National Day of the Horse

December 13, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning equine enthusiasts. Today is Tuesday, December 13th. Today’s holidays are:

National Day of the Horse

The jury is still deliberating on whether the domestic horses we know and love today are native to America or whether they are descended from horses brought here by Spanish Conquistadors that escaped and migrated to the Great Plains. Recent mitochondrial studies of an ancient horse called Equus lamei, which once populated North America and died out more than 11,000 years ago, suggest it is genetically equal to what we know as the modern, domesticated horse. This could mean that Equus caballus (the technical name for the Spanish horses) is technically a native species and its evolutionary origin is North America.
But all that doesn’t matter…at least not to me. What does matter is that horses played a vital role in the early development of America. They helped clear our forests, plowed our fields, pulled our wagons, and provided us with transportation to begin our westward expansion and were an integral part of our economy in those early years.
Today, there are 9.2 million horses in the United States, and 2 million people in America own horses. Horses, both domestic and wild, are largely dependent on humans for adequate food, water, and shelter. They have transitioned for the most part from working animals to beloved pets –though some horses are still working animals, especially on small farms and ranches.
The horse industry directly provides 460,000 full-time equivalent jobs and has a direct economic effect of $39 billion annually on the United States economy – $102 billion  when you factor in the spending by industry suppliers and employees. There are about 4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees, and volunteers.
On November 18, 2004, the United States Senate passed Resolution 452 declaring December 13th as the National Day of the Horse in recognition of the contributions horses have made to America…both past and present.

National Violins Day

The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello.
The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word violin comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning stringed instrument; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic “fiddle”. The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th century.
A person who plays the violin is called a violinist or a fiddler. The violinist produces sound by drawing a bow across one or more strings (which may be stopped by the fingers of the other hand to produce a full range of pitches), by plucking the strings (with either hand), or by a variety of other techniques. The violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including classical music, jazz, folk, country music, bluegrass music, and even rock and roll.
Every time I hear or read the word ‘violins’ I am reminded of the classic Saturday Night Live skit “Violence on Television” featuring the late, great comedienne, Gilda Radner, as Emily Litella. I couldn’t find the original, but this version is almost as entertaining.

Korean War End Anniversary

North Korea and South Korea signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression on Dec. 13, 1991. The date marks an official ending to the Korean War. The fighting actually ended with a “cease fire agreement” in 1953. On July 7, 1953, both sides then withdraw slightly to create a demilitarized zone between the two Korean regimes.

Pick a Pathologist Pal Day

Those wacky weirdos at strike again with Pick a Pathologist Pal Day. They consider coroners and pathologists a happy group of people. They suggest being friends with one will help you realize tomorrow is no guarantee.

National Cocoa Day

Nothing warms you up better on a cold winter day than a nice cup of hot cocoa. Cocoa (the dried, fully fermented seeds of the cacao tree) is the basis for cocoa powder, which is used to make the hot cocoa beverage we all know and love.
There is a difference between cocoa and hot chocolate. Cocoa is made from cocoa powder, hot chocolate is made from shaved chocolate bars. Both are mixed with hot milk or water, but since cocoa powder is defatted, hot chocolate is a richer beverage. It can easily have double the cocoa butter of cocoa powder. Supermarket cocoa powders tend to contain 10% to 12% cocoa butter, while premium brands have 22% or more. Fractions such as 10/12 or 22/24 on the package indicate the percent of cocoa butter: e.g., 10/12 indicates 10 to 12 percent. By comparison, a semisweet chocolate bar can have 46%-54% cocoa butter.
Hot chocolate was invented by the Swiss, who first thought to shave a bar and mix it with boiled milk. Cocoa powder was invented by the Dutch. And it must be remembered that more than 2,000 years ago, enjoyment of chocolate began as a spiced cold beverage, cacahuatl (ka-KWA-tay), enjoyed by the Olmecs and later the Mayas and Aztecs.* It brought back to Spain by Cortès in 1527 and was not made into a solid food—pudding and pastilles—until 1674.
Cacao trees are grown all over the world, but it is believed that the first cacao trees grew in South America. Cocoa is like wine in that its flavor differs depending on the location where it is grown. Below is more Cocoa Trivia:

  • In 1785, Thomas Jefferson predicted that chocolate (the term then for hot chocolate, as solid chocolate had not yet been invented) would become the favorite beverage in the United States —over coffee and tea. This prediction came after the Boston Tea Party and prior to the widespread consumption of coffee in America.
  • Monkeys were the first creatures to discover that the cacao plant was edible and quite tasty. Over 1500 years ago, monkeys began to consume the pulp of the plant and spit out the beans. Humans soon began to follow the monkey’s example…and the rest is history.
  • It’s a good thing that cacao trees are plentiful because approximately 300 to 600 cocoa beans are needed to make just two pounds of chocolate.

To celebrate this holiday, enjoy a steamy cup of hot cocoa (not hot chocolate) today.

On this date in

  • 1577 – Five ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake left Plymouth, England, to embark on Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe. The journey took almost three years.
  • 1636 – The United States National Guard was created when militia regiments were organized by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • 1642 – New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman. (Hence, its former name, Tasmania).
  • 1769 – Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire, received its charter.
  • 1809 – The first abdominal surgical procedure was performed in Danville, KY, on Jane Todd Crawford. The operation was performed without an anesthetic.
  • 1816 – John Adamson received a patent for a dry dock.
  • 1862 – In America, an estimated 11,000 Northern soldiers were killed or wounded when Union forces were defeated by Confederates under General Robert E. Lee, at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
  • 1883 – The border between Ontario and Manitoba was established.
  • 1884 – Percy Everitt received a patent for the first coin-operated weighing machine.
  • 1913 – It was announced by authorities in Florence, Italy, that the “Mona Lisa” had been recovered. The work was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911.
  • 1913 – The Federal Reserve System was established.
  • 1918 – President Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit a European country while holding office.
  • 1921 – Britain, France, Japan and the United States signed the Pacific Treaty.
  • 1937 – Japanese forces took the Chinese city of Nanking (Nanjing). An estimated 200,000 Chinese were killed over the next six weeks. The event became known as the “Rape of Nanking.”
  • 1944 – During World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze suicide attack. 138 people were killed in the attack.
  • 1961 – Anna Mary Robertson Moses, “Grandma Moses,” passed away at the age of 101.
  • 1964 – In El Paso, TX, President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz set off an explosion that diverted the Rio Grande River, reshaping the U.S.-Mexican border. This ended a century-old border dispute.
  • 1966 – The rights to the first four Super Bowls were sold to CBS and NBC for a total of $9.5 million.
  • 1978 – The Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The coin began circulation the following July.
  • 1981 – Authorities in Poland imposed martial law in an attempt to crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. Martial law ended formally in 1983.
  • 1982 – The Sentry Armored Car Company in New York discovered that $11 million had been stolen from its headquarters overnight. It was the biggest cash theft in United States history.
  • 1987 – Secretary of State George Shultz told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, that the Reagan administration would begin making funding requests for the proposed Star Wars defense system.
  • 1988 – PLO chairman Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly in Geneva, where it had reconvened after the United States had refused to grant Arafat a visa to visit New York.
  • 1988 – A bankruptcy judge in Columbia, SC, ordered the assets of the troubled PTL television ministry sold to a Toronto real estate developer for $65 million.
  • 1989 – South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk’s office in Cape Town.
  • 1991 – Five Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States.
  • 1991 – North Korea and South Korea signed a historic non-aggression agreement.
  • 1993 – The Supreme Court ruled that people must receive a hearing before property linked to illegal drug sales can be seized.
  • 1993 – The European Community ratified a treaty creating the European Economic Area (EEA), to go into effect January 1, 1994.
  • 1995 – China’s most influential democracy activist, Wei Jingsheng, who already had spent 16 years in prison, was sentenced to 14 more years.
  • 1997 – The Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA, was opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • 1998 – Puerto Rican voters rejected U.S. statehood in a non-binding referendum.
  • 1998 – Gary Anderson (Minnesota Vikings) kicked six field goals against Baltimore. In the game, Anderson set a National Football League record for 34 straight field goals without a miss.
  • 2000 – Vice President Al Gore conceded the 2000 Presidential election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. The Florida electoral votes were won by only 537 votes, which decided the election. The election had been contested up to the Supreme Court, which said that the Florida recount (supported by the Florida Supreme Court) was unconstitutional.
  • 2000 – Seven convicts, the “Texas 7,” escaped from Connally Unit in Kennedy, TX, southeast of San Antonio, by overpowering civilian workers and prison employees. They fled with stolen clothing, pickup truck and 16 guns and ammunition.
  • 2001 – The United States government released a videotape that showed Osama bin Laden and others discussing their knowledge of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
  • 2001 – President George W. Bush served formal notice to Russia that the United States was withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
  • 2001 – Israel severed all contact with Yasser Arafat. Israel also launched air strikes and sent troops into Palestine in response to a bus ambush that killed 10 Israelis.
  • 2001 – Gunmen stormed the Indian Parliament and killed seven people and injured 18. Security forces killed the attackers during a 90-minute gun battle.
  • 2001 – NBC-TV announced that it would begin running hard liquor commercials. NBC issued a 19-point policy that outlined the conditions for accepting liquor ads.
  • 2001 – Michael Frank Goodwin was arrested and booked on two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy and three special circumstances (lying in wait, murder for financial gain and multiple murder) in connection with the death of Mickey Thompson. Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot to death in their driveway on March 16, 1988. Thompson, known as the “Speed King,” set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records during his lifetime, including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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