Sharon Stone - February 28, 2014

If you read the heading of today's blog, you can probably guess we are continuing our "Faces of the Tour" series.  A plaque dedicated to Sharon Stone hangs in the Toy Box among other actors, athletes and musicians.  (Try to find her the next time you visit!)

Yesterday, we talked about how Farrah Fawcett was convinced by schoolmates and talent scouts to exploit her natural beauty and go to Hollywood.  Sharon Stone's story is not much different.  Born in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1958, she was a contestant for Miss Pennsylvania while still a teenager, when one of the pageant judges encouraged her to quit school and move to New York City to model.  She did graduate, but made the move at 19, first to New York, then to Paris.  Soon after, she took an interest in acting and got a few small roles. Her big break happened when she met Paul Verhoeven, the controversial Dutch director.  He cast her in the Arnold Schwarzenegger science fiction film Total Recall before giving her her biggest role yet, as the femme fatale in his 1992 hit Basic Instinct..  Basic Instinct  contains  scene wherein Stone is incredibly ... um ... exposed.  That brought her international fame and notoriety. It also gave her the leverage to get cast in Casino by Martin Scorcese in 1995, for which she received her highest praise.  She remains in the public eye, with continuing performances in television and movies, while she is also deeply involved in philanthropic causes.

QUESTION:

What organization did Sharon Stone claim membership to for years, ultimately confessing she had never joined.

a)  PETA

b)  Mensa

c)  FBI

d)  AFL-CIO

e)  NASDAQ

Answer Below.

HISTORY TODAY:

As we read in a recent blog, John Stevens submitted a patent request for his New Jersey-based railroad in 1815, so the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was certainly not the first established in the United States.  After all, they were incorporated on this day in 1827, twelve years later.  What makes them significant historically is that they were the first rail company to offer regular commercial service for both freight AND passengers in the country.  Their empire was huge at their heyday, extending from the eastern seaboard as far west as Illinois.  Although the B&O does not exist as such today, there are a number of ways it is remembered:  the CSX Transportation Company continues to operate many of their tracks, they have a wonderful museum located in Baltimore that tells the story of locomotive history that is definitely worth checking out, and they are one of the four railroads honored in the game of Monopoly.

The USS Princeton was a warship built for the United States Navy and launched to much acclaim, as it boasted modern technology including big guns. On this day in 1844, a pleasure cruise on the Potomac River was arranged to show it off to important dignitaries from the federal government, including President John Tyler and a number of men from his inner circle, including Secretary of State Abel Upshur and Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer. Former First Lady Dolley Madison was also on board for the festivities.  The guns were test fired as part of the cruise, and that's when tragedy struck:  one of the guns exploded, and caused the deaths of Upshur, Gilmer, and six others, while injuring twenty more.  Fortunately, the president and Dolley were below deck at the time, but it was certainly a day none of them would forget.

BIRTHDAYS:
Today marks the birthday of a very distinguished man:  Linus Pauling.  His claims to greatness include being one of only two people ever to win two Nobel Prizes in different categories: Chemistry (1954) and Peace (1962). (The other was Marie Curie, another amazing person - but her citizenship in Poland and France makes her less likely to be justly honored here.)  Pauling's relatively modest childhood in Portland, Oregon was in no way a precursor to the great successes of his adult life. He helped develop the models for quantum chemistry and molecular biology, and contributed to advances in technology during World War II that eventually inspired him to become an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons.

Just because you're funny does not mean things always come to you easily. Samuel Joel "Zero" Mostel, the comedian and actor, was born on this day in 1915 into an Eastern European Jewish family in New York City.  Zero's star rose quickly, and he was cast in Broadway and in Hollywood, starring in such films as Du Barry Was A Lady.  An outspoken liberal, Mostel was accused of being a communist during the Red Scare of the 1950's and blacklisted for his views.  By the '60s, sympathetic agents gave Mostel work, and he starred in some greats, most famously the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof  and Mel Brooks' 1968 film comedy The Producers.  When he died in 1977, he had the dubious distinction of being the only guest star of the popular The Muppet Show who passed away before his episode aired. 

Answer:  b)  Mensa.  Stone has claimed membership to Mensa with an IQ of 148.

QUOTE:  

If you act like you know what you're doing, you can do anything you want - except neurosurgery. - Sharon Stone