Friday, February 20, 2015

It was truly crappy news,

To read that the wonderful and gifted Oliver Sack announced he has terminal cancer and does not have much more time to grace us with his presence.

Today is the second day of the Lunar New Year celebration, known as the Son-in-Law Day (also it the first time of the new year to worship the God of Land.)

It's the day that many married women return to their mothers' homes.

Some believe that the second day of the new year is also the birthday of all dogs and reward them with special treats.

February 20, 1932 -
Tod Browning's incredible film, Freaks, about sideshow performers, was released on this date.

In the United States, this film was banned in a number of states and cities. Although no longer enforced, some of the laws were never officially repealed. Therefore, it is still technically illegal for this film to be shown some areas of the USA. The film was rejected for UK cinema showing in 1932 and again in 1952. It was finally passed for cinema with an uncut X rating in May 1963, making it one of the longest bans in UK film history.

February 20, 1936 -
United Artists  released one of the early science fiction classics H.G. Wells The Shape of Things to Come directed by William Cameron Menzies on this date.

Before filming started, author H.G. Wells told everyone connected with the movie how much he'd hated Fritz Lang's film Metropolis and how he wanted them to do the opposite of what Lang (whom he called "Lange") and his crew had done.

February 20, 1952 -
John Huston's excuse for big game hunting, The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, opened in general release at Capitol Theater in NYC on this date.

Lauren Bacall famously ventured along for the filming in Africa to be with husband Humphrey Bogart. She played den mother during the trip, making camp and cooking. This also marked the beginning of her life-long friendship with Katharine Hepburn.

February 20, 1956 -
The wonderfully evil comedy, The Ladykillers, starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellars, opened in New York on this date.

When Alec Guinness was offered the part of Professor Marcus, he wrote to the producers to say "but this is meant for Alastair Sim surely". It is not known whether Sim was considered for the part.

February 20, 1967 -
There's nothing better than having a baby. I've always loved children. I used to work summers at the YMCA and be in charge of, like, 30 preschool kids. I knew that when I had a child, I'd be overwhelmed, and it's true... I can't tell you how much my attitude has changed since we've got Frances. Holding my baby is the best drug in the world.

Kurt Cobain, musician and lead guitarist of seminal grunge band Nirvana, was born on this date.

Today in History:
February 20 is just one many dates on which Francois-Marie Arouet may have been born in 1694.

Francois-Marie was a supremely intelligent, fiercely independent man and was therefore instructed to leave Paris.

Each time he was kicked out, however, he simply came back, said something witty, and was kicked out yet again.

Eventually the French invented reverse psychology. They invited Francois-Marie back from his latest exile and threw a big party for him. The shock of his reception killed him and Paris has mourned his loss ever since.

Except now they call him Voltaire.

February 20, 1872 -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time. The Museum first was housed at the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.

The Museum remained in its first home until 1873, when it moved to larger quarters in the Douglas Mansion on West 14th Street. In 1880, the Metropolitan opened its first building at its current location in Central Park. Currently, its permanent collection contains more than two million works. (That's a lot of art to dust.)

February 20, 1907 -
Pres. Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons" from being admitted to the US on this date.

I've said it before: Certain political operatives in this country should rejoice that there is not a 'sanity clause' for the native born citizen.

February 20, 1935 -
Although Antarctic had been discovered almost 200 years before, Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot on the continent on this day.

She was part of a Danish expedition along with her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. A mountain in Antarctica was named in her honor.

February 20, 1947 -
A chemical mistake at the O'Connor Electro-Plating Co. in Los Angeles caused a blast that destroyed/damaged more than 55 structures in a 300-foot radius, killing 15 people and injuring 150 more.

The incident resulted in the city's first ordinance stipulating regulations for the storage, transportation, production, processing, and use of hazardous chemicals and led to one of the first Hazmat Dictionary's in the U.S.


February 20, 1962 -
... Godspeed John Glenn.

While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn orbited the earth three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes, becoming the first American to orbit the earth. Remember, NASA hadn't invented the astronaut diaper yet; I bet he had to pee something wicked.

February 20, 1971 -
An erroneous warning is emitted on the Emergency Broadcast System causing a number of stations to go off the air, and others to completely ignore the alert (thus pointing out that many key stations would not react to any emergency broadcast over the system.)

So remember this just a test, unless it's not.

February 20, 1980 -
After some heavy drinking, Bon Scott, vocalist for heavy metal band AC/DC, was found in a friend's automobile - he apparently choked to death on his own vomit.

His family was relieved that he hadn't choked to death on someone else vomit.

February 20, 1984 -
Happy 31th Zombie Anniversary!!!

Ballerina Julia Pak married Heung Jin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon, religious icon, on this date. The ceremony was a tasteful affair save one small detail - Heung Jin Moon was prevented from attending the service in person; he had died in an auto accident the previous December.

As adult Moonies are only allowed to enter Heaven once they are married, there was a dire need for this awkward necro-ceremony.

And so it goes.

No comments: