Tag Archives: this day in history

Will-a-Mania

August 15th is a big day in music history.

  • 1969: The Woodstock Music Festival opens.
  • 1965: The Beatles play Shea Stadium.
  • 1935: Will Rogers and Wiley Post die when their plane crashes after take-off in Barrow, Alaska.

Now, you might not put Will Rogers in the same music sphere as the Beatles, but for a Broadway fan, The Will Rogers Follies — winner of the 1991 Tony Award for Best Musical — is a pretty big deal.

Prior to that show, Will Rogers was just a name in the history books to me.  Once a year or so in movie theatres, I did see cans passed to raise money for the Will Rogers Institute, which funds medical research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases….but that was the extent of my knowledge.

Keith Carradine’s portrayal brought Rogers to life — his years in vaudeville and radio, his common sense approach to life, his wife, his politics and witticisms, and his love and support for the then fledgling aviation industry.

I used to listen to the musical’s soundtrack in my car driving back and forth to work…back when I had a car and actually worked in an office.  It has amazing energy and lyrics — perfect ‘pick-me-up’ music.

Who needs a car?  I’m gonna listen to Will today.

It is August 15th.

Loop de loop

On this date in 1898, the first roller coaster was patented.  (They finally figured out how many loops it takes to make you throw up!)

Suffice it to say — I love coasters, but they don’t love me.

One of my favorite roller coaster rides ever was during my very first trip to Las Vegas.  My friend Paul and I both realized we had hit our 30’s without visiting Sin City, so off we went.

We stayed at the New York, New York casino back when it was bright, shiny new.  I don’t even think we knew it had a coaster, so when we saw it was one of the attractions, we kinda poo-poo’ed it.

I mean, seriously — a coaster that wrapped around a casino building in Las Vegas? At $8 a pop?  How much fun could it be?

OMG — SO much fun!

The roller coaster whipped between the casino buildings so fast, it felt like we were going to slam into someone’s hotel room!  It was the best time ever.  We immediately got off and got right back on.  It was so worth the price.

I read it’s up to $14 now.  I’d pay that much today.

I mean, come on — all the other scares on the Strip cost way more.

Gatefest

Today is the anniversary of the Watergate burglary, the day the word “gate” took on a whole new meaning.

I was just commenting on this the other day after I attended “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  He coined the phrase “AssFest 2010” to commemorate Obama’s pledge to kick some ass in the BP oil spill fiasco.  But my first thought was,

“Where’s the gate?”

There have been some great gates over the years.  Perhaps it’s a sign of age, but I’d enjoy a look back at some of my favorites.  Shall we?

  • Billygate — President Jimmy Carter’s brother Billy — the one with his own beer — represented the Libyan government as a foreign agent.  That’s okay, Billy.  We liked to forget you were an American, too.
  • Camillagate — A taped conversation of the then illicit relationship between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles was leaked.  (They’re married now, so it’s all good.)
  • Fajitagate — I just heard about this one Tuesday in a cab in Modesto, CA.  Three off-duty San Francisco policeman arrested two men carrying bags of steak fajitas mistaken for drugs.  The chief of police was eventually fired (and the fajitas were eaten).
  • Nannygate — Rob Lowe’s nanny sues him for sexual harrassment.  Rob Lowe sues her right back, and nothing comes of it.  You can’t mess with Rob Lowe.  He’s that good-looking.

You’ll notice the original Watergate didn’t make my list.  It never will.  The hearing coverage preempted the afternoon soaps for weeks.

That kinda thing really scars a kid.