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


Gigi said...

A touching post on all three levels. I was especially fascinated by the obit - a topic hubby and I were just discussing (not that it is in our immediate future, God willing. I am concentrating on not stopping breathing, as he recommended.

messymimi said...

Gigi, so am i; but it can be fun to think of what you will write someday.

Yum Yucky said...

I've seen how those fairies on True Blood behave, and I want no parts of any fairy/goblin festivities!

stephen Hayes said...

Your post really runs the gamut of emotions today. Much food for thought.

messymimi said...

Josie, i haven't seen that, and i'm talking about the real fairies, the ones that occupied the land before we humans drove them away. ;)

Stephen, thank you.