Life Day 27116: Bat Appreciation Day

April 17, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning my batty friends. Today is April 17th. The first holiday today is Bat Appreciation Day.  Even though this is the beginning of baseball season, Bat Appreciation Day does not refer to the good ole Louisville Slugger; nor does it refer to that ‘grumpy old bat’ who lives down the street. Bat Appreciation Day is a day to appreciate bats, that group of mammals often maligned in fiction. Bats are often regarded with superstition, fear, and uncertainty…and are often labeled as “dirty,”disease carriers,” and “bloodsuckers.”
Bats are the only species of mammal that can actually fly. There are 1240 different species of bat, which means that they make up about 20% of all classified mammals species. Bats are actually beneficial to mankind, especially if you live in an area plagued by mosquitoes and other insect pests. Bats can consume over 1200 mosquitoes an hour, and often eat their body weight in insects every night. Out of those 1240 species, only two feed on something other than fruit and insects; and those two only on small mammals. No bats are “vampire bats” that feed exclusively on blood. With so many species, it is not surprising that bats come in different sizes. The largest bat is the “flying fox” with a wingspan of over 6 feet. They are native to the islands in the South Pacific. The smallest bat is the “bumblebee bat” which is smaller than your thumb and weigh less than a penny. They are native to Thailand.
Some bats are migratory mammals, and fly hundreds of miles over land and sea each year to survive winter, while others hibernate, and yet others go into torpor (regulated hypothermia that can last from a few hours to a few months).  Bats navigate the dark areas they live in using echolocation…a form of “bat radar” if you will. They emit sounds that bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. From these echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how fast they are traveling, all in a split second. Bats can even find their food in total darkness using their “radar”.
At birth, a pup weighs up to 25 percent of its mother’s body weight, which is like a human mother giving birth to a 30-pound baby. Bats only give birth one baby (pup) at a time, and are the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction. In fact, more than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or listed as endangered. Other factors that contribute to the decline of bat populations are the loss of habitat and disease.
Celebrate Bat Appreciation Day by learning more about bats. Many zoos feature a “nocturnal house” where you can see bats up close and personal, and learn more about them. If your zoo doesn’t have such an exhibit, a simple Google search will offer you all the information about bats that you will ever need.

The next holiday is National Haiku Poetry Day. Haiku is a type of poetry that was created in Japan in the 9th century. There are specific rules about the structure of Haiku. An English Haiku consists of three lines. The first line consists of 5 syllables. The second line consists of 7 syllables. The third line consists of 5 syllables…..notice that I said syllables and not words. Many non-Japanese Haiku writers make that mistake. They use the proper 5-7-5 format but they use words instead of syllables. Although what they wrote might be profound, or even entertaining, it is not technically a Haiku. The lines of a Haiku poem rarely rhyme. What is your favorite style of poetry?

Here a couple of example of Haiku:

Creativity
Contains five syllables so,
Haiku, here we are.

How many candles
Needed for your birthday cake?
Just set it ablaze.

The third holiday today is Ford Mustang Day. Ford Mustang Day marks the anniversary of one of America’s favorite “muscle cars”. On this date in 1964, the Mustang was introduced to the public, and America was in love. It was one of Ford’s most popular models ever. Thanks to a massive media campaign just prior to the release date, on the day it was released to Ford showrooms across America, 22,000 Mustangs were sold. Only 100,000 had been scheduled for production in 1964, and those were sold in the first three months. Before the year was over, the car had set a record by selling 418,812 units, and within 18 months the count was over a million.
The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the first Mustang was $2,368. Ford managed to keep manufacturing costs down by using many parts and features (drivetrain, chassis, interior, suspension) that had been used on earlier Ford vehicles, primarily Falcon and Fairlane models. Dealers didn’t need to stock a whole line of specialized parts for the Mustang, and mechanics were already familiar with repairs.
There are two schools of thought about where the Mustang got its name. The first is that John Najjar, one of the car’s designers, was a big fan of the P-51 Mustang, a World War II fighter plane, and named the car after the famous Fighter. The other story is that the name was suggested by Robert J. Eggert, the market research director for the Mustang, who was also a horse breeder. He had received a book, The Mustangs, for his birthday, and he threw the word in with some other names that were being tested by focus groups. The focus groups declared Mustang the runaway winner. No matter which is story true, the “Pony car” became an American icon.
The Mustang has gone through many incarnations. It has been totally redesigned, taken off the market, then brought back several times since 1964. I don’t know about you, but in my humble opinion, the only true Mustang was the original body style made in 1964, 1965, and 1966; before they started “tinkering” with its design.

The rest of today’s holidays are real ‘yawners’. As usual, I am providing a link to each one if you are interested; or just need a nap.

The food-related holiday today is National Cheese Ball Day. The cheese balls referred to here are not the Cheetos-like cheese balls sold as snacks. National Cheese Ball Day refers to those spreadable balls of cheese, usually rolled in nuts, served on snack trays during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions. A traditional cheese ball appetizer includes ingredients like cream cheese, cheddar cheese, nuts, salt, pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Gourmet versions use bleu cheese, olives, pineapple, sherry, or smoked salmon. There are different types of cheese balls. Some are round balls of cheddar spreads coated in nuts, others are made with cream cheese.
Cheese Balls are available year-round in most supermarkets. They are also easy to make yourself at home. There are myriad recipes available online. What better ‘special occasion’ to serve one than National Cheese Ball Day.
Author’s Note: According to legend, a man named Elisha Brown Jr. pressed the first cheese ball at his farm in 1801. It weighed 1,235 pounds! He presented it as a gift to President Thomas Jefferson at the White House.

On this date:

  • In 1492 – Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies.
  • In 1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.
  • In 1524 – New York Harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano.
  • In 1629 – Horses were first imported into the colonies by the American Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • In 1861 – Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union.
  • In 1865 – Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.
  • In 1875 – The game “snooker” was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.
  • In 1917 – A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later.
  • In 1941 – Igor Sikorsky accomplished the first successful helicopter lift-off from the water near Stratford, CT.
  • In 1947 – Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) performed a bunt for his first major league hit.
  • In 1961 – About 1,400 U.S.-supported Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in trying to overthrow Fidel Castro. It was an unsuccessful attack.
  • In 1964 – Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world.
  • In  1967 – The U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali’s request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army.
  • In 1969 – In Los Angeles, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
  • In 1984 – In London, demonstrators outside the Libyan Embassy were fired upon from someone inside. Eleven people were injured and an English Police woman was killed.
  • In 1993 – A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King. Two other officers were acquitted.
  • In 1996 – Erik and Lyle Menendez were sentenced to a term of life in prison without parole for killing their parents.

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

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