Aug 21


Today’s the day!


Here in Fairfax, the Eclipse will be about 81 percent of the sun covered.

  • The City of Fairfax will have a viewing party at Old Town Hall (3999 University Drive Fairfax). The event runs from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. featuring family-friendly activities like stories, crafts, music, and more while the eclipse becomes visible.

You can also use this interactive Google map to find the spot of the longest eclipse. And an interactive map with additional events throughout the U.S. is found here.


Aug 19

World Photo Day is Today!

World Photo Day


Today is another of those “Who Knew” holidays.

I was recently talking to someone about our upcoming trip to Scotland and she reminded me to take lots of pictures.  Then, she said to be sure to print them out so she could see them.

cornerUm, no way!  I haven’t printed out pictures since probably the 1980s – or earlier.

All the work that went into that.  Taking the film somewhere, getting back to the store to pick up the prints, buying scrapbooks, and those little corner holders, sorting, writing the people’s names on the back, the place.  Then, finding the right scrapbook to show people…

No, NO NO!

These days. I keep most of my photos online.  There are 53,568 photos right now in my Flickr account and it’s so much easier to share online.

It’s interesting about photos.  A couple of my first real jobs were working in photo processing.

When I was first out of college, I worked for Technicolor, processing negatives into photos.

US3418913-5Back then, the film had to be processed entirely in the dark.

When the door of the machine was open, the light-proof curtain of the cubicle was shut tight.

I learned how to thread huge, heavy rolls of photo paper into a machine – in total darkness. Over, under, around, over…

Neither the undeveloped paper nor the negatives could be exposed to any light – ever.

Someone else had cut the end of the roll of negatives square and stuck it to a “leader” using special tape which wouldn’t peel off during the developing process.

leaderThe leader featured small rectangle holes like old movie filmstrips. The holes catch onto sprockets which guide the leader card and film through the processing machine.

After being sure we had enough paper in the machine, we would feed the leader end of the negatives into the side and that automatically moved the leader card forward.

We’d be sure that the machine was set for the type (size) of film it was (mine were usually 110 or 35milimeter) and feed the roll of negatives through the machine, making minor corrections using a special keyboard. Different amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow were added or subtracted to each photo to ensure the color was correct.

Adjustments are also made for exposure to each individual photo, and sometimes we’d recenter the subject (or what we guessed was the subject).  Sometimes, we had to choose between 2 or more photos to find the one that was “best”.

Then we’d (finally!) get the prints, package them up and start again.

The whole thing was on piecework so the faster, the better.  The faster we worked, the more money we made.

pocketfilm-110The young women who had worked here longer than I had got really good/fast at this and they were able to work with newer machines that let them work in a large room out in the light and have others to talk with.  As I recall, those machines only processed the 110 film, which was becoming more popular with amateur photographers.

It was a boring job, but it was a job.  I worked there from late afternoon until midnight, so it gave me lots of time to hang out by Lake Metacomet where I was living with a roommate.

Somehow, my roommate had managed to get us an apartment right on the shore of the lake and it was much easier to hang out there in the sunshine than to drive to work and be in the dark all evening.

Sometimes, I’d call in “sick”  LOL

Tom and I moved to Milwaukee so he could go to grad school.  While I was there, I did substitute teaching for public school music classes around the Milwaukee area.

And, after school, in the evenings, I did photo processing for a small photo processing company.

They hired me on the spot because I knew how to thread that machine.  I didn’t have to do that for long, though.  Somehow, I got promoted to wedding photos, those that took a lot of care, color corrections, perfect centering…and I was mostly in the light.  No more piece work because I had to spend so much time on each photo, striving for perfection.

Fond memories, all of them.  To this day, I am very good at telling if things are centered properly, level, and if the color matches.

In the greater scheme of things, World Photo Day is an international photography event on August 19th that celebrates the passion for photography in our communities.

Go out and get some pictures.  Print them, if you want – or not 🙂

Jul 17

World Emoji Day


Another of those Who Knew holidays.


World Emoji Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated on July 17. The day is deemed a “global celebration of emoji” and is primarily celebrated online. Celebrated annually since 2014,[NBC reported that the day was Twitter’s top trending item on July 17 in 2015.

Now before the emoji, there were emoticons. Emoticons (emotion + icon) were actually developed as an expression of emotions in the cold hard texts that were devoid of it.

Emoji, a Japanese expression, roughly means “picture word” and was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita design these picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens.

When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to nab the Japanese market. While not intended for U.S. users to find, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.

Every year new emojis (both emoji and emojis are acceptable plural forms of the word) are developed. The keeps track of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are over 1800 emojis covering much more than just emotions.  From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather and bodily functions emojis virtually speak for themselves.



More about emojis



Jul 16

It’s National Ice Cream Day. YUM!



National Ice Cream Day is observed each year on the 3rd Sunday in July and is a part of National Ice Cream Month.  This day is a fun celebration enjoyed with a bowl, cup or cone filled with your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire would put snow in a bowl, pour grape-juice concentrate over it and eat it as a treat.  They did this when the weather was hot and used the snow saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal”, or taken from the snowfall that remained at the stop of mountains by the summer capital.

It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them.  Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

  • Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream.
  • 1813 -First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920 – Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.


Enjoy National Ice Cream Day by sharing some with your family and friends! Post on social media using #NationalIceCreamDay.


National Ice Cream Day is a holiday declared by President Ronald Reagan back in 1984 to promote the economic well-being of the U.S. dairy industry. It was a nod to the fact that the frozen treat is produced using nearly ten percent of U.S. dairy farmers’ milk supply.

Reagan’s proclamation also called on the people of the United States to do their duty and pay tribute to ice-cream with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” So who are we to argue?



July 16, 2017
July 15, 2018
July 21, 2019


Jul 10

Palindrome Week Returns!



The above image is from last year, but you get the idea.

You should feel very balanced this week. Why? Because it’s palindrome week!  July 10 – July 19, 2017 are all Palindrome Days (m/dd/yy).

A palindrome exists when letters, numbers, or phrases are the same forward and backward. For example, the words “racecar” and “kayak” are palindromes along with the phrase “Was it a car or a cat I saw?”

The dates this week are all five-digit palindromes. Today is 7-10-17; it’s the same if you read it forward and backward.

From 2015:




Depending on date formats, palindromic dates can be rare. Aziz S. Inan, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Portland, Portland, U.S.A. has calculated that in the mm-dd-yyyy format, Palindrome Days tend to occur only in the first few centuries of each millennium (1000 years). The last palindromic date in the second millennium (years 1001 to 2000) in this format was August 31, 1380 or 08-31-1380.

According to Dr. Inan, in the mm-dd-yyyy format, the first Palindrome Day in the current millennium (January 1, 2001 to December 31, 3000) was October 2, 2001 (10-02-2001) and the last such day will be September 22, 2290 (09-22-2290).

There will be 12 Palindrome Days in the 21st century in the mm-dd-yyyy format. The first one was on October 2, 2001 (10-02-2001) and the last one will be on September 2, 2090 (09-02-2090).

In the dd-mm-yyyy format, there are 29 Palindrome Days in the current century. The first was 10 February, 2001 (10-02-2001). The last is a special one – it’s a leap day! 29 February, 2092 (29-02-2092) will be the last Palindrome Day of the 21st century.

Jul 04

Happy Fourth of July!




Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July! Click To Tweet

A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz…



And, just for fun:





Jun 27

Happy Sunglasses Day!




Elton John has over a thousand pairs, Canadian singer Corey Hart only wears his at night, and you can tell the good guys from the bad guys in The Matrix by the shape of theirs. What am I talking about? Sunglasses, of course! There’s nothing quite as stylish as a pair of shades, so get out your aviators or your wayfarers and start celebrating National Sunglasses Day!

Who knew there was a National Sunglass Day? Click To Tweet

Although the origins of National Sunglasses Day are unknown, the history of sunglasses stretches as far back as 14th century China, where judges used eyewear made of smoke-coloured quartz to mask their emotions. Fast-forward 600 years and modern sunglasses as we know them today were first marketed by entrepreneur Sam Foster on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

One other thing to remember is that sunglasses also help protect your eyes from harmful UV light, so channel your inner-cool and slip on those shades on National Sunglasses Day!

Did you know that your eyes can become sunburned

75 percent of Americans are concerned about exposure to the sun’s UV rays, but only 31 percent of Americans wear sunglasses when they venture outside.  You know wearing sunblock can help to protect your skin.  Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.


Eye Care Tips

  • UV exposure increases the likelihood of the formation of cataracts
  • UV exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid
  • Water reflects up to 100 % of UV rays
  • Concrete reflects up to 25% of UV rays
  • Grass reflects up to 3% of UV rays
  • The eyes of a child are more vulnerable to UV rays than an adults
  • Exposure to UV rays promotes more rapid age-related macular degeneration and blindness
  • The harmful effects of UV rays are cumulative over a lifetime of exposure
  • Squinting in the sun causes wrinkles
  • UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as sunny days

Adapted from and


Jun 18

Yea! It’s Father’s Day again!



Father’s Day is observed annually on the third Sunday in June.  This day is set aside to honor and celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, though it is also celebrated widely on other days by many other countries.

After the success of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day observations began to appear.  The road to this national observance was not easy.


Jun 12

Things I Do as an Adult Because of Childhood Emotional Abuse | The Mighty

Most all these comments are way too close for comfort!

It has been said that “no one escapes childhood unscathed.” But sayings like these can have an especially significant meaning for a person who has experienced emotional abuse as a child. The effects of emotional abuse can be both debilitating and far-reaching, often extending out of childhood and into adolescence and adulthood. For many, experiencing emotional abuse at a young age can affect their self-worth and relationships. For some, emotional abuse may even have contributed to a current struggle with mental illness.

We wanted to know what kinds of effects childhood emotional abuse can have on adulthood, so we asked our mental health community to share one thing they do now that stemmed from the emotional abuse they experienced in their upbringing.

No matter what your experience of childhood abuse was, it is important to remember hope is never lost and there is help out there…

Source: Things I Do as an Adult Because of Childhood Emotional Abuse | The Mighty

Jun 09

Quack Quack – It’s Donald Duck Day again!



National Donald Duck Day is observed annually on June 9th.  This day commemorates the birthday of the funny animal cartoon character, Donald Duck. Donald made his first screen debut on June 9, 1934, in The Wise Little Hen.


Donald Duck usually wears a sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie and is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech along with his mischievous and irritable personality.

Donald Duck has appeared in more films than any other Disney character.   Donald was also declared in 2002 by TV Guide as one of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all times.

It was in Donald’s second appearance in Orphan’s Benefit that he was introduced to his comic friend, Mickey Mouse.  Donald’s girlfriend, Daisy Duck, along with his nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, were introduced shortly after that. 

From 1934 black and white to 1941 colorized and other slight character changes.  Donald’s beak gets a bit rounded as time goes on.

(From the Wikipedia article “Orphan’s Benefit,” section “Remake”)

In the summer of 1939, in anticipation of Mickey Mouse’s 12th anniversary the following year, Walt Disney commissioned a two-reel short film tentatively called MICKEY’S REVIVAL PARTY. The plan was for this film to open with the characters arriving at a cinema where they would watch scenes from several old, mostly black and white Mickey Mouse films (among them “Orphan’s Benefit”). The story artists envisioned the characters humorously interacting with themselves on the movie screen. This therefore required that the old footage could not be simply added as-is to the new film, it had to be redrawn completely.

It was during this process that Walt Disney decided to completely reproduce several of these old shorts in color. It was also an opportunity to update the character models, since many characters had changed in appearance since the early 1930s.

“Orphan’s Benefit” was the first of these films to be redone. The result was an almost exact shot-for-shot version of the original, except for the added color and updated characters. The film was directed by Riley Thomson and used almost the entire original soundtrack, the only change being the final line, from “Aw nuts!” to “Aw phooey!” which had become a common catchphrase for Donald by that time. The title of the film also saw a small change making it more grammatically correct, although this was not reflected in some promotional material such as the film poster. Orphans’ Benefit was released to theaters on August 12, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures.

The next film scheduled for reproduction was “Mickey’s Man Friday” (1935), but it was never completed. The original concept for MICKEY’S REVIVAL PARTY was shelved and “Orphan’s Benefit” became the only Disney film to be recreated scene for scene. It is unknown what led to the cancellation, although animation historian David Gerstein speculated that World War II or the Disney animators’ strike of 1941 may have played a role, or that Walt Disney simply preferred to work on all-new films rather than “extensively revisit the past.”


In addition to animation, Donald is also known for his appearance in comic books and newspaper comic strips.

One of Donald Duck’s famous sayings is “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.”




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