Hedgehog Day

Hedgehog Day

Hedgehog day takes place annually on 2 February. A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in New Zealand by introduction. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to the Americas (the extinct genus Amphechinus was once present in North America). Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (family Soricidae), with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and they have changed little over the last 15 million years. Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life. Their spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated porcupines, which are rodents, and echidnas, a type of monotreme.

Hedgehogs are easily recognized by their spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Their spines are not poisonous or barbed and unlike the quills of a porcupine, do not easily detach from their bodies. However, the immature animal’s spines normally fall out as they are replaced with adult spines. This is called “quilling”. Spines can also shed when the animal is diseased or under extreme stress. All species of hedgehogs possess is the ability to roll into a tight ball, causing all of the spines to point outwards. The hedgehog’s back contains two large muscles that control the position of the quills. When the creature is rolled into a ball, the quills on the back protect the tucked face, feet, and belly, which are not quilled. Since the effectiveness of this strategy depends on the number of spines, some desert hedgehogs that evolved to carry less weight are more likely to flee or even attack, ramming an intruder with the spines; rolling into a spiny ball for those species is a last resort. The various species are prey to different predators: while forest hedgehogs are prey primarily to birds (especially owls) and ferrets, smaller species like the long-eared hedgehog are prey to foxes, wolves, and mongooses.

Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, though some species can also be active during the day. Hedgehogs sleep for a large portion of the day under bushes, grasses, rocks, or most commonly in dens dug in the ground, with varying habits among the species. All wild hedgehogs can hibernate, though not all do, depending on temperature, species, and abundance of food. Hedgehogs are fairly vocal and communicate through a combination of grunts, snuffles and/or squeals, depending on species.Hedgehogs occasionally perform a ritual called anointing. When the animal encounters a new scent, it will lick and bite the source, then form a scented froth in its mouth and paste it on its spines with its tongue. The purpose of this habit is unknown, but some experts believe anointing camouflages the hedgehog with the new scent of the area and provides a possible poison or source of infection to predators poked by their spines. Anointing is sometimes also called anting because of a similar behavior in birds.

Like opossums, mice, and moles, hedgehogs have some natural immunity against some snake venom through the protein erinacin in the animal’s muscular system, although it is available only in small amounts and a viper bite may still be fatal. In addition, hedgehogs are one of four known mammalian groups with mutations that protect against another snake venom, α-neurotoxin. Pigs, honey badgers, mongooses, and hedgehogs all have mutations in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor that prevent the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding, though those mutations developed separately and independently.

hedgehogs are omnivorous. They feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons and watermelons. Berries constitute a major part of an Afghan hedgehog’s diet in early spring after hibernation. During winter Hedgehogs naturally  hibernate. During hibernation, the body temperature of a hedgehog can decrease to about 2 °C (36 °F). When the animal awakes from hibernation, the body temperature rises from 2–5 °C (36–41 °F) back to its normal 30–35 °C (86–95 °F) body temperature.

Thes gestation period for new born Hedgehogs is 35–58 days Depending on the species. The average litter is 3–4 newborns for larger species and 5–6 for smaller ones. As with many animals, it is not unusual for an adult male hedgehog to kill newborn males. Hedgehogs have a relatively long lifespan for their size. Larger species of hedgehogs live 4–7 years in the wild (some have been recorded up to 16 years), and smaller species live 2–4 years (4–7 in captivity), compared to a mouse at 2 years and a large rat at 3–5 years. Lack of predators and controlled diet contribute to a longer lifespan in captivity (8–10 years depending on size). Hedgehogs are born blind with a protective membrane covering their quills, which dries and shrinks over the next several hours. The quills emerge through the skin after they have been cleaned, or it falls off.

More Events and National Days happening on 2 February

Sled Dog Day
Candlemas
Crepe Day
Groundhog Day
Groundhog Job Shadow Day
Heavenly Hash Day
Marmot Day
World Wetlands Day

Boris Karloff

British actor Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt) sadly died 2 February 1969 in King Edward VII Hospital, Midhurst, Sussex after contracting pneumonia during a long battle with arthritis and emphysema. He was born 23 November 1887. Karloff is best remembered for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster in Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939). His popularity following Frankenstein was such that for a brief time he was billed simply as “Karloff” or “Karloff the Uncanny.” His best-known non-horror role is as the Grinch, as well as the narrator, in the animated television special of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966).Karloff grew up in Enfield & attended Enfield Grammar School before moving to Uppingham School and Merchant Taylors’ School, and King’s College London where he studied to go into the consular service. He dropped out in 1909 and worked as a farm labourer and did various odd jobs until he happened into acting. His brother, Sir John Thomas Pratt, became a distinguished British diplomat. Karloff was bow-legged, had a lisp, and stuttered as a young boy.

He conquered his stutter, but not his lisp, which was noticeable all through his career. In 1909, Pratt travelled to Canada and began appearing in stage shows throughout the country; and some time later changed his professional name to “Boris Karloff”. Some have theorized that he took the stage name from a mad scientist character in the novel The Drums of Jeopardy called “Boris Karlov”. Karloff joined the Jeanne Russell Company in 1911 and performed in towns like Kamloops, British Columbia and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. After the devastating Regina, Saskatchewan, cyclone of 30 June 1912, Karloff and other performers helped with cleanup efforts. He later took a job as a railway baggage handler and joined the Harry St. Clair Co. that performed in Minot, North Dakota. Once Karloff arrived in Hollywood in 1918, he made dozens of silent films, such as The Masked Rider (1919), The Hope Diamond Mystery (1920), King of the Wild (1930) and The Criminal Code (1931), a prison drama in which he reprised a dramatic part he had played on stage. Another significant role was an unethical newspaper reporter in Five Star Final, a harshly critical film about tabloid journalism which was nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture of 1931-32. However it was His role as the Frankenstein monster in Frankenstein (1931) which made Karloff a star. A year later, Karloff played another iconic character, Imhotep in The Mummy. The Old Dark House (with Charles Laughton) and the starring role in The Mask of Fu Manchu quickly followed. These films all confirmed Karloff’s new-found stardom and In 1933, he went back to Britain to make The Ghoul.

Karloff appeared in other films besides horror. including the 1932 film Scarface and the 1934 John Ford epic The Lost Patrol.However, horror remained Karloff’s primary genre, and he appeared in many 1930s Universal horror films, including several with Bela Lugosi, his main rival as heir to Lon Chaney, Sr.’s status as the top horror film star. After earning fame in Frankenstein, Karloff appeared as the Frankenstein monster in two other films, The Bride Of Frankenstein in 1935 and The Son Of Frankenstein in 1939, with the latter also featuring Lugosi. Karloff also starred as the villainous Dr. Niemann in House of Frankenstein (1944). Karloff returned to the role of the “mad scientist” in 1958′s Frankenstein 1970, as Baron Victor von Frankenstein II, the grandson of the original inventor. The long, creative partnership between Karloff and Lugosi produced some of the actors’ most revered and enduring productions, beginning with The Black Cat. Follow-ups included Gift of Gab (1934), The Raven (1935), The Invisible Ray (1936), Black Friday (1940), You’ll Find Out (also 1940), and The Body Snatcher (1945) & Tower of London (1939). From 1945 t0 1946 Karloff also appeared in Isle Of The Dead, The Body Snatcher, and Bedlam.

He returned to the Broadway stage in the original production of Arsenic and Old Lace in 1941. He also appeared as Captain Hook in the play Peter Pan with Jean Arthur. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work opposite Julie Harris in The Lark, by the French playwright Jean Anouilh about Joan of Arc, which was also reprised on Hallmark Hall of Fame. In later years, Karloff appeared in a number of television series, including, Out Of This World, and The Veil & the British TV in the series Colonel March of Scotland Yard. He also appeared in The Comedy of Terrors, The Raven, and The Terror, the latter two directed by Roger Corman, and Die, Monster, Die! He also featured in Michael Reeves’s second feature film, The Sorcerers, in 1966. Karloff also guest starred along with horror actor Vincent Price in a parody of Frankenstein, with Red Skelton as the monster “Klem Kadiddle Monster.” In 1966, Karloff also appeared with Robert Vaughn and Stefanie Powers in the spy series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. That same year he also played an Indian Maharajah on the instalment of the adventure series The Wild Wild West titled “The Night of the Golden Cobra.” In 1967, he played an eccentric Spanish professor who believes himself to be Don Quixote in a whimsical episode of I Spy.In 1968, Karloff starred in Targets, a film directed by Peter Bogdanovich about a young man who embarks on a killing spree. The film starred Karloff as retired horror film actor, Byron Orlok, a thinly disguised version of Karloff himself. It was his last film shot in the United States.In 1968 he played occult expert Prof. Marsh in a British film called The Crimson Cult (Curse of the Crimson Altar), which was the last film to be released during Karloff’s lifetime

Karloff ended his career by appearing in four low-budget Mexican horror films: The Snake People, The Incredible Invasion, The Fear Chamber, and House of Evil. He also starred in Cauldron of Blood, in 1967 alongside Viveca Lindfors.Boris Karloff lived out his final years in England at his cottage, ‘Roundabout,’ in the Hampshire village of Bramshott. He was cremated, following a requested low-key service, at Guildford Crematorium, Godalming, Surrey, where he is commemorated by a plaque in the Garden of Remembrance. A memorial service was held at St Paul’s, Covent Garden (the Actors’ Church), London, where there is also a plaque. However, even death could not put an immediate halt to Karloff’s media career. Four Mexican films for which Karloff shot his scenes in Los Angeles were released over a two-year period after he had died. Karloff also lent his name and likeness to a comic book for Gold Key Comics based upon the series. After Thriller was cancelled, the comic was retitled Boris Karloff’s Tales of Mystery. An illustrated likeness of Karloff continued to introduce each issue of this publication for nearly a decade after the real Karloff died; the comic lasted until the early 1980s. Starting in 2009, Dark Horse Comics started to reprint Tales of Mystery in a hard bound archive.

Gene Kelly

American dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer “Gene” Kelly saldy passed away on February 2, 1996. He was born August 23, 1912 in Pittsburgh. Kelly started dancing At the age of eight after he was enrolled by his mother in dance classes, along with his elder brother James. They both rebelled, and, according to Kelly: “We didn’t like it much and were continually involved in fistfights with the neighborhood boys who called us sissies…I didn’t dance again until I was fifteen.” He thought it would be a good way to get girls. Kelly returned to dance on his own initiative and by then was an accomplished sportsman and well able to take care of himself. He attended St. Raphael Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from Peabody High School in 1929 at the age of sixteen. He enrolled in Pennsylvania State College to study journalism but the economic crash obliged him to seek employment to help with the family’s finances. At this time, he worked up dance routines with his younger brother Fred in order to earn prize money in local talent contests, and they also performed in local nightclubs.

In 1931, Kelly enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh to study economics. While at Pitt, Kelly became involved in the university’s Cap and Gown Club, which staged original, comedic musical productions. Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with his graduation from Pitt in 1933, he remained active with the Cap and Gown Club, serving as its director from 1934 to 1938, while at the same time enrolling in the University of Pittsburgh Law School Also during this period, Kelly’s family started a dance studio on Munhall Road in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. In 1932, the dance studio was renamed The Gene Kelly Studio of the Dance. A second location was opened in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1933. Kelly served as a teacher at the studio during both his undergraduate and law student years at Pitt.Eventually, though, he decided to pursue his career as a dance teacher and full-time entertainer, so Kelly dropped out of law school after two months. He began to increasingly focus on performing. , having successfully managed and developed the family’s dance school business, he moved to New York City In 1937 in search of work as a choreographer, but returned to Pittsburgh, to his first position as a choreographer with the Charles Gaynor musical revue Hold Your Hats at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in April, 1938.

His first Broadway assignment, in November 1938, was as a dancer in Cole Porter’s Leave It to Me! as the American ambassador’s secretary who supports Mary Martin while she sings “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”. In 1939, he was selected to be part of a musical revue “One for the Money” produced by the actress Katharine Cornell, who was known for finding and hiring talented young actors.Kelly’s first career breakthrough was in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life, In the same year he received his first assignment as a Broadway choreographer, for Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe and In 1940, he was given the leading role in Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey which propelled him to stardom and Offers from Hollywood soon began to arrive. His first motion picture was “For Me and My Gal” (1942) with Judy Garland. He achieved his breakthrough as a dancer when he worked with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl (1944), his next film Anchors Aweigh (1945) became one of the most successful films of 1945.

Upon returning to Hollywood in 1946, he starred in Living in a Big Way and a film version of Cole Porter’s The Pirate with Judy Garland in which Kelly plays the eponymous swashbuckler. Later he capitalised on his swashbuckling image as d’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers. and also appeared with Vera-Ellen in the Slaughter on Tenth Avenue ballet in Words and Music (1948) followed by Words and Music (1948), Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949), and On the Town, partnered with Frank Sinatra. In 1949 he took the lead role in the early mafia melodrama: The Black Hand.This was then followed by Summer Stock (1950) in which Kelly performed “You, You Wonderful You”, An American in Paris (1951) and, probably the most popular and admired of all film musicals – Singin’ in the Rain (1952). Kelly, at the very peak of his creative powers, now made what in retrospect is seen as a serious mistake, and went to Europe to make a pet project of his to bring modern ballet to mainstream film audiences. The film Invitation to the Dance It was beset with delays and technical problems, and flopped when finally released in 1956. For his next picture Brigadoon (1954), he starred alongside Cyd Charisse, In his next film Deep in My Heart, He also appeared with his brother Fred in. He made three further pictures for MGM. It’s Always Fair Weather (1956), Les Girls (1957) and The Happy Road.

After Leaving MGM in 1957, Kelly returned to stage work, although he continued to make some film appearances, such as Hornbeck in the 1960 Hollywood production of Inherit the Wind. Kelly also frequently appeared on television shows during the 1960s, including a role as Father Chuck O’Malley in Going My Way (1962–63). He also appeared in three major TV specials: New York, New York (1966), The Julie Andrews’ Show (1965), and Jack and the Beanstalk (1967) which won him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program. He joined 20th Century Fox in 1965, wher he starred the major box-office hit A Guide for the Married Man (1967) and was commissioned to direct Hello, Dolly! (1969), starring Walther Matthau and Barbra Streisand. In 1970, he made another TV special: Gene Kelly and 50 Girls. He also directed veteran actors James Stewart and Henry Fonda in the comedy western The Cheyenne Social Club.

In 1974, he appeared as one of many special narrators in the surprise hit of the year That’s Entertainment! and subsequently directed and co-starred with his friend Fred Astaire in the sequel That’s Entertainment, Part II.Sadly Kelly’s health declined steadily in the late 1980s, and a stroke in July 1994 resulted in a seven week hospital stay. Another stroke in early 1995 left Kelly mostly bedridden in his Beverly Hills, California home. Following his death his body was subsequently cremated, without any funeral or memorial servicesAlthough he is known today for his performances in Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, he was a dominant force in Hollywood musical films from the mid 1940s until this art form fell out of fashion in the late 1950s. His many innovations transformed the Hollywood musical film, and he is credited with almost single-handedly making the ballet form commercially acceptable to film audiences. During his distinguished career Kelly recieved many awards  including the Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur from the French Government, an Academy Honorary Award in 1952 for his career achievements, a lifetime achievement awards in the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 1999, the American Film Institute also numbered him 15th in their Greatest Male Stars of All Time list.

Ulysses by James Joyce

The modernist novel Ulysses by Irish writer James Joyce, was published in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and then, Joyce’s 40th birthday. It is considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature and has been called “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement.” According to Declan Kiberd, “Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking”.

Ulysses chronicles the peripatetic appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 190 Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey, and the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and experiences of Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus, in addition to events and themes of the early 20th-century context of modernism, Dublin, and Ireland’s relationship to Britain. The novel is highly allusive and also imitates the styles of different periods of English literature.

Since its publication, the book has attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from an obscenity trial in the United States in 1921, to protracted textual “Joyce Wars”. The novel’s stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose—replete with puns, parodies, and allusions—as well as its rich characterisation and broad humour, have led it to be regarded as one of the greatest literary works in history; Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.

James Joyce was born On 2 February 1882, in Rathgar, Dublin, Ireland. Joyce’s father was John Stanislaus Joyce and his mother was Mary Jane “May” Murray. He was the eldest of ten surviving siblings; two died of typhoid. James was baptised according to the Rites of the Catholic Church in the nearby St Joseph’s Church in Terenure on 5 February 1882 by Rev. John O’Mulloy. Joyce’s godparents were Philip and Ellen McCann. In 1887, his father was appointed rate collector by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray, 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog, leading to his lifelong cynophobia. He suffered from astraphobia; a superstitious aunt had described thunderstorms as a sign of God’s wrath.

In 1891 Joyce wrote a poem on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic Church, the Irish Home Rule Party and the British Liberal Party and the resulting collaborative failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The Irish Party had dropped Parnell from leadership. But the Vatican’s role in allying with the British Conservative Party to prevent Home Rule left a lasting impression on the young Joyce. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a part to the Vatican Library. In 1891 John Joyce was entered in Stubbs’ Gazette (a publisher of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893, John Joyce was dismissed with a pension, beginning the family’s slide into poverty caused mainly by his drinking and financial mismanagement.

Joyce Enrolled at Clongowes Wood College, a Jesuit boarding school near Clane, County Kildare, in 1888 but had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers O’Connell School on North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits’ Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. In 1895, Joyce was elected to join the Sodality of Our Lady by his peers at Belvedere. In 1898 Joyce enrolled at the recently established University College Dublin (UCD) studying English, French and Italian. He became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. In 1900 his laudatory review of Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken was published in The Fortnightly Review. Joyce also wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays- Many of the friends he made at University College Dublin appeared as characters in Joyce’s works. His closest colleagues included, Tom Kettle, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce was first introduced to the Irish public by Arthur Griffith in his newspaper, United Irishman, in November 1901. Joyce had written an article on the Irish Literary Theatre and had it printed and distributed locally. Griffith himself wrote a piece decrying the censorship of the student James Joyce.

After graduating from UCD in 1902, Joyce left for Paris to study medicine, but he soon abandoned this. However Joyce had already failed to pass chemistry in English in Dublin, although Joyce claimed ill health as the problem and wrote home that he was unwell and complained about the cold weather. Joyce returned to Ireland When his mother was diagnosed with cancer and She finally passed into a coma and died on 13 August, After her death he continued to drink heavily, and conditions at home grew quite appalling. He scraped together a living reviewing books, teaching, and singing—he was an accomplished tenor, and won the bronze medal in the 1904 Feis Ceoil.

In 1904 Joyce attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist, an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, only to have it rejected by the free-thinking magazine Dana. He decided, on his twenty-second birthday, to revise the story into a novel he called Stephen Hero. It was a fictional rendering of Joyce’s youth, but he eventually grew frustrated and abandoned it. However years later, in Trieste, Joyce completely rewrote it as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The unfinished Stephen Hero was published after his death. In 1904 he also met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Galway city who was working as a chambermaid. The time when they first dated provides the date for the action of Ulysses (as “Bloomsday”). Joyce remained in Dublin drinking heavily and After one such drinking binge, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding with a man in St Stephen’s Green, but was rescued by a minor acquaintance of his father, Alfred H. Hunter, Who served as the inspiration for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. He also took up with the medical student Oliver St. John Gogarty, who informed the character for Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After six nights in the Martello Tower that Gogarty was renting in Sandycove, he left following an altercation with Dermot Chenevix Trench (Haines in Ulysses), who fired a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce’s bed. Joyce returned to Dublin to stay with relatives for the night and left Ireland to live on the continent shortly afterwards.

Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zurich in Switzerland, where he taught English at the Berlitz Language School. The director of the school sent Joyce on to Trieste, which was then part of Austria-Hungary (until the First World War), and is today part of Italy, where with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz School, he became a teacher in Pola, Croatia Where between 1904 and 1905 he taught English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers. With Artifoni’s help, he moved back to Trieste and began teaching English for the next ten years. In 1905 Nora gave birth to their first child, George (known as Giorgio). Joyce persuaded his brother, Stanislaus, to join him in Trieste, as a School Teacher.

Unfortunately Stanislaus and Joyce had strained relations while they lived together in Trieste, arguing about Joyce’s drinking habits and frivolity with money. Joyce also became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late 1906, working as a bank clerk. However He disliked Rome and returned to Trieste in early 1907. His daughter Lucia was born later that year. Joyce returned to Dublin in mid-1909 with George, to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He also visited Nora’s family in Galway. He decided to take one of his sisters, Eva, back to Trieste with him to help Nora run the home. He spent a month in Trieste before returning to Dublin as a representative of some cinema owners and businessmen from Trieste. With their backing he launched Ireland’s first cinema, the Volta Cinematograph. He returned to Trieste in 1910 accompanied by another sister, Eileen, Eva became homesick for Dublin and returned there a few years later, but Eileen spent the rest of her life on the continent, eventually marrying Czech bank cashier Frantisek Schaurek. Joyce returned to Dublin in 1912 to solve his altercation with Dublin publisher George Roberts over the publication of Dubliners and wrote the poem “Gas from a Burner”, an invective against Roberts shortly afterwards. After this trip, he never again came closer to Dublin than London, despite many pleas from his father and invitations from fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats. One of his students in Trieste was Ettore Schmitz, better known by the pseudonym Italo Svevo. They met in 1907 becoming friends. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin and was another inspiration for Leopold Bloom.

Sadly While living in Trieste, Joyce started having eye problems which required over a dozen surgical operations. Joyce concocted a number of money-making schemes, including an attempt to become a cinema magnate in Dublin and importing Irish tweed to Trieste. His income came from teaching at the Berlitz school Or teaching private students. In 1915, after most of his students in Trieste were conscripted to fight in the First World War, Joyce moved to Zurich. Two influential private students, Baron Ambrogio Ralli and Count Francesco Sordina, petitioned officials for an exit permit for the Joyces, who in turn agreed not to take any action against the emperor of Austria-Hungary during the war. In 1924 Joyce decided to finish Ulysses in Paris, delighted to find that he was gradually gaining fame as an avant-garde writer. A further grant from Miss Shaw Weaver meant he could devote himself full-time to writing And meet with other local literary figures

Unfortunately Joyce’s eyes gradually got worse and he often wore an eyepatch. He was treated by Dr Louis Borsch in Paris, undergoing nine operations before Borsch’s death in 1929. Throughout the 1930s he travelled frequently to Switzerland for eye surgeries and for treatments for his daughter Lucia, who, according to the Joyces, suffered from schizophrenia. Lucia was analysed by Carl Jung at the time, who after reading Ulysses is said to have concluded that her father had schizophrenia. In Paris, Maria and Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of writing Finnegans Wake and published serially various sections of Finnegans Wake under the title Work in Progress. In their literary magazine transition, the Jolases Joyce returned to Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the Nazi occupation of France.

Joyce’s had a controversial relationship with religion, he lapsed from Catholicism, rejecting the whole social order, recognised virtues, classes of life and religious doctrines, and hating it most fervently. This had a financial impact but he retained his pride. When the arrangements for Joyce’s burial were being made, a Catholic priest offered a religious service, which Joyce’s wife Nora declined. However, Leonard Strong, William T. Noon, Robert Boyle and others have argued that Joyce, later in life, reconciled with the faith he rejected earlier in life and that his parting with the faith was succeeded by a not so obvious reunion, and that Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are essentially Catholic expressions. Although Joyce did attend Catholic Mass and Orthodox Sacred Liturgy, especially during Holy Week, purportedly for aesthetic reasons. Umberto Eco compares Joyce to the ancient episcopi vagantes (wandering bishops) in the Middle Ages. They left a discipline, not a cultural heritage or a way of thinking. Like them, the writer retains the sense of blasphemy held as a liturgical ritual. Some argue that Joyce “remained a Catholic intellectual if not a believer” since his thinking remained influenced by his cultural background, even though he lived apart from that culture. His relationship with religion was complex and not easily understood. He acknowledged the debt he owed to his early Jesuit training stating thathe had ‘learnt to arrange things in such a way that they become easy to survey and to judge.’

In 1941, Joyce underwent surgery in Zurich for a perforated ulcer. He fell into a coma the following day. He awoke at 2 a.m. on 13 January 1941, and asked a nurse to call his wife and son, before losing consciousness again. They were still en route when he died 15 minutes later , less than a month short of his 59th birthday. His body was interred in the Fluntern Cemetery, Zurich but was moved in 1966 to a more prominent “honour grave,” with a seated portrait statue by American artist Milton Hebald nearby. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang Addio terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the burial service. Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce’s funeral, and the Irish government later declined Nora’s offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce’s remains. Nora, whom he had married in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried by his side, as is their son Giorgio, who died in 1976.

Ayn Rand

Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter Ayn Rand was born in Russia 2nd February 1905. She is best known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially less successful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged.

She then began writing nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism, instead supporting limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed was the only social system that protected individual rights. She promoted romantic realism in art. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for some Aristotelians and classical liberals. Rand’s fiction was poorly received by many literary critics, and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.

Objectivism’s central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (or rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania German: Grundsaudaag, Murmeltiertag) is a day celebrated on February 2nd. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; however if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow.

In southeastern Pennsylvania, Groundhog Lodges (Grundsow Lodges) celebrate the holiday with fersommlinge,social events in which food is served, speeches are made, and one or more g’spiel (plays or skits) are performed for entertainment. The Pennsylvania German dialect is the only language spoken at the event, and those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter per word spoken, with the money put into a bowl in the center of the table. The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Groundhog Day, already a widely recognized and popular tradition,received widespread attention as a result of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which was set in Punxsutawney and portrayed Punxsutawney Phil

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day occurs on February 2, every year to commemorate the date of the signing of the Ramsar Convention, on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. This convention concerns the protection and maintaining of Wetlands. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is inundated by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants,adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, and support of plants and animals. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Whether any individual wetland performs these functions, and the degree to which it performs them, depends on characteristics of that wetland and the lands and waters near it. Methods for rapidly assessing these functions, wetland ecological health, and general wetland condition have been developed in many regions and have contributed to wetland conservation partly by raising public awareness of the functions and the ecosystem services some wetlands provide.

Wetlands occur naturally on every continent. The main wetland types are swamp, marsh, bog, and fen; sub-types include mangrove forest, carr, pocosin, floodplains, mire, vernal pool, sink, and many others. Many peatlands are wetlands. The water in wetlands is either freshwater, brackish, or saltwater. Wetlands can be tidal (inundated by tides) or non-tidal. The largest wetlands include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain the Pantanal in South America, and the Sundarbans in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed. Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention and improve the way in which the Parties are able to implement its objectives. COP12 was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in 2015. COP13 was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in October 2018. The List of Wetlands of International Importance included 2,331 Ramsar Sites in May 2018 covering over 2.1 million square kilometres (810,000 sq mi).

The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom with 170, and the country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia, with over 140,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi). The Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS) is a searchable database which provides information on each Ramsar Site.The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other organisations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs).  Include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Wetlands International, WWF International and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). These organizations support the work of the Convention by providing expert technical advice, helping implement field studies, and providing financial support. The IOPs also participate regularly as observers in all meetings of the Conference of the Parties and as full members of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel.

The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment determined that environmental degradation is more prominent within wetland systems than any other ecosystem on Earth. Constructed wetlands are used to treat municipal and industrial wastewater as well as stormwater runoff. They may also play a role in water-sensitive urban design.

From 1997 to 2007, the Ramsar Convention’s Web site has posted reports from more than 95 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites, and new programmes at the national level. On February 2010 World Wetlands day was held in Korea under the Ramsar support. The day is really important, as more awareness is raised on the importance of taking care of wetlands.