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Archive for October, 2011


Photo: CC Champagne

She grabs my outstretched fingers
and smiles in toothless way,
bouncing on young life’s pointed toes
she brightens autumn’s gray.
Not yet one, but still so much
of a person it hurts my heart
to think that she’ll one day
grow up to be part
of the stress of adults way.
Sweet little princess, innocent soul
no words yet spring from her mind
bouncy baby girl, Izabel,
is truly one of a kind!

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30 October: Did you know?


Did you know that it was on this day in 1501 Ballet of Chestnuts took place? A banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes or courtesans are in attendance for the entertainment of the guests. Or that it was on this day in 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia, escaped slave Nat Turner is captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history?

It was also on this day in 1894 Domenico Melegatti obtains a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially, in 1922 Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy, in 1938  Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of H. G. Wells‘s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States, in 1944 Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank are deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and in 1960  Michael Woodruff performs the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

On this day in 1961  Nuclear testing: The Soviet Union detonates the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 50 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise, in 1973 the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time and in 2005 the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) is reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

Some birthdays to remember on this are  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian writer (1821-1881), Alfred Sisley, Anglo-French artist (1839-1899), Georges Gilles de la Tourette, French neurologist (1857-1904), Ezra Pound, American poet (1885-1972),  Henry Winkler, American actor (1945), Harry Hamlin, American actor (1951), Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer (1960) and Ivanka Trump, American model (1981).

Need a reason to raise a glass of bubbly on this day? Why not look into the celebration of Anniversary of the Declaration of the Slovak Nation (Slovakia), Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions (former Soviet republics, except Ukraine) or Mischief Night (United States).

For more information about historic events on this day in the past, please go here.

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Did you know that on this day in 1390 the first trial for witchcraft in Paris took place, leading to the death of three people? Or that on this day in 1618 English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England?

And it was on this day in 1787 Mozart‘s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague, in 1863 eighteen countries meeting in Geneva agree to form the International Red Cross, in 1929 the New York Stock Exchange crashes in what will be called the Crash of ’29 or “Black Tuesday”, ending the Great Bull Market of the 1920s and beginning the Great Depression, in 1948 the Safsaf massacre takes place, in 1956 the Suez Crisis begins as Israeli forces invade the Sinai Peninsula and push Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal, in 1964 a collection of irreplaceable gems, including the 565 carat (113 g) Star of India, is stolen by a group of thieves (among them is “Murph the surf”) from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and in 1969 the first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.

It was also on this day in 1986  British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher opens the last stretch of the M25 motorway, in 1998  Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on STS-95 with 77-year old John Glenn on board, making him the oldest person to go into space on the same day as the Gothenburg nightclub fire in Sweden claims 63 lives and injures 200.

Some birthdays to remember on this day are Fanny Brice, American singer (1891-1951), Richard Dreyfuss, American actor (1947), Johann Olav Koss, Norwegian speed skater (1968), Winona Ryder, American actress (1971) and Eric SaadeSwedish singer (1990).

If you need a reason to raise a glass of bubbly on this day, perhaps Coronation Day (Cambodia) or Republic Day or Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Turkey) is something for you?

For more information about historic events on this day, please go here.

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The world is grey,
there is no other way,
nothing more to say,
to describe it!
The road rolls on,
over hills far and long,
tyres singing their song
engine humming.
See the naked trees,
see the last dying leaves,
see the misty fields,
but pay attention!
To the gray, slick road
don’t let vistas goad,
or the thoughts un-load
end of journey is the prize
as you drive the long miles
on an autumnal day
down your life’s highway
when the world
is nothing other
than gray!

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Did you know that it was on this day in 1835 that the United Tribes of New Zealand is established with the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Or that it was on this day in 1886, in New York Harbor, President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty?

It was also on this day in 1919  the U.S. Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto, paving the way for Prohibition to begin the following January, in 1922 in the  March on Rome, Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini march on Rome and take over the Italian government, in 1929 this day became known as Black Monday, a day in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which also saw major stock market upheaval, in 1942 the Alaska Highway (Alcan Highway) is completed through Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska and in 1965  Nostra Aetate, the “Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions” of the Second Vatican Council, is promulgated by Pope Paul VI; it absolves the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing Innocent III‘s 760 year-old declaration.

Some birthdays to remember on this day are Francis Bacon, Irish painter (1909-1992), Bernie Ecclestone, English motorsports figure (1930), Bill Gates, American software executive (1955), Scotty Nguyen, Vietnamese-born American professional poker player (1962), Eros Ramazzotti, Italian singer (1963), Julia Roberts, American actress (1967) and Joaquin Phoenix, American actor (1974).

If you need a reason to raise a glass of bubbly on this day, why not look into the celebration of International Animation Day (ASIFA) or  Day of the Establishment of an Independent Czecho-Slovak State, celebrating the independence of Czechoslovakia from Austria-Hungary in 1918. (Czech Republic and Slovakia)?

For more information about historic events on this day, please go here.

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The little girl was kneeling, crying, at the foot of the tree
her devastation was obvious, and the only one around was me!
I am no good with children, having never had one myself,
but when a young one suffers such tears, I have to go and help.

Kneeling next to her I put a hand upon her arm
and as she met my gaze, overcome I was by innocent charm.
“Please tell me dear, why do you cry? Are you, in any way, hurt?
Is your mother around? Shall I call for her? You can’t sit here in the dirt!”

She sniffled, misery unconfined, by approach of an elderly dame,
collected herself for a second and then she asked me my name.
“My mother has taught me I should not speak to strangers, that is why,
I have to know your name, you see, before I can talk.” She seemed shy.

As I had introduced myself, the little one went on
“Look at all the fallen leaves, how they are dead and gone!
I’m crying because it saddens me, how the leaves all died in vain!
Summer is over and very soon it will be winter again!”

Fresh tears now running down her cheeks as in her fists she took
some withered leaves, held them out to me, as with small sobs she shook.
In her world it meant summer’s death when the leaves fell down
they must be hurt since they had fallen from high onto the ground!

Like a million tiny warriors of light that now lay slain,
she thought their fight for summer’s beauty had been all in vain.
“The leaves aren’t dead, they are resting, after a summer of hard work!
They hide under cover of winter to sleep, you see it’s their little quirk.

You’ll see them again in summer, my dear, of that you need feel no fear,
as, born again they will burst forth in spring, they do every year! ”
She looked at me, now thoughtful, as if I was telling a tale
her forehead wrinkled with wonder, this idea filled her mind’s young sails.

I made sure that she held my gaze, as I told her once again
of the miracle of seasons and of undying friends.
“The branches, stark and naked, under winter’s icy nights
hold life within them, and you’ll see, in spring when sunshine’s bright,

your leafy friends will all be back, as in green buds re-born
they would not like you sitting here, for them to cry and mourn.”
The autumn sun burst through the clouds, as if waiting for a cue
and the girl seemed to have processed all my words and found them true.

She smiled at me, a smile quite bright just like the rays of sun
and wiped her tears from sodden cheeks, her young life again fun.
“You promise you’re not telling tales? They will return to me?
My leafy little warriors next summer I will see?”

I had to smile, though in my mind I know the secret twist
the leaves she’d see next year would not quite exactly those of this.
My feelings fought my mind, but reason triumphed over heart
I smiled and held a yellow leaf up to her “We part,

sometimes what withers will return, and sometimes it may not…”
Was all I had a chance to say before the girl ran off.
From a distance I could see her mum approach and saw the love
between them as I rose to leave while in my pocket I searched for my glove.

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Did you know that this day in 1275 is considered the date of traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam? Or that it was on this day in 1553 that  Michael Servetus , condemned as a heretic, is burned at the stake just outside Geneva?

And on this day in 1838  Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Extermination Order, which orders all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated, in 1904, almost 100 years ago, the first underground New York City Subway line opens; the system becomes the biggest in United States, and one of the biggest in world, in 1936  Mrs Wallis Simpson files for divorce which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne and in 1953 British nuclear test Totem 2 is carried out at Emu Field, South Australia.

It was also on this day in 1973 the Cañon City meteorite, a 1.4 kg chondrite type meteorite, strikes in Fremont County, Colorado and in 1981 (I remember it well) Soviet Whiskey-class submarine U 137  ran aground near Sweden’s Karlskrona naval base, sparking an international incident termed “Whiskey on the rocks”.

Some birthdays to remember on this day are James Cook, British naval captain and explorer (1728-1779), Niccolò Paganini, Italian violinist and composer (1782-1840), Isaac Singer, American inventor (1811-1875), Sigrid Hjertén, Swedish modernist painter (1885-1948), Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet (1914-1953), Roy Lichtenstein, American artist (1923-1997), Sylvia Plath, American poet (1932-1963), John Cleese, British actor and writer (1939), Simon Le Bon, English singer (Duran Duran) (1958),  Wilson Júnior, Brazilian footballer (1976) and Kelly Osbourne, English television personality (1984).

Need a reason to raise a glass of bubbly on this day? Why not join in the celebration of  World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (International), Independence Day, celebrating the independence of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from Britain in 1979 or celebrating the independence of Turkmenistan from USSR in 1991?

For more information about historic events on this day, please go here.

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