Monthly Archives: May 2012

May 27, 2012 – 207 Days Until Baktun 12

Survivalist Tip:  I wanted to return to the Countdown, but reduce it to a weekly announcement.  By this time, I think all of you should be well aware that a survivalist mentality is essential as December 21, 2012 approaches.  While there’s nothing pretty about being a survivalist, your individual health is still important.  And, one thing I feel is important is body lotion.  Stockpile as much of it as you can.  Keeping your skin hydrated with lotion will be critical while resting between periods of searching for food or disposing of the bodies of intruders.  This may seem kind of prissy for some folks, but skin is the largest organ of the human body, so you must keep it in good shape.  Healthy skin is resistant to peeling and cracks, which in turn, can ward off infections of a variety of viral agents, such as hepatitis, tetanus and gingivitis.  Skin hydration is especially important if your skin is normally, dry or you perspire heavily from outdoor activity or worrying about stupid in-laws.  Well-hydrated skin is also resilient to calluses, which can get infected if left untreated.  Remember, your body is a temple, so treat it like marble that needs to be polished and not a collection plate that gets passed around by hundreds of people.

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May 27 Notable Birthdays

If today is your birthday, “Happy Birthday!”


Author Herman Wouk (The Winds of War, Marjorie Morningstar) is 97.


Actor Christopher Lee (Dracula, The Mummy, The Far Pavilions) is 90.


Henry Kissinger (1973 Nobel Peace Prize-winner; U.S. Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon) is 89.


Author John Barth (Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor, Letters) is 82.


Lee Ann Meriwether (Miss America 1955; actress, Barnaby Jones, Batman) is 77.


Actor Lou Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman, Roots-Part Two, Sadat, Enemy Mine) is 76.


Actor Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues, Death of a Centerfold, The Liar’s Club) is 69.


Actor Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes, Fish, Home Boys, Twice Dead) is 47.

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On May 27…

1703 – After winning access to the Baltic Sea, Czar Peter I founded St. Petersburg as the new Russian capital.


1794 – Industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in New York City.


1818 – Amelia Jenks Bloomer, women’s rights advocate and newspaper publisher, was born in Homer, NY.


1878 – Dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, CA.


1894 – Author Dashiell Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County, MD.


1937 – Ceremonies marking the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge were held in San Francisco, CA.


1941 – The British navy sunk the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France, killing more than 2,000 men.


1994 – Two decades after being expelled from the Soviet Union, Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, returned to Russia.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Quote of the Day

“For the first time we can remember, a bureau of the federal government seems to be radically intruding on what the term of a church is.”

Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, explaining lawsuits by Catholic bishops and universities against new federal rules requiring them to furnish birth control coverage.

Is he kidding?  This is the same Roman Catholic Church that feels it has the right to tell grown people what to do in their own bedrooms.  And, this bastard is pissed off that the U.S. government is now telling them how to treat people?!

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Pictures of the Day

In the midst of this Memorial Day weekend, I want to acknowledge all the military troops in the U.S. and its allies who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq during the past decade.  At long last, those conflicts are winding down, and most military personnel are coming safely to their families.  Sadly, thousands of others are returning home in wheel chairs and body bags.  So, while our elected officials and media talking heads wrap themselves in the American flag and cry freedom and patriotism; while bleeding heart liberals worry more about what’s happening in Africa and India; and while the youth of our nation lounges around on their fat, lazy asses typing on cell phones and watching “American Idol,” here’s to the real heroes and heroines who’ve done the dirty work.  Please take a look at the video clip at the end.  It’s especially touching.


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May 26 Notable Birthdays

If today is your birthday, “Happy Birthday!”


Actor Jacques Bergerac (Twist of Fate, Les Girls, Gigi, A Global Affair) is 85.


Sportscaster Brent Musburger (ABC Sports, CBS Sports) is 73.


Drummer Garry Peterson (The Guess Who) is 67.


Singer – songwriter Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac: Dreams, Don’t Stop; solo: Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around [with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers], Leather & Lace [with Don Henley], Stand Back, Talk to Me) is 64.


Singer Hank Williams Jr. (All My Rowdy Friends Have Gone and Settled Down, Whiskey Bent and Hell-Bound, Family Tradition, Raining in My Heart) is 63.


Astronaut Sally Ride, first American woman in space: Challenger shuttle (1983), is 61.


Actress Genie Francis (General Hospital, North and South, Book I & II, Bare Essence) is 50.


Singer – songwriter Lenny Kravitz (Are You Gonna Go My Way?) is 48.


Actress Helena Bonham Carter (Mighty Aphrodite, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Howard’s End) is 46.

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On May 26…

1637 – During the Pequot War, an allied Mohegan and English force under Capt. John Mason attacked a Pequot village in Connecticut and massacred some 500 Indian adults and children.


1799 – Poet Aleksandr Pushkin was born in Moscow.


1864 – President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the Montana Territory.


1868 – At the end of a 2-month trial, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to convict President Andrew Johnson of impeachment charges levied against him by the House of Representatives 3 months earlier.


1886 – Singer – actor Al Jolson (The Jazz Singer) was born in Srednik, Russia.


1895 – Actress Norma Talmadge was born in Jersey City, NJ.  (Some sources also list her birth year as 1894.)


1896 – Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov was crowned Czar Nicholas II of Russia in Moscow.


1897 – Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, went on sale in London.


1907 – Actor John Wayne was born in Winterset, IA.


1913 – The Actors’ Equity Association was organized in New York City.

1977 – The man called “The Human Fly,” George Willig, scaled the World Trade Center in New York City, by affixing himself to a window washer mechanism and walking straight up until falling into police custody when he reached the top.


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Quote of the Day

“[North Carolina’s] Amendment 1 is ridiculous.  It’s an invasion of people’s rights.  North Carolina, why do you care if somebody wants to marry who they love?  Same sex marriage should be legal.  The fact it’s illegal is embarrassing.  Divorce rate is at least 50% between men and women, so don’t give me the values angle.  Making same sex marriage illegal is the same as having segregated drinking fountains.  Embarrassing.  The human race is embarrassing.”

– Phillip Jack Brooks, aka “C.M. Punk,” World Wrestling Entertainment champion, on North Carolina’s Amendment 1, which would ban gay marriage.

He eventually apologized for the outburst, but stands by his support for same-sex marriage.  He has his facts right: roughly 50% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce.

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In Memoriam – Eugene Polley 1915 – 2012

Eugene Polley with his “Flash-Matic” in 1997.

Eugene Polley, the inventor of the TV remote, died of natural causes on May 20 at a suburban Chicago hospital.  He was 96.  I’m not mocking him; the TV remote is truly one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, next to the automobile, air conditioning and television itself.  Before 1955, if you wanted to change channels – among the 3 or 4 that were available – you had to get up from the couch or chair and crank a knob.  But, the 1950’s saw the birth of the space age and the glorious technical innovations that came with it to make our lives easier.  Polley’s “Flash-Matic” debuted in 1955 and was considered a luxury option, like color TV.

Polley long felt he was denied proper credit for the remote control, said his son, Eugene Polley Jr.

The remote he invented used a beam of light directed at sensors in the corners of the set to change channels or turn the picture and sound on and off.

In 1956, another Zenith researcher, Viennese-born physicist Robert Adler, developed the Space Command remote.  The Space Command relied on a series of high-frequency chimes that keyed a sensor to change channels.  Both devices had drawbacks, but Adler’s design was embraced by Zenith.

Today’s infrared signal remotes, however, have more in common with Polley’s device, said John Taylor, a spokesman for Zenith.  “I think that there’s no question that Gene Polley is the father of the wireless remote control.  There are some news reports that made it seem like he was overshadowed by Dr. Robert Adler.  Zenith always considered them the co-inventors.”

Polley and Adler, who died in 2007, shared an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1997 for their contributions to Zenith’s introduction of the wireless remote.

Polley, a resident of Lombard, Illnois, was preceded in death by his wife, Blanche, and a daughter, Joan.  In addition to his son, Eugene Jr. of San Diego, he is survived by a grandson.

I was born in 1963 and actually remember what life was like before the TV remote control, just like I remember when telephones were used for talking to other people far away.  It’s amazing, though, how people take such technology for granted – especially younger folks.  Damn, I’m starting to sound old!

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