Life Day 24015: Blown Away

April 12, 2013 at 12:00 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning blowhards. Today is Friday, April 12, 2013. The first holiday today is Big Wind Day. Contrary to popular belief, this holiday does not refer to the latest speech concerning the economy or gun-control by our esteemed leader; nor does it refer to the classic 1939 motion picture “Gone with the Wind”. Big Wind Day refers to the highest wind speed ever recorded on this planet since the technology was developed to measure wind speed. On this date in 1934, the staff at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire recorded a sustained surface wind speed of 231 MPH.
Wind speed is measured using anemometers. These anemometers are placed 10 meters (33 feet) above the ground and are located at official weather observation stations across the country. The “wind speed” reported in each observation is an average speed for the most recent two-minute period prior to the observation time. This is also considered the “sustained wind” for routine surface observations. This two minute average is calculated from a series of 24, five-second average values.

The next holiday is Russian Cosmonaut Day (or as the UN refers to it, International Day of Human Space Flight). On this date in 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, aboard Vostok 1, became the first human to travel into space. He spent 108 minutes in space. This flight marked the beginning of the space race, and is probably the only instance in which the Russians could accurately proclaim; “We did it first”.

The third holiday today is Walk On Your Wild Side Day.  Today is the day to step out of the box and do something entirely out of character for you. Show up to work wearing a propeller beanie. Wear that hideous tie that your children bought you for Christmas. Embrace your ‘inner wild-streak’ and release the zanier, less predictable “you”. Have a little fun today.

The final holiday today is DEAR Day.  For all of the functional illiterates on Facebook and Twitter, this does not refer to the antlered ruminant that inhabits forests. It also does not refer to someone whom you regard with esteem. DEAR stands for Drop Everything and Read. DEAR Day was created to encourage families to set aside time to read together each day. Do you read everyday?

The first food-related holiday today is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. Grilled cheese sandwiches are arguably, one of the favorite sandwiches in America. They are tasty, and simple to make. There are as many different types of grilled cheese sandwiches as there are different cheese and bread combinations, but the method for making them pretty much remains constant. Enjoy your favorite type of grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today; paired with your favorite soup.

The other food-related holiday today is National Licorice Day. The word ‘licorice’ is derived (via the Old French licoresse), from the Greek word ‘glukurrhiza’, meaning “sweet root”.  I was surprised to learn that licorice comes from the root of the licorice plant, a legume that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia. It is not botanically related to anise, star anise, or fennel, which are the sources of similar flavoring compounds. No matter. I dislike licorice, so I won’t be participating in this holiday. Does anyone have any spare Dewar’s Peppermint Chews?

On this date in  2002 – A first edition version of Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit” sold for $64,780 at Sotheby’s. A signed first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” sold for $66,630. A copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” signed by J.K. Rowling sold for $16,660. A 250-piece collection of rare works by Charles Dickens sold for $512,650.
In 1606 – England adopted the original Union Jack as its flag.
In 1799 – Phineas Pratt patented the comb cutting machine.
In 1833 – Charles Gaylor patented the fireproof safe.
In 1864 – Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow, in Tennessee and slaughters the black Union troops there.
In 1877 – A catcher’s mask was used in a baseball game for the first time by James Alexander Tyng.
In 1892 – Voters in Lockport, New York, became the first in the U.S. to use voting machines.
In 1911 – Pierre Prier completed the first non-stop London-Paris flight in three hours and 56 minutes.
In 1927 – The British Cabinet came out in favor of women voting rights.
In 1938 – The first U.S. law requiring a medical test for a marriage license was enacted in New York.
In 1945 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in Warm Spring, GA. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Harry S Truman became president.
In 1955 – The University of Michigan Polio Vaccine Evaluation Center announced that the polio vaccine of Dr. Jonas Salk was “safe, effective and potent.”
In 1963 – Police used dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, AL
In 1966 – Emmett Ashford became the first African-American major league umpire.
In 1982 – Three CBS employees were shot to death in a New York City parking lot.
In 1983 – Harold Washington was elected the first black mayor of Chicago.
In 1984 – Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger made the first satellite repair in orbit by returning the Solar Max satellite to space.
In 1985 – U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL.
In 1985 – Federal inspectors declared that four animals of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus were not unicorns. They were goats with horns that had been surgically implanted.
In 1988 – Harvard University won a patent for a genetically altered mouse. It was the first patent for a life form.
In 2000 – Robert Cleaves, 71, was convicted of second degree murder and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Cleaves had repeatedly run over Arnold Guerreiro on September 30, 1998 with his car after the two had an argument.
And, 2002 – It was announced that the South African version of “Sesame Street” would be introducing a character that was HIV-positive.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following people of note:
Henry Clay 1777 – Statesman.
Sally Rand 1903 – Burlesque Queen.
Billy Vaughn 1919 – Orchestra leader.
Ann Miller 1923 – Actress.
Jane Withers 1926 – Actress.
Herbert Khaury 1932 – Tiny Tim.
Herbie Hancock 1940 – Jazz musician.
Frank Bank 1942 – Actor.
John Kay 1944 – Musician.
Ed O’Neill 1946 – Actor.
Tom Clancy 1947 – Author.
David Letterman 1947 – TV host.
Scott Turow 1949 – Author.
David Cassidy 1950 – Singer, actor.
Suzzanne Douglas 1957 – Actress.
Shannen Doherty 1971 – Actress.
Nicholas Brendon 1971 – Actor.
Claire Danes 1979 – Actress.
Jennifer Morrison 1979 – Actress.
Jelena Dokic 1983 – Tennis player.
And finally, Saoirse Ronan 1994 – Actress.

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