May 31st – Ommm

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

Good morning ‘New Agers’. Today is Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Meditation Day

National Meditation Day was created in 2007. The goal was to get 10,000,000 people across the world to unite through the power meditation to pump positive energy into our negative world. The theory was that good energy pumped into the world would have huge positive effects. In his book “Permanent Peace: How to Stop Terrorism and War-Now and Forever” author Robert Oates asserts that meditation done by large groups of individuals can cause permanent change. The premise is simple: Like ripples on a pond radiating outward from a pebble’s splash, ripples of orderliness and harmony radiate outward from concentrated groups meditaters. According to Mr. Oates, the evidence for this idea has been repeated and is statistically significant. He claims that not only do signs of social disorder go down; such as violent crime, fires, traffic accidents, warfare, and terrorism, but, signs of coherence and progress go up.
Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference. It is recognized as a component of almost all religions in one form or another and has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which may emphasize different goals — from the achievement of a higher state of consciousness to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.
The word meditation originally comes from the Indo-European root med-, meaning “to measure.” From the root med- are also derived the English words mete, medicine, modest, and moderate. It entered English as meditation through the Latin word meditatio, which originally indicated every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved to have the more specific meaning, “contemplation.” In recent times, Far Eastern meditation techniques have been adapted and are increasingly being practiced in Western culture.
I don’t know whether or not any of the gobbledygook above is factual or feasible, but it does tie in nicely with today’s next holiday, which is:

What You Think Upon Grows Day 

Legendary thinkers throughout history have often said that “thoughts are things”, and “what a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. It is also said that “men are makers of themselves”. The gist of all this hoopla is that you control your own destiny. If you think negative thoughts, negative things will happen to you, therefore, the converse must also be true.
We all know a “gloomy Gus” or two and we also know a few people who always put a positive spin on everything. But is there a correlation between their attitude and their success, or lack thereof, in relationships, business, or life in general? What You Think Upon Grows Day asserts that the correlation not only exists but is inevitable. A positive attitude produces a positive result and a negative attitude produces a negative result. I don’t know if this is true or not, but to be safe, try thinking positively today and gauge the results for yourself.
This date was chosen to celebrate What You Think Upon Grows Day because it is the birthdate of one of the pioneers of the modern positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale, who was born on this day in 1898. Peale was a renown author, speaker, pastor, and theologian who ministered at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan for over fifty years.

Save Your Hearing Day 

Save Your Hearing Day serves as a reminder that our hearing is vital, and needs to be protected. Hearing loss can be attributed to a number of causes including health, genetic, and environmental. Environmental causes are the ones over which you have the most control. If your job requires you to be around high-decibel noise for prolonged periods of time, be sure to wear adequate hearing protection. Around your home, don’t blare your music at a volume which can be registered on the Richter Scale. The same thing applies when you are driving in your car. Never put anything smaller than your thumb into your ears to clean them. Take time today to learn other ways to prevent hearing loss. It is also a good day to schedule a hearing test with your Healthcare professional.
Authors Note: I speak from experience on this subject. I spent half of my 20+ year military career as a jet aircraft mechanic. Hearing protection was required by the USAF, but, being young. dumb and invincible, I often didn’t heed the warnings about wearing hearing protection. The result: I now have about a 25% hearing loss in my mid-range hearing. I often have to annoyingly ask people to repeat themselves because I missed what they said.

Senior Health & Fitness Day 

Senior Health & Fitness Day is celebrated annually on the last Wednesday in May and is a holiday intended to explore the many senior-friendly physical activity options and to understand the importance of exercise and nutrition for ongoing health and illness prevention. A healthy diet can boost energy and immunity, and regular exercise is necessary to retain bone mass and lower the risk of fractures and to build muscle strength and reduce the risk of falls.
Senior Health & Fitness Day encourages seniors to schedule a health screening, consult with their physician about diet and exercise information, and to set up an exercise regimen. Low-impact, non-competitive exercise programs include stretching, walking and swimming. These programs are designed to increase strength and flexibility without over-stressing the body.

Speak in Complete Sentences Day 

Speak in Complete Sentences Day is a day set aside to celebrate the increasingly lost art of speaking, and writing, properly. As slang, informalism, and social media lingo continue their assault upon the English language, this holiday reminds us of the importance of good language skills.
The origins of Speak in Complete Sentences Day are unclear, but I found references to it as far back as 2004.
OMG, do we really have 2? Well yes, at least for today. In fact, today you can feel free to be the ‘grammar Nazi’ to your heart’s content.

Web Designer Day

Web Designer Day, oddly enough, is about appreciating web designers of the world. Web designers basically make the internet pretty, and the internet would be a drab and boring place without them.
It takes a lot of brainstorming, coding, and long hours of tedium to make a well-designed website.
A good web designer is an invaluable asset to any business. Finding that perfect balance “busy” and “basic” is no easy task. It is the job of a web designer to make their company’s website aesthetically pleasing, yet at the same time make it functional. If a company’s website is too “busy” potential customers might click away because they can’t easily find the information they seek. By the same token, a “basic” drab, dull, “industrial” looking website can be equally a turn-off to potential customers. Striking that perfect balance can be the difference between a company’s success or failure, and the web designer makes that happen.
So if you use a web designer in your business, or you have a web designer among your family or friends, give them a big “Thank You” today.

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day brings awareness of the health issues, and dependency issues related to tobacco use, and stresses the importance of making people all over the world aware of the health dangers of using tobacco.  According to the World Health Organization’s website: The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be an “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.
And for the 28th consecutive year, I will not be participating. I tend to ignore ‘holidays’ with the words World, Global, or International in the title as a general rule anyway. I know that I should quit smoking, and someday I will. But it won’t be because of some International holiday. This holiday is not to be confused with the Great American Smokeout which happens in November each year.

National  Macaroon Day 

A macaroon is a small unleavened cake with a crispy outer layer and a moist, chewy center. They use no flour and are made with whipped egg whites and sugar (sometimes also with coconut, potato starch or nuts), and date back to a 9th-century Italian monastery.
Because they are flourless, macaroons are popular among the Jewish community, especially during Passover, where Judaism bans cooking with flour.
Although they are the same size as cookies, macaroons do not contain any flour and therefore do not fall into that classification. The most popular macaroon varieties are coconut, almond, and chocolate.
The word “macaroon” comes from the Italian word for paste: “Maccarone.” A primary ingredient in early macaroon recipes was almond paste. This link will provide you with a more complete history of macaroons.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1859 – In London, Big Ben went into operation. The name Big Ben initially referred to the bell inside the tower but later came to refer to the tower. The clock at the top of Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the British Houses of Parliament is one of the world’s best-known timekeepers.
  • In 1870 – E.J. DeSemdt patented asphalt.
  • In 1879 – New York’s Madison Square Garden opened.
  • In 1879 – Werner von Siemens presented the world’s first electric locomotive. Von Siemens’ landmark invention was soon used in trains and streetcars worldwide and, in 1881, the world’s first electric train in Berlin, Germany went into operation.
  • In 1880 – The first American national bicycle society was formed in Newport, RI. It was known as the League of American Wheelman.
  • In 1884 – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg patented “flaked cereal.”
  • In 1907 – The first motorized taxis arrived in New York City. They were the first in the United States.
  • In 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held its first conference.
  • In 1913 – The 17th Amendment went into effect. It provided for popular election of U.S. senators.
  • In 1915 – A German Zeppelin made an air raid on London.
  • In 1927 – Ford Motor Company produced the last “Tin Lizzie” in order to begin production of the Model A.
  • In 1941 – The first issue of “Parade: The Weekly Picture Newspaper” went on sale.
  • In 1955 – The Supreme Court ordered that all states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed.”
  • In 1961 – South Africa became an independent republic. Following international criticism of the country’s Apartheid regime, it had to leave the Commonwealth of Nations. The system of racial segregation was gradually abolished in the early 1990’s.
  • In 1962 – Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. Eichmann was a Gestapo official and was executed for his actions in the Nazi Holocaust.
  • In 1977 – The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was finished after 3 years of construction.
  • In 1983 – Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey died.
  • In 1994 – America announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
  • In 1996 – Pop-culture icon Timothy Leary died.
  • In 2003 – In North Carolina, Eric Robert Rudolph was captured. He had been on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for five years for several bombings including the 1996 Olympic bombing.
  • In 2005 – Deep Throat revealed himself. Former FBI agent Mark Felt admitted that he was the most important informant in the 1970’s Watergate scandal which uncovered the dirty tricks of the Nixon administration, ultimately leading to Nixon’s resignation.
  • In 2013 – The widest tornado ever recorded hit El Reno, Oklahoma. The storm, which was 2.6 miles wide killed 9 people as it swept over rural areas of Central Oklahoma.

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.

 

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May 30th – One of Those Days

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

Good morning my frustrated friends. Today is Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day 

The origin, creator, and history of My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day is vague at best. In fact, my sources contained no such information. My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day celebrates those days when, no matter what you do, it seems that you are just treading water and can’t get anything accomplished.
Everyone has heard the classic folk song “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”. The song which has origins in 1700 Germany, is about a back and forth conversation between Henry and Liza.  Henry needs to fix his leaky bucket.  In each stanza, Henry asks Liza for advice. In the end, he needs a bucket to carry water to repair his bucket.
Well, My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day celebrates those kinds of days — We all have them occasionally.
Author’s Note: If you actually do have a leaky bucket, My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it Day is the perfect day to repair it. If your bucket is beyond repair, repurpose it into something like a planter or a piece of “yard art”. Then, go out and buy a new bucket silly.

Water a Flower Day 

Why Water a Flower Day is named in the singular form is a mystery, as is its creator and when it was created. Nonetheless, it was listed in multiple sources so I decided to give it a mention anyway.
Hydration is important to humans, but even more so to the flora in our yards. Water a Flower Day serves as a reminder to water our flowers today…all of them. And while you’re at it, a good dose of plant food would probably be beneficial as well. A nourished flower is a happy flower. Maybe, you could use your new or repaired bucket to water them.
Author’s Note: Bear in mind that early morning is the best time to water your plants, especially your outdoor plants. Plants have time to soak up water and hold up to the heat of the day. Midday watering is discouraged because most of the water is evaporated by the sun and evening watering encourages fungal diseases.
National Water a Flower Day, is also an opportunity to care for the gardens of your elderly neighbors or those who may be homebound or in the hospital.

Loomis Day 

Loomis Day commemorates Mahlon Loomis, who received US patent number 129,971 titled “An Improvement in Telegraphing” on wireless telegraphy in July of 1872.
Mahlon Loomis was one of the earliest inventors of wireless communication.
Leading up to his patent, Loomis conducted many experiments in electricity using kites flying miles apart in the mountains of Virginia. Then in 1968 before several scientists and Congressmen, he demonstrated his wireless telegraphic system. While he couldn’t explain how he was able to produce the transmission, he appealed to Congress for an appropriation to incorporate the Loomis Aerial Telegraph Company for research. Senator Charles Sumner introduced the bill, and on May 30 in 1872, the Committee on Commerce reported poorly on the measure. Stripped of its appropriations, it eventually passed in 1873 strictly as a bill of incorporation.
Loomis thought that, because the two kites were flown at the same height, he was creating a closed circuit as electricity moved from a transmitter, up a wire, through a particular layer of atmosphere, and down the other wire to the meter. However, scientists now know that the atmosphere creating one leg of a closed circuit is impossible. Instead, scientists speculate, Loomis was unknowingly creating a radio signal with one apparatus, and the equal-length wire of the other kite was resonant with that signal and therefore acted as a radio receiver. So basically, Loomis discovered radio…before Marconi was even born.
He claimed to have succeeded in wireless telegraphy some 6 years earlier, though, with no witnesses present to see this, May 30th is the earliest official recognition of his triumph. Like they say on the internet, “No picture…didn’t happen.” A dentist by trade, Loomis was also the inventor of artificial teeth.

National Mint Julep Day 

Today, the mint julep is most commonly associated with the southern region of the United States, most notably as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby which occurs on the first weekend in May, so I have to wonder why Mint Julep Day is not celebrated until the end of May.
A mint julep is a delicious and refreshing summer cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, mint, water, and sugar. A secret trick that many bartenders use is to lightly “bruise” or muddle the mint before adding the other ingredients. This releases the herb’s distinctive aroma and flavor. A traditional mint julep is traditionally served in a silver or pewter cup filled with shaved ice, but a premium version of the drink can be found at the Derby which is served in gold-plated cups with silver straws at a cost of $1000. Over the course of the two-day event, bartenders at Churchill Downs serve almost 120,000 mint juleps…but a majority of them aren’t of the $1000 variety.
According to many sources, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay introduced the mint julep in the early 1800’s. As early as 1816, county fair champions in the South received silver julep cups as awards.
I can truthfully say that I have never had a Mint Julep and since I don’t particularly like bourbon, and in fact, seldom imbibe in alcohol at all these days, I won’t be having one today either. However, if you do like bourbon and want to try one, click this link and through some sort of blogospheric Shamanism, a recipe will appear.

On This Date

  • In 1431 – Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France, at the age of 19.
  • In 1539 – Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, landed in Florida with 600 soldiers to search for gold.
  • In 1778 – French philosopher Voltaire died.
  • In 1783 – The first daily newspaper was published in the U.S. by Benjamin Towner called “The Pennsylvania Evening Post”.
  • In 1848 – W.G. Young patented the ice cream freezer.
  • In 1854 – The United States territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established.
  • In 1889 – The brassiere was invented.
  • In 1896 – The first automobile accident occurred in New York City.
  • In 1911 – The first Indianapolis 500 was held. Ray Harroun won the first running of the 500-mile automobile race, which is today one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events.
  • In 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC.
  • In 1933 – Sally Rand introduced her exotic and erotic fan dance to audiences at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition.
  • In 1958 – Unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean conflicts were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • In 1961 – The Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo, was assassinated El Jefe had been the Dominican Republic’s President for 31 years. Despite the assassination, the intended removal of the dictatorship in the Caribbean country failed as the ruler’s son, Ramfis Trujillo, soon stepped into his father’s shoes.
  • In 1962 – Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem” premiered. The work was performed for the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, which had been destroyed in World War II. It juxtaposes the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead with war poems by Wilfred Owen.
  • In 1967 – The Republic of Biafra was proclaimed. The short-lived state consisted of Nigeria’s Eastern Region. Its secession sparked the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted until 1970 and resulted in the region’s re-integration into Nigeria.
  • In 1982 – Spain became the 16th NATO member. Spain was the first country to enter the Western alliance since West Germany in 1955.
  • In 1989 – The “Goddess of Democracy” statue (33 feet height) was erected in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.
  • In 1996 – Britain’s Prince Andrew and the former Sarah Ferguson were granted an uncontested divorce decree ending their 10-year marriage.
  • In 1997 – Jesse K. Timmendequas was convicted in Trenton, NJ, of raping and strangling a 7-year-old neighbor, Megan Kanka. The 1994 murder inspired “Megan’s Law,” requiring that communities be notified when sex offenders move in.
  • In 2011 – Germany abandoned its nuclear energy program. The government’s decision followed the nuclear meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima power plant and years of hands-on protests and activism by Germany powerful anti-nuclear movement.

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.

May 29th – Happy Memorial Day

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

Good morning Patriots. Today is Monday, May 29, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

 Memorial Day 

Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Originally called Decoration Day, this holiday dates back to the end of the Civil War in 1865 and was meant to honor the over 600,000 soldiers from both sides who were killed. It was traditionally observed on May 30th. In 1882, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day.
After WWI, this holiday was changed again to include all American soldiers who had lost their lives in all American wars. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. The law went into effect in 1971 and Memorial Day was included in this list of Monday holidays. At this time, it also was recognized as an official federal holiday for the first time.
Alas, as a result, Memorial Day has become bastardized to mean little more to some people than a reason to have a family barbecue. They know nothing of the significance or meaning of this holiday. What a shame. So, go ahead and have your barbecue, your picnic or your family outing…just please set aside a few moments to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day.
For more information regarding Memorial Day, click this link.

Paper Clip Day

Paper Clip Day is a relatively new holiday, having been celebrated for the first time in 2015. But, you may be asking, why on Earth would there be a holiday to commemorate such an innocuous little object at all? Well, prepare to be enlightened.
The first patent for a bent wire paper clip was awarded in the Samuel B. Fay in 1867 in the United States. Originally, the paper clip was designed for attaching tickets to fabric, although the patent recognized that it could be used to attach papers together. However, that original model of the paper clip in no way resembled the design we know and love today.
The paper clip as we know it now was most likely designed by Norwegian inventor Johan Vaaler sometime in the early 20th century. Years later, during World War II, the paper clip, besides clipping papers together, was used as a symbol of the Norwegian resistance to Nazi German occupation. They were worn in coat lapels by many resistance sympathizers to show solidarity with other Norwegians during those difficult times. The Nazis saw this show of solidarity as a threat, and they soon prohibited paper clips altogether, threatening people who dared wear them with severe punishment. After the war ended, an enormous paper clip over a meter wide and five meters tall was erected in Sandvika, Norway, to remind people about the role this tiny object played in their nation’s history.
Ah, the lowly paper clip…now you know that it is much more than just a simple piece of bent wire. You probably never thought paper clips had such an interesting history. Everyone knows that the self-descriptive paper clip can be used to hold papers together. But paper clips have many other uses…limited only by your imagination. This Paper Clip Day, take a little time to ponder other things you can do with them. Below are a few examples that I came up with off the top of my head:

  • Paper clips can be used to hang Christmas tree ornaments whose little stringy thingies have torn (colored paper clips would be ideal for this).
  • Paper clips can be used as lottery ticket scratchers (if you are so broke that you have no coins).
  • Paper clips can be used to unclog narrow holes, like the nozzles on spray cans, salt and pepper shakers, glue bottle tips, etc.
  • Paper clips can be used as emergency key chains.
  • Paper clips can be used as emergency zipper tabs.
  • Paper clips can be used as DIY fish hooks (as long as a worm at the end, Freddy the Flounder could care less).
  • Paper clips can be used as emergency hair barrettes (for those of you still encumbered by hair).

Leave a comment if you think of any other uses for the (not so) humble paper clip.

Learn About Composting Day 

Learn About Composting Day encourages you to learn about the benefits of composting; not only to your own yard but to the environment in general. You might be surprised at the number of things that can be composted. Everyone knows about yard trimmings, and vegetable waste from your kitchen, but did you know that you can also compost paper, cardboard, and untreated wood? Composting is easy and it benefits the environment. Take the time to learn about composting today, then “Go Green” and start composting. Next Spring, you’ll reap the benefits of your endeavors and enjoy beautiful flowers and yummy fruits and vegetables from your garden with the satisfaction of knowing that you, in some small way, helped the environment.

End of the Middle Ages Day 

Many historians consider this date in 1453 to be the end of the Middle Ages, (and hence the Beginning of the Renaissance). On this date, the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire after being under siege for two months. The reason this is significant is that Constantinople was the political center of the Byzantine (Greek) Empire. Because of this, the Greek scholars fled Constantinople and the result was the spread of enlightened Greek culture throughout the rest of the world. 

National Coq Au Vin Day 

Coq Au Vin literally translates to Rooster in Wine (sauce). It is a traditional French dish which is basically chicken (originally an older rooster) stewed in wine with salt pork, mushrooms, and garlic.
According to some legends, Coq Au Vin has ties to Julius Caesar or Napoleon, but most historians agree that the dish has more humble roots. Roosters were generally only butchered when they were quite old and inedible in traditional preparation methods like frying, baking or roasting. Peasant families most likely created the Coq Au Vin recipe out of necessity, to avoid wasting the meat.
Coq Au Vin became popular in the United States thanks to celebrity chef Julia Child, who featured the dish in her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She also prepared the dish many times on her Television show “The French Chef.”
Today, it is a popular dish in many French restaurants, but it is also often cooked in home kitchens as a special dinner, If you want to have Coq Au Vin at home for dinner tonight, you should get started soon. It takes some time to prepare.

National Biscuit Day

Biscuit Day offers the perfect chance to go crackers about one of the world’s most popular snacks. The word biscuit has two meanings, depending upon where you are from. In the British Empire, biscuits are what we in America call cookies.  One of the most unusual traditional British biscuit varieties is the Garibaldi, also known as the “squashed fly biscuit”. It has currants squashed between two layers of dough. In America, biscuits are small crusty bread rolls, often served at breakfast (with or without gravy) or as a bread accompaniment to a meal, especially in southern cuisine.
There are few crumbs of information about how, when, where, or why National Biscuit Day was created…in fact, none of my sources gave any clue at all. But that is no reason not to celebrate this holiday. Bake a batch of biscuits today. Below are a few other interesting facts about biscuits:

  • White flour, commonly used to bake biscuits, is almost instantly metabolized into sugar.  Biscuits will quickly spike your blood-sugar level.
  • Most biscuit recipes call for a healthy dose of butter in the baking process.  Despite this, many people (including yours truly) still butter their biscuits after they are served as well.
  • The main difference between biscuits and rolls is the leavening agent.  Biscuits use baking soda.  Rolls use yeast.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1721 – South Carolina was formally incorporated as a royal colony.
  • In 1765 – Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia’s House of Burgesses.
  • In 1790 – Rhode Island became the last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
  • In 1848 – Wisconsin became the 30th state.
  • In 1910 – An airplane raced a train from Albany, NY, to New York City. The airplane pilot Glenn Curtiss won the $10,000 prize.
  • In 1911 – The first running of the Indianapolis 500 took place.
  • In 1913 – Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du Printemps premiered. The performance sparked a riot in the audience as many felt its irregular beat and the percussive character was a sacrilege against music. Today, it is considered one of the key works of 20th-century art music.
  • In 1916 – The official flag of the President of the United States was adopted.
  • In 1922 – The Supreme Court ruled that organized baseball was a sport, not subject to antitrust laws.
  • In 1942 – Bing Crosby recorded White Christmas. Crosby’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s song became the most successful of his career and the best-selling Christmas single in history.
  • In 1953 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became first men to reach the top of Mount Everest. The first successful ascent of the world’s highest mountain came after Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans had come within 100 meters of the summit just three days previously.
  • In 1973 – Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.
  • In 1974 – President Nixon agreed to turn over 1,200 pages of edited Watergate transcripts.
  • In 1985 – Thirty-nine people were killed and 400 were injured in a riot at a European Cup soccer match in Brussels, Belgium.
  • In 1986 – Colonel Oliver North told National Security Advisor William McFarlane that profits from weapons sold to Iran were being diverted to the Contras.
  • In 1996 – Benjamin Netanyahu became Israel’s prime minister. The conservative politician was criticized for hampering the peace process that former prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, had promoted.
  • In 1999 – Olusegun Obasanjo won Nigeria’s first free elections in 16 years. The former Nigerian Army general and military ruler oversaw a democratization process that defines the country’s political system to the present day.
  • In 1999 – Space shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.
  • In 2001 – In New York, four followers of Osama bin Laden were convicted of a global conspiracy to murder Americans. The crimes included the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people.
  • In 2001 – The Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in tournaments.

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.

May 28th – “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”

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

Good morning speed freaks. Today is Sunday, May 28, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Indianapolis 500 

The Indianapolis 500, better known as the “Indy 500” is not actually a holiday in and of itself, but it is the premier auto racing event in America and one of the world’s most famous auto races as well, so it gets “top billing” today. The Indy 500 is held annually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, which is always the last weekend in May. It is also known as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and attracts up to 400,000 spectators for peak time races annually. The race is run on a 2.5-mile circuit, for 200 laps – totaling a whopping 500 miles (hence the name Indianapolis 500).
The first Indianapolis 500 race drew 80,200 spectators who each paid a $1 admission fee. Since then, capacity at the speedway has increased to 250,000 permanent seats, making the Indianapolis Motor Speedway the world’s largest spectator sporting facility.
The Indy 500 is an event rich in traditions. For example, multi-colored balloons are always released at the start of the race. It’s also become a tradition for the winner to kneel and kiss the “Yard of Bricks” to pay tribute to the history of the Speedway. It’s the combination of tradition and excitement that make the Indy 500 one of the most popular single-day sporting events in the world.
I am not a fan of auto racing, so this is a non-event for me. If you are a fan, however, this link will arm you with all the information you need to impress your friends and/or family with your knowledge of Indy 500 trivia as you watch the broadcast from your preferred venue.

Sierra Club Day 

Sierra Club Day celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the Sierra Club in San Francisco, in 1892. It had 182 charter members and John Muir was elected as its first President. In its first conservation campaign, Sierra Club led the effort to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. Throughout its 124 year history, the contributions of the Sierra Club to protecting the environment are innumerable — From lobbying Congress to set aside land for National Parks to protecting and preserving endangered ecosystems to limiting and controlling exhaust emissions.
The Sierra Club is one of the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. The mission of the Sierra Club is to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these goals.

Amnesty International Day 

Amnesty International Day recognizes the need to protect human rights around the world. The Amnesty International organization strives to accomplish these goals by providing awareness and recognition of the issues. They work to publicize local and regional problems and to arouse citizens, governments, and politicians to action.
Amnesty International was created by British lawyer Peter Benson in 1961 after learning that two Portuguese students were jailed because they raised their glasses to toast ‘freedom’. They have since grown into an International Organization that fights for freedom everywhere. My research does not show why Amnesty International Day is celebrated today. It is not the anniversary of its founding, nor the birth date or date of death of its founder.

National Hamburger Day 

Nothing is more American than a big, juicy hamburger…except that hamburger patties originated in Hamburg, Germany (hence, the name ‘hamburger’). However, eating the burger in a bun is actually an American innovation. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers have been a staple of the American diet for decades. Americans eat nearly 50 billion burgers each year and burgers make up about 40 percent of all sandwiches sold.
The hamburger sandwich as we know it was most likely invented in Seymour, Wisconsin. Each year the city hosts a hamburger festival called Burger Fest. That is where the world’s largest hamburger made its debut in 2001. It weighed 8,266 pounds.

National Brisket Day 

Brisket is a flavorful cut of meat from the breast or lower chest, directly behind the foreshank. Its fibrous texture is best suited for long-cooking preparations like barbecue, braising, smoking, slow roasting, casseroles, and stews. Another form of brisket that we commonly hear of is corned beef, which is brisket that is cured in a brine.
In Jewish cooking, brisket is braised like a roast. In the Southern United States, brisket is commonly (and generically) called “barbecue” where it is slow cooked on a grill over indirect heat or smoked in a smoker.
The best way to cook a brisket is fat side up so the fat drips off and keeps the meat moist. The most desirable thickness for the fat layer is between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick, and the thickness of the fat layer is important. If it is too thin and you risk losing flavor and tenderness. If it is too thick and you can affect the cooking time and make it harder for spices to penetrate the meat. You should trim away any thicker areas of fat. Fully cooked brisket will be fork tender and should be between 185 degrees F and 190 degrees F. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before slicing. When ready to slice, carve perpendicular to the grain. Brisket can be served in many ways.
One of my favorite parts from a brisket are the “burnt ends”, but then I’ve always been a bit weird.

More Holidays

Menstrual Hygiene Awareness Day

On This Date

  • In 1774 – The First Continental Congress convened in Virginia.
  • In 1863 – The first black regiment left Boston to fight in the U.S. Civil War.
  • In 1928 – Chrysler Corporation merged with Dodge Brothers, Inc.
  • In 1929 – Warner Brothers debuted “On With The Show” in New York City. It was the first all-color-talking motion picture.
  • In 1934 – The Dionne quintuplets were born near Callender, Ontario, to Olivia and Elzire Dionne. The babies were the first quintuplets to survive infancy.
  • In 1936 – Alan Turing submitted “On Computable Numbers” for publication. In this landmark paper, the British computer pioneer described the Turing Machine and defined the inherent limits of computation.
  • In 1937 – President Franklin Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC, signaling that vehicular traffic could cross the newly opened Golden Gate Bridge in California.
  • In 1937 – Volkswagen (VW) was founded. The automobile manufacturer whose name means “People’s Car” in German is one of the world’s biggest. It produced classics like the VW Golf and the VW Beetle.
  • In 1953 – The Walt Disney film “Melody” premiered at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood. The picture was the first 3-D cartoon.
  • In 1957 – National League club owners voted to allow the Brooklyn Dodgers to move to Los Angeles and that the New York Giants could move to San Francisco.
  • In 1961 – Amnesty International was founded. The publication of Peter Benenson’s article “The forgotten prisoners” is commonly considered the organization’s birth hour. Amnesty International is one of the world’s most influential human rights organizations.
  • In 1976 – The Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Treaty was signed, limiting any nuclear explosion – regardless of its purpose – to a yield of 150 kilotons.
  • In 1987 – Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old West German pilot, illegally landed his Cessna in Moscow’s Red Square after evading Soviet air defenses…at the height of the Cold War.  He was released August 3, 1988.
  • In 1996 – President Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal were convicted of fraud.
  • In 1998 – Pakistan detonated five atomic bombs. The nuclear tests came as a response to India’s tests just days earlier. Fearing a devastating conflict between the two nuclear powers, a number of countries, including the United States and Japan, imposed economic sanctions.
  • In 1999 – In Milan, Italy, Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” was put back on display after more than 20 years of restoration work.

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.

May 27th – Sunscreen Protection Day

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

Good morning Sun worshipers. Today is Saturday, May 27th, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Sunscreen Protection Day

OK, we get it – Sun bad, sunscreen good! Sunscreen Protection Day is yet another holiday that warns about overexposure to the sun. To reiterate, Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause serious risks to your health. With the steady depletion of the ozone layer above the earth, more and stronger UV rays get through. Overexposure to the sun can cause a number of health problems, including skin cancer, sunspots, and premature aging of your skin. Medical professionals advocate the use of sunscreens to guard against health problems. They recommend a Skin Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more. (Pasty Caucasians like yours truly should use an SPF of at least 40). Sunscreens should be used for all outdoor activities, including swimming. And yes, sunscreens should be used on cloudy days. UV rays can penetrate through the clouds.
Sunscreens have been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians invented a sun lotion to maintain a lighter complexion. They used a combination of rice bran, jasmine, and lupine in their sun lotions – and some of these ingredients are still used in sunscreens today. There are many scientists that are credited with discovering modern sunscreen. In 1936, chemist Eugene Schueller invented a preventative sunburn cream and went on to start L’Oreal. Around the same time, Swiss chemist Franz Greiter was inspired to develop a sun lotion after he was sunburned while climbing Mount Piz Buin. His product came to the market under the name Piz Buin in 1946 and is still sold today. In 1944, Florida pharmacist Benjamin Green patented Red Vet Pet sunscreen, which became Coppertone suntan cream and was very popular throughout the 1950’s and is still popular today.

Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day

Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day is an annual non-political Amateur Radio Public Service project. They work with National Military Appreciation Month during the Month of May to offer events and work with other groups to team up to allow people from communities across the nation to gather at public locations such as shopping centers, parks, VA hospitals, and sporting events.  These events allow people to express verbal positive support “live” over two-way radios for members of the Military, Veterans, Reserves, National Guard, Retired, Coalition Forces, First Responders, and Military Support Groups.
Many of us have friends, relatives, and neighbors that are on active duty, and past members of the armed forces. Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day gives us the chance to support one another, and to express our thanks and appreciation to those that sacrifice and serve in the Armed Forces.

Cellophane Tape Day 

Cellophane Tape Day celebrates the invention, in 1930, of Scotch Brand™ Cellophane tape. It was invented by Richard Drew, an employee of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M). My research did not indicate why Cellophane Tape Day is celebrated today. This date marks neither the birth nor death of Mr. Drew; the issuance of the patent for cellophane tape; nor the date that cellophane tape went on the market.
Author’s Note: In 1925, Richard Drew also invented Masking Tape. His first version of masking tape only had adhesive on the edges and not in the middle. According to legend, a frustrated auto painter told Mr. Drew to: “Take this tape back to your Scotch bosses and have them put more adhesive on it.” By “Scotch” the mechanic was using the pejorative vernacular popular at the time meaning stingy or cheap. Nonetheless, the name stuck and that is how Scotch Brand™tape got its name.

Old-Time Player Piano Day 

Old-Time Player Piano Day celebrates the player pianos of the early 1900’s  that used paper rolls to tell the piano what notes to play. These have all but disappeared from the music landscape today except in museums and a few homes whose families have preserved the pianos handed down through the generations. There are still player pianos manufactured today, but they have incorporated all of the latest technology and now use computers to tell the piano what notes to play.
To celebrate Old-Time Player Piano Day, do a search on YouTube, or your favorite search engine, for “old time player pianos”, and take a nostalgic trip back to the days of yore.

National Grape Popsicle Day 

National Grape Popsicle Day commemorates the taste, history, and culture of grape-flavored popsicles. Grape popsicles are frozen treats which are made using water, a popsicle stick, grape-flavoring (typically Jello or Kool-Aid) and sugar. For adults, there is also a grape popsicle cocktail made by combining grape vodka, ginger ale, and grape juice and serving the mixture in a chilled glass.
The popsicle itself was invented in 1905 by Frank Epperson, who was 11 years old at the time. He accidentally left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick outside on his porch. It froze over during the night and the next day the “Epsicle” was born. Frank introduced the creation to his schoolmates, who instantly loved the treat. When Epperson grew up and had his own kids, they constantly asked for “Pop’s ‘sicles.” In 1923, he applied for a patent on the frozen treat and changed the name to “Popsicles.” A few years later, Epperson would sell his invention to the Joe Lowe Company in New York.

More Holidays

Amateur Radio Military Appreciation Day – Observed 9 days before the first Monday of June.

International Jazz Day (Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend — Note: There’s another International Jazz Day on April 30th sponsored by a different organization).

Julia Pierpont Day – Observed on the Saturday before Memorial Day. (Julia Pierpont is credited for creating Decoration Day…now known as Memorial Day).

National Polka Day

Nothing To Fear Day

On This Date

  • In 1647 – Achsah Young, a resident of Windsor, CT, was executed for being a “witch.” It was the first recorded American execution of a “witch.”
  • In 1668 – Three colonists were expelled from Massachusetts for being Baptists.
  • In 1851 – The world’s first chess tournament was held in London. Adolf Anderssen, a math teacher from Wroclaw, won the tournament, which was held parallel to the 1851 Great Exhibition.
  • In 1896 – In St. Louis Missouri, 255 people were killed when a tornado struck.
  • In 1907 – The Bubonic Plague broke out in San Francisco.
  • In 1919 – A United States Navy seaplane completed the first transatlantic flight.
  • In 1933 – Walt Disney’s cartoon Three Little Pigs was released. The animated short film is one of the best-known cartoons of all time. In 1934, it was awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
  • In 1935 – The Supreme Court declared that President Franklin Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional.
  • In 1937 – In California, the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic. The suspension bridge connecting San Francisco peninsula with Marin County is one of the most recognized works of United States architecture.
  • In 1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency” amid rising world tensions.
  • In 1941 – The German battleship Bismarck was sunk by British naval and air forces. 2,300 people were killed.
  • In 1942 – Czech resistance fighters killed Reinhard Heydrich. The high-ranking German Nazi official was one of the main architects of the Holocaust. In retaliation, the Nazis murdered all male inhabitants over 15 years of age in the Czech village of Lidice and deported most of the remaining people to concentration camps.
  • In 1942 – German General Erwin Rommel began a major offensive in Libya with his Afrika Korps.
  • In 1969 – Construction of Walt Disney World began in Florida.
  • In 1985 – In Beijing, representatives of Britain and China exchanged instruments of ratification on the pact returning Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1997.
  • In 1986 – Mel Fisher recovered a jar that contained 2,300 emeralds from the Spanish ship Atocha. The ship sank in the 17th century.
  • In 1994 – Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia. He had been in exile for two decades.
  • In 1995 – In Charlottesville, VA, actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed after being thrown from his horse during a jumping event.
  • In 1997 – The Supreme Court ruled that the sexual harassment suit filed by Paula Jones could continue while President Clinton was in office.
  • In 1998 – Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison for not warning anyone about the plot to bomb an Oklahoma City federal building.
  • In 1999 – In The Hague, Netherlands, a war crimes tribunal indicted Slobodan Milosevic and four others for atrocities in Kosovo. It was the first time that a sitting head of state had been charged with such a crime.
  • In 2006 – A massive earthquake devastated parts of Java, Indonesia. With 5 million people living within 50 km of the quake’s epicenter, about 6000 died, and 1.5 million were left homeless.

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.

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