ROAST LEG OF LAMB DAY !!!!
- Russia, the largest country in the world, occupies one-tenth of all the land on Earth. It spans 11 time zones across two continents (Europe and Asia) and has coasts on three oceans (the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic). It is almost twice as big as Canada.
- It has the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal (1,700 m or 5,577 ft) in Siberia and it contains more water than any other lake on earth. Amazing when you compare that to Denver, the “Mile High City” at 5,280 feet. Russia has about 100,000 rivers, including some of the longest and most powerful in the world.
- The national animal is the brown bear. The most famous animal species is the Siberian tiger, the largest cat in the world that is indigenous to the forests of eastern Russia.
- Greater Sochi has a population of 400,000 and stretches 90 miles along the Black Sea, making it the second longest city in the world behind only Mexico City.
- Sochi is on the same latitude with Toronto, Nice and the Gobi Desert.
- Sochi is a resort town that is known as the Russian Riviera. Sochi’s climate is subtropical, making it the warmest city to host an Olympic Winter Games and temperatures hover around 50 degrees in the winter. Sochi has been stockpiling snow and a Michigan-based company designed and operates the snow-making system called the Super Pole Cat. This fully automated fan, pump and water-spraying unit up on a pole towers over the mountainside.
- The outdoor alpine events will be held in the northern Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and the area averages 5 degrees in the winter. The town of Krasnaya Polyana (in the Caucasus Mountains) will host the events requiring snow. It is located 40 km away from Sochi.
- Twelve winter sports events will be making their Olympic debuts in Sochi, making the 2014 Games the biggest in history. The new events include a figure skating team event, women’s ski jumping, mixed relay biathlon, ski halfpipe (men’s and women’s), team relay luge, ski slope style (men’s and women’s), snowboard slope style (men’s and women’s), and snowboard parallel slalom (men’s and women’s). That makes for a total of 98 events in 15 winter sports (versus 86 events in Vancouver).
- There are three mascots for these Olympics, as voted by the Russian people: a polar bear, hare, and leopard.
- There will be 6,000 athletes from 85 countries (plus 1,650 Paralympians from 45 countries)
The origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women’s names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration.
While this pairing of couples set the tone for today’s holiday, it wasn’t called “Valentine’s Day” until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine’s death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honor Saint Valentine.
In one of baseball’s most memorable pitching duels, Giants’ Juan Marichal and Braves’ Warren Spahn both hurl 15 scoreless innings before Willie Mays ends the marathon with a homer off Spahnie in the bottom of the 16th giving San Francisco a 1-0 win.