Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Matters zodaical

Happy birthday to me and to everyone who falls under the astrological sign of Pisces. The glorious stained glass window depicting it above is from Chartres cathedral. The two fishes whirling around are an all-too-true indicator of my temperament, which more often than not sees two sides to everything and has the devil of a time making a decision. Do other pisceans agree?

In 1950 Japan was the first country to issue zodiac stamps, and now almost 100 countries have followed suit. Above, stamps of a set of Chinese zodiac signs from 1980 to 1992. Marking the year in which a person was born, the animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.  
Today is also Bernadette Peters' b'day.  She sure looks better for her age than I do!
On Feb. 28, 1883, the first vaudeville theater opened in Boston. This fertile entertainment form is recreated in a very cool site from the University of Virginia. Hordes of famous entertainers got their start there, including Mae West, Judy Garland, and Bob Hope.
There are 307 days left in 2012, including "leap day," Feb. 29. To make the most of each one or to jot down and preserve important thoughts and happenings, why not pick up The Art of Andy Warhol 2012 Engagement Calendar—a mere $2.98? 
A final tidbit of a linguistic nature. On this date in 1939,  the erroneous word "dord" was discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd ed. Wikipedia tells the tale:
On July 31, 1931, Austin M. Patterson, Webster's chemistry editor, sent in a slip reading "D or d, cont./density." This was intended to add "density" to the existing list of words that the letter "D" can abbreviate. The slip somehow went astray, and the phrase "D or d" was misinterpreted as a single, run-together word: Dord. (This was a plausible mistake because headwords on slips were typed with spaces between the letters, making "D or d" look very much like "D o r d".) A new slip was prepared for the printer and a part of speech assigned along with a pronunciation. The would-be word got past proofreaders and appeared on page 771 of the dictionary around 1934.
"Dord" is actually a legitimate word, however, being the name of an Irish musical instrument (a kind of horn from the bronze age).
Roman mosaic

 

6 comments:

  1. It's also my Mom's Birthday!!! Enjoy it!!

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  2. I am a Pisces as well and agree with you 100%! I also love water, which is traditionally a Pisces trait.

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  3. Two things; love the stained glass Pisces window and Happy Birthday Bernadette Peters', loved her in Annie!!!!

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  4. I love the Chinese zodiac stamps! Thanks for the interesting history of the "word" dord.

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  5. So may we ask what Chinese animal sign are you, JP? I'm a horse, and a bit peeved to see the goat stamp is worth 20 cents while the rest are worth 8!

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  6. I think I am a snake, alas. Would much prefer to be a dragon, rooster, horse, or tiger!

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