On This Day In History~ April 22nd

1994; The death of Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only U.S. president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a U.S. representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961.

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. After completing his undergraduate work at Whittier College, he graduated from Duke University School of Law in 1937 and returned to California to practice law. He and his wife, Pat Nixon, moved to Washington to work for the federal government in 1942. He subsequently served in the United States Navy during World War II. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. His pursuit of the Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-communist, and elevated him to national prominence. He was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party presidential nominee in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as vice president. He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy, and lost a race for Governor of California in 1962. In 1968 he ran again for the presidency and was elected.

Although Nixon initially escalated the war in Vietnam, he subsequently ended the U.S. involvement in 1973, along with the military draft. Nixon’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972 opened diplomatic relations between the two nations, and he initiated détente and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union the same year. His administration generally transferred power from Washington to the states. He imposed wage and price controls, enforced desegregation of Southern schools and established the Environmental Protection Agency. Nixon also presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing which signaled the end of the moon race. He was reelected by one of the largest landslides in U.S. history in 1972.

The year 1973 saw an Arab oil embargo and a continuing series of revelations about the Watergate scandal. The scandal escalated, costing Nixon much of his political support, and on August 9, 1974, he resigned in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office. After his resignation, he was issued a pardon by his successor, Gerald Ford. In retirement, Nixon’s work authoring several books and undertaking of many foreign trips helped to rehabilitate his image. He suffered a debilitating stroke on April 18, 1994, and died four days later at the age of 81. Nixon remains a source of considerable interest among historians.


On This Day In History

24 April 1953

Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain & the Allies through the crisis of World War II, is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, & South Africa, & distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary & political career & in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.

In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles & Gallipoli campaigns, & he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned & volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war & in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi & Japanese aggression.

After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty & eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country & the world that the British people would “never surrender.” He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance & expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt & Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.

In July 1945, 10 weeks after Germany’s defeat, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, & Churchill resigned as prime minister. He became leader of the opposition & in 1951 was again elected prime minister. Two years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II & for his political speeches; Queen Elizabeth II also knighted him. In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death.


Day 725 / 4.25.15:
Fear and Desire (1953)
directed by, Stanley Kubrick

“There is war in this forest. Not a war that has been fought, or one that will be, but any war. And the enemies who struggle here do not exist, unless we call them into being. This forest, then, and all that happens now is outside history. Only the unchanging shapes of fear - and doubt - and death - are from our world. These soldiers that you see keep our language and our time, but have no other country but the mind.”-David Allen as the Narrator


Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Philadelphia

As a part of our spring series on Philadelphia’s gardens and parks, this week we turn to the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in West Fairmount Park. In addition to the gorgeous landscape, the site also provides visitors with authentic opportunities to learn about various facets of Japanese culture, like dance and tea ceremonies.

The Shofuso Japanese House – also known as the Pine Breeze Villa – was built in 1953 in Nagoya, Japan. Conceived as an exhibit for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the construction of the house symbolized the desire to build a friendly relationship between Japan and the United States following tension caused by World War II.

Junzo Yoshimura designed the house with seventeenth-century style, materials, and techniques in mind. Following the conclusion of its installation at MoMA in 1955, the Shofuso house was deconstructed, moved to Philadelphia, and reassembled in its current location in 1958, where it eventually expanded to provide include a garden complete with koi pond and courtyard.

Tansai Sano designed the gardens for Shofuso, adding landscaped elements when the house moved to Philadelphia. The 17th century style outdoor area includes a viewing garden with koi pond, a courtyard garden, and a tea garden. Visitors can enjoy public tea ceremonies held by the staff.

Have you ever participated in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony at Shofuso House?

Watching HG Well’s War of the Worlds made in 1953 and the leading man is super hot.

AND AAAGGGHHH! Ok movies from the 50s CAN be scary!!!!

‘Child 44′ - Movie Review

“Remember there is no death in paradise”.

Set during the Stalinist ‘Paradise’ era, just after world war II in 1953. It’s Soviet Russia where the idea of murder is seen as (or an enforced idea) as outside (or specifically US) propaganda. Something to stir up the 'Russian’ ideals and bring the country to its knees. Obviously horse-shit but it shows an extremely bleak and depressing world view.

That’s the world of 'Child 44’. From the opening in a grim looking orphanage where 'Leo’ (Tom Hardy) leaves to join the war effort - it’s all dark and grey. Unfortunately, at the start seeing a fire-fight take place with erratic camera movements and barely visible action in front of me I didn’t expect 'Child 44’ to be nothing more than - OK. Unfair at the start but the rest of the film proved my precautions. The story sees 'Leo’ team up with 'Mikhail’ (Gary Oldman) to uncover who is murdering all these children. Naturally “There’s no death in paradise” prevents our two comrades from getting to the truth. But the film isn’t really about the murders.

However, It feels like it thinks it is. It seems to have split the film intro three. With Leo’s fearful wife 'Raisa’ (Noomi Rapace), Leo’s Psychotic rival 'Visali’ (Joel Kinnaman) and of course the murders. It’s an interesting idea at its core and I’m sure the book is better, but the intended thriller aspect isn’t there. Simply because there’s no chase. They track him down within 15 minutes of 'Leo’ and 'Mikhail’s team up. Coinciding with a final show down between 'Leo’ and 'Visali’ which is somewhat interesting but still felt a touch hollow.

That’s all not to say I disliked it but it felt more like a missed opportunity, all the so called shocks and brutality isn’t impact-full of menacing from 'Visali’ - and I don’t know why. The actors do a great job (even if some of questionable Russian accents - some even none-existent). That’s not the problem everything is all so nice, there’s nothing I can pin-point as great - maybe the visuals from the settings and costumes.

It all accumulates to a forgettable film with a steady set of scenes that offer mild intrigue but little in the way of thrills. Bar a good last fight scene, mundane is the word of the day. There’s nothing particularly bad but the promise of intrigue and the hinted at reason why the killer did what the killer did doesn’t go beyond there. A well built world no matter how good doesn’t help if the intrigue isn’t there. In a year I’ll have forgotten this - It’ll make a good quiz answer fro 'Gary Oldman’ films.


“The sudden turn of events in Iran shows us how little we can see into the future as far as looking at that part of the world goes.” The Kingsport Times, August 21, 1953. The Mossadegh Project -


The Columbushaus (Columbus House) was a nine-storey modernist office and shopping building in Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, designed by Erich Mendelsohn and completed in 1932. It was an icon of progressive architecture which passed relatively unscathed through World War II but was gutted by fire in the June 1953 uprising in East Germany. The ruin was subsequently razed in 1957 because it stood in the border strip; the site was occupied by activists shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall.


Photo 1: « Potsdamer Platz mit Columbushaus, 1932 » par Waldemar Titzenthaler — Scan from: Nick Gay, Berlin Then & Now, San Diego 2005, p.88.
Photo 2: « Potsdamer Platz 1945 » par Michael M. Dean (Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Ministère de la défense nationale).
Photo 3: “Bundesarchiv Bild 183-20027-0002, Berlin, brennendes Columbiahaus” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-20027-0002, 1953.