Category Archives: Entertainment


First Halloween?

cat bat

In the 5th Century BC in Ireland, October 31 was seen as the divide between summer and winter and was called Samhain (pronounced sow-han because after a few days of partying, you have a really hard time pronouncing the letter “m” – not really, it’s just that their language is weird like that).

It was the night that the spirits of the dead could walk the Earth. To encourage the spirits not to linger, people would put out the fires in their homes (to make it cold and unwelcoming) and dress as demons, goblins, and witches. They would parade through the houses, making as much noise as possible. (Parents of small children can relate.)

Then they would gather outside the village where the druid priests would light huge bonfires. The fires were a tribute to the sun god in thankfulness for the crops they had grown. It was also meant to frighten away spirits who might want to inhabit a villager’s body over the next year. Sometimes, if someone seemed to be already possessed, that person was thrown onto the fire. (The 5th Century BC was not a high point in caring for the mentally ill.) This was to warn off other spirits from trying to take over any of the other villagers.

The festivities changed some over the years. The Romans came and banned burning the crazies possessed, and burned effigies instead. The Christians came and the holiday began losing its connection to the old religion. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. Church sanctioned holidays were moving in on the holidays of the old gods and taking over their festivities.

People probably didn’t care much. They still got bonfires and a night of partying. While churches in other parts of the world had All Saints Day on November 1, not much was going on for All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) until the potato famine forced Irish immigrants to come to the United States. America in the 1840s discovered Mischief Night where young people in costumes would go out and destroy stuff (knock over outhouses, for example). They also brought the custom of trick-or-treating.

Even in the 1880s people were already talking about making the holiday less frightening so as not to upset the children. Now, a little over a century later we’re just trying to take away the fun and creativity. The only appropriate costumes anymore are generic store-bought ones that are guaranteed not to offend anyone – funny how most of them are licensed comic book or movie characters. (But the change isn’t for profit, it’s for the Chiiiiilllldddrrreeennnn!)

At least we can still dress our pets up in weird costumes.

cat lobster

disney opening

Opening of Disneyland?

Disneyland opened sixty years ago at 2:30 pm on July 17, 1955. At 4:30, there was a live TV broadcast with Walt Disney officially opening the park with this statement, “To all who come to this happy place: welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past…and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts which have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

disney invite

To say things didn’t go smoothly would be an understatement. It was an invitation-only event that expected 11,000 attendees. Thanks to counterfeit tickets, there were 28,000 people there. The huge crowd caused a traffic jam (as if that never happens at any of the parks now!), they ran out of food, and a plumbers’ strike meant that Disney had to choose between working toilets and drinking fountains. (He wisely, IMO, chose toilets over water fountains.) Rides broke down and a gas leak in Fantasyland caused it, Adventureland, and Frontierland to be closed for the afternoon.

disneyland article
Adult admission $1!

The open-to-the-public opening was the next day, Monday July 18, 1955 at 10:00 am. People were already lining up at 2:00 am to visit Main Street USA, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland (which included the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry). Over a million visitors came during the first seven weeks and it has had over 650 million visitors in the last 60 years.

sdcc inside

First San Diego Comic-Con?

The San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is the largest Comic-Con in the world. It’s a four and a half day event, Thursday through Sunday with a Preview Night on Wednesday.

It began as a small comic book minicon in March 1970, lasting just one day. The success of that event let them have a three-day convention in August of the same year. The convention was held in hotels and other locations for the first two decades. It moved to the San Diego Convention Center in 1991.

It attracts fans of a variety of entertainment types and genres. (It has about 130,000 attendees per day.) There are a range of panels covering many facets of popular arts, seminars, workshops, awards, autograph signings, and a cosplay masquerade contest.

List of things to do in San Diego outside the con.

GD 1995

Last Grateful Dead Concert?

The last time the whole band played together was July 9, 1995 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. Founding member, songwriter, and singer Jerry Garcia died the next month on August 9. 20 years after that last performance, the remaining four original band members will be back at Soldier Field to play a series of three concerts on July 3, 4, and 5, 2015 to celebrate the 50th year since the band’s founding.


Also joining them for the 50th anniversary concerts are Trey Anastasio, Jeff Chimenti, and Bruce Hornsby.

Here’s a video of the 1995 concert.

The 1995 set list was:

Touch of Grey
Little Red Rooster
Lazy River Road
When I Paint My Masterpiece
Childhood’s End
Cumberland Blues
Promised Land
Shakedown Street
Samson and Delilah
So Many Roads
Samba in the Rain
Unbroken Chain
Sugar Magnolia
Black Muddy River
Box of Rain

You can download the audio for free here.