Saturday, December 26, 2020

Recycle, reuse, renew. (And have a fresh pine scent)

Other things to occupy your mind with other than COVID-19 - It turns out that you can actually eat parts of your Christmas tree.

The needles from your tree are a great source of Vitamin C. If you want to tuck into your tree after Christmas then dry out the needles before grinding. You can then use the dried needles as a garnish on soups. But please make sure you remove all the ornaments and are not trying to consume your artificial tree, (we've already discussed where those branches originally came from.)

Today is the start of Mulchfest 2020. MulchFest is an annual event held by the Department of Parks & Recreation that provides New Yorkers with the opportunity to bring their holiday trees to be recycled at designated sites across the five boroughs.

For more information, visit the Parks Department's Mulchfest page.

Tonight's the first night of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa means "first fruit" in Swahili.

Today is St. Stephen's Day.

The citizens of the British Commonwealth denote the day by putting on trunks and gloves to beat each other bloody silly.

Another reason to appreciate the American Revolution - a peaceful December 26th.

If you are starting your Christmas shopping for 2021, you're either way ahead of the curve or cheap.

If you're keeping score, you currently have two turtledoves and a pair of partridges in their respective pear trees (four gifts - remember we're counting the partridge and a pear tree as a unit.)

Begin taking extra copies of free daily newspapers - you'll need it in a major way. (The gift, the two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments.)

December 26, 1951
The film that introduced Akira Kurosawa to world audiences, Rashomon, starring Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyo, premiered in the US on this date.

Even during high noon the parts of the forest that the crew needed to shoot in were still too dark. Rather than use a regular foil reflector, which did not bounce enough light, Akira Kurosawa and cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa opted to use a full-length mirror "borrowed" from Daiei's costume department. The crew bounced light from the mirror through leaves and trees to soften it and make it look more like natural sunlight. Miyagawa later called it the most successful lighting effect he had ever done.

December 26, 1957 -
The Ingmar Bergman classic Wild Strawberries, starring Victor Sjostrom, opened in Sweden on this date.

Cinematographer Gunnar Fischer says that several scenes had to be shot indoors due to Victor Sjöström's poor health. "We had to make some very bad back-projection in the car because we never knew if Victor would come back alive the next day." Nevertheless, as long as Victor was home by 5:15 P.M. each day, "and had his whiskey punctually, all went well."

December 26, 1967 -
53 years ago today, The Beatles gave their fans a Christmas present - Magical Mystery Tour was shown on the BBC on this date.

(I 'm not sure if I've correctly embed a version of the show but check out the link above)

After its premiere on BBC1 on December 26, 1967, Ringo Starr apparently rang up the BBC complaining that the movie got poor ratings because it was broadcast in black-and-white. A few days later, it was broadcast in color on BBC2. It still bombed.

December 26, 1973 -
Here was a great way to celebrate the holidays; The Exorcist, premiered in the US on this date.

On the first day of filming the exorcism sequence, Linda Blair's delivery of her foul-mouthed dialogue so disturbed the gentlemanly Max von Sydow that he actually forgot his lines.

Don't for get to tune in to ACME Eagle Hand Soap Radio Hour today.

Today in History:
December 26, 1776 -
American forces under Gen. George Washington, having crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night, defeated Hessian mercenary troops fighting for the British at the Battle of Trenton, N.J. on this date.

There are reports that the usually stoic future president made a request of the big-boned General Harry Knox: “shift that fat ass Harry, but slowly, or you’ll swamp the damned boat.

December 26, 1865 -
I'm not a fan of coffee but why isn't this a bigger deal - James Mason (sometimes known as Nason) of Franklin, Massachusetts registered the first U.S. patent (US Patent No. 51,741) for a coffee percolator on this date.

Coffee had really taken off in America after the tea supply was cut off during the War of 1812. By the 1860s, it had become a highly demanded commodity, and only increased in popularity with the invention of the percolator.

On this day in 1913, the author of the short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and the satirical dictionary, The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce disappeared into Mexico while traveling with the army of rebel Pancho Villa. In one of his final letters, the 71-year-old Bierce wrote to his niece, Lora,

Good-bye — if you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think that a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico—ah, that is euthanasia!

December 26, 1919 -
Red Sox owner and Broadway Producer, Harry Frazee believed he has solved one of his many headaches when he sold, an overweight, drunk, whoremongering baseball player to the New York Yankees on this date


December 26, 2004 -
A massive tsunami caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, devastated Southeast Asia, killing more than 250,000 people in a single day and more than half a million lost their homes. This was most devastating tsunami in modern times

The earthquake has been titled the Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake and is the highest magnitude earthquake in the region in over 40 years. The event had the fourth largest death toll from an earthquake in recorded history. More than ten years after the quake and tsunami events, the entire region was still trying to recover and to rebuild. Some areas may never recover.

And so it goes.


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