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December 17th

I like coincidences. They make me wonder about destiny, and whether free will is an illusion or just a matter of perspective. They let me speculate on the idea of some master plan that, from time to time, we’re allowed to see out of the corner of our eye. – Chuck Sigars, The World According to Chuck weblog, September 8, 2003


351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) with 14 days to follow.

Holidays for Today:
~ National Maple Syrup Day
~ Pan American Aviation Day
~ Wright Brothers Day


  • 1760 Deborah Sampson (Gannett), Plymouth, Massachusetts, served 17 months in the army during the Civil War by disguising herself as a man.
  • 1807 John Greenleaf Whittier, Haverhill, Massachusetts, poet and abolitionist (Snow-Bound, Barbara Frietchie, and many poems turned into hymns)
  • 1894 Arthur Fiedler, Boston, Massachusetts, conductor (Boston Pops Orchestra)
  • 1903 Erskine Caldwell, Moreland, Georgia, author (Tobacco Road, God’s Little Acre)
  • 1908 Willard Frank Libby, Grand Valley, Colorado, chemist (Nobel / role in the 1949 development of radiocarbon dating, a process which revolutionized archaeology)
  • 1913 Burt Baskin, Streator, Illinois, entrepreneur (Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain)
  • 1935 George Lindsey, Fairfield, Alabama, actor (Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D )
  • 1944 Jack L. Chalker, Baltimore, Maryland, history teacher / author (series: The Saga of the Well World, The Watchers at the Well, The Dancing Gods, Changewinds, The Three Kings, Wonderland Gambit)
  • 1945 Ernie Hudson, Benton Harbor, Michigan, actor (Ghostbusters, The Crow, Oz, Congo, Heaven Sent, The Family Business)
  • 1947 Wes Studi, Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, Cherokee actor (Dances with Wolves, The Last of the Mohicans, Geronimo: An American Legend, Crazy Horse, Skinwalkers, Comanche Moon, Avatar, The Red Road, Hostiles)
  • 1953 Bill Pullman, Hornell, New York, actor (Spaceballs, Wyatt Earp, Casper, Independence Day, Lost Highway, Lake Placid, Torchwood: Miracle Day, 1600 Penn, The Equalizer, The Sinner)
  • 1974 Giovanni Ribisi, Los Angeles, California, actor (The New Leave It to Beaver, My Two Dads, Davis Rules, The Wonder Years, Saving Private Ryan, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Avatar, My Name is Earl, Dads, Ted 2, Sneaky Pete)

Men are born to succeed, not fail. – Henry David Thoreau


  • 1538 Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
  • 1577 Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for English Queen Elizabeth I.
  • 1777 France formally recognizes the United States of America.
  • 1790 Discovery of the Aztec calendar, or Solar Stone, by workmen repairing Mexico City’s Central Plaza.
  • 1896 Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park Casino, which was the first multi-purpose arena with the technology to create an artificial ice surface in North America, was destroyed in a fire.
  • 1903 The Wright Brothers make their first powered and heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  Orville Wright flew 120 feet for 12 seconds, then Wilbur Wright flew 852 feet later that day.
  • 1935 First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane.
  • 1938 Nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium is discovered by Otto Hahn, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy, which opens the “Atomic Age”.
  • 1951 The Civil Rights Congress delivers “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations
  • 1957 The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • 2003 SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight.
  • 2014 U.S. and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after severing them 55 years ago.


One day, a gooberette named Sally was putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
She was really stumped and very frustrated, so she decided to ask her husband for help.

”It’s supposed to be a tiger!” Sally cried.

”Honey,” said her husband, “Put the Frosted Flakes back in the box!”


A man and his ten-year-old son were on a fishing trip miles from home. Being good Christians they decided to attend the Sunday worship service at a small rural church.
The father forgot to bring any cash, so he reached in his pocket and gave his son a dime to drop in the offering plate as it was passed.

As they walked back to their car after the service, the father complained. “The service was too long,” he lamented. “The sermon was boring, and the singing was off-key.”
Finally the boy said with a grin, “Dad, I thought it was pretty good for a dime.”

ONE-LINERS: Feline Physics

* Law of Cat Elongation – A cat can make her body long enough to reach just about any counter top that has anything remotely interesting on it.
* Law of Cat Obstruction – A cat must lay on the floor in such a position to obstruct the maximum amount of human foot traffic.
* Law of Cat Acceleration – A cat will accelerate at a constant rate, until he gets good and ready to stop.

* Law of Dinner Table Attendance – Cats must attend all meals when anything good is served.
* Law of Rug Configuration – No rug may remain in its naturally flat state for very long.
* Law of Obedience Resistance – A cat’s resistance varies in proportion to a human’s desire for her to do something.

* First Law of Energy Conservation – Cats know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed and will, therefore, use as little energy as possible.
* Second Law of Energy Conservation – Cats also know that energy can only be stored by a lot of napping.
* Law of Milk Consumption – A cat will drink his weight in milk, squared, just to show you he can.

* Law of Furniture Replacement – A cat’s desire to scratch furniture is directly proportional to the cost of the furniture.
* Law of Cat Landing – A cat will always land in the softest place possible; often the mid- section of an unsuspecting, reclining human.
* Law of Fluid Displacement – A cat immersed in milk will displace her own volume, minus the amount of milk consumed.

Father: “Son, you need to be more industrious. After all, when Abraham Lincoln was your age he was out splitting rails.”
Son: “I know, Dad. And when he was your age, he was President.”

A man driving in southern Indiana, heading for Kentucky, saw a sign that read:

He still had more than a quarter of a tank left, but figured he’d better take advantage of this opportunity to fill-up his tank cheap.
As he was getting his change from the attendant, he asked, “So, how much IS gas in Kentucky?”
The man replied, “A buck and a quarter.”

PIC OF THE DAY: Abominable Snowman
Abominable Snowman Decoration

A truck driver used to amuse himself by running over lawyers he saw walking down the side of the road. Every time he saw a lawyer, he would swerve to hit him and enjoy the sound of the resounding “THUMP”.

One day, the truck driver saw a priest hitchhiking. He thought he would do a good deed and pulled the truck over.

“Where are you going, Father?”

“I’m going to the church five miles down the road.”

“No problem, Father! I’ll give you a lift. Climb in the truck.”

The happy priest climbed into the passenger seat and the truck driver took off. Suddenly, the truck driver saw a lawyer walking down the road.

Instinctively he swerved to hit him. At the last moment he remembered there was a priest in the truck, so he swerved back to the road. Although he should have missed the lawyer, nonetheless he heard the familiar resounding “THUMP”.

The truck drive felt guilty about his actions. He turned to the priest and said, “I’m really sorry Father. I tried to miss that lawyer.”

“That’s okay, my son. I got ‘im with the door.”


Translations of Help Wanted Ads

~ Energetic self-starter: You’ll be working on commission.
~ Experience required: We do not know the first thing about any of this.
~ Entry level position: We will pay you the lowest wages allowed by law.

~ Fast learner: You will get no training from us.
~ Good organizational skills: You’ll be handling the filing.
~ Flexible work hours: You will frequently work long overtime hours.

~ Make an investment in you future: This is a franchise or a pyramid scheme.
~ Much client contact: You handle the phone or make “cold calls” on clients.
~ Management training position: You’ll be a salesperson with a wide territory.

~ Opportunity of a lifetime: You will not find a lower salary for so much work.
~ Must have reliable transportation: You will be required to break speed limits.
~ Must be able to lift 50 pounds: We offer no health insurance or chiropractors.

~ Planning and coordination: You book the bosses travel arrangements.
~ Strong communication skills: You will write tons of documentation and letters.
~ Quick problem solver: You will work on projects months behind schedule already.


There once was a man named “Rudolph the Red.”
One day he looked outside his window and said “It’s going to rain!”

His wife asked him: “How do you know?”
He answered: “Well . . . Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

GOLDEN OLDIE A photographer for a national magazine was assigned to take pictures of a great forest fire. He was advised that a small plane would be waiting to fly him over the fire.

The photographer arrived at the airstrip just an hour before sundown. Sure enough, a small Cessna airplane was waiting. He jumped in with his equipment and shouted, “Let’s go!” The tense man sitting in the pilot’s seat swung the plane into the wind and soon they were in the air, though flying erratically.

“Fly over the north side of the fire,” said the photographer, “and make several low-level passes.” “Why?” asked the nervous pilot. “Because I’m going to take pictures!” yelled the photographer. “I’m a photographer, and photographers take pictures.”

The pilot replied, “You mean you’re not the flight instructor?”


DURING WORLD WAR II, I was sent to the U.S. Navy’s training and distribution center in Shoemaker, Calif., where we awaited assignment to the South Pacific theater. The sleeping conditions were less than perfect. In fact, the bunks were infested with bedbugs.

These little creatures appeared after lights out, and they provoked much cursing and slapping at the blankets. One night, a man who had barely met the military’s minimum height and weight requirements cried out, “Put me down!” – William M. Daniel

Deciding to take up jogging, the middle-aged man was astounded by the wide selection of jogging shoes available at the local sports shoe store.

While trying on a basic pair of jogging shoe, he noticed a minor feature and asked the clerk about it.

“What’s this little pocket thing here on the side for?”

“Oh, that’s to carry spare change so you can call your wife to come pick you up when you’ve jogged too far.”


A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus.

“It’s a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway,” he said.
“Actually,” said his guide, “it’s named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation.”

The visitor was astonished. “Was Joshua Hemingway a writer, also?”
“Yes, indeed,” said his guide. “He wrote a check.”

A grandfather walking past his young granddaughter’s room one night saw her kneeling beside her bed, with head bowed and hands folded, repeating the alphabet.

“What are you doing?” he asked her.

She explained, “I’m saying my prayers, but I couldn’t think just what to pray for. So I’m just saying all the letters of the alphabet, and God can put them together however he thinks best.”


TODAY IN TRIVIA: What is Pan American Aviation Day about? On this day “all officials of the United States Government, the chief executive offices of the States, territories, and possessions of the United States, and all citizens to participate in the observance of Pan American Aviation Day to further, and stimulate interest in, aviation in the American countries as an important stimulus to the further development of more rapid communications and a cultural development between the countries of the Western Hemisphere.”

~ Why was December 17th picked as the date to celebrate Pan American Aviation Day? The date commemorates the first successful flight of a mechanically propelled heavier-than-air craft, accomplished on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

~ How many types of walnuts are there? There are 17 recognized species of walnuts — all are edible. “Persians” are considered the most tasty.

~ Why was Anaxagoras exiled from Athens? In 435 B.C., the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras suggested that the sun was not just a small glowing circle of light. He maintained that it was a glowing rock a hundred miles across. For that outrageous statement, he was exiled from Athens.

~ How long were Wooly Mammoth’s tusks? The largest tusk found so far belonged to a Columbian mammoth from Texas and it was 16 feet long! Unlike elephant tusks, mammoth tusks (especially those of woolly mammoths), twist like a corkscrew.
QUIP OF THE DAY: If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way your wife told you.


Thought for the day. . . Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. – Lord Byron

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