Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hey it's miserable outside

Sit back and watch this wonderful homage to Stanley Kubrick by Richard Vezina

This was time well spent.

February 5, 1914 -
William Seward Burroughs II, junkie, novelist, murderer, painter and performer was born on this date.

Hey, he was a busy guy.

February 5, 1940 - Hans Ruedi Giger, Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer best known for his design work on the film Alien, was spawned on this date.

He had a very happy childhood.

Third day of the Lunar New Year
Families who had an immediate relative deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all, as it is believed that evil spirits roam the earth this day and hence it would be bad luck to be outdoors.

The third day is a good day for sons-in-law to pay homage to their parents-in-law. Bring offerings of mandarin oranges and sweet foods. Parents should give red envelopes filled with auspicious money to their sons-in-law. The third day is also a good day to propose marriage or to get married. The third day is not a good day to travel or go clubbing. It is not a good day to throw a party to celebrate. According to legend, the third day of the Lunar New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters. Thus, on that night, people are supposed to go to bed early so that the mice can perform their wedding ceremonies.

Today in History: February 5, 1816 -
Rossini's opera Barber of Seville premieres in Rome on this date.

It was one of the earliest Italian operas to be performed in America and premiered at the Park Theater in New York City on November 25 1825.

February 5, 1919 -
Four of the leading figures in early Hollywood: Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith, incorporated to form their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. The company was United Artist.

Tom Cruise (and his group’s) purchase of UA in 2006 has done little to help the prospects of the company and it’s future is very much in doubt. Their collective corpses have not stopped spinning in their graves (trust me, I can't get the image of rotating corpses out of my head.)

February 5, 1927 -
Buster Keaton's movie The General premiered on this date. Keaton's picture received both poor reviews by critics and weak box-office results when it first opened.

The General is now generally regarded as one of the greatest of all silent comedies and undoubtedly the best train film ever made.

February 5, 1936 - Charlie Chaplin Little Tramp makes his final silent-film appearance, Modern Times, was released on this date.

The Little Tramp is shown struggling to survive in the modern, industrialized world. This was one of the films which, because of its political sentiments, convinced the House Un-American Activities Committee that Charles Chaplin was a Communist, a charge he adamantly denied. He left to live in Switzerland, vowing never to return to America.

February 5, 1941 -
The SS Politician wrecked off the coast of the Isle of Eriskay in the Hebrides. It carried some 20,000 cases of whisky, which the natives hid from customs agents.

The story was told in the 1947 book Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. The book was made into a film in 1949.

While I am a Gin man myself, I must salute the inhabitants - Well done!

February 5, 1953 - Walt Disney's Peter Pan, opens at Roxy Theater, on this date.

This would be the final Disney animated feature released through RKO, as Walt Disney established his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, by the end of 1953.

Remember, it's the second to the right (and straight on till morning.)

February 5, 1956 - Don Siegel subversive take on 50's Communist paranoia, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, premiered on this date.

Only $15,000 of the budget was spent on special effects.

February 5, 1967 -
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered on CBS, on this date.

Mom actually liked both of them equally.

Today is Liberation Day in San Marino. Americans remain woefully misinformed about San Marino.

(American remain woefully misinformed about most countries that aren't located between Canada and Mexico, but today is only Liberation Day in San Marino, so let's not get off-topic.)

About seventeen-hundred years ago, during an epic game of hide and seek, Marinus the Stonemason ran up Mount Titano in Italy to hide from the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It was a good hiding spot and he was never found. He started his own country to pass the time, and the Republic of San Marino survives to this day, an island of foreign nationals in the middle of Italy.

Citizens of San Marino are not San Mariners. They are Sammarinese.

The population of San Marino is about 25,000. The population of San Marino, California, is about 13,000.

The California town was named in 1878 by James de Barth Shorb, who had built his home there and didn't think people would go for Shorbtown. Instead, he named it after the Maryland town in which he'd been born.

That was reportedly San Marino, Maryland, which the California town's website claims to have been named "for the tiny European republic."

There is no Maryland town named San Marino. (If there is, they haven't yet made their presence felt on Google.) Foul play is obviously afoot.

Proceed with caution.

February 5, 1783 -
A large earthquake in Calabria Italy leaves 50,000 dead.

Luckily none of my wife's or a good friend of mine forebearers were involved or they wouldn't be here.

And so it goes.

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