Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Look at my king all dressed in red

Bon temps roulez, mes amis.

No one needs to disrobe, it much too cold and we've got plenty of beads (unless you like to disrobe in public.)

Today is also know as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, which heralds the beginning of fasting in Lent. On this day (so the historians say) there were feasts of pancakes to use up the supplies of fat, butter and eggs... foods that were forbidden during austere Lent.

In England there are several celebrations on this day but perhaps the best known one is the Pancake Day Race at Olney in Buckinghamshire which has been held since 1445. The race came about when a woman cooking pancakes heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. She ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan, and thus without knowing it, started a tradition that has lasted for over five hundred years.

Keep flipping them pancakes

Today is also Random Acts of Kindness Day is the name of an unofficial holiday increasingly celebrated around the world by localities or organizations, or nationwide, in order to encourage acts of kindness.

All you need to do is something a simple as hold the door open for someone or say 'good morning' to the counter person giving you your morning cup of coffee. 

Then immediately go back to your usually ornery self.

February 17, 1967 -
The Beatles
released Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever on this date.

These songs were intended for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but Capitol Records decided to release the two songs as a single, partly to regain popularity from John Lennon's "The Beatles are bigger than Jesus" comment.

February 17, 1989 -
The cinematic masterpiece Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter opened in theaters on this date.

In the film, Bill and Ted claim that they need Edward Van Halen in their band to make it better. After the film was released, he jokingly said he would have joined their band if they had asked.

Today in History:
February 17, 1600
Roman philosopher and mathematician Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake at Campo di Fiore in Rome, likely because of his advocating the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

His death at the hands of Roman Inquisition is thought to have convinced Galileo to recant his own theory of a moving Earth.  The people living around the Palatine Hills always expected the Roman Inquisition.

Celebrated French dramatist and comedian Moliere collapsed on stage and died on February 17, 1673. It is said that he was wearing green, and because of that, there is a superstition that green brings bad luck to actors. As an actor, he was not allowed by the laws of the time to be buried in the sacred ground of a cemetery.

His wife Armande asked the king Louis XIV to allow a "normal" funeral celebrated at night. The king agreed, and Moliere was buried in a part of the cemetery reserved for unbaptized infants. In some accounts of his death, it is said that over 800 people attended his "secret" funeral.

A bomb exploded in the dining room of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace on February 17, 1880. Tsar Alexander II survived. Being late for supper, the Tsar was not harmed, although 67 other people were killed or wounded. The dining room floor was also heavily damaged.

While it is often said that promptness is the politeness of kings, sometimes being late can save you.

February 17, 1904 -
The original two-act version Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, premiered on this date.

It did not go so well, lasting just one performance. One critic refereed to the performance as a "diabetic opera, the result of an automobile accident." Puccini revised the opera, splitting the second act into two acts and making other changes. On May 28, 1904, the new version was performed in Brescia and was a huge success.

February 17, 1994 -
The decomposing corpse of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, first president of the Republic of Georgia, was exhumed from a temporary grave in Djikhaskari. His wife refused an autopsy, but western journalists noted a bullet wound in the side of Zviad's head. Officially listed as suicide, the wife also claims he was murdered. Another government minister oddly states the death was by cancer with the head shot administered post-mortem.

Note to self: don't seek cancer treatment in the Republic of Georgia or the state of Georgia, for that matter.

Avoid getting cancer, if at all possible.

And so it goes.

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