Happy Halloween

October 31, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning Hallow-wieners. Today is Monday, October 31, 2013. The holidays for today are listed below:

Halloween

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It initiates the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. According to many scholars, All Hallows’ Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other academics maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots.
The word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin. The word “Halloween” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening”. It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve (the evening before All Hallows’ Day). In Scottish, the word “eve” is even, and this is contracted to e’en or een. Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Halloween. Although the phrase “All Hallows’” is found in the Old English mass-day of all saints, “All Hallows’ Eve” is itself not seen until 1556.
North American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th century give no indication that Halloween was celebrated there. The Puritans of New England, for example, maintained strong opposition to Halloween, and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that it was brought to North America in earnest. Confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-19th century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the 20th century, it was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.
Although there are still plenty of ghosts and ghouls, Halloween has evolved into a secular, family friendly event, and over 40 million children trick-or-treat in their neighborhood each year. Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related “guising” or “trunk-or-treating”), attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, “Trick or treat?” The word “trick” refers to “threat” to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as vampires, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, in the United States, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.
I hope that you have lots of “treats” on hand for all of the spooks, goblins, superheroes, and princesses who come knocking on your door this evening; you don’t want to get “tricked”. As much as you may want to go to the extra effort to reward the little imps, refrain from giving out homemade treats, unless you know the children and their parents well. In today’s sick and twisted (and litigious) society, most responsible parents throw away home-made treats anyway.
Factoid: One-quarter of all the candy sold in the United States is purchased for Halloween.

Reformation Day

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31, alongside All Hallows’ Eve, in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and some Reformed church communities. Within the Lutheran church in the United States, Reformation Day is considered a lesser festival and is officially referred to as The Festival of the Reformation. Until the 20th century, most Lutheran churches celebrated Reformation Day on October 31, regardless of which day of the week it occurred. Today, most Lutheran churches transfer the festival, so that it falls on the Sunday (called Reformation Sunday) on or before October 31 and transfer All Saints’ Day to the Sunday on or after November 1.

National Trick or Treat for UNICEF Day

National Trick or Treat for UNICEF Day began in 1950 in the United States when a group of Philadelphia schoolchildren first went door-to-door on Halloween collecting money in decorated milk cartons to help their global peers. Their efforts raised a grand total of $17 that night but kicked off a campaign that now brings in millions of dollars each year to help UNICEF provide medicine, better nutrition, safe water, education, emergency relief and other support to children in more than 150 countries.
Millions of children now participate in Halloween-related fund-raising campaigns in the United States, Canada and Hong Kong, China, among other places. ‘Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF’ is an education and fundraising initiative that, for over 60 years, has given US children, along with their parents and teachers, the opportunity to learn about their peers worldwide who are truly in need – and to raise money on their behalf. US children have collected nearly $160 million by going door-to-door with the trademark orange collection boxes on Halloween and by planning fundraisers with their school or group.
These campaigns, children go far beyond trick or treating in scary costumes with the familiar orange collection boxes in hand. Children and young people take part in various fun and educational events that help them gain a better understanding of child rights and the challenges facing children around the world – including poverty, killer diseases, and armed conflict. They help stage events to raise funds and increase awareness about these issues, and in doing so learn that they can help change the world.

Carve a Pumpkin Day

For all of you procrastinators out there, this is your last chance to carve your pumpkin before the “trick or treaters” arrive. Don’t bother going to the store to buy a pattern, they’re probably already sold out. You’ll have to do it free-form. Be imaginative. Carve something out of the ordinary. You won’t be limited by the “cookie-cutter” patterns that your more prepared neighbors used to carve their boring jack-o-lanterns. Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting later.

Books for Treats Day

The Books for Treats cause urges you to give your used, gently read children’s books a new home by handing them out to “trick or treaters” at Halloween instead of candy. The motto is “Feed kids’ minds, not their cavities. Give them brain candy.” With that said, while I wholeheartedly support feeding children’s minds through used age appropriate literature, would it kill you to throw in a piece of candy too. After all, isn’t candy what Halloween is really all about. Some people can take their “good intentions” too far.

National Magic Day

National Magic Day is celebrated October 31 in honor of Harry Houdini, the great magician who died on this date in 1926. The Society of American Magicians, known for its professional and charitable works, promotes public events and exhibits for the week leading up to this day.
To celebrate this holiday, read about magicians and illusionists, or learn a magic trick to surprise the “trick or treaters” who visit you tonight.

Increase Your Psychic Powers Day

If you already knew this, probably you don’t need to celebrate this holiday. Many people claim to have psychic powers. We normally celebrate those people on National Nut Day. Why is it that the first thing a ‘Psychic’ asks you is, “How can I help you?” Shouldn’t they already know? They’re psychic! I mean, really!
However, if you believe that you may have psychic abilities, this holiday was created just for you. And, what better time to improve your psychic abilities than on Halloween, the one day a year believed to have the highest concentration of supernatural activity? This website will help you get started. Increase Your Psychic Powers Day appears to have roots in England back to the nineteenth century.

Day of the Seven Billion

Recently, we celebrated Day of the Six Billion to commemorate the date (October 12, 1999) when the population of the earth reached six billion. Day of the Seven Billion celebrates the date, October 3, 2011, when the population of Earth reached seven billion.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, October 31, 2011, was a symbolic date chosen based on data interpolated from its 5-year-period estimates. The estimates were based on data sources such as censuses, surveys, vital and population registers, and published every other year as part of its World Population Prospects. The actual date that the world population reached 7 billion has an error margin of around 12 months owing to inaccuracies in demographic statistics, particularly in some developing countries (even the world’s best censuses have 1–2% error). Assuming a 1% global error margin, the 7 billion world population had been reached as early as March 20, 2011, or as late as April 12, 2012.
United Nations Population Fund spokesman Omar Gharzeddine said, “There’s no way that the U.N. or anyone could know where or at what minute on the 31st the 7 billionth baby will be born,” and the United Nations is not giving official status to this and similar publicity efforts. Nevertheless several newborns were selected by various groups to represent the seven billionth person: On the Day of Seven Billion, the group Plan International symbolically marked the birth of the 7 billionth human with a ceremony in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where a birth certificate was presented to a newly born baby girl, Nargis Kumar, in order to protest sex-selective abortion in the state. The Indian girl to boy ratio for 0–6-years of age is 914 girls per 1000 boys nationwide, with Uttar Pradesh’s one of the lowest at 889 girls for every thousand boys. Other babies selected include Danica May Camacho, born in the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Manila, Philippines just before midnight on the eve of the Day of Seven Billion, and Wattalage Muthumai, of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

National Knock-Knock Jokes Day

If you’re looking for the answer to the perennial question, “Who’s there?”, October 31 is your day. October 31 is the unofficial holiday known as National Knock-Knock Day. It’s a day to tell knock-knock jokes to your family and friends. Celebrated on the same day as Halloween, it gives another reason for kids to knock on their neighbors’ doors. Knock-knock jokes don’t have to be funny. In fact, sometimes the louder the groan, the more satisfying the joke.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I covered this holiday?

National Caramel Apple Day

Caramel apples are created by dipping or rolling apples-on-a-stick in hot caramel, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool. More elaborate apples use white chocolate over the caramel to hold a variety of candies, nuts or cookies. Tart, crisp apples such as Granny Smith or Fiji apples are preferred to contrast with the soft, sweet caramel.
My research did not find any information regarding who created National Caramel Apple Day or why October 31 was chosen to celebrate it, but I did discover that caramel apples were invented by Dan Walker, a sales representative for Kraft Foods, in the 1950’s and that red candy apples were created long before caramel apples.

Girl Scout Founder’s Day

World Savings Day

Historical Events

  • 1517 – Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace Church. The event marked the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
  • 1864 – Nevada became the 36th state to join the United States.
  • 1868 – Postmaster General Alexander Williams Randall approved a standard uniform for postal carriers.
  • 1922 – Benito Mussolini became prime minister of Italy.
  • 1926 – Magician Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged twelve days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture, Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows.
  • 1940 – The British air victory in the Battle of Britain prevented Germany from invading Britain.
  • 1941 – Mount Rushmore was declared complete after 14 years of work. The busts of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are 60-feet tall.
  • 1941 – The Navy destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed by a German submarine near Iceland. The United States had not yet entered World War II. More than 100 men were killed.
  • 1952 – The United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb.
  • 1956 – Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole. Dufek also became the first person to set foot on the South Pole.
  • 1959 – Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine from Fort Worth, TX, announced that he would never return to the United States. At the time he was in Moscow, Russia.
  • 1961 – In the Soviet Union, the body of Joseph Stalin was removed from Lenin’s Tomb where it was on public display.
  • 1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.
  • 1969 – Wal-Mart Discount City stores were incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
  • 1983 – The Defense Department acknowledged that during the United States-led invasion of Grenada, that a Navy plane had mistakenly bombed a civilian hospital.
  • 1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated near her residence by two Sikh security guards. Her son, Rajiv, was sworn in as prime minister.
  • 1992 – In Liberia, it was announced that five American nuns had been killed near Monrovia. Rebels loyal to Charles Taylor were blamed for the murders.
  • 1993 – River Phoenix died at the age of 23 after collapsing outside The Viper Room in Hollywood.
  • 1994 – 68 people were killed when an American Eagle ATR-72, plunged into a northern Indiana farm.
  • 1997 – Louise Woodward, British au pair, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. She was released after her sentence was reduced to manslaughter.
  • 1998 – Iraq announced that it was halting all dealings with U.N. arms inspectors. The inspectors were investigating the country’s weapons of mass destruction stemming from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
  • 1999 – EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the coast of Nantucket, MA, killing all 217 people aboard.
  • 1999 – Leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. The event ended a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.
  • 2001 – Microsoft and the Justice Department reached a tentative agreement to settle the antitrust case against the software company.

Celebrity Birthdays

Wake Up, Check. Write This Blog, Check.

October 30, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning checklist users. Today is Sunday, October 30th. The holidays today are as follows:

Checklist Day.

Checklists are a great way to remind you to pack what you need for a trip or as a reminder of the sequence of steps you need for a highly detailed activity. But, just how important are they?  Well, variations of the familiar checklist have probably been used for centuries, but the first recorded widespread use of a checklist came about due to a tragic aviation mishap.
On October 30, 1935, a prototype for the familiar Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crashed during takeoff. The crew had forgotten to disengage a gust lock. As a result, a group of pilots instituted a series of checklists for takeoff, flight, and landing that helped to prevent future accidents and they were able to deliver their next batch of 12 B-17 aircraft without a mishap. In commemoration of the accident that led to a more widespread use of checklists, October 30th of every year is Checklist Day.
If you spent any time in the military, you know that the military is notorious for using checklists. They have checklists for everything from maintaining and operating the most sophisticated military hardware and equipment to making their beds in the morning. Other notable users of checklists are law enforcement, fire departments, medical facilities, and manufacturing facilities. Even auto mechanics use some kind of a checklist when they change the oil in your car.
But, are checklists important to me? I don’t have a critical job. Or, I’m retired, why do I need a checklist? Well, the answers to those questions is that we all use forms of checklists every day without even thinking about it. If you use a recipe to cook a new dish for dinner, you used a form of a checklist. If you made a shopping list to make sure you had all of the ingredients on hand to make that new dish, you used a form of a checklist. If you are one of those people who use a “day planner” you are making and using a form of a checklist. If you travel, chances are you use a checklist, either mental or written, to make sure that you pack everything you need for your trip, stop the newspaper and mail delivery, and make sure that all electric and gas appliances are turned off, etc, etc.
So, as you can see, checklists are important, and play a part in everyone’s daily lives, whether or not we are aware of it. So, begin today, and every other day from now on, by making a checklist of the tasks you want to accomplish. And, in my humble opinion, somewhere near the top of your daily checklist should be “read Ernie’s Blog”.

Create a Great Funeral Day.

Planning ahead is always a good thing. Even something as morbid and distasteful as a funeral should be thought out in advance. I don’t mean to disparage a profession, but most funeral homes make their living by preying on families who are grieving over the loss of a loved one and didn’t have a plan for a funeral in advance. You should discuss with your loved ones what their wishes are when they are gone. Do they want a big elaborate funeral, a small quiet ceremony with just family and a few close friends? (Do you have the money to comply with their wishes)?  Or perhaps, like me, they don’t want a funeral at all and want to be cremated; have a “toast me and toss me” ceremony among family and friends where they toss my ashes somewhere, plant a tree in my honor, and then drink a toast to celebrate my life, not mourn my passing.
There’s still a lot of resistance to the whole notion of planning ahead. Funeral homes look upon it as a form of competition. If you are prepared, the “guilt trips” and other despicable means they use to profit from your grief probably won’t work. Plus, no one really wants to accept their own mortality so it is difficult to get them do discuss such matters. But, fate is a fickle mistress. Anyone can go at any time, so having a plan only makes sense; if for no other reason than to alleviate the stress on the loved ones you leave behind. Create a Great Funeral Day urges us to be mindful and self-aware, to plan reflectively in advance, rather than in reaction after losing someone dear.
This holiday was created in 1999 by Stephanie West Allen, who wrote the book “Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook” after watching her husband struggle to pull together a meaningful funeral for his mother, who had left no directions. Observing his grief, Allen felt that knowing what her mother-in-law might have wanted would have made holding a funeral so much easier. It is unclear why she chose October 30th as the date for this holiday.

Devil’s Night or Mischief Night.

In the 1950’s when I was misspending my youth we called it “Gate Night”, but whether you call it Devil’s Night, Mischief Night, Gate Night, or something else entirely different, this holiday is an evening when young people traditionally participate in harmless mischief. Keep it harmless, please. There is a thin line between harmless mischief and vandalism. You should also be aware that law enforcement takes a dim view of this holiday, and will be out in force.
Mischief Night, or whatever else you want to call it, appears to have roots in England back to the nineteenth century. Some documentation and readings have it occurring on Halloween night. Other, references, have is on the night before.

Haunted Refrigerator Night.

“Who knows what evil lurketh in the nether regions of your refrigerator.” If you dare, venture in the very depths of the back of your refrigerator, find that plastic container that had been long forgotten and slowly, slowly open it and prepare yourself for a sight more frightening than any “haunted house”. Beware, the toxic aroma trapped inside that container may well render you unconscious.
Use Haunted Refrigerator Night to exorcise from your refrigerator any bits of  decaying animal flesh, rotting vegetable matter, or curdling dairy products you find hiding in its bowels; before they take on a life of their own. Although you probably won’t require the services of a priest, it is probably a good idea to have a stalwart friend or family member on hand to assist you in the undertaking of this endeavor; just in case.

National Candy Corn Day.

Candy corn is a popular confection long enjoyed in North America that is enjoyed any time of year, but especially around Halloween. This famous candy is said to have been invented in the United States by George Renninger in the 1880’s, and it was originally made by hand.  It was made to mimic a kernel of corn and became instantly popular because of its innovative design. It was one of the first candies to feature three different colors.
Nowadays, candy corn is mass produced by Jelly Belly® using a recipe unchanged since about 1900. The National Confectioners Association estimates that 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually.
So, enjoy a handful of this sweet treat today. Candy corn consists primarily of corn syrup, honey, and sugar, so it’s loaded with carbs, but on the plus side, there is little fat.

Buy a Doughnut Day.

I have covered a number of different doughnut-related holidays so far this year, but to my knowledge, none that specifically request that you purchase a doughnut. Buy a Doughnut Day doesn’t specify any particular type, style, or flavor of doughnut, just as long as you purchase one.
To review, a doughnut is a small, fried ring of sweet, leavened dough. Doughnuts leavened with baking powder are denser than the fluffier, yeast-leavened doughnuts. Originally a Dutch recipe without a hole, the dough is dropped into hot oil and, in fact, was originally called an olykoek, or oily cake. The first written reference to “doughnut” is in Washington Irving’s 1809 in History of New York, where he writes of “balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat, and called doughnuts, or olykoeks.” It is said that in 1847, 16-year-old Hanson Gregory created the hole in the center of the doughnut by using the top of a round tin pepper container to punch the holes, so the dough would cook evenly. There are many types of doughnuts. Just a few include Bismarks or jelly doughnuts, raised doughnuts leavened with yeast, squares, and twists, crullers made from twisted cake-doughnut dough and French doughnuts made with cream-puff pastry dough. They can be filled or unfilled, plain, glazed or iced.
So buy a doughnut today. Although they aren’t the healthiest snack choice, one doughnut, occasionally, won’t kill you too much. Besides, this holiday specifies only that you buy a doughnut, not that you eat it. If you are really concerned that eating a doughnut will adversely effect your health, you can buy a doughnut and give it to someone you dislike.  You can also take comfort in knowing that, should the need arise, there is a strong possibility that a policeman will be nearby.

First Day of Diwali

National Publicist Day

National Speak Up For Service Day

Pumpkin Bread Day

Sugar Addiction Awareness Day

Visit a Cemetery Day

On this date in

  • 1817 – The independent government of Venezuela was established by Simon Bolivar.
  • 1831 – Escaped slave Nat Turner was apprehended in Southampton County, VA, several weeks after leading the bloodiest slave uprising in American history.
  • 1875 – The constitution of Missouri was ratified by popular vote.
  • 1893 – The Senate gave final approval to repeal the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890.
  • 1894 – The time clock was patented by Daniel M. Cooper of Rochester, NY.
  • 1938 – Orson Welles’ “The War of the Worlds” aired on CBS radio. The belief that the realistic radio dramatization was a live news event about a Martian invasion caused panic among many listeners of the broadcast.
  • 1943 – In Moscow, a declaration was signed by the Governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and China called for an early establishment of an international organization to maintain peace and security. The goal was supported on December 1, 1943, at a meeting in Teheran.
  • 1945 – The United States government announced the end of shoe rationing.
  • 1953 – General George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1961 – The Soviet Union tested a hydrogen bomb with a force of approximately 58 megatons.
  • 1961 – The Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved an order to remove Joseph Stalin’s body from Lenin’s tomb.
  • 1972 – President Richard Nixon approved legislation to increase Social Security spending by $5.3 billion.
  • 1972 – In Illinois, 45 people were killed when two trains collided on Chicago’s south side.
  • 1975 – The New York Daily News ran the headline “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” The headline came a day after President Gerald R. Ford said he would veto any proposed federal bailout of New York City.
  • 1993 – Martin Fettman, America’s first veterinarian in space, performed the world’s first animal dissections in space, while aboard the space shuttle Columbia.
  • 1993 – The United Nations deadline concerning ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide passed with country’s military still in control.
  • 1995 – Federalists prevailed over separatists in Quebec in a referendum concerning secession from the federation of Canada.
  • 1998 – The terrorist who hijacked a Turkish Airlines plane and the 39 people on board was killed when anti-terrorist squads raided the plane.
  • 2001 – In New York City, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • 2001 – Michael Jordan returned to the NBA with the Washington Wizards after a 3 1/2 year retirement. The Wizards lost 93-91 to the New York Knicks.

Celebrity Birthdays

International Internet Day

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

Good morning  internet users. Today is Saturday, October 29th. The holidays today are:

International Internet Day

We’ve been duped. All throughout the 1990’s we were led to believe that Al Gore “invented” the internet. Shockingly, International Internet Day proves that Mr. Gore’s claims were false. In actuality, it was Leonard Kleinrock, Charley Kline, and Bill Duvall who were the key players in the first Internet connection. While working on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), (a network funded by the Defense Department that connected four independent  terminals installed at UCLA, Stanford, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Utah), Charley Kline attempted to send “login” information from UCLA to Bill Duvall at Stanford. It almost worked, too. Kleinrock attempted to send the word “login”, and he managed to send ”L” and “O” before the connection between the terminals crashed. Still, the characters “L” and “O” were the first bits of data ever sent over the first long-distance computer network. Under the supervision of UCLA computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock, Kline was able to send the complete “Login” message about an hour later – And the Internet was born. Since 2005, International Internet Day has celebrated this first electronic message sent from one computer to another on this date in 1969 (just a few months after Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon).
The internet is defined as a remote connection between computers. While the internet may not  have been possible without a million other monumental inventions that came before it, it’s hard to find any other invention that has had such a monumental impact on mankind.  Although not as famous as Neil Armstrong, these pioneers paved the way for the existence of the internet as we know it today, as well as future advances in internet technology.
So, as you are “surfing the web” today, raise your Starbucks mug in a salute to good ole Lenny, Charley, and Bill – for without them, you might not be able to read this Blog, post pictures of your lunch, or watch all of those “cute kitty” videos on YouTube.

National Cat Day

And speaking of cats, today is also National Cat Day. National Cat Day is an official holiday adopted by the Animal Miracle Foundation and the A.S.P.C.A. and was created by pet lifestyle expert and animal advocate Colleen Paige. Since its inception in 2005, it has helped save the lives of more than one million cats. The mission of this holiday is to encourage people to adopt cats from shelters rather than buy them from pet stores supplied by kitten mills. Estimates reveal that there are approximately 4 million cats entering shelters every year with 1-2 million being euthanized. Often cats are overlooked and under-appreciated, but they offer unconditional love and companionship. Studies have shown that owning a cat can lower blood pressure and they have also been known to alert their owner of danger.
Cats are one of the most beloved human companions of all time. They were first domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent as early as 12,000 years ago. When humans relied on hunting as their main source of food, dogs were most useful, but when the first agricultural societies emerged, cats became invaluable. Domesticated cats became responsible for keeping grain stores free of mice and other rodents. Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

National Hermit Day  

National Hermit Day is a holiday created for those of us who believe that socialization is overrated. A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society and the word ‘hermit’ comes from the Latin ĕrēmīta, meaning “of the desert”. October 29th is the day St. Colman died in Ireland in 632 A.D. and it is believed that National Hermit Day honors the date of his death. He had a seven-year hermitage in the Burren Forest in a cave.
Admit it, no matter how extroverted you are, there are times when all you want to do is climb into bed with a good book and shut out the rest of the world.
To celebrate this holiday, turn off your TV and your computer, turn off your smart phone, call for pizza or Chinese food delivery, take the night off and enjoy your own company – without any interruptions from the outside world.

National Oatmeal Day  

Oatmeal is an extremely healthy, versatile food that can be eaten any time of day. It is both filling and low in calories, which makes it the perfect breakfast or snack. Now for the bad news. If you are eating those Instant oatmeal packets that come in different flavors you are not eating as healthy as you may think. They’re full of sugar, and many of the nutrients have been stripped in the processing. Plain rolled oat flakes should be your oatmeal of choice. Oats are a whole grain; a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Oats are a good source of many nutrients, including copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, vitamin E and zinc, and are a good source of protein. Oatmeal can lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk for cancer, and is low in fat.
Oatmeal is a versatile food. Aside from a hot breakfast cereal, oatmeal has many other uses. It can be used in savory as well as sweet recipes; oatmeal cookies immediately come to mind. Have you tried using oatmeal as a filler in your meatloaf instead of bread or cracker crumbs? Do a little research online and you will find myriad other uses for oatmeal.

Factoids:

  • The Quaker Oats “Quaker Man” is one of the oldest advertising mascots in America. The Quaker Oats company registered him as the first trademark for a breakfast cereal in 1877. The character purposely embodies the values of the Quaker faith—honesty, integrity, and purity.
  • Vermont leads the United States in per capita consumption of cooked oatmeal cereal.
  • Some favorite oatmeal toppings include brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, nuts, and granola.

Hug A Sheep Day

National Forgiveness Day

World Psoriasis Day 

World Stroke Day

On this date in

  • 1618 – Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded under a sentence that had been brought against him 15 years earlier for conspiracy against King James I.
  • 1652 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaimed itself to be an independent commonwealth.
  • 1682 – William Penn landed at what is now Chester, PA. He was the founder of Pennsylvania.
  • 1863 – The International Committee of the Red Cross was founded.
  • 1901 – Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley, was electrocuted.
  • 1929 – America’s Great Depression began with the crash of the Wall Street stock market.
  • 1940 – The first peacetime military draft began in the United States.
  • 1945 – The first ballpoint pens to be made commercially went on sale at Gimbel’s Department Store in New York at the price of $12.50 each.
  • 1956 – Israel invaded Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during the Suez Canal Crisis.
  • 1959 – General Mills became the first corporation to use closed-circuit television.
  • 1960 – Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) won his first professional fight.
  • 1966 – The National Organization for Women was founded.
  • 1969 – The Supreme Court ordered an immediate end to all school segregation.
  • 1973 – O.J. Simpson, of the Buffalo Bills, set two NFL records. He carried the ball 39 times and he ran 157 yards putting him over 1,000 yards during the seventh game of the season.
  • 1974 – President Gerald Ford signed a new law forbidding discrimination in credit applications on the basis of sex or marital status
  • 1990 – The U.N. Security Council voted to hold Saddam Hussein’s regime liable for human rights abuses and war damages during its occupation of Kuwait.
  • 1991 – The Galileo spacecraft became the first to visit an asteroid (Gaspra).
  • 1991 – Trade sanctions were imposed on Haiti by the United States to pressure the new leaders to restore the ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
  • 1992 – Depo-Provera, a contraceptive, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • 1995 – Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers became the NFL’s career leader in receiving yards with 14,040 yards.
  • 2001 – KTLA broadcasted the first coast to coast HDTV network telecast.

Celebrity Birthdays

Lady Liberty

October 28, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning fans of gigantic patriotic landmarks. Today is Friday, October 28th. Today’s holidays are:

Statue of Liberty Dedication Day

The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, was dedicated in New York Harbor on this date in 1886 by President Grover Cleveland.
Originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. Designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the 151-foot statue was the form of a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. Its framework of gigantic steel supports was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe’s Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi, the designer of the statue. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the New World, enclosed in more than 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.
On the pedestal was inscribed “The New Colossus,” a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe’s Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 32 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of “Lady Liberty.” In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island. The statue underwent a major restoration in the 1980s.     

 National Chocolate Day

If it seems like we celebrate a chocolate-related holiday every month, it’s because we do. Farmflavor.com has compiled a list of all of them.
There is no better way to celebrate the approach of Halloween than with a piece of chocolate and no better day than National Chocolate Day.
Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia, is grown in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America. The earliest known documentation of using cacao seeds is from around 1100 BC.
While I always enjoy the way chocolate tastes, I have never really thought about how it’s made. Here are a few insights into how your chocolate bar makes it into your grocery store.

Cacao trees grow around the world in tropical areas. They grow pods, which contain about 20 to 40 cacao beans. Cacao tree seeds have a very intense, bitter taste that must be fermented, usually for a week, to develop the flavor. Once the seeds have been fermented, the beans are dried, cleaned and roasted. After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The cacao nibs are then ground into cocoa mass, which is pure chocolate in rough form. At this point in the process, it is called chocolate liquor – and no, it’s not alcoholic. The chocolate liquor is then usually liquefied then molded, pressed, and processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Depending on the kind of chocolate (milk, bittersweet, semisweet, etc.) cocoa butter, milk and sugar are added to the chocolate powder. It is then shipped to candy manufacturers who make it into the candy bars we know and love. 

There are four major types of chocolate.

  • Unsweetened baking chocolate –  cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
  • Sweet chocolate –  cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat and sugar.
  • Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk.
  • White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids.

So, enjoy some chocolate today. Just be sure to save some for the Trick or Treaters Monday night.
Chocolate Factoids:

  1. Americans consume an average of 12 pounds per person per year.
  2. Valentine’s Day and Easter are two of the top holidays for buying chocolate, followed closely by Halloween and Christmas.
  3. Chocolate, when eaten in moderation, has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Wild Foods Day

Wild Foods Day is a celebration of wild plants, fruits, and vegetables. Humans have been eating plants and harvesting food from the wild for thousands of years. Due to a popular trend, wild plants now often appear on menus in gourmet restaurants and raw food restaurants. Wild foods are free of preservatives and pesticides, and eating them is part of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Today, take part in an age-old tradition and take a walk in the woods to find some edible wild plants to eat. Make sure you learn how to properly identify and prepare the wild plants before you consume them. You should also learn where to find them and if they have any nutritional value.

Frankenstein Friday

International Animation Day

National Breadstick Day – Last Friday in October.

Plush Animal Lovers Day 

St. Jude’s Day  

On this date in

  • 1636 – Harvard College was founded in Massachusetts. The original name was Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was the first school of higher education in America.
  • 1776 – The Battle of White Plains took place during the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1793 – Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his cotton gin.
  • 1886 – The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
  • 1904 – The St. Louis Police Department became the first to use fingerprinting.
  • 1919 – Congress enacted the Volstead Act, also known as the National Prohibition Act. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.
  • 1922 – Benito Mussolini took control of the Italian government and introduced fascism to Italy.
  • 1936 – The Statue of Liberty was rededicated by President Roosevelt on its 50th anniversary.
  • 1949 – President Harry Truman swore in Eugenie Moore Anderson as the United States ambassador to Denmark. Anderson was the first woman to hold the post of ambassador.
  • 1958 – Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was elected Pope. He took the name, John XXIII.
  • 1962 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev informed the U.S. that he had ordered the dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
  • 1965 – Pope Paul VI issued a decree absolving Jews of collective guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
  • 1965 – The Gateway Arch along the waterfront in St. Louis, MO, was completed.
  • 1976 – John D. Erlichman, a former aide to President Richard Nixon, entered a federal prison camp in Safford, AZ, to begin serving his sentence for Watergate-related convictions.
  • 1983 – The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution “deeply deploring” the ongoing U.S.-led invasion of Grenada.
  • 1985 – John A. Walker Jr. and his son, Michael Lance Walker, pled guilty to charges of spying for the Soviet Union.
  • 1986 – The centennial of the Statue of Liberty was celebrated in New York.
  • 1990 – Iraq announced that it was halting gasoline rationing.
  • 1993 – Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, called for a complete blockade of Haiti to force out the military leaders.
  • 1994 – President Clinton visited Kuwait and implied that all the troops there would be home by Christmas.

Celebrity Birthdays

Black Cat Day

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

Good morning ebony feline aficionados. Today is Thursday, October 27th. The holidays today are:

Black Cat Day

There are a number of feline-related holidays each year including at least one more related specifically to black cats. Halloween is nigh upon us, and black cats are still considered by some to be omens of bad luck or misfortune. In religion-centric cultures, people often fear anything remotely related to the pagan beliefs of their ancestors, and, along with many other superstitions, black cats somehow became associated witches and demons, and were thought to be the vessels they used to do their evil. Often, it was common practice to severely punish those who kept black cats as pets and even kill the animals themselves — Although these days nobody really believes black cats are witches or demons in disguise anymore, black cats are still often seen as mischievous or unlucky.
Interestingly, some cultures actually revered black cats. In Celtic mythology, it was believed that fairies could take the form of black cats, and therefore their arrival to a home or village was seen an omen of good luck. Cats in ancient Egypt, regardless of color, were highly regarded, partly due to their ability to combat vermin such as mice, rats. Cats of royalty were known to be dressed in golden jewelry and were allowed to eat right off their owners’ plates. The goddess of warfare was a woman with the head of a cat named Bastet.
Black cats seem to be the last ones chosen for adoption in animal shelters and too many are euthanized. That’s a shame because I speak from personal experience when I say that black cats make wonderful pets. If you don’t want to adopt a black cat today, making a small donation to your local animal shelter can help countless felines, and get you in good with the cats of this world…you know, just in case they really are the spawn of Satan.

Navy Day

Navy Day was established in 1922 by the Navy League of the United States. This date  was suggested by the Navy League to recognize Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy. Initially, this holiday did receive national recognition by President Warren G. Harding, but national support waned after that. In the 1970’s, research determined that the birthday of the U.S. Continental Navy was actually October 13, 1775, and the celebration was moved to that date. This was never an official holiday, and it was last officially observed on October 27,1949.

National Potato Day

Last August, we celebrated Potato Day. I guess that since this Potato holiday has “National” in front of it, it’s a different holiday. Whatever! I like “spuds” of all types, prepared in a variety of ways, so I’m up for two “potato” holidays in one year anyway.
There are more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes worldwide. They can be classified into three main groups: waxy, floury, and all-purpose.
Waxy varieties include fingerlings, red jacket, new and white round potatoes. They have more moisture and less starch. The lower starch level enables them to hold their shape well during cooking.  When boiled, steamed or roasted, waxy potatoes come out firm and moist—the ideal consistency for potato salad.
Floury varieties include the iconic Idaho, russet, and russet Burbank (there are many varieties of russet potato)—russets are a variation bred to be harvested in the warmer months; Idahos are harvested in the cooler months. They are lower in moisture (drier) and high in starch. Due to their low sugar content, they tend to fall apart when boiled. Floury potatoes do not hold their shape well after cooking—think of the crumbly texture of a baked potato. That’s why floury/starchy potatoes are easier to mash. Also use them for deep-frying  (French fries, potato pancakes).
All-purpose varieties include Katahdin (named after the highest mountain in Maine), Kennebec (a leading chipping potato), purple Peruvian, yellow Finn and Yukon gold. They combine the characteristics of both waxy and floury potatoes, so can be used for any purpose.

American Beer Day

American Beer Day is observed annually on October 27th.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the United States. Over 2,500 breweries produce more than 6.5 billion gallons annually. American breweries range in size from large, well-known national brands, to regional beers, brewpubs, microbreweries, and increasingly popular craft breweries.
American beer is produced in a variety of styles, but the most popular is a pale lager. Other common styles include brown ale, IPA, porter, and stout. Fun fact: Americans drink more than 50 billion pints of beer each year — that’s 156 pints for every person (man, woman, and child) in America – enough to fill 1 out of every 25 residential in-ground pools in the United States.
More American Beer Factoids:

  • Prohibition in the early twentieth century caused nearly all American breweries to close.
  • After prohibition was repealed the industry had consolidated into a small number of large-scale breweries.
  • In 2008, the United States was ranked sixteenth in the world in per capita consumption, while total consumption was second only to China.
  • The majority of the new breweries in the United States are small breweries and brewpubs, who, as members of the Brewers Association, are termed “craft breweries” to differentiate them from the larger and older breweries.
  • The most common style of beer produced by the big breweries is American lager.
  • Most of the smaller breweries, which were founded in the 1980s, produce a range of styles.
  • Beer styles originating in the United States include American pale ale, Pennsylvania porter, American IPA, steam beer, amber ale, cream ale and Cascadian dark ale.

Boxer Shorts Day 

Cranky Co-Worker Day

Occupational Therapy Day

Sylvia Plath Day

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 

On this date in

  • 1659 – William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson became the first Quakers to be executed in America.
  • 1787 – The first of the Federalist Papers were published in the New York Independent. The series of 85 essays, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, were published under the pen name “Publius.”
  • 1858 – Roland Macy opened Macy’s Department Store in New York City. It was Macy’s eighth business adventure, the other seven failed.
  • 1878 – The Manhattan Savings Bank in New York City was robbed of over $3,000,000. The robbery was credited to George “Western” Leslie even though there was not enough evidence to convict him, only two of his associates were convicted.
  • 1904 – The New York subway system officially opened. It was the first rapid-transit subway system in America.
  • 1925 – Fred Waller received a patent for water skis.
  • 1927 – The first newsreel featuring sound was released in New York.
  • 1938 – Du Pont announced “nylon” as the new name for its new synthetic yarn.
  • 1954 – Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were divorced. They had been married on January 14, 1954.
  • 1954 – The first Walt Disney television show “Disneyland” premiered on ABC.
  • 1962 – The Soviet Union adds to the Cuban Missile Crisis by calling for the dismantling of U.S. missile basis in Turkey. U.S. President Kennedy agreed to the new aspect of the agreement.
  • 1978 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their progress toward achieving a Middle East accord.
  • 1994 – The U.S. Justice Department announced that the U.S. prison population had exceeded one million for the first time in American history.
  • 1997 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 554.26 points. The stock market was shut down for the first time since the 1981 assassination attempt on U.S. President Reagan.
  • 2002 – The Anaheim Angels won their first World Series. They beat the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the series.
  • 2002 – Emmitt Smith (Dallas Cowboys) became the all-time leading rusher in the NFL when he extended his career yardage to 16,743. He achieved the record in his 193rd game. He also scored his 150th career touchdown.

Celebrity Birthdays

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