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bleeding heart....

Carol H Tucker

Passionate about knowledge management and organizational development, expert in loan servicing, virtual world denizen and community facilitator, and a DISNEY fan

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beladona Memorial

Be warned:in this very rich environment where you can immerse yourself so completely, your emotions will become engaged -- and not everyone is cognizant of that. Among the many excellent features of SL, there is no auto-return on hearts, so be wary of where your's wanders...

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lonely? not actually....

Today is the 4th day of the 17th week, the 22nd day of the 4th month, the 113th day of 2020, and: 
  • "In God We Trust" Day -  the Coinage Act of 1864 was passed, mandating that the inscription In God We Trust be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.
  • Administrative Professionals Day ((there are some of us who remember this as Secretaries Day))
  • April Showers Day
  • Chemists Celebrate the Earth Day
  • Earth Day – celebrated since 1970, founded by Gaylord Nelson, an American politician and environmentalist from Wisconsin who served as a United States Senator and governor
  • Girl Scout Leader Day
  • Global Selfie Earth Day (NASA)
  • International Mother Earth Day
  • National Bookmobile Day
  • National Jelly Bean Day
  • New Moon at 10:26 pm EDT

1056 - Supernova Crab nebula last seen by the naked eye

1145 - 19th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet

1500 – Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral lands in Brazil, landing near Monte Pascoal, and claims it for Portugal

1519 – Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés establishes a settlement at Veracruz, Mexico.

1692 - Edward Bishop is jailed for proposing flogging as a cure for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts

1817 - Curacao prohibits use of white paint due to fierce sunlight

1838 - English steamship "Sirius" docks in NYC after crossing the Atlantic, first transatlantic steam passenger service

1876 – The first game in the history of the National League was played at the Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia. This game is often pointed to as the beginning of Major League Baseball (Boston Red Stockings beat Philadelphia Athletics, 6-5, and Philadelphia Nationals Wes Fisler scores baseball's first run)

1876 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky completes his ballet "Swan Lake"

1889 – At noon, thousands rush to claim land in the Land Rush of 1889. Within hours the cities of Oklahoma City and Guthrie are formed with populations of at least 10,000.

1906 - New rule puts umpire in sole charge of all game balls

1952 - the first atomic explosion is shown on network news, Nob, Nevada

1964 - World's Fair at Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, NY opens

1966 - USSR performs underground nuclear test

1969 - the first human eye transplant performed

1971 - Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 10 launched

1972 - Apollo astronauts John Young & Charles Duke ride on Moon

1977 – Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.

1981 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1981 - More than $3.3 million is stolen from the First National Bank of Arizona in Tucson in the then largest US bank robbery in history

1983 – The German magazine Stern claims the "Hitler Diaries" had been found in wreckage in East Germany; the diaries are subsequently revealed to be forgeries.

1983 - Great Britain performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1983 - Soyuz T-8 returns to Earth

1986 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1991 - Intel releases 486SX chip

1993 - Holocaust Memorial Museum dedicated in Washington, D.C.

1994 - Borge Ousland is the fist person on a solo and unsupported journey to reach the North Pole

1994 - In Denmark the largest lollipop, weighing 3,011 pounds, made

1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, United States.

2016 - Paris Agreement on climate change signed in New York binding 195 nations to an increase in the global average temperature to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 33 mins 58 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

   “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”

~ Paul Tillich, German-American Christian existentialist philosopher and Lutheran Protestant theologian


Solitude is all about being with yourself.  It can be tough if you don’t like yourself though, and that can make one feel lonely.  Loneliness can also result from Isolation, when you feel disconnected from others, a feeling of being thrown onto your own resources. 




And yet?  I think being quarantined by yourself has some advantages, and it is easier to deal with than trying to work around other’s personalities and angst, when your home just doesn’t seem to be big enough to give everyone their space, which all of us need at times….

Permalink | Wednesday, April 22, 2020

cabin fever

Today is the 6th day of the 16th week, the 17th day of the 4th month, the 108th day of 2020, and: 
  • Bat Appreciation Day
  • Blah, Blah, Blah Day
  • Ellis Island Family History Day
  • Herbalist Day
  • independence Day - Syria from France in 1946
  • International Ford Mustang Day
  • International Haiku Poetry Day
  • Malbec World Day
  • National Cheeseball Day
  • National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day
  • National Crawfish Day
  • National Donate Life (Blue and Green) Day
  • National Kickball Day
  • Nothing Like a Dame Day
  • World Hemophilia Day
Quote of the day:
Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus.”
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience,” from The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

The term cabin fever is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors”  and is usually used specifically to angst during the winter.  An offshoot of this is seasonal affective disorder [SAD], which seems to be specific to the quantity of sunlight at certain times of the year, although the vast amount of sufferers are impacted during the late fall and winter months when the sun is not visible for long and the light is pale when it does show.  Those who live in the harsher climes of long winters are especially aware of this seasonal disorder and over many centuries have developed coping mechanisms to address it.  So, feeling cooped up can be a real issue, there is no denying that   

According to Wikipedia, a person who suffers from cabin fever can be described “… as stir-crazy, derived from the use of stir to mean 'prison'” which then “… can lead the sufferer to make irrational decisions that could potentially threaten their life or the life of the group with whom they are confined.”   Perhaps that explains the insanity of those protesting being asked to shelter at home to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19?  Neither the angst of folks who cannot stand staying home, nor the greed of Rich Uncle Pennybags [who did indeed have a monocle at some point], can change the fact that flattening the curve is the first priority.    




On a personal level, I still remember the first time I spent an extended amount in my apartment with Frank – it was over a holiday weekend and I did not set foot outside my door from when I got home from work on Friday night until Tuesday morning, and I was never so glad to leave for work before or since.    Since then, seventeen years have passed, but more importantly, I have developed a robust 2nd life and have learned to live in virtual reality.
Permalink | Friday, April 17, 2020

what's in a name?

Today is the 4th day of the 16th week, the 15th day of the 4th month, the 106th day of 2020 [with only 253 shopping days left before Christmas], and: 
  • Anime Day
  • ASL (American Sign Language) Day
  • Income Tax Pay Day ((DATE EXTENDED TO JULY DUE TO CORVID-19.))
  • Jackie Robinson Day – AKA 42 day as the color barrier was broken in major league baseball in 1947
  • McDonald's Day
  • Micovolunteering Day
  • National Banana Day
  • National Bookmobile Day
  • National Glazed Spiral Ham Day
  • National Griper's Day
  • National Laundry Day
  • National Rubber Eraser Day
  • National That Sucks Day
  • National Titanic Remembrance Day
  • One Boston Day – a day encouraging random acts of kindness, commemorating the Marathon bombing in 2013
  • School Librarians' Day
  • Take a Wild Guess Day
  • Titanic Remembrance Day
  • Universal Day of Culture
  • World Art Day (DaVinci's Birthday)
Quote of the day:
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”
~  Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books

Back when I joined Second Life in 2005, one of the first rituals was choosing a name – you could pick any first name you wanted, but had to choose a last name from a list, and once that name was chosen, it was yours for the life of that avatar.  That was when beladona Memorial was born.  Some people were not careful when creating their first name and ended up with numbers [like beladona123] and were unhappy.  The use of titles which showed above the system name became common as did the practice of creating an alt just to change the name.

 For some unknown reason, back in 2011 Linden Labs discarded last names and everyone was who created an avatar after that could pick a first name and their last name was “Resident”.   What we learned at that point was that many people were very invested in their name, and how it showed in world.  Many felt that having a last name of “Resident” marked them as newcomers and they would be subtly discriminated against.  In the fall of 2017, LL rolled out the ability to create “display names” which addressed some of these issues, but you still had your system name written in stone and it was easily discoverable.  Folks were still discontented. 

Now there is a new program that permits you to change your system name – both the first and the last names – if you sign up for a premium membership and pay an additional fee.  You get to pick whatever you want for the first name, but you get to choose whether to keep your existing last name or to pick from names that are available:


And you can do this as often as you like, as long as you are a premium member and willing to pay for it.  Some have pounced on the offer, some resent paying for it and call LL greedy for charging, others have shrugged and decided to keep the moniker they currently possess.  It all boils down to your identity – how you define yourself in world and how invested you are in that identity.
Permalink | Wednesday, April 15, 2020

despite COVID-19

Permalink | Sunday, April 12, 2020

Permalink | Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Today is the 2nd day of the 14th week, the 20th day of the 3rd month, the 90th day of 2020, and: 
  • Grass is Always Browner on the Other Side of the Fence Day
  • International Folding Laundry Day
  • National Doctors Day
  • National I am in Control Day
  • National Virtual Vacation Day
  • Pencil Day
  • Take a Walk in the Park Day
  • TB-303 Appreciation Day
  • Torrents Day
  • Turkey Neck Soup Day
  • World Bipolar Day
  • Earliest day on which the first day of Hocktide can fall, while April 3 is the latest; observed on the second Monday after Easter. (Hungerford, England; popular in medieval England)
Quote of the day:
There is only one time that is important – NOW!  It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”
~  Leo Tolstoy, What Men Live By and Other Tales

One of the blogs I follow in my reader – and I recommend Newsblur very highly – recently talked about the first actual trees that took root and the opening paragraph was:    

When trees first grew on Earth, death followed. The first tree was Archaeopteris. One hundred feet tall and looking a lot like a cedar, it spread its branches, breathed the air, anchored itself in the soil, when soil itself was an innovation, and brought catastrophe to the world. That was 375 million years ago.”

That startled me, trees precipitating an extinction event

Indeed, the theory is that was exactly what happened.  Oh, not immediately, mind you.  One tree didn’t make that much difference, but as its progeny spread across the existing land masses during the late Devonian period, the climatic impact was felt.  C02 was drawn out of the air and stored it in the waters as their deep roots broke up the rocks under the soil.    Ultimately that water was carried to the sea and the carbon dioxide locked away in limestone deposits.  As the trees breathed in the carbon dioxide, they exhaled oxygen, and giant winged insects rode the currents of the air.  But as the greenhouse effect of CO2 lessened, the world turned colder and ice began to form, and mass extinction followed.   Archaeopteris  did not survive the climate changes it precipitated.  We can see the remains of these ancient trees in Cairo, New York   


Although it caused their demise, the changes the trees wrought formed  the world we live in today.  Made me ponder the changes that humans have caused and wonder what the new world will look like after the Anthropocene era ends ….
Permalink | Monday, March 30, 2020

spring is sprung

Today is the 5th day of the 12th week, the 19th day of the 3rd month, the 79th day of 2020 [with only 280 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
  • Certified Nurses Day
  • Client's Day
  • Companies That Care Day
  • Data Innovation Day:
  • Great American Meatout Day
  • International Astrology Day
  • International Day of Nowruz
  • International Earth Day
  • Let's Laugh Day
  • National Chocolate Caramel Day
  • National Farm Rescuer Day
  • National Poultry Day
  • Oranges and Lemons Day
  • Ostara ((or Mabon in the southern hemisphere))
  • Proposal Day
  • Snowman Burning
  • St Joseph's Day (Roman Catholicism and Anglican Communion) and Father's Day (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Honduras, and Bolivia)
  • Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano Day
  • The First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox) at 11:49 PM EDT
  • World Storytelling Day
  • Earliest day on which Maundy Thursday can fall, while April 22 is the latest; celebrated on Thursday before Easter.

1687 – Explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle, searching for the mouth of the Mississippi River, is murdered by his own men.

1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.

1915 - Pluto photographed for 1st time (although unknown at the time)

1918 – The US Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time.

1928 - "Amos & Andy" debuts on radio (NBC Blue Network-WMAQ Chicago)

1937 - Astronomer Fritz Zwicky publishes his research on stellar explosion in which he coins the term "supernova" and hypothesizes that they were the origin of cosmic rays

1951 - Herman Wouk's novel "The Caine Mutiny" published (Pulitzer Prize 1952)

1962 – Bob Dylan releases his first album, Bob Dylan, for Columbia Records.

1964 - Sean Connery's 1st day of shooting on James Bond film "Goldfinger"

1965 - The wreck of the SS Georgiana, valued at over $50,000,000, said to have been most powerful Confederate cruiser, discovered by then teenage diver and pioneer underwater archaeologist E. Lee Spence exactly 102 years after its destruction.

1977 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1981 - two workers killed in space shuttle Columbia accident

2001 - The Bank of Japan issued a monetary policy known as quantitative easing, which stimulated the Japanese economy after the burst of the dot-com bubble.

2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed.

2013 - NASA's Mars rover Curiosity discovers further evidence of water-bearing minerals

2018 – The last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, dies, ensuring a chance of extinction for the species.

2019 - "Superbloom" of poppies in Walker Canyon, southern California visible from space, after high rainfall


Quote of the day:

Winter is nearly gone. Time flows on to a spring of little hope.”

~  JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings | The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 2, Chapter 9) : The Great River




Despite the pandemic, or the fact that it hasn’t been much of a winter hereabouts, it is officially spring
Permalink | Thursday, March 19, 2020


My anxiety level about COVID-19 is starting to get wearisome.  Why am I so worried? 
  • No guidance or policy on how to prevent the spread of the disease inside the United States other than wash your hands for 20 seconds, don't touch your face, and stay home if you feel sick.  No guidance for organizations as to when they should cancel events or shut down store fronts or shutter restaurants or close theaters or send folks home.
  • No explanation of what went wrong with the US testing system, nor any assurance of when testing would become more widely available.  Not even an idea of how many people have been tested – other than the rich and powerful and politically connected, of course.  My son works in a healthcare clinic that was designated testing site in Nashville – but they are not actually testing.  Instead, their role is to assess the necessity of testing as patients come in with symptoms or concerns, and make a recommendation to the CDC that a person actually get the test IF someone at the CDC agrees with their assessment. 
  • No co-pays on the tests nobody seems able to get, but what about other health-care coverage? Who is going to pay for the doctor visits or the hospital stays for all of those folks who no longer have insurance or if the insurance company decides that services at a designated treatment facility is “out of network” and don’t pay even if you have coverage? 
  • No provision for those about to lose their pay because they have to stay home or lose their jobs as the economy tanks other than calling for a payroll tax deduction and an extension on paying 2019 federal income taxes if you haven't paid already -- now how is that going to help someone who isn't getting paid and the bills are due?
  • No aid for Main Street.  Most of us don’t care about Wall Street, or the shale oil companies, or the big banks, or the investment firms.  What about the small business owner?  What if they cannot get a new SBA loan?
  • No people traveling from Europe?  Why Europe in particular and why was the UK exempted?  Why not Australia or Asia or Africa? And what good does a ban on travel do when the disease is here already?
  • And last – I am definitely in the vulnerable category – over 60 with health issues like high blood pressure and Diabetes II.  Right now I am in “business as usual” mode, but should I be?  Am I supposed to stay home for an indefinite period of time?  Is keeping up with the various stories prudent, or am I just feeding the fear?
I can tell you what I am NOT going to do!  I am not paying some outrageous price for hand sanitizer or try and make my own

Permalink | Thursday, March 12, 2020

the first author


History is littered with authors. Enheduanna was the world’s first identifiable one. Born more than 4,000 years ago, she was a poet and princess in ancient Mesopotamia. She was also a priestess at a temple dedicated to a Mesopotamian moon god, Nanna. Enheduanna lived in a city situated in what is now southern Iraq.

The daughter of a king, she penned a significant body of work. Her hymns and poems were composed in cuneiform, an early form of writing on clay tablets. Some of her most notable poems revolve around the goddess Inanna. 

Betty DeShong Meador translated a selection of Enheduanna’s poems dedicated to Inanna. In an interview with the University of California at Berkeley, Meador noted the complexity and force Enheduanna ascribes to the goddess. 

In one poem, Enheduanna writes,


Lady of blazing dominion

clad in dread

riding on fire-red power


holding a pure lance

terror folds in her robes

flood-storm-hurricane adorned

she bolts out in battle

plants a standing shield on the ground

“In Enheduanna’s poetry, Inanna is both fierce and cruel, loving and kind,” Meador told UC-Berkeley. “In our society, women are not supposed to be like that.”

“But this is who we are as human beings,” Meador added. “Both men and women have these violent emotions, and if you are taught to suppress the knowledge of these harsh feelings, you live in too narrow a range.”

Note: Since there is no record of what Enheduanna looked like, this illustration represents the artist's interpretation.

(( courtesy of The Lily ))

Permalink | Thursday, March 12, 2020


Today is the 3rd day of the 11th week, the 10th day of the 3rd month, the 70th day of 2020, and: 
  • Festival of Life in the Cracks Day
  • Histotechnology Professionals Day
  • Holi
  • International Bagpipes Day
  • International Day of Awesomeness
  • Landline Telephone Day
  • Mario Day
  • National Blueberry Popover Day
  • National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Organize your Home Office Day
  • Pack Your Lunch Day
  • Salvation Army Day
  • US Paper Money Day

So we received our notice from HR about the virus.  Here are the salient points to take note of if you are 65 or over ((NOTE:  the CDC and the State of MD said 60)): 
  • Stay home if you have a fever, sore throat, achiness and/or cold symptoms ((and this during the start of allergy season))
  • If you have plans for personal travel, notify HR if you are going anywhere under any travel advisory
  • If you have plans for business travel, consider cancelling
  • If you  or an immediate family member are quarantined, you have to use PTO if you cannot work remotely
  • IF you want to work remotely?  You have to be approved to do so in advance and have a doctor’s note saying you are able work at home
So let’s say I wake up one morning next feeling lousy with a ticklish throat, coughing, and have a low level fever [not over 100].   Usually I would go to work, but because I am listening to all the warnings and want to be prudent, I call out.  I didn’t plan to get sick, so I don’t have my laptop with me at home and I have to use PTO [being one of those lucky enough to work where I actually have paid time off ].  If I decide to stay isolated, is someone going to bring my laptop to me so I can work from home?  I rather doubt it!  Self quarantines are for 14 days from the onset of symptoms, and if you come down with COVID-19 after that [and good luck getting an actual test to confirm whether you have it or not], you can count on another two to three weeks to recuperate, so let’s say you’ll be out for five weeks.  Not many people have enough PTO to cover that, so you would have to go on leave without pay.  If you work for a company that has more than 50 employees, they have to provide FMLA so you can keep your job at least while you aren’t getting paid.  But how am I going to pay the bills that will come due at the end of the month – the vendors don’t care that I am quarantined, they just want their money.  It worries me far more than the lack of hand sanitizer availability!


Despite all the worry, Holi celebrations are bringing some fun to the day

Permalink | Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Panic? Get Over It?

Today is the 2nd day of the 11th week, the 9th day of the 3rd month, the 69th day of 2020 [with only 290 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Amerigo Vespucci Day –  born this day 566 years ago
  • Bang-Clang Day - the first battle between ironclad ships in 1862 at Hampton Roads, VA
  • Barbie Day – she made debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York in 1959
  • Commonwealth Day
  • False Teeth Day
  • Fill Our Staplers Day
  • Get Over It Day – the day between Valentine's Day and April Fools' Day, founded by Jeff Goldblatt in 2005
  • Joe Franklin Day - born in 1926, was an American radio and television host personality, author and actor from New York City. His television series debuted in January 1951 on WJZ-TV, moving to WOR-TV in 1962, remaining there until 1993, one of the longest running uninterrupted careers in broadcasting history
  • National Crabmeat Day
  • National Napping Day
  • National Meatball Day
  • National Urban Ballroom Dancing Day
  • National Urban Educator Day
  • National Workplace Napping Day
  • Panic Day ((co-sponsored by the Sky is Falling Committee)) – did you know that Pan did not only play the pipes, but his shout could actually instill unreasoning fear in opponents
  • Purim and Ta'Anit Esther  ((Purim is described as a “jolly holiday” but they kick it off by fasting?))
  • The Worm Moon - Full Moon at 1:48 pm EDT
As the news about COVID-19 gets worse, and the resulting hit to the global investment markets trigger the circuit breaker on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since October 27th, 1997, with a full moon in the sky and Mercury coming out of retrograde, not to mention the US implementing the annual insanity known as daylight savings time over the weekend, calling today “Panic Day” seems apropos.  People are stockpiling food and medicine,  disinfectants and protective gear have either disappeared or soared in price, and the Catholic church has removed the holy water from the churches.   Now when you enter the church, you no longer dip your fingers in the holy water and cross yourself.   What fascinates me is this is a tradition that dates from medieval times and there have been a lot of communicable diseases floating around since then, so why is it NOW suddenly seen as a potential source of contamination?   Will the Orthodox Jews stop touching the mezuzah affixed to the doorpost of the homes they visit?
 What is on stark display here is how income inequity in the United States impacts health, for while the 1% worry about the stock market, the rest of us worry whether or not a simply performing an automatic religious observance, or even handling cash, means a risk of infection.   
Permalink | Monday, March 9, 2020

the first Friday in March 2020

Today is the 6th day of the 10th week, the 6th day of the 3rd month, the 66th day of 2020, and: 
  • Alamo Day – in 1836, after 13 days of fighting 1,500-3,000 Mexican soldiers overwhelm the Texan defenders, killing 182-257 Texans including William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett
  • Day of The Dude
  • Dentist's Day
  • Dress in Blue Day – to raise awareness of colon cancer
  • Employee Appreciation Day
  • Independence Day - Ghana from the UK in 1957, the first Sub-Saharan country to do so
  • Middle Name Pride Day
  • National Day of Unplugging
  • National Dress Day
  • National Frozen Food Day
  • National Oreo Cookie Day
  • National Salesperson Day
  • National Speech and Debate Education Day
  • National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day
  • Sofia Kovalevskaya Math Day
  • World Day of Prayer


1079 - Omar ibn Ibrahim al-Chajjam completes Jalali-calendar

1521 – Ferdinand Magellan arrives at Guam.

1665 – The first joint Secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg, publishes the first issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world's longest-running scientific journal.

1788 – The First Fleet arrives at Norfolk Island in order to found a convict settlement.

1831 - Edgar Allan Poe removed from West Point military academy

1835 - Volume One of Thomas Carlyle's famous work "The French Revolution: A History" is accidentally burnt by a maid using it as fire starter before its publication. Carlyle re-writes it.

1886 - the first US alternating current power plant starts, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

1899 – "Aspirin" (acetylsalicylic acid) patented by Felix Hoffmann at German company Bayer

1922 - Babe Ruth signs 3 year contract with NY Yankees at $52,000 a year.  That would be $798,481.67 in 2020

1943 – Norman Rockwell published Freedom from Want in The Saturday Evening Post with a matching essay by Carlos Bulosan as part of the Four Freedoms series.

1945 - George Nissen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, receives a patent for the first modern trampoline

1950 - Silly Putty goes on sale in the US

1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1964 - Boxing legend Cassius Clay joins the Nation of Islam and changes his name to "Muhammad Ali", calling his former title a "slave name"

1974 - An unnamed Italian industrialist loses a record $1,920,000 at roulette over five hours in Monte Carlo Casino

1975 – For the first time the Zapruder film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is shown in motion to a national TV audience by Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory.

1981 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1981 - Soyuz 39 returns to Earth

1985 - Yul Brynner appears in his 4,500th performance of "The King & I"

1986 - USSR's Vega 1 flies by Halley's Comet at 8,889 km

1992 – The Michelangelo computer virus begins to affect computers.

1998 - First time the British Union Flag is flown over Buckingham Palace (following the controversy after Princess Dian's death; formerly the only flag flown was the Sovereign's standard indicating the monarch's presence.)

2015 - NASA's Dawn space probe enters orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres

2018 - World's oldest message in a bottle found in Western Australia, thrown from German ship Paula 132 years ago (12 June 1886)


What do you think of your middle name?  When it came time to name my son, his father told me that in his family the same middle name was always used for the first son, so “Carroll” it was.  In my mother’s family, the name middle name for girls was “Ann” [or Anne or Anna] and I carried on the tradition.  My daughter’s second daughter’s middle name is also “Ann”, like her mother’s and her grandmother’s.   




Most of us learned about the Alamo via Fess Parker when the episode aired on February 23rd, 1955
Permalink | Friday, March 6, 2020

First Monday in March 2020

Today is the 2nd day of the 10th week, the 2nd day of the 3rd month, the 62nd day of 2020, and: 
  • Casimir Pulaski Day
  • Dr Seuss Day
  • Feast of 'Alá
  • Free Dentistry Day
  • Fun Facts About Names Day
  • International Rescue Cat Day
  • National Banana Cream Pie Day
  • national Read Across America Day
  • Old Stuff Day
  • Orthodox Green Monday
  • World Teen Mental Wellness Day
The gospel at Mass on Sunday, the first Sunday of Lent, was about the temptation of Christ by Satan -- and the priest spun the story to point out that we are not: 
  • what we do – my takeaway was that we are not the roles that we fill, nor should we define ourselves by work.  Many people do this and lose themselves thoroughly by being a wife or a cop, to take just two examples that I am very familiar with
  • what others think about us – how often do we accept the definitions of who we are by what is said about us!  Labels stick and your self-image can be permanently warped by opinions of others
  • what we have – is having stuff a role?  How often do we describe someone as rich or poor just based on how much they have?
So if you cannot state who you are based on any of these criteria, then who are you?  There was agreat episode in Bablyon 5’s second season where the question  "Who are you?"  was asked again and again and again because the answers received were unsatisfactory.  To me, there doesn’t seem to be a good answer to that question because as soon as you apply someone's term for what you are, you have limited or defined yourself in that framework.
After seven decades, I’m not quite sure I can answer that question easily….
Permalink | Monday, March 2, 2020

Final Friday in February

Today is the 6th day of the 9th week, the 28th day of the 2nd month, the 59th day of 2020 [with only 300 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Car Keys and Small Change Day
  • Floral Design Day
  • Girl Scout Cookie Weekend
  • Global Scouse Day
  • International STAND UP to Bullying Day
  • National Chocolate Souffle Day
  • National Customized Wheel and Tire Day
  • national Public Sleeping Day
  • National Science Day
  • National Skip the Straw Day
  • National Tartar Sauce Day
  • National Tooth Fairy Day
  • US Snow Shoe Days
  • The third day of Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá'í Faith) (Please note that this observance is only locked into this date the Gregorian calendar on this date if Bahá'í Naw-Rúz takes place on March 21, which it doesn't in all years)


1700 – Today is followed by March 1 in Sweden, thus creating the Swedish calendar.

1749 - the first edition of Henry Fieldings' novel "Tom Jones" published

1826 - Biela's Comet rediscovered by Austrian astronomer Wilhelm von Biela (originally discovered 1772)

1827 – The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1849 – Regular steamship service from the east to the west coast of the United States begins with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, four months 22 days after leaving New York Harbor, carrying the first boat load of gold rush prospectors

1867 – Seventy years of Holy See–United States relations are ended by a Congressional ban on federal funding of diplomatic envoys to the Vatican and are not restored until January 10, 1984.

1935 – DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents nylon.

1939 – The erroneous word "dord" is discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1940 – Basketball is televised for the first time (Fordham University vs. the University of Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden).

1953 – James Watson and Francis Crick announce to friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA; the formal announcement takes place on April 25 following publication in April's Nature

1954 - US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island

1959 – Discoverer 1, an American spy satellite that is the first object intended to achieve a polar orbit, is launched but fails to achieve orbit.

1983 – The final episode of M*A*S*H airs, with almost 106 million viewers. It still holds the record for the highest viewership of a season finale.

1984 - British satirical puppet show "Spitting Image" premieres on ITV

1997 – GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, strikes the Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts occur well beyond the Milky Way.

2007 - Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

2013 – Pope Benedict XVI resigns as the pope of the Catholic Church, becoming the first pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII, in 1415.

Quote of the day:
The question is not what you look at—but how you look & whether you see.”
~  Henry David Thoreau, Journal, August 5, 1851

According to the Urban Dictionary, the word dord means:

3. Dord (n): A word that is incorrectly used or does not technically exist either through intention or misconception.

"Dord" itself falls into this description, and so does pretty much everything else on Urban Dictionary.

This can be imagined as an abbreviation for "Denied word", as a mnemonic device though that is not its origin.

The existence of the little four letter word exhibits the real skill needed in proof reading – reading what is on the paper not what was meant to have been said.   Not everyone, even those who are detail oriented have that gift.  

I was going to expostulate at length about the difference between reality and what you want to believe, but got sidetracked by a word.  Have a great weekend!


Now excuse me, I have to work on my retirement plan…..

Permalink | Friday, February 28, 2020


Today is the 5th day of the 9th week, the 27th day of the 2nd month, the 58th day of 2020, and: 
  • Anosomia Awareness Day
  • Digital Learning Day
  • Independence Day - Dominican Republic from Haiti in 1844
  • International Polar Bear Day
  • National Chili Day
  • National Kahlua Day
  • National Protein Day
  • National Retro Day
  • National Strawberry Day
  • National Toast Day
  • No-Brainer Day
  • Pokemon Day - First appearance of Pokémon in role-playing video game "Pocket Monsters Red and Green" for Game Boy in Japan in 1996
  • World NGO Day
  • The second day of Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá'í Faith) (Note: this observance is only on this date in the Gregorian calendar if Bahá'í Naw-Rúz takes place on March 21, which it does not in all years)

 380 – Edict of Thessalonica: Emperor Theodosius I and his co-emperors Gratian and Valentinian II declare their wish that all Roman citizens convert to Nicene Christianity.

 425 – The University of Constantinople is founded by Emperor Theodosius II at the urging of his wife Aelia Eudocia

 837 - 15th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet

1700 – English explorer William Dampier is the 1st British person to visit the Pacific Island of New Britain, which he names

1812 – Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.

1827 - the first Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans

1870 – The current flag of Japan is first adopted as the national flag for Japanese merchant ships.

1883 - Oscar Hammerstein patents the first cigar-rolling machine

1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.

1965 - France performs Underground nuclear test at Ecker Algeria

1971 – Doctors in the first Dutch abortion clinic (the Mildredhuis in Arnhem) start performing artificially-induced abortions.

1973 - Pope Paul VI publishes constitution motu proprio Quo aptius

1974 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1978 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1990 - Final day of the rum ration in the Royal New Zealand Navy

2018 - Barbra Streisand reveals she has cloned her dog twice

2019 - First gun control legislation for 25 years passed by US House of Representatives, with new federal background checks

2019 - Doctors announce world's second known case of semi-identical twins, a boy and girl from Brisbane, Australia


This is a fine time to find out that I don’t know how to wash my hands.  According to this article, I should be "... applying soap and scrubbing the palms, the back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the fingernails.  A person should scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing the soap and drying the hands with a clean towel."   Now I can guarantee that I do not stand in a public bathroom, using the harsh soap provided, and lather up that elaborately.  And I’m still astonished that 30% of the people using restrooms don’t even wash their hands at all afterwards!


But it is rather disingenuous to say this is the first line of defense in the spread of the corona or any virus.   What would be more helpful, would first of all be to have an actual test that can be administered when someone exhibits the symptoms without charging the possible patient an arm and a leg.  And then publish a clear list of what we, the public, should be looking for that doesn’t sound like everyday ailments.  Allergy season is kicking in and that means sufferers are drooping, complete with coughing, sneezing, and itchy eyes.   Colds and flu are also about, and seriously, I don’t know anybody who can stay home because they have the sniffles.  So at what point is it needful to hie off to the doctor?




Incidentally, now is probably not the time to start reading The Stand …..

Permalink | Thursday, February 27, 2020

seasonal angst

Today is the 4th day of the 9th week, the 26th day of the 2nd month, the 57th day of 2020, and: 
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Carnival Day
  • For Pete's Sake Day
  • Inconvenience Yourself Day
  • Levi Strauss Day
  • National Personal Chef Day
  • National Pistachio Day
  • Pink Shirt Day -  stand against bullying in schools, workplaces, homes, and online.
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day
  • Thermos Bottle Day
  • The first day of Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá'í Faith) (Please note that this observance is only locked into this date the Gregorian calendar on this date if Bahá'í Naw-Rúz takes place on March 21, which it doesn't in all years)

1606 – The Janszoon voyage of 1605–06 becomes the first European expedition to set foot on Australia, although it is mistaken as a part of New Guinea.

1616 – Galileo Galilei is formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church from teaching or defending the view that the earth orbits the sun

1863 - Abraham Lincoln signs National Currency Act, establishes single national US currency

1907 - US Congress raised their own salaries to $7,500

1909 – Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process, is first shown to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London.

1916 - Mutual signs Charlie Chaplin to a film contract

1917 - the first jazz records recorded - "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company

1930 - the first red and green traffic lights installed (Manhattan NYC)

1935 – Robert Watson-Watt carries out a demonstration near Daventry which leads directly to the development of radar in the United Kingdom.

1936 - Ferdinand Porsche introduces the "Volkswagen"

1952 - PM Winston Churchill announces Britain has its own atomic bomb

1960 - Vera Miles stars in the famous "Mirror Image" episode of the classic CBS television series "The Twilight Zone"

1966 – Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket

1970 - Beatles release "Beatles Again" aka "Hey Jude" album

1971 – U.N. Secretary-General U Thant signs United Nations proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.

1976 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1977 - 1st flight of Space Shuttle (atop a Boeing 747)

1983 - Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album goes #1 and stays #1 for 37 weeks

1987 - the first release of Beatles compact discs

1987 - NASA launches GEOS-H

1987 - USSR resumes nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

2012 - 84th Academy Awards: "The Artist" wins five Oscars and becomes the first silent film to win since 1927,

2013 - A flexible battery capable of being charged wirelessly and folded and stretched is developed

I am not a fan of spring, never have been.  Or more correctly, I am not a big fan of that space of time between the Valentine’s Day and Easter, which seems to incorporate a lot of what is traditionally thought of as spring.  Far from seeing it as a time of renewal, for me it is a time of doldrums and depression, of the cone of silence descending, of broken connections and riven relationships.   I have never been quite certain why this is or what triggers it, I just hunker down and live through it, hoping that those who love me will still be around afterwards.  It kicked in last week this year.

 Maybe it is the allergies that kick in.

Maybe it is my birthday.

Maybe it is the dregs of winter.

Maybe I just don’t like the harbinger of humid heat. 

But after the 70th spring, I don’t think I’m likely to change my mind anytime soon….
Permalink | Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Shrove Tuesday 2020

Today is the 3rd day of the 9th week, the 25th day of the 2nd month, the 56th day of 2020, and: 
  • International Pancake Day
  • Let's All Eat Right Day
  • Meher Baba's birthday (followers of Meher Baba)
  • Mardi Gras
  • National Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day
  • National Clam Chowder Day
  • Pancake Day Race (Between US and England)
  • Pistol Patent Day
  • Pączki Day
  • Quiet Day
  • Rubber Ducky Day
  • Shrove Tuesday [AKA Fat Tuesday]
  • World Spay Day USA

1570 - Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign. Also absolves her subjects from allegiance to the crown.

1751 - the first performing monkey exhibited in America, NYC (admission 1 cent)

1836 – Samuel Colt Samuel Colt patents first multi-shot revolving-cylinder revolver, enabling the firearm to be fired multiple times without reloading

1838 - London pedestrian walks 20 miles backward then forward in 8 hours

1843 – Lord George Paulet occupies the Kingdom of Hawaii in the name of Great Britain in the Paulet Affair (1843).

1862 - Congress forms US Bureau of Engraving and Printing to print newly issued US paper currency, the United States Notes

1908 - the first tunnel under Hudson River (railway tunnel) opens

1919 – Oregon places a one cent per U.S. gallon tax on gasoline, becoming the first U.S. state to levy a gasoline tax.

1930 - Check photographing device patented

1950 - "Your Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar & Imogene Coca premieres on NBC Writers include Mel Brooks, Neil Simon & Woody Allen

1957 - Buddy Holly & Crickets record "That'll Be the Day"

1963 - Beatles release their first single in US "Please Please Me"

1968 – One hundred thirty-five unarmed citizens of Hà My village in South Vietnam's Quảng Nam Province are killed and buried en masse by South Korean troops in what would come to be known as the Hà My massacre.

1969 - Mariner 6 launched for fly-by of Mars

1979 - Soyuz 32, carrying two cosmonauts to Salyut 6 space station, is launched

1981 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1982 - Final episode of "The Lawrence Welk Show" airs

2015 - BRIT Awards: Best Single "Uptown Funk", Best Album "X" by Ed Sheeran

2019 - Influential film review site Rotten Tomatoes implements changes to its site after internet trolls target "Captain Marvel" film

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 29 secs of light-travel time from Earth


I work in a small office with only five other coworkers at the moment and I was totally astounded when not one of them knew that today was a day to consume pancakes.  Amused I explained that in days of yore, one needed to use up the flour, sugar, eggs, and milk that would not be needed during the six weeks of Lent that start tomorrow, and that pancakes were the easiest way to do so, resulting in a culinary revel almost as debauched as Mardi Gras.

Thanks to all the publicity New Orleans gets this time of year, I was under the impression that everyone knew about pancakes today!
Permalink | Tuesday, February 25, 2020

a Monday masquerading as a Tuesday

Today is the 3rd day of the 8th week,  the 18th day of the 2nd month, the 49th day of 2020 [with only 310 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Cow Milked While Flying in an Airplane Day – yes it actually happened back in 1930
  • Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day
  • Independence Day - Gambia from the United Kingdom in 1965
  • International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day - honoring kids who have or had cancer
  • National Battery Day - The inventor of the battery, Italian physicist Allesandro Volta, was born in 1745
  • National Drink Wine Day ((a holiday many of us will be more than happy to celebrate))
  • National Hate Florida Day ((has nothing to do with hanging chads))
  • Pluto Day - Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto while studying photographs taken in January in 1960
  • Thumb Appreciation day
  • Travel Africa Day

3102 BC - Epoch (origin) of the Kali Yuga

1735 - the first opera performed in America, "Flora", in Charleston, South Carolina

1787 - Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II bans children under 8 from labor

1879 - Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi is awarded a patent for his design for the Statue of Liberty

1885 – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is published in the United States

1896 - Cave of Winds at Niagara Falls goes almost dry for first time in 50 years

1901 - H Cecil Booth patented a dust removing suction cleaner

1908 - the first US postage stamps in rolls issued

1911 – The first official flight with airmail takes place from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India (now India), when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.

1927 - US & Canada open diplomatic relations

1952 - The 4th Emmy Awards: first time awards presented based on nationwide basis, "The Red Skelton Show", Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca win

1954 – The first Church of Scientology is established in Los Angeles.

1955 – Teapot test shot "Wasp" is successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons. Wasp is the first of fourteen shots in the Teapot series.

1968 - Britain commences a trial of year-round daylight saving time (BST - British Standard Time, one hour ahead of GMT)

1974 - NASA launches Italian satellite San Marcos C-2 (235/843 km)

1977 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle is carried on its maiden "flight" on top of a Boeing 747.

1979 - Mini-series "Roots: Next Generations" premieres on ABC TV

1979 - NASA launches space vehicle S-202

1986 - Anti-smoking ad airs for 1st time on TV, featuring Yul Brynner: he died of smoking-induced lung cancer on 10th October 1985

2003 - Comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) makes perihelion, seen by SOHO.

2009 - English fantasy author Terry Pratchett receives a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace

2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

2010 - Bibliothèque nationale de France purchases the memoirs of Giacomo Casanova a for €7 million

2019 - British parliamentary committee issues scathing report on Facebook, accusing company of breaking privacy laws, calling for new regulations

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 43 secs of light-travel time from Earth


In all the brouhaha about ads on social media, folks forget that back in the day, there weren’t a lot of filters on TV ads.  Oh, they couldn’t cuss, and sex had to be implied rather than shown, and if the claims were too outrageously false, the FCC would make them pull the ads, but cigarette manufacturers continued peddling their wares long after it was proven their products caused cancer – they had money and stations were hungry for revenue.  The first ad that actually stated the ills of smoking stirred up quite a wasp’s nest of protest from corporate sponsors!   



Unfortunately, it was decades before the full extent of the damage caused by secondary smoke to those around the smokers was understood, and addressed, but now one may go to work, or eat at a restaurant, or walk through a public place without having to deal with a cloud of smoke. 
Permalink | Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I haz a sad....

Quote of the day
When one loves, one does not calculate.”
-- St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul


Today, 16 years ago, Frank gave me this.   He was a bit disappointed with my reaction, and I had to explain that although I thought it was gorgeous, I didn’t know what I was going to wear it with!  Mollified, he snorted “whatever you want to” .  The next year, my daughter sent me flowers because she knew he had always seen to it that I had flowers for Valentine’s Day, although he usually brought them home a day or two ahead of time, scorning the florists’ price increases for this day.   Usually I let the holiday pass by without any angst, but this year I am moody and dispirited, and wishing rather forlornly for flowers, cards, and most importantly of all, the knowledge that I have a special someone.  Give your love an extra tight hug, today! 

I will treasure my memories and not repine -- the sun is shining for the first time in almost a week, it is Friday, and the start of a three-day weekend.   
Permalink | Friday, February 14, 2020

just over the horizon....

Today is the 4th day of the 7th week, the 12th day of the 2nd month, the 43rd day of 2020, and: 
  • Hug Day
  • International Darwin Day
  • Lincoln's Birthday
  • NAACP Day – formed in 1909
  • National Freedom to Marry Day
  • National Lost Penny Day ((Note: Lincoln's birthday and he's on the penny))
  • National Plum Pudding Day
  • Oglethorpe Day - (AKA Georgia Day - commemorates the 1733 landing of James Edward Oglethorpe and the first colonists in Georgia, settling in Savannah)
  • Paul Bunyan Day (Born Feb. 12, 1834 in Bangor, ME)
  • Red Hand Day (AKA International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers)
  • Safety Pup Day


1502 - Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal on his second voyage to India

1818 - Chile gains independence from Spain

1825 – The Creek cede the last of their lands in Georgia to the United States government by the Treaty of Indian Springs, and migrate west.

1850 - Original Washington's Farewell Address manuscript sells for $2,300 [$74,193.55 in 2019]

1873 - US Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1873, abolishing bimetallism and placing the country on the gold standard

1878 - Frederick Thayer patents catcher's mask (pat # 200,358)

1912 - China adopts Gregorian calendar

1914 - "The Squaw Man", the first feature-length film shot in Hollywood, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel, is released in the US

1915 – In Washington, D.C., the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.

1924 – George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue received its premiere in a concert titled "An Experiment in Modern Music", in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano.

1935 - First secret demonstration of radio signals detecting aircraft by Robert Watson-Watt at Daventry, England

1947 – The largest observed iron meteorite until that time creates an impact crater in Sikhote-Alin, in the Soviet Union.

1947 – Christian Dior unveils a "New Look", helping Paris regain its position as the capital of the fashion world.

1949 - Panic in Quito, Ecuador, after "War of the Worlds" played on radio

1959 - The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny goes into circulation. It replaces the "sheaves of wheat" design

1961 – The Soviet Union launches Venera 1 towards Venus.

1963 – Construction begins on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

1965 - Nuclear test at Pacific Ocean

1976 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1994 – Four thieves break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal Edvard Munch's iconic painting The Scream.

1998 - Intel unveils its 1st graphics chip i740

2001 – NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touches down in the "saddle" region of 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

2014 - Intel entrepreneur and co-founder of the X-PRIZE Foundation, Peter Diamandis, claims that 50% of US jobs are under threat of being mechanized within 10 years

2016 – Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill sign an Ecumenical Declaration in the first such meeting between leaders of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches since their split in 1054.

2016 - Britain's Ordnance Survey, using NASA data posts map of Mars on Flickr

2019 - US national debt tops 22 trillion for the first time according to US Treasury

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 53 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Back when I was growing up, long before holidays were moved to Mondays to enable long weekends back in 1968,  February was a welcome relief because we would get off for both Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays on the 12th [at least in Maryland] and the 22nd.   It was nice having two days to look forward to!  I have to admit though,  despite the fact I was one of those who griped that we should celebrate things on the actual date we were commemorating, I have rather gotten used to the idea of a three day weekend



Of course, if I had my druthers, we would all switch to a 32 – hour work week [at the same rate of pay of course] and every weekend would be three days, but I’m afraid that is a pipe dream….
Permalink | Wednesday, February 12, 2020

another rainy Monday

Today is the 2nd day of the 7th week, the 10th day of the 2nd month, the 41st day of 2020, and: 
  • All The News That's Fit To Print Day
  • Clean Out Your Computer Day
  • National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
  • National Flannel Day
  • National Home Warranty Day
  • Oatmeal Monday
  • Plimsoll Day
  • Teddy Day
  • Tu BiShvat
  • Umbrella Day
  • World Pulses Day


1258 – Mongol invasions: Baghdad falls to the Mongols, bringing the Islamic Golden Age to an end.

1535 - 12 nude anabaptists run through Amsterdam streets

1774 - Andrew Becker demonstrates diving suit

1794 - Joseph Haydn's 99th Symphony in E premieres

1863 - the first US fire extinguisher patent granted to Alanson Crane, Virginia

1879 - the first electric arc light used (California Theater)

1897 - The NY Times begins using slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print"

1906 – HMS Dreadnought, the first of a revolutionary new breed of battleships is christened and launched by King Edward VII.

1916 - Biggest oil well gusher ever - Edward L. Doheny's Cerro Azul No. 4 first gushes 600 feet in the air near Tampico, Mexico

1920 - Baseball outlaws all pitches involving tampering with ball

1933 - Delivery of the first singing telegram (Postal Telegram Co NYC)

1939 - "Stagecoach" western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne, premieres in Miami

1940 – Cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, created by William Hanna & Joseph Barbera, make their debut with Puss Gets the Boot by MGM.

1940 - "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller hits #1

1942 - Glenn Miller awarded 1st ever gold record for selling 1 million copies of "Chattanooga Choo Choo"

1942 - American chemist James Franklin Hyde is granted a patent for fused silica

1947 – Crowds gathered at shop windows in Paris to see Christian Dior's New Look fashion—longer skirts, nipped-in waists and padded shoulders.

1949 - Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" opens at Morosco Theater, NYC

1961 - Niagara Falls hydroelectric project begins producing power

1962 – Roy Lichtenstein's first solo exhibition opened, and it included Look Mickey, which featured his first employment of Ben-Day dots, speech balloons and comic imagery sourcing, all of which he is now known for.

1966 - "Valley of the Dolls" by Jacqueline Susann is published by Bernard Geis Associates in the US - sold over 31 million copies

1972 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1979 = "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart peaks at #1

1989 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1996 - IBM computer Deep Blue becomes the first computer to win a game of chess against a reigning (human) chess champion, Gary Kasparov

1997 - Soyuz TM-25 launches to the MIR

1998 - AOL raises monthly flat rate internet access from $19.95 to $21.95

2009 – The communications satellites Iridium 33 and Kosmos 2251 collide in orbit, destroying both.

2019 - Insect populations are collapsing worldwide threatening a“catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems” according to a global review saying 40% declining, 30% endangered


Today when I walked into Starbucks, out of the pouring rain, after sitting in traffic, I was greeted with a cheery chorus of “Happy Monday!” 




It still was a dark, dank day, but at least that group of folks had smiles on their faces!
Permalink | Monday, February 10, 2020

February's First Friday

Today is the 6th day of the 6th week, the 7th day of the 2nd month, the 38th day of 2020, and: 
  • "e" day [math]
  • Ballet Day
  • Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
  • Bubble Gum Day
  • Give Kids a Smile Day
  • Harry Potter Book Night
  • Independence Day - Grenada from the United Kingdom in 1974.
  • International Clash Day
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Day
  • National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • National Periodic Table Day
  • National Wear Red Day
  • Rose Day
  • Send a Card to a Friend Day
  • Wave A Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day
  • Working Naked Day

1497 – In Florence, Italy, supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burn cosmetics, art, and books, in a "Bonfire of the vanities"

1817 - Baltimore becomes the 1st American city lit by gas street lamps with the first turned on at Market and Lemon Streets (currently Baltimore and Holliday Streets)

1845 - The Portland Vase, thought to date to the 1st century BC is shattered into more than 80 pieces by a drunken visitor to the British Museum

1900 – A Chinese immigrant in San Francisco falls ill to bubonic plague in the first plague epidemic in the continental United States

1904 – A fire begins in Baltimore, Maryland;[8] it destroys over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours.

1914 - Charlie Chaplin debuts silent film character The Tramp in "Kid Auto Races at Venice"

1915 - the first wireless message sent from a moving train to a station received

1928 - the first solo flight from England to Australia takes off from Croydon, piloted by Australian aviator Bert Hinkler (arrives 15 ½ days later)

1940 – The second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premieres

1944 - Bing Crosby records "Swinging on a Star" for Decca Records (Academy Award Best Originial Song)

1949 - Joe DiMaggio becomes the first $100,000 a year baseball player for the New York Yankees

1964 - Baskin-Robbins introduces Beatle Nut ice cream

1974 - Mel Brooks' film "Blazing Saddles" opens in movie theaters starring Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder

1976 - World's largest telescope (600 cm) begins operation (USSR)

1977 - Soyuz 24 launches with two cosmonauts

1979 – Pluto moves inside Neptune's orbit for the first time since either was discovered.

1979 - Pink Floyd premiere their live version of "The Wall" in Los Angeles

1984 – Space Shuttle program: STS-41-B Mission: Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).

1997 – NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.

2006 - Uma Thurman is named a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France for outstanding achievement in the field of art and literature

2013 - Azerbaijan launches its first satellite, Azerspace-1

2014 – Scientists announce that the Happisburgh footprints in Norfolk, England, date back to more than 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa.

2016 – North Korea launches Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 into outer space violating multiple UN treaties and prompting condemnation from around the world.

2018 - DNA analysis of Chedder Man, UK's oldest complete skeleton shows he had dark skin and blue eyes


Today is FFF -- the First Friday of February!  I’m not as happy as I usually am about it being Friday because I made the mistake of reading the news these past couple of days and need to get my social media feeds back to anime, science fiction, anthropology and archeology, gaming, and other things that I find interesting.




And I think it is time to bury myself with other narratives for a while
Permalink | Friday, February 7, 2020

Today is the 4th day of the 6th week, the 5th day of the 2nd month, the 36th day of 2020, and: 
  • Adlai Stevenson Day 
  • California Western Monarch Day
  • Disaster Day
  • Global School Play Day
  • Move Hollywood and Broadway to Lebanon, Pennsylvania Day
  • National Chocolate Fondue Day
  • National Fart Day
  • National Girls and Women in Sports Day
  • National Shower with a Friend Day
  • National Signing Day
  • National Weatherperson's Day
  • Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Anglican Church in Japan) – A group of early Japanese Christians are killed by the new government of Japan for being seen as a threat to Japanese society in
  • 1597
  • World Animal Reiki Day
  • World Nutella Day
  • World Read Aloud Day

1807 – HMS Blenheim and HMS Java disappear off the coast of Rodrigues.

1817 - 1st US gas co incorporated, Baltimore (coal gas for street lights)

1846 - "Oregon Spectator" is the first newspaper to be published on the West Coast

1850 - Adding machine employing depressible keys patented, New Paltz, NY

1852 – The New Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, opens to the public.

1861 - Kinematoscope patented by Coleman Sellers, Philadelphia

1869 – The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the "Welcome Stranger" (weighting 97.14kg) , is found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia by John Deason and Richard Oates

1870 - the first motion picture shown to a theater audience, Philadelphia

1879 - Joseph Swan demonstrates light bulb using carbon glow

1887 - Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Otello" premieres at La Scala in Italy, Verdi's first new opera for over 15 years

1907 – Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world's first synthetic plastic.

1919 – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith launch United Artists.

1922 - Reader's Digest magazine first published

1924 – The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.

1931 - Maxine Dunlap becomes the first US women to earn a glider pilot license

1936 - "Modern Times", silent film directed by, written by and starring Charlie Chaplin, is released

1940 - Glenn Miller and his Orchestra record "Tuxedo Junction"

1944 - "Captain American" serial film premieres starring Dick Purcell, first appearance of a Marvel superhero outside a comic

1953 - "Peter Pan" by Walt Disney opens at Roxy Theater, NYC

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 - the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all within 16 degrees

1963 - Maarten Schmidt discovers enormous red shifts in quasars

1963 - Soviet lunar probe failure

1967 - "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" premieres on CBS (later ABC, NBC)

1969 - US population reaches 200 million

1970 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1971 – Apollo 14, the third US manned Moon expedition, lands near Fra Mauro Alan Shepard & Edward Mitchell (Apollo 14) walk on Moon for 4 hrs

1972 - US airlines begin mandatory inspection of passengers & baggage

1974 - Maximum speed on Autobahn reduced to 100 kph

1987 - the Dow Jones average closes above 2,200 for the first time

1987 - Soyuz TM-2 launches

1988 - the first prime-time wrestling match in 30 yrs - Andre the Giant beats Hulk Hogan

1994 - "Where On Earth Is Carmen San Diego," debuts on Fox TV

2013 - The US Postal Service announces the cessation of Saturday first-class mail delivery from August 2013

2014 - Archaeologists decrypt the 13th C Viking jötunvillur runic code

2016 - Computer hackers try to steal 1 billion from Federal Reserve Bank of New York using Bangladesh banking codes, steal 81 million before a typo alerts authorities

2019 - China’s first science fiction blockbuster, “The Wandering Earth” premieres, directed by Frant Gwo, based on a story by Liu Cixin

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 03 secs of light-travel time from Earth


One of the highlights of Tangled, is the musical number I have a dream”, as the thugs and ne’er-do-wells in the pub express what they really would like to be or do.   The scene is worked for laughs as some of their aspirations are incongruous with their appearance, but I find it quite poignant.  So many of us end up in place other than we had thought we would!  When I got out of college, I was going to teach for a couple of years, then if I decided I didn’t have a talent and vocation in that direction, I was going to join the Peace Corps.  After working abroad for five or six years, I was going to return and join the State Department.  Although diplomacy was never my strong suit, I figured plain-talking would be valued somewhere….




At no point did I ever imagine myself working in banking for 35 years!
Permalink | Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Today is the 3rd day of the 6th week, the 4th day of the 2nd month, the 35th day of 2020, and: 
  • African American Coaches Day
  • Facebook's Birthday – the mainstream online social networking site, is launched by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 from his Harvard dormitory room
  • Independence Day - Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka) within the British Commonwealth in 1948
  • Liberace Day
  • Medjoola Date Day
  • National Create a Vacuum Day
  • National Hemp Day
  • National Homemade Soup Day
  • National Quaker Day
  • National Stuffed Mushroom Day
  • National Thank a Mailman Day
  • Rosa Parks Day
  • Safer Internet Day
  • Torture Abolition Day
  • USO Day - The United Service Organization is created to entertain American troops in 1941.
  • World Cancer Day
  • Earliest day on which Ash Wednesday can fall, while March 10 is the latest; celebrated on the first day of Lent (Christianity) 

1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.  This is the only time the Electoral Collage has been in total agreement with who should be President

1846 – The first Mormon pioneers make their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, westward towards Salt Lake Valley.

1859 – The Codex Sinaiticus, AKA the Sinai Bible and one of the oldest known copies of the Bible, is discovered in Egypt by Constantin von Tischendorf who takes the manuscript home with him

1895 - the first rolling lift bridge opens in Chicago

1913 - Louis Perlman patents demountable auto tire-carrying wheel rim

1920 - the first flight from London to South Africa departs (takes 1½ months)

1931 - National League adopts a deader baseball

1936 - the first radioactive substance produced synthetically (radium E)

1938 - "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder opens on Broadway

1957 - the first electric portable typewriter placed on sale (Syracuse NY)

1961 - Sputnik 7 launches into Earth orbit; probable Venus probe failure

1967 – Lunar Orbiter 3 lifts off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13 on its mission to identify possible landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.

1970 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1970 - "Patton" directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring George C. Scott premieres in New York (Academy Awards Best Picture 1971)

1971 - The NASDAQ stock exchange, the second-largest in the world - behind the New York Stock Exchange - is founded in New York City

1973 - Comic strip "Hagar The Horrible" by Dik Browne debuts

1974 - Chimpanzee Nim Chimsky signs his 1st word, at 2½ months

1976 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1991 - US postage raises from 25 cents to 29 cents

1991 - Alex Trebek becomes first person to host three American game shows at the same time (Jeopardy!, Classic Concentration, To Tell the Truth)

1993 - Russian space agency tests a 82-foot wide space mirror

1998 - Bill Gates gets a pie thrown in his face in Brussels, Belgium


Okay, that last item got my attention – why would anyone throw a cream pie at Bill Gates?  Was is a WINDOWS user who was sick and tired of updates, costs, and security holes?  Was someone steaming about income inequity?  Nope, it was a Belgian -- Noël Godin, a writer, critic, actor and notorious pie thrower or entarteur -- with a slightly whacky sense of humor on a mission to bring down those who seem to have an inflated sense of self-importance.




Yes I was amused – but I still can sympathize with Bill Gates getting totally blindsided like that!  I mean seriously, how would you like to be walking along, minding your own business, and suddenly wearing a pie all over your face, hair, and clothing?

Permalink | Tuesday, February 4, 2020

the 1st of Februrary

Imbolic, or the feast of St Brigid, comes with a breath of spring in the midst of our winter, reminding us of renewal and that the cold will not last forever

Permalink | Saturday, February 1, 2020

bye bye January

Today is the 6th day of the 5th week, the 31st day of the 1st month, the 31st day of 2020, and: 
  • Amartithi (Meherabad, India, followers of Meher Baba)
  • Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day
  • Backwards Day
  • Brandy Alexander Day
  • Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day
  • Eat Brussels Sprouts Day
  • Hell is Freezing Over Day
  • Hug an Economist Day
  • Independence Day -  Nauru from Australia in 1968
  • Inspire Your Heart with Art Day
  • National Big Wig Day
  • National Fun at Work Day
  • National Hot Chocolate Day
  • National Preschool Health and Fitness Day
  • Scotch Tape Day
  • Street Children Day


1627 - Spanish government goes bankrupt

1747 – The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.

1862 – Alvan Graham Clark discovers the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an 18.5-inch (47 cm) telescope now located at Northwestern University.

1876 - The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.

1901 - Chekhov's "Three Sisters" opens at Moscow Art Theater

1905 - the first automobile to exceed 100 mph (161 kph), A G MacDonald, Daytona Beach

1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.

1934 - FDR devalues US dollar in relation to gold at $35 per ounce

1936 - "Green Hornet" radio show is 1st heard on WXYZ Radio in Detroit

1948 - Magnetic tape recorder developed by Wireway

1949 – These Are My Children, the first television daytime soap opera, is broadcast by the NBC station in Chicago.

1955 - RCA demonstrates the first music synthesizer

1958 – The first successful American satellite, Explorer 1, detects the Van Allen radiation belt.

1961 – Mercury-Redstone 2: Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.

1966 – The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program.

1971 – Apollo 14 - Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lift off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

1972 - US launches HEOS A-2 for interplanetary observations

Music release

Music Single

1975 - Barry Manilow's single "Mandy" goes gold

1982 - 10 Arabian oryx (extinct except in zoos) released in Oman – But in 1991, due to excessive poaching, the WWF declared them endangered again  

1983 - In an effort to reduce driving deaths, a new law in UK requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts

1997 - "Final Fantasy VII" is released by Square and Sony Computer Entertainment to PlayStation

1998 - STS 89 (Endeavour 12) lands

2018 – Both a blue moon and a total lunar eclipse occur.

2019 - Colonization of the America's in the late 1500s killed so many people it cooled the planet and led to a "Little Ice Age", according to a scientific report published in "Quaternary Science Reviews"

2020 – The United Kingdom's membership within the European Union ceases in accordance with Article 50, after 47 years of being a member state


On the one hand, where did January go?  How could we be at the end of month already when I just got the end of year reports done?


On the other hand, January has been at least a couple of months long and all the joy of opening a new year lost.




Oh well, at least it is FRIDAY!
Permalink | Friday, January 31, 2020

the last Thursday in January

Today is the 5th day of the 5th week, the 30th day of the 1st month, the 30th day of 2020, and: 
  • Fred Korematsu Day (California, Florida, Hawaii, Virginia)
  • National Croissant Day
  • National Escape Day
  • National Inane Answering Message Day
  • School Day of Non-violence and Peace
  • Start of the Season for Nonviolence January 30 - April 4
  • Thank Your Mentor Day
  • Yodel for Your Neighbors Day

1487 - Bell chimes invented

1703 – The Forty-seven rōnin, under the command of Ōishi Kuranosuke, avenge the death of their master, by killing Kira Yoshinaka

1774 - Captain James Cook reaches 71°10' south, 1820km from south pole (record)

1790 - the Lifeboat is first tested at sea, by Mr Greathead, the inventor

1806 – The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), which spans the Delaware River between Morrisville, Pennsylvania and Trenton, New Jersey, is opened.

1815 - Burned US Library of Congress re-established with Thomas Jefferson's 6,500 volumes

1818 - John Keats composes his sonnet "When I Have Fears"

1820 – Edward Bransfield sights the Trinity Peninsula and claims the discovery of Antarctica.

1826 – The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world's first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, is opened.

1835 – In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempts to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but fails and is subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen as well as Jackson himself.

1858 – The first Hallé concert is given in Manchester, England, marking the official founding of The Hallé orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

1873 - "Around the World in 80 Days" by Jules Verne is published in France by Pierre-Jules Hetzel

1889 - John Herschel uses camera obscura to photograph 48" (120cm) telescope

1894 - Pneumatic hammer patented by Charles King of Detroit

1922 - World Law Day is first celebrated

1930 - The world's first radiosonde is launched in Pavlovsk, USSR.

1931 - "City Lights", American silent romantic comedy film directed by Charlie Chaplin, starring himself and Virginia Cherrill, premieres at Los Angeles Theater

1933 - "Lone Ranger" begins a 21-year run on ABC radio and the William Tell Overture became suddenly very familiar

1946 - the first issue of the Franklin Roosevelt dime

1956 - Elvis Presley records his version of "Blue Suede Shoes"

1958 - the first two-way moving sidewalk in service, Dallas Tx

1959 – MS Hans Hedtoft, said to be the safest ship afloat and "unsinkable" like the RMS Titanic, strikes an iceberg on her maiden voyage and sinks, killing all 95 aboard.

1961 - Bobby Darin is youngest performer to headline a TV special on NBC

1961 - "I Fall to Pieces" single released by Patsy Cline (Billboard Song of the Year 1961)

1962 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1963 - Ivan Sutherland submits a thesis containing his Sketchpad program, a forerunner to modern-day graphic user interfaces and computer-aided design programs

1964 - Ranger 6 launched; makes perfect flight to Moon, but cameras fail

1969 - US/Canada ISIS 1 launched to study ionosphere

1969 – The Beatles' last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.

1974 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1975 - Ernő Rubik applies for a patent for his "Magic Cube" invention, later to be known as a Rubik's cube

1992 - Space Shuttle STS-42 (Discovery 15) lands

1992 - Inventor Ray Kurzweil publishes his first book "The Age of Intelligent Machines" on artificial intelligence, predicting the popularity of the internet

1994 - Péter Lékó becomes the youngest chess grand master.

1995 - Workers from the National Institutes of Health announce the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.

1998 - Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Indianapolis IN on WNAP 93.1 FM

1998 - Paul Simon's "The Capeman" premieres

2013 – South Korea successfully launches its rocket Naro-1 which was carrying a scientific satellite

2017 - Scientists in central China reveal oldest known human ancestor - 540-million-year-old Saccorhytus in a fossil

2019 - Scientists reveal discovery of cavity six miles long, 1,000 feet deep under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica, leading to fears it might collapse and raise sea levels by two feet

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 10 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Ah the inanity of the old telephone answering machine tapes!  Like so many others, we bought a tape of “celebrity” voice impressions and very often people who called our number were answered by John Wayne, or Boris Karloff, or any other recording that I thought was funny at the time.  Apparently, when land lines, rotary dial phones, and tape machines phased out, these messages faded away as well



Do you miss hearing these messages when you call someone? 
Permalink | Thursday, January 30, 2020

Today is the 4th day of the 5th week, the 29th day of the 1st month, the 29th day of 2020 [with only 330 shopping days left until Christmas], and: 
  • Curmudgeons Day
  • Freethinkers Day
  • National Carnation Day
  • National Corn Chip Day
  • National Puzzle Day
  • Seeing Eye Dog Day
  • Thomas Paine Day
  • Earliest day on which Fat Thursday can fall, while March 4 is the latest; celebrated on Thursday before Ash Wednesday. (Christianity)


 661 - Rashidun Caliphate, then the largest empire in history, ends with the death of its leader, Ali. Succeeded by the Umayyad Caliphate.

1594 - Mathematician John Napier dedicates his "Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John" to King James VI, predicts end of the world in 1688 or 1700

1595 - William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" is thought to have been first performed. Officially published early 1597.

1802 - First celebration of Burns night, in honor of poet Robert Burns's birthday by The Mother Club in Greenock (later realized his actual birthday 25th January)

1819 – Stamford Raffles lands on the island of Singapore.

1845 – "The Raven" is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.

1856 - Victoria Cross established to acknowledge valour in the face of the enemy (United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries)

1886 – Karl Benz patents the "Benz Patent-Motorwagen" in Karlsruhe, Germany, the world's first automobile with a gasoline burning motor

1892 - The Coca-Cola Company is incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia

1896 - Emile Grubbe is the first doctor to use radiation treatment for breast cancer

1920 - Walt Disney starts work as an artist with KC Slide Co for $40 a week

1936 – The first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame are announced:  Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson & Walter Johnson.

1959 – The first Melodifestivalen is held in Cirkus, Stockholm, Sweden.

1959 - Walt Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" released

1959 - 'The Great Smog' hits London, many die of chest and lung-related illnesses

1963 – The first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame are announced:  Jim Thorpe, Red Grange and George Halas.

1964 - "Dr Strangelove", directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, premieres

1964 - Unmanned Apollo 1 Saturn launcher test attains Earth orbit

1966 - Neil Simons, Coleman & Fields' musical "Sweet Charity" premieres at the Palace Theater NYC for 608 performances

1970 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1980 – The Rubik's Cube makes its international debut at the Ideal Toy Corp. in Earl's Court, London.

1986 - 193.8 million shares traded in NY Stock Exchange

1988 - United Airlines Boeing 747SP, circles world in 36 hours 54 minutes 15 seconds

1996 - the 6,138th performance of "Cats" is held in London, surpassing record of Broadway's longest-running musical, "A Chorus Line"

1996 - France will no longer test nuclear weapons, its president Jacques Chirac says, following international outcry over tests in the Pacific

1998 - Soyuz TM-27 launches to MIR

2005 – The first direct commercial flights from mainland China (from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines flight lands in Beijing.

2014 - Archaeologists discover the oldest Roman Temple (6th C BC) at Sant’Omobono

2014 - Scientists discover how to convert normal cells into stem cells in mice

2018 - Marvel film "Black Panther" directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman premieres in Los Angeles

2019 - US Postal Service suspends deliveries to ten states due to severity of the polar vortex

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 10 sec of light-travel time from Earth


The definition of a curmudgeon is “a bad tempered, difficult, cantankerous person”, and it is usually applied to old men, although it is definitely not limited by age or gender.  As I approach my 70’s, and find myself deploring the manners of the world today, I find myself wondering if I have gotten old and crusty myself. 




Well maybe a little intolerant of foolishness…..

Permalink | Wednesday, January 29, 2020

the last Tuesday of January

Today is the 3rd day of the 5th week, the 28th day of the 1st month, the 28th day of 2020, and: 
  • Daisy Day
  • Data Privacy Day
  • Global Community Engagement Day
  • International LEGO Day -  in 1958, the Lego company patents the design of its Lego bricks, still compatible with bricks produced today.
  • National Blueberry Pancake Day
  • National Kazoo Day
  • National Pediatrician Day
  • National Plan for Vacation Day
  • Pop Art Day
  • Rattlesnake Roundup Day
  • Rubber Ducky Day ((Sesame Street says it's today because the general belief is that this is on Ernie's birthday. So, there are 3 dates for this....))
  • Speak Up and Succeed Day
  • Thank a Plugin Developer Day

 814 – The death of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, brings about the accession of his son Louis the Pious as ruler of the Frankish Empire

1521 – Emperor Charles V opens the Diet of Worms in Worms, Germany which lasts until May 25th. Produced the "Edict of Worms" which denounced Martin Luther

1568 – The Edict of Torda prohibited the persecution of individuals on religious ground in John Sigismund Zápolya's Eastern Hungarian Kingdom.

1573 – Articles of the Warsaw Confederation are signed, sanctioning freedom of religion in Poland.

1624 – Sir Thomas Warner founds the first British colony in the Caribbean, on the island of Saint Kitts.

1671 – Original city of Panama (founded in 1519) was destroyed by a fire when privateer Henry Morgan sacked and set fire to it. The site of the previously devastated city is still in ruins (see Panama Viejo).

1724 - The Russian Academy of Sciences founded in St. Petersburg by Peter the Great, and implemented in a Senate decree. Called St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences until 1917.

1754 – Sir Horace Walpole coins the word serendipity in a letter to a friend.

1813 – Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is published by Thomas Egerton in the United Kingdom

1855 – A locomotive on the Panama Canal Railway runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

1878 - George W Coy hired as the first full-time telephone operator

1887 - In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, being 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.

1896 – Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, becomes the first person to be convicted of speeding. He was fined one shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h), thereby exceeding the contemporary speed limit of 2 mph (3.2 km/h).

1915 - US President Woodrow Wilson refuses to prohibit immigration of illiterates today we are worried that immigrants might need assistance

1917 - Municipally owned streetcars take to the streets of San Francisco, California

1932 - the first US state unemployment insurance act enacted in Wisconsin

1935 – Iceland becomes the first Western country to legalize therapeutic abortion.

1949 - NY Giants sign their first black players, Monte Irvin & Ford Smith

1951 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1956 – Elvis Presley makes his first national television appearance.

1958 - Construction began on the first private thorium-uranium nuclear reactor

1963 - "Still" single released by Bill Anderson (Billboard no. 1 U.S. Hot Country Singles 1963)

1965 - The Who make their first appearance on British TV

1967 - Rolling Stones release "Let's Spend the Night Together"

1973 - "Barnaby Jones" premieres on CBS TV

1973 - Ron Howard appears on M*A*S*H in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet"

1982 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1984 - Record 295,000 dominoes toppled in Fuerth, West Germany

1985 - Charity single "We Are the World" is recorded by supergroup USA for Africa (Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and other pop stars)

1986 – STS-51-L mission: Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board.

2014 - DNA analysis confirms that the 6th C Plague of Justinian was caused by a variant of Yersinia pestis (the same bacteria for the Black Death)

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 11 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

Here’s our challenge: to allow our hearts and minds to be touched by gratitude without the presence of a hurricane. To appreciate life and the grace by which we wake up each day and go to sleep in safety.”

~  Gregg Krech, “Grateful for Nothing


The days flow past, sunrises and sunsets flickering across the skies.  Sometimes the hours feel long and time seems to drag, then you turn around and a month is gone in a flash – wasn’t it just the other day that we toasted a New Year in?  Time to check my privilege:  I have family, I am mostly healthy, I have a job,  I have a nice cozy place to live, I drive a car, I have comfortable clothing, I have food to eat.  We take these things too much for granted….



As time rolls by, I have to remind myself to appreciate and enjoy where I am
Permalink | Tuesday, January 28, 2020

the last Monday of January

Today is the 2nd day of the 5th week, the 27th day of the 1st month, the 27th day of 2020, and: 
  • Auschwitz Liberation Day
  • Better Business Communication Day
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
  • Community Manager Appreciation Day
  • Holocaust Memorial Day
  • International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust
  • National Chocolate Cake Day
  • National Geographic Day – founded in 1888 in Washington, D.C. for "the increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge"
  • Punch the Clock Day
  • Thomas Crapper Day
  • Vietnam Peace Day -  in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords officially end the Vietnam War. Colonel William Nolde is killed in action becoming the conflict's last recorded American combat casualty.
  • World Breast Pumping Day


1343 – Pope Clement VI issues the papal bull Unigenitus to justify the power of the pope and the use of indulgences. Nearly 200 years later, Martin Luther would protest this.

1591 - Scottish schoolmaster Dr. John Fian burned for witchcraft at Castle Hill, Edinburgh by order King James VI, as part of the Berwick witch trials.

1785 – The University of Georgia is founded, the first public university in the United States.

1820 – A Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev discovers the Antarctic continent, approaching the Antarctic coast.

1880 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for his incandescent lamp.

1908 - Pasiphaë, a satellite of Jupiter, discovered by Melotte

1918 - "Tarzan of the Apes", the first Tarzan film, premieres at Broadway Theater

1926 - Physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishes his theory of wave mechanics and presents what becomes known as the Schrödinger equation in quantum mechanics

1939 - First flight of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning

1948 - the first tape recorder sold

1951 – Nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site begins with Operation Ranger - there will be a total of 126 nuclear tests in all

1956 - "Heartbreak Hotel" single released by Elvis Presley, his first million-selling single

1961 - "Sing Along with Mitch" [Miller] premieres on NBC TV

1965 - he fist ground station-to-aircraft radio communication via satellite

1967 – The Soviet Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom sign the Outer Space Treaty in Washington, D.C., banning deployment of nuclear weapons in space, and limiting use of the Moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes.

1967 - A fire in the Apollo 1 Command Module kills astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee during a launch rehearsal

1970 - Movie rating system modifies "M" rating to "PG"

1976 - "Laverne & Shirley" TV spinoff from "Happy Days" starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams premieres on ABC TV

1982 - "Joseph & the Amazing Dreamcoat" opens at Royale NYC for 747 performances

1984 - Michael Jackson is burned during filming for Pepsi commercial

1985 - 15th Space Shuttle (51-C) Mission-Discovery 3 returns to Earth

1996 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 12 sec of light-travel time from Earth


In literature the gypsy [which I have just learned is actually considered a pejorative term]  is a romantic figure, conjuring images of brightly covered caravans traveling across the countryside, fortunetellers with jangling bracelets, swarthy men with flashing knives, but we tend to forget the Roma was an actual people with their own culture and customs.    The Nazis tried to exterminate the entire group of them, something that is overlooked in many Holocaust histories, but there are Roma who wander even today, adding a flavor of the exotic to the everyday life around them.




They certainly had the knack of living in tiny houses down before it became a fad!
Permalink | Monday, January 27, 2020

Lunar New Year

I did not know the Chinese years came in elements as well as animals, but they do.  The Chinese recognize five essential elements:  metal, water, wood, fire, and earth.  Each of these have characteristics that impact the year as well as the animal.    Born in 1950, I have long known that was the year of the tiger, but I didn't know until today that it was the metal tiger!  And 2020 is the year of the metal rat

Let us hope that it is a good year for one and all
Permalink | Saturday, January 25, 2020

the first 3-day weekend of 2020

Today is the 6th day of the 3rd week, the 17th day of the 1st month, the 17th day of 2020, and: 
  • Ben Franklin Day - he was born on this day in 1706 to a soap and candle maker in England
  • Cable Car Day -  the first cable car patented, by Andrew Smith Hallidie in the US in 1871 (begins service in 1873)
  • Customer Service Day
  • Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day
  • Hot-Buttered Rum Day
  • International Fetish Day
  • International Mentoring Day (Muhammad Ali's birthday)
  • Judgement Day
  • Kid Inventors' Day
  • National Bootlegger's Day
  • National Hot Heads Chili Day
  • Popeye Day - he first appeared in the Thimble Theater comic strip on this day in 1929
  • The opening ceremony of Patras Carnival, celebrated until Clean Monday
  • The last quarter of the moon at 7:58 AM EST


1377 – Pope Gregory XI reaches Rome, after deciding to move the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon.[3]

1524 – Giovanni da Verrazzano sets sail westward from Madeira to find a sea route to the Pacific Ocean.

1584 - Bohemia adopts Gregorian calendar

1773 – Captain James Cook leads the first expedition to sail south of the Antarctic Circle.

1779 - Captain James Cook's last notation in Discovery's ship's log

1904 – Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard receives its premiere performance at the Moscow Art Theatre.

1905 - Punchboards patented by Charles Brewer and C G Scannell in Chicago

1912 – British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.

1923 - Origin of Brown lunation numbers

1928 - the first fully automatic photographic film developing machine patented

1946 – The UN Security Council holds its first session.

1950 – The Great Brink's Robbery: Eleven thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car company's offices in Boston.

1961 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the "military-industrial complex".

1969 - Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 5 lands

1976 - "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow hits #1

1979 - USSR performs underground nuclear test

1980 - NASA launches Fltsatcom-3

2001 - President Bill Clinton posthumously raises Meriwether Lewis' rank from Lieutenant to Captain

2007 – The Doomsday Clock is set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea's nuclear testing.  It is currently set to two minutes to midnight


I have a job.  I have benefits – which includes paid-time-off and paid holidays



Life is good!
Permalink | Friday, January 17, 2020

what I CAN do....

Today is the 5th day of the 3rd week, the 16th day of the 1st month, the 16th day of 2020 [with only 343 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Appreciate a Dragon Day
  • Bean Day
  • Book Publishers Day
  • Civil Service Day
  • Get to Know Your Customers Day
  • International Hot and Spicy Food Day
  • National Fig Newton Day
  • National Good Teen Day
  • National Nothing Day
  • National Quinoa Day
  • National Without a Scalpel Day
  • Prohibition Remembrance Day
  • Psychiatric Technicians’ Day
  • Religious Freedom Day

1412 – The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.

1492 – The first grammar of the Spanish language (Gramática de la lengua castellana) is presented to Queen Isabella I.

1493 - Christopher Columbus leaves the New World and sets sail for Spain

1501 - Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral and 6 ships begin their return voyage to Lisbon

1605 – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes is published in Madrid, Spain.

1749 - Hoax article advertising fictitious theatrical performer "The Bottle Conjuror" drew huge crowds to the Haymarket Theatre, London, whose inevitable non-appearance caused a riot. It's alleged the Duke of Montagu perpetrated the fiasco to win a bet

1832 - Charles Darwin lands at Porto Prayo in the Cape Verde islands, the first landing of his HMS Beagle voyage

1868 - Refrigerator car patented by William Davis, a fish dealer in Detroit

1877 - Color organ (for light shows) patented, by Bainbridge Bishop

1897 - John Dewey's essay "My Pedagogic Creed" appears in School Journal

1909 – Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole

1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France

1936 - the first photo finish camera installed at Hialeah Race track in Hialeah, Florida

1939 - Daily newspaper comic strip "Superman" debuts

1951 - World's largest gas pipeline opens (Brownsville Texas, to 134th St, New York City)

1952 - New Dutch bible translation finished

1957 - three B-52s leave California for their first non-stop round world flights

1964 – Hello, Dolly! opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,844 performances.

1965 - "Outer Limits" last airs on ABC-TV

1965 - The Searchers' "Love Potion Number 9" peaks at #3

1965 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1969 – Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.

1973 - NBC presents 440th and final showing of "Bonanza"

1973 - USSR's Lunakhod 2 begins radio-controlled exploration of Moon

1974 - "Jaws" by Peter Benchley is published by Doubleday

1976 - "Donny & Marie" [Osmond] musical variety show premieres on ABC TV

1976 - Peter Frampton released platinum live album "Frampton Comes Alive"

1978 - Soyuz 27 returns to Earth

1985 - "Playboy" announces end of stapling centerfolds

1989 - USSR announces plan for two-yr manned mission to Mars

2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.

2016 - First ever flower grown in space - a zinnia aboard the International Space Station using NASA Veggie system

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 13 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

"You need to pay attention to what is going on. You should never think that you can’t make a difference in this world. You can. That is very, very important to understand."

~  Interview with Losang Samten by Anne Doran and Frank Olinsky, “The Mandala Master


Of late, I have been tired, bone tired.  And I have to admit that I feel rather helpless – what can I do about income inequity, rampant capitalistic greed, corruption in politics, climate change, the lack of a social safety net, or even the health and well-being of my family and friends.  None of these, while within my area of concern, are within the circle of my control or even in the realm of my influence



But I can keep trying not to add to the cacophony by not  raising a strident voice, and to add a little graciousness in the world by being more accepting and sharing.    Doing those things are and will ever be, within my grasp. 
Permalink | Thursday, January 16, 2020

Today is the 4th day of the 3rd week, the 15th day of the 1st month, the 15th day of 2020: 
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Day
  • Humanitarian Day - Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, started in 2009 by a committee for King Days of Respect.
  • Museum Selfie Day
  • National Bagel Day
  • National Booch Day - First celebrated in 2019, created by KeVita, a beverage company, to celebrate kombucha.
  • National Fresh Squeezed Juice Day
  • National Hat Day
  • National Strawberry Ice Cream Day
  • Wikipedia Day – the free Wiki or content encyclopedia, launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, went online on this day in 2001
  • The second day of the sidereal winter solstice festivals in India


588 BC - Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem under Zedekiah's reign. The siege lasts until July 23, 586 BC.

1541 – King Francis I of France gives Jean-François Roberval a commission to settle the province of New France (Canada) and provide for the spread of the "Holy Catholic faith"

1759 – The British Museum opens to the public.

1785 - Mozart's string quartet opus 10 premieres

1797 - the first top hat worn by John Etherington of London

1818 – A paper by David Brewster is read to the Royal Society, belatedly announcing his discovery of what we now call the biaxial class of doubly-refracting crystals. On the same day, Augustin-Jean Fresnel signs a "supplement" (submitted four days later) on reflection of polarized light.

1831 - the first documented US railroad honeymoon trip is taken by Mr & Mrs Pierson, of Charleston, South Carolina

1846 - Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky's first novel "Poor Folk" is published in the St Petersburg Collection almanac

1861 - Steam elevator patented by Elisha Otis

1870 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the Democratic Party with a donkey ("A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly).

1895 - Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake" premieres, St Petersburg

1907 - 3-element vacuum tube patented by Dr Lee De Forest

1907 - Gold dental inlays first described by William Taggart, who invented them

1919 – Great Molasses Flood: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.

1927 - The Tennessee Supreme Court overturns (on a technicality) John T. Scopes' guilty verdict for teaching evolution — but the law itself remains in force

1936 – The first building to be completely covered in glass, built for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, is completed in Toledo, Ohio.

1943 - World's largest office building, the Pentagon is completed to house the US military

1945 - The Manhattan Project's G-5 Group, headed by Physicist's Donald Kerst and Seth Neddermeyer, take their first betatron pictures of a nuclear implosion at the Los Alamos Laboratory

1948 - "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", film based on B. Traven's novel, directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart premieres

1961 - Berry Gordy signs The Supremes with Motown Records

1962 – The Derveni papyrus, Europe's oldest surviving manuscript dating to 340 BC, is found in northern Greece.

1962 - Coco the Clown [Nicolai Poliakoff] is the subject of the BBC TV programme "This is Your Life"

1964 - the Teamsters negotiate the first national labor contract

1965 - Soviet underground nuclear test creates the atomic lake Chagan, Kazakhstan

1967 – The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10.

1969 – The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 5.

1969 - Nuclear test at Pacific Ocean

1974 - TV sitcom "Happy Days" begins an 11 year run on ABC, starring Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross and Ton Bosley

1975 - Pioneering female comedian Phyllis Diller get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1976 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1997 - Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with Mir Space Station

2005 - ESA's SMART-1 lunar orbiter discovers elements such as calcium, aluminum, silicon, iron, and other surface elements on the moon.

2005 - An intense solar flare blasts X-rays across the solar system

2009 - Chesley Sullenberger lands US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in NYC. All passengers and crew members survive in what becomes known as the "Miracle on the Hudson"

2016 - American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan unveils newest exhibit replica skeleton of a Titanosaur dinosaur (found 2010 Argentina), largest known dinosaur at 70 tons, 37m

2019 - Chinese scientists confirm they have germinated a cotton seed on the moon on board the Chang’e 4 lander

2019 - Plastic will outweigh fish in the world's oceans by 2050 according to report by the World Economic Forum

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 13 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Once my father, home because of a steel strike, told me that Republicans were the party of the rich and Democrats were the party of the worker.  I was going to pontificate on the perfidy of the GOP, how they haven’t cared for the common folks in my memory, with special invective aimed and Nixon, Reagan, and Trump.  I was going to snarl at those who perceive these Presidents differently.  My blood pressure was spiking as the torrent of words poured out, the keyboard clacking quickly.


And then I paused…. 


You know what?  Right this moment, I don’t need to play the blame game today.

Permalink | Wednesday, January 15, 2020

dressing for yourself or others?

Today is the 2nd day of the 3rd week, the 13th day of the 1st month, the 13th day of 2020, and: 
  • Korean American Day
  • Make Your Dream Come True Day
  • National Clean off Your Desk Day
  • National Gluten-Free Day
  • National Peach Melba Day
  • National Rubber Ducky Day
  • National Sticker Day
  • Old New Year's Eve (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Republic of Srpska, North Macedonia), and its related observances Malanka (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus)
  • Public Radio Broadcasting Day
  • Sidereal winter solstice's eve celebrations in South and Southeast Asian cultures; the last day of the six-month Dakshinayana period
  • Stephen Foster Memorial Day


1610 - Galileo Galilei discovers Callisto, the fourth satellite of Jupiter

1695 - Jonathan Swift ordained an Anglican priest in Ireland

1785 - John Walter publishes the first issue of "The Times" of London

1863 - Chenille yarn making machine patented by William Canter in NYC

1888 – The National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C.

1898 – Émile Zola's J'accuse…! exposes the Dreyfus affair.

1910 – The first public radio broadcast takes place; a live performance of the operas Cavalleria rusticana andPagliacci are sent out over the airwaves from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

1912 - -40°F (which is also -40°C), Oakland, Maryland (state record)

1920 - NY Times editorial reports that rockets can never fly

1928 - RCA and GE install three test television sets in homes in Schenectady, New York allowing American inventor E.F.W. Alexanderson to demonstrate the first home television receiver which delivered a poor and unsteady 1.5 square inch picture

1930 - the "Mickey Mouse" comic strip first appears

1938 - The Church of England accepts the theory of evolution

1942 – Henry Ford patents a plastic automobile, which is 30% lighter than a regular car

1942 – World War II: First use of an aircraft ejection seat by a German test pilot in a Heinkel He 280 jet fighter.

1948 - the first country music TV show, Midwestern Hayride, premieres on WLW Cin

1958 - 9,000 scientists from 43 nations petition UN for nuclear test ban

1962 - Chubby Checker's song "The Twist", credited with starting the Twist dance craze, goes to #1 in the charts two years after first reaching number one spot

1966 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1968 – Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom State Prison.

1976 - American inventor Ray Kurzweil and the National Federation of the Blind unveil the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the first omni-font optical character recognition system

1978 - NASA selects its first American women astronauts

1988 - Supreme Court rules (5-3) public school officials have broad powers to censor school newspapers, plays & other expressive activities

1989 - "Ryan's Hope" ends 13½ year run on ABC-TV

1989 - Computers across Britain hit by "Friday the 13th"/Jerusalem virus

1993 – Endeavour heads for space for the third time as STS-54 launches from the Kennedy Space Center.

2016 - Record Powerball lottery held in America - $1.6 billion, (3 winning tickets)

2018 - Early-morning ballistic missile alert sent across Hawaii in error, revoked after 38 minutes

2018 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 12 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Over the weekend, my daughter posted a picture on her Facebook feed of my oldest granddaughter, who had picked out her own outfit to wear to church.  She was wearing a light blue sleeveless summer dress with ruffles on the bottom [her favorite], a shirt pulled over the dress, leggings and stripped red and green socks.   My first reaction was that she looked like a little ragamuffin and how could my daughter let her go out the door like that?  Certainly, my daughter was always dressed nicely for church and school, indeed, at all times, but as I read the comments and reflected on things I wonder what I taught that young girl I was bringing up by dressing her all the time.  And I came to the conclusion that without realizing it, I inadvertently taught her:  [1] The need to confirm to everyone’s expectations and need to worry about looking like everyone else; [2] That looking attractive was very important at all times; and [3] to question her own choices, to ask whether or not they were good enough.  And I looked again at the way my granddaughter in the photo.  She had taken thought to being comfortable and warm, and her smile was bright, and she was standing with complete confidence.  And then I thought about not having a big argument right before leaving for church, so she was in a good frame of mind. 




And you know what?   I agree with her father’s comment on the post, “I think she looked perfect!.”  But even with that revelation, how my daughter managed not to say anything about those bright Christmas socks, I’ll never know!
Permalink | Monday, January 13, 2020

fortunately it's Friday!

Today is the 6th day of the 2nd week, the 10th day of the 1st month, the 10th day of 2020, and: 
  • Houseplant Appreciation Day
  • League of Nations Day – the League of Nations Covenant entered into force in 1920.  Just 26 years later, in 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations opened in London with representatives from 51 nations
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate Day
  • National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
  • National Oysters Rockefeller Day
  • Peculiar People Day
  • Save the Eagles Day

49 BC – Julius Caesar defies the Roman Senate and crosses the Rubicon, uttering "alea iacta est" (the die is cast), signaling the start of civil war which would lead to his appointment as Roman dictator for life

AD 9 – The Western Han dynasty ends when Wang Mang claims that the divine Mandate of Heaven called for the end of the dynasty and the beginning of his own, the Xin dynasty.

1812 – The first steamboat on the Ohio River or the Mississippi River arrives in New Orleans, 82 days after departing from Pittsburgh.

1839 - Tea from India first arrives in the United Kingdom

1863 – The Metropolitan Railway, the world's oldest underground railway, opens between Paddington and Farringdon, marking the beginning of the London Underground.

1900 - Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener reach Capetown

1911 - the first photo in US taken from an airplane, San Diego

1928 - George Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg and P. G. Wodehouse's musical "Rosalie" premieres in New York

1932 - "Mickey Mouse" and "Silly Symphony" comics are syndicated

1945 - No one is elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

1949 - RCA introduces the 45 RPM record

1952 - "The Greatest Show on Earth", directed and produced by Cecil B. DeMille, starring James Stewart and Charlton Heston, premieres in New York (Best Picture 1953)

1962 – NASA announces plans to build the C-5 rocket launch vehicle, which became known as the Saturn V Moon rocket, which launched every Apollo Moon mission.

1956 - Elvis Presley records single "Heartbreak Hotel"

1958 - Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" reaches #1 on the UK pop charts

1964 - US version of "That Was The Week That Was" premieres

1964 - "Introducing the Beatles" released 1st Beatles album released in the US

1968 - US Surveyor 7 lands near lunar crater Tycho

1969 - USSR's Venera 6 launched for parachute landing on Venus

1970 - Preview Center opens at Walt Disney World, Florida - first building to open

1973 - For the first time graduates studying from home with 'the Open University' receive their degrees

1980 - Last broadcast of "The Rockford Files" on NBC

1984 – The United States and Holy See (Vatican City) re-establish full diplomatic relations after almost 117 years, overturning the United States Congress's 1867 ban on public funding for such a diplomatic envoy.

1986 - NASA's STS-61-C mission scrubbed at T -9 minutes because of bad weather at Florida's Kennedy Space Center

1990 - "Les Miserables" opens at Mechanic Theatre, Baltimore

1999 - "The Sopranos", starring James Gandolfini as mobster Tony Soprano, debuts on HBO

2004 - 9th Critics' Choice Movie Awards: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King wins Best Film

2011 - Ian McKellen officially confirms that he will reprise the role of Gandalf in "The Hobbit" film adaptations

2018 - Jeff Bezos becomes the second man worth over $100 billion as his wealth hits $106 billion due to a rise in Amazon's share price

2019 - Oceans warming faster than previous thought due to fossil fuel burning, according to data published in journal "Science"

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 36 mins 09 sec of light-travel time from Earth


Last night I had a NyQuil nightmare.  Well not exactly a nightmare, despite the presence of not one but both ex-husbands and one ex-mother-in-law, but more of a “now where’d THAT come from” kind of dream, complete with a friend sporting a rainbow-hued beehive and dressed in a roman toga rushing to a class, as well as me trying to cook in the narrow little kitchen of the row house I grew up in.




Seriously, what was going on in my psyche last night to come up with THAT hodgepodge?
Permalink | Friday, January 10, 2020

back to work in 2020

Today is the 5th day of the 1st week, the 2nd day of the 1st month, the 2nd day of 2020 [with only 357 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • 55 MPH Speed Limit Day – the speed limit was imposed in 1974 by Nixon to help conserve gasoline consumption
  • Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) - the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, experienced enlightenment
  • Happy Mew Year for Cats Day
  • International Jewish Book Day
  • National Buffet Day
  • National Cream Puff Day
  • National Motivation and Inspiration Day
  • National Personal Trainer Awareness Day
  • National Run It Up the Flagpole and See Who Salutes It Day
  • National Science Fiction Day – celebrated on the birthday of Isaac Asimov, who would’ve been 100 today
  • Pet Travel and Safety Day
  • Swiss Cheese Day
  • World Introvert Day
  • First Quarter of the Moon at 11:45 pm EST
  • The first day of Blacks and Whites' Carnival, celebrated until January 7. (southern Colombia)
  • The first day of the Carnival of Riosucio, celebrated until January 8 every 2 years. (Riosucio)
  • The ninth of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The second day of New Year (a holiday in Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine)


1814 - Lord Byron completes "The Corsair"

1818 - Lord Byron completes "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" (4th canto)

1832 - the first Curling club in US (Orchard Lake Curling Club) opens

1843 - Richard Wagner's opera "The Flying Dutchman" premieres in Dresden

1905 - Elara, a satellite of Jupiter, discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine in San Jose, California

1906 - Willis Carrier receives a US patent for the world's first air conditioner

1929 - the US and Canada agree to preserve Niagara Falls

1936 - the first electron tube to enable night vision described, St Louis, Missouri

1938 - Book publisher Simon and Schuster founded

1954 - Herman Wouks "Caine Mutiny," premieres in NYC

1955 - the first "Bob Cummings Show" premieres on NBC (later on CBS)

1959 - USSR launches Mechta (Luna 1) for the first lunar fly-by, 1st solar orbit

1960 - John Reynolds sets age of solar system at 4,950,000,000 years

1969 - Australian Rupert Murdoch gains control of the 'News of the World'

1972 - Mariner 9 begins mapping Mars

2020 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 58 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future."

~  Niels Bohr, Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.


Or in other words, only hindsight has 20/20 vision!


As this morning, I changed the theme in WIN 10 on both my home and work computer, and set Pandora to playing something other than Christmas music, I got to wondering -- when do you un-decorate from Christmas?  Back in the day, when we had a live tree, it went up the weekend before Christmas and came down the weekend after New Years, and I’ve kinda kept to that schedule even though I have an artificial tree.




The 12th day of Christmas [which marks the coming of the Magi, the three wise men (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings' Day)] isn’t until Monday, so technically we shouldn’t get rid of the holiday cheer until the weekend after that, neh?
Permalink | Thursday, January 2, 2020

the end of 2019

Today is the 3rd day of the 1st week ((odd, isn’t it?  I mean today is the last day of the year and it doesn’t seem quite right that it is in the first week of the new year!)), the 31st day of the 12th month, the 365th day of 2019, and: 
  • First Nights
  • Hogmanay or "Auld Year's Night" (Scotland)
  • Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
  • Look On The Bright Side Day
  • Make Up Your Mind Day
  • National Champagne Day
  • New Year's Eve
  • New Year's Eve Banished Words List
  • New Year's Dishonor List
  • No Interruptions Day
  • One Voice Day
  • Universal Hour of Peace Day
  • Unlucky Day
  • World Healing Day
  • World Peace Meditation Day
  • The seventh of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The sixth and penultimate day of Kwanzaa (United States)
  • Last Day of the Year or Bisperás ng Bagong Taón, special holiday between Rizal Day and New Year's Day (Philippines)


1600 – The British East India Company is chartered.

1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1700 - Frisia and Groningen adopt Gregorian calendar, tomorrow is 1/12/1701

1744 - English astronomer James Bradley announces discovery of Earth's nutation motion (wobble)

1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

1790 – Efimeris, the oldest Greek newspaper of which issues have survived till today, is published for the first time.

1796 – The incorporation of Baltimore as a city.

1857 – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, then a small logging town, as the capital of Canada.

1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1907 – The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in Manhattan.

1923 - BBC begins using Big Ben chime ID

1929 - Pope Pius XI publishes encyclical Divini illius magistri

1935 - Charles Darrow patents Monopoly

1945 - Ratification of United Nations Charter completed

1961 - The Beach Boys play their debut gig under that name

1962 - "Match Game" debuts on NBC with host Gene Rayburn

1966 - Monkee's "I'm a Believer" hits #1 & stays there for seven weeks

1967 - Evel Knievel fails in his attempt to jump the Caesar's Palace Fountain, Las Vegas, breaking his pelvis, femur, wrist, hip and both ankles

1968 – The first flight of the Tupolev Tu-144, the first civilian supersonic transport in the world.

1970 - Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles

1981 - CNN Headline News debuts

1990 - Sci-Fi Channel on cable TV begins transmitting

1994 – This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC−11:00 to UTC+13:00 and UTC−10:00 to UTC+14:00, respectively.

1994 - the first snowless December in Baltimore Maryland

1997 - Microsoft buys Hotmail email service for $400 million and re-launches it as MSN Hotmail

1997 - More Swedes died than were born in 1997, first time since 1809

2009 – Both a blue moon and a lunar eclipse occur.

2011 – NASA succeeds in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 54 secs of light-travel time from Earth


My friend, after reading my post from yesterday, pointed out that hitting 70 did not mean I was starting my 7th decade, I was finishing it and starting my 8th .  Doesn’t sound right, does it?  But it is true nevertheless, just as those who point out that 2001 was the start of the new millennium and that 2021 is actually the start of the new decade are correct.  Doesn’t keep us from feeling that the change over of the digits – to the 70’s for me personally and to the 2020’s for all of us – is more meaningful.   And how will I bring the new year in?  The same way I have for years – fix myself a good dinner, go into my Second Life and dance, drink ice wine, then go to bed after midnight with a prayer.



May the New Year be kind!

Permalink | Tuesday, December 31, 2019

the last Monday of 2019

Today is the 2nd day of the 1st week, the 30th day of the 12th month, the 364th day of 2019, and: 
  • Bacon Day
  • Falling Needles Family Fest Day
  • Festival of Enormous Changes at the Last Minute
  • National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
  • No Interruptions Day
  • The fifth day of Kwanzaa. (United States)
  • The sixth of the Twelve Days of Christmas. (Western Christianity)

1731 - the first US music concert (Peter Pelham's great room in Boston)

1809 - Wearing masks at balls forbidden in Boston

1853 - A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon (ornithopod dinosaur) created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London

1873 - American Metrological Society forms (NYC) weights, measures & money

1879 - Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" premieres

1924 - Astronomer Edwin Hubble formally announces existence of other galactic systems at meeting of the American Astronomical Society

1927 - Japan dedicates the first subway in Orient (route under 2 miles long)

1936 - Beginning of the "feud" between comedians Fred Allen and Jack Benny on Allen's "Town Hall Tonight" show

1939 - "Of Mice and Men", starring Burgess Meredith as George, Lon Chaney Jr. as Lennie, is released

1948 - "Kiss Me, Kate" opens at New Century Theater NYC for 1077 performances

1953 - The first ever NTSC color television sets go on sale for about USD at $1,175 each from RCA.

1963 - "Let's Make A Dea," debuts on NBC-TV

1967 - The Beatles' song "Hello Goodbye" single goes #1 & stays there for three weeks

1968 - Frank Sinatra first records "My Way" with lyrics were written by Paul Anka and based on the French song "Comme d'habitude"

1969 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1971 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1973 - the first picture of a comet from space (Comet Kohoutek-Skylab)

1974 - Beatles are legally disbanded (4 years after suit was brought)

1976 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1978 - "The King & I" closes at Uris Theater NYC after 719 performances

1980 - "Wonderful World of Disney" last performance on NBC-TV

1981 - "That Girl" single released by Stevie Wonder (Billboard Song of the Year 1982)

1985 - IBM-PC DOS Version 3.2 released

2012 - The opening of Line 6 of the Beijing subway makes it the longest metro network in the world at 442km

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 52 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

"I don't know anybody who doesn't have a lost decade."

~  Marianne Williamson - American author, spiritual leader, politician, and activist


First, whatever the causes of the 2007 – 08 financial crisis, the recovery from it has been long and tortuous.   While the stock market has apparently rebounded, and the 1% has prospered, the plight of average citizens has actually gotten worse as bills go up while wages stagnate.  Second, despite the warmest decade ever recorded, we lost an opportunity to actively address climate change in such a way that we could actually achieve meaningful results.  And last, all the things that I thought we had accomplished in the way of universal acceptance of differences seems to be wiped out by a flood of jingoism and intolerance the like of which simply appalls me on a very personal level




As I start my 7th decade, I am struggling to stay optimistic about the world my granddaughters will live in when, like Bilbo, I "...think of how the world will be when winter comes without a spring that I shall ever see."
Permalink | Monday, December 30, 2019

the end of a decade

Today is the 6th day of the 52nd week, the 27th day of the 12th month, the 361st day of 2019, and: 
  • Free Balloon Day (SpongeBob Squarepants)
  • Howdy Doody Day – first broadcast in 1947 as the Puppet Playhouse on NBC
  • Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
  • National Fruitcake Day
  • Visit the Zoo Day
  • The third of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • The fifth day of Hanukkah
  • The second day of Kwanzaa

 537 - Hagia Sophia inaugurated by the Emperor Justinian I as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral

1831 - HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board departs England for a survey of South America, a voyage Darwin later said "determined my whole career"

1845 - Ether first used in childbirth in US in Jefferson, Georgia

1892 - Foundation Stone of Cathedral of St John laid (NYC)

1904 - 'Peter Pan" by J. M. Barrie premieres at the Duke of York Theatre in London

1932 - Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City

1937 - Mae West performs Adam & Eve skit that gets her banned from NBC radio

1945 - International Monetary Fund formally established by 29 member countries based on ideas of Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes

1960 - France performs nuclear test

1968 - Apollo 8 returns to Earth

1968 - China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC

1974 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1981 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1987 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1988 - Bulgaria stops jamming Radio Free Europe after more than 3 decades

2001 - The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.

2002 - "Chicago" (Best Picture 2003), based on the musical, directed by Rob Marshall, starring Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, and Catherine Zeta-Jones released.

2012 - NASA unveils plans to capture a 500 ton asteroid in 2025

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 45 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Quote of the day:

"It is not necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paper work, and the other is nostalgia."

~ Frank Zappa, musician


Technically it isn’t the end of a decade, anymore more than 2000 was the beginning of the new century, but only the very pedantic make that point these days as 2019 wanes.   As I look back,  I don’t know what to say about what I have seen happening in society – the recession was declared over, but folks are still not working, and it seems like the bills are mounting to the skies while the middle class disappears and only the 1% can relax.  And don’t get me started about politics and Calvinism and cruelty and the cult of exclusion!   I have to struggle to even remember what 2010 looked like ((GOOGLE is my friend when I needed a wayback machine)), and even something as simple as what we know about our own Solar System came into question.   And pop culture seems a little…  less at the end of the decade.    


On a personal level, our family has been both physically and emotionally scarred by this decade – we lost loved ones, and have had to learn to live with the battlefields left by the ravages of disease.  On a brighter note, our family has grown too, and I cannot imagine life without my son-in-law or my two granddaughters, not to mention the slew of furry friends that have joined us.



Many of us are looking thoughtfully at the past as the calendar clicks over…..

Permalink | Friday, December 27, 2019

these are Christmas too...

Today is the 5th day of the 52nd week, the 26th day of the 12th month, the 360th day of 2019, and: 
  • Boxing Day – no it has nothing to do with knocking people out
  • Hanukkah – the fifth night
  • Kwanzaa (1st fruits of harvest)  - first of six days, and established in 1966 by  Maulana Karenga
  • National Candy Cane Day
  • National Thank You Note Day
  • National Whiners' Day
  • New Moon at 12:13 am EST
  • Second day of the Twelve Days of Christmas (Western Christianity)
  • St. Stephen's Day - public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland), and its related observances
It’s a lot of work for one day.
Yeah, I know, that isn’t a very Christmassy thing to say, but it is something that I have thought again and again throughout the years.   After all, Hanukkah is eight days and Kwanza is six, so how come Christmas is just one?  We build up the holiday, we invite people over, we cook, we bake, we wrap presents and the weight of all those expectations crashes into this one little day.  Kids get overexcited, over stimulated, and parents get stressed out, and yet, memories are made.  This Christmas we didn’t take any pictures of the unwrapping orgy, but mental snapshots will linger.  My oldest granddaughter prancing around in shorts because she needed to show off her fuzzy socks that matched the sleep mask she was wearing on the top of her head all day.  The taste of those apple mimosas my son-in-law plied us with.  Everyone laughing “I got a box!” as they opened my usual contribution to each person of Disney stuff from loot boxes collected throughout the year.  And the hugs…..
Every year, at some point if not actually on Christmas Eve, my family watches “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street” andone of my favorite Christmas songs is sung:
When Christmas time is over and presents put away, don't be sad
There'll be so much to treasure about this Christmas day and the fun we've had
So may happy feelings to celebrate with you
And, oh, the good times hurry by so fast,
But even when it's over there's something you can do to make Christmas last
Keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
You can keep it near.
Think of this Christmas day
When Christmas is far away.
Keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
Save some Christmas cheer.
These precious moments,
Hold them very dear
And keep Christmas with you
All through the year.
Christmas means the spirit of giving
Peace and joy to you,
The goodness of loving,
The gladness of living;
These are Christmas too.
So, keep Christmas with you
All through the year,
When Christmas is over,
Save some Christmas cheer.
These precious moments,
Hold them very dear
And keep Christmas with you
All through the year.

And we only need the one day.

Permalink | Thursday, December 26, 2019

for the rest of us....

Today is the 2nd day of the 52nd week, the 23rd day of the 12th month, the 357th day of 2019, and: 
  • Forefather's Day ((although some folks have this listed for the 22nd))
  • Festivus
  • HumanLight or Human Light Celebration Day - a secular holiday that focuses on the "positive, secular human values of reason, compassion, humanity and hope"
  • Metric Conversion Day - In 1975 Congress passes Metric Conversion Act, but 44 years later, we are no closer to converting.
  • National Pfeffernusse Day - tiny spice cookies, popular as a holiday treat in Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands, as well as among ethnic Mennonites in North America
  • National Roots Day – it’s all about your family history

1690 - English astronomer John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it's undiscovered

1788 - Maryland votes to cede a 10 square mile area for District of Columbia

1823 - "Visit from St Nicholas" [AKA "'T’was the Night Before Christmas"] is a poem first published anonymously in Troy (NY) Sentinel and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837

1888 - Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping

1907 - the first all-steel passenger railroad coach completed, Altoona, Pa

1919 - Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace

1938 - Margaret Hamilton's costume catches fire in filming of "The Wizard of Oz"

1938 - Discovery of the first modern coelacanth in South Africa.

1947 - Transistor invented by John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley in Bell Labs

1948 - "Cinderella" the first full-length ballet by Frederick Ashton with music by Sergei Prokofiev is first presented by Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, London

1954 - The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

1963 - Beach Boys first appearance on "Shindig"

1968 - the first documented US case of space motion sickness as  Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders become the first men to orbit the Moon

1970 - USSR performs nuclear test

1983 - Journal Science publishes the first report on nuclear winter

1986 - Experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan & Jeana Yeager, completed the first nonstop, round-the-world flight without refueling and lands

1997 - US Agriculture Department estimates it costs $149,820 to raise a child to 18


Festivus was a holiday featured in the Season 9 Seinfeld episode "The Strike", which first aired on December 18, 1997.  How do you observe this holiday?  Well first there is the Airing of the Grievances – you got a problem with someone?  Now is the time to tell them off and make sure that they know how you feel.  Then there are the Feats of Strength [your mileage may vary with this one, and you don’t really have to pin someone for the day to be over, fortunately].  Putting up the Festivus pole is easy,  the Festivus dinner can be anything you put on the table, and the Festivus miracles [circumstances that have completely reasonable explanations, but are celebrated all the same] are easy to celebrate. 




The whole idea struck a chord as an alternative to the more saccharine side of mandated togetherness, and a relief from the hassles, pressures, and commercialism of the holiday season.   Festivus is refreshingly free of any expectations, and a reminder not to get so focused on what we think the holiday should be that we forget to enjoy what it is. 
Permalink | Monday, December 23, 2019

home and sick

Today is the sixth day of the 51st week, the 20th day of the 12th month, the 354th day of 2019, and: 
  • Cathode-Ray Tube Day
  • Dot Your I's Day
  • Games Day
  • Go Caroling Day
  • International Human Solidarity Day
  • Mudd Day
  • National Sangria Day
  • National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
  • Poet Laureat Day - in 1985, the position of American Poet Laureate was established (Robert Warren is the first)
  • Sacagawea Day
  • Underdog Day
  • World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

1606 - The English colonial expedition to America, consisting of the ships Discovery, Godspeed and Susan Constant, departs Blackwall and will later found Jamestown

1699 - Russian Tsar Peter the Great ordered Russian New Year changed from Sept 1 to Jan 1

1790 - the first successful US cotton mill begins spinning yarn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island built by Samuel Slater based on Richard Arkwright's design

1812 - "Grimm's Fairy Tales" or "Children's and Household Tales" by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm is first published

1879 - Thomas Edison privately demonstrated incandescent light at Menlo Park

1883 - the international cantilever railway bridge opens at Niagara Falls

1891 - Strongman Louis Cyr withstands pull of 4 horses

1892 - Pneumatic automobile tire patented, Syracuse, NY

1919 - Canadian National Railways established (N America's longest, 50,000 KM)

1920 - Bob Hope becomes an American citizen  ((he was born in London, England))

1928 - the first international dogsled mail leaves Minot, Maine for Montreal, Quebec

1935 - Pope Pius XI publishes encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii

1946 - Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" film premieres in New York, directed by Frank Capra, starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore

1949 - Maurice Ravel and John Cranko's ballet "Beauty & the Beast" premieres

1950 - "Harvey" starring James Stewart premieres in New York

1951 - Walter Zinn's Experimental Breeder Reactor I, the first nuclear reactor to produce electric power, goes live at the Argonne National Laboratory, USA

1957 - Elvis Presley receives his draft notice to join the US Army for National Service

1962 - Osmond brothers debut on Andy Williams Show

1966 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1969 - Peter, Paul & Mary's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" reaches #1

1971 - First preview issue of "Ms" magazine is published in the US launched by Gloria Steinem

1977 - the first Space walk made by Soviet cosmonaut Georgy Grechko during Salyut 6 EO-1 mission

1984 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1990 - The world's first website and server go live at CERN

2005 - US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of "intelligent design" in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

2007 - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.

2012 - Apple is denied a patent for mobile pinch-to-zoom gestures by the US patent authorities

2018 - New figures show average US male weighs 198 pounds and stands 5 feet 9 inches, women 171 pounds and 5 feet 4 inches

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 35 mins 24 secs of light-travel time from Earth
Here lately I have noticed that every single time I get on an airplane to come home, I get off and get sick.  It happened after my trip in the spring, after AWA the end of October, and now.  Maybe it’s because I am rundown from all the vacation activities?  I just know that when I am sitting in the cabin, listening to the chorus of sneezing, snuffling, coughing, and throat clearing, that about 48 hours later, I am going to be sick.    I do everything I can to avoid it, take care of myself when I get home, dress warmly, pamper myself, catch up on my sleep, but here I am again, running a fever and coughing a lung out, losing my voice and getting stink eyes from my coworkers who kindly don’t say anything because they know I am out of leave for this year and have to come in no matter how I feel.  I spray Lysol around and keep using hand sanitizer and stay ensconced in my cubicle as much as possible. 

Two things have me concerned – I don’t want to make my granddaughters ill by seeing them while I’m contagious and it’s especially crucial to get better in just five days – four if I want to make it to Christmas Eve services with my family. 

Meanwhile I’m drinking lots of fluids, putting herbal ginger patches on aching joints,  mainlining DayQuill, NyQuill, and Mucinex, and keeping the heater under my desk going
Permalink | Friday, December 20, 2019


Today is the 3rd day of the 48th week, the 26th day of the 11th month, the 330th day of 2019 [with only 28 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Good Grief Day – the birthday of Charles Schultz in 1922
  • National Cake Day
  • New Moon at 10:06 AM


1778 - British explorer Captain James Cook is the first European to visit Maui in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)

1789 - 1st national Thanksgiving in America

1793 - Republican calendar replaces Gregorian calendar in France

1805 - Official opening of Thomas Telford's Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carrying the Llangollen canal 126 feet above the River Dee

1825 - the first college fraternity founded (Kappa Alpha (Union College, NY))

1832 - the first streetcar railway in America starts operating in New York City with 12 cent fare

1859 - Last weekly installment of Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities" is published in literary periodical "All the Year Round"

1865 - "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll is published in America

1867 - Refrigerated railroad car patented by JB Sutherland of Detroit

1868 - the first baseball game played in enclosed field in San Francisco, at 25th & Folsom

1922 - English archaeologist Howard Carter opens Tutankhamun's virtually intact tomb in Egypt

1942 - "Casablanca" directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman premieres at Hollywood Theater, NYC (Academy Awards Best Picture 1943)

1943 - Last Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney movie "Girl Crazy" released

1945 - Charlie "Bird" Parker leads recording session for the Savoy label marketed as the "greatest Jazz session ever" with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis

1948 - the first Polaroid camera sold for $89.75 in Boston at the Jordan Marsh department store. The Land Camera model 95 becomes prototype for all Polaroid Land cameras for next 15 years

1956 - "The Price Is Right" debuts on NBC ((63 years later it is still showing))

1962 - Fab Four have their first recording session under name The Beatles

1963 - Explorer 18 spacecraft launched by NASA

1965 - France launches their first satellite, 92 lb (42 kg) A1-capsule (Astérix), named after the popular French comic character

1966 - the first major tidal power plant opens at Rance estuary, France

1973 - Nixon's personal secretary Rose Mary Woods, tells a federal court she accidentally caused part of 18½ minute gap in a key Watergate tape ((nobody believed her))

1975 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1985 - 23rd Space Shuttle Mission (61-B)-Atlantis 2-is launched

1985 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1988 - Alexander Volkov, Sergei Krikalev & Jean-Loup Chretien launch

1988 - Pioneer 6's closest approach to Earth since 1965 launch (1.87 M km)

2003 - Supersonic airplane the Concorde makes its last ever flight, returning to Bristol, England.

2010 - Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair debate - is religion a force for good in the world, in a Monk Debate, Toronto, Canada

2018 - NASA's InSight mission lands on Mars after a 7 month voyage

2018 - Chinese scientist He Jiankui claims to have made the first genetically edited baby

2018 - Third of a species begin dying (23,000) over a two day period, the spectacled flying foxes , unable to survive heatwave of 42 degrees in northern Queensland, Australia

One of the blogs that I read recently posed an interesting thought question:  “If you had the chance to ask an angel one question, what would that be?”

Let’s smoothly slip past the first spasm of incredulity generated by suddenly being confronted by a celestial being, assume that the first thought wouldn’t be an hallucination, and  ignore the  knee jerk reaction of “holy cow, angels are REAL” and think about what you would actually want to know, what answers you are prepared to live with.

Me?  My question would be:  Have I fulfilled my purpose?

If the answer is “yes”, then I will feel that my life has not been in vain.  If the answer is “no”, then I will know that I need to be on the lookout for what I can do, how I can contribute, where I can help.  If the answer is “what purpose” then I have an entirely different set of spiritual wrangling to do….


Of course, my hypothetical heavenly visitor would rather haughtily refuse to answer any other questions that I can think of, so they’ll have to wait until the After Action Review of my life at its end. 
Permalink | Tuesday, November 26, 2019

what we don't know...

Today is the 4th day of the 47th week, the 20th day of the 11th month, the 324th day of 2019, and: 
  • Africa Industrialization Day
  • Beautiful Day
  • Future Teachers of America Day
  • Geographic Information Systems Day
  • Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day
  • Latina Women's Equal Pay Day
  • Name Your PC Day
  • National Absurdity Day
  • National Educational Support Professionals Day
  • National Peanut Butter Fudge Day
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance
  • Universal Children's Day – in 1959 UN adopts Universal Declaration of Children's Rights

1521 - Arabs attribute shortage of water in Jerusalem to Jews making wine

1886 - Sherlock Holmes's first story "A Study in Scarlet" is accepted by publisher Ward and Lock with payment of £25

1888 - Willard Bundy patents timecard clock

1889 - Gustav Mahler's First Symphony is performed

1914 - US State Department starts requiring photographs for passports

1923 - Garrett Morgan patents his traffic signal design, an important development in automobile safety

1945 - The Nuremberg war trials begin as 24 Nazi leaders are put on trial before judges representing the victorious Allied powers

1966 - "Cabaret" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 1166 performances

1968 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1971 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1979 - US's first artificial blood transfusion occurs at University of Minnesota Hospital

1980 - Steve Ptacek in Solar Challenger makes first solar-powered flight

1983 - An estimated 100 million people watched the controversial ABC-TV movie "The Day After." The movie depicted the outbreak of nuclear war.

1984 - SETI Institute (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) is founded.

1985 - Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released

1986 - The one billionth Little Golden Book was printed. The title was "The Poky Little Puppy".

1990 - The space shuttle Atlantis landed at Cape Canaveral, FL, after completing a secret military mission.

1995 - Princess Diana admitted being unfaithful to Prince Charles in an interview that was broadcast on BBC Television.

1998 - Forty-six states agreed to a $206 billion settlement of health claims against the tobacco industry. The industry also agreed to give up billboard advertising of cigarettes.

2008 - After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level since 1997.

2018 - Sell-off in technology stocks leads stock market losses wiping out all 2018 market gains

2019- NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 32 mins 48 secs of light-travel time from Earth


Writing prompt of the day:

How do you think the colors of the traffic light:  red, yellow and green, were decided upon?  The short answer is that the color scheme was lifted from the railroads, but that doesn’t explain why the railroads used them. 


Picture an archeologist of the future pondering over an artifact that has been dug up from a Weans dig.  The questions abound – why three lights?  Were all three on at the same time, or two at a time, or just one?  When were the lights lit and for what purpose did they festoon the city streets?  It seems almost a universal color scheme – we know that red stands for stop or danger, yellow means caution, green means okay or go. – but how would our archeologist know that?  They  might speculate the color red was used because the wavelength of the color is the longest in the visual spectrum, and therefore the easiest to see from a distance – but how would they figure out the meaning?    They might speculate as we do today that red stood for danger years because it is the color of our blood and of fire.  Along those lines, green can be seen as a symbol of life because of trees, brush, and grass – and therefore of safety.   Yellow, despite being the color of sunshine, could be associated with cowards, madness, jaundice because the toxic materials used created the yellow pigments [cadmium, lead, chrome, and urine].  Think of all the misconceptions our unknown, intrepid explorer could form – and realize just how little we know today about the world of our own ancestors.




No wonder so many outre theories abound!

Permalink | Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Today is the 3rd day of the 47th week, the 19th day of the 11th month, the 323rd day of 2019 [with only 35 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • American Made Matters Day
  • "Have a Bad Day" Day
  • Equal Opportunity Day
  • Gettysburg Address Day
  • International Men's Day
  • National Blow Bagpipes Day
  • National Camp Day
  • National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day
  • National Entrepreneurs' Day
  • Parents Day (Tuesday of National Education Week)
  • Play Monopoly Day
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle Day – in 1959 "Rocky & His Friends" debuted on ABC
  • Women's Entrepreneurship Day
  • World Philosophy Day
  • World Toilet Day

1493 - Christopher Columbus discovers Puerto Rico, on his 2nd voyage

1620 - The Mayflower reaches Cape Cod and explores the coast

1621 - Rabbi Isaiah ben Abraham aha-Levi Horowitz arrives in Israel

1805 - Lewis and Clark expedition, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, reaches the Pacific Ocean, first European Americans to cross the west

1835 - A ship carrying 500 armed Maori from Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga arrives on the Chatham Islands; those Moriori (indigenous people of the Chatham Islands) that are not killed are enslaved

1861 - Julia Ward Howe committed "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to paper

1861 - The first petroleum shipment (1,329 barrels) from the U.S. to Europe leaves Philadelphia, USA, for London, England on the Elizabeth Watts

1863 - US President Abraham Lincoln delivers his Gettysburg address beginning; "Four score and seven years ago..."

1872 - E.D. Barbour of Boston is awarded the first U.S. patent for the first 'calculator', an adding machine capable of printing totals and subtotals

1881 - A meteorite lands near the village of Großliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine.

1893 - the first newspaper color supplement (NY World)

1894 - the first mushroom on a stamp (China 1 & 5 Ap)

1895 - American inventor Frederick E. Blaisdell patents the pencil

1911 - NY receives first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy

1916 - Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures, the company later became one of the most successful independent filmmakers

1947 - a 200" mirror arrives at Mt Palomar

1951 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1962 - Fidel Castro accepts removal of Soviet weapons -- 57 years later, Russia is contemplating putting them back again

1965 - Kellogg's Pop Tarts pastries created

1969 - Apollo 12's Charles Conrad and Alan Bean become the 3rd and 4th humans on the Moon

1970 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

1971 - Disney World's Fort Wilderness opens

1987 - France performs nuclear test

1995 - CNET launches />
1996 - Space Shuttle STS 80 (Columbia 21), launches into space

1997 - STS 87 (Columbia 24) launches into orbit

1998 - Vincent van Gogh's "Portrait of the Artist Without Beard" sells at auction for $71.5 million

2017 - Oumuamua first detected by scientists, 400 meters long and reddish, first known interstellar object in our solar system first and of possible alien origin


I remember the annual ritual of Education Week very well.  Once a year, parents were invited to sit in the back of our classrooms and observe a “typical” day of their kids’ educations.  The days, of course, were anything BUT typical.  Everyone put on their very best performance for the company.  Teachers dressed nicely and had lesson plans designed to be interesting and interactive, speaking to their students in deliberately honeyed tones.  Students were also dressed nicely and everyone was on their best behavior, excessively polite to each other and the teacher, raising hands to give answers instead of ignoring questions.  The lunch room was immaculate and the food aromas from the steam table smelled enticing as the cafeteria ladies primly ladled food out.   There was usually an assembly scheduled for the afternoon.  Every single thing about the day was scrubbed, sanitized, and staged.




I hated it – both when I was a student and then when I was a parent.

Permalink | Tuesday, November 19, 2019

it can wait one day....

Today is the 5th day of the 45th week, the 7th day of the 11th month, the 311th day of 2019, and: 
  • Hug a Bear Day
  • Employee Brotherhood Day
  • International Merlot Day
  • International Project Management Day
  • International Stout Day
  • Little League Girls Day -  in 1973 NJ becomes the first state to allow girls into the Little League
  • National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day
  • National Cash Back Day
  • National Men Make Dinner Day (Must Cook. No BBQ Allowed)
  • Notary Public Day
  • Read for The Record Day

1631 - Pierre Gassendi observes transit of Mercury predicted by Kepler

1665 - the first edition of "London Gazette" published as "The Oxford Gazette"

1786 - The oldest musical organization in the United States is founded as the Stoughton Musical Society.

1805 - Lewis and Clark Expedition first sights the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River

1874 - the first cartoon depicting elephant as Republican Party symbol, by Thomas Nast

1875 - Verney Cameron is the first known European to cross equitorial Africa

1885 - Canadian Pacific Railway completed at Craigellachie

1904 - Broadway musical "Little Johnny Jones" written by George M. Cohan, featuring the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" opens in New York

1910 - The first air freight shipment (from Dayton, Ohio, to Columbus, Ohio) is undertaken by the Wright Brothers and department store owner Max Moorehouse.

1918 - Robert Goddard demonstrates tube-launched solid propellant rockets

1932 – the first broadcast of "Buck Rogers in the 25th century" on CBS-radio

1933 - Pennsylvania voters overturn blue law, by permitting Sunday sports

1957 - Cold War: The Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.

1961 - France performs underground nuclear test at Ecker Algeria

1963 - First use of the instant replay machine invented by CBS in US Army vs Navy football game

1967 - Surveyor 6 launched for soft landing on Moon

1968 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1981 - France performs nuclear test

1990 - "Those Were The Days" opens at Edison Theater NYC for 126 performances

2012 - Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approve measures for same-sex marriage

2017 - Opera soprano Audrey Luna sings highest-ever note at Met Opera in New York, A above high C

2018 - World's oldest figurative painting of a beast at least 40,000 years old identified in Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave, Indonesian Borneo

This morning when I stopped at Starbucks, I noticed they had posted their holiday hours for Thanksgiving Day, and I thought that was kinda sad. 

Blue laws were a fact of life when I was growing up.  I remember most gas stations were closed, but I think supermarkets and restaurants were open – I know that bakeries did a thriving business with the after-church crowds – but shopping malls and retail stores were closed as were bars.   I think you could still buy beer at the sporting events.  As time passed, more and more of the restrictions were loosened, but I was an adult when the first retail stores got permission to stay open for limited hours  [noon – 5 PM] during the Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Slowly but surely, the idea of there being one day where just about everyone had off and families were together fell by the wayside.  Ocean City NJ held out for a long time, but finally caved to the tourists who wanted to play miniature golf, shop on the boardwalk and/or drink seven days a week.  At least the holidays were still there for us! 

Then somebody decided to be open on New Year’s Day for a special promotion, and other stores quickly followed suit.  Easter Sunday became a work day because not everyone celebrated that.  Last to fall was Thanksgiving, the first store pushing the Black Friday envelope back to Thursday at midnight, then Thursday at dusk.   For a long time Christmas Day itself stayed sacrosanct –  although the movie theaters pushed that boundary pretty quickly -- but nowadays, there are even places that stay open late on Christmas Eve or open Christmas Day for regular business hours. 

While I don’t have strong feelings about Sunday being a holy day, and I understand that we don’t all celebrate the same religious holidays, I am rather sorry that we just don’t take an official break anymore, that there isn’t one day left in the entire year where you can reasonably expect everyone to be off work.   It just makes life feel more frenetic all the way around for everyone.    


I can’t change the trend, but I can and do make a point of NOT shopping on holidays
Permalink | Thursday, November 7, 2019

a choice that was made

Today is the 4th day of the 45th week, the 6th day of the 11th month, the 310th day of 2019 [with only 48 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Basketball Day
  • Button Day
  • International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict - on the anniversary of the last oil fire in Kuwait set by retreating Iraqi troops being extinguished in 1991
  • International Stress Awareness Day
  • Marijuana Recreational Legalization Day (Colorado & Washington)
  • Marooned Without a Compass Day
  • National Eating Healthy Day
  • National Nachos Day
  • National Saxophone Day

1528 - Shipwrecked Spanish conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca becomes first known European to set foot in Texas

1572 - Supernova is observed in constellation known as Cassiopeia

1862 - New York to San Francisco direct telegraphic link established

1879 - Canada celebrates their first Thanksgiving Day

1910 - SDAP/NVV initiate campaign for general males/female suffrage

1917 - [OS Oct 24] Bolshevik revolution begins with bombardment of the Winter Palace in Petrograd during the Russian October Revolution

1923 - USSR adopts experimental calendar, with 5-day "weeks"

1928 - Colonel Jacob Schick patents 1st electric razor

1935 - the first test flight of Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft

1936 - RCA displays TV for press

1941 - USA lends Soviet Union $1 million [equivalent in purchasing power to about $17,466,598.64 in 2019, quite a difference over 78 years]

1945 - The first landing of a jet on a carrier takes place on USS Wake Island when an FR-1 Fireball touches down

1946 - Karol Wojtyla (future Pope John Paul II) holds his first Mass as newly ordained Catholic priest in Wawel Cathedral's crypt

1947 - NBC's "Meet the Press" debuts - US's longest running TV show

1955 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

1966 - for the first time, an entire lineup was televised in color (NBC)

1966 - Lunar Orbiter 2 launched

1967 - US launches Surveyor 6; makes soft landing on Moon Nov 9

1971 - US performs underground nuclear test at Amchitka Island Aleutians

1977 - "Hair" closes at Biltmore Theater NYC after 43 performances

1982 - Joe Altobelli succeeds Earl Weaver as Oriole manager ((it was the end of an era for the O's))

1985 - 22nd Space Shuttle Mission (61A) -Challenger 9- lands at Edwards AFB

1985 - Space shuttle Challenger lands at Edwards Air Force Base, California

1991 - Keck II, biggest telescope in use at Mauna Kea Hawaii

1991 - Maximus 2.0 BBS released

2005 - "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", the 4th film based on the books by J. K. Rowling, premieres in London. Goes on to become most successful film of the year, earning almost US$ 900 million.

2018 - Great Britain's Prince Charles calls slavery "an indelible stain" but stops short of an apology in a speech in Accra, Ghana

2018 - Colorado votes to abolish slavery as a form of punishment in state constitution

2018 - Human longevity less than 10% dependent on genetics according to study published in journal "Genetics" based on 400 million people from Ancestry

2019 - NASA Voyager is 20 hrs 30 mins 58 secs of light-travel time from Earth


When the road version of Hair came to the Morris Mechanic, I was a redcoat – not an usher but part of the paid staff that helped the ushers.  As such, we used to get to see the performances several times and would get to the point where we would interact with the cast sometimes.  At the end of Hair, audience members were encouraged to run down and join the cast dancing on the stage, and I always did so – usually dancing with a very tall man who’s dreadlocks seemed to have a life of their own.  On the last night, he pulled me aside and suggested that instead of going home, I leave for San Francisco with him.   I remember staring up at him and I was wildly tempted and suddenly I realized that I could go.   Like a flash, I could see the choice laid out before me – the estrangement from my family, dropping out of college, the excitement of the road, becoming a gypsy and living a lifestyle I had only read about.  It was such a great contrast to the plain Jane life I was living….   When I shook my head, he took my hand and told me that I had to get out of my cage;  I don’t remember what I said next, but I didn’t go. 




To this day, some 48 years later, while I cannot say I have ever regretted my decision, I still look back and wonder where I would be, who I would be, today if I had gone.
Permalink | Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I remember....

Today may have been Grandmom Hughes’ birthday.   I’m not quite sure when you come right down to it.  I know that my daughter was born on the 27th and that my cousin’s oldest daughter was either born two days earlier or two days later and Grandmom always joked that neither one of us got it right, missing her birthday by only a day.  I’m not quite sure what year she was born in either – unlike my mother’s mother whose age I always knew because she was 23 when she had my mother and my mother was 23 when she had me.  I think she was a couple of years younger than my maternal grandmother, but I’m not sure by how much.


But I remember Grandmom.  I remember sitting in her living room after finishing in the kitchen, cleaning up from the big dinner, the menfolk yelling at the TV sport of the season and smoking, just talking until the talk would fade away and we would all start singing.  I remember the taste of those rolls – she gave me the recipe and I used to bake a lot of bread, but I never managed to make those dinner rolls like she did.  I remember the smell of the boxwoods when getting out of the car to go into her house.  I remember that we always went in and out of the back door because she was probably in the kitchen and who used the front door anyway?   I remember that she took the name off Grandpop’s boat before she sold it and then was sorry she did because the buyer never renamed the Nim Nell, although he joked once that if he ever did, it would be “Captain Harry’s Old Boat” because that was what folks would say to him out on the water.   I remember that she taught me about unconditional love even while telling me off when she didn’t like my behavior.  I remember that everyone like visiting her for family dinners because after we ate, you could go for a walk or watch TV or sit and read or go down the basement and play pool or play outside or do anything you wanted.   I remember getting exasperated because she talked so often about who would get what when she died only to appreciate how clearly she left her feelings and desires be known because not one of the three children or six grandchildren had a single dispute about the settlement of her estate.    I remember arguing with her hotly about politics, about religion, about just about anything that could be argued about, then veering off to talk about something else.  I remember playing pinochle and 500 rummy.  I remember that Thanksgiving was your holiday when we all tried to gather.




But most of all?  I still sing the old songs, Grandmom, and I have taught them to my granddaughters. 


I remember you.


And I always will. 

Permalink | Monday, October 28, 2019

Today is the 6th day of the 43rd week, the 25th day of the 10th month, the 298th day of 2019 [with only 60 shopping days until Christmas], and: 
  • Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day
  • Frankenstein Friday
  • International Artist Day
  • National Bandanna Day
  • National Breadstick Day
  • National Cartoonists Against Crime Day
  • National Greasy Foods Day
  • National I Care About You Day
  • National Pharmacy Buyer Day
  • Punk for a Day Day
  • Sourest Day
  • St. Crispin's Daybringing shaming to a new level
  • World Lemur Day
  • World Pasta Day
  • World Pizza Makers Day

1521 - Emperor Charles V bans wooden buildings in Amsterdam

1616 - Dutch East India Company ship "The Eendracht" discovers Dirk-Hartog Island, Australia

1854 - The infamous "Charge of the Light Brigade" during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War results in over 100 killed

1870 - Postcards first used in USA

1906 - US inventor Lee de Forest patents "Audion", a 3-diode amplification valve which proved a pioneering development in radio & broadcasting

1911 - London's last horse drawn omnibus made its way from London Bridge Station to Moorgate

1923 - Senate committee publishes 1st report on Teapot Dome scandal

1929 - Former Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall convicted of accepting $100,000 bribe in the Teapot scandal - 1st US Cabinet member to go to jail

1943 - Burma railroad completed and opens

1952 - First Dutch edition of children's magazine "Donald Duck"

1960 - the first electronic wrist watch placed on sale, NYC

1961 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1962 - the first Belgian nuclear reactor begins operation

1964 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1964 - Rolling Stones appear on Ed Sullivan for the 1st time

1971 - United Nations votes to expel the Chinese Nationalist ruled Taiwan and admit the Communist People's Republic of China

1975 - USSR's Venera 10 makes day-side Venus landing

1977 - Digital Equipment Corporation releases OpenVMS V1.0.

1978 - "Halloween", directed by John Carpenter, starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her film debut, is released

1979 - USSR performs underground nuclear test

1984 - USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

1985 - Kosmos 1700 communications satellite placed in geostationary orbit

1988 - France performs nuclear test at Mururoa atoll

1995 - "Victor/Victoria" opens at Marquis Theater NYC for 738 performances  ((this was a great movie with Julie Andrews later))

2000 - A team led by Brigitte Senut and Martin Pickford discover Orrorin tugenensis, one of the earliest species on the human family tree that lived about 6 million years ago, in the Tugen Hills, Kenya

2001 - Windows XP first becomes available

2007 - The first Airbus A380 passenger flight, operating for Singapore Airlines, with flight number SQ 380, flying scheduled service between Singapore and Sydney, Australia.

2017 - First fossil of a ichthyosaur (marine reptile, 152 million years old) found in India. Reports published in "Plos One" science journal.

2018 - First work of art produced by artificial intelligence "Edmond de Belamy" concieved by Obvious sells for $432,500 at Christie's in New York


Quote of the day:

One day when I was studying with Schoenberg ((Austrian-born American composer, music theorist, teacher, writer, and painter, widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century)), he pointed out the eraser on his pencil and said, ‘This end is more important than the other.’

~  John Cage, Silence


In my younger days, I lacked a robust editor and had to learn to keep some things unspoken by a lot of hard knocks.   I’m still not that good at it, which has an upside as well as a downside for while being considered less than tactful at times, there is a reputation for not being duplicitous at least.  One of the symptoms of dementia is that you lose the social filter – that self-editing tool that makes sure everything that comes into your mind does not come out of your mouth – and I have occasionally wondered if anyone would notice if I did start losing it since I’m already seen as being so blunt.   I hadn’t actually realized how much I do censor myself [in public at least] until after the 2016 US presidential election when I found myself starting to post or comment and would quietly delete it rather than add to the cacophony of shouting. 




So just how far do you go with self-editing these days?
Permalink | Friday, October 25, 2019

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