Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27 - SS Sultana

I have a feeling that a lot of these days can be filled with the sinking of ships. Today is one of those days.

Back in 1865, the SS Sultana, a steamboat paddler, sank in the Mississippi river. It was headed from New Orleans to St. Louis. Three of the four boilers blew up. Now this sucks in and of itself, but most of the 1600 (of 2400 passengers) that died right away were Union soldiers headed home after being released from Confederate prison camps. Later, more died as they faced hypothermia, or burning with the ship. In the end, only about 200 actually survived. The shop had a legal capacity of 376, so you can see that it was extremely overcrowded and top heavy.

It kind of hits me that this is like the Katrina survivors that fled to Houston only to be whammied again by Hurricane Rita.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8 - John Paul Getty III

Oh Paul. He was a rebellious one. So much so that when he was held for ransom after being kidnapped in Rome, his family thought he staged it himself. It wasn't until his ear was cut off and sent with a lock of his hair, that the situation was taken seriously. That happened on this day in 1973.

The kidnappers originally wanted $17M. I would have asked for an even $20M, but what do I know?  They were ignored and lowered their request to $3.2M, with the threat of further damage to poor Paul. His father finally agreed to pay, but would only agree to $2.2M, because that was the max amount that was tax deductible. He wound up having to pay $2.9M, and this is the best/worst part, he considered the extra $700K a loan to Paul, who had to pay it back at a 4% interest.

He did eventually have his ear surgically recreated (sort of), and then at age 19 he went on to have a kid whom he named after one of the three wise men, or a 12 liter wine bottle, which sounds way more awesome to me, actor Balthazar Getty.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7 - Me

Oops, got carried away with procrastination today. Maybe I could leave it at that.

I have my comprehensive exams due next week (6 papers (1 page each) of master's class reactions, 25 page examination of my work, experience, and future goals complete with cited sources *ack*, a resume, and a website with my body of work which you will be able to witness here, if you are so inclined, but not until next week because let's be serious here, in addition to a masterful ability to create run-on sentences, I am powerfully incapable of finishing things before they are due.

I also have a pitch to prepare for Saturday. I have 20 minutes to basically sell my screenplay to my professor. I am unprepared. What will happen is that I stand there stuttering and saying, "oh, and then this thing happens to someone", etc.

Oh, and my girls are coming on Saturday, after my pitching class. This is beyond awesome (and therefore should not be mentioned here), save for the fact that I have to clean my house. My house is icky right now.

I also have to pitch my thesis project next week. I have to prepare it, too. And my short screenplay just got ripped apart, which means I need to rewrite it. I also have to come up with a plan for my thesis and be able to back it up in front of my colleagues and professors.

Also, I am breaking out.

Also, my new jeans are too short and are vaguely mom-like. Also, get baggy wicked quick.

Also, I think the guy I am crushing on a little thinks I am some young college kid who is hoping for career guidance from him.... Not exactly what I am looking for... And I getting over the crush, which makes me sad because my crushes are so few and far between. But sheesh... Boys are so stupid.

Also, I saw Brach's Christmas nougats at CVS tonight and didn't buy them. I may be over them. But I love them! Or do I? I usually go through more than a dozen bags at the Noel time.

Also, I am super broke.

So, be glad you are not me. I am barreling at full speed towards crazy old lady with cats (well, I have the one, but he is really big, so he counts as four) territory.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6 - Lamar Odom

Back November 6, 1979, a baby boy was born to a heroin addict father and a woman who died twelve years later. This child then grew up to play for a league that is currently in a lockout. He then found himself inexplicably entangled in the media madness that is the (are the?) Kardashians when he married Khloe in 2009.

Sure he's rich, but... well, he is rich. But at least YOU are not a Kardashian.

Happy November 6!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5 - Green River Killer

I personally thought the Green River referred to Chicago River at St. Patrick's day. The bridge over it tried to kill me once. Marci and I were walking across and I looked down right as I was passing over a gap. I thought I was going to fall in (I am not dramatic), and I grabbed Marci's arm to save me. Luckily, everything was okay. Alas, this is not the Green River Killer.

I'm assuming that this was a sucky day in 2003 for Gary Ridgway because he pleaded guilty to 48 charges of aggravated 1st degree murder. Though, it was part of a plea bargain. Amazing that they will work out a plea with a guy who killed soooo many people, right? But I've watched enough Law & Order to know that's the only way you find out where the bodies are hidden.

His victims were mainly prostitutes. Their job sucks bad enough as is, and then they have this job-site danger as well? Where the hell is OSHA?

Ridgway helps to continue to prove my theory that you shouldn't trust people with wispy mustaches. Gross. He does, however, manage to break the mold of having "Lee" as a middle name. Barely though, as his full name is Gary Leon Ridgway. Come on, parents! Quit naming your kids so they grow up to be serial killers!

Anyway, you are probably not a hooker, nor a serial killer, and today is a Saturday, so I am thinking your day should look pretty good.


Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4 - Genie

Arcadia, Ca. Sure it's in the Valley, but that does not forgive the parents of the girl who came to be known as "Genie" for their actions.

On this day in 1970, Genie's mom finally got the gumption to leave her abusive husband and take her daughter with her. Genie was 13 and had spent most of life tied to a potty chair, while enduring beatings from her father she if attempted to make any sound. He communicated with her by growling or barking, and would beat her with a wooden spoon if she vocalized at all. Sometimes, when she was not simply forgotten, he would place her into a crib with a metal sheet secured to the top so that she was completely captured. Finally free, she developed what came to be known as a "bunny walk", and communicated by sniffing and spitting.

Psychologists were fascinated by her and she came to be tended to by Jean Butler, her teacher at the Children's Hospital. Butler found the child to be highly communicative even though she used few words.  She knew about 20 words, but was generally utterly silent. Butler's push to become Genie's legal foster parent was denied and after a brief stint with her mother, who decided that caring for her was too difficult, the child found herself flying through various foster homes. She was abused, and in one instance severely beaten for vomiting. The momentum gained by working with Butler was all but lost as Genie feared opening her mouth in case it would lead to another beating.

At age 51, Genie was in a home for patients with mental illness. She is again mute. Who knows what they could have helped her to become if they had just found her a stable home. However, those who tended to her cared more for the scientific breakthroughs she could inspire than the child within and she fell through the system. She was horribly exploited and then left to dangle in the wind. Imagine her life...

So, when your family is pissing you off, think of Genie.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3 - The Greensboro Massacre

1979 was facing a lot of civil unrest, particularly in North Carolina where on November 3, 1979 a group of protesters gathered to demonstrate. The Communist Workers Party (CWP) promoted their rally "Death to the Klan" heavily, and due to this a map of their path was easily accessible. 9 cars were loaded with firearms and Klan members, as well as American Nazis, made their way to the event where they shot into the crowd. 11 people were injured and 5 died, including Sandi Smith, a nurse, who was shot between the eyes while looking out from under cover. There was no police intervention. In fact, one officer escorted the Klan cars and the other officers were told by dispatch to take a break. Four television stations and one police officer recorded the scene.

After the Klansmen left, the police returned to arrest the remaining living protesters. This massacre was considered the “worst homicidal racial and political assaults of the era”. Of the sixteen finally arrested, only six were tried and acquitted. Not a single gunmen spent a day in jail.

So maybe you had a crappy day at work, but at least you were probably not shot at by a bunch of Klan members...