Saturday, December 31, 2011


Time for end of the year this and that.

What were the biggest trends of the year?

The best photos?

The biggest news stories?

Let's recap the year, ad nauseum, from every possible source and angle.

Since it's all the rage, i guess i can contribute the craziest dog happening of the year in our house (besides the fact that we have one living here, which proves i'm nuts, but i digress).

Craziest dog happening of the year here:

"Mom, can you buy me a new toothbrush?" Little Girl asked as she came into the kitchen.

Didn't i just get you one?

"Yes, but the Hazelnut ate it."

Ate It!?!

"Yep, she chewed up both ends, there's only about a two inch section remaining, and i got mad and threw that at Miss Lizzie."

Why did you throw it at her?

"Because it's her dog, and she will get over it. I didn't want to throw it at the dog, because she wouldn't understand why, but Miss Lizzie does!"

Today is:

Baal Fire Festival -- Allendale, Northumberland, UK

Check Your Smoke Alarms Day

Day of Sekhmet -- Ancient Egypt (Lucky Day of Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess)

Fairy Eve's Year News -- Fairy Calendar

Feast day of Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea -- Brazil

First Night -- a non-alcoholic alternative to New Year's Eve

Fravartigan -- Parsi Zoroastrian (celebration to honor the dead through the night)

Harvest Day Celebrations -- Benin

Hogmanay Day -- Scotland (Auld Year's Night)

International Solidarity Day -- Azerbaijan
and Azerbaijanis worldwide

Kwanzaa, Day 6, Creativity

Make Up Your Mind Day

Namahge -- Oga Peninsula, Japan (devil appearing holiday; young men dress as demons and run through the town warning children to behave during the coming year)

National Champagne Day

New Year's Eve

No Resolution Day / Ditch the Resolutions Day -- if you don't want to, you don't have to!

Noche de Pedimento -- Oaxaca, Mexico (Night of the Petition)

Okera Matsuri, Sacred Fire Rite -- Yasaka Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Omisoka Day -- Japan (the second most important day on the Japanese Calendar; tomorrow is the most important)

Procrastinator's Day -- you have to make up your mind

Restoration Day -- Geneva, Switzerland

Revolution Day -- Ghana

Saint Sylvester's Day -- Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland

Samoan Fire Dance -- Samoa

Seventh Day of Christmas

Silvesterklause -- Urnäsch, Switzerland

St. Zoticus of Constantinople's Day (Patron of the poor; often titled Feeder of Orphans)

Swinging the Fireballs -- Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Scotland

Universal Hour of Peace -- begins at 11:30pm your local time, welcome the New Year with peace

Watch Night -- Christian

World Peace Meditation Day (International observance of one hour beginning 12:00 PM GMT, focusing thought and energy on peace.)

You're All Done Day -- sponsored by something i haven't been able to pin down online called The Long Haul Committee (and it's more like "all done in" if you are like me!)

Birthdays Today:

Joe McIntyre, 1972
Val Kilmer, 1959
Bebe Neuwirth, 1958
Donna Summer, 1948
Tim Matheson, 1947
Barbara Carrera, 1945
John Denver, 1943
Ben Kingsley, 1943
Andy Summers, 1942
Sarah Miles, 1941
Anthony Hopkins, 1937
Odetta, 1930
Simon Wiesenthal, 1908
George C. Marshall, 1880
Henri Matisse, 1869

Today in History:

80,000 Vandals, Alans and Suebians attack the Rhine at Mainz, crossing into and beginning the invasion of Gallia, 406
Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year, 535
Ch'an monk Ho-tse Shen-hui interred in a stupa built in China, 765
James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca, 1229
100,000 Jews expelled from Sicily, 1492
The British East India Company chartered, 1600
The first Huguenots depart France to Cape of Good Hope, 1687
A window tax is imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax, 1695
Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors, 1776
Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa as new capital of Canada, 1857
The cornerstone is laid for Honolulu, Hawai'i's Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the US, 1879
Edison gives 1st public demonstration of his incandescent lamp, 1879
Ellis Island (NYC) opens as a US immigration depot, 1890
Brooklyn's last day as a city, it incorporates into NYC (1/1/1898), 1897
Boers & British army sign peace treaty, 1902
The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square, then known as Longacre Square, in New York, New York, 1904
For the first time a ball drops at Times Square to signal the new year, 1907
The last San Francisco firehorses are retired, 1921
The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC, 1923
Dr R N Harger's "drunkometer," the first breath test, is introduced in Indiana, 1938
The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom, 1960
The Central African Federation officially collapses and splits into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia, 1963
The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government, 1983
All official Soviet Union institutions have ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union is officially dissolved, 1991
Czechoslovakia is peacefully dissolved in what is dubbed by media as the Velvet Divorce, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 1992
This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones, 1994
The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency, 1998
The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama, 1999
The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, 2004

Friday, December 30, 2011

Wet or Not?

Almost every New Year's Eve since i've lived here, we've had rain.

Usually everything is a muddy, mucky mess.

The kids track around everywhere with sparklers and watch the neighbors with their fireworks, ducking in and out for food through the evening. The end result is mud everywhere.

Maybe, just this once, we won't have rain.

They were predicting it, but now say we won't have more than a 30% chance of rain on Sunday, after the festivities.

Please, Weatherperson, be right this time.

Lack of mud would be a nice way to start the New Year.

Today is:

Bacon Day -- for those tired of the same old winter holidays, see

Day of the Declaration of Slovakia as an Independent Ecclesiastic Province -- Slovakia

Fairy Frequent Fliers' Awards

Falling Needles Family Fest Day -- gather the family, watch the needles fall from the tree, and have a party

Feast of the Holy Family -- Catholic Christian

Festival of Enormous Changes At the Last Minute -- internet generated, and i'm not sure i'm up to it

Kwanzaa, Day 5, Purpose

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day -- shouldn't this be on Jan. 1, to help us get over the indigestion from the night before?

No Interruptions Day -- let people finish up what needs to get done before the New Year at work, and silence the devices at home that keep us from spending uninterrupted time with family

Rizal Day -- Philippines

Sixth Day of Christmas

St. Sabinus' Day

Anniversary Today:

Rutherford B. Hayes (19th US President) marries Lucy Ware Webb, 1852

Birthdays Today:

LeBron James, 1984
Kristin Kreuk, 1982
Eliza Dushku, 1980
Laila Ali, 1977
Tiger Woods, 1975
Sean Hannity, 1961
Tracey Ullman, 1959
Matt Lauer, 1957
Meredith Vieira, 1953
Patti Smith, 1946
Davy Jones, 1945
Michael Nesmith, 1942
Del Shannon, 1939
Noel Paul Stookey, 1937
Sandy Koufax, 1935
Russ Tamblyn, 1934
Bo Diddley, 1928
Jack Lord, 1920
Bert Parks, 1914
Simon Guggenheim, 1867
Rudyard Kipling, 1865

Today in History:

Hugh Capet, King of the Franks, crowns his son Robert the Pious king and co-ruler, 987
A Muslim mob storms the royal palace in Granada, crucifies Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacres most of the Jewish population of the city, 1066
Tokyo is hit by an earthquake, about 37,000 die, 1703
The first coffee is planted in Hawaii (Kona), 1817
Gyula, Count Andrássy, of Hungary, issues the Andrassy Note, calling for Christian-Muslim religious freedoms, 1875
Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," premieres, 1879
The American Political Science Association founded at New Orleans, 1903
Iran becomes a constitutional monarchy, 1906
The All India Muslim League is founded in Dacca, East Bengal, British India Empire, which later laid down the foundations of Pakistan, 1906
Lincoln's Inn in London admits its first female bar student, 1919
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed, 1922
Japan dedicates the first subway in the Orient (route under 2 miles long), 1927
The Cole Porter Broadway musical, Kiss Me, Kate (1,077 performances), opens at the New Century Theatre and becomes the first show to win the Best Musical Tony Award, 1948
In the 39th game of his 3rd NHL season Wayne Gretzky scores 5 goals giving him 50 on the year setting a new NHL record , 1981
Israel and the Vatican establish diplomatic relations, 1993
Tropical Storm Zeta forms in the open Atlantic Ocean, tying the record for the latest tropical cyclone ever to form in the North Atlantic basin, 2005
The last roll of Kodachrome film is developed by Dwayne's Photo, the only remaining Kodachrome processor at the time, concluding the film's 74-year run as a photography icon, 2009

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Salt Lick

For many years, our family has ordered Gray Celtic Sea Salt, fine ground, from the SaltWorks company.

A five pound bag takes our family through a calendar year, and we don't use any other salts at all. In fact, i mix my own season-all type seasoning using it.

It tastes better than the stuff you get in the grocery store, and because it has all of the associated trace minerals the Almighty put there, you don't have to use as much of it and it is a little healthier for you. It is even just a bit lower in sodium than regular table salt, with a warm flavor instead of being harsh and brassy.

A few years ago, Sweetie decided to be nice and order Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, a one pound bag when he ordered ours.

It's been downhill since.

Every year The Mouth runs out faster and faster, then comes and gets some of ours.

Yes, he goes through more than a pound of salt a year, by himself.

So finally we are ordering every 10 months or so, instead of 12.

Maybe for Christmas next year i'll just get the guy his own salt lick.

Today is:

Constitution Day -- Ireland

Enjoying ESP Day -- internet generated, and it means eating, sleeping, and partying!

Fifth Day of Christmas

Illegal Pants Day -- commemorates Emma Snodgrass' arrest in Boston in 1852 for wearing pants

Kwanzaa, Day 4, Cooperative Economics

National Chocolate Again Day -- because someone, somewhere, believes it can't be chocolate something-or-other day often enough

Paternoster Row Day -- in memoriam

Pepper Pot Day -- Pepper Pot Soup was invented today in 1777 at Valley Forge for the army to have something warm to eat

St. Gabriel's Day -- Ethiopia

St. Thomas of Canterbury's Day (Patron of clergy, secular clergy; Exeter College, Oxford, England; Portsmouth, England)

St. Trophimus of Arles' Day

Tick Tock Day -- end of the year is getting closer, stop putting off your dreams!

Yodel in the Shower Day -- internet generated, and i promise not to tell if you do

Anniversaries Today:

Texas becomes the 28th US State, 1845

Birthdays Today:

Jude Law, 1972
Bryan "Dexter" Holland, 1966
Ed Autry, 1954
Ted Danson, 1947
Marianne Faithfull, 1946
Jon Voight, 1938
Mary Tyler Moore, 1936
Billy Mitchell, 1879
William Gladstone, 1809
Andrew Johnson, 1808
Charles Goodyear, 1800

Today in History:

Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II; he subsequently becomes a saint and martyr in the Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church, 1170
The first nautical almanac in US published by Samuel Stearns, Boston, 1782
Gas lights are installed at White House, during the Polk administration, 1848
The first Young Men's Christian Association chapter in the US opens, in Boston, 1851
Emma Snodgrass is arrested in Boston for wearing pants, 1852
The first telegraph ticker used by a brokerage house, Groesbeck & Co, NY, 1867
The Wounded Knee Massacre takes place, 1890
Edison patents "transmission of signals electrically" (radio), 1891
Mongolia gains independence from the Qing dynasty, 1911
The first movie serial, "Adventures of Kathlyn," premieres in Chicago, 1913
Fred P Newton completes longest swim ever (1826 miles), when he swam in the Mississippi River from Ford Dam, Minn, to New Orleans, 1930
Physicist Richard Feynman gives a speech entitled "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom", which is regarded as the birth of nanotechnology, 1959
Filming began on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in England, 1965
Riots break-out after Hong Kong decides to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese refugees, 1989
Guatemala and leaders of Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union sign a peace accord ending a 36-year civil war, 1996
Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million lives, 1998
The last known speaker of Akkala Sami dies, rendering the language extinct, 2003

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We Have Oranges

Tons of oranges.

My parents have two orange trees in their back yard. So every year at Christmas, the kids get drafted to go out and climb the trees and pick oranges.

We then come home laden with gifts, leftovers, and oranges.

Oranges rolling around the fridge like mini bowling balls. Taking up room in the drawers. Rolling into the drawers -- the ones that didn't fit in them in the first place -- and preventing the drawers from closing until you unload that orange and jam it back up into whatever crevice it was in.

Oranges causing other stuff to roll around in the fridge when you try to put something in there and a loose one gets under it, like a marble getting under your shoe. It can be a messy proposition if you don't watch out.

How many different uses are there for oranges? After you have eaten as many of them as you can hold, and had so much fresh juice that you feel like you are floating in it, then what?

Well, the orange butter is turning out good, but there's not much the kids want to put it on. Orange marmalade is so sticky to make i'm not sure i want to tackle it. Next will probably be the orange cake, orange pie, or orange bread recipes i've found.

So, what would you do with a flotilla of oranges?

Today is:

Bairns Day -- Scotland (Begins the runic half-month of Eoh, the yew tree, which signifies the dead, so today is considered by some the unluckiest day of the year, and no work should be undertaken today.)

Call a Friend Day -- just to catch up a bit

Card Playing Day -- internet generated, enjoy a fun game with friends and family; "Go fish!"

Childermas a/k/a Holy Innocents Day -- various Christian traditions, called Inocentes in Mexico, and sometimes celebrated as Mexican December Fool's Day (Herod fooled himself into thinking he had gotten rid of his rival king born in Bethlehem.)

Dyzemas Day a/k/a Tithe Day -- Portugal (an unlucky day to begin any new undertaking)

Eat A Vegetarian Day -- an internet generated joke; yes, the vegetarian can be a cow

Endangered Species Act Day -- US (act passed 1973; observed by many Native Americans as a day to mourn species already extinct)

Fairy Academy of Window-Frosting Winter Exhibition -- Fairy Calendar

Flour Fight -- Ibi, Valencia, Spain (if it's anything like the tomato throwing in other towns of Spain, it's probably lots of fun)

Fourth Day of Christmas

King Taksin Memorial Day -- Thailand

Kwanzaa, Day 3, Collective Work and Responsibility

National Chocolate Candy Day

Proclamation Day -- South Australia

Return a Gift for the Cold Hard Cash Day -- and good luck, these days

Runic Half-month Eoh (yew) commences

Take a Drive and Enjoy the Christmas Lights Day -- before they are gone for another year

Unluckiest Day of the Year -- various traditions state no work should be started today, for whatever is started today will never be finished! In Olde England, nothing of importance was ever undertaken on Childermas, because it would prove unlucky

Anniversaries Today:

Iowa becomes the 29th US State, 1846

Birthdays Today:

Denzel Washington, 1954
Edgar Winter, 1946
Don Francisco, 1940
Maggie Smith, 1934
Nichelle Nichols, 1933
Martin Milner, 1931
Johnny Otis, 1921
Sam Levenson, 1911
Lew Ayres, 1908
Cliff Arquette, 1905
Earl "Fatha" Hines, 1905
Hendrik Meijer, 1883
Woodrow Wilson, 1856

Today in History:

The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, a/k/a Westminster Abbey, is consecrated, 1065
The reign of Emperor Hanazono of Japan begins, 1308
Galileo Galilei becomes the first astronomer to observe the planet Neptune, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a fixed star, 1612
King Taksin is crowned as king of Thailand and establishes Thonburi as a capital, 1768
Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto, Ontario), 1795
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Echigo, Japan, killing 30,000+, 1828
John Calhoun becomes the first US Vice President to resign (over differences with President Andrew Jackson), 1832
Spain recognizes independence of Mexico, 1836
South Australia and Adelaide are founded, 1836
Rangoon Burma, destroyed by fire, 1841
The United States claims Midway Island, the first territory annexed outside Continental limits, 1867
The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, marking the debut of the cinema, 1895
The first municipally owned streetcars take to the streets in San Francisco, California, 1912
The Peak District becomes the United Kingdom's first National Park, 1950
Alexander Solzhenitsyn publishes "Gulag Archipelago", 1973
Winnie Mandela is banished from South Africa, 1976
The first American "test-tube baby", Elizabeth Jordan Carr, is born in Norfolk, Virginia, 1981
U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years, 2000

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ghost Cats

Blaire called to ask a favor, and of course i said yes.

Three kittens, not bottle feeds. Very, very shy. Almost ghost cats, they hide from everyone and everything.

They are still young enough to be socialized and trained, although they will never be great to adopt into a huge family.

We will spend the greater part of the next several days lugging them around with us everywhere, making sure they get used to people, trying to get them to quit hiding all of the time.

Wish us luck.

Today is:

Calli (House) Day -- Aztec Calendar (a good day for all things hearth and home and family. a bad day to participate in public life; date approximate, but soon after the solstice)

Constitution Day -- Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Doody Day -- the premier in 1947 of the first successful children's TV show, "Howdy Doody"

International Sahara Festival -- Douz, Tunisia (through Jan. 2)

Kwanzaa, Day 2, Self-Determination

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day -- internet generated, with Christmas over, you need to do winter decorations

Modern Medicine Day -- birth of Louis Pasteur

National Fruitcake Day -- unless, of course, you are like me and have spent your last several days with fruitcake relatives, at which point you get a day off from fruitcakes! ;D

St. Fabiola's Day

St. John the Divine's Day (Patron of Turkey; writers; against poison)

St. Stephen's Day -- Eastern Orthodox, a public holiday in Romania

Third Day of Christmas

Unfairies' Gathering -- Fairy Calendar

Visit the Zoo Day -- don't know who put this one in the middle of winter, but there it is

Watch the Children Day -- internet generated, a day to take a page from the book of the young and remember how to play like a child

Birthdays Today:

Heather O'Rourke, 1975
Bill Goldberg, 1966
Gerard Depardieu, 1948
Cokie Roberts, 1943
John Amos, 1939
Oscar Levant, 1906
Marlene Dietrich, 1901
Sydney Greenstreet, 1879
Louis Pasteur, 1822
Johannes Kepler, 1571

Today in History:

The Hagia Sofia of Constantinople is completed, 537
The Spanish Crown issues the Laws of Burgos, governing the conduct of settlers with regards to native Indians in the New World, 1512
The first public railroad using steam locomotive completed in England, 1825
Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, 1831
Worst English avalanche kills 8 of 15 buried in Lewes Sussex, 1836
Ether is first used in childbirth in US, in Jefferson, Ga., 1845
The world's first cat show is held at the Crystal Palace, London, 1871
Carrie Nation's first public smashing of a bar, at the Carey Hotel, Wichita, Kansas, 1900
Unsuccessful attempt on prince-regent Hirohito of Japan, 1923
Stalin's faction wins All-Union Congress in USSR, Trotsky is expelled, 1927
Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City, 1932
The Shah of Persia declares Persia is now Iran, 1934
The World Bank was created with the signing of an agreement by 28 nations, 1945
Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon, 1968
The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States, 2001
Radiation from an explosion on the magnetar SGR 1806-20 reaches Earth. It is the brightest extrasolar event known to have been witnessed on the planet, 2004
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, 2007

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hazard of the House

"Mom, where are Kida's asthma pills? She's wheezing horribly," Bigger Girl said with concern as she walked into the kitchen from the library.

In my bedroom, because your dad usually gives her one at night right before bed.

"Oh, okay, I'll go get them."

Two minutes later, i asked if she had gotten the pill into our sometimes cranky Siamese.

"No, I didn't even try. I thought it was her asthma, but it was Alan's snoring! He's sleeping in the library now!"

Hazard of the House -- you never know which kid, whether one of our own or stray we've picked up, is sleeping in some odd corner or other.

Today is:

Awful Tie Day -- internet generated, go to the office and compare who got the worst tie as a gift

Blessing of the Wine -- Luxembourg

Boxing Day -- day on which boxes of goodies are given to the less fortunate or public servants, and sometimes servants and masters traded places for the day

Coffee Percolator Day -- invented by James Mason on this day in 1865

Day of Goodwill -- Namibia; South Africa

Day of Our Theotokos / Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God -- Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox Christian

Day of the Wren -- Ireland; Isle of Mann (Celebration of St. Stephen)

Family Day -- Namibia; Vanuatu

Feast of Neith -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Haloa -- Ancient Greek Calendar (Festival of Demeter and Dionysus; date approximate)

Independence and Unity Day -- Slovenia

Junkanoo (Junkanoo Jonkanoo, Jankunu, John Canoe or Johnkankus) -- Carribean Islands, also on New Years Day (A special music and dance, mime and symbol that is an early traditional dance form of African descent.)

Kwanzaa, Day 1, Unity

Mauro Hamza Day -- Houston, TX, US

Mummer's Day -- Padstow, Cornwall

National Candy Cane Day

National Thank-you Note Day

National Whiner's Day -- a day to encourage people to be happy with what they have; the previous year's worst whiners are announced (you don't want to be one!)

Recyclable Packaging Day -- started by someone who wants to remind us to gather up the reusable bags, boxes, etc., left from the holiday, and recycle the rest

Second Day of Christmas

Sports Days -- Falkland Islands (through the 28th, with the Boxing Day race at Stanley being the most famous part of the celebration)

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

St. Stephan's Day (Patron of stonecutters, bricklayers, builders, horses)
Public Holiday in Alsace, Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, Czech Republic; Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, and Slovakia
Celebrated as Father's Day -- Bulgaria

Tehuantepec Festivities -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Thanksgiving -- Solomon Islands

Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) - Zoroastrian

Birthdays Today:

Jared Leto, 1971
Lars Ulrich, 1963
David Sedaris, 1956
Ozzie Smith, 1954
Carlton Fisk, 1947
John Walsh, 1945
Phil Spector, 1940
Alan King, 1927
Steve Allen, 1921
Richard Widmark, 1914
Mao Tse-tung, 1893
Henry Miller, 1891
Charles Babbage, 1791
Thomas Gray, 1716

Today in History:

Columbus founds the first Spanish settlement in the New World by leaving behind 36 men in what is now Haiti, 1492
The final trial of Louis XVI of France begins, 1792
A theater fire in Richmond, Virginia kills the Governor of Virginia George William Smith and the president of the First National Bank of Virginia Abraham B. Venable, 1811
The Erie Canal opens, 1825
Gilbert and Sullivan collaborate for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis. It does modestly well, but the two would not collaborate again for four years, 1871
King Mwanga of Uganda signs a contract with the East Africa Company, 1890
Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium, 1898
FM radio is patented, 1933
Time Magazine's Man of the Year is for the first time a non-human, the personal computer, 1982
The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the USSR, 1991
A 9.3 magnitude earthquake creates a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing over 250,000 people, 2004

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

May you have good food, great time with family, and find as many presents under the tree as are good for you.

Today is:

A'phabet Day (a/k/a No "L" Day!)

Birth of Horus, Child of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Blessed are the Peacemaker's Day -- a day to pray and work for peace on Earth

Carol Day -- internet generated, listed as different dates, but this is the last day this year you should have to listen to Christmas songs, so enjoy

Children's Day -- Cameroon; Chad; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo DR; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Uruguay

Christmas Day/Feast of the Nativity -- Christian/Orthodox Christian

Constitution Day -- Taiwan

Dies Natalis Invicti Solis -- Ancient Roman Calendar (birthday of the invincible sun god)

Family Day -- Angola; Mozambique; Sao Tome & Principe

Kayin New Year -- Myanmar

Malkh-Festival -- Nakh peoples of Chechenya and Ingushetia

National Pumpkin Pie Day

Quaid-e-Azam's Day -- Pakistan (birthday of the founder of Pakistan)

St. Anastasia of Sirmium's Day (Patron of martyrs, weavers, and widows)

St. Eugenia's Day

Birthdays Today

Dido, 1971
Rickey Henderson, 1958
Shane MacGowan, 1957
Annie Lennox, 1954
Ron Foos, 1949
Sissy Spacek, 1949
Barbara Mandrell, 1948
Jimmy Buffett, 1946
Gary Sandy, 1945
Carlos Castaneda, 1925
Rod Serling, 1924
Anwar Sadat, 1918
Quentin Crisp, 1908
Cab Calloway, 1907
Humphrey Bogart, 1899
Robert Ripley, 1893
Conrad Hilton, 1887
Clara Barton, 1821
Isaac Newton, 1642
Traditional Birthday of Mithras
Traditional Birthday of Sol

Today in History:

The first Christmas, according to calendar maker Dionysus Exiguus, 1
The earliest possible date that Christmas was celebrated on the 25th, 337
The first definite date that Christmas was celebrated on the 25th, 352
Coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome, 800
William I, Conqueror, crowned king of England, 1066
Boudouin I of Boulogne crowned king of Jerusalem, 1100
Count Roger II of Sicily is crowned the first King of Sicily, 1130
St Francis of Assisi assembles the first Nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, 1223
The city of Natal, Brazil is founded., 1599
Gov William Bradford of Plymouth forbids game playing on Christmas, 1621
The Massachusetts General Court ordered a fine of five shillings for "observing any such day as Christmas", 1651
The first performance of "Silent Night" takes place in the church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria, 1818
Louisiana & Arkansas are the first US states to observe Christmas as holiday, 1831
Despite bitter opposition, Pres Andrew Johnson grants unconditional pardon to all persons involved in Southern rebellion (a/k/a the Civil War, or, tongue planted firmly in cheek, that recent unpleasantness between the States), 1868
The legendary/unofficial "Christmas Truce" takes place between the British & Germans, 1914
Emperor Taisho of Japan dies; his son, Prince Hirohito succeeds him as Emperor Showa, 1926
Montgomery Ward introduces Rudolph the 9th reindeer, 1939
The first in Europe artificial, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated within Soviet nuclear reactor F-1, 1946
The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students, 1950
Apollo 8 performs the very first successful Trans Earth Injection (TEI) maneouver, sending the crew and spacecraft on a trajectory back to Earth from Lunar orbit, 1968
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory Australia, 1974
Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin meets in Egypt with President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, 1977
The first successful trial run of the system which would become the World Wide Web, 1990
Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day), 1991
Cassini orbiter releases Huygens probe which would later successfully land on Saturn's moon Titan, 2004

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"An Historic Gastronomic Event"

That is the name of a chapter in one of my favorite books from my childhood, Professor Diggins' Dragons by Felice Holman.

Well, we didn't have a clam bake at the beach like in the story, but i think i witnessed what i would consider an historic gastronomic event in my kitchen.

#2 Son breezed in about an hour after dinner and decided he was going to make pancakes for himself. No recipe, he just grabbed the flour, sugar, an egg, the milk, and some strawberry jam. Within 5 minutes he was flipping flapjacks on the stove, butter disappearing like magic, making the house smell wonderful as it mixed with the leftover smell of the roast chicken we had for dinner.

Within 15 minutes of the start, he dropped the skillet into hot water and ran off with his treasure on a plate. No fork though. In five minutes more he was back with an empty plate. Each pancake, and he had made half a dozen, had been eaten in one big bite, no utensils needed.

He ran back through the kitchen to drop off the plate, and left behind nothing but the one plate in the sink where i was washing up from dinner anyway, and drops of batter smeared around the counters in a couple of places.

Teen boys. Gotta love 'em.

Today is:

Adam & Eve Day -- Catholic Christian (Adam, Patron of gardeners and tailors; Eve, Patron of tailors)

Aofangadagskvold -- Iceland (arrival of the 13th and final Yule Lad)

Bonfires on the Levee -- Louisiana, US (began among the Cajuns, now a big celebration for everyone, lighting the way for Papa Noel)

Calendas -- Oaxaca, Mexico

Celtic Tree Month Beth (Birch) commences

Christmas Eve

Declaration of Christmas Peace -- Old Great Square of Turku, Finland's official Christmas City

Feast of the Seven Fishes (La Vigilia) -- Italy (traditional serving of seven kinds of seafood at dinner)

Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols -- King's College Chapel, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England (special Christmas Eve performance by the Choir of King's College held since 1918)

Independence Day -- Libya

Kolada -- Slavic Pagan Calendar (various celebrations of the gods until Dec. 31)

Last Minute Shoppers Day

Mistletoe Time -- traditional day on which to hang the mistletoe

Modresnach -- Germanic/Scandinavian/Anglo-Saxon Odinist festival celebrating midwinter and motherhood (date approximate)

National Egg Nog Day

Noche Buena -- Spain and Spanish speaking countries

Remember to Read the Instructions First Night -- when assembling the kids' toys, of course

Silent Night, Holy Night Celebrations -- Austria (in honor of the hymn's composition in 1818)

St. Trasilla's Day (Patron of single laywomen)

Tolling the Devil's Knell -- All Saints Parish Church, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England (the church bell tolls once for each year since the birth of Christ, signaling when the Devil's demise was heralded)

T'owd 'oss -- Richmond, North Yorkshire, England (A tradition of dressing in hunting clothes and blowing the hunting horns on Christmas Eve.)

Utter Day -- Fairy Calendar (Every word uttered by the fairy folk becomes a physical object he/she must wear for the rest of the day.)

Zerowork Season begins -- seriously, unless you work in retail, how much work really gets done between now and New Year's Eve at your office?

Birthdays Today:

Ryan Seacrest, 1974
Stephanie Meyer, 1973
Ricky Martin, 1971
Mary Higgins Clark, 1929
Ava Gardner, 1922
Howard Hughes, 1905
Johnny Gruelle, 1880
James Prescott Joule, 1818
Kit Carson, 1809

Today in History:

The Byzantine church Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is dedicated for the second time after being destroyed by earthquakes, 563
Thomas Wolsey is appointed English Lord Chancellor, 1515
Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is "discovered" by James Cook, 1777
"Silent Night" is composed by Franz Joseph Gruber; it is first sung the next day, 1818
The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning, 1826
Fire devastates the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys 35,000 volumes, 1851
Henry Ford completes his first useful gas motor, 1893
Irving Fisher patents an archiving system with index cards, 1912
The first radio transmission of NCRV in Netherlands, 1924
NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition, 1955
Shooting begins on "The Cage" the pilot for the Star Trek series, 1964
The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so, 1968
Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Australia, 1974
The first European Ariane rocket is launched, 1979
The Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station, 2003

Friday, December 23, 2011

Finding His Tone

Sweetie is a gear head.

For those to whom those words have no meaning, it is a term for a very specific type of musician.

A type that will spend any amount of time or money searching for music gear that produces his/her preferred tone.

The quest for tone is what drives a gear head to do things like spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars and copious quantities of time on the best gear the world has to offer.

Well, after all of these years, putting his collection together little bit by little bit, Sweetie finally found his tone.

Both his 1963 and 1992 Vox AC 30s have just the right valves (tubes), and both of his Rickenbackers have the right pick-ups, whatever all of that means.

He came out of his cave, after a friend helped him restore the guitars, with his eyes rolling around in his head, glowing about the sounds he had been producing from there all afternoon. In fact, he was still at it into late in the night.

Seems he can now play with the exact same jangle and chime that made the Beatles so famous. It's the tone he has been seeking since 1963.

It's going to be a long week off work for him, and for me.

He plays well, has even done paid gigs, but i get the feeling i'm going to need earplugs before it's all over.

At least, now, he's done searching.

Today is:

Birthday of Queen Silvia, an official flag day -- Sweden

Children's Day -- South Sudan; Sudan

Day of Acca Larentia -- Ancient Rome, Republic and Empire (earth goddess and protectress who raised Romulus and Remus)

Festivus -- For the Rest of Us! (The holiday introduced on the episode of Seinfeld that aired 12/18/97; have some meatloaf, decorate with an unadorned aluminum pole, have a "Feats of Strength" contest and an "Airing of Grievances"!)

Mouse-Marketing Day -- Fairy Calendar

National Pfefferneusse Day -- don't forget the Puderzucker!

Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) -- Oaxaca, Mexico (part of the lead up to Christmas, bring out your best carved radish!)

Popcorn Popping Day -- so you can string it on the tree, of course

Porlaksmessa, Feast of St. Thorlaker/Thorlac -- Iceland (patron saint, though never officially recognized by the Holy See)

Roots Day -- as you gather with family during the season, don't forget to sit with elder relatives and learn about your family's past

Secret of the Unhewn Stone -- Celtic Calendar (Only day on their calendar not governed by a tree month)

St. John of Kanti's Day (Patron of Lithuania, Poland)

St. Servulus' Day (Patron of the disabled/physically challenged; against paralysis)

Tenno Tanjobi -- Japan (Birthday of Emperor Akihito, national holiday observed as a day of rest.)

Two Days To Go Day

Victory Day -- Egypt (a/k/a Suez Victory Day)

Ziemassvetki -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (birth of Dievs, highest of the gods; date approximate, but soon after Solstice)

Birthdays Today:

Corey Haim, 1971
Carla Bruni, 1967
Eddie Vedder, 1964
Susan Lucci, 1946
Harry Shearer, 1943
Jose Greco, 1918
Madame C.J. Walker, 1867
Connie Mack, 1862

Today in History:

Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed the city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist, 962
St Philip of Moscow martyred by Ivan the Terrible, 1569
Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn, 1672
John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it's undiscovered, 1690
The Continental Congress negotiates a war loan of $181,500 from France, 1776
Benedict Arnold court-martialed for improper conduct, 1779
"A Visit from St Nicholas" by C. Clement Moore is published in the Troy (NY) Sentinel (Now usually titled " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas"), 1823
The opera Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck is first performed, 1893
The first all-steel passenger railroad coach completed, in Altoona, Pa, 1907
The first hospital ship built to move wounded naval personnel is launched, 1919
Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace, 1919
Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa, 1938
The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories, 1947
Dedication of Tokyo Tower, the world's highest self-supporting iron tower, 1958
The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City is topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world, 1970
A 6.5 magnitude earthquake strikes the Nicaraguan capital of Managua killing more than 10,000, 1972
The 16 survivors of the Andes flight disaster are rescued after 73 days, having survived by cannibalism, 1972
Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling, 1986
In a referendum, 88% of Slovenia's population vote for independence from Yugoslavia, 1990
An 8.1 magnitude earthquake hits Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean, 2004

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Questions Not to Ask

Do not ask why there is fishing line on the bookshelf. You might get an answer, such as, that it beats leaving it on the back of the toilet where the cat might knock it off.

Do not ask why the cleaning up of #1 Son's room (he got bitten by his once-every-6-months-cleaning-bug) resulted in a doubling of the number of plates in the cabinet, and made bowls, of which we only had one left, suddenly appear.

Do not ask why Sweetie bought himself 12 new pair of socks this summer, and now only has 3 left, but there is a proliferation of a family of sock puppets living on top of the piano.

Do not ask how much to cook for dinner around here. Just cook, then count noses and hope you have enough plates, or they will have to eat in shifts.

Do not ask why we are having homemade soups 3 nights a week right now, just eat. And while you're not asking that, don't ask where the leftovers went, either.

Finally, do not ask about my sanity. It got lost a long time ago, somewhere with my marbles and my ability to speak without having to interrupt myself to tell someone to cut it out (whatever "it" happens to be at that moment).

Today is:

Anne and Samantha Day -- celebrating the lives of Anne Frank and Samantha Smith, a day to work and pray for world peace

Beetle Banquet and Badger Ball -- Fairy Calendar

Chipmunks Day -- the day, in 1958, when Alvin, Simon, and Theodore hit #1 with "The Chipmunk Song"

Dongzhi Festival -- East Asia (solstice festival)

First Day of Winter / Winter Solstice / Solar New Year (Shortest daylight hours of the year)

Hopi and Zuni Soyala New Year Festival -- Hopi and Zuni Native Americans (through Jan. 10; a time of purification and renewal)

Mother's Day -- Indonesia

National Date Nut Bread Day

National Haiku Poetry Day -- US

National Unity Day -- Zimbabwe

Sanghamitta Day -- Neopagan

Santa Claus Flight Clearance Day -- US FAA (they make sure he's cleared to fly, with his de-icing system, Terrain Avoidance Warning System for low-altitude flight, and special seat belt extension in good working order)

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini's Day (Mother Cabrini, Patron saint of immigrants)

Unity Day -- Zimbabwe

Yalda continues -- Iran

Yule/Jul/Jol Festivals begin -- various calendars, religions, countries and observances, both ancient and modern
Yule -- Wicca/Pagan, northern hemisphere
Litha -- Wicca/Pagan, southern hemisphere

Ziemassyetki -- Ancient Latvian Calendar

Birthdays Today:

Jordin Sparks, 1989
Maurice Gibb, 1949
Robin Gibb, 1949
Steve Garvey, 1948
Diane Sawyer, 1945
Joe Pyne, 1925
Barbara Billingsley, 1922
Gene Rayburn, 1917
Lady Bird Johnson, 1912
Giacomo Puccini, 1858

Today in History:

A serious earthquake strikes Innsbruck, 1689
The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian armies, 1790
The first freight train is operated in Roorkee, India, 1851
Jules Janssen flies in a balloon in order to study a solar eclipse, 1870
The first string of Christmas tree lights is created by Thomas Edison, 1882
Ito Hirobumi, a samurai, becomes the first Prime Minister of Japan, 1885
French officer Alfred Dreyfus court-martialed for treason, triggers worldwide charges of anti-Semitism (Dreyfus later vindicated), 1894
Colo is born, the first gorilla to be bred in captivity, 1956
Berlin's Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany, 1989
Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63, 2001

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Four Down

One to go.

Mikey and Datsig are both going to be adopted by #1 Son. He will take them as his cats when he moves out next year. He has already marked them, literally. He painted Mikey's head with pink non toxic paint. Poor cat didn't even realize it.

Akira found a home this past weekend. Nice couple looking to adopt a lap cat. She is that.

Alise went to her new home yesterday; i was sent a text with a pic of her in the arms of a very excited 6-year-old boy. She will do great there.

That just leaves Lucy to find a home for. We are hoping this weekend, but it shouldn't be long. She's small and cute and loving.

Meanwhile, we should have a break from the bottle feeding until spring. Cross fingers.

Today is:

Alban Arthuan -- Druid Festival, 4th Station; through the solstice

Crossword Puzzle Day

Divalia -- Roman Empire (part of Saturnalia; feast of Angerona, goddess of secret sorrows)

Feast of Winter Solstice begins -- China

Festival of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Flashlight Day -- what better day, when dark is with us longest, to make sure you have one in good working order

Forefathers' Day -- Plymouth, MA, US (celebrates the landing of the Pilgrims)

Hanukkah -- Jewish (through the 28th)

Homeless Persons' Memorial Day -- US

Humbug Day -- those frustrated with their holiday preparations are allowed up to 12 humbugs today, just to help vent their frustrations

Look At the Bright Side Day -- and why not; after all, each day after this will have more sun!

Mumping Day a/k/a Gooding Day -- UK (traditional day on which beggars beg for, or "mump", good things for Christmas, always on old St. Thomas' Day)

National Hamburger Day

Pancha Ganapati -- India (Through the 25th, Hindu honoring of Lord Ganesha.)

Phileas Fogg Wins A Wager Day

Soviet Dissolution Day

St. Peter Canisius' Day (Patron of Germany)

St. Thomas' Day, the Doubting Thomas (old date, now celebrated on June 3, but many of the superstitions related to it are still observed at this time)

Winter Solstice Eve

Yalda -- Iran (Persian/Zoroastrian winter solstice festival; to celebrate the longest night of the year, many stay up for the fight against dark and evil.)

Ylir Month begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (the name means "whiner" and refers to the whining of the Northern winds, which pick up this month)

Birthdays Today:

Jack Noseworthy, 1969
Kiefer Sutherland, 1966
Andy Dick, 1965
Florence Griffith Joyner, 1959
Ray Romano, 1957
Jane Kaczmarek, 1955
Chris Evert, 1954
Samuel L. Jackson, 1948
Frank Zappa, 1940
Jane Fonda, 1937
Phil Donahue, 1935
Joe Paterno, 1926
Paul Winchell, 1922
Joseph Stalin, 1879

Today in History:

A hurricane hits Holland/Friesland, destroying villages with widespread flooding, 1163
The Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche Native Americans, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile; all Spanish cities south of the Biobio river are eventually taken by the Mapuches, and all conquest of Mapuche territories by Europeans practically ceases, until the 1870s "Pacification of Araucania", 1598
William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620
Hue Tay Son becomes emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam, 1788
The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement, 1844
The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army are formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1883
The first Word-Cross puzzle, which the printer mislabeled as a Cross-Word (the name that stuck), is published in the New York World, 1913
The first feature length color and sound cartoon, Disney's Snow White, premiers, 1937
Rondane National Park is established as Norway's first national park, 1962
Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew performs the first ever manned Trans Lunar Injection and become the first humans to leave Earth's gravity, 1968
The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1969
Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts gases and ash, 1994
The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control, 1995

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My clever girls -- all four of them now -- decided to figure out a way to decorate this cat infested (and i mean that lovingly) place.

We don't do traditional stuff, it would get knocked over, batted around, and then chewed by the Hazelnut.

So my artists are making homemade decorations and plan to spend Christmas Eve hanging them from the ceiling with fishing line.

We will then observe the old tradition and, since it was put up on Christmas Eve, leave it all until Epiphany (January 6, a/k/a Little Christmas).

Just don't be surprised to find me on a stepladder all by my lonesome, all 5'0" of me, trying to get it all down later, when they lose interest in that part.

Well, it will be worth it, they are having so much fun.

Today is:

50 Ways To Leave Your Lover Day -- marking the debut of the song, think of 50 ways to stay with the one you love, and do one!

BPT Remembrance Day -- try to remember what breakfast was like BPT (Before Pop-Tarts)

Dot Your I's With Smileys Day -- a great internet generated idea, if you are a 9-year-old girl

Fete des Cafres -- Reunion (commemorates freeing of the slaves)

Go Caroling Day -- if you have the voice for it, enjoy

International Human Solidarity Day -- UN

Louisiana Purchase Day -- US

Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day -- Macau

Mudd Day -- for Samuel Mudd, the doctor who accidentally treated a disguised John Wilkes Boothe after he assassinated Lincoln; don't hang your head in shame if your name is Mudd! Today is your day.

National Fried Shrimp Day

National Sangria Day (If you still aren't ready for Christmas, you might need it.)

Snowflake-Riding Championships -- Fairy Calendar (no Goblins allowed!)

St. Dominic of Silos' Day (Patron of captives, pregnant women, prisoners, and shepherds; against hydrophobia, insects, mad dogs, and rabies)

Try to Remember Where You Hid The Christmas Gifts Day -- it's getting close, and you don't want to have to go out at the last minute and buy more

Birthdays Today:

David Cook, 1982
Billy Bragg, 1957
Uri Geller, 1946
Peter Criss, 1945
George Roy Hill, 1922
Irene Dunne, 1898
Harvey Firestone, 1868

Today in History:

Vespasian enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor, 69
Richard the Lionheart is captured in Vienna, 1192
Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta, 1522
Peter the Great orders the Russian New Year changed from Sept 1 to Jan 1, 1699
The Louisiana Purchase is formally transferred from France to US for $27M, 1803
The international cantilever railway bridge opens at Niagara Falls, 1883
North America's longest railway, at 50,000km, the Canadian National Railways, is established, 1919
The first international dogsled mail leaves Minot, Maine for Montreal, Quebec, 1928
The cathode-ray tube is patented by Russian immigrant Vladimir Zworykin, 1938
Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom, 1955
Djibouti and Vietnam join the United Nations, 1977
NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X, 1996
US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of "intelligent design" in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 2005
Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days, 2007

Monday, December 19, 2011

Luminaria Night

Once again our neighborhood got into the spirit of the season and hosted the Civic Association Luminaria Display.

People are encouraged to light luminaria (paper bags with sand and a votive candle inside) on the lawns lining the sidewalks through the neighborhood and go see each others Christmas lights. The Association sells sets of bags and sand, and provides cookies and hot cocoa at different stops through the neighborhood.

They also award prizes for decorations; first, second and 3rd for light displays, a best wreath, and best door.

It's the one Sunday evening a year we all pile in the van, listen to Christmas music, and nobody argues. Even my now quite big kids act like little kids when we manage to intercept Santa (a local firefighter riding the engine, if they don't have any calls through the evening) and he gives them candy.

Season's Greetings, all. We had fun last night.

Today is:

Build a Snowman Day

Chocolate Pizza Day -- yes, really

E-Mail Santa Claus Just in Case He Didn't Get Your Letter Day --

I've Got My Big Fat Guy Pants On Day -- someone tired of tight clothes probably started this, a day to wear whatever you like, so long as it is comfortable -- and roomy

Look for an Evergreen Day -- although if you haven't bought your tree by now, you may have waited too long

National Hard Candy Day -- this time of year, it probably means candy canes

National Heroes and Heroines Day -- Anguilla

National Oatmeal Muffin Day

Opalia -- Roman Empire (feast of Ops, goddess of abundance; 3rd day of the Saturnalia)

Riddle-Making Trials -- Fairy Calendar

Robinson Crusoe Rescue Day

St. Bernard Valeara's Day (Patron of Teramo, Italy)

St. William of Fenoli's Day

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation

Birthdays Today:

Alyssa Milano, 1972
Tyson Beckford, 1971
Amy Locane, 1971
Criss Angel, 1967
Jessica Steen, 1965
Jennifer Beals, 1963
Robert Urich, 1946
Richard Leakey, 1944
Alvin Lee, 1944
Tim Reid, 1944
Al Kaline, 1934
Cicely Tyson, 1933
David Susskind, 1920
Ralph Richardson, 1902

Today in History:

Licinius abdicates his position as Roman Emperor, 324
The Seldjuken under Toghril Beg occupy Baghdad, 1055
The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States, 1606
Benjamin Franklin, under the name Richard Saunders begins publication of "Poor Richard's Almanack", 1732
Thomas Paine publishes his first "American Crisis" essay, in which he wrote that "These are the times that try men's souls," 1776
Chinese troops occupy the capital Thang Long Vietnam, 1788
The US state of Kentucky becomes the first to appropriate money for road building, 1795
The US state of Georgia becomes the first to pass a birth registration law, 1823
Allen Wilson of Connecticut patents a sewing machine that can sew a curved seam, 1854
Albert L. Jones patents corrugated cardboard, 1871
The first black US Catholic priest, Charles Uncles, is ordained in Baltimore, 1891
The first city ordinance requiring separate neighborhoods for blacks and whites is passed, in Baltimore, 1910
Robert Ripley begins his "Believe It Or Not" column in the NY Globe, 1918
The British Broadcasting Corp begins transmitting overseas, 1932
The US Earth satellite Atlas transmitted the first radio voice broadcast from space, 1958
The last manned lunar flight, Apollo 17, returns to earth, 1972
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, stating that the People's Republic of China, in 1997, would resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, is signed, 1984
Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, releases Andrei Sakharov and his wife from internal exile in Gorky, 1986
A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia, 2001

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another Ouch

For the second year in a row, Sweetie is the only person at his work who had to stand and watch them hand out bonus checks this year, and not get one.

He has gone in early, completed everything they've asked him to do and then some, and almost ruined his back several times over trying to lift and do things he isn't supposed to do according to his orthopedist.

He is beyond hurt, and i'm hurting for and with him.

It means no Christmas for us again this year, too. Just a small token for each kid, and no more.

Could be worse, i know. It doesn't feel like it right now, though.

Today is:

Bake Cookies Day -- the holiday for everyone!

Eponalia -- Roman Empire (feast of Epona, goddess of fertility and horses, mules, and donkeys; during the Saturnalia and the only Roman honoring of a Celtic deity)

Flake Appreciation Day -- snow or human, your choice!

International Migrants Day

National Day / Founder's Day -- Qatar

National Roast Suckling Pig Day

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad -- Oaxaca, Mexico (Our Lady of Solitude, Patron of the lonely, of Oaxaca, and of sailors who bring her pearls)

Republic Day -- Niger

St. Flannan's Day (Patron of Killaloe, Ireland)

Tulya's E'en -- Orkney Island (beginning of the Yule season when evil spirits roamed; date approximate, as we aren't sure if they equated Yule initially with Dec. 25 or the 22nd)

Wear a Plunger On Your Head Day -- observe this internet generated holiday at your own risk (and you will be one of the human flakes, i guess, that the rest of us appreciate)*

Anniversaries Today:

New Jersey becomes the 3rd US State, 1787

Birthdays Today:

Christina Aguilera, 1980
Katie Holmes, 1978
Earl "DMX" Simmons, 1970
Rob Van Dam, 1970
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, 1964
Brad Pitt, 1963
Leonard Maltin, 1950
Steven Spielberg, 1946
Keith Richards, 1943
Ossie Davis, 1917
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, 1917
Douglas Fraser, 1916
Betty Grable, 1916
Ty Cobb, 1886

Today in History:

Second Punic War: Battle of the Trebia - Hannibal's Carthaginian forces defeat those of the Roman Republic, BC218
Kublai Khan renames his empire "Yuan", officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of China, 1271
The Mayflower lands in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts with 102 Pilgrims on board, 1620
Abel Tasman becomes first European to land in New Zealand, 1642
Thomas Fleet publishes "Mother Goose's Melodies For Children", 1719
Empress Maria Theresa expels Jews from Prague, Bohemia & Moravia, 1774
The first celestial photograph (of the Moon) is made in US, by John Draper, NYC, 1839
William Bond obtains the first photograph of Moon through a telescope, 1849
Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Indian ruins of Mesa Verde, 1888
The Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Narrow-gauge (2 ft 6 in or 762 mm) Railway (now the Puffing Billy Railway) in Victoria, Australia is opened for traffic, 1900
The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is supposedly found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson, 1912
Japan joins the United Nations, 1956
Saturn's moon Epimetheus is discovered by Richard L. Walker, 1966
Dominica joins the United Nations, 1978
HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium, 1997
The first of a series of floods strikes Malaysia, 2006

*Unless this should have been Wear A Brand New, Never Before Used Plunger on Your Head Day, and was started by the plumbing supply industry

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Didn't Say It

But i thought it, and i wonder if that counts against me.

Miss Lizzie was coloring her hair again. She was trying to take some of the yellow out, as i guess she wants it blonde, but a different shade.

She managed, instead, to turn much of her hair blue.

Not wanting to put any more chemicals in it, she is leaving it that way for a few days.

Good thing she warned her aunt before she went to visit. The woman laughed for 5 minutes on the phone and thanked her for saying it, as she would have laughed longer if she had first known about it by seeing it in person.

When Little Girl asked me if we could go to the Family Mart Dollar Store, Miss Lizzie wanted to come along. Then, when we were getting in the car, she asked if i was upset about taking someone with blue hair to the store.

At that moment, i thought, of course not, you are just they type to shop there, like on that site that makes fun of shoppers at other similar chains. Yes, i was laughing inside as i thought this, shame on me.

Naturally, what i said aloud was that i didn't mind at all, and i didn't.

To quote Suzie Derkins talking to Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, "My diary is getting weirder and weirder."

Today is:

AKC/Eukanuba National Championships -- Orlando, FL, US (top dogs from around the world compete to see -- who really is top dog? through tomorrow)

Christmas Festival in Salvador -- Salvador, Brazil (begins around now, lasts until New Year's Day)

Clean Air Act Day -- US (passed this day 1963; celebrated by many Native Americans as a day to give thanks for the air we breathe)

Cookie Cutter Day

Daniel the Prophet's Day -- Catholic Church

Feast of the Fairy Godmothers -- Fairy Calendar

Kasuga Wakamiya Festival -- Nara, Japan (rarely performed traditional dances at a festival held every year since 1136)

National Day -- Bahrain; Bhutan

National Maple Syrup Day

O Sapientia -- Roman Catholic Church

Saturnalia begins (through Dec. 23) -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival for Saturn, the planter god)

Sow Day -- Orkney Islands, Scotland (ritual slaughter of a sow for the Yule feast)

St. Lazarus of Bethany's Day

Take a New Year's Resolution to Stop Smoking -- Tanyrss; 23rd annual; make the decision now to improve your life and health next year

Wright Brother's Day -- US

Birthdays Today:

Milla Jovovich, 1975
Duff Goldman, 1974
Mike Mills, 1958
Bill Pullman, 1953
Wes Studi, 1947
Eugene Levy, 1946
Chris Matthews, 1945
Bob Guccione, 1930
William Safire, 1929
Arthur Fiedler, 1894
John Greenleaf Whittier, 1807

Today in History:

The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison, 546
Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud's armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur, 1398
Pope Paul III excommunicates England's King Henry VIII, 1538
Go-Yozei becomes Emperor of Japan, 1586
Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu, 1637
Congregation Shearith Israel of NY purchases a lot on Mill Street in lower Manhattan, to build NY's first synagogue, 1728
France recognizes independence of English colonies in America, 1777
Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City, 1790
NYC traffic regulation creates first 1-way street, 1791
Opening of the first legislative assembly of Lower Canada in Quebec city, 1792
The US state of Kentucky abolishes debtors prisons, 1821
General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky, 1862
First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert, 1865
Violent riots in Montreal, as workers demand work or bread,1875
France declares Madagascar a protectorate, 1885
George Brownell patents a machine to make paper twine, 1895
A first prize of 100,00 francs offered for communications with extraterrestrials, but Martians are excluded - considered too easy, 1900
The Wright Brothers make their first successful flights, 1903
First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane, 1935
Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and dummy Charlie McCarthy first appear on TV, 1936
The SALT I talks begin, 1969
Fernando Collor de Mello defeats Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election, becoming the first democratically elected President in almost 30 years, 1989
SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight, 2003

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last Day!

Last day of school for the semester! Hooray!

No more fighting the even-worse-than-usual-Christmas-traffic twice a day!

What will i do with the two hours a day this frees up?

No, that isn't rhetorical, i know where it will go. End of the year preparing for tax paperwork, here i come.


Still, last day! Hooray!

Today is:

Akiba Taisai Hiwatari Shinji Festival -- Nagoya, Japan

Barbie and Barney Backlash Day -- if you need an explanation, you don't have kids

Beethoven Day -- celebrate the anniversary of his birth by listening to one of his fine works

Bijoy Dibosh -- Bangladesh (Victory Day)

Day of Reconciliation -- Afrikaners of South Africa

Day of the Republic -- Kazakhstan (Independence from the USSR)

Festival of Sophia / Sapientia -- Celtic Calendar (goddess of wisdom; date approximate)

Man Will Never Fly Memorial Society Annual Meeting

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

National Sports Day -- Thailand

Posadas Navidenas (Fiesta of the Virgin of the Lonely) -- Mexico (celebrated through the 25th, "pilgrims" go house to house seeking shelter to commemorate the search of Mary and Joseph for shelter in Bethlehem)

Reconciliation Day -- South Africa

Simbang Gabi -- Philippines (Christmas festivals that last until Three Kings Day.)

St. Adelaide's Day (Patron of abuse victims, brides, empresses, exiles, in-law problems, parenthood, parents of large families, princesses, prisoners, second marriages, step-parents, and widows)

Underdog Day -- the day to celebrate all the number two people who make the number ones what they are (as in Friday to Crusoe); day founded by by the late Peter Moeller, THE Chief Underdog

Victory Day -- Bangladesh; India

Birthdays Today:

Michael McCary, 1971
Benjamin Bratt, 1963
William "Refrigerator" Perry, 1962
Billy Gibbons, 1949
Benny Andersson, 1946
Steven Bochco, 1943
Lesley Stahl, 1941
Liv Ullmann, 1939
Arthur C. Clarke, 1917
Margaret Mead, 1901
Noel Coward, 1899
Wassily Kandinsky, 1866
George Santayana, 1863
Jane Austen, 1775
Ludwig von Beethoven, 1770
Catherine of Aragon, 1536

Today in History:

An Lushan revolts against Chancellor Yang Guozhong at Fanyang, initiating the An Shi Rebellion during the Tang Dynasty of China, 755
Mount Vesuvious, Italy erupts, destroys 6 villages & kills 4,000, 1631
Oliver Cromwell sworn in as English Lord Protector, 1653
The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan, 1707
A big tea party in Boston harbor -- Indians welcome -- is "celebrated" (Boston Tea Party), 1773
Fire burns over 600 buildings in NYC, 1835
In New Zealand, the Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph bring the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton, 1850
The Kingdom of Nepal accepts its constitution, 1862
Antonín Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, From The New World is given its world première performance at Carnegie Hall, 1893
The first submarine with an internal combustion engine is demonstrated, 1897
The "Great White Fleet" sails from Hampton Downs on its round the world tour, 1907
The first credit union in the US is formed, in Manchester, New Hampshire, 1908
The first US postage stamp picturing an airplane, a 20 cent parcel post, is issued, 1912
Albert Einstein publishes his "General Theory of Relativity", 1915
The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, rocks the Gansu province in China, killing an estimated 200,000, 1920
Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe attempt to escape from the American federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay; neither is ever seen again, 1937
Thailand joins the United Nations, 1945
William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain build the first practical point-contact transistor, 1947
Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first post-Depression era US city to default on its loans, owing $14,000,000 to local banks, 1978
An episode of Pokemon, "Denno Senshi Porygon", aired in Japan induces seizures in 685 Japanese children, 1997
George W. Bush signs the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law, 2003

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hazelnut's Friends

The Hazelnut has made friends with the lady who brings her 3 dogs to the park across the street every afternoon.

Gabrielle, the Golden Retriever, lets Hazelnut take her ball and jump on her, but reminds the little dear when enough is enough. A bit of a nip, and Hazelnut minds her manners. Gabrielle rules the roost.

Bert, a mixed breed about Labrador size, rolls and plays with Hazelnut, and they will both chase the same ball, taking turns bringing it back.

Then there is Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is part MinPin (Miniature Pinscher), part Miniature Dachshund, and all ego.

He goes after any and every dog he sees as if he is going to eat it alive. He is the only one of the three that has to be kept on a lead in the park.

Bred to dig truffles, he tears up turf in whatever spot he decides he likes for that day, and digs like a mad thing. He growls, and digs, then digs, then growls, then tears up more grass.

The other day i dropped Hazelnut's leash to let her run with Gabrielle and Bert. She played, but kept getting too close to Chuck Norris' chosen area for the day. He kept growling, barking, and lunging at her, which caught her attention.

She finally decided, since he was guarding it so closely, that there must be something really special about that hole. So she began creeping closer on purpose, which irritated Chuck Norris even more.

Finally i stepped on Hazelnut's leash and Miss D pulled Chuck Norris back, as it was time for them to leave.

It was so funny to watch Chuck Norris, lunging and pulling and trying to get back to go after Hazelnut. She, with me still standing on her leash, crept closer and closer to that hole as Chuck Norris moved further away, getting right up next to it before her leash wouldn't let her any further.

Then i picked up her leash and she leaped at the hole, digging and growling, while Chuck Norris barked and howled in protest.

Finally i was able to get Hazelnut to realize there was really nothing there, and we went home as well.

The feud over holes is not over, i am sure. Next time they meet, Chuck Norris is sure to remember that she moved in on his territory, and will probably try to do his ferocious, miniature best to eat Hazelnut alive.

It ought to be funny to watch.

Today is:

Alcyone -- Ancient Greek Calendar (kingfisher goddess celebration; date approximate, but during the Halcyon Days)

Bill of Rights Day -- US

Cat Herders Day -- for those whose job or life is like trying to herd cats; and good luck!

Centipede Boot-Making and Shoe-Repair Season begins -- Fairy Calendar

Consualia -- Roman Empiracal Calendar (Feast of Consus)

Coonskin Cap Day -- debut of "Davy Crocket" on TV's "Disneyland" in 1954 (and the original Davy Crockett hated the things, by the way)

Homecoming Day -- Alderney

Kasuga Wakamiya on-Matsuri -- Nara Prefecture, Japan (through the 18th)

Koninkrijksdag -- Netherlands, Netherland Antilles (Kingdom Day)

National Lemon Cupcake Day

Navidades begin -- Puerto Rico (traditional Christmas celebrations that last through Three Kings Day)

Setagaya no Bori Ichi -- Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (a two day flea market that dates back to 1578)

St. Nino's Day (Patron of Georgia)

Trivial Pursuit Day -- honoring Canadians Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, who created the game on this date in 1979

Zamenhof Day -- International Esperanto Community

Birthdays Today:

Nick Beggs, 1961
Don Johnson, 1949
Dave Clark, 1942
Tim Conway, 1933
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 1928
Jeff Chandler, 1918
Stan Kenton, 1911
J. Paul Getty, 1892
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel,1832

Today in History:

Byzantine general Belisarius defeats the Vandals, commanded by King Gelimer, at the Battle of Ticameron, 533
Hulagu Khan captures and destroys the Hashshashin stronghold at Alamut in present-day Iran as part of the Mongol offensive on Islamic southwest Asia, 1265
Bartholomeus Diaz returns to Portugal after sailing round Cape of Good Hope, 1488
The State of Holland grants patent on a windmill with crankshaft, 1593
The first US law school is established at University of Pennsylvania, 1791
The first Irish magazine in US, Shamrock, is published, 1810
The first street-cleaning machine in US is used in Philadelphia, 1854
The King of Hawaii becomes the first reigning king to visit the Us, and is received by President Grant, 1874
The London Underground's Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens, 1906
Bandleader, Major Glenn Miller, is lost over English Channel, 1944
Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, is launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida; four orbits later, it achieves the first space rendezvous, with Gemini 7, 1965
Samoa becomes a member of the United Nations, 1976
U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People's Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan, 1978
The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is shut down, 2000
The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean, 2001
Boeing's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington, 2009

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What is This? A Hotel?

Well, i asked, and i guess i got the answer.

Quite a while back, we took in #1 Son's friend for a while when he was having family trouble.

More recently, we took in Miss Lizzie and the Hazelnut.

Then i woke up to a cat i had never seen before in #2 Son's bedroom. Suzie is half feral and hates most people, including her owner, Sade. The only person the cat likes, interestingly, is #2 Son.

Sade has been a friend for many years, and has apparently had to suddenly leave her home. So along with the cat, we had apparently had a bit of an influx of furniture and another car in the drive.

So, area we a hotel? It seems so. Since i've offered to take in homeless waifs and their stuff, we seem to be the go to house.

That's okay, when dinner comes, count noses and grab plates -- if they aren't all under one of the boys' beds.

The Expanding Rubber House is going to be the name of the establishment.

Let's just hope it doesn't land me in a rubber room.

Do they still have those? Never mind, i don't want to find out.

Today is:

Akou Gishisai -- Ako, Japam (traditional dances and warrior parades)

Buy a Tree Day / Deck the Halls Day -- internet generated, and if you are going to decorate, why did you wait this long?

Christmas Bird Count begins -- sponsored by the National Audubon Society (through Jan. 5; since 1900, the longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations)

Halcyon Days begin -- a time of calm and tranquility (beginning seven days before the winter solstice, lasting until December 28, seven days after the solstice; named for an ancient fabled kingfisher bird [or halcyon], which hatches and raise her young during this time)

Monkey Day -- unofficial, by animal groups, to draw attention to the plights of simians

National Bouillabaisse Day

Play An Old Song That You Didn't Like To See If You Still Don't Like It Day -- internet generated, and don't bother, bad songs don't improve with age

South Pole Discovery Day -- thank you, Roald Amundsen

St. John of the Cross' Day (Patron of contemplative life, contemplatives, mystical theology, mystics, Spanish poets)

St. Spyridon's Day (Patron of Corfu, Greece, and potters)

Thorn Cutting Ceremony -- Glastonbury, Somerset, England (a sprig from the tree supposedly planted by Joseph of Arimathea is cut and sent to the Queen, to decorate her table on Christmas Day)

Anniversaries Today:

Princess Mary Stuart is crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542
Alabama becomes the 22nd US State, 1819

Birthdays Today:

Paul "Beakman" Zaloom, 1951
Patty Duke, 1946
Lee Remick, 1935
Charlie Rich, 1932
Don Hewitt, 1922
Shirley Jackson, 1919
Morey Amsterdam, 1914
Spike Jones, 1911

Today in History:

Osman ibn Affan is appointed the third kalief of Islam, 644
The Zuider Zee seawall collapses, 50,000 lives are lost in the floods that follow, 1287
The first artificial pearls, made of gypsum pellets covered with fish scales, are manufactured by M Jacquin in Paris, 1656
The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight, 1782
David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patents a machine that cuts nuts and bolts, 1798
The American Academy of Political and Social Science is organized in Philadelphia, 1889
The Commercial Pacific Cable Company lays the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii, 1902
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first to reach the South Pole, 1911
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Nepal, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sri Lanka join the United Nations, 1955
The United Republic of Tanzania joins the United Nations. 1961
NASA's Mariner 2 becomes the first spacecraft to fly by Venus, 1962
Kiribati, Nauru and Tonga join the United Nations, 1999
The Millau viaduct, the tallest bridge in the world, near Millau, France is officially opened, 2004

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


When cleaning the shelter the other day, i was reminded, again, why we do this.

Quite a while back, we had a resident of the shelter named Rory. He was a beautiful orange tom who was rescued from the mouth of a German shepherd that almost did the neutering for us.

Rory was in isolation and needed lots of medical care for a while, but recovered beautifully, and was adopted.

At the shelter, right now, is a photo Christmas card from his owner. The outside shows Rory wearing a Santa hat, and an expression that would make the LOLcats proud. Inside is a greeting from his owner, thanking the rescue again for bringing them together.

That's why i step over kittens that rip up my couches and mess on my floors, as well as why we clean the shelter once a week.

If you've ever adopted an animal from a shelter or rescue group, do them a favor and let them know how things are going. It gives everyone a boost.

Today is:

Acadian Remembrance Day -- Acadians

Acatl Day -- Ancient Aztec Calendar (Honoring of the sceptre of authority, a day for justice; date approximate)

Count the La's in "Deck the Halls" Day -- just so you can say you know

Festival of Tellus -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Fiesta de Santo Thomas -- Chichicastenango, Guatemala (week long festival celebrating the town's Patron Saint that includes the Palo Volador dance, where men hang by ropes from 30 meter poles, spinning and swinging)

Ice Cream and Violins Day -- another of those silly made up holidays that no one can trace, but would be fun to celebrate. Get yourself a bowl of buttered pecan or rum raisin -- if you are going to celebrate, do it in style -- and put in a Mozart or Bach CD, and enjoy!

Incwala Day -- Swaziland

Jum ir-Repubblika -- Malta (Republic Day)

Little Yule a/k/a Luciadagen -- Festival of Lights in many parts of Scandinavia, honoring St. Lucia.

Most Boring Celebrities of the Year Awards -- Boring Institute (date approximate, but always right around now)

National Cocoa Day

National Day -- Santa Lucia

New Calendar Day -- time to get the 2012 model, unless you contribute to so many charities you are already flooded with them

Peace Day -- Korea (day the fighting stopped in 1953)

Runic Half-month Jara commences (fruition)

St. Jodocus' Day (Patron of boatmen, harvests, mariners, sailors, watermen; against fever, fire, storms, and shipwrecks)

Saint Lucy's Day (Patron of writers, lights, people with eye trouble, glass workers, lamplighters; against dysentary, throat disease, blindness, hemorrhage)

Unreturned Library Book Sale -- Fairy Calendar (Imps)

Birthdays Today:

Taylor Swift, 1989
Amy Lee, 1981
Tom DeLonge, 1975
Christie Clark, 1973
Jamie Foxx, 1967
Ted Nugent, 1948
John Davidson, 1941
Aga Khan IV, 1936
Christopher Plummer, 1927
Dick Van Dyke, 1925
Archie Moore, 1913
Kenneth Patchen, 1911

Today in History:

The Council of Trent opens, 1545
Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England to circumnavigate the globe, 1577
Emperor Ferdinand II delegates the first Anti-Reformation decree, 1621
The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes 3 militias which are today seen as the founding of the United States National Guard, 1636
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman becomes the first European to land in New Zealand, 1642
Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is chartered, 1769
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is published, sells 6,000 copies, 1843
Italo Marcioni patents an ice cream cone, 1903
The Relay 1 communication satellite is launched, 1962
Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or "Moonwalk" of Apollo 17, 1972
The European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members from May 1, 2004, 2002
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured, 2003
The Baiji, or Chinese River Dolphin, is announced as extinct, 2006

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anyone who thinks the Almighty doesn't have a sense of humor...

...never taught Sunday School.

The lesson was easy enough -- the difficulty of obedience, as demonstrated by Jonah.

For any who may have forgotten or never knew, he was the prophet who didn't want to obey, ran away from the Lord, and got swallowed by a giant fish. (Yes, the word in the ancient story is fish, not whale.)

When he finally got spat back up on shore, he acted with disgruntled obedience, and got taught a lesson in mercy.

Anyway, the take home assignment for the kids was that each picked a Bible verse printed on a piece of paper, and the child must try to obey that verse for the whole week. Another paper, with space to write how they did, was sent home, too. That one is to be brought back next week to report how it went.

The verse distribution was hilarious.

I Chronicles 16:9, "
Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts," went to the two kids least likely to sing in the whole world. We've never heard a peep out of either of them at song time, and i've been teaching them for two years.

Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone," went to a brother and sister who, from what their mom says, do nothing but bug the tar out of each other at home.

James 1:26, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless," was the verse chosen by a child whose tongue is never tired. Walking stream of consciousness, that child, just like my Bigger Girl.

Then there was my favorite. Hebrews 13:17, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."

That one went to our ADHD poster child. Her response on hearing her verse was a loud, wailed, "Noooo!"

If you ever need a laugh, drop by a Sunday School. You will probably get one, or more.

Today is:

Bonza Bottler Day

Independence Day -- Kenya (Jamhuri)

Miracle of the Roses -- Catholic Christian; related celebrations
Fiesta del Virgin de Guadalupe -- Mexico
Las Mananitas -- Puerto Rico

National Ambrosia Day

National Ding-A-Ling Day -- a day on which to honor all the ding-a-lings you know, and even act like one yourself if you want

National Tree Planting Day -- Malawi

Neutrality Day and Student Youth Day -- Turkmenistan

Poinsettia Day

St. Cury's Day (Patron against blindness, deafness, demonic possession)

St. Finnian of Clonard's Day (Father of Irish Monasticism; going to bed without supper tonight means you risk being carried away by the fairies)

St. Lucy's Eve -- Austria (night of the shining that some use to predict the future)

Unmentionable Thoughts Festival -- Fairy Calendar (Imps, Goblins, and naughty Fairies)

Yuletide Lads begin arriving -- Iceland (Jolasveinar trolls, bring gifts and mischief from now until Christmas)

Anniversaries Today:

Pennsylvania becomes the 2nd US State, 1787

Birthdays Today:

Mayim Bialik, 1975
Rey Mysterio, Jr., 1974
Madchen Amick, 1970
Jennifer Connelly, 1970
Tracy Austin, 1962
Sheila E. 1957
Cathy Rigby, 1952
Emerson Fittipaldi, 1946
Dionne Warwick, 1941
Connie Francis, 1938
Bob Barker, 1923
Bob Dorough, 1923
Joe Williams, 1918
Frank Sinatra, 1915
Edward G. Robinson, 1893
Edvard Munch, 1863
Erasmus Darwin, 1731

Today in History:

The Battle at Ninevah: Byzantine emperor Heraclius defeats Perzen, 627
The Order of the Dragon is created by Sigismund, King of Hungary, and his wife Queen Barbara of Celje, following the battle for possession of Bosnia, 1408
Isabella crowns herself Queen of Castile and Aragon, 1474
Jews are expelled from Schlettstadt Alsace by Emperor Frederick III, 1479
In Vienna, Ludwig von Beethoven receives his first lesson in music composition from Franz Joseph Haydn, 1792
Mexico is officially recognized as an independent nation by the US, 1822
The first Canadian coins are circulated (1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent and 20 cent), 1858
Rudolph Dirks' first Katzenjammer cartoon strip appears in the NY Journal, 1897
Belo Horizonte, the first planned city of Brazil, is founded, 1897
George F Bryant of Boston patents the wooden golf tee, 1899
Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St John's, Newfoundland, 1901
Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India, 1911
Oscar Straus becomes US Secretary of Commerce, the first Jew to be a US Cabinet member, 1906
The first all metal aircraft, the Junkers J-1, is test flown in Dessau, Germany, 1915
In Nebraska, Father Edward J. Flanagan founds Boys Town as a farm village for wayward boys, 1917
The first prototype of a hovercraft is patented by British engineer Christopher Cockerell, 1955
Guinea joins the United Nations, 1958
The Russian Federation gains independence from the USSR, 1991

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Going Bananas

Anyone for Banana Bread?

#2 Son has been baking again.

Every night.

In the middle of the night.

Really, he starts around 11pm. He fixes himself something to eat, then often bakes banana bread.

He is only half hearted about cleaning it up, though, which i'm working on. If he leaves it for me, i either wake him much earlier than he wants so he can clean it, or he has to pay me.

Why does he start so late? Well, i'm not sure. They attend a private school that only meets in the afternoons, so maybe the fact that he can sleep in and still do homework and go to school, plus his own night owl tendencies, inherited from his father, have something to do with it.

Also having to do with baking it, though not the timing, is the fact that i buy the overripe bananas very cheap at the local Mom & Pop shop across the highway.

No matter the reason, it makes me wonder if he should become a short order cook on graveyard shift.

Meanwhile, if you like it with lots of nutmeg, we have Banana Bread.

Today is:

Aurora Borealis Day -- New England, US

Fourth Republic Day -- Madagascar

Human Rights and Peace Day -- Kiribati

International Mountain Day -- UN

National Day / Republic Day -- Burkina Faso

National Noodle Ring Day

Nose-Scrambling and Hair-Hiking Events -- Fairy Calendar

One of the four Agonalia, this day in honor of Sol Indiges; also the Septimontium festival -- Roman Empire

Pampanga Day -- Pampanga Province, the Philippines

Remembrance Day of Llywelyn II -- Wales

Septimontia -- Ancient Roman Empire (festival to honor the Seven Hills of Rome)

St. Damasus' Day (Patron of archaeologists)

St. Daniel the Stylite's Day

St. Gentian's Day

Tango Day -- Buenos Aires, Argentina (the birthday of Julio de Caro and Carlos Gardel)

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting -- in memory of children lost the previous year

Anniversaries Today:

Indiana becomes the 19th US State, 1816
Unicef Established, 1946

Birthdays Today:

Rider Strong, 1979
Jermaine Jackson, 1954
Teri Garr, 1949
Brenda Lee, 1944
John Kerry, 1943
Donna Mills, 1942
Rita Moreno, 1931
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1918
Carlo Ponti, 1913
Fiorello LaGuardia, 1882

Today in History:

Honoratus, the first known Prefect of the City of Constantinople, takes office, 359
Llywelyn the Last (born c. 1228) the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cimeri, 1282
The Aurora Borealis is seen from New England by English settlers for the first time, 1719
The first newspaper on Curacao is published, the Curacao Gazette & Commercial Advertiser, 1812
Nitrous oxide is used in dental work for the first time in Hartford, Connecticut, 1844
Boston's Bijou Theatre becomes the first American theater lit exclusively by electricity, premiering Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe" as its first performance, 1882
The New Zealand Parliament Buildings are almost completely destroyed by fire, 1907
Color moving pictures are demonstrated in Madison Square Garden, 1909
The Boll Weevil Monument is dedicated in Enterprise, Alabama, 1919
The British Parliament enacts the Statute of Westminster 1931, establishing legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa, 1931
Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, takes his last drink and enters treatment for the last time, 1934
Arthur Lucas, convicted of murder, is the last person to be executed in Canada, 1962
Apollo 17 becomes the sixth and last Apollo mission to land on the Moon, 1972
The Kyoto Protocol opens for signature, 1997
The People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization, 2001

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Two From My Loony Bin

"Mom, I have the gorilla tape," said #2 Son as he headed for the car.

Just make sure you tape the mirror from the back side, i told him. The tape can't be seen from the front.

"Why not?"

So i explained to him that, if they see the tape, the vehicle might not pass inspection in February. The mirror in question is not broken, but there is a small crack in one of the pins that holds it on from the back. The tape will make sure no more break and it stays put, but i don't want to take any chances, some inspectors are worse than others.

"Oh, don't worry about passing inspection," he snickered.

Why not?

"Well, see, i have this friend, and he can get you anything like that..."

Never mind!

"Hey, Mom!" Bigger Girl came running in just at that moment. "I need some stuff!"


"A gallon of sulfuric acid, some fireworks, a banana plantation, a zebra, and don't ask any questions!"

And we wonder why i lost my mind years ago.

Today is:

Chief Red Cloud Day -- marking the Sioux leader's death in 1909; defender of Native rights, son of Lone Man and Walks As She Thinks

Constitution Day -- Thailand

Day of the Horse -- California, US

Do Something Wild and Crazy with Velveeta Day -- guess they mean besides turn it into Hillbilly Hor d'oeuvres (melted with Rotel and served with chips)

Foire Aux Noix -- Bastogne, Belgium (Nuts Fair)

Full Cold Moon or Full Long Nights Moon

International Animal Rights Day

International Human Rights Day

International Shareware Day

Lux Mundi -- Ancient Roman Calendar (honoring Libertas as the bringer of light into the world)

National Lager Day

Nobeldagen -- Sweden (Alfred Nobel Day, presentation of the Nobel Prize)

Sister-Friend Day -- internet generated, but if you have a sister who is a good friend to you, it's worth celebrating

St. Eulalia's Day (Patron of Barcelona, childbirth, sailors, travelers, calm waters; against miscarriage)

Whirling Dervishes Festival -- Konya, Turkey (through the 17th)

Anniversaries Today:

Mississippi becomes the 20th US State, 1817

Birthdays Today:

Raven-Symone, 1985
Bobby Flay, 1964
Kenneth Branach, 1960
Susan Dey, 1952
Dan Blocker, 1928
Dorothy Lamour, 1914
Chet Huntley, 1911
Emily Dickinson, 1830

Today in History:

Martin Luther publicly burns the papal edict demanding that he recant, 1520
Isaac Newton's paper De Motu Corporum in Gyrum, containing the derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, is read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley, 1684
The Massachusetts Bay Colony becomes the first American Colonial government to borrow money, 1690
The metric system is formally established in France, 1799
The first traffic lights are installed outside the Palace of Westminster in London, 1868
Women's suffrage is granted in Wyoming Territory, the first in the US, 1869
Women are granted suffrage in Tasmania, 1902
The 10,000,000th Model T Ford is assembled, 1915
The Grand Ole Opry makes its radio debut, in Nashville, Tn, 1927
UN General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Ralph J Bunche becomes the first black to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, 1950
The United Nations General Assembly approves Pakistan's proposal for establishing nuclear free-zone in South Asia, 1981
The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland; the closure of the 156-year-old pit marks the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages, 1993