Sunday, July 31, 2011

Couple of Things

One more reason to rethink an eReader -- dropping a regular book in the tub during a long soak is a bit of a bother, but unless you are reading a rare first edition, it's not extremely serious financially. Anything with a battery is not quite so forgiving.

It's not even like your cell phone, which, if you hurriedly take out the battery, dry the contacts, and leave it, open, in a hot car for 24 hours, will be just fine (ask how i know this).

Also, it's very difficult, at least this one is, to just flip through pages quickly and find what you are looking for. The Bible i downloaded, my beloved King James translation, with the Apocrypha, is divided into 43 chapters, and you have to figure out what chapter the book you want to read is in. It won't replace my battered old study Bible.

On another totally different note, Grandma and Grandpa came into town. Grandma wanted to go to Hobby Lobby, as the nearest one to her area is an hour drive away, and that's if the traffic is good. So she and i headed there, while Grandpa, Sweetie, Bigger Girl, #2 Son, and Little Girl went to the sports museum for a couple of hours.

We all met back up and had lunch. #1 Son was supposed to join us, but got called in to open the store instead of close that day. The joys of a real job, but at least they pay him well.

Today is

Always Live Better Than Yesterday Day

Cotton Candy Day

Esala Perahera -- Kandy, Sri Lanka (through Aug.14, festival of Buddha's Tooth, one of Sri Lanka's most elaborate festivals)

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola -- Spain, Roman Catholic

Hachinohe Sansha Taisai -- Hachinohe City, Japan (one of the most elaborate neputa festivals, through Aug. 4)

Heksenstoet -- Beselare, Belgium (Procession of the Witches)

Heroes' Day -- Malaysia

International Bog Day

Jump for Jellybeans Day

Ka Hae Hawai'i Day -- Hawai'i (State Flag Day)

Lammas Eve / Lughnassad Eve

Lithasblot -- Norse harvest festival with a "blot", or offering, to the gods, celebrated through tomorrow

Loki and Sigyn's Day - Ancient Norse Calendar (aka Devoted Couples Day)

Moby Dick Marathon -- aboard the last US wooden whaler, the Charles W. Morgan, Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, US (through tomorrow, from noon to noon, a marathon reading of Moby Dick in honor of Melville's birthday)

Mutt's Day -- because mutt's deserve a day as much as purebreeds do!

National Tree Day -- Australia

Procession of the Penitents -- Veurne, Belgium (passion play dating back to the 15th century)

St. Ignatius of Loyola's Day

St. Germanus' Day

St. Giovanni Colombini's Day

St. Joseph of Arimathea's Day -- Eastern Orthodox Church

Birthdays Today

Eric Lively, 1981
Dean Cain, 1966
J.K. Rowling, 1965
Jim Corr, 1964
Wesley Snipes, 1962
Bill Berry, 1958
Michael Biehn, 1956
Evonne Goolagong, 1951
Barry Van Dyke, 1951
Geraldine Chaplin, 1944
Ted Cassidy, 1932
Curt Gowdy, 1919
Milton Friedman, 1912

Today in History

Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian's forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide, BC30
The oldest recorded eruption of Mt. Fuji, 781
Thessalonica falls to the Arabs, who destroy the city, 904
The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect, 1492
On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus
becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad, 1498
Aurangzeb is proclaimed Moghul emperor of India, 1658
The Treaty of Breda ends the Second Anglo-Dutch War, 1667
Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers, 1703
The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Marquis de Lafayette "be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States," 1777
First U.S. patent is issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process, 1790
Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city, 1856
The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opens at Grandchester, Australia, 1865
The radio mystery program The Shadow is aired for the first time, 1930
Archaeologists discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius in Persepolis, 1938
First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio, 1954
At Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, the first All-Star Game tie in major league baseball history occurs when the game is stopped in the 9th inning because of rain, 1961
The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy, 1970
Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover, 1971
NASA releases the famous Face on Mars photo, 1976
A rare, class F4 tornado rips through Edmonton, Alberta, killing 27 people and causing $330 million in damage, 1987
Georgia joins the United Nations, 1992
Fidel Castro hands over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro, 2006
Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end, 2007

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kobo Krazy

Borders Bookstore is going out of business.

Borders Bookstore sells the Kobo eReader.

The school the kids go to has decided to go with the Kobo, which apparently will continue to be supported by a website and will still have books available for purchase.

Local Borders stores, though, will only have them available, and at a clearance price, until they run out.

And i thought Borders closing wouldn't affect my world much one way or the other.

Then i got the email from the kid's school suggesting i get myself down to Borders immediately! if not sooner! and take advantage of this opportunity!

Thus i was at Borders within 20 minutes, and found myself the proud new procurer of 3 Kobo eReaders and a Kobo account i can use to buy more books, all for about what it used to cost to buy just one and a half of the devices.

It seems this was done because the reader comes with 100 books preloaded, all of them classics, many of which they will be reading in school.

To be blunt, i am a very reluctant convert to the whole eReader idea. Yes, i know many bibliophiles have embraced the technology wholeheartedly, but i had not. Not just because i am first cousin to a Luddite and took two years just to figure out how to take a picture on a cell phone, although that is true. It was because of the Kindle snafu.

For those who don't remember, Amazon apparently sold George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 to their Kindle subscribers, who woke up one day to find both books simply missing from their readers. Amazon had erased them upon learning that the publisher did not have the rights to sell these as ebooks. No warning, just a refund.

So it turns out that the company that sells you these books can take them away. No, they aren't supposed to according to their own terms of use, which is why there was such a hue and cry over the Amazon Kindle debacle. Yet my fear would be having a book only in that format, and having someone decide that particular book was forbidden for some reason, and it gets deleted.

No, it's not likely. Lots would have to go wrong in our society before someone would be able to wield such influence and get such things done. It still added more hesitation to my already recalcitrant-about-trying-new-technology nature.

Now, i've got not choice. We now have 3 of the things in the house, and a $10 gift card credited so i can buy more books, and apparently there are thousands available free through Project Gutenberg and others sites.

Yes, it's going to be convenient, being able to take my library with me. Yes, when the kids aren't using them, i'm going to; with 3 in the house, there will probably be a free one somewhere most of the time, and the desktop version on the computer as well that i can access any time.

Somehow, it still doesn't seem like something with which to snuggle down in front of a cozy fire on a cold night.

We'll see.

Today is

Canmore Folk Music Festival -- Canmore, AB, Canada (through Aug. 1, Alberta's longest running folk festival)

Father-in-Law Day

Feast of the Throne -- Morocco

Festival of Fortuna Huiusque Diei -- Ancient Roman Calendar ("Fortune of the Present Day")

Herbal Ballooning -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Vanuatu

Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony -- thanksgiving for the maize harvest, through Aug. 5

Marseillaise Day -- France

Mi'kmaq Pilgrimage to St. Ann Mission -- Mi'kmaq First Nations of Canada and Maine

National Cheesecake Day

National Eisteddfod of Wales -- Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, Wales (through Aug. 6, the largest Welsh cultural event of the year)

"Paddle for Perthes" Disease Awareness Day (to promote awareness of the children's condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease)

Sumiyoshi Matsuri -- Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine, Osaka, Japan (Osaka's last major summer festival, through Aug. 1)

St. Abdon's Day

St. Sennen's Day

Sumida River Fireworks Display -- Tokyo, Japan (for those who just can't get enough fireworks, this show lasts an hour)

Tour de USA -- the Woodstock of motorcycle events, LA to DC and back, to raise awareness of prostate cancer, through Sept. 15; join in for a daily 150 mile segment when they pass through your state!

Birthdays Today

Hilary Swank, 1974
Tom Green, 1971
Vivica A. Fox, 1964
Lisa Kudrow, 1963
Laurence Fishburne, 1961
Kate Bush, 1958
Delta Burke, 1956
Jean Reno, 1948
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1947
Paul Anka, 1941
Peter Bogdanovich, 1939
Buddy Guy, 1936
Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, 1933
Thomas Sowell, 1930
Sid Krofft, 1929
Christine McGuire, 1926
Henry W. Bloch, 1922
Casey Stengel, 1891
Henry Ford, 1863
Georg Wilhelm von Siemens, 1855
Emily Bronte, 1818

Today in History

City of Baghdad is founded, 762
The First Defenestration of Prague, 1419
Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage, 1502
At Ticonderoga (now Crown Point, New York), Samuel de Champlain shoots and kills two Iroquois chiefs, which set the tone for French-Iroquois relations for the next one hundred years, 1608
In Jamestown, Virginia, the first European style representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time, 1619
An earthquake in Naples, Italy kills 10,000 people, 1629
Baltimore, Maryland is founded, 1729
Bartolomeo Rastrelli presents the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers, 1756
First ascent of Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps,1859
Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signs the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah, 1863
In Montevideo, Uruguay wins the first Football World Cup, 1930
Premiere of Walt Disney's Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short, 1932
A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto, 1956
US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid, 1965
David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, land with first Lunar Rover on the moon, 1971
Six Royal Canadian Army Cadets are killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp, 1974
Jimmy Hoffa disappears, 1975
In Mexico, the last 'old style' Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line, 2003

Friday, July 29, 2011

Life's a Circus

So we went to one!

Specifically, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. It bills itself as the Greatest Show on Earth, and while many may argue the point, it has kept up with the times and managed to keep the circus traditions that we all remember. P.T. Barnum would probably be proud that the heritage lives on.

No, there's no big top any more, and for good reason, those things were dangerous. Modern arenas, with air conditioning, are more fun to my mind anyway.

The clowns had one young lady near us laughing so hard it was almost as funny listening to her as it was watching them. She was probably around 9, and her enjoyment was contagious.

No big cats this year, but the house cats are amazingly well trained. Acrobats and magic, birds and motorcycles in a cage, and, nerve wracking to Bigger Girl, the guy who jumps through a hoop of fire and knives while it is spinning and he is blindfolded.

There was an elephant act, of course, and we've noticed they no longer carry the old fashioned bull hooks. Instead, the sticks have brushes on the ends. And why not? The days of training by force, gladly are over.

The act i was most intrigued by was two ponies. two full size horses, and two dromedaries in the ring together. Never before had i seen dromedaries in this setting, and they were good, no spitting. One of the ponies was the feistiest little guy i have ever seen. If the dromedaries or horses were not in exact place or moving to the speed he set, he would jump and nudge them and let them know. Don't go to sleep on the job with that little guy around.

Next time you get the chance, go see a circus. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.

Today is

33rd Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival -- Gilroy, California (through the 31st)

Annie Oakley Days -- Greenville, OH, US (through the 31st)

Bele Chere -- Ashville, NC, US (through the 31st; the largest outdoor free festival in the Southeast US)

Canada's National Ukrainian Festival -- Dauphin, MB, Canada (through the 31st; experience the richness of Ukrainian culture)

Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day (Buy your cheese that will be sacrificed on Cheese Sacrifice Day, and no, I never have found out why there is a Cheese Sacrifice Day anyway or to whom you are supposed to sacrifice it.)*

Dodge City Days -- Dodge City, KS, US (through Aug. 7, a celebration of Western heritage)

Feast of St. Martha, Virgin, Dragon Charmer, Sister of Lazarus (patron of butlers, cooks, dieticians, domestic servants, hotel keepers, housewives, travellers, and Tarascon, Provence, France)

Fiesta de Santa Maria Ribarteme (Festival of Near Death Experiences) -- As Neves, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain (festival of Mary in which those who have come back from near death are carried to the shrine in open coffins, or walk there clad in shrouds)

Langholm Common Riding, Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland (a traditional riding of the bounds, with lots of celebrating)

Lumberjack World Championships -- Hayward, WI, US (through the 31st)

Motomboko Ceremony -- Luapula Province, Zambia (through tomorrow; among the Lunda of the Kazembe kingdom)

National Anthem Day -- Romania

National Lasagna Day

National Thai Language Day -- Thailand

Nova Scotia Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival -- Bible Hill, NS, Canada (through the 31st)

Olavsoka -- Faroe Islands (opening of Logting, or Parliament)

Oslok Eve -- Norway

Rain Day Festival -- Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (yes, it has rained at 112 out of the 136 observances of this festival on this date)

Runic Half-Month Thorn begins (defense)

St. Lazarus' Day

St. Olaf's Day (patron of carvers, difficult marriage, kings, Norway)
sometimes associated with Thor's Day among the Norse and Thunor of the Anglo-Saxons

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Talk in an Elevator Day

UFO Days -- Elmwood, Wisconsin, US (through the 31st; Wisconsin's UFO capital, visit the petting zoo, shop at the community wide thrift sale, take part in the fun run, softball games, medallion hunts, bed races, and dances; watch the crowning of Miss Elmwood, the tractorcade, the car and truck show, the nightly fireworks, and stage bands; let the kids have a ball in the greased pig race and kiddie water fight; enjoy the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast and the bake sale; and no need to miss church Sunday morning, bring a lawn chair for the ecumenical service so you don't miss a moment of the fun and excitement!)

*"A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be oversophisticated. Yet it remains cheese, milk's leap toward immortality." Clifton Fadiman

Anniversaries Today

Mary, Queen of Scots, marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, 1565
Charles, Prince of Wales, marries Lady Diana Spencer, 1981

Birthdays Today

Wanya Morris, 1973
Julian McMahon, 1968
Martina McBride, 1966
Marilyn Quayle, 1949
Peter Jennings, 1938
Elizabeth Dole, 1936
Paul Taylor, 1930
Melvin Belli, 1907
Clara Bow, 1905
Dag Hammarskjold, 1905
Stanley Kunitz, 1905
Benito Mussolini, 1883
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805

Today in History

King Olaf II fights and dies trying to regain his Norwegian throne from the Danes, 1030
James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling, 1567
English naval forces under command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake defeat the Spanish Armada off the coast of Gravelines, France, 1588
John Graves Simcoe decides to build a fort and settlement at Toronto, having sailed into the bay there, 1793
Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 1836
In Tipperary, an unsuccessful nationalist revolt against British rule is put down by police, 1848
The First Hague Convention is signed, 1899
Sir Robert Baden Powell sets up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England; this is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement, 1907
The International Atomic Energy Agency is established, 1957
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President of France François Mitterrand sign the agreement to build a tunnel under the English Channel, 1987
The film Cry Freedom is seized by South African authorities, 1988
Astronomers announce the discovery of Eris, the largest dwarf planet in the solar system, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2011



Tinkle of glass.


Bounding out of bed.

Blood dripping as Bigger Girl hopped around.

Kittens trying to get in on the action.


Kittens jumping on the chairs.

Little Girl sweeping glass from the stairs and hall.

Visit to Emergency to make sure no glass in foot.

Serious deep cut -- put prescription anti-bacterial on it and keep bandaged for 7 days, no stitches.

Lesson learned: Do Not Set A Drinking Glass On The Stairs Thinking You Will Remember To Grab It On The Way Up. You will step on it instead.


Today is

AgriFair -- Abbotsford, BC, Canada (through Aug. 1)

Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival -- Davenport, IA, US (through the 31st)

Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval a/k/a Expulsion of the Acadians Day -- Canada

Dental Awareness Day -- because your teeth should last a lifetime

Emancipation Day -- Bermuda

Festival of Hedjihotep -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (goddess of weaving)

Great Texas Mosquito Festival -- Clute, Texas, US (Annual salute to the fact that if you can't beat 'em, and when it's mosquitoes, you can't, you might as well celebrate 'em. There's something for all ages, including the Skeeter Beaters Baby Crawl, a Mosquito calling contest, and a Mr. & Mrs. Mosquito Legs Contest, plus games, rides, carnival food, and more; through the 30th)

Imp-Handling Conference -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Peru

Liberation Day -- San Marino

National Chili Dog Day

National Milk Chocolate Day

National Tree Planting Day -- Australian schools

Olavsoka Eve -- Faroe Islands (night before the opening of Parliament)

Panathenaic Festival -- Ancient Greek Calendar (Athenian festival and games for several years at the beginning of their new year)

Phyang Tse-dup Festival -- Ladakh, India (Buddhist festival, through tomorrow)

Prague Folklore Days -- Prague, Czech Republic (through the 31st, an international meeting of folklore ensembles)

Quilt Odyssey 2011 -- Hershey, PA, US (national quilt competition, through the 31st)

Rockhound Gemboree -- Bancroft, ON, Canada (through the 30th)

St. Innocent I's Day

St. Victor I's Day

World Hepatitis Day -- International

Anniversaries Today

Henry VIII marries Catherine Howard, 1540
The first Singing Telegram is delivered, 1933

Birthdays Today

Sally Struthers, 1948
Jim Davis, 1945
Rick Wright, 1945
Bill Bradley, 1943
Phil Proctor, 1040
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, 1929
Earl Tupper, 1907
Rudy Vallee, 1901
Joe E. Brown, 1892
Beatrix Potter, 1866

Today in History

Thomas Cromwell is executed at the order of Henry VIII of England on charges of treason, 1540
Bermuda is first settled by Europeans, survivors of the English ship Sea Venture en route to Virginia, 1609
Maximilien Robespierre is executed by guillotine in Paris during the French Revolution, 1794
Welsh settlers arrive at Chubut in Argentina, 1865
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, guaranteeing due process and establishing citizenship for African Americans is certified, 1868
First flight of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1935
The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad foils a bullion robbery in the "Battle of London Airport", 1948
The Tangshan earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 moment magnitude flattens Tangshan, the People's Republic of China, killing 242,769 and injuring 164,851, 1976
Andorra joins the United Nations, 1993
Australian Ian Thorpe becomes the first swimmer to win six gold medals at a single World Championships, 2001
The Provisional Irish Republican Army calls an end to its thirty year long armed campaign in Northern Ireland, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

He Calls This Fun

"Mom, I'm going to spend the night at Joe's." #2 Son breezed into the kitchen at a near trot and tried to pop back out toward his room almost as fast. Tried.

Joe, who lives out in French Settlement? i asked.

"Yep, right in the swamp. We're heading out there tonight."

Into the swamp at night? Why?

"Oh, the people who have a tv show about the swamps in Louisiana are from French Settlement. They know us, and they want us to come out with them tonight to help catch some reptiles for the show."

Son, you want to go spend the night crawling through the swamp catching reptiles?

"Yeah, isn't it cool? I'll make sure I shower there at Joe's house, too."

What are you looking for?

"Gators tonight mostly. Sometimes it's snakes, but tonight, it's gators."

You've done this before?

"Yeah, they know me, and they know I know what I'm doing."

Son, do they realize you are under 18?

"Well, yeah, of course they do. It's kind of obvious."

Shouldn't they ask your parent's permission?

"Nah, they know you're cool with it. And I don't get to be on the show or anything, I just spend the night out in the swamp with them and help them catch the gators."

He scooted into his room and out of his door before i could recover from the news.

Someday, after the raising of this one is over, and he has survived, i'm going to go ahead and have that nervous breakdown. It's something i think i've earned.

Today is

Aberdeen International Youth Festival -- Aberdeen, Scotland (talented youth from all areas of the performing arts gather from around the world, through Aug. 6)

Barbie-in-a-blender Day (I get why we do it to Barbie, but what did your blender do to deserve this? originally thought of by, to defend our rights to comment on cultural icons, whether they are trademarked/copyrighted or not)

Day of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus -- Ancient Latvia; Roman Catholic Church

Iglesia Ni Cristo Day -- Philippines

Jose Celso Barbosa Day -- Puerto Rico

National Blunt Object Day -- this one is just weird

National Creme Brulee Day

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

National Scotch Day

National Sleepy Head Day -- Finland

Over-The-Moon Night (Cows and Spoons) -- Fairy Calendar

St. Pantaleon's Day

Tai Festival -- Toyohama, Minamichita Town, Japan (fisherman's festival, through tomorrow)

Take Your (House) Plants For a Walk Day (some websites mistakenly call it take your pants for a walk day)

Victory Day -- North Korea

Walk on Stilts Day (at your own risk always!)

World Scout Jamboree -- Rinkaby, Sweden (through Aug. 7, involving Boy Scouts from every country)

Birthdays Today

Ashlyn Sanchez, 1996
Cheyenne Kimball, 1990
Alex Rodriguez, 1975
Triple H, 1969
Maureen McGovern, 1949
Peggy Fleming, 1948
Betty Thomas, 1947
Bobbie Gentry, 1944
Gary Gygax, 1938
Jerry Van Dyke, 1931
Norman Lear, 1922
Alexandre Dumas, fils, 1824
Queen Hatshepsut, BC1508

Today in History

Siward, Earl of Northumbria invades Scotland to support Malcolm Canmore against Macbeth of Scotland, who usurped the Scottish throne from Malcolm's father, King Duncan; Macbeth is defeated at Dunsinane, 1054
Jesuit priest Francis Xavier's ship reaches Japan, 1549
The English Parliament passes the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies have to be sent in English ships from English ports, 1663
A Royal Charter is granted to the Bank of England, 1694
The Russian Navy defeats the Swedes atthe Battle of Grengam, 1720
The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established (later renamed Department of State), 1789
Robespierre is finally arrested, 1794
The Atlantic Cable is successfully completed, allowing transatlantic telegraph communication for the first time, 1866
Researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting announce the discovery of the hormone insulin, 1921
The animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny, 1940
RMS Titanic, Inc. begins the first expedited salvaging of wreckage of the RMS Titanic, 1987

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat

Can we say lazy?

Rum Tum Tugger has earned the title Lazy Kitten Extraordinaire.

On these hot days, he naps right next to the water bowl. When he wakes and wants a drink, he just cranes his neck over the bowl and indulges. Then he snuggles back down on the cool floor and goes back to sleep.

If there is reincarnation, maybe i can come back as a good pet parent's cat. What a life!

Today is

All or Nothing Day -- no history on this one, but it's supposed to be the day you decide to live as if it's going to be your last!

Aunt and Uncle Day -- again, no history behind who came up with it; if you have aunts and uncles you love, why not give them a call today

Curacao Day -- Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Day of the National Rebellion -- Cuba

Festival of Sleipnir -- Ancient Norse (date approximate, honored Odin's eight-legged horse, Sleipnir)

Groovy Chicken Day -- don't ask, just enjoy

Independence Day -- Liberia; Maldives

Kargil Vijay Diwas -- India (Kargil Victory Day)

National Coffee Milkshake Day

One Voice Day -- readings around the world of the Universal Peace Covenant, sponsored by the School of Metaphysics

Otaru Tide Festival -- Otaru Wharf, Otaru City, Japan (one of Japan's biggest sea festivals, through the 28th)

St. Anne's Day (traditional name given to the mother of Mary; patron of Canada, grandmothers, housewives, miners and against infertility)

St. Joachim's Day (traditional name given to the father of Mary; patron of the town of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, and of fathers and grandfathers)

Wonderful Drinks Day -- Fairy Calendar

Anniversaries Today

New York becomes the 11th US State, 1788
Signing of the American's With Disabilities Act, 1990

Birthdays Today

Kate Beckinsale, 1973
Sandra Bullock, 1964
Kevin Spacey, 1959
Angela Hewitt, 1958
Dorothy Hamill, 1956
Roger Taylor, 1949
Helen Mirren, 1945
Mick Jagger, 1943
Dobie Gray, 1940
Stanley Kubrick, 1928
Blake Edwards, 1922
Jason Robards, Jr., 1922
Vivian Vance, 1912
Gracie Allen, 1902
Aldous Huxley, 1894
Carl Jung, 1875
George Bernard Shaw, 1856

Today in History

The first recorded women's cricket match took place near Guildford, England, 1745
The birth of what would later become the United States Post Office Department is established by the Second Continental Congress, 1775
The Surrey Iron Railway, often considered the world's first public railway, opens in south London, 1803
In California, the poet and American West outlaw calling himself "Black Bart" makes his last clean getaway, 1878
Premiere of Richard Wagner's Parsifal at Bayreuth, 1882
Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement, 1887
United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation), 1908*
King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memoria, 1936
The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power, 1945
U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council, 1947
U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States, 1948
Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution, 1953
Syncom 2, the world's first geosynchronous satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster, 1963
The National Assembly of Quebec imposes the use of French as the official language of the provincial government, 1977
A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 1989
Mumbai, India receives 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days, 2005

*Yes, the grand-nephew of Napoleon I started the FBI -- I'm not sure why that seems so odd to me.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Little Girl wandered out of her bedroom early one morning and said, "Mom, what ever happened with all the goop we were dealing with last night?"

What? i asked her, not knowing at all what she was talking about.

"You know, the goop!" she said insistently.

When i still looked blank, she sighed heavily, as only 13 can do, and walked back into her bedroom.

Later, when it was her usual wake up time, she reappeared.

So i asked her what she had been talking about earlier.

"Oh," she said. "Sorry about that. I was having a dream. Don't ask, it was really weird."

So there was no goop?

"No, i asked, then went back to sleep and remembered it was a dream."

Is my kid doing a bit of sleepwalking, maybe? This could get interesting.

Today is

Act Like A Caveman Day -- internet generated, just to be fun, especially if your neighbors think you are crazy anyway

Bayreuther Festspiele -- Bayreuth, Germany (Wagner festival, through Aug. 28)

Commonwealth Constitution Day -- Puerto Rico

Culinarian's Day -- another one here because of the internet, but a good excuse to let your inner chef go wild, and enjoy the results

Ebernoe Horn Fair -- Sussex, England

Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure -- Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, WI, US (world's largest sport aviation event, through the 31st)

Festival of the Knee-Knockers -- Fairy Calendar

Furrinalia -- Ancient Etruscan Calendar (Furrina, goddess of the sacred grove and spring on Janniculum hill)
also Ancient Roman Calendar (to honor those who searched for underground water sources)

Guanacaste Day -- Costa Rica

Hurricane Supplication Day -- Virgin Islands

Ilyap'a -- Ancient Inca Calendar (festival of the thunder god)

Jekaba Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (Jacob's Day, start of the hay harvest)

John Knill Day -- St. Ives, Cornwall, England (every five years on St. James' Day, a ceremony John Knill left money to fund upon his death in 1801)

Loiza Aldea Fiesta -- Puerto Rico (associated with the feast day of St. James)

National Day -- Galicia

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

Republic Day -- Tunisia

St. Christopher's Day (patron of travel, motorists, bachelors, bus drivers, ferryboat men, police, soldiers, skiers, truck drivers; against nightmares, tempests)

St. James' Day (The Apostle, brother of St. John and son of Zebedee, the first martyr, patron of furriers, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, veterinarians and against arthritis, sometimes called Jacob, the Latinized version of his name)
The Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela -- Galicia, Spain (one of the world's largest pilgrimages still, to the church that has the supposed relics of St. James, culminates on the Saint's feast day)

Birthdays Today

Brad Renfro, 1982
Louise Brown, 1978
Matt LeBlanc, 1967
Walter Payton, 1954
Barbara Harris, 1935
Estelle Getty, 1923
Walter Brennan, 1894
Maxfield Parrish, 1870

Today in History

Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler, 285
Constantine I is proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops, 306
The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald orders defensive measures against the Vikings, 864
Sebastián de Belalcázar, on his search for El Dorado, founds the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia, 1536
Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, 1567
Henry IV of France publicly converts from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, 1593
James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England, bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union; political union would occur later, 1603
Ignacio de Maya founds the Real Santiago de las Sabinas, now known as Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México, 1693
British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council order the deportation of the Acadians; thousands of Acadians are sent to the British Colonies in America, France and England, and some later move to Louisiana, while others resettle in New Brunswick, 1755
Horatio Nelson loses more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife (Spain), 1797
Costa Rica annexes Guanacaste from Nicaragua, 1824
The first commercial use of an electric telegraph is successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone between Euston and Camden Town in London, 1837
The Japanese daimyo begin returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms, 1869
Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovers that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock is monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patents a process for manufacturing it, 1908
Sir Thomas Whyte introduces the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure, 1917
The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast takes place, 1920
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) is established, 1925
At Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stage their first show as a comedy team, 1946
Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collides with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sinks the next day, killing 51, 1956
The Republic of Tunisia is proclaimed, 1957
Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" is born, 1978
Israel and Jordan sign the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948, 1994
K.R. Narayanan is sworn-in as India's 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called "untouchable"— to hold this office, 1997
Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashes just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground, 2000
Pratibha Patil is sworn in as India's first woman president, 2007

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting Old

In honor of Tell An Old Joke Day:

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister walk into a bar and the bartender says, "What is this, a joke?"

Ever wonder why you never see the headline, "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Q. What's brown and sticky?
A. A stick!

Under a sign that said, "Make Love, Not War": Do both, get married!

Finally, an old Boudreaux joke:

Boudreaux called the fire department and yelled, "Mais, get down here quick! De barn's on fire!"
The firefighter responded, "Okay, how do we get there?"
After a pause, Boudreaux answered and said, "Sacre, don' you have dose red trucks no more?"

Add your own old joke in the comments, i promise to laugh.

Today is

Amelia Earhart Day

Children's Day -- Vanuatu

Cousins Day -- because cousins are wonderful people to have around!

Dornach Commemoration Day -- Switzerland

Festival of St. Eloi -- French Basque

Jilwalla Jinks' Jamboree -- Fairy Calendar

National Drive Through Day -- but only if you won't pass out from the heat when you roll down the window!

National Tequila Day -- celebrate America's first native-born distilled spirit

Parent's Day -- US

Pioneer Day -- Mormon Christian

Pop a Wheelie Day -- before, not after, the tequila, please; a hosp

Public Opinion Day -- the first public opinion poll was published this date in 1824!

Simon Bolivar Day -- Bolivia; Colombia; Ecuador; Venezuela

Sts. Boris and Gleb's Day (patrons of Moscow, Russia)

St. Christina the Astonishing's Day (patron of all with mental handicaps, disorders, or illnesses, and mental health care workers)

Stirling Settler Day -- Stirling, Alberta, Canada

Tell an Old Joke Day

Tenjin Matsuri -- Tenmangu Jinja, Osaka, Japan (one of Japan's 3 major festivals, through tomorrow)

Birthdays Today

Bindi Irwin, 1998
Dhani Lennevald, 1984
Anna Paquin, 1982
Summer Glau, 1981
Eric Szmanda, 1975
Jennifer Lopez, 1969
Barry Bonds, 1964
Linda Carter, 1951
Michael Richards, 1949
Ruth Buzzi, 1936
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, 1900
Chief Dan George, 1899
Amelia Earhart, 1897
Oswald Chambers, 1874
Alexandre Dumas, pere, 1802
Simon Bolivar, 1783
John Newton, 1725 (wrote Amazing Grace)

Today in History

Death in Kyoto, Japan, of Kamo no Chomei (b. 1155), Japanese author, poet (waka) and essayist, critic of Japanese vernacular poetry and major figure of Japanese poetics, 1216
Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands strike against a ban on foreign beer, 1487
Jacques Cartier plants a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and takes possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France, 1534
Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI, 1567
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later becomes the city of Detroit, Michigan, 1701
A Spanish treasure fleet of 10 ships under Admiral Ubilla leaves Havana, Cuba for Spain; on the 31st, all ships will be lost and come to be known as the !715 Treasure Fleet, 1715
Slavery is abolished in Chile, 1823
The first opinion poll was carried out in Delaware, USA, 1824
Benjamin Bonneville leads the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming's South Pass, 1832
After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City, 1847
The first tramway opened in England, 1861
Tennessee becomes the first U.S. State to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War, 1866
Captain Matthew Webb, who was the first person to swim the English Channel, drowned while trying to swim the rapids above Niagara Falls, 1883
O. Henry is released from prison in Austin, Texas after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank, 1901
Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Machu Picchu, "the Lost City of the Incas", 1911
The passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsizes while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew are killed in the largest loss of life disaster from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes, 1915
The first insulin treatment is carried out, on a six-year-old girl, at St Guy's Hospital, London, 1925
The Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy, goes into effect, 1929*
The dust bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109°F (44°C) in Chicago and 104°F (40°C) in Milwaukee, 1935
During an official state visit to Canada, French President Charles de Gaulle declares to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: Vive le Québec libre! ("Long live free Quebec!"), 1967
The Quietly Confident Quartet of Australia wins the Men's 4 x 100 metre medley relay at the Moscow Olympics, the only time the United States has not won the event at Olympic level, 1980
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office, 2001
Lance Armstrong wins his 7th consecutive Tour de France, 2005

*Nice try, fellas.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Somehow, it got past me. Didn't re-edit the blog, and it didn't publish at midnight.

Two of the kittens are still sick. Battling ringworm, too, but i think we have it on the run, finally.

Most of today will be spent with the ironing board. Ugh! Sweetie owns over 40 dress shirts, and even though he has plenty in the closet, the ones that aren't ironed are piling up. It's time to unpile them and get to where i only have to iron 2 a day, plus a pair of pants, to keep up.

The laptop is getting ill again. Not sure how bad yet. Seeing if a virus scan and a couple of other things will help.

Today is

*Birthday of Emperor Haili Selassi I -- Rastafari

*Gorgeous Grandma Day -- a day to celebrate those who age, date, and mate in style!

*Hot Enough For Ya Day -- only today may you utter these words; any other day, and you will get high fived on the back of the head!;)

*International Tree Climbing Championship -- Sydney, Australia (through tomorrow)

*Mayan Sun Festival -- honoring Ahau Kin, the sun god

*National Day of the Cowboy

*Neptunalia and Salcia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (god and goddess of the ocean and wide seas, celebrates Neptune in his role as god of irrigation)

*Private Eye Day -- internet generated

*Remembrance Day -- Papua New Guinea

*Renaissance Day -- Oman (celebrates the accession of Qaboos bin Said Al Said, 14th Sultan of Oman)

*Revolution Day -- Egypt

*St. Apollinaris' Feast

*St. Bridget's Day (patron of scholars, Sweden)

*Vanilla Ice Cream Day

*Warei Shrine Summer Festival -- Warei Shrine, Uwajima City, Japan (through tomorrow, includes "bull-sumo", a non fatal type of bull fighting, where the bulls try to push each other out of the ring)

Anniversaries Today

Prince Andrew, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson, 1986
Coronation of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, 1999

Birthdays Today

Daniel Radcliffe, 1989
Michelle Williams, 1980
Nomar Garciapara, 1973
Marlon Wayans, 1972
Charisma Carpenter, 1970
Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967
Woody Harrelson, 1961
Lamont "ShowBoat" Robinson, 1961
Don Imus, 1940
Don Drysdale, 1936
Bert Convy, 1933
Amalia Rodrigues, 1920
Harold "Pee Wee" Reese, 1918
Arthur Treacher, 1894
Haile Selassie I, 1892
Raymond Chandler, 1888

Today in History

William Austin Burt patents the Typographer, a precursor to the typewriter, 1829
The Province of Canada is created by the Act of Union, 1840
The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique, the world's oldest international sport federation, is founded, 1881
The Ford Motor Company sells its first car, 1903
Fox Film buys the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film, 1926
Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite, 1962
The International Whaling Commission decides to end commercial whaling within 4 years, 1982 *
Air Canada Flight 143 runs out of fuel and makes a deadstick landing at Gimli, Manitoba, 1983
Comet Hale-Bopp is discovered, 1995
Cape Verde becomes the 153rd member of the World Trade Organization, 2008

*Don't I wish that had worked!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moving on Up

#1 Son has been promoted.

He is now an assistant manager doing paperwork, ordering, and learning the ropes. They have even put him in charge of evening shifts.

They are talking about giving him a store to manage by next year. They will work with him on continuing in school as well, making sure he can still get his degree.

He's moving on up and doing great, and we are thrilled.

Today is

Bermeo Dispute -- Bermeo, Basque Region, Spain (boating ceremony commemorates the dispute between Bermeo and Mundaka over the ownership of the Isle of Izaro)

Cheyenne Frontier Days -- Frontier Park, Cheyenne, WY, US (through the 31st, annually since 1897, the world's largest outdoor rodeo)

Festival of Boredom and Reverie -- Fairy Calendar

Hammock Day -- don't know who came up with this one, but at the height of the dog days, it seems appropriate

International Childbirth Education Awareness Day -- can't find confirmation on this, but if you're going to have a kid, it's not a bad idea to get educated about what to expect!

Iowa Storytelling Festival -- City Park, Clear Lake, IA, US (through tomorrow, including a story exchange for novice tellers)

Lieksa Brass Week -- Lieksa, Finland (through the 30th, brass band and orchestral music of all styles)

National Penuche Fudge Day

Pi Approximation Day (22nd day of month 7; 22/7 is the approximation of Pi)

"Poorman's Paradise" Gold Panner Contest -- Nome, AK, US (112th anniversary!)

Preparedness Day

Ratcatcher's Day -- celebrated by the British dating of the Pied Piper story; celebrated June 26 in Hamelin, Germany

Revolution Day -- The Gambia

Soma-Nomaoi -- Haramachi City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan (wild horse chase which recreates a battle from over 1,000 years ago), through the 25th

Spooners Day (Spoonerism -- Named for William Archibald Spooner, English cleric and scholar who once fussed at a student because "You hissed my mystery lesson," told a groom it was "kisstomery to cuss the bride," and once accidentally referred to Queen Victoria as "the queer old Dean.")

St. Mary Magdalene's Day (patron of the contemplative life, contemplatives, converts, druggists, glove makers, hairdressers, penitent sinners, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, perfumers, pharmacists, reformed prostitutes, tanners and women; against sexual temptations)
Stilt Dance Day -- Anguiano, Spain (a special stilt dance performed on the Feast of the city's patron, St. Mary Magdalen

Birthdays Today

Madison Pettis, 1998
Selena Gomez, 1992
Daniel Jones, 1973
Rufus Wainwright, 1973
Shawn Michaels, 1965
David Spade, 1964
Willem Dafoe, 1955
Alan Menken, 1949
Albert Brooks, 1947
Don Henley, 1947
Danny Glover, 1946
Estelle Bennett, 1944
Bobby Sherman, 1943
Alex Trebek, 1940
Terrence Stamp, 1939
Louise Fletcher, 1934
Oscar De la Renta, 1932
Orson Bean, 1928
Bob Dole, 1923
Amy Vanderbilt, 1908
Alexander Calder, 1898
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1890
William Archibald Spooner, 1844

Today in History

King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk, 1298
The Swiss decisively defeat the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I in the Battle of Dornach, 1499
A second group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony, 1587
Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada, 1793
In the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Rear Admiral Nelson is wounded in the arm, and part of it is amputated, 1797
Death of Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, 1870
First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion, 1894
Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes, 1933
Dezik and Tzygan become the first of Russias Space Dogs, making a sub-orbital flight, which they both survived, 1951
Japan completes its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed during WWII, 1976
Martial law in Poland is officially revoked, 1983
The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, 1997

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting Wild

One history fact from today that stands out in the imaginations of many is the first ever documented Old West Gunfight that actually fits the now accepted description, between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt.

While the event may have sparked the Wild West era of US history, especially in the minds of Hollywood producers and novelists, it would seem to me that the even stranger tale of Palisade, Nevada, is what seared it into our collective consciousness.

Today it is a ghost town on the edge of Palisade Canyon, and supposedly well worth a visit for the view. It now only boasts a couple of dozen people living scattered through the area. The old town itself consists of the cemetery, two still standing wooden structures, and lots of foundations. Once the nearby Onondaga and Zenoli Silver Mines played out in 1917 and the railroad quit stopping there, it was only a matter of time.

Palisade lives on, though, in that it typified what most people now think of when they think of the Old West. In fact, it may have even partially defined it. It gained that reputation, though, through one of the wildest true tales of the Wild West.

While the movies and television would have us believing there were gunfights weekly in every town, along with bank robberies, Indian raids, and general mayhem, the fact it is was all quite the exception rather than the rule. It happened, but it made the news when it did occur. Most town were more Little House than Gunsmoke.

Enter Palisade. As the era was winding down, the people of Palisade decided to preserve the image in the best way they could -- by staging the mayhem, for over 3 years in the 1880's.

Apparently a conductor on the railroad suggested to a citizen of the town that since so many Easterners were traveling west looking for The Old West, the town should give it to them. That sparked a conversation, which brought up more ideas, and the town ran with it.

Alvin "Dandy" Kittleby, a popular, deeply religious man, who just so happened to look like a typical Old West villain, was cast to play the bad guy. Frank West, handsome and tall, a local cowhand, was the good guy. A week after the conversation, they pulled off their first fake gunfight. The train pulled in, and Kittleby headed toward the saloon. West came out from behind the nearby corral and yelled, "There ya are, ya low-down polecat! Ah been waitin' fer ya. Ah'm goin' to kill ya b'cause of what ya did to mah sister. Mah poor, poor little sister!" West drew and fired over Kittleby's head, and Kittleby fell to the ground screaming as if shot. Every passenger on the train dove for cover and several fainted.

The passengers were convinced they had gotten their Old West experience, and the town was hooked. Over the next several years the town earned a reputation as the most dangerous Old West town ever by staging more than 1.000 shootouts, bank robberies, and Indian raids. Shoshone Indians who lived nearby played their roles, and everyone in town was either an actor or cranked out the hundreds of blank rounds used, or helped by collecting and storing beef blood from the nearby slaughterhouse.

The railroad workers thought it was a hoot, and believed it helped sell more train tickets. Almost every person within a 100 mile radius was in on the joke. The passengers almost all believed they had, in fact, witnessed real Western Gunslingers in action.

The tales carried back by the passengers led editors of big city newspapers to decry the "slaughter" and demand the Army take over the town and restore order. The Army, however, was in on the joke.

During this time, Palisade was so peaceful it didn't even have a sheriff.

So the toughest town in the Old West earned the reputation in a Wild West story that even Hollywood can't improve upon.

Today is

Birthday of Aten -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Calgary Folk Music Festival -- Calgary, AB, Canada (through the 24th)

Comic-Con -- San Diego, CA, US (through the 24th)

Feast of Damo (keeper of secrets of philosophy; daughter of Greek sages, Pythagoras and Theano, date approximate)

Independence Day / National Day -- Belgium

Kazanskaya -- Russia (Feast of Our Lady of Kazan)

Lacuria -- Ancient Roman Calendar ("Feast of Clearings", with prayers said as land was cleared for planting)

Liberation Day -- Guam

National Junk Food Day

National Tug-Of-War Tournament Day -- if you have a problem with someone today, solve it with an old fashioned tug-of-war!

Racial Harmony Day -- Singapore

Sapporo Summer Festival -- Odori Park, Sapporo, Japan (through Aug. 20, the park becomes a beer garden)

Schoelcher Day -- French West Indies; Martinique (Schoelcher worked for abolition)

St. Lawrence of Brindisi's Day

St. Praxedes' Day

Birthdays Today

Hatty Jones, 1988
Josh Hartnett, 1978
Jon Lovitz, 1957
Michael Connelly, 1956
Robin Williams, 1951
Cat Stevens, 1948
Kenneth Starr, 1946
Norman Jewison, 1926
Don Knotts, 1924
Kay Starr, 1922
Isaac Stern, 1920
Marshall McLuhan, 1911
Ernest Hemingway, 1899

Today in History

Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, BCE 356
A tsunami devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt, 365
The first landing of French troops on the coast during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight, 1545
Twenty-four-year-old Scottish physician and explorer Mungo Park became the first European to see the Niger River, the third longest river in Africa, 1796
In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first true western showdown, 1865
At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West, 1873
Louis Rigolly, a Frenchman, becomes the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land, driving a 15-liter Gobron-Brille in Ostend, Belgium, 1904
In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100, 1925
Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, 1969
After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt is completed, 1970
The world's lowest temperature is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -82.9*C (-129*F), 1983
The fully restored USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years, 1997

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Today's is a headache post.

As in, i have a headache, and beyond the usual daily items, i'm not up to writing much.

You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, 'I release the need for this in my life'." ~ Wayne Dyer

The habit it need to leave behind is not bothering to eat until i already have the headache!

Today is

*Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) -- Bregenz, Austria (performing arts festival, through August 21)

*Friendship Festival -- Lathrop, Missouri, US (through the 23rd; this year's theme is "A Pirate's Adventure")

*Friend's Day -- Argentina; Brazil; Uruguay

*Independence Day -- Colombia

*Moon Day

*Mushi Okuri Festival -- Iwami Town, Shimane, Japan (an ancient dance, once common through the islands but now rarely performed, is done at numerous locations through the city; the dance is a request to insects to leave the rice fields alone and go elsewhere)

*National Lollipop Day

*Nagasaki Peiron Senshukan -- Nagasaki, Japan (two day dragon boat racing festival begun in the 17th century)

*Perun's Day -- Ancient Slavic Calendar (celebration of Perun, great god of thunder)

*St. Elijah's Day (patron against drought, earthquakes)

*Saint Margaret of Antioch's Day (patron of childbirth)

*St. Uncumber's Day (patron against men's lust)

*Synoikia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate; a celebration of the unification of all Attica, held in Athens)

*Thgir-yaw-Dnuor Day -- Fairy Calendar

*Ugly Truck Day -- must be a guy thing, they know where every scratch and dent came from, after all!

*Vigil for Peace, Justice, and Respect for the Human Rights of all in Columbia -- a movement begun among Native Americans of many tribes, now open to all who seek peace

Birthdays Today

Gisele Bundchen, 1980
Chris Cornell, 1964
Billy Mays, 1958
Carlos Santana, 1947
Kim Carnes, 1946
Diana Rigg, 1938
Natalie Wood, 1938
Chuck Daly, 1933
Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919
Alberto Santos-Dumont, 1873
Gregor Mendel, 1822
Francesco Petrarch, 1304
Alexander the Great, BCE 356

Today in History

Titus, son of emperor Vespasian, storms the Fortress of Antonia north of the Temple Mount; the Roman army is drawn into street fights with the Zealots during the Siege of Jerusalem, 70
The Riot Act takes effect in Great Britain, 1712
French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan, 1738
Citizens of Bogotá, New Granada declare independence from Spain, 1810
British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada, 1871
Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford, North Dakota, 1881
Ford Motor Company ships its first car, 1903
Congresswoman Alice Mary Robertson becomes the first woman to preside over the US House of Representatives, 1921
In London, 500,000 march against anti-Semitism, while in Nuremburg, Germany, 200 Jewish merchants are arrested and paraded through the streets, 1933
The Organization for European Economic Cooperation admits Spain, 1959
Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) elects Sirimavo Bandaranaike Prime Minister, the world's first elected female head of government, 1960
The Special Olympics is founded, 1968
Apollo 11 successfully lands on the Moon 3:39 a.m. GMT 21st July, 1969
India expels three reporters from The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and Newsweek because they refused to sign a pledge to abide by government censorship, 1975
The Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars, 1976
Hank Aaron hits his 755th home run, the final home run of his career, 1976
In Zimbabwe, Parliament opens its new session and seats opposition members for the first time in a decade, 2000

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yip Yip

For years i've read and heard that small dogs make better guards than large ones.

The reasoning i've seen is that the ones that yip and make noise are a pain in the neck to burglars and robbers, where the large ones can simply be thrown a large chunk of meat and bribed into silence. A pack of small Chihuahuas, terriers, or similar that are set of by the smallest sound can foil the best laid plans for silence and stealth, or make a robber think twice.

Well, it turns out to be true, at least in the case of Paco, the crime fighting Chihuahua. He's a laid back neighborhood friend to all who pass, and he likes to make the rounds and visit the small tobacco store next to where his owner works.

It's a close knit community with low crime, so Paco had never had reason to show his sterner, less friendly side.

Then, into that store came armed robbers. He not only jumped on them, nipped at them, and kept after them over and over again, he chased them all of the way out of the store and across the street. They got a small amount of money before they decided they didn't want to be chewed and scratched by the little ball of fury, but would have gotten away with much more had he not been there.

So, if you want a guard dog, go for a couple of small furballs, what my Sweetie always calls the yip-yip dogs. It seems they can have an impact bigger than their pawprint.

Today is

Back-to-Front Yad -- Fairy Calendar

Bloomer Day

Central Maine Egg Festival -- Pittsfield, Maine (through the 23rd)

Fast of Tammuz -- Jewish (begins at dawn, a 3 week time of mourning for the Roman breaching of the walls of Jerusalem in the 1st century)

Feast of Thoth and Opet Festival -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Festival of Honos -- Ancient Roman Calendar (personification of morality and honor)

Kokura Gion Taiko -- Yasaka Shrink, Fukuoka City, Japan (shrine festival that incorporates a taiko drumming competition with up to 100 teams; through the 21st)

Liberation Day -- Nicaragua

Martyr's Day -- Burma

National Daiquiri Day

National Raspberry Cake Day

Stick Out Your Tongue Day -- internet generated, do it just because it's fun

St. Macrina's Day

Anniversaries Today

Isis marries Osiris (year unknown, ask the ancient Egyptians!)
Adonis marries Aphrodite (year unknown, ask the ancient Greeks!)

Birthdays Today

Stephen Anthony Lawrence, 1990
Jared Padalecki, 1982
Angela Griffin, 1976
Anthony Edwards, 1962
Brian May, 1947
Vikki Carr, 1941
Arthur Rankin, Jr., 1924
George McGovern, 1922
Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, 1904 (last direct descendent of Abraham Lincoln)
Max Fleischer, 1883
Charles Horace Mayo, 1865
Lizzie Borden, 1860
Edgar Degas, 1834
Samuel Colt, 1814

Today in History

A dragon more than 100 metres long was found dead on Yehwang Mountain in Henan province and was seen as a bad omen for Emperor Huan, who ignored it and died at age 35 (three years later); Xiang Kai, who had warned him of the omen, was released from the prison the emperor had placed him in, and lionised as a hero, BCE164
Moslem forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic, 711
A hailstorm brings down the ceilings of the Papal Palace, Rome, 1500
Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after having that title for just nine days, 1553
Five women are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692
Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy sign the Nanfan Treaty, ceding a large territory north of the Ohio River to England, 1701
Australia's first recorded use of gaslight was commenced in a Sydney shop, 1826
The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary, 1832
The two day Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York; "bloomers," named after developer Amelia Bloomer, are worn at this very early feminist convention, 1848
A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg explodes over the town of Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town, 1912
Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention, 1963
The Sandinista rebels overthrow the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua, 1979
The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published, 1983

Monday, July 18, 2011

The End is Coming!


We are on the downside, if you think of a year as a hill.

It's closer to the coming end of the year than it is to the beginning.

As of today, only 166 days left to go.

So, all of those things you really wanted to do this year: Go For It!

It's time to step up the pace.

Start holiday shopping early, if you do any.

If you wanted to lose a certain amount of weight or reach a fitness goal, revise it a bit for the time you have left, and get to it.

My idea was to get the paperwork in order this year. So i bought the Freedom Filer basic kit, and now it is here. Time to get the other parts to the system and get to work.

The End is coming. Time sneaks away like a thief, Get that goal out and polish it and get to it. You still have time.

Today is

Anti-Bigot Day -- doesn't seem to be sponsored by any particular group, which is good on a day to practice tolerance of all

Birthday of Nepthys -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (sister of Isis)

Constitution Day -- Uruguay

Global Hug Your Kids Day

La Guelaguetza a/k/a Los Lunes del Cerro -- Oaxaca, Mexico (folk dance, music and costumes about, today and next Monday)

Mandela Day

Munoz-Rivera Day -- Puerto Rico

National Caviar Day -- no one knows how it started, but even The Russian Tea Room in New York has celebrated it for years and caviar importers know all about it; pair it with ice cold vodka or a Burgundian pinot or unoaked chardonnay, but never with champagne!

National Get Out of the Doghouse Day -- the day to work out any troubles with people you care about, so that you "get out of the doghouse"

President's Day -- Botswana

St. Philastrius' Day

Umi no hi / Marine Day -- Japan (remembering the importance of the sea)

Birthdays Today

Chace Crawford, 1985
Priyanka Chopra, 1982
Vin Diesel, 1967
Richard Branson, 1950
Martha Reeves, 1941
Joe Torre, 1940
Paul Verhoeven, 1938
Hunter S. Thompson, 1937
Dick Button, 1929
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 1929
John Glenn, 1921
Nelson Mandela, 1918
Harriet Nelson, 1914
Richard "Red" Skelton, 1913
Hume Cronyn, 1911
George "Machine Gun" Kelly, 1895
Vidkun Quisling, 1887
Margaret "Unsinkable Molly" Brown, 1867
William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811
Robert Hooke, 1635

Today in History

A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome, BC390
The Great Fire of Rome begins in the merchant area of the city, 64
King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities, 1290
Matthew Flinders leaves England to circumnavigate and map Australia; it was he who gave the continent its name, 1801
The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility, 1870
Britain introduced voting by secret ballot, 1872
Marie and Pierre Curie announce the discovery of a new element and propose to call it polonium, 1898
Adoph Hitler publishes Mein Kampf, 1925*
The Intel Corporation is founded in Santa Clara, California, 1968
Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score
a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics, 1976
Beverly Lynn Burns becomes first female Boeing 747 airline captain, 1984
On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts; over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee, 1995
Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Quebec's costliest natural disasters ever, 1996

*Note: Most of his highest officers and officials never read it; they noted it was "too boring."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

File This Under Odd

And a bit creepy.

While perusing the News of the Weird while i had a bit of a headache, one story struck me as particularly strange.

Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, made a mistake upon the death of a patient, Kenneth Mannis. No, they didn't commit malpractice, but they did somehow manage to send Mr. Mannis' mortal remains to the funeral home complete with his roommate's dentures. The Center had to pay to later exhume the body and retrieve the missing mandibles.

How, my headachy head wondered, do you do such a thing? Then, how do you explain to the family that you have to dig up their loved one, even if you are footing the bill? And if you are the owner of said dentures, do you really want them back at that point?

Today is

Birthday of Isis -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Constitution Day -- South Korea

Feast of St. Kenelm

Feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Feast of the Clockless NowEver -- can't find any confirmation on what this one is, but it sounds like fun

Festival for Victoria and Virtus -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Galla Bayramy -- Turkmenistan (celebration of the wheat harvest)

Gion Matsuri -- Yakasa Shrine, Kyoto, Japan (one of the largest and best Gion festivals)

Independence Day -- Slovakia

King Letsie III's Birthday -- Lesotho

Luxembourg Beer Festival -- Diekirch, Luxembourg

National Ice Cream Day

Petal-Hopping for Hopeless Cases -- Fairy Calendar

Scillitan Martyrs' Day

St. Alexius Day

St. Marcellina's Day

World Day for International Justice

Wrong Way Corrigan Day

Yellow Pig Day -- mathematics festivals at various universities, celebrating the number 17

Birthdays Today

Tash Hamilton, 1982
Mark Burnett, 1960
J. Michael Straczynski, 1954
David Hasselhoff, 1952
Phoebe Snow, 1952
Camilla Parker Bowles, 1947
Diahann Carroll, 1935
Donald Sutherland, 1934
Phyllis Diller, 1917
Art Linkletter, 1912
James Cagney, 1899
Erle Stanley Gardner, 1889
John Jacob Astor, 1763
Isaac Watts, 1674

Today in History

Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians, the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world, 180
Zhu Di, better known by his era name as the Yongle Emperor, assumes the throne over the Ming Dynasty of China, 1402
Catherine II (the Great) becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia, 1762
Londoner Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine, 1790
The first issue of Punch magazine was published, England, 1841
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston as the first dental school in the U.S, 1867
On the orders of the Bolshevik Party carried out by Cheka, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family and retainers are murdered at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 1918
The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; 5 lives are lost, 1918
An Armed Forces rebellion against the recently-elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain begins the Spanish Civil War, 1936
After being denied permission to make a transatlantic crossing, Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the "wrong way" to Ireland and becomes known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan, 1928
Disneyland televises its grand opening in Anaheim, California, 1955
An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations, 1975
The opening of the Summer Olympics in Montreal is marred by 25 African teams boycotting the New Zealand team, 1976
The F.W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business, 1997
A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10 villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 3,183, leaving 2,000 more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless, 1998
A diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, 1998

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Good-bye Teens

#1 Son has left his teens behind. He is 20 today.

No, it's not considered as huge a deal as other years, but to me it means a closed chapter.

Some people tell teens, "These are the best years of your life!" With all the anguish so many go through, it seems cruel to say that. Those people must not remember the bad stuff.

The best is yet to be. Always.

Today is

Atomic Bomb Day

Bannack Days-- Bannack, MT, US (through the 17th, explore the territorial capital now turned ghost town and celebrate the pioneer spirit)

Birth of Setekh -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (god of dischord)

Circus City Festival -- Peru, IN, US (did you ever want to run off and join the circus? This is the week kids age 7-21 get to do just that, so go watch and have fun with them! Through the 23rd)

Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Fresh Spinach Day -- yippee!

Gentse Feesten -- Ghent, Belgium (a ten day music and theatre festival)

Ice Cream Cone Day -- this is one of the many days people say the confection was invented, so why not?

La Festa del Redentore -- Venice, Italy (Feast of the Redeemer, through tomorrow)

LaPaz Day -- Bolivia

National Corn Fritters Day

National Personal Chef Day -- some websites say Feb. 24, but since i'm not going to have one, you may celebrate it whichever you choose

National Woodie Wagon Day

Omaha Railroad Days -- celebrating all things track and train, through tomorrow

Petal-Hopping for Non-Starters Day -- Fairy Calendar

Pori Jazz Festival -- Pori, Finland (through the 24th, a world class, very diversified program in lovely surroundings)

Prince Lot Hula Festival -- Moanalua Gardens, Hawai'i

Sourdough River Festival -- Edmondton, Alberta, Canada; through the 17th

St. Eustathius' Day

Stroud International Brick and Rolling Pin Throwing Contest -- held simultaneously in the 4 cities called Stroud: Gloucestershire, England; Oklahoma, US; Ontario, Canada; and New South Wales, Australia (results are compiled internationally following the event)

Talk to a Telemarketer Day -- only if i can mess with his/her mind in some way!

Toss Away the "Could Haves" and "Should Haves" Day -- write down all the "could have" and "should have" things in your life, then toss them in the trash! Resolve from this day to live in the present, not the past.

Wrong Days in Wright, Minnesota -- in honor of "Wrong Way" Corrigan (through tomorrow)

Birthdays Today

Corey Feldman, 1971
Larry Sanger, 1968
Barry Sanders, 1968
Will Ferrell, 1967
Michael Flatley, 1958
Ginger Rogers, 1911
"Miss Frances" Horwich, 1907
Barbara Stanwyck, 1907
Orville Reddenbacker, 1907
Roald Amundsen, 1872
Ida B. Wells, 1862
Mary Baker Eddy, 1821

Today in History

The Islamic Calendar begins, 622
East-West Schism between the Eastern and Western Christian churches begin, 1054
The first banknotes in Europe are issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco, 1661
Manchu Qing Dynasty naval forces under traitorous commander Shi Lang defeat the Kingdom of Tungning in the Battle of Penghu near the Pescadores Islands, 1683
Father Junipero Serra founds California's first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it evolves into the city of San Diego, 1769
First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, 1782
The city of La Paz, in what is today Bolivia, declares its independence from the Spanish Crown, 1809
Emily Stowe becomes the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada, 1880
The world's first parking meter is installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City, 1935
The world's first nuclear weapon, the "atom bomb," is detonated in New Mexico, 1945
The storming of the cockpit of the Miss Macao passenger seaplane, operated by a subsidiary of the Cathay Pacific Airways, marks the first aircraft hijacking of a commercial plane, 1948
J.D. Salinger novel The Catcher in the Rye published by Little, Brown and Company, 1951
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closes its very last "Big Tent" show in Pittsburgh, due to changing economics all subsequent circus shows will be held in arenas, 1956
USS George Washington (SSBN-598) a modified Skipjack class submarine successfully test fires the first Ballistic missile while submerged, 1960
The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy opens, 1965
Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, 1969
Mahathir bin Mohamad becomes Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister; he will be in office 22 years, Asia's longest-serving political leader, 1981
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collides with Jupiter (impacts continue until July 22), 1994
John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a Piper Saratoga aircraft, dies in a plane mishap over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, along with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, 1999

Friday, July 15, 2011

Small Kindnesses

A couple of days ago, i was reminded how a smile or small gesture of kindness can make someone's day.

Bigger Girl's summer job is out on a highway in what some people would call the sticks. So of course if we get turtles crossing the road around here because of the creek and the nearby swamp, you are even more likely to see them out there.

What possesses a turtle to try to cross a busy highway, anyway? Well, whatever it is, i ended up passing one just as it began the journey, and pulled to the shoulder of the road as fast as i could. Then i backed up, carefully and slowly, watching in the rear view mirror as vehicle after vehicle swerved or straddled him. It looked like everyone else felt the way i did, that the poor guy needed all the help he could get.

As for him, he would stick his nose out a bit, maybe take one step, and the traffic would come by again. When i finally pulled even with him and got out, he was firmly in shell, possibly waiting for his demise, not wanting to even risk looking around.

So i waited for the traffic on my side to pass, went to the center of the lane and picked him up. He was slimy. That's what i got for the trouble, slime. Still, i hoisted him and waited for the cars in the other lane to pass so i could take him to the side of the road he obviously was willing to risk his life to reach.

As those 4 cars passed, i caught the eye of the person in the last one, a lady driving a small SUV. She looked at me, smiled, flashed a thumbs up, and continued driving.

Just a little gesture, but it made me smile also, and started the day off right. Later, i found myself smiling at people, too, passing on a bit of cheer.

Remember the small kindnesses, and pass them around.

Today is

Asalha Puja Day -- Buddhist

Birthday of Set -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Elderly Men Day -- Kiribati

Feast of Rowana/Rauni -- Druid/Cornish/Flemish (rowan tree goddess)

Festival of Castor and Pullox -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Festival of Santa Rosalia -- Palermo; Sicily

Full Buck Moon a/k/a Full Thunder Moon or Full Hay Moon

Gorestnici -- Bulgaria (fire festival of 3 days duration)

Gummi Worm Day

Hakata Gion Yamagasa -- Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka (festival of floats, dates back to the 13th century, includes dousing teams carrying one ton floats with water as they race!)

Hundadagar -- Icelandic tradition, the "dog days" of summer begin, through Aug. 23

Ides of July -- Ancient Roman Calendar

I Love Horses Day

Lailat al Bara'ah -- Islam

Northwestern State University Folk Festival and the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship -- Prather Coliseum, NSU, Natchitoches, LA, US (through the 16th, only traditional Louisiana folk art and music are featured)

National Tapioca Pudding Day

No-Hitter Day -- George Bradley of the St. Louis Brown Stockings pitched the first officially recognized no-hitter in MLB against the Hartford Dark Blues on this date in 1876

Petal-Hopping for Beginners Day -- Fairy Calendar

Respect Canada Day

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival -- Sherwood, OR, US (through the 16th, a Renaissance festival, includes an archery contest)

St. Bonaventure's Day

St. Swithin's Day -- Saint Swithin's Society Annual Celebration in Toronto, ON, Canada

St. Vladimir of Kiev's Day

Sultan's Birthday -- Brunei Darussalam

Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival -- Dorset, England; through the 17th

Vancouver Folk Music Festival -- Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada (through the 17th)

Birthdays Today

Tanner Maguire, 1998
Emily Roeske, 1991
Brian Austin Green, 1973
Beth Stern, 1972
Forest Whitaker, 1961
Kim Alexis, 1960
Jesse Ventura, 1951
Linda Ronstadt, 1946
Jan-Michael Vincent, 1944
Alex Karras, 1935
Clive Cussler, 1931
Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, 1850
Thomas Bulfinch, 1796
Clement Clarke Moore, 1779
Rembrandt Van Rijn, 1606

Today in History

Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final assault of a difficult siege, 1099
John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hanged, 1381
Alexei Chirikov sights land and sends men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska, 1741
The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign, 1799
Zebulon Pike begins an expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine to explore the west, 1806
Napoléon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon, 1815
A fire destroys the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, 1823
Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union, 1870
The stratovolcano Mount Bandai, Japan, erupts killing approximately 500 people, 1888
In Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporate Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing), 1916
Eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others, 1955
AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape Communications Corporation; the Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day, 2003

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quatorze Juillet

In "British" (as one comedian calls it), it translates to just the date, 14 July.

The year was 1979. The best place in Paris to watch the fireworks is the Champs de Mars, but it is so crowded there that our group went to Trocadero instead.

In the carnival type atmosphere, everyone you met was a friend, and one gentleman i remember distinctly. He had a unique way about him and kept everyone laughing, even though we spoke very little French. When he would decide he or someone near him needed a bit of fresh air in the crowd, he would start yelling, clapping and stomping his feet, encouraging others to form a circle and stamp and clap also. When the circle was big enough, he would jump in the middle or push someone else in and dramatically take a huge, deep breath, and everyone around would laugh.

It was a splendid, crowded, fun afternoon and evening, and we even looked upon the Metro ride home, crowded to where you didn't even sway much with the rocking of the vehicle, as an adventure.

If you ever get the chance, go see the fireworks on Bastille Day in Paris. Just call it Quatorse Juillet, as they prefer the term. Its connotation isn't so violent.

Today is

Bastille Day -- France

Birthday of Osiris -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Birthday of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden -- an official Flag Day of Sweden

Feast of St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

Get To Know Your Customers Day (celebrated quarterly)

Hot Dog Night -- Luverne, MN, US (free hot dogs to all comers!)

Nachi Himatsuri -- Kumano-Nachi Taisha, Nachi-Katsuura, Japan (grand summer festival and purification ritual, through tomorrow)

National Grand Marnier Day -- on Bastille day, to show the friendship between France and the US

National Nude Day

Oregon Trail Days -- Gering, NE, US (through the 17th, the oldest continuing celebration of the Oregon Trail)

Pandemonium Day -- internet generated; don't let the crazy things that happen in your life get you down, celebrate instead!

Pick Blueberries Day

Republic Day -- Iraq

Runic Half-Month Ur begins (primal strength)

San Francisc Silent Film Festival -- Castro Theatre, San Francisco, CA, US (through the 17th)

Shark Awareness Day

St. Deusdedit's Day (first Anglo-Saxon Archbishop of Canterbury, 655-664)

St. Procopius of Sazava's Day (patron of Bohemia)

Birthdays Today

Tommy Mottola, 1949
Roosevelt Grier, 1932
Polly Bergen, 1930
John Chancellor, 1927
Harry Dean Stanton, 1926
Dale Robertson, 1923
Ingmar Bergman, 1918
Gerald R. Ford, 1913
Woodie Guthrie, 1912
William Hanna, 1910
Dave Fleischer, 1893

Today in History

Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra, 1771
Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille and free seven prisoners, 1789
First ascent of the Matterhorn, by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom die on the descent, 1865
The Campanile in St Mark's Square, Venice collapses, also demolishing the loggetta, 1902
The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation, 1969
A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth, 2000
The United States Government admits to the existence of "Area 51", 2003

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Family dynamics is an odd thing. It can make people do crazy. It can make you tolerate behavior in a relative you would never tolerate in a stranger, or even a neighbor, coworker, or friend.

Sweetie has tolerated behavior from his brother, The Mouth, that he would never accept from other people. Part of it is family, part of it is the strange twin thing, part of it is that The Mouth is high functioning Asperger's and Sweetie has a few of the tendencies, though not nearly as much or as bad. Part of it, too, is habit. Behaviors become engrained, and are engaged in even after they cease to bring benefit just because they have the comfort of the familiar.

So as The Mouth has gotten more and more set in his ways -- the man was born an old maid -- his demands on his brother have crossed lines like never before.

The other night, they finally had it out. A big row, although it has happened before. Sweetie has dug his heels in before, and The Mouth has always worn him down. The Mouth has often left claiming he will Never do this or that again. Of course, that lasts until the next crisis in his life, when he demands rescue.

There is something different about this time. Sweetie told The Mouth a few things i have been saying for over 20 years, because he finally sees these things for himself. Sweetie is frustrated beyond belief now, and has spoken up.

The Mouth is offended, though not offended enough to not come over for dinner once a week, of course. He has said that he will "take my brother in front of my church elders!" Note: we do not attend the same church. Sweetie told him to go ahead, that the elder board would agree with Sweetie's position.

While i'm not sure where this will end, it is actually, for the first time since we got married, going in a positive direction. A crisis is brewing in The Mouth's life, and there will be no rescue from us. His church is more frustrated with him than he thinks. It may be that he will finally have to face a few things, and do things he never wanted to do but which he has been told he needed to do for years. Good things.

Let's hope it helps him grow up a bit to himself. It might be the first step toward making the old maid into a man again.

Today is

American Quilter's Society Quilt Exposition -- Knoxville, TN, US (through the 16th)

Barbershop Music Appreciation Day

Beans and Franks Day -- internet generated, but it sounds like a good dinner to me!

Birth of Ra -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Embrace Your Geekness Day

Festival of the Three Cows -- Basque

Fool's Paradise Day -- a day to figure out how a fool can achieve paradise? or how it can be paradise if it is full of fools?

Go West Day

Gruntled Workers Day

International Puzzle Day -- some sites say Jan. 29, but if you love puzzles, go do some anyway!

La Retraite Aux Flambeaux -- France (night watch, before Bastille Day)

National French Fries Day

Rath Yatra -- Puri, India (Chariot Festival, pilgrims pull huge chariots across the city)

Statehood Day -- Montenegro

St. Henry the Emperor's Day (patron of Finland)

St. Mildred's Day

Ulambana (Obon/Festival of the Lanterns) -- Japan Buddhist (reunion of family ancestors with the living), through the 16th in Tokyo, but celebrated in August in some other parts of Japan

Birthdays Today

Cheech Marin, 1946
Erno Rubik, 1944
Harrison Ford, 1942
Patrick Stewart, 1940
Jack Kemp, 1935
Bob Crane, 1928
Dave Garroway, 1913
Nathan Bedford Forrest, 1821
Julius Caesar, BC100

Today in History

Capt James Cook begins 2nd trip (Resolution) to South Seas, 1772
William Wordsworth, on a walking tour through the Wye Valley, visited the ruins of Tintern Abbey and a few miles further on composed a poem about them, 1798
Greek War of Independence: Greeks defeated Ottoman forces at Thermopylae, 1822
Henry R Schoolcraft discovers the source of the Mississippi River, 1832
After 9,957 unnumbered patents, the U.S. Patent Office issues Patent No. 1, for locomotive wheels, 1836
Queen Victoria becomes the first British monarch to live at Buckingham Palace in London, 1837
First day of the New York Draft Riots in response to President Abraham Lincoln's Enrollment Act of Conscription, 1863
Horace Greeley publishes his editorial advising young men to "Go West, young man, go west and grow up with the country," 1865
PT Barnum's American Museum was destroyed in one of the most spectacular fires in New York City's history, 1865
Gold was discovered near Cochrane, Ontario, Canada, 1909
The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight, 1919
Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in, 1973
The Live Aid benefit concert, a telecast fundraising concert for famine relief in Ethiopia, was held in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Sydney and Moscow, 1985