Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today is M's birthday!

I'll bet you thought it was just Thanksgiving--or as it's known around our house, the Ides of Thankshallowistmas.

M tells me his birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day on average once every seven years. He says this is also true of anyone whose birthday is November 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 26th, 27th, or 28th, which are the only other possible dates for the fourth Thursday in November. All Thanksgiving birthdays follow a repeating pattern of six, five, six, and eleven years. My man's last one was six years ago (2005), and the one before that was way back in 1994. So the next one will be in five more years (2016), then six years after that, then eleven years, and so on. But M says that if he's still around by 2033, he won't know Tuesday from August, so who cares.

Well, me for one. I care a whole bunch. Here's to the guy who walks me twice a day whether I feel like it or not:

Happy birthday, kemo sabe!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Special and Puzzling Veterans Day

Yesterday we honored one small part of our military, the Marines. Today, Veterans Day, we salute all of the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces, regardless of which branch they chose. I hope that you had or will have a chance to see or take part in one of the celebrations that are going on all over the country. M and J and I watched C-SPAN's coverage of the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and it was very moving.

Not only is this Veterans Day, but it's an extra-special one. There can't be another one like it for a hundred years. That's because today's date--11/11/11--is a numeric palindrome. It reads the same from right to left as it does from left to right. In fact, if you use a sans serif font (one without all those little pointy things at the ends of the letters), this one even reads the same upside-down. Observe:

Upside-up: l l / l l / l l

Upside-down: l l / l l / l l

(Okay, so I fudged a bit by also using a lower-case letter L for a 1. Just pretend this is M's old manual typewriter.)

When you have a chance, you should find out (if you don't already know) why the number 11 is so important to Veterans Day--and an earlier version called Armistice Day. Then for fun of a whole different kind, check out why the number is also important for lots of numeric palindromes, not just today's date.

(Here's an example: 111,111 x 111,111 = 12,345,654,321.)

Final item: M likes to start his day by trying to work the Celebrity Cipher. This is a substitution-code puzzle by Luis Campos that appears in our local newspaper. Since today's cipher was a great one for Veterans Day, we thought we'd share it with you. See if you can figure it out:


Thursday, November 10, 2011

On this date in 1775 . . .

. . . the United States Marine Corps was founded by a resolution of the Continental Congress. So happy 236th birthday and a great big Semper Fi! to all of our jarhead friends. According to M, "jarhead" is a term of endearment used by members of the other service branches who are secretly envious of the Marines' snazzy high-and-tight haircuts. I guess it's an okay nickname, though I personally prefer "devil dogs."

Here's a nice slow-cadence rendition of "The Marines' Hymn" as it was performed at the Iwo Jima Memorial on November 10, 2007, by the United States Marine Band:

(To see the full-size version on YouTube, click here.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

Nothing, as far as I can tell.

His peeps ought to be thankful he's not out chasing cars or rolling in dead stuff.