Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ho Natay, swing dat thing

Bon temps roulez, mes amis - It's Mardi Gras!

No one needs to disrobe, it's 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

February 28, 1915
I wanted to say something about the universe. There's God, angels, plants... and horseshit.

Samuel Joel Zero Mostel, (blacklisted by the HUAC in the '50s), larger than life actor and comedian, was born on this date.

February 28, 1948 -
You've gotta be original, because if you're like someone else, what do they need you for?

Bernadette Lazzara (Bernadette Peters), Actress/Singer was born on this date.

February 28, 1970 -
Simon and Garfunkel's song Bridge over Troubled Water reached number one on this date and stayed there for the next six weeks.

At first, Simon thought the opening lyrics were too simple: "When you're weary, feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all." He later realized that it was this simplicity that helped give the song a universal appeal.

Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen was the 251st and final episode of M*A*S*H*. Closing out the series' eleventh season, the -hour episode first aired on Monday, February 28, 1983.

Alan Alda and Loretta Swit were the only actors to appear in the first episode of MASH, and this episode.

February 28, 1986 -
The Brat-Pack Classic, Pretty In Pink, starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer and James Spader premiered on this date.

Robert Downey Jr. was almost cast as Duckie when the ending had Andie getting together with Duckie. Per Molly Ringwald, this ending may have stuck if Downey won the role because he didn't give her the "brother vibe" Jon Cryer did.

What is Truth?

Today in History:
February 28, 1574
Two impertinent heretics were burned at the stake in Mexico at a spectacular auto-da-fe comparable to those in Spain.

The two are the first victims of the Inquisition in the New World, dying for their heretical crimes of...Lutheranism.

February 28, 1844 -
Julia Gardiner met her future husband, President John Tyler, on this date.

The USS Princeton departed Alexandria, Virginia on a pleasure and trial trip down the Potomac with President John Tyler, his Cabinet and approximately two hundred guests on board. Upon the final firing of Captain Robert F. Stockton's Peacemaker (a newly designed cannon), the defective gun finally burst, instantly killing Secretary of State Abel Upshur; Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer; Captain Beverly Kennon, Chief of the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs; Virgil Maxcy of Maryland, Charge d'Affaires to Belgium, 1837–42; David Gardiner of New York, the father of Julia Gardiner; and the President's valet, a black slave named Armistead.

It also injured about 20 people, including Captain Stockton (who received severe powder burns on his face, and all the hair on his head was burned off.) A Court of Inquiry exonerated Capt. Stockton due to his political influence (he supported Tyler’s campaign), blaming the explosion on John Ericsson, designer of the ships' engines (despite the fact Ericsson had nothing to do with the design of the Peacemaker gun. Capt. Stockton, in fact, stole the design plans from Ericsson, got a key element of the design wrong in the process, and passed them off as his own), and "bad luck". When Julia Gardiner, who was aboard, found out her father had died in the explosion she fainted into President Tyler's arms.

Isn't love grand.

February 28, 1905 -
Jane Lathrop Stanford, the wife of the late Leland Stanford, died of suspected arsenic poisoning at the Moana Hotel in Honolulu. A coroner’s jury confirmed the result.

Her body was returned to the mainland under the care of David Starr Jordan, the president of Stanford Univ. An examination by Stanford physicians claimed no trace of strychnine and set heart attack as cause of death.

A will signed 19 months earlier had left the bulk of her $30 million estate to Stanford University. After 100 years the only thing certain about the case - Stanford did in fact died of strychnine poisoning and somebody got away with murder.

February 28, 1939 -
On July 31, 1931, while working on the second edition of New International Dictionary for the G. and C. Merriam Company,  Austin M. Patterson, Merriam-Webster's chemistry editor, sent a slip of paper reading "D or d, cont./density."  it was meant as a note to say the the letters D or d could be used as the abbreviation for the word Density. The typo word got past proofreaders and appeared on page 771 of the dictionary around 1934.

The ghost word "dord" was not discovered to have made it into the dictionary until this date in the New International Dictionary. The word was a great source of embarrassment for the G. and C. Merriam Company, since it's not actually a word.  For some reason though, they never go around to kicking it out of the dictionary until 1947.

(But please feel free to use it in Scrabble, citing the above mentioned page as proof of it's existence.)

February 28, 1954 -
The first NTSC standard color television sets were sold on this date.  The first set was made by Westinghouse, and sold for $1295 (approximately one-half the cost of a new car.)

Only 30 of these sets were sold by April of that year and only 500 sets were ever be built. On March 25th, RCA began shipping its mass-produced all-electronic compatible color set, for $1,000, and later in the year, a still cheaper model that would secure the company’s dominance in the television market.

February 28, 1968 -
Singer and early 60s heartthrob Frankie Lymon was found dead from a heroin overdose next to his syringe, in his grandmother's New York City apartment, on this date. Years later, three women, Zola Taylor, Elizabeth Waters and Elmira Eagle, each claim to be Lymon's rightful widow and sue to stake out a piece of his estate.

SO, I'm hoping the answer to the question, Why do fools fall in love? - isn't so that they can O.D. and have three women pick over the bones of your rotting corpse.

February 28, 1986 -
Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme was assassinated as he left a movie theater in Stockholm on this date.

In 1996 South African former police officer Eugene de Kock said that Craig Williamson, a South African spy, was involved in the murder. In 1997 lawyer Pelle Svensson said that his client, Lars Tingstrom, wrote a statement on his deathbed in prison in 1993 that he committed the killing. The family of Christer Pettersson, a drug addict and alcoholic, was convinced that he was the killer. In 1999, Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey suggested that a rival PKK organization killed Olaf Palme.

It seems everybody wanted to get into the act.

February 28, 1993 -
Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco use armed force attempting to serve Branch Davidian leader David Koresh with a search warrant (one with no actual evidence of any illegal activity whatsoever), in what the BATF viewed as a publicity stunt to improve their image.

While the agents carefully coordinated the raid with eleven different media outlets, something apparently tipped off Koresh and as these things usual happen - things do not go well: six Davidians and four ATF agents were killed.

The warrant instead could have been served peacefully, while Koresh did his daily morning jog.

And so it goes


No comments: