Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Holidays and Observances for February 26 2014

Inconvenience Yourself Day

Inconvenience Yourself Day is celebrated on the fourth Wednesday of February. The day is an opportunity to focus on inconveniencing ourselves instead of inconveniencing others. Inconvenience Yourself is a way of living. It includes not only how people behave, but also recognizing and acknowledging the actions of others.

The concept is simple, the idea is embraceable, and it certainly seems like common sense. But in the shuffle of day-to-day activities, people get lost in their busy lives and forget how their actions affect others.

"Think about the last time you cut someone off in traffic or hurried out the door without holding it for the person behind you…it probably wasn't intentional nor did you even notice there was anyone so close behind," says Julie Thompson, creator of Inconvenience Yourself.

The idea behind Inconvenience Yourself encourages people to pay attention to their own actions, understand how their actions affect others, and adjust which actions have a negative impact on people they encounter.

Inconvenience Yourself is a way of living. It includes not only how people behave, but also recognizing and acknowledging the actions of others. This everyday concept has been recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events and has received national attention. Celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February, the day is an opportunity for people to focus on inconveniencing themselves instead of inconveniencing others. It is also a day to recognize and acknowledge those who inconvenience themselves for others. Acknowledgment can be verbal, a note, or some small token of appreciation. The concept has been embraced by businesses, teachers, children and parents.

A child can inconvenience themselves by being responsible, dependable and polite. A teacher can incorporate the concept through education and by reinforcing values. Students can learn classroom citizenship to help prevent bullying. A business can integrate the idea into their customer relations and customer service standards.

Thompson explains, “Many of our actions seem to say we think we are more significant than the next person; that our lives and schedules are more important than some else’s. We often inconvenience other people to make our own lives easier and don’t give a thought to the impact of our actions on others. This movement is a way to recognize how we can positively change the way we go about our lives.”

Stories from children, teachers and business owners who have inconvenienced themselves for others can be found on the Inconvenience Yourself website. Thompson also encourages people to share their stories to help spread the idea. For more information about how Inconvenience Yourself can change lives, business or classroom activities, visit

About Inconvenience Yourself: Inconvenience Yourself™ was conceived in 2006 after Julie Thompson observed that many people forget to think about how their actions affect other people. In the fast-paced world in which we live, with schedules overflowing with commitments, people go about their lives without recognizing that what they do impacts other people. Inconvenience Yourself™ is not intended to suggest that people become completely self-sacrificing. Instead, it encourages people to pay attention to their own actions, understand how those actions impact others, and adjust actions which have a negative effect on others.

Levi Strauss Day

February 26,1829, was the day Levi Strauss, pioneer of blue jeans and founder of the company that still bears his name, was born. Although Levi's jeans were long seen as the quintessential American article of clothing, Loeb Strauss (his given name) was a Bavarian-born Jew from the town of Buttenheim, who arrived in the United States with his family only in 1845. His father, Hirsch Strauss, had died two years earlier, and his mother, Rebecca Haas Strauss (Hirsch’s second wife), sailed with her younger children and stepchildren to join two of the older sons, who had already set up a dry-goods business in New York.

By January 1853, 23-year-old Levi headed west to San Francisco, to seek his fortune by opening a branch of the family business to sell clothing and accessories to the California Gold Rushers. In 1872, one of his clients, Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada, tailor, sent Strauss a letter, describing how he used copper rivets to strengthen the stress points of the work pants that he fashioned out of fabric bought from the Californian. Davis suggested that the two seek a patent for the riveting method – a patent that was granted on May 20, 1873. The rivets were fastened at the corners of the pockets and the base of the fly.

By then, Levi Strauss was already an established member of San Francisco society, active in the city’s first synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El, and other institutions. Davis joined him in California, where he oversaw the tailor shop Strauss established for the production of the “XX” model of “waist overalls,” as these trousers were then called. (In 1890, the year the firm became incorporated, it also replaced “XX” with “501,” arguably the brand's most popular style that is still sold today.) The cotton denim itself was originally produced by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, of Manchester, New Hampshire.

Until the 1920s, Levi’s jeans were sold mainly in the West, and served for the most part as work clothes. Soon after, they started making their way east, mainly with vacationers who had encountered them at dude ranches they had visited. In World War II, they became an item rationed to defense workers, and to conserve thread, the company was forbidden from applying the decorative double arch stitching on the rear pockets of the jeans, which had by then become something of a trademark. (They had the arches painted onto the pockets for the duration of the war.)

As for the company’s founder – Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902. Because he had never married and did not have a family of his own, Strauss left his business and estate to his four nephews, the children of his sister Fanny and her husband, David Stern. That estate was valued at $6 million, or some $160 million in 2013 terms. In addition to what he bequeathed to family members, he also bestowed gifts on the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the Home for Aged Israelites, the Roman Catholic and Protestant Orphan Asylums and the Emanu-El Sisterhood, among other beneficiaries.

By 2010, Levi Strauss & Co., which had gone from being family-owned to being publicly shared, was once again a private company, controlled by relatives of Levi Strauss’ nephews. The firm employed more than 16,000 people worldwide, and raked in $4.4 billion in revenues.

National For Pete's Sake Day

If you happen to be a certain age, chances are pretty good you have heard or even uttered the phrase, "for Pete's sake." One day a year is actually dedicated to that once-common phrase. February 26 is For Pete's Sake Day! This annual "holiday" was created by the folks at Wellcat and is listed on Chase's Calendar of Events.

The phrase was commonly used as a substitute for the more offensive phrase, "for God's sake" or "for Christ's sake" and was said when someone was surprised, annoyed, frustrated or irritated. And in case you are wondering who the heck Pete is, you aren't alone. While some believe Pete may refer to the Apostle Peter, others suggest the phrase evolved from older phrases, "for the love of Mike" or "for pity's sake."

In honor of For Pete's Sake Day, check out a few other common phrases and idioms from the past.

Famous Phrases and Idioms from Days Gone By
  • Honest to Pete
  • Heavens to Betsy
  • A Doubting Thomas
  • Cup of Joe
  • Peter Out
  • Moaning Minnie
  • Debbie Downer
  • Johnny on the Spot
  • Jack of all Trades
  • Charlie Horse
  • Round Robin
  • The Bee's Knees
  • As Busy as a Bee
  • The Cat's Meow
  • Cat Got Your Tongue
  • It's Raining Cats and Dogs
  • Barking Mad
  • Something to Crow About
  • Bats in the Belfry
  • A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush
  • For the Birds
  • As Cute as a Bug's Ear
  • Snug as a Bug in a Rug
  • Chew the Cud
  • 'Till the Cows Come Home
  • Stubborn as a Mule
  • When Pigs Fly
  • In a Pig's Eye
  • Pig in a Poke
  • Straight From the Horse's Mouth
  • To Hell in a Handbasket
  • Shake a Leg
  • A Foot in the Door
  • Put Your Best Foot Forward
  • Goody Two-Shoes
  • Chip on Your Shoulder
  • Play it by Ear
  • Wet Behind the Ears
  • Red-Handed
  • By the Skin of Your Teeth
  • Short End of the Stick
  • A Sticky Wicket
  • No Rest for the Wicked
  • Your Name is Mud
  • Cool as a Cucumber
  • As Keen as Mustard
  • Spill the Beans
  • A Penny for Your Thoughts
  • A Watched Pot Never Boils
  • Get Your Dander Up
  • Lose Your Marbles
  • Bite the Dust
  • Hit the Hay
National Pistachio Day

Get crackin'! February 26 is National Pistachio Day.

It’s not every day that a simple nut has its own dedicated advertising campaign, and a cheeky one at that, but the humble pistachio is more than deserving.

Pistachios require a little elbow grease to eat because the greenish edible seed is encased in a harder outer shell that you have to crack open. There are many tips on how to do this, some more practical than others. The least labor intensive way is to simply wait. Pistachio shells will open easily if they’re fully ripe. The same effect is achieved by roasting.

If the nut doesn’t yield from its shell easily, you can always use half of a shell from an already cracked nut to help. The half shell acts as a lever; insert it into the opening of the whole, unopened nut and twist. This should release the pistachio from its shell.

Because pistachios have been around since as early as 7,000 B.C., they have a lot of historical significance and symbolism. In Iran, they’re known as the "smiling nut." In China, they're called the “happy nut.”

One of the earliest desserts made with pistachios was baklava. This Middle Eastern pastry often features a nutty component, such as roasted pistachios. Making baklava at home can be time-consuming and sticky (so props to you if you give it a go!). Here’s a quick cheat version:

Mix chopped, roasted pistachios with some honey and cinnamon. You want the mixture to be thick, not runny. (Orange blossom honey works great here.) Then, lay one sheet of store-bought phyllo dough on a flat work surface and brush it with melted butter. Add a second layer of dough, and cut it into 3-inch squares. Lightly brush a large muffin tin with melted butter and lay a square into each opening. Spoon in the pistachio syrup and bring the sides of the dough up around it. Pinch the edges closed so you’ve got a little parcel. Brush the tops of the parcels with more melted butter and bake in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven until the phyllo dough browns. This will take about 10-12 minutes.