Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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“…More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!” Screen capture of actor George Reeves as Superman in the U.S. government film “Stamp Day for Superman” (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “‘Look! Up in the sky!’” “’It’s a bird!’ ‘It’s a plane!’ ‘It’s Superman!’” “Superman … who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!” “And now,... (Read More ...)

I’ll bet you can hear the theme music in your head now, just at the mention of Mission Impossible. Cast photo from the television program Mission: Impossible. This is the cast for its fifth season, beginning in 1970. From left: Leonard Nimoy, Greg Morris, Leslie (Anne) Warren, Peter Lupus, and Peter Graves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I’m not talking about the Mission Impossible Tom Cruise movies of today, now in planning stages for the fifth installment, after its 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2011 movies –  but the original television show. The music won its composer a Grammy for Best Instrumental... (Read More ...)

It started with a pie pan. Walter Frederick Morrison promoting his Pluto Platters, forerunner of the Frisbee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Fred Morrison and his soon-to-be wife were tossing a pie pan to each other on the beach in California in 1938 and someone offered to buy it from them for a quarter, a pan that only cost five cents. World War II interrupted progress, but when Morrison returned from being a prisoner-of-war, he designed an aerodynamic flying disk. By 1948, he and a partner were selling plastic versions of the disk. After several redesigns, rights to the disk were sold to Wham-O, the... (Read More ...)

A 9×9 magic square from 1895 which also appears to be one of the earliest known sudokus. Français : Un carré magique de 9×9 datant de 1895 qui a aussi la propriété d’être un des premiers sudokus connus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler is credited with inventing the 3×3 Magic Square in 1783, the same year he died, though magic squares go back to China, starting with the Lo Shu Square, a 3×3 Magic Square, in 650 BCE. The 3×3 magic square is a  grid which, when added up, totals the same number for any row or column or diagonal, filled... (Read More ...)

French inventor André Cassagnes created what he called The Magic Screen, L’Ecran Magique, in his basement in the late 1950s. The Jack of Hearts, highly detailed, done on the Etch A Sketch (Photo credit: Wikipedia) After a chance discovery that when he wrote with a pencil on a decal covered with metal powder at work, a picture-frame cover manufacturing company that used aluminum powder in its manufacturing process, the writing was visible on the other side of the decal, he began to play around with how this might be useful. In 1959, he took his invention to the International Toy Fair in Nuremburg,... (Read More ...)

My husband has always said that the song that most reminds him of me is “Sunny,” because I’m always smiling. Ella Fitzgerald in 1968 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “Sunny” was released, first as a single, by its author, Bobby Hebb, then, the same year, on February 24, 1966, by Cher, as a single and on her album, “The Sunny Side of Cher.” Hebb and his brother were born to two blind musicians. In 1963, two tragic events occurred in Bobby Hebb’s life. In the space of 48 hours, Bobby Hebb wrote “Sunny” after the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John Kennedy and his... (Read More ...)

The first episode of Seinfeld aired July 5, 1989. Photo of jerry Seinfeld at the Emmy Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It ran for nine seasons, with 180 episodes. Famously a “show about nothing,” the show was about a group of 30-something friends, living in New York, and the every day situations they find themselves in. Unlike most sitcoms, the characters were not likeable people. They were selfish and self-absorbed and never learned from the inevitable consequences of their bad behavior. A morality play in which the characters are justly punished every week for their actions. It was created... (Read More ...)

The Alfred Hitchcock movie, Psycho, filmed in black and white, was released on June 16, 1960. Alfred Hitchcock showing Norman Bates’ house, in Psycho’s trailer (Photo credit: Wikipedia) This was one month shy of my 13th birthday. I have never seen it. By the time I was deciding whether to see it, I already knew about the violent, bloody opening death scene. I was not interested in watching that kind of gore for entertainment. I still have nightmares about Birds, with Tippi Hedren. These were, perhaps, two of Hitchcock’s most famous movies. They joined a long list of more than 50 Hitchcock... (Read More ...)