Sunday, February 24, 2013

By Roman custom, February 24 is the day added to a leap year in the Julian calendar. The Mensis Intercalaris began on this day or the following day in intercalary years in the pre-Julian calender. The custom still has some effect around the world; for example, with respect to name days in Hungary. Mercedonius, also known as Intercalaris, was the intercalary month added in leap years of the Roman calendar. The resulting year was either 377 or 378 days long.The last occurrence of February 24 as a leap day in the European Union and for the Roman Catholic Church was in 1996.

Some of the writers born on February 24th include:

Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski (1595), Vincent Voiture (1597), Wilhelm Grimm (1786), George A. Moore (1852), Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885), Vladimir Bartol (1903), August Derleth (1909), Weldon Kees (1914), Kent Haruf (1943), Ann Bell (1954), Plastic Bertrand (1954), Paula Zahn (1956), and Maurizio Giuliano (1975).

Jacques de Vaucanson was born on this day in 1709. He was a French inventor and artist, who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom.

Terry Semel celebrates his 70th birthday today. Terry Semel was the chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Incorporated. Before that he spent 24 years at Warner Bros., where he served as chairman and co-chief executive officer. In June 2007, Semel resigned as CEO due in part to pressure from shareholders’ dissatisfaction over Semel’s compensation and performance. He remained chairman in a non-executive role. Semel later resigned from his post as non-executive Chairman from Yahoo completely on January 31, 2008.

On this day in 1955 Steve Jobs was born. Steve Jobs died in 2011 from pancreatic cancer. He was an American entrepreneur and inventor, best known as the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. Through Apple, he was widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution and for his influential career in the computer and consumer electronics fields, transforming “one industry after another, from computers and smartphones to music and movies…” Jobs also co-founded and served as chief executive Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directions of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, when Disney acquired Pixar.

Today is the 43rd birthday for the Kienast quintuplets. Amy, Sara, Abigail, Edward (Ted), and William (Gordon) were born to William “Bill” and Peggy Jo Kienast in New York City. The quintuplets were the first American set of surviving quintuplets to be conceived through the use of fertility drugs. They were born to parents who had previously conceived two other children through the use of the fertility drug Pergonal. They were only the second set of surviving quintuplets born in the U.S. so the news of their birth at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York made international headlines. They went home to New Jersey two months after they were born. As babies and toddlers they were featured on numerous talk shows and commercials and Good Housekeeping magazine had an exclusive deal to publish four articles about them in their first two years.

Today we remember the American short story writer, essayist, and autobiographer, Andre Dubus. Dubus’s life was marked by several tragedies. His oldest daughter was raped, causing Dubus many years of paranoia over his loved ones’ safety. Dubus carried personal firearms to protect himself and those around him, until the night in the late 1980s, when he almost shot a man who was in a drunken argument with his son, Andre, outside a bar in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Dubus was seriously injured in a car accident in 1986. He was driving from Boston to his home in Massachusetts, and he stopped to assist two disabled motorists. As Dubus assisted them, an oncoming car swerved and hit them. Dubus was critically injured and both his legs were crushed. After a series of unsuccessful operations, his right leg was amputated above the knee, and he eventually lost the use of his left leg. Dubus spent three years undergoing a series of painful operations and extensive physical therapy. Despite his efforts to walk with a prosthesis, chronic infections confined him to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life, and he battled clinical depression as a result of his condition. Over the course of these struggles Dubus’s third wife left him, taking with her their two young daughters. To help Dubus with mounting medical bills, Andre’s friends and fellow writers Kurt Vonnegut and John Updike held a special literary benefit. Dubus continued to write, producing two books of essays and a collection of short stories, and conducted a weekly writers’ workshop in his home, meeting with a group of young writers. Dubus spent his later years in Haverhill, until his death from a heart attack in 1999, at age 62.

We also remember Claude Elwood Shannon who passed away a dozen years ago today. He was an American mathematician, electronic engineer, and cryptographer known as “The father of information theory”. Shannon is famous for having founded information theory with a landmark paper that he published in 1948. He is also credited with founding both digital computer and digital circuit design. He contributed to the field of cryptanalysis for national defense during the second World War, including his basic work on code breaking and secure telecommunications.

Seven years ago today the world lost the American science fiction author and MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Octavia Butler. A recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, Butler was one of the best-known African-American women in the field. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

A year ago today Jan Berenstain left this world. Jan and her husband Stan were the authors of The Berenstain Bears series of books which is a series of children’s books with about 260 million copies of about 300 titles. On February 24, 2012, Jan died in the hospital one day after suffering a stroke, without regaining consciousness.

The principle of judicial review was established February 24, 1803 by Marbury v. Madison in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was proclaimed on this day in 1831. This was the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act. The Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.

Arizona was organized as United States territory on February 24, 1863.

Andrew Johnson became the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives on the twenty fourth of February in 1869. He was later acquitted in the Senate.

The SS Gothenburg hit the Great Barrier Reef and sank off the Australian east coast on this day in 1875. Approximately 100 people were killed, including a number of high profile civil servants and dignitaries.

On February 24, 1895, revolution broke out in Baire, a town near Santiago de Cuba. This began the second war for Cuban independence, that ended with the Spanish-American War in 1898.

As part of World War I, on this day in 1917, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom was given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany pledged to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona to Mexico if Mexico declared war on the United States.

The Nazi Party was founded on February 24, 1920.

The Battle of Los Angeles, also known as The Great Los Angeles Air Raid, is the name given by contemporary sources to the rumored enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place from late 24 February to early 25 February 1942 over Los Angeles, California. The incident occurred less than three months after the United States entered World War II as a result of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor, and one day after the Bombardment of Ellwood on February 23rd. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the incident a “false alarm”. Newspapers of the time published a number of reports and speculations of a cover-up. Some modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft.When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of “war nerves” likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.

On this day in 1942 an order-in-council passed under the Defence of Canada Regulations of the War Measures Act which gave the Canadian federal government the power to intern all “persons of Japanese racial origin”.

An earthquake that registered 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Athens on the twenty fourth of February in 1981. It killed sixteen people and destroyed buildings in several towns west of the city.

A special commission of the U.S. Congress released a report that condemned the practice of Japanese internment during World War II on February 24, 1983.

On this day in 1989, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offered a three million U.S. dollar bounty for the death of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

United Airlines Flight 811, bound for New Zealand from Honolulu, Hawaii, ripped open during flight on February 24, 1989. Nine passengers were blown out of the business-class section.

On February 24, 1999, the State of Arizona executed Karl LaGrand, a German national convicted of murder during a botched bank robbery, in spite of German’s legal action to attempt to save him.

Seven years ago today Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Proclamation 1017 which placed the country in a state of emergency in an attempt to subdue a possible military coup.

On this day in 2007, Japan launched its fourth spy satellite, stepping up its ability to monitor potential threats such as North Korea.
Five years ago today Fidel Castro retired as the President of Cuba after nearly fifty years.

On February 24, 2010, Sachin Tendulkar became the first Cricket player to score a Double hundred in One Day International format.

The final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery happened two years ago today. Discovery was operational from August 30, 1984, until its final landing on March 9, 2011. It has flown more than any other spacecraft having completed 39 successful missions in over 27 years of service. It spent a cumulative total of one full year (365 days) in space. The spacecraft takes its name from four British ships of exploration named Discovery, primarily HMS Discovery, one of the ships commanded by Captain James Cook during his third and final major voyage from 1776 to 1779. NASA offered Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution‘s National Air and Space Museum for public display and preservation, after a month-long decontamination process, as part of the national collection. Discovery replaced Enterprise in the Smithsonian’s display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. To this day, she’s being displayed like she just landed from space.

rumble fish

Today we highlight Rumble Fish by S. E. Hinton.  We have new copies of this mass market paperback in stock. This book is approximately 144 pages long and has a reading level of ages 12 & up.  It is an ALA Best Books for Young Adults and a School Library Journal Best Books of the Year.  The publisher gives the following brief description:

Rusty-James knows he is a tough teen, but he wants to be even tougher, just like his older brother, the Motorcycle Boy. He wants to stay calm and laugh when things get dangerous, to be the strongest streetfighter and the most respected guy this side of the river.

book in head not on

Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon.   Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.

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