Monday, September 30, 2013

Holidays for September 30th 2013

Chewing Gum Day

September 30th is a lip-smacking fun holiday. It's Chewing Gum Day.

While the origins of this annual “holiday” are unknown, folks have been chewing, chomping, smacking, blowing and popping gum for ages (and annoying teachers for just about as long!) Thomas Adams received a patent on the first gum-making machine in 1871. After experimenting with different flavors, he manufactured the first flavored gum in the United States, Adams’ Black Jack, a licorice-flavored gum. It was also the first gum available in stick form. Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit and Spearmint gum soon followed. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Whether you prefer that tutti-fruity flavor, super-duper bubble or minty fresh taste, today’s gum comes in all sorts of shapes, colors and fun flavors. And besides tasting yummy, sugar-free gum can help fight cavities, too. And some believe chewing sugar-free gum is good for your waistline too! According to researchers from the Mayo Clinic, gum chewers can lose about 11 pounds of weight annually! Nicotine gum is also used to help people kick the habit. Just in case you don’t know how to chew gum, you’re in luck!

Happy Chewing Gum Day! Just remember to spit your gum out before you go to class and don't swallow it!
Fiscal Forecast Day

Many companies close out the fiscal year annually on September 30th, totaling assets and liabilities and mapping our profits and losses. For other organizations, September 30th marks the end of the third quarter of the fiscal year.

Either way, September 30th has become known as Fiscal Forecast Day, a prime occasion for calculating risks, weighing investment options, considering strategic purchases and evaluating financial holdings.

National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Today is National Hot Mulled Cider Day! Hot mulled cider is a delicious drink perfectly suited for crisp September afternoons. Apple cider is produced using a cider press and is a time-honored favorite of the autumn season.

To make mulled cider, slowly add brown sugar to apple cider in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add other ingredients such as nutmeg, allspice, orange juice, and lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Strain out the spices, pour into a mug, and add a cinnamon stick.

Enjoy National Hot Mulled Cider Day as you sip on your homemade brew!
National Mud Pack Day

This holiday is for learning and appreciating the use of mud on the face or really any part of the body. Mud packs have been popular for years for facial treatments to keep the skin young, soft and supple. So let today be the day you learn how to nourish your skin with mud.

Mainly women but mud can be used by both men and women. Many people celebrate mud pack activity all throughout the year and not just on September 30th.

Peloid is mud used therapeutically. Peloids consist of humus and minerals formed over many years by geological and biological, chemical and physical processes.

Numerous peloids are available today, of which the most popular are peat pulps, lake mud, sea mud and plant substances. Peloid procedures are also various; the most common of them are peloid wraps, peloid baths, and peloid packs applied locally to the part of the body, which is being treated.

Peloid packs and, specifically, peat, have been used in Europe for medicinal baths and wraps for the past 200 years.

Peloid treatments have been used for rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis, gynecological disorders, sciatica, skin diseases, trauma and many more various afflictions and ailments.

Peloids are widely used in cosmetology. They are applied as face masks. Applying peloid masks once a week helps to revitalize the skin, tighten it and bind fluids in the skin layers. Regular use of peloids cause wrinkles to disappear and prevents new wrinkles from appearing. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blasphemy Day

Blasphemy Rights Day International is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to openly express their criticism of, or even disdain for, religion. It was founded in 2009 by the Center for Inquiry. A student contacted the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York to present the idea, which CFI put its support behind. Ronald Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry said regarding Blasphemy Day, "We think religious beliefs should be subject to examination and criticism just as political beliefs are, but we have a taboo on religion," in an interview with CNN. The day was set on September 30, to coincide with the anniversary of the publication of satirical drawings of Muhammad in one of Denmark's newspapers, resulting in the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

According to USA Today's interview with Justin Trottier, a Toronto coordinator of Blasphemy Day, "We're not seeking to offend, but if in the course of dialogue and debate, people become offended, that's not an issue for us. There is no human right not to be offended."

Events worldwide on the first annual Blasphemy Day in 2009 included an art exhibit in Washington, DC and a free speech festival in Los Angeles. Blasphemy Day was also widely discussed across the web and covered by several media outlets.

Anti-blasphemy laws exist throughout the world. In many parts of Europe and North America they have been overturned, although there are anti-blasphemy laws in Austria,Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Iceland, San Marino and the UK. (The UK common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished by theCriminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, section 79. The remaining law, Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, concerns inciting hatred against a person on the grounds of their religion.) There are also "religious insult" laws in 21 European nations. The Republic of Ireland passed the "Defamation Act 2009" in that year, which states in part, "A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000."

Finland has been the setting for a number of noteworthy blasphemy trials in the 2000s. The Finnish linguist, political blogger Helsinki City Councillor and subsequent member of parliament Jussi Halla-aho was charged with "disturbing religious worship" because of internet posts in which he called Muhammad a pedophile, Halla-aho was fined €330. In some countries, blasphemy is punishable by death, such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. Six US states (Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wyoming) still have anti-blasphemy laws on their books, although they are seldom enforced.

Blasphemy Day is celebrated on September 30 to coincide with the anniversary of the publication of satirical drawings of Muhammad in one of Denmark's newspapers, resulting in the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. Although the caricatures of Muhammad caused some controversy within Denmark, especially among Muslims, it became a widespread furor after Muslim imams in several countries stirred up violent protests in which at least 137 people were killed, embassies burned and other acts of recrimination carried out because of the blasphemy.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Holidays for September 29th 2013

National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day! Are you one of the millions who will celebrate? Start by sending a free Coffee Day eCard and then find out where you can go to get a free cup of joe. There are number of local and national businesses offering free or discounted cups of coffee to celebrate Coffee Day in 2013.

If you show the National Coffee Day offer via the Dunkin' Donuts app on your mobile phone, you'll receive a free small hot or iced coffee at participating locations. Krispy Kreme is giving away a free cup of joe to any customer - no purchase required - on Sunday at participating locations. And Starbucks will be giving out free samples of their Ethiopian blend coffee. Don't forget to pay attention to social media as some businesses plan to share coupons and specials with their loyal followers.

So, where did coffee come from and how did it become so popular? According to legend, a sixth-century Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi discovered his goats frolicking from one coffee shrub to another. He realized the coffee berries had a stimulating effect, and he began to experiment with the seeds. A century later, brewed coffee emerged in Arabia and the popularity of coffee grew at an exponential rate.

Today, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil. Don't forget to take a coffee break (or two) to celebrate this historical and important beverage!

National Poisoned Blackberries Day

Berry picking can be fun, but did you know picking can prove perilous as well?

Today is National Poisoned Blackberries Day. A search of the web reveals various origins, one says this is the day the devil poisoned all of the blackberries in Scotland cursing us all to bad berries forever, and another, Cotolo Chronicles says “In the 1700s blackberries were the cause of more deaths than any other form of fruit from a vine or patch. Since then, tens, if not pairs of people take this day to hunt for blackberries that can kill someone instantly when consumed."

Must we worry about poisoned blackberries in modern times? Perhaps prudent pickers will do well to peek before popping any wild berry bounty into their mouths.

Gold Star Mother’s Day

Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed in the United States on the last Sunday of September each year. It is a day for people to recognize and honor those who have lost a son or daughter while serving the United States Armed Forces.

What do people do?
Each year on Gold Star Mother's Day the United States president calls on all Americans to display the nation's flag and hold appropriate meetings to publicly express their love, sorrow, and reverence towards Gold Star Mothers and their families. Government buildings are also required to display the flag.

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. is an organization of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died while serving their nation in times of war or conflict. It organizes major events that take place on or around Gold Star Mother’s Day each year. Previous activities included a Gold Star flower wreath laying service, as well as an afternoon tour of President Lincoln’s cottage in Washington DC.

The last Sunday in September is also Parents of Fallen Military Sons and Daughters Day in New Jersey. This day is a tribute to all parents whose children died as a result of their service with the United States Armed Forces. It commemorates the contributions, commitments and sacrifices made by those parents individually and through the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

The name the Gold Star Mothers was derived from the custom of military families who put a service flag near their front window. The flag featured a star for each family member serving in their country – living members were denoted in blue but gold stars honored family members who were killed while in duty. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson approved the wearing of black arm bands bearing a gilt star by those who had a family member who died in the military service to the United States. This distinguished them from the blue stars, representing a family member presently serving in the armed forces.

American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was incorporated in 1929, obtaining a federal charter from the US Congress. It began with 25 mothers living in the Washington DC area and soon expanded to include affiliated groups throughout the nation. On June 23, 1936, a joint congressional resolution designated the last Sunday in September as Gold Star Mother's Day, a holiday that has been observed each year by a presidential proclamation.

A gold star symbolizes a family member who died in the line of duty while serving the United States Armed Forces. It may be seen on a service flag or in the form of a pin, which is worn by Gold Star mothers. The pin is not limited to mothers and it is awarded by the US Department of Defense.

Broadway Musicals Day

From an early age, I loved Broadway musicals. My mom and Grandmother bought us musicals on tape: The Sound of Music, Bye Bye Birdie, Oklahoma, Grease… and we’d watch them over and over again. There’s just something about being in a predicament that bursting into song can totally cure! I love going to see musicals on the stage, no matter what size of a production it is.

To celebrate Broadway Musicals Day, here’s a list of some of my favorite songs from musicals:
1. “All That Jazz” from Chicago— I wasn’t familiar with Chicago Until the movie came out, but when I saw it, I fell in love. I saw it in the movie theater four times, and then Mom and I saw it on Broadway thanks to my freshman year college friends. If you’re familiar with this blog, you know how that went. But I really think if I had a chance to play any character on stage, it would be Velma Kelly!
2. “For Good” from Wicked — I know most people’s favorite song from Wicked is “Defying Gravity,” but I just love “For Good.” Makes me tear up everytime I hear it.
3. “Single” from The Wedding Singer — I just saw this at the Pennsylvania Playhouse last month, and I absolutely loved it. The Wedding Singer is one of my favorite movies, and they follow that script pretty closely. But then they add some really terrific songs to it, including this one. It’s hilarious and so catchy!
4. “Tomorrow” from Annie – Annie is another musical we grew up with, and we used to act out with the Foster and Schultz girls. A young Brandon was always Daddy Warbucks.
5. “Hard Candy Christmas” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” – The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was the first La Salle theater production I saw. I loved it, and Tanya had us watch the movie before we saw it as well. There is something so sad yet sweet (get the pun? It has candy in the title!) about this song.
6.“The Telephone Hour” from Bye Bye Birdie — This one has a lot of sentimental value because it’s one of Mom’s favorites. We used to sing it with her all the time.
7. “All Er Nuthin” from Oklahoma — Emily and I used to perform this one for our Nanny, and she loved it. I don’t remember which one of us was Ado Annie and who had the poor luck to be Will.
8. “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Show — I’ve never seen The Rocky Horror Show on stage, just it’s very popular film version, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’ve gotta say the movie is so bizarre and I don’t know what to think of it, but I do know the music is awesome!
9. “Waterloo” from Mamma Mia! — After Ter and I saw this movie, I would not stop singing “Waterloo.” Worst part was, I didn’t really know the lyrics. I’m pretty sure my roommates were very close to choking me.
10. “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors — My high school produced this one and I was really impressed how they were able to operate that big ol’ plant on such a small stage!

Confucius Day

Confucius Day honors one of the world's greatest philosophers.Born in China on October 18, 551 B.C., Confucius is one of the earliest, and perhaps the the first great philosopher. He was also a teacher, a scholar, and a politician. He gave the world many teachings, and gave the world 499 famous sayings. Celebrate Confucius Day by learning more about this ancient philosopher, and read some of his teachings and sayings.

Note: Over the years, many comical and humorous sayings have been created and referenced as sayings of Confucius, usually titled "Confucius Says". As a rule of thumb, if the saying is humorous, chances are it is not a true saying by this great scholar.

The original Confucius day dates back thousands of years. We do not know who created this special day, and why on this date.

Goose Day

September 29 is going to the birds. It's Goose Day!

How to Celebrate Goose Day
Goose Day could be celebrated by giving those special people in your life a little fun goosing. Or you could always play a good game of Duck, Duck, Goose or read a few Mother Goose stories with the kiddies.

Folks in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, celebrate Goose Day every year by dining on goose for good luck. But that may not sit well with vegetarians or Paul “The Gooseman” Messerschmidt who was diagnosed with terminal lung disease.

With only a year to live, his doctors advised him to take a daily walk. And so he did. But he didn’t go it alone or with friends and family. He walked with his gaggle of baby geese! With a bit of luck (more like bribery of soda pop and Oreos), Messerschmidt even began to train them!
"I started teaching them like preschoolers. When you go to preschool you can't push, shove, poke or pinch anybody.”
He even dresses the geese up in their Sunday finest! He’s designed more than 16 different outfits for the geese! This “Father Goose” has lost 200 pounds since he began his daily walks and the “Dirty Dozen Puddle Jumpers” are all grown up now. So far, the group has walked more than 1,100 miles so far and have taken their “act” to state fairs and parades around the country. Next year, Messerschmidt plans on starting a new group, the Backyard Boys” with other critters.


On September 29, 1899, a small group of veterans gathered in a tailor shop in Columbus, Ohio to see how they could help surviving veterans of the Spanish-American War. The foundation for the VFW was laid.

In the years that followed, other groups of veterans formed in Colorado and Pennsylvania with the intent of helping surviving veterans from other theatres. These groups would soon merge to create what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

For 114 years, the VFW has fought for veterans, giving them a voice when no one else would. Standing up for generations of service members when others have turned their backs. Lending a hand to military families when they need it the most, fostering patriotism among America’s youth and serving communities nationwide.

We celebrate a long and storied history and take much pride in what we have accomplished over the years — making a true difference in the lives of countless veterans, servicemembers and their families. And, the VFW will continue to fight for veterans as long as there is a need.

As we celebrate our founding 114 years ago, we would like to thank each and every member of the VFW, and those who are no longer with us. It is because of your commitment, your resolve and dedication in continuing to serve your country that has led VFW to become the nation’s leading veterans’ service organization.

World Heart Day

September 29 is World Heart Day. In an effort to educate the public about the dangers of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Heart Federation are working together to raise awareness. People around the world have been observing World Heart Day on September 29th since 2000. Exhibitions, health checks, walks and runs, forums, concerts and tournaments will take place in more than 100 countries.

Heart Disease
More than 17 million people die each year due to heart disease and stroke, the world’s leading cause of death. And CVDs continue to rise around the world. By 2030, it is estimated that over 23 million people will die from CVDs. According to the World Heart Federation, at least 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented by avoiding certain risk factors include tobacco use, obesity, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol and glucose levels and improper diet. Did you know that just 30 minutes of exercise and eating at least five servings of fruit and veggies per day, will help prevent heart attacks and strokes? This year, why not participate in a few of the World Heart Day activities and learn more about heart disease. It could save your life.

All Angels Day

September 29th is All Angels Day, also referred to as Michaelmas Day or St. Michael's Day. Some celebrate All Angels Day by attending church, reading scripture or offering prayers. The annual event celebrates the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

Michael, the greatest of all archangels, is honored in both eastern and western religions for defeating Lucifer. According to Revelations 12:7, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels’ waged war and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him."

Throughout history, people have been fascinated by angels. According to the Bible, God made angels during the six days of creation. Angels are spirits without a physical body that are intelligent and have a will. Angels are protectors of the faithful and believed to be messengers from God. Angels comfort, strengthen and guide us on our journey here on earth.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Holidays for September 28th 2013

National Hunting and Fishing Day

Over 100 years ago, hunters and anglers were the earliest and most vocal supporters of conservation and scientific wildlife management. They were the first to recognize that rapid development and unregulated uses of wildlife were threatening the future of many species.

Led by fellow sportsman President Theodore Roosevelt, these early conservationists called for the first laws restricting the commercial slaughter of wildlife. They urged sustainable use of fish and game, created hunting and fishing licenses, and lobbied for taxes on sporting equipment to provide funds for state conservation agencies. These actions were the foundation of the North American wildlife conservation model, a science-based, user-pay system that would foster the most dramatic conservation successes of all time.

Populations of white-tailed deer, elk, antelope, wild turkey, wood ducks and many other species began to recover from decades of unregulated exploitation.

During the next half-century, in addition to the funds they contributed for conservation and their diligent watch over the returning health of America’s outdoors, sportsmen worked countless hours to protect and improve millions of acres of vital habitat—lands and waters for the use and enjoyment of everyone.

In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era's heightened environmental awareness but were discouraged that many people didn't understand the crucial role that sportsmen had played-and continue to play-in the conservation movement.

The first to suggest an official day of thanks to sportsmen was Ira Joffe, owner of Joffe's Gun Shop in Upper Darby, Pa. In 1970, Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer adopted Joffe's idea and created "Outdoor Sportsman's Day" in the state.

With determined prompting from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the concept soon emerged on the floor of the U.S. Senate. In June 1971, Sen. Thomas McIntyre, N.H., introduced Joint Resolution 117 authorizing National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September. Rep. Bob Sikes, Fla., introduced an identical measure in the House. In early 1972, Congress unanimously passed both bills.

On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in ensuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations."

By late summer, all 50 governors and over 600 mayors had joined in by proclaiming state and local versions of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The response was dramatic.

National, regional, state and local organizations staged some 3,000 "open house" hunting- and fishing-related events everywhere from shooting ranges to suburban frog ponds, providing an estimated four million Americans with a chance to experience, understand and appreciate traditional outdoor sports.

Over the years, National Hunting and Fishing Day boasted many more public relations successes, assisted by celebrities who volunteered to help spotlight the conservation accomplishments of sportsmen and women. Honorary chairs have included George Bush, Tom Seaver, Hank Williams Jr., Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw, George Brett, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Louise Mandrell, Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd, Jeff Foxworthy and many other sports and entertainment figures.

National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of every September, remains the most effective grassroots efforts ever undertaken to promote the outdoor sports and conservation.

Ask a Stupid Question Day

Today is Ask a Stupid Question Day. It's your opportunity to speak up, and to ask all those questions you were afraid to ask. All those questions that you thought were too stupid or dumb to ask, have been piling up all year long. Today is the day to unload them. C'mon give it a try. Nobody will laugh......we hope.

This may be a stupid question, but I will ask it anyway...... Teachers say there is no such thing as a stupid question. Or, that no question is too stupid to ask. If this is true, then why do your classmates laugh when you ask a question? Yes, kids can be cruel. But, if you have a question, there's no better place to ask, than in the classroom.

Today's Quote: "Stupid is as stupid does". Forrest Gump
Movie of the Day: "Dumb and Dumber"
Other "Stupid" stuff:
  • Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.
  • This might sound stupid, but......
  • Do you think I'm stupid enough to fall for that (duh!)
  • Seen on a T-shirt "I'm with Stupid". Well, if that's true, how smart are you?

Origin of Ask a Stupid Question Day:
The roots of this special day goes back to the 1980's. At the time, there was a movement by teachers to try to get kids to ask more questions in the classroom. Kids sometimes hold back, fearing their question is stupid, and asking it will result in ridicule.Teachers created this day on September 28, If it fell on a weekend, they would celebrate it on the last day of the month.

Drink as Much Beer as Possible Day

Hops to it. September 28th is Drink as Much Beer as Possible Day.

This hearty holiday probably originated in the old time celebration of St. Wenceslas' Day. A tenth century Bohemian Duke, St. Wenceslas is known as the patron saint of Bohemians and brewers, as well as the main subject of the traditional holiday carol, "Good King Wenceslas."

Teetotalers may object to this occasion of overindulgence. Of course, root beer and ginger beer may provide an alternative. Or, folks might simply bake up some "Wonderful Wisconsin Beer Breads."

National Drink Beer Day

Today is National Drink Beer Day, although if you’re an avid beer drinker, you participate in the spirit of NDBD most days of the year. For everyone else, this should be a day where you put down that glass of wine or fancy cocktail, and pick up an American craft beer.

The craft beer movement is out of control right now. New breweries are popping up all over the country, archaic state laws are beginning to change that benefit the consumer and brewing community, and sales figures continue to rise by upwards of 15% year after year. It's definitely a great time to be a beer drinker in America.

So, on this National Drink Beer Day, as fall has just begun, it’s going to be "Prost!" and pumpkins for me. I’ve listed some of my favorite Oktoberfest and fall-style beers below, some of which are sure to find their way into my belly today

What will you drink to celebrate the most incredible “holiday” in existence, National Drink Beer Day?

Pawn It Off Day

Pawn shops hawk their wares on September 28th for Pawn It Off Day. This second-hand holiday reminds the rest of us to clean out our closets, sort out our junk drawers and rummage through our attics and basements for potentially resalable items.

September 28th is also the traditional feast day of St. Bernardino of Feltre, a 15th Century Roman Catholic friar, who has been called the patron saint of pawnbrokers and moneylenders.

Read a Child a Book You Like Day

Do you read to your kids? Do you read to your sibling's kids? Do you read to your friends' or neighbors' kids? Do you read to kids???

My personal experience with reading to children is that there are about five books at any given point in time with which the child is in love and will insist that you read to them over...and over... and over... and OVER... again. Well today is your day to choose the bedtime story and it gets to be a book that YOU like! While it may be tempting to read some Poe to little Johnny or Susie let's at least try to remain professional and keep the title age appropriate.

World Rabies Day

September 28th is World Rabies Day, an annual reminder to pet owners to vaccinate their animals against rabies and a yearly occasion for rabies awareness and education programs. Globally, many veterinarians and animal welfare organizations provide free or discounted rabies vaccination programs for orphaned, abandoned, feral , stray or otherwise unattended animals on this date as well.

Webinars, or online seminars, are offered each year on September 28th to provide education on rabies, insights into current rabies research and instructions for its prevention and treatment.

World Rabies Day was originated in 2007 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other international health and animal welfare groups. This annual date is primarily aimed at raising global awareness of the public health impact of rabies.

What is rabies?
Rabies is a viral zoonotic (animal-afflicting) infectious disease that attacks mammals. Wholly preventable, rabies is primarily transmitted through saliva of infected creatures. This process may occur through animal bites, scratches or licks on areas with broken skin.

Many mammalian species may become rabid, or infected with rabies. These include bats, beavers, bobcats, cats, cougars, coyotes, deer, dogs, ferrets, foxes, goats, groundhogs, horses, mongooses, opossums, otters, rabbits, raccoons, sheep, skunks and more.

Rabies has been called the oldest recognized infectious disease. Documentation of rabies exists from the earliest human history.

What are the symptoms of rabies in animals?
The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system of infected animals. Symptoms may include agitation, aggression, anxiety, confusion, difficulty swallowing, drooling, fever, hallucinations, headache, insomnia, light sensitivity, paralysis, seizures, staggering, weakness and more. Rabies is usually fatal in animals, often within a few days after the first symptoms are exhibited.

Is rabies a health threat to humans?
Currently, rabies is a significant threat to human health, particularly in Africa and Asia, where more than 95 percent of all annual rabies fatalities are documented. In these two continents alone, more than 55,000 people die each year from rabies. Of these, more than half are children under age 15. Most of these rabies infections are attributed to rabid dog bites.

By contrast, in the United States, one to two humans may die from rabies each year.

How can rabies be prevented?
Animal vaccination is the secret to stopping rabies worldwide. Pet owners who faithfully have their animals inoculated can help. For this reason, most communities require pet owners to vaccinate against rabies each year.

"Vaccinating dogs and cats is the best way to protect pets and the public from contracting what is almost always a fatal disease once symptoms occur," said Dr. Larry R. Corry, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "By taking this simple step, you help make for a safer, healthier pet, family and community."

In addition, individual veterinary practices decrease the spread of rabies through annual preventive inoculations.

"Local veterinarians play a key role in controlling rabies," explained Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Family Health and Fitness Day USA

The 17th annual Family Health & Fitness Day USA is a national health and fitness event for families, set for Saturday, September 28, 2013. (always on the last Saturday in September.) The event's purpose is to promote family involvement in physical activity, one of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health.

Local organizations throughout the country will host family-related health and fitness events at schools, park districts, hospitals, YMCAs/YWCAs, malls, health clubs and other community locations. Local family health and fitness activities will vary widely based on the organization hosting the event and the interests of local families. Activities will be noncompetitive and may include walking events, low-impact exercises, health screenings, open houses, games and health information workshops.

Fish Tank Floorshow Night

Day in and day out our finned friends in the little glass houses. For years they have offered us the peace and tranquility of their lives swimming around in their fish tanks. Now it’s time to pay up. Return the favor. Put on a floor show for your fish.

Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Gather up the family and sing some songs. Dance a number or two.

Don’t have a fish? No problem, head down to the pet store and give those fish a show. The fish will enjoy it. If not, you can film it and place it on YouTube.

Kiwanis Kids' Day

The National Kids' Day Foundation and Kiwanis International first came up with the idea of setting aside a day to focus on children and their welfare in 1949. Kiwanis International eventually assumed responsibility for the program and renamed it Kiwanis Kids' Day.

On the fourth Saturday in September, local Kiwanis clubs sponsor activities designed to show the community's appreciation of and pride in its children. The actual program for the day varies from one club to the next, but some of the more popular activities include parades, picnics and field days, theater parties, free admission programs, poster contests, fishing derbies, talent shows, and youth recognition banquets. The idea is to show youngsters that they are an important part of the community and that the community wants them to be good citizens.

National Good Neighbor Day

Ah, Good Neighbor Day. It's definitely a good thing. Being good neighbors is an important part of the social fiber that makes this country so great. Therefore, it seems only fitting that one day a year honors good neighbors.

This day of recognition is not to be confused with other forms of "Good Neighbor Days". Stores proclaim "Good Neighbor Days" to promote sales, a wide range of organizations announce "Good Neighbor Days" to promote their cause, and local municipalities and governments proclaim "Good Neighbor Days" for a variety of reasons.

Rather, this day is to truly recognize and appreciate your good neighbor. Hopefully, one of those good neighbors is you!

In the early 1970's, Mrs. Becky Mattson from Lakeside, Montana recognized the importance of good neighbors, and started the effort to make this a National day. With the help of congressman Mike Mansfield, she succeed in getting three presidents (Nixon, Ford, and Carter) to issue proclamations, along with numerous governors.

In 2003, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution, sponsored by Montana Senator Max Baucus, making September 28, National Good Neighbor Day. Previously, this day was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of September.

Note: Rhode Island initiated a movement to pass a National Neighbor Day on the Sunday before Memorial Day. Action never materialized into a formal national proclamation or law.

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. In 2013, the 20th Anniversary of National Public Lands Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Join volunteers of all ages for NPLD’s 20th Anniversary. Celebrate with volunteers in your community at parks and other public lands. Visit our special #NPLD20 webpages for more details. Also, make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds or sign up for our newsletter to stay posted!

NPLD began in 1994 with three sites and 700 volunteers. It proved to be a huge success and became a yearly tradition, typically held on the last Saturday in September. Since the first NPLD, the event has grown by leaps and bounds.

In 2012, about 175,000 volunteers worked at 2,206 sites in every state, the District of Columbia and in many U.S. territories. 2012 was the biggest NPLD in the history of the event.

NPLD volunteers:
  • Collected an estimated 23,000 pounds of invasive plants
  • Built and maintained an estimated 1,500 miles of trails
  • Planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants
  • Removed an estimated 500 tons of trash from trails and other places
  • Contributed an estimated $18 million through volunteer services to improve public lands across the country
  • Seven federal agencies as well as nonprofit organizations and state, regional and local governments participate in the annual day of caring for public lands.
  • National Public Lands Day keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the "tree army" that worked from 1933-1942 to preserve and protect America's natural heritage. 
Why is National Public Lands Day Important?
  • NPLD educates Americans about the environment and natural resources, and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands;
  • NPLD builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America's public lands; and
  • NPLD improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.
National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

Today is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day! Did you know that 70% of a strawberry cream pie’s weight comes from the strawberries themselves? That's a lot considering that the fruit isn't even in season in September!

When you set out to find the perfect strawberry cream pie there are many variations from which to choose. Some recipes use cream cheese in the filling while others call for whipped cream or custard. Crusts can be sweet or savory, strawberries can be whole or whipped into a mousse, and there are dozens of different toppings.

Find your favorite kind of strawberry cream pie or sample a selection to celebrate National Strawberry Cream Pie Day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Holidays for September 27th 2013

National Thank You Day

In an on-the-go society, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get everything accomplished. Today reminds us to slow down and be thankful for the things we have and the special people in our lives. September 27 is National Thank You Day. While the origins of this annual event are unknown, National Thank You Day is observed on several different days throughout the year, depending on which holiday calendar you prefer.

Just Say Thank You
If you have trouble remembering the last time you said “thank you” to someone, this “holiday” is for you! Whether someone pays you an unexpected compliment, cleans the house all of their own accord, or says “Have a nice day” in passing, verbally thanking someone should be part of our daily routine.

And if you are feeling particularly adventurous today, why not let someone go ahead of you in the long line at the checkout counter or at a 4-way stop sign at a busy intersection? Don’t forget to thank the mailman, paperboy, salesman and pizza delivery person while you’re at it. And be sure to thank the person who holds the door open for you or goes out of their way to help.

Whether the gesture is big or small, be sure to say those two little words that are far too often neglected and difficult for some to say. Chances are you have an awful lot to be thankful for!

Thankful Quotes & Sayings
  • The more you are thankful for what you have, the more you’ll have to be thankful for. ~ Zig Ziglar
  • People who live the most fulfilling lives, are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have. ~ Richard Carlson
  • Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out. ~ John Wooden
  • Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey
  • It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.~ Unknown
  • If you can’t be content with what you have received, be thankful for what you have escaped. ~ Unknown
  • The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. ~ William Blake
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Gandhi
  • If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful. ~ Unknown
  • Thanking God for letting me see another day on this beautiful earth because another day is never promised. ~ Unknown
  • Be careful what you take for granted, someone else is waiting to appreciate it. ~ Unknown
  • In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. ~ H.L. Mencken
Ancestor Appreciation Day

Ancestor Appreciation Day is celebrated each year on September 27. The observance of this day gives us the chance to reflect on our ancestors, learn more about them and the ways in which they influenced each of our lives. Many of us in the hustle and bustle of everyday life have never taken the time to fully understand and appreciate our extended families. Traditions are forgotten and the link between the generations slowly fades away until it is nothing more than a whispered notion. Many times it is expressed almost embarrassingly at family gatherings such as a wedding or funeral when out of obligation more than anything ancestral links bring us together with family that feel more like strangers.

In the thread of time and events most of our ancestors lived common lives. Filled with the struggles of everyday life it might be easy to conclude that they do not have much of a story to tell. Ah but nothing could be further from the truth and that is where Ancestor Appreciation Day can give us new insight into those who came before us. If we will but take this little known and often neglected holiday to heart we can learn of the many fascinating and colorful individuals who make up our past.

Knowledge of ones family history can give a sense of purpose and provide stability and comfort in our own lives. We are but one small part in the vast expansion of time and space and at times feel insignificant and overwhelmed. This is becoming a more prevalent feeling and is do in part to our lack of knowledge of who are ancestors really were. But when we can see the connection between ourselves and our ancestors we can then begin to gain a sense of purpose. The chance to learn our ancestral history slips away with each passing generation if we do not take the time to listen and learn from those that came before us. The observance of Ancestor Appreciation Day is a time to not only learn about our past but can also be used to preserve such history in written, recorded or video form.

Take advantage of Ancestor Appreciation Day to remember your ancestors, the good and bad, the successes and failures of those who came before you. Undoubtedly you will be surprised by some of the things you discover and will gain a better understanding of who you are.

National Chocolate Milk Day

Celebrate National Chocolate Milk Day! Who doesn't crave a nice, tall glass of frothy chocolate milk? Until the 1820s, drinking chocolate was fairly uncommon and no one knew how to produce a smooth chocolate taste in liquid form. In 1828 the Van Houten company in Amsterdam invented the cocoa pressing method. This produced a light, fluffy chocolate powder that could be easily dissolved in water or milk. Today, chocolate milk is a popular beverage for people of all ages.

Chocolate milk has surprising restorative properties. In 2006, the dairy industry conducted a study and discovered that chocolate milk helps athletes with muscle recovery. It provides nine essential nutrients, making it both delicious and nutritious!

Pour yourself a nice tall glass of chocolate milk in honor of National Chocolate Milk Day!

National Corned Beef Hash Day

While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Hash it all out - September 27 is National Corned Beef Hash Day! Today is all about celebrating the meat and potatoes! It's not glamorous but mashing corned beef, potatoes, spices and onions together until smooth and creamy can be a lip-smacking one-pot meal.

When meat became scarce due to rationing during and after World War II, corned beef hash became pretty popular. In the U.K., corned beef, which is beef treated with saltpetre (and less like our delicatessen pastrami in the States), almost always came from a tin. Economical and available, corned beef hash was a go-to meal. Hormel borrowed the idea, made it less like rations and introduced the dish to the U.S. in 1950.

While traditionally considered to be breakfast fare, you can mash up some corned beef hash any time of day. Diners like to serve it with a fried egg or hash browns on top.

It's also National Chocolate Milk Day, so whether you decide to wash your savory hash down with some sweet chocolatey milk could, well, be quite an interesting mash-up.

National Crush a Can Day

Crush a Can Day invites you to (safely) crush a can, safely. Can crushing, particularly on the head, is one way TV and movie characters have expressed their devil may care attitude. John Belushi did it in "Animal House." Andy Warhol created "32 Campbell's Soup Cans" and Red Bull held a recycled cans art contest. Can you also be inspired by cannes? Turn crushed cans into recycled art including coasters, jewelry or wind chimes.

From Earth 911:
  • Don't try to crush aerosol cans, they should be emptied and recycled.
  • " Americans recycled nearly 56 billion aluminum cans last year." If you crush your cans, you won't get your deposit back.
National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

September 27 is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a time to reflect on the heavy toll of HIV among gay and bisexual men and acknowledge the contributions they have made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in five gay men in 1981, gay and bisexual men across the United States have been at the center of the U.S. epidemic. Gay and bisexual men bear the greatest burden of this disease, accounting for almost two-thirds of all new infections in 2010. Yet, they also have been at the forefront of fighting this disease. Many have helped shape the research agenda and worked with organizations that provide HIV services.

Getting More Men Tested and Treated
Too many gay and bisexual men with HIV—more than one-third—are HIV positive and don't know it. Knowing one's status and getting linked to treatment if positive are critical to protecting one's own health and that of one's sexual partner(s).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone at high risk for HIV from sexual activity or injection drug use should be tested at least once a year. Sexually active gay men may benefit from more frequent testing, such as every 3 to 6 months.

HIV testing has never been easier. Today's, rapid tests are offered in clinics and at many other settings—like Pride events or community service organizations—with results in as little as 20 minutes. Two home testing kits are also available online or from drugstores; one is a rapid test.

A new testing initiative is now available in some U.S. cities called Testing Together. This strategy gives gay and bisexual men the option to get tested together through local HIV/AIDS organizations and health departments. Once the couple learns their HIV status, they can develop an HIV prevention plan just for them.

Testing is one step to help stop the spread of HIV and ensure better health. But there are many more. If you know your status, get treatment if positive; if not, take steps to keep it that way. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) coupled with a health maintenance plan can help ensure persons living with HIV live a longer, healthier life. Men who stay on ART and who have suppressed viral load also are much less likely to spread the virus to their partners—up to 96% less likely. But staying on treatment and taking it exactly as prescribed are key.

Options for Prevention
Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent HIV Infection. However, for those who are sexually active, the same basic tools for HIV prevention apply to everyone. Anal sex without a condom (unprotected anal sex) has the highest risk for spreading HIV during sex. It is also possible to become infected with HIV through oral sex, though the risk is much less than for anal or vaginal sex. For sexually active gay and bisexual men, the most effective ways to prevent HIV are to limit or avoid anal sex, or for men who do have anal sex, to use a condom correctly, every time. They can also choose less risky behaviors. In addition, sexually active gay men are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—e.g., syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia—and CDC recommends that they be tested annually for these infections.

To help prevent the spread of HIV, two medical options now available. Men who are HIV-negative but at very high risk of infection may consider pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves taking HIV medicines every day to reduce the risk of getting infected with HIV. Men should consider PrEP if they have sex without using a condom, especially if their sex partner is HIV positive or has HIV risks (e.g., injects drugs or has sex with other people).

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) involves taking medications as soon as possible after being exposed to HIV to reduce the chance of acquiring HIV. To be effective, PEP must begin as soon as possible, but within 72 hours of exposure at the latest, and must be taken for 4 weeks. Men who think they may have been exposed to HIV should see a doctor or go to an emergency room right away to ask about PEP. PEP is for urgent situations rather than long-term risk, for which PrEP is the better option.

What Gay and Bisexual Men Can Do
All gay and bisexual men can

  • Find out about HIV, STIs, and other health issues that affect gay and bisexual men.
  • Learn the HIV risk of different sex behaviors and choose less risky behaviors. (For example, oral sex is much less risky than anal sex).
  • Use condoms correctly every time they have sex.
  • Reduce their number of sex partners.
  • Get tested for STIs at least once a year.
  • Get tested for HIV and STIs by visiting the National HIV and STD Testing Resources site, text a ZIP code to Know IT (566948), or calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
  • Speak out against stigma, homophobia, racism, and other forms of discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS.

Sexually active HIV-negative gay and bisexual men can

  • Get tested for HIV at least once a year.
  • Take HIV medication to prevent HIV infection if you are at high risk for infection.
  • Ask your healthcare provider about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) immediately (within 72 hours) after a single, high-risk possible exposure to HIV.

Sexually active HIV-positive gay and bisexual men can:

  • Get life-extending care and treatment and learn how to prevent transmission to others.
  • Share their HIV status with all sex partners.

Save The Koala Day

The aim of Save the Koala Day is to raise awareness of the plight of the koala and to educate people. The Australian Koala Foundation raises money with sales of stickers, special Koala Day gifts, items and donations.

The money contributes to the long term survival of Australia's wild koalas and their habitat. Koalas in the wild face problems as their habitat is cleared. With housing getting closer, there is also the risk of dog attacks and road accidents.80% of koala habitat is on private land and the public needs to be educated on how to help to keep the koala habitat alive and safe. Simple measures like planting new and maintaining existing trees that koalas like to feed on and keeping dogs secure at night go a long way to help.

Despite there being large populations of koalas in some areas, other areas are very fragile due to the degradation of the habitat. Public education is necessary and the Australian Koala Foundation has done a lot to enable this including implementing the Save the Koala Day.

World Tourism Day

Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide. At its Twelfth Session in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 1997, the UNWTO General Assembly decided to designate a host country each year to act as the Organization's partner in the celebration of World Tourism Day.

At its Fifteenth Session in Beijing, China, in October 2003, the Assembly decided the following geographic order to be followed for World Tourism Day celebrations: 2006 in Europe; 2007 in South Asia; 2008 in the Americas; 2009 in Africa and 2011 in the Middle East.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Holidays for September 26th 2013

World Maritime Day

The United Nations (UN), via the International Maritime Organization (IMO), created World Maritime Day to celebrate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy, especially in shipping. The event’s date varies by year and country but it is always on the last week of September.

World Maritime Day focuses on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. The day also features a special message from the IMO’s secretary-general, which is backed up by a discussion paper on the selected subject in more detail.

World Maritime Day is celebrated in many countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Many maritime organizations and unions hold special events and activities to celebrate this day. These activities and events range from symposiums to luncheons, as well as school lessons that focus on the day. Some classes may organize a trip to a maritime museum so students can understand the significance of the maritime industry in shaping world history and its importance in world trade.

Throughout history, people have understood that international regulations that are followed by many countries worldwide could improve marine safety so many treaties have been adopted since the 19th century. Various countries proposed for a permanent international body to be established to promote maritime safety more effectively but it was not until the UN was established that these hopes were realized. An international conference in Geneva in 1948 adopted a convention formally establishing the IMO, a specialized UN agency that develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping.

The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO. The IMO focuses on areas such as safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.

World Maritime Day was first held on March 17, 1978 to mark the date of the IMO Convention’s entry into force in 1958. At that time, the organization had 21 member states. It now has about 167 member states and three associate members. This membership includes virtually all the nations of the world with an interest in maritime affairs, including those involved in the shipping industry and coastal states with an interest in protecting their maritime environment.

Banned Books Day

What would you do if you went to the library to check out a book, only to find it wasn't there? Not because it was already checked out, but because someone else disapproved of its content and had it removed from library shelves?

Not likely to happen? Think again.
Despite the perception that censorship no longer occurs in the United States, attempts to ban books frequently take place in our schools and libraries. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or banned from the school curriculum.

According to the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), there were 464 reported attempts to remove or restrict materials from schools and libraries in 2012 and more than 17,700 attempts since 1990, when the ALA began to record book challenges.

Just recently Alabama State Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) called for a ban on the novel "The Bluest Eye," stating that the book should be removed from libraries and the 11th Grade Common Core reading list because he believes the book is "highly objectionable" and has "no value or purpose." "The Bluest Eye" is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison's first novel and is often included in honors and Advanced Placement English classes. If successful, such an action will deny educators and students the right and the freedom to choose books and literature that contain diverse ideas drawn from across the social and political spectrum.

Holtzclaw's demand is just one example of reading list challenges that are currently taking place in Arizona, North Carolina and Ohio.

While not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to choose for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and national awareness campaigns such as Banned Books Day, September 26th, which stresses the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone's freedom to read any book, no matter how unorthodox or unpopular.

Book challenges to school library materials are not the only threat to students' freedom of inquiry. Online resources, including legitimate educational websites and academically useful social networking tools, are being blocked and filtered in school libraries. In an effort to raise awareness, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the ALA, has designated one day during Banned Books Day, as Banned Websites Awareness Day - Wednesday, Sept. 25 - and is asking school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how excessive filtering affects student achievement.

For more than 30 years, libraries and bookstores have celebrated Banned Books Day by hosting special events and exhibits on the power of literature and the harms of censorship. Many will showcase selections from the ALA's OIF's Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2012. The list is released each spring and provides a snapshot of book removal attempts in the U.S. the previous year. The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2012 reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:
"Captain Underpants" (series), by Dav Pilkey (Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group)
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
"Thirteen Reasons Why," by Jay Asher (Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group)
"Fifty Shades of Grey," by E. L. James (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit)
"And Tango Makes Three," by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group)
"The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini (Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
"Looking for Alaska," by John Green (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
"Scary Stories" (series), by Alvin Schwartz (Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence)
"The Glass Castle," by Jeanette Walls (Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit)
"Beloved," by Toni Morrison (Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence)

Readers from across the United States and around the world will demonstrate their support for free speech by participating in a Virtual Read-Out on YouTube where participants will read from their favorite banned books. More than 1,500 videos have been submitted since the readout began in 2011, including many by bestselling authors and celebrities such as Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Khaled Hosseini, Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Lauren Myracle and many others.

For the first time this year, Twitter parties will help promote the message of Banned Books Day. A party will be held from noon to 2 p.m., Eastern time on Sept. 25. Supporters are urged to tweet using the hashtag #bannedbooksday.

We must keep in mind that even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. Young people especially deserve our trust. Reading literature that challenges them and encourages them to think about others and their own place in the world does no harm and can only spur them to become better students and better persons.

Danger does not arise from viewpoints other than our own; the danger lies in allowing others to decide for us and our communities which reading materials are appropriate!

National Pancake Day

While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Just in time for the end of National Breakfast Month, September 26 is National Pancake Day.

Stacked and soaking up butter and syrup, spread out and covered with a fruit compote, pancakes are the ultimate comfort food. It’s no surprise this breakfast staple has a long history, dating back to the ancient Greeks. But, depending on where you are, pancakes will look vastly different.

In Germany, they’re made out of potatoes; in France and Belgium, they’ll be thin and light; in South Africa, they’re filled with lemon juice and sugar; and in Mexico, you might find a hotcake (a pancake made with cornmeal instead of wheat flour).

Depending on your batter, you can either end up with a crêpe, a pancake, a crumpet or a flapjack. All use the same technique: A batter of flour, eggs, milk and, in some cases, a leavening agent is beaten, left to rest and then poured in batches onto a hot griddle or pan. Typically, when bubbles form on the uncooked side of the pancake, it’s ready to flip.

Pancakes don’t necessarily stick to the sweet side of things either. In some parts of the world they’re served for dinner, filled with savory ingredients such as ground meat, onions and cheese. Because the American-style pancake is hard to roll up, and therefore hard to fill with ingredients, any additional flavors are added to the batter. Common preferences include fruit, nuts, chocolate chips and even granola.

Johnny Appleseed's Birthday

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was born on September 26, 1774, in Leominster, Massachusetts. Chapman was an eccentric frontier nurseryman who established orchards throughout the American Midwest. He became the basis of the folk hero Johnny Appleseed, who has been the subject of countless stories, movies and works of art. Chapman died on March 18, 1845 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Jonathan Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1774. His father, Nathaniel Chapman, fought as a minuteman at the Battle of Concord, and later served in the Continental Army under General George Washington. In July of 1776, while her husband was at war, Elizabeth Chapman died in childbirth. Nathaniel Chapman returned home and remarried shortly thereafter. He and his new wife, Lucy Cooley, had a total of 10 children together.

A limited amount is known about Chapman's early life. He may have traveled west to Ohio with his brother initially, meeting up with the rest of his family in 1805. It is likely that Nathaniel Chapman, a farmer, encouraged his son to become an orchardist, setting him up with an apprenticeship in this area. By 1812, John Chapman was working independently as an orchardist and nurseryman.

John Chapman traveled widely, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, pursuing his profession. While the legend of Johnny Appleseed suggests that his planting was random, there was actually a firm economic basis for Chapman's behavior. He established nurseries and returned, after several years, to sell off the orchard and the surrounding land.

The trees that Chapman planted had multiple purposes, although they did not yield edible fruit. The small, tart apples his orchards produced were useful primarily to make hard cider and applejack. Orchards also served the critical legal purpose of establishing land claims along the frontier. As a consequence, Chapman owned around 1,200 acres of valuable land at the time of his death.

Chapman was a follower of the New Church, also known as the Church of Swedenborg. He spread his faith while traveling to establish orchards, preaching to both Anglo-American and indigenous people he encountered along the way.

Among Chapman's eccentricities was a threadbare wardrobe, which often did not include shoes and often did include a tin hat. He was a staunch believer in animal rights and denounced cruelty towards all living things, including insects. He was a practicing vegetarian in his later years. Chapman did not believe in marriage and expected to be rewarded in heaven for his abstinence.

The exact place and time of Chapman's death are matters of dispute. Nineteenth-century sources suggest that he died in the summer of 1847 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, though contemporary sources often cite March 18 as his death date.

After his death, Chapman's image developed into the pioneer folk hero Johnny Appleseed. Johnny Appleseed festivals and statues dot the Northeastern and Midwestern United States to this day, and Appleseed is the official folk hero of Massachusetts.

The character has served as the focus of countless children's books, movies and stories since the Civil War period.

The legend of Johnny Appleseed differs from the life of the historical John Chapman in several key respects. While Chapman planted strategically, for profit, the Johnny Appleseed character sowed seeds at random and without commercial interest. The fact that Chapman's crops were typically used to make alcohol was also excluded from the Appleseed legend. Despite these discrepancies from the historical record, the Johnny Appleseed character reflects an interest in frontier settlement during a period of expansion in the far western portion of the continent.

National Food Service Employee's Day

I’d like everyone to take the time today to raise a glass to the food service employees of the world.

How many times have you been out for dinner when the food was mediocre at best but the service MADE the meal? Or a phenomenal dinner has been raised to sublime by the quality of the service?

That’s just the service we see: the “front of the house” staff whose job it is to make us feel intelligent,special, valued. A long retired veteran of service myself, I admit to sometimes taking that kind of thing for granted. After all, IT’S THEIR JOB to provide good service, right?

Well… I have had the pleasure of many, many dining experiences, from “fine” to “basic”, where the employees from front of house to back have worked exceptionally as a team to elevate the experience. From the care taken in preparing and plating the food to the genuinely friendly and helpful service. I was in a “family” restaurant yesterday in Vallejo, California. Burgers, omelettes, that kind of thing (not even licensed, much to Jim’s horror and dismay!). it could have been scary – bad part of town and all that – but the staff made it awesome. And it paid off. The place was packed, on a sleepy Friday afternoon in an area closely resembling a ghost town.

It should be recognized, though, that the food service employees I’ve mentioned so far at least have a chance of reaping a reward – in the form of gratuities or a share in them – for their service. but as I discussed on “National Food Checkout Day” (you’ll have to do a search for it; I’m currently blogging from the hotel bathroom on my Blackberry), the very inexpensive food we enjoy in North America comes with a very high social (and environmental) cost.

That cost is borne by “invisible” food service employees working for subsistence or starvation wages. Often these are recent immigrants without whose “unskilled” and poorly-remunerated labour the entire “cheap food” system depends.

What can we do about it? There is no easy answer. As discussed earlier, we have to steel ourselves to pay the REAL cost of what we consume. This may mean living slightly less “large”. We also have to resist further efforts to drive down the minimum wage. Support public education. I could go on. The point is, we KNOW there are real social costs to a cheap hamburger at a fast food joint. We’ve heard it all before. We just have to start making choices instead of blithely pretending everything’s ok.

In the meantime, raise a glass with me to all of the food service employees you’ve benefitted from in your lifetime. If you ARE a food service employee, raise a glass for yourself.

And the next time you go out for dinner, look at the food on your plate (or the burger in its wrapper) and think of how much it really cost.

Shamu the Whale's Birthday

September 26, 1985. Born at Sea World at Orlando, FL, this was the first killer whale born in captivity to survive. Named Kalina but currently using the stage name Shamu (formerly Baby Shamu!), she went on to give birth herself in 1993 and has since produced several healthy calves. She is now living at Sea World Orlando, where she performs daily, although she has spent time in other parks as well.