Sunday, January 31, 2010

Breaking the Back of Old Man Winter

We had some mild and pleasant weather last week, which usually signals that Old Man Winter is on his way out.

This does not mean no more cold. In fact, we are back down to freezing temperatures again now. After all, even though he knows he will lose, in fact has lost, Old Man Winter keeps fighting for a few more weeks -- stubborn to the end.

It just means we need to hold out a bit longer.

I wish a mild and pleasant and early spring to everyone.

Today is:

Backward Day

Child Labor Day

Feast of Great Typos (I've made several of those!)

Independence Day, Nauru

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Kitchen God Visits Heaven, China

National Brandy Alexander Day

National Popcorn Day

National Seed Swap Day

St. John Bosco's Day (patron of editors, apprentices)

Valkyries' Day, Norse

Birthdays Today:

Justin Timberlake, 1981
Kerry Washington, 1977
Minnie Driver, 1971
Kelly Lynch, 1959
Nolan Ryan, 1947
Charlie Musselwhite, 1944
Richard Gephardt, 1941
suzanne Pleshette, 1937
James Franciscus, 1934
Ernie Banks, 1931
Jean Simmons, 1929
Carol Channing, 1923
Norman Mailer, 1923
Mario Lanza, 1921
Jackie Robinson, 1919
Thomas Merton, 1915
Garry Moore, 1915
Tallulah Bankhead, 1903
Eddie Cantor, 1892
Zane Grey, 1872
Tokugawa Ieyasu, Shogun of Japan, 1543

Today in History:

The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital, 1747
The Corn Laws (tarrifs on imported grains) are abolished in Britain, paving the way for more free trade, 1849
An automobile exceeds 100 mph (161 kph) for the first time, at Daytona Beach, driven by A. G. MacDonald, 1905
Scotch tape is first marketed by the 3M Company, 1928

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I remember having mononucleosis in college. It was not fun.

Now, my Little Girl's best friend, the one she spends time with almost every day, has been diagnosed with it. We get to play the wait and see game, hoping she hasn't spread the joy.

As often as those kids forget which cup of water is their own and grab the first one they "think" was the right one, I figure it's a coin toss.

Meanwhile, Bigger Girl got an A for her science experiment at the school science fair. She experimented on her younger brother and sister, making them take a math test, then go 20 hours with no sleep, take the test again, then drink an energy drink, and take the test a 3rd time. All of this to show how caffeine affects concentration, sleepiness, attention, and problem solving ability.

Enjoy tonight's Full Wolf Moon, if it won't be cloudy where you are.

Today is:

Escape Day

Festival of Peace

Full Wolf Moon (So called because of the hungry wolves howling this time of year.)

Inane Answering Message Day

Mahayana New Year (Through Feb. 1) -- Buddhist

National Croissant Day

National Inane Answering Message Day

Paul Bunyan Sled Dog Races (30th and 31st)

Perigean Spring Tides

Puce and Ochre Day -- Fairy Calendar

St. Aldegund's Day (patron against cancer, childhood illness, fever, eye disease, sudden death, wounds)

St. Bathild's Day

Three Archbishops' Day

Tu B'shvat --Jewish

Yodel For Your Neighbors Day (Why? Do you hate your neighbors?)

Birthdays Today:

Brett Butler, 1958
Phil Collins, 1951
Steve Marriott, 1947
Marty Balin, 1942
Dick Cheney, 1941
Vanessa Redgrave, 1937
Boris spassky, 1937
Tammy Grimes, 1934
Louis Ruckeyser, 1933
Gene Hackman, 1930
Dorothy Malone, 1925
Dick Martin, 1922
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882
Thomas Rolfe, 1615 (Only child of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.)

Today in History:

The Jews of Freilsburg, Germany, are massacred, 1349
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, is ritually executed after having been dead for two years, 1661
Henry Greathead tests the first boat intended to be specialized as a lifeboat for rescue purposes, which he invented, on the River Tyne in England, 1790
The burned Library of Congress is reestablished, with Thomas Jefferson contributing much of his beloved violin collection, 1815
The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world's first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales is opened, 1826
A fire destroys two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, 1841
The city of Yerba Buena is renamed San Francisco, for the nearby mission of the same name, 1847
William Wells Brown publishes the first Black drama, "Leap to Freedom," 1858
The US Navy's first ironclad warship, the Monitor, is launched, 1862
The pneumatic hammer is patented by Charles King of Detroit, 1894
The House of Lords rejects the Irish Home Rule Bill, 1913
"The Lone Ranger" begins a 21 year run on ABC radio, 1933

Friday, January 29, 2010

Computers vs. Kids

I am convinced, after this morning more than ever, that computers are worse spoiled brats that children sometimes are.

Mine is acting like the consummate whiny baby today. So I will let it have its tantrum, shut it down, and let it get over itself.

Like I used to tell the kids, "Put on your big kid pants and deal with it!"

I wonder what the equivalent to big kid pants is for a computer?

Today is:

Blue and Pink Day -- Fairy Calendar

Carnation Day

Freethinkers Day (To honor Thomas Paine)

Fun at Work Day

National Corn Chip Day

National Puzzle Day

St. Sulpicius Severus' Day

Thomas Paine Day

World Leprosy Day

Anniversaries Today:

Kansas becomes the 34th US state, 1861

Birthdays Today:

Adam Lambert, 1982
Jonny Lang, 1981
Andrew Keegan, 1979
Sara Gilbert, 1975
Heather Graham, 1970
Greg Louganis, 1960
Oprah Winfrey, 1954
Teresa Teng, 1953
Ann Jillian, 1950
Tom Selleck, 1945
Katharine Ross, 1942
John Forsythe, 1918
Victor Mature, 1913
W.C. Fields, 1880
Anton Chekhov, 1860
William McKinley, 1843

Today in History:

The first performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, 1595
John Beckley of Virginia is appointed the first Librarian of Congress, 1802
Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" is first published, 1845
The Victoria Cross is established to acknowledge bravery, 1856
Liliuokalani is proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch, 1891
Walt Disney starts his first job as an artist, earning $40/week with the KC Slide Co, 1920

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Is serendipity dying out?

It sounds like a funny question to ask, but I saw an article on this a couple of weeks ago. I have been wondering about it ever since,

Today is Serendipity Day, the anniversary of the day the word was coined. It comes from Serendip, the Persian name for Sri Lanka, and means the stumbling upon something fortunate while looking for something else, and being smart enough to recognize it. I tend to think of it as adding up 2 plus 2 and getting 4.3.

So, does serendipity happen as often as it used to? This question has come up because of the computer age, believe it or not. When we use computers to look for ideas, products, answers to questions, or to do research, the computer programs usually steer us right to what we asked for, and then gives us options that match our requests. You've seen this when you look for a specific book on a website, and then it tells you that you might also be interested in these other titles, all having to do with the same subject. This cuts out, or at least cuts down on, the possibility of running into a book you weren't actually looking for, but which will meet another need, which can happen when you just browse in a bookstore.

Because serendipity depends upon a person being sagacious enough to recognize the situation for what it is, I also wonder if our shorter attention spans are making it rarer. The fact that we tend to skim along from page to page on the web, or surf channel to channel on the tv, seems to have even the most attentive of us moving at a faster pace than ever. Are we passing up serendipitous opportunities because we just aren't spending enough time pondering, perusing, or digesting new information?

As I have thought about this topic, I have noticed myself slowing down a bit and taking closer looks at things. It paid off yesterday in me catching, out of the corner of my eye, a glimpse of something in a shopping cart of another shopper. I had wandered back to where the store has free coffee and found out the store once again carries a product they had stopped stocking at one point. I would not have searched for the item if I hadn't noticed it in her cart, especially as it is in the garden center now, instead of near pet food where it used to be. Serendipity? Luck? God's provision? (On that last one, yes, definitely, that is always part of it.) Whatever it is, I want to slow down and look and see more, not just glance all of the time.

If serendipity is being passed up now, I hope it makes a comeback.

Today is:

Bald Eagle Day

Clash Day

Daisy Day

Fun at Work Day

Hall of Fame Day

Independence Day, Rwanda

National Blueberry Pancake Day

National Kazoo Day

National Spieling Day

Rattlesnake Roundup Day

Rinkydinks Annual Snowball Fight

Serendipity Day

St. Charlemagne's Day

St. Thomas Aquinas's Day (patron of students, pencil makers, theologians)

Birthdays Today:

Elijah Wood, 1981
Nick Carter, 1980
Joey Fatone, Jr. 1977
Sarah McLachlan, 1968
Nicolas Sarkozy, 1955
Rick Warren, 1954
Alan Alda, 1936
Susan Sontag, 1933
Jackson Pollack, 1912
Robert Stroud, 1890 (The Birdman of Alcatraz)
Arthur Rubenstein, 1887
Colette, 1873
Jose' Marti, 1853
Peter the Great of Russia, 1775
St. Thomas Aquinas, 1225

Today in History:

The Walk to Canossa: The excommunication of Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor is lifted by Pope Gregory VIII, 1077
The first Crusaders begins siege of Hosn-el-Akrad Syria, 1099
Pope Alexander VI gives his son Cesare Borgia as hostage to Charles VIII of France, 1495
Edward VI, age nine, succeeds his father Henry VIII as king of England, 1547
By the Edict of Orleans, the persecution of French Huguenots is suspended, 1561
Sir Thomas Warner found the first British colony in the Caribbean, on St. Kitts, 1624
The Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in St. Petersburg by Peter the Great, and implemented in the Senate decree (it was called St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences until 1917), 1724
Horace Walpole, in a letter to Horace Mann, coins the word serendipity, 1754
London's Pall Mall is the first street lit by gaslight, 1807
Pride and Prejudice is first published in the United Kingdom, 1813
In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, being 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick, 1887
The first Jewish US Supreme Court justice, Louis Brandeis, is appointed by Wilson, 1916

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reasons Why

Mrs. Mildred, over at Mildred's Menagerie ( ), inspired me to quote a poem today.

This poem was quoted in at least 2 of Corrie Ten Boom's books that I remember. (For any not familiar with the story, Corrie and her family hid Jews during the German occupation of the Netherlands, and were eventually caught and imprisoned.) She said she did not know who wrote it, so if anyone has any further knowledge of it, let me know and I will give the appropriate kudos.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I do not choose the colors;
He weaves it carefully.
Sometimes He chooses sorrow,
And I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent,
And shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unfold the canvass
And explain the reasons why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the skillful Weaver's hands
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

When she spoke, Corrie would often demonstrate this principle by showing first the tangled and unlovely back side of a woven tapestry, then turning it to show a lovely crown on the front.

There is a reason why. We just don't know it, yet.

Today is:

Brussels Lace Day

Chocolate Cake Day

Family Literacy Day

Holocost Memorial Day

National Activity Professionals Day

National Compliment Day

National School Nurse Day

Punch the Clock Day

St. Angela Merici's Day

Anniversaries Today:

The University of Georgia is chartered, the first state university in the US, 1785
The first sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, is founded at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, 1870

Birthdays Today:

Jennifer LB Leese, 1970
Patton Oswalt, 1969
Bridget Fonda,1964
Cris Collinsworth, 1959
Mikhail Baryshnikov, 1948
Nick Mason, 1944
Troy Donahue, 1936
Donna Reed, 1921
David Seville, 1919
Skitch Henderson, 1918
Jerome Kern, 1885
Samuel Gompers, 1850
Lewis Carroll, 1832
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756

Today in History:

Trajan becomes Roman Emperor, 98
The Rashidun Caliphate ends with the death of Ali, 661
Song Dynasty General Yue Feiis wrongfully executed, 1142
Dante becomes a Florentine political exile, 1302
The first American lime kiln begins operation in Providence, Rhode Island, 1662
Mustafa II becomes the Ottoman sultan in Instanbul, 1695
Czar Peter the Great sets the first Russian state budget, 1710
Abdication of Stanislas, the last king of Poland, 1736
The US Congress approves the opening of Indian Territory for settlement, which led to the forced relocation of Native Americans on the "Trail of Tears," 1825
Manitoba and the Northwest Territories are incorporated, 1870
Thomas Edison is granted a patent for the electric incandescent lamp, 1880
The National Geographic Society is organized, in Washington, D.C., 1888
"Tarzan of the Apes," the first Tarzan movie, premiers, 1918

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

They're Getting it!

When I found out I was teaching personal finance again this semester, I was elated. I think every high school student needs to take a course in this important subject before graduating. It is a shame that we don't teach these kids how to handle money.

Later, when I found out I was teaching 9, 10, and 11 year olds, I panicked. The curriculum is geared to teens! How do I do this?

Well, my approach, of just talking to them, reading them stories (the Dave Ramsey "Jr." stories), and taking it slowly is paying off. Today Joshua, whose mom will tell you has the attention span of a flea on a hot brick, not only explained the snowball illustration I gave last week, he left the class saying, "I don't want to pay interest to anybody, I just want to earn interest on my money!"

Hallelujah! They are getting it!

Today is:

Australia Day (Commemorates Captain Arthur Phillip's arrival at Sydney Cove with the First Fleet, on January 26, 1778.)

Duarte Day, Dominican Republic

End of the Fifth Quarter of the Ninth Dozen of the Thirteenth Set -- Fairy Calendar

Lotus 1-2-3 Day

National Peanut Brittle Day

National Popcorn Day

National Speak Up and Succeed Day

Republic Day, India

Spike the Punch Day

Spouse's Day

St. Paula's Day (patron of widows)

Toad Hollow Day of Encouragement

Up-Helly-AA Day, Lerwick, Shetland (fire festival)

Anniversaries Today:

Michigan becomes the 26th US state, 1837

Birthdays Today:

Kherington Payne, 1990
Kirk Franklin, 1970
Wayne Gretzky, 1961
Anita Baker, 1958
Ellen DeGeneres, 1958
Eddie Van Halen, 1955
Lucinda Williams, 1953
Gene Siskel, 1946
Angela Davis, 1944
Scott Glenn, 1942
Bob Uecker, 1935
Jules Feiffer, 1929
Paul Newman, 1925
Anne Jeffreys, 1923
Maria Augusta von Trapp, 1905
Douglas MacArthur, 1880
Mary Maples Dodge, 1831
Emperor Go-Nara of Japan, 1497

Today in History:

The fifth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, 66
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón becomes the first European to set foot on Brazil, 1500
Isaac Newton receives Jean Bernoulli's 6 month time-limit problem, and solves the problem before going to bed that same night, 1697
The magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake took place off the west coast of the North America, as evidenced by Japanese records, 1700
The Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia, 1808
Tennessee enacts the first prohibition law in the United States, 1838
Hong Kong is proclaimed a sovereign territory of Britain, 1841
The first US income tax, passed to raise funds for the Civil War, is repealed, 1871
Muhammad Ahmed ("Mahdi") rebels conquer Khartoum, Sudan, 1885
The World's largest diamond, the 3,106-carat Cullinan, is found, 1905
The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III is officially introduced into British Military Service, and remains the oldest military rifle still in official use, 1907
Former Ford Motor Co. executive Henry Leland launches the Lincoln Motor Company which he later sold to his former employer, 1920

Monday, January 25, 2010

At this point, we'll take ugly.

It was not a pretty sight.

Truly, although it had its moments, it wasn't pretty overall. Turnovers. Botched calls and plays. The underdog team was outplayed in many ways, including in the statistics of yards and first downs gained.

Still, the battered and beleaguered Saints hung on to force the NFC championship game into overtime. In a city that has had a hard slog the past 4 1/2 years, that sometimes has had little or nothing to celebrate, it was time to celebrate.

The noise must have been deafening. I have been in the Superdome before. I have been there when it was loud and crazy and a team has won (usually, not the Saints). I have been there during heartbreaks of games lost.

So even though I have not been in the building for years, I can imagine.
I can imagine what it was like during the hurricane, with no water, a roof half gone and the smell of backed up sewage. I can imagine what it was like last night, the crazy delirium, the deafening roar.

The only time it got tellingly quiet was when Tom Benson got up to accept his accolades as owner. He is not a hero around here, because he considered abandoning the city in her hour of need.

The team itself, however, is another story. They are loved even when we call them "The Aints" and wear bags over our heads, because they keep coming back and trying. Yes, they get paid to do it, but if you played for a team that never won, that people were embarrassed to be seen cheering on, wouldn't you consider a different line of work? That men were willing to keep coming back and trying, year after heartbreaking year, never quite giving up or giving in, is one reason we take such delight in this team. They slog on, just like the city. They get down, they get back up and try again.

Tears were everywhere last night. From what I understand, the French Quarter and Bourbon Street were awash with people celebrating through their tears, and not in a destructive way. There weren't taxis overturned or fires set. The police on duty were not tense, waiting for pandemonium and violence. Those did not happen. This touched the hearts of the people too deeply for them to give in to crassness.

For the first time ever, the Saints can say they are the champions of something besides losing. They will wear rings that show participation in a Super Bowl (even the losing team gets special rings to wear, because just getting there is an honor).

The city will take heart in the memory of this game for years to come, no matter what happens in two weeks.

At this point, we will take the ugly win. It's beautiful to us. Go Saints.

Today is:

A Room of One's Own Day

Aukland Day, New Zealand

Better Business Communication Day

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

Conversion of St. Paul -- Christian

Dinner Party Day

Festival of Constructive Energy

Macintosh Computer Day

National Irish Coffee Day

Observe the Weather Day

Old Disting -- Norse Calendar (A market day held at the same time as a sacrifice to the female powers.)

Opposite Day

Robert Burns' Night, Scotland, Newfoundland

Birthdays Today:

Alicia Keys, 1981
China Kantner, 1971
Etta James, 1938
Corazon Aquino, 1933
Dean Jones, 1931
Edwin Newman, 1919
Virginia Woolf, 1882
William Somerset Maugham, 1874
Robert Burns, 1759

Today in History:

Battle of Mikatagahara, in Japan; Takeda Shingen defeats Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1573
The Treaty of Utrecht marks the beginning of the Dutch Republic, 1579
Moscow University is established, 1755
Eliakam Spooner of Vermont patents the first seeding machine in the US, 1799
The first US engineering college opens, Rensselaer Polytechnic, Troy, NY, 1825
Sojourner Truth addresses the First Black Women's Rights Convention, in Akron, Ohio, 1851
Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" is first played, at the wedding of Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Victoria, to the crown prince of Prussia, 1858
The soda fountain is patented by Gustavus Dows, 1870
Bilu, a Russian Zionist organization, forms, 1882
Nellie Bly beats Phileas Fogg's time around world by 8 days (72 days), 1890
The first US transcontinental telephone call is made when Alexander Graham Bell in NY calls Thomas Watson in SF, 1915

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Silence of the Muses

My muse is very silent this morning as I get ready for church.

I do not know if Bug was adopted yesterday or not, as Margaret said she wanted to take Bug home with her if she did not adopt. Apparently, she believes, and probably rightly so, that her own foster Mishi can teach Bug better manners. Mishi loves to whip younger kittens into shape, it seems.

It would be nice of one of my adult cats would take on that role with all of the fosters we end up getting.

Meanwhile, we will be kittenless until the spring rush of bottle feeds begins.

Today is:

Alactis Fair, Aymara Indians, Bolivia (offerings to the god of prosperity)

Beer Can Appreciation Day (75th anniversary)

Compliment Day

Economic Liberation Day

Eskimo Pie Day

National Peanut Butter Day

Paul Pitcher Day (So called because it is the eve of the Celebration of St. Paul's Conversion on the road to Damascus. Cornish tin miners would traditionally set up a water pitcher in a public place and throw stones at it to destroy it. A replacement pitcher was then bought and filled with beer, which was drunk and replenished through the day. These miners were great inventors for reasons to celebrate, and they did this to rebel against the rule that only water was to be consumed during the work day.)

St. Babylas' Day

St. Francis de Sales' Day (patron of journalists, editors, writers; against deafness)

Tricknology Day (celebrating the clever tricks of a ruling class conspiracy)

Triodion begins -- Orthodox Christian

Birthdays Today:

Tatyana Ali, 1979
Mary Lou Retton, 1968
Nastassia Kinski, 1960
Jools Holland, 1958
Yakov Smirnoff, 1951
ohn Belushi, 1949
Warren Zevon, 1947
Neil Diamond, 1941
Aaron Neville, 1941
Maria Tallchief, 1925
Jerry Maren, 1920
Ernest Borgnine, 1917
Edith Wharton, 1862

Today in History:
Caligula, known for his cruel despotism, is assassinated and succeeded by his uncle Claudius, 41
Connecticut colony organizes under Fundamental Orders, 1639
The first Jewish doctor in US, Jacob Lumbrozo, arrives in Maryland, 1656
Henry Knox arrives at Cambridge, Massachusetts with the artillery that he has transported from Fort Ticonderoga, 1776
The University of Calcutta is formally founded as the first full-fledged university in south Asia, 1857
The Romania principality arises under King Alexander Cuza, with Bucharest as the capital, 1862
General Baden-Powell's publication of Scouting for Boys starts the Boy Scouts movement, 1908
Jackie Robinson is elected to Baseball Hall of Fame, 1962

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Difficult Nights

Last night was one of those difficult nights that end sadly. Do not keep reading if you cannot stand sad news.

Taking care of kittens that are this sick is a dicey game. It frequently ends with yet another backyard burial.

The kitten, Willa, became less and less responsive as the night wore on. We kept her warm, hydrated, and medicated, but nothing seemed to help. When she got more lethargic and quit fighting with us when we gave her fluids, I knew we were probably close to the end, and I was right.

Her little body just could not absorb enough fluid because of the viruses she was fighting and she was in pain from the diarrhea keeping her little bottom sore. Even the ointments with steroids were not easing her pain.

I always hate losing one. I let them go to new homes easily enough, because I know it is best for them and me, and that is what the fostering business is all about, finding new forever homes for the cats.

This is different. It is harder to let go this way, which is why we fight so hard for their lives. Now I just have to find the words to tell Kay when she calls later this morning.

Some people may call me crazy for trying so hard. Some may think what I do is brave or wonderful in some way. I just consider it part of who and what I am. I cannot turn these tiny lives away.

Today, Bug goes to adoption day. If she doesn't get upset by all the attention and scared by the dogs at the pet store and end up biting, she will have a good chance at getting a home today.

The ones that make it to that stage make fighting for each one worth it.

Today is:

Foundation Day, Lichtenstein

National Pie Day

National Handwriting Day

National Rhubarb Pie Day

New Year of the Trees, Palestine

Measure Your Feet Day- one can only ask...."Why!?!"

Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day

St. John the Almoner's Day (known for his generosity to the poor, "If we are able to enter the church day and night and implore God to hear our prayers, how careful we should be to hear and grant the petitions of our neighbor in need.")

Anniversaries Today:

The founding of Georgetown University, the first US Catholic college,


Birthdays Today:

Princess Caroline of Monaco, 1957
Antonio Villaraigosa, 1953
Rutger Hauer, 1944
Chita Rivera, 1933
Jeanne Moreau, 1928
Ernie Kovacs, 1919
John M. Browning, 1855
Edouard Manet, 1832
John Hancock, 1737

Today in History:

Start of the Islamic calendar, 638
In China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han are soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops, 971
The first printing of Ramban's Sha'ar ha-Gemul, 1490
The first printing of the Pentateuch, 1492
The second version of Book of Common Prayer becomes manditory in England, 1552
What is probably the most deadly earthquake in history kills 830,000 in Shensi Province, China, 1556
Queen Elizabeth I opens the Royal Exchange in London, 1571
Joseph Pease, a Quaker, is admitted to Parliament on his affirmation, 1833
Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first female physician in the US, graduating first in her medical school class, 1849
The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1855
Alesund Fire: the Norwegian coastal town Alesund is devastated by fire, leaving 10,000 people homeless an one person dead, 1904
Charles Curtis of Kansas becomes the first Native American US senator, 1907
Pianist Ignaz Paderewski becomes premier of the Polish government in exile, 1940

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Plan, God Laughs

The email came yesterday, and I responded right away. It was a request to take care of a very sick orphaned kitten for the weekend, because her foster mom has to go to her sister's out of town wedding.

When I spoke to Kay, she asked if she could drop the kitten off to me between noon and 2PM Friday. I told her that we get home from cleaning the church by noon, so that should be okay, but to call anyway because as soon as I say I am going to do this or that, God's sense of humor kicks in and He makes other arrangements.

Sure enough, the morning started with a bang. Literally, a crash from outside of our bedroom door where the cats were wreaking havoc. Since it was about time to get up anyway, I did, and the rest of the morning went as usual. (I'll have to save a rundown of my usual morning conversations and experiences for another post.)

Then we got to the church to do our jobs and my key would not open the lock on the sanctuary door. (Yes, there are two other exit doors, both set so as to open from the inside only.) A call to one person led to another led to a locksmith being called out. We decided to continue cleaning everything else (3 other buildings) and if he got there before we left, and we had time, do the sanctuary last. If he did not get there in time, someone else would come up to wait for him and we would come early Sunday morning to clean that last area.

Sure enough, he pulled up at the last possible moment. It was just a stuck tumbler, which he loosened with a spray of "locksmith in a can" as he called it. Then he took the lock apart, made sure it wouldn't stick anymore, tightened up the whole lock, which was working its way loose, and said "No charge." Apparently he was in a great mood because it was a beautiful day, he had rekeyed our whole church less than a year before and this could be considered warranty work, and he likes to keep people happy to call him. He's a smart business man.

His timing, however, put us off from leaving at our usual time, so we couldn't stop at the bank and cash the paycheck. After all, Kay would be coming any time after noon, and Bigger Girl has to eat lunch and get her uniform on and be ready for carpool.

In the middle of the lock crisis, I also got a call from a distraught young lady who had lost a gold hoop earring that was a birthday present only 2 weeks before at the youth meeting the night before and could we look for it, and she was going to come help look and retrace her steps.

Naturally, the earring was in the sanctuary we couldn't get open, and she had to leave, but a quick call and directions to my house and she picked it up from me just a few minutes before our sick kitten arrived.

Panleukopenia and giardia. Four siblings have already died. This one is feisty, but needs meds and fluids every hour around the clock.

This weekend is adoption day, Angel Food distribution, our usual shelter cleaning, and the normal grocery run, Sunday School duties, and brother-in-law visit.

I better hang on, once God starts laughing at our plans, anything can happen, and probably will.

Today is:

Answer Your Cat's Questions Day

Celebration of Life Day

Dance of the Seven Veils Day

National Blonde Brownie Day (I thought these were just called

St. Vincent's Day (Spanish martyr and patron of winegrowers, schoolgirls, vinegar makers) - a sunny day today indicates a good wine crop next season, and yes it is sunny here today, so I guess the muscadine wine people are happy.

Ukranian Day

Birthdays Today:

Steven Adler, 1965
Diane Lane, 1965
Michael Kelland Hutchence, 1960
Linda Blair, 1959
Steve Perry, 1949
John Hurt, 1940
Joseph Wambaugh, 1937
Sam Cooke, 1935
Bill Bixby, 1934
Piper Laurie, 1932
Ann Sothern, 1909
George Balanchine, 1904
D.W. Griffith, 1875
Grigori Rasputin, 1869
Nat Turner, 1800
Lord Byron, 1788
Sir Francis Bacon, 1561

Today in History:

The first contingent of Swiss Guards arrive at the Vatican, 1506
Postal service between NYC and Boston is inaugurated, 1673
The Native American Iroquois tribes renew their allegiance to the British against the French, 1690
Spain ceded the Falkland Islands to Britain, 1771
The first Knights Templar grand encampment in the US is held in NYC, 1814
A severe earthquake in southern Syria kills thousands, 1837
British colonists reach New Zealand, 1840
The Zulus attack the British Army camp in Isandhlwana, South Africa, 1879
The Ancient Egyptian obelisk "Cleopatra's Needle" is erected in Central Park, 1881
After 63 years, England stops the sale of Queen Victoria postage stamps series and begins King Edward VII series, 1901

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How Many Suckers?

My #1 Son was born with lots of hair. His younger siblings had a good bit themselves*, but he had the most.

So when I went in today to make an appointment for Little Girl to get a trim and saw the ladies cutting the hair of a little guy about 9 months old, it brought back some memories.

I put off #1 Son's first haircut as long as I could, and I think that was my mistake. The little guy this morning seemed pretty calm about it, wiggling no more than you would expect at his age, and not at all afraid. Maybe starting that young is best, because they were able to give him a very close cropped cut that looked great.

My son's hair seemed to grow at the same rate as his head, if that makes any sense. As he grew, and of course his head size increased, the hair grew longer, but just long enough to look like a typical little boy haircut. It wasn't until the baby growth spurt stage slowed after his second birthday that the hair grew long enough to be in his face. So then it was off to the barber shop.

You've seen the first haircut pictures, right? The ones where the kid is screaming like he's having his head cut off? Well, that was my kid, until I got the bright idea to pop a small sucker in his mouth.

It was hilarious to watch at the time. I'm standing next to him, trying to calm him down, nothing is helping, and one of the other barbers offered me one of those small Dum-Dum suckers to give him. His eyes were closed, his voice was loud, and then he felt the sucker in his mouth, and it was like watching a trapdoor close.

His eyes opened, and he stayed silent, working on the sucker, alternately slobbering and chewing (yes, he was a messy boy) until he spat out the stick. Then, he opened his mouth to start roaring his disapproval again, and I popped in another sucker.

Until he got old enough to reason with, all of his haircuts were "5 sucker haircuts." Heaven bless the barbers and stylists who haven't found that trick and whose customer moms don't realize, as I didn't, that you should start them when they are too young to know to be afraid.

*#2 Son also had lots of hair, everywhere but on the very top of his head. He looked like he had a tonsure. At a family gathering one day, when his grandpa was holding him, a cousin whispered that they had the same hairline, but one was coming and one was going! He also had to have 5 sucker haircuts when the time came.

Today is:

Anniversary of the Elf Wars -- Fairy Calendar

Feast of Jolly Roger

Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia, Dominican Republic

Get to Know Your Customers Day

International Hot and Spicy Food Day

National Hugging Day

National Granola Bar Day

Own Your Own Home Day

Squirrel Appreciation Day

St. Agnes' Day (patron of virgins, Girl Scouts)

Women's Healthy Weight Day

Birthdays Today:

Robby Benson, 1956
Geena Davis, 1956
Jill Eikenberry, 1947
Mac Davis, 1942
Placido Domingo, 1941
Jack Nicklaus, 1940
Wolfman Jack, 1939
Benny Hill, 1925
Telly Savalas, 1924
Benny Hill, 1924
Paul Scofield, 1922
Barney Clark, 1921
Karl Wallenda, 1905
John M. Browning, 1855
Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, 1824

Today in History:

Philip II, Henry II, and Richard the Lionheart initiate the 3rd Crusade, 1189
The Swiss Anabaptist Movement is founded, 1525
The first American novel, WH Brown's "Power of Sympathy," is published, 1789
Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccination is introduced, 1799
The envelope-folding machine is patented by Russell Hawes, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1853
The first US sewage disposal system that is separate from storm drains opens in Memphis, Tennessee, 1880
Kiwanis International is founded in Detroit, 1915
The first slalom ski race is run in Murren, Switzerland, 1922

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Waiting Room Blues

I must look like a perpetual waiter.

The last time I had a doctor's appointment, the waiting room cleared out twice, including everyone who came in after me, before I was called in.

Today, I took #1 Son in to be tested for the flu (it was negative, he has a bad sinus infection). Again, everyone who came in after us had been called back before they got to us. Once you are in the exam room, it's time for another wait.

Then, off to pick up prescriptions where they tell you it will be 10 minutes, and it takes 30, if you are lucky. I once had to go home 3 times without the meds when they said that it would only be another hour. I waited two hours before going back each time.

When I wait in line, I will be the one who has to wait for someone to use 3 dozen coupons, a price check or two, and a survey of every grocery store circular to prove the other stores do have it on sale so they need to match the price and save five cents.

If it is not a grocery line, but another retailer, I will wait to get up there and the phone will ring, and the cashier will also be the one answering phones. He or she will never ask the caller to wait, I will be waiting until the call is over. Yet when I call these places, I am inevitable put on hold by that same person.

All I know is, if I get up to the Pearly Gates and there is a line, I will have had a lot of practice.

Today is:

Babin Den, Bulgaria (Grandmother's Day)

Basketball Day

Camcorder Day

Hat Day

Heroes Day, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau

International Life Day

National Buttercrunch Day

National Disc Jockey Day

Penguin Awareness Day

St. Sebastian's Day (Patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, archers, athletes, and soldiers, and is appealed to for protection against plagues.)

Take a Walk Outdoors Day

Vasant Panchami -- Hindu

Birthdays Today:

Rainn Wilson, 1966
Bill Maher, 1956
David Lynch, 1946
Dorothy Provine, 1937
Arte Johnson, 1934
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, 1930
Patricia Neal, 1926
Federico Fellini, 1920
DeForest Kelley, 1920
George Burns, 1896
Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, 1889
André-Marie Ampère, 1775

Today in History:

The first elected English Parliament called into session by the 6th Earl of Leicester, 1265
The Casa Contratacion (Board of Trade) is founded in Spain to deal with American affairs, 1503
The cornerstone of Amsterdam townhall laid, 1648
China cedes Hong Kong to British, 1841
The first feature talking motion picture is taken outdoors, "In Old Arizona", 1929
Nazi officials hold notorious Wannsee conference in Berlin deciding on "final solution" calling for extermination of Europe's Jews, 1942
The first atomic submarine, USS Nautilus, is launched at Groton, Connecticut, 1955

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blank Brain Syndrome

Does anyone have a cure for blank brain syndrome?

It occurs when you think of 3 different ideas for blog posts (or other writing) while you are nowhere near your computer, and can't even grab a pen to jot it down at that moment. Then, when it comes time to write up the post, you cannot even begin to remember what it was you were going to write.

So I will give up for now trying to remember, and just say that I think Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day is a fabulous idea. I spent this morning being the only mom at co-op who ate the broccoli on the snack table, watching the others scarf down the junk food and talk about their next attempts to lose weight.

I also spent 35 minutes trying to make the concept of earning interest on their money comprehensible to 9, 10, & 11 year olds. I will find out how well I succeeded next week when I ask how much they remember.

Today is:

Archery Day

Brew A Potion Day

Champagne Day

Greek Cross Day

National Popcorn Day

Rid The World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day

St. Canute's Day (patron of Denmark)

St. Henry of Uppsala's Day (patron of Finland)

St. Wulfstan's Day

Timkat -- Ethiopian Orthodox Christian

Birthdays Today:

Jodie Sweetin, 1982
Shawn Wayans, 1971
Wendy Moniz, 1969
Junior Seau, 1969
Paul McCrane, 1961
Thomas Kinkade, 1958
Desi Arnaz, Jr., 1953
Dewey Bunnell, 1952
Robert Palmer, 1949
Paula Deen, 1947
Dolly Parton, 1946
Shelley Fabares, 1944
Janis Joplin, 1943
Michael Crawford, 1942
Phil Everly, 1939
Tippi Hedren, 1931
Jean Stapleton, 1923
Guy Madison, 1922
John H. Johnson, 1918
Lester Flatt, 1914
Paul Cezanne, 1839
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809
Robert E. Lee, 1807

Today in History:

San Agustin Church in Manila is officially completed; it is currently the oldest church in the Philippines, 1607
The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey, 1883
The first regular transatlantic radio broadcasts between US and England begin, 1903
The US Senate votes against membership in League of Nations, 1920

Monday, January 18, 2010

Knowing How Good We Have It

There was a war on, and everyone was expected to pitch in. Even Bugs Bunny and the gang of Warner Brothers' cartoon characters got in on the effort, encouraging and maintaining morale with humor.

Certain foods were rationed, as were commodities needed for the war. Everything that could be recycled, especially rubber and steel, was.

For any of us who want to know to what extent this affected the lives of everyday people who fought the battles of the homefront, there is a history fact that speaks volumes: On this day in 1943, the sale of presliced bread was banned so as to reduce bakeries needs for metal parts.

Yes, we've heard stories of shortages during the war, but how many people think that preslicing bread could have an impact on the war effort?

When you get out a slice of bread today, take a moment to be grateful. I know I will, as much bread as my kids consume.

Today is:

Carrot Day

Do Dah Parade Day

Four an' Twenty Day, Scotland (As measured from Christmas -- does it seem like it has been that long ago to you?)

Jazz Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, celebrated on the third Monday

National Peking Duck Day

Revolution Day, Tunisia

Santa Prisca Day, Taxco, Mexico

Thesaurus Day

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Through the 25th) -- Christian

Wellington Day, New Zealand

Winnie the Pooh Day -The Birthday of Winnie's author A.A. Milne

Birthdays Today

Dave Batista, 1969
Kevin Costner, 1955
Bobby Goldsboro, 1941
Constance Moore, 1920
Danny Kaye, 1913
Cary Grant, 1904
Oliver Hardy, 1892
A.A. Milne, 1882
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, 1856 (The African-American doctor who performed the first open heart surgery.)
Thomas A. Watson, 1854 ("Come here, Watson, I need you," said Bell)
Daniel Webster, 1782
Daigo, Emperor of Japan, 885

Today in History:

Emperor Huizong abdicates the Chinese throne in favour of his son Emperor Qinzong, 1126
Francisco Pizarro founds Lima, Peru, 1535
The first documented UFO sighting in America, by some very perplexed pilgrims in Boston, 1644
Pirate Henry Morgan defeats the Spanish defenders and captures Panama, 1671
San Jose, California is founded, 1777
Captain James Cook stumbles upon the Sandwich Islands (Hawai'i), 1778
Electro-Magnetic Intelligencer, the first US electrical journal, begins publication, 1840
Dr. William Price attempts to cremate the body of his infant son, J. C. Price, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the United Kingdom, 1884
The first shipboard landing of a plane (Tanforan Park to USS Pennsylvania), 1911
English explorer Robert F Scott & his expedition reach South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had gotten there before, 1912
Japan issues the "Twenty-One Demands" to the Republic of China in a bid to increase its power in East Asia, 1915
A 611 gram chondrite type meteorite stikes a house near the village of Baxter in Stone County, Missouri, 1916
The sale of presliced bread is banned to reduce the need for metal parts by bakeries, 1943
The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosts a jazz concert for the first time. The performers were Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden, 1944

Sunday, January 17, 2010

There's One In Every Family

That includes your cat family.

I sent 5 kittens to adoption day yesterday.

Four had been adopted, and someone was showing definite interest in Bug, the fifth one.

Then, Bug decided to play too rough and ruined her chances by nipping.

The little stinker.

Today is:

Bald Eagle Appreciation Day

Blessing of the Animals -- Hispanic Christian (in association with St. Anthony's Day)

Carnivale begins in Italy

Constitution Day, Philippines

Customer Service Day

Ditch New Years Resolutions Day

Felicitas -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of good luck)

Hot Heads Chili Day

Kid Inventor's Day

Liberation Day, Poland

National Hot Buttered Rum Day

National Public Employees Appreciation Day

Professional Boxer's Day

Sight-Saving Sabbath -- to alert church members to the importance of regular eye exams

St. Anthony's Day (patron of basket weavers, brush makers, butchers, domestic animals, grave diggers, herdsmen, swine; against eczema, ergotism, and patriarch of all monks)

St. Devota's Day (patron of Corsica, Monaco)

World Religion Day -- Baha'i

Anniversaries Today:

Octavian marries Livia Drusilla, BC38
George Burns marries Gracie Allen, 1926

Birthdays Today:

Kid Rock, 1971
Michelle Obama, 1964
Jim Carrey, 1962
Susanna Hoffs, 1959
Anthony Glise, 1956
Andy Kaufman, 1949
Muhammad Ali, 1942
Maury Povich, 1939
Shari Lewis, 1934
James Earl Jones, 1931
Vidal Sassoon, 1928
Eartha Kitt, 1927
Betty White, 1922
Al Capone, 1899
Nevil Shute, 1899
Mack Sennett, 1884
David Lloyd George, 1863
Anton Chekhov, 1860
Anne Bronte, 1820
Benjamin Franklin, 1706

Today in History:

Cesare Borgia returns in triumph to Rome from Romagna, 1501
Giovanni da Verrazzano begins his voyage to find a passage to China, 1524
The Edict of St Germain recognizes Huguenots in France, 1562
An avalanche destroys every building in Leukerbad, Switzerland, kills 53, 1718
Capt James Cook becomes the first to cross Antarctic Circle (66° 33' S), 1773
The first cable car patented, by Andrew S Hallidie (begins service in 1873), 1871
Queen Liliuokalani is deposed, the Kingdom of Hawaii becomes a republic, 1893
The first fully automatic photographic film developing machine patented, 1928
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis, is arrested by secret police in Hungary, 1945
The United Nations Security Council holds its first meeting, 1946
The Great Brinks Robbery - 11 thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car Company's offices in Boston, Massachusetts, 1950

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Do you believe in dragons?

With today being appreciate a dragon day, I thought I would ask.

My Sweetie would say yes, based on a Biblical reference, and the fact that our ancestors may have mistaken dinosaur fossils for the remains of dragons.

Those who dream, and write, and are creative would say of course. You can meet many such in various books, from those that view them as part of the animal kingdom to those that give them sentience and personalities.

Some people would point to the Komodo Dragon. This endangered reptile may not breathe fire, but like the traditional dragons of lore their mouths can kill, with poison and bacteria galore. They are fierce and amazing, though I wouldn't want to meet one in person outside of a zoo enclosure.

For me, when I think of dragons, I think of one of my favorite stories from girlhood, Professor Diggins' Dragons.

Professor Diggins is beloved by the whole university, and his lectures on marine biology are legendary. Yet he speaks more and more about dragons. So the university administration sends him to spend a summer at the shore, and he takes some of the neighborhood kids to live in the bus/camper with him.

While there, he gently and with humor teaches them about finding and slaying dragons, which in his mind means conquering yourself.

If you ever get the chance, it is a fun book, written at about middle school level.

Today is:

Appreciate a Dragon Day

Book Publisher's Day

Concordia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of harmonious relations)

Festival of All Fairies -- Fairy Calendar

Haru-No-Yabuiri, Japan (Day of No Work for the Overworked, an extra day off for those who worked over the holidays.)

Hot and Spicy Food International Day

National Fig Newton Day

National Good Teen Day

National Nothing Day

National Work At Home With Your Spouse Day (Isn't the divorce rate high enough as it is?)

Religious Freedom Day

St. Priscilla's Day (Patron saint of widows.)

There's No Business Like Show Business Day

Birthday's Today:

Kate Moss, 1974
Sade, 1959
Debbie Allen, 1950
John Carpenter, 1948
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, 1947
Ronnie Milsap, 1944
A.J. Foyt, 1935
Dizzy Dean, 1911
Ethel Merman, 1908
Frank Zamboni, 1901
Harry Carey, Sr., 1878
Andre Michelin, 1853

Today in History:

The title Augustus is bestowed upon Gaius Julius Casesar Octavian by the Roman Senate, BC27
The Ostrogoths, under King Totila, conquer Rome after a long siege, by bribing the Isaurian garrison, 550
A great storm tide in the North Sea destroys the German island of Strand and the city of Rungholt, 1362
The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy, 1412
The first grammar of a modern language, in the Spanish language, is presented to Queen Isabella, 1492
Columbus returns to Spain from his first voyage, 1493
English parliament passes laws against Catholicism, 1581
The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid, 1605
The Continental Congress approves enlistment of free blacks, 1776
The refrigerator car is patented by William Davis, a fish dealer in Detroit, 1868
The Pendleton Act creates the basis of US Civil Service system, 1883
The British explorer Ernest Shackleton finds magnetic south pole, 1909
The British House of Commons accepts Home-Rule for Ireland, 1913
Writer Maksim Gorki returns to Russia, 1914
The first photo finish camera installed at Hialeah Race track in Hialeah Florida, 1936
Benny Goodman refuses to play Carnegie Hall when black members of his band were barred from performing, 1938

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making the Sky the Limit

It used to be that buildings could only be built to a certain height, and anything higher was impractical.

It wasn't so much the building materials, the scaffolding and equipment needed, or other architectural problems, as it was one simple thing: who wants to try to go up fifty flights of stairs?

Yes, there were hoisting platforms, attached to pulleys, but the ropes often broke, and they were used only during construction, in warehouses or for moving materials. They were not safe enough for passengers.

Then, a genius mechanic and tinkerer came up with what was later recognized as a brilliant idea. He demonstrated it at the 1853 World's Fair in New York. Standing on one of the platforms, he had an axeman cut the rope in front of the amazed crowd. Instead of plunging to his death, they were stunned when the platform went down only a few inches, then stopped.

After this, Elisha Otis received continuous orders for his steam elevators with the safety brake. On this day in 1861 he received a patent for the 3-way steam valve engine that made it possible for his safety elevators to transition from up to down more quickly, and to make fast stops.

City skylines with tall buildings were made possible by Elisha Otis.

Today is:

Elementary School Teacher Day

Hermit Day

Humanitarian Day

International Fetish Day

Iroquois White Dog Feast

Ivy Day

Lee-Jackson Day, Virginia

Moliere Day, France

National Hat Day

National Strawberry Ice Cream Day

Pioneer Day, Idaho

Procrastinator's New Year

Seijn-No-Hi, Japan (Coming of Age Day, a tribute to youth who reached adulthood during the preceeding year.)

Birthdays Today:

Charo, 1951
Margaret O'Brien, 1937
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929
John Cardinal O'Connor, 1920
Lloyd Bridges, 1913
Gene Krupa, 1909
Edward Teller, 1908
Aristotle Onassis, 1906
Pierre S. du Pont, 1870

Today in History:

Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem under Zedekiah's reign, which lasted until July 23, BC588
Henry VIII declares himself the head of the English Church, 1535
Third sitting of the Council of Trent opens, 1562
The British Museum opens in Montague House in London, 1759
John Etherington of London steps out sporting the first top hat, 1797
The first US built locomotive to pull a passenger train begins its first run, with Mr. and Mrs. Pierson on board for the first US railroad honeymoon trip, 1831
The donkey is first used as a symbol for the Democratic Party, in Harper's Weekly, 1870
The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is originally incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia, 1889
Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake" premieres in St Petersburg, 1895
Dr. Lee DeForest patents a 3-element vacuum tube (one of the inventions that later made radio possible), 1907
The Boston Molasses Disaster, 2 million gallons of molasses spill, 21 killed, over 150 injured, 1919
The US Supreme Court rules that "clear and present danger" of incitement to riot is not protected speech and can be a cause for arrest, 1951

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Simple Truth

Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it. ~Author Unknown

Today is:

Cakes and Ale Day, UK

Celebration of the 2nd Week of Moonhopper -- Fairy Calendar

Maghi -- Sikh

Narcissus Festival

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day

Organize Your Home Day

Pongal, India (harvest festival)

St. Sava's Day (patron of Serbia)

Take a Missionary to Lunch Day

Vinegrower's Day, Bulgaria

Winterskol, Aspen CO (Aspen's annual "toast to winter", through the 17th)

Anniversaries Today:

Joe DiMaggio marries Marilyn Monroe, 1954

Birthdays Today:

Faye Dunaway, 1941
Jack Jones, 1938
Andy Rooney, 1919
William Bendix, 1906
John dos Passos, 1896
Hal Roach, 1892
Hugh Lofting, 1886
Albert Schweitzer, 1875
Thornton W. Burgess, 1874
Benedict Arnold, 1741

Today in History:

Spain annexes Cuba, 1539
The Roman Catholic Church burns Hebrew books in Rome, 1601
Massachusetts holds a day of fasting for wrongly accusing "witches", 1699
Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the American Revolutionary War, 1783
The US Supreme Court rules that racial separation on trains is unconstitutional, 1878
An earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica, kills more than 1000, 1907
Henry Ford introduces the assembly line to the production of the Model-T, 1914

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tears for Haiti

Everything else I might even have remotely thought to blog about today was driven out by the thoughts of Haiti.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Nealey, Sr. He is an extraordinary man with a vision for the country of Haiti. Yes, he is a missionary, but I believe he is a missionary who does things the right way.

His was not the "browbeat people with their sins" type of ministry. He set out with a heart to physically help people, touching their lives so they would see the light of Christ in him. He founded Mission to Haiti, and one of the founding board members became the elder at a church I attended, so I really got to know Rusty well.

I trust that these people minister properly, use the money we send properly, give help to any in need, not just church members. I have been a child sponsor with them since before I was married, and I have read their monthly reports. Although I have not been able to go on a mission trip with them, I almost feel like I know some of the people they work with in Haiti. They work through the local pastors to meet the needs of any and all in the communities they serve.

We all know Haiti is desperately poor. Many of us don't know the political history as to why, but a good bit of it has to do with U.S. government policies. It was with U.S. government backing that a dam was built that took what little farmland so many had and put it under water. It was U.S. government backing that decided the pigs the people were raising, a main source of food and money, were somehow a danger, and took them for slaughter, replacing them with a totally different breed of pigs bought from strapped pig farmers in the U.S. Of course, the U.S. pigs died, being unable to live in the much hotter climate, being bred for the midwest, not the tropics. So the people were left with no land, and no pigs.

In all of this, their government has been totalitarian or in chaos for years.

Then, a couple of years ago, four major hurricanes in one season.

Now, massive destruction from an earthquake.

If ever there were a people who keep getting kicked when they are down, it is the Haitians.

My heart breaks for these precious people. I know help is being organized around the globe, but the logistical problems are many. Just getting the help to the country will be difficult, and in a country where getting from point A to point B was a serious undertaking, things will only be worse now.

I hope everyone who can will remember these people in their prayers, meditations, or almsgiving, whatever method they see fit.

"He who is kind to the poor lends to God." Proverbs 19:17

Today is:

Blame Someone Else Day

Change of Style Day

Door-to-Door Salespeople Day (Ouch.)

International Skeptics Day

Liberation Day, Togo

Make Your Dream Come True Day

Midvintersblot -- Ancient Norse Calendar (midwinter festival)

National Peach Melba Day

National Tractor Pull

Old New Year's Day, Wales (Julian Calendar)

Recuperation Fortnight begins -- Fairy Calendar (I think I need one of those!)

Rubber Duckie Day

Silvesterklause, Switzerland ("Old" New Year's celebration)

St. Knut's Day (a/k/a Little Christmas or Twentieth Day or Tyvendedagen among the Scandinavians, it is the day to "plunder" the tree put up on Christmas Eve, eating the candies and cookies that were decorating it, and puting all the other decorations away before the tree is removed.)

Stephen Foster Memorial Day

Strive and Succeed Day

Tiugunde Day -- Old England (midwinter offering, a celebration picked up from the Norse Midvintersblot)

Tyvendedagen, Norway (Twentieth day after Christmas, official end of Yuletide or "Juletid")

Birthdays Today:

Orlando Bloom, 1977
Patrick Dempsey, 1966
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 1961
Richard Moll, 1943
Charles Nelson Reilly, 1931
Gwen Verdon, 1925
Army Archerd, 1922
Robert Stack, 1919
Sophia Tucker, 1884
Horatio Alger, 1832
Salmon P. Chase, 1808

Today in History:

Crusaders set fire to Mara, Syria, 1099
Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, 1559
The Bank Of Genoa fails after the announcement of national bankruptcy in Spain, 1607
Jonathan Swift is ordained and Anglican priest in Ireland, 1695
John Walter publishes the first issue of the London Times, 1785
Dr. William Brydon, a surgeon in the British Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole European survivor of an army of 16,500 when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad, 1842
Anthony Foss patents the accordion, 1854
A chenille manufacturing machine is patented by William Canter of NYC, 1863
A circus fire in Poland kills 430, 1883
The first radio set is advertised, a Telimco for $7.50 in Scientific American; claimed to receive signals up to one mile, 1906

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


After my mini rant yesterday, Crabby suggested moving to Hawai'i. That is one possible solution. I think the Hawai'ian language is one of the most beautiful on earth, and wouldn't mind living there at least some of the time. I also want a winter home in Tahiti.

The idea of these islands fascinates me. In the heat of the summer, I want mountains, where it is more temperate. In the cold, I want tropical islands, blue seas, and balmy nights.

In other words, I want what San Diego already has (supposedly the perfect climate, never too hot or too cold), but without having to live in California. No offense intended, I have visited California, and it is a nice place, but simply not my cup of tea. Just like my neck of the swamp might not be your idea of a great place to settle.

So give me three homes (not asking for much, am I?). An island getaway for when the others are too cold, a mountain retreat for when the others are too hot, and right here in the bayous of Cajun country for those in between times, or when I just need a Saturday night football fix in autumn.

And to those who love living in California, come visit me, and I'll come visit you.

Today is:

Compitalia -- Old Roman Calendar (slave festival to the household gods)

Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day

Festival of Sarasyate (Hindu goddess of wisdom)

Goblin Gala (Fairies not invited)

Lift Every Voice and Sing Day (I promise I won't! You, however, are welcome to.)

National Clean-Off-Your-Desk Day (Me and what army? Anybody got a steam shovel?)

National Marzipan Day

National Pharmacist Day

Printing Ink Day

Ullr Festival (mythical god of winter)

Working Woman's Appreciation Day

Birthdays Today:

Jeff Bezos, 1964
Kirstie Alley, 1955
Howard Stern, 1954
Rush Limbaugh, 1951
Joe Frazier, 1944
Glenn Yarborough, 1930
Ray Price, 1926
Luise Rainer, 1910
Tex Ritter, 1905
Joe E. Lewis, 1902
Jack London, 1876
John Singer-Sargent, 1856
Charles Perrault, 1628

Today in History:

Tsarina Elizabeth establishes the first university in Russia, 1755
The first US public museum is established, in Charlestown, South Carolina, 1773
Mission Santa Clara de Asis is founded in California, 1777
The first cargo arrives in New Orleans by steamship, from Natchez, 1812
The Royal Astronomical Society is founded in England, 1820
Anthracite coal is first used to smelt iron, in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, 1839
The Dow-Jones closes above 100 for the first time, 1906

Monday, January 11, 2010


There is no doubt in my mind that cold is my biggest demotivator.

The colder I get, and the longer this serious cold weather hangs on, the less I want to do anything. At this point I mean anything. I can barely make myself move some days, exercise is forced, and I am being swallowed by unfolded laundry.

The worst is that I want to stay in bed where it is warm. The bed, with the heating pad, is like a magnet that pulls at me all day long.

Sooner or later I have to break out of this and get more done.

Today is:

Art Deco Festival

Banana Boat Day

Burning of the Clavie, Burghead, Scotland

Carmentalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival of the goddess of


Giant Day

Kagami-Biraki, Japan (opening and eating of the New Year's rice cakes)

International Thank You Day

Juturna -- Ancient Roman goddess of prophetic waters festival

Makra Sankrant, India (festival of longer days)

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

National Hot Toddy Day

Plough Monday (A day for having your plough blessed, or to begin working

the fields, the Monday after Epiphany.)

Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day

Unity Day, Nepal

Use More of Your Mind Day

Birthdays Today:

Kim Coles, 1962
Ben Crenshaw, 1952
Naomi Judd, 1946
Jean Chretien, 1934
Rod Taylor, 1930
Grant Tinker, 1926
Alexander Hamilton, 1755

Today in History:

The first recorded lottery in England is drawn in St. Paul's Cathedral, 1569
Isaac Newton is elected a member of the Royal Society, 1642
Mt. Etna erupts, 1693
William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, the moons of Uranus, 1787
An earthquake in Martinique destroys half of Port Royal and results in about 700 deaths, 1839
Charring Cross Station opens in London, 1864
M. H. Cannon becomes the first woman state senator in the US, in Utah, 1897
The Hudson, the first sedan type automobile, goes on display at the 13th Auto Show in NYC, 1913
Amelia Earhard flies from Honolulu to Oakland, California, 1935
Frances Moulton is elected the first president of a US national bank, 1938
The first recorded snowfall in Los Angeles, California, 1949

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Type of Search

This is one of the neatest things since they invented the computer.

Today is:

Baptism of the Lord Jesus -- Christian

Foreign Agents' Day

Geraint, Wales

Holy Family Day (The first Sunday after Epiphany)

Jackson Day, Louisiana (103rd Annual Jackson Day Race in New Orleans,

oldest street race in the South and 5th oldest in the nation.)

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

Peculiar People Day

Stephen Foster Day

Volunteer Fireman's Day

Birthdays Today:

Pat Benatar, 1953
Bonnie Hellman, 1950
George Foreman, 1949
Rod Stewart, 1945
Jim Croce, 1943
Sal Mineo, 1939
Gisele MacKenzie, 1927
Johnnie Ray, 1927
Paul Henreid, 1908
Ray Bolger, 1904
Grigori Rasputin, 1869
Mary Ingalls, 1865
George Washington Carver, 1864
Charles Ingalls, 1836
Carolus Linnaeus, 1778

Today in History:

Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, BC46
"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine is published, 1776
Tea from India first arrives in the UK, 1839
Poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning begin their correspondence, 1845
The first underground railway opens in London, 1863
John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil, 1870
The League of Nations is established, 1920

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Orchestrating Lunch

"Do we have any lunch meat?" Sweetie asks. That is the start of his orchestrating his traditional Saturday lunch.

His regular workday lunch consists of brown bagging whatever leftovers are around, with the once a week treat of buying lunch at the hotel thrown in. What day he buys lunch differs from week to week depending upon the menu (it's a plate lunch deal, you get what they fixed for that day).

Saturdays, however, are a cat of a different color. First there is the traditional question about meat. Then there is the never ending quest for other fillings -- Swiss cheese, sweet bread and butter pickles, mayo, tomato, the proper knife for the condiments versus the proper knife for cutting the tomato.

There is also the soup. Time was that he would open a can of bean and bacon soup, add water, and be done with it. Now, the flair that comes from his having been a chef, combined with watching too many cooking shows these days. The chopped onion, browned in bacon grease, the splash of wine, the minced celery, the fact that it must be warmed in the "right" cast iron skillet.

All this for soup and a sandwich -- two cutting boards, 3 plates, a pot, two bowls and multiple utensils. Plus the fact that he cooks like a chef, e.g. , he cooked, therefore he does not have to clean, and he slops stuff everywhere. (Why is this not true when I cook, that someone else should clean?) Is it any wonder I don't ask him to cook dinner?

Today is:

Balloon Ascension Day

Choreographer's Day

Dotty Day

Feast of All Fairies -- Fairy Calendar

Martyr's Day, Panama

National Apricot Day

National Static Electricity Day

Positively Penguins Day

Stepfather's Day

Anniversaries Today:

Connecticut becomes the 5th US State, 1788

Birthdays Today:

Dave Matthews, 1967
Mark Martin, 1959
Crystal Gayle, 1951
Jimmy Page, 1944
Joan Baez, 1941
Susannah York, 1941
Bob Denver, 1935
Les Paul, 1915
Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Hovick), 1914
Richard Nixon, 1913
Chic Young, 1901
Gracie Fields, 1898

Today in History:

Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople, 475
Seven hundred Jews are burned in their homes in Basel, Switzerland, 1349
The first sighting of manatees by a European (Columbus), 1493
Philip Astley stages the first modern circus in London, 1768
The first hot-air balloon flight in the US lifts off in Philadelphia, 1793
Income Tax is introduced in the UK (to fund the war against Napoleon), 1799
Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul's Cathedral, 1806
The Daguerrotype photo process is announced at French Academy of Science, 1839
Thomas Henderson makes the first measure of stellar parallax, of Alpha Centauri, 1839
The Astor Library opens in NYC, 1854
The first hostilities of the Civil War, at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, 1861
The Great Gale of 1880 devastates parts of Oregon and Washington with high wind and heavy snow, 1880
New England Telephone and Telegraph installs the first battery-operated telephone switchboard in Lexington, Massachusetts, 1894
The Ottoman Empire prevails in the Battle of Çanakkale, as the last British troops are evacuated, 1916
Juan de la Cierva makes the first autogiro (helicopter) flight, Spain, 1923

Friday, January 8, 2010


My "Southern" children were fascinated when we arrived at the church to clean this morning to see the garden fountain had frozen and had the most beautiful fringe of icicles hanging from each of its 3 tiers. They had never seen such a thing in person before, just in pictures.

The Little Girl and #2 Son had a blast breaking off icicles and playing with them. I watched from inside where it was warm, as did Bigger Girl.

They even insisted on trying to bring icicles home with them!

The temperatures are supposed to stay well below freezing for the next several nights in a row, which is most unusual for this area. There is no rain in the forecast, though, so they will not have snow to play with for now.

It isn't unusual for us to have a night or two below freezing a couple of times per winter. It is very unusual for such cold weather to last so long down here. It just confirms my opinion that the people who live up north are of much sturdier stock than I.

Today is:

Bubble Bath Day

Feast of St. Gudula (patron of Brussels; against toothaches)

Justitia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of justice)

Learn to Ski Day (No!!! I tried once, as a teen, and vowed never again!)

Male Watcher's Day

Midwife's Day

National English Toffee Day

National Joy Germ Day (Infect others with joy, I like this idea.)

Old Hickory Day

Postal Day

Rock 'n' Roll Day

Show and Tell Day at Work

World Literacy Day

Birthdays Today:

Ami Dolenz, 1969
Don Bendell, 1947
David Bowie, 1947
Robbie Krieger, 1946
Stephen Hawking, 1942
Yvette Mimieux, 1939
Bob Eubanks, 1938
Shirley Bassey, 1937
Elvis Presley, 1935
Charles Osgood, 1933
Soupy Sales, 1926
Ron Moody, 1924
Larry Storch, 1923
Jose Ferrer, 1912
Butterfly McQueen, 1911
Galina Ulanova, 1910
James Longstreet, 1821

Today in History:

Monoco gains its independence, 1297
Genoa, Italy expels Jews, 1598
The oldest surviving commerial newspaper begins in Haarlem, Netherlands, 1675
The New York Fishing Company is the first American commercial corporation chartered, 1675
US President George Washington delivers the first "State of the Union" address, 1790
Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, emerges voluntarily from the wild in southern France (he had been captured and escaped before), 1800
The Battle of New Orleans, 1815
The first US music school, the Boston Academy of Music, is established, 1833
The US national debt hits $0 for the first and only time, 1835
Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle with the US Cavalry at Wolf Mountain in Montana Territory, 1877
Dr. Herman Hollerish receives the first US patent for a tabulating machine, considered by some to be the earliest computer, 1889

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Humor in the Eye of the Beholder

Today, a moment of respect for the bizarre, the odd, the strange, the improbable, and the outrageously funny Charles Addams (born Jan 7, 1912) .

The creator of the Addams Family, he was a person whose sense of the humorous and macabre has entertained me for years.

The comic strips like Bizarro and The Far Side, and music by the likes of Weird Al, Dr. Demento, and even Benny Grunch appeal to me. Still, nothing is quite so stirringly funny when I am in a down mood as the strange people created by Mr. Addams' genius.

May he rest in peace. Or in pieces, as he prefers.

Meanwhile, it is wet and cold today, so soup is in order. I will make a "clean out the fridge so none of the leftovers turn into life forms" soup, as I don't want the bacon grazing on the lettuce again.

To go with the soup, beer bread. The easiest bread in the world. Mix 3 cups of self-rising flour with 3 T of sugar and 10-12 ounces of cheap beer. (Amount of beer needed depends on how humid the day is.) Slap in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350*F for about 20-25 minutes.

Today is:

Ganna, Ethiopia (Corresponds to Christmas for the rest of us.)

Harlem Globetrotters' Day

I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore Day

International Programmers' Day

Nanakusa, Japan (Festival of Seven Herbs)

National Tempura Day

Nativity of Christ -- Orthodox Christian

Old Rock Day

Panama Canal Day

Sekhmet -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar, New Year's Day

St. Aldric's Day (patron against asthma)

Usokae, Japan (Bullfinch Exchange Day)

Birthdays Today:

Nicholas Cage, 1964
Katie Couric, 1957
David Caruso, 1956
Kenny Loggins, 1948
Paul Revere, 1938
William Peter Blatty, 1928
Jean-Pierre Rampal, 1922
Charles Addams, 1912
St Bernadette, 1844
Millard Fillmore, 1800

Today in History:

Calais, the last English possession in France, is taken back by the French, 1558
Boris Godunov siezes the Russian throne upon the death of Feodore I, 1598
Fire destroys Jamestown, Virginia, 1608
Galileo discovers the first 3 moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, and Ganymede), 1610
Francis Bacon becomes the English Lord Chancellor, 1618
The typewriter is patented by Englishman Henry Mill, 1714
Battle at Panipat India: the Afghan army beats Mahratten, 1761
The Bank of North America opens in Philadelphia, the first US commercial bank, 1782
The first balloon flight across the English channel, by Blanchard and Jeffries, 1785
The modern Italian flag is first used, 1797
Liberia is colonized by Americans, 1822
The first railroad station in the US, in Baltimore, opens, 1830
Fanny Farmer publishes her first cookbook, 1896
The first steamboat passage through the Panama Canal, 1914
The Harlem Globetrotters play their first game, 1927
"Buck Rogers", the first sci-fi comic strip, and "Tarzan," one of the first adventure comic strips, premier, 1929
The "Flash Gordon" comic strip (by Alex Raymond) debuts, 1934
Marian Anderson becomes the first black singer to perform at the Met (NYC), 1955

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chili Days and Frostie Nights

These cold days do lend themselves to one good thing -- the one pot hot meal.

Most of the time, I cook meals that have an entree and side dishes and salad. Sweetie likes it that way because it is how his mamma always cooked. One pot meals to him have always seemed like a cheat, and he wants lots of separate things, not casseroles especially.

All of that changes when it is this cold. Serve a hot bowl of soup or chili with a cold salad, and he is happy, especially if there is hot bread to go with it.

Meanwhile, the central heat is working (although the tightwad in me won't set it very high), the circuits blown by that space heater are reset, and the one day when rain is predicted soon will be warm enough that it will not be frozen precipitation.

Note: Snow is beautiful. In theory. On postcards. Or to visit. But I wouldn't have the courage to live with it on a full time basis. One snow every couple of years is plenty for me.

Today is:

Befana, Italy (Befana is the fairy who resides in chimneys, flies on a broom, and leaves toys and candy in stockings on Epiphany, their traditional day to exchange gifts.)

Bean Day

Blessing of the Waters, Turkey

Children's Day, Uruguay

Cuddle Up Day

Dia de los Reys (Three Kings Day) -- Hispanic Christians

Epiphany -- Christian

Feast of Aesculapius (Greek god of healing)

Feast of the Theophany --Orthodox Christian

Greek Cross Day

Maroon Festival, Jamaica

National Shortbread Day

Nativity of Christ -- Armenian Christian

Perch Tenlauf, Austria (A festival with scary masks and music to frighten away winter.)

St. Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchoir's Day (patron of travelers)

St. Macra's Day (patron against breast disease)

St. Peter Baptist's Day (patron of Japan)

Swap Day

Take a Poet to Lunch Day

Anniversaries Today:

Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves, 1540 (his 4th wife)
George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis, 1759
George Bush marries Barbara Pierce, 1945

Birthdays Today:

Susan Perabo, 1969
Nancy Lopez, 1957
Rowan Atkinson, 1955
Bonnie Franklin, 1944
Vic Tayback, 1929
Sun Myung Moon, 1920
Loretta Young, 1913
Danny Thomas, 1912
Kahlil Gibran, 1883
Tom Mix, 1880
Carl Sandburg, 1878
Joan of Arc, 1412

Today in History:

The first Roman Catholic Mass is celebrated in the "New World," at La Isabela, Hispaniola, 1494
All Jews are expelled from Syria, 1497
The city of Lima, Peru, is founded by Francisco Pizarro, 1535
The first recorded boxing match of the style now called English Boxing is held -- the Duke of Albemarle's butler versus his butcher, 1681
Massachusetts slaves petition the legislature for freedom, 1773
Samuel Morse makes his first public demonstration of the telegraph, 1838
A patent for reducing zinc ore granted to Samuel Wetherill of Pennsylvania, 1857
The first telephone call is made from a submerged submarine, by Simon Lake, 1898
Maria Montessori opens her first school, in Rome, 1907
Mother Teresa arrives in Calcutta to begin her work among the poor of India, 1929
Thomas Edison submits his last patent application, for a "Holder for Article to be Electroplated," 1931
Barbara Hanley becomes Canada's first woman mayor, of the city of Webbwood, Ontario, 1936
The Pacific Clipper lands at Pan American's LaGuardia Field, compleating the first around the world flight, 1942

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold Start Co-op

Our homeschool co-op is starting up again today, and I am just not ready.

Then, last night, the temps here got down to about 20*F. It is seldom that it gets so cold in our area, usually only once or twice a winter. We are expecting the temps to get that low every night this week. Meanwhile, the central heat, newly installed, was blowing cold air last night. So, we are relying on blankets, heating pads, and small space heaters.

Sweetie went out and bought a new space heater. It has blown two circuits in the house.

The temp in the house is about 50*F.

For the first time since I started teaching at the co-op, I am not teaching a cooking class, and it has me very sad. I've had a cold, sick feeling since I found out that had been taken from me.

So a cold start all around to this semester.

Today is:

Apple Howling Day, Henfield, West Sussex (Held at Gill Orchard, horn blowing and howling at the trees is said to wake them up and yield a good crop.)

Epiphany Fair, Italy

Fair Deal Day

National Bird Day

National Whipped Cream Day

Night of the Magic Camel, Syria

Twelfth Day of Christmas -- and thus, Twelfth Night

Birthdays Today:

Pamela Sue Martin, 1953
Diane Keaton, 1946
Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, 1938
Alvin Ailey, 1931
Robert Duvall, 1931
Walter Mondale, 1928
George Reeves, 1914
George Dolenz, 1908
King Camp Gillette, 1855
Constanze Mozart, 1762 (wife of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Pietro Filippo Scarlotti, 1679
Shah Jahal, 1592 (Mughal emperor of India, built the Taj Mahal)

Today in History:

Pope Clemens VII forbids English king Henry VIII to re-marry, 1531
A petition in Recife, Brazil leads to closing of their 2 synagogues, 1638
The first Swedenborgian temple in the US holds its first service, in Baltimore, 1800
The Ohio legislature passes the first laws restricting the movement of free blacks, 1804
Davy Crockett arrives in Texas, just in time for the Alamo, 1836
The US House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Territory with the UK, 1846
The first US school of librarianship opens at Columbia University, 1887
An Austrian newspaper makes the first public report on Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of xrays, 1896
The National Association of Audubon Society incorporates, 1905
Colombia recognizes Panama's independence, 1909
British premier Lloyd George issues a demand for a unified peace, 1918
Nellie Taylor Ross is sworn in as governor of Wyoming, the first woman governor of a US state, 1925
Mao Tse-tung writes "A Single Spark Can Start A Prairie Fire," 1930

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Blahs

I am starting to wonder why we celebrate the New Year in the midst of winter.

It seems like spring, when most new year celebrations used to take place (before Julius Caesar changed it all up), is a better time. This time of year, with gloomy skies and a dull outlook just doesn't get me focused on the excitement of a new start like the new growth of spring does.

I keep reading about starting over, and giving myself the gift of doing things differently, and how this year can be so much better, etc., and all I can do is look out at the slate gray skies and think, "blah." What's so different? What has changed, and what can change?

It's difficult to get excited about new anything when my main focus is how to keep warm.

Today is:

Day to Honor Freyja -- Norse Calendar

Dimpled Chad Day

Eleventh Day of Christmas

Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1st US-born Saint)

Festival of Fufluns (Etruscan god of wine)

Flower Basket Day

Get Out Your Boxer Shorts Day

Independence Day, Burma, Myanmar

National Spaghetti Day

Pop Music Chart Day

St. Pharaildis' Day (patron against childhood illness)

"Thank God It's Monday" Day

Trivia Day

World Braille Day

World Hypnotism Day

Anniversaries Today:

Utah becomes the 45th US state, 1896

Birthdays Today:

Michael Stipe, 1960
Matt Frewer, 1958
Grace Bumbry, 1937
Dyan Cannon, 1937
Floyd Patterson, 1935
Jesse White, 1917
Jane Wyman, 1914
Sterling Holloway, 1905
Charles "Tom Thumb" Stratton, 1838
Louis Braille, 1809
Jakob Grimm, 1785

Today in History:

Titus Labienus defeats Julius Caesar in the Battle of Ruspina, BC 46
Columbus leaves the "New World" on return from his first voyage, 1493
Spanish viceroy Alva banishes Zutphen City's only physician, Joost Sweiter, "because he is a Jew", 1570
Most of the Palace of Whitehall in London, the main residence of the English monarchs, is destroyed by fire, 1698
Andre Méchain discovers M80, the globular cluster in Scorpio, 1781
Samuel Colt sells his first revolver pistol to the United States government, 1847
4 wheeled roller skates patented by James Plimpton of NY, 1863
The New York Stock Exchange opens its first permanent headquarters at 10-12 Broad near Wall Street in New York City, 1865
Sofia is emancipated from Ottoman rule, 1878
The last known sighting of an eastern cougar, in Ontario, 1884
Dr W W Grant of Iowa, performs the first appendectomy (on Mary Gartside, 22), 1885
Thomas Stevens is the first man to bicycle around the world (SF-SF); his itinerary accounts "DISTANCE ACTUALLY WHEELED, ABOUT 13,500 MILES", 1887
The Scout Association is incorporated throughout the British Commonwealth by Royal Charter, 1912
The first elected Jewish governor, Moses Alexander, takes office in Idaho, 1915
Sputnik 1 reenters the atmosphere and burns up, 1958

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out of this World News

For just a bit of out of this world news, rest assured that while the rest of us are concerned about the economy and the environment on our planet, NASA and other international space scientists are busy looking for another place for us to use.

It seems that they might want the first moon colony to be in the equivalent of a moon cave that is protected by a nice hard lava shell. These "lava tubes," which also occur on the earth and Mars, wouldn't suffer so much the onslaught of the moon's varying temperatures and meteor strikes. They may have even found the perfect cave or tube, in the Marius Hill region.

So, for those of you who want to be part of that first moon colony (tentative date of establishment of a temporary colony, sometime in 2025), rest assured that scientists are already scouting the real estate for "location, location, location."

Today is:

Festival of Sleep Day

Hero's Day, Haiti

Icing Morning -- Fairy Calendar

Humiliation Day

J.R.R. Tolkien Day

Memento More "Remember You Die" Day

National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day

St. Genevieve's Day (patron of Paris, secretaries, actors, lawyers; against drought, fever, floods, plague)

Tenth Day of Christmas

Anniversaries Today:

Alaska becomes the 49th US State, 1959

Birthdays Today

Eli Manning, 1981
Danica McKellar, 1975
Joan Chen, 1960
Mel Gibson, 1956
Victoria Principal, 1950
John Paul Jones, 1946
Stephen Stills, 1945
Van Dyke Parks, 1943
Dabney Coleman, 1932
George Martin, 1926
Maxine Andrews, 1918
Victor Borge, 1909
Ray Milland, 1905
Zasu Pitts, 1898
Marion Davies, 1897
J.R.R. Tolkien, 1892
Father Joseph Damien, 1840
William Tucker, 1624 (first African American child born in North America)
Cicero, BC106

Today in History:

Joan of Arc is handed over to the bishop for trial, 1431
Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine, 1496
Martin Luther is formally excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, 1521
The first theater in Amsterdam, the Schouwburg, opens, 1638
Benning Wentworth issues the first of the New Hampshire Grants, leading to the establishment of Vermont as a separate state, 1749
Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico, 1823
Joseph Jenkins Roberts is sworn in as the first president of the independent African Republic of Liberia, 1848
The Meiji Restoration returns authority to Japan's emperors, 1868
Oleomargarine is patented by Henry Bradley, Binghamton, NY, 1871
The wax drinking straw is patented, by Marvin C Stone in Washington DC, 1888
The first known use of the word automobile was seen in an editorial in The New York Times, 1899
Benito Mussolini announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy, dissolves the Italian parliament, 1925
Minnie D. Craig becomes the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States, 1933
Edmund Hillary reaches South Pole overland, 1958