Monday, June 30, 2008

National Rose Month

Today is the last day of June, National Rose Month. Let's reflect on roses. It is said that the rose was given its name by Aphrodite. Here are some roses given to me by my sweetheart -- not all this month, but I remember them as we celebrate the rose.

Rose Matrix

Roses have been with us forever, and they have always been meaningful. Passion, joy, reverence, and of course, love are all symbolized by the color of roses.

Red and White roses are closely related. Whites, associated with the Virgin Mary, symbolize innocence and purity. Reds are symbolic of the blood of Christ. Red roses originated as whites.
  • White roses grew from tears Venus shed when Adonis died. They turned red from blood droplets when Venus pricked her toe on a thorn.
  • The nightingale chirped and croaked until white roses inspired him to sing. He lovingly pressed himself into the rose, was pricked by a thorn and his blood turned the rose red.

Check here for more rose trivia.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sylvia

Sylvia Lawry was born this day in 1915. She was a regular person who took a step -- one person who made a difference worldwide.

Her brother was diagnosed with MS and she did not know how to help him or what to say or what was going to happen or even what MS was. In 1945, after her brother had spent fruitless time and effort trying to find a cure for his disease, MS, she placed an ad in the
NY Times looking for help from someone who had been cured. Just one regular person placing a classified ad - a simple action looking for an answer. She received many replies, but they were from MSers who were looking for the same answer. They hoped she had found the cure and would share the news.

She saw a need. The next 50 years of her life were dedicated to ridding the world of the disease that had attacked her brother and so many others. One ordinary person responding to a need that had touched her, transformed into quite an extraordinary person. Sylvia Lawry did it by founding the
National MS Society (NMSS), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the MS International Federation (MSIF). In 2001, the year Sylvia died, the MSIFcreated the Sylvia Lawry Centre for Multiple Sclerosis Research. Because her brother had MS, she created a network for research and to provide information and support for MSers.

She helped her brother and she continues to help the rest of the 2.5 million MSers around the world.
One person, touched by her brother's plight, influenced research, disease management, and public policy in her country and the world. Wow. One of these days, when another woman like Sylvia places an ad for a cure, she will receive many responses -- with a cure developed because one person wanted to help and she made a significant difference.

She helped her brother and served as a model for all of us. One person's small act can make a significant difference. Happy Birthday, Sylvia.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Battle of the Greasy Grass

Perhaps the most famous battle between the cavalry and native American Indians began on this day in 1876. June 25, Sitting Bull led the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne in a dramatic victory over the 7th Cavalry led by General George Armstrong Custer in a two-day battle near the Little Bighorn River in Montana.

General George Armstrong Custer, after graduating last in his West Point class, became a Civil War cavalry hero. Custer's Last Stand was in the Battle of the Little Bighorn where he was killed along with five companies of the 7th Cavalry. Check out the National Park Service
Little Big Horn Battle Monument.

There is no Indian monument, but in 1991, Congress ordered construction of an Indian Memorial. In 1996, a design was chosen with the theme "Peace Through Unity." The memorial honors the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho.
"If this memorial is to serve its total purpose,
it must not only be a tribute to the dead;
it must contain a message for the living...power through unity..."
Enos Poor Bear, Sr., Oglala Lakota Elder

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Election Year - Now and Then

It's election year and it is important that we vote. However, every eligible person will not make it to the polls. There was a time when even people who were not registered showed up at the polls. And why not? It was not against the law! Or was it?

In 1873, Susan B. Anthony led a group of women to their polling place in Rochester, NY. Anthony placed a ballot in the box voting for the republican candidate
U.S. Grant. She was arrested for the heinous act of voting. Women finally won the right to vote almost 50 years later in 1920, 14 years after her death.

Check out the Susan B. Anthony time line. She was not only active in women' rights, but in anti-lavery and other civil rights causes. She was a brave woman. Even though she voted Republican, she would have been proud to see this year's Democratic race for the nomination.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vegetables Rule the Day

Today is a very special vegetable day. We already know we should eat several servings of vegetables every day, but we are reminded today.

Fresh Veggies Day reminds us to collect and eat our vegetables fresh. This encourages gardener to nurture a crop that we can guarantee are fresh, colorful, and tasty.

Today is also Eat Your Vegetables Day. How convenient. First, we garden or collect fresh veggies, then we eat them either raw or cooked. When I was a kid, I was very picky about vegetables -- I picked them off my plate whenever I could. Then I grew up, and as I did, my tastes grew, too. I enjoy many veggies prepared in many different ways, from raw to gently steamed to vegetable casseroles. Yum.

However, I have a complaint. I never developed a taste for peppers and onions, and many dishes are designated vegetarian -- notably pizzas -- just because they are covered with onions and peppers. What a disappointment. There are plenty of other veggies that could grace a pizza. But I digress.

Today is a special day for veggies, but it is also Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Yea, we get fruit, too, but how much? Get recommendations based on your weight, gender, and level of activity. The food pyramid shows how much and what kind of foods we should include in daily diets. You might be surprised.

If you pay attention to the pyramid and be sure to include plenty of fruits and eat your vegetables like your mother told you to do, you will be healthier and and maybe even

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Power Of a Smile

Peace begins with a smile. ~Mother Teresa
Today is Smile Power Day. Try yours out. It feels good, doesn't it? Now, share it. Your smile is your best fashion accessory!
A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks. ~Charles Gordy

The Smiley was created by a commercial artist named Harvey Ball in 1963 to improve employee moral in a client company. It is, and has always been, in public domain, so use it freely. If you don't have any, get some here.

For more smiles, visit The Quote Garden.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fly the Flag

Today is Flag Day.

The emblem of equal rights. It means free hands, free lips, self-government, and the sovereignty of the individual.
~ Robert Ingersoll
Betsy Ross is said to have made the first United States flag.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Phone Home

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial debuted on this date twenty years ago today after premiering in Cannes.

Our view of aliens changed forever. This sweet story of friendship between an alien botanist and a group of earthling kids introduced the idea that visitors from other worlds might be friendly and lonely enough to want to phone home, even if home is millions of light years away -- and might adopt Reese's Pieces as a favorite snack.

If, by some chance, you haven't seen the movie, it is available on DVD or you can read about the story, the cast, and film background on Wikipedia. This article includes the origin of the ET character who was Steven Spielberg's childhood imaginary friend.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Marconi vs. Tessla: Radio Wars

Nikola Tesla at 23 years oldTesla image via WikipediaRadio was patented on this date in 1896 and the air waves were never the same again. But it was a rocky start.

In early 1895, Nikola Tesla was ready to transmit, but his plan was delayed when his lab was destroyed by fire. Guglielmo Marconi was awarded a UK patent in 1896 for wireless telegraphy, and Tesla applied for a patent for basic radio in 1897. When Marconi first performed a long-distance demonstration, he used the Tesla oscillator.

Marconi's first American patent application in 1900 was denied because of Tesla's priorities. In 1904, the US patent office reversed it's decisions and gave the radio patent to Marconi.

Marconi won the Nobel prize in 1911, and Tesla sued him for infringement, but could not follow through with the suit because of financial circumstances.

In the end -- or at least since 1943 -- the US Supreme Court upheld Tesla's claim to the radio patent. Tesla died a few months before the decision, so he never knew.

Read more about Tesla and The Invention of Radio.

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