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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


This is a distinctive week in history.  Yesterday, of course, was Independence Day.  Today, Thursday and Friday are also noteworthy:

  • 7 July 1846, the U.S. annexed, perhaps maybe stole, California from Mexico.
  • 8 July 1898, the U.S. annexed Hawaii, where many Hawaiians, and some others also, felt this was illegally accomplished.
Reard had difficulty finding someone to introduce his concept, but Micheline, a 19-year-old French showgirl, rose to this challenge.  She received over 50,000 fan letters.    To the left is Micheline today.

Time magazine had a list of the ten bikinis in pop culture, noting that this is now the standard wear of beach volleyball, which should be one of the most popular events in Rio next month.   Here, Kerri Walsch and Misty May-Treanor of the USA.

Got money to spend?  Here is a Susan Rosen creation with Steinmetz Diamonds, modeled by Molly Sims.  This was the centerfold of the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue:

Oh, the cost?  $30 million.

Certainly, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Brian Hyland was the most popular thong song, although California Gurls by Katy Perry with Snoop Dogg has been said by some to be the ultimate bikini tune.  But in 1960 a bikini was still hardly worn and Kapp Records was hesitant to release this single, finally being convinced by the composer Paul Vance, who argued that this song was only about my 2-year-old daughter, Paula.  She was actually 9.  Vance wrote 300 songs, including Catch a Falling Star and Playground in My Mind.  Interesting that The New York Times reported he passed away a decade ago, on my birth date, but the Palm Beach Post last year indicated that at the age of 85 Vance is still looking for another hit.  Wikipedia confirms that he is alive and well.

Brigitte Bardot gained fame for the bikini.  She is now in her mid-eighties, and a recluse, with the photo to the right taken nine years ago.  She was a French sex symbol known as B.B., who appeared in 47 films and recorded over 60 songs.  She became an animal rights activist and among the first to criticize Islamic immigration, where she was fined five times for inciting racial hatred.  How times change a person and society.

The history of California was equally provocative, where in 1846:

Congressman Abraham Lincoln, speaking in a session of congress "...the president unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced a war with Mexico....

In 1848:

Mexico surrenders on U.S. terms (U.S. takes over ownership of New Mexico, California, an expanded Texas, and more, for a token payment of $15 million, which leads the Whig Intelligencer to report: "We take nothing by conquest....Thank God").

Even General Ulysses S. Grant remarked:

 "...the Mexican War "the most unjust war ever undertaken by a stronger nation against a weaker one."

California was admitted to the Union as state #31 in 1850.  If you thought all 13 colonies were the first to join, nope, it was Delaware on 7 December 1787, #2 Pennsylvania on 12 December 1987...#12 North Carolina , 21 November 1989, #13 Rhode Island, 29 May 1790, and #14 Vermont, 4 March 1791.  The most recent?  #50, Hawaii, 21 August 1959.

In 1893 "certain elements" in the Kingdom of Hawaii overthrew the monarchy, with the assistance of U.S. Marines.  More specifically, these elements were early missionary scions and the sugar industry, in partnership with the U.S. Federal government, which wanted ownership of Pearl Harbor to protect national defense interests.  Annexation of Hawaii in 1898 was a mere formality.  Legality?  Morality?  Not much different from the annexation of California, New Mexico and parts of Arizona and Texas.

Hurricane Blas is now up to 110 MPH and is projected to attain Category 4 strength:

Again, though, computer models show Blas weakening long before the remnants approach Hawaii.

Truly dangerous is Typhoon Nepartak, already at 150 MPH, but expected to reach Super Typhoon status by tomorrow.  The latest tracking shows the eye right over Taipei:


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