April 15th National That Sucks Day

April 15th – National That Sucks Day

April 15th has not always been a lucky day, in fact some might say it sucks! It is the day our taxes are due (Although this year it July), it is the day the Titanic sank, it was the day Lincoln died and for some unknown reason (I have no idea why it sucks) the day McDonald’s opened. All that said, I am sure we can find other days that have had bad things happen on them. But this is a good start! This is a rather new holiday, this is only it’s second year! (That sucks!) However, now you don’t need to think of April 15th as tax day anymore, because it’s “That Sucks Day”!

How to celebrate – See if you can find any other reason why April 15th sucks. Make up your own, That Sucks Day. Drink only those things you have to suck through a straw today.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809. His begins were humble, his education basically what he taught himself and he wasn’t the happiest man on earth. He had a sense of right from wrong and used that to his advantage but his best quality may have been that he listened to others. It doesn’t mean that he always agreed, but he listened. Since his roots came from the common man he could relate to them and never thought himself better than anyone else. Lincoln was shot on April 14th, 1865 as the Civil War was winding down. In death, he may have accomplished even more than he did in life. We celebrate his birthday as much for who he was as what he became.

How to celebrate – Remember Lincoln today. Research why he did what he did, you might be surprised with the answers. Watch a movie about Lincoln.

November 19th Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Today is the day that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address to dedicate a national cemetery to those men who died in early July, both defending their country and trying to save a way of life. You can pick your side, both had their merits, both had their faults. It seems like there is a lot today that we want to try to forget, or erase from history but the truth is, history has brought us to where we are today, good or bad. And that’s what Lincoln was trying to say. Often it takes terrible things happening to teach us lessons we needed to learn, if we block them out like they never existed, then we have not learned the lesson history offers. Four score and seven years earlier our forefathers created the land Lincoln knew. It wasn’t perfect but it was better than most places and because we did learn our lessons we have made it all that better since. Don’t forget history because it is likely to repeat itself because of our ignorance.

How to celebrate – Read all of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Study the causes of the Civil War.

June 25th National Log Cabin Day

If it was good enough for our forefathers it should be good enough for us! At least Virginia Handy and the Bad Axe Historical Society think so having created today on June 25th, 1986. In the old days living in a log cabin was, well, about the only choice you had if you were traveling west. Wood was plentiful and probably the easiest way to build. But as we progressed and learned to use different materials and to cut the wood into sheets, we began to get further and further away from log cabins. But as with most things, what’s old is new again, and log cabins have started to become popular again. With all the cranes and bulldozers today the process is really easy but think of the effort required by the settlers. It all had to be done by hand, cutting down the tree, shaping it and putting it in place. Now there is something to admire.

How to celebrate – Visit some log cabins. Buy a log cabin. Dress like Abraham Lincoln for the day.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Lincoln was one of the few president’s that nearly everybody agrees was among the top (maybe not so much in the south). He was one of the good ol’ boys, but with a brain. He also lived one of the sadder lives known to any of the presidents.

Born on February 12th, 1809 his life did not stand out all that much before he was elected. He served in a militia unit during the Black Hawk War but never saw any action. He was a failed retailer and a slightly better than average farmer. He did excel at being a lawyer which is what finally got him noticed by those who made presidents back then. But it was his logic and wit that won the day, not his brute force or winning.

John Wilkes Booth saw to his demise on April 14th, 1865, after the war had come to an end practically speaking. It was “Good Friday” and Ford’s Theater was packed since so many had heard the President would be attending. There are dozens of conspiracy theories floating around about who really did what, but the end results are the same.

How to celebrate – read about Lincoln’s life. Throw a birthday party in his honor. Read about the belief that Lincoln was secretly a vampire killer.

November 23rd Thanksgiving

Today we are thankful for all the blessings we have received in life. For our families, our friends, and our homes. And we should be since there are so many that do not have any of those things. They should never be taken for granted or accepted on face value. It is a time to celebrate those most important to us, and remember those less fortunate.

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There is much ado about the Pilgrims and Indians in Plymouth in 1621 when the first Thanksgiving is generally believed to have taken place. That may, or may not be true, but that is not the point. It was two warring people who finally decided to become friends. It didn’t last for long though, but it started people thinking differently about their enemies.

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That continued when Lincoln proclaimed the day in 1863 or 64. We were in the middle of a Civil War and yet we still had a lot to be thankful for. Now, the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving was not new, but setting it on a date when everyone would take part on the same day, was a new idea. It had been celebrated in late September or October in different states. Lincoln proclaimed the 4th Thursday of November as the date for Thanksgiving. It did not catch on everywhere for a while but it was a start.

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Finally in 1941, Congress made Thanksgiving, the 4th Thursday in November, a national holiday (all that Lincoln had already proclaimed but now official). Stop and look around at some point today and look at all the things, and people, you have to be thankful for. You won’t regret it.

How to celebrate – Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. Stop reading this blog and go eat!

February 20th Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day, the day when every mattress in America goes on sale! Guess that’s because we are nearly all allowed to sleep in since it’s a Federal holiday. Well, that is except for the people that sell the beds and have to get to work extra early.

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Seriously though, this is the day we celebrate all those who have been President of the Untied States. Originally it was set on Washington’s birthday, February 22nd (1879 set by Congress), but due to retailers across the country, the date was switched to a time between Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th and Washington’s birthday, or the third Monday in February (1968 amended by Congress).

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A recent poll finds that most American’s believe that Abraham Lincoln was the best President. He certainly was one of the most tested Presidents and someone who seemed to want to be anything but President. He dealt with the Civil War and kept the country moving forward. Most around him wanted to end the war, Democrats hated him, and Copperheads thought he was a fool. But he persisted and not only won the war but freed the slaves at the same time, something both of the other parties would have left in place if they had their way.

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Some presidents are loved, some are hated. Might as well face it, not everyone is going to agree with who should be president. That’s part of being a Republic. We chose our leaders based on what the country is going through at the moment. High ideals give way to needs and safety. Well intended or not, it is clear most Presidents do what they feel the public wants, what business demands, and what keeps us free.

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Like them or not, agree with them or not, they assume a position most of us could not handle. Each has their own personality and each has their own agenda. Ranting and raving about who is President only weakens the country, it serves no other purpose, particularly when the choice is divided down the middle.

How to celebrate – See how many presidents you can name in order (I seriously doubt many will get past the 20th). Seriously decide what you would do if you were president about all the issues in the world today (don’t cheat by saying I’ll deal with that later because later may be today). Find something you can support about every president.

December 20th Mudd Day

We all know that John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln on April 14th, 1865. Most of us also know that he jumped from the presidential box onto the stage at Ford’s Theater and broke his leg before making his exit.

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What may not be known is that he traveled south, thinking he would be a hero but found things drastically different. His leg hampered his progress so he stopped at a local doctor’s. known to have been a southern sympathizer. That doctor was Samuel Mudd.

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Mudd was no fan of Booth’s either. By 1865 everyone was tired of war and knew that assassinating the beloved President would only cause the south to suffer even more. Still, Mudd did not report setting Booth’s leg and was arrested on April 26th as a co-conspirator. He escaped the death penalty by 1 vote and was imprisoned for life.

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He was sent to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, then a prison for many southerners and deserters. While there, he became the prisons doctor when yellow fever broke out among the population. He treated the prisoners with little help and won a pardon from President Andrew Johnson in 1869.

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Mudd was born on December 20th, 1833. No one knows for sure whether Mudd was in league with Booth or not. It would appear he was not, but he never said one way or the other. Today is name is the source of saying someone’s “name is mudd”. Though it isn’t used much anymore it has kept Mudd’s name in front of the public longer than Booth’s.

How to celebrate – Read a book about Mudd and determine for yourself if he was guilty or not. Visit Fort Jefferson just off the coast of Florida. Mudd’s home in Virginia is a historical site, open for viewing.

 

June 25th Log Cabin Day

We can thank the Log Cabin Society, Virginia Handy, and the Bad Axe Historical Society for Log Cabin day. There is a bit of disagreement on whether June 25th or June 26th is Log Cabin Day. Why not celebrate both days!

When the settlers first came to America they built their homes out of wood. It was the easiest and most plentiful thing to do. Williamsburg, Virginia is a prime example. You can visit and see for yourself the construction of of an era long since gone.

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Many of these buildings have survived over 200 years and function just as well today as they did back then, maybe even better. Brick and other construction materials were eventually brought in or manufactured and you will see those buildings there as well, but the average settler could not afford these costly materials.

As people began to move west they built more and more homes out of wood, many in the traditional log cabin style we think of today. They were easier to build, and America back then, was like one major forest from coast to coast.

The original log cabins were nearly always one room where the entire family lived, ate and slept… clearly the desire to spend time outdoors was pretty high.  They had either one window or no windows. Since they did not travel with any glass tucked under their arms, windows were not really a necessity.

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The main focus of the cabin was the fireplace. Meals were cooked over the open fires and they kept the owners warm during the winter months. The cracks that appeared between the logs were filled with mud, making them relatively warm and dry when needed the most.

Since many settlers would stay in one location for a short time before moving on, the log cabin became essential since they were not leaving anything of great value behind except for their time.  Of course these vacant buildings were rapidly filled by new travelers moving west.

Today, most of those old cabins are gone. A few remain, used as museums and historical markers. However the log cabin has not been abandoned.  They are bigger and better than ever before!

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They are no longer owned by the poor, but rather by those few that can afford them. They are also seen on many children’s playgrounds where it is hoped they may learn something about our past.

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Even children want their own log cabins like the one below. Who wouldn’t want one like this.

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How to celebrate: Read about Abraham Lincoln’s early life living in a Log Cabin.  Build your own log cabin out of Lincoln Logs. Visit one of the historical log cabins in your area, nearly every state has a log cabin on exhibit somewhere. Binge marathon – Little House on the Prairie!

May 23rd Lucky Penny Day

There is no doubt that the penny is not worth what it use to be. In fact, many countries have parted ways with the penny altogether. Still, here in the US, if you find one on heads it means good luck will follow you. Remember you cannot spend it though, even if you could find something to spend it on. Should you find one on tails, leave it be because it means bad luck.  You could turn in over for the next person to find, but you are probably better off not touching it at all.

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“See a penny, pick it up … all day long you’ll have good luck.”

Pennies have been with us in America since 1793. The originals were made of copper and were worth something!  They were often called a pence. If something cost 5 pence, it was five pennies, or a nickel.

Not only are pennies good luck symbols they also indicate ghosts!  As legend tells it, if a ghost wants you to know they are there they will leave pennies behind for you to find (remember the epic scene from the 1990 movie classic Ghost). If they want you to follow them, they will leave a trail of pennies for you to follow.

There’s another reason to look down for that penny, it could be worth a small fortune.

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Most pennies were made in such volume that they are worth very little. Even the old Indian Head pennies are not worth all that much since millions of them were made. Some uncirculated coins are worth more than others. These coins have not been touched by human hands.  There is little chance you will find one of those laying out in the open on the ground, and if you just picked it up anyway, you’d ruin its value. There is one Indian Head penny worth more than $10,000.00, made in the year 1873.

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“Wheat Back”, Lincoln Head pennies are still found in loose change from time to time. Most are worth a penny but there are a few exceptions. A 1922 plain Lincoln Head, “Wheat Back”, is worth about $650.00, but a 1909S-VDB is worth $750.00 or more. In 1943 due to World War 2, pennies were made of steel to save the copper for use in bullets. A steel penny is worth a little, but in 1944 a few steel pennies were circulated by mistake as the coins were once again made of copper. So a 1944 steel penny can be worth up to $75,000.00. Going back to 1943, a few pennies were made of bronze. These pennies are very rare and look basically like a copper penny but they are lighter in weight and are a little darker in color. The 1943 bronze penny is worth more than $100,000.00.

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The 1943 copper penny is worth more than any other American coin. They were not to be released but some were, perhaps less than 50.  Find one of these and you will really have a lucky day with beginning auction prices starting at $200,000.00.

There are other coins to watch for as well. Coins that were run by mistake or had errors that no one caught before they were released to the public. Coins that were double struck, or minted with the wrong materials, or with the wrong size. Wrong Planchet pennies vary in value. Some pennies have actually be minted in silver as are obviously worth more than a plain copper penny.

How to celebrate: Keep your eyes down, looking at whatever is just waiting for you to pick up – at the very least, you’ll be a penny richer. Buy a book about coins; the book will probably cost you more than any value you ever find on the ground but it makes it more fun. Try leaving a trail of pennies on your own and see if anyone follows them. Look through your old pennies tucked away in that dresser drawer and see if you might be lucky!