Tuesday, February 6, 2018

not at the bottom,... not at the top

Today is halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, which is the scientifically correct way of saying it's the middle of winter, such as it is in the Northeast.

I used to hope that by the second half of winter, we could coast to the start of spring. Given that we are living through very tumultuous times, I'd be happy for just a blizzard or two.

Today is Waitangi Day in New Zealand. This celebrates the February 6, 1840 signing of "The Treaty of Waitangi" by representatives of the British Crown and leading Maori chiefs in Waitangi. The treaty preserved many Maori rights while making New Zealand a British Colony.

Given the confused and confusing state of things, I must recommends that America join her Kiwi friends in celebrating Waitangi Day. There's no particular logic to this, but it's fun to say "Happy Waitangi Day." We could all wear funny hats and buy each other Waitangi presents.

Sound silly?

Just four days ago we were all waiting for a stupid rodent to crawl out of a hole and look for his shadow. In the Southern Hemisphere, Summer is winding down, which might have something to do with why today is Waitangi Day down there.)

February 6, 1921 -
The Kid
, starring Charlie Chaplin and 6-year-old Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester), was released in the US on this date.

For the scene in which the Kid is taken from the Tramp and nearly carted away to a workhouse, Charlie Chaplin stated in his autobiography that the young Jackie Coogan was made to cry by his father, who told him that if he would not cry in the scene, he would be sent to an actual workhouse.

February 6, 1965
The Righteous Brothers song You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ hit No. # 1 on the Billboard charts on this date.

According to BMI music publishing, You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' was played on American radio and television more times than any other song in the 20th Century. It got over 8 million plays from the time it was released until 2000. Note that this includes all versions of the song, not just The Righteous Brothers'

February 6, 1982
The J. Geils Band song Centerfold hit No. #1 on the Billboard charts on this date.

This was written by the band's keyboard player Seth Justman, who wrote or co-wrote all the tracks on the Freeze Frame album. He insists that the reason you didn't hear much synthesizer on earlier J. Geils albums is because they couldn't afford them: The band was trapped in the record company debt cycle, constantly owing money despite their success.

Albums in the discount bin.

Today in History:
February 6, 1911

That great American, Ronald Reagan, who appeared in such films as Jap Zero, Girls on Probation and Bedtime for Bonzo, was born in Tampico IL on this date.

It should be a national holiday (or a day of great national shame.)

February 6, 1917 -
I never really mind what people say about me - I am far too unconventional and far too dedicated to being true to myself to let other people's disdain or nastiness upset me for long.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, Queen of Outer Space was born in Budapest on this date. Party girls everywhere are celebrating their patron saint's day. Think of how awkward it must be for her to run into the gaggle of men that were her husbands in the afterlife.

It was on this date in 1919 that the German constituent assembly met in Weimar for the first time to declare itself  The Official German Government For The Time Being.

This Weimar Republic, as it came to be known, should not be confused with the Weimar Republic fashion clothing outlet found in many American malls. The former caused an economic depression, Hitler, and the horrors of the Second World War. The latter caused a slight dip in sales at Banana Republic and Old Navy.

February 6, 1928
Immigrants from Europe arriving in New York City was nothing unusual in the 1920s, but a young woman calling herself Anastasia Tschaikovsky was different, marking her arrival on US soil with a press conference. She claimed to be the youngest daughter of the murdered czar of Russia and arrived in New York City to receive surgery on her broken jaw, an injury she said she had got from a Bolshevik soldier as she escaped the massacre of her family in Yekaterinburg, nine years earlier.

Controversy swirled around her and her claim that she was Anastasia Romanova, thoughout her life until her death in 1984. In 1991, DNA evidence indicated she wasn’t a Romanov, although there are some who question the validity of those results.

February 6, 1937 –
Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?

Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men, the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California, was published on this date.

February 6, 1943 -
In like Flynn.

Omnisexual, neo-nazi, actor Errol Flynn was acquitted of raping an adolescent on this date. The woman had actually tried this shakedown with other celebrities and wasn't quite an adolescent despite her testifying with pigtails and a lollypop.

February 6, 1945 -
Today is Bob Marley Day in Jamaica and EthiopiaBob Marley, musician, singer-songwriter and Rastafarian was born on this date.

How can your day not be a little brighter.

February 6, 1952 -
Elizabeth II
became Queen upon the death of her father George VI (who had been ill for some time and died in his sleep from a  coronary thrombosis), on this date (she has been on the job for 66 years.) At the exact moment of succession, she was in an observation post at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.

Talk about bizarre ways you can land a job - Elizabeth went up a tree a princess and came down a Queen.

February 6, 1971 -
Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first person to hit a golf ball on the Moon on this date.

Near the end of the second moonwalk and just before entering the lunar module for the last time, Shepard attaches a six-iron to the end of a sample collecting tool and hits two golf balls. The first lands in a nearby crater. He hits the second one squarely, and, in the one-sixth gravity of the Moon, Shepard says that it travels “miles and miles and miles.

And so it goes.


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