Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Your Majesty

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Queen turns 84 today, and of all the words I have written about her, and of all the words I will write about her, the four most sincere of them are: long may she reign.
share on: facebook

"Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure

For three decades now Robert Smith (born on this day in 1959) has been the voice of disaffected loners everywhere; before their were goths - before art school chic went mainstream, and long before boys like Noel Fielding and Russell Brand were ratting their hair and slathering on makeup with any regularity - even as England was being overrun with punks in 1976, he and his rag-tag band were The Cure...

So even as the band was attaining its greatest popularity, more than a decade after they were formed, Smith's angst, like his art, was holding up a mirror to the band's yearning fans. With the same kind of cheek that drove Morrissey of The Smiths to croon Never Had No One Ever in front of a screaming crowd ready to acquiesce to his every whim sexual or otherwise, Robert Smith was warbling Why Can't I Be You? - from The Cure's 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me - at a massed assemblage of his own wannabes.
share on: facebook

Pop History Moment: The Seattle World's Fair Opened

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Seattle World's Fair, or Century 21 Exposition, opened on this day in 1962; the fair's enduring symbol - the Space Needle - is still a popular tourist attraction in that city, as is the city's monorail. The fair was likewise immortalized on celluloid, in the Elvis Presley film It Happened at the World's Fair (1963) which also marked the screen debut of Kurt Russell.
share on: facebook

POPnews - April 21st

[Peter Paul Rubens really outdid himself with this fanciful rendering of carbohydrate-enhanced tots Romulus and Remus, who were said to be the sons of the vestal virgin Rhea Silvia and the god of war, Mars; rather than have them killed, the legend goes, their mother abandoned them on the banks of the River Tiber, whereupon the river deity Tiberinus delivered them safely to a she-wolf who suckled them and raised them as her own. Considering what must have been a fairly ghastly time in foster care, together they founded a great city which Romulus reigned over as its first King. Aside from the fact that he had to kill Remus to do it, of course, it would have been idyllic, although following his own death he was deified as Quirinus - the divine persona of the Roman people - so I guess in the end they forgave him... Unless it's all a great big metaphor like the rest of religion and the twins were actually fathered by an Army officer and raised by a prostitute (who were known as 'she-wolves'); either way, it goes a long way towards proving that the surreal films Federico Fellini made about Rome were actually, as he has insisted, 'documentaries'.]

753 BCE - Romulus and Remus are traditionally considered to have founded Rome.

43 BCE - At the Battle of Mutina - waged to avenge the murder of Julius Caesar - Mark Antony was again defeated in battle by Aulus Hirtius (having lost the Battle of Forum Gallorum to him the previous week), although Hirtius was himself killed; while Antony failed to capture Mutina, Decimus Brutus (one of Caesar's assassins) was murdered shortly afterwards while escaping to Gaul.

1073 - Pope Alexander II died; he was succeeded by Gregory VII the following day.

1109 - Having been sent into exile by both William II and Henry I in the years since his enthronement in December 1093 Anselm of Canterbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, died; he was succeeded by Ralph d'Escures.

1142 - Pierre Abélard - of Héloïse and Abelard fame - died at the priory of St. Marcel, near Chalon-sur-Saône; initially buried there, his remains were later given secretly to Héloïse, who was herself buried beside them after her death in May 1164. Their tomb can be found in the Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris, although there is some debate as to where they are actually buried.

1509 - Henry VIII ascended the throne of England upon the death of his father, Henry VII.

1792 - Tiradentes - a revolutionary and leader of the movement for Brazilian Independence - was hanged and quartered in Rio de Janeiro at a square which now bears his name, the Praça Tiradentes. The day is now celebrated as a holiday in Brazil.

1809 - Two Austrian army corps were driven from Landshut by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon as two French corps to the north held off the main Austrian army on the first day of the Battle of Eckmühl.

1836 - At the Battle of San Jacinto, during the Texas Revolution, forces of the Republic of Texas under Sam Houston defeated the army of Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

1868 - Henry James O'Farrell - the Irish-born Australian who'd attempted to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh on March 12th - was executed for his efforts, despite the best efforts of his lawyer Butler Cole Aspinall and the intercession of the Prince himself.

1918 - World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen - better known as The Red Baron - was shot down and killed over Morlancourt Ridge, near the Somme River; for many years Canadian Captain Arthur 'Roy' Brown was considered the source of Richtofen's fatal shot, but a new theory indicates it may have been Australian Sergeant Cedric Popkin who actually downed the destructive Hun.

1922 - The first Aggie Muster was held by Texas A&M University as a remembrance for fellow alumnus (known colloquially as Aggies) who had died in the previous year; the date chosen is also San Jacinto Day, the commemoration of the Battle of San Jacinto during which Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836.

1926 - A daughter was born to Britain's Duke and Duchess of York in their home at 17 Bruton Street in London... None that day could have known that this infant would one day not just be queen but one of Britain's greatest sovereigns ever.

1960 - Brasília, Brazil's capital, was officially inaugurated when, at 9:30 am, the Three Powers of the Republic were simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.

1962 - The Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition) opened, making it the first World's Fair in the United States since World War II.

1966 - The visit by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to Jamaica is an event now celebrated as Grounation Day by the Rastafari movement.

1967 - A few days before the general election in Greece, Colonel George Papadopoulos led a coup d'état against the government of Georgios Athanasiadis-Novas, establishing a military regime that lasted for seven years. The catalyst for the coup was the earlier dismissal of former Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou by King Constantine II, an affair known as the Apostasia of 1965.

1970 - The Hutt River Province Principality, near Geraldton, seceded from Australia.

1971 - Haiti's dictator François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier - who ruled that country from 1957 until his death - died; he was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, who managed to govern until being chased into exile in February 1986.

share on: facebook