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courtesy of Dreamworks Animation.

I went to the crew party for KUNG FU PANDA last night. I was very taken with the film. It had great art direction and color design and I've always been a great fan of the storyboards of Jennifer Yuh Nelson. I was so happy to see her ideas come to the screen so completely. I worked with her back on Spirit. She would do these very strong storyboards, but they always wound up not using them or watering them down. Now I feel I'm really seeing the dynamic energy of her work. Hers are the opening 2d sequences, done by James Baxter Studio.

The animation also had great facial work and I actually liked the celeb voices like Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. For once I didn't feel the star behind the voice, but could just enjoy the character. But I didn't think Angelina Jolie and Lucy Liu contributed much to their characters. But overall it was a lot of fun. Good simple story well told, with some very strong visuals. Congratulations to the whole crew. It's going to give Pixars Wall-e some real competition. I wish them all well.
Quiz: What is a Screaming Meamie?

Yesterday’s Quiz: When he was a Navy fighter pilot in World War Two, what was the nickname George Herbert Walker Bush was called by his squadron mates?
History for 5/30/2008
Birthdays: Czar Peter the Great, Benny Goodman, Mel Blanc, Stepin Fetchit, Keir Dullea, Boris Pasternak, Irving Thalberg, Milt Neil, Howard Hawks, Gale Sayers, Michael J. Pollard, Wynonna

1431- At Place de Vieux-Marche’, in English controlled Rouen, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. She was only 19. The Maid of Orleans was made a saint in 1920. Her last request was for a priest to hold up high a Crucifix so she could pray aloud above the flames. When one English knight watched the maid call out to Christ as she died he exclaimed in grief: "Brothers, we are lost because I think we have just killed a Saint! ".

1593- English playwright Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in an argument over a restaurant check at the Bulls Tavern in Depford. Marlowe, whose plays included “Tamburlane” and “Dr Faustus", was one of Shakespeare's competitors and found time for some espionage on the side. Writer Sir Anthony Burgess theorized there may have been more spy-stuff to this case than not wanting to pay for ale & kippers. The murderer, Ingram Frizer, was quickly pardoned by Queen Elizabeth I and Marlowe was buried in an unmarked grave.

1787- THE CRUCIAL VOTE in creating the U.S. Constitution. The delegates of the thirteen states (actually twelve, Rhode Island refused to participate) had originally come to Philadelphia to iron out some bugs in the system called the Articles of Confederation.
On this day they were instead convinced to accept “the Virginia Plan” authored by James Madison and strongly backed by Alexander Hamilton. In effect, they voted to scrap the entire government used up till then and create a new strong central government with a two chamber Congress based on the Roman Senate and an elected chief magistrate called, at first, 'The Executive" and later the President. Some politicians not attending the meeting, like Patrick Henry and Sam Adams, were outraged. Thomas Jefferson, then ambassador in Paris, was dubious about the elected-president idea. “So they’ve decided to saddle us with a Polish King” he quipped, meaning an elected figurehead monarch with no real power. Later during a breakfast with Washington Jefferson asked, “why did you agree to a two-house legislature?” Washington replied:” Why do you pour your tea on to your saucer?” To cool it” Jefferson replied. Washington said:” So hot laws from the House will be cooled in the Senate.” Aaron Burr wrote:” Same old pork, different sauce.”

1806- ANDREW JACKSON KILLS CHARLES DICKINSON IN A DUEL. -the hotheaded Jackson challenged Dickinson after he welched on horseracing bet and made insulting remarks about Jackson’s wife Rachel Jackson. In Long County Kentucky they faced off with pistols at ten paces. Dickinson got off a shot first. Eyewitnesses said you could see the puff of dust from Jackson's jacket where the bullet entered his ribs. Amazingly, instead of falling Jackson just coldly stood there. He then lifted his gun and drilled Dickinson dead. Jackson would carry the lead ball in his chest for the rest of his life, alongside two others earned in Indian wars. When asked why didn’t he forgive Dickinson and shoot wide, He replied: "I'd have killed him even if he had put a bullet in my brain!"

1821 - James Boyd patents Rubber Fire Hose.

1848 William Young patents the ice cream freezer.

1883- A rumor among the strollers on the Brooklyn Bridge that the bridge was falling causes a panic and 12 people are trampled. Young street kid Al Smith recalled being under the bridge and seeing a rain of bowler hats and parasols as the crowd pushed and shoved.

1930- The Lockheed Terminal rededicated as Burbank Airport.

1955- The New York chapter of the Catholic League of Decency pressured Loews Theater on Broadway to take down a giant 30-foot billboard of Marilyn Monroe trying to push her skirt down.

1972- Director choreographer Bob Fosse filmed a live performance of Liza Minelli’s one-woman show Liza with a Z. It was telecast in Sept. and became a sensation.

1994 - Death of Baron Marcel Bich, Italian-born French engineer and industrialist who created an empire through his disposable BIC pens, lighters and razors.
Yesterday’s Quiz: When he was a Navy fighter pilot in World War Two, what was the nickname Lt. George Herbert Walker Bush was called by his squadron mates?

Answer: His nickname George Herbert Walker Bush. The other pilots loved this Yale BlueBlood Preppy guy with the patrician name.