Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's Special About This Week--Oct. 20-24

October 20--Skydiving Day

Look through my earlier posts to find why this day seems special to me.

October 20--National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

My very special teddy bear as a child was given to me by my Uncle Frank who gave wonderful stuffed toys every year for Christmas. (After he got married, he always sent books instead. I suspect that idea came from his wife. Luckily, by that time I was old enough to read to myself so I could enjoy the books as much as I had enjoyed the many stuffed animals.) My teddy bear looked a little like Winnie the Pooh before Disney got their hands on him. I named him Pal because my brother got a Pal jack knife that year and I not-so-secretly wanted a jack knife. Pal slept with me every night for years (what jack knife would have done that?) and got toted around everywhere. At some point his foam stuffing started coming out of his paws. My mother took felt from some outgrown slippers to make covers for the holes. My brother's slippers were blue and mine were red. Pal got blue patches on his left side and red on the right. That is how I learned to tell left from right. If I still had my ratty, well-loved Pal, you can bet that he would come to work with me.

October 21--Infomaniacs Day

Infomaniacs are people who are constantly on the look out for information. You could say that librarians fit this description. Yes, they do, but they are not as obsessed with information seeking as those people who label themselves as infomaniacs. These information hounds spend hours every day searching the Internet (and, one hopes, books) for new information. Librarians take time out to read books, put things in order, and help others learn to find their own information.

October 21, 1959--The Guggenheim Museum of Art opened in New York City

The Guggenheim Museum of Art is as famous for the art within as for the unique Frank Lloyd Wright design of the building. The Guggenheim invites you to view its collection here.

October 22, 1938--First Xerography Copy Made

The invention of the copy machine made a huge impact on the world. Chester Carlson, working on his own time, had little idea how much his work would change the way people look at paper in their daily lives. It took more than five years and twenty tries to get a company to see the value of his invention. Now we take copies so much for granted that the copier company Xerox has seen its name become a verb, as in "Let me xerox this for you." Some people argue that we use much more paper in our world because of the copy machine. Do people really make more copies of things than they actually need? Look at the recycle bins by the copy machines and printers in the school. They fill up quickly with unwanted or misprinted papers.

October 22, 1883--The Metropolitan Opera House opened

The first performance at the Met, which was then located at Broadway and 39th Street in New York City, was Gounod's Faust. Since that time millions of people have enjoyed opera with the Met. The company moved to Lincoln Center in 1966. The Metropolitan Opera site offers audio and video of recent opera productions.

October 23--National Mole Day

From 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on 11/23, join the celebration of National Mole Day. Known as Avogadro's number, a mole is a basic unit of measurement in chemistry. It is simply (and to non-chemists such as myself, not all that clearly) the quantity of any substance whose mass in grams is the same as its formula weight and is based on the amount of atoms in 0.012 kilograms of carbon-12. That number is 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd. It appears that there are many chemists around the world who enjoy using this number to come up with fun facts and even jokes. For example: One mole of pennies would pay off the United States national debt about 86 million times. A one liter bottle of water contains 55.5 moles of water. Go to this site for mole jokes, Mole Day celebration ideas, and mole cards.

October 23, 1964--First Olympic Women's Volleyball Championship Game

Since we at Emerson have all met a person who played in this year's Women's Water Polo Championship game, (Yeah, Allison) it seems appropriate to celebrate other women in the Olympics. This first Olympic Women's Indoor volleyball game was won by Japan, the host nation that year.

October 24--United Nations Day

This date has been recognized as United Nations Day since 1948 and remembers the day in 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations went into force. Read more about the United Nations at their website.

October 24, 1901--First Woman to go over Niagara Falls in a Barrel

Anna Edison Taylor was a teacher in Bay City, Michigan, (hometown of Emerson's own second grade teacher, Barb) when she decided to gain some fame by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The Niagara Falls Information site has pictures of Anna Taylor with her barrel. It also says that she took her pet kitten with her for the trip. I can only imagine how scared that poor little kitty mush have been.

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