So, Bits and Bramblers…did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? That’s right, it’s an entire month dedicated to learning about “women’s tenacity, courage, and creativity throughout the centuries.”
Now, I understand that the phrase, “It happened forty years ago,” usually means the story that you’re about to hear will be unbearably boring. Not this time, though. Because something big happened forty years ago in Bethel, New York…the Woodstock Festival & Concert!
Woodstock was supposed to be a big party, where you listened to incredible music (by The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Carlos Santana) and slept under the stars. But the big party kept getting bigger…and bigger. There were traffic jams up to twenty miles long to get to the festival…and there were around 500,000 guests!
So the big party turned into something even bigger. It turned into an event—three days of peace, love, and music that represented an entire generation.
That’s right, Bits and Bramblers, it’s time to celebrate the Fourth of July! (Or for our friends outside the U.S….Saturday. ) Now, because we’re all about knowledge at the library, here are some fun facts about Independence Day which you can use to impress (or annoy) your family and friends.
Did you know Independence Day wasn’t technically declared a legal holiday until 1941?
Did you know George Washington held his first public office at age 17…and he continued in public service until his death in 1799?
Did you know there were fireworks in China as early as the 11th century…and they used them for war rockets/explosives?
Luckily, we don’t use fireworks like they did in 11th Century China. Today’s fireworks just, you know…look pretty cool, and are fun to watch.
And fun to play with. Virtually, that is. I mean, at least with virtual fireworks, you’re 99.9% sure you’re not going to hurt yourself or someone else, right? I can tell you from personal experience that I didn’t hurt myself playing Firework Columns. I just spent way too much time playing, and waiting for the red swirly bombs that look like peppermints. And even though I’m pretty accident prone, I didn’t hurt myself playing the Fireworks Simulation Game. Instead, I had fun playing with the colors (here’s another fun fact: did you know in order to get different colored fireworks, they have to include different chemical compounds? It’s totally true. My favorite fireworks have barium.)
Whether you’re playing with virtual fireworks, or annoying your friends and family with facts…have a very safe and happy Fourth of July, Bits and Bramblers!
We’ll leave you with a little Schoolhouse Rock, American History-style (which, by the way, might help you answer some of the questions on this week’s Teen Summer Library Program Game, the Star-Spangled Quiz…remember, you’ve still got time to enter to win some gift certificates to Taco Bell or McDonalds!)
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “What’s Square Root Day?” That’s a good question.
See, Square Root Day is rare. In fact, it only occurs nine times each century, when “the day and the month are both the square root of the last two digits of the current year.” Get it? Today is 3/3/09, which can be expressed mathematically as “√9 = 3, or 3² = 3 × 3 = 9″.
I mean, you could have cake. If we’re celebrating, cake seems like a good plan.
Other than that, I…don’t really know. To be honest, I’m not really all that good at math. In fact? I kind of hate it. Actually…hold on. I have a brilliant idea! On Square Root Day, maybe we could honor math, by not doing math of any kind. You know, out of respect for math. I doubt your math teachers will go for that, but you could give it a try.
Apparently, you could celebrate by eating “square radishes, or other root vegetables cut into squares.” (Yeah, but…you could just forget the root part, and eat a square of cake, right?)
No matter how you choose to celebrate, have a very happySquare Root Day, Bits and Bramblers!
Now…for those of you that aren’t all that great at Math (like me,) I could post a very boring video about how to do mathematical equations with square roots. But why would I do that when we’re supposed to be celebrating (and I can link to a song with a funny fake boy band singing about calculus? Isn’t that more…I don’t know, celebratory? I think so, so…enjoy!)
Today’s one of those not-so-happy days in music history, Bits and Bramblers. See, fifty years ago today, three of the world’s biggest rock and roll stars—Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. Richardson ( aka “The Big Bopper”)—were killed in a plane crash.
It’s hard to imagine something so tragic…I mean, the three of them were sort of pioneers of rock and roll music, and some of the first real rock stars ever. That’s probably why Don McLean dubbed it “The Day the Music Died.” Because it was such a huge loss, and it left their fans feeling so…hopeless.
But if there’s anything positive about something so tragic, it’s the fact that fifty years after the accident, we’re still listening to their music (which, by the way, is made of awesome.) There have been movies made about the lives of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens, and all three musicians have influenced thousands of others—everyone from The Beatles to Weezer.