When Things Go Boom!

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Yes, little ones like pizza, birthday parties, ice cream, playing Hide-and-Seek (or in the case of my two youngest, “Pop-Pop is a Monster” (where I play like a giant dinosaur and act scary, but they can put me to sleep by singing, “Go to sleep!  Go to sleep!”)  I have to confess, I rather enjoy that game, too.

But, there are things that wee ones don’t like: nap time, bed time, doing chores, brushing their teeth, washing their hands before eating…all those things seem to be BIG problems for LITTLE people.  And let me explain one more thing that they don’t like (at least most of them don’t): loud noises.

On the Fourth of July, we were at our son’s house in the evening and our son was setting off some fireworks in the driveway.  They weren’t cherry bombs or anything like that…just small “shower” type of fireworks that spew up a shower of sparks with may a small amount of noise.  But that was all it took.  Afraid there would be loud noises, our littlest grand daughter decided she needed to protect herself by covering her ears!  It was cute.  The indignation on her face is priceless…but she still couldn’t take her eyes off the flying sparks!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1978, National Lampoon’s Animal House, a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities starring John Belushi, opened in U.S. theaters. Produced with an estimated budget of $3 million, Animal House became a huge, multi-million-dollar box-office hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history with such memorable lines as “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

Set at the fictional Faber College (the University of Oregon served as a stand-in during filming), Animal House centered around the disreputable Delta House fraternity, whose members enjoyed beer-soaked toga parties and crude pranks such as putting a horse in the dean’s office. Animal House was the first big hit for director John Landis, who went on to helm The Blues Brothers (1980), Trading Places (1983) and Coming to America (1988). The film’s cast included a then-unknown Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Mystic River), Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Tom Hulce (Amadeus), all of whom were then just beginning their movie careers.

Animal House was co-written by Doug Kenney, Harold Ramis and Chris Miller, whose days at Dartmouth College in the early 1960s served as an inspiration for the film. Animal House marked the first film produced in affiliation with National Lampoon, a college magazine that was first published in 1970 and known for its dark humor. Other National Lampoon movies included Vacation (1983), which was written by John Hughes, directed by Ramis and starred SNL alum Chevy Chase.

At the time Animal House was released, John Belushi, who played party animal Bluto Blutarsky, was starring on the TV sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live(SNL). Belushi, who was born January 24, 1949, appeared on SNL from 1975 to 1979 and co-starred in the hit movie Blues Brothers with his SNL castmate Dan Akroyd. Belushi died of a drug overdose at age 33 on March 5, 1982, at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood, California.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Tests conducted by St. Lawrence University in New York found that there were more left-handed people with IQs over 140 than right-handed people. Famous left-handed intellectuals include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Benjamin Franklin.


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