April 17th – Bat Appreciation Day

April 17, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning my batty friends. Today is Monday, April 17, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Bat Appreciation Day

Even though this is the beginning of baseball season, Bat Appreciation Day does not refer to the good ole Louisville Slugger; nor does it refer to that ‘grumpy old bat’ who lives down the street. Bat Appreciation Day is a day to appreciate bats, that group of mammals oft-maligned in fiction. Bats are often regarded with superstition, fear, and uncertainty…and are often labeled as “dirty,”disease carriers,” and “bloodsuckers.” In actuality, there are 1240 different species of bat, which means that they make up about 20% of all classified mammals species. Bats are actually beneficial to mankind, especially if you live in an area plagued by mosquitoes and other insect pests. Bats can consume over 1200 mosquitoes an hour, and often eat their body weight in insects every night. Out of those 1240 species, only two feed on something other than fruit and insects; and those two only on small mammals. No species of bats are “vampire bats” that feed exclusively on blood.
Bats are the only species of mammal that can actually fly, and with so many different species, it is not surprising that bats come in different sizes. The largest bat is the “flying fox” with a wingspan of over 6 feet. They are native to the islands in the South Pacific. The smallest bat is the “bumblebee bat” which is smaller than your thumb and weigh less than a penny. They are native to Thailand.
Some bats are migratory mammals and fly hundreds of miles over land and sea each year to survive winter, while others hibernate, and yet others go into torpor (regulated hypothermia that can last from a few hours to a few months).  Bats navigate the dark areas they live in using echolocation…a form of “bat radar” if you will. They emit sounds that bounce off of objects in their path, sending echoes back to the bats. From these echoes, the bats can determine the size of objects, how far away they are, how fast they are traveling, all in a split second. Bats can even find their food in total darkness using their “radar”.
At birth, a pup weighs up to 25 percent of its mother’s body weight, which is like a human mother giving birth to a 30-pound baby. Bats only give birth one baby (pup) at a time, and are the slowest reproducing mammals on Earth, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction. In fact, more than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or listed as endangered. Other factors that contribute to the decline of bat populations are the loss of habitat and disease.
Celebrate Bat Appreciation Day by learning more about bats. Many zoos feature a “nocturnal house” where you can see bats up close and personal, and learn more about them. If your zoo doesn’t have such an exhibit, a simple Google search will offer you all the information about bats that you will ever need.

The White House Easter Egg Roll

The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that has spanned more than 135 years and numerous Presidents. The event is held on the South Lawn of the White House on the Monday after Easter.
The egg roll itself involves rolling a hard-boiled colored egg on the lawn with a large serving spoon, although the event now has many more activities for participants, such as musical groups, an egg hunt, sports, reading, cooking, and crafts, among other activities. For participating, each child is given a commemorative wooden Easter egg signed by the President and First Lady. Under current rules, a family must have at least one child 13 or under to attend.
The event originally began as an activity for children in Washington, D.C. casually showing up on Capitol Hill on their day off from school after Easter. Children having fun, the egg rolling, and related activities became too much for the ogres in Congress to bear, so it was banned by law. The event was moved to the White House in 1878 after President Hayes consented to let the children use the White House lawn and it has continued at the White House nearly every Monday after Easter since.

Boston Marathon and Patriot’s Day

The Boston Marathon is a running event held, logically, in Boston Massachusetts on the third Monday in April/Patriot’s Day. According to Wikipedia, Patriot’s Day is a holiday celebrated to commemorate the first Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19th, 1775. It was originally celebrated on the anniversary of the battles, but in 1969, it was changed to the third Monday in April. Patriot’s Day is celebrated primarily in Massachusetts and Maine (which was a part of Massachusetts at the time). It is an official state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. It is celebrated with reenactments of the battles, including the famous midnight rides of Paul Revere and the lesser known, William Dawes.
However, the biggest celebration of  Patriot’s Day is the Boston Marathon. Again, according to Wikipedia, it has been run every Patriots’ Day since April 19, 1897, to mark the then-recently established holiday, and was inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics. The first Boston Marathon attracted a meager 18 participants, but today, the average number of participants is around 30,000, with 30251 participating in the 2015 marathon. The Bi-Centennial Boston Marathon in 1996 established a record as the world’s largest marathon with 38,708 entrants, 36,748 starters, and 35,868 finishers.The Boston Marathon now has about 500,000 spectators each year and attracts the best distance runners from every part of the world.

National Haiku Poetry Day

Haiku is a type of poetry that was created in Japan in the 9th century. There are specific rules about the structure of Haiku. An English Haiku consists of three lines. The first line consists of 5 syllables. The second line consists of 7 syllables. The third line consists of 5 syllables – notice that I said syllables and not words. Many non-Japanese Haiku writers make that mistake. They use the proper 5-7-5 format but they use words instead of syllables. Although what they wrote might be profound, or even entertaining, it is not technically a Haiku. The lines of a Haiku poem rarely rhyme. What is your favorite style of poetry?

Ford Mustang Day

Ford Mustang Day marks the anniversary of one of America’s favorite “muscle cars”. On this date in 1964, the Mustang was introduced to the public, and America was in love. It was one of Ford’s most popular models ever. Thanks to a massive media campaign just prior to the release date, on the day it was released to Ford showrooms across America, 22,000 Mustangs were sold. Only 100,000 had been scheduled for production in 1964, and those were sold in the first three months. Before the year was over, the car had set a record by selling 418,812 units, and within 18 months the count was over a million.
The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the first Mustang was $2,368. Ford managed to keep manufacturing costs down by using many parts and features (drivetrain, chassis, interior, suspension) that had been used on earlier Ford vehicles, primarily Falcon and Fairlane models. Dealers didn’t need to stock a whole line of specialized parts for the Mustang, and mechanics were already familiar with repairs.
There are two schools of thought about where the Mustang got its name. The first is that John Najjar, one of the car’s designers, was a big fan of the P-51 Mustang, a World War II fighter plane, and named the car after the famous Fighter. The other story is that the name was suggested by Robert J. Eggert, the market research director for the Mustang, who was also a horse breeder. He had received a book, The Mustangs, for his birthday, and he threw the word in with some other names that were being tested by focus groups. The focus groups declared Mustang the runaway winner. No matter which is story true, the “Pony car” became an American icon.
The Mustang has gone through many incarnations. It has been totally redesigned, taken off the market, then brought back several times since 1964. I don’t know about you, but in my humble opinion, the only true Mustang was the original body style made in 1964, 1965, and 1966 – before they started “tinkering” with its design.

National Kickball Day

Kickball is a popular playground sport that has been around since the early 1900’s. Originally called “Kick Baseball” the game was used by physical education teachers to teach school children the basics of baseball. The game is typically played on a field and uses 3 bases, a pitcher’s mound, and a home plate. Like Baseball or softball, 2 teams compete to score runs by kicking a rubber ball and running around the bases to score. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. Kickball is fun and easy to play, so it is popular with children and adults alike.
Kickball Day is created by WAKA Kickball & Social Sport, the nation’s premier social sports and event company, who runs kickball leagues for thousands of people each year in the United States. Kickball Day gives you an excuse to get outside and relive your childhood glory days or discover a new way to exercise.

Dyngus Day (or Dingus Day)

Dyngus Day is a fun Polish holiday always celebrated on Monday after Easter. It is celebrated primarily in Poland and in a few cities with a large population of people with Polish ancestry. After the long Lenten holiday, Dyngus Day is a day of fun, and perhaps even a little romance.
The roots of Dyngus Day, seem to point to the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko I in 966 A.D. Baptism with water signifies cleansing, fertility, and purification. Somewhere along the way, the tradition of tossing water on the girls evolved. On this holiday, guys are allowed to wet the ladies down. Sprinkling or drenching girls with water is the goal. Young men chase after the ladies with squirt guns, buckets, or other containers of water. Leave it to the Polish to turn something as sacred as a baptism into a “wet t-shirt contest”.
[apologies to any of my readers of Polish lineage].

National Cheese Ball Day

The cheese balls referred to here are not the Cheetos-like cheese balls sold as snacks. National Cheese Ball Day refers to those spreadable balls of cheese, usually rolled in nuts, served on snack trays during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions. A traditional cheese ball appetizer includes ingredients like cream cheese, cheddar cheese, nuts, salt, pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Gourmet versions use bleu cheese, olives, pineapple, sherry, or smoked salmon. There are different types of cheese balls. Some are round balls of cheddar spreads coated in nuts, others are made with cream cheese.
Cheese Balls are available year-round in most supermarkets. They are also easy to make yourself at home. There are myriad recipes available online. What better ‘special occasion’ to serve one than National Cheese Ball Day.
Author’s Note: According to legend, a man named Elisha Brown Jr. pressed the first cheese ball at his farm in 1801. It weighed 1,235 pounds! He presented it as a gift to President Thomas Jefferson at the White House.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1492 – Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies.
  • In 1521 – Martin Luther was declared an outlaw and excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church at a hearing before the Diet of Worms. The German monk was a leading figure of the Protestant Reformation.
  • In 1524 – New York Harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano.
  • In 1629 – Horses were first imported into the colonies by the American Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • In 1790 – Benjamin Franklin, politician, scientist, publisher, 6th President of Pennsylvania, died.
  • In 1861 – Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union.
  • In 1865 – Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.
  • In 1875 – The game “snooker” was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.
  • In 1917 – A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later.
  • In 1941 – Igor Sikorsky accomplished the first successful helicopter lift-off from the water near Stratford, CT.
  • In 1947 – Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) performed a bunt for his first major league hit.
  • In 1961 – About 1,400 United States-supported Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. The Bay of Pigs invasion was a failed attempt to overthrow the Cuban government. The United States government had ordered the CIA to plan Fidel Castro’s overthrow.
  • In 1964 – Jerrie Mock became the first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world.
  • In  1967 – The U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali’s request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army.
  • In 1969 – In Los Angeles, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
  • In 1975 – Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. The regime under “Brother number 1” Pol Pot tortured and killed several million people. Amongst the communists’ perceived enemies were intellectuals, anyone with a connection to the former government, and several ethnic minorities.
  • In 1978 – Mir Akbar Khyber’s assassination triggered a communist coup in Afghanistan. The communists introduced a series of reforms, such as equal rights for women and universal education. These achievements were undone soon after by the outbreak of several wars.
  • In 1984 – In London, demonstrators outside the Libyan Embassy were fired upon from someone inside. Eleven people were injured and an English Policewoman was killed.
  • In 1986 – The world’s longest war ended without a single shot having been fired. The state of war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly had been extended for a total of 335 years by the lack of a peace treaty. Some historians dispute that a war had ever been declared.
  • In 1993 – A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King. Two other officers were acquitted.
  • In 1996 – Erik and Lyle Menendez were sentenced to a term of life in prison without parole for killing their parents.

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.

  • J.P. Morgan 1837 – Financier.
  • Nikita Khrushchev 1894 – U.S.S.R. Premier.
  • Thornton Wilder 1897 – Novelist.
  • Arthur Lake 1905 – Actor.
  • William Holden 1918 – Actor.
  • Harry Reasoner 1923 – Newsman.
  • Don Kirshner 1934 – Music publisher.
  • Olivia Hussey 1951 – Actress.
  • Sean Bean 1958 – Actor.
  • Teri Austin 1959 – Actress.
  • Boomer Esiason 1961 – Football player.
  • Lela Rochon 1964 – Actress.
  • William Mapother 1965 – Actor.
  • Henry Cusick 1967 – Actor.
  • Liz Phair 1967 – Singer.
  • Jennifer Anne Garner 1972 – Actress.
  • Victoria Caroline Adams 1974 – Posh Spice of the Spice Girls.
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