Thursday, March 21, 2013

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
― Cornelia FunkeInkheart

March 21 is the 80th day of the year. There are 285 days remaining until the end of the year. In astrology, the day of the equinox is the first full day of the sign of Aries. It is also the traditional first day of the astrological year.

Today is a great smelling day, it’s Fragrance Day. Perfumes have been in use for hundreds of years. In ancient times they were used to hide body oders when baths were infrequent. The daily showers most people take mostly eliminates the original purpose but perfumes, colognes, and body sprays are still used because people enjoy the pleasant smells. Celebrate today by trying a new scent but don’t go overboard. Overpowering perfume ruins the value of the fragrance and often irritates the sinuses. It’s also a good day to change the room deodorizers or try a new aromatic candle.

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This years theme is Racism and Sport. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We must join forces to end racism, and sport can help reach this goal. On this International Day, let us recommit to ending racial discrimination and realizing our vision of justice, equality and freedom from fear for all.” The theme was chosen by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to highlight the problem of racism in sports, which remains a disturbing occurrence in many parts of the world, as well as to raise awareness of the role sports can play in combating racism and racial discrimination. Both sports and human rights share many fundamental values and objectives. The principles underpinning the Olympic Charter, such as non-discrimination and equality, are also the bedrock of human rights. The Olympic Charter notes that the “goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

It is National Common Courtesy day, a day to celebrate common courtesy, which is not actually all that common in today’s world. Common courtesy consists of the tiny, momentary deeds like holding a door open, proper manners, saying hello and goodbye, giving up your seat to someone who needs it, and so on. National Common Courtesy Day is the perfect day to start or enhance your habits of practicing common courtesy with everyone you meet.

Today is Naw-Ruz, the Iranian/Persian New Year. Nowruz is celebrated and observed by People of Iran and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia,Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. This is the eighth anniversary of the global awareness day. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder. Down Syndrome International encourages people all over the world to chose themes, activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down Syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) declared March 21st as World Poetry day in 1999. The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world and, as the UNESCO session declaring the day says, to “give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements”. It was generally celebrated in October, sometimes on the 5th, but in the latter part of the 20th Century the world community celebrated it on 15 October, the birthday of Virgil, the Roman epic poet and poet latter under Augustus. The tradition to keep an October date for national or international poetry day celebrations still holds in many countries. It is the first Thursday in October in the UK. Alternatively, a different October or even November date is celebrated.

World Puppetry Day, comes every March 21. The idea came from the puppet theater Dzhivada Zolfagariho from Iran. In 2000 at the XVIII Congress of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette, (UNIMA) in Magdeburg, he made the proposal for discussion. Two years later, at a meeting of the International Council of UNIMA in June 2002 in Atlanta, the date of the celebration was identified. The first celebration was in 2003.

It is also Children’s Poetry Day, National Teenagers Day and Spring Fairy Fun Day.

Some of the writer’s born on March 21st include:

Stefano Benedetto Pallavicino (1672), Jean Paul (1763), Alice Henry (1857), George Owen Squier (1865), Jehane BeManolis Chiotisnoît (1904), Phyllis McGinley (1905), André Laurendeau (1912), Frank Hardy (1917), Manolis Chiotis (1920), Louis-Edmond Hamelin (1923), Nizar Qabbani (1923), Pierre-Jean Rémy (1937), Eddie Money (1949), Paul Martin Lester (1953), Bob Bennett (1955), Guy Chadwick (1956), Brad Hall (1958), Rosie O’Donnell (1962), Mark Waid (1962), Maxim Reality (1967), Jonah Goldberg (1969), and Labrinth (1989).

Forrest Edward Mars, Sr. was born on this day in 1904. He was an American businessman and the driving force of the Mars candy empire. He is best known for introducing M&M’s and the Mars bar, as well as orchestrating the launch of Uncle Ben’s. He was the son of candy company Mars, Inc. founder Frank C. Mars and his first wife Ethel G. Mars. In 1981, retired and living in Henderson, Nevada, he founded Ethel M Chocolates, named after his mother. Ethel M was purchased by Mars, Inc. in 1988. Mars died at age 95 in Miami, Florida, and had amassed a fortune of $4 billion. He was ranked as 30th in Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans (Forrest, Jr. and John were 29th and 31st, respectively). He left the business jointly to his three children. Mars was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1984.

John Davison Rockefeller II was born March 21, 1906. This major philanthropist and third-generation member of the prominent Rockefeller family was the eldest son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and the grandson of John D. Rockefeller. His siblings were Abby, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop, and David. Rockefeller felt that he was predestined to manage the family endeavors as the eldest scion of his five-sibling generation – a view with which his brothers, particularly Nelson, took issue. Rockefeller eventually settled on philanthropy as his major interest (while Nelson and Winthrop devoted themselves to politics, Laurence to conservation and David to banking). He was a major force behind the establishment of the Council on Foundations, the Foundation Center, and Independent Sector. He took a leading role in organizing the Commission on Foundations and Private Philanthropy (better known as the Peterson Commission) and the Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs (better known as the Filer Commission). He also made the initial donation to support Yale University‘s Program on Non-Profit Organizations, the first academic research center to focus on nonprofits. In addition to his interest in philanthropy, Rockefeller made major commitments to supporting organizations related to East Asian affairs, including the Institute of Pacific Relations, the Asia Society, and the Japan Society. He was also a major supporter of the Population Council.

Today we remember Frederick Winslow Taylor who died on this day in 1915, one day after he turned 59. He was an American mechanical engineer who sought to improve industrial efficience. He is regarded as the father of scientific management and was one of the first management consultants. Taylor was one of the intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement and his ideas, broadly conceived, were highly influential in the Progressive Era. He was born into a wealthy Quaker family in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Working as a laborer and machinist, Taylor recognized that workmen were not working their machines, or themselves, nearly as hard as they could (which at the time was called “soldiering”) and that this resulted in high labor costs for the company. When he became a foreman he expected more output from the workmen and in order to determine how much work should properly be expected he began to study and analyze the productivity of both the men and the machines (although the word “productivity” was not used at the time, and the applied science of productivity had not yet been developed). His focus on the human component of production eventually became Scientific Management, while the focus on the machine component led to his famous metal-cutting and materials innovations.

Taylor’s scientific management consisted of four principles:

  1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
  2. Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.
  3. Provide “Detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker’s discrete task” (Montgomery 1997: 250).
  4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks.

The introduction of his system was often resented by workers and provoked numerous strikes. Taylor authored 42 patents.


Today we also remember Cyril M. Kornbluth who passed away fifty-five years ago today. He was an American science fiction author and a notable member of the Futurians. He used a variety of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S.D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond and Scott Mariner. The “M” in Kornbluth’s name may have been in tribute to his wife, Mary Byers. Kornbluth’s colleague and collaborator Frederik Pohl confirmed Kornbluth’s lack of any actual middle name in at least one interview. Kornbluth grew up in Inwood in New York City. As a teenager, he became a member of the Futurians, the influential group of science fiction fans and writers. While a member of the Futurians, he met and became friends with Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Donald A. Wollheim, Robert A. W. Lowndes, and his future wife Mary Byers. He also participated in the Fantasy Amateur Press Association. Kornbluth served in the US Army during WWII and received a Bronze Star for his service in the Battle of the Bulge, where he searched as a member of a heavy machine gun crew. Upon his discharge, he returned to finish his education, which had been interrupted by the war, at the University of Chicago. While living in Chicago he also worked at Trans-Radio Press, a news wire service. In 1951 he started writing full-time, returning to the East Coast where he collaborated on a number of novels with his old Futurian friends Frederik Pohl and Judith Merril. He began writing at 15. Kornbluth died at age 34 in Levittown, New York. Scheduled to meet with Bob Mills in New York City, Kornbluth had to shovel out his driveway, which left him running behind. Racing to make his train, he suffered a heart attack on the platform of the train station. A number of short stories remained unfinished at Kornbluth’s death; these were eventually completed and published by Pohl. Frederik Pohl, in his autobiography The Way the Future Was, Damon Knight in his memoir The Futurians, and Isaac Asimov, in his memoirs In Memory Yet Green and I. Asimov: A Memoir, all give vivid descriptions of Kornbluth as a man of odd personal habits and vivid eccentricities. Kornbluth’s name is mentioned in Lemony Snicket‘s Series of Unfortunate Events as a member of V.F.D., a secret organization dedicated to the promotion of literacy, classical learning, and crime prevention.

Journalist Henry Morton Stanley began his trek on March 21, 1871 to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.

A century ago today more than three hundred and sixty people died and twenty thousand homes were destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Dayton, Ohio.

The first phase of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, of the first World War began on this day in 1918.

The Hungarian Soviet Republic was established March 21, 1919, becoming the first Communist government to be formed in Europe after the October Revolution in Russia.

The New Economic Policy was implemented on March 21, 1921 by the Bolshevik Party in response to the economic failure as a result of War Communism.

On March 21, 1925 the Butler Act was enacted. This Tennessee law prohibited public school teachers from denying the Biblical account of man’s origin. The law also prevented the teaching of the evolution of man from what it referred to as lower orders of animals in place of the Biblical account. The law was subsequently challenged in 1925 in a famous trial in Dayton, Tennessee called the Scopes trial which included a raucous confrontation between prosecution attorney and fundamentalist religious leader, William Jennings Bryan, and noted defense attorney and religious agnostic, Clarence Darrow. The law remained on the books until 1967, when teacher Gary L. Scott of Jacksboro, Tennessee, dismissed for violation of the act, sued for reinstatement, citing his First Amendment right to free speech. Although his termination was rescinded, Scott continued his fight with a class action lawsuit in the Nashville Federal District Court, seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of that law. Within three days of his filing suit, a bill for repeal of the Butler Act had passed both houses of the Tennessee legislature, signed into law May 18 by Governor Buford Ellington.

Syngman Rhee was removed from office on March 21, 1925, after being impeached as the President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

Charles Lindbergh was presented with the Medal of Honor on this day in 1928 for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.

Eighty years ago today construction of Dachau was completed. This was the first Nazi concentration camp.

Shah Reza Pahlavi formally asked the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran, which means “Land of the Aryans” on March 21, 1935.

The Ponce Massacre, which occurred March 21, 1937, was the largest massacre in Puerto Rican history. It occurred when a peaceful civilian march in Ponce, Puerto Rico, turned into a police slaughter that killed 19 Puerto Ricans and wounded over 200 others. The march had been organized by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873. The march was also protesting the U.S. government’s imprisonment of the party’s leader, Pedro Albizu Campos, on alleged sedition charges.

Seventy years ago today, Wehmacht officer Rudolf von Gersdorff had plotted to assassinate Adolf Hitler by using a suicide bomb, but the plan fell through. Von Gersdorff was able to defuse the bomb in time and avoid suspicion.

March 21, 1945 was an eventful day in the second World War. British troops liberated Mandalay, Burma. In Operation Carthage, British planes bombed Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. They also hit a school and 125 civilians were killed. Bulgaria and the Soviet Union successfully completed their defense bank of the north bank of the Drava River as the Battle of the Transdanubian Hills concluded on this day.

The Los Angeles Rams signed Kenny Washington on March 21, 1946, making him the first African American player in the American football since 1933.

On March 21, 1952, Alan Freed presented the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.

The federal penitentiary on an island in San Francisco Bay, the infamous Alcatraz, closed fifty years ago today.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 21, 1964, Gigliola Cinquetti won the ninth Eurovision Song Contest for Italy singing “Non ho l’età” (“I’m not old enough”).

Martin Luther King, Jr. led 3,200 people in the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on this day in 1965. That same day NASA launched Ranger 9 which was the last in a series of unmanned lunarspace probes in the Ranger program.

The Battle of Karameh in Jordan between Israeli Defense Forces and Fatah was fought on March 21, 1968.

The first Earth Day proclamation was issued on March 21, 1970 by Mayor of San Fransisco Joseph Alioto.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow on March 21, 1980 to protest the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

Sports Illustrated reported allegations on this day in 1989 which tied baseball player Pete Rose to baseball gambling.

Namibia became independent on March 21, 1990 after 75 tears of South African rule.
Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones became the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon on this day in 1999.

hot flat and crowded

Today we bring you Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – and How It Can Renew America, Release 2.0 by Thomas L. Friedman. We have New copies of this paperback in stock. Amazon gives the following description:

In this brilliant, essential book, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America’s urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America.

Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a dangerously unstable planet–one that is “hot, flat, and crowded.”  In this Release 2.0 edition, he also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession.  The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy.  And it could inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are our greatest national resources.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenge–and the promise–of the future.

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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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