Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The 2014 Word of the Year (is not a word.)

According to the American Dialect Society the WORD OF THE YEAR is: the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, used as protest over blacks killed at the hands of police (esp. Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island).

While #blacklivesmatter may not fit the traditional definition of a word, it demonstrates how powerfully a hashtag can convey a succinct social message,” said Ben Zimmer, chair of the society’s New Words Committee, in an official statement. “Language scholars are paying attention to the innovative linguistic force of hashtags, and #blacklivesmatter was certainly a forceful example of this in 2014.

Valentine's Day is 32 days away. Mardi Gras is 35 days away. Chinese New Years is 37 days away. And today is Old New Years Eve (Old Style Calendar.)

Enjoy the day!

Today in History:
January 13, 1832 -
Horatio Alger, Jr.
, minister, American children's author (Ragged Dick, Tattered Tom and Julius, the Street Boy out West ) and noted pederast was born, on this date.

Some novels, uncompleted at Alger's death, include The Fortune Made Upon My Knees, Nelson, the Naughty Pegboy, Proud Young Dick and the Lonely Sea Men, Jerry, the Barefoot Backwoods Boy (who wore no undergarments under his britches), From Farm to Fortune (with nothing but bacon grease) and Joey, the Ruggedly Handsome Meat Delivery Boy.

(Stop snickering.)

January 13, 1862 -
President Lincoln names Edwin M. Stanton Secretary of War on this date. He vigorously pursued the apprehension and prosecution of the conspirators involved in Lincoln's assassination. These proceedings were not handled by the civil courts, but by a military tribunal, and therefore under Stanton's supervision.

Stanton was appointed by President Grant to the Supreme Court, but he died four days after he was confirmed by the Senate, and taking the oath of office on his deathbed, set the record for shortest tenure on the Court.

January 13, 1900 -
To combat Czech nationalism, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary decrees German the official language of the Imperial Army on this date.

This causes all of the Esperanto schools in Austria-Hungarian Empire to close.

January 13, 1910 -
Lee De Forest, the American inventor of the vacuum tube, demonstrates the first radio broadcast, a live performance of Cavalleria Rusticana with Enrico Caruso from the Metropolitan Opera, on this date.

The broadcast over a telephone transmitter could be heard only by the small number of electronics hobbyists who had radio receivers or could squeeze into telephone booths. De Forest started regular nightly concerts in 1915, increasing interest in radio receivers, which at the time depended on the vacuum tubes manufactured by De Forest's company.

How convenient.

January 13, 1919 -
California voted to ratify the prohibition amendment on this date.

Much heavy drinking ensued.

January 13, 1957 -
Back in the 1920s, Yale students invented a game of catch by tossing around metal pie tins from the Frisbee Baking Company in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut. Building inspector Fred Morrison puttered with and refined a plastic flying disc that he sold to WHAM-O (for $1 million, which bought a lot of pies back then) in 1955. The Wham-O Company produced the first Pluto Platter on this date.

Wham-O changed the name to Frisbee in 1958, upon hearing the Yale pie-tin story. (Mattel now owns the rights to Frisbee, which has become an American icon.)

January 13, 1962 -
Ernie Kovacs
was killed in an automobile accident when he lost control of his Chevrolet Corvair station wagon while turning fast. Crashing into a power pole at the corner of Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Boulevards, he was thrown halfway out the passenger side, dying almost instantly from chest and head injuries.

Kovacs may have lost control of the car while trying to light a cigar. A photographer managed to arrive moments later, and morbid images of Kovacs in death appeared in newspapers across the United States. An unlit cigar lay on the pavement, inches from his outstretched arm. (I'm not posting the photo - you Google it.)

Kids - smoking kills.

And so it goes.

No comments: