Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Quite a Poser

Upon finding out that our current litter of 6 bottle-feed kittens were actually born on July 4, Bigger Girl exclaimed,  "Oh, darn!  That means they will all be adopted by Republicans!  Isn't the Fourth of July a religious holiday for them?"

Before i could think of how to respond, she said, "Speaking of religion, if the devil sneezes, do you bless him?  Or is that at odds with what the blessing means?"

Quite a poser, i mumbled, as i picked up another screaming kitten.

Hope you have all had a great July, it's hard to believe it's already over.

Today is

Always Live Better Than Yesterday Day

Cotton Candy Day

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola -- (Founder of the Jesuits, especially revered in Spain; Patron of retreats, soldiers, and the Society of Jesus which he founded; Basque country; Bilbao, Spain; Bizkaia, Spain; Gipuzkoa, Spain; Guipuscoa, Spain; Guipúzcoa, Spain; Spiritual Exercises (by Pope Pius XI); Vizcaya, Spain)

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

Jump for Jellybeans Day

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

Lammas Eve / Lughnassad Eve

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

Loki and Sigyn's Day - Asatru / Ancient Norse tradition (aka Devoted Couples Day)

Make Homemade Ice Cream and Invite the Neighbors Over Day -- summer's almost over, make the most of the days we have left!

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

Mutts' Day -- because mutts deserve a day as much as purebreeds do!

National Raspberry Cake Day

St. Germanus' Day (Patron of Auxerre, France)

St. Joseph of Arimathea's Day -- Eastern Orthodox Church (Patron of funeral directors)

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

Why are there so few...

...father-in-law jokes?

On Father-in-Law Day, you should be able to tell a good Father-in-Law joke, and i could only find a few that were good (meaning i got a chuckle out of them and they don't have language i can't use in front of the kids).

A son-in-law, heading overseas with the military and expecting his first child, tells his father-in-law, "Since I can't be here, I'm counting on you to get the word to me that the baby has arrived.  The doctors have already told us it's a boy, so when he gets here, you need to send me a message through command.  But don't just say that the baby has arrived, everything has to be in code while we are over there.  Tell me that the clock has arrived, and I'll know what you mean."

Well, a month later the baby comes and the doctor was wrong, it was a girl.  This put the father-in-law in a dilemma.  If he just said the clock had arrived, his son-in-law would think he had a boy as expected.  If he said the clock hadn't arrived, his son-in-law might think something was wrong.

Finally, he sent the message, "The clock has arrived, but the pendulum is missing."

A mother-in-law decided to test her two sons-in-law, to see what they really thought of her.  She took her elder son-in-law for a walk one day, and on the way past the lake pretended to trip and so "fell" into the lake and further pretended to drown.  The son-in-law dove straight in and pulled her out, and the next day, he found a brand new Toyota truck in his driveway with a thank you note from her.

A couple of weeks later, she took the younger son-in-law on the same walk and again "fell" into the lake.  But this time, she really got into trouble and began to drown.  The son-in-law stood by gleefully thinking, "Finally, we are rid of the old bat!"  The next day, he found a brand new Ferrari in his driveway with a thank you note from his father-in-law.

A Quality Analysis Engineer got married, and after a hard 24 months of it, he sent a note to his father-in-law that said, "YOUR PRODUCT IS NOT MEETING MY REQUIREMENTS."

The very smart father-in-law responded, "WARRANTY EXPIRED, MANUFACTURER NOT RESPONSIBLE."

Today is

Dia del Amigo -- Paraguay

Father-in-Law Day

Feast of the Throne -- Morocco

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

Friendship Day -- UN

Herbal Ballooning -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Vanuatu(1980)

Kronia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (festival of Kronos as god of the harvest)

Martyr's Day -- South Sudan

National Cheesecake Day

Paperback Day -- anniversary of the 1935 publication of Penguin #1, Arial, A Life of Shelley, by Andre Maurois in London, the first successful series of paperback books

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

Sts. Abdon and Sennen's Day (Patrons of barrel makers and coopers; the ashes of ferns cut and burned on this day will keep away insects and unwanted guests)


Anniversaries Today

Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, marries Michael Tindall, 2011

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Upon Further Investigation...

It is looking like all 3 of the younger kids have had their Social Security Numbers stolen.

In all 3 cases, when i try to get credit reports, i am told that the information of date of birth and such do not match up with the records the credit bureaus have.

As i said, this is going to be a test of whether or not that identity theft insurance we've been paying for will work.  Supposedly, if it does turn out their numbers are being used by other people, all we have to do is file the police report, and the company does the actual hundreds of hours of legwork involved in getting the mess untangled and their credit cleared up.

Now, too, if these people are using my kids' numbers for jobs and such, we will have to notify the SSA and make sure there aren't earnings credited to them that don't belong, and that Bigger Girl's earnings are credited to her properly.  Also, we will have to watch for someone else's medical information coming up under their numbers.  That can be a mess to clean, because medical records are confidential.

Still, this company claims to work on all of that.  We will see.

There has to be a better way than the Social Security Number to identify people, and be the one main source of figuring out who someone is.  It was never meant to do this.  We need a better, more secure system.

Meanwhile, tell all the parents you know, and if you are parents, consider yourself warned.  People apparently love to steal the SSN of kids, because they are working with a clean slate.  Often, apparently, they do this to babies and don't get found out until the kids are 18 and applying for student loans.  By then, it's a horrible, tangled mess.

Check every year.  Everyone is entitled by law to one free credit report every year from each of the big 3 companies.  You don't have to sign up for anything, the websites that promise a free report when you sign up for a trial of this or that are ripoffs.  Instead, get the absolutely free ones from annualcreditreport.com.

Do it 3 times a year, one of the 3 reports at a time.  That way you spot anything very early, when it's easy to untangle.

Check for your own credit, too, the same way, 3 times a year.

Had i realized, i would have done it long before now, and we wouldn't be wondering if we could even get our kid into school.

Today is

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

Feast of St. Martha, Virgin, Dragon Charmer, Sister of Lazarus (Patron of butlers, cooks, dieticians, domestic servants, homemakers, hotel keepers, housemaids, housewives, inkeepers, laundry workers, maids, manservants, servants, servers, single laywomen, travellers; Villajoyosa, Spain, which village she saved on her feast day by sending a flash flood to wash away the Moorish invaders in 1538)

Festival of Domhnach Chrom Dubh -- Ireland (Black Crom's Sunday, associated with the god Lugh and connected to the festival of Lammas; also connected to John Barleycorn, the personification of the grain, who is killed by being harvested at this time; many honor St. Patrick's Fast by making a pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, where he fasted until he overcame the pagan deity Crom Cruach [Crom of the Reek])

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

Heyannir month commences -- Icelandic Calendar (Harvest Month, literally translates "Hay Working")

International Bog Day

International Tiger Day

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

NASA Day -- marking the day President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law, creating NASA

National Anthem Day -- Romania

National Lasagna Day

National Thai Language Day -- Thailand (Wan Phasa Thai Haeng Chat)

National Tree Day -- Australia

Photograph Your Children When They're Not Looking Day -- get a good, candid shot to enjoy

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

Rain Day Festival -- Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (yes, it has rained at 113 out of the 137 observances of this festival on this date)

Ranggeln -- Mt. Hundstein, Germany (traditional form of wresting, called ranggeln, in honor of St. Jacob's Day [which most celebrate on July 25]; this particular festival harks back to the pre-Christian Lughnasadh celebrations, which went through Aug. 1 and contained athletic events)

Runic Half-Month Thorn begins (defense)

St. Lazarus' Day -- date given in the Martyrologium Romanum; celebrated on Lazarus Saturday by most Eastern Churches and on Dec. 17 in most Western Churches

St. Olaf's (Olav) Day (Norway's Viking king; pPtron of carvers, difficult marriages, kings; Norway)related observances
     Olavsoka -- Faroe Islands (opening of Logting, or Parliament; a National Day, on the Feast Day of St. Olav)
     Oslok Eve -- Norway (celebrating the valiant death of their hero on this evening at the battle at Stiklestadt in 1030)
     sometimes associated with Thor's Day among the Norse and Thunor of the Anglo-Saxons

Territory Day -- Wallis and Futuna

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

Anniversaries Today

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

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

Saturday, July 28, 2012

As if Being 19 Were Not Enough

We took Bigger Girl to the school to register her for college.

Another student there is already using her Social Security Number.

It's going to be a mess straightening this out, and nothing moves on weekends and we are antsy about it.

Also, my email was hacked, or something.  At least, one of my addresses was.  So i also had to work to get in there, and finally did, and have forwarded all my important emails from there to another address.

So our Monday is cut out for us, getting her to the Social Security Office to replace her card (it was accidentally shredded a few years ago when i switched filing cabinets and we keep meaning to get over there and replace it and now we have no way to put it off any longer), then back to the college to prove she is who she is so they can contact the other student and get his/her number corrected.

If it turns out this person has stolen her identity, that it isn't just a key in error as we suspect, then we will find out of the ID Theft Protection from ID Experts that is sold by zanderins.com is as good as Dave Ramsey says.  Supposedly, once we figure out it really is theft, and we file a police report, they will handle straightening out the whole rest of the mess.

And if it turns out that the Social Security Administration has screwed up and given this number to more than one person, which has happened before, then it's going to be a whole different level of fun, including getting her a new number and going back and changing it all with everyone from her employer to the IRS to her ESA to everything.

As if being 19 wasn't difficult enough already.

Today is

Antique and Classic Boat Rendevous -- Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT, US (pre-1963 power and sailing yachts, river parade, and Rum Runners Rendezvous celebration; through tomorrow)

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

Festival of Hedjihotep -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (goddess of weaving; date approximate)

Geneva Arts Fair -- Geneva, IL, US (through tomorrow)

Imp-Handling Conference -- Fairy Calendar

Independence Day -- Peru(1821)

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

Liberation Day / Anniversary of the Fall of Fascism -- San Marino

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

National Dance Day -- go out and bust a move on a Saturday night (but don't bust you, please)

National Day of the Cowboy -- US; celebrating the heritage, and those who still work as cowboys/cowgirls today

National Milk Chocolate Day

Olavsoka Eve and the Olai Festival -- Faroe Islands (St. Olav's Eve, the night before the opening of Parliament and the festival of St. Olav; through tomorrow)

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

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

St. Arduinus of Trepino's Day (Patron of Trepino, Italy)

Sumidagawa River Fireworks Festival -- Tokyo, Japan (one of Japan's largest fireworks festivals)

Terry Fox Day -- born in Winnipeg on this date in 1958, he raised $24 million for cancer research by running over 3,000 miles on an artificial leg before his death in 1981 at age 23

Tisha B'Av -- Judaism (begins at sundown, through tomorrow; fast in remembrance of the destruction of the First Temple in 586BCE and the Second Temple in 79AD)

World Hepatitis Day -- International

Anniversaries Today

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

Birthdays Today

Hugo Chavez, 1954
Sally Struthers, 1948
Jim Davis, 1945
Rick Wright, 1945
Bill Bradley, 1943
Phil Proctor, 1040
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, 1929
Earl Tupper, 1907
Rudy Vallee, 1901
Joe E. Brown, 1892
Beatrix Potter, 1866

Today in History

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

Friday, July 27, 2012


Not just the date, because today is the 27th.

Today is also our 27th wedding anniversary.

Because i was 22 when i married, that means i've been married 5 years longer than my entire life prior to marriage.  More years in it than out of it.

Boggles the mind, it doesn't seem that long, until i stop to think about it.  Then i wonder if that's really all!

Some things are totally different.  We have kids, we have shared history, we no longer share one car.

Some things are about the same.  He still wants bacon grease cooked into almost everything because his mama did it that way, and we will still celebrate by going out for coffee.

His brother, my Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, is still hanging around, still single, still behaving like the old maid he was born to be.

Good times, bad times, we've stuck it out.  Just like we promised.  Twenty-seven years ago today.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Today is

Afrma Fancy Rat & Mouse Display -- Riverside, CA, US

Annie Oakley Days Festival -- Greenville, OH, US (through Sunday; keeping alive the legacy of "Little Miss Sure Shot")

Antique Power and Steam Exhibition -- Burton, OH, US (through Sunday; over 100 antique engines show they can still cut the mustard -- or saw the logs, thresh the grain, etc.)

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

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

Berne Swiss Festival -- Berne, NE, US (Swiss food, dancing, yodeling, a stein-toss, and lots more family fun; through tomorrow)

Day of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus -- legendary saints who, upon persecution by the Emperor Decius and being walled up in a cave to die as martyrs, instead slept for over 200 (in the Koran, yes, they are mentioned there, it is 300) years; based on an even more ancient legend and the prototypes of Rip Van Winkle; related observances
     National Sleepy Head Day -- Finland (the last person in the house to wake on this day is awakened with water, either thrown on him/her or the person is thrown into water; in honor of the story of the Saints of Ephesus)
     Seven Sleepers Day -- Ancient Latvian Calendar
     Siebenschlafer -- Germany (a weather prognostication day, if it rains today, there will be rain for seven weeks more)

Dodge City Days -- Dodge City, KS, US (through Aug. 5; a celebration of Western heritage)

Gilroy Garlic Festival -- Gilroy, California (through Sunday; the part of the world that grows more of our garlic than anywhere else, where you can marinate a steak just by hanging it on the clothesline in the breeze!)

Gold Discovery Days -- Custer, SD, US (through Sunday; bed races and pancake breakfast, children's fair and more)

Iglesia Ni Cristo Day -- Philippines

Ipip Festival -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (festival for working on the king's tomb; date approximate)

Jose Celso Barbosa Day -- Puerto Rico

Langholm Common Riding -- Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland (a traditional riding of the bounds, with lots of celebrating, begins 5am and ends 9:30pm)

Lumberjack World Championships -- Hayward, WI, US (through Sunday; the world's greatest lumberjacks face off in the "Olympics of the Forest")

Mutomboko Ceremony -- Luapula Province, Zambia (through tomorrow; among the Lunda of the Kazembe kingdom, a rich celebration of African cultural heritage, traditional dances and music, and sponsored by the Royal Family)

National Blunt Object Day -- this one is just weird, and no one wants to take the blame for starting it, either

National Creme Brulee Day

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

National Scotch Day

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

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

Schools Tree Day -- Australia (because National Tree Day is always a Sunday, the schools participate in planting trees the Friday before)

St. Pantaleon's Day (Patron of bachelors, physicians, torture victims; against tuberculosis)

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Take Your Houseplants For a Walk Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays, which claims doing this will orient them to their position on the earth and make them healthier (some websites mistakenly call it take your pants for a walk day!)

Talk in an Elevator Day

Taylor Horsefest -- Taylor, ND, US (through Sunday; big enough to be fun, small enough to get you lots of time with the stars of the show, the horses!)

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

Victory Day -- North Korea

Walk on Stilts Day -- at your own risk always; sponsored by Bill "Stretch" Coleman, the Nine Foot Clown, who encourages everyone to walk on stilts to foster a chance to develop self-confidence, master balance and coordination, enjoy the challenge, and celebrate daring accomplishments at all ages

War Martyrs' and Invalids' Day -- Vietnam

World Congress of Esperanto -- Hanoi, Vietnam; through Aug. 4

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

Siward, Earl of Northumbria invades Scotland to support Malcolm Canmore against Macbeth of Scotland, who usurped the Scottish throne from Malcolm's father, King Duncan; Macbeth is defeated at Dunsinane, 1054
Jesuit priest Francis Xavier's ship reaches Japan, 1549
The English Parliament passes the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies have to be sent in English ships from English ports, 1663
A Royal Charter is granted to the Bank of England, 1694
The Russian Navy defeats the Swedes at the Battle of Grengam, 1720
The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established (later renamed Department of State), 1789
Robespierre is finally arrested, 1794
The Atlantic Cable is successfully completed, allowing transatlantic telegraph communication for the first time, 1866
Researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting announce the discovery of the hormone insulin, 1921
The animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny, 1940
RMS Titanic, Inc. begins the first expedited salvaging of wreckage of the RMS Titanic, 1987
A pipe bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA, US, during the Summer Olympics, 1996
Photograph negatives purchased at a garage sale prove to be early works by photographer Ansel Adams, 2010

Thursday, July 26, 2012

M & M

As in Mau and Manx.

The most current crop of bottle babies are from an Egyptian Mau mother, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, and a father that was part Mau and part Manx.

Two of them have tails, albeit short compared to many other cats. one has half, one only a quarter tail, one a tiny stub, and then there is this little girl:

                                                                                            I'm only 3 weeks old!

No tail, and an interesting marbled pattern.

So far, they are eating, and have the runs.  Par for the course, getting suddenly put on formula.

Today is

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

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

Blessing of the Waters -- Whistable, Kent, England (ceremony dating back to the early 19th century; during the community's annual Oyster Festival)

Calgary Folk Music Festival -- Calgary, AB, Canada (through the 26th)

Dia de la Rebeldia -- Cuba (Revolution Anniversary)

Festival of Hathor -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

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

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

Great Texas Mosquito Festival -- Clute, Texas, US (Annual salute to the fact that if you can't beat 'em, and when it's mosquitoes, you can't, you might as well celebrate 'em.  There's something for all ages, including the Skeeter Beaters Baby Crawl, a Mosquito calling contest, and a Mr. & Mrs. Mosquito Legs Contest, plus games, rides, carnival food, and more; through the 28th)

Independence Day -- Liberia(1847); Maldives(1965)

Kargil Vijay Diwas -- India (Kargil Victory Day)

National Chili Dog Day

National Coffee Milkshake Day

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

Oregon Brewers Festival -- Portland, OR, US (81 microbreweries from across the nation showcase their best beer; through Sunday)

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

Quilt Odyssey 2012 -- Hershey, PA, US (national quilt competition, through the 28th)

Racial Desegregation Day -- date in 1944 the US Army ordered training camp facilities desegregated, and the date in 1948 President Truman signed the order integrating the US armed forces

St. Anne's Day (traditional name given to the mother of Mary; Patron of broommakers, cabinetmakers, carpenters, childless people, equestrians, expectant mothers, grandmothers, grandparents, homemakers, horse men, horse women, housewives, lace makers, lace workers, lost articles, miners, mothers, old-clothes dealers, poor people, pregnancy, pregnant women, riders, seamstresses, stablemen, turners, women in labour; Canada; France; Micmaqs; over 20 cities around the world; against poverty and sterility)

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

Wonderful Drinks Day -- Fairy Calendar

Anniversaries Today

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

Birthdays Today

Kate Beckinsale, 1973
Sandra Bullock, 1964
Kevin Spacey, 1959
Angela Hewitt, 1958
Dorothy Hamill, 1956
Roger Taylor, 1949
Helen Mirren, 1945
Mick Jagger, 1943
Dobie Gray, 1940
Stanley Kubrick, 1928
Blake Edwards, 1922
Jason Robards, Jr., 1922
Vivian Vance, 1912
Gracie Allen, 1902
Aldous Huxley, 1894
Carl Jung, 1875
George Bernard Shaw, 1856
The United States Postal Service, 1775

Today in History

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

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bad Foundation

"JoePa didn't deserve this."

That was a quote in a story about the reactions of Penn State students to the penalties handed down to the school by the NCAA.

Excuse me?

Yes, i know this young man was a lifelong fan, who grew up cheering for Penn State and always planned to attend there, just as i always planned to, and did, attend the college here.  In fact, i knew the college fight song and alma mater before i knew my high school's songs.  So i get the devotion to the school and the programs.

Let's look at this, though.  Paterno knew, or had every reason to know, that one of his assistants was raping children.  Sandusky stole the innocence and lives of young men, and Paterno looked the other way.

Why did he do that?  Because Sandusky helped him win.  He built that house on a rotten foundation.  Remember the Amityville Horror?  Where they built houses on a graveyard?  Well, the house of wins that Penn State and Joe Paterno's record was built on was a graveyard of children's scarred souls, children who are now young men trying to put their lives back together.

Yes, it's sad.  Sadder still is that Paterno was willing to tolerate Sandusky's behavior for the sake of winning a game.  It's a game.  It's important, yes, i like for my team to win football games, but it's not important in the more ultimate sense.  Lives are important.  Souls are important.  The game is only important if you are using it as a tool to develop young lives.

The wise man in the parable built a house on a firm foundation, and the house withstood the storm.  The house built on a bad foundation fell.  That was first a foremost a parable about building your soul upon the Gospel, yes, but it applies here.

The foundation was rotten, and when the storm the house fell.  Great is the fall of it.

Today is

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

Be Adamant About Something Day -- it's good practice

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

Chincoteague Pony Round Up -- Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, VA, US (through tomorrow)

Commonwealth Constitution Day -- Puerto Rico

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

Ebernoe Horn Fair -- Sussex, England (ancient horn fairs were pagan fertility rites, now just a fun time for all)

Eve of the Hathor Festival -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar

Festival of the Knee-Knockers -- Fairy Calendar

Friendship Festival -- Lathrop, Missouri, US (through the 28th; this year's theme is "Peace, Love, and Friendship")

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

Guanacaste Day -- Costa Rica

Ilyap'a -- Ancient Inca Calendar (festival of the lightning god; date approximate)

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

Republic Day -- Tunisia

St. Christopher's Day (Patron of archers, automobile drivers/motorists, bachelors, boatmen, bookbinders, busdrivers, cab drivers,epileptics, fruit dealers, fullers, gardeners, lorry drivers, mariners, market carriers, porters, sailors, taxi drivers, transportation/transporation workers, travellers, truck drivers/truckers, watermen; Baden, Germany; Barga, Italy; Brunswick, Germany; Fubine, Italy; Havana, Cuba; Mecklenburg, Germany; Rab, Croatia, St. Christopher's Island; Saint Kitts; Toses, Girona, Calalonia, Spain ;for a holy death; against bad dreams, epilepsy, floods, hailstorms, lightning, pestilence, storms, sudden death, toothache)

St. James' Day (The Apostle, brother of St. John and son of Zebedee, the first Apostle martyred; Patron of apothecaries/druggists/pharmacists, arthritis sufferers, blacksmiths, equestrians and horsemen, furriers, knights, laborers, pilgrims, soldiers, tanners, veterinarians; Altopascio, Lucca, Italy; Antigua, Guatemala; Bangued, Philippines; Brentino Belluno, Italy; Caltagirone, Italy; Cassine, Italy; Chile; Cicala, Catanzaro, Italy; Comitini, Italy; Compostela, Spain; Galicia, Spain; Gavi, Italy; Guatemala; Hettstedt, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany; Jemez Indian Pueblo; Loiza, Puerto Rico; Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Montreal, Canada; Nicaragua; Pistoia, Italy; Rivarolo Canavese, Italy; Sahuayo, Mexico; Seattle, Washington; Spain; Tesuque Indian Pueblo; against arthritis and rheumatism; sometimes called Jacob, the Latinized version of his name, also Iago and Jaques in Romance languages) related observances
     Dia Nacional de Galicia -- Galicia, Spain (National Day of Galicia, a/k/a Apostole Santiago, St. James the Apostle's Day)
     The Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela -- Galicia, Spain (one of the world's largest pilgrimages still, to the church that has the supposed relics of St. James, culminates on the Saint's feast day)
     Loiza Aldea Fiesta -- Puerto Rico

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler, 285
Constantine I is proclaimed Roman emperor by his troops, 306
The Edict of Pistres of Charles the Bald orders defensive measures against the Vikings, 864
Sebastián de Belalcázar, on his search for El Dorado, founds the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia, 1536
Don Diego de Losada founds the city of Santiago de Leon de Caracas, modern-day Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, 1567
Henry IV of France publicly converts from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, 1593
James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England, bringing the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into personal union; political union would occur later, 1603
Ignacio de Maya founds the Real Santiago de las Sabinas, now known as Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México, 1693
British governor Charles Lawrence and the Nova Scotia Council order the deportation of the Acadians; thousands of Acadians are sent to the British Colonies in America, France and England, and some later move to Louisiana, while others resettle in New Brunswick, 1755
Horatio Nelson loses more than 300 men and his right arm during the failed conquest attempt of Tenerife (Spain), 1797
Costa Rica annexes Guanacaste from Nicaragua, 1824
The first commercial use of an electric telegraph is successfully demonstrated by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone between Euston and Camden Town in London, 1837
The Japanese daimyo begin returning their land holdings to the emperor as part of the Meiji Restoration reforms, 1869
Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University discovers that a key ingredient in Konbu soup stock is monosodium glutamate (MSG), and patents a process for manufacturing it, 1908
Sir Thomas Whyte introduces the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure, 1917
The first transatlantic two-way radio broadcast takes place, 1920
Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) is established, 1925
At Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis stage their first show as a comedy team, 1946
Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collides with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog and sinks the next day, killing 51, 1956
The Republic of Tunisia is proclaimed, 1957
Louise Brown, the world's first "test tube baby" is born, 1978
Israel and Jordan sign the Washington Declaration, which formally ends the state of war that had existed between the nations since 1948, 1994
K.R. Narayanan is sworn-in as India's 10th president and the first Dalit— formerly called "untouchable"— to hold this office, 1997
Air France Flight 4590, a Concorde supersonic passenger jet, F-BTSC, crashes just after takeoff from Paris killing all 109 aboard and 4 on the ground, 2000
Pratibha Patil is sworn in as India's first woman president, 2007
Wikileaks publishes classified documents about the War in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history, 2010

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ride On, Sally

The first US woman in space, Sally Ride, has died.

She was only 61, and had pancreatic cancer.

Brilliant and talented and trailblazing, yes.  Also someone who came to understand what she stood for, and how important her role was.

She wore that with quiet dignity, and used it well.  She created science programs and books for children.  It was easy to look up to her.

Rest in Peace, Sally Ride, i hope you are sailing among the stars.

Today is

Amelia Earhart Day

Children's Day -- Vanuatu

Cousins Day -- because cousins are wonderful people to have around! sponsored by Claudia Evart of New York City, who must have had great cousins

Festival of St. Eloi -- French Basque

Jakaba Diena -- Ancient Latvian Calendar (beginning of St. James' [Jacob] Festival, whose day is tomorrow; the beginning of hay harvest)

Jilwalla Jinks' Jamboree -- Fairy Calendar

National Drive Through Day -- but only if you won't pass out from the heat when you roll down the window! on the founding date of Jack-in-the-Box, the first drive through burger chain

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

Pioneer Day -- Mormon Christian

Pop a Wheelie Day -- before, not after, the tequila, please; a hospital visit is no fun

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

Simon Bolivar Day -- Ecuador; Venezuela

Sts. Boris and Gleb's Day (Patrons of princes; Moscow, Russia)

St. Christina the Astonishing's Day (Patron of all with mental handicaps, disorders, or illnesses, and mental health care workers, psychiatrists and therapists; against insanity and mental disorders)

St. Christina of Bolsena's Day (Patron of archers, mariners, millers)

Tell an Old Joke Day

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

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

*Nice try, fellas.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Only Two?

Are there really only two things that are certain, death and taxes?

What about the family being hungry again, even though you just fed them yesterday?

That is pretty certain, too, especially around here.  In fact, it's amazing sometimes how much time and effort has to go into making meals, and cleaning up after them.

In fact, it sometimes seems like all any of us do is either work to earn money to buy food, or grow or prepare the food.

Don't even get me started on how much the cats and foster kittens are eating right now, either.  Just know it's a tremendous amount.

A few other things of which i can be reasonably certain:

Feeding the cats consistently, the way they demand to be fed, leads to the need to consistently clean the litter boxes.

Beds will need to be made tomorrow, also.

No matter what, there will always be dust, and it will always accumulate.

Dark colored dirt will be attracted to light colored objects, and light colored dirt will be attracted to dark colored objects.

Ice is cold, water is wet, and #2 Son is mildly nuts.

Cleanliness isn't next to godliness, it's next to impossible.

Unless the world ends, there will be another Monday next week.

And, as Pollyanna noted, because it is Monday, i can be grateful that it will be another week until i have to face another one.

Today is

Birthday of Emperor Haili Selassi I -- Rastafari

First Sermon of Lord Buddha -- Bhutan

Gorgeous Grandma Day -- a day to celebrate those who age, date, and mate in style! www.gorgeousgrandma.com

Hot Enough For Ya Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays as the only day on which you may utter these words; any other day, and you will get high fived on the back of the head!;)

Hurricane Supplication Day -- US Virgin Islands

La Guelaguetza a/k/a Los Lunes del Cerro -- Oaxaca, Mexico (folk dance, music and costumes, an extension of the celebrations of the Lady of Carmel, which used to be the feast of Xilonen, goddess of tender corn; now celebrated on two consecutive Mondays)

Mayan Sun Festival -- honoring Ahau Kin, the sun god, date approximate

National Vanilla Ice Cream Day

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

Private Eye Day -- internet generated

Remembrance Day -- Papua New Guinea

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

Revolution Day -- Egypt

St. Apollinaris' Day (Patron against epilepsy, gout; of Aachen, Germany; Burtscheid, Germany; Düsseldorf, Germany; Ravenna, Italy; Remagen, Germany)

St. Bridget of Sweden's Day (Patron of widows; Europe; Sweden)

St. Phocas the Gardener's Day (Patron of agricultural workers, boatmen, farm workers, farmers, field hands, gardeners, husbandmen, mariners, market-gardeners,sailors, watermen)

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

Anniversaries Today

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

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

*Don't I wish that had worked!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Small Personal Rant

They knew.

They didn't say a word.

The people who sold us this house knew that there was an unfixable flaw in the foundation, and that the house leaks.

The neighbors knew.  They had watched her husband desperately try to dig trenches to keep water out.

None of them told us they knew until afterward.

Many years afterward, when the previous owners were long dead.

That is all bad enough, that we are stuck with a house that cannot ever be sold and will have to be torn down, and that we will lose every penny we've ever put into it.

What bothers me the most right now, as the rain has built up and i am again wet vacuuming water from my home, is that the real estate agent had to have known, too.

Oh, maybe our agent, the buyers' agent, didn't know.  She was just showing us the house, and maybe hadn't even been in it before.

But the sellers' agent had to have known.  They had the house on the market, in a great neighborhood that was very popular, and in the best location in the neighborhood, for two years, and couldn't sell it.

He had to have known why.  It rains a lot in south Louisiana, he had to have been in the house at some point when it had water in it.  He probably was very careful to never show it to prospective buyers when there was enough rain accumulated to have a problem.

On days where i have to vacuum water, he's the one it takes all of my strength to forgive.

The owners were bad enough.  They, though, were elderly and desperate, and to an extent i understand desperation.  They also both died, very unexpectedly, within a year.  They never got to live the ideal life they were trying to create elsewhere.

The neighbors, well, i never got a chance to talk to them until it was a done deal.  Yes, they could have come over while we were poking around and said something, but it's not their responsibility, and i didn't have enough sense to really go meet the neighbors and check things out.

It's the selling agent i still struggle to not hold accountable for much misery in my life.  He knew, he had to, and he didn't make them disclose it on the papers.

Today, Sunday, i will pray again for strength to forgive.  Because every part of me wants to find him and make him go through some of what i've gone through over the years.

Today is

Anne Hutchinson Memorial Day -- Portsmouth, RI, US (honoring Anne Marbury Hutchinson, co-founder of Portsmouth, in 1638)

Aphrodisia -- Ancient Greek Calendar (bathing festival of Aphrodite and Peitho [Persuasion]; through tomorrow)

Dornach Commemoration Day -- Dornach Battlefield and nearby city of Solothurn, Switzerland (victory in 1499 which ended the Swabian War)

Festival of Boredom and Reverie -- Fairy Calendar

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

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

King Father's Birthday -- Swaziland

National Penuche Fudge Day

Parent's Day -- US

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

Ragbrai / Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa(TM) -- Iowa, US (the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world; through the 28th)

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

Revolution Day -- The Gambia

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

St. Mary Magdalene's Day (Patron of apothecaries, contemplative life and contemplatives, converts, druggists, glove makers, hairdressers and hair stylists, penitent sinners, penitent women, people ridiculed for their piety, perfumeries and perfumers, pharmacists, reformed prostitutes, tanners, women; Anguiano, Spain; Atrani, Salerno, Italy; Casamicciola, Italy; Elantxobe, Spain; Foglizzo, Italy; La Magdaleine, Italy; against sexual temptation)
   Stilt Dance Day -- Anguiano, Spain (a special stilt dance performed on the Feast of the city's patron, St. Mary Magdalen)

Valencia Fair Battle of the Flowers -- Valencia, spain (conclusion and highlight of the Valencia Fair, with a parade and thousands of carnations thrown from floats, making a magical carpet of petals for all to enjoy)

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk, 1298
The Swiss decisively defeat the Imperial army of Emperor Maximilian I in the Battle of Dornach, 1499
A second group of English settlers arrive on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony, 1587
Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada, 1793
In the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Rear Admiral Nelson is wounded in the arm, and part of it is amputated, 1797
Death of Josef Strauss, Austrian composer, 1870
First ever motorized racing event is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The race is won by comte Jules-Albert de Dion, 1894
Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world traveling 15,596 miles in 7 days, 18 hours and 45 minutes, 1933
Dezik and Tzygan become the first of Russia's Space Dogs, making a sub-orbital flight, which they both survived, 1951
Japan completes its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed during WWII, 1976
Martial law in Poland is officially revoked, 1983
The second Blue Water Bridge opens between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, 1997
Norway is the victim of twin terror attacks, on government buildings in Oslo and a youth camp at Utoya, 2011

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lizard Logic

"How can actions speak louder than words if the pen is mightier than the sword?"

Bigger Girl bounced into the kitchen to ask this question when she got home from work.  As i tried to figure out how to respond, she said, "Well, just don't ask that at a philosopher's convention, okay?"

Since the janitor has no intention of attending a philosopher's convention, avoiding that mistake should be easy, i noted drily.  Then i pointed out the difference between long term change of the course of history versus the idea of judging a person based on track record.

"Well, yes.  Oh, and I've decided I want to major in zoology in college, and minor in drama.  That way, I can get a career training Komodo dragons to perform Shakespeare."

At my sideways look, she laughed.  "Not really, of course, but today I was able to correctly identify the uterus, ovaries, and ovarian follicles of the cow when we were doing ultrasound on it.  And I do want to major in zoology, though I don't know what I would do with it.

"Did you know that you can really tame a Komodo dragon if you spend years with it?"

No, i didn't, but i would imagine it would be possible to at least get them used to people if you are handling them from hatching.

"Exactly.  And Komodo dragons can count up to six.  If you show them up to 6 thing to eat, and then go hide the food in an enclosure, it will go in and keep looking for food until it finds all of them, up to six.  After that, it just gets confused and doesn't know what to do.  But that's pretty amazing."

Yes, i agreed, but even some primitive creatures like reptiles need to keep track of their eggs and babies, so it makes sense they have some understanding of numbers.

"Right.  And reptiles don't have the same problems in lab settings being research animals as mammals do.  I wonder why?"

Well, it would seem to me that the higher mammalian brain would need more stimulation than what you can give in a lab setting, and needs more hands on care and love and touch than reptiles do.  As long as reptiles are fed, they seem perfectly okay with whatever else is going on.

"Yes, maybe that's it, but Komodo dragons that are used to people do ask for belly scratches and rubs."

Another bit if trivia i never knew about the creatures.

"Well, I know it's Friday night, but I'm going to make sure I get to bed early tonight since Uncle P. is visiting tomorrow.  I don't want to be rude and sleep late."

Good idea.

And here i thought #2 Son had the others beat on herpetology.  She's giving him a run for the money.

Today is

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

Canada's Parks Day

Celebration of the Horse -- Charlotte's Saddlery, Houston, TX, US (through tomorrow; in honor of the human/equine bond)

Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure -- Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, WI, US (world's largest sport aviation event, through the 29th)

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

Geneva Arts Fair -- Geneva, IL, US (through tomorrow)

Hemingway Birthday Celebration -- Hemingway Museum, Oak Park, IL, US

Independence Day / National Day -- Belgium(1830)

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

Kidspree -- Aurora, CO, US (free outdoor festival for kids; through tomorrow)

Lakota Sun Dance -- Lakota Native Americans (festival of the sun god Wi, with offerings to Maka (mother earth) and Haokah (father sky), both aspects of Creator Tukaskanskan; through the 23rd)

Liberation Day -- Guam (1944; from Japan)

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

National Day of the Cowboy -- US; celebrating the heritage, and those who still work as cowboys/cowgirls today

National Junk Food Day

National Woodie Wagon Day -- pay homage today to this great American symbol of freedom and the casual lifestyle

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

Racial Harmony Day -- Singapore

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

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

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

St. Lawrence of Brindisi's Day (Patron of Brindisi, Italy)

St. Praxedes' Day (Patron of single laywomen)

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

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

Touch Hammer's Birthday Bargain Day -- Fairy Calendar

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

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

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, BCE 356
A tsunami devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt, 365
The first landing of French troops on the coast during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight, 1545
Twenty-four-year-old Scottish physician and explorer Mungo Park became the first European to see the Niger River, the third longest river in Africa, 1796
In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first true western showdown, 1865
At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American Old West, 1873
Louis Rigolly, a Frenchman, becomes the first man to break the 100 mph (161 km/h) barrier on land, driving a 15-liter Gobron-Brille in Ostend, Belgium, 1904
In Dayton, Tennessee, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching evolution in class and fined $100, 1925
Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin become the first men to walk on the Moon, during the Apollo 11 mission, 1969
After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt is completed, 1970
The world's lowest temperature is recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -82.9*C (-129*F), 1983
The fully restored USS Constitution (aka "Old Ironsides") celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years, 1997
NASA's Space Shuttle program ends with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135, 2011

Friday, July 20, 2012

Method to Their Grammar

Email scams.  We've all heard the warnings.

If it's a notice about "your account" and has a link in it, don't click on it.  It will lead you to a website that will steal your information or put a virus on your computer or give you dandruff or something.

Supposedly, if you look at these sites closely, you will find something wrong with them somewhere, though they try to be thorough so they can trick you, if they are after account information, into providing just that.

Then, there is the Nigeria scam.

Why Nigeria, and why with the bad spelling and grammar and obviously too-good-to-be-true offer?

Well, it seems that to fool most people into voluntarily parting with information, you have to be thorough and  at least look like the real thing on first glance.  The scammers who build a look alike site to Visa or some other reputable company are casting a wide net, trying to get as many people as possible to give them access to use for identity theft.  The more they get, the better.

The Nigeria scammers are doing the opposite.

By making it so very obvious that they are just out to trick you, their message actually does the weeding out for them.  Only the most gullible answer, thus assuring they spend less time having to figure out if you are a good mark.  It makes their job easier, and the few people who answer and pass the rest of their vetting process can be quickly wrangled out of huge amounts of money.  They were never after large numbers, it makes their job harder, not easier.

So the next time you delete one of those without a thought besides, "Yeah, right!" rest assured, you just proved you are smart enough not to be the intended target anyway.

Speaking of grammar, too, did you know that grammar can save your life?

Let's eat Grandma!

Let's eat, Grandma!

Happy Friday, all.

Today is

Cheyenne Frontier Days -- Frontier Park, Cheyenne, WY, US (through the 29th, annually since 1897, the world's largest outdoor rodeo)

Cleat Dancing Day -- don't ask me who started this, i don't want to know what kind of mind came up with trying to tap dance in cleats

Dia del Amigo -- Argentina; Uruguay

Fortune Cookie Day

Georgia Mountain Fair -- Hiawassee, GA, US (an authentic Pioneer Village with demonstrations, arts and crafts fairs, family fun; through the 29th)

Great Wellsville Balloon Rally -- Wellsville, NY, US (balloons galore, plus food, music, and fireworks; through the 22nd)

Independence Day -- Colombia(1810)

International Chess Day -- "Of Chess it has been said that life is not long enough for it, but that is the fault of life, not Chess" ~ William Ewart Napier

Liberation Day -- Guam

Lieksa Brass Week -- Lieksa, Finland (the world's finest brass music in various styles by international class musicians; through the 29th)

Lindenfest -- Geisenheimer, Rhineland, Germany (through the 10th, a wine festival in the shade of a 600 year old linden tree)

Moon Day -- one small step...

National Hot Dog Day

National Ice Cream Soda Day

National Lollipop Day

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

Peace and Freedom Day -- North Cyprus

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

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival -- Sherwood, OR, US (through tomorrow; a Renaissance festival, includes an archery contest)

Special Olympics Day -- anniversary of the first Special Olympics in 1968

St. Elijah the Prophet's Day (Patron of Carmelites; Romanian Air Force; against drought, earthquakes) related observance;
     Festival at the Monastery of Profitis Ilias -- Santorini, Greece (Prophet Elijas' festival)

Saint Margaret of Antioch's Day (Patron of childbirth, dying peple, escape from devils, exiles, expectant mothers, falsely accused people, martyrs, nurses, peasants, people in exile, women, women in labor; for safe childbirth; against kidney disease, loss of mother's milk by nursing mothers, sterility; Lowestoft, Suffolk, England; Montefiascone, Italy; Queens College Cambridge; Rixtel, Netherlands; Sannat, Gozo, Malta)

St. Uncumber's Day (Patron of difficult marriages; against men's lust; Las Tablas, Panama)

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

Thgir-yaw-Dnuor Day -- Fairy Calendar

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

Vigil for Peace, Justice, and Respect for the Human Rights of all in Columbia -- a movement open to all who seek peace

Yarmouth Clam Festival -- Yarmouth, ME, US (annual 3 day celebration of the gifts of the sea that are clams with 120,000 of your closest friends)

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grass is Always Greener

When you paint your lawn.

As i was listening to the rain pattering outside of our window -- we've had at least a little rain every day for weeks, and i wish we could send some elsewhere, for many reasons -- the story of Timothy Birdwell caught my eye.

It seems he owns Imperial Painting in Indianapolis, where there is a drought and therefore a watering ban, and he was tired of looking at his brown lawn.  So he decided to see if he could do something about it.

It turns out that those beautifully colored football and other playing fields we see aren't always just the natural color of the grass.  The same paint that they use to put white stripes on that grass can be used on the whole field, and can come in a wide array of colors.  You want to match the green of a particular shrub or tree in your yard?  They can do that.

The paint is a latex product, will protect the grass from scorching, and, once the rain begins again, will simply grow out as the grass grows and be gone after a couple of mowings.

Clever indeed, and you can even order the paint online, and buy a sprayer or rent one, and do it yourself.

Just be sure you don't get the color too far off from your lawn's natural shade, you wouldn't want your roots to show as it grows out.  Having to redo the roots of your lawn every few months could get tedious.

Today is

Back-to-Front Yad -- Fairy Calendar

Bloomer Day -- anniversary of the opening day of the first US women's rights convention in 1848*

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

Get To Know Your Customers Day -- third Thursday of each quarter

Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony -- Iroquois Native Americans (thanksgiving for the maize harvest, with rites including a Thanksgiving Prayer, Confession Chant, and Feather Dance; through the 25th)

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

Liberation Day -- Nicaragua

Martyr's Day -- Myanmar

National Daiquiri Day

Ramadan -- Islam (begins at sunset)

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

Stirling Settler Days -- Stirling, Alberta, Canada (through the 21st)

St. Justa's Day (Patron of potters; Seville, Spain)

Virginia Lake Festival -- Clarksville, VA, US (fun for the family, including tethered hot air balloon rides; through Saturday)

*Amelia Bloomer's birth anniversary on May 27 is also called "Bloomer Day"

Anniversaries Today

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

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

A dragon more than 100 metres long was found dead on Yehwang Mountain in Henan province and was seen as a bad omen for Emperor Huan, who ignored it and died at age 35 (three years later); Xiang Kai, who had warned him of the omen, was released from the prison the emperor had placed him in, and lionised as a hero, BCE164
Moslem forces under Tariq ibn Ziyad defeated the Visigoths led by their king Roderic, 711
A hailstorm brings down the ceilings of the Papal Palace, Rome, 1500
Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after having that title for just nine days, 1553
Five women are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692
Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy sign the Nanfan Treaty, ceding a large territory north of the Ohio River to England, 1701
Australia's first recorded use of gaslight was commenced in a Sydney shop, 1826
The British Medical Association was founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary, 1832
The two day Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, New York; "bloomers," named after developer Amelia Bloomer, are worn at this very early feminist convention, 1848
A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg explodes over the town of Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town, 1912
Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention, 1963
The Sandinista rebels overthrow the government of the Somoza family in Nicaragua, 1979
The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published, 1983
President Clinton announces his idea for a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in regards to gays in the US military, 1993
A Tel Aviv judges orders safe deposit boxes that contain manuscripts of Franz Kafka to be opened, 2010

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Sad

The good:

The African Union Commission, many of whose member nations make the bottoms of lists of how well women are treated or how well they do economically, has elected a woman to chair the assembly.   Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is from South Africa, and said, "It means a lot for Africa ... for the continent, unity and the empowerment of women."  We can only hope so.

The bad (sort of).

Have you ever thought of getting something off your chest?  Have you ever thought of writing your own obituary?  Val Patterson decided to do both at the same time.  The result is a funny and heartfelt confession, and if he is to be believed, he probably belonged in jail for some of what he did.

The sad.

Donald J. Sobol, whose Encyclopedia Brown character taught many children to love to read over the years, has died at age 87.

His stories were among my favorites as a child.  When i was given assignments in English classes to write short fiction stories, i would often do short mystery stories similar to Sobol's.

He was writing up until the end, and his last book is due out in October.  He will be missed.

Today is

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

Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival) -- Bregenz, Austria (performing arts festival, through August 18)

Constitution Day -- Uruguay

Folkmoot USA -- Waynesville, NC, US (festival of international folk dance; through the 29th)

Lunch of the Forward Goblins -- Fairy Calendar (not surprisingly, attended by Fairies only)

Mandela Day -- UN

National Baby Food Festival -- Fremont, MI, US (in the hometown of Gerber Products, adults have a baby food eating contest and tots have crawling races; through the 21st)

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

St. Theneva's Day (Patron of Glasgow, Scotland)

Sumarauki -- Iceland (their calendar's extra week, added every few years, to take into account the "drift" of the calendar from the moon phases)

Vitulatio -- Ancient Roman Calendar (Vitula, goddess of exultation, joy, and life, is given the first fruits of the earth)

Wienermobile Day -- celebrating the creation, in 1936, of the now iconic vehicle by Oscar Mayer's nephew Carl

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome, BC390
The Great Fire of Rome begins in the merchant area of the city, 64
King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities, 1290
Matthew Flinders leaves England to circumnavigate and map Australia; it was he who gave the continent its name, 1801
The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility, 1870
Britain introduced voting by secret ballot, 1872
Marie and Pierre Curie announce the discovery of a new element and propose to call it polonium, 1898
Adoph Hitler publishes Mein Kampf, 1925
The Intel Corporation is founded in Santa Clara, California, 1968
Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics  at the 1976 Summer Olympics, 1976
Beverly Lynn Burns becomes first female Boeing 747 airline captain, 1984
On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts; over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee, 1995
Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Quebec's costliest natural disasters ever, 1996
Phoenix, AZ, US, is hit by a dust storm of the kind known as a "haboob", 2010

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Swimming Up A Storm

Little Girl's swim team, at the pool across the street, had their end of the year party and award ceremony.

She isn't always the fastest swimmer on the team, but she is strong and consistent and has a blast, and that's what is most important.

There was swimming, and hot dogs, and everyone talked and laughed and the kids squirmed through the awards part -- which was really only just over 15 minutes, they went quickly -- and then more swimming.

She got her medal, and when she walked home, a little while after we did, she brought a pair of glasses with her and handed them to me, telling me Sweetie had left his there.  He hadn't, and few minutes later we got a call from the coordinator.  The youngster to whom they belonged had come back for them, so she ran them over.

When we got back to the house, it was family party time with #1 Son, with birthday cake and ice cream.  Yes, two parties on the same day, and he had a few friends over to play video games.  Neither party earth shaking, but both quite fun in their own ways.

Swim team is over for the season, but swimming season is not.  They spend half of their lives in the water, and i don't expect that to change until Labor Day.


Today is

Alpenfest -- Gaylord, MI, US (a Swiss inspired festival for the whole family that includes "The World's Largest Coffee Break"; through the 21st)

Central Maine Egg Festival -- Pittsfield, Maine (through the 21st)

Constitution Day -- South Korea

Feast of St. Kenelm -- saint mentioned in "The Nun's Priest's Tale" of The Canterbury Takes

Feast of the Clockless NowEver -- can't find any confirmation on what this one is, but it sounds like fun if i don't have to bother with a clock or schedule

Festival for Victoria and Virtus -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of victory and god of bravery in warfare)

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

King Letsie III's Birthday -- Lesotho

National Peach Ice Cream Day

Petal-Hopping for Hopeless Cases -- Fairy Calendar

Snake River Stampede -- Nampa, ID (the 91st year of one of the top 15 professional rodeo events in the nation; through the 21st)

St. Alexius Day (Patron of Alexians, beggars, belt makers, nurses, pilgrims, travellers)

Wear Crazy Socks to Work Day -- at your own risk

World Day for International Justice

Wrong Way Corrigan Day -- anniversary of the flight of Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan, who was supposedly heading for California from New York and ended up in Ireland instead

Yellow Pig Day -- mathmatics festivals at various universities, celebrating the number 17 and the yellow pig with 17 eyelashes, created by mathematicians Michael Spivak and David C. Kelly

Birthdays Today

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

Today in History

Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians, the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world, 180
Zhu Di, better known by his era name as the Yongle Emperor, assumes the throne over the Ming Dynasty of China, 1402
Catherine II (the Great) becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia, 1762
Londoner Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine, 1790
The first issue of Punch magazine was published, England, 1841
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston as the first dental school in the U.S, 1867
On the orders of the Bolshevik Party carried out by Cheka, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family and retainers are murdered at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, Russia, 1918
The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; 5 lives are lost, 1918
An Armed Forces rebellion against the recently-elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain begins the Spanish Civil War, 1936
After being denied permission to make a transatlantic crossing, Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the "wrong way" to Ireland and becomes known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan, 1928
Disneyland televises its grand opening in Anaheim, California, 1955
An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations, 1975
The opening of the Summer Olympics in Montreal is marred by 25 African teams boycotting the New Zealand team, 1976
The F.W. Woolworth Company closes after 117 years in business, 1997
A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10 villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 3,183, leaving 2,000 more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless, 1998
A diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, 1998
South Korea develops a long range cruise missile, 2010