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April 16, 2007 monday
April 16th, 2007

I'm going to be on the road for the next few days, working in New York and Boston on the soundtrack for the TV series I'm directing. So if my blogs come a bit late, that's what I'm up to.

birthdays: King John II “The good” of France (1319), Elisabeth Vignee-Lebrun, Wilbur Wright, Charlie Chaplin, John Pierpoint Morgan, Kingsley Amis, Anatole France, Henry Mancini, Peter Ustinov, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bobby Vinton, Spike Milligan, animator John Halas, Edie Adams, John Millington Synge, Ellen Barkin, Hans Sloane*, Martin Lawrence is 42, Pope Benedict XVI is 80.

*Sir Hans Sloane was the chemist to Queen Anne of England circa 1700. He pioneered pharmacy, left his artifact collection to be the basis of the British Museum and produced an early recipe for milk chocolate. Sloane Square in London was named for him. The British name for Yuppies was called Sloane Rangers, not for Sloane himself but for all the terribly chic shops on Sloane Square.

1260- Chartres Cathedral completed.

1828- Spanish artist Francisco Goya died at 82 in Bordeaux, France. Years later when his remains were moved to Madrid it was discovered Goya wasn't alone in his grave. His friend Martin Goesochea's remains were in with him. Maybe there was a two-for-one sale..

1874- AMERICA'S CANNIBAL- Gold prospector Albert Packer went up into the Colorado Rockies with several friends to look for gold. They were stranded by blizzard conditions and reduced to eating their moccasins for food. On this day Packer, the only survivor, came down to civilization and admitted under examination that he and his friends resorted to cannibalism to survive. Upon further questioning Packer admitted he didn't always wait for his friends to die, he'd hatchet them in the head as they slept then fricassee them.. Packer became the only American ever convicted of cannibalism and the University of Colorado Student Grill is named in his honor.

1926- The Book-Of-The-Month-Club distributed it’s first selection-Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

1935- Fibber McGee and Molly debut on radio.

1943- BICYCLE DAY-In Basil Switzerland chemist Dr. Albert Hoffman discovered the hallucinogenic properties of LSD. He had synthesized LSD some years in 1938 before but couldn't figure out what to do with it. However, when he made up the drug the second time, he probably inhaled enough from it to start hallucinating. Since he had already tried
mescaline, he had a pretty good idea of what was happening to him, so he closed up his lab, got on his bicycle and pedaled home to Binnigen, a suburb on the southern edge of Baselstadt, a trip of four or five miles,hallucinating all the way. The next day he went back to the lab and made up a dose of LSD the size of a reasonable dose of mescaline, without realizing that that amounted to a tenfold overdose of LSD. Twenty minutes later he said 'Oh oh,' got on his bike and pedaled back to Binnigen. A scientist reader to this site added this: I believe the first hope for LSD was that it would produce an 'experimental psychosis,' which would allow scientists to study schizophrenia in otherwise 'normal' patients or subjects. That hope proved illusory, but Hoffman was always interested in its 'mind- expanding' effects and was still studying them when I knew him. He had become very interested in the relationship between ergot (wheat rust)
and LSD, and had done a great deal of research about the Oracle at Delphi. Delphi was also the site of the Delphic games, like the Olympics, and the winner or winners were given as their prize a handful of grain and an audience with the Oracle. Hoffman was convinced that the grain was contaminated with ergot and the audience with the Oracle took place under hallucination.

1947- The Zoom Lens patented.

1962- Walter Cronkite took over the job of anchor at the CBS Evening News, building a reputation for journalistic integrity almost equaled to Edward R. Murrow. Nicknamed the Most Trusted Man in America, many credit Cronkite for breaking the news to middle America that the U.S. was not going to win the Vietnam War, the first war lost in our history. President Lyndon Johnson said: If I lost Cronkite then I’ve lost middle America.” When Cronkite retired the redoubtable CBS News Division descent into tabloid stupidity and irrelevance began.

1983- Disney Channel debuted.