How High Is Up

September 3, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning fans of massive vertical architecture. Today is Saturday, September 3rd. Today’s holidays are:

National Skyscraper Day

Last month we celebrated Skyscraper Appreciation Day, but this holiday is different. National Skyscraper Day celebrates the birth date of architect Louis H. Sullivan, born on this date in 1856.  He has been called the “father of skyscrapers” and is considered by many to be the creator of the modern skyscraper. He was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright.
The current record-holder for the world’s tallest skyscraper is the Burj Khalifa, previously known as the Burj Dubai. It was completed in 2009 and took 5 years to build. This immense structure stands a whopping 2,723 feet high to the top of its antenna spire. It has 163 floors. This makes it nearly twice as tall as the Empire State Building, which stands a mere 1,454 feet high including its antenna spire.
In order to qualify as a skyscraper in America, the building must be at least 500 feet tall, whereas it is only 330 feet in Europe. There is some controversy as to whether this height should include the antenna spire or not. My research could not find a definitive answer. With that said, any building that towers above the skyline of a city qualify as a skyscraper in my book. Not only do skyscrapers define the skyline, they help to define a city’s identity. In some cases, exceptionally tall skyscrapers have been built, not out of necessity, but to help define the city’s identity and project an aura of power as a city.

International Vulture Awareness Day

The first Saturday in September his set aside to celebrate International Vulture Awareness Day. It is a holiday to consider the ecological importance of vultures. International Vulture Awareness Day grew from two smaller regional conservancy projects, the Vulture Awareness Days run by the Birds of Prey Programme in South Africa and the Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.
Most people associate vultures as with death and decay, but their role in the balance of nature is vital. Their role in nature is to signal the presence of a carcass to other scavengers – preventing the contamination of nature by pathogens and helping keep nature free of disease.
With some species under severe threat of extinction, International Vulture Awareness Day aims to educate a reluctant public in the critical role vultures to the well-being of the environment. Because vultures aren’t exactly cute and cuddly creatures, conservationists involved in preserving their numbers face an uphill battle in fund-raising efforts and in gaining sympathy from the public for their cause. Vultures face the usual range of threats – habitat infringement, climate change, and disease. Populations of many species are under pressure and some species are facing extinction (witness the poor California Condor). It is hoped that through International Vulture Awareness Day, strides can be made to regenerate vulture populations and ensure that their role in nature continues.

National Hummingbird Day

Another bird-related holiday, National Hummingbird Day, is also celebrated on the first Saturday in September each year. This holiday is about celebrating these beautiful and unique birds.
Hummingbirds are in the family Trochilidae and are native to the Americas. They are small, colorful birds with iridescent feathers. Their name is derived from the audible sound their rapidly beating wings make in flight. Their English name derives from the characteristic hum made by their rapidly-beating wings in flight.
Hummingbirds are the only species of bird that can fly backward. They are also the only species of bird that can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 15–80 times per second (depending on the species). Hummingbirds are small birds with long, thin bills. The bill, combined with an extendible, bifurcated tongue, allows the bird to feed upon nectar deep within flowers – again, the only species of bird that is able to accomplish this feat. The lower mandible of their beak can flex downward to create a wider bill opening, facilitating the capture of flying insects in the mouth rather than at the tip of the bill.
Celebrate National Hummingbird Day by setting up a hummingbird feeder in your backyard habitat. They are fascinating to watch.

National Tailgating Day

National Tailgating Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in September. Tailgating is the custom of gathering outside the stadium before the game with fans of the same team for food, beverages and socializing. Gatherings often take place at the tailgate of a pickup truck or the trunk of a car, but neither are required. Grilling and beer are staples of the tailgate party, though chili competitions and recipe challenges are quite common.
These days, tailgating is most commonly associated with football games, but their history is thought to date back further than the invention of football. The first football game in United States history was on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton Universities. Naturally, some fans arrived early to enjoy each others company and some food. Tailgating hearkens back to a time when pioneering villages would come together to raise the framework of a building together. Often, it would be followed by a large meal and perhaps a sporting competition of sorts.
The origin of tailgating is unknown, and many teams claim credit for it. Some historians suggest the many observers in attendance at the Battle of Bull Run at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 with their picnic baskets and bottles of claret to be the very well first tailgaters.

U.S. Bowling League Day

In many areas of the country, the period around Labor Day marks the start of bowling leagues. U.S. Bowling League Day is a day set aside to celebrate bowling and bowling leagues. Bowling leagues are very popular in this country.
Bowling was primarily an outdoor sport until around 1840. Bowling was called the game of ninepins and was popular with gamblers. To squelch the gambling, the state of Connecticut banned bowling in 1841 which led the creation of indoor bowling lanes, and owners added one pin to their rack to circumvent the new law.
Over the years. many different clubs tried to organize bowling and create a universal set rules. However, it wasn’t until 1895 when the American Bowling Congress came together at Beethoven Hall in New York City that the game as we know it came into existence. The American Bowling Congress established a maximum score of 300 which still stands today. Other rules, such as lane length, widths, and distances between pins were also determined.
Bowling leagues are a fun way to get out and commiserate with family, friends, or coworkers in a relaxed environment. I’ve been in a few bowling leagues myself over the years; although I still suck at bowling and my solid 130 average strikes fear into the hearts of very few. You don’t have to be a member of a bowling league to celebrate U.S. Bowling League Day. Take your family out for a family bowling night tonight. There is nothing like a few frames of bowling, a brewski or twoski, and some tortilla chips slathered in molten hot cheese sauce to bring a family together.

World Beard Day

World Beard Day celebrates the beard and all that  it has been, is now, and will be in the future. Throughout history, beards have been the symbol of manliness. Close trimmed, full and properly manicured, or even wild and bushy and out of control, the beards stand supreme. Beards have stood for many masculine virtues, including wisdom, strength, high social status, even sexual prowess, especially in warrior cultures. While beards, for the most part, are out of vogue today, overall there has been a great deal of admiration and respect for someone sporting a fine beard.
The origins of World Beard Day have long since been lost to history…which isn’t surprising considering that there is evidence that the Vikings held a day in honor of their beards dating back as far as 800 AD. Back in  those days, there wasn’t a specific day held to honor beards, but multiple celebrations throughout the region. Some of the celebrations are even a little crazy. For instance, in Dönskborg, Sweden all those who lack a beard are banished from the town to spend a day and night in the nearby forest. In town. their shamefully clean-faced visages are burned in effigy by those sporting amazing beards. In southern Spain, there is a tradition of having a bearded man and a beardless boy engage in a boxing match if you can call it a boxing match when the man is armed with a sharp pike.
Regardless of where you are, shaving on World Beard Day is considered to be one of the worst acts of disrespect possible, so guys, give your Gillette a rest today.

National Welsh Rarebit (Rabbit) Day

Welch Rarebit (Rabbit) is a peasant dish consisting of a cheese sauce made with ale or beer and poured over toast. It similar to Swedish fondue, except that in a fondue, pieces of bread are dipped into the sauce rather than having the sauce poured over them.  The Welsh term “rarebit” most probably means “rabbit.” There are as many different versions of how the dish got its name as there people of Welch ancestry. In the most popular version, cheese sauce served over toast was a substitute dinner when the men came back hungry from an unsuccessful hunt, without meat (rabbit).
In the eighteenth century, Welsh Rarebit was served as a succulent supper and was also known as a tavern dish. It was mostly made with cheddar cheeses and a wheat-type bread, opposed to the typical European fondue and Swiss cheeses. As with any dish, there are different versions and variations of Welsh Rarebit. Some of the ingredients found in some recipes are cayenne pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika.
It may be just a simple peasant dish, but it is filling. Try some for dinner tonight. Recipes are available in most cookbooks, or online.

International Bacon Day

International Bacon Day was conceived in Bedford, Massachusetts in 2000, and is an unofficial holiday observed since 2009 on the Saturday before Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States.
Bacon is a cured, smoked pork and has been around for centuries. The method of preserving pork began in China around 1500 B.C, with the Greeks and Romans continuing the tradition. Modern-day bacon was first packaged and patented by Oscar Mayer in 1924.
Some communities have International Bacon day celebrations that typically include social gatherings centered around the common theme of bacon. Some have contests where participants create and consume dishes containing bacon, including bacon-themed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and sometimes even desserts, and drinks. You can celebrate International Bacon Day any way you desire…as long as it includes plenty of bacon. I was thinkin’ deep fried bacon-wrapped bacon smothered in bacon gravy – but then I’d have to write my own obituary ahead of time, so I abandon that idea. A good ole BLT is much more sensible.

On this date in:

  • 1783 – The Revolutionary War ended with the Treaty of Paris.
  • 1833 – The first successful penny newspaper in the United States, “The New York Sun,” was launched by Benjamin H. Day.
  • 1838 – Frederick Douglass boarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from being a slave.
  • 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell became the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles an hour. He reached 304.331 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
  • 1939 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in a radio broadcast, announced that Britain and France had declared war on Germany. Germany had invaded Poland on September 1.
  • 1943 – Italy was invaded by the Allied forces during World War II.
  • 1954 – “The Lone Ranger” was heard on radio for the final time after 2,956 episodes over a period of 21 years.
  • 1966 – The television series “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” ended after 14 years.
  • 1967 – Nguyen Van Thieu was elected president of South Vietnam under a new constitution.
  • 1967 – In Sweden, motorists stopped driving on the left side of the road and began driving on the right side.
  • 1976 – The United States spacecraft Viking 2 landed on Mars. The unmanned spacecraft took the first close-up, color photos of the planet’s surface.
  • 1989 – The United States began shipping military aircraft and weapons, worth $65 million, to Columbia in its fight against drug lords.
  • 1999 – Mario Lemieux’s ownership group officially took over the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Lemieux became the first player in the modern era of sports to buy the team he had once played for.

Celebrity Birthdays:

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