October 22nd ought to be a national holiday

Curly Howard (Jerome Lester Horwitz) was born on this date in 1903. The most popular of the Three Stooges, Curly had no formal training and was often improvising. According to older brother Moe Howard, “If we were going through a scene and he’d forget his words for a moment, you know. Rather than stand, get pale and stop, you never knew what he was going to do. On one occasion he’d get down to the floor and spin around like a top until he remembered what he had to say.” It’s said Curly squandered all his money on wine, food, women, homes, cars, and especially dogs. Sounds like good choices, but they took their toll. Curly Howard died at age 48 in 1952 after a series of strokes.

“N’yuk, n’yuk, n’yuk.”

Three time best actress Oscar nominee Joan Fontaine is 93 today. Miss Fontaine won the Oscar in 1942 for Suspicion. Good genes in that family. Her sister Olivia de Havilland turned 94 in July.

Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing is 91 today.

In 2007 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. She was out grocery shopping when the announcement came, and she came home to find her house swamped with reporters. She was nonplussed about the prize, saying, “Oh Christ! I couldn’t care less. This has been going on for 30 years. I’ve won all the prizes in Europe, every bloody one, so I’m delighted to win them all. It’s a royal flush.” And she said, “I can’t say I’m overwhelmed with surprise. I’m 88 years old and they can’t give the Nobel to someone who’s dead, so I think they were probably thinking they’d probably better give it to me now before I’ve popped off.”

By the time she accepted the prize, she was considerably more gracious, saying, “Thank you does not seem enough when you’ve won the best of them all. It is astonishing and amazing.”

The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Christopher Lloyd is 72.

Annette Funicello is 68. At the Disney Archives, once upon a time, I actually saw first-hand something I had often dreamed about in junior high — Annette’s Mouseketeer sweater.

Catherine Deneuve is 67.

Jeff Goldblum is 58.

Ichiro Suzuki is 37.

Slugger Jimmie Foxx was born on October 22, 1907.

A fearsome power hitter whose strength earned him the moniker The Beast, Jimmie Foxx was the anchor of an intimidating Philadelphia Athletics lineup that produced pennant winners from 1929-31. The second batter in history to top 500 home runs, Foxx belted 30 or more homers in 12 consecutive seasons and drove in more than 100 runs 13 consecutive years, including a career-best 175 with Boston in 1938. He won back-to-back MVP Awards in 1932 and ’33, capturing the Triple Crown in the latter year.

Baseball Hall of Fame

It was on this date in 1962, that President Kennedy told the nation about the Soviet missiles in Cuba. From The New York Times report on the speech:

President Kennedy imposed a naval and air “quarantine” tonight on the shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba.

In a speech of extraordinary gravity, he told the American people that the Soviet Union, contrary to promises, was building offensive missiles and bomber bases in Cuba. He said the bases could handle missiles carrying nuclear warheads up to 2,000 miles.

Thus a critical moment in the cold war was at hand tonight. The President had decided on a direct confrontation with–and challenge to–the power of the Soviet Union.

*****

All this the President recited in an 18-minute radio and television address of a grimness unparalleled in recent times. He read the words rapidly, with little emotion, until he came to the peroration–a warning to Americans of the dangers ahead.

“Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out,” the President said. “No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred.”

“The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are–but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world,” he added.

It was as close as we’ve ever come to nuclear war.

One thought on “October 22nd ought to be a national holiday

  1. Are you sure it wasn’t what was INSIDE of Annette’s sweater that you were dreaming about in Junior High?

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