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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LEAP INTO MARCH


HAPPY LEAP DAY!

Leap years are years with 366 days, instead of the usual 365. Leap years are necessary because the actual length of a year is 365.242 days, not 365 days, as commonly stated. Basically, leap years occur every 4 years, and years that are evenly divisible by 4 (2004, 2008, for example) have 366 days. This extra day is added to the calendar on February 29th.

However, there is one exception to the leap year rule involving century years, like the year 1900. Since the year is slightly less than 365.25 days long, adding an extra day every 4 years results in about 3 extra days being added over a period of 400 years. For this reason, only 1 out of every 4 century years is considered as a leap year. Century years are only considered as leap years if they are evenly divisible by 400. Therefore, 1700, 1800, 1900 were not leap years, and 2100 will not be a leap year. But 1600 and 2000 were leap years, because those year numbers are evenly divisible by 400.

Julius Caesar was behind the origin of leap year in 45 BC. The early Romans had a 355 day calendar. Julius Caesar added days to different months of the year to create the 365 day calendar, the actual calculations were made by Caesar's astronomer, Sosigenes. Every fourth year following the 28th day of Februarius (February 29th) one day was to be added, making every fourth year a leap year.

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII further refined the calendar with the rule that leap day would occur in any year divisible by 4 as described above.

Famous American bandleader Jimmy Dorsey was born on Leap Day 1904 and died in 1957.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

ENJOY A STACK


It's NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY so have a great stack! I love pancakes so I know I will enjoy mine, even if I do make them myself at home. I just purchased a bottle of Smuckers Sugar Free Breakfast Syrup, which is better than Log Cabin Syrup for me.

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $8 million to support charities in the communities in which it operates. On February 28, 2012, guests from around the country are invited to celebrate National Pancake Day at IHOP and enjoy a free short stack of Buttermilk pancakes. In return for the free pancakes, guests are asked to consider leaving a donation for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other designated local charities.

Monday, February 27, 2012

OLD TIME PUZZLE


Thinking back to my childhood, I remember having a "15 Puzzle" and loved to play it in my spare time. It was small, could be carried in a pocket or purse, and was addictive.

Recently, I was going through a stack of old catalogs to throw away and found a 15 Puzzle for sale, but expensive. In the old days, the puzzles were made of little wood pieces. The one in the catalog was a metal holder with plastic pieces.

The puzzle was "invented" by Noyes Palmer Chapman, a postmaster in Canastota, NY, who is said to have shown friends, as early as 1874, a precursor puzzle consisting of 16 numbered blocks that were to be put together in rows of four, each summing to 34. Copies of the improved Fifteen Puzzle made their way to Syracuse, NY by way of Noyes' son, Frank, and from there, via sundry connections, to Watch Hill, RI, and finally to Hartford, CT, where students in the American School for the Deaf started manufacturing the puzzle and, by December 1879, selling them both locally and in Boston, Mass. Shown one of these, Matthias Rice, who ran a fancy woodworking business in Boston, started manufacturing the puzzle sometime in December 1879.

The game became a craze in the U.S. in February 1880, Canada in March, Europe in April. Noyes Chapman applied for a patent on his "Block Solitaire Puzzle" on February 21, 1880.

Tonight I went to my favorite online store, Amazon.com and unbelievably I found they sell the metal-cased type and the full plastic type. I just could not resist the walk down memory lane so I ordered the cheaper model - the plastic one. I admit I love puzzles and go through Sudoku puzzle books as fast as the Family Dollar Store can put a new one on the shelf. I have gotten so experienced at it, I can get through the hardest (four star) ones in 10 minutes or less.

We can't turn back the clock on aging, but we can sometimes find things from our childhood that remind us of the good ole' times!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A DREAMER AND A CHICKEN PLUCKER


Let me tell you, Jesse hated this job. And you would too, I imagine, if you had to do it. Jesse was a Chicken Plucker. That's right. A Chicken Plucker! He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us wouldn't have to. It wasn't much of a job. But at the time, Jesse didn't think he was much of a person.

His father was a brute of a man. His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill and treated Jesse rough all of his life. Jesse's older brother wasn't much better. He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up. Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in West Virginia. Life was anything but easy. And he thought life didn't hold much hope for him. That's why he was standing in this chicken line, doing a job that darn few people wanted.

In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems that Jesse was always sick. Sometimes it was real physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head. He was a small child, skinny and meek. That sure didn't help the situation any.

When he started to school, he was the object of every bully on the playground. He was a hypochondriac of the first order. For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something to be looked forward to, but, he had dreams.

He wanted to be a ventriloquist. He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until he could get a real ventriloquist dummy.

When he got old enough, he joined the U.S. Army. And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms persisted, the Army did recognize his talents and put him in the Entertainment Corp. He served from 1943 to 1946. During the enlistment, his world changed. He gained confidence. He found that he had a talent for making people laugh, and laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes. Yes, little Jesse had found himself.

You know, the history books are full of people who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of who didn't overcome it. Instead he used his paranoia to make a million dollars, and become one of the best-loved characters of all time in doing it!

Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred his nervousness into a successful career, still holds the record for the most Emmies given in a single category. This wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian brought us Barney Fife. He was: Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 - Feb. 24, 2006)

NOW YOU KNOW, "THE REST OF THE STORY".

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

LENT BEGINS


Today is Ash Wednesday (The Day of Ashes). Ash Wednesday is an observance and not a federal public holiday in the United States.

Some Christians in the United States attend special Ash Wednesday church services.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lenten discipline for observant Christians. It is traditionally a time of fasting and prayer in preparation for receiving or reaffirming baptism at Easter. For some Christians, Lent is a time to think about one’s life choices and mortality, as well as reflect on life directions. It serves as a wakeup call for some Christians.

There are also those who choose this time of the year to donate to charities or take part in charity events as a way to get close to God.

The practice of marking foreheads with ashes is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and Episcopalians in the United States. However some Methodist and Presbyterian churches adopted this custom in recent times, especially around the 1990s.

Monday, February 20, 2012

PRESIDENTS' DAY


Today we celebrate the birthdays of both President George Washington (Feb. 22) and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) and it is a Federal holiday. Remember, banks, government offices, and post offices are closed today.

Washington's birthday holiday was implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879. On January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was changed to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and combined Washington and Lincoln's birthday holiday into one.

HAPPY PRESIDENTS' DAY!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

FIRST THOUGHT




I like to put words to abbreviated personalized license plates or figure out what the letters mean.

I was driving to Chillicothe today, and as I was going down US 35 East, I saw a red pickup truck behind me. As he passed me, I noticed that his license plate read: GB PKRS.

My first thought within seconds was GREEN BEAN PICKERS. Then I thought, it doesn't look much like a farm truck, it was a late model.

So I thought about it some more and realized that it probably meant: GREEN BAY PACKERS.

You see, I like green beans, and I have no interest in the Packers, and don't follow them at all. I like cheese, but am NOT a cheese-head.

So my first thought was what I like - not necessarily what the truck owner liked!

Friday, February 17, 2012

FEEDING FRENZY

The lady across the street has two indoor cats. I have one indoor dog. I used to have five cats (four indoor and one outdoor) several years ago.

Our street (of only 10 houses) has two resident cats -- used-to-be strays. They now stay at her house under her back porch, or my house under the front porch.

(Daisy) About three weeks ago, I found Daisy curled up on the chair on my front porch. She was friendly and wanted to be petted. She was in that chair often so I decided to buy some cat food and make her happy. Daisy's boyfriend, Tom, had been the resident street cat around here for about a year. I guess she decided to move into his neighborhood for a better atmosphere. Tom was only friendly with the lady across the street, and had not yet accepted me as a friend.

(Tom) I put a double food dish on the porch and started to feed Daisy daily along with a little water. Soon Tom (a little standoffish) appeared on my porch and it only took about three days for him to finally let me pet him, since he found I was someone with FOOD. Now I can pet him and he meows at me when I talk to him. I have been ACCEPTED.

For the past two weeks, Tom and Daisy come running across the street when they see me open the front door, because they seem to know the food dish will be filled and they will each get their share of petting and soft words of hello. They don't run off the porch now when I head for the truck to leave, and they are very good about "sharing" the food dish. Once I saw him curl up behind her, waiting for her to get her share, before he dove into the bowl. How cute and gentlemanly!

(Blackie) Yesterday was different and surprising. I went out to fill the bowl and Tom and Daisy came running over, but I also noticed a solid black cat (which I now call Blackie) standing on the far corner of the porch viewing the proceedings. I pet Daisy and then Tom, as I asked them, "Did you bring a friend to dinner today?" I tried to call to Blackie, but he-or-she (I don't know yet) jumped under the porch. Later, I noticed that Blackie got a few bites of dinner out of the bowl when the other two were done, and I was inside.

Today I went out at feeding time and Blackie was in the box (with an old blanket in it) that I put out for Tom (Daisy uses the chair). He jumped out, but did not run away. The other two came running to the porch. Blackie got to the bowl first because Daisy and Tom were getting their "hello's and petting attention" and they waited before they approached the bowl. I slowly moved toward Blackie and carefully touched his/her head and Blackie did not run away. When Daisy and Tom wanted to eat, I poured just a little bit of dry cat food on the porch to let them know I was not keeping them from eating. Blackie then went under the chair and I moved to again pet him/her without objection. By tomorrow I predict I will be ACCEPTED to the new friend. None of them have collars, so strays they will stay.

Within a moment after making my greeting to Blackie, I looked out to the driveway and low-and-behold there were two more cats; one yellow and one grey and white. They never attempted to come onto the porch while I was outside. They just observed. I have no idea where they came from, but if cats have a language of their own, Tom has told his friends where he eats and they have decided to follow him to see what the benefits are here.

I have made three new feline friends and don't mind helping them out, but I don't plan to open a "Diner" to serve other neighborhoods. I will be the "Feline Feeder of Three," but I don't feel like I can match a friend who is called the "Can Opener With Legs" because he feeds about 12 per day. I just prefer a smaller number and "three" is good.

(Photos are reasonable similarities, since they have not stood still long enough for me to get actual photos.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

IF MY BODY WAS A CAR



If my body was a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish and my paint job is getting a little dull...but that's not the worst of it.

My headlights are out of focus and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slide or bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins.

It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here's the worst of it,

Almost every time I sneeze, cough or sputter, either my radiator leaks or My Exhaust Backfires!

(I'm not that bad in all areas aboved mentioned, but this was so cute, I just had to share it.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NATIONAL GUMDROP DAY


It’s National Gumdrop Day! Gumdrops are a tasty, chewy candy made with gelatin and coated with sugar. Gumdrops can come in fruity flavors like grape, cherry, orange, and lemon or spiced flavors like cinnamon, clove, mint, and anise.

Many people believe that a man named Percy Trusdale invented the gumdrop in 1801, but there is very little evidence to support this claim. What we do know is that gumdrops have been a popular confection for at least two hundred years. The board game Candy Land features both a Gumdrop Pass and a Gumdrop Mountain!

To celebrate National Gumdrop Day, use colorful gumdrops to decorate a cake or buy a bag of them to share with your friends!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

To all my family, friends, acquaintances, and blog readers:


Today - tell someone you love them. It means more than flowers or candy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

KIDS SAY THE CUTEST THINGS


Two kids were in a hospital outside the operating room, the first kid asks, "What are you in here for?"

The second kid says, "Getting my tonsils out and I'm a little nervous."

The first kid says, "You've got nothing to worry about. I had that done when I was four. They put you to sleep, when you wake up they give you Jell-o and ice cream. It's a breeze."

The second kid asks, "What are you here for?"

The first kid says, "circumcision."

"Whoa!", the second kid replies. "Good luck buddy. I had that done when I was born. I couldn't walk for a year!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

OLD SOLDIER


An old soldier was celebrating 82 years on this earth. He spoke to his toes.

“Hello toes!” he said, “how are you, toes? You know, you are 82 today. Oh, the times we`ve had! Remember when we walked in the park in summer every Sunday afternoon? The times we waltzed on the dance floor? Happy birthday, toes!”

“Hello knees,” he continued. “How are you, knees? You know you`re 82 today. Oh, the times we`ve had! Remember when we marched in the parade? Oh, the hurdles we`ve jumped together. Happy birthday, knees!”

Then, he looked down at his crotch. “Hello Willy! If you were alive today, you`d be 82 years old!”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

BROKEN LAWNMOWER


FROM A FRIEND

Marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is usually the husband.

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn’t run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first: the truck, the car, email, fishing, always something more important to me.

Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house.

I was gone only a few minutes. When I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. “When you finish cutting the grass,” I said, “you might as well sweep the driveway.”

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

Monday, February 6, 2012

MY TEAM LOST



ENOUGH SAID! GOODNIGHT!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

MY MOTHER


Today is the seventh anniversary of my mother's death. She was 89 when she passed away. My mother was widowed 32 years prior and never loved another man.

One year ago today, I was in Texas at the funeral of my aunt, my mother's sister who was six years her junior. My aunt also died at the age of 89, six years after my mother's passing. The intertwining family life events were overwhelming for me. My aunt was also widowed approximately 25 years prior and she never loved again.

I have many good (and a few heartbreaking) memories that will stay with me forever. You only have one biological mother in this life and she should always be remembered.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

PSYCHED

Today was a day to get psyched for more than one reason. It was a GREAT day!

First, the weather was spectacular with the sun shining and warmer temperatures - hey, remember, it's FEBRUARY. NO SNOW!

Second, my knee was swollen and sore so I went to get my therapy to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. It felt so much better afterwards.

Third, I came straight home and felt so good, I reached for the leash and my little gal got excited...she immediately knew she was going outside. I took her for a brisk walk around the block. We both enjoyed getting that exercise.







Fourth, as soon as we got home, we went into the backyard for a little more fresh air and she could run around the fenced yard. While I was out there I noticed that the weather is fooling more than the weatherman and people who usually expect to be holding snow shovels every day. Mother Nature has fooled the daffodil. I have one plant that is already six inches tall. The other batch is sprouting multiple stems about an inch tall each.

Personally, I think Mother Nature can be (like me - huh Tango?) a funny lady sometimes. She is punking us with climate change - warm weather in February and scaring the buds to rise up through the dirt. If we do ever get any really cold weather and/or snow, the delicate daffodils will be so shook up, they will freeze.

I'm happy to see their little buds bursting forth, but I will worry about their health until I know Spring has really sprung!

Now that this nice Friday has passed, I'm REALLY psyched and ready for the New England Patriots to win the SUPER BOWL Sunday night at 6pm. I'm SO ready for this game! Go Brady!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

THE PROGNOSTICATOR


Today is the 126th anniversary of the ceremony at Gobbler's Knob. Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous groundhog and weather predictor around. HAPPY GROUNDHOG'S DAY!

The weather-predicting groundhog's official name is: "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinaire." 

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (yes, he has a fan club) notes that Phil is also known as "National Treasure" and "Most Photographed Pennsylvanian."

Whenever Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow and "tells" the Inner Circle, we have six more weeks of winter. Who are the Inner Circle top-tatted guys who are in charge of the ceremony?

There are 15 members of the Inner Circle (each having a particular title), local dignitaries, who plan the ceremony and events, and actually care for Phil who resides year round in the Groundhog Zoo, an annex of the town library. To see the Inner Circle/Groundhog Day official website CLICK HERE.

Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania may be all about Phil and his prediction, but there's much more to it. The weekend around Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney features a chili cook-off, ice carving exhibitions, trivia contests, a Prognosticators Ball, groundhog day weddings, sleigh rides, woodchuck whittling, the Phil Phind Scavenger Hunt, music, food, fun and games.

The 1993 Bill Murray movie "Grounghog" raised the awareness of Punxsy Phil to the level of bringing 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, PA to watch the early morning festivities.  

Punxsy Phil is not the only weather-predicter; we have Buckeye Chuck from Ohio, Staten Island Chuck, Smith Lake Jake, and General Beauregard Lee. But, Punxsy Phil is my favorite. I have never been to Punxsutawney, PA on Groundhog Day, but I HAVE BEEN TO PUNXSUTAWNEY many years ago, a small quaint town.

Groundhogs, which are the largest members of the squirrel family, are said to have a brain the size of a cashew. These squirrel cousins feast mainly on grasses and other plants, as well as fruit and tree bark. Also known as woodchucks, groundhogs gorge themselves all summer, then hibernate. Groundhogs take winter hibernation seriously. That's why they go into "profound hibernation." They greatly reduce their heart and metabolic rates and their "body temperature drops to just a few degrees above ambient temperature." In a deep burrow below the frost line, this can lead to body temperatures as low as 39 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When they awake in February, groundhogs will have lost almost half of their body weight during hibernation. Talk about an effective diet!

February 2 falls close to the halfway point between the winter solstice and the vernal (spring) equinox. Astronomically speaking, there is always about six more weeks of winter after February 2. But the Groundhog Day traditions are so much fun!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SMART MAMA


Mrs. Ravioli came to visit her son Anthony for dinner. He lives with a female roommate, Maria. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice how pretty Anthony's roommate is.

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between Anthony and his roommate than met the eye.

Reading his mom's thoughts, Anthony volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you, Maria and I are just roommates."

About a week later, Maria came to Anthony saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the silver sugar bowl.
You don't suppose she took it, do you?"

"Well, I doubt it, but I'll email her, just to be sure."

So he sat down and wrote an email:

Dear Mama,

I'm not saying that you "did" take the sugar bowl from my house; I'm not saying that you "did not" take it. But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.

Your Loving Son
Anthony

Several days later, Anthony received a response email from his Mama which read:

Dear son,

I'm not saying that you "do" sleep with Maria, and I'm not saying that you "do not" sleep with her. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the sugar bowl by now.

Your Loving Mama

Moral:
Never Bulla Shita you Mama