Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's the fifth day of the Lunar New Year



Many stores open on this day after the Lunar New Year holiday. Some store owners put a table in the front of company's main entry. They prepare fruit, flower, candy, tea, candles and animal sacrifices on the table to worship the God of Wealth. Some even invite the lion dance team to celebrate the opening ceremony. The mascot of the God of Wealth will appear and enter the store.



The store owner will give the mascot a Red Envelope with money reward inside.  (I will be happy to accept any and all red envelopes that may come my way.)


February 20, 1932 -
Tod Browning's incredible film, Freaks, about sideshow performers, was released on this date.



Some argue that the film was a crass exploitation of the mentally and physically challenged, while others believe the film is sympathetic to the disabled stars and was therefore an empowering vehicle, showcasing their struggle. It has remained controversial to this day.


February 20, 1936 -
United Artists
  released one of the early science fiction classics H.G. Wells The Shape of Things to Come directed by William Cameron Menzies on this date.



Before filming started, author H.G. Wells told everyone connected with the movie how much he'd hated Fritz Lang's film Metropolis and how he wanted them to do the opposite of what Lang and his crew had done.


February 20, 1952 -
John Huston's
excuse for big game hunting, The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, opened in general release at Capitol Theater in NYC on this date.



The African Queen was actually the L.S. Livingston, which had been a working diesel boat for 40 years; the steam engine was a prop and the real diesel engine was hidden under stacked crates of gin and other cargo. It is now docked next to the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, FL, just off US Highway 1.


February 20, 1956 -
The wonderfully evil comedy, The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellars, opened in New York on this date.



William Rose and Alexander Mackendrick quarreled violently during pre-production work on the film, with the result that Rose stormed off leaving his screenplay not quite finished. Mackendrick and a TV comedy writer, Larry Stevens, provided the finishing touches. Later, Rose apologized profusely to Mackendrick and praised his handling of the film lavishly.


Today's moment of zen


Today in History:
February 20
is just one many dates on which Francois-Marie Arouet may have been born in 1694.

Francois-Marie was a supremely intelligent, fiercely independent man and was therefore instructed to leave Paris.



Each time he was kicked out, however, he simply came back, said something witty, and was kicked out yet again.

Eventually the French invented reverse psychology. They invited Francois-Marie back from his latest exile and threw a big party for him. The shock of his reception killed him and Paris has mourned his loss ever since.

Except now they call him Voltaire.


February 20, 1703 -
The Mount Gay Estate opened in Barbados, on this date.



It is the oldest existing brand of rum in the world.


February 20, 1829 -
The Yuengling Brewery opened in Pottsville Pennsylvania, on this date.



It is the oldest brewery still operating in the U.S.


February 20, 1872 -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time. The Museum first was housed at the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.

The Museum remained in its first home until 1873, when it moved to larger quarters in the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. In 1880, the Metropolitan opened its first building at its current location in Central Park. Currently, its permanent collection contains more than two million works and most of it you can see on-line. (That's a lot of art to dust.)


February 20, 1907 -
Pres. Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons" from being admitted to the US on this date.

I've said it before: Certain political operatives in this country should rejoice that there is not a 'sanity clause' for the native born citizen.


February 20, 1935 -
Although Antarctic had been discovered almost 200 years before, Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot on the continent on this day.

She was part of a Danish expedition along with her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. A mountain in Antarctica was named in her honor.


February 20, 1947 -
A chemical mistake at the O'Connor Electro-Plating Co. in Los Angeles caused a blast that destroyed/damaged more than 55 structures in a 300-foot radius, killing 15 people and injuring 150 more.

The incident resulted in the city's first ordinance stipulating regulations for the storage, transportation, production, processing, and use of hazardous chemicals and led to one of the first Hazmat Dictionary's in the U.S.

Oops.


February 20, 1962 -
... Godspeed John Glenn.



While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn orbited the earth three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. Remember, NASA hadn't invented the astronaut diaper yet; I bet he had to pee something wicked.


February 20, 1967
-
Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.



Kurt Cobain, musician and lead guitarist of seminal grunge band Nirvana, was born on this date.


February 20, 1971 -
An erroneous warning is emitted on the Emergency Broadcast System causing a number of stations to go off the air, and others to completely ignore the alert (thus pointing out that many key stations would not react to any emergency broadcast over the system.)



So remember (as they have just proven in Hawaii) this just a test, unless it's not.


February 20, 1980 -
After some heavy drinking, Bon Scott, vocalist for heavy metal band AC/DC, was found in a friend's automobile - he apparently choked to death on his own vomit.



His family was comforted in the knowledge that he hadn't choked to death on someone else vomit.


February 20, 1984 -
You'll never get to heaven if you break my heart!!!

Ballerina Julia Pak married Heung Jin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon, religious icon, on this date. The ceremony was a tasteful affair save one small detail - Heung Jin Moon was prevented from attending the service in person; he had died in an auto accident the previous December.

As adult Moonies are only allowed to enter Heaven once they are married; there was a dire need for this awkward necro-ceremony.

Don't forget, the traditional gift given for the 34th zombie wedding anniversary is the Opal.



And so it goes.

Before you go - here's another one of those videos that makes you go down the rabbit hole. A Youtuber called The Solomon Society had a video called The Most Beautiful Shots in Movies - I'll always bite, so I watched it and then about 12 more of his videos.



While I disagreed with calling some of the shots 'most beautiful' - they were arresting and The Solomon Society is a very good editor.  I may post more of their videos later this week.

1067

Monday, February 19, 2018

Martin Van Buren liked betting on the outcome of elections

It's Generic Executive Office Holder of the Government Day.



So let's hear it for all the generic Presidents, just remember that we will have to include Trump in this celebration in a few years.


Today, the Fourth day of the Chinese New Year is the day to welcome the kitchen god, the god of fortune and other gods.

Families should stay at home to prepare abundant fruits, burn incense and light candles to welcome the gods, asking to be provided with ample food in the new year.


(this is my kitchen god.)

On this day, the Kitchen God would check the household and therefore people should not leave home.

The old saying "three rams bring bliss" is connected with the fourth day, which says that by making a good beginning a happy end comes.


February 19, 1913 -
Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box for the first time on this date.



In ensuing decades, over seventeen billion prizes have been "awarded" to Cracker Jack purchasers. Among the numerous Cracker Jack prizes offered across the years are miniature plates, puzzles, books, bookmarks, pinball games, plastic figurines, and self-adhesive stickers (but alas, no Coup de Villes.)

Extra credit question: The name of Jack's dog ... Bingo.


February 19, 1974 -
KISS appeared on Dick Clark's IN CONCERT! on this date. This marks their first time on national television.



How KISS got a song about anal sex on national TV back in 1974 passed the censors is amazing.


February 19, 1968 -
Everyone's favorite adult, Fred Rogers began telling everyone that It's a beautiful year in the neighborhood when the national broadcast of his program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on this date.



Mr. Rogers had about twenty-five sweaters that he wore over the years of the program. They were all hand-knit by his mother, who, each year, would make one for each of her children, and give it to them as a Christmas present.


February 19, 1982 -
The Wes Craven film Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise and Dick Durock, was released on this date.



Dick Durock was forced into the role of the Swamp Thing by necessity. He'd been brought on board the project as a stuntman, but the filmmakers found that it was impossible to go from Durock to Ray Wise - who had been cast as Alec Holland, Swamp Thing's former self - and back again because the two men looked so different in Swamp Thing's makeup.


Word of the day


Today in History:
February 19, 1329
-
(Antipope) Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in the Duomo of Pisa, at which a straw puppet representing his rival, Pope John XXII and dressed in pontifical robes was formally condemned, degraded, and handed over to the secular arm (to be "executed").

John XXII had the last laugh when he excommunicated Nicholas V in April 1329

and had him imprisoned until his death in August 1333.

Oh those wacky Antipopes.


February 19, 1473 -
Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Koppernigk - apparently he was running some sort of ponzi scheme at an early age) was born in Poland on this date.



He stated an early theory that the Earth and the planets move around the Sun that led the way to our understanding of planetary movement.


In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.



Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.



Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.



Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of luster to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesmodel for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge - one of our favorite corporate sponsors.)


February 19, 1910 -




February 19, 1960
-
The cartoon-strip The Family Circus by Bil Keane debuted in newspapers on this date.

For several months prior, it had been called The Family Circle.


February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.


February 19, 1997 -
Supreme Chinese leader and one time replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on this date.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.



And so it goes.


Courage -

Spring is in 31 days

1068

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It's National Drink Wine Day

It's the third day of The Lunar New Year.  According to the Chinese Farmers Calendar it's Chigou's Day. Chigou literally means "red dog". Red Dog is the name of the God of Anger, who brings bad luck to people. So people don't like to go out on this day, otherwise they might lose their temper easily and become argumentative. Actually, After a 2-day binge of, eating, drinking, playing, gambling, many people are tired and would probably want to sleep in. They said that if people want to work on this day, they won't get much accomplished. Therefore, the Red Dog day is a good excuse for people who need a rest.

It is known as the Mice Wedding Day.



They said that people should turn off the light and go to bed early, because the night is the Mice's Wedding and one shouldn't disturb them. The other reason people should turn out the lights, so the mice can’t see their wedding, which would slow down mice breeding.  In the old farmer society,  people would leave a few grains of rice or cake crumbs in the corner of a room for the mice at night.


Yeah, yeah,  I know, it's National Drink Wine Day every day in my home.

While, I can't find the basis for the holiday, I have my suspicions: George, the English Duke of Clarence, was convicted of treason against his brother King Edward IV and murdered in the Tower of London on February 18, 1478.

The legend arose that he had been drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine.


February 18, 1938 -
If only he had his intercostal clavicle ...

The greatest screwball comedy, directed by Howard Hawks, Bringing Up Baby, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant was released on this date.



Katharine Hepburn had one very close call with the leopard. She was wearing a skirt that was lined with little metal pieces to make the skirt swing prettily. When Hepburn turned around abruptly, the leopard made a lunge for her back. Only the intervention of the trainer's whip saved Hepburn.


February 18, 1939 -
Universal Studios released the WC Fields' comedy You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, also starring Edgar Bergen, on this date.



W.C. Fields became a big hit on radio, especially on Edgar Bergen's radio program, where he had a long-running "feud" with Charlie McCarthy. This film was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of that feud by having it carried on in a movie.


February 18, 1983 -
Martin Scorsese's
black comedy, The King of Comedy, starring Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis and Sandra Bernhard premiered in the US on this date.



In the scene where Robert De Niro and Sandra Bernhard argue in the street, three of the "street scum" that mock Bernhard are Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, members of the British punk rock band, The Clash.


Didn't read this book


Today in History:
February 18, 1268
-
On this date, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword are defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakovor.
If you hurry, I believe you can still send flowers or candy to friends and family to commemorate the event.


February 18, 1405
-



February 18, 1564 -
Michelangelo
(Buonarotti), Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer died on this date.



He may have gotten the last laugh as he thought about the number of penises he got to paint on the ceiling of any church.


February 18, 1856 -
The American Party (Know-Nothings) convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on this date to nominate its first Presidential candidate, former President Millard Fillmore.

And yes, he does look exactly like Alec Baldwin; thanks for noticing.


Elm Farm Ollie
(known as "Nellie Jay" and post-flight as "Sky Queen") was the first cow to fly in an airplane, doing so on February 18, 1930, as part of the International Air Exposition held in St. Louis, Missouri.



On the same trip, which covered 72 miles from Bismarck, Missouri, to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. (Does that mean that she was the first cow to join the mile high club?) This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes. And somehow Charles Lindbergh was involved.

A St. Louis newspaper trumpeted her mission as being "to blaze a trail for the transportation of livestock by air."

Your life is better for knowing this.


February 18, 1930 -
Clyde Tombaugh
liked to look at French Postcards. He like to look into his neighbors' windows. When he got tired of that, he started studying photos of the night sky where astronomers predicted a "Planet X" would show up.

Tombaugh ended up discovering the dwarf planet Pluto on this date. He also discovered more than 800 asteroids during his search for "Planet X." 

Our Alien Overlords were very wily avoiding Clyde.


February 18, 1933 -
Yoko Ono
was born on this date.

What else is there to say?


February 18, 1967 -
J. Robert Oppenheimer
, the father of the atomic bomb, died on this date.



His children never even send him flowers.


February 18, 1979 -
Snow fell in Sahara Desert, in Southern Algeria during a storm which lasts about half an hour on this date.

It didn't snow again until January 18, 2012. Perhaps, some of you may wish to move there now.


February 18, 2001 -
Race car driver Dale Earnhardt crashed into the wall at the Daytona 500, killing him instantly. His widow files a lawsuit to force the autopsy photos to be sealed, and a Florida law is subsequently passed to prevent them from ever being released.



Earnhardt was the most well known and most successful driver in the history of the sport.


And so it goes.



1069


Also, on a personal note - Happy Birthday Matt.