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July 14, 2007 sat.
July 14th, 2007

A funny little story for Bastille Day:

In the Humphrey Bogart movie Casablanca (1943), there is a memorable sequence in Rick's nightclub where a group of Nazi officers led by Conrad Veight tries to sing a Nazi song. Resistance leader Paul Heinried rallies the club patrons to a rousing rendition of Le Marseillaise that drowns them out. The song the Germans sang was Watch on the Rhine, a First World War song. Director Michael Kurtiz had wanted them to sing the Nazi Deutschland Uber Alles, or the Horst Wessel song, but the Warner legal department stopped them. Apparently the song was copyrighted! We can be at war with the Nazis and drop bombs on them, but we don't want to get sued by them!

Aux Armes, Citoyens!

I'm sorry Rick, but it'll do you no good. Warner Bros still won't greenlight Osmosis Jones II

Birthdays: Issac Bashevis Singer, Mr. Maytag, inventor of the electronic washing machine-1857, Emiline Pankhurst, Woody Guthrie, Gerald Ford, Ingmar Bergman is 88, Jerry Rubin, Scott Rudin, Rosie Grier, Harry Dean Stanton, Polly Bergen, Gustav Klimt, Terry Thomas, Jimmy Hoffa, Dave Fleischer, Bill Hanna, Walt Stanchfield , Joel Silver producer of the Matrix and Die Hard movies.

1415-Joanna II, Queen of Naples called Joanna la Loca (Crazy Joanie), allows the prostitutes of Avignon to form their own guild. Solidarity Forever.

1756- In the opening moves of the French and Indian War, the French cross Lake Ontario and captured Fort Oswego. The French commander Vaudreuil wrote: The cries and howlings of our Canadians and Indians soon made the defenders decide to surrender."
Gee, howling Canadians scare me too.

1789-BASTILLE DAY-THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. In France the anger of the common people over economic hardship and arrogant indifference of the King and nobility finally exploded in mass violence. While poor people literally starved to death all King Louis XVI could think of was to trim the yearly allowance for the Royal Lapdogs. The focus of the people’s hate was the Bastille, a huge fortress- prison that towered over Paris rooftops, her cannon aimed at the people in the streets. The Parisians got guns from the Invalides and stormed the prison. Ironically the royal prefect was intending to phase out the prison anyway. When the gates were opened only a handful of petty thieves came out including a lunatic who shouted:"I am God!" But the symbolism was what counted. They almost liberated the Marquis De Sade but he had been moved to the fortress of Saumur just two weeks before. If you ever visit Paris don't try and look for the remains of the Bastille, the people demolished the building and paved streets over it. It’s key was given by Lafayette to George Washington and its at Mt. Vernon. Miles away at Versailles Louis XVI had just written in his diary- July 14th 1789-" Nothing" when he heard the commotion he said:" What is that ? A revolt?" The Duke de la Rochfoucauld said:" No Sire, a revolution!"

1849-BLACK SHIP DAY-Commodore Perry sailed into Yedo Bay and convinced the Japanese to open trade by threatening to shell Yokohama. This ends Japan's 300 year old isolation from the outside world. The Shogun's envoys receive the Americans by laying straw mattes under their feet and talking to them in a special pavilion. The Yankees thought this was special treatment but actually after they left the mattes and building were burned so they could say the foreigner's feet never polluted Japanese soil.

1850 - 1st public demonstration of ice made by refrigeration

1853 – In emulation of the London World Exposition at the Crystal Palace the 1st US World's fair opens at the Crystal Palace NY.

1862- Every old sailors worst nightmare came true. This day the US Navy did away with the sailors daily rum ration, in effect outlawing all alcohol on a ship except for medicinal purposes. Spirits were the preferred drink on ships since ancient times because drinking water could give you a myriad of diseases: cholera, dysentery, etc. but no bugs can live in alcohol.

1868-Seward's Folly- Congress authorized the purchase of Alaska from Russia.

1881-BILLY THE KID SHOT- Fort Sumner New Mexico sheriff Pat Garrett hid in a closet in the Kid's hotel room and shot him in the back as he was taking his boots off. Billy's last words were:" Who's there?" Backshooting was how Billy killed most of his victims. He was 21. After firing off his guns Pat Garret panicked and rushed out into the street without waiting to see their effect. Billy had such a lethal reputation that a small crowd stood in fear outside his room for nearly an hour until they were sure the Kid wasn't just playing possum but was really dead. Even though Garret was practically illiterate he wrote several best selling books on the incident, heavily exaggerated by pulp ghostwriter Ned Buntine. Eventually Pat Garret too was backshot, this time in an argument over some goats on his ranch.

1892- Civil War veterans who were wounded in service were awarded a $50 pension by the government. Female nurses of that conflict were awarded a $12 pension. Satirical writer and social critic Ambrose Bierce returned his money with the note"Thank you but this was not part of the original contract when I signed on to become an Assassin for my Country."

1908- The Adventures of Dollie premiered, the first movie of D.W. Griffith.

1921-Sacco & Vancetti convicted. These men were Italian immigrants and socialists who were accused of the murder of a Massachusetts storeowner. The evidence was slight but hey, they were foreigners and espoused lefty politics. Despite protests around the world from folks like Picasso, George Bernard Shaw and Helen Keller they were electrocuted. Folksinger Woody Guthrie wrote a dozen ballads in tribute to Sacco & Vancetti." Let me sing you a ballad of Sacco-Vancetti, pour me some wine and eat some spaghetti..."

1933- "Well Blow Me Down"- Max Fleischer's first "Popeye the Sailor" cartoon debuted. Vaudvillian Red Pepper Sam provided his salty mumbles throughout the post-sync track. When Sam asked for more money than Max Fleischer thought he was worth, he replaced him with assistant animator Jack Mercer, who was the voice ever after.

1946 - Dr Ben Spock's "Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care" published

1948- The Israeli Army overran Nazareth.

1951 - 1st color telecast of a sporting event (CBS-horse race)

1951 –Triple Crown Winner Citation becomes 1st horse to win $1,000,000 in races.

1955-The Kaarman Ghia debuted. Volkswagen wanted an "image car" to compete with the sleek American designs like the Corvette and Thunderbird. So they subcontracted the Kaarman motorbus company who engaged an Italian design firm named Ghia and the distinctive little coupe was born.

1967 - The new band called the Who began a US tour as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits.

1980- The National Republican Party Presidential Convention nominated former California Governor, actor and SAG president Ronald Reagan. The GOP under Robert Strauss & Lee Atwarer completed restructuring itself after the disaster of Watergate by creating a new-conservative alliance of Sunbelt rightwingers, Christian groups and Southern Dixiecrats.. Old Republican stalwarts who disagreed with the ultra conservative agenda- Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Lowell Weicker were out in the cold. At 69 Reagan was the oldest man to ever run for the presidency. He said of the convention:" It’s the first time in a long while I saw myself on television in prime time." When the former Warner contract actor first ran for public office in the 1960’s someone asked mogul Jack Warner "what do you think of Ronald Reagan for President?" Warner replied:" Nah, Jimmy Stuart for President. Ronald Reagan for his best friend!"