Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shelter Scuttlebutt

Today is the shelter's annual open house.  Hot dogs for everyone (even vegan dogs for us crazies).  Chips and sweets.  A veggie tray for those of us who are die-hards.  Door prizes, cats to play with (and adopt), and a good time for all.

That meant, of course, that Saturday was cleaning day.  Boy howdy, did we ever.  After i had filled all of our cats' five bowls, and changed the three water dispensers, and scooped all eight of their litter boxes (yes, 8), and fed the bottle-babies umpteen times, i went to see if i could offer a bit of support.

Once there, i got shanghaied.  In the usual fashion of everyone wanting to come for the eatin' but no one wanting to come for the cleanin', we were short handed.  What was supposed to be an hour turned into almost three, but at least the windows are clean and the kitten room smells good and mostly every cat behaved except Clark who is being a pest and growling at everyone including his best pal Fuzz and bit Miss W soundly on the leg because she picked up his bed to take it to the washing machine.  He didn't like the fresh one, apparently.

Our shelter is full right now.  There are about 25 kittens and close to the same number of adults available for adoption right now.  We have a new Friday morning caretaker (i still do Friday evenings, with whichever kids can come help on that particular evening), and she's a lovely woman.  She is also diagnosed OCD and is having a difficult time doing the morning caretaking.  She wants every litter box clean and to stay that way until she is done.  It's not going to happen.  So she goes back and does the same boxes over and over, every time a kitten uses one.

This past week, she spent 6 hours and never even got to the adult colony rooms.  Thus when i got there Friday, every room needed attention very badly, but only got a quick flyby.  It is going to be delicately suggested to her that she please do the rooms first.  That way, she does a room and leaves, and won't know if a cat uses the box again so she won't keep going back to reclean it.  With all the kitten cages in the big room, when a kitten goes back to the box, everyone knows.

Saturday evening turned into project evening, with Sweetie finally moving some big items he's been wanting moved for a long time.  This always means me on the other end of such things, too.  Young Jacob and #2 Son helped, but for some reason Sweetie, who is 6'2" and around 200lbs+, likes to have me help him move stuff.  As i stand only 5'0" in my bare feet and weigh about 93lbs soaking wet, we are mismatched, with everything we move leaning crazily the whole time.  Still, i'm the first one he thinks of when he has to move stuff.

Either way, i'm glad it's Sunday, the day of rest.  Although if Clark is still in a mood, there may be more to do at the shelter during the open house.  Let's hope mopping up blood isn't included this time. 

Today is

Aizen Matsuri -- Shoman-in Temple, Osaka, Japan (celebration of Aizen Myo-oh, greatest of the 8 Buddhist guardian gods, and is also called the Yakuta Festival; through July 2)

Armed Forces Day -- Guatemala^

Crab Races -- Fairy Calendar (Pixies, Elves, and some Fairies)

Day of Aestas -- Ancient Roman Calendar (culmination of the festival that begins the summer)

Descendent's Day -- on the final Sunday of June each year, an encouragement for all the world's citizens to take an accounting of their activities during the prior year and how those will affect those who come after us

Eleciones Primarias -- Chile (public holiday for Primary Elections)

Feast of All Saints -- Orthodox Christian

Feast of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome -- remembrance of the first Christians killed in Rome by order of Nero as scapegoats for the fire in Rome

Festival of the Tarasque -- Tarascon, France (celebration of the legend of the dragon tamed by St. Martha)

General Prayer Day -- Central African Republic

Gioco Del Ponte -- Pisa, Italy (the Battle of the Bridge or Game of the Bridge, a medieval parade and contest for possession of the bridge)

Independence Day -- Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)(1960)

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day -- if one is needed

Log Cabin Day -- The Log Cabin Society, dedicated to preserving log cabins and the old fashioned ways of life; many places that have historic log cabins plan big events the last Sunday in June to celebrate

Meteor Day -- because of the Tuskunga Event

Mother's Day -- Kenya

National Corvette Day -- US (vehicle introduced this day in 1953)

National Ice Cream Soda Day

Pridie Kalendas July (Day Before the Kalends of July) -- Ancient Roman Calendar (a day when dies comitiales -- citizen committees -- voted on political and criminal matters)

Punxsutawney Ground Hog Festival -- Punxsutawney, PA, US (through the 7th; because the groundhog is worth more than just one cold day in February!)

Revolution Day -- Sudan(1989)

St. Theobald of Provins' day (Patron of bachelors)

Tech Support Appreciation Day -- if you can get a hold of them, they can be great to have around

Birthdays Today:

Michael Phelps, 1985
Fantasia Barrino, 1984
Ralf Schumacher, 1975
Leonard Whiting, 1950
Harry Blackstone, Jr., 1934
Susan Hayward, 1919
Lena Horne, 1917

Today in History:

Jews are expelled from Berne Switzerland, 1294
The Spaniards are expelled from Tenochtitlan, 1520
Native American forces under Blue Jacket attack Fort Recovery, Ohio, 1794
French  acrobat  Charles Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope, 1859
The 1860 Oxford evolution debate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History takes place, 1860
The first transcontinental train trip across Canada departs from Montreal; it arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia on July 4, 1886
Albert Einstein publishes the article "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", in which he introduces special relativity, 1905
The Tunguska event, probably caused by a meteor or comet fragment, occurs in remote Siberia, 1908
The Regina Cyclone hits Regina, Saskatchewan, killing 28; it remains Canada's deadliest tornado event, 1912
Congo gains independence from Belgium, 1960
The first leap second is added to the UTC  time system, 1972
The Royal Canadian Mint introduces the $1 coin, known as the Loonie, 1987
East Germany and West Germany merge their economies, 1990
The United Kingdom transfers sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China, 1997
After nearly 7 years in space, the Cassini spacecraft becomes the first to orbit the planet Saturn, 2004

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Mom, why is it 'Roses are red, Violets are blue' when violets are actually violet or purple?"

Little Girl was getting her gear together to walk to the pool across the street for swim practice when she set me this poser.

Well, i answered, they are a bluish-purple, and it's an old nursery rhyme, no one knows exactly who started it.

"Yeah, well, as I read on Tumblr, 'Roses are red, This much is true, But violets are purple, Not flippin' blue!'"

My guess is you edited that, i noted.

"Yes, they aren't so careful of their language on Tumblr," she responded with a grin.  "But it's still true!"

She headed out the door, towel draped over her shoulder, clutching swim goggles and cap, and i wondered, in 100 years, if we haven't "extincted" ourselves by then, will our descendants even know these rhymes or have them in the same form?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Today is

Armed Forces Day -- Great Britain

Autonomy Day -- French Polynesia

Camera Day -- internet generated, but a fun one to celebrate

Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul -- Christian
     St. Paul, Patron of Greece, Malta, rope makers, tentmakers, upholsterers
     St. Peter, Patron of clockmakers, fishermen, Russia; against fever, foot trouble, wolves
     a recognized holiday in Chile; Holy See; Italy; Malta[l-Imnarja]; Peru; GR and TI, Switzerland; Wallis and Fortuna
     Haro Wine Festival -- Haro, LaRioja, Spain (a festival that includes a Battle of Wines, where wine is thrown from buckets at opposing teams; on the feast day of the city's patron, San Pedro)
     Rat-Catcher's Day -- often cited because some of the earliest legends of the Pied Piper claim he took the children on the Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul

Gettysburg Civil War Relic and Collectors Show -- Gettysburg, PA, US (featuring leading collectors and dealers; through tomorrow)

Great American Picnic Day -- various dates given, with the most common being the final Saturday of June

Hug Holiday -- while the National Hug Holiday Week has been moved to the beginning of May, this is the original day, and was for quite a while, so go give someone a big hug!

Independence Day -- Seychelles

Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival -- Kirkpinar, Edirne, Turkey (since 1362, the oldest wrestling festival in the world as well as the oldest continually running, sanctioned sporting event in the world, in which men clad in leather britches and covered in olive oil wrestle; through Friday)

Ladies of Country and Bluegrass Music Show -- Waretown, NJ, US (at the historic Albert Music Hall)

Montreaux Jazz Festival -- Montreaux, Switzerland (through July 14; one of the world's greatest music festivals)

National Almond Butter Crunch Day

Oharai/Grand Purification Festival -- Shinto

Runic Half-month Feoh (wealth) commences

Tour de France -- through Sunday, July 21

Veterans Day -- Netherlands

Waffle Iron Day -- don't know why today, but it's a great gadget, and if you have one, pull it out and use it today

Wicked Fairies Summer Debate -- Fairy Calendar (i'd love to hear this!)

Birthdays Today:

Fred Grandy, 1948
Richard Lewis, 1947
Gary Busey, 1944
Robert Evans, 1930
Ray Harryhausen, 1920
Slim Pickens, 1919
Nelson Eddy, 1901
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1900
William James Mayo, 1863

Today in History:

An Irish monastic chronicler records a solar eclipse, 512
Jacques Cartier makes the European discovery of Prince Edward Island, 1534
The Globe Theatre in London, England burns to the ground, 1613
Alexander Macdonell and over five hundred Roman Catholic highlanders leave Scotland to settle in Glengarry County, Ontario, 1786
Coal is discovered on Vancouver Island, 1850
Ninety-nine people are killed in Canada's worst railway disaster near St-Hilaire, Quebec, 1864
France annexes Tahiti, 1880
The first known recording of classical music, Handel's "Israel in Egypt", is made on a wax cylinder, 1888
Street railway in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, commences operation, 1891
Doukhobors burn their weapons as a protest against conscription by the Tsarist Russian government, 1895
France grants 1 km² at Vimy Ridge "freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes," 1922
Joseph-Armand Bombardier of Canada receives a patent for sprocket and track traction system used in snow vehicles, 1937
Isabel Perón is sworn in as the first female President of Argentina, 1974
The Seychelles  become independent from the United Kingdom, 1976
The space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian Mir Space Station for the first time, 1995
Two car bombs are found at Piccadilly Circus, in the heart of London, 2007

Friday, June 28, 2013

Feline Friday: Off Button

One of Little Girl's favorite things about kittens is that they come with an off button.

Misha, whose yelling about getting a partial bath has been stopped by grabbing his "off button."

And Collins, same as above.

Today is

Colorado Brewers' Festival -- Fort Collings, CO, US (celebrate Colorado's rich brewing history with over 30 breweries; through Sunday)

Constitution day -- Ukraine

Festival of Terrible Poetry -- according to The Daily Bleed, and since there is some hilarious, if terrible, poetry out there, go find some, and bust a gut

Grantsville Days -- Grantsville, MD, US (annual homecoming weekend, with fun for all; through Sunday)

Heidi Festival -- New Glarus, Wisconsin (celebrations of the town's Swiss heritage; through Sunday)

Hjemkomst and Annual Viking Festival -- Moor-head, MN, US (celebrating all things Nordic, with exhibitions from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweeden and Saami Land; through tomorrow)

Insurance Awareness Day -- now who do you think invented that!?!

International CAPS LOCK DAY -- a parody holiday created by Derek Arnold, a user on Metafilter, in 2000

Kaposia Days -- South St. Paul, MN, US (Kaposia, or "Little Crows Village," was a seasonal American Indian settlement within the city limits of what is now St. Paul, MN, and a family oriented city festival is now held paying tribute to the orignal name; through Sunday)

*Maonyesho ya Saba Saba -- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (Dar es Salaam Trade Fair, through July 8)

Mnarja / L-Imnarja Festival begins -- Buskett Gardens, Malta (folk festival for Sts. Peter and Paul, begins this evening and continues through the 29th)

National Ceviche Day

National Tapioca Day

Paul Bunyan Day -- the tall tale hero of the lumberjacks; celebrated at different times in some parts of the country, but most sites cite this date

Purple Hull Pea Festival and World Champion Rotary Tiller Contest -- Emerson, AR, US (the tiny town of Emerson, population 368, puts on a big show that also includes a World Cup Purplehull Pea-Shelling competition; through tomorrow)

Ra goes forth to propitiate the Nun -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Rainforest World Music Festival -- Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (music in the jungle, featuring local and international artists performing wild music and dance in the mud and tropical rain; through Sunday)

Sternwheeler Days -- Port Marine Park, Cascade Locks, OR, US (reliving the days of the mountain men; through Sunday)

Stonewall Rebellion Day -- now seen as the start of the gay liberation movement in 1969

St. Irenaeus' Day (Patron of Mobile, Alabama)

St. Paul's Feast -- Kato Paphos, Cyprus (religious festivities with the archbishop officiating and a procession of the icon of St. Paul through the streets, through tomorrow)

St. Peter's Eve -- English Christian tradition, night of bonfires and continuation of midsummer celebrations

Tabarka Jazz Festival -- Tabarka, Tunisia (perfect weather for music, workshops, seminars, and performances by local and international artists; through July 6)

Thanksgiving for Useful Fairies -- Fairy Calendar

Vidovdan (Festival for St. Vitus) -- Eastern Orthodox Christian
     a recognized holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Anniversaries Today:

Harry S. Truman marries Bess Wallace, 1919

Birthdays Today:

Kellie Pickler, 1986
Steve Burton, 1970
John Cusack, 1966
John Elway, 1960
Kathy Bates, 1948
Gilda Radner, 1946
Turkan Soray, 1945
Pat Morita, 1932
Mel Brooks, 1926
Richard Rodgers, 1902
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712
John Wesley, 1703
Peter Paul Rubens, 1577
Henry VIII, King of England, 1491

Today in History:

Fighters of the First Crusade defeat Kerbogha of Mosul, 1098
Ottomans defeat Serbian army in the bloody Battle of Kosovo, opening the way for the Ottoman conquest of Southeastern Europe, 1389
Guadeloupe becomes a French colony, 1635
The coronation of Victoria of the United Kingdom, 1838
The Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris premieres the ballet Giselle, 1841
The first conformation dog show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, 1859
Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophie are assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, the casus belli of World War I, 1914
The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, formally ending World War I, 1919
The Irish Civil War begins with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin by Free State forces, 1922
Israel annexes East Jerusalem, 1967
COMECON, as part of the last vestige of the Soviet Bloc, is formally disbanded, followed by the Warsaw pact 3 days later, 1991
Slobodan Milosevic is deported to ICTY to stand trial, 2001
The Republic of Montenegro is admitted as the 192nd Member of the United Nations, 2006

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Perking Up

When our electricity flashed off and back on within about two seconds, i ran to turn off the A/C and check a few things, make sure it wasn't a problem within the house or with our electrical connection.  While i was doing that, i also checked the oil level in the generator, which had tried to kick in for a moment, then stopped, and looked in our outdoor electric panel.  All was well, our whole house surge protector still sporting a double green light, so it's good.

By the time i got all of that done, i was pretty sure it was either a local outage that didn't shut us totally down (which happens on occasion) or the electric company repairing something (which also causes such flashes around here, sometimes as often as twice a week).  Then i turned the A//C back on and checked to make sure it was okay, and walked into the library, where i noticed that Festus had arrived and was sitting rather crookedly in a chair, with #1 Son, #2 Son, Little Girl, and Young Jacob gathered around him.

"Hey, mom, come check it out and talk to Festus!" #2 Son said.  "He had his wisdom teeth pulled this morning, and he's on Percocet, and he's hilarious!"

What, i asked, is he doing here, and how did he get here on medication?  Sincerely did i hope at that moment that he hadn't ridden his bike, which is his preferred method.

"His mom brought him when their electricity went out a few minutes ago," Little Girl answered.  "She doesn't want him to get overheated, and he wanted to come visit."

That put my mind at ease, it wasn't our house, it was an outage close by, right in our own neighborhood in fact.  Also a common occurrence, unfortunately.

"Teeth!" Festus mumbled at that moment.  "I had teeth!"

Yes, you had your wisdom teeth out, i said.  When i had mine out, i continued, i only had two of them, the top ones never formed, and the bottoms were small and were just pulled right out.

"At 4am, impacted," Festus said.  "They said it would pinch, and I felt pinched, on the arm, and next I was in a wheelchair in the elevator, and I thought I was in the car already."

"Cat!" he said next, noticing Kida the Mosquito, the aging, asthmatic Siamese, who had come in to find someone in the crowd to pet her.  She loves to be petted and would let us brush all the fur off of her hide if we didn't call a halt before that.

"Yeah, that's Kida," #1 Son said.  "You remember her!"

"Like this cat," Festus said.  "Nice cat."  He petted her for a moment as she weaved in and out between his legs.  Then he leaned so far over i was concerned, but he picked her up and put her up to his ear.

"I like that sound," he told her as she purred her approval of the attention.  "Cat, can you teach me to make that sound?  Oh! You have claws, I don't like claws, they look sharp."

He set Kida down again and looked at his sandal-clad feet.  "How many toes?" he said, and started counting.  Then he noted, "There's only four!"

"No, there are five," Little Girl assured him.  "Look, your little toe is almost hidden by that strap."

"It looks flat and broken," he said.

"Well, it's not," she answered.

"I could make it flat and broken," he said, pulling on his toe.

Um, i wouldn't do that if i were you, i told him.  That would hurt tremendously, even on Percocet.

He looked at me dazedly, then we all turned as we heard the honk of a car horn in the driveway.

"I think your mom is here with your smoothie," Young Jacob observed.

"I'll go get it," Little Girl said, and headed out there.  She came back in with some kind of coffee smoothie thing from the Golden Arches, a mound of whipped cream on top promising that the rest of this item would be easy and cool to the hurting mouth.  She went in the kitchen and grabbed a spoon for him, because he can't have a straw yet.

"Down," Festus said, "outside."

"You want to go outside?" #2 Son asked, and Festus nodded.  So they helped him down the stairs and out to the side porch of the house to watch him try to eat a smoothie with a spoon, which i was told was quite entertaining.

Eventually the electricity came back on at his place and his mother came and fetched him home to go lie down.  They said he seemed a bit more coherent by then, too.

He's young, i thought.  He'll be fine.

Today is

Canadian Multiculturalism Day -- Cananda

Day of National Unity -- Tajikistan

Day of Turkmen Workers of Culture and Art -- Turkmenistan

Day Sacred to the Lares -- Ancient Roman Calendar (personal household gods); also
     Festival of Jupiter Stator -- Jupiter, Stayer of the Rout, god who helped soldiers especially to stand their ground
     Initium Aestatis -- three day festival for the goddess of summer, which season they saw as beginning on this day

Decide to Be Married Day -- sponsored by Barbara Gaughen-Muller; to focus n the joy of couples deciding to be married

Findle-Fritter's Stoat Wheedling Event -- Fairy Calendar

"Happy Birthday to You" Day -- tune composed this day in 1859

Independence Day / National Day -- Djibouti

Industrial Workers of The World Day -- founded this day in 1905

Martyrdom of Joseph & Hyrum Smith -- Mormon

Mixed Races Day -- Brazil

National Bomb Pop Day -- Thursday before US Independence Day, to kick off the celebration with the original red, white, and blue bomb pops

National Handshake Day -- sponsored by a professional development company on the last Thursday in June

National HIV Testing Day -- US (info here)

National Indian Pudding Day

National Orange Blosssom Day

Saint Ignace Auto Show -- St. Ignace, MI, US (parade, cruise night, and swap meet; through Saturday)

Seven Sleepers Day (Siebenschläfertag) -- Germany (according to legend, today's weather determines the pattern for the next seven weeks)

St. Ladislaus' Day (Patron of Szekszard, Hungary)

Sunglasses Day -- a reminder to wear those shades, protect your eyes from UV damage!

Telluride Wine Festival -- Telluride, CO, US (meet winemakers, celebrity chefs, experts and authors for an unparalleled educational and epicurian experience; through Sunday)

Watermelon Thump with World Champion Seed Spitting Contest -- Luling, TX, US (fun for all, and lots of juicy watermelon, bring lots of wet wipes, enjoy the music and food and crafts, too; through Sunday)

Birthdays Today:

Gabi Wilson, 1997
Madylin Sweeten, 1991
Ed Westwick, 1987
Drake Bell, 1986
Tobey Maguire, 1975
Julia Duffy, 1951
James Daughton, 1950
H. Ross Perot, 1930
Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, 1927
Helen Keller, 1880

Today in History:

General James Wolfe begins the siege of Quebec, 1759
Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and his brother Hyrum Smith, are murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail, 1844
George Dixon becomes the first black world boxing champion in any weight class, while also being the first ever Canadian-born boxing champion, 1890
The first solo circumnavigation of the globe is completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia, 1898
Sailors start a mutiny aboard the Russian Battleship Potemkin, denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war, 1905
Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane, 1923
The United States decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War, 1950
The world's first nuclear power station opens in Obninsk, near Moscow, 1954
The world's first ATM is installed in Enfield, London, 1967
The President of Uruguay dissolves Parliament and heads a coup d'état, 1973
U.S president Richard Nixon visits the U.S.S.R., 1974
France grants independence to Djibouti, 1977
The current international treaty defending indigenous peoples, ILO 169 convention, is adopted, 1989
Slovenia, after declaring independence two days before, is invaded by Yugoslav troops, tanks, and aircraft, starting the Ten-Day War, 1991
Bill Gates resigns from Microsoft to focus on his charity work, 2008
Tests show radioactive cesium is present in small quantities in residents of Iitate and Kawamata, Fukushima, towns located 25 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 2011

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


"Mmm, it smells like Grandpa's birthday in here!"  #1 Son had followed his nose into the kitchen, and was at least partly right, as i was making my dad's Father's Day gift, which is always the sweet flatbreads his mama and aunt used to make.  Because they are best fresh, i wait to make them until i know he will be in town the next day, so this is my first chance to see him since Father's Day.

Yes, #1 Son arrived to visit, $300 poorer after having to pay for a tow truck from the middle of nowhere to the nearest place where he could get a tire, and paying for said tire.

His cat Mikey remembers outside and wants to go out multiple times a day, although he will not go outside while in Kansas, ever since he ran out once a few months ago and had his first encounter with snow.  It surprised him so much, he won't go outside up there any more.

The Charismatic Enigma SissyCat, and yes that is her full name, has declared war on her collar again, and is shredding it, slowly and carefully.  Mikey likes his collar, but SissyCat only likes them so she can shred them.

He came into the kitchen on the second day of his visit, and told me he was exercising -- he had jogged, ridden the exercise bike several miles worth, and done some weights.  It did not surprise me when he walked in the next morning and was hurting.  He is now on the heating pad, but i think he will take it easier after this.

The other kids are thrilled that he is home to visit, and so are we, although i've gotten used to cooking just a bit less and have had to adjust the amounts back up.  Summer school is crimping their style just a bit, but i'm glad -- it's keeping them on a more regular schedule, otherwise they would be up all night and sleep all day, which makes back to school much harder when it does come.

Summer seems to go better with a schedule.  It's something i've known for a long time, but had difficulty enforcing.  Next summer, i'm going to see what i can do about a schedule without summer school enforcing it.

In the meantime, we will enjoy seeing my biggest boy as long as he can stay.

Today is

Armed Forces Day -- Azerbaijan

Barcode/UPC Day -- the first scanner, at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, scanned its first item, a pack of Wrigley's gum at 8:01am this day in 1974

Beautician's Day -- on a couple of websites, while other list other days; if yours puts the "beauty" in beautician, remember her next time you go have your do tended to

Glastonbury Festival -- Pilton, Glastonbury, England (the world's largest green field music and performing arts festival, including theatre, circus, cabaret, children's activities and more; through Sunday)

Handing Back of Tiger-Get-By's Presents -- Fairy Calendar

Helen Keller Festival -- Tuscumbia, AL, US (performances of The Miracle Worker, historic tours, other entertainment, a fair, and more; through Sunday)

Holiday for the Shemsu of Heru -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Independence Day -- Madagascar[Fetin'ny Fahaleovantena]; Somalia

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- UN

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture -- UN

National Canoe Day -- Canada

National Chocolate Pudding Day

Smithsonian Folklife Festival -- Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., US (through Sunday, then again July 3-7; a model of research-based presentations of contemporary living cultural traditions of people around the world)

St. Pelayo's Day (Patron of abandoned people, torture victims; Castro Urdiales, Spain; Torreira, Portugal)

Sunthorn Phu Day -- Thailand (celebration of the country's best-known Royal Poet)

Ziua Tricolorului -- Romania (Flag Day)

Birthdays Today:

Jennette McCurdy, 1992
Derek Jeter, 1974
Chris O'Donnell, 1970
Harriet Wheeler, 1963
Greg LeMond, 1961
Chris Isaak, 1956
Eleanor Parker, 1922
Babe Didrikson Zaharias, 1914
Colonel Tom Parker, 1909
Peter Lorre, 1904
Pearl S. Buck, 1892
Lord Kelvin, 1824
Abner Doubleday, 1819

Today in History:

Roman Emperor Julian is killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire; General Jovian is proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield, 363
The legendary Pied Piper leads 130 children out of Hamelin, German, 1284
Richard III is crowned king of England, 1483
Francisco Pizarro is assassinated in Lima, 1541
W. K. Clarkson patents the first bicycle, 1819
The Christian  holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States, 1870
The Science Museum in London comes into existence as an independent entity, 1909
The United Nations Charter is signed in San Francisco, 1945
William Shockley files the original patent for the grown junction transistor, the first bipolar junction transistor, 1948
The Berlin Airlift begins, 1948
The Saint Lawrence Seaway opens, opening North America's Great Lakes to ocean-going ships, 1959
The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley's chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, 1974
Indira Gandhi establishes emergency rule in India, 1975
The CN Tower, the world's tallest free-standing structure on land, is opened to general public, 1976*
Biologists J. Craig Venter and Francis S. Collins announced that their research groups had mapped the human genome, 2000

*It is still the tallest in the Western Hemisphere

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It Starts With Watermelon

Since all of us love and crave watermelon, i bought one this weekend, and it led to a typical way i start my day -- with Bigger Girl bringing up more in the morning that i can easily digest before coffee.

"I'm going to have watermelon for breakfast!" she said, heading for the fridge.  Coming back with it so she could cut off a portion, she then asked, "Wasn't that what Darling Dear was craving in the movie Lady and the Tramp?"

Yes, i said, that and something else.

"Oh, yeah, watermelon and chop suey!" she said.

Did they have chop suey then? i wondered.  Years  ago i heard that it was a relatively recent dish that actually started because a Chinese chef couldn't get enough authentic ingredients or something.

"No, I think it's been around long enough, I read something about the Chinese workers who were building railroads in the mid-1800s were eating it."

So, of course, i did what you have to do in such a situation, and consulted the receptacle of all information, true or not, and searched Wikipedia.

It turns out the dish does actually have roots in China, and was around plenty long enough ago to not be an anachronism in that movie, go figure.

As we read about chop suey, Bigger Girl continued talking.

"Eating watermelon reminds me of a lady in Canada who calls herself 'Watermelon Girl.'  She makes YouTube videos and was once arrested for trying to sell pot laced ginger snaps on a nude beach.  They were individually wrapped and had ingredient labels and everything, too!"

What happened? i asked.

"The judge's words were, 'I have dealt with 3 homicides today, let her go!'"

Yes, i can see how, after dealing with 3 homicides, someone selling properly labeled pot ginger snaps wouldn't move the needle much, i noted.  Heaven knows they couldn't have said they didn't know what was in them, with them labeled and all.

"Exactly!" she said.  Dry wit is lost on her, but i keep trying.

This however, is why i start most mornings wondering how i get into these conversations and why i'm thinking about odd topics off and on all day.

It all starts with watermelon.

Today is

Alexandra Rose Day -- in the tradition started by Queen Alexandra over 100 years ago, roses and rose emblems are sold in London and the UK, with the money going to smaller charities that are not usually in the national spotlight; also by tradition, the Lord Mayor of London buys the first rose

Arbor Day -- Philippines

Color TV Day -- CBS broadcast the first program in color on this day in 1951

Elf Thumping Day -- Fairy Calendar (no details on what the Elves thump, and no, no one is allowed to thump an Elf!)

Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz -- Judaism (a day of fasting and mourning the destruction of the tablets by Moses, the disruption of Temple services in 423BCE, and the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem right before the Temple was destroyed in 70AD)

Feast of the Optional Holiday -- pick one, and celebrate it or don't, your option!

Festival of Ranting and Vaporing -- sponsored by The Daily Bleed

Global Beatles Day -- read about the meaning of this day, and why this date was picked, here

Gotanshin Sai -- Kitano Tenmangu, Kyoto, Japan (festival to commemorate the birth of Lord Sugawara, with ceremonies to ward off summer infections)

Independence Day -- Mozambique(1975)

Leon Day -- Noel spelled backward, the turning poing on the calendar when Christmas starts getting closer; those who make Christmas/Noel gifts need to start thinking about their projects

Ludi Taurii -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Games of the Bull, a two day festival held once every five years)

National Catfish Day

National Columnists' Day -- on the fourth Tuesday of June each year, set aside some time to thank your favorite newspaper columnists, whether local or syndicated

National Fried Okra Day

National Strawberry Parfait Day

Sense of Humor in Bed Appreciation Day -- i'm not touching this one

Shab e-Barat -- Bangladesh (Night of Records)

Slovenian Sovereignty Day / National Day -- Slovenia

Statehood Day -- Croatia

St. Eurosia's Day (a/k/a Orosia; Patron of Jaca, Spain; against bad weather)
     Fiesta de Santa Orosia -- Jaca, Spain

St. Molaug's Day (Patron of Argyll, Scotland; against mental illness)

Windjammer Days -- Boothbay Harbor, ME, US (the premier maritime event on the coast of Maine, with something for everyone; through tomorrow)

Anniversaries Today:

Virginia becomes the 10th US State, 1788

Birthdays Today:

Scott Terra, 1987
George Michael, 1963
Sonia Sotomayor, 1954
Jimmie Walker, 1949
Phyllis George, 1949
Carly Simon, 1945
June Lockhart, 1925
Sidney Lumet, 1924
George Orwell, 1903

Today in History:

The Book of Concord or Concordia, the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, is published, 1580
Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman awarded a doctorate of philosophy, from the University of Padua, 1678
Maria Theresa of Austria is crowned Queen of Hungary, 1741
Lucien B. Smith of Ohio patents the first version of barbed wire, 1867
Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, 1876
Dr. Douglas Hyde is inaugurated the first President of Ireland, 1938
The Diary of Anne Frank is published, 1947
The Berlin airlift begins, 1948
The Korean War begins with the invasion of South Korea by North Korea, 1950
CBS broadcasts the first color television signal, 1951
First live global satellite television programme – Our World, 1967
Mozambique achieves independence, 1975
Microsoft  is restructured to become an incorporated business in its home state of Washington, 1981
Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence from Yugoslavia, 1991
Kim Campbell is chosen as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and becomes the first female Prime Minister of Canada, 1993
An unmanned Progress spacecraft collides with the Russian space station Mir, 1997
The Soufrière Hills volcano in Montserrat erupts resulting in the death of 19 people, 1997
The Harvard School of Health Study concludes that since 1980 the number of adults with diabetes has doubled, 2011

Monday, June 24, 2013

Twinkle On

"Twinkies are coming back!"  #2 Son came running in, dancing with joy and yelling in jubilation.

For a guy who wants to be a chef, he sure does have odd tastes sometimes.

When will they be back out? i asked as he nearly stomped on my toe with his steel-toed boots.

"Next month!  It's going to be Awesome!"

There is no way, in writing, to capture how he half sings and half yells that last word when he is truly excited about something.

Okay, okay, it's awesome, now quit dancing around in here, you're going to stomp on my foot and that would ruin my day, i said, pretending to scold.  He can see through the pretending, though, and grinned at me as he grabbed a banana and a glass of water.

"Well, would you be looking for them for me when you go to the store?" he asked.  "I can't wait!"

All right, i'll look, i said, then got online to see if there is a time when they should make an appearance.  Mid-month, it seems, and no longer brought to stores by company employed distributors so they should be able to reach an even wider market.  Great.

Twinkle on, little bundles of sugar and preservatives; it seems everyone is right about your indestructibility. 

Today is

Araw ng Maynila -- Philippines (Manila Day)

Bannockburn Day -- Scotland (decisive battle of the first Scottish War of Independence, led by Robert Bruce)

Burning of the Lamps in Egypt at Sais -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar, a celebration of Isis and Neith (date approximate)

Calcio Fiorentino -- Florence, Italy (reviving 16th century style football in period costumes, through the 28th)

Carabobo Day -- Venezuela (battle commemoration)

Celebration of the Senses -- Wellcat Holidays urges you to enjoy all five (six?) of your senses today

Countryman's Day -- Peru (one of Peru's three Fiestas Patrias Peruanas)

Day of the Caboclo -- Amazonas State, Brazil

Discovery Day -- NL, Canada

Eastern Music Festival --  Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, US (an acclaimed festival and school, with world-class guest artists; through July 28)

Feast of Rahmat (Mercy) -- Baha'i

Flying Saucer Day -- anniversary of Kenneth Arnold's 1947 sighting, while flying near Mt. Rainier, of 9 metallic, circular objects he could not identify

Fors Fortuna -- Ancient Roman Calendar (rites and festival for the goddess of good luck and fortune)

Imam Mahdi's Birthday -- Iran

International Fairy Day -- day for collectors, believers, and artists to share their love for the little folk

Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon -- Wimbledon, England (through July 7)

Lost Handkerchief Day -- Fairy Calendar

Museum Comes to Life Day -- another fun and funny day someone came up with

National Creamy Pralines Day

Oregon Bach Festival -- University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, US (international gathering of musicians, master classes and performances, and family events so even the youngest music fans can fall in love with the works of J.S. Bach; through July 14)

Please Take My Children To Work Day -- sponsored by; a tongue-in-cheek way to request that you give a full- or part-time stay-at-home mom a break today!

Solmanudor -- Icelandic calendar, Sun Month, with the midnight sun dominating the time of year

St. John the Baptist's Nativity Day and related Midsummer celebrations (Patron of baptism, bird dealers, converts, children with convulsions, epileptics, farriers, French Canadians, lambs, monastic life, motorways, printers, tailors; against convulsions, epilepsy, hail and hailstorms, and spasms; Patron of over 60 cities and countries around the globe)
    Inti Raymi -- Peru (Incan Sun Festival)
    Jaanipaev -- Estonia
    Jani -- Latvia
    Jónsmessa -- Iceland (feast of St. John the Baptist, considered a magical night when cows can speak, seals take on human form, finding magical stones and herbs is propitious, and rolling naked in the dew is healing.)
    Macau Day -- China (celebrating the defeat of Dutch invasion forces in 1622 and paying homage to St. John as the port's Patron Saint)
    Midsummer Day -- England
    National Holiday -- Quebec, Canada (Sant Jean-Baptiste)
    Saint John the Baptist Day -- Andorra
    Saint Jonas Festival or Jonines -- Lithuania
    San Juan -- CT and GA, Spain
    Surinal -- North Korea
    Zuni Buffalo, Corn, and Comanche Dances -- Zuni Native Americans (for fertility of land and people; Vespers is also observed, as San Juan is their Patron Saint)

Swim a Lap Day -- just for fun!

Swing a Kid Day -- if swimming isn't right for you

Whit Monday -- Orthodox Christiands on the Julian Calendar

Anniversaries Today:

Eton College is founded by Henry VI, 1441

Birthdays Today:

Sherry Stringfield, 1967
Joe Penny, 1956
Mick Fleetwood, 1947
Jeff Beck, 1944
Michele Lee, 1942
Phil Harris, 1904
Jack Dempsey, 1895
Roy O. Disney, 1893
Ambrose Bierce, 1842
Henry Ward Beecher, 1813

Today in History:

Battle of Cedynia, the first documented victory of Polish forces, takes place, 972
A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion, 1374
John Cabot lands in North America at Newfoundland; the first European
exploration of the region since the Vikings, 1497
Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founds Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines, 1571
Samuel de Champlain discovers the mouth of the Saint John River, site of Reversing Falls and the present day city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1604
The colony of New Jersey is founded, 1664
Kingston, Jamaica is founded, 1692
The Premier Grand Lodge of England, the first Masonic Grand Lodge in the world (now the United Grand Lodge of England), is founded in London, England, 1717
The first republican constitution in France is adopted, 1793
The decisive battle in the war of independence of Venezuela from Spain, the Battle of Carabobo takes place, 1821
First performance of O Canada, the song that would become the national anthem of Canada, at the Congrès national des Canadiens-Français, 1880
The first exhibition of Pablo Picasso's work opens, 1901
Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to get a million dollar contract, 1916
The first airmail service in Canada from Montreal to Toronto begins, 1918
Siam is renamed Thailand by Plaek Pibulsonggram, the third prime minister, 1939
The Soviet Union makes overland travel between the West with West Berlin impossible, 1948
The United Kingdom grants Zanzibar internal self-government, 1963
Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud completes his first mission, becoming the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a Payload Specialist, 1985
John Isner of the United States defeats Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon, in the longest match in professional tennis history, 2010

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Improve Your Times

"Oh, five hours, lots of races, I'm tired!"

Little Girl came in from her swim meet wet and weary.

How was it? besides tiring? i asked her.

"Well, I only came in second in all of my races.  But I improved all my times."

That's good, and you should expect this to happen when you move up, shouldn't you?

"Yeah, last year I was the oldest in my age bracket, and this year I'm the youngest, and those 18-year-olds I swim against are big!"

Keep focusing on improving your times, though, and you'll be fine.

"I know, like Linus."


For those not familiar with the story of Linus, he's a young man who was in group piano lessons with Little Girl several years ago.  He was also on a swim team, and loved it, even though he always came in dead last in ever single race.

Then, at one meet, his race was called, and in his particular heat it was only him against one other swimmer.  The other swimmer was apparently distracted, and he began the race by himself.

Finally, his mother thought, he's going to win a race.  She was excitedly cheering him on, and he had gone the length of the pool and was part way back when the other child realized he was supposed to be racing.  He took off running, dove off of his board, and managed to cross the length of the pool and actually win the race by a hair.

Linus, with victory just snatched from him, jumped out of the pool, looked at the clock, and yelled, "Yes!  I just made my best time ever!"  It didn't even really register to him that he had once again lost, he was a winner in his mind as long as he was improving.

This is Little Girl's summer for winning by improving as she competes with the oldest swimmers in the league, and she's content to do that.

Today is

America's Kids Day -- founded to encourage parents to teach their children the value of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

Anubis Ceremony -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Dandruff Dance -- Fairy Calendar (Goblins and Gnomes)

Father's Day -- Nicaragua; Poland

Festival of the Purple Void -- only one internet reference, and not explained there, either, but since purple is my favorite color, and a Purple Void sound like something fun to celebrate, i'm including it!

Festivals of Het-Hert and Bast, and Great Feast of the Southern Heavens -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Full Strawberry Moon / Rose Moon*; related observances
     Ancient Celtic month Equos (horse-time) begins
     Nayon Full Moon -- Mayanmar
     Poson Full Moon Poya Day -- Sri Lanka

Grand Duke's Birthday & National Day -- Luxembourg

Kupala -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar (Summer Solstice celebration, always on St. John's Eve, as the pagans hid their celebration by naming it "Ivan Kupala", their name for John the Baptist)

Let It Go Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays; whatever you are holding on to, just let it go and the day will get better

National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism -- Canada

National Pecan Sandy Day

National Pink Day -- the color or the flower, your choice, because the creator didn't leave a trail explaining it

Pink Flamingo Day -- honoring Don Featherstone, creator of the original pink plastic flamingo lawn ornament; decorate your lawn with at least four pink flamingos, and send in a picture so that the Lawn Greetings Association can record this as a world record day for pink flamigos

Poop Out Early Day -- act pooped out, see if you can cut out early; your success at pooping out early may vary

Public Service Day -- UN

SAT Math Day -- birth anniversary of Alan Turing

Singing on the Mountain -- Grandfather Mountain, Linville, NC, US (traditional and modern gospel music, with local and nationally known artists and speakers)

St. Agrippina (Patron against bacterial diseases and infections, evil spirits, leprosy, storms and thunder; of Mineo, Italy)

St. Ethelreda's Day (Patron of those with neck and throat ailments, widows; University of Cambridge)

St. John's Eve -- start or culmination of many midsummer festivals, including:
     Dragaica Fair -- Buzau, Romania
     Golowan Festival -- Cornwall
     Jaaniohtu -- Estonia  
     Kupala Days begin -- Belarus; Poland; Russia; Ukraine
     Ligo / Lani -- Latvia (pagan midsummer celebration originally dedicated to the god Janis
     Midsummer Eve -- Denmark; Sweden
     Midsummer Festival -- Portugal

St. Joseph Cafasso's Day (Patron of captives, prisoners, prisons, and prison chaplains)

Thangka unveiling Tashilungpo -- Tibet (Buddha Exhibition Festival) related observance
     Zamling Chisang -- Universal Prayer Day (to the Tibetan Deities, especially Samye Dolde)

Typewriter Day -- patented this day in 1868 by Christopher Latham Sholes

Victory Day -- Estonia

Whitsunday/Pentecost -- Orthodox Christians on the Julian Calendar

Birthdays Today:

Jason Mraz, 1977
Selma Blair, 1972
Frances McDormand, 1957
Clarence Thomas, 1948
June Carter Cash, 1929
Bob Fosse, 1927
Alan Turing, 1912
Edward VIII, King of England, 1894
Alfred Kinsey, 1894
Johannes Gutenberg, 1400 (estimated)
Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar, BC47 (Son of Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar)

Today in History:

The world's oldest parliament, the Icelandic Althing, is established, 930
First Battle of Uji, starting the Genpei War in Japan, 1180
First War of Scottish Independence: The Battle of Bannockburn, south of Stirling, begins, 1314
The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage sets Henry, his son and seven loyal crew members adrift in an open boat in what is now Hudson Bay; they are never heard from again, 1611
The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada, 1713
Empress Catherine II of Russia grants Jews permission to settle in Kiev, 1794
Christopher Latham Sholes receives a patent for Type-Writer, 1868
The Rocky Mountains Park Act becomes law in Canada, creating the nation's first national park, Banff National Park, 1887
The International Olympic Committee  is founded at the Sorbonne, Paris, at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, 1894
The College Board administers the first SAT exam, 1926
Wiley Post and Harold Gatty take off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island in an attempt to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine plane, 1931
The 1946 Vancouver Island earthquake strikes Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, 1946
The Antarctic Treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent, comes into force, 1961
Title IX of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 is amended to prohibit sexual discrimination to any educational program receiving federal funds, 1972
Himmy, a pet cat in Australia, weighs in at domestic cat record 20.7 kg (45 lb) , 1982
Nintendo 64 goes on sale in Japan, 1996
Japan's Iwate prefecture experiences a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, 2011

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Getting There Is Half the Fun?

"Mom, I've got a problem."  #1 Son, age 22, was calling, which is unusual, as he generally sends me short texts and maddeningly long intervals.

What's up? i asked, hoping it wasn't major.

"Well, I'm on my way down to visit for a few days, and I just blew a tire, I mean it shredded, and I have my cats with me, and when I looked at the spare, it has a bent rim, and I'm in the middle of nowhere on a highway in Arkansas!  I mean, I haven't even made it to the Louisiana border yet."

Are there any exits nearby where you can walk to a gas station and get help? i asked.

"I'm about a mile from the Ferguson exit, but I've gotten off on that exit before and after you get off the highway, it's ten miles or so before you get to anything.  When I tell you I'm in the middle of nowhere, I really mean it!"

Great, i noted.

"So, now what do I do?" he asked.

Good question, i thought to myself.  What i said was, call 911, tell them you are stranded on the side of the highway a mile from that exit, and ask them to get the highway patrol to send a tow truck.  You will have to be towed to the next town to get a tire.

"Will the 911 call go to the local area?" he asked.

It's supposed to, i told him.  Each 911 call is supposed to be routed, no matter where you are, to the nearest emergency center.  And if not, explain what's going on and get them to give you the direct number for the Arkansas State Highway Patrol or whatever it is up there.  They can send a tow truck to you, and our insurance reimburses for towing when you break down.

"Okay," he said, "I'll try it."

A couple of hours later i received a text that he was back on his way, and he arrived hours later than he had planned, but at least he arrived, and his brother cooked steaks i in his honor.  (There was a beautiful eye of round roast marked down to affordable when i went to the MomAndPop Store on Wednesday, and we sliced it into very pretty steaks, the kind i would never bother buying because they are $6-8 a pound most of the time.)

It had been a rough trip, and he needed the steak.  The cats had freaked out on him, with SissyCat even "soiling" him (if i may put it delicately), necessitating that he dig through his bags and change clothes.

Let's hope this visit home ends up being worth all of that.

Today is

24 Hours of LeMans -- Le Mans, France (the biggest sporting challenge for car manufacturers, as they have to be the best over a 24 hour period; through tomorrow)

Anti-Fascist Resistance Day -- Croatia

ARRL Field Day -- American Radio Relay League' most popular on-air operating event, in which amateur/ham radio operators practice and drill for communications during emergencies; through tomorrow

Baymen's Seafood and Music Festival -- Tuckerton, NJ, US (this year including a micro-brewers tent with the seafood and music; through tomorrow)

Bouphoria -- Ancient Greek Calendar (sacrifice of an ox to symbolize social order dissolving and being restored; date approximate)

Dairy Queen Day -- the first Dairy Queen® opened this day in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois

Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Great Patriotic War -- Belarus

Elfin Music Festival -- Fairy Calendar

Festival of 1 Lithe -- Hobbit Calendar

Galesburg Railroad Days -- Galesburg, IL, US (celebrating the city's railroad heritage with carnival, exhibits, and more; through tomorrow)

GRABAAWR / GReat Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River -- WI, US (fun bicycle adventures for all ages, levels, and abilities; through next Saturday)

Great American Backyard Campout -- sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation

Lailat al-Bara'ah (Shab Barat) -- Islam (Night of Forgiveness, a preparation for Ramadan; begins at sunset, local custom dates may vary)

Levitt Pavilion Performing Arts/Music Festival -- Levitt Pavilion, Westport, CT (50 nights of free or low-cost high quality music and performing arts)

Long Beach Bayou and Blues Festival -- Rainbow Lagoon, Long Beach, CA, US (celebrating Cajun/Creole culture, food, music, arts and crafts, and even a Mardi Gras parade; through tomorrow)

Mermaid Parade -- Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY, US (wacky and wonderful and worth every wild moment)

Midsummer's Day -- Aland; Finland; Sweden

Napoleon Bivouacs -- Waterloo, Belgium (reenactment of Napoleon's battle against Allied forces led by the Duke of Wellington; through tomorrow)

National Chocolate Eclair Day

National Onion Rings Day

Norskedalen's Midsummer Fest -- Coon Valley, WI, US (celebrate summer solstice and Sankt Hans Dag[St. John's Day] the way pioneer Scandinavians did; through tomorrow)

Pixie Day -- Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England (reenacting of the "Revenge" of the Pixies who bothered the town until midsummer in 1454; now fun, games, music, pageant, and more)

Polar Bear Swim -- Nome, AK, US (since 1975, as soon as they can break through the ice! part of the midnight sun festival)

Quad City Air Show -- Davenport, IA, US (large aviation weekend, with fun fr the whole family; through tomorrow)

Soap Microphone Day -- grab your soap in the shower and pretend you are on stage! (promise i won't tell)

Solennität -- Morat, Switzerland (on Morat Commemoration Day, a Youth festival remembering the pivotal role this tiny town playes in winning a battle in 1476)

St. Nicetas' Day (Patron of Romania)

St. Thomas More's Day (Patron of adopted children, civil servants, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, politicians/politicos/statesmen, step-parents, widowers; Arlington, VA; Ateneo de Manila Law School; Pensacola-Tallahassee, FL; University of Malta; University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters)

Stupid Guy Thing Day -- included under protest; "guy things" aren't necessarily stupid, it should just be Guy Thing Day; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays, who want all women to just not count anything against guys today, but chalk it up to being a Stupid Guy Thing

Teacher's Day -- El Salvador

Birthdays Today:

Eric Stretch, 1980
Donald Faison, 1974
Carson Daly, 1973
Mary Lynn Rajskub, 1971
Kurt Warner, 1971
Amy Brennenman, 1964
Dan Brown, 1964
Freddie Prinze, 1954
Cyndi Lauper, 1953
Meryl Streep, 1949
Lindsay Wagner, 1949
Todd Rundgren, 1948
Pete Maravich, 1947
Ed Bradley, 1941
Kris Kristofferson, 1936
Joseph Papp, 1921
Billy Wilder, 1906
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1906
John Dillinger, 1903

Today in History:

Ptolemy IV of Egypt defeats Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid kingdom, BC217
Bilbo Baggins returns to his home at Bag End, (Shire Reconning), 1342
The  Jewish quarter of Prague is burned and looted, 1559
Galileo Galilei is forced by Inquisition to "abjure, curse, & detest" his Copernican heliocentric views, 1633
A poisonous cloud from Laki volcanic eruption in Iceland reaches Le Havre in France, 1783
The British Parliament abolishes feudalism  and the seigneurial system in British North America, 1825
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession in London, 1897
The Flag of Sweden is adopted, 1906
The Flag of the Faroe Islands is raised for the first time, 1919
Erwin Rommel is promoted to Field Marshal after the capture of Tobruk, 1942
The Cuyahoga River catches fire, which triggers a crack-down on pollution in the river, 1969
The Canadian  House of Commons  abolishes capital punishment, 1976
Charon, a satellite of the dwarf planet Pluto, is discovered, 1978
The largest hailstone ever recorded falls in Aurora, Nebraska (7inch diameter, 18.75 inch circumference), 2003
Eastman Kodak Company announces that it will discontinue sales of the Kodachrome Color Film, concluding its 74-year run as a photography icon, 2009

Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo-Finish Friday: Absconded Tabs

Little Girl loves to create things, and she uses old, repurposed materials to do it most of the time.

Lately, i overheard #2 Son and Young Jacob talking to her, accusing her of "stealing" the tab tops of their soda cans.  (Right, like they need them!)

She responded with "I don't steal your can tabs, I ask for them forcefully!"

She actually absconds with the tabs as often as she can, from any empty cans she finds, and people have begun saving them for her, and asking her to make them bracelets and necklaces and keychains.

Here is a sample of one:

It was sitting on her school binder, and the picture in the corner is one of her drawings.  The leaf that had fluttered off of someone's clothes and down next to the binder i picked up to throw away, but first i used it to cover her signature.

She makes these things by the ton, using the can tabs and yarn, her hands moving while she is reading or talking, similar to how some women used to knit or crochet during the church sermon.  An old pastor i once met said he knew the people paying the closest attention to him were the women who had their hands occupied with something like that, and he may have been right.

Photo-Finish Friday is the brainchild of Leah at The Goat's Lunch Pail.

Today is

Antiques on the Bay -- St. Ignace, MI, US (annual show for antique and classic cars at least 25 years old or older; through tomorrow)

Baby Boomer Recognition Day

Father's Day -- Egypt; Jordan; Lebanon; Palestine; Syria; Uganda

Fulton County Historical Power Show -- Rochester, IN (featuring tractors, engines, antique power equipment, and food, music, and fun; through Sunday)

Go Skateboarding Day -- and break something?  leaving this to the young; sponsored by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC)

International Surfing Day -- The Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine suggest contests, barbecues, film screenings, and organizing beach clean ups to celebrate

Louisiana Peach Festival -- Ruston, LA, US (Ruston grows some peaches worth celebrating! through tomorrow)

Martyr's Day -- Togo

Midnight Sun Festival -- Nome, AK, US (celebration of the solstice, when there is almost continual daylight, with a parade, raft race, folk fest, and more; through Sunday)

Midsummer's Eve Holiday -- Aland; Finland; Sweden

National Aboriginal Day / First Nations Day -- NT, Canada

National ASK Day -- sponsored by The Center to Prevent Youth Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics

National Flip Flop Day -- sponsored by Tropical Cafe Smoothie

National Peaches & Cream Day

Newport Flower Show -- Newport, RI, US (New England's premier summer flower show; through Sunday)

Rochesterfest -- Rochester, MN, US (street dances, parade, exotic foods, children's and senior events, and more; through the 30th)

Solstice -- 5:04GMT/1:04 am EDT; related observances:
     Aimless Wandering Day -- use the extra daylight to wander someplace with nothing particular to do
     Anne and Samantha Day -- remembrance for Anne Frank and Samantha Smith, and their contributions to our world
     Daylight Appreciation Day -- celebrating the benefits of sunshine
     Finally Summer Day/Finally Winter Day
     Hump Day -- Tasmania (because it is the shortest in the year, Taswegians today feel they are over the "hump" of winter.)
     Inti Raymi -- Inca (festival of the sun god Inti, ongoing);Sacsayhuamán Andes Mountain Natives (winter solstice and New Year festival)
     Litha / Yule -- Wicca/Pagan (northern hemisphere / southern hemisphere)
     Midnight Sun Baseball Game -- Fairbanks, AK, US (begins promptly at 10:35pm local time, and played without any artificial lights allowed)
     Midsomarsblog -- Norse Viking celebrations (time of fishing, trading, and raiding)
     Midsummer -- Midsummer Festivals begin -- Juhannus Day in Finland and Midsommar in Denmark and Norway, celebrated over the next several days in many Scandinavian traditions; often this time is also associated with betrayal, as the sunlight begins to decrease, this is when Baldur was betrayed, as well as Sigurd.
     Midsummer -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan
     Midsummer Baal -- Ancient Celtic Calendar
     Solsticio de Invierno / Ano Nuevo Aymara -- Bolivia (Winter Solstice / Aymara Indiginous People's New Year)
     We Tripantu -- Chile (Mapuche natives winter solstice festival)
     Wadjet Summer Solstice Ceremony -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate, it may have been a multi-day ceremony that began on Midsummer's Eve)

St. Alban's Day (Patron of epileptics, people with hernias; against epilepsy, hernias, kidney stones)

St. Aloysius Gonzanga's Day (Protector of young students, young men; Patron of AIDS care-givers and patients; for relief from pestilence; Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy; Valmonte, Italy; against sore eyes)

Take Your Dog to Work Day -- (depending on where you work, what did your dog do to deserve this?)

Tiger-Get-By's Third Birthday -- Fairy Calendar

Ulloortuneq -- Greenland (National Day)

Vikingespil Frederikssund (Viking Festival) -- Frederikssund, Denmark (the most famous Viking cultural event in Denmark, with two weeks of plays based on Danish Viking legends and a three day festival this weekend, as well as two markets and a Viking camp recreation)

World Handshake Day -- no one likes them fishy, and it's not a contest; practice a firm grip and a smile! not to be confused with National Handshake Day, today's sponsor is here

World Music Day -- begun in the UK, now celebrated everywhere

Anniversaries Today:

New Hampshire becomes the 9th US State, 1788

Birthdays Today:

Kris Allen, 1985
Prince William, 1982
Juliette Lewis, 1973
Berkeley Breathed, 1957
Meredith Baxter, 1947
Michael Gross, 1947
Ray Davies, 1944
Mariette Hartley, 1940
Maureen Stapleton, 1925
Jane Russell, 1921
Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905
Al Hirschfeld, 1903
Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892
Daniel Carter Beard, 1850
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, 1731
Increase Mather, 1639

Today in History:

Jews are expelled from Nurenberg Bavaria by Emperor Maximillian, 1498
The Incident at Honno-ji takes place in Kyoto, Japan, 1582
In Montreal in New France, a slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique is put to death, having been convicted of the arson that destroyed much of the city, 1734
Halifax, Nova Scotia, is founded, 1749
The first Victoria Cross is awarded during the bombardment of Bomarsund in the Åland Islands, 1854
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fire a volley into a crowd of unemployed war veterans, killing two, during the Winnipeg General Strike, 1919
The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage begins at Vancouver, British Columbia, 1940
Columbia Records introduces the long-playing record album in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, 1948
Ellen Louks Fairclough is sworn in as Canada's first woman Cabinet Minister, 1957
In handing down the decision in Miller v. California 413 US 15, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the Miller Test for obscenity in U.S. law, 1973
SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane  to achieve spaceflight, 2004
Pluto's newly discovered moons are officially named Nix & Hydra, 2006
Greenland assumes self-rule, 2009

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Egyptian Idol

"Mom, I'm going to join the rebellion!"

Bigger Girl says this so often that i no longer ask which one.

So go ahead, i told her, and i'll get you one of those t-shirts that says, "Self-Rescuing Princess."

"No, you know I'm not big on the whole 'princess' thing.  It seems to me that it is often about men keeping women in a place that makes the men feel safe, giving women a little bit of power, but not too much power.  I want to go straight to being Queen!"

By now we were both laughing.

Don't you have to be princess first to learn how to be the queen? i asked.  You know, be queen-in-training, so to speak, for a while?

"Not if you stage a hostile takeover!"  Her grin now was all mischief.  "You know, like Queen Nefertiti.  She's my idol."

Somehow, it doesn't surprise me.

Today is

American Eagle Day -- information here

Birthday of  Cheng Huang -- Taiwan (the gods that are city guardians are celebrated with a procession of actors on stilts doing dragon and lion dances on this 13th day of the fifth moon)

Cuckoo Warning Day -- if you hear the cuckoo today, it will be a wet summer, according to old European traditions

Czech Days -- Tabor, SD, US (celebrating foods and traditions of the Czech people who settled this area; through Saturday)

Day of the National Flag -- Argentina (Anniversary of General D. Manuel Belgrano's Death)

Day of the Purification of All Things -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Feast of the Great Spirit / Great Mystery -- various Native Americans (celebrations are around the time of the solstice)
     Cherokee call the spirit Asgaya Galun Lati
     Iroquois call the spirit Orenda
     Lakota call the spirit Wakan Tanka
     Zuni call the spirit Awonawilona

Festival for Summanus -- Ancient Roman Calendar (the god who threw thunderbolts at night)

Festival of the New Knee -- Fairy Calendar

Guan Sheng Di Jun Dan -- Taoism (Heavenly Sage Guan Di's Birthday [god of war])

Hogueras de San Juan -- Alicante, Spain ("Bonfires of St. John," through the 29th, with the night of the 24th being the most magical as the festival is for St. John, whose day that is)

Ice Cream Soda Day -- i guess because it's hot enough now for one

Iron Skegge's Day -- Vikings (martyrdom of Iron Skegge, who died defending the temples of Maeri against Christians)

La Festa Del Gigli -- Nola, Campagna, Italy (Festival of the Lilies, in honor of St. Paulinus; through Sunday)

Martyr's Day -- Eritrea

Midsummer's Eve -- many and varying traditions, with some celebrating the day before the solstice, and some always tying it to June 23, St. John's Eve
     Night of the Fairy Goddesses Aine and Finnen -- Ireland (watch out for the antics of the little people on Midsummer's Eve, whichever day you celebrate it!)

National Dump the Pump Day -- The American Public Transportation Association encourages you to consider public transportation as a way to cut down on high gasoline prices

National Vanilla Milkshake Day

New Identity Day -- an internet generated holiday, just have fun thinking about who you might want to be for a day

Recess at Work Day -- engage in productive play!

Scira/Skirophoria -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival for Demeter, organized by the women of Athens; date approximate)

Shakespeare on the Green -- University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE, US (nonprofit professional productions of the Bard's works, including preshow seminars, workshops, period music and entertainment; this year's performances will be Titus Andronicus and Twelfth Night, recurring daily through July 8)

St. Michelina of Pesaro's Day (Patron of mentally ill people, people with in-law problems, widows; against death of children, insanity and mental illness)

Takekiri Eshiki Matsuri -- Kuramadera, Kyoto, Japan (bamboo cutting festival; the bamboo represents snakes, so cutting it symbolizes victory over evil)

World Refugee Day -- UN

Anniversaries Today:

The University of Oxford receives its charter, 1214
West Virginia becomes the 35th US state, 1863

Birthdays Today:

Nicole Kidman, 1967
John Goodman, 1952
Lionel Richie, 1949
Bob Vila, 1946
Anne Murray, 1945
Brian Wilson, 1942
Danny Aiello, 1933
Martin Landau, 1931
Chet Atkins, 1924
Audie Murphy, 1924
Jean-Jacques Bertrand, 1916
Errol Flynn, 1909
Lillian Hellman, 1905
Scipio Africanus, BC236

Today in History:

Flavius Aetius' battles Attila the Hun; the battle was inconclusive, and Attila retreats, causing the Romans to interpret it as a victory, 451
Jews are expelled from Brazil by order of regent Don Henrique, 1567
The Irish  village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian  pirates, 1631
A British garrison is imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta, 1756
King Louis XVI of France and his immediate family begin the Flight to Varennes during The French Revolution, 1791
The U.S. vessel SS Savannah, the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic, arrives at Liverpool, 1819
Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne, 1837
Samuel Morse receives the patent for the telegraph, 1840
Alexander Graham Bell installs the world's first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 1877
Caroline Willard Baldwin becomes the first woman to earn a doctor of science degree, at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1895
A rare June hurricane struck Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence killing 35, 1959
The so-called "red telephone" is established between the Soviet Union and the United States following the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1963
The German parliament decides to move the capital from Bonn back to Berlin, 1991
The Wikimedia Foundation is founded in St. Petersburg, Florida, 2003

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ugh! Bug

 "Hand my the fly flap, quick!"  Little Girl, who was in the library, was yelling to Bigger Girl, who was in the kitchen.

"Say 'please,'" Bigger Girl teased as she ran in there with it.

Then i heard Whap! Whap! Whap! Whap! Whap! Whap! at least a dozen times.

What in the world? i wondered, and asked them how many times it takes to kill a fly.

"It's not a fly, it's an Ugh! bug," Little Girl answered, which is our term for the roaches that get into any and every home south of the Mason-Dixon Line, no matter what you do.  Usually they don't survive long in our house, even though the things are going to survive the nuclear blasts, and then live on radioactive Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs until the Earth melts, they are mostly unstoppable, but in our house the cats like to hunt them, and since we don't have any oak trees in our yard, we rarely see them in here.

So, after dispatching the nasty thing, she put the fly flap away and washed her hands so she could grab some broccoli from the pan where it was sauteing.

What else do you want for dinner? i asked her, as i had made burgers for the meat eaters, as well as potatoes and the broccoli to share and we had home-grown tomatoes from a friend's garden for everyone.

"I'm making pancakes," said the voracious #2 Son as he came in to devour his share of the broccoli and grab a burger.

The kitchen is never closed, they sat and ate dinner and got up to make pancakes, the picture of harmony as they mixed and measured.

If only they would cooperate this way when it comes to clean up time.

Today is

Asatru Alliance Founding Day -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan

Birthday of José Gervasio Artigas / "Never Again" Day -- Uruguay (Dia del Nunca Mas)

Butterfly Day -- an ecard holiday; if you know someone who loves butterflies, send an ecard, let them know you are thinking of them

Day of the Independent Hungary -- Hungary (a memorial day for those martyred in 1958, and for the end of Soviet occupation)

Festival for Minerva -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of arts, crafts, skill, war, and intelligence)

Festival of the Coming Ice Age -- can't find out anything about this one, but it sounds hilarious

Garfield the Cat Day (his birthday)

Juneteenth -- US, celebrates the news of freedom on the day it came to slaves on Galveston Island, Texas

Labour Day -- Trinidad and Tobago

Little Bighorn Days -- Hardin, MT, US (celebrating the life and legends of the American West; through Sunday)

National Martini Day -- some sites specify a dry martini

New Church Day -- Swedenborgian Christian

Polar Bear Swim -- Nome, AK, US (every year since 1975, if they can break through the ice, the intrepid swimmers gather on the shore of the frigid Bering Sea to swim; if they can't break through the ice yet, it may be rescheduled)

Rusalka's Week begins -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar (week long festival to honor the divinity of rivers)

Sonoma-Marin Fair and World’s Ugliest Dog Contest® -- Petaluma, CA, US (livestock exhibitions, wine gardens, demolition derby, Ugly Dog Contest, and more; through Sunday)

Spooky Stories Appreciation Night -- because someone thought it would be a good night to tell a few scary tales

St. Boniface of Querfurt's Day (Patron of Prussia)

St. Jude's Day (Patron of desperate situations, forgotten/impossilbe/lost causes, hospitals, hospital workers; Saint Petersburg, FL, US)

Tiger-Get-By's Second Birthday -- Fairy Calendar

World Sauntering Day -- origin unknown, but perhaps begun at Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island) in Michigan during the 1970s as a response by W.T.Rabe to a growing movement toward the recreation of jogging and the idea was to encourage people to slow down and appreciate the world around them; the rules are to observe the lost art of Victorian sauntering, discouraging jogging, lollygagging, sashaying, fast walking, and trotting, but no word on meandering that i can find!

World Sickle Cell Day -- International

Anniversaries Today:

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, marries Sophie Rhys-Jones, 1999

Birthdays Today:

Zoe Saldana, 1978
Mia Sara, 1967
Paula Abdul, 1962
Kathleen Turner, 1954
Phylicia Rashad, 1948
Salman Rushdie, 1947
Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane, 1942
Gena Rowlands, 1930
Louis Jourdan, 1919
Pauline Kael, 1919
Pat Buttram, 1915
Lou Gehrig, 1903
Guy Lombardo, 1902
Moe Howard, 1897
Wallis Simpson, 1896
Charles H. Spurgeon, 1834
Blaise Paschal, 1623
King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1566

Today in History:

King Louis IX of France orders all Jews  found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined ten livres  of silver, 1269
The Earl of Pembroke's army defeats Bruce's Scottish army at the Battle of Methven, 1306
English colonists leave Roanoke Island, N.C., after failing to establish England's first permanent settlement in America, 1586
Emanuel Swedenborg reports the completion of the Second Coming of Christ in his work True Christian Religion, 1770
Battle of Seven Oaks between North West Company and Hudson's Bay Company, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1816
The first officially recorded, organized baseball match was played under Alexander Joy Cartwright's rules on Hoboken's Elysian Fields (Hoboken, New Jersey)with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23-1; Cartwright umpired, 1846
Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom; the anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 35 other states as Juneteenth, 1865
Maximilian I of the Mexican Empire is executed by a firing squad in Querétaro, Querétaro, 1867
After all of the Southern States are formally readmitted to the United States, the Confederate States of America ceases to exist, 1870
The Herzegovinian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire begins, 1875
The first Father's Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington, 1910
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York, 1953
Kuwait declares independence from the United Kingdom, 1961
In one of the first militant attacks by Hezbollah, David S. Dodge, president of the American University in Beirut, is kidnapped, 1982
Norway ratifies the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989, 1990
Prime ministers of several northern European nations participate in a ceremonial "laying of the first stone" at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen, Norway, 2006