Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holidays for December 21st 2013

Crossword Puzzle Day

Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children's puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.

The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne's puzzle(see below) differed from today's crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920's other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.

The first appearance of a crossword in a British publication was in Pearson's Magazine in February 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared on February 1 1930. British puzzles quickly developed their own style, being considerably more difficult than the American variety. In particular the cryptic crossword became established and rapidly gained popularity. The generally considered governing rules for cryptic puzzles were laid down by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.

These people, gifted with the ability to see words puzzled together in given geometrical patterns and capable of twisting and turning words into word plays dancing on the wit of human minds, have since constructed millions of puzzles by hand and each of these puzzlers has developed personal styles known and loved by his fans. These people have set the standard of what to expect from a quality crossword puzzle.

Forefathers Day

In 1769 a club was formed to honor the settlers of New Plymouth. In Thacher's History of Plymouth, Boston, 1835, he states " respectable individuals, inhabitants of Plymouth, instituted a social club...which they called the Old Colony Club for the purpose of solemnizing the anniversary of the arrival of our forefathers."

The attention of the group was focused on Plymouth Rock by Deacon Ephriam Spooner. He had been a boy of six back in 1741 when Elder Thomas Faunce made his famous proclamation about Plymouth Rock. Faunce became concerned when he heard a wharf was to be built around a huge boulder. He protested as he spread the story that this was the very rock on which the Pilgrims had landed.

Thomas Faunce was the son of John Faunce who came to Plymouth in 1623 in the Anne. Thomas was born in 1647 when many Mayflower passengers were still living. This was a story told to him by folks who were actually there! He Grew up amidst "first-comers."

Deacon Spooner related the story to the Old Colony Club that at the age of 95 Elder Faunce was driven to town in a open wagon and taken to Plymouth Rock. He told the people gathered there how he had talked to John Howland and his wife, John Alden, Giles Hopkins, George Soule, Francis Cooke and Mrs. Cushman, born Mary Allerton. All of these, he said had told him that upon that rock they stepped ashore. He also said that John Winslow's wife (Mary Chilton) came there on her 75th birthday and laughed as she stepped on the rock and said she was the first woman to step on it. Finally he admonished them with "And ye children of my blood, I charge you to remember how, year by year, while God lent me strength, I brought you here on Forefathers Day and set your feet upon the rock, and told you what mighty things the Fathers had done for you... then come ye forward, sons and grandsons and set your feet upon the rock once more in my sight, and never forget this day, you nor your children's children, to the last generation."

The club decided to memorialize the landing with an annual celebration of Forefathers Day, honoring the landing of the "first-comers." The celebration was held December 22, 1769 and was first referred to as "Old Colony Day." With the newly adopted Gregorian calendar the Club added 11 days to the landing instead of the correct 10. For over a century Forefathers Day was celebrated a day late.

As the Revolution approached the Old Colony Club was disbanded as its members were evenly split with loyalists and patriots. The 1774 celebration was conducted by a group of Liberty Boys. From about 1776-1790 Forefathers Day celebrations were abandoned.

In 1793 interest in Forefathers Day was revived. The Reverend Chandler Robbins referred to the settlers for the first time as "Pilgrims." It was also at this celebration that the "Mayflower Association and Agreement" was referred to as the "Mayflower Compact."

On April 15, 1875 the Old Colony Club was revived by a group of men who were met at Pilgrim Hall. The Old Colony Club collects old photographs, paintings and memorabilia. They commemorate Forefathers Day on December 22 as did the original Old Colony Club. the public is welcome at their yearly celebration which includes a sunrise cannon volley on Coles Hill.

Forefathers Day was made a legal holiday in Massachusetts in 1895 but they use the correct date of December 21.

Many famous Americans have spoken at Forefathers Day celebrations including John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster. John Howland, fifth in line from the Pilgrim, was present at the Bicentennial in 1820 when Daniel Webster gave his address.

Why not mark your calendars for your own Forefathers Day celebration. This is a day for us alone – the descendants of the passengers of the ship Mayflower!

Humbug Day

With Christmas just days away, many people are feeling the stress of the holidays! Although yesterday was all about singing joyful Christmas carols, today is another day altogether! For all you Oscars, Scrooges and Grinches out there, today may just be your (un)lucky day! December 21st is Humbug Day!

This annual “holiday” was created by the folks at Wellcat in an effort to let everyone vent their frustrations and blow off some holiday steam! But according to the rules, a person is only allowed 12 bah-humbugs during the 24 hour celebration so use sparingly!

So move over, Santa! And all you grumblers, groaners and moaners take note. Whether you are wrapping up those last-minute gifts, standing in long lines at the mall or fighting the crowds in busy bus terminals or airports, today is the perfect day to get your Ebenezer on! Just remember, tomorrow you must return to your old, cheery self!

National French Fried Shrimp Day

For all seafood lovers, today is another day for you, as it December 21st’s annually celebrated National French Fried Shrimp Day.

Americans eat more shrimp than any other seafood.

The word “prawn” is used loosely to describe any large shrimp, sometimes known as “jumbo shrimp”. Some countries use the word “prawn” exclusively for all shrimp.

Preparing the shrimp for consumption usually involves the removal of the head, shell, tail and “sand vein”. There are many ways to cook shrimp. Common methods of preparation include baking, boiling, broiling, sauteing frying and grilling.

Today’s holiday focuses on fried shrimp. The shrimp is usually coated in a batter and fried in vegetable oil.

Cooking time is delicate for shrimp and they are at their best when not overcooked.

A healthy food, shrimp is low in calories and high in levels of omega-3s, calcium, iodine, and protein. Shrimp is also known to be considered good for the circulatory system. The preparation of the shrimp does impact the caloric count. Happy National French Fried Shrimp Day

National Homeless Persons' Remembrance Day

Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council have sponsored National Homeless Persons' Remembrance Day to bring attention to the plight of the nation's homeless population and to encourage the public to act on their behalf.

Local groups across the country are encouraged first to determine the number of homeless persons in their community who died in the previous year and then arrange a ceremony to remember them. Candlelight marches, vigils, graveside services, plays and performances, religious services, and public policy advocacy are the suggested ways of remembering. Some groups have read publicly a list of names of the deceased. Because media attention to such issues increases during the holiday season in December, National Homeless Persons' Remembrance Day was in part created to garner a public forum for this issue, and local groups are encouraged to seek out and work with their local media outlets to publicize the event.

Look On The Bright Side Day

Look on the Bright Side Day is celebrated on December 21st of each year. I was unable to discover the origin of Look on the Bright Side Day, however I believe it may have something to do with Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life song from Life of Brian.

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is a popular song written by Eric Idle that originally featured in the 1979 film Monty Python’s Life of Brian and has gone on to become a common singalong at public events such as football matches as well as funerals.

Whilst trying to come up with a way of ending the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Eric Idle wrote an original version of the song which was sung in a more straight fashion, which the other Python members agreed would be good enough for the end of the film. Whilst practicing the song, during a break in filming, Idle found that the song worked better if sung in a more cheeky manner. This new version was used in the film and became one of the Python’s most famous songs.

Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day

Anniversary, from Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, of the winning of Phileas Fogg’s wager, on Dec 21, 1872, when Fogg walked into the saloon of the Reform Club at London, announcing, “Here I am, gentlemen!” exactly 79 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds after starting his trip “around the world in 80 days,” to win his £20,000 wager.

Global Orgasm Day For Peace

On each and every day in 2013 the men and women of earth had over 2.5 billion orgasms. This happens in every corner and culture around the globe. It is a fountain of good feelings. That’s over 100 million orgasms per hour, every hour. 1.5 million per minute. To harness this power, we ask you to dedicate your orgasms on this day, and everyday, to World Peace. Whether with a partner or with yourself, join on the Solstice moment at 11:11 GMT or anytime in this 24 hour period.

his is the 8th year of the Global Orgasm for World Peace, held annually on the December Solstice & New Year. Millions of satisfied people around the world have participated, saying Yes! to World Peace in their own special way. Through links with the Noosphere Project at Princeton University, and more recently The Center for Subtle Activism, the Global O has been able to contribute in a unique way to the new sciences of the collective mind.We ask that you vote for a brighter future with your orgasm. Use it to pray for Peace. With you will be millions of people around the world.

The Science
  • Orgasms are good for you.
  • Our sexual organs may be what triggers our orgasms, but the central nervous system is where orgasms occur: orgasms are a whole body & mind experience.
  • Modern science uses techniques of orgasmic neural training to build an individual’s ability to have orgasms, while techniques are found in ancient traditions worldwide to increase and harness the power of orgasms.
  • For up to 70% of women, simultaneous direct stimulation of the clitoris during intercourse is essential for them to reach orgasm. Another 10% of women have never had an orgasm.
  • An evolutionary purpose for the human female orgasm and why it is more difficult to achieve than a male’s is debated. Some believe that it encourages females to select males who are caring, patient, dedicated, and imaginative rather than just being aggressive and large as it is with other primates.
  • Despite rarely being talked about, orgasms are condoned and celebrated by every culture on earth.
Believe it or not, most religions have teachings on the sanctity of orgasm. Most also have prohibitions against having orgasms with someone other than your spouse, and some prohibit self-induced orgasms. Similarly nuns and monks go without outside of a religious context. So make sure you know your faith.

In some meditation traditions an orgasm is considered a window into the truth. Its all about the gap, where the conventional mind just gives up and evaporates for just a moment, and in its place is bliss. Practice makes perfect.

National Flashlight Day

"Let There Be Light" -- The flashlight was invented in 1898, and the biblical quote of "Let There Be Light" was on the cover of the 1899 Eveready catalog, advertising the new flashlight. A flashlight by definition is a small portable lamp usually powered by batteries.

Joshua Lionel Cowen
The original owner of the American Eveready Battery Company, Joshua Lionel Cowen, abandoned the hardware company to pursue his real passion of trains. Cowen was an inventor of sorts; he developed a fuse to ignite photographic flash powder. Though the invention failed in its intent, the U.S. Navy bought up the fuses to use with underwater explosives.

The Flashlight
Cowen next came up with an idea for a decorative lighting fixture for potted plants: a metal tube with a light bulb and a dry cell battery that could run the light bulb for 30 days. He passed the idea along to one of his Eveready salespersons, Conrad Hubert, along with his company. Hubert turned the metal tube, light bulb and battery into the world's first flashlight, and began selling the batteries and the flashlight, together and as separate items.

Success and Lionel Model Trains
Hubert became a multi-millionaire, Eveready became a huge company, and Joshua Lionel Cowen finally achieved the success he really wanted: he was the person who invented toy trains in 1900. As happened with the fuses and the flashlight, Cowen was actually trying to invent something else when he invented toy trains. He originally intended to create a store window display, a battery powered toy car that travelled on a circle of track. People wanted to buy the display more than the real merchandise for sale.

Joshua Lionel Cowen went on to start Lionel Model Trains.

December Solstice

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.

Use the Sunrise and Sunset calculator to find the number of daylight hours during the December solstice in cities worldwide.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the equator. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

The December solstice in the calendar
December 20 and December 23 solstices occur less frequently than December 21 or December 22 solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23 solstice occurred in 1903 and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20 solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080.(*)

As with the June solstice, the December solstice’s varying dates are mainly due to the calendar system. The Gregorian calendar, which is used in most western countries, has 365 days in a common year and 366 days in a leap year. However, the tropical year, which is the length of time the sun takes to return to the same position in the seasons cycle (as seen from Earth), is different to the calendar year. The tropical year is approximately 365.242199 days but varies from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the Earth, such as the “wobble” in the Earth's axis (precession), also contributes to the changing solstice dates.

Over the course of history, many different schemes have been devised to determine the start of the year. Some are astronomical, beginning at the September or March equinox, or at the June or December solstice. Solstices are more readily observable either by observing when the midday shadow of a gnomon is longest (winter solstice in the northern hemisphere) or shortest (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere). The solstices can also be observed by noting the point of time when the sun rises or sets as far south as it does during the course of the year (winter in the northern hemisphere) or maximally north (summer in the northern hemisphere).

(*) All dates refer to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Dates may vary depending on the time zone.

December solstice in relation to seasons
It is important to note that Earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, to the autumnal equinox, to the winter solstice, and back to the vernal equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively. The consolation in the northern hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter (when the December solstice occurs).

The relative position of the Earth's axis to the sun changes during the cycle of seasons. This phenomenon is the reason why the sun’s height above the horizon changes throughout the year. It is also responsible for the seasons through controlling the intensity and duration of sunlight received at various locations around the planet.

Solstice’s influence on cultures
The December solstice has played an important role the lives of many people in ancient times. To this day, the world is still influenced by various traditions linked to the observance of the December solstice.

The end of the world in 2012?
In 2012, the December Solstice coincided with the end of the Mayan calendar. Many saw this as a prophecy of the end of the world.