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July 27, 2007 fri.
July 27th, 2007

courtesy of

The Comicon is more crowded than I ever saw it before. And yesterday is usually the slow day! The Hanna Barbera Panel was fun. Nice talking to Andrea Romano and Gary Owen. Met Tom Hatten backstage where he was going to do a show with Jerry Beck on the new Popeye DVD release.

Shared a glass with my old bud Mike Ploog, in from Old Blighty. Also said hi to Paul Dini, and Floyd Norman and Mark Farquhar and Yuri Senoo-Farquhar.

Lots of fun costumes. My favorite so far the the Star Wars Imperial StormTrooper-Elvis Impersonator!
Took some picture but they all suck. I'll try again today.
Birthdays: Confucius, Alexander Dumas fils, Enrique Granados, Hillaire Belloc, Norman Lear, Maureen McGovern,, Keenan Wynn, Leo Durocher, Peggy Fleming, Bobby Gentry, Jerry Van Dyke, Vincent Canby, Betty Thomas, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Ilya Salkind, David Swift –director of the Haley Mills Disney films like The Parent Trap

1586- Sir Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco pipe home to England from America.
Columbus had of course brought cigars and other duty-free home years earlier but tobacco was one of the goodies that kept England interested in American colonies after everyone realized there weren’t any more gold-rich Aztec-Inca Empires to plunder. King James I called smoking a filthy and unhealthful habit, but Raleigh persisted. He even paused for a few last puffs before putting his head on the executioners block.

1880-BATTLE OF MAIWAND: The Afghan leader Ayub Khan's tribesmen destroy a British invasion force. Dr. Watson told Sherlock Holmes he was there . One of the heroes of the battle was a little terrier named Bobbie who was a regimental mascot and was wounded several times . He was brought to London and received a medal from Queen Victoria, but was later run over by a London taxi . I guess Afghanistan was safer.

1900- THE BIRTH OF THE "EVIL HUN"- Kaiser Wilhelm II addresses a contingent of German marines about to embark from Bremerhaven to go to China to help in the international effort to put down the Boxer Rebellion. Caught up in the spirit of the moment, Wilhelm said: "Take no prisoners! Kill all those who fall into your hands! As the deeds of the Huns of Atilla resound through history for their ruthlessness, so like the Huns make the name of Germany live in Chinese annals for a thousand years!" His embarrassed chancellor Von Bulow called it "The worst speech of the year and possibly of the Kaiser's career." He tried to release an edited version to the press but someone leaked the true text. When the Kaiser read the edited speech he said: My dear Bulow! You left out all the good parts!" Germans got the nickname "Huns" for years afterwards.

1921- Two Toronto scientists, Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolate the hormone Insulin to treat diabetes.

1921- SHAKESPEARE & CO. opens in Paris. The English language bookshop on the Seine owned by Sylvia Beach was the most famous hangout for the U.S. expatriate intellectuals between the World Wars. Shakespeare & Co. championed writers like James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Carlos Santayanna, Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson and more. After the Nazi occupation the shop was liberated personally by Ernest Hemingway who shot snipers off it's roof. After paying his respects to Sylvia, Hemingway and his G.I.buddies went on to liberate the Ritz hotel and it's famous wine celler.

1940- HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUGS BUNNY. Warners short-"A Wild Hare”-There were several earlier prototypes of the famous rabbit, white with a different voice, but this is the short that launched his career. Bugs says “Whats Up Doc?” for the first time, co-opting a line uttered by Clark Gable while chewing a carrot in the Frank Capra film “It Happened One Night”. Interestingly enough Mel Blanc the creator of his voice was terribly allergic to carrots. He found he couldn’t recreate the crisp sound of chewing with any other vegetable. So he kept a bucket next to his microphone to quickly spit out the carrots after recording.

1946- Writer Gertrude Stein dies. Her last words to Alice B. Toklas were:"What is the Answer?" When Alice said nothing, Gertrude said:" Well then, What's the Question?"

1953- THE KOREAN WAR ENDS- The Treaty of Panmunjom. After 170,000 Americans casualties and millions of Koreans & Chinese killed, the treaty fixed the border basically where it was when the war started in 1950. At one point in the negotiations, a Chinese general tried to light a Russian cigarette. But his People's New Era of Revolutionary Prosperity and Freedom lighter wasn't working. So his American counterpart offered his capitalist but always dependale Zippo.

1953- The Tonight Show debuted on NBC. It's first host was Steve Allen.

1986- Gregg Lemond became the first American to win the Tour de France bicycle race. He won the final length by 8 seconds.

1993- IBM announced it would eliminate 35,000 jobs. Downsizing becomes a popular sport in corporate America. The more worker careers ruined, the higher your stock rose. The chairman of General Electric Jack Welch, was nicknamed “Neutron Jack” after the neutron bomb that kills off people but leaves buildings intact.

1996- A bomb goes off during Olympic celebrations in Atlanta Georgia. The bomb was in a bag packed with nails and put in a crowded area designed to hurt as many people as possible. One woman was killed and dozens injured. The perpetrator was not known when the mass media decided to focus on an overweight security guard named Richard Jewel. Ironically Jewell was the one who first alerted police to the suspicious package tried to evacuate the area, otherwise more people would have been killed. After weeks of merciless hounding by the world media the FBI announced Jewel was completely innocent. Jewell sued and the television networks had to pay out hefty settlement costs. It wasn’t until 2003 that the police finally caught the real culprit, abortion clinic bomber and backwoods fruitcake Eric Rudolph.