Saturday, March 1, 2014

March is a month of considerable frustration

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. - Charles Dickens

The name of March comes from ancient Rome, when March was the first month of the year and called Martius after Mars, the Roman god of war.

In Rome, where the climate is Mediterranean, March is the first month of spring, a logical point for the beginning of the year as well as the start of the military campaign season. The numbered year began on March 1 in Russia until the end of the fifteenth century. Great Britain and her colonies continued to use March 25 until 1752, the same year they finally adopted the Gregorian calendar. Many other cultures and religions still celebrate the beginning of the New Year in March.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month Hlyd monath which means Stormy month, or Hraed monath which means Rugged month. All through Lent the traditional games played are marbles and skipping. The games were stopped on the stroke of twelve noon on Good Friday, which in some places was called Marble Day or Long Rope Day.

Among the things we celebrate this month are:
* Cataract Awareness Month
* Hemophilia Month
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
* Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month (No more live scoping s on TV, please!)
* Rosacea Awareness Month
* Deaf History Month
* National Women's History Month
* Foot Health Month
* Furniture Refinishing Month
* Humorists Are Artists Month
* International Hamburger & Pickle Month
* Irish-American Heritage Month (Please don't let the Catholic High Schoolers know that St. Patrick's Day can be celebrated all month long.)
* National Peanut Month (except if  you are allergic to the legume; then, by all means, do not celebrate.)
* International Mirth Month
* Talk with Your Teen about Sex Month
* Social Worker's Month (If you don't talk to your kids about sex.)
* National Umbrella Month

March 1, 1936 -
The Warner Bros. Pictures horror film The Walking Dead, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Boris Karloff, Edmund Gwenn and Marguerite Churchill, premiered in New York City on this date.

The "glass heart" machine used to revive Karloff's dead character was said to be "nearly a prefect replica" of an actual perfusion pump--a device designed to keep organs alive outside an organism's body--which had been built by Charles Lindbergh, when the legendary pilot and engineer was working with a Nobel-winning scientist at New York's Rockefeller Institute research labs in the mid-1930s.

March 1, 1969 -
While performing with the Doors at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami, the formerly svelte, now tubby alcoholic Jim Morrison asks the audience Do you wanna see my cock? then exposes himself briefly on a Miami stage.

For thus showing his peepee, Morrison received a sentence of six months hard labor.

Mr. Mojo Rising indeed.

Coincidentally, in a weird cosmic way, the Oliver Stone film, The Doors, premiered on the same date in 1991.

Because the film was shot out of sequence, Val Kilmer had to carefully gain weight for Morrison's fatter, later years so that the flab was only noticeable on his belly and could be concealed when he played Morrison as a younger man.

Today is National Pig Day honoring the porcine fellow. According to one of the holiday's creators, the purpose of National Pig Day is "to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals."

Everybody should go wallow in the mud and kiss a pig (or not.)

Today in History:
March 1, 1810
Frédéric François Chopin, one of the best-known and best-loved composers of the Romantic period, was born on this date.

Chopin's entire musical output was devoted to his favorite instrument, the piano.

March 1, 1864 -
Rebecca Lee Crumpler
became the first black woman to receive an American medical degree, from the New England Female Medical College in Boston. She began her career in 1852 as a nurse in Massachusetts.

As a medical pioneer who prevailed over the severest of societal restrictions, she spent her lifetime working to improve the health of the black community.

March 1, 1932 -
A man, most likely not the convicted and executed Bruno Hauptmann, climbed a makeshift ladder to the 2nd floor of Charles Lindbergh's New Jersey home and snatches his twenty-month-old son, Charles Jr. Whoever took the baby left behind a poorly-written ransom note demanding $50,000 in small bills.

Interesting aside, leading the investigation for the New Jersey state police was Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, father of the late Gulf War hero, Stormin Norman, who shares his name.

March 1, 1912 -
Albert Berry makes the first in-flight parachute jump from a plane, over Kinlock Field in St. Louis, on this day. He jumps from a Benoist pusher biplane piloted by Tony Jannus at an altitude of 1,500 feet.

The parachute was not actually strapped to Berry, rather, he sat on a metal bar underneath it, and according to records, he dropped more than a third of the way to the ground before it opened.

March 1, 1954 -
The first hydrogen bomb was detonated at Bikini on this date. Even though the bomb was hundreds of times more powerful than the atomic bomb exploded there in 1946, no islanders were evacuated this time. Almost 300 people suffered radiation exposure. The test was so successful that it blew the once happy island into tiny bits that came to be known collectively as the Bikini Atoll.

Shrewd fashion moguls in France put two and two together and invented bell bottoms.

About four hundred years earlier - on March 1, 1562 - Jason and his thousand Huguenots were at prayer in Vassy, France, when they were suddenly massacred by Catholics. Huguenots and Catholics subsequently fought The Wars of Religion for over three decades to settle the question of Best Religion Ever. Unfortunately the Edict of Nantes granted religious tolerance in 1598 and the question was never settled to anyone's satisfaction.

As a result, billions of human beings continue to honor the wrong religion to this very day.

I truly hopes God is grading on a curve. . .

March 1, 1971 -
You may not need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows but...

The radical group Weather Underground exploded a bomb in a restroom of the U.S. Capitol building, causing significant damage on this date. The bomb exploded after an intensive search of the building yielded no results.

Nobody was ever convicted of the attack.

March 1, 1978 -
The body of Charlie Chaplin was stolen for ransom by Galtcho Ganav and Romnan Wardas from a cemetery in Corsier, Switzerland. The actor's corpse was recovered two months later.

One can only hope the little tramp was properly embalmed.

March 1, 1982 -
Russian spacecraft Venera 13 landed on Venus and sent back data.

Frightened scientists try to suppress the video but the world must know.

Psst, here's a tip - claim your seat this morning on the couch for the Academy Awards tomorrow night.  See if you can enlist a large stuffed toy or the family pet as a seat filler.

And so it goes.

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