Saturday, February 9, 2013

Schnozz Day, Plimsoll Day, Umbrella Day -- and a very Happy Year of the Snake to all of you

Image obtained here.
Usual Suspect American Greetings says that Sunday, February 10 will be Schnozz Day -- and we didn't even need to wake the crack research staff to figure out why: Sunday is the 120th anniversary of Jimmy Durante's birth (he was born on February 10, 1893). In the accompanying illustration, Mr. Durante is attempting to shield his co-star in Billy Rose's Jumbo. And small wonder. How often did the Great Durante get to work with a co-star with a bigger beak than his own prodigious proboscis?

February 10 is also Plimsoll Day because it is the anniversary of British politician and social reformer Samuel Plimsoll (born February 10, 1824), best remembered today for the Plimsoll Line, "also known as the International Load Line or water line (positioned amidships), that indicates the draft of the ship and the legal limit to which a ship may be loaded for specific water types and temperatures in order to safely maintain buoyancy, particularly with regard to the hazard of waves that may arise."

And February 10 is deemed by most of the Usual Suspects to be Umbrella Day. No, none of them adequately explain why. You'd think Umbrella Day might be better celebrated in April... if April showers bring May flowers... but here we are.

Finally, February 10, 2013 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Wikipedia tells us that the traditional Chinese calendar does not use consecutively numbered years. However, scholars have taken a stab at figuring this out and, depending on who you ask, you may be told that this is the beginning of the year 4711, 4710, or 4650 (scholars traditionally disagree on the finer points). There is agreement, however, that Sunday marks the beginning of the Year of the Snake.

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