Wednesday, April 3, 2013

 

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” 
― Oscar Wilde

We’ve made it to the third of April.

Today is Tweed Day. Tweed is a very durable fabric but the day actually remembers the corrupt politician who held New York City in the palm of his hand in the mid-1800s. William Magear Tweed was “Boss” Tweed of Tammany Hall, the Democratic political machine that essentially ran New York. Tweed was born on this day in 1823. The son of a Scottish-American chair-maker on the Lower East Side, he began his political career by organizing volunteer fire departments. He and Tammany Hall earned the support of New York’s working-class Irish immigrants, granting citizenship to potential constituents at the rate of 2,000 voters a day. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 29, to the New York State Senate in 1867, and in 1868 was made “grand sachem” of Tammany Hall. It’s estimated that Tweed misappropriated somewhere between $40 and 200 million dollars from the public during his tenure. That would be billions by today’s standards. Boss Tweed’s downfall is often attributed to the satirical political cartoons of Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly starting in 1868. Legend has it, Tweed said of the cartoons, “Stop them damn pictures. I don’t care what the papers write about me. My constituents can’t read. But, damn it, they can see the pictures.” But in truth Tweed was still at the height of his power in late 1870 when an investigation by “six businessmen with unimpeachable reputations” found that Tweed’s books had been “faithfully kept” and could find no wrong-doing. Tweed was expected to run for and win the New York U.S. Senate seat in 1872. Tweed’s real downfall wasn’t the papers. It was a holiday: the Glorious Twelfth. July 12th is a Northern Irish Protestant holiday celebrating King William of Orange’s victory over the largely Irish Catholic forces of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. In July 1871, Irish Protestants in New York City (the Loyal Order of Orange) sought permission to throw an Orange Parade. In the infamous “Orange Riots of July 12th” that started as a parade, between thirty and sixty people were killed, including two police officers. Over a hundred citizens were wounded, and twenty policemen. After the riot, both sides were fed up with the Boss. And someone upset at Tweed for the whole parade debacle supplied the Times with the incriminating evidence they needed to convict him in the court of public approval. The investigation revealed a plague of graft and corruption unprecedented in American politics. Tweed was arrested in October 1871 then then won re-election a month later. In December he was booted out as “grand sachem” of Tammany Hall. In January 1873 the first trial resulted in a hung, possibly bribed jury. In November 1873 he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years. In 1875 his conviction was overturned and he was released. Tweed was immediately sued for 6 million by creditors. Unable to repay the debts he was re-incarcerated. He escaped to Cuba but was returned by Spanish authorities. Boss Tweed, once the third largest property owner in New York City, died in prison, a broken man in 1878 when he was 55.

April 3rd is National Find a Rainbow Day, a day set aside to look for rainbows whether they are in the sky or created somewhere else.

Today is Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up in the morning and decide whether you will go to work? If it is going to be fun at work, you get up and go. Otherwise, you turn over and go back to sleep. So if you dread going to work perhaps today is a good day to call in sick and start looking for something better?

World Party Day (P-Day) is celebrated every year on April 3 as a synchronized global mass celebration of a better world and the active creation of desirable reality. World Party Day began as a grassroots effort in 1996 and was one of the first global efforts in a growing number of movements of synchronized human celebration to bring about improved social conditions. A basic premises is that the opposite of war is not passive action or peace, but party.The idea of a worldwide party appeared as a work of fiction in Flight, A Quantum Fiction Novel, by American writer Vanna Bonta. The trilogy‘s first book, published in 1995, ended with a countdown that was to take place on April 3, 2000, postulating that on that day the entire world would celebrate synchronously in elevated social awareness. The idea was a basic premise of the new genre coined by the Flight novel, i.e., quantum fiction posits that human awareness participates in the creation of reality.

Did you know that this is National Public Health Week? Are you taking care of your health?

The first Wednesday of April is Whole Grain Sampling Day. It is also Paraprofessional Appreciation Day. Originally established several years ago by the governor of Missouri, this holiday honors the contributions of paraprofessionals, especially in education.

The first Wednesday of April is also National Walking Day. Take a walk today and think about all the things you have hope for because it is also National Day of Hope. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the first Wednesday of April is Childhelp National Day of Hope. On this day, people light a five-wick candle and remember the five children who die every day in the United States due to child abuse and neglect.


As part of Medication Safety week, today’s theme is Read Medicine Labels Carefully. Are you taking what your doctor ordered and the way he ordered it? Note precautionary stickers on the label. Note the route, dose and frequency of your medicines. Keep medicines in their original containers. Pay attention to warnings. Note that some medicines can react with foods. Others have to be taken on an empty stomach. Some lose potency quickly and must be kept in an air-tight container. The effectiveness of many medicines is dependent upon taking them at the correct times. How the medicine is to be taken ––the route–– is also important (i.e. by mouth, through the skin, under the tongue, inhaling, suppository, etc).

School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians‘ (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. Every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career. The 2013 theme is Communities matter @ your library®.

April is National Humor Month. It is also Straw Hat Month. There are many other celebrations and observances in April. One of this is National Knuckles Down Month. During National Knuckles Down Month, we pay tribute to the timeless game of marbles, but we also recognize all of the other fun games that defined our childhoods. That means even if you aren’t a fan of marbles, you can still have fun with board games, puzzles, or even a simple baseball catch. If it meant something to you when you were a child, now is the time to re-live those memories and honor the games that kept you busy and out of trouble.

April is National Youth Sports Safety Month. With spring and summer sports getting underway, National Youth Sports Safety Month is a good reminder to parents of young athletes. If your child is involved in youth sports, educate yourself about the risk of injuries, especially concussions and any other injury that is particularly associated with your child’s chosen sport. The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine publishes specific injury prevention tip sheets for 20 different sports and activities.

Some of the writers born on April 3rd include:

George Herbert (1593), Washington Irving (1783), Ivan Kireevsky (1806), Edward Everett Hale (1822), George Derby (1823), John Burroughs (1837), Frederik van Eeden (1860), Otto Weininger (1880), Marie-Victorin (1885), St John Philby (1885), Neville Cardus (1888), Dorothy Eden (1912), Herb Caen (1916), Stan Freeman (1920), Jonathan Lynn (1943), Doon Arbus (1945), Arlette Cousture (1948), Sandra Boynton (1953), Vanna Bonta (1958), Sky Bluebird (1981), Errol Barnett (1983), and Coleen Rooney (1986).

Today we remember Henry Graham Greene. He passed away on this day in 1991. Greene was an English writer, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene was noted for his ability to combine serious literary acclaim with widespread popularity. Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Roman Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels: Brighton Rock, The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair. Several of his works also show an avid interest in the workings of internal politics and espionage. Greene suffered from bipolar disorder, which had a profound effect on his writing and personal life. In a letter to his wife Vivien, he told her that he had “a character profoundly antagonistic to ordinary domestic life”, and that “unfortunately, the disease is also one’s material”. William Golding described Greene as “the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.” Greene never received the Nobel Prize in Literature, though he finished runner-up to Ivo Andrić in 1961.

The first successful United States Pony Express run from Saint Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California began on this day in 1860.

In the American Civil War, Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America on this day in 1865.

In the American Old West, Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882.

The first of 11 unsolved murders of women, called the Whitechapel murders, were committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London occurred April 3, 1888.

Trial of the libel case instigated by Oscar Wilde began on this day in 1895. It eventually resulted in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed on April 3, 1936 for the kidnapping and death of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., the baby son of of pilot Charles Lindbergh.

As part of World War II, on this day in 1942, Japanese forces began an assault on the United States and Filipino troops on the Bataan Peninsula.

On April 3, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced on this day in 1955 that it would defend Allen Ginsberg‘s book Howl against obscenity charges.

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech on April 3, 1968.

On April 3, 1969, United States Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced that the United States would start to “Vietnamize” the war effort.

Forty years ago today Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs. It took ten years for the DynaTAC 8000X to become the first such phone to be commercially released.

On this day in 1974 the Super Outbreak occurred. This was the second biggest tornado outbreak in recorded history. The death toll was 315 and nearly 5,500 were injured. The biggest outbreak was the April 25028, 2011 tornado outbreak.

Bobby Fischer refused to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov on April 3, 1975, giving Karpov the title of World Champion by default.

The Osborne 1 was unveiled at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Fransisco on April 3, 1981. This was the first successful portable computer.

The suspected “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski was captured on April 3, 1996 at his cabin in Montana.

On this day in 2000, in the case of United States v. Microsoft, Microsoft was ruled to have violated United States antitrust laws by keeping “an oppresive thumb” on its competitors.

Farewell to manzanar

Today’s highlighted title is Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. We have New copies in stock. Amazon gives the following description:

Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp–with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the Jive Bombers who would play any popular song except the  nation’s #1 hit: “Don’t Fence Me In.”

Farewell to Manzanar is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family’s attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention . . . and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States.

readingescapism

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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