BACK to Blog Posts

VIEW Blog Titles from January 2009


Blog Posts from January 2009:

January 23rd, 2009 fri.
January 23rd, 2009

Quiz: What is a euphemism, and should one seek treatment for it?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below: When did the NY waterfront west of Times Square become known as Hell’s Kitchen?
History for Jan 23, 2009
Birthdays: Musio Clementi, Edouard Manet, Sergei Eisenstein, Derek Walcott, Ernie
Kovacs, Stendahl, Jean Moreau, Randolph Scott, Dan Duryea, Rutger Hauer is 65, Warner Bros animator Manny Davis, Disney animation director Dave Hand, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Mariska Hargitay is 45, Sonny Chiba is 70.

1795- A fleet of 14 Dutch warships got stuck in ice and was attacked overland by French cavalry.

1806-Prime Minister Pitt the Younger dies at 46. A heavy port drinker, he had a
stroke after getting the news of Napoleon's big victory at Austerlitz. As the
maps and dispatches dropped from his lap, his last words were:" Oh My Country
!" Another source said his dying words were "Oh I wish I had another one
of Mr. Bellamy's Meat Pies !". Suspiciously, the source of that anecdote was a spokesman for the Bellamy's Meat Pies Company.

1812- The largest earthquake in North America. It was not in California but in the
Mississippi Valley near New Madrid Missouri. The quake was felt as far south as
New Orleans where it moved the mouth of the Mississippi River, and it rattled store
windows in New York City. Legend has it Indian leader Tecumseh had predicted it.
He told Indians who had signed treaties with the whites:" I will stamp my foot,
then you will know the anger of the Great Spirit."

1862- Here’s a toast to that Great American- Count Agoston Haraszthy ! Who? Next
time you raise a glass of Napa Valley Pinot Noir think of him. This day the Hungarian
immigrant count bought land in the Sonoma Valley and imported cuttings from 1,000
varieties of European wine grapes. There may have been one or more earlier vineyards,
but He jumpstarted the California wine industry.

1867- New York City residents awoke this day to find the East River separating them
and the City of Brooklyn had frozen solid. It stayed that way for several weeks
wreaking havoc among the ship traffic and commerce. Everyone realized they needed
a bridge. Work on the Brooklyn Bridge was begun in 1869.

1879- The Defense of Rourkes Drift. After the British invasion force was annihilated
by the Zulus at the Battle of Ishandlwana the other day, a ragtag group of stragglers,
wounded and drivers behind an improvised wall of piled up oatmeal sacks hold off
the entire Zulu army. The first Victoria Crosses were given out over this engagement.
More were given here than at D-Day. One went to a sergeant who later had it stolen
off the wall of his pub. He petitioned the government and got another one....and
that too was stolen. When he died in 1911 he had the VC embellished on his tombstone....and, guessed was stolen.

1913- A group of young Turkish army officers led by Enver Bey take over the government from the despotic rule of Sultan Abdhul Hamid IV, and try to modernize things, keeping the Sultan as a figurehead. Enver’s movement created the name The Young Turks.

1922- The first insulin injection given in Toronto by doctors Banting and Macleod
to diabetic patient Leonard Thompson.

1930- Ivory Snow soap invented 'pure as the driven snow'. In 1969 the model
on the Ivory Snow box, Marilyn Chambers, became a notorious porno star. The baby
she held in the photo was actress Brooke Shields.

1942- Tupperware invented by Charles Tupper.

1943- A group of high German officials including generals and diplomats began secret
meetings on how to kill Hitler and stop the war. Their conspiracy would culminate
in the Operation Valhalla July 20th 1944 bomb plot.

1957- The Disneyland TV show premiered” Our Friend, the Atom.”

1968- THE PUEBLO INCIDENT- Just a few days after the shock of the Vietnamese Tet
offensive, a US Navy spy ship doing CIA intelligence work is captured in North Korean
waters. The hostage ordeal mesmerizes the public for weeks and the sailors are finally
released after a long captivity and humiliating show-trials. After his release,
the commander, Capt. Lloyd Bucher retired from the navy, went to Art Center in Pasadena and became an illustrator.

1978- In Woodland Hills Terry Kath, the lead singer of the group Chicago, killed
himself when he playfully put a pistol to his head. His last words were: "Don't
worry. It's not loaded, see...?"

1989- Artist Salvador Dali’ died. Rushing to leave as much money as possible for
his family his agents had the ancient artist autograph reams of blank paper they intended to print Dali’ lithographs on later.
Yesterday’s Quiz: When did the NY waterfront west of Times Square become known as Hell’s Kitchen?

Answer: In the 1800’s the Hudson waterfront area of Manhattan became a very tough neighborhood. In 1871 a New York cop assigned to that beat told the cop he was relieving:” I was in the Bowery and that was Hell. To which the tired veteran replied:” Well, if that was Hell, then welcome to Hell’s Kitchen!”, and the name stuck.

The deadline for the Jay Kennedy Scholarship is approaching (February 6) and
we'd like your help to get the word out. If you can, please post this on
your website or blog. If you can put up a semi-permanent link, you'll find
link art on the site too. (Please note that we have new URL from next year.)

The annual Jay Kennedy Scholarship, in memory of the late King Features
editor, was funded by an initial $100,000 grant from the Hearst
Foundation/King Features Syndicate and additional generous donations from
Jerry Scott, Jim Borgman, Patrick McDonnell and many other prominent
cartoonists. Submissions are adjudicated by a panel of top cartoonists and
an award is given to the best college cartoonist. The recipient is feted at
the annual NCS Reuben Awards Convention attended by many of the world's
leading cartoonists. It is being held this year in LA.

Applicants must be college students in the United States, Canada or Mexico
that will be in their Junior or Senior year of college during the 2009-2010
academic year. Applicants DO NOT have to be art majors to be eligible for
this scholarship.

Along with a completed entry form, applicants are required to send 5
samples of their own cartooning artwork; noting if and where the work has
been published (either print or web).Please send copies. DO NOT send
original artwork.


The applications will be judged by the National Cartoonists Society
Foundation (NCSF) and the number of scholarships given out and their amounts
will be at the discretion of the NCSF.

-- Phil Pyster, CAE
NCS Offices
341 N. Maitland Avenue, Suite 130
Maitland, FL 32751
Phone: 407-647-8839
FAX: 407-629-2502

We're Talkin Oscar here, baby!
January 22nd, 2009

My esteemed friend and colleague Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew, annually sets his clock to 5:00AM this morning to get the Academy nominations news- sheesh! So here is the hot poop from his site:

Nominated for BEST ANIMATED FEATURE were:

Bolt - Walt Disney
Kung Fu Panda - Dreamworks
Wall•E - Pixar

The Pixar hit WALL-E was also nominated for Best Screenplay (congrats to Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Jim Reardon), sound mixing (Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt), sound editing (Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood), music (Thomas Newman) and Original Song.

WALTZ WITH BASHIR was nominated for Best Foreign Film. I personally liked this film, but I have met many a divergence of opinion on it among the animation community. This might be the rare case of it being helped by dubbing into English. The large block of subtitles became a challenge, when you wanted to study the images.

Nominated for BEST ANIMATED SHORT are:

La Maison en Petits Cubes - Kunio Kato - my favorite.
Lavatory - A Love Story - Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi - A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production
Presto - Pixar, Doug Sweetland
This Way Up - Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

I'm bummed Skhizein by Jérémy Clapin wasn't nominated, but dem's the breaks.

the Visual Effects Category continues it's tradition of no surprises - noms for DARK KNIGHT, IRON MAN and BENJAMIN BUTTON

As the Romans said:"Die Gustibus Non Et Disputandem" You cannot argue personal taste." The winners will be announced Feb. 22 at the Oscar telecast at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

January 22th, 2009 thur
January 22nd, 2009

Quiz: When did the NY waterfront west of Times Square become known as Hell’s Kitchen?

Yesterday’s Question answered below: Why is a heroic story called a saga?
History for 1/22/2009
St. Vincents Day- "If Vincents Day be Rainy Weather, shall rain then 30 days together.”

Birthdays: Sir Francis Bacon, D.W. Griffith, Charles Gordon Lord Byron, August Strindberg, Andre Marie Ampere (electric Amps), 1960’s UN Secretary General U- Thant, Ann Southern, Sam Cooke, John Hurt, George McManus, Joseph Waumbaugh, J.J. Johnson, Jim Jarmusch is 56, Linda Blair is 50, Piper Laurie, Diane Lane is 44

1503- Pope Alexander VI Borgia has his enemy Cardinal Orsini, poisoned while imprisoned in the Vatican.

1506- THE SWISS GUARDS. Many European monarchs hired foreign mercenaries to be their personal bodyguards. They were often more reliable than their own subjects. The most famous were the Swiss. While the Swiss home cantons stayed at peace, her hardy men hired out as mercenary troops all over Europe. This day the warrior Pope Julius II hired a troop of Swiss and had Michelangelo design their uniforms. The Swiss Guards still guard the Vatican today, and are still recruited in Switzerland.

1555- THE FIRES OF SMITHFIELD. When Mary the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII became queen she at first tried to be lenient towards her Protestant subjects. But continuous plots by Protestant nobility and her own desire to restore England to the old faith hardened her heart. This day began the mass trials and executions of those accused of Protestant heresy. Six clergymen including the Bishop of Gloucester were sentenced and burned at the stake. Hundreds more would follow. Even Spanish King Philip II urged Mary to calm down.

Mary’s executioners added a new twist to an old system of Burning at the Stake. If they liked you, before lighting the fire, a bag of gunpowder was stuffed between your legs, so you could go out with a bang. Musta been hard on spectators, being showered with little bits of flaming Anglicans. Bloody Mary and her cruelty in the name of Roman Catholicism all but convinced the English people to stay Anglican.

1787- 17 year old French cadet named Napoleon Bonaparte, on furlough in Paris, noted in his diary that after exhausting negotiations with a streetwalker he "…sampled the joys of Woman for the first time.."

1840- The first English colonists reach New Zealand. They set up a special effects house.

1863- THE MUD MARCH- Union General Ambrose Burnside (who created the fashion for "side-burns") tried to avenge his humiliating defeat at Fredericksburg by a winter march up the Rappahannock River to maneuver around Robert E. Lee. In so doing he discovered why all pre-industrial age armies took the winter off. Burnsides army was pelted by blinding sleet storms and bogged down in oceans of gooey mud. When Burnside finally called it quits he had as many casualties from sickness as had he fought a battle. A bitter army joke based on a children’s prayer went:
"Now I lay me down to Sleep, In mud that’s eighteen fathoms Deep."
"If you can’t see me when we Awake, please dig me up with an oyster Rake."

1879-Battle of ISHANDLWANA- The worst defeat ever inflicted by native peoples on a modern western army. The British thought they were brushing out of the way just another African spear throwing tribe when they attacked the Zulu Empire. They were unconcerned that the Zulu marched in regiments -impis, had generals -indunas and practiced strategy and tactics. Lord Chelmsford had invaded Zululand searching for the Zulu army when he was tricked by a simple diversion into dividing his forces. The Zulu then flanked Chelmsford’s force in a maneuver Napoleon would have admired, fell on his camp and wiped out two regiments of the 24th Welch Fusiliers. It was a massacre similar to Custer at the Little Big Horn.

1901- Queen Victoria died after a reign of 64 years, the longest ever for a British monarch. When she assumed the throne at 19 in 1837 there were still many alive who remembered the Battle of Waterloo and white periwigs, and she died in a world of electric lights, autos and motion pictures. The current Queen Elizabeth II has to reign ten more years to catch up to her.

1918- A Manitoba judge tries to outlaw movie comedies, because they tend to make the public "too frivolous".

1938- On a bare stage, Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town premiered.

1944-Argentine Colonel Juan Peron first met radio actress Eva Duarte or Evita.

1944- ANZIO- The Allied armies advancing up the Italian boot had been fought to a standstill by fierce German resistance around Monte Cassino north of Naples -the Gustav Line. So the decision was made to amphibiously land a large invasion force in the rear of the German army with the intention of taking Rome. They completely surprised the enemy and their scouts reported the road into Rome was wide open. But the American commander General Lucas hesitated. In the meantime the Germans recovered and rushed up elite SS divisions that turned the battle into a bloody stalemate. Churchill said: "I thought we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a beached whale !" Instead of two days the allies didn’t take Rome until June 4th, five months later.

1947- Hollywood's first commercial television station, KTLA, went on the air. At the time in all of Los Angeles there were only 350 TV sets.

1949- Mao Tse Tung (MaoZseDong) and the Communists capture Peking (Beijing).

1949-Tex Avery’s cartoon "Bad Luck Blackie".

1951- During Winter baseball tryouts a promising young left-handed pitcher from Cuba was scouted by the New York Yankees. But after losing a game for the Washington Senators and getting dropped from their roster he gave up on pro-sports to pursue other careers- Fidel Castro.

1959- Former 'Our Gang' child star Charles 'Alfalfa" Switzer was killed in a bar in Studio City. He pulled a knife on a man over a $50 debt on a hunting dog. The man then shot him. He was 32. According to fellow Little Rascal Darla Hood, Switzer was a brute who bullied the other children and bitter his adult acting career never blossomed.

1968-T.V. comedy review show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In premiered. It launched the careers of Lilly Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan.

Hey, isn't that Kate Hudson's Mom? You bet your sweet Bippy!

1972- In an interview with Melody Maker magazine, rocker David Bowie outed himself and said he was gay. Technically he would be bi-sexual since his wife Angela did catch him in bed with Bianca Jagger.

1975- Hollywood agents Ron Meyer and Michael Ovitz leave William Morris and form the Creative Artists Agency, or CAA.
Yesterday’s Question: Why is a heroic story called a saga?

Answer: Ancient stories of the Vikings handed down by storytellers fell into two kinds- poems about the Norse Gods, called Skalds, and prose stories about heroes and kings, Sogurs or Sagas. In the 1300s an Icelandic writer named Snorri Sturlusson finally wrote this stuff all down, so we can have handed down to us the stories of ShapeChangers, Asgard, The World Serpent, Siegfried and Brunnhilde, Leif Ericsson and his dad Eric the Red.

Pat and I watched the inauguration. We stood by the TV when the oath was administered. We still couldn't quite believe it was happening. We cheered and jumped up and down when it happened. Pure joy!
We felt like a great dark cloud had lifted after 8 years. More than a few cartoonist friends said it felt like we had been stuck in Superman's BizzaroWorld, where values were upside down. And now it's right.
Finally we can travel abroad and not be embarrassed when someone asks us about politics" Look, I didn't vote for that dummy! I don't like him either!"No kidding, I once had to explain the 2000 election to a French Duchess over cognac in her chateau.

Like Bill Maher, I don't care if the President is the kind of guy I want to have a beer with, I feel more secure knowing that my president is way smarter than me!

Observations: The most Port-O-Pottys ever assembled for a public event. Barack is left-handed, as is Bill Clinton. It felt uplifting to see the multi-cultural crowd so happy. When Obama and Michelle walked down Pennsylvania Ave, the only other presidents to do that were Jimmy Carter and Thomas Jefferson. One commentator noted that Barack is the first president in a long time who is a real city dweller, that actually took mass transit to work! Barbara Bush once said she dreaded whenever Bush Sr tried to drive, since he was chauffeured his entire life, and only steered a golf cart by himself.

The media wouldn't report it, but on the NBC feed, when they showed Bush's helicopter leaving, tens of thousands of throats sang "NA NANA NA, HEY HEY, GOOD-BYE!!!

It was nice that when Senator Ted Kennedy had that emergency, one of his colleagues most concerned was Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, a Republican so far right he makes Nixon look like Flava Flave. It shows the Senate really are a closed little club, regardless of political philosophy.

Years ago, historian Geoffrey Ward wrote for the opening of Ken Burns series The Civil War" For four years Americans made war on one another, if only to create the kind of American where such a thing would be unthinkable." I think in the future, the idea that a black person or woman can't be president only because they are black or a woman, has now become equally unthinkable.

America is in a bad state, but at least we are now on the right track. Best of Luck to the Obama Administration and to us all. I'll lay off politics now, and go back to being an artist.

Quiz: Why is a heroic story called a saga?

Question: One achievement of the outgoing George W. Bush Presidency is that it forever broke the Curse of Tecumseh. What is that?
History for 1/21/2009
Birthdays: Leadbelly (Harlan Ledbetter),Thomas J."Stonewall" Jackson, J.Carol Naish, Tele Savalas, Christian Dior, Wolfman Jack, Akeem Olajuwon, Paul Scofield, Robby Benson, Jack Nicklaus, Benny Hill, Emma Bunton- Baby Spice of the Spice Girls, Gena Davis, Placido Domingo is 68

1198- THE THIRD CRUSADE DECLARED- In reaction to the news of Salladin's capture of Jerusalem, King Henry II of England, Phillip Augustus of France and Conrad the Emperor of Germany "take the Cross", decide to invade the Holyland. Henry died before the army departed and was replaced by his son Richard the Lionhearted. Every morning before breakfast and every night before retiring, all the knights of the Crusade would raise one steel-clad fist towards the east, and to the sound of massed trumpets and drums, they shout: " AEIDEUVA, AEIDEUVA, SANCTUS SEPULCHORUM!!" "Help, Help to the Holy Sepulchre!".

1535- Fun-loving King Francis Ist of France had been tolerant to the Reformation until overzealous French Protestants tried to assassinate him. This day he answered them by holding a solemn Catholic Mass in Notre Dame. The highlight of the show was the burning of six heretics. Francis had them tied to ladders and raised and lowered over a fire, to prolong their agony before dying.

1793- KING LOUIS XVI GUILLOTINED- Citizen Capet, so named for an old family name of French kings, mounted the scaffold at Place de La Concorde currently where the U.S. Embassy is. He tried to speak to the people but the drummers were ordered to drown him out. As the blade fell his chaplain shouted: "Son of Saint Louis, ascend to Heaven!" The revolutionaries then stuck his severed head between his legs and threw him in a hole. The court executioner, Charles Henri Samson, wore pistols under his coat in case people tried to rush the guillotine. He usually never felt remorse for his victims ( "I am not killing them, the State is" ) but this one upset him. He stayed away from home for two nights and would later hide escaped political prisoners in his cellar.

1861- SECESSION! COLLAPSE! President-elect Lincoln was still packing his bags in Springfield and writing out the luggage tags in his own hand "A.Lincoln, White House, Washington, D.C.", while state after state of the South voted to leave the Union and join the new Confederacy. On this date Mississippi senator and former Secretary of War Jefferson Davis resigned from the Congress. As he left the Senate Georgia senator Robert Toombs declared out loud to the Speakers chair:" The Union sir, is Dissolved !"
Toombs had to hire a carriage to take him South because his personal servants had taken the opportunity to run off to be free.
The Mormons of Utah were in an open state of rebellion, New Jersey and New York City talked of secession, California talked of pulling out of the union and joining Oregon to make a new country called TransPacifica. American mercenaries under a renegade named Walker were trying to set up an independent country in Baja California. Outgoing President James Buchanan said gravely: "I fear I may be the Last President of the United States.."

1899- The Opel motorcar company opened for business.

1916- The National Board of Review outlawed nudity in Hollywood movies.

1923- LENIN DIED. The Soviet dictator died of respiratory failure and cerebral hemorrhage at 54. As Lenin lay dying Leon Trotsky, Zioniev, Kamieniev, Krupskaya and a dozen others began a backroom scramble for power. Finally a minor bank robber and terrorist from Tblisi in Georgia who had risen rapidly in the last two years came out above them all- Comrade Kobal, also called Josef Stalin.

1938 -Max Fleischer tells his New York cartoon studio they are relocating to Florida.

1938- George Melies, the father of Motion Picture Special Effects, died selling chocolates in a Paris train station -Gare du Norde.

1950-After a highly publicized trial top State Department official Alger Hiss was found guilty of perjury in a trial that accused him of covering up his connections to Communist agents in Washington. The trial made a national figure of a then little known congressman named Richard Nixon. Hiss served four years in prison, and lived the rest of his life maintaining his innocence.

1958- BADLANDS- Teenagers Charlie Starkweather and Carol Ann Fugate kill her family and go on a Bonnie & Clyde style crime spree throughout Nebraska killing 11 people. When they were caught Starkweather pleaded self defense, even against the murder of Fugates infant baby brother. He went to the electric chair. Carol Ann Fugate did twenty years, yet always denied she was anything more than an unwilling accomplice. Starkweather had a 'James Dean-Marlon Brando' leatherjacket look and the two teen killers seemed to typify America's dread of juvenile delinquency and the 'degenerate Rock and Roll' culture of the 1950's. Their story inspired several films including 'Badlands".

1991- Disney's Beauty and the Beast becomes the first animated film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
Yesterday’s answer: One achievement of the outgoing George W. Bush Presidency is that he broke the Curse of Tecumseh. What is that?

The legend goes in 1828 when the great Seneca Indian leader Tecumseh was killed trying to stop white expansion, he supposedly put a curse on the entire white tribe in America. He declared every Great White Chief selected in a decade year would die. Here is the record so far:
1840- President William Henry Harrison- died in office of pneumonia.
1860- Abraham Lincoln- assassinated.
1880- James Garfield- assassinated.
1900- William McKinley- assassinated in his second term.
1920- Warren Harding- died in office.
1940- Franklin Roosevelt- a stretch-Roosevelt lived to win re-election in 1944, then died in office in 1945.
1960- John F. Kennedy- assassinated.
1980-Ronald Reagan- shot full of bullets and almost died.
2000-Bush- nothing happened!
UNLESS….Tecumseh meant GORE was supposed to have won..?

Take that, WhiteMan! What, Barack-who..? And he's what..?