What Happened on February 29?

Happy Leap Year Day!  On The Xenophile Historian, I have a feed that reports on the historical events that happened on that particular day.  Today, however, it had no entries; I guess the hosts at Bravenet.com never planned for a leap year, which is odd because the feed has existed for more than four years.  To make up for that, I did an online search to find historical events that happened on this day, and got these results: 
 

1288 – Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man! If he refused, he was required to pay a fine.

1504 – Christopher Columbus uses a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican natives into providing his crew with food.

1528 – "Patrick Hamilton, student of Parid, Louvain, St Andrews, Marburg, Abbot of Fearn, burned at St Andrew for heresy, the first Reformation martyr in Scotland"

1692 – "Sarah Good & Tituba, an Indian servant, accused of witchcraft, Salem"

1696 – English ex-premier Earl Danby accused of corruption

1704 – The town of Deerfield, MA was raided on this date by French Canadians and Indians who were trying to retrieve their church bell that had been shipped from France. The bell was to hang in the Canadian Indian’s village church. Neither the raiders nor the residents of Deerfield were aware that the bell had been stolen from the ship. The Deerfield folks had purchased the bell from a privateer, unaware that it belonged to the Indian congregation. Although 47 people were killed in the incident, we could say that the 120 captured were saved by the bell.

1712 – "February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style."

1720 – "Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favour of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I."

1784 – Marquis de Sade transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille

1796 – "Jay’s Treaty proclaimed, settles some differences with England"

1816 – Dutch (King) Willem II marries Russian grand-duchess Anna Paulowna

1848 – Neufchatel declares independence of Switzerland (From who?  I thought they had been independent since 1648, and neutral since 1815.–CK)

1856 – Hostilities in the Crimean War cease

1860 – The first electric tabulating machine — the forerunner of the calculator — was invented by Herman Hollerith. We think it was unfortunate that Mr. Hollerith chose to make his invention on Leap Day, causing the machine to only calculate numbers divisible by four.

1864 – "American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails – Plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Virginia are thwarted."

1880 – Gotthard railway tunnel between Switzerland & Italy opens

1892 – Britain & US sign treaty on seal hunting in Bering Sea.

1892 – St. Petersburg, Florida incorporated.

1904 – On this day in Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal. Work began May 4th. It’s always hard to get something going by committee; so we guess that’s why it took seven men two months to get the work going.

1908 – Dutch scientists produce solid helium

1916 – "Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old."

1920 – Budapest, Hungary: Miklos Horthy de Nagybanya became the Regent of Hungary just six months after leading a counterrevolution. He probably gained control because everyone else was distracted while trying to pronounce his name.

1932 – Failed coup attempt by fascist Lapua Movement in Finland

1932 – "TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William ""Alfalfa"" Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States."

1932 – Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers teamed up to record "Shine" for Brunswick Records.

1936 – Fanny Brice brought her little girl character "Baby Snooks" to radio on "The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air" on CBS Radio. Miss Brice presented the character and later sang "My Man" on the program. She was 44 at the time, and was known as America’s "Funny Girl" long before Barbra Streisand brought her even greater fame and notoriety nearly 30 years later.

1936 – FDR signs 2nd neutrality act

1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations

1940 – "Gone with the Wind" wins 8 Oscars.  For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.

1940 – In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, due to the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco.

1944 – 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death

1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began on this date as U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer".  Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in the Pacific.

1944 – The first woman appointed secretary of a national political party was named to the Democratic National Committee. Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama began her new appointment this day.

1944 – The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime. We imagine that horses were allowed in from elsewhere, though…

1948 – "Stern-group bomb Cairo-Haifa train, 27 British soldiers died"

1952 – New York City pedestrians were told when to walk and when not to as four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square. Each sign flashed "Walk" for 22 seconds, then "Don’t Walk" for ten seconds before the "Don’t Walk" turned red for 58 seconds more. We’re told that eight out of ten people obeyed the signs … not bad for New Yorkers who will walk right through one door of a car and out the other to get across the street quickly.

1952 – Dick Button wins his 5th consecutive world figure skating title

1952 – The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.

1956 – Islamic Republic established in Pakistan

1956 – President Eisenhower announces he will seek a 2nd term

1960 – A report from the White House stated that America’s kids were getting too fat! I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries and a shake.

1960 – "An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country."

1960 – Hugh Hefner opens the first Playboy Club in Chicago.

1960 – JFK makes "missile gap" a Presidential campaign issue

1964 – Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record this day. The Australian swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia.

1964 – The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! "I Want to Hold Your Hand", by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1 on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced by "She Loves You", which was replaced by "Can’t Buy Me Love",  which was finally replaced by "Hello Dolly", by Louis Armstrong, on May 9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 stuff by the Beatles! Yeah, yeah, yeah…

1964 – Hang on to your racquets on this one, sports fans: A shuttlecock drive record was set by Frank Rugani this day. Mr. Rugani slammed the birdie 79-feet, 8-1/2 inches in a test at San Jose, CA. A giant leap for badminton. A little leap for all mankind.

1964 – LBJ reveals US secretly developed the A-11 jet fighter

1964 – North Carolina high school basketball teams play to 56-54 score in 13 overtime

1968 – The Beatles’ "Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" wins a Grammy

1968 – Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell announces the discovery of the first pulsar (a blinking star).

1972 – Hank Aaron becomes first baseball player to sign for $200,000 a year

1972 – Columnist Jack Anderson discloses Dita Beard (ITT) memo indicating antitrust charges were dropped for $400,000 contribution to Republican Party

1972 – "Vietnamization" – South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.

1972 – Swimmer Mark Spitz was named the 1971 James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy winner as the top amateur athlete in America.

1972 – Karen and Richard Carpenter received a gold record for the hit single "Hurting Each Other". When they tore the golden platter from its protective frame and plunked it on the player, they heard, "Hurt So Bad", by Little Anthony and the Imperials. They were so upset by this that they ran out to the back yard and used the record as a Frisbee for the rest of the day. (Some of the preceding is based upon actual fact.)

1980 – Gordie Howe becomes first NHL player to score 800 career goals

1980 – Michael Bracey ends 59 hours 55 minutes trapped in an elevator, England

1980 – Yigal Allon, former Israeli foreign minister and supporter of Israeli independence, dies at age 61.

1984 – Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he is leaving office after serving over 15 years.

1988 – Mark Greatbatch scores 107 vs England on Test Cricket debut

1988 – Nazi document implicates Kurt Waldheim in WWII deportations

1988 – NYC Mayor Koch calls Reagan a "WIMP" in the war on drugs

1988 – South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town

1988 – "Day by Day", a situation comedy, premiered on this date on NBC-TV. It was one of the "yuppie sitcoms" that were all over the TV dial in the late ’80s. This particular one was about a suburban overachieving couple who dropped out and opened up a day-care center in their home to spend more quality time with their children. The quality time lasted just under five months.

1992 – Dawn Coe wins LPGA Women’s Kemper Golf Open

1992 – The Professional Spring Football League begins

1992 – Mr. Big hit it big this day, moving to #1 with, "To Be with You".  It would be the biggest hit in the U.S. for three big weeks.

1996 – A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing all 123 people aboard.

1996 – Daniel Green is convicted of murdering the father of basketball star Michael Jordan during a 1993 holdup, and is sentenced to life in prison.

1996 – Kenya defeats West Indies (all out 93) in Cricket World Cup

1996 – Novelist Joan Collins awarded US $1 million from Random House for breach of contract.

1996 – Soyuz TM-23 lands

2000 – Six year old Dedrick Owens shoots and kills Kayla Rolland, also six years old, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan. Rolland is currently the youngest victim of a school shooting.

And if there isn’t something for everybody in the above list, here are some leap year birthday boys and girls.  I just know that if my birthday was on February 29, I’d be a thirteen-year-old grandfather.  How about that!
 
 
Birthday Board: February 29
 
1736 – Ann Lee (religious zealot: founder of Shakerism in U.S.)

1792 – Gioacchino Rossini (operatic composer: The Barber of Seville).  Rossini got today’s Google picture!

rossini12-hp

1876 – Theodore ‘Theo’ Hardeen (magician)

1904 – Jimmy Dorsey (bandleader: So Rare, Contrasts, June Night)

1904 – Pepper (John) Martin (baseball: St. Louis Cardinals CF)

1920 – Arthur Franz (actor: The Member of the Wedding, Dream No Evil)

1920 – Michele Morgan (Simone Roussel) (actress: The Fallen Idol, Joan of Paris, Bluebeard, Everybody’s Fine)

1920 – Howard Nemerov (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: Collected Works [1978]; 3rd poet laureate of U.S. [1988-1990])

1924 – Al Rosen (baseball: Cleveland Indians 3rd Baseman)

1928 – Joss Ackland (actor: The Hunt for Red October, The House that                    Dripped Blood, The Sicilian, A Woman Named Jackie)

1936 – Jack Lousma (astronaut)

1936 – Henri Richard (The Pocket Rocket) (hockey player: Montreal Canadiens: 4-time All-Star, played on 11 Stanley Cup champion teams [1955 – 1975])

1940 – Gretchen Christopher (singer: group: The Fleetwoods: Mr. Blue, Come Softly to Me, Tragedy)

1944 – Steve Mingori (baseball)

1944 – John Niland (football: Dallas Cowboys Guard, Super Bowl V, VI)

1948 – Al Clark (football)

1952 – Al Autry (baseball)

1972 – Antonio Sabato, Jr. (actor: Earth 2, Beyond the Law, War of the Robots, Thundersquad)

Vandalism Killed the Senator

Arrest made in “Senator” fire

Arrgh!  Last January 16, I wrote here about the largest tree in Florida, a cypress named The Senator, burning down.  At the time I hoped it was due to natural causes, like a lightning strike.  Now a drug addict has confessed to starting the fire.  Granted, the perpetrator looks too young to have even heard of Smokey the Bear, but now I’m wondering if all those public service messages about fire safety were in vain?  I’ll finish by posting my favorite PSA from those days, the one about the careless bears on a picnic.

A Clash of Holidays

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. I’m not talking about Oscar night (*yawn*). Nor am I talking about the Daytona 500, though I will admit I followed that race more when I lived in Florida. Yes in the part of Florida where I used to live, some people really think that the national anthem ends with the words, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

I am talking about Israel Apartheid Week, the annual Israel-hating event held at many college campuses, at the end of February and the beginning of March. Now those behind it claim to be simply anti-Zionist, but I have yet to see much difference between anti-Zionists and outright anti-Semites. I am also amazed how the term “apartheid” has morphed over the years, since it stood for South Africa’s racial policy. Back in 2005, when I was doing research for my African history papers, I did a Google search on the term apartheid, to see if I left anything out. I was astonished to find more webpages and pictures talking about apartheid in Israel, then there were about apartheid in South Africa.

Anyway, here’s what the group United with Israel says about the event:

“2012 marks the 8th annual ‘Israel Apartheid Week,’ which takes place in February and March on dozens of college campuses and in cities around the world.

The event, which will be held in the United States between February 27 and March 3, is a well-organized political assault designed to delegitimize, demonize, and cause the collapse of Israel by falsely portraying it as an apartheid state and applying double standards of moral conduct.”

What Israel’s enemies don’t realize is this is happening just one week before Purim, a Jewish holiday commemorating an ancient victory against anti-Semitism. Somebody in Heaven is having a laugh at these guys’ expense.

Anyway, here is the link to the story:

Israel Apartheid Week:  Teaching Hate on College Campuses

And for a page telling the truth about Israel:

Israel:  An Apartheid State?

I Beat the Mouse

As I write this, I am now in the middle of another slow weekend, meaning that I was not called into work today. However, I’m in an upbeat mood, because of some other events. First of all, a blood test I gave myself yesterday morning showed the best results I’ve had yet, since I was diagnosed with diabetes. Second, I caught the super mouse I told you about, and I did not have to result to brutal methods.  Instead, I caught the champion rodent with a trick.  As the saying goes, “Age and treachery will always triumph over youth and beauty.”

Anyway, what happened was that I used to the bucket that had caught the other four mice, the big plastic one by the stove, but made one slight change. I dropped in a few more of my unsalted peanuts to use as bait, and I also poured in half an inch of water. I was thinking of physics here; it occurred to me that I cannot jump when I’m up to my waist in water, so maybe the same thing is true of a mouse. Actually, I would’ve preferred something sticky in the bucket to keep the mouse from jumping out, but I did not have anything handy for that. In fact, I would’ve gone to the store and bought a jar of honey or a bottle of pancake syrup, if the water had not worked.

I set the trap on Wednesday, and the mouse did not go for the bait until Friday, around 9:30 PM. I don’t know where it was for those two days; it could have gone outside to forage for all I know, or maybe it had enough food to stay in hiding until Friday. When it did go into the bucket, it could still jump, but the water dampened its leaps enough so that it could not get to the top of the bucket, the way it did before. It also did not try to take a peanut along, presumably because it realized its mistake as soon as it felt the water. Because it was so late at night and we had the wintertime weather outside, I’d did not drive the mouse a long distance, like I would have under more optimum conditions. For now I just put the lid on the bucket, carried it down the stairs and outside, and threw the contents over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. Hopefully the mouse made a beeline for the nearest shelter, instead of coming back to the house I’m in.

Since then I’ve been watching and listening to see if I finally got the last mouse out of the apartment. I’ll let you know when I come to a conclusion on that.

For the events of today, in the afternoon I went to the laundromat to do my laundry, the way I normally do on Saturdays. After I brought the clothing back I went to pick up some prescriptions, and I did a bit of exploring. So far I have not explored as much of Connecticut in the past eight months as I did of Kentucky, during my first few months in that state; in fact, for the past few weeks I haven’t even thought much about doing it. You can probably guess the two main factors here: high gas prices and unfavorable traveling weather. Well, this time I headed east to get to Newtown, the first town east of Danbury, and I kept driving east and south for 16 miles before turning around and returning the way I came. According to the signs, if I gone about 10 more miles I would’ve reached the major city of Bridgeport; maybe I will try that sometime. As is, a couple miles before I turned around I saw a sign identifying one of the cross streets as Huntington Road; now I am wondering if that road goes to Huntington, the Connecticut neighborhood where my family lived, 46 years ago.

Previously, the farthest east I had gone on that road was a 7/11 store, just beyond the the Target on Newtown road. I was astonished to discover a Big Y supermarket only a mile beyond where I stopped previously. I had heard advertisements for Big Y on the radio, but never could find us a store of theirs in or near Danbury; this time I needed a few groceries, so on the way back I stopped to check them out. Everything I saw in there looked fresh and high quality, but it was also terribly expensive. More so than the places I usually shop at; maybe even more expensive than Stew Leonard’s, the fancy superstore between Danbury and Brookfield. Big Y was worth visiting once, but I don’t think I’ll be going back there again, as long as I am in Connecticut. I get better deals at C Town and Xpect Discounts, the places where I shop most of the time.

Snow Surprise

I didn’t write anything here yesterday because after I got home from work, I spent the evening working on my tax return.  After that, I went to bed; at 3:30 AM, I woke up and noticed a strange light coming from outside.  When I looked out the window, it turned out to be what I call the “white night” effect – everything was covered with an estimated 4 inches of snow.

We weren’t expecting snow this time.  There is a big storm system around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence valley, but we only expected to catch the edge of it.  And because of the mild temperatures, the weatherman predicted rain for last night.  Thus, I left the car outside, figuring that at least it would get a washing.

Let the record show that while the spring equinox is just four weeks away, winter is not over yet.  The current temperature is 33, and expected to climb to 46, so I should be able to go to work; after this morning, driving is likely to return to normal.  The challenge will be getting out of the driveway and down the hill my apartment and the Danbury hospital are located on.  Unfortunately I don’t think I will have time to shovel the sidewalks this morning, so we will see if anything is left when I come home.

We keep thinking that we have nature figured out.  Not so!  This reminds me of a news story from earlier this week, where scientists discovered a planet in another star system that is larger than earth and made of hot water!  Yes indeed, the universe is turning out to be quite stranger than expected.

Winter Gone Mild

That is how the website Weather.com is describing the current season.  It certainly applies here.  It has been cold enough for snow (it was 19 degrees yesterday morning), but we’re just not getting it.  Today we had a high of 55 here in Connecticut, and 60 in Kentucky.  Whereas yesterday I wore the hand-me-down parka my Dad wore when my family was last in New England, today I put on the fleece pullover I used on the colder days in Florida.

In 2007 I commented on how we missed out on fall that year; temperatures in Kentucky were in the 90s as late as early October, and then it cooled off so rapidly that I had to take Leive into the mountains to see some fall color on the trees.  Well, now it looks like we’re experiencing a year without a winter.

Speaking of Kentucky mountains, there was a story on Yahoo! this morning about the Fugates, the blue-skinned family in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.  If you haven’t heard of these folks, they could appear in the sequel to “Avatar,” or dress as Smurfs, and not need makeup.  Check them out; truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

Fugates of Kentucky:  Skin Bluer Than Lake Louise

 

Not that every place is getting off easy.  For some reason, every winter there are killer storms on one side of the Rocky Mountains, while the other side has it unseasonably warm.  For instance, this year Seattle is having record snowfalls, and Anchorage has gotten so much snow that the authorities are piling it high in parking lots, and predicting it won’t all melt next summer.  And you have probably heard about the dreadful winter they are having in Europe.  Therefore it will take more than one winter like this to have a convincing case for global warming.

Last January 27, I told about how the latest mouse in my apartment is a supermouse; unlike the other four that I caught, this one is strong enough to jump out of the bucket by the stove, and take a peanut with it.  Over the weekend I learned it is back, and last night it made so much noise that I lost a couple hours of sleep.  “Quiet as mice” indeed!  I guess I’m going to have to get brutal and use the mousetrap to catch this one, if we can’t live together in harmony.

On the Mend

I heard on the news that Barack Obama is unhappy.  Why?  Because yesterday was Presidents’ Day and he did not get the gifts he wanted!

All kidding aside, I have been under the weather since my last message on this blog. I was feeling all right on Sunday morning, and also when I went to church, but after I got home, wham!  I had a bellyache bad enough that I did not feel like eating lunch, and when I did try eating I could not hold anything down. TI’m guessing it was some kind of stomach virus because I wasn’t congested, nor did I have a headache. However, you could say that the bug opened me up on both ends; I will say no more on that.

I went to the nearest drugstore and bought a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.  That seemed to be enough to do the trick. By Monday morning I felt well enough to go into work again. I don’t think I’m completely recovered, but I’m nearly there now.

I am still doing the maintenance checks that I’ve made a habit of over the past two months. The good news is that my blood pressure is finally normal, according to the readings I got at another pharmacy today. The bad news is that the blood sugar reading is up.  A coworker of mine with type 1 diabetes says that is normal when you have a stomach virus. Medicine may be responsible for that, too.

Longtime readers will remember that I got to see my favorite author, David Rohl, at a seminar in Clearwater, Florida, back in 2004.  He also dropped in on this blog back in 2008 and 2009, to answer a few questions of mine. Well, he is now thinking of doing another US tour. Yesterday, on the website BlogTalkRadio.com, he did a three-hour interview, in which the main topic was what he was going to be lecturing about on the tour.  You can download the interview from the webpage at the above link.

Because of our get-together from eight years ago, and our exchanges on this blog, David Rohl is a Facebook friend of mine. So this morning, I told him that my pastor is still interested in having him, should he come to Kentucky. He replied that he’s also interested in coming this way, and he asked me to pass him some contact information for his US agent. Now the next step is to find a way to get that to him without posting any phone numbers or e-mail addresses online; that’s too risky these days.  I’ll definitely let everyone here know, if anything comes of of that.