Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris (Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.)
So begins forty days of prayer, fasting, contemplation and community service and not the Lentil season, which is marked by forty days of legume eating and gas passing (but that's another story.)
Tip of the day - You're not being help by trying to wipe the the smudge mark on your friend's forehead today
Today in History -
March 9, 1170 -
In Essex, a UFO is spotted over St. Ostwyth, manifesting itself as a "wonderfully large dragon ... borne up from the Earth through the air". The craft kindled the air and destroyed a house.
And all of that was before LSD.
March 9, 1454 -
Amerigo Vespucci was born. He was an Italian explorer who made many voyages to the new world at about the same time as Columbus.
The two continents of the new world were therefore named for him, and it wasn't until the seventeenth century (Greenwich time) that North and South Vespucci were renamed the Americas.
March 9, 1556 -
David Rizzio, the secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, is stabbed 56 times by a gaggle of Scottish nobles. Her husband Henry Lord Darnley had orchestrated the murder with Mary witnessing, hoping to precipitate a miscarriage.
Isn't love among the royalty grand?
March 9, 1954 -
"No one familiar with the history of his country can deny that Congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the junior senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly."
Edward R. Murrow, cigarette smoking, gin guzzling reporter takes on the cigarette smoking, whiskey drinking junior senator and demigogue from Minnesota, Joseph McCarthy and the Red Scare hysteria on his program, See It Now.
Besides being arguably television's finest hour, it clearly demonstrates the powers of gin.
March 9, 1954 -
The first local color television commercial was aired on WNBT television, now WNBC television, in New York. Castro Decorators of New York City, Castro were the folks who made the Castro convertible sofa beds.
The television commercial featured Bernadette Castro opening a big couch into a bed (only the B & W kinescope exists.)
It was so-o-o easy! Let me see you try it.
March 9, 1961 -
Korabl-Sputnik-4, also known as Sputnik 9, was launched with a dog named Chernushka (Blackie) on a one orbit mission. Also onboard the spacecraft was a cosmonaut dummy (whom Russian officials nicknamed "Ivan Ivanovich"), mice and a Guinea pig.
The dummy was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. The animals were recovered unharmed inside the capsule. Chernushka went on to a successful career as the provincial governor of the Kazakhian region. The Cosmonaut dummy could not be used again as 'Blackie' had spent the entire flight 'having a brief but intense' relationship with the leg of Ivan Ivanovich.
March 9, 1967 -
Josef Stalin's daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, walks into the U.S. Embassy at New Delhi and asks to defect (some reports have it that she defected on the 6th of March - does it really matter - you don't give a damn.)
Isn't parental love grand?
March 9, 1981 -
Dan Rather succeeds Walter Cronkite as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News.
He was the third person to occupy that seat since the program's 1948 launch. His last broadcast was March 9, 2005.
March 9, 1996 -
Nathan Birnbaum, the comedian Gracie Allen carried around for years, forgot to have his daily martini and died on this date.
Kids, let this be a lesson to us all - not only does alcohol taste good, it's good for you - even if you are 100 years old.
March 9, 1997 -
Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) was killed in a drive-by outside the Soul Train Music Awards in Los Angeles. The murder has never been officially solved, though an ongoing feud with Death Row Records may have had something to do with it.
Are we lucky that most of us aren't hip hop stars.
And so it goes
On a personal note: I've started a new work schedule that I'm trying to get used to, so hoping I'll actually start writing more 'new' and 'funny' stuff soon.