Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's the fifth day of the Lunar New Year

Many stores open on this day after the Lunar New Year holiday. Some store owners put a table in the front of company's main entry. They prepare fruit, flower, candy, tea, candles and animal sacrifices on the table to worship the God of Wealth. Some even invite the lion dance team to celebrate the opening ceremony. The mascot of the God of Wealth will appear and enter the store.

The store owner will give the mascot a Red Envelope with money reward inside.  (I will be happy to accept any and all red envelopes that may come my way.)

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

Some argue that the film was a crass exploitation of the mentally and physically challenged, while others believe the film is sympathetic to the disabled stars and was therefore an empowering vehicle, showcasing their struggle. It has remained controversial to this day.

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 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.

The African Queen was actually the L.S. Livingston, which had been a working diesel boat for 40 years; the steam engine was a prop and the real diesel engine was hidden under stacked crates of gin and other cargo. It is now docked next to the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, FL, just off US Highway 1.

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

William Rose and Alexander Mackendrick quarreled violently during pre-production work on the film, with the result that Rose stormed off leaving his screenplay not quite finished. Mackendrick and a TV comedy writer, Larry Stevens, provided the finishing touches. Later, Rose apologized profusely to Mackendrick and praised his handling of the film lavishly.

Today's moment of zen

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, 1703 -
The Mount Gay Estate opened in Barbados, on this date.

It is the oldest existing brand of rum in the world.

February 20, 1829 -
The Yuengling Brewery opened in Pottsville Pennsylvania, on this date.

It is the oldest brewery still operating in the U.S.

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 and most of it you can see on-line. (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, 1967
Punk is musical freedom. It's saying, doing and playing what you want. In Webster's terms, 'nirvana' means freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, and that's pretty close to my definition of Punk Rock.

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

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 (as they have just proven in Hawaii) 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 comforted in the knowledge that he hadn't choked to death on someone else vomit.

February 20, 1984 -
You'll never get to heaven if you break my heart!!!

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.

Don't forget, the traditional gift given for the 34th zombie wedding anniversary is the Opal.

And so it goes.

Before you go - here's another one of those videos that makes you go down the rabbit hole. A Youtuber called The Solomon Society had a video called The Most Beautiful Shots in Movies - I'll always bite, so I watched it and then about 12 more of his videos.

While I disagreed with calling some of the shots 'most beautiful' - they were arresting and The Solomon Society is a very good editor.  I may post more of their videos later this week.


No comments: