- gingerly December 6, 2019Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 6, 2019 is: gingerly \JIN-jer-lee\ adjective : very cautious or careful Examples: "The reality: I am averse to wet clothes, squishy shoes and algae in my hair, so I cautiously stepped into a kayak, trying my darndest not to rock the boat, and set out at […]Merriam-Webster
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On This Day
The Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States. Located almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, the monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world’s tallest predominantly stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk,[A] standing 554 feet 7 11⁄32 inches (169.046 m) tall according to the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (measured 2013–14) or 555 feet 5 1⁄8 inches (169.294 m) tall according to the National Park Service (measured 1884).[B] It is the tallest monumental column in the world if all are measured above their pedestrian entrances.[A] Overtaking the Cologne Cathedral, it was the tallest structure in the world between 1884 and 1889, after which it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Construction of the monument began in 1848 and was halted from 1854 to 1877 due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the American Civil War. Although the stone structure was completed in 1884, internal ironwork, the knoll, and installation of memorial stones were not completed until 1888. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) or 27% up, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source. The original design was by Robert Mills, but he did not include his proposed colonnade due to a lack of funds, proceeding only with a bare obelisk. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1848; the first stone was laid atop the unfinished stump on August 7, 1880; the capstone was set on December 6, 1884; the completed monument was dedicated on February 21, 1885; and officially opened October 9, 1888.
The Washington Monument is a hollow Egyptian style stone obelisk with a 500-foot (152.4 m) tall column and a 55-foot (16.8 m) tall pyramidion. Its walls are 15 feet (4.6 m) thick at its base and 1 1⁄2 feet (0.46 m) thick at their top. The marble pyramidion has thin walls only 7 inches (18 cm) thick supported by six arches, two between opposite walls that cross at the center of the pyramidion and four smaller corner arches. The top of the pyramidion is a large marble capstone with a small aluminum pyramid at its apex with inscriptions on all four sides. The lowest 150 feet (45.7 m) of the walls, constructed during the first phase 1848–1854, are composed of a pile of bluestone gneiss rubble stones (not finished stones) held together by a large amount of mortar with a facade of semi-finished marble stones about 1 1⁄4 feet (0.4 m) thick. The upper 350 feet (106.7 m) of the walls, constructed during the second phase 1880–1884, are composed of finished marble surface stones, half of which project into the walls, partially backed by finished granite stones.
The interior is occupied by iron stairs that spiral up the walls, with an elevator in the center, each supported by four iron columns, which do not support the stone structure. The stairs contain fifty sections, most on the north and south walls, with many long landings stretching between them along the east and west walls. These landings allowed many inscribed memorial stones of various materials and sizes to be easily viewed while the stairs were accessible (until 1976), plus one memorial stone between stairs that is difficult to view. The pyramidion has eight observation windows, two per side, and eight red aircraft warning lights, two per side. Two aluminum lightning rods connected via the elevator support columns to ground water protect the monument. The monument’s present foundation is 37 feet (11.3 m) thick, consisting of half of its original bluestone gneiss rubble encased in concrete. At the northeast corner of the foundation, 21 feet (6.4 m) below ground, is the marble cornerstone, including a zinc case filled with memorabilia. Fifty American flags fly on a large circle of poles centered on the monument. In 2001, a temporary screening facility was added to the entrance to prevent a terrorist attack. An earthquake in 2011 slightly damaged the monument, and it was closed until 2014. It was closed again for elevator system repairs, security upgrades, and mitigation of soil contamination from August 2016 to September 2019.
Born On This Day
1904 – Ève Curie, French-American journalist and pianist (d. 2007)
Ève Denise Curie Labouisse (French pronunciation: [ɛv dəniz kyʁi labwis]; December 6, 1904 – October 22, 2007) was a French and American writer, journalist and pianist. Ève Curie was the younger daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. Her sister was Irène Joliot-Curie and her brother-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Ève was the only member of her family who did not choose a career as a scientist and did not win a Nobel Prize, although her husband Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr. did collect the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 on behalf of UNICEF. She worked as a journalist and authored her mother’s biography Madame Curie and a book of war reportage, Journey Among Warriors. From the 1960s she committed herself to work for UNICEF, providing help to children and mothers in developing countries.
Leonard J. Goldberg (January 24, 1934 – December 4, 2019) was an American film and television producer. He had his own production company, Mandy Films (formerly Panda Productions). He served as head of programming for ABC, and was president of 20th Century Fox. Goldberg was also the executive producer of the CBS series Blue Bloods.
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A Soldier’s Christmas
The Night Before Christmas
T’was the night before Christmas, he lived all alone in a one bedroom house, made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see: no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand; on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds, a sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary. I found the home of a soldier, at once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping; silent, alone, curled up on the floor, in this one bedroom home. Not how I pictured a US soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read, curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night, owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon ’round the world, the children would play and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month of the year, because of the soldiers like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye; I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice, “Santa, don’t cry. This life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more; my life is my God, my country, my corps.”
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep; I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still, and we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night, this guardian of honor, so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right, “Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.”
Author: A peace keeping soldier stationed overseas
On This Day
1082 – Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona is assassinated.
Ramon Berenguer II the Towhead or Cap de estopes (1053 or 1054 – December 5, 1082) was Count of Barcelona from 1076 until his death. He was the son of Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona and Almodis de La Marche. The Chronicle of San Juan de la Pena called him, “. . . exceeding brave and bold, kind, pleasant, pious, joyful, generous, and of an attractive appearance”. Because of the extremely thick hair he had on top of his head, he was known as Cap d’Estop.”
He succeeded his father, Ramon Berenguer I, Count of Barcelona, as co-ruler with his twin brother, Berenguer Ramon, in 1075. The twins failed to agree and divided their possessions between them, against the will of their late father. Ramon Berenguer the Towhead, so called because of the thickness and colour of his hair, was killed while hunting in the woods in 1082. His brother, who went on to become the sole ruler of Catalonia, was credited by popular opinion of having orchestrated this murder. Berenguer Ramon II the Fratricide was later succeeded by Ramon Berenguer’s son, Ramon Berenguer III.
Family and issue
Ramon Berenguer married Mahalta (or Maud) of Apulia, born ca. 1059, died 1111/1112, daughter of Duke Robert Guiscard and of Sikelgaita de Salerno. Following his murder, she remarried to Aimery I of Narbonne, and was the mother of his son Aimery II.
Ramon Berenguer and Mahalta’s son, Ramon Berenguer III (before 1082–1131), was count of Barcelona and Provence.
Born On This Day
1896 – Ann Nolan Clark, American historian, author, and educator (d. 1995)
Ann Nolan Clark, born Anna Marie Nolan (December 5, 1896 – December 13, 1995), was an American writer who won the 1953 Newbery Medal.
Born in Las Vegas, New Mexico in 1896, Clark graduated from New Mexico Normal School New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas at age 21, and married Thomas Patrick Clark on August 6, 1919. She gave birth to an only son, Thomas Patrick, Jr., who later died as a pilot in World War II.
She began her career teaching English at the Highlands University. However, in the early 1920s, she transferred to a job teaching Native American children how to read for the Tesuque pueblo people, which lasted for 25 years. Clark found that the underfunded Tesuque School couldn’t afford any substantial instructional material. In the process of teaching the children about literature, she incorporated their voices and stories to write In My Mother’s House, and other books for the 1st to 4th grade one-room schoolhouse. She writes about this process, and about her travels to many parts of Central and South America, in her adult nonfiction book, Journey to the People.
Between 1940 and 1951, the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs published 15 of her books, all relating to her experiences with the Native Americans. Her book In My Mother’s House, illustrated by Pueblo artist Velino Herrera, was named a Caldecott Honor book in 1942.
In 1945, the Institute for Inter-American Affairs sent Clark to live and travel for five years in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. Those experiences led her to write books such as Magic Money, Looking-for-Something, and Secret of the Andes, which won the 1953 Newbery Medal. In the 1940s she also wrote books for the Haskell Foundation and the Haskell Indian Nations University at Lawrence, KS; one of them ” The Slim Butte Raccoon” was illustrated by Andrew Standing Soldier.
She also won the Catholic Library Association’s 1963 Regina Medal, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 1962 Distinguished Service Award. Clark died in 1995 in Arizona, after writing 31 books which took a glance at Native American culture, mostly through the eyes of its children.
Mrs. Clark’s birth family was well known in the early 20th century in her hometown of Las Vegas, New Mexico, and their home, the Nolan House, is on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the first quarry stone houses there.
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“It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
“When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.”
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
“I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’”
“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
Robert A. Heinlein
“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.”
“A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.”
Honore de Balzac
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
“Every person has to love at least one bad partner in their lives to be truly thankful for the right one.”