Good morning astronomers. Today is Saturday, August 24, 2013. The holidays today are:The first holiday today is
Pluto Demoted Day
Pluto Demoted Day does not have anything to do with one of Disney’s most beloved cartoon canines, Pluto, falling into disfavor. This holiday marks the anniversary of the date in 2006 when the ninth planet, Pluto, was reclassified by astronomers from a planet to dwarf planet status and renamed Plutoid.
Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ on February 18, 1930, after nearly a year of searching. The planet’s existence was confirmed by the scientific community on March 13, 1930, and the announcement of the existence of a ninth planet was released to the public.
Pluto was not named after Disney’s cartoon dog as some believe. Later in 1930, Mr. Disney introduced a new cartoon character, Mickey Mouse’s dog, and named him after the newly discovered planet.
Pluto was named by an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford England named Venetia Burney. She was a student of both ancient mythology and astronomy and suggested the name Pluto, the God of the Underworld because she felt it was appropriate for such a dark and foreboding place. She suggested the name to her grandfather, a librarian, who passed it along to colleagues in the United States, who in turn, passed it on to the Lowell Observatory; who had the responsibility to name the new planet because they discovered it. The name Pluto was unanimously selected on March 24, 1930, and the formal announcement was made on May 1, 1930.
Vesuvius Day marks the date in 79 A.D. that Mount Vesuvius erupted in a huge explosion. It was one of the largest volcanic explosions in recorded history. It destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. They were buried by volcanic ash and pumice. An estimated 20,000 people were killed.
Mount Vesuvius also erupted a second time in 1631. This eruption killed an estimated 3,500 people.
National Knife Day
National Knife Day celebrates the ancient tool that has survived since the dawn of mankind. Through the centuries, the knife has persevered, despite those who misuse the tool as a weapon.
Receiving your first knife was a rite of passage for boys of my generation. It was one of the first acknowledgments by your parents that you were a responsible young man. To many people, a knife is a way of life. Knives are an important tool for fishermen, hunters, chefs, doctors, and rescue workers to name a few. Knives also have a myriad of uses around the home. No kitchen, toolbox, or utility drawer is complete unless it contains a knife. Heck, I even use one in my home office as a letter opener.
To celebrate this holiday, gather all of your knives together and inspect them. Sharpen, clean, and lubricate them. Discard and replace any that are no longer serviceable.
National Peach Pie Day
Unless you have been in a coma since birth you probably know that peach pie is one of America’s favorite pies.
Peach pie is a two-crust, filled pie. It is impossible to determine who was the first to make a pie with a peach filling. The reason that today is National Peach Pie Day is also unknown, and, except for it being mentioned in three of my sources, there is no documentation to verify that today is even a holiday. Nonetheless, enjoy a slice of peach pie today. Do you really need a holiday to have peach pie?
National Waffle Day
On this date in 1869, Cornelius Swarthout of Troy New York was issued the first patent for a waffle iron in the United States – giving us another opportunity to celebrate waffles. Unless you just emerged from a cave where you were raised from infancy by wolves, you know that a waffle is a batter or dough that is cooked between two plates that are patterned to give a characteristic size, shape and surface impression.
National Waffle Day celebrates waffles…in all forms. The first waffles originated in Ancient Greece. The Greeks would cook flat cakes called “obelios” between two metal pans held over a fire. Today waffles in one form or another are enjoyed in almost every nation on Earth. Waffles come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of batter or iron used, waffles will vary in consistency, size, shape and flavor.
Here are a few more waffle facts.
- Irons used specifically for making waffles first appeared in the 14th century.
- The first electric waffle iron was introduced by General Electric in 1911.
- Eggo Frozen Waffles are sold in Supermarkets for the first time in 1953.
- Belgian Waffles debut at New York’s World’s Fair in 1964.
On this date in:
- 1456 – The printing of the Gutenberg Bible was completed.
- 1814 – During the War of 1812, Washington, DC, was invaded by British forces that set fire to the White House and Capitol.
- 1869 – A patent for the waffle iron was received by Cornelius Swarthout.
- 1912 – A four-pound limit was set for parcels sent through the U.S. Post Office mail system.
- 1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop. The trip from Los Angeles, CA to Newark, NJ, took about 19 hours.
- 1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty went into effect. The agreement formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The gist of the treaty was that an attack against on one of the parties would be considered “an attack against them all.”
- 1954 – The Communist Party was virtually outlawed in the United States when the Communist Control Act went into effect.
- 1959 – Three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American United States senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American United States representative.
- 1968 – France became the fifth thermonuclear power when they exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
- 1975 – Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers set a major league baseball record when he stole his 38th consecutive base.
- 1989 – Pete Rose, the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was banned from baseball for life after being accused of gambling on baseball.
- 1989 – “Total war” was declared by Colombian drug lords on their government.
- 1995 – Microsoft’s “Windows 95” went on sale.
- 1998 – U.S. officials cited a soil sample as part of the evidence that a Sudan plant was producing precursors to the VX nerve gas. And, therefore made it a target for U.S. missiles on August 20, 1998.
- 2001 – The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War were returned to the United States. The bodies were found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. It was estimated that it would be a year before the identities of the soldiers would be known.
- 2001 – NASA announced that operation of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite would end by September 30th due to budget restrictions. Though the satellite is best known for monitoring a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, it was designed to provide information about the upper atmosphere by measuring its winds, temperatures, chemistry and energy received from the sun.
- William Wilberforce 1759 – Abolitionist.
- Joshua Lionel Cowen 1877 – Inventor.
- Preston Foster 1901 – Actor.
- Durward Kirby 1912 – Television announcer.
- Dennis James 1917 – Television personality.
- Kenny Baker 1934 – Actor.
Mason Williams 1938 – Guitarist.
- Gregory Jarvis 1944 – Engineer.
- Joe Regalbuto 1949 – Actor.
- Mike Shanahan 1952 – Football coach.
- Gerry Cooney 1956 – Boxer.
- Steve Guttenberg 1958 – Actor.
- Cal Ripken, Jr. 1960 – Baseball player.
- Marlee Matlin 1965 – Actress.
- Reggie Miller 1965 – Basketball player.
- Claudia Schiffer 1971 –Model.
- David Chappelle 1973 – Comedian.
- Carmine Giovinazzo 1973 – Actor, musician.
- Chad Michael Murray 1981 – Actor.
- Rupert Grint 1988 – Actor.
Good morning air enthusiasts. Today is Tuesday, August 23rd. Today’s holidays are:
Ride the Wind Day
Ride the Wind Day celebrates the first successful man-powered flight on this date in 1977. Bryan Allen pedaled the Gossamer Condor, a human-powered aircraft designed by Dr. Paul B. MacCready, around a one-mile, figure-eight course.
In 1959 Henry Kremer, a British industrialist offered a prize of 50,000 pounds ($85,000) to the first group that could fly a human-powered aircraft over a figure-eight course covering a total of 1 mile, or 1.6 kilometers. Prior to the successful flight by Mr. Allen in 1977, 50 others had tried but failed, to win the prize.
Note: On June 12, 1979, a beefed up version of the Gossamer Condor, the Gossamer Albatross, made the first successful human-powered flight across the English Channel. The craft was again piloted by the intrepid Bryan Allen.
If you are among the unfortunate few who doesn’t as yet have a human-powered aircraft in your driveway, do not despair. There are other ways to celebrate this holiday. For instance, you can fly in an airplane, fly a kite, take a parachute lesson, hang glide, take a ride in a hot-air balloon, rent a sailboat, ride a motorcycle, or put on a cape and leap from a tall building (NOT RECOMMENDED). Have fun!
Note: The Gossamer Condor 2 aircraft is preserved at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Hug Your Boss Day
Hug Your Boss Day is not intended to be taken literally. In today’s litigious and competitive workplace, hugging your boss would only lead to trouble.
As near as I can determine, this holiday urges you to look at things from your bosses perspective. Try to find ways to improve the working relationship between you and your boss. Have a conversation with your boss on ways to make your workplace more efficient and productive.
Rudolph Valentino (aka the Latin Lover) was a silent film star, sex symbol and early “pop” icon. His career was tragically cut short at the age of 31 by complications which arose from an emergency appendectomy. He died on this date in 1926.
National Sponge Cake Day
Sponge cake is a light-textured cake made of eggs, sugar and flour. There is no fat or leavening, so it is critical to beat air in at key stages of preparation. It is baked in cake pans, tube pans or sheet pans. After it is baked, the airy cake is still flexible, and can be used to make rolled cakes. It can be used in a variety of ways. The basic sponge cake recipe is also used to make lady fingers and madeleines. Slices are also used sometimes in place of biscuits to make strawberry shortcake. Because of its malleability after baking, it is often used to make Jelly rolls.
Sponge cake is the perfect dessert to enjoy at the end of a warm summer day. It is light and fluffy and has just enough sweetness to cleanse the palette after a meal. So, bake a homemade sponge cake today, or buy one from your local bakery.
Buttered Corn Day
Cooked corn has is high in antioxidants, which substantially reduce the chance of heart disease and cancer. Scientists have measured the antioxidants’ ability to quench free radicals, which cause damage to the body from oxidation. Cooked corn also releases increased levels of ferulic acid, which provides health benefits, such as battling cancer. Corn also contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is important for overall health.
Maize, or Corn, is a large grain plant first domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Mayans cultivated corn in numerous varieties throughout Mesoamerica. They cooked it , ground it, or processed it through a process known as nixtamalization (soaking it in an alkali solution). Beginning about 2500 BC, the crop spread through much of the Americas. The leafy stalk of the plant produces separate ears, which are fruits, yielding kernels (often erroneously called seeds). Maize kernels are often used in cooking as a starch.
Corn, especially corn-on-the-cob, is one of America’s favorite vegetables. It is in season throughout most of the summer in North America, so enjoy some corn today…either on or off of the cob.
On this date in:
- 1892 – The printed streetcar transfer was patented by John H. Stedman.
- 1904 – The grip-tread tire chain for cars was patented.
- 1939 – Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression treaty.
- 1944 – During World War II, Romanian prime minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed. Soon after the country would abandon the Axis and join the Allies.
- 1959 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Sally debuted as an infant.
- 1962 – The first live TV program was relayed between the U.S. and Europe through the U.S. Telstar satellite.
- 1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defected while the Bolshoi Ballet was on tour in New York City.
- 1982 – Gaylord Perry (Seattle Mariners) was tossed out of a game for throwing an illegal spitball.
- 1983 – The United States announced that it was nearly ready for a test flight of an anti-satellite missile.
- 1984 – South Fork Ranch, the home of the fictitious Ewing clan of the CBS-TV show, “Dallas,” was sold. The ranch was to be transformed from a tourist site into a hotel.
- 1993 – It was confirmed by Los Angeles police that Michael Jackson was the subject of a criminal investigation.
- 1996 – President Clinton imposed limits on peddling cigarettes to children.
- 1999 – Rescuers in Turkey found a young boy that had been buried in rubble from an earthquake for about a week.
- 1999 – Robert Bogucki was rescued after getting lost in the Great Sandy Desert of Australia on July 11. During the 43-day ordeal, Bogucki lost 44 pounds.
- Gene Kelly 1912 – Singer, dancer, actor.
- Bob Crosby 1913 – Bandleader.
- Tex Williams 1917 – Country musician.
- Jean Darling 1925 – Actress.
- Vera Miles 1930 – Actress.
- Mark Russell 1932 – Political satirist.
- Barbara Eden 1934 – Actress.
- Sonny Jurgensen 1934 – Football player.
- Ronnie Cox 1938 – Actor, musician.
- Richard Sanders 1940 – Actor.
- Keith Moon 1947 – Musician.
- Shelley Long 1949 – Actress.
- Rick Springfield 1949 – Singer, actor.
- River Phoenix 1970 – Actor.
- Kobe Bryant 1978 – Basketball player.
- Joanne Froggatt 1980 – Actress.
Good morning angels. Today is Monday, August 22nd. The holidays today are:
Be An Angel Day
Be An Angel Day was established by Jayne Howard Feldman in 1993. The purpose of this holiday is to encourage people to perform random acts of kindness and to help those in need. Every act of generosity can make a difference.
You don’t have to do anything heroic or monumental to celebrate this holiday. Something as simple as a kind word, a random act of kindness, or paying something forward can turn around someone’s crappy day. Reach out to a long lost friend, put some extra money in a parking meter, or donate some unused clothing to a shelter. Who knows, by ‘being an angel’ today, you might start a snowball effect, causing others to do the same.
Tooth Fairy Day
Unless you just emerged from a lifelong coma, you already know about the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy emerged in the mid-1920’s, along with a group of other “healthcare fairies” which encouraged children to eat their veggies, brush their teeth and get fresh air. Esther Watkins Arnold brought the tooth fairy to life in an eight-page playlet in 1927 titled The Tooth Fairy. Schools began performing Arnold’s play the following year, and children, primed with vivid imaginations, placed their freshly lost teeth under their pillows at night in the hopes of a visit from the tooth fairy. Around that same time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made his claim that fairies and gnomes were real by publishing pictures of two girls surrounded by “verified” fairies. The true origins of the tooth fairy probably predate these two examples by centuries.
National Tooth Fairy Day observed on August 22, but earlier this year, on February 28th, we celebrated National Tooth Fairy Day. I don’t know whether this Tooth Fairy Day is a separate holiday or not, but it is listed in two of my sources as a holiday today. Click on the link above for more information on the roots of this (some say) mythical entity. My research didn’t find the origin or creator of this holiday.
Take Your Cat To The Vet Day
As bad as this may sound, many people don’t take their cats to the vet regularly. They think that cats are independent and self-sufficient and wait until something is wrong with their loveable furball before visiting the vet. This results in costly bills which could have been prevented with regular check-ups. Take Your Cat to the Vet Day urges cat owners to schedule a visit with their vet at least once a year.
I’m sure that none of my readers neglect the health of their cats, but let Take Your Cat to the Vet Day serve as a reminder that Fluffy might be due for a check-up.
National Pecan Torte Day
Torte is the Austrian, German and Hungarian word for cake. Tortes are denser and less delicate than a traditional cake. This denseness is due to the use of ground nuts in place of a portion (or all) of the normal amount of flour. Tortes are made without chemical leaveners, using egg foams for lightness. This is why they are usually shorter than a traditional layer cake. Tortes are also wider, traditionally 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Today, many bakers and recipe writers call their cakes “tortes”; probably in order to make them sound exotic and more exciting. A torte can be richly flavored with whatever you decide to make it with (today we’re talking pecans), but it usually consists of cake-like layers sandwiched between buttercream, mousse, jam or fruit. Once it cools from a nice bake in the oven, it’s heavily drizzled with a glaze. This is a rich dessert, so if you choose to celebrate this holiday, be aware that you might soon fall into a sugar-induced coma after consuming it. Enjoy!
On this date in:
- 1485 – The War of the Roses ended with the death of England’s King Richard III. He was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field. His successor was Henry VII.
- 1642 – The English Civil War began when King Charles I called Parliament and its soldiers traitors.
- 1762 – Ann Franklin became the editor of the Mercury of Newport in Rhode Island. She was the first female editor of an American newspaper.
- 1770 – Australia was claimed under the British crown when Captain James Cook landed there.
- 1775 – The American colonies were proclaimed to be in a state of open rebellion by England’s King George III.
- 1846 – The United States annexed New Mexico.
- 1851 – The schooner America outraced the Aurora off the English coast to win a trophy that became known as the America’s Cup.
- 1865 – A patent for liquid soap was received by William Sheppard.
- 1902 – In Hartford, CT, President Theodore Roosevelt became the first president of the United States to ride in an automobile.
- 1906 – The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, NJ began to manufacture the Victrola. The hand-cranked unit, with horn cabinet, sold for $200.
- 1932 – The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) began its first TV broadcast in England.
- 1950 – Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player to be accepted into a national competition.
- 1951 – 75,052 people watched the Harlem Globetrotters perform. It was the largest crowd to see a basketball game.
- 1973 – Henry Kissinger was named Secretary of State by President Nixon. Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year.
- 1986 – The Kerr-McGee Corporation agreed to pay the estate of the late Karen Silkwood $1.38 million to settle a 10-year-old nuclear contamination lawsuit.
- 1989 – Nolan Ryan became the first major league pitcher to strike out 5000 batters.
- 1990 – President George H.W. Bush signed an order for calling reservists to aid in the buildup of troops in the Persian Gulf.
- 1996 – President Clinton signed legislation that ended guaranteed cash payments to the poor and demanded work from recipients.
- Claude Debussy 1862 – Composer.
- John Lee Hooker 1917 – Blues musician.
- Ray Bradbury 1920 – Author.
- Honor Blackman 1925 – Actress.
- Diana Sands 1934 – Actress.
- Sylvia Koscina 1934 – Actress.
- Norman Schwarzkopf 1934 – United States General.
- Carl Yastrzemski 1939 – Baseball player.
- Valerie Harper 1940 – Actress.
- Bill Parcells 1941 – Football coach.
- Cindy Williams 1947 – Actress.
- Paul Molitor 1956 – Baseball player.
- Holly Dunn 1957 – Country Singer.
- Regina Taylor 1960 – Actress.
- Tori Amos 1963 – Singer.
- Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje 1967 – Actor.
- Ty Burrell 1967 – Actor.
- Kristen Wiig 1973 – Actress, comedienne.
Good morning children’s literature lovers. Today is Sunday, August 21st. The holidays today are:
Christopher Robin’s Birthday
The character of Christopher Robin is based upon author A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne; born on this date in 1920. On his first birthday, Christopher received a stuffed bear as a gift. That started a growing collection of other stuffed animals. Mr. Milne used this growing menagerie of stuffed animals as inspiration for the rest of the characters in his “Winnie the Pooh” stories.
I won’t delve into how being “the Christopher Robin” affected his life, except to say that he eventually came full circle. This link will explain that better than I ever could. He died on 20 April 1996, but thanks to his father, he is immortalized forever in the annals of children’s literature.
To celebrate this holiday, read some of the classic “Winnie the Pooh” stories, read one of the stories that Christopher Robin Milne wrote himself, or (if you can find a copy) watch Disney’s full-length animated movie “Winnie the Pooh”. Oh, also, eat lots of honey…Pooh’s favorite food.
Poetry is a form of writing that uses the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of a language, combined with simile and metaphor, to bring out meanings deeper than the mere definition of the words. The history of poetry is lengthy, traceable in written form as far back as the Sumerians, and was used as a memetic method of passing down stories and mythologies throughout cultures for countless ages before that.
The question, What is Poetry, has vexed philosophers for millennia, with Aristotle writing a book aptly named Poetics, trying to define it. However, he was only able to discuss a small portion of what poetry is, and how it is used in rhetoric, song, drama, and comedy.
Poet’s day is dedicated to the long history of poetry in the world, and most especially to those who compose it. Every poet has his or her own unique style, as poetry is inevitably born from their feelings and personal experiences. Whether for an English class, or to compose the lyrics for the next great Rock & Roll anthem, or to express feelings for that special someone, just about everyone has, at some point in their lives, attempted to write poetry. Most of us, thankfully, move on to other more important things. But a few never lose their love for, or their desire to write, poetry. It is for these people that Poet’s Day is intended. If you want to celebrate this holiday, read a few works from some of the great poets like Shakespeare, Tennyson, or Thomas — Or, find your old notebooks and revisit some of your own verse.
National Senior Citizen’s Day
I know that National Senior Citizen’s Day doesn’t pertain to any of my readers, but it does honor that growing segment of our population; senior citizens. According to the traditional definition, a senior citizen is anyone older than 60 years of age, but this seems relatively young in today’s society. Senior citizens are also the most politically engaged segment of the population. Almost 80% of all senior citizens vote in a presidential election, while the overall voter turnout is usually around just 50% or less.
On August 19, 1988, President Ronald Reagan issued the following proclamation:
“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.
With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination. And more than 4.5 million senior citizens are serving as volunteers in various programs and projects that benefit every sector of society. Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt — for their own good and that of others.
For all, they have achieved throughout life and for all, they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.
The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 138, has designated August 21, 1988, as “National Senior Citizens Day” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 21, 1988, as National Senior Citizens Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
To celebrate this holiday, spend some time with, and show some appreciation for, senior citizens. Do volunteer work in support of the elderly. Oh yeah, if you qualify, take advantage of your senior citizen discount…you’ve earned it.
National Spumoni Day
Spumoni originated in Naples, Italy, and was introduced to America in the 1870’s by Italian immigrants. Traditionally, spumoni would include chocolate, cherry and pistachio gelato with bits of cherries and pistachios mixed in, but it could also consist of multiple layers (usually three) of different flavors of gelato, with little bits of other fruits and nuts mixed in. Once in America, Italian ice cream shop owners eliminated the fruit and nuts to keep costs down, and the flavors eventually became chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry; what most of us today call Neapolitan ice cream. If you have never experienced true spumoni, I urge you to do so today. That bastardized American version pales in comparison.
Eat a Peach Day
Peaches are a favorite fruit among Americans, and they are in season. Eat a Peach Day encourages you to enjoy a fresh, sweet, juicy peach as a snack today. I shouldn’t need to elaborate any further.
On this date in:
- 1831 – Nat Turner, a former slave, led a violent insurrection in Virginia. He was later executed.
- 1841 – A patent for Venetian blinds was issued to John Hampton.
- 1888 – The adding machine was patented by William Burroughs.
- 1912 – Arthur R. Eldred became the first American boy to become an Eagle Scout. It is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America.
- 1923 – In Kalamazoo, Michigan, an ordinance was passed forbidding dancers from gazing into the eyes of their partner.
- 1945 – President Truman ended the Lend-Lease program that had shipped about $50 billion in aid to America’s Allies during World War II.
- 1959 – Hawaii became the 50th state. President Eisenhower also issued the order for the 50-star flag.
- 1971 – Laura Baugh, at the age of 16, won the United States Women’s Amateur Golf tournament. She was the youngest winner in the history of the tournament.
- 1984 – Victoria Roche, a reserve outfielder, became the first girl to ever compete in a Little League World Series game.
- 1996 – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was signed by President Clinton. The act made it easier to get and keep health insurance.
- 1997 – Hudson Foods Inc. closed a plant in Nebraska after it had recalled 25 million pounds of ground beef that were potentially contaminated with E. coli virus. It was the largest food recall in United States history.
- 1997 – Afghanistan suspended its embassy operations in the United States.
- 2002 – In Pakistan, President General Pervez Musharraf unilaterally amended the Pakistani constitution. He extended his term in office and granted himself powers that included the right to dissolve parliament.
- 2003 – In Ghana, businessman Gyude Bryant was selected to oversee the two-year power-sharing accord between Liberia’s rebels and the government. The accord was planned to guide the country out of 14 years of civil war.
- Count Basie 1904 – Band leader.
- Chris Schenkel 1923 – Sportscaster.
- Jack Weston 1924 – Actor.
- Wilt Chamberlain 1936 – Basketball player.
- Kenny Rogers 1938 – Singer.
- Clarence Williams III 1939 – Actor.
- Jackie DeShannon 1944 – Singer, songwriter.
- Patty McCormack 1945 – Actress.
- Harry Smith 1951 – TV journalist.
- Kim Cattrall 1956 – Actress.
- Jim McMahon 1959 – Football player.
- Carrie-Anne Moss 1970 – Actress.
- Alicia Witt 1975 – Actress, singer.
- Hayden Panettiere 1989 – Actress.
Good morning radio fans. Today is Saturday, August 20th. Today’s holidays are:
National Radio Day
It is difficult to determine who exactly invented the technology that we term “radio” today. Research for this medium began in the late 1800’s. Credit for the invention of the radio was given to Guglielmo Marconi, but some scientists say that his invention was taken from research and drawings published by Nikola Tesla a decade earlier. Thomas Edison and a few others all had radio prototypes and received patents as well using different types of wireless communication.
It is safe to say that without the invention of the telephone and the telegraph, radios would not exist today. All of the experiments into wireless communication rose from these two inventions.
No matter who is given credit for the invention, we can all agree that it is one of the best inventions ever.
The “golden age of radio” began in the late 1920’s, and ended in 1962 with the last broadcast of “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” which was the last syndicated network radio drama. By this time, television had become the standard for home entertainment. The format of radio programming may have morphed from drama, music, and comedy shows into news, talk, sports, and music programs, but radio is still popular today. Every car manufactured still includes a radio as standard equipment. It is hard to imagine getting onto your car without listening to the radio.
National Radio Day doesn’t salute the invention of the radio, but rather salutes the radio as a medium of entertainment. As near as it can be determined, this holiday is only a couple of decades old. It seems to have been created by a group of radio personalities in the 1990’s as a way to recognize the contribution of radio to today’s society.
To celebrate this holiday, turn off the “boob tube”, step away from your computer, and listen to your favorite radio station.
International Homeless Animals Day
If you read this BLOG regularly, you know that I am a long-time advocate of spaying and neutering pets. International Homeless Animals Day highlights the fact that every year local pet shelters in America are overwhelmed because of the numbers of animals left homeless. When animals aren’t spayed or neutered it leads to overpopulation. When there are too many animals in shelters, their only recourse is to euthanize the ones that aren’t adopted.
International Homeless Animals Day was created to help find new ideas that will help solve the problem of pet overpopulation. The government and private institutions need to combine their efforts to find a solution. Check with your local animal shelter to see if they are having an event and attend if you can. Whether or not they are having an event, a small donation will always be appreciated.
National Honey Bee Day
National Honey Bee Day was created in 2009 by a small group of beekeepers in the United States who petitioned for and obtained a formal proclamation by the USDA honoring honey bees and beekeeping. The purpose is to build community awareness of the bee industry, through education and promotion. In 2010, a non-profit, Pennsylvania Apiculture Inc. was organized to better facilitate and promote the observance. It is always celebrated on the third Saturday in August.
According to its organizers, the National Honey Bee Day program started with a simple concept:
Bring together beekeepers, bee associations, as well as other interested groups to connect with the communities to advance beekeeping. By working together and harnessing the efforts that so many already accomplish, and by using a united effort one day a year, the rewards and message is magnified many times over. We encourage bee associations, individuals, and other groups to get involved. The program is free and open to all.
Unlike other bee-related holidays this year, National Honey Bee Day seem geared more toward apiarists. No mention was made in any of my sources about the plight of honey bees worldwide and their rapidly diminishing numbers.
World Mosquito Day
World Mosquito Day, observed annually on 20 August, is a commemoration of British doctor Sir Ronald Ross’s discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. Ross is responsible for the annual observance, having declared shortly after his discovery that the day should be known as World Mosquito Day in the future.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine holds Mosquito Day celebrations every year, including events such as parties and exhibitions, a tradition dating back to as early as the 1930’s.
National Lemonade Day
The old adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is certainly appropriate for this holiday, but, on National Lemonade Day, even if life didn’t give you lemons, go buy some and make lemonade anyway.
Lemons are said to have been first found in North India, China and Burma, and was introduced in Persia, Arab countries, Iraq and Egypt in around 700 AD. Lemon was the main ingredient of various dishes and therefore, the beverage would have been introduced in a country where lemons were found. However, the first written evidence of its existence is found in Egyptian writings and so we have a reason to believe that it originated in Egypt. It is said that the peasants there, drank a wine made from lemon, date and honey. Some also believe that the ‘lemonade’ that we drink these days was first introduced in France during the 16th century. In Cairo, lemon drinks were not only favorites among the locals but were also exported during the 13th century.
No one knows when lemons were first introduced to America, but they most likely originated in the south because of the climate. A simple concoction of lemon juice, water, sugar and ice, lemonade has been a favorite summertime refresher in America for well over a century. It is easy to make at home, so celebrate this holiday by making a pitcher, or two, to cool off this afternoon.
On this date in:
- 1741 – Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered Alaska.
- 1866 – It was formally declared by President Andrew Johnson that the American Civil War was over. The fighting had stopped months earlier.
- 1923 – The first American dirigible, the “Shenandoah,” was launched in Lakehurst, NJ. The ship began its maiden voyage from the same location on September 4.
- 1945 – Tommy Brown (Brooklyn Dodgers) became the youngest player to hit a home run in a major league ball game. Brown was 17 years, 8 months and 14 days old.
- 1953 – It was announced by the Soviet Union that they had detonated a hydrogen bomb.
- 1964 – A $1 billion anti-poverty measure was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
- 1967 – The New York Times reported about a noise reduction system for album and tape recording developed by technicians R. and D.W. Dolby. Elektra Record’s subsidiary, Checkmate Records became the first label to use the new Dolby process in its recordings.
- 1977 – Voyager 2 was launched by the United States. The spacecraft was carrying a 12 inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.
- 1985 – The original Xerox 914 copier was presented to the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History. Chester Carlson was the man who invented the machine.
- 1998 – Canada’s Supreme Court announced that Quebec could not secede without the federal government’s consent.
- 1998 – United States military forces attacked a terrorist camp in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Sudan. Both targets were chosen for cruise missile strikes due to their connection with Osama bin Laden.
- 1998 – The United Nations Security Council extended trade sanctions against Iraq for blocking arms inspections.
- Benjamin Harrison 1833 – 23rd POTUS.
- Edgar Guest 1881 – Poet.
- H.P. Lovecraft 1890 – Author.
- Jacqueline Susan 1921 – Author.
- Jim Reeves 1924 – Singer.
- Don King 1931 – Boxing promoter.
- Ron Paul 1935 – Politician.
- Isaac Hayes 1942 – Musician.
- Connie Chung 1946 – Journalist.
- Robert Plant 1948 – Musician.
- Peter Horton 1953 – Actor.
- Al Roker 1954 – Television personality.
- Jay Acovone 1955 – Actor.
- Joan Allen 1956 – Actress.
- Jonathan Ke Quan 1971 – Actor.
- Demi Lovato 1992 – Singe, actress.