October 13 – Happy Birthday U. S. Navy

October 13, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Author’s Note:

Before I get into today’s holidays, I would like to point out that today is Friday the 13th (insert Twilight Zone theme music here). Some of you may have already read this piece because I originally wrote it about 15 years ago in an old BLOG which I no longer use, and have re-published it on this BLOG a few times since then. I am publishing it again today for the benefit of those of you who are new to this BLOG.

Let me begin with a few facts and statistics about Friday the 13th.

1)  Any month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th.
2)  There is at least one Friday the 13th each year.
3)   Using the Gregorian calendar, there can be as many as three Friday the 13th’s a calendar year; either in February, March and November in a common year starting on Thursday (such as 2009), or January, April and July in a leap year starting on Sunday (such as 2012).
4)  The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.
5) Using the Gregorian calendar, The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week, but only slightly. On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days (compared to Thursday the 13th, which occurs only once every 213.59 days).
6)  According to a study released in 2008 by the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics, it was revealed that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are more careful, or just stay home.” Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th being regarded as an unlucky day is a relative newcomer in the annals of history and seems to be a combination of two much older superstitions. The first written record referencing Friday the 13th as an unlucky day occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th.

“He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died.”

Many cultures believed that the number “13″ was an unlucky number. The number “13″ is considered unlucky for a number of reasons: In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table results in the death of one of the diners. Also, to this day, most buildings do not have a 13th floor or room numbers ending in the number 13.
Likewise, “Friday” has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s “The Canterbury Tales”.  Many professions regard Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.  Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, adding to its unpopularity.
[Dictionary.com defines a phobia as “A persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”]
One word used to describe the fear of Friday the 13th is Friggatriskaidekaphobia. Friggatriskaidekaphobia (frigga-tris-kai-deka-pho-bia) is a fear of Friday the 13th: Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen. Another word used to describe Friday the 13th is Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Paraskevidekatriaphobia (para-skevi-deka-tria-phobia), came into the lexicon in 1953. It is a combination of the Greek words Paraskeví, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobia, from Phobos, meaning “fear”).
If you are having difficulty following all the big words I’m using, you might be suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquipedalophobia (hip-po-pot-o-mon-stro-ses-qui-ped-ali-o-pho-bia), which means a fear of long words, (Did you see that one coming)? Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalophobia is a contrived word and is a truncated and extended version of the word sesquipedalophobia (ses-qui-ped-al-o-pho-bia); which is the word used in formal writing to describe the fear of long words. The “hippopotomonstro” part of the word is a combination of the words hippopotamus and monster and is used to exaggerate the length of the word, adding credence to the word’s meaning: a fear of long words. Or, you might just be suffering from rupophobia (ru-po-pho-bia): a fear of rubbish.

Author’s note:

Do not confuse friggatriskaidekaphobia with *friggintrickydickaphobia* (friggin-tricky-dicka–pho-bia) – an affliction suffered by a large segment of American society during the late 1960′s and early 1970′s…particularly those on the left side of the political aisle. (Please note that, despite how many of you might think otherwise, friggintrickydickaphobia is not an actual word. I used it here strictly for the purpose of levity. I do not know where I heard it before, but whoever coined the word certainly had a delightful sense of humor. A Google search for friggintrickydickaphobia yielded no search results).

Today’s actual BLOG begins here:

Good morning seafaring servicemen. Today is Friday, October 13th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

US Navy’s Birthday

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on this date in 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. The role of the Continental Navy was not naval superiority. It worked with privateers to wage tactical raids against the transports that supplied British forces in North America. The Continental Congress purchased, converted, and constructed a fleet of small ships–frigates, brigs, sloops, and schooners. The Continental Navy expanded to some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength. These navy ships sailed independently or in pairs hunting British commerce ships and transports like prey, avoiding whenever possible fights with Royal Navy men-of-war.
After the Revolutionary War, the cash-poor Congress released the seamen and officers and sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy. In the 1790’s, as trade with Europe was renewed and the number of U.S. commercial ships increased so did the possibility increased attacks by the European powers and pirates. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress “to provide and maintain a navy.” Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the United States once again had a Navy. The War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.
In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday. This holiday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents.

English Language Day

Some 1500 years ago, the language that is now known as “English” was the tongue of merely three tribes. Today, it is the language of nearly two billion people. It has three-times more non-native speakers than native speakers. No other language comes close to matching that, and it is that which makes the English language global. English is found on every continent. It has major speech communities in over seventy countries. It is the language of the internet, air-traffic control, international travel, international business, and of science.
The English language has many forms from Old English through Middle English to Modern English and has thousands of dialects, slang words, and street forms. It exists in two major written forms, American and British. These two forms are not materially different and provide uniformity of written English and a flexible mode of intercommunication.
In its role as the global language, English needs a large vocabulary. The online Oxford English Dictionary has over 600,000 headwords and some word collectors claim that actually there are more than one million words. When you consider that the vocabulary of the average university-educated person is about 50,000 words, it is clear that any one speaker only uses a tiny portion of the full range of the English language. Trades, groups, professions, and activities have all their own distinct vocabularies/jargons –  the International Scientific Vocabulary is the largest with about 200,000 words through all the different scientific areas.
English has borrowed words from 350 languages, including from French (20,000) and from Latin (20,000) and in return, English has given words to as many languages as it has borrowed from them.

No Bra Day

No Bra Day is not a silly, childish, or sexist holiday intended to titillate (pun intended) the libidos of hormone-raging teenage boys or lecherous construction workers. Quite the contrary, it is much more serious than that. No Bra Day was established to both raise awareness of breast cancer and its prevalence in today’s society and to provide fund-raising opportunities for breast cancer research.
Every year hundreds of thousands of new cases of breast cancer are reported in the United States alone, with approximately 250,000 of them involving invasive forms of breast cancer. Although vastly more prevalent in women, there are also about 2,600 cases of breast cancer in men reported each year.
No Bra Day encourages women everywhere to go without their bra to raise awareness for breast cancer and the challenges that those with this terrible disease face. The logic behind this is explained in one of my sources as: “Women who have been through a battle with breast cancer often have to wear a prosthesis to hide the fact that they’ve had a breast or breasts removed, and are unable to go without a bra as a result. By spending the day without a bra you can raise awareness and help to prevent other women from having to go through this experience.”
Statistics show that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lives. Outside of the fact that breast cancer can be fatal, it also has the possibility of impacting a woman’s view of herself, her ability to breastfeed, and can result in surgeries that include mastectomy. Feminism aside, breasts are one of the primary identifiers of what makes a woman, at least visually, a woman and having to have them removed in the fight against breast cancer can lead to self-image issues and depression.
Women, whether you decide to wear your bra today or not, you should schedule a breast exam with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection is the key to successfully combating this abhorrent disease.

Silly Sayings Day

Silly Sayings Day is an annual holiday that celebrates silly sayings and phrases. Like fashion, popular catchphrases, interesting expressions, and witty sayings tend to come and go. Thanks to the internet, some of today’s most popular phrases include easy-to-use acronyms like LOL, BFF, and BRB.  However, silly sayings of old were much more creative and meaningful. Below are some of my favorites.

  • A bulldog can whip a skunk, but sometimes it’s not worth it. – J. Nowell
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. – unknown
  • A closed mouth gathers no feet. – Sam Horn
  • Age is a very high price to pay for maturity. – unknown
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but an onion a day keeps everyone away. – Cassandra Chatfield
  • Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes. That way if he gets angry, he’ll be a mile away and barefoot. – unknown
  • Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else. – Will Rogers
  • Middle age is when the broadness of the mind and the narrowness of the waist change places. – unknown
  • Out of all the things I’ve lost in life, I think I miss my mind the most. – unknown
  • The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy. – Helen Hayes

Feel free to share some of your favorites too.

World Egg Day

World Egg Day is an eggstra-special, eggstraordinary holiday that, oddly enough, celebrates eggs – in all their forms – and also celebrates the many health benefits of eggs. Eggs are a nutritious high protein, low-fat food, though they are relatively high in cholesterol.
Eggs have been a source of food for mankind since the dawn of civilization, but they have also played a non-culinary role in many different civilizations throughout history, both in a religious context, as well as a form of art. The examples that immediately come to mind are the tradition of decorating eggs for Easter and the world-famous, artistic Faberge eggs of Russia.
In recent years,  scientists have wavered on the health benefits of eggs – they’re bad for you, they’re good for you, egg whites are healthy, but the yolks are not. Jeez, if the brainiacs can’t make up their mind, how are we, the end-users, supposed to make an informed decision? My opinion…like anything else, enjoy eggs in moderation. All I know is that 100% of people who have eaten eggs in the past, eat eggs now, or will eat eggs in the future, are dead, or will die at some point in time…and until someone can offer incontrovertible evidence that eating eggs will lead to my demise, I will continue to eat eggs.
When most of us think about eggs, we think of chicken eggs, but duck eggs, although a bit stronger in flavor, are also favored in oriental cuisine. [My father sold duck eggs to a local Chinese restaurant in the 1950’s]. Goose eggs are also edible, but like duck eggs, are stronger in flavor. [My mother occasionally substituted 1 goose egg – which is equivalent to about 3 chicken eggs – when baking cakes]. I couldn’t taste the difference.
To celebrate World Egg Day, enjoy some eggs today…for any meal. They aren’t just for breakfast anymore.
Another egg factoid: A typical ostrich egg weighs about 4-pounds and is equivalent to 40 chicken eggs. Although they are by far the largest egg laid by any animal, in relation to the adult bird’s size, they are actually the smallest bird eggs.

National Yorkshire Pudding Day 

Do not confuse Yorkshire Pudding with a dessert. Yorkshire pudding is an iconic, savory British pastry similar to a popover made from a batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy. The first recipes for the dish appeared in the 1700’s, but the exact origin is unknown. Yorkshire Pudding is made by combining flour, eggs, salt, milk, and pan drippings from prime rib or roast beef. The result is a light, doughy roll with a small well in the center that is usually filled with gravy.
Little is know of the origins of Yorkshire Pudding, but cooks in the north of England devised a means of making use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pans to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven.  The first published recipe for ‘A Dripping Pudding’ was published in 1737 in The Whole Duty of a Woman. Here is that recipe.

Make a good batter as for pancakes: put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot. ~ From The Whole Duty of a Woman.

In 1747, similar instructions were published in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse under the title of ‘Yorkshire Pudding’. It was Glasse who re-invented and renamed the original version of ‘A Dripping Pudding’.
Yorkshire Pudding is still a popular dish in modern-day Britain and often makes an appearance at big Sunday dinners. In fact, many culinary historians refer to it as the national dish of England.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1773 – French astronomer, Charles Messier, discovered the first spherical galaxy… the Whirlpool Galaxy. Also known as Messier 51a, the galaxy is about 30 million light-years from Earth. A spiral galaxy is a type of galaxy where stars, gasses, and other cosmic dust particles rotate or revolve in a spiral around a central bulge. Astronomers think that the bulge consists of a black hole.
  • In 1792 – The cornerstone of the Executive Mansion was laid in Washington, DC. The office and residence of the President of the United States was designed by Irish architect James Hoban. It took 8 years to build and President John Adams became the first president to occupy the building on November 1, 1800. The building became known as the White House in 1818.
  • In 1843 – B’nai B’rith, the Jewish organization, was founded by Henry Jones and eleven others in New York City, NY.
  • In 1854 – The state of Texas ratified a state constitution.
  • In 1943 – During World War II, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies and declared war on Germany.
  • In 1951 – In Atlanta, GA, a football with a rubber covering was used for the first time. Georgia Tech beat Louisiana State 25-7.
  • In 1953 – An ultrasonic burglar alarm was patented by Samuel Bagno.
  • In 1957 – Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra introduced the Ford Edsel on an hour-long television special.
  • In 1958 – Paddington Bear made his debut. The popular children’s literature character first appeared in English author Michael Bond’s illustrated book, A Bear Called Paddington. Paddington is a polite Peruvian spectacle bear with a special fondness for marmalade. The success of the first book was followed by 20 more books featuring the lovable bear and a successful toy franchise.
  • In 1960 – The World Series ended on a home run for the first time. Bill Mazeroski’s home run allowed the Pirates to beat the Yankees.
  • In 1967 – The first game of the new American Basketball Association was played.
  • In 1989 – President George H.W. Bush called for an overthrow of the Panamanian ruler Manuel Antonio Noriega.
  • In 1990 – Le Duc Tho died at the age of 79. He was a co-founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
  • In 1992 – A commercial flight record was set by an Air France supersonic jetliner for circling the Earth in 33 hours and one minute.
  • In 1998 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) canceled regular season games, due to work stoppage, for the first time in its 51-year history.
  • In 1999 – The Senate rejected the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
  • In 2010 – The last of the miners trapped in the San José copper-gold mine were rescued near Copiapó, Chile after 69 days. The ordeal began on August 5, 2010, when the walls of the 121-year old mine collapsed and trapped 33 miners. All of the miners were rescued safely by the Chilean government with the help of the international community.
  • In 2012 – Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot at and injured. Official reports suggest that he was mistakenly shot by the military.

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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