It's the Eighth, and last, night of Hanukkah. For your own health, consume bran muffins for the rest of the year (and well into next week.)
Today's gift count (84 gifts): you currently have Seven Swans a' swimming, 12 geese a' laying, 15 golden rings, 16 calling birds, 15 French hens, 12 turtledoves and 7 partridges in their respective pear trees.
For those playing the home version -
Somehow it has become the last page of the calendar.
Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.
Our Final Holiday Special - Who's going to clean off all of the wax on the sideboard?
Today in History:
December 31, 1907 -
For the first time a ball drops at Times Square to signal the New Year on this date.
December 31, 1909 -
The Manhattan Bridge, the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, was opened to traffic on this date (although not officially completed until 1912.)
December 31, 1938 -
Dr. Rolla Harger, a professor of biochemistry and toxicology, patented the Drunkometer, a balloon-like device into which people would breathe to determine whether they were inebriated in 1936. Just in time for New Year's Eve, the first practical use of the device in the field by Indianapolis police was conducted on this day.
December 31, 1958 -
Rebels forces lead by Fidel Castro, marched triumphantly into Havana, Cuba on this date. Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country with 180 of his supporters and personal fortune of more than $300 million dollars amassed through graft and payoffs.
Menwhile, Michael grasps Fredo tightly by the head and gives a kiss, telling him "I know it was you Fredo; you broke my heart." Michael appeals to his brother to join him in leaving the country, but Fredo runs away, frightened.
But that's another story ...
December 31, 1969 -
Walt Disney through its Buena Vista Distribution Company released The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, starring Kurt Russell, on this date.
It’s the first motion picture to use the word “computer” in its title.
December 31, 1995 –
Cartoonist Bill Watterson ends his Calvin and Hobbes comic strip on this date.
December 31, 1999 -
The large Ferris wheel, the London Eye (also called the Millennium Wheel), was built in celebration of the change of millinia, opened on this date.
It went on to become a famous London landmark, and attracts thousands of tourists a year.
Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played Auld Lang Syne as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time on this date in 1929.
Here’s a brief overview of New Years Celebrations
Although the new year has been celebrated since prehistoric times, it was celebrated on the vernal equinox rather than what we now consider the first of the year. The Romans were the first to recognize New Years Day on January first. Rather than tie the day to some significant astronomical or agricultural event, in 153 BC the Romans selected it for civil reasons. It was the day after elections in which the newly elected assumed their positions.
Years later, Julius Caesar wanted to change the date to a more logical date but that year, January 1, 45 BC was the date of a new moon. To change it would have been bad luck. He did, however, change the calendar system from the Egyptian solar calendar to the "Julian" calendar, named for Caesar. July, the month of Caesar's birth, was also named after him to recognize him for his calendar reform. And look what it got him.
Up unto 1582, Christian Europe continued to celebrate New Years Day on March 25. Pope Gregory XIII instituted additional calendar reforms bringing us the calendaring system of the day. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries immediately while the reformists, suspect of any papal policy, only adapted it after some time. Today most countries around the world have adopted this calendaring system.
From primitive man to today, it has been recognized as a day in which rites were done to abolished the past so there could be a rejuvenation for the new year. Rituals included purgations, purifications, exorcisms, extinguishing and rekindling fires, masked processions (masks representing the dead), and other similar activities. Often exorcisms and purgations were performed with much noise as if to scare away the evil spirits. In China, Ying, the forces of light fought Yang, the forces of darkness with cymbals, noisemakers, and firecrackers.
Early European-Americans adopted the New Year celebrations from their homelands. However, it was noted by early settlers that native Americans already honored News Years Day with their own customs. Their rituals coincided with those around the world including fires, explosions of evil spirits, and celebrations. Today many of the New Year celebrations actually begin with a countdown to the New Year on the evening prior. It is customary to kiss your sweetheart when the clock strikes midnight as one of the customs of these New Years Eve parties.
Around the world, different cultures have their own traditions for welcoming the new year. The Japanese hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck. They also have a good laugh as the year begins to get things started on a lucky note. In Argentina, people wear brand-new pink underwear to attract love. While in Brazil, people wear none; that usually works better.
In Germany, every year on December 31st, TV networks broadcast an 18-minute-long black and white skit in English called Dinner for One.
In 1963, Germany’s Norddeutscher Rundfunk television station recorded the sketch, performed by the British comics Freddie Frinton and May Warden. Since its initial recording, the clip has become a New Year’s Eve staple in Germany. The clip holds the Guinness World Record for Most Frequently Repeated TV Program, (although Dinner For One has never been broadcast in the U. S. or Canada.)
In Equador, people scar away bad luck when they burn a newspaper-stuffed-scarecrow outside their homes. It is said that it burns away the bad things of the prior year and scare bad luck away from the next year to pave the way for nothing but good luck. Fidel Castro did this every year (and we see how that worked for him this year.)
In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadians enjoy the traditional polar bear swim. People of all ages don their swim suits and take the plunge, an event that is sure to get you started in the new year with eyes wide open.
In South Africa, people throw appliances out the window (watch out!!). In Denmark, you break a dish for a friend. They save their old dishes only to throw them by the dozen at the doorsteps of family friends on New Years. In theory, the bigger the pile of broken dishes you find on your door steps, the bigger pile of friends you have.
New Year Resolutions are simply another way to wish away the past in exchange for hopes of the future. It is where the phrase turning over a new leaf originated.
I hope 2017 brings good health and better luck to all (especially all our idols.)
A Song for New Year’s Eve
William Cullen Bryant
Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay— Stay till the good old year, So long companion of our way, Shakes hands, and leaves us here. Oh stay, oh stay, One little hour, and then away. The year, whose hopes were high and strong, Has now no hopes to wake; Yet one hour more of jest and song For his familiar sake. Oh stay, oh stay, One mirthful hour, and then away. The kindly year, his liberal hands Have lavished all his store. And shall we turn from where he stands, Because he gives no more? Oh stay, oh stay, One grateful hour, and then away. Days brightly came and calmly went, While yet he was our guest; How cheerfully the week was spent! How sweet the seventh day’s rest! Oh stay, oh stay, One golden hour, and then away. Dear friends were with us, some who sleep Beneath the coffin-lid: What pleasant memories we keep Of all they said and did! Oh stay, oh stay, One tender hour, and then away. Even while we sing, he smiles his last, And leaves our sphere behind. The good old year is with the past; Oh be the new as kind! Oh stay, oh stay, One parting strain, and then away.
So everyone turn the wheel of your life.
And so it goes.
Before you go - Here's a brief remembrance of some celebrities we lost this past year -
(Hopefully this video is complete as it needs to be this evening.)