Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check
February 3, 2011
With the Chinese New Year:
(4709 --the Year of the Rabbit) upon us beginning today, it seems appropriate to ask if you knew that my daughter's favorite Chinese dish --General Tso's Chicken-- is actually an American invention?
Most people believe that the dish is named after Zuo Zongtang, a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan. Of course, since it's breaded and stir-fried, I think we can all agree that it originated later than the mid-1800s. And when they asked some of the descendants of General Tso who were still living in Xiangyin, they said they'd never heard of the dish. So where did it come from?
Turns out a Chinese chef named PENG CHANG-KUEI went from Taiwan to New York City in the early 1970s, and opened a restaurant called Peng's (what are the chances?) on 44th Street. It was there -close to the UN- that HENRY KISSINGER first visited and became a regular. The dish was first mentioned in the New York Times in 1977.
Peng was inventive, and among the dishes he created was (drum roll, please)... General Tso's chicken. After making his fortune and leaving the restaurant, he did cooking demonstrations around China, but his signature dish was never very popular with the Chinese because... it was too sweet.
today is, of course, "The Day the Music Died"; when BUDDY HOLLY, RICHIE VALENS and J-P RICHARDSON, "the Big Bopper," were killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashed on a snowy evening in Iowa shortly after takeoff on a flight from Mason City, IA, to Moorehead, MN in 1959. At the time of his death, Buddy was a big enough star to be considered ELVIS PRESLEY's main rival, no small feat. By the way: DON McLEAN was 13 years old.
No real surprise that WikiLeaks has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, courtesy of a Norwegian politician behind the proposal. All nominations for this year's prize were due earlier this week.
Norwegian Parliament member SNORRE VALEN called WikiLeaks, "one of the most important contributors to freedom of speech and transparency (in the 21st century)." He added, "By disclosing information about corruption, human rights abuses and war crimes, WikiLeaks is a natural contender for the Nobel Peace Prize." (Pacelli)
Sucks to be you:
The storms ravaging the east coast are inconvenient for everyone, but worse for women that go into labor! The NY Post's Page Six gossip column reports magician DAVID BLAINE's fiancee, ALIZEE GUINOCHET (Pron: Al-ee-zay Gwen-o-shay) had her water break during the blizzard, but couldn't find a ride to the hospital. There were no cabs roaming the streets of Manhattan, but the death-defying dad lobbied a snow plow to give the couple a lift. The pair made their way to the maternity ward and --presto!-- are now a happy trio. (Lee)
Sports Scandal of the Week:
Truly innocence is no more! Sumo wrestling is fixed?
The world of professional sumo wrestling was dealt a big blow this week as Japanese officials revealed that text messages were discovered on wrestlers' phones proving that they were fixing matches. And not just the matches' outcome: they were orchestrated down to specific moves. The cell phones were confiscated last year when allegations of illegal gambling began to surface around wrestlers (one former champion was being blackmailed by a mob boss) and before that, several wrestlers were caught using drugs. Match-fixing isn't technically illegal in Japan, but it doesn't help the sport's failing reputation. Recently, it was revealed that ringside seats at sumo matches were reserved for members of Japan's powerful crime syndicates, who wanted TV exposure to boost the morale of their colleagues in prison. (Maiman)
The Ross Brittain Report has been perfected by Ross and his award winning writers to provide customizable show prep every weekday morning. To see why it's one of the most important show prep services in the US, or for a free two week trial, please contact us using the contact info below in the "About The Author" section.