Friday, February 17, 2012

Pay it forward

Random Acts of Kindness Day is the name of an unofficial holiday increasingly celebrated around the world by localities or organizations, or nationwide, in order to encourage acts of kindness. All you need to do is something a simple as hold the door open for someone or say 'good morning' to the counter person giving you your morning cup of coffee. Then immediately go back to your usually ornery self.

February 17, 1958 -
Pope Pius XII declared Saint Clare of Assisi (1193~1253) the patron saint of television on this date.

Given that the meager pittance I have called a salary has come from my work in television, having a saint you can pray to comes in handy.

February 17, 1967 -
The Beatles released Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields on this date.

Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys said that Strawberry Fields was partially responsible for the shelving of his group's legendary unfinished album, SMiLE.

Today in History:
February 17, 1600 -
Roman philosopher and mathematician Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake at Campo di Fiore in Rome, likely because ecclesiastical authorities were alarmed at his rambling and somewhat insane ideas, coupled with rejection of accepted authority.

Exactly what the charges against him were are lost to history, but likely involve theological heresies rather than astronomical (just in case it comes up in conversation today.)

Celebrated French dramatist and comedian Moliere collapsed on stage and died on February 17, 1673. It is said that he was wearing green, and because of that, there is a superstition that green brings bad luck to actors. As an actor, he was not allowed by the laws of the time to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery.

His wife Armande asked the king Louis XIV to allow a "normal" funeral celebrated at night. The king agreed, and Moliere was buried in a part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptized infants. In some accounts of his death, it is said that over 800 people attended his "secret" funeral.

A bomb exploded in the dining room of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace on February 17, 1880. Tsar Alexander II survived. Being late for supper, the Tsar was not harmed, although 67 other people were killed or wounded. The dining room floor was also heavily damaged.

While it is often said that promptness is the politeness of kings, sometimes being late can save you.

February 17, 1904 -
The original two-act version Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, premiered on this date.

It did not go so well, lasting just one performance. One critic refereed to the performance as a "diabetic opera, the result of an automobile accident." Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act into two acts and making other changes. On May 28, 1904, this version was performed in Brescia and was a huge success.

February 17, 1989 -
The cinematic masterpiece Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter opened in theaters on this date.

There's still no word on the progress of Bill and Ted 3.

February 17, 1994 -
The decomposing corpse of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first president of the Republic of Georgia, is exhumed from a temporary grave in Djikhaskari. His wife refuses an autopsy, but western journalists note a bullet wound in the side of Zviad's head. Officially listed as suicide, the wife also claims he was murdered. Another government minister oddly states the death was by cancer with the head shot administered post-mortem.

Note to self: don't seek cancer treatment in the Republic of Georgia or the state of Georgia, for that matter.

And so it goes.

No comments: