Saturday, March 23, 2013

Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.” 
― Stéphane Mallarmé

Are you hungry? You might be in a minute. Today is Melba Toast Day, National Chip and Dip Day, and Corn Dog Day.

National Chip and Dip Day celebrates America’s favorite snack pair. This is a more generic chip day than the March 14th holiday, National Potato Chip Day. Today includes things such as tortilla chips and corn chips. And, the dip is any kind that goes well with your chip of choice.

Today marks the 21st annual celebration of America’s finest pairing of sporting and gastronomic achievement. America loves basketball and National Corndog Day. For basketball lovers, this particular day is significant because it is the one day a year that a quadruple-header of tournament action is broadcast live nationally. Why Corndogs are part of basketball is out of this blogger’s range of understanding, perhaps because this blogger has never seen an entire basketball game or know any of the traditions that come along with it, for she grew up in a “Dodger Fan Parking Only Zone”. Perhaps a basketball fan can explain the connection for us?

Today is National Melba Toast Day. According to lore, the tiny thin, crispy toasts were first prepared by famed chef Auguste Escoffier for opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, and were named by the eminent hotel manate Cesar Ritz. Melba toast is the brittle, crunchy little cracker-type bread commonly seen in bread bowls at old-time diners and is a popular diet food that dates back to the late nineteenth century but in today’s low-carb society it is not as prominent as it once was.

Near Miss Day is also March 23. Near Miss Day commemorates the day a huge Asteroid nearly missed hitting the earth in 1989. The asteroid was the size of a mountain and came within 500,000 miles of a collision with Earth. In interstellar terms, this is a near miss. Had it hit the planet a devastating crater the size of Washington, D.C. would have resulted. It would have had a catastrophic effect on the entire planet. There have been other near misses since then. Scientists believe that a large asteroid collided with the earth long ago, causing the extinction of dinosaurs. They also believe it is only a matter of time before another catastrophic collision occurs. This is not something to spend your time worrying about, as odds are it will not happen for a very long time. Other near misses include a 70 meter long rock that came within 288,000 miles in March of 2002 and a 10 meter diameter rock that came within 54,700 miles of earth in September of 2003.

Happy National Puppy Day! Each March 23rd is a day to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives and most importantly its a day to save orphaned puppies across the world and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills. National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 by Pet Lifestyle Expert, Animal Behaviorist and Author, Colleen Paige, who is also the founder of National Dog Day and National Cat Day. These are part of her Animal Miracle Foundation & Network, a non-profit organization which offers financial assistance and educational programs that range from pet cancer to fire safety and travel safety for kids and pets alike.

Happy OK Day. It was on this day in 1839 that the initials “O.K.” were first published in The Boston Morning Post. It was meant as an abbreviation for “oll correct,” a popular misspelling of “all correct” at that time. Steadily the short word made its way into the everyday speech of Americans. This was a slang term in the 1830s much like OMG, LOL, Kewl, are in today’s common venacular. Popular abbreviations in the 1830s included “KY” for “No use” (“know yuse”), “KG” for “No go” (“Know go”), and “OW” for all right (“ol wright”). OK was pushed into popularity when it was printed as part of a joke in the Boston Morning Post. When the contemporary politicians started using it the popularity exploded. When the incumbent president Martin Van Buren was up for reelection, his Democratic supporters organized a band of thugs to influence voters. This group was formally called the “O.K. Club,” which referred both to Van Buren’s nickname “Old Kinderhook” (based on his hometown of Kinderhook, New York), and to the term recently made popular in the papers. At the same time, the opposing Whig Party made use of “OK” to denigrate Van Buren’s political mentor Andrew Jackson. According to the Whigs, Jackson invented the abbreviation “OK” to cover up his own misspelling of “all correct.” The American linguist Allen Walker Read was responsible for unraveling the mystery behind “OK. He dispelled a host of erroneous theories on the word’s origins. Allan Metcalf wrote an entire book on this tiny word. Metcalf told NPR‘s Guy Raz in 2011″I’m creating ‘OK Day,’ and the nice thing is on OK Day I’d like everyone to go around saying OK, and I’m sure that they will because they say OK every day.”

March 23rd of each year is celebrated by the World Meteorological Organization, its 191 Members and the worldwide meteorological community as World Meteorological Day. Each year has a chosen theme. The day commemorates the date in 1950 when the WMO Convention created the Organization. WMO was designated in 1951 as a specialized agency of the United Nations System. The theme for 2013 is “Watching the weather to protect life and property”. Since its inception in 1963, the World Weather Watch – a hallmark of truly global cooperation at the UN level – has been a cornerstone for atmospheric science and meteorological services.

Some of the writer’s born on March 23rd include:

Eduard Schlagintweit (1831), Dietrich Eckart (1868), Roger Martin du Gard (1881), Josef Čapek (1887), Dane Rudhyar (1895), Erich Fromm (1900), H. Beam Piper (1904), Joan Crawford (1904), Lale Andersen (1905), Ugo Tognazzi (1922), Barry Cryer (1935), Jon Finlayson (1938), Irwin Levine (1938), Jim Trelease (1941), Michael Haneke (1942), Walter Rodney (1942), Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943), Franco Battiato (1945), David Olney (1948), Kim Stanley Robinson (1952), Michael Sorich (1958), Gary Whitehead (1965), Mitch Cullin (1968), Judith Godrèche (1972), Jayson Blair (1976), and Perez Hilton (1978).

Daniel Bovet was a Swiss-born Italian pharmacologist who was born March 23, 1907. He won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of drugs that block the actions of specific neurotransmitters. He is best known for his 1937 discovery of antihistamines, which are used in allergy medication. His other research included work on chemotherapy, sulfa drugs, the sympathetic nervous sytem, the pharacology of curare, and other neuropharmacological interests. In 1965, Bovet led a study team which concluded that smoking of tobacco cigarettes increased users’ intelligence. Bovet was a native Esperanto speaker who graduated from the University of Geneva in 1927 and received his doctorate in 1929. From 1929-1947 he worked at Pasteur Institute in Paris before he moved in 1947 to the Instituto Superiore di Sanità (Superior Institute of Health) in Rome. In 1964, he became a professor in at the University of Sassari in Italy. From 1969 to 1971, he was the head of the National Research Council in Rome before stepping down to become a professor at the University of Rome La Sapienza. He retired in 1982. He passed away at the age of 85 on April 8, 1992.

Bette Claire Graham was born March 23, 1924. She was an American typist, commercial artist, and the inventor of Liquid Paper. She was also the mother of musician and producer, Michael Nesmith. She was raised in San Antonio and graduated from Alamo Heights High School. She married Warren Audrey Nesmith (1919–1984) before he left to fight in World War II. She had Robert Michael Nesmith while her husband was overseas. After Warren Nesmith returned home they divorced in 1946. Her father died in the early 1950s and left her some property in Dallas. She, her mother, Michael, and her sister Yvonne moved there. To support herself as a single mother, she worked as a secretary at Texas Bank and Trust. She eventually attained the position of the executive secretary, the highest position open at that time to women in the industry. It was difficult to erase mistakes made by early electric typewriters, which caused problems . In order to make extra money she used her talent painting holiday windows at the bank. She realized, as she said, “with lettering, an artist never corrects by erasing, but always paints over the error. So I decided to use what artists use. I put some tempera water-based paint in a bottle and took my watercolor brush to the office. I used that to correct my mistakes.” Graham secretly used her white correction paint for five years, making some improvements with help from her son’s chemistry teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas. Some bosses admonished her against using it, but coworkers frequently sought her “paint out.” She eventually began marketing her typewriter correction fluid as “Mistake Out” in 1956. The name was later changed to Liquid Paper when she began her own company. In 1962 Bette Nesmith married Robert Graham, who joined her in running the company. They were divorced in 1975. In 1979 she sold Liquid Paper to the Gillette Corporation for USD $47.5 million. At the time, her company employed 200 people and made 25 million bottles of Liquid Paper per year. Bette Nesmith died 12 May 1980, at the age of 56, in Richardson, Texas. Her only son, Michael, inherited half of his mother’s $50+ million estate. A portion financed the Gihon Foundation which established the Council on Ideas, a think tank with a retreat center located north of Santa Fe, New Mexico active from 1990–2000 and devoted to exploring world problems.

The “Queen of Funk-Soul”, Chaka Khan, turns 60 years young today. She was born Yvette Marie Stevens and is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the front woman and focal point of the funk band Rufus whose career has spanned 4 decades. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career. Her signature hits, both with Rufus and as a solo performer, include “Tell Me Something Good”, “Sweet Thing” which she wrote for her then husband Richard Holland, “Ain’t Nobody”, “I’m Every Woman”, “I Feel for You” and “Through the Fire“.

On March 23, 1708, James Francis Edward Stuart landed at the firth of Forth. The Firth of Forth (Scottish Gaelic: Linne Foirthe, Scots: Firth o Furth) is the estuary or firth of Scotland’s River Forth, where it flows into the North Sea, between Fife to the north, and West Lothian, the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian to the south. It was known as Bodotria in Roman times. James Francis Edward was Prince of Wales and the son of the deposed James II of England. He claimed the English, Scottish and Irish thrones as James III of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland from the death of his father in 1701, whehn he was recognized as king of England, Scotland and Ireland by his cousin, Louis XIV of France.

During the American Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry delivered his speech – “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” – on March 23, 1775 at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.

Tsar Paul I of Russia was struck with a sword, then strangled, and finally trampled to death in his bedroom at St. Michael’s Castle on this day in 1801.

After traveling through the Louisiana Purchase and reaching the Pacific Ocean, explorers Lewis and Clark and their “Corps of Discovery” began their arduous journey home on March 23, 1806.

The ship John Wickliffe arrived at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for Dunedin, New Zealand on this day in 1848. Otago province was founded.

Elisha Otis’s first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway New York City on March 23, 1857.

The First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia took place on this day in 1862 and marked the start of Stonewall Jackson‘s Valley Campaign. Though a Confederate defeat, the engagement distracted Federal efforts to capture Richmond.

The University of California was founded in Oakland, California when the Organic Act was signed into law on March 23, 1868.

The Battle of Topáter, the first battle of the War of the Pacific, was fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru on this day in 1879.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian India on March 23, 1889.

Ninety-five years ago today the American diplomat Durham Stevens was attacked by Korean assassins Jeon Myeong-un and Jang In-hwan, which led to his death in a hospital two days later.

Theodore Roosevelt left New York for a post-presidency safari in Africa on March 23, 1909. The trip was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.

On the third day of the German Spring Offensive (March 23, 1918) of the First World War, the 10th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment was annihilated with many of the men becoming Prisoners of War.

On this day in 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar were hanged for murder during the Indian struggle for independence.

Eighty years ago today the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

On this day in 1942, as part of World War II, Japanese forces captured the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Pakistan became the first Islamic republic in the world on March 23, 1956. That makes this Republic Day in Pakistan.

The first nuclear-powered cargo-passenger ship, known as NS Savannah, was launched on this day in 1962 as a showcase for Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative.

NASA launched Gemini 3 on March 23, 1965. This was the United States’ first two-man space flight. The crew was Gus Grissom and John Young.

The first UNIFIL troops arrived in Lebanon for a peacekeeping mission along the Blue Line on this day in 1978.

Thirty years ago today President Ronald Reagan made his initial proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles.

On March 23, 1989, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.

On March 23, 1994, a United States Air Force (USAF) F-16 aircraft collided with a USAF C-130 at Pope Air Force Base and then crashed, killing 24 United States Army soldiers on the ground. This later became known as the Green Ramp disaster. On that same day Aeroflot Fight 593 had crashed in Siberia when the pilot’s fifteen-year old son accidentally disengaged the autopilot. All 75 people on board were killed. Also on March 23, 1994, at an election rally in Tijuana, Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated by Mario Aburto Martinez.

Taiwan held its first direct elections on this day in 1996. They chose Lee Teng-hui as President.

On March 23, 2001 the Russian Mir space station was disposed of, breaking up in the atmosphere before falling into the southern Pacific Ocean near Fiji.

Today is the tenth anniversary of the Battle of Nasiriyah which was the first major conflict during the invasion of Iraq.

On this day in 2005 was the Texas City Refinery explosion. During a test on a distillation tower liquid waste built up and flowed out of a blowout tower. Waste fumes ignited and exploded. Fifteen workers were killed.

FedEx Express Flight 80 on March 23, 2009 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 flying from Guangzhou, China that crashed at Tokyo Narita International Airport, Japan. Both the captain and the co-pilot were killed.

their eyes were watching god

Today we bring you Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel by Zora Neale Hurston. We have New copies of this paperback in stock.  Amazon gives the following description:

“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith

One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.

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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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