Friday, November 8, 2013

Holidays for November 8th 2013

National Cappuccino Day

Need a little pick-me-up to get you through the day? You’re in luck - November 8 is National Cappuccino Day!

If you’ve ever praised a higher being for a cappuccino, you probably didn't realize you were referring to the drink's history. In Italian, cappuccino means "little cap." Food historians say that the cappuccino got its name from the Capuchin monks who wore brown robes the color of espresso. When they wore the hood of the robes over their heads, the brown ring of cloth surrounding their white faces looked like a perfectly poured cappuccino.

For full disclosure, there are some who suggest that the espresso-based drink is actually of Viennese origin. The drink was called a "kapuziner" because "kapuziner" translates to Capuchin, and the color of the drink matched the Capuchin monks’ robes.

The way a cappuccino is made has evolved over the years, largely due to technology. Initially, the drink was made by combining espresso and heated milk. Then, the milk changed from being heated to frothed. Finally, with the advent of the espresso machine, the milk was steamed.

And in case you were worried you’d be bouncing off the walls if you tried a cappuccino today, don’t - it has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, it’s just more concentrated.

X-ray Discovery Day

On this day in 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845-1923) becomes the first person to observe X-rays, a significant scientific advancement that would ultimately benefit a variety of fields, most of all medicine, by making the invisible visible. Rontgen's discovery occurred accidentally in his Wurzburg, Germany, lab, where he was testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass when he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He dubbed the rays that caused this glow X-rays because of their unknown nature.

X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act similarly to light rays, but at wavelengths approximately 1,000 times shorter than those of light. Rontgen holed up in his lab and conducted a series of experiments to better understand his discovery. He learned that X-rays penetrate human flesh but not higher-density substances such as bone or lead and that they can be photographed.

Rontgen's discovery was labeled a medical miracle and X-rays soon became an important diagnostic tool in medicine, allowing doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. In 1897, X-rays were first used on a military battlefield, during the Balkan War, to find bullets and broken bones inside patients.

Scientists were quick to realize the benefits of X-rays, but slower to comprehend the harmful effects of radiation. Initially, it was believed X-rays passed through flesh as harmlessly as light. However, within several years, researchers began to report cases of burns and skin damage after exposure to X-rays, and in 1904, Thomas Edison's assistant, Clarence Dally, who had worked extensively with X-rays, died of skin cancer. Dally's death caused some scientists to begin taking the risks of radiation more seriously, but they still weren't fully understood. During the 1930s, 40s and 50s, in fact, many American shoe stores featured shoe-fitting fluoroscopes that used to X-rays to enable customers to see the bones in their feet; it wasn't until the 1950s that this practice was determined to be risky business. Wilhelm Rontgen received numerous accolades for his work, including the first Nobel Prize in physics in 1901, yet he remained modest and never tried to patent his discovery. Today, X-ray technology is widely used in medicine, material analysis and devices such as airport security scanners.

Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day

Start with fresh garlic and the rest is easy. While the word "pungent" sounds like a negative food descriptor, it's not. Pungent, along with sweet, sour, salty, bitter and astringent, is one of the six tastes of food, according to Eat Taste Heal. Examples of pungent foods include garlic, which can be made into a tasty rub for any type of meat. Onions, chili peppers, ginger, black pepper and cayenne pepper are also considered pungent. These foods can be warming and are good for you.

Although garlic may not always bring good luck, protect against evil or ward off vampires, it is guaranteed to transform any meal into a bold, aromatic and healthy culinary experience.

Fresh, dried and powdered garlic are available in markets throughout the year, however, fresh varieties from California are in season from June through December.

Garlic is arranged in a head, called the "bulb," averaging about 2 inches in height and diameter consisting of numerous small separate cloves. Both the cloves and the entire bulb are encased in paper-like sheaths that can be white, off-white or pinkish. Although garlic cloves have a firm texture, they can be easily cut or crushed. The taste of garlic is like no other-it hits the palate with a hot pungency that is shadowed by a very subtle background sweetness.

Abet and Aid Punsters Day

In what direction does a sneeze usually travel? Atchoo!

What did one cowboy say to the other cowboy while they were rounding up cattle? Stop me if you already ‘herd’ this one.

A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

I hope you didn’t find those jokes too PUNishing! November 8 is officially “Abet and Aid Punsters Day” so celebrate by torturing your friends and loved ones with your best puns. Not sure what a pun is?
Pun (noun) the use of a word, or of words which are formed or sounded alike, in such a way as to juxtapose, connect, or bring out two or more of the possible applications of the word or words, usually in a humorous way; a play on words.
Puns have been around a long time…read any Shakespeare lately? He was all about the pun. They even have pun contests like the O. Henry Pun-Off in Austin Texas.

National Parents As Teachers Day

To pay tribute to the more than 3,000 organizations offering Parents as Teachers services across the country and around the world. These programs give all parents of young children support and information so all children will learn, grow and develop to realize their full potential.

If I said it once, I've said it a thousand times: Parents are a child's first and most important teacher. Apparently I'm not the only one to feel that way because legislation was unanimously passed in the United States to designated November 8, as "National Parents as Teachers Day."

It's a way to recognize and celebrate the achievements of parents involved in their child's education and recognize the influence you have on your children's lives. I'm so glad to see that so people are seeing how many parents are taking advantage of teachable moments, planning educational trips so kids can have learning vacations, and simply sitting down to talk to your child about life and setting life goals.

So, congratulations parents! Today is your day and you've earned it. Thank you for being such a good and patient teacher. When they're old enough, your children will thank you, too.

World Orphans Day

What does it mean to be an orphan?

In fairy tales and other fictional stories, orphans frequently appear as main characters— Cinderella, Tom Sawyer, Oliver Twist, Anne of Green Gables, Superman, Mowgli, Pollyanna and little orphan Annie. Sometimes these stories express the orphans’ struggles as they try to provide for themselves and as they search for someone to love them. But often, exciting adventures take place, hopes and dreams come true and they all live happily ever after.

Sometimes in real life there are happy endings for orphans—they may be able to live comfortably with a relative, they may get a sponsor and get to live in a children’s home or they may get adopted. But many orphans, especially in Africa, end up living with a grandparent that has several other children in their care and there is often not enough to go around. Many drop out of school to work or beg to survive. Sometimes they live alone under the care of a sibling who is not really old enough to care for them.

The reality is that being an orphan is not as exciting as the stories show and often the happy ending never comes. The following poem was written by a Kenyan girl named Emma who is an orphan because of AIDS. Emma’s words express what it really means to be an orphan.
“Orphan! Orphan!

An orphan, I cry.
Was I born to be one?
Orphan! Orphan!
No food! No shelter, no clothes,
Orphan! Orphan! I cry
Without a father, nor a mother,
Stress and rejection
have become my friends.
Orphan! Orphan!
Who will care for me?
Heaven knows!”
Today is World Orphans Day, a day set aside to recognize the struggles of orphans all around the world. Please set aside some time to acknowledge the orphans today.

Childcare Worldwide helps orphans by giving them a safe place to live in our children’s homes,providing food and other necessary items and paying for their school fees through child sponsorship.

National Dunce Day

Not to be confused with National Dance Day, November 8 is National Dunce Day.This annual “holiday” marks the anniversary of the death of philosopher, author and theologian, John Duns Scotus.

Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor, was also the originator of the “duns cap” or Dunce Cap. Scotus believed that pointed, conical-shaped caps worn on top of the head, would increase learning potential by funneling knowledge into students’ brains. After all, wizards wore pointy caps, right?

Scotus, who died on this day in 1308, was beatified by the Catholic Church in 1993.

While dunce caps were originally associated with learning, they eventually took on an entirely different meaning. Associated with stupidity and ignorance, dunce caps were often used in schools to embarrass or humiliate students who had misbehaved or were slow learners. These children were usually sent to the corner wearing a ginormous, cone-shaped dunce cap with the letter "D" on it while the other students in the room would mock and make fun of them.

While today celebrates one of the most important theologians and philosophers from the High Middle Ages, hats off to the discontinued use of the demeaning dunce cap.

National Harvey Wallbanger Day

NOVEMBER 8 is supposedly national Harvey Wallbanger Day, at least according to the fine folks over at Galliano L'Autentico, a primary ingredient in the oft-maligned cocktail.

According to one cocktail legend, the drink originated in the early 1950s, created by California bartending legend Donato "Duke" Antone and named after a Manhattan Beach surfer who loved Galliano-spiked Screwdrivers (vodka and orange juice), and would bang his head against the wall in frustration after losing a competition. California bartender Bill Doner was also credited for creating the drink while at Newport Beach bar The Office. The "Wallbanger" reference might simply suggest how your head feels the following morning if you've imbibed too many.

Whatever the case, the Mad Men-era cocktail rose to prominence in the early 1970s, but was quickly adulterated with frozen concentrate and Sunny D-type "juices," and a re-formulated sweeter, low-alcohol Galliano. Like many cocktails popular in the 1970s--from Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises to Golden Cadillacs and Cosmos--little regard was given to the cocktail's quality or a bartender's skill.

With the return of the Classic and Craft cocktail, and a revisiting of genres beyond pre-Prohibition (such as the current Tiki Movement), it's only natural that bartenders begin revisiting popular cocktails. The original Harvey Wallbanger recipe (see below) is simply vodka, orange juice and Galliano. But you can find updated variations across the country: The original Harvey Wallbanger is served at New York's Huckleberry Bar, Boston's Coppa and Boston's Foundry on Elm. Updated variations (featuring bitters, house-made ingredients and other mixers) are on the bar at NYC's Dram and Clvoer Club and San Francisco's Burritt Room (where they serve the smokey Whisky Wallbanger).

Want to celebrate at home? You're in luck. Dutch company Lucas Bols, which now owns and distributes Galliano, re-introduced the original recipe - less sweet, more herb driven, and a higher ABV (42.3% rather than 30%). The sweeter version (popular with deposed Illinois governor Rod "Blago" Blagojevich, according to an Esquire article) is being phased out, according to the company. Lucas Bols has also packaged the "new original" Galliano as part of a Harvey Wallbanger Gift Set, complete with recipes and a Long Glass. Not only will this give you a more authentic Harvey Wallbanger, the Italian liqueur plays well in many cocktails, as it is less anise-driven and less bitter than other Italian aperitifs and digestifs.

National Ample Time Day

Wouldn't it be nice to have all the time we needed to get everything checked off our "to-do" list before it became delinquent? Although that will probably never happen, there are things we can do to maximize our time, for both work and play.

Time management became a buzz phrase back in the '80s, not surprisingly at about the same time the widespread use of pagers became common in the workplace. In fact, in 1990 there were already 22 million pagers in use, and just four years later in 1994, there were 61 million. Pagers gave employers instant access to their employees, making them available at virtually all hours. This made time management even more important.

Today is "National Ample Time Day." Here are some time management tips from the Mayo Clinic to help reduce your stress and find all the time you need:
  • Prioritize your tasks
  • Learn to say no
  • Delegate
  • Do it right the first time
  • Take breaks to re-energize