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We saw a wonderful show at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills last night.
image courtesy of the AMPAAS


They had the Shuttle Crew who in May went up to fix the Hubbell Space Telescope and take IMAX footage. They were interviewed by John Dykstra of Star Wars and Caleb Deschanel, who did the camerawork on The Right Stuff. Toni Myers, who created the IMAX spectacular The Dream is Alive, was there too.

The Shuttle crewmembers were very witty and the footage was fantastic. In think they were as excited to see the Academy audience as we were to see them. They had hi-def cameras in the Shuttle and strapped to their helmets as they space walked.

When you see a show like this, you realize that economic booms and busts happen, as do wars and other cycles. But Man's real purpose it to go into Space. We are temporary, but the mission of the Human Race is to keep striving to move out into the Cosmos. Every new bit of information, broadens our own horizons and keeps us moving forward.

Congratulations to all Andy, Tad and all the Academy for a helluva good show.

My personal highlight was stepping into the Men's Room and seeing a lineup of four astronauts in blue jumpsuits at the urinal. I wish I brought my camera!

Quiz: What is a schism?

Yesterday’s Quiz answered below- What national anthem contains the lines:" We will water our fields with impious blood (of the invader who intends to slit the throats of our wives and children)"..?
History for 7/15/2009
Birthdays: Rembrandt van Rijn, Inigo Jones, Sir Thomas Bullfinch, Mother Cabrini, Clemont Moore, Julian Bream, Linda Rondstadt, Alex Karras, Jan Michael Vincent, The Sultan of Brunei, Lola Davidovich, Forrest Whitaker, Brigette Neilsen, Jesse Ventura

Feast of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

765 A.D.- Mayan Scientists hold a conference at Copan to discuss astronomy and adjust their calendar. By 1492 the Mayan civilization was already 2,000 years old. Their calendar was so perfect, the difference between it and our modern atomic clocks calculation of a lunar month is just 24 seconds! They used hieroglyphic writing but also a system of numbers including zero, which the Greeks and Romans never figured out. Among their surviving documents are calculations on the orbit of Venus. Tikal, one of their cities, covered 23 square miles ( Rome of the Caesars covered 8 ) and had a temple that was the tallest structure in America until the completion of the U.S. Capitol dome in 1863.

1205- Pope Innocent III lays down the law, that because they have rejected Christ, the Jewish people must be subjected to perpetual servitude and subjugation, It took several more centuries of oppression and holocaust for the Vatican to officially "forgive" Judaism in 1947. Pope John Paul II apologized in 2000.

1410-Battle of Grunwald, King Casimir Jagiello of Poland, Witold Wytautas of Lithuania and their Tartar allies defeated the German Teutonic Knights under Grand Master Ulrich Von Junnigen. The big statue in New York's Central Park of a polish king crossing two swords over his head, is of Jagiello (pronounced Ya-gew-wo).

1780- American Colonial General Benedict Arnold sneaked a coded message to British General Sir Henry Clinton. In it, he offered to betray the fortress of West Point to the British for 20,000 English pounds. Arnold wasn’t even West Point’s commander yet, but he expected Gen. George Washington to confirm him in the job any day. The only person who warned that Gen. Arnold might be up to something, was a female spy planted in British Headquarters in occupied New York. Her cover was kept so complete, that her name is lost to history. We only know her as agent “355”.

1795 - "Le Marseillaise" became officially the French national anthem.

1815- Napoleon boards HMS Bellerophon for the trip to St.Helena. On the trip he teaches himself English and makes friends with the British sailors to such an extent that they are reprimanded by their officers for being too friendly with him. He says to his Irish doctor O'Meara:" So you are a doctor and I am a general. How many men have you killed? I'll wager more than me!"

1863- Union leaders were so frustrated by the actions of Confederate guerrillas in Missouri and Kansas that they resorted to a controversial solution. They arrested the wives, sisters and girlfriends of the guerrillas and lodged them in Kansas City. They hoped to ship them to rebel held Arkansas, thinking this would draw off their menfolk. But on this day an unforeseen tragedy struck. The old Grand St Hotel they were in collapsed, killing many of the innocent women. The country was shocked and the rebels vowed revenge. Cole Younger lost his mother and two sisters. He never believed the collapse was an accident. Bloody Bill Anderson rode into battle tearfully shouting his baby sisters name.

1882- In Springfield Illinois, “The Crazy Old Lady” who lived alone in the big house with the curtains always drawn, finally died. Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of Abraham Lincoln had always been high strung and a little paranoid. Now, her spirit broken by her husbands and all her children dying. All except her eldest son Robert. And he kept trying to get her committed to a lunatic asylum before she spent all of the family fortune. Mary Todd Lincoln wore nothing but black, constantly wept, packed and unpacked trunks all day and lived on chloral hydrate, opium and other narcotics. This day she finally got her wish, to join her husband and family.

1915- A Secret Service agent was presented with a suitcase left by a German diplomat on a New York City subway seat. In the satchel was a complete list of known German spies and saboteurs working in the U.S., a nation still officially neutral in the war between Britain, France and Germany.

1938- Popeye cartoon "With the Jeep" introduced Eugene the Jeep. The funny little character later gave it’s name to the army’s new General Purpose Vehicle, the G.P. or Jeep.

1941- President Franklin Roosevelt sent federal mediator Stanley White to try and solve the labor strike between Walt Disney and his cartoonists.

1953- The film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes premiered starring Marylyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

1971- Producer Steve Krantz announced the production of the first X-rated cartoon, Fritz the Cat, to be directed by newcomer Ralph Bakshi.

1979- THE OIL CRISIS. In a nationwide address, President Jimmy Carter laid out the oil/gas crisis. He stated flatly that the U.S. and the world would be trapped in a dependence on diminishing stocks of foreign oil unless we moved fast to develop solar and other alternative fuels immediately. The next President, Ronald Reagan, ignored Carter’s initiatives and tore off the solar panels from the White House. And things have been fine since then, eh, boys & girls?

1982-Coca-Cola introduced Diet Coke. Coke officials are proud of the fact that within a year it's sales top that of Tab, but Tab was owned by Coke as well.( duh..?)

1997- Famed clothing designer Gianni Versace was murdered outside his Miami mansion by a deranged serial killer on a spree since leaving Minnesota. The killer, Andrew Cunanan, was later found in a houseboat with a self inflicted bullet in his head.

Yesterday’s Quiz: What national anthem contains the lines:" We will water our fields with impious blood (of the invader who intends to slit the throats of our wives and children)"..?

Answer: Yep, it's the Marseillaise. For the Bicentennial in 1989 First Lady Danielle Mitterand tried to have the song rewritten to change some of the more bloodthirsty parts, but no one would go for it. Tradition is too deep.

Pat and I were in Paris in 1979, during a big protest against the government. You don't realize how powerful a song that is, until you hear it sung with passion by hundreds of thousands of throats in the streets. Makes you want to punch someone or break a window.

We restrained ourselves, being guests, of course.