pick of the week: Here's something different — a St. Patrick's Day celebration that doesn't involve green beer. The historic James J. Hill House in St. Paul is hosting an Irish-themed open house Saturday and Sunday that will highlight the Hills' Irish heritage, including traditional Irish music and the history of Irish-Americans in Minnesota. The mansion, 240 Summit Av., operated under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, which include a guided tour, are $10, $8 for seniors and college students, $6 for kids 5 to 17 and free for Historical Society members. (mnhs.org)
Cheat sheet: Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, here are some tidbits with which to amaze friends over corned beef and cabbage.
• March 17 was picked for St. Patrick's Day in the belief that's the day the patron saint of Ireland died. But that's not certain. In fact, historians aren't even in agreement on what year he died, other than that it was sometime in the last third of the fifth century.
• His real name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name Patrick when he became a priest.
• There are more Americans of Irish descent — about 35 million — than there are Irish of Irish descent, a tad under 5 million.
Day by day: Monday is national Napping Day. It's always the day after daylight saving time kicks in, a date based on the theory that we need to make up the hour of sleep we lost when we moved our clocks ahead.
recommended reading: A U professor has memorized more than 2,000 digits of pi. Don't forget to check out his story in Tuesday's Variety.