Over on Bing.com, they mentioned that today is National Nothing Day. I had heard the term a few times in the 1970s; supposedly nothing important ever happened on this day. Then on January 16, 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi left Iran because he claimed he needed a vacation, and never returned. Because I haven’t heard of National Nothing Day since 1979, I figured nobody paid attention to it anymore; the ayatollahs have an anniversary to celebrate, anyway.
Well I just looked at the widget on The Xenophile Historian’s home page that lists the anniversaries for each day, and here is what it has for January 16. Notice that the Shah’s departure is not even on the list:
1883 The U.S. Congress passed a bill creating the civil service.
1919 The United States went legally “dry” as prohibition of alcoholic beverages took effect under the 18th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment was repealed in 1933.
1925 Leon Trotsky was dismissed as chairman of the Russian Revolution Military Council.
1942 Screen star Carole Lombard, her mother and 20 other people were killed in a plane crash near Las Vegas. Lombard was the wife of actor Clark Gable.
1944 U.S. Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower arrived in London to assume command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe.
1984 U.S. President Ronald Reagan called for “peaceful competition” with Moscow. He authorized research and development on space-age weapons capable of destroying incoming nuclear missiles, the program known as “Star Wars.”
1986 Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said Libya would train, arm and protect Arab guerrillas for Palestinian “suicide and terrorist missions,” his first explicit endorsement of terrorism.
1987 China’s No. 2 leader, Hu Yaobang, 71, was forced to resign as Communist Party chief for failing to curb student demonstrations for more democracy.
1990 Moscow rushed 11,000 troops to Azerbaijan and Armenia to reinforce soldiers trying to quell ethnic violence.
1991 The Persian Gulf War began with the allied bombing of Baghdad.
1993 Windsor Castle was reopened two months after a fire swept through the British landmark.
1994 At a Geneva news conference with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Syrian President Hafez Assad indicated a willingness to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel.
1997 A bomb exploded at an Atlanta building housing an abortion clinic. An hour later, after investigators and others had come to the scene, a second bomb went off, injuring six people.
1998 Investigators for special counsel Kenneth Starr questioned former White House intern Monica Lewinsky about allegations that she had an affair with U.S. President Bill Clinton.
2000 British drug maker Glaxo Wellcome agreed to buy SmithKline Beecham for $76 billion, creating the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.
2001 President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was shot to death, reportedly by one of his bodyguards, who was killed by other bodyguards.
2005 U.S. President George Bush said his re-election was a ratification of what he did in Iraq and there was no reason to hold any administration official accountable.
2006 International Atomic Energy Agency officials said Iran’s newly restarted nuclear program could enable the country to have nuclear weapons within three years.
2006 A suicide attack at a Kandahar wrestling match killed 22 civilians, reportedly the highest toll so far in the Afghan conflict.
2007 A U.N. report said about 34,000 Iraqis died violent deaths due to fighting and terrorist attacks in Iraq during 2006.
2008 Officials in Islamabad put the death toll at 47 in the attack on a northwestern Pakistani military outpost by about 200 Taliban militants.
2008 Republican Bobby Jindal took over as the new governor of Louisiana, first Indian-American elected to that office in the United States. At 36, he also was the nation’s youngest governor.
Now I am hearing that National Nothing Day is for those who do not want to observe or celebrate any particular holiday. All right, I can use a break from all the ads saying that you should shop on so-and-so day to take advantage of the specials being offered.
I can also use a “nothing day” to recover from a “character-building day” like we had yesterday. Both the furnace and my cell phone failed. I’ll discuss the cell phone first. I don’t know why it stopped receiving signals; though I have had it for nearly three years, I did not damage it by dropping it, getting it wet, etc., and this is the first time it has given me real trouble. To fix it I spent two hours on the phone with technical support and talked with four agents. Of the four, only the last one seemed to know what she was doing; she concluded the SIM card had gone bad and promised to mail a new one at no cost. Let’s hope that works; in the meantime I will have to use Leive’s cell phone, since she hardly ever goes out at this time of year.
The furnace was really alarming, inasmuch as this is the middle of winter. I think I mentioned it acted up briefly last April, and during the coldest day last week, but both times it recovered. This time it only ran properly when I turned it off and let the temperature get a few degrees below what we are comfortable with, and then after it ran, the heat stopped coming on again. Fortunately four guys from my church came over in the evening to look at it: my in-law Gene King, my pastor, and two other friends. Between them they figured out that the problem was a water trap full of accumulated water and mold; once they cleaned that out, the furnace worked again. Thank God!
Between problems like these, the extreme cold, and the long-term unemployment, this is shaping up to be the toughest winter we have experienced in Kentucky. Another month and a half to go before spring? Whew!