October 16th – What’s the Word?

October 16, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning wordsmiths. Today is Monday, October 16, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Learn a Word Day

Having a well-rounded vocabulary is the key to successful communication, and Learn a Word Day is a good way to begin increasing your vocabulary. There are many websites from which you can choose that will give you a word each day to learn. Just search “word a day” or something similar in your preferred search engine, find one you like, and bookmark it so you can refer to it whenever you want. Heck, you can even get ‘alerts’ sent to your smartphone or another mobile device that will teach you “a word a day”.
My source gave no information about the origins or creators of this holiday, but from what I could glean from the article, Learn a Word Day is a holiday intended for Elementary School-aged children to encourage them to increase their vocabulary. But since many of my readers are already well into their ‘second childhood’ I say that we all should try to learn a new word today, and every day –regardless of our chronological age. Feel free to share the word you learned today in the comments.

Dictionary Day

And while we’re on the subject of words, Dictionary Day honors Noah Webster, born on this date in 1758. Noah Webster is considered the Father of the American Dictionary. Mr. Webster began to write his dictionary at the age of 43. It took him 27 years to finish it. In addition to traditional English vocabulary, it contained uniquely American words as well. His comprehensive work is considered to be the first dictionary of American English. It contained 70,000 words.
The goal of this holiday is to emphasize the importance of proper dictionary skills, and the importance of a good vocabulary. Everyone knows that a dictionary will give you the definition(s) of a word. But you would be surprised to know how few people realize how much more information is contained in a dictionary. In addition to its definition, a dictionary will tell you the proper spelling of a word, its etymology, its part of speech, its syllable breakdown, pronunciation, and much, much more. Mastering the use of a dictionary is one of the best ways to improve your communication skills, both verbal and written.
To celebrate Dictionary Day, curl up this evening with a good book — your dictionary!

National Department Store Day

Department Store Day is observed annually on this date and celebrates the innovative way that department stores have impacted shopping in our daily lives. None of my sources revealed any information regarding the creator(s) of this holiday.
Department stores came into existence in the early 19th–century and provided a safe, clean environment in which the burgeoning new middle class could shop. They combined services with retail goods and offered a revolutionary level of style and convenience. Many contained lunch counters where shoppers could take a break for a drink, snack, or lunch.
Because of the development of department stores, merchandising and sales became an art form. The brick and mortar stores were often magnificent pieces of architecture, with large clocks, brass, and statuary. Customer satisfaction was the cornerstone of department stores. Some departments filled entire floors, making grand escalators, elevators and plush seating a must.
Alas, times change. With urban sprawl and populations shifting to the suburbs, it often isn’t convenient to head downtown to shop at your local department store anymore. Department stores are rapidly being replaced by impersonal, cookie-cutter type “big box” stores. While these big box stores offer the same goods and services, they lack the character and customer-centric atmosphere of the department stores of yore. Additionally, the new popularity and convenience of online shopping are also leading to the decline of many department stores.
To celebrate Department Store Day, go out of your way to shop at an old-time department store today…if there is even a department store remaining in your community.

National Feral Cat Day (aka Global Cat Day)

National Feral Cat Day is observed on October 16 every year and was created in 2001 by Alley Cat Allies in conjunction with their 10th anniversary to raise awareness about feral cats, promote Trap-Neuter-Return programs, and recognize the millions of compassionate Americans who care for feral cats.
Cats have been domesticated nearly as long as dogs, and have lived alongside humans for over 10,000 years. Every nation in the world has domesticated cats living in homes that are cared for by their humans. Unfortunately, all too often some of these cats, for a variety of reasons, become separated from their human companions and have to survive on their own. Many of these cats wind up in over-crowded animal shelters and are eventually euthanized.
To celebrate National Feral Cat Day, urge your city to adopt a Trap-Neuter-Return policy rather than euthanization. And, of course, if you haven’t already, have your own cats spayed /neutered.
Author’s Note: Our neighborhood cat, Hobbes, seems content with her feral life…and why not?


She has 5 households that I know of who give her food, shelter, and human contact – to whatever level her mood dictates. She is well liked and has all her needs met…without any commitment.  Where do I sign up for that life?

International Adjust your Chair Day

International Adjust your Chair Day is observed annually on the third Monday of October and seeks to remind people of the potential risks of sitting in an improperly fitted chair…especially for long periods in your office at work, or while using your computer at home. Most people aren’t aware of the detrimental effects of sitting in a chair that is not ergonomically fitted to them. It can cause problems with posture and over a prolonged period of time can lead to spinal problems.
Experts agree that your chair is the single most important component of a healthy working environment. In fact, it is the item people should adjust first – even before adjusting their keyboard or monitor position. Basically, you should be able to sit comfortably in the chair, using as much of the chair back as possible for maximum support. The lumbar support should fit comfortably into the curve of your lower back, and your feet should be flat on the ground. The seat pan should be an appropriate size that allows at least one inch between your legs on either side of the chair and supports your legs without applying pressure to the back of your knees.
This link takes you to a website that gives you information about how to properly adjust your chair to your individual needs as well as steps you can take if you don’t have an adjustable chair. It includes tips for proper posture when sitting.
Celebrating International Adjust your Chair Day is as easy as adjusting your chair.

National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

While I’m on the subject of workspaces, today is also National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day. National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day is observed annually on the third Monday of October and urges us to take the time today to clean our virtual desktops.
Desktop, in the context of this holiday, refers to the desktop on your computer (what comes up when you start your computer each day)…not the actual space on which your computer and keyboard sit (you should be keeping that space clean and organized anyway to make your life easier).  In 2009, over 300 million computers were sold and there are well over 2 billion computers in use in the world today. If each person has an average of 10 unused icons on their desktop (which is a conservative estimate), that represents a staggering 338 acres of wasted virtual space on your desktop (the area of those tiny icons add up fast).
To celebrate National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day, think back to the day your computer was new and the desktop was clean and organized – before you began cluttering it with icons you seldom use now. Go through your icons individually, then take time to clean your desktop by eliminating any of those icons you no longer use. And, don’t stop there. If you no longer use the program, take the time to use the “add/remove programs” portion of the Control Panel (or whatever the Mac equivalent is) on your computer to uninstall the program to free up space on your hard drive.

National Liqueur Day

A liqueur is a strong alcoholic beverage that has been sweetened with herbs, fruits, nuts, cream, or spices. Liqueurs are traditionally served as after-dinner drinks or mixed with coffee.
The word “liqueur” comes from the Latin word “liquifacere,” which means “to dissolve or melt.” As early as 400 BC, the Egyptians and Greeks distilled wine to produce fortified spirits. They sweetened this concoction with cinnamon and honey—a combination that we still use today to create mead. In the thirteenth century, European monks and alchemists perfected the distillation process used to create liqueur. The liquid was primarily used for medicinal purposes.
Today, there are countless types and flavors of liqueur. Some of the most famous include Kahlúa, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Limoncello, Sambuca, and Jägermeister.

More Holidays   

On This Date   

  • In 1829 – In Boston, MA, the first modern hotel in America opened. The Tremont Hotel had 170 rooms that rented for $2 a day and included four meals.
  • In 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown led a raid on Harper’s Ferry, VA (now located in West Virginia).
  • In 1869 – A hotel in Boston became the first in the United States to install indoor plumbing.
  • In 1916 – Margaret Sanger opened the first birth-control clinic in New York City, NY.
  • In 1923 – Walt Disney contracted with M.J. Winkler to distribute the Alice Comedies. This event is recognized as the start of the Disney Company. A leader in the international entertainment industry, the company was created by brothers Walt and Roy as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. Today, the company is synonymous with cartoon and animated movies and characters.
  • In 1928 – Marvin Pipkin received a patent for the frosted electric light bulb.
  • In 1941 – The Nazis advanced to within 60 miles of Moscow. Romanians entered Odessa, USSR, and began exterminating 150,000 Jews.
  • In 1943 – Chicago’s new subway system was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
  • In 1945 – The Food and Agriculture Organization, popularly known as the FAO, was established in Quebec City, Canada.
  • In 1955 – Mrs. Jules Lederer replaced Ruth Crowley in newspapers using the name Ann Landers.
  • In 1964 – China detonated its first atomic bomb. The 22 kiloton uranium fission device was dropped at Lop Nur. With this test, China became the fifth nuclear power state in the World. The other four are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France. Israel is thought to have nuclear weapons, however, they do not publicly admit the fact.
  • In 1967 – NATO headquarters opened in Brussels.
  • In 1970 – Anwar Sadat was elected president of Egypt to succeed Gamal Abdel Nasser.
  • In 1973 – Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were named winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Vietnamese official declined the award.
  • In 1978 – Karol Józef Wojtyła, the Archbishop of Kraków, won the papal elections that were held after his predecessor Pope John Paul I died after only 33 days in office. As Pope, Wojtyła took on the name of John Paul II. He was the second-longest serving pope in modern history, after Pope Pius IX, who was in office for over 31 years. He was also the first non-Italian to win the Papacy since 1523.
  • In 1982 – China announced that it had successfully fired a ballistic missile from a submarine.
  • In 1986 – Italian Mountaineer, Reinhold Messner, scaled the Lhotse, in Nepal. It is the world’s 4th tallest peak, and it is one of the 14 eight-thousanders – mountains that are more than 8000 meters (26,247 feet) above sea level. With this climb, he became the first person to scale all 14 of the eight-thousanders.
  • In 1987 – Rescuers freed Jessica McClure from the abandoned well that she had fallen into in Midland, TX. The was trapped for 58 hours.
  • In 1989 – President George H.W. Bush signed the Gramm-Rudman budget reduction law that ordered federal programs be cut by $16.1 billion.
  • In 1993 – The United Nations Security Council approved the deployment of United States warships to enforce a blockade on Haiti to increase pressure on the controlling military leaders.
  • In 2002 – The Arthur Andersen accounting firm was sentenced to five years probation and fined $500,000 for obstructing a federal investigation of the energy company Enron.

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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