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Friday, January 30, 2015

The Cruelest Oscar Award Presentation of All-Time

Good Day World!

Editor’s note:

This is a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

Katharine Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.” This quote, by famed writer-critic Dorothy Parker, was put forth about an early performance of Katharine Hepburn.

As a young actress, Kate was also dubbed "box office poison.”

Born and raised to have an independent mind and spirit, young Kate broke the mold of every actress in history. She wore pants and no make-up, and refused to pose for pictures, grant interviews or sign autographs. She wasn't popular or well-liked in Hollywood.

But as we all know, she was, within a few short years, to become one of the most acclaimed and admired actresses in the history of Hollywood and the movies. She is truly now regarded as one of the movies' immortal figures- imitated, studied, and admired by any and every actress, young or old. To put it in simplest terms, Katharine Hepburn was the Meryl Streep of her time.

It was for the 1932-33 Academy Awards that Katharine received her very first Oscar nomination. Young Kate was nominated for her performance as “Eva Lovelace" in the movie Morning Glory.

Her nomination was surprising enough, and she didn't even bother to show up for the awards ceremony. (In retrospect, one wonders if she would have found the evening's show amusing.)

 (photo- Katherine Hepburn in Morning Glory.)

Host for the ceremony that year was legendary liberal humorist, Will Rogers. Rogers was quite possibly the most beloved comedian-humorist in American history.

He was definitely slanted left as a liberal, but conservatives loved him and were hardly ever offended by his humor. He showed so much common sense in his observations, no one took any offense at his remarks and barbs.

Rogers spent much of the evening making wisecracks about the Republicans, Hollywood big shots and phonies, even Oscars lobbying (this predated Jon Stewart's similar targets in his Oscar hosting stint by 73 years).

His rudest joke, however, was reserved for the awarding of the evening's Best Actress award.
That year, besides Katharine, there were two other nominees for Best Actress": Mae Robson for Lady for a Day and Diana Wynard for Cavalcade.

Rogers was handed the official envelope with the Best Actress winner listed on it. Upon receiving the envelope, Rogers opened it and summoned the other two nominees, May Robson and Diana Wynard, up on stage with him.

The two nominees, May and Diana, excitedly rushed up on stage. Of course, they thought they had both won, assuming that it was a tie. (A tie had happened just the previous year for the Best Actor award).

Instead, Rogers thanked both women for their performance, and announced that the award for Best Actress had been awarded to Katharine Hepburn. (Funny perhaps...but what a creep!)

As the two embarrassed women stood awkwardly on stage, the audience looked on, baffled and confused.

The crowd was stunned and responded with a round of half-hearted applause. One can easily imagine what the two ladies must have been thinking about Will Rogers as they awkwardly made their way back to their seats in the audience.

Hollywood eventually did warm up to Kate Hepburn, bestowing three more Oscars on her, more than any actress (or actor) in movie history. She also received 13 Oscar nominations, a record that stood until the perennial Meryl Streep smashed it with 16 (so far!).

Although she never bothered to show up at any of the Oscar ceremonies, Kate was genuinely moved. In 1998, she confessed that she felt touched by her Academy Awards. “They gave me their respect and their affection. It was a revelation. The the generous heart of the industry,” she said wistfully.

Her final film was 1994's Love Affair, a remake of an earlier classic. In 1991, she published her memoirs, Me: Stories of My Life, in which she told her story with characteristic candor and forthrightness.

Late in her career, she made several critically acclaimed appearances on Broadway.

Katharine Hepburn died on June 29, 2003 at the age of 96. Even after her death, she proved she could still win Oscars, when Cate Blanchett took home a statuette for playing her in The Aviator (2004). (This guest post originally appeared in Neatorama)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Remember the 47% You Dissed Last Time Romney? They’re Still Out There!

Good Day World!

News flash for Mitt Romney for President campaign:

There’s certain things people don’t forget when it comes to being insulted. American voters aren’t likely to forgive Mitt Romney’s comments in the last election for several reasons.

Who can forget Romney’s famous 47% gaffe that even he said “did real damage” to his campaign?

Thanks to the magazine, Mother Jones Americans got a candid peak of Mitt’s real feelings about segments of Americans.

The cat was out of the bag when when Mother Jones released the secretly-recorded videos of Mitt at a private fundraiser telling donors:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax.”

Romney’s revealing gaffes like “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. still won’t endear him to anyone.

Another memorable one-liner, “Corporations are people, my friend” Mitt said during a question-and-answer session at the Iowa State Fair in 2011.

It was an unscripted moment after people urged him to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to help fund social welfare programs followed by days’ worth of headlines.

What really amazes me about Romney’s possible third bid for the presidency is he (and his handlers?) must think Americans have short memories. I read where Mitt is going to “re-tool his campaign” this time around.

Unless there’s a sudden case of national amnesia, Mitt and his minions are going to experience the same rejection as the last election.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

History of ‘Don’t Throw the Baby out with the Bath Water’

Ever wonder where we get the saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” from?

Back in the day bathing was a luxury and labor intense, read more about that here.

The bath consisted of one large tub or something like a tub. Large buckets of water were fetched and heated then poured into the tub.

This in itself was hard work, which is why many took baths once or so a year! Baths were so labor intense that bath times were established for each member of the family.

The men bathed first, women next, then children and finally the baby. By the time the baby was put in the tub, which had been used by everybody in the family before, the water was so dirty you could actually lose the baby in it!

So that’s how we got, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!” And we worry about a little mud getting underneath the baby’s fingernails today! (source)

Why Prisons Are Called Universities of Crime

Good Day World!

In American prisons, and others throughout the world, terrorists are being breed like cockroaches.

"Prisons have been called universities of crime for a long time," said Mark Hamm, professor of criminology at Indiana State University and author of "The Spectacular Few: Prisoner Radicalization and the Evolving Terrorist Threat."

"That idea is simply being applied to terrorism so prisons might become universities of radicalization, and in some cases that has proven to be true."

They include:

  • Richard Reid, the would-be American Airlines "shoe bomber" from 2001, converted to Islam while in Britain's Feltham young offenders' institution.
  • Muktar Ibrahim, who attempted a second London transit attack in 2005, became radicalized in the same facility.
  • Spanish drug dealer Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras and Moroccan petty criminal Jamal Ahmidan were among those recruited by an al Qaeda-linked cell while serving sentences in Spain's Topas prison, later becoming co-conspirators in the 2004 Madrid train bombing.

The risk that jails could breed a fresh generation of radicals should sound alarm bells in the U.S., which has the world's largest prison population and the second-largest per capita. "We are the world's jailors," Hamm said.

There have been UImage: Abu Hamza in 2003.S. cases, including the 2005 discovery of Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, an Islamist group that robbed southern California gas stations with the aim of funding terrorist operations.

(Photo:Abu Hamza)

At southeast London's Belmarsh prison — which once housed hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza, who was jailed for life in the U.S.earlier this month — warders told an official House of Commons inquiry into radicalization [PDF link] that extremist views were "widely disseminated" among inmates but they struggled to monitor how far such ideas were adopted.

"Usually a tightly-knit, clandestine network of inmates with a charismatic leader begins to prosthelytize … getting young, more impressionable, more vulnerable inmates into more extremist ideology," Hamm said.

"But that network needs to be in place. In the case of the Madrid train bombing you can trace the influence back to one prison and one cell block and the social network between inmates."

Complicating the picture, some new inmates join religiously-affiliated networks for their own protection as they navigate the fearsome prison gang scene, coloring conventional faiths with an undercurrent of violence.

"The whole thing is built on a prison gang model … not only for Islamic groups, but also white supremacists," Hamm said. "In the U.S. we have the phenomenon of prison Islam, which is nothing to do with Islam in the real world.

It's a jailhouse Islam that mixes certain tenets of Salafist thought with American Islam in the Malcolm X tradition then it blends those with symbolism and the internal cohesion of street gangs into a very complex mix."

"You can cut the head off the snake, move the leader into another institution or you can just try to micro-manage the problem," Hamm said.

"In a prison with 3,000 convicts you've first of all got to identify the problem: How many are at risk? Who's doing it? What is the method?"

The history of Islamist radicalization in prisons stretches back more than half a century — jihadist icon Sayyid Qutb wrote extremist texts while jailed in Egypt in the 1950s [PDF link] — but the response stepped up only after Sept. 11, 2001 attacks put the issue onto the global agenda. (source)

It’s pretty clear to me that if we don’t shut down the terrorists cells in prisons, civilization – as we know it now – will cease to function.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Find out how much money big business spends to win your mind

Good Day World!

Forget lobbying.

When Washington, D.C.’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Take, for example, the American Petroleum Institute. The oil and gas industry trade group spent more than $7 million lobbying federal officials in 2012. But that sum was dwarfed by the $85.5 million it paid to four public relations and advertising firms to, in effect, lobby the American public — including $51.9 million just to global PR giant Edelman.

From 2008 through 2012, annual tax filings show, the API paid Edelman a staggering $327.4 million for advertising and public relations services, more than any other contractor. 

It’s been well-publicized how much industry spends on lobbying the government, but little is known about how much money goes toward influencing the public. In an effort to find out more,Center for Public Integrity reporters examined the tax returns for trade associations that spent more than $1 million on lobbying in 2012. The IRS requires the groups to report their top five contractors.

Of $3.4 billion in contracts reported by the 144 trade groups from 2008 through 2012, more than $1.2 billion, or 37 percent, went toward advertising, public relations and marketing services, more than any other category. The second-highest total, $682.2 million, or 20 percent of the total, was directed toward legal, lobbying and government affairs.

By industry sector, the biggest clients of PR, marketing and ad services were energy and natural resources associations. (Center for Public Integrity)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, January 26, 2015

The First Fax Machine & Jimmy Stewart

Jimmy Stewart

Good Day World!

I remember watching a classic movie with Jimmy Stewart; it was a movie from the late forties. Sadly I can’t remember the name.

But in the movie he needed a document faxed to him,or the man he was defending, was going to fry in the electric chair. Well, they did not use the term “fax” but it was the same function.

And I remember thinking how was that possible? Wasn’t the Fax Machine widely used in the 70’s and invented shortly before that?

The story goes that a priest in Florence, who was too radical for the church, and because of his radical views was forced to live in exile is responsible for the invention of the fax machine in the year 1857!

Giovanni Caselli appeared to be strange fellow to his neighbors, always tinkering with things, and his home was full of junk. The neighbors thought, they had a loony living amongst them for sure.

Giovanni Caselli

Not only was Caselli a priest, but he was also a scientist and the telegraph was the hot technology of the day. Caselli wondered if it were possible to send pictures over the telegraph wires.

The world thought he truly had lost his mind, but that did not stop Caselli from trying to do what he thought was possible.

In 1857 and over the course of six years Casselli perfected what he called the “Pantelegraph.” It was the very first fax machine for the world! It stood six feet tall and made up of swinging pendulums, batteries and wires.

The way the Pantelegraph worked was by passing an electrical current through an image, the signal was sent to a receiver that translated it onto a piece of treated paper.

The Emperor of France, Napoleon III was so awe-struck with this invention that he authorized its use on French telegraph lines. By 1868 the Pantelegraph was transmitting 110 faxes per hour! But the world was not quite ready for such an invention. It was seen as a novelty, not really practical, or a necessity.

The "Pantelegraph."

Then came the invasion of France by the Prussians in 1870 and the service was interrupted, and never to resume again. It would be another hundred years before the modern fax machine became ubiquitous.

So back to my movie with Jimmy Stewart, although the fax machine was not widely used until the 70’s, there were other fax machines that followed Caselli’s.

It turns out that RCA came up with “Radio Facsimile,” in the 1924; this one is actually the forerunner of the modern day fax machines we use today. So, now I understand how Jimmy was able to get that fax in that movie in the 40’s.

So when your fax machine rings and you see that image faxed from a remote part of the world to your desk, thank Giovanni Caselli who in 1857 never stopped trying until he got it to work. We can learn a lot from a person like that. (This article originally appeared in History Confidential)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Great news for coffee drinkers – check it out!

Good Day World!

I’ve got great news for the coffee crowd; now you can drink coffee before you go to bed and it won’t keep you up. That means you can drink coffee whenever you want.

Imagine brewing coffee as a nightcap. That’s what Deland Jessop says he and his wife have begun to do with Counting Sheep Coffee—a new product designed to allow coffee lovers to drink a cup before bed without being kept awake for hours.

When his wife complained that she couldn’t enjoy coffee after 3 p.m., Jessop turned his home into a makeshift lab to search for a possible solution. After experimenting with a variety of herbs and supplements, he says he stumbled upon valerian—a plant that has been used as a mild sedative in Europe for centuries. He mixed it with decaf to mask the pungent smell, and sleep coffee was born.

Jessop notes that Counting Sheep Coffee is a food product, not a drug to help with sleep. Valerian is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food ingredient.

Experts don’t know exactly why the plant such a potent sleep-inducer, but there’s little known risk of side effects (other than the obvious drowsiness), says University of California San Francisco associate professor Stephen Bent.

“In the studies that have been done, it’s been show to be safe,” he says. “It has a long traditional history of being used to induce sleep.”

The product first appeared at Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2013, and is now sold in several regional supermarkets. (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Athletes training with pot – why not?

Good Day World!

Imagine the following training session using marijuana for athletes:

Okay class, are you ready to get high?

Toke up! That’s it! Big deep breaths. Exhale. Inhale.”

Sound too crazy to be true?  

Robin Williams once joked, "the only way it's (marijuana) a performance-enhancing drug is if there's a big f---ing  Hershey bar at the end of the run," right?

Believe it or not, marijuana is actually helping some people perform better at certain sports. There are people that say training while high has helped them unlock new performance gains.

In November, Men's Journal interviewed elite triathlete Clifford Drusinsky, a Colorado gym owner who also leads training sessions fueled by marijuana edibles.

"Marijuana relaxes me and allows me to go into a controlled, meditational place," Drusinsky told Men's Journal. "When I get high, I train smarter and focus on form."

Outside Magazine correspondent Gordy Megroz wrote in the February issue of that magazine that while he has never been much of a pot smoker, he heard enough close friends — especially skiers — say that getting high helped their performance that he decided to give it a shot.

In the World Anti-Doping Association's current ban on competing while stoned, the organization cites studies that show marijuana can decrease anxiety and increase airflow to the lungs by acting as a bronchodilator, something that decreases resistance in the airways. (source)

There isn't much research available yet on how pot affects performance. As long as marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency, it's incredibly difficult for researchers to study its effects.

Meanwhile it should be interesting hearing some more stories about athletes training with pot. Who would have thought?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, January 23, 2015

How Fat, Big Boobs, and Propriety gave us The Stethoscope

First stethoscope

Good Day World!

Before there were X-Rays, MRI’s, Sonograms
and Cat Scans, doctors had no way of knowing what was happening inside a human body.

All they had to go on was the external signs such as skin pigmentation, urine, feces and all that fun stuff. Gross, I know.

Another method doctors used to learn what was happening inside a patient’s body was placing their ear directly in contact with the body.

With their ear they were able to listen to the Heart, lungs and abdominal areas.

Doctors desperately needed a better way of diagnosing diseases.

A very young French doctor named Rene Laennec was one of the first doctors to perform autopsies. This is one way to see what’s happened in the body, but a bit late to be of any help.

Dissecting his former patients taught Laennec a great deal about diagnosis and causes of diseases, known as pathology.

From crime TV shows and movies we’re familiar with the term“pathologist report”.

In the 1800′s Dr Laennec studied dead bodies inside and out. Desperately seeking answers. He specialized with the lungs, liver, skin and a bit of the heart.

He was very passionate about pathology. His dedication paid off with one of the greatest medical discoveries ever, up to that time.

Rene was a multi-talented man. He played music (the flute), he was skilled with woodwork, and on the side, he did some doctoring. A lot of doctoring.

His musical skill helped discover his invention (His knowledge of acoustics:the science of sound). His woodworking helped him create it, as you’ll see in a minute.

He once observed some kids playing with a long stick which they put up against their ears and then tapped with a pin to hear the sound vibrate through the stick. Acoustics.

He took note.

Once upon time a chunky young female patient went to see Dr Laennec, apparently with heart issues. The good doctor felt a bit awkward putting his ear against the girl’s well endowed chest. Well, I’ll let the doctor tell you in his own words:

“In 1816, I was consulted by a young woman laboring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case percussion and the application of the hand were of little avail on account of the great degree of fatness. The other method just mentioned [the application of the ear to the chest] being rendered inadmissible by the age and sex of the patient, I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics, and fancied, at the same time, that it might be turned to some use on the present occasion.”

The ear-to-body method was ineffective with obese people.

The doctor found an ingenious solution.

Laennec examing a crumb cruncher by  with his stethoscope. The picture is taken fromm a painting by Robert A. Thom, copyrighted in 1960.

He rolled up several pieces of paper to form a tube-like device.

It was kind of like the cardboard roll that paper towels are wrapped around and remains when the paper towels are finished.

He placed one end to the girl’s chest and the other to his ear and thus the Stethoscope was born. The year… 1816.

Dr Rene experimented with different materials before deciding to use wood.

With his woodworking skills he managed to create the first stethoscope, himself.

By 1819 the stethoscope was made available to all doctors.

The stethoscope became the most crucial instrument in the diagnosis of diseases. It was all the rage by 1850′s.

Technology moved slowly in those days, it wasn’t until the 1890′s when new materials like rubber was used.

Ironically, the thing that doctors rail against (obesity), is the very thing that lead to a great medical discovery. (Post written by: H. L. Ortiz, Guest Blogger)

Time for me to walk on down the road….


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Loving Libraries and Why We’ll Always Need Them

Good Day World!

Today’s subject is libraries.

Growing up, I lurked about in those silent repositories of age-old wisdom for countless hours. My respect for libraries grew with each passing year. I will always have a soft spot for them.

Libraries are evolving with the times, but they still face numerous challenges.

New technologies are changing the services that libraries provide, for example, online reference, instruction, document delivery, user-initiated library loan, direct borrowing and self-checkout.

At least one librarian sees the shift to user-initiated services as analogous to fast food, a cheapening or devaluing of what libraries provide, hence the phrase "the McDonaldization of libraries."

I don’t see it that way however. Libraries will always represent knowledge, regardless of how it’s presented. We need libraries. Libraries are free. But all Americans don’t have access to them. The following article is an example of that:

Libraries, Literacy, and the Poor

A depressing opinion article in the New York Times highlighted a study showing low access to books among poor children in Philadelphia, as well as a nonprofit organization called First Book that tries to put new books in poor children’s hands.

The study shows that there aren’t many books for sale near poor children in Philadelphia, and that if there were a lot of families couldn’t afford them. It also demonstrates that even when there are school and public libraries around, they have many fewer books than such libraries in Philadelphia’s wealthier parts of town.

In other words, a lot of time and expense went into proving that poor kids don’t have as much of anything as rich kids. This kind of thing might be truly surprising to tenured professors at big research universities, but not to anyone else. (Full story here)

For those that love reading and collecting literature, a library can be a magical place of the imagination. It's a great place to find volumes on almost every imaginable topic. Library patrons may have a variety of reasons for visiting the library.

All of the great civilizations in the world have gathered information about their history. Without those repositories of knowledge we would have never known about the achievements of Rome, Greece, Persia, and the rest.


X-Rays Help Decipher Secrets in 2,000-Year-Old Papyrus Scrolls

Hundreds of ancient papyrus scrolls that were buried nearly 2,000 years ago after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius could finally be read, thanks to a new technique.

There will always be a need for libraries. I’ve heard the argument that libraries are no longer necessary thanks to technology like the internet. It’s a weak argument coming from drones with other agendas.

Time for me to walk on down the road…