Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gratuitous Brunette: Winona Ryder

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On the occasion of her half-birthday*, it's a picture of Winona Ryder - for no other reason than I enjoy looking at it.

*Is there anyone out there unfamiliar with the concept of the half birthday?  Really?

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"Along Came Jones" by The Coasters

In honour of the 82nd birthday of Carl Gardner - founding member of doo-wop hitmakers The Coasters - here is one of the band's smash hits, Along Came Jones, from 1959; inspired by the 1945 Gary Cooper comedy-western film Along Came Jones, it features a fairly pointy-elbowed satire of the hoary cliches inherent in oaters.

Gardner started The Coasters with Bobby Nunn in 1955, after leaving The Robins at the behest of the songwriting/producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; his son Carl Jr. joined the group in 2005, and Carl Sr. is known to still occasionally perform with them - which is surely some kind of endurance record for rock and roll.
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Pop History Moment: Cook Lands In Australia


On this day in 1770 Lieutenant James Cook, master of the HM Bark Endeavour, arrived at Kurnell, in Australia, renaming it Botany Bay. After eight days there Cook's expedition then continued northwards; before leaving to return to England in August 1770 he put ashore on Possession Island in the Torres Strait off Cape York, where he formally claimed the eastern coastline he had discovered for the British Crown, naming it New South Wales.

Yet Cook was far from the first European to visit Australia; it had been first sighted in 1606 by Dutchman Willem Janszoon. Cook's discovery didn't even guarantee European settlement would take there; it would be nearly 18 years before Captain Arthur Phillip founded Port Jackson at Botany Bay - now called Sydney Harbour - in January 1788.
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POPnews - April 29th

[From the nimble pen of Al Hirschfeld comes this whimsical rendering of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's timeless classic musical My Fair Lady - featuring the stars of its Broadway and West End stage versions, Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews.]

1429 - Joan of Arc - having arrived to relieve the Siege of Orleans the previous day and rested that night at nearby Chécy - entered the city to great rejoicing.

1832 - Mathematician and political firebrand Évariste Galois was released from prison, having been arrested following a Bastille Day dust-up the previous July; little more than a month later the father of abstract algebra would be dead from wounds he received in a mysterious duel (possibly over the affections of Stéphanie-Felicie Poterin du Motel) at the age of just 20.

1862 - At the height of the American Civil War New Orleans fell to Union forces under Admiral David Farragut; for his trouble Farragut was created the first rear admiral in American history, without even considering the number of jokes such a title would inspire.

1864 - The Theta Xi fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

1882 - The 'Elektromote' - an early forerunner of the trolleybus - was tested in Berlin by Ernst Werner von Siemens.

1903 - 30 million cubic metres of limestone from Turtle Mountain killed 70 during the Frank Slide in Frank, Alberta; the last survivor of the slide, Gladys Ennis, died in 1995 at age 94.

1945 - Adolf Hitler married his long-time girlfriend Eva Braun in his Berlin Fuehrerbunker and designated Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor on the same day as the Dachau concentration camp was liberated by US troops.

1953 - The first experimental 3D-TV broadcast in the US was an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles' ABC affiliate KECA-TV.

1958 - The musical My Fair Lady - itself an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion - had its London premiere at the West End's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, following a record-breaking run on Broadway; reprising their roles in the production were Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle.

1967 - After refusing to be inducted into the US Army the previous day (citing religious reasons) Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title as Heavyweight Champ of the World.

1968 - The controversial musical Hair opened on Broadway.

1970 - While on a Royal Tour of Australia a sizable log was placed on the tracks where Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the rest of the royal party were traveling by train; details of what was an apparent assassination attempt (by person or persons unknown) weren't revealed until January 2009.

1975 - As part of Operation Frequent Wind the US began to evacuate its citizens from Saigon prior to an expected takeover by the North Vietnamese, prompting the Fall of Saigon and bringing the country's involvement in the Vietnam War to an end - events dramatized (or at least sung about) in the musical Miss Saigon.

1980 - Corazones Unidos Siempre (or Hearts United Forever) founded the Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc.

1986 - A fire at the central branch of the Los Angeles Public Library damaged or destroyed some 400,000 books and other items.

1992 - Riots erupted in Los Angeles following the acquittal of four police officers - Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Stacey Koon - charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King; over the next three days 53 people were killed and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

1993 - In an effort to pay for a catastrophic fire at Windsor Castle the previous November, the Queen announced that parts of Buckingham Palace previously off-limits to the public would be opened throughout the summer for an entrance fee of £8.

1999 - The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade was destroyed during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

2004 - Oldsmobile built its final car, ending 107 years of production.
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