Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
There are 28– 28— follow-up films to Night of the Living Dead… and that’s not counting homages, parodies, or the myriad “of the dead” and “of the living dead” titles that have nothing to do with George A. Romero’s genre-defining original. Our friends at Den of Geek have the full rundown: “Night of the Living Dead and its 28 Follow-Ups.”
* “Ben,” Night of the Living Dead
As we head for the basement, we might recall that it was on this date in 1988 that Donnie Darko flooded his school… one of the fascinating facts one can glean at The Movie Timeline, a copious compendium that operates on the premise that “everything you see in the movies is true”; real, fictional– if it’s reported to have happened on a given date in a movie, it’s in the list.
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists”*…
U.S. migration patterns changed plenty from 1850 to 2013. A nifty interactive map, created by the Pew Research Center, visualizes these shifts by showing the origin of the dominant immigrant group in each state for every decade during this time period.
The map is a part of a comprehensive report on past and future immigration trends, the main point of which is to highlight the impact of the Immigration Act of 1965. But the map reveals the events, policies, and trends before and after 1965 that shaped the waves of U.S. immigration…
* Franklin D. Roosevelt
As we go with the flow, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that television viewers in the U.S. met the quintessential… er, fantastical American family, the Cleavers: Leave It To Beaver premiered (on CBS).
“TELEPHONE n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance”*…
Christian Marclay’s “Telephones” (1995), a 7 1/2-minute compilation of brief Hollywood film clips that creates a narrative of its own. These linked-together snippets of scenes involve innumerable well-known actors such as Cary Grant, Tippi Hedren, Ray Milland, Humphrey Bogart and Meg Ryan, who dial, pick up the receiver, converse, react, say good-bye and hang up. In doing so, they express a multitude of emotions–surprise, desire, anger, disbelief, excitement, boredom–ultimately leaving the impression that they are all part of one big conversation. The piece moves easily back and forth in time, as well as between color and black-and-white, aided by Marclay’s whimsical notions of continuity…
And as a bonus, this from burgerfiction.com:
* Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
As we check caller ID, we might recall that it was on this date in 1922 that Charles F. Jenkins was the first to use city telephone lines to transmit a facsimile photo from 1519 Connecticut Ave in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Navy Radio Station NOF at Anacostia– a demonstration for representatives of U.S.Navy and the Post Office Dept. (Earlier in the year, on June 11, a photograph had been sent by radio across the Atlantic from Rome to Bar Harbor, Maine.)
Jenkins is better remembered as a pioneer of early cinema and one of the inventors of television– he racked up over 400 patents, mostly in those fields– and as the recipient of the first commercial television license.
Try your hand at recognizing products from the diagrams, like the one above, submitted with their patent applications: from the collection in the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, “Can You Guess the Invention Based on These Patent Illustrations?”
* Lawrence Durrell
As we turn up the tinkering, we might spare a thought for Freelan Oscar Stanley; he died on this date in 1940. Working with his twin brother Francis, Stanley developed (in 1883) a dry plate photographic process, and started the very successful Stanley Dry Plate Company (sold to Eastman Kodak in 1905).
But Stanley and his brother are bettered remembered for their second enterprise, the Stanley Motor Company. The brothers began working on steam powered cars in 1897, and built thousands of them them until the 1920s. At racing events, The Stanley Steamer often competed successfully against gasoline powered cars; indeed, in 1906, it set a world record for fastest mile (28.2 seconds, at a speed of 127 mph).
It’s worth observing that Freelan Stanley shares his passing date with Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who died on this date in 1804. In 1769, Cugnot, a military engineer, invented the world’s first fuel-propelled vehicle–a gun tractor commissioned by the French government. The following year he produced the first mechanically-driven “horseless carriage”; his steam tricycle, driven by a steam engine, carried four passengers and was the forerunner of the modern motor car– and more specifically, of the Stanley Brothers’ Steamers.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country, from which they compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools.
From Persepolis and The Kite Runner to The Bluest Eye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower— the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014.
* Dwight D. Eisenhower
As we celebrate Banned Book Week by taking the General’s advice, we might recall that it was on this date last year that thousands of students in Jefferson County, Colorado stayed home to protest School Board action that “edited” the District’s AP History curriculum to “promote patriotism” and not to “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” Two days later, the School Board backed down.
“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary”*…
… In the meantime, let us remember that, as history repeats itself, so does the call on us all to do what we can to help.
The American Committee for Relief in the Near East, which put these posters in circulation in the last years of World War I, began in 1915 as the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief and was formed as a humanitarian response to the Armenian genocide and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. As World War I developed, the group began to offer food and shelter to displaced people in Syria, Persia (now Iran), and Greece.
The American Committee for Relief in the Near East’s posters often used the image of a child, or a young woman, to appeal to passers-by. Throughout the war, Americans also donated to relief campaigns for Belgian and French children, and the image of hungry young people and frightened mothers came to symbolize the plight of civilians caught up in the war.
In Syria, after the war, shelters run by Near East Relief (which was renamed and granted a Congressional charter after the end of the war) housed 45,000 orphans. The organization operated these facilities until 1930, when the last war orphans aged out of the need for care…
* Chinua Achebe,
As we reach deep, we might we might recall that it was on this date in 1659 that Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” was shipwrecked and marooned on the desert island that was his home for the next 28 years. Defoe called his novel, based in part on the true story of shipwrecked sailor Alexander Selkirk, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates.