Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Everybody shake your groove thing.

Bon temps roulez, mes amis. It's Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) folks.

No one needs to disrobe, we've got plenty of beads (unless you like to disrobe in public.)

Today is also know as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, which heralds the beginning of fasting in Lent. On this day (so the historians say) there were feasts of pancakes to use up the supplies of fat, butter and eggs... foods that were forbidden during austere Lent.

In England there are several celebrations on this day but perhaps the best known one is the Pancake Day Race at Olney in Buckinghamshire which has been held since 1445. The race came about when a woman cooking pancakes heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. She ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan, and thus without knowing it, started a tradition that has lasted for over five hundred years.

Keep flipping them pancakes

The third day of Chinese New Year is 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 Day and we shouldn't disturb them. The other saying is we want to make it dark, so mice have difficulty to making the wedding, which can slow down mice's breeding. In the old farmer society,  people will leave a few of rice or cake in the corner of a room for the mice at night.

It's the 204th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln, a man with only a years' worth of formal education and still became our 16th President

and Charles Darwin, the man who tried to ride a dog to the tropics and the uncle of most monkeys.

Go try preserving a union and question people's fundamental religious beliefs in their honor.

February 12, 1924 -
George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York on this date.

It has become one of the most popular American concert works.

February 12, 1972 -
The Rev. Al Green's song, Let's Stay Together, hit no. 1 on this date.

Barack Obama sang a couple of lines of the song during an appearance on January 19, 2012 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for a fund-raising event. Al Green was the opening act and as the president took to the stage, he noted the soul legend's presence in the audience and surprised his staffers at the theatre with an impromptu spot of crooning. "Those guys didn't think I would do it," he joked.

Today In History:
On February 12, 1554, The sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey, puppet Queen of England for nine days, was beheaded in the Tower of London, on this date.

Questions arose as to where to bury this semi-queen, until it was decided to place her among the beheaded former wives of Henry VIII.

Adolf Frederick was King of Sweden until he died of digestion problems on February 12, 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sour cabbage, smoked herring and champagne, which was topped off with 14 servings of his favorite dessert: semla (a hot cross bun filled with cream) served in a bowl of hot milk.

He is thus remembered by Swedish schoolchildren as the king who ate himself to death.

So remember - Folks, push away from the dessert tray,.

February 12, 1789 -
Ethan Allen died in a drunken sleigh accident while crossing the frozen Lake Champlain, reminiscing with friends and rye. Much of the circumstance remains a mystery.

The Spirit of Ethan Allen is Lake Champlain's largest cruise ship.

So kids remember, if you're lucky and you die while drunkenly crossing a Great Lake, you too can get a cruise ship or a line of furniture named after you.

Immanuel Kant, a real pissant, died on February 12, 1804. His last words were reportedly It is good.

This is hard to believe, since Kant did not speak English.

On February 12, 1894, Hans von Bulow died, (yes, Klaus is related to him).

He was a popular pianist and composer, and the husband of composer Franz Liszt's daughter, Cosima, who screwed around behind Hans' back and ultimately left him for Richard Wagner, (more about him tomorrow)

Emperor Pu Yi of China's Manchu dynasty abdicated on February 12, 1912, allowing the establishment of a provisional republic under Sun Yat-sen, eventually causing Red China.

And the making of a fine movie.

February 12, 1912 -
With pilot Frank Coffyn flying the plane, American Press Association photographer Adrien C. Duff, shot the first ever film of New York City from overhead on this date

By doing so, this made Duff the very first airplane passenger over New York Harbor. Mr Duff spent the next 10 years getting a full body cavity search from the TSA.

February 12, 1935 -
The 785-foot USS Macon, the last US Navy dirigible (ZRS-5), crashed on its 55th flight off the coast of California, killing two people. After takeoff from Point Sur, California, a gust of wind tore off the ship's upper fin, deflating its gas cells and causing the ship to fall into the sea. Two of Macon 's 83 crewmen died in the accident.

The U.S. Navy lost the airships Shenandoah in 1925 and Akron in 1933. Some considered airships too dangerous for the program to continue at that point, and work on them in the United States was halted temporarily.

On this day in 1940, Superman appeared on a radio station (a Mutual Radio station WOR in New York City) for the first time, the first time in a non-print medium.  It was the debut of the radio show called The Adventures of Superman and the episode was called "The Baby From Krypton."

We don't get to hear Superman speak though until the second episode: "Clark Kent, Reporter" (February 14, 1940.)

February 12, 1967 -
Police in London arrest Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull on this date, after they discover amphetamine pills, cannabis resin, and Marianne scandalously naked but for a fur rug.

The two Rolling Stones received jail sentences which were successfully appealed. Questions still persist - where exactly was that Mars Bar anyway?

February 12, 1976 -
Sal Mineo
, film and theater actor, was stabbed to death in Los Angeles while coming home from a play rehearsal.

A pizza deliveryman, Lionel Ray Williams, was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to 57 years in prison for killing Mineo and for committing 10 robberies in the same area.

February 12, 2004 -
After 43 years together, Barbie and Ken, shocked the nation when they announced that they were breaking up on this date.

The couple had met on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961.  Don't worry, those crazy kids have patched things up and they're still going strong.

And so it goes.

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