What’s the Word #1- Quotidian

February 29, 2016 at 12:02 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

I can think of no better time to”leap” into this new word-of-the-day series than Leap Day, and no better word to inaugurate this word-of-the-day series than ‘quotidian’.

quotidian (kwo-TID-ee-an) Pronunciation — daily; every day; commonplace. [Click on the little speaker icon to hear the correct pronunciatuion]

As you can see from the definition above, quotidian means something that recurs daily or something that is very commonplace. Quotidian is also used to describe a chronic ache or fever; as the quotidian ague one suffers after a bout with malaria.

Example:
“The quotidian flapdoodle coming from this posse of Presidential pothunters, from both sides of the aisle, is enough to boggle one’s mind.”

The word ‘quotidian’ originated from Latin in the mid 14th century. It is not in common usage anymore, at least not in my circle of friends — but it still occasionally appears in written texts from time to time.

 

 

Life Day 25068: Leap Day

February 29, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

 

Good morning everyone. The first “holiday” today is Leap Year Day or Leap Day. Julius Caesar (with help from his astronomer, Sosigenes) added Leap Years to the calendar in 45 BC. They discovered that there are actually 365.242190. So, why the fancy calculation? The earth rotates around the sun once every 365 and about 1/4 days. So, by adding an extra day every four years, we get mighty close to keeping the calendar consistent with the earth’s annual trip around the sun. Under normal circumstances, a date that falls on a Tuesday one year will fall on a Wednesday next year. However, in a Leap Year we “leap” over one day of the week, which is how this phenomenon got its name. Technically, Leap Day occurs every four years…well, almost. It happens every four years except years ending with “00” that are not divisible by 400. The year in which this occurs is called a Leap Year. So, on years ending in “00”, (except those not evenly divisible by 400) we skip Leap Year and Leap Day. That is why the year 2000 was a leap year, but, if you recall, 1900 was not. With all that fancy calculating out of the way, let’s just celebrate the day.
Did you know that there are occasional “Leap Seconds”? I will spare you the detail on those for now, but will cover them when they occur.
Just how many people celebrate a birthday on Leap Day? Only about one in 1461 people.

The second “holiday” today is Rare Disease Day. Rare Disease Day is an observance held on the last day of February to raise awareness about diseases that most people will not know of, as well as to improve access to treatment. But, what classifies a disease as a rare disease? A disease or disorder is defined as rare in the United States when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time. However, in Europe, a disease or disorder is defined as rare when it affects fewer than 1 in 2000.
The main goal of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. The campaign targets primarily the general public but it is also designed for patients and patient representatives, as well as politicians, public authorities, policy-makers, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases
The European Organization for Rare Diseases says that treatment for many rare diseases is insufficient, and some people’s quality of life is greatly hindered by inequality, simply because people have never heard of their disease, or do not understand the disease and the patient’s needs. Since 2008, they have been using social media to increase awareness and help support people with rare diseases and their families, as well as coordinating events for Rare Disease Day at an international level. Events often feature balloon releases, marathons, auctions and tree planting events to raise awareness, and each year people affected by rare diseases are encouraged to share pictures and their stories with the world.

Another “holiday” today is International Underlings Day: Since 1984, this is an annual celebration for everyone who is neither a boss nor professional assistant – hey they have their days already. It is celebrated on February 29 in keeping with the esteemed position of an Underling. International Underlings Day™ was created in 1984 by Peter D. Morris and officially recognized by Chase’s Annual Calendar of Events in 1996. It can be unofficially recognized on either February 28 or March 1 on non-leap years and is always recognized on February 29 during a leap year. It is a celebration of the contributions to the work world and society by all those who are not otherwise recognized with their own day. Supervisors are encouraged to give their Underlings some time off between February 28 and March 1 each year during non-leap years. And since has time off, it only makes sense to reward them with a lunch or other gathering on either February 28 or March 1. But on years that have February 29 we want all Underlings to really be celebrated. So plan a spectacular gathering of all Underlings you work with or know and party like it is February 29.

The last “holiday” today is Bachelor’s Day. Bachelor Day is not a day for celebration if you are an unattached male…unless you are looking for a mate. Quite the contrary. Bachelor’s Day is more along the lines of Sadie Hawkins Day. According to an old English tradition dating back to 13th Century Ireland, on every Feb, 29th, it is acceptable for girls to propose marriage. If the bachelor doesn’t accept the proposal, they have to buy that girl a gift on the first day of every month for the rest of the year.
Fortunately, this tradition has evolved over the centuries. Today, Bachelor’s Day is more about celebrating the fact that you are single man. If you’re a bachelor,  Bachelor’s Day is a holiday to celebrate the fact that you have the freedom to do what you want when you want without having to answer to anyone. Gather a few of you other friends who have also managed to elude the bonds of holy matrimony, and go party at your favorite bar; or just invite them over to your place for pizza and a horror movie or poker night. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie of spending time with your buddies…swapping stories and jokes.

The first food-related “holiday” today is Frog Legs Day.  Get it? Leap Day, Frogs leap…chortle, chortle. Anyway, Frog Legs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and are purported to “taste just like Chicken”. I, however, will never (knowingly) be able to make that determination. [I am beginning to think that, in fact, the converse is true. With all the hormonal dietary supplements, additives, and preservatives used in chicken these days, I have to wonder if, perhaps, chicken isn’t beginning to taste more and more like frog legs]?

The other food-related “holiday” today is Surf and Turf Day. Why would anyone make Surf  and Turf Day fall on February 29th? Perhaps it is celebrated on Leap Day because of its ostentatiousness—it is, after all, a dish that combines the two most expensive dishes on the menu, lobster tail, and filet mignon. Of course, people have combined meat and seafood in meals for centuries. Fine dining establishments served both lobster and steak on the same plate in the last quarter of the 19th century. The term Surf and Turf is an American invention. According to my sources, the term “surf & turf” belongs to the 20th century, more specifically, the 1960’s. The earliest print reference was published in the Eureka [California] Humboldt Standard of August 14, 1964: “An entrée in restaurants in Portland [Oregon] is called surf and turf—a combination of lobster and steak.”  It appears to be connected with theme restaurants targeting young, budget-conscious clientele. The present day meaning isn’t constrained to just lobster and filet mignon. Pick your favorite meat: steak, lamb chops, pork chops for example and combine them with your favorite seafood; crab cakes, crab legs, scallops or shrimp. How about crab cakes and ribs? Or fish and chips with a tasty sausage?  Heck,  a tuna salad sandwich paired with a hot-dog is technically Surf and Turf in today’s vernacular. You could fill the Leap Days for the rest of our life with different options, and never run out. 

On this date in 1944 – The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area. This was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime.

Other significant historical events which happened on Leap Day are:

  • In 1288 – Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man. In the event that he refused the proposal he was required to pay a fine.
  • In 1860 – The first electric tabulating machine was invented by Herman Hollerith.
  • In 1904 – In Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal.
  • In 1940 – Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”
  • In 1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began with “Operation Brewer.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces onto Los Negros.
  • In 1944 – Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama became the first woman to be appointed the secretary of a national political party. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee.
  • In 1952 – In New York City, four electronic signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square that told pedestrians when to walk.
  • In 1964 – Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record. The Australian swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia.
  • In 1972 – Jack Anderson revealed a memo written by ITT’s Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, that connected ITT’s funding of part of the Republican National Convention.
  • In 1988 – “Day by Day” premiered on NBC-TV.

Some distinguished people born on Leap Day are:

Life Day 25067: May I Have the Envelope Please

February 28, 2016 at 12:00 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning “Oscar” hopefuls. Today is February 28th. The first “holiday” today is Academy Awards Night. Tonight is the biggest night of the year for the film industry—the Academy Awards. While I don’t consider the Academy Awards a holiday, some of you might, so I’ll cover it anyway.
The Academy Awards, as of February 20, 2013, officially re-branded as The Oscars, are a set of awards given annually for excellence of cinematic achievements. There is no fixed date for this awards show, but it usually happens in either February of March. The criteria for setting the actual date each year seem to be one of the world’s most closely guarded secrets.
The first Academy Awards took place on May 16, 1929,  at a ceremony at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood at a private dinner party with less than 250 guests in attendance. The ceremony only lasted fifteen minutes, and the tickets cost $5.00 each. Over the years, the categories presented have expanded. Currently, Oscars are given in more than a dozen categories and include films of various types. It is also the oldest award ceremony in the media.  As one of the most prominent award ceremonies in the world, the Academy Awards ceremony is televised live in more than 100 countries annually, with an average viewership of over 40 million people.
The trophy for the Academy Awards is a knight gripping a crusader’s sword standing on a reel of film. The reel has five spokes representing the original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers. The statuette is officially known as the Academy Award of Merit but was nicknamed “Oscar” in the 1930s. Each of the Oscars costs $500 to produce and weigh about 8.5 pounds.

The next holiday is Public Sleeping Day.  I recommend that you don’t celebrate Public Sleeping Day. If you are employed, your boss will likely look upon you with disfavor if he catches you sleeping at your desk. If you’re retired or unemployed, sleeping in a public place, such as a park bench, will likely result in your being robbed, or else arrested for vagrancy. If the weather permits, and you choose to sleep on the beach, you run the risk of heat stroke and/or severe sunburn. Good luck if you choose to celebrate this one.

The third holiday today is National Tooth Fairy Day. At one time or another, almost all of us have been visited by the tooth fairy. For hundreds of years, people have shared mystical legends, stories, and traditions about the loss of baby teeth. The early Europeans buried children’s teeth so witches and evil spirits couldn’t use them for voodoo. The Vikings believed that children’s teeth had magical powers that could help them fight in battle. They would pay their children for their lost baby teeth and string them onto necklaces and other jewelry. Over time, people began to share stories about a Tooth Mouse who scampers around town and steals children’s teeth in the middle of the night. The story of the mouse evolved into the story of the Tooth Fairy who leaves treasures under children’s pillows in exchange for their lost teeth. Tooth Fairy traditions are still popular today. Kids all over the world place their lost baby teeth under their pillows at night and look forward to a wonderful surprise in the morning.

The last holiday today is Floral Design Day.  Floral Design Day began as a way to celebrate the birthday of Carl Rittner, founder of the Rittner School of Floral Design in Boston; and to  appreciate floral design as a unique and creative art form. And yes, the holiday is official – the Governor of Massachusetts William F. Weld proclaimed it in 1995. History lesson aside, today is an excuse to go wild about flowers and let your inner creativity spark. Take a stroll past your local flower shop and admire the floral arrangements in their window. Or you can buy, or pick, some flowers and design your own floral arrangement at home. Either way, take some time out today to “stop and smell [and arrange] the flowers.”

The food-related holiday today is National Chocolate Soufflé Day. Though cheese soufflés and other savory soufflés may be better known, chocolate soufflé might be the perfect dessert after a rich meal. The first Chocolate Soufflé recipe can be traced to the 1742 French recipe book, “Le Cuisinier.” A chocolate soufflé can be tricky to make, but it is a sure way to impress your guests if… you can pull it off. They are well-known for collapsing 5-10 minutes after coming out of the oven, so be sure to serve them as soon as you remove them from the oven. Also, consider topping your soufflés with fruit or plenty of sauce to hide the inevitable.
The French word ‘soufflé’ comes from the verb ‘souffler‘, meaning to “to blow” or “puff up.” Two very simple ingredients make a soufflé: a cream/ puree base, and egg whites beaten to a soft peak meringue. The base gives the soufflé its flavor while the egg whites give the puffy treat its bloated appearance. It can then be flavored as desired. The best soufflés are cooked using a well-greased porcelain ramekins.

On this date in 1993 – Federal agents raided the compound of an armed religious cult in Waco, TX. The ATF had planned to arrest the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh, on federal firearms charges. Four agents and six Davidians were killed; and a 51-day standoff ensued.

Other historic events which happened on this date are:

  • In 1827 – The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first railroad incorporated for commercial transportation of people and freight.
  • In 1849 – Regular steamboat service to California via Cape Horn arrived in San Francisco for the first time. The SS California had left New York Harbor on October 6, 1848. The trip took 4 months and 21 days.
  • In 1854 – The Republican Party was organized in Ripon, WI. About 50 slavery opponents began the new political group.
  • In 1861 – The territory of Colorado was sanctioned.
  • In 1883 – The first vaudeville theater opened.
  • In 1885 – AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph) was incorporated. The company was capitalized on only $100,000 and provided long distance service for American Bell.
  • In 1911 – Thomas A. Edison, Inc. was organized.
  • In 1940 – The first televised basketball game was shown from Madison Square Gardens in New York. The game featured Fordham University and the University of Pittsburgh.
  • In 1951 – A Senate committee issued a report that stated that there were, at least, two major crime syndicates in the United States. (What they didn’t mention in the report is that they were one of them…OK, maybe not true then, but certainly true today).
  • In 1979 – Mr. Ed, the talking horse from the TV show “Mr. Ed”, died.
  • In 1983 – “M*A*S*H” became the most-watched television program (at the time) in history when the last episode aired.
  • In 1994 – NATO made its first military strike when U.S. F-16 fighters shot down four Bosnian Serb warplanes, in violation of a no-fly zone over central Bosnia.
  • In 1995 – The new Denver International Airport (replacing Stapleton) opened after a 16-month delay.
  • In 2001 – The Northwest region of the United States, including the state of Washington, was hit by an earthquake that measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale. There were no deaths reported.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following luminaries:Charles Blondin, 1824 –

Life Day 25066: It’s a No Brainer

February 27, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning intellectuals. Today is February 27. You won’t be needing your intellect today because the first “holiday” today is No Brainer Day. By definition, a ‘no brainer’ is a task so simple that it requires no conscious thought to accomplish. If a project requires thinking, study, or analysis of any kind, put it off until tomorrow. Today is the day to do all of those simple, easy, obvious, and/or logical tasks that you have been putting off because they’re “no brainers”. Don’t even think about doing anything else.

The next “holiday” is Polar Bear Day.  Polar Bear Day was created to create awareness of the plight of polar bears due to loss of habitat. In 2008, polar bears were classified as a ‘threatened species’ under the Endangered Species Act. The new classification will strengthen already existing regulations concerning the killing of polar bears and the importing of related products to the United States.
Polar Bears are the world’s largest carnivores. They can reach up to nine feet tall when standing erect and weigh up to 1400 pounds. Polar Bears are native to Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia. Their primary source of food is Seals. The smartest way to celebrate Polar Bear Day is with a visit to a nearby zoo that has a Polar Bear Exhibit. Other ways to celebrate include researching polar bears online or at the library. Watching a documentary on polar bears on TV is another way. I strongly recommend that you do not attempt to celebrate this holiday by visiting them in their native habitat (especially in a seal skin coat). The reasons for this are threefold. First, they are huge. Second, they are carnivorous. And third, right now it’s flippin’ cold where they live.

The third “holiday” today is Anosomia Awareness Day. I know, at first, I misread it as ‘insomnia’ also. I was prepared to make the joke that I suffer from insomnia…but don’t lose any sleep over it — but that opportunity is gone now.
Anyway, Anosomia Awareness Day was created to increase awareness of anosmia — the loss of our sense of smell — which affects over six million Americans and many millions more worldwide. Many physicians, including those who specialize in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat disorders), have little understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms that cause the loss of our sense of smell. Researchers are using a variety of methods, including stem cell research, to try to determine the causes of anosmia and discover effective treatments.
Our sense of smell is more valuable than one might think. It is often the first indicator that there is danger…for instance smelling smoke when there is a fire. It is also linked to the pleasure centers in our brains…the aroma of a bouquet of roses, the aroma of ozone after a rain, the aroma of a candy shop, etc. I can’t even conceive a life without the sense of smell.

Another “holiday” today is  Open That Bottle Night. Created by columnists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher in 2000, Open That Bottle Night is an annual occasion celebrated on the last Saturday in February. It aims to motivate people to reconnect with each other over a cherished bottle of wine, champagne, and spirits. and create lasting memories with friends and family. Open That Bottle Night is dedicated to making sure that those bottles of fine wine put away for a special occasion, are used and enjoyed. You know the one. That bottle you bought at that quaint little wine shop in (fill in city here) on your honeymoon. Or the one that you bought when you toured California Wine Country a few years back and was a little to expensive to serve to your casual friends. Tonight is the night to open that symbolically significant bottle and share the memories and stories of that event again with the ones you love.

The last “holiday” today is International Sword Swallowers Day. First, I would like to ask you to please keep your tawdry sexual innuendos to yourselves…unless they are funny. International sword Swallowers Day is always held on the last Saturday in February. Its purpose is to honor veteran performers and to raise funds for esophageal cancer research.
Believe it or not, sword swallowers have even made contributions in the fields of medicine and science. Sword swallowers have been prodded and examined by doctors and scientists at medical centers over the past 150 years without recognition. In 1868, a sword swallower was used by Dr. Adolf Kussmaul in Freiburg Germany to develop the first rigid endoscopy. In 1906, a sword swallower underwent the first esophageal electrocardiogram in Wales.
International Sword Swallowing Day is sponsored by Ripley’s  “Believe It or Not!”. They will be holding events in Believe It or Not! “Odditoriums” world-wide.

The first food-related “holidays” today is National Strawberry Day. Strawberries are a unique berry in that it seeds grow on the outside of the fruit instead of the inside as do most berries. Food historians generally believe that strawberries were first cultivated in ancient Rome. In the United States, strawberries were first cultivated during the mid-1830’s in Massachusetts. Today strawberries grow in every US state and Canadian province. They are a good source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. The fruit is fat-free and cholesterol-free. One cup of strawberries is only 49 calories, however, most of those calories come from sugars. When picking or buying strawberries choose only those that are plump, firm and completely red. Unless you are planning to freeze your strawberries or make jam be sure to not to buy more strawberries than you’ll be able to use up in two days as they mold quickly and only last a couple days in the refrigerator.

The second food-related “holiday” is National Kahlua Day. Kahlua is a rich, creamy alcoholic liqueur from Mexico. People enjoy it straight up, on the rocks, and mixed in coffee or cocktails (like the White Russian). Kahlua is also used to flavor desserts such as ice cream, cakes, and cheesecakes. The word “Kahlua” means “house of the Acolhua people” in the Nahuatl language. A company named Domecq has produced the drink since 1936 and named it for the native people of Veracruz. Kahlua is made with rum, Mexican coffee, sugar, and vanilla.

On this date in 1896 – The “Charlotte Observer” published a picture of an X-ray photograph made by Dr. H.L. Smith. The photograph showed a perfect picture of all the bones of a hand and a bullet that Smith had placed between the third and fourth fingers in the palm. It was the first X-ray photograph to ever appear in a newspaper.

Other significant historical events which occurred on this date are:

  • In 1801 – The city of Washington, DC, was placed under congressional jurisdiction.
  • In 1827 – New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras celebration.
  • In 1867 – Dr. William G. Bonwill invented the dental mallet.
  • In 1883 – Oscar Hammerstein patented the first cigar-rolling machine.
  • In 1922 – The Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote.
  • In 1939 – The Supreme Court outlawed sit-down strikes.
  • In 1951 – The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting U.S. Presidents to two terms.
  • In 1973 – The American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
  • In 1974 – “People” magazine was first issued by Time-Life (later known as Time-Warner).
  • In 1981 – Chrysler Corporation was granted an additional $400 million in federal loan guarantees. Chrysler had posted a loss of $1.7 billion in 1980.
  • In 1982 – Wayne B. Williams was convicted of murdering two of the 28 black children and young adults whose bodies were found in Atlanta, GA, over a two-year period.
  • In 1990 – The Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping were indicted on five criminal counts in reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • In 1991 – President George H.W. Bush announced live on television that “Kuwait is liberated.”
  • In 1997 – Ireland finally legalized divorce.
  • In 1998 – Britain’s House of Lords agreed to give a monarch’s first-born daughter the same claim to the throne as any first-born son. This was the end of 1,000 years of male preference.
  • In 2002 – Twenty people working at Logan International Airport in Boston, MA were charged with lying to get their jobs or security badges.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following illustrious individuals:

Life Day 25065: For Pete’s Sake

February 26, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Oh, for Pete’s sake, good morning already. Today is February 26th. The first “holiday” today is For Pete’s Sake Day. For Pete’s sake is a euphemism — a word or phrase used in place of a more profane or vulgar phrase that is not accepted in polite society. Perhaps because profanity and vulgarity are more accepted by society these days, one seldom hears the phrase anymore, except maybe in the “Bible Belt”; but those who are from my generation (Baby Boomers) are quite familiar with the expression. For Pete’s sake was more often used to convey anger or frustration at an object, person or circumstance. For example: “For Pete’s sake, how do any of these intellectually vapid Presidential candidates even think that they are qualified to run the most powerful nation on Earth?” Or: “Oh for Pete’s sake, I dropped my keys in the toilet.”
You may be wondering where the term “for Pete’s sake” originated. Many Christians believe that using this phrase instead of cursing will garner favor with Saint Peter, thus giving them a better chance to enter Heaven. However, they are wrong. All of my research indicates that it is nothing more than a corruption of the term “for pity sake”. As for poor Pete, no one knows why he was singled out.
If you want to learn more about this phrase, or other similar euphemisms, for Pete’s sake, look it up yourself…you can’t expect me to do everything for you.

The next “holiday” is Levi Strauss Day. Today marks the 143rd anniversary of the day, in 1873, that Levi Strauss applied for his patent for the “copper rivet” design of one of the most durable and popular articles of clothing ever manufactured. The history of jeans dates as far back as 16th century Europe. Soldiers from Genoa, Italy wore the blue fabric as a part of their uniforms. The word ‘jeans’ is derived from the French phrase: bleu de G nes, which literally translates to ‘the blue of Genoa’.
It wasn’t Levi Strauss who originally thought of the brand’s (Levi’s) trademark feature: metal rivets. One of Strauss’ customers, a tailor by the name of Jacob Davis, had the idea to use copper rivets to reinforce points of strain, such as the pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. As Davis did not have the required capital to purchase a patent, he suggested to Strauss that they both go into business together. The two men received the patent on May 20, 1873.
Levi’s are always in style, no matter what the occasion (except formal functions). Ya gotta love Levi’s.
Author’s Note: Coincidently, today also happens to be the birthday of Levi Strauss, who was born on this date in 1829.

The third “holiday” today is Carnival Day.  Each year, millions of Americans flock to carnivals and put down big bucks to be entertained by death-defying feats, clowns, elephants, lions, animal acts, and so much more. Carnivals are not limited to those big traveling spectaculars. There is a wide range of summer and winter carnivals across America. School carnivals are popular. Towns and even businesses hold carnivals of all types. Personally, I enjoyed carnivals as a kid, but these days, not so much.

Yet another “holiday” today is Tell A Fairy Tale Day. To qualify as a fairy tale, a story does not have to begin with “Once upon a time…..”, but, they often do. Nor does the story have to end with “and they all lived happily ever after”, but again, they often do. ‘Fairy Tales’ are a form of folk tales, passed down both orally and in printed form generation to generation. Before the 17th century, fairy tales often had themes unsuitable for children and were written mostly for adults. However, today, fairy tales are considered to be children’s literature and the term fairy tale is used to refer to happy events and happening, such as a fairy tale romance or a fairy tale ending.
To celebrate, cozy up under a blanket with your children of grandchildren and read from a book of fairy tales. Libraries and schools will often mark this day with special fairy tale readings and story hours as well.

The last “holiday” today is International Stand Up to Bullying Day. Bullying seems to be rampant in today’s society, and with the rapid expansion of the internet in the 21st century, cyber-bullying has also become a real problem. The anonymity of the internet allows people to threaten and harass anyone with whom they disagree or simply don’t like; no matter how hurtful…or even untruthful.
International Stand Up to Bullying Day is a semi-annual holiday celebrated on the last Friday in February and again on the third Friday in November.  Participants sign up and wear a pink “pledge shirt” to take a visible, public stance against bullying. The event takes place in schools, workplaces, and organizations in 25 countries around the globe. The first International Stand Up to Bullying Day took place in February 2008, when 236 schools, workplaces, and organizations representing more than 125,000 students and staff registered in the inaugural event.

The food-related “holiday” today is National Pistachio Day. The pistachio is a small bushy tree native to the Middle East. It produces bunches of fruit (similar to grapes) and the pistachio nut is the seed of that fruit. Pistachios have more antioxidants per serving than green tea and are also an excellent source of fiber, copper, manganese, and Vitamin B6.
Pistachios are not just eaten as roasted as a snack food, they are also used in cooking. Their sweet flavor most often finds them used in desserts, such as baklava or even pistachio ice cream, but they can be used in savory dishes as well.
The largest producer of pistachio nuts today is Iran but they are also grown in other areas, including California and Mediterranean Europe. The Chinese are the greatest consumers of the nut. It is thought that pistachio nuts have been eaten by humans for at least 9000 years.
Here are a few more interesting facts about pistachios.

  • They are native to the Middle East.
  • In the Middle East, people call them the “smiling nut”.
  • In China, they are called the “happy nut”.
  • It takes 7-10 years for a pistachio tree to mature.
  • California is the major producer in the U.S.
  • Pistachios are harvested in September by machines that shake the trees.
  • The red dye is added to the nuts is only due to consumer demand for the color.
  • The pistachio’s open hull is unique. The nut is fully ripe only when the hull splits open.

Pistachios are one of my favorite nuts. They are delicious and nutritious. Enjoy some in one form or another as a snack today. You can bet that I will.

On this date in 1993 – Six people were killed and more than a thousand were injured when a van exploded in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. The bomb had been built by Islamic extremists.

Other historic events which happened on this date are:

  • In 1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the Island of Elba. He then began his second conquest of France.
  • In 1863 – President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act.
  • In 1870 – New York City, opened the first pneumatic-powered subway line to the public.
  • In 1907 – Congress raised their own pay to $7500.
  • In 1919, – In Arizona, the Grand Canyon was established as a National Park with an act of the U.S. Congress.
  • In 1929 – President Coolidge signed a bill creating the Grand Teton National Park.
  • In 1930 – New York City installed traffic lights.
  • In 1933 – A ground-breaking ceremony was held at Crissy Field for the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • In 1952 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed an atomic bomb.
  • In 1987 – The Tower Commission rebuked President Reagan for failing to control his national security staff in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair.
  • In 1991 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced on Baghdad Radio that Iraqi troops were being withdrawn from Kuwait.
  • In 1998 – A Texas jury rejected an $11 million lawsuit by Texas cattlemen who blamed Oprah Winfrey for a price drop after her on-air comment about mad-cow disease.
  • In 1998 – An Oregon health panel ruled that taxpayers must help to pay for doctor-assisted suicides.
  • In 2009 – The Pentagon reversed its 18-year policy of not allowing media to cover returning war dead. The reversal allowed some media coverage with family approval.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following luminaries:

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