Friday, March 15, 2013

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15. It was marked by several religious observances, and became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE. In the original Roman calendar, March was the first month of the year. The holidays observed by the Romans from the first through the Ides often reflect their origin as new year celebrations.

March 15-17 and November 1-3 are Sherlock Holmes Weekends.

March 15th is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. Campfire USA created this day as a day to show kids they are loved and cared for. Among other things, they suggest you write a letter to your kid today.

Today is also Brutus Day. No matter where you work, you must admit there’s as much intrigue, plotting and back stabbing as was found in Ancient Rome or is found today inside the Beltway.

The International Day Against Police Brutality occurs on March 15. It first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Montreal based Collective Opposed to Police Brutality and the Black Flag group in Switzerland. Acceptance of March 15 as a focal day of solidarity against police brutality varies from one place to another. In the United States, the October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, a group mounted by the RCP, has succeeded in building support for October 22 (also known as O22) as National Anti Police Brutality Day since 1995.

Today is World Contact Day. It was first declared on March 15, 1953 by an organization called the International Flying Saucer Bureau. Exactly 60 years later, UFO contact groups once again unite under the same flag on March 15 to internationally and collectively try and make peaceful contact with extraterrestrial beings. The band Klaatu produced a song called Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft. It was originally released in 1976 on their first album 3:47 EST. In this track they named World Contact Day. The year following its release, The Carpenters covered the song. John Woloschuk, a member of the music band Klaatu and one of the song’s composers, has said:

The idea for this track was suggested by an actual event that is described in The Flying Saucer Reader, a book by Jay David published in 1967. In March 1953 an organization known as the “International Flying Saucer Bureau” sent a bulletin to all its members urging them to participate in an experiment termed “World Contact Day” whereby, at a predetermined date and time, they would attempt to collectively send out a telepathicmessage to visitors from outer space. The message began with the words…”Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!”

Another holiday celebrated today is Buzzards Day.

Today is True Confessions Day. Confessing is good for the soul. It can calm the mind and help heal the pain. Tell it all today, if there is no one to tell, find a mirror.

March 15th is World Consumer Rights Day. Consumers International (CI) has called upon the international community to ensure that safe water and proper sanitation reaches all of the world’s six billion consumers. Consumers International, which represents over 250 consumer organisations in 115 countries, is asking all its member organisations to take the message about water and sanitation to their government and agencies.

Today is Everything You Think is Wrong Day. This day is a special day in recognition that everyone has a bad day once in a while. If you’re thinking everything is wrong today, just wait 24 hours. Tomorrow everything will be just right!

March 15th is also Dumbstruck Day. Some people are dumbstruck on a regular basis, day in and day out. The events in their lives and the world around them are overwhelming. Everyone has their chance to be dumbstruck once in a while. If you are normally embarrassed to be dumbstruck, then today is truely a special day. Today, you can be dumbstruck like the rest of us without guilt or embarrassment.

Some of the writers born on March 15th include:

József Ficzkó (1772), Charles Knight (1791), Paul von Heyse (1830), Augusta, Lady Gregory (1852), Emil Adolf von Behring (1854), Manuk Abeghian (1865), Lionel Johnson (1867), Louis Paul Boon (1912), Richard Ellmann (1918), Lawrence Sanders (1920), Madelyn Pugh (1921), Charles Wheeler (1923), Howard Greenfield (1936), Margo Coleman (1940), David Cronenberg (1943), Francis Mankiewicz (1944), Kate Bornstein (1948), Kostas Bigalis (1953), Heather Graham (1953), Massimo Bubola (1954), Bob Budiansky (1954), Lisa Holton (1959), and Adrianne León (1987).

The seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, was born March 15, 1767. Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, and the British at the Battle of New Orleans. A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, as president he dismantled the Second Bank of the United States and initiated forced relocation and resettlement of Native American tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party. The 1830–1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy. Jackson was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because of his toughness and aggressive personality; he fought in duels, some fatal to his opponents. He was a wealthy slaveholder. He fought politically against what he denounced as a closed, undemocratic aristocracy, adding to his appeal to common citizens. He expanded the spoils system during his presidency to strengthen his political base. Elected president in 1828, Jackson supported a small and limited federal government. He strengthened the power of the presidency, which he saw as spokesman for the entire population, as opposed to Congressmen from a specific small district. He was supportive of states’ rights, but during the Nullification Crisis, declared that states do not have the right to nullify federal laws. Strongly against the national bank, he vetoed the renewal of its charter and ensured its collapse. Whigs and moralists denounced his aggressive enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Historians acknowledge his protection of popular democracy and individual liberty for United States citizens, but criticize him for his support for slavery and for his role in Indian removal.

Marjorie Merriweather Post was born March 15, 1887. She was a leading American socialite and the founder of General Foods, Inc. She was the daughter of C.W. Post and Ella Letitia Merriweather. After her father’s death she became the owneer of the rapidly growing Postum Cereal Company. She was subsequently the wealthiest women in American. Post was married four times. With her second husband they developed a larder variety of food products, including Birdseye Frozen Foods. The company became General Foods Corporation in 1929. When she divorced her fourth husband in 1964 she reclaimed her full maiden name of Marjorie Merriweather Post. She died in 1973.

David Silverman celebrates his 56th birthday today. He is an American animator best known for directing numerous episodes of the animated TV series The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons Movie. He was involved with the series from the very beginning, where he animated all of the original short Simpsons cartoons that aired on The Tracey Ullman Show and went on to serve as director of animation for several years.

Today we remember H.P. Lovecraft who passed away on this day in 1937. He was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction. Lovecraft’s guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed “cosmicism” or “cosmic horror”, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind. As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is the originator of the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and the Necronomicon, a fictional magical textbook of rites and forbidden lore. Although Lovecraft’s readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. Lovecraft’s stories have been adapted into plays, films and games. While his stories appeared in the pages of prominent pulp magazines such as Weird Tales (eliciting letters of outrage as often as letters of praise from regular readers of the magazines), not many people knew his name. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, people who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person. This group of writers became known as the “Lovecraft Circle”, since they all freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft’s stories – the mysterious books with disturbing names, the pantheon of ancient alien entities, such as Cthulhu and Azathoth, and eldritch places, such as the New England town of Arkham and its Miskatonic University – for use in their own works with Lovecraft’s encouragement. After Lovecraft’s death, the Lovecraft Circle carried on. H. P. Lovecraft’s writing, particularly the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, has influenced fiction authors including modern horror and fantasy writers such as Stephen King, Bentley Little, Joe R. Lansdale, Alan Moore, Junji Ito, F. Paul Wilson, Brian Lumley, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Neil Gaiman, have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences. The Library of America published a volume of Lovecraft’s work in 2005, essentially declaring him a canonical American writer.

We also remember Doctor Benjamin Spock who passed away on this day in 1998. He was American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the biggest sellers of all time. Throughout its first 52 years, Baby and Child Care was the second-best-selling book, next to the Bible. Its message to mothers is that “you know more than you think you do.” Spock was the first pediatrician to study psychoanalysis to try to understand children’s needs and family dynamics. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals. Spock won an Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1924 while attending Yale University. “Dr. Spock” is sometimes confused with the fictional character “Mr. Spock” from Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, said he did not intentionally dub the character after Dr. Spock, but rather wanted to imbue his stoic creation with a strong-sounding, monosyllabic name.

It was on March 15, 44 BC that Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March.

On March 15, 1311, the Battle of Halmyros was fought. The Catalan Company defeated Walter V of Brienne to take control of the Duchy of Athens, a Crusader state in Greece.

Christopher Columbus returned to Spain on March 15, 1493 after his first trip to the Americas.

The first meeting of the Council of Trent occurred March 15, 1545. The Council of Trent was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church’s most important councils.

On this day in 1564, Mughal Emperor Akbar abolished jizya. Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state’s non-Muslim citizens, (but with specific exemptions). From the point of view of the Muslim rulers, jizya was a material proof of the non-Muslims’ acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws, “just as for the inhabitants it was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes.” In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state’s protection from outside aggression, and to be exempted from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslim citizens. The word jizya is derived from the root word that refers to “part”, hence taken from a part of the wealth of the non-Muslim citizens.

Charles II of England issued the Royal Declaration of Indulgence on March 15, 1672. The Royal Declaration of Indulgence was Charles II of England’s attempt to extend religious liberty to Protestant nonconformists and Roman Catholics in his realms, by suspending the execution of the penal laws that punished recusants from the Church of England. The Cavalier Parliament in 1673, however, compelled him to withdraw this declaration and implement, in its place, the first of the Test Acts (1673), which required anyone entering public service in England to deny the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and take Anglican communion. When Charles II’s openly Catholic successor James II attempted to issue a similar Declaration of Indulgence, an order for general religious tolerance, this was one of the grievances that led to the Glorious Revolution that ousted him from the throne.

During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Guilford Courthouse was fought March 15, 1781. It was near present-day Greensboro, North Carolina where 1,900 British troops under General Charles Cornwallis defeated an American force numbering 4,400.

In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, on March 15, 1783, George Washington asked his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. The plea was successful and the threatened coup d’état never took place.

Maine became the 23rd U.S. state on March 15, 1820.

A revolution broke out in Hungary on this day in 1848. The Habsburg rulers were compelled to meet the demands of the Reform party.

Archbishop of New York John McCloskey was named the first cardinal in the United States on March 15, 1875.

The Anglo-Tibetan War of 1888 started on this day in, of course, 1888.

Rolls-Royce Limited was incorporated on March 15, 1906.

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson sent 4,800 United States troops over the U.S.-Mexico border to pursue Pancho Villa.

After Egypt gained nominal independence from the United Kingdom, Fuad I became King of Egypt on March 15, 1922.

The SS Viking exploded off of Newfoundland on March 15, 1931. The explosion killed 27 of the 147 people on board.

On March 15, 1939, as part of World War II, German troops occupied the remaining part of Bohemia and Moravia. At this point Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. That same day Carpatho-Ukraine declared itself an independent republic, but it was annexed by Hungary the next day.

Philippine Airlines, the flag carrier of the Philippines, took its first flight between Manila (from Nielson Field) to Baguio City on March 15, 1941 with a a Beechcraft Model 18 making the airline the first and oldest commerical airline in Asia operating under its original name.

The Third Battle of Kharvkov was fought as part of World War II seventy years ago today. The Germans retook the city of Kharkov from the Soviet armies in bitter street fighting. Two years later, on this day in 1945, Soviet forces began an offensive to push Germans from Upper Silesia.

A new world record was set March 15 through March 16 in 1952 when 73 inches of rain fell in a 24 hour period in Cilaos, Réunion.

My Fair Lady premiered on this day in 1956 on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre.

South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations on March 15, 1961.

President Lyndon B. Johnson told the U.S. Congress on March 15, 1965 that “We shall overcome” while advocating the Voting Rights Act. This was in response to the Selma crisis.

Thirty-five years ago today, Somalia and Ethiopia signed a truce to end the Ethiopian-Somali War.

The first Internet domain name was registered on March 15, 1985. This domain name was symbolics.com. However, on 27 August 2009, it was sold to XF.com Investments. The current Symbolics web site is available at symbolics-dks.com. Symbolics refers to two companies: now-defunct computer manufacturer Symbolics, Inc., and a privately held company that acquired the assets of the former company and continues to sell and maintain the Open Genera Lisp system and the Macsyma computer algebra system.

Brazilian military dictatorship ended March 15, 1985.

On March 15, 1986, thirty-three people died when the Hotel New World in Singapore collapsed.

Iraq hung British journalist Farzad Bazoft for spying on March 15, 1990.
Mikhail Gorbachev was elected on March 15, 1990 as the first President of the Soviet Union.

On March 15, 1991, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany went into effect, granting full sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Syrian civil war began two years ago today.

cold blue blood

Today we highlight The Cold Blue Blood by David Handler.  We have Like New mass market paperback copies in stock of this Berger and Mitry Mystery. This is the first book in the series. This book is approximately three hundred pages. Amazon gives the following description of this book:

Mitch Berger, a top film critic with a major New York newspaper at a surprisingly young age, has become almost a recluse since his wife died one year ago. He spends his time secluded in his apartment or in the dark recesses of a screening room. Although he continues to dazzle moviegoers and the film elite with his criticisms, his editor and good friend is alarmed about him. As a scheme to pull him out of the doldrums of his grief, she gives him a non-film assignment – to do a color story on the wealthy and social homeowners on Connecticut’s Gold Coast. It takes some doing, but in the end Mitch agrees.
He is fortunate to find a cottage to rent on Big Sister, the absolute top-of-the-line private island outside the town of Dorset. His landlady, Dolly, is pleasant and friendly, but some of the other inhabitants of this small piece of land, although too well bred to come right out and say it, are not happy to have Mitch, born of parents only one generation away from Eastern Europe and raised on the city’s pavements, arrive in their back yard. But Dolly, whose husband has recently left her, needs the money, and at least she is more than gracious.
The discovery of a body during a bout of optimistic gardening in Dolly’s back yard brings on the other main player – Lieutenant Desiree Mitry, one of only three women on the Connecticut State Police major crimes squad, the youngest of the three, and the only black. A dedicated officer, she is the terror of everyone who doesn’t really want to give a home to one of her stray cats. She is, as well, a closet artist and a complicated and beautiful woman, and she intrigues Mitch from the start.

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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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