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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Moose

There are an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 moose in Canada.

0.3% of all road accidents in Canada involve a Moose.

Every year, between 550 and 800 moose are killed on Alaska’s roads in collisions with motor vehicles.

Moose attack more people annually than bears and wolves combined.

Currently, most moose are found in Alaska, Canada, New England, Estonia, Latvia, Russia and Scandinavia,

Bull moose browses a beaver pond. By Walter Ezell, CC BY 3.0 Wikipedia Commons


Most male moose will break off it's antlers after mating season to conserve energy for winter. They will regrow a new set each spring, which can grow up to an inch a day, making it one of the fastest growing animal parts.

The cells that make up the antlers of a moose are the fastest growing animal cells in nature.

Moose, Superior National Forest, Minnesota, USA

In Alaska, there are laws against pushing a moose from an airplane, viewing a moose from a plane, and giving a moose beer.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Moonlight Sonata

Written by Beethoven in 1801 whilst suffering from unrequited love, "Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor" was probably inspired by the composer's love for his 17-year-old pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi to whom the work is dedicated. Guilletta Guicciardi may have been Beethoven’s unknown "immortal beloved."

Title page of the first edition of the score, published in 1802 in Vienna by Giovanni Cappi e Comp

Beethoven considered the sonata to be inferior to many of his other works for piano. Its popularity exasperated the composer, who remarked to Carl Czerny, "Surely I've written better things."

The sonata’s nickname came from a Berlin critic named Ludwig Rellstab who in 1832 described the famous first movement as like "a boat passing the wild scenery of Lake Lucerne in the moonlight."

Beethoven himself subtitled the work ‘Sonata quasi una fantasia’ (Sonata in the style of a fantasia’).


The Hungarian compose Franz Lizst’s preference was for the middle of the three movements, calling it, "A flower between two abysses."

John Lennon got the idea for a Beatles song when he heard Yoko Ono playing  "Moonlight Sonata" on the piano. He asked her to play it backwards, and came up with “Because” based on what he heard.

Originally written for Songfacts.com

Monday, 27 June 2016

Lottie Moon

On July 7, 1873 after waiting many years for her church to agree that women could be missionaries, 32- year-old Southern Baptist Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon  (1840-1912) of Virginia was appointed as a Baptist missionary to China.

Lottie joined her sister Edmonia at the North China Mission Station in the treaty port of Dengzhou, in Shandong, and began her ministry by teaching in a boys school.

A gifted linguist, she quickly picked up the Chinese language and for 40 years "the cookie lady" taught and cared for Chinese children. She also wrote numerous letters back home to America, mobilizing many women to pray, give or to even become missionaries themselves.

Lottie Moon

In her 70s, Lottie gave away all her money and possessions to help provide for the starving Chinese.

Lottie Moon died on December 24, 1912 on board a ship returning home to the States and at her death she weighed barely 50 lbs.

For many years Southern Baptist foreign missions have been supported through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars. It finances half the entire Southern Baptist missions budget every year.

The Moon landings

During an address to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s.

President Kennedy delivers his proposal to put a man on the Moon to Congress

After hearing President's Kennedy's "end of the decade" speech, an Englishman made a wager with a bookmaker of 10 pounds at 1000/1 "that a man will set foot on the surface of the moon before the first of January 1970." He thought it was "a common sense bet."

During a September 20, 1963 speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Kennedy proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union join forces in their efforts to reach the Moon. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's son Sergei claimed Khrushchev was poised to accept Kennedy's proposal at the time of Kennedy's assassination. The Soviets did not trust Vice President Johnson, so Khrushchev rejected the plan.

Launched on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo space program. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond Earth orbit and into an orbit around the Moon.

Apollo 8 crew. From left to right are: James A. Lovell Jr., William A. Anders, and Frank Borman

On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts gazed beyond the barren moonscape at the beauty and color of the earth rising, The crew were the first humans to witness Earthrise. As they saw from a distance the separations of day and night and of land and water described in Genesis 1, the three were inspired to read from the Bible the account of God's creation of the earth during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever.

Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968

Kennedy's goal was accomplished on the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed their Lunar Module on July 20, 1969, and walked on the lunar surface.

Robert Goddard, the scientist who created the first liquid fueled rocket, which was launched in 1926, was ridiculed for his belief man could reach the moon.The New York Times even mocked his understanding of basic physics.They later published a correction the day after the launch of Apollo 11.


Right before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, an elder at his Presbyterian church back on Earth, took communion on board the Lunar Module. He had prepared ahead of time a small wafer and wine. NASA made Aldrin maintain radio silence, but he still took the Eucharist elements and read John 15:5 ("I am the vine, you are the branches…") while Armstrong looked on. So, the first liquid poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, was the wine and the bread!

Buzz Aldrin (pictured) walked on the Moon with Neil Armstrong, on Apollo 11, July 20–21, 1969

The first words spoken on the moon were said by Neil Armstrong: “That's one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind."  The speech, as written by his wife, read "That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind." Unfortunately he forgot the a in the between for and man, thus changing the meaning.

Like two children playing on the beach, Armstrong and Aldrin bounced up and down on the lunar surface. Armstrong said: "It’s fun … you’ve got to be careful you lean in the direction you want to go, or you seem inebriated."

The first meal eaten on the Moon included bacon squares, sugar biscuits, tinned peaches, a pineapple and grapefruit juice drink and coffee.

The Lunar Flag Assembly was designed to survive a Moon landing and to appear to "wave" as it would in a breeze on Earth. However, the flag fell over when the Lunar Module Eagle took off.

Buzz Aldrin "McGuyverd" a broken circuit breaker on the Apollo 11 lander with a felt-tip pen, without which Aldrin and Armstrong would have died on the moon. A switch to the circuit breaker had broken off in all the too-ing and fro-ing in the cramped environment. The circuit breaker was the one that activated the ascent engine that would lift them off the moon to rendezvous with Mike Collins, who was orbiting overhead in the Columbia.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon in 1969, the third astronaut in the mission, Michael Collins, stayed in orbit 75 miles (121 km) above the surface. After his epic journey he retired from NASA and became director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Apollo 11 crew,: commander Neil Armstrong, CM pilot Michael Collins, and LM pilot Buzz Aldrin

The average age of a NASA mission control engineer for Apollo 11 was 26.

The Apollo 12 astronauts took a color TV camera to the Moon's surface, but one of them broke it by pointing it at the sun.

While on Apollo 16, ommand module pilot Ken Mattingly lost his wedding ring—another astronaut caught it days later as it floated out a door during a spacewalk.

During their second day on the moon on July 31, 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin drove the first ever off-Earth vehicle, the Lunar Roving "moon buggy".

Lunar Roving Vehicle used on Apollos 15–17
Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, wrote his daughter's initials in the lunar dust. They should still be legible in 50,000 years.

The surface of moon has been more thoroughly explored than most of the deep oceans on earth.

Sources Daily Express, Christianheadlines.com

The Moon

HISTORY

The Moon was formed 4.6 billion years ago, around some 30–50 million years after the formation of the solar system.

The realization that the moon does not itself shine but reflects sunlight dates back to Pythagoras in the 6th century BC.

In 1178 five Canterbury monks observed what was possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon's distance from the Earth are a result of this collision.

Christopher Columbus once used his knowledge of a lunar eclipse at night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

The Moon, tinted reddish, during a lunar eclipse. By Alfredo Garcia, Jr, [2] - Flickr [1] Wikipedia Commons

The first Great Moon Hoax article was published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, on August 25, 1835, chronicling the "discovery" of life on the Moon. It was the first of a series of six articles about the supposed discovery of life and even civilization on the Moon. The discoveries were falsely attributed to Sir John Herschel, one of the best-known contemporary astronomers of that time.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have had a full moon.

The first photo of the Moon was in 1851; the first photo of its dark side was in 1959.

Luna 2, a Soviet space probe, became the first man-made object to reach the Moon on September 14, 1959. It crashed into it at around 7,500 mph.

Luna 2 Soviet moon probe.

The first photos of the far side of the Moon in 1959 were transmitted to Earth from a distance of 292,000 miles (470,000 km) by the Soviet Luna III .

The first spacecraft to perform a successful lunar soft landing was the Russian-built Luna 9 in 1966.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 made it illegal for countries to establish military bases on the Moon.

Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, closely followed by Buzz Aldrin, during the Apollo 11 mission.

The Russian space probe Luna 16 landed on the Moon on September 20, 1970 to collect samples from its surface. It was the first unmanned probe to bring objects back from space, returning home with 100g of soil and rock.

Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin were history's first moon riders. They took their lunar dune buggy for a two-hour drive on the surface of the moon on July 31, 1971.

The Lunar Roving Vehicle at its final resting place after EVA-3.

There is over 180,000 kg of man-made trash and debris on the moon, including 96 bags of urine, feces, and vomit.

In 2005 ESA's Smart-1 lunar orbiter discovered elements such as aluminium, calcium, iron, silicon, and other surface elements on the moon.

Chang'e 3 was an unmanned lunar exploration mission operated by the China National Space Administration, incorporating a robotic lander and China's first lunar rover, the Yutu rover. It became the first spacecraft to land on the Moon since 1976 on December 14, 2013.

Chang'e 3, China's first Moon lander, imaged by the Yutu rover. Wikipedia

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A full moon is around nine times brighter than a half moon.

Full moon as seen from Earth's northern hemisphere. By Gregory H. Revera, Wikipedia Commons

According to Apollo astronauts, the Moon smells like burnt gunpowder.

The Moon weighs 73,476,730,924,573,500 million kg. The Earth is more than 81 times as big.

The Moon gets hit by over 6,000 pounds of meteor material per day.

The giant far-side South Pole–Aitken basin is some 2,240 km (1,390 mi) in diameter. It the largest crater on the Moon and the second-largest confirmed impact crater in the Solar System.

The highest point on the Moon is higher above its surface than Mount Everest on Earth.

All the American flags on the moon have been bleached white by radiation from the sun.

RELATIONSHIP TO EARTH

Our moon doesn't have a cool name like Europa, Io, or Triton because for most of history, humans thought the Earth's moon was the only moon.

We can see the Moon only because light from the Sun bounces off it back to Earth. If the Sun wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be able to see the Moon.

Owing to its synchronous rotation around Earth, the Moon always shows the same face: its near side.

Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from the Earth.

Moon setting in western sky over the High Desert in California. By Jessie Eastland - Wikipedia Commons

Although other planets have larger satellites than our Moon, the ratio of our Moon’s diameter to that of Earth is the largest in the solar system.

Research shows that people in the UK are most likely to be bitten by dogs when the moon is full.

The distance from the Earth to the moon varies between 221,500 miles to 252,700 miles. This is because the Moon orbits in an elliptical pattern, which means the actual distance can vary.

The Sun is 400 times further from the Earth than the Moon, but the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun.

A day on the Moon is so slow that you could outrun the sun in a car and stay in perpetual sunlight.

The Moon is slowly moving further away from Earth at about 4cm a year

The average gravitational pull on the Moon is only a sixth of that on Earth.

Astronauts on the moon only weigh one-sixth of what they do on earth.

"Moon" is the only word occurring twice in the top 10 songs of the 20th century. "Moon River" was the third most performed song of the 20th century, "Blue Moon" was eighth.


WEATHER

The surface temperature on the Moon varies between –233C and 123C.


There are places that remain in permanent shadow at the bottoms of many polar craters. These dark craters are extremely cold: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured the lowest summer temperatures in craters at the southern pole at just 26 K (−247 °C; −413 °F) close to the winter solstice in north polar Hermite Crater. This is the coldest temperature in the Solar System ever measured by a spacecraft, colder even than the surface of Pluto.

Sources Daily Express, Daily Mail

Moon

A moon, or natural satellite is any small body that orbits a planet. In the Solar System there are 173 known moons, which orbit within six planets.

Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system that don't have moons.

When Galileo discovered Jupiter's four largest moons on January 7, 1610, his observations caused a revolution in astronomy: a planet with smaller planets orbiting it did not conform to the principles of Aristotelian cosmology, which held that all heavenly bodies should circle the Earth.

Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, is the largest moon in the Solar System. Ganymede is larger in diameter than the smallest planet Mercury,

Image of Ganymede's taken by the Galileo orbiter 

One of Jupiter's 62 moons, Europa, is thought to have twice as much water as Planet Earth.

American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard discovered Amalthea, the third moon of Jupiter, on September 9, 1892 at Lick Observatory. It was the last natural satellite discovered by direct visual observation.

The most detailed existing image of Amalthea 

The Science Master of Eton College Henry Madan, in 1877 suggested the name for the two dwarf moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos. This was referencing the fact that Deimos and Phobos were twin brothers, the children of the god Ares (Mars in Roman mythology).

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object other than Earth for which clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found.

Titan's atmosphere is so thick and gravity so low that a human could fly through it by flapping any sort of wings attached to their arms.

Neptune has 14 known moons, which are named for minor water deities in Greek mythology. By far the largest of them is Triton, discovered by William Lassell on October 10, 1846, just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself. Over a century passed before the discovery of the second natural satellite, Nereid.

Triton is unique among moons of planetary mass in that its orbit is retrograde to Neptune's rotation and inclined relative to Neptune's equator. This suggests that it did not form in orbit around Neptune but instead is a dwarf planet that was captured from the Kuiper belt.

Voyager 2 photomosaic of Triton

The next-largest irregular satellite in the Solar System, Saturn's moon Phoebe, has only 0.03% of Triton's mass.

The finding of 243 Ida's moon Dactyl in the early 1990s was the proof that some asteroids have moons; indeed, 87 Sylvia has two.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Monty Python's Flying Circus

The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus aired on BBC One on October 5, 1969.

The show's title was chosen mainly because it sounded funny. Others considered including Arthur Megapode's Cheap Show, Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus and Vaseline Review.

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Wikipedia Commons

The theme music was from an American military march, "The Liberty Bell" written in 1893 by John Phillip Sousa and chosen because there were no royalties to pay as it was in the public domain.

The members of Monty Python were: John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.


John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman were members of Cambridge University Footlights, which at the time included future Goodies Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden as well as Yes Minister author Jonathan Lynn.

The Pythons wrote sketches in small teams but a decision about what was used was democratic. If a majority found in idea funny, it was included.

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams appears as a surgeon in the 42nd episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The show's catchphrase "and now for something completely different" came from a real phrase used by the BBC in radio and television broadcasts.

The term 'spam' for unsolicited emails is derived from the 1970 Monty Python 'spam' sketch set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes the canned luncheon meat.

The 'Dead Parrot' sketch was originally about a car salesman who had an answer for everything wrong with the vehicle he's selling.


The television show ran between 1969 and 1974. It is still well-known and watched around the world.

Monty Python shot their first movie, And Now For Something Completely Different in 1971. Their final movie, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, was released in 1983.

Elvis Presley was a huge Monty Python fan. His favourite film was Monty Python and the Holy Grail – a copy was in his video machine when he died.


Source Daily Mail 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Montreal

HISTORY

The French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered the area where Montreal is now located on October 2, 1535. He estimated the population of the native people in the area to be "over a thousand people."

Portrait of Jacques Cartier by Théophile 

The Société Notre-Dame de Montréal founded a permanent mission known as Ville-Marie (or "City of Mary”) on May 17, 1642, which eventually grew into the city of Montreal.

The name 'Montréal' comes from Mont Royal, which means 'Royal Mountain' in French. (At the center of Montreal is a mountain called Mount Royal).


Montreal was originally a fur trading outpost belonging to France. It grew to become the largest city in Canada. (Toronto surpassed it in the 1970s.)

The first cross on Mount Royal was placed there in 1643 by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of the city. He did this in fulfilment of a vow he made to the Virgin Mary when praying to her to stop a disastrous flood.

Montreal map drawn by François Dollier de Casson in 1672

A large concentration of wooden houses (with fireplaces) led to many devastating fires in the early eighteenth century. In 1721, Montreal received a royal order from France to ban wood construction; buildings were to be constructed using stone, but the ban was never fully respected.

A Portuguese-born black slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique was put to death in Montreal on June 21, 1734, having been convicted of setting the fire that destroyed much of the city.

The first curling club in North America was established in Montreal in 1807.

The first permanent golf club in North America, Canada's Royal Montreal Club, was founded in 1873.

The earliest recorded use of the term ice hockey for a match is linked with a game that took place between James Creighton and McGill University students. at the Victoria Skating Rink, Montreal, in 1875.

The Montreal Canadiens, the oldest professional ice hockey club in the world, was founded as a charter member of the National Hockey Association in 1909.

Saint Jacques Street (formerly St. James Street), in 1910

Montreal radio station XWA started broadcasting the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America in 1920.

In 1964 Montreal's Canadelle company invented the push-up bra.

The city of Montreal begun the operation of its underground Metro rapid-transit system.on October 14 1966. Originally consisting of 26 stations on three separate lines, the Metro now has 68 stations on four lines.

An older generation MR-63 train is in the Beaugrand Garage. Wikipedia Commons
During an official state visit to Canada, on July 24, 1967, French President Charles de Gaulle declared to a crowd of over 100,000 in Montreal: "Vive le Québec libre!" ("Long live free Quebec!"). The statement, interpreted as support for Quebec independence, delighted many Quebecers but angered the Canadian government and many English Canadians.

Montreal City Hall's balcony where De Gaulle gave his speech.

Montreal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. It is the only Canadian city to have held the Summer Olympics.

Incorporated into the north base of the Olympic stadium is the Montreal Tower, the world's tallest leaning tower at 175 metres (574 ft).

Stade olympique
Montreal was hit by a series of thunderstorms between the noon hour and 2:30 pm on July 14, 1987 Over 100 millimetres (3.9 in) of rain fell during this very short period of time, resulting in The Montreal Flood of 1987.

FUN FACTS

In 2011 the city had a population of 1,649,519.  Montreal's metropolitan area had a population of 3,824,221. Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada.

Montreal skyline By S. Lacasse - GNUL from French wikipedia : fr:Image:VuedeMontreal.jpg, 

Most of the people who live in Montreal speak French, It is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.

The city itself is located on an island sitting in the Saint Lawrence River.

Montreal has many beautiful churches. (It is referred to locally as 'the city of a hundred churches').

Friday, 24 June 2016

Month

The word month comes from an old term for the moon, a month being approximately the length of one orbit of the moon around the Earth.

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

Any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.

The first letter of each month from July through November spells JASON.

Here is a list of songs with months in the title.

JANUARY 

The Romans named January after Janus, the God of gateways. Janus had two heads so he could look in both directions, back at the old year and forward towards the new year, at the same time.

Statue of the Roman God Janus.

January and February were the last two  months to be added to the Roman calendar, as the Romans originally considered winter a monthless period.

Although March was originally the first month, January became the new first month because that was when the Tomans chose the new consuls.

The Anglo-Saxons called January "Wulfmonath" as it was the month hungry wolves came scavenging at people's doors.

January is the coldest month in the Northern Hemisphere, and the warmest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first recorded reference to a "January sale" in the UK was in 1865.

FEBRUARY 

The name of February came from the Latin "februa," a means of cleansing, which referred to the pre-spring purification rituals.

Before Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46BC, February was the only month with an even number of days. All the rest had 29 or 31. Odd numbers were seen as luckier.

Even when Caesar introduced leap years, the last day of February was the 28th. The extra day was achieved by counting February 24 twice.

The Anglo-Saxons called February Solmonath meaning month of mud or Kale-monath meaning kale or cabbage month.

The only time a month begins and ends on the same day of the week is February in a leap year.

February 1900 Japanese calendar showing that 1900 was not a leap year

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have had a full moon.

MARCH 

The month of March comes from the Latin “Martius,” named for Mars, the Roman god of war who was also regarded as a guardian of agriculture and an ancestor of the Roman people. His month was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare.

Colossal statue of Mars (Pyrrhus) - User:Jean-Pol GRANDMONT (2011), Wikipedia Commons

March was the first month of the year until the Gregorian calendar began to be used in 1752.

March was called Hlyda or Lide in Old English, which is a reference to the loud winds.

March is the only month with three consecutive consonants in its name in English.

APRIL 

It is unclear as to where April got its name. A common theory is that it comes from the Latin word "aperire", meaning "to open", referring to flowers opening in spring. Another theory is that the name could come from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

In Old English the month of April was called Eastermonad.

In Western Christianity, there is a bigger likelihood of Easter falling in April than in March.


Eggs celebrating Easter,

In the English language, April is the first of three months in-a-row, along with May and June, that is also a female given name.

MAY 

The Romans named the month of May after Maia, a goddess of growth and fertility.

Vulcan and Maia (1585) by Bartholomäus Spranger

In Old English, May was called Thrimilce (three milks), the season when a cow could be milked three times between sunrise and evening.

In any year, no other month begins or ends on the same day as May.

No US President has ever died during the month of May. James Buchanan narrowly avoided doing so, dying on the morning of June 1, 1868.

JUNE 

June is named for the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter.

Juno was the Roman goddess of marriage. Because of this, getting married in June was thought to be lucky.

June begins on a different day of the week each year.

JULY 

The month of July was named after Julius Caesar by a decision of the Roman Senate in 44 BC as July was the month of his birth. Before that, it had been known as Quintilis (fifth) as it was the fifth month in the old calendar.

The Tusculum portrait, of Caesar. By Gautier Poupeau from Paris, France - Wikipedis Commons

Until the 18th century, the word July in English had the stress on the first syllable and rhymed with duly or truly.

July 1 is not the mid-point of the year. The exact halfway point comes at 1pm BST on July 3 in a non-leap year.

No month ends on the same day of the week as July unless it is a leap year, when January does so.

AUGUST

August is named after Augustus, first Emperor of Rome who chose it as it was the month of his greatest triumphs. He died in August AD 14.

The statue known as the Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century. By Till Niermann - Wikipedia Commons

Until 8 BC, the Romans called August 'Sextilis' as it was the sixth month of their year.

The Anglo-Saxons called August by the name Weod-monath (weed month) as it is the month when weeds grow most rapidly.

August' is the only name of a month that is used as a male name. April, May and June are all  female names.

SEPTEMBER 

September mean 'seven' in Latin as it was originally the seventh month in the Julian calendar, created by Julius Caesar

September is the only month with the same number of letters in its name in English as the number of the month. It is the ninth month and has nine letters.

The Anglo-Saxons called September 'Gerst monath', meaning 'barley month'.

Barley field

In any year, no other month ends on the same day as September.

In 1752 September had only 19 days in the UK as the country moved from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

On an average September day more babies are born in the US than on a day in any other month.

OCTOBER 

The name "October" comes from the Latin oct for "eight". It was the eighth month of the year before January and February were added to the beginning of the year.

The Anglo-Saxons called October Winterfylleth meaning the 'fullness' (not dirtiness) of winter. It signified the beginning of winter.

The Welsh for October is Hydref (originally Hyddfref), a word signifying the distinctive sound uttered by cattle.


In Catholic Europe in 1582, October had only 21 days. When countries changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, the days from 5-14 October were omitted.

Six US presidents have been born in October, more than in any other month.

NOVEMBER 

The name 'November' comes from the Latin for nine (novem), as it was the ninth month of the Roman calendar.

In Old English November was 'Windmonath' (wind month) or 'Blotmonath' (blood or sacrifice month) referring to the time of slaughter of farm animals.

The Dutch called it 'slachtmaand' (slaughter month); in Welsh it is 'Tachwedd', also meaning 'slaughter' .

November is the only month used to represent a letter in the phonetic alphabet.

The first Sunday of Advent is slightly more likely to fall in November than in December.

Advent wreath. By Micha L. Rieser - Wikipedia Commons

In any given year, November starts on the same day of the week as March and ends on the same day of the week as August.

DECEMBER 

The name of the month coming from the Latin decem for "ten", it was the tenth month of the year before January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

At the North Pole, the Sun does not rise in December; at the South Pole, it does not set.


More people suffer fatal falls in December in the UK than any other month.

Source Daily Express

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Montezuma II

EARLY LIFE

Montezuma II (variant spellings include Moctezuma, Moteuczoma, Motecuhzoma) was born in around 1466. in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).

His father Axayacatl was the Tlatoani (king of the Aztec empire.)

As a child, Montezuma would have been disciplined for even minor infringements. Disobedient boys were pierced by cactus spikes. Disobedient girls made to inhale chili smoke.

Montezuma leaned to read and write using glyphs and studied astrology, history and medicine. He also practiced how to use bows, arrows, swords and other weapons.

REIGN 

Originally trained to be a chief priest, Montezuma was the head of the Calmecac, the school of the upper classes. Following the death of his uncle, Montezuma became the Tlatoani in 1502.

The personality of Montezuma was more that of a scholar (tlatimine) than a warrior. A philosopher king, he was sensitive and kind for a man of his era, but still ruthless at times.

Moctezuma II in the Codex Mendoza

Legend says Montezuma did not want to be a tlatoani. After he was elected, messengers were sent everywhere to look for him. They found him cleaning a temple.

After he took the charge, Montezuma dismissed most of the authorities, and replaced them with his former students. His general dislike of macehualtin (commoners) led him to create an elaborate ritual to separate him from the common people.

Despite his scholarly temperament and priestly training, Montezuma was a distinguished warrior. He extended the Aztec Empire to modern day Honduras and Nicaragua.

PERSONAL LIFE 

Montezuma wore colorful clothes of richly embroidered cotton and necklaces and collars made of pearls or gold. On his head he wore  magnificent headdresses and at times masks.

Aztec feather headdress attributed to Moctezuma II 

Montezuma ate plenty of spicy food made from hot chilies and sweet peppers, especially tortillas made from corn. For meat he consumed deer, rabbit, turkey, even dog with beans and as a snack roasted ground seeds.

At the end of a meal, Montezuma habitually consumed a thick, dyed red chocolate drink flavored with chili peppers served to him in a golden goblet.

Montezuma once bred a hairless dog that was used as a pet until it was killed and eaten in a stew.

He had many wives and concubines but only two women were his Queens – Tlapalizquixochtzin and Teotlalco.

CONTACT WITH THE SPANISH 

Montezuma's priestly training was his downfall as he believed mistakenly thought the return of Quetzacoatl incarnated in Conquistador Hernán Cortés. It paralyzed him and his Aztec army until it was too late.


When Cortés arrived in 1519, Montezuma was immediately informed and he chose to welcome the Conquistador as an honored guest. On November 8, 1519, Montezuma met Cortés on the causeway leading into Tenochtitlan and the two leaders exchanged gifts. Montezuma gave Cortés the gift of an Aztec calendar, one disc of crafted gold and another of silver.

Cortés and La Malinche meet Moctezuma in Tenochtitlan, November 8, 1519.

Montezuma wanted to find out if Cortés and his fellow Spaniards were gods or mortals. So he tested the matter with gifts of food. His first offerings made the Spaniards feel ill because he had caused them to be splattered with blood, thinking this would be suitable for gods. Later they feasted agreeably on (according to Fray Bernardino de Sahagun's contemporary account ) “white tortillas, grains of maize, turkey eggs, turkeys” and over 20 different types of fruit including four varieties of sweet potato, avocados and some cacti. They flinched from chocolate at first, but when the Indians set the example they drank and found it tasted good.

Montezuma brought Cortés to his palace where the Conquistador and his fellow Spaniards lived as his guests for several months. At some time during that period Montezuma became a prisoner in his own house. Exactly how this happened is not clear.

Montezuma's subjects besieged the palace where he was being held and in an effort to assuage the raging mob, he appeared on the balcony appealing to his countrymen to retreat. The people were appalled by their king's complicity with the Spanish and pelted him with rocks and darts. He died a short time after the attack on June 29, 1520.

Death and cremation of Moctezuma as depicted in the Florentine Codex, Book 12

Following the conquest, Moctezuma's daughter Techichpotzin became known as Isabel Moctezuma. She was given a large estate by Cortés, who also fathered a child by her, Leonor Cortés Moctezuma.

Claudio Monteverdi

EARLY LIFE 

Claudio Monteverdi was born in 1567 in Cremona, Duchy of Milan (now Lombardy, Italy), the oldest of five children.

Claudio was baptized on May 15, 1567, in Cremona.

His father was Baldassare Monteverdi, a doctor, apothecary and amateur surgeon.

During his childhood, Claudio was taught by Marc'Antonio Ingegneri, the maestro di cappella at the Cathedral of Cremona.The Maestro’s job was to conduct important worship services in accordance with the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Claudio learned composition, singing and how to play string instruments such as the viol and viola da braccio.

Claudio Monteverdi has been proposed as the subject of this Portrait of a Musician by a Cremonese artist (c. 1570–1590

Claudio was very talented as a young boy and was only 15 when he published his first pieces of music. a book of three part motets.

MUSIC CAREER

Monteverdi was one of the most significant composers in the transition from the Renaissance to the baroque era and may justly be claimed as the founder of dramatic music, as we now understand it. He did this by developing a new musical style. The old style was known as prima pratica (“first practice”) and the new style was called the seconda pratica (“second practice”). With the prima pratica, the music was thought to be more important than the words. This meant that the music could be very contrapuntal, with several things going on at once so that the words could not be clearly heard. The prima pratica continued to be used for church music. However, in the seconda pratica the words were more important than the music, i.e. it was important to be able to hear all the words clearly, and the music had to be simple enough for this to happen. This was particularly important in opera and in madrigals.


Madrigals were vocal pieces that put the message of the poetry ahead of musical convention. By the time Monteverdi got his first job he had already published two books of madrigals. By his death, he had written nine books full of them.

Monteverdi was once criticized by fellow composer Giovanni Artusi for the licentious use of dissonance in his madrigals. Monteverdi's response was: "Oh, you're talking about the prima pratica, but I'm composing according to the seconda pratica; you might as well compare apples to oranges!"

Monteverdi's first job was working at the court of the Duke of Mantua, joining the orchestra about 1590. The musical director was the famous Giaches de Wert.

By 1601 Monterverdi was recognized as a distinguished composer, and he was appointed maestro di cappella at the Court of Mantua in Italy.

Monteverdi had published four books of madrigals by the time of his first opera, L'Orfeo, in 1607. Based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, L'Orfeo tells the story of Orpheus' descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. L'Orfeo was premiered on February 24, 1607 in the The Ducal Palace, a group of buildings in Mantua, Lombardy.

Front cover of the score of L'Orfeo, published in Venice in 1609

In 1610 Monteverdi wrote his famous Mass and Vespers of the Virgin. It contained tone colors and harmonies well in advance of his time.

Although not primarily a church musician, Monteverdi was appointed music director of St. Mark's, Venice, in 1613. He revitalized the basilica's music and wrote much church music, madrigals using new devices, and stage music for Mantua.

Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi, c. 1630[1]

Venice's first public opera houses opened in 1637 and although Monteverdi was now in his 70s, he wrote four new operas within about three years for Venice. including Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (1640) and L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642). They formed a brilliant end to his career.

PERSONAL LIFE  

In 1599 Monteverdi married the court singer Claudia Cattaneo who died in September 1607.

They had two sons (Francesco and Massimilino) and a daughter (Leonora). Another daughter died shortly after birth

The only certain portrait of Claudio Monteverdi, from the title page of Fiori poetici, a 1644 book of commemorative poems for his funeral

He dabbled in alchemy. An exchange of letters dating from the year 1625-26, includes (in Monteverdi's own writing) a formula for bonding gold to lead, Also in a sonnet written in 1643, the late Claudio Monteverdi is eulogized as a "Gran proffessor della Chimica".

DEATH 

Monteverdi died, aged 76, in Venice on November 29, 1643. He was held in the highest esteem by his Venetian employers and was buried in the church of the Frari.

Sources Compton's Encyclopedia, Blog.oup.com

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Montana

HISTORY

Montana became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864. 

As white settlers began populating Montana from the 1850s, disputes with Native Americans ensued, primarily over land ownership and control.  U.S. cavalrymen killed 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in what became known as the Marias Massacre on January 23, 1870.

Chief Joseph and Col. John Gibbon met again on the Big Hole Battlefield site in 1889

The first ever cafeteria was set up in the YWCA in Kansas City, Montana in 1890. It provided cheap, self-service meals to working women and was modeled on a Chicago luncheon club for women where some aspects of self-service were already in practice.

The U.S. government opened up western Montana to settlers in 1892. The 1.8 million acres were bought from the Crow Indians for 50 cents per acre.

The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges and the state's name is derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain).

The current flag was adopted in 1905. The ribbon contains the state motto, "Oro y plata" (Spanish for: "Gold and silver").


The first Gideon Bible was placed in a room in the Superior Hotel in Iron Mountain, Montana in 1908.

Jeannette Pickering Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was the first woman to hold national office in the United States when, in 1916, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives by the state of Montana.

Jeannette Pickering Rankin 

About 8 percent of the state’s population went off to fight during World War I, a greater percentage of its population than any other state.

Cat Creek was the site of the first commercially successful oil field in Montana, producing oil so pure it could be used in Model T cars straight from the ground.

The infamous Dust Bowl era began on November 11, 1933 when a dust storm started in Montana. The drought and the resulting dust bowl eventually stretched as far south as Georgia, leaving 500,000 people homeless before it came to an end when normal rainfall resumed in 1939.


Mennonite family in Montana, c. 1937

57,000 Montanans served in World War II, around 10 percent of the population. again a greater percentage of its population than any other state.

Until 1999, Montana didn't have a speed limit on the interstate, and instead encouraged drivers to be "reasonable and prudent."

FUN FACTS

Montana comes from the Spanish word montaña, or mountain. The state is home to 64 mountain ranges.

Montana is the only state in the U.S. whose constitution mandates teaching Native American tribal history.

Montana and Canada share a 545-mile (877-km) part of the world's longest undefended border.

Montana borders the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, more provinces than any other U.S. State.

It’s the largest landlocked American state, and the fourth largest state overall, after Alaska, Texas, and California. However, it is only 44th in population and 48th in population density.

Montana terrain

The largest natural snowflake ever recorded, measuring 15 inches (38 cm) in diameter, fell at Fort Keogh, Montana on January 28, 1887.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in the contiguous United States was in Montana. On January 20, 1954, −70 °F or −56.7 °C was measured at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass. The only colder temperature recorded in the entire United States was in Alaska in 1971.

Between January 14 and January 15  1972, the temperature in Loma, Montana, swung from -54°F to 49°F, landing the record for the greatest temperature swing in 24 hours.

Loma, Montana. By J.B. Chandler - Wikipedia

Mentalfloss.com