Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthdays, Baby Planners and Trillions

I have this habit of ripping stories out of the newspaper that intrigue, amaze or just amuse me and in an effort to clean off my desk, I thought I'd share some with you this week:

Good Morning to All
Ever wonder why you rarely hear the song "Happy Birthday to You" on television or the radio? Apparently America's most popular song, originally written as "Good Morning to All," is copyrighted until the year 2030 and royalties must be paid if it's used on TV and radio stations, concert venues, restaurants and certain retail establishments. The good news is it's still OK to sing it at home, though not at mine, please. At my age, it sounds more like a funeral dirge.

Composed in 1893 by Kentucky sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, who taught young children, the original lyrics of my least favorite song were: "Good morning to you, Good morning to you, Good morning dear children, Good morning to you." By 1924, a second stanza had been added -- the "Happy Birthday to You" song that's now so popular. A third Hill sister, Jessica, filed suit to prove her sisters had written the song and had not been paid for it. In 1934, a court found in their favor and the next year, Jessica Hill worked with a publishing company to publish and copyright "Happy Birthday." That copyright doesn't expire until 2030. Meanwhile, the original publishing company is now part of Summery Birchard Music, owned by AOL Time Warner, and shares any Happy Birthday royalties with the Hill Foundation.

First Wedding planners, Now Baby Planners
Did you know that moms-to-be are now hiring people to help them prepare for having a baby because, well, it's just so overwhelming and time-consuming to do all that research on baby products and everything else.

Really? What the heck do they think it's going to be like once the baby arrives? A day in the park? These newbie parents-to-be ought to enjoy this baby preparation time as an easy warm-up for the next 18-plus (and I do mean, plus) years of their lives.

Apparently there are about 70 of these baby planners working in the United States today. They say they're like wedding planners, but instead they help people prepare for the baby's arrival and all the information and research they'll need. They'll even install car seats and make sure the mother-to-be's bags are packed for the hospital. Funny, I thought those people were supposed to be called husbands or significant others.

In any case, I think someone ought to start an industry built around planning for the horrible teenage years. Now that's when you really need help -- that scary time when your beloved offspring morphs into a hormonal, rebellious and ungrateful being. On the other hand, if any parent knew what the teenage years were going to be like, they probably wouldn't have kids in the first place -- which would put an end to this baby planner business. If you want to read the full article, click here.

How Much IS a Trillion?
Besides being less than the federal debt, did you know it would take 31,688 years to count that high by saying one number per second until you reached 1,000,000,000,000?

The federal debt is now estimated at more than that -- $1.35 trillion -- and if you need a visual to comprehend the enormity of this number, consider that the Washington Monument is 555 feet tall. If you stacked Washington Monuments end to end, it would take more than 2.4 BILLION of them to reach 1.35 trillion feet. Kinda takes your breath away, doesn't it? Click here to enjoy the whole story.

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