Thomas Edison gets a lot of credit for many inventions. The electric light bulb immediately springs to mind. That and the motion picture camera are but two of the more than 1100 patents under Edison’s name. Edison also holds the patent for the motion picture camera. However, on the 7th in 1894, William Kennedy Dickson received a patent for the motion picture film that Edison needed to make his camera a functional piece of equipment.
The Sex Pistols, a punk rock band that flourished in the midst of controversy and, how shall I put it, unfavorable press, somehow managed to get signed by music industry giant EMI, a remarkable feat for a group of minimally talented musicians. However, they did do a fantastic version of God Save the Queen. The band formed in England in 1976 and after signing with EMI, they were to begin touring the world in support of the album Anarchy in the UK, the first stop outside of England being at the Paradiso in Amsterdam early in 1977. It rather figures that Amsterdam would be on the tour itinerary. On January 6, the band members were in a lounge at Heathrow Airport waiting for their flight to the Netherlands. Apparently, something happened, though I can only find sketchy reports as to just what it was, but apparently, a small matter of vomiting on fellow travelers was involved. For some reason, EMI found it necessary to cancel the deal with the Pistols. The killing of the deal with EMI left the Pistols unable to understand what went wrong. Johnny Rotten tried to explain the bands’ intentions by stating, “All we’re trying to do is destroy everything.” I simply cannot understand why EMI’s check didn’t clear.
Felix Manz was one of the founders of the Swiss Anabaptist Congregation in Switzerland. The group almost immediately came under fire from the Zurich city council, which passed a law making adult baptism a crime punishable by death. I am sure God got a chuckle out of that one. On the 5th in 1527, Felix was bound and tossed in to the River Limmat, which fed Lake Zurich, from which he would not emerge alive. This act made Manz the first martyr of the Radical Reformation in Switzerland. It is probably just me, but I think Manz looks like a young Greg Allman. In addition, while he made a good choice of coats for his portrait, personally, I would have gone with a simple button-down shirt and not whatever it is he is wearing.
Happy Feet, a cartoon utilizing the vocal talents of actors better known from conventional movies, such as Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, and Nicole Kidman among others, has been a huge success in movie theaters. Many people seem to think that incorporating these human stars into an animated movie (although considering how much money Happy Feet has made perhaps calling it a ‘film’ is called for) is seen as a relatively new innovation. Not! On the 4th in 1939 Walt Disney released Mickey’s Polo Team, a movie featuring Mickey Mouse, Goofy, The Big Bad Wolf, and Donald Duck facing a team comprised of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Harpo Marx and Charlie Chaplin in a game of polo. A few of the people in the stands, watching the game, are Shirley Temple, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, and Clark Gable.
Be afraid; be very afraid. Pursuant to the twentieth amendment to the Constitution, in odd numbered years Congressional Terms begin at noon on the 3rd. Beginning this year we get to see just how the Democrats are going to come up with new and original ways to muck up the things that are anxiously awaiting their turn to be mucked up.
On the 2nd in 533, Johannes Mercurius was elevated to Pope by the Roman Catholic Church. Upon assuming the papacy, he took the name John II, marking the first time that a priest assumed a different name upon being elevated to the seat of St. Peter.
On the 1st in 1818, Mary Shelley published her novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. It is an interesting book with quite an interesting title. Shelley’s use of the sub-title The Modern Prometheus not only adds to the flavor of the book but also gives the browsing reader a hint of what awaits them between the covers of their purchase. At no place on the cover did Miss Shelley find it necessary to include the words ‘A Novel’. I have noticed a very disturbing feature in books lately. Quite a few authors or, perhaps, their publishers, for some inexplicable reason have begun sub-titling their books with the caption ‘A Novel’. Is there a real concern in the publishing world that a prospective reader, while wandering through the stacks at The Strand Book Store, is going to confuse a book with a toaster?
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin that you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)Appropriately, January gets its name from the Roman god Janus, the god of gates, doorways, and beginnings and endings. That is a heck of a responsibility to be entrusted with and I am quite happy that Janus was saddled with it and not yours truly. I find it difficult, nearly impossible, to believe that we are already entering 2007. Considering how fast time seems to be passing, I strongly advise you to hang on to your hats campers, because it is only 93 years until the next century starts. In addition, like it or not, judging from a brief look at the newspaper headlines each day, I think it is obvious that we are in for a very bumpy ride.