Friday, January 10, 2014

Holidays and Observances for January 10th 2014

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

If your taste buds are screaming for a sweet treat to eat, you're in luck! January 10 is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Sweet! This annual "food holiday" celebrates the delicious dark chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is a sweetened form of dark chocolate made with cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla. Unlike milk chocolate or white chocolate, it does not contain any milk solids. According to FDA standards, bittersweet chocolate must contain at least 35% chocolate liquor (a non-alcoholic liquid produced from cocoa beans).

Dark Chocolate Health Benefits
Chocolate lovers have even more to celebrate. Besides tasting great, moderate amounts of bittersweet chocolate, is good for your health, too! Derived from cocoa beans, chocolate contains a large amount of antioxidants and flavonoids which are believed to have cardiovascular benefits. Dark chocolate can also lower blood pressure and it increases blood flow, along with adding a little spring to your step - it's a source of energy as well. And the darker the chocolate, the better.

In honor of National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, enjoy a decadent and delicious heart-healthy bittersweet treat to eat.

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

If you are interested in cutting costs and saving a few bucks, today may be your lucky day! January 10 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day! Besides saving money, you will also help the environment too.

While some politicians refuse to believe or acknowledge global warming is real, most experts believe the Earth is showing real signs of climate change. In fact, climate change is the biggest environmental crisis of our time and is impacting animal populations, food and water supplies, health and basic human needs. More than one million species of animals face extinction by 2050 due to climate change.2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries have determined that the current global warming is “very likely” caused by humans.

But there are things we as individuals can do to make a difference not only for the environment, but for your pocketbook as well.

20 Tips to Save Energy & Money
  • Turn down the heat! You’ll save money by turning down your thermostat. According to the Department of Energy, the average American spends about $2,000 on annual energy costs with nearly half used for heating purposes.
  • Speaking of heat, upgrade to an Energy Star programmable thermostat if you can.
  • Weatherproof the house. Adding simple things like caulk and weather-stripping around doors and windows that are not adequately sealed can really make a difference.
  • If possible, add more insulation to your home.
  • Switch out those old light bulbs and replace them with the energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Believe it or not, even if you aren’t using a particular appliance or electronic gadget, they are still using energy. Unplug items you are not using.
  • Turn off the television, radio and/or computer when not in use.
  • Close the window blinds/curtains when it’s very warm or extremely windy/cold.
  • When it’s time to purchase a new appliance, make sure it is ENERGY STAR rated. Be sure to check out possible tax credits and rebates too.
  • Turning down the fridge and/or water heater will help save money too.
  • Wait until the dishwasher or washing machine/dryer is completely full before you start a new load.
  • Don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth.
  • Install low-flow shower heads to help save water.
  • Fix those leaky/dripping faucets and running toilets.
  • Landscaping with shade trees can help block wind and the sun and reduce those energy bills.
  • Help reduce our dependence on foreign oil by walking or hopping on your bike instead of driving.
  • Speaking of cars – when it’s time to purchase a new vehicle, be sure to check out electric/hybrid vehicles or traditional autos that get good mileage.
  • If you can afford it, more expensive items like solar/tankless water heaters, solar panels, new energy-efficient windows and/or cool roofs are just a few of the big ticket items that can make a big impact on your energy bill. Don't forget to check out rebates or tax credits on these items as well.
  • Check with your local organizations, governments and utility company. Some may offer energy assistance and/or weatherization programs if you qualify.
  • Learn how you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars by using the free online Home Energy Saver.

Peculiar People Day

If you tend to march to the beat of a different drummer, today may really float your boat!January 10th is Peculiar People Day, an annual "holiday" that celebrates folks who live life a little outside the box!

Merriam-Webster describes peculiar as "different from the usual or normal; special, particular, odd, curious, eccentric." But no matter how you define it, being a little wacky or different makes a person stand out in the crowd. Whether it's the way we dress or quirky traits we possess, today is the perfect opportunity to embrace those qualities.

While the origins of Peculiar People Day are unknown, chances are pretty good a peculiar person came up with the idea. And speaking of peculiar, check out these weird and wacky facts.

Weird & Wacky Facts
  • The Box Jellyfish is the deadliest creature on the planet! One drop of its venom can kill 50 people!
  • Believe it or not, there actually is a Peculiar, Missouri!
  • What crop did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grow on their farms? (Hemp)
  • Fingernails grow almost four times faster than your toenails!
  • Did you ever notice there are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos?
  • If you are a fan of the popular television series, Seinfeld, did you know Superman is either mentioned or displayed on the set in every episode?
  • The strongest muscle in a human body is the tongue.
  • Children who learn several languages when they are young, have a higher density of gray matter in their brains.
  • What weird ingredient do most lipsticks have? (Fish scales)
  • What was Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, afraid of? (The dark)
  • What phrase uses every letter in the alphabet? (“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”)
  • How did baseball legend, Babe Ruth, keep his cool? (He kept a cabbage leaf under his cap)
  • All humans have a unique odor, except for identical twins who smell exactly the same.
  • Did you know you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools over your lifetime?
  • If you were ever a kid, chances are pretty good you watched the popular children's television series, Sesame Street. Did you know Bert and Ernie were named after characters with the same name in the popular Christmas film, "It's a Wonderful Life?"
Save the Eagles Day

Save the Eagles Day is commemorated on the 10th of January every year to save the eagles from extinction. The eagles were once in extinction in the later part of 20th Century, but as on June 2007, the Bald Eagle- national bird of the United States, was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, due to the assiduous work of scientists and good stewards of both public and private lands.

There are more than 70 species of eagles throughout the world; except Hawaii, where the bird never resided. Other species of birds are not so fortunate as the Bald Eagle because of the threat caused due to habitat loss, poaching, and pesticides.

Throughout history, eagle appeared in both mythology and heraldry, and has been recognized as a symbol of power, courage, freedom and immortality since the antediluvian times. It is believed in some religions that a high-soaring eagle touches the face of God. Legends of Mexico's Aztecs so honored the bird that they built their capital, Tenochtitlan, at the spot where an eagle roosted on a cactus to raven a snake.

Eagles have a long life, great strength and majestic looks, and for this reason, the United States chose the bald eagle as its emblem. Not only the United States, Germany's coat of arms has a black eagle spreading its wings; Egypt's coat of arms portrays a majestic and tall eagle of black and gold. Albania's flag and its coat of arms also depicts a two-headed eagle. And the Turks and the Byzantine Empire shows a two-headed eagle as its emblem.

In ancient Rome, it was believed that the eagle represented God Jupiter and represented the senate. The eagle can be found in religions including Christianity and Hinduism as well. It is considered as a sacred bird in some cultures, and her feathers are used in many spiritual customs. Some Native Americans idolize eagle feathers as holy religious objects- the feathers and parts of bald eagle and golden eagles are in equivalence with the bible and crucifix. Feathers of eagle are used in ceremonies to honor achievements and qualities of leadership and bravery.

To honor Save the Eagles Day, we can look forward to protect eagles and the habitat of this most renowned and majestic bird. Donating to a wildlife sanctuary or turning to the government officials to strengthen environmental protection of waterways might help in saving the eagles. Planting trees and maintaining them in our own yards or local parks makes place for eagles to alight.

On the 10th of January, we can thank the United States for being able to enjoy watching these amazing birds soaring high in our sky. We should also send this intention to our world for it will help eagles continue their existence throughout the world now and for the years to come.