Archive for the 'History' Category

This Date in History

James Dean died in a car crash at the age of 25. Ironically in this tv spot done while promoting his then upcoming movie “Rebel With Out a Cause” (1956), he warns about the hazards of the road and that “the life you save could be mine”.



Happy Adam West Day

Photo: Motortrend

My apologies for the scarcity in posts up. The Autumn college semester began a few weeks ago and between that, my work for the paper, the tussle I have been engaged in with the Massachusetts RMV, and an array of other events, mustering the proper combination of free time and energy has been a bit tough.

This past Saturday I went to Wormtown, the annual stew of awesome jam bands, trippy characters, and sunshine that happens every year in Greenfield and this was my first time going. Sorry to say, I didn’t really take any pictures or have cool interview sch wag, but you can get some of that from Angela at buntology, (including cool t-shirts).

Meanwhile well I was jamming out with scores of others; there was another thing few other people knew about. Saturday was the birthday of Adam West. He is best known for his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1960s cult classic tv program BATMAN. He’s also appeared in such movies as the Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood, Nevada Smith, and Hooper as well as guest staring on a number of other television shows, including doing voice work in Batman the Animated Series, as well as voicing himself as the eccentric Mayor of Quahog on Family Guy.

No doubt though it is his role in the tripped out, mod style Batman television series that aired from 1966-1968 that West will always be associated with. So whether it be as “Batman”, himself, or a slew of other off-beat often self deprecating roles, or those feverishly looking for an occasion to celebrate. Happy Belated Birthday Adam West.


What caused Mozart’s death and where did he die?

Lovers of a great murder mystery will be disappointed because the legendary composer was not poisoned or murdered. The answer according to a new study is an epidemic of strep throat that at the time had broken out in Vienna. Dun Dun Dun Dun!!!! Yeah I know I bet you saw that last line coming.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The death of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the age of 35 may have been caused by complications stemming from strep throat, according to a Dutch study published on Monday. Since the composer’s death in 1791, there have been various theories about the cause of his untimely end, from intentional poisoning, to rheumatic fever, to trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by eating raw or undercooked pork.

On his death certificate it was officially recorded that the cause of death was hitziges Frieselfieber, or “heated miliary fever,” referring to a rash that looks like millet seeds.

But researchers from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands said studies on his death have generally been based on less-than-reliable evidence, like accounts from people who witnessed Mozart’s final days, written decades after his death.

Their new study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was based on information from official death registers for Vienna in the winter of 1791 that places Mozart’s death in a wider context. He died in Vienna.

“Our findings suggest that Mozart fell victim to an epidemic of strep throat infection that was contracted by many Viennese people in Mozart’s month of death, and that Mozart was one of several persons in that epidemic that developed a deadly kidney complication,” researcher Richard Zegers, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, told Reuters Health.


BoxoJams: Arlo Guthrie

Here he is performing coming in from LA, from the 1970 documentary movie. This weekend marks the 40th Anniversary of the Woodstock music and Arts Festival.


Eunice Kennedy Shriver ( 1921- 2009)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of President John F Kennedy as well as the late Senator Robert F Kennedy (D-NY) and Edward M Kennedy (D-MA), the mother-in-law of actor turned Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), died early this morning at a hospital on Cape Cod at the age of 88.

But Shriver made a name for herself in her own right as an advocate for juvenile delinquents, special needs children, and by founding the Special Olympics in the 1960s, which decades later has blossomed into an annual event where those with mental disabilities and special needs can compete in athletic events.

On a personal note, as those who know me are aware I too have a mental disability Aspergers syndrome, a mild form of autism that impairs me socially and well it may not have been as severe as those who compete in the Special Olympics or have other differences, I think all those with learning and mental disabilities should acknowledge the contribution she made to beginning the dialogue on disabilities when American society and many other societies had long relegated such disabilities and those who had them to the margins of society with a sense of shame and fright. Because of the pioneering work of Kennedy Shriver, disabilities are now better known about and those with them are more accepted by the public at large.

Photo from: ET online


Woodstock Goes Satelite

This month it will be four decades since the three day concert and festival that shook the world and marked the high point of the 1960s counterculture.

Now, Sirius XM satellite radio has announced that it will dedicate Sirius channel 16 to three days of Woodstock recordings, coverage, and conversation.

In the meantime though, above is Jimi Hendrix at the 1969 festival wailing out a rendition of the star spangled banner on his guitar, the way only Hendrix could.


Neocons Froth at the Release of Journalists from North Korea

The top story today was no doubt the return of former U.S President Bill Clinton and recently freed journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee who had been imprisoned in North Korea since earlier this March, when according to reports they had accidentally crossed from China into North Korean territory. Subsequently they were given a “trial” in North Korea and sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in a forced labor camp.

But on what is said to have been a “private” mission former U.S President Bill Clinton went over to the totalitarian country and was able to get the two journalists pardoned, returning them to the shores of America and the arms of relieved families and a grateful nation. In exchange for what? A few photographs with a despot.

To tell the truth I was surprised that this much was able to be accomplished over a forty-eight hour period; especially since the names and incident as unjust as it is had faded from the headlines. Obviously this was planned beforehand, but nonetheless the aim of this mission by the ex-President obviously was to come home with these two hostages and that was accomplished.

But despite achieving that objective many on the far right and the neocons bemoan that it is negotiating with terrorists and horrible regimes. That we should not be engaging in dialogue much less posing for photos with them. Ex-acting U.S Ambassador to the UN and noted neoconservative John Bolton says this was merely rewarding bad behavior and possibly emboldening our enemies. Sean Hannity, the whitehouses ambassador to the radio waves during the Bush/Cheney administration echoed that sentiment. Most have the decency and logic to at least preference their condemnations with “I am glad the girls are home”. But ex-Clinton aide and neoconservative Dick Morris says the girls she be punished for what they did. They should remain stashed away in the tombal prisons of this Stalinist nation, toiling day and night for having accidentally stumbled into North Korean territory.

(H/T: Crooks and Liars)-

Carlson: How are we supposed to get the girls home, though, Dick? And I only have 30 seconds. How are we supposed to get them home?

Morris: I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe they don’t come home. Maybe they go to North Korea and live with the consequences of their decision to go there.

So much for that spreading of democracy across the world that Dick and the other neoconservatives were so hopped on back in the Bush/Cheney administration.

But aside from the post-rational reasoning of this clown, what is their alternative? So what if Kim Jung Ill has two or three photos of him with Bill Clinton? Kim Jung Ill has scant if any credibility anywhere in the world and is noted as despot. In doing this we as America show that we care about our people, which is more then can be said about the leader of North Korea? And does this really put us in a worse spot then before? What, now that a former president sat down with a dictator we can’t shake our fists and talk about how much we want to bomb North Korea? How much we condemn their nuclear program and their atrocious human rights record? Please somebody tell me how sitting with a former U.S president can be seen as essentially surrendering to North Korea? We got two of our citizens back whose only crime was getting lost and being from our great land, and from what we can tell now all it took was a few photos? I might be insane but a few photos seems like a minor price for the world’s most powerful country to pay for two of its citizens.

By the logic of these critics we shouldn’t have gotten our Navy men back on the USS Pueblo in 1968, when it was captured by North Korea, and in order to get them back to the security and haven of our land we had to apologize for having one of our submarines off their shores. Or that during World War II we should have risked losing the war, and not formed an alliance with one of the twentieth century’s most detestable tyrants Josef Stalin, because that involved us not only meeting and talking with him, but allying ourselves with him to exploit the weakness of our common enemy during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, which ended up loosening the once iron grip Hitler and the Nazis had in the Eastern European theater. Yeah, what a mistake that was. Or how about during the Cuban missile crisis, when in order to avert a nuclear holocaust we ended up gasp negotiating with the Soviet Union to stave off nuclear Armageddon.

Or how about 1972 when Richard Nixon, a Republican and at the time ally of many conservatives (such as Pat Buchanan) traveled to China and ended up opening relations with the communist nation, to exploit the divides between China and their communist rival the Soviet Union which ultimately was a crucial element in ending the cold war?

But the best comparison I heard was on the Political Animal, where reference is made to Michael Crowley who quipped After all, “even the right’s cherished embodiment of American machismo, Ronald Reagan, was willing to trade arms for hostages.” , referencing Reagan’s arms for hostages deal in the 1980s, where Reagan actually sold U.S weapons to Iran, enemies of the United States, in order to secure the release of American hostages. But hey at least he didn’t pose for a photo with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Just once I would like to hear someone bring up the arms for hostages deal when conservative commentators begin maligning this latest move by Clinton. I wonder if Dick Morris would then reply by saying that the hostages in the 1980s should have had to live with consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?