January 31st – Everyone Day Backward Happy

January 31, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning my backward friends. Today is Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Backward Day

Day Backward is “holiday”  first today’s. Not to be confused with Opposite Day, celebrated a few days ago, National Backward Day is an opportunity to reverse your ways, your direction or simply our shirt.  Dessert for breakfast, perhaps?  Backward Day is a day to do everything backward. Try reading a book backward (last chapter first), or playing a board game backward. If you are old, try acting young; if you are stoic, try acting silly; if you are right-handed try doing things with your left hand (and vice versa if you are left-handed); wear an article of clothing backward; research palindromes, then try to make up a few of your own. There are many ways to celebrate Backward Day, so just let your imagination be your guide.
Fun have, “holiday” this celebrate to decide you if.

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day  

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day celebrates art and the warm fuzzy feeling its beauty inspires within your heart. Celebrating Inspire Your Heart With Art Day is straightforward enough. Go to a gallery, theater, cinema, or music venue, and soak up the art. Keep in mind the theme of this holiday…Inspire Your Heart.
Some artists these days, in an effort to seem more “edgy”, have forsaken truth, beauty, and works that inspire, for works that are intended to shock, disgust, or enrage the audience. This, to me, isn’t “art”. Select the art you choose to view today accordingly. You’re supposed to “inspire your heart” today…not give yourself a heart attack. If you fancy yourself an artist, create an inspirational masterpiece of your own.

Hell is Freezing Over Day

Remember when you said, “I’ll do ____ ‘when Hell freezes over?” Well, guess what, it’s getting downright frigid in Hades, so get out your “when Hell freezes over” list today and accomplish a few tasks on it.
On second thought, since your “when Hell freezes over” list is composed of things which you never intended to do anyway, why not just add this holiday to that list and move on with your day? Surely you have better things to do.

National Hot Chocolate Day

If you’re craving a warm, delicious treat, then you’re in luck. Today is National Hot Chocolate Day. National Hot Chocolate Day celebrates the warm and creamy beverage that everyone loves to drink.
While the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa are often used interchangeably, there is actually a big difference. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. For that reason, hot cocoa tends to be sweeter and lighter. It often contains flavoring like vanilla or spices, like ground cinnamon. Those packets of Swiss Miss you grew up on are most definitely hot cocoa  – not hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is just as the name implies – melted chocolate. Good-quality milk or dark chocolate is chopped finely or shaved so that it melts quickly when combined with hot milk, or even cream. It can also contain flavoring like vanilla, but usually has very little added sugar, because there is already sugar in the chocolate. The result is a rich, full-bodied beverage that tends to be less sweet than hot cocoa, but even more wicked. You can vary the amount of chocolate you use to make it as thick and decadent as you want – from thin like hot cocoa, to an almost pudding-like consistency.
To celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day, make some hot chocolate – no cheating, though…None of that Swiss Miss crap! Take the time to make it from scratch. Don’t forget the miniature marshmallows!
Factoids:

  1. Chocolate is the 3rd most traded commodity in the world, behind oil (#1) and coffee (#2).
  2. Hot chocolate contains antioxidants and flavonols, both very healthy nutrients.
  3. The Mayans made the first hot chocolate, and it was served with chili peppers.

Eat Brussels Sprouts Day  

According to nutritionists, Brussels sprouts are one of the healthiest foods around. They are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and contain phytonutrients, which help your body to promote the production of enzymes involved in detoxification.
Brussels sprouts are a member of the Gemmifera group of cabbages, grown for its edible buds. They are closely related to kale, collard greens, and broccoli. The leafy green vegetables are typically 1 to 1½ inches diameter and resemble miniature cabbages. The Brussels sprout has long been popular in Brussels, Belgium, and may have originated and gained its name there.
I would love to say “Happy Eat Brussels Sprouts Day”, but I can’t.  The words, like the Brussels sprouts, would stick in my throat. I strongly dislike Brussels sprouts. If you enjoy them, have some today.

Brandy Alexander Day

A Brandy Alexander is a tasty chocolate cocktail that became popular in the 1920’s. Its predecessor was the gin-based Alexander cocktail, which was all but abandoned once the Brandy Alexander arrived on the scene. According to the Classic Cocktail Club of Milan, Italy, the Brandy Alexander was created in London, circa 1922, at the wedding of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, to Viscount Lascelles. It wasn’t long before the cocktail became a pop culture icon. You can find references to Brandy Alexander in countless movies, television shows, and songs. It was also John Lennon’s drink of choice, but he liked to refer to it as his “milkshake.”
Author’s Note: Milkshakes were originally made with alcohol for adults…only later was the alcohol removed so children could enjoy them too.

Gorilla Suit Day

On This Date

  • In 1747 – The first clinic specializing in the treatment of venereal diseases was opened at London Dock Hospital.
  • In 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the House of Representatives. It was ratified by the necessary number of states on December 6, 1865. The amendment abolished slavery in the United States.
  • In 1865 – General Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies.
  • In 1876 – All Native American Indians were ordered to move onto reservations.
  • In 1893 – The trademark “Coca-Cola” was first registered in the United States Patent Office.
  • In 1917 – Germany announced its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • In 1929 – The USSR exiled Leon Trotsky. He found asylum in Mexico.
  • In 1930 – Navy Lt. Ralph S. Barnaby became the first glider pilot to have his craft released from a dirigible at Lakehurst, NJ.
  • In 1936 – The radio show “The Green Hornet” debuted. (It created quite a ‘buzz’).
  • In 1940 – The first Social Security check was issued by the United States Government. Ida May Fuller received the first monthly benefits check. The amount paid was $22.54.
  • In 1944 – During World War II, U.S. forces invaded Kwajalein Atoll and other areas of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
  • In 1945 – Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.
  • In 1946 – A new constitution in Yugoslavia created six constituent republics (Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia) subordinated to a central authority, on the model of the USSR.
  • In 1949 – The first TV daytime soap opera was broadcast from NBC’s station in Chicago, IL. It was “These Are My Children.”
  • In 1950 – President Truman announced that he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
  • In 1958 – Explorer I was put into orbit around the earth. It was the first U.S. earth satellite.
  • In 1971 – Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell, and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
  • In 1971 – Telephone service between East and West Berlin was re-established after 19 years.
  • In 1985 – The final Jeep rolled off the assembly line at the AMC plant in Toledo, OH. In 1987, Chrysler acquired AMC and the iconic Jeep brand.
  • In 2000 –  John Rocker (Atlanta Braves) was suspended from major league baseball for disparaging foreigners, homosexuals and minorities in an interview published by Sports Illustrated.
  • In 2001, a Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan and acquitted a second in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The crash had occurred in 1988.

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • Franz Schubert 1797 – Composer
  • Zane Grey 1872 – Western author
  • Eddie Cantor 1892 – Entertainer
  • Tallulah Bankhead 1902 – Actress
  • “Jersey Joe” Walcott 1914 – Boxer
  • Garry Moore 1915 – Entertainer
  • Jackie Robinson 1919 – 1st Black baseball player in the Major Leagues
  • John Agar 1921 – Actor
  • Mario Lanza 1921 – Operatic tenor, actor
  • Carol Channing 1923 – Actress, singer, dancer, comedienne
  • Joanne Dru 1923 – Actress)
  • Jean Simmons 1929 – Actress
  • Norman Mailer 1929 – (author)
  • Ernie Banks 1931 – Baseball player
  • James Franciscus, 1934 – Actor
  • Suzanne Pleshette 1937 – Actress
  • Stuart Margolin 1940 – Character actor
  • Dick Gephardt 1941 – Lobbyist
  • Jessica Walter 1944 – Actress
  • Nolan Ryan 1947 – Baseball pitcher
  • Harry Wayne Casey 1951 – Musician  (KC and the Sunshine Band)
  • Phil Collins 1951 – Musician
  • Johnny Rotten 1956 – Musician  (Sex Pistols)
  • Shirley Babashoff 1957 – Olympic swimming champion
  • Kelly Lynch 1959 – Actress
  • John Dye 1963 – Actor  (Touched by an Angel)
  • Minnie Driver 1971 – Actress
  • Portia de Rossi 1973 – Actress
  • Justin Timberlake 1981 – Singer
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January 30th – ♫ “We Gotta Get Outta This Place…” ♫

January 30, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning members of the “rat race”. Today is Monday, January 30, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Escape Day

Did you ever want to just unshackle yourself from the bonds of responsibility and escape the mundane drudgery of your existence?  Luckily for you, today is National Escape Day, the perfect opportunity for you to do so – unless you have an ogre for a boss who insists that you work instead.
If you are unable to physically leave your environment, there are still ways that you can ‘escape’.

  1. Change the wallpaper on your computer at work to a tropical isle, a ski slope, a babbling brook, or any other destination to which you would like to escape.
  2. Forgo cooking and other forms of household drudgery like laundry, vacuuming, etc.
  3. Try a new look…opt for a trendy new outfit, or change your hairstyle.
  4. Go somewhere remote without your phone, laptop, tablet, etc and don’t tell anyone where you’re going. [If you have a spouse or ‘significant other’, take them with you].
  5. Treat yourself to a ‘spa day’.
  6. After work, draw a nice hot bath, pour yourself a tall glass of wine or your favorite spirited beverage, put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the bathroom door, and let your mind wander as you transform into a “happy prune”.
  7. Escape into a good book. Read slowly and take time out to let the imagery soak into your brain.

There are other means of escape as well, but I don’t recommend them. They involve illegal substances and/or excessive consumption of alcohol. Whatever means of escape you choose today…enjoy.

Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day

Bubble Wrap® went through many incarnations before revolutionizing the packing industry. In the late 1950’s, an American engineer named Al Fielding and a Swiss inventor named Marc Chavannes invented Bubble Wrap® by accident. They were actually trying to come up with a plastic wallpaper, but when they laminated the two pieces of plastic together, they found that air bubbles appeared. They called their product ‘Air Cap’ and tried to market it as a “textured” plastic wallpaper, but it proved to be unsuccessful. Undaunted, they next tried to market their product as a greenhouse insulation, but that too proved to be unsuccessful. Perseverance paid off, and they eventually saw the true potential of their product as a packing material. They changed the name of their product to Bubble Wrap®, formed the Sealed Air Corporation, and introduced Bubble Wrap® to the public in January of 1960 – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day is celebrated on the last Monday in January to coincide with the date it was created. It was created by “Spirit 95” Radio, the FM radio station in Bloomington, IN in 2001. The first annual “Bubblympiad” featured events such as a Bubble Wrap® popping relay, Pop-a-Mole (similar to a well-known carnival game, Whack-a-Mole), Bubble Wrap® sculpture, and even Bubble Wrap® fashion design contests.
Sealed Air also sponsors an annual Bubble Wrap Competition for Young Inventors. Kids competed to create the most innovative product using Bubble Wrap as the primary material. Past winners include a floating garden, a cell phone cover, a swing for children with movement disorders, and a transformable kite kit.
Today, Sealed Air is a global Fortune 500 company and has annual sales of 3 billion dollars. They produce enough Bubble Wrap® to stretch from the Earth to the Moon each year. IBM, who began shipping their ‘1401’ computer in 1961, was the first company to use Bubble Wrap® to ship their products. Because of Marc and Al’s ‘happy accident’, the shipping industry was revolutionized.
Author’s Note: Not only did Bubble Wrap® revolutionize the shipping industry, it brought joy to millions of children (from 9 to 90) who enjoy “popping the bubbles.” I will admit to indulging from time to time myself. There seems to be a therapeutic and quite satisfying in popping all those bubbles of air.

National Inane Answering Message Day

Answering messages tend to be a little dull, ranging from network defaults to the classic, “Sorry, John’s not here right now… please leave a message after the tone”. Inane Answering Message Day urges you to liven things up by getting creative and creating a new funny or silly message for your answering machine.
And while we’re on the subject of answering machines, what is it about the infamous “leave-a-message-at-the-beep” prompt that makes us forget our name, develop a speech impediment, and ramble on forever to convey our simple message? This phenomenon seems more prevalent in troglodytes from my generation who grew up having to actually talk to a live person at the other end of the telephone line. That was easy. Why is conveying your message to a machine any more intimidating? Is it the fact that you have to actually sum up your thoughts and express them coherently within a limited time frame? Who knows?  Am I the only one who has this problem?

National Croissant Day  

The crescent symbol has a long history in many cultures. It symbolizes turning dreams into reality, new birth, rebirth, and/or immortality. So, quite naturally, the Croissant was not the first crescent-shaped bread – for instance, the Kipferl originated in Austria in the 13th century.
Croissants are a rich, buttery, crescent-shaped roll made of puff pastry that layers yeast dough with butter. The key to a perfect croissant is laminating the dough with butter. Laminating the dough is a process by which butter is folded into the mixture creating multiple thin layers of butter and dough. Traditionally 3 to 6 layers, which need to be refrigerated for a minimum of half an hour between each layer are used to make to obtain the ‘signature flakiness’. Because of this ‘laminating’ croissants are extremely time-consuming to make, however, the result is a mouth-watering flaky crust and airy body.
Croissants are traditionally a breakfast bread served with jam and butter, but they are also delicious as dinner rolls…or any other time for that matter. In the early 1970’s, croissants evolved into sandwich form, though still primarily as breakfast sandwiches.
Since baking croissants are so time-consuming, if you plan to celebrate National Croissant Day by baking your own, you should get started soon — Or, you could just go a bakery and buy some.

Blue Monday

School Day of Non-violence and Peace

Yodel for Your Neighbors Day

On This Date

  • In 1790 – The first purpose-built lifeboat was launched on the River Tyne.
  • In 1798 – The first brawl in the House of Representatives took place. Representatives Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold fought on the House floor. [Personally, I would love to see a return to this practice. In fact, we could orchestrate matches between adversaries on the House floor, and show them on pay-per-view. It would be a good way to start reducing the national debt that these morons have run up during their tenure. I can see “cage matches”, no-holds-barred matches, last man standing submits his Bill to the President. IT WOULD BE GREAT].
  • In 1844 – Richard Theodore Greener became the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University.
  • In 1847 – The town of Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco.
  • In 1862 – The U.S. Navy’s first ironclad warship, the “Monitor”, was launched.
  • In 1894 — C.B. King received a patent for the pneumatic hammer.
  • In 1911 – The first airplane rescue at sea was made by the destroyer “Terry”. Pilot James McCurdy was forced to land in the ocean about 10 miles from Havana, Cuba.
  • In 1933 – “The Lone Ranger” was heard on the radio for the first time. The program ran for 2,956 episodes and ended in 1955.
  • In 1933 – Adolf Hitler was named the German Chancellor.
  • In 1948 – Indian political and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu extremist.
  • In 1958 – The first two-way moving sidewalk was put in service at Love Field in Dallas, TX. The length of the walkway through the airport was 1,435 feet.
  • In 1962 – Two members of the “Flying Wallendas” high-wire act were killed when their seven-person pyramid collapsed during a performance in Detroit, MI.
  • In 1968 – The  Tet Offensive began as Communist forces launched surprise attacks against South Vietnamese provincial capitals.
  • In 1997 – A New Jersey judge ruled that the unborn child of a female prisoner must have legal representation. He denied the prisoner bail reduction to enable her to leave the jail and obtain an abortion.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20 million other people.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882 – 32nd POTUS
  • John Ireland 1914 – Actor)
  • Dick Martin 1922 – Comedian  (“Laugh-In”)
  • Barbara Hale 1922 – Actress  (played Della Street on Perry Mason)
  • Gene Hackman 1931 – Actor
  • Vanessa Redgrave 1937 – Actress
  • Dick Cheney 1941 – Former VEEP
  • Charles Dutton 1951 – Actor
  • Brett Butler 1958 – Comedienne
  • Jody Watley 1959 – Singer
  • Christian Bale 1974 – Actor

January 29th – Curmudgeon’s Day (Finally, A Holiday That I Can Relate To)

January 29, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning grumpy geezers, cantankerous old coots, fault-finding fossils, et al. Today is Sunday, January 29, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Curmudgeon’s Day

Curmudgeon’s Day is an annual celebration of the crusty, yet insightful, old fogeys who consistently apply the needle of truth to the balloons of hypocrisy, political correctness, and social norms. It is always held on January 29th, the birthday of W. C. Fields…one of the truly great curmudgeons of all time.
For most of my adult life, I was a “curmudgeon in training”, [I even owned a t-shirt at one point in my life that said exactly that]. I can’t pinpoint the precise point in my life at which I became a full-fledged curmudgeon, but I am convinced that I have now achieved the ultimate state of “Curmudgeon” (the polar opposite of Zen). I think being a curmudgeon is based more on attitude than chronological age. I knew kids in High School who were already well on their way to curmudgeondom (like yours truly), and I know people well into their 80’s who aren’t the least bit curmudgeonly. Embrace your “inner curmudgeon” today. Here are a few ways to celebrate.

  • Go on your favorite social media platform and become the “grammar Nazi.”
  • Sit on your front porch and yell at all the kids to “skedaddle”.
  • Watch “Grumpy (and/or Grumpier) Old Men”.
  • Change the wallpaper on your computer to a Grumpy Cat meme.

Free-Thinker’s Day

Freethinkers Day celebrates the life and work of Thomas Paine, who was born on this date in 1737. Paine came to America in 1774 at the request of Benjamin Franklin. Throughout his life, he wrote many influential books and pamphlets including The Age of Reason, The Rights of Man, and Common Sense. Each of these works brought public attention to key issues and helped establish the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution. Paine’s writing inspired many people to strive for political, economic, and social advancement. He was also one of the first people to call for universal human rights and an end to slavery.
Freethinkers Day has been celebrated since the 1990’s. Its purpose is to educate people about Paine’s work and the importance of free thinking and freedom. Free Thinkers Day is an opportunity to promote appreciation of free thought, support reason over faith, and reject arbitrary authority.
If you are a free-thinker, celebrate the occasion, by picking up a copy of Common Sense or one of Paine’s other works, and take a moment to appreciate your civil liberties. If you are not a free-thinker but want people to think that you are, here are a few ways to ‘fake it’.

  • Go to a park and sit on a bench in the pose of the great Rodin sculpture “The Thinker”.
  • Take your laptop or tablet to the nearest Starbucks, order the most expensive, pretentious drink you can afford, and stare contemplatively at political websites (you don’t necessarily have to actually read them).
  • If someone asks you a question, say “hmm”,  put your hand on your chin, glance up and to the left or right, and slowly re-state the question back to them with the emphasis on a different word, followed by the word ‘interesting’. Then walk away.

National Carnation Day

Carnations are among the world’s favorite flower and they have a long history. Carnations are the birth flower for January and the National Flower of Spain. In France, a purple carnation is a traditional funeral flower, given in condolence for the death of a loved one. A Mothers’ Day tradition is to wear a red carnation if your mother is living and to wear a white carnation if your mother has passed away.
According to biblical legend, carnations first appeared as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight, and carnations sprang up from where her tears fell.
Carnations have been cultivated for over 2,000 years. There are two theories regarding the origin of the word carnation. One theory is that the name comes from “coronation” or “corone” since it was used in Greek ceremonial crowns. The other theory is that the name is derived from the Greek carnis meaning flesh (a light pinky-peachy color), which was the flower’s original color.
And while we are on the subject of color, the color of the carnations you give can also hold meaning and/or symbolism for the recipient.

  • Giving carnations, in general, symbolizes fascination, love, and good luck.
  • Solid colored carnations mean – yes
  • Striped carnations mean – no, I can’t be with you or wish I could be with you
  • Pink carnations mean – I’ll never forget you
  • Light red carnations mean – admiration, yearning
  • Dark red carnations mean – deep love, affection
  • Purple carnations mean – capriciousness
  • White carnations mean – sweetness, innocence, pure love
  • Yellow carnations mean – disappointment, rejection

National Puzzle Day

Puzzles come in all sizes, shapes, and forms. From jig-saw to crosswords, to word search, to brain teasers and Soduko, puzzles are a favorite pastime of millions of people, young and old. People like puzzles for a variety of reasons. To some, they are just fun. Some just like the challenge of completing them, and graduating to ever more complex and difficult puzzle-solving levels. For some, it is a way to kill time and to eliminate boredom. And some people do puzzles to keep their mind sharp or to learn new words.
John Spilsbury, a London engraver, and mapmaker produced the first jigsaw puzzle by mounting one of his maps on a sheet of hardwood and cutting around the borders of the countries to create interlocking pieces. My favorite puzzles are crossword puzzles. I do about three every day.

Seeing Eye Dog Day  

Seeing eye dogs, and other service animals, are wonderful creatures. They perform a valuable service to their masters. Training for seeing eye dogs begins in puppyhood. Breeders take note of puppies that show the intelligence and temperament to become seeing eye dogs. They are then sent to homes within the network who will begin their obedience training. At about 12 to 14 months of age, they are then sent to the facility where the actual seeing eye dog training takes place. The whole process takes up to 2-years. This link will take you to a website that will explain the qualities needed and the extensive training that these exceptional animals need to become seeing eye dogs. As far as I’m concerned, every day should be “Seeing Eye Dog Day”.

National Corn Chip Day

Corn chips come in a variety of shapes, and flavors. Corn chips and tortilla chips are both fried snacks. Some people use the term interchangeably. But there is a difference: Corn chips, like Fritos™, are made from cornmeal which has been processed into a particular shape. Tortilla chips are made from corn tortillas that have been cut into shapes (usually triangles), then deep-fried. The corn in a tortilla and that in corn chips is different. The corn in a tortilla chip has undergone a process known as nixtamalization, which involves soaking the raw corn in an alkaline solution, then hulling it. This was done by ancient Americans to make it easier to grind the corn. Modern scientists note that the process increases the nutritional value and the flavor and aroma are also enhanced.
To celebrate National Corn Chips Day, enjoy some corn chips (not tortilla chips) with your favorite dip or salsa as a snack today.
Did you know that Fritos™ corn chips were first marketed in 1961? How many of you remember “Wampum”, Laura Scudder’s answer to Fritos in the early 70’s? In my opinion, they were far superior to Frito’s™.

World Leprosy Day — Celebrated January 30th, or the nearest Sunday to January 30th.

On This Date 

  • In 1845 – Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was published for the first time in the “New York Evening Mirror.”
  • In 1848 – Greenwich Mean Time was adopted by Scotland.
  • In 1850 – Henry Clay introduced in the Senate a compromise bill on slavery that included the admission of California into the Union as a free state.
  • In 1861 – Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.
  • In 1886 – The first successful gas-driven motorcar, built by Karl Benz, was patented.
  • In 1916 – During World War I, Paris was bombed by German zeppelins for the first time.
  • In 1924 – R. Taylor patented the ice cream cone rolling machine.
  • In 1936 – The first members of  Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame were named in Cooperstown, NY. The first five inductees were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner,  Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.
  • In 1949,  “The Newport News” was commissioned as the first air-conditioned naval ship in Virginia.
  • In 1958 – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married.
  • In 1963 – The first members of the National Football League’s (NFL) Hall of Fame were inducted into Canton, OH. There were 17 original inductees. They were: Sammy Baugh, Bert Bell, Joe Carr, Earl (Dutch) Clark, Harold (Red) Grange, George Halas, Mel Hein, Wilbur (Pete) Henry, Robert (Cal) Hubbard, Don Hutson, Earl (Curly) Lambeau, Tim Mara, George Preston Marshall, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski, Ernie Nevers, and Jim Thorpe.
  • In 1979 – President Carter formally welcomed Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping to the White House. The visit followed the establishment of diplomatic relations.
  • In 1987 – “Physician’s Weekly” announced that the smile on the face of Leonardo DeVinci’s Mona Lisa was caused by a “facial paralysis resulting from a swollen nerve behind the ear.”
  • In 1990 – Joseph Hazelwood, the former skipper of the Exxon Valdez, went on trial in Anchorage, AK, on charges that stemmed from the Exxon-Valdes oil spill. Hazelwood was later acquitted of all the major charges and was convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • In 1995 – The San Francisco 49ers became the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to win five Super Bowl titles. The 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26.
  • In 1996 – French President Jacques Chirac announced the “definitive end” to nuclear testing.
  • In 1996 – La Fenice, the 204-year-old opera house in Venice, Italy, was destroyed by fire. Arson was suspected.
  • In 1998 –  A bomb exploded at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, AL, killing an off-duty policeman and severely wounding a nurse. Eric Rudolph was charged with this bombing and three other attacks in Atlanta.
  • In 1999 – Paris prosecutors announced the end of the investigation into the accident that killed Britain’s Princess Diana.
  • In 1999 – The Senate delivered subpoenas for Monica Lewinsky and two presidential advisers for private, videotaped testimony in the impeachment trial.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • Thomas Paine 1737 – Philosopher, political theorist
  • William McKinley 1843 – 25th POTUS
  • W.C. Fields 1880 – Actor, comedian
  • “Professor” Irwin Corey 1912 – Comedian
  • Victor Mature 1916 – Actor
  • John Forsythe 1918 – Actor  (Charlie’s Angels)
  • Katherine Ross 1940 – Actress  (The Graduate)
  • Claudine Longet 1942 – Singer, actress, dancer
  • Tom Selleck 1945 – Actor  (Magnum P.I.)
  • Ann Jillian 1950 – Actress
  • Oprah Winfrey 1954 – Actress, talk show hostess
  • Irlene Mandrell 1956 – The funny Mandrell Sister
  • Judy Norton-Taylor 1958 – Actress  (The Waltons)
  • Greg Louganis 1960 – Olympic diver

January 28th – Diet of Worms

January 28, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning subterranean, soft-bodied, legless, bilaterally symmetrical invertebrate aficionados. Today is Saturday, January 28, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Diet of Worms

Thankfully, Diet of Worms is not a food-related holiday nor, again thankfully, is it a reference to a trendy new weight loss fad. In this instance, the word diet is used in its archaic form – meaning a group meeting or council, and Worms was the city in Germany where the Diet met.
On this date in 1521, The Diet of Worms was convened. At these proceedings, Protestant reformer Martin Luther was declared an outlaw by the Roman Catholic church. Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the Pope over the Church by maintaining that the doctrine of indulgences, as authorized and taught by the Pope, was wrong. Luther also maintained that salvation was by faith alone without reference to good works, alms, penance, or the Church’s sacraments. Luther maintained that the sacraments were a “means of grace”, meaning that while grace was imparted through the Sacraments, the credit for the action belonged to God and not to the individual. Furthermore, he had challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines and dogmata of the Church not found in Scripture should be discarded. The conclusion of this Diet of Worms was that they should protect the authority of the Pope and the Church, and therefore they issued the Edict of Worms on May 25th, 1521 denouncing Martin Luther and banning him from the church.

Chinese New Year

Unlike our New Year’s celebrations which last for one day (two if you count new Year’s Eve), Chinese New Year is a movable celebration that lasts for 2-weeks. The Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, begins with the first new moon of the year and ends with the full moon fifteen days later. It is the most important holiday in China when millions of people travel home to be with their families. In fact, Chinese New Year is the single largest travel event in the world, with hundreds of millions of people heading home to celebrate with their families throughout Asia and other areas with large contingents of Chinese people.
The Chinese New Year is full of dragon dances, fireworks, feasts, gift-giving, and lantern festivals. Red is the traditional color of the holiday because it symbolizes luck and prosperity. Many families will paint their doors a bright scarlet to bring good fortune in the year to come.
According to tradition, each year of the Chinese calendar is associated with one of the twelve zodiac signs: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, or pig. This year, 2017, is the Year of the Rooster.

National Daisy Day

National Daisy Day celebrates the beauty and cheerfulness of the daisies. While January may seem an odd month to celebrate daisies (what with Spring still being 2-months hence), they grow year-round in some regions, and, in some cultures, they represent purity and innocence. Daisies are a popular flower the world over and grow naturally on every continent…except Antarctica.
The name ‘daisy’ is thought to come from the Old English daes eag, which is thought to mean ‘day’s eye’ – after the way it opens at dawn. Daisies are ‘vascular plants’ – those which circulate nutrients and water throughout the plant. The daisy family, known by scientists as Compositae, make up almost 10% of all flowering plants on Earth. A daisy is actually two flowers in one. The (usually) white petals count as one flower and the cluster of (usually) tiny yellow disc petals that form the ‘eye’ is technically another.
Daisy leaves are edible and can make a tasty addition to salads (they’re closely related to artichoke and are high in Vitamin C). Additionally, daisies have lots of medicinal properties. They are thought to relieve indigestion, slow bleeding, and ease coughs. In homeopathy, the garden daisy is known as the gardener’s friend for its ability to ease an aching back. Bees love daisies as well, making them an important friend of honey makers.
A caution to my gardener friends. As pretty as daisies are, if not tended to properly and kept in check, they can quickly go from a beautiful ornamental flower to a pesky weed. They can thrive in fairly inhospitable conditions and are resistant to most bugs and pesticides.

National Kazoo Day

The kazoo has been around for about 165 years. Alabama Vest of Macon Georgia made the first kazoo in the 1840’s. Actually, he conceived the kazoo and had Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clock-master make it to his specifications. Commercial production of the kazoo didn’t occur until many years later in 1912. Manufacturing was first started by Emil Sorg in Western New York. Sorg joined up with Michael McIntyre, a Buffalo tool and die maker. Production moved to Eden, NY where the factory museum remains today.
Kazoos are easy to play. Simply hum a tune into the kazoo, and you’re an expert. If you have misplaced your kazoo, you can always try the old comb and waxed paper version.

Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day is a national effort to stress the importance of safeguarding your online privacy and protecting your data. Take time out today to review your privacy settings on all of your electronic media, and backup your important files. In today’s environment, you should really be doing this at least once a month anyway.

National Blueberry Pancake Day

Blueberry pancakes…they aren’t just for breakfast anymore. You can enjoy any time of the day. They are nutritious enough to eat for breakfast, tasty enough for a mid-day snack, and easy enough to make for dinner. To make blueberry pancakes, mix up a batch of your favorite plain pancake batter. Wash the blueberries, pat them dry, and keep them in a separate bowl. Once you’ve poured the batter onto the griddle, drop a few blueberries on top. This will ensure that your blueberries aren’t bruised during the cooking process and will be perfect bursts of flavor when you bite into your pancake. Do I really need to explain to you how to celebrate this “holiday”? Remember, blueberries are full of healthy anti-oxidants. IHOP, here I come!

Ernie’s Birthday – Not my birthday…but the birthday of my Doppelganger!

National Seed Swap Day – Grow up guys, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any form of sexual activity.

Pop Art Day

Rattlesnake Roundup Day – Different localities in different regions have Rattlesnake Roundups on various dates throughout the year.

Thank a Plugin Developer Day

Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day

On this Date

  • In 1807 – London’s Pall Mall became the first street lit by gaslight.
  • In 1878 – The first telephone switchboard was installed in New Haven, CT
  • In 1878 – “The Yale News” was published for the first time. It was the first, daily, collegiate newspaper in the United States.
  • In 1902 – The Carnegie Institution was established in Washington, DC. It began with a gift of $10 million from Andrew Carnegie.
  • In 1915 – The Coast Guard was created by an act of Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.
  • In 1916 – Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Wilson to the Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.
  • In 1922 – The  National Football League (NFL) franchise in Decatur, IL, transferred to Chicago. The team took the name Chicago Bears.
  • In 1935 – Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion.
  • In 1958 – Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers) was seriously injured in an auto accident in New York. He would never return to play again. He was paralyzed from the waist down.
  • In 1973 – CBS-TV debuted “Barnaby Jones.”
  • In 1980 – Six Americans who had fled the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, left Iran using false Canadian diplomatic passports. The Americans had been hidden at the Canadian embassy in Tehran.
  • In 1982 – Italian anti-terrorism forces rescued Brigadier General James L. Dozier who had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades 42 days before.
  • In 1986 – The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. All seven of its crew members were killed.
  • In 1994 – in Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg declared a mistrial in the case of Lyle Menendez in the murder of his parents. Lyle and his brother Erik were both re-tried later and were found guilty. They were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals.

  • Sir Henry Morton Stanley 1841 – “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”
  • William Seward Burroughs 1857 – Invented the adding machine
  • Arthur Rubinstein 1889 – Pianist
  • Jackson Pollock 1912 – Artist
  • Ronnie Scott 1927 – Jazz saxophonist
  • Bernard Stanley “Acker” Bilk 1929 – Musician
  • Susan Sontag 1933 – Essayist
  • Nicholas Pryor 1935 – Actor
  • Alan Alda 1936 – Actor (M.A.S.H.)
  • John Beck 1943 – Actor  (Dallas)
  • Susan Howard 1944 – Actress (Dallas)
  • Barbie Benton 1950 – Playboy Playmate/Hee Haw
  • Sara McLachlan 1968 – Singer
  • Katherine Morris 1969 – Actress (Cold Case)
  • Elijah Wood 1981 – Actor

January 27th – Holy Crap!

January 27, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning doo-doo heads. Today is Friday, January 27, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Thomas Crapper Day

You probably think this holiday is a load of crap, and you are asking yourselves; “Who the crap is Thomas Crapper, and why the crap does he have a day dedicated to him, and why should I give a crap anyway?”. Well, basically, Thomas Crapper is credited with creating the technology for the modern-day flush toilet.
This link will give you a crap-load of information to answer all of your questions, and save me a crap-load of time trying to explain it to you.
Although he did not invent the flush toilet as many believe, Mr. Crapper did popularize and improve the flush toilet. He was Baptized on September 28th, 1936, but no record of his actual date of birth is available, so Thomas Crapper Day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death on this date in 1910.
In celebration of Thomas Crapper Day, pay homage to your “porcelain throne” by admiring its craftsmanship and giving thanks for the convenience it provides…and try not to have a crappy day. Oh well, enough of this crap! Time to move on.

Punch the Clock Day 

First of all, let me go on record as saying that I stand wholeheartedly against any form of chronometer abuse. Punching clocks is destructive, serves no logical purpose, and may result in personal injury.
With that said, I believe that the actual intent of this holiday is not to encourage the destruction of any timepieces, but rather to celebrate the old-fashioned “time clock” that used to be at almost every work-site in America before the dawn of the ‘computer age’, and still is in many.
Despite exhaustive research, I found no information to determine the purpose or meaning of Punch the Clock Day. So I’ll give you my theory. Punch the Clock Day not only celebrates the “punch clock” or “time clock”, the device used by employers to calculate the time their workers spend on the job, it also honors all of those working stiffs who “punch a clock” every day at manufacturing facilities across America, providing us with all of the products necessary to conduct our daily lives. [Or at least, they used to before their jobs were outsourced to facilities in Third World countries who now use child labor in sweatshops, or slave labor, to increase profits and line the pockets of greedy corporate CEO’s with wealth beyond reason – and Politicians who take “campaign contributions” from these same greedy CEO’s to line their own pockets].
Anyway, if you still have one of these [ever diminishing] manufacturing jobs here in America, congratulations, and THANK YOU. My life is easier because of you.

Vietnam Peace Day

Vietnam Peace Day is a holiday near and dear to the hearts of many from my generation. On this date in 1973, the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris, France. The main negotiators of the accords were Dr. Henry Kissinger (United States National Security Adviser) and  Le Duc Tho (Vietnamese Politburo member). They both received the Nobel Peace Prize later in the year for their efforts. This link provides a more detailed account if you would like a “refresher course’ in history.

National Geographic Day

National Geographic Day celebrates National Geographic Magazine, whose first issue was launched on this date in 1888. The magazine was originally text-oriented, but the editors soon realized that the most popular articles in their magazine were to ones that contained photographs and soon shifted to a more pictorial format, and has since become famous for its breathtaking photography.
National Geographic Magazine has covered thousands of topics over the years, from lovely, peaceful Balinese dancers to more controversial topics like the brutal killing of animals by poachers. National Geographic magazine has satisfied people’s interest in far away places – their foods, customs, their people, and their unique and exotic animals for nearly 130 years. More recently, National Geographic Magazine has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of environmental issues, such as deforestation and endangered species.

National Chocolate Cake Day

Cakes have a rich culinary history. In Greece, cakes (or “plakous”) were heavy and flat, and people served them with nuts and honey. The Romans made cakes that were more like cheesecake or pastry and presented them as offerings to the gods. In Medieval England, people used the words “bread” and “cake” interchangeably to refer to anything made with flour dough.
The earliest known recipe for chocolate cake was published in a work titled “The Lady’s Receipt Book” by noted Philadelphia cookbook author Eliza Leslie in 1847. A company called O. Duff and Sons created the first boxed cake mix in the late 1920’s. In 1947, after years of research and development, General Mills released the first “just add water” Betty Crocker cake mixes. The available flavors were Ginger, Spice, Yellow, and White. In 1948, Pillsbury introduced the first chocolate cake mix.
Today, the most popular kind of cake is chocolate. There are many varieties of chocolate cake from which to choose; milk chocolate cake, dark chocolate cake, chocolate fudge cake, chocolate “Molten Lava” cake, Red Velvet cake, or my favorite, Devil’s Food cake.
The objectives of  National Chocolate Cake Day are threefold:

  1. To bake a chocolate cake – Preferably from scratch, although you could just use a mix if you lack the confidence to bake from scratch.
  2. To decorate a chocolate cake. – In this author’s humble opinion, adding ice cream or whipped cream counts as decorating the cake…as long as it’s touching.
  3. To eat a chocolate cake. – No explanation necessary.

If you are too busy to bake and/or decorate a cake, then, by all means just buy one – just make sure that it is a chocolate cake. No further explanation of how to celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day is necessary, is it?

Below are a few more holidays worthy of mention. Each is linked so that you can find more information if one piques your interest.

Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

National Activity Professionals Day

National Big Wig Day

National Fun at Work Day

National Preschool Health and Fitness Day

On This Date

  • In 1606 – The trial of Guy Fawkes, and his fellow conspirators in the “gunpowder plot”, began. They were executed on January 31. This link will give you detailed information regarding who Guy Fawkes was, and why he was tried and executed.
  • In 1870 – Kappa Alpha Theta, the first women’s sorority, was founded at Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University) in Greencastle, IN.
  • In 1880 – Thomas Edison patented the electric incandescent lamp.
  • In 1888 – The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, DC.
  • In 1926 – John Baird, a Scottish inventor, demonstrated a pictorial transmission machine called television.
  • In 1927 – United Independent Broadcasters Inc. started a radio network with contracts with 16 stations. The company later became Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
  • In 1943 – During World War II, the first air raid comprised solely of American aircraft and crews took place against Germany when about 50 bombers attacked Wilhelmshaven.
  • In 1944 – The Soviet Union announced that the two-year German siege of Leningrad had come to an end.
  • In 1948 – Wire Recording Corporation of America announced the first magnetic tape recorder. The ‘Wireway’ machine with a built-in oscillator sold for $149.50 (no small sum in those days).
  • In 1951 – Atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
  • In 1967 – At Cape Kennedy, FL, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo I spacecraft.
  • In 1967 – More than 60 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty which banned the orbiting of nuclear weapons and placing weapons on celestial bodies or space stations.
  • In 1981 – President Reagan greeted the 52 former American hostages released by Iran at the White House.
  • In 1984 – Wayne Gretzky set a National Hockey League (NHL)   record for consecutive game scoring. He ended the streak at 51 games.
  • In 1985 – The Coca-Cola Company, of Atlanta, GA, announced a plan to sell its soft drinks in the Soviet Union.
  • In 1992 – Former world boxing champion Mike Tyson went on trial for allegedly raping an 18-year-old contestant in the 1991 Miss Black America Contest.
  • In 1997 – It was revealed that French national museums were holding nearly 2,000 works of art stolen from Jews by the Nazis during World War II.
  • In 1998 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared on NBC’s “Today” show. She charged that the allegations against her husband were the work of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
  • In 1999 – The Senate blocked dismissal of the impeachment case against President Clinton and voted for new testimony from Monica Lewinsky and two other witnesses.
  • In 2010 – Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday.You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 – Classical era composer
  • Lewis Carroll 1832 – Author  (Alice In Wonderland)
  • Jerome Kern 1885 – American composer
  • Harry Ruby (Rubinstein) 1895 – Songwriter
  • Hyman Rickover 1900 – Admiral (“father of the nuclear navy “)
  • William Randolph Hearst Jr. 1908 – Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper editor
  • Lyle (Skitch) Henderson 1918 – Pianist, composer, bandleader (The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson)
  • David Seville 1919 – Novelty songwriter  (The Chipmunks)
  • Donna Reed 1921 – Actress
  • Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland 1930 – Blues singer
  • Troy Donahue 1936 – Actor  (Surfside 6, Hawaiian Eye)
  • James Cromwell 1940 – Actor  (“Babe”)
  • Nick Mason 1944 – Musician  (Pink Floyd)
  • Mikail Baryshnikov 1948 – Ballet dancer
  • Mimi Rogers 1956 – Actress
  • Cris Collinsworth 1959 – NFL wide receiver, sportscaster
  • Bridget Fonda 1964 – Actress
  • Tracy Lawrence 1968 – Country artist
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