drop, and don't drive!
Why not just stay home.

And so it goes.

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