In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
Ampex is a brand name that isn't mentioned much in terms of current video technology, but their history is full of notable innovations, though most are aimed at commercial-grade video production and editing. But 50 years ago, Ampex opened a consumer and educational division (Google books preview), with the pinnacle of their home entertainment offering that year was the Ampex Signature V, a 9-foot-long system that weighed 900 pounds, allowing the home user to record a television program for the first time (while being able to simultaneously watch another, no less). This complete audio/video system was marketed through Neiman-Marcus for $30,000. That price also included professional installation and a plaque bearing the owners name (Google books preview). The system was affectionately called "Grant's Tomb" after Gus Grant, the marketing manager who came up with the idea. According to a user on the Videokarma forum, only 4 were ever made, and only one was sold. [more inside]
What Does D-Day, MLK JR and Tennessee Williams have in common? NO, not that D-Day. The other D-Day. [more inside]
50 Years Ago: The World in 1963 Let me take you 50 years into the past now, for a look at the world as it was in 1963.
Snow is a short film directed by Geoffrey Jones (1931-2005) and shot by Wolfgang Suschitzky [imdb], simultaneously spectacle and social-commentary it can be viewed online (YouTube). Snow was made under the aegis of British Transport Films (wiki) and nominated for an Oscar in 1965; unable to afford to licence his choice of soundtrack—“Teen Beat” by Sandy Nelson—Jones enlisted Johnny Hawksworth to rerecord “Teen Beat” with an altered tempo and effects by Daphne Oram [wiki, BBC]. The result is a masterpiece of sound and image.
The ambulance that was used to carry the body of John F. Kennedy from Andrews Air Force Base to Bethesda Naval Hospital was sold at auction last night for $120,000. Or was it? [more inside]
Meanwhile in the TARDIS - two bonus ‘mini-episodes’ from the fifth season of doctor who. Can't wait to see the next season? If you're overseas it may get to you a bit quicker, as the BBCs iPlayer goes international. Bonus link: Amy Pond by way of Alphonse Mucha, by Bill Mudron.
Jimmy Smith Park. Breadcrumbs so you can find your way back: Jimmy Smith Park -> About -> Rivers Park -> Dreams about Drunks -> The evolution of previously.