Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Amazing Date on the Calendar

How do we even manage?  We've just recovered from the Christmas and New Years double-onslaught of festivity-ness, when this date sneaks up on us.  January 19th, one of the most awesome days of the year!  What, you haven't heard of it?  Allow me to elaborate.

On this blog I would normally drone on endlessly about this being the birthday of people like James Watt (1736), the Scottish inventor who made crucial improvements to some sort of engine and got a unit of power (1 Joule per second) named after himself, or Sir Henry Bessemer (1813) who invented a vitally important process for making steel in mass quantities (before that, steel was nearly as precious as gold).  But these aren't the reasons this day is special to me.

General Lee.  What?  Is there some
other General Lee?
Those observations would overshadow such momentous events as the birthday in 1807 of General Robert E. Lee.  And the birthday in 1939 of Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers, the most popular country-rock pair of all times with a world-record 35 Top-100 singles, more than any other duo in history.

Of course where would Country Music be with out the birth on this day in 1946 of Dolly Parton?  She's only the most successful female Country and Western artist of all times, and for obvious reasons.  Although there have been no confirmed sightings of the elusive Ms. Parton since 1987, locals report seeing a large pair of bosoms occasionally entering or leaving the Parton compound.  We can only assume that she is under there somewhere.

Ms. Parton is presumed to be in there,
somewhere.  There's no way to be sure.
It's also the birthday of Rock legends Robert Palmer ("Addicted to Love"), Rod Evans ("Hush"), and Jeff Pilson (bassist for Foreigner and Dokken).

One of the great mysteries of the universe occurred on the 19th of January in 1943: the simultaneous birth in Canada of Princess Margriet of The Netherlands (which itself is kind of a mystery), and that of Janice Joplin in Port Arthur, Texas.   Joplin is ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the 46th greatest performer of all times.  That feat was accomplished in only a four-year singing career, ending with Janice's death at age 27.  Queen Beatrix probably wonders where she went so wrong with Margriet, who isn't even in the Top 10,000 performers of any given minute, let alone of all times.  I mean, practically nobody has even heard of her, and she's lived way, way longer than Janice, too.  According to the astrologers, she should "in theory" be able to sing exactly like this:

January 19th is believed to be the day in 1938 that General Motors commenced mass production of its first Diesel engine.  Fifty-two years earlier on this date in 1886, the first skiing club in the US was formed in Minnesota. And in 1903 on this day the announcement was made of a new annual bicycle racing event in which the riders would pretty much make a complete tour of France.  They never have been able to come up with a catchy name for it, so to this day they still just call it the Tour of France.
Diesel = Good.

On this day in 1981, the unfortunately-named Beat Moor applied for a patent on an improved grip for ski poles. Exactly one year later in 1982, patent no. 4311321 was issued for a new kind of electronically-controlled ski binding release mechanism, and in 1995, a world patent by two Germans was published for a new kind of ski boot for some reason.  Inventors have been quite busy, blaming their lack of skiing ability on inadequate equipment, when we know that really they're just a bunch of uncoordinated nerds.

But on this day, January 19th in 1912, a patent with the unlikely number 1,111,999 was executed on behalf of some nerd named Thomas Alva Edison for a "Phonograph Record."  And on January 19, 1934 at Abbey Road Studio in London, the first ever stereo recording was made that utilized a single stylus vibrating in two directions, thus encoding the right and left channels separately in the same groove.  Also on this date in 1988, a patent was issued for a new kind of electric guitar.  But don't get too excited: it's pretty much a normal guitar, only in the shape of a fighter jet.  No need to throw out all your old ones just yet.

With all these awesome things happening on the same date, it can hardly come as any surprise at all that January 19th would be the birthday of a most unique individual, an incredible skier, mountain biker and outdoorsman, a fantastic husband and father of three amazing kids, an immensely talented photographer, music video producer, musician, composer, arranger and recording engineer, and above all, an excellent driver.  Happy Birthday, my friend.  You know who you are.  I don't doubt that someday everyone else will, too.

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