Thursday, March 30, 2017

30 March 17

The penultimate day of March is always Pencil Day, honoring a patent issued on this date in 1858 to Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia, PA, for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil.

In my office I have a framed plaque honoring "The L.E.A.D. 2.5 Word Processor," where the letters are shown to stand for Light, Economical, And Dependable. Its wonderful features include "fine or large print (manual control); polished wooden cabinet; letters, words or entire phrases can be deleted with a flick of the wrist; unlimited memory capacity depending on the aptitude of the user."

Besides a normal pencil, the plaque holds a double-pointed pencil ("for those who make no mistakes"), a double-erasered pencil ("for those who make only mistakes"), a very short pencil ("for those who do very little"), and an unsharpened piece of pencil wood ("for those who do absolutely nothing").

Today is also celebrated as "I Am In Control Day," honoring the words uttered by Secretary of State Alexander Haig on 30 March 1981, after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan: "As of now, I am in control here in the White House."

And I am not forgetting that this is the 164th anniversary of the birth of Vincent Van Gogh. But I have already worn two Van Gogh ties this year; more soon!

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