Life Day 23942: “I’ve been waiting for this day for a year.”

January 29, 2013 at 2:50 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning you cranky old coots. Today is Tuesday, January 29th, 2013. The first “holiday” today is Curmudgeon’s Day. It is an annual celebration of the crusty, yet insightful, old fogeys who consistently apply the needle of truth to the balloons of hypocrisy and social norms. It is always held on January, 29th, the birthday of W. C. Fields, one of the truly great curmudgeons of all time. For most of my adult life, I was a “curmudgeon in training”, (I even owned a t-shirt at one point in my life that said exactly that). I can’t pinpoint the precise point in my life at which I became a full-fledged curmudgeon, but I am convinced that I have now achieved the ultimate state of “Curmudgeon” ( the polar opposite of Zen). I think curmudgeondom is based more on attitude than chronological age. I knew kids in High School who were already well on their way to curmudgeondom (like yours truly), and I know people well into their 80’s who aren’t the least bit curmudgeonly. Embrace your “inner curmudgeon” today. Here are a few ways to celebrate. 1) Go on your favorite Social Network and become the “grammar Nazi”. 2) If you have a Disney Store near you, purchase a “Grumpy” t-shirt and wear it proudly for the rest of the day. 3) Stand on your front porch and yell at all the kids to skedaddle. And, 4) Watch “Grumpy (and/or Grumpier) Old Men”.
The next “holiday” is Free Thinker’s Day. Free Thinkers Day is an opportunity to promote appreciation of free thought, support reason over faith, and reject arbitrary authority. It too is celebrated on January 29th, the birthday of another iconic American, Thomas Paine, a courageous freethinker, whose life and work inspired great social and political advancement across world. If you are not a free thinker but want people to think that you are, here are a few ways to ‘fake it’. 1) Go to a park and sit on a bench in the pose of the great Rodin sculpture “The Thinker”. 2) Take you laptop or tablet to the nearest Starbucks, order the most expensive, pretentious drink you can afford, and stare contemplatively at political websites (you don’t necessarily have to actually read them). And, 3) If someone asks you a question, say “hmm”,  put your hand on your chin, glance up and to the left or right, and slowly re-state the question back to them with  the emphasis on a different word, followed by the word ‘interesting’. Then walk away. Here is an example:
Them, “What do you think about the price of tea in China?”
You, “Hmm, (hand to chin, glance upward to the left or right) What do you think about the price of tea in China?” Interesting. Turn and leave.
Another “holiday” is National Puzzle Day. Puzzles come in all sizes, shapes, and forms. From jig-saw, to crosswords, puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, young and old. Around 1760. People like puzzles for a variety of reasons. To some, they are just fun. Some just like the challenge of completing them, and graduating to evermore complex and difficult puzzle solving levels. For some, it is a way to kill time, and to eliminate boredom. And some people do puzzles to keep their mind sharp, or to learn new words. John Spilsbury, a London engraver and mapmaker, produced the first jigsaw puzzle by mounting one of his maps on a sheet of hardwood and cutting around the borders of the countries to create interlocking pieces. My favorite puzzles are crossword puzzles. I do about three every day.
And, the final “holiday today is Seeing Eye Dog Day. Seeing eye dogs, and other service animals, are wonderful creatures. They perform a valuable service to their masters. This link will take you to a website that will explain the qualities needed and the extensive training that these exceptional animals need to become seeing eye dogs.  As far as I’m concerned, every day should be “Seeing Eye Dog Day”.

The food-related “holiday” today is National Corn Chip Day. Corn chips come in a variety of shapes, flavors, and now even colors. From the usually unsalted variety served in Mexican restaurants, to the brands like Doritos or Tostitos, or Fritos found in supermarkets, corn chips have become one of America’s favorite snacks. Enjoy some with your favorite dip or salsa as a snack today. Did you know that Fritos Corn Chips were first marketed in 1961? How many  of you remember “Wampum”, Granny Goose’s answer to Fritos? Do they still even exist?

On this date in 1990, Joseph Hazelwood, the former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, went on trial in Anchorage, AK, on charges that stemmed from the Exxon-Valdes oil spill. Hazelwood was later acquitted of all the major charges and was convicted of a misdemeanor.
Other significant historical events which occurred on this date include:
In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published for the first time in the “New York Evening Mirror.”
In 1848, Greenwich Mean Time was adopted by Scotland.
In 1850, Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
In 1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.
In 1886, the first successful gas-driven motorcar, built by Karl Benz, was patented.
In 1916, during World War I, Paris was bombed by German zeppelins for the first time.
In 1924, R. Taylor patented the ice cream cone rolling machine.
In 1936, the first members of  Major League Baseball’s’s Hall of Fame were named in Cooperstown,NY. The first five inductees were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth,  Honus Wagner,  Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.
In 1949,  “The Newport News” was commissioned as the first air-conditioned naval ship in Virginia.
In 1958, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married.
In 1963, the first members to the National Football League’s (NFL) Hall of Fame were named in Canton, OH. There were 17 original inductees. They were: Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Earl (Dutch) Clark, Harold (Red) Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Wilbur (Pete) Henry, Robert (Cal) Hubbard, Don Hutson, Earl (Curly) Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe.
In 1979, President Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House. The visit followed the establishment of diplomatic relations.
In 1987, “Physician’s Weekly” announced that the smile on the face of Leonardo DeVinci’s Mona Lisa was caused by a “facial paralysis resulting from a swollen nerve behind the ear.”
In 1995, the San Francisco 49ers became the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to win five Super Bowl titles. The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
In 1996, French President Jacques Chirac announced the “definitive end” to nuclear testing.
Also in 1996, La Fenice, the 204 year old opera house in Venice, Italy, was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected.
In 1998, a bomb exploded at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL, killing an off-duty policeman and severely wounding a nurse. Eric Rudolph was charged with this bombing and three other attacks in Atlanta.
In 1999, Paris prosecutors announced the end of the investigation into the accident that killed Britain’s Princess Diana.
And, also in 1999, the U.S. Senate delivered subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky and two presidential advisers for private, videotaped testimony in the impeachment trial.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following distinguished denizens:
Thomas Paine, 1737.
William (25th President) McKinley, 1843.
W.C. (curmudgeon) Fields, 1880.
“Professor” Irwin (comedian) Corey, 1912.
Victor (actor) Mature, 1916.
John (Charlie’s Angels) Forsythe, 1918.
Katherine (“The Graduate”) Ross, 1942.
Claudine (singer,actress, dancer) Longet, also in 1942.
Tom (Magnum P.I.) Selleck, 1945.
Ann (actress) Jillian, 1950.
Oprah Winfrey, 1954.
Irlene (the funny Mandrell Sister) Mandrell, 1956.
Judy (“The Waltons”) Norton-Taylor, 1958.
And finally, Greg (Olympic diver) Louganis, 1960.

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