Saturday, March 31, 2012

During rEcess

rEcess, spelled that way on purpose.

Parents of special needs kids can have a very, very tough time.

When your child is in a wheelchair, or is severely autistic, or has lots of special needs, date nights for just the two of you can be few and far between.

If you are a single parent, getting time out at all doesn't happen much.

Thus there is rEcess. Nationwide and with some chapters in other parts of the world.

The premise is simple. Volunteers are trained to take care of these kids, one or even two assigned to each special needs kid. The kids, and their siblings up through age 12, can be dropped off one night a month for 4 hours, and the parents get a break.

The kids have a blast. There are always activities planned, and there's a room for being quiet in if one has a meltdown.

The evening ends with all of the kids whose parents want them to changing into jammies, and everyone sits to watch a movie until parents come back.

Mia is one week younger than Little Girl. Developmentally delayed, speech challenged, cerebral palsey, in a wheelchair. She likes Barbie, and the boy named Tailor who comes, too. They say they are dating.

She and i were the cheerleaders while Tailor and some of the siblings played basketball. We had an Easter egg hunt. We colored pictures and played with PlaDoh, and she didn't eat any this time. We clapped and sang along with VeggieTales.

It was a great evening for all of us.

Today is:

Bunsen Burner Day -- on the birth anniversary of its inventor, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, in 1811

Buy Some New Socks Day -- because all the websites that list it agree you are worth it

Day Everyone Says "31" a Lot -- Fairy Calendar

Earth Hour -- sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature at 8:30-9:30pm your local time; turn off all unneeded electrical equipment and become more aware of climate change

Eiffel Tower Day -- inaugurated this day in 1889

Festival for Luna -- Ancient Roman Calendar (moon festival)

Hot Guitar Day -- the day Jimi Hendrix first set fire to his guitar in 1967

Jum il-Helsien (Freedom Day) -- Malta

King Nangklao Memorial Day -- Thailand

Kirishima Nanohana Flower Walk -- Kirishima Jingu, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan

National Clams on the Half Shell Day

National Love Our Children Day -- sponsored by Love Our Children USA, highlighting the plight of abused and neglected children

National "She's Funny That Way" Day -- pay tribute to the women in your life, and how they keep you laughing; sponsored by Brenda Meredith of Dahomey Publishing, Inc.

Oranges and Lemons Day -- St. Clement Danes Church, London, Enlgand (traditional children's service based on the rhyme that begins "Oranges and lemons/say the bells of St. Clement's)

St. Balbina's Day (Patron of those with scrofulous diseases or stroma)

Thomas Mundy Peterson Day -- New Jersey, US (the first African-American to legally cast a vote in the US, this date in 1870)

Transfer Day -- US Virgin Islands

Vigil to Mourn China's Annexation of Tibet

Birthdays Today:

Pavel Bure, 1971
Ewan McGregor, 1971
Angus Young, 1955
Al Gore, 1948
Rhea Perlman, 1948
Gabe Kaplan, 1945
Christopher Walken, 1943
Herb Alpert, 1935
Richard Chamberlain, 1935
Shirley Jones, 1934
Gordie Howe, 1928
Cesar Chavez, 1927
William Daniels, 1927
Leo Buscaglia, 1925
Henry Morgan, 1915
Andrew Lang, 1844
Joseph Haydn, 1732
Rene Descartes, 1596

Today in History:

Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade; Louis VII is present, and joins the Crusade, 1146
King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella sign decree ordering Jews to convert or be expelled from Spain, 1492
Jews are expelled from Prague, 1745
Commodore Matthew Perry signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade, 1854
Thomas P Mundy of Perth Amboy, NJ, becomes the first African American to cast a vote, 1870
The Eiffel Tower, commemorating the French Revolution, opens, 1889
Richard Pearse allegedly makes a powered flight in an early aircraft, 1903
Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1909
Construction begins on the RMS Titanic, 1909
Construction of the RMS Titanic is completed, 1912
The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands, 1917
Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States for the first time, 1918
The Royal Australian Air Force is formed, 1921
The Dominion of Newfoundland joins the Canadian Confederation and becomes the 10th Province of Canada, 1949
Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau, 1951
In the Canadian federal election, 1958, the Progressive Conservatives, led by John Diefenbaker, win the largest percentage of seats in Canadian history, with 208 seats of 265, 1958
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crosses the border into India and is granted political asylum, 1959
The Soviet Union launches Luna 10 which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon, 1966
Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth's atmosphere after 12 years in orbit, 1970
The USS Missouri, the last active United States Navy battleship, is decommissioned in Long Beach, California, 1992
Netscape releases the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; the project is given the code name Mozilla and is eventually spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, 1998
Amid unrest in the Mideast, activists claim China has launched the largest crackdown on dissenters in recent years, 2011

Friday, March 30, 2012

Double the Joy

"Hi, mimi? This is Lynn, Blair asked me to call you," the voice on the other end of the phone said. Good thing i answered, though i didn't recognize the number and often let those go.

"Yes, i will," i answered, knowing full well what was coming next. 'Tis the season, after all.

"You will what?" Lynn sounded perplexed.

"Will take the kittens, as long as you guys are going to help get them homes," i answered.

"Oh." She seemed stunned that had already answered her question. "Well, yes, there are kittens, Steph is with them at Animal Control. SBR has agreed to take 4, but that leaves 4 more, if you can't take them, well, you know."

Yes, i know. Animal Control does not bottle feed. They euthanize anything that young, have to. They are required to take any animal in the parish that is dropped off, and are always more than overcrowded. Most animals there don't get much of a chance.

We talked a bit about when i could be home to receive them, and i went about getting dinner done.

Blair actually brought them over later in the evening. She has 22 adult fosters right now and 18 kittens, including 9 she is bottle feeding, as well as a female ready to drop a litter in the next few days. Gluttons for punishment, us animal rescue types.

"There are two calicos from one litter, and two tabbies from another," she said as she came in the house. "And i accidentally spilled formula on them when trying to feed everyone."

The calicos are about the same age as the 3 we already have. The tabbies are maybe 2 days old, umbilical cords still there. We had to bathe and blow dry them because they were sticky little messes. They all ate, though, and that's a good start.

Usually we keep litters separate until we are sure they don't have anything they could pass around. These four were already in the same blanket, so it was too late for that. That's okay, it makes it easier in some ways -- only two separate bottles and nests instead of 3, which starts to get really complicated.

A carrier nest next to the bucket nest that holds Anomaly, Perplexity, and Conundrum, close enough that the heating pad is under both. Everyone clean, 4 by water and blowing dry, 3 by Hazelnut bath -- that dog loves kittens, she is ready to come lick them stem to stern any time, day or night. She acts like they are hers.

One day, more than double the kittens, double the joy.

Today is:

Cesar Chavez Day -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Utah,& Wyoming, US

Check for Change in Every Coin Return You Pass Day -- because someone has a sense of humor and put it on the internet

Culture Day -- Micronesia

Doctors Day -- US (begun by Eudora Almond in 1933 because she thought her husband, Dr. Charles B. Almond, deserved recognition for his hard work)

Fairies of the First Wand Reunion Dinner -- Fairy Calendar

Feast of Janus and Concordia -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Festival of Reality Fabrication -- internet holiday to celebrate your imagination

Festival of Salus -- Ancient Roman Calendar (god of health)

Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day -- remember how good you have it; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

I am in Control Day -- remember Alexander Haig's words on this date in 1981? well today, if you find the phones won't stop ringing, the kids got into the glue again, the coffee maker is on the fritz, and somebody dyed the poodle purple, stand up and declare that you are in control!

Land Day commemoration -- Palestinian remembrance

Limited Liability Day -- because no one can be responsible for everything

Navapad Oli -- Jain (through April 6)

Pencil Day -- the pencil with an eraser top was patented this day in 1858 by Hyman Lipman

Runic Half-Month Ewhas (Horse) begins

Semana Santa -- Seville, Spain (Holy Week, with processions and hundreds of penitents in hoods; through April 8)

Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day -- Trinidad and Tobago

St. Leonard Murialdo's Day (Patron of apprentices)

Take a Walk in the Park Day -- begun by someone who wanted to get out of the office

Turkey Neck Soup Day

Birthdays Today:

Scott Moffatt, 1983
Norah Jones, 1979
Matt Doran, 1976
Mark Consuelos, 1971
Celine Dion, 1968
Ian Ziering, 1964
M.C. Hammer, 1962
Paul Reiser, 1957
Robbie Cotrane, 1950
Eric Clapton, 1945
Astrud Gilberto, 1940
Warren Beatty, 1937
John Astin, 1930
Rolf Harris, 1930
Peter Marshall, 1930
Frankie Laine, 1913
Anna Sewell, 1820
Vincent Van Gogh, 1853

Today in History:

The first recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, BC240
Ketsugan, Zen teacher, performs exorcisms to free aizoji temple, 1422
Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon, 1533
British and coalition forces march into Paris after the defeat of Napoleon, 1814
Dr. Crawford Long of Georgia, US, performs the first operation with anesthesia (ether), 1842
A pencil with attached eraser is patented by Hyman L Lipman of Philadelphia, 1858
Alaska is purchased from Russia by US Secretary of State William Seward, for $7,200,000 (about 2 cents per acre), 1867
Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, 1932
Einstein announces his revised unified field theory, 1953
The Yonge Street Line, the first subway in Canada, opens in Toronto, 1954
President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., 1981
The oldest copy of Codex Holmiensis, dating from 1280, is returned to Denmark from Sweden after 300 years, and 45,000 Inca artifacts are returned to Peru's Machu Picchu after spending 100 years at Yale University, 2011

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Well, It's Probably About Time

For me to figure out how to post a picture.

So first i got Teresa, who has a good camera, to take one. After all, she's the one taking photography lessons. Then she sent it to me in an email. For once, Ol' Bessy actually opened and downloaded the attachment.

Then i got it on the computer, and miracle followed miracle and i found it somehow.

Now, it's here. By the magic of the interwebs and something that succeeded in spite of me.

This is Conundrum, sucking on Bigger Girl's finger.

All 3 babies, Anomaly, Perplexity, and Conundrum, being held by Bigger Girl.

They are 12 days old, eating like there is no tomorrow and growing like weeds. So far, by Heaven's grace, they are looking good.

Today is:

Barthelemy Boganda Day -- Central African Republic

Borrowed Days begin -- old English/Scottish/Irish legends about how March borrowed the next 3 days from April; these are still seen as weather prognostication days based on several different legends

Commemoration Day -- Madagascar

Day of Redress -- Fairy Calendar

Knights of Columbus Founders Day

Martyrs' Day -- Madagascar

Mule Day Celebrations begin -- Colombia, TN, US (the "mule capital of the world"; through April 1)

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day -- as recognized by AICPA

Smoke and Mirrors Day -- some sites call it "Festival of Smoke and Mirrors Day," but appropriately no one knows who started it

St. Armogastes of Africa's Day (Patron of the poor and torture victims)

St. Gladys' and St. Gwynllyw's Day

Texas Love the Children Day -- Texas, US (prior to National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April)

Youth Day -- Taiwan

Birthdays Today:

Hideaki Takizawa, 1982
Jennifer Capriati, 1976
Lucy Lawless, 1968
Elle Macpherson, 1964
Bud Cort, 1950
George Blaha, 1945
John Major, 1943
Pearl Bailey, 1918
Sam Walton, 1918
Philip Ahn, 1905
Denton True "Cy" Young, 1867
Isaac Mayer Wise, Rabbi and Founder of Reform Judaism, 1819
John Tyler, 1790
Carlo Buonaparte, father of Napoleon Bonaparte, 1746

Today in History:

The city of Salvador da Bahia, the first capital of Brazil, is founded, 1549
Treaty of Saint-Germain is signed, returning Quebec to French control after the English had seized it in 1629, 1632
Swedish colonists establish the first settlement in Delaware, 1638
Ludwig von Beethoven, age 24, debuts as a pianist in Vienna, 1795
Construction is authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway, 1806
Niagara Falls stops flowing for 30 hours due to an ice jam, 1848
The United Kingdom annexes the Punjab, 1849
Ohio makes it illegal for children under 18 & women to work more than 10 hours a day, 1852
Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act which establishes the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867
Queen Victoria presides over the opening of Albert Hall in London, 1871
The Knights of Columbus are established, 1882
Dr. John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in his back yard, 1886
The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement goes into effect at 03:00 local time, 1941
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, 1951
NASA's Mariner 10 becomes the first spaceprobe to fly by Mercury, 1974
The Canada Act 1982 (U.K.) receives the Royal Assent from Queen Elizabeth II, setting the stage for the Queen of Canada to proclaim the Constitution Act, 1982
Catherine Callbeck becomes premier of Prince Edward Island and the first woman to be elected in a general election as premier of a Canadian province, 1993
Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia join NATO as full members, 2004
The Republic of Ireland becomes the first country in the world to ban smoking in all work places, including bars and restaurants, 2004
Thirty-five countries and over 370 cities join Earth Hour for the first time, 2008

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


"Honey, do you have a sandwich size plastic zip bag?" Sweetie asked, coming into the kitchen from his cave with full hands.

Reaching above the sink, i unhooked one from the hanger with clothespins where i dry them after washing for reuse. My way of saving money and doing my bit to "reuse," the most neglected part of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle triad.

He cast a wary eye at it, sniffed, and was satisfied that it was indeed thoroughly clean for his purposes. Then he saw the small white area on it where you can write the contents, noted there was something written there, and i read his mind.

As i moved toward the pen i knew he would ask for next, he said, "Great. Now do you have a, uh...uh..."

His voice trailed off as i handed him the marker with a grin and an "Ain't old age grand?" comment.

"Oh," he said, "it's just that I wanted to call it a Magic Marker and that's not what it's called, I know this one is a Sharpie, and ... Hey, what do you mean, 'Old age'!? Speak for yourself!"

He then proceeded to try to stuff the Sharpie down the back of my shirt. He did not succeed.

Today is:

Bali Spirit Festival -- Ubud, Bali (a celebration of Balinese culture; through April 1)

Commemoration of Sen no Rikyu -- Urasenke School of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Japan (influential master in The Way of Tea)

Feast of Artemis -- Ancient Greek Calendar (as protector of wild animals, vegetation, and places, begins at sundown; date approximate)

Festival of the Sacrifice at the Tombs -- Ancient Roman Calendar (to honor the ancestors)

Hot Tub Day -- because we all need one!

Invasion of Loaming Shores Beyond the Certain Sea Anniversary -- Fairy Calendar

Khordad Sal (Birth of the Prophet Zarathushtra) -- Zoroastrianism (Fasli Calendar)

Komamorijinja Reisai -- Gifu, Japan (festival of the the Kosazukeishi "child-granting stone")

National Black Forest Cake Day

Respect Your Cat Day -- anniversary of King Richard II's edict in 1384 forbidding the consumption of cats

Serfs Emancipation Day -- Tibet

Something on a Stick Day -- something edible, of course, what were you thinking? never mind; almost everything tastes better on a stick

St. Guntramnus' Day (Patron of divorced people, guardians, repentant murderers)

Teachers' Day -- Czech Republic; Slovakia

Weed Appreciation Day -- at last, for those of us with black thumbs, since this is all we can grow! "Weeds are flowers once you get to know them!" A.A. Milne

Birthdays Today:

Julia Stiles, 1981
Annie Wersching, 1977
Scott Mills, 1974
Juliandra Gillen, 1971
Vince Vaughn, 1970
Reba McEntire, 1955
Dianne Wiest, 1948
Ken Howard, 1944
Dirk Bogarde, 1921
August Anheuser Busch, Jr., 1899
Maxim Gorky, 1868
Frederich Pabst, 1836
St. Teresa of Avila, 1515
Fra Bartolomeo, 1472

Today in History:

Roman Emperor Pertinax is assassinated by Praetorian Guards, who then sell the throne in an auction to Didius Julianus, 193
Viking raiders sack Paris, who leave in exchange for a huge ransom, 845
The origin of the Fasli Era in India, 1556
Juan Bautista de Anza finds the site for the Presidio of San Francisco, 1776
Nathaniel Briggs of NH patents a washing machine, 1797
Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers discovers 2 Pallas, the second asteroid known to man, 1802
The US Salvation Army is officially organized, 1885
Henri Fabre becomes the first person to fly a seaplane, 1910
Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv & Jaffa by Turkish authorities, 1917
Constantinople and Angora change their names to Istanbul and Ankara, 1930
The McGill français movement protest occurs, the second largest protest in Montreal's history, 1969
Operators of Three Mile Island's Unit 2 nuclear reactor outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania fail to recognize that a relief valve in the primary coolant system has stuck open, leading to a partial meltdown, 1979
In South Africa, Zulus and African National Congress supporters battle in central Johannesburg, resulting in 18 deaths, 1994
The 2005 Sumatran earthquake rocks Indonesia, and at magnitude 8.7 is the second strongest earthquake since 1965, 2005
At least 1 million union members, students, and unemployed take to the streets in France in protest at the government's proposed First Employment Contract law, 2006

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Smooth Operators

The companies that want to cheat you out of your hard earned cash have come up with one i'd never heard of before, and neither had the representative of my phone carrier when i talked to someone there about it.

Sometimes i get spam texts. My method to deal with them has always been just to delete the conversation and move on.

Well, i got one, and it was the typical "reply to sign up for this service for $10 a month" and i deleted it and was about to go on my way when i almost immediately got another text from that company thanking me for signing up. This when i had not responded at all.

So i called my carrier and they had already charged my account, that fast. Apparently they are now signing you up automatically if you do not respond within about 2 minutes telling you not to.

This steams me, because i will not respond to these things. Even sending the word "stop" to them doesn't stop them; instead it tells them they have a live number and they then sell it to tons of other companies. They've turned most people's refusal to even respond into a tool to make them money. You don't respond, they assume you want the service.

Unconscionable, and no way to stop them, except by dealing with each one individually as they do this, getting your carrier to remove the charge as soon as they try to put it on there.

Really, i don't want to know what they are going to try to come up with next.

Today is:

American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Armed Forces Day -- Myanmar

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Viewing and Celebrations begin -- Japan (the festivities get started around now, and vary by region depending on when the trees bloom in that area over the next 6 weeks)

National "Joe" Day -- no, it isn't official, but today you can make everyone call you "Joe" if you want, and call them the same; probably started by someone who had no memory for names

National Spanish Paella Day

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day -- after all, they do need their own day

St. Rupert of Salzburg's Day (Patron of Salzburg)

World Theatre Day

Anniversaries Today:

Mary Pickford marries Douglas Fairbanks, 1920

Birthdays Today:

Brenda Song, 1988
Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson, 1975
Mariah Carey, 1970
Quentin Tarantino, 1963
Xuxa, 1963
Michael York, 1942
David Janssen, 1931
Sarah Vaughan, 1924
Harold Nicholas, 1921
Gloria Swanson, 1899
Edward Steichen, 1879
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, 1845
Nathaniel Currier, 1813

Today in History:

Ptolemy V ascends to the throne of Egypt, BC196
Pope Clement V excommunicates the entire population of Venice, 1309
Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida, 1513
The first English child born in Canada at Cuper's Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy, 1613
The dike at Hardinxveld breaks, causing the Alblasserwaard flood, 1709
Spain losses Menorca & Gibraltar, 1713
John Parker Paynard originates medicated adhesive plaster, precursor to the band-aid, 1848
First reported sighting of the Yosemite Valley by Europeans, 1851
M L Byrn patents "covered gimlet screw with a 'T' handle" (corkscrew), 1860
The first international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, is played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place, 1871
Famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars, 1886
The first Japanese cherry blossom trees planted in Washington, D.C., 1912
The first successful blood transfusion takes place in Brussels, 1914
Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States, is put in quarantine, , 1916
Charlie Chaplin receives France's distinguished Legion of Honor, 1931
Nikita Khrushchev becomes Premier of the Soviet Union, 1958
The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2 strikes South Central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage, 1964
The Concorde makes its first supersonic flight. 1970
Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System begins, 1975
The Norwegian oil platform Alexander L. Kielland collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212, 1980
The Solidarity movement in Poland stages a warning strike, in which at least 12 million Poles walk off their jobs for four hours, 1981
The US FDA approves Viagra, 1998
HMS Scylla (F71), a decommissioned Leander class frigate, is sunk as an artificial reef off Cornwall, the first of its kind in Europe, 2004

Monday, March 26, 2012

Strike One for Me

No, this first-cousin-to-a-Luddite has not learned how to do strikeout on her computer.

She is cheating by using the feature as it already exits on a website she frequents.

If you can't beat 'em, work around 'em.

Today is:

Day to Mourn Victims of Biological Weapons -- Native Americans (commemorates the day they were outlawed in 1975

End of Zimbor-Quattor's Revenge Week and Day of Reconciliation with All Those Whose Hats Have Been Damaged -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day and National Day -- Bangladesh

Legal Assistants' Day

Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Martyr's Day / Democracy Day -- Mali

Maryland Day -- Maryland, US

National Nougat Day

Otago Provincial Anniversary -- Otago, New Zealand

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianole Day -- Hawaii, US (Hawaiian Royal who worked to preserve the Hawaiian culture)

Seward's Day -- Alaska, US

Spinach Day -- on this day in 1937, spinach growers in Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in honor of their favorite veggie

St. Braulio's Day (Patron of Aragon, Spain)

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel -- Eastern Orthodox Christianity (celebration of his role is the Annunciation)

Anniversaries Today:

Founding of the University of Utrecht, 1636

Birthdays Today:

Keira Knightley, 1985
Amy Smart, 1976
Kenny Chesney, 1968
Marcus Allen, 1960
Curtis Sliwa, 1954
Teddy Pendergrass, 1950
Martin Short, 1950
Vicki Lawrence, 1949
Steven Tyler, 1948
Diana Ross, 1944
Bob Woodward, 1943
Erica Jong, 1942
James Caan, 1939
Alan Arkin, 1934
Leonard Nimoy, 1931
Sandra Day O'Connor, 1930
Tennessee Williams, 1911
Viktor Frankl, 1905
Robert Frost, 1874

Today in History:

William Caxton prints his translation of Aesop's Fables, 1484
The first British Sunday newspaper is published (British Gazette & Sunday Monitor), 1780
The US Congress orders removal of Indians east of Mississippi to Louisiana, 1804
An earthquake destroys 90% of Caracas, Venezuela, leaves 20,000 dead, 1812
The Book of Mormon is published in Palmyra, NY, 1830
Eastman Film Co manufactures the first commercial motion picture film, 1885
New Delhi replaces Calcutta as capital of British-Indies, 1931
Jonas Salk announces the first successful test of his polio vaccine on a small group of adults and children, 1953
East Pakistan declares its independence from Pakistan to form People's Republic of Bangladesh, 1971
Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter sign the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C., 1979
The "Melissa worm" infects Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world, 1999
A jury in Michigan finds Dr. Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder for administering a lethal injection to a terminally ill man, 1999
The Taiwanese government calls on 1 million Taiwanese to demonstrate in Taipei, in opposition to the Anti-Secession Law of the People's Republic of China, 2005

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Bother?!

The complaint droned on so long i could hardly stand it.

"Why bother?" the man was saying. "I'm not going to go vote because all the elections are rigged."

Inside i seethed, but said nothing.

"And also, look at how many are running. They have people who will go vote for the ones that have no chance, and that will split the vote, and the one that has already been decided on will win anyway. It's all rigged. You watch. No matter how many people vote this year, it's already decided It'll turn out just like last time"

After i finally got away, i went to vote anyway. Since this was just about convention delegates and other "minor" stuff, the turnout was very low, which also steams me.

Why bother, sir? Let me tell you why i bother.

There are the oft quotes ideas that if you don't vote, you shouldn't complain, and about the number of people in the world today who are dying, literally and figuratively, to be able to do so.

The fact that people fought and died, or were injured, to give me that right is brought up again and again. It also occurred to me that, even for those who fought and were not injured or killed, they did not come through unscathed. No one goes into battle and doesn't come out with some permanent psychological change. The unwounded are that way in body only.

My main reason, though, is i believe. Is the system perfect? Of course not. Are there back room shenanigans? Certainly; where there are humans, there will be human failings, and cheating can be one of them. Do some elections in this world end up rigged? Certainly, again. There are international organizations dedicated to watching to try to make sure it doesn't happen, but there are still questionable outcomes.

Just because a system has flaws, though, doesn't mean i don't believe in it. For the sake that i think we can make the system better, i continue to believe in it, and support it, and participate in it.

Every time the polls open in my neighborhood, barring sudden accident or illness or something else dire that prevents me, i will vote, i will bother.

Because i still believe.

Today is:

Anniversary of the Arengo and the Feast of the Militants -- San Marino

Annunciation of the Virgin Mary -- Roman Catholic Christian
Lady Day/Quarter Day -- England; Ireland; Wales (traditional New Year's Day)
Varfrudagen -- Sweden (waffle day)

Day of the Shining Ones of Heaven move Upstream -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Haru Matsuri -- Kyogo, Japan

Hilaria -- Ancient Roman Empire ("Day of Joy", honoring Attis)

Independence Day -- Cyprus; Greece

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Medal of Honor Day -- US

Mother's Day -- Slovenia

National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy -- Greece; US

National Lobster Newburg Day

National Pecan Day -- anniversary of George Washington's planting of Pecan trees at Mt. Vernon in 1775

National Waffle Day -- possibly also International Waffle Day, depends on the site you search

Numbskulls and Clodhoppers' Dance -- Fairy Calendar (I know a couple of people who qualify on both counts; I need to find out how to buy tickets!)

Old New Year's Day -- until 1751, British Empire

Revolution Day -- Greece (anniversary of the revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1821)

Root Canal Awareness Week begins -- sponsored by the American Association of Endodontists

St. Dismas' Day ("Dismas" is the name given the in the Bible unnamed "Thief on the Cross", crucified next to Jesus, who repented; Patron of prisoners, funeral directors, criminals, thieves)

*Struggle for Human Rights Day -- Slovakia

The Tichborne Dole - in Alresford, Hampshire, UK; since 1150, a gallon of flour is given to every resident by the Tichborne family head on this day, to avoid a curse

Tolkien Reading Day -- sponsored by The Tolkien Society on the anniversary of the fall of Sauron

Birthdays Today:

Danica Patrick, 1982
Sheryl Swoopes, 1971
Sarah Jessica Parker, 1965
Paul Miles, 1952
Elton John, 1947
Bonnie Bedelia, 1946
Paul Michael Glaser, 1943
Aretha Franklin, 1942
Anita Bryant, 1940
Gloria Steinem, 1934
Simone Signoret, 1921
Howard Cosell, 1920
David Lean, 1908
Bela Bartok, 1881
Arturo Toscanini, 1867

Today in History:

The first Easter, according to calendar-maker Dionysius Exiguus, 31
According to legend, Venice, Italy is born today at noon, 421
Richard I is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting France, leading to his death on April 6, 1199
Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scotland, 1306
Sir Walter Raleigh renews Humphrey Gilbert's patent to explore North America, 1584
Henry Hudson embarks on an exploration for Dutch East India Co., 1609
Lord Baltimore founds Catholic colony of Maryland, 1634
Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is discovered by Christian Huygens, 1655
Mount Etna in Sicily erupts, destroying Nicolosi, killing 20,000, 1669
The Slave Trade Act becomes law, abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire, 1807
The Swansea and Mumbles Railway in England, then known as the Oystermouth Railway, becomes the first passenger carrying railway in the world, 1807
Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism, 1811
Greeks revolt against the Ottoman Empire, beginning the Greek War of Independence, 1821
In New York City, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 garment workers, leading to factory reform laws, 1911
The Georgian Orthodox Church restores its autocephaly abolished by Imperial Russia in 1811, 1917
The first successful tornado forecast predicts that a tornado will strike Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, 1948
The European Economic Community is established (West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), 1957
Canada's Avro Arrow makes its first flight, 1958
Civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully complete their 4-day 50-mile march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, 1965
The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, is delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch, 1979
The world's first wiki, a part of the Portland Pattern Repository, is made public by Ward Cunningham, 1995
The European Union's Veterinarian Committee bans the export of British beef and its by-products as a result of mad cow disease, 1996
Protesters demanding a new election in Belarus, following the rigged Belarusian presidential election, clash with riot police, 2006

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Been debating...

...whether i should weigh in on the Trayvon Martin case.

After all, it's international news that affects all of us at a gut level.

Yet what more could my meanderings add?

Only that it's scary this still happens, and sad. Something similar could happen to my sons, given the right circumstances, which is why it has been weighing heavily on me.

My Sweetie's heritage is German, English, Scot and Native American, about 1/4 each, a pretty even mix. He has blue eyes and medium brown hair, sunburns easily and turns very red even when he is just hot. Most people would never even ask where his family came from.

Mine, though, is a different matter. My mother's side is plain vanilla, like most of Sweetie's, just Western European. Grandma also has blue eyes and red hair. It's my dad's side of the family that gets us questioned.

My father's mother was the direct descendant of one of the sheiks of Lebanon. She born and raised Roman Catholic, as she came along after that part of the family was thrown out of the country and ended up here, but they had been Eastern Orthodox. My father's father was born in Bethlehem, and i have relatives there still. He was also raised Orthodox and became Roman Catholic in this country.

In other words, Christian Arabs. My father used to tan so dark during his outdoor work in the summer that the bus drivers would insist he sit in the back of the bus.

To the people who believe the only good Arab is a dead one, it wouldn't matter that we aren't Muslim.

My girls take after their father and my mother. Light brown hair, bland complexions that tan easily, and Bigger Girl got the blue eyes. No one would question their heritage, unless it came up as a topic of conversation. (Although Little Girl doesn't really look like any other member of the family facial feature wise. When asked whom in our family she looks like, Sweetie will sometimes joke "The mailman!" This is obviously not true as, although i very much liked Mr. Benny, our former mailman who has retired, this child is not biracial.)

My boys, not so much. Olive complected like me, black curly hair that refuses to behave, and plenty of it, brown eyes. #2 Son has been asked if he is Mexican, and i've been asked if i'm Native American, from India or other places, and was frequently mistaken as a native and spoken to as if i should understand in Greece and Italy.

It used to be that i had no trouble telling people "Not quite" when they guessed wrong and just tell them my background. Now, i often feel i need to hide it, as do the boys.

The funny thing is that my Palestinian grandfather had a very Italian sounding name, with a long vowel sound at the end. So now, when most people ask, i tell them my maiden name and say "That's Italian!" like the old spaghetti sauce commercial, and i've told the boys to do the same.

The reason is that it can be hard to discern the intent of the person questioning.

A young black man walks through his neighborhood and gets shot. An Arabic looking person gets on a plane and gets questioned and lots of looks that tell him or her everyone is suspicious.

It shouldn't be that way.

My next door neighbors on one side are black. On the other side of us is the house of Mike-Next-Door, the wonderful young man the same age as #1 Son and who mows our lawn. His mother is from Palestine, his father from Jordan, and they are Muslim.

We have several families of varying ethnicities in our neighborhood; Hispanic, Asian, etc. Some are mixed race. It's all good. We watch out for each other, the Joneses and Smiths, the Nguyens and the Batenes, and of course the Boudreauxs thrown in for good measure.

It concerns me, though, that outside of good friends, i have to hide my heritage, and so do my boys, out of fear of prejudice. It shouldn't happen to anyone.

Blacks get singled out, and Arabs targeted for hate crimes, and Orientals or Hispanics disparaged and it is just plain wrong.

That's where my meandering takes me, to the point that i shouldn't be afraid to tell someone of my heritage until i know their motives.

Maybe someday, my sons wont have to any more. We can only hope.

Today is:

Commonwealth Covenant Day -- Northern Mariana Islands

Cuddly Kitten Day -- because if puppies get a day, so should kittens!

Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice -- Argentina

Dies Sanguines -- Ancient Roman Calendar (sacrifices to the war goddess Bellona)

Feast of Pak Tai -- Macau (Pak Tai who conquered the Demon King)

Houdini Day -- see if you can pull a disappearing act in his honor

Kazimiras Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (return of the larks)

Komoeditsi -- Slavic Pagan Calandar (honors the great Bear God, Meveshii Bog and includes sacrifices to the Great God of Honey)

Left-of-Field Fanciers' Fortnight begins -- Fairy Calendar

National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

National Revolution Day -- Kyrgyzstan

Shangsi Festival -- China (ancient Double Third festival)

St. Gabriel the Archangel's Day (traditional date, now usually celebrated in September; Patron of childbirth, diplomats, messengers, postal workers, stamp collectors, telephone workers)

St. Mac Cairthinn of Clogher (St. Patrick's "Strong Man" and fellow worker)

World Tuberculosis Day -- UN

Birthdays Today:

Peyton Manning, 1976
Alyson Hannigan, 1974
Sharon Corr, 1970
Mase, 1970
Annabella Sciorra, 1964
Mark "The Undertaker" Callaway
Louie Anderson, 1953
Alan Sugar, 1947
Steve McQueen, 1930
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1919
Joseph Barbera, 1911
Clyde Barrow, 1909
Ub Iwerks, 1901
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, 1887
Harry Houdini, 1874
Fanny Crosby, 1820

Today in History:

Turko-Mongol emperor Timur sacks Damascus, 1401
James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England, 1603
The first game law passed in American colonies, by Virginia, 1629
Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island, 1664
Britain enacts Quartering Act, required colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers, 1765
Benjamin West of the US becomes president of Royal Academy of London, 1792
In Hiram, Ohio a group of men beat, tar and feather Mormon leader Joseph Smith, Jr., 1832
Canada gives African men the right to vote, 1837
Robert Koch of Germany announces the discovery of the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis (mycobacterium tuberculosis), 1882
Oscar Straus is appointed the first Jewish ambassador from US (to Turkey), 1887
A. A. Popov makes the first radio signal transmission in history, 1896
"Census of the British Empire" shows England rules 1/5 of the world, 1906
Greece becomes a republic, 1923
U.S. Congress passes the Tydings-McDuffie Act allowing the Philippines to become a self-governing commonwealth, 1934
The longest game in NHL history is played between Detroit and Montreal; Detroit scored at 16:30 of the sixth overtime and won the game 1-0, 1936
In an event later dramatized in the movie The Great Escape, 76 prisoners begin breaking out of Stalag Luft III, 1944
The British Cabinet Mission arrives in India to discuss and plan for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership, 1946
Elvis Presley joins the army (serial number 53310761), 1958
NASA spacecraft Ranger 9, equipped to convert its signals into a form suitable for showing on domestic television, brings images of the Moon into ordinary homes before crash landing, 1965
The United Kingdom imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland, 1972
In Argentina, the armed forces overthrow the constitutional government of President Isabel Perón, 1976
Archbishop Óscar Romero is killed while celebrating Mass in San Salvador, 1980
In Prince William Sound in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (42,000 m³) of petroleum after running aground, 1989
Discovery of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, 1993
Apple Inc. releases the first version of the Mac OS X operating system, 2001
Bhutan officially becomes a democracy, with its first ever general election, 2008

Friday, March 23, 2012

Curses, Foiled Again

As in, i had an idea for a blog post earlier that would have been fun to write and at least kept me entertained. Since i didn't write it down immediately, i lost it, of course, in that never to be retrieved section of my subconscious that devours more and more such things as i grow older.

Thus i'm left standing here grasping straws. Not nice, pretty, multicolored drinking straws, either. Nor yet the permanent plastic ones, like the purple one i have that i like so much. No, these are nasty, brown, old broom straws that have swept the dirt out of numerous corners and show the wear and tear of the years, frayed at the bottom and covered with heaven knows what.

Indeed, in this house, only heaven would know what would end up on the business end of a broom. With the years of cats and kids and foster kittens (all 3 of which are doing very well right now, thank you for asking) and everything else that has tramped through this house, i do not believe even a molecular biologist who specialized in looking for such things would want to know or be able to figure it all out.

Now, where was i? Oh, yes, straws. No, blog thoughts, which are becoming as scarce as hen's teeth. If they were as plentiful as grass, i guess everyone would have a blog. Wait, everyone does. Or almost everyone. Scratch that.

Speaking of scratching, i hear the tell-tale scratching around in the large pink bucket that serves us as a bottle-feed kitten nursery, which tells me that 3 little somebodies are getting hungry again and it's time to make more formula. They are tearing through the first can like nobody's business, but it is my business, as i will have to get more before we run out.

Actually, i am amazed by these three. Usually newborn orphaned kittens are very fussy a good bit of the time, squealing and squirming to be fed several times before they settle back down into sleep. These eat, maybe have a little go at seconds, and are right back down to snuggling and dozing. Easiest newborns i've ever taken care of.

Wonder if this means they have something nefarious up their sleeves -- uh, behind their claws? -- that i won't like later. Maybe, they are cats, after all. Always plotting. In our house, it's Badlands Blackie who is always plotting. Plotting a way to either get in my room and wet my bed, or get into a position to sneak attack The Cissy Cat, who seems to have become a permanent boarder here while her owner, who also lives here sometimes, finds a place to stay.

Why do half or more of the stray kids i take in end up bringing stray animals with them? Don't the cat rescue groups hand me enough of those?

Hm, i think that's enough meandering for today. If you followed any of it, thank you. If not, that's okay, as i lose more of my marbles i have a hard time following them, too.

Today is:

Crane Watch Festival -- Kearney, NE, US (80% of the world's sandhill cranes congregate on the Platte River during March and April; what better reason to throw a 10 day party?)

Dandelion Dance -- Fairy Calendar

Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship -- Hungary and Poland

Day of the Sea -- Bolivia (Dia del Mar)

Festival of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Liberty Day -- today in 1775, Patrick Henry said, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Lieldienas -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (Big Days, four day celebration of spring, each day devoted to a different deity)

National Chip and Dip Day

National Day of Unplugging -- take a tech detox day, go unplugged from sundown this evening through sundown tomorrow; sponsored by

National Health Day -- Kiribati

National Melba Toast Day

National Puppy Day -- encouraging you to adopt a shelter pup today

Near Miss Day -- commemorates the mountain sized asteroid that was a near miss on this day in 1989

New Year -- Hindu
Nyepi Day -- Bali, Indonesia (Day of Silence; as part of the New Year ceremony, 24 hours of total silence, with everything closed including the international airport)

Ougadi -- Mauritius (the Telugu New Year)

Ramayana -- Hindu (through April 1)

Rally for Decency Day -- Commemorates the first Rally for Decency, prompted on this day in 1969 by Jim Morrison

Republic Day -- Pakistan

Schmeckfest -- Freeman, SD, US (through tomorrow and next Fri-Sat; a "tasting festival" celebrating the German/Russian/Mennonite heritage of the area)

St. Turibius de Mongrovejo's Day (Patron of Latin American bishops)

Toast Day -- supposedly for the invention of Melba toast; a recent article says it takes 6 steps to toast bread "right"; i say if you can't put bread in the toaster and butter it when it comes out and need long sets of instructions, you shouldn't be let loose in society!

Tubilustrium -- Ancient Roman Calendar (ceremony to purify the trumpets used in sacred ceremonies)

World Meteorological Day

Anniversaries Today:

The University of California is founded in Oakland, California, 1868

Birthdays Today:

Michelle Monaghan, 1976
Keri Russell, 1976
Chaka Khan, 1953
Roger Bannister, 1929
Wernher Von Braun, 1912
Akira Kurosawa, 1910
Joan Crawford, 1905

Today in History:

Eighteenth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet. 1066
The first dated edition of Maimonides "Mishna Torah" published, 1490
George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" premieres in London, 1743
Patrick Henry delivers his famous speech – "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" – at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, 1775
After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their "Corps of Discovery" begin their arduous journey home, 1806
Elisha Otis's first elevator is installed at 488 Broadway New York City, 1857
The Boers and Britain sign a peace accord that ends the First Boer War, 1881
President Benjamin Harrison opens Oklahoma to white settlement starting on April 22, starting a Land Run, 1889
The Wright Brothers apply for a patent on their invention of one of the first successful airplanes, 1903
Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic in the world, 1956
NASA launches Gemini 3, the United States' first two-man space flight (crew: Gus Grissom and John Young), 1965
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador gives his famous speech appealing to men of the El Salvadoran armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans, 1980
Taiwan holds its first direct elections and chooses Lee Teng-hui as President, 1996
The Russian Mir space station is disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji, 2001

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Rain Rain Rain...

...came down, down, down, to quote a Disney song.

All the live long day, to quote another song, but not from Disney.

It was not really that bad right where we are. A quick moving line of bad storms, and then just drips and drizzles interspersed with the occasional good soaking.

Prairieville was not so lucky, a tornado did touch down there. Several homes damaged, a few destroyed, and the Middle School had to dismiss early as they were left without power. Lightning also struck one house and toppled its chimney.

Flooding is still expected, although, as i said, our creek isn't that high. We got much less than i expected.

The rain did one thing the kids are glad about -- they had to take their individual pictures today, but the photographer said they will reschedule the class shots unless some of the parents want to shell out for a new camera for him. Since all of them would have looked like drowned rats, the rain being at its worst during the time he was working, there were no takers.

The next few days are supposed to be increasingly clear, which will allow me to catch up on the laundry. The problem with my energy efficient clothes line dryer is that it is useless when wet. Laundry has to be scheduled to coincide with the ability to get the stuff out there.

So my life has come to this? Scheduling laundry and bottle feeding kittens? We have 3 right now, by the way. The kids have named them Anomaly, Perplexity, and Conundrum. That about sums us cats, doesn't it? Except for Enigma. That name will have to be saved for later.

Today is:

As Young As You Feel Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays, which encourages you to stop acting your chronological age and go act peppy!

Banned in Boston Day -- see history for 1630 for explanation of why today

Coq Au Vin Day

Día de la Abolición de la Esclavitud (Emancipation Day) -- Puerto Rico

International Goof-off Day -- sponsored by Monica A. Dufour and A.C. Vierow, who think everyone needs a special day each year to goof off.

International Day of the Seal -- drawing attention to a beautiful species

National Bavarian Crepes Day
National Letting Go of Stuff Day -- see for details

National Sing-Out Day -- begun by an anonymous person who must love singing; and yes, i promise, i won't sing where anyone has to listen to me

St. Catherine of Sweden's Day

Thunder Ceremony -- Iroquois Native Americans (through the 25th; in thanks for rain from Awenhal/Sky Woman giving birth to the twins Thahonhiawakn/Order and Tawiskaron/Chaos)

World Day for Water -- International

Birthdays Today:

Reese Witherspoon, 1976
Elvis Stojko, 1972
Matthew Modine, 1959
Stephanie Mills, 1957
Lena Olin, 1955
Bob Costas, 1952
Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1948
James Patterson, 1947
George Benson, 1943
Marvin Yagoda, 1938
J.P. McCarthy, 1933
William Shatner, 1931
Stephen Sondheim, 1930
Marcel Marceau, 1923
Karl Malden, 1912
Louis L'Amour, 1908
Chico Marx, 1887

Today in History:

Hugo de Groot escapes imprisonment in Loevenstein Castle in a book case, 1621
The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony sign a peace treaty with Massasoit of the Wampanoags, 1621
Algonquian Indians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony's population, 1622
Massachusetts Bay Colony outlaws the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables, 1630
Joseph Priestly invents carbonated water (seltzer), 1733
The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Stamp Act, which introduced a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies, 1765
The Emerald Buddha is moved with great ceremony to its current place in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand, 1784
The three protecting powers (Britain, France and Russia) establish the borders of Greece, 1829
Cornstarch is patented by Orlando Jones, 1841
Slavery is abolished in Puerto Rico, 1873
The Edmunds Act adopted by US to suppress polygamy in the territories (especially aimed at the Mormons), 1882
August and Louis Lumiere privately screen the first "motion picture" ever made, of workers leaving their factory three days earlier, 1895
World's first airline, St Petersburg Tampa Airboat Line, begins, 1914
The Arab League is founded when a charter is adopted in Cairo, Egypt, 1945
Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes receive the first patent for a laser, 1960
Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1978
The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips, 1993
Cosmonaut Valeriy Polyakov returns after setting a record for 438 days in space, 1995
The Comet Hale-Bopp has its closest approach to earth, 1997
Tara Lipinski, age 14 years and 10 months, becomes the youngest women's World Figure Skating Champion, 1997
ETA, the armed Basque separatist group, declares a permanent ceasefire, 2006
Mount Redoubt, a volcano in Alaska began erupting after a prolonged period of unrest, 2009

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Picture This

Remember having to take pictures for school?

In grammar school, you forget. Mostly because you tried to. Taking school pictures is so far down the radar of young kids that the parents are lucky to find the paper about how they have to send money on a certain day crammed in the bottom of the child's backpack, wedged between a forgotten library book and yesterday's peanut butter sandwich he couldn't trade for something better and therefore hid.

Then you have to stand in line with a bunch of pushing and shoving, as no one wants to go first, and get handed one of those little plastic combs -- only one per kid, please -- so you can comb your hair since you forgot to do that, too, this morning.

The only good thing about it is the comb, which everyone later combines with a piece of paper to form a makeshift musical instrument which sounds very much like a kazoo, but which your little brother later breaks, and getting out of the classroom for a while.

Once you get old enough to care about the opposite sex, it gets worse.

Then you don't forget, but you wish you could when your hair won't cooperate, a huge zit sprouts overnight, and you spill half of your lunch down your shirt.

Today is picture day at the children's school. May it be mercifully brief, and may their future selves not think they look as dorky as we are sure we looked.

Today is:

Back Badge Day -- Gloucestershire Regiment, British Army

Birth of Benito Juarez, a Fiestas Patrias -- Mexico (trad.)

Fragrance Day and Flower Day -- the first full day of spring

Harmony Day -- Australia

Human Rights Day -- South Africa

Independence Day -- Namibia

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Memory Day -- internet based, to examine the use of memory aids throughout history

Mother's Day -- most Arabic nations

National Common Courtesy Day -- guess it's not so common any more, someone had to declare a holiday to try to foster some

National French Bread Day

National Tree Planting Day -- Lesotho

Naw Ruz -- Baha'i (New Year, and an end of the time of fasting; begins sunset previous evening)

Paper Dress Day -- the paper dress was introduced as part of an ad campaign by the Scott Paper Co. on this day in 1966

Single Parents' Day -- sponsored by Parents Without Parners, on the date of their inception in 1957

Spring Fairy Fun Day -- Fairy Calendar

St. Enda's Day

St. Nicholas of Flue's Day (Patron of councilmen, difficult marriages, large families, magistrates, parents of large families, Pontifical Swiss Guards, separated spouses, Switzerland)

World Down Syndrome Day

World Forestry Day

World Poetry Day

Yanaidaishi Ennichi -- Yamaguchi, Japan (festival at the temple known to locals as Otaishisama "the great master".

Youth Day -- Tunisia

Birthdays Today:

James T. Kirk, 2233
Ronaldinho, 1980
Kevin Federline, 1978
Matthew Broderick, 1962
Rosie O'Donnell, 1962
Ayrton Senna da Silva, 1960
Gary Oldman, 1958
Eddie Money, 1949
Timothy Dalton, 1944
John D Rockefeller III, 1906
Florenz Ziegfeld, 1867
Modest Mussorgsky, 1839
Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685

Today in History:

The Byzantine emperor Heraclius restores the "True Cross" to Jerusalem, 630
Accession to the throne of Japan by emperor Antoku, 1188
3,000 Jews are killed in the Black Death riots in Efurt, Germany, 1349
n Oxford, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is burned at the stake, 1556
Czar Peter the Great begins his tour through West, 1697
Fire destroys 856 buildings in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1788
With the church leadership driven out of Rome during an armed conflict, Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché, 1800
Code Napoléon is adopted as French civil law, 1804
The Bahá'í calendar begins, 1844
An earthquake in Tokyo, Japan kills over 100,000, 1857
The Zoological Society of Philadelphia, the first in the US, is incorporated, 1859
Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone, 1871
Loretta Walsh becomes the first female US Navy Petty Officer, 1917
Charles Lindbergh is presented the Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight, 1928
Shah Reza Pahlavi formally asks the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran, which means 'Land of the Aryans,' 1935
Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio, 1952
Martin Luther King Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, 1965
The first Earth Day proclamation is issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, 1970
Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen begins his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair in the name of spinal cord injury medical research, 1985
Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones become the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon, 1999

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ah, Spring

The mosquitoes are back.

Well, really, they never leave south Louisiana. They are a bit less active and annoying during the wet season, that's all. It's not so much trouble not to get "all bit up" as we say.

For those who don't know, we only have two seasons, wet and hurricane, with hurricane being hotter.

So during wet season, i didn't notice them as much. Now Little Girl is back to swelling like a ripe melon with every bite. The poor kid is a huge mosquito magnet, and reacts in what might be a record breaking way. If she wears loose clothing, and i spray her clothes with DEET in an attempt to not get so much of it on her skin , they will fly under the clothing to bite her. Where they bite she turns bright red and looks like she got blown up with a bicycle pump.

If you don't want to get bitten, stand next to the poor girl, and watch her do the "slappy mosquito dance" the whole time you are out there. You will not have to lift a finger to keep yourself bite free.

Since we grow them big here, when she was younger i used to be half afraid they would carry her off for a private mosquito festival in the woods. "Come one and all! Mosquitoes are going to party tonight!" they would have yelled to each other, in whatever way mosquitoes would yell, or buzz, or commune with each other, as they purloined her from the back yard. "She will feed the whole bayou!" they may have gloated.

If it's true that stinky feet attract them, which i have read, she is doubly in trouble. If she doesn't wash her feet twice a day and change her socks regularly. it won't just be the mosquitoes noticing. She could give the Odor Eaters stinky shoe champ a run for the money. Yes, they really do crown a champion of stinky shoes each year, and maybe i should tell her. She, like her mother, has a warped enough sense of humor that she might not just find it funny, but compete. If we could tolerate her in the house as she prepared for that. Never mind.

So, for the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, it's spring. For us, it's the start of the time where i will hear, "Mom, where's the OFF?" multiple times a day.

Come on down for a visit. Bring your slappy hands and some bug spray, unless you can convince Little Girl to stand next to you.

Today is:

Einmanuaur begins -- Icelandic Calendar (Lone Month)
Yngismannadagur -- Young Men's Day (first day of Einmanuaur)

Equinox -- at 1:14am, EDT;
related celebrations
Akitu Festival begins -- Ancient Sumerian Calendar
Chunfen -- China
Festival of Dumzi -- Ancient Sumerian Calendar
Festival of Iduna -- Ancient Norse Calendar (goddess of spring, keeper of the apples of youth for the gods)
Haru-no-Higan -- Japanese Buddhist
Harvest Festival and Coming Forth of the Great Ones from the House of Ra -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar
Jare -- Old Slavic Calendar
Kukulcan Snake God in Chichen Itza -- Yucatan (the snake shadow appears only at the equinox, and celebrations are held before and after)
Maslenitsa -- Slavic Pagan Calendar
Ostara/Mabon -- Wicca/Pagan, Ancient Norse Calendar, Old Anglo-Teutonic Calendar
Pacha Pucuy -- Ancient Inca Calendar ("Earth Ripening")
Shunbun no Hi -- Japan
Taoist festival of Shen -- Deities of water, East, and Spring

Extraterrestrial Abductions Day -- another silly made up one, but try telling that to the people who believe in it!

Great American Meat Out Day -- go vegetarian today!

Independence Day -- Tunisia

International Day of the Francophonie

International Earth Day -- the traditional date, still observed in many countries

Kiss Your Fiance Day -- do you really need to be reminded to do this?

Lajos Kossuth Day -- Hungary

National Cherry Blossom Festival -- Washington, DC, US (through April 27; Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on April 14)

National Jump Out! Day -- sponsored by Discovery Girls Magazine and Fundex Games; encouraging kids to get out and get active

National Ravioli Day

Nowruz/Nauruz/Novruz Bairam/Norooz (begins at sunset) -- Iranian diaspora, Kurdish diaspora, Zoroastrians; Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; Iran (Persian New Year)

Proposal Day® -- a day for singles to propose to their true love; on the equinox, equal night and day symbolizing equal commitment;

Single Parents Day

Smile Rejuvenation Day -- another one from the ecard companies, make someone smile today

Snowman Burning Day -- Lake Superior State College celebration of the start of spring

St. Cuthbert of Lindisfane's Day (Patron of Northumbria, shepherds, seafarers, sailors)

Won't You Be My Neighbor Day -- in honor of Mr. Rogers' birthday

World Storytelling Day -- to celebrate the tradition of oral storytelling

Birthdays Today:

Kathy Ireland, 1963
David Thewlis, 1963
Holly Hunter, 1958
Spike Lee, 1957
Jimmie Vaughan, 1951
William Hurt, 1950
Bobby Orr, 1948
Pat Riley, 1945
Lois Lowry, 1937
Hal Linden, 1931
Fred "Mr." Rogers, 1928
Carl Reiner, 1922
Ozzie Nelson, 1906
B.F. Skinner, 1904
Henrik Ibsen, 1828
Ovid, BC43

Today in History:

Sixth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, 141
Maximus Thrax, who never set foot in Rome, becomes the first of the Foreign or Barracks Emperors of the Roman Empire, 235
A Saturn/Jupiter/Mars-conjunction is thought to be the "cause of plague epidemic," 1345
Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment, 1616
France and Spain sign an accord for fighting protestantism, 1627
Nadir Shah occupies Delhi in India and sacks the city, stealing the jewels of the Peacock Throne, 1739
The Great Fire of Boston destroys 349 buildings, 1760
After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his "Hundred Days" rule, 1815
US and Siam sign commercial treaty, 1833
Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is published in Boston, 1852
An earthquake completely destroys Mendoza, Argentina, 1861
The first AC power plant in the US begins commercial operation, in Massachusetts, 1886
In the first known intercollegiate basketball game, Yale beats Penn 32-10, 1897
The first international figure skating championship takes place, in New Haven, Connecticut, 1914
Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity, 1916
The Arts Club of Chicago hosts the opening of Pablo Picasso's first United States showing, 1923
A test of a practical radar apparatus is made by Rudolf Kuhnold in Germany, 1934
The precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organization) is established, 1964
Libby Riddles becomes the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, 1985
Ferdinand Marcos's widow, Imelda Marcos, goes on trial for bribery, embezzlement, and racketeering, 1990
Stephen Harper wins the leadership of the newly created Conservative Party of Canada, becoming the party's first leader, 2004
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits Fukuoka, Japan, its first major quake in over 100 years, 2005
Cyclone Larry makes landfall in eastern Australia, destroying most of the country's banana crop, 2006

Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Try...

...sending a husband to the store?

Actually, i'm sure there are many husbands who can go to the store and do very well at it. Probably not all of them end up as one man i read about, head in the cheese case, yelling into a phone, "Make up your mind, Camembert or brie!"

Probably any husbands who read this can be trusted to run a simple errand, also.

Sweetie, not so much.

It's not that he doesn't try. He really does, which is what makes it so frustrating for both of us. It's just that he's somewhat unobservant and sometimes seems to not think about what he is doing. The not thinking, from a man with an MA, really gets me.

This time, i made a list. He and i read it over, checked it twice. Added an item that he wanted. Off he went, high hopes.

Back he came, and i will once again save the receipt for exchanges. Low sodium chicken noodle soup? Really? This from the man who adds salt to his own Campbell's. And at over 40 cents more per can for them not to add salt, i say it's not worth it.

Let's not even talk about the regular ramen noodles the kids want when he brings back the creamy version. For a former chef, he should know not to substitute cilantro for parsley, it is too strong a taste for the recipe.

Why do we go through this at least twice a month? Because with the vultures posing as teens that live in this place, along with the extras, i sometimes get in a pinch and have to have a few things between visits when i just can't get away. Plus the fact that he loves running errands. It's hard to resist puppy dog eyes when you are tired, in the middle of making supper, and out of stuff.

He is a wonderful worker, provider, and general, all around guy. Don't send him to the st0re, even with a specific list, unless you like surprises or have time to go back later.

Today is:

Benito Juarez Day -- Mexico (obs.)

Corn Dog Day

Kashubians' Unity Day -- among Kashubians in northern Poland

Labour Day -- Christmas Island

Let's Laugh Day -- a holiday spread by ecard companies, because any day is a good day for a laugh

Mojoday -- Discordianism

National Chocolate Caramel Day

Oil Nationalization Day -- Iran

Pet Passport Day -- today in 2000, the UK passed the pet passport law, allowing pets into Great Britian without quarrantine if they met certain criteria

Poultry Day -- a day to honor the role poultry plays in our lives

Quinquatria -- Roman Empirical Calendar (celebration of Minerva and Mars, especially the birthday of Minerva today; through the 23rd)

See If You Can Find Someone Who Remembers Honey West Day -- internet generated trivia question

Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano Day -- despite what you think, the bird you saw there yesterday was not a swallow, the natives will tell you

St. Joseph's Day (Patron of Austria, Belgium, Canada, carpenters, fathers, house hunting, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, workers; for a happy death; against communism, doubt)
As Patron of fathers, his day is also Father's Day in Belgium, Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
Valencia, Spain has it's biggest day of the Las Fallas Festival today, with the fireworks.

Wellderly Day -- and the start of Wellderly Week, focusing on the health of the elderly

Zimbor-Quattor's Revenge Week begins -- Fairy Calendar

Birthdays Today:

Bruce Willis, 1955
Glenn Close, 1947
Clarence "Frogman" Henry, 1937
Ursula Andress, 1936
Phyllis Newman, 1935
Patrick McGoohan, 1928
William Jennings Bryan, 1860
Wyatt Earp, 1848
Sir Richard Burton, 1821
David Livingstone, 1813
William Bradford, 1590

Today in History:

A Mongolian victory in the Battle of Yamen ends the Song Dynasty in China, 1279
Explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, is murdered by his own men, 1687
The SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is destroyed on her maiden voyage with a cargo of munitions, medicines and merchandise then valued at over $1,000,000, 1863
Pluto is photographed for the first time but is not recognized as a planet, 1915
Eight American planes take off in pursuit of Pancho Villa, the first United States air-combat mission in history, 1916
The U.S. Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time, 1918
Willie Mosconi sets a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio. The record still stands today, 1954
Gumby makes his debut, 1957
The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000 and said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser, is discovered by then teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence exactly 102 years after its destruction, 1965
Texas Western becomes the first college basketball team to win the Final Four with an all-black starting lineup, 1966
India and Bangladesh sign a friendship treaty, 1972
The United States House of Representatives begins broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN, 1979
Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating the Falklands War with the United Kingdom, 1982
Zimbabwe is suspended from the Commonwealth on charges of human rights abuses and of electoral fraud, following a turbulent presidential election, 2002
A cosmic burst, GRB 080319B, that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed, 2008

Sunday, March 18, 2012

You Know You Are Getting Older

...when you have to wear reading glasses at the computer by evening.

Or maybe it's just the overwhelm from having to still work on taxes. The hard way. Going over the bank website transaction by transaction.

Don't ask, it's been complicated.

Today will see the end. We will print a few more things, and it will be shipped out. First i have to flag down #1 Son to get him to sign his paperwork -- he has a new work schedule, and i've yet to figure it out.

Oh, and good news, finally, about his car. At least, i hope so. Really, it's good news about the mechanic as much as anything else.

Back when we had it repaired from the Cat Incident, it was two quarts low, so they changed the oil at the same time.

Then two days ago, he came to me and said his gas mileage was going down and the oil life gauge on the dash showed it needed to be changed and Young Jake checked the oil and said it was filthy.

So i went back to the shop with it, and asked if it were possible one of them had made a mistake and just added the two quarts without changing it.

They checked, and said that yes, the oil looked awful for only being changed a couple of weeks ago, but they had changed it for certain.

The theory is that being low had built up a lot of gunk in the engine which fouled up the new oil right away.

They very kindly changed it again, no charge. That is how to build trust and respect from your customers, for certain.

So, back to the reading glasses. Or not. Maybe i'm just tired, not old.

Is rambling a sign of age? Let's hope not, i do that all of the time, not just in the evenings when i am tired.

Today is:

Awkward Moments Day -- harness the power of humor in life's more uncomfortable situations

Bindus Diena -- Ancient Latvain Calendar

Celtic Tree Month Fearn (Alder) begins

Cheikh Al Maarouf Day -- Comoros

Flag Day -- Aruba

Forgive Mom and Dad Day -- because we all make mistakes; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Gallipoli Memorial Day -- Turkey

Goddess of Fertility Day -- a modern celebration of all goddesses of fertility

Grandparents' and Grandchildren's Day -- Michigan, US

Jacques de Molay's Day -- last Grand Master of the Knights Templar

Laetare Sunday -- Western Christianity, 4th Sunday of Lent; related Observances
Carnaval de la Laetare -- Stavelot, Belgium
Mothering Sunday -- UK

Mens and Soldiers Day -- Mongolia

National Anthem and Flag Day -- Aruba

National Biodiesel Day -- birth anniversary of Rudolph Diesel, who unveiled his engine at the World Fair in 1900

National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

Sheelah's Day -- Ireland (probably Sheela Na Gig, goddess of fertility)

Sheep and Goats (Separation) Day -- Fairy Calendar

St. Anselm of Lucca's Day (Patron of Mantua, Italy)

St. Edward the Martyr's Day

Supreme Sacrifice Day -- an internet generated holiday now used to honor those who have made a supreme sacrifice, all who have given their lives for others

Usajingu Reitaisai -- Japan (offerings to the Kami from the Imperial Household are shared in this very important festival)

Birthdays Today:

Dane Cook, 1972
Queen Latifah, 1970
Bonnie Blair, 1964
Vanessa Williams, 1963
Irene Cara, 1959
Brad Dourif, 1950
Wilson Pickett, 1941
Charlie Pride, 1938
F.W. deKlerk, 1936
John Updike, 1932
George Plimpton, 1927
Peter Graves, 1926
Edward Everett Horton, 1886
Rudolph Diesel, 1858
Grover Cleveland, 1837

Today in History:

Crusaders kill 57 Jews in Bury St Edmonds England, 1190
German emperor Frederick II crowns himself king of Jerusalem, 1229
Kraków is ravaged by Mongols, 1241
According to legend, Tenochtitlan is founded on this date, 1325
John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton sells his part of New Jersey to the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, 1673
Henry Wells and William Fargo form American Express in Buffalo, NY, 1850
Former Governor General Lord Stanley pledges to donate a silver challenge cup, later named after him, as an award for the best hockey team in Canada, 1893
Mohandas Gandhi is sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience (he served only 2 years), 1922
The first public celebration of Bat mitzvah, for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, is held in New York City, 1922
The Tri-State Tornado hits the Midwestern US states of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, killing 695 people, 1925
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy kills 26 and causes thousands to flee their homes, 1944
Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to walk in space, 1965
The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency, 1968
In Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy is found nearby the Pyramid of Cheops, 1989
White South Africans vote overwhelmingly in favour, in a national referendum, to end the racist policy of Apartheid, 1992
Bosnia's Bosniaks and Croats sign the Washington Agreement, ending warring between the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and establishing the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1994
British Sign Language is recognised as an official British language, 2003
For the first time, a woman served as imam, leading a public, mixed-gender, Muslim congregation in Jum'ah prayer and delivering the sermon, 2005

Saturday, March 17, 2012