Tony Sartain, MBA, NE

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Good evening. Today is Thursday, the 13th day of August. It's the 226th day of the year. This is a leap year, so there are 139 days remaining in 2020. On the Jewish calendar, today is the 23rd day of Av in the year 5780.

This website is a demonstration of smart content rendering. The content updates continuously without the help of Internet monkeys. All the information was current at the time you arrived here. If you're looking for information on the technology, it's at the bottom of this page.

Today in History: Alfred Hitchcock Makes His Debut

Alfred Hitchcock was born on this day in London in 1899. His father was a greengrocer, and a strict man. Once, when the five-year-old Alfred misbehaved, his father sent him to the police station and they locked him in a cell for a few minutes to teach him a lesson. Hitchcock was so terrified that he was afraid of the police for the rest of his life, and he rarely drove a car so that he could not be pulled over.

Hitchcock directed great suspense and horror films, including Rebecca (1940), Notorious (1946), Rope (1948), Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963). He was a notoriously difficult director--he knew exactly how he wanted the entire film to look as soon as he and the writers had finished going through the script, and he was known to refer to his actors as "cattle." Critics have interpreted Hitchcock's behavior as a director in countless ways, writing long treatises on how he channeled his own repression, passions, and other psychological issues into his films and his treatment of his actors. But his life off the set seems to have been relatively quiet and uneventful. In 1926, he married Alma Reville, his assistant. They had a close working relationship--Alma went through every detail of each of her husband's films, pointing out whenever the dialogue sounded slightly wrong, or there was a slight flaw in the filming. Hitchcock was rumored to fall for many of his blond leading ladies, despite a lack of affection in return; and he often remarked to interviewers and friends that he was celibate, or impotent, or both. Whatever his married life was like, he and Alma were devoted enough to each other that they remained married until Hitchcock's death more than 50 years later. They enjoyed going to art galleries and dining out.

Hitchcock had a legendary appetite. He liked to say, "I'm not a heavy eater. I'm just heavy, and I eat." Apparently, shortly after Hitchcock came to America from England, he went out to New York City's 21 Club. Hitchcock ordered a steak dinner, followed by an ice cream parfait; then he ordered another steak dinner, and another ice cream; and then the entire thing one more time. At the end of his three meals and three desserts, he drank a cup of strong tea and a glass of brandy, and told his companions: "There is as much anticipation in confronting good food as there is in going on a holiday or seeing a good show. There are two kinds of eating--eating to sustain and eating for pleasure. I eat for pleasure." He had a full wine cellar in his home in Bel Air, and he had a soft spot for Burgundy wines, which is why he featured one so prominently in Notorious. Alma was a great cook, and her husband liked to help in the kitchen himself, and the couple often hosted large dinner parties. When Hitchcock received the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award in 1979, he said: "I beg permission to mention by name only four people who have given me the most affection, appreciation, and encouragement, and constant collaboration. The first of the four is a film editor, the second is a scriptwriter, the third is the mother of my daughter Pat, and the fourth is as fine a cook as ever performed miracles in a domestic kitchen. And their names are Alma Reville."

Hitchcock said, "The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." (Source: The Writer's Almanac)

Today's Birthday Boys and Girls

Today is the birthday of Annie Oakley (1860), Bert Lahr (1895), Alfred Hitchcock (1899), Felix Wankel (1902), Ben Hogan (1912), George Shearing (1919), Rex Humbard (1919), Fidel Castro (1926), Pat Harrington, Jr. (1929), Don Ho (1930), Jocelyn Elders (1933), Kevin Tighe (1944), Dan Fogelberg (1951), Quinn Cummings (1967), James Carpinello (1975), and Sebastian Stan (1983).

On Wall Street

About the stock numbers: There's no current stock market reporting at the moment because of a snag in the link that retrieves the data and gets it to the screen. The stock market stuff is on the work bench until it's working again.

The New York Stock Exchange is currently closed. At closing today, the NASDAQ was up by to . The S&P500 index closed at , up by .

Note: During trading hours all data is in real time. The data is preserved at the end of the trading day. It remains until the next opening bell. The process of retrieving stock info involves many links between the sources and what you're reading on the screen. At the moment, there's a technical issue up the line with the DJ average. Occasionally, the data appears as random characters. If there's numerical data on the screen, it's accurate. The other indicies are working and accurate.

Earth and All Spheres

The current weather conditions and forecast usually appear in this section. However, there have been technical issues the last few days with the NOAA system, so the data is not always available. Reloading the page will sometimes bring up the info. We are under a waning crescent moon. At the time you accessed this page, its exact age was 24 days, 17 hours, and 8 minutes. We will be under a new moon again on Tuesday, August 18th at 2:52 PM CDT. The moon will reach full luminescence on Wednesday, September 2nd at 9:14 AM. For now, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are visible in the night sky. Mars, seen in the southern sky, is clearly visible and its red glow clearly identifies it. It can be seen beginning at nightfall; it moves slowly in a westerly fashion before disappearing. Mercury can be seen in the eastern sky just before dawn.

We are under the constellation of Leo in the 145th day of spring which arrived on Friday, March 20th at 5:28 AM CDT with the occurrence of the Spring Equinox. On the day of the Equinox, the sun rose at 7:23 AM CDT and set at 7:31 PM CDT. For today, our sunrise and sunset times (at -96.852/32.847) are 6:43 AM and 8:02 PM, giving us 13 hours and 19 minutes of daylight. For now, we're on Daylight Saving Time. We will switch to Standard Time on Sunday, November 1st at 2:00 AM, following the NIST standard.

The Technology

This site is a working demonstration of on-demand PHP scripting. The code tightly integrates computed and imported data with text, spewing forth natural-sounding narrative output with flawless syntax. The birthdays, history section and the text below--which all change daily--are from an in-house database. Raw data used in the financial and weather sections is imported at page generation time. All the other data, particularly the celestial stuff, is derived and rendered by several hundred lines of code at the time the page request reaches the server. THIS SITE IS SELF-MAINTAINING. The daily content updates at midnight CDT. The weather target is -96.852/32.847.

I'm saying this is the South, and we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. See, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on... Which side are mine on? Both.

Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker
Designing Women Episode 43


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