Saturday, October 09, 2010

Remembering... Aimee Semple McPherson

Born a Methodist in Canada on this day in 1890, in her short 53 years on Earth Aimee Semple transformed herself into a Pentecostal American, as well as one of the most famous women of her day. In the intervening years, however, she is credited with the enormous growth in popularity of the evangelical Pentecostalist movement in the United States and therefore at least partly to blame for that tyrannical and bigoted cancer currently devouring the American soul.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketHer Foursquare Gospel church in Los Angeles was the Scientology Center of its day, attracting 5,300 worshipers three times a day, seven days a week, including nearly as many Hollywood devotees as did its nearest rival, the Seventh-Day Adventists.

She was also the first woman issued a broadcast license, and reached untold numbers of others via the radio waves of KFSG.

Yet it wouldn't be long before the temptations of both Mammon and the flesh undermined her ministry, as it often does for the holier-than-thou... A much-publicized incident in which she was reportedly abducted in 1926 has never been suitably explained, and her failure to explain what happened to her during her 35 days missing turned the press against her. In 1931 she married a man whose ex-wife was still living, in contravention of the rules of her own church. Through it all, there were allegations of financial malfeasance; even if they're untrue, McPherson never lived in anything less than luxury.

Still, she kept on preaching; it was after giving one such sermon in September 1944 that Aimee Semple McPherson was found dead in a Berkeley, California, hotel room of an overdose of barbiturates. Naturally, rumours of suicide abounded, but what really happened to her then (as what really happened to her in 1926) will now never be known.
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Gratuitous Brunette: Brandon Routh

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As actors go, one suspects birthday boy Brandon Routh of being something of a one-hit wonder. However, as one-hit wonders go, at least he's passably agreeable to look at in the meantime. Call it the curse of Superman if you must...
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"Working Class Hero" by John Lennon

I have no idea what the genesis of this video is, but I love the song, and the images correspond beautifully, so here it is...

John Lennon wrote Working Class Hero for inclusion on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, his first solo album after leaving The Beatles; it was instantly controversial, since it contained the f-word, and the d-words who normally disapprove of such things are also too often the ones in charge. Still, since controversy guarantees longevity, the song has been frequently covered. Arguably the best of these was by Marianne Faithfull, whose version is the highlight of her 1979 album Broken English, although Green Day recently offered their own take for the 2007 charity album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.

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In Memoriam: John Lennon

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In the normal course of events, the journey from scouse to secular saint ought to take a lot longer than the 40 years in which John Lennon managed it, beginning on this day in 1940. But then, Lennon was an exceptional man: not merely sensitively attuned to suffering, but capable of lyrical genius in service of relieving that suffering, and possessed of just enough faults so as not to make him insufferable.
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POPnews (US) - October 9th

[The 1919 World Series was fixed by New York gambler Arnold Rothstein through an intermediary - former boxing champion Abe Attell; player Arnold 'Chick' Gandil was able to get the rest of his team-mates in on the scheme in order to get back at cheapskate Black Sox owner Charles Comiskey.]

1701 - Yale University, originally known as the Collegiate School, was chartered.

1776 - Father Francisco Palou dedicated Mission San Francisco de Asis, which he'd founded on June 29th.

1837 - A meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy established the U.S. Naval Institute.

1888 - The Washington Monument opened to the public.

1919 - When the Chicago Black Sox 'lost' the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, the revelation that players had fixed the series caused a scandal which reverberates to this day; the events of the fix were written about in Eliot Asinof's 1963 book 8 Men Out, which was later adapted into John Sayles' 1988 film Eight Men Out.

1969 - In Chicago, the National Guard was called in for crowd control as demonstrations continued in connection with the trial of the Chicago Eight, which had started on September 24th.

1992 - A 13-kilo meteorite landed in Peekskill, New York, totalling a red 1980 Chevy Malibu belonging to Michelle Knapp.

1995 - An Amtrak Sunset Limited train was derailed by neo-fascist saboteurs near Palo Verde, Arizona, in retaliation for the Waco Siege in 1993.

2001 - A second mailing of letters tainted by anthrax was sent from Trenton, New Jersey, escalating the 2001 anthrax attack; unsolved for nearly 7 years, in August 2008 Bruce Edwards Ivins committed suicide rather than be arrested by the FBI for the crime.
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Pop History Moment: The Assassination of Alexander I of Yugoslavia

On this day in 1934 Yugoslavia's King Alexander I was assassinated during an official visit to the French port city of Marseilles by Vlado Chernozemski, who also shot the chauffeur; also killed in the attack was France's Foreign Minister Louis Barthou, who was accidentally shot by a French policeman in the ensuing melee. Chernozemski was himself felled by a blow from a mounted policeman's sword, then set upon by the crowd.

Amazingly, the entire thing was caught on film, and is shown above...
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POPnews - October 9th

[It was Norway's Helge Ingstad and his wife Anne Stine Ingstad who
first posited that Leif Ericson's settlement in Vinland had been at
L'Anse aux Meadows in north-western Newfoundland;
today they are the subjects of a statue at the site.

768 CE - Carloman I and Charlemagne - the sons of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon - were crowned Kings of The Franks, co-ruling until Carloman's death in December 771.

1000 - This is the date traditionally given for Leif Ericson's arrival at L'Anse aux Meadows, in Vinland, and thus the date of the Viking's 'discovery' of North America.

1238 - James I of Aragon conquered Valencia and founded the Kingdom of Valencia, itself an important milestone both in the Reconquista and the formation of the modern-day Kingdom of Spain.

1446 - The hangul alphabet was published in Korea.

1514 - France's King Louis XII married Mary Tudor, sister of England's King Henry VIII.

1558 - The Venezuelan city of Mérida - currently capital of the Venezuelan state of Mérida - was founded by Juan Rodríguez Suárez, who named the settlement after his hometown of Mérida, in Spain.

1604 - Supernova 1604 - the most recent such phenomenon to be observed in the Milky Way - occurred in the constellation Ophiuchus; although first observed on this day in 1604 it was Johannes Kepler's observation of it eleven days later that is considered the official discovery.

1804 - Hobart, Tasmania - originally founded as a penal colony the year before - was moved to a more amenable location and named Hobarton after Lord Hobart, the Colonial Secretary.

1820 - The Ecuadoran city of Guayaquil declared its independence from Spain.

1824 - Slavery was abolished in Costa Rica, apparently.

1831 - Ioannis Kapodistrias - the father of modern Greece, who'd fought the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire and became the new country's first President - was assassinated in retaliation for his imprisonment of Maniot leader Petrobey Mavromichalis by his captive's brother Konstantis and son Georgios on the steps of Saint Spyridon church in Nafplion.

1845 - The eminent and controversial Anglican, John Henry Newman, was received into the Roman Catholic Church; from a young age Newman was involved in the Oxford Movement, which sought to make England a Catholic country again.

1941 - A coup in Panama declared Ricardo Adolfo de la Guardia Arango the new president.

1959 - Britain's Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan handily won a third consecutive term, defeating Hugh Gaitskell and the Labour Party at the polls, following which he was invited by Elizabeth II to form her next government.

1962 - Uganda gained its independence from the United Kingdom, becoming a Commonwealth realm.

1967 - A day after his capture, Che Guevara was executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

1983 - An assassination attempt was made against South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan during an official visit to the Burmese capital of Rangoon to lay a wreath at the Martyr’s Mausoleum in honour of Aung San; Chun survived the blast but 17 of his entourage (including foreign minister Lee Bum Suk among four cabinet ministers) were killed and 17 others were injured. Four Burmese officials also died in the blast, which were carried out by three North Korean agents within the Burmese military, Kang Min-chul among them.

1986 - Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera - itself based on Gaston Leroux's novel of the same name - had its first performance at Her Majesty's Theatre in London, starring Michael Crawford as the title character and the composer's wife Sarah Brightman as the object of the phantom's obsession.

1991 - The first ever sumo wrestling tournament to be held off of Japanese soil in that sport's 1500-year history was held at London's Royal Albert Hall.
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