Life Day 25026: Convivial Onomasticon Diurnal Course

January 18, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning wordsmiths. Today is January 18th. Today is Thesaurus Day. On this date in 1779, Peter Mark Roget was born. He is best known for the publication of his Thesaurus in 1852. The thesaurus was not the result of his vocation (he was a physician), but rather his avocation since his youth. His early life was rather tragic. I won’t go into detail here. This link will give you a better explanation. Celebrate this “holiday” by learning a few new words, as I did when I came up with this title. So, once again, I want to wish each of you a Convivial Onomasticon Diurnal Course.

Another “holiday” today is Winnie-the-Pooh Day. The author of the series of stories, A. A. Milne was born on this date in 1882. This collection of stories, first published in 1926, was inspired by the teddy bear of author A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who himself became one of the stories’ characters. The original Winnie-the-Pooh (and hyphens too!) was named for Winnie, a black bear at the London zoo, and Pooh, a swan Christopher encountered while on vacation. The result of this combination was not some freakish bear/swan hybrid, but thankfully, the adorable honey-loving bear we’ve all come to know and love. Celebrate this “holiday” by reading to your children or grandchildren from a book in this collection, or re-visiting one of them yourself.

A third “holiday” today is Elementary School Teacher Day. The third Monday in January is set aside to honor Elementary School teachers.  Elementary school teachers have a tremendous impact on children, sometimes just by being there and caring every day. Teachers on all levels are trained to bring out the best in each student, but the grade school teachers begin that journey. They take children and help them ‘learn how to learn’ so that they are prepared for middle school and high school. Their impact on our lives remains with us throughout the rest of our journey through life.

The fourth “holiday” today is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King Day is a federal holiday honoring the birth if slain civil rights advocate Dr. Martin Lutheo King. Although his actual birthdate is January 15th, this holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year. A holiday commemorating the birth of Dr. King was first proposed in 1979 by Representative John Conyers (D. Michigan) and Senator Edward Brooke (R. Massachusetts). The bill fell short of passage in the House of Representatives by five votes. However, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill, proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, to create a federal holiday honoring Dr. King. The bill had passed the House of Representatives by a count of 338 to 90, a veto-proof margin. The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

Today’s food-related “holiday” is Peking Duck Day. Peking Duck is a famous duck dish originally created in Peking (now Beijing), hence the name. The dish is prized for the thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, scallion, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The dish dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Peking Duck is a national dish of China. Many restaurants require 24-hour notice to prepare the dish, but many don’t anymore.

There is also a beverage-related “holiday” today: National Gourmet Coffee Day. Contrary to popular belief, the original gourmet coffee shop in America was Peet’s Coffee and Tea, started in 1966 by Alfred Peet in Berkely, Ca. Coffee in America had been in a state of decline since the end of World War II. People had become used to an inferior brand of coffee during the war because of rationing. It carried on for a few decades until the 1970’s and the growth of Peet’s and the birth of another giant in the industry, Starbucks. Now, gourmet coffee shops are everywhere. When the Safeway opened up in the new San Antonio shopping center near my home, it featured a Starbuck’s coffee shop. Literally a stones throw away, in the same shopping center is, you guessed it, another Starbucks. I wonder how long it will be before a Starbuck’s will open up…in another Starbuck’s?

On this date in 1778, – English navigator Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands, which he called the “Sandwich Islands.” He must have been famished after his long voyage.

Here are a few other significant historical events which occurred on this date:
In 1788 – the first English settlers arrived in Australia’s Botany Bay to establish a penal colony. The group moved north eight days later and settled at Port Jackson.
In 1803 – Thomas Jefferson sought authorization for the first official exploration by the United states government.
In 1886 – The Hockey Association was formed in England. This date is the birthday of modern field hockey.
In 1896 – The x-ray machine was exhibited for the first time.
In 1911 – An aircraft landed on a ship for the first time. Pilot Eugene B. Ely flew onto the deck of the USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco harbor.
In 1919 – The World War I Peace Congress opened in Versailles, France.
In 1929 – Walter Winchell made his debut on radio.
In 1943 – During World War II, the Soviets announced that they had broken the Nazi siege of Leningrad, which had began in September of 1941.
In 1943 – Commercial bakers in the United States stopped selling sliced bread. Only whole loaves were sold during the ban until the end of World War II.
In 1948 – “The Original Amateur Hour” debuted. The show was on the air for 22 years. The show was hosted by Ted Mack.
In 1957 – The first, non-stop, around-the-world, jet flight came to an end at Riverside, CA. The plane was refueled in mid-flight by huge aerial tankers.
In 1958 – Willie O’Ree made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins. He was the first black player to enter the league.
In 1964 – The plans for the World Trade Center in New York were disclosed.
In 1967 – Albert DeSalvo, who claimed to be the “Boston Strangler,” was convicted in Cambridge, MA, of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses. He was sentenced to life in prison. Desalvo was killed in 1973 by a fellow inmate.
In 1975 – “The Jeffersons” debuted on CBS-TV.
In 1978 – The European Court of Human Rights cleared the British government of torture but found it guilty of inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in Northern Ireland.
In 1987 – For the first time in history the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) was seen by over 100 million viewers. The audience was measured during the week of January 12-18.
In 1990 – A jury in Los Angeles, CA, acquitted former preschool operators Raymond Buckey and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, of 52 child molestation charges.
In 1990 – In an FBI sting, Washington, DC, Mayor Marion Barry was arrested for drug possession. He was later convicted of a misdemeanor.
In1991 – Eastern Airlines shut down after 62 years in business due to financial problems.
In 1993 – The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was observed in all 50 U.S. states for the first time.
In 1995 – The “” domain was created.
In 1995 – A network of caves were discovered near the town of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in southern France. The caves contained paintings and engravings that were estimated to be 17,000 to 20,000 years old.
In 2002 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of a saliva-based ovulation test.
And finally, in 2012 – Wikipedia began a 24-hour “blackout” in protest against proposed anti-piracy legislation (S. 968 and H.R. 3261) known as the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. Many websites, including Reddit, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others, contended would make it challenging if not impossible for them to operate.

If you were born on this date, you are in good company. Here are some of the iconic individuals with whom you share your birthday. I have already mentioned two; Peter Roget in 1779 and A. A. Milne in 1882. Here are some others:
Daniel Webster 1782  (early American statesman)
Oliver Hardy 1892  (½ of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy)
Cary Grant 1904 (actor)
Danny Kaye 1913 (comedian, actor, Founder of Shriner’s Hospitals)
Bobby Goldsboro 1941 (singer)
David Ruffin 1941  (singer – The Temptations)
And, Kevin Costner 1955 (actor)


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