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About Last night...
February 24th, 2009

Pat and I went to the Oscars the other night.

As our limo wound it's way up Highland Blvd, like Sean Penn mentioned in his speech, the signs waved and the crazies were out. They are there every year, but this year there seemed to be a few extra virulent ones- GO TO HELL, HOLLYWOOD SINNERS! HEATH LEDGER IS IN HELL! GOD HATES AMERICA, GOD HATES OBAMA, and one lone Holocaust denier who had a lot to be pissed off about- The Reader, Defiance,Valkyrie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

click to enlarge.

Well, you can't please everyone. Fortunately they were a tiny, tiny group lost in a sea of excited and happy people, straining to see their favorite celebrities. In all the current gloom, I think we all wanted to forget our troubles for a night and enjoy some old fashioned Hollywood glamor and escapism.

I hope they were as much fun on TV as what we saw on the stage. Hugh Jackman surprised all by being very entertaining , singing, dancing, and joking with the audience during the commercial break in a folksy, Australian way.

Congratulations to Andrew Stanton and the whole WALL-E gang for a job well done. Congrats also to Kunio Kato and his film MAISON DE PETIT CUBES, which I particularly enjoyed. His was my favorite acceptance speech. Domo Arrigato, mister Roboto...Ya gotta love an animator who thanks his pencil..?

Jerry Beck's blog Cartoon Research has hot links to see the film and Kunio's acceptance speech.

Seen with us around the Kodak Center were Animation notables like- Ralph Eggleston, Pete Docter, Max Howard, Bill & Sue Kroyer, Rick Farmiloe, Kevin and Sean Petrilak, Barry Weiss, Barbara Babbitt, Greg Manwaring, Charles Solomon and Scott Johnston, Jay Jackson, Oscar Nominee Jim Reardon and many more.

Question: What is the difference between Odysseus and Ulysses?

Yesterdays Quiz answered below: Why is a sharpshooter soldier called a sniper?
History for 2/24/2009
B-Dazes: Roman Emperor Hadrian, Winslow Homer, Arrigo Boito, Wilhelm Grimm (a brother of the brothers Grimm), Honus Wagner- early 1900’s baseball player called the Flying Dutchman, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Abe Vigoda, Edward James Olmos, Barry Bostwick, Michel Legrand, James Farentino, illustrator Zdzislaw Beskinski, Joe Leiberman, Michael Radford, Billy Zane, Steve Jobs is 54

Happy Mardi Gras - Fat Tuesday- The day before Ash Wednesday ushering in the Catholic season of Lent is the cause for wild parties in many cultures- Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Quebec and other cities. Carne-Vale is Latin for Goodbye to Meat., the Lenten fast. The Mardi Gras custom in America started in Mobile Alabama around 1708 then went to New Orleans. It died out in more somber Victorian times but was renewed after the Civil War- so-' Lesse Le Bon Temps Rolle’! “Let the Good Times Roll!”

495 B.C. Roman Festival REGIFUGIUM in honor of the overthrow of the Tarquins and foundation of the ROMAN REPUBLIC. The king of Rome, Tarquinus Superbus -Tarquin the Proud, Rash, Pain-in-da-Butt, whatever, capping off a history of arrogant rule, raped Lucretia, the daughter of a nobleman named Horatius. She tells her dad and he stabs her to death to save her further shame ( I guess that's 'tough love 'or something). The Roman people lead by the Horatius’ and his brother Marcus Brutus drive out the king and establish a republic. For the next 450 years, Rome is a democracy led by a Senate-from" senates" or elders, electing two Consuls (presidents) a year with the common peoples spokesmen called Tribunes of the Plebs. The motto the Romans would carry to the ends of the earth was S.P.Q.R.- Senatus Populusque Romanum -The Senate and the People of Rome.

1784- Alexander Hamilton established the Bank of New York, the second oldest private bank in North America. At first the Mayor Clinton refused to grant the bank a charter. He said “corporations are sinister plots aimed at the average citizen…”

1836- As Mexican cannon pounded the Alamo, Jim Bowie took ill and was invalid to the fort’s hospital where he stayed till the end. Historians dispute whether he developed a fever or something venereal. Col William Travis now assumed overall command. He had a message slipped out past Mexican lines-“ To the People of Texas and all Americans in the World” He appealed for aid and ended his message with a bold “Victory or Death!” The message was reprinted in newspapers throughout the US. The Alamo received no help, but the fiery message assured that the little doomed outpost would hold the attention of the everyone in North America.

1848- THE FRENCH SECOND REPUBLIC IS DECLARED. King Louis Phillipe whom Daumier caricatured as a fat pear in a frock coat and top hat, was overthrown. Austrian diplomat Baron Metternich predicted: When Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold. “ Sure enough, inspired by the French example, urban working class revolts break out all over Europe. Berliners,Viennese, Romans,Venetians, Hungarians, Saxons and Poles fight in the streets with the forces of their autocratic rulers. 1848 is remembered as the "Year of Revolutions". Karl Marx and Frederich Engels had trouble publishing their Communist Manifesto because of all the darn revolutions sprouting up! New York jewelry dealer Charles Tiffany was vacationing in Paris, when French aristocrats fleeing the revolution sold him their family diamonds at cut rate prices to raise ready cash. This unexpected opportunity became the basis of the Tiffany jewelry trade.

1852- Russian writer and hypochondriac Nicolai Gogol burns the second half of his masterpiece DEAD SOULS on advice of a religious mystic to atone for his sins. He died two weeks later of "brain fever".

1868- The U.S. House of Representatives voted 11 articles of Impeachment against President Andrew Johnson. Of the 11 charges only one made any legal sense, that was Johnson’s ignoring the Tenure of Office Act and firing his own Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. This act was later overturned as unconstitutional. The other charges were things like “He made such speeches wherein he spoke disparagingly of this Congress.” etc. Johnson said:” Impeach and Be Damned!” He was acquitted in the senate by only one vote.

1928- Frenchman Nicholas Landru, called BLUEBEARD was executed by guillotine. Landru married ten times, bringing the ladies up to his home, murdering them, and burning them in his furnace. He'd then live off their estates and sell their furniture. When the prosecutor said :"So, you made a career out of the suffering and swindling of others !" Landru replied:" No monsieur, I am not a lawyer."

1987- US Robotics sold the first 56k modems.

1988- The US Supreme Court defended the right of public figures to be satirized by throwing out a lawsuit Rev Jerry Fallwell brought against Hustler Magazine owner Larry Flynt. Flynt published a drawing describing Rev Fallwells having sex with his mother in an outhouse. The Court ruled a public figure can be lampooned, so long as it is not portrayed as factual.

1989- According to the David Lynch television series Twin Peaks, this is the day Laura Palmer’s body was found and F.B.I. agent Dale Cooper came to town to investigate.

1997- The announcement of the first successful cloning of a mammal embryo, a sheep named Dolly in Scotland. To prove even though they're research scientists 'boys will be boys', They used cells from a mammary gland to do the cloning, so they named their creation after busty singer Dolly Parton. After a series of illnesses, the animal was put down in 2003, living half the life span of a normal sheep, but she mated and had babies normally. The drive to develop cloning continues. In 2002 the a successful cloning of a cat was claimed by a California company called Commercial Savings & Clone.

2003- State Farm Insurance Company announced that they would add a clause into future car insurance policies that Nuclear Explosions and Terrorist Biological Agents would not be classified as Road Hazards and so not covered. Yep, if a Hydrogen Bomb goes off in my neighborhood, my first concern will be about my insurance premiums.
Yesterdays’ Question: Why is a sharpshooter soldier called a sniper?

Answer: In British held India, hunting a small bird called a Snipe was a challenge to the sharp-eyed. The British Army soon realized that hunters who went for Snipe made better sharpshooters. By World War One the name stuck.