_MG_8280When you are young and discovering the world, everything is bizarre.

For example: why do different animals make different noises? If there really aren’t unicorns, where did the idea of a unicorn come from? Why are dog noses wet and human noses dry (at least most of the time)?

When you are barely two, you are faced with many conundrums in life. Your mom has a soft voice, long hair and smooth facial skin. But your dad is another story: louder voice (usually), shorter hair and furry, stickery stubble that comes out of his skin (witness my granddaughter checking out her daddy’s face in this picture.)

But there’s an even greater thing that that in this picture.  That’s the bizarre power of a binky to soothe a little one who has just awakened from a deep nap. Maybe I should get one of those! I wonder if binky’s would help an old man like me not ache so much when I roll out of bed in the morning?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on this day, Soviet troops created a breach in the German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for a year and a half.  Upon invading the Soviet Union in June 1941, German troops made a beeline for Leningrad, the second-largest city in the USSR. In August, German forces, approaching from the west and south, surrounded the city and rendered the Leningrad-Moscow railway useless. A German offensive attempted to occupy the city but failed; in light of this, Hitler decided to impose a siege, allowing nothing to enter or leave the former capital of Old Russia. Hitler intended to wait the Soviets out, then raze the city to the ground and hand the territory over to Germany’s Finnish allies, who were advancing on the city from the north.

The siege began officially on September 8, 1941. The people of Leningrad began building antitank fortifications and succeeded in creating a stable defense of the city, but they were also cut off from all access to vital resources in the Soviet interior. In 1942, 650,000 Leningrad citizens died from starvation, disease, exposure, and injuries suffered from the siege and the continual German bombardment with artillery. Barges offered occasional relief in the summer and ice-borne sleds were able to do the same in the winter. A million sick, elderly, or especially young residents of Leningrad were slowly and stealthily evacuated, leaving about 2 million people to ration available food and use all open ground to plant vegetables.

A Soviet counteroffensive pushed the Germans westward on January 27, 1944, bringing the siege to an end. It had lasted for 872 days.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  the dust tail of a comet can be as long as 10 million kilometers (I know that sounds impressive, but it’s just 6.21 miles long).


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