Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10

Today, we - that Spouse o' Mine and I, were discussing units of measure around the world.  Neither of us, for the life of us, can understand why the United States of America is still in the dark ages in this respect: when, oh, WHEN, are we going to go metric?  It is time.  Past due, actually.  Adopt the metric system and do away with the time changes.

This day in 1799, France adopted the metre as its official unit of length.  I have yet to find how things were measured in France before 1799, but I have not researched it, either.  More to come on that subject...

This day in 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state in these united ones of America.  Do we all realize how young the United States of America are?  Compared to other countries around the world, our nation is still in its baby steps.  Amazing to consider.

Mark Twain's book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published on this day in 1884.  It has been on "banned" book lists as early as 1885 - when the Concord (MA) Public Library called it "trash and only suitable for the slums."  Nowdays, the debate seems to center on Twain's language and use of the word "nigger" in the book.  This book was assigned reading back in my childhood.  I enjoyed it.  I haven't re-read it.  I haven't used the word nigger either, except as a quote.  What has stayed in my memory from this book are his adventures.  Do you suppose this is what Samuel Clemons was aiming for?

In 1867, a patent was obtained for a mixture of:
3 parts nitroglycerin
1 part diatomaceous earth
A pinch of sodium carbonate


Yes, this Swedish man, Alfred Nobel, invented dynamite.  He then went on to found the Nobel Prize, which is a pretty coveted prize by folks all over the world.  Mr. Nobel died on this day in 1896.  In Sweden today, they observe Nobeldagen (Nobel Day).

When I was growing up, my family never, I think EVER, celebrated Christmas on Christmas Day.   Christmas was celebrated whenever it worked for all our large extended family.  My parents also told us that Christ's birth was to be celebrated every day of the year, not just on December 25th.  After all, where in the Bible does it say "December 25th is the birth date of the Lord Jesus Christ."?

This month, we Armstrongs will be celebrating Little Christmas here in rural Kansas in just one short week.  Yippee!  Four kids will be home.  (I say kids, but they are all adults.)  From here, we will head south to Oklahoma for Big Family Christmas.  Big, it will be!  One night of dinner cooked by the young adults, the next night will be the singing of Handel's Messiah (all 2.5 hours of it), and finally, Big Family Christmas and finale of all things Big Family.  A marathon to be sure, but fun and love and re-acquaintance after a year apart.

We've had a small respite in the single-digit temperatures today.  Not high enough to melt ice and snow, but enough to give us a bit of solar energy for the rest of the week's single digits and ice and snow.  Hey!  It's winter, after all.  Here's my carol of the day, to still all the holiday hoo-hah:

Still, Still, Still 

(I like it in its original German better.)

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