I have a great many things running through my mind right now, and I know I will never be able to remember all of them long enough to get them recorded (being in a manic phase kind of sucks that way for me), but I will give it a shot!
I started thinking about the odd weather we have been having here in my part of Colorado for the month of January, and that somehow led me to a consideration of the month itself. Not so much the history behind it as different things that have happened that some might see as noteworthy. This then led to thoughts of how this could be applied around the world, but I quickly realized the enormity of that task and managed to steer myself to more conquerable pastures.
So, with that being said, here are some interesting things that have happened in the month of January in the united States.
January 7 is officially Harlem Globetrotters Day, in remembrance of the first game that the famous basketball team played on that day in 1927. they traveled 48 miles west from their Chicago home to play a game in Hinckley Illinois. The team was the brainstorm of a Chicago businessman named Abe Saperstein during a time when only whites were permitted to play professional basketball. the team had nothing to do with the New York City borough of Harlem. Abe had chose that name to emphasize the team's ethnic heritage. the Globetrotters didn't even play their first game in Harlem until the late 1960's! However, since their creation, they have played in front of over 120 million fans in more than 115 countries.
January 10 is Save The Eagles Day, to remind us of the importance of protecting the worlds 70 species of Eagles from extinction. Eagles can be found on every continent except Antarctica. America's national emblem, the Bald Eagle, inhabits every state except Hawaii. This bird can be truly enormous, having a wingspan of up to 8 feet and a weight of 15 pounds. Surprisingly enough, it is monogamous and mates for its entire 15 to 20 year lifespan.
January 11 is officially Amelia Earhart Day, but not because that is the day she disappeared. It marks the date she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland California in 1935. it was two years later on June 1 that she and her navigator Fred Noonan departed Miami on a 29,000 mile journey, attempting to flt around the world. they were just 7000 miles from completing their goal when radio transmission ceased and they were never seen again.
The name of Margaret Gorman is probably not familiar with most people, but she is notable as being the very first winner of the Miss America Pageant in 1920. Originally initiated as a local Atlantic City festival in an attempt to extent the tourist season past Labor Day, the event was not known officially as the Miss America Pageant until 1922. Miss America Day is now held in January of each year, with the most recent pageant being held on January 12 2013. it was broadcast for the first time in 1954, with a (then!) record-breaking 27 million viewers, and remains the fourth running longest event in television history. The state of California has had the most winners with six, while 21 other states, including Washington, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, and Montana have never had a Miss America come from their state.
Happy Cable Car Day! January 17 will mark the 142 anniversary of the first cable car railway patent bestowed upon Andrew Smith Hallidie. he was inspired to invent the cable car after witnessing an accident with horse-drawn streetcars on San Francisco's steep streets. the cable car made its first appearance in the city in 1873. The cars move up and down San Francisco's inclines at a speed of about 9 miles per hour.
And who hasn't used that handy little tool, the Thesaurus? It is the volume that lists synonyms for words, enabling a writer to avoid using the same word in articles, speeches, and papers. January 18th is officially Thesaurus Day, celebrating the 1779 birthday of the author of Roget's Thesaurus-Peter Roget. he was a British physician who struggled with depression and battled it by compiling lists of different words. the brilliant Roget graduated with a medical degree at the age of only 19 and then served as Chief Surgeon at a British hospital. In addition, he also invented a slide rule that enables a person to preform exponential and root calculations. His first Thesaurus was published when Roget was 73, and was entitled "Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition" His work had 28 printings in just his lifetime alone, and after his death was carried on by his son and grandson.
Sharpen your pencils! January 23 is National Handwriting Day, established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to promote the use of pens, pencils, and writing paper. the day was chosen because it is the birthday of John Hancock, whose stylish and flamboyant signature is easily recognizable on the Declaration of Independence. Even his name became synonymous with the word "signature", as we will often ask a person to "put their John Hancock" on important documents. this member of the Continental Congress and later Governor of Massachusetts was the very first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Make yourself a peanut butter sandwich on January 24 in honor of National Peanut Butter Day! Every year, Americans eat enough of this spread to make more than ten billion sandwiches, and they spend around 800 million dollars to do so. First introduced in 1904 at the St. Louis Worlds Fair, peanut butter is now eaten in 90% of American households. Today, the law states that in order to be labeled as "Peanut Butter", the product must be at least 90% peanuts.
January 25 is observed as World Leprosy Day, and is intended to educate people on this disease that damages the nerves that controls the muscles of the hands and feet. Left untreated, it can lead to the inability to use the hands, paralysis of the feet, loss of sensation in the extremities, and blindness. Every day, 620 people are diagnosed with leprosy-that is one every two minutes! Also known as Hanson's Disease, leprosy is contagious and is spread by droplets from the nose and mouth by coughing and sneezing. India has more leprosy than any other country. The good news is that, in this century, leprosy is curable, and any deformities can often quickly and easily be removed by surgery.
January 29 is Seeing Eye Dog Day, and is in honor of those who help their impaired humans to safely navigate their surroundings. The top three breeds used as guide dogs today are Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepards. A dog must undergo specialized training for four to six months to make sure that they have the necessary qualifications to be a seeing eye dog.
Now, lets look at some specific moments in time.
On January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history. In 1857, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.
On January 27 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington DC. Readership in its magazine did not grow, however, until it discarded the format of overly technical articles and used articles of general interest accompanied by photographs. "National Geographic" quickly became known for its stunning and pioneering photography.
ON January 25 1905 at the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, a 3106 carat diamond-the Cullinan-is discovered. Worried that the diamond might be stolen in transit from Africa to London, a phony diamond was sent as a decoy aboard a steamer ship loaded with detectives, while the real stone slowly made its way in a plain white box.
On January 24 1935, canned beer makes its debut when the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2000 cans of beer and ale to faithful Kruger drinkers in Richmond Virginia. 91 percent of the drinkers approved of the new canned beer, prompting Krueger to give the green light to further production.
On January 26 1945, the most decorated soldier of WWII, American Lt. Audie Murphy, is wounded in France. Murphy was wounded three times, fought in nine major campaigns across Europe, and was credited with killing 241 enemy soldiers. He won 37 medals and decorations in total throughout his military career.
On January 21 1957, Patsy Cline, one of the most important figures in country music history, forst gains national attention with her winning appearance on "Arther Godfrey's Talent Scouts". Cline wowwed the audience with her performance of the now-classic "Walkin' after Midnight"
On January 22 1973, the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion by handing down its decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade. Interestingly enough, for most of the country's first 100 years, abortion was not a criminal offense, nor was it considered immoral.
Hopefully you might have found these tidbits of American history and January interesting! I'll be back with more later.