Showing posts with label actual history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label actual history. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Operation Overlord Anniversary

Nicole reminds me that today is the anniversary of the execution of Operation Overlord, ie: Normandy.


June the 6th, 1944.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Amazing color footage of Superman Day at 1939 World's Fair!

This is really remarkable. All those kids in Superman shirts! It's hard to imagine, this was just about 1 year after Superman debuted in the comics and already the character was a hit with the masses.

You can see DC publisher Harry Donenfeld riding an elephant, Jack Liebowitz and MC Gaines, and Jerry Siegel. I half think the woman at the end might be Siegel's first wife, but I'm not sure.



I've read about so many of these people over the years, it's wild to see them in living color.

This is all before DC really settled on the looks of Superman "S" shiefd, as evidenced by the costume and the kids' shirts.

I'm always amazed to see footage like this, candid shots of folks on the street, to see what people actually looked like and how they dressed, rather than relying on the soft filter of the Hollywood lens.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Whatever Happened to The Girl in the Stop Sign Shorts?



On Wednesday night I posted a comment to facebook about how we don't spend enough time celebrating the dancer in the trademark "Stop Sign" shorts from the Young MC video for "Bust a Move".  I was about 14 when this song was big, and I knew enough then to know that the bassist in the video was Flea from the California-based Red Hot Chili Peppers (who might be a thing one day).

The video is below. You can find the dancer in question around the 1:05 mark.



Well, in 1989-ish, you couldn't not hear this song, and from 1989 until the end of time, you couldn't not like the song.  It's a staple of Gen X music consumption that was sort of universally beloved, kind of like the work of Tone Loc (also written by Young MC) and "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground.

It was a different time.

Lets just say that the performer left an impression, enough so that in 2013, if you say "Stop Sign Shorts", I know exactly what you're talking about.

But who was the woman behind the shorts?  (so to speak)

Turns out her name is Cindyana Santangelo.  This is some minor league Google search wizardry, and you can thank me later.

What I didn't know is that she's also the voice from the beginning of the 1990 Jane's Addiction album, Ritual de lo Habitual.  And if you were a sulky kid in 1990, chances are, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Just watch the first part of the video and it'll come back to you here 23 years on.




Well, I assure you that video seemed relevant at the time.

LA must have been a bit smaller of a town than I realized back then, what with all the Jane's Addiction/ Chili Peppers/ Young MC cross-pollination going on.  Oddly, I feel less awkward watching a Young MC video today than I do remembering being really, really into Jane's Addiction from about 1989-1993.

I'm shocked to learn that the two were so close together as, in my mind, they seem incredibly separated, but I'd moved and made the passage to being a bit older and more sullen by the time I was anticipating new Jane's Addiction albums, I guess.  But, dang, we all still loved Young MC!  Everyone find a way to send Young MC a dollar on paypal.

Anyway, point is:  After imprinting herself heavily upon my malleable 14 year old psyche, I now know who this person is (Cindyana Santangelo!) and a wee bit about her. Because she's got a website.  She's an actress!

Look here.

She's apparently been on CSI and appeared on a reality show as a client on Million Dollar Listing and was on a show that didn't get picked up about Housewives of Malibu.

She also appears to run something called "Mermaid Cove Sober Living" in Malibu.

So, wherever you are Cindyana, we salute you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Your Questions Answered: Why do you hate Rutherford B. Hayes?

Anonymous asks:

Why do you hate Rutherford B. Hayes?

I actually tried to find a reason to hate Rutherford B. Hayes, but reading his bio, it's kind of hard to find much fault with the guy.  He inherited a tough spot in the wake of the panic of 1873 and managed to forge a new path for currency, worked to amicably end Reconstruction and restore full independence to the South, did good deeds in Latin America, took no BS from Mexican bandits and handled the railroad worker's strike with more humility than Reagan and the mess with the air traffic controllers.

The 1870's are a somewhat unsexy period in American history, so I had to look up quite a bit on Hayes, but in my estimation, aside from the extremely dicey way in which he took office, he seems all right.

So, the answer is: I DO NOT HATE RUTHERFORD B. HAYES


In fact, I find quite a bit to admire in his biography.

I'm not sure I'm ready to get on the Rutherford B. Hayes bandwagon, like you people, but as a man of his time, he seems pretty remarkable.  Unfortunately, he falls between Lincoln and Roosevelt, in that era of American history that just doesn't get much press.  I think that's all on me to better understand, and maybe that's worth doing sometime.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

For Pope Benedict as he departs office

Apparently, in 2005, I welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to the job with this post...

So, so much has changed since 2005.

We lost Jackson, YouTube became a thing you could embed....

As Pope Ben leaves office, let's hear it one more time...



That's right, I've been blogging longer than a Pope's tenure in office.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Texas Independence Day!

On March 2nd, 1836 Texas declared it's independence from Mexico, but we were already begun in the Texas War for Independence.

one of the original Texas battle flags


Yes, there was such a thing as a War for Texas Independence, non-Texans.  That's what you're talking about when you discuss "The Alamo".  

Basically, Texas was largely unsettled by Anglos and the entire swath of Tejas y Cohauila was sort of Mexican no-man's land with a few remote outposts like San Antonio.  Circa 1821, a bunch of rowdies and reprobates made a deal with Mexico to settle in what's sort of Central Texas, but they had to become Mexican citizens and Catholic.

By 1835, the Mexican Government had changed and become more centrist.  The local militias were now frowned upon and those shifty Anglos in North Mexico weren't playing ball with Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana's desire to disarm regional militias lest they decide they wanted to rabble rouse.  If the past informs the present, you'd have to imagine if Obama suddenly said folks couldn't have guns, and people started acting kookie about how the government might take away their arms.

Wait a minute...

There were other issues, such as the forced Catholicism of the Mexican Government, that Texans really, really wanted to own slaves, and Mexico city just sort of sucked at paying attention to what was going on in Texas aside from the occasional decree that made no sense in context of living on a frontier.

President and General of Mexico, Santa Ana, had absolutely had it with the Texians (we used to have an "i" in our name) and marched an army up to, of all places, Gonzalez, where the Texians insisted on hanging onto a cannon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

President's Day! Late Edition. William Howard Taft, #27

Dammit, just look at that magnificent bastard.

Howard Taft, sometimes known as "The Pimpest of Presidents"

It's my opinion that of all the presidents, William Howard Taft gets the shaft most routinely and most undeservedly.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The League Plans on Attending a sort of Mini-High School Reunion

Apparently in Mid-March, the life of a young The League will come headlong with his shady, useless present.

Yes, my 20th high school reunion IS occurring this year.  No, I am not going.  I moved to the greater Houston area a couple of weeks prior to the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, and while I made some great life-long friends, it was not necessarily in a capacity strictly as a member of the Class of '93.  I'm just not that invested in seeing people I don't remember.

The winter of my sophomore year I quit the basketball team, auditioned for a play and wound up understudying several roles for our school's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.*   So, for the next two years I stuck around the auditorium of dear old Klein Oak High.

I would eventually play parts in The Crucible, The Rimers of Eldritch, You Can't Take it With You, All My Sons, Rumors, and probably one or two things I'm forgetting.  I was, at best, unmemorable on stage.  And I don't think I want to know what people do remember.  Sadly, my requests to stage Frankenstein, so I could do something a 6'4" high school kid was suited for, went unheeded.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On a Slow News Day, "Django Unchained" Action Figures are a really big deal

I haven't seen Django Unchained, but I'd like to.  It seems interesting.

Sometimes I weep that the only conversation really happening around comics and the underground subculture of collectors and the like seems to be around "Fake Nerd Girls" - an argument that really reflects any time a sort-of-underground scene starts to get co-opted as the public realizes the scene exists and ham handedly starts playing with it like a spastic two-year old who likes shiny things.  I sort of see "Fake Nerd Girls" as the 2012-era equivalent of when Nirvana, etc... became more sellable than LA hair-metal-bands and "alternative" was launched as a major marketing concept in music.  This, of course, meant that a segment of the population actually suddenly started paying attention to "alternative" charts and somehow this culminated in tribal tattoos on suburban dads in Phoenix in 2003.

With The Big Bang Theory netting 19 million viewers recently (that's, like, 6% of the US population or some crazy nonsense - and people generally don't watch TV that way anymore), I kind of assume that the show, as reviled as its become in nerd world, has at least demonstrated some of the behavior and habits of the comics/ toy collecting/ geek community to the populace at large.  I mean, comic collecting may not be a mainstream activity, but since the early 00's, the stigma has lessened to a degree enough that folks like myself don't hide their shame anymore and will answer questions if asked instead of denying that they collect comics.*  We can thank TBBT for at least semi-humanizing the mutants from the comic shop into characters with taglines.

But, apparently, a lot of people aren't watching The Big Bang Theory, and to a lot of folks the notion that grown-assed adults collect action figures (or "dolls" as the press will derisively insist) is complete news or totally unbelievable.  Even more surprising, that a person would buy a movie action figure and then not role-play with the figures like Dark Helmet in Spaceballs seems mind-bogglingly impossible.

It seems that NECA has released a line of officially licensed Django Unchained action figures (or "dolls", if you want to put a certain spin on the story and, therefore, anyone who would dare buy a doll of Jamie Foxx). After years of far, far more questionable product tie-ins, I would not dare question the judgment of NECA, the Weinstein Company or purchasers of this product.  I don't know why you'd want these, but I doubt many folks know why I have literally hundreds of little Superman eyes peering at me from action figures all over my office.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Lincoln (2012)


I'm feeling a little punchy, so let's make this clear:  I liked this movie, and I think you might enjoy it, too.  I was a bit afraid my less than reverent tone might suggest I did not like the movie, but that's not true.  



Jamie, Juan and I finally caught Lincoln (2012), the recent release about Old Penny-Face.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States
A Proclamation

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Monday, November 5, 2012

Get Out the Vote!

Hey, Americans!

It's DEMOCRACY TIME!

I've already early voted (thanks, local grocery store, for hosting), but if you haven't voted yet, get out there and have your say!

No matter who wins this election, let us hope that our president somehow doesn't have to just spend four years as the chewtoy for people who make their living making us hate each other rather than, you know, helping.

And try not to get into unnecessary, unwinnable arguments with people who matter.


By late Tuesday night we'll (probably) know the results, so take a breath, remain calm, and be glad that your government is not being dictated at swordpoint as it pretty much was everywhere on Earth for most of humanity's history.

How great is it that we don't just shrug and get along with our lot in lives, but expect ideas can be represented in a person and in a government?  That the extremism that took over our country was the idea that the people should get to have a voice?

I am a deeply cynical voter, but that's because my dream of a Mr. Smith going to Washington is dead and buried - and I've come to accept that no matter how smart or clever, a person is really just a person, and reality catches up with all of us sooner or later.  But I believe in the process, and I hope for the best with every vote I cast.

Also, locally, vote Prop 3.  Prop 4 doesn't make any sense.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Octoberama! War of the Worlds on the Radio!


On October 30th, 1938, the Mercury Theater performed a radio show adaptation of HG Wells' War of the Worlds.  I expect that most of you will have heard of this presentation.

On the eve of Halloween, 1938 - war brimming over in Europe, Asia in chaos, science and engineering on the march despite a decade of financial instability - Americans tuned into the radio for their after dinner relaxation.  Sure, everyone knew Halloween was coming, but like the first April Fool's joke sprung on you each year, it may not be the first thing on your mind.

The broadcast was the one that supposedly set the nation into a panic and had people driving around, shooting at water towers and running from imaginary space men.  It also ended in folks calling for the head of Orson Welles - well before he decided not to sell any wine before its time or voice the monster planet in the Transformers Movie.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride - Happy Birthday, Elsa

Last week, JimD emailed me and asked if I planned on posting about Elsa Lanchester's 110th Birthday, which happens to fall on today, the day I'd planned the finale post for Sundays with The Bride.  Honestly, I had no idea the birthday was coming, so, everybuddy, take a moment and thank JimD and then take another moment and appreciate cosmic happenstance.

I had another post ready, and so you'll still see that today, later, but as it's Elsa's birthday, we need to give the lady her due.



We all grew up seeing clips from The Bride of Frankenstein, or saw the role of The Bride parodied in other films, in cartoons, or pop art.  The role passed into western iconography as much as the rest of the Universal Horror pack of monsters, but - oddly - The Bride appears for a total of one scene in this single film.  The Bride has no speaking lines, and, of all the Universal Horror "monsters", she is the only one which hurts nobody.

But that's only if you don't count breaking hearts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Theodore Roosevelt!

Jake's blog informs me that today is the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt, the most interesting president in the world.

Born this day, 1858, in New York City.

Who WOULDN'T vote for this guy?
Rather than sum up the man and his achievements I shall start by recommending some light reading:

  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
  • Theodore Rex
  • Colonel Roosevelt all by Edmund Morris.


The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt by a former professor I had at UT, Lewis L. Gould (he was awesome.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Pablo Picasso!


The artist was born this day in 1881.  He lived to the age of 93.  He is famed for his bullheaded nature.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey

I do not travel much in a non-work-related capacity, but I hit London about a year and a half ago with The Admiral and my brother.

Jason and I were on a mad dash through the National Gallery, trying to see a Greatest Hits of the museum, and as we darted into one gallery I stopped cold in my tracks.

The picture at the far end of the gallery was The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833, Paul Delaroche).



When I considered doing a post, I was shocked to read that the painting is only 3 metres wide.  In my mind, it seemed twice that large.  Perhaps that's the impact of surprise.  Perhaps the website of the National Gallery is incorrect (it is not).  No matter the case, when I've tried to describe the painting, I am certain I have told people "that thing must have been 20 feet across".