Monday, February 19, 2024

(Very sorry for the delay today.)

Today is the birthday of the god of stone. ACME Construction would like to wish everyone a lucky and prosperous Lunar New Year. On this day, it is forbidden to move any stone, including stone roller, stone mill and stone mortar, so this day is also known as “Shi Bu Dong”(meaning do not move any stone). So remember, with ACME, when you need something stuck in the ground, it stays put.

In addition, it is also forbidden to cut into a mountain for rock and build a house with rocks, or bad things will happen to the crops. On this day, families will burn incense and candles for the stones, and offer pancake to the god of stone.

In Chinese, shí meaning 10 and shí also meaning stone, have the same pronunciation. Thus the tenth day of the Lunar New Year is conveniently considered the birthday of the stones, in the hope of shí quán shí mi, everything is perfect. In ancient China, stones were regarded as the foundation of the Earth, thus the birthday of stones is synonymous with celebrating the Earth’s birthday.

On day after the Jade Emperor's birthday, there is so much food left from the birthday's ceremony. People may have to consume all the vegetable, animal scarifies, cakes and fruit on the 10th lunar day of the year. This is an extended feasting of the Jade Emperor's birthday.

Tomorrow will be the 11th day and the day after that - the 12th. Are you really still celebrating?

It's Generic Executive Office Holder of the Government Day.

So let's hear it for all the generic Presidents. Please remember to have Jimmy Carter in your thoughts today

February 19, 1912 -
Prizes were inserted into a Cracker Jack box for the first time on this date.

In ensuing decades, over seventeen billion prizes have been "awarded" to Cracker Jack purchasers. Among the numerous Cracker Jack prizes offered across the years are miniature plates, puzzles, books, bookmarks, pinball games, plastic figurines, and self-adhesive stickers.

Robert Rueckheim, grandson of F.W. Rueckheim (the driving force behind the Cracker Jack brand,) served as the model for Sailor Jack, whose image first appeared in advertisements in 1916 and was printed on every Cracker Jack box beginning in 1918. Sadly, Robert died of pneumonia at the age of 8, but Sailor Jack lives on today alongside his dog, Bingo, who was said to be modeled after a stray belonging to Henry Gottlieb Eckstein, developer of the "waxed sealed package," Cracker Jack is sealed in.

February 19, 1968 -
Everyone's favorite adult, Fred Rogers began telling everyone that It's a beautiful year in the neighborhood when the national broadcast of his program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on this date.

Guests on the show were often surprised to find that although Rogers was just as gentle and patient in life as he was on television, he was nevertheless a perfectionist who did not allow "shoddy" ad-libbing. He believed that children were thoughtful people who deserved programming as good as anything produced for adults on television.

(Sorry for this Earworm) -
Badfinger were a British pop band signed to the Beatles' label, Apple. One of their best songs was Without You which appeared on their second album No Dice. It was released as a single on November 9, 1970. Paul McCartney once described the ballad as "the killer song of all time".

Harry Nilsson started a four week run at No.1 cover of the Badfinger song Without You on the Billboard charts on this date in 1972. Nilsson first came across this song at a Laurel Canyon party in 1971 and thought it was a Beatles song. Badfinger was signed to Apple Records, The Beatles' label, and their version of Without You was produced by Beatles associates Geoff Emerick and Mal Evans.

Nilsson's version added an orchestra and gave the song a dramatic production. When Nilsson recorded it, he initially played the song slow and dark, accompanied only by piano. Producer Richard Perry recalled to Mojo magazine April 2008 that he had to persuade an unwilling Nilsson to record it as a big ballad: "I had to force him to take a shot with the rhythm section. Even while we were doing it, he'd be saying to the musicians, 'This song's awful.'" (This was a staple of middle school dances in the early 70s.)

A very odd piece of trivia: Mariah Carey had her first UK No.1 with her version of the Badfinger song Without You on this date. (Carey's version was released on January 24, 1994, just over a week after Nilsson had died following a heart attack). Both As the song's writers, Peter Ham and Tom Evans should have been set for life, but Badfinger's label, Apple Records, collapsed in 1973 and they never got their due. Peter Ham and Tom Evans (members of Badfinger and writers of the song) committed suicide, (Ham in 1975 and Evans in 1983) after an ongoing battle to receive royalties from the song.

February 19, 1974 -
KISS appeared on Dick Clark's IN CONCERT! on this date. This marks their first time on national television.

One of the songs they preformed for the show was Nothin' to Lose. How KISS got a song about anal sex on national TV back in 1974 passed the censors is amazing.

February 19, 1977 -
Manfred Mann's Earth Band's cover of Bruce Springsteen's Blinded By The Light hits #1 on the Billboard Charts in America, on this date.

Manfred Mann's version replaces the line "cut loose like a deuce" with "revved up like a deuce." In their version, "Deuce" was commonly misheard as "Douche." Springsteen's original line makes a lot more sense - a deuce is a 1932 Ford hot rod. On his Storytellers special, Springsteen said (in a jesting manner): "I have a feeling that is why the song skyrocketed to #1."

February 19, 1982 -
The Wes Craven film Swamp Thing, starring Louis Jourdan, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise and Dick Durock, was released on this date.

This was the second time Dick Durock played a green, monstrous, mutated version of a "normal" man in a comic book adaptation, after the two-part Incredible Hulk episode The First.

February 19, 1983 -
The Patti Austin and James Ingram duet Baby, Come To Me hits #1 on the Billboard Charts in America, on this date.

Quincy Jones produced this track. Both Austin and Ingram had worked with Jones in the past and signed to his record label, Qwest. Austin had another connection with Jones as well: He's her godfather.

Another job posting from The ACME Employment Agency

Today in History:
February 19, 1329 -
(Antipope) Nicholas V presided at a bizarre ceremony in the Duomo of Pisa, at which a straw puppet representing his rival, Pope John XXII and dressed in pontifical robes was formally condemned, degraded, and handed over to the secular arm (to be "executed").

John XXII had the last laugh when he excommunicated Nicholas V in April 1329

and had him imprisoned until his death in August 1333.

Oh those wacky Antipopes.

February 19, 1473 -
Nicolaus Copernicus (or Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolaus Koppernigk - apparently he was running some sort of ponzi scheme at an early age and was giving different names to different people) was born in Poland on this date.

He stated an early theory that the Earth and the planets move around the Sun that led the way to our understanding of planetary movement.

In the presidential election of 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson drew to a tie. The House of Representatives broke the tie by throwing their weight behind Jefferson, making him president, on February 17, 1801. Burr was given the vice-presidency as either a consolation prize or a practical joke.

Like many other people, Vice-President Burr was often irritated by Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most other people, he shot and killed him. Although it had been a fair duel, the vice-president was indicted for murder. He was never actually arrested for the shooting, nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal authority in place to prevent a vice-president from shooting Alexander Hamilton.

Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Civilized political discourse?

(A subsequent constitutional amendment that would have made it illegal for members of the executive branch to shoot Alexander Hamilton was defeated on the grounds of its limited usefulness to the deceased.) After serving out his term as VP, Mr. Burr moved to the southwest and decided to establish his own empire. Fortunately there were controlling legal authorities that prohibited the establishment of empires. President Jefferson had him arrested on February 19, 1807.

Burr was ultimately acquitted. (His descendant Raymond Burr would go on to restore a bit of luster to the family name as Perry Mason and as spokesmodel for Raymond Burr Nipple Rouge - one of our favorite corporate sponsors - but that's for another day.)

February 19, 1910 -
Another unimportant moment in history:

Remember, take human bites!

February 19, 1960 -
The cartoon-strip The Family Circus by Bil Keane debuted in newspapers on this date.

For several months prior, it had been called The Family Circle.

February 19, 1986 -
The Soviets launched the first part of space station Mir, (the orbiting laboratory–the main module that included the crew quarters, with airlocks for docking and more,) and with it, a new phase in space exploration, on this date.

Mir, which means both peace and world in Russian, would provide the home base for a permanently manned international complex orbiting the Earth– and was occupied for 10 years of its 15 in orbit.

February 19 is also notable for the 1995 marriage of Pamela Anderson to rocker Tommy Lee. Their marriage is best remembered for having produced the most widely-distributed honeymoon pictures in the history of the world.

Sorry folks, you're going to have to find the link to the video yourself.

February 19, 1997 -
Supreme Chinese leader and one time replacement for Diana Ross, Deng Xiaoping died on this date.

Dying takes the shine off of being Supreme.

And so it goes.

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