Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You can cut all the flowers

but you cannot keep spring from coming.

Even though it is raining and snowing outside,

Spring is only 43 days away

Today is the Sixth Day of The Lunar New Year Festival - Clear-Water Master Day . This day is the death anniversary of the Clear-Water Grand Master. The Master was a monk in Sung dynasty. He prayed for rain many times to save people during the drought. He persuaded people to build many bridges and to plant trees. Many miracle events happened after his death. Once he lived at Clear-Water Rock Mountain. So people call him  Clear-Water Grand Master. His temple will have a big ceremony on this day. Many people are still on holiday vacation and will go to attend the ceremony.

Also, according to tradition, families should clean their toilets because the God of toilets will come to check the sanitation of the toilets. In the agriculture society, before plumbing, Chinese farmers called someone to clean the manure pit every 3 to 5 days. This is the day to clean the manure pit (man it always sucks when you have to clean the manure pit.)

February 5, 1927 -
Buster Keaton's
movie The General premiered on this date. Keaton's picture received both poor reviews by critics and weak box-office results when it first opened.

The first try at getting the cannonball to shoot out of the cannon into the cab caused the ball to shoot with too much force. To cause the cannonball to shoot into the cab of the engine correctly, Keaton had to count out the grains of gunpowder with tweezers.

February 5, 1936 -
Charlie Chaplin Little Tramp
makes his final silent-film appearance, Modern Times, was released on this date.

Charles Chaplin allows the Tramp to speak on camera for the first time during the restaurant scene, but insisted that what the Tramp says be universal. Therefore, the song the Tramp sings is in gibberish, but it is possible to follow the story he tells by watching his hand gestures.

February 5, 1953 -
Walt Disney's
14th animated feature, Peter Pan, opens at Roxy Theater, on this date. This was the last Disney film released through RKO, as Walt Disney established his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, by the end of 1953.

Though the film was extremely successful, Walt Disney himself was dissatisfied with the finished product. He felt that the character of Peter Pan was cold and unlikable.

February 5, 1956 -
Don Siegel
subversive take on 50's Communist paranoia, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, premiered on this date.

Kevin McCarthy and author Jack Finney have always denied the belief that the story is a metaphor against McCarthyism and Communism. They just saw it as a thriller. Don Siegel however believes the political references to Senator McCarthy and totalitarianism are inescapable, even though he tried not to emphasize them.

February 5, 1967
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour premiered on CBS-TV, on this date.

Mom actually liked both of them equally.

Today in History:
Today is Liberation Day in San Marino. Americans remain woefully misinformed about San Marino.

(American remain woefully misinformed about most countries that aren't located between Canada and Mexico, but today is only Liberation Day in San Marino, so let's not get off-topic. But, it's also the feast day of St. Agatha -

patron saint of breast cancer survivors, but again, I digress ...)

About seventeen-hundred years ago, during an epic game of hide and seek, Marinus the Stonemason ran up Mount Titano in Italy to hide from the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It was a good hiding spot and he was never found. He started his own country to pass the time, and the Republic of San Marino survives to this day, an island of foreign nationals in the middle of Italy.

Citizens of San Marino are not San Mariners. They are Sammarinese.

The population of San Marino is about 25,000. The population of San Marino, California, is about 13,000.

The California town was named in 1878 by James de Barth Shorb, who had built his home there and didn't think people would go for Shorbtown. Instead, he named it after the Maryland town in which he'd been born.

That was reportedly San Marino, Maryland, which the California town's website claims to have been named "for the tiny European republic."

There is no Maryland town named San Marino. (If there is, they haven't yet made their presence felt on Google.) Foul play is obviously afoot.

Proceed with caution.

February 5, 1783 -
A large earthquake in Calabria, Italy leaves 50,000 dead on this date.

Luckily none of my wife's or a good friend of mine forebearers were involved or they wouldn't be here.

February 5, 1816 -
Rossini's opera Barber of Seville premieres in Rome on this date.

It was one of the earliest Italian operas to be performed in America and premiered at the Park Theater in New York City on November 25 1825.

February 5, 1914 -
William Seward Burroughs II
, junkie, novelist, murderer, painter, professional sodomist and performer was born on this date.

Except for a couple of blots on his CV, he is my hero (well him and Julia Child.)

February 5, 1919 -
Four of the leading figures in early Hollywood: Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, incorporated to form their own company to better control their own work as well as their futures. The company was United Artist.

Late in 2011 it was reported that MGM reacquired its 100% stake in United Artists from Tom Cruise (and his group).

February 5, 1940 -
Hans Ruedi Giger
, Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer best known for his design work on the film Alien, was spawned on this date.

He had a very happy childhood.

February 5, 1941 -
The SS Politician wrecked off the coast of the Isle of Eriskay in the Hebrides on this date. It carried some 20,000 cases of whisky, which the natives hid from customs agents.

The story was told in the 1947 book Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. The book was made into a film in 1949. According to official files recently released by the British Home Office, there was nearly 290,000 ten shilling notes on board as well (this would be the equivalent of several million pounds at today's prices), not all of which was ever recovered.

February 5, 1958 -
A B-47 returning from a simulated combat mission suffered a midair collision with an F-86, on this date. A Mark 15 Mod 0 hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was purposely jettisoned by the crippled B-47 bomber off  the coast of Savannah, Georgia, and has yet to be recovered.

 The bomb, whether or not it contains a plutonium detonator (the Air Force has been hazing on this fact), has not found a large object with some enriched uranium surrounded by four hundred pounds of TNT. (This is essentially a dirty bomb - a dirty bomb resting just off the shore of a vibrant United States port.) Recovering the bomb and the enriched uranium inside would be a coup for any nation looking to skip a few steps to becoming a nuclear power, so one could return the Tybee Bomb, definitely no questions asked.

And so it goes.

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