April 12th – Blown Away

April 12, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning blowhards. Today is Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The first holiday today is

Big Wind Day

Contrary to popular belief, this holiday does not refer to our current President or his Congress; nor does it refer to an extreme case of flatulence, nor does it refer to the classic 1939 motion picture “Gone with the Wind”.
In actuality, Big Wind Day refers to the highest wind speed ever recorded on this planet since the technology was developed to measure wind speed. You might expect that the highest wind speed ever recorded would be in a tornado or hurricane, but that is not the case. 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 around the world. 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.

National Bookmobile Day

National Bookmobile Day celebrates bookmobiles and the dedicated library professionals who provide this valuable and essential service to their communities every day. National Bookmobile Day is coordinated by the American Library Association, the Association Outreach Services, and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and is celebrated on Wednesday of National Library Week, which is the second full week in April.
A bookmobile is quite simply is a truck, van, or trailer serving as a mobile library. Bookmobiles are mobile libraries designed to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood. They hold a variety of books, periodicals and usually run on a schedule. With modern technology, many bookmobiles now even offer computer access. Bookmobiles offer underserved people in rural areas most of the same services as a local brick and mortar library. Books can be returned on the next scheduled stop or at the associated library.
To this day, some parts of America are so rural that making a casual trip to the library is impractical. Bookmobiles fill this gap in service and provide access to books for virtually anyone who wants to read. As of 2011, there were 696 bookmobiles in service across America.
The first bookmobile started in 1905 by Mary Lemist Titcomb in Maryland. Titcomb saw a need to expand library services beyond the main library location and into homes across the rural area. She then created a “Library Wagon”; a horse-drawn wagon that visited farms and schools. In the 1920s, Sarah Byrd Askew, a New Jersey librarian, thought reading and literacy so important that she delivered books to rural readers in her own Ford Model T. And today, some third-world countries still use animal-drawn carts to deliver books in rural areas.

Russian Cosmonaut Day (or as the United Nations 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”.

Walk On Your Wild Side Day

History is full of those who have utterly changed the world by refusing to be constrained by societal norms. Most people live their lives according to some form of social constraints. They believe that the rules are there to keep everyone safe and that any variance from “the norm” is some sort of sacrilege. However, throughout history, it has been those people that colored outside the box, or in fact refused to recognize that there is a box at all, who have left the most lasting legacies. “Worrying about what other people will think”, is really a silly reason for doing, or not doing something. Just because everyone else is doing something in a particular way doesn’t mean that is the only way to do it. Find the better, smarter, easier way to do it.
Walk On Your Wild Side Day is the day to step out of the box and do something entirely out of character. Don’t be influenced by what other people are doing, be the one that they emulate. Create the “box” into which they all want to fit.

National Only Child Day

A couple of days ago, we celebrated National Sibling Day, so doesn’t it seem fair that there should also be a holiday for people without siblings as well? National Only Child Day does just that.
There are advantages to being an only child. Only children don’t have to share toys or bedrooms with annoying brothers and sisters. They can sit in the front seat of the car anytime they want to, too. Plus, only children don’t have to fight for their parent’s undivided attention. And, most importantly, they don’t have to wear those dingy, tired and tattered, hand-me-down clothes and shoes.
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages to being an only child. Being an only child can be lonely. They children don’t have brothers and sisters to play (fight) with. They can’t blame that broken or missing knickknacks on their sibling. And some people assume an only child means a spoiled, selfish child.
Regardless of some negative stereotypes, only children usually do quite well and enjoy very successful careers and lives, just like those of us with siblings. Despite, or perhaps because of, the pros and cons of being an only child, some famous people are only children. They include:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Cary Grant
  • Al Pacino
  • Betty White
  • Carol Burnett
  • Gregory Peck
  • James Dean
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Robin Williams
  • Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Elvis Presley [although Elvis had a twin (Aaron) who died at birth]
  • John Lennon

Author’s note: Although some of the people above are listed as only children, some may have had step-siblings.

DEAR Day 

For all of the functional illiterates on Facebook and Twitter, DEAR Day does not refer to the antlered ruminant that inhabits forests and plains. 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. It merely encourages everyone to make time to read today. Be it a couple of chapters in that novel you started last month, a newspaper, or a magazine article, read something today. Do you read every day?
Author’s Note: Reading this BLOG post counts a credit for this holiday. Also, this is a separate holiday from any of the Library Week celebrations this week.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

Grilled cheese sandwiches are, arguably, one of the favorite sandwiches in America, but we didn’t invent them.  Melting cheese on top of bread has been around since the Roman Empire. Many other cultures have put their own spin on grilled cheese sandwiches through the ages as well. Grilled cheese sandwiches as we know them didn’t become popular until the 1920’s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became readily available. Originally grilled cheese sandwiches were made as an open-faced sandwich.
Grilled cheese sandwiches 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 – butter two slices of bread, place one butter side down in a skillet, add your cheese, place the other slice of bread butter side up over the cheese, flip the whole thing over when the first slice of bread is a nice golden brown, then toast the other side to perfection. Enjoy your favorite type of grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today – of course, paired with a bowl of your favorite soup.

National Licorice Day

National Licorice Day was created by Licorice International in 2004 to celebrate the rich history and health benefits of black licorice, but, has since evolved to include all types of licorice. Today, licorice comes in a variety of colors, flavors, and shapes…twists, stem shaped candies, licorice ropes, jelly beans, jewels, and many others – and National Licorice Day celebrates them all.
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.  Licorice can be used for confectionary, to flavor drinks (licorice tea is popular in some cultures), and has medicinal purposes. Licorice is not botanically related to anise, star anise, or fennel, even though their flavor is similar.
It doesn’t matter from whence it comes, I dislike licorice so I won’t be participating in this holiday. Does anyone have any spare Dewar’s Peanut Butter Chews?

More Holidays

On This Date

  • 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 1861 – The American Civil War began. The bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina marked the beginning of hostilities. The conflict was sparked by deepening economic, social and political differences between the southern and northern states, which was most palpably embodied by the dispute about the legitimacy of slavery. The southern (pro-slavery) states, surrendered in 1865, ending the war
  • 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 United States 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 1937 – The first aircraft jet engine was successfully tested. Sir Frank Whittle invented and tested the engine, only a few months before German engineer Hans von Ohain ran his jet engine, which was to power the first ever all-jet aircraft.
  • In 1938 – The first United States law requiring a medical test for a marriage license was enacted in New York.
  • In 1945 – 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 1961 – Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. The Soviet Cosmonaut orbited the Earth aboard the Vostok-3KA spacecraft (Vostok 1 mission). The first human spaceflight took 108 minutes from launch to landing.
  • 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 1981 – The Space Shuttle blasted off into space for the first time. Two astronauts took off for Space Shuttle Columbia’s first orbital test flight.
  • 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 – 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 1988 – The Last Emperor received nine Academy Awards. Bernardo Bertolucci’s biopic about Puyi, the last Emperor of China, was the first film to be awarded all the Oscars for which it was nominated.
  • 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.
  • In 2002 – It was announced that the South African version of “Sesame Street” would be introducing a character that was HIV-positive.
  • In  2002 – A first edition version of Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit” sold for $64,780 at Sotheby’s Auction House. Other literary works that sold at the same auction included: A signed first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” which sold for $66,630, a copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” signed by J.K. Rowling which sold for $16,660, and a 250-piece collection of rare works by Charles Dickens which old for $512,650.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • 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.
  • Saoirse Ronan 1994 – Actress.
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