Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because April is National Humor Month...

And i'm starting a day early:

Never assume evil intent when stupidity is an equally plausible explanation for behavior." ~ Mark Rodgers

"G-d, grand me the senility to forget the people i never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the people i do, and the eyesight to tell the difference!"

"What would happen if 13 people showed up for a triskaidekaphobia meeting?" ~ Allison `Hardin

"A consultant is someone who knows 100 ways to make love, but doesn't know any women." ~ Loren Scott

Finally, a Cajun joke:

A baby crawfish and its mother were walking along a ditch when the baby crawfish who had gone ahead, comes running back down the ditch. The mother followed and asked, "What is the matter?" The baby crawfish answers, "Look that big thing right there." The mother says "Don't worry about that; it is just a cow." So they keep walking. Then the baby crawfish comes running down again. The mother asked again, "What is the matter?" The baby says look at that thing right there. The mother says "That is just a dog; it will not hurt you," so they kept walking. Then suddenly the mother goes running by the baby crawfish. The baby crawfish asked its mother what's wrong, and the mother said, "Run! That's a Cajun and they eat anything!

Today is:

Bunsen Burner Day

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

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

Jum il-Helsien (Freedom Day) -- Malta

King Nangklao Memorial Day -- Thailand

Luna -- Ancient Roman Calendar (moon festival)

National Clams on the Half Shell Day

National "She's Funny That Way" Day

Sacred Drama Day -- Ancient Babylonian Calendar

St. Balbinus' Day

Thomas Mundy Peterson Day -- New Jersey, US

Transfer Day -- US Virgin Islands

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weird, Weirder, Weirdest

It was a strange day, and it kept getting stranger.

First thing, i went to a local mom and pop grocery store where i like to get some things that the big box store either doesn't have or doesn't have what i like. The people who work there are friends, and they have complimentary coffee.

As i passed Miss Grace's line, i overheard her conversation with another regular customer, an elderly gentleman who had written a check.

"Mr. Mack, the machine wants you to scan your driver's license."

"It wants what?"

"Your driver's license, Mr. Mack."

Mr. Mack proceeded to open his wallet and search through it.

"Oh, well, i'm not sure i have one of those."

"Mr. Mack, you have to have a driver's license. That's not it, that's your old work ID card."

"Well, i've been driving over 40 years, and i don't think i have one of those. Here, is this it?"

"No, that's your medical insurance card."

At that point i just kept going past, shaking my head in amazement. Speaking to Ms. Eve later, she said Mr. Mack is going to be moving in with his son soon, and the son might not know he is still driving.

The day got a bit stranger later.

At co-op, where the kids loved the calzones as predicted, the teacher of the younger classes, Kay, put a plastic cutting board on the back of the stove to get it out of the way during her class. She proceeded to turn on what she thought was a front burner.

Smell of burning plastic, and a bit of panic as we realize what she has done. The cutting board was ruined, of course, and it took a lot of warming up the burner a bit, removing it from the stove and scraping away plastic, over and over, to get it all off.

It was odd for her to make such a mistake.

Then, weird occurrence number three. There was a storm moving through the area, the kind that they warn you could have hail, tornadoes, and lots of lightning. That in itself isn't strange. Nor is it strange that such a storm would cause an accident on the interstate that has us crawling as i tried to bring the kids home.

The strange and weird thing was how the accident played out. One mini van, the front driver's side totally ruined, was on the right side of the road, totally by itself. The male driver was standing and looking at it with a bit of a bemused expression on his face.

Almost a quarter of a mile later, on the other side of a culvert, the other mini van, it's passenger rear crushed and all the windows in the back missing, was on the right side of the road but facing in the direction of oncoming traffic. The mom, with a toddler on her hip, was standing and staring at it, probably wondering why this had to happen.

Oddest accident i've ever seen, and i have no idea how they managed it, or who was at fault.

One strange day.

We still haven't figured out

Today is:

Doctors Day -- US

Fairies of the First Wand Reunion Dinner -- Fairy Calendar

Festival of Janus and Concordia -- Ancient Roman Calendar

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

Grass Is Always Browner On The Other Side Of The Fence Day -- remember how good you have it

I am in Control Day (Famous last words!)

Land Day commemoration -- Palestinian remembrance

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

National Badminton Day

National Hot Dog Day

Pencil Day

Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Liberation Day -- Trinidad and Tobago

Take a Walk in the Park Day

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Kids love pizza. So what's the next best thing? Calzone.

We will make our own pizza sauce with thinned tomato paste, a bit of honey and Parmesan, garlic and some spices.

There will be string cheese strung out all over inside after they bake, and spicy sausages nestled up next to it.

The outside will be simple biscuits, but it's the inside that makes it special.

Somehow i have the feeling no one is going to complain about cooking class today.

Today is:

Alchemy Day

Boganda Day -- Central African Republic

Borrowed Days begin

Commemoration Day -- Madagascar

Day of Redress -- Fairy Calendar

Knights of Columbus Founders Day

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

Smoke and Mirrors Day

St. Woolos' Day

Sun & Fun Expo -- Lakeland, Florida, US (through April 3)

Texas Loves the Children Day

Youth Day -- Taiwan

Birthdays Today:

Hideaki Takizawa, 1982
Jennifer Capriati, 1976
Lucy Lawless, 1968
Elle Macpherson, 1964
Bud Cort, 1950
George Blaha, 1945
John Major, 1943
Pearl Bailey, 1918
Sam Walton, 1918
Philip Ahn, 1905
Cy Young, 1867
John Tyler, 1790
Carlo Buonaparte, father of Napoleon Bonaparte, 1746

Today in History:

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

Babies Are For the Young

It was a not very subtle reminder that babies are for the young.

Times being what they are, our church has instituted a policy of having a company perform background check screenings on all volunteers who will work with children or youth. The company has a good many policies it requires, including specific procedures for reporting a problem with a particular child. It also requires that any time children are being watched on church grounds by someone besides the parents, the person doing the watching has to have been screened.

Because i was one of the first screened, i am considered one of the few people available to babysit for the Sunday evening and Thursday evening events they sometimes have. Yesterday, i watched Di and Dani, and was reminded why young children belong with young parents.

These are two very sweet but very, very active young ladies. Both resist naps, even Dani at only 18 months will often refuse to rest during the day. Di is used to getting her own way, and to grabbing anything Dani has that she wants.

There were several discussions with Di over the course of the evening about how we don't always get what we want. It turns out, also, that yes, i still understand "kiddish" and got the few sentences Dani has.

As long as i kept them busy, coloring, dancing, playing with the puppets, rolling and unrolling the rug, getting out the vacuum for the rug, puzzles, running, jumping, and otherwise occupied and distracted, we did well. Di tried to pitch one fit, which i nipped right away. She seemed very surprised not to get what she wanted, and was then game for another game.

We crammed a lot of activity into about an hour and 45 minutes.

It was fun, and tiring. A good reminder of what i had to deal with back in the day. Probably i will be doing a good bit of this kind of thing in the future, since i have been screened and deemed suitable. Yes, some women my age feel the urge to have little ones around again and wish for grandkids. For me, it will keep me thankful that i don't have little ones to deal with full time now. They are fun to visit, but i wouldn't want to live there any more.

Today is:

Commemoration of Sen no Rikyu -- Japan (influential master in The Way of Tea)

Defy Death Today Day

Hot Tub Day -- because we all need one!

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

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

National Black Forest Cake Day

Respect Your Cat Day

Sacrifice At the Tombs -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Serfs Emancipation Day -- Tibet

Seward's Day -- Alaska, US

Something on a Stick Day

Teachers' Day -- Czech Republic; Slovakia

Weed Appreciation Day (for those of us with black thumbs, since this is all we can grow)

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tax Season Blues

We are in the midst of it, the tax season blues.

So much to figure, so many numbers for my brain to crunch. How much did we give and to whom, how much did i pay the kids for work, and those cats cost us how much last year?!

It floors me every year, and this year a new wrinkle. While trying to sort Brother-in-Law, The Mouth's taxes, it seems he's lost his password to his TurboTax account. He wants it done yesterday, but i have to wait for him to figure out or reset the password.

Yes, a family friend accountant does my taxes. Yes, i do The Mouth's. After all, he is single, no kids, standard deduction, very simple. We -- meaning i, because Sweetie breaks out in hives if you get near him with math or a calculator and papers -- have to figure out how much tuition went where, and sort out all those receipts that got in such a muddle last year, even though i was trying to keep up with them as it went along.

So don't expect much from me for the next few days aside from kitten feedings and number madness. If someone finds me sitting amid a sea of papers, laughing like a maniac and shredding them into confetti, give me chocolate and send what's left to the accountant. Let him try to make heads or tails out of it.

Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- Burma

Fly a Kite Day

Lazy Moochers' Day

Liberalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival of the vegetation god)

National "Joe" Day

National Spanish Paella Day

Osweiler, Luxembourg (blessing of horses, tractors, and caars)

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

Smell the Breezes Day

St. Alkelda's Day (patron against eye disease)

World Theatre Day

Anniversaries Today:

Mary Pickford marries Douglas Fairbanks, 1920

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Birthday Girl

Bigger Girl is 18 today.

Eighteen years ago today, i woke up in labor, two days before my scheduled C-section. Sweetie felt he couldn't get me to the hospital fast enough. Actually, i was close to rupturing by the time they got me to surgery.

She has been on the move since. She walked as early as she possibly could, and climbed everything she saw her older brother climb. Since she never saw him climb out of a crib, she never climbed out of hers.

She had to overcome several learning challenges. At one point, a psychologist who is well respected in the field of testing and diagnosing such things told us that if i worked with her very hard, she might be able to live in a group home someday.

She is going to graduate from high school next year, makes very good grades, and reads everything that holds still long enough to be read. At school, she is considered the walking encyclopedia and sets the curve on tests.

Part of her diagnosis was ADHD. Never did i give her anything more for it than supplements like B vitamins. She has great focus, can concentrate more intently than anyone i know, and keeps her room cleaner than any of her siblings.

Last summer she held down her first summer job. She did lab work, sterilized equipment, and assisted with animal care and experiments. Even when one cow was trying to get away, she stood her ground and got her hand into the position needed to get the sample they wanted. She was so good they were sorry to see her go at the end of the season.

She has grown into a sweet, loving, usually obedient, very sensitive person. Being an animal activist is her passion.

Happy Birthday Bigger Girl. You've made us proud.

Today is:

Day of Reconciliation with All Those Whose Hats Have Been Damaged -- Fairy Calendar

Earth Hour -- sponsored by World Wildlife Fund

Independence Day and National Day -- Bangladesh

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

Legal Assistants Day

Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Maple Syrup Day

National Nougat Day

Prince Kuhio Day -- Hawai'i, US

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

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel -- Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Vienna International Spring Festival -- Austria, through May 17

Anniversaries Today:

Founding of the University of Utrecht, 1636

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Since last week... the shelter, the only adoptions have been new intakes. Dudley, Samantha, Mitzi, Coco, and Scooter have all gone. Tyler went, got returned because he gave someone an asthma attack, and readopted. The rest of the group seems to be standing pat.

Frieda let me pet her, and Sergio has gotten more friendly. Buttercup bit Little Girl, Rosie is still being treated for a UTI.

Lucky, for the first time, refused a pill pocket! He has decided he likes a different treat more, so i used that one to give him his pills. Worked well, just like the pill pockets did. He is showing his preferences.

Baby still hisses at anything that moves, and JuJu continues to monitor everyone from a high perch. Angel and Dustie are as loving as ever.

Tom, Cami, Donovan, Jack, Captain, and Cayenne are doing well. Jimmy and Bootsie's brother and sister have been renamed Georgie and DeeDee. Renaming doesn't change anything, they are still very friendly cats.

Clare still hides until she warms up, while Ringo and Woody are already warm. Portia, Gulliver, and Ellen play like the kittens they still are.

The big room was a mess. Tyler, when he was returned, was put in there but no extra food or water bowl was put in -- Miss W forgot. Thus they were short some food, and Grady solved the problem by turning over the bin of food and spilling it so they could help themselves. That problem taken care of, PittyPat, Katie, Sophia, Candy and Clint, who tried to swipe at me for getting too close, were happy to each have a dedicated bowl again.

It's spring. Let's hope that gets people in the mood to adopt. Some of these precious cats have been here in the shelter a long time.

Today is:

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

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

Birthday of Kuan Yin -- Bhuddist (compassion)

Celebrate Rivers, Lakes, and Ponds Day

Freedom Day -- Belarus

Hilaria -- Ancient Roman Empire (honors Cybele, mother of the gods)

Independence Day -- Greece

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

Maryland Day -- Maryland, US

Medal of Honor Day

Mother's Day -- Slovenia

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

National Lobster Newburg Day

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

Old New Year's Day

Pecan Day

St. Dismas' Day (patron of prisoners, funeral directors, criminals, thieves)

Struggle for Human Right's Day -- Slovakia

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

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Two In A Row

It was bound to happen, so it did.

This time, it was Bob the Executive Director who fielded the first call.

"Mimi, can you take any right now?"

No isn't in my vocabulary for the babies, so i asked what was up.

"Stray mama was taken in by a lady who wanted to keep her. She had the babies two days ago, but outside the trailer. They were going to move mama and babies indoors, but mama got run over this evening, and they are desperate."

He gave me her number, and i called. She and her husband live in a trailer park nearby. Someone was speeding through the park, as they often do, and mama got the bad end of the deal. She works full time and goes to school at night, her husband also works full time. So we met up at the gas station at the corner near them, and came home with 5 fluff balls, umbilical cords still attached and ravenously hungry.

The black male is Balthazar, the black and white male, Ravenpaw Gray male is McCartney, gray female is yet unnamed because #2 Son can't make up his mind*, and the tabby female is Hannah.

*Since writing this originally, he has decided to name her Laura

The nice lady, who wanted to keep the mama, now wants to adopt back a kitten, and donated a new bottle and can of formula. Every bit helps.

A calendar that i didn't know what to do with before has been dedicated specifically to notations about kittens; dates of birth, when we got them, ID numbers, and in the future, when they will go to the vet. It is hanging in the pantry where i can get to it easily.

Everyone had fleas when they came in, of course, so flea meds have been dispensed. Worming is next, as soon as we are sure they are regular and have no diarrhea. Shots will be given as soon as i can get to the shelter to pick them up.

Now we are 7, from two litters taken in over the course of two days.

Today is:

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

Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice -- Argentina

Dies Sanguines -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Houdini Day

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

Komoeditsi -- Ancient Slavic Calendar honor the great Bear God (Meveshii Bog) and make sacrifices to the Great God of Honey

National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day

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

World Tuberculosis Day

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They're Ba-ack

We knew they were coming. In fact, the kids have been excitedly anticipating.

"Mimi, a little boy found a couple of kittens and brought them to his mom, thinking he was helping," Meg told me. "The mom explained that they should be left, and they were put back, but mom never came back."

This was about a half hour before dark, and if left out, the two kittens would be raccoon food. The area was wooded enough, and there was no way we would let that happen, as nice as raccoons can be.

So we now have two 10 day old kittens. Female brown tabby named Willowshine, and a male marble tabby named Hephaestus (Festus for short). Both came equipped with fleas, of course, and diarrhea. Both eat wonderfully well. Didn't have to convince either of them that formula is just fine.

Because they eat well, we've been able to feed and go back to bed quickly for the middle of the night feedings. Hope that trend continues.

So, they're back. and life is good.

Today is:

Dandelion Dance -- Fairy Calendar

Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship -- Hungary and Poland

Day of the Sea -- Bolivia

Festival of Esus the Hunter, Lord of the Hunt and of the sap of trees -- Celtic Calendar, hang an offering in the first fork of a tree

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Day

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

National Chip and Dip Day

National Puppy Day

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

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

Republic Day -- Pakistan

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

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

World Meteorological Day

Anniversaries Today:

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

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Easy and Liked

Finally, a recipe everyone in the classes liked.

Easy Teriyaki Hand Pies

1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 T fresh peeled grated ginger
1 lb. ground pork or chicken
2 green onions, sliced thin
2 medium carrots, shredded
8 extra large buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 375F and grease a cookie sheet.

Combine sugar, soy, garlic and ginger in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until reduced to 1/4 C.

Brown the pork or chicken and drain. Add onions and carrots and cook about 3 minutes. Add soy mix and remove from heat.

Roll unbaked biscuits to about 6 inches around. Place 1/3 cup pork mix in the center, fold, press the edges to seal, vent with a cut or two, and bake 13-15 minutes, until golden.

May be frozen individually wrapped in foil for up to two months. Reheat by baking from frozen until warmed through.

Today is:

As Young As You Feel Day

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

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

Festival of Immortality

International Day of the Seal

National Bavarian Crepes Day

National Goof Off Day

National Sing-Out Day

St. Catherine of Sweden's Day

St. Nicholas von Flue's Day (patron of Switzerland)

World Day for Water

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Monday, March 21, 2011


After numerous consultations with 7 doctors over the space of several months, dozens of blood tests, biopsies, and several prescriptions it turned out i didn't need, the verdict on my hands is finally in.

Pernio, also known as chilblains, is a minor condition caused by cold. When my hands get cold, which happens from morning until night, fall to spring, and i try to warm them back up, blood rushing back into the fingers causes the capillaries to burst. The skin over these areas becomes inflamed, sometimes resulting in open sores. The joints hurt, and the fingers become very tender.

Sometimes this condition is secondary to discoid or chronic subcutaneous lupus. In my case, it is primary pernio, no underlying immunological cause.

Every blood test came back normal or negative. The biopsies showed no infection of any type, bacterial, viral, or fungal. In all likelihood, the first time we thought i had a fingernail fungus, it was actually my first bout of pernio, more than a year ago.

The only treatment the rheumatologist can think might even remotely help would be blood pressure medication, and with my blood pressure usually being around 100/60, that doesn't seem to me to be a good option. It would not help to trade chilblains for passing out due to low blood pressure.

Other than that, all i will be able to do is try to keep my perpetually icy cold hands warm during the winter.

So all of the concern over this past winter has boiled down to a minor, untreatable, nuisance condition. It is mildly painful, not at all contagious, and very ugly to look at.

It could have turned out to be a lot worse, so no complaints. Just keep the gloves handy.

Today is:

Birth of Benito Juarez, a Fiestas Patrias -- Mexico

Children's Poetry Day

Harmony Day -- Australia

Human Rights Day -- South Africa

Independence Day -- Namibia

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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

Mother's Day -- most Arab nations

National Common Courtesy Day

National French Bread Day

Spring Fairy Fun Day -- Fairy Calendar

St. Enda's Day

World Down Syndrome Day

World Poetry Day

Youth Day -- Tunisia

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back into the Swing

Our cat rescue group has a new online volunteer database that will keep track of our assignments and hours, and that we can use to make sure we are on or that we have notified our supervisors when we can't be available. When i checked it, i saw that we were indeed back into it as usual this past week, so in we went.

Something is coming over our shy boy Clint. He is in the window more and thus i don't have to search for him as often, and when i go in he doesn't dive for cover right away. This is a good change, especially since the big room now has Tyler in it, and he is a very assertive guy who has been jumping out from under and behind things at the others in the room. Gidget has been adopted out of that room, as has Ginny, but Katy, Grady, Candy, and Sophia are still there, too.

Frieda was very talkative, but didn't want petting. She has taken to sitting right next to Bob the Executive Director's laptop any time he is in the office. That seems to be about all the attention she wants, so i don't push it with her.

Scooter is a new and very thin boy in a cage until after testing. He looks to be about 5-6 months old, friendly and purry and wants lots of loving. He was rescued when he got trapped behind a wall at a repair shop of some sort.

Lucky has decided he isn't required to always use the litter box, and it took some scrubbing to clean up after him. Silly boy, he still takes his meds easily and otherwise behaves, and he is elderly, so no recriminations. Just make sure he has a happy end of life.

Buttercup, Tom, Sergio, and Jack are all new and just vetted, or waiting for treatment. Jack seems to love burrowing under his cushion, but will come out to be petted. Sergio is outgoing, Buttercup stays behind her litter box, and Tom seems undecided about how he feels, purring one minute and cowering the next.

Portia, Gulliver, and Ellen, the three half grown loves in room 8, are as playful as ever. Don't turn your back on them, they are mischievous, too.

Opposite them, Woody and Ringo seem happy enough, but Clare won't come down, and even has her food and water bowls on the shelf for her.

Cami, Emmy, and Samantha have been dubbed the "CPR" trio, meaning "Cat Public Radio". They keep up a steady stream of talk to each other and anyone who comes in gets an earful of happy kitty gossip.

Jimmy, Joey, and Bootsie have not only the note about being alien kitties on their door, but have been graced with decorated cutouts of UFOs on their window. They seem friendly enough to me, but apparently they have a few volunteer caretakers scratching their heads for some reason.

My Dustie and Angel are their usual lovely selves. Baby and JuJu are now together! They deserve each other, Baby hissing all the time, JuJu sitting on a shelf and glaring at whomever walks in, while sweet Cali is in the adoption center at the pet store, instead of hiding from Baby. Cali should never have been in that room to me, but PittyPat is in there with the two sour pusses, and she completely ignores them. Nothing phases Pitty, she is the one to share a room with them.

Bobby the Bob Tail is still charming, and it seems to be rubbing off on Iggy and Snazzy. Let it continue, those two could use the lessons in charming.

Devon, Rosie, and Flip are still doing well.

No one fought over being medicated this week, since only Lucky needed anything. That was a bonus.

Altogether, an fun and easy night of kitty care and loving.

Today is:

Bahá'í Naw-Rúz -- Baha'i (sunrise to sunset fasting cycle ends at sundown)

Buzzard Day -- Ohio (celebrates the return of the turkey Vultures)

Chunfen -- China (equinox celebration)


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

Festival of Iduna -- Norse Calendar (goddess of spring, keeper of the apples of youth for the gods)

Great American Meat Out Day

Holi -- Hindu and Sikh spring religious festival

Independence Day -- Tunisia

International Day of the Francophonie

International Earth Day

Kiss Your Fiance Day

Lajos Kossuth Day -- Hungary

National Jump Out! Day

National Ravioli Day

Nowruz -- Iranian diaspora, Kurdish diaspora, Zoroastrians

Ostara/Mabon -- Wicca

Pacha Pucuy Quilla -- Ancient Inca Calendar (date approximate, celebration of the maturation of crops)

Pigeons Return to City-County Building -- Ft. Wayne, Indiana, US

Proposal Day

Shunbun no Hi -- Japan (celebration of the equinox)

Single Parents Day

Smash Out Suicide Day

Smile Rejuvenation Day

Snowman Burning Day (Lake Superior State College; How and why?)

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

Won't You Be My Neighbor Day

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

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good and Not So Good

To sum up, what is good about Walt Disney World?

As i discussed with one lady who worked there, the two places where you can let your teens and tweens have a cell phone and a key card and turn them loose with relative safety are cruise ships and on Disney property. No, there is no place on earth that is totally safe. Yes, accidents can happen anywhere. Yes, warped people can be anywhere. Yet on a cruise ship or on Disney property, the kids can't go anywhere, and if anything happens there are workers every few steps. One yell for help and you have it. Any troubles, you just look for the nearest name badge, and they are everywhere. As long as they are checking in every few hours and answering their phones or calling back as soon as they get off the ride, they can enjoy themselves with relative freedom.

Conservation programs, and recycling, are stressed. To help offset their ecological footprint, more than two thirds of Disney property is set aside to never be developed or touched. Many more hundreds of acres are being used to grow food for their animals, or to explore new ways to grow food for people, and they do use that food in their restaurants. Bins for recycling are all over, just like the garbage cans, usually right next to them. Even your resort room has a green garbage can where they ask you to recycle plastic, metal, and newspapers.

Breeding programs, and working to send animals back into natural habitats or to game reserves. There are even animals on their savanna that are no longer found in the wild because they are so endangered. Disney as a company is committed to keeping Walt's dreams of helping people understand and conserve the natural world alive.

Animals are encouraged to hang around the resorts. Ducks, gulls, rabbits, squirrels, and other small critters find plenty of room in and among the plants and between the buildings. The wandering pathways that make it hard to get from point A to point B for us are a boon to the wildlife. In fact, a particular mallard pair greeted me every morning when i went from the laundry room over to the shop for coffee. People are discouraged from feeding them, and they aren't tame, but they are more friendly than not.

Getting a break from the bad news in the world was nice for a few days. It's not that i want to hide from the world as a steady thing, i just want a bit of time off once in a while. If you want to see the headlines, you can buy a newspaper or listen to the radio or get online. If you want to just ignore the big, bad world for a couple of days, you can do that, too.

A big variable is the weather. If you go in summer, you will be hot, no exceptions. If you go any time from mid-December to the end of February, you will probably need a coat and mittens, although people from truly cold climates would find the lack of snow with the cold refreshing. In the spring and autumn, you are taking your chances. We had a couple of days with temps in the upper 70s F, and one night where Orlando had a record low temperature. The morning can start cool, the day get truly hot, and then you need a coat after dark. If you go when it's not summer, keep a jacket nearby.

Meeting people from all over the world is always a plus. Yes, we went at a time when half of South Louisiana seemed to be at Disney. We saw lots of Mardi Gras escapees. There were tons of people from other parts of the country and world, too. It was especially fun to meet Canadians who thought the weather, with no snow as mentioned before, was just fine.

One thing that made the trip more difficult was having to wait for buses, and how sometimes they were so crowded it was a long wait for a second bus before we could get a ride. This made meeting with people at specific times harder, although not impossible. It did make it necessary to plan well ahead and leave lots of travel time.

A not so good thing, to me, are the parades/shows that block up the parks so badly. At one point there was crowd so thick that no one could move. There was no place to go. Lots of people love the shows and parades, so they will continue i know, but i am not particularly a fan. Maybe growing up being in Mardi Gras parades makes me not as keen on such things. Sort of a been there/done that attitude. The only times i enjoyed the parades was when i was able to catch them from enough of a distance that i could see one small part at a time, but no one else was in that area because it was so far away and secluded.

Another great thing about Disney was that, when i wanted to buy tickets for the boys to go to Universal, and called to ask about a shuttle and ticket purchase, there was no hesitation about connecting me directly to both the shuttle company and to Universal Studios itself for the purchases. They take it in stride that people staying at their place will want to visit the other parks in the area, and make it easy. They could stoop to petty jealousy on this issue, but don't.

So, in the end, would i go back? In a heartbeat.

Today is:

Chunga Choepa (Butter Lamp Festival) -- Tibet

Companies That Care Day

Corn Dog Day

Ember Day -- Western Catholic Christian (third Ember Day of Lent, a day for prayer and fasting)

Full Worm Moon, a/k/a Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon, Light Snow Moon, or Lenten Moon

Kashubians' Unity Day -- Among Kashubians in northern Poland

Let's Laugh Day

Magha Puja Day -- Buddhist

National Chocolate Caramel Day

National Quilting Day

Poultry Day

Quinquatria -- Roman Empirical Calendar, celebration of Minerva, through the 23rd

Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano Day

St. Joseph's Day (patron of Austria, Belgium, Canada, carpenters, fathers, house hunting, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, workers; for a happy death; against communism, doubt)
As patron of fathers, his day is also Father's Day in Belgium, Bolivia, Honduras, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saving Daylight

Thanks to Daylight Saving Time beginning, we lost an hour in the night, and when we woke at what my phone said was 5am, even in bed since midnight, we had only 4 hours sleep. Everyone was eager to be on the way, though, so no complaints as we packed and got down to breakfast by 6am start time.

Sweetie and the kids napped as i sipped coffee and searched for radio stations i could tolerate. We only stopped twice on the way back, getting snacks and gas both times. They didn't want to stop for lunch, and we got home by 12:30pm, the fastest we have ever made time to anyplace.

Because the weather was cool, the house was pleasantly cool also, and Sam had done a great job with the cats, there was no nasty smell. Unlike other homecomings, there was also no smell from The Mouth leaving out food to go bad, and he hadn't generated enough garbage, apparently, to even take it out while we were gone.

He had, however, left my bathroom and kitchen in a sorry state, and my first order of business, after we got the most important stuff unloaded, was to clean my bathroom, change the sheets on my bed, and get into the kitchen for a thorough wipedown. The inside of the fridge even looked like a bomb went off, so i checked email a while, did some dishes, checked email again, more dishes, until it was all done.

The family were all thrilled to be back, and scattered to visit friends and hand out souvenirs they had bought. It took until the next morning to make sure we had gotten everything out of the van to return it. We kept finding things tucked into nooks and crannies.

Despite the chaos of everything still in suitcases and scrambling to find stuff, it was good to be home.

Today is:

Awkward Moments Day

Bindus Diena -- Ancient Latvain Calendar

Celtic Tree Month Fearn (Alder) begins

Ember Day -- Western Catholic Christian (second Ember Day of Lent, a day for prayer and fasting)

Flag Day -- Aruba

Forgive Mom and Dad Day

Gallipoli Memorial Day -- Turkey

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

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

Jonquil Festival -- Washington State Park, Arkansas, US (through the 20th)

Mens and Soldiers Day -- Mongolia

National Biodiesel Day

National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day

Red Nose Day -- Telethon for Comic Relief, UK

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

St. Anselm of Lucca's Day

St. Edward the Martyr's Day

Birthdays Today:

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

Today in History:

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

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The original plan for Saturday was to go to Universal Studios and leave Orlando from there.

By Saturday morning i was too tired to think, and we changed the plan. First we packed the van, because we had to be out of the room by 11am anyway. Since #1 Son and #2 Son wanted to go to Universal more than the rest of us, we bought them tickets over the phone that they could print out when they got there, got them a shuttle reservation, gave them cash for food and to pay the shuttle driver, and sent them on their way. The rest of us turned our 7 day Disney Park Hopper passes into 8 day passes for only $5 per person. We got a reprieve, and got to spend a bit more time on site.

Little Girl was thrilled and took off for Space Mountain, over and over. Bigger Girl, Sweetie and i rode and played wherever we wanted. They ate hot dogs, which they hadn't done since we arrived. In a move very rare for me, i played child and had Rice Dream, a vegan "ice cream" that has no sugar but only agave. Isn't that every child's dream, to be able to eat ice cream instead of a meal?

The three of us went back to Epcot again to wander more, and ate Moroccan when we got hungry. Sweetie always talks about how he doesn't like Middle Eastern cooking much, and he hates curry as well, but he actually enjoyed this. By the end of the meal we got a call from the boys, they were on their way back. Little Girl also checked in about then, wondering when and where to meet us.

We met up at Old Port Royale where the shuttle dropped the boys off. Because we had just enough meals left on the meal plan, everyone ate one more time so we wouldn't waste the money my father had already spent on it. #2 Son changed his wet clothes, everyone went to the rest room one more time, and we were on the road at around 5:15pm.

Since i had gotten directions, it was easy to find our way back to the toll road, then the turnpike, then the interstate. Once on the interstate system it's very hard to get lost and we practically flew, with only one stop, to Tallahassee. The nice young man at the hotel even remembered us, and they put us back in the same two rooms we had stayed in before.

Because we had left so late, it was close to 10pm by the time we checked in and got to a restaurant. Bedtime was close to midnight, another long day, but we were on the way home.

Today is:

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

Campfire Girls Day

Evacuation Day -- Suffolk County, Massachusetts, US

Green Ribbon Day

Kustonu Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (no planting today, to ward off insects)

Make Your Own Web Page Day

Submarine Day

St. Gertrude's Day (patron of travelers and protector of gardeners)

St. Joseph of Arimathea's Day (patron of funeral directors, pallbearers, tin miners)

Saint Patrick's Day -- a public holiday in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Montserrat, and Ireland, and widely celebrated throughout the world.

Trefuilnid Treochair (Feast of Triple Bearer of the Triple Key) -- Ireland (Ireland's National Day)

Violet Day

Anniversaries Today:

Wellesley Female Seminary is established, 1870
Franklin D. Roosevelt marries Eleanor Roosevelt, 1905

Birthdays Today:

Caroline Corr, 1973
Mia Hamm, 1972
Rob Lowe, 1964
Arye Gross, 1960
Gary Sinise, 1955
Kurt Russell, 1951
Patrick Duffy, 1949
John Sebastian, 1944
Paul Kantner, 1941
Rudolf Nureyev, 1938
Nat "King" Cole, 1919
Bobby Jones, 1902
Shemp Howard, 1895

Today in History:

In his last victory, Julius Caesar defeats the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda, BC45
Marcus Aurelius dies leaving Commodus as the sole emperor of the Roman Empire, 180
Led by Muhammad, the Muslims of Medina defeat the Quraysh of Mecca in the Battle of Badr, 624
Edward, the Black Prince is made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy made in England, 1337
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in New York City for the first time (at the Crown and Thistle Tavern), 1756
George Washington grants the Continental Army a holiday "as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence," 1780
The Italian Republic, with Napoleon as president, becomes the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon as King, 1805
Henry Jones of Bristol patents "self-raising" flour, 1845
Stephen Perry of London patents the rubber band, 1845
John Joseph Montgomery makes the first glider flight, in Otay, California, 1884
The first practical submarine leaves the dock at NYC and submerges for one hour forty minutes, 1898
A showing of seventy-one Vincent van Gogh paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, creates a sensation, 1901
Luther Gulick and his wife Charlotte found Camp Fire Girls (now Camp Fire USA), 1910
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley announce the creation of element 98, which they name "Californium", 1950
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, flees Tibet for India, 1959
Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel, 1969

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Final Friday

Our last day. Cue a tear in the eye.

Since The Crystal Palace is a mutual favorite -- not everyone's personal favorite, necessarily, but a favorite of all as a group -- we had lunch scheduled there for one last get together.

That meant spend the morning, after two loads of laundry because Little Girl hadn't given me even one of her things yet, at the Magic Kingdom again. There is so much to see and do, and then do again!

Lunch was a delight as usual. At The Crystal Palace, Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and Tigger come to each table to greet the diners, and it is such fun to watch the reactions of the small children as they get to greet their favorites come to life. My brother challenged #2 Son to pose for a picture with Eeyore, which he did, making a very silly face indeed.

Sweetie then went back to the hotel to rest for a bit and everyone else scattered to the winds. Sweetie and i would meet up again for a dinner for just the two of us as Kona, which is his personal favorite restaurant on site, at the Polynesian Resort. Meanwhile, i had time to myself.
Some of that time i spent alone, just admiring the architecture and attention to detail for which Disney is famous. Every nook and cranny means something and is well maintained. Also i took a ride on the train, which i hadn't done yet this visit.

Dinner was a treat, as Kona and the Polynesian are both some of Disney's finest places. Yes, they serve real pressed pot Kona coffee, but it was evening so i couldn't have any. Their decaf is a Kona blend, though, thick and strong and delicious. After we ate, we wandered back to Epcot, and went Soarin' again. As it had been a long day, we didn't stay for the fireworks, which we had seen earlier in the week anyway. Travel days are difficult, so we wanted to get a little rest and called it a night.

Today is:

Curlew Day -- Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon, US

Ember Day -- Western Catholic Christian (first Ember Day of Lent, a day for prayer and fasting)

Everything You Do is Right Day

Freedom of Information Day

Latvian Legion Day -- Latvia (no longer a formal national holiday, still celebrated by many in the region)

Liberalia -- Ancient Roman Empire (one of the Bacchanalian feasts, through tomorrow)

Lips Appreciation Day

National Artichoke Hearts Day

St. Heribert of Cologne's Day

St. Urho's Day -- Canadian and US Finnish communities (a made up saint, the Finns answer to St. Patrick)

Well-Elderly Day

Birthdays Today:

Kevin Tod Smith, 1963
Erik Estrada, 1949
Bernardo Bertolucci, 1940
Jerry Lewis, 1926
Mercedes McCambridge, 1916
Patricia Nixon, 1912
Henny Youngman, 1906
Georg Simon Ohm, 1787
James Madison, 1751

Today in History:

The Babylonians capture Jerusalem and replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king, BC597
Caligula becomes Roman Emperor after the death of his great uncle, Tiberius, 37
The Jews of York England commit mass suicide rather than submit to baptism, 1190
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches Philippines, 1521
Samoset, a Mohegan, visits the settlers of Plymouth Colony and greets them, "Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset," 1621
The US Army Corps of Engineers is established to found and operate the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1802
Prince Willem of the House of Orange-Nassau proclaims himself King of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the first constitutional monarch in The Netherlands, 1815
New York Stock Exchange slowest day ever (31 shares traded), 1830
Susan Hayhurst becomes the first woman to graduate from a pharmacology college, 1830
Edward Clark became Governor of Texas, replacing Sam Houston, who was evicted from the office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy, 1861
Joseph Lister's article outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery is published in The Lancet, 1867
Hiram R Revels makes the first official speech by an African American in the US Senate, 1869
The Barnum and Bailey Circus debuts, 1881
Sir Arthur Evans discovers the ancient city of Knossus, 1900
Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fueled rocket, at Auburn, Massachusetts, 1926
The Ford Motor Company produces its 50 millionth automobile, the Thunderbird, averaging almost a million cars a year since the company's founding, 1958
Gemini 8 is launched, the 12th manned American space flight and first space docking with the Agena Target Vehicle, 1968
General Motors produces its 100 millionth automobile, the Oldsmobile Toronado, 1968
Demolition of the radio tower Ismaning, the last wooden radio tower in Germany, 1983
Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut; he will be held for 6 1/2 years, 1985
Pope John Paul II asks God for forgiveness for the inactivity and silence of some Roman Catholics during the Holocaust, 1998
Israel officially hands over Jericho to Palestinian control, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wet and Wild

The rain was still coming down steadily Thursday morning, but what do you expect? Florida gets its share of liquid sunshine, and you have to have one rainy day to appreciate all the other beautiful days and understand the weather pattern around there.

So Bigger Girl and i decided to go to Animal Kingdom again for the morning, as there would be few lines in the rain and many of the animals love being out in the wet. It proved true, and we got to spend a good bit of time watching the tigers, who were more cooperative on this day and all of them were out and about.

We got into a discussion about breeding programs with one young lady who had done a professional internship with Disney and was back to work there permanently. Disney doesn't just breed the endangered animals, they are trying to work with programs to reintroduce them into wild habitat as well. A breeding pair of black rhinos, both born and raised at Disney, were returned to a wildlife refuge in Africa where they have already produced the first rhino baby born on that preserve in 27 years. Those two may never be able to be released off the refuge site, but their offspring, raised with humans only overseeing from a distance but not interfering at all, might be someday. It's quite an accomplishment.

Bigger Girl and i decided to try Tusker House, where we had never been, for lunch. It is mostly African based foods, and as i told the waiter, this vegetarian left very happy. Tusker House is considered one of the best places on Disney property to get vegetarian and vegan foods, so i took advantage of it.

Eventually we headed over to Epcot to meet up with everyone except Grandma, Grandpa, and #2 Son, none of whom like German cooking. That's okay, it left more for the rest of us! It is always Oktoberfest in Disney World's Germany, and the show was grand fun, with my brother and Dre getting up to dance with the other parents and young kids. They always enjoy that part, and the rest of us enjoy watching them.

My only regret was that they didn't sing my favorite traditional German song, and i couldn't get up there to make a request. It's okay, the song "In Heaven There Is No Beer" is not exactly what some parents want their children hearing anyway.

In heaven there is no beer (aside: No Beer!)
That's why we drink it here.
And when we are no longer here,
Someone else will be drinking my beer!

After dinner, i wanted to check out a few of the Epcot rides i had heard about. I had already gotten to test drive a Segway People Mover, it was fun. Now it was time to check out a few other things, and we decided to try Soarin' first.

Until that ride, i thought the PhilharMagic was the most outstanding thing at Disney World. Now i stand corrected. Mickey's PhilharMagic is still amazing, and i will continue to view it as often as possible. Soarin', however, goes it one better.

In Soarin', you sit in a chair with a seat belt around you. A little word about Disney rides; if there is no belt or bar, it is beyond safe if you remain seated. If there is a simple bar or belt, it is also very safe, just stay put. Only when they put on the shoulder harness and strap you in where you cannot move at all should you hang on for dear life.

To continue, the three sections of three rows of seats are lifted about two stories into the air, to where all you can see is the concave screen in front of you. The wind stars blowing, and you are in midair, flying past the Golden Gate Bridge.

The seats tilt some, but not nearly enough to be scary. It feels like you are flying through California, river rafting, over Napa Valley, in the midst of Air Force jets in San Diego, past cliffs of Yosemite. These locations and more, and you literally feel like you are flying with no plane around you, smelling the smells, feeling the wind as you soar past, swooping and diving like a bird. It was the most thrilling ride i have ever taken.

It ends with you in the midst of the fireworks at Disneyland in California, feeling the concussions as the lights explode around you. Most "flights" end with everyone clapping and cheering, and wanting more.

Altogether, we did it 4 times before we left on Saturday. It was worth every minute in line for just that 5 minutes of feeling like you are a bird. A feast for the senses.

The ride called Livin' with the Land was next. There they show you the new hydroponic technologies Disney is developing to grow some of the food you are served at the restaurants on site. The high quality fish farms that use plants to filter the water and grow fish you aren't afraid to eat like from factory farms is amazing.

Today is:

Anna Parenna -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of the returning year)

Brutus Day

Constitution Day -- Belarus

Dumbstruck Day -- Fairy Calendar

Everything You Think is Wrong Day

Honen Matsuri -- Tagata-jinja Shrine, Inuyama, Japan

Ides of March

Incredible Kid Day

International Day Against Police Brutality

Marduck's Festival -- Ancient Mesopotamian Calendar (approximate date)

Napping Day

National Pears Helene Day

Rude Awakenings Day

St. Louis de Marillac's Day (patron of orphans, social workers, widows)

True Confessions Day

Turkey Buzzards Day -- Hinckley, Ohio, US (Two theories about why the turkey buzzards return on this date each year have to do with either witchcraft of a hunting story)

World Consumer Rights Day

World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film -- International

Youth Day -- Palau

Anniversaries Today:

Maine becomes the 23rd US state, 1820
The University of Toronto is chartered, 1827

Birthdays Today:

Sean Biggerstaff, 1983
Eva Longoria, 1975
Fabio, 1961
Sly Stone, 1944
Phil Lesh, 1940
Judd Hirsch, 1935
Harry James, 1916
Joe E. Ross, 1914
Macdonald Carey, 1913
Samuel "Lightnin" Hopkins, 1912
Andrew Jackson, 1767

Today in History:

Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March, BC44
Liu Bei, a Chinese warlord and member of the Han royal house, declares himself emperor of Shu-Han and claims his legitimate succession to the Han Dynasty, 221
A Jew hating Monk in Seville, Spain stirs up people in that city to attack Jews, 1391
Christopher Columbus arrives back in Spain after his first trip to the New World, 1493
The first meeting of the Council of Trent, 1545
South Carolina becomes the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government, 1776
In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy; the plea is successful and the threatened coup d'état never takes place, 1783
A revolution breaks out in Hungary, and the Habsburg rulers are compelled to meet the demands of the Reform party, 1848
Jesse W. Reno patents an "inclined elevator" (escalator), 1892*
Rolls-Royce Limited is incorporated, 1906
Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne and his brother the Grand Duke becomes Tsar, 1917 registers the very first Internet domain name, 1985

*The first actual working model, at Coney Island, was built four years

Monday, March 14, 2011

Animals Galore

If you are an animal lover, Disney's Animal Kingdom is the place for you.

That's where we went on Wednesday, Bigger Girl and i got there very early and went on the Safari ride first thing.

Disney is committed to providing quality care for their animals to the point where they have eliminated zoo pacing behavior, they grow much of their own food for the herbivores, and they have researchers on site who make most of the feed for all of the animals and analyze foods made by other companies to see what can be improved.

Their employees stress that wild animals may be cute, but do not make good pets. Only positive training techniques are used when training animals for shows, and an animal that doesn't want to do something isn't forced to. When the tigers didn't want to go through the tunnel to their usual daytime area, they didn't. Where does that 500 pound gorilla sit? Wherever he wants, of course. Even the birds in the show are not restrained from flying away in any way. They stay because they are well treated.

The daring members of the family rode the water rapids ride several times, did the Everest Expedition roller coaster, and got themselves thoroughly wet and dizzy with fun. Bigger Girl and i wandered to animal watch to our heart's content.

The evening before, Sam had called #1 Son to tell him the generator was running. By Tuesday night had stopped and there was no electricity to the house. So when we met for lunch, Sweetie had made several calls to see what we could find out, and finally The Mouth actually went outside to see if he could figure out what was wrong.

The storm the day before had disconnected our power line from the house! The generator came on as it should, but shut itself off after several hours, we are not sure why. It has just been serviced, so that should not have happened. Still, we were without power for only about 18 hours, and Entergy put it in as an emergency call and got it reconnected again quickly. Because the disconnect was from their transformer, which had blown a fuse and popped the line, we didn't have to hire an electrician to deal with a reconnect like if it had been on our side of the line. It was a few harrowing hours wondering what was going on, putting it to the back of my mind since i couldn't do anything anyway, and enjoying myself anyway, then it all worked out.

Lunch was at the Rainforest Cafe on site, and everyone was there. We laughed and joked and it was a lighter time because we knew by then that the house was going to be worked on within an hour or two. My brother teased #2 Son mercilessly while they both practically had fits of hysteria. Then we went our separate ways with plans to meet up again for dinner.

Fulton's Crab House is #2 Son's favorite place on Disney property. It is in Downtown Disney, which is mostly shopping, food, nightclubs, and one 5 story arcade for kids. Bigger Girl and i arrived there to wander after over an hour trip to get down there, and the rain, which was supposed to come in Thursday morning (the same storm that cut off our electricity back home), arrived a little early.

That was okay, we ducked int0 shops and had fun looking until it was time to meet everyone. After we ate, we walked from shop to shop toward the exit to avoid getting too wet, and called it a night. Another late one, of course, with only one exception bedtime was after 11pm every night.

Today is:

Canberra Day -- Australia

Commonwealth Day -- Commonwealth of Nations

Constitution Day -- Andorra

Fallas de San Jose -- Valencia, Spain (Through the 19th)

Feast of Hyperborea

Genius Day (for Einstein, of course)

International Ask A Question Day

Heroes' Day -- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Learn about Butterflies Day

Mother Tongue Day -- Estonia

National Potato Chip Day

National Pi Day - Why today? Because today is 3.14, the value of Pi.

Runic Half Month Beorc (Birch) begins

St. Matilda, Queen of Germany's Day

Vaturius Mamurius -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Festival to Armor)

White Day -- China; Japan; South Korea; Taiwan (One month after Valentine's Day, when women give gifts to men, the men return the favor.)

Birthdays Today:

Justin Bieber, 1994
Colby O'Donis, 1989
Taylor Hanson, 1983
Kirby Puckett, 1961
Pam Ayres, 1947
Billy Crystal, 1947
Michael Caine, 1933
Quincy Jones, 1933
Frank Borman, 1928
S. Truet Cathy, 1921
Hank Ketcham, 1920
Les Brown, 1912
Albert Einstein, 1879
Johann Strauss, Sr., 1804

Today in History:

The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice, 1489
England grants a patent for Providence Plantations (now Rhode Island), 1644
Scotland dismisses Willem III & Mary Stuart as king & queen, 1689
Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin, 1794
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church founded in New York, 1821
Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado premiers in London, 1885
During the Great Blizzard of 1888, New York receives its second largest snowfall on record, 21", 1888
The United States goes on the gold standard, 1900
Hugo de Vries rediscovers Mendel's laws of genetics, 1900
The first theater for rear movie projection is built, in NYC, 1931
A jury in Dallas, Texas, finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assumed assassin of John F. Kennedy, 1964
Linux kernel version 1.0.0 is released, 1994
Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American astronaut to ride to space on-board a Russian launch vehicle, 1995