Monday, April 29, 2013

Dance you sinners, dance.

Today is International Dance Day

The goals of Dance Day are to increase the awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education.

Today is also the feast of St. Catherine of Sienna, the co-patron saint of Italy.  The Renaissance were tough on women, Catherine's older sister and younger sisters died in 1463 (she had 22 other siblings, although , at that point, who could tell who was alive or died or the neighbor's cat.)  Catherine's father did what any other father would do - tried to make the teenage Catherine marry her sister's widow.

It didn't matter to anyone, save Catherine, that her brother-in-law was a filthy, lascivious old man.  Catherine fasted until her father relented and let her enter a nunnery.  While fasting, she, like our old pal Teresa of Avila, was pierced by God Shaft of 'pure love'.

Though, supposedly illiterate, Catherine famously corresponded with the leading church figures (both men and women) of her day. In fact, Catherine is one of the few women Saints who are thought of, as holding doctorates. She is one of the church most famous bulimics, disgorging everything she ate for the next 17 years, except the Eucharist she received every day.

She, of course, is the patron saint of bulimics and anorexics, the sick (in general), nurses, firemen and sexual temptation (there is a connection between the two, but I'm not going there.)

As is always the case, when saints die, people clamor after their body parts. She is scattered over most of Italy; her head and one of her fingers are resting in Sienna and a major part of her is beneath the main altar at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church in Rome.

It's the second anniversary for His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, the once and future king of England and Catherine, (nee Katherine Middleton), Duchess of Cambridge.

Remember, cotton (or china) is the gift for the second year.

One last thing, Today is National Shrimp Scampi Day

Don't forget a few Red Pepper Flakes

April 29, 1852 -
The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published (produced, made, created) on this date.

Dr. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869) was a London physician of French-Swiss ancestry who began to collect and organize English words to improve his public speaking.

Today in History:
April 29, 1901 -
Train robber and one of the last of the Old West outlaws, Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum was unsuccessfully hanged in Clayton, New Mexico on this date.

The executioner's poor choice of rope and Ketchum's recent increase in weight combine to produce a gruesome decapitation in the gallows.

Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum was the only person ever hanged in Clayton, New Mexico. He was also the only man ever hanged for train robbery in the entire state, a law that was later found to be unconstitutional. But, a little too late for poor Black Jack.

April 29, 1939 -
The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge connecting Bronx and Queens opened for traffic on this date.

The primary reason for its construction was to provide access to the 1939-40 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows.

April 29, 1945 -
Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun on this date. The very next day she killed herself. So did he. This demonstrates the importance of not rushing into marriage. You've got to take your time, get to know the other person, and really think it through. Especially if the other person happens to be an Evil Bastard at the head of a hellish genocidal war machine on the brink of defeat.

But it's not enough just making sure your intended isn't a war-criminal-in-training. The sad truth is that if you plan to marry a human being you're in for a pretty bumpy road no matter what—which isn't to say it would be all roses if you married something other than a human.

So maybe Adolf and Eva were doomed anyway. Who knows? I'm only saying they should have given it a little more thought. Bunker marriages have a notorious failure rate.

April 29, 1961 -
ABC's Wide World of Sports, debuted on this date. Rather than focus on one sport, it presented a variety of athletic events in one show. Each week, Wide World of Sports transported the viewer across the United States and around the world.

In addition to presenting races, bouts, and meets (often live via satellite), Wide World of Sports revolutionized sports coverage by including "up close and personal" features on athletes. The show's rallying cry, "The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," not only became one of the most familiar catchphrases on TV but captured the essence of athletic competition.

April 29, 1968 -
Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, the rock musical opened on this date. Hair tells the story of the "Tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. They struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society.

It was also a way for middle class America to see nudity on the stage without going to a strip club or porno house.

April 29, 1992 -
Rioting erupts in Los Angeles after Rodney King's assailants are acquitted by a jury. The looting and destruction begins in South Central L.A. and quickly radiates outward.

By the time things are under control, 51 are dead , 1093 buildings were damaged or destroyed (764 retail stores were owned by Koreans) and the city has sustained $1.5 billion in property damage.

April 29, 1999 -
In India, Jessica Lall, a young New Delhi bartender, was shot and killed by Manu Sharma, after she refused him a drink at closing time. On February 21, 2006, Sharma the son of a powerful and wealthy politician with interests in sugar mills, and 8 friends were acquitted.

Protesters took to the streets, holding candlelight vigils and waving signs calling for justice; officials from the president to the capital's police chief called for a review of the investigation. Courts convicted Sharma in 2006 and sentenced him to life in prison.

In 2011 the Hindi film, No One Killed Jessica was based on this story.

And so it goes.

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