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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