World Ranger Day

On July 31, we honor rangers who do important conservation work, as well as those who have lost their lives in this service. This day is about park rangers in particular, not Texas Rangers or other such.

This is how wikiHow describes what these folks do. “Park rangers act as stewards of state and national parks, working to keep these natural areas safe for wildlife and plant species and accessible to the millions of people who visit them each year. They have job duties as varied as protecting endangered areas, teaching visitors about wildlife and plants, gathering scientific information and conducting search and rescue operations.” They go on to explain that there is more than one type of ranger. Some are scientists with degrees in such subjects as earth science and forestry. Others focus on educating others about the particular park they work in and about preserving and protecting nature. Some are involved in firefighting and acting as police in remote areas. And finally, there are the important, but unsung jobs, such as maintenance, fee collection, paperwork, and permit sales. The article finishes by laying out the steps for becoming a ranger.

Besides work in wilderness areas, there are also urban rangers that work in cities, helping to educate people on the animal and plant life there.

According to Days of the Year, there are more than a hundred thousand reserves, parks and protected areas around the world, with the oldest national park being Yellowstone in the US. World. The International Ranger Federation organizes World Ranger Day. The first was held in 2007.

So today is your day to get out into nature, hopefully, to visit a national park, but enjoying a hike anywhere will do. As you do so, remember the rangers who help to keep wilderness areas accessible to all.

Quotes about rangers and national parks

A park ranger is a protector. You protect the land from the people, the people from the land, the people from each other, and the people from themselves. It’s what you are trained to do without even thinking, a reflexive and unconditional act. If you’re lucky, you get assigned to people who seem worth saving and land and waters whose situation is not hopeless. If not, you save them anyway. And maybe in time, saving them will make them worth it.–Kurt Caswell

The National Park Service today exemplifies one of the highest traditions of public service.–Stewart Udall

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.–Wallace Stegner

The establishment of the National Park Service is justified by considerations of good administration, of the value of natural beauty as a National asset, and of the effectiveness of outdoor life and recreation in the production of good citizenship.–Theodore Roosevelt

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…–John Muir

Family trips to Yellowstone and to what are now national parks in Southern Utah, driving the primitive roads and cars of that day, were real adventures.–Paul D. Boyer

I grew up on the edge of a national park in Canada – Timberwolves creeks, snow drifts.–Dan Aykroyd

National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.–John F. Kennedy

The fundamental idea…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.–Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Global Tiger Day

July 29 is Global Tiger Day, also called International Tiger Day, first celebrated in 2010. It was founded at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit that had been called in response to the shocking news that 97% of all wild tigers had disappeared in the last century, with only around 3,000 left alive. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. The UN recognized it as an international holiday in 2016. Though five species of tigers have become extinct, there are five still viable, Bengal tiger, Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, Sumatran tiger, and Amur tiger.

Many organizations are involved in this work. The World Wildlife Fund has the ambitious goal of doubling the world tiger population. They feel poaching is the biggest threat to tigers, and urge, “tiger-range governments to strengthen anti-poaching efforts and reinforce investments in rangers, in order to halt the crisis and safeguard wild tigers from poachers.” If this has resonated with you, you can adopt a tiger at their site.

Another group working to protect tigers is the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Their Project Tiger works with the Indian government, which has increased tiger reserves in that country. They also consider poaching and the illegal trade in tiger body parts to be the main cause of their decline. Their work has made it so that India has the largest number of tigers in the wild, 1706, as of 2010, which seems to be the latest year for figures.

Your local zoo may have special things going on for this day. Hopefully, by working together worldwide, we can save this beautiful animal.

Quotes about tigers

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
William Blake

Tigers, except when wounded or when man-eaters, are on the whole very good-tempered… Occasionally a tiger will object to too close an approach to its cubs or to a kill that it is guarding. The objection invariably takes the form of growling, and if this does not prove effective it is followed by short rushes accompanied by terrifying roars. If these warnings are disregarded, the blame for any injury inflicted rests entirely with the intruder.–Jim Corbett

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.–Chinese Proverb

Better to live one year as a tiger, than a hundred as a sheep.–Madonna

Van Gogh would’ve sold more than one painting if he’d put tigers in them.–Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)

It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.–Henry David Thoreau

When waking a tiger, use a long stick.–Mao Tse-Tung

When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.–George Bernard Shaw

An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.–Konrad Adenauer

There is no off switch on a tiger.–German Proverb

An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.–Confucius

The most magnificent creature in the entire world, the tiger is.–Jack Hanna

The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency – half tiger, half poet.–Yehudi Menuhin

If I produce a 450-pound Bengal tiger, it’s going to create a lot more wonder than if I produce a rabbit.–Doug Henning

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Bagpipe Appreciation Day

Love it or hate it, bagpipe music is distinctive, and not to be confused with any other instrument. On July 27, we celebrate its unique sound.

According to Henderson’s history, the bagpipe did not originate in Scotland. Instead, it started in the Middle East and moved west with settlers. The first documented bagpipe is found on a Hittite slab at Eyuk, and we find a bagpipe in the third chapter of Daniel where the “symphonia” in Nebuchadnezzar’s band is believed to have been a bagpipe. The first of what we might recognize as a modern type bagpipe is from Roman times. In fact, pictures of Nero show him playing a bagpipe, not a fiddle. Later they moved to France, and then to England, where they then became a Celtic instrument.

Modern bagpipes feature three pipes emerging from a bag typically made of elk or sheep skin. This bag holds air, and when squeezed, releases the air through the pipes. The bagpiper uses a fourth pipe to control the pitch, much like a flute or oboe. As the Print is not Dead  site describes it, “But to true, full blooded aficionados the great booming drones and shrill piercing beauty of such a mad sonical device can inspire only one word: Epic.” I tend to agree.

From their site, you can go to a page where you can create your own tartan, in case you really want to get into the spirit of the day. You can also find links to multiple examples of bagpipe music on YouTube, including a couple that are an hour long. Of course, there is also the haunting “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes. To hear the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, click here,  though they are only one of many renditions.

So be sure to listen to some bagpipe music today!

Quotes about bagpipes (some are rather rude!)

How little is required for pleasure! The sound of a bagpipe – without music, life would be an error.–Friedrich Nietzsche

Scottish bagpipe has two tenors and one bass – three drone pipes – and then the one chanter. If you put bagpipes together, it creates such a fine sound.–Yoshi Wada

These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.–Alfred Hitchcock

When you’ve heard one bagpipe tune, you’ve heard them both.–Jack Finney

The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scotts as a joke, but the Scotts haven’t seen the joke yet.–Oliver Herford

I got to try the bagpipes. It was like trying to blow an octopus.–James Galway

There’s always something in most world folk musics that always seems connected; whether it’s a bagpipe or a tambura, there’s always some sort of drone instrument, and there’s always percussion.–Paul Weller

The sound of one of our country pipes, which I had played by one of my sailors, also caused wonderment. Seeing that it was decked out with trappings and ribbons at the head, they concluded that it was a living animal that sang thus in different voices, and were much pleased with it. Perceiving that they were misled, I told them it was an instrument, and placed it deflated in their hands. Whereupon, recognising that it was made by hand, they said that it was a divine instrument, made by God with his own hands, for it sounded so sweetly and in so many different voices. They said they had never heard anything sweeter.–G. R. Crone

So long as there are bagpipers, there will be free people.–Unknown

When I hear the bagpipes, it makes the hairs on my neck stand on end. It always makes me weep.–Ashley Jensen

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National Carousel Day

July 25 is National Carousel Day. Carousels are also known as merry-go-rounds, gallopers, jumpers, roundabouts, horseabouts and “flying horses.” The first known picture of a carousel is from 500 CE. It depicts baskets, carrying riders, suspended from a central pole. Carousels became popular in the 18th century when they started spreading in central Europe and England. In the United States, Franz Wiesenoffer created the first carousel in the 1840s. But we celebrate this date as Carousel Day because the first carousel patent was granted on July 25, 1871. Carousels were very popular in the United States between the start of the 20th century and the Great Depression, when, with the collapse of the economy, many were destroyed. Today few of the four thousand classic carousels remain in the United States. Organizations such as National Carousel Association  exist to help-preserve them.

I loved merry-go-rounds as a child. One of my earliest memories is of going up and down on a carousel house while my Dad held on to a pole and grabbed for the gold ring as he passed it. As far as I know, he never won a free ride, but that didn’t keep him from trying!

Carousels have been a part of popular imagination for a long time. A magical merry-go-round figures prominently in Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, where when whole, it can spin time itself. There is the lovely scene in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins, where she and the children have a race on carousel horses that bound loose from their moorings and gallop across country. The play and film Carousel takes place around a traveling carnival and has quite memorable songs. Aaron Shepard gives a list of non-fiction books about carrousels on his Web site.  Carousels are also a popular figure in music boxes, and snow globes, and children’s toys.

Quotes about carousels

Life is a carousel. It goes up and down. All U gotta do is just stay on.–Pharrell Williams

And the seasons they go ’round and ’round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round In the circle game.
–Joni Mitchell

My head’s a carousel of pictures and The spinning never stops.–Conor Oberst

After all, spinning is its own reward. There wouldn’t be carousels if it weren’t so.–Adam Gopnik

I ride earth’s burning carousel. Day in, day out.–Sylvia Plath

I’d like to have the kind of house someday where a carousel horse wouldn’t be out of place in the living room.–Jay McInerney

From space, the earth might look to a fanciful eye like a huge carousel, with planes instead of horses spinning round its circumference, up and down, up and down.–David Lodge

I’ve been riding the carousel in Central Park since I was five years old. If I’m very depressed or if something’s bothering me today, my husband, Larry, and I go back to the park. We get on the carousel horse and we start riding, and I start singing at the top of my lungs. It is pure and absolute joy and happiness.–Eda LeShan

Each generation must get on the same old merry-go-round, only disguised in a fresh coat of paint.–Katherine Anne Porter

It is not enough to reach for the brass ring. You must also enjoy the merry go round.–Julie Andrews

Disneyland really began when my two daughters were very young. Saturday was always Daddy’s Day and I would take them to the merry-go-round, and sit on a bench eating peanuts while they rode. And sitting there alone, I felt there should be something built, some kind of family park where parents and children could have fun together.–Walt Disney

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Gorgeous Grandma Day

Every July 23 we celebrate Gorgeous Grandma Day. Of course, in their own ways, every Grandma is gorgeous, so of course, it is a day to celebrate your own grannie, or grandmother or nana, or whatever you call that important woman in your life.

According to Happy Days 365, “Alice Solomon came up with the Gorgeous Grandma concept after graduating from college at the age of 50. The former model, beauty queen, newspaper columnist and author was not too fond of being labeled senior citizen the day she turned 50. This Day … is planned to celebrate the spirit and life of all those over the age of 50 who aren’t yet prepared to resign themselves to a quiet life.”

But whether your grandma is 50 or 100, it is a day to celebrate her, and let her know how you feel about her. If you are near enough, visit her, or take her shopping or out to eat. From further away, send a card or email. Cook her favorite meal, or even better, ask her to teach you to make her signature dish. Thank her for all she has meant to you. And if your nanna is gone, why not make yourself her favorite dish as a remembrance, or watch her favorite movie.

If you are a grandma, this is your day. Go out and do something special for yourself. If your age ends in five or zero, you can go to Amazon and get yourself a special T-shirt, which in 2017 says “Gorgeous since 1937” up to “Gorgeous since “1962.” Show the world you are still ready to give it all you’ve got.

So, whether you are a gran, or celebrating a grandma or great grandma, be sure not to let this day go by without acknowledging the specialness of that wonderful older woman in your life, whether she is related by blood or not.

Quotes about grandmothers

You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.–Albert Einstein (?)

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.–Marcy DeMaree

Just about the time a woman thinks her work is done, she becomes a grandmother.–Edward H. Dreschnack

As a child I knew almost nothing, nothing beyond what I had picked up in my grandmother’s house. All children, I suppose, come into the world like that, not knowing who they are.–V. S. Naipaul

Becoming a grandmother is wonderful. One moment you’re just a mother. The next you are all-wise and prehistoric.–Pam Brown

Grandmothers are the people who take delight in hearing babies breathing into the telephone.–Unknown

Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.–Unknown

When a child is born, so are grandmothers.–Judith Levy

It is as grandmothers that our mothers come into the fullness of their grace.–Christopher Morley

We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence; grandmother was that person to me.–Phyllis Theroux

My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it, too.–Gene Perret

If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.–Italian Proverb

A grandma is warm hugs and sweet memories. She remembers all of your accomplishments and forgets all of your mistakes.–Barbara Cage

Grandmothers always have time to talk and make you feel special.–Catherine Pulsifer

If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first. –Lois Wyse

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.–Alex Haley

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Invite an Alien to Live with You Day

July 21 is the day to invite an alien to live with you. In this case, we aren’t talking about someone from a foreign land, although that would be a kind thing to do. This day, however, commemorates Mork from Ork, that is, Robin William’s character of that name. We celebrate this odd holiday today because Robin William’s was born on July 21. I enjoyed Mork and Mindy, but there are other fandoms celebrating this day as well, as, for instance, Doctor Who fans saying, “Doctor, you can come and live with me anytime!”

There have been shows and movies about aliens among us for a long time. For scary aliens, the fifties are a treasure trove. We have The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing from Another World, War of the Worlds, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which are all classics in their own way, and reflect the fear of the post war years. It was the more optimistic eighties that gave us Mork and Mindy, as well as such things as Starman, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Alien Nation, all of which show humans and aliens living together peacefully. Spanning those times, we have the Star Trek franchise, and Doctor Who, with wise and friendly aliens.

Robin Williams, who played Mork, was born in 1951, and sadly died in 2014. But he left us a legacy of so many amazing films. We remember his children’s movies – Aladdin, Jumanji, Happy Feet, and FernGully. We also remember his inspiring ones, like Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams, and What Dreams May Come, and the ones that defy easy description, such as The Fisher King, Awakenings, and the several Night at the Museum movies. Whatever part he played, his talent always shown brightly.

Today we salute Mork, and the one who brought him to life, the incomparable Robin Williams.

Quotes by Robin Williams. Many are from his movies.

You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.

What’s right is what’s left if you do everything else wrong.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change this world.

Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some get it as a graduation gift.

[Mentor Jonathan Winters] taught me that the world is open for play, that everything and everybody is mockable in a wonderful way.

You have this idea that you’d better keep working otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous. And then you realize, no, actually if you take a break people might be more interested in you.

I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.

If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.

It’s a wonderful feeling when your father becomes not a god but a man to you – when he comes down from the mountain and you see he’s this man with weaknesses. And you love him as this whole being, not as a figurehead.aa

But only in their dreams can men be truly free. It was always thus and always thus will be.

Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?

Sometimes over things that I did, movies that didn’t turn out very well – you go, ‘Why did you do that?’ But in the end, I can’t regret them because I met amazing people. There was always something that was worth it.

Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.

People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.

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Seneca Falls Convention

The first convention for women’s rights was held at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19, 1848. Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized it. Estimates vary from 100 to 300 women attending, which seems astonishing to me, given the times, and the fact that Seneca Falls is quite a ways from any kind of a city. The conference stretched over two days, with the first day supposed to be strictly for women, though there is some indication that men came both days. One of the prominent male supporters of the cause was Frederick Douglass. The abolitionist movement and the women’s rights movements were closely aligned in those days, and the temperance movement was allied as well, as alcoholism was seen as a male problem that affected women. This is close to my own heart, because not only are women’s rights important to me as a woman but also Quakers, of which I am one, were active in the movement. Mott, for instance, was Quaker.

At the conference, a Stanton read the “Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances,” which she had drafted, and had based on the Declaration of Independence. You can find it in pdf format here. It was adopted on the second day of the convention, along with 12 resolutions. Interestingly, the one resolution that nearly didn’t pass was the one advocating a woman’s right to vote. Only after Douglass argued for it did the convention pass it.

Two weeks later a much larger convention happened in Rochester, New York, where I was born and raised, this one with Susan B. Anthony. Although conventions were held annually after that, it was not until 1920 that women were actually granted the right to vote. By the way, women suspended their fight for rights during the Civil War, opting to spend all their energy during those years towards the abolition of slavery.

Quotes by Stanton and Mott

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.

A government is just only when the whole people share equally in its protection and advantages.

The best protection any woman can have … is courage.

To deny political equality is to rob the ostracised of all self-respect; of credit in the market place; of recompense in the world of work…

Because man and woman are the complement of one another, we need woman’s thought in national affairs to make a safe and stable government.

I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.

Progress is the victory of a new thought over old superstitions.

To refuse political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect.

Any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege.

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.

I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.

The legal theory is, that marriage makes the husband and wife one person, and that person is the husband.

It is time that Christians were judged more by their likeness to Christ than their notions of Christ. Were this sentiment generally admitted we should not see such tenacious adherence to what men deem the opinions and doctrines of Christ while at the same time in every day practise is exhibited anything but a likeness to Christ.

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