Monday, January 23, 2023

Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.

Today is the second day of the Lunar New Year. Some believe the second day is also the birthday of all dogs and remember them with special treats.

The God of Wealth presides over a vast bureaucracy with many minor deities under his authority. A majestic figure robed in exquisite silks often he is pictured riding a black tiger, a golden yuanbao (ancient ingot used for currency) is always close to him. Legend says that every Lunar New Year, Tsai Shen descends from heaven to inspect his followers.

People eat dumplings to honor the god because the dumplings were thought to resemble yuanbao. Tsai Shen leaves for heaven on the second day of the Lunar New Year to report on whom should have good fortune in the following year.

Traditionally, it’s the time for married women to visit their parents. In ancient times in China, women usually didn’t visit their parents’ places much once they got married. People nowadays can do that at any time, this custom, to visit birth parents on second day of the Lunar New Year celebrations, remains.

The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) established today as National Handwriting Day back in 1977, in order to celebrate John Hancock's birthday (who was born on January 12th, so go figure,) one of our Founding Fathers, as well as the first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Most people who were around then were taught penmanship as children, but that may no longer be the case for younger generations.

In most schools today, greater emphasis is placed on typing and computer technologies. Cursive is disappearing from the curriculum; many young people today learn only enough to sign their name - if they learn any cursive at all.

Remember, celebrate responsibly - practice your penmanship.

January 23, 1948 -
John Huston's classic film, Treasure of Sierra Madre, starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston and Tim Holt opens in NYC on this date.

John Huston stated that working with his father on this picture and his dad's subsequent Oscar win were among the favorite moments of his life.

January 23, 1962 -
François Truffaut's adaptation of the Henri-Pierre Roché novel, Jules et Jim, starring Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, and Henri Serre was released in France, on this date.

Henri-Pierre Roché's original novel was based on his own experiences as a young man. The original Catherine was still alive when the film was released and even attended the premiere incognito.

January 23, 1965 -
Petula Clark's song Downtown, hit No. #1 on the Billboard Charts on this date.

This was Petula Clark's first hit in the US, which was slow to discover her talents. In the UK, she was a star as a singer and as a television performer, where she was a regular on the BBC. In the early '60s, she also caught on in France when she started recording her songs in French. Oddly, she didn't get an American record deal until late in 1964 when a Warner Bros. executive named Joe Smith, who was vacationing in England, heard the song and signed her to a deal. (Bunkies, she's still alive and kicking.)

January 23, 1969 -
Elvis Presley recorded the song Suspicious Minds at American Sound, a small studio in Memphis, on this date.

The song is a huge comeback hit for Elvis, (it was seven years since his last #1 hit,) and gives him his last #1 in America.

January 23, 1975 -
Barney Miller, a TV series set in a New York City police station in Greenwich Village, premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

When Harris (Ron Glass) was asked to produce a porn film for an undercover sting, he uses the name Starry Night Productions as his cover. Years later, show writer Reinhold Weege used the name for his own production company, which produced Night Court.

January 23, 1977 -
The twelve-hour miniseries Roots premiered on ABC-TV on this date.

The show was programmed by ABC to air on several consecutive nights in prime time. It was considered a revolutionary approach to programming a mini-series, since most minis were aired once or twice a week over several weeks' time. It was revealed years later that the reason the network did this was so that they get the show "out of the way" in a hurry because they felt, nobody would watch the story if it aired over a longer period of time.

January 23, 1983 -
The A-Team starring George Peppard, Dirk Benedict and Mr. T premiered on NBC-TV on this date.

According to the remaining cast members, Mr. T and George Peppard did not get along. Peppard was a "proper movie actor," but Mr. T became the real star of the show. Things got even worse when Peppard learned Mr. T was being paid more than he was.

January 23, 1991 -
NBC-TV aired the first regularly scheduled episode of the series Seinfeld, The Ex-Girlfriend, on this date.

Before the show was set to air, Jerry Seinfeld asked Jason Alexander what he thought their chances for success were. Alexander said he thought they "didn't have a chance". When asked why, Alexander responded, "Because the audience for this show is me, and I don't watch TV."

January 23, 2003 -
The pilot episode of Mythbusters premiered on The Discovery Channel on this date.

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are known for not being friends off-set. Savage has admitted this freely, but stresses that the two of them got along well enough professionally (it was Jamie Hyneman who recommended Adam Savage as co-host in the first place) but make no effort to engage socially. He attributes this to clashing personalities rather than full-blown dislike.

Word of the Day

Today in History:
January 23, 1849 -
The idea of winning a doctor's degree gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle, and the moral fight possessed immense attraction for me.

English-born Elizabeth Blackwell, becomes the first woman to receive an American medical degree, graduated at the top of her class from the medical school of Hobart College, Geneva, NY on this date.

January 23, 1870 -
One of the worse slaughters of Native American by U.S. troops occurred on this date. The Incident has become known as the Marias Massacre. While the U.S. Cavalry was looking for a band of hostile Blackfoot Indians led by Mountain Chief, they stumbled instead, onto a peaceable band of Piegan Indians led by Chief Heavy Runner and killed about 200 tribes people, many of them women and children.

140 others were captured, later to be turned loose without horses, adequate food, and clothing. As the refugees made their way to Fort Benton, Montana, some ninety miles away, many of them froze to death. In the meantime Mountain Chief and his people had escaped across the border into Canada.

Another proud day for the American military

January 23, 1897 -
Elva Zona Heaster was found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia on this date. Authorities originally thought Heaster had died of natural causes, but her mother later claimed that Elva's ghost visited her and told her otherwise, leading to her widowed husband's arrest and conviction.

It was one of the few times in American legal history that the testimony of a ghost was taken into account at trial.

January 23, 1931 -
While touring in the Netherlands, the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova's train had a slight accident, derailing and being delayed for 12 hours. She went outside dressed only in pajamas and a light scarf to see what was happening. As a result of this she caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia.

She died three weeks later on this date. At the end, she asked to hold her Dying Swan costume. Her last words were, "Play that last measure very softly."

So kids, once again, your mother was right - when it's cold outside, put on a sweater.

January 23, 1978 -
Terry Kath of band Chicago accidentally killed himself on this date while pretending to play Russian Roulette in Woodland Hills.

Kaith's last words were 'Don't worry, it's not loaded.' The circumstances of his death gave him the dubious distinction of being one of the first celebrities to be nominated for a Darwin Award.

Moral: Remember guns don't kill - however one bullet in the chamber is a killer.

And so it goes

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