June 20th – It’s Going To Be a Long Day

June 20, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning sun worshipers. Today is Tuesday, June 20, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Summer Solstice

The first event today is not a holiday. The Summer Solstice will occur on Wednesday, June 21st 4:24 AM Universal Time  – which means that in Pacific Time Zone it will occur this evening at 21:24 (9:24 PM). The precise time of the solstice varies according to time zone. The Solstice is the time at which sun reaches its farthest distance from the Equator, making it the longest day of the year.
The timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. The solstice heralds the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the official beginning of winter in the Southern hemisphere. Today, you’ll have the greatest opportunity to contract Melanoma, prematurely age your skin, and expose yourself to the possibility of sunstroke.
Author’s Note: While officially the Summer Solstice occurs early tomorrow morning UT (Greenwich Mean Time), I listed it today because it occurs in my time zone and most other time zones in the United States tonight.

More Solstice-Related Holidays

National American Eagle Day

Sponsored by The American Eagle Foundation and observed each year on June 20th, National American Eagle Day (aka American Bald Eagle Day and National Bald Eagle Day, is set aside to honor our national symbol, raise awareness for protecting the Bald Eagle, and to assist in the recovery of their natural environments.
The Bald Eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States and appears on its Seal. In the latter 20th century, the Bald Eagle was on the brink of extinction in the continental United States. Eventually, populations recovered and on July 12, 1995, the species was removed from the Federal Government’s List of Endangered Species and transferred to the List of Threatened Species. On June 2007, it was withdrawn from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.
The Bald Eagle’s range includes most of Canada, Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. They can be found near large bodies of open water where there are abundant food supplies and old-growth trees for nesting. Opportunistic feeders, Bald Eagles survive mainly on fish, swooping down and snatching them from the water. Their nests are the largest nests of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species. The largest recorded eagle’s nest was found in St. Petersburg, Florida. It measured 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep. It weighed in at nearly 3 tons.
Author’s Note: The Bald Eagle isn’t really bald. The name is derived from the Old English word “bald” meaning “white headed”. The adult eagle is mainly brown with a white head and tail.

New Identity Day

If you are having an identity crisis, New Identity Day is the holiday for you. Whether you really are tired of being you, or just want to have a little fun, New Identity Day is one of those quirky internet-generated holidays that allows you to think about who you might want to be, just for one day…if you could.

Cherry Tart Day

In my sources, the dates for this holiday are all over the board, ranging from the 17th to the 21st of this month, with on being so specific as to say that it is held on the third Tuesday in June. The common thread seems to be that the origins of Cherry Tart Day are connected to the annual National Cherry Festival held in Traverse City, Michigan each year. Cherries were plentiful in supply but their uses were limited. Although cherries are grown on several continents, they have a relatively short growing season.
A cherry tart is presented in an appealing open-faced crusty pastry shell with superior ingredients. Cherries are in season now, and what better way to enjoy some than in a delicious cherry tart? Tart shells are relatively easy to make yourself at home or are readily available pre-made at any supermarket, so there is no reason not to enjoy a cherry tart for dessert tonight.
FACTOID: Maraschino Cherries are not a variety of cherry. Rather, Maraschino cherries are cherries that have been processed, akin to pickling. Also, take note, Maraschino is pronounced mara-SKEENO, not mara-SHEENO.

National Vanilla Milkshake Day 

You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that National Vanilla Milkshake Day celebrates vanilla milkshakes, and urges you to enjoy one today.
A milkshake is a simple combination of ice cream, milk, and syrup, combined in a blender and optionally garnished with whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, or sprinkles; but you probably already knew that. What you probably didn’t know is that originally milkshakes were an alcoholic whiskey drink that was described as a “sturdy, healthful eggnog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat”.  It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the alcohol was removed, and they became suitable for consumption by children. The term “milkshake” was first used in print in 1885.
Note to my Bakersfield readers: You couldn’t ask for a better excuse for a trip to Dewar’s.

Plain Yogurt Day

If yogurt was good enough for the Neolithic people of Central Asia, it’s probably good enough for you. They are believed to be the first to create (or discover) yogurt. According to Tamra Andrews’ “Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology” (2000), “Yogurt, like cheese, was discovered long ago when wandering herdsmen carrying milk in sheepskin bags noticed that the milk had curdled. People likely discovered both cheese and yogurt at the beginning of the Neolithic era, when they began to practice milking.”
Plain yogurt is no plain Jane. Often overlooked in the dairy aisle, plain yogurt can be the secret ingredient in many of your recipes. Commercially sweetened yogurts are either too sweet and syrupy or have a pungent artificial sweetener aftertaste. You can avoid all of this with good plain yogurt. Fresh fruit, nuts, cereal or honey can all be added to plain yogurt. Plain yogurt also makes a healthful substitute for sour cream.

National Kouign Amann Day

National Kouign Amann Day is a recent addition to the National Day Calendar, having been added in 2015, and is observed annually on June 20.
Kouign Amann is a round crusty cake, made with a yeast-raised dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry or croissants but with fewer layers. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough creating the layered aspect of it and the sugar caramelizes. The name comes from the Breton words for cake “kouign” and butter “amann.” Kouign Amann is a popular and traditional pastry in Brittain, where it originated in 1860 when flour was scarce, but butter was abundant.
I don’t know where you can buy a Kouign Amann to celebrate this holiday. However, if you have the time and are moderately adept in the kitchen, you could try to make one yourself. This is one recipe, but it looks time-consuming so you better get started.

More Holidays 

On This Date

  • In 1782 – Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, with the Bald Eagle as its symbol.
  • In 1837 – Victoria was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom. During the 64-year reign, the United Kingdom became one of the world’s most potent powers. The British Empire soon encompassed large parts of the planet. Queen Victoria died in 1901.
  • In 1863 – West Virginia became the 35th state.
  • In 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the axe murders of her father and stepmother in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Investigators never found the murder weapon, and there was no blood evidence. This story gave rise to the popular childhood rhyme:
    Lizzie Borden took an ax;
    and gave her mother forty whacks. 
    And when she saw what she had done; 
    she gave her father forty-one.
    [Can you imagine the media circus that would surround a case like this these days? All of the “talking head” shows would be salivating at the ratings opportunity.]
  • In 1898 – The Navy seized the island of Guam en route to the Philippines to fight the Spanish.
  • In 1910 – Fanny Brice debuted in the New York production of the “Ziegfeld Follies”.
  • In 1941 – The United States Army Air Force was established, replacing the Army Air Corps.
  • In 1942 – Kazimierz Piechowski and three others escaped from Auschwitz concentration camp. In a feat of “exceptional courage and gallantry”, as stated by the Polish author Kazimierz Smoleń, the four prisoners left via the front gate in a stolen SS staff car, dressed as SS officers. During World War II, the Nazi regime murdered 1.1 million people in Auschwitz. Only 144 are known to have escaped.
  • In 1943 – Race-related rioting erupted in Detroit. Federal troops were sent in two days later to end the violence that left more than 30 dead.
  • In 1947 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was murdered in Beverly Hills, CA, at the order of mob associates angered over the soaring costs of his project, the Flamingo Resort in Las Vegas, NV.
  • In 1950 – Willie Mays graduated from high school and immediately signed with the New York Giants.
  • In 1955 – The AFL and CIO agreed to combine names and a merge into a single group.
  • In 1963 – The United States and the Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a hot line communication link between the two countries. The infamous “red telephone” – the hotline between the United States and the Soviet Union – was established following Cuban Missile Crisis. Contrary to popular belief, communications between the two superpowers occurred via teletype or fax, and today, via email.
  • In 1967 – Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. The Supreme Court later overturned the conviction.
  • In 1975 – The blockbuster movie “Jaws” debuted in theaters.  Steven Spielberg’s thriller about a rogue great white shark terrorizing a summer resort town is often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
  • In 1977 – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline began operation.
  • In 1979 – ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza’s national guard.
  • In 1983 – The Supreme Court ruled that employers must treat male and female workers equally in providing health benefits for their spouses.
  • In 1991 – The German parliament moved to Berlin. Bonn had been the capital of West Germany until the country’s reunification in 1990. The “Hauptstadtbeschluss” (capital decision) stipulated that the seat of government and the parliament also be moved to the “new” capital Berlin.
  • In 1997 – The tobacco industry agreed to a massive settlement in exchange for major relief from mounting lawsuits and legal bills.
  • In 2001 – Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) hit his 38th home run of the season. The home run broke the major league baseball record for homers before the midseason All-Star break.
  • In 2002 – The Supreme Court ruled that the execution of mentally retarded murderers was unconstitutionally cruel. The vote was 6 in favor and 3 against.

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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