April 23rd

It was on the date in 1791 that James Buchanan, one-time worst president ever of the U.S., was born.

Stephen A. Douglas, the short guy who debated Lincoln during the 1858 election—and won the election — was born on this date in 1813. Douglas died shortly after Lincoln’s inaugural as president in 1861.

April 23, 1564, is generally accepted as the birth date of William Shakespeare.

And 52 years later, on April 23, 1616, both Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. One likes to think that had they been in heaven sooner, The Bible would have been better written.


Ah Choo!

Cottonwood Canopy

The Rio Grande Cottonwood, a welcome sight to pioneer desert caravans because it often signaled water, typically reaches 50 to 60 feet in height, with a trunk of three feet in diameter. Some of the grand old cottonwoods in the Rio Grande Valley have reached 90 feet in height, with trunks five feet across. In open areas, the tree may divide into branches near its base, producing a spreading crown. . . .

The Rio Grande Cottonwood reproduces by seeding, unlike many other flood-plain trees which regenerate by sprouting. It flowers in the spring, before it leafs out. It releases its seeds, each carried by downy white tuft, or “parachute,” in anticipation of traditional spring floods and winds, the principal mechanisms for dispersion. A mature Rio Grande Cottonwood can produce as many as 25 million seeds in a season, covering wide areas with a blanket of “cotton.”

Rio Grande Cottonwood – DesertUSA


Ron Howard’s Brother Hits the Double Nickel

Gentle_Ben_premiere_Clint_Howard_1967

Ron Howard is no doubt celebrating his brother’s 55th birthday today.

Ron Howard’s brother has more than 200 film and television credits including roles in many of his brother’s films — Cocoon, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon come to mind. Many will remember Ron Howard’s brother also as the 8-year-old kid in the TV series Gentle Ben. Howard’s younger sibling was also the voice of Roo in the Disney Winnie the Pooh films, and more recently the voice of the balloon man in Curious George.