Saturday, November 30, 2013

Something Nu

In my continual quest to lower expenses, one thing i have wanted to do for a long time is quit using a stove top, or range, for cooking.  They pull 220, instead of the 120 of a regular socket, and so use a lot more energy.

The problem, of course, is that, while i love using the crock pot for some things, a lot of what i cook i do in cast iron.  Food just tastes better when i cook it in cast iron, my Sweetie says, especially when i'm using the iron that my grandmother MawMaw used to feed her own family.  My kids are the fourth generation to be eating foods prepared in these pots and pans.

So for a while i've been looking at induction cooking.  There's no way we could afford an entire new induction stove, but they do have the individual "burners" that you simply plug in.  Many times i have looked at them and wished i could get one or more, but as is usual around here, if you save up money for something, the cars hear about it and decide they want that money spent on them, because you aren't paying them enough attention.  Or whatever it is that has cars break down as soon as they know you have money in the bank.

Then we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving, and Grandpa mentioned that he had seen the induction cookers on one of those infomercials, and he looked them up online, and he decided to get one, and since it was buy one get the second only for the cost of shipping, he got two, and he did this months ago, and he had been thinking about giving me the second one that he's never used, but he wasn't really sure if i'd want one.

After i picked my jaw up off the floor, and told him i'd been wanting them for quite a while, he gave me the second one he had ordered, still in the wrapper, and then the crazy man got online and ordered two more for me!

So, i have something Nu -- a Nuwave, that is.

And the best part is, they work perfectly with cast iron!

Today is:

Bonifacio Day -- Philippines

Cities for Life Day -- commemorates the abolition of the death penalty in many countries

ClauWau: Santa Claus World Championship -- Samnaun, Switzerland (Santa Claus aspirants compete in in such things as the chimney climb with toys, a geography bee, and the sledge race with timed gift giving to be crowned the world champion Santa)

Clear Up The Clutter Day -- internet generated, and what!?! in one day!

Coats and Toys for Kids Day -- ME, US (charity drive across the state; even if you aren't in that state, there is probably a charity near you that would love to have your help)

Computer Security Day -- International (sponsored by The Association for Computer Security Day; often held by some organizations/companies on another day of the week if it falls on a weekend)

Feast of Hecate, Goddess of the Crossroads -- Ancient Roman Calendar (also revered by the Greeks, Egyptians, and came from the Carians of the Bronze Age)

Guadalajara International Book Fair -- Guadalajara, Mexico (through Dec. 4)

Ham and Roast Beef Night -- internet generated, but a good idea for a make your own sandwich dinner

Independence Day -- Barbados(1966); Yemen(1967)

Lantern Light Tours begin -- Mystic Seaport, CT, US (walking tour of performances showing Christmas past, on various dates through the month)

Light of the World Christmas Pageant -- Minden, DE, US (pageant and lighting up the downtown square; also tomorrow and next Sunday)

Mungabareena Ngan-Girra Festival -- Albury area, NSW, Australia (Bogong Moth Festival, now an indigenous cultural showcase)

National Day -- Benin

National Meth Awareness Day

National Mousse Day

Perpetual Youth Day -- Dick Clark's birth anniversary

Regina Mundi Day -- South Africa

Saint Andrew the Apostle's Day (Patron of anglers/fishermen, fish dealers/fish mongers, maidens, old maids/spinsters, single lay women, singers, women who wish to become mothers; Spanish armed forces; Achaia; Greece; Russia; Scotland; Amalfi, Italy; Antey-Saint-Andre, Italy; Berchtesgaden, Germany; Burgundy, France; Cartosio, Italy; Confienti, Italy; Constantinople, Turkey; Encinasola, Huelva, Spain; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Grongnardo, Italy; Lampertheim, Germany; Luqa, Malta; Patras, Greece; Plymouth, England; Samolaco, Italy; San Andreas, California; Victoria, British Columbia; against gout, sore throats) related observances:
     Argyle Day
     National Day -- Scotland
     Sfantul Andrei -- Romania

Stay Home Because You're Well Day -- sponsored by the Wellness Permission League -- if you get in trouble with the boss, make sure they will take the fall!

Swine Time Festival --  Climax, Georgia, US (Come on out and join the fun, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Contests & Events include best dressed pig, corn shucking, hog calling, eating chitterlings, pig racing, syrup making, baby crawling and the greased pig chase!)

Whisp and Thread Fair -- Fairy Calendar

Anniversaries Today:

Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz, 1940

Birthdays Today:

Clay Aiken, 1978
Ben Stiller, 1965
Bo Jackson, 1962
Billy Idol, 1955
Shuggie Otis, 1953
Mandy Patinkin, 1952
David Mamet, 1947
Noel Paul Stookey, 1937
Ridley Scott, 1937
Abbie Hoffman, 1936
G. Gordon Liddy, 1930
Dick Clark, 1929
Robert Guillaume, 1927
Richard Crenna, 1926
Shirley Chisholm, 1924
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., 1923
Gordon Parks, 1912
Winston Churchill, 1874
L(ucy) M(aude) Montgomery, 1874 (Anne of Green Gables)
Mark Twain, 1835
Oliver Winchester, 1810
Jonathan Swift, 1667
Philip Sydney, 1554

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Michael Jackson's Thriller Album, 1982
The Joy of Cooking published, 1931

Today in History:

Amsterdam bans assembly of heretics, 1523
Death count by plague in Venice is officially set at 16,000, 1630
Beijing earthquake causes 100,000+ deaths, 1731
Britain signs agreement recognizing US independence, 1782
Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgates a penal reform making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. November 30 is therefore commemorated by 300 cities around the world as Cities for Life Day, 1786
Spain cedes her claims to Louisiana Territory to France, 1803
First ground is broken at Allenburg for the building of the original Welland Canal, 1824
First Welland Canal opens for a trial run, 5 years to the day from the ground breaking, 1829
Work begins on the first US underwater highway tunnel, in Chicago, 1866
The first international soccer football game is held, in Glasgow; Scotland-England 0-0, 1872
The first commercially successful AC electric power plant opens, Buffalo, NY, 1886
A German engineer patents front-wheel drive for automobiles, 1900
American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, is sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with hard labor, 1902
Pike Place Market is dedicated in Seattle, Washington, 1907
The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park London destroyed by fire, 1936
Baseball's Negro National League disbands, two years after major league baseball integrated, 1948
In Sylacauga, Alabama, United States, the Hodges Meteorite crashes through a roof and hits a woman taking an afternoon nap in the only documented case of a human being hit by a rock from space, 1954
Exxon and Mobil sign a $73.7 billion USD agreement to merge, thus creating Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest company, 1998
Longtime Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally loses, leaving him with US$2,520,700, television's biggest game show winnings, 2004
John Sentamu becomes the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York, 2005

Friday, November 29, 2013

Photo-Finish Friday: Plenty

What's left after the feast.

After Thanksgiving dinner is eaten, and some meat is put away for sandwiches and for the turkey and sausage gumbo, what you have left is pictured above:  bones, skin, innards, and some broth that didn't get used for gravy.  All of that is poured into the crock pot with water added and boiled for hours and hours, until it makes the thick, good stock that will be used for soups and the aforementioned gumbo.

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

Today is:

Belsnickel Craft Show -- Boyertown, PA, US (through tomorrow)

Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day -- i will observe the latter

Christmas Candlelight Tour -- My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown, KY, US (Christmas as it was in the 1800s; Fridays and Saturdays the first three weekends after Thanksgiving)

Christmas Traditions Celebration -- St. Charles, MO, US (the fun includes authentically costumed Santas from around the world; through Christmas Eve)

Dita e Clirimit -- Albania (Liberation Day)

Electronic Greetings Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Fairy Flute Fantasy -- Fairy Calendar

Family Day -- Nevada, US

Festival of Saturnia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (for the Sons of Saturn; Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto)

Gettysburg Holiday Festival -- Gettysburg, PA, US (fun holiday events weekends through the New Year's Eve Bash)

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People -- UN

Jule Fest -- Elk Horn, IA, US (a true Danish Christmas festival; through Sunday)

National Chocolates Day -- yes, another one

National Day of Listening -- sponsored by StoryCorps, encouraging sharing family stories during the holidays

National Flossing Day -- help spread peace of mouth!

National Lemon Creme Pie Day

National Unity Day -- Vanuatu

Native American Heritage Day -- US; related observance
     Maize Day -- US; celebrating the First Nations of the Americas and the role maize/corn played in their cultures

Plan Your Dagwood Sandwich Day -- admit you've always wanted to, so build one with your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Rally of the Tall Pines -- Bancroft, ON, Canada (an event on the Canadian Rally Car Race Circuit; through the tomorrow)

Sinkie Day -- sponsored by SINKIE, The International Association Of People Who Dine Over The Kitchen Sink, which urges you to combine your Christmas shopping with enjoying a quick meal of Thanksgiving leftovers and become a SINKIE convert!

St. Andrew's Eve -- in many traditions, a night to foretell the future, especially whom you will marry

St. Saturnius of Toulouse's Day (Patron of Toulouse, France)

Square Dance Day -- internet generated, and fun to do

Tree Lighting at Anchorage -- Anchorage, AK, US (Santa and 9 real reindeer help celebrate the annual lighting of the holiday tree, with free cocoa and cookies for all)

William Tubman's Birthday -- Liberia (it's longest serving President)

World Famous Fish House Parade -- Aitkin, MN, US (sounds better than shopping to me!)

You're Welcomegiving Day -- US, the day after Thanksgiving, started by Richard Ankli to give everyone a reason for a 4-day weekend

Anniversaries Today:

Erwin Rommel marries Lucie "Lu" Mollin, 1916

Birthdays Today:

Jon Knight, 1968
Don Cheadle, 1964
Andrew McCarthy, 1962
Kim Delaney, 1961
Cathy Moriarty, 1960
Jeff Fahey, 1956
Howie Mandel, 1955
Garry Shandling, 1949
Petra Kelly, 1947
Chuck Mangione, 1940
Peter Bergman, 1939
John Mayall, 1933
Jacques Rene Chirac, 1932
Diane Ladd, 1932
Vin Scully, 1927
Madeline L'Engle, 1918
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., 1908
C.S. Lewis, 1898
Busby Berkeley, 1895
Nellie Tayloe Ross, 1876
Louisa May Alcott, 1832
Wendell Phillips, 1811
Christian Doppler, 1803
Charles Thomson, 1729

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Tatort(TV), 1970
Kukla, Fran, and Ollie(TV), 1948

Today in History:

Jews of Augsburg, Germany, are massacred, 1349 (Sometimes, it seems, the more things change...)
King Philip II devalues Spanish currency, 1596 (See above...)
Sir James Jay invents invisible ink, 1775
San Jose, California, is founded as el Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe, 1777
Dessalines & Christophe declare St Domingue (Haiti) independent, 1803
First Italian opera in US, "Barber of Seville" premieres (NYC), 1825
Thomas Edison demonstrates hand-cranked phonograph, 1877
The first motorcycle race ever is held in Surrey, England; the distance was one mile and the winner was Charles Jarrot in a time of 2 minutes, 8 seconds, 1897
The first US patent for inventing the traffic lights system is issued to Ernest Sirrine. 1910
Fire destroys most of the buildings on Santa Catalina Island, California, 1915
Howard Carter opens the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun to the public, 1922
Richard Byrd becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole, 1929
The first surgery (on a human) to correct blue baby syndrome is performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, 1944
The United Nations General Assembly votes to partition Palestine, 1947
Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, is launched into space, orbits earth twice, and is successfully recovered after splashdown, 1961
Canadian Space Agency launches the satellite Alouette 2, 1965
Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) releases Pong (the first commercially successful video game) in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California, 1972
The United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution stating that Soviet Union forces should withdraw from Afghanistan, 1983
The Czechoslovakian Parliament votes to end Communist rule, 1989
The United Nations Security Council passes two resolutions to restore international peace and security if Iraq did not withdraw its forces from Kuwait and free all foreign hostages by the following January 15, 1990
A 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurs off the northern coast of Martinique, 2007

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Attitude of Gratitude

Something for which i am grateful on this US Thanksgiving Day is that i still wake up to get notes like this one from #2 Son:

Hey, mom, I need to use the van around 10:00am if possible.  Also, I lost my phone so could you try to wake me up around 9:45 if you can, thanks.  P.S. I'll be in the tent with Festus.  P.P.S. Never mind, it got too cold, I'm in my room, and Festus is on the couch.

A second thing is that #1 Son is back in town, and i am grateful he's planning to go back to school.  He has actually wormed his way back into living in the garage room, and it's good that he is here and has a job.

Third, Bigger Girl is still coming up with her unique, and sometimes wacky and weird, takes on life, and i'm grateful to be hearing such things as "It's a crime to donate high heels to the thrift store!  It's safer to ride a Clydesdale bareback than to wear them!"

A fourth item of gratitude is for Little Girl.  She is 15, and just finished the driving portion of Driver's Ed.  She was such a good driver, being so careful and doing so well, they passed her early!

Sweetie and i still haven't killed each other after over 28 years, and we are both grateful for that. (Insert crazy grin here, because we make each other nuts, but that's another story.)

Grandma and Grandpa are still with us, and i am over the moon about that.  So many people my age don't have their parents around.

There's a lot more, too many things to list.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Remember that being grateful makes you smile, and when you smile, you are beautiful.


Today is:

Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha -- Baha'i

Daytona Turkey Run -- Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL, US (collector car show, swap meet, and craft sale; through Sunday)

Decorate Your Dog Day -- supposedly to get him/her into the holiday spirit; but please, don't

Feast of the Holy Sovereigns -- Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii (in honor of King Kamehama IV and Queen Emma, the founders of the Anglican Church of Hawaii

Flag Day -- Kosovo

Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia -- Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, VA, US (exploring the 17th- and 18th-century culinary practices of Virginia; through Saturday)

Hanukkah -- Judaism (began sundown yesterday; through sundown Dec. 5)

Independence Day -- Albania(1912); East Timor(1975); Mauritania(1960)

Make Your Own Head Day -- meaning an art project model or drawing, in any medium; have fun with this one!

National Family History Day -- US (a call from the Department of Health and Human Services to get info about your family, especially health history, while everyone is together for the holiday)

National French Toast Day

Red Planet Day -- on the anniversary of the 1964 liftoff of Mariner 4, the first successful mission to Mars

Republic Day -- Chad; Republic of the Congo

Royal Society Day -- one of the world's oldest scientific academies, established this day in 1660

Runic Half Month of Is begins (stasis)

Saint Catherine Laboure's Day -- promulgator of the Miraculous Medal

St. Stephen the Younger's Day` (Patron of coin collectors, numismatists, smelters)

Thanksgiving Day -- Interfaith, US and Territories

Turkey-Free Thanksgiving -- sponsored by the Vegetarian Awareness Network

Birthdays Today:

Anna Nicole Smith, 1967
Jon Stewart, 1962
Judd Nelson, 1959
Ed Harris, 1950
Alexander Godunov, 1949
Paul Shaffer, 1949
Joe Dante, 1946
Randy Newman, 1943
Berry Gordy, Jr., 1929
Claude Lévi-Strauss, 1908
Brooks Atkinson, 1894
William Blake, 1757
John Bunyan, 1628

Debuting/Premiering Today:

"Hopalong Cassidy"(TV), 1948
Skywriting(as an advertising medium), 1922*

Today in History:

Skanderbeg and his forces liberate Kruja in Middle Albania and raise the Albanian flag, 1443
Ferdinand Magellan and his men become the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean, 1520
The Times in London is for the first time printed by automatic, steam powered presses built by the German inventors Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Friedrich Bauer, signaling the beginning of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience, 1814
Ka Lahui: Hawaiian Independence Day - The Kingdom of Hawaii is officially recognized by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation, 1843
Women vote in a national election for the first time in the New Zealand general election, 1893
US-born Lady Astor becomes the first female member of British Parliament, 1919
*Capt Cyril Turner of the RAF gives 1st skywriting exhibition in NYC; Turner spelled out "Hello USA. Call Vanderbilt 7200." 47,000 called, 1922
The first Polaroid Camera is sold, 1948
Chad, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon become autonomous republics within the French Community, 1958
The first pulsar star is discovered by Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish, 1968
Norway votes against joining the European Union, 1994
Wikileaks releases 250,000 classified documents and sensitive national security information sent by U.S. embassies, 2010

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cast Iron Stomach


The sound told me that something, most likely a fork, had hit the floor.  Turning, i could see where #2 Son was serving up an extra plate of rice and tomato gravy from where i had put the leftovers in the fridge.  He had dropped his fork on while trying to balance that with the Nutella sandwich he was making.

He picked the fork up and wiped it on his pants.  "Ten second rule!" he grinned at me.

No way! i said.  The kittens run all over this floor, and even if i do mop it, their paws have been in the litter box and then all over the floor!  Go clean it.

"Nah, ten second rule!"  He was still grinning.  "I'll be fine.  I've been known to eat pizza that's so old it's almost petrified!  Young Jacob, didn't we eat petrified pizza?"

"Yes, we did," Young Jacob confirmed, sitting at the counter with his own plate of leftovers.  "It was yummy, too!"

Well, i don't care, wash the fork! i said, laughing along with them as #2 Son was already heading for the sink and the soap.

Besides, i added, there's no such thing as an any second rule.  Studies show that items pick up germs the very second they hit the floor.

"Oh, well," #2 Son said as he finished rinsing the now clean fork.

The things you survive in your youth, when you still have that cast iron stomach, shouldn't include germs picked up where kittens roam free.

Today is:

Anniversary of Cerro de Pasco -- Peru (founding of the city and its silver mine)

Bargle Day -- Fairy Calendar (a fairy day with no human equivalent)

Electric Guitar Day -- birth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix

Feast of Ullr and Skadi -- Asatru/Norse Pagan (celebrating craftsmen)

Freckle Pride Day -- show your spots, you are beautiful!

Get the Giggles and Give One Away Day -- internet generated, and great if your a preteen girl

Hanukkah -- Judaism (Festival of Lights; begins at sundown, through sundown Dec. 5)

Khoiak Ceremonies -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (ceremonies surrounding the stories of the death of Osiris, date approximate)

Lancashire Day -- Lancashire, England (celebrating their first elected representative in Parliament in 1295)

Maaverar Naal -- Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka (Tamil Heroes' Day)

National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

National Day -- Myanmar

National Family Caregivers' Day -- US (if you are a caregiver who needs support, you can get it here or here)

Pie in the Face Day -- internet generated, and supposed to be a virtual one, so no mess to clean

Pins and Needles Day -- celebrating the 1937 opening of the Pins and Needles Music Revue

St. Virgilius of Salzburg's Day (Patron of Salzburg, Austria; Slovenes)

St. James Intercisus' Day (Patron of lost vocations, torture victims)

Thanksgiving Day -- Norfolk Island

Tie One On Day -- an apron!  on US Thanksgiving eve, write a note of encouragement or prayer, tuck it in the pocket of an apron, and wrap the apron around a good home or bakery made loaf of bread, then deliver it to someone who needs a kind gesture

Tori No Ichi -- Japan (a "rooster day" in which to wish good luck and prosperity at temple and shrine ceremonies around the country)

Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Romerberg -- Frankfurt, Germany (Frankfurt Christmas Market, including glockenspiels, trumpets, and bells rung from 9 churches at regular intervals; through Dec. 22)

Wonderland of Lights -- Marshall, TX, US (through Dec. 31, includes parades, candlelight home tours, and more)

Anniversaries Today:

William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway, 1582

Birthdays Today:

Jaleel White, 1976
Brooke Langton, 1970
Robin Givens, 1964
Caroline Kennedy, 1957
Rick Rockwell, 1956
Jimi Hendrix, 1942
Eddie Rabbit, 1941
Bruce Lee, 1940
"Buffalo" Bob Smith, 1917
Chick Hearn, 1916
James Agee, 1909
L. Sprague de Camp, 1907
Forrest Shaklee, 1894
Chaim Weizmann, 1874
Charles A. Beard, 1874
Bat Masterson, 1853
Robert R. Livingston, 1746 (O.S. date)
Anders Celcius, 1701
Emperor Xiaozong of China, 1127

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Dinah Shore Show(TV), 1951

Today in History:

The first elected representatives from Lancashire were called to Westminster by King Edward I to attend what later became known as "The Model Parliament", 1295
The first Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed in the Great Storm of 1703
The Portuguese Royal Family leaves Lisbon to escape from Napoleonic troops, 1807
Adoption of Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland, 1815
NY Times dubs baseball "The National Game", 1870
Alfred Nobel establishes the Nobel Prize, 1895
In New York City, the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held, 1924
The Soviet space program's Mars 2 orbiter releases a descent module; it crashes, but still becomes the first man-made object to be on Mars, 1971
The left-wing Labour Party takes control of the New Zealand government with leader Helen Clark becoming the first elected female Prime Minister in New Zealand's history, 1999
A hydrogen atmosphere is discovered on the extrasolar planet Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope, the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet, 2001
The Canadian House of Commons endorses Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion to declare Quebec a nation within a unified Canada, 2006

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Secret

"Ugh!"  Little Girl came into the kitchen as i was listening to a talk radio show i catch each day (The Dave Ramsey Show, i can highly recommend it), and they were playing the news.

Or what passes for news on our local station.  (The show is not responsible for the news the carrying stations play, by the way.)  It was about the upcoming Black Friday.

What's ugh? i asked her.

"Black Friday!  It's awful.  Do you know why the call it Black Friday?" she asked.

Because they claim it's the day they finally make a profit and go from being in the red to being in the black, i said, citing what so many of them say and which i'm not so sure i believe.

She leaned over next to me and whispered, as if we would be overheard, even though there was no one else in the room.  "No!  It's because it is evil!  Secretly, it is evil and they don't want you to know it!"

Then at a normal volume she added, "Besides, don't people realize they don't need all that stuff!  They really don't."

You're right, i told her, but that doesn't seem to stop a lot of people.  There was one guy in the nursery this past Sunday, talking about going to get a big screen TV on a Black Friday deal.

"I'm sure he already has a perfectly good Tv," she said.  "He doesn't need a new one, he just wants it. And there's nothing wrong with wanting nice stuff, or wanting something new when something old is not working right any more, but it's silly to be buying tons of stuff you don't need."

Well, i agree, i told her.  It's nice to be able to buy something for family and friends, but we go over the top.

"It's secretly evil, that's why it's Black Friday," she said again, with a grin.  She also had a look in her eyes that let me know that on some levels, she's not joking in that opinion.

Can you tell that not only will we not be shopping on Thanksgiving, but we will also not be battling crowds the day after?

It's not because we have all the stuff already, either.  We don't own a TV except the small one Sweetie sometimes watches DVDs on, the kids have one old game system that hooks up to a monitor and speakers, and a few older games.  We have old computers, no smartphones (or desire to get those), no dishwasher any more since it caught fire, a hot water heater that heats when it feels up to the task, a microwave that is probably about on its last legs (it's got the dial controls, if that tells you anything), and old cars.

Yet, we have enough.  We don't need the newest, the latest, the greatest.  We're glad for what we have, and my kids know that the holidays aren't about getting a bunch of stuff.

Maybe she's right.  Maybe it's not exactly evil, but unsettling.  It stresses the wrong things, i do believe that.  There's nothing wrong with having some nice stuff.  It's wrong when the stuff has you, has your heart, has your loyalty, takes you away from what your life should be about, your higher purpose.

Maybe that's the dark secret.

Today is:

Brotherhood of Goat Meat Eaters Festival -- Bellegarde-en-Marche, France (a festival that dates back, supposedly, to a battle with the English where the people of this town used sharpened goat horns to fight; goat meat is served to any and all and the whole town celebrates this outdoor occasion)

Constitution Day of the Republic of Abkhazia -- Abkhazia

Day of the Covenant -- Baha'i

Day of the Tan-Wallopers -- Fairy Calendar

Good Grief Day -- birth anniversary of Charles Schultz

Independence Day -- Mongolia(1924)

National Cake Day

Sojourner Truth Day -- died this day in 1883

St. John Berchmans' Day (Patron of alter servers, Oblate novices, young people)

Anniversaries Today:

Founding of Sigma Alpha Mu in the City College of New York, by 8 Jewish young men, 1909
The first official Thanksgiving in the US, by presidential proclamation, 1789
Founding of the University of Notre Dame, 1842
Founding of Kappa Alpha Society, the oldest surviving US college fraternity, 1825

Birthdays Today:

Natasha Bedingfield, 1981
Tina Turner, 1939
Rich Little, 1938
Robert Goulet, 1933
Charles Schultz, 1922
Eugene Ionesco, 1912
Eric Sevareid, 1912
John Harvard, 1607
Emperor Go-Daigo of Japan, 1288

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Price is Right(TV), 1956
Twenty Questions(TV), 1949
Casablanca(Movie), 1942
Alice in Wonderland(Book), 1865

Today in History:

The Second Triumvirate alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus ("Octavian", later "Caesar Augustus"), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony is formed, BC43
Vlad III Dracula (Vlad the Impaler)defeats Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V Bathory and becomes the ruler of Wallachia for the third time, 1476
The first lion exhibited in the US makes his debut in Boston, 1716
Captain James Cook becomes the first European to visit Maui, 1778
The Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of the United States established, 1784
The first national US Thanksgiving is celebrated, 1789
The first streetcar railway in the US begins operation in NYC, fare 12 cents, 1832
The refrigerated railway car is patented by J.B. Sutherland of Detroit, Michigan, 1867
The first photograph of a meteor is taken, 1885
The National Hockey League is formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas as its first teams, 1917
King Tut's tomb is opened by English archaeologist Howard Carter, 1922
Four young lads from Liverpool have their first recording session under the interesting name "The Beatles", 1962
Tony Blair becomes the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland's parliament, 1998
Concorde makes its final flight, over Bristol, England, 2003
A male Po'ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper) dies of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, Hawaii before it could breed, making the species in all probability extinct, 2004

Monday, November 25, 2013

If i'm going to be this tired...

...before the holiday even begins, i'm scared to see how the rest of the week is going to go.

Anyway.  Last Thursday and Friday, Grandma and Grandpa were in town.  Friday was Grandpa's birthday, and i had prepared two batches of the fried, sweet flatbreads called hojaldras that he loves for his gift.  Most of those two days were spent entertaining Grandma while Grandpa had meetings and dinners and luncheons and the interminable discussions that go into doing work on Boards of AnythingAndEverything.

By the time they left Friday afternoon, Little Girl and i went and took care of the cats at the shelter, then i dropped her and some friends off for a movie.  A couple of hours after that, a friend of mine came into town to stay with us.

She had expressed interest in seeing a home football game, and, since #1 Son was going to be working, i invited her.  She drove down in her daughter the lawyer's Mercedes convertible, the one that still has some damage from a bullet hole in it.  Note for those who want to be lawyers -- be careful which type of law you decide to practice.  Divorces get messy, and sometimes the lawyer for the other side gets in the way.

Having her here was a breath of fresh air.  We stayed up later than we should have, then i got up crazy early as i generally do.  The game was a highlight, but absolutely cold.  Not just a bit of autumn chill, the highest temp for the day was mid-50's and dropped from the time the game started.  It's a good thing the team won, or it would have been insufferable.  As it was, the inside areas were so crowded with us Southern hothouse flowers who don't do cold well that there wasn't room to breathe deeply.

Sunday morning the plan was to attend the very early service, then my friend Di would go toodle around the town a bit and meet me at noon when my nursery shift was over.  Only problem:  perfume.

People, i'm not a meanie, and i'm not against you wearing your favorite perfume, cologne, aftershave, whatever.  What i am against is having to say, "Nice scent.  Must you marinate in it?"  Seriously, when your perfume is so strong that a person can't stay for a church service because her throat is closing up, you have used way too much.  Take a tip from Miss Manners (Judith Martin) and make sure your scent is not so strong that it will stay in the room even when you are no longer present!

Anyway, Di had to leave the service, and she did toodle around the town a bit, and found her dog, The Terrorist Terrier, a Christmas outfit at the BigBoxStore.  Meanwhile, Little Girl played with the 2-year-olds and i sat with crying babies in my lap.  She and i met up again for lunch and talk and more talk.

Little Girl, by the way, deserves great kudos for giving up her room so my friend could stay.  The child slept on the couch downstairs for two nights without complaint, and in fact, she had offered.

After Di left, extracting a promise from me that i would come visit her during the Christmas break, and i will, it was time for me to get ready for the annual ecumenical Thanksgiving service that several area churches take turns hosting each year.  It was a lovely service, at the Methodist Church this year.  They have a wonderful choir, and the speaker was from a local outreach ministry for the homeless that all of these churches band together to support.

So Sunday evening saw me ready for bed in earnest, and hoping for a break.  Even though there is no school this week, there's no rest for the weary.  Little Girl took her driving classes, the classroom instruction portion, in August.  She has been waiting ever since to be called to do the 8 hours of behind the wheel instruction.  They finally called, and that starts today, 8am sharp.

That, and the fact that we are again out of toilet paper, meaning i have no further excuses to put off grocery shopping, and the fact that we have so much to do for the holiday week, is going to keep us jumping.


Today is:

Anniversary of Moquegua City -- Peru (founded this date in 1541)

Cat-Napping Convention -- Fairy Calendar

Day Sacred to Proserpina -- Ancient Roman Calendar (also Persephone, of the Greeks, the Wheel goddess of the Underworld, often associated with St. Catherine; see below)

Dia de la Soberania Nacional -- Argentina (Sovereignty Day)

Evacuation Day -- 19th Century New York City (withdrawal of British troops in 1783)

Hari Guru -- Indonesia (Teacher's Day)

Icelandic Calendar Month Ylir (Whiner) begins -- named after the whining winter winds

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women -- UN

Learn When To Start Thawing the Turkey Day -- US (USDA "Let's Talk Turkey" hotline 800-535-4555; Butterball "Turkey Talk-Line" 800-323-4848)

Mangé Yam -- Haiti (fete de la moisson; a yam harvest festival)

National Day -- Bosnia and Herzegovina (commemorates the 1943 declaration of statehood within Yugoslavia)

National Don't Utter A Word Day -- internet generated, and variously listed as the 25th of November, February, or May; pick one if you want

National Military Families Recognition Day -- US (by Presidential Proclamation in 1993, the Monday before Thanksgiving Day)

National Parfait Day

Persephone Day (a/k/a Kore) -- Ancient Greek Calendar (celebration of her as wheel goddess of the underworld; date approximate, but she is often associated with St. Catherine; see below)

Saint Catherine of Alexandria's Day -- of the Catherine Wheel, sometimes associated with the Wheel of Karma and the Hindu Kali; one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (Patron of apologists, archivists, attorneys, barristers, craftsmen who work with wheels of any sort, dying people, educators, girls, jurists, knife grinders and sharpeners, lawyers, librarians, libraries, maidens, mechanics, millers, nurses, old maids, philosophers, potters, preachers, scholars, schoolchildren, scribes, secretaries, spinners, spinsters, stenographers, students, tanners, teachers, theologians, turners, University of Paris, unmarried girls, and wheelwrights; Aalsum, Netherlands; Bertinoro, Italy; Camerata Picena, Italy; Dumaguete, Philippines; Heidesheim am Rhein, Germany; Kuldiga, Latvia; Mähring, Germany; Saint Catharines, Ontario; Zejtun, Malta; Zurrieq, Malta) related observance
     Women's Merrymaking Day -- Women go 'Cath'rining' and have a good time (in some places, especially France, women may propose marriage on this day)

Shopping Reminder Day -- exactly a month until Christmas

Srefidensi -- Suriname (Republic Day/Independence Day)

Statehood Day -- FBiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Strange Names Day -- in honor of all the celebrity -- and other -- kids with "unique" names; sponsored the last Tuesday in November by Marlar in the Morning at 101QFL in Rockford, IL, US

Vajiravudh Day -- Thailand

Zibelemarit -- Bern, Switzerland (Onion Market Festival, in front of the Federal Palace, one of the country's best known and most popular autumn markets, always on the fourth Monday in November to commemorate the granting of market right to people after great fire of Berne in 1405.)

Birthdays Today:

Barbara and Jenna Bush, 1981
Donovan McNabb, 1976
Christina Applegate, 1971
Jill Hennessy, 1968
Amy Grant, 1960
John F. Kennedy, Jr., 1960
John Larroquette, 1947
Paul Desmond, 1924
Ricardo Montalban, 1920
Joe DiMaggio, 1914
Solanus Casey, 1870
Carry Nation, 1846
Karl F. Benz, 1844
Andrew Carnegie, 1835

Today in History:

A tsunami, caused by the earthquake in the Tyrrhenian Sea, devastates Naples (Italy) and the Maritime Republic of Amalfi, among other places, 1343
The siege of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, begins, 1491
A deadly earthquake rocks Shemakha, in the Caucasus, killing 80,000 people, 1667
The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, reaches its peak intensity which it maintains through November 27. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people died, 1703
First English patent granted to an American, for processing corn, 1715
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is founded, 1758
Farmer's Almanac first published, 1792
The Greek frigate Hellas arrives in Nafplion to become the first flagship of the Hellenic Navy, 1826
A cyclone slams India with high winds and a 40 foot storm surge, destroying the port city of Coringa (never to be entirely rebuilt again); the storm wave sweeps inland, taking with it 20,000 ships and thousands of people. An estimated 300,000 deaths result from the disaster, 1839
Alfred Nobel patents dynamite, 1867
John B Meyenberg of St Louis patents evaporated milk, 1884
American College of Surgeons incorporates in Springield, Illinois, 1912
First Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in Philadelphia, 1920
690 earthquake shocks recorded in 1 day in Ito, Japan, 1930
The first Soviet liquid fuel rocket attains altitude of 261' (80m), 1933
Woody Woodpecker debuts with release of Walter Lantz's "Knock Knock", 1940
New Zealand ratifies the Statute of Westminster and thus becomes independent of legislative control by the United Kingdom, 1947
Agatha Christie's murder-mystery play The Mousetrap opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London later becoming the longest continuously-running play in history, 1952
The Minneapolis Thanksgiving Day Fire destroys an entire city block, 1982
The United Nations establishes the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to commemorate the murder of three Mirabal Sisters for resistance against the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in Dominican Republic, 1999
Powerful storm brings 3 years worth of rain in 4 hours to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sparking terrible floods, 2009

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holiday Humor

To do list for Thanksgiving week:

1. Get out the meat grinder and learn to finally make that home made sausage for the stuffing.

2. Make special name place cards for the meal, as a festive touch.

3. Have head examined.


A young boy greets the Thanksgiving guests as they come through the door with, "You might not want to expect much.  When we went to church last Sunday, and my dad told the pastor that my mom is a pagan.  He says she serves burnt offerings for dinner!"


As the family gathers at the Thanksgiving table, one young boy barely sits down before he begins shoveling food in with great gusto.

"Son!  Stop!" says his father.  "Don't you know we have to pray first?"

"No, we don't!" the youngster answers.  "Remember, it's not like we're at home.  Grandma knows how to cook!"

Today is:

Banquet for Monkeys / Monkey Buffet Festival -- Khmer Ruins of Lop Buri, Thailand (600 monkeys are served lunch while humans get to watch; some describe it as a riot but without the police)

Brumalia -- Byzantine Empire celebration of Dyonisus and New Wine Festival; until the solstice

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day -- there used to be a website associated with this day, but it closed; that's no reason for you not to celebrate your uniqueness!

Celebration of Christ The King -- Christian (final Sunday of the Ecclesiastical Year) related observance
     Stir Up Sunday -- the day to get your Christmas plum pudding started

Celtic Tree Month Ruish (Elder) begins

D.B. Cooper Day -- anniversary of the 1971 hijacking

Discovery Day -- Tasmania (by Abel Tasman in 1642)

Evolution Day -- On the Origin of Species published this day in 1859

Feast of the Martyrs of Vietnam -- Roman Catholic Church

Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom - Sikh

Handel's Messiah Sing-Along -- East Room of the Nixon Library, Yorba Linda, CA, US (two seatings available for this beautiful and enjoyable event, singing along with a master choir and orchestra)

John F. Kennedy Day -- MA, US

Lachit Divas -- Assam, India

Mother Goose Parade Day -- El Cajon, CA, US (kicking off the holiday season with good, family fun)

National Farm-City Week -- US (on the week of Thanksgiving, remember that it's the farmers who supply your celebratory foods)

National Sardines Day -- wonder how this would go over next to the turkey today?

Persephone Day (a/k/a Kore -- Ancient Greek Calendar (celebration of her as wheel goddess of the underworld; date approximate, but she is often associated with St. Catherine)

Ragtime Day -- birth anniversary of Scott Joplin

St. Colman of Cloyne's Day (Patron of Cloyne, Ireland)

St. Joachim Ho's Day -- a Martyr of China

St. Mary of Cordoba's Day (Patron of martyrs)

Teacher's Day -- Turkey

Third Bash of the Tree-Toppers -- Fairy Calendar (fairy creatures who don't believe in "one" or "two", so start counting at three)

Totensonntag/Ewigkeitssonntag -- Germany (Sunday of the Dead/Eternity Sunday; a general celebration and memorial of all who have died, decreed to be celebrated in Lutheran Churches by King Frederick William III of Prussia in 1816)

Use Even If Seal is Broken Day -- internet generated; observe at your own risk, always!

XTERRA Trail Run Series World Championship -- Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, HI, US (the crown jewel of the XTERRA Trail Run series of 60 rigorous, off road races, the world championship run)

Birthdays Today:

Katherine Heigl, 1978
Dwight Schultz, 1947
William F. Buckley, Jr., 1925
Charles "Lucky" Luciano, 1897
Dale Carnegie, 1888
Scott Joplin, 1868
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1864
Bat Masterson, 1853
Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1849
Bram Stoker, 1847
Zachary Taylor, 1784
Charles Theodore Pachelbel, 1690

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Softball, as a sport, invented this day as a spur of the moment game at the Farragut Boat Club in Chicago, IL, US, 1887

Today in History:

Theodosius I makes his formal entry into Constantinople, 380
Rabbi Nathan ben Yehiel of Rome completes his Talmudic dictionary, 1105
The Thames River freezes, 1434
First observation of transit of Venus occurred (only 2, record event), 1639
Abel Janzoon Tasman becomes the first European to see Van Damien's Land, later renamed Tasmania, 1642
First Lutheran pastor ordained in America, Justus Falckner at Philadelphia, 1703
Mt. Vesuvius erupts, 1759
Charles Darwin publishes "On the Origin of Species", 1859
Luik-Visé-Maastricht railway opens, 1861
Joseph F Glidden patents his improved barbed wire, 1874
The first US absentee voting law enacted by Vermont, 1896
Clyde Coleman of NYC patents automobile electric starter, 1903
Radio Belgium makes its first transmission, 1923
The first woman pilot on a transcontinental air flight, Miss Ruth Nichols (Mineola, NY to Calif), in a Lockheed-Vega, took 7 days, 1930
In Washington, D.C., the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opens, 1932
Lee Harvey Oswald is murdered by Jack Ruby, 1963
During a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper (AKA D. B. Cooper) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money, and is never seen again, 1971
A national speed limit is imposed on the Autobahn in Germany due to the 1973 oil crisis; it lasts only four months, 1973
The communist party resigns in Czechoslovakia, 1989
By a margin of only 50.28% t 49.72%, Ireland votes to end the 70 year old ban on divorce, 1995

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Closer to Home

Since i recently recounted conversations i've overheard, i thought i'd also recount he following recent conversations in which i or my family have participated.

Grandma and Grandpa, laughing at each other and us laughing at them the whole time, were heard to say:

Grandma:  Are you ready?  Get over here!

Grandpa:  What are you yelling at me for?  (Looking over at us)  Do you kids hear this?  She's always yelling at me!  She doesn't like me.

Grandma: Of course I don't like you!  Do I have to tell you Happy Birthday tomorrow?

Grandpa:  No, because you'll just yell it at me!

Grandma, talking about great grandma:

She was so funny!  She would eat entire loaves of bread by herself.  And pass gas all the time.  She would just be walking along and passing gas, it was hysterical!  It was like she never even noticed.

#2 Son and me (with him grinning the whole time):

#2 Son:  Hey, mom, you don't have to come pick Little Girl up from school today!  I went in and checked her out early!  I just told them I was her brother, showed them my ID, and said it was Grandpa's birthday and I needed to get her and they let her go!

me:  You did what!

#2 Son:  I checked her out of school early.  No need to thank me!

me:  Be glad if i don't kill you!  You aren't supposed to do that, they aren't supposed to give her to anyone under 18 or who isn't on the list!  Besides, she had a test and projects due!

#2 Son:  She was done with all that.  You're welcome.

Little Girl and me:

me:  Who broke this glass?  It's all in the grass!

Little Girl:  Oh, Festus.  We told him he could.  We thought the thing had a back to it!  The cabinet used to have a back to it!

me:  Well, it didn't have a back, it's now in the grass!  Do you realize what that means?  Those pieces of glass will become missiles the next time the grass is mowed, this is dangerous!

Little Girl:  Yeah, well, that glass was hard to break. It took him a long time to do it, but he had fun.  Anyway, we'll pick it up.

me:  What is it with him having to break stuff?

Little Girl:  No one knows.  He loves to build computers and break stuff.  It's just him.

me:  Valedictorian or not, there's something the matter with that boy!

Festus and me:

me (leaning my head out of the window after hearing the unmistakable voice of Festus and the sound of something being destroyed):  Festus, what are you breaking at my house now?

Festus:  This old grill that broke most of the way two years ago.

me (after a moment to digest that fact, and knowing we have a newer, better one anyway):  Well, please throw it away when you are finished with it.

Festus:  Yes, Ma'am!

Little Girl and me:

me (after stepping back and tripping over Little Girl's steel-toed boots):  Oh, i'm sorry!

Little Girl:  No, it's okay, I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have been standing right behind you while you were trying to get something out of the car.  It's my big ol' boots, too.  But I love them.  They are very convenient, especially when you have to kick someone.  You have no idea how good it feels to know you have steel-toes when someone is really asking for a good kick!

me:  You better not be kicking anyone.

Little Girl (with a grin):  Well, only once, and he was asking for it, poking me over and over, and i didn't kick hard enough to hurt him, and he didn't poke me that hard, either.  We were just teasing each other, me and Tyrell, and we ended up laughing about it.  It's just that, knowing you have steel-toes makes you feel much better when somebody is really asking for it!  Not that I'd use them unless I was in fear of my life, but knowing they are there is nice.

Today is:

Can You Find Your Old Rubik's Cube and Still Work It Day -- internet generated, and why would you bother?

Color Photos Day -- anniversary of the Kodak introduction of modern color film in 1935

Eat A Cranberry Day -- just to see why you add sugar, i guess

Feast of Qawl(Speech) -- Baha'i

Fibonacci Day -- celebrating the mathematical Fibonacci Series, which begins as 1,1,2,3

Giorgoba -- Georgia (St. George's Day; they celebrate their patron saint twice a year, today and May 6, his feast day on the OS calendar)

Hadakambo Festival -- Hofu, Japan (men dressed only in loincloths brave the cold carrying floats to the shrine)

Holidays in the City Grand Illumination Parade -- Norfolk, VA, US (to kick off Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays)

Holodomor Remembrance Day -- international commemoration of the Death By Hunger Genocide in Ukraine

International Aura Awareness Day -- to increase the awareness of the human energy body, or aura

Jukebox Day -- many days compete for this title, but the first known nickel-in-the-slot record machine went into service on this day in 1889 in San Francisco, CA, US

Kinro Kansha no Hi -- Japan (Labour Day Thanksgiving, when people express gratitude to each other for their work through the year)

La Posada de Kingsville: a Celebration of Lights --  Kingsville, TX, US (many holiday events from now until Dec. 31, focusing on the joy and spirit of the season)

Natchitoches Festival of Lights -- Natchitoches, LA, US (over 350,000 lights go on every night from now until Jan, 6, with carolers on Friday and Saturday evenings downtown, festivals and events every weekend; come celebrate the season in the Oldest Settlement in the Louisiana Purchase)

National Adoption Day -- US (encouraging us to find a home for every child; many courts finalize thousands of adoptions of children from foster care on this day each year)

National Cashew Day -- some sites list it on the 22nd, i'm celebrating both as i love cashews

National Espresso Day

National Family Volunteer Day -- Points of Light started this, and now several groups work together to provide volunteer opportunities for families; here and here for information  

National Survivors of Suicide Day -- US (remembering those who have lost loved ones to suicide, especially as Thanksgiving and the holidays are coming)

Nordic Yulefest -- Nordic Museum, Seattle, WA, US (a Scandinavian holiday extravaganza; through tomorrow)

Pencil Sharpener Day -- John Love of Massachusetts patented the first one this day in 1897

Ranch Hand Breakfast -- King Ranch, Kingsville, TX, US (a real ranch hand meal, cooked and served outdoors, on a working cattle ranch where you can watch cowboys round up longhorns)
     part of La Posada de Kingsville, with special holiday celebrations through December

Repudiation Day -- Maryland, US (anniversary of the Franklin County Court refusal to cooperate with Britain's Stamp Tax Act)

Rudolf Maister Day -- Slovenia

St. Clement's Day (Patron of boatmen/mariners/sailors/watermen, marble workers/stonecutters, sick children; Dundee, Scotland; Velletri, Italy)

St. Columbanus's Day (Patron of motorcyclists; Bobbio, Italy; against floods)

St. Felicity's Day (Patron of martyrs, widows; against the death of children, sterility)

World's Champion Duck-Calling Contest and Festival -- Stuttgart, AR, US (pageants for Queen Mallard and Junior Queen Mallard, carnival, and the best duck calling possible; through Nov. 30)

Birthdays Today:

Miley Cyrus, 1992
Salli Richardson, 1967
Bruce Hornsby, 1954
Johnny Mandel, 1925
Harpo Marx, 1888
Boris Karloff, 1887
Billy the Kidd (William H. Bonney), 1859
Franklin Pierce, 1804

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Dr. Who, 1963
Life Magazine, 1936
First play-by-play American style football game radio broadcast, 1919 (Texas A&M beat University of Texas, 7-0)

Today in History:

Thespis of Icaria becomes the first actor to portray a character onstage, BC534
Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III, 800
Conquest of Seville by the Christian troops under King Ferdinand III of Castile. 1248
Areopagitica, a pamphlet decrying censorship, and written by John Milton is published, 1644
People of Frederick County Md refuse to pay England's Stamp tax, 1765
Henry Burden patents Horseshoe manufacturing machine, 1835
Patent granted for a process of making color photographs, 1863
The first jukebox goes into operation at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco, 1889
King William III of the Netherlands dies without a male heir and a special law is passed to allow his daughter Princess Wilhelmina to become his heir, 1890
Andrew J Beard invents "jerry coupler," to connect railroad cars, 1897
Pencil sharpener patented by J L Love, 1897
Enrico Caruso makes his US debut at the Metropolitan Opera House, NY in "Rigoletto", 1903
Wright Brothers forms million dollar corporation to manufacture airplanes, 1909
Life Magazine publishes its first issue, 1936
The Cocos Islands are transferred from the control of the United Kingdom to Australia, 1955
The BBC broadcasts the first ever episode of Doctor Who (starring William Hartnell) which is the world's longest running science fiction drama, 1963
Representatives of the People's Republic of China attend the United Nations, including the United Nations Security Council, for the first time, 1971
A series of earthquakes in southern Italy kills approximately 4,800 people, 1980
The first all woman expedition to the south pole (3 Americans, 1 Japanese and 12 Russians), sets off from Antarctica on the 1st leg of a 70 day, 1287 kilometre ski trek, 1990
Convention on Cybercrime is signed in Budapest, Hungary, 2001
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia and becomes the first woman to lead an African country, 2005

Friday, November 22, 2013

Feline Friday: i'z hit teh jackpot!

Steve, The Burnt Food Dude, started Feline Friday, and i'm going to believe it's because he likes cats.

i'z hit teh jackpot!

Buzz tries to climb into the food bin.

Today is:

Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival -- Yuma, AZ, US (through Sunday)

Dispute-Settling Assizes -- Fairy Calendar (no, they won't tell us what kind of disputes)

Dita e Alfabetit -- Albania and Ethnic Albanians (Day of the Albanian Alphabet)

Go for a Ride Day -- internet generated; during the crazy holiday season, go out for a relaxing sleigh ride or something

Grand Illumination Celebration and Gingerbread House Competition & Display -- Lahaska, PA, US (the holiday fun begins at the Peddler's Village)

Greater Pittsburgh Arts and Crafts Show -- Monroeville, PA, US (through Sunday)

Holiday Folk Fair International -- Milwaukee, WI, US (featuring costumes, dancing, entertainment, exhibits, and more from 65 cultures; through Sunday)

Holiday Lights on the Lake -- Altoona, PA, US (51 acres of lights, animations, gift shops, food, model train displays, and more; through the Sunday after New Year's Day)

Independence Day -- Lebanon(1943)

National Cashew Day -- some sites have this on the 23rd, i celebrate both as i love cashews

National Stop the Violence Day -- a call by US radio and TV stations for a cease fire on American streets, on the anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination; observed with white ribbons and driving with headlights on during the day

Phonograph Day -- Edison publicly  demonstrated his new music playing device on this day in 1877

Start Your Own Country Day -- begun at the 1939 World's Fair in New York

St. Cecilia's Day (Patron of composers, luthiers, martyrs, music, musicians, musical instrument makers, poets, singers; Academy of Music, Rome, Italy; Albi, France; Omaha, Nebraska; Valleyfield, Quebec)

Silver Bells in the City -- Lansing, MI, US (the capital city sparkles as the business district lights up for the holidays)

Substitute Educators Day -- US (the NEA encourages everyone to recognize those hard working substitute teachers, especially the ones who work most or all of the school year)

Ydalir -- Ancient Norse Calendar (Celebration of the wintertime god of skiing and archery, Ullr; date approximate)

York International Postcard Fair -- York, PA, US (over 100 international dealers in post cards show, sell, and trade their finest cards; through tomorrow)

Anniversary Today:

The Humane Society of the United States is founded, 1954

Birthdays Today:

Scarlett Johansson, 1984
Scott Robinson, 1979
Mariel Hemingway, 1961
Jamie Lee Curtis, 1958
Billie Jean King, 1943
Robert Vaughn, 1932
Rodney Dangerfield, 1921
Benjamin Britten, 1913
Hoagy Carmichael, 1899
Wiley Post, 1898
Charles de Gaulle, 1890
John Nance Garner, 1868
George Eliot (Mary A. Evans), 1819
Abigail Adams, 1744

Debuting/Premiering Today:

On the Origin of Species published, 1859

Today in History:

The first Duke of all Brittany, Nominoe defeats the Frankish king Charles the Bald at the Battle of Ballon near Redon, 845
Spain delegates "New Laws" against slavery in America, 1542
Dutch colonial forces on Taiwan launch a pacification campaign against native villages, resulting in Dutch control of the middle and south of the island, 1635
Off the coast of North Carolina, British pirate Edward Teach (best known as "Blackbeard") is killed in battle with a boarding party led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard, 1718
Peregrine Williamson of Baltimore patents a steel pen, 1809
Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie called for a rebellion against Great Britain, 1837
In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark is launched – one of the last clippers ever to be built, and the only one still surviving to this day, 1869
Victoria Street Cable Tram route begins in Melbourne, Australia, 1886
The Congress of Manastir establishes the Albanian alphabet, 1908
1st snowmobile patent granted to Carl Eliason of Sayner Wisconsin, 1927
The premier performance of Ravel's Boléro takes place in Paris, 1928
Gasoline pump patented that computes quantity & price delivered, 1932
"Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" first heard on Eddie Cantor's show, 1934
The Humane Society of the United States is founded, 1954
US President John F. Kennedy is killed and Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald, 1963
The United Nations General Assembly grants the Palestine Liberation Organization observer status, 1974
Juan Carlos is declared King of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco, 1975
In Palmdale, California, the first prototype B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is revealed, 1988
Toy Story is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery, 1995
Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany, 2005

Thursday, November 21, 2013


"Mom, I woke up to the scariest thing this morning!" #1Son told me as he came to hunt for his brother.  "I could hear a rustling of a plastic bag, and I didn't know where it was coming from, and when I opened my eyes there was Mikey, with his head through the handles of a grocery bag.  I mean it was wrapped around his head!  It scared me, and I yelled at him to come to me, and he did, and I got it away, but it really, really scared me."

Yes, that is scary, i noted.

"The thing is, I didn't know where he had gotten it, so I put him and Sissy in my room with food and water and litter until I can go figure it out.  I don't want that to happen again."

That's right, i said, you don't.  Animals have died from that.

He didn't answer, and i noticed he was looking past me, where sweeping had kicked up the dust motes into the sunshine streaming in.

"Wow, look at that!" he said.  "That always looks neat."

"It looks like a universe, like galaxies!"  Little Girl had walked up behind us and was seeing it, too.

"Yeah, like stars spinning around each other, galaxies circling the center of the universe, or stars spinning around the center of the galaxy and each other," #1 Son said.

"But there aren't any supernovas in it!" Little Girl said with a grin.

"Let's hope not!" he said.  "But really, it's like a galaxy.  What's really neat is that our galaxy spins around a black hole.  Not all galaxies do, you know."

No, i didn't realize that some do and some don't, i said.

"Yeah, ours does.  It would be really neat to go to the center of the galaxy and see the black hole.  As long as you stay far enough away from the event horizon, you're okay.  And did you know that if you watched a person go into a black hole, the person would appear to freeze at the point of entry?  He would stay frozen there until you look away, then when you look back, you wouldn't see him any more.  Is that weird, or what?"  #1 Son must have been reading up on this stuff, or something, and i asked.

"I've been watching "How the Universe Works," he said, with a grin.  "It's amazing stuff." 

"It is," Little Girl agreed.  "And have you seen the pictures they have now of the sun that's about to go supernova?  It's beautiful."

"Well, our sun isn't big enough to go supernova," #1 Son said.  "But you're right, those are pretty amazing."

"Atoms are a center, with electrons in orbit around it.  The solar system is a sun with planets in orbit around, the galaxy a black hole with suns in orbit around it, the universe some center with everything else in orbit around it -- it's all like universes within universes," Little Girl said.

That it is, i thought.  And all that from watching dust motes dance in a sunbeam.

Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- Bangladesh

Beaujolais Nouveau Release -- France

Catholic School Principal Appreciation Day -- designated by the National Catholic Education Association

False Confessions Day -- internet generated, and not for the faint of heart

Fast for an Abundant World Harvest -- sponsored by Oxfam America
Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin -- Eastern and Roman Catholic Christian (those following the Gregorian Calendar)

Festival of Madonna della Salute -- Venice, Italy

Furniture Memory Day -- an internet generated test of your memory; see if you remember where you got each piece of furniture you own, how much it cost, and how its most precious scratch came to be; you are also encouraged to dust if you want to

General Framework Agreement Day -- RS, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Gerard d'Aboville Day -- marking the day, in 1991, he arrived in Ilwaco, WA, US, after departing Japan 4 months earlier in a rowboat!

Gingerbread Day

Great American Smokeout -- save money and your life, try not to smoke today; started by the American Cancer Society

National Stuffing Day -- various dates given on many sites, so if you enjoy stuffing, celebrate them all

No Music Day -- for the explanation

St. Gelasius' Day

Ugly Day -- Fairy Calendar

Use Less Stuff Day -- a great idea!

World Hello Day -- recognizing the importance of communication in world peace, say hello to people you don't usually greet today

World Television Day -- UN

Anniversaries Today:

South Carolina becomes the 12 US State, 1789

Birthdays Today:

Ken Griffey, Jr., 1969
Troy Aikman, 1966
Bjork, 1965
Cherry Jones, 1956
Goldie Hawn, 1945
Harold Ramis, 1944
Tweety Bird, 1942
Juliet Mills, 1941
Marlo Thomas, 1938
Joseph Campanella, 1927
Stan Musial, 1920
Coleman Hawkins, 1904
Rene Magritte, 1898
Hetty Green, 1834
William Beaumont, 1785
Voltaire, 1694

Today in History:

Judas Maccabaeus, son of Mattathias of the Hasmonean family, restores the Temple in Jerusalem; this is the event commemorated each year by the festival of Hanukkah, BC164
The Pilgrims, aboard the Mayflower, reach what is now called Provincetown Harbor, Massachusetts, and sign the Mayflower Compact, 1620
Richard Johnson, a free black, is granted 550 acres in Virginia, 1654
In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, Marquis d'Arlandes, make the first untethered hot air balloon flight, 1783
Colonel Napoléon Bonaparte is promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic, 1791
First Jewish Reform congregation in US forms, Charleston, SC, 1824
Moses F Gale patents a cigar lighter, 1871
Tom Edison announces his "talking machine" invention (phonograph), 1877
Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator, 1922
First commercial crossing of Pacific by plane (China Clipper), 1935
The Alcan Highway is completed, 1942*
The British Natural History Museum announces that the "Piltdown Man" skull is a hoax, 1953
The first permanent ARPANET link is established between UCLA and SRI, 1969
Gerard d'Aboville completes his four-month solo journey to row across the Pacific Ocean, 1991
The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1995
NATO invites Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members, 2002

*Not opened to general vehicular traffic until the next year

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Wednesday Whine

Ol' Bessy, my aging, ailing laptop, also called Old Crankypants, is getting crabbier and crabbier.  Yesterday, i wrote out a post, and she wouldn't save it for anything.  All the time went for nothing as blogger supposedly autosaves, and i found out the hard way, it doesn't where Ol' Bessy is concerned.

After hitting publish, and shutting her down again for not responding, i finally get back in, and the whole thing was gone.  It not only hadn't published, it hadn't even saved during any of that time.

So, i will have to start over, which makes me almost as cranky as my very old computer.  Meanwhile, i decided to have a bit of a whine, but no cheese.  After all, i am a vegan.

This got me wondering if there's anything else i can while about while i'm at it.  After all, might as well get it all over with at once.  There was one lady who, when she was a girl and wanted to whine and complain, would be told by her mother that she had 15 minutes, to have at it.  She would usually find herself laughing by the time her mother's timer went off.  From that i learned, just get it all out, with a time limit, and it all seems better by the end.  Or at least funnier.

But all that thinking hasn't brought up too much else to whine about.  Really, i can't complain, although i could wish Ol' Bessy would get over herself a bit.

That reminds me of the one older man who, when asked how he was doing, would always answer, "Oh, can't complain, can't complain.  The wife won't let me!"   Much to the amusement of all who asked him, he would laugh, too.

It used to be, when i was asked for identification for any reason, i would get it out with a smile and say, Don't worry, it's really me -- no one else would want my life!

Since then, though, i've realized i have a pretty good life.

Ol' Bessy might be the death of me yet, you never know.  Meanwhile, there's not much else to fuss about.

Today is:

Absurdity Day -- an internet generated absurd holiday

Africa Industrialization Day -- UN

Air Your Dirty Laundry Day -- internet generated, and be careful with this one!

Beautiful Day -- Fairy Calendar

Clean the Cat Hair Out of the Vacuum Cleaner Day -- internet generated, and always tops on my chore list

Day of Sekhmet and the Purifying Flame -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Day of National Sovereignty -- Argentina (commemorates the Battle of Vuelta de Obligado)

Dia da Consciencia Negra -- Brazil (Black Consciousness Day)

Geographic Information Systems Day -- information here

Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day aka G.O.H.A.R.D

Name Your PC Day -- mine is Ol' Bessy, a/k/a Old Crankypants; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

National Educational Support Professionals Day -- US

National Peanut Butter Fudge Day

Praetextatus and Paulina's Day -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Guardians of the Eleusinian Mysteries, pagan activists and devotees who tried to save Roman religions; date approximate)

Repentance Day -- Saxony, Germany (Day of Prayer and Repentance [Buss und Bettag])
     Buss und Bettag -- German speaking Lutheran, Reformed, and United Protestants (Day of Repentance and Prayer)

Revolution Day -- Mexico (traditional)

Scottish International Badminton Championship -- Glasgow, Scotland (through Sunday)

St. Edmund the Martyr's Day (Patron of kings, torture victims, wolves; East Anglia, England; against plagues)

Teachers' Day -- Vietnam

Transgender Day of Remembrance -- memorial for those who have been killed because of transphobia

Universal Children's Day -- UN

Zumbi Day -- Brazil (death anniversary of Zumbi dos Palmares, a day of Afro-Brazilian consciousness, as he was a hero and freedom fighter)

Anniversaries Today:

The Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London, 1947
The first municipal airport in the US opens, in Tuscon, AZ, 1919

Birthdays Today:

Bo Derek, 1956
Duane Allman, 1946
Veronica Hamal, 1943
Joe Biden, 1942
Dick Smothers, 1939
Richard Dawson, 1932
Estelle Parsons, 1927
Kaye Ballard, 1926
Robert F. Kennedy, 1925
Robert Byrd, 1917
Alistair Cooke, 1908
Edwin Hubble, 1889
Susanna Wesley, 1669 (mother of John, Charles, and 17 other children)
Peregrine White, 1620 (born on the Mayflower)
Maximinus, Roman Emperor, 270

Debuting/Premiering Today:

The Sheik (with Rudolph Valentino), 1921

Today in History:

Bögü, Khan of the Uyghurs, conquers Lo-Yang, capital of the Chinese Empire, 762
Zumbi, the last leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares of Brazil, is executed, 1695
New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the US Bill of Rights, 1789
Curacao's government forbids slave work on Sunday, 1795
Howard University is founded in Washington, D.C., 1866
US State Department starts requiring photographs for passports, 1914
The first municipally owned airport in US opens, in Tucson Az, 1919
In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation, 1962
The SETI Institute is founded, 1984
Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released, 1985
The number of protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million, 1989
In England, a fire breaks out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage, 1992
The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, is launched, 1998
The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level in eleven years, 2008