Saturday, November 9, 2013

Holidays for November 9th 2013

Sadie Hawkins Day

Today is Sadie Hawkins Day! Did you know that Sadie Hawkins Day first appeared in the classic hillbilly comic strip Li'l Abner in 1937? In the original story, Sadie's father was worried that she would never be married, so he announced a race for all of the town's eligible bachelors. Sadie was ordered to run after them, and he declared that, “Th’ one she ketches’ll be her husbin.”

Today, Sadie Hawkins Day (always celebrated on the 1st Saturday in November) is recognized as an American folk event in which girls take the initiative to ask a boy out for a date (something that was unheard of in 1937). Participate in this unique tradition today by attending a Sadie Hawkins dance or talk to that crush you've been eyeing.

National Split Pea Soup Day

Don't forget to eat your peas, dear - November 9 is National Split Pea Soup Day!

As the weather turns chilly, what better way to warm yourself from the inside out than slurping down a hot, steaming bowl of split pea soup? Gulp to your health today, and enjoy this flavorful soup.

"Get yer pea soup" (or something like it) was a common street shout from vendors in Athens, Greece, as early as 500 B.C. It was even mentioned in Aristophanes's "The Birds," and ever since, pea soup has found itself ingratiated within many cultures. England and Ireland have a long history of serving this soup, in addition to including it in Thackery and Harding novels.

But here in the U.S., split pea soup is just one of many, with no special claims to fame. French-Canadian mill workers introduced it to New England in the 1800s. It is thinner than other cultural varieties, and includes chunks of ham or pork alongside carrots and dried green split peas. You can also toss in a few other ingredients to keep it interesting, like this split pea, beef and barley soup.

However, if you're worried that someone near you might pull a Linda Blair, à la "The Exorcist," it may be best to avoid serving them split pea soup, if you know what we mean.

National Scrapple Day

Throw your snoot in the air. Wave it like you just don't care - November 9 is National Scrapple Day!

But what exactly is scrapple, you ask? Per chef Andrew Little of Sheppard Mansion in Hanover, Pennsylvania, "Scrapple is affectionately known as 'everything but the squeal.' It is traditionally a loaf made with the leftover bits of the butchering of hogs. Spices and buckwheat flour are added while the pork is cooking, and the entire mix is poured into loaf pans to chill and set."

He continued, "Once chilled, thick slices are cut and pan-fried. If you want to start a spirited conversation in central Pennsylvania, ask someone if they eat their scrapple with ketchup or syrup. Be prepared for a detailed answer!"

And as for what those "bits" consist of - perhaps it's best not to delve too deeply. Devotees of the pantheon of loaf meats (scrapple, goetta, livermush, liver pudding, souse, C-loaf, etc.) are well aware that the deliciousness of this delicacy derives partially from the satisfaction of having been thrifty and employed every last part of a pig.

Or, in the case of this classic recipe (that employs cornmeal rather then buckwheat), cow trimmings will suffice - we're going for thrifty, not picky.

from Recipes for Traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Dishes
1/2 lb chopped raw meat (beef or pork)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cornmeal
1 medium onion chopped
1 1/4 quarts water
Brown onion slowly in a little fat. Add meat, seasoning and water. Cook at simmering point 20 minutes. Add to cornmeal and boil for 1 hour. Turn into a mold, cool, cut into slices and fry in fat until brown. Serve with gravy or tomato sauce.

Chaos Never Dies Day

Let’s face it. Americans are just plain stressed out! Between the busy careers, never ending chores, homework and children’s after-school activities, November 9 is Chaos Never Dies Day, an annual “holiday” that recognizes that chaotic lifestyle we are all too familiar with. And with the holiday season right around the corner, be prepared to even more chaos to our already hectic lives.

In our hurry up and wait, hustle-and-bustle, we want it yesterday world, it’s no wonder we’re exhausted. But stress is part of our lives. We have to learn how to better manage it. Today is the perfect opportunity to take a chill pill and relax. Here are a few ideas to help you unwind.

How to Celebrate Chaos Never Dies Day
  • Get a pedicure/manicure.
  • Go for a nice long walk with or without the family.
  • Make it movie night and enjoy a few films that will make you laugh out loud!
  • How about a nice, relaxing massage?
  • Go on strike! No housework today!
  • Pour a glass of wine, light a few candles and get ready to soak it all in. Take a nice, relaxing bubble bath and let Calgon take you away!
  • Take a yoga class!
  • Go out for dinner or order in!
  • Get a makeover.
Neon Sign Day

November 9th is Neon Sign Day! Today we celebrate those hard-working forces of marketing beckoning us to patronize quick stops, mini marts, fast food restaurants and other establishments.

Fun Facts:
  • The French gave us neon lights! They were invented by French chemist George Claude and presented at the Paris Exposition of 1910.
  • In 1912, a Paris barber was the first to use a neon sign to advertising business.
  • In 1923, the Packard car company was the first US business to use neon lights. They purchased two signs from George Claude for $12,000 each. The signs spelled out “Packard.”
  • The first neon sign in Times Square was a 1933 advertisement for A&P coffee that had real steam rising from its 25-foot coffee cup.
  • The original six story neon Coca-Cola bottle in Times Square was created from over a mile of neon tubing.
  • Las Vegas retires its neon signs at a museum called “The Boneyard.” They have neon signs from everything from dry cleaners to wedding chapels to casinos.
  • All neon signs are made by hand.
  • The only solid material that can be used to create a neon sign is glass. Plastic and other materials have been tried and have failed.
  • Neon signs are gassy! They use not only neon gas, but argon, phosphor, xenon, helium and mercy as well. The other gasses are used to create over 150 colors.
  • Neon signs are very popular all over the world. Including Hong Kong and China, where neon displays can give Las Vegas and Times Square a run for their money!
National Child Safety Council Birthday

In 1955, after learning that more children die in the U.S. by accidents than all the communicable diseases combined, a nonprofit organization named Police Safety Service was formed. By visiting police agencies and schools to explore ideas for mitigating this tragedy, an effort to reduce, through prevention education, the number of children dying from accidents began.

Police Safety Service, was soon changed to Child Safety Council and then National Child Safety Council (NCSC). Today, NCSC is the oldest and largest 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt, nonprofit charitable organization entirely dedicated to the safety of children.

Our mission at National Child Safety Council is to prevent needless childhood accidents and help save lives through meaningful safety education. Unintentional injuries account for 9.2 million emergency room visits and 12,175 deaths each year in children ages 19 and under. NCSC provides 300+ different pieces of educational material about child safety, drug abuse prevention, and missing children.

Approximately 6,000 public safety agencies in more than 40 states use the materials to serve more than 16 million children annually, assisted by NCSC's network of over 50 safety counselors. NCSC is the only child safety organization with safety counselors working to support public safety agencies and schools nationwide in their educational efforts.

World Freedom Day

World Freedom Day is a United States federal observance declared by then-President George W. Bush to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe. It started in 2001 and is celebrated on 9 November.

For this occasion, conservative youth groups such as Young America's Foundation and the College Republicans urge students to commemorate this day (which they mark as the start of "Freedom Week," thus including Veterans Day) by "celebrating victory over communism" through provocative flyer campaigns and activism projects. Many conservative political commentators and activists use World Freedom Day as an occasion in which to acclaim President Ronald Reagan, whom they regard as being responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Kristallnacht Remembrance

Kristallnacht – literally, "Night of Crystal" – is often referred to as the "Night of Broken Glass" or "November Reich’s Pogrom." The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938 throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops. Instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth, Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom-broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.

In its aftermath, German officials announced that Kristallnacht had erupted as a spontaneous outburst of public sentiment in response to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, had shot the diplomat on November 7, 1938. A few days earlier, German authorities had expelled thousands of Jews of Polish citizenship living in Germany from the Reich; Grynszpan had received news that his parents, residents in Germany since 1911, were among them.

Initially denied entry into their native Poland, Grynszpan's parents and the other expelled Polish Jews found themselves stranded in a refugee camp near the town of Zbaszyn in the border region between Poland and Germany. Already living illegally in Paris himself, a desperate Grynszpan apparently sought revenge for his family's precarious circumstances by appearing at the German embassy and shooting the diplomatic official assigned to assist him.

Vom Rath died on November 9, 1938, two days after the shooting. The day happened to coincide with the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, an important date in the National Socialist calendar. The Nazi Party leadership, assembled in Munich for the commemoration, chose to use the occasion as a pretext to launch a night of antisemitic excesses. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, a chief instigator of the pogrom, intimated to the convened Nazi 'Old Guard' that 'World Jewry' had conspired to commit the assassination and announced that, "the Führer has decided that … demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered."

Goebbels' words appear to have been taken as a command for unleashing the pogrom. After his speech, the assembled regional Party leaders issued instructions to their local offices. Violence began to erupt in various parts of the Reich throughout the late evening and early morning hours of November 9-10. At 1:20 a.m. on November 10, Reinhard Heydrich, in his capacity as head of the Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) sent an urgent telegram to headquarters and stations of the State Police and to SA leaders in their various districts, which contained directives regarding the riots. SA and Hitler Youth units throughout Germany and its annexed territories engaged in the destruction of Jewish-owned homes and businesses; members of many units wore civilian clothes to support the fiction that the disturbances were expressions of 'outraged public reaction.'

Despite the outward appearance of spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave specific instructions: the "spontaneous" rioters were to take no measures endangering non-Jewish German life or property; they were not to subject foreigners (even Jewish foreigners) to violence; and they were to remove all synagogue archives prior to vandalizing synagogues and other properties of the Jewish communities, and to transfer that archival material to the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, or SD). The orders also indicated that police officials should arrest as many Jews as local jails could hold, preferably young, healthy men. Fire departments were instructed not to extinguish the flames at the synagogues, merely to stand by and prevent adjacent buildings from catching fire.

The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. Many synagogues burned throughout the night, in full view of the public and of local firefighters, who had received orders to intervene only to prevent flames from spreading to nearby buildings. SA and Hitler Youth members across the country shattered the shop windows of an estimated 7,500 Jewish-owned commercial establishments, and looted their wares. Jewish cemeteries became a particular object of desecration in many regions.

The pogrom proved especially destructive in Berlin and Vienna, home to the two largest Jewish communities in the German Reich, which, by March 1938, included Austria. Mobs of SA men roamed the streets, attacking Jews in their houses and forcing Jews they encountered to perform acts of public humiliation. Although murder did not figure in the central directives, Kristallnacht claimed the lives of at least 91 Jews between 9 and 10 November. Police records of the period document a high number of rapes and of suicides in the aftermath of the violence.

As the pogrom spread, units of the SS and Gestapo (Secret State Police), following Heydrich's instructions, arrested up to 30,000 Jewish males , aged 16 – 60, and transferred most of them from local prisons to Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen,and other newly-expanded concentration camps. Significantly, Kristallnacht marks the first instance in which the Nazi regime incarcerated Jews on a massive scale simply on the basis of their ethnicity. Hundreds died in the camps as a result of the brutal treatment they endured; most obtained release over the next three months, but only on the condition that they immediately emigrate from Germany. Indeed, the effects of Kristallnacht would serve as a spur to the emigration of Jews from Germany in the months to come.

In the immediate aftermath of the pogrom, many German leaders, like Hermann Göring, criticized the extensive material losses produced by the antisemitic riots, pointing out that if nothing were done to intervene, German insurance companies-not Jewish-owned businesses-would have to carry the costs of the damages. Nevertheless, Göring and other top Party leaders decided to use the opportunity to introduce measures to eliminate Jews and perceived Jewish influence from the German economic sphere. The German government made an immediate pronouncement that “the Jews” themselves were to blame for the pogrom and imposed a punitive fine of one billion Reichsmark (some $400 million U.S. dollars at 1938 rates, or over $611 million in today’s rate) on the German Jewish community. The Reich government confiscated all insurance payouts to Jews whose businesses and homes were looted or destroyed, leaving the Jewish owners personally responsible for the cost of all repairs. (Only foreign Jews could collect for damage to their property.)

In the weeks that followed, the German government promulgated dozens of laws and decrees designed to deprive Jews of their property and of their means of livelihood. Many of these laws enforced “Aryanization” policy-the transfer of Jewish-owned enterprises and property to “Aryan” ownership, usually for a fraction of their true value. Ensuing legislation barred Jews, already ineligible for employment in the public sector, from practicing most professions in the private sector, and made further strides in removing Jews from public life. German education officials expelled Jewish children still attending German schools. German Jews lost their right to hold a driver's license or own an automobile; legislation fixed restrictions on access to public transport. Jews could no longer gain admittance to “German” theaters, movie cinemas, or concert halls. Jews were forced to adopt the middle name of “Israel” for men and “Sarah” for women.

The events of Kristallnacht represented one of the most important turning points in National Socialist antisemitic policy. Historians have noted that after the pogrom, anti-Jewish policy was concentrated more and more concretely into the hands of the SS. Moreover, the passivity with which most German civilians responded to the violence signaled to the Nazi regime that the German public was prepared for more radical measures. The Nazi regime expanded and radicalized measures aimed at removing Jews entirely from German economic and social life in the forthcoming years, moving eventually towards policies of forced emigration, and finally towards the realization of a Germany “free of Jews” (judenrein) by deportation of the Jewish population “to the East.”

Thus, Kristallnacht figures as an essential turning point in Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to annihilate the European Jews.