National Puzzle Day

January 29th isNational Puzzle Day. It was Started in 2002 by a syndicated newspaper puzzle maker and professional quiz maker, named Jodi Jill as a way to share her enjoyment of puzzles. National Puzzle Day is also an opportunity to create and puzzles, games and even challenges in life and bring young and old together to discuss and play puzzles

In addition to being entertaining and fun, puzzles have distinct health and social benefits, especially in early childhood. Collaborative puzzles help children learn how to work together while learning other spatial, motor, and problem-solving skills.

Studies have shown that doing puzzles such as a crossword, jigsaw, trivia, word searches, brain teasers, jigsaw puzzle, or Soduku can help enhance brain activity in adults which has numerous health benefits. Solving puzzles also increases creativity and concentration, improves memory, cognitive function and problem-solving skills. Word searches and crossword puzzles also have the additional benefit of increasing vocabulary and language skills. By testing memory and logical thinking, many puzzles such as Sudoku stimulate the brain and can also improve number skills.

Curse of Peladon

The first television episode of the Doctor Who story The Curse of Peladon was broadcast on 29th January 1972. It concerns The planet Peladon, which is led by its young King, and is on the verge of joining the Galactic Federation. However not everyone on Peladon is happy about this turn of events, particularly the High Priest Hepesh who does not trust Aliens and is opposed to the change, warning that the curse of Aggedor the Royal Beast of Peladon will visit doom upon them all.

The Doctor and Jo Grant arrive in The TARDIS and soon find themselves in peril. Meanwhile King Peladon asks for Hepesh’s support to join the Federation, but Hepesh refuses. The Doctor and Jo are discovered by the palace guards, and taken to the throne room, where the delegates are gathered: Alpha Centauri, Arcturus, the Ice Lord Izlyr and the Ice Warrior Ssorg. The Doctor is mistaken for the delegate from Earth. He introduces Jo as the “Princess Josephine of TARDIS”, a neutral royal observer from Earth.

Several suspicious accidents occur to the delegates, which are linked to the Ice Warriors. The Doctor also discovers a mythical beast Aggedor, lurking in the tunnels under the palace. As he tries to escape Aggedor the Doctor finds his way into the shrine of Aggedor, where he is discovered by Hepesh and Grun, the King’s Champion. Hepesh accuses the Doctor of sacrilege for daring to enter the shrine. He is sentenced to trial by combat and must duel to the death with the King’s Champion. Hepesh offers the Doctor an escape route however this proves to be equally dangerous. So Hepesh then orders that the Doctor be taken away to face Grun in combat. However This does not go to plan and Arcturus and Ssorg also become involved. Hepesh’s forces then take the throne room, and hold the king hostage and the others uncover a devious plot between Hepesh and Arcturus…..

The Robots of Death

The first exciting episode of the classic Doctor Who story The Robots of Death was broadcast on 29 January 1977. It sees The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) arrive on an inhospitable and Barren planet where, a huge sandminer vehicle, Storm Mine 4, is slowly scraping the surface in search of precious minerals. The sandminer is manned by a crew of nine humans led by Commander Uvanov, Dask and Poul who work alongside numerous robots – black ‘Dums’ that cannot speak, pale green ‘Vocs’, and a silver ‘Super Voc’ who control all the ‘Dums’ and ‘Vocs’ who perform all the hazardous tasks aboard the Sandminer which would be too dangerous for humans to do.

However The peace is shattered when one of the crew members is found dead. Tension mounts and Accusations fly as the two new arrivals are suspected of murdering the deceased crew member and incarcerated. However the Doctor has a completely different theory and suspects something else may be happening. Then the Mineralogist is found dead, and the Driver of the Sandminer is also found strangled. Then the controls of the Sandminer are sabotaged and it starts running out of control endangering the lives of everyone onboard.

The Doctor eventually convinces The crew that he is not responsible for the murders, and they ask Him for help, so he suggests that the robots are responsible and that somebody may be reprogramming the Robots in order to clobber people. However the disbelieving crew reject the idea citing Asimov’s first Law of Robotics which states that “No robot shall kill a human being”. So the Doctor suggests they may be malfunctioning and agrees to help before more rogue robots start running amok clobbering people.

The Doctor then discovers that One of the robots, D84. and Poul are in fact undercover agents for the mining company, who were placed on board the miner as a precaution after learning of threats of a robot revolution by a Mad scientist called Taren Capel who was raised by robots and dislikes the way Robots are treated as slaves by humans and has decided to end Robot servitude and maltreatment at the hands of human beings and free them, so that they can rule the world.

Freethinkers/ Thomas Paine Day

Thomas Paine Day takes place annually on 29 January to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary who was born 29 January 1737 (or February 9 1737 using the Julian Calender). Thomas Paine was One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, he authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment era ideals of transnational human rights. Saul K. Padover described him as “a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination”.

He was Born in Thetford, Norfolk, and migrated to the British American colonies in 1774 with the help of Benjamin Franklin, arriving just in time to participate in the American Revolution. Virtually every rebel read (or listened to a reading of) his powerful pamphlet Common Sense (1776), proportionally the all-time best-selling American title, which crystallized the rebellious demand for independence from Great Britain. His The American Crisis (1776–1783) was a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series. Common Sense was so influential that John Adams said: “Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”.

Paine lived in France for most of the 1790s, becoming deeply involved in the French Revolution. He wrote Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense of the French Revolution against its critics. His attacks on Irish conservative writer Edmund Burke led to a trial and conviction in absentia in England in 1792 for the crime of seditious libel. The British government of William Pitt the Younger, worried by the possibility that the French Revolution might spread to England, had begun suppressing works that espoused radical philosophies. Paine’s work, which advocated the right of the people to overthrow their government, was duly targeted, with a writ for his arrest issued in early 1792. Paine fled to France in September where, rather immediately and despite not being able to speak French, he was elected to the French National Convention. The Girondists regarded him as an ally. Consequently, the Montagnards, especially Maximilien Robespierre, regarded him as an enemy.

In December 1793, he was arrested and was taken to Luxembourg Prison in Paris. While in prison, he continued to work on The Age of Reason (1793–1794). Future President James Monroe used his diplomatic connections to get Paine released in November 1794. He became notorious because of his pamphlets. The Age of Reason, in which he advocated deism, promoted reason and free thought and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular. He published the pamphlet Agrarian Justice (1797), discussing the origins of property and introduced the concept of a guaranteed minimum income. In 1802, he returned to the U.S. where he died on 8 June, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as he had been ostracized for his ridicule of Christianity.

More Anniversaries, events and National Holidays taking place on January 29

Curmudgeon’s Day

Freethinkers Day

National Corn Chip Day

National Puzzle Day

Seeing Eye Dog Day

Edward Lear

Renowned for humourous poetry, prose and limericks, the British artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear sadly died 29 January 1888. He was born 12 May 1812 in the village of Holloway, and was raised by his eldest sister, 21 years his senior. Due to the family’s failing financial fortune, at age four he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together. Ann doted on Edward and continued to mother him until her death, when he was almost 50 years of age. Lear suffered from health problems. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father this event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate them is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or an aura before the onset of a seizure. In Lear’s time epilepsy was believed to be associated with demonic possession, which contributed to his feelings of guilt and loneliness. When Lear was about seven he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the constant instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe depression which he referred to as “the Morbids.

Lear was already drawing by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious “ornithological draughtsman” employed by the Zoological Society and then from 1832 to 1836 by the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate Knowsley Hall. Lear’s first publication, published when he was 19 years old, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830.His paintings were well received and he was compared favourably with the naturalist John James Audubon.He was also widely travelled and visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during 1873–75. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books.His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson’s poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published

In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularize the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Lear’s nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumor developed that “Edward Lear” was merely a pseudonym, and the books’ true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works, his patron the Earl of Derby. Promoters of this rumour offered as evidence the facts that both men were named Edward, and that “Lear” is an anagram of “Earl.” Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in Sanremo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on a circle of friends and correspondents, and especially, in later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.

Lear’s most fervent and painful friendship involved Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an undoubtedly homosexual passion for him that Lushington did not reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear’s death, the disparity of their feelings for one another constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, none of Lear’s attempts at male companionship were successful; the very intensity of Lear’s affections seemingly doomed the relationships. The closest he came to marriage with a woman was two proposals, both to the same person 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.

Lear eventually settled in San Remo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: “Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph” or “Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps” which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos. Sadly After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888, of heart disease. Lear’s funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear’s physician, with none of Lear’s many lifelong friends being able to attend. Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear’s birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman’s Mews, Islington, in London

Nevermore!

The classic poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe was published in the New York Evening Mirror, on 29 January 1845, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover, who is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore and it traces the man’s slow descent into madness, which the raven seems to further instigate with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”. The poem has a supernatural atmosphere and also makes use of a number of folk and classical references and became a huge success.

Poe claimed to have written the poem very logically and methodically, intending to create a poem that would appeal to both critical and popular tastes, as he explained in his 1846 follow-up essay “The Philosophy of Composition”. The poem was inspired in part by a talking raven in the novel Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of ‘Eighty by Charles Dickens. Its publication made Poe widely popular in his lifetime, although it did not bring him much financial success. Soon reprinted, parodied, and illustrated, critical opinion is divided as to the poem’s status, but it nevertheless remains one of the most famous poems ever written.

Poe also produced his own journal, The Penn (which was later renamed The Stylus), and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement and is remembered for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. The award is named after this author.