Sunday, March 16, 2014

Chag Purim Sameach

Purim started last night:



The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar (late winter/early spring). It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.



It's sometimes referred to as the Jewish Mardi Gras or Halloween.

(I still like the Poppy seed Hamentaschen more than the fruit filled ones - really, who but old people would put prunes in a dessert.)

Happy Purim to all, and to all a good...wait, wrong holiday.


March 16 -
Today is the celebration of St. Urho's Day, Patron saint of Finnish vineyard workers. Attributed to him is the miracle of banishing grasshoppers from Finland which he accomplished with a few choice Finnish phrases, thereby saving the season's grape crop.


But in reality a bunch of very drunk people made this up in 1956.


It's National Hiccup Day today



It's also known as synchronous diaphragmatic flutter or singultus

Now you know.


March 16, 1934 -
An (almost) all singing Popeye cartoon, The Man on the Flying Trapeze, premiered on this date.



"The Daring Young Man On The Flying Trapeze" is based on a real person: Jules Leotard. He was a former law student who ran away from home and joined a circus as an adolescent. Young Jules was the first performer to wear the skin-tight suit of clothes that would later be named after him; he died of tuberculosis aged only twenty-eight.


March 16, 1954 -
Max Ophüls
beautifully acted film, La Ronde, premiered in the US on this date. (Psst kids, the films about the transmission of syphilis - really.)



The film was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Writing and Best Art Direction.

This is a must-see film - find time to watch it today..


March 16, 1954 -
Elia Kazan's powerful family drama, East of Eden, premiered in Los Angeles on this date (this is the only one of the "big three" James Dean films to be released before his death.)



It's hard to remember how innovative James Dean's acting was in the '50's. Dean would provoke Raymond Massey off-camera so that the elder actor would hate him and he could get into character easier.


Today in History:
March 16 1190
-
More than 150 and perhaps as many as 500 Jews, secured in Clifford's Tower at York, died from suicide and massacre after they were sieged by townspeople under Richard Malebys on this date. Malebys was a nobleman who owed money to the Jews; after their siege all records relating to moneylending were destroyed.


This was seen as a warm-up for the Crusaders invasion of the Holy Land. It is the largest massacre of Jews in the history of the United Kingdom.


March 16 1792 -
At a masquerade ball, a disgruntled Captain Jacob Johan Ankarstroem shot Swedish King Gustav III near the heart with a bullet composed of lead and carpet tacks, on this date. It took the King almost two weeks to die.

Shakespeare never wrote about Gustavus, probably because Gustavus was born well after Shakespeare's death, but Giuseppe Verdi (or his stage name, Joe Green) wrote an opera about the affair called Un Ballo in Maschera ("A Bull in Mascara").

As punishment, the Captain was decapitated, drawn, and quartered.

Ouch!!!


March 16, 1926 -
I get paid for what most kids get punished for.



Joseph Levitch, comedian, actor, producer, writer, director, singer, Légion d'honneur recipient and the dollar sign in Dean Martin eyes, was born on this date.


March 26, 1926 -
Robert H. Goddard
, fueled the first hopes of space travel when he successfully launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket at Auburn, Massachusetts on this date.



The rocket traveled for 2.5 seconds at a speed of about 60 mph, reaching an altitude of 41 feet. The rocket was 10 feet tall, constructed out of thin pipes, and was fueled by liquid oxygen and gasoline.


March 16 1949 -
It's Erik Estrada's birthday today.



Reason enough to live another day.


March 16 1978 -
Italian Red Brigades kidnapped former Italian Premier Aldo Moro on this date, in order to obtain the release of imprisoned comrades.

Moro was murdered and his body was later found on May 9, 1978.




And so it goes.



BTW -
Here's an early St. Patrick note:
There are no winners when corned beef and cabbage farts are involved.

2 comments:

Jim Haas said...

Finland, MN: a town of 200 with four bars. As the saying goes, it's a drinking town with a fishing problem. Skol!

Kevin said...

I'd like to go to Minnesota someday to celebrate St. Urho Day. And then maybe pine for the fjords.