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June 25th 2008 Weds
June 25th, 2008

Yo Nikolai, you got any freelance..?

Cartoon Brew blog is repeating the story that animators in Japan are forming unions and demanding better conditions. Could they be reading my book? Wow!

Workers of the World.... you know...

Seriously, it only makes sense that animation artists stick together in collective benevolent organizations. We are and always were an industrialized artform. Now that we use pixels instead of pencils, does not make it any different. We animators will always be treated as a tribe, no matter how special we may flatter ourselves to be. Our corporate employers goal will always be, in the main, dedicated to getting our talents for as little is possible. It's not personal, it's the way of the business world. It's part of the Push-Me, Pull You system of negotiation. To say you are above all such squalid dealings, just encourages the other side to push harder.

If writers, ballet dancers, symphony orchestras and movie directors, pretty creative jobs, can stick together and support their unions, what makes animators so damn unique that they can't?

Quiz: what is a Deus ex Machina?

Yesterday’s Quiz Answered Below: What does the term laissez-faire mean?
History for 6/25/2008
Birthday: George Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair ), Marc Charpentier, Lord Louis Mountbatten, General Hap Arnold, Cajun musician Clifton Chenier, Sidney Lumet, Walter Brennan, Willis Reed, George Abbott, Carly Simon, June Lockhart is 82, Alex Toth, Jimmy Dyne-o-Mite Walker, George Michaels, Mike Myers

1630 – The Fork introduced to American dining by Plymouth Gov Winthrop.

1835- Antoine Baron Gros was a celebrated painter under Napoleon and a friend of David and Ingres. But politics and tastes change. In a royalist postwar France dominated by Delacroix and Gericault, Baron Gros lived on forgotten and melancholy. This day the 64 year old artist drowned himself in the Seine.

1857- Writer Gustav Flaubert goes on trial for pornography in his first novel Madame Bovary. He escaped conviction and went on to his next book Salambo the Carthaginian princess who strangled herself with her own hair. Don’t try this at home girls!

1876- CUSTER'S LAST STAND called by the Sioux the Battle of the Greasy Grass- George Armstrong Custer and 300 of his 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the combined Sioux, Cheyenne nations (approximately 1,700 warriors).
There had been defeats of the Whites like this before: Fetterman's Massacre, The Little Rosebud Battle, but nothing captures the imagination like the Little Big Horn. And for Native-Americans it marks the last coming together of the tribes and the last great victory .The Ogalala Sioux, Hunkpapa, Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne all united to resist the violation of their sacred Black Hills. No U.S. Army commander ever expected so many different tribes could unite and field thousands of warriors at once. Custer trusted in his audacity. "Custer's Luck". The boy general –just 23 years old in the Civil War, he was always at the head of his men in costly, reckless attacks yet personally suffered nothing more severe than the flu. Now at age 36 his luck ran out.

Accounts by natives were sketchy and no one is sure just how Custer died. The last white soldier who saw him alive was a courier sent away with a message " Benteen, come up quick. Big Village. Bring packs". The trooper was an Italian immigrant named Giusepppi Martini who couldn’t speak English. The famous image of Custer standing to the last with Old Glory in hand was made up by an artist named Paxton for an Anheuser-Busch beer advertisement in 1877. One Crow Indian scout who escaped said Custer was the first casualty and that his being shot down panicked the troopers. Others say the last they saw of Custer he was crawling on all fours with blood trickling down his mouth. He was found in a pile of bodies with a bullet wound in the left side and one in the temple. The Indians didn’t even know they had killed Yellow Hair until told way later. The tribes afterwards dispersed and headed for Canada. The only 7th Cavalry survivor was Commanche, Capt. Mile’s Keough's horse. He was treated with honor by the army and fed a bucket of beer every payday for the rest of his life. Custer was hallowed with martyrdom. Ulysses Grant was quiet about the affair but privately thought it a badly botched operation. Sitting Bull was more blunt- "The soldiers were fools, they rode to their deaths." Mrs. Libby Custer lived until 1937 and met FDR. The last living eyewitness of the battle, Mrs. Kate Bighead of the Cheyenne who was taken on the battlefield by her mother at 4 years old, died in 1959.

1970- Toi Yo ta Hoooo! Richard Wagner's opera Die Walkure premiered in Munich.

1908- Famed New York architect Stanford White was having dinner at Madison Square Garden (back when it was still a garden, on Madison Ave. and still square) when he was shot to death by millionaire Harry Thaw, the husband of his mistress Evelyn Nesbitt. The eccentric Thaw was obsessed by White, hiring detectives to follow the artist and report his amorous pursuits. He would only date women who had dated White first. Thaw’s defense attorney’s got him acquitted of murder by reason of temporary insanity.
So instead of the electric chair Harry Thaw spent a few years in a mental home living on squab flambe' and champagne. He was cheered by the crowd when he was freed. The key defense witness was 22 year old Mrs. Evelyn Nesbitt-Thaw, one of the beautiful "Gibson Girls’. She gave juicy details of her kinky relationship with White, like the red velvet swing she would ride in the nude over the admiring architect’s head. After Thaw was released they divorced. Before Evelyn died of old age in 1967 she admitted that Stanford White was the only man she ever really loved. The incident was the basis for I.L.Doctorow's novel "Ragtime".

1910- First performance of Stravinsky's ballet "Firebird" by Diagheilev and his Ballet Russe. Stravinsky called the dancers as "A bunch of knock-kneed Lolitas".

1940- Young actor Ronald Reagan married actress Jane Wyman. This was back when he was a Liberal Democrat.

1944- Three weeks after the D-Day landings with 650,000 troops now in France, German Western Front army commander Von Runsdtedt still believed the main allied invasion hadn’t arrived yet.

1951- After losing a power struggle between himself and Dory Schary, Louis B. Mayer announced he was stepping down as head of MGM. Mayer in his time was the most powerful man in Hollywood. He kept an all white office modeled after Mussolini’s in Rome. His penchant for putting relatives in charge of the company’s departments caused the joke that MGM stood for Mayer-Ganz-Mishpochen, Yiddish for Mayer-And-His-Whole-Family.

1951 - 1st color TV broadcast-CBS' Arthur Godfrey from NYC to 4 cities.

1967- The "Our World" Beatles concert, the first television event to try a worldwide satellite linkup. They sing and record "All You Need is Love" live in front of an audience of 400.

1973- White House counsel John Dean testifies to the Congressional Watergate Committee "There is a Cancer on the Presidency." For the first time one of President Nixon's closest advisers hinted that the President himself was personally involved in the Watergate scandal.

1997- Disney's animated film Hercules released.

2008- While receiving the President of the Philippines at the White House, President Bush, considered how to praise the achievements of the Philippine people. He did so by commenting how good his chef was.
Yesterday’s Quiz: What does the term laissez-faire mean?

Answer: It means “let do”, to leave things alone. This was the traditional policy of Conservative Republicans and other free market capitalists in the US. to let Big Business police itself and work things out. When it fails, like Hoover’s policy after the Stock Market Crash, you get things like the Great Depression.