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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

February 2, 2014

Welcome to a brand new month!  February is here!

Okay, so it arrived yesterday.  I didn't have a blog entry prepared for the first.

But I do have a Tuesday Timeline entry on this Groundhog Day for you!  Today's the day we find out if we have more winter in store, and today's the day that Bill Murray will have a difficult time escaping.

So, what happened in the world on February 2?  Let's find out!

1536 - Buenos Aires, Argentina is founded by Pedro de Mendoza

1653 - The city of New Amsterdam is incorporated (later to be renamed New York)

1709 - Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a deserted island, loosely inspiring the plot of the novel "Robinson Crusoe"

1848 - During California's Gold Rush, the first ship filled with Chinese immigrants docks at San Francisco

1887 - The first Groundhog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

1901 - The funeral for Queen Victoria is held

1905 - Author Ayn Rand (d. 1982) is born in St. Petersburg, Russia

1913 - New York City's Grand Central Terminal is opened to the public

1914 - "Making a Living" - the first film starring Charlie Chaplin - is released

1922 - The James Joyce novel "Ulysses" is published - on Joyce's 40th birthday

1933 - English actor Tony Jay (d. 2006) is born in London

1935 - The first polygraph machine is tested by Leonarde Keeler

1943 - The Battle of Stalingrad ends

1947 - Actress Farrah Fawcett (d. 2009) is born in Corpus Christi, Texas

1952 - Actress Carol Ann Susi (d. 2014) is born in Brooklyn, New York - you may remember her as the voice of Howard's mother on "The Big Bang Theory"

1959 - The Dyatlov Pass incident takes place

1972 - The British embassy in Dublin becomes a casualty of the Bloody Sunday protest

1979 - Punk musician Sid Vicious dies of a drug overdose, aged 21

1982 - The Syrian government siege the town of Hama, killing thousands

1988 - Pretzel chain Auntie Anne's is founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

1990 - F.W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and makes a promise to release Nelson Mandela

1995 - Actor Donald Pleasance dies at the age of 75

1996 - Singer/actor Gene Kelly passes away at the age of 83

2004 - Roger Federer becomes the #1 ranked men's singles tennis player - for the first of 237 consecutive weeks

And celebrating a Groundhog Day birthday are the following celebrities - Red Schoendienst, Judith Viorst, Robert Mandan, Don Buford, Anthony Haden-Guest, Remak Ramsay, Tom Smothers, David Jason, Bo Hopkins, Graham Nash, Karen Foss, Greg Antonacci, Ina Garten, Al McKay, Brent Spiner, Duane "Dog The Bounty Hunter" Chapman, Christie Brinkley, Bob Schreck, Kim Zimmer, Lauren Lane, Steve Penney, Robert DeLeo, Jennifer Westfeldt, Rockwilder, Michelle Gayle, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Todd Bertuzzi, Donald Driver, Naomi Grossman, Shakira, Rich Sommer, Teddy Hart, Gemma Collins, Gemma Arterton, Martin SpanjersZosia Mamet and Danielle White.

So, what date in time are we going back to this week.  Let's see how far this journey takes us...

...wait.  We're going back to February 2, 2014?  That was only two years ago!  Something significant must have definitely happened on that date for me to choose it as today's Tuesday Timeline subject.

Let's see if I can remember.

Well, one thing that I do remember was that I was violently ill on that particular day.  The stomach flu was running rampant at my workplace and I was simply the latest in a long line of people who got cut down by it.  I don't remember a whole lot about what I did all that day because when I wasn't passed out sleeping I was throwing up constantly and trying my best to keep liquids down.  I know that's a lovely visual there.  But my being sick isn't worth devoting a whole article about.

If I remember correctly, February 2, 2014 was on a Sunday, which meant that the Super Bowl was broadcasting on that day.  Of course, my being sick and all, I missed the whole game.  But thanks to the power of Google, I can tell you that Super Bowl XLVIII was quite the game with the Seattle Seahawks completely trashing the Denver Broncos with the ridiculous score of 43-8!  It was also the year that Bruno Mars blew audiences away when he performed a killer half time show with special guests The Red Hot Chili Peppers!  Man, I would have forced myself to stay awake for that performance!

Again, it was a memorable game (one of the most watched in the Super Bowl franchise, I should add), but not worth devoting a whole blog to.

So, after recovering from the flu, I admit I was pretty out of it.  Because of that, I didn't find out about a celebrity passing that occurred on February 2, 2014.  And when I heard the news, I admit that I was completely shocked - not because he was one of my favourite actors, but because he was so young.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was a man who had a fantastic career in the film industry and he was praised in nearly every single role he had.  And he was rewarded for his accolades with several award nominations and wins - his most coveted being the Academy Award he won in 2006 for his flawless portrayal of Truman Capote in the film "Capote".  But while he was respected for his film acting, he also had his personal struggles - including a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol.  And while he sought treatment when he was in his early twenties and remained sober for a little over two decades, he relapsed just months before his death.

His body was found in his Manhattan apartment reportedly with a syringe still embedded in his arm.  He was just 46 years old.

To say that Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was shocking was an understatement.  Because he had undergone years of sobriety, many people weren't aware of how serious his dependency for drugs and alcohol were.  By all accounts, he was one of the most professional, yet humble actors that were on the scene.  At the time of his death, Hoffman was finishing up filming on the last installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, "Mockingjay", and had several other projects on the go.  By all accounts, Hoffman definitely didn't plan on dying when he did.

But that is what addiction does.  It can destroy a person inside and out, no matter how rich or talented or handsome they are.  Nobody is immune to it.  Certainly not Philip Seymour Hoffman, or River Phoenix, or Heath Ledger, or anyone else who died at the hands of drugs long before they were meant to go.

I still remember the first movie that I saw him in.  It was 1996's "Twister", and I went to the theatre to watch it for my 15th birthday.  He played one of Helen Hunt's assistants and I seem to recall him standing out in a good way.  I remember saying to myself that he would become a huge star one day, and as it turned out, I was right.

I also remember him having a huge role in the 1998 film "Patch Adams".  Now, granted, it was a movie that was panned by several critics (as well as Dr. Patch Adams himself), but I have to say that Philip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of the cranky med school roommate of Robin Williams' Adams was another stand-out performance, and I think that despite the criticism of the film, he really showed his acting chops.

(It's so unreal to realize that both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams died in 2014.)

But when you stop and take a look back through Hoffman's resume, he never really made a film that was absolutely horrible.  You take a look at films such as "Boogie Nights", "Magnolia", "The Talented Mr. Ripley", "Punch-Drunk Love", "Cold Mountain", "Mission Impossible: III", and "Moneyball", and he shined in every single one.  Hoffman even went as far as changing his appearance in each film as needed, whether it be shaving off his hair, or losing or gaining weight.  He was focused on providing his best work no matter what the script called for, or how hard it was to achieve.

And yet, success didn't give him a swelled ego either.  He was known to downplay his success in television interviews, and was often times shocked that he would elicit such public attention for simply doing his job.

But that was the thing about Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He knew what his job was, and he always did it well.  Which makes the fact that he has been gone for two whole years harder to swallow.

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