June 30th – Time: What a Concept

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

Good morning clock-watchers. Today is Thursday, June 30th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Leap Second Time Adjustment Day 

“Time is a concept created by people in need of structure in their lives.”  I don’t remember where I heard that saying, or if I coined it myself, but I’ve been using it for decades, and since I have been retired, it certainly is apropos to my lifestyle. However, for those of you who still care about ‘time’, Leap Second Time Adjustment Day is the day that the scientific types at the International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) make adjustments. They last only a heartbeat and go unnoticed by most, but without leap seconds our clocks would run too fast. About every year and a half, one extra second is added to Universal Coordinated Time (UCT) and atomic clocks around the world. This leap second accounts for the fact that the Earth’s rotation around its own axis, which determines the length of a day, slows down over time while the atomic clocks that we use to measure time, tick away at almost the same speed over millions of years. So, leap seconds are a means to adjust our clocks to the Earth’s slowing rotation.
Since 1972, a total of 27 seconds have been added. This means that the Earth has slowed down 27 seconds compared to atomic time since then. This does not mean that the days are 27 now seconds longer, only that the days on which the leap seconds are inserted had 86,401 instead of the usual 86,400 seconds. Leap seconds are inserted at the end of the last day in June or December. When that is the case, UCT ticks from 23:59:59 to 23:59:60 before reverting to 00:00:00 (in the 12-hour format, this corresponds to 11:59:59 pm – 11:59:60 pm – 12:00:00 midnight). When that happens the last minute of the month has 61 instead of 60 seconds. The IERS observes the Earth’s rotation and compares it to atomic time. When the difference between the two approaches 0.9 seconds, they order a leap second to be added worldwide.
According to the IERS, there will actually be no adjustment made to the time tonight. The last adjustment was on June 30th, 2015. The last time an adjustment was made on December 31st was in 2016. That means that your New Years party that year was extended by one second — too bad you were probably too drunk to notice.
There will be no leap second adjustment made today so there is no need to stay up and “ring in the new second”.

Meteor Day (aka Meteor Watch Day and Look Up in the Sky Day)

The word “meteor” refers to a visible streak of light that is produced by debris falling to the Earth from space. We also call this beautiful phenomenon a “shooting star” or “falling star.”
The tradition of wishing upon a shooting star can be traced all the way back to 127 AD. Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, hypothesized that the Gods occasionally liked to peer down at Earth from the other world. From time to time, a star or two would slip past them and fall through the heavens. Anyone who saw a shooting star knew that the Gods were paying attention so it was the perfect time to make a wish. Shooting stars are actually quite small. The average meteoroid is about the size of a pebble. Around 15,000 tons of meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere every day, but very few of them actually reach the surface. When they do, they are called “meteorites.”
To celebrate Meteor Day, spend some time stargazing tonight, or find out when the next meteor shower is going to take place. If you see a shooting star, remember to make a wish.

NOW (National Organization For Women) Day 

NOW (National Organization For Women) Day celebrates the date in 1966 when the National Organization For Women was founded. This link goes into much more detail about its creation than I care to in this Blog.

National Ice Cream Soda Day

According to my food-related holiday sources, today is National Ice Cream Soda Day. An Ice Cream Soda is a refreshing drink that combines ice cream and any carbonated beverage.
Ice cream sodas were invented by Robert Green in 1874 during Philadelphia’s 150th-anniversary celebration. Legend has it that Mr. Green added vanilla ice cream to the soda he sold after he ran out of ice (though Mr. Green claims he had dreamt up the innovation prior to the event). Intentional or not, it was a delicious way to keep the sodas cold, and they were an instant hit. Green was so proud of his creation that he even had the phrase “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” engraved on his tombstone.
To celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day, all you need is a carbonated soda, a scoop (or two) of ice cream, a tall glass, a spoon, and a straw.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1841 – The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.
  • In 1859 – Charles Blondin became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
  • In 1905 – Albert Einstein submitted a paper outlining his theory of special relativity. The text “Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper” comprises the currently accepted theory about the relationship between space and time. The theory of special relativity is the basis for his theory of general relativity, which he published in 1916.
  • In 1908 – The Tunguska event left a 40-mile radius of Siberian forest flattened and scorched. The explosion knocked down trees and struck people unconscious up to 40 miles away. The devastation is believed to have been caused by the explosion of an asteroid or comet. It is the largest impact event in recorded history.
  • In 1934 – Adolf Hitler purged the Nazi Party by destroying the SA and bringing to power the SS in the “Night of the Long Knives.”
  • In 1935 – Fascists caused an uproar at the League of Nations when Haile Selassie of Ethiopia speaks.
  • In 1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s book, “Gone with the Wind,” was published. Margaret Mitchell’s story set in the American South during the American Civil War became one of the United States’ biggest best-sellers. The 1939 movie version starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was similarly successful.
  • In 1950 – President Harry S Truman ordered United States troops into Korea and authorized the draft.
  • In 1953 – The first Corvette rolled off the Chevrolet assembly line in Flint, MI. It sold for $3,250.
  • In 1958 – Congress passed a law authorizing the admission of Alaska as the 49th state in the Union.
  • In 1962 – Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax pitched his first no-hitter in a game with the New York Mets.
  • In 1971 – The crew of Soviet spacecraft “Soyuz 11” died after the loss of their air supply. The cause of the tragedy was a faulty valve. The three cosmonauts had previously achieved the first docking of a spacecraft to a space station in history.
  • In 1971 – The Supreme Court allowed the New York Times to continue publishing the Pentagon Papers.
  • In 1971 – The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified when Ohio became the 38th state to approve it. The amendment lowered the minimum voting age to 18.
  • In 1972 – The first leap second was added to UTC. Leap seconds are added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from time to time to account for the Earth’s slowing rotation. UTC is the basis for the calculation of local times worldwide.
  • In 1974 – Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto, Canada.
  • In 1977 – President Jimmy Carter announced his opposition to the B-1 bomber.
  • In 1986 – The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states could outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • In 1994 – The United States Figure Skating Association stripped Tonya Harding of the 1994 national championship and banned her from the organization for life for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
  • In 1998 – Officials confirmed that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
  • 2000 – President Clinton signed the E-Signature Bill to give the same legal validity to an electronic signature as a signature in pen and ink.

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.

June 29th – Say Cheese

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

Good morning shutterbugs. Today is Thursday, June 29, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Camera Day 

Cameras are everywhere these days. Whether you have thousands of dollars invested in the latest photography equipment, or just use the camera in your smartphone for snapshots, today is the day to get out and take some pictures. Update your family portrait, take pictures of that backyard project, or just go to a serene setting and take some nature shots.
The point of Camera Day is to get whatever camera you normally use and take pictures. Whether you use a conventional or digital camera, still or video; go out and photograph your day. If you are among the freakishly small minority of people who still don’t own a camera, today is the day to invest in one. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to operate. Cameras today are small, lightweight, and therefore portable; you can always have one close at hand to capture that “Kodak moment”.
Since the dawn of the new millennium, advances in photo technology have been staggering. The days of having to carry bags of expensive equipment to take good quality photographs are all but gone. Today’s digital technology makes taking memorable photographs simple, even for the novice photographer. Heck, some camera models let you edit your pictures while still in the camera.
Below are a few interesting facts about cameras and photography:

  • The word ‘photography’ is derived from the Greek words photos– for “light” and –graphos for “drawing.”
  • Literary accounts of pinhole cameras have been found in the writings of Aristotle and Euclid from the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.
  • The first known photograph is entitled “View from the Window at Le Gras” and was taken by Nicéphore Niépce in 1826. It took eight hours to develop.
  • English inventor William Fox Talbot invented the process that creates negative images in 1840.
  • The first color photograph was taken in 1861.
  • In 1884, George Eastman developed film technology, which replaced the cumbersome photographic plates.
  • Kodak unveiled the first commercially viable digital camera in 1991, and the modern age of photography was born.

National Handshake Day

National Handshake Day is celebrated each year on the last Thursday in June and urges you to shake the hand of at least one person that you normally would not have on any other day. Of all the forms of greeting, the handshake is perhaps one of the most ancient.
The origin of the handshake is hard to pinpoint. As it is a non-verbal mode of communication, it may have existed before written records. Theories suggest it was a way for medieval knights, Roman soldiers and other weapon carrying men to check for hidden daggers by grasping each other’s forearms in greeting. Drawings found in archaeological ruins in ancient Greece dating back to 5th century BC depicting two soldiers shaking hands support this theory.
An even older record in Egypt suggests the handshake held a different sort of power, the power of giving. According to Babylonian custom, kings would grasp the hand of the statue of the god Marduk before taking the throne. This act was repeated annually during the festival of Zagmuk to carry his power over into the next year. Even conquering Assyria continued the tradition. Women didn’t usually didn’t carry weapons, and therefore didn’t shake hands as a form of greeting.
Today, a handshake is offered upon meeting or parting. It is an expression of goodwill, gratitude, and/or congratulations. Many people believe that a handshake reveals something about the character of the person who gives it. A firm handshake reflects a confident personality while a floppy handshake reveals a shy one. As during ancient times, modern-day handshakes have different customs around the world. In the United States, Russia, Australia, Brazil and the United Kingdom handshakes tend to be firm, but even those with firm greetings have lingering differences.  However, in most Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea the grip is light, and there should be no direct eye contact. However, in the Philippines make the eye contact while keeping the hold light.
Then there are the secret handshakes, those elaborate greetings signaling membership in a group, club or society. One of the more famous societies known to use secret handshakes is Freemasons.

Hug Holiday 

Hug Holiday does not mean to take a holiday from hugging. To the contrary, it means the exact opposite. Hug Holiday means that you should be generous with your hugs today – just don’t go overboard and run around willy-nilly hugging complete strangers. In today’s litigious society, that could only lead to trouble.
Hug Holiday was created by the “Hugs for Health Foundation”. According to the Foundation:

” Hug Holiday is founded on the premise that hugs, friendship and volunteer support are vital components to the overall senior care plan.”

Look for people today who might be in need of need a hug – such people in senior centers, or in hospitals. Focus on the elderly, the young, the sick, and the invalid. Also, if you can, make a donation to that institution during your visit.

Waffle Iron Day 

This holiday is on the cusp between being a food-related holiday and a ‘normal’ holiday. Back on March 25th, we celebrated Waffle Day, but Waffle Iron Day celebrates the appliance that enables us to create those crispy, golden brown treats.
Waffle irons originated in Belgium during the 14th century. These early contraptions consisted of two metal plates hinged together. The plates were then attached to a long pole, which allowed the cook to hold the iron over an open fire.
In 1869, a man named Cornelius Swarthout patented the first American waffle iron. This device was designed for cooking waffles over the burner of a wood or gas stove. Fifty years later, General Electric began producing the first electric waffle irons for everyday use.
Waffle irons have come a long way from those bulky contraptions of yesteryear. With the advances in non-stick technology, making waffles at home is no longer a “crapshoot” as to whether your waffles will stick to the iron plates of your waffle iron. Waffle irons are also reasonably priced these days (you can purchase a good one for under $30.00).
If you want to celebrate this holiday, but don’t yet own a waffle iron, do not despair. Waffles aren’t just for breakfast anymore. You can still go buy one today and enjoy chicken and waffles for dinner. How about a nice strawberry waffle? YUM! Enjoy a waffle or two for any meal today.

National Almond Butter Crunch Day 

Buttercrunch is a combination of toffee, covered with chocolate. It has a crunchy texture and a caramel flavor. The variation on the recipe which includes toasted almond sprinkles is the one we are celebrating today.
Making buttercrunch calls for a good candy thermometer and some cooking experience. Creating the toffee involves caramelizing sugar at high temperatures, which requires precision, timing and the right tools and safety techniques for a successful outcome.
So, unless you are feeling particularly adventurous today, or are an experienced cook, I recommend that you just go to your local “ye olde candy shoppe” and buy some Almond Butter Crunch to enjoy as a treat today.

National Bomb Pop Day 

National Bomb Pop Day is celebrated on the last Thursday in June and celebrates Bomb Pops. Since I am unfamiliar with Bomb Pops, I had to look them up. Bomb Pops are a frozen confection, like a popsicle, consisting of three different flavors on one stick, currently manufactured by Wells Enterprises (Blue Bunny Ice Cream).
This link is the same one that I used, and as soon as you have finished reading the article, you will be as informed about Bomb Pops as am I.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1652 – Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth.
  • In 1767 – The British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts. The acts imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea shipped to America.
  • In 1776 – The Virginia constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor.
  • In 1860 – The first iron-pile lighthouse was completed at Minot’s Ledge, MA.
  • In 1888 – Professor Frederick Treves performed the first appendectomy in England.
  • In 1897 – The Chicago Cubs scored 36 runs in a game against Louisville, setting a record for runs scored by a team in a single game.
  • In 1925 – Marvin Pipkin filed for a patent for the frosted electric light bulb.
  • In 1927 – Two U.S. aviators completed the first transpacific flight. Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger had taken off from Oakland Municipal Airport the previous day. Their “Bird of Paradise” aircraft touched down in Oahu, Hawaii 25 hours and 50 minutes later.
  • In 1932 – Siam’s army seized Bangkok and announced an end to the absolute monarchy.
  • In 1933 – Silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle died in his sleep of a heart attack.
  • In 1941 – Joe DiMaggio got a base hit in his 42nd consecutive game. He broke George Sisler’s record from 1922.
  • In 1953 – The Federal Highway Act authorized the construction of 42,500 miles of freeway from coast to coast.
  • In 1966 – The United States bombed fuel storage facilities near the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong.
  • In 1967 – Actress, model, and “pin-up girl” Jayne Mansfield was killed in an automobile accident.
  • In 1972 – The Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty could constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling prompted states to revise their capital punishment laws. This decision enabled Charles Manson and his evil minions to live out their lives in prison at taxpayer expense rather than being executed for their heinous crimes.
  • In 1986 – Richard Branson broke the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing by boat. The British businessman took about three days to cross the ocean in his speedboat “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II”. He was denied the prestigious Blue Riband for the fastest crossing because he refueled on the way.
  • In 1990 – Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were banned in an effort to protect the ozone layer. The London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol stipulated that CFCs be phased out by 2000 in developed countries and by 2010 in developing countries. CFCs are one of the substances most harmful to the ozone layer, escalating the greenhouse effect and global warming.
  • In 1995 – The shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth. The rendezvous in space marked a new age of cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries.
  • In 2000 – In Santa Rosa, CA, the official groundbreaking ceremony took place at the Charles M. Schulz Museum.
  • In 2003 – Iconic actress Katherine Hepburn died.
  • In 2007 – Apple released the first iPhone. The iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry and for a while made Apple one of the world’s most valuable companies.

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.

JUNE 28TH – A CAPITAL IDEA

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

GOOD MORNING LOVERS (OR HATERS) OF IMPROPER CAPITALIZATION.  TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2017. TODAY’S REASONS TO CELEBRATE ARE:

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY 

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY IS AN ENTIRE DAY DEDICATED TO A PRACTICE THAT DRIVES NORMAL PEOPLE BONKERS — PEOPLE WHO TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS HOLIDAY WAS CREATED IN 2000 BY DEREK ARNOLD OF IOWA. IT WAS INTENDED TO POKE FUN AT THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO UNNECESSARILY CAPITALIZE LETTERS, WORDS, PHRASES, SENTENCES, OR ENTIRE PARAGRAPHS.
THE HOLIDAY BECAME SO POPULAR WITH INTERNET USERS THAT IT IS NOW CELEBRATED TWICE A YEAR: ON JUNE 28TH AND AGAIN ON OCTOBER 22ND.
SO, HIT YOUR CAPS LOCK KEY AND TYPE TO YOUR HEARTS CONTENT. USE IT ESPECIALLY TO ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA SITES WHERE THIS EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS MOST COMMON — TWITTER AND FACEBOOK.

Tau Day

I don’t know how many of you actually celebrated Pi Day with me on 3/14, but if you did, you’ll enjoy Tau Day twice as much.
But, you may be asking yourselves about now, “What the Heck is Tau?” Well, in 2001, Bob Palais published the article “π Is Wrong” in which he argued that the beloved constant π is the wrong choice of circle constant. He instead proposed using an alternate constant equal to 2π, or 6.283… to represent “1 turn”, so that 90 degrees is equal to “a quarter turn”, rather than the seemingly arbitrary “one-half π”.
In 2010, Michael Hartl published “The Tau Manifesto” echoing the good points made by Palais and building on them by calling this “1 turn” constant τ (tau), as an alternative to π. Tau is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its radius, not its diameter and is equal to 2π.
Since Tau is approximately equal to 6.28, that makes today, June 28th (6/28), Tau Day. You can celebrate Tau Day by eating twice as much pie as you did on Pi Day (3/14). Who says that change isn’t good…literally.

Paul Bunyan Day 

Paul Bunyan is one of the best-known heroes in American folklore. This legendary lumberjack (and his faithful companion Babe the Blue Ox) starred in many of the “tall tales” told in the Midwest during the 1800’s.
According to the stories, Bunyan was a giant man with incredible physical strength. He single-handedly established the logging industry, cleared North and South Dakota of its forests for farming, scooped out Lake Superior to water Babe, and even trained carpenter ants to help his fellow loggers. It is said that Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes were created by Babe’s footprints. The general theme of all of these folktales dealt with absurdly severe weather conditions and fearsome wild beasts. Even the etymology of the name Paul Bunyan is unknown, but many think it could have been related to the Québécois expression “bon yenne!” that expresses surprise or astonishment.
French Canadians were believed to have originated the Paul Bunyan tales during the Papineau Rebellion of 1837.  While he may have been created in Canada, Paul Bunyan quickly became a huge American legend. Many of the tales of Paul Bunyan originated in lumberjack industry and logging communities. Like all good folklore, it was passed from generation to generation by word of mouth. Over campfires, his legend grew, and tales were created.
A young woman named K. Bernice Stewart was the first person to write down the original Bunyan tales. Stewart collected the stories from local loggers while studying at the University of Wisconsin in 1914. Paul Bunyan was further popularized by freelance writer and advertising guru William B. Laughead (1882–1958) in a 1916 promotional pamphlet for the Red River Lumber Company who was looking for a face for the advertising campaign. Laughead embellished greatly on the character’s older exploits and added some of his own, such as Paul Bunyan’s pet blue ox, “Babe”. The writer also increased Paul Bunyan’s body to impossible proportions.
Today, Paul Bunyan is mentioned in more than 1,000 books and has become one of the most widespread icons in American culture. No data is available to explain why Paul Bunyan Day is celebrated on this particular date.

Insurance Awareness Day 

Gee! Do you think that this holiday is sponsored by the Insurance industry? Insurance is nothing more than a legally sanctioned form of gambling. If you buy insurance, you are gambling that something will go wrong. If you don’t buy insurance, you are gambling that something will not go wrong. Insurance, whether life, homeowners, automobile, or disaster (flood, fire, tornado, etc, etc,) offers peace of mind that in the event something does occur, you will be financially protected. Life situations change over time. Inflation, additional children, or children growing up and starting their own lives, can affect the type and amount of coverage you need.
To celebrate this holiday, take time today to review all the insurance coverage that you have and make sure it is still adequate for your needs. You might be able to reduce or eliminate some coverages and save a little money – much to the chagrin of your Insurance agent.

National Tapioca Day 

When most people, including me, see the word tapioca, they immediately think of pudding, but actually, tapioca is a gluten-free starch with myriad uses worldwide.
Tapioca is extracted from the Manioc plant, otherwise known as ‘Cassava’.  Its origins can be found in Brazil, where the cassava plant is called the mandioca, and it’s extracted starch is called Tapioca. One little-known fact about the Tapioca starch is that when it is extracted from the green branched variety of the plant, it is the source of a potent cyanide-based poison, and must be processed to remove this before it becomes edible. Once this process is completed it is processed in different ways, which produces the fine or coarse flakes or flour/meal, tiny round pearls, powder and rectangular sticks.
Tapioca is a flavorless, colorless, odorless starch and it is most used worldwide as a thickening agent. The products are traditionally white, but sticks and pearls may be colored brown or vibrant pastels. The form of tapioca most familiar to American consumers is white pearl tapioca. All forms except flour and powder must be soaked prior to cooking, to rehydrate them; they absorb water equal to twice their volume or more. In all forms, tapioca is opaque before cooking; after cooking it becomes translucent.

National Ceviche Day 

Ceviche (pronounced say-VEE-chay), is fish cured by acidic citrus juice. Ceviche has been popular in Latin America for centuries, particularly Peru – so basically, it’s Peruvian sushi.
In the early 1500’s, the Spanish conquistadors wrote of an Incan dish of raw fish marinated in chicha, a fermented maize beer that dates back some 2,000 years. The concept evolved into ceviche raw fish or shellfish cured with citrus juice.
A chemical process occurs when the fish/shellfish is marinated in the highly acidic citrus juice, which denatures the protein. The result is similar to what happens when the fish is cooked with heat. Instead of “cooking,” however, the fish is cured in the marinade, which adds its own delicious flavors.
Both Ecuador and Peru claim to have originated ceviche: Both were part of the Incan Empire. Today, ceviche is so popular that there are “cevicherias” – restaurants that specialize in ceviche. The Spanish brought the lime and onion that is integral to modern ceviche. In fact, the term ceviche is thought to come from the Spanish escabeche – meaning marinade. Others argue that the word ceviche comes from the Quechua (Incan) word siwichi—but that word couldn’t be documented in Quechua dictionaries. There’s a whole menu of ceviche, from types of fish and seafood to country-specific preparations. Each country adds its own spin based on local seafood and preference for ingredients, like avocado.
Because of my dislike of seafood in general, I will not be celebrating this holiday.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1776 – American Colonists repulsed a British sea attack on Charleston, SC.
  • In 1778 – Mary “Molly Pitcher” Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Battle of Monmouth and, supposedly, took her husband’s place at his gun after he was overcome with heat.
  • In 1846 – The saxophone was patented. Belgian musician Adolphe Sax developed the woodwind instrument typically made of brass, which in recent decades has heavily influenced the sound of the jazz, military band, rock, and pop musical genres.
  • In 1894 – Congress made Labor Day a United States national holiday.
  • In 1902 – Congress passed the Spooner bill, it authorized a canal to be built across the isthmus of Panama.
  • In 1911 – Samuel J. Battle became the first African-American policeman in New York City.
  • In 1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo along with his wife, Duchess Sophie. Gavrilo Princip’s attack effected a crisis among Europe’s major powers (July Crisis). This incident ultimately triggered WWI, which led to over 37 million deaths and was one of the bloodiest wars of all time. Exactly five years later, on this date in 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed ending World War I. The treaty also established the League of Nations.
  • In 1938 – Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.
  • In 1939 – Pan American Airways began the first regularly scheduled transatlantic passenger service. The Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat took about 24 hours to reach Marseille, France. The scheduled service was soon discontinued again because of the outbreak of World War II.
  • In 1942 – German troops launched an offensive to seize Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus and the city of Stalingrad.
  • In 1945 – General Douglas MacArthur announced the end of Japanese resistance in the Philippines.
  • In 1950 – North Korean forces captured Seoul, South Korea.
  • In 1954 – French troops began to pull out of Vietnam’s Tonkin Province.
  • In 1960 – In Cuba, Fidel Castro confiscated American-owned oil refineries without compensation.
  • In 1964 – Malcolm X founded the “Organization for Afro-American Unity” to seek independence for blacks in the Western Hemisphere.
  • In 1965 – The first commercial satellite began communications service. It was Early Bird (Intelsat II).
  • In 1967 – Israel formally annexed Jerusalem and declared it reunified under its sovereignty following its capture of the Arab sector in the June 1967 war. From Israel’s point of view, the annexation was the reunification of its capital city. However, the international community declared it illegal and views East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.
  • In 1969 – A police raid of a gay tavern sparked a series of violent clashes. The Stonewall Riots in New York City marked the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States.
  • In 1971 – The Supreme Court overturned the draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali.
  • In 1972 – President Nixon announced that no new draftees would be sent to Vietnam.
  • In 1975 – Rod Serling, creator of “The Twilight Zone”, died.
  • In 1976 – The first women entered the United States Air Force Academy.
  • In 1978 – The Supreme Court ordered the medical school at the University of California at Davis to admit Allan Bakke. Bakke, a white man, argued he had been a victim of reverse racial discrimination.
  • In 1996 – The Citadel voted to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school.
  • In 1996 – Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In 1997 – Mike Tyson was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear after three rounds of their WBA heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, NV.
  • In 2000 – The Supreme Court declared that a Nebraska law that outlawed “partial birth abortions” was unconstitutional. About 30 U.S. states had similar laws at the time of the ruling.
  • In 2000 – Six-year-old Elián González returned to Cuba from the United States with his father. The child had been the center of an international custody dispute.
  • In 2001 – Slobodan Milosevic was taken into custody and was handed over to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. The indictment charged Milosevic and four other senior officials, with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war in Kosovo.
  • In 2001 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit set aside an order that would break up Microsoft for antitrust violations. However, the judges did agree that the company was in violation of antitrust laws.
  • In 2004 – The United States turned over official sovereignty to Iraq’s interim leadership. The event took place two days earlier than previously announced to thwart insurgents’ attempts at undermining the transfer.
  • In 2007 – The American bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list.

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.

June 27th – ♪♪Happy Birthday To You♪♪

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

Good morning anniversary of birth revelers. Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

“Happy Birthday to You” Day 

“Happy Birthday to You” Day celebrates the date, in 1893, when  Mildred J. Hill wrote the melody to the ‘little ditty’ that is now universally recognized as “Happy Birthday to You”. Her sister Patty Smith Hill soon after wrote the lyrics to the melody as follows:

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

No one is sure exactly who added the “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics to the melody, or when they were added, but they first appeared in print in a songbook edited by Robert H. Coleman in 1924 as a second stanza to “Good Morning to All”.
Believe it or not, until 2015, the song was still copyrighted under current copyright law. Did this mean that if you sang “Happy Birthday” to little Timmy or Tabitha you had to fear that the “copyright police” would come crashing through your door and haul you off to the gulag? No. It is, however, the reason that when you held a birthday celebration at a restaurant or bar, the wait staff sang some obnoxious, silly, contrived ditty in its stead. In other words, royalties were only due when the song was used commercially. This link will further clarify the copyright debacle involved with this song.

Decide To Be Married Day 

Decide To Be Married Day is intended to focus attention on the joy of couples deciding to get married. Based on the poem “Decide to Be Married”: “It’s in the deciding to be united in love, to express your joyful oneness to every person you meet, and in every action, you take, and together a perfect marriage you will make.”
WOW! Who knew marriage was an option? Obviously, the Supreme Court, who in striking down California’s Proposition 8 as discriminatory in 2013, gave an entire segment of society the option to “Decide To Be Married”. Whether or not you agree, it is nonetheless a landmark decision. This Blog is not intended to discuss the pros and cons of gay marriage, and I will not weigh in on their decision personally. I merely made an observation that Decide To Be Married Day became more topical and relevant to the Court’s decision.

Sunglasses Day 

Sunglasses are the most important fashion accessory of the summer. Humans have been wearing protective eyewear for centuries, but the stylish designs we are accustomed to today are a much more recent invention. As far back as the prehistoric era, the Inuit people of what is now Alaska used walrus ivory to create sun goggles, which blocked out the powerful rays of sun that reflected off the snow and ice. By the 1700s, doctors were regularly prescribing tinted glasses for vision correction. By the 1930s the Foster Grant company was selling modern-day sunglasses on the boardwalk of Atlantic City. On the eve of World War II, a little company called Ray-Ban began producing anti-glare sunglasses for pilots. “Aviators” became the first commercially successful sunglasses. Today, people wear sunglasses for a variety of reasons:

  1. They want to look like a movie star.
  2. They want to hide behind a pair of sunglasses so they can travel incognito through a crowd.
  3. They think they are James Bond and are up to a little espionage.
  4. They want to make a fashion statement.

Oh yes, and a few people even wear sunglasses to actually protect their eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun; which Opticians have found to be helpful in the prevention of cataracts. As alluded to earlier, the effects UV rays from the sun can be magnified during the winter months as they hit you on the way down, and then are reflected back up from the snow. To celebrate Sunglasses Day, wear your favorite pair of sunglasses proudly; or go out and buy a stylish new pair. You can bet I’ll be sporting my Spotters

National Orange Blossom Day 

When first researching this holiday, I expected to find that it related to something botanical, or at least something related to gardening. I was surprised to find that it is actually a food-related holiday.
Orange blossoms are cultivated from orange trees and are used in cooking, flower arranging, and perfume making. Blossoms are commonly used to make tea, marmalade, and to flavor bakery items. When bees pollinate the blossoms, the honey they produce takes on a sweet citrus flavor that is very popular.
However, National Orange Blossom Day actually honors the Orange Blossom cocktail, a bittersweet drink consisting of gin, sugar, and orange juice which was created during Prohibition to offset the often acrid taste of “bathtub gin”.

Pineapple Day

A pineapple is not related to either a pine or an apple. Pineapples are a tropical fruit native to the America’s, first found being consumed by the Tupi people. Their word for the fruit, nanas, meaning “Excellent Fruit”,  perfectly describes everyone’s reaction to this tangy treat. Pineapples are actually herbaceous perennials, meaning they are leafy plants, not trees. These plants are so ambitious in their growth that if you cut the fruit from one stalk, it grows multiple stalks called ‘suckers’ to produce more fruit.
Since their discovery, pineapples have been transported all over the world. One of their unique traits is that once harvested, they tend to not continue to ripen. This gives them an amazing shelf life and lets them remain stored on a shelf for quite some time.
Pineapples can be used in a variety of ways; from a stand-alone treat all on their own to pineapple upside down cake, to a garnish for a baked ham, to producing a tasty fruit beverage loaded with vitamin C.
No special skills are needed to celebrate Pineapple Day — All you need is some pineapple and your imagination.

National Indian Pudding Day 

Indian pudding is a baked pudding served hot or warm, made from cornmeal, milk, molasses, and spices. It’s a richer, sweetened form of hasty pudding – a porridge of cornmeal cooked in milk or water.
The name Indian Pudding doesn’t imply that it’s a Native American (or Pacific Rim) recipe. The Plymouth Colony emigrants were accustomed to warm plum puddings, bread puddings and the like. But flour was scarce—no wheat grew in New England. However, corn grew; the native Wampanoags had plenty of cornmeal. So “Indian” pudding was born, using cornmeal plus butter, eggs, milk, molasses and spices such as cinnamon and ginger. The pudding was topped with heavy cream. None of these, except the cornmeal, were Native American ingredients. The word “Indian” referred to the cornmeal — hence Indian pudding, Indian bread (cornbread) and so forth.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1847 – New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires.
  • In 1871 – The yen became the new form of currency in Japan.
  • In 1885 – Chichester Bell and Charles S. Tainter applied for a patent for the gramophone. It was granted on May 4, 1886.
  • In 1893 – The New York stock market crashed. By the end of the year, 600 banks and 74 railroads had gone out of business.
  • In 1918 – Two German pilots were saved by parachutes for the first time.
  • In 1924 – Democrats offered Mrs. Leroy Springs for the vice presidential nomination. She was the first woman considered for the job.
  • In 1927 – The Marines adopted the English bulldog as their mascot.
  • In 1929 – Scientists at Bell Laboratories in New York revealed a system for transmitting television pictures.
  • In 1931 – Igor Sikorsky filed U.S. Patent 1,994,488, which marked the breakthrough in helicopter technology.
  • In 1940 – Robert Pershing Wadlow was measured by Dr. Cyril MacBryde and Dr. C. M. Charles. They recorded his height at 8′ 11.1.” He was only 22 at the time of his death on July 15, 1940.
  • In 1942 – The FBI announced the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from a submarine on New York’s Long Island.
  • In 1950 – Two days after North Korea invaded South Korea, President Truman ordered the Air Force and Navy into the Korean conflict. The United Nations Security Council had asked for member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.
  • In 1954 – The world’s first atomic power station opened at Obninsk, near Moscow. The reactor at Obninsk in present-day Russia remained in operation for 48 years. Today, there are some 400 atomic power plants worldwide. The technology remains controversial, especially due to the unsolved long-term storage of the highly dangerous nuclear waste.
  • In 1955 – The state of Illinois enacted the first automobile seat belt legislation.
  • In 1956 – The film “Moby Dick” premiered. John Huston’s adaptation of Herman Melville’s homonymous novel, while not having been a great box office success, is today considered an outstanding work, especially for its use of light and color.
  • In 1959 – The play, “West Side Story,” with music by Leonard Bernstein, closed after 734 performances on Broadway.
  • In 1964 – Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman were married. It only lasted 38 days.
  • In 1967 – The world’s first cash dispenser was installed at Barclay’s Bank in Enfield, England. The device was invented by John Sheppard-Barron. The machine operated on a voucher system and the maximum withdrawal was $28.
  • In 1972 – Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari, Inc. The pioneering video game and home computer company produced arcade classics like the two-dimensional tennis simulator Pong. Especially in the 1970’s and 1980’s, its products had a large impact on the electronic entertainment industry.
  • In 1973 – Former White House counsel John W. Dean told the Senate Watergate Committee about an “enemies list” that was kept by the Nixon White House.
  • In 1973 – President Nixon vetoed a Senate ban on bombing Cambodia.
  • In 1980 – President Carter signed legislation reviving draft registration.
  • In 1984 – The Supreme Court ruled that individual colleges could make their own TV package deals. [thus making collegiate sports “big business”]
  • In 1984 – The Federal Communications Commission moved to deregulate U.S. commercial TV by lifting most programming requirements and ending day-part restrictions on advertising.
  • In 1985 – Historic Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System.
  • In 1986 – The 1980’s United States intervention in Nicaragua was declared illegal. The International Court of Justice condemned the U.S. paramilitary campaign to overthrow the left-wing Nicaraguan government. The social democratic Sandinistas had begun to redistribute the country’s wealth and improve education.
  • In 1991 – Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall resigned from the Supreme Court. He had been appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson.
  • In 1991 – Yugoslav troops invaded Slovenia. The attack, which marked the beginning of the Ten-Day War, followed Slovenia’s declaration of independence. It was the first of the Yugoslav Wars, a number of ethnic conflicts leading to the break-up of Yugoslavia and resulting in at least 140,000 deaths.
  • In 1998 – An English woman was impregnated with her dead husband’s sperm after a two-year legal battle over her right to the sperm.
  • In 2002 – The Securities and Exchange Commission required companies with annual sales of more than $1.2 billion to submit sworn statements backing up the accuracy of their financial reports.
  • In 2005 – In Alaska’s Denali National Park, a roughly 70-million-year-old dinosaur track was discovered. The track was from a three-toed Cretaceous period dinosaur.

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.

June 26th – National Canoe Day

June 26, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning paddle sports enthusiasts. Today is Monday, June 26th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Canoe Day 

National Canoe Day was founded by the Canadian Canoe Museum in 2007 after the canoe was named one of the Seven Wonders of Canada in a CBC Radio feature in which over 1 million votes were cast. The aim of National Canoe Day is to increase participation in paddlesports in Canada, engage new paddlers and reaching across generational and cultural divides to introduce the canoe to those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience this great national heritage. Participants from all over Canada paddle in events countrywide; from the midnight sun of the north to the urban rivers of the south.
Although it is primarily a Canadian holiday, National Canoe Day has grown and is now also celebrated internationally by groups in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, South America, and more.
As the popularity of National Canoe Day spread, so also did the types of craft used to celebrate this holiday. Today, not only canoers but kayakers, row boat enthusiasts, even skullers, and paddleboarders participate. Basically, if your sport uses an oar, you can celebrate this holiday.
Rowing is a great form of exercise, so if you can, hit the stream, lake, pond, or puddle and do some canoeing today. On your mark — set – row!

Please Take My Children to Work Day

Please Take My Children to Work Day is a tongue-in-cheek, unofficial holiday observed annually on the last Monday in June. The purpose of this quirky holiday is to give overworked and tired stay-at-home parents to take a day off from their routines. It was created in 2003 by Parenting Blogger Jen Singer.
Life is hectic, and everyone needs a break from their routine occasionally. Although being a stay-at-home parent can be rewarding, it can also be exhausting. Please Take My Children to Work Day encourages friends and family to take care of the children so that the stay-at-home parent can have some time to relax and rejuvenate.
Author’s Note: Some of my sources listed fixed dates for Please Take My Children to Work Day (both June 25th and June 30th). However, since the stated purpose of this holiday is to give the caregiving parent a break from their children, observing it on a fixed date makes no sense, as there is a 2 in 7 chance that the date will fall on a non-work day. Simple logic dictates that the “floating” date of the last Monday in June is correct.

Beautician’s Day 

National Beautician’s Day celebrates that talented group of individuals who keep us looking our best. Also known as stylists and cosmetologists, they continually train in the best ways to keep us looking our best while keeping up with the latest styles, the best products, treatments, and techniques.
Cosmetology is the study and application of a beauty treatment.  The branches of cosmetology include hair styling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures, pedicures, and electrolysis.  This means your beautician buffs, polishes, trims, plucks, perks, brightens, lightens, plumps and makes your finest features shine.
Many beauticians also become close confidants.  Over many years of caring for our hair and skin, they come to know our families and watch them grow, experiencing our ups and downs with us. As a result, we tend to develop a strong bond with our beautician.
Beauticians provide a vital service to women everywhere. Some women go to their beautician once a week, while others might only go once or twice a year. Most fall somewhere between. No matter into which group you fall, a good beautician is essential for making you look your best. Let them know how much you appreciate them on your next visit.

National Chocolate Pudding Day 

Dessert puddings can be traced all the way back to the 17th century. During that time, a “pudding” was actually a very moist cake (similar to a modern-day bread pudding or plum pudding).
The sweet and creamy confection we know and love today emerged in the mid-19th century when an English chemist named Alfred Bird developed an egg-free custard powder. This remarkable invention made it very easy to produce a delicious pudding with the perfect consistency. It also made pudding making far less time-consuming.
Today, pudding is a popular dessert all over the world. So, have some chocolate pudding for dessert tonight. I like to have mine with a few graham crackers and, of course, a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Tropical Cocktails Day 

The hot, muggy days of summer are here, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate Tropical Cocktails Day. Whether you are lounging on a luxurious cruise ship, walking along the beach with your sweetie, relaxing by the pool, lazing in your back yard, or simply enjoying a little R&R in your family room, nothing quite says summer like a cool, tropical drink. Sex on the Beach, Tequila Sunrise, Piña Colada, and Frozen Margaritas are a few of the most popular tropical cocktails available these days.
To celebrate Tropical Cocktails Day, find your set of Tiki glasses and/or hollow out some pineapples and coconuts, check your stock of rum, tequila, and fruit juice, plug-in your blender and start making some refreshing tropical cocktails. Don’t forget the tiny umbrellas…no tropical drink is complete without them.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition reached the mouth of the Kansas River after completing a westward trek of nearly 400 river miles.
  • In 1819 – The bicycle was patented by W.K. Clarkson, Jr.
  • In 1844 – President John Tyler married Julia Gardiner, thus becoming the first President to marry while in office.
  • In 1870 – The first section of the boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ, was opened to the public.
  • In 1900 – The United States announced that it would send troops to fight against the Boxer rebellion in China.
  • In 1900 – A commission that included Dr. Walter Reed began the fight against the deadly disease yellow fever.
  • In 1906 – The first Grand Prix car race was held. The competition was held on a circuit around Le Mans, France and organized by the Automobile Club de France (ACF). Renault’s Ferenc Szisz won the first competition.
  • In 1917 – General John “Black Jack” Pershing arrived in France with the American Expeditionary Force.
  • In 1925 – Charlie Chaplin’s comedy, “The Gold Rush,” premiered in Hollywood. The comedy featuring Chaplin in his famous Little Tramp role is a classic of the silent film genre. Mr. Chaplin repeatedly stated that this is the film for which he wants to be remembered.
  • In 1936 – The world’s first practical helicopter lifted off. The twin-rotor Focke-Wulf Fw 61 was first tested in Bremen, Germany. None of the first prototypes survived World War II but a replica can be seen at the Hubschraubermuseum in Bückeburg, Germany.
  • In 1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, CA.
  • In 1948 – The Berlin Airlift began when the United States, Britain, and France started ferrying supplies to the isolated western sector of Berlin.
  • In 1963 – President John F. Kennedy gave his iconic “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech at the Berlin Wall. The speech was a welcome gesture of support for the people of West Berlin. East Germany had erected the Berlin Wall just two years earlier to stop mass emigration to the West.
  • In 1971 – The Justice Department issued a warrant for Daniel Ellsberg, accusing him of giving away the Pentagon Papers.
  • In 1979 – Muhammad Ali, at 37 years old, announced that he was retiring as world heavyweight boxing champion.
  • In 1981 – In Mountain Home, Idaho, Virginia Campbell took her coupons and rebates and bought $26,460 worth of groceries. She only paid 67-cents  after all the discounts.
  • In 1985 – Wilbur Snapp, a minor league baseball organist for the Clearwater Phillies at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, FL, was ejected after playing “Three Blind Mice” during a baseball game. The incident followed a call made by umpire Keith O’Connor. It drew national attention when Willard Scott, then weatherman for NBC’s “Today” show made mention of it. Paul Harvey also mentioned the incident on his daily radio program.
  • In 1996 – The Supreme Court ordered the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forego state support.
  • In 1997 – The Supreme Court struck down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that made it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet.
  • In 1997 – The Supreme Court upheld state laws that allow for a ban on doctor-assisted suicides.
  • In 1998 – The Supreme Court ruled that employers are always potentially liable for supervisor’s sexual misconduct toward an employee.
  • In 2000 – The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Corp. jointly announced that they had created a working draft of the human genome.

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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