Well it’s here. That day we were thinking was still miles away and we had plenty of time to do our Christmas shopping …. well today is the first day of December and Christmas day is just 25 days away. Or … since you can’t actually count Christmas day itself, 24 days away.
But … if you discount today (1st December), because, well, it’s maybe not fair to include today since some of you reading right now will perhaps have just come home from a day at work, so let’s discount today too, – that makes it 23 merry Days, in which to buy the perfect presents for all those people you need to buy for, and get them home, wrapped beautifully and labelled up, ready to give. There. 23 days. That’s ok, isn’t it?
So anyhoo … shall we get on with your Edumacation? I know it’s Christmas soon, but you still need to be educationamalised so that you can come out with interesting facts at the works ‘do’, or just impress the boss with your magnificent intelligence.
On this Day in History
1824 – U.S. presidential election, Since no candidate received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives is given the task to decide the winner (as stipulated by the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution).
1913 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
1919 – Lady Astor becomes first female member of the British Parliament to take her seat (she had been elected to that position on November 28).
1952 – The New York Daily News reports the first successful sexual reassignment operation.
1958 – The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire in Chicago, Illinois kills 92 children and three nuns.
The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire broke out shortly before classes were to be dismissed on December 1, 1958, at the foot of a stairway in the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. The elementary and middle school was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. A total of 92 pupils and 3 nuns lost their lives when smoke, heat, and fire cut off their normal means of escape through corridors and stairways. Many perished while jumping from second-floor windows (which were as high as a third floor would be on level ground). Another 100 were seriously injured.
The disaster led to major improvements in standards for school design and fire safety codes.
1960 – Paul McCartney and Pete Best arrested then deported from Hamburg, Germany for accusation of attempted arson. Former Beatles drummer Pete Best told Absolute Radio that he and Sir Paul had tried to use the condoms for extra lighting.
“We pinned them on the wall and they spluttered. Let’s get it clear, they weren’t used,” he said. “We were charged with trying to burn our van down.”
Best said the pair were returned to the UK on suspicion of arson.
1964 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam.
1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States is held since World War II. On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States held a lottery to determine the order of draft (induction) into the U.S. Army for the Vietnam War.
The days of the year, represented by the numbers from 1 to 366 (including Leap Day), were written on slips of paper and the slips were placed in plastic capsules. The capsules were mixed in a shoebox and then dumped into a deep glass jar. Capsules were drawn from the jar one at a time.
The first day number drawn was 257 (September 14), so all registrants with that birthday were assigned lottery number 1. Men of draft age (those born between 1944 and 1950) whose birthday fell on the corresponding day of the year would all be drafted at the same time. The highest draft number called from the 1969 lottery was number 195 (September 24).
A secondary lottery was also held on the same day, to construct a random permutation of the 26 letters of the alphabet. For men born on a given day, the order of induction was determined by the rank of the first letters of their last, first, and middle names.
The lottery was conducted again in 1970 (for those born in 1951), 1971 (1952) and 1972 (1953), although the 1972 lottery went unused as the draft itself was suspended in 1973. Lotteries were also conducted in 1973, 1974 and 1975 although the assigned numbers went unused.
1973 – Papua New Guinea gains self-government from Australia.
1974 – TWA Flight 514, a Boeing 727, crashes northwest of Dulles International Airport killing all 92 people on-board.
1974 – Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 6231, crashes northwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.
1981 – A Yugoslavian Inex Adria Aviopromet DC-9 crashes in Corsica killing all 180 people on-board.
1982 – At the University of Utah, Barney Clark becomes the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.
1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 meters beneath the seabed.
2001 – Captain Bill Compton brings Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.
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Born on this Day
1761 – Marie Tussaud, French creator of wax sculptures (Madame Tussaud’s) (d. 1850)
1913 – Mary Martin, American actor and singer (d. 1990)
1932 – Matt Monro, English singer (d. 1985)
1935 – Woody Allen, American film director, actor, and comedian
1940 – Richard Pryor, American actor, comedian (d. 2005)
1944 – John Densmore, American drummer (The Doors)
1945 – Bette Midler, American actress and singer
1946 – Gilbert O’Sullivan, Irish singer
1958 – Charlene Tilton, American actress
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Thought for the Day
Christmas is coming and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. We know it’s coming because the lights are already lit-up in the shops. The trees are decorated and the Advent Calendars all have one door open.
The prophets of anxiety (in the newspapers and on TV) are predicting a difficult time for the shoppers and retailers of our over-stretched, debt-ridden lands.
Some of us feel the imminence of Christmas in the sensations of excitement and dread: of wishing it would never end … and wanting it to be over with now. Of the need to be at home, with family and friends – and the desire to escape it all and get as far away as possible.
The Grinch, in Dr. Seuss says: “Christmas! It’s practically here!” … Then he growled with his fingers nervously drumming. “I must find a way to keep Christmas from coming!”
Advent means the arrival – or coming – of an important person or thing. But break it down into its compound words: ‘ad’ and ‘vent’ and it looks alarmingly like something to do with advertising and windows. It sounds like a big commercial wind! Which of course it is, and it has been, and probably always will be. Which is why Grinch-like, seasonal rants about the commercial aspect of Christmas will do nothing to change it.
Priests asking us not to throw out the baby Jesus with the bath water should save their breath. If they want us to question anything at Christmas it should be the baby: Do we need the baby? Do we want the baby? What is this baby for? It’s easy to see that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store; easy to guess it means a little bit more” [the Grinch again] . But the question for all of us is: What???
Isaiah, a prophet who lived before Christ, framed our need in this way: “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down”. There was an ache for a saviour long before one appeared. As to what this saviour is for – Isaiah put it in these startling terms: …. “… for those living in darkness, a light has come.” and later … “…he will be pierced for our transgressions and by his wounds we are healed”.
For Isaiah it took 600 years and a thousand advent calendar windows before the double doors opened on the baby in the manger he predicted would be “the Saviour of the World”. That’s a kind of patience – a kind of expectation and waiting – which is hard to grasp. In theory, for us, the waiting is over. The baby – whether we like it or not, is here. God is with us.
As the Grinch discovered, we can’t stop Christmas from coming: “Somehow or other, it came just the same”. The challenge for us this advent is finding the space to think about why it came at all in the first place. And that applies to those who believe, and those who don’t.
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Well. I’m all puffed out now and have talked so much that my throat is sore! I think it must be coffee time, for I need lubrication to the vocal chords.
This last week for me has been another one of crafting up a storm, but making things I can’t share because I made some things for some lovely people who come and read my blog…. goodness knows why they come and read it. Kindness is the first thing that springs to mind. lol.
But … I can start on other things now, so can share and will be doing so. HURRAH!
In the meantime … I want you to be good. Don’t eat too many sweets. Not too much chocolate. And don’t do that thing which you’re Mother told you would make you blind. Oh … and don’t stick peas up your nose.
That last one … I should perhaps explain… Apparently – this was said by an Irish mother many, many moons ago.
She had to go out but had no one to look after her large brood of children, so she gathered them all together and told the three eldest that they were going to be ‘in charge’ for the next half an hour while she was out of the house. She put her coat and hat on, gathered up her shopping bag and handbag, and put her hand on the door knob …. but paused and looked at them all in a very stern, Irish mother way, saying: “Be good. Don’t be getting yourselves into trouble. Don’t be making too much noise – we don’t want someone calling the police! And … DON’T STICK PEAS UP YOUR NOSE!” … and with that she left.
20 minutes later she was back in the house to find a row of children all sat upon the work tops in the kitchen, with the three eldest children trying to do something which the one child was crying about. Upon taking in the scene she saw that one of the eldest had his arms tightly wound around a child, so holding the childs arms down. The second eldest had the child’s head in her hands and was tipping the childs head backwards. And the eldest of the children had the mothers tweezers from her dressing table and was attempting to shove them up the little childs nose.
“What the divil are you doing to that child?!!” She yelled. “… and why they all on the kitchen tops?”
The three eldest children explained . . . there had been no trouble until they found out that the youngsters had popped the pea pods on the kitchen table, and pushed peas up their noses and couldn’t get them down again.
“Why the dickens did you do that?” she demanded to know, looking at them very sternly …..
“Because you told us not to!” came a crying reply.
Hence I say to you …. “Be good. Don’t be getting yourselves into trouble. Don’t be making too much noise – we don’t want someone calling the police! And … DON’T STICK PEAS UP YOUR NOSE!”
Have a wickedly wonderful Friday, and a truly fabulous weekend. May the force be with you.
Sending love and squidges ~