Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zippity Doo Dah!

It's going to be a Zippity Doo Dah kind of Day!

It's Little Girl's birthday.  She is 15 today.  Hard to believe it's been so long since she was such a tiny thing.

School is out today because of a special event that my two managed to test out of, and the Youth Group has scheduled a trip to a baseball game, so she will be doing that and going to lunch with her sister.

This is also another excuse to make Coca-Cola cake, and just have a great day all around.

May all of us have a fun, Zippity Doo Dah kind of day today!

Today is

Armed Forces Day -- Georgia

Birthday of the King / Konungens födelsedag -- Sweden (HM King Carl XVI Gustav; an official flag day)

Camarón Day -- French Foreign Legion

Consumer Protection Day -- Thailand

Contraband Days Pirate Festival -- Lake Charles, LA, US (through the 12th)

Dia de Rincon -- Rincon, Bonaire

El Dia del Nino -- Mexico (Children's Day)

Fairy Queen's Birthday -- Fairy Calendar

Faeriae Latinae -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Feast of the Latin League, a festival to honor Jupiter)

Hairstylist Appreciation Day -- if you have a good one, let him/her know

International Jazz Day -- UNESCO

Liberation/Reunification Day -- Vietnam

May Eve -- eve of the first day of summer in many traditions, including
     Beltane/Samhain Eve -- Pagan traditions
     Carodejnice -- Czech Republic; Slovakia
     Maitag Vorabend -- Switzerland
     Mange les Morts -- Haiti (festival of the dead)
     Salus -- Portugal; Spain (festival of the dead)
     Valborgsmässoafton -- Sweden
     Walpurgis Night -- Ancient Celtic/Nordic Calendars

Mr. Potato Head Day -- the classic toy went on sale this day in 1952, and you used your own potato

National Honesty Day -- including Honest Abe Awards (Abies) and dishonorable mentions for those who have been particularly publicly egregious; celebrated today because we began the month with April Fooling and lies, so today is to celebrate the opposite*

National Raisin Day

Queen's Day / Koninginnedag -- Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba, Curacao, Netherlands, and Sint Maartin); Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba

St. Adjutor of Vernon's Day (Patron of drowning victims, sailors, swimmers, yatchsmen; Vernon, France; against drowning)

St. James the Great's Day -- Orthodox Christian

Teacher's Day -- Paraguay

*to nominate someone for an Abie or a dishonorable mention, contact M. Hirsh Goldberg, founder and author of The Book of Lies, mhgoldberg@comcast.net)

Anniversaries Today:

Louisiana becomes the 18th US state, 1812

Birthdays Today:

Kirsten Dunst, 1982
Jeff Timmons, 1973
Carolyn Dawn Johnson, 1971
Michael Waltrip, 1963
Isiah Thomas, 1961
Stuart Mathis, 1960
Stephen Harper, 1959
Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden, 1946
Jill Clayburgh, 1944
Burt Young, 1940
Willie Nelson, 1933
Cloris Leachman, 1926
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, 1909
Eve Arden, 1908

Today in History:

Supernova  SN 1006, the brightest supernova in recorded history, appears in the constellation  Lupus, 1006
Orbital calculations suggest that on this day, Pluto moved inside Neptune's orbit until July 23, 1503, 1483
Columbus is given a royal commission to equip his fleet, 1492
On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States, 1789
The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France, 1803
Nicaragua  declares independence from the Central American Federation, 1838
Casey Jones dies in a train wreck in Vaughn, Mississippi, while trying to
make up time on the Cannonball Express, 1900
Honolulu, Hawaii becomes an independent city, 1907
Peru becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty, 1920
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, 1927
The animated cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt debuts in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit (a prototype of Bugs Bunny, 1938
In Bogotá, Colombia, the Organization of American States is established, 1948
The Bristol Bus Boycott is held in Bristol to protest the Bristol Omnibus Company's refusal to employ Black or Asian bus crews, drawing national attention to racial discrimination in the United Kingdom, 1963
Communist forces gain control of Saigon and the Vietnam War formally ends, 1975
Accession of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 1980
CERN announces World Wide Web protocols will be free, 1993
Cambodia joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 1999
Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia are confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters, 2008
Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, 2009
Hailed as the largest World's Fair in history, Expo 2010 opens in Shanghai, China, 2010

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yellow Kittens

Also known as a ginger tom.  This one is just over 5 weeks old, and now laps milk from a bowl instead of needing a bottle.  His name, which #2 Son chose in honor of some Dubstep band, is "Skorge."


From another litter, three as yet unnamed yellow kittens, also all boys.

Everyone needs a yellow kitten to pet once in a while.

Today is

Arita Ceramic Fair -- Arita, Japan (finest porcelain in Japan; during Golden Week until May 5)

Cheng Cheng Kung Landing Day -- Taiwan (352nd anniversary of the landing in Taiwan of Ming Dynasty loyalist Cheng Cheng Kung to oust the Dutch colonists)

Feast of the Secret Masters -- can't find any real info on this one, and why should i if it's such a secret, but it is fun to think about

Fish Cleaning Night -- sponsored by David Letterman (it's okay if you don't have an audience, or Mariel Hemingway)

International Dance Day -- International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a UNESCO partner

Jouvert Jump-Up -- Sint Martin (Break of Dawn Parade and Festival)

Milk-Curdling Sunday -- Fairy Calendar (Gremlins)

National Adult Public Skipping Day -- because somebody out there either wants you to feel like a kid again, or make a fool of you

National Shrimp Scampi Day

Remembrance of Victims of Chemical Weapons -- on the day chemical weapons were outlawed in 1997

Ridvan, Ninth Day -- Baha'i (one of the festival days on which work and school should be suspended)

Runic Half Month of Lagu (water) begins

Showa No Hi -- Japan (Showa Day, the birth anniversary of Emperor Showa, begins the Golden Week holiday period of four major national days, through May 5)

Solar Alignment at Teotihuacan, City of the Gods -- Teotihuacan, Mexico (the ritual cave opening aligns to the sunset on Aug. 12 and Apr. 29, the same horizon position of the setting of the Pleiades)

St. Catherine of Siena's Day (Patron of fire prevention, firefighter, nurses, nursing services, people ridiculed for piety, sick people; Europe; Italy; Theta Phi Alpha Sorority; Allentown, PA, US; Siena, Italy; Verazze, Italy; against bodily ills/sickness, fire, miscarriages, sexual temptation)

Zipper Day -- patented today in 1913

Anniversaries Today:

Princess Irene marries Prince Carel Hugo de Bourbon Parma, 1964
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, marries Catherine "Kate" Middleton, 2011

Birthdays Today:

Andre Agassi, 1970
Uma Thurman, 1970
Michelle Pfeiffer, 1958
Daniel Day-Lewis, 1957
Kate Mulgrew, 1955
Jerry Seinfeld, 1954
Dale Earnhardt, 1951
Johnny Miller, 1947
Zubin Mehta, 1936
Lane Smith, 1936
Celeste Holm, 1919
Tom Ewell, 1909
Hirohito, 1901
Duke Ellington, 1899
William Randolph Hearst, 1863

Today in History:

The Moors arrive at Gibraltar to begin their invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, 711
Joan of Arc arrives at Orleans to relieve the siege, 1492
Francis Drake leads a raid in the Bay of Cádiz, sinking at least 23 ships of the Spanish fleet, 1587
Eleven Dutch ships depart for the conquest of Peru, 1623
The Ming Dynasty occupies Taiwan, 1661
James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia, 1770
The French Fleet prevents Britain from seizing the Cape of Good Hope, 1781
Peter Roget publishes the first edition of his Thesaurus, 1852
The "Elektromote" – forerunner of the trolleybus  – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin, 1882
Gideon Sundbach of Hoboken, NJ, receives a patent for the zipper, 1913
The North Sea floodgate at Ijmuiden, the biggest in world, officially opens, 1930
The telephone connection of England-Australia goes into service, 1930
The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast airs, and episode of "Space Patrol" shown over ABC affiliate KECA in Los Angeles, 1953
The first military nuclear power plant opens, in Ft. Belvoir 1957
A cyclone strikes the Chittagong  district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless, 1991
Oldsmobile  builds its final car ending 107 years of production, 2004
Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation, 2005

Sunday, April 28, 2013

File this under...

...one of three things:
 Weird things cats do, or
Why you should make your cat an indoor only cat, or
Why your cat needs a microchip.

It is probably not all that unusual for South Wood Humane Society workers to go in to work on a Tuesday morning and find an animal abandoned on their doorstep.

It is unusual, though, for the animal to be in a brand new carrier.

It's even more unusual to eventually track down the cat's owner in Tuscon, Arizona, 1800 miles away from the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, area.

Ace had been reported missing months earlier, and no one, except perhaps the person who dropped him at the Humane Society, knows how he ended up that far from home.

Well, Ace knows, but he's not telling.

Southwest Airlines is flying him home free, with an escort, good for them.  And Ace's owner says he's grounded after that.

Today is

Chicken-Tickling Day -- Fairy Calendar (Leprechauns)

Cubicle Day -- ???  we celebrate this because...?

Feast of Jamal(Beauty) -- Baha'i

Festival of Floralia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (three day festival to Flora, goddess of flowers and vegetation)

Great Poetry Reading Day -- make sure you read some great poetry today

Hidaka Hibuse Matsuri -- Mizusawa, Iwate Prefecture, Japan (through the 29th; floats, child musicians, traditional costumes, and fun)

James Monroe Birthday Celebration -- Charlottesville, VA, US (at his home, Ash Lawn-Highland)

Kiss Your Mate Day -- guys, do not forget this one, in case she reads it somewhere on the internet; kiss her, then read her a great poem

Lag B'Omer -- Judaism (began sunset yesterday)

Landsgemeinde -- Appenzell, Inner Rhoden Canton, Switzerland (one of the last examples of direct democracy left; the final Sunday of each April all voters in the canton age 18 and older, wearing traditional swords, gather for a church service and then vote directly on all affairs of the canton for the year; no secret ballots, all raise their hands to vote yea or nay; festival follows.  This tradition dates back to the 14th century.)

Mother, Father Deaf Day -- to honor deaf parents and recognize the gifts of culture and language they give to their hearing children; sponsored by CODA (Children of Deaf Adults International)

National Blueberry Pie Day

National Day of Mourning -- Canada (In conjunction with Workers' Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work, honoring those injured or killed on the job)

National Heroes Day -- Barbados

Palm Sunday -- Orthodox Christian

Pet Parent's Day -- honoring those who consider pets a part of the family final Sunday

Rip Cord Day -- the first successful jump with a parachute that used a rip cord was this day in 1919 by Leslie Erwin of the U.S. Army Air Corps

Sa die de sa Sardinia -- Sardinia, Italy (Sardinia Day, celebrating the uprising of 1794)

Sense of Smell Day -- listed on different days on many websites; While celebrating, remember those with anosmia (diminished ability or total inability to smell)

St. Peter Chanel's Day (Patron of Oceania)
     Saint Pierre-Chanel Day -- Wallis and Fortuna

Sts. Vitalis and Valeria's Day (Patrons of Thibodeaux, Louisiana)

Turkmen Racing Horse Festival -- Turkmenistan

Victory Day -- Afghanistan

Workers Memorial Day / World Day for Safety and Health at Work -- International (remembering all who have lost their lives or been injured on the job)

Anniversaries Today:

Maryland becomes the 7th US State, 1788

Birthdays Today:

Jessica Alba, 1981
Penelope Cruz, 1974
Nancy Lee Grahn, 1958
Jay Leno, 1950
Ann-Margaret, 1941
Harper Lee, 1926
Oscar Schindler, 1908
Lionel Barrymore, 1878
James Monroe, 1758

Today in History:

Nichiren Buddhism is founded, 1253
Captain William Bligh and 18 crewmen from the HMS Bounty are set adrift, 1789
Chinese and Irish laborers for the Central Pacific Railroad working on the First Transcontinental Railroad lay 10 miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched, 1869
Azerbaijan  is added to the Soviet Union., 1920
The first night game in organized baseball  history takes place in Independence, Kansas, 1930
A vaccine  for yellow fever is announced for use on humans, 1932
Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki, 1947
The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) is signed in Taipei, Taiwan between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War, 1952
Charles de Gaulle resigns as President of France, 1969
The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure is signed, 1977
Millionaire Dennis Tito becomes the world's first space tourist, 2001

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xenops

Remember the alphabet charts that had animals on them in your classroom as a child?  They never had an animal that started with the letter X.  Instead, they would show a silly picture of the supposed X-ray of an animal, usually the smiling Yak that made up the next letter/picture combo.

They should have instead explored, and led us to explore,  the interesting world of animals that have a name beginning with the letter X, as there are several.

Here's one, the Xenops, a small rain forest bird of the Americas:

copyright Regis Nossent June 2005

You can find more pictures of this bird here.

A list of animals that start with the letter X here.

For those with any interest at all in phonics, these words do not begin with the same sound as the letter Z.  The phonogram X is pronounced as if it is "ks," the hard K sound followed by the slithery S sound.

For those who aren't interested, i don't go into English teacher mode when people mispronounce things, so don't worry about it.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Today is

Abolition Day -- Mayotte

Babe Ruth Day -- anniversary of the day dedicated to him in 1947 by every ball field in the US and Japan

Bodega Bay Fish Festival -- Bodega Bay, CA, US (fun, fish, wine tastings, and more; through tomorrow)

Eeyore's Birthday -- Austin, TX, US (Eeyore never need feel forgotten again; Austin celebrates his birthday as a fundraiser for local charities, with fun for all)

Foxfield Races -- Charlottesville, VA, US (annual steeplechase)

Freedom Day -- South Africa

Furze-Hopping Event -- Fairy Calendar

Helena Railroad Fair -- Helena, MT, US (largest railroad hobby event in the area)

Independence Day -- Sierra Leone; Togo

International Wildlife Film Festival -- Missoula, Montana, US (through next Saturday)

Lag B'Omer -- Judaism (begins at sunset)

Lazarus Saturday -- Orthodox Christian

Matanzas Mule Day -- remembering the only casualty of one of the first naval actions of the Spanish-American War, a mule in the village of Matanzas, Cuba

Mississippi River Valley Scenic Drive -- Mississippi River valley of southeast Missouri, US (several scenic small towns along the valley have homemade goodies, quilt shows, history tours, entertainment, and more; through tomorrow)

Morse Code Day -- birth anniversary of Samuel Morse

National Day of Puppetry -- US (here for details)

National Go Birding Day -- US (but feel free to participate wherever you are, birding is fun!)

National Prime Rib Day

National Rebuilding Day -- US (270,000 volunteers help rebuild and repair homes for the elderly and disabled)

National War Veterans Day -- Finland

Redbud Trail Rendezvous -- Rochester, IN, US (living history along the Tippecanoe River; through tomorrow)

Resistance Day/Day of the Uprising Against the Occupying Forces -- Slovenia

Southern Maryland Celtic Festival & Highland Games -- St. Leonard, MD, US (competitions in fiddling, bagpipe, Celtic harp, and dancing, heptathlon, Celtic marketplace and foods, parade of clans, and more)

St. Zita of Lucca's Day (Patron of butlers, domestic servants, homemakers, housemaids, lost keys, maids, manservants, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, servants, servers, single laywomen, waiters/waitpersons/waitresses; against losing keys)

Tell a Story Day -- US (no history of origin, although celebrated in many libraries)

The Ennead Sail Through the Land -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Togyu Taikai -- Tokunoshima Island, Japan (bull sumo, in which bulls push each other out of the ring)

World Day for Animals in Laboratories -- WDAIL 

World Graphic Design Day

World Healing Day / World Tai Chi and Qigong Day

World Tapir Day -- see here for information about these amazing creatures

Write An Old Friend Today Day -- a real letter, in the mail, remember how exciting it is to get those?

Anniversaries Today:

Cornell University is established as New York's land grant institution, 1865

Birthdays Today:

Patrick Stump, 1984
Sheena Easton, 1959
Ace Frehley, 1951
Cuba Gooding, Sr., 1944
Earl Anthony, 1938
Sandy Dennis, 1937
Anouk Aimee, 1932
Casey Kasem, 1932
Coretta Scott King, 1927
Jack Klugman, 1922
Walter Lantz, 1900
Sergei Prokofiev, 1891
Ulysses S. Grant, 1822
Samuel Morse, 1791
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759
Suleiman the Magnificent, 1495

Today in History:

Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives in the Philippines led by chief Lapu-Lapu, 1521
Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar, 1539
Cebu is established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, 1565
The blind and impoverished John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10, 1667
The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, 1773
Beethoven composes Für Elise, 1810
US troops capture the capital of Upper Canada, York  (present day Toronto, Canada), 1813
The Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster, London, is laid, 1840
The establishment of Jewish congregations in Lower Austria is prohibited, 1857
The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons, 1865
In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed formally segregating races, 1950
Togo gains independence from French-administered UN trusteeship, 1960
Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom, 1961
Expo 67  officially opens in Montreal, Canada, 1967
Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse, 1981
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, is proclaimed, 1992
Betty Boothroyd becomes the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history, 1992
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics become members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, 1992
The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote is held, 1994
The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10 is received, 2002
The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 makes its first flight from Toulouse, France, 2005
Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City, 2006
Estonian authorities remove the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia, 2007

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: W is for Waiting Game

 Waiting is no one's favorite thing, me included.  Although i usually work to wait patiently, there are times when the waiting starts to grate on my nerves.  Like now, for instance.

A few years ago, when interest rates for homes began to go down, Sweetie and i started talking about refinancing the house.  We looked into it a few times, as it would be great to have a low rate, but something intervened each time, taking our attention away from it.

Then, about 8 months ago, we decided to go ahead and try.  Our mortgage company had been sending offers left and right, so we went through it all, just to have them decide we didn't have enough in the checking account on the day they checked!  It was frustrating.

The lower rates kept tantalizing me, though.  We could cut our interest by half and lower the number of years we have left on the mortgage.  We decided to try again.

This time, it's been worse.  We've had to wait for them to accept that yes, FEMA has left our flood zone as is, and our current insurance is good enough.  Wait for them to agree that, yes, my husband really is employed where he says (the "statement of employment" only lasts just over a week, then they have to reconfirm that you  have a job!).  Wait for them to decide that yes, the person with whom each of us filed taxes every year for the last 28 is the same one with whom we are borrowing the money (sheesh!).

Finally, the culmination of the waiting, and they set a closing date.  It was supposed to be yesterday.  If you guessed we are still playing the waiting game, you guessed correctly.  After i showed up at Sweetie's work, where we were to meet with the notary and sign the documents, and waited over an hour, they finally told us that they are still waiting for one HUD document, and the underwriting part of their business didn't send a message to their processing part to tell them it wasn't finished until after close of business the day before.

Therefore, we are still playing the waiting game.  We have rescheduled for next Tuesday.  Again i will make the early morning trek to Sweetie's workplace to try to get this done.

Note the sarcasm as i say, i can hardly wait.

 Today is

Arbor Day -- US

Audubon Day -- birth anniversary of John James Audubon

Austin Food and Wine Festival -- Austin, TX, US (superstar chefs and sommeliers, over 40 cooking demos and wine seminars, private grand tastings and more; through Sunday)

Bob Wills Day -- Turkey, TX, US (celebrating Western Swing music and its king; through Sunday)

Cape May Spring Festival -- Cape May, NJ, US (ten days of spring activities highlighting the Victorian lifestyle)

C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) -- Chicago, IL, US (through Sunday)

Dandelion Day -- University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, US (annual celebration used as a respite to diffuse tension around exam time)

Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl tragedy -- Belarus

Delphinia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival of Apollo; date approximate)

Fairy Laughter Convention -- Fairy Calendar

Festival of Individual Sovereignty -- an internet holiday that i think is a good idea!

Festival of Renenutet -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (as Lady of the Robes, who invented the bandages in which to wrap mummies; date approximate)

Global Youth Service Day -- annual campaign to mobilize children and youth to make a difference; www.gysd.org (through Sunday)

Hairball Awareness Day -- sponsored by Furminator (which product actually does work, by the way) and Hills Pet Nutrition

Hug an Australian Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Interstate Mullet Toss / The Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party -- FloraBama Bar, Gulf Shores, Alabama, US (fish flingers stand on the Alabama side of the property and toss them onto the Florida side, with proceeds going to charity; through Sunday)

Mayan Rain Festival -- to honor the rain gods and welcome the fruitfulness of the earth; date approximate

National Kids and Pets Day -- sponsored by the Animal Miracle Foundation & Network

National Health Day -- Kiribati

National Pie Championships and Great American Pie Festival -- Orlando, FL, US and Celebration, FL, US (three days of celebrating the best pies anywhere)

National Pretzel Day

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival -- NOLA, US (the best music and food festival around! through May 5)

Panoply® -- Huntsville, AL, US (comprehensive arts festival, including music, theater, dance, and a juried art show; through Sunday)

Remember Your First Kiss Day

Richter Scale Day -- birth anniversary of Charles Francis Richter

Sacrifice to Zeus Epacrios -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Shuffleboard Day -- on the adopted birthday of the game (no exact date of origination can be pinned down, and fans want a day to celebrate, so here it is)

Store Bededag -- Denmark; Faroe Islands; Greenland (Great Prayer Day)

St. Rafael Arnaiz' Day (Patron of diabetics and against diabetes)

St. Stephen of Perm's Day / Old Permic Alphabet Day -- Russian Orthodox Church (inventor of the alphabet used for Russian before the Cyrillic was developed)

Union Day -- Tanzania

International Food Expo Utage / Utage Food Festival -- Osaka, Japan (through May 6)

Vallenato Legend Festival -- Valledupar, Colombia (one of Colombia’s most important music and folk festivals; through the 30th)

Workers' Memorial Day

World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival -- Ocean City, MD, US (carvings and sculpture of all sizes, for competition and for sale; through Sunday)

World Intellectual Property Day -- UN

Anniversaries Today:

Prince Albert (future George VI) marries Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon

Birthdays Today:

Jon Lee, 1982
Jason Earles, 1977
Tom Welling, 1977
Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, 1970
Kane, 1967
Jet Li, 1963
Michael Damian, 1962
Bobby Rydell, 1942
Duane Eddy, 1938
Carol Burnett, 1933
I.M. Pei, 1917
John James Audobon, 1785
Marcus Aurelius, 121

Today in History:

Copernicus makes his first observations of Saturn, 1514
William Shakespeare is baptized, 1564
English  colonists of the Jamestown settlement  make landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia, 1607
Napoleon Bonaparte signs a general amnesty to allow all but about one thousand of the most notorious émigrés of the French Revolution to return to France, 1802
Paul von Hindenburg defeats Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the German presidential election  to become the first directly elected head of state of the Weimar Republic, 1925
In Libya, amendments to the constitution transform Libya (United Kingdom of Libya) into one national unity (Kingdom of Libya) and allows for female participation in elections, 1963
Tanganyika  and Zanzibar  merge to form Tanzania, 1964
A Rolling Stones concert in London, Ontario is shut down by police after 15 minutes due to rioting, 1965
The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization enters into force, 1970
A nuclear reactor accident occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union (now Ukraine), creating the world's worst nuclear disaster, 1986
Physicists  announce first evidence of the top quark subatomic particle, 1994
Under international pressure, Syria withdraws the last of its 14,000 troop military garrison in Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country, 2005

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: V is for Veteran's Benefits

In the case of one veteran, at least, the ability to work on your GED after enlisting has brought great joy, and erased a big regret.

Kenneth Thomas, on a snow day in 1952 when a senior in high school, decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, he says, so he left Bonneville High School in Iona, Idaho, fought in the Korean War, then came home to marry and settle down and have kids.

He also, while in the military, was given the benefit of an opportunity to earn his GED, which he did.

He has regretted not having an actual high school diploma, however.  He's a big believer in getting a good education.

His daughter, upon finding this out, went back to the high school and she and the principal checked the records.  There, waiting to be discovered, was the documentation saying that his GED work during his military service didn't just get him the GED, but actually completed his high school requirements.

Mr. Thomas, it seems, was due a diploma, but never received it.

He will in May, walking across the stage with this year's senior class.  This will be around the same time his granddaughter graduates from a different high school in the area.  They will have a huge family gathering to celebrate both of their accomplishments.

Congratulations, Mr. Kenneth Thomas.  It couldn't happen to a nicer veteran.

Today is

Adonia -- Greece (women's festival mourning the death of Adonis; date approximate)

Army Day -- North Korea

ANZAC Day -- Australia; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Cook Islands; New Zealand; Niue; Norfolk Island; Tonga

DNA Day -- structure of DNA first published this day in 1953; human genome project ended today in 2003

Duck Appreciation Society Day -- The Duck Appreciation Society (some sites say May 10; either way, go feed the ducks if you like them, but not stale white bread, it's no better for them than it is for us)

East Meets West Day -- Allies from the East and West finally met up this day in 1945 about 75 miles from Berlin

Festival of Robigalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (to protect against corn blight; festival of Robiga and Rogibus, the brother and sister fertility gods)

Fiddlers' Frolics -- Hallettsville, TX, US (home of the Texas State Fiddler Championships; through Sunday)

Flag Day -- Faroe Islands; Swaziland

Full Pink Moon -- a/k/a Full Sprouting Moon, Grass Moon, Egg Moon, White Moon, Virgin Moon, and Fish Moon; in other traditions
     Bak Full Moon Poya Day -- Sri Lanka
     Tagu Full Moon -- Myanmar

Hanuman Jayanti -- Hindu (local dates may vary)

Harpa Month Begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (Harp, dedicated to young women as last month was dedicated to young men)
     Sumardagurinn Fyrsti -- first day of summer, a legal holiday

Harrogate Spring Flower Show -- Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England (Britain's premier spring flower show; through Sunday)

Hug A Plumber Day -- because when you are knee deep in it, you really need them around

Liberation Day -- Italy; Portugal

Mahavir Jayanti -- Jain (local dates may vary)

Nagasaki Tall Ships Festival -- Nagasaki, Japan (sailing festival, commemorating the 16th century opening of Nagasaki as Japan's sole foreign trade port; through the 29th)

National Crayola Day -- no one claims starting this holiday, observe it with your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/kids down the street, and remember how fun it is to color pictures

National Zucchini Bread Day -- they hold this at a time when you are not yet sick of all that zucchini you grew in the garden

Red Hat Society Day -- first Red Hat Tea Party held this day in 1998

Sinai Liberation Day -- Egypt

St. Mark the Evangelist's Day (Patron of attorneys/barristers/lawyers/notaries, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people/prisoners, lions, stained glass workers, struma patients; Egypt; Boretto, Italy; Creazzo, Italy; Infanta, Philippines; Ionian Islands; Pordenone, Italy; Sonnino, Italy; Venice, Italy; against impenitence, insect bites, scrofulous diseases, struma)

Tag des Baumes -- Germany (Tree Day/Arbor Day)

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day -- US (begun by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 2003, the day is designed to expand opportunities for girls and boys, expose them to what adults do in their daily lives during work hours, show them the value of education, and teach them about the challenges of balancing work, family, community, and personal responsibilites; children are encouraged to return to school tomorrow and discuss what they have learned)

Theravadin New Year -- Buddhist (through the 28th; dates can vary locally)

Washington State Apple Blossom Festival -- Wenatchee, WA, US (more than 40 fun events showcasing the greater Wenatchee Valley, it's people, products, and heritage; through the first Sunday in May)

World Malaria Day / Malaria Awareness Day -- WHO and the International Community

World Penguin Day -- because they begin migrating on or around this day

20-Something Service Day -- can't find who started this one, but it's a good idea, whomever it was, whether you are 20 or older to do some community service or volunteer work regularly

Birthdays Today:

Jacob Underwood, 1980
Jason, Lee, 1970
Renee, Zellweger, 1969
Hank Azaria, 1964
Talia Shire, 1946
Stu Cook, 1945
Bjorn Ulvaeus, 1945
Al Pacino, 1940
Meadowlark Lemon, 1932
Paul Mazursky, 1930
Albert King, 1923
Ella Fitzgerald, 1918
Edward R. Murrow, 1908
Guglielmo Marconi, 1874

Today in History:

Lysander's Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians and the Peloponnesian War ends, BC404
German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller publishes his Cosmographiae Introductio map in which he gives the American continents their name, 1507
Highwayman Nicholas Pelletier becomes the first person executed by guillotine, 1792
Charles Fremantle arrives in the HMS Challenger off the coast of modern-day Western Australia prior to declaring the Swan River Colony for the United Kingdom, 1829
The last survivors of the Donner Party arrive back in civilization, 1847
The Governor General of Canada, Lord Elgin, signs the Rebellion Losses Bill, outraging Montreal's English population and triggering the Montreal Riots, 1849
British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal, 1859
New York State becomes the first US state to require automobiles to be licensed, 1901
First DC Comic with Batman is published, 1939
Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations, 1945
Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid describing the double helix structure of DNA, 1953
The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, officially opens to shipping, 1959
Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit, 1961
Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula per the Camp David Accords, 1982
American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war, 1983
Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto's orbit, 1983
The Hubble Telescope is deployed, 1990
The Human Genome Project comes to an end 2.5 years before first anticipated, 2003
The final piece of the Obelisk of Axum is returned to Ethiopia  after being stolen by the invading Italian army in 1937, 2005
Bulgaria and Romania sign accession treaties to join the European Union, 2005

A to Z Challenge: U is for Unique

 That would be the Featherstones, Nancy and Donald.  They are indeed a unique couple.

When they were just 2 years into their now 35+ year marriage, she sewed up a shirt for him that was identical to one she had.  After all, she is a fashion designer.

And he wore it.  Apparently, they enjoyed wearing matching clothes, because she started making all of their outfits, and they all match.

They have 600 matching outfits, in fact.  Wacky prints, florals, formals, they run the gamut.  If he's out of town, he calls to make sure which outfit to wear each day.

Oh, and he's the inventor the pink plastic lawn flamingo.  Yes, the one that Spanish Town Mardi Gras uses as it's symbol.

Most certainly these are unique people, and very much still in love still, too.  Maybe that's a key -- find your unique, what makes just the two of you just right.

Today is

Administrative Professionals Day

Ambivalence Day -- a holiday to tell your friends about, or not

American Quilter's Society Quilt Show -- Paducah, KY, US (auction, workshops, and prizes for the best quilts; through Saturday)

Concord Day -- Niger

Feast of Eros -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Genocide Remembrance Day / Martyrs' Day-- Armenia

Happenstance and Coincidence Evening -- Fairy Calendar

Heavenly Sage Bao Sheng’s Birthday -- Taoism

International Guide Dog Day

Kapyong Day -- Australia (Battle of Kapyong, 1951)

La Frontera Tucson International Mariachi Conference -- Tuscon, AZ, US (festival showcasing the best of balle folklorico and mariachi; through Saturday)

Loktantra Diwas -- Nepal (Democracy Day)

Majavir Jayanti -- Jain

Peppercorn Ceremony -- St. George, Bermuda (commemorates the renting of what is now the Old State House by the Masonic Lodge to the governor of Burmuda for the cost of one peppercorn per annum)

Pigs in a Blanket Day

Polk County Ramp Tramp Festival -- Polk County, TN, US (come out and celebrate with the 4-H club the ramp, a local wild leek, and enjoy the Bluegrass music and games; through Saturday)

Spring Cat Cleaning Day -- because someone, somewhere, thinks you need to bathe your cat; ask the cat, he will refuse, and if you become insistent, be careful

St. Ives' Day (Patron of St. Ives, Cambridgeshire, England)

St. Mark's Eve*

USA Film Festival -- Dallas, TX, US (major showcase of new studio and indie films; through Sunday)

Walk @ Lunch Day -- founded and encouraged by Blue Cross / Blue Shield final Wednesday

World Meningitis Day http://comoonline.org/

*A young lady may eat a boiled dove's egg sprinkled with salt and place
a tulip, sacred to St. Mark, in a vase next to her bed, and so she will
dream of the man she will marry.

Birthdays Today:

Courtnee Draper, 1985
Kelly Clarkson, 1982
Chipper Jones, 1972
Cedric the Entertainer, 1964
Jean-Paul Gaultier, 1952
Doug Clifford, 1945
Barbra Streisand, 1942
Jill Ireland, 1936
Shirley MacLaine, 1934
Robert Penn Warren, 1905
Michael J. Dady, 1850
Anthony Trollope, 1815

Anniversaries Today:

Mary, Queen of Scots marries Dauphin of France, François, at Notre Dame de Paris, 1558

Today in History:

Thutmose III ascends to the throne of Egypt, although power effectively shifts to Hatshepsut, BC1479
Traditional date for the Greeks entering Troy using the Trojan Horse, BC1184
The appearance of Halley's Comet causes monks in England to predict evil happenings, 1066
"La Marseillaise" is composed by Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, 1792
The Boston "News-Letter" becomes the first successful newspaper in the colonies, 1704
The Library of Congress is established, 1800
A patent is granted for the first soda fountain, 1833
William Price of the Washington Star becomes the first reporter to be specifically assigned to the White House, 1897
The fathometer, which measures underwater depth, is patented, 1928
Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Cosmonaut  Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1, the first person to die during a space mission, 1967
Mauritius becomes a member state of the United Nations, 1968
The first Chinese satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, is launched, 1970
Gruinard Island, Scotland, is officially declared free of the anthrax disease after 48 years of quarantine, 1990
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church taking the name Pope Benedict XVI, 2005
Snuppy, the world's first cloned dog is born in South Korea, 2005
Iceland announces that Norway will shoulder the defense of Iceland during peacetime, 2007

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: T is for Tummy Trouble

Don't read this if you get sick easily, skip down to the holiday part.  Okay?

It began when, on Sunday evening, Little Girl skipped out on Youth Group at church.  She never skips out on Youth Group, so i knew she didn't feel well.

It continued Monday morning when #2 Son stumbled into the library, gave me a very green look, and promptly barfed for almost 5 minutes straight.

By the time all of us were feeling green, #2 Son turned to me and said, "Mom, if I had known last night that I was going to be this sick in the morning, I would have gotten drunk last night and at least had a good time to show for it!"

No, i told him, you wouldn't, but that is funny, in a weird way.

"You're right, I wouldn't.  Or would I?" he gave me a sickly grin over his bucket.

The tummy trouble, whatever caused it (accompanied by headache and some dizziness, but no fever) seems to have mostly passed, and may it not let the door hit it in the hind parts as it leaves.

Today is

Alfred G. "Alferd" Packer Day -- Colorado

Book Day and Lover's Day -- Spain, especially Catalan (women give books to men, while men give flowers to the women. Celebrated in the Spanish city of Barcelona since 1714 to honor Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes [author of "Don Quixote"] and in observance of St. George's Day)

Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day -- date as celebrated in prior years; cannot confirm this date since 2012 as the associated website is down

Canada Book Day

Chance Day -- Fairy Calendar

Children's Day -- North Cyprus; Turkey

Edinburgh International Science Festival -- Edinburgh, Scotland (massive celebration of science and technology; through Apr. 7)

Independence Day -- Conch Republic, Key West, FL. US (a tongue-in-cheek micronation which seceded from the Union in 1982; celebrated yearly with a week long festival)

International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day -- on St. George's Day, encouraging members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to continue to be what Howard V. Hendrix derrogatorily termed "webscabs", posting their stories free on the internet

International Sing Out Day -- no one will claim responsibility for this one, but i promise not to observe it!

Jurgi Festival -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (day sacred to Usins; first day outdoor work began for the summer)

National Cherry Cheesecake Day

National Picnic Day -- US

National Sovereignty Day -- Turkey

National Teach Children to Save Day -- sponsored by the American Banking Association

School Bus Driver's Day -- 4th Tuesday

Sigurd the Dragon Slayer's Day -- because he was probably the inspiration for the legends about St. George

St. Adalbert's Day (Patron of Bohemia; Czech Republic; Poland; Prague, Czech Republic; Prussia)

St. George's Day (Patron of archers, armourers, Boy Scouts, butchers, cavalry, chivalry, Crusaders, equestrians, farmers, field hands, field workers, horsemen, horses, husbandmen, knights, lepers, Order of the Garter, Palestinian Christians, riders, Romanian Army, saddle makers, saddlers, sheep, shepherds, soldiers, Teutonic Knights; Canada; England; Ethiopia; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Lithuania; Malta; Portugal; Cappadocia; Catalonia; Palestine; over 20 cities and diocese around the world; against herpes, leprosy, plague, skin diseases, skin rashes, syphilis; by the middle ages, St. George was revered in much of Europe as the personification of chivalry)*

Take a Chance Day -- internet generated encouragement to try something different

Talk Like Shakespeare Day -- on The Bard's birth anniversary

Vinalia Priora -- Ancient Roman Calendar (tasting the first wines of the year)

World Book & Copyright Day -- UN (this date chosen because of how parts of Spain celebrate St. George's Day, with books)

*To save a Maid, St. George the Dragon slew
A pretty tale, if all is told to be true
Most say, there are no Dragons, and tis said
There was no George: pray God there was a Maid.
-- John Aubrey, Remains of Gentilism (1688)

Birthdays Today:

Dev Patel, 1990
John Cena, 1977
Scott Bairstow, 1970
George Lopez, 1961
Valerie Bertinelli, 1960
Craig Sheffer, 1960
Jan Hooks, 1957
Michael Moore, 1954
Joyce DeWitt, 1949
Sandra Dee, 1942
Lee Majors, 1940
Roy Orbison, 1936
Shirley Temple Black, 1928
Vladimire Nabokov, 1899
Sergei Prokofiev, 1891
James Buchanan, 1791
William Penn, 1621
William Shakespeare, 1564

Today in History:

The founding of the Order of the Garter by King Edward III is announced on St George's Day, 1348
William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor is first performed, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance, 1597
The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, is founded in Boston, Massachusetts, 1635
Connecticut is chartered as an English colony, 1662
Canada issues its first postage stamps, 1851
The Vitascope system of movie projection debuts the first motion picture at Koster & Bial's Music Hall in NYC, 1896
Namibia becomes the 160th member of the UN and the 50th member of the Commonwealth of Nations, 1990
Eritrians vote overwhelmingly for independence from Ethiopia, 1993
Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus, 2003
The gamma ray burst GRB 090423 is observed for 10 seconds. The event signals the most distant object of any kind and also the oldest known object in the universe, 2009

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge: S is for Smart

"Hey, mom, guess what Festus did!"  Knowing #2 Son's best friend, it could be anything.

"Young Jacob brought his boxing gloves last night, so we were boxing, and he hit me in the back of the head so hard, he broke his thumb!"


"Yes, really!  When we wrestle or fight, he goes crazy!"

Which just goes to show.  Festus may be the Valedictorian of his senior class, but  great grades don't always mean you are too smart.

Today is

Chemists Celebrate The Earth Day -- promoting public awareness of the important contribution of chemists

Discovery Day -- Brazil (landing of Cabral in 1500)

Earth Day

Festival of Jupiter and Juno -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day -- Girl Scouts of the USA

Granary Offering to Renenutet -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (offering to the Lady of Granaries; date approximate)

International Mother Earth Day -- UN

Landing of the 33 Patriots Day -- Uruguay

Lela's Holiday -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar (honoring the goddess-daughter, Lela)

National Jelly Bean Day

Queen Isabella Day -- Spain and some US states (birth anniversary of Isabella I of Castille)

St. Epipodius of Lyon's Day (Patron of bachelors, betrayal victims, torture victims)

St. George's Day -- NL, Canada (obs.)

Walpurgis celebrations begin -- through May 1, Norse, Scandinavian, and Germanic celebrations (remembering the sacrifice of Odin upon the World Tree Yggdrasil
     Yggdrasil Day -- Asatru/Slavic Pagan Calendar

World's Biggest Fish Fry -- Paris, TN, US (parades, auto shows, arts and crafts, and of course, all-you-can-eat catfish dinner; through Sunday)

Birthdays Today:

Daniel Johns, 1979
Kim Elizabeth, 1978
Peter Frampton, 1950
John Waters, 1946
Jack Nicholson, 1937
Glen Campbell, 1936
Aaron Spelling, 1928
Yehudi Menuhin, 1916
Eddie Albert, 1906
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev, 1891
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1870
Immanuel Kant, 1724
Queen Isabella, 1451

Today in History:

Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral becomes the first European to sight Brazil, 1500
President George Washington attends a performance of Rickett's, the first circus in the US, 1793
Thomas Stevens sets out from San Francisco on the first round the world journey by bicycle, 1884
The Oklahoma land rush begins at noon; thousands rush to claim land, and the towns of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed within hours with populations of over 10,000 each, 1889
Pravda begins publication in St. Petersburg, 1912
The Germans begin using poison chlorine gas as a chemical weapon, 1915
British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston completes the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world, 1969
The first Earth Day is celebrated, 1970
The Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. is dedicated, 1993
Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi apologizes for Japan's war record, 2005
Four Canadian soldiers are killed 75 kilometers north of Kandahar, Afghanistan by a roadside bomb planted by Taliban militants, the worst single day combat loss for the Canadian army since the Korean War, 2006

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Are you feeling lucky?

If you think you've had a bad week, or are unlucky in some way, you have nothing on Joe Berti.

He had just finished the marathon in Boston when the bombs went off.  He and his wife and the members of his running club were unhurt.

They went home to Texas where, you guessed it, they didn't live far from the city of West.  He actually saw the explosion there.

He's only been talking about his good luck, though, to have been unharmed by either event.

Today, at church, i'm going to spend some of my prayer time in gratitude for all the things that haven't gone wrong, and for all the good stuff, too, as well as hugging kids in the nursery.

Because i'm feeling "lucky" or blessed or however you want to put it.

Today is

Administrative Professionals Day (original date)

Aggie Muster -- Texas A&M University

Birthday of Rome -- Rome, Italy (753 BCE)

Feast of Wadjet (a/k/a Udjet or Buto) -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

First Day of Ridvan -- Baha'i (began sunset yesterday; through May 2)

Grounation Day -- Rastafari (one of the Rastafarian's most important festivals, in honor of Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica)

Heroica Defensa de Veracruz -- Mexico (Heroic Defense of Veracruz)

Homecoming of the Elves -- Fairy Calendar (Singing Festival)

Iroquois Corn Planting Ceremony -- Iroquois Native Americans (three day celebration, always around this time of year)

John Muir Day -- US (American conservationist)

Kartini Day -- Indonesia (honoring a leader who helped emancipate women)

Kindergarten Day -- Germany; US (birth anniversary of Friedrich Froebel, in 1782, who began the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837)

London Marathon -- Greenwich to The Mall, London, England

Mesir Paste Festival -- Manisa, Turkey (mesir paste is a blend of 41 different spices and is intended as a general cure-all and tonic; lots of craft exhibitions, concerts and sporting tournaments, as well as traditional throwing of paste off minaret of the Sultan Mosque; through Saturday)

Mibu Dainembutsu Kyogen -- Mibu Temple, Kyoto, Japan (nine day festival of kyogen performances which dates back to 1299)

National Chocolate-Covered Cashew Truffle Day

National Tree Planting Day -- Kenya

Paralia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (shepherd's festival of Pares, goddess of herders)

Queen's Birthday -- Falkland Islands

San Jacinto Day -- Texas, US

St. Anselm of Canturbury's Day

St. Bueno Gasulsych's Day (Patron of diseased cattle, sick animals, and sick children)

Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day -- encouraging awareness of volunteerism, sponsored by Women Empowering Women www.womenempoweringwomen.homestead.com

Thrissur Pooram -- Thrissur, Kerala, India (fireworks, music, and costumed elephants, the celebration continues all through the night)

Tiradentes Day/Brasilia Day -- Brazil (honors Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, called "tooth puller", who fought for Brazilian independence)
     Inauguration of Brasilia, Distrito Federal -- Brazil (anniversary of the 1960 inauguration of the new federal capital)

Volunteer Recognition Week begins

World Creativity and Innovation Day -- final day of World Creativity and Innovation Week, which always begins on DaVinci's birth anniversary

Birthdays Today:

Robert Smith, 1959
Andie Macdowell, 1958
James Morrison, 1954
Tony Danza, 1951
Iggy Pop, 1947
Charles Grodin, 1935
Elaine May, 1932
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, 1926
Anthony Quinn, 1915
John Muir, 1838
Charlotte Bronte, 1816
Catherine the Great, 1729
Jan van Riebeeck, 1619

Today in History:

Traditional date for the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus, BC753
Marc Antony continues to battle the senators who assasinated Julius Caesar in the Battle of Mutina, which he loses, BC43
Henry VIII ascends the throne of England, 1509
Hernan Cortez lands in Veracruz, 1519
The Maryland Toleration Act is passed, granting religious freedom to all in that colony, 1649
Catherine the Great ends noble privileges in Russia, 1785
Tiradentes, leader of the independence movement in Brazil, is executed, 1792
Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeat Mexican troops under Santa Ana, winning the Battle of San Jacinto and the independence of Texas, 1836
The first train crosses the first bridge over the Mississippi River, crossing from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa, 1855
Alexander Douglas patents the bustle, 1857
Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i' faith, declares his mission, 1863
The first firehouse pole is installed in a firehouse in NYC, 1878
The Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen)is shot down, 1918
The first Aggie Muster is held, a remembrance of fellow Texas A&M graduates who had died in the previous year, 1922
Brasilia is officially inaugurated as the capital of Brazil, 1960
In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang, 1989
Alexander Wolszczan announces his the discovery of extrasolar planets, 1994
The ashes of Timothy Leary and Gene Roddenberry are launched into orbit, 1997
By order of an Egyptian court, the name of Egypt's former President, Hosni Mubarak, is stripped from public spaces, schools and streets, 2011