April 27, 1985--Over 70 inches of snow fell in Red Lake, Montana. Yesterday I went out to lunch with my college roommate. We have barely seen each other since we went our separate ways. It was a tlovely day here in Ann Arbor. The sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze. While we visited, two of her daughters called from Montana. They were both complaining of cold and snow. I just looked up Red Lake, Montana, on Google. Interestingly, the map I found puts Red Lake almost directly in the mid-point of a triangle formed by Missoula, Great Falls, and Kalispell (where my friend's three daughters live). As an aside, let me warn you about Google searches. I asked for "Red Lake, Montana". There were sites putting Red Lake in two different counties. I have settled on Lewis and Clark Country, because it works so well with this story. However, if I were going to make any claim for the validity of that information, I would have to do some more sophisticated searching. Just because something is on the Internet does not mean that it is true or even remotely what you wanted to find.
April 28, 2001--First tourist in space Dennis Tito was 60 years old when his dream of going into space came true. He paid $20,000,000 for this great adventure. He was turned down by NASA for this trip because he had not gone through their official training. The Russian government allowed him to join one of the their trips. Now, according to this site from How Stuff Works, there are many others, including some hotel chains, who are interested in offering space tourism.
April 28, 1855--First U.S. Veterinary School opened. The Boston Veterinary Institute was opened by a British "medical man" (Does this mean he was a doctor? The article linked here doesn't really make that clear.) The school only had a handful of graduates before it closed just a few years later. You can read stories about pets being helped by veterinarians in the Animal Ark Series by Ben Gaglio or Wild at Heart Series by Laurie Halse Anderson. To get a feel for the work of real veterinarians, check out ER Vets : Life in an Animal Emergency Room by Donna M. Jackson. Warning: If you don't like to see pictures of animals having surgery or looking less than perfect, this is not the book for you and you might want to reconsider going to veterinary college.
April 29, 1911--Michigan's state flag adopted. The flag we currently use in Michigan is the third official flag of the state. The first flag had a picture of Michigan's first governor, Stevens Thomson Mason, on the front with the state coat of arms on the back. In 1865, the governor's picture was removed from the flag and replaced with the coat of arms of the United States. "The Yak's Corner" from the Detroit Free Press did a section on Michigan which included this article about the flag. Learn more about Michigan by visiting the Michigan E Library site. MeL is the official site of the Michigan State Library. All Michigan residents can use its many databases by typing in their Michigan driver's license number. Use it for all kinds of research or just some fun browsing. The Michigania section of the site is open to everyone and has marvelous digital collections that can keep you entertained for hours.
April 29, 1852--First edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus published. Peter Mark Roget was born in London in 1779 and graduated from Edinburgh University in 1798. As a doctor he wrote articles about tuberculosis and the uses of nitrous oxide (which is sometimes called "laughing gas"). In 1814, Roget invented a slide rule that could calculate roots and powers of numbers and was the basis for the slide rule that I used in high school--before the advent of the calculator. He also did work on improving kaleidoscopes and tried to invent a calculating machine. Few people remember him for any of this. Most people know of him for the work that he began in 1840 to compile a dictionary of synonyms. Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases has never been out of print since that first edition which had 15,000 entries. Thesaurus.com gives glossary, lexicon, word list, and (my favorite in the list) onomasticon as a few of their synonyms for thesaurus. Further search on other sites reveals that an onomasticon is a dictionary of proper names and place names.