Sunday, December 1, 2013

December is the toughest month of the year...

Others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, October, August, and February - Mark Twain

December is the twelfth and last month of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. This is used in almost all the world today. It was the tenth month in the early Roman calendar. It became the twelfth month in a later Roman calendar. Until 46 B.C., December only had 29 days.

But the Roman statesman Julius Caesar added two days to December, which made it 31 days. You get to do that if you are dictator to the known World.

In Finnish, since about the 18th century, December has been called Joulukuu, meaning "month of Christmas." Before that it was called Talvikuu, meaning "month of winter." In Irish, December is called Mí na Nollaig, also meaning "month of Christmas".  In the northern half of the world, Winter begins in December. Winter does not begin until December 21 or 22, and most of December is usually warmer than other winter months.

The latter part of December has long been a holiday season. Christians celebrate Christmas Day, as the birthday of Jesus Christ and not my nephew Frankie, as it is mistakenly believed in my sister's home.

In the Northern Hemisphere, most birds and elderly folks have gone to warmer climates. But many animals are active. Mink, ermine, beavers, and foxes grow beautiful coats of fur. Nature finishes preparing for the long winter ahead. Many people make feeding places for birds and squirrels.

December is International Calendar Awareness Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month . The first week in December is both Christmas Tree Week and Cookie Cutter Week.

Today is the 25th observation of World AIDS Day. On December 1st each year, the day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. In the United States, during 2011, there were an estimated  49,273 new diagnoses of HIV infection and worldwide, there were about 2.5 million new cases of HIV in 2011.  (Remember to Light a candle)

CDC estimates that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV and nearly one in five of those are not aware that they are infected.  Approximately 50,000 people become newly infected each year.  In addition to recognized risk behaviors, a range of social and economic factors places some Americans at increased risk for HIV infection. Prevention efforts have helped keep the rate of new infections stable in recent years, but continued growth in the number of people living with HIV ultimately may lead to more new infections if prevention, care, and treatment efforts are not targeted to those at greatest risk.

December 1, 1903 -
The first Western film, directed by Edwin S. Porter, The Great Train Robbery, was released on this date.

Prior to Porter’s landmark movie, moving pictures were non-narrative, with one long shot recording an actual event. The Great Train Robbery developed multiple plot lines simultaneously by cutting and splicing film. Moviegoers screamed when the scene of an outlaw shooting directly into the camera was shown.

Today's Holiday Special - Switch to Vegetable Tempura

Today in History:
December 1, 1135
King Henry I of England was both the first English King who can actually read (which is no small bragging right) and was famed for holding the record for the largest number of acknowledged illegitimate children born to any English king, with the number being around 20 or 25. How he found time to read is anybody's guest? But that is not why we discuss him today: Henry died on this date after eating a plate of spoiled eels while visiting his grandchildren in Normandy.

His remains were sewn into the hide of a bull to preserve them on the journey back to England. Not the most dignified way for the remains of a king to travel but that's how things were in the Middle Ages.

December 1, 1887 -
The first adventure in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series, A Study in Scarlet, introducing the reader to the brilliant detective and his faithful companion, Doctor Watson, first appeared in print on this date. Doyle received 25 pounds for its publication in Beeton's Christmas Annual.

Holmes' deductive genius was modeled on Doyle's medical school mentor Dr. Joseph Bell.

December 1, 1929 -
Little old people and Catholic priest rejoice!!!

Bingo was invented by Edwin S. Lowe, on this date.

December 1, 1934 -
Politburo member Sergei Kirov was killed by Leonid Nikolayev on orders of Josef Stalin on this date.

The assassination is used as an excuse to commence the Great Terror in the years 1935 to 1939, in which 800,000 were executed and over 8.5 million arrested.

Uncle Joe sure knows how to hold a grudge.

December 1, 1935 -
I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.

Allen Stewart Konigsberg, writer and film director was born on this date, and immediately regretted the entire incident, complaining that he didn't know his mother well enough to be involved in such an 'intimate experience' as birth.

December 1, 1947 -
Aleister Crowley
, British occultist, writer, mountaineer, poet, yogi, skilled sodomite and the wickedest man in the world, died in Hastings England at age 74. Crowley also appears on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper.

It's nice to have a hobby.

(Keep looking, you can find him.)

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to sit on the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in violation of the democratic and egalitarian laws that so many Americans had fought so hard to preserve.

This resulted in a period of national reflection upon the meaning of the phrase "all men are created equal," which no longer appeared so self-evident. After considerable debate, the U.S. judicial system eventually made the novel decision that "all men" might be interpreted to mean "all men," and America has been a paragon of peaceful coexistence ever since.

And so it goes

There are 24 days until Christmas.
For those of you playing the home game, you may open the first window in your calendar (but the chocolate probably isn't very good.)

It's the First Advent Sunday of the Year.

No comments: