Monday, January 25, 2010

Finally - It's the official policy in the Antarctic!

The seals have been told! As has anyone in the ocean!

Check out No Kicking Penguins and find out how you can contribute to awareness for autism.

Since it is the last Monday of January, Today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, a day honoring the conception of the bubble wrap, invented 50 years ago. Do you have time on your hands - go waste it at Bubble Wrap Fun. Then go wash your hands, you don't know where that time has been.

It's Robert Burns' birthday and people will be celebrating with a Burns Supper.

The Burns Supper is eaten all across Scotland each year on the anniversary of the national poet's birth. It consists of haggis and whiskey. It is customary for the host to read Burns' Ode to a Haggis at the dinner table, presumably as a diversionary tactic.

The haggis are a gentle breed of playful mammals indigenous to the Scottish highlands. They have never survived attempts at transplantation. They have been popular cuisine for as long as the British isles have been populated. Julius Caesar reflects in his memoirs that he tried to bring several thousand haggis back to Rome for breeding after his conquest of Brittania--a controversial decision that eventually led to civil war in the Roman Empire.

The ancient Picts of Ireland invaded and eventually settled Scotland in no small part because of their affinity for haggis. The ancient Celts migrated in the opposite direction to avoid it.

Haggis were traditionally trapped, killed, and prepared like most other small mammals. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, however, it became fashionable to drop living haggis, like lobster, into pots of boiling water.

This is because after boiling for half an hour the pelt peels off easily and can then be dried and used for in textiles. Haggis fur is especially popular in Scottish gloves, coats, and seat covers.

I would like to bring some attention to the terrible plight of the delicate and sweet-tempered Haggis, whose inoffensive lives are too often ended by being boiled alive at the hands of a boozy Scot.

In today's frigid atmosphere of political correctness, it is considered unfair to condemn the Scots for their grotesque maltreatment of these affectionate animals. To deplore their treatment of the haggis is to criticize their culture, and cultural criticism is an obscenity.

But Scottish culture? We're all grateful for whiskey, but is it enough to justify bagpipes and men in skirts? Has any other culture cried out so eloquently for condemnation?

Try looking into the trusting brown eyes of a haggis and explaining that it must be boiled alive and ceremonially dismembered for the sake of Scottish culture.

According to People against the Indefensible Treatment of Haggis, more than eight million haggis were "ranched" for this year's festivities. Over six million of these ranch-bred haggis, beside whom veal calves might well be considered pampered, were sold to Scots who will take them home, boiled them alive, then skin and dismember them. The nearly two million not sold will be tossed alive into commercial blenders, mixed with fresh cream, frozen, and later sold as the popular Scottish summer treat, Haggis Ice.

This horror must end. To help bring it home to Americans, I ask you to take a moment to reflect on our own Groundhog's Day. Each February 2, we honor the prognosticative skills of that curious little creature in a vast national celebration of pagan superstition. How many groundhogs die for this celebration? None. How many groundhog mothers are separated from their groundhog children in order to satisfy our national groundhog needs? None. How many grandfathers stand at the heads of their dinner tables, proudly presiding over the dismemberment of a steaming groundhog carcass?

The Scots could learn a thing or two about ethical animal treatment from us. We could probably also teach them a thing or two about trousers.

January 25, 1951 -
The story of a little boy who would only talk in sound effects, Gerald McBoing-Boing, was released on this date.

This cartoon won the Oscar for best animated short subject for 1951.

January 25, 1961 -
Walt Disney's 101 Dalmations, premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on this date.

This was the highest grossing movie in the US in 1961.

January 25, 1970 -
Robert Altman's Oscar winning film starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, M*A*S*H, premiered in NYC on this date .

The opening title sequence has a text that identifies the place as Korea. This was added at the insistence of the studio after director Robert Altman had removed every reference to Korea, intending it to be mistaken for Vietnam, which would reinforce the anti-war statement.

Today in History:
January 25, 1924 -
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France .

Prior to this, figure skating and ice hockey had been events at the Summer Olympics. Few, if any, of the athletes survived those winter sports Summer Olympics, as the rinks continually melted. And you don't want to know about the injuries sustained during nude hockey games.

January 25, 1927 -
Antonio Carlos Jobim, composer and primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, was born on this date.

If you are in your mid 40's to early 50's, you probably wouldn't have been born without the help of this guy - go ask your parents.

January 25, 1938 -
Etta James, blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter, was born.

Pour yourself a double and listen to some powerful music.

January 25, 1947 -
Anita Pallenberg, model, actress, fashion designer and bathtub companion to Mick Jagger, was born on this date.

January 25, 1947 -
Mobster Al Capone dies in Florida, released from Alcatraz , due to his declining health (his mind gone from long untreated syphilis.)

January 25, 1960 -
Actress Diana Barrymore, Drew's aunt, commits suicide with alcohol and sleeping pills.

Go out and rent The Bad and the Beautiful.

January 25, 1971 -
Idi Amin Dada, everybody's favorite tyrant, comes to power in Uganda.

Forest Whitaker won a Golden Globe award, a BAFTA, the Screen Actors' Guild award for Best Actor (Drama), and the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of this cannibal.

Hopefully, Forest isn't a method actor.

January 25, 1971 -
Charles Manson and three of his followers are convicted in Los Angeles of the Tate and LaBianca murders.

All were sentenced to the gas chamber, with sentences commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was temporarily abolished.

January 25, 1990 -
An Avianca Boeing 707 ran out of fuel and crashed in Cove Neck, N.Y.

73 of the 161 people aboard were killed.

And so it goes.

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