April 29th – Manatee Appreciation Day

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

Good morning fans of gigantic, fresh-water, herbivorous mammals. Today is Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Manatee Appreciation Day

Manatee Appreciation Day is devoted to raising awareness about these quirky creatures. Manatees are calm herbivores that spend most of their time eating, sleeping, and traveling. Manatees are mostly herbivorous, however, small fish and invertebrates can sometimes be ingested along with a manatee’s normal diet of vegetation. They eat a large variety of submerged, emergent, and floating plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily. They are a migratory species, inhabiting the Florida waters during the winter and moving as far north as Virginia and as far west as Texas in the warmer summer months. They are also found in parts of Mexico and the Caribbean.
These gentle giants have a lifespan of about 60 years, and the average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds. Their closest zoological relatives are the elephant and the hyrax (a small, gopher-sized mammal). They have no known natural predators…except for humans.
Because they are mammals, manatees must surface to breathe air. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface of the water, coming up to breathe on an average of every three to five minutes. When manatees are using a great deal of energy, they may surface to breathe as often as every 30 seconds. When resting, manatees have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes. Manatees can swim up to 20 miles per hour in short bursts, but they usually cruise along at a more leisurely pace of about three to five miles per hour.
In the past, manatees were exploited for their meat, fat, and hides. Although some poaching of manatees still exists, they are most often fatally injured these days in collisions with boats and becoming entangled in commercial fishing nets. Add to the mix the fact that their habitat is constantly being encroached upon by development, especially in Florida, and you can see why they are on the Endangered Species list.
As far back as the early 18th century, when America was still part of the British Empire, the English declared Florida a manatee sanctuary and made manatee hunting illegal and in 1893, manatees first received protection under Florida law. In 1907, this law was revised to impose a fine of $500 and/or six months of jail time for molesting or killing a manatee. People have worked to protect this species ever since. And, their efforts have paid off. Through legislation, awareness programs, and other means, as of  January 7, 2016, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the West Indian manatee is proposed to be down-listed from ‘endangered‘ to ‘threatened‘ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal to downlist the manatee to threatened will not affect federal protections currently afforded by the ESA, and the Service remains committed to conservation actions to fully recover manatee populations.
Through conservation efforts, the minimum known population of manatees is estimated to be at least 13,000, with more than 6,300 in Florida. When aerial surveys began in 1991, there were only an estimated 1,267 manatees in Florida, meaning that over the last 25 years there’s been a significant increase in the species population in that state.
Authors Note: I have a soft spot in my heart for these lovable creatures. Manatees might not make the list of cutest or cuddliest of mammals, but their immense size, jowly appearance, and gentle nature make them endearing. I lived in Florida from 1976 to 1979 and had the pleasure of actually interacting with a manatee in a water park…I actually got to pet one. Bucket list item gleefully checked off.

Vietnam Veterans Day  

On this date 44 years ago, in 1973, the last 2,500 troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam, thus ending military involvement in Vietnam. At the time, it was the longest war in America’s history (since replaced by the second war in Iraq). Vietnam Veterans Day honors all of those who served in Vietnam and those who didn’t return.
Those of my generation remember how unpopular the Vietnam war was here at home and the despicable way that the returning Vietnam veterans were treated, but I won’t dwell any further on that subject. Most of us have family members who served during the Vietnam era…father, grandfather, brother, uncle, or cousin. Regardless of your feelings about the war, celebrate this holiday by giving thanks to anyone you encounter today who served in Vietnam and take a moment to honor those who didn’t return. This link offers statistics and clears up many of the misconceptions you might have, about the war.
Author’s Note: I have seen the word Vietnam also spelled as two words, Viet Nam. The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam prefers the two-word spelling and claims that the one-word “westernization” of the name of their country is insulting and incorrect. According to them, Viet and Nam are separate words, each with their own meaning, and all Vietnamese words are comprised of one syllable. I used the one-word spelling of the word because that is how it was presented in my sources.

National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

“Mom and pop” businesses are the backbone of this country. However, these days, the deck seems to be stacked against them. The failure rate of a “mom and pop type of business is somewhere around 70% to 80%, yet still each day thousands of stalwart individuals take the plunge and start a new business. Today we celebrate that entrepreneurial spirit which made this great nation great. If you own a small business or have ever owned one, give yourself a pat on the back. If you have to shop for anything today, patronize the Mom & Pop store in your neighborhood rather than that National Chain or “Box Store”, even if you have to pay a little more.

Smoke and Mirrors Day  

Smoke and Mirrors Day is a day of illusions. The term “smoke and mirrors” is a euphemism used to describe the fact that things are not always as they seem. For example, magicians use smoke and mirrors to perform most of their “magic tricks”.
You see examples of smoke and mirrors every day in one form or another. The most obvious example of smoke and mirrors is ‘legalese’, that incredibly convoluted language that lawyers use in contracts and other legal documents. They are designed to make sure that no “average Joe” can understand them…therefore needing a lawyer to interpret them. Advertisers are adept at using “smoke and mirrors” to sell their products…and politicians are experts at smoke and mirrors. The media also use smoke and mirrors tactics in selecting which stories they cover, and/or to what extent they cover them.
To celebrate Smoke and Mirrors Day, just be aware the everything that you see and hear is first run through a “filter”. A person’s beliefs, upbringing, and environment determine how they interpret information, and you should always take that into consideration before you accept what they say as fact. One man’s Fascist is another man’s patriot.

National Little Red Wagon Day

National Little Red Wagon Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday in March and was founded by Radio Flyer in honor of their upcoming 100th anniversary. To celebrate their 100th anniversary, Radio Flyer wanted to establish a holiday that not only celebrates kids’ imaginations but the vehicles that help them explore it – their wagons. The Registrar of National Day Calendar declared National Little Red Wagon Day in 2016.
For 100 years, Radio Flyer has brought smiles to kids of all ages and creating warm memories that last a lifetime. As a brand, Radio Flyer has always supported unstructured outdoor play and its positive impact on children. This iconic toy is one of the most enduring toys of all time. As the weather gets warmer and spring officially begins, National Little Red Wagon Day to encourages kids to get outside, get active and go wherever their imaginations take them. For generations, children have led little red wagons down Independence Day parade routes, carried out infinite imaginary missions and voyages of childhood fantasy. It is not unusual for a little red wagon to be handed down from one generation to the next, treasured like a family heirloom.

Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day

Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day is celebrated by locals near Niagara Falls to commemorate the day, in 1848, that ice blockages caused rivers to run dry, and reduced the flow of water to such an extent that Niagara Falls’ 3,160 tons of water per second flow came to a halt (actually, the water was still flowing underneath the ice, but the surface of the ice was frozen solid). The flow over the falls was stopped for about 40 hours. It has never happened again, although it sometimes slows to a trickle during especially harsh winters.

National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

An insurance salesman, aptly named Harry Baker, invented chiffon cake in the 1920’s. He sold his cakes to the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles and all of the Hollywood elites fell in love with the dessert’s lighter-than-air texture. Baker carefully guarded the recipe for over twenty years before selling it to General Mills (home of the Betty Crocker brand) for an undisclosed amount. The recipe for chiffon cake debuted in a 1948 edition of Better Homes and Gardens. General Mills marketed it as “the first new cake in 100 years” and it quickly became a nationwide sensation. The secret recipe called for vegetable oil instead of butter or shortening and instructed the baker to beat the egg whites and egg yolks separately. There are many flavors of chiffon cake, but today’s reason to celebrate is; lemon.  However, if you choose to celebrate one of the other flavors; including chocolate, orange, walnut, and/or maple, no one will be the wiser.

More Holidays

Knights of Columbus Founders Day

Texas Love the Children Day

On This Date

  • In 1638 – First permanent European settlement in Delaware was established.
  • In 1847 – U.S. troops under General Winfield Scott took possession of the Mexican stronghold at Vera Cruz.
  • In 1903 – A regular news service began between New York and London on Marconi’s wireless.
  • In 1906 – In the United States, 500,000 coal miners walked off the job seeking higher wages.
  • In 1912 – Explorer Robert Scott made his final diary entry. Scott wrote: “We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far.” The British explorer and his companions died on an expedition to the South Pole.
  • In 1932 – Jack Benny made his radio debut.
  • In 1943 – America began rationing of meat, butter and cheese began during World War II.
  • In 1951 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. They were executed on June 19, 1953.
  • In 1961 – The 23rd amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The amendment allowed residents of Washington, DC, to vote for president.
  • In 1962 – Cuba opened the trial of the Bay of Pigs invaders.
  • In 1962 – Jack Paar made his final appearance on the “Tonight” show.
  • In 1971 – A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. The death sentences were commuted to life prison in 1972 when the California Supreme Court abolished the death penalty.
  • In 1971 – Lt. William Calley Jr., of the U.S. Army, was found guilty of the premeditated murder of at least 22 Vietnamese civilians. He was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. The trial was the result of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam on March 16, 1968.
  • In 1973 – The last United States troops left South Vietnam.
  • In 1974 – The Terracotta Army was discovered in Xi’an, China. The famous collection of some 8000 soldier sculptures, depicting Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s army, was located by local farmers when they were digging a water well.
  • In 1974 – The United States space probe Mariner 10 became the first spacecraft to reach the planet, Mercury. It had been launched on November 3, 1973.
  • In 1974 – Eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. All the guardsmen were later acquitted.
  • In 1975 – Egyptian president Anwar Sadat declared that he would reopen the Suez Canal on June 5, 1975.
  • In 1979 – The Committee on Assassinations Report issued by U.S. House of Representatives stated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy.
  • In 1992 – Democratic presidential front-runner Bill Clinton said “I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again” in reference to when he had experimented with marijuana.
  • In 1993 – Clint Eastwood won his first Oscars. He won them for best film and best director for the film “Unforgiven.”
  • In 1995 – The House of Representatives rejected a constitutional amendment that would have limited terms to 12 years in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • In 1999 – The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 10,000 mark for the first time.
  • In 2004 – Ireland became the first country to ban smoking in all workplaces. Contrary to initial concerns, the ban had no adverse economic effects, and soon several other countries passed similar legislation. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco smoke is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally.
  • In 2010 – Two Chechen suicide bombers detonated their devices in the Moscow underground. 40 people died in the attack allegedly carried out by so-called “black widows”, or Islamist Chechen female suicide bombers.

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.

  • John Tyler 1790 – 10th POTUS.
  • Cy Young 1867 – Early baseball pitcher.
  • Phillip Ahn 1905 – Actor.
  • Phil Foster 1914 – Actor.
  • Eugene McCarthy 1916 – Politician.
  • Sam Walton 1918 – Entrepreneur.
  • Pearl Bailey 1918 – Actress, singer.
  • John McLaughlin 1927 – TV host.
  • Judith Guest 1936 – Author.
  • Vangelis 1943 – Composer.
  • Eric Idle 1943 – Comedian.
  • Terry Jacks 1944 – Singer.
  • Bud Cort 1950 – Actor.
  • Chris Lawford 1955 – Actor.
  • Kurt Thomas 1956 – Olympic gymnast.
  • Christopher Lambert 1957 – Actor.
  • Amy Sedaris 1961 – Comedian, actress.
  • Elle MacPherson 1964 – Model.
  • Lucy Lawless 1968 – Actress.
  • Jennifer Capriati 1976 – Tennis player.
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