Saturday, January 4, 2014

Holidays and Observances for January 4th 2014

Dimpled Chad Day


January 4th is to commemorate "dimpled chads, left over from various and sundry contested elections." A paper chad is that small piece of paper removed from a ticket stub or a punch card election ballot. The dimpled, pregnant or hanging chad from the "butterfly ballots" was only one of the issues that contributed to the chaos following the 2000 presidential election.

Florida's 25 electoral votes were the determining factor. Because the vote was so close the votes had to be manually recounted, a process that mired in controversy and irregularities. The U.S. Supreme Court halted recounts and ultimately selected Bush as the winner. It was only the fourth time in U.S. history the winning candidate did not also win the popular vote. That vote went to Al Gore, according to the State Elections Office.

National Spaghetti Day


Italian beauty Sophia Loren once famously said, “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” If it’s good enough for her, it's certainly good enough for us to celebrate - January 4 is National Spaghetti Day!

Spaghetti is a thin, round-shaped pasta from Italy that the rest of the world can’t seem to get enough of. The word spaghetti is actually the plural of spaghetto, which comes from the Italian word for "thin string."

Spaghetti’s classic companion is tomato sauce. These two came together after Spanish explorers brought tomatoes back from South America. Another favorite is spaghetti carbonara. It takes some practice to perfect, but the payoff is worth it. Carbonara combines raw eggs, some sort of salted pork (the Italians use either guanciale or pancetta), cheese and lots of black pepper. The heat from the cooked pasta cooks the egg sauce.

Spaghetti dishes don’t need to be fancy. In fact, they’re a great way to clean out the fridge. Combine the noodles with a bit of leftover meat, some frozen veggies and a touch of cream or olive oil for the perfect mid-week meal. And if you’re watching your waistline, you can always try the whole wheat version.

Spaghetti is relatively easy to make at home, but some equipment is required. If you go down that road and find yourself bored with the regular colored spaghetti, add squid ink, beet juice or spinach to get black, red and green pasta respectively.

National Trivia Day


Do you know that you burn more calories sleeping than watching television? How can that be? Simple! When you watch television, you are exposed to various commercials, mostly food. This subconsciously creates a craving for finger food and soda which are usually fattening.

Trivia has an unknown beginning. In ancient times, the word means something very new. The adjective trivial, though, was introduced to English in the 15 century, refers to unimportant matters. In February 5, 1965, trivia quizzes emerged. The singular form of the word is trivium, referring to a matter of interest only to an undergraduate. Tri means three and via means way, representing the topics of basic education: grammar, logic and rhetoric. Trivia now means vague and obscure bits of dry facts. It is also an ambiguous remembrance of modern culture.

Trivia had slowly evolved from quizzes to games, jokes, puzzles, news and history, over the years. The National Trivia Day is observed in schools in contests of any form. At home, the day is spent playing trivial pursuit or game of knowledge. It is also a perfect day to share quick little known facts to friends and family through emails or phone. The National Trivia Day honors anyone who knows a lot of facts. As this day also celebrates the National Spaghetti Day, this day can be more fun with activities involving trivia and spaghetti.

Here are some sample trivia:
  • Which state is the largest consumer of Jell-O? California!
  • No piece of paper can be folded more than seven times. Try doing it!
  • The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache. Check a deck of cards!

Pop Music Chart Day


On January 4, 1936, Billboard magazine published its first music hit parade. The first Music Popularity Chart was calculated in July 1940. A variety of song charts followed, which were eventually consolidated into the Hot 100 by mid-1958. The Hot 100 currently combines single sales, radio airplay and digital downloads.

All of Billboard's charts use this basic formula. What separates the charts is which stations and stores are used – each musical genre having a core audience or retail group. Each genre's department at Billboard is headed up by a chart manager, who makes these determinations.

Here are some of the Top Pop Music Charts:

1950’s
  1. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
  2. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
  3. Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & His Comets
  4. Tutti-Frutti - Little Richard
  5. Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On - Jerry Lee Lewis
  6. What'd I Say - Ray Charles
  7. Summertime Blues - Eddie Cochran
  8. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley
  9. Long Tall Sally - Little Richard
  10. That'll Be The Day - Buddy Holly & the Crickets
1960’s
  1. Respect - Aretha Franklin
  2. Louie Louie - Kingsmen
  3. Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
  4. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
  5. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
  6. Hey Jude - Beatles
  7. Good Vibrations - Beach Boys
  8. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - Righteous Brothers
  9. My Girl - Temptations
  10. Light My Fire - Doors
1970’s
  1. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
  2. Hotel California - The Eagles
  3. Imagine - John Lennon
  4. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
  5. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  6. Superstition - Stevie Wonder
  7. Layla - Derek and the Dominos
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
  9. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
  10. Let's Stay Together - Al Green
1980’s
  1. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
  2. Every Breath You Take - Police
  3. When Doves Cry - Prince
  4. The Message - Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5
  5. Sexual Healing - Marvin Gaye
  6. Like a Virgin - Madonna
  7. Walk This Way - Run-D.M.C.
  8. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses
  9. Don't You Want Me? - Human League
  10. Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
1990’s
  1. Hold On - Wilson Phillips
  2. It Must Have Been Love - Roxette
  3. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
  4. Poison - Bell Biv Devoe
  5. Vogue - Madonna
  6. Vision of Love - Mariah Carey
  7. Another Day In Paradise - Phil Collins
  8. Hold On - En Vogue
  9. Cradle of Love - Billy Idol
  10. Blaze of Glory - Jon Bon Jovi
2000’s
  1. Crazy in Love - Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z
  2. Hey Ya! - OutKast
  3. Poker Face - Lady Gaga
  4. Lose Yourself - Eminem
  5. Since U Been Gone - Kelly Clarkson
  6. Gold Digger - Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
  7. Sexy Back- Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland
  8. Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys
  9. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey
  10. In Da Club - 50 Cent
Tom Thumb Day


General Tom Thumb was the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), a little person who achieved great fame under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.

Stratton was a son of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, carpenter named Sherwood Edward Stratton. Sherwood was the son of Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Sherwood married his first cousin Cynthia Thompson, daughter of Joseph Thompson and Mary Ann Sharpe. Charles Stratton's maternal and paternal grandmothers, Amy and Mary Ann Sharpe, were allegedly small twin girls born on 11 July 1781/83 in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Bridgeport to parents who were of medium height, Charles was a relatively large baby, weighing 9 pounds 8 ounces (4.3 kg) at birth. He developed and grew normally for the first six months of his life, at which point he was 25 inches (64 cm) tall and weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Then he stopped growing. His parents became concerned when, after his first birthday, they noticed he had not grown at all in the previous six months. They showed him to their doctor, who said there was little chance Charles would ever grow to, or reach normal height.

By late 1842, Stratton had not grown an inch in height or put on a pound in weight from when he was six months old. Apart from this, he was a totally normal, healthy child, with several siblings who were of average size.

World Braille Day


World Braille Day is celebrated every year on 4th January around the world to commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille. Louis Braille is credited with inventing the Braille language which helps blind people to read as well as write.

Louis Braille was born in France. At the age of 3, he accidentally became blind. However, he had a great yearning to be able to read and write properly, despite his disability. An attentive kid at school, at the age of 15, he developed a set of symbols by making raised dots on a piece of paper. The dots could be easily felt by hand, thus enabling even the blind to feel them and hence, read and write.

The language developed y Louis Braille is today known as the Braille language. Louis’s work was not only confined to alphabets. He was passionate about music too, and thus, in the latter part of his life, he even developed Braille language for music. While developing the language for music, he made a point to keep it flexible so that it could be adapted to almost any musical instrument around the world.

Although the system was very useful for those with visual impairment, it was only 2 years after Louis’s death in 1854 that the system was adopted by his school. Soon after its adoption, it grew very popular in the rest of France. The penetration of the system in other countries was quite slow.

The World Braille Day is celebrated every year to recognize the efforts of Louis Braille. His simple yet effective invention made it possible for blind people to read and write. The World Braille Day is relatively a little known occasion. However, for individuals working for the blind, it is a day of great significance.

There is no public holiday as such in any part of the world on this day. Various NGOs as well as other organizations come together on this day to raise awareness about the apathy towards blind people and to help them be equal with the rest of the people.

Various competitions are organized across cities specifically for the blind. Awareness is also raised about the new technologies coming in the field of Braille language on this day. For example, in the earlier days, a special type of typewriter had to be used in order to write Braille language. Now a days, computers are also equipped to do the job. The World Braille Day is taken as an opportunity by various organizations and philanthropic individuals around the world to help the blind out there.

The World Braille Day in 2009 marked the 200th birthday anniversary of Louis Braille. It was celebrated around the world, including that in France, where a special exhibition was organized in a museum dedicated to Louis Braille. In India, Belgium as well as Italy, special coins were released with the image of Louis Braille.

World Hypnotism Day


World Hypnotism Day, January 4th, was established to help educate the general public of the truth and benefits the timeless and natural process of hypnotism has to offer anyone. Movies and books of fiction have warped the perception of hypnosis, which is why World Hypnotism Day is a necessity in order for more people to understand the truth and use this natural, expedient and effective process for personal change.

On World Hypnotism Day, and days before and after January 4th, hypnotism professionals around the world combine their efforts presenting free and low cost events in their area to promote hypnotism and help the general public become more aware of hypnosis and the benefits it offers any individual desiring personal change.

Hypnosis has been defined as "...a special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state." This definition captures our common understanding of hypnosis; however, research has not only revealed that hypnosis is a much more complicated thing, but it has also given rise to a number of definitions. One suggestion is that hypnosis is a mental state, while another links it to imaginative role-enactment.

Persons under hypnosis are said to have heightened focus and concentration with the ability to concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory, while blocking out sources of distraction. Hypnosis is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction involving a series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. The hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence of the subject, or may be self-administered ("self-suggestion" or "autosuggestion"). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as "hypnotherapy", while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as "stage hypnosis".

The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word hypnos which means sleep. The words "hypnosis" and "hypnotism" both derive from the term "neuro-hypnotism" (nervous sleep) coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers ("Mesmerism" or "animal magnetism"), but differed in his theory as to how the procedure worked.

There is a belief that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep, but contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and are focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions. In the first book on the subject, Neurypnology (1843), Braid described "hypnotism" as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration ("abstraction").

Free Flower Basket Day


Free Flower Basket Day is celebrated annually on January 4 in the United States!

Happy Flower Basket Day everyone! On this day we are encouraged to give a thoughtful and unexpected gift of flowers to someone in our life!

Is there anyone out there that doesn't like flowers? I know I sure love them and if I could, I would have a new pot of flowers on my table every single day of the year! Getting flowers is such a special treat and I sure hope my hubby celebrates this holiday by bringing a basket of flowers home. "Live ones please!" Not a basket of cut flowers but a basket of living and breathing flowers in moist dirt, that's the kind that I like. "Live Everyday like A Holiday!"