Hot air balloons filled the air above the Albany Airport for the Northwest Art and Air Festival this weekend. Our own Dave Adams went up in a balloon, where he had hoped to broadcast live. They made Dave go through airport security, to make sure he wouldn’t hijack the balloon. Then they used a huge conveyor belt to load all of Dave’s radio equipment into the tiny basket under the balloon. Sadly, t
By the way, the name of the balloon was “Mothra.” It was named after that giant moth from the Godzilla movies that could shoot lasers, and was later killed by a giant bug zapper, or something.
However, I don’t think the balloon could shoot lasers. If the hot air balloons all shot lasers at the people on the ground, that would certainly add an element of danger to the Air Festival.
1902 – Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to ride in an automobile.
However, Ulysses S. Grant was the first and only president to get a speeding ticket. Back in the 19th century, he was charged $20 for speeding on his horse. A police officer pulled Grant’s horse over and then asked him, “Do you know how fast your horse was going?” Then Grant handed over his horse registration and the policeman gave him a ticket. And then because Grant was the President of the United States, I presume the policeman promptly lost his job. I think the speeding ticket should be on display under glass at some museum somewhere, with a plaque reading “FIRST PRESIDENTIAL SPEEDING TICKET EVER!”
It seems to me that if you got caught speeding back in the 19th century, you could just blame it on the horse. “I was just sitting here, officer,” you could say. “The HORSE was the one in a hurry. Give HIM the ticket! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he shows up for his court date.”
“In the Still of the Night” was released this week in 1956. It was written by Fred Parris while he was a security guard, during what I imagine was an especially boring shift. Then it was recorded in a Catholic School basement, probably because the Pope was a big doo-wop fan.
In 1995, Bill Wendell introduced David Letterman for the last time. Wendell had been Letterman’s announcer and warm-up act for more than 15 years, but said he wanted to pursue other projects. For example, he had an offer to announce the opening of a new Fuddruckers restaurant at the New Jersey turnpike. I think he also announced at a children’s birthday party at some point. In short, he was never heard from again!
In 2000, actresses Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche announced they were breaking up. Just hours later, Heche was hospitalized after she wandered disoriented into a stranger’s home in Fresno. That’s what you do when you break up with Ellen. You wander into a stranger’s house. Ellen has that effect on people. When Ellen broke up with me, I wandered into a house and ended up having dinner with a family I’d never met before in Albuquerque. (They were very nice, they didn’t even call the police until the second course.) Shortly after that, Ellen announced she was a lesbian. I’ll try not to take that personally, even though I seemed to have that effect on a lot women before I got married.
In 2011, reality star Kim Kardashian married NBA star Kris Humphries in a lavish wedding taped for TV broadcast. She filed for divorce 72 days later. They say that people drift apart after being married for a while. By the end of the month, they were both just very different people. I really thought those crazy kids would make it. But by the time the wedding check cleared, the magic was just gone.
On August 23rd, 1960, Oscar Hammerstein the Second died in Pennsylvania. He’s best known for his collaborations with composer Richard Rogers on “Oklahoma,” “Carousel” and “South Pacific,” and many other Broadway musicals. Hammerstein’s death was mourned by gay people everywhere. And also by everybody who appreciates a good musical.
In 1977, comedian Groucho Marx died in Los Angeles. He was 86. On that day, the secret word was “death.”
Phyllis Diller has died at age 95. As she would be the first to say, she had a face that was made for comedy. She also had this wild, crazy, Albert Einstein hair that made it look like she had inserted a battery somewhere. She was hilarious, and she’ll be missed.
There’s a lot of news about ’60′s bands this week in history.
On August 18th, 1962, drummer Ringo Starr played his first gig with The Beatles at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. He replaced Pete Best. Pete Best was a good-looking guy, and a lot of The Beatles’ local fans in Liverpool had a huge crush on him. They would go to Beatles shows and yell, “We want Pete!” completely ignoring Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Next thing you know, the very handsome Pete was out of the band, replaced by Ringo Starr. Well. That solved that problem.
After Pete’s ouster, Beatles fans held up signs at Beatles shows that said, “Pete Best forever, Ringo never.” But Ringo just flashed him famous goofy smile, and the very next year The Beatles became superstars and Pete Best went to work at a bread-slicing factory.
When The Beatles first asked Ringo to join their band, he said yes. But he couldn’t do it until next week. He was already in a band and had a couple gigs he had to do first. Can you imagine THE BEATLES asking you to be a member and saying, “Eh, why not. But we’ll have to do it later, I’m busy.”
In 1969, the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer formed. At one point they did a concert with Crosby, Stills and Nash. And the show was billed as Crosby Emerson Stills Lake Nash and Palmer. Okay, I made that up.
In 1972, Grace Slick was sprayed with mace and Paul Kantner was slammed to the floor by police following a show by Jefferson Airplane in Akron, Ohio. A bomb threat had been phoned in, fans threw rocks at police cars and officers responded with tear gas. Well, that sounds like one heck of a show. By the way, one of the band’s hits is “Somebody to Love.”
I believe that’s the song they were singing while everyone was trying to kill each other.
In 1969, Frank Zappa disbanded the Mothers of Invention. He said he was tired of performing for people who clapped for the “wrong reasons.” Oh, Frank Zappa. You’re such a misanthrope. Frank Zappa is against everything, even himself. Stupid fans, clapping at his shows! No wonder he was furious.
In birthdays, Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant is 66 years old.
That’s the song “Whole Lotta Love” from 1969. My favorite part starts at 2:10, when Robert Plant starts to sneeze. I think he had allergies when he recorded that song. Gesundheit, Robert.
Singer Kenny Rogers was born August 21, 1938, 74 years ago. Even though he’s known as a country pop singer, he actually began his career in the 60’s singing songs about LSD.
That’s right. The Gambler was a hippie. Early on in his career, Rogers also did a song called “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” about a crippled Vietnam vet who wants to shoot his cheating wife. Yes, Kenny Rogers became a huge country pop star by starting his career singing songs about drugs and murder. Think about that next time you eat at a Kenny Rogers restaurant!
In 1968, Who drummer Keith Moon drove a car into the swimming pool of a hotel in Flint, Michigan, to cap off his birthday.
Apparently he thought it would be a faster way to wash his car than using a hose. Here’s a video of Keith Moon at his Mooniest:
That sure sounds like a memorable party! For those people enjoying a nice swim, I imagine that almost getting run over by a car in the hotel pool would be something they won’t soon forget.
Actress Barbara Eden was born August 23, 1934, 78 years ago. Eden will forever be known for playing the title character on “I Dream of Jeannie.”
“I Dream of Jeannie” was a show about a beautiful woman who called Larry Hagman “Master,” and promised to fulfill his every wish. And still, the show managed to somehow not be the dirtiest show in the history of television. Larry Hagman just acted like he was irritated with Jeannie all the time. Because he was playing the STUPIDEST MAN on the FACE of the EARTH. He had this gorgeous woman living in a bottle in his house, she loved him, and all he could do was be grouchy at her. What’s wrong with this guy?
In other Larry Hagman news, also on this date in 1995, Hagman had surgery to replace his liver. He had had advanced cirrhosis, which he blamed on years of heavy drinking. I guess HE was living in a bottle, too.
Connie Chung is 64 years old. She used to co-host the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. She also hosted the news shows “Face to Face With Connie Chung,” and then later, “Eye to Eye With Connie Chung.” I think at some point, there was a show called “Gallbladder to Gallbladder With Connie Chung,” but that was long after they started running out of body parts to name her shows after.
Singer Jackie DeShannon was born this week. She’s best known for the song “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” Or at least she WOULD be known for that song, if not for the fact that everyone thinks the song is by Dionne Warwick.
The song was written by Burt Bacharach, who offered it to Warwick. However, despite the fact that Burt had written every hit song she ever had, Warwick TURNED THE SONG DOWN. You would think that the spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network would know she was turning down a huge future hit. But apparently not, so Jackie DeShannon got the song.
Years later, Jacke DeShannon and Dionne Warwick met at a party, and Jackie mentioned that she was honored to sing the song “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” And they got in a huge catfight! Dionne was heard yelling, “What the world needs now is a good beating!” Okay, that never happened, I made that up.