March 31 - The Opening of the Eiffel Tower

Posted on March 31, 2019

It looked like an ugly factory chimney! some artists and scholars wrote.

It was too tall - much, much taller than anything else in Paris, they wrote.

It might collapse. After all, it was being built by a railroad bridge architect, and it looked a lot like a railroad bridge, and railroad bridges sometimes collapse! 

It was so hideous, even Americans wouldn't build it! the artists and scholars claimed.

So went a public letter written by the Parisian elite who hated the Eiffel Tower - at least when it was beginning to be built!

But by the time it was finished, almost everyone agreed that it was actually quite beautiful. 

Gustave Eiffel designed the tower, and his company's 200 workers constructed it in time for the 1889 World's Fair. On this date in 1889, it was opened to the public for the first time.

Of course, it's become a famous and recognizable landmark - one of the most famous and recognizable in the world! It now stands for France itself, and it is the most-visited paid monument in the world!

When it was built, the Eiffel Tower became the tallest human-made structure in the world. That record had been held by the Washington Monument in the U.S., at around 555 feet (169 m) tall, but the Eiffel Tower was almost twice as tall, (1,063 feet, or 324 m). The Eiffel Tower held the world record 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in the U.S. was completed.

The Eiffel Tower remains the tallest structure in Paris. It's highest observation deck is the highest accessible to the public in the entire European Union.

Did you know...?

French companies couldn't figure out how to install elevators in the structure, so Eiffel had to hire the Otis Elevator Company, from the U.S., to build the elevator.

When Nazis captured France, Hitler made sure to have his photo taken in front of the Eiffel Tower. As long as the Germans occupied Paris, the Nazi flag flew on the tower, and even after the occupation was over, several French people were shot by retreating Nazis when the Frenchmen tried to climb to tower to replace the Nazi flag with homemade French flags.

The Eiffel Tower was only supposed to exist for a couple of decades, but it's been around for 130 years...and counting!

March 30 - International Folding Laundry Day

Posted on March 30, 2019

Don't know why folding laundry warrants a special day, but I happen to not mind this task too much. I definitely wouldn't want to buy an expensive, bulky machine to do it!

I have my own way of folding laundry that is pretty simple and that is designed for the storage I have for clothes and linens. But there are a lot of good ways to fold laundry, and here are a BUNCH of ideas.

If you don't mind a slower video and want more explanation of the hows and whys of folding, check out this video.

Or go with the Tidying Up lady, Marie Kondo, and her many, many videos about folding laundry. Here is a one that is folding-in-general. You will see that her basic idea is used by others in the other videos - but many people find her videos calming and happy-making!

Folding laundry can be a relaxing task, something you can do while talking on the phone, something you can do while listening to an audio book or music or a podcast, even something you can do while watching TV or Netflix!

By the way, some people people just don't bother to fold laundry, but not only do clothes get wrinkled, it's super hard to find particular items, or two matching socks, and bunches of rumpled piles of clean clothes take up a lot more room than folded laundry properly put away. Not to mention the fact that it's harder to keep track of what is clean and what is not when everything looks like this:

So save time AND help your clothes look better by folding and putting away laundry!

Also on this date:

March 29 – An Army Is Discovered!

Posted on March 29, 2019

March 29, 1974: No big deal, just a farmer digging a water well. This was in China, in the Lintong District of the Shaanxi Province. 

The land is known to have loads of underground springs - so that's why the farmer was digging a well there.

It was also pretty close to the tomb of the ancient Chinese emperor - the FIRST Chinese emperor! - Qin Shi Huang. But when I say "pretty close," I mean about a mile away (1.5 km). So I'm sure that the farmer didn't expected to find pieces of Qin's tomb there.

And yet, he did:


Of course, the farmer didn't find all of these soldiers. He found some chunks of terracotta (a reddish, porous ceramic), and there was some indication of a chunk being from the Qin necropolis. (A necropolis is a cemetery that has lots of elaborate tomb monuments and above-ground structures that make the area look like a "city for the dead.")

Chinese archeologists hurried to the area and carefully excavated a figure...

...and another one...

...and another and another and another...

By 2007 scientists estimated that the Terracotta Army those farmers had discovered included more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots being drawn by 520 horses, 150 more horses in the cavalry, plus non-military figures such as acrobats, musicians, officials, and strongmen.

A museum complex has been built around the excavations, with a roof to protect the sculptures from the elements. This is the largest pottery installation ever discovered.

Unfortunately, the bright lacquer colors used to paint the figures have almost entirely faded or flaked off. Archeologists point out that, not only are the figures life-size; and not only are their hats, armor, and uniforms varied according to the their rank; but also each figure has a different, individual face!

Most of the figures originally held real weapons, but the majority of the weapons were either looted or have rotted away. Still, lots of bronze weapons WERE discovered, including swords, daggers, spears, lances, battle-axes, scimitars, shields, crossbows, and crossbow triggers. The majority of the items of weaponry discovered were arrowheads - 100 per bundle - and counting all of those individual arrowheads plus all the larger items results in about 40,000 items of weaponry

Wow! What a find!

By the way, if you want to read about Yang Zhifa, the farmer who made this discovery, check out this article.

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