Thursday, December 31, 2015

Try to be more awesome than last year.

Somehow it has become the last page of the calendar.
It's taken me many years not to think of this as the middle of the year and think of summer break as one long New Years Eve

Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

Today's gift count (84 gifts): you currently have Seven Swans a' swimming, 12 geese a' laying, 15 golden rings, 16 calling birds, 15 French hens, 12 turtledoves and 7 partridges in their respective pear trees.

More than six swans constitutes a lamentation of swans. They are usually known as a flock or bevy (A wedge when you see them flying in their usual V formation.)

I can't begin to imagine the amount of bird waste you are removing at the point. But keep shoveling, you don't want the EPA on your tail (so to speak.) You may want to consider contacting your local garden store: fresh guano can garner a pretty price.

Tonight's the Sixth night of Kwanzaa.

December 31, 1907 -
For the first time a ball drops at Times Square to signal the New Year on this date.

The New Year’s Eve Ball first descended from a flagpole at One Times Square, constructed with iron and wood materials with 100 25-watt bulbs weighing 700 pounds and measuring 5 feet in diameter.

December 31, 1909 -
The Manhattan Bridge, the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, was opened to traffic on this date (although not officially completed until 1912.)

This must have made it quite an interesting crossing.

December 31, 1938 -
Dr. Rolla Harger, a professor of biochemistry and toxicology, patented the Drunkometer, a balloon-like device into which people would breathe to determine whether they were inebriated in 1936. Just in time for New Year's Eve, the first practical use of the device in the field by Indianapolis police was conducted on this day.

The Drunkometer worked by having the person blow into a balloon. The balloon would be attached  to a tube of purple liquid - a  weak solution of potassium permanganate in sulphuric acid.. The darker the result, the more alcohol the person had in their system. In 1954, Robert Borkenstein, a colleague of Dr. Harger, invented a more portable tool called the Breathalyzer.

December 31, 1958 -
Rebels forces lead by Fidel Castro, marched triumphantly into Havana, Cuba on this date. Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country with 180 of his supporters and personal fortune of more than $300 million dollars amassed through graft and payoffs.

Menwhile, Michael grasps Fredo tightly by the head and gives a kiss, telling him "I know it was you Fredo; you broke my heart." Michael appeals to his brother to join him in leaving the country, but Fredo runs away, frightened.

But that's another story ...

December 31, 1969 -
Walt Disney through its Buena Vista Distribution Company released The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, starring Kurt Russell, on this date.

It’s the first motion picture to use the word “computer” in its title.

December 31, 1995
Cartoonist Bill Watterson ends his Calvin & Hobbes comic strip on this date.

Calvin and Hobbes debuted in 1985 and featured the adventures of Calvin, a hyperactive, overly imaginative, bratty six-year-old, and his best friend, the stuffed tiger Hobbes.

December 31, 1999 -
The large Ferris wheel, the London Eye (also called the Millennium Wheel), was built in celebration of the change of millinia, opened on this date.

It went on to become a famous London landmark, and attracts thousands of tourists a year.

Hope you all have wonderful plans for this evening. The only advice I can give you is - Drink til you drop and drop where you drink - Don't drink and drive.

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time on this date in 1929.

Here’s a brief overview of New Years Celebrations

Although the new year has been celebrated since prehistoric times, it was celebrated on the vernal equinox rather than what we now consider the first of the year. The Romans were the first to recognize New Years Day on January first. Rather than tie the day to some significant astronomical or agricultural event, in 153 BC the Romans selected it for civil reasons. It was the day after elections in which the newly elected assumed their positions.

Years later, Julius Caesar wanted to change the date to a more logical date but that year, January 1, 45 BC was the date of a new moon. To change it would have been bad luck. He did, however, change the calendar system from the Egyptian solar calendar to the "Julian" calendar, named for Caesar. July, the month of Caesar's birth, was also named after him to recognize him for his calendar reform. And look what it got him.

Up unto 1582, Christian Europe continued to celebrate New Years Day on March 25. Pope Gregory XIII instituted additional calendar reforms bringing us the calendaring system of the day. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries immediately while the reformists, suspect of any papal policy, only adapted it after some time. Today most countries around the world have adopted this calendaring system.

From primitive man to today, it has been recognized as a day in which rites were done to abolished the past so there could be a rejuvenation for the new year. Rituals included purgations, purifications, exorcisms, extinguishing and rekindling fires, masked processions (masks representing the dead), and other similar activities. Often exorcisms and purgations were performed with much noise as if to scare away the evil spirits. In China, Ying, the forces of light fought Yang, the forces of darkness with cymbals, noisemakers, and firecrackers.

Early European-Americans adopted the New Year celebrations from their homelands. However, it was noted by early settlers that native Americans already honored News Years Day with their own customs. Their rituals coincided with those around the world including fires, explosions of evil spirits, and celebrations. Today many of the New Year celebrations actually begin with a countdown to the New Year on the evening prior. It is customary to kiss your sweetheart when the clock strikes midnight as one of the customs of these New Years Eve parties.

Around the world, different cultures have their own traditions for welcoming the new year. The Japanese hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck. They also have a good laugh as the year begins to get things started on a lucky note. In Argentina, people wear brand-new pink underwear to attract love. While in Brazil, people wear none; that usually works better.

In Germany, every year on December 31st, TV networks broadcast an 18-minute-long black and white skit in English called Dinner for One.

In 1963, Germany’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk television station recorded the sketch, performed by the British comics Freddie Frinton and May Warden. Since its initial recording, the clip has become a New Year’s Eve staple in Germany. The clip holds the Guinness World Record for Most Frequently Repeated TV Program, (although Dinner For One has never been broadcast in the U. S. or Canada.)

In West Bengal, in northern India, the people like to wear pink, red, purple and white flowers. Women favor yellow, the color of spring. Hindus also leave shrines next to their beds so they can see beautiful objects when they wake up to the new year.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadians enjoy the traditional polar bear swim. People of all ages don their swim suits and take the plunge, an event that is sure to get you started in the new year with eyes wide open.

In Scotland, they celebrate Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, usually with great exuberance. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow host street parties for 100,000 people. At midnight, there is the celebration of "First Footing," where gifts are exchanged.

New Year Resolutions are simply another way to wish away the past in exchange for hopes of the future. It is where the phrase turning over a new leaf originated.

I hope 2016 brings good health and better luck to all.

So everyone turn the wheel of your life.

And so it goes.

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