Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A thought for the day

Chinese New Years is 30 days away. Valentine's Day is 32 days away. Mardi Gras is 34 days away. And today is Old New Years Eve (Old Style Calendar.) If all goes according to plans, the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States is a week away.

Enjoy the day!

According to the American Dialect Society the 2020 WORD OF THE YEAR is: COVID was chosen as Word of the Year (2020) by the American Dialect Society in its annual vote. It was the 30th anniversary of the society’s original Word of the Year vote in December 1990. The term, “A year ago, the word Covid didn’t even exist, and now it has come to define our lives in 2020,”

In a press release issued after the ADS vote on December 17, 2020, Ben Zimmer, chair of the society's New Words Committee and language columnist for the Wall Street Journal (and former executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus) provided additional context. “The selection recognizes how ubiquitous the term has become, from the time that the name for the disease caused by novel coronavirus was dubbed Covid-19 by the World Health Organization back in February. That was quickly clipped to Covid, which then appeared in phrases like Covid crisis, Covid relief, and Covid vaccine – and even Covid baking, Covid hair, and covidiot. It has become a stand-in for the entire pandemic and the societal impacts that we’ll be experiencing for years to come.

January 13, 1945 -
One of the 'banned' World War II Looney Tunes cartoons, Herr meets Hare, premiered on this date. This cartoon marks the first appearance of Bugs' classic "left turn at Albuquerque" joke.

The cartoon was finally broadcast in its entirety in July, 2001, on a special episode of the Cartoon Network's program Toonheads focusing on World War II cartoons.

January 13, 1966
Samantha gave birth to a baby girl, Tabitha on the ABC-TV program Bewitched (entitled, And Then There Were Three,) on this date.

This is the first appearance of Cousin Serena, who would be a recurring character for the remainder of the series.

January 13, 1968 -
Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers, performed for a second time at Folsom Prison in the prison cafeteria on this date.

Cash released the concert as an album, At Folsom Prison, a few months later. The album was a hit and it transformed Cash into a nationally popular musician. At Folsom Prison stayed in country music charts for 90 weeks and in the Billboard Top 200 for 122 weeks.

January 13, 1989 -
British comedy sketch show series A Bit of Fry and Laurie starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie debuts on BBC1 on this date.

Stephen Fry was never able to convincingly fake hitting someone, so often he genuinely hit Hugh Laurie while filming the sketches.

Another failed ACME product

Today in History:
January 13, 1832
Horatio Alger, Jr., minister, American children's author (Ragged Dick, Tattered Tom and Julius, the Street Boy out West ) and noted pederast was born, on this date.

Some novels, uncompleted at Alger's death, include The Fortune Made Upon My Knees, Nelson, the Randy Pegboy, Impudent Dick and the Lonely Sea Men, Lance, the Brawny Farmhand Boy (who wore no undergarments under his britches), From the Gutter to Fortune (with nothing but bacon grease and a toothless smile) and Jack, the Ruggedly Handsome Raw Meat Delivery Boy (who wore a posing strap under his britches).

(Stop snickering.)

January 13, 1862 -
President Lincoln names Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War on this date. He vigorously pursued the apprehension and prosecution of the conspirators involved in Lincoln's assassination. These proceedings were not handled by the civil courts, but by a military tribunal, and therefore under Stanton's supervision.

Stanton was appointed by President Grant to the Supreme Court, but he died four days after he was confirmed by the Senate, and taking the oath of office on his deathbed, set the record for shortest tenure on the Court.

January 13, 1900 -
To combat Czech nationalism, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary decrees German the official language of the Imperial Army on this date.

This causes all of the Esperanto schools in Austria-Hungarian Empire to close.

January 13, 1910 -
Lee De Forest, the American inventor of the vacuum tube, demonstrates the first radio broadcast, a live performance of Cavalleria Rusticana with Enrico Caruso from the Metropolitan Opera, on this date.

The broadcast over a telephone transmitter could be heard only by the small number of electronics hobbyists who had radio receivers or could squeeze into telephone booths. De Forest started regular nightly concerts in 1915, increasing interest in radio receivers, which at the time depended on the vacuum tubes manufactured by De Forest's company.

How convenient.

January 13, 1919 -
California voted to ratify the prohibition amendment on this date.

Much heavy drinking ensued.

January 13, 1957 -
Back in the 1920s, Yale students invented a game of catch by tossing around metal pie tins from the Frisbee Baking Company in nearby Bridgeport, Connecticut. Building inspector Fred Morrison puttered with and refined a plastic flying disc that he sold to WHAM-O (for $1 million, which bought a lot of pies back then) in 1955. The Wham-O Company produced the first Pluto Platter on this date.

Wham-O changed the name to Frisbee in 1958, upon hearing the Yale pie-tin story. (Mattel now owns the rights to Frisbee, which has become an American icon.)

January 13, 1962 -
Nothing in moderation

Ernie Kovacs was killed in an automobile accident when he lost control of his Chevrolet Corvair station wagon while turning fast. Crashing into a power pole at the corner of Beverly Glen and Santa Monica Boulevards, he was thrown halfway out the passenger side, dying almost instantly from chest and head injuries.

Kovacs may have lost control of the car while trying to light a cigar. A photographer managed to arrive moments later, and morbid images of Kovacs in death appeared in newspapers across the United States. An unlit cigar lay on the pavement, inches from his outstretched arm. (I'm not posting the photo - you Google it.)

Kids - Smoking Kills.

Before you go - here's the first new musical release by Puddles Pity Party of 2021, a cover of David Bowie's Changes, somehow viewed through Billy Joel's The Piano Man -

Not sure I would ever think of Bowie and Billy Joel in the same breathe but it works.

And so it goes


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