The Madness of March

1 basketballIt’s time!! One of the best long weekends of the year tips off tomorrow, and I’m ready. My two nephews are actually going to watch the first couple of rounds in Columbus, OH. Good for them. Anyway, y’all know I can’t resist doing a bit of prognosticating, although it’s not quite as much fun this season since we all know how this thing is going to end…with the Kentucky Wildcats cutting down the nets on April 6th. But, in the words of one of cinema’s most entertaining philosophers Clark W. Griswold, “getting there is half the fun”. So I suppose we shall enjoy the ride even if the finale will likely be anti-climactic.

As usual, let me take a moment to unlock the secret doors of my mind and explain my process:
• I’m not a college basketball expert. I’m a fan that only pays attention to a handful of teams and knows virtually nothing about 75% of the tournament field.
• My picks are based solely on my vibes and the small amount of basic basketball knowledge I possess.
• I do listen to some of the talking heads, but rarely make choices based on their opinions. As a matter of fact, I think several of them (especially Doug Gottlieb…a complete tool) are arrogant windbags that don’t have much more of a clue than I do.
• I do not pick play-in games. They are an inconsequential money-making scheme by the NCAA.
• I pick a few upsets, but I’ve learned over the years that, for the most part, the selection committee knows their stuff and is usually pretty spot on in their seeding. There might be a few upsets in the first couple of rounds, but the chaos rarely gets too…well…chaotic. The cream almost always rises to the top.
• A 10 over a 7 or a 9 over an 8 isn’t really that much of an upset.
• I fill out one bracket and one bracket only. It is done pretty quickly after the selection show airs. I am far too lazy to do research.

So with those things in mind let us take a brief glimpse at each region, talk about upsets, and see who I think will make it to The Final Four.

 

 

 

East
1 Villanova              16 Lafayette
2 Virginia                 15 Belmont
3 Oklahoma           14 Albany
4 Louisville              13 UC Irvine
5 Northern Iowa   12 Wyoming
6 Providence           11 Dayton
7 Michigan St.         10 Georgia
8 NC St.                      9 LSU
I am predicting a lot of chalk in this region, with a few notable exceptions. I have Albany over Michigan_State_SpartansOklahoma in the 1st round. I’ve watched the Sooners play a few times this season and believe they are way overseeded. And I’m picking Wyoming over Northern Iowa in one of the infamous 5/12 upsets. After that I have Michigan St. upending Virginia in the 2nd round and ultimately winning the region by defeating Villanova.

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West
1 Wisconsin            16 Coastal Carolina
2 Arizona                 15 Texas Southern
3 Baylor                   14 Georgia St.
4 North Carolina    13 Harvard
5 Arkansas             12 Wofford
6 Xavier                   11 Ole Miss
7 VCU                       10 Ohio St.
8 Oregon                  9 Oklahoma St.
The big shocker I’ve predicted in this region is Wofford (hailing from Spartanburg, SC) WisconsinBadgersdefeating Arkansas. I also have Ohio St. over Virginia Commonwealth, a team that gets a little too much love just because they made it to one Final Four four years ago. After that I have Baylor pulling off a mild upset over Arizona in the Sweet 16 before falling to Wisconsin in the regional final.

 

South
1 Duke                 16 Robert Morris
2 Gonzaga           15 North Dakota St.
3 Iowa St.            14 UAB
4 Georgetown   13 Eastern Washington
5 Utah                 12 Stephen F. Austin
6 SMU                  11 UCLA
7 Iowa                 10 Davidson
8 San Diego St.   9 St. John’s
Mostly 1st round chalk here except for a couple of interesting exceptions. I’m picking Eastern Iowa_State_CyclonesWashington over Georgetown and Stephen F. Austin over Utah. I just don’t buy Georgetown. This isn’t the mid-1980’s. Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, & Alonzo Mourning are distant memories. The Big East isn’t the same conference it used to be. Stephen F. Austin is a small school in Nacogdoches, TX (about 100 miles southwest of Shreveport, LA) that is named for one of the founding fathers of the state. I have a vague recollection of catching one of their games on TV awhile back and thinking they were pretty good and could pull off a first round upset if they weren’t up against a top flight team. Utah is good but far from elite. After that I have picked San Diego St. to surprise Duke in Round 2 and Iowa St. over Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. I’ve seen the Cyclones play a few times and they are very talented. They play in the best basketball conference in America (The Big 12…which has ten teams) and won its conference tournament, defeating the vaunted Kansas Jayhawks. Gonzaga’s road hasn’t been nearly as arduous. Ultimately I have Iowa St. beating San Diego St. in the regional final.

 

Midwest
1 Kentucky          16 Hampton
2 Kansas               15 New Mexico St.
3 Notre Dame     14 Northeastern
4 Maryland          13 Valparaiso
5 West Virginia   12 Buffalo
6 Butler                11Texas
7 Wichita St.       10 Indiana
8 Cincinnati         9 Purdue
I think Kentucky would have won this region no matter what, but the committee made it Kentucky-Basketballpretty easy for them. I have Valparaiso (from northern Indiana) upsetting Maryland and Texas getting by Butler in the 1st round. Butler, like VCU, is given too much credit for past successes in the tournament. The “experts” are almost unanimously picking Buffalo to beat my WV Mountaineers, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. I have Wichita St. defeating in-state rival Kansas in Round 2, but at the end of the day no one will be surprised when Kentucky easily downs Notre Dame to win the region.

 

 

So, my Final Four consists of Kentucky vs. Wisconsin and Iowa St. vs. Michigan St. That’s two #1 seeds, a #3, and a #7, although one can hardly think of Michigan St. as an underdog.

1I foresee the title game being Kentucky against Michigan St., with the Wildcats winning pretty comfortably. It lacks drama, but it is what it is. I suppose it’d be kind of cool to see a team finish 40-0, but honestly I’m looking forward to a little more unpredictability next year.

Trivia Tuesday…..Chapter 10.15

Better late than never, right?? Well, I suppose technically I’m not late, it’s just that usually I knowledgepost trivia much earlier on Tuesday. I could lie and say I got super busy, but instead I’ll just shoot straight and tell you I’ve been super lazy. At any rate, let me take this opportunity to thank citizens of The Manoverse and each & every person who stops by to read these little ditties I produce. I’ve been feeling kind of lonely & disconnected lately, but Rocco & The Manofesto provide motivation to keep on living, or atleast existing. Anyway, you came here for some knowledge. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 
plants & animalsMexico is home to a very rare rabbit called the teporingo, or volcano rabbit. Teporingos are the second smallest teporid in the world (the smallest is the North American pigmy rabbit) and reside in small burrows near four volcanoes just outside Mexico City.

 

 

potpourri

 

The dot one uses over an i or j is called a tittle.

 

 

sports2Martin Luther…leader of the Protestant Reformation and author of the 95 Theses that sparked that movement…was an avid bowler who is often credited with standardizing the rules of bowling and fixing the number of pins at nine. Bowling became an important part of German culture and children were often taught that thunderstorms were due to St. Peter and the angels bowling.

 

 

plants & animalsA giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.

 

 

history&geographyItalians suffer more earthquakes than any other Europeans. In 1693, an estimated 100,000 people died in an earthquake in Sicily. The most deadly recent quake in Italy occurred in Naples in 1980, killing 3,000 people. No other country in Europe has as many volcanoes as Italy. This is because the Italian peninsula stands on a fault line. Three major volcanoes (Etna, Stromboli, and Vesuvius) have erupted in the last hundred years.

Trivia Tuesday…..Chapter 9.15

A few random ponderings:
The new Apple watch looks neat, but pricey. $500 for a watch?? No thanks.
Net neutrality?? I need more information.knowledge
I’ve really been on a potato salad kick lately.
Netflix rocks. It is cheaper than HBO and has better content. I am currently binge watching The Andy Griffith Show. Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation are next.
Speaking of Trek, RIP Leonard Nimoy. Thanks for the memories.
Daylight Savings Time seems like a concept that has outlived its usefulness.
Ok, enough. You came here for knowledge. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

potpourri

Pinocchio is Italian for “pine head”.

 

 

 

plants & animalsMale snakes have two penises (known as hemipenes). In some snakes, each penis has two tips (forked hemipenes).

 

 

 

movies&TVDuring Frasier’s 11 seasons on NBC from 1993-2004 various celebrity voices were used as the “patients” who called Dr. Crane’s radio show for advice. Those who portrayed the disturbed callers included Art Garfunkel, Linda Hamilton, Ben Stiller, Cindy Crawford, Patti Lupone, Joe Mantegna, Christopher Reeve, Judith Ivey, Carrie Fisher, Jeff Daniels, Bruno Kirby, David Duchovny, Robert Klein, JoBeth Williams, Elijah Wood, Gillian Anderson, Carl Reiner, Hallie Berry, Jay Leno, Eric Stoltz, Jodie Foster, Mel Brooks, Phil Donahue, Rosemary Clooney, Timothy Leary, Reba McEntire, Syndey Pollack, Kevin Bacon, Andy Garcia, Freddie Prinze Jr., Lily Tomlin, Alfre Woodard, Tommy Hilfiger, Benjamin Bratt, Hillary Duff, Stanley Tucci, Steve Lawrence, James Spader, Mary Tyler Moore, Rosie Perez, MacCaulay Culkin, Mary Steenburgen, Carly Simon, Gary Sinise, John Lithgow, Matthew Broderick, Teri Garr, Laura Dern, Randy Travis, Jodie Foster, Jane Pauley, Katerina Witt, John Cusack, Patty Duke, John McEnroe, Jill Clayburgh, Ron Howard, William H. Macy, Marlo Thomas, Beverly D’Angelo, Eric Roberts, Rob Reiner, Melissa Etheridge, Pia Zadora, Wolfgang Puck, Neil Simon, Gloria Estefan, Stephen King, Naomi Judd, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, Pat Boone, Allison Janney, Bradley Whitford, John Turturro, Bill Paxton, Penny Marshall, Ray Liotta, & Eddie Van Halen. Callers to Frasier’s nemesis Bulldog’s sports talk show included Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Ed Harris, “Dr. J.” Julius Erving, & Billy Crystal.

 

 

books&musicAlthough identified with Scotland, bagpipes are actually an ancient instrument introduced to the British Isles by the Romans.

 

 

potpourri

 

Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of their birthplace. In social psychology this is known as propinquity.

25 Favorite TV Theme Songs…..Part 2

tvmusicWelcome to Part 2 of my Favorite TV Theme Songs. Please check out Part 1 if you have not already done so. I will remind you that these choices reflect my own unique taste and life experiences. You may agree or disagree with my rankings. Please leave me comments (be nice) suggesting your favorites that I may have skipped over. Now on with the show!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Frasier
Frasier’s theme song was actually played during the closing credits, which seems a bit counterintuitive. I assume there were two reasons for this though. First, jumping right into the show at the beginning rather than playing a theme song might possibly maybe kinda sorta provide a small advantage over the competition in gaining the viewership of people, like my Dad for example, who flip thru channels like a crackhead with the attention span of a gnat. Secondly, maybe it keeps the attention of viewers at the end of the show and helps whatever program comes next. Anyway, Tossed Salad & Scrambled Eggs was a nonsensical tune that had to have been written by someone who was high and thought it was h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. I spent a decade watching the show and trying to figure out exactly what in the heck it meant. I still don’t know. What I do know is that the tune, sung by series star Kelsey Grammar, is unique and obviously memorable.

 

 

14 The Addams Family
They’re creepy. They’re kooky. They’re altogether ooky. They are the Addams Family of course!! You’re snapping your fingers right now aren’t you?? The show was based on a series of cartoons that began appearing in The New Yorker in the 1930’s. It only lasted two seasons in the mid-60’s and was off the air before my father had even met my mother, but thanks to syndicated reruns in the 80’s I came to love it and its infectious & quirky theme song.

 

 

13 WKRP in Cincinnati
The WKRP theme song spins a tale. It’s about someone (presumably program director Andy Travis) who is writing to an ex-girlfriend hoping that maybe she thinks of him occasionally even though they weren’t meant to be. He has apparently had an unstable professional life of which he has grown weary but has finally settled down at this pugnacious little station in Cincinnati, OH. The song may not fully set up the premise of the show, but it does tell a story and I like that. These days listening to the WKRP theme makes me wistful. It makes me long for the days when sitcoms were funny and songs on the radio were awesome. Those were good times.

 

 

12 The Dukes of Hazzard
When I was a kid I LOVED The Dukes of Hazzard. I still do. Various TV stations broadcast reruns with some regularity and I watch whenever I get the chance. Country music has never frosted my cupcake, but I definitely dig the Dukes theme, which was composed & performed by the legendary Waylon Jennings (who also narrated the show). Good Ol’ Boys, which actually reached #1 on the country charts in 1980, solidly outlines the program’s premise, telling us that these two harmless guys are always in trouble with the law because they fight the system like two modern day Robin Hoods. They just don’t make shows or write theme songs like this anymore. Such a shame.

 

 

11 Friends
I’ll be There for You was a one hit wonder for a pop duo called The Rembrandts. It’s an upbeat, rockin’ tune that might have been a hit all by itself, but if not for Friends it would have never existed. The song was written by the show’s producers, who originally offered the opportunity to sing it to 80’s alternative rockers They Might Be Giants (who went on to do the theme for Malcolm in the Middle, which I never watched). After that didn’t work out the song was offered to REM, which would have been really awesome, but that didn’t happen either. The Rembrandts, despite their cool band name, never really achieved any lasting success, but I’m sure they are pleased with the residual checks that keep rolling in. The lyrics perfectly describe life for a 20-something (and in my case my 30’s and 40’s thus far as well). Your job is a joke, you’re broke, your love life is dead, it seems like you’re stuck in second gear, it hasn’t been your day, month, or year, and your mother warned you that life has a way of bringing you to your knees…but your friends will be there when it rains because they understand what you’re going thru. It’s a rather deep song for a television theme, and one that I really connected with back in the 90’s.

 

 

10 Welcome Back Kotter / The Facts of Life
Yep…you guessed it…we have another tie. Welcome Back Kotter is a criminally underappreciated program. Everyone knows it launched John Travolta’s career, but aside from that it rarely gets the attention it deserves. One fantastic element of the show that, along with the Travolta connection, has remained in the American pop culture consciousness is the theme song that was composed & sung by John Sebastian, former lead singer of The Lovin’ Spoonful, the band that brought us the 1966 chart topper Summer in the City. It’s a breezy, laid back, very 70’s tune that tells us that Mr. Kotter is originally from Brooklyn (as a matter of fact he was an alumnus of the high school in the show and an original founding member of The Sweathogs) and that he has moved back after his dreams were his original ticket out. I don’t recall if the show ever explained where Mr. Kotter had gone to, what those dreams were (getting an education? becoming a teacher?), or why exactly he felt compelled to return. I suppose that would have been a bit heavy for a sitcom. The Facts of Life was a spinoff of Diff’rent Strokes and lasted an amazing nine seasons. The theme song taught us all that the facts of life meant taking the good with the bad, that they were all about you, and that it takes a lot to get them right. The song was composed by songstress Gloria Loring and her then husband, actor Alan Thicke. Loring sang the Facts theme, while Thicke crooned the other song they’d written…the Diff’rent Strokes theme.

 

 

 

9 Laverne & Shirley
For the record, a schlemiel is what a clumsy blunderer is called in Yiddish. I suppose we may refer to them as a screw-up. Schlimazel is the Yiddish term for an unlucky person. Hasenpfeffer is German rabbit stew. I’m not sure which of Laverne and Shirley was the screw-up and which one was the unlucky one, or what rabbit stew has to do with anything. But let’s face it, that little bit of Eastern European gibberish takes what would have otherwise been an ordinary theme song called Making Our Dreams Come True and makes it one that we’ll always remember.

 

 

8 The Jeffersons
Movin’ On Up basically tells us the premise of the show. We know that George & Louise Jefferson had been neighbors of All in the Family’s Archie & Edith Bunker in Queens. When the spinoff was created George, the well-to-do owner of a dry cleaning chain, and “Weezie” moved to Manhattan. They moved “on up to the sky”, aka a penthouse apartment, finally getting “their piece of the pie”, their “at bat in the big leagues”. I’m not really sure about fish not frying in the kitchen or beans not burning on the grill. Maybe rich people were supposed to stop eating those things?? Anyway, anyone who grew up in the 70’s & 80’s and watched too much TV is familiar with this particular theme and likely recalls it with affection.

 

 

7 The Tonight Show (Johnny Carson)
A few weeks ago former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen made a guest appearance on the Jimmy Fallon incarnation of the program. At 87 years of age Doc looks like he has hardly grown a day older than he was two decades ago when Carson abdicated his throne as King of Late Night and the entire television landscape changed. As a nod to Doc’s tenure with Carson the house band played the show’s old theme song, the one so closely identified with Carson’s reign. It was a brief but cherished trip down memory lane. The song itself has an interesting history. Toot Sweet was a tinny melody written by Paul Anka in the 50’s. Anka & Annette Funicello dated briefly and she covered Toot Sweet (with lyrics) in 1959, calling it It’s Really Love. When Carson took over The Tonight Show in 1962 Anka revamped the tune into Johnny’s Theme. You did not know that. Wacky wild stuff. Hiyoooooo!!!!

 

 

6 The Beverly Hillbillies
In the 1960’s CBS was home to a plethora of shows that catered to a rustic, small town target audience. The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres, Mister Ed, Petticoat Junction, & Hee Haw were all set in rural areas with simple, goodhearted country folks as the centerpiece. The Beverly Hillbillies added a fish-out-of-water element to the mix, transporting its family from the hills of an unspecified southern locale to the posh neighborhood of Beverly Hills. The Ballad of Jed Clampett explains that the poor mountaineer had been out hunting when he hit oil (black gold, Texas tea) and became a millionaire. His family encouraged him to use his new wealth to move to California, because I guess back then that seemed like some sort of nirvana, as opposed to the economically & morally bankrupt cesspool it has become. At any rate, the storytelling lyrics combined with some really catchy banjo music has made this particular theme song one of the most beloved in television history.

 

 

5 The Andy Griffith Show
Did you know that the TAGS theme song has lyrics?? I had no clue until a few years ago when Andy Griffith passed away and my buddy Conner, as big of a fan of the show as myself, posted the song on Facebook. The Fishin’ Hole is pretty much what you’d expect…a story about chillin’ out at an idyllic fishing spot. I’m not sure who made the decision to not utilize the words for the TV theme, but it was a brilliant choice. Instead the song is whistled, which just adds to the pleasant & tranquil vibe of the show. I can’t whistle, but if I ever learn how I think I’d just have to perform the TAGS theme for myself on a daily basis. That’d make me happy.

 

 

4 The Flintstones
I wasn’t a huge cartoon fan as a kid, but I did enjoy a few, one of them being The Flintstones. It’s amazing to think that it was a prime time show back in the early 60’s. There is a scene in the 1987 Thanksgiving classic Planes, Trains, & Automobiles where John Candy & Steve Martin are riding in a bus and the rather extroverted (some might say borderline obnoxious) character played by Candy is getting everybody interested in a sing-a-long. He asks Martin’s somewhat aloof character to pick a song, and when he does his best to sell the passengers on the old Sinatra standard Three Coins in the Fountain they all look at him like he just escaped a mental institution. Candy takes over and immediately gets the crowd into a rousing rendition of the Flintstones theme. It’s just that kind of song. Like several other beloved TV themes it is an excellent introduction to the show itself, literally inviting us to meet this modern, Stone Age family from Bedrock and promising that we’re going to have a yabba dabba doo time, which of course we all know by now is a good thing.

 

 

3 Gilligan’s Island / The Brady Bunch
This is our final tie and it seems appropriate for various reasons. Both shows were created by the same guy. Gilligan’s Island aired for three seasons in the mid-60’s, while The Brady Bunch was on the air for five seasons in the early 70’s. I became familiar with both shows because they aired regularly in syndication throughout my childhood. Occasionally you can still find them today on channels like TV Land and Nick at Nite. Both shows are looked at with equal amounts of fondness & derision because thru the prism of our modern culture (the one that has made stars out of Justin Bieber & The Kardashians and thinks reality TV is cool) they seem hokey & trite. Each theme song outlines its show really well and introduce us to every character. The lyrics for both songs were written by series’ creator Sherwood Schwartz. And both theme songs are well-known and cherished by multiple generations.

 

 

2 Cheers
The older I get the more I appreciate class & sophistication. I suppose everyone probably defines those things a bit differently, but I think most people know it when they see it. The Cheers theme songs sets a tone. The show takes place in a bar, and that can mean a variety of things depending on one’s life experiences. This tune clearly establishes that this particular bar is a friendly, relaxed, pleasant, tasteful place to hang out. Where Everybody Knows Your Name communicates that Cheers is a place where people “are always glad you came”, where everyone understands that life can be tough and that sometimes you just have to “take a break from all your worries”. It doesn’t promote “partying” as most young people understand that term, and I can’t recall any character on the show…not even constant beer drinker Norm…becoming intoxicated and doing something stupid or illegal. Unrealistic?? Sure, but that’s fine by me.

 

 

1 The Love Boat
Finally…we’ve reached the summit!!
I’ve never been on a cruise, but I want to try it sometime and that curiosity is, in part, because I grew up watching The Love Boat. I am comfortable enough with my machismo to admit that I never really enjoyed virile tough guy shows like The A-Team, Hill Street Blues, Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, Magnum P.I., or Knight Rider. I am a lover, not a fighter, and prefer the simple half-hour comedy, but occasionally I can be roped into dedicating an hour of my time to a program, especially if it has the kind of quirky charm present in The Love Boat. The theme song was composed by prolific songwriter Paul Williams, known to those of us of a certain age as Little Enos Burdette in Smokey & The Bandit but whose real career includes writing The Carpenters’ hit We’ve Only Just Begun, An Old Fashioned Love Song as sung by Three Dog Night, & the awesome Rainbow Connection for The Muppets. Love Boat was performed by jazz crooner Jack Jones and was meant to evoke the idea of a lounge singer on a cruise ship. Mission accomplished. The song has a disco undertone reminiscent of Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, but also kind of a big band vibe. It doesn’t really detail the premise of the show except to say that the ship “soon will be making another run” and that “it promises something for everyone”. It advises us to “set a course for adventure” and get our minds on romance because love is a) life’s sweetest reward, b) exciting & new, & c) will float back to you if only you let it flow. Now I am old enough & jaded enough to realize that all that is a bunch of poppycock, but it does sound really cool. I am not ashamed to admit that occasionally…when I am alone of course…I will randomly belt out Love Boat, but you should be glad your ears will never be exposed to such cruelty.

Trivia Tuesday…..Chapter 8.15

Greetings friends. Not much to pontificate about today. I’m not feeling quite as encouraged as I was a few weeks ago. It’s funny how perception knowledgechanges so quickly. Just trying to grind thru what now does seem like a long & miserable winter, as I’m sure most are. My local airport recently announced direct flights to Myrtle Beach, and I’d be tempted to hop on a plane ASAP. Unfortunately they are only offering “seasonal” flights beginning in June, so that plan ain’t gonna work. At any rate, for those of you who were smart enough to move to warmer climates like Florida, The Carolinas, Atlanta, & Texas many years ago…kudos. To those of you who, like myself, decided to live your days in a place where icy roads, school cancellations, & ear infections are realities of life for atleast 1/3 of the year…what were we thinking?? Ah well…c’est la vie. Enjoy some knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

movies&TVWhen SNL began it was officially known as NBC’s Saturday Night. Another show existed called Saturday Night Live, hence the iconic opening line being worded, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night.” The other show was a primetime variety hour called Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell and only lasted one season consisting of 18 episodes from September 1975 to January 1976.

 

 

history&geography

 

The border between Mexico and the United States is the second largest border in the world. Only the U.S.-Canadian border is longer.

 

 

sportsThe America’s Cup yacht races originated as the Hundred Guinea Cup in 1848 and became known as America’s Cup in 1851 when a vessel from the New York Yacht Club christened America ventured to England and beat out 15 other competitors to win the trophy.

 

 

history&geographyThe Japanese kamikaze (“divine wind”) tactic was suggested on October 19, 1944, by Vice-Admiral Takijiro Onishi in an attempt to balance the technological advantage of invading American forces. Though the numbers are disputed, approximately 2,800 kamikaze pilots died during WWII. They sunk 34 U.S. ships, damaged 368, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded 4,800.

 

 

food&drinkDuring the Alaskan Klondike gold rush (1896-1899) potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners would trade gold for potatoes.

25 Favorite TV Theme Songs…..Part 1

I feel sorry for today’s youth on a variety of levels. I just don’t think their childhoods are nearly as cool as mine was. Of course I am sure parents said the same thing about our generation. Anyway, one of the things that kids miss out on these days is memorable TV theme songs. The powers-that-be figured out a decade or two ago that they could add 30 seconds or a minute to a show (well…okay…let’s be honest…it’s all about additional commercial time which means more money) by trimming down or eliminating the theme song and having the opening credits run during a show’s first scene. And even if a program does still have a theme song I’m not sure how memorable it becomes since everyone is watching things online or recording stuff on their DVR and fast forwarding thru the show. Certainly tvmusiccommercials have lost their value, but that’s a topic for another day. We’re here to talk about TV theme songs…the ones that were attached to shows that have been off the air for decades but we can still hum the tune and remember the catchy lyrics. These songs set the mood and in many cases explained the entire concept for the show. They will sometimes creep into your mind for no apparent reason and stay there for days, like an eel from Ceti Alpha V. The tunes listed here are, more often than not, affiliated with an equally awesome show…but not always. There are cases where a theme song is way cooler than the television program itself ever was. As with any kind of subjective ranking like this the choices are obviously influenced by the era in which I grew up as well as my personal preferences. Readers who may have perused my 50 Favorite TV Shows a few years ago will…understandably…recognize a lot of crossover.

 

 

 
Honorable Mentions: Peter Gunn (I never saw the TV show, and associate the song more with the movie The Blues Brothers), MASH (hauntingly beautiful but kind of a downer…I mean come on…the song is called Suicide is Painless), Mission: Impossible (I’ve never seen the show or the Tom Cruise movies), Barney Miller (a cool, jazzy tune that just didn’t make the cut), American Bandstand (an infectious song for sure), The Munsters (I’m not sure why a show about monsters had a catchy surfer theme song), Taxi (simple, elegant, but not as memorable as many others)

 

 

 

25 Happy Days
Happy Days actually had two theme songs. For the first couple of seasons it was Bill Haley & The Comets’ classic 1954 anthem Rock Around the Clock. hdAfter that an original song was recorded that is close enough in vibe & style that the difference between it and Clock is almost imperceptible.

 

 

 

24 Three’s Company / Full House
3This is our first tie…but not the last. Both shows…as well as their theme songs…are guilty pleasures. Many won’t admit that they full_houseenjoyed them but we all know that enough people did that they were each on the air for 8 seasons.

 

 

 

 

23 Star Trek / Star Trek:TNG
TOS’s theme is a bit…spacey & operatic, as if you are in the midst of an acid trip while intoxicated on champagne (not that I have trekany kind of personal experience, atleast with acid). It was composed during the 60’s after all. TNG’s theme, on the other hand, is orchestral & bombastic. Both include the familiar voiceover about space being the final frontier and explaining the mission of the starship Enterprise. I hear TNG’s theme often, as it is the personal ringtone assigned to my friend The Owl when he calls.

 

 

 

22 Night Court / Growing Pains
Growing-Pains_610Whatever happened to BJ Thomas?? I really enjoyed his 1970’s songs Hooked on a Feeling and Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (which won an ncAcademy Award). Anyway, he teamed up with duo queen Jennifer Warnes (Up Where We Belong from An Officer and a Gentleman with Joe Cocker and I’ve Had the Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing with Bill Medley were two other hits) to sing a slightly sappy, very 80’s-ish theme for Growing Pains. Night Court’s theme song is an upbeat jazz tune with a really cool bass line. It is vaguely similar to the Barney Miller theme only kicked up a few notches. This makes perfect sense when you know both were composed by the same guy.

 

 

 

21 Dallas / The Big Bang Theory
TV Nayyar 104902TBBT is still on the air and going strong, so I hesitate to include its ebullient theme song, but I will, a) because I think it’s cool, and b) the show has been on long enough for me to fairly assume that the tune will stand the test of time. It was composed and is performed by the fringe 90’s rock group Barenaked Ladies, who I think may have had a couple of semi-recognizable hits about 20 years ago. The lyrics are more about the actual Big Bang Theory that we all learned about in science class and don’t really tell us anything about the show, but it’s still a fun song. The Dallas theme is a funky orchestral-disco fusion thing. Unique and unforgettable. Fans of the show dallassurely have memories flood their brain when hearing it…Who Shot JR??, Pam’s dream season, The Oil Barons’ Ball, Ewing Oil, South Fork. Puts me in the mood for power, money, & BBQ.

 

 

 

20 Batman / Sanford & Son
batmanBatman has had multiple theme songs over the years, from animated TV shows to the superb score by award winning composersson (and former Oingo Boingo frontman) Danny Elfman for the Tim Burton films a couple of decades back. However, my favorite remains the simple yet catchy theme for the campy 60’s TV show starring Adam West as The Caped Crusader. Minimalism works. My late paternal grandfather loved Sanford & Son, a show that was cancelled before I started kindergarten. God bless syndicated reruns, right?? The theme song is entitled The Streetbeater and was composed by the legendary Quincy Jones.

 

 

 

19 The Golden Girls
Okay…a serious question. When did The Golden Girls become a cultural touchstone for homosexuality, and why?? Maybe I’ve missed something ggobvious, which is entirely possible since the show was originally on when I was a teenager. It’s no skin off my nose…I’m just curious. At any rate, the theme song belongs in any 80’s time capsule that one might conceive, alongside The Brat Pack, acid washed jeans, MTV, & big hair. It is all about friendship, and really, who could dislike a song like that??

 

 

 

18 The Greatest American Hero
I don’t think I ever watched a single episode of The Greatest American Hero. It only lasted for three seasons and during most of that time was on Friday gamnights at the same time as Dallas, and in my house we did not miss Dallas. If I had been a fan of the show there is a good chance the theme would have ranked much higher on this list because it is among the coolest & most unforgettable songs in television history. It was memorably lampooned on a classic 1997 episode of Seinfeld, which just adds to its credibility. Believe It or Not actually became a hit on the radio (which might explain its familiarity even to those of us who never watched the show) and peaked at #2 on the charts. One thing I do find interesting about the program itself: In 1981 a show was conceived about a high school schoolteacher who becomes a superhero. It got, at best, so-so ratings and was cancelled after three seasons. Almost 30 years later a show (Breaking Bad) was conceived about a high school teacher who becomes a meth dealer. It lasted 5 seasons and is often trumpeted by some as one of the best television programs of all time. That, ladies & gentlemen, is the living, breathing definition of going to Hell in a handbasket.

 

 

 

17 Saved by the Bell
I can’t recall exactly how I became a Saved by the Bell fan. That might be because it was on in the early 90’s and my memory of those years is a bit sbbfuzzy…for reasons I won’t go into. I certainly wasn’t the target demographic. I was a guy in college, not a junior high school girl. But for whatever reason I always liked the show, even though it was so cheesy it made the 60’s Batman show look like Shakespeare. The theme song is peppy and briefly encapsulates a lot of the angst of being in high school. Interesting trivia…the Saved by the Bell and Golden Girls themes were composed by the same person. That’s some impressive range.

 

 

 

16 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Is there a cooler 90’s theme song than The Fresh Prince?? It is still the best thing that Will Smith has ever done. I’m not into rap/hip-hop at all, but if I fresh-prince-outfits-9were 25 years younger and still into getting gooned on Jägermeister it wouldn’t be hard to persuade me to karaoke the heck out of this song. I’m surprised that never actually happened. The tune basically sets up the premise for the entire series and everything that followed for 6 seasons on television evolved from that.

 

 

 

 

That’s it. That’s all you get…for now. Please stay tuned for Part 2…coming soon!!

A Very Special Trivia Tuesday

Andddd we’re baaack!!
You may have noticed there was no trivia a week ago. Well, here’s the deal. On Christmas Eve 2014 there was a brief yet blustery snow & wind squall that knocked out knowledgepower in my building for several hours. It also blew my modem and prevented Internet access for a few days until I received a replacement. Fast forward to Valentine’s Day. More snow, more wind, & two brief power flickers…and another blown modem. The next day was Sunday and then President’s Day, but I thought I’d be back online no later than Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. I’m not sure who dropped the ball in the ol’ customer service or tech support departments, but I was offline for 9 days, and being snowed in off & on did nothing to help my mood. At any rate, we’re up & running just in time for a very special day. Today is my eldest nephew’s 22nd birthday, which is right about the time my life took a nosedive, so good luck dude. Okay okay…I’m kidding (sort of). In honor of Zach’s birthday today’s trivia is all about 2/24 and/or the year 1993. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

potpourri

Some average prices in 1993: first-class stamp = 29 cents, gallon of gas = $1.11, a dozen eggs = 87 cents, one movie ticket = $4, a gallon of milk = $2.86

 

 

 

movies&TVOn 2/24/38 MGM purchased the rights to adapt L. Frank Baum’s beloved children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into a feature film. The Wizard of Oz premiered on August 15, 1939 and went on to lose the Oscar for Best Picture to Gone with the Wind. Oz did win Academy Awards for Best Song (Somewhere Over the Rainbow) and Best Music Score.

 

 

 

movies&TVThe Top 10 movies of 1993:
1. Jurassic Park
2. The Fugitive
3. The Firm
4. Sleepless in Seattle
5. Aladdin
6. Mrs. Doubtfire
7. Indecent Proposal
8. In the Line of Fire
9. Cliffhanger
10. A Few Good Men

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history&geography

On 2/24/81 Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer became engaged. And that worked out just fine, didn’t it??

 

-

 

 

 
movies&TVThe Top 10 TV shows of 1993:
1. 60 Minutes
2. Home Improvement
3. Seinfeld
4. Roseanne
5. Grace Under Fire
6. Coach
7. Frasier
8. Monday Night Football
9. Murphy Brown
10.CBS Sunday Night Movie

 

 

 

sports1993 in sports: the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, Alabama beat Miami, FL in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day to win the National Championship, the Colorado Rockies & Florida Marlins were MLB expansion teams, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals for their first 3-peat and then Michael Jordan retired (the first time), the NCAA Basketball Final Four were North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, & Michigan with the Tar Heels eventually winning the title

 

 

 

books&musicOn 2/24/93…the exact day of the glorious birth of one of my two favorite nephews…Michael Jackson received a Grammy Legend award which was presented to him by his sister Janet at the 35th annual Grammy Awards. I could say something amusing yet creepy here but I’ll resist.

Superfluous 7 – Best Picture Winners That Matter

Did you watch The Academy Awards last night??

 

oscarNeither did I, but from catching up online it looks like the powers-that-be predictably followed their usual patterns. American Sniper, a film that normal people love because it celebrates American heroism and doesn’t try to minimize the evil of radical Islam, was overlooked. Some British dude won Best Actor because a) he’s British, and b) he played a handicapped character. Meanwhile, Michael Keaton…freakin’ Batman…gets squadoosh. Julianne Moore, an atheist who is all about abortion and wants to take away your right to bear arms, was awarded with a Best Actress statuette. The dude from the Farmer’s Insurance commercials was named Best Supporting Actor, probably in part because he’s old. A rapper won the award for Best Song. Presenters apparently included Kevin Hart (the only way he’ll ever be on the Oscar stage), The Rock (really??), and noted liberal assclowns Sean Penn, Liam Neeson, Gwyneth Paltrow, & Satan’s favorite talk show host. Tim McGraw took his lips off President Obama’s manhood long enough to perform a song, and somebody thought it was a good idea to give Lady Gaga a microphone, although to be fair the general consensus is she was quite good (see what happens when you toss aside the gimmick and just sing?). All in all I’m glad National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and a really interesting Billy Joel biography kept me entertained.

 

The truth is that I haven’t had Oscar Fever for several years. That begs the question…why??

 

There are a hundred different answers to that question, mostly to do with personal preferences & lifestyle, but one big issue is the huge disconnect theaterbetween Hollywood’s definition of quality and the public’s idea of popularity. A quick look at some of the highest grossing films in recent years is revealing. The Pirates of the Caribbean series. Iron Man. The Harry Potter series. Twilight. The Spider-Man movies. The Star Wars prequels. Popular?? Yes. Profitable?? Obviously. Award winning?? Not really. This isn’t a recent development though. Look back at the 80’s. Top Gun, Back to the Future, & Batman made a ton of cash and were all cool flicks in my opinion, but the “experts” didn’t shower them with trophies. Same deal for pretty decent stuff from the 70’s like Grease, Blazing Saddles, Dirty Harry, & The Poseidon Adventure. Meanwhile, The Academy has given Best Picture statuettes to the likes of Crash, The Artist, Dances with Wolves, The Hurt Locker, Out of Africa, The English Patient, & No Country for Old Men. What’s up with that??

 

So this train of thought led me to ponder…what films cross over?? What are some of the movies that I appreciate as a fan that were also rewarded by folks who (theoretically) know what makes a movie “good”?? There are only two requirements that qualify a movie for this list…a) I like it, and b) it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Therefore, without further ado, it is my pleasure to present…..

 

 
from the home office in Hollywood, FL…..

 

 
The Superfluous 7 Best Picture Winners That Matter:

 

 

 

 

7 Rain Man
Rain Man won Best Picture for 1988. Dustin Hoffman won Best Actor and Barry Levinson won Best Director as well, among other awards. Hoffman beat out Tom Hanks rainman(nominated for Big) for his trophy, which in retrospect is pretty darn impressive. His turn as an autistic savant is poignant and amusing, but not histrionic. It is still one of Tom Cruise’s best performances, and the film itself holds up well thru repeated viewings.

 

 

6 The Silence of the Lambs / The Greatest Show on Earth
lambsI’m not generally a horror/suspense/thriller fan, and I still maintain that the book is even better than the movie, but the success of Lambs can’t be greatestshow5overlooked. It was the 5th highest grossing film of 1991 and won Best Picture, Best Actor (Sir Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodi Foster), & Best Director (Jonathan Demme). I became familiar with The Greatest Show on Earth many years ago because I am a big Jimmy Stewart fan. The film also stars Charlton Heston and is kind of a soap opera set inside the circus. It was the top grossing movie of 1952 and won Best Picture, beating out High Noon (starring Gary Cooper).

 

 

5 American Beauty
American Beauty is a strange film. It falls into that dramedy category that I seem to enjoy so much. It was the 13th highest grossing film of 1999, but when one realizes abthat the #1 hit at the box office was Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace the often stark contrast between quantity & quality becomes clear. American Beauty overcame competition from The Green Mile and The Sixth Sense to win Best Picture, and the brilliant Kevin Spacey beat the likes of Russell Crowe, Sean Penn, & Denzel Washington for Best Actor. Spacey is hilarious thru much of the film, making it exceedingly entertaining & watchable, but its darker elements (especially toward the end) and the weird next door neighbors, while adding the gravitas that Hollywood loves, intensifies the eccentricity.

 

 

4 Titanic / Rocky
titanicTitanic not only topped the box office in 1997, it is the 2nd highest grossing film in the rockyworld…of all time. On top of the obvious mass appeal & financial success it is actually a really good movie that pretty much swept the Oscars and made huge stars out of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and director James Cameron. Sadly there was never a sequel. Conversely, 1976’s Rocky spawned numerous sequels, but none were as good as the original, which was written by Sylvester Stallone himself. Good sports films are almost always treasured by the masses but rarely receive high critical praise. Rocky broke the mold and has stood the test of time.

 

 

3 Casablanca / The Godfather Part II
casablancaWhen folks converse about the greatest movies ever made there are a handful of names that almost universally get denirotossed around. One of them is Casablanca, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Nazi controlled Morocco during World War II. Casablanca has an elegance & sophistication that almost all modern entertainment lacks and is as great today as it was 70+ years ago. Maybe better, if that’s even possible. No car chases. No explosions. No CGI. No illicit sex or celebration of deviant lifestyles. Just good acting and fantastic writing. Hollywood should try that more often. Some say that The Godfather Part II is superior to the original film. I don’t quite agree, but I understand the sentiment. Part II seamlessly tells two different stories at the same time. Al Pacino returns as Michael Corleone, who is determined to make his “family business” legitimate. Robert DeNiro also stars as the younger version of Don Vito Corleone, as we see how he came to America and rose to power as a mob boss. In essence The Godfather Part II is a sequel AND a prequel…a pretty neat trick. DeNiro and Marlon Brando are the only two actors to win Oscars (Best Supporting Actor for DeNiro, Best Actor for Brando) for playing the same character, and the film was the first sequel to ever win Best Picture. Al Pacino was robbed of the Best Actor statuette…one of the most criminal snubs in the history of film.

 

 

2 Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is kind of a divisive movie. Lots of people love it. Some people hate it. Many feel that, in hindsight, Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were Forrest-Gumpsuperior films and one of them should have won Best Picture. Those same people think that either Morgan Freeman (for Shawshank), John Travolta (Pulp Fiction), or Paul Newman (Nobody’s Fool) might have been more deserving of the Best Actor award. I disagree on both counts. I adore Forrest Gump. I have watched it dozens of times and find it enchanting. Hanks has had a fantastic career, having been in a plethora of solid romantic comedies & animated features, but Gump remains his pinnacle.

 

 

1 The Godfather
For those familiar with my 100 Favorite Movies series the top two choices here come as no surprise, as they capped those rankings as well. I have called The GodfatherThe Godfather a “nearly flawless” film and I stand by that proclamation. Francis Ford Coppola is a legendary director. Pacino, Brando, James Caan, Talia Shire, Robert Duvall…all legends. The cinematography is brilliant. The music is extraordinary. The Godfather won Best Picture over Deliverance, which is kind of like saying the winner of a free meal at a restaurant chose surf & turf over cold pizza and a bottle of ripple. Brando had zero legitimate competition for Best Actor, but shockingly Francis Ford Coppola did not win Best Director. I am sure there is an “inside baseball” story about that, but I’m far too lazy to do the required research. Needless to say that The Godfather has aged more than well and it is a rare example of the rank & file in flyover country and the elitists in the film industry completely agreeing on something.

Celebrating VD

Observant citizens of The Manoverse may have noticed that awhile back I created a new category for the archives called Holidays & Celebrations. That celebrateidea came about mainly due to my love for Christmas, but I am also interested in the history of other special days on the calendar. I feel like society often pushes aside the meaning of holidays and looks at them simply as a day off from their job or as a reason to frivolously spend money. Don’t misunderstand…I am not anti-frivolity. Fireworks on Independence Day, costume parties & trick-or-treating on Halloween, football & cheesy parades on Thanksgiving, Christmas presents & eggnog…it’s all good. But we should always remember that there is a reason…usually a profound & significant one…that these became widely recognized annual celebrations in the first place.

 

vdValentine’s Day is tomorrow. It is my least favorite holiday, as it likely is for many single individuals. When most people think of Valentine’s Day I am sure certain images come to mind…heart shaped boxes of chocolate, red roses, & those little candy hearts with messages written on them like “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me”. Is Valentine’s Day just a conspiracy from Big Candy and the Flower Mafia designed to guilt married people into buying their products and drive the lonely & unattached into a bottomless pit of despair?? Surely there is more.

 

First things first…
There was indeed a Saint Valentine. He is an obscure priest known to have lived in the 3rd century and been martyred in Rome. That’s pretty much all that is known. There may have even been more than one Saint Valentine, but that just adds to the confusion.

 

So why is there a holiday dedicated to a guy that we know virtually nothing about?? While Saint Valentine was indeed real, the holiday dedicated in his saint-st-valentine_fbhonor seems to be built on a foundation of legends & folklore. Some stories indicate that he was imprisoned for giving assistance to Christians who were, at the time, being persecuted in Rome, and also performing marriage ceremonies for soldiers (who were forbidden from getting married). It is said that while in prison Saint Valentine healed his jailer’s blind daughter and converted the man himself to Christianity. Valentine was then beheaded by order of Emperor Claudius because he refused to deny Christ, but before his death he left a goodbye note for the formerly blind girl and signed it “Your Valentine”. No one knows if any of these things actually occurred, but it makes a great story.

 

The Feast of Saint Valentine was initially began by Pope Gelasius in the 5th century. It is believed to have been placed in mid-February to Christianize a pagan fertility feast called lupercalia, aka the Wolf Festival, named in honor of Lupa, a female wolf who was said to have suckled the twin infants Romulus & Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. The month of February itself comes from the term februum, which means purification. Romans believed that birds chose their mate in February.

 

chaucerThings got a bit of a boost during The Middle Ages, which lasted from the 5th to the 15th centuries, but in this case we’re probably looking at around the 12th century when things like chivalry & love became somewhat of a pop culture sensation. Author & poet Geoffrey Chaucer made a big contribution to the Valentine tradition with his poem Parliament of Fowls, which was written to celebrate the nuptials of two 15 year old kids…England’s King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. Twelve years later Anne died from the plague and Richard II became nuttier than a fruitcake, but at the time of their marriage they were the Middle Ages equivalent of Brangelina, Kimye, or Jay-Z & Beyonce. At any rate, in Chaucer’s poem he writes:

For this was on Saint Valentine’s day
When every fowl comes there his mate to take
Of every species that men know, I say
And then so huge a crowd did they make
That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake
Was so full, that there was scarcely space
For me to stand, so full was all the place

And as Alain, in his Complaint of Nature
Describes her array and paints her face
In such array might men there find her
So this noble Empress, full of grace
Bade every fowl to take its proper place
As they were wont to do from year to year
On Saint Valentine’s day, standing there

You know that on Saint Valentine’s day
By my statute and through my governance,
You come to choose and then fly your way
Your mates, as I your desires enhance
But nonetheless my rightful ordinance
I may not alter, for all the world to win
That he that is most worthy must begin

Saint Valentine, who art full high aloft
Thus sing the small fowls for your sake
Now welcome summer, with your sun soft
That this winter’s weather does off-shake

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In 18th century England Valentine’s Day began to resemble the holiday that we all know. It became common to exchange Valentine cards & candy with one’s sweetheart. You can easily fill in the blanks as far as the rest of the holiday’s evolution.

 

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide, but it is interesting that its religious origins have been minimized to the point that most don’t even realize that heartsthere was a real Valentine, that he was a priest, and that he was martyred for spreading the gospel and refusing to deny his Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Only the Anglican & Lutheran churches retain any semblance of the day’s sacred significance. So enjoy your chocolates, flowers, & dinner with your spouse, life mate, mistress, boy toy, or “friend with benefits”. I am sure many will celebrate by heading to the cinema to see the romantic blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey. Like I said, frivolity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But also take a moment to appreciate the real reason for the season.

Trivia Tuesday…..Chapter 6.15

Greetings Manoverse!! Look, I know parts of the country are still covered in snow & ice. I fully expect that we’ll have another round or two here in Appalachia in the next knowledgeseveral weeks. But I am feeling encouraged. This winter hasn’t been nearly as bothersome as last year. We’ve had a lot of cold, grey days, but we’ve also had a few lovely days with sunshine & mild temperatures. Golf was on TV this past weekend!! The sports shows are beginning to talk about baseball & Nascar!! We’re gonna make it folks!! Just hold on for a little while longer, and while you are doing so please enjoy some semi-useful yet rather interesting knowledge. You’re welcome.

 

 

 
history&geography

 

The name Italy comes from the word italia, meaning “calf land”. Italy is approximately 116,400 square miles (including Sicily and Sardinia), which is slightly larger than Arizona. Almost 4/5 of Italy is either mountainous or hilly.

 

 

 

sportsThe first sporting event televised in the United States was a college baseball game between Princeton and Columbia on May 17, 1939. Princeton won the game 2-1. It was aired on NBC, which still ticks off the suits at ESPN, even though it was 40 years before that network even existed.

 

 

 

plants & animals

Dolphins sleep with one eye open. It is unknown whether they grip their pillows tight or say their prayers not forgetting to include everyone.

 

 

potpourri

 

Bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers were all invented by women.

 

 

 

history&geographyWorld War I, also known as the Great War, the War of the Nations, and the War to End All Wars, began on June 28, 1914 when a Serbian terrorist shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914. Russia and France sided with Serbia, and Germany supported Austria-Hungary. Other countries around the world were soon pulled into the fighting. WWI was fought on every ocean and on almost every continent. Most of the fighting, however, took place in Europe. The greatest single loss of life in the history of the British army occurred during the Battle of Somme, when the British suffered 60,000 casualties in one day. More British men were killed in that one WWI battle than the U.S. lost from all of its armed forces combined. WWI officially ended on November 11, 1918. Four empires collapsed after WWI: Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian. WWI was the catalyst that transformed Russia into the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), the world’s first communist state. Many historians believe this to be the most important consequence of WWI. The total cost of WWI for the U.S. was more than $30 billion. World War I is the sixth deadliest conflict in history.