July 17th – Yellow Pig Day

July 17, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning math majors. Today is Monday, July 17, 2017. The holidays today are:

Yellow Pig Day 

If you’re like me, you are probably wondering “what the heck is Yellow Pig Day”? This holiday dates back to the 1960’s when two math students at Princeton, Michael Spivak, and David C. Kelly, were given an assignment to analyze the properties of the number 17. Thinking about the number 17 for so long drove them a bit nuts, (as one might imagine), so they came up with the idea of a mythical yellow pig. The yellow pig had seventeen toes, seventeen teeth, seventeen eyelashes, etc. Later, Kelly lectured and developed classes around it. Spivak published several mathematic texts, while not based upon it, does subtly reference the number 17 and Yellow Pig.
Today, mathematicians in colleges and universities all across the country celebrate Yellow Pig Day by eating Yellow Pig Cake and singing Yellow Pig Carols. And of course, the festivities always take place on the 17th day of July. This is not a holiday for the unimaginative, so let your imagination run wild today. Find your own unique way to celebrate this holiday. Just be sure to include the number 17, and yellow pigs, into your festivities. The references to these things can be obscure; for instance, you could use Chinese policemen to represent your Yellow Pigs. Have fun.

Get Out of the Doghouse Day

Get Out of the Doghouse Day is celebrated on the third Monday in July each year. It is a holiday to mend fences and move forward in your relationships.
Generally, when you are “in the dog house”, you have fallen out of favor with someone, usually your spouse or significant other. However, you can also be “in the dog house” with a friend or your boss at work. National Get Out of the Dog House Day is an opportunity to use all those good clichés and get you back in the big house where you belong.
The best way to get out of the doghouse is to start a dialogue…and no, don’t send an email or text or another form of electronic media. A face to face or hand written apology is best. Meet at a favorite coffee-house. Listen to what the other person has to say and do not be defensive. Find out why you are “in the doghouse” and try to figure out how you can repair the relationship.

Wrong Way Corrigan Day 

Wrong Way Corrigan Day celebrates the anniversary of the date, in 1938, on which aviation pioneer Douglas Corrigan flew the wrong direction from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York. His stated destination was Long Beach, California, but instead, he landed at Baldonnel Aerodrome, County Dublin, Ireland.
He claimed his unauthorized flight was due to a navigational error, caused by heavy cloud cover that obscured landmarks and low-light conditions, causing him to misread his compass. However, he was a skilled aircraft mechanic (he was one of the builders of Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis) and had made several modifications to his own plane, preparing it for a transatlantic flight. He had previously been denied permission to make a nonstop flight from New York to Ireland because his self-built aircraft had been deemed “not airworthy for a transatlantic flight” by the Bureau of Air Commerce, and his “navigational error” was seen as deliberate. Nevertheless, he never publicly admitted to having flown to Ireland intentionally.
Corrigan’s “error” caught the imagination of the American public and inspired many jokes. The nickname “Wrong Way’ Corrigan” passed into common use and is still mentioned (or used as satire) when someone has the reputation for taking the wrong direction.

World Emoji Day

In 2014, Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge created World Emoji Day. The date of July 17 has been the date featured on the iconic red and black Apple’s iOS calendar emoji since its launch in 2002.
An emoji is a Japanese expression which roughly means “picture word” and was developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita. While working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, Kurita design these picture words as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens. When Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, an emoji keyboard was embedded to nab the Japanese market. While not intended for American users to find, they did and quickly figured out how to use it.
Every year new emojis (both emoji and emojis are acceptable plural forms of the word) are developed. Emojipedia.org keeps track of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. Currently, there are over 1800 emojis covering much more than just emotions. From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather, and bodily functions emojis virtually speak for themselves.

National Peach Ice Cream Day

You don’t need a college degree to figure out what Peach Ice Cream Day celebrates. Peaches are one of the favorite fruits and are in season right now. People wait about 48 weeks for the peach harvest to ripen. And, when it does, for a few short weeks, it’s  “peach everything” and ice cream is no exception. In celebration of the harvest, many ice cream companies make peach ice cream. It’s hard to find other times of the year. Most major ice cream makers only produce it during the summer.
The ‘scoop’ is that today is a ‘peachy’ day to enjoy some cool, refreshing peach ice cream; in any form you desire…cup, cone, shake – the choice is yours.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1821 – Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
  • In 1862 – National cemeteries were authorized by the Congress.
  • In 1866 – Authorization was given to build a tunnel beneath the Chicago River. The three-year project cost $512,709.
  • In 1867 – Harvard School of Dental Medicine was established in Boston, MA. It was the first dental school in the United States.
  • In 1898 – United States troops under General William R. Shafter took Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War.
  • In 1917 – The British royal family adopted the Windsor name.
  • In 1941 – Brigadier General Somervell directed Architect G. Edwin Bergstrom to have basic plans and architectural perspectives for an office building that could house 40,000 War Department employees on his desk by the following Monday morning. The building became known as the Pentagon.
  • In 1941 – The longest hitting streak in baseball history ended when the Cleveland Indians pitchers held New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio hitless for the first time in 57 games.
  • In 1945 – The Potsdam Conference began. The heads of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the USSR met in Potsdam to discuss the terms of the German and Japanese surrenders, and to make post-war plans.
  • In 1954 – The Brooklyn Dodgers made history as the first team with a majority of black players.
  • In 1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA. The popular theme park (aka “The Happiest Place on Earth”) was opened by Walt Disney.
  • In 1960 – Francis Gary Powers pled guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court after his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.
  • In 1975 – An Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit. It was the first link up between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • In 1976 – Indonesia annexed East Timor and declared it as its 27th province. This was the culmination of an 8-month long Indonesian invasion and occupation of the Southeast Asian country that began just after East Timor declared its independence from Portugal in November of 1975.
  • In 1987 – Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Rear Admiral John Poindexter begin testifying to Congress at the “Iran-Contra” hearings.
  • In 1989 – The Stealth Bomber made its debut. The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit made its first public flight from Palmdale, California.
  • In 1997 – After 117 years, the Woolworth Corporation closed its last 400 stores.
  • In 1998 – The Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted. The ICC is the first international judicial body that has the power to try individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
  • In 2009 – Journalistic icon Walter Cronkite died from a Cerebrovascular disease at the age of 92.

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.

July 16th – World Ssssnake Day

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

Good morning herpetologists. Today is Sunday, July 16, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

World Snake Day

Snakes have had a bad reputation ever since that whole Garden of Eden fiasco way back when…you know when mankind was doomed to mortality because some lowly snake-in-the-grass tricked that innocent, naive young woman into sampling the forbidden fruit. Snakes have fascinated civilizations worldwide for millennia, and are one of the oldest characters in mythology.
There are about 3,458 known species of snakes living in almost every climatological region, ranging from the semi-frozen tundra of northern Canada to the steamy jungles of the equator and in most of the world’s oceans. Snakes are highly effective predators and play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature in each of these ecosystems. Snakes are also fascinating in that they have a pre historic lineage, thus giving us a glimpse back to a prehistoric time when the earth was ruled by reptiles — snakes are, after all, the living, breathing cousins of dinosaurs.
World Snake Day was created to help people learn more about snakes and the vital role they play in the balance of nature. Fortunately, snakes are not widely hunted, but their numbers are dwindling due to deforestation and climate change causing the deterioration of their habitats and a declining amount of available prey.
Snakes range in size from several inches to 30 feet long, and while some are friendly and docile others are aggressive and deadly. It seems that people are most fascinated by the snakes that do them the most harm; the King Cobra, the largest venomous snake in the world; the Rattlesnake, the fastest striking poisonous snake in the world; and the Reticulated Python, the world’s longest snake, that hugs its prey to death.
Snake Factoids:

  1. Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica.
  2. Snakes live in a variety of topographical areas; mountains, forests, fields, prairies, deserts, and even in rivers and oceans.
  3. Snakes eat many different animals including insects, small rodents, and frogs. Larger snakes can even eat small deer, pigs, monkeys, and even primates.
  4. Snakes eat their prey whole because their lower jaw can separate from the upper jaw.
  5. Snakes rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. They spend as long in the warm sun as they need to in order to get warm, and when they become too warm, they find shade to cool off.
  6. Snakes are generally not aggressive unless they are hunting or feel like they need to defend themselves.
  7. Snakes shed their skin three to six times a year.
  8. Snakes use a variety of techniques defend themselves, including camouflage, biting and envenoming those they feel are threatening them. Most often, though, they simply curl up in a tight ball and hope not to be seen.

Guinea Pig Appreciation Day

The Guinea Pig is one of the world’s longest domesticated animals, having been domesticated in South America for about 5000 years. They are among the most beloved pets in America.
Guinea Pig Appreciation Day highlights the positive aspects of owning Guinea Pigs as pets. They are some of the most loving and attentive pets you can own, and relatively easy to care for.
While we normally think of Guinea Pigs as adorable little pets, in Peru, they are considered a delicacy…much in the way we regard Filet Mignon or Lobster. In 2014, Peruvians consumed 11 tons of these cute, cuddly little critters.

National Personal Chef’s Day 

National Personal Chef Day is observed each year on this date and was created by the United States Personal Chef Association. This holiday celebrates the dedication and hard work of personal chefs across the United States who prepare delicious meals for households, seniors and in many other settings. It honors the personal chefs who provide delicious, affordable, custom-designed meals from fresh ingredients on a regular basis that may be enjoyed in the comfort of the client’s own home.
A personal chef prepares meals in clients’ home kitchens, based on the client’s needs and preferences. A personal chef may also prepare dinner parties and other special events. A personal chef differs from a private chef in that the private chef is employed exclusively by one client and may even live in the clients home.

National Ice Cream Day 

National Ice Cream Day celebrates one of America’s favorite treats, ice cream, DUH!  In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month, and at the same time, he also designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.
Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire put snow in a bowl, poured grape-juice over it and ate it as a treat. When the weather was hot, they used the snow saved in the cool underground chambers known as “yakhchal”, or taken from the snowfall that remained at the top of mountains.
It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.
When you get the urge for a snack on a hot summer day, nothing satisfies it like ice cream. There are hundreds of possible flavor and topping combinations, so the only problem you’ll have in celebrating this holiday is deciding which to choose. If it weren’t for all that sugar, and all of those pesky calories, you could almost consider ice cream to be a health food. Its two main ingredients, milk, and eggs are quite nutritious on their own.
Below are a few Ice cream factoids:

  • Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream.
  • First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball in 1813.
  • In 1832, African-American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • In 1843, Philadelphian Nancy Johnson received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri is credited with inventing the ice cream cone. On July 23, 1904, at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, he filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream to make the first ice cream cone. [There is some controversy over this claim. Italo Marchiony of New York City filed a patent for the ice cream cone months before the fair opened. And, he was selling lemon ice in cones as early as 1896].
  • In 1920, Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.

So, whether you have your ice cream in a cup or in a cone, in a sundae or a banana split, as a milk shake or a float, make sure to visit your local ice cream shop today to get some cold, delicious ice cream. Also, keep an eye out for special ice cream events and freebies that may be happening in your area.
Author’s Note
: For my readers who still reside in Bakersfield, I see a trip to Dewar’s in your immediate future.

National Corn Fritters Day 

Corn fritters are sweet or savory bites of fried or baked corn batter; a mixture made with corn, egg, flour, milk, and melted butter. They can be eaten alone or served as a side dish, and often they are served with syrup, jam, or dusted with powdered sugar. You can also make them savory by adding peppers, onions, or herbs to the batter. I guess that how you make them depends on what you are serving them with. Although corn fritters originated in the American south, other countries have similar dishes.
Corn fritters are often confused with Johnnycakes (a type of cornmeal flatbread) or hush puppies (savory ball-shaped cornbread bites). Corn Fritters, contain corn kernels but are made with a flour-based batter. Here is a recipe if you want to celebrate National Corn Fritters Day at home today.

National Fresh Spinach Day

Spinach is a super food. It is high in iron and low in calories. Spinach is also a great source of fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamins C and A. Spinach helps build muscle (just ask Popeye) and it helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Some even believe that eating spinach on a regular basis can help reduce brain damage due to natural aging.
National Fresh Spinach Day urges you to give fresh spinach a try — Buy it from the produce section, don’t even think about getting it from the frozen foods or canned goods aisle.
Americans seem to have a love/hate relationship with spinach – some love it and some hate it. I happen to fall into the love category. My favorite way to prepare spinach is to steam it in lemon water until it just starts to wilt, then sprinkle a little lemon juice over the top before serving.

On This Date

  • In 1790 – The District of Columbia, or Washington, DC, was established as the permanent seat of the United States Government.
  • In 1862 – David G. Farragut became the first Rear-Admiral in the United States Navy.
  • In 1912 – Bradley A. Fiske patented the airplane torpedo.
  • In 1926 – The first underwater color photographs appeared in “National Geographic” magazine. The pictures had been taken near the Florida Keys.
  • In 1935 – Oklahoma City became the first city in the United States to use parking meters.
  • In 1942 – French police officers rounded up 13,000 Jews and held them in the Winter Velodrome. The round-up was part of an agreement between Pierre Laval and the Nazis. Germany had agreed to not deport French Jews if France arrested foreign Jews.
  • In 1945 – The United States detonated the first atomic bomb in a test at Alamogordo, NM.
  • In 1950 – The largest crowd in sporting history was 199,854. They watched the Uruguay defeat Brazil in the World Cup soccer finals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • In 1951 – J.D. Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye” was first published. The novel is considered to be one of the top 100 works of fiction of the 20th century.
  • In 1957 – Marine Major John Glenn set a transcontinental speed record when he flew a jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds.
  • In 1964 – Little League Baseball Incorporated was granted a Federal Charter unanimously by the United States Senate and House of Representatives.
  • In 1969 – Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, FL, and began the first manned mission to the moon.
  • In 1979 – 1979 Iraqi president, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr resigned. The fourth president of Iraq resigned from his post citing health reasons and promoted his Vice President, Saddam Hussein to the post of President.
  • In 1981 – After 23 years with the name Datsun, executives of Nissan changed the name of their cars to Nissan.
  • In 1981 – Mahathir Bin Mohamed took office for the first time. Mohamed took office as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia and remained in the position until 2003, becoming Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister and Asia’s longest-serving politician.
  • In 1995 – Amazon.com Sold its first book. The e-commerce website was first founded in 1995 by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore. The first book sold by the Internet giant was Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter.

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.

July 15th – Horse Honorific

July 15, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning equine aficionados. Today is Saturday, July 15, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

I Love Horses Day

I Love Horses Day celebrates mankind’s long-standing relationship horses, and there is much about horses for humans to love. Their loyalty and devotion throughout history is only a small part of why we love them.
Horses have not only provided transportation, they have cleared fields, hauled freight, fought wars, helped herd cattle and provided companionship on those long lonely trails. They were a cornerstone to survival in this burgeoning nation.
There are over 200 different breeds of horses, each with their own unique attributes. At 17 hands (or about 5′ 9″ at the shoulder), the tallest breed of horse is the Shire. The tiny Falabella, which grows to only 8 hands (or about 2′ 9″ at the shoulder) is the smallest breed of horse. The quarter horse, named for its speed on a short track, is one three fastest breeds of horses. Thoroughbreds follow quarter horses for their speed in longer distances, and Arabians outlast both breeds for endurance on the longest races.
There is no documentation available about the creator(s) of this holiday, or why it is celebrated today, but the reason is obvious…who doesn’t appreciate these noble beasts?

National Respect Canada Day 

For some reason, Canada doesn’t get much respect here in America. Our Canadian friends are often ridiculed as bumpkins and “not as sophisticated as we Americans”. They are the brunt of many jokes, and there is even a song entitled “Blame Canada”.  National Respect Canada Day Attempts to correct this common misconception and extols the many virtues of Canada. Below are but a few of them:

  • Most Canadians are polite.
  • Canadians are great at giving directions.
  • Canada is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
  • Canada invented cable TV.
  • Canada also invented Hockey, and maybe even basketball.
  • Canada has some of the best fishing and hunting North America has to offer.
  • Canada has more drinkable water than anywhere else in the world (right out of the brook, not the bottle).
  • Canada has a great education system.
  • Canada has one of the best infrastructures in the world; including their ice roads.
  • Women in Ontario, Canada can walk around topless; legally.

So, let’s give our neighbors to the north a little respect today, eh.

National Woodie Wagon Day

Woodie Wagons, aka Woodies, came into existence in the 1940’s due to the shortage of steel during WWII. Steel was being salvaged for the war effort, so car manufacturers turned to wood as a replacement. The wood was placed along the sides of the ‘wagon’ to add structural support, but it also gave these wagons a unique aesthetic. Woodies became quite popular in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and became an iconic part of the American landscape. But, beginning in the latter part of the 1950’s their popularity began to wane, and as the demand decreased and the prices dropped, woodies gained a new generation of aficionados… surfers, who started buying them because they were relatively cheap, and could haul their surfboards – and the woodie revival was born. Today, they are quite rare and if you can find one in good shape, you’ll have to pay a hefty price for it.

Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day

Toss Away the “Could Haves” and “Should Haves” Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in July. It is the brainchild of author and motivational speaker Martha J. Ross-Rodgers.
This holiday urges you to let go of the past and live for the present. Find a paper and pen, write down your “could haves” and “should haves” and then throw the list away. Once you’ve done that, make the following resolution:

“From this day forward, I choose not to live in the past. The past is history that I can not change. I can do something about the present; I choose to live in the present.”

Begin taking care of yourself and your health and start living for the “now”. Do your best to make each and every day count.
To celebrate, let go of the things that have burdened you and live in the present.

Factoid: The use of “hands” in measuring horses dates back to ancient Egypt. Originally, a “hand” was the measurement of a man’s clenched fist, but as people’s hands vary in size, this was not really an accurate measurement. As a result, the “hand” was standardized to 4-inches. A horse is measured from the ground to the top of its withers…or shoulders if you want to use a more familiar human comparison to human anatomy.

Pet Fire Safety Day

In 2009, the Kennel Club and ADT Security Services joined together to create Pet Fire Safety Day. The idea behind the event is to make pet owners aware of the hazards their beloved cat, dog, or other animals could pose in the home with regard to fire. Many fires are caused by pets, especially when they are left alone in a property. The intention is to highlight the dangers so owners can help in preventing them.
Pet owners should take advantage of this holiday to creates an emergency plan regarding their pets in the event of a disaster.
Here are a few of the Kennel Club’s guidelines:

  • Extinguish open flames. Pets are curious and certainly not cautious. Wagging tails can accidentally knock over candles. Consider flameless candles for ambiance and backup lighting in the event of a power outage.
  • Keep leashes and collars stored near the entrance of your home. When away, have your pets in the main living area for easy rescue.
  • Secure young pets when away from home. This can help avoid fire hazards. Pet kennels or in a pet-proofed room are options.
  • Pet notice alerts placed in windows help make firefighters aware that there are pets in the home, the number of pets and identify the room in which your pets are located.  Add one to the window of the room you keep your pets when you are away. Keep it updated with the number of pets who live with you and your current phone number.
  • Have a plan when you are home. Know which family members will be responsible for each pet.

Make your pet safety plans today.

Be a Dork Day 

Omitting the dictionary reference to the word dork being a synonym for male genitalia, in today’s vernacular, it is generally accepted that a dork is a silly, out-of-touch person who tends to look odd or behave ridiculously around others; a social misfit; someone who is socially or physically inept.
Be a Dork Day allows you to shrug off the conventions of the norm, and dress and act as goofy as you want. Don’t make a conscious effort to ‘fit in’. Don’t worry about what other people may think. Dance like no one is watching. Wear that Hawaiian shirt to work. Wear your sandals with white socks. Take out your contact lenses and wear your coke-bottle glasses (if the nose bridge is taped, all the better).
For some of you this holiday will be a non-event because all you have to do is dress and act naturally (you know who you are), but for the rest of us, Be a Dork Day is a holiday to throw caution to the wind and embrace our ‘inner dork’.
(I think that last sentence just made me a dork, so my job is done). Have fun!

Give Something Away Day

Most of us have closets, basements, garages, attics and sometimes whole sheds full of stuff we never use. Give Something Away Day urges us to cull through these treasure troves and share our bounty with those less fortunate. Give away any coats, shirts, pants, shoes, etc that you no longer need.
If you can’t bear to part with any of your mementos, then a good alternative is buying a meal for someone in need, donating to a local food pantry, or volunteering at a soup kitchen. Something as simple as paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line would qualify. Whether you choose to give away material possessions, money, or your time, give something away today.
National Give Something Away Day is the brainchild of Linda Eaton Hall-Fulcher. The Registrar at National Day Calendar declared National Give Something Away Day to be observed annually on July 15.

Saint Swithin’s Day 

Saint Swithin’s Day Honors St. Swithin. St. Swithin (pronounced Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.
An old English tradition of watching the weather on this date began as an old wives tale that whatever the weather is like on July 15th (St. Swithin’s Day), so will it be for the next 40 days. Legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out-of-doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to the legend, there was a heavy rainstorm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary. This led to the old wives’ tale (folklore) that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.
This, of course, is balderdash. Meteorologists have tested this theory many times, and in all instances, this old wives tale was proven false. However, the wives tale dates back to the 10th century, and who can say for sure that it wasn’t, in fact, true back then. Weather patterns change over the centuries. What was once the “Garden of Eden” is now a vast desert wasteland.
So, what will your next forty days be like?

Orange Chicken Day

Orange chicken is a common dish at many North American Chinese restaurants and is a favorite of their patrons. Starting with chicken that’s been battered and fried, it is then tossed in an orange-flavored chili sauce and then is stir-fried, letting the sauce thicken to a glaze. It was created in China during the Hunan era and continues to be a popular dish today.
However, there was one period in the past when the orange chicken wasn’t actually made from chicken. During the 1600’s there was a plague in northern China that killed off large portions of the chicken population. Out of desperation (and a love of orange chicken), the people there had to find new meats to use in their orange chicken dish. Beef was the most common meat used at the time, but just about any form of meat could be used to make this coveted dish. Thankfully, southern China wasn’t affected and had no trouble at all.
As you might expect, the best way to celebrate Orange Chicken Day is to enjoy some Orange Chicken. The easiest way is to patronize your favorite Chinese restaurant for either a dine-in or take-out treat, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try to make the dish yourself at home. There are myriad recipes available online.

Gummi Worm Day

Gummi Worm Day celebrates that sweet, gummy, yummy treat; Gummi worms. They were created in 1981 by the German company, Trolli. However, Gummi worms were not the first Gummi candy ever made. Gummi worms were preceded by another favorite treat, Gummi bears, by about 60 years. The Gummi bear was created by Hans Riegel, the founder of Haribo. It was named because of its rubber-like texture. In fact, “gummi” means “rubber” in German.
These creepy, crawly treats now exist in many different flavors. So enjoy a few Gummi worms as a treat today.

National Tapioca Pudding Day

Late last month, we celebrated National Tapioca Day where I covered the many other uses for tapioca. National Tapioca Pudding Day celebrates, specifically, tapioca pudding.
There are many flavors of pudding made with tapioca, but by far the most widely recognized is vanilla. Tapioca pudding was once as popular as rice pudding and was served in school lunchrooms. With the increase in popularity of “instant puddings” in the latter half of the 20th century, the popularity of tapioca pudding waned. However, because of its digestibility, tapioca pudding is still recommended by doctors for children, the elderly, and people with digestive disorders.
Whether or not you have a digestive disorder, enjoy some tapioca pudding today. Like mom’s chicken soup, “it couldn’t hoit”.

National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day

National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day has been celebrated on the third Saturday in July each year since 2013. In July of 2010, Maple River Winery in historic downtown Casselton, North Dakota, received the Double Gold Award at the Indy International Wine Competition for its Strawberry Rhubarb Wine.
There was some controversy surrounding awarding the Double Gold Award to Strawberry Rhubarb Wine. After all, rhubarb is a vegetable and doesn’t belong in a wine. Although rhubarb is a tart perennial vegetable, when it is combined with strawberries, it has a unique flavor that some consider the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness. And since a New York court decided in 1947 that “rhubarb was sometimes used in the United States as a fruit, for the purposes of regulation and duties, it was to be counted as a fruit” the award stood. Based on the popularity of the Strawberry Rhubarb Wine and the significance of the Double Gold Award being presented in July, the Registrar at National Day Calendar declared the 3rd Saturday in July as National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day in 2013.
Summer days were meant for enjoying a nice chilled glass of wine, so why not make it a glass Strawberry Rhubarb wine. It has a smooth and fruity taste perfect for a lazy summer day.

On this date

  • In 1799 – The Rosetta Stone was found. The ancient Egyptian rock inscribed with a decree by King Ptolemy V was found in the Egyptian port city of Rashid (Rosetta) by French Captain Pierre Bouchard.
  • In 1806 – Lieutenant Zebulon Pike began his western expedition from Fort Belle Fontaine, near St. Louis, MO.
  • In 1870 – Georgia became the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.
  • In 1876 – George Washington Bradley of St. Louis pitched the first no-hitter in baseball in a 2-0 win over Hartford.
  • In 1904 – The first Buddhist temple in the U.S. was established in Los Angeles, CA.
  • In 1916 – In Seattle, WA, Pacific Aero Products was incorporated by William Boeing. The company was later renamed, Boeing.
  • In 1922 – The first duck-billed platypus arrived in America, direct from Australia. It was exhibited at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
  • In 1955 – The Mainau Declaration was signed by 18 Nobel laureates. The declaration against the use of nuclear weapons was initiated by German scientists Otto Hahn and Max Born.
  • In 1965 – The spacecraft Mariner IV sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars.
  • In 1968 – Commercial air travel began between the United States and the U.S.S.R., when the first plane, a Soviet Aeroflot jet, landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York.
  • In 1971 – President Nixon announced he would visit the People’s Republic of China to seek a “normalization of relations.”
  • In 1973 – Nolan Ryan (California Angels) became the first pitcher in two decades to pitch two no-hitters in a season.
  • In 1983 – A Turkish Airlines check-in counter was bombed at the Orly Airport in Paris, killing 8 people and injuring more than 50 people. The Armenian militant organization ASALA took responsibility for the attack.
  • In 1987 – Taiwan ended thirty-seven years of martial law.
  • In 1994 – Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 collided with Jupiter. It was the first time in recorded history that Astronomers were able to observe a collision between two celestial objects.
  • In 1996 – MSNBC was launched. The news television channel was created by Microsoft and General Electric’s NBC unit. The first show of the channel was hosted by Jodi Applegate.

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.

July 14th – Au Natural

July 14, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning nature buffs. Today is Friday, July 14, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

National Nude Day 

National Nude day is not a public holiday…but it is a holiday to celebrate the human form in public.
National Nude Day was created by a group of college students in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1976. Since then, it has grown to become an international holiday. There are many clothing optional beaches and resorts worldwide. If you live near one of these, there might be special events scheduled today, so, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can check them out.
If you’re like me, you probably won’t be celebrating National Nude Day…at least not in the context of parading around nude in public. However, you can use this holiday to examine your body in front of a mirror to check for any abnormalities – which could be indicators of possible medical conditions; such as moles that are changing color, which could be a warning sign of skin cancer. Ladies, use this holiday to perform a self-examination for signs of breast cancer.

Shark Awareness Day

The start of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is a little more than a week away. Couple that with the recent sightings of Great White sharks along the California coast, and Shark Awareness Day couldn’t be more topical.
Sharks are truly impressive hunters and predators, yet the fact remains that these magnificent creatures are more threatened by people than we are by sharks. The worldwide demand for shark-fin soup, shark-tooth medallions, and a false sense of security on beaches everywhere, all combine to leave sharks persecuted and endangered, with millions of them being killed each year.
Sharks are feared by humans because of their ferocious looks, but in actuality, the chances of your being attacked by a shark are quite slim. Statistically, there are many other things about which you should worry. I have compiled a list of a dozen things that kill more people annually than do sharks.

  1. Being attacked by a hippopotamus.
  2. Being attacked by a cow.
  3. Hitting a deer with your car.
  4. Falling out of bed.
  5. Having a vending machine fall on you.
  6. Texting while driving.
  7. Being struck by a falling coconut.
  8. Being scalded by too-hot tap water.
  9. Falling off a ladder.
  10. Being struck by an errant champagne cork.
  11. Falling icicles.
  12. Autoerotic asphyxiation.

The purpose of Shark Awareness Day is to highlight the plight of these denizens of the deep and find ways to humanely coexist with them. Like top predators in any ecosystem, sharks play an essential role in keeping the seas healthy and productive.
While no-one is suggesting that you go out and hug a Great White to celebrate Shark Awareness Day, the least you can do to respect these wonderful creatures and leave them alone whenever possible.

Pandemonium Day 

The dictionary defines Pandemonium as “wild and noisy disorder or confusion, uproar.”
Pandemonium Day is a day of sheer bedlam and utter chaos. It is a day to break the shackles of convention and adherence to the ‘norm’ and wreak as much havoc as possible – within the bounds of the law, naturally.
Pandemonium day was established to help free us from all the stuffiness of living a structured, overly scheduled life. Instead, create a little pandemonium in your life: some random madness and spontaneous acts that will bring you new adventures, experiences, and memories. Free yourself from preconceptions, free yourself from expectations, free yourself from ‘have to’ and ‘should’, and let yourself be free. Life was meant to be lived to the fullest, not stuffed into a cubicle in some drab office or on some noisy assembly line according to someone else’s pre-determined plan. While order has its place, it is not the foundation of a life fully lived.

Bastille Day 

The Bastille was a stronghold constructed in Paris in the 14th century. In fact, the word “bastille” means “fortress” in French. During his reign, Louis XVI used it as a prison and the structure became a symbol of his power.
Bastille Day is the French equivalent of Independence Day here in America. It marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 when Parisians stormed the Bastille prison and released the prisoners inside. It celebrates the end of the constitutional monarchy and the beginning of the democratic republic of France. To Frenchmen, Bastille Day is viewed as their day of liberation.
Although Bastille Day is not a holiday celebrated here in America, the homogeneous makeup of American society means that some of you can trace your lineage back to France. To me, like the 4th of July, it symbolizes the triumph of freedom over tyranny.

National Tape Measure Day

“Measure twice, cut once” has added significance on National Tape Measure Day.
On this date in 1868, Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut was granted a patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures”, which outlined the plans for the first retractable tape measure…and the lives of carpenters, electricians, seamstresses and countless other tradesmen and craftsmen was made much easier.
The first recorded use of the tape measure goes back to the Romans, utilizing marked strips of leather. Before Fellow’s patent, Englishman James Chesterman designed a steel measuring tape, but it was expensive for its time. At $17 in 1853, it is equal to over $300 in today. It was also big and bulky and not likely to fit in a pocket or even a toolbox for that matter. Fellow’s patent was an improvement on Chesterman’s design.
The tape measures that we know and love today come in a wide array of sizes, colors, and materials. They range in size from smaller than the palm of your hand to bigger lengths of 300+ feet. They are used for anything from DIY projects at home, by contractors and in construction and at a lower price. They are a staple in almost every household.
You don’t have to be a master craftsman to celebrate National Tape Measure Day – simply measure something around your house. How far is it from your recliner to the TV?

Collector Car Appreciation Day

America’s has a time-tested love affair with the automobile. In 2010, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) petitioned Congress to create a holiday to recognize the importance of the automobile in American culture and acknowledge the automobile’s contributions to music, literature, photography, cinema, fashion and other artistic pursuits. Senate Resolution S. Res 513, sponsored by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) was passed and the first Collector Car Appreciation Day was celebrated on July 9th of 2010.
Since then it has become an annual event, though, for some reason, the dates vary from year to year, and different communities celebrate this holiday on different dates. However, Collector Car Appreciation Day is always celebrated in the first half of July. Events include car shows and car “cruises”, among many other events. Check your community’s “events calendar” for events in your area.

National Mac and Cheese Day

National Mac and Cheese Day celebrates, for some strange reason, Mac & Cheese…one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Made with macaroni noodles, cream or milk, and the golden goodness of cheese, Mac & Cheese can serve as a side dish but can also double as a main dish as well. There are myriad recipes for Mac & Cheese available online. You can make classic Mac & Cheese with cheddar or American cheeses or add other ingredients like ham, bacon, peppers, or literally any other ingredient you want. There’s a combination for everyone.  Mix up the cheeses or load up on seasonings, set the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of the cooking time and let the cheese get a nice toasty crust.
To celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day, make some Mac & Cheese. [Even that plasticine stuff in the box is acceptable, although not necessarily palatable, today].

National Grand Marnier Day 

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored brandy liqueur created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. It is made from a blend of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar. It is 40% alcohol (80 proof). It can be consumed “neat” as a cordial and can also be used in mixed drinks. Grand Marnier is also used in a long list of desserts including liquor cream buns, Yule log, cranberry sauce, Crepes Suzette and Grand Marnier souffle creme brulee’. Additionally, Grand Marnier is used in the sauce of the savory roasted duck dish, “Canard a l’Orange” (or in America, Duck a l’Orange).

Another Holiday

On this date

  • In 1789 – The storming of the Bastille took place. Bastille, a prison housing only 7 prisoners at the time, was stormed by a crowd calling for the closure of the prison. The storming became the central event of the French Revolution
  • In 1798 – Congress passed the Sedition Act. The act made it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.
  • In 1868 – Alvin J. Fellows patented the tape measure.
  • In 1911 – Harry N. Atwood landed an airplane on the lawn of the White House to accept an award from President William Taft.
  • In 1914 – Robert H. Goddard patented liquid rocket fuel.
  • In 1933 – All German political parties except the Nazi Party were outlawed.
  • In 1946 – Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” was first published.
  • In 1951 – The George Washington Carver National Monument in Joplin, MO became the first national park to honor an African-American.
  • In 1957 – First female parliamentarian in the Arab world was elected to office. Egyptian Rawya Ateya became the first woman to be elected to the National Assembly of Egypt.
  • In 1958 – A coup began in Iraq. Abd al-Karim Qasim, a brigadier in the Iraqi Army staged a military coup in Iraq, overthrowing the Hashemite monarchy. The Iraqi King Faisal II, the Crown Prince Abd al-Ilah, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Said were assassinated during the coup. Qasim took over the position of Prime Minister, which he held until 1963. The coup also led to the dissolution of the Arab Federation of Jordan and Iraq.
  • In 1965 – The American space probe Mariner 4 flew by Mars and sent back photographs of the planet. The American spacecraft was the first to take pictures of another planet and send them back to Earth.
  • In 1981 – The All-Star Game was postponed because of a 33-day-old baseball players strike. The game was held on August 9.
  • In 2003 – Jerry Springer officially filed papers to run for the Senate representing Ohio.
  • In 2016 – A terrorist attack in Nice, France killed 85 and injured more than 300 other people. The attack took place during Bastille Day celebrations when a 19-ton truck was driven into the crowd. The attacker was eventually shot by the police.

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.

 

July 13th – Geeks Are People Too

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

Preface: It must be noted that in my humble opinion, all of the holidays, historical events, and prominent births mentioned in today’s post pale in comparison to the one singularly obscure, yet iconic event which occurred early on a Sunday morning in Bakersfield, California at Mercy Hospital on this date 70 years ago at 5:45 am, when yours truly was born — And the world was forever changed.

Good morning geeks. Today is Thursday, July 13, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Embrace Your Geekness Day 

Before we can “embrace our geekness”, I guess that we should first define what a geek really is. The word geek has evolved over the centuries. Originally a Middle English pejorative term for a circus performer or a performer in a freak show, the word geek eventually came to mean a fool, a silly or odd person. In today’s vernacular, the word geek is often still used as a pejorative, but now, the term is also used by “geeks” themselves without malice or as a source of pride. Its meaning has evolved to refer to “someone who is interested in a subject (usually intellectual or complex) for its own sake”. The term can apply to anyone who is proficient in their chosen field but who lacks social skills because of their total immersion into it.
There are many categories of geeks, such as science geeks, math geeks, computer geeks, history geeks, and gaming geeks just to name a few. In Silicon Valley parlance, a geek is a software or hardware engineer. Once relegated to research departments, laboratories, and support functions, the technology boom has elevated many geeks from the stockroom to the boardroom. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg immediately come to mind. Be careful, that geek you gave a ‘wedgie’ to in high school might one day hold your financial future in his hands.
Embrace Your Geekness Day celebrates those intelligent, technically proficient; yet socially awkward people known as geeks. Everyone has that one thing that they can do better than virtually anyone else and Embrace Your Geekness Day allows you to flaunt that talent. So get in touch with your “inner geek” today and let the world beware.
Author’s Note: A geek is closely related to a nerd. A nerd, however, isn’t as intelligent and may not have the same level of technical expertise

Gruntled Workers Day

No, you didn’t misread that. If there are disgruntled people out there, it only stands to reason that there are also “gruntled” people out there as well – and they would logically be the polar opposite of disgruntled people. A disgruntled person os one who is grouchy, testy, sullen, grumpy, dissatisfied. Disgruntled people include young, old, male, female, and are included all ethnic groups. Since this is Gruntled Workers Day, I am going to focus my attention on the workplace.
Believe it or not, there are actually people out there who enjoy their jobs and look forward to going to work every day – and Gruntled Workers Day celebrates these increasingly rare people.
Have you ever walked into a business and immediately sensed a negative “vibe”. No one steps forward to even greet you, let alone offer assistance. Well, maybe that establishment needs to hire a “gruntled” worker or two. Disgruntled employees, tend to try to make your day as miserable as theirs, whereas “gruntled” employees strive for the opposite effect.
You can easily distinguish “gruntled” workers from the disgruntled worker because gruntled workers tend to actually be helpful and knowledgeable and will go out of their way to make sure you are satisfied. Gruntled Workers Day is the holiday to show your appreciation to these dedicated people who gladly go to work each day without complaint. Should you be fortunate enough to encounter one of these ‘unicorns’ today, be sure to let them know that they are appreciated.

Fool’s Paradise Day

Fools Paradise refers to someone living in a state of delusive contentment, illusory happiness, or false hope. Fool’s Paradise Day salutes the naiveté of these people.
Our constitutional rights are being stripped away faster than the printers can print the new laws and regulations. The government is eavesdropping on our private communications in all aspects of social media. More and more, money and power are being concentrated in the hands of greedy, power-hungry narcissists who claim to know, more than we, what is best for us. This only leads to tyranny as they impose their rules upon us. So, good luck to all of you living in your ‘fool’s paradise’. When the crap hits the proverbial fan, you will be totally unprepared. Then you’ll be at the mercy of the government and the financial power brokers – who will be one and the same.

Barbershop Music Appreciation Day 

Although Barbershop Music Appreciation Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the formation of the first all-female Barbershop Quartet (The Sweet Adelines) in Tulsa OK on this date in 1945, it is intended to honor the entire genre of Barbershop Quartet music: all-male and mixed gender groups included.
Barbershop Music Appreciation Day was created in 2005 by Sweet Adelines International. It was started to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of their organization. From its modest beginnings in the home of Edna Mae Anderson, this organization has grown to a current membership of over 300 choruses and 15,000 singers.
To celebrate this holiday listen to some good old-fashioned barbershop quartet music. What! You don’t have any barbershop quartet music in your music library? Don’t worry. A simple search using your web browser of choice will render countless examples of barbershop quartet music for you to enjoy, as well as provide you with a far more comprehensive history of the origins of this genre than I can here. Enjoy.

National French Fries Day 

National French Fries Day celebrates the ultimate feel-good food – french fries. Although the exact origin of French fries is unknown, one theory suggests that they date back to 17th century Belgium. The inhabitants of this region often cooked small fried fish to accompany their meals. When weather conditions made it too dangerous to go fishing, they cut up potatoes into long, thin strips (to resemble the fish) and fried them.
There are dozens of different ways to enjoy french fries. You can have them crinkle cut, waffle cut, shoestring, curly, steak cut, or regular. You can dress them in any number of ways as well: Cajun-style, spicy, sweet, or covered in chili and cheese; with or without ketchup, with Ranch dressing or barbecue sauce (Heck, I knew a guy once that liked his with mayonnaise). Then there’s the distinctly Utah phenomenon of “fry sauce”; which is a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, and God only knows what else.
It is believed by some that the term “French” was introduced to this style of potatoes when the American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and consequently tasted Belgian Fries. It is suggested that they called them “French” because French was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time. However, the expression “French Fried Potatoes” first occurs in print in English in the 1856 work Cookery for Maids of All Work by E. Warren.
French fries are a global favorite. Regardless of the origins of their name, whether you refer to them as “Pommes Frites” (France), “Patatas Fritas” (Spain), “Chips” (United Kingdom), or just good ole French Fries, they are a delicious addition to any menu. Enjoy some today.

National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day

National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day is celebrated annually on this date. Also known as “beanie weenies” both dishes are similar to pork ‘n’ beans, but substitute hot dogs or frankfurters for the pork.
Dating back to the civil war, baked beans emerged as one of the very first canned convenience foods. It is unknown who originally added Franks to the beans. Typical ingredients include baked beans, skinless hot dogs, brown sugar, onion, mustard, BBQ sauce, and spices. There are many variations on Beans ‘n’ Franks recipes found around the world.
Van Camp’s owns the Beanie Weenies name. Other brands are sold under alternative names such as Franks & Beans.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1754 – At the beginning of the French and Indian War, George Washington surrendered the small, circular Fort Necessity in southwestern Pennsylvania to the French.
  • In 1787 – Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, enacted the Northwest Ordinance, which established the rules for governing the Northwest Territory, for admitting new states to the Union and limiting the expansion of slavery.
  • In 1812 – The first pawnbroking ordinance was passed in New York City.
  • In 1814 – The National Military Police of Italy was created. The Carabinieri was established by the Royal Patents as a policing force with jurisdiction over the military and civilians.
  • In 1832 – Henry Schoolcraft discovered the source of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.
  • In 1835 – John Ruggles was issued a patent by the U.S. Patent Office for a traction device used in locomotive steam engines. [This may seem like an insignificant event until you know that the Patent Number issued was #1. All 9,957 previous patents issued were not numbered].
  • In 1863 – Opponents of the Civil War draft began three days of rioting in New York City, which resulted in more than 1,000 casualties.
  • In 1937 – Krispy Kreme Doughnuts was founded. The now-international doughnut company was founded by Kentuckian Vernon Rudolph.
  • In 1954 – In Geneva, the United States, Great Britain, and France reached an accord on Indochina which divided Vietnam into two countries, North and South, along the 17th parallel. [Everyone from my generation knows how well that worked out].
  • In 1977 – The Ethiopian-Somali War began. The Somali National Army invaded the disputed Ogaden region between Somalia and Ethiopia. The war lasted for 9 months and ended with a Somalian retreat
  • In 1977 – Kinney, Minnesota declared its secession from the United States. Frustrated by its failing water system, Kinney, Minnesota declared the creation of the Republic of Kinney and sent a letter of secession to the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance.
  • In 1982 – The All-Star Game was played outside the United States for the first time. It was played in Montreal, Canada.
  • In 1984 – In Arkansas, Terry Wallis was injured in a car accident and was left comatose. He came out of the coma in June of 2003.
  • In 1985 – The Live Aid benefit concert took place. Held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia, the concert raised millions in benefit of those affected by famine in Ethiopia. Over a billion people tuned in around the world to watch the show.
  • In 1998 – “Image of an Assassination” went on sale. The video documentary is of Abraham Zapruder’s home video of President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with yours truly, the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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