March 16th – Happy St. Urho’s Day

March 16, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning party animals. Today is Thursday, March 16, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

St. Urho’s Day

The legend of St. Urho (pronounced oor- ho) was the invention of a Finnish-American named Richard Mattson and originated in Northern Minnesota in the 1950′s, an area with a large population of people of Finnish lineage. He created it after an Irish co-worker was razzing him about Finland not having a patron Saint, like St. Patrick in Ireland (actually, Finland does have its own patron Saint; Henry, Bishop of Finland). The legend grew among North Americans of Finnish descent to the point where St. Urho is known and celebrated across the United States and Canada, and even in parts of Finland today.
St. Urho’s Day is celebrated on March 16th, the day prior to the better-known feast of some minor saint from Ireland, who was alleged to have driven the snakes from that island. The legend of St. Urho says he chased the grasshoppers out of ancient Finland, thus saving the grape crop and the jobs of Finnish vineyard workers. He did this by uttering the phrase, roughly translated into English as: “Grasshopper, grasshopper, go from hence to Hell!”. His feat is celebrated by wearing the colors Royal Purple and Nile Green, drinking copious amounts of wine and eating Mojakkaa, a fish soup, which purportedly gave Urho the strength to drive away the grasshoppers. St. Urho is nearly always represented with grapes and grasshoppers as part of the picture.
So, if you can’t wait for tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities to begin, start the party today by celebrating St. Urho’s Day. Be sure to attire yourself in the appropriate purple and green colors for authenticity. Today, everyone is Finnish!

No Selfies Day

No Selfies Day, as the name implies, urges people to refrain from posting ‘selfies’ to any social media platform today. For all of you troglodytes out there, a ‘selfie’ is a photograph taken of oneself, usually by oneself either by utilizing a mirror or by extending one arm to capture the image.
No Selfies Day was proposed in 2014 by the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun and submitted to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” — a comprehensive a dictionary of holidays released every Oct. 1 that tracks what’s going on every day everywhere in the world. It was immediately accepted and first appeared in the 2015 edition.
Ironically, whether by coincidence or not, No Selfies Day is celebrated on the birthday of Philippe Kahn, the inventor of the cell phone camera and the first person to snap a picture with his phone—although it wasn’t a selfie…at least not to our knowledge.
So, take heed all of you narcissistic attention whores and ‘celebutantes’ – I don’t know if, as you seem to think, the world will end if you don’t post a picture of yourself in your underwear in front of a mirror every day…but I for one am willing to take the risk, so please celebrate No Selfies Day and give us a break.

Lips Appreciation Day

Everyone has lips and Lips Appreciation Day is the holiday to celebrate that fact. Show your appreciation of one of the most visible and expressive organs of the human body and one of the most beloved. Lips are the perfect frame for your smile. You paid your dentist thousands of dollars for it, so you may as well accent that expensive smile by taking care of your lips.
The lips are used for speech articulation, the playing of instruments, eating, drinking, a tactile sensory organ, and an erogenous organ. So celebrate today by putting those lips to work, through talking,  eating, sipping through a straw, playing the kazoo, or kissing your loved ones. It will be good practice for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow when you’ll be babbling incoherently, slurring your words, eating too much corned beef and cabbage, drinking too much green beer, and kissing everyone in sight. Don’t forget to stock up on lip balm and/or Chapstick.

Freedom of Information Day

Freedom of Information Day is an annual holiday celebrated on the birthday of James Madison, who was born on this date in 1851, and who is widely regarded as the Father of the Constitution and as the foremost advocate for openness in government and as the key champion and author of the Bill of Rights.
The Freedom of Information Act was passed on July 4th, 1966 and went into effect the following year. It declared that every person has the right to get information to federal agency records that are not protected by one of nine exemptions, or special law enforcement record exclusions. This put into law the very concepts that James Madison had held so dear and ensured that every citizen of the United States would be able to obtain the information to which they were entitled.

Curlew Day

Curlew Day is another holiday celebrating migratory birds returning to their nesting grounds. What is a Curlew you say? The Curlew is a medium-sized wading bird with a long, slender, downward curved bill (about 1/3 of its total length). Every March 16th, they return from Mexico to the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon for mating season. They are also known as the sicklebird or candlestick bird. (Candlestick Park, former home to my beloved San Francisco Giants for so many years, derived its name from these birds).

Goddard Day

Goddard Day commemorates first liquid-fuel-powered rocket flight launched by Robert Hutchings Goddard at Auburn, MA on this date in 1926. He claims he got the idea for his revolutionary rocket engine from a book by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. NASA’s first Space Flight Center, the Goddard Space Flight Center, is named after him. It was established in 1959 as a space research laboratory.

Everything You Do Is Right Day

Even if you decide not to celebrate any of the above holidays, it’s OK, because today is Everything You Do Is Right Day. It was created to counter yesterday’s holiday “Everything You Do Is Wrong Day”. You can’t go wrong with a holiday like this. No matter what you decide to do, you’re right. This might just be the perfect holiday.

National Artichoke Heart Day

Food Historians believe that the Artichoke plant originates from the Mediterranean — Some say the Sicily region while others believe Tunisia (Carthage). The plant is actually a flowering thistle. Artichokes also grow wildly in Southern Europe.
Eighty percent of Artichokes grown in the America come from Castroville, California. Spanish Settlers cultivated Artichokes in California during the 1600’s. However, California Artichokes did not gain popularity until the early 1900’s.
When you are shopping for Artichokes choose only those that are dark green with tight leaves, not leaves that appear to be opening. The Heart of the Artichoke is found once all the leaves are removed, at the base of the Artichoke. If you’re lazy, canned Artichoke Hearts available in most grocery stores.
Artichokes are high in antioxidants which are good for your liver and help promote healthy skin. Artichokes are also high in fiber, calcium, and protein while low in calories. They are fat-free and cholesterol-free (unless you slather them in some high-calorie dipping sauce), so they are truly a healthy food.
I dislike artichokes, so I have no intention of celebrating this holiday. If you have a problem with that, refer to the holiday above.
Artichoke Factoids:

  • Although usually referred to it as a vegetable, the artichokes we eat are actually the flower bud of the artichoke plant. If you let the flower blossom, it turns a beautiful violet-blue color. (See the pictures below).
  • In 1947, Castroville, California crowned its first “Artichoke Queen”. The winner was a young actress named Norma Jean Mortenson who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

Below are a couple of pictures of an artichoke plant in our back yard that we let blossom a few years ago.
Arthchoke1 Artichoke2

More Holidays

On This Date 

  • In 1190 – The Crusaders began the massacre of Jews in York, England.
  • In 1521 – Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines. He was killed the next month by natives.
  • In 1621 – Samoset walked into the settlement of Plymouth Colony, later Plymouth, MA. Samoset was a native from the Mohegan tribe in Maine who spoke English. He greeted the Pilgrims
  • by saying, “Welcome, Englishmen! My name is Samoset.”
  • In 1802 – Congress established the West Point Military Academy in New York.
  • In 1836 – The Republic of Texas approved a constitution.
  • In 1850 – The novel “The Scarlet Letter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published.
  • In 1871 – The State of Delaware enacted the first fertilizer law. [In contrast to today, when everything that comes out of Congress is ‘fertilizer’].
  • In 1882 – The Senate approved a treaty allowing the United States to join the Red Cross.
  • In 1883 – Susan Hayhurst graduated from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. She was the first woman pharmacy graduate.
  • In 1915 – The Federal Trade Commission began operation.
  • In 1935 – Adolf Hitler ordered a German rearmament and violated the Versailles Treaty.
  • In 1945 – Iwo Jima was declared secured by the Allies. However, small pockets of Japanese resistance still existed.
  • In 1960 – Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Psycho premiered. The film starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh is an all-time classic.
  • In 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson submitted a $1 billion war on poverty program to Congress.
  • In 1968 – United States troops in Vietnam destroyed a village consisting mostly of women and children.In all, 504 civilians were killed. The event is known as the My-Lai massacre.
  • In 1978 – Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by left-wing urban guerrillas. Moro was later murdered by the group.
  • In 1985 – Terry Anderson, an Associated Press newsman, was kidnapped in Beirut. He was released on December 4, 1991.
  • In 1988 – A poison gas attack killed 5000 civilians in the Kurdish town of Halabjah. The war crime was in all likelihood executed on the orders of Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein.
  • In 1988 – In Northern Ireland, an Ulster loyalist killed 3 people at a Provisional IRA funeral. Michael Stone was later convicted of the Milltown cemetery attack, which was filmed by news crews.
  • In 1988 – Indictments were issued for Lt. Colonel Oliver North, Vice Admiral John Poindexter of the National Security Council, and two others for their involvement in the Iran-Contra affair.
  • In 1988 – Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were shot to death in their driveway. Thompson, known as the “Speed King,” set nearly 500 auto speed endurance records including being the first person to travel more than 400 mph on land.
  • In 1993 – In France, ostrich meat was officially declared fit for human consumption.
  • In 1994 – Tonya Harding pled guilty in Portland, OR, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up the attack on her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. She was fined $100,000. She was also banned from amateur figure skating. And good riddance. She got off lucky in my opinion.
  • In 1998 – Rwanda began mass trials for the 1994 genocide. They had 125,000 suspects for 500,000 murders.

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.

  • James Madison 1751 – Fourth POTUS.
  • George S. Ohm 1787 – Physicist.
  • Andrew S. Hallidie 1836 – Inventor.
  • Conrad Nagel 1896 – Actor.
  • Henny Youngman 1906 – Comedian.
  • Josef Mengele 1911 – Nazi war criminal.
  • Pat Nixon – Educator, 39th First Lady of the United States.
  • Jerry Lewis 1926 – Actor, comedian.
  • R. Walter Cunningham 1932 – Astronaut.
  • Bernardo Bertolucci 1940 – Director.
  • Chuck Woolery 1941 – Game show host.
  • Erik Estrada 1949 – Actor.
  • Kate Nelligan 1951 – Actress.
  • Nancy Wilson 1954 – Musician.
  • Rodney Peete 1966 – Football player.
  • Lauren Graham 1967 – Actress.
  • Brooke Burns 1978 – Actress.

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