Monday, February 8, 2016

I'm not too old to accept a red envelope

The Lunar New Year starts today, and it's the Year of the Monkey, but which one? In Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign and one the Five Elements: Gold (Metal), Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth. Both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny. This year is the Fire Monkey

(Please be aware that once again, Mr. Teeny and  I will be celebrating Chinese New Year especially recklessly this Year of the Monkey, by shooting firecrackers in public locations for the next two weeks. Please also remember that people in China don't call it Chinese New Year, it's Lunar New Year; other countries celebrate Lunar New Year as well.)

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the Lunar Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality.

This year is the Year of the Monkey. People under the sign of the Monkey are wise, intelligent, confident, charismatic, loyal, inventive and have leadership. Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Diana Ross, Daniel Craig, Nick Carter, Patricia Arquette, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas and Selena Gomez were born in the Year of the Monkey.

According to superstition, those born in the Year of the Monkey tend to be enthusiastic, self-assured and sociable but can also be jealous, suspicious, cunning, selfish and arrogant. It is also believed that the Monkey is most compatible with the Ox and the Rabbit, but least compatible with the Pig and the Tiger.

The world’s largest annual human migration is now well underway as 2.8 billion trips are made across China in what is known as chun yun, when students, migrant workers and office employees living away from home will make the journey back to celebrate with their families.

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

February 8, 1910 -
Today is Boy Scout Day.

Boy Scout Day celebrates the birthday of Scouting in America.

On this date, Chicago publisher William Dickson Boyce filed incorporation papers in the District of Columbia to create the Boy Scouts of America. Oh wait a minute, these may not be the right pictures.

February 8, 1936 -
Warner Brothers
released the classic film The Petrified Forest starring  Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart on this date.

Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart had played the same roles in the stage version. Warner Bros. wanted to put Howard in the film but replace Bogart with Edward G. Robinson. Howard insisted on Bogart, and Robinson was happy to step aside from yet another gangster role. Bogart would later name his second child with Lauren Bacall Leslie, in honor of Howard, the man who gave him his first big break.

February 8, 1968 -
Planet of The Apes
premiered in NYC on this date, confirming Charlton Heston's position as one of the greatest "One Note Actors" of his generation.

All the ape actors and extras were required to wear their masks even during breaks and in between shots because it took so much time to make them up. Because of this, meals were liquefied and drunk through straws.

February 8, 1976 -
Martin Scorsese's
elegy to the swiftly disappearing squalid of 70's New York, Taxi Driver premiered on this date.

Paul Schrader wrote the script for Taxi Driver in ten days via two drafts, one after the other. As he was writing, he kept a loaded gun on his desk for motivation and inspiration.

Today in History:
February 8, 1587
After some 19 years in prison, Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded on this date. She had spent the last hours of her life in prayer and also writing letters and her will. She expressed a request that her servants should be released. She also requested that she should be buried in France. The scaffold that was erected in the great hall was three feet tall and draped in black. It was reached by five steps and the only things on it were a disrobing stool, the block, a cushion for her to kneel on, and a bloody butcher's axe that had been previously used on animals. At her execution she removed a black cloak to reveal a deep red dress - the liturgical colour of martyrdom in the Catholic Church.

The execution was badly carried out. It is said to have taken three blows to hack off her head. The first blow struck the back of her head, the next struck her shoulder and severed her subclavian artery, spewing blood in all directions. She was alive and conscious after the first two blows. The next blow took off her head, save some gristle, which was cut using the axe as a saw.

Various improbable stories about the execution were later circulated. One which is thought to be true is that, when the executioner picked up the severed head to show it to those present, it was discovered that Mary was wearing a wig. The headsman was left holding the wig, while the late queen's head rolled on the floor. Another well-known execution story concerns a small dog owned by the queen, which is said to have been hiding among her skirts, unseen by the spectators. Following the beheading, the dog rushed out, terrified and covered in blood. It was taken away by her ladies-in-waiting and washed, but it did not survive the shock.

All of this must have been a pretty sight.

February 8, 1861 -
The southern states which had seceded from the United States agreed to reunite in The Confederate States of America.

This caused the Civil War, a period of unprecedented bloodshed in American history, which surely could have been avoided through a rigorous U.N. regimen of plantation inspections.

Co-incidentally, or not
February 8, 1915 -
D.W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation (The Clansman) premiered in Los Angeles on this date.

It is widely believed that after viewing this film in the White House, President Woodrow Wilson remarked that it was "like writing history with lightning." However, the reality is that Wilson disapproved of the "unfortunate production". It is believed by some of Wilson's aides that the apparent endorsement and approbation was a ruse generated by Thomas F. Dixon Jr., the author of the original novel.

February 8, 1924 -
Breathe deeply.

The first person to die in Nevada's new gas chamber was Chinese born Gee Jong on this date for the murder of Tom Quong Kee, a member of a rival gang. His lawyers had fought a long battle in the courts to show that the gas chamber was a "cruel and unusual punishment" and as such was illegal under the Eight Amendment to the Constitution.

The execution commenced at 9:30 a.m. when Gee Jong was led from a holding cell and secured to the chair within the chamber. He appeared to struggle a little after the gas was manually pumped in and then lapse into unconsciousness but as no external stethoscope had been used he was left in the chamber for 30 minutes to ensure death.

February 8, 1942 -
Robert Klein, comedian and actor, was born on this date.

Please stop writing him, Mr. Klein run run of records starting with the letter B.

February 8, 1960 -
Beer heir Adolph Coors III (who was ironically allergic to beer), was killed after a failed kidnapping attempt in Colorado on this date. By October, Joseph Corbett Jr. was arrested in Canada after an national manhunt.

Corbett was convinced and sent to prison. He was pardoned in 1978. Mr Corbett committed suicide in 2010, still maintaining his innocence in the crime.

I guess Mr. Corbett didn't get his deposit back.

February 8, 1968 -
Gary Coleman, actor, security guard, perp and corpse was born on this date.

What else is there to say.

And so it goes.

No comments: