Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

For the Christmas Tree, Garry used IFL Labs software for the fractal and Jasc animation software for the animation.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mary Todd

Mary Todd was born this day in 1818, and was a good student interested in drama, music, and dance. She was reportedly a delightful conversationalist, dating prominent men like Stephen Douglas and his political rival Abraham Lincoln. Abe Lincoln gave her a ring engraved with "Love is eternal" when they married. She was compassionate, frequently visiting soldiers wounded in the war.

The couple were holding hands when Lincoln was shot at the Theater. Mary Todd Lincoln never recovered. I think we should remember the good points of the widow our revered assassinated president loved eternally.

Rest in Peace, Mary Todd, and Happy Birthday.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

The Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, and celebrated their first harvest in 1621 with a feast. This celebration was not repeated, so it is not officially the first traditional Thanksgiving. It made a good story in elementary school, don't you think?

Actually, the First Thanksgiving Day in July of 1630, celebrating the arrival of Governor John Winthrop from England. This began the tradition in the colony which is still thriving today.

Before we were officially a country, George Washington's troops celebrated Thanksgiving on their way to Valley Forge. It was obviously important to him. After he was inaugurated as president of the new country, he declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in his "Presidential Proclamation Number One." It didn't stick as a national holiday, however, because the colonies couldn't agree. Aw, the beginning of politics in the United States.

Sarah Josepha Hale picked up the crusade for the holiday. President Abraham Lincoln agreed and proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. He started a trend and every president since then issued a proclamation.

Thanksgiving is officially a national holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Well, there was that time FDR decided to change it to the third Thursday to give people more time to shop for Christmas, but he changed it back. Check the story of the Thanksgiving time line.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lions & Tigers & Bears, or Maybe Not

Maybe it was Lion and then another Lion and then Elephant, and I think there was a camel and maybe a rhinoceros, and eventually more.

On this date in 1716, the first "real live lion" was exhibited in Boston. Those were the days before zoos, when exotic animals were exhibited in a menagerie. That practice was started in France where a menagerie was defined as an "establishment of luxury and curiosity."

It was rare for exotic animals to be exhibited in those days. Now it is rare for a city in America not to have lions on exhibit.

vicki'sblog liononexhibit

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Remember Him

I often remember him this time of year. Today is the 45th anniversary of that day in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I have been thinking about him quite a bit this year. It was hard not to remember the first presidential campaign that got my attention when watching the excitement created by Barack Obama's run and election. It was exciting then, too, in 1959, when Kennedy offered his good looks, his inspiring speaking style, his enchanted view of w
hat could be, and just his charisma.

Their campaigns are compared. Young children are again on the way to the White House.

It makes me remember.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Children Around the Globe

Today is Universal Children's Day.

In December 1954, when Dag Hamma
rskld was Secretary General, the United Nations passed a resolution that recommended all countries establish and observe a Universal Children's Day. This day promotes "worldwide fraternity and understanding between children."

Hammarsrskld was the first person I remember from the UN. I'm not sure what it was that attached me to him. Perhaps it was that he worked for peace at a time I was beginning to understand what that meant. Perhaps because he helped pilots who were captured in the Korean War, and my daddy was a pilot in the Korean War. Anyway, I remember when I was 12 his aircraft was lost and then found and a controversy followed. I was proud when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Around the world, countries are observing this day to promote the welfare of children. Today is Universal Children's Day.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bald Is Beautiful

Today is Bald and Free Day (some people celebrate Oct.7).

Bald means lacking hair on the head, but it also means undisguised. That may be a hint to quit trying to disguise the baldness with comb-overs. They don't work.

Free refers to bald people gaining freedom:
- free from bad hair days
- free from shampoos and other hair products
- free time saved from hair appointments
- free to be you

So today, every bald or balding man, woman or child can relax and feel free today. And remember -- bald is beautiful! After all, it is quite the style and many people disguise their heads to be bald -- shaved heads are popular.

By the way, you don't have to be bald to appreciate how beautiful baldness can be. Sometimes bald men like their heads stroked, but always ask first.

Here I am with my favorite bald sweetheart.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Vote for the World

Help one person make a difference with a potential global impact.

American Express asked cardholders for their ideas. Almost 1200 submitted an idea for a project that can make a positive difference in the world. They were narrowed down, and now there are five finalists. The winner gets $1,500,000 to see the project through. The remaining finalists share $1 million.

The winner, chosen by vote, will be announced Oct. 14. See the five projects and vote for your favorite to become the Member Project 2008.

Will it be early detection of Alzheiner's, providing school supplies, making loans to innovative people, or feeding children (two proposed projects are ideas to feed children)? Which will it be?

You decide.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

International Day of Peace

Today is International Day of Peace, established by the a United Nations resolution in 1981.

Today is a day for global cessation of violence and war. Sounds like a good goal to me. Events are scheduled in hundreds of countries to promote the end of war and violence. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rang the Peace Bell at United Nations Headquarters on Friday to mark the day. Today a moment of silence will be observed at noon.

What can you do? Tell world leaders your thoughts about Peace in a text message. Use the word "Peace" then write your message to 69866. Or send a message.

Webcasts of UN celebrations are available here.


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Battle of the Sexes

It was on this date in 1973 that Billie Jean King won the Battle of the Sexes, trouncing Bobby Riggs. who in his usual showmanship manner "played the male chauvinist card" saying women tennis players were inferior to men.

Riggs had beaten Margaret Court, a top women's player, when he began taunting women and challenged Billie Jean. I remember this event -- the hype leading up to it and the TV coverage. She had control the entire match. These matches were great for tennis, men's and especially women's, elevating the popularity of the sport. The event had done its job.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cars 100 Years Ago

In Flint, Michigan, on this date one hundred years ago, William C. Durant (1861-1947) founded General Motors (GM). Durant was a leading horse-drawn vehicle manufacturer when he became general manager of Buick in 1904. His horseless carriage business acumen resulted in Buick's success. He was the able to create GM, the multi-brand holding company with Buick and Chevrolet, soon adding Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac.

Olds Motor Vehicle Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (1864-1950) to manufacture the gasoline automobile he built in 1896. Olds had problems getting his company up and going due to poor capitalization and factory fires, but he still managed to accomplish some dramatic firsts in the new American automobile industry.

He was the first -

  • to develop a low-priced car for a mass market, the curved-dash Oldsmobile for $650.
  • to devise "a progressive assembly line system, which contained all the elements of the modern assembly line with the exception of the power conveyor."
Yes, it's true, Olds was first. Ford is best known because he added the "moving assembly line" into practice at Ford Motor Company between 1908 and 1915. Henry Ford (1863-1947) had incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903 to build cars for "the multitude." The Model T sold first for $990 and later for only $250.

Ford had his share of other firsts, too. He -
  • designed the first commercial automobile, a delivery wagon for the Detroit Automobile Company in 1900.
  • patented a plastic-bodied car, lighter than metal cars.
  • introduced a one-piece V-8 engine in 1932.

In the beginning of the 20th Century, the American public began a love/hate relationship with the new, burgeoning Automobile Industry. I remember that today, one hundred years after the high-school dropout William C. Durant founded General Motors. He wouldn't recognize it today. I wonder how he would feel about the price of gas?

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Are You Watching the Olympics?

The Paralympics that is. The Paralympics are elite sporting events for athletes with disabilities, taking place in Beijing from Sept. 6 - 17.

These are world-class athletes who have worked and sacrificed as all Olympic athletes tend to do, but Paralympians have less support from our government than the Olympics that closed last week. Why? Read what Karaswims, a former paralympian, has to say.

If you want to watch, you will have to tune in to ParalympicSportTV on your computer. Tonight I saw The US team play Canada in wheelchair rugby. Rugby! Rugby is a rough sport, and yes, it is a rough wheelchair sport complete with falls. They have specially-made chairs used for bumping, spinning, and racing down the court - yes, court. I was fun! When I started with this post it was the half-time break with the score: USA - 24, Can - 19. I hope they win.

Read about the events at Disaboom, including blogs written by athletes participating. Support these athletes and enjoy the games.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ed and Elvis

Ed said it wouldn't happen, but it did. On this day in 1956, Elvis made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, the longest running variety show, airing 24 years. At the time, Elvis said the appearance was the "greatest honor of his life."

Visit here to see a clip.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Have You Heard? It's Election Time

Of course you know it's an election year!

If you are not registered to vote, you still have time, but not much. Check here to find registration deadlines as well as other voter laws and information for your state.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Read a Book Today

Today is Read a Book Day, so start reading.

If you don't already have a book, you can get one free from your local library. Here is another idea -- read on your computer.

Try Page By Page Books, a site that provides online reading. Books offered are in the public domain for your personal reading pleasure, but not for commercial use or publishing on your own site without written permission. Is that a problem?

Try Project Gutenberg, the largest collection of free electronic books. It was started by the inventor of ebooks, Michael Hart who began by typing in a hundred books with expired copyrights. You can even download a book to your telephone. Check it out.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

What's That About Mary?

You know about Mary. She had a little lamb. The verse we all learned as small children was first published on this date in 1830 in Juvenile Miscellany.

t later became a song, you know, but this lovely little tune was not exclusive to preschool. Listen to this version by no less than Paul McCartney and Wings.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, James


Ready To Vote?

On this date in 1920, after a long struggle, the 19th Amendment was certified as ratified.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Women have the right to vote in local, state, and federal elections. In 1971, a Joint Resolution of Congress designated August 26 as Women's Equality Day.

Remember to exercise your right this November 4th and vote for your choice.

Barack Obama or John McCain
(presumptive candidates)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


On this day in 1866 President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over. Now, that may seem a bit late since fighting had stopped months earlier.

Lee surrendered in Virginia April 9, 1865, and Johnston surrendered in North Carolina April 26, 1865. The Confederate naval force was slow to respond, but surrendered November 4, 1865, in Liverpool, England.

Communication took longer then, so I guess it's understandable. My state of Texas was somewhat reluctant to join the Confederacy, but did. Texas participation was largely as a supplier of troops and supplies and was also a victim of that slow communication. Of course, slaves were actually freed with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863. However, the Texas slaves learned they were free the day Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the war. That was June 19, 1865, known and still celebrated in Texas as Junteenth.

As slow as Texas was to learn of the war's end, it still beat President Johnson's declaration by more than a year!

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy August

Admit it. You are happy. And that is no coincidence. August is Admit You're Happy Month. The Secret Society of Happy People designated August as the month to finally admit it, and several governors issued proclamations making it official.

If you need help, try visiting The Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin is collecting facts about happiness, making a study of it, and she is willing to share her findings as she continues her book project. Here is a simple example, where she talks about the relationship between happiness and enthusiasm while celebrating a friend's birthday.

Do you still need help admitting it? Luckily, there's help. The month also has been designated for other celebrations.

Family Fun Month is the perfect time to fit in a few more activities before school starts again. Yes, it is that time and you had better take advantage of these weeks. Need any ideas?

What about a picnic? I read that August also happens to be National Picnic Month. Well, it seems that July is actually the picnic month, but July is over so go ahead and plan a picnic this weekend. Be sure to take some fruit because it is also Peach Month. Here are some practical pointers and some safety tips. Don't forget that ants like to dance at picnics.

When the kids finally do go back to school, take some time with your special sweetheart. August is Romance Awareness Month. Speaking of romance, my parents had a lovely romance. My mother said my dad was the only man for her.

August is also the month they were born. My father's was August 15, and today is my mother's 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday. I'll be thinking special thoughts of you today.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Medicare, 43 Years Ago Today

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Social Security Act Amendments (SSA) on this day in 1965 establishing health insurance for the elderly - Medicare - and the poor - Medicaid.

It included supplementary medical benefits for the Disability Insurance System.
Read the history of the SSA during the Johnson years to see how it became law.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family Wedding Anniversary

On this day in 1938 Les Jenkin and Alma King were wed in Marinette, Wisconsin.

View pictures of their 60th Wedding Anniversary party. Then check out the 65th anniversary display and their story.

Alma passed in 2005, shortly before their 67th anniversary.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

We Renounce War!

President Herbert Hoover signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact on this day in 1928. The pact was a "renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy." Sixty-one nations eventually signed the agreement.

Yea! No more war! But this was 1928 and Germany, Italy and Japan were among the original signatories. The Nuremberg Trials served to prosecute those who violated the crimes against peace as outlined in this pact.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact did not contribute to international peace, it did not end war, and it is still in effect!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Politics and Puppies

Regardless of your politics, help a homeless dog find a new family. It has been reported that Barack Obama will add a dog to his family -- whether he wins or loses the presidential election.

What kind of dog? Help him decide to rescue a homeless dog. Sign the petition to urge the Obama family to rescue their new family member. The newly adopted dog will thank you for providing him (or her) with a new home.

It takes only a minute to make a dog wag her (or his) tail.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

I Would Rather Be Dead

A survey asked: 'Which would you choose: Living with a severe disability that forever alters your ability to live an independent life, or death?'

Middle-aged people chose death.
Higher income people chose death.
People living in the West chose death.
People with higher education chose death.

Even Superman chose death initially. When Christopher Reeve awoke after the accident that left him severely disabled, he said he wanted to die. It wasn't until his wife Dana expressed her love and support that he returned to living, advocating stem cell research, starring in films like Rear Window, writing a book Still Me , establishing a foundation, loving and being loved.

I have read many stories by people who respond to their disability by embracing life with a new attitude, appreciating new priorities, and a new understanding of what really is important.

I wonder about those middle-aged, educated, rich Westerners who opt for their own death rather than living with a disability. What is their attitude toward the more than 54 million American adults whose daily lives include a disability?

The survey was commissioned by Disaboom, the premiere online community for people touched by disability.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crazy and Naked

Absolute chaos, bedlam, confusion! What could be happening? Anything, because today is Pandemonium Day.

Unexpected things happen today. Perhaps Pandemonium broke out because someone unexpectedly came across a group of people wearing no clothes. It is after all summer, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and sometimes it gets hot enough to encourage people to disrobe. Besides, today is also National Nude Day.

The nation in the name of this day is New Zealand where it was created by Marc Ellis. This is a day to appreciate your body. Maybe you can combine these two special days by doing something wild and crazy in the nude!

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Bikini Remembered

The bikini is 60 today.

The bikini, a women's swimsuit composed of two pieces, was introduced in Paris on this date in 1946. It took two to design the bikini: Louis Réard, engineer, and Jacques Heim, designer. It was named after Bikini Atoll where a nuclear test was performed July 1 because this suit would cause a "burst of excitement."

The bikini was accepted in France, but it took America years to decide to wear such a scandalous suit, as evidenced by Ester Williams' quote.
"A bikini is a thoughtless act." ~ Esther Williams
To see Magnum Photos collection of pictures of bikinis designed 60 years ago, click here.

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Zemanta Pixie

Friday, July 04, 2008

Omnibus Vehicle

It started July 4 in 1824. A London newspaper reported a new vehicle.