Thursday, January 06, 2011

Fond Of Blondes: Tara Spencer-Nairn

PhotobucketLike many Canadian television viewers - frequently numbering in the millions! - I first became aware of the charms of birthday gal Tara Spencer-Nairn via the little show that could, namely Corner Gas... As Officer Karen Pelly, Spencer-Nairn was in every way the ideal foil to Lorne Cardinal's Davis Quinton.

A 1996 graduate of Vancouver Film School, the Montreal native is gradually building herself an impressive resume that includes such movies as 1999's New Waterford Girl and on television in shows as diverse as The Outer Limits and Puppets Who Kill.
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"The Hustle" by Van McCoy

One might be forgiven for believing that Van McCoy - who was born on this day in 1940 - was a one-hit wonder; after all, when the song most often identified with you is as popular as The Hustle was in 1975, it can be pretty difficult to top it. Van McCoy, however, was the holder of more than 700 song copyrights, and did much acclaimed work as a producer with such bold-faced names as Gladys Knight and the Pips, Aretha Franklin, and David Ruffin (of The Temptations).

In McCoy's case, though, his legacy was imperiled by his early death, of a heart attack, in July 1979; in lieu of children to act as the executors of his memory, it would take the advent of the Internet age for a website to be built to let the world know of the man's singular achievements in the music industry.
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"Anarchy in the UK" by Sex Pistols

This is the single the Sex Pistols were promoting when they were headed to Amsterdam via Heathrow Airport, and things got a little ugly; two days after the fracas and a month after the Bill Grundy incident - on this day in 1977 - Sex Pistols were fired by their record label, EMI.

Anarchy in the UK originally appeared as the band's first single, and was later included on their only album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, released in 1977; that album, of course, notoriously contained their Jubilee Year hit God Save the Queen.

And how appropriate it should be posted here, 910 years to the day after a previous era of chaos in English life deepened with the coronation of Harold Godwinson...
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Pop History Moment: The Coronation of Harold Godwinson

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[Here we see Harold Godwinson as he appears on the Bayeux Tapestry.]

On this day in 1066 Harold Godwinson became the last Saxon to be crowned King of England, when he underwent essentially the same ritual at Westminster Abbey he would today: anointing, swearing an oath under God, inviting all those present to challenge his claim, and finally being invested with coronation regalia as a symbol of his regal authority.

Harold's claim to the throne has been hotly disputed over the past nine centuries; while both he and his successor had been promised the crown by Edward the Confessor, Harold seems to have figured that since he was both a Saxon and present (and since then, as now, possession is nine-tenths of the law) he got the Witenagemot to proclaim him their rightful king and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stigand, to crown him over the other claimant - a man whose belief in his own claim would within the year earn him the eternal sobriquet William the Conqueror for his audacious invasion of the island, capture of the throne, and the eventual destruction of England's native Saxon aristocracy...

As Earl of Wessex Harold's claim was supported by most of his fellow peers, including his sister Edith of Wessex, whose sexless role as Queen consort had caused this mess by failing to provide the kingdom an heir; William's claim came from the Confessor himself during a visit William made to London in 1052. Since Edward the Confessor was in many ways a Norman sell-out, but also a scatterbrained if pious man, he may in fact have promised the throne to both of them at different times to save his own hide.

Harold might just have held his throne if not for the Danes... Forced to fight them at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, he was then compelled to march his weary men south in just four days to counter the invasion of his rival at the Battle of Hastings in October 1066. There Harold made a brave stand, but died in battle, forever changing the course of English history.
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POPnews - January 6th

[Also known as the Holy Crown of Hungary - making it the only crown in the world to bear the attribute of holiness - the Crown of St. Stephen spent most of World War II in Fort Knox, and wasn't returned to Hungary until the administration of US President Jimmy Carter. After the fall of Communism in 1991, the crown was added to the arms of Hungary as a symbol of the nation's sovereignty, and on New Year's Day 2000 was moved from the Hungarian National Museum to the Hungarian Parliament Building along with the rest of that country's ancient coronation regalia.]

1205 - Philip of Swabia became King of the Romans.

1449 - Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI was crowned at Mistra.

1540 - England's King Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves.

1643 - A cross was erected atop Mount Royal by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve following the subsidence of a flood which had threatened Montreal; the site is still marked by the presence of the Mount Royal Cross, placed there in 1924 by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

1690 - Joseph, son of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, became King of the Romans.

1759 - George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis.

1824 - The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec was founded in Quebec City by Governor of British North America George Ramsay, Earl of Dalhousie; located at the city's Morrin College since 1868, the college has since been taken over by the society and renamed the Morrin Centre.

1853 - US President-Elect Franklin Pierce, his wife, and son Benny were involved in a train wreck on the Boston and Maine Railroad near Andover, Massachusetts; while the Pierces received only minor injuries, Benny was crushed to death before their very eyes.

1893 - Washington National Cathedral was chartered by Congress; the charter was signed by President Benjamin Harrison.

1907 - Maria Montessori opened her first school and daycare center for working class children in Rome.

1912 - New Mexico became the 47th US state.

1936 - Barbara Hanley became Canada's first female mayor when she got 13 more votes than Robert Streich to become head honcho of the Ontario town of Webbwood, west of Sudbury.

1941 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his Four Freedoms Speech in that year's State of the Union Address. They are: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship in his own way, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

1942 - Pan American World Airways' Pacific Clipper - with Captain Robert Ford at the helm - arrived at LaGuardia Field's Marine Terminal in New York City after making the first round-the-world trip by a commercial airplane.

1974 - Canada's Global Television network began broadcasting; established by Al Bruner and Peter Hill, in its early days Global was shown in southern Ontario only - on a six-transmitter relay stretching from Windsor to Ottawa - but went national in August 1997 just in time to become the Canadian equivalent of Fox.

1977 - EMI fired the Sex Pistols.

1978 - The Crown of St. Stephen was returned to Hungary from the United States, where it was held after World War II.

1994 - Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right leg by Shane Stant under orders from figure skating rival Tonya Harding; although they both went on to compete in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Kerrigan won a silver medal, while Harding came fourth.

2005 - Edgar Ray Killen was indicted for the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. Killen was later convicted on three counts of manslaughter.
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