Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping For Joy

Because it is Leap Day!

An extra day in the year, in which to do, well, whatever celebrating you choose to do.

Play a game of leap frog. Or go tell someone to take a flying leap, and mean it in a fun way, like into the swimming pool. This latter only works if you live in someplace tropical, of course. Maybe if it's cold where you are, you could leap into a pile of snow, then go crawl into a cup of hot cocoa.

Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland, California, will both be open for 24 hours straight to celebrate. Mammoth ski resorts are letting those who were born on Leap Day have a free stay.

Leap Day babies, often called Leaplings or Leapers, will have an extra reason to celebrate this year. Although, it is the one date on the calendar where you probably won't live to see your "special" birthday, where your age and the day you were born match up. Some people call those golden, or champagne, birthdays. Meaning, it's easy enough if you were born on the 8th of a month, say; when you turn 8 years old on that 8th, it's your special birthday.

Leapings would have to wait to be 116 years old to turn 29 on the 29th. It's a price you pay for being special yourself, i guess.

You can also belong to The Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies if you are a Leapling. There are about 10,000 members, although, worldwide, about 4-5 million people would qualify.

The Guinness Book records two families with interesting stories to tell about Leap Day babies. In Norway, Karin Hendriksen gave birth to her daughter Heidi on Feb. 29, 1960, her son Olav on Feb. 29, 1964, and her son Leif-Martin on Feb. 29, 1968.

Then there is the Keogh family. Peter Anthony Keogh was born in Ireland on Feb. 29, 1940, his son was born on Leap Day in 1964 in the UK, and finally his granddaughter arrived on the 29th of February in 1996.

Yes, there are sometimes multiples born on Leap Day. The Honor Society records at least two sets of triplets and one set of quads.

One has to wonder if these families should be playing the lottery.

Only one world leader was both born on and died on Leap Day, and that was
Sir James Milne Wilson, the eighth premier of Tasmania. The years were 1812 and 1880, by the way.

There are superstitions in some places, like Greece and China, that label this month or this day as unlucky. Guess some people don't like the odd day out. Prisoners probably don't, as one year sentences that cross a Leap Year give them an extra day behind bars.

The people over at Amphibian Ark don't think so. They are using this opportunity to launch a new international event called Leaping Ahead of Extinction: A celebration of good news for amphibians in 2012. Preventing extinction of amphibians, which tell us how healthy our waterways are, sounds like a worthy cause to me.

Whatever your plans for the day, i hope you enjoy the extra one.

Today is:

Bachelors' Day -- according to legend, and you may pick which you prefer:
a) women are allowed to propose to men on this day, because of a deal St. Bridget made with St. Patrick, and a man who refuses such a proposal must pay her a penalty, or
b) this is the one day of the year bachelors are immune from marriage proposals

International Underlings' Day -- created by Peter D. Morris for all of us who are neither a boss nor a professional assistant, as both of those have their own day; unofficially celebrated on Feb. 28 or Mar. 1 in non leap years, but this year it's official! Underlings, Unite!

Leap Year Day

Rare Disease Day

St. Oswald of Worcester's Day

Surf and Turf Day

Birthdays Today

Antonio Sabato, Jr., 1972
Tony Robbins, 1960
Gretchen Christopher, 1940
Jack Lousma, 1936
Dinah Shore, 1916
Jimmy Dorsey, 1904
William Wellman, 1896
Herman Hollerith, 1860
Gioacchino Rossini, 1792
Ann Lee, 1736

Today in History

The Romans create the first Leap Year by adding a day to their calendar, BC46
The Scottish Parliament makes it illegal for a man to refuse to marry a woman who proposes on Leap Day, the only day women could propose; his penalty for refusing would be to give her a kiss, some gold, and a pair of gloves (to hide the fact that she didn't have a wedding ring), 1288
Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies, 1504
February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style, 1712
The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating ten years of peaceful trade between the two nations, 1796
St. Petersburg, Florida, is incorporated, 1892
In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old, 1916
Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air, 1936
For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award, 1940
In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Sweden's Consul General in San Francisco, 1940
An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country, 1960
The Family Circus comic strip debuts, 1960
In Sydney, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition (58.9 seconds), 1964
Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract, 1972
Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal, 1980
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader, 1984
South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town, 1988
Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed as President of Haiti following a coup, 2004

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Almanac Memories

When i was a kid, i loved to read. It was my favorite thing to do by far, and i became a book collector at an early age; i still have most of them.

Not only did i love reading, i enjoyed reading to my youngest brother. He is a math person, and has never really "loved" reading, but he enjoyed hearing stories that i would read to him each evening. By far his favorite book was The Bears Almanac by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

It was a book that went through the year in an entertaining and enlightening way, meant to teach about seasons, holidays, and weather. Facts were tucked into the pages, and it was simply fun to read.

It starred, of course, gentle Mama Bear, a little on the crazy side Papa Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear, and assorted friends from Bear Country. Actual Factual Bear told us about wind and rain, and Great Natural Bear let us know that real bears hibernate and wake up mighty hungry in spring, as well as how they catch salmon.

Brother Bear begins the year by clanging a bell in his parent's bedroom the morning of the 1st, as soon as he sees that it's the start of a brand new calendar. Sister Bear pops in and out of the fun. Papa Bear, of course, gets himself into trouble; my brother's favorite part was Papa Bear trying to teach Brother to fly a kite and ending up tangled in the string.

My brother let me read that book to him almost every single night, as his last story before bed.

Yes, that's one of the ones i still have, and my kids have enjoyed it, too.

It was announced that Jan Berenstain died last Friday. She'd had a stroke the day before, and never regained consciousness.

She was a
mother, a grandmother, and the co-author, with her husband and later her son, of the beloved Bear series.

They were friends of Dr. Suess, who helped them get their first book, The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962.

Before bed tonight, i think i'll read The Bears' Almanac.

Today is:

Day of Selene -- Ancient Greek Calendar (goddess of the moon, date approximate)

Dia de Andalucia -- Andalucia, Spain

Floral Design Day -- a day to acknowledge this art form

Kalevala Day -- Finland (Finnish Culture Day)

National Chocolate Souffle' Day

National Science Day -- India

National Tooth Fairy Day - and/or August 22

Peace Memorial Day -- Taiwan

Public Sleeping Day

St. Hedwig of Poland's Day (Patron of queens)

St. Romanus' Day (Patron against drowning, insanity)

Teacher's Day -- many Arab nations

World Spay Day -- Sit! Stay! Spay! Good Owner.

Birthdays Today

Robert Sean Leonard, 1969
Gilbert Gottfried, 1955
Bernadette, Peters, 1948
Brian Jones, 1942Mario Andretti, 1940
Tommy Tune, 1939
Gavin MacLeod, 1930
Charles Durning, 1923
Zero Mostel, 1915
Earl Scheib, 1907
Vincente Minnelli, 1903
Linus Pauling, 1901
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, 1533

Anniversaries Today:

University of Pittsburgh is chartered, 1787

Today in History:

Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty's rule over China, BC202
The first edition of Henry Fieldings' "Tom Jones" is published, 1749
John Wesley charters the Methodist Church, 1784
The first commercial railroad in US, Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) is chartered, 1827
Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaims the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec), 1838
Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor, 1849
The Bulgarian Exarchate is established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire, 1870
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company is incorporated in New York State as the subsidiary of American Bell Telephone, 1885
The USS Indiana, the lead ship of her class and the first battleship in the United States Navy comparable to foreign battleships of the time, is launched, 1893
Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, is deposed by a French military force, 1897
Egypt regains independence from Britain, but British troops remain, 1922
DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents Nylon, 1935
Basketball is televised for the first time, 1940
In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives, 1947
James D. Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April Nature (pub. April 2), 1953
The first-ever color television sets using the NTSC standard are offered for sale to the general public, 1954
The United States and People's Republic of China sign the Shanghai Communiqué, 1972
Andalusia approves its statute of autonomy through a referendum, 1980
GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way, 1997
First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace, 1998
Over 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally form a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947, 2004
Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft, 2007

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pumping Iron

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint." ~ Erma Bombeck

Well, i must say i agree with Erma.

That must be why G-d, in His sense of humor, put me with a man who owns over 60 items of clothing to wear to work, all of which have to be ironed after each washing. And washed after each wearing, too, even if the item was only worn for an hour at a special event.

Yes, i know that in previous generations ironing was not just required, it was considered part of how you earned status among your peers. L.M. Montgomery has a line in one of her books about Anne of Green Gables in which one lady disparages another with the words, "She irons her tablecloths right side first and only, not at all like her sainted mother." That's it, sainthood means ironing "correctly." Sure, it does.

But by 1958, when Peg Bracken wrote The I Hate To Housekeep Book, she was telling women it was okay to not iron pajamas and pillowcases and sheets and hubby's handkerchiefs. You would think, by now, they wouldn't even sell the doggone things.

Alas, they do, and alas, i have to use one. Daily. How a person with only one body can wear so much clothing that i have to iron at least 4 items a day to keep up i do not understand. Yet here i stand, facing the ironing pile again, wondering what i have done to deserve such.

Is this my purgatory for a former life in which i offended a community by not ironing all seven layers of my petticoats?

Or am i just lucky?

It could be worse, though. He could ask me to iron his 42 t-shirts, too.

Can anyone say clothes horse?

Today is:

Clean Monday -- Orthodox Christian (Great Lent Begins)

Equirria -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Cavalry Horse Festival)

Feast of St. Gabriel Possenti (Patron of college students)

Independence Day -- Dominican Republic

Majuba Day -- South Africa (celebration of the Boers victory at Majuba Hill)

National Kahlua Day

No Brainer Day - this day is for me! created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, "America's Premier Eventologist"

Polar Bear Day -- as declared by Polar Bears International

Read Five Pages in the Dictionary Day -- internet generated, and am i the only one who likes the idea?

Read Me Week -- sponsored by Reading Is Fundamental

Runic Half Month Tyr commences (cosmic pillar)

Spay Day USA -- sponsored by the HSUS

St. Galmier of Lyon's Day (Patron of blacksmiths and locksmiths)

The Hop -- Fairy Calendar

Threepenny Day -- Eton College, England (By the last will of two Provosts in the 16th century, each boy recieves a threepenny piece on this day -- enough to buy half a sheep back then.)

Birthdays Today:

Josh Groban, 1981
Chelsea Clinton, 1980
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, 1971
Mary Fran, 1943
Howard Hesseman, 1940
Ralph Nadar, 1934
Elizabeth Taylor, 1932
Joanne Woodward, 1930
Ariel Sharon, 1928
John Connally, 1917
John Steinbeck, 1902
Marian Anderson, 1897
David Sarnoff, 1891
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807
Constantine I, 272

Today in History:

The first Russian Embassy arrives in London, 1557
The Treaty of Berwick, which would expel the French from Scotland, is signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland, 1560
Yuan Chonghuan is appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians under Nurhaci, 1626
Jews are expelled from Austria by order of Leopold I, 1670
The Pacific island of New Britain is discovered, 1700
Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire, 1812
The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti, 1844
Composer Robert Schumann is saved from a suicide attempt in Rhine, 1854
Russians shoot at Poles protesting Russian rule of Poland, 1861
The current flag of Japan is first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships, 1870
Charlotte E. Ray becomes the first African American woman to earn a law degree, from Howard University, 1872
Lord Kitchener opens Khartoum-El Obeid (Nyala) railway, 1912
Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14, 1940
The government of Italy asks for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over, 1964
The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1973
People magazine is published for the first time, 1974
U.S. President George H. W. Bush announces that "Kuwait is liberated", 1991
A Muslim mob kills 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya, 2002
The Shanghai Stock Exchange falls 9%, the largest drop in 10 years, 2007
Central Chile is hit with an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, 2010

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Tip From Down Home

A local gentleman wants you to remember, especially if you are heading to church this morning as we are, the following:

If your mouthwash and aftershave or skin toner are the same shade of electric blue, keep them on different shelves. Otherwise, you may end up with skin that feels minty fresh, and you won't want anyone to ask about your breath.

Have a beautiful and restful Sunday.

Today is:

Ayyam-i-Ha (Intercalary Days) -- Baha'i, through March 1

Burgbrenne -- Luxembourg (traditional burning of special bonfires on the first Sunday of Lent)

Cheesefare Sunday -- Orthodox Christian

Dance of the Known Places -- Fairy Calendar

Day of Nut -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

For Pete's Sake Day -- Wellcat Holidays asks us, who is Pete, and why do things for his sake? think about that as you celebrate this today

Levi Strauss Day -- his birthday

Liberation Day -- Kuwait

National Personal Chef Day -- heaven knows we all have one of those; some websites list it today, some on July 16

National Pistachio Day

Rooks Nesting Day -- Olde England (12 days after Candlemas on the Julian Calendar, the day rooks were said to begin nest building)

St. Alexander's Day

St. Isabella's Day (Patron of the sick)

St. Porphyrius' Day

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

The Man In Black Day -- Johnny Cash's birthday

Thriller Day -- Michael Jackson's album "Thriller" hit #1 today, and stayed there for 37 weeks

Birthdays Today:

Erykah Badu, 1972
Mark Dacascos, 1964
Michael Bolton, 1953
Johnny Cash, 1932
Fats Domino, 1928
Betty Hutton, 1921
Tony Randall, 1920
Jackie Gleason, 1916
Margaret Leighton, 1922
Tex Avery, 1908
Madeleine Carroll, 1906
William Frawley, 1887
Herbert Henry Dow, 1866
John Harvey Kellog, 1852
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, 1846
Levi Strauss, 1829
Victor Hugo, 1802

Today in History:

Origin of the Epoch of Ptolemy's Nabonassar Era, BC747
An earthquake in Lisbon leaves 20,000-30,000 dead, 1531
Christiansborg Castle, Copenhagen burns down, 1794
The Bank of England issues its first banknotes, 1797
Vice-admiral William Bligh ends the siege of Fort Amsterdam, Willemstad, 1804
Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from Elba, 1815
In New York City a demonstration of the first pneumatic subway opens to the public, 1870
HMS Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, is launched at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, 1914
The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first jazz record, for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York, 1917
Robert Watson-Watt carries out a demonstration near Daventry which leads directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom, 1935
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that his nation has an atomic bomb, 1952
Vincent Massey is sworn in as the first Canadian-born Governor-General of Canada, 1952
National Public Radio incorporates as a non-profit corporation, 1970
Egypt and Israel establish full diplomatic relations, 1980
The Sandinistas are defeated in Nicaraguan elections, 1990
On Baghdad Radio Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announces the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait, 1991
In New York City, a truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center explodes, killing 6 and injuring over a thousand, 1993
The United Kingdom's oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapses, 1995
Mount Hekla in Iceland erupts, 2000
Republic of Macedonia President Boris Trajkovski is killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2004

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tired of Bad News

And i'm sure you are, too.

It turns out whoever was in my AOL account was all over my computer remotely, and it was someone i know, but i can't figure out who or why. We know it was someone who has been in the house because they were using a teamviewer program, and i don't give out the info on how to get into my teamviewer. It's something i have to tell you, or you have to open the program on the computers and copy the info yourself.

They managed to install a couple of trojans and possibly a keystroke logger, i can't tell yet. A friend who knows computers has helped me get over the immediate trouble, and will be over soon to install a few things that will finish the cleanup. Ol' Bessy almost completely overheated from all the antivirus and antimalware programs i had to run, and we aren't through yet. Hope she doesn't bust a gasket over it all.

All online banking has been halted, and i called and changed my pass codes over the phone.

Although, if they know me well enough to quote my birthday and last 4 of my Social Security number, or my husband's, they can get around that, too.

As if the computer trouble isn't enough, we also got another of those 4am calls. You know the kind, where the child is stranded on the side of the road. #1 Son was getting off a 12 hour shift and swerved to avoid a cat. Two tires, two rims, and the transmission pan torn up. Yes, the cat survived.

When i went into the shop to pick up the car, i told them, "i'm here to pay for the $800 cat!" Yes, it was that much.

So everything has a new password, and my bank account is so depleted no one should want it. Guess that's my silver lining on this story.

Today is:

Clam Chowder Cook-Off -- Santa Cruz, CA, US (if you love clam chowder of any variety, this is the place for you)

Dance of the Secret Places -- Fairy Calendar

Februaristaking -- Netherlands (commemoration of a strike against the Nazis)

International Sword Swallowers' Day

Katsuyama Sagichosai -- Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, Japan (music fest and burning of the new year decorations; through tomorrow)

Kitano Baika-sai (Plum Blossom Festival) -- Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, Kyoto, Japan

Let's All Eat Right Day -- in honor of the birth of Adelle Davis is 1904, an early pioneer in good nutrition; kind of defeats the purpose of the next entry

National Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day -- some sites say any nuts will do, some specify peanuts; take your pick

National Clam Chowder Day -- not to be confused with New England Clam Chowder Day, back in January

National Day -- Kuwait

Open That Bottle Night -- time to finally drink that bottle of wine you've been saving for a special occasion; after all, the final Saturday in February only comes once a year (sponsored by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of The Wall Street Journal)

Parke County Maple Fair -- Rockville, IN, US (lots of fun, and Maple Syrup! through tomorrow, and next Saturday and Sunday)

People's Revolution Day/People Power Day -- Philippines

Pistol Patent Day -- Samuel Colt received US Patent #138 for the first pistol on this day in 1836

Revolution Day -- Suriname

Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen Tournament -- Japan; snowball fighting (yukigassen) at its best, through tomorrow

St. Ethelbert of Kent's Day (First Christian king of the Anglo-Saxons)

St. Walburga's Day (Patron of Eichstätt, Antwerp)

Soviet Occupation Day -- Georgia

Swamp Cabbage Festival -- LaBelle, FL, US (through tomorrow)

Quiet Day -- can't find the history behind this one, but mommy wants one!

Birthdays Today:

Sean Astin, 1971
Carrot Top, 1965
Lee Evans, 1964
Ric Flair, 1949
George Harrison, 1943
Tom Courtenay, 1937
Bob Schieffer, 1937
Sally Jessy Raphael, 1935
Bobby Riggs, 1918
Anthony burgess, 1917
Jim Backus, 1913
Adelle Davis, 1904
Zeppo Marx, 1901
Meher Baba, 1894
Enrico Caruso, 1873
Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1841
Xuande, Emperor of China, 1398

Today in History:

The First Bank of the United States is chartered, 1791
The German Midiatisation is enacted, taking over 1,000 German sovereign states into about 40 larger entities, 1803
Samuel Colt patents the first revolving barrel multishot firearm, 1836
The first US electric printing press is patented by Thomas Davenport, 1837
Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, is sworn into the United States Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the U.S. Congress, 1870
The US Steel Corp. is organized under J P Morgan, 1901
The Stanley Cup: Ottawa Silver 7 sweep Toronto Marlboroughs in 2 games, 1904
Marie-Adélaïde, the eldest of six daughters of Guillaume IV, becomes the first reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, 1912
Oregon places a 1 cent per U.S. gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the first U.S. state to levy a gasoline tax, 1919
Diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union are established, 1925
Glacier Bay National Monument (now Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve) is established in Alaska, 1925
Francisco Franco becomes General of Spain, 1926
Charles Jenkins Laboratories of Washington, D.C. becomes the first holder of a television license from the Federal Radio Commission, 1928
The USS Ranger is launched. It is the first US Navy ship to be built solely as an aircraft carrier, 1933
In occupied Amsterdam, a general strike is declared in response to increasing anti-Jewish measures instituted by the Nazis, 1941
The first Pan American Games are held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1951
Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston, 1964
The first unit of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, the first commercial nuclear power station in Canada, goes online, 1971
President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines flees the nation after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino becomes the first Filipino woman president, 1986
In the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron, Baruch Goldstein opens fire with an automatic rifle, killing 29 Palestinian worshipers and injuring 125 more, 1994
In the Irish general election, the Fianna Fáil-led government suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government since the formation of the Irish state, 2011

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's No Fun...

...dealing with nasty people.

Sorry to have to say it this way, but if you hijack someone's email account, change their password and security question, spam everyone on their contact list, and then change the password over and over as the tech people try to boot you out, necessitating that the tech people spend a half an hour just working around you to get back into that account for the client, you are nasty.

Yes, this is what happened to one of my email accounts. Someone, somehow, got into the account where i get email from my bank and a couple of other important places, and was merrily sending everyone links to malicious sites under my name.

As fast as the tech guy would try to get in, this nasty would change everything up. When i finally got back in, i changed the password and security question and had to send apologies to everyone.

Also, i called family and told them not to send anything to that email account any more.

You are a nasty person. Mean. Rude. And you probably don't love your mother.

You aren't fooling anyone, either. We all know not to click on links in emails, even from friends, if we weren't expecting them to send us something.

If you know that much about computers, that you can do this sort of thing, why are you sitting around being nasty? Why aren't you solving some world problems instead of being one?

Ah, yes, because you behave nastily. It's tempting to call you scum, even, and i refrain because i believe that i should call you out on your behavior and not call you down as a person. That's called giving you dignity, a dignity you aren't living up to, but i can hope you will someday.

Meanwhile, until you learn to behave decently, stay out of my email.

Today is:

Bissextile -- Ancient Roman Calendar during Leap Year (instead of adding a Feb. 29 in Leap Year, they counted the 24th twice, the literal translation being "Sixth Day", six days before March 1)

Dragobete -- Romania (lover's day, and the day birds choose a mate, also considered by locals as the first day of spring)

Flag Day -- Mexico

Giving of Shoes -- Fairy Calendar

Gregorian Calendar Day -- Gregory XIII issued the Papal Bull requiring Roman Catholics to adopt his calendar reform on this day; the effective date of adoption was to be Oct. 4, 1582

Heritage Day -- Yukon Territory, Canada

Independence Day -- Estonia

Lost Dutchman Days -- Apache Junction, AZ, US (through Sunday; celebration of the legend of the Superstition Mountains and the Lost Dutchman Mine)

National Artist Day -- Thailand

National Swamp Cabbage Day -- also known as Hearts of Palm

National Tortilla Chip Day

Regifugium -- Ancient Roman Calendar (flight of the king)

St. Matthias the Apostle's Day (Patron of carpenters, diocese of Gary, Indiana, diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana, reformed alcoholics, and tailors; against alcoholism and smallpox)

Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering -- Sul Ross State University, Alpine, TX, US; through the 26th

Anniversaries Today:

The American University is chartered by an act of the Congress of the United States of America, 1893
Western Washington University is established, 1899

Birthdays Today:

Billy Zane, 1966
Kristin Davis, 1965
Eddie Murray, 1956
Steven Jobs, 1955
Alain Prost, 1955
George Thorogood, 1950
Edward James Olmos, 1947
Joe Lieberman, 1942
James Farentino, 1938
Michel Legrand, 1932
Abe Vigoda, 1921
Chester W. Nimitz, 1885
Honus Wagner, 1874
Wilhelm Karl Grimm, 1786
Ibn Battutah, 1304
Emperor Toba of Japan, 1103

Today in History:

St. Francis of Assisi, age 26, receives his vocation in Portiuncula, Italy, 1208
In the first imperial coronation by a pope,Charles V is crowned by Clement V, 1530
Pope Gregory XIII, by decree, institutes what is now known as the Gregorian Calendar, correcting the older Julian Calendar, 1582
L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognized as an opera, receives its première performance, 1607
The London première of Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel, the first Italian opera written for the London stage, 1711
The US Supreme Court first declares a law unconstitutional (Marbury v Madison), 1803
London's Drury Lane Theatre burns to the ground, leaving owner Richard Brinsley Sheridan destitute, 1804
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West, 1831
William Otis of Pennsylvania patents the steam shovel, 1839
The first parade to have floats is staged at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, 1868
Andrew Johnson becomes the first President of the United States to be impeached, 1868
The SS Gothenburg hits the Great Barrier Reef and sinks off the Australian east coast, killing approximately 100, including a number of high profile civil servants and dignitaries, 1875
China and Russia sign the Sino-Russian Ili Treaty, 1881
Chicago is selected to host the Columbian Exposition, 1890
Rudolf Diesel receives a patent for the diesel engine, 1893
Hudson Motor Car Company is founded, 1909
National Public Radio is founded in the United States, 1970
The United States Olympic Hockey team completes their Miracle on Ice by defeating Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal, 1980
Buckingham Palace announces the engagement of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer, 1981
A special commission of the U.S. Congress releases a report that condemns the practice of Japanese internment during World War II, 1983
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offers a USD $3 million bounty for the death of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie, 1989
The last occurrence of February 24 as a leap day in the European Union and for the Roman Catholic Church, 1996*
Japan launches its fourth spy satellite, stepping up its ability to monitor potential threats such as North Korea, 2007
Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years, 2008
Final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, 2011

*As stated above, the Romans counted Feb. 24 twice in leap years, instead of adding Feb. 29; that continued in many places until 1996

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another One That Would Only Happen Here

"Mom, there's a cop outside who wants to take a picture of #1 Son's pants!" #2 Son was the bearer of this strange news, followed by Little Girl.

"Yeah, there's an officer out there, really!" she said. "His pants look just like the pants worn by someone who committed a murder!"

At that point, i saw #1 Son head out the door in his black pants, clutching his swimsuit from a couple of vacations ago. It still fits him, and is white with red and black designs on it. It looks rather Hawai'ian to me, the designs are exotic.

As i got outside, i saw him handing his suit to a guy whose Tahoe was still running, parked half in the street and half in our driveway.

"Hi!" the man said as i walked up. "My name is J. D., and i work homicide for the Sheriff's Department." He had handed #1 Son a business card with his name, and it had the badge number and the embossed star on it.

"This is going to sound weird," he said, "but I'm working a homicide where the only witness has said the suspect was a black man who was wearing a pair of shorts that were white with designs. I've brought up tons of pictures of white short pants with all kinds of stuff on them, and he keeps saying they aren't like those and trying to describe them, but I think these are what he is trying to describe."

"Well, isn't that amazing," i noted.

"Yes," he said. "I was on the phone with my partner when I saw your son jogging by and I told him 'Dude, there's a guy jogging here with shorts just like what I think he's describing!' and he said, 'Man, get a picture of them!' "

"And you've had those for how long?" i asked #1 Son. "Isn't that a pair i bought you a few years ago on vacation?"

"Yes," he answered.

Meanwhile the officer placed the shorts in the grass, nicely spread so they could be easily seen, and snapped a picture.

"Thanks!" he said as he picked them up and handed them back to #1 Son. "I appreciate this, if this is what the guy was talking about, it's going to help us immensely."

"You're welcome," #1 Son said, and we turned to go back into the house while J.D. jumped back into his Tahoe and left.

"Well, that's another weird one for our record books," i noted, shaking my head in amazement, and #1 Son agreed.

Today is:

Curling Is Cool Day -- embrace the Olympic sport the whole family can play; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Defenders of the Motherland Day (formerly Red Army Day) -- Russia and some former Soviet Republics

Easy Divorce Day -- marking the passage, in 1915, of the Nevada law granting easy divorces after only a 6 month residency, the first such in the US

International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day -- internet generated

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Iwo Jima Day -- commemoration of the US flag raising

Losar Holiday -- Bhutan (Tibetan New Year)

National Banana Bread Day

National Chili Day

National Day -- Brunei

Pebbles Day -- Pebbles Flintstone was born this day around 10,000BC

Republic Day (Mashramani) -- Guyana

Sourdough Rendezvous -- Whitehorse, YT, Canada; through the 26th (Mad trapper competitions, flour packing, beard-growing contests, old-time fiddle show, sourdough pancake breakfasts, cancan dancers, talent shows and much more; visitors encouraged to participate and everyone have a great time)

St. Milburga of Shropshire's Day (Patron of birds)

St. Polycarp of Smyrna's Day (Patron against dysentery and earache)

Terminalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (festival for Terminus, god of land boundary markers)

Tsagaan Sar -- Mongolia (Tibetan New Year, Year of the Male Water Dragon)

Birthdays Today:

Michael Dell, 1965
Howard Jones, 1955
Patricia Richardson, 1951
John Sanford, 1944
Johnny Winter, 1944
Peter Fonda, 1939
Donna J. Stone, 1933
Paul Tibbets, 1915
Victor Fleming, 1889
W.E.B. DuBois, 1868
George Frederic Handel, 1685
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, 1646
Samuel Pepys, 1633

Today in History:

Emperor Diocletian orders the general persecution of Christians, 303
Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type, 1455
France begins its fifth "holy war" against the Huguenots, 1574
Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army, 1778
The first US raw-cotton-to-cloth mill is founded, in Waltham, Massachusetts, 1813
The first US pharmaceutical college is organized, the College of Apothecaries in Philadelphia, 1821
Santa Anna begins his siege of the Alamo, 1836
John Newman leaves the Anglican Church and is welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church, 1846
In Mexico, American troops under General Zachary Taylor defeat Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna, 1847
Great Britain formally recognizes the independence of the Boers in the area between the Orange and Vaal rivers, signing the Bloemfontein Convention with the Orange Free State, 1854
The London Times publishes the world's first classified ad, 1886
Charles Martin Hall, assisted by his sister Julia Brainerd Hall, produced the first samples of man-made aluminum, 1886
The French/Italian Riviera is struck by an earthquake that leaves 2,000 dead, 1887
The Tootsie Roll is introduced by Leo Hirshfield, 1896
In France, Emile Zola is imprisoned for writing his "J'accuse" letter accusing the government of anti-Semitism and wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfus, 1898
The Cuban state of Guantanamo is leased to the US, 1903
The US acquires control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million, 1904
The Rotary Club International is founded in Chicago, 1905
Russian Tsar Nicholas II dissolves the Diet of Finland, 1909
The US state of Nevada enacts a convenient divorce law, 1915
The February Revolution begins in Russia, 1917
Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, 1941
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is founded, 1847
The first mass inoculation with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh, 1954
First meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), 1955
The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri, 1983
Supernova 1987a is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud, 1987
A small fire occurs in the Russian Space station, Mir, 1997
An avalanche destroys the Austrian village of Galtür, killing 31, 1999
Unknown criminals pour more than 2.5 million liters of diesel oil and other hydrocarbons into the river Lambro, in Northern Italy, causing an environmental disaster, 2010

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Miracle Has Occurred

At least by my reckoning.

Friends tired of the messes in #2 Son's cave and #1 Son's cave and car converged on the house and forced a clean up.

They are not spotless by any means, but they are now much more livable.

We also now have cups in the cabinets.

The most amazing part is that the friends are also teen boys. Apparently even they have their standards.

Today is:

Ash Wednesday -- Christian (Lent begins)

Be Humble Day -- can't find the origin of this one, s/he wants to humbly remain anonymous

Call Somebody "Boo Boo" Day -- apparently just to see what s/he will call you back

Concordia/Caristia -- Ancient Roman Calendar, Festival of Goodwill

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter -- Roman Catholic Church

Festival of the Perpendicular Sun/Illumination of the Inner Sanctum of Ramses II's Abu Simbel Temple -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Gyalpyo Loshar -- Nepal

Handing Back of Goblin Orphans Day -- Fairy Calendar (You know, the goblin orphans they adopted 2 days ago! No fairy can tolerate a goblin longer than that.)

Inconvenience Yourself Day -- consider how your actions impact others or the environment, and inconvenience yourself a bit to make a positive impact; sponsored by Julie Thompson

Independence Day -- St. Lucia

International World Thinking Day -- a/k/a "B.-P. day" or "Founder's Day" -- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Girl Guides Day -- UK

Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival -- University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, US (through the 25th)

National Margarita Day (How is that going to help with the thinking?)

Single Tasking Day -- the day to slow down and do one thing at a time without feeling guilty; sponsored by Theresa Gabriel

St. Margaret of Cortona's Day (Patron of falsely accued people, hoboes, homeless people, mentally ill people, midwives, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, reformed prostitutes, single laywomen, teriaries, and tramps; against insanity, loss of parents, mental illness, sexual temptation, and temptation)

Walking the Dog Day -- Can't find the originator of this one, but walk your dog, or do your yoyo tricks, whichever works for you

Washington's Birthday -- US

Anniversaries Today:

Washington University in St. Louis is founded, 1853
Pennsylvania State University is founded in State College, Pennsylvania, 1955

Birthdays Today:

Drew Barrymore, 1975
Michael Chang, 1972
Lea Salonga, 1971
Clinton Kelly, 1969
Jeri Ryan, 1968
Vijay Singh, 1963
Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, 1962
Julius "Dr. J" Erving, 1950
Dan Millman, 1946
Sparky Anderson, 1934
Edward M. Kennedy, 1932
Robert Wadlow, 1918
John Mills, 1908
Sheldon Leonard, 1907
Robert Young, 1907
Luis Bunuel, 1900
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892
"Chico" Marx, 1891
Lady Baden-Powell, 1889
Lord Baden-Powell, 1857
Frederic Chopin, 1810
George Washington, 1732

Today in History:

Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland, 1349
Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published, 1632
The English House of Lords rules that authors do not have perpetual copyright of their material, 1774
Jews are expelled from the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland, 1775
The first US ship to trade with China, the "Empress of China," sails from New York, 1784
The Last Invasion of Britain by the French begins near Fishguard, Wales, 1797
Spain signs the Adams-Onis Treaty, renouncing its claim to the Oregon territory and west Florida, 1819
Spain sells east Florida to the US, 1821
Edward Payson Weston, "The Father of Modern Pedestrianism," who gave lectures on the health benefits of walking, first comes into the public eye by leaving on this date to walk to Lincoln's inauguration, a distance of 478 miles, 1861*
Frank W. Woolworth opens the first US chain store, his "Woolworth's" 5 and 10 cent store, in Utica, NY, 1879
John Reid of Scotland establishes a 3 hole golf course near Yonkers, New York, thus introducing the game to the US, 1888
Hawaii becomes a US territory, 1900
Due to drought, the US side of Niagara Falls runs short of water, 1903
The Great White Fleet, the first US fleet to circumnavigate the globe, returns to Virginia, 1909
Calvin Coolidge gives the first US presidential radio address, 1924
Bert Hinkler successfully completes the first solo flight from England to Australia, 1928
Australian swimmer John Konrads sets 6 world records in two days, 1958
Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500, 1959
Following United States President Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China, the two countries agree to establish liaison offices, 1973
In Lake Placid, New York, the United States hockey team defeats the Soviet Union hockey team 4-3, in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history, 1980
In Roslin, Scotland, scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly had been successfully cloned, 1997
An earthquake measuring 6.3 in magnitude strikes Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 181 people, 2011

*Yes, he got there in 10 days, in time for the inaugural ball!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Do You Say

when everything is going catawhumpus?

The day didn't start that badly.

We have a newborn bottle-feed kitten that is the tiniest i have ever seen. It's a preemie, and we aren't sure it will survive, but she eats, and that's all we can expect right now.

The deluge of rain had resulted in water in the house, as it usually does, but this time the sump pump took care of most of it and the other leaky spot, where we can't put a pump, didn't require constant attention, just a towel once in a while.

Then we went to exercise class at the church, and Bigger Girl's best friend, Teresa, had a seizure while we were doing sit-ups. It took 3 calls to her mom to get her to call me back, and we had to get an ambulance to come take her to the hospital. Poor girl, it was worse for her than us because she was so disoriented after. And yes, i promised we will still take her with us on vacation this year, it's not like it's that big a deal.

Then Mike-next-door came over with the news that he can't finish the lawn until he gets the belt on his riding mower replaced, and his weed eater broke. Not that huge, really, but if you stand where you can see the front and back yards, you can tell he only got it half done before the equipment went out on him, and it does look funny. Take your laughs where you can, i guess, as he also told me that a good friend's grandfather just died, and so it looks like we will be attending a funeral soon.

If i have a ride, that it.

Because the worst was yet too come. My van gave out. We think it's the starter.

There is no money for a starter, or any other repair, for that matter.

Right now, Sweetie is using his old back up glasses as his good pair broke, and we don't have money for that, either.

It never seems to just rain, it pours.

So, what do you say or do when things just seem to keep going down?

Today is:

Anniversary of His Majesty the King -- Bhutan

Card Reading Day -- because greeting cards can be fun to just stop and read, can't they?

Day in Honor of Dr. W. H. Lini, Father of Independence -- Vanuatu

Feast of the Feralia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (final day of the Parentalia, with picnics in the graveyard that included libations to the departed)

International Mother Language Day -- UNESCO

Lesser Eulusinian Mysteries -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Mardi Gras -- Fat Tuesday, Carnival, the last day to feast before the Lenten fast begins tomorrow; related observances and names:
Scotland, Fasten's E'en or Bannocky Day
Portuguese, Terça-feira Gorda
Italian, Martedì Grasso
Swedish, Fettisdagen
Danish Fastelavn
Norwegian, Fastelavens
Estonian, Vastlapäev
Spanish, Martes de Carnaval
German, Faschingsdienstag
Hawaiian, Malasada Day
Lithuanian, Uzgavenes
Icelandic, Sprengidagur
also Pancake Day or Bursting Day, the day to eat the last of the eggs and butter in the form of some kind of fried cakes, and to eat until bursting

Musikahan Festival -- Tagum City, Phillipines (through the 27th)

National Sticky Bun Day

Remember the Funniest Thing Your Kid Ever Did Day -- in honor of Erma Bombeck's birthday

Shaheed Dibosh -- Bangladesh (Language Martyr's Day, for those who died in the Bengali Language Movement in 1952)

Shrove Tuesday -- Christian

St. Peter Damian's Day (Patron against headaches)

Anniversaries Today:

The Washington Monument is dedicated, 1885

Birthdays Today:

Charlotte Church, 1986
Jennifer Love Hewitt, 1979
Alan Trammell, 1958
Kelsey Grammer, 1955
Tyne Daly, 1946
Alan Rickman, 1946
David Geffen, 1943
John Lewis, 1940
Barbara Jordan, 1936
Rue McClanahan, 1935
Nina Simone, 1933
Roberto Gomez Bolanos, 1929
Erma Bombeck, 1927
Sam Peckinpah, 1925
Ann Sheridan, 1915
Anais Nin, 1903
Andres Segovia, 1893
Charles Scribner, 1821
John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1801
Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, 1794

Today in History:

England begins the trial against Joan of Arc, 1431
John Wilkes is thrown out of the English House of Commons for his pornographic poem "An Essay on Woman," a satire of Pope's "An Essay on Man," 1764
Freedom of worship is established in France under its Constitution, 1795
The first locomotive, Richard Trevithick's, runs for the first time, in Wales, 1804
The first Native American Indian newspaper, the "Cherokee Phoenix", begins publication, 1828
The first known sewing machine in the US is patented by John Greenough of Washington, D.C., 1842
Sarah G Bagley of Lowell, Massachusetts becomes the first US woman telegrapher, 1846
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto, 1848
The US Congress outlaws foreign currency as legal tender in the US, 1857
Edwin T. Holmes installs the first electric burglar alarm, in Boston, Massachusetts, 1858
The first Roman Catholic parish church for blacks in the US is dedicated, in Baltimore, Maryland, 1864
Lucy B. Hobbs becomes the first US woman to earn a DDS degree, 1866
Benjamin Disraeli replaces William Gladstone as English premier, 1874
The first telephone book is issued, to 50 subscribers in New Harbor, Connecticut, 1878
Oregon becomes the first US state to declare Labor Day a holiday, 1887
The North Carolina legislature adjourns for the day to mark the death of Frederick Douglass, 1895
Dr. Harvey Cushing, the first US neurosurgeon, performs his first operation, 1902
Gustav Mahler conducts his last concerto, 1911
The Battle of Verdun (WWI) begins, will last until Dec. 18; over a quarter of a million casualties, half a million injuries, 1916
The last Carolina parakeet, Incas, dies in the Cincinati Zoo, in the same cage that had held Martha, the last passenger pigeon, 4 years earlier, 1918
The Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country's first constitution, 1921
Great Britain grants Egypt independence, 1922
The first issue of "New Yorker" magazine is published, 1925
The first instant developing camera is demonstrated in NYC, by E H Land, 1947
The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to "set the people free", 1952
Watson and Crick discover the structure of the DNA molecule; according to legend, they walk into the Eagle Pub in Cambridge and Crick announces "We have found the secret of Life," 1953
The Peace symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 1958
Malcolm X is assassinated, 1965
The Convention on Psychotropic Substances is signed at Vienna, 1971
The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 lands on the Moon, 1972
Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison, 1975
Steve Fossett lands in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, 1995

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lysistrata Revisited

If you went to college and had to study the ancients at all, you probably are familiar with Aristophanes' play Lysistrata. To quickly recap, the Greek women are tired of the Peloponnesian War, and decide to withhold marital privileges from the men until they agree to negotiate peace.

It's was a comedy in its day and still is in ours, and in the play, the strategy works.

Turns out, it sometimes works in real life, too.

The women of the village of Dado on Mindanao Island in the Philippines were apparently tired of their men and the interminable land disputes they had. Finally, the ladies decided, to quote one, "If you do bad things, you get cut off, here," motioning to below her waist.

And "cutting the water off," as my Sweetie has always termed it, has helped in this instance. Men who start a land fight don't get any until they quit, make peace, or come to some sort of peaceful resolution.

Sometimes it's nice to know that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today is:

Adopt a Goblin Orphan Day -- Fairy Calendar

Bolludagur -- Iceland (Bun Day, the children wake the parents with a "spanking" while calling for cream buns that will be eaten today)

Blessed Wulfric's Day

Cherry Pie Day

Family Day -- Alberta, Ontario, and Seskatchewan, Canada

Flying Car Day -- the Arrowmobile, the first flying car, patented this day in 1937 (and can you imagine, as bad as driving is, how many accidents we would have if these people were flying around instead?)

Great Lent -- a/k/a Clean Monday, Ash Monday, Pure Monday, Monday of Lent, Shrove Monday, Collop Monday, Rose Monday, Merry Monday or Hall Monday, and (in Cypress) Green Monday -- Orthodox Christian

Hoodie Hoo Day (Northern Hemisphere) -- at noon local time, citizens are requested to go outside and yell "Hoodie-Hoo" to chase away winter and call in spring; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Islander Day -- Prince Edward Island, Canada

Louis Riel Day -- Manitoba, Canada

Love Your Pet Day -- a day to pamper pets, like they don't get pampered enough

Lundi Gras -- Fat Monday, Carnival, one of the last to days to feast before the Lenten fast begins Wednesday

Mahashivratri -- Hindu (festival to Shiva)

Presidents' Day -- US and US Territories

Rosenmontag -- German-speaking Countries (Rose Monday, highlight of Karneval)

St Leo of Catania's Day (Patron of Rometta, Longi, and Sinagra, Sicily)

Toothpick Day -- patented this day in 1872

World Day for Social Justice -- International

Birthdays Today:

Andrew Shue, 1967
Cindy Crawford, 1966
French Stewart, 1964
Charles Barkley, 1963
Patty Hearst, 1954
Gordon Brown, 1951
Ivana Trump, 1949
Jennifer O'Neill, 1948
Sandy Duncan, 1946
Buffy Sainte-Marie, 1941
Nancy wilson, 1937
Bobby Unser, 1934
Sidney Poitier, 1927
Robert Altman, 1925
Gloria Vanderbilt, 1924
Gale Gordon, 1906
Ansel Adams, 1902

Today in History:

Orkney and Shetland are pawned by Norway to Scotland so King Christian I can pay his daughter's dowry, 1472
The first recorded wine auction is held, in London, 1673
The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by President George Washington, 1792
Austria declares bankruptcy, 1811
Concepcion, Chile, is destroyed by an earthquake, 1835
The US Congress prohibits dueling in the District of Columbia, 1839
Luther Crowell patents a machine to manufacture paper bags, 1872
In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens, 1872
The first minor league baseball association is organised, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1887
King O'Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra, 1913
A new volcano, Paricutin, erupts in a farmer's cornfield in Mexico, 1943
The Avro Arrow program to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate, 1959
While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in 4 hours, 55 minutes, 1962
Ranger 8 crashes into the moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts, 1965
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization disbands, 1976
Texas industrialist Ross Perot's U.S. presidential campaign begins, 1992
Spain becomes the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout, 2005

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Red Boudreaux

One night, outside of Westlake near Lake Charles, Louisiana, a fire started in a local chemical plant. Soon the fire was raging out of control and was threatening the part of the plant with the vault with all the secret formulas. The President of the plant was distraught.

"Get as many fire departments from the area in here as you can," he told the local department, "and I'll give $50,000 to the department that can save our vault!"

Soon firefighters from all around the area were there, but the situation was grim, with flames holding them back from getting to the center of the conflagration to really bring it under control.

In desperation, the President of the plant doubled his offer, but still no one could control the flames.

Then, in the distance came the sound of another siren, and soon the
Hackberry Rural Township Volunteer Fire Company truck came into sight. Every firefighter on it was a Cajun and most of them were over 65 years old, and they were led by the legendary Red Boudreaux, age 70.

To everyone's shock and surprise, the little run-down engine continued to roar past every other truck and proceeded into the middle of the inferno.

The other firefighters watched in amazement as the old timers jumped off that truck and went to work. They fought the fire on all sides like madmen, and in a short time managed to extinguish the flames.

The President was so grateful when he went to congratulate them on their performance that he decided to double the reward again and told the men they would be receiving a check from his company for $200,000.

Later, when Red Boudreaux was being interviewed by the local KPLC TV news reporter, he was asked what he was going to do with that much money.

"Whall," Boudreaux replied, "da first t'ing we gonna do is fix the brakes on dat dere truck!"

Today is:

Armed Forces Day -- Mexico

Birthday of Minerva -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Birthday of Shivaji -- Maharashtra, India

Chief Leschi Day -- Native American

Fasching Sunday -- Germany and Austria, and among German speaking peoples; the Party before Lent kicks up now

Flag Day -- Turkmenistan

Fly-By for Goblins and others -- Fairy Calendar

Goa Month begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (month of the goddess Goa)

Hall Sunday -- contraction of Hallowed Sunday; the Sunday before Lent, let the pre-fast partying begin in earnest

Meatfare Sunday -- Orthodox Christian

National Chocolate Mint Day (because every day needs chocolate in some form)

Rashtriya Prajatantra Divas (National Democracy Day) -- Nepal

Solar System Day -- birthday of Copernicus

St. Conrad of Piacenza's Day -- (Patron against hernias)

Straw Wrapper Appreciation Day -- an internet spread holiday to remind you of how much fun it was as a kid to blow the wrappers off the straws

Temporary Insanity Day -- anniversary of the first time someone successfully pleaded temporary insanity in a court of law; Daniel Stickles, in 1859

Transfiguration Sunday -- Christian

Vassil Levski Day -- Bulgaria (Bulgaria's "Apostle of Freedome")

Birthdays Today:

Justine Bateman, 1966
Seal, 1963
Jeff Daniels, 1955
Margaux Hemingway, 1955
Smokey Robinson, 1940
Lee Marvin, 1924
William III, 1817 (last king of the Netherlands -- there have only been queens since)
Nicolas Copernicus, 1473

Today in History:

Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus' defeats beats Clodius Albinus at Lyon, 197
Emperor Constantius II shuts down all pagan temples, 356
The second Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ends as a council in Constantinople formally reinstates veneration of icons in the churches, 842
Jews of Tyrnau, Hungary (then Trnava, Czech) are expelled, 1539
The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America, 1600
Britain and the Netherlands sign the Peace of Westminster, and New Amsterdam formally becomes New York, 1674
British explorer William Smith discovers the South Shetland Islands, and claims them in the name of King George III, 1819
The first practical coal burning locomotive in the US makes a trial run, in Pennsylvania, 1831
Tin-type camera is patented by Hamilton Smith of Gambier, Ohio, 1856
Daniel E. Sickles is acquitted of the murder of his wife's lover, Phillip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key), on the grounds of temporary insanity, the first time this defense is successfully used, 1859
Tsar Alexander II abolishes serfdom in Russia, 1861
Thomas Edison patents the gramophone (phonograph), 1878
Kansas becomes the first US state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages, 1881
WK Kellog and Charles Bolin found the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co., 1906
The first prize is inserted into a Cracker Jack box, 1913
Ed Wynn becomes the first talent to sign as a regular radio entertainer, 1922
Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize for poetry, 1949
Bill Keane's "Family Circus" comic strip makes its debut, 1960
Artificial heart recipient William J. Schroeder becomes the first such patient to leave hospital, 1985
The Soviet Union launches its Mir spacecraft, 1986
NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system, 2002

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How To Tell If You Have Teens In the House

How can you tell if your home is infested with teens?

First, get up in the morning and look in the refrigerator where you put in a fresh gallon of milk yesterday.

Is the gallon down to just a swallow? That's a sign.

Now count the bananas. You bought two dozen of them yesterday. Only two left? Probably a teen or two or three has been at them.

Check your clothes line. Is it covered with about a mile of denim and t-shirts? Teen boys live in nothing but that.

Take a peek in the front closet, where the shoes are. Do you see several boats in the shape of shoes? Teen feet are huge.

Are a couple of the bedrooms in your house best described as black holes? Those are dens; inexplicably, teens love to nest in the middle of the mess.

Listen carefully. Is there a strange noise for music emanating from the dens, or from the computer speakers? It's what passes for music to teens, so another sign.

Next we will go hunting for scissors, tape, hammer, batteries, flashlights, pens, rubber bands, and drinking glasses. All missing from their regular locations? They are probably under the teen nests in the black hole bedrooms.

Whatever you do, don't go actually looking in the black hole bedrooms, though. There might be something alive in there, and it would probably bite.

Do most of the phone calls coming into the house sound like someone on the other end mumbling? Teens calling for other teens don't want their voices recognized by adults.

Open your car insurance bill next. Yes, i know you don't want to, but you have to face it at some point. Is it astronomical on one car? The car you and your spouse never see? This probably means you have a teen who drives.

Now head for the bathroom. Is it hard to get in there because it's always occupied? When you do get in, do you find it full of 17 hair products, two baskets of make-up, lots of strange smelling spray deodorant, and wet towels on the floor? Typical teens spend 26 of the 24 hours of the day in the bathroom because they have to make up for the lack of time spent in there during preadolescence.

Finally, is angst dripping from your walls? Yes, you've got a teen infestation, all right.

Only thing to do is wait ten years. You and they will outgrow it.

Today is:

Celtic Tree Month Nuin (Ash) begins

Clean Out Your Cubby Holes Day -- internet generated, but if you have any cubby holes, give them a look today, make sure nothing is in there you don't want to see

Cold Day in Hell -- snow fell in the Sahara today in 1979

Day of Spenta Armaiti -- Zoroastrian (goddess of earth and fertility, especially celebrated by women; originally on Esfand 5th, which corresponds to 24 February, but is now celebrated on the 18th for reasons i can't figure out)

Festival of Women -- Persian (traditional, it has been kept even among those who are no longer Zoroastrian)

Fly-By for Fairies and Elves -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Gambia

National Battery Day -- probably created by the battery manufacturers, but they won't claim it

National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

Pluto Day -- the planet/dwarf planet was discovered on this day in 1930

Rites of Tacita -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of silence, rites to keep people from speaking out in anger)

Saidai-ji Eyo -- Saidai-ji, Okayama Prefecture, Japan (Spectacular and atmospheric naked festival dating back to the 14th century, in which up to 10,000 loincloth-wearing [and sometimes drunk] men battle for sacred wooden sticks [shingi] tossed into the air by priests.)

St. Bernadette of Lourdes' Day

St. Fra Angelico's Day (Patron of artists)

Tanigumi Odori -- Tanigumi-mura, Gifu Prefecture, Japan (dance festival)

Anniversaries Today:

Ohio State University is chartered as the first US land-grant college, 1804

Birthdays Today:

Jillian Michaels, 1974
Molly Ringwald, 1968
Dr. Dre, 1965
Matt Dillon, 1964
Vanna White, 1957
John Travolta, 1954
John Hughes, 1950
Cybill Shedherd, 1950
Andrea Dromm, 1941
Yoko Ono, 1933
Milos Forman, 1932
Toni Morrison, 1931
Gahan Wilson, 1930
George Kennedy, 1925
Helen Gurley Brown, 1922
Bill Cullen, 1920
Jack Palance, 1920
Hans Asperger, 1906
Enzo Ferrari, 1898
George "The Gipper" Gipp, 1895
Boris Pasternak, 1890
Nikos Kazantzakis, 1883
Sholem Aleichem, 1859
Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1848
Ernst Mach, 1838
Count Alessandro Volta, 1745
Uesugi Kenshin, 1530 (Japanese samurai and warlord)
Mary I Tudor, 1516
Saint Jadwiga of Poland, 1374

Today in History:

Origin of the Kali Yuga Epoch ("age of vice" or Dark Age) of the Hindu/Buddhist calendars, BC3102
Jerusalem is taken by Emperor Frederik II, 1229
Amda Seyon I, Emperor of Ethiopia, begins his campaigns in the southern Muslim regions, 1332
Henry Tudor (Henry VIII) created Prince of Wales, 1503
Zeeland falls to Dutch rebels, 1574
John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" is published, 1678
Fort Saint Lewis, Texas, is founded by Frenchmen under LaSalle at Matagorda Bay, the basis for France's claim to Texas, 1685
Quakers conduct their first formal protest of slavery in Germantown, Pennsylvania, 1688
The premiere of George Frideric Handel's oratorio, "Samson" takes place in London, 1743
Trinidad is surrendered to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, 1797
The Detroit Boat Club (still in existence) forms, 1839
The first continuous filibuster in the US Senate begins, lasts until March 11, 1841
The first regular steamboat service to California begins, 1849
A direct telegraph link between Britain and New Zealand is established, 1876
Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is published, 1885
The Cave of Winds at Niagara Falls goes almost dry for the first time in 50 years, 1896
Winston Churchill makes his first speech in the British House of Commons, 1901
H. Cecil Booth patents a dust removing suction cleaner, 1901
The first official flight with air mail takes place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet delivers 6,500 letters to Naini (a distance of about 10K), 1911
The US and Canada begin formal diplomatic relations, with the appointment of Vincent Massey as the first Canadian ambassador to the US, 1927
The first Academy Awards are announced, 1929
While studying photographs taken in January, Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto, 1930
The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles, California, 1954
The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle is carried on its maiden "flight" on top of a Boeing 747, 1977
Snow falls in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history, 1979
Dan Jansen skates world record 1000m (1:12.43), 1994

Friday, February 17, 2012

Now That Valentine's Day is Over

Bob completely forgot Valentine's Day. When his wife realized that night that he really had forgotten, she was extremely upset and angry.

He asked her what he could do to make it up to her, and she coldly responded that she might forgive him if he picked up something for her that would go from zero to over 200 in 6 seconds, and do it by the next day.

So, the next day, he brought home a new bathroom scale.

No one has seen Bob since.

Today is:

Day of Cancelled Expectations -- according to William Least Heat-Moon in his autobiography, Blue Highways

Dita e Pavaresise -- Kosovo (Independence Day)

Feast of Shezmu -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (god of the winepress; date approximate)

Great Back Yard Bird Count begins --; a four day project for anyone from across North America; count birds for a few minutes a day today, or every day for the next four days, and report in, giving a real time idea of where the birds are now

Hachinohe Enburi begins -- Hachinohe, Japan (festival with prayers for a good harvest)

Last day of Celtic Tree Month Luis (Rowan)

Lemon Festival -- Menton, French Riviera (through Mar. 7)

My Way Day -- today, determine your identity all by yourself, apart from what other people say you should be; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

National Cafe Au Lait Day

National Indian Pudding Day

National PTA Founders Day -- US

Practice Your Free Throws Day -- spread around the internet by someone who really loves basketball

Quirinalia -- Roman Empirical Calendar (a/k/a Feast of Fools)

Snow Ice Cream Day -- internet generated; if you want to try it, and are sure your snow is reasonably clean, add sugar, milk, a touch of vanilla, and enjoy

St. Fortchern of Trim's Day (Patron of bell-founders)

St. Romulus the Martyr's Day

Tanis Diena -- Ancient Latvain Calendar (To honor pigs)

Anniversaries Today:

Miami University is chartered by the State of Ohio, 1809

Birthdays Today:

Jerry O'Connell, 1974
Bryan White, 1974
Billie Joe Armstrong, 1972
Denise Richards, 1972
Michael Jordan, 1963
Rene Russo, 1954
Jim Brown, 1936
Alan Bates, 1934
Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage), 1934
Hal Holbrook, 1925
Arthur Kennedy, 1914
Red Barber, 1908
Dorothy Canfield Fisher, 1879
William Cadbury, 1867
Friedrich A Krupp, 1854
A. Montgomery Ward, 1844

Today in History:

Miles Standish is appointed the first commander of the Plymouth colony, 1621
The first volume of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" is
published, 1776
The first ship passes through the Suez Canal, 1867
Women's suffragist Esther Morris is appointed the first female justice of the peace in the US, in South Pass City, Wyoming, 1870
Sardines are first canned, by Julius Wolff of Eastport, Maine, 1876
Madame Butterfly receives its première at La Scala in Milan, 1904
The first minimum wage law in the US takes effect, in Oregon, 1913
Johnny Weissmuller sets the 100-yard freestyle record (52.4 seconds), 1924
The first telecast of a sporting event in Japan, a baseball game, 1931
The first issue of "Newsweek" magazine is published, 1933
Vanguard 2 – The first weather satellite is launched to measure cloud-cover distribution, 1959
Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle exceed those of the Ford Model-T, 1972
Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match, 1996
Kosovo declares independence, 2008

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Did Your Favorite Make the List?

There is now a list of the "100 Greatest Books for Kids" out.

They have made excellent choices, although a few of my personal favorites aren't on there. To me, no kid library is quite complete without Tacky the Penguin and a couple of Danny Dunn stories.

Still, would any list ever satisfy everyone? Of course not.

Do you have any particular books from childhood that you wouldn't mind reading even now?

Today is:

Do a Grouch a Favor Day -- internet generated attempt to get us to either get the grouches on our side, or make us cynical

Kyoto Protocol Day

National Almond Day

Respectable Tales of Kelp-Koli -- Fairy Calendar (5 minutes only)

Restoration of Lithuania's Statehood Day -- Lithuania

St. Juliana of Cumae's Day (Patron of the ill)

St. Onesimus' Day

Birthdays Today:

John McEnroe, 1959
LeVar Burton, 1957
Sonny Bono, 1935
Vera-Ellen, 1921
Patty Andrews, 1920
Jimmy Wakely, 1914
Hugh Beaumont, 1909
Richard McDonald, 1909
Edgar Bergan, 1903
Johann Strauss, 1866
Nichiren, 1222
Emperor Yingzong of China, 1032

Today in History:

9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, 374
Pope Gregory the Great issues a decree saying that "God bless you" is the correct response to a sneeze, 600
English king Charles I accepts Triennial Act, requiring the king to assemble Parliament at least once every 3 years, 1641
The first known check (cheque) is written, for 400 English Pounds Sterling (currently on display at Westminster Abbey), 1659
Kentucky passes a law permitting women to attend school under certain conditions, 1838*
Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus, 1838
American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica, 1840
The Battle of Sobraon ends the First Sikh War in India, 1846
Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established, 1852
The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch, 1859
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks forms, 1868
The "Ladies Home Journal" begins publishing, 1883
The first Chinese daily newspaper in the US, Chung Sai Yat Po, begins publication in San Francisco, 1900
The first US Esperanto Club organizes in Boston, 1905
The first synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid, Spain, 1917
Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, 1923
The first patent is issued for a tree, to James Markham for a peach tree, 1932
Wallace H. Carothers receives a United States patent for nylon, 1937
Canadians are granted Canadian citizenship after 80 years of being British subjects. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King becomes the first Canadian citizen, 1947
Britain abolishes the death penalty, 1956
Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1, 1959
In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service, 1968
The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago, Illinois), 1978
The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being a Nazi guard dubbed "Ivan the Terrible" in Treblinka extermination camp, starts in Jerusalem, 1987
The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia, 2005
The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army, 2006

*This is the same US state that still has a law on its books requiring every resident to take a bath at least once a year, whether the person
needs it or not!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Best Line of the Day

Even if it was quoted and not original.

Deliveries started yesterday by 7am and i didn't wind up until almost 8pm. So i was very worn out when i got home and Bigger Girl blurted out, "Mom, is there really any such thing as happily ever after, or should I just realize every guy is really a knight in shattered armor?"

Heaven help me, i was so tired, it struck me as so funny. Then i told her that part of the happily ever after is accepting each other's flaws, we all have shattered armor or something about us that doesn't hit on all 8 cylinders.

She seemed content with that.

Still think it's a funny line, she got it from a Taylor Mali poem.

Today is:

Candlemas -- on the Julian Calendar, and in the Orthodox Churches

Decimal Day -- UK

Flag Day -- Canada

John Frum Day -- Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Kamakura Matsuri -- Yokote, Akita Prefecture, Japan (Snow Cave Festival; through tomorrow)

Kuromori Kabuki -- Kuromori, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan (through the 17th)

Liberation Day -- Afghanistan

National Day -- Serbia

National Gum Drop Day

Nirvana Day -- Buddhism, Jain

Remember the Maine Day -- US (remembrance of the Spanish War)

Singles Awareness Day -- although some celebrate on the 14th as an anti-Valentine's Day

Stop and Smell Your Compost Pile Day -- snort away the winter blues and think about spring (but i think this one is just plain weird)

St. Sigfrid's Day (Patron of Sweden)

Susan B. Anthony Day -- US

Total Defense Day -- Singapore

Birthdays Today:

Renee O'Connor, 1971
Jane Child, 1967
Chris Farley, 1964
Matt Groening, 1954
Melissa Manchester, 1951
Jane Seymour, 1951
Claire Bloom, 1931
Harvey Korman, 1927
Miep Gees, 1909
Cesar Romero, 1907
John Barrymore, 1882
Elihu Root, 1824
Susan B. Anthony, 1820
Cyrus McCormick, 1809
Henry Engelhard Steinway, 1797
Galileo Galilei, 1564
Babur, 1483 (founder of Mughal dynasty in India)
Claudius Drusus Germanicus Caesar Nero, 37

Today in History:

Philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death, BC399
Khosrau II is crowned as king of Persia, 590
Ho-tse Shen-hui, Zen teacher, disputes the founder of Northern Ch'an line, 732
The city of St. Louis, Missouri, is founded by Pierre Laclade Ligue as a French trading post, 1764
The first US printed ballots are authorized, in Philadelphia, 1799
Sarah Roberts is barred from attending a white school in Boston, 1848
Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admits its first patient, 1852
A fire in Rotterdam, Netherlands, damages the Museum Boymans, 1864
American President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, 1879
Nine inches (23cm) of snow falls on New Orleans, Louisiana, 1898
The USS Maine sinks in Havana harbor, cause unknown-258 sailors die, 1898
The first Teddy Bear is introduced in America, made by Morris and Rose Michtom, 1903
Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux begin excavations at Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves, where they will eventually discover the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls, 1949
The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China sign a mutual defense treaty, 1950
Canada and the United States agree to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska, 1954
A new red-and-white maple leaf design is adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner, 1965
The decimalisation of British coinage is completed on Decimal Day, 1971
The 1976 Constitution of Cuba is adopted by the national referendum, 1976
The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sinks during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 rig workers, 1982
The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan, 1989
At the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China, a Long March 3 rocket, carrying an Intelsat 708, crashes into a rural village after liftoff, killing an unannounced number of people, 1996
First draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature, 2001
YouTube, the Internet site on which videos may be shared and viewed by others, is launched in the United States, 2005

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

And Another Thing

One more hint to those who want to order floral gifts for big holidays: Order Early.

If you order to have your offering delivered the day before, it does two things. One, you don't have to worry and wonder if your sweetheart's delivery will be on time along with the over one thousand others on the big day. Two, s/he will know that this wasn't a last minute thing, you were planning ahead. That is points, people.

Think about it. You have flowers or candy or cupcakes or whatever delivered a day before. You come home the night before with a small gift. Then, on the big day, you still go out for dinner and all the trimmings. You have just let this person know you are not just waiting for someone to slap you upside the head and tell you to get with it, the big day is tomorrow. You are plotting and planning and putting thought into a buildup. It goes a long way, baby.

So please consider, next time you want a gift of flowers or whatever delivered for a major holiday, having it arrive the day before.

Trust me, i'm not so rushed, the florist isn't so rushed, and the recipient has an extra day to enjoy the goodies. A win for all!

Today is:

Bird Mating Season begins -- according to legend, in honor of St. Valentine

Extraterrestrial Culture Day -- New Mexico, US (day for New Mexicans to honor all past, present, and future extraterrestrial visitors)

Feast of Vali -- Norse Calendar (archer god, a celebration of family; date approximate)

Ferris Wheel Day -- birthday of G.W.G. Ferris, Jr.

Fjortende Februar -- Denmark (Danish lovers send each other snowdrop flowers.)

International Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day

International Quirkyalone Day -- a day to value your individuality, whether you are partnered or not

League of Women Voter's Day -- US

Library Lovers Day -- for those whose favorite companion is a great book

National Call In Single Day -- what a lot of men who feel pressured to be romantic on this day wish they could do, i'm sure!

National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

National Have-a-Heart Day -- to create awareness of the impact of our food choices on the environment, world hunger, animal welfare and human health—especially heart health

National Organ Donor Day -- US, but no matter where you live, consider leaving instructions about this to your loved ones

National Sports Day -- Qatar

Race Relations Day

Rafik Hairi Memorial Day -- Lebanon

Read to Your Child Day -- to start their love of learning early

Sts. Cyril & Methodius' Day (Patrons of Czechoslovakia, Europe, the Slavs)

Trifon Zarezan -- Bulgaria (Viticulturists' Day; a day to celebrate wine)

Valentine's Day

Anniversaries Today:

Oregon becomes the 33rd US state, 1859
Arizona becomes the 48th US state, 1912

Birthdays Today:

Drew Bledsoe, 1972
Meg Tilly, 1960
Gregory Hines, 1946
Carl Bernstein, 1944
Michael Bloomberg, 1942
Florence Henderson, 1934
Vic Morrow, 1932
Hugh Downs, 1921
Mel Allen, 1913
Jimmy Hoffa, 1913
Jack Benny, 1894
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., 1859
Frederick Douglass, 1817

Today in History:

The annals of the monastery of Quedlinburg make the first known mention of Lithuania, 1009
Approximately 2,000 Jews are burned to death by mobs or forcibly removed from the city of Strasbourg, 1349
Roman Catholic emperor Leopold I chases the Jews out of Vienna, 1670
The United States Flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte rendered a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, 1778
James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii, 1779
John Jervis and Horatio Nelson lead the British Royal Navy to victory over a Spanish fleet in action near Gibraltar, 1797
The apple parer is patented by Moses Coats of Downington, Pennsylvania, 1803
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall declares that any act of the US Congress that conflicts with the Constitution is void, 1803
The original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is formed in Kirtland, Ohio, 1835
In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken, 1849
A.G. Bell and Elisha Gray both apply for a patent for a telephone; Bell first by only 2 hours, and is ruled the rightful inventor, 1876
The first trainload of California grown fruit, oranges, leaves L.A. for the east,1889
Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections, 1899
The Soviet Union adopts the Gregorian calendar, 1918
The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago, Illinois, 1920
The Bank of England is nationalized, 1946
ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, is unveiled, 1946
The Knesset (Israeli parliament) convenes for the first time, 1949
Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California, 1961
The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System are placed into orbit, 1989

Monday, February 13, 2012

While it may be an artificially created holiday...

...i am grateful for one thing about Valentine's Day, and that's the opportunity to make a little much needed money from it.

Yes, i am once again planning to be out and about as a flower delivery person today and tomorrow.

Now if you are one of those who orders flowers, please do your delivery person a couple of favors.

Remember that we are paid by the delivery, so speed is of the essence to us.

This means, first, give us the full address. We can't read your mind and figure out which apartment, room number at the nursing home, office number, etc., if you do not specify. Just because you know how to get there and where your sweetheart is doesn't mean we do.

If we are delivering to a work place, please be sure to tell us what time your sweetheart gets off work so the delivery can be scheduled early in the day. It's disappointing to all of us for us to get there and find out the person got off work half an hour ago, and you didn't tell us to be sure to deliver before 3pm.

Mark your home or office well. If we can't find the address, we can't find you.

If you and your sweetheart are both at work all day, and the house is going to be empty, let us know that and tell us where we can safely leave the flowers outdoors. We don't mind doing that at all, we just need to know.

When you give us a phone number, give us one that will be answered. Your sweetheart expects flowers, so better to be surprised when we call and say "I'm at the door and no one is home, may i leave them on the porch" than to be unpleasantly surprised with no flowers at all.

Finally, if you are sending us to a limited access work place, where you need a badge to get in and have to be escorted, or a gated community where we need to ask someone to let us in, tell us and give us a good contact number to call when we get there so we can get in. There have been occasions where i couldn't get flowers to someone because no one was home all day and it was a gated community, and no one answered the phones.

Thank you, and enjoy your flowers.

Today is:

Blessing of the Salmon Nets -- Norham, Northumberland, England (just before midnight)

Clean Out Your Computer Day

Dream of Your Sweetheart Day -- a reminder that if you aren't ready for Valentine's Day tomorrow, you'd better get cracking

Get a Different Name Day -- for those who hate their name; sponsored by Wellcat Holidays

Ides of February -- Ancient Roman Calendar; also
Parentalia begins -- through the 21st (honoring divi parentes -- the deified ancestors)
Lupercalia begins -- through the 15th (to rid the city of evil spirits)
Orgiastic festival of Juno Februa begins -- through tomorrow

Employee Legal Awareness Day -- Australia

Madly in Love With Me Day -- because you have to love "me" before you can love "we"

Man Day -- always the Sunday before Valentine's Day, sponsored by C. Daniel Rhodes

National Tortellini Day

Random Acts of Kindness Week -- always Valentine's Week

Royal Hobart Regatta Day -- Tasmania, Australia (through the 15th)

St. Catherine dei Ricci's Day (Patron of the ill)

Ta-asobi -- Akatsuka Suwa Shrine, Itabashi-ku, Japan (ceremony to pray for a good harvest)

Trndez or Tearnandarach -- Armenian Christian Church (fire celebration, begins in the evening and goes through tomorrow; originally a pagan sun worship celebration)

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (through the tomorrow)

Birthdays Today:

Mena Suvari, 1979
Robbie Williams, 1974
Kelly Hu, 1968
Peter Gabriel, 1950
Stockard Channing, 1944
Jerry Springer, 1944
Peter Tork, 1942
George Segal, 1934
Kim Novak, 1933
Chuck Yeager, 1923
Eileen Farrell, 1920
Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1919
Grant Wood, 1892
Alvin York, 1887
Bess Truman, 1885
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, 1754

Today in History:

Baghdad falls to the Mongols, and the Abbasid Caliphate is destroyed, 1258
Jews are expelled from Burgsordf, Switzerland, 1349
The Disfida di Barletta (Challenge of Barletta); Frenchman Charles de la Motte accused Italians of cowardice, and thirteen Italians proceeded to rout 13 Frenchmen in a chivalrous horseback tourney, 1503
St. Augustine, Florida, is founded, becoming the oldest continuously occupied European established city, and the oldest port, in the continental United States, 1566
Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for trial before the Inquisition for professing belief that the Earth revolves around the sun, 1633
Treaty of Lisbon: Spain recognizes Portugal, 1668
The Massacre of Glencoe: 78 members of the clan Macdonald are murdered for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange (William III), 1692
Cholera appears in London, 1832
Work begins on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels's primary river and creating the modern central boulevards, 1867
The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne is first published in Paris by the activist Hubertine Auclert, 1881
Painter Thomas Eakins resigns from Philadelphia Academy of Art after controversial over use of male nudes in a coed art class, 1886
Auguste and Louis Lumière patent the Cinematographe, a combination movie camera and projector, 1894
English suffragettes storm British Parliament and 60 women are arrested, 1907
The Negro National League is formed, 1920
A jury in Flemington, New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, 1935
France tests its first atomic bomb, 1960
Black Sabbath, arguably the very first heavy metal album, is released, 1970
A series of sewer explosions destroys more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky, 1981
An agreement is reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany, 1990
The last original "Peanuts" comic strip appears in newspapers one day after Charles M. Schulz dies, 2000
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announces the discovery of the universe's largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star "Lucy" after The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", 2004
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd makes a historic apology to the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations, 2008
At 23:31:30 UTC the Unix system time (time_t) number reaches 1234567890 seconds, 2009
For the first time in more than 100 years the Umatilla, an American Indian tribe, were able to hunt and harvest a bison just outside Yellowstone National Park, restoring a centuries-old tradition guaranteed by a treaty signed in 1855, 2011

Sunday, February 12, 2012

File This Under "Government Are Weird"

Back in 2007, the US Gov'mint passed an energy independence law that required a certain cellulose based ingredient to be blended into all motor vehicle fuels in this country.

This had to be done by the end of 2011, or fines of petroleum companies would ensue.

The fines have ensued.

The ingredient is still under development, and behind schedule.

That doesn't matter.

That's right, even though the EPA knows that the ingredient is still another 2-3 years away from development, the companies will be fined, stiffer fines each year, until they comply.

Thus my premise, that government, or "Guv'mint" as one elderly friend of mine used to call it, are weird.

Today is:

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday -- US

Borrowed Days (through the 14th) -- Scottish Highlands (Gaelic Faoilteach, days supposedly borrowed from January, and if the weather is bad, the rest of the year will be good.)

Darwin Day -- International

Day Holy to Diana -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Georgia Day -- Georgia, US

Lost Penny Day -- in honor of pennies, the first US coin to commemorate a person; collect all those pennies you have hanging around and donate them to a good cause

Oglethorpe Day

Pick A New Love Song Day -- internet generated, and why? Only bother if your old one has worn thin.

Plum Pudding Day -- shouldn't this be at Christmas? Ah, well, i don't set them, i just report them.

Powamu Festival -- Hopi Native Americans (8 day winter festival, date approximate)

Red Hand Day -- UN (Drawing attention to the plight of child soldiers.)

Runic Half Month of Sigel (Sun) begins

St. Julian the Hospitaler (Patron of travelers, innkeepers, boatmen, circus performers)

St. Meletius' Day

Union Day -- Myanmar

World Marriage Day

Youth Day -- Venezuela

Birthdays Today:

Jennifer Stone, 1993
Christina Ricci, 1980
Naseem Hamed, 1974
Arsenio Hall, 1955
Joanna Kerns, 1953
Michael McDonald, 1952
Steve Hackett, 1950
Ray Manzarek, 1939
Judy Blume, 1938
Bill Russell, 1934
Joe Garagiola, 1926
Franco Zeffirelli, 1923
Dom DiMaggio, 1917
Lorne Greene, 1915
Ted Mack, 1904
Omar Bradley, 1893
John Graham Chambers, 1843
Charles Darwin, 1809
Abraham Lincoln, 1809
Cotton Mather, 1663
John Winthrop the Younger, 1606
John Winthrop the Elder, 1588
Kujo Yoritsune, Japanese shogun, 1218

Anniversaries Today:

Maria Therese Habsburg marries Emperor Francios I, 1736
Michigan State University is founded, 1855

Today in History:

Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India, 1502
Santiago, Chile, is founded by Pedro de Valdivia, 1541
A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason, 1554
The Onderlinge van 1719 u.a., the oldest existing life insurance company in the Netherlands is founded, 1719
Englishman James Oglethorpe founds Georgia, the 13th colony of the Thirteen Colonies, and its first city at Savannah, 1733
The first US fugitive slave law, requiring the return of runaway slaves, is passed, 1793
The Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe, is destroyed by fire, 1816
The Creek Indian treaty is signed, requiring the tribes to turn over all of their land in Georgia to the government and migrate west by Sept. 1 the following year, 1825
Ecuador annexes the Galapagos Islands, 1832
Official proclamation sets April 15 as last day of grace for US silver coins to circulate in Canada, 1870
The US Congress abolishes bimetallism and authorizes $1 and $3 gold coins, 1873
King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands/Hawaii becomes the first king to visit the US, 1874
The first news dispatch by telephone takes place, between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, 1877
News of the Battle of Isandlwana, the single greatest defeat for the British Army at the hands of a native army, reaches London, 1879
The New York to Paris auto race, via Alaska and Siberia, begins; George Schuster wins after 88 days behind the wheel, 1908
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) forms, 1909
The last Ch'ing (Manchu) emperor of China, Hsuan T'ung, abdicates, 1912
A meteor creates an impact crater in Sikhote-Alin, in the Soviet Union, 1947
U.S.S.R. launches Venera 1 towards Venus, 1961
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970, is exiled from the Soviet Union, 1974
Carmen Lawrence becomes the first female Premier in Australian history when she becomes Premier of Western Australia, 1990
NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touchdown in the "saddle" region of 433 Eros becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid, 2001
The city of San Francisco, California begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom, 2004