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I had a wonderful time last tuesday in New York City giving the Distinguished Alumni Lecture at the School of Visual Arts. For those who don't know about it, SVA was formed as the Cartoonists and Illustrator's School in 1949 by Burne Hogarth, Tom Gill, Bill Gallo and Silas Rhodes. It changed it's name to Visual Arts in the 60s and got their accreditation in 1973. In the early 70s after Cal Arts and Sheridan, SVA was once of the few places to offer regular classes in cartooning and animation. Graduates include such names as Keith Haring, Paul Davis, Bill PLympton, John Dilworth, Barry Caldwell, Russell Calabrase, Yvette Kaplan,Kevin Petrilak, Drew Freidman, Harvey Pekar, Bat Lash, Art Speigelman, Alex Kuperschmidt and yours truly. Our teachers included Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Gil Miret and Howard Beckerman- see below. Even Ralph Bakshi and R.O. Blechman once taught there.

The amphitheater was packed with eager young minds ready to be corrupted by my subversive rants. I showed things new and old,even some sneaks of things to come. I think a good time was had by all. Mark Hamill once told me that any time the audience doesn't rush up on stage and try to kill you, it was a good crowd. Afterwards I went with a few mates to toss a pint and damn all kings at the Molly Malone Pub on Third Ave. Glocca Morra is gone, Amy's PIta Burgers is gone, Connolly's Bar and Once Upon a Stove are but a memory, but Mollys is still there unchanged as she was thirty years ago.

Thanks to Candy Kugel, David Setlow, Paul Lepelletiere and all my other old and new friends who wasted a perfectly good evening to hear me talk. Thanks to Elaine Chow, Reeves Lehman and the SVA Alumni Society for putting this together.
My flyer up on the SVA 23rd St, Elevator. Yes, that crummy little elevator is still the only way to get up and down that building. Remember when it was one of the last manually operated elevators left requiring a fulltime operator? One was an elderly security guard who was a veteran of the U.S. incursion into Soviet Russia in 1919!

everyone's favorite pedagogue, Howard Beckerman, still sexy at 75

Quiz: Why is the South Eastern US known as Dixie?

Yesterday’s Question below: Why are checks, theater and color in Britain spelled checques, theatre and colour?
history for 11/29/2007
Birthdays: Gaetano Donizetti, Busby Berkeley, C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Chuck Mangione, Vin Scully, Gary Shandling, Cathy Moriarity, Don Cheadle, Joel Coen, French President Jacques Chirac, Kim Delaney, Howie Mandell, Susee “Chapstick” Chafee

1864- Colorado militia kill over 300 Cheyenne in the "Sand Creek Massacre." Col. John Chivington was depressed that he was not back east winning glory in the Civil War so he attacked a peaceful Cheyenne village, killing 150. He later held a victory parade in Denver displaying the scalps of the Indians, most of whom were non-combatants -women, old men and children. Chivington eventually resigned from the military and his actions sparked a needless Indian war that raged for years afterwards.

1887- The US Navy received permission from the Hawaiian king to lease land for a base at Pearl Harbor. They had been landing there since 1864.

1890- The first Army-Navy football game held at West Point. Midshipmen beat the cadets 24-0.

1913- John Randolph Bray's "Colonel Heeza Liar in Africa" cartoon. Bray adapted Henry Ford's assembly line system to making animated cartoons, creating positions of layout, background painters, inkers, cel painters, checkers and camera. Before this one artist like Winsor McCay and an assistant did everything. Paul Terry, Walter Lantz, Max & Dave Fleischer and Shamus Culhane all got their start at Bray's.

1929- Commander Richard Byrd radioed he'd made the first airplane flight over the South Pole. Commander Byrd had flown over the North Pole in 1926 with his friend Floyd Bennett but Bennett had since died and when Byrd made it over the South Pole he dropped a small American flag weighted with a stone from Bennett’s grave.

1942- U.S. declared coffee would be rationed along with sugar, gasoline and rubber. And lots more. People put their cars up on blocks "for the duration". Gas Ration cards were listed as C, B & A. The C card meant essential war worker, police & fire so they had unlimited access to gasoline. A cards were the least important.

1944- A Detroit man named Malcolm Little was busted for larceny. He later reformed his life around the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Malcolm X.

1959-The Second Grammy Awards broadcast for the first time on television. Bobby Darins’ rendition of Mack the Knife won top honors.

1963- After the Kennedy assassination comic Vaughn Meader announced he was giving up his act impersonating the slain president. Meader’s comedy album The First Family sold 7.5 million copies in 1962, but now it wasn’t funny anymore and Meaders career collapsed. He died of emphysema in 2004. When Lenny Bruce first took the stage after the Kennedy assassination he opened with a long sigh and a puff on his cigarette:” ….Man. Vaughn Meader is really screwed!”

1967- Robert MacNamara, who was Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson , resigned to become president of the World Bank.

2001- former Beatle guitarist and composer George Harrison died of cancer.

Yesterday’s Question: Why are checks, theater and color in Britain spelled checques, theatre and colour?

Answer: Noah Webster (1758-1843) wrote the The American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828, at a time when the United States was undergoing a conscious effort to create it’s own culture distinct from Mother England. Federal architectural styles tried to move away from British taste, the Church of England in American renamed itself the Episcopal Church of America. So Webster decided to create distinctions in American English from the Queens English.
So words that had been influenced in Britain by Norman French, Webster changed to the Spanish spellings, color and favor instead of colour and favour, check instead of cheque., theater and center instead of theatre and centre. His dictionary made spelling words so popular, they started a new kind of contest in schools called Spelling Bees.