Life Day 24021: “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”

April 18, 2013 at 12:02 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | 1 Comment

Good morning seismologists. Today is Thursday, April 18, 2013. Today marks the anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake. At 5:12 AM, on this date in 1906, an earthquake devastated the city of San Francisco. The subsequent fires burned for days. The “official” death toll reported at the time was 375. However, Government officials skewed the statistics to protect property values and to effect efforts to rebuild the city. Hundreds of deaths in Chinatown went unreported and ignored. No one knows for sure how many people died, but more precise estimate is over 3,000. About 80% of the city was destroyed. Neighboring cities like San Jose and Santa Rosa also suffered significant property damage and loss of life. In Monterey County, the earthquake permanently shifted the course of the Salinas River near its mouth. Where previously the river emptied into Monterey Bay between Moss Landing and Watsonville, it was diverted 6 miles south to a new outlet just north of Marina. Out of a population of 410,000, over 225,00 people were left homeless. At the time of the disaster, San Francisco had been the ninth-largest city in the United States and the largest on the West Coast. It was financial, trade and cultural center of the west coast; operated the busiest port on the West Coast; and was the “gateway to the Pacific”. The most widely accepted estimate for the magnitude of the earthquake is a moment magnitude of 7.9; however, other estimates have been proposed, ranging from 7.7 to as high as 8.25. The main shock epicenter occurred offshore about 2 miles (3.2 km) from the city, near Mussel Rock. Shaking was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles, and inland as far as central Nevada. It remains one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States; along side Hurricane Katrina and the Galveston Hurricane of 1900.

The first actual holiday today is International Juggler’s Day. The earliest known record of juggling dates all the way back to 1994 BC by the ancient Egyptians. I don’t know why this date was selected as International Juggler’s Day. This date holds no significance in the annuls of juggling that I can determine. Anyway, since the demise of variety shows on TV in the late 1960’s, about the only place you can find jugglers these days is at a circus or carnival side-show. That’s a shame because the hand/eye coordination and concentration of jugglers is truly amazing.  If there is a circus or carnival side-show near tour town, make it a point to attend a performance. You could also celebrate this holiday by finding three (non-lethal) objects and trying to teach yourself how to juggle.
Note: This holiday could also be stretched to mean that consummate multi-tasker at work who is constantly “juggling” multiple projects at once. If there is no circus or carnival side-show in your area, kick back at work and watch this ‘clown’ work himself/herself into a tizzy trying to keep tabs on all their projects. It might be just as entertaining as the circus.

The next holiday is National Newspaper Columnists Day.  Today marks the anniversary of the day, in 1945, that columnist Ernie Pyle was killed in action on Ie Shima Island during WW II. This holiday was created by the The National Society of Newspaper Columnists (which was founded in 1977) to pay homage to Mr. Pyle, and so many other journalists who have lost or risked their lives pursuing their craft. If you know a columnist, show him/her some love today.

The third holiday today is World Amateur Radio Day. Long before the Internet and smart phones, Amateur Radio operators have been talking and sharing for decades. Amateur Radio continues to attract people world-wide by providing international communications for free (once you have spent hundreds of dollars on radio equipment, that is).

Another holiday today is National High Five Day. National High Five Day is celebrated on the third Thursday in April. If you believe Wikipedia, prior to 1977, no one had ever raised their hand above their head and slapped another’s in a celebratory “high five” gesture. That, or no one had thought to give it a name until then. News Flash: My friends and I used this gesture in the late 1950’s, and we weren’t the originators either. The “high five” has been probably around since the dawn of time. I can picture Neanderthal Man, after killing a wooly mammoth to feed their clan, sitting around the campfire giving each other “high fives”. In my research, I could find no reason for today being designated as “High Five Day” other than a group of college students from the University of Virginia declaring it so in 2002. I guess that some people are just desperate for notoriety.

The remaining holidays today fall into that category of being either too frivolous or too “touchy-feely” for me to cover. A link to each will be provided as usual should you deem one of these worthy of closer scrutiny.
Adult Autism Awareness Day.
Poem In Your Pocket Day.
Support Teen Literature Day. (Part of National Library Week).
Pet Owners Independence Day.
National Velociraptor Awareness Day.

The food-related holiday today is National Animal Crackers Day. Animal-shaped crackers were first brought to the United States during the late 1800’s. The demand for these treats skyrocketed so bakers began to produce them domestically. Stauffer’s Biscuit Company was the first company to produce animal crackers in 1871 in York, Pennsylvania. Other local bakeries soon came together under the National Biscuit Company, or “Nabisco Brands.” It was not until 1902 though that the animal cracker’s box debuted its “Barnum’s Animals” circus theme. These fun little crackers are usually in the shape circus or zoo animals such as elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys, but since their start in 1902, there have been 37 different animals included in Barnum’s Animal Crackers? Today more than 40 million packages of animal crackers are sold each year around the world. For reasons that completely baffle me, they are still popular today.  To celebrate, enjoy a box of Barnum’s Animal Crackers. They won’t kill you too much.

On this date in 2002 – The city legislature of Berlin decided to make Marlene Dietrich an honorary citizen. Dietrich had gone to the United States in 1930. She refused to return to Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power.
In 1846 – The telegraph ticker was patented by R.E. House.
In 1847 – U.S. troops defeated almost 17,000 Mexican soldiers commanded by Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo during the Mexican-American War.
1861 – Colonel Robert E. Lee turned down an offer to command the Union armies during the U.S. Civil War.
In 1877 – Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.
In 1895 – New York State passed an act that established free public baths.
In 1910 – Walter R. Brookins made the first airplane flight at night.
In 1923 – Yankee Stadium opened in the Bronx, NY. The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1. John Phillip Sousa’s band played the National Anthem.
In 1924 – Simon and Schuster, Inc. published the first “Crossword Puzzle Book.”
In 1934 – The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, TX.
In 1938 – President Franklin Roosevelt threw out the first ball preceding the season opener between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics.
In 1942 – James H. Doolittle and his squadron, from the USS Hornet, raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities.
In 1949 – The Republic of Ireland was established.
In 1950 – The first transatlantic jet passenger trip was completed.
In 1955 – Albert Einstein died.
In 1956 – Actress Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco were married. The religious ceremony took place April 19.
In 1978 – The U.S. Senate approved the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.
In 1983 – The U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown up by a suicide car-bomber. 63 people were killed including 17 Americans.
In 1985 – Tulane University abolished its 72-year-old basketball program. The reason was charges of fixed games, drug abuse, and payments to players.
In 1989 – Thousands of Chinese students demanding democracy tried to storm Communist Party headquarters in Beijing.
And finally, in 2002 – Actor Robert Blake and his bodyguard were arrested in connection with the shooting death of Blake’s wife about a year before.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following distinguished people:
Clarence Darrow 1857 – Attorney.
Tony Mottola 1918 – Guitarist.
Barbara Hale 1922 – Actress.
Clive Revill 1930 – Actor.
James Drury 1934 – Actor.
Robert Hooks 1937 – Actor.
Hayley Mills 1946 – Actress.
James Woods 1947 – Actor.
Dorothy Lyman 1947 – Actress.
Cindy Pickett 1947 – Actress.
Catherine Malfilano 1948 – Opera singer.
Rick Moranis 1954 – Actor.
Eric Roberts 1956 – Actor.
Melody Thomas Scott 1956 – Actress.
Jane Leeves 1961 – Actress.
Conan O’Brien 1963 – Television personality.
Eric McCormack 1963 – Actor.
Maria Bello 1967 – Actress.
Sean Maguire 1976 – Actor.
Melissa Joan Hart 1976 – Actress.
And finally, Alia Shawkat 1989 – Actress.


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  1. […] Jugglers’ Association.” I covered the history of juggling pretty thoroughly in this post, so I won’t bore you by repeating myself […]


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