Life Day 25098: “Let Me Pencil That In”

March 30, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning graphite-based writing implement fans. Today is March 30th. The first holiday today is Pencil Day. On this date in 1858, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the first-ever patent for a modern pencil with an eraser attached to it. Hymen Lipman created the wooden pencil and received high praise for how easy it was to use for writing and drawing.
Manufacturers painted the first pencils yellow because the color was associated with royalty and honor. People quickly began assuming that yellow pencils were the best type, and a majority of pencils produced to this day are still yellow. With all of the technological advances in ink, the ready availability of cheap ink pens, and the onset of the computer age, I am sad to report that I would be hard-pressed to find one of these remarkable devices in my humble abode. Perhaps I will rectify this oversight today, if only for the sake of nostalgia.
FACTOID: A single wooden pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line that is 35 miles long. Additionally, a pencil can also write upside down, or in zero gravity, making it the ideal writing implement for recording your thoughts and observations during your next trip to the International Space Station.
ADDENDUM: I did manage to find a couple of pencils after all…relegated over time to the deepest, darkest recesses of my desk drawer. Alas, they are green, and not the preferred yellow color…but they are unused with their erasers still intact. Now, where did I put that pencil sharpener? Oh Well!

The second holiday today is Manatee Appreciation Day. Manatee Appreciation Day is devoted to raising awareness about these quirky creatures. Manatees are calm herbivores that spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and traveling. They are a migratory species, inhabiting the Florida waters during the winter and moving as far north as Virginia and as far west as Texas in the warmer summer months. They are also found in parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.
These gentle giants have a lifespan of about 60 years and have no known natural predators…except humans. In the past, manatees were exploited for their meat, fat, and hides. Although some poaching of manatees still exists, they are most often fatally injured these days in collisions with boats and becoming entangled in commercial fishing nets. Add to the mix the fact that their habitat is constantly being encroached upon by development, especially in Florida, and you can see why they are on the Endangered Species list.
As far back as the early 18th century, when America was still part of the British Empire, the English declared Florida a manatee sanctuary and made manatee hunting illegal. People have worked to protect this species ever since. And, their efforts have paid off. Through legislation, awareness programs, and other means, as of  January 7, 2016, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the West Indian manatee is proposed to be downlisted from ‘endangered‘ to ‘threatened‘ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal to downlist the manatee to threatened will not affect federal protections currently afforded by the ESA, and the Service remains committed to conservation actions to fully recover manatee populations.
Through conservation efforts, the minimum known population of manatees is estimated to be at least 13,000, with more than 6,300 in Florida. When aerial surveys began in 1991, there were only an estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida, meaning that over the last 25 years there’s been a significant increase in the species population in that state.
Authors Note: I have a soft spot in my heart for these lovable creatures. Manatees might not make the list of cutest animals, but their  immense size, jowly appearance, and gentle nature make them endearing. I lived in Florida from 1976 to 1979, and had the pleasure of actually interacting with a manatee in water park…I actually got to pet one. Bucket list checked off.

The next holiday is National Doctor’s Day. National Doctor’s Day was created to show appreciation to doctors everywhere. Doctors’ Day observances date back to March 30, 1933. It was started by Eudora Brown Almond of Winder, Ga. This holiday marks the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia (ether) in surgery by Dr. Crawford W. Long on this date in 1842.
On March 30, 1958, the United States House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day. In 1990, the congress and the senate approved legislation establishing National Doctors Day. The resolution designating March 30 as National Doctors’ Day was signed by President George Bush.
Doctors perform a vital service to all of us, albeit with a notable lack of the altruism exhibited by the doctors of yore. Still, take time out today, or on your next scheduled appointment, to thank your physician for what he/she does for you and your family.

Another holiday today is I am in Control Day. This holiday does not refer to some new-age mantra. Instead, it refers to the date, March 30, 1981, when President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt. Quite naturally, lots of confusion prevailed. In the White House, then Secretary of State Alexander Haig was taken out of context when he said, “I am in control here”. Instead of focusing upon Secretary Haig’s entire statement, certain people and the press, deliberately, in my opinion, focused on these few words and tried to make it sound as if he were trying to usurp control of the government. Other “mainstream” media outlets ran with the story until the deliberate misinformation became “fact”. In a propaganda coup for the left, Secretary Haig was eventually forced to resign as a result.

The fifth holiday today is The Grass Is Always Browner On the Other Side of the Fence Day. No, this holiday does not refer to the abundance of dog excrement in your neighbor’s backyard. The Grass Is Always Browner On the Other Side of the Fence Day celebrates those of us who are satisfied with our lives, and not fooled by those, so called, “greener pastures” that lie on the ‘other side of the fence’. It is a day to celebrate the fact that you are satisfied with what you have.

The last holiday today is Take A Walk In the Park Day. Walking is one of the healthiest and most enjoyable forms of exercise. Take a Walk in the Park Day is an opportunity to get some low-impact exercise and relax for a little while. Are you stressed out from work, school or things at home? A walk in the park might be just what the doctor ordered. Walking is calming and therapeutic. It helps clear your mind and re-energizes you at the same time. A walk in the park could very well be the most enjoyable part of your day. Just be sure to keep your eyes open and pay attention to where you are going. In addition to preventing a fall, open eyes will allow you to take in the beauty of nature’s wonders: flowers, and trees, birds, and wildlife. Take time today to stroll through your favorite park and commune with nature, breathe in the fresh spring air, and clear your head. The exercise probably won’t kill you either.

The food-related holiday today is Turkey Neck Soup Day. The thought of Turkey Neck Soup might cause a few people to raise their eyebrows. Sure, this stock is made by slow simmering the tough, yet flavorful meat of actual turkey necks, but once it is strained of bones and cooked with vegetables and rice, your family will regard it simply as a delicious dinner of turkey soup. If you still have a turkey neck in your refrigerator left over from your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you should discard it immediately, it’s probably long past rotten. After you have done that, proceed to your local butcher shop, purchase a ‘fresh’ turkey neck…then make some Turkey Neck Soup for dinner tonight. Enjoy.

On this date in 1981 – President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded in Washington, DC, by John W. Hinckley Jr. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady were also wounded.

Other events of importance which occurred on this date are:

  • In 1822 – Florida became a U.S. territory.
  • In 1842 – Dr. Crawford W. Long performed the first operation while his patient was anesthetized by ether.
  • In 1855 – About 5,000 “Border Ruffians” from western Missouri invaded the territory of Kansas and forced the election of a pro-slavery legislature. It was the first election in Kansas.
  • In 1867 – The U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.
  • In 1870 – The 15th amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, was passed by Congress.
  • In 1870 – Texas was readmitted to the Union.
  • In 1909 – The Queensboro bridge in New York opened linking Manhattan and Queens. It was the first double decker bridge.
  • In 1909 – In Oklahoma, Seminole Indians revolted against meager pay for government jobs.
  • In 1916 – Pancho Villa killed 172 at the Guerrero garrison in Mexico.
  • In 1941 – The German Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel began its first offensive against British forces in Libya.
  • In 1946 – The Allies arrested 1,000 Nazis attempting to revive the Nazi party in Frankfurt.
  • In 1950 – The invention of the photo-transistor was announced.
  • In 1950 – President Truman denounced Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.
  • In 1964 – John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall.
  • In 1972 – The Eastertide Offensive began when North Vietnamese troops crossed into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the northern portion of South Vietnam.
  • In 1982 – The space shuttle Columbia completed its third and its longest test flight after 8 days in space.
  • In 1993 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown hit his first home run.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following notable people:


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