February 14th – “Take Me To Your Leader”

February 14, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Greetings Earthlings. Today is Tuesday, February 14, 2017 (that is, by your simplistic means of time measurement). Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Extraterrestrial Culture Day  

In 2003, the New Mexico legislature passed a resolution (not law) proclaiming that the second Tuesday in February would be set aside as Extraterrestrial Culture Day. It is a day to “celebrate and honor all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors in ways to enhance relationships among all citizens of the cosmos, known and unknown.
New Mexico is recognized worldwide as a nexus of UFO sightings and unexplained mysteries. This, of course, all stems from the famous Roswell UFO Incident which occurred on July 8th, 1947 near Roswell, NM.
Author’s Note: I leave it for you to decide whether or not the birth of yours truly a mere five days after the Roswell UFO Incident and a scant one thousand miles away from Roswell has any significance.

Valentine’s Day

Yes, there is an apostrophe, and no, it is not pronounced Valentime’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and lovers.
The roots of Valentine’s Day date back to ancient times when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility. This was known as the Feast of Lupercalia and was celebrated even then on February 14th. The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. The traditions of Valentine’s Day have changed little since the days of  Chaucer.
Sadly, though, Valentine’s Day has become far too commercialized in my opinion. It is a time to exchange cards or small gifts. Chocolates and jewelry are the big hits of this holiday as is romantic dinners. It is a romantic event for lovers. Many a couple become engaged or wed on this day. For others, it is a day to fall in love.

There are also a plethora of other “holidays” today that piggyback on the ‘heart-related theme’ of Valentines Day. These tend to fall into two distinct categories.The first category I’ll call “Affairs of the Heart”. The related “holidays’ in this category are:

Quirky Alone Day

Quirky Alone Day is a do-it-yourself celebration of romance, friendship, and independent spirit. It’s a celebration of all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial, and yes, self-love. It is not anti-Valentine’s Day. It is not a pity party for single people. It’s a feel-good alternative to the marketing barrage of Valentine’s Day and an antidote to the silicone version of love presented in the media today. If you are unattached on this Valentine’s Day, do not despair, celebrate. Whether or not your lack of a relationship today is by choice, do not let society make you feel like an outcast. Make a “special dinner” for yourself, rent a couple of “action flicks” or “slap-stick comedies”, and settle in for the evening. At all costs, avoid places where couples would generally congregate.

Call in Single Day

In the same vane as Quirky Alone Day, singles are encouraged to pick up the phone, take a day off from work, and set aside some time for themselves. Nobody can love you like you, so make sure you love yourself a lot today. Go out and do things for YOU. Take a walk, spit at passing couples walking together (not really, but feel free to sneer at them as they go past), eat copious amounts of chocolates, chase your shadow, and do whatever else you single people do, just make sure you enjoy yourself. If all that alone time eventually gets to you, you could always pick up some games and gadgets to pass the time. If you seek to avoid this holiday next year, go out and find some other lonely singles to celebrate with. Who knows, you could find the ‘love of your life’ and next year you’ll be able to participate in the crass commercialization of Valentine’s Day. (Just ignore the single people sneering at you as you walk by them).

National Condom Day

The premise for this “holiday” is is simple guys; “Wrap it before you tap it.”  National Condom Day aims to raise awareness of safe sex and the reasons for it.

The second category of heart-related “holidays” I’ll call “Heart Health”. These holidays deal more with health-related issues or holidays that were created to “tug at your heart-strings.” The holidays in this category are:

World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day

Today is the day we have chosen to request that states and countries recognize that Congenital Heart Defects are the number one birth defect in the world. Most people who have not been affected by congenital heart defects are unaware of that statistic. According to the March of Dimes, about 1 in 125 children is born with a congenital heart defect.

National Have A Heart Day  

The goal of National Have A heart Day is to create a new consciousness concerning the impact of our food choices on the environment, world hunger, animal welfare, and human health, especially heart health. Vegetarian diets increase longevity and help prevent, and even reverse heart disease. Total vegetarians live about 15 years longer than non-vegetarians and suffer less than one-tenth the heart disease death rate of non-vegetarians.

Donor Day

Donor Day encourages people to not only donate blood but also to sign up to donate their organs as well. Your donation may save a life. Sure, it is inconvenient to donate blood, and it is also uncomfortable to think of our own death, especially an early one. But, if it was to happen, you could save the lives of others.

Holy carpal tunnel syndrome Batman! We’re not finished yet. There are some non-Valentine’s Day/heart-related holidays today as well.

Safer Internet Day

Safer Internet Day is celebrated on the second Tuesday in February each year.
From cyber bullying and identity theft to fraud and human trafficking, the internet can be a frightening place. Safer Internet Day aims to make the internet a better place.
In the United States, Safer Internet Day, U.S. campaign began in 2013.  It is celebrated around the world in 100 countries and is a growing collaboration between U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission as well as support from most major social media platforms.
To celebrate Internet Safety Day, visit SaferInternetDayUS.org or ConnectSafely.org for information on how to keep your travels through the worldwide web as safe as possible.

Pet Theft Awareness Day

On February 14th of every year, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) celebrates Pet Theft Awareness Day by educating the public about the dangers of pet theft with the help of individuals and other animal organizations throughout the United States. If you haven’t already, have your veterinarian install a microchip in each of your pets. It will greatly improve your chances of recovering your beloved ‘friend’ if he/she is ever lost or stolen.

Race Relations Day

This day designated by some churches to recognize the importance of interracial relations. Formerly was observed on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday or on the Sunday preceding it. Since 1970 observance has generally been Feb 14.

Library Lovers’ Day  

Libraries are a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. They offer security and peace and quiet. They are also a place where you can focus surrounded by like-minded people with the desire to acquire knowledge.  Not everything is available on the internet (yet). Libraries have vast stores of qualitative and quantitative information, without all of the opinion-led snippets and snapshots from online. Love your library for what it is, a community meeting place or a treasure trove of ideas. Why not go and learn something new that will expand your knowledge of who you are, of where you live or what you do?

National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

While it is not clear when or why this holiday started, I suspect that it has something to do with all of the chocolate sold around Valentine’s Day. Cream-filled chocolates can be made two ways. The first way is to make ganache and fondant, roll it into a ball and then dip the fondant into chocolate. The second way is to use a mold and put melted chocolate in the mold. Chocolate in molds is cooled by freezing. The molds are then filled with a cream filling and chocolate poured over the candy. Once the candy has cooled, it can be taken out of the mold. The chocolates can be filled with a number of flavors. Some of them are coffee, maple, mint, raspberry, strawberry orange, lemon, vanilla, maraschino, rum, chocolate, and coconut. Most of the flavors are attained by using flavoring, liqueur, extract, fruit juices or powdered ingredients.  Chocolate is known to have been consumed by the early Mayans and Aztecs. When the Spanish conquered them, they took the cacao seed back to Spain. From there it spread to Europe. Baking chocolate came about in the form of cocoa powder in 1828, and chocolate bars in 1842.

Even More Holidays

Ferris Wheel Day

Frederick Douglas Day

International Book Giving Day

League of Women Voters Day

On This Date

  • In 1778 – The Stars and Stripes was carried to a foreign port, in France, for the first time. It was aboard the American ship Ranger.
  • In 1803 – Moses Coats received a patent on the apple parer.
  • In 1849, the first photograph of a United States President, while in office, was taken by Matthew Brady in New York City. President James Polk was the subject of the picture. [Ever since then, the most dangerous place on the planet to be is between a Politician and a camera].
  • In 1859 – Oregon became the 33rd state.
  • In 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell filed an application for a patent for the telephone. It was officially issued on March 7, 1876.
  • In 1889 – In Los Angeles, CA, oranges began their first trip to the east.
  • In 1899 – Congress approved voting machines for use in federal elections.
  • In 1903 – The U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor was established.
  • In 1912 – The first diesel engine submarine was commissioned in Groton, CT.
  • In 1912 – Arizona was admitted as the 48th U.S. state.
  • In 1920 – The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago. The first president of the organization was Maude Wood Park.
  • In 1929 – The “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in Chicago, IL. Seven gangsters who were rivals of Al Capone were killed.
  • In 1932 – The United States won the first bobsled competition at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, NY.
  • In 1940 – The first porpoise born in captivity arrived at Marineland in Florida.
  • In 1946 – ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was unveiled. The device, built at the University of Pennsylvania, was the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer.
  • In 1962 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy gave a tour of the White House on television.
  • In 1966 – Rick Mount of Lebanon, IN, became the first high school, male athlete to be pictured on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”.
  • In 1980 – Walter Cronkite announced his retirement from the “CBS Evening News.”
  • In 1989 – The first satellite of the Global Positioning System was placed into orbit around Earth.
  • In 1997 – Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery began a series of spacewalks that were required to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • In 1998 – U.S. authorities officially announced that Eric Rudolph was a suspect in a bombing of an abortion clinic in Alabama.

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.

  • George Ferris 1859 – Inventor (the Ferris Wheel).
  • John Barrymore 1882 – Actor.
  • Jack Benny 1894 – Comedian.
  • Jimmy Hoffa 1913 – Union goon.
  • Woody Hayes 1913 – Football coach.
  • Hugh Downs 1921 – Broadcaster.
  • Frank Borman 1928 – Astronaut.
  • Phyllis McGuire 1931 – Singer (The McGuire Sisters).
  • Vic Morrow 1932 – Actor.
  • Florence Henderson 1934 – Actress/singer.
  • Andrew Prine 1936 – Actor.
  • Michael Bloomberg 1942 – New York City Mayor.
  • Gregory Hines 1946 – Entertainer.
  • Raymond Joseph Teller 1948 – Comedian, magician (Pen and Teller).
  • JoJo Starbuck 1951 – Olympic Figure skater.
  • Ken Wahl 1957 – Actor.
  • Meg Tilly 1960 – Actress.
  • Drew Bledsoe 1972 – Football player.

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