Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another SVT episode this morning, at church.

The rest of the day should be spent resting, and cooking a big dinner for brother-in-law and taking Bigger Girl to work and...

Well, it's the thought that counts, right?

Today is:

Action Line Day

Floral Design Day

Full Snow Moon, a/k/a Full Hunger Moon

Holi Festival of Colors, India (through March 2)

Independence Day, Egypt

International Sword Swallowers Day

Kalevala Day, Finland (Finnish Culture Day)

Magha Puja, Buddhists in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand (celebrating the teachings of Buddha on the full moon day of the 3rd lunar month)

National Chocolate Souffle' Day

National Tooth Fairy Day - and/or August 22

Perigean Spring Tides (when the moon is closest to the Earth during the Spring Tide)

Public Sleeping Day

Purim -- Jewish

St. Romanus' Day (patron against drowning, insanity)

Birthdays Today (Also includes Feb. 29 Birthdays)

Robert Sean Leonard, 1969
Gilbert Gottfried, 1955
Bernadette, Peters, 1948
Brian Jones, 1942Mario Andretti, 1940
Tommy Tune, 1939
Gavin MacLeod, 1930
Charles Durning, 1923
Zero Mostel, 1915
Earl Scheib, 1907
Vincente Minnelli, 1903
Linus Pauling, 1901

Antonio Sabato, Jr., 1972
Tony Robbins, 1960
Gretchen Christopher, 1940
Jack Lousma, 1936
Dinah Shore, 1916
Jimmy Dorsey, 1904
William Wellman, 1896
Herman Hollerith, 1860

Today in History:

Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty's rule over China, BC202
The first edition of Henry Fieldings' "Tom Jones" is published, 1749
The first commercial railroad in US, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) is chartered, 1827
Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaims the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec), 1838
The Bulgarian Exarchate is established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire, 1870
Egypt regains independence from Britain, but British troops remain, 1922

Saturday, February 27, 2010

No Brainer Day

It couldn't have happened on a better day, this celebration of No Brainer Day.

Mine seems to have taken a vacation. I'm not sure whether to "wind my rump or scratch my watch" as the line from Steel Magnolias goes.

I need to pick up and drop off the Angel Food packages, get Bigger Girl to pet adoption day, find my new auto insurance card in the mess I call my files, and stay warm somehow.

I'm glad everyone else has plans for the evening, I get a night off from cooking!

Today is:

Equirria -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Cavalry Horse Festival)

Feast of St. Gabriel Possenti (patron of college students)

Independence Day, Dominican Republic

Majuba Day, South Africa (celebration of the Boers victory at Majuba Hill)

National Kahlua Day

Polar Bear Day

No Brainer Day - this day is for me!

Open That Bottle Night

Polar Bear Day

Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen Tournament, Japan; snowball fighting (yukigassen) at its best, through tomorrow

St. Galmier's Day

Statehood Day, St.Kitts-Nevis

Birthdays Today:

Josh Groban, 1981
Chelsea Clinton, 1980
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, 1971
Mary Fran, 1943
Howard Hesseman, 1940
Ralph Nadar, 1934
Elizabeth Taylor, 1932
Joanne Woodward, 1930
Ariel Sharon, 1928
John Connally, 1917
John Steinbeck, 1902
Marian Anderson, 1897
David Sarnoff, 1891
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807
Constantine I, 272

Today in History:

The first Russian Embassy arrives in London, 1557
Yuan Chonghuan is appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians under Nurhaci, 1626
Jews are expelled from Austria by order of Leopold I, 1670
The Pacific island of New Britain is discovered, 1700
The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti, 1844
Composer Robert Schumann is saved from a suicide attempt in Rhine, 1854
Russians shoot at Poles protesting Russian rule of Poland, 1861
Charlotte E. Ray becomes the first African American woman to earn a law degree, from Howard University, 1872
Lord Kitchener opens Khartoum-El Obeid (Nyala) railway, 1912

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Condolences to the Snowbound

Yes, we have had a few more below freezing nights here, but no more snow.

My condolences to those who are stuck yet again digging out of a major snowstorm.

I still want to move to Tahiti.

Today is:

Dance of the Known Places -- Fairy Calendar

Festival of Mihr, Armenia (god of fire)

For Pete's Sake Day

Intercalary Days (through March 1) -- Baha'i

Levi Strauss Day

Liberation Day, Kuwait

National Personal Chef's Day (Heaven knows we all have one of those!)

National Pistachio Day - it's a nutty day!

Mawlid an Nabi -- Islam

St. Alexander's Day

St. Porphyrius' Day

Sourdough Rendezvous

Swamp Buggy Races Day

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Tournament of Hearts, Scotland

Birthdays Today:

Erykah Badu, 1972
Mark Dacascos, 1964
Michael Bolton, 1953
Johnny Cash, 1932
Fats Domino, 1928
Betty Hutton, 1921
Tony Randall, 1920
Jackie Gleason, 1916
Margaret Leighton, 1922
Tex Avery, 1908
Madeleine Carroll, 1906
William Frawley, 1887
Herbert Henry Dow, 1866
John Harvey Kellog, 1852
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, 1846
Levi Strauss, 1829
Victor Hugo, 1802

Today in History:

Origin of the Epoch of Ptolemy's Nabonassar Era, BC747
An earthquake in Lisbon leaves 20,000-30,000 dead, 1531
Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen burns down, 1794
The Bank of England issues its first banknotes, 1797
Vice-admiral William Bligh ends the siege of Fort Amsterdam, Willemstad, 1804
HMS Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, is launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, 1914

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Schedule

We have agreed to work Thursday evenings at the cat shelter, instead of Fridays.

When I took the Friday shift, it was because we really wanted to help, and I figured no one else would want Fridays. After all, most people like to make plans on Friday evenings.

Several times I have had to skip Friday events, or work around them. Occasionally, when Grandpa comes to get the kids on Friday afternoon for the weekend, I end up cleaning alone. I don't mind doing it alone, but it is more fun to have help.

Well, a new volunteer has come along, just as a slot was opening up. She is so busy during the week that she wants Fridays. She says she wants to come on a day when she doesn't have to worry about work the next day. She wants to use it as a form of relaxation, doing something soothing and repetitious after a hectic work week.

So, we will let her have Friday, and we will take Thursday. I just have to keep reminding myself so I don't forget. I have it written down on the calendar, but I seldom remember to check my calendar until things are over. Something I need to work on.

While typing this, I got a call from one of our rescue's officers. It seems The Goose, whom my Little Girl has called "one of the awesomest kittens we ever had," has been returned by those who adopted him. They claimed allergies, but he is now highly neurotic, and she and the foster family working with him now wants to know if he was always that way.

Well, he never was before. In fact, he used to be very laid back. Now he growls even when he seems to be enjoying being petted, and hissed while seeming to enjoy himself playing with other kittens. The other kittens didn't mind, but the humans are wondering why he is acting this way.

Poor little guy, I think he just needs a break from adoptive parents who changed his food almost every week because he didn't go crazy with delight over every morsel and brought so many toys back with him it looks like they could open their own pet store. They overwhelmed him.

My Bigger Girl says she hopes these people never have kids, and I just might have to agree. If they can make a normal kitten neurotic in 3 1/2 months, imagine what they could do to a kid in 18 years.

Today is:

Coronado Day

Dance of the Secret Places -- Fairy Calendar

Flag Day, Bangladesh, Peru

International Clam Chowder Festival

National Chili Day

National Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day

National Day, Kuwait

People's Revolution Day, Philippines

Pistol Patent Day

Revolution Day, Suriname

St. Tarrasius' Day

St. Walburga's Day

Ta'Anit Ester -- Jewish, the "fast of Ester," to commemorate the 3 day fast of Ester and Mordechai before Purim

Time of the Old Woman, Morocco (through March 4)

Quiet Day

Birthdays Today:

Sean Astin, 1971
Carrot Top, 1965
Lee Evans, 1964
Ric Flair, 1949
George Harrison, 1943
Tom Courtenay, 1937
Bob Schieffer, 1937
Sally Jessy Raphael, 1935
Bobby Riggs, 1918
Anthony burgess, 1917
Jim Backus, 1913
Adelle Davis, 1904
Zeppo Marx, 1901
Meher Baba, 1894
Enrico Caruso, 1873
Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1841
Xuande, Emperor of China, 1398

Today in History:

The First Bank of the United States is chartered, 1791
The German Midiatisation is enacted, taking over 1,000 German sovereign states into about 40 larger entities, 1803
Samuel Colt patents the first revolving barrel multishot firearm, 1836
The first US electric printing press is patented by Thomas Davenport, 1837
The US Steel Corp. is organized under J P Morgan, 1901
The Stanley Cup: Ottawa Silver 7 sweep Toronto Marlboroughs in 2 games, 1904
Diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union are established, 1925
Francisco Franco becomes General of Spain, 1926

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Old Kentucky Law

As opposed to the song, "My Old Kentucky Home."

Back on the 16th of this month, one of the history facts I came across had to do with the US state of Kentucky passing a law in 1838 that permitted girls to go to school "under certain circumstances." I further noted that Kentucky still has the bathing law on its books. Every resident of the state is required to bathe at least once a year, whether a bath is needed or not.

Well, Kentucky is at it again. It seems that, when you take an oath of office in Kentucky, you have to swear that you have not taken part in a duel with deadly weapon. This hails from the frontier days when Kentucky was seen as the place to go when you wanted to have a duel.

The part of the oath of office that mentions duels brings laughter, whether they are swearing in a governor or a town council member. So there is a move to have this part of the oath dropped.

I for one think maybe they should keep it. After all, every politician promises, with an oath, to do a great many things. Often it seems they say the words, then go and do the opposite -- go against the constitution they have promised to defend, for example. This way, at least in Kentucky, you know that every politician has told the truth in one part of the oath of office, even if every other part gets disregarded later.

Keep the one honest and truthful statement in the oath, Kentucky. It might be the only thing all of your politicians ever agree and tell the full truth on.

Today is:

Flag Day, Mexico

Gregorian Calendar Day

Inconvenience Yourself Day

Independence Day, Estonia

National Tortilla Chip Day

St. Matthias' Day

Swamp Cabbage Festival

Vasaloppet, Sweden (through the 26th)

Birthdays Today:

Billy Zane, 1966
Kristin Davis, 1965
Eddie Murray, 1956
Steven Jobs, 1955
Alain Prost, 1955
George Thorogood, 1950
Edward James Olmos, 1947
Joe Lieberman, 1942
James Farentino, 1938
Michel Legrand, 1932
Abe Vigoda, 1921
Chester W. Nimitz, 1885
Honus Wagner, 1874
Wilhelm Karl Grimm, 1786
Ibn Battutah, 1304
Emperor Toba of Japan, 1103

Today in History:

St. Francis of Assisi, age 26, receives his vocation in Portiuncula, Italy, 1208
In the first imperial coronation by a pope,Charles V is crowned by Clement V, 1530
Pope Gregory XIII, by decree, institutes what is now known as the Gregorian Calendar, correcting the older Julian Calendar, 1582
The US Supreme Court first declares a law unconstitutional (Marbury v Madison), 1803
London's Drury Lane Theatre burns to the ground, leaving owner Richard Brinsley Sheridan destitute, 1804
William Otis of Pennsylvania patents the steam shovel, 1839
The SS Gothenburg hits the Great Barrier Reef and sinks off the Australian east coast, killing approximately 100, including a number of high profile civil servants and dignitaries, 1875
China and Russia sign the Sino-Russian Ili Treaty, 1881
Rudolf Diesel receives a patent for the diesel engine, 1893
The Voice of America begins broadcasting, 1942

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are we going for a record?

According to the weather forecast, we should be getting snow again tomorrow.

For those of you who get it every winter, it's no big deal.

For us, this will be a winter for the record books.

Today is:

Curling Is Cool Day

Ember Day

International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day

Iwo Jima Day (flag raising)

Mt. Fuji Day, Japan

National Banana Bread Day

National Day, Brunei

Republic Day, Guyana

Spay Day USA (Sit! Stay! Spay! Good Owner.)

St. Polycarp's Day

Tennis Day

Terminalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival for Terminus, god of land boundary markers)

Vaudeville Day

Birthdays Today:

Michael Dell, 1965
Howard Jones, 1955
Patricia Richardson, 1951
John Sanford, 1944
Johnny Winter, 1944
Peter Fonda, 1939
Donna J. Stone, 1933
Paul Tibbets, 1915
Victor Fleming, 1889
W.E.B. DuBois, 1868
George Frederic Handel, 1685
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, 1646
Samuel Pepys, 1633

Today in History:

Emperor Diocletian orders the general persecution of Christians, 303
France begins its fifth "holy war" against the Huguenots, 1574
The first US raw-cotton-to-cloth mill is founded, in Waltham, Massachusetts, 1813
The first US pharmaceutical college is organized, the College of Apothecaries in Philidelphia, 1821
Santa Anna begins his siege of the Alamo, 1836
Great Britain formally recognises the independence of the Boers in the area between the Orange and Vaal rivers, signing the Bloemfontein Convention with the Orange Free State, 1854
The London Times publishes the world's first classified ad, 1886
The French/Italian Riviera is struck by an earthquake that leaves 2,000 dead, 1887
The Tootsie Roll is introduced by Leo Hirshfield, 1896
In France, Emile Zola is imprisoned for writing his "J'accuse" letter accusing the government of anti-Semitism and wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfus, 1898
The Cuban state of Guantanamo is leased to the US, 1903
The US acquires control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million, 1904
The Rotary Club International is founded in Chicago, 1905
Russian Tsar Nicholas II dissolves the Diet of Finland, 1909
The US state of Nevada enacts a convenient divorce law, 1915
The February Revolution begins in Russia, 1917
Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, 1941
The first mass innoculation with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh, 1954

Monday, February 22, 2010

Take a Walk -- Early in the Week

Edward Payson Weston is considered "The Father of Modern Pedestrianism".

He spent his life giving lectures on the health benefits of walking, and put his money where his mouth was.

On this day in 1861, he set out to walk to Abraham Lincoln's inauguration in Washington, D.C, from Boston, 478 miles(769km) away. As he only had ten days, he had to walk through snow, rain, and mud, fell a few times, never got more than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and ate while walking.

This brought him media attention for his cause of fitness through walking, and a handshake from the new president, as he got there in time to attend the inaugural ball.

Later, he would walk 1200 miles (1900 km) in 26 days, from Portland, Maine, to Chicago, Illinois. This won him even more fame, a prize of $10,000, and death threats from gamblers who had bet against him!

So, in honor of the man who proved walking is good for your health, take a walk outside soon. I suggest you get this done early in the week, as the weather is predicted to get wild again. Winter is not done with us yet, it seems.

Today is:

Be Humble Day

Concordia -- Ancient Roman Calendar, Festival of Goodwill

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Feast of Hastseltsi -- Navajo Native American Indian Red God (god of racing)

Girl Guides Day, UK

Handing Back of Goblin Orphans Day -- Fairy Calendar (You know, the goblin orphans they adopted 2 days ago! No fairy can tolerate a goblin longer than that.)

Independence Day, St. Lucia

International World Thinking Day

Mother's Day, India

National Margarita Day (How is that going to help with the thinking?)

Single Tasking Day

St. Joseph of Arimathea's Day

Unity Day, Egypt

Walking the Dog Day

Washington's Birthday

Birthdays Today:

Drew Barrymore, 1975
Michael Chang, 1972
Lea Salonga, 1971
Clinton Kelly, 1969
Jeri Ryan, 1968
Vijay Singh, 1963
Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, 1962
Julius "Dr. J" Erving, 1950
Dan Millman, 1946
Sparky Anderson, 1934
Edward M. Kennedy, 1932
Robert Wadlow, 1918
John Mills, 1908
Sheldon Leonard, 1907
Robert Young, 1907
Luis Bunuel, 1900
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892
"Chico" Marx, 1891
Lady Baden-Powell, 1889
Lord Baden-Powell, 1857
Frederic Chopin, 1810
George Washington, 1732

Today in History:

Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland, 1349
Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published, 1632
The English House of Lords rules that authors do not have perpetual copyright of their material, 1774
Jews are expelled from the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, 1775
The first US ship to trade with China, the "Empress of China," sails from New York, 1784
The Last Invasion of Britain by the French begins near Fishguard, Wales, 1797
Spain signs the Adams-Onis Treaty, renouncing its claim to the Oregon territory and west Florida, 1819
Spain sells east Florida to the US, 1821
Frank W. Woolworth opens the first US chain store, his "Woolworth's" 5 and 10 cent store, in Utica, NY, 1879
John Reid of Scotland establishes a 3 hole golf course near Yonkers, New York, thus introducing the game to the US, 1888
Hawaii becomes a US territory, 1900
Due to drought, the US side of Niagara Falls runs short of water, 1903
The Great White Fleet, the first US fleet to circumnavigate the globe, returns to Virginia, 1909
Calvin Coolidge gives the first US presidential radio address, 1924
Bert Hinkler successfully completes the first solo flight from England to Australia, 1928
Australian swimmer John Konrads sets 6 world records in two days, 1958

Sunday, February 21, 2010


When it comes down to it, I hate to be a killjoy.

That's why I let #2 Son, the 13 year boy, do things like fish in the creek, make ziplines with friends in their yards (we don't have trees in our yard), and even, this morning at church, finish destroying a chair that was already broken. He and his best friend at church had a blast taking it out to the dumpster, ripping it apart, and throwing it away. After all, it was going to be thrown out anyway. Why not have fun with it?

Unfortunately, I had to veto setting fire to toilet paper, raiding the church fridge, and a mock "snowball" fight with the t-shirts that were rolled up and ready for a fundraiser sale.

What is it about getting two boys together that makes such mayhem?

I love boys, and I love their propensity to get out there and find fun things to do. I hate having to be the killjoy when everything they want to do is destructive or dangerous.

Today is:

Burgsonndeg, Luxembourg (bonfire to the victorious sun, celebrating the end of winter)

Card Reading Day

Feast of Peace and Love -- Old Roman Calendar

International Mother Language Day

National Sticky Bun Day

Orthodox Sunday -- Orthodox Christian

Shaheel Day, Bangladesh (Martyr's Day, for those who died in the Bengali Language Movement in 1952)

St. Peter Damian's Day (patron against headaches)

Anniversaries Today:

The Washington Monument is dedicated, 1885

Birthdays Today:
Charlotte Church, 1986
Jennifer Love Hewitt, 1979
Alan Trammell, 1958
Kelsey Grammer, 1955
Tyne Daly, 1946
Alan Rickman, 1946
David Geffen, 1943
John Lewis, 1940
Barbara Jordan, 1936
Rue McClanahan, 1935
Nina Simone, 1933
Roberto Gomez Bolanos, 1929
Erma Bombeck, 1927
Sam Peckinpah, 1925
Ann Sheridan, 1915
Anais Nin, 1903
Andres Segovia, 1893
Charles Scribner, 1821
John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1801
Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, 1794

Today in History:

England begins the trial against Joan of Arc, 1431
John Wilkes is thrown out of the English House of Commons for his pornographic poem "An Essay on Woman," a satire of Pope's "An Essay on Man," 1764
Freedom of worship is established in France under its Constitution, 1795
The first locomotive, Richard Trevithick's, runs for the first time, in Wales, 1804
The first Native American Indian newspaper, the "Cherokee Phoenix", begins publication, 1828
The first known sewing machine in the US is patented by John Greenough of Washington, D.C., 1842
Sarah G Bagley of Lowell, Massachusetts becomes the first US woman telegrapher, 1846
The US Congress outlaws foreign currency as legal tender in the US, 1857
Edwin T. Holmes installs the first electric burglar alarm, in Boston,Massachusetts, 1858
The first Roman Catholic parish church for blacks in the US is dedicated,in Baltimore, Maryland, 1864
Lucy B. Hobbs becomes the first US woman to earn a DDS degree, 1866
Benjamin Disraeli replaces William Gladstone as English premier, 1874
The first telephone book is issued, to 50 subscribers in New Harbor,Connecticut, 1878
Oregon becomes the first US state to declare Labor Day a holiday, 1887
The North Carolina legislature adjourns for the day to mark the death of Frederick Douglass, 1895
Dr. Harvey Cushing, the first US neurosurgeon, performs his first operation, 1902
Gustav Mahler conducts his last concerto, 1911
The Battle of Verdun (WWI) begins, will last until Dec. 18; over a quarter of a million casualties, half a million injuries, 1916
The last Carolina parakeet, Incas, dies in the Cincinnati Zoo, in the same cage that had held Martha, the last passenger pigeon, 4 years earlier, 1918
The Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country's first constitution, 1921
Great Britain grants Egypt independence, 1922
The first issue of "New Yorker" magazine is published, 1925
The first instant developing camera is demonstrated in NYC, by E H Land,1947
Watson and Crick discover the structure of the DNA molecule; according to legend, they walk into the Eagle Pub in Cambridge and Crick announces "We have found the secret of Life," 1953

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good News/Bad News/Silly News

The good news is the doctor thinks my staph is clearing up nicely. Just continue on the antibiotics, and that will take care of the rest, he says.

The bad news is that the antibiotics have removed all the good bacteria as well, even with me taking probiotics, and a fungal infection has moved in to the area.

So the doc prescribes an oral antifungal, and being the obsessive nut that I am, I actually read the literature that accompanied the meds. It turns out, as I confirmed with the pharmacist, that the stronger of the two antibiotics I am on increases liver enzymes, which will then remove the antifungal from my body faster, lessening its effectiveness. (It also apparently has the same effect on my thyroid medicine, but I've lived with little or no thyroid hormone for over 30 years, what's another two weeks?)

Of course, I didn't get the med, and this info, until the afternoon. My doctor's office is closed on Friday afternoons. Forget Wednesday afternoon golf for the good doctors of this world, they got smart and now they want long weekends like everybody else.


So I will take all the pills as scheduled through the weekend, and call on Monday to find out if he thinks this is a problem, or if he wants me on a different antifungal or antibiotic.

Meanwhile, I've gone from a person who takes no pills to someone who needs a schedule sheet just to keep up with the crazy things. Some on an empty stomach, some separate from others, some of which might be canceling each other out.

Still, I'm glad to know what the problem is, so I can deal with it.

On a totally different note, the silly news. Today is Hoodie Hoo Day for the northern hemisphere. You celebrate this by going outside at noon local time and waving your hands in the air and yelling "Hoodie Hoo" to the sun to get it to hurry the spring along. Makes sense, actually, as we are all tired of winter by now and a bit crazy from being cooped up.

So if you aren't too worried about what the neighbors will think, or they know you are nuts anyway and you don't care (my situation), head out at noon and call spring to your area.

Today is:

Adopt a Goblin Orphan Day -- Fairy Calendar

Cherry Pie Day

Clam Chowder Day

Hoodie Hoo Day (Northern Hemisphere)

Love Your Pet Day

St. Wulfric's Day

Student Volunteer Day

World Day for Social Justice

Birthdays Today:

Andrew Shue, 1967
Cindy Crawford, 1966
French Stewart, 1964
Charles Barkley, 1963
Patty Hearst, 1954
Gordon Brown, 1951
Ivana Trump, 1949
Jennifer O'Neill, 1948
Sandy Duncan, 1946
Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1941
Nancy wilson, 1937
Bobby Unser, 1934
Sidney Poitier, 1927
Robert Altman, 1925
Gloria Vanderbilt, 1924
Gale Gordon, 1906
Ansel Adams, 1902

Today in History:

Orkney and Shetland are pawned by Norway to Scotland so King Christian I can pay his daughter's dowry, 1472
The first recorded wine auction is held, in London, 1673
Austria declares bankruptcy, 1811
Concepcion, Chile, is destroyed by an earthquake, 1835
The US Congress prohibits dueling in the District of Columbia, 1839
Luther Crowell patents a machine to manufacture paper bags, 1872
The first minor league baseball association is organined, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1887
King O'Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra, 1913
A new volcano, Paricutin, erupts in a farmer's cornfield in Mexico, 1943

Friday, February 19, 2010

Torn Between Two Posts

What I really wanted to post about this morning was the "Family Circus" comic strip, which made its debut on this day in 1960. I wanted to talk about how amusing it still is after all these years, and about how it has changed, yet remained the same.

Instead, I have to cut it short because the staph infection is back with a vengeance, it seems. I have been on the antibiotics for over a week, and it is not getting better.

Today is:

Army Day, Mexico

Butter Festival begins, China

Chief Leschi Day

Flag Day, Netherlands and Turkmenistan

Fly-By for Goblins and others -- Fairy Calendar

National Chocolate Mint Day

Pusiuraura, Melanesia (god of the dart game)

St. Conrad of Piacenza's Day

Birthdays Today:

Justine Bateman, 1966
Seal, 1963
Jeff Daniels, 1955
Margaux Hemingway, 1955
Smokey Robinson, 1940
Lee Marvin, 1924
Willam III, 1817 (last king of the Netherlands -- there have only been queens since)
Nicolas Copernicus, 1473

Today in History:

Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus' defeats beats Clodius Albinus at Lyon, 197
Emperor Constantius II shuts down all pagan temples, 356
The second Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ends as a council in Constantinople formally reinstates veneration of icons in the churches, 842
Jews of Tyrnau, Hungary (then Trnava, Czech) are expelled, 1539
The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America, 1600
Britain and the Netherlands sign the Peace of Westminster, and New Amsterdam formally becomes New York, 1674
The first practical coal burning locomotive in the US makes a trial run, in Pennsylvania, 1831
Tin-type camera is patented by Hamilton Smith of Gambier, Ohio, 1856
Daniel E. Sickles is acquitted of the murder of his wife's lover, Phillip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key), on the grounds of temporary insanity, the first time this defense is successfully used, 1859
Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom in Russia, 1861
Thomas Edison patents the gramophone (phonograph), 1878
Kansas becomes the first US state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages, 1881
WK Kellog and Charles Bolin found the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co., 1906
The first prize is inserted into a Cracker Jack box, 1913
Ed Wynn becomes the first talent to sign as a radio entertainer, 1922
Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize for poetry, 1949
Bill Keane's "Family Circus" comic strip makes its debut, 1960

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Record Madness: Feb. 18, 1930

There is something about being on record as the first to attempt an unusual act that leads to odd behavior.

A good example of this is the tale of Elm Farm Ollie (real name Nellie Jay), the Guernsey cow who was such a prodigious producer that she had to be milked 3 times a day.

Back in the days when aeronautics had not been around for long, if you came up with a new idea, chances are you would be the first. So when someone got the bright idea to bring a cow along in a plane, and milk her midflight, and put the milk in paper cartons to be parachuted to the crowds below at the St. Louis International Air Exposition, it was, naturally, a first.

Ostensibly this was done so scientists could study how animals behave in midair, but lets face it. Really it was about doing something wacky, and being first, and getting in the record books.

The fact that it has inspired a comic opera, "Madame Butterfat," is gravy. Milk gravy, of course.

So today, in honor of the record setting bovine, lift a glass of milk and give a cheer for the "Sky Queen" as she was known post flight.

And try not to laugh so hard with milk in your mouth. Holy cow.

Today is:

Feast of Tacita -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of silence)

Festival of Women, Persian (traditional)

Fly-By for Fairies and Elves -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day, Gambia

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

National Battery Day

National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

Pluto Day

St. Bernadette's Day

St. Fra Angelico's Day (patron of artists)

Tribhuvan Jayanti, Nepal (democracy day)

Anniversaries Today:

Ohio State University is chartered as the first US land-grant college,

Birthdays Today:

Jillian Michaels, 1974
Molly Ringwald, 1968
Dr. Dre, 1965
Matt Dillon, 1964
Vanna White, 1957
John Travolta, 1954
John Hughes, 1950
Cybill Shedherd, 1950
Andrea Dromm, 1941
Yoko Ono, 1933
Milos Forman, 1932
Toni Morrison, 1931
Gahan Wilson, 1930
George Kennedy, 1925
Helen Gurley Brown, 1922
Bill Cullen, 1920
Jack Palance, 1920
Hans Asperger, 1906
Enzo Ferrari, 1898
George "The Gipper" Gipp, 1895
Boris Pasternak, 1890
Nikos Kazantzakis, 1883
Sholem Aleichem, 1859
Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1848
Ernst Mach, 1838
Count Alessandro Volta, 1745
Uesugi Kenshin, 1530 (Japanese samurai and warlord)
Mary I Tudor, 1516
Saint Jadwiga of Poland, 1374

Today in History:

Origin of the Kali Yuga Epoch ("age of vice" or Dark Age) of the Hindu/Buddhist calendars. BC3102
Jerusalem is taken by Emperor Frederik II, 1129
Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia, begins his campaigns in the southern Muslim regions, 1332
Henry Tudor (Henry VIII) created Prince of Wales, 1503
Zeeland falls to Dutch rebels, 1574
John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" is published, 1678
Fort Saint Lewis, Texas, is founded by Frenchmen under LaSalle at Matagorda Bay, the basis for France's claim to Texas, 1685
Quakers conduct their first formal protest of slavery in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1688
Trinidad is surrendered to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, 1797
The Detroit Boat Club (still in existence) forms, 1839
The first continuous filibuster in the US Senate begins, lasts until March 11, 1841
The first regular steamboat service to California begins, 1849
A direct telegraph link between Britain and New Zealand is established, 1876
Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is published, 1885
The Cave of Winds at Niagara Falls goes almost dry for the first time in 50 years, 1896
Winston Churchill makes his first speech in the British House of Commons, 1901
H. Cecil Booth patents a dust removing suction cleaner, 1901
The first official flight with air mail takes place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet delivers 6,500 letters to Naini (a distance of about 10K), 1911
The US and Canada begin formal diplomatic relations, with the appointment of Vincent Massey as the first Canadian ambassador to the US, 1927
The first Academy Awards are announced, 1929
Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first flying cow, 1930

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not much is going on here today. besides shivering.

And laundry. Always, laundry.

Today is:

Ash Wednesday, Lent begins -- Christian

Basant Pancham, India (Festival of Spring, wear yellow, fly a yellow kite, and eat saffron infused rice.)

Bonten Festival, Japan (Young men race uphill to see who will provide the Taiheizan Miyoshi shrine with the sacred symbol of the animal of the year.)

Champion Crab Races Day

Feast of Shesmu -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (god of the winepress)

Fornacalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (bread festival)

My Way Day

National Cafe Au Lait Day

Naitonal PTA Founders Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day

World Human Spirit Day

Birthdays Today:

Jerry O'Connell, 1974
Bryan White, 1974
Billie Joe Armstrong, 1972
Denise Richards, 1972
Michael Jordan, 1963
Rene Russo, 1954
Jim Brown, 1936
Alan Bates, 1934
Hal Holbrook, 1925
Arthur Kennedy, 1914
Red Barber, 1908
Dorothy Canfield Fisher, 1879
William Cadbury, 1867
Friedrich A Krupp, 1854
A. Montgomery Ward, 1844

Today in History:

Miles Standish is appointed the first commander of the Plymouth colony, 1621
The first volume of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" is published, 1776
The first ship passes through the Suez Canal, 1867
Women's suffragist Esther Morris is appointed the first female justice of the peace in the US, in South Pass City, Wyoming, 1870
Sardines are first canned, by Julius Wolff of Eastport, Maine, 1876
The first minimum wage law in the US takes effect, in Oregon, 1913
Johnny Weissmuller sets the 100-yard freestyle record (52.4 seconds), 1924
The first telecast of a sporting event in Japan, a baseball game, 1931
The first issue of "Newsweek" magazine is published, 1933

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Many Names Can One Day Have?

Tomorrow starts the church season of Lent, a time of fasting, penitence, and reflection. In years past, the days before this season were spent using up the last of the foods that would be forbidden during the fast.

The fast season coincides with what British gardeners and farmers called the "hungry gap" -- the time when favored foods stored from the previous harvest are becoming scarce or must be used before they go bad, and no new crops are expected for a while.

The pre-Lent feasting grew over the years into the many celebrations around the world that we hear about.

Some names for today's celebrations:

Portuguese, Terça-feira Gorda; French, Mardi Gras;
Italian, Martedì Grasso; Swedish, Fettisdagen; Danish Fastelavn;
Norwegian, Fastelavens; Estonian, Vastlapäev. Other countries called it
the Tuesday of Carnival, referring to the popular celebration of Carnival
that became associated with the feasting: Spanish, Martes de Carnaval;
Portuguese, Terça-feira de Carnaval; and German, Faschingsdienstag).
Also Malasada Day in Hawaii, Uzgavenes in Lithuania.

Whatever you choose to call it, have a blessed Tuesday!

Today is:

Bumper Car Day

Carnaval/Carnival (How you spell it depends on where you live.)

Do a Grouch a Favor Day

Feast of Sticky Buns

Independence Day, Lithuania

International Pancake Day

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)

Mule Day

National Almond Day

Panczki Day

Respectable Tales of Kelp-Koli -- Fairy Calendar (5 minutes only)

Shrove Tuesday -- Christian, also called Fastnachts Day by the Pennsylvania Dutch

Sprengidagur, Iceland (bursting day -- feast before Lent on a traditional meat and pea dish until you think you will burst!)

Birthdays Today:

John McEnroe, 1959
LeVar Burton, 1957
Sonny Bono, 1935
Vera-Ellen, 1921
Patty Andrews, 1920
Jimmy Wakely, 1914
Hugh Beaumont, 1909
Richard McDonald, 1909
Edgar Bergan, 1903
Johann Strauss, 1866
Emperor Yingzong of China, 1032

Today in History:

9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, 374
Pope Gregory the Great issues a decree saying that "God bless you" is the correct response to a sneeze, 600
English king Charles I accepts Triennial Act, requiring the king to assemble Parliament at least once every 3 years, 1641
The first known check (cheque) is written, for 400 English Pounds Sterling (currently on display at Westminster Abbey), 1659
Kentucky passes a law permitting women to attend school under certain conditions, 1838*
Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus, 1838
American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica, 1840
The Battle of Sobraon ends the First Sikh War in India, 1846
Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established, 1852
The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch, 1859
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks forms, 1868
The "Ladies Home Journal" begins publishing, 1883
The first Chinese daily newspaper in the US, Chung Sai Yat Po, begins publication in San Francisco, 1900
The first US Esperanto Club organizes in Boston, 1905
The first synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid, Spain, 1917
The first patent is issued for a tree, to James Markham for a peach tree, 1932
Britain abolishes the death penalty, 1956

*This is the same US state that still has a law on its books requiring
every resident to take a bath at least once a year, whether the person
needs it or not!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Which Holiday?

As I noted before, the holidays have crashed all together on this year's calendar. This has made for Valentine displays right next to Mardi Gras colors in the stores, amid the President's Day sales. Can we say "clash of colors?" Big red heart displays next to flags next to the purple, gold, and green of Carnival -- ouch.

Because it has put President's Day into the middle of the mix, it has added one other dilemma. The problem down here, where Carnival parades can make mail delivery next to impossible, is that every business that closes for holidays has to pick.

So, some banks are closed today for President's Day, and open tomorrow. Some, it is the opposite, open today and observing Mardi Gras as their holiday tomorrow. Our credit union seems to have a split personality, and the branches in northern Louisiana are closed today, the ones down here are closed tomorrow.

And I can never get straight which day we will get mail.

The good news for my retail friends, like Jody the "Coffee Bar Goddess" at Whole Foods (a/k/a Whole Paycheck!), is that the next major holiday for which they have to keep up with displays is St. Patrick's Day, just over a month from now.

Note to Canadians: Happy Flag Day! Commemorating the raising of the National Flag of Canada, the maple leaf flag, over Parliament Hill in Ottawa on this day in 1965.

Today is:

Battleship Day

Bolludagur, Iceland (Bun Day)

Clean Out Your Computer Day

Candlemas - on the Julian Calendar

Decimal Day, UK

Fasching, Austria, Germany

Flag Day, Canada

Great Lent - a/k/a Clean Monday, Ash Monday, Pure Monday, Monday of Lent, Shrove Monday, Collop Monday, Rose Monday, Merry Monday or Hall Monday, and (in Cypress) Green Monday -- Orthodox Christian

Kamakura Day, Japan (Snow Cave Festival)

Lantern Festival, China and Taiwan

Lundi Gras (Fat Monday)

Lupercalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar, festival of Faunus/Pan, god of shepherds

National Gum Drop Day

Nirvana Day -- Buddhist

President's Day - third Monday of month

Remember the Maine Day

Senior Day

Shrove Monday

Singles Awareness Day

St. Sigfrid's Day (patron of Sweden)

Susan B. Anthony Day

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (through the 16th)

Birthdays Today:

Renee O'Connor, 1971
Jane Child, 1967
Chris Farley, 1964
Matt Groening, 1954
Melissa Manchester, 1951
Jane Seymour, 1951
Claire Bloom, 1931
Harvey Korman, 1927
Cesar Romero, 1907
John Barrymore, 1882
Elihu Root, 1824
Susan B. Anthony, 1820
Cyrus McCormick, 1809
Henry Engelhard Steinway, 1797
Galileo Galilei, 1564
Babur, 1483 (founder of Mughal dynasty in India)
Claudius Drusus Germanicus Caesar Nero, 37

Today in History:

Philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death, BC399
Khosrau II is crowned as king of Persia, 590
Ho-tse Shen-hui, Zen teacher, disputes the founder of Northern Ch'an line, 732
The city of St. Louis, Missouri, is founded by Pierre Laclade Ligue as a French trading post, 1764
The first US printed ballots are authorized, in Philadelphia, 1799
Sarah Roberts is barred from attending a white school in Boston, 1848
Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admits its first patient, 1852
A fire in Rotterdam, Netherlands, damages the Museum Boymans, 1864
Nine inches (23cm) of snow falls on New Orleans, Louisiana, 1898
The USS Maine sinks in Havana harbor, cause unknown-258 sailors die, 1898
The first Teddy Bear is introduced in America, made by Morris and Rose Michtom, 1903

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Year of the Tiger

Yes, it is Valentines Day for us in the US. To some it is just another small holiday which the gift card industry has hyped. To many it is just another trap for men who are expected to be romantic on command.

To other parts of the world, though, it is New Year's Day, and today ushers in the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

This particular Year of the Tiger is associated with the element metal. Tigers are supposedly born leaders, whose motto is "I Win" and who tend to be noble and fearless. They can be very generous, and work hard for humanitarian causes. and on the opposite side can be rash and hot-headed.

Tigers should marry someone born in the year of the Horse, Boar (sometimes called Pig), or Dog. They work with other Tigers for mutual causes, but can mistrust each other. Tigers should avoid Snakes and Rabbits, for there will be suspicion on both sides. Monkeys will always be their enemies.

Even though I don't believe in Zodiac signs, the stories surrounding their origin are fun to read.

Happy Valentines Day, and Happy Year of the Tiger!

Today is:

Bird Mating Season begins

Cat Festival

Cheesefare Sunday -- Orthodox Christian, sometimes called Forgiveness
Sunday (the last day that dairy products can be eaten before the Lenten

Chinese New Year

Daytona 500

Feast of Vali -- Norse Calendar (archer god)

Ferris Wheel Day

Fjortende Februar, Denmark

International Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day

League of Women Voter's Day

Library Lover's Day

National Call In Single Day (What a lot of men who feel pressured to be
romantic on this day wish they could do, I'm sure!)

National Cardiovascular Technologists Recognition Day

National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

National Have a Heart Day

National Organ Donor Day

National Random Acts of Kindness Day

National Women's Heart Day

Quirky Alone Day

Race Relations Day

Read to Your Child Day

Shrovetide (through the 16th)

Sts. Cyril & Methodius' Day (patrons of Czechoslovakia, Europe, the Slavs)

Transfiguration Sunday

Valentine's Day

World Marriage Day

Anniversaries Today:

Oregon becomes the 33rd US state, 1859
Arizona becomes the 48th US state, 1912

Birthdays Today:

Drew Bledsoe, 1972
Meg Tilly, 1960
Gregory Hines, 1946
Carl Bernstein, 1944
Michael Bloomberg, 1942
Florence Henderson, 1934
Vic Morrow, 1932
Hugh Downs, 1921
Mel Allen, 1913
Jimmy Hoffa, 1913
Jack Benny, 1894
Gale Ferris, 1859
Frederick Douglass, 1817

Today in History:

The annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg make the first known mention of Lithuania, 1009
Roman Catholic emperor Leopold I chases the Jews out of Vienna, 1670
The "Stars and Stripes" arrives in France, appearing on foreign soil for the first time, 1778
The apple parer is patented by Moses Coats of Downington, Pennsylvania, 1803
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall declares that any act of the US Congress that conflicts with the Constitution is void, 1803
A.G. Bell and Elisha Gray both apply for a patent for a telephone; Bell is first by only 2 hours, and is ruled the rightful inventor, 1876
The first trainload of California grown fruit, oranges, leaves L.A. for the east,1889
The Canadian 5 cent nickel coin is authorized, 1921
The Bank of England is nationalized, 1946

Saturday, February 13, 2010

One Quick Hit

This long weekend is a great example of how the "One Quick Hit" works.

The last couple of weeks have been relatively quiet, holiday-wise. The days just pop along, one after another, passing by quietly as rosary beads slipping through my grandmother's fingers while she silently prayed.

Then, this extra long weekend, Carnival, Valentines, President's Day, Chinese New Year, no school because of snow, Lundi Gras, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, the Amplified retreat for the kids, school out for these holidays next week, a quick visit to the doctor for an ear infection for Bigger Girl before they shut for the weekend -- Mercy!

My calendar tends toward this. Blank areas, with huge tangles only in spots, where everything is scheduled to happen all at once. Then, again, serenity, or at least as serene as things can be with this house and household.

At least I got the snacks made for the kids' retreat in the church kitchen while we were there cleaning it, so I could just leave them up there. As I said, it all happens at once.

Today is:

Blessing of the Salmon Nets, Northumberland

Carnaval, Rio de Janiero (Through the 16th)

Confession Day

Dream of Your Sweetheart Day

Downer's Grove Ice Sculpting Festival, through the 14th

Festival Sundiata, Seattle, Washington (celebrates the history and legend of King Sundiata Keita of the Mali Empire in West Africa)

Get a Different Name Day

Employee Legal Awareness Day

Madly in Love With Me Day

National Tortini Day

Parentalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (honoring the soul of your father)

St. Augustine's Day

St. Catherine dei Ricci's Day

St. Priscilla's Day

Yuma Crossing Day, Yuma, Arizona

Birthdays Today:

Mena Suvari, 1979
Robbie Williams, 1974
Kelly Hu, 1968
Peter Gabriel, 1950
Stockard Channing, 1944
Jerry Springer, 1944
Peter Tork, 1942
George Segal, 1934
Kim Novak, 1933
Chuck Yeager, 1923
Eileen Farrell, 1920
Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1919
Grant Wood, 1892
Alvin York, 1887
Bess Truman, 1885
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, 1754

Today in History:

Baghdad falls to the Mongols, and the Abbasid Caliphate is destroyed, 1258
Jews are expelled from Burgsordf, Switzerland, 1349
The Disfida di Barletta (Challenge of Barletta); Frenchman Charles de la Motte accused Italians of cowardice, and thirteen Italians proceeded to rout 13 Frenchmen in a chivalrous horseback tourney, 1503
St. Augustine, Florida, is founded, becoming the oldest continuously occupied European established city, and the oldest port, in the continental United States, 1566
Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for trial before the Inquisition for professing belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, 1633
Treaty of Lisbon: Spain recognizes Portugal, 1668
The Massacre of Glencoe: 78 members of the clan Macdonald are murdered for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange (William III), 1692
Cholera appears in London, 1832
Work begins on the covering of the Senne, burying Brussels's primary river and creating the modern central boulevards, 1880
The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert, 1881
Painter Thomas Eakins resigns from Philadelphia Academy of Art after controversial over use of male nudes in a coed art class, 1886
English suffragettes storm British Parliament and 60 women are arrested, 1907

Friday, February 12, 2010

Not a Real Post

This is just a quick note because it has been snowing, which put us late to work, where I also had to make snacks for the youth group tonight, and that made us late so we couldn't go to the bank (where they had a line out the door and only two tellers!) and now I have to drop everything and run Bigger Girl to the doctor because I think she has strep throat.

Today is:

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Borrowed Days (through the 14th), Scottish Highlands (Gaelic Faoilteach, days supposedly borrowed from January, and if the weather is bad, the rest of the year will be good.)

Choes Day -- Ancient Greek Calendar, Day of the Cups

Darwin Day

Feast of Diana/Artemis (goddess of the hunt)

Festival of Pitooyage, Oaxaca, Mexico (god of gaming and chance)

Lost Penny Day -- collect all those pennies you have hanging around and donate them to a good cause

Maha Shivaratri -- Hindu

Oglethorpe Day

Plum Pudding Day

Safety Pup Day

St. Julian the Hospitaler (patron of travelers, innkeepers, boatmen, circus performers)

St. Meletius' Day

Union Day, Burma

Winter Olympics begin

Birthdays Today:

Jennifer Stone, 1993
Christina Ricci, 1980
Naseem Hamed, 1974
Arsenio Hall, 1955
Joanna Kerns, 1953
Michael McDonald, 1952
Steve Hackett, 1950
Ray Manzarek, 1939
Judy Blume, 1938
Bill Russell, 1934
Joe Garagiola, 1926
Franco Zeffirelli, 1923
Dom DiMaggio, 1917
Lorne Greene, 1915
Ted Mack, 1904
Omar Bradley, 1893
John Graham Chambers, 1843
Charles Darwin, 1809
Abraham Lincoln, 1809
Cotton Mather, 1663
John Winthrop the Younger, 1606
John Winthrop the Elder, 1588
Kujo Yoritsune, Japanese shogun, 1218

Anniversaries Today:

Maria Therese Habsburg marries Emperor Francios I, 1736

Today in History:

Granada Muslims are forced to convert to Catholicism, 1502
Santiago, Chile, is founded, 1541
The first US fugitive slave law, requiring the return of runaway slaves, is passed, 1793
The Creek Indian treaty is signed, requiring the tribes to turn over all of their land in Georgia to the government and migrate west by Sept. 1 the following year, 1825
Ecuador annexes the Galapagos Islands, 1832
Official proclamation sets April 15 as last day of grace for US silver coins to circulate in Canada, 1870
The US Congress abolishes bimetallism and authorizes $1 and $3 gold coins, 1873
King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands/Hawaii becomes the first king to visit the US, 1874
The first news dispatch by telephone takes place, between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, 1877
News of the Battle of Isandlwana, the single greatest defeat for the British Army at the hands of a native army, reaches London, 1879
The New York to Paris auto race, via Alaska and Siberia, begins; George Schuster wins after 88 days behind the wheel, 1908
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) forms, 1909
The last Ch'ing (Manchu) emperor of China, Hsuan T'ung, abdicates, 1912

Thursday, February 11, 2010

There's Cold, and Then There is Stone Cold

Stone cold-hearted, that is.

It seems that a woman in NYC took her dog for a walk, and stopped at a grocery store to buy milk. She left the terrier tethered outside, and when she came back out of the store, the dog had been mugged for his doggie coat!

While I think the person who would steal the coat off of a dog's back in cold weather is just plain mean, I also wonder about the owner who would leave a small animal unattended in this day and time.

Maybe this is silly of me. Still, I've always wondered about people who leave the animal in the car or tied up outside while they run in the store for "just a minute." I know how easy it is to lose track of those minutes. Around here it is usually because we are worried about the animal getting overheated, but cold can be just as dangerous.

Now we know, also, that nothing is too sacred for thieves, not even wool and leather trim doggie coats.

Feb. 11

Today is:

Anthesteria, Feast of Flowers; Ancient Greece (Three day feast to Dionysus, god of wine, to celebrate the maturing of the wine stored from the previous vintage.)

Be Electrified Day

Berlin International Film Festival begins

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day

Feast of the Incappucciati, Italy (In Gradoli, near Viterbo, the members of the Confraternity of Purgatory make the rounds of the town dressed in traditional hooded robes, bearing a banner and walking to the beat of a drum to collect foodstuffs in the name of the souls in purgatory; the
food is then served at the banquet on Ash Wednesday.)

Ghost Day

Grandmother Achievement Day

Independence Day, Vatican City (a/k/a Lateranensi Pact Day, for the pact that established it as an independent state)

Kenkoku Kenen-no-hi, Japan (also called National Foundation Day or Empire Day)

Make a New Friend Day

National Peppermint Patty Day

National Shut-In Visitation Day

Nelson Mandella Day, South Africa

Pro Sports Wives Day

Satisfied Staying Single Day

St. Caedmon's Day

White T-Shirt Day

Youth Day, Cameroon

Anniversaries Today:

The founding of London University, 1826

Birthdays Today:

Kelly Rowland, 1981
Matt Lawrence, 1980
Brandy, 1979
Mike Shinoda, 1977
Jennifer Aniston, 1969
Sarah Palin, 1964
Sheryl Crow, 1963
Sergio Mendes, 1941
Bobby "Boris" Pickett, 1938
Burt Reynolds, 1936
Tina Louise, 1934
Leslie Nielsen, 1926
Eva Gabor, 1921
Sidney Sheldon, 1917
Max Baer, 1909
Thomas Alva Edison, 1847

Today in History:

Traditional date for the founding of the Japanese empire under Emperor Jimmu, BC660
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Empire, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome, which clears the way for Nero to become Emperor, 55
The Pennsylvania Hospital opens, the first in the US, 1752
Anthracite coal is burned experimentally as fuel for the first time, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1808
Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting bill that leads to the first use of the term "gerrymander," 1812
The first public toilet facilities for women opens in London, on Bedford Street, 1852
The Meiji constitution of Japan is adopted, 1889
Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control, 1916

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Round 3

In the same way that winter is not giving up this year, my staph infection has me gearing up for round 3. I will be back on the antibiotics as soon as I can get to the pharmacy this afternoon.

At least this time I did not have to go to the doctor. I just called his nurse, told her "It's ba-ack!" and the doc called in some stronger meds. Let's hope this puts the bacteria down for the count, though; the cold is hard enough to deal with without my body having to be a battle ground.

Today is:

Feast of Saint Paul's Shipwreck, Malta

National Cream Cheese Brownie Day

Plimsoll Day (Honoring Samuel Plimsoll, the "Sailor’s Friend," who persuaded Parliament to have a maximum load limit on ships.)

School Day

St. Scholastica's Day (patron of children in convulsions, nuns, and bringing rain)

Umbrella Day

World Marriage Day

Anniversaries Today:

Queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert von Saxe-Coburg, 1840
Tom Thumb marries Mercy Lavinia Warren, 1863
Poland is symbolically married to the Baltic Sea by Jozef Haller de Hallenburg, celebrating the restitution of Polish access to the water, 1920

Birthdays Today:

Lance Berkman, 1976
Laura Dern, 1967
Glen Beck, 1964
Cliff Burton, 1962
George Stephanopoulos, 1961
Greg Norman, 1955
Mark Spitz, 1950
Roberta Flack, 1939
Robert Wagner, 1930
Leontyne Price, 1927
Lon Chaney, Jr., 1906
Bertolt Brecht, 1898
Jimmy Durante, 1893
Boris Pasternak, 1890
Samuel Plimsoll, 1824
Charles Lamb, 1775

Today in History:

St. Paul is shipwrecked on the island of Malta, 60
Crusaders defeat Prince Redwan of Aleppo at Antioch, 1098
The St. Scholastica's Day riot breaks out in Oxford, England, leaving 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead in two days, 1355
Wampanoag Indians under King Philip kill all the men in Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1676
Edmund Halley is appointed the second Astronomer Royal of England, 1720
The Treaty of Paris ends the French and Indian War, surrendering Canada to England, 1763
Simon Bolivar is named dictator by the Congress of Peru, 1824
The first US fire extinguisher patent granted to Alanson Crane of Virginia, 1863
The YWCA is founded in NYC, 1870
Nearly 11,000,000 acres of land, ceded to the US government by the Sioux Indians, is opened for settlement, 1890
The New York Times begins using the slogan, "All the news that's fit to print," 1897
Japan and Russia declare war after Japan's surprise attack on Russian fleet at Port Arthur disabled 7 Russian warships, 1904
Britain's first modern and largest battleship "HMS Dreadnought" is launched, 1906
Baseball outlaws all pitches that involve tampering with the ball, 1920
New Delhi becomes the capital of India, 1931
The first singing telegram is delivered, by the Postal Telegram Company
of NYC, 1933
Glenn Miller is awarded the first ever gold disc for selling one millioncopies of "Chattanooga Choo Choo," 1942

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Do Not Call Does Not Work

In an attempt to cut down on sales calls, I have done a couple of things.

The first is to have us listed in the phone book under the name of our cat. (Actually, it's the cat we had when we got that number, but which has since died. Anyway...) Yes, we really are listed under the cat's name. That way, I can tell people how to look us up, but if we get a call saying, "May I speak to Mr. or Mrs. Fluffy?" I know it is a sales call and tell them they have the wrong number and hang up.

The other is that I have put us on the "Do Not Call" registry. It hasn't helped much.

We still get the computer generated "we want to sell you insurance/lower your interest rate/get you to come to our store" calls. We still get the calls from charities where less than half the money goes to the charity, most of it goes to the people raising the money for the charity.

I will admit we haven't gotten the ones about selling us siding (cladding in some parts of the world) for the house in a while. Maybe they got the message that a brick home doesn't need it.

Still, we get too many calls we don't want, and my kids have a tendency to grab the phone first and look at the caller ID later.

One solution, besides just hanging up, is to say, "Wow, this sounds great! Let me go get my spouse on the extension to you can talk to both of us!" Then set the phone down and leave it off the hook for half an hour.

I have not been brave enough to try it yet, but I am close.

Any other suggestions for what to do when "Do Not Call" does not work?

Today is:

Feast of Apollo

Feast of La'Ala'A, French Polynesia, Samoa (honors Upolu, god of wrestling)

National Bagels and Lox Day

National DAV (Develop Alternative Vices) Day - in hopes that bad habits will be altered to positive coping mechanisms

National Hooky Day

National Inventor's Day

Read in the Bathtub Day

St. Apollonia's Day (patron against toothaches)

Tales of Kelp-Koli begin -- Fairy Calendar

Toothache Day (And someone thought this needed a day because...? Okay, I guess because there is a patron saint for it. Or against it. However that works.)

USBC National Bowling Championships begin, through the 14th

Birthdays Today:

David Gallagher, 1985
Ziyi Zhang, 1979
Travis Tritt, 1963
Charles Shaughnessy, 1955
Mia Farrow, 1945
Alice Walker, 1944
Joe Pesci, 1943
Carole King, 1942
Roger Mudd, 1928
Brendan Behan, 1923
Kathryn Grayson, 1922
Gypsy Rose Lee, 1914
Ernest Tubb, 1914
Carmen Miranda, 1909
Ronald Colman, 1891
Amy Lowell, 1874
William Henry Harrison, 1773

Today in History:

The Synod of Breslau orders Jews of Silesia to wear special caps, 1267
The first recorded race meet in England in Roodee Fields, Chester, 1540
The British ex-premier Walpole becomes the Earl of Oxford, 1742
The first Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii, 1885
The first forestry school is incorporated at Kent, Ohio, 1909
Snow falls on Mauna Loa, Hawaii, 1922

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Joke Must Be Told

First, a note. As a Christian, I know that hell is not a joke, it is a place. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, it is where people go when they will not say to God, "Thy will be done."

With that as a disclaimer, I just cannot resist the following bit of Louisiana humor.

Boudreaux was not a good Cajun, so he did not make it into heaven. When the devil heard that he was getting one of those south Louisiana Cajuns, who was used to having things hot, he decided to crank up the heat just for his newcomer.

When Boudreaux arrived, the devil asked him, "So, how do you like the heat, Boudreaux?" And Boudreaux he say, "Mai oui, dis remin' me of July on Bayou

So that made the devil angry, and he cranked the heat up another notch. Then the next day he asked again, "So, how do you like the heat, Boudreaux?" And Boudreaux he say, "Sacre! Dis remin' me of August on Bayou des Alemans!"

Well, the devil 's not gonna take that, of course, and decides he's going to fix Boudreaux good. So he turns the thermostat down to well below freezing, and the next morning he sees Boudreaux shivering and asks one more time, "So, Boudreaux, how do you like hell now?"

And Boudreaux, through his chattering teeth, he say, "Man, you are lookin' at one happy Cajun!"

The devil, now absolutely hopping mad, yells, "What do you mean, happy!?!"

And Boudreaux he say, "Well, hell done froze over, the Saints musta won the Super Bowl!"

Today is:

Boy Scout Day - celebrates the birthday of scouting

Clean out Your Computer Day - second Monday of Month

Culture Day, Slovenia

Eidul Fitr (Breakfast Festival)

Hari Kuyo, Japan (Festival of Broken Needles, in which all of the worn or broken sewing needles from the previous year are put in a sacred resting place.)

Hold Onto Your Head Day

Hurling the Silver Ball, St. Ives, England

Kite Flying Day, Korea - in the middle of winter!?!

Laugh and Get Rich Day

National Molasses Bar Day

Narvik Sun Pageant (Vinterfestuka), Norway (to honor the sun goddess)

St. Jerome Emilani's Day (patron of orphans)

Birthdays Today:

Josh Keaton, 1979
David "Phoenix" Farrell, 1977
Seth Green, 1974
Gary Coleman, 1968
Claudette Pace, 1968
Vince Neil, 1961
Robert Klein, 1942
Nick Nolte, 1941
Ted Koppel, 1940
John Williams, 1932
James Dean, 1931
Jack Lemmon, 1925
Audrey Meadows, 1924
Freddie Blassie, 1921
Lana Turner, 1921
Lyle Talbot, 1902
Jules Verne, 1828

Today in History:

Isaac Newton reads his first optics paper before the Royal Society in London, 1672
French and Indian troops set Schenectady, NY, afire, 1690
The Supreme Privy Council is established in Russia, 1726
The first opera in the US, "Flora," opens in South Carolina,1735
A minor earthquake shakes London, 1750
The strange phenomenon called the "Devil's Footprints" mysteriously appear in Devon, England, 1855
Martin Robinson Delany becomes the first black major in the US Army, 1865
The Boy Scouts of America is incorporated by William D. Boyce, 1910
Swiss men vote against women's suffrage, 1920
Radio arrives at the White House, 1922

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Boxed Blessings

Well, my parents did come yesterday, and we had a great time, and now my library has exploded again. Seriously, it looks like someone's closet and dresser had a gastrointestinal problem in there!

My mom loves to shop, and when she has too many clothes for her closet, she brings stuff here. Then we take what we can use, and find homes for the rest.

Until we get through the 5 boxes (yes, that's how much she brought this time, 5 boxes!), our library will look more like the back of a messy clothing store.

Today is:

Ballet Day

Charles Dickens Day

Daniel Boone Escape Day (He escaped from the Shawnee tribe which had captured him.)

Daytona Pole Day

Festiglace du Quebec, through the 14th

Homstrom, Switzerland (celebration of the end of winter in which straw men, symbolizing old man winter, are burned)

Independence Day, Grenada

International Mountain Climbing School Ice Festival

Man Day

Meatfare Sunday -- Orthodox Christian Calendar (begins Meatfare Week, a time of abstaining from meat in preparation for Lent. Some Orthodox communities call this Butterweek)

National Fettucini Alfredo Day

National Run-For-Your-Life Day

National Hangover Awareness Day

No Talk Day

Send a Card to a Friend Day - obviously created by a card company

Super Bowl XLIV

Wave All you Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

Birthdays Today:

Tina Majorino, 1985
Ashton Kutcher, 1978
Chris Rock, 1965
Garth Brooks, 1962
James Spader, 1960
Keefe Brasselle, 1923
Eddie Bracken, 1920
Larry "Buster" Crabbe, 1908
Sinclair Lewis, 1885
Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867
Charles Dickens, 1812
John Deere, 1804
Sir Thomas More, 1478

Today in History:

The Mongols burn the Russian city of Vladimir, 1238
Edward of Carnarvon,later Edward II, becomes the first English prince to hold the title Prince of Wales, 1301
King Philip II forms an Inquisition in South America, 1569
Academie Francaise begins a Dictionary of the French Language, 1639
An 8.2 magnitude earthquake shakes New Madrid, Missouri, 1812
The colonial Tasmanian Parliament passes the Electoral Act of 1856, the first piece of legislation anywhere in the world providing for elections by way of a secret ballot, 1856
The Battle at Ingogo, Transvaal: the Boers defeat superior British forces, 1881
The Great Blizzard of 1891 begins, 1891
Baltimore catches fire; 1500 buildings are destroyed in 80 blocks, 1904
The Mud March, the first large procession organized by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), 1907
Charlie Chaplin debuts "The Tramp" in "Kid Auto Races at Venice," 1914
The first wireless message sent from a moving train to a station is received, 1915
Bert Hinkler begins the first solo flight from England to Australia, 1928

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Catnip Expert

Did you know that catnip has gone gourmet? Wine has been that way for years, coffee has caught up, and chocolate has those who discuss the merits of this region and variety versus that one, but catnip?

#2 Son, the 13 year boy, is apparently an expert. He says that the best is grown in Alaska and Canada, and that you can tell the region of origin and quality by the cut and smell. Apparently the better varieties are almost powdered.

He stood in the cat shelter, looking at their "stash" (his word) of catnip, and identifying the types in unmarked packets, by cut and smell. It was so funny, a boy his age talking about catnip the way a sommelier would discuss fine wine!

The funniest thing about it is that I don't know if he was being serious or just pulling my leg. He has always enjoyed giving catnip to our cats once in a while, and takes delight in introducing it to the kittens when they are weaned, but a catnip expert? Who knew?

Meanwhile, the grandparents are coming today to take the whole family out for lunch (a huge treat for mom, it means I don't have to cook dinner tonight, they can have leftovers!), then on to the big box store to buy bicycles for Bigger Girl, Little Girl, and #2 Son. #1 Son, of course, is 18 and in college and beyond bicycles, so will only come for lunch. After all, there is no such thing as a boy in his teens/early 20's who is actually full.

Today is:

Aldus Day (Aldus Manutius invented italics)

Bob Marley Day, Jamaica

Dump Your Significant Jerk Day (Shame this doesn't work when it is your brother-in-law!)

Lame Duck Day

Mid-Winter's Day

MOBIUS Awards Day

National Frozen Yogurt Day

Orchid Festival/Tropical Extravaganza, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London -- through March 7

Pay-A-Compliment Day

Royal Hobart Regatta Day, Tasmania (through the 8th)

Rubik-Cube Muddling Championships -- Fairy Calendar

St. Dorothy's Day (patron of brides, gardeners, florists, newlyweds; against lightning, fire, and thieves.)

Waitangi, Maori, New Zealand (treaty with Britain, 1840)

Anniversaries Today:

The College of William and Mary in Virginia is founded by royal charter, 1693

Birthdays Today:

Axl Rose, 1962
Natalie Cole, 1950
Bob Marley, 1945
Michael Tucker, 1944
Fabian, 1943
Tom Brokaw, 1940
Mike Farrell, 1939
Rip Torn, 1931
Mamie Van Doren, 1931
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1919
Mary Leakey, 1913
Ronald Reagan, 1911
Babe Ruth, 1895
Aaron Burr, 1756
Nicolaus II Bernoulli, 1695
Chongzhen, Emperor of China, 1611
Christopher Marlowe, 1564

Today in History:

The United States signs its first treaty, in which France recognizes the US and promises aid, 1778
New Jersey issues the first US railroad charter to John Stevens, 1815
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds Singapore, 1819
Harper's Weekly publishes the first picture of Uncle Sam with chin whiskers, 1869
The Young Women's Hebrew Association organizes in NYC, 1902
The "Monopoly" board game goes on sale for the first time, 1935
Turkey holds its first election in which women can vote, 1935
K Elizabeth Ohi becomes the first Japanese-US female lawyer, 1937

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can't Do a Thing About the Weather

I seem to be relegated to writing weather related posts this winter, even though you can't do a thing about it.

All you can do is observe it, and that is exactly what John Jeffries did. He was born on this day in 1744, and grew up to be a physician, aeronaut (he was in the balloon with Jean-Pierre Blanchard in 1785 when they were the first to fly across the English Channel ), and weather observer.

Dr. Jeffries kept a diary of the weather he observed, mostly in Boston and London, from 1774 until his death in 1819. He also took the weather measurements from the balloon flights he made.

In his honor, today is National Weatherperson's Day.

I just hope, after the steady rains of the last 36 or so hours (and yes, there is some water leaking into the house again, but by God's grace, not much), that today we will observe some sunshine.

Today is:

Bon Soo Winter Festival, Northern Ontario, through the 14th

Bubble Gum Day

Constitution Day, Mexico

Cordova Ice Worm Festival (through the 7th)

Disaster Day

Lailatul Quadr (Night of Power)

Move Hollywood & Broadway to Lebanon, PA Day (Why would they want it?)

National Chocolate Fondue Day

National Weatherman's Day

Primrose Day

Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo Yuki Matsuri), Japan, through the 11th

St. Agatha's Day (patron of Malta, nurses, jewelers, bell makers, bell ringers, wet nurses; against fire, breast cancer)

Wear Red Day

Winterlude, Ottawa winter festival, weekends through the 21st

World Nutella Day

Wyrd's Day (Celtic goddess of fortune telling)

Birthdays Today:
Jeremy Sumpter, 1989
Michael Sheen, 1969
Jennifer Jason Leigh, 1962
Christopher Guest, 1948
Barbara Hershey, 1948
Roger Stauback, 1942
H.R. Giger, 1940
Alex Harvey, 1935
Henry "Hank" Aaron, 1934
Andrew Greeley, 1928
Red Buttons, 1919
William Burroughs, 1914
Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr., 1900
Andre' Citroen, 1878
Belle Starr, 1848
Dwight Lyman Moody, 1837
Ole Bull, 1810
Sanjo, Emperor of Japan, 976

Today in History:

King Alfonso V orders Sicily's Jews to attend conversion sermons, 1428
A group of early Japanese Christians are killed by the new government of Japan for being seen as a threat to Japanese society, 1597
The first US livestock branding law is passed, in Connecticut, 1644
Methodists Charles and John Wesley arrive in Savannah, Georgia, 1736
Georgia becomes the first state to abolish both entail and primogeniture,1777
Sweden recognizes US independence, 1783
Hannah Lord Montague of New York creates the first detachable shirtcollar, 1825
The "Oregon Spectator" is the first newspaper published on the AmericanWest Coast, 1846
An adding machine employing depressible keys is patented in New Paltz, NY, 1850
Two innovations which helped pave the way for motion pictures are pateneted, a hand turned stereoscope by Samuel Goodale of Cincinnati, andthe Kinematoscope by Coleman Sellers of Philadelphia, 1861
Four inches of snow falls in San Francisco, 1887
The loop-the-loop centrifugal railroad (a/k/a the roller coaster) ispatented by Ed Prescot, 1901
Reader's Digest magazine is first published, 1922

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It is one of those blah, wet, dreary days that will bring in more cold. Proof that Punxsutawny Phil was right, winter is not yet over. It is on its way out, but still has fight left.

On a good note, the grandparents are coming into town Saturday with the intent to purchase new bikes for any of the grandchildren who want one! How amazing is this. It is a great blessing to have generous parents.

Meanwhile, I have to venture out into the wet cold (I'm glad I hung out the laundry yesterday!) to the bank. The best thing about that is the complimentary coffee. My favorite errands revolve around complimentary coffee -- that is the cheapskate in me.

Right now I am contemplating dinner. I think wet cold deserves either bangers and mash or creamy potato soup, mostly because I have lots of potatoes in the house right now. Either would make great comfort food.

Today is:

Create-A-Vacuum Day

General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Day, Poland

Independence Day, Sri Lanka

King Frost Day

Liberace Day

National Stuffed Mushroom Day

Obscurity Day

Quacker Day

St. Andrew Corsini's Day (patron against quarrels, sudden death)

St. John de Brito's Day (patron of Portugal)

Thank A Mailman Day


World Cancer Day

Anniversaries Today:

The University of Wisconsin is established, with one classroom and 20 students, 1849

Birthdays Today:

Natalie Imbruglia, 1975
Oscar De La Hoya, 1973
Lawrence Taylor, 1959
Alice Cooper, 1948
Dan Quayle, 1947
George A. Romero, 1940
David Brenner, 1936
Betty Friedan, 1921
Ida Lupino, 1918
Rosa Parks, 1913
Clyde W. Tombaugh, 1906
Charles Lindbergh, 1902

Today in History:

The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus dies, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta, 211
Maximilian I assumes the title Holy Roman Emperor without being crowned, 1508
Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler meet for the first time near Prague 1600
In Edo (now Tokyo), The 47 Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) after avenging the death of their master, 1703
The worst earthquake in 8 years in Calabria, Italy, leaves 50,000 dead, 1783
The first Anglican bishops of New York and Pennsylvania are consecrated in London, 1787
The French National Convention proclaims the abolishment of slavery, 1794
An earthquake in Quito, Ecuador, kills 41,000, 1797
J.W. Goodrich introduces his rubber galoshes to the public, 1824
The Mormons of Nauvoo, Missouri, leave to go west, eventually settling in Utah, 1846
The Codex Sinaiticus is found at the Greek Monastery of Mount Sinai, 1859
The first rolling lift bridge opens, in Chicago, 1895
The first Winter Olympics games close at Chamonix, France, 1924
The first tieless, soundless, shockless streetcar tracks open, in New Orleans, 1930
Radium E is the first radioactive substance to be produced synthetically, 1936

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Typical Boy

Having boys to raise is an adventure in itself.

I walked outside one day to observe the fire they had going in the bbq pit, and #2 Son, the 13 year boy said, "Oh, by the way, mom, we built the fire so big, it burned the handle off the outside of the bbq pit."

This pit is old, covered in rust, was cheap to begin with, and has seen several years use. There is not much more that can be done to it that could make it look any worse, and it works just fine. So I just laughed when he told me that. His friends were amazed -- they expected some yelling at least.

Then there are all the things they find in the neighbor's garbage to bring home. Sweetie is an archaeologist by training, which means he digs through people's trash. The kids do it, too. I draw the line at anything rotten, but the chairs the neighbors threw out, 3 of which the kids can use outdoors, I let them keep in the back yard, along with tons of other miscellaneous items brought out there over the years. Most of it serves a term of boy abuse from various neighbors, then breaks down completely and gets hauled off. It's okay, it keeps them entertained.

Dad plays an interesting role in all of this. Yesterday I pulled up to the house after picking up Bigger Girl from school (20 mile round trip at 4:30-5:30PM), already tired and trying to face cooking dinner to hear #2 Son yell, "Hey, mom, dad needs a crowbar and a hammer. My friend dropped his cell phone in the storm drain and we have to pry up the manhole cover!"

It took 3 trips to neighbor's houses to round up everything, but with crowbar, hammer, long broom handle, and duct tape, they were successful in retrieving it, none the worse for the wear. That makes 2 skateboards, a cell phone, 3 footballs, a puppy and a kitten we have rescued from that storm drain. I would ask the parish to install an easier way to get down in there, but then I would have to be retrieving the kids from it all of the time.

Then there are the things the boy has said to me over the past few days that I just can't keep to myself.

"No, I'm not taking deodorant. It's only guys there, and I want to knock them over with my man stink."

Upon coming home from that particular guy gathering, "I'm going to do the world a favor and take a shower."

As we pulled into a gas station, "I don't like this Exxon. Me and Sam came here with his dad after we all had Cane's chicken one day, and I blew chunks all over. It was awesome!"

When he heard classical music on the radio, "Bach! Rock on, dude!"

At a restaurant where some of the adults were ordering drinks with dinner, "The rest of you can have your bourbon or fine wine -- I'll have a bottle of your best root beer, please!"

I would say I am very blessed. He is a typical boy, and yet he can't get through his day without several hugs from me, even in front of his friends.

Today is:

Day the Music Died (According to Don McLean, anyway.)

Four Chaplains Memorial Day

Magnolia and Fish Jubilee -- Fairy Calendar

Martyr's Day, Sao Tome

National Carrot Cake Day

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival), Japan; the last day of winter according to the lunar calendar

St. Anskar's Day (patron of Denmark, Iceland, Norway)

St. Blaise's Day/Blessing of Throats Day (patron of throat health)

Wedding Ring Day

Anniversaries Today:

Wake Forest University is established, 1834

Birthdays Today:

Maura Tierney, 1965
Morgan Fairchild, 1950
Dave Davies, 1947
Fran Tarkenton, 1940
Shelley Berman, 19226
Joey Bishop, 1918
James Michener, 1907
Norman Rockwell, 1894
Gertrude Stein, 1874

Today in History:

The first paper money in America is issued by the colony of Massachusetts, 1690
Philadelphia establishes a "pesthouse" to quarantine immigrants, 1743
The Dutch States-General forbid the export of windmills, 1752
Spain recognizes US independence, 1783
The world's first commercial cheese factory is established in Switzerland, 1815
The sovereignty of Greece is confirmed in a London Protocol, 1830
The Wisconsin Supreme Court declares the US Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional,1855
The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing Black suffrage, is passed, 1870
Albert Spalding, with only $800, starts a sporting goods company, which eventually manufactured the first official baseball, tennis ball, basketball, golf ball, and football (American style football), 1876
Circus owner P.T. Barnum buys Jumbo the elephant, 1882
The 16th Amendment to the US Constitution, the income tax, is ratified, 1913
Canada's original Parliament building, in Ottowa, burns down, 1916
Percival Prattis becomes the first African-American news correspondent allowed in the United States House of Representatives and Senate press galleries, 1947

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Punxsutawney Fan

Today is one of my favorite "holidays," to use that term very loosely.

Of all the zany, wacky, crazy, and unique holidays I come across on the web, this one is my very favorite.

It is Groundhog Day, and I admit that I will very much enjoy it. If I lived in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, I would want to belong to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

It is a grand holiday, one that requires no special preparations unless you want to make Groundhog Day cookies (a sugar cookie with added molasses, cinnamon, ginger, and clove). It exists just to be enjoyed, in my mind, something to add a smile to a winter day.

To me, it does not matter whether the groundhog gets it right or wrong. I will feel cold until early May anyway, that is just me. (My standard statement is that if it is after October 1 and before April 30, then, yes, I am cold, thank you.)

The idea of the fun tradition of a furry little weather prognosticator just has a certain charm in my simple and abnormal brain. No pressure of guests, no decorating needed, just peep outside and look for clouds or sun, and read the news releases from around North America as locally famous rodents' predictions are reported. Maybe watch a few scenes from the movie, if I have time or inclination.

I wish all of you a Happy Groundhog Day! If you have a locally famous Marmota monax, let me know what he/she predicts.

Today is:

African American Coaches Day

Bonza Bottler Day

Brew Hog Day

Brigmid -- Druid Calendar, also called Feast of Imbolc, celebrated later as St. Bridget's Day, but originally a festival for Brigid, (also known as Brighid, Bríde, Brigit, Brìd) goddess of poetry, healing, and smithcraft. It is always halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, so some years it is on Feb. 1 with St. Brigid's Day

Candlemas -- Christian -- or Presentation of Our Lord (f/k/a the Purification of the Virgin Mary) - commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple and purification of Mary on the 40th day after the birth of Jesus. Candles have been blessed on this day since the 11th century, and this was the original forecaster, “If Candlemas is fair and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.”

Dia de la Candelaria, Mexico

Feast of Torches

Groundhog Day

Hedgehog Day

International Pancake Day

La Fete de la Chandeleur, France, Canada

National Heavenly Hash Day

Serpent Day -- Celtic (The tradition was that on this day, the Brigmid, snakes or badgers would come out of their winter dens and predict the weather; perhaps a precursor to North America's Groundhog Day.)

Sled Dog Day

Wand Dedication Day -- Fairy Calendar

Wives' Feast Day

World Wetland's Day

Yuma Crossing Day

Anniversaries Today:

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) marries Olivia Langdon in Elmira, NY, 1870

Birthdays Today:

Shakira, 1977
Michael T. Weiss, 1962
Christie Brinkley, 1954
Farah Fawcett, 1947
Graham Nash, 1942
David Jason, 1940
Tom Smothers, 1937
Les Dawson, 1934
James Dickey, 1923
Ayn Rand, 1905
James Joyce, 1882
Solomom R. Guggenheim,1861
Toyotomi Hideyoshi,1536 (Japan's second "great unifier")

Today in History:

New Amsterdam (later New York) is incorporated as a city, 1653
The first leopard is exhibited in the US, in Boston (admission 25 cents), 1802
Russian settlers establish the Ft. Ross trading post north of San Francisco, 1811
Jonathan Martin sets York Cathedral afire, does £60,000 damage, 1829
The first Chinese workers arrive in San Francisco, 1848
The first public men's toilet in Britain opens, on Fleet Street in London, 1852
Samuel Clemens uses the pen name Mark Twain for the first time, 1863
James Oliver invents the removable tempered steel plow blade, 1869
The SS Strathleven arrives in London with the first frozen mutton imported from Australia, 1880
The Knights of Columbus forms in New Haven, Connecticut, 1882
The first official Groundhog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, 1887
The bottle cap with cork seal is patented by William Painter of Baltimore, 1892
The longest boxing match under modern rules takes place in Nameoki, Illinois; 77 rounds between Harry Sharpe and Frank Crosby, 1892
The first movie close-up, of a man sneezing, is made at the Edison Studio in West Orange, NJ, 1893
The Australian Premiers' Conference held in Melbourne decides to locate Australia's capital, Canberra, between Sydney and Melbourne, 1899
Queen Victoria's funeral takes place, 1901
Musher Gunner Kaasan and his sled team, led by Balto, finish the serum run from Nenana to Nome, Alaska, delivering the much needed diphtheria medication (inspiration for the Iditarod), 1925