Today is the first day of August, a reminder that summer, or lack of it, it running out fast. Here are a few facts about the month of August.
Each month has its own gemstone and flower, for August they are Agate and Gladiolus respectively. August is the eighth month of the year and the sixth month of the Roman calendar. The Romans called the month Sextilis, which means sixth. Eight years before Jesus was born the name of the month was changed to Augustus in honour of the Roman Emperor Augustus Casesar, because many of the important events in his life happened around that time of year.
The Anglo-Saxons called it Weod monath, which means Weed month, because it is the month when weeds and other plants grow most rapidly.
1st of August is Lammas Day, and was Thanksgiving time (Harvest time) in Britain. The name comes from an Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse which means Loaf Mass. On Lammas day local farmers made loaves of bread from the new wheat crop and gave them to the church. They were then used as the Communion bread during a special mass thanking God for the harvest.
Lammas day used to be a time for foretelling marriages and trying out partners. Two young people would agree to a "trial marriage" lasting the period of the fair (usually 11 days) to see whether they were really suited for wedlock. At the end of the fair, if they didn't get on, the couple could part.
Lammas was also the time for farmers to give their farm workers a present of a pair of gloves. In Exeter, a large white glove was put on the end of a long pole which was decorated with flowers and held on high to let people know that the merriment of Lammas Fair was beginning. A Lammas superstition was for farmers to let the first corn bread go stale and then crumble it over the corners of their barns.
Among festivals and traditions held in August are Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Royal National Eisteddfod in Wales and Notting Hill Carnival.
August anniversaries. First roller skating rink opened in 1875. Columbus set sail on his first voyage in 1492. The Great Train Robbery, 1963. The Model T Ford, known as the Tin Lizzie and the first mass-produced car, went on sale in 1908. World War II ended, 1945. Martin Luther King, American civil rights campaigner, made his famous "I have a dream" speech in 1963. Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in France in 1997.
Saturday, 1 August 2009
On this day in 1971, during the second day of the Apollo 15 mission, astronaut's uncovered a rock which may date back to the origin of the moon.
The so-called Genisis rock was found by lunar module pilots David Scott and James Irwin when they dug into the slope of Spur crater, on the flank of the Apennine Mountains.
They were there on the second 'moon safari', travelling for the first time in a custom-built lunar rover vehicle.
The astronauts has so far spent 18 hours on the surface of the moon in three major moonwalks.
They collected 169 lbs of moon rock from 12 different sites including Hadley Rille, an ancient channel believed to have been carved by torrents of flowing lava. (Above picture is of Mount Hadley's steep slopes towering over the landing site - picture: Nasa). But the highlight was the discovery of the ancient crystallised rock believed to be about 4,500 million years old - dating back to the time the Moon itself was formed.
After Apollo 15, there were just two more manned missions to the Moon, with the final manned lunar landing, Apollo 17, completed in December 1972. However, in January 2004 the US President, George Bush, announced a new programme for lunar exploration, saying American astronauts would return to the moon by 2020 as the launching point for missions further into space.
James Irwin resigned from Nasa in 1972 to found a religious organisation, High Flight Foundation, and led two expeditions to Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark. He died in 1991, aged 61.
David Scott retired from Nasa in 1977 to found Scott Science Technology.
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.
"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.
She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids ....."
"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.
We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her notes on the floor.
Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour everyday. You've got to have a dream When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!
Growing up is optional. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.
God promises us a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Spread the word to others, if you choose not, then you refuse to bless someone else.
'Good friends are like stars ..... You don't always see them, but you know they are always there'.
When the money comes out of the ATM machine, scream "I Won, I Won!"
When leaving the zoo, start running towards the car park, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!!"
Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
The real trouble with reality is that there's no background music.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
House guarded by shotgun 3 days a week. Guess which days.
I once prayed to God for a bike, but quickly found out he didn't work that way ..... so I stole a bike and prayed for his forgiveness.