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

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