New Years Eve

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

Author’s Preface:

It is with mixed emotions that I inform you that this will be the last “Today is” post…at least in this format. This decision did not come lightly. I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to continue these posts. After much contemplation and a fair amount of “navel gazing,” I have decided that I am devoting too much of my time each day to these posts. I made a commitment to myself that I would make a “Today is” post every day this year, and I have done so – but, now it is time to move forward.
I have spent most of my adult life working under the pressure of  “deadlines”; in both my military career and my truck driving career. In writing these, I have learned much about myself –mainly that since retirement, I dislike working under the pressure of deadlines.  For the last 366 consecutive days, I have written the equivalent of a 1200+ word essay — every day. I endeavored to make these posts both informative and entertaining. If you look at them individually, each post is an essay in and of itself. Hearken back to your days in English Composition class for comparison…when you thought writing a 300-word composition was torture.
I expended a lot of time and effort in writing these posts each day between the research and composing the narrative. The longest post was about 2900+ words, and the shortest was in the neighborhood of  800 words. No matter how much one likes to write, that is a monumental task to undertake on a daily basis. The amount of time that I spent on each post each day depended largely upon my inspiration. Some days, they practically wrote themselves; I would sit down at the computer and the words would just begin to flow. Other days, I had to struggle just to come up with a title. In any case, I spent an average of three hours a day writing them, and I am no longer willing to make such a commitment of time each day.
What I take away from these is a [better than average] knowledge of holidays and that I can follow through on a commitment (to myself at least). I also take away the knowledge that no matter what life brings, there is a reason to celebrate every day…if you look hard enough. 
Rest assured that I will still be posting each day, just in a more abbreviated format. You’ll find out tomorrow what that new format will be, because, frankly, I’m not really sure yet myself what form it will take.
Oh well, enough of this maudlin mucky-muck. Let me [officially] begin this last “Today is” post.

Good morning year-end revelers. Today is Saturday, December 31st. The holidays for today are:

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is celebrated across the globe. The type of celebration varies from culture to culture. The island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year; while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year. Many cultures have fireworks displays and other festivities to celebrate the start of the New Year. In Mexico, they celebrate New Year’s Eve by eating a grape with each of the twelve chimes of a clock’s bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. In Brazil, they typically dress in white to bring good luck and peace for the year to come. In the United States, New Year’s Eve is a major social holiday. Huge crowds gather in New York City to watch the ball drop in Times Square, a tradition that began in 1907 after firecrackers were outlawed. Millions more watch this, or another, event on television. At midnight, it is customary to kiss a loved one, toast with champagne, and sing “Auld Lang Syne. To find out more about various New Year’s Eve celebrations, use this link.
Many people celebrate conservatively with a party in their home among friends and family. Others celebrate this holiday with a more festive gathering at a favorite restaurant or bar, consuming copious amounts of alcohol, much to their regret the next day. No matter how you choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve, I hope you do so safely and sanely. Don’t become a statistic!

Make Up Your Mind Day

To use a phrase from my military days, it’s time to ”s**t or get off the pot.” You have been procrastinating all year, putting off those hard decisions, and now it’s time to “pay the piper”.Clean up those loose ends and begin next year anew with a clean slate. No matter what you’ve been avoiding, it’s time take action to resolve the issues. This is your last chance for this year. Don’t carry any loose baggage into next year. “Git ‘er Done.”

World Peace Meditation Day

Since December 31, 1986, spiritual communities around the world have come together in hope for world peace through the calmness and serenity of meditation. This holiday was created in order to unite people under the common bond of love and peace. World Peace Meditation Day is a time in which many come together and however briefly, live harmoniously as one.

Universal Hour of Peace Day

In the same vane as the holiday above, Universal Hour of Peace Day started in 1995 as an hour of peace. It soon grew into a yearly event now held as we transition into each New Year. The idea of large groups of people engaging in an activity at the same time is powerful. The vision is for everyone to spend this one hour—the same hour— in a state of peace. Universal Hour of Peace is held each year from 11:30 pm on December 31st to 12:30 am on January 1st – in case you don’t have anything better to do.

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day

We had another Leap Second Time Adjustment Day on June 30th this year. Leap Second Time Adjustment Day is more of an observance in title only. Some years scientists do not make any adjustments to the Atomic clock. But, if they do, then it’s done on either June 30 or December 31. This year, they will be making an adjustment. It will occur at 23:59:60 Greenwich time (or 3:59:60 PM Pacific Time this afternoon). Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

National Champagne Day

Because Champagne has long since been associated with celebrations, it’s no surprise it was, and still is, the drink of choice for New Year’s Eve festivities. The tradition of toasting the New Year with Champagne can be found worldwide. But, not all countries can rightfully claim to be serving or producing Champagne.
By law, to accurately be called Champagne, the grapes used in the production of the wine must come from the Champagne region of France. Anything else simply isn’t Champagne. Italians call their bubbles Prosecco and Spain has Cava, while in America we use the term “sparkling wine”. Another stipulation of calling Champagne by that name is that a second fermentation must happen inside the bottle. Méthode Champenois is a complicated process. Champagne is typically made from Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay grapes. The second fermentation creates the bubbles, and the smaller the bubbles, the finer the Champagne. Some winemakers have tried adding carbon dioxide to wine, but the result isn’t authentic. The second fermentation takes place with the addition of sugar and yeast to the wine. When the Champagne is ready, some producers add a sugar syrup to sweeten the wine.
Outside of New Year’s, sparkling wine is perhaps most popularly consumed at Sunday Brunch in the form of a Mimosa. However, don’t overlook the “bubbles” portion of the wine list the next time you’re out to dinner. Champagne pairs very well with rich or oily foods.

On this date in

  • 1687 – The first Huguenots set sail from France for the Cape of Good Hope, where they would later create the South African wine industry with the vines they took with them on the voyage.
  • 1695 – The window tax was imposed in Britain, which resulted in many windows being bricked up.
  • 1775 – The British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec. Montgomery was killed in the battle.
  • 1841 – The State of Alabama enacted the first dental legislation in the U.S.
  • 1857 – Britain’s Queen Victoria decided to make Ottawa the capital of Canada. 1862 – President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
  • 1862 – President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union.
  • 1877 – President Rutherford B. Hayes became the first President to celebrate his silver (25th) wedding anniversary in the White House.
  • 1879 – Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, NJ.
  • 1891 – New York’s new Immigration Depot was opened at Ellis Island, to provide improved facilities for the massive numbers of arrivals.
  • 1897 – Brooklyn, NY, spent its last day as a separate entity before becoming part of New York City.
  • 1923 – In London, the BBC first broadcast the chimes of Big Ben.
  • 1929 – Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played “Auld Lang Syne” as a New Year’s Eve song for the first time.
  • 1946 – President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.
  • 1947 – Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were married.
  • 1953 – Willie Shoemaker broke his own record as he won his 485th race of the year.
  • 1955 – General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to earn more than one billion dollars in a single year.
  • 1960 – The farthing coin, which had been in use in Great Britain since the 13th century, ceased to be legal tender.
  • 1961 – In the U.S., the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid to war-torn Europe.
  • 1967 – The Green Bay Packers won the National Football League championship game by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 21-17. The game became known as the Ice Bowl because it was played in a wind chill of 40 degrees below zero.
  • 1974 – Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
  • 1978 – Taiwanese diplomats struck their colors for the final time from the embassy flagpole in Washington, DC. The event marked the end of diplomatic relations with the U.S.
  • 1979 – At year’s end, oil prices were 88% higher than at the start of 1979.
  • 1986 – A fire at the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, killed 97 and injured 140 people. Three hotel workers later pled guilty to charges in connection with the fire.
  • 1990 – Titleholder Gary Kasparov of the U.S.S.R. won the world chess championship match against his countryman Anatoly Karpov.
  • 1997 – Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado.
  • 1999 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin resigned. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was designated acting president.
  • 1999 – Five hijackers left the airport where they had held 150 hostages on an Indian Airlines plane. They left with two Islamic clerics that they had demanded be freed from an Indian prison. The plane had been hijacked during a flight from Katmandu, Nepal to New Delhi on December 24.
  • 1999 – Sarah Knauss died at the age of 119 years. She was the world’s oldest person. She was born September 24, 1880.

Noteworthy Birthdays

Don’t Interrupt Me!

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

Good morning my frenzied friends. Today is Friday, December 30th. The holidays today are:

No Interruptions Day

For most people, today is the last business day of the year, and No Interruptions Day is celebrated annually on the last work day of the year. This year is almost over, and you still have about a bazillion things to do before you leave work. Put your New Years Eve party plans on hold and concentrate on finishing the year with a clean slate. Don’t let anyone or anything interrupt you. No Interruptions Day is a day for complete focus and a peaceful and quiet work environment. It is a day to renew your energies to prepare yourself for the new calendar year ahead.
If, like me, you are no longer in the workplace, do not despair, you can still celebrate No Interruptions Day. Finish all of those small jobs around the house: Organize your home office, tidy up your garage, basement and/or attic. De-clutter your kitchen drawers, catch up on your ironing, etc…just make sure no one interrupts you.

Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute

Why wait until the new year to begin changing your life? Finish the year with a flourish. Festival Of Enormous Changes At The Last Minute encourages you to spend the whole day making major positive life changes. Eat better today. Take up a new hobby. Start an exercise regimen. Volunteer. Start a book club. These are all examples of positive things you can do, today, to improve your life. I’m sure that you can think of many more.
What changes will you make today that will improve your life?

Bacon Day

Bacon lovers, rejoice! Today is Bacon Day. I am salivating at the mere thought of it. Although today we think of bacon in the terms of crispy, delicious strips of cured pork, at one time, bacon referred to any kind of preserved pork. However, that usage fell out of practice in the 17th Century.
The origins of bacon date back beyond the Middle Ages to the Roman Empire, where it was known as ‘Petaso’. The word bacon originated in Middle English from the word “Bacoun”. In France bacon is known as Bako, in Germany as Bakko, and in the old Teutonic as Backe — All of which mean “back”.
In the United States and Canada, bacon is made from pork belly. Elsewhere in the world, the side and back cuts of pork are used. Bacon is cured in either a salt brine or in a salt pack, then is then either dried, boiled, or smoked.
Bacon Day is observed annually on December 30th and was created in 1997 by Danya Goodman and Meff Leonard as a day to celebrate everyone’s favorite pork product. Bacon is a versatile product that can be enjoyed with any meal…any time of day. Celebrate Bacon Day with some bacon and eggs for breakfast, a BLT or bacon cheeseburger for lunch, and/or bacon-wrapped anything for dinner.

National Bicarbonate of Soda Day or Baking Soda Day

Sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) is used in baking, cooking, deodorizing, cleaning, polishing, and countless other applications.
Baking soda is a white, odorless, crystalline solid that is completely soluble in water. It is very useful around the home, the kitchen, and for medical purposes. Baking soda can even be used as an antacid to treat indigestion and heartburn.
The ancient Egyptians used natural deposits of sodium bicarbonate as a cleansing agent like soap, but it wasn’t until 1791 that French chemist Nicolas Leblanc produced sodium bicarbonate in its modern form. In 1846, two New York bakers named John Dwight and Austin Church established the first factory to make baking soda.
Baking Soda has myriad uses. According to, here are some of the many uses for baking soda:

  • Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.
  • Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.
  • To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour and then launder as usual.
  • If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.
  • To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
  • Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
  • Lay down a barrier of baking soda under sink pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.
  • A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let the paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.
  • To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda paste.
  • Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.
  • Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom, turn off the heat, then add half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be easy to clean.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.
  • A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.

On this date in

  • 1853 – The United States bought about 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.
  • 1887 – A petition to Queen Victoria with over one million names of women appealing for public houses to be closed on Sundays was handed to the home secretary.
  • 1903 – About 600 people died when a fire broke out at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, IL.
  • 1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formed.
  • 1924 – Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galactic systems.
  • 1927 – The first subway in the Orient was dedicated in Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1935 – Italian bombers destroyed a Swedish Red Cross unit in Ethiopia.
  • 1936 – The United Auto Workers union staged its first sit-down strike, at the Fisher Body Plant in Flint, MI.
  • 1940 – California’s first freeway was officially opened. It was the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena.
  • 1944 – King George II of Greece proclaimed a regency to rule his country, virtually renouncing the throne.
  • 1947 – King Michael of Romania abdicated in favor of a Communist Republic. He claimed he was forced from his throne.
  • 1953 – The first color TV sets went on sale for about $1,175. (In today’s dollars that would be equivalent to about $10,409).
  • 1954 – James Arness made his dramatic TV debut in “The Chase”. His most memorable role, as Marshall Dillon in “Gunsmoke”, didn’t begin until the fall of 1955.
  • 1961 – Jack Nicklaus lost his first attempt at pro golf to Gary Player in an exhibition match in Miami, FL.
  • 1972 – The United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
  • 1976 – The Smothers Brothers played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Both continued as solo artists and they reunited several years later.
  • 1978 – Ohio State University fired Woody Hayes as its football coach, one day after Hayes punched Clemson University player Charlie Bauman during the Gator Bowl. Bauman had intercepted an Ohio pass.
  • 1980 – “The Wonderful World of Disney” was canceled by NBC after more than 25 years on the TV. It was the longest-running series in prime-time television history.
  • 1993 – Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.
  • 1996 – About 250,000 striking workers shut down vital services across Israel in protests against budget cuts proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
  • 1997 – More than 400 people were massacred in four villages in the single worst incident during Algeria’s insurgency.

Noteworthy Birthdays

Tick Tock, Tic Tock

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

Good morning clock watchers. Today is Thursday, December 29, 2013. The holidays today are:

Tick Tock Day

With only 2 days remaining in this year, Tick Tock Day serves to remind us that time is running out, and if you haven’t completed your “to do” list(s) for this year, it is time to do so. If you haven’t achieved all of the goals you set for yourself, you only have a couple more days to work on them. Don’t become discouraged if you didn’t, or can’t achieve all that you wanted this year. Finish as many as you can, then take an in-depth look at your career, your relationships, your artistic dreams, your physical goals, and your lifestyle. Set realistic, achievable, goals for next year, then when the new year comes, begin to work on them immediately.

YMCA Founded Day

In 1844, twenty-two-year-old George Williams, a farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw around him. Times were tough in London at the time. The streets were plagued with crime and decadence.  He joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the street.
Fast-forward a few years. On this date in 1851, a retired Boston sea captain, Thomas Valentine Sullivan, modeled the first YMCA in the United States after the one started by Williams and his friends a few years earlier in London. He wanted to create a safe “home away from home” for sailors and merchants without the perils of street life.
Today, the YMCA has locations in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across America. They are the nation’s leading nonprofit organization and are committed to helping people and communities to learn, grow and thrive.

Pepper Pot Day

Pepper Pot Day is more than just another food-related holiday. It has historical significance.
Pepper pot is a thick spicy soup first created on December 29, 1777. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army experienced an exceptionally harsh winter in Valley Forge. The soldiers were low on food because the farmers in the area sold all their supplies to the British Army for cash rather than the weak currency that the Continental soldiers could offer.
Christopher Ludwick, the baker general of the Continental Army, gathered whatever food he could find to feed the frail soldiers. The chef was able to find scraps of tripe, meat, and some peppercorn. He mixed the ingredients together with some other seasonings and created the hot spicy soup we now know as pepper pot. It became known as “the soup that won the war.”
To celebrate this holiday, try to recreate this historical dish.

On this date in

  • 1170 – St. Thomas Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II’s orders.
  • 1812 – The USS Constitution won a battle with the British ship HMS Java about 30 miles off the coast of Brazil. Before Commodore William Bainbridge ordered the sinking of the Java he had her wheel removed to replace the one the Constitution had lost during the battle.
  • 1813 – The British burned Buffalo, NY, during the War of 1812.
  • 1837 – Canadian militiamen destroyed the Caroline, a U.S. steamboat docked at Buffalo, NY.
  • 1845 – President James Polk signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States.
  • 1848 – President James Polk turned on the first gas light at the White House.
  • 1860 – The HMS Warrior, Britain’s first seagoing, iron-hulled warship, was launched.
  • 1890 – The U.S. Seventh Cavalry massacred over 400 men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, SD. This was the last major conflict between Indians and U.S. troops.
  • 1911 – Sun Yat-sen became the first president of a republican China.
  • 1934 – The first regular-season, college basketball game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. New York University defeated Notre Dame 25-18.
  • 1934 – Japan renounced the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.
  • 1937 – Babe Ruth returned to baseball as the new manager of the Class D team, the De Land Reds of the Florida State League. Ruth had retired from baseball in 1935.
  • 1940 – During World War II, Germany began dropping incendiary bombs on London.
  • 1945 – Sheb Wooley recorded the first commercial record made in Nashville, TN.
  • 1949 – KC2XAK of Bridgeport, Connecticut became the first ultra high frequency (UHF) television station to begin operating on a regular daily schedule.
  • 1952 – The first transistorized hearing aid was offered for sale by Sonotone Corporation.
  • 1972 – Following 36 years of publication, the last weekly issue of “LIFE” magazine hit the newsstands. The magazine later became a monthly publication.
  • 1975 – A bomb exploded in the main terminal of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. 11 people were killed.
  • 1985 – Phil Donahue and a Soviet radio commentator hosted the “Citizens’ Summit” via satellite TV.
  • 1986 – The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, FL reopened for business after eighteen years and $47 million of restoration.
  • 1989 – Following Hong Kong’s decision to forcibly repatriate some Vietnamese refugees, thousands of Vietnamese ‘boat people’ battled with riot police.
  • 1997 – Hong Kong began killing 1.25 million chickens, the entire population, for fear of the spread of ‘bird flu’.
  • 1998 – Khmer Rouge leaders apologized for the 1970’s genocide in Cambodia that claimed 1 million lives.

Noteworthy Birthdays

Pledge of Allegiance Day

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

Good morning patriots. Today is Wednesday, December 28th. The holidays today are:

Pledge of Allegiance Day

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the federal flag and the republic of the United States of America. Pledge of Allegiance Day commemorates the date in 1945 when Congress formally recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. First written in 1892, and amended four times since then, the Pledge of Allegiance in its current incarnation reads as follows:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In 1999, a New Hampshire resident contacted the office of Senator Robert Smith to inquire why the Senate did not follow the House, which had incorporated the Pledge into its proceedings 11 years earlier. Spurred by this inquiry, the Senate amended its standing rules on June 23, 1999, providing for the presiding officer to lead the body in the Pledge at the start of each daily session. President Pro Tempore Strom Thurmond inaugurated this tradition on the following day.
The American flag had become a standard fixture in the Senate Chamber by the 1930’s, placed directly behind the presiding officer. A half-century later, as the Senate began televised coverage of its floor proceedings, the flag was moved to the presiding officer’s right side so as not to appear to be bisecting that official’s head on television screens. To balance the American flag, the Senate created a flag of its own–displaying the Senate seal on a field of dark blue–and placed it on the presiding officer’s left.
The Pledge of Allegiance has been fraught with controversy since its adoption and, I wonder, in today’s politically charged and contentious climate, whether it would even be adopted at all. For a complete history of the Pledge of Allegiance, use this link.

Holy Innocents Day

Holy Innocents Day commemorates the massacre of male children of Bethlehem by King Herod’s order (Matthew 2:16). [Upon hearing of the birth of the King of the Jews and the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy, Herod ordered the execution of all the male children in Bethlehem. While the exact date when this event occurred is uncertain, the feast has been celebrated since before the end of the fifth century].
Also known as the Feast of the Holy Innocents, this holiday is observed in the Western churches on December 28 and Eastern churches on December 29. These children are considered martyrs, Saints of God, by the Church.
On Holy Innocents Day it is customary to give the youngest child in the household the power to rule the day. From what to eat, where to go and what to do, the youngest is in charge. In Mexico, it is a day for children to play practical jokes and pranks on their elders.

Card Playing Day

Playing cards are thought to have first been introduced to the world in China before spreading to India, Persia, and ultimately everywhere else.
In these technologically advanced times with a myriad of electronic games available, sitting down with your friends and/or family with a deck of cards to play card games is rapidly becoming passé. Card Playing Day seeks to revive the age-old tradition of togetherness derived from playing card games with which so many from my generation and earlier generations were raised.
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays have waned somewhat, what better time to gather your loved ones around the table to play a few card games. There are countless numbers and types of card games from which to choose. Some have standardized rules, and others have rules that vary according to region or culture.
So, unplug the Xbox, the Nintendo, and/or the Wii and enjoy a fun evening playing card games with your family. Now “Go Fish”.

National Chocolate Candy Day

As a regular reader of this BLOG, you may or may not have already surmised, that there is at least one chocolate-related holiday in every month of the year. National Chocolate Candy Day is the third chocolate-related holiday for the month of December and is the final one for the year.
Chocolate candy is one of the most popular sweets in the world. It can be combined with everything from nuts and caramel to raisins and pretzels to make some of our favorite treats.
Chocolate is clearly a favorite American treat. Over 2.8 billion pounds are consumed annually. On average that means each person consumes over eleven pounds per year. That may seem like a lot, but the United States ranks only 9th in the per capita consumption of chocolate; behind most of Europe. Switzerland leads the pack.
Little information is available on the origins of, the reasons for, or the creator of this holiday, but really, who cares? Any day that sanctions the consumption of chocolate is a good day. So, forget your diet and indulge yourself one last time in celebrating this holiday with one (or two) of your favorite chocolate candies. What is your favorite chocolate candy?
Factoid: During the Second World War, the United States Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to include in the soldiers’ rations. The recipe his company created is now the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.

On this date in

  • 1065 – Westminster Abbey was consecrated under Edward the Confessor.
  • 1694 – Queen Mary II of England died after five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.
  • 1732 – “The Pennsylvania Gazette,” owned by Benjamin Franklin, ran an ad for the first issue of “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”
  • 1832 – John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down over differences with President Jackson.
  • 1836 – Mexico’s independence was recognized by Spain.
  • 1846 – Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.
  • 1869 – William E. Semple, of Mt. Vernon, OH, patented an acceptable chewing gum.
  • 1877 – John Stevens applied for a patent for his flour-rolling mill, which boosted production by 70%.
  • 1879 – In Dundee, Scotland the central portion of the Tay Bridge collapsed as a train was passing over it. 75 people were killed.
  • 1902 – The first professional indoor football game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Syracuse defeated the Philadelphia Nationals 6-0.
  • 1908 – An earthquake killed over 75,000 at Messina in Sicily.
  • 1912 – The first municipally owned street cars were used on the streets of San Francisco, CA.
  • 1926 – The highest recorded cricket innings score of 1,107 runs was hit by Victoria, against New South Wales, in Melbourne.
  • 1937 – The Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland when a new constitution established the country as a sovereign state under the name of Eire.
  • 1945 – Congress officially recognized the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
  • 1950 – The Peak District became Britain’s first designated National Park.
  • 1973 – The Chamber of Commerce of Akron, OH, terminated its association with the All-American Soap Box Derby. It was stated that the race had become “a victim of cheating and fraud.”
  • 1973 – Alexander Solzhenitsyn published “Gulag Archipelago,” an expose of the Soviet prison system.
  • 1981 – Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American test-tube baby, was born in Norfolk, VA.
  • 1982 – Nevell Johnson Jr. was mortally wounded by a police officer in a Miami video arcade. The event set off three days of race-related disturbances that left another man dead.
  • 1987 – The bodies of 14 relatives of R. Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, AR. Simmons had gone on a shooting spree in Russellville that claimed two other lives.
  • 1991 – Nine people died in a rush to get into a basketball game at City College in New York.
  • 1995 – Pressure from German prosecutors investigating pornography forced CompuServe to set a precedent by blocking access to sex-oriented newsgroups on the Internet for its customers.
  • 2000 – U.S. District Court Judge Matsch held a hearing to ensure that confessed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh understood that he was dropping his appeals. McVeigh said that he wanted an execution date, set but wanted to reserve the right to seek presidential clemency.

Noteworthy Birthdays

Visit the Zoo Day

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

Good morning exotic animal lovers. Today is Tuesday, December 27th. Today’s holidays are:

Visit the Zoo Day

The holiday season is winding down but the children are still on Christmas break. What better time for a family excursion to the zoo? Although I couldn’t find any documentation regarding the history of Visit the Zoo Day, it is prominently featured is a number of my sources.
Zoos and menageries have been around for at least 5000 years. Evidence of one menagerie was discovered by excavators in ancient Egypt that is thought to date back to around 3500BC. King Solomon was a known animal collector, as were King Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great. Wild animals were also collected to be used in the arenas during the Roman Games, though most of those died violent deaths after being pitted against each other for the amusement of the crowd. Later, British kings kept wild animals in the Tower of London, with the price of viewing them being a small dog or cat that could be used to feed them. When Columbus discovered America, it sparked a renewed interest in zoos all across Europe. His discovery of a “new world” meant new creatures to see.
The first actual zoo that was created not to stroke the ego of monarchs and royalty, but rather to educate and entertain, was opened in London in 1828. Since then, zoos have made great strides to humanely keep animals. Modern day zoos are at the forefront of much of the research which goes on into animal behavior and how best to protect vulnerable animals from extinction. Many zoos have breeding programs, where they work with other facilities around the world to increase the numbers of endangered populations. In most of the better zoos around the globe, the enclosures the animals are kept in are relatively roomy and attempt to mirror an animal’s natural environment as closely as possible. Zoos are fascinating (and often smelly) places where we can get a lot closer to nature than we would normally.
Today, there are over 2,800 zoos in the world, and over 6 million people visit them each year.

Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day

Sharpen the scissors and get the paper, today is Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day. Not surprisingly, in my research, I could garner no information about the origins of, or the reason for this holiday. Information on its creator is equally lacking. Nonetheless, Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day exists. And if you have the dexterity to do so, today is the day to cut out some snowflakes.
I am definitely not an artsy-craftsy type of guy. Heck, it takes me three tries to draw a “happy face”. I remember my teachers in elementary school being able to turn out perfect snowflakes every time. My best attempts, however, looked like a piece of paper that had been chewed by rats. So, if you’re bored, gather your children or grandchildren around and make an afternoon out of it. Take a trip down ‘memory lane’ (more like ‘nightmare lane’ for me) and cut out a few snowflakes.

National Fruit Cake Day

I am not a big fan of fruitcake, especially those dense, sickeningly sweet things that one can buy in the stores during the Christmas season. I swear that those lumps of industrial waste have a half-life equivalent to that of Plutonium. After the Apocalypse, whatever life form re-discovers this planet will find two things; Cockroaches, and fruitcake. They will find both because even cockroaches find fruitcake indigestible.
Fruitcakes are quite possibly the most popular item for re-gifting. A whopping 38% of people say they give fruit cakes away when they receive them. Nevertheless, fruit cakes have remained popular for thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with fruit cakes because they believed this particular food was essential for the journey to the afterlife. (This explains a lot. Evidently tomb raiders found a never-ending supply of fruitcake, and, to this day, market them during the holiday season). The Crusaders were known for eating fruit cakes during their campaigns. (Obviously, the diet consisting mainly of fruitcake made them extremely angry, and they vented their wrath upon the enemy). The small cakes could withstand long journeys without spoiling and were full of nutritious items like dried fruits and nuts. (They could also use them as shields to ward off blows from their foes).
The folks over at Holiday seem to share my opinion. However, if you are hearty enough, and have a tool sharp enough to penetrate one, have a slice of fruitcake today. Be forewarned though that you will probably spend the rest of your life trying to digest it.

On this date in

  • 1831 – Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin’s discoveries during the voyage helped him form the basis of his theories on evolution.
  • 1845 – Dr. Crawford Williamson Long used anesthesia for childbirth for the first time. The event was the delivery of his own child in Jefferson, GA.
  • 1900 – Carrie Nation staged her first raid on a saloon at the Carey Hotel in Wichita, KS. She broke each and every one of the liquor bottles that could be seen.
  • 1927 – Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.
  • 1938 – The first skimobile course in America opened in North Conway, NH.
  • 1945 – The World Bank was created with an agreement signed by 28 nations.
  • 1947 – The children’s television program “Howdy Doody,” hosted by Bob Smith, made its debut on NBC.
  • 1949 – Queen Juliana of the Netherlands granted sovereignty to Indonesia after more than 300 years of Dutch rule.
  • 1951 – In Cincinnati, OH, a Crosley automobile, with a steering wheel on the right side, became the first vehicle of its kind to be placed in service for mail delivery.
  • 1965 – The BP oil rig Sea Gem capsized in the North Sea, with the loss of 13 lives.
  • 1971 – Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Woodstock of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip were on the cover of “Newsweek” magazine.
  • 1978 – Spain adopted a new constitution and became a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship.
  • 1979 – Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. Babrak Karmal succeeded President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed.
  • 1985 – Palestinian guerrillas opened fire inside the Rome and Vienna airports. A total of twenty people were killed, including five of the attackers, who were slain by police and security personnel.
  • 1985 – Dian Fossey, an American naturalist, was found murdered at a research station in Rwanda.
  • 1992 – The United States shot down an Iraqi fighter jet during what the Pentagon described as a confrontation between a pair of Iraqi warplanes and U.S. F-16 jets in U.N.-restricted airspace over southern Iraq.
  • 1996 – Muslim fundamentalist Taliban forces retook the strategic air base of Bagram, solidifying their buffer zone around Kabul, the Afghanistan capital.
  • 2001 – President George W. Bush granted China permanent normal trade status with the United States.
  • 2002 – North Korea ordered U.N. nuclear inspectors to leave the country and said that it would restart a laboratory capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.
  • 2002 – Clonaid announced the birth of the first cloned human baby. The baby had been born December 26.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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