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11 December
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History Lovers Gift Guide 2013

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I hope you find some gems here. I really had fun looking into this. Click on the links below to learn more about each gift.  There is still plenty of time to give a great gift before Christmas!  Whoever you favorite history buff, nerd or geek is.  If you are worried you don’t have time to purchase online try Amazon Prime.  I was skeptical at first but now that we have it, I love it!

History Magazine

A magazine subscription gives all year long. This is one of the best and least expensive.

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12 April
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Everyone is talking about: Yuri Gagarin

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Today marks the 50th anniversary that humankind put a man in space. Everyone is writing about this online. I mean everyone. This is your one stop shop for everything online that is Gagarin. Jalopnik, a car blog, even has an extensive feature on their blog. National Geographic has a huge slideshow with really fantastic photos you need to check out. Boing Boing posted the below video with a link to NASA’s website where there is a feature on Gagarin too. Gizmodo did a great job with their article online too, maybe the best one I read today. Wired did a post about the photos that were altered of some of the soviet astronauts. Google of course jumped in and created a custom image for Gagarin.

Yuri Gagarin carried two personal items with him on his historic first spaceflight. First, cognac. Second, shark repellant. The shark repellant was in case he landed in the sea. Mary Roach via Twitter

Then there is the movie. Metafilter mentions it on their site. We touched on it briefly a few posts ago. The best site to learn about the movie is GeekDad. I’ll post the movie below.

Other articles found online:
Wired
C|Net
C|Net Photo Slideshow

Also, Starman: The Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin the book came out today. I want to read this really bad, but for now I think I will just watch the movie. Enjoy everyone!

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02 February
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Feb 2, 1887 First Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day may be one of may favorite all time movies, but it is also a pretty big deal everyday for Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the same town depicted in the movie. The movie was actually filmed in Woodstock and they are so proud of being the location of the movie that they’ve erected a plaque at the corner with the troublesome puddle and named it “Ned’s Corner.” They also have their own groundhog now, Woodstock Willie, and the local movie theater shows the movie for free every Groundhog’s Day weekend. Despite the terrible weather the midwest and east are getting it all seems to be moving forward.

Here is a great overview of the history of the day. I was going to paraphrase all this, but I liked exactly how it was written:

Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

source: http://www.groundhog.org/groundhog-day/history/,
http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/punxsutawney/a/groundhog_day.htm,
http://www.neatorama.com/2009/02/03/movie-trivia-groundhog-day/

Watched this on Monday. I’ve seen this many times and still love it. One of my all-time favorites.

Groundhog Day (15th Anniversary Special Edition) [Blu-ray]

Some of the best parts of the movie:

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