Everyone knows that large crystal ball is dropped in Time Square to bring in the New Year. Did you ever wonder what the city's did to celebrate the start of the New Year? The folks at Mental Floss have found 38 bizarre things other towns drop -
(If you have some time - start goggling these towns to find the videos of these 'drops' - some of them are pretty cool, except for the opossum.)
Today's gift tally (37 gifts): you currently have five golden rings, eight calling birds, nine French hens, ten turtledoves and five partridges in their respective pear trees (begin thinking preserves.)
Speaking of poultry - we've all been misinterpreting the song all these years. The song's seemingly bizarre switch from four birds, to five pieces of jewelry, and back to six birds actually makes perfect sense: The "five golden rings" is more likely a reference to ring-necked pheasants. So the five golden rings in this stanza refer to five ring-necked pheasants, a dish that was sure to be served at some of the king or queen's Twelfth Night feasts during the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrations.
So now you know.
Tonight is the Fourth night of Kwanzaa.
December 29, 1939 -
The classic Western comedy, Destry Rides Again, premiered on this date.
The role of Tom Destry was originally intended for Gary Cooper, but he wanted more money than the producers were willing to pay him. It was then offered to James Stewart, who took it.
December 29, 1959 -
Paula Poundstone, comedian, was born on this date.
Still one of the funniest working comedians today.
December 29, 1965 -
Thunderball - the best James Bond title - premiered in US on this date.
For the opening main title sequence, title designer Maurice Binder filmed swimmers swimming naked in black and white before adding in the color by an optical process afterward.
December 29, 1967 -
Star Trek first aired The Trouble with Tribbles episode - arguably one of their most famous episodes - on this date.
The pile of tribbles near the end of the episode was actually created by gluing tribble props around a large wire frame which Kirk (William Shatner) then stood in the middle of to give the illusion of mass numbers. In reality there were only five hundred tribbles made.
Today in History:
December 29, 1170 -
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is slashed to death by four of King Henry II's knights at the altar of the Virgin Mary. "Is there no one who will rid me from this turbulent priest", cried Henry in frustration earlier that month.
It was apparently not a serious demand for Becket's death, but that did not stop his brains from being splattered in Canterbury Cathedral.
Henry II was forced to walk to Becket's grave while being flogged by eighty monks as penance for his death. So kids, remember, don't ask for things that you don't really want (the whole tears in heaven/answered prayers thing.)
December 29, 1851 -
It's fun to stay at the YMCA.
The formation of the first YMCA in the United States in Boston, happened on this date.
No, I'm not going to play that song.
December 29, 1852 -
Emma Snodgrass, referred to by East Coast newspapers as "the girl who has recently been visiting parts of New England in pants" was "again" arrested in Boston on a charge of vagrancy. Since Emma was regularly employed as a clerk, and paid her bills, the vagrancy charge didn't hold.
I tremble to think what would have happened if the judge had seen what was going on at the Boston YMCA.
December 29, 1876 -
Today's lesson: taking your job too seriously, can get you seriously killed.
On a cold and wintry night, the Pacific Express, carrying some 159 passengers and crew, was traveling over a bridge near Ashtabula, Ohio. Only the first engine of the train made it to the other side at 7:28 p.m. as the bridge began to collapse. The rest of the train broke away and plummeted to the bottom of the ravine below. Approximately 92 men, women and children were killed, not from the fall itself, but from the ensuing fire while they were trapped inside the crushed cars.
The bridge was owned by the Lake Shore and Michigan railroad, and was the joint creation of Charles Collins, Engineer, and Amasa Stone, Chief Architect and Designer. After testifying before an investigative jury, Charles Collins quietly went home and shot himself in the head. Amasa Stone committed suicide approximately 7 years later. Stone was held partly responsible for the disaster by the same investigative jury before which Collins had testified, and was publicly scorned for many years.
Please remember that YOU are not your job (unless you feel personally responsible from the horrible death of about 100 men, women and children.)
December 29, 1890 -
The Wounded Knee Massacre took place at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on this date, as over 200 Sioux were killed by US troops, led by Colonel James Forsyth, who was sent to disarm them.
Forsyth was later charged with killing the unarmed men women and children, but later exonerated.
Another proud moment in American history.
December 29, 1946 -
Baroness Sacher-Masoch (Marianne Evelyn Faithfull), English singer, songwriter, actress
and inventor of the Mars bar tampon, was born on this date.
December 29, 1993 -
Former child star Todd Bridges (who played Willis on Different Strokes) arrested for transportation of methamphetamine.
And so it goes